African Pride

African Child Clothing is Leading the Way...

Zululand local Sanele is on a road to making his dream a reality. From humble beginnings in Ndabayakhe on the outskirts of Empangeni, Sanele pursued further studies at Mangosuthu University. While he always had a deeply ingrained love for fashion, it is here that his eyes were opened to an entirely new world of possibilities.

During those years of study, Sanele began to dabble in fashion and design, starting his first label. It was during this initial project that he gained experience in print and quality. As his final year of study ended, he returned to his home, the place that held his heart, Zululand. Beginning a life in sales at Coca-Cola, his dreams were put on the back-burner. 

The turning point and the true realization of a brand which had only lived in his thoughts came in May 2019 when Sanele was retrenched due to the economic downturn of the times. 

While many may have wallowed in self-pity, this young man with the infectious smile and trademark black hat, used this misfortune to create something wonderful and  to bring his ideas to life.

African Child Clothing has taken the street fashion world by storm. The high quality clothing and eye-catching logo are testament to the hard work and many long hours put in by Sanele, his sister who solely manufactures the clothing and a small team that has been on a mission to bring the clothing to the masses. Each piece of clothing has been personally designed by Sanele and offers stylish comfort to absolutely anyone, and everyone. 

Speaking with Sanele this past weekend it is evident how passionate he is about his brand. With so many new designers mirroring the fashion put out in other countries, Sanele has taken a different approach. His clothing signifies his pride in being an African and encourages others to do the same. 

The brand logo tells a story all of its own. You need only see it once to read the message depicted. It is a message of hope, pride and and undeniable love for his country of birth.

Sanele can be reached via telephone on  0726908067 or you can contact the brand on Facebook under Arican Child Clothing ZA. Clothes can also be found on the shelves of Gear Up in  the Sanlam Centre in Empangeni. 

Bring out your inner African Child and wear the brand that is proud of our heritage.


Project Performer

Stars in the Making


  The past weekend proved to so much more exciting than we, at Eye on Zululand, could ever have dreamed.   

  On Saturday night we accepted an invitation to a showcase at Rockwood Theatre Sibaya that would leave us completely shocked at    the talent held within our country. We were absolutely shell-shocked by the level of singing, dancing and acting on show.   There are performers in South Africa who have what it takes to make it to the top, and you can be assured that many were present on  that stage on Saturday night. 

Something that truly hit home was the sheer good fellowship amongst contestants. Yes, it was a competition, but to me the contestants came across as a family, having endured the same journey, each supporting the next with enthusiasm and sincerity.   

  The Project Performer initiative is the brainchild of Shylo Pereira who has nurtured it with passion and love for both the performing arts and the artists whom she has spent countless hours  alongside, guiding on a path to achieve the best that they can, and more.   

The platform is the first of its kind in South Africa. Aspiring artists and creatives have an opportunity to grow in a business that can so often be cut throat,   leaving many feeling disheartened. Education is key and this is provided in abundance. Heavy weights in the industry have rallied together in support of the initiative to provide guidance and direction to motivate success. 

With a platform like this one, there is no need for aspiring individuals   to travel abroad to gain the exposure they require in an extremely tumultuous industry.   

  The wonderful thing about this project is that it incorporates every aspect of performing arts. Whether you are a singer or songwriter in any genre, a dancer,  one who revels in theatrics or simply a classical music enthusiast, there is a place for you within this initiative.    

  Project Perfomer opens doors for budding artists and gives them the wings to fly. Hard work, dedication and a willingness to learn from the best in the industry is a recipe for success.    

  Project Performer has set its goals on keeping our talent where it belongs, in South Africa.   

  Are you one of the aspiring, talented creatives seeking you way in the daunting performance industry? Now is your time to shine! Entry forms for the 2020 Project Performer are available on the website, auditions begin next month. 

Don't miss out on the opportunity of   a liftetime…..   


Timeless Art Collective Tattoo and Piercing Studio

Creativity and Professionalism at it's Best!


At face value Timeless Art Collections Tattoo Studio in Richards Bay appears like any other studio. That is until you walk through the door. Stepping over the threshold transports you to a place of creativity and wonder. Images that live within the depths of your mind are transformed into lifelong art pieces, meticulously ingrained into your skin with a perfection that is difficult to fathom until you witness it.

Clean, sterile and hygienic are all the qualities you expect to find in a professional tattoo studio and yes, Timeless Art prides themselves on all of these, however, there is so much more to them that meets the eye. The studio is a haven that defines the personality of the owner, Stix, who shares many interests with the second part of the tattoo duo, Dylan. The sensory overload provided by the striking wall colours, personal paintings, wall hung guitars, buzz of the tattoo machines, friendly banter and the smell of incense, is indescribable and something you have to experience in person. 

The dynamic tattoo duo at the studio, owner Stix Thomas and the infamous Dylan Mason are a match made in ink-lovers heaven. Both are skilled and passionate about their chosen profession and express themselves with completely different and distinctive styles. Dylan is known for his tattoo work throughout Empangeni and Richards Bay as well as in Durban and as far afield as Cape Town. Stix too has a vast experience in the industry and shares his creative flair through his absolutely mind-blowing paintings, airbrushed works and of course, his tattoos. 

Whether you are looking for an exceptional ink experience or a piercing, this is the place for you. Stix and Dylan are on hand to make the moment a memorable one, whether you first tattoo or your tenth (and yes it is addictive). Piercings are left to Tristan who has mastered the art like a true professional. 

Call/Whatsapp Timeless Art Collective Tattoo & Piercing Studio today on 063 434 9453 for inquiries and bookings today! There is no time like today to get inked and there is no better place  than this studio in the heart of the Bay.


THE ART OF Helge Janssen


The early 90's in Durban are synonymous with the explosion of a number of different music movements beginning to rear their heads more openly. For one particular group, Helge Janssen is a name that is renowned. Pale-skinned individuals, clad in black, were drawn to him - a pied piper of sorts. 

For many so-named "goth" living in the Durban area throughout the 80's and during the early 90's, myself included, Helge is a name that holds a special place in the heart. The musical compilations put together for our enjoyment each week at the infamous Berea Inn were something we looked forward to with tremendous excitement. It was so much more than just music....The songs Helge  played spoke right to our souls and deeply affected us in a way that is truly hard to explain to one who hasn't lived it.  As silly as it sounds, the music was an expression of our thoughts in a world that was nothing less than completely full of madness.  Being different to the "norm" was exactly what we wanted to be!  For those of you reading this: Paula, Lee, Zaga, Tanya, Art, Rick, and so many more , you will get exactly where I am coming from.  We are bound together through music and, of course, Helge Janssen is at the center of it all!

Helge didn't fade away when we all left to follow our own dreams. He continues to show why different is something everybody should strive for. He has remained true to himself!

Art terrorist Helge Janssen (from Durban) spearheaded the alternative DJ and club scene between 1981 and 1996. The apartheid years were verkrampt and disgusting, so what was an intelligent white boy to do? REBEL!! And to REBEL with every fiber of his being! And in so doing to create a SCENE….as in a TANTRUM of rejection: rejection of racism, rejection of homophobia, rejection of sexism, rejection of mainstream ‘norms’. And so the alternative club scene became a vibrant facet of artistic expression against repression. Helge was known as a ‘performance terrorist’.

As a context for this expression the club DANCE FLOOR (originally FACES 1981 – ’86, then PLAY at the COMMUNITY ARTS WORKSHOP 1987 – ’88, then PLAY @ 330 1989 – 91, then PLAY @ the BEREA INN 1991 – ’95) became a free-form expression of resistance: impromptu performances, fashion shows, underground bands including the fact that FACES was the first public performance of VIA AFRIKA where HEY BOY had already become a huge dance floor hit. Rene Veldsman (bassist and front woman) had given Helge a recording of this song on one of his many visits to Johannesburg on record buying excursions to Street Records in Braamfontein.

Helge’s fashions, including those of his alternative contemporaries viz: Eugen Jago (RIP), Tracy Shuttleworth, Patsy Jordans and others, set the ramp alight with innovation and astonishment. Models were garnered from the array of beautiful club patrons. These ‘fashion installations’ set the bar for night club fashion, and inspired others to find expression through dress. DRESS UP! KONSTRUKT! STEP OUTSIDE THE NORM! For Helge, fashion was a form of ‘soft sculpture’ and as such, his fashion shows represented a collusion of “art as performance” and an extension of ideas he had honed while training and honing his ideas through THE BODY OF DESPONDENT ARTISTS.

Helge founded the BODY OF DESPONDENT ARTISTS, an avant garde performance group (Gisele Stafford, Gisele Turner, David Mulvey, Simon Stengel, Peter Hart-Davis *all founding members* and later joined by Colleen Casteljin, Ruby Bogaard, Andrew Yates, Rosemary Jones) who challenged the norms of dance, movement, narrative and costume that shook the foundations of the Grahamstown audience for three consecutive years with plays he wrote, costumed and choreographed, for the group: “I HAVE NO!” 1984, “MASTERS OF CEREMONY” 1985, and “DARK CORNERS OF A NEW MIND” 1986. The group disbanded in 1987. Dancers spoke!! Actors danced!! Shock horror!!  South Africa has not seen the like since!

Helge has had numerous art exhibitions, mostly at non mainstream venues such as art shops and theaters, but was enticed into a mainstream showing by Aryan Kaganof, who invited him to have a retrospective of his artwork at the KZNSA Gallery in 2002. This Kaganof exhibition, where he lived inside the art gallery during its duration was called “VIRGINS”. At this exhibition Helge gave a performance and fashion show on the opening night.

Once BODA had disbanded Helge wrote and performed in two more self penned plays:

1.  BLOOD 1988 : performed at the Market Theatre, Grahamstown and the Natal Playhouse 1990

2.  THE COME-UPPANCE OF PUNCH: performed at the Windowbrow Theater 1995 and then rewritten and updated in collusion with Eldon Swallow (who wrote a pro and epilogue based on NEMESIS, the Greek Goddess) and performed at the BAT CENTER 1998 and again a year later 1999.

Helge has since colluded with performances with his son Leo Janssen who was a member of THC (Towards Higher Consciousness) and DJ events notably the NONONO!!! happenings, and has hosted “PLAY” rewinds from time to time at ORIGIN NIGHT CLUB (Durban) and at INTENSITY (Hillcrest).

Helge continues to paint and create fashion. He continues to rebel. He continues to creatively terrify the system.




Journey from adoptee to finding her birth parents, realization that nothing would ever be the same.


Paula may not be from Zululand, but her story is one that will touch the hearts and lives of many who find themselves drowning in a sea of confusion and despair through their own adoption journey. Paula hails from Durban, just a short drive up the coast from Zululand.

At face value, Paula Gruben may appear just like any other young, vibrant, ambitious woman but nothing could be further from the truth. While she does possess all the mentioned traits, her passion is what pushes her above and beyond the limits. Paula has that x-factor that so many spend their entire lifetime developing.

The Background

As a child born into adoption, Paula was destined to suffer heartache, confusion, and frustration but for this warrior woman, a victorious ending was not negotiable. She was aware from an early age that she was blessed with two sets of parents. The loving parents who raised her, and with whom she often butted heads, and her birth parents who had given her up for adoption on the day she entered this life. She knew that somewhere out there in the world were the answers she was seeking about who she really was. Paula knew that she would only truly know herself once this piece of the puzzle was put in place. Tragic events in the life of a friend close to her set her on a chaotic path. Self-destructive behavior and anti-social tendencies were the results of deeply rooted uncertainty about her past and her own identity. The strain placed on the relationship with her adoptive parents was tremendous. Paula had to find answers.

At twenty-one years of age, her adoption files were eventually unsealed allowing her to delve into her past. What she found set her on a path to enlightenment. A heart-wrenching letter from her birth mother the trigger.  A dream became reality when shortly thereafter Paula met her birth mother and a few years later her birth father. While these relationships have prospered and grown, the one that she has known for most of her life, that with her adoptive parents, has deteriorated to an almost non-existent state.

While many adoptees go through the very same trials and tribulations, few are determined enough and as fearless in their search for the truth.

Paula's life has been filled with unexpected twists and turns, adoption and the journey to discovery are only a small part of it. After a decade of courtship, Paula wed her long-time love and best friend. While Paula was never quite decided on the idea of children, fate had other plans for her. Her son was born after a seven-month pregnancy much to her surprise. Whatever life has thrown her way, she has handled with grace. Regardless of the obstacles placed in her path, it always looped back to her story, the one she had to write. She could only imagine how devastating it must have been for her birth mom to let her go and the nervous elation her adoptive mother must have felt at being granted this gift.

The Book - Seeds Carefully Nurtured With the Greatest Care

Paula’s self-published book “Umbilicus” is a heartfelt, sincere and honest account of the journey through her eyes. Her writing is raw with emotion. As an author she has risked so much for a story she knew she had to share. It is evident throughout that this is a labor of love. The care with which she has put her words together, the sometimes brutal honesty and the explicit attention to detail reveal how much of herself she has given to telling her story to the world.

Inspirational and Motivational

Paula has gone on to use her experiences, good and bad, to inspire hope in others and encourage them to pursue the truth regardless of the fallout that is sure to follow. Her obviously personal and heartfelt account of events has helped adoptees globally to understand their own thoughts and feelings and to realize that they too are only human after all.

Being an adoptee does not mean you are doomed to live with disappointment and Paula has proved that without a doubt. She is living, breathing proof that there is happiness, success, love, and life to the fullest, after adoption.

Paula's journey from that wilfull, strong-minded teen to the successful, self-published author she is today is a testament to her tremendous strength, courage and relentless pursuit of happiness.

Having met and grown very close to Paula during those somewhat tumultuous teen years, it was apparent from the very beginning that this woman was going places, and she certainly didn't disappoint. Umbilicus is definitely not the last you will hear from her.

“Someone I loved once

 gave me a box full of darkness.

 It took me years to understand

 that this, too, was a gift.”

- Mary Oliver