'Education first, parenthood later ...'

Phakamisa Mayaba spends time with Partners in Sexual Health, an NGO doing invaluable work among young people in Colesberg. Read more >>

BOOK REVIEW: 'Cosmopolitan Karoo'

Maeder Osler writes about a remarkable book, produced by team of researchers at Stellenbosch University, which challenges – in words and images – popular conceptions of the Karoo. Read here >>

OBITUARY: C.J. (Jonty) Driver, 1939-2023

Jonty Driver — political activist, educator, poet and writer – has died. Maeder Osler reflects on their long-standing friendship, and the nature of memories and remembrance. Read here >>

Toverview attends the Forgotten Highway summit

melton wold group 4

A Colesberg team in the form of Toverview founder Maeder Osler and associate Mbulelo Kafi braved subzero temperatures and a cantankerous emu called Joseph to attend the inspiring Forgotten Highway Summit, organised by the Karoo Development Foundation. For Phakamisa Mayaba’s report, written with Mbulelo’s assistance, click here.

Elections 2024: Let the (dirty) games begin ...

Politicians of all stripes, old and new, are practising their handshakes and polishing their smiles for the fateful 2024 election, which may see the once mighty ANC lose its majority. Phakamisa Mayaba casts a cynical eye over the emerging field. Read more >>

South Africa: four stories and a looming crisis

EXPATRIATE South African Jay H. Ell surveys South Africa’s post-apartheid fortunes, links this to four iconic books, and expresses concern about a looming crisis that might give us a lot more to cry about. Read more >>

'When politicians fail you, learn to vote them out'

HERMAN MASHABA, president of ActionSA, has been criticised for placing too much emphasis on practical issues rather than policy, and too much faith in the free market. In this revealing conversation with Phakamisa Mayaba, Mashaba says he is merely envisioning a thriving and prosperous South Africa that cannot be ‘auctioned to the highest bidders for beer, whisky, meat and bags of cash’. Ahead of next year’s elections, his message to despondent Karoo residents is just as forthright: ‘When politicians fail you, learn to vote them out.’

Ntuli Mbali returns in a bright new guise

Following her defeat in a DA leadership race more than a year ago, Ntuli Mbali slipped quietly out of the limelight. Earlier this month, however, she stepped back into it as president of a new developmental NGO, aimed at making good her political promises in a different way. Phakamisa Mayaba reports on her new venture. Read more >>

It's all about cooldrink - but not the kind you know ...

While commentators have thundered on about the Thabo Bester saga in high-faluting terms, many other South Africans who don’t write in the media knew immediately it was all about a relatively simple thing that has come to permeate our social life. Phakamisa Mayaba lifts the lid … Read more >>

So where were the unions?

South Africa has been transfixed by the Thabo Bester saga, among others the degree of corruption among casualised and poorly paid wardens at Mangaung Prison which allowed him to escape. In this guest post, journalist and author Terry Bell asks whether Popcru could have done more to prevent the prison’s privatisation as well as its consequences.  Read more >>

The versatile Mr Charles Gavaza ...

Charles Gavaza is a truly versatile person. Besides teaching at Umthombo Wolwazi Intermediate Farm School, reports Phakamisa Mayaba, he is using traditional farming techniques learnt in his native Zimbabwe to transform fallow lands on Hanglip Farm into a lush market garden, thereby pointing the way to sustainable farming for the whole community.  Read more >>

Colesberg shut down -- well, sort of ...

So what happened in Colesberg on Red Monday? The Red Shirts did manage  — sort of — to shut down the town, although most protesters came from the Umsobomvu Residents Association (URA). Notably, reports Phakamisa Mayaba, whatever was achieved was gained by peaceful means – there were no burning tyres, upturned dustbins or barricades, and shop doors remained intact. For his vivid report, click here >>

Cryptocurrency: snake oil, or ticket to riches?

Phakamisa Mayaba unravels some of the mysteries surrounding Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. Among others, we meet Oom Sakie, a local lay builder and property developer, who has bought Bitcoin from the time it started. ‘Bitcoin,’ he says, ‘is the way to go!’ But some financial experts remain sceptical … Read more >>

Police misconduct: figures for SA and the Northern Cape

The death of Tyre Nichols has reopened the controversy about police brutality in the US. But what’s the situation back home? In South Africa, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is meant to record incidents of police misconduct, and take appropriate action. We analyse the latest IPID statistics for SA and the Northern Cape. Read here >>

Tyre Nichols: Lessons for SA?

Once again, the US has been convulsed by the death of a young black American at the hands of the police. In the case of Tyre Nichols, all five officers involved were black, which has forced policy-makers and analysts to dig deeper than race to find an explanation. In this provocative analysis, a former South African living in the US seeks to  identify the complex psychosocial dynamics underlying these incidents. The results are sobering, and relevant to SA as well. Read here >>

OBITUARY: Stephanie Kemp (1941 - 2022)

Maeder Osler reflects on the life of the ‘Afrikaner revolutionary’ Stephanie Kemp, whom he knew as a student, and encountered again recently after her return to South Africa after years in exile. Read more >>

OBITUARY: 'Ginger' Verlen Seipp

‘Ginger’ Verlen Seipp,  anchor player of the Gingers Fault jazz band, has passed away, leaving a void in the lives of fellow band members Maeder Osler, Antony Osler and Chris Marais, and many others. Read tributes by Maeder Stanley Osler and Julienne du Toit. Read here >>


TOVERVIEW acts as a portal for the websites of two enterprising Colesberg people, namely the journalist and writer Phakamisa Mayaba, and the entrepreneur and developmental activist Mbulelo Kafi. Read more about them below, and click through to their websites.

Phakamisa Mayaba

Phakamisa Mayaba is a freelance journalist and creative writer who is building impressive content on his own website, EPARKENI. To connect with this exciting site, click here.

Mbulelo Kafi

MBULELO KAFI is a former town councillor, a development enthusiast, and an entrepreneur. He has a deep understanding of the issues facing his community, and is committed to finding solutions that benefit all members, whether through Sakhisizwe Travel and Tours, a company he founded to promote tourism and economic growth in the region, or his role as an inspirational speaker. To connect with Sakhisizwe Travel and Tours, click here.

Mbulelo with the minister of tourism, Patricia de Lille.


Toverview is proud to welcome R.W. (Bill) Johnson as guest writer. A distinguished historian, political scientist and journalist, he is one of South Africa’s most prominent and most perceptive political analysts. In recent years, Bill and his wife, the Russian-born historian Irina Filatova, have become friends of Maeder and Les Osler, and have visited them on Hanglip Farm. Bill’s articles normally appear behind paywalls, but he has kindly agreed to make them available to Toverview. We particularly intend to publish his articles on the politics surrounding South Africa’s date with political destiny in the form of Elections 2024, thereby adding to the series launched by our local writer, Phakamisa Mayaba. To go to Bill’s posts, click here.

JASPER COOK: jazz musician, composer, Karoo-lover, raconteur and friend. He currently lives in Johannesburg, but has spent a lot of time on Hanglip Farm, and is dreaming of returning to the platteland. Read more about him here >>

Jasper has started his own website, AndThisIsJaz. Wonderful content, and technologically unique. (In his Other Life, he was a computer wizard.) It also contains his Hanglip Farm blog, again with important material about the farm, its ecology and sustainable future, and current efforts to revitalise cultivation, based on traditional farming methods in Zimbabwe.