Category Archives: Living in Africa…

Feeling lucky…..????

It’s a stunning late winter/ early spring day in our part of the world and we’re getting a summer teaser! I have the most amazing conversations with my friend Kerry ( a very smart, very dynamic lady who works in the banking industry) and she told me this story which really touched me.

An old Zulu lady came into the bank the other day and this Gogo (an affectionate term for elderly woman in our country. Literal translation means grandmother) was chatting to Kerry and a colleague of hers and colleague mentioned that this Gogo had traveled all over the world. Kerry, being a traveler herself, immediately asked where she had been and how she had come to be so widely traveled, as this is fairly unusual for an elderly Zulu lady living in rural South Africa. The lady explained that she worked as a char/nanny for an American family for many years in South Africa and when they left, this family kept in contact with her. No, not just a letter or an e-mail…kept in contact to the tune of sending her a ticket to join the family wherever in the world they happened to be for their holidays. For six weeks on that holiday , she told Kerry, she is treated like a queen.

When Kerry mentioned that she was lucky to have made contact with this wonderful family, the old Gogo sent her a wise look and said ‘I was born lucky and I will die lucky.’

This little story will probably have more of an oomph when I explain to you that black woman in South Africa, and in Africa, have it exceptionally hard. Many of them have little education, are frequently treated like third class citizens and have tough lives raising children, a good proportion of them doing so on their own with no financial or emotional contribution from their children’s fathers. A lot of woman are also raising their siblings children after they have passed away from AIDS or from other diseases. I do not blame them for feeling like life has given them a raw deal because in many ways it has. Black woman are the backbone of Africa and they will always have my undying respect.

But this wonderful old lady decided that she was going to be lucky- blessed – and she was…the law of attraction in action! There’s a lesson in here somewhere…about being grateful for what we have and to always have a positive outlook on life. Well, that’s the lesson I’m taking away…because, really, I’m damn lucky and don’t have a thing to complain about!

Take care







Why I love Africa…

If you connect with me on Facebook ( or at josswoodauthor) you’ll see that I often post pictures and funnies about Africa and the things we get up to in our little piece of the world. Africa is such an interesting, bizarre and wonderful place and when it takes hold of your soul and grips you, you’re never going to be the same again.

I’m not going to talk about the politics (frequently corrupt), the crime levels (frequently scary), the poverty and sickness (generally horrible.) I want to tell you about the bright winter days when the sky is such a dense blue that you want to reach up and shove your hand through it. I’d like to introduce to you some fantastic Zulu woman who sing like angels, work like demons to support their families and educate their children and who will take in an extra child at the drop of the hat when that child is orphaned. I’d like to take you snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of Lake Malawi, across the Zambezi in a mokoro (a hollowed out tree trunk canoe) to see the Sioma Falls, a series of horse shoe falls where the same amount of water cascades over these falls as it does over the biggest (by volume) falls in the world, the Victoria Falls which is just down the drag.

There’s coming face to face with a an elephant like the one below (courtesy of my friend Debbie Patching Bozza who, like me,  is the ultimate bush-baby),


a python looking for warmth in your car (courtesy of

snake in car

or stepping on a puff adder like my husband did a week before I gave birth to our daughter. There are the baobab trees, biltong, Mrs Balls Chutney and Ouma Rusks. There’s the view from my friend Melanie’s house in the foothills of the Drakensberg

Airely view from Farmhouse

Airely view from Farmhouse

and the crazy adverts from traditional healers that can cure you of anything from droopy penis syndrome to amafufunyane (That pesky little problem of being invaded by evil spirits. )




There’s the food: bunny chows and braai’s. My friend Ramona Chetty’s chicken and prawn curry. A bunny chow is a hollowed out half load of bread filled with curry and a braai is a barbeque, but we always have sun and cold beers.

And our wine is fabulous! Ask my friends, Tracy, Linda and Kerry. We frequently do quality control testing across a wide range of wines. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it! 

It’s the sport, the Ama-bokke (rugby), the Proteas and the Bafana Bafana.

It the people, writers like Nadine Gordimer and JM Coetzee, Deon Meyer , Gcina Mhlope and JR Tolkien.

Nelson Mandela.

For every ten reasons anyone can give me not to live in South Africa, I can give you fifty reasons why I love it here.

Proudly, passionately African.