Rob’s top 5 Picks For The Weekend

by Robert Clunie
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A little deluge is certainly most welcome. It is also very timely given that we are heading into, what I suspect at, at least, may be a long and cold winter – we might sit without power for a few days, but our taps shan’t run dry in a hurry. The recent downpours made for great duvet-days over the Easter weekend and I’m sure that many wish that they could do just that as our autumn rains continue to bucket down. Alack and, yes, alas, there be bills to pay; we are therefore confined to an office with nothing more than mere admiration for the healthy precipitation we’ve received.

For most the current clime is a pleasant one, but we ought to spare a thought for those who have come off worse. Many in low-lying parts of the country have watched as their very lives have washed away, on a whim, before them. Rain, obviously, is meteorological lifeblood, but it can be a destructive force nigh impossible to stop. I urge those of you who can to furnish those who have not only lost their homes, but their loved ones, too, with anything you deem you can do without. No item is too small or insignificant, lest you feel it is.

I am a little conflicted, weather-wise this weekend. One part of me hopes that the wet continues as it does now. It just gives me some impetus to remain as sedentary for as long as possible. Then, on the other hand, there are things to do and places to see, not right? I can’t, with that in mind, believe that we Saffas are scared of a little water. I have this inkling that, come hell or high water, we’ll go ahead with whatever we have planned despite the mercury’s recitation. So, because we are a waterproof bunch, let’s have a look at this week’s itinerary.

  1. Gin MayHem, 27 April

Cost: R120-R300, email [email protected] for bookings

From its earliest origins in the Middle Ages, gin has evolved from a herbal medicine to an object of commerce in the spirits industry – and rightfully so. Whether you’re enjoying it with tonic, on the rocks, or infused with any number of fresh fruits, there’s no denying its ability to hit the spot. Although gin was developed based on the older Dutch liquor jenever, and became popular as a cheap-and-not-so-cheerful backstreet spirit on the streets of Great Britain (particularly in London), the drink is now being crafted in South Africa to include local ingredients and botanicals that have elevated the tipple to a whole new level of sophistication. But with so many new brands of locally distilled and crafted gins on the South African market, where does one start? Well, a good place would be the upcoming Gin MayHem Festival taking place in Walkerville, south of Johannesburg, on Saturday. Hosted at Lapeng Hotel Conference and Events Centre, the festival is set to showcase a number of local and micro distilleries as well as well-known international producers. Lovers of gin will also be able to enjoy a range of artisanal foods from the various food trucks and a variety of gin cocktails while also gaining knowledge from gin smiths and mixologists about what goes into making their gin cocktails unique. The festival runs from noon till 22h00.
– Hayden Horner, The Citizen

  1. Rum In The City, 27 April

Cost: R350, available through Webtickets

A cool R350 ain’t all that bad if it affords you a taste of the good life… even if it is only for a few hours. The premise here is rather simple and simple often means better. The HB Connect conference centre in Sandton will play host to this event on their beautiful rooftop while Rum in the City will be responsible for a myriad of rum/Caribbean-inspired cocktails for you to choose from. The idea is that you’ll be able to lounge around as you watch the sun set over Africa’s richest square mile, but don’t yet bank on that possibility. One can only hope for a sliver of sunlight come Saturday evening. I don’t think it’ll be a disaster should the weather play up. You’ll have plenty to drink, many new friends to make and Wandile Mbamben and Cazz will see to it that you are thoroughly entertained by the rich and complex jazz that they produce.

  1. The Gardens Family Fun Day, 28 April

Cost: R100-R380, available through Webtickets

We can’t possibly guzzle down barrels of booze all weekend now, can we? Some can, though, you shouldn’t. We ought to take a break from time to time and a family day out is the perfect way to do so for those who have vowed their vows and birthed their babies. The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden is therefore the ideal place to do so, chiefly because it provides acres of space for the little ones to rid themselves of their unexplainable reserves of energy. There will be a few things for the older folk to indulge in, too, happily. First and foremost you are urged to haul along cooler boxes filled with drinks (no glass bottles) and snacks, gazebos, umbrellas and picnic baskets and blankets. The rest will be seen to by the organisers and will include music and dance performances, arts, crafts and food stalls and entertainment for the kids that will be free of charge.

  1. South African Cheese Festival 2019, 26-28 April

Cost: R20-R950, available through Computicket

‘Tis the food of the gods, I’ll declare unremittingly. Think about it… how many foodstuffs out there are laid before you in fantastical semantics? The item on your menu looks unrelentingly appealing, but you’re still not sure. You carry on reading and, at some point, two words will serve as the kicker to convince you that this is the dish you want. They are ‘with cheese’. It is what makes pizza as great as it is. If you share my sentiment, then you are in luck this weekend because the Sandringham Farm in Stellenbosch will offer up tonnes of the stuff and the variety will far surpass the run-of-the-mill cheddar square that you can buy at a supermarket. The South African Cheese Festival is one of the most popular agri-expos in the country (it’s easy to see why) and during the weekend-long event you’ll be exposed to scores of cheesemakers and their products. We expect 30 000 people to travel to the farm this year, making it the biggest yet. Naturally you’ll be able to pair all the products with a range of wines and the event is perfectly geared toward families looking for something to do.

  1. FanCon Cape Town Comic Con, 27-28 April

Cost: R150, available through Computicket

Nope, this past weekend’s ICON was not enough to satiate the needs of our country’s card slingers, cosplayers and video game aficionados. Mind you, those from the Western Cape were unlikely to travel to Johannesburg to attend that event. They have it bigger, though, and boy, is it big. Such is the extent of the experience that the colossal Cape Town International Convention Centre had to be booked. The usual associated with such an event will be present in all its splendour, but the big drawcard in 2019 will arguably be the workshops offered by seasoned professionals that will discuss the ins-and-outs of comic-book writing styles and designs to aspiring artists and writers. The ‘artists alley’ should also prove highly popular as should the panel programmes, interviews, comic book launches, artist and author signings, artists selling comics and art prints, exhibitors and vendors, retailers of comics, graphic novels, manga, action figures, novelties, and board games. As with any comic book conventions there will be cosplay competitions, masquerades, quizzes, prize giveaways and live music.

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