I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll have a bloody tough time of it coaxing you out of your lounge this weekend. Heck, I’ll probably have a tougher time of it dragging you from a stool at your local. Such a place provides extra incentive to remain sedentary. Then again, a four-year wait for something so grand is probably worth it in the end and I do think you’ll have yourself a great time spending many an hour over the next seven weeks with those who are nearest and dearest to you – and a couple of haphazard encounters spurred by the handsome flow of beer.
The 2019 edition kicks of this weekend and I, like so many in this country, could not be more stoked. There’s an expectation that great things lie in wait for the Springboks. Many armchair punters as well as respected pundits are tipping the Boks to do one over their arch rivals, the All Blacks in their opening pool match. Many, too, are expecting these two sides to lock horns in the grand final come November 2. This fixture, purely because of its speculative nature is a little tougher to predict. The glass-half-full approach, however, makes for fun reading in a comment section.
For the opening match I’ll certainly back the host nation, Japan to pip the oft-aggressive, but brutally unrefined Russians by a handsome margin. In fact, I expect them to make it through to the knock-out stages with an upset victory over Scotland; I can’t, sadly, see them going any further. So, there’s something to look forward to this weekend, but, as we always, have, we ought to give a look-see to what is happening elsewhere in our increasingly temperate to hot South Africa. We do have non-rugby fans within our borders… I think.
- Peppa Pig’s Big Day Out, Ends 29 September
Cost: R99-R399, available through Computicket
I’ve always found this children’s favourite a little terrifying. It’s clear to me that the flattened features resemble a pig, but she is a fair bit unnerving in appearance to me. This is probably why she appeals to kids so much – to them she is but a barnyard animal keen on an adventure with her friends. There’s also an unfounded rumour circling about the internet that old Peppa is 215cm tall; Babe best dig in on the oats his owner provides him with. Nevertheless, the schools, or most of them, at least, break for their penultimate holiday of the year and this showcase will be perfect for those who have children on the younger side. Peppa, along with her friends, Polly Parrot and Mr Dinosaur will see their intrepid adventures come to life for an entire week at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. I also think parents will get their money’s worth year because I’ve seen how the little ones can binge on the same thing over and over again.
- Noodlebox Cinema Presents Kung Pow! 20 September
Cost: R60-R80, available through TixSA
Let’s clear up that ticket price first. The Bioscope Independent Cinema typically offers a fixed, affordable rate to see something on the big screen long past its initial release or a little something that you won’t find at the mainstream multiplex in a hurry. R60 will net you a ticket alone, but that extra R20 will score you some noodles while you enjoy the scheduled flick. You can either choose from a chicken, beef or vegetable offering as you marvel at Stephen Chow doing what he does best – have you crack up at an outlandish comedy rife with gratuitous displays of the martial arts. He’s also now stranger to an absurd plot – think Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle. In this picture he famously goes toe-to-hoof with a cow and channels his inner Keanu Reeves as he does his best to dodge a battery of calcium-laden projectiles. This is by no means Citizen Kane, but I can promise you that it is a helluva lot of fun!
- The Cradle Gin Festival 2019, 22 September
Cost: R160-R350, available through Ticketpros
Here’s a great way to unwind on a Sunday if your nerves got the better of you at 11h45 the previous day. Here we venture out of the busy city limits of Johannesburg, but not so far that you’d rather not make the journey. The Riverstone Lodge in Muldersdrift will humbly welcome you for what will arguably be a rather hot day in a warming South Africa. They will, luckily and rather cleverly, have the ultimate summer drink ready by the kilolitre. This here event offer you a handsome glass and a gin-based cocktail upon arrival and present you with an opportunity to relax in the outdoors like us Saffas so often do with the entire family. Those who skipped breakfast need not worry because there will be scores of food stalls that will keep the hunger at bay and you’ll be able to purchase from a range of gins at special prices.
- George Strawberry Festival 2019, 21-22 September
Cost: R25-R55, available at the gate
I must admit… As beautiful as these crimson berries look, perched by the dozen upon their stalks, I’ve never developed a particular liking for them. I am an outlying piece of data, though – my unsophisticated palate should not wrest your mind away from making the trip down to the country’s southern coast, on the Garden Route, mind you. There is plenty to look forward to on the Redberry Farm. This here is a typical family-oriented event and you are urged to drag all and sundry along that happens to share a bloodline with you. The fitness junkies can look forward to a 5km and a 10km run/walk as well as a Crossfit-themed challenge. Those of us who are normal can lounge about in the beer garden for the entire day. Those looking to participate in something out of the ordinary can try their hand (or feet, rather) in the strawberry stomping competition. There will naturally be scores of other activities to keep both you and the kids plenty busy.
- Comic Con Africa 2019, 21-24 September
Cost: R130-R500, available through Computicket
And this right before the start of the rAge Expo – talk about geek culture saturation. Those on a tight schedule will luckily not miss out on something they so desperately waited for throughout the year. This one, however, is the biggie. I think the most pertinent bit of information I ought to give you is the venue’s location, the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand; likely the only one central and sizable enough to host an event of such a scale. The sheer scale of the typical attractions will be so vast that I figure it a pointless activity to list the lot here. If you even express the slightest interest in such culture, then you ; likely know exactly what to expect. It is therefore more of a formality that you get yourself there so that you can get your hands on items that you so dearly desire. For those not entirely clued up, expect tonnes of specials on kit, hardware, software, books and table-top activities that you can stock an empty cupboard in your home up with. The latest in tech and gaming demos will be plentiful as will the hordes of fans who’d set out to show off their best attempt in replicating the likeness of one of their favourite characters in the cosplay competitions.