Design Indaba 09 || Day1|| Luyanda Mpahlwa

What I enjoy above all at the Design Indaba  is its buzz, all that  positive energy.  This is created simply by people speaking on subjects they are passionate about.  And sometimes you hear about projects which really make a positive difference in the world.  Architect Luyanda Mpahlwa spoke to us about his participation in the Design Indaba 10 x 10 low cost housing project.  This is a attempt to alleviate our housing crisis by encouraging innovation in constructing low cost housing.


In 2008,   Design Indaba invited architects to design ten low cost houses on ten sites in partnership with ten international architects, for ten families. More

It’s a Haarskeerder!

OK! I’ve found the identity of our nocturnal monster insect.  Its a sulpugid of the order solifugae – more commonly known as “haarskeerder” or “jag spinnekop”.  Its not a spider, but it is an arachnid – which essentially means “it has eight legs”.  Scorpions and spiders also belong to this class.

The afrikaans names translate like this:  “Haarskeerder” means “hair shaver” as they are rumoured to have the ability to cut hair with their sharp claws. “Jag spinnekop” means “hunting spider” because it looks awfully spider like, and its very aggressive in its habits.

Just to remind you – here is the beast itself:


Here are some quotes about solpugids.  This one from Trek Nature, Gerhard Theron writes:


In my own country

I’m not comfortable with patriotism.  When I was growing up, that meant standing to attention in the school hall while the school and county’s flag were paraded down to the front of the stage. It meant us against them. It meant “Die Stem” and commemorating The Day of the Vow – or Blood River Day in all its grim detail. Being told, as a small girl, that my thumb represented God, my index finger the President of our country ( P. W. Botha at that time) the middle and ring fingers were parents and headmaster and the smallest finger was myself.

I have not heard “Die Stem” for years. Blood River Day has become Reconciliation day. The flag is much improved, and I only ever see it in connection with sports teams.

Other things have changed. In the city center of Cape Town, foreign faces and voices. Nigerians, Kenyans and Congolese guarding cars and selling food, shoes and hair extensions. British, Dutch and American hippies fill the backpackers in Long Street. And there are so few other white South Africans in the city centre that I’m constantly being mistaken for a tourist. Why is it so infuriating to be asked “Where you from?”

I’m a stranger in my own country.