Working from home is often considered to be the ideal scenario, the grass is always greener kind of thing…but not if you don’t have a designated space for productivity. There’s a certain amount of discipline required by anyone who works from him in order to work efficiently and effectively – within working hours.
The first step is getting out of your PJ’s each day before you head into your office space! Here are 6 simple steps to help you create the ultimate workspace for all your plans of world domination…

1. Choose your work area carefully

If you don’t have a spare room to fully dedicate as a home office, make sure to choose your workspace carefully. Top things to consider include the amount of traffic in and out of an area as well as noise factors. If you plan on working when the rest of your family is at home, try and avoid setting up a workspace near the kitchen or bathrooms.

2. Stick to a minimalist approach

Design and décor trends come and go, but sticking to a minimalist approach with your home office will always be on trend. This means keeping your workspace low key and low maintenance, with a few non-distracting personal touches here and there. Too much décor and colour can lead to distraction and clash with the rest of your home.

3. Go cordless

If possible, opt for home office technology such as a wireless printer, wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. These days you can even get your hands on a two-in-one laptop with a wireless charging mat and keyboard! If wireless technology is not an option, neaten up your home office space by hiding your wiring with PVC piping, Velcro and cable ties.

4. Bring in a touch of green

Sure, working from home is a far cry from working in a stuffy office cubicle with a micro-managing team leader, but what good is it if you don’t actually like the space you work in from home? Studies have shown that a touch of greenery helps to create a happier, more productive workspace as you feel a little more connected to nature. Add a few pot plants or hanging plants to your home office for a source of colour and freshness.

5. Blend things in

If your home office space is visible from other rooms in your house, you’ll need to consider how it will blend with adjacent areas. Your style choices and colour scheme should complement the closest room or area to your office space. If your home office is close to your lounge which is decorated with blues and white, make sure to echo this colour scheme with pops of colour in your office accessories.

6. Let there be light

Working with a natural light source is extremely important for productivity and vitamin-D levels. It’s also proven that you’ll sleep better at night and have fewer eye problems. Natural light is also a mood booster and…wait for it…can dramatically lower your electricity bill!

Whether you run your own business or work from home a couple of days a week, a fully functional workspace is a must. This way, you have a designated area you can dedicate to work, and when your day is done, you can shut the door and leave it behind to focus on other aspects of your life!

We’re just going to come right out and say it: parenting is hard. Most especially when your babies grow into kids and your kids grow into teens who eventually turn into tweens.

As a parent, you may feel like you can never say or do anything right- especially when it comes to fully ‘understanding’ your tween! Just when you thought you were ‘cool’, your tween mentions flying the nest sooner rather than later. Now, this is only natural, but if you plan on having them home just a little bit longer, here are 10 great teen or tween bedroom ideas to keep you in their good books…

1. Reflect personal hobbies

If your teen is obsessive about a hobby or personal interest, find a way to incorporate this into their bedroom décor. If they’re into surfing, why not mount a few old surfboards as a head board? If they’re into fashion, create a designated area for sketching and creating.

2. The power of illustrations

Illustrative décor is a simple way to incorporate creativity and character to any room. If your tween loves art, frame a few of their favourite illustrations for them and create a beautiful feature wall. Botanical illustrations are all the rage!

3. Go industrial

Here you can get a little thrifty and turn a young man’s bedroom into an industrial sanctuary with the addition of shelving fashioned out of scaffolding, pipes and planks. You can also create a feature wall with registration plates and old signage.

4. Bring out their inner boho

Boho vibes are in and super simple to create in any teen/tween’s bedroom. Get creative with flowy fabrics, macramé wall murals, dream catchers and plenty of fairy lights. Keep the linen light and neutral coloured and add pops of colour with textured cushions and a statement rug

5. Go for Scandinavian chic

If your teen is more of an ‘old soul’ with a mature taste for decorating, the simple, minimalistic Scandinavian style is easy to re-create. Use an abundance of white furniture, natural coloured accents in your linen and create a statement wall of monochrome art.

6. Create a point of interest

Designate a corner of their bedroom as a point of interest where your teen can hang out, read, or entertain friends. A simple idea is to hang a swinging chair from the roof, install custom shelving which they can decorate as they please or throw in a comfortable bean bag and big shaggy rug.  

7. Divide and conquer

Create a simple room divider that separates their sleeping area from a study area if your teen battles to focus. You can create a simple wall divider out of shelving or use a decorative folding room divider kitted with fairy lights.

8. Create an accent wall

Dedicate an entire wall of your teen/tween’s bedroom to a funky wall mural or wall of their favourite images and art works. You can hire the services of a professional graffiti artist or paint a wall mural together as a joint project.

9. Zone out with colour

If your teen’s bedroom is too small to add a physical room divider, you can re-create the same look and feel with a little bit of paint! Split the room in half by painting the halves two different colours. Use matching wall shelves and furniture to complement each side of the room – strengthening the divide.

10. Dial up the drama

To give your teen/tween’s bedroom some real ‘wow’ factor, go for a large wall mural behind the bed, complemented by a grand chandelier which draws attention as soon you enter the room.

Surprising your kids with cool gifts before they hit their teens might have been more “hit than miss”, but think twice about planning their new space without their buy in. These days it’s all about involvement and engagement. Get your tween’s input on how they envisage their personal space and just maybe, they’ll choose to linger just a little longer at home!

It all began when the first artists carved a rough likeness in stone and painted a shaman’s trance on rocky canvas. For the artists of the Ribola Art Route, their sculptures speak of times gone by and those still unwritten, of traditions held in the shape of the wood, the rhythm of a drum and the mouth of a pot. In the words of an artist, worlds apart, Edgar Degas, It is not about what they see but what they make others see.

The father of the Ribola Art Route, Jackson Hlungwani, inspired a passion for carving culture into wood in the next generation. His dreams still pulse through their veins. He spoke of connection, of the inner journey and the collective consciousness. This journey continues with these artists.

Ribola is an area rich with talent, and the artists and sculptors of the Route find inspiration in the creatures around them as well as the beasts of mythology, the heroes of the bible and the ordinary people from their own village. More than the inspiration for these works of art, however, it is the enthusiasm of the artists themselves which makes the experience come alive.

David Murathi was inspired by his uncle, the famous woodcarver Churchill Madzivhandila to listen to his dreams and ancestoral spirits. David carves sculptures straight from his culture … traditions, myths and legends woven with modern themes and contexts. The beauty of a curved cheek, a downcast eye, a child tucked in the crook of an arm… his skill allows the wood to speak and his functional art, wooden hooks and towel rails are mini works of art.

Artist, Traditional Healer, Counsellor and Cultural Leader, David Murathi captures the real emotions and understanding of his context in his sculptures. His resonant voice and compassionate eyes see through the artifice and draw you closer. ‘I see you’, his heart whispers. David connects deeply to his culture…the traditions, the myths, the symbols of the ancients weaving their way through a modern community. A woman, her skin a shining yellowwood, bows her head respectfully and offers a pot of traditional beer to an unseen husband or uncle. Another bends into the rhythm of the Domba Dance, becoming the ribs of the python as her carved feet carry her forward. David’s sculptures beckon you to their side to tell their story, to pass on the secrets, to enrich your understanding of the deep and ancient cultural rhythms of Venda. David is a leader, a mentor to many artists on the routes and is renowned for exhibitions locally and abroad.

Amorous Maswanganye has a big smile to match his generous heart. This talented young artist captures in wood, the cultural issues erupting from the space where modern and traditional South Africa meet. A social commentator in corkwood and paint….quirky and whimsical, playful and hopeful. Amorous, a youthful observer of life in all its tumult and turbulence, beauty and bafflement, carries the stories of teenage pregnancy and youthful crimes into the wood. A colourful, quirky vessel for his message, his characters have a voice, a personality, a presence. The Businessman in suit, tie and village-made Shangaan tyre-sandals waits for a taxi alongside a lady in full traditional Tsonga dress and takkies talking loudly into her cell phone …… and then there is the rat race – those chasing money in the city of gold. Amorous, through his innocent eyes, has become a voice for his generation and a commentator on the world that shaped them.

Since the age of 25, Amorous has learnt his craft from his father, the world-renowned Sculptor, Johannes Maswanganyi and his equally famous brother, Collen, who have both exhibited locally and overseas. Amorous was the only artist selected to display his art on the tables at the 2016 Arts and Culture Trust Awards Ceremony in 2016, and his first sale was to the icon, Albie Sachs. He is one of a handful of artists countrywide to be selected for the prestigious JP Morgan Abadali Art Programme in 2018 and has been commissioned to create unique pieces for their collection. Amorous’s commentary on the existential concepts of consumerism and the human condition transcends his context. He has an insight way past his rural upbringing and limited experience … a young artist with a vision of a new South Africa.

Thomas Kubayi is a motivated man – he eats, sleeps and dreams the creative arts. Not only does he create beautiful wooden sculptures himself, some of which have found homes as far afield as America, Switzerland and France, but he has trained and supported more than 60 students and apprentices in the arts. Inspired by his dreams for the future of the youth and traditional craftsmanship, he built and developed a school for the arts in Tshivhuni village, near Elim in the Limpopo Province. The Vhutsila Art Centre was created so that the young people of the village would not lose the knowledge base to create clay work, wooden sculptures, musical instruments, traditionally-built furniture and bead-work – an opportunity to uplift the younger generation and the art industry in South Africa.

Trained by the father of art, Jackson Hlungwane, Thomas Kubayi was inspired by Jackson Hlungwane to start listening to the wood. He allows the wood to talk and show him what is hidden inside. He says, “When I carve it, Wild Teak has a certain sound – it is like a drum, with deep echoes, while Leadwood’s sound is tight. It comes from your heart; you can’t explain it. When I create a sculpture, I am writing a song, not in music but using my hands. I am inspired by traditions of old and events happening around me. Watching the developments in Zimbabwe all those years ago, I created the Crying Drum but humans are resilient – I have recently done a portrait of a mother and child, facing the world together. Fish and mermaids are an important symbol of change and potential in our culture, so I carve sculptures and benches exploring the fluid form of the universe. My sculpture of Nelson Mandela in heaven shows what he must be feeling about his country. I also love to explore the human form and emotions in my work.” Thomas Kubayi recently recovered from a life-threatening illness thanks to medical assistance and support from the art community around the world. He is fully recovered and more inspired than ever to make a meaningful impact through his art.

Pilato Bulala is going places…. Literally! Whether it is in the third Model of his VW Scrap-car which runs on a chainsaw engine and bicycle wheels, or one day when he can get his polka dot flying-machine to take to the air. This 22-year-old living in Tshivhuyuni village on the Ribola Art Route, started working with scrap at the age of 18. Mentored by Thomas Kubayi, this inventor-designer-artist is passionate and focused… his art is his heart.

Pilato is a young inventor-artist who finds a unique and quirky use for the things we throw away. He is playful… delighted to explore a creative collaboration with his material … to experience the joy of invention through this unique love story. Pilato has an eye for a sexy spanner or a zany piece of zinc. He discovers a mystical bird in pistons, cutlery and bicycle chains and his imagination sees a traditional lady in a crank-shaft. This young man, filled with passion and creativity, makes scraptures, purple polka-dot flying machines and beautiful delicate jewellery made from tin cans. He creates, he shapes, he makes steel sing. Shifting from using the fury-force of a panga to cut holes for windows in his VW car, he slowly learnt a skilful dance, the debonair partner of whirring wheels and spinning spanners. The power of Pilato’s imagination coaxes collaboration from iron and steel, transforming in his hands to something mythical and magical.

Kenneth Nonyana connects to the inner dialogues we all have – to our most hidden truths. Kenny’s characters, carved in wood, are achingly real and their inner turmoil is etched into their faces. Bumps, boils, humps and wounds are imperfections reflected on the body, not hidden below a smooth and shiny wooden skin. Kenneth’s work is raw and honest – he connects to the deepest feelings of pain and rejection… of not having a place in society. And the grind of life is reflected in his technique of filling in gaps with glue and wood-filings – he leaves the finish rough and raw, an unrefined surface. Life may be a struggle, but Kenneth’s characters stand tall, they are survivors, just like their artist-creator.

Kenneth was taught by the renowned sculptor, Thomas Kubayi, who, in turn learned his craft at the feet of Jackson Hlungwani. When Thomas was ill, Kenny took over the Vutsila Art School and Gallery as well as the Indigenous Music Group, playing for lodges and events in the area. His art has grown as he has, becoming a reflection of the deep emotions playing out in his 26-year old heart. His sculptures cry out, they call you closer and make you recognise the struggles, the darkness, as well as the radiant hope for the future.

Sculptor, Patrick Manyike is a passionate man when it comes to his art and the inspiration behind it. He allows the wood to tell its own tale, patiently waiting for the story to emerge beneath his hands. He built his home on the hill above two rivers where his sculptures swim through the blue skies above Tshivhuyuni village. His work reflects the symbology of the ancients, the myths that were told to his great-grandfather… the songs of his ancestors. He says, “I was taught by Thomas Kubayi who was taught by the late, great Jackson Hlungwane and I will carry on that legacy with the students I now teach. Teaching is not just watching someone else. It is listening to the wood, your dreams at night, the pictures that come into your mind when you are working in the fields. Artists are born with something in their heart, which speaks to them at all times. I help them listen to that voice. We make our own tools from old knives and bicycle parts. You have got to be creative with every step of the process of learning to carve. My students come from all over the village to learn from me and the other artists on the Ribola Art Route. It is important to carry on this knowledge from generation to generation.”

“I go and search for the dead wood and bring it back to life. When I am carving, my mind, soul and body function in harmony to communicate with the wood until I can see the story hidden inside. I was doing a mindless job in Johannesburg and my heart called me back to follow my calling. Now tourists visit and motivate me with their interest in my work. I am inspired to tell the stories of the myths of my people, of Dzundzu and the Fisherman and the everyday stories that stay in the world to be told again. Every piece of art has a story behind it. By looking at my artwork, you can see where we come from and what God is expecting us to do with our lives. We learn from the Bible, from nature and from each other in our daily lives. The fish is a symbol of life and change, so many of the sculptures, benches, bowls or mbila are in the shape of a fish. I also hear the stories from my grandmother and make them come alive, and the myths that are told around the fire, to the beat of the father drum.” He is building a gallery as beautiful as his outdoor one, where his world in wood can whisper their secrets to visitors. He plants trees to replace the dead wood he has used; his vegetable garden feeds the community and those young hearts he inspires to carve, come closer to their culture day by day.

These multi-talented artists have stepped into their power – they have become leaders, teachers of young people and skilful sculptors. They are hungry for connection, for collaboration and for experiences that will shape them as surely as they have shaped the surfaces of wood into the common stories of humanity

Love Limpopo

Acting as an online hub, Love Limpopo celebrates the authentic African art, quality crafts and travel experiences found only in Limpopo, inspiring new ways of connection to the most incredible province in South Africa. Some of South Africa’s most renowned artists live and work on the Ribola Art Route, and this exhibition is your opportunity to connect to their incredible art.

Love Limpopo is a celebration of the true spirit of the Limpopo Province, reflecting the beauty of its people, landscapes, heritage, art and culture. We want you to fall in love with Limpopo, to share in her secrets, explore her wild, open spaces and her endless starry skies. We have travelled to every corner, explored the most hidden places in Limpopo, we have walked up to lions, felt the pulse of a 2000-year-old tree, walked in the footsteps of the San and heard the deep and ancient rhythms of Limpopo in the footsteps of everyone we have met along the road less travelled. We listened to the storytellers and connected to the tales told through African art.

We want to share this journey and experience with you. It has immeasurably enriched our lives and tuned us in to the rhythm that connects us all. I am because you are. Come closer, Love Limpopo.

Love Limpopo: 082 200 4596 / 079 582 1023 /

There is a constant pulse, a Deep Rhythm pushing life through the veins of the Limpopo Province, some may say that this is the real heart of Africa. The Ribola art route in Mbokota, near Elim, Limpopo, personifies this African spirit – a melting pot of Tsonga, Venda and Shangaan cultures. Ribola celebrates this authentic rhythm through art, music and the age-old African tradition of story-telling.

Experience the ‘Art-beat’ of Limpopo through the Ribola artists and musicians. You are invited to come and feel this rhythm at the heart of Limpopo – to forget the racket of daily life and join in the ancient rhythms of the African soul.

A short road-trip takes you into Limpopo’s creative heart – to the home-galleries of some of the country’s most renowned artists and sculptors – the late Jackson Hlungwane’s sons, Lucky Ntimani, Johannes Maswanganyi, David Murathi, Noria Mabasa and Thomas Kubayi.

Village life is vibrant and colourful with children playing soccer on dusty streets, young girls balancing water buckets on their heads and taxis dodging past chickens and cows. The musical sounds of cowbells and the wafting flavours of the cooking fires welcome you to come closer and participate in the rhythms of the village.

Suddenly, out of the maze of thatched roofs looms a four-metre-high beast – a creature with six breasts, grasping arms and snarling fangs. Have you stumbled into some bizarre mythological world? Then you spot the mermaid peering out of the mielies, the young sculptors carving their work under shady grape-vines and brooding chickens looking out from predator-proof tin buckets attached to the side of the rondavels.

It is an area rich with talent, and these artists find inspiration in the creatures around them as well as the beasts of mythology, the heroes of the bible and the ordinary people from their village. More than the inspiration for these works of art, however, it is the enthusiasm of the artists themselves which makes the experience come alive.

This is not a passive experience – it is an interaction which draws you into the lives of these talented artists and crafters. You will go to Twananani Textiles where you can learn to draw and paint a cloth of your very own, or embrace your creative side at Mukhondeni Village where you learn how to make a clay pot and decorate one to take home. You can stop for a cold drink and a game of pool with the locals at the Madzhie Spaza shop or have delicious flame-grilled chicken at Caesar’s chicken. Then, get crafty with Patrick Manyike where this inspiring artist will show you how to coax a story out of the wood. Experience the Ribola Art Route and connect with Limpopo. / 082 200 4596 / 079 582 1023 /

Do you wake up each morning only to feel even more tired than when you went to bed? A rough night’s sleep can do that to you, and we all know the importance of good sleep – it can literally save lives!

Now, let’s talk about that pain in your neck. Nope, it’s not being caused by whinging kids or a stubborn spouse; it’s most likely being caused by your pillow.

No matter the size of your bed- king, queen or standard, there are a number of different pillow types to adorn it with. Ranging from king-size pillows to match the size of a bed befitting the King, to queen-size and standard size for the littlies, not forgetting ornamental throw pillows and continental pillows, none of this matters if your pillow is pap!

That’s right ladies and gents; it’s time to reassess your priorities- pretty pillows or a good night’s rest? But this is not to say that comfortable pillows are unattractive. Indeed, pillow fashion has come a long way in recent years…

Here are some of the top things to consider when it comes to choosing that perfectly plump pillow of dreams for a sound night’s sleep:

Your sleeping position

How do you sleep? Are you a back sleeper (cue the snoring), side sleeper or tummy turner? The positon you sleep in for most of the night will ultimately determine the type of pillow you need.

1. Back sleepers, you’re in luck. Your head and neck need minimal support here as this is generally quite a natural position to sleep in – we just feel really sorry for your spouse. Other than that, opt for a low-medium density pillow or a contour pillow to support your neck throughout the night.

Opt for a memory foam or down filling pillow which is brilliantly mouldable to your head and neck. Make sure to go for a hypoallergenic down filling if you suffer from allergies!

2. Side sleepers, you’re the most common of them all. You need a little more support to keep your head and neck well aligned with your body throughout the night. Improper support can result in severe neck and shoulder pain over time, and who has time for that? A medium density pillow is a good choice in order to support your neck and take the strain off your shoulders.

Your best pillow material of choice here is memory foam, a fantastic product developed by a rather smart bunch of people over at NASA. Memory foam has been developed to relieve pressure points and provide perfect cushioning for the head and neck.

3. Tummy sleepers – sorry, but you’re just weird. The ideal pillow for your strange sleeping position is a low-density pillow that is easy to arrange around your head and neck, without over-extending your muscles. Tummy sleepers tend to sleep with their heads turned sideways, so low-density pillows are ideal for keeping the neck and body aligned.

Down or polyester pillow types are ideal for tummy sleepers as they offer a low-medium density to support the head, without over-extending your neck muscles. Just keep in mind that while polyester is inexpensive, it tends to go lumpy and lose its support over time.

Looking for a range of bedroom accessories to complement your brand new pillow? Darkie Designs covers a beautiful range of pillow covers, bed throws, mosquito nets, rugs and more. Check us out on Facebook for more.