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TRACY ZIMAN JACOBS WANTS YOUR RELATIONSHIPS TO BE TOTALLY YOU!

Totally MeSome people let a bump in the road break them down. Others take it in their stride. But the most successful people are those that deal with it and come out on top, having used that bump to give them a clear view of where they want to be when they continue on their journey.

Tracy Ziman Jacobs is that person, who discovered after her divorce in 2011 that no relationship is perfect. However, instead of allowing the divorce to derail her life, she used it for good, knowing that what she learned from her experience could help others. Meeting the positive, animated and bubbly person she is today, it’s hard to believe she was ever in any type of dark place, but directly after her unexpected divorce, a negative space was exactly where the person she is today had to emerge from.

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No one gets married assuming it will end in divorce. Tracy certainly didn’t. “When I got married, I thought I’d never get divorced,” she says. “It came as a bit of a shock and after my divorce, I was cynical about marriage,” she admits. But she recognised the hope we as human beings attach to marriage. “It’s the romance that brings us together and after all, people are still getting married,” she muses. So, what’s the recipe for a loving relationship in which both partners are happy?

After soul searching and a lot of research, Tracy’s ethos is ardour (defined by the Oxford Dictionary as ‘great warmth of feeling; fervor; passion’ and ‘intense devotion, eagerness, or enthusiasm; zeal’: romance is key to the marriage-altering work she does with her clients. “I want to save marriages,” she explains, stating that it’s vital to look at what is lacking and return to the basic needs of the relationship. “Look at all those characteristics that drew you to your mate and created that chemistry,” says Tracy, who suggests it is possible to have an affair with your existing partner rather than look outside the marriage for the intimacy and fulfilment you crave. “What’s in an affair? Rather bring it back inside your marriage,” she states. She’s so right! Years into our marriages, when kids, work, and everyday stress takes over our lives, we’ve completely forgotten what first attracted us to our partners! And it seems a bit ridiculous to even think about it – but yet, so obvious.

Tracy’s undertaking to heal herself led her to want to heal others. Enter intimacy coaching: Tracy’s greatest passion. She qualified as an Intimacy Coach through Intimacy Coaching SA (ICSA) in 2016, but her drive to help others didn’t just start then – it goes way back, and is clearly inherent in her nature.

Her wealth of knowledge hasn’t come from life experience alone and is backed up by a BA in Social Sciences (1996, UNISA), as well as practical training with the Family Life Centre (FAMSA). This training led her to counsel both individuals and couples, as well as performGroup Therapy, Family Therapy, Trauma Counselling, Divorce Mediation, Pre-marriage Counselling and Employee Assistance Programmes. Once her training was complete, Tracy was hired by FAMSA as an Occupational Social Worker, enabling her to assist others further in their relationship and life journeys.

Professionalism is top of mind for Tracy. She treats every client with the utmost respect, and knows how important it is for them to feel at ease and nurtured during their sessions. The beautiful space she’s created to work in is inviting and nurturing. Her workshops promote a sense of enthusiasm and inspiration for both men and women, and they assist clients in realising that there are many others experiencing similar challenges, which ensures a community-type environment and a feeling of support.

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Tracy’s determination to heal her clients’ relationships can only lead to good. Her end goal: to rekindle the passion in her clients’ love lives, helping them to “find each other”again. She acknowledges that hard work is key to ensuring this goal is met – by both her and her clients. And it’s something she doesn’t shy away from, knowing that with tenacity, her clients’ current intimacy levels can be increased exponentially.

Tracy works with marriages at any stage, with couples (both straight and gay), as well as single people in need of intimacy counselling. While Tracy’s work doesn’t simply focus on the notorious “seven-year itch”, it is a concept she’s very aware of in her practice and among the marriages she works on healing. “There are definitely seven year cycles (seven years, 14 years and so on) where things become a little staid,” she explains. Lesli Doares, a licenced marriage counsellor and family therapist, supports Tracy’s theory, saying that by seven years, a couple has usually had a child or two and children tend to change everything. “It is really the impact of children on the marriage that causes the underlying disconnect that leads to the ‘itch’ to get out,” says Lesli. “It is a combination of responsibility, lack of time for oneself, diminished intimacy and a sense of ‘is that all there is?’” (source: Women’s Health, October 2, 2015).

Speaking of which, as a mother herself, Tracy understands the delicate balance between parenting and marriage, and the challenges children can create once they are born. “Kids dictate what’s going to happen, they change everything and nobody prepares us for that,” says Tracy. “You’re this happy couple, everything is going well until the baby comes and then you see another side of each other that you haven’t seen before.” Then there are intimacy issues. “Many women get their physical needs met through bonding with their baby whereas men still want intimacy through sex,” she explains.

Feeling this type of disconnect? Whether you’re a parent or not, Tracy’s counselling work is about rekindling romance for a renewed intimate relationship. “You’ve just got to do it to understand it,” says Tracy of her sessions. “In other words, do the work and then you’ll understand it.” It’s nothing harmful – it’s about something that is positive, good and that will add value to your life, she explains. The benefits are numerous: “When you’re in synergy with the one you love, you are in a good space and you will find that you’ll sleep better, work better, have more patience with your children and be far more productive. Good sexual health is also great for creativity and for our bodies; it boosts circulation as well as oxytocin and serotonin. The bottom line is that connecting with your partner and being in a good space is wonderful for everyone all round.”

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“Everyone” is a standout word in Tracy’s work: her sessions are for men and women in all stages of their lives. “Women feel validated and heard, and so do men,” she explains. “It’s incredible for me to see the ‘light’ come on when couples are shown a whole new way of connecting.”

I can vouch for the fact that Tracy is comfortable chatting about anything and will immediately put you at ease. Nothing is taboo with her, and she’s all about ensuring that her clients walk away in a positive, confident, comfortable space with themselves and their relationship.

Find out more about Tracy, her work and how to contact her, via her website: http://www.totallymetracy.co.za

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SHARON SPIEGEL WAGNER SIZZLES IN SABC3’s BEDFORD WIVES

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Every Thursday evening at 19h30, since the end of August, the charismatic Sharon Spiegel Wagner has had South Africans glued to their TV’s watching SABC3’s BEDFORD WIVES, as the local comedy-drama unfolds with her character, the feisty Despina Giannopolous, taking centre stage.

Set in the lavish but seedy Johannesburg east suburb of Bedfordview, Bedford Wives follows the lives of four women and a somewhat sordid community of Bedfordview criminals who, on the surface, live pristine and perfect lives but, behind closed doors, have skeletons in their closets and secrets aplenty.

When her charming restaurateur husband, Marco Giannopoulos, is found dead under a side of lamb and dripping in gourmet olive oil, Bedfordview housewife and Mrs South Africa entrant, Despina, vows to keep the family businesses going – but then learns the real family business is crime…

Nothing is at it seems…

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I’m not ashamed to say I’m completely hooked, and won’t miss an episode! It’s completely addictive, and ticks all the boxes for unmissable TV!

I recently sat down for coffee and a chat with Sharon to find out what life’s been like for her since Bedford Wives hit our TV screens – and if you haven’t caught on yet (we’re already 9 episodes in with just 5 left), you can catch up on YouTube where you’ll find all past episodes.

And indeed, nothing is as it seems, because Sharon is quite delightful; modest and unassuming and not at all like her onscreen persona, Despina, who is very much the typical ‘Bedford Wife’ and wouldn’t be caught outside of the house (or probably inside, for that matter) without her full armour of make up, designer clothing and killer heels!

Although Sharon’s first love is definitely musical theatre, her experience on Bedford Wives has been so positive that it’s quite encouraged her to explore the possibility of further TV roles in the future. She wasn’t initially asked to audition for the role of Despina, and in fact, was the very last person to audition for the part. Just an hour later, she got a call from her agent to say she’d got the job. Sharon describes her complete shock at hearing the news, but once she realised that it was actually true, she was (I quote) “sublimely excited”. And it’s proved to be a dream from beginning to end with the entire cast and crew being not only amazing to work with, but also completely understanding and flexible around Sharon’s other role: that of being mom to her 2 young daughters, one of who was just a few months old at the time of filming the series.

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It was this that made Sharon realise that she might quite like to pursue more TV work in the future as it’s more adaptable to family life. She loves the art of acting and has grown enough within it to know what’s right for her and what isn’t. When she knows a role’s not for her, she’s excited to see who will play it. This is the mark of a true professional, or as Sharon so aptly describes it: “There’s an actor that loves the art, and there’s the actor that loves himself in the art.” That individual who purely loves himself in the role, and who cannot bring himself to rejoice in the success of a colleague is not quite there yet, regardless of whatever talents may have been bestowed on them.

When asked if she’d be happy for her kids to work in a similar or related industry to the one she’s currently in, knowing what she knows about all of the demands and drawbacks as well as the constant struggles and one-upmanship that the business is notorious for, Sharon’s immediate reaction is “Preferably not!”

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But then … on reflection … she reconsiders. She feels that no matter what career they decide to follow (even if they want to become actors), there has to be understanding, appreciation and love for what one does, and they need to feel a true purpose for what they’re doing. When it comes to sensitivity they need to know how the business works. She reiterates, “… especially this business.”

For now, Sharon is taking a break, spending time with her kids and thoroughly enjoying watching them grow. She’d love to do more TV work, and is thrilled that Bedford Wives has opened up new horizons for her. We shared our strong views on how absolutely crucial it is for women to support each other and encourage each other. So often though, you find the opposite happening – we tear each other apart, instead of building each other up! Here once again, Sharon returns to the Bedford Wives set, speaking admiringly of her female director who allowed her the freedom to add her own interpretation into her role of Despina, or as she describes it, “a bit of quirk,” and who put her at complete ease with some scenes that she might otherwise have felt quite uncomfortable performing.

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So, what’s next after this break? “Something BIG … I hope,” laughs Sharon, explaining that this is usually the work pattern that she follows. Whether it’s back on stage, where she feels most at home, or on our TV screens playing another feisty, go-getting, glitzy leading lady, Sharon puts heart and soul into everything she does, so whatever it is, we know it’s going to be fabulously fantastic!!

(But … no pressure, or anything!)

ZOE MODIGA’S LONG AWAITED ALBUM LAUNCH

YELLOW : THE NOVEL

Zoe Modiga 1ZOE MODIGA’s fans have been waiting a long time for this and finally – the  jazz and soul princess is launching her eagerly awaited album Yellow : The Novel on Friday 24 March at The Fringe @ Joburg Theatre at 8pm.

The music industry sat up and took notice of Zoe Modiga when she won the 2015 SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition for singing (Jazz Music). In 2016 she then went on to become a household name as one of the most popular contestants in the first season of The Voice SA, reaching the Top 8.

Her voice is instantly recognisable on Amazing Grace under the film scoring of Kyle Shepherd in the Oscar nominated movie Noem My Skollie.

On Yellow : The Novel, Zoe Modiga has created a body of work inspired by self-realisation and the human experience, much like a novel, inviting the audience to themselves.

This 23-track album (uniquely broken up into “Chapters”), with an exquisite, eye-catching cover, has a Soul, Jazzy, African feel: Compositional work with stage presence presentation.

She’s thrilled to invite her fans to join her in celebrating this momentous occasion.

ZOE MODIGA ALBUM LAUNCH – YELLOW: THE NOVEL is taking place for one night only on Friday 24 March at 8pm at The Fringe Theatre @ Joburg Theatre.

Tickets are R150 and R200 and advanced booking is essential as space is limited.  Bookings are now open at www.joburgtheatre.com, by calling 0860 670 670 or through Webtickets.

Yellow: The Novel will be available for sale for the first time at the Album Launch for R70, otherwise it’s included in the top Album Launch ticket price of R200.

Yellow: The Novel will thereafter be available for purchase on all digital platforms as from 25 March.

Download the first single from the album Love (Yahweh) now at https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/love-yahweh-single/id1193898249

ABOUT ZOE MODIGA

Zoe Modiga 2Zoe Modiga was born, Palesa Nomthandazo Phumelele Modiga in Pietermaritzburg. Her love for music at a very young age earned her entrance the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein, where she studied classical piano, clarinet and vocals. Her time at the school provided an excellent platform to pursue music as a passion and career in her later years.

Over the past few years, with some experience behind her, this singer-songwriter’s talent has opened a number of doors in the music industry. Zoe has been fortunate enough to be part of celebrated festivals such as the Aardklop Festival, Artscape Youth Jazz Festival, UCT Jazz Festival, Joy of Jazz and The Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the winner of the Jazz Category of the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition 2015.

On these respected platforms she has had the privilege of sharing stages with the likes of Lira, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Louis Maholo, Gloria Bosman, Matthew Gold, The Kiffness, Breakfast Included, the Frank Paco Art Ensemble, Mark Fransman, Sibusiso Dhlamini, Marcus Wyatt, Benjamin Jephta, Tshepo Tsotetsi and many more.

Despite sharing the stage with a number of performers, Zoe’s pursuit for her own identity maintained its own strong force in these collaborations. She aspires to pursue a multifaceted career where her singing, songwriting and performing is challenged, revered, inspired and influential.

This identity within her music attracted the ear of a number of respected recording artists and she featured on the following tracks in recent times:

  • “Pushing On” with The Kiffness;
  • “Dream” with The Kiffness;
  • “Musukungibambezela” with Frank Paco Art Ensemble;
  • as well as upcoming projects with Soul Sessionz, Kaapstad and the JoKunnuji Experiment.

Enjoy these videos of Zoe Modiga :

Zoe Modiga EPK
https://youtu.be/zDYkF2eB96Q

Zoe Modiga – 2015 SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Winner (Jazz Music)

https://youtu.be/V45pGeqqQLc

Follow Zoe Modiga on Social Media:
Twitter:           @zoe_modiga
Instagram:     @zoemodiga
Facebook :      Zoe Modiga

WHO WILL WEAR THE MISS SA 2017 CROWN? THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS

Public voting intensifies leading up to the glitz and glamour of the 2017 Miss SA Pageant

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The spectacular Miss South Africa 2017 pageant will takes place at the Sun City Superbowl on Sunday, March 26, at 17h00. Tickets ranging between R225 and R250 are now available at Ticketpro: http://www.ticketpros.co.za/portal/web/index.php/event/82500b8a-3ab1-e24c-2c88-58b41e2c2bad

The dazzling event, which sees 12 of the country’s most beautiful women compete to take the crown and follow in the footsteps of Miss South Africa 2016 Ntandoyenkosi Kunene, will be televised live and simulcast on M-Net and Mzansi Magic. The show also features exciting local musical talent and will be hosted by popular SA music personality and rapper, ProVerb.

The newly crowned Miss South Africa will receive R1-million in cash from sponsors Sun International and Cell C together with a bouquet of prizes that will elevate the competition to one of the richest pageants in the world.

The 12 beautiful women competing to be named Miss South Africa 2017 are Adè van Heerden – Herold’s Bay, Western Cape; Boipelo Mabe – Alexandra, Gauteng; Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters – Sedgefield, Western Cape; Iman Mkwanazi – Lenasia, Gauteng; Kayla Malherbe – Mtunzini, Kwa Zulu Natal; Nicole van Niekerk – Môregloed, Pretoria, Gauteng; Nompumelelo Mampholo – Diepkloof, Soweto, Gauteng; Odirile Sepeng – Mabopane, Pretoria, Gauteng; Priyeshka Lutchman – Yellowwood Park, Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal; Shané Naidoo – Benoni, Gauteng; Shelbe Pretorius – Pinehaven, Krugersdorp, Gauteng and Yuta Raubenheimer – Kameeldrift, Pretoria, Gauteng.
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The SMS lines are burning up as members of the public vote to have their say in who wins the prestigious title! Public SMS votes have a 25 percent weighting of the overall voting towards the winner, with 75 percent resting with the official judges. Judges for the pageant include Maps Maponyane, Bridget Masinga and Ezra Davids, with more celebrity judges to be announced shortly.

And by voting, you too can win! Anyone can enter the competition by sending an SMS with the key number of their favourite Top 12 finalist to the short code number, 45791. Each SMS costs R1.50. Proceeds from the competition will benefit the Cell C Girl Child Bursary Fund. Up for grabs for five lucky voters is a weekend at The Palace at Sun City and VIP tickets to attend the live Miss South Africa pageant and after party at Sun City. For more information visit the Miss South Africa website www.misssa.co.za.

The Miss South Africa Pageant is a proud collaboration between Sun International and Cell C.

Go to:
Website: www.misssa.co.za
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MsSouthAfrica
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Official_MissSA
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheMissSAPageant

MARIANTHE PANAS – A MOST MODEST DIVA

SUPREME DIVAS – Celebrating Fabulous Women of Song

Can you believe it’s August already?! Finally, that month where we celebrate strong, dynamic, successful, wonderful women! Well, we really should be honouring them all the time, and we do, but in August we really make a song and dance about it and where better to do that than on The Mandela stage at Joburg Theatre, where they’ll be doing it in spectacular fashion with Supreme Divas.

The show will run from Thursday 11 August to Sunday 14 August for four performances only.

Supreme Divas will delight audiences old and young as they celebrate the powerhouse female singers that have become legends through their music over the past few decades.

Homage is paid to “old school” divas including Etta James, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Donna Summer and many others while younger audiences will relish the celebration of hits from “new school” divas including Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Adele and others. A fitting tribute will also be made to a few of South Africa’s own divas including Brenda Fassie, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Miriam Makeba and Claire Johnston.

Taking centre stage will be the insanely talented vocalists Tia Herman, Lelo Ramasimong, Tracey-Lee Oliver and Elizca Coetzer, with Born To Perform teenage sensation Marianthe Panas joining them as she makes her professional theatre debut.

Marianthe PanasTeen sensation Marianthe Panas has represented KwaZulu Natal in The SA Championships of the Performing Arts (twice), competed in The World Championships of the Performing Arts in Los Angeles and Hollywood, winning numerous awards in both championships  – and all before she was her current age of 15.

In her hometown of Durban, she has performed at a number of events including The Durban Theatre Awards, Night of 100 Stars, The Durban Chamber of Commerce Gala Dinner, as well as with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra at The KZN Young Performers 2016 event.

In Johannesburg, she caught everyone’s attention with her showtopping performance in Born To Perform’s Gala Concert in July 2015 and again recently when she was one of the vocalists in the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra’s concert A Night With The Stars.

Supreme Divas marks her professional theatre debut.

I was particularly taken with the notion of a 15-year-old performer taking to the stage with such experienced artistes, and instantly wanted to chat to her, convinced that this absolutely had to be a Diva in the making; would she be over-confident, precocious and petulant? Surely you’d have to be to hold your own, taking to the stage with the combined experience of your fellow performers?

Unfortunately, due to time and distance constraints, we haven’t yet been able to meet, and had to manage with an email interview. I was immediately completely charmed by Marianthe’s evident maturity and level-headedness, 2 things that will most definitely stand her in good stead for the career that she clearly wishes to pursue.

Here’s my Q & A with Marianthe, and you’ll see what I mean (I’m the ‘J’, she’s the ‘M’ and some of my comments are added in her answers in brackets):

I’m really looking forward to meeting you, and to seeing the show, but in the meantime … a few questions (and no pressure J).

J: Take me through what would be a ‘normal’ day for you, when you’re not rehearsing for a show or a competition.

M: Well, I would be at school until 14h30. After that, I would either be attending hockey practice, dance, acting or singing classes. I’m part of the KZN Youth Choir & rehearsals are from 5 to 9pm every Friday.

J: So you’d already won numerous awards and performed and participated in competitions overseas before you were 15; do you feel like you’ve had to grow up a lot quicker than others who are the same age as you?

M: I haven’t actually thought about that. Well, I haven’t felt like that before. I’ve been singing from a very young age so I’ve grown up performing. I do feel as though I’ve matured faster than some girls in my grade, but I love doing what I do so there isn’t a case of feeling as though I need to grow up a lot quicker. I turned 15 in May & trust me… I act itJ

J: Who’s your biggest Diva inspiration and why?

M: Idina Menzel. She was the lead in the original cast of many musicals I grew up watching. She performs with so much passion & has an amazing vocal range. She has also stayed so humble. [In case you don’t know, Idina Menzel is the voice behind Frozen’s Queen Elsa. That’s right … Let It Go! And she’s just been cast as Bette Midler’s character CC Bloom in the TV remake of Beaches.]

J: And who inspires you most in the non-performing world?

M: My twin brother. He got a virus in his spine, which paralysed him from his waist down for about 3 months when we were 12 years old. Although, he can now walk – he is not 100% recovered. He has a dropped foot & needs to wear a brace on both feet. To this day, he has never complained or given up. That takes a lot of guts to do so I always look up to him for inspiration.

J: Give us a playlist of your all-time favourite top 5 songs/pieces of music – any and all genres?

M: Don’t Rain on my Parade – Barbara Streisand [One of my all-time favourites too!]

I knew you were trouble – Taylor Swift

Stone Cold – Demi Lavato

Bound to You – Christina Agulera

The Story of Us – Taylor Swift

 J: Do you read? If so, what do you read?

M: I love reading mystery & fantasy. My all time favourite book series is Pretty Little Liars & the Mortal Intruments. (I’m kind of obsessed)

J: You’ve been given the opportunity to play the leading role in the movie of your choice … which movie do you choose, and which role? And (most important) who do you choose as your leading man and why?

M: I would pick The 5th Wave. I would play the role Cassie as she tries to find her missing brother in an alien apocalypse. [Yes, it’s Sci-Fi!] She is as a strong willpower and the love she has for her brother is never-ending. I would choose Chris Hemsworth – duh! [Like she said … a typical 15 year old!]

 J: What do you have to say to our world leaders right now? (Don’t be shy!)

M: I’m not so clued up in politics, but I would say all leaders seem to think of themselves instead of their people. They get richer and the poor get poorer. [Darling, you think you’re not so clued up in politics, but you seem to have summed it all up in a nutshell right there … spot on!]

 J: What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned so far from fellow performers?

M: STAY HUMBLE! Don’t act like a Diva or a know all. There’s always something to learn from someone else more experienced than you.

J: And finally … where would you like to be in 5 years’ time? (Sorry, I know it’s a really boring, clichéd question, but it has to be asked – there’s such a vast ocean of difference between 15 and 20!)

M: Hopefully studying Musical Theatre. My biggest dream in life is to perform on Broadway.

Isn’t she just so lovely and grounded? I can’t wait to meet Marianthe in person, and I really appreciate her taking some time out to answer my questions.

Supreme DivasThe Supreme Divas will be onstage along with a dynamic 9-piece band led by Music Director Llewellyn George. Audiences will thrill to instantly recognisable hits including R.E.S.P.E.C.T., Somewhere, If I could turn back time, I’m every woman, Hot Stuff, Stop in the Name of Love, Vulindlela, Valerie, Unqombothi, Do You Know where you’re going to, If I were a boy and many more.

This is the ultimate concert experience, honouring a selection of the many women who’ve made an indelible mark on the local and international music industry.

Joburg City Theatres will be producing the show.  “We want to portray South African talent at its best,” says Claire Pacariz, Executive Producer for Joburg City Theatres.  “And with Women’s Day on August 9th, we thought it would be an ideal time to honour legendary women in song.”Supreme Divas Poster

Performances for Supreme Divas run from Thursday to Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm on The Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre.

Tickets range from R150 to R250. These are available by visiting www.joburgtheatre.com or calling 0861 670 670, as well as through Webtickets.

For group bookings of 10 or more, please contact the theatre directly on (011) 877 6853/6815.

Supreme Divas is proudly brought to you by Joburg City Theatres in association with The CoLab Network and directed by Timothy Le Roux.  Vocalists will be dressed by Hollywood Costumes.

 

WOMEN TO WATCH – 2

When I did my first Women to Watch post in November last year, I said that these would be posts about “… not the type of typical business-women who you picture putting on corporate suits and strutting their stuff alongside the men, but women who are forging their own path; doing things in their own unique way in their chosen field; dancing to the music only they might be hearing, and dressing in a way that their own inner fashion guru dictates! They’re making up the rules as they go along, not following any pre-ordained rule-book. They’re dedicated and devoted; hard-working and determined. They’re stating very loudly that they’re here to stay and that confidence and dignity are the banners which they proudly hold aloft!

These are the women we should be learning from … these are the Women to Watch!

STACEY LEWIS – THE DIVORCE SOURCE

Fox 1-2Well, if ever there was one such woman, Stacey Lewis is certainly it!

Many of us have experienced change that dramatically affects our lives. Often it’s a trauma from which we eventually emerge as an altered person. Despite the scars, we’re hopefully wiser, more empowered and stronger than we allowed our previous self to be as a result of the experience. Of course that mindset is usually reached quite some time after we have undergone our own private hell.

That’s life, and we learn to roll with the punches.  It is these experiences which define us and thankfully there are many people who are able to learn and gain enough strength from them to eventually give back and help others going through similar traumatic times.

As far as stress related traumas go, divorce ranks extremely high, (positioned at number two in the top 10 stressful life events on the ¹Holmes & Rahe stress scale), an event which Stacey Lewis experienced eight years ago.  “The hardest part of my divorce was the initial shock. There was no actual process. It was my husband’s decision and I had no prior warning,” says Stacey, a practicing paediatric physiotherapist, who was left with three young children, the oldest being 3 and the youngest being 8 months.

At the time there was very little offered in the way of support resources so after her divorce and gradual healing over time, Stacey was determined to create the ideal support structure which she would have wanted to assist her through her divorce.  By creating her own inventory of the various types of support that she would have liked, this led to the creation of an online resource for women: The Divorce Source (http://thedivorcesource.co.za/), so that they would feel less alone going through a similar difficult experience.

The site is a resource for all matters and issues relating to divorce with its own resident Strong women 3attorney, Noa Kinstler, as well as a mediator (also a qualified attorney), Sherie Grayman. Other experts include psychologists and life coaches who share their expertise in various articles.  Content is also provided by divorced women who share their own experiences.

The website is a hub, a home, a place where a woman can go to for support, inspiration and information relating to the divorce situation. There is also a resource section on the site which provides details of other useful websites and useful contact details of attorneys and therapists. As the site grows, so too will the resource network.  Future content will include financial matters and planning.

For now, Stacey is taking it step by step.  It took many years of fighting her fears and building up her confidence one small step at a time to reach the point where she is now able to help others.  “Life happens.  Divorce happens.  It can be heart-breaking, gut-wrenching and soul-destroying BUT you are not alone. There are many women who have been through the process and emerged happy and complete, eventually. Divorce does not have to be the end of your life.  It can, in fact, be a catalyst to a better life,” says this petite dynamo who is determined to empower women through the expertise and support of The Divorce Source.

Find out who you areHaving experienced the pain of divorce herself, Stacey does not view the process lightly. The site is a place to provide the divorced or divorcing woman with information, inspiration and resources, equipping her to cope with the divorce and move on to create a better and ultimately great, successful, independent life for herself. It is a haven for them to turn to, to receive the support they need.

The Divorce Source has only recently been launched. My vision is that it will ultimately be a “one stop shop” for the divorcing woman, perhaps there’ll eventually even a dating zone,” she jokes.

Despite her trauma, Stacey understands that her journey has given her many gifts such as overcoming her fear of adversity and having a life filled with greater meaning each day.  “Sometimes, when we are in the thick of pain and darkness, the gifts are not so apparent. I feel so privileged that I am now able to see the gifts of my initially terrible situation,” says Stacey who wishes the same turn-around experience for other women going through this difficult time.

One of her treasured gifts is how her divorce ultimately changed and empowered her.  “I far prefer the person I am today. I am more confident, assertive, happy and compassionate. My pain has given me a heightened sensitivity towards women in similar situations and I find immense meaning in being able to help others.

My message to anyone going through this difficult time is that recovery after divorce is a Strong women 1process. Be kind and patient with yourself. Commit to finding your happiness and take small steps each day towards creating a good life for yourself and your children,” concludes Stacey.

Today Stacey has come full circle:  she is happily re-married and has a baby of 18 months, while continuing undaunted with her commitment to help provide support to women going through a divorce and to show that no matter how hard the journey and the work needed to move on, it is possible to start over again.

And The Divorce Source continues to grow and thrive, proving that there is such a critical need of online support for divorced and divorcing women. They have negotiated free self-defence classes for divorced women in Johannesburg. There have been almost 20 000 visitors to the site, and the Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/thedivorcesource/?fref=ts) now has over 2000 likes.

Stacey will be releasing a book in September 2016!

¹http://stress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Holmes-Rahe-Stress-Inventory.jpg

 

Related Links:


https://youtu.be/LnAdK0k8_ps

http://m.women24.com/women24/LoveAndSex/Divorce/a-divorce-guide-to-support-you-every-step-of-the-way-through-your-divorce-20160222

http://www.goodhopefm.co.za/sabc/home/goodhopefm/podcasts/details?id=d5735c02-3611-4216-83d7-fac21a531e03&title=The%20Divorce%20Source%20with%20Stacey%20Lewis

http://www.childmag.co.za/content/middle-ground#.VsWRMmjg7qA

http://www.all4women.co.za/632502/lifestyle/inspiring/you-are-not-alone-support-for-divorced-women

 

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