Tonight with Lester Podcast

Beautiful News


Guests : Chris Bertish
What does it take to redefine impossible? When Chris Bertish set out to cross the
Atlantic Ocean with just a stand-up paddleboard, he was certain he’d face
unimaginable terrors. But having planned this challenge for five years, the adventurer
was relentless. His greater purpose – to transform the lives of children – pushed him
forward.
In December 2016, Bertish began his voyage from the coast of Morocco to the
Caribbean island of Antigua. His custom-built stand-up paddleboard, the ImpiFish,
included shelter, navigation, and communication technology inside the hull. Travelling
at an average of 69 kilometres per day, Bertish paddled at night to avoid excessive sun
exposure. But two weeks into his journey, disaster struck. Bertish hit stormy weather,
dangerous waves and technical trouble. He persevered, completing his mission 93 days
and 7 500 kilometres later.
Glenda Jones
Glenda Jones twirled across the expanse of dust and grass. Her stage: the playgrounds
in the Cape Flats. It was an attempt to break away from the chains of oppression that
bound her community.
On Sundays, Jones would turn her garden into a make-shift theatre, charging the
neighbours five cents to view her home-based productions. Watching her grow in
stature and skill inspired others to join in.
In 1999, Jones founded the Afrika Ablaze Dance Company out of the same backyard. To
this day, all she requires for admission is an unshakeable love for dance. Each student
that takes the stage receives special attention to cultivate their natural style of dance,
singing, and acting. Jones’ devotion to dance has unfurled into performances across the
country. Productions such as When Cranes Fly question humanity and where it’s going.
Her vision is to create work that counters unreachable standards of beauty.
Anthony Gird
The melted chocolate folds like silk as it’s poured. When it’s set, each block is then
dropped in a mound of cacao powder, creating a decadent dust cloud. Delicious scents
stir childhood memories of Willy Wonka sashaying through his chocolate factory.
Anthony Gird is a chocolatier too. But unlike the fictional character’s exploitation of
bite-sized Oompa Loompas, Gird keeps it ethical.
His own little factory began as a home experiment as he merged art, science, and raw
cacao. But Gird’s delight halted momentarily when he realised that even the sweet skill
of chocolate-making has a dark side.
The cacao industry, most notably in the Ivory Coast, is one of the largest contributors to
deforestation and child slavery. While so many big companies profit off this, Gird
wanted to do better.
The chocolatier engages directly with farmers in Tanzania and South Africa, regularly
visiting the farms and vetting processes.
Nikiwe Dlova
When it comes to styling natural locks, Nikiwe Dlova is the queen. Her crowning jewels?
Beads, braids, and wool extensions. The renowned hair artist’s creations are an artistic
and political statement. In South Africa, hair has been used as a tool for oppression,
from pencil tests during apartheid to rules at schools that still prohibit dreadlocks and
afros.
Experimenting with her friends’ hair in high school helped Dlova create the unique
styles that would become her signature pieces. “I use hair as a means to express myself,”
Dlova says. “It’s a fun way to show my personality and tell a story.” Whether piled high
on her head or falling below her knees, Dlova’s work never fails to capture attention.
Mishal Weston
Mishal Weston can reveal a universe of beauty in the things you throw away. With the
art of scanography, he’s a maverick. The alternative form of photography replaces a
camera with an ordinary office scanner. Zooming in on mundane objects, Weston
explores a new perspective on the world around us. From seashells to seeds, bottle caps
to bird feathers, there’s nothing Weston doesn’t see as beautiful.
A graphic designer, working from home left Weston uninspired, isolated, and deeply
depressed. Examining objects up close gave him a reason to get out of bed every day
and explore the world around him. During neighbourhood walks and seaside strolls,
Weston collects objects that have fallen by the wayside, anticipating the masterpiece it
could be.

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