Tonight with Lester Podcast

Tonight with Lester Podcast

Get the best of both worlds with Lester Kiewit, a writer for the Mail & Guardian by day and presenter by night. Rather than looking back at the news of the day, explore new subjects and new perspectives.

Episodes in this series - Page 3


11 November 2019 | 9 Minute Listen

Guests :  Will Ronquest-Ross Glittering sunlight beckons at the end of the cobalt tunnel. Glide across the water’s surface, dance with the sway of the board, and feel the rush of the wave collapsing. Surfing is one of the most thrilling ways to experience the ocean. But it’s expensive. The cost of the sport, from lessons to surfboards and wetsuits, keeps many people onshore. Luckily, nine-year-old Will Ronquest-Ross is helping other kids catch their big break. Ronquest-Ross comes from a family of passionate surfers, which is how he began navigating the waves at the age of five. Wanting to share this phenomena with friends, he went door-to-door in Hout Bay asking children to join. That’s when he realised that even those living in close proximity to the beach were unable to afford the magic of surf. So began his quest for equality. Ronquest-Ross started a BackaBuddy campaign, which raised enough money for him to give others an opportunity to learn. Coached by the Cape Town School of Surfing, Ronquest-Ross practises with kids from Imizamo Yethu. His proudest moment has been hearing his friends speak excitedly about their first time riding a wave. By sharing what he loves, Ronquest-Ross is making surfing an accessible sport for all. Yazdaan Ally Shoneez Ganie had a difficult pregnancy. Her son, Yazdaan Ally, was born prematurely and doctors didn’t give him long to live. But Ally survived. At the age of six, he was diagnosed with autism. Not understanding the neurobehavioral condition, his mother struggled at first.After extensive research, she learnt how to stand alongside Ally as he creatively conquers life. Children with autism may experience a range of challenges. In Ally’s case, he battles with writing, speaking, and muscle coordination. With his mother’s encouragement, Ally uses art as a form of release and expression. Ally’s colourful pictures depict sunny days, soccer games, and even include an impressive portrayal of Bigfoot. These illustrations allow Ally’s mother to understand his world. Together with the right knowledge and tools, she’s helping him excel. With faith, determination, and unconditional love, they’re demonstrating that the idea of normal is only relative. Nelisiwe Zuma. Things were looking up for Nelisiwe Zuma. The Durbanite had just been offered a job in California. Unable to contain her excitement, Zuma joined her friends to celebrate her big break. But on her way home, their car flew off the road. Zuma woke up three weeks after the crash in ICU. Her friend who’d been driving didn’t make it. The emotional and physical trauma seemed insurmountable. In the months that followed, Zuma had to undergo multiple surgeries, including a spinal fusion and a skin graft on her stomach. She was also dependent on a colostomy bag. As her body changed, Zuma became increasingly depressed. But in the process of recuperating, she began to realise how incredible it was to have survived. Her scars were a symbol of life, a reminder to cherish her body and her second chance. Today, Zuma advocates for people to accept themselves, blemishes and all. She models with her scars on show, an image of resilience. With her site, Madame Blogger, Zuma offers an honest account of her experiences and creates a space for others to share theirs. While she still has bad days, Zuma is embracing her path of healing. Along this journey, she’s found a greater purpose. Lookout Sibanda Lookout Sibanda is a man of few words. Instead, he prefers to craft his expression through art. Sibanda’s creative flair sparked in high school when his friends taught him to paint. So when he couldn’t afford to study after matric, he chose to pursue his passion by decorating ceramics with brushes of colour. But adding the final touches wasn’t enough. Sibanda felt compelled to learn pottery from inception. Working for established ceramists Elza van Dijk and Nicole Kingston exposed Sibanda to their techniques. Even without formal classes, he learnt to produce pots, bowls, and plates. Soon, Sibanda started promoting his wares at markets and exhibitions in Port Elizabeth, building a reputation under the name Lookout Ceramics. Today, Sibanda holds success in the palm of his hand. His signature work features abstract and geometric patterns, with vivid colours inspired by the blankets his grandmother used to make. In 2018, knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo chose to mentor Sibanda as a result of his talent. Despite his accomplishments, Sibanda is conscious of the challenging course it’s taken for him to get here. That’s why he hopes to share his skills by tutoring potential students.For this potter, passion is the tool to triumph.

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