Book review – 140 years of shaping futures – University of South Africa

As an Alumnus and current student of Unisa, I was very excited to have been able to purchase two copies of the celebratory record of Unisa’s 140-year history earlier this month. From the moment I opened the book, the immediate sense I got was that Unisa is indeed an institution of substance and value. This is well reflected in the book’s high quality pages, giving a balanced and inclusive description of this great institution’s journey through history, its contribution to the continent, to its people and to all those beyond our borders. The book, like the institution, is diverse, interesting, relevant, colourful. I learnt things about Unisa that I did not know. I smiled with pride at some of the things that always make me smile when I think of Unisa, not least of which are the images of the main campus in Muckleneuk, which has been quoted as being “a Tshwane landmark” (p. 127), with its unique structure watching over all who learn and work there.

Comparing the 140 year publication to the 1973 publication, Spes in Arduis, a history of the University of South Africa, which has been gracing my bookshelves for the past quarter of a century, there is no doubt that Unisa keeps up with the times, reflects what is, and what was. Whilst Unisa is an institution of distance learning, a publication such as the 140 years of shaping futures brings the reader closer to this vital, vibrant, interesting institution. This publication is so much more than a coffee table book, lending elegance to a piece of furniture. It is a publication to be devoured, its contents reflected upon, its message to be treasured. For me, it is a privilege to be associated with Unisa, and it was a privilege to immerse myself between the covers of this publication.

© Beba Papakyriakou
Mon. 28 April 2014

Our precious little boy – Tic Tac

Our precious little Tic Tac whom we rescued on Saturday 4 February 2012.

What a darling little man. The perfect gentleman, with the most expressive eyes. A gorgeous, clean, sweet, energetic, smiley, playful, courageous, adorable bundle of white fluff who brought us nothing but love, joy and delight. He shared all his special ways with us, and everyone who knew about him, and made us richer for having had him in our lives and our homes. It was such a privilege to be part of his life and to look into his sweet, warm eyes.

His little heart carried such weight for so long but it kept him going even after his heart attack on 28 August 2013. He graced us with almost another 7 weeks of specialness and love until 19h15 on Sunday 13 October.

Every extra minute we had with him was a blessing. We cherished every moment, and are so grateful we had him with us. The best little gift. He was our special little piece of heaven.

We send him to meet Ari, Nanuk, Bobo, Beethoven, Casper and Koukla in doggie heaven, and we know this darling little boy will find lots of other playmates up there. xx

Special thanks to Dr Israelite in the early days, and Dr Greenberg and his team in the last few weeks – Lot, Teegan, Elaine and others. And to everyone who loved Tic Tac and could understand what a special little boy he was. We greatly appreciate your loving support.

When life pelts you with lemons©

When life throws you lemons, it’s expedient and fun to say “I’ll make lemonade” or “Bring out the tequila!” but what do you do when life pelts you with lemons, and it’s not a joke?

1. Stay calm.
2. Take a deep breath.
3. Try not to over-react.
4. Take one step back, mentally, from the lemon.
5. Remain calm, look at what the lemon is and what it is not.

Often, when “bad” stuff is suddenly thrown at us – whether it’s expected, unexpected, of our own doing, or not – our knee-jerk response is to panic, freak out, freeze (which is probably natural). Our brain ceases to function, our heart rate increases, and we can’t think straight. It feels as if the floor and the ceiling have collapse on top of us and beneath us, and we can be enveloped in darkness.

We are human, it is natural for most of us to have this kind of reaction, even though some people seem able to deal with life’s shocks without experiencing any discomfort. I’m not really one of those, and perhaps neither are you.

Regardless of what life throws at us, it is important to stay calm, take a deep breath, try not to over-react, take one step back, and try to assess what it’s all about. Have a cup of chamomile, drink some water, take a step back, detach as much as possible, allow your heart rate to return to normal, and the dryness in your throat to subside. And then look at the lemon again. It won’t suddenly have disappeared or changed severity or intensity, but through less fearful eyes, and with a calmer, clearer mind, we can get through that initial moment of panic and mental crisis.

Then we can slice the lemon into bite-sized chunks, and deal with each chunk one at a time – what is this thing, what do we need to do, who do we know who can help us …..

And then we need to do our best to stay in the present and not fill our heads and our hearts with thoughts and words of worry about some future event, or how the present lemon can affect everything else. Deal with the lemon, as calmly as possible, stand in your own personal power. For the religious and spiritual among us, reach for your anchor and ask for help. Sometimes there’s more help out there than we can even imagine.

By Beba Papakyriakou (BA; BA Hons (Psych)

Published: (plus Thought for the Day feature 4 July 2013)

Quote: Why we write

Document your memories – Business Traveller 2013, pg 32
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection”, says Anais Nin

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