November 21, 2019

#UCTSutherlandReburial: Telling the story 

Last month, we got to participate in telling a remarkable story of social justice, restitution and reburial at the University of Cape Town.

Known as the #UCTSutherlandReburial, the project started when Dr Victoria Gibbon, curator of the university's skeletal collection discovered the unethically-obtained remains of 11 people while conducting an inventory in early 2017.

In what has become a precedent-setting process - both locally and internationally - the university launched a massive collaborative effort to restore a sense of dignity to these individuals and return their remains to their descendants.

Working with UCT's Newsroom and Research Office on a regular basis, Nadia was asked to conduct four interviews in the run-up to a press conference about the process.

Read the interviews:

November 15, 2019

Proofreading and publishing projects

One of the things we firmly believe in and live by at Solid Stuff Creative, is communication.

That’s what we primarily do! – through design, photography and words. Don’t ever misjudge or underestimate the importance and power of the words you send out into the world.

Whilst our Words Portfolio focuses mostly on content creation, journalistic work and social media management, we also enjoy the fields of proofreading, editing and translating.

Lisel recently took on two fascinating proofreading projects for books written by seasoned and awarded authors: Hennie van Deventer (former head of Newspapers at Naspers), who wrote a most enjoyable book Na verre hawens’ on his and his wife’s numerous experiences aboard passenger liners, and Gerard Scholtz of DEKATv fame, whose book ‘Hier gaat ons’ uniquely describes some of his and his wife’s multiple adventures abroad on two Honda scooters. Priceless.

We have also participated in compiling a coffee table book, ‘Fire Storm – Vlammehel on the devastating fire that destroyed scores of properties in Betty’s Bay in January this year and traumatized hundreds of people. Well-known retired journalist Henry Hopkins lost his life five weeks after sustaining horrendous burn wounds in the fire.

Besides a whole lot of editing, liaising and proofreading, our studio also provided a logo for the duration of the project!

November 15, 2019

Point form: Interesting things from the internet

Here are a few articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts and other miscellaneous internet items that tickled our fancy recently:

  • Llama therapy anyone? Yes please! At Pet Partners, 94 percent of the registered therapy animals are dogs, but there are 20 llamas and alpacas in the mix, said Elisabeth Van Every, a spokeswoman for the group.
  • Have you heard about the #KFCProposal? A truly heartwarming local love story that started with teasing and hurtful comments and ended with celebs and corporates throwing them a dream wedding!
  • How to survive encounters with dangerous animals Two words: look big. San Francisco-based journalist, Rachel Levin published a humorous illustrated guide to avoiding death and injury in the wilderness in 2018. This article compares some of her advice with what the experts say.

November 15, 2019

From penguins and proteas to wine-ing and ziplining

This heading is almost reminiscent of something from a Dr Seuss book – like ‘And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street’. And no, you would not find the diverse and somewhat fascinating attractions at our Paardevlei, Somerset West studio.

However, speaking of which: if you have not yet visited the Cheetah Outreach at Paardevlei, a stone’s throw from our studio, combine it with one of our Otherside Tours outings. We will meet you there, depart on our day outing and return you to your vehicle or overnight accommodation a few delightful hours later. (Please take note if you regularly or occasionally receive business associates from overseas and want them to enjoy something different!)

As an affiliate / partner to Solid Stuff Creative, Otherside Tours aims to introduce visitors in small groups of between two and five (maximum six) persons to a stunning coastal drive and the treasures of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve – on the ‘other side’ of the bay and the mountains.

Hence the heading above: the heart of the fynbos kingdom is a floral treasure chest with plenty of add-ons, like the penguin colony at Stony Point, popular surf spots, pristine beaches, the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, a breathtakingly beautiful nature reserve on the banks of a river, a quaint Harbour Road experience and plenty more.

Oh! And about the wine-ing and ziplining: if you’re into the tasting culture, then we can introduce you to at least two unique and charming wine routes – the Bot River and Elgin Valley wine routes, each also boasting a first-class MCC experience!

On the other hand, if you happen to be an adrenalin junkie, we also have an intriguing mountain top zipline experience on our route which you will undoubtedly find both thrilling and memorable. Just by the way – the very one whose brochure, designed by our studio, last month was rated 8th in the world out of 19 000 participating visitors’ brochures in an international contest!

Check out our brochure, make an enquiry on our website or send an enquiry by email to

November 14, 2019

Solid Stuff brochure design in global Top 10

We're excited to announce that our Cape Canopy Tour brochure design came out number one in Africa and among the top ten overall at the Global 2019 Visitor International Best Brochure Awards. It was one of altogether 19 000 entries from across the globe competing for honours.

Just to refresh your memory: in our last newsletter, we mentioned that the Cape Canopy Tour brochure designed by Solid Stuff Creative had won first place in the 2019 Brochure Management South Africa (BMSA) Best Brochure Awards.

Well, it was subsequently entered by BMSA into the Global 2019 Visitor International Best Brochure Awards competition that was judged by professionals representing visitor information brochure display and distribution companies and organizations from across the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, and South Africa.

The results were announced at the Visitor International annual conference that was held in Athens, Greece in late October this year

The selection criteria used to both short-list the best brochures, and to select the overall winners, included:

  • the visual appeal of the brochure
  • its effectiveness in communicating to visitors
  • the brochure’s content
  • the quality of the print materials used

The judges had all been industry professionals from BMSA franchise regions from across the country.

In the international awards, which as mentioned were made out of a possible 19,000 brochures, our South African entries were ranked as follows out of the 72 worldwide finalists:

  • 8th overall - Elgin Valley Zipline (our design);
  • 36th - De Hoop; and
  • 38th - Buffelsdrift Game Lodge.

So there you have it: Solid Stuff is not only on track with our design efforts locally, but among the leaders globally!

September 20, 2019

Solid Stuff brochure design voted best in South Africa

Solid Stuff is proud to announce that one of our brochure designs has won first place in the 2019 Brochure Management South Africa (BMSA) Best Brochure Awards!

The Cape Canopy Tour brochure was nominated as one of the top 3 finalists and ended up placing first in the competition.

Every year BMSA displays over 750 different brochures on 3,500 brochure display boards around South Africa.

These brochures play an important role in promoting various businesses nationally. They both inform and influence visitors and can guide them to wonderful new experiences.

During the 2019 BMSA annual conference in Stellenbosch, from a possible field of over 750 brochures, representing the collective client base of BMSA’s 19 franchise regions, brochures were nominated for consideration for the awards.

The selection criteria used to both short-list the best brochures, and to select the overall winners, included:

  • the visual appeal of the brochure
  • its effectiveness in communicating to visitors
  • the brochure’s content
  • the quality of the print materials used

The judges were all industry professionals from BMSA franchise regions from across the country.

The Cape Canopy Tour brochure has since been entered by BMSA into the Global 2019 Visitor International Best Brochure Awards.

These awards will be judged by professionals representing visitor information brochure display and distribution companies and organizations from across the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, and South Africa.

The results will be announced at the Visitor International annual conference being held in Athens, Greece in late October 2019. 

September 13, 2019

An otterly delightful sighting

Cape Clawless Otter

Wherever you live in South Africa or further afield, chances are you may (if extremely lucky) have come across an otter species somewhere.

Always, however, it would definitely be in the vicinity of water. As in the Cape Peninsula area, the Cape clawless otter is also found on the ‘other side’ of False Bay in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and all the way further up the coast.

Although the odds against spotting one randomly during the day time are great, an outing with Solid Stuff sister company, Otherside Tours will nevertheless bring you as close as you can get to their habitat and their ‘tramping grounds’.

Residents of Rooiels, Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay fairly regularly report delightful sightings. (The Cape clawless otter is known to occur widely in the entire southern African region, yet is extremely seldom seen because it is so elusive! )

Cape Clawless Otter

Having lived at Betty’s Bay for the past 23+ years, we have been privileged to encounter otters occasionally. Always briefly! Mostly at dusk – and reportedly also at dawn. Sightings are always a massive thrill and reward. They would either pop up in the waves close to the beach, curiously checking out any possible intruders, or they are moving up or down the river course close to our home, either on their way into the sea to hunt/forage, or on their way back from spending some feeding time in the ocean.

On one or two occasions we have been lucky enough to see them frolicking on the sand en route to the water, in a family group.

They are known to be plucky and even shrewd. When they feel threatened, for example by large dogs that have spotted them in the water, they will play a game of ducking and diving to lure the dog into the water and as soon as the dog can no longer stand, will grab it by the snout and pull it under. A friend’s huge dog drowned this way close to Betty’s Bay main beach, and ours came pretty close to going the same way at Silver Sands beach one day!

Lisel, who heads up Otherside Tours shares two recent otter sightings:

I recently experienced the thrill of twice spotting Cape clawless otters in our area. Here in the heart of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. (Having lived at Betty's Bay for more than 23 years now, I have come to learn just how rare and precious this kind of privilege is.)

Once was at dusk, alongside a boardwalk down to the beach at Pringle Bay, while we were waiting for our take-out fish and calamari meal to be prepared. Unfortunately the pair spotted me too - notwithstanding my effort to pretend I was a pillar of salt - and they promptly ducked below the boardwalk after some quaint moves and curious glances in my direction. 

The sneak photos I took for the purpose of proof, are unfortunately just far too grainy to share... But their white chests and distinctly shaped smooth, almost flattish heads were unmistakable in the fading light.

They were definitely on their way down to the waves on that perfect early evening, probably to find supper. I waited, but they were not that gullible and eventually I had to give up without seeing any more of them.

Then, a few days later, at a bay adjacent to Betty's Bay's main beach and also during a sunset stroll, we caught a glimpse from afar of a group of cavorting otter shapes playfully and almost clumsily making their way down to the calm waters of the bay - where they would most certainly find their favourite catches of crayfish, crabs and fish. (Sadly, they frequent the same waters as an alarmingly increasing number of poachers, for similar delicacies...)

Photos by Imar Krige

September 13, 2019

An exciting foray into t-shirt design

Original t-shirt designs by Imar Krige

Earlier this year, Solid Stuff made its foray into the fashion scene with an array of quirky and cool t-shirt designs by Imar.

Sparked by curiosity around Cotton Bureau – an online store which allows you to sell original t-shirt designs on-demand without having to deal with the admin of printing, shipping etc – and a desire to indulge in some good old creative fun, Imar set about producing a rather impressive portfolio.

More than just a fun new project, it has also been something of a trip down memory lane for Imar.

"In high school, I was often asked to design t-shirts for events and sports teams," he says. "I guess that essentially set me on my career path, so there is definitely a nostalgic aspect in returning to t-shirt design."

Starting out with a tentative upload of two t-shirts – Overland and Penguin & Protea – his offering has expanded to include a whopping 16 original designs.

Among these, you will find the super cool (and highly underrated) Viking Side Hustles range:

Imar's blurb for the range sums it up pretty well:

"Vikings are cool, but let’s face it, being a badass Northman doesn’t exactly pay the bills, so how exactly did our Norse heroes make ends meet? Viking side-hustles of course! Here’s imagining what Ragnar, Björn, Floki and Lagertha do for extra cash. And King Aella? Well, let's just say he gives "tourist trap" a whole new meaning."

A few other favourites include Bad Coffee, Sloth and Broke.

Be sure to check out more of Imar's t-shirts on Cotton Bureau!

The downside for South Africans, is that the hefty customs duty makes ordering from Cotton Bureau super expensive! Like, seriously – we were quite shocked at the exorbitant taxes we had to pay the Post Office on our order of five t-shirts recently.

So, if you do see something you really like and want to order (from South Africa), let us know and perhaps we can figure something out.

September 13, 2019

Solid Stuff Photography on display at the Orms SPACE Open Exhibition

If you happen to be wandering around Cape Town's Roeland Street in the next month or so, be sure to pop in on SPACE Open Exhibition at the Orms Cape Town School of Photography.

Four of Imar and Tamara's beautiful bird images were recently selected to form part of the exhibition, themed 1:1 Creativity.

Their photos were handpicked from among submissions of more than 200 photographers and displayed alongside those of only 24 others. The exhibition will be running until Friday, 27 September 2019.

Well done, Solid Stuff Photography team!

To see more of their nature photography, check out Imar's Instagram profile. To see some recent wedding, family and other professional shoots, visit our Photography portfolio.

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