Is it a Snat… or a Cake?


Ginny was telling me the other day that when she was a kid she loved drawing monsters.

Monsters? I said. Whatever do you mean?

She reckoned she and her friends used to take a couple of pieces of paper and draw imaginary creatures. Scary ones, funny ones, tall ones, thin ones – you name it ones.

Then they would give those crazy critters names and make up stories about them.

Of course, I should add that Ginny grey up in Malawi a million years ago when there was no social media, internet and… it’s really hard to imagine this… but they did not even have a television. Sjoe!

No wonder they had to find stuff to occupy themselves.

But then the other day a friend of mine posted a picture of her cat on Facebook. She was holding the cats’ ears back, so it looked a bit like a snake.


I started thinking about those monsters and wondered what it would look like if you drew cats’ ears on a snake. Or if you gave a cat a spitty tongue like a snake has. And what would you call your creature… a Snat? Or maybe a Cake?

I reckon that often we’re so busy going about our lives that we don’t use our imagination half as much as we could. And with with all these awesome animated movies it’s also a bit mind boggling and feels like a hard act to follow.

But actually we don’t have to follow anybody – we can do our own thing!

Plus we have cool tools. Apart from good old kokis or crayons and paper, we can also draw monsters on the computer.

You could even write your own little book with monster illustrations too!

So… who wants to accept the monster challenge?

Draw a monster – post it on Sibo’s Facebook page  and we’ll have a lucky draw where somebody can win some Sibo books. We’ll put the pictures on the website too.  If you want to make up a story about your monster – go for it!

You can draw them on paper and take a photo – or get your parental agent to take one. You can also draw one on the computer and post it or email it. There are no rules. You just have to draw a monster!

Have fun and be creative!



We’ve got to save MORE water!

Sibo having a shorter shower

Recently we got a letter from Rand Water saying that it will be reducing its supply by 15% in order to try and conserve water.

This is means that we all have to make a plan to save more water.

I know many of us already save water and think that there is not much more that we can do, but if you think carefully about it, there probably is.

Here are some reminders of the easy ways to save.

Shower for 5 minutes or less. No more of those long hot soaks in the bath where the water sloshes around your chin and you pull the plug out every so often to let some water out so that you can top it up with nice hot water. Nope! A short shower is the way to go. Anyway – its summer  now so that is not really a problem – is it?

Wash your dishes in a basin with the plug in. If you have a dishwasher – don’t rinse them with running water either. Use a basin of water rather. Yes, I know it’s a pain – but do it anyway please.

Wash your car with a bucket. Many South Africans are obsessed with having clean cars – I think that’s so silly – I mean – they just get dirty again. Why bother – as long as you can see through the windows – that’s all that counts.

Check that your taps are not dripping or leaking.  Kids can check and report to their parental agents. Remember to check the taps outside too.

If you are staying in a hotel – reuse your towel. Good heavens! It’s not like you get a spiffy clean towel at home every day is it? so don’t expect one in a hotel either.

Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth. Yes really – it’s not hard to do – it’s just a mind-set.

Same goes for when you wash your hands. Run a little bit of water with the plug in.

In fact – do an experiment – you know how I always like doing experiments. Waste a bit of water just once.  Put the plug in but leave the tap running when you brush your teeth… you will be horrified at how much water you have been wasting every single day.

Please people – lets save more water.


PS –  If you see any water wastage in town or somewhere that is not your home you can call the toll free number 080 0200 200 and report it. Or you could send an sms to 45174.

PPS – Did you know that you can invite Manzi and he water Wise education team to your school – free of charge. It’s a 25 minute show and it is really fun. I know – I’ve seen it myself!  Email

PPPS – Hahahaha – sorry – but you can read Sibo Saves Water   free of charge too!

Get off your butt!

Sibo hula hooping

Last week you had to get off your phone – this week you have to get off your butt!

Yip – we’re talking about exercise.

It‘s so important. Like getting enough sleep – remember – we covered that a while ago ago.

Getting enough exercise applies to big people just as much as it does to little ones. Often I ask my friends if they want to come and ride bike with me and they say… nah – I’m having fun watching TV.

Yet there are so many fun things we can do that can be counted as exercise.

Like hula hooping . That’s my favourite. You can either buy one or make your own hula hoop out of irrigation pipe and a hose connector. Then tape it up to look pretty. Moms can do this too – it’s really good exercise, strengthens all your core muscles and gives you nicely toned arms and legs – especially if you learn some tricks. There are loads of how-to-do-tricks videos on the internet.

Another form of great exercise is jumping. Of course if you have a trampoline, or access to one, then it’s really easy to jump – but you can also skip using a skipping rope or play hop scotch. These all count as jumping.

You are wondering why jumping is good for you – aren’t you?

It releases toxins and builds bone mass. Obviously it also increases flexibility too. Bouncing around on a trampoline develops motor skills – because it allows a child’s brain to function bilaterally. That means it gets both sides of your brain and both sides of your body to work together so that you don’t lose your balance and fall over while bouncing! Apparently it also helps improve cellulite – that should get your mom’s attention.

Never forget – when you are outside having exercise, the sunlight encourages the production of Vitamin D – which is responsible for a healthy immune system and brain.

Our brain chemistry is also affected by posture, positioning, as well as specific movements. Try this next time you are stressed and feeling a bit like you cannot cope.

Stand up straight with your feet apart and your hands on your hips for a few minutes. Breathe deeply and imagine you have super powers… let me know if it works please.

All in all exercise makes you feel better – no matter what you do. Plus it’s good for your body too.

Get moving people.


Have fun and eggsperiment!

Sibo and eggs

Sometime last year we found out how good eggs were for us. Not only are they very nutritious but they are also good for our eyesight and for memory (maybe we should all chomp down eggs for breakfast when we are writing exams in future. (Here’s the blog link in case you missed it.

The other day I read about a cool trick that you can do with eggs. It’s really simple. All you need are two eggs. One you have to hard boil (make it 15 minutes to make sure) and once it’s been boiled, put it in the fridge so that it becomes the same temperature as the raw egg.

Now you have two eggs that look and feel the same. Nobody knows that there really is a difference.

This is what you do…

Spin the eggs and watch what happens.

One egg should spin while the other egg wobbles.

You can also lightly tough each of the eggs while they are spinning. One should stop quickly while the other keeps moving after you have touched it.

Ask your audience why they think this is happening.

And why is it happening…. the raw egg’s centre of gravity changes as the white and yolk move around inside the shell, causing the wobbling motion. Even after you touch the shell it continues moving. This is because of inertia – the same type of force you feel when you change direction or stop suddenly in a car – your body wants to move one way while the car wants you to do something different. Inertia causes the raw egg to spin even after you have stopped it, this contrasts with the solid white and yolk of the hard-boiled egg. It responds much quicker if you touch it.

This is a good eggsperiment to test a friend or someone in your family with – see if they can figure out how to tell the difference between the eggs (without smashing them of course) before showing them how your nifty trick actually works.

Then you can have a nice hardboiled egg sandwich!

Have an eggsellent week!


Get off that darn cell phone please!

sibo-having-fun-at-the-wimpy-2Sjoe – some adults are really a bit less than the best!

Mum and I were at the Wimpy having a milkshake.

We chose to sit outside so that I could investigate all the fun stuff to do – and let me tell you – there is plenty of fun stuff to do at the Wimpy in Petersfield. Mum likes to watch me whilst I play. But we have a rule that I have to come back every now and then and talk. I also have to eat all my food.

Actually I quite like having my mum all to myself – so I spend more time at the table than I do in the playground.

I was slurping down my shake, chatting away, when I noticed a little kid who came in with her parental agent. They sat down inside – far away from the play area.

The little girl looked at the slide longingly but sat down, good as gold. A few minutes later the man took out his cell phone and kept it glued to his ear for quite a long time.

After a while the girl ventured outside and had a look around the play area – rather apprehensively.  Then she went back inside. The man was on his phone again. She fiddled with the sauce and stuff. He carried on talking. Their food came and he still chatted.

Part of the treat of going out somewhere is having the person talk to you – not someone else!

I see this quite a lot. People go out and they spend more time looking at their cell phones than they do talking to the person that they are with.

Adults are the worst!  They order their kids food and seem to feel that is all that’s expected of them. Their job is done,  they can sit back and withdraw into their cellular worlds. They don’t need to interact with their children other than to help them cut up their food.

Sometimes the kids spend the whole time in the play area and don’t even eat much of their food.

Most of us want you to watch us, we want to talk to you and we want to you listen to us – with your eyes and your ears. You can’t do that if you are attached to your cell phone.

Put it away people!


Sweat is cool!

Sibo 5

Sjoe! Seems like one day it was the middle of winter and then all of a sudden –kapow!  It’s summertime.  What happened to Spring?

The rest of the country still seems to be having all up and down weather – but Gauteng is just plain hot already.

When it’s hot we get sweaty.  If we’ve run around the place or had a workout at the gym or even sometimes just sitting in the sun makes a person dampish. Sweat cools us off when our body temperature rises. It’s very necessary – otherwise we would overheat.

Here’s a little experiment you can do to see how sweat makes us feel cooler… all you need is 1 pair of socks and a fan.

Wet one sock with warm water and then wring it out so that it is damp but not dripping wet.

Put the socks on – with one foot in a wet sock and one foot in a dry sock (yes – really – do it).

Sit for about 5 minutes with the bottoms of your feet facing the blowing fan – do not get your toes caught in the whirling fan blades either please!

Does the foot with the wet sock feel different from the foot with the dry sock?

What happens is this… As the fan blows, the water in the damp sock evaporates. The heat from your foot gives the liquid molecules a little energy and they change from slow moving liquid to fast moving gas molecules. As the water in the sock evaporates into the air, it carries heat energy with it. The heat comes from your foot – so obviously your foot cools down. Sweat works the same way – the heat energy from your body gets transferred to your sweat and then into the air as the water in your sweat evaporates.

See! Sweat really is cool.

Here are some skinny facts…

The thickest skin is on the soles of your feet – 3mm.

The thinnest skin is on your eyelid – only 1mm

We all shed a complete layer of skin every month. The top layer consists of hard, horny dead cells and they flake off all the time. Most of the dust in your house is actually dead skin. Errgh gross! New skin is forming all the time below the old skin – that’s why we never run out of skin. Bodies are clever things hey?

Stay cool everybody!


Being polite when using public transport


Remember last week I told you that it was International Literacy Day on the 8th of September! Well, I am super stoked. My latest book – Sibo on the Move – which is all about the Gautrain and how you should behave when you travel on public transport – is being launched on this very day in the Rosebank Gautrain Station.

How cool is that!

Wait! I hear you say… how on earth did you, Sibo, get to write a book about the Gautrain?

Actually it’s quite a funny story. We were busy with the road safety book – Sibo Looks Right. Not sure if you remember but actually we crowdfunded for this book so that we could share it with as many kids as possible.  Sadly we did not get enough money to print thousands of copies to distribute – but we did print a few and share them around the place. Plus of course the e-book is on my website for anybody to freely read.

Magically (there was a bit more to it than that – but we’ll leave it there) Gautrain got to hear about my road safety book and asked us all to a meeting. We thought that maybe they wanted to donate some money towards this book but it turned out, in fact, that they wanted their own Sibo book.

This is the book that is going to be launched on the 8th of September.  Actually it is also going to be used for transport month. This happens in October every year.  There is a serious drive in Jozi to minimize traffic on the roads and everybody is encouraged to use public transport as much as possible.

In fact – to make sure that people actually do this, some of the roads are closed off – so that people have to use public transport to get where they want to go – or walk!

This is part of the reason that Sibo on the Move was written – to help people remember that there is some etiquette to be adhered to when travelling on trains and buses.

Simple things like…

  • don’t listen to loud music
  • don’t put your feet on the seats
  • don’t sit in the seats that are allocated for the disabled or elderly
  • wait until people get off the train or bus before you jump on… and
  • eergghhhh – never ever stick chewing gum under the seat – that is beyond gross.

Travel safely people!


PS – If you want to read this book – it’s also freely available on – just click on the cover of the book.

International Literacy Day

Sibo studying

For more than 40 years UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has been celebrating International Literacy Day on the 8th of September to remind everybody in the world that “literacy is a human right and it is the foundation of all learning”.

So true – if you can read you can just about do anything.  Reading sets you free!

Many of us take reading for granted and forget that there are still millions of people in this world who cannot read. I’m not talking about babies or young kids either. I’m talking about adults who just never had the chance to learn.

The sad thing today is that many kids have plenty of opportunities but just can’t be bothered to read. My friend Ginny had a stand selling books at the mall last year and some kids sauntered over to check them out. One dude picked up a book and leafed through it. His friend took it out of his hand and said “No ways! It’s a chapter book. We don’t like chapter books.”  Then they ran away laughing before Ginny had a chance to ask them what they meant by not liking chapter books?

Books are great. They open up so many different worlds. You can get lost in them and imagine that you are the heroine or the villain in the story. You can learn about new places and different countries. You can find out about different animals and how they live – ones that you will maybe never see in real life either (except in a zoo).

Of course the more you read the cleverer you get too!

Kindles and electronic readers are all the range these days  – they are useful if you are going away because then you can take plenty of books with you in one neat little package instead of lugging a suitcase!

Reading makes me happy when I feel sad. If I’m bored, I grab a book to read.

Even if I don’t really feel like reading a story – I can still read something that shows me how to make things – like the nifty beads I told you about last week.

Of course it’s not just books that we read; there are newspapers, magazines and comics as well. You can watch subtitles on the TV too.

If you’ve got a computer you can go to and read some books on-line free.

Read more!





Nifty Beads

Sibo beads 2

We made some seriously cool beads last week. They are really easy to make too. Here’s how you make beads out of salt dough…

Making the dough…

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of table salt
1 cup of water

Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and gradually add the water, mixing to a soft dough.

Remove the mixture from the bowl, put it on a flat surface and knead it for 10 minutes. (Yes I know your arms gets tired but you need to do this because it helps to create a good smooth textured  dough.)

Let the dough stand for about 20 minutes before you start working with it.

While your dough is having a rest (you can have one too) you need to cover some baking trays with grease proof paper or baking paper.

If you don’t use all of the dough at once – you can wrap it in plastic and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Making the beads….

Pinch of small amounts of dough and roll it into a nice round ball in the palm of your hand.  Carefully make a hole in the centre of the bead using a toothpick or something similar. Place it on the baking tray.

Make a hole through the centre. You must make the hole in the centre whilst the dough is still soft – it becomes very hard once it has dried completely.

You can, or course, make the beads any shape or size that you want to.

You can leave them to dry naturally in the air. This is environmentally friendly, but it does take around 48 hours for them to dry. Or you can dry them in a very cool oven ~60 degrees Celcius.  (Don’t be tempted to make the oven any hotter – the beads just crack and then they are useless.) It takes 3-4 hours for the beads to dry.

Once they are dry you can paint them different colours with craft or spray paint.    When the paint has dried, give them a coat of clear varnish or spray paint to make them nice and glossy.

Now you’re ready to thread your beads.  We use fishing nylon – but you can use anything – wool, twine,  leather – whatever you have. We also cut up slices of cork (from wine bottles) in between the big beads.

Go crazy – have fun.


Test Your Strength!


Sibo olympicsI suppose most of us must have seen or heard something about the Olympics that are going on in Brazil at this current time. Especially with that fabulous Wade van Niekerk breaking the world record – how awesome is that. I’m seriously holding thumbs for Caster Semenya as well.

All those athletes participating must be really fit, strong and tough – don’t you think?

Strength is actually a funny thing. No matter how strong a person is – you would imagine that everybody is strong enough to crumple up a few pieces of newspaper – right?

Here’s something to try out – see how strong you really are.

You need 5 full sheets of newspaper to do this experiment (and you better make sure your family has read it first).

This is what you do…

Hold your arm out straight and hold one piece of newspaper in just one hand. If you are right-handed use your left hand. If you are left-handed use your right hand.

Now crumple that sheet of paper up into a tiny ball – using just one hand.

Do it again with the next piece of paper – and again and again until you have crumpled up all five pieces of newspaper.

Is your arm tired?

I bet it is. See, we don’t use those muscles in our arms to do hard-crumpling jobs very often so your crumpling muscles tire out quickly. If you practice crumpling newspapers up like that – your whole arm will grow stronger.  (Maybe you better do it with both arms though – otherwise you might land up lopsided!)

SmileWe all have 656 different muscles in our bodies. Exercise increases their size and strength but will never add to their number. Even something as simple as walking involves 200 different muscles. Something to think about… you use 40 muscles when you frown… but only 15 when you smile!

Here’s your funny fact for the week… the fastest muscles are those that blink your eyelids. They allow you to blink up to 200 times a minute. We normally blink without thinking. Actually it is really hard NOT to blink and impossible to manage not to blink for as long as a minute. Go on – grab a friend and time each other trying not to blink for more than a minute.

Keep smiling!