Category: Road safety

Safe Travels

Since 2005 South Africa has been officially celebrating transport month in October. I thought we’d celebrate buy making not one, but two of my books available to read online.  Both “Sibo Looks Right” and “Sibo on the Move” involve transport. Head on over to my website and click on the links to read either book.

Road safety is such an important topic. Every year thousands of people die on the roads. There are various reasons for this – some really stupid ones like drinking and driving, speeding, talking on a cell phone or texting and often un-roadworthy vehicles are also to blame.

Sadly, often children are fatally involved in accidents and they are totally blameless – just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s not like we have control over who we drive with. Wish our parental agents would be a bit more responsible when it comes to taking chances with their children’s lives. We only have one, after all!

But children also have to take ownership of their own lives and make sure that they know the rules of the road and use it responsibly. 

If you are not sure what these are, ask your teacher or an adult. Or you can read all about them in my book. If you can’t be bothered to read the whole book – there’s a list at the back that is easy to read.

“Sibo on the Move” deals with etiquette when using public transport – especially things like the Gautrain system – buses and trains. They have some rules to specifically keep people safe – like standing behind the yellow line when the Gautrain is approaching. Did you know that you should always wait for passengers to get off the train first, before you get on? A thing like putting your feet on the seat is a real no-no too – you would not like to sit on a dirty seat – would you? Sticking chewing gum under the seat is also just revolting. Listening to loud music on your cell phone is rude because it disturbs other passengers. Being kind and considerate on public transport is important.

If you have not already been on the Gautrain – you should make a plan to go on a little trip – like my class did – we went to the National Zoological Gardens for a school outing. It was such fun!

Be safe and take care.

Sibo

Look where you are going!

The other day I had a bit of a crash whilst riding my bicycle round the garden! Thought mum would be very sympathetic but it turns out she wasn’t. She asked me how I crashed and I inadvertently admitted that I had not been concentrating properly. I’d seen a pretty bird fluttering around the place and was trying to check it out – did not see the hump in the garden, fell off and hurt my arm.

Instead of dishing me loads of love and tender words, mum yelled at me.  She said imagine if I was riding in the road and got side-tracked – I could get hit by a car.

I wanted to tell her that I’d never do that – but it was a bit difficult when I had already done it – although luckily not in the road.

She threatened to stop me from riding to school on my bike. That gave me a big scare. I promised to be ultra-careful in future.

My arm was sore for quite a few days and I realised how we mostly take our body bits for granted. I had trouble doing all sorts of things that I never usually even notice that I am doing – turning switches on, opening doors, writing, sleeping (it was the side I usually lie on), carrying my backpack, even eating properly with a knife and fork was a challenge.

I tried not to show mum just how sore it was because I was worried that she might have a hissy fit all over again and really ban me from riding to school.

There are 206 bones in a human body – and any of them would hurt like crazy if you broke or cracked one. Well, actually we are born with about 270 bones but by the time we reach adulthood some have fused together and there are 206 left. The crazy thing is – more than half of these bones are in our hands (54) and feet (52).

Luckily I did not break anything – just bruised my arm and a bit of muscle or something.

Bodies are precious things – we should remember to take care of them, eat properly, exercise (and look where we are going) and get enough sleep.

You can read “Sibo Looks Right” – the road safety book – on the website (www.sibo.co.za) anytime you want to.

Stay safe!

Sibo

Pledge a Book Please!

We all know that South Africa has terrible road safety stats. 

The Minister of Transport Mrs Diplou Peters is always saying that children need to learn about road safety.  It’s true. They do. The Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga is always saying that children must read more. That’s true too – they should.

Here we are… pleasing two ministers with one book!

Sibo Looks Right is a book that contains all the rules of the road, including cycling – in a fun, easy to read manner.

Best of all – you don’t have to take our word for it – you can click on the link and read the book for yourself. Free!

Our plan is to get as many companies and people to pledge books – once we have reached our target of 3000 books (we’d love to get more than this too) we will ask people to honour their pledges and deposit the corresponding amount so that Lets Look Publishers can print these books and we can distribute them to the children.

Science Centres in South Africa have kindly agreed to help with distributing the books.

Here’s the crunch – we’d really like to do this BEFORE Easter!

So we need you to dash off and pledge a book – or two – or as many as you want to.

Challenge other people to pledge books too.

Of course, if you pledge more than 50 books  we can put your name/logo in the back of the book. If you pledge 1000 books – we can put your logo in the front of the book. There are great advertising and marketing aspects to sponsoring books.

If you read Sibo Looks Right you will see that Nash Nissan sponsored a large quantity of money towards our initial crowdfunding campaign and so their logo was featured in the front of the book. If you look on the back cover – there are more logos and names – these are all the lovely people who helped make this book happen in the first place.

Now we need to print more books and get them out to schools and children – FREE.

Let’s make this happen. Please! Pledge now.

A million thanks

Sibo

PS – The Sibo Series is already being read in schools and libraries around the country. In fact, The North West Province Education Department has just ordered more than 500 each of 10 Sibo titles and they are being delivered as we speak!

A few small rules

Every now and then we all have to use public transport. Some of us even use it daily – we don’t have a choice.

We all know that it is not polite to put our feet on the seat – of a train, bus or taxi. It’s not fair to the next person who sits there. Our No feet on the seatshoes might be dirty and then that dirt would get onto the next person’s clothes. Yet… people still do it.

We also know that we should give up our seat if there is an elderly person, a preggy lady or even somebody who has small children who does not have a seat of their own. Even if we are tired and don’t feel like it – it’s the kind thing to do.

Some types of public transport have designated seats for the elderly or the disabled – these seats should be out of bounds for normal travelers, but sadly, people don’t care and they sit in those places anyway. They even have the cheek to be rude if they are asked to move.

It’s the same for parking places in malls, shopping centres and other public spaces that are allocated for handicapped people. They are usually wider than usual parking places to allow for wheelchairs to be loaded on and off the roof of the car. Usually they are also close to the entrances.  This does definitely not mean that somebody can park their big fat bakkie in that space to run into the shop quickly.

There are also spots in some shopping centres for Moms with tots. People sometimes consider that these folk are getting special treatment, but this isn’t the case. It’s not easy humping a pushchair in and out of the car whilst managing small children – let alone having to look for parking in some out-of-the-way spot. It just makes it easier for them to shop at that particular centre – that’s all.

But what’s really rude is to have a loud conversation on your cell phone whilst using public transport. Nobody wants to have to hear what you are ordering for supper, or what happened to you last night, or even what business deal you are doing. It’s even worse if you have to listen to somebody having a fight on the phone.

Please people! Let’s all try be a bit more considerate in future.

Sibo

Sibo visits Nash Nissan

A couple of weeks ago we – as in Uncle Pete, Ginny and I, went to visit Mike Ward, Dealer Principal at Nash Nissan. The aim was to hand over some copies of Sibo Looks Right – our road safety book published by Lets Look Publishers.

Uncle Pete and Mike Ward
Uncle Pete and Mike Ward

We had crowdfunded (via Thundafund) to raise money to publish this book and Nash Nissan was our main sponsor.  With their wonderful help to the tune of R33,600 we managed to raise enough to have an e-book as well as print a few hundred real books as well.

There’s a nice story behind the funding too. The Nash Nissan team (and Mike personally) had won the money as a prize in a national golf tournament and whilst they could have spent that cash on any other charitable organisation – they decided to back our story book and help kids in South Africa learn about road safety in a fun manner.

So off we went to visit.  We were going to hand over some of the real books to Mike – so that he could pass them on to local schools and also share some with his staff and other corporate people.

What a fabulous place Nash Nissan is.

It’s right there on Vootrekker Road in Alberton. Big, shiny and impressive looking!

The best thing about the place though, is that everybody is so very friendly. It felt just like a family atmosphere.  From the guy who operates the boom to let the cars in for a service, to the lady who keeps all the cars looking so shiny bright to the workshop staff… to Mike the boss!

Florencia and Mike
Florencia and Mike

He took us around and introduced us to lots of people. Each time he waved my book under the person’s nose and explained about the project. We took lots of pics.

I felt a bit like a movie star at the end of it all.

The lady mechanics I was telling you about - Lydia, Lazarus, Paul and Thuli
The lady mechanics I was telling you about – Lydia, Lazarus, Paul and Thuli

Mike showed us everything at Nash Nissan – from the new cars to the second hand cars to the workshop. We even went into the basement and checked out where they store their stock of new cars waiting to go onto the showroom floor.

He explained that these days it’s actually really easy to buy a car. You can do most of it online. They also have lots of special deals – crazy ones like you can get insurance free for the first few years.  They want everybody to be able to afford a car – none of this waiting for the bus or having to drive in dangerous taxis stuff.

Mike and Ginny
Mike and Ginny

You don’t even have to live in Gauteng to buy a car from Nash Nissan – you could test drive one at your local Nissan dealer and then actually buy it from Nash – they’ll deliver your brand new car to your doorstep.

How’s this for seriously cool… Nash Nissan employs lady mechanics. That’s right. Not one, but two ladies!  They did their apprenticeship there and turned out to be such great mechanics that they were given permanent employment as soon as they finished – quick chop chop – before anybody else could snap them up.

The sad thing was that not one of the other car dealerships was interested in giving lady mechanics a chance to do their apprenticeship. How silly is that? Don’t people know that we girls can do anything we put our minds to – even if it is traditionally a boy thing.

Yay for Nash Nissan for being so proactive and promoting gender equality!

Mike, George (from Nissan South Africa), Paul and Shoabe
Mike, George (from Nissan South Africa), Paul and Shoabe

All in all Pete, Ginny and I were bowled over by the awesomeness of Nash Nissan.  (And we’re not just saying that because they gave us money for the book – we were truly impressed.)

If you are looking for a new car please consider buying from Nash Nissan. Such awesome car dealers are few and far between.

Their tag line is “Committed to earning your trust” – you sure can bank on that!

Thanks Nash Nissan for caring about the safety of children all over the world.

Much love

Sibo

Lucky - the guy in charge of the boom.
Lucky – the guy in charge of the boom.

Ever wondered how a book gets written and published?

Sibo Looks Right cover small

In the case of the Sibo Series there are different scenarios. Several of the titles in the Sibo Series were straight up published by Lets Look Publishers. Okay – that sounds confusing – all of the books have been published by Lets Look  – but six of them were published without knowing that we had already sold x amount of copies up front.

A few years ago, it was guaranteed that the school system would snap up any worthwhile books that were published but since CAPS came in, things are not quite the same. A publisher can publish books (usually 3000 is the minimum print run) and they can sit in a store room and trickle out very very slowly.  As you can imagine, this is not good for business.

Some of our books have been commissioned. This means that x amount of books are ordered before we even write it on a particular topic.  Sibo Fights Malaria was one of those – The Centre for Sustainable Malaria Control and the Department of Health wanted a different way of telling people about what a nasty disease malaria is and how to avoid it. (Ginny knows about this first hand because she had malaria when she was a kid.)  So we wrote the book in conjunction with both of them and they are using it in schools in some areas in Limpopo. The good thing about this book is that students from the Education Department at the University of Pretoria are using this book in some of their projects – so we will get feedback as to whether it has any effect or not.

We’ve also written books to celebrate International Years – like Chemistry (funded by BASF, the chemical company).  Astronomy and Biodiversity were funded by SAASTA, who also commissioned a book about nanotechnology. That was interesting. We knew nothing about the topic when we started and had to do a lot of research. Strangely enough – it’s one of the most popular books in the series.

Then we get books that are sponsored – or partially sponsored…

Ginny feels strongly about animals being abused and hates the way kids get pets and then only love them when they are small and cute. Once they get bigger and more demanding they tend to be ignored. Pets are for life – not just for the two minutes they are adorable and tiny. Luckily she found a like-minded person who was willing to help sponsor Sibo Saves a Stray.  It was very hard to find funding for this book because most people would rather spend their money on the animals themselves, instead of educating kids (and their parents).  If you would like more information about the Sibo Series please visit the website.

Our latest title – Sibo Looks Right is all about road safety. This is a topic that is very important to both Peter Sanderson (Lets Look) and Ginny. The first draft of the book was written years ago and at various stages different people showed some interest in sponsoring the book. Sadly none of these prospects paid off and the story mouldered in Ginny’s laptop for way too long. Every time there was a road, taxi or bus accident or incident Ginny would hiss and spit and say that we have to get this knowledge out to the kids (and their parents) somehow. She’d fire off another round of frantic emails to try and drum up some support for the book.

Towards the end of last year, Chris (Ginny’s lovely husband) asked her if she had considered crowdfunding to get the book on road safety published.  She didn’t know much about crowdfunding and so got stuck in and did some research.  She also sent out a plea on Facebook and Thandi suggested that she try Thundafund as a South African crowdfunding platform.

Ginny is not one of those nice cautious people who likes to sit and brood and stew about things for any length of time. Once she’s got an idea it needs to get out of head immediately and get going. She bounced the idea of crowdfunding off Uncle Pete from Let’s Look and got the go ahead.

Thundafund were great – they replied immediately and sent a form to complete so they could see if the project was going to be worthwhile or not. Typically they would reply within a few days with the answer. Indeed they did reply positively within the allotted time.

There followed another learning curve. Part of a Thundafund campaign includes having a short video on the project. In our case it was not something that you could just go out and film. Ginny had to get cosy with some software she had not used much before and make a little video from scratch.

After all – the whole point of crowdfunding is for potential funders to think the project is worthwhile and not just a little whim of some bankrupt person who fancies doing something with other people’s money!crowdfunding

Ginny showed Chris her first attempt at being a filmmaker. No no no! He screeched before he’d even seen half of it. He ranted and raved for a few minutes about what he expected to see. She considered sulking and pouting – she hates it when he pulls his “Professor” tone on her and treats her like one of his students – but she grudgingly acknowledged that he had a point.

A new and vastly improved video clip was made that passed muster on its first showing.

The campaign went live. We had to reach the tipping point in 90 days otherwise all the money that had been donated would be returned to the backers. Pete, Sharon, Chris and Ginny all promptly plugged cash into the campaign to start it off.

The tipping point was just enough to pay the layout artist and the illustrator. If we got enough money to do this we’d be able to have an e-book at least.  Of course first prize was R140,000 so that we could print 3000 books and distribute them freely to kids and schools around the country.

There were various “rewards” that could be purchased. For R500 you could have your child’s name written into the story line. R300 and your logo would be displayed on the inside cover. R100 got your name mentioned. Everybody who donated would obviously receive an e-book as well.

A few days into the campaign – Mike Ward from Nash Nissan in Alberton catapulted the campaign from a “wannabe-book” to a “this-is-now-happening-book” with his very generous donation of R33600!  This meant we had passed the tipping point and could sleep again.

Nash Nissan

The Department of Arts and Culture also decided it was a worthwhile project to back and donated several thousand rand to the campaign as well.

There were lots of lovely friends and acquaintances, not to mention family members who all backed our project. These donations came in from all over the world too!  Ginny contacted as many of the car companies as possible – for a measly R300 they could have their logo included in the book. To no avail – they all had some sappy excuse or other. Even Peugeot – and Chris had just bought a brand new car from them.

We also tried repeatedly to get the attention of the major radio stations. This might have made a great difference as far as funding was concerned. It’s not like we were trying to make money out of the project – we wanted to be able to distribute as many books to the children as possible. Road safety is an issue.

Pippa Hudson at Cape Talk interviewed Ginny but by that stage there were only a few hours left to the campaign.

After 90 days we had a grand total of R54,550.  Whilst not as much as we hoped for, it was enough to publish an e-book as well as printing 800 copies.

Ginny realised that she had not exactly done her homework prior to starting the Thundafund campaign. Whilst she’s quite good at bombing people on email and Facebook, her tweeting habits left a lot to be desired. This is an integral part of crowdfunding and we sucked at it. It’s something that she is working on to promote the book.

After much haggling and to-ing and fro-ing between, Ginny, Uncle Pete, the layout artist and illustrator – we finally have a product that we are very proud of and are excited to share it with the world.

The files went to the printers this morning and the e-book will be ready in the next few days.

Lets Look Publishers and Ginny are very grateful to all those who helped make this book happen. We hope and trust that it might save some of our precious children’s lives (and those of their parents).

 

PS – If there is anybody out there who missed this campaign and would like to contribute now – it’s never too late – we can print more books and get them out there – contact Ginny.

Back to school

Miss Ball and Sibo

Sjoe! I can’t believe that the holidays are over and it’s school time again.

This year started out a tad on the sucky side.  I overslept and mum had to come and wake me up the first day. I had set my alarm clock because Wayne and I wanted to get to school  long before the bell rang.

Somehow I did not set the alarm properly and instead of waking up nice and early to get ready peacefully and calmly – I ended up being in a big fat rush.

First I buttoned my shirt up wrongly and then I could not find my socks. Totally ridiculous because I knew I had put them out the night before. They were all neat and tidy on my chair with the rest of my uniform. In my hurried scramble they had rolled off under my desk. I had to grovel around to find them which took extra time.

I ended up snarfing down a piece of toast for breakfast instead of sitting quietly and enjoying my cornflakes. Plus I forgot to pack in my lunch and mum had to come charging down the garden path in her dressing gown. This really annoyed her. She does not like going outside unless she is properly dressed.

Wayne was standing at the gate tapping his toes. He too was not impressed that I was late.

We thought about running but then remembered that it’s not good to run in case you trip and land up in the road. So we walked really fast.

It was great to see our friends again. There were also some new kids lurking around on the outskirts of the hubbub going on in the playground. They looked all shy and insecure.

Shame – it’s horrible to be a new kid at school and not know anybody. Wayne, Lizzie and I went and chatted to them. Turned out that one of the new guys is in our class and he’s really nice.

It’s great to know that there is a whole year ahead of us where we can learn new things, meet new people and do different exciting stuff. Our new teacher is quite nice too.

Hope your first day at school was good.

See you next week.

Sibo

Cool word of the week.

Word: Hubbub
Meaning: A noisy situation
Example: The hubbub in the class room quietened down when the new teacher walked in.

Crowdfunding for Sibo Looks Right.

Sibo cutie face

A couple of months ago (sjoe – so long – time really does fly) I told you I’d found out about a weird way to make money.

Called crowdfunding – remember?

When lots of people give small amounts of money towards a project in order to make it happen.

My friend Ginny is actually doing one of these campaigns and so far they have raised R47,450 towards our book on road safety. That’s not too shabby hey?

Their tipping point – this is the amount of money that you have to raise to be able to keep all the money that you have already raised towards the project – has long since been passed.

In their case, they want to raise R140,000 in order to print 3000 “Sibo Looks Right” books on road safety and give them out free to schools and libraries around South Africa. Their tipping point was R25,000. When they reached that amount they knew they would be able to make an e-book which they will be able to share with many kids and their parents around the world – never mind only in South Africa.

Thanks to an incredibly generous donation from Nash Nissan in Alberton they passed this tipping point in just three days of starting their campaign. How awesome. These guys really care about kids and road safety.

You could donate too – if you wanted to. They call them “rewards” and for just R100 you could get your name written in the back of the book to show that you care. You’d also get the e-link to the book to read and share.

This is cool – another of the “rewards” is if, for instance, you had a motor dealership – you could have your logo in the book. And maybe challenge other dealers that you know to also contribute towards the project. It’s only R300 – not that much to show that you really care about road safety. Hey? These are great marketing opportunities.  Even if we only reach the R80,000 mark – we’ll be printing 1000 books. Then you could have some of the real books to distribute to your local school – with your logo on it.

Check it out. You might also want to raise funds like this one day.

Remember, in the meantime… look right, look left and look right again before crossing the road.

Be safe,

Sibo

A fun weekend activity

Sibo imagining her Dad on a bike

Many people would not really have known about the EcoMobility World Festival which is currently running in Sandton for the month of October if the catastrophe of the pedestrian bridge collapsing had not occurred.  That’s so very sad and my heart goes out to the family of those people who lost their lives and were injured.

The whole point of this festival is supposed to underline the fact that the Sandton area has simply become too congested. There’s not enough parking, too many cars are making the roads just nasty.

So certain roads have been closed down for the month and people have been encouraged to use public transport – like buses and the Gautrain. People have also been encouraged to ride to work on bicycles and indulge in a bit of exercise and walk or run to work or the shops.

Of course, you can imagine that there was lots of chaos the first few days. In fact, some people are still complaining. Others are having fun and enjoying the opportunity to be able to cycle easily around the place.

Tucked away in a little nookie – a spot run by @ColouredCube, is a pop-up museum that brings to life “Our History of Transport”.

If you come on the Gautrain, at the top of the stairs (after the turnstiles) you turn left into West Street, follow the green stop signs and look for the white tent entrance on the left. Go passed the test track through a gate to the little grey building that says “Our History of Transport”.

This is uniquely activated as an interactive multi-sensory exhibition – the transit time-line traverses key turning points in our history, examines our current situation and shares exciting news about future transport possibilities.

It’s a moving exhibition and includes cool stuff like life-size vehicles, audio visual materials, storytelling and game playing. This means… it’s something for everybody!

My friend Ginny is going to be reading Sibo Likes Life in that very spot on Saturday 24th October whilst she hula hoops using a huge hoop. She has the 15h30 story telling slot, but this particular expo is open from 10h00 to 19h00 on weekends with guided tours at 10h30, 14h30 and 16h30.

If you want to find out more information you could call 082 4503356.

For more information about the EcoMobility Festival.

Come visit and have some fun.

See you there,

Sibo

Cool word of the week: traverse
Meaning: Crosses, navigates
Example: Big ships traverse the ocean.

Weird ways of making things happen.

Sibo and Lizzie 2

I found out about a new thing the other day. Well, I mean, I am always learning new things – that’s why we go to school, but I did not learn about this at school.

It’s something called crowdfunding.

Huh! I hear you say. What on earth is that?

It’s when lots of people give a little bit of money so that a large amount can be raised so that something can happen. Like an event… or producing a music DVD, or publishing a book.

I thought it was quite a cool idea.

Say you want to do something – for instance my friend Ginny wants to bring out a Sibo (yes – yay – that’s me) book on Road Safety – “Sibo Looks Left” will be the title. But because times are tough and the schooling system is interesting, it is no longer feasible for publishers to just publish books willy-nilly anymore.

With crowdfunding, you put a sort of advert on the internet for your project. There are various different service providers who provide platforms for these adverts, and you have to pass certain criteria. They don’t just accept any project.

Basically you offer rewards for support (the support comes in the form of cash). For instance, in our case if you pledge R50 towards the book – you will receive a digi-book and get your name printed in the book as a supporter. There are other rewards too – like if you pledge more money you could have your company’s logo on the inside front cover… or… you could even have one of Sibo’s friends in the story with your child’s name. Cool hey!

It’s a fact – far too many kids get killed on the roads for stupid reasons.  Maybe this book will help a little bit. Gently inform kids (and their parents) about the rules of the road.

But here’s the most important bit – you will know that you have helped in the process of getting books given to children who can’t afford to buy them themselves.

They will get a free book which they can read over and over.

Yoh! I can’t bear to think that some people don’t even own one single book. That’s just terrible. But it’s even worse to think that somebody might get hurt or killed just because they did not realise what they were doing on the road was dangerous.

Buckle up!

Sibo

 

Your new word for the week:

Word:  willy-nilly

Meaning:  haphazard, random

Example… go find the example in the text above. (Sneaky hey!)