If a job is worth doing…

Yoh! I got into trouble the other day. It was my turn to wash dishes and I did a rather sloppy job because I wasn’t in the mood for dishwashing. I don’t see why we can’t have a dishwasher like some of my friends have, but mum says we don’t need one and there is no space in the kitchen anyway.

Mum unpacked the washing up rack the next morning and had to rewash most of the dishes. Luckily I was at school and she had calmed down by the time I got home. She was also annoyed with me for piling stuff on the rack higgledy piggledy – so it nearly all came crashing down when she removed one dish.

The first thing she said when I got home was… “Sibo. If a job is worth doing – it is worth doing properly!”

I gave her a hug and said sorry – I’d been trying to save water. She wagged her finger at me and said it was a lame excuse – we did not live in Cape Town and there was enough water in Gauteng to wash dishes properly. As punishment she was making me wash dishes three nights in a row and was going to be doing an inspection every morning. If she found one bit of dirt – she’d dock my pocket money.

Eish – it’s nearly holiday season. I need every bit of pocket money.

According to Google there are rules about washing dishes.

The first thing is to scrape all the left over bits into the bin.  If a pot or dish is really dirty, you may need to soak it first.

The water needs to be nice and hot with dishwashing soap in it. (Duh!)

This is where it gets sticky. Some people say you should wash the flatware (knives and forks etc) first because you put those in your mouth. Others say you should wash the cleanest things first, like glasses – because they don’t muck up the water too much. Then you wash plates and dishes and lastly pots.

Cutlery gets stashed with the handle facing down.

You are also supposed to rinse the soapy water off in clean hot water.  Apparently if your water is the right temperature, the dishes almost dry themselves.

I guess mum was right. If you’re going to do something, you might as well do a good job of it!


Christmas is Coming.

Sibo cutie face

Eish! Seems like this year went very fast – to me, anyway.

The other day mum and I went to the mall and guess what… the shops are all full of Christmassy stuff. There are crackers, Christmas lights and the toy isles are starting to look very interesting. I got all excited but mum sighed and said that each year the shops get their Christmas stuff in earlier and earlier and by the time Christmas actually arrived you were so sick of Jingle Bells you could hooch.

I thought she was completely crazy but decided not to say a word.

When we got home I rattled my piggy bank and was a tad concerned to see that it is not very jingly. In fact it is downright empty.

I made a deal with mum. She will pay me for extra chores – things like vacuuming and doing different odd jobs obviously – not my usual tasks like washing dishes, picking up my dog’s pooh and stuff like that.

Dad says if I help in the garden, he’ll pay me too.

Even so, I don’t think I am going to have enough money to buy cool Christmas presents for everybody. I am going to have to get crafty…

Very crafty!

Ultra crafty in fact. I am going to have to make my presents this year. Good job I realised now already because it gives me enough time to get things done.

I’m planning on making some stuff out of Paper Mache. I know we’ve done this before – but really – it remains one of the easiest and yet nicest ways of making awesome things using recycled plastic stuff like yogurt containers and old newspapers or magazines.  You can transform simple junk into lovely useful pencil holders, boxes or mobiles – just by using a bit of imagination.

You can use wallpaper glue or you can make your own glue using water and flour. It’s not hard and it does not cost much.  Once you’ve finished sticking on several layers (remember to let them dry in-between) you can paint your article to make it look really nice.

The other day a friend of mine made a cool hat stand using a balloon and the top of a coke bottle. Then she painted a face on it. I bet you could use something like that for necklaces or scarves as well.

If you need help with your Paper Mache – check out my website – www.sibo.co.za

Get busy!


That time of year… exams again!


Firstly and very importantly… do not leave your studying until the last minute.

Give yourself enough time to study. Seriously – cramming is not the best way to try and get good results. But before you even start studying, tidy up the area when you are going to be sitting when you study. It’s hard to concentrate when there is lots of mess around you. Make sure you are comfortable, have enough space and that you have sufficient light – especially if you are going to be working at night.

Next – make a list of how many exams you have and when you have to write them. Then make a timetable so you can see how much time you have to study for each exam. Remember to schedule in breaks as well. After studying for 45-50 minutes you should take a 10 minute break. Make sure you take some of those breaks in the sunshine too – Vitamin D is very good for your brain.

(And… don’t waste lots of time making a really awesome timetable just so you don’t have to start studying. That is called PROCRASTINATION!)

Use flow charts and diagrams to help you study. Visual aids really do work.

Make flash cards and keep them handy. Get your parental agents to help you. Explaining things to other people is a great way to get everything organised in your head and help you remember.

You might also want to think about organising study groups with friends. Sometimes it is great to bounce questions off other people. But make sure that you stay focussed.

Another good thing to remember is that you should try and avoid junk food when you are studying. Believe it or not – fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries have been proven to aid concentration and memory. Snack on raw veggies and fruit rather than sweets and chips. Also make sure that you have a good healthy meal before you go and write your exam.

Drink plenty of water – keeping your brain well hydrated is very important so that it works best.

Last but definitely not least – remember to get enough sleep. If you have been cramming all night and are tired when you go to write your exam… you probably won’t remember as much as you should.

Good luck!


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 www.sibo.co.za – just click on the cover of the book.

Cycle Safely

A couple of months ago my Grandparents kindly gave me a bicycle because I got good grades at school.

It’s my first “big” bike – if you know what I mean – a gorgeous blue one that I can ride to school on. I was so excited!

Mum made me buy a cycling helmet before I was even allowed to think about cycling on the road.

She also got Dad to teach my friend Lizzie and me the stuff to check on your bike before you set off and about the rules of the road.

First thing to check… are the tyres okay? Flat tyres are just nasty. Make sure your bike has a pump attached to it.

Does your bike have lights and are they working. (If you are planning on cycling when it is dark – you better jolly well have some lights on your bike.)

You also need to make sure that the seat of your bike and the handlebars are set to the correct height. It’s very dangerous to cycle if you can’t sit comfortably or get on and off easily.

Next – ensure that your wheels spin freely.

Lastly – always check your brakes and make sure they are in good working order.

It’s really not hard. Only takes a few seconds – but it could stop you from having a nasty accident or getting stuck.

Once Dad had finished teaching Lizzie and I how to check our bikes he then told us about the rules of the road.

Page 24 - bike signals

Firstly you must always cycle on the left side with the traffic. Remember this is different to walking – where you should walk facing the oncoming traffic. You should always obey traffic signals, lights and road markings. They are not meant for cars only. They definitely apply to cyclists too.

At traffic lights – get off your bike and stand by the side. Do not ride across a zebra crossing either – get off and wheel your bike across.

Another very important thing to remember is always make eye contact with motorists. Make sure that they have seen you and be very careful if you are in their blind spot when you are passing by.

It’s such a fabulous feeling to whizz along the road – as long as you do it carefully.

Happy cycling!


PS – If you want to read a copy of my latest book – Sibo Looks Right – all about road safety – visit the website to find out how. It’s free!


Sibo and the rainbowDid you know that 2015 is International Year of Light and Light-Based technologies?

Probably we mostly think of light as being that stuff that Eskom turns off every now and then, but it’s more, much much more.

Can you think of some other ways that light is used?

Hmmm… what about CD or DVD players – they use lasers. In 1982 CD players became the first laser equipped device readily found in the home.

Ooohhh – but what exactly is a laser?

Well, regular light from the sun or from a light bulb really contains all the colours of the rainbow. But you have to split it up to see this. You can split white light up into its colours using a prism (raindrops act like tiny prisms when they make a rainbow in the sky).

A laser is a special source of light of only one pure colour (or wavelength). You can’t break up laser light into other colours.

So what is so cool about laser light?

They can focus. It’s not like a torch at all. Just think when you shine a torch, the beam of light goes wider and wider. But a laser beam can be focussed to a very small spot (it does not spread out) and can shine for long distances.

That laser spot contains lots of energy. So much so that it can even be used for cutting stuff like thick metal.

Even more exciting, small laser beams are used in surgery, like scalpels.


BUT… lasers can be extremely dangerous if used irresponsibly. Recently, some kids at school got permanent eye damage from fooling around with laser pointers. In fact, you are now no longer allowed to take lasers to school in the Gauteng province. Shining a laser pointer into somebody’s eye is just silly. Don’t do it.

We haven’t even touched the surface about all the cool stuff lasers can do. If you know of some other uses of lasers – why don’t you write me a letter care of the African Reporter – I’d love to hear from you. Or email me.

If you visit my website – http://www.sibo.co.za you’ll find a cool experiment on how to bend light.


Cool word for the week: Photonics

Meaning: Photonics is the science and technology of generating, controlling and detecting photons, which are particles of light.

Example: When I grow up I want to study photonics.

International Book Giving Day

Hey everybody!

Did you know… 14th of February is International Book Giving Day. Yes yes, I know it’s also Valentine’s Day – but let’s ignore that one for the moment because really – everybody knows about Valentine’s Day already, but who knew it was International Book Giving Day?

So I was thinking… if you’ve got some books that you have outgrown or finished reading or simply don’t have space for anymore – maybe you could drop them off at the Addie offices and they could give them to kids or schools that don’t have lots of books.

Don’t you think that’s an awesome idea?

And they do not have to be only children’s books – maybe your parental agents (aka your mom /dad guardian / whoever) have novels or other books that they would be prepared to give away too.

Or… your school or church could organise a book drive – collect up lots of books and pass them over to people who don’t have books of their own.

Or you could donate some books to the local hospital.

If you think of a clever idea of who and how to donate books to – email me quickly (sibo@sibo.co.za) and let me know so that we can share it with everybody else… in the world.

Yes! That’s what “International” means – it means that the whole world is going to be giving books on the 14th of February.

The thought of living in a world without books gives me the heebie-jeebies (remember – that’s the word we learnt last week).  Sad to say though – too many children in South Africa don’t own a single book of their own.

We can all make a difference to somebody’s life and give a book.

Or maybe you are one of the people who do not have a book of your own. Just think – you might be able to get one on the 14th February.

If you are feeling really generous, you can buy a brand new book and donate it to somebody who needs it. Ginny is going to do this. She’s going to donate some of the books in the Sibo Series to a needy school.

Looking forward to hearing from you.



Your new word for the week:

Word:  vim

Meaning:  (noun) Lively spirit; energy;  enthusiasm

Example: Sibo is full of vim when it comes to International Book Reading Day!