Happy Days

Hope you all had a very HAPPY Human Rights Day on the 21st of March. Did you know it was also International Day of Forests on the same day? The 20th was International Day of Happiness.  I guess most people in South Africa were really happy on that day because they knew that the next day was a public holiday.

The 22nd of March is World Water Day.  Luckily we no longer have water restrictions because our dams are much fuller than they were at the end of last year, but poor old Cape Town is in a terrible mess.  They actually only have a few days of water left. Everybody there is saving water like crazy.

We all take water for granted but it really is very precious stuff. Without it we would all die. It is a simple as that.

Often people say that your body is made up of 95% of water. This is not true – babies typically have around 78% body water when they are born, but this drops down to 65% by the time they turn one year old. From then on it just gets less.  Elderly people have around 50% of water in their bodies. Also men have more water than women do.

Did you know that when you are feeling thirsty – you have already lost a percentage of your body water and are on your way to being dehydrated?  These are the symptoms of dehydration: dark urine, joint or muscle sores, crankiness, constipation, fatigue and dry lips.

In honour of World Water Day we are making my book “Sibo Saves Water” available to read freely on the website for the rest of the month. Just click on the link above and then click on the cover of the book.  If you have trouble opening it, try a different browser – it seems like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox do not open this file at the moment. If you ever wondered where water comes from, what happens to it and where it goes to…  read this book.

Please remember to still save water where ever you can. The really easy ways are to take a shorter shower, wash your car with a bucket instead of a hose pipe (yes – I know it’s not such fun but it really does save a lot of water) and water your garden either early in the morning or later in the evening. You can also recycle your bath water into the garden – but don’t use that “grey” water on your veggie garden please.

Have a great week!



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 Waterwise@randwater.co.za

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

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!


Butts are a bit of a problem

Sibo hands

Lately scientists have figured out that cigarette butts are one of the most abundant types of litter found around. Studies estimate that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts find their way into the environment each year.

Much worse, it’s one of nastiest, deadliest forms of waste.

People who would not dream of pitching a cool drink tin out of the car window will happily chuck a burning butt out. Not particularly caring that it can set fire to something. Burning butts are often the cause of serious veldt fires.

People also drop them on pavements or into gutters, where the wind blows them into storm waters and other places.

They also flick butts casually into water – dams, the sea and rivers.

You probably wouldn’t flick a cigarette butt into your swimming pool – but why not? Because you or your family might swallow it whilst swimming and that would be horrible.

So why not care if a fish, bird or animal chomps it instead?

Cigarette butts are tiny little bundles of toxins. They are poisonous. They get into our marine ecosystems and cause havoc with the wildlife and the quality of the water.

We all know that water is extremely precious.

Due to the fact that cigarette filters are specifically designed to accumulate toxins, each butt can contain up to 60 known human carcinogens including… arsenic, formaldehyde, chromium and lead. In fact, there are around 1,400 potential chemical additives.

Toxicological data has shown that these chemicals from discarded butts are capable of leaching into surrounding water where they can hurt aquatic life. Nicotine has been shown to be lethal to various fish, crustaceans, zooplankton, and other aquatic organisms, as well as being a known insecticide.

On top of leeching toxins, cigarette butts present an ingestion, choking and poisoning hazard to wildlife who mistake them for dinner!

Cigarette filters are also composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that can hang around in the environment for long periods of time. Plastics of this sort have been found in the stomachs of sea turtles, fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures.

You know what is also really scary – even those people who put their cigarettes out in the designated places have no guarantee that their butts won’t also end up in the water. The bins get emptied. Butts are chucked onto rubbish dumps. Here they are blown around and it’s highly likely that they end up where they shouldn’t as well.

So what is the answer?  Stop smoking of course!

New Year’s Resolutions

Sibo bed-head

Hi Everybody!

I hope that you all had a happy and peaceful festive season. I can’t believe that it’s almost time to go back to school.

I decided to make some New Year’s Resolutions – not too many because it is always hard to keep them. We usually start off with such good intentions and then get lazy or we just can’t be bothered. In fact, a few weeks into the year it seems like most or all of them have fallen by the wayside.

I decided to keep mine really simple as well.

I’ve written them out and stuck them up on the wall by my bed – so I can remember them each day.

  1. Smile at a stranger every single day. (More than one is even better.)
  2. Be grateful for all the lovely stuff that I have (even if I sometimes wish I had something else).
  3. Be nicer to Mum and Dad. (I can only have one hissy fit a week.)
  4. Make friends with kids who look lonely at school.
  5. Save as much water as I can. (Turn the tap off when I brush my teeth.)
  6. Remind Mum to recycle more. (Even if it means taking stuff out of the trash.)
  7. Ride my bike to school at least 3 times a week

See! They are not really hard ones – are they?  I should at least manage to do half of them.

The smiling stuff is really easy – and you know – people tend to smile back at you, which makes you feel good.

Number 6 might cause me to have some of my allotment of hissy fits with Mum. She gets fed up when I remind her to recycle – but I’m not ready to give up yet.

Number 7 might be a bit hard too, especially when it’s so hot. But the exercise is good for me and it saves my Mum petrol. Plus my friend Lizzie and I have great fun cycling to school. We are very careful because there are lots of hooligans driving around on the road who don’t always worry about bicycles.

They seem to think that we don’t have any right to be on the road – but we do.  Although some cyclists just cruise straight through stop signs or red robots – they don’t bother to adhere to the rules of the road or traffic signs.

That’s just silly.

Hope that 2016 is a great year for all of us.

Be happy


Water crisis

Sibo having a shorter shower

Sjoe! It’s been hot lately.

Very very hot. Usually we would have had quite a bit of rain by now – but that is not the case this year.

In fact, it’s so bad that certain areas in Gauteng have been put on water saving programmes. Like they are not allowed to water their gardens between six o’clock in the morning and six o’clock in the evening. This makes a lot of sense – if you water when the sun is shining it just evaporates and the water is gone.

You are also only allowed to wash your car with a bucket – no hose pipes. Hose pipes waste lots of water when it comes to washing cars. Anyway – who cares if cars get a bit dirty when we are having a water crisis? Much more important that there is water to drink and bathe in than cars are clean and shiny. Or I think so anyway.

People are not allowed to fill up their swimming pools either.  So if you are lucky enough to have a pool in your garden – swim nicely in it. The sun will suck up enough water without you wasting it by jumping in and splashing out lots of water.

Remember all the old basics – turn the tap off when you are brushing your teeth. Have a shower instead of a bath. And make it a quick shower too.

If you put a brick (or even half a brick) in your toilet cistern – it uses less water.

Make sure there are no leaky taps in your house. It does not seem like a few drips would matter much but you’d be absolutely amazed at how quickly they add up into litres and litres of wasted water.

Also, fill your washing machine up with clothes when you do a load –half loads are a huge waste of water.

You can spray a bit of water into a fan and stand in front of it – it’s a great way of keeping cool.

Water is very precious – we are using the same stuff that the dinosaurs used. It’s a cycle.

You can go check out the water cycle on my webpage if you are interested http://www.sibo.co.za/page12.html

Remember every drop counts!



Career of the week: hydrology

Meaning: a science dealing with the properties, distribution, and circulation of water on and below the earth’s surface and in the atmosphere.


Hullo hullo!

Hope that you are all fine and still enjoying school.

I was gazing out of the window the other day instead of doing my homework – it was raining. Not just gentle droplets of rain either. Great heaving cascades of water were streaming from the sky. I thought to myself… Sjoe… and they talk about water shortages. Fat joke!

So I decided to do a bit of research about why water is so precious. I mean, that’s what they’re always saying… save water Sibo. Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth Sibo. Take shorter showers Sibo. And yet… when it was my turn to wash the dishes and I told Mum that I was going to leave them until tomorrow when there would be more to wash and I would be saving a whole sink full of water – she was not amused. Feh! Thought it was a brilliant water saving idea.

Anyway – I found out some interesting stuff. Such as… we are still drinking the same water that the dinosaurs once drank (and then widdled out!). Eeergh gross yuk foef I hear you say. But it’s true.

It’s easy to think that when you flush the loo, or pull the plug out, that that water disappears down the drain for ever. But it goes to a municipal facility where it gets cleaned up and used again. That’s why we should not throw gunk down the drain. Especially not disgusting old motor oil, medicine or stuff like that. It makes it even harder to clean and they have to use more chemicals.

You all know how the water cycle works hey? Water comes down from the sky, travels around the earth for a while, runs off into rivers and underground water tables and then eventually gets sucked back up to the sky again. I’ve got a great picture of this in one of my books. Go and have a look at it – or download it if you want to – free. http://www.sibo.co.za/page12.html

So now I’m full of vim and vigour when it comes to saving water – and I’ve checked to see none of our taps are leaking either.

Go check your taps too.



Your new word for the week:

Word:  vamoose (va-MOOS  –  is how you say it)

Meaning:  to leave in a hurry

Example: We had to vamoose this morning because we were late for school.