This week’s featured blogger is Niki Malherbe, a blogging mom of four children who is also a qualified attorney with post-graduate qualifications in tax and corporate law and in investment and estate planning as well as conveyancing! Whew I’m tired just thinking about all of that. If that isn’t enough Niki has ALSO written and published 2 books!
She now works as a law lecturer with a special interest in ethics as well as a researcher and writer. I’m surprised she has time for a blog, but she does! And during lockdown she has been writing a daily diary. I’m impressed because if I am honest I’ve been avoiding my blog during this lockdown season. Strange behaviour I know, but we all process differently!
So what else does Niki blog about? Well expect a little bit of parenting, motherhood, gender issues and gender discrimination, marriage, relationships, law, travel, books and an assortment of other contemporary issues… Inspiring indeed!
Read on to find out more about Niki
What I know, is, without doubt, not even fraction of what I still want to know! The older I get, the more I realise how infinitely magnificent and varied the world is, not only in terms of tangible and rich resources such as are provided in nature with the abundance of bird life and vegetation and the whole realm of the natural world, but simply in terms of what there is to learn about humanity itself. The way in which we relate to one another in terms of our diverse cultural identities, the structure of families and the dynamics within individual relationships of husband and wife, parent and child, and the psychological ramifications of all this are fascinating. Then, of course there are the areas of history and genealogy. Where do we come from? Does it play a role in how we behave, and can it affect how we see the future? So, what do I know? Very little about what there is really is to know!
What I know about myself, however, is that I think I’m finally beginning to understand the authentic part of who I am. What we are taught, throughout our lives from a young age is to achieve and strive: pursue your education to the full, be disciplined and ambitious and continue to ensure your independence. Then, we get to an age where we start to look for a life partner because by nature, we are designed that way: someone we want to journey with who sees life the way we do and will complement the way we are. Then, we try and create a life together: keep working, keep loving, have children and then keep on carrying on! It can all amount to a very tedious and monotonous treadmill if you don’t take stock along the way and take time to catch the moments.
So, what I know now is that all of this happens in a flash. One minute you’re recklessly racing to another varsity party, then you’re strutting your stuff in the corporate world and before you know it, you’ve changed your toddler’s last nappy and are wondering where to celebrate your oldest child’s own graduation party!
I now know what is important truly to me and what I value most. I understand that life is made up of a series of memorable moments and that we need to be more mindful of the way in which we choose to spend them. This may sound fluffy and fancy if you construe it in a cliched, philosophical way, but essentially what it means is, don’t miss the moment!
Are the things that bring me the most joy which I suppose is my family. Make no mistake, they also bring me the most frustration and agony! What I love most is to spend my time in the company of books, to walk barefoot on an empty beach close to the surf, to hike our extraordinary mountains, to sip a perfectly hot cappuccino, and to watch the first rays of a sunrise. I love the comfort of a blazing winter fire, the smoothness of a good red wine and the fizz of a pink champagne in the height of summer. Time in nature, especially in a game reserve at the crack of dawn – the best! Music is another great love. Most genres of music I love, but I’m especially fond of jazz (at any time of the day), classical (on a Sunday morning or late in the evening) and contemporary pop – whenever! I’m a lover of travel (by plane or long road trips) and equally love the thought of returning home.
As much as possible. It seems to be the thing that occupies my time the most. That, and writing of course. If it’s for research for a new book then it would be specifically on that topic, whatever it may be, otherwise I generally favour non-fiction and in particular, memoir and biographies. I find that I’ve been reading a lot more fiction lately though in the hope of learning how it’s done. I spend many hours scrolling through newspaper articles and journals from the many links on social media and try to keep up with some of the latest precedents in the legal world by way of daily newsletters. And tons of time reading emails of course! I’m not a big blog reader I’m afraid and tend to use my blog as a way of expressing myself rather than another source of reading material. There is just too much out here!
Mmmm…what do I want? I want to live for as long as possible in order to witness and be a part of the lives of my four children; to support and try to ensure that they lead happy, healthy fulfilling lives, to see more of my aging parents and appreciate the time I have with them, to read all the books I can lay my hands on, to write at least another 10 books; to continue a passionate relationship with my husband; to travel as much as possible. World peace? A kinder humanity? Equal resources for all? A vaguely satisfactory resolution of the Corona pandemic with the least loss of lives? Is that too many?
Nothing special. I’m most comfortable in my jeans and T-shirts which I wear most days now that I work from home. My favourite clothes are generally grey in colour (sorry, it sounds rather dull!) and is probably an old grey cabled jersey from Pick ‘n Pay clothing! Thin, light, cotton, easy to wash and wear clothes. I do love a crisp white shirt though and have a beautiful leather jacket that my husband bought me when we went to Tuscany some years ago. And my favourite shoes? Havaianas (you guessed it right, yes, silvery grey!) and my wedge espadrilles. (I have a blue, white and black pair, so lucky!) I have never been one to follow trends as you may have noticed!
I am extremely fortunate to really have everything I need. I wish I could say the same for so many people who are not as privileged but let me try and answer as best I can here. My health! The love of my family; the comfort of music and books, a hot shower in winter, my phone (to keep in contact with family and friends) a reasonable amount of solitude – to maintain my sanity; and valid passport when I am afforded the opportunity to travel. But perhaps, my greatest need is to write.