“I Play Alex J. Coyne in Defense Mode!”

As a lifetime trading card fan, I had some fun creating a mock-up YU-GI-OH! DUEL MONSTERS card.  See results below!

Create your own YU-GI-OH! mock-up cards at CardMaker.net – or add Alex to your deck the next time you’re in need of some content writing! 🙂

Coyne Yugioh Card

Read: From A to BBO

Stuck in isolation but still want to connect with the outside world?

It’s a great reason to play online bridge!

Here’s how Bridge Base Online can help to combat the onset and symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related conditions, written for Alzheimer’s SA.

Click here to read.

“Hey, Government! What About Bridge?”

The Democratic Alliance has called on South Africa’s leadership for non-contact sports to resume with certain restrictions amidst National Lockdown. The economy has taken a few hard knocks, and industries like sports and entertainment have been hit the hardest.

(Source: MSN – DA wants non-contact pro sports to resume under strict health measures)

I’m inclined to agree, except for one more question:

What about bridge?

Here are the facts.

Bridge is a sport.

Bridge is recognized as a sport, and it’s one that deserves just as much recognition as any other. It’s seen as an official sport by the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA), so why doesn’t it see the same amount of recognition in South Africa?

Bridge has thousands of players worldwide.

Bridge is a game with thousands of players located all over the world, with a vibrant scene in South Africa. Just like soccer, chess or any other sport out there. Each province has a bridge club: For them to continue, we need to see the game embraced by government and local sporting groups.

Bridge can recover the economy.

The economy has taken one of the hardest knocks in decades. Bridge is more than just a game: Embraced under the right circumstances, it can be a way to promote charitable events and a way to channel much-needed funds back into the economy with initiatives like official bridge tournaments, live bridge games and official support for professional players.

Bridge can be played online.

Bridge certainly fits the definition of a non-contact sport. With initiatives like Bridge Base Online (BBO), the game of bridge can be played entirely online and still hold to social-distancing restrictions. How many sports can say this in the time of COVID?

Bridge has even more benefits that outweigh its risks.

Playing the game of bridge has been shown to improve reasoning and local skills, and it’s a surefire way to combat signs of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Bridge clubs have to continue.

With lockdown, we don’t know when we’ll see another bridge game played in person. What becomes of South Africa’s existing bridge clubs, bridge players and organizations like the South African Bridge Federation (SABF) post-lockdown? If the bridge scene in South Africa is going to survive, we need some support.

Read: BeBRIDGE This March!

Exciting news for bridge players: The excellent French language bridge magazine Le Bridgeur is entering a new phase- and will be available to read in English as BeBRIDGE from this March onwards!

Show your support by viewing the first edition of BeBRIDGE and sharing with all your card-playing contacts.

See the overview of the French edition of LE BRIDGEUR here.

Issue #1 should be available soon (and for absolutely FREE)!

Keep reading, keep sharing and of course, keep playing bridge!


Life with FW: Vytjie Mentor Speaks

For perspective on what life under the reign of FW de Klerk was like, I decided to ask someone who was there: Vytjie Mentor, former ANC MP and freedom fighter. The below, unedited and candid, is what she had to tell me about life in apartheid South Africa.

“I was in detention during both of the State of Emergencies called by De Klerk.”

“I was a young teacher, I could not teach then. I was in Solitary Confinement for 180 days × 2. I was charged under Internal Security Act for possession of banned literature and for “harbouring terrorists”.

“I went into a hunger strike in prison and was hospitalized, I was released into House arrest after 39 days of hunger Strike. I could not be in the company of more than 10 people at a time until after the negotiated settlement. ( I could go on and on and on and on.)”

SABF National Congress – 9 to 16 March

Attention card players: Don’t forget about the South African Bridge Federation’s National Congress for 2020, taking place between the 9th and 16th of March at The Italian Club in Cape Town.

All relevant information (including viewing links, reservations, directions and details) are available from the SABF’s official website at this link.

The (Unpublished) Interview with the EFF’s Leigh-Ann Mathys


This archived interview with EFF Treasurer-General Leigh-Ann Mathys was done in November 2016, and was first meant to appear as a piece for Moneyweb’s The Investor. So far unpublished, here’s the full text of the original piece.

Mention the Economic Freedom Fighters in casual conversation and you’ll get a range of reactions: Fear and loathing, laughter, anger, or even hope for a better-led country. But just what makes recently appointed Treasurer of the EFF Leigh-Ann Mathys tick, and could there be way more to the EFF than meets the eye?

“I was born in Durban (KZN), schooled in Pietermaritzburg.” Her family later moved to Australia where she completed her final year of high school. She underwent further education in the USA and moved to Australia where she kickstarted her career in industrial relations. After six years in industrial relations, she returned to South Africa and had a career change that planted her in a small town called Ingwavuma in KZN..

We get to do the interview during a spur-of-the-moment gap in both our schedules.

One of the first questions that comes up is just how one ends up with the EFF: “Things kind of just happened.” says Mathys. “The Marikana Massacre was my earthquake moment – at that time there was no EFF, just Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu , making headlines on their response to Marikana. I called a mutual friend and asked them to put in contact with them. The CiC called me, I told him I want to help out. Well, the rest is history.”

Her recent appointment to the position of Treasurer-General of the EFF comes as more of a formality, she says, as she’s “been responsible for organizational finance since the formation of the EFF.”

“I am attracted by what we stand for, particularly our policies on land reform as that’s something I have always been quite passionate about.” She also likes the fact that there’s a call for change on the political front, we are standing up for the needs of the people. “It’s both empowering and necessary.”

The controversy that comes with the territory hasn’t phased her much. “You know what you’re signing up and what we stand for when you join the EFF.” In terms of their image – both in South Africa and internationally – she says things have been going well so far. “There’s been a lot of good done in terms of interaction and keeping people updated through social media, like posting pictures of rallies.”

Her Twitter profile (@LeighMathys), for one, is buzzing with daily thoughts and updates and clocks in at 14. 072 followers. She says initially people found her an unexpected face in the ranks of the EFF; this, at times, is a great way to break the ice.

There’s clearly more to it than what people see through the occasionally controversial headlines. “Most people have no idea that there are sittings in parliament every day in which we participate to discuss the future of the country. There aren’t just sittings in parliament when Zuma shows up and it ends up on the news.”

She’s a fiery conversationalist and calls out a cliche’d interview question – her favourite books – and a peppered slip of the tongue immediately. Then answers. “Well, the EFF book is one.”

There’s an EFF book? “Yes, The Coming Revolution that includes our founding manifesto of the EFF, encompassing what we stand for. I turn to it whenever I need that boost of inspiration or encouragement. The second, which is more of a collection of sayings, is The Prophet (by Khalil Gibran), which I usually carry with me.”

On a personal finance level, what are we doing wrong? “I think South Africans are saving too little and spending too much.” She mentions people’s reaction to their first exposure to consumerism. “There area thousands shops just around the corner, and it’s overwhelming to have all of these options. People are bombarded by ads and pressured to buy more of this or that. We’re very consumerized as a nation.” Her own investment, she mentions briefly, has involved setting up a strong, diversified investment portfolio: A good idea for anyone.

The future: Now what? “Corporations have been holding us hostage.” she says. As an example, we discuss large companies who lay off thousands of employees in one go: The working class, making up the bulk of the country, ends up getting the worst of it.

South Africa has a lot of room for improvement, but where do we start? “We need to look at improving the education sector. Children are the country’s future, so if you want to improve anything you’ve got to start there.”

Alternative solutions – economically, politically and educationally – are necessary. She points to Cuba’s economy as a reference point. “There’s enough for everyone. I’m not saying we should carbon copy Cuba; I’m just saying we need to look further to find solutions for South Africa’s problems.”

Away from the EFF, she finds herself “mostly exhausted”. “Public appearances, rallies, meeting and interacting with new people all the time can be draining. There’s not a lot of off-time for myself.” When she does get away, her paradise is the beach: If she could be any kind of animal, her first choice is a dolphin, and her ideal holiday is one with sea and sand by the ocean.

Asked three things she’d change as leader of the country, she says, “I honestly have no aspirations to become president!” What she would be doing if she was not part of the EFF is almost irrelevant: Leigh-Ann Mathys is completely content with where she is now.

The sun disappears behind the mountain as the interview wraps, casting a brilliant red glow over the sky.