Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Jozi Gold: MediaUpdate; 05 March 2014

Leanne Hunt's debut novel delves into the lives of the well-to-do

Published: 5 March 2014

What is special about this debut novel is not its characters, although they are well-rounded and deliciously real. It’s not the fact that on the surface it is a gentle meander through the lives of well-to-do South Africans living in the affluent suburbs of Johannesburg, while underneath it unlocks a world of human desire, anxiety and need.

Leanne Hunt's debut novel delves into the lives of the well-to-do
By Abbygail Zwane

Nor is it because it is set in the midst of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. It’s that the author of Jozi Gold, is in fact blind. You would never tell by reading the novel. Her descriptions, sense of space and place are astute and deliberate, taking the reader on a fast-paced journey through the lives of characters who are all connected.

The story revolves around Jeannie, a slightly overweight housewife with a good-looking husband, two sons and a bossy sister. In her mind she has the perfect life: a beautiful house and a good marriage. Until her sister arrives from Australia. Jeannie discovers that her husband is having an affair with a sassy radio journalist. Her world falls apart but her life takes an unexpected and satisfying twist. It turns out that it is not only Jeannie’s husband who has secrets.

The author Leanne Hunt describes her journey as follows: “In writing Jozi Gold, I was particularly interested in the networks which connect people, and how forces within those networks exert subtle, often unexpected pressure. The novel grew out of a picture I had in my mind of various individuals who were unknown to each other but linked by their context and their relationships to one man. What started out as a thought experiment ended up as a fast-paced, complex romantic drama. The characters came alive for me and drove the action forward in a way I could scarcely foresee. In fact, it came as a real surprise that the outcome was so deliciously satisfying.”

Jozi Gold will appeal to readers who enjoy romantic dramas and those in need of a fresh perspective as they approach mid-life.

Jozi Gold is available from Books Galore, Exclusive Books and


You are what you think you are……

Think more of yourself and there is MORE!

As a teenager I was quiet and really quite shy.  Deciding what I was going to wear and which pop star should go up on my wall was the scope of life’s choices but even at that stage I wanted MORE out of life. So I asked for MORE, not realising how much I would get. I got a life filled with challenges and many highs and lows but I also got an understanding that any adversity came to make me MORE.

Faces and Footsteps – A Simple Celebration of Life is a story of personal triumph; it is a story of overcoming utmost distress of an overwhelming nature; it is a story about being on a mission to succeed so strong that every stumbling block became a stepping stone to ultimate success.

I was born in Paisley, Scotland and came to South Africa as a toddler. Being brought up by parents who believed that children should be seen and not heard my life was uneventful. Until the early hours of June the 7th 1980.

On the way home after celebrating my 17th birthday the motorbike that I was riding pillion on was involved in a collision. My injuries were severe, amongst which I broke my neck and subsequently lost my right arm.   While I was hospitalised for 9 months I began my journey of self-discovery and my new lease on life.  During this time, I became inspired by overcoming the many obstacles that were presented to me, in turn loving life as I have come to know it.  I underwent numerous operations to get me safely on the right path to make my life an adventure of success.  Literal baby-steps were the order of the day, as I rediscovered how to walk, talk and breathe again.  I was able to move beyond the “if” word and experienced enormous benefit from my new limitations.

Among the mayhem, I completed my matriculation and was introduced to the open market as a working class girl with a difference. One hopes that a single life lesson is enough, but through the years I was to find out that opportunities would be lost should I choose to live in the past and that tests of compromise and adversity would be my destiny.

I progressed from strength to strength and felt rewarded and fulfilled when I got married.  I was able to put negativity aside and met each assault stronger than before.  The challenges I faced and overcame allowed me to unearth the ‘Morag’ from where my name is derived – the great one!

Many doctors, nurses, paramedics and physiotherapists invested much valuable time and knowledge to get me to the place that many spinal cord patients only dream of, - to walk out of hospital.

Completing a task on my own that I would normally have done with two hands does take me a while longer, but the satisfaction of being able to do it by myself gives me a renewed sense of purpose and is rewarding enough to justify my efforts.

Accomplishment is the building block to having a good opinion of yourself and for some reason I found myself giving thanks for all the little mundane things occurring around me that I had previously taken for granted. I found that living in this positive realm of thankfulness attracted all that was good.  Life was unfolding for me.

For whatever the reason, I was to be given a second chance and at the age of 17, the test of compromise and courage began. Had God appeared in my life? I did not ask Him to be there. Was this by divine intervention or had I innocently invited him? For whatever reason, He was there to carry me on my path to success.

Undoubtedly, I was to learn and grow from substantial adversity and through God’s grace I was to be guided and protected along the way.

This book is my story but it is my wish that it will make you look into the losses and challenges of your own lives, to enable you to find the Hero within yourselves.

Faces and Footsteps reaches out to the awesome people that I met on my journey and the ‘footsteps’ are also those of the faces that journeyed with me and how they too came to rise above adversity, how they also learnt how to celebrate life and learnt to grow victory beneath their feet.

I want this book to act as a mirror, to show the reader how to look deep within and to start a process of self-discovery that turns so called “misfortune” into hope and renewed opportunity.


Werner Weyer's ETERNITY: Media Update; 20 February 2014

Werner Weyer's Eternity hits the shelves

Published: 20 February 2014

A crazy desert prophet, a missing woman and a bloody dress, Ronny Searching got more than he bargained for when he took the road to Eternity.

“This was the Oasis Truck stop, a bar and grill that came to be more than a landmark or a place with the best ribs and shooters. It was here that a man in faded jeans sold wisdom for whisky. This stretch of desert highway came from somewhere and was going nowhere. Once on this road it was easy to forget where you were from, and the future was as far as the next turn-off. The beautiful barren landscape swallowed you whole. This was isolation heaven, a place conveniently forgotten except for those whose lives depended on it.” So the novel begins.

Eternity started out originally as a short story Werner Weyer wrote in his teens, and years later, when he found it between some papers he was going through he found himself inspired to turn it into a book. The novel explores identity and forgotten dreams in a made-up place with a landscape readers will find familiar, if only for a fleeting instant.

Weyer says, “For me, writing comes from the desire to share all of my emotions and experiences. Beyond creating a space of enjoyment and familiarity for readers, it is also a self-fulfilling act – the experience of ultimate freedom of expression.”

Weyer was born in the bushveld town of Groblersdal in the Limpopo Province in South Africa. He has been writing for many years, in between hitchhiking his way to the big city and finding a roof over his head wherever the road took him. He has been awarded various accolades for his writing and his passion for the craft clearly shines through in his first novel. He currently resides in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Eternity is available at Exclusive Books, on, and through

Coolie, Come Out and Fight: The Witness; 14 October 2014

A family’s journey in a callous time
14 Oct 2013   
Coolie, Come Out and Fight!
Mohamed F (Mac) Carim
Porcupine Press
BOOK REVIEWER: Annzra Naidoo
AS an (almost) born free, I was told countless stories about what is was like under the apartheid regime. Some of it was from my parents; most of it was from history books at school.
Although these stories and teachings made me think about what it was like in those times, this book made me think about what it would be like to experience it.
Coolie, Come Out and Fight! is a memoir written by Mohamed F (Mac) Carim that captures the callousness of apartheid without being a rant. Rather, Carim explores the memories of his life and the circumstances he faced, in a way that shows his understanding of the time, but with an emphasis on family and experience. The result is a nostalgic tale that may resonate strongly with many people in this country.
Starting from his grandparents’ arrival in South Africa from India, to his move to Nigeria, Carim tenderly tells the tale of his family, from all their hardships to all their joys. With an Indian father and coloured mother, Carim’s memories are filled with harsh points in-between carefree moments. The pace is slow, as Carim writes with incredible detail, but this does not detract from the story. We get to play in the streets of Troyeville, go off to boarding school and get arrested with Carim as he narrates the early years of his life. The way he and his family have persevered through many rough patches is truly inspiring. Older readers can reminisce on their own experiences during this time. For younger readers, reading this book is like hearing a story from a grandfather who teaches you about our important past in a way that does not feel like a lecture.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

JOZI GOLD: tame TIMES; 25 February 2014


With dreams of writing a book, final inspiration struck for blind author Leanne Hunt on New Year’s Eve in 2010 and now the novel Jozi Gold is the end result.
As an avid lover of 702 talk radio, the Linksfield mother closely followed their World Cup countdown. Leanne noticed that everyone was getting on board, making proudly South African merchandise, and the contractors were working endlessly to finish stadiums and roads. It was a very vibrant time and she was inspired by the goodwill of the people. However, Hunt was conscious of the tensions that came along with hosting an event of this stature, which brought along many nasty elements.

With this as an inspiration, Hunt set out to write Jozi Gold. Set in Senderwood, Jozi Gold explores the contrasting atmosphere of pride and tension during the 2010 World Cup.  The book follows Jeannie Parker, who believes that she is in a happy stable marriage with her husband Craig. It’s only when her sister arrives from Sydney and notices that Craig is hiding something that her views start changing. The book takes you on Jeannie’s personal journey that leads her to discover her true worth and the fight to hold onto it.
Jozi Gold is the perfect book for a woman who is ready to start living for herself. The book is meant for someone whose children have left home and is looking for a fresh start, among others. “It is for women who desire to be their true authentic self, maybe even find themselves again,” said Hunt.

Hunt was diagnosed with Star Gardt’s disease at the age of 14 and was deemed legally blind at the age of 17. However, this did not stop Hunt from studying. She completed her English Honours Degree with distinction at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She went on to be a freelance journalist, advertising copywriter, a PR editor and even ran a community newspaper in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga. Clearly writing is a natural talent and gift. Hunt wrote a one act play, Private Views, and it won the best original script at the Edenvale Acting and Drama society in 2011.

Jozi Gold is available at Exclusive Books or Exclusive Books online, Amazon and Kindle books and Porcupine Press.
For more information regarding Jozi Gold follow Leanne Hunt on Facebook: or Leanne’s Blog.

The DECARB DIET: tame TIMES; Tuesday 01 April 2014

This doctor-designed diet is easy to read and easy to start. It will guide you to weight loss and renewed health. The initial strike phase will take you from fat to lean without hunger or excessive exercise demands. When you reach your goal weight, stabilisation techniques will ensure that you stay slim and healthy for the rest of your life.

The Decarb Diet uses the latest nutritional research to fire up your fat-burning system, elevate your mood and beat back depression.
You will eat well and never feel hungry. At the same time, your heart disease, cancer, alzheimer’s and diabetes risks will be reduced.  The vitamin D and omega balance plan will lower inflammation and improve inflammatory conditions like arthritis, asthma and psoriasis.  
About the Author:
Howard Rybko was born in Johannesburg South Africa in 1956. He graduated as an medical doctor from the University of Witwatersrand Medical School in 1981. After two years in research, he went into private medical practice, specialising in diet and weight management. During the late 80's he became involved with medical software. He has also been active in sports nutrition and performance since 1992, specialising in cycling, a sport he continues to be actively involved in. He is currently working on using low carb ketogenic methods to enhance endurance in weekend warriors. 

The Decarb Diet:; 14 March 2014

Dr Howard Rybko's The Decarb Diet is now on the shelf

Published: 14 March 2014

It has to be said that here are diet books and there are diet books. Some offer impractical advice in a style of writing that makes my eyes glaze over. Others are so extreme that they make me wonder if I really want to go through all the effort to look like the woman on the cover, with the strained smile and bodybuilder pose.

Dr Howard Rybko's <i>The Decarb Diet</i> is now on the shelf
By Abbygail Zwane

The Decarb Diet is one of the better diet and lifestyle books I have come across in a long time. It has been described as “practical Noakes” taking the reader through the basic laws of the currently fashionable “paleo diet” without being condescending. As for the tone, it is energetic and snappy. In addition the chapters are presented in short, digestible chunks stuffed with clever observations.

Dr Howard Rybko is a medical doctor and he has used the latest nutritional research in creating the Decarb Diet eating and lifestyle plan. Dr Rybko has been involved in sports nutrition and performance since the early 1990s, specialising in cycling, a sport he continues to be actively involved in. As a diet cynic it gives me peace of mind that Rybko is an authority on nutrition and, judging by the comments on his website, the diet has helped many people shed kilograms of unwanted weight.

The book is an easy to navigate guide to weight-loss and a healthier lifestyle. In the introductory section it gives the reader a background on the principles of the diet, reasons to avoid carbohydrates, the benefits of balancing Omegas as well as how and when to exercise.

The next section of the book is titled “What” and is the preparation phase. It shows the reader how to set personal goals, prepare the kitchen, learn to read supermarket labels and survive eating out. The strike phase is all about the food – what to eat, what not to eat as well as examples of low-carb meals.

The section titled “Why” goes deeper into various issues that affect people unable to shift weight, including the sweet suicide of sugar, eating too much, ketones and the worldwide diabetes epidemic.

The “Toolkit”, positioned conveniently towards the back of the book contains guides, charts, recipes as well as sample journals to help with the journey to a healthier life and a healthier outlook on life.

I’d recommend the book to those wanting to better understand the paleo diet as well as those who are interested in sports, health and nutrition.

The Decarb Diet is available from Exclusive Books,, and all other good book dealers.

Why Israel: REVIEW (Weekend); 06 March 2014


Branding & Marketing YOU through Team Branding: themediaonline; 11 November 2013

Rachelson delivers lessons in team branding

Branding and Marketing
In her latest book, Branding & Marketing YOU through Teams, branding and marketing specialist Donna Rachelson examines how team branding can help high-performing teams to stand out in the competitive business environment.

She looks at six different teams, ranging from corporate business teams to a sports team and an NGO, and unpacks the lessons we can learn from them. One of the chapters focuses on the Sanlam Personal Finance Micro Marketing Team, which functions as the behind the scenes internal marketing engine to the Sanlam product and service distribution channel.
This team proves that you can have a high-functioning ‘team,’ spread all around a country – they don’t have to work under one roof. Because they embrace the same values and are self-motivated perfectionists, holding themselves and everyone they work with to very high standards, they deliver a phenomenal, evolving service. They constantly ask for feedback. From their peers, their clients, their team leader. The team leader is highly regarded across the board. They are never satisfied with the status quo. They’re comfortable with saying ‘no’ when necessary – because they understand that their role delivers greatest value when it’s strategic rather than operational.
Below are three of the lessons, excerpted from the book, that business teams can take from this dynamic group of people:

1.     Place the help where the help is needed. It’s in the interest of any business to get ‘newbies’ as we know them in this internet-driven age, up to speed. Sanlam has cleverly located members of this very supportive micro marketing team all around the country. So they’re based where the help is needed. Not at head office. We can learn from this.

2.     If we don’t understand we can’t contribute. Because they understand their internal Sanlam client’s needs and business so well, the micro marketing team is able to make a significant impact on a new arrival in a short space of time. The more we understand our client’s business, and that of their competitors, the better our chance of making a creative, proactive contribution.

3.     The digital age compels reinvention and renewal. Never in the history of business has change been driven as hard as it presently is by technological change. We’ve seen umpteen leading product or service providers go out of business in the last decade. The speed and volume of communication and messaging is also at an all-time high. So if we want to remain relevant, we have to be in tech-touch with what’s going on. We do that by reinventing ourselves and what we offer.

Branding and Marketing YOU Through Teams: Destiny Man; 16 October 2013

DESTINY caught up with author and CEO of Branding & Marketing You Through Teams on her new book and the winning formula for branding in business.

  • What inspired you to write Branding & Marketing YOU Through Teams?

Donna Rachelson (Photo supplied)

I have been in branding and marketing for years and have lots of experience in the field. I noticed that  a lot of emphasis is placed on personal and company brands, but no research has been carried out on team branding. As the people in an organisation are key to the development of a brand, it is vital that not only the people, but teams in the organisation understand how to brand and market themselves.

  • How and why did you select the six companies you chose to work with?

I selected companies who demonstrated best practice in their fields. I also wanted to have a variety of fields like sport, NGOs, corporate companies and entrepreneurial based businesses. The issue of branding spans every kind of business, whether it be service or product-based.

  • What are the skills or virtues one needs to be a good team player?

You must work on your personal brand in order to work successfully in a team. The team needs to know the virtues, talents and skills you have so you can be assigned accordingly. These skills and virtues can differ, however, I did find that members of the teams I profiled had high emotional intelligence (EQ) and an outward focus. This means they focus on the overall quality of their work without looking specifically at their job description and just sticking to it. They also stay away from office politics and keep focused on the job at hand.

  • How would a person cultivate those skills and virtues, should they not come naturally?

Everyone has unique skills and talents, and I believe we’re most effective when we work to our strengths.  In terms of working in a team, it’s important that team members have complementary skills. Different clients and situations often require a different skill set. It is important to look at a project as though you are the client. Ask yourself, ‘what would I like to get out of this venture?’ ‘How would I want this team to tackle my project?’ This way it will be easier to identify the key outcomes that need to be achieved for each project.

  • Many people worry working in teams means they will not be noticed for possible promotions. Would you advise that individuals move away from group settings to advance their careers?

Not necessarily. I strongly believe in personal branding. If companies focus on personal branding, they allow each staff member to become strong in their role and they develop a competitive edge as an organisation. Combining people with strong personal brands, who are willing to put ego aside, will make a successful team that adds value to the organisation. This means there’s room for growth for the individuals in the team as they are recognised for the difference the team makes.

It is also important to note, however, that some people just work best on their own and will get far more fulfilling experiences working as individuals. But in researching my book, I generally found that the teams were comprised of high-performance individuals. By putting top achievers together, the sum is greater than its parts – the talents and skills within the team are multiplied as the members work together.

Branding and Marketing YOU:; 03 October 2013

The importance of team branding

Meet Donna Rachelson, CEO of specialist branding company Branding & Marketing YOU, as we profile Africa’s leading marketers and individuals who have made an impact on the profession around the continent.
Rachelson is a seasoned specialist in the field and the author of the book Branding & Marketing YOU and the follow-up book Branding & Marketing YOU through TEAMS, which is being released in early October.
In Branding & Marketing You through TEAMS, Rachelson taps into the role that employees play as brand ambassadors for their organisations and the renewed focus on the attributes required by individuals to present themselves to optimum brand advantage.
As she wrote on the Marketing Update website in August: “Just as each company has a brand – the space it occupies in the minds of its customers, competitors and employees – so each team has a brand too. For example, your IT team might add huge value to the business, but unless it can communicate that value, the decision-makers may never know about it … Successful team brands evolve when your team becomes known for something positive. Consciously or unconsciously, employees and managers interact with your team every day and further cement your brand position. Your team is branded whether you like it or not, so you need to be proactive in influencing how it’s branded.”
Professor Nicola Kleyn from the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) says of the book: “Donna’s focus on branding at the team level makes a welcome contribution to an under-researched area.” The book confronts several myths and stereotypes surrounding teams and how people function within them. This is based on interviews with employees from six companies, including Microsoft and Sanlam.
The new book has also received praise from other high-profile personalities in South Africa’s marketing fraternity, including industry commentator Chris Moerdyk, brand and reputation advisor Thebe Ikalafeng, and branding and design expert Jeremy Sampson. Journalist Mandy Collins said: “Rachelson has achieved that rare thing – a business book that is useful, interesting and accessible to anyone who wants to learn more about marketing.”
Over and above her writing credentials, Rachelson has a solid marketing history and has held Marketing Director positions in several blue chip South African organisations, including fast-food group Nando’s and the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants. She was previously Marketing Manager at AECI, the JSE-listed chemicals group, and held a project management position at Standard Bank. She is currently a guest lecturer at GIBS, the University of Pretoria’s business school.
Rachelson’s company, Branding & Marketing YOU, was founded in 2007 with the intention of working to help individuals, teams or businesses develop branding and marketing strategies, execute those strategies, and market themselves in an innovative and impactful manner. Rachelson’s work has seen her train or coach individuals and groups across more than 20 top companies, among them Microsoft, Discovery, Deloitte, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Basil Read, Anglo American, McKinsey and SABMiller.
Rachelson’s specialist skills include personal branding and marketing, team branding and marketing, strategy development, values development, change management, marketing strategy development, marketing implementation, brand building, business development, strategic partnerships, cross-selling, customer partnerships, entrepreneurship and online marketing.
She is an alumnus of the University of the Witwatersrand and has also completed an MBA.

Branding and Marketing YOU: 30 September 2013

Breakthrough insights into Team Dynamics

The concept of personal branding and marketing has become a hotly debated topic in commerce and industry in the last few years.
Employers are more aware, particularly because of social media platforms, of the role that employees play as ‘brand ambassadors’ for their organisation. There has been a renewed focus on the attributes required by individuals to present themselves to optimum brand advantage.
Looking beyond the current preoccupation with just personal brands, businesswoman and best-selling author, Donna Rachelson, is about to launch her second book on the subject, entitled Branding & Marketing You through Teams. This expands beyond the scope of her first book, Branding & Marketing YOU, which dealt with the individual. Donna set out to interview team members from Microsoft, Sanlam and four other organisations. She expected to run across similar criteria to those applying to personal branding and image. The outcome however, was so startlingly different that she even changed the proposed title of the book.
Professor Nicola Kleyn from the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) says, “Donna’s focus on branding at the team level makes a welcome contribution to an under-researched area.” The book contains ground-breaking insights and busts several myths and stereotypes surrounding teams and how people function within them.
When asked if there’s one big secret to branding through teams, Donna answers, “No, there are many.” She’s used her tried and tested method of video-recorded qualitative research based questions to weave a narrative and conversation on the topic.
The book, scheduled for launch on 4 October 2013, has already garnered critical acclaim by marketing luminaries such as Chris Moerdyk, Thebe Ikalafeng, Monica Singer, Jeremy Sampson and others. Mandy Collins, journalist and business writing facilitator, says, “Donna Rachelson has achieved that rare thing – a business book that is useful, interesting and accessible to anyone who wants to learn more about marketing.”
Branding and Marketing You through Teams will be available in bookstores from the end of October, on and as an e-book, and will also be on offer at a slight discount directly from The recommended retail price is R230; ISBN Number 978-0-620-57789-2. For more information, visit

About Donna Rachelson
Donna is a branding and marketing specialist. Her focus is on branding and marketing people and teams, as well as assisting entrepreneurial businesses from a marketing perspective.
Donna is founder of Branding & Marketing YOU, which offers training, coaching and outsourced marketing services. She is also the author of the best-selling book Branding & Marketing YOU, the first South African based personal branding and marketing book. Her second book, Branding & Marketing for Teams, will be released in October this year.
The motto that drives her is, “Make a marketing difference every day”.
For more information, visit

Branding & Marketing YOU


Branding & Marketing You
What sets you apart from everyone else?
Imagine if we spent as much time branding and marketing ourselves as we do the products and services we sell.
Companies build brands to ensure that buyers create a connection with their goods and services and are motivated to purchase these. In many cases, companies spend a lot of time, money and energy building and marketing these brands, but often, before you sell anything - your product, service or company - you sell yourself. People need to buy into you as a brand before they buy into what you are selling.
Solutions Offered:
  • Branding and Marketing YOU Workshops
  • Marketing to Existing Clients Workshops
  • Branding and Marketing YOU Short Presentations
  • High Performance Communication
  • Networking
  • Style and Image Consulting
  • Personal Branding Through Social Media
Listed Product Offerings
Donna Rachelson, a branding and marketing innovator, is focused on South Africa's client service based businesses. She combines her contagious passion and 25 years' experience in strategy, marketing and change management to empower people, teams and businesses to achieve breakthrough results.

Donna RachelsonDonna Rachelson, a branding and marketing innovator, is focused on South Africa's client service based businesses. She combines her contagious passion and 25 years' experience in strategy, marketing and change management to empower people, teams and businesses to achieve breakthrough results. Through her consulting, authoring and training, she's known for empowering others to practically incorporate branding and marketing principles in their businesses and lives.
After earning her MBA, Donna held Marketing Director positions in blue chip organizations including: Nando’s, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and DNA Supply Chains. Her project management roles with AECI and Standard Bank helped hone her skills for turning strategic thinking into real action.
She is founder and CEO of Branding & Marketing YOU which offers keynote presentations, workshops and coaching, strategic marketing facilitation and outsourced marketing services. Donna has also authored the best-selling book ‘Branding & Marketing YOU’, the first South African based personal branding and marketing book.
She has worked in a number of blue chip organisations including Microsoft, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Rand Merchant Bank and Sanlam.
She is a dedicated wife and mother and applies her talents and 10 years of lecturing experience to assist charity and NGO organizations to market themselves effectively.
Donna's driving motto is "Making a marketing difference everyday."