Diary of a Loved Woman…

My husband can’t stand Josh Groban.

And yet little does he know that Josh is probably the only person alive who’s come close to describing what my husband’s love means to me. And how it inspires and empowers me.

There is something so… oh gosh what are the right words?… Mmmmm- there’s something so… spectacular about a loved woman that I wish it was more understood how a man’s love can empower a woman to be freaking AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And what is sometimes even less understood is how the man doing the loving becomes a king in the eyes of his woman and children.

There have been many times I’ve been approached by men, some dashing and gorgeous- others wealthy and powerful- others a combination of both- and here’s what I don’t even know how to articulate to them: No man I have ever come across could ever get piece of me while my guy still lives; because this guy has built me castles made of stuff you can’t buy, borrow or steal- this stuff is made from a humble heart that is merciful, gracious and kind.

My man built me castles with his own hands! How do you beat that!

I’m married to a king- what more could a girl ever wish for?

I mean if anyone else comes along what could they possibly propose or offer me that would supersede my current reign as queen of this yummy Knight and King who adores me so?

I was once called silly by another woman for serving my husband at a dinner we’d been invited to.

I guess the ladies who were appalled by my attitude of servitude to my Beau found it beneath a “grand” woman to stoop so low as to serve a man!

But how about people who are called to speak or sing or whatever else before royalty and heads of states?

How long do they brag about how they were called to “perform” before such great and respected beings?

So how could it be that I wouldn’t be just as proud to serve the king that happens to be (lucky me!!!) my very own husband!

King Arthur and his amazing-warrior knights of the round table have nothing  on my Man! Take that to the hall of fame!

In my culture we’re taught to kneel before our elders and especially before our men- it’s something I don’t do because I’m not keen on submitting to rules and regulations that don’t ring true in my heart- but I can say that no one has ever earned my respect to the point to where I’d gladly kneel before them the way my husband has.

Before we got married he told me I’d be the most beautiful bride- and I believe I was- but not because of the make-up or the dress or the hair- but because he had spoken those powerful words of beauty over me.

Hannah and Ric

Over the years he’s allowed himself to be the wall that protects me from the assaults of others. He’s been a safe place to hide when storms have hit.

He made me the happiest girl by giving me my beautiful children.

He’s championed my dreams and my exploits- Career wise I’m currently working on a project that has been a life-long dream- My Dream BIG TV Show– and in every interview I’ve had so far I look so gorgeous I could eat myself up! And when I look at how beautiful I am in those interviews and how elegantly I come across I can’t help but know that the beauty I exude is testament to my husband’s incredible love and devotion to and for me.

(You can view my latest gorgeous look here 🙂 )

I heard someone once say that when a woman is loved she grows more beautiful with each year that passes; I have found that to be true with me.

I have stretch marks from carrying my beautiful children but my husband calls them my battle scars and he’s encouraged me to carry them with pride- Come on people how can I not feel more beautiful now than I did before I had kids!

A wise woman advised me a while ago to make breakfast for my husband and pack him a good lunch for work as often as I can-

I’ve been advised many things about being a “good wife”- and to be honest all of those “tips” can be burdens, cumbersome, and pretty annoying to do-

But every morning I whip up a fab breakfast and pack a great meal for my guy not because I want to be a “good wife” but because he loves me!

There are few things a loved woman won’t do for her man.

We live in an age where we women can  do for ourselves.

We can work. And sometimes even earn more than our men. We can be in the boardroom and play with the Big Boys.

We definitely kick some serious butt in business to the point where global research tells us that women make far better leaders in business than men do.

Many of us have been accused of being wild firecrackers who can’t submit to our men.

We’re accused of thinking we’re better than men- so much so that some men won’t date or marry us because they’re intimidated by our power.

But there are some really (truly) powerful men, men of renown (like my guy), who’ve realised that the way to “tame” us is to love us. The way to put us in “our place” so we can serve our men is to put us on pedestals and empower us to reign in ALL our glory and power.

For the most part my husband just has to cough and I’m at his side pretty much asking “Pray tell my lord what would you have me do for you?”

He hasn’t gotten my utmost respect through attempts to rule me- I willing crowned him my king because he, over the years, laid himself down for me as a mere servant would.

When I started writing this- this thought hadn’t crossed my mind- but the more I write the more I realise that my husband has grown into a man who is truly loving me as Christ loved the church- Sorry I didn’t mean for this to be a sermon…

But yeah #WOW!

So yeah people- that’s my two cents- you can call it “Diary of a Loved Woman”…

I mentioned Josh Groban at the beginning-

I hope my husband doesn’t see this post because he’ll think it ultra corny. Hehehehehehehehe….

But here are a few lines  from Josh’s song that totally resonate with me about how my guy loves me:

“When You Say You Love Me”

…You say those words and my heart stops beating.

I wonder what it means.

What could it be that comes over me?

At times I can’t move.

At times I can hardly breathe.

When you say you love me
the world goes still, so still inside and
When you say you love me
For a moment, there’s no one else alive.

You’re the one I’ve always thought of.

I don’t know how, but I feel sheltered in your love.

You’re where I belong.

And when you’re with me, if I close my eyes,

there are times I swear I feel like I can fly

for a moment in time.
Somewhere between the Heavens and Earth,
and frozen in time,

Oh when you say those words…

…And this journey that we’re on…
How far we’ve come and I celebrate every moment.

And when you say you love me,
That’s all you have to say.

When you say you love me…

Do you know how I love you?

Fans count… but not really

This morning I sent a few requests to potential guests for our Dream BIG TV Show.

They are individuals you probably haven’t seen on TV or heard on the radio- There aren’t plaques placed any where in their honour, no schools or roads named after them and yet their work is making a difference.

It’s quite remarkable how each of us has something spectacular to offer but sometimes we don’t realise just how inspiring our personal stories are.

We look at people like Richard Branson with a gazillion followers on Twitter and LinkedIn etc and somehow we feel, that, that’s success. And if that’s success then our achievements don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.

Did you send money back home for a sibling to finish school?
Did you get out of a situation that few managed to survive?
Did you raise incredible children on your own without any help?
Did you give a word of encouragement to someone who felt they’d lost their way?

Your success is not in numbers.

I know we all seek validation. Having a tremendous amount of fans makes us feel our work is worthwhile.

We may feel that the more people we have on our side the greater the meaning of our work- Nothing can be further from the truth.
Your life matters.

Those seemingly little things you do matter- even if they’re not shouted about on the mountain tops.

Hoards of people might not know who you are but there may be one individual whose life you touched and thus saved just by being you.

I know as a person who’s work is ALL about people and reaching them it’s hard to not get lured by the temptation to focus on numbers.

But I also know that that’s when it gets extremely easy to stop focusing on the “Why I started this”  to  “How many people can I get to buy into  this”.

The latter is about numbers. The former is about people. There’s a HUGE difference.

A friend reminded me a short while ago how lonely the road of meaningful work can be sometimes. I’m finding that I’m getting much done by making peace with that.

You started this (whatever this  means for you) because it mattered to you.

Fans count- if you’re in it for the fame. But if you’re in it to change lives- well that’s a different story.

If you can be so amazing just by being you- imagine how much more spectacular you’d be if you believed in the greatness within you and you pursued your dreams?

Go for it.
You’re just what we need!

The Dreamer who helped me jump

I like Dreamers.

They’re the guys who create really cool stuff.

Like the Eiffel Tower, Lord of the Rings, The Internet, awesome cars, Disney World, Chocolate Ganache Cake, Toothpicks, movies and music, Toilet Paper, the iPhone, Google, Facebook, Amazon’s Cloud service (which btw was created by South Africans)… Rockets and gadgets that have allowed us to see the depths of the sea and the expanse of the universe beyond earth…

Dreamers are responsible for every man-made thing that has ever existed or will ever exist.

Some of their creations seem mundane, others are spectacular… and yet each realisation of a wonderful dream makes the world go round that much sweeter.

So you can imagine my elation when I had yet another opportunity to interview self-proclaimed Dreamer Alan Knot-Craig III for our Dream BIG TV Show.

Most know him as Alan Knot-Craig Jr- but he set the record straight regarding his title in his book Mobinomics.


I met Alan for the first time last year during an interview for his book.

I was an anchor at CNBC Africa at the time.

Alan walked into studio wearing a leather jacket with an air about him like he’d just jumped off a plane to perform at a rock and roll concert- he was that suave.

Alan in studio interview

Our interview was short- and when it was over I couldn’t help but feel that I had been in the presence of a crazy yet profound visionary. My brief time with him was inspiring.  We couldn’t have chatted for more than several minutes and yet in that short time he’d imparted to me an insane drive to go. Go do something great. Go do something awesome. GO GO GO.

One thing Alan said during our interview stuck with me.

I’d asked him about what a struggling entrepreneur should do to be successful.

He said “Quit your job.”

He went on to say how when all options were stripped away one had no choice but to make their venture work.

What Alan didn’t know at the time was that the “entrepreneur” I was asking about was actually me.

I’d a dream that was tugging at me.

I couldn’t see it too clearly but I knew it was there.

I’d been trying to run but there it was at every corner- beckoning, bidding me to run with it- telling me that if I’d just have the courage to jump it would show me beauty I’d never even imagined.

Before I’d met Alan I’d realised that I needed to follow the path my heart so desperately wanted to embark on.

I knew that dreams too got tired. And after doing all they could to be realised sometimes they’d slumber out of sheer exhaustion and give up ever coming to life again.

But I was fortunate to come across some pretty compelling dreamers who nudged me to the edge of my run-of-the-mill life. Alan was among those who did the final nudging and helped me take the plunge.

I’m glad I jumped.

It’s been almost a year since that jump. A short while ago I had the great pleasure of interviewing Alan again- this time for my Dream BIG TV Show.

Alan was a tad more subdued this time. Much had happened in his life over the past year.

But there was something about the way he spoke that revealed a depth of gratitude, wisdom and realisation that only comes from going through something deep and wide.

There’s something brave and courageous and audacious about Alan that makes you want to conquer your own fears and do something spectacular.

During my time as a journalist I have interviewed, literally, hundreds of people. Few have had as much an impact on me as Alan has.

I don’t know him nor pretend to have an idea of who he is. I can only speak of how I’ve felt dared to Dream BIG around him.

With all the people I’ve met I’m yet to come across another person who loves and believes in South Africa and South Africans as much as Alan does.

If could live in any country in the world I’d love to live in the South Africa Alan speaks of.

It’s one where people are creative and great. Generous and innovative. Pioneering and visionary.

Alan’s started a new project he describes as “a little rocket ship.”

Find out where he’s going with it by watching my discussion with him here.

Garlic, beetroot and lemon

It was a worldwide public humiliation…

Here was South Africa, the richest and most developed country on the continent, home to (perhaps) the best rugby team on the planet, land to first world infrastructure and the best constitution in the world, home to one of the greatest leaders of our time Mr Nelson Mandela- and there was our Health Minister, Ms Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, and essentially the country’s government saying garlic, beetroot and lemons delayed the development of HIV to Aids-defining conditions.

At the time the Independent Newspapers reported: “While a third of pregnant women were HIV-positive, only 15 percent received medication to prevent transmission to their babies.”

The number of preventable deaths that resulted because of our stance on HIV/AIDS then is shameful.

When I heard it echoed on an episode of Law and Order I realized how widely spread our humiliation had reached.

To some extent health care concerning HIV/AIDS has improved.

The progress is slow- but at least there has been progress. And I believe it’s because people right here in South Africa advocated for change.

Did you know that Johannesburg is the most treed city in the world?

No other city, in the world, has more trees than Jozi.

The rand remains one of the top ten most traded currencies on the markets.

Ask anyone who’s travelled to a few countries around the world and they’ll tell you that South Africa is one the most beautiful countries they’ve been to.

People from around the globe flock to South Africa to make their homes here. And I’m not just talking about immigrant workers from other African countries. I mean citizens of first world countries who come to South Africa, are captured by the magic here, and choose to leave the homes of their births to make new homes in South Africa.

Do we have massive inequalities? Yes.

Do we have an insane crime rate? Yes.

There are negatives in South Africa. But if the good didn’t out-weigh the bad then people, who could live in their first world countries where these issues are not as prevalent, would not stay here.

It is with this in mind that I’m baffled by our crazy infant and maternal mortality rates.

I’ve heard the argument about the lack of resources in State Hospitals and I have to question the validity of that argument.

How is it that countries far, far, poorer than South Africa do better?

To give you an example, when it comes to how many babies die in South Africa compared to other countries, the most recent stats are as follows:

Out of every 1000 births 42 babies die in South Africa.

Compared to 10 out of every thousand in Botswana; 27 out of every thousand in Zimbabwe; between 39 and 40 out of every thousand babies in both Ghana and Eritirea.

Eritrea for crying out loud! Eritrea relies heavily on donor aid! How is it possible that Eritrea beats South Africa at both  infant and maternal mortality rates!

It’s insane.

In 2012 Eritrea’s GDP was $4.41 billion. South Africa’s was $578.6 billion. And Eritrea beat us at keeping their babies and moms alive!

The most recent stats on maternal mortality rates in South Africa indicate that 300 out of every 100 000 moms die due to complications in child bearing.

Compared to Eritrea where the figure is 240.

Let’s look at other African countries:

Equatorial Guinea: 240

Gabon: 230

Djibouti and Namibia: 200

Botswana: 160

Morocco: 100

Algeria: 97

Egypt: 66

Libya: 58

One mom I spoke to lost her 18 year old daughter due to what can only be described as negligence by public health care officials.

They (public health care officials) had received a referral letter from a gynae recommending that the young mom be hospitalized and treated urgently.

Almost three days went by without the pregnant girl seeing a health care provider- the baby died and the young mom subsequently bled to death.

I don’t want to rehash some of the stories I’ve come across- perhaps in another post.

What I would like to ask though is what are we  going to do about it?

South Africa, as part of the UN, is signatory to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Goal 4 is reduce the child mortality (under the age of 5) ratio by two thirds by 2015.

Goal 5 is reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters by 2015.

Is South Africa on track to achieve either?

Well I went to public hospitals around Johannesburg and spoke to nurses- not one nurse I came across even knew what the MDGs were.

And then I came across a young mom who had just come from the clinic to have her son vaccinated.

She carried her pretty baby on her back- I stopped her and asked if she would speak with me.

I told her I was researching treatment of mothers in public hospitals.

She looked down shyly and said she wasn’t keen on talking.

She was with her husband and her husband urged her: “Tell her,” he encouraged.

“Tell me what?” I asked the mom gently.

She opened up and told me how the nurses at the clinic had insulted her.

She had taken her son to a different clinic than she normally did. The nurses were livid.

“They swore at me,” she said softly.

She told me how they had humiliated her and insulted her to the point of mentioning her private parts.

My heart broke for her.

“But I stayed,” she said swaying her son from side to side.

“I stayed and I let them insult me because I had to get my child vaccinated.”

As she spoke I wondered how many women were terrified of taking their children for vaccinations because of such treatment from nurses. Such inhumane treatment from the very people who were supposed to help them. The very people who were supposed to be on the front lines of ensuring that we keep our children alive.

So are we getting there? With stories like this you tell me.

Another mom told me how nurses had refused to give her clean sheets after she delivered her baby. During her duration in hospital she slept on bloody sheets.

Another mom had a c-section and was refused pain meds after that major operation- just because the nurses didn’t like her.

Some stories are more horrific and deserve more than a one liner…

I have never argued that we don’t have challenges and structural issues in the public health care system.

I have spoken to some fantastic health care providers in the public health care space and know that there really are individuals who care. But that is not enough.

The bullying and victimization of our moms in public hospitals must stop.

And it will only stop when we, not only make a noise about what’s happening, but choose to come up with solutions on how we can change the situation.

In essence we need to reward the health care providers who are doing a great job and treating moms and their babies with dignity and respect.

And we need to send a message to bullying nurses and other professionals in the public health care system that we will not stand by and watch them sink our health care system further into their cesspools.

We need to tell them that this is South Africa. A country known for its love for freedom. A country known for a people who will not stand by and be victimised. A country that stands up for the down-trodden.

We need to tell them that in this country people don’t get abused just because they don’t have money. In this country the poor have their dignity recognized and they too can be proud of being part of this great nation.

I’ve never been more hopeful for change in South Africa as I am about the situation in Public Health Care changing for the better.

I refuse to see South Africa mentioned again in some US show on some humiliating treatment of our people. That is not who we are.

My next step is to document the stories of the women I’ve come across in a short film.

I will need help with making the film happen.

I will also need help in creating awareness for women who need public health care so that they can know that they are not powerless.

And I need help connecting with the right people to create a system that rewards outstanding health care providers and at the same time uproots the rot.

Nelson Mandela is quoted to have said: “It seems impossible until it’s done.”

I believe this will get done.


If you want to help or have suggestions that we, the people, can fulfil- please leave a comment or email me directly at hannaviviers@yahoo.com


What’s in a Dream?

Dreams are a big part of why I’m still here.

What carried me through many challenges was knowing that there would come a time my life would get better.

There were many, many, times I wanted to give up. There were many times when it was hard getting up in the morning because I didn’t have much hope for what lay ahead of me…

The ability to dream is one of the most powerful tools we have to overcome adversity.

I’ve started a project called Dream BIG.

Through it I’m collecting inspiring stories to share because I’ve experienced the power of being inspired.

We hadn’t planned it this way- but talk about confirmation that we are walking in destiny! – The very first conversation we recorded as part of the Dream BIG series was with my friend Elungile Mzimba.

I blogged about her MasQ project a while ago.

Her project reminds us of the insane power of dreams.

So it truly is quite something that our project about dreaming BIG would kick start with a project that is changing the lives of young people in some of the remotest parts of Eastern Cape, South Africa… by inspiring them to Dream BIG!

So here’s to the power of dreams!

To watch our conversation with Elu click here