The year started as every other does; a suitcase of routine and dreams:  meet the teachers, cover school books, last minute back to school shopping, and an eagerness to take on the new year. My eagerness got the better of me; I enrolled and applied for an Honours degree rather late in the first term, applied to stand on the SGB at my sons school, applied to stand as Class Representative for my daughters school, and accepted invitations to attend fashion industry events on behalf of my company Style Africa.

My initial plan for 2018 was as follows

  1. Make time for friends by setting aside Mondays for coffee catchups and laughs.
  2. Weekends for family and pure bliss.
  3. Study something new
  4. Focus on building my business, Style Africa and publishing another Style Africa magazine

That was it.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into, when.


It swallowed me like a whirlwind and I felt like a dog chasing its tail.

Here’s what unfolded in 2018.

The Mommy Suitcase:

Class Rep and Being a Mom

Class Rep was a great responsibility.  Setting reminders, passing on messages from the school,  shopping for gifts, organising lifts, and shifts at sports days.  While these were spread out in the year, it was important to keep track of special days and requirements from parents.  It was a wonderful and joyous experience, with great support from class parents, but toppled with my work and study load (as you’ll soon find out), I just about managed.  Being someone who doesn’t like to back down from responsibility, I couldn’t let my daughter down, and so I gathered my strength and fulfilled my role as Class Rep as best I could.

My role as a Mom was even bigger.  There’s not much time for anything else, my children are very active at school and madrassah.  Their week is filled with soccer, rugby, hockey, tennis, cricket, percussion, school plays, parties etc.  My job is to fetch and drop from and to school and madrassah, ensuring they are fed, clothed and cared for, and being the supportive and cheering Mom.  Many times driving back and forth to get them where they need to be.  These, however, are the precious moments inside the car – How was your day? How did you do on your Maths test?  Did your teacher and class enjoy your oral?  Did you eat all your lunch, and the fruit, and drink your water?  Great work on the field today! Well done on your artwork……….. 🙂 Precious!

I’m thankful to my mom-in-law and father-in-law who played a big role in getting me through the school year, by caring for, and lifting my children when I wasn’t available.

The Student Suitcase:

Honours, Film, and Thesis

You may have guessed, or through my social media already know that I was accepted to do my Post Graduate Bachelor of Arts Honours in Motion Picture Medium at AFDA.  This was the highlight of my year.  It was exciting.  It was adrenalin heavy from the get go (but mostly because I started in the second term).

I thought writing a thesis was IT! Boy was I wrong. Very wrong.  Each term I was required to deliver part of my thesis and present it with an oral presentation.  I then had to select a movie crew I wanted to work with for my discipline which is Costume, Makeup and Styling.  It was a tough decision.  Initially, I selected 3 movies, but soon realised after receiving the workload, that one would be more than enough. I selected the Afrikaans production, Mej Twisfontein.  Each term I was to report on the movie through a Value Added Learning Assessment (VALA) presentation.   We presented as a Post Grad Crew; Actors, Director, Producer, Sound, Editor, Costume-Makeup-Stylist, and Production Design.  Each VALA consisted of a panel of academic and industry experts who judged your presentation and gave you a term mark.

The year was filled with Research, Core Course and Interdisciplinary lectures, which ranged from Film and Screen Analysis, Mythologies, Classical Hollywood Cinema, Art Films vs Classic Films, Realism, Trans-National Cinema, Visual Analysis, Documentaries, Iconographic Analysis, Nationalism….. just giving you a glimpse of how much overtime my brain did this year.  On top of all that, I delivered a 65page treatment on the Costume-Makeup-Styling of Mej Twisfontein, detailing the formation of the character and the effect the characters psychological, sociological, environmental, economic state, e.t.c has on the characters styling.  As much as it was, I quite enjoyed this part.

Without going into any more detail; The film itself required prep work, onset work, and post work.  Then there was what seemed like the never-ending thesis preparation and presentations.

If you’d like to view our behind the scenes of Mej Twisfontein, herewith the link: Mej Twisfontein BTS. This will give you an idea of what it’s like to work on set.  IT’S AMAZING, it’s long hours and days, but all worth it at the end.

The Modest Suitcase

Council of Modest Fashion

Halfway through the year, The Global Council of Modest Fashion came to life. I joined as a representative from Africa/South Africa, and identified key people already working in different sectors in the Fashion Industry – Amiena Pastor with her strong presence in market spaces and start-ups, Leila Bardien with her wide and varied background in Retail, and Zainab Slemang with her colourful resume and work in the Communications Industry.

As a member of the Halal Consultative Forum, I was made aware of the Annual Africa Halal Week.  This piqued my interest for the Council of Modest Fashion to have a presence. After a proposal, and a few meetings, The Council of Modest Fashion were set to work in creating a Modest Fashion Conference and Exhibition.

The event was a success, which opened up many more discussions, and pinpointed challenges our designers are facing.  The official rollout of COMFAfrica’s presence, programmes, workshops, and membership offerings will commence in 2019.  Watch this space.

While you’re waiting for 2019, go and visit our Africa Modest Fashion Collective popup at Kenilworth Centre, where you’ll find many of your favourite local designers in store. Go on support your community!


So there you have it.  I was extremely exhausted by November, which is very rare as I’m always hyperactive. Every part of my being was pushed to the limit, taking my saying “There’s no limit to what you can achieve unless you limit yourself” quite literally. I reached my limit for the year.  I know this, because when I’m down on positive energy, I’m pretty much irritated by everyone, and find myself feeling offended by anything and everything people say (even if they don’t mean to offend) –  I became an emotional, stressed out wreck. As Murphy’s Law would have it, everything that could go wrong in one month – did, everything that could be thrown at you – was, everyone that you irritated or just didn’t have time for – was calling you on it, and anyone who needed anything at any given time – was requesting it then.

I spent late nights, nights with no sleep, over-ate, shut so many people out……..

November nearly killed me, but here I am, I survived.

Struggles are what people go through to reap the full potential of who they can become, when they face their challenges, and work hard,  to provide a better life for themselves and others in triumphantly creating a purposeful and successful life.

Roshan Isaacs

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