TG Newsletter: FRIDA

Thank God It's Frida

(6 February 2015)

*Over 100 years ago, Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón was born in Mexico. For many she was simply Frida. Our Frida. She used her intensely personal and vibrant paintings to express her experiences of love, life, pain and death during her short and very eventful life. Her work, style, bravado and wit, still continues to inspire around the world.*

Kraai is a Frida-Freak and as I still haven’t given her anything for her birthday (‘cept for the deconstructed Mozambique cake), I secretly concocted a weekend in Kahlo-Kaap (…with the help of a few other Fridacious friends).

We left the farm at 4am on Friday 6 February 2015 hoping to make the flight down to Cape Town in time. But first we had to survive the trip through Majakaneng… they were revolving… revolting… revoluting… MAN! That thing where you make big changes without the government’s consent. Like turning trucks upside down and lighting their tyres. The stuff revolutionary Frida would paint about.

“Pain, pleasure and death are no more than a process for existence. The revolutionary struggle in this process is a doorway open to intelligence.”

--- Frida ---

We made it to the other side of fire and brimstone, and calmed our nerves with a quick breakfast, while watching as business men in pressed suits and women with too much jeweler jumped on plains looking too busy to blink.

We could have flown down with Mango, seeing as Frida loved to Tango. But Kulula was close enough to Kahlo… and cheaper!

“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.”

--- Frida ---

This trip was going to cost blood, sweat and tears. The sweat was mine, the blood and tears all came from Kraai.

Here’s the first one, #1: BLOOD! Apparently the air pressure did not work well on her sinuses. And this was before we even got onto a bike!


(George Hansen)

From Slaapstad airport we jumped into a taxi to Harley Davidson Cape Town (the best selling dealer in SA). Years ago George offered me some wheels if ever I was in CT. He was quite surprised when I gave him a bel and reminded him of his promise, but he’s a man of his word and our transport for the weekend was sorted.

What George did not know, was that my clutch hand was operated on the week before and that I had almost no power or movement in my fingers. Kraai gave me a ‘nada’ when I asked her to ride the bike and pillion me. She’s never lifted anyone before and wasn’t gonna start on a borrowed Harley.

I played it koel-en-kalm (but secretly I delivered #2: SWEAT) and hoped to just make it around the corner so they couldn’t see how much I was struggling. Unfortunately Kraai was in ear-shot distance and she could hear all the beskrywende naamwoorde I used every time a traffic light went red and we had to stop.

“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”

--- Frida ---

George – I promise I looked after your machine. She was a beaut and we loved every minute in her saddle!

From HD I entered a secret destination in the GPS, but told Kraai that we were going to a bike shop. When we got close to the venue, she pointed out that we were in a bad side of town and that she thought we were lost.

“Daar’s nie ‘n bike shop hier nie!”

We got directions from a passer-by, who pointed to the second floor of the building we were parked next to.

Kraai looked up and with a puzzled look asked, “How do they get the bikes up there?!?”


Artist Alex Hamilton had a Frida Mash Up exhibition. He had 19 South African artists exhibiting their Frida inspired work.

*Frida was involved in a serious trolley (like a bus thingy) accident when she was 18, which left her with a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, and 11 fractures in her right leg. In addition, her right foot was dislocated and crushed, and her shoulder was out of joint. She would undergo approximately 30 operations in her lifetime.*

As the door to the ‘bike shop’ opened and Kraai realized where we were, #3 came to the cards: TEARS!

Wiping away snot strepe, she immediately jumped into character:

As she browsed the gallery, she came across a painting that had no name, price or description. It was a Eugenie Marais which was painted for her as a birthday gift from me. Thanks Genie, Louré and Alex for helping to organize this secret shipment.


This painting is based on Frida’s:

“What the Water Gave Me”


*What the water gave her were images of past and present, life and death, comfort and lost.*

We spent another hour or two with Alex in his studio. What a wholly interesting man. He is known for his stencil pop art & has one of the biggest collections of stencils anybody could ever own. Pssst, he wore a bike shirt! We really liked him.

But we had another appointment. There was no time to slaap in Slaapstad.

“I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.”

--- Frida ---

I was born a bitch. I was born a biker.

--- Skinny ---


We had to stop at Steve to visit his legendary bike shop that sells coffee on the side and makes properste movies from time to time.

"Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away."

--- Frida ---

It’s almost like Frida knew the inner workings of a motorcycle.

Steve and team hammers together some of SA’s best custom bikes.

They be the owners of the world famous Swart Gevaar (custom Honda XL 500). ‘Swart Gevaar’ is Afrikaans for ‘Black Threat’ and was a propaganda term used by South Africa’s Apartheid regime. Frida would call this Honda a rebellious revolution.

Kraai wanted a kiekie with the celebrity Ingozi.

Steve offered to pulled him out on the street and made him growl.

We met up with some other Slaaptonians and dashed through the traffic to yet another ‘bike shop’. This time one that sold BEER!


“I drank because I wanted to drown my sorrows, but now the damned things have learned to swim.”

--- Frida ---

“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”

--- Frida ---

…even when the pub offers a very abrasive version of toilet paper!

After consuming our promised beer (thanx Steve!), we had to head back into #&^($)* traffic. I’ve definitely dusted of some long forgotten swear words. Next stop was a dinner date with friends at a Mexican restaurant. The tequila was calling and Frida was pouring…

“The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”

--- Frida ---

The only thing I know is that I bike because I need to, and I bike to which ever town passes through my GPS without any other consideration.

--- Skinny ---


The Fat Cactus was buzzing with colourful people, sounds and smells. There was even a few Fridas at the table behind us.

We ate stuff that would burn our exhausts. We drank stuff that would burn our exhausts. SLIP-ON MUFFLERS – we should definitely consider free-flow systems next time!

*At the age of six, Frida contracted polio due to which her right leg became thinner than the left. She hid this through her life by wearing long colorful skirts. From a young age Frida challenged the status quo. Apart from playing sports like boxing, she joined a gang and fell in love with its leader. Later, she was known to party till late night and even won tequila challenges with many men.*

We had a spicy night with Ilse and Pieter and friends. The Frida spirit(s) kept flowing till late into the night… or was that morning?

“I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.”

--- Frida ---

I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can bike.

--- Skinny ---

The next morning we went to fetch a new tank for Kraai’s DR and then did a round trip of the peninsula. Chapmen’s Peak with the blue oceans on the down side and the green rolling Table mountains on the up side, snaking through the Cape that is as colourful as a Frida skirt.

“Only one mountain can know the core of another mountain.”

--- Frida ---

Only one biker can know the core of another biker.

--- Frida ---

“There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”

--- Frida ---

There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the geyser and the other was Tannie Bettie Coetzee. Tannie Bettie was by far the worst.

--- Skinny ---

We stopped in the small town of Kalk Bay for a bite… and the hair of an Alsatian. A large one.

The restaurant didn’t sell alcohol, but you could buy your tipple from the liquor store next door. The ladies at the till in die Drank Winkel were standing behind the counter, one hand curled around a beer each. Guess you have to make sure your stock hasn’t expired?

We made it back in time to HD HQ and said our dankie’s to George. Isn’t it sad to hand over the keys to a bike… even if it wasn’t ever yours?

*On the day after her death, mourners gathered to witness the cremation of Mexico's greatest and most shocking painter. Soon to be an international icon, Frida Kahlo knew how to give her fans one last unforgettable goodbye. As the cries of her admirers filled the room, a sudden blast of heat from the open incinerator doors caused her body to sit bolt upright. Her hair, now on fire from the flames, blazed around her head like a halo. Her lips seemed to break into a seductive grin just as the doors closed. Her last diary entry read: "I hope the exit is joyful - and I hope never to return. Frida."*

!This was all done in 39 hours!

I know you guys think my stories might be surrealistic, but Frida and I only ever painted our real lives. Be it that our lives are chaotic and rushed; it is never dull or dreary.


Frida once wrote to a former lover, "You deserve the best, the very best, because you are one of the few people in this lousy world who are honest to themselves, and that is the only thing that really counts."

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Out riding to make the world a better place!

Skinny YouTube: Skinny van Schalkwyk