Maverick Life

Maverick Life

We’re in this together: Recommendations from the Maverick community

Igor Ovsyannykov for Pixabay

In one of our recent Maverick Life newsletters, we asked our readers to share with us their recommendations for movies, podcasts... things to do during the lockdown. Here is a selection of their responses.

In times like these, community, however physically distant, is crucial for wellness and to help us get through the lockdown. Thank you to our community of readers for the suggestions below.

Something for the long-run

Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo – recommended by Helize Janse van Vuuren; Three episodes, watch in three sessions, best part at the end.

Fitzcarraldo is memorable for one thing especially: one man’s seemingly insane dream, his inexhaustible passion – to pull a huge boat over a mountain in the Amazon, in order to start an opera house there. The presence of actor Klaus Kinski in the main role, of Claudia Cardinale, the boat and the jungle, plus the frail sounds of Caruso on a wind-up, old-fashioned record player, all add to this crazy undertaking. Combine it with the documentary on the making of the film, Burden of Dreams, in which Werner Herzog talks of his patience and endurance through the four long years of the film’s production and two false starts (one jinxed, abandoned attempt in which Mike Jagger acted as a simpleton), and you have many hours of superb views of the Amazon jungle and the madness that drives people to fulfill their seemingly crazy dreams. Inspiring, amazing, gripping photography from start to finish. This is a movie you will never forget… Inspirational, fantastic, superb. A latter-day Sisyphus against a mountain. 


Something outrageous

Christopher Hitchens – recommended by Suzette McKerron

In this age of superficiality, it is such a privilege to see a brilliant mind at work. I love him for his intelligence, his originality and his quick wit.

All his debates are wonderful, with no exception, so I must recommend them all. His view of Mother Teresa (The Missionary Position) is a good example of him cutting to the bone of her good works and exposing her real motives. His bravery through his esophageal cancer and writing about it to the end has earned my admiration.

It is moving to see the interviews with his wife, Carol Blue, after his death.

He was a true bon vivant. He is also the author of over 30 books, among them The Missionary Position and God is Not Great. Hitch 22 is about himself and the cancer. 


Something spatial

Apollo 13, Star Trek and Star Wars – recommended by Neville Nicholas

I found Apollo 13 inspirational as to how people can successfully overcome sudden, adverse challenges. I used to listen to the Apollo missions back in the day, on a valve radio via Voice of America.

I love the adventure, creativity and technology presented in the Star Wars and Star Trek movies. It is similar to Harry Potter movies, but I found the last couple in the series too dark.


Something to get hooked on

A selection recommended by Patricia Torres-Burd

Offspring – An Australian family comedy series that will make you laugh and cry and whose crazy antics will resonate with everyone. The series revolves around a young obstetrician as she navigates relationships, a very demanding career and an insanely quirky family. You can’t help but fall in love with each character. I cried when it finished.

The Spy (miniseries) – Based on the true story of the most famous Israeli spy in Syria; you have never seen Sacha Baron Cohen like this before. Who knew he was such a serious and excellent actor?

Unorthodox (miniseries) – Also based on a true story; this portrayal of religion, human connection, tradition and the need to belong is absolutely stunning.

Marcela – A female-led complex police series based in England that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

FleaBag – It’s comedy, it’s drama, it’s the complicated protagonist talking to you the viewer as if you were right there, it’s very funny and at times beyond awkward.

Linda Ronstadt, The Sound of My Voice – There is so much about her life and her success woven into this beautiful documentary.  What resonated the most was the women she supported throughout her career and her strength not only as a singer but as a woman in a male-led industry. 


Something to be moved by

The Roedean School Virtual Choir performing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujahrecommended by Caroline de Braganza (Matric class of 1966!)


Something to tune in

‘Modern Love’, ‘Where Should We Begin’, ‘Fresh Air’ – a selection of podcasts recommended by Patricia Torres-Burd

Modern Love – A unique podcast featuring some of the Modern Love submissions to The New York Times over the years.  Beautifully narrated by actors who have chosen to read the one that resonates with them personally.  Modern Love takes you on a journey of the best and most difficult of relationships of all kinds.

Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel – This podcast is like sitting in a couples’ therapy session. While vastly different challenges are brought by couples or partners, the universal “hard work” that makes relationships move forward resonates with all of us.  We each bring a great deal to the relationships shaping the bonds we form with others. The podcast is riveting and there is always a universal lesson for everyone.

Fresh Air Because each show is vastly different from the other and because Terry Gross’s conversational approach to interviewing makes you feel as if you are sitting right there having a cup of tea in the studio.


Something for the family

A recommendation by Mignon Hardie, the head of the FunDza Literacy Trust, a nonprofit working to promote reading for pleasure and writing for meaning among teens and young adults.

We run several programmes, but our largest and currently most active in the circumstances is our mobile-powered reading and writing platform, This is available data-free to users on Moya Messenger, and also to users via, but is accessible to anyone with a cellphone that can connect to the internet (go to: to check it out). provides access to a growing library on a cellphone. Each day there is new content, and readers can also send in their own work to get published too. We’ve started a feature, “Lockdown Live” that provides a series of fun reading/writing/sharing/connecting activities to do each day of the lockdown. For instance, today we’re directing readers to an open online course we’re hosting about the coronavirus, and encouraging them to write and share their own poetry/essays about surviving the lockdown. Tomorrow we’re doing a children-friendly feature about reading to younger siblings/children in the home.

Declan Lockheed, from Twinkl, also informed us that their “complete library of over 630,000 educational resources” will be available for free to residents of the South Africa until May 15th 2020.

“The sign-up process is super easy, teachers and parents simply need to go to Twinkl and enter the code SAFTWINKLHELPS to gain complete access to our online library”. DM/ ML

If you would like to share your ideas or suggestions with us, please leave a comment below or email us at [email protected] and [email protected].

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