When the Covid-19 pandemic forced countries into lockdown in 2020, this led to a global increase in online activity.
Streaming services such as Netflix dominated the online entertainment market and, in February 2021, multimedia online website The Verge reported that Netflix had reached 203.6-million subscribers around the world after seeing “spectacular growth in the first half of 2020”.
So, what exactly are people watching? Or rather, what are they doing to pass their free time? We asked some of our Flowstars to share what they are reading, listening to and consuming at home. In the first instalment of this two-part blog (come back to our website to read part two on Thursday) we bring you the choices of six of them.
Tara Turkington, chief executive
Over the past year, I’ve been getting into the sport of trail running. (Actually, I believe I’ve invented a whole new sport; it’s called “trail shuffling”! It’s very slow and is a great metaphor for life, as it involves forging new paths, traversing peaks and valleys and lots of falling over and getting up again, as happens in life. But I digress ...)
There are loads of movies made about trail running (none yet as far as I know on trail shuffling). Trail running usually takes place in breathtakingly beautiful natural places, and the landscapes (think Rocky Mountains, Swiss Alps) often become leading characters in the films. The pioneer of film-making about trail running is Billy Yang, an American who went so far to learn about this sport as to do a 100-mile (160km) trail race himself. Pretty much everything by him is good if you want insights into how top trail runners think and train. I particularly enjoyed his movie about the Western States 100, Unbreakable, which is available on Youtube.
Sabo Ndlovu, accounts
On Youtube, I recommend The Ndlovu’s Uncut. I love this channel, because it’s local and it’s so authentic, funny and educational. It’s my kind of vibe! When l need a bit of motivation, l always jump onto this channel.
I also recommend the book Conversations with God. There is a quote that l love from the book that goes like this: “We are led to the truth for which we are ready.” I like it, because it means that whatever situation we find ourselves in, it’s happening because we are ready to embrace and face it, no matter how hard it may seem.
Some of my favourite songs are Jason Derulo’s Make love not war and Makhadzi’s Sugar.
Melanie Feris, social media manager and content producer
I consume social media, for work and for pleasure. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and sometimes Twitter. Twitter used to be my favourite platform, but I find it too reactive and noisy now, although there is still some amazing content to be found.
I belong to a few nice groups on Facebook, for their inspirational or visually pleasing content. I watch cooking videos, not that I’m going to cook anything. I like programmes featuring Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthal, Fatima Sydow, and Cape Malay Cooking and Other Delights, to mention a few. I love architecture and design content and tech innovation. And then, of course, I read EVERYTHING that Humans of New York and My Modern Met posts. Facebook is also where I connect and keep up with family and friends.
I read and watch lots of news online. And comedy – I love British comedians especially. Netflix, of course, and YouTube and Spotify for music. I travel the world through Instagram.
Gail Cameron, head of project management
I am reading an amazing book – The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follet. It’s the prologue to Pillars of the Earth and is just epic. It’s a tale of war and deceit and Vikings and romance and good prevailing over evil, most of the time. The characters are incredible and his female characters are always strong and powerful, which I just love. It’s the perfect form of escape after a stressful work day.
Altar Musodza, social media manager
I’m reading The Colours That Blind by Rutendo Tavengerwei, a young adult novel by an exciting Zimbabwean writer. It’s a teenage boy’s coming-of-age story as a person living with albinism.
I’ve been watching Vlogbrothers videos religiously on YouTube since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, where John and Hank Green share their hot takes on all kinds of things, from politics to viral memes.
For music, I’m currently listening to the Schindler’s List soundtrack. I know I’m late on this, but I love it because it’s beautiful and makes everything in life feel super dramatic.
I’m always consuming a lot of content, but a favourite right now is Crime Junkie, a podcast about all the dark, mysterious, disturbing crimes people commit all over the world.
Willem Steenkamp, senior writer/editor
A lot of my previous career in journalism involved crime, and I retain a fascination for the subject. My wife Tania doesn’t much appreciate my compulsion to delve into such human depravity, though, so I only get to indulge when I have the TV all to myself.
Two Netflix series that have recently scratched this itch of mine are Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel and Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer. If you like proper true-crime stuff – not the ones with cheesy re-enactments and reconstructions – then these will definitely suck you in.