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Technology diva

Being one of the first women in the world to present Idols, combined with her exceptional DJ and MC skills, it is little wonder that when you meet Liezel van der Westhuizen for the first time, you are not only blown away with her exceptional charm and good looks but are also attracted to her witty sense of humour and all-round good nature. SEAN BACHER spent some time over a cup of coffee to get to know her a little better and her take on technology.
Our first question to her was what she thought of the Big Brother house and the concept in general.

It’s really weird she says. “When you first arrive at the house, they search through your bags and remove all cell phones, clocks, watches and paper, pens and pencils. You are then stuck in this house with nothing to do, but talk to people,” says Van der Weshuizen.

Although she only spent two days in the house, she was very disorientated. “It’s rather weird, there is absolutely no contact with the outside world, the walls are so high and the lights are on all the time. You never know what time of the day it is or even how many hours have passed.” She continues by saying: “To pass the time, we would fiddle with the gadgets in the house – and the Big Brother had quite a few of them. All the kitchen appliances are top-notch, so trying to work out how they worked took up a little of our time.”

When asked what she did without her phone, she commented that at first it was a little strange: “I always have my BlackBerry with me, and not being able to reach into my pocket or purse to catch up on work or see what is on Twitter was really hard. However, after a few hours I kind of didn’t need it and I found that I was engaging in some real genuine conversation with the other house-mates.

Moving on from the house, we decided to talk gadgets.

What do you think of Twitter?
I absolutely love it, although I have learned that you need to be aware of what you Tweet. People don’t need to know everything about your life such as where you will be in the next few hours or so. It is however fine to let people know what you have been up to.

Furthermore, I believe that Twitter is crucial when getting a message across. For example, I am currently cycling around South Africa to raise money for a crèche and sports centre in Soweto.

The minute I tweeted what I was doing, Ghost Bike contacted me and said they would like to donate a bike for me to use in my endeavours.

The same happened with Facebook. Once it was made public on the site, endless companies contacted us saying they wanted to come on board.

What is your favourite phone?
That would without a doubt be a Blackberry. The service I get from the guys is amazing and besides that, the phone works beautifully.
Before I got a Blackberry, I used to use a Sony/Ericsson, but the thing kept on breaking and nobody would help me out.

Do you keep up to date with new technologies?
Most definitely. I read up on the new phones and gizmos out there, and will ask people about them before I go out and buy anything.

Mac or PC ?
I absolutely love Apple Macs, but the problem is they are far too expensive for my budget, so I am forced to use a PC. Hopefully one day when I am rich I will buy one of the super slim Macbooks.

Do you read the manuals that come with new items you buy, or do you dive straight in and start fiddling?
First I play around for a while, get a feel for how the gadget works and then I read the manuals to find out what additional feature the device boasts.

What is your favourite gizmo at the moment?
Apart from my BlackBerry, I would have to say my PVR.

Do you play any games?
I used to be a big gamer, in fact, last year when we were filming Idols, I brought my Nintendo DS along and sat playing it a lot of the time. I am a fan of first-person and brain games.

Who is the boss of the remote in the house?
Well I live with my sister so we kind of enjoy the same sort of programmes. If however we want to watch to different programs, we have a PVR so we can record one and watch the other later.

How good are you at working a computer. So for instance it breaks, do you burst into tears, call someone or try and fix things yourself?
I must say I always try and fix things myself. If I still can’t get it to work only then do I call someone to help me out.

How do you feel about technology encroaching on all other aspects of our lives?
I enjoy and welcome the idea. My dealings with technology have always been positive and I think as tech becomes more and more a part of our lives, it will at the same time make our lives a lot easier.

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