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All your parenting questions are bound to be answered at the Baba Indaba, taking place this weekend at Gallagher Convention Centre.
EVERYTHING a baby will ever need can be found under one roof at the SABC Baba Indaba at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, from 27 to 29 May.

The cute official face of SABC Baba IndabaThe cute official face of SABC Baba IndabaBut it’s not all nappies and rompers; a wide range of exhibitors is on hand to look after parents and their bundles of joy. Manufacturers, suppliers and retailers give visitors a comprehensive experience. Companies exhibiting include Baby Throne, Bornsage, True Berry, 4D Scans and Cherished Belly, to name only a handful.

“These wonderful exhibitors add a very special flavour to the SABC Education Baba Indaba shows with their unique and beautiful products offering visitors a rewarding experience,” says the director of The Lime Envelope, Sarah Martin.

Also there are health and nutrition specialists, Vitabiotics and Parmalat to advise on the correct diet for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Educational institutions are on hand to help plan your child’s schooling needs; these include Kumon, Summit College and Curro private schools.

Fashion and food do not take a backseat, and expectant mothers can kit themselves out stylishly with clothes from shops such as Maternity Lane while enjoying a free coffee and biscotti at the Woolworths’ speakers corner, where there are free parenting talks. Moms can also introduce their children to style at an early age by shopping at the vintage children’s clothes stall by Chiliwinky.

Photograph booths by Frantique and QPhoto are dotted around to capture the moment on film; and there are changing facilities to ensure that nature’s call can be heeded as quickly and painlessly as possible. And there are private breastfeeding rooms.

With parenthood comes extra money worries; which the show has taken into account. “Exhibitor African Bank will have a mobile van on site that will be equipped to register and immediately dispense credit cards to customers at the show. Visitors will need to bring relevant documents and apply,” Martin says. “And for those visitors with Edgars cards, there is the opportunity to purchase from the Edgars stand using their cards as they would normally do any Edgars branch – with six months to pay.”

To entertain toddlers, who have notoriously short attention spans, the Muppets from Takalani Sesame are performing daily shows. Children can interact with them, while the Muppets help to teach them numeracy, literacy and life skills.

The Baba Indaba is an annual baby, toddler and parenting expo, held around South Africa. It has won a variety of awards, scooping the Best Indaba award at Exsa (Exhibition Association of Southern Africa) in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010, as well as the Top Woman award for gender empowerment in the small, medium and micro enterprises category.

“The founder is Natalie Naude, who was in her mid-thirties and about to have a baby. Having headed up companies for many years, business was an easy task. A new baby, however, posed an enormous challenge,” Martin says.

“While flipping through a magazine, Natalie’s eye caught a baby show taking place in the UK. She immediately thought of the vast number of babies born per hour in South Africa (105 to be exact) and realised that this concept could work well in her hometown.”

Naude flew over to the United Kingdom, where she met with the organisers in Glasgow and London and visited the shows. “The idea of having all questions answered under one roof was, in her mind, a winning concept. The concept was registered and the rest is history,” she says.

South Africans seem to agree with her idea, and Martin says that over the year across the national shows, of which there are five, “we get about 145 000 visitors”.

This is the second year the Pretoria/Midrand leg of the show has been held at the Gallagher Convention Centre; the other Baba Indabas are hosted at the MTN Expo Centre at Nasrec, the Sandton Convention Centre, the Cape Town International Convention Centre and Ilanga Estate in Bloemfontein.
Tickets for the Baba Indaba are R50 for adults; entrance is free for children and for grandparents on the first day. They can be bought at the door or online. To buy tickets online and find out more information, visit the website.

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