27 February 2005

Dancing Queen

Nicole Cutler was a contestant in British TV's recent Strictly Come Dancing programme. She specialises in Latin American and won the All England Champion and Singapore Millennium Champion titles. Nicole was born in South Africa and moved to the UK at the age of 18.

Natasha's SA connection

Natasha Kaplinsky, BBC TV presenter, spent her early years in Kenya. She was brought up in Barcombe, Sussex, and studied English at Oxford University. Her father, Raphael Malcolm, who born in South Africa. Together with his wife, psychotherapist Catherine, they left the country after opposing apartheid. Natasha was born 09 September 1972 in Brighton and a year later the family moved to Kenya until Natasha was six. Back in England they settled in the Sussex town of Lewes. Raphael is a Sussex University economics professor.

Orlando's SA connection

Orlando Bloom was born in Canterbury, Kent, on 13 January 1977. His mother, Sonia, ran a language school for foreign students, while his father, Harry, was a Professor of Law at the University of Kent. Harry, a South African Jew born in 1913, was an anti-apartheid activist and author. Harry was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand and worked as an advocate in Johannesburg. His first novel, Episode (later titled Transvaal Episode), published in 1956, described an uprising in a township following the ANC's campaign of defiance in 1952-3. The book was and Harry's second novel, Whittaker's Wife, was written while he was behind bars serving a 3-month sentence. In 1963, he exiled himself to Canterbury.

Harry died in 1981 when Orlando was four, leaving Sonia to raise him and his sister Samantha, two years his senior. At the age of 12, Orlando spent a Christmas in Boston with family. His cousin, an art director working in Los Angeles, rented some videos, including The Hustler and Stand By Me. This made him decide to become an actor. When he was 13, he was told that Harry was not his biological father. His real father was Colin Stone, his appointed guardian and someone he'd known as a friend of the family.

Ducati designer

Pierre Terblanche, born in 1956 in Graaff-Reinet, was one of the designers of the Ducati 916. He also worked on the Ducati 888 and the 916. He has been the director of design at Ducati since 1997 and owns three Ducatis.

Pierre grew up in Uitenhage and graduated from Hoërskool Brandwag. His father was a woodwork teacher.. Pierre's first motor bike was a Honda 50cc. After studying graphic design at Port Elizabeth Technikon, he went to Cape Town, where he worked for an ad agency. When Italian car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro attended a local conference, Pierre arranged a meeting where he gave him his portfolio of auto designs. Eighteen months later Pierre was in Italy and started looking for work in the car-design studios. His first job was a low-paying one, so he visited Ford’s design studio in Cologne and Design Düsseldorf, Volkswagen’s advanced design studio, where he met head designer Patrick le Quément. Pierre enrollled at the Royal College of Art for master’s programme in transport design, sponsored by le Quément. He worked under le Quément from 1986 to 1989, when he left VW for Ducati.

MBE for PE woman

Nora Whitham (maiden name Wing King), a retired nurse born and bred in Port Elizabeth, is the first South African of Chinese descent to earn an MBE from the Queen of England. The citation is for nursing services and work in Bradford, where Nora has lived for nearly 29 years. Nora is now a lay canon at Bradford Cathedral. She left South Africa in 1960 and later married Englishman John Whitham. Her father used to own Wing King Grocers, in Walmer, which was demolished in the 1970s.

26 February 2005

Sienna's roots

Sienna Miller's mother, Jo, is South African. Her father, Ed, is a US banker. Sienna was born on 28 December 1981 in New York City. After her parents divorced, she moved to England with her mother, who ran London's Lee Strasberg drama school. Sienna attended Heathfield School in Berkshire. Her sister is Savannah and she has two half-brothers, Charles and Stephen, and a stepsister, Natasha.

18 February 2005

Fighting to immigrate

Gavin Hilewitz is the type of immigrant Canada loves to attract. He's young (22), is good with computers and his parents are worth at least CAD$5-million. Yet he battles to become a Canadian citizen. Gavin is mildly retarded and was barred from immigrating lest he become an "excessive" drain on Canada's social services. Even a promise by Gavin's parents to pay privately for special services was not enough. His family is appealing the decision in the Supreme Court of Canada.

On the greens

Former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) golf champion (1991) Warren Schutte was born in 1971 in Durban. In 1992 he was the US Amateur Public Link Champion and also qualified for the 1992 US Open at Pebble Beach. In 1993 he played in the Masters with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Warren graduated from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) in 1993. He was recently inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame at a ceremony in the MGM Grand Hotel's Studio Ballroom. He still owns or is tied for at least 12 university records and is now enjoying a pro golf career playing. He moved to the US on a scholarship and now lives in Anthem, Arizona, with wife Joan and their two children.

17 February 2005

A rising cricket star

Carl Cachopa (18) played cricket for Free State under-13 and under-15s. He has also played for the Auckland under-17 and under-19 side. His family moved to New Zealand from Bloemfontein in 2002. Carl was in the Westlake Boys High first XI that won a second successive Auckland schools title last year. Seven of the squad of 14 and the school's top two coaches are South African. His parents, Joe, of Portuguese descent and once a top club soccer player in South Africa, and Margie, whose sport was gymnastics, teach at the school. Joe manages the first XI and is the master of cricket. Carl's brothers, Brad and Craig are also making their mark. Brad is a New Zealand under-17 player.

African Queen of Jazz

Living in Montreal since 1977, Lorraine Klaasen was born in Alberton to South African jazz singer, Thandi. Today Lorraine is the African Queen of Jazz. She started off with the pata pata and click songs of South Africa. By her teens she was touring Europe as part of a 30-member troupe of singers and dancers, performing traditional African material. In 1977, she and her then-husband settled in Montreal while he continued his studies. Not knowing anyone in Canada, she temporarily abandoned her performing career. Two years after settling in Montreal and starting a family, she returned to the stage. By 1986, she was presenting a show called African Broadway, with her band, Soweto Groove. Lorraine sings in several languages including French, Swahili, Zulu, Xhosa, Greek and Hebrew.

The English foreign legion

Pietermaritzburg-born English cricketer, Kevin Pietersen (24), is following in some big footsteps.

Allan Joseph Lamb was born in 1954 in Langebaanweg. With South Africa banished from international cricket, he moved to England, where his parents were born, in 1977. Allan made his Test debut against India in 1982 and eventually represented England in 79 Tests and 122 one-day internationals. He ended his career with 4,656 runs.

Robin Arnold Smith was born in 1963 in Durban. He retired in 2003, after a career with Hampshire and England that spans 23 years. He scored over 41,000 runs in all forms of cricket, including 88 centuries. Robin joined Hampshire at 17. He played for England in 62 test matches and 71 one-day internationals. His elder brother Chris also played a few Tests before him.

Anthony William Greig was born in 1946 in Queenstown. His father was Scottish, a fact that allowed him to play for England 58 times and captain his adopted country 14 times. He was the first English player to score 3,000 runs and take 100 wickets. He moved to England at the age of 20 and qualified to play for Sussex the following year. He lives in Australia.

Andrew John Strauss was born in 1977 in Johannesburg. His parents are both South African. When Andrew was six, his father took up a job offer in Australia, and two years later accepted another to move to England. His grandfather and an uncle still live in Johannesburg. Andrew played cricket and rugby at school and university but he didn’t start playing cricket regularly until he was 21. After leaving Durham University in 1998 with a degree in economics, he got a trial at Middlesex through Andrew Wagner (who ran Radley’s cricket and was one of the best school coaches), who knew Ian Gould (then Middlesex coach). Wagner also sent Gould another player, Ben Hutton, grandson of former England captain Sir Leonard and Strauss’s close friend. Ben was born in the same Johannesburg hospital as Andrew, went to the same school and university and played for and captained the same county. When Andrew got married, Ben was his best man. His three elder sisters became a vet, an accountant and a doctor.

South African owned piece of Kentucky

John R Gaines, the former owner of Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky and the founder of the American Breeders' Cup, died recently at the age of 76. He was influential in numerous areas of horse racing and breeding. He took over Gainesway from his grandfather, who began breeding standardbreds there in 1925. In 1989 he sold the farm to South African wine maker Graham Beck, whose son Antony now runs Gainesway, located on some of the finest bluegrass land in Kentucky. Graham has enjoyed great success breeding and buying Thoroughbreds and is a leading owner/buyer in South Africa.

A life voyage

Neal Petersen was born in Cape Town in 1967. In 1992 he participated in his first solo event across an ocean. In September 1998, he set sail in Around Alone and eight months later completed the race in seventh place. The story of that race is an integral part of the documentary, No Barriers - The Story of Neal Petersen. Neal's No Barriers Education Foundation, which he established in 1996, provides subsidies for the education of youth. South Carolina named him Volunteer of the Year in 1998.

His autobiography, Journey of a Hope Merchant: From Apartheid To The Elite World Of Solo Yacht Racing, recounts his life voyage, from Cape Town to a place in history as the first black man to race solo around the globe. He was born physically disabled and impoverished, but dreamt of building his own boat and of sailing in the great solo races of the world. His mother was a teacher and his father was a security guard. When Neal started to walk, doctors discovered he was born without one of his hip sockets. It took several surgeries for doctors to successfully mould a new socket from part of his pelvic bone. He was almost 6 by the time the operations and physical therapy allowed him to walk again. Between discovering his love of swimming during physical therapy and listening to his father's tales of his time at sea as a diver, Neal started dreaming of the ocean. He first sailed when he was 12 years old.

At 17, he moved to the United States where he studied commercial diving, a career that took him around the globe and paid him enough money to finance his dream. At 23, he set sail for England from South Africa in a boat some dubbed "a floating coffin" but he called her No Barriers. He only made it to Ireland.

In his autobiography, he writes about the individuals who have sustained him - his mother, a generous community of Irish citizens, a cadre of eminent sailors, and the woman who ultimately ended their relationship because he chose to follow his dreams of sailing.

Neal now lives in McClellanville, South Carolina, where he offers his motivational speaking skills to corporate and other events. His Web site is www.no-barriers.com. In 1999, he married Darlene Kristi, and the two divide their time between the United States and South Africa.

Rap star

Jean Grae is the daughter of South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) and jazz vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin. She was was born Tsidi Ibrahim 28 years ago in Cape Town before she moved to New York City as an infant with her family. She studied singing and dance. At age 13, she was the youngest member of the Alvin Ailey II dance company. She was a vocal major at the High School of the Performing Arts. Today she's a rap star and lives in Williamsburg with her fiance/manager.

Irish star

Alistair Cragg (24) was born in South Africa. He was 12th in the 10,000 metres at the Athens Olympics and is aiming for a medal over 3,000 metres at the European Indoor Championships in Madrid in March. Alistair went to the USA to run for Southern Methodist University, in Texas, but he dropped out of SMU after a year and returned home. When he returned to America, he was recruited by the University of Arkansas. In his first year at Arkansas, he finished third in the 2001 NCAA cross-country meet, then won the 5000m at the 2002 collegiate indoor track championships. He finished second in the 2002 collegiate cross-country meet, then ran the European Championships for Ireland, where he held citizenship through his grandparents. In 2003 he ran the fastest 3000m ever run by a student at an American university.

Alistair is a hero in Fayetteville, the home of the University of Arkansas, where he still trains. If his final classes at the University work out, and he is selected, he will run the World Cross Country Championships for Ireland.

Constable Naidoo in New Zealand

Police in New Zealand recently launched a nationwide strategy aimed at improving their relationship with New Zealand's growing immigrant population. Constable Rakesh Naidoo is the Canterbury Police Asian peoples community relations officer. He was born in South Africa of Indian parents.

Maple leaf to thistle

Canadian international 400m hurdler Nick Stewart (25) is in the process of transferring allegiance to Scotland in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) will decide whether to grant the switch in April. Nick's father, Jim, was born in Lossiemouth and his grandmother Jean still lives there. Nick's mother was born in Middlesbrough, England. He was born in South Africa before moving, at the age of 8 years, with his parents to Toronto, Canada. He later studied in the United States and graduated from university in Texas.
The hurdler has lived Loughborough, Leicestershire, since November 2003 and works as an admin officer at Loughborough University alumni office and as speed development coach with the university’s rugby team.

Aging gracefully

Dr. David Lipschitz is chairman of the University of Arkansas medical school's geriatrics department. He's also an author, columnist, public speaker and TV personality, and a celebrity in Little Rock, Arkansas. His first book, Breaking the Rules of Aging,' was a regional best-seller, and he's at work on a second. He writes a Sunday column for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He created a series of programmes, Aging Successfully with Dr. David, that appeared on public TV stations in 49 states. He's a weekly guest on a Little Rock morning TV show and will soon start his own statewide radio programme, as well as launching a Web site, www.drdavidhealth.com. He still makes house calls and he gives his patients his cell phone number.

The geriatrician, born in 1943 in Johannesburg, is to old age what Dr. Spock was to parenting. The geriatrics programme Dr. Lipschitz has built at the University of Arkansas has captured the interest of experts. They believe that its emphasis on preventive medicine and its treatment of chronic conditions make it a model for an aging America.

He received an M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Witwaterstrand in Johannesburg. He immigrated to the United States in 1972. He has 3 children from his first marriage, Andrea, Elan and Howard. In 1977 he married Dr. Frances Wilson, an ENT Specialist. They have 3 children, Riley, Forbes and Evan. They have lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, since 1978.

An NBA legend from Joburg

Steve Nash, NBA star, was born in Johannesburg and reared in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Last year he joined the Phoenix Suns for a salary close to $65.6 million over 5 years. Since returning to the franchise that drafted him in 1996, the 30-year-old Nash has led the Suns to the best record in the NBA. He is in his 9th NBA season and leads the league in assists and shooting percentage. The six-foot-three, 175-pound point guard with the unruly mop of hair is all the rage in the NBA. He is a front-runner for the league MVP award, an honour that would put him in the company of legendary point guard Magic Johnson.

Last October, he and his longtime girlfriend, Alejandra Amarilla of Paraguay, became the parents of twin daughters, Lola and Bella. His parents, John and Jean, are nearby in their winter condominium. John was a soccer player on a semi-professional league in England and a printer. He married Jean, who had been a netball player. They moved to Johannesburg when a team offered more money. The family later moved to Canada where Steve excelled in hockey, lacrosse, rugby, baseball and chess. His brother, Martin, a year younger, is a member of the Canadian soccer team and the Vancouver Whitecaps. His sister, Joanne, six years younger, was a point guard in basketball and was captain of the UVIC women's soccer team. By his senior year at St. Michaels University School, Steve was named most valuable player of the province in basketball, leading his team to the British Columbia high school championship. Steve graduated from Santa Clara University in northern California with a degree in sociology.

Steve used to dream of playing for Spurs - not the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA but Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League, his dad John's hometown soccer team. Steve's sport could as easily have been lacrosse or hockey or baseball. He could also swing a mean golf club, he won his school chess tournament, and was a provincial high school MVP in soccer. Steve has recently been working on his tennis game - much to the chagrin of his dad, who plays six days a week in Phoenix. John still plays soccer in a league in Phoenix in the winter, and in the summer, plays for the same men's league team in Victoria he's been part of for the past 22 years.

Steve is generous with his time and his money. One of the ways Steve helped to build team morale was by renting out a Phoenix cinema so his teammates could watch a movie without being bothered. As a member of the Canadian Olympic team at the Sydney Olympics, he gave his teammates a boost by giving them each $3000, anonymously, so they could go on a shopping spree in Hong Kong. The Canadian coach had arranged for him to fly first class and have his own room at the Games, but Steve chose to fly with the team and shared a room. When the Suns play in Seattle on March 6, 800 young fans from B.C.'s Lower Mainland will pile into buses to go see the game, all of them kids who play in the Steve Nash Youth League.