24 March 2005

Not so boring accountants

Keet van Zyl is the reigning champion of extreme accounting. Accountants visit challenging locations like mountain tops, seabeds, caves and rollercoasters - taking their work with them. A qualified chartered management accountant, Keet obtained his B.Acc at Stellenbosch University.

Memories of Cuito Cuanavale

Clive Holt was a national serviceman in South Africa and saw action in Angola. He has written a book, At Thy Call, about the Cuito Cuanavale campaign. Clive moved to Australia in 1999. He used his personal diary as a basis for the book, and also spoke to veterans of the bush war during his research.

Deported from the USA

Carla Freeman (27), a South African widow, has returned to Nelspruit voluntarily and will not be able to return to the US for 10 years. She has a pending application to appeal against American authorities' decision to deport her. Advocate Brent Renison is representing her. Carla is one of many widows ordered to leave the US after being married to Americans for less than 2 years. She met her husband, Robert, in 2000 while working as a child-minder in the US. When she returned to South Africa, he visited her and proposed. After 11 months of married life in the US, he was killed in a car accident. Last May, Carla was arrested and jailed by immigration officials.

Youngsters on the move

The British High Commissioner in Pretoria released figures which show that 24 859 South Africans applied for a working holidaymaker visa last year and 2 547 were turned down. In 2002, there were 17 520 applications. The main reasons for being turned down is failure to prove that you will not return to South Africa or that you will not be able to support yourself for 2 years.
South Africans are also finding work on oil rigs in the Atlantic Ocean, teaching English in Taiwan or working on farms in New Zealand. There are about 30 000 South Africans working in Dubai, according to Emirates Airlines who employed a number of South African cabin staff and baggage handlers. According to Camp Councillors USA (South Africa), there are about 2 000 South Africans working at ski resorts in the US.

16 March 2005

Tennis at the golf course

Top tennis player, Roger Federer, is amongst a number of celebrities with homes in the southern Cape. Roger and his girlfriend, Mirka Vavrinec, are having a house built at the Pezula Golf Estate in Knysna. His parents, Lynette and Robbie, flew out from Switzerland to see the site.

15 March 2005

Bogus Recces

Up to 25% of South Africa's former Special Forces are working in already in Iraq. So strong is the high salaraies, that the SA Special Forces League gets weekly queries from employers checking CV claims. Less than 5% are genuine claims, as South Africans claim to have been Recces. The skills learnt during South Africa's bush war have led to former South African soldiers being in high demand as bodyguards and protection officers for companies working in the world's trouble spots. Highly trained former operators can earn up to R100 000 a month providing security in Iraq. According to the SA Special Forces League, until January 2003, fewer than 900 men had ever qualified as Special Forces operators. Of these 200 are dead, around 30 are in their late sixties and early seventies, and around 20 are seriously and permanently physically disabled as a result of their service. While many impostors make claims of service in the bush war, official records show that, of over 100 000 applicants, only 480 men qualified as Recces by the end of the conflict.

Cover girl

FHM cover girl Roxy Ingram is one of South Africa's top models. She's dated British chart-topper Craig David, and spent New Year’s Eve with Lenny Kravitz, Boris Becker and the cast of the crime show CSI in Miami.

Rich & famous

Three South Africans are on the latest Forbes World's Richest People - Nicky Oppenheimer and his family (72 on the list), Johann Rupert and his family (272) and Donald Gordon (413). Last year, the Oppenheimer family was number 103 on the list. Two years ago, the Ruperts were number 413. Donald Gordon, founder of Liberty Life, now lives in London, England.

Zimbabwean instructors for SAAF

Zimbabwean flight instructors will soon be teaching South African Air Force student pilots at the SAAF's flying school in Langebaanweg. This announcement was made by Lt.Gen. Carlo Gagiano, new chief of the SAAF, during a wings parade for newly qualified pilots. Gagiano said the Zimbabweans were called in as South Africa wants a closer relationship with other air forces on the sub-continent. The Zimbabwean Air Force currently uses an older version of the BAE Hawk, the training aircraft to be used for South Africa's fighter pilots.

SA inspiration for Beckham

David Beckham named his newborn son Cruz after hearing the name during an autographing session. In 2002, fan Marlon Daniels (36) asked Beckham to sign a baseball cap for his young son, Cruz. Now a dental assistant in Weybridge, Surrey, the former Capetonian said that Beckham wrote the name on a piece of paper and put it in his pocket.

The chef and those photos

The official photographs used to announce the engagement of Prince Charles and Mrs. Camilla Parker Bowles, was taken by his long-serving organic chef, South African Carolyn Robb. The photos have become a source of dispute, with Miss Robb involved in talks concerning her copyright. The photos will also appear on commemorative stamps. Miss Robb helped develop new lines for Duchy Originals, the food brand set up by Prince Charles in 1992. She first worked for the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and graduated to Charles’s kitchens in 1989. She left her post in 2000 but still cooks for the prince on special occasions.

11 March 2005

Percy's girl

Springbok rugby player, Percy Montgomery, and his wife, Tasmin, became parents on 09 Dec 2005 when a little girl, Taneal, was born. Monty plays for the Gwent Dragons in Newport, Wales.

Pharmacists for the USA

The American pharmacy group, Rite Aid, has recruited at least 50 South African pharmacists who will move to the US within the next year. Recruitment drives were held in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg. It was the third recruitment drive held by the group in South Africa. The next one is set for August.

Indigenous office suite

translate.org.za, a NGO based in Pretoria, aims to make computers and software applications more accessible and user-friendly to indigenous language speakers. The organisation has already translated an office suite containing a word processor, an e-mail programme and a web browser into several languages, including Zulu and Northern Sotho.

04 March 2005

Security exhibition

South Africa's anti-crime and security businesses displayed their latest wares at the recent 3-day Securex exhibition in Johannesburg. Many products display the Proudly South African label. The displays featured, amongst others, electrified razor wire, flak jackets, and a lock that emits a sound like a gunshot blast if the wrong person tampers with it.

Pierre Halle invented Robo Guard after two friends were killed in farm attacks. A portable canister with an infrared sensor, it can detect an intruder at up to 20m and set the alarms ringing. Profilon is a security lamination for car windows that promises to resist bricks, rocks or even bullets. Cellsecure has designed gadgets such as one that lets you turn your lights on and off at home via your cell phone while you are away. One company has razor wire which is electrified as well as sharp steel spikes for lining the top of the garden wall. The Shock Padlock reacts to vibrations with a starter-gun blank cartridge making an explosive echo in its aluminium shell.

03 March 2005

From finance to style

As a qualified dietitian Nicky Hambleton-Jones ran her own practice in South Africa, before moving to London in 1996. She wanted to work in London for a few years, before returning to South Africa. Nicky worked in marketing for a financial magazine publisher, followed by a telecommunications marketing job and a career as a financial services management consultant. Each time she was laid off - three times in two years. She decided to follow her passion and set up Tramp2Vamp, a fashion consultancy. Nicky now has her own make-up range. She also writes a regular column for WeightWatchers online and InLondon magazine. In 2003 she became a presenter on 10 Years Younger on Channel 4.