13 April 2005

Sydney Maree

Sydney Maree (48), former Springbok long distance athlete, appeared in a Pretoria court yesterday on two charges of fraud, after being arrested at his Bryanston home. It is alledged that during April-June 2004, he transferred R917 700 from the National Empowerment Fund, where hen was the former chief executive, to his personal account. Sydney left South Africa in the late 1970s for the USA, which he represented in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The police have been investigating the case since November. Sydney was released on bail of R20 000. He owns homes in Pretoria and Johannesburg, valued at R2,5 million. The case has been put on the court roll for 7 June. Sydney has denied any wrongdoing, saying his arrest was a "smokescreen" created by his accusers to cover up their breach of corporate governance principles.

Model couple

South African model Tanit Phoenix and Olympic swimming star Roland Schoeman are dating, after meeting last year on the set of Top Billing. The couple are models with the Cape Town modelling agency, Ice Models.

South African attack & spin

As the county cricket season starts up, South Africans are a-plenty. This season's South African players include:
Dale Beckenstein (Durham); Andrew Hall, Martin van Jaarsveld, Matthew Dennington (Kent); Hylton Ackerman [capt], Charl Willoughby, Claude Henderson (Leicestershire); Ben Hutton [capt], Nantie Hayward, Chad Keegan, Nicholas Compton (Middlesex); Kepler Wessels [coach], Johann Louw, Charl Pietersen, Gerard Brophy (Northamptonshire); Graeme Smith [capt], Albie Morkel (Somerset); Johannes van der Wath, Mark Davis, Matthew Prior (Sussex); Zander de Bruyn, Stephen Moore (Worcestershire); Chris Bassano, Ant Botha, James Bryant (Derbyshire); Kevin Latouf, Jono McLean, Nic Pothas (Hampshire); Gregory Smith (Nottinghamshire); Jade Dernbach (Surrey); Neil Carter, Dewald Pretorius, Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire); Deon Kruis, Michael Lumb (Yorkshire)

Scheckter mugging

On Monday night, Clare Scheckter (44) was robbed in Onslow Gardens, South Kensington. The mother of two and second wife of the 1979 Formula One World Champion Jody Scheckter, was robbed of £200 by a gun-wielding man on a moped.
Jody Scheckter bought a farm, Laverstoke Park, in Hampshire, in 1996, where he now farms organically. In 2002 he added neighbouring farms and Laverstoke Park is now 2,500 acres. The products are sold at their shop, Laverstoke Park Butcher's Shop, Southley Farm, Overton, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Jody's son, Tomas, is following in his father's footsteps, racing in the USA.

11 April 2005

Mini flash

Tom Parker Bowles (30), food editor of Tatler magazine and son of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is engaged to Sara Buys, who was born in Johannesburg in 1973 when her mother was completing her degree at Wits University before moving to London. Sara and Tom plan their wedding for September. Sara's mother, Caroline, who is divorced from her father William, is the head of art at Cardinal Hinsley Boys' School in Willesden, North London. Sara attended South Hampstead High School, a private girls' school, before going to Oxford University. She is a fashion editor at Harpers & Queen. Sara caused a stir at the Royal wedding with her choice of outfit. The £2,500 Yves Saint Laurent outfit looked good at the Spring/Summer Paris Fashion show last October, but when Sara climbed onto the bus after the blessing service, photographers got more than they bargained for. The micro-mini skirt appeared to have been caught in her knickers.

09 April 2005


Professor Peter F. Alexander was educated at the universities of the Witwatersrand, Leeds and Cambridge. He is the author of biographies on South African writers Roy Campbell, William Plomer and Alan Paton. He has also edited a four-volume edition of all Campbell's writing. His latest book is a biography of the Australian poet Les Murray. Currently Professor of English at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, he is married to the Brontë scholar Christine Alexander, and they have two children.

Glamour from South Africa

South African-born fashion designer Marc Bouwer wanted to be an actor but instead went to design school and won the South African Vogue Young Designers Award. He wanted to move to Los Angeles, but instead moved to New York, where he received his big break when Roy Frowick Halston looked through his portfolio and offered him a job. Today, Marc's clients include Angelina Jolie (white dress worn at the 2004 Oscars), Whitney Houston (first client when he launched his label), Shania Twain, Toni Braxton, Oprah, Blythe Danner, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Charlize Theron, Paris Hilton and Julianne Moore. He made fashion history when his Mercedes Benz Fashion Week collection, which was entirely animal-product free, was sponsored by PETA. He celebrates 15 years in business this year. His latest line is a couture-inspired sportswear, dressy evening basics, called M by Marc Bouwer. It was recently launched on QVC and features 10 pieces priced between $50 and $150; instead of the $1500 to $7000 that you’d pay for a dress from his signature collection.

Not so peachy Georgia

The state of Georgia, in the USA, has not been peachy for some South African expats. Stephan Botes and Pierre Steyn are well-known names in the USA South African expat community. Botes (47), a computer consultant of Alpharetta, Georgia, and Steyn (60), a businessman of Woodstock, Georgia, have been indicted with conspiracy, wire fraud, theft of public funds, and money laundering, along with a former school superintendent, Linda Schrenko. The case is being investigated by Special Agents of the US Department of Education, Office of the Inspector General, and the FBI.

Benoni turns them out

Another Benoni star, model Katrina Cope (18), is enjoying an international career, earning R11 600 per day. Highlights of her career include modelling for Japanese designer Michiko Koshino and taking part in the haute couture fashion shows in Rome. Katrina speaks fluent Italian, after attending a modelling course at the Glamour Modelling School in Italy. Her parents, Jim and Sharon Cope, are very supportive of her career, which started with a dare between Katrina and her sister, Kerensa. Katrina was a finalist in the New Face International competition in 2002.

Another Benoni star

Benoni has delivered another star to go along with Charlize Theron... the popluar MTV programme, Crazy Monkey. Crazy Monkey, made up of Trevor Clarence, Brendan Jack, Brett Goldin and Gavin Williams, is a South African cult-status daredevil group that performs sick and/or crazy stunts. They have filmed a feature film called Straight Outta Benoni, to be released in August. Trevor Clarence is directing. He took the Young Gun of the Year award in Sydney in 2003 for directing the Crazy Monkey MTV shows. Ronnie Apteker and Tendeka Matatu were the producers.
South African celebrities featured in the film include singer Danny K and his girlfriend Lee-Ann Liebenberg, model and actress Tanit Phoenix (Lord of War) as the female lead, actor Colin Moss and rugby player Schalk Burger. The film is about Brendan and Brett who live in Benoni and have 24 hours to achieve celebrity status before going to their Matric reunion. During their adventure they cross paths with their arch enemy, the former headboy (played by Colin Moss). Trevor calls Benoni the Los Angeles of the East Rand.

See you at Watergat

It is not only in South Africa that name changes are in vogue. In London, the SA Gemeente has changed some names too... Paddatoon (for Paddington), Dip 'n Ouma (Baker Street), Kruisskuif & Blindederm (King's Cross & St Pancras), Oom Paul (St Paul), Lewerdamstraat (Liverpool Street), Vasmeer (Embankment), Towerkop (Tower Hill) and Watergat (Waterloo)... all on the Londen Pyp (London Tube) postcard given out to congregation members.

Celebrity sharks

Gansbaai, a seaside village in the Western Cape, has become a celebrity hotspot, all drawn by shark cage diving. Visitors include Prince Harry (who bought a black beanie embroidered with a shark, for his brother, William), Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, Nicolas Cage (bought local T-shirts), Brad Pitt (also bought T-shirts), Colin Farrell, Christopher Lambert, Sting, Mark Shuttleworth, Steffi Graf, and Michael Schumacher. Despite controversy over using bait to lure sharks closer to boats, the shark cage diving industry is booming, with 8 companies operating in Gansbaai.

Designing for H&M

Fashion designer Esther Haitink (24), a former Victoria Park schoolgirl and Port Elizabeth Technikon graduate, now works as head designer for Swedish group Hennes and Mauritz (H&M) children’s accessories and swimwear department. She has lived in Stockholm for 6 years. Last month she visited PE to get engaged to Swede Robert Jansson. Her parents, Renske and Olaf Haitink, still live in Walmer, and her brother, Olaf, works as an engineer in London.

08 April 2005

Western Cape's celebrity holiday spot

Gansbaai, a seaside village in the Western Cape, is the latest celebrity favourite. Past visitors include Prince Harry (who bought a local beanie, with a shark embroidered on the front, for his brother), Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, Nicolas Cage (bought local T-shirts), Brad Pitt (also bought T-shirts), Colin Farrell, Christopher Lambert, Sting, Mark Shuttleworth, Steffi Graf, and Michael Schumacher. What draws them to Gansbaai? Shark cage diving! Despite controversy over using bait to lure sharks closer to boats, Gansbaai has 8 shark cage diving companies in operation.

07 April 2005

Words to shoes

Ryk Hattingh, Afrikaans writer, left South Africa in 1997 for Auckland, New Zealand, where he now has a shoe store. His last book, Witskrif, was published in 1998 and is semi-autobiographical. He was a sub-editor for Vrye Weekblad and the first editor of the Afrikaans men's magazine, Loslyf. Ryk wrote the play, Sing jy van bomme, critique of the South African military which won him 5 Vita awards.

Top beer brewers

South Africans are better at brewing beer than their Aussie and Kiwi rivals. Prof. Mike Heydenrych, a hobby brewer from Doringkloof, successfully defended his Tri-Nations home-brewing crown. In the 2003 Homebrew Tri-Nations, his American Pale Ale tied for first place with the Belgian Strong Ale of Charles Cohen, another South African. Both are members of Wort Hog Brewers, founded by Moritz Kallmeyer, who owns Drayman's brewery in Silverton. Mike, current chair of the club, has been home-brewing since 2001 and now operates an all-grain brewery at home. He also got a 50-litre microbrewery installed in the University of Pretoria's department of chemical engineering, where he's an associate professor. A brewing practical is now part of the undergraduate curriculum.

Rising star

Tanit Phoenix (24), the Seapoint international model and actress, was rumoured to have been the cause of the break-up of Hollywood stars Jared Leto and Scarlett Johansson. Now Tanit has split from her Capetonian boyfriend, Kris Erasmus (27). She hit the headlines when she starred in a Dutch TV advert for shower gel, when she dangled topless from a crane. Last year she took Maxim magazine's award in the "Who's that Girl?" section. A small role followed in Nicholas Cage's Lord of War, which was filmed in Cape Town last year. This is where she met Jared and she denies she had anything to do with his break-up. Tanit will be part of this year's SA Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

e'Lollipop sequel

e'Lollipop, the classic South African movie about friendship across the colour line during the apartheid era, is being released on DVD and video, 29 years after it first became a blockbuster shown in more than 40 countries. A follow-up movie is also planned, with a portion of proceeds donated to an orphanage. The original film tells the story of the friendship between Jannie, an orphaned young white boy played by Norman Knox, and his black friend Tsepo played by Muntu Ndebele, and how the relationship ends with Tsepo giving up his life for his friend.
The new movie will follow the two child stars' into adulthood from apartheid to democratic South Africa. Peter Bishai, a New York writer and director, recently met Andre Pieterse, the original producer of e'Lollipop. Peter wrote an account of Muntu's real-life road to ruin and his comeback and renewed friendship with Norman. Filming is expected to start in August. Soweto-born Muntu now works as an actor for Ma Afrika films and lives in Midrand with his fiancée Wendy. He also appeared in Zulu Dawn, with Burt Lancaster and Peter O'Toole. After e'Lollipop, he had planned to go back to school to complete Matric so he could take up a university bursary given to him and Norman by Andre. However, some pupils were caught cheating during the examis, resulting in the school's entire Matric pupils being penalised. Muntu became depressed. He was 14 when the movie was made. He was told about auditions at the Carlton Centre by the late Simon Sabele, who played a traditional healer in the film. Muntu chose Norman (then 10) out of a group of boys and told the producer and director he wanted him to play Jannie. Norman, a former Mondeor High School pupil, was harassed because of his friendship with Muntu. He turned to crime and drugs. Eventually he left Johannesburg to study in Stellenbosch, before living in Cape Town. Five years ago he put a letter in the Sowetan newspaper and received a call from Muntu's sister, Lindi, who said he did not want to be found. Norman persisted and found Muntu living in a derelict flat in Hillbrow. After an emotional reunion, Andre, Norman and Muntu's family helped him get back on track.

Saving war-torn zoos

Brendan Whittington-Jones (27), a South African game ranger with Thula Thula game reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal, has done much to help hundreds of animals at Baghdad Zoo who were in appalling conditions. He is now in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he has been commissioned by zoological societies in England and the USA, to save the Kabul Zoo. Brendan had been working at the Thula Thula for about three-and-a-half years, managing the game reserve for the owner, Lawrence Anthony. He watched the war on CNN and saw footage of some of the zoo animals in Iraq. One of Lawrence's sons asked his father to help Baghdad Zoo and the idea grew from there. Brendan and Lawrence had earlier met some US diplomatic staff who were working in Durban. They contacted them with their idea. In April 2003, Lawrence flew to Kuwait, and drove from Kuwait City into Baghdad. The Americans found him accommodation at the Al-Rasheed hotel, gave him army rations and arranged transport for him to and from the zoo every day. Brendan arrived in Baghdad in May 2003. Together with a volunteer from Wildaid, an American non-governmental organisation, Lawrence had got the water supply running again, found staff to work with the animals and sourced money to pay the staff. Many animals had been stolen from the zoo by looters who also broke locks, smashed the aquarium and took the air-conditioners. The stolen animals were taken to markets, kept as pets, or eaten. Brendan and Lawrence found another private zoo which they tried to clean up but eventually they moved those animals to the Baghdad Zoo. By July 2003 the zoo was able to re-open to the public. They also managed to get about 40 pet dogs sent to the US and Lawrence also helped set up an Iraqi society for animal welfare. The zoo now being run by Iraqi staff and a young Iraqi veterinarian is in charge.
The son of a veterinarian, Brendan grew up in Cape Town and did a BSc in Zoology at Rhodes University. He then went to Pretoria University, completing an honours degree in Wildlife Management. While in Baghdad, he met the love of his life, Farah Murrani, an Iraqi vet who volunteered at the zoo. She is currently in the US completing a veterinary residency at North Carolina Zoo.


Lena Putter (14), a former resident of Pretoria, was appointed headgirl at Philip Morant School in Colchester. She follows in her brother's footsteps. Phillipus (16) was deputy headboy last year. The Putters moved to England 7 years ago when their father, Gerhard, found work there as a vet. Lena and Phillippus have a sister, Katrien (13). Their grandparents still live in Pretoria North. Lena is a high achiever, having won awards for sport, drama and music. She represented the school at a national youth conference in London and last year collected £13,000 for abandoned pets in Mauritius. She wants to became a vet, studying at Onderstepoort, her father's alma mater.

South African champs and their top store

Johnny Halberstadt was one of South Africa's top runners in the 1970s and 80s. He attended Oklahoma State University in the early 1970s, winning 8 championships in cross country and track and the 1972 NCAA track championship for 10,000 metres. He finished 3rd in the 1971 Boston Marathon, and 3rd in the 1982 Chicago Marathon. He won South African championships for the marathon, the half marathon and cross country. Now he owns and operates a running store in Boulder, Colorado, with fellow South African and the 1993 World Marathon Champion, Mark Plaatjes. The Boulder Running Company is a top favourite with elite runners. Mark, a former Wits University student, is also a world-renown physiotherapist and Johnny is a top footwear designer. Amongst their clients are fellow South Africans and Boulder residents, Colleen de Reuck and Charl Mattheus.

Top international model

South African-born model Landi Swanepoel (24) lives in London, overlooking Grosvenor Square, with her British businessman boyfriend, Peter, and is one of the world's most sought-after models. She is often compared to Brigitte Bardot, especially in France where she is in demand as a photographic model. She has been an international model for 6 years. Landi is the current face and legs of Guess Jeans and headed a multimillion-pound L'Oreal advertising campaign. She has modelled for Victoria's Secret and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She also has a very small part in Goal!, the upcoming soccer movie featuring David Beckham. Landi is an ambassador for the UK-based charity Marine Connection, which is concerned with endangered and mistreated marine creatures.

South African £ billionaire

South African-born Clive Calder (58), the man behind the success of Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, is Britain's only music billionaire. He made the 2005 Sunday Times music rich list with a fortune of £1.3 billion, up from £1.24 billion in 2004. Calder, known as the Howard Hughes of the music industry, launched Zomba Music in 1971 and sold it to to the German-based record conglomerate BMG in 2002. Calder became a British citizen in the 1970s. Earlier in March, the publicity-shy South African appeared on Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s 500 richest people, at number 272 with $2.3 billion.

Kylie's South African corset maker

Kylie Minogue started her latest world tour wearing an elaborate corset made by South African-born Mark Pullin (43), known as Mr Pearl. The much-talked about corset gave Kylie a 20 inch waist. Mr Pearl has worn an 18 inch corset day and night for more than 10 years. He lives in Paris and has a studio behind Notre Dame Cathedral, where he designs and hand-makes corsets for clients including Jerry Hall. He also created the beaded wedding corset worn by Victoria Beckham. Kylie's corset cost £30,000.
Mark Pullin is the eldest son of an English toolmaker, Neil, and Yvette, a secretary. His father still lives in Johannesburg. He has a brother, Grant, a motorcycle mechanic and father of two who lives in Knysna. Mark was married to South African actress, Terry Norton, for 2 years before he became Mr Pearl and setting up as a corset-maker in London in 1994. He moved to Paris in 2002. He became fascinated by corsets when he lived with his grandparents, Hetty and Ruben Searle, in Rustenberg, after his parents separated. His grandmother wore corsets.

Visa denied to see dying father

Clinton van Biljon, from Durban, claims that the US Consulate General in Durban refused him a visitor's visa to visit his dying father, Clive, in Houston, Texas. His father has been living in Houston for the past 9 years and was diagnosed with cancer in October last year. Clinton had been waiting for an immigration visa, which he applied for 4 years ago. To apply for a visitor's visa, he had to make an appointment with a visa officer and pay R660 before he was granted an interview. After the interview he was denied his application on the grounds that he was already in their system as an applicant for immigration. Clinton produced letters from the hospital and doctors, and letters from individuals standing personal surety for his return to South Africa. His aunt had got a senator in Houston involved in the case, as well as liaising with a state department and immigration caseworker, but to no avail. Clinton's father died without seeing his son. Clive was born 23 April 1959 in South Africa and passed away on 19 March 2005. He is survived by his wife, Lesley, and children Clinton, Brittany and Byron.

03 April 2005

Expats buying SA properties

South African mortgage companies are finding an increase in South African expats buying South African properties on-line. There are more than 300 South African property Web sites. Most of these expats are in London and Dubai, planning to return to South Africa. They buy in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.