07 October 2007

R10 book bargain leads to fortune

Greer Salt of Stellenbosch bought the first Harry Potter novel at a bargain bookshop 10 years ago for R10. The same book was recently put up for auction and was expected to fetch at least US$20 000. The rare edition of JK Rowling's Harry Potter And the Philosopher's Stone, published in 1997, is believed to be one of only 300 copies of the first printing of the first book in the series.

Helping rape survivors

Janine Rowley grew up in Pretoria and later spent 20 years in Italy where she graced the runways in Versace and Armani creations. She was discovered by a photographer on the island of Ischia while working as an au pair. This glamorous sounding life story has a dark side. Janine is a rape survivor, not once but five times. She was molested as a child, gang raped in Miami by four men when she was 20 years old, and by a man she dated at the age of 25. Eleven years ago she returned to South Africa, where she now runs Women Against Rape (WAR). Janine makes up about 70 care packages each week, which she distributes at police stations in Sunnyside, Silverton, Pretoria West, Laudium, Eersterust and Mamelodi. She also distributes at the Pretoria Academic Hospital. Some packages are sent to Soshanguve and Umkomaas. The packages contain soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, face cloth, hand cream, shampoo, underwear, candy and a small teddy bear. These packages are mostly funded from her own limited funds, and from sales from bead work that she creates with Salome Mojela and the street children from the Ithumeleng Centre in Pretoria. Each package costs between R80 and R100. Janine would like to open a home where broken people can be healed again, and she wants to distribute more care packages. To support WAR (a registered non-profit organisation) email Janine at war@womanagainstrape.co.za

Pilot to help build hospices

British pilot and philanthropist Robert Vallier is flying a Cessna 182 to 30 disadvantaged South African communities in 30 days, to establish help centres for vulnerable women and children, and hospices for people with HIV/AIDS. He is also donating computers and textbooks to schools. Robert started the Unity Flight for South Africa Foundation (Ufosa) after leaving a career in the music industry. He obtained his commercial pilot's licence five years ago. He visited South Africa in the early 1990s. His latest visit is to gather information which he will take to Ufosa‘s board of trustees. He will use donations from the UK, the US and South Africa to either buy or lease land on which to build the centres and hospices.

Be a real Survivor South Africa-style

Survivor South Africa is a popular TV reality show here and is filmed in a remote location somewhere in the world. However, South Africa itself offers more challenges than the jungles of Borneo or any other isolated island. Here a a few suggestions for a real Survivor South Africa, shot on location in South Africa...

Challenge 1 - All contestants to run through Pretoria, shouting “Bulls suck!” ­ Anyone who survives goes to the next round.

Challenge 2 - Remaining contestants to find their way through Durban, using only newly renamed streets. ­ All who find the final destination, continue to the next round.

Challenge 3 - Rewire the Koeberg power station outside Cape Town. ­ Survivors go to the next round.

Challenge 4 - Get decent medical treatment at any government hospital in South Africa. ­ If you pull through you advance to the next round.

Challenge 5 - Park at any off-ramp one evening in Johannesburg, for an hour. ­ Survive that and you must be bullet proof.

Challenge 6 - Spend a weekend in Pofadder. ­ Anyone who survives, goes to the next round.

Challenge 7 - Drive your choice of Coin or Fidelity Guards vehicle down any highway and if you make it, go on.

Challenge 8 - Apply for an ID book at the Department of Home Affairs. ­ Survive that ordeal and you deserve a reward.

Challenge 9 - Catch a taxi ride in Johannesburg or Durban, or a bus from East London through Transkei via the Kei Cuttings. ­ If you reach your destination in one piece, you’re mentally and physically tough. Go on.

Challenge 10 - Coach the Springboks or Bafana. ­ Go to the next round if you survive.

Final challenge - On behalf of Butane Khompela (chairman of theParliamentary Sports Committee), final survivors must go and confiscate Os du Randt’s or Bakkies Botha’s passports, and tell them they play international rugby. If you survive that, you truly deserve to hold the title: Winner of Survivor SA!

Queens' College old boys in RWC 2007

Italy’s South African-born rugby lock, Carlo Antonio del Fava, was on 1 July 1981. He qualifies for Italy through his Italian father. He matriculated from Queen's College in 1999 where he played first-team rugby and water-polo. He was selected for the Natal Sharks but suffered a suspension before he moved overseas. His first game in Italian colours was against Wales in the 2004 Six Nations. Carlo descends from Lelio del Fava who immigrated to South Africa in 1907 from Lucca. He worked for the railways, building the line between East London and Mthatha. He settled in Mthatha where he farmed. Carlo was born in Mthatha and later moved to Durban.

The USA's South African-born rugby hooker, Owen Lentz, was born on 24 January 1980. He matriculated from Queen's College in 1998 where he played first-team rugby and water-polo. He played rugby for South Africa U21, and for Border and Eastern Province in the Currie Cup. He played his first game for the USA in 2006 against Ireland. His father, also Owen Lentz, runs a trading store at Cofimvaba, and his grandfather Lennie owned the Gonubie Hotel until his death in 2007.

10 June 2007

Swopping flags

The England rugby team that recently toured South Africa had two South African-born players. Fullback Nick Abendanon was born in Johannesburg in 1986. Prop Matt Stevens (24) was born in Durban and was visiting his mother who still lives there, when he received his England call-up. Nick and Matt both play club rugby for Bath.

Firefox in Afrikaans

The popular Firefox Web browser is now available in Afrikaans, thanks to Translate.org.za and its volunteers. Translate.org.za is a non-profit organisation focusing on delivering free software in local languages. Firefox is developed by an international community of contributors working together under the umbrella of the Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit organisation.

Seven Summits

Sibusiso Vilane (32), a game ranger with dual South African and Swazi nationality, is the first black African to successfully ascend Everest (in 2003). This helped him become the first black African to have summitted the seven highest peaks on seven continents.

Sibusiso met John Doble in 1996. John became a friend and benefactor. Sibusiso started climbing in 1996 in the Drakensberg. In 1999 he summitted Kilimanjaro and went on to the Himalayas in 2002, successfully climbing Pokalde, Lobujé and Island Peak. On the 26th May 2003, he summitted Everest. In 2005 he again summitted Everest, this time with Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Alex Harris. This made him the first black African to climb the world's highest peak twice and by two different routes. In January 2006 he summitted Aconcagua, in August 2006 he climbed to the top of Mt. Elbrus and in November he climbed Carstenz Pyramid in Oceania. In December 2006, Sibusiso summitted Mount Vinson in Antarctica. He recently summitted Mount McKinley/Denali in Alaska.

He has founded a running club called Born to Win and he intends to run the Comratdes in 2008. At the end of 2007, he will be walking to the North Pole with Alex Harris. Sibusiso has been married to Nomsa since 1995 and they have three daughters and a son.

Former Bok player's son explains American football

Naas Botha's firstborn son, Frans Jooste, is raising money for his US university studies by selling a self-made DVD about American football. Frans (19) is an IT student at the University of Pennsylvania. His father, a former Blue Bulls and Springbok rugby player, has not met Frans although he pays child maintenance. Frans plays football for his university. The DVD explains the rules of American football and shows what daily life is like as an American student.

Ferrero boss' Cape homes

Pietro Ferrero (44), the son of the Italian chocolate-maker Michele Ferrero, paid R10-million for a Bantry Bay home in 2005 and had it demolished. He plans to build a new house there but plans had to be changed recently after neighbours objected. They are concerned that the Bantry Steps, leading down the steep slope on which homes are built, would become a concrete jungle. Deeds office records show that in November 2002, Pietro bought a property in Baviaanskloof Road in Hout Bay for R6.5-million and a neighbouring erf three years later for R2.3-million. The Ferrero company was founded in Italy in 1946 by his grandfather and great-uncle. he company is famous for its Ferrero Rocher gold-wrapped chocolates, chocolate spread Nutella, Tic Tac mints and Kinder Eggs.

A loss for South African cricket

Allan "White Lightning" Donald (40), one of South Africa's cricket legends, recently returned to England where he is helping coach the English team's bowlers. Allan retired in 2003, after taking 330 Test and 272 One-Day wickets in his career. Sadly, and to the game's detriment, South Africa's current cricketing bosses do not value the experience and knowledge that past international players could give to current players.

Child in custody tug-of-war

Another South African mother and her child are involved in a legal tug-of-war. The five year-old boy must go back to the Netherlands, with or without his South African mother, until a Dutch court decides who gets custody. A Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa upheld an appeal by the Family Advocate against a judgement by the Pretoria High Court concerning the boy, who was taken from the Netherlands by his mother in September 2003. The father in the Netherlands used the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which is incorporated into South African law. The boy was born in the Netherlands. His mother, Bridget Houwert of Pretoria, met his father, Nicolas Houwert, the Netherlands while working as an au pair there. They were married in Pretoria in 2000 and returned to the Netherlands. The marriage was in trouble by 2003 and Bridget returned to Pretoria with the little boy. After telling the father in 2004 that she wanted a divorce and was not returning to the Netherlands, various court hearings followed.

UK Visa applications

The British High Commission in South Africa has a new system for visa applications. Digital photos and electronic fingerprints are now required, and applicants must make their applications in person. Applications are handled by the new visa application centres in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Gautrain brings expats home

The Gautrain project is bringing expats home. Thirty-nine South African expats have left the UK and returned home to work on the project. The group includes civil engineers, construction workers, foremen and quality inspectors. The Gautrain project has highlighted the shortage of civil engineers in South Africa. The first phase of the project is the completion of the network between O.R. Tambo Airport (formerly Johannesburg Airport), Sandton and Midrand. This phase is expected to be complete in time for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Phase two will be the completion of the track between Sandton and Johannesburg, as well as the route from Midrand to Hatfield in Pretoria.