20 October 2012

PROFESSOR CYRIL KARABUS DETAINED IN UAE

An elderly South African professor, Cyril Karabus of Claremont, Cape Town, was arrested on August 18 at the Abu Dhabi International Airport while in transit to South Africa. He was detained and faces charges of manslaughter. Emeritus Associate Professor Karabus (77) was returning home after attending his son’s wedding in Canada. He specialises in paediatrics and medical oncology, and is a former Professor of paediatrics at UCT and head of the oncology and haematology unit at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

Twelve years ago he worked as a locum at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi and operated on a seven-year-old cancer patient who later died of leukaemia. He returned to South Africa two weeks after her death, at the end of his locum. In his absence he was tried and found guilty of manslaughter, even though no attempt was made to contact him and he was never given an opportunity to defend himself in court. He was sentenced to three years and six months in jail and required to pay blood money to the patient's family. The initial conviction was successfully overturned, but on October 3 a new trial for the same charges took place but the hearing was adjourned because the prosecutor could not find a crucial docket. Bail was denied. It is believed that the girl’s father laid charges out of anger. Professor Karabus did everything possible to save the child's life. He was being held in the hospital wing of the Al Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi because he had a pacemaker and needed medical attention. Bail was denied for a fourth time, and he was shackled at his last court appearance. Bail was finally granted at the fifth application. He had to surrender his passport, which was confiscated when he was originally arrested, and pay R240 000 to the court, which will be held as bond. His family have arranged accommodation for him in the UAE. The court also stated that the hospital had to give the Professor's lawyers access to the patient’s file, and ordered that an independent medical tribunal be established to review the file. The next court appearance is set for November 20. There is a petition on Avaaz and a Facebook page in support.

His son, Michael, lives in Toronto, and a daughter, Judith, lives in London. Professor Karabus has lived in the same house for 40 years. Numerous doctors have written letters to the UAE court testifying to the Professor's expertise and integrity. During his term as head of oncology at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital the mortality rate of children with leukaemia was reduced from 80 to 20 percent.

SUPERMODEL HEIDI'S SOUTH AFRICAN CATCH

A 40-year-old South African bodyguard is supermodel Heidi Klum's love interest, after her seven-year marriage to Seal broke up earlier this year. Martin Kirsten is into fitness and used to train at a gym in Bryanston, Johannesburg. He has worked for the 39 year-old model and her estranged husband as a personal bodyguard for the last four years.

WARREN BUFFETT INVESTS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Warren Buffett, the world's most successful investor, has made his first investment in South Africa. The Richline Group, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, has bought the assets of South African Manufacturing Jewellers, which is in a business rescue programme. The company also trades as Alan Mair Manufacturing Jewellers. Richline specialises in precious metals, gemstones and design. It plans to revitalise the company and use it as a platform to export into Africa, Australia and the UK. Richline was forced to find its own electricity supply by buying a new substation and a bulk metering unit when Eskom refused to provide it with electricity. The local company employs 90 people and is said to be the biggest local jewellery manufacturer. It manufactures gold and silver jewellery, as well as bonded gold.

WILBUR SMITH'S THOSE IN PERIL SET FOR BIG SCREEN

Those In Peril Wilbur Smith
UK-based Reelart Media has bought the film rights to Wilbur Smith's latest novel, Those in Peril. The release is scheduled for 2014, the 50th anniversary of the author's career. The novel is his 33rd, and has sold more than half a million copies since it was published by Pan Macmillan in 2011. It's the story of ex-SAS Hector Cross' struggle to rescue his employer’s daughter, who has been kidnapped by Somali pirates while on her yacht in the Indian Ocean. Hazel Bannock is the heiress to the Bannock Oil Corp, a major oil producer. While cruising in the Indian Ocean, her private yacht is hijacked by Somali pirates. Hazel is not on board, but her 19 year old daughter, Cayla, is kidnapped and held to ransom. Political and diplomatic issues make it difficult for major powers to intervene. Hazel calls in Hector Cross to rescue her daughter. He is the owner of Cross Bow Security, the company which provides Bannock Oil with security. He is a formidable fighting man. Between them Hazel and Hector are determined to take the law into their own hands.

The publisher has produced a games app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, available free from the Apple iTunes App Store. The game is an action-packed adventure where gamers take on the role of an elite intelligence agent. The app also connects to the author via his website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. A sequel novel, Vicious Circle, is planned for publication in early 2013.

CAPT. NICK SLOANE IN CHARGE OF CONCORDIA SALVAGE

South African Captain Nicholas (Nick) Sloane is in charge of the Costa Concordia wreck salvage near Giglio Porto. It is one of the biggest salvage operations. The luxury liner capsized on Giglio Island in January. The 4200 passengers and crew had to scramble for safety in the darkness. Thirty-two people lost their lives. Nick is the senior salvage master for US company Titan, which won a joint bid for the project with Italian offshore rig company Micoperi. The plan is to float the ship, without it slipping when righted and plunging into the depths. Twenty-six 26 pillars are being driven into the seabed to support underwater platforms for the ship to rest on. Large metal tanks, filled with water, will then be welded onto the sides of the ship to balance it while it is dragged into an upright position using two cranes and cables. The largest of the tanks are as high as an 11-storey building and weigh 500-plus tons. Sixty-six divers are tasked with putting 17 500 tons of cement bags in a 50m gap between the ship and the seabed. The project will cost at least €400m.

SOUTH AFRICAN BANKER'S TRAGIC DEATH

Nico Johan Lambrechts (46) committed suicide in London, England, by jumping off the top of the the Coq d'Argent restaurant. He walked to the restaurant at lunchtime, and fell through the atrium. Medics were unable to save him. He was pronounced dead by a doctor at the scene minutes later.The wealthy South African-born investment analyst is survived by his wife, Adele, and three children. The family had recently been on a tropical holiday. It is not known why he took this decision. The former Paul Roos Gymnasium matriculant and Stellenbosch University chemical engineering graduate worked at Investec Asset Management, and lived in a £2m six-bedroom gated home in the upmarket town of Cobham, Surrey. The family had been living in England for seven years, having left South Africa about 19 years ago. Nico first worked for Merrill Lynch before joining Investec. His death is the fourth to have occurred at the restaurant. An inquest into his death was opened.

Coq d’Argent is built on the site of an ancient burial ground where wealthy Londoners were buried. In the 11th Century it was the Church of St Benet Sherehog attended by wealthy wool merchants. The church was so small that there was no room for a burial yard, so parishioners were laid to rest beneath the floor. Getting a patch of earth nearest the altar was a sign of prestige. The church was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666 and the site was still used as a burial ground after that until it was closed in 1853. A recent dig unearthed 274 human remains. The restaurant appeared in the James Bond-themed film sequence for the Olympics opening ceremony that featured the Queen.

FINDING JACK - DEBUT NOVEL BY GARETH CROCKER

Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker
This beautiful story, based on fact, is written by South African author Gareth Crocker. After losing his wife and daughter in a plane crash, a deeply depressed American journalist, Fletcher Carson joins the US Army and goes to war-torn Vietnam. While on a mission, he rescues an injured Labrador that he names Jack. The dog wins the hearts of all the soldiers. After being nursed back to health, Jack becomes a working dog in the war zone. When the order to pull out of Vietnam is issued, Jack is not included in the airlift. Fletcher risks his life, and a court martial, as the soldier and his dog walk through enemy territory to a neighbouring country. The book is intended as a tribute to war dogs - about 4000 dogs did service in Vietnam, but less than 200 made it to the USA. This is a story of the relationship between a man and his dog, as well as a story of surviving life and carrying on. You will cry.

Gareth was born in Johannesburg. A former journalist, he lives in Johannesburg with his wife, two children, and three dogs. He has a degree in English, Psychology and Communications. This is his debut novel, and is the second novel by a South African author to appear in a US volume of Reader’s Digest. The first South African author was Alan Paton, for Cry, the Beloved Country in 1950.

Non-fiction books that record these faithful canine soldiers'  contributions, include Always Faithful: A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII by William W. Putney, and The Dogs of War: The Courage, Love, and Loyalty of Military Working Dogs by Lisa Rogak.

17 September 2012

SUGAR MAN

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez’s debut album, Cold Fact, was released in the USA in March 1970, with the powerful Sugar Man as the first track. The album had poor sales in the US, but had high sales in South Africa and Australia. The album was released in 1971 in South Africa by A&M Records. In 1998 Cold Fact was awarded a platinum disc in South Africa. The follow-up album in November 1971, Coming From Reality, also had poor sales, and in 1974 the singer disappeared from the music scene. Unbeknown to him, he was already a superstar in South Africa. In 1991, Cold Fact and Coming From Reality were re-released in South Africa on compact disc. Cold Fact sold more than 500 000 copies. Rodriguez never saw a cent in royalties, and was living as a manual labourer in Detroit. In 1997, two South African fans, Stephen Segerman, a music shop owner, and journalist Craig Bartholomew Strydom, convinced him to tour South Africa in 1998. He played six concerts. A documentary about the tour, Dead Men Don't Tour: Rodriguez in South Africa 1998, was screened on SABC TV in 2001. He toured South Africa again in 2001 and 2005. In 1998, his signature song, Sugar Man, was covered by the South African rock band Just Jinjer.

Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul filmed a documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, which was recently released in South Africa. It has been a hit at international film festivals, premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. It tells the story of the two South African fans looking for him.


Rodriguez is the son of Mexican immigrants who left Mexico in the 1920s. He was born in Detroit, the sixth child in the family. He married Rayma, who is part Cherokee. They were high school sweethearts, who both dropped out of school when Rayma fell pregnant. They had two daughters, Eva and Sandra. He worked at various jobs - in a steel factory and a linen factory, bricklayer and trench digger. Later on he was able to complete a philosophy degree at Wayne State University. He ran for city councillor seven times. His second wife is Konny, mother of his daughter Regan.

Eva (photo credit: George Herald)
His first-born daughter, Eva Alice Rodriguez Koller (49), lives in Wilderness Heights, on South Africa's Garden Route. After high school, Eva joined the US Army. As a child she had accompanied her parents to anti-war protests. Her father was so unhappy with her joining up, that it was her mother who had to sign her consent forms. Eva served in the Medical Corps and was trained as a combat medic. Her exposure to helicopters led to an interest in flying, and she was selected for flight training in 1987. She flew a variety of helicopters, including Hueys and Black Hawks. She served in the USA, Korea, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Eva served in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during the Gulf War. She got involved in arranging her father's concerts in South Africa, and accompanied him to Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. After her son Ethan was born, she continued with her military career for a while, before resigning three weeks after the World Trade Centre tragedy as a Chief Warrant Officer III and moving to Wilderness Heights where she home-schools her son. She has become a traditional healer, and was one of the first white women to undergo a sangoma ritual at Mdantsane, near East London. She is writing a book, tracing her military career, as well as a book about her father's life.

Her first book, The Circle of Love, encourages children to enjoy a spiritual awareness of nature. It was adapted an arts intervention project for children at the Good Hope Seminary Junior School in Cape Town. The children participated in drama, drumming, singing, puppetry, poetry, dance, wardrobe, design and art. In May 2009 it was performed at the George Society of the Arts Theatre during the Amateur Arts Festival, and Eva received a nomination for Best Performance, and Certificates of Merit for Best Novice Director and Most Original Script.

16 September 2012

SA-AUSSIE STARS IN GLEE

South African-born Australian singer-actor Dean Stanley Geyer has an acting role in the USA television show Glee. He appears in Season 4 of the series, as Brody Weston. Season 4 started on US TV last week. Dean (26) was born on 20 March 1986 in Johannesburg as the oldest of three children to parents Debbie and Keith. He has two younger sisters, Jessica and Tatum. He spent one year at King Edward VII School in Johannesburg before the family moved to Australia in 2001 where he completed his high school studies at Melbourne High School, where he continued to play rugby. He started a band, Third Edge, in his final year of high school, and in 2006 he came third in Australian Idol, He released his first album, Rush, in 2007. From 2008-2009, he acted as Ty Harper in the long-running Australian soapie Neighbours. Recently, he was in the role of Mark Reynolds in the Steven Spielberg-produced TV series Terra Nova. Also known for his fine abs, the drum-playing Dean has a black belt in karate, and acted in the 2011 martial arts film Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown. He comes from a sporty family - his uncles are personal trainers and his aunts are aerobics instructors. His sister, father and grandfather all have black belts in karate. Dean also loves rugby, fishing, snowboarding and skiing. He is dating Jillian Murphy (28), his co-star in Never Back Down 2.

WINNING FASHION DESIGNS

Two fashion designers and brothers from Montana, Pretoria North, recently won a prestigious designer award in Las Vegas. Johan (42) and Fritz Botha (30) from F. Wilson Fashion Design participated in the Emerging Designers competition in August, winning with their bridal couture range. The win secured them a spot in the Las Vegas Fashion Week, set to take place in February 2013. Their father passed away when Fritz was four years old. Johan took evening classes with a mentor, as he couldn't afford the study fees after his father's death. Fritz joined the business four years ago. One of their designs, worn by the TV personality Jacinda Louw-Schutte, won the Vodacom Best Dressed VIP prize at this year's Durban July.

THE DOG THAT WENT TO HOLLYWOOD

Hilary Swank, Oscar-winning actress, was recently in Graaff-Reinet where she spent two nights at the Andries Stockenstrom Guest House. She visited the town to scatter her dog's ashes in the Karoo. During 2004, when she was filming Red Dust in Graaff-Reinet, she adopted the stray from a Graaff-Reinet animal shelter and named him Karoo. The dog often accompanied her to interviews. He died earlier this year. Hilary was working in Cape Town on the film Mary and Martha. She brought her other two dogs, Kai and RooMe, with her.

DA MAN MOVES TO LONDON

Ryan Coetzee, Special Adviser to the Western Cape Premier and the Democratic Alliance’s Head of Strategy, is swapping Cape Town for London to take up a position as Special Adviser to British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. He was headhunted for the British job. Nick Clegg is leader of the Liberal Democrats in Britain, and serves in the Coalition government. The Liberal Democrats are the DA’s sister party in Britain. Coetzee became a Member of Parliament in 2004.

ACTING ALONGSIDE HALLE BERRY

Dark Tide is a shark thriller starring Halle Berry, and directed by Blue Crush and Into The Blue director, John Stockwell. The film was partly filmed in Cape Town and is set in Simon’s Town, South Africa. Halle Berry stars as diving instructor Kate, a renowned shark naturalist. She dives with Great White sharks outside of a cage and makes documentaries. After a fatal attack on one of her friends during a shoot, she stops altogether. A year later, William Brady, a billionaire, pays her 100 000 Euros to take him shark diving outside the cage. Things don’t go according to plan. His son is played by South African actor Luke Tyler. Cape Town-based Luke has appeared Sleeper's Wake (as Simon Venter), Dredd 3D and Chronicle. He auditioned for the Dark Tide role just before the 2010 Soccer World Cup. He grew up in Johannesburg. He can play various musical instruments and sings. Prior to acting, he studied graphic design, followed by a gap year working in the USA. Returning to Cape Town, he started studying at the Screen Actors’ Studio in Cape Town.

10 September 2012

SOUTH AFRICAN INSPIRATION AT PARALYMPICS CLOSING CEREMONY

Cpl. Rory Mackenzie
If you watched the Paralymics closing ceremony, you might have recognised the accent of the narrator atop the sun dial stage. Corporal Rory Douglas Mackenzie (30) is a South African who served in the British Army as a Combat Medic. He was born in South Africa to parents from Edinburgh and Yorkshire and moved to Britain in 2004 to fulfil his ambition of joining the Army. He joined the Parachute Regiment in 2004, transferred to the Medical Corps and went to Iraq with the Staffordshire Regiment in October 2006. Three months into his six-month tour, in January 2007, his routine early morning patrol in Basra hit a road-side bomb. The device detonated, penetrated their Warrior armoured vehicle and tore through his leg, stopping in the chest of the soldier across from him. That soldier died instantly, the youngest serving soldier in the British Army in Iraq at that time.

Rory realised he had lost his leg. He was placed into a helicopter, and a 16-hour operation at a field hospital followed to stabilise him, before he was flown to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham. Seven operations followed, and he contracted MRSA. He was supported by his mother, brother, and his then girlfriend, Storm Makings, who had flown out from South Africa. Once he was stronger, he was moved to Headley Court, where he spent seven months and many hours in the prosthetics department. His mother and girlfriend were temporarily housed in a small property available to relatives next to Headley Court, sharing with family of another wounded soldier.

When a British soldier is killed in action, he is publicly named so that proper tributes can be made. The wounded soldiers are not identified. Britain's last specialist military hospital at Haslar, near Portsmouth, was closed in 2007. An ordinary NHS hospital, Selly Oak in Birmingham, has a ward for the care of wounded soldiers. After discharge, the lucky ones get a place at Headley Court Army rehabilitation centre in Surrey. Wounded soldiers who remain in the Army are prohibited from speaking about their treatment.

Rory made a complete physical recovery and started walking again. The reality of what had happened led to anger. Fortunately, Rory received an invitation from Help for Heroes to go adaptive skiing in Bavaria, Germany, under a new military programme called Battle Back. He took to skiing with ease, after three days of learning. His frame of mind changed for the better.

Rory Mackenzie at the Paralympics Closing Ceremony
He took part in the first Help for Heroes Big Battlefield Bike Ride in 2008, using a hand bike. The 350-mile bike ride was made by 300 riders. Using specially adapted bikes, a team of six wounded soldiers toured historic European battlegrounds over seven days, laying a wreath at each destination as a tribute to those who have died for their countries. In October 2008 he was chosen along with five other British servicemen to go to the US national Olympic training centre in California to develop his sporting prowess.

Rory also took part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge as part of the Row2Recovery team, rowing from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Port St Charles in Barbados in January 2012. He heard about the Row2Recovery challenge when visiting Headley Court for a prosthetics appointment. He saw a poster saying: "More than 4,000 people have climbed Everest. More than 500 have been into space. Only 473 have ever rowed an ocean." On signing up, he discovered one of the co-founders was his commander when he first joined the Parachute Regiment in 2004. He was initially a back-up member of the team, but two months before they set off, he was selected for the team.

The rowing trip took 51 days and involved a six-man team – four of whom lost limbs in Iraq or Afghanistan. The crew, none of whom had any rowing experience before they started training, suffered with sea sickness and sores caused by the salty water. They went through a force-six gale and 50ft waves. The boat's autohelm - the computer system that steered the boat – packed up, damaged beyond repair. The crew had to use a foot-steering mechanism. Eventually the weather calmed down and they set up a regime - while three rowed, the other three crew members slept. No one ever slept for more than two-and-a-half hours. On a good day, they covered 70 miles. They had to consume 4,500 calories a day, made up from freeze-dried meals re-hydrated by adding boiling water, cereal bars, sweets, meat sticks and powdered energy drink mixes. At night they mostly rowed in silence, using iPods to listen to audio books, including biographies of great explorers. The three amputees had to keep up their stump management, which involved rubbing white spirits into the skin to desensitise it, and regular cleaning with wet wipes to prevent infection. Rory experienced immense pain, as during the trip five pieces of shrapnel left in his body had worked their way to the surface of his skin. He had to pull them out using tweezers, a mirror, and painkillers, on Christmas Day. On December 30, day 27 of the crossing, the boat’s desalinator, which converts sea water to drinking water, failed. When they switched to a manual pump, that broke as well. The only drinking water left was the 200 litres of bottled water they were carrying as ballast. They had to ask the rescue yacht to help them, which meant they would be disqualified. They started rationing the water to 2.5 litres per person per day, and had to drop anchor until the rescue yacht, 1,000 miles away, reached them. As the ocean current swirled around the stationary boat, pressure increased on the rudder and the rudder split in two. One of the crew attempted a makeshift repair, removing then re-screwing the rudder, and it worked. They reached the finish line in late January 2012, where Rory was met by his Spanish fiancee, Lara Pardo Martinez.

Rory was part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Thames flotilla. He was on the Gloriana, a row barge gifted to the Queen on behalf of the nation. It carried a team of 18 rowers led by Olympic champions Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Rory was one of the rowers.



He is now a keen skier, cyclist and swimmer, and rides a quad bike. After working at his regiment’s sports shop, as an analyst and adviser for the Army rugby team, and training Comabt Medics at Keogh Barracks, he has now left the Army and is a motivational speaker. He says that losing his leg has opened many doors, and he takes every opportunity that he gets. In 2009 he posed for a portrait by the war artist Arabella Dorman. He has a dream to compete in the Paralympics.

04 September 2012

QUEEN DRUMMER'S SOUTH AFRICAN WIFE

Queen drummer Roger Taylor married his South African wife, Sarina Potgieter, in September 2010 after having met in 2002. He recently helped organised the Freddie For A Day fundraising party at London's Savoy Hotel. The money raised goes to the Mercury Phoenix Trust - Fighting Aids Worldwide, which has so far raised over $15 million since its creation in 1992. Thirty-eight year old Sarina wore a low-cut top showing off her henna tattoo around her cleavage. Princess Eugenie and her mother Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, also attended.

After a very short marriage and five children, the drummer tied the knot with Sarina at their home in Surrey. The reception was in a black and red marquee in their garden, with black tables and black patent leather sofas outside. Roger, 63, who is worth around £65 million, has two children with his first wife, Dominique Beyrand, and three with his former girlfriend, the Flake model Debbie Leng. He married Dominique in January 1988 and he left her 25 days later for Debbie. Dominique is the mother of his children Felix Luther and Rory Eleanor. Rory is a medical doctor. Debbie was the girl in the Breakthru music video. She dated him from 1988 to 2002, and is the mother of his children Rufus Tiger, Tiger Lily and Lola Daisy May. Debbie left him after his affair with a club stripper. Rumour has it that Sarina didn't know who Roger was and had never heard of the band Queen. Hard to believe.

24 August 2012

FROM ESHOWE TO A BOUTIQUE IN NEW JERSEY

Buhle Mkhize (28) is from Eshowe, KZN, and lives in America where she is a a fashion / beauty consultant, and owner of a high-end boutique. She was born in Eshowe and raised in Gezinsila. Her mother passed away when she was 12 years old. As her father’s job, as a bakery driver, saw him working long hours, she moved to friends in Durban, where she met Adele Finger in high school and moved in with her family. After Matric, Buhle became an au pair in Amsterdam and then moved to London with the same family. Next she au paired in the USA, living with three families in one year. During this time she met people who invited her to fashion shows and she started working in the fashion industry. Today she runs a fashion boutique called Lime Boutique in Lambertville, New Jersey, and writes for fashion magazines.

NADIA BILCHIK - FROM M-NET TO CNN

Nadia Bilchik, the former M-Net continuity presenter, was recently in South Africa as the keynote speaker at a Beyond the Dress event which aims to empower and inspire women. She moved to Atlanta 15 years ago, where she is now owner of Greater Impact Communications and an editorial producer at CNN. Her first job at CNN was anchoring the CNN Airport Network. She has interviewed high-profile figures such as Nelson Mandela, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, and George Clooney. Currently she hosts a weekly business segment on CNN International's Inside Africa. As a communication skills trainer she has provided training, consulting, and keynote addresses for CNN, TruTV, Cartoon Network, The Coca-Cola Company, Home Depot, Accenture, Virgin Atlantic, and Deloitte & Touche. Nadia is also the author of The Little Book of Big Networking Ideas: A Guide to Expert Networking. In 1992, she started her own business, On Cue, which later became Greater Impact Communications, a successful media and presentation training school focusing on training politicians, corporate executives, pageant finalists, and aspiring anchors. Nadia was awarded the Community Award for Meaningful Broadcasting in 1995. Born in South Africa, she was trained in Speech and Drama at Trinity College, London, and earned a degree in Drama and English from the University of Cape Town.

23 August 2012

BILLING LONDON'S MAYOR FOR OLYMPIC LOSS

Neleen Strauss, co-owner of one of London’s top restaurants, billed London's Mayor Boris Johnson for £90 000, being the cost of lost business during the Olympic Games. She claimed that turnover was down by 80 percent. Neleen, originally from Bloemfontein, said the city was basically dead as many workers took their annual leave during the Olympics or worked from home. The High Timber restaurant is on the banks of the Thames, close to the Millennium Bridge, and in the financial district. The restaurant is co-owned by Neleen and Gary and Kathy Jordan of Jordan Winery in Stellenbosch. It has one of the best cellars in London, holding more than 40,000 bottles. The restaurant is named High Timber because that is the ancient London street on which it is sited. Neleen, an expert sommelier, moved to the UK in 2001 to open a popular London City restaurant, Vivat Bacchus. She left there to launch High Timber in March 2009. Within one year of launch, the restaurant received a recommendation in both the 2010 Great Britain and Ireland Michelin Guide, and 2010 London Michelin Guide. Before leaving South Africa, she was General Manager at Browns of Rivonia, in Johannesburg. She went to Meisieskool Oranje and studied drama at the University of the Free State. While at university, she worked as a waitress, and after graduating she went to work at Browns.

BUMBO BABY SEATS RECALLED

Last week the USA government announced the voluntary recall of four million Bumbo baby seats. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said that the South African-made seats, designed to support young babies who cannot yet sit upright alone, were potentially dangerous. The CSPC said that it was aware of 50 incidents since late 2007 in which children have been injured by falling from the seats. The injuries ranged from skull fractures to bumps and bruises. The watchdog said that parents should stop using the seats until they install a free restraint belt and read new safety guidance that can be ordered from BumboUSA. Recalls have also begun in Canada, the UK and Australia. A previous warning was issued in 2007 and about one million were recalled for labelling warning against leaving the seats on raised surfaces. The seats are made in South Africa by the Bumbo International Trust. About 170,000 have been sold in South Africa. The company is adding an additional warning label that the seat is only to be used on the floor with adult supervision and never on raised surfaces.
Bumbo seat with restraint belt

TERRY PHETO - USA SOAPIE STAR

South African actress and model Terry Pheto (31) stars in American TV soapie, The Bold and The Beautiful. She plays the role Dr Malaika Maponya, a world renown South African heart surgeon, who tries to save the life of Katie Logan. South African TV audiences will see the episodes 6124-6127 on 31 August - 05 September 2012, episode 6145 on 01 October, and episode 6148 on 04 October. Terry became a household name after starring in the South African Academy Award-winning film Tsotsi. This was followed with a role alongside Golden Globe-winning actor Idris Elba in the Nelson Mandela biopic Long Walk to Freedom. She was also a face of L'Oreal Paris.

FROM JOHANNESBURG TO TOP CEO IN USA

Steven Collis (57) is the CEO of top pharmaceutical services firm, AmerisourceBergen, with headquarters in Pennsylvania. It is one of America’s big three pharmaceutical services firms, listed 29th on the Fortune 500 list, employs 13 000 people, and has revenues of more than R600-billion. The company ships pharmaceuticals to more than 20 000 customers every day. Steven's father was a Rosebank dentist and his mother worked for a charity. He matriculated from King David Linksfield in 1978. After school he earned a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours degree from University of the Witwatersrand. He served in the South African Air Force's Finance Department as a conscript. Afterwards he worked for a few years at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. He worked for the South African business tycoon brothers, Solly and Abe Krok, promoting an automotive accessories business, and was later involved with the Epilady hair-removal product. He moved to the USA in 1988 to promote the products, but joined a small health care company in southern California after financial troubles beset the South African products. He was a co-organiser of a charity cycle race in aid of multiple sclerosis and befriended cyclist Neil Dimick, the Chief Financial Officer of what was then Amerisource Health Corporation, which in 1994 became what is today AmerisourceBergen. In November 2010 he was appointed President and in July 2011 CEO. Steven lives with his wife, Toni, and three children in Philadelphia.

30 July 2012

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRCRAFT STARS IN BATMAN MOVIE

ZS-NVB
Photo from nolanfans.com
The new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, has an opening scene involving two aircraft. One of the aircraft is the South African-registered and owned ZS-NVB. The Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante belongs to John Richardson of Batair Cargo, an air freight company based at Lanseria. It was flown to the UK for filming in 2011 in Inverness, Scotland, and Cardington, England. A prop copy of the aircraft was also made and used at Cardington for filming.
The prop copy
Photo from nolanfans.com

21 July 2012

CAPE TOWN'S WORLD FAMOUS CAKE BAKERY

The documentary-cum-reality show Charly’s Cake Angels was filmed in Charly’s Bakery’s pink and white premises in Cape Town. The first episode of Season 1 premiered in the UK on The Good Food Channel last month. The 13-part series stars bakery owner Jacqui Beiss, her daughters Alex and Daniella, and two of their colleagues, Roche and Francis. It was filmed over 10 months last year by Justin Bonello and Peter Gird’s company, Cooked in Africa. It was first shown on SABC3 in September last year, then in Italy, New Zealand and Switzerland. It’s due to be broadcast in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Dubai soon. Each episode features the team facing a challenge, such as creating a five-tier cake to celebrate the opening of Cape Town’s Design Indaba, creating a cake for visually impaired children which included Braille icing, and creating a cake for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital with an anatomically correct heart as decoration. They are busy filming Season Two.
Charly's Bakery with Table Mountain in the background 
The Charly of Charly’s Bakery was Jacqui’s husband and Alex and Daniella’s father, Charly, who died in May after a long illness. When Charly was 16 years old, he worked for a german baker in Swakopmund, Namibia, sweeping the floor, making puff pastry, and washing dishes. Eventually he was allowed to start learning about baking cakes like Black Forest Cake and Sacher Torte. Charly met Jacqui and the couple had two daughters before moving to Cape Town. The first Charly’s was a coffee shop in Thibault Square. It later moved to the V&A Waterfront before becoming the cake bakery in Roeland Street, where it first appeared in its pink and white candy-stripes decor with dancing cupcakes. They intended to operate a wholesale business but soon had to open to the public who were drawn by the baking smells. Three years ago, Charly’s Bakery relocated again, to Canterbury Street in District Six, in the old Beinkinstadt Bookshop (Jewish Bookshop) building which was built in 1901.

INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR WELKOM RADIOGRAPHER

Sandy Pridgeon, from Welkom, was recently awarded the International DoseWise Radiographer of the Year Award in Toronto, Canada. Her entry on "Radiation Protection in the Operating Theatre" was by judges from the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT). Sandy’s entry shared her experience in radiation protection of medical staff, where she implemented re-usable shields to absorb radiation backscatter from patients. She designed special shields from lead rubber to protect the medical staff. The damage only shows up many years later, says Sandy, who works at different private hospitals in Welkom. She designed a set of four shields for the neck, back, lower back and hips. These were scientifically tested and it was proven that there was a reduction of more than 67% of back scatter. As the winner, Sandy attended the ISRRT World Congress 2012 in June.

ANOTHER BENONI BEAUTY EXPORT

Genevieve Morton (26) was one of the first South African models to appear in the American Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, in February 2010. The Benoni-born model was voted by FHM South Africa readers as winner of the Top 100 Sexiest Women in the World for 2012. Genevieve was born at the Glynwood Hospital and grew up in Northmead and Farrarmere before moving to Scottburgh after Grade 6, when her mother was diagnosed with a lung illness. She attended Arbor Primary School. She started modelling at the age of 19. She lives in New York and studies through UNISA. Earlier this year, she appeared in the music video for the song '"Sweeter"' by Gavin DeGraw. She joins Charlize Theron and Charlene Wittstock as Benoni's Golden Girls.

30 SECONDS - A SOUTH AFRICAN GAME

Calie Esterhuyse invented 30 Seconds, a fast-paced general knowledge game, 14 years ago. Since then, more than 500 000 sets have been sold in South Africa. There are also versions for the Netherlands, Ireland and the USA. Versions for England, Australia, France and Germany are being released. The idea was born late one evening in 1996 at Danie and Annelie Morkel's home in Gordon's Bay. A guest, tennis player Marius Barnard, suggested the 20 guests play a game by writing each one writing a name on a piece of paper and putting it into a bowl. Each guest took out one piece of paper and had 40 seconds to describe it to their team mate. A year later, the same game was palyed at Martin and Margaret Botha's beach house in Great Brak River, and Calie thought of making it a commercial game. It was launched in stores in 1998.

He was born in 1963 in Cape Town, one of three sons (Niel and Jan-Willem being his brothers). He attended Laerskool Riviera in Pretoria. His father, a legal adviser, died when he was 10 years old, and the family moved to Stellenbosch, where his mother, Rita, was matron at a Stellenbosch University house. Calie matriculated from Paul Roos Gimnasium, and studied at Stellenbosch University. In the early 1990s, he started Calco Games with the first product, Goldquest, based on sport. 30 Seconds took a year of research. At that time, the game was known as Rudy Nappi - the name written by the young rugby player Schalk Burger at the Great Brak River party. Rudy Nappi was an artist, whose pictures were on place mats at the beach house. The name 30 Seconds only came towards the end of the research year, during a conversation with Sampie Terreblanche (son of the economist Prof. Sampie Terreblanche), who was pressed for time. Calie used to date Sampie's eldest sister during their school days.

HELPING A CHILD

Zaka Kely and his mother, Fiv. Photo: Beeld
A South African family has given a Madagascan youngster a chance for a better life. Jacques Razafindranovona (aka Zaka Kely) is 15 and lives in Andranovoly. He suffered burns to 65% of his body in an accident last year. Helene van Rhyn of Johannesburg and her son, Jacques (17), heard about him in May when they received an e-mail from Australiam missionaries. Jacques is a volunteer with the South African charity, Children of Fire. Zaka had not received medical attention for eight months, as his family cannot afford it. His wounds were still raw and he had a severe infection. Helene's father. Dr. Fana Malherbe, is a retired plastic surgeon in Stellenbosch. He arranged that Zaka's wounds were cleaned in the military hospital in Antananarivo. The Van Rhyn family brought Zaka to South Africa, where the provincial hospital in Stellenbosch took him in. A travel agent arranged for discounted business class tickets for Zaka and his mother, Fiv. Dr. Malherbe and a colleague did a skin transplant, and a successful result is expected.

SWISS COMPANIES FACE CHALLENGES IN SOUTH AFRICA

Swiss investors believe they face major challenges for investing in South Africa. A survey conducted by the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs’ State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) in May amongst Swiss companies that are active in South Africa, found that the crime rate is one of these challenges. Limited infrastructure, mostly in the field of electricity, which leads to power outages, is another challenge. The survey also identified red tape, an unfavourable tax regime and aspects of the black economic empowerment (BEE) policy as challenges. Companies are not happy when they train people in Switzerland and that is not counted in the BEE scoreboard. They do not like that they have to sell participation in their companies to South Africans. Rigid labour laws, which make it easier to hire people than to dismiss people, are another challenge. Swiss National Bank statistics show that a third of Swiss foreign direct investment into Africa is made into South Africa. Switzerland ranks as the seventh-largest foreign direct investor in SA. Last year the bulk of Swiss exports to South Africa consisted of machinery, at 32%, followed by pharmaceuticals at 23% and optical and medical equipment at 10%. South African exports to Switzerland mainly consist of precious metals (84%), metals (8%) and agricultural goods (4%).

PERTH - AUSTRALIA'S BLOEMFONTEIN

In seven of Perth's northern coastal suburbs, Afrikaans is the second most common language, after English. This was revealed in the 2011 Australian census results. Perth is often referred to as Bloemfontein-by-the sea. The census also revealed that there are 145 683 residents born in South Africa and living in Australia, making up 0,7% of Australia's population. In the Greater Perth area, South Africa is fourth on the list of residents' country of birth, after Australia (59,6%), England (9,5%) and New Zealand (3,1%). South Africa-born residents make up 1,8% (30 291 people) of Perth's residents.

ON-LINE PROTECTION FOR CHILDREN

Parents of young children are often concerned by what their children access on their smartphones or tablets. A South African company, Mobiflock, has created an app - My Child - to help. Mobiflock's founder and a parent himself, Patrick Lawson, created the app. With technology and children there is an unacceptable level of danger – from cyberbullying and online abuse, to accessing adult content and spending too much time and money on their phones. My Child makes smartphones and tablets safe for children by giving parents the visibility and tools to manage their children's use and protect them from harm.

SOUTH AFRICA'S TWO OCEANS WINE TOP SELLER

South Africa's Two Oceans wine is sold in over 80 countries worldwide. Its three biggest international markets are Canada, Sweden and Finland. It is also a big seller in New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, and China. The Four Seasons hotel group featured it on menus for catered events at 25 hotels in the USA and the Caribbean for two years. The Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Ramada and Radisson hotel groups are also supporters. Last year it won four silver medals at the International Wine and Spirit Competition. Two Oceans takes its name from the two oceans that converge along the southern coast of Africa, the warm Indian and the cold Atlantic.

16 July 2012

SOUTH AFRICAN WINE AND 50 SHADES DARKER

A South African dessert wine with a long links to history, appears on the menu for a masked ball in 50 Shades Darker, the sequel to the international bestseller book 50 Shades of Grey. Vin de Constance was the wine that Napoleon Bonaparte drank on his deathbed on Elba. In Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Mrs Jennings recommends Constantia for "its healing powers on a disappointed heart".

The story goes further back, to 1685 when Simon van der Stel, Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, set men to work, digging up soil along the southern slopes of the Cape Peninsula and having the soil tested. The samples showed that the valley facing False Bay, situated between the Indian and the Atlantic oceans, had the best potential for wine-making. He called his estate Constantia. It became known for excellent wine. Van der Stel died at Constantia in 1712. As none of his family remained at the Cape, Constantia was divided into thirds and sold. Hendrik Cloete, the great-grandson of an early German settler, bought the original homestead in 1778. He built a fine wine cellar and planted thousands of new vines, mostly Frontignac, Pontac, red and white Muscadel and Steen. Grapes were ripened on the vines until they were almost like raisins and sweet. Slow maturation in vats took place before the wine was shipped to Europe and England.

Cloete had nine sons, six of whom became wine-makers. Hendrik Junior inherited Constantia in in 1778. Constantia had become neglected, but he farmed it from 1800 until his death in 1818. His son, Jacob Pieter (born 1794) inherited Groot Constantia, and Johan Gerhard (born 1796) inherited the upper portion of the farm, known as Klein Constantia. Jacob Pieter, who spoke French, hired an agent in Paris where his wines won several medals.

King Louis Philippe sent emissaries from France to fetch the wine, Napoleon drank it on the island of St Helena, Frederick the Great and Bismarck ordered it. In England the Prime Minister - who had sampled it at Downing Street - made sure that consignments from the Cape were delivered to Buckingham Palace for the King. In Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens tells of "...the support embodied in a glass of Constantia and a home-made biscuit". The German poet Klopstock devoted an ode to the pleasures of this wine. Baudelaire mentions it in his Les Fleurs du mal.

Johan Gerhard sold the farm in 1840 to Abraham Brunt, a nephew of Leonora Colyn.

In the late 19th century, the Cape vineyards were devastated by the phylloxera epidemic, and production stopped. Groot Constantia was sold to the Cape Government. Production only resumed in 1980 at Klein Constantia, and in 2003 at Groot Constantia Wine Estate. It was released in 1990. When the Jooste family bought the property in 1980, they were approached by Professor Chris Orffera, a Stellenbosch Univeristy viticulturist (now deceased), who asked them to recreate the historical sweet wine. This was achieved with his help and that of the late Ross Gower. The sweet wine is made from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (Muscat de Frontignan) grapes grown in Constantia, Cape Town.

25 June 2012

MUSICAL OBEs FOR SOUTH AFRICANS

Earlier this year, South African-born musician Sarah Aaronson was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Her OBE was awarded for her services to music and charity. Sarah was born in South Africa to Lithuanian immigrants and grew up in Doornfontein. She was nine years old when she started playing the accordion, and gave her first concert a year later. She also learnt the piano and organ. As a young child, she played for General Jan Smuts. As an adult, her audience included the Queen Mother and the Queen of Jordan. Sarah studied music at the University of the Witwatersrand and continued her music career in London. She lives in London and is married to a Londoner. Sarah is a keen gardener and still plants agapanthus to remind her of the South African home she left in 1960. Her brother lives in South Africa. Sarah founded the London International Orchestra with conductor Solly Aronowsky. The orchestra raises funds for various charities, including some South African charities. South African-born lyricist Herbert Kretzmer, who wrote the lyrics to Les Misérables, also received the OBE for his services to music. He wrote the English lyrics of I Dreamed a Dream from the musical, which was sung in 2009 by Susan Boyle in the reality TV talent show Britain's Got Talent.

FARMING IN MOZAMBIQUE

There are South African farmers spread far and wide outside South Africa's borders. These new Trekkers are making a living where they feel wanted and safer. Fifteen South African farmers left South Africa two years ago for the Inhassoro district in central Mozambique, after getting permission from the Mozambique government. Koos Lee, originally a farmer from Heilbron, is one of them, along with his son Jaap. They run a cattle ranch, Embondeiro, which is leased from the government for 50 years with an option to renew for another 49 years. Koos imported a borehole drill to supply his farm's water needs. A diesel-powered generator provides electricity. A farm house and outside buildings stand where only bush existed before. Koos has employed Mika Motuki, a Mozambique citizen who used to work on the mines in Welkom. Mike and Koos speak Sesotho. Here the day's temperature is often 40°C and checking their beds for snakes and scorpions before getting in, is quite normal. As they say, Africa is not for sissies, and these farmers are living proof. There is no electricity or water pipes in these parts, no tractor spare parts shop nearby. Mobile phone reception is difficult, and the nearest town, Inhassoro, is 70 km away. The only filling station in town still uses a hand pump for to fill cars with petrol. There is one supermarket, the 100-year-old Super Ana, as well as a liquor store, a hardware store and a computer store. Baker Boys is the town's only coffee shop and is owned by Flip and Retha Schoeman. Jean and Natasha Roux are also business owners in town. Jean takes tourists on fishing expeditions or day trips to the islands along the coast line, while Natasha manages a local lodge that belongs to Gerhard and Griet Breedt of Mpumalanga. Michael and Marie Lee also own a local lodge.

TRANSVAAL IN AMSTERDAM

There's a little piece of the Transvaal  - in an eastern Amsterdam suburb called Transvaal. Here you'll find Pretorius Street, as well as Kruger, Steyn, Joubert, Reitz, De la Rey, Paardekraal, Laingsnek, Schalk Burger and Tugela Streets. Name changes haven't been spared - Pretorius Plein is now known as Steve Biko Plein. Kruger Plein remains as is. In Afrikaner Plain there is a a Javanese restaurant. There is a Transvaal Apotheek. In the late 19th century, Amsterdam incorporated the small towns of Amstel en Diemen into the city, and started two housing developments - Transvaal and the Indische Buurt. Before Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940, this suburb had a large Jewish population. Today, Transvaal has seen better days, but still has a neighbourhood atmosphere. Its 10 000 residents are made up of 35% Dutch origins and the rest of non-Dutch origins. The suburb also has its socio-economic problems - poor education, high unemployment, debt, drugs, and language problems.

HEALTHY EATING ON A PLATE

Algoa FM presenter Selwyn Willis and his wife Natasha live in Port Elizabeth. They designed, developed and manufactured an innovative plate to teach families about eating healthily. The patented Health Plate, with input from dietician Annatjie Smith at the Port Elizabeth Hospital complex, is divided into portions showing the correct amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fruits and vegetables to be eaten as the main meal of the day. There are different sizes and colours - pink for Mom, blue for Dad and a multi-coloured plate for children 10 and under. The adult plates are made of porcelain, with a reinforced rim, while the children’s plate is melamine. There are also directions for portion control, and messages around the edge of the plate containing details from the Food Based Dietary guidelines. The Health Plates are dishwasher and microwave safe.

GROUPLOVE'S SOUTH AFRICAN CONNECTION

The American rock group, Grouplove, was formed in 2010, went viral on the Internet and soon afterwards opened for Florence and the Machine. Ryan Rabin is the producer and drummer. He is also the son of the very talented Soouth African guitarist and composer, and former Rabbitt band member, Trevor Rabin. Ryan's maternal grandmother lives in Fishhoek. Ryan started singing, drumming and playing piano at a young age. He played in various bands before going to the University of Southern California for a music management degree. Shortly after graduation, he went to Europe on holiday with a childhood friend, Andrew Wessen. They met the other members of Grouplove - Christian Zucconi, Hannah Hooper and Sean Gadd - at an artists commune in Greece. Ryan is inspired by his father's work ethic, and his technical and creative abilities. Grouplove's song, Colours, was ranked number 12 on USA TODAY's alternative chart and was also featured in Madden 12, FIFA 12, and MLB 2K12. Tongue Tied was featured in an Apple iPod touch commercial in 2011, and in June 2012 it reached the number one position on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

LUCKY FISH IN NEW YORK CITY

Jann Cheifitz graduated with a Fine Arts Degree from the University of Cape Town in 1985. Between 1986 and 1989 she worked at the Community Arts Projecs, she moved to New York and rt production and design to community activists. Jann has exhibited various group and solo exhibitions since 1986. Her work has also been featured in several international group shows and Biennials. From 1989 to 1993 she worked in Cape Town and London with Jane Solomon, producing T-shirts and textiles. There they sold the T-shirts in Kensington High Street and Camden Town market. In the early 1990s she moved to New York and painted sets for low-budget films. In 2000 she founded Lucky Fish, an apparel company based in New York City and with world-wide distribution. Jann found that when her son Gabriel was born, there weren't any fun prints for boys. She started making him T-shirts inspired by popular iconography. When other people noticed her designs and asked for the same T-shirts for their own kids, she decided to make her silk-screening a business. Jann teamed up with fellow South African, Carole Scott, a pre-school teacher, and started silk-screening T-shirts in the garage of the the house they shared for a summer holiday. Today, Lucky Fish T-shirts are hand-printed in Brooklyn. The company name comes from the South Africanism "you lucky fish" said to someone who got or did something enviable, and the logo is borrowed from a sardine can.

SOUTH AFRICAN WHOLEWHEAT BREAD IN USA

Gray Handcock, originally from Grahamstown, left home after graduating from Rhodes University. His mother, Bet Handcock, works with her veterinarian husband in Grahamstown. Gray left home after graduating from Rhodes University. In the USA, he found that the store-bought bread was not to his liking, and started looking at baking his own bread, while working as an advertising designer. In 2002, he signed a deal with Sourdoughs International for his Kenilworth Cultur, which is marketed as South African Sourdough. Sourdough bread is very popular in North America.

08 June 2012

AFRICAN ODYSSEY

Andrew Kellett and his wife Marie-Louise, along with their children Summer-Ann (7) and Camdyn (11), have set off on an adventure in their Land Rover Defender into Africa. The Cape Town family are on a five-month African Odyssey. Their children attend Michael Oak School in Kenilworth. The children document their experience in their weekly blog. The Kellets have their own adventure company, Gravity Adventure. Andrew, who attended Bishops and UCT, has also trained kayaking guides for the African Paddling Association and the International Rafting Federation.  The 10 countries trip includes the Kunene River in Namibia, the Ondorusso Gorge, the Epupa Falls, the Okavango Delta, the Zambezi River, Lake Malawi, and  the Quirimbas Archipelago in northern Mozambique.

CAKE BOSS LOVES MILKTART AND KOEKSISTERS

Buddy Valastro, known as the Cake Boss, fell in love with milktart and koeksisters during his recent visit to South Africa. The Cake Boss is well-known for his cake creations and is the star of the TV reality show Cake Boss. He was in Cape Town as the guest of Cape Town edition of The Good Food and Wine Show, where he performed sold-out demonstrations. The milktart, from Zorina’s Cafe, and the koeksisters, from Mountain View Takeaways, were presented to him after his arrival in the city. He had heard about milktart before his arrival, and had wanted to try it.

DUBAI SOCCER STARS

Kieran Geldenhuys, a 16 year old South African student at Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) in Arabian Ranches in Dubai, has earned a professional apprenticeship with the English soccer club Notts County. The two-year contract was signed at Meadow Lane in April. Kieran has lived in Dubai since the age of three, with his parents, Carol and Tony. He leaves Dubai for Nottingham in July, when he'll start a pre-season training programme, and higher education. He was coached by Mick Leonard at the Jebel Ali Centre of Excellence. Mick subsequently left Dubai to become Notts County’s head of youth development. Another South African in Dubai, Wahid Ali (16) has been invited to join Belgium's KAS Eupen. Wahid has been living in Dubai since the age of five.

AWARD-WINNING PRODUCER / DIRECTOR

South African-born film maker, Jon Blair, made the Rio drug documentary Dancing with the Devil. He left South Africa in 1966 at the age of 16, having grown up in Parktown. Today he is Al Jazeera English’s acting commissioning editor for major series, specials and discussion programmes. Before that, he produced a number of documentaries that earned him awards, including an Oscar in 1996 for his documentary Anne Frank Remembered. He is the only documentaries producer / director working in the United Kingdom who has won all three of the premier awards in his field: an Oscar, an Emmy (twice) and a British Academy Award. At the recent Encounters documentary film festival, he showcased Dancing with the Devil (2009), Anne Frank Remembered (1995) and Reporters at War: Dying to Tell a Story (2004). Jon also made Murder Most Foul, narrated by Sir Anthony Sher, with its starting point the Brett Golden and Richard Bloom murders in Cape Town. He lives in London and Suffolk with his wife Yvonne, and twin sons, Artie and Louis. He also has two adult children, Tanya and Ben.

THE ENGLISH SOUTH AFRICAN RUGBY PLAYERS

Mouritz Botha is representing England on the five match rugby tour of South Africa. The Saracens lock is originally from the Northern Cape. He moved to Bedford, England, eight years ago, and built his professional rugby career while working part-time jobs washing carpets in a factory, and stripping asbestos roofs. He never played rugby at representative level in South Africa. He was born on 29 January 1982 in Vryheid, and his parents, Herman and Adri, now live in Calvinia. He joined Bedford Blues in 2006 and made 73 appearances before moving to Saracens in 2009. In 2011 he was named in the England Saxons squad for the Churchill Cup after qualifying for England on residency grounds.. Mouritz was part of the England 44-man squad for the 2011 World Cup, making his England debut in the 23-19 England victory over Wales. He played in every game of England's 2012 Six Nations campaign.

His England team member, Brad Barritt, is also South African, as is Mike Catt who was born in Port Elizabeth and is now England's attack coach. Brad is also a Saracens player. He was born on born 07 August 1986 in Durban and attended Kearsney College. He was an under-21 Springbok. He was part of the 2006 Currie Cup and Super 14 Natal Sharks. He played in the 2007 Super 14 Final. After the 2008 Currie Cup, he signed with Saracens. Due to injuries, he was recalled to play in a 2009 Super 14 fixture against the Waratahs, his final game for the Sharks. He was selected to represent the England Saxons at the 2009 Churchill Cup. He first made the England senior squad in 2010 and again for the 2012 Six Nations Championship. Brad's grandparents are English and he is a UK passport holder. He moved to England three years ago.

Matt Stevens is the third South African-born player in the England team. He plays for Saracens. He was born on 01 October 1982 in Durban and attended Kearsney College. He represented Western Province, South African Universities and the Junior Springboks at under-18 and under-19 level, before moving to England to pursue his university studies. He joined Bath Rugby Club in 2002. In 2006, he appeared on The X Factor: Battle of the Stars on British TV. He was mentored by Sharon Osbourne and reached the final, ending up as runner-up. This helped him raise over £125,000 for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and in October 2006 he was invited to meet Mandela in Johannesburg. In 2009 after a positive drugs test, he was banned from the world-wide game for two years. While serving his ban, he worked in the coffee shop, at Jika Jika, that he co-owns. In January 2010, he signed with Saracens. Matt has a BSc in politics with economics from the University of Bath.

PRETORIA GIRL CROWNED MISS NEW ZEALAND

Pretoria-born Avianca Bohm (22) was recently crowned Miss Universe New Zealand. She lives in the Auckland suburb of Howick. She was first runner-up in Miss Howick East Auckland in 2009 and was crowned Miss Howick last year. If she can get her Kiwi citizenship sorted out in time, she will represent New Zealand at the Miss Universe pageant in December. The New Zealand pageant organisers were left with a dilemna when they realised their winner was not a Kiwi citizen. Avianca and her family moved to New Zealand in 2006 when she was 16. She graduated with a diploma in fashion design at the New Zealand Institute of Fashion and plans to start her own fashion label. Avianca attended Harrismith Primary School before moving to Laerskool Nellie Swart in Pretoria. She went to CR Swart High School and Hoërskool Oos-Moot, in Pretoria. Her father is a quantity surveyor.

CATHY O'DOWD ATTEMPTS A FIRST

South African adventurer, Cathy O’Dowd, was the first woman in the world to climb Everest from both sides. Now she’s attempting another first - reaching the summit of the world’s ninth highest mountain, Nanga Parbat, via the Himalayan Mazeno Ridge, a difficult route that has never been climbed all the way to the top. Nanga Parbat, along with K2, is one of the two hardest mountains in the world. Cathy's start date is 09 June. On this expedition her team of six won’t see any other climbers for six weeks. The team consists of three Sherpas and two British climbers. Cathy has spent a lot of time ski touring in the Pyrenees, where she lives, and trail running. She is climbing to support UK-SA charity, Wilderness Foundation, founded by conservationist Ian Player. Cathy will be blogging her trip at http://mazenoridge.com/

SOUTHERN AFRICAN ANGEL

Behati Prinsloo was born on 16 May 1989 in Vanderbijlpark. Her name means blessing. Her family moved to Namibia when she was three years old. Her father, Boet, is an Apostolic Faith Mission pastor in Grootvlei, Namibia. In 2009 she was made a Victoria's Secret Angel. While on holiday in Cape Town at the age of 16, visiting her mother's family, she was discovered by the model scout who also discovered Kate Moss. She has been photographed by British Royal Family photographer Mario Testino and graced magazines such as Vogue and Elle, and modeled for Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana, Prada, and Versace. Her ad campaigns include Adore, Chanel, H&M, Hugo Boss, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Nina Ricci, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, DKNY Jeans and Nine West. Behati was recently named the face of Australian swimwear brand Seafolly. She plays the rich girl in the "Rich Girls" music video by The Virgins.

Behati is dating Maroon 5's Adam Levine. The couple spent the past Memorial Day weekend in Hawaii, where Adam was attending a wedding. Adam's previous girlfriend, Anne Vyalitsyna, is also a Victoria's Secret model. Anne and Behati lip-synced the words to his hit Moves Like Jagger with fellow Victoria's Secret Angels for an advert. Adam previously dated Jessica Simpson, Cameron Diaz and Maria Sharapova.

28 May 2012

THE COUSIN'S EU TOUR 2012

Comedian Barry Hilton, South Africa's favourite cousin, sets off on a EU tour in July. The "Stand Up Chameleon" show will be in Amsterdam, Bournemouth and London.

10 July 2012 Amsterdam, at The Comedy Theater: Tickets: www.comedytheater.nl
12 July 2012 London, at The Clapham Grand: Tickets: www.satickets.co.uk
13 July 2012 Bournemouth, at Oakdene Forest Park: Tickets: www.satickets.co.uk

The Cousin has performed to sold out audiences in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Middle East, Namibia, Congo and South Africa. His comedy contributions to radio, television and film include commercials, TV shows, two movies and a collection of DVDs.

27 May 2012

MAKING YOUTUBE WORK OUT

Peter Cilliers. Photo credit: Beeld newspaper
South African Peter Cilliers (32) earns in excess of R600 000 per year and is part of YouTube's Millionaires Club. In 2006, weighing 130 kg, he decided to lose weight, and as motivation, created a daily video diary for the next 112 days. Now his YouTube channel has more than 48 million views. The video channel, under the name moricestreet909, has more than 70 000 subscribers and his SixPackFactory Web site gets more than 200 000 monthly hits. After losing 45 kg, Peter, originally from Bloemfontein, didn't update the video diary for three years. Last year he started with weekly updates, home workout videos and related content, and turned his hobby into an Internet financial success. His most-viewed video has more than 5.3 million views. In the past 12 months, his views increased from about 15 000 per day to about 60 000 per day, without paid advertising. Through the YouTube Partners Program, he can run adverts with his videos, making money based on the number of hits he gets. After finishing high school, Peter spent six years working in the UK, where he also completed a sports therapist course. He lives in Olympus, Pretoria. Peter shoots his videos at home with an HD camcorder, a few cheap studio lights and uses the free Moviemaker video editing software or Sony Vegas Pro. His Internet connection is a mobile 5Gb. He makes four to five videos in one day, and uploads each one weekly. To save bandwidth, he converts the videos to .wmv format or similar. He spends about one hour daily answering questions from viewers.

TOUGH TIME FOR KERZNER

Dubai's state-run investment firm, Istithmar World, recently paid $250-million to buy out its financially troubled business partner, Kerzner International Holdings Ltd., which had held a 50% stake in the Atlantis Resort Hotel on Palm Jumeirah. Istithmar already owned half of the property. Kerzner will continue to operate the resort. It agreed to give up its stake in the Dubai property and its resort in the Bahamas after struggling to restructure $2.6-billion in debt. Canada's Brookfield Asset Management acquired the Bahamas resort by agreeing to waive $175-million in debt owed by Kerzner. Istithmar is part of Dubai World, which also owns retailer Barneys New York and has a stake in Cirque du Soleil. The 1 537-room Atlantis Dubai opened in September 2008, shortly after a construction fire damaged part of the lobby. A lavish launch party two months later cost $20-million and featured a large celebrity guest list entertained by Australian pop star Kylie Minogue.

FROM WITBANK TO DEVON

Monique Foxx
A rich Brit who was a bodyguard to Michael Jackson, and claims that he is the biological father of the late singer's youngest son, has found love with an Afrikaans singer from Witbank. He has three children and owns martial arts schools in the UK. Matthew (Matt) Fiddes (32) and Moniqe Foxx (19) met in March 2012 at Carnival City in Brakpan. Monique recently joined him in London. Next month he has to go to the USA for DNA tests in the Jackson saga. He met Jackson through his friend, the actor Mark Lester, and worked as a bodyguard when Jackson was in London. He claims that Jackson offered him £500 000 for his sperm, but he did it for free. Matt and Moniqe were approached by a French TV production company for a reality TV show a la Kardashians. Filming is scheduled to start next month at Matt's estate in Devon, England. Monique will launch her single, Kicking the World, a tribute to Jackson, in England. The song was written by British music producers, Robert Bradley and Mark Bebb.

GOING CRAFTY WORLD-WIDE

Heather Moore is an illustrator and textile designer, and owner of Skinny laMinx. Born in Johannesburg, she studied English and Drama at university, followed by a Masters in education. She then got involved in illustration for schoolbooks. Getting creative, she found the international arts and crafts site, Etsy, and started showcasing her creations there. Her tray cloths sold well and soon she had more overseas and local orders coming in. Today Skinny laMinx produces textiles and homewares that are sold to housewares shops internationally, including Heath Ceramics in California. She has opened a shop/studio at 201 Bree Street, Cape Town. Her latest range, Flower Dreams, was well-received. Heather ascribes her success to the Internet and luck.

CHARLENE SMITH - TRUE SURVIVOR

Journalist and author Charlene Smith was raped and stabbed in her Johannesburg home by an intruder in 1999. A week later she went public with her ordeal in trying to receive post-exposure HIV prophylaxis. This harrowing experience eventually led to two books, the second of which was recently published, and made her a survivor and fighter for rape survivors in South Africa. She refused to be a victim and has since counselled thousands of women. Proud of Me, her first book aimed at helping rape survivors, was about coping with the aftermath of the rape and her journey. The second book, Whispers on my Skin, is about relearning intimacy after experiencing violence. It is filled with real stories and provides a roadmap to healing. In 2000 she was invited by the Center for Disease Control to address scientists, as a result of which CDC embarked on its protocol for PEP for survivors of sexual assault. She is considered an expert on sexual violence and HIV and has been invited to present papers and chair sessions at many conferences and seminars globally, including the World AIDS Conferences.

Charlene was born in Johannesburg and grew up in Zambia. She began her political journalist career at The Star, and later moved to the Sunday Tribune (where she was also deputy bureau chief), Business Day (where she was also deputy news editor), Sunday Times, Financial Mail (where she was associate editor) and Finance Week (where she was assistant editor). She has worked as a producer for ABC’s Nightline under Ted Koppel and for CBS 60 Minutes with Ed Bradley. Charlene has also worked on a number of documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1985 to 2009, including two award-winning documentaries on Nelson Mandela and one on South Africa’s democratic transition. She is also a highly regarded media consultant with considerable expertise in multimedia, and has lectured at numerous colleges and universities.

She moved to United States after a close friend and neighbour was murdered. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she is studying for a Masters of Fine Art part-time, working on a book on prescription drug overmedication and addiction, and writing a novel. She enjoys leading guided tours of the Boston area and has developed a smartphone application for tourists, called South Africa Travel: The Rainbow Nation.

South Africa Travel: The Rainbow Nation is the first app on South Africa for tourists written from a South African’s point of view. It has more than 3 000 photographs, 400 videos, Facebook and Twitter entries, and close to 60 cities, towns and villages. Every four to six weeks the app gets upgraded.

23 May 2012

SILICON VALLEY'S SOUTH AFRICAN

Yet another South African that has excelled in the USA, becoming one of the most influential people in Silicon Valley and involved in companies like YouTube, PayPal and Google - technology entrepreneur Roelof Botha recently visited his birth country to receive an honorary PhD from Stellenbosch University. He is the son of the economist Dr Roelof Botha and the grandson of former Minister Pik Botha. The musician Piet Botha is his uncle. Together with Elon Musk, Roelof founded PayPal, where he was Financial Director at the age of 28. He was one of the first investors in YouTube. Today he is a partner at Sequoia Capital, the most important venture capital company in Silicon Valley. He selects new technology companies in which to invest and his investments have led to the rise of companies like YouTube en LinkedIn. About 20% of the market capitalisation on the Nasdaq stock market in New York represents companies in which Sequoia has invested. Sequoia recently invested in two South African companies, Nimbula and Clickatell.

He has succeeded in whatever he has done - top Western Cape matriculant at Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck; the highest average for a BSc in actuarial science, economics and statistics at the University of Cape Town; and at age 22, the youngest person in South Africa to qualify as an actuary. After spending two years at McKinsey & Co. in Johannesburg, he left for an MBA at Stanford, where he was the top student.

He is married to Huifen Chan, from Singapore. They met at Stanford and have two children, a six year old daughter and a four year old son. Roelof makes his own biltong and still supports the Blue Bulls. He was in his high school's rugby first team, and also represented Stanford's MBA rugby team.

REACHING BEYOND THE STARS

Whilst South Africa was in a frothy over a presidential member, a South African billionaire was creating history on the other side of the ocean. Elon Musk (41), a computer prodigy,  entrepreneur and inventor saw the rocket ship built by his company, SpaceX, lift off. It is the first trip by a private, non-government agency to take supplies and equipment to the space station. If all goes as planned, the unmanned Dragon capsule, lifted into orbit by the Falcon 9 rocket, will berth at the International Space Station on Friday bearing cargo: 162 meal packets, a laptop computer, a change of clothes for the station astronauts and 15 student experiments. The Dragon is scheduled to stay at the station until the end of the month as astronauts unpack its cargo and replace it with items to bring back to Earth. Undocking on 31 May, the Dragon will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off California. With the completion of a successful demonstration, SpaceX would begin a $1.6 billion contract to fly 12 cargo missions to the space station.

It is the latest achievement of Elon Musk, who was born on 28 June 1971 in Pretoria to a South African father and Canadian-American mother. His maternal grandfather was from Minnesota, and had moved to Saskatchewan, where Elon's mother was born. His father is an engineer and his mother is an author, nutritionist and model (appearing on the cover of New York Magazine in 2011 and a Time Magazine supplement in 2010). Elon went on to co-found SpaceX, Tesla Motors and X.com (which later became Paypal).

He bought his first computer at age 10 and taught himself how to program. By the age of 12 he sold his first commercial software for about $500, a space game called Blastar. After matriculating at Pretoria Boys High School, he left home in 1988 at the age of 17. He spent two years at Queen's University in Canada. In 1992 he started studying business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania on a full scholarship. He stayed on to complete a second bachelor's degree in physics. In 1995 he enrolled for a graduate programme in applied physics and materials science at Stanford, but dropped out after two days. He started Zip2, which provided on-line content publishing software for news organisations, with his brother Kimbal Musk. In 1999, Compaq's AltaVista division acquired Zip2 for US$307 million in cash and US$34 million in stock options. He then founded X.com, which provided financial services and payment by e-mail. X.com merged with another company, Confinity, to form PayPal. PayPal was sold to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. He got involved in complex technology ventures, putting almost all of his PayPal fortune into them: $100 million into SpaceX, which he founded in 2002, $50 million into Tesla and $10 million into SolarCity. He currently runs SpaceX and Tesla Motors, which in 2008 brought out an all-electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster. He is also chairman of SolarCity, a company that designs and installs solar energy systems. SpaceX is based in Hawthorne, California, and Tesla is in Palo Alto, northern California.

Four years ago, SpaceX saw the first three launchings of the small Falcon 1 rocket fail. One more failure and it would have run out of money. As Elon went through a divorce from his first wife, sci-fi novelist Justine Musk, with whom he has five sons, he had to borrow money from friends. The fourth launching succeeded. Late in 2008, NASA awarded SpaceX the cargo contract. The first two Falcon 9 launchings, in 2010, also succeeded.

In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the year. His life story inspired actor Robert Downey jnr's portrayal of fictional billionaire inventor Tony Stark in the blockbuster Iron Man movies.

Elon met his first wife, Justine, at Queen’s University. They married in 2000. In 2002, their first child, a boy called Nevada, died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at 10 weeks old. They later had twins Griffin and Xavier, and triplets Saxon, Damian and Kai. During the marriage she had three science fiction novels published by Penguin and Simon & Schuster. The marriage ended in divorce. In July 2088 Elon met Talulah Riley, a British actress who starred in Pride & Prejudice, and St Trinian's, at a nightclub in London. Six weeks later they got engaged. They were married in September 2010 at Skibo Castle in Scotland. The marriage ended in 2011.

20 May 2012

WICKETKEEPER TO CEO

The former Proteas wicketkeeper, David Richardson, will succeed fellow South African Haroon Lorgat as the new chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Richardson’s name will go forward for approval by the ICC annual conference at their meeting in Kuala Lumpur in June 28, after being chosen by the ICC board. He was one of four candidates who were recently interviewed in Mumbai for the post. If confirmed, Richardson’s appointment would be ground- breaking -  he would be the first former international cricketer to hold the post of ICC chief executive since its creation in 1993 and the first to already be working for the ICC. Johannesburg-born Richardson, 52, a qualified lawyer, has been the ICC’s general manager for cricket for the last 10 years. He represented South Africa in 42 tests and 122 one-day internationals.

SEAN BEAN TO BE BENNY GRIESSEL

The British actor, Sean Bean, will portray Dectective Benny Griessel, based on South African author Deon Meyer's Devil's Peak novels. The thriller trilogy begins with Devil’s Peak, followed by 13 Hours, and 7 Days. The producers are looking at a September start date for principal photography on the first installment, to be shot in Cape Town. Michael Murphey's producing credits include District 9, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddie's Revenge. He formed Kalahari Pictures in 2002. Deon Meyer's crime thrillers have been translated into 20 languages.

SOUTH AFRICAN FARMERS DOING WELL IN CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE)

Andre Botha is president of Congo Agriculture, which together with AgriSA, has been in negotiations with the Congolese government since its invitation to South African farmers to bring their expertise to the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville). Thirty-nine South African farmers have already moved there. The state made 85000ha of farmland available to the farmers, of whom 13 have moved to the country on a semi-permanent basis. Thirteen others commute between South Africa and the Congo every two weeks. Neil Karg, whose wife and housekeeper were murdered on his dairy farm in KwaZulu-Natal in 2010, and former Angolan prisoner-of-war Wynand du Toit, are part of the farmers community.  The first 13 farmers arrived in the village of Malolo just before Christmas last year. They cleared 1200ha for maize, worked around the clock in shifts and within a few months they produced a crop and sold it to the government for R2400 a ton. They also planted 80ha of soya.

They have also improved the locals' lives. By fixing old pipes and pumps they gave the locals access to tap water for the first time. The South Africans employ 200 people on the farm. The local baker now sells 200 loaves every day and has employed the local chief, his wife and son to help. Before the farmers arrived, the local teenage boys would collect cellphones with flat batteries from their village in Malolo, and run 27km to Makabana, the nearest village with electricity. There they would have the phones charged and run back to Malolo in the evening. The farmers laid an electric line to an old woman's house, setting up a cellphone charging bank with about 40 plugs at which the local community can charge their cellphones.

COMMUNITY EXCHANGE SYSTEM STARTED IN CAPE TOWN

The Community Exchange System, started in February 2003 as the Cape Town Talent Exchange, now has more than 27 000 members around the world. This trade system that does not use regular currency is used to market or procure goods and services. Members trade in "Talents", which are received when one member provides another with their marketed good or service. The Talents earned can then be used in exchange for any other member’s goods or services. A "Talent" is roughly equal to R1. The Cape Town Exchange, now part of the international group of Community Exchange Systems, has traded 1 639 293 "Talents" in the past year. Most of the exchange process takes part on-line on the exchange’s website. There are also monthly exchange markets at Novalis Ubuntu Institute on Rosmead Avenue in Kenilworth. The exchange system reached 400 members at the end of its first year. There are now 4 833 registered members in the Cape Town area. The most popular items and skills that are traded include alternative healing, permaculture, web design, second-hand goods, arts and crafts, clothing and various home businesses.