28 May 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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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 HoĆ«rskool 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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


Tony Maxwell was born and educated in South Africa. He travelled widely in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Central America, Australia and Canada. He lives in Alberta, Canada. When he and his son, Brad, discovered the Alberta connection with Strathcona's Horse, they decided to make a documentary film about the regiment. Strathcona's Horse was a Canadian mounted regiment raised and equipped by Lord Strathcona in 1900 and sent off to fight in the Anglo-Boer War. Tony returned to South Africa after  40-year absence to make the documentary. Travelling with Brad, they searched for old battlefields and graveyards, discovering the intersecting history of South Africa and Canada. The documentary, The Queen's Cowboys (as the Strathcona's were sometimes known), inspired Tony's first book, Searching for the Queen's Cowboys, which tells the story of their experiences in the new South Africa while making the documentary. The book blends three stories - the travelogue, a look at the past and present political situation in South Africa, and tracing the Strathcona's Horse during the War. It also has tales of Tony's adventures as a younger man in South Africa and London. There is also a section on the Zulu War, inspired by Tony's visits to the battlefields.

Tony is currently working on an historical novel, Uitlander (Foreigner), which tells the story of a young Canadian who fought on the side of the Boers during the Anglo-Boer War. It is the year 1890 in Calgary, Alberta and 18-year-old Robert Hamilton, while protecting his mother from a brutal assault by his drunken stepfather, is charged with murder. Exonerated by the court, he is forced to flee to England to escape the murderous wrath of his stepfather's brothers. He seeks refuge in London with his mother's beautiful, younger sister Emma, who is married to the elderly Sir Reginald Lolandish, a wealthy, international arms dealer. His passionate love affair with Emma is behind his spur-of-the-moment decision to go to South Africa to seek his fortune in the Witwatersrand goldfields. His business interests in the Transvaal Republic bring him into close contact with the Boers. His sympathy with their cause finds him at odds with fellow Canadians who answer the call of the mother country to fight in the Anglo-Boer War.

04 May 2012


Kelli Shean was born in Cape Town to Stephen and Dianne. Kelli is deaf and even with a hearing apparatus has only 10% hearing ability. She started playing golf at the Westlake Golf Club in 2001 and had a successful amateur career before winning a golf scholarship in 2007 to the University of Arkansas, where she graduated in 2011. In 2006 she won the World Amateur Championship with teammates Ashleigh Simon and Stacy Bregman. Her first collegiate win was in 2009 at Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational in Kansas. Kelli participated in her first LPGA event in September 2009 as an amateur. The 2010 US Women's Open at Oakmont in Pennsylvania saw her placing 65th, after leading the majority of the first round. Kelli was one of the students at Ernie Els' Foundation in Fancourt. She married Chandler Rackley of Little Rock, Arkansas, in May 2011. She is currently an instructor at The First Tee in Little Rock. Chandler was her part-time caddy. They met at University and he proposed to her on Thanksgiving Day in 2010 on a golf course - the ring was in the 18th hole and up on the leader board was a sign saying "Would you marry me?" Chandler is now a chartered accountant and has a commercial pilot’s licence.


The South African musician and songwriter Yoav is well-known for the catchy Yellobrite Smile. Yoav was born in Israel to a Romanian father and South African mother who was an opera singer. His father was an architect and the family moved to Cape Town when he was still an infant. At the age of 21, Yoav moved to New York. His debut album Charmed And Strange was released in 2008. The second album, A Foolproof Escape Plan, was released last year. One of his songs, Adore Adore, was featured in Redwood", an episode of The Mentalist. His career highlights include performing with Tori Amos in Madison Square Gardens in 2007. He also won a Russian music award after performing with the Russian Symphony Orchestra.


Born in South Africa, Peter Temple is one of Australia's most acclaimed crime writers. He has also worked as a journalist, magazine editor, and teacher. Peter moved to Sydney in 1980 before moving to Melbourne to edit Australian Society magazine. He was involved in establishing the Professional Writing and Editing course at Melbourne's RMIT University. In 1995, he became a self-employed editor and full-time writer. In 2007, he won the UK Crime Writers Association's Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award. He has also won at least five Ned Kelly Awards. In 2010, he won one of Australia's most prestigious literary prizes, the Miles Franklin, for his novel, Truth, set during the Black Saturday bush fires. The fires killed 173 people and destroyed thousands of homes in the state of Victoria in February 2009. Truth is the sequel to The Broken Shore.

He is known for his Jack Irish books, a former solicitor who walks on the dark side when not following horse racing and Australian Rules Football. Most of his books are Australian settings, but In the Evil Day is an international drama that spans South Africa, Germany, America, England and Wales. Con Niemand is an ex-mercenary earning a living by providing security for wealthy South Africans in a country gripped by lawlessness. The sole survivor of a job gone wrong, Niemand comes into possession of a video showing American soldiers in an African village and soon he's contacted by the tape's owners in London. Thinking he'll be well-rewarded for returning the tape, he boards the next flight out of South Africa and becomes the target of a deadly manhunt. In Hamburg, Germany, John Anselm, a former journalist, is trying too get his life back together after being kidnapped in Beirut. He works for a shady but sophisticated electronic-surveillance agency whose clients require information on everything from spouses' activities to industrial espionage. Unaware of Niemand's situation and that they share dangerous knowledge, Anselm is employed to track the ex-mercenary's movements, until a series of violent events lead to their meeting.


Jan Ellis has been involved in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years as actor, writer, director and producer. At the age of 14, he won an M-net Best Supporting Actor award for his role in Katinka Heyns’ "Fiela se Kind". Ten years later, he won an All African Film award for "Paljas", another Heyns film. He appeared in television series including Manakwalanders, Paradys, Egoli, Isidingo, Backstage, Crossroads, Amalia II and Known Gods. He toured Ireland and England in Athol Fugard’s "Hello and Goodbye" in 1997. Jan obtaining a BA cum laude degree in Communications from the University of South Africa, and lived in Japan, teaching English. In 2007, he moved to Sydney, Australia, where his South African-Portuguese wife, Gualdina, had lived for five years. Since living in Australia, he has done camera work and editing for the Red Bull Junior Surf Master Series (2008) and worked as a video encoder at the Microsoft Tech Ed conference in Barcelona in 2008. He also wrote scripts for the South African TV series, Binnelanders, via e-mail. Jan is a keen surfer and has a black belt in Judo. One of his interesting experiences was spending 100 days living in a Zen monastery in Japan.

03 May 2012


Chris Marnewick grew up in the Northern Transvaal and attended high school in Potgietersrus. He practised as an advocate in Durban until recently and now lives in Auckland, New Zealand, where he writes full time. After a year in the SA Navy, he studied Law at Potchefstroom and Unisa. He was admitted as an advocate in 1976, and was awarded senior counsel status in 1991. He completed an LLM degree in 1991 and obtained his PhD in 1996 at the then University of Natal. His first book was a textbook, Litigation Skills for South African Lawyers. This was followed by the novel Shepherds & Butcher, likely to be filmed, with Anant Singh working on a screenplay. In 2010, The Soldier Who Said No was published, followed by A Sailor’s Honour in 2011. His first Afrikaans book, Clarence van Buuren: Die Man Agter Die Donkerbril, was recently published. His novels marry fiction and non-fiction, the past and the present.

The Soldier Who Said No is one of these novels, moving between the South Africa of the 1980s and present-day South Africa and New Zealand. When a Bushman arrow is used in an assassination attempt on the New Zealand Prime Minister, South African bush war veteran Pierre de Villiers, who works for the International Crimes Unit in Auckland, becomes a suspect. Suffering from cancer and suspended after making a racist remark against one of his colleagues, Pierre recalls similar arrows made by !Xau, a Bushman with whom he had to flee from Angola in 1985 after refusing to follow orders during a Military Intelligence operation. Pierre has to return to South Africa to treat his cancer, find the origin of the arrow and face his past. After his first wife and children were murdered, Pierre left South Africa for the UK, where he met his second wife. They moved to New Zealand where he becomes one of the 147 South Africans in the NZ Police.

Shepherds & Butchers was published in 2008 and dealt with capital punishment. Prison warder Leon Labuschagne, who because of the emotional strain of participating in the hanging of 32 prisoners in two weeks and 164 during the year, breaks down and becomes a killer himself. Two of the characters from Shepherds & Butchers appear in The Soldier Who Said No - the narrator Johann Weber and Pierre de Villiers as the main character. The idea for the second book arose from Chris talking to a friend in New Zealand who had taken part in the Bush War in Angola, and the fact that a large number of former Recces settled in New Zealand after 1994.

A Sailor's Honour, the third novel, has links to World War II. Just when Pierre de Villier's life in New Zealand seems to be settled, his young daughter is kidnapped in Auckland and his brother-in-law, Johann Weber’s wife abducted in Durban. Johann is senior advocate at the Bar in Durban. Their common enemy involves Nazi u-boats off Africa’s coast to a sinister Third Force pulling the strings of darkest South African history.

Clarence van Buuren: Die Man Agter Die Donkerbril uses the hanging of Clarence van Buuren, 35 years old, on 10 June 1957, as theme. The evidence showed that he abducted, raped and shot Joy Aken, 18 years old, of Pinetown. He claimed until his dying day that he was innocent. The book also narrates the story of a journalist who interviewed Van Buuren moments before he was hanged, and about unanswered questions that linger after all these years. An English version of the book will be released.