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.