I have made a decision to stop supporting and attending WineMag events after having been called to a meeting with Christian Eedes, editor of WineMag, and his business partner Jax Lahoud. I was badly disrespected by fellow-writer Eedes, and I will not stand for bullying of any kind. Continue reading →
Thank you to all concerned friends and Blog readers who have contacted me about the defamatory posts on Monday and Tuesday by 2OceansVibe. 2OceansVibe has looked for any opportunity to slate us since I asked the question four years ago as to why its owner Will Mellor should hide his true name, using the alias ‘Seth Rotherham’. Continue reading →
Constantia Nek has been a famous halfway stop and tea room, first operating in 1929. It is by far the oldest restaurant in Cape Town, and its recent transformation into La Parada and Harbour House has rejuvenated Constantia Nek, and has given the building a new lease on life, making it the social centre of Constantia.
Last night I attended a Communal Dinner at Salushi Asian restaurant in Claremont, the first trial dinner to which 20 writers had been invited. They will be held every Wednesday evening, and are called #WolftrapWednesdays, the wine being sponsored by Boekenhoutskloof’ Winery’s The Wolftrap.
Coming from the other side of the mountain, I struggled to find Salushi, which I could not see from Protea Road, being set back. Continue reading →
About ten days ago Orphanage Cocktail Emporium co-owner Katie Friedman introduced me to new eateries Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar and Palma in the next street block on Bree Street, being landlord to both. My experience of Palma on that evening differed vastly from that of our dinner last night.
I had invited my friend Whitney to join me, and we chose an outside table, given how hot it still was when we arrived. It was lighter than on my previous visit, and the ‘less is more’ interior design impressed. General Manager Roberto Carluzzo did not seem to recognise me, or to react to the Facebook posts and the blogpost I had written about the 26 eateries on Bree Street subsequent to my first visit. The doorman did however welcome me back, a nice touch. Mama Palma Carluzzo was in the bar, putting on finishing touches to leaving, and I was disappointed, as we had been told that she is the chef, in charge of Continue reading →
We have become increasingly critical of the SA Blog Awards, the organisation of it having become so bad that we have decided to not enter again unless the organiser JP Naude is not involved anymore. The winners and runner-up list contains largely unknown blogs.
We first entered the SA Blog Awards in 2010, in which year we made the Top 10 ‘Most Controversial Blog‘ shortlist. In that year Will Mellor (better known as his alias Seth Rotherham of no longer vibey 2Oceansvibe) won almost every category (there were many more in those days), even though 2Oceansvibe could never be described as a blog! He was a co-organiser of the Awards the following year, and seems to no longer be involved. We have criticised former Good Hope FM sport presenter JP’s role as organiser and co-ordinator, not being a blogger! JP cannot write to save his life, as this classic paragraph on his website www.jpnaude.com illustrates: ‘During this time JP worked for Mr Tokyo Sexwale and succesfully managed the Bastille Festival as well as the launch of the Nelson Mandela statue at The Drakenstein prison where for president Nelson Mandel (sic) was released from‘!
Every year the announcement of the SA Blog Awards is later and later, and feels like an afterthought, and so too it was this year. Being on their mailing list, we received an e-mail to announce the Awards competition, and requesting one to enter. We were sent the SA Blog Awards voting badge to add to our blog. None of the few e-mails from the SA Blog Awards identified the name of the writer of the e-mails. Continue reading →
From small beginnings, Twitter last week celebrated its 7th anniversary. with 500 million Twitter users sending up to 340 million Tweets daily, described as the ‘SMS of the internet’, according to Wikipedia! Many on Twitter will say they are hooked, even worse addicted, but for many the dark side of Twitter may soon outweigh its benefits.
Twitter users love the social medium for the following:
* its information role – faster than any conventional broadcast medium, Twitter users are well informed about world events almost as they happen, can listen to a courtroom bail application judgement real time, obtain weather updates, read the world’s newspapers and magazines digitally, and update themselves about anything and everything.
* its friendship role – many new friendships have been made via Twitter, with Tweeters with similar interests meeting and connecting, and becoming real time friends.
* its profiling role – should one wish to build a profile of a person as a potential employee or employer, friend, competitor, or business partner, one can read their Twitter stream to check how well they can communicate, how well they can spell, how courteous (or not) they are in their communication.
* its experience-sharing role, in sharing restaurant experiences (a great irritation for other Twitter users, research shows), recipes for cooking and baking, evaluation of wines drunk, and general tourism experiences.
* its micro-messaging role, in users productively reducing their communication to 140 characters and still communicating coherently.
* it has moved communication into the visual realm, allowing one’s Followers to share great restaurant meals, beautiful sunsets, great sporting achievements, and life in general via one’s photographs, allowing them to be there digitally.
* it is an immediate brand feedback platform, highlighting the positive and negative attributes of every brand around the world, given the immediacy of sharing information.
* it leads to dialogue and conversation, often generating funny and interesting points of view, such as during the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
The dark side of Twitter has overtaken its benefits for many Tweeters:
* Less original material is Tweeted, and more Tweets by others are re-Tweeted, especially first thing in the morning.
* The flood of Tweets is never-ending on weekdays, slowing down vastly on weekends and in the evenings, showing how much Tweeting is done from the office. Finding it difficult to reduce the number of Followers, Tweeters are unable to read all the Tweets in their timeline, and feel that they are missing out because they cannot read all the Tweets.
* Twitter’s policy of allowing freedom of speech, without action to remove Tweets that are abusive, that harass, are defamatory, and spread untruths, is its biggest weakness, and while one can block unpleasant Tweeters, and even report them for Spam, Twitter never acts against them as Facebook would do, in closing their account down after one warning. Slowly but surely Social Media is receiving attention from Twitter cyberbullying victims and their lawyers, for Tweeters not respecting libel laws for excessive defamation. Even re-Tweeting defamatory Tweets makes one liable for libel. Ignorant Tweeters who abuse others, and have their employers’ names in their Twitter Bio, are learning that they and their employers can be sued for libel, and can claim damages from both parties.
* Even worse is the ganging up by a small number of Tweeters, who not only target Twitter victims, but also badger, bash, and bully their friends and those that they interact with on Twitter at every turn. Because they don’t like a Tweeter, all the friends and followers of that Tweeter are disliked as well, and ridiculed, bullied, harassed, and even stalked by Tweeters such as Sonia Cabano, an old hand at Twitter abuse and at setting up anonymous accounts to disparage others (e.g. @TableMountain_); as well as Twitch Marthèlize Tredoux, who Tweets as @Konfytbekkie, and is regarded as one of the most abusive Tweeters at the moment, ‘out-performing’ Cabano in terms of venom and persistence. One wonders how Tredoux does her job at Siyavula, Tweeting ad nauseum! These two Tweeters are assisted with behind-the-scenes input from Skye Grove at Cape Town Tourism, recipe blogger Jane-Anne Hobbs, and supermarket wine promoter Michael Olivier, known to do anything in their power to disparage ourselves. Twitter has become their ‘school ground’ bullying domain, weaklings hiding behind anonymous accounts to disparage and destroy others. Ironically, every time an abusive Tweet is sent, it pushes up the readership numbers of our blog, which is hardly what the Tweeters would want to achieve!
Twitter users seem ignorant about the legal implications of their defamatory Tweets, often shooting off Tweets without evaluating the content for defamation, and re-Tweeting libelous Tweets, making them guilty of libel too. Recently Webber Wentzel Social Media lawyer Emma Sadleir warned that abusive Tweeters could land up behind bars if they ‘put up racist or offensive posts’, opening themselves up to charges of crimen injuria or facing charges under the Equality Act, reported Times LIVE. Sadleir has encouraged cyberbully victims to report such defamation at a police station and lay a charge of crimen injuria. A recent new ‘Protection against Harassment Act’ allows online victims to obtain a ‘protection order against their perpetrators‘. The South African Press Council has also announced that its press code will be expanded to include online media, allowing for the same standards of ethical and professional communication to apply to all media platforms.
Well-known constitutional lawyer Pierre de Vos summarised the worst aspects of Twitter on his ‘Constitutionally Speaking’ blog, in that it (with Facebook) seems ‘to bring out the worst in people. Otherwise reasonably decent people who might well carefully weigh their words can become raving hatemongers and irresponsible tattletales on these platforms’. Analysing the differences in defamation between printed media and Social Media, Professor de Vos came to the conclusion that defamation is defamation, when it leads to the ‘lowering of your reputation’, which is unlawful, with the exception of substantiated truthful reporting which is in the public interest. Yet Professor de Vos comes to an interesting conclusion, writing that legal action against defamation on Social Media may in fact attract more attention to the matter, and that one should hold one’s head high, and allow one’s reputation on other Social Media platforms and one’s blog to speak for oneself. He concludes: ‘When somebody says something defamatory about me I usually laugh and instinctively feel pity for the person who is so damaged that he or she has to resort to insults to make him or herself feel better about themselves’ (our underlining).
2oceansvibe owner Will Mellor (he lives his life under the pseudonym ‘Seth Rotherham‘) has produced an etv Tech Report about defamation prevention, ironic in that his blog was subject to a charge of defamation and dishonest reporting about the zoning of the property which is rented by our Whale Cottage Camps Bay. We question his honesty and ethics, and that of his company. Earlier this week the City of Cape Town confirmed the zoning of the property, and found that there is ‘no land use contravention in terms of the conditions of approval‘, which was granted to the property in 1999! This counters the unsubstantiated 2oceansvibe allegation that the property was incorrectly zoned by the City of Cape Town, and their libelous allegation that the Trust that owns the building may have ‘defrauded’ the City of Cape Town in terms of rates and taxes! We expect Mellor and his unethical self-proclaimed ‘journalist’ Simon Hartley to remove the libelous post, which was based on unsubstantiated information, and to offer us an apology. We expect an apology too from Len Steenkamp from the University of Stellenbosch, Ben Wagner and Amanda Sevasti from Native digital agency, Marthèlize Tredoux, Cape Point Trails, Sonia Cabano, Rob Armstrong from Haut Espoir, and Lisa Strachan for alleging impropriety via Tweets or Re-Tweets. See Mellor in drag, for a good laugh, preaching about Social Media defamation prevention!
One hopes that the nasty Tweeters will realise that incessant abusive Tweeting is boring for one’s Followers, leading them to be unfollowed, and reflects their own personal issues, according to Professor de Vos. Twitter has become an open ‘skinner (gossip) space’, in which many have no manners in talking negatively about others publicly, knowing full well that the Tweets can be read by the person(s) they are Tweeting about. Twitter could be such a pleasant space for all if there were not regular Twars spoiling the communication value of the medium for so many! In Twitter’s next seven years it is likely that legal controls about what is written will get tighter, in that action will be taken against Twitter abuse, harassment, and defamation.
POSTSCRIPT 3/4: Sonia Cabano closed down her personal Twitter account on Thursday evening.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
The Sweet Service Award goes to Pearl Culture in Canal Walk, and its shop assistant Hanile Hugo, for whom nothing was too much trouble in restringing a bracelet in 20 minutes, so that I did not have to return to Canal Walk a few days later to fetch it again. A pearl bracelet which I bought in their sale was lengthened by Hanile while I waited too, without a charge for the added pearls. It is sad news that the retail outlet will close down later this year, as it has been a reliable source of pearls, and their restringing service is one of few available by jewellers in Cape Town. She was friendly and a pleasure to deal with.
The Sour Service Award goes to ‘digitally-led full-service marketing agency‘ NATIVE (who in South Africa would choose such an inappropriate company name?), and its Cape Head Ben Wagner. Wagner wanted to get hold of a guest of ours, and called us to speak to him. I explained that we do not have telephones in the rooms, as all guests have cellphones, that all calls are diverted to my cellphone, and that I had left the guest house for the day. I asked him to contact his friend directly on his German cellphone number as I would only see the guest the next morning – surprisingly he did not have his friend’s number, and neither did I. Wagner was enraged that he could not get the message to his friend immediately, and was rude and demanding on the phone. His reaction was beyond the norm for an annoyed person, and he unleashed a Twitter tantrum, with extreme abuse to ourselves! We had to ask our security company for extra protection of our guest house in Camps Bay, as he tried to gain access to our property. One wonders how abusive he could become if he were to be annoyed by his clients, including Distell, Foschini, Pernod Ricard, and Pick ‘n Pay, judging by his abusive behaviour towards ourselves. Wagner’s Twitter Bio states that his Tweets express his own opinions, yet it has the link to the NATIVE website!
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.
Having been on the receiving end of a deceiving, defamatory, and dishonest attempt to extract information about my guest houses from 2oceansvibe ‘Chief Whip’ Simon Hartley, we were interested to read about the dishonest past of 2oceansvibe founder ‘Seth Rotherham’ in the March issue of Playboy!
The article highlights the following about 2oceansvibe and its owner:
* Its slogan of ‘Work is a sideline, live the holiday‘, implying that the owner sits on the beach or at Café Caprice in Camps Bay all the time is obviously not truthful, and interestingly does not reflect the content of his website. Through the slogan he has created a profile of himself as a wealthy person who has hooked in some brand ‘partners’ at great expense to feed his extravagant lifestyle. Those who have met ‘Seth’ know that he works hard, writing for his website, and being involved in his Radio and TV stations 2OV. He has also run a luxury villa rental business (DG Rentals with the Dogon Group), but appears to have fallen out with its owner.
* A sensitive issue appears to be the use of the pseudonym ‘Seth Rotherham’, instead of his real name Will Mellor. When we sent an sms to ask him why he hides behind a false name, he referred us to Playboy, as he had been asked the same question by them. His weak reply was that he needed a clean name for the property rental business (but which he has not operated in the past 4 years), therefore using his real name for that business, and he created ‘Seth Rotherham’ for his 2oceansvibe website, as his ‘risqué party-times might not sit well with my daytime clients’.
* The article shares how dishonest he was whilst working as a Butlers pizza delivery boy, cheating the system so that he got the largest orders, guaranteeing him the largest tips, at the expense of his colleagues, and which led to him being fired!
* He explains in the magazine that he rarely takes calls (one a week, he says), wanting to be contacted on his terms, which is only via e-mail or sms, as we discovered last week, when I tried to contact him about Hartley’s information request. He explains that he is ‘actually quite shy. I need to be in my comfort zone and I don’t like surprises. I feel bad if I don’t remember people’ names. So, everything I do daily is managed digitally’. Having Will’s cell number, I attempted to call him, but I should have known that he never answers his phone. I sent an sms, and he (cowardly) wrote that he could not take the call as he was in a bad reception area (a predictable cop out), but surprisingly he was able to send sms’s perfectly, and almost immediately!
* His radio station 2OV, with Darren Scott’s Ballz, was embarrassed last year when IT expert Shaun Dewberry discovered that their radio listenership data was highly suspect and overstated. NetDynamix, the company hired by both radio stations to supply listener data, said the botch up was a miscommunication on its part and that the figures supplied to the radio stations referred to the number of times people had logged on to the station instead of the actual number of listeners. One wonders how someone as IT astute as Mellor would not have known instinctively that the numbers were inflated, and that he was misleading his brand ‘partners’ (including Pierre Jourdan – it was Boschendal until recently, Vespa, MINI, Mail & Guardian – just the other day it was still News24 – Block & Chisel, Puma, Jack Black, Vida e Caffè, The Westcliff, The Mount Nelson, De Grendel) in terms of claimed listenership! Will tells Playboy: ‘Darren and us (and indeed the public) were all duped by the same incorrect data’ – come on Will, you were paying the company to generate the data!
* The article claims that Mellor is karmic, and that he fired a staff member after four days of being employed, in not fitting the karma of his business, which led to Mellor being called to face a CCMA hearing, which he described as ‘not cool”!
2Oceansvibe has been a benchmark for bloggers, having been created long before most bloggers had even heard the B-word. Many envied ‘Seth Rotherham’ for his advertised lifestyle arrogantly communicated via its pay-off line. As a new blogger I had held Mellor in high esteem, especially after meeting him at a bloggers’ function. He generously organised a pair of Rayban sunglasses from his client Sunglass Hut when our hug led to my sunglasses being crushed.
However, I saw a different side to him and his business last week, when he allowed his website to post a story devoid of all journalistic ethics. On Friday afternoon we received a call from Hartley, mumbling indistinctly about a story he was ‘researching‘ relating to the SA Butler Academy, and requesting a radio interview. I told him that we were frantic, having had a large number of check-outs, and new check-ins expected for the afternoon. I requested more time, explained how busy I was, and asked Simon to e-mail the questions. He set a deadline for 3 pm, and would not budge. The two questions were not related to our SA Butler Academy blogpost at all (which it is evident that he never read, so much for balance!), and when I asked him to explain what the relevance of the questions was to the SA Butler Academy he brushed the question aside. He did not even send the link of the City of Cape Town’s property valuation roll, the crux of his story, and request an explanation. It is clear now that he was in a rush to leave Cape Town to get to Hermanus for the weekend, according to his Tweets. He did offer an opportunity to opt out if I did not want to respond, saying that ‘you will be credited as being unavailable for comment’, but that would have been dishonest, so I did not accept that option! I had sought advice from two communications specialists, and both encouraged me to do the interview initially. In the last minute however one of them sent an urgent sms: ‘Don’t agree to the interview. The chap is apparently not above board’. Seeing the story that Hartley wrote, the advice was spot on, as Hartley had not written about the SA Butler Academy at all, and had tried to dishonestly mislead me, not revealing the real topic of his story.
It made me wonder why 2Oceansvibe would have wanted to publish a non-story, with such a weak headline as ‘Outspoken Guest House owner Knee-Deep in Controversy‘! Short of traffic they are not, with ‘350000 unique readers and nearly a million page views in the past month‘, Mellor smsd proudly, and he was clearly annoyed and sounded almost threatening when I decided to turn the tables, and asked him a few questions, just as Hartley had done to ourselves: ‘Chris I think I need to make something very clear to you because it seems you might be going down a bad path here’. Quoting his readership and page views, he continued: ‘I say that to make clear the fact that it is no longer a blog, it’s a news outlet with 10 permanent editorial staff. Simon is the editor overseeing all of that. This is his job. I can only interfere to a certain point’. He continued, now clearly fired up and concerned about this blogpost: ‘Regarding standards, I expect my staff to be thorough and truthful and to give subjects an opportunity to respond. I also insist they include comment post-publication, if the subject was initially unable to respond. Again I must stress that I can only interfere with Simon’s work to a certain extent. He is a highly ethical person and known for his integrity. Chris I assure you that I am giving every effort to ensure this doesn’t come out as bad as it could, and will keep doing so’ (our underlining). Now please Mr Mellor, don’t think that we will buy that – you ARE brand 2Oceansvibe! You have been lied to by your editor, and the PR industry does not agree with your faith in Hartley either. ‘Response’ is not answering two questions unrelated to the false and misleading topic Hartley spoke about, meaning that Mellor’s instructions are not being followed by his staff! On the top right of the website ‘Seth Rotherham’ is introduced as ‘Editor in Chief’, with no mention of Hartley!
A long sms from Mellor highlighted that ‘I insisted he (Hartley) gets your side of the story before publishing’. This did not happen, as Hartley unprofessionally denied us the opportunity to be told the real topic of his story, or even be given an opportunity to see the full story before it was posted. A follow-up sms from us, to express the disappointment with Hartley’s unprofessional conduct, received Mellor’s reply: ‘I don’t have browsing internet access where I am – data very slow. Simon smsd to say he tried to get comment from you and were able to reply more than once but refused to‘, which is devoid of all truth! Clearly Hartley was desperate to get the story posted, and used Mellor’s absence to post it without any ‘journalistic’ integrity!
Our blog being highlighted as being controversial is not newsworthy, and we carry the badge from the SA Blog Awards, having been nominated as ‘Top 10 Most Controversial Blog’ in 2010 (the category has been discontinued since then), a category that was won by 2oceansvibe in that year, even though it wasn’t controversial, it never was a blog, and Mellor was a judge for the Awards too, showing how poor his ethics are, his sms claim of no longer being a blog being noted – it never was! In fact, his website is nothing more than a rehash of other writers’ work, with little original writing! He is not universally liked, seen by many to be arrogant and a ‘cheat’: here, here, here, here.
In one of Mellor’s sms messages he wrote that he has opened his own Twitter account (@SethRotherham): ‘I even had to get my own twitter handle as I can no longer use 2oceansvibe twitter for personal use‘
That brings us to Hartley, someone I have never met. Asking what his agenda was with the story, he replied that ‘I was following a journalistic lead’, and that we had not met previously. However via Twitter (great research medium which Hartley likes to use too for his so-called ‘research’) we discovered that he had been alerted to the story by Twitch Marthèlize Tredoux, a good friend of Hartley’s wife Lize, and a continual abusive Tweeter (as @konfytbekkie) about ourselves (she and I have never met, but she does love our Blog and Tweets, obsessively reading them and writing about them ad nauseam)! Unsurprisingly, Hartley’s defamatory call via Twitter for information for his ‘research’ was eagerly replied to by Skye Grove, PR and Communications Manager of Cape Town Tourism!
Asking Hartley why he did not send me a copy of his story before posting it, so that I could give him a detailed response, he arrogantly replied: “There is no onus on 2oceansvibe, or any other publication (sic) to send the subject of their investigations an entire article before it is published. On which journalistic handbook do you base this expectation? The onus on the publication is to strive for a balance of views, which we did in earnest by calling, texting and emailing you. Despite your ability to answer multiple emails, you did not comment on two short questions. Quite frankly, I did answer your questions as to how my questions for you were related to your dispute with SABA. I informed you that dozens of readers alerted us to the dispute you had/have with SABA, and while reading all of the available correspondence, an important lead appeared (you’ll see the screenshot in our post) – a lead that required its own investigation. So, as I answered at the time: the questions to you arose over the course of our reading through your dispute with SABA. I completely reject any assertions that I or 2oceansvibe Media acted dishonestly at any point in the investigation or publishing of the article, and should you be able to demonstrate any error in our reporting (we are confident there is none), we will gladly publish an amendment”.
We have highlighted the dishonesty of his misleading approach, and his unprofessional unwillingness to reveal what the story was really about. There was no balance sought, as claimed, as Hartley did not even verify which aspects of the SA Butler Academy blogpost were indeed honest and truthful (we did not terminate the services of Mrs Novacovic, for example, as he claimed, both our blogpost and that of the SA Butler Academy stating that, reflecting his poor research capability!). He spent three hours looking for information, yet gave us an unfairly short lead time to respond. He Tweeted libellously during his research, as he did on Tuesday too, proving how unprofessional he is: ‘Currently standing behind J Arthur Brown in the line for Cirque du Soleil. He’s looking terrifically rested for a criminal’.
‘Infamous’ 2oceansvibe (Hartley’s description) has a chequered past as far as honesty goes, and it makes one wonder how honest and balanced any writing on the website is! Clearly ethics and honesty are not part of the 2oceansvibe karma and vibe!
POSTSCRIPT 8/3: A blog reader asked about the tax liability of Mellor receiving the use of the MINI and the Vespa for free. We sent him a text message: ‘Hi Will, one of my readers has asked if you pay tax on the use of the MINI and the Vespa? What value is placed on each of these two vehicles?’ It was sent at 20h36 last night, and given no reply, again at 9h56 this morning. There has been no response from Mellor!
POSTSCRIPT 20/3: We have sent a lawyer’s letter to 2oceansvibe about their blogpost, which contained numerous untruths and is defamatory. Will Mellor has reacted in anger, and launched another attack. The two (unanswered!) sms messages (the second one was a repeat of the first because of non-reply!) we sent him about his own affairs (the value of and tax paid on his MINI and Vespa) he labels as ‘harrassment’, rich coming from someone who does not allow one to call, and who deals with communication with humans via sms or e-mail, on his terms. This is what we wrote: “Hi Will, one of my readers has asked if you pay tax on the use of the MINI and the Vespa? What value is placed on each of these two vehicles?”. So much for ‘harassment’!
POSTSCRIPT 20/3: 2oceansvibe has added a further article to their website, an angry reaction by Will Mellor to our request to the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) to take down the defamatory and dishonest 2oceansvibe article. Their response ridicules the Take Down notice they received, as well as the ISPA Code of Conduct, especially the clauses relating to “Lawful Conduct’.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
One of the best accolades for Cape Town is the news that ‘Searching for Sugar Man‘ is one of five films nominated for the Academy Awards in the Documentary Feature category, and that ‘Asad‘ has been nominated for Short Film (Live Action).
‘Searching for Sugar Man’ tells the story of Capetonian Sugar Segerman’s search for Seventies American rock star Rodriguez, who was more popular in South Africa than in any other country, and who ‘disappeared’. Through an internet appeal, Segerman found Rodriguez and brought him back to South Africa for a series of concerts in the Nineties. Swedish film producer Malik Bendjelloul heard about the Rodriguez story from Segerman, and made a documentary, which won acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival when it was launched last year. Not only has the documentary been nominated for an Oscar, but it also has been named Best Documentary Feature in the Critics Choice Awards, according to 2Oceansvibe. The bulk of the film is shot in Cape Town, and shows off our City’s icons such as Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Camps Bay beach, and the scenic Victoria Road between Camps Bay and Hout Bay, with the Twelve Apostles as a backdrop. Segerman’s record shop Mabu Vinyls off Kloof Street is also featured. We are surprised by the word for word copying without acknowledgement to the source in the media statement by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, about the role Cape Town plays in the documentary, from our first blogpost about the documentary. Cape Town Tourism ignored the local release of the documentary on the cinema circuit four months ago, despite its focus on Cape Town, proving how out of touch it is with news about our city! One can safely speculate that Mrs Helmbold and her PR and Communications Manager Skye Grove have not seen the film!
‘Asad’ was produced by Capetonian producer Rafiq Samsodien, states the media release from Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism, and tells the tale of a boy who struggles to survive in war-torn Somalia. The film was shot in Paternoster, and used Cape Town residents. The film has already won acclaim at the Austin Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Rhode island Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival.
Just being included on the Academy Awards nominations list will boost cinema viewership of the two films, and therefore will promote brands Cape Town and Western Cape in the next two months. It will also boost the Western Cape as a film destination, offering the services of producers, animators, directors, screenwriters, actors and cinematographers, said Minister Winde.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage