Tag Archives: Archbishop Tutu

Print versus internet news: what is the future of reporting?

Franschhoek Literary Festival 'It's News to Me' panel Whale Cottage PortfolioAt the Franschhoek Literary Festival I attended a one-hour panel discussion on ‘It’s news to me’, with heavy-weight panelists weighted to print media, a well-attended session.   Ironically the complete communication failure in Franschhoek yesterday meant that no one could Tweet or share via any other form of Social Media what the eminent panel had to say about press freedom.

Ray Hartley was the panel chairman, and works in the Times Media Group, having previously been the editor of the Sunday Times.  He resigned from the position, took a sabbatical, and now has a senior position in the Group.  Much of the panel discussion focused on press freedom, ethics, and the depth of research of journalist’s stories, which were felt to be getting thinner on accuracy and content, much of the material of newspapers coming from Twitter and Reuters feeds. Hartley impressed with his humility and good chairing of the panel. He raised a laugh when he welcomed all the attendees who clearly didn’t get into the sold-out session addressed by Archbishop Tutu.   The topic clearly was of interest, with the Franschhoek High School hall being full.

Janet Heard is a journalist wunderkind, her father Tony having been a well-known and highly regarded editor of the Cape Times.  In 2010 she went to Harvard on a prestigious Nieman Journalism fellowship, and said she returned from the USA surprised about how much transformation had taken place in the newsroom at Independent Newspapers in the time that she was away.  She resigned as deputy editor of the Cape Times earlier this year, and has been appointed as parliamentary editor of all the Media 24 titles.  Heard praised South Africa’s media as being robust with good media voices asking Continue reading →

Streetsmart smart move for restaurants and beneficiaries!

StreetSmart Banner Whale Cottage PortfolioI have not been a great fan of the forced R5 addition to one’s restaurant bill without permission in Streetsmart restaurants, but after attending the presentation of monies to support the good community work for street children it is funding, and hearing what a difference the money makes to the less fortunate at a function held at The Salesian Institute on Thursday evening, my perception about Streetsmart has changed completely.

Established in 2005 by tour operator Margi Biggs as a means of helping street children, and now chaired by committee junkie Nils Heckscher (he has been or currently serves on the board of FEDHASA Cape, Cape Town StreetSmart Nils Heckscher Whale Cottage PortfolioTourism, the former Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and Tourism Marketing of South Africa), Streetsmart generated just over R900000 in the past year, and a total of R7 million since its establishment.  R5 is added to the restaurant bill per table, irrespective of the number of patrons seated at the table.  This money is transferred to Streetsmart once a month.  Streetsmart is also collected in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and in India.

Heckscher suffers badly from being in the shadow of his very well-known Continue reading →

Blaauwklippen celebrates 30th anniversary of its popular Blending Competition!

Blaauwklippen Blending Competition Bottle and FrameYesterday Blaauwklippen celebrated the 30th anniversary of its popular Blending Competition, and it was a day filled with celebratory balloons and nostalgic reflections of the heritage of the Blaauwklippen Blending Competition on the 331 year old wine estate in Stellenbosch.  The competition has helped to demystify wine and make it more accessible to wine drinkers.

I have attended the Blaauwklippen Blending Competition (which they refer to as BBC) for a number of years, but had never seen so many guests before, 70 guests seated in the Barouche restaurant, many of whom having links to 1984, the first year of the blending competition.  Blaauwklippen MD and Cellarmaster Rolf Zeitvogel reflected on the world 30 years ago, Apple having launched its Macintosh PC, Archbishop Tutu receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Mrs Margaret Thatcher becoming Prime Minister of the UK, and Nelson Mandela seeing his wife Winnie for the first time in 22 years.  Through a number of speakers, we heard about the history of the blending competition, having been the idea of Angela Continue reading →

Cape Town Tourism downscales its marketing campaign due to funding constraints!

Last week Cape Town Tourism invited its members to attend a Marketing feedback meeting, to share with them what the organisation has done in terms of marketing since it launched its Marketing Strategy with fanfare at its AGM six months ago.  It was also an opportunity for Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold to reconnect with her members, still being on maternity leave, which is due to end next month.

The highlight of the meeting was the re-introduction to Cape Town Tourism of Anton Groenewald, the new Executive Director of Tourism, Events, and Marketing at the City of Cape Town, reporting to Mayoral Committee member for this portfolio Grant Pascoe. While Mr Pascoe has been an ineffective figure head of this department since he took over this portfolio, Mr Groenewald has a good track record of a tough no-nonsense approach to the management of public tourism monies.  He worked for the City of Cape Town ten years ago, and was instrumental in the closing down of the previous Cape Town Tourism, and the creation of the new amalgamated Cape Town Tourism.  Mr Groenewald left the City of Cape Town to take over the management of the Argus Cycle Tour, and thereafter the FNB Big Walk, and was most recently working in the office of the Premier of the Western Cape, giving him a good all-round management and public service experience. He mentioned that the Cape Town Stadium is one of the key assets he will manage for the city, and is the toughest one of all.  Since May 2011 the City has been supporting Cape Town Tourism, when Councillor Pascoe was elected to the Mayoral Committee. Mr Groenewald emphasised that his department is City-focused. His role will be to enhance the co-operation and collaboration between the City and Cape Town Tourism. He will also connect with the tourism industry directly, not explaining in which regard he will do this, but if it is to receive feedback, it would be most welcome. Cape Town Tourism receives the largest chunk of the City’s R426 billion budget, at R42 million per year currently, he said.

Enver Duminy, the acting-CEO in Mrs Helmbold’s absence, shared that the past six months have been tough in terms of budget, and that they had to ‘bite the bullet’, ‘put their money where their mouth is’, and ‘think out of the box’.

Mrs Helmbold provided the background, repeating what members had heard before in that Cape Town now is positioned as the ‘City of Inspiration’, going beyond its ‘Natural Beauty‘ positioning of the past. She reminded us that the new pay-off line for Cape Town is ‘You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town’, which was prominently displayed in the slides and banners on the stage of the beautifully renovated Fugard Theatre.  She acknowledged that the past six months were not easy, due to the funding shortage, but she did not explain the reason for the funding problem, having been very confident at the AGM last year, when the campaign was introduced to the industry. She recapped, stating that the main marketing goal is to increase the demand for Cape Town, not only in terms of tourism, but also its business and education sectors.  She said that Cape Town had ‘nothing to be ashamed of’, and in fact is on a par with or exceeds its competitors.  She mentioned that most of our business comes from the USA, the United Kingdom, and Germany, saying that these countries were all seriously affected by the recession, showing that she is misinformed, given how well Germany is doing, and what great numbers of German tourists have come to our country in this past summer.

The Cape Town Tourism marketing campaign was designed to attract the domestic travellers to take a short break in the city, as well as attract international visitors, offering them a broader economic and business tourism proposition.  The marketing approach is three-pronged:

· Increase demand

· Increase their spend when the tourists have arrived in the city

· Capitalise on the greater number of arrivals in benefiting the tourism industry.

The ‘Inspiration’ communication campaign presents Cape Town as a thriving and vibrant city against a ‘jaw-dropping backdrop’. Mrs Helmbold admitted publicly for the first time that ‘Inspiration’ is not a unique differentiator for Cape Town. The campaign ‘juxtaposes the usual with the unusual’, and is built on ‘stories of our own people’, she said, adding that Cape Town is packaged as ‘an unexpected city wanting to be discovered’. The New7Wonders of Nature and Cape Town winning the 2014 World Design Capital bid, as well as other impressive media accolades and awards, were good for Cape Town, and the past summer was better than expected.  But she added that they had not achieved the advertising budget to ‘spearhead the full campaign’, meaning that they had to re-prioritise, with hard work lying ahead.   Mrs Helmbold took credit for the media coverage for the New7Wonders of Nature and winning the 2014 World Design Capital bid, little of which was generated by Cape Town Tourism!  The organisation has redesigned its website, and achieves 500000 visits, especially from Brazil, she said.

Velma Corcoran has been the Marketing Manager for the past eight months, and she impressed with her professional and charming presentation of the marketing activities of the past six months, and those lying ahead, designed to counter seasonality and to grow tourism demand.  She showed the audience a video entitled ‘An Unexpected Cape Town’, which mixed footage of Cape Town with grainy out-of-focus unattractive stills shots of the city, which was launched to the travel trade and media at ITB in Berlin last month.  It has been put on You Tube, and has had 30000 hits to date.  An Events Calendar was compiled, and 20000 copies printed quarterly, but its print run has not been enough, and will be increased to 50000.  Cape Town Tourism has been involved with the Volvo Ocean Race, Design Indaba, Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the Beer Festival, and the Toffie Pop Festival, mainly having a stand at each event.  At the Design Indaba, for example, they had an interactive stand, with 1000 tiles which visitors had to attach to the wall.  They also hosted YFM during the J&B Met, and 30 international journalists during the Cape Epic, the media interest being greater for this event than for the Argus Cycle Tour and Two Oceans Marathons combined, Mrs Corcoran told the audience.

To counter the perception that Cape Town is expensive, events packages have been put together with Mango and Thompsons, providing an airline ticket, accommodation, and tickets to the event at very affordable prices. At the Cape Town International airport the new campaign message is visible in the Arrivals and Departures sections.  Cape Town Tourism has also just had the campaign erected on the exterior of its offices in Burg Street. The refreshed website has simplified navigation, and the content a website visitor will see is determined by the country from which one is visiting the site.  A Cape Town Tool Kit was also developed, allowing access to an ‘on-line hub of images and itinerary ideas’, which the trade, the media and Cape Town Tourism members can access. A Brand Ambassador campaign, to teach the Cape Town Tourism staff about marketing, has also been launched.

Mrs Corcoran said that they will be going to Indaba next month, sharing space on a new Western Cape Pavilion with thirteen product owners representing expected and unexpected aspects of Cape Town. A Three Cities Alliance has been established with Johannesburg Tourism and Durban Tourism, through which they share with SA Tourism what they have achieved, and to prevent duplication of activities. Mrs Corcoran had to admit that Johannesburg Tourism was not able to fund any planned joint marketing campaigns, and therefore it left Durban and Cape Town to jointly take on an amended National Geographic campaign, and to drop the Discovery campaign, which had been announced at the AGM as the most important marketing activity its Australian marketing consultant Ian Macfarlane had organised. Mr Duminy told me at the meeting that Mr Macfarlane has completed his contract with Cape Town Tourism, while Mrs Corcoran said he is still working with them! His name was not mentioned at all during the presentation! The National Geographic campaign has the potential of exposure in 173 countries in 37 languages, with 20,3 million online unique visits, as at February 2012. National Geographic will work with Cape Town and Durban, ‘the first urban tourism collaboration of its kind in South Africa’, said the Cape Town Tourism media release about the joint campaign, which for Cape Town will feature Boulders’ Beach, Robben Island, District Six, Woodstock, Bo Kaap, Table Mountain, the city’s wine routes, as well as its design, innovation, and inspirational strengths:

· Sending ‘Digital Nomad’ Andrew Evans to Cape Town (he has just arrived) for a two week period, and he will Tweet (@Wheres Andrew) to 14000 followers and blog (receiving 2,8 million unique visitors per month) about his visit.

· A TV crew will document Andrew’s visit

· 60 second ‘vignettes’ will focus on the ‘sounds of the city’, e.g. the Noon Gun, ghoema music, with exposure to 11,4 million viewers in the UK, 3,9 million in Germany, 7,4 million in the Netherlands, and 4 million in Africa.

· Advertorials will go into the National Geographic magazines, with a joint readership of 600000, in the USA, China, India and Australia

· On-line travel guides will gain exposure for 12 months, from July 2012 – May 2013.

· An one-hour documentary about Cape Town and Durban will be featured six times on the National Geographic channel between December 2012 – June 2013.

A domestic campaign ‘Discover why Cape Town warms up in winter’ will run in airline magazines, while ads with members’ special winter offers will run on Five FM, the Sunday Times, in-flight magazines, and on the Cape Town Tourism website.  Four top international Travel Bloggers have been invited to Cape Town, and will address a travel bloggers’ conference in August.

Comparing the Marketing presentation of last week with the promises made at the AGM in October – one should question why the joint venture with the Johannesburg and Durban Tourism bodies for the then planned Discovery and National Geographic campaigns was announced at the AGM before any agreement had been signed, the organisation losing face in the inability of Johannesburg Tourism to participate in what was planned as a R24 million campaign, each city to have contributed R8 million – the planned reduction in the number of Visitor Information Centres, the planned tiered membership program, the City Brand Ambassador campaign (which was to have included Archbishop Tutu and TV and radio presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen), and the Nightsbridge accommodation booking system were not addressed in the Marketing presentation last week.

POSTSCRIPT 1/6: Other than having attended Indaba, no marketing action is visible from Cape Town Tourism over the extremely poor winter period.  The organisation has only Tweeted once about the 8 Nation Under 20 soccer tournament taking place in Cape Town now, seemingly seeing it as a non-event, as do most Capetonians and the city’s news media.  Last night the Twitter account of Cape Town reported on a  dinner at Harbour House in the V&A Waterfront, and a few days before that the husband of Velma Corcoran, the Marketing Manager of Cape Town Tourism, wrote a blogpost for the Cape Town Tourism blog about the Gugulethu Wine Show, which took place last weekend! Cape Town Tourism’s Tweets are identical tot he Tweets by its Communications Manager Skye Grove.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

Charly’s Bakery takes the cake for Mandela’s birthday with Madiba Unity Fan Walk!

Cape Town has a super fun bakery that pulls out all the stops to make a special person’s birthday a special one, the creativity of Charly’s Bakery knowing no bounds.   Strictly speaking, Charly’s Bakery should be called Jacqui’s Bakery, as it is Jacqui Biess who is the energetic and creative powerhouse running Charly’s Bakery with her three daughters Alex, Daniella and Roche. 

In honour of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on Sunday, Jacqui has been infected by the spirit of unity and goodwill amongst South Africans resulting from the World Cup, and is calling on Capetonians to join her, her family, staff and friends in walking the Madiba Unity Fan Walk on Madiba’s special 92nd birthday.  At the end of the Walk, Charly’s Bakery will share a special 4-tiered Golden Wicked chocolate birthday cake with the walkers, serving at least 300, and singing Happy Birthday to Mandela.

Says Jacqui: “South Africans experienced a month of magic. We felt alive, united and inspired. We felt safe. We walked the streets of Cape Town for the first time in years and felt the magic of our city. Our relationship with our country and our people grew to new heights. We fell in love with our country again. This walk is not political, it’s not about blame, it is about keeping the gees and unity of the World Cup alive…opening our hearts and keeping South African unity a reality. Our Tata has shown us what it means to be free and to be able to live without fear of being who you are. He did it for 67 years, we can do it for 67 minutes”.

The planned route starts off at 12h00 on Sunday at St George’s Cathedral, moves along St George’s Mall, and links up with the bridge which crosses over Buitengracht Street, onto the Prestwich Memorial precinct at St Andrews Church (at Truth Coffees).  The Fan Walk will link in with the Ubuntu Festival, which takes place this weekend.  DJ’s and live musicians such as Hot Water, The Gugulethu Tenors, Coda, Sterling EQ, and Mthika will peform along the route. There will be a strong CCID presence in the city.

Charly’s Bakery was started by Jacqui’s husband Karl-Heinz (Charly).  After completing his baking apprenticeship at Cafe Anton in Swakopmund, Charly opened a cake and coffee shop on Thibault Square, and then Charly’s Cafe in the V&A Waterfront, their breakfasts being particularly popular, as were their buffet lunches. The next move was to Roeland Street, where Jacqui and Charly set up a wholesale bakery for two years, before switching to retail sales.  They never advertised, but relied on word-of-mouth from their happy customers to grow their business. They received coverage in magazines regularly, being close to the offices of Associated Magazines, and ad agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather.   It was their willingness “to play” when receiving an interesting challenge for a shoot that made them popular amongst the media.  Jacqui recalled how she was given six hours’ notice from Jane Raphaely of Associated Magazines to do a high tea for Oprah Winfrey at their offices.  She was asked to make a cake for Archbishop Tutu’s 75th birthday, reflecting his life.  They have recently gone onto Twitter, and will be starting a blog soon.

A year ago Charly’s Bakery moved out of their Roeland Street location as the building is earmarked for demolition.  Jacqui looked for a building she could own independently, and was delighted when she could first lease and now buy the current building in Canterbury Street, which was previously the Beinkenstadt Bookshop, and its 1898 heritage connected with her Jewish soul.   She renovated the building, keeping everything she could – the bookshelves were reused, and the pressed lead ceilings were renovated.   The outside of the building took five weeks to paint, and looks like a heavenly pink iced cake.

A Bakers’ supplies store will open in the upstairs floor, stocking icings, coloured dough, ganaches, and cake decorations, to enable working and upmarket moms to bake their own special birthday cakes.   The TV reality programme “Cake Boss” has encouraged a greater focus on baking and decorating, says Jacqui.   Jacqui is working on a book documenting the story of Charly’s Bakery.  

Charly worked himself out of the business three years ago, training his staff and daughters in fundamental cake baking, and this opened the door to Jacqui and her team to pursue creativity, playing with decorations, and having fun, “finding their inner child”.  They have no rules, and push the boat with words and visuals on their personalised cakes and cupcakes.   They use attractive pink and white striped boxes for their cakes, the words “mucking afazing” on them being an indication of their “wicked” humour!   I asked Jacqui whether she would move into food service again, given her previous experience in doing buffets, as she does sell quiches and pies, as well as cakes and coffees, for sit-down guests.   She is focused on her core business, which is cakes, and wants to keep it that way, she says.  

Birthday cakes and cupcakes for parties top the pops at Charly’s Bakery, but wedding cakes also keep them busy, with 5 – 7 orders per weekend in summer.   Charly’s Bakery works with Frances Bell, a classic cake decorator, and they make a good team in using Frances’ classical skills and marrying them with their own funky and fun decorating.  The bakery is open for customers to see, at least the decorating part of it, and the shelves display the cakes awaiting collection.   The World Cup inspired the Charly’s Bakery team to score with their country-theme cupcakes, and the football theme they applied in so many fun and creative ways.  Cakes range in price from R145 – R195, while the Decadent Chocolate Cakes range from R175 – R225.

It is rare that a family team gets on so well to all be involved in the business, and having fun while doing so.  Jacqui Biess is a character, a mensch, no-nonsense, a powerhouse, creative, goal-orientated, and a bit of a rebel, smoking her self-rolled Drum Original tobacco-filled cigarettes.  But most of all she has the “gees”, and she is determined to share it with her fellow Capetonians in honour of the father of our democracy.

Charly’s Bakery, 38 Canterbury Street, Tel 021 461-5181. www.charlysbakery.co.za  Twitter @charlysbakery. Mondays – Saturdays. Closed for winter break 1 – 23 August.

POSTSCRIPT 18/7:  It is estimated that 1 500 Capetonians particpated in the Madiba Unity Fan Walk today, an astounding turnout. Coverage on e-tv, the Weekend Argus, Voice of the Cape, and Cape Talk, as well as Tweets on Twitter helped to create awareness for the event, which was blessed by incredible weather.   The cake (photograph above), baked in honour of Nelson Mandela’s birthday was shared with the walkers.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

Global Forum in Cape Town will be World Cup top goal

Cape Town will not only attract visitors for the World Cup matches, starting on 11 June and stretching until 6 July for the semi-final, and host the rugby test match between the Springboks and the French team on 12 June, but will also see world business and political leaders coming to the city from 26 – 28 June, reports the Sunday Argus.  This can only mean a fantastic marketing boost for the city.

For the first time ever, Time and Fortune magazines will invite the Time 100, Fortune 500 and world leaders to attend a New Global Opportunity conference in Cape Town.   The Time 100 list salutes the 100 most influential people in the world, while the Fortune 500 list salutes the top business persons in the USA.

Writing about the New Global Opportunity conference, Time managing editor Richard Stengel wrote: “Cape Town, known as ‘The Mother City’ to South Africans, is an exquisitely beautiful place that is in many ways a model for the new Africa: diverse, entrepreneurial, forward-looking.  It is one of the hosts of the World Cup … when hundreds of millions of soccer fans will be focused on the planet’s most popular sport.  The ‘rainbow nation’, as Archbishop Tutu calls it,  has pulled out all the stops to be ready for the big event.   I’m looking forward to being in Cape Town for both the Global Forum and the World Cup”.  

Topics to be covered in the conference will be the future of microfinance, business strategies for emerging markets, health and science breakthroughs, etc. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

FIFA Fanfare Friday focus on Cape Town

The world’s eyes will be on Cape Town tomorrow, when the FIFA Final Draw takes place at 19h30 in the Cape Town International Convention Centre.   More than 700 million TV viewers in more than 200 countries are expected to watch the Final Draw, which is hugely important as it determines which of the 32 teams play against each other, and where these matches will take place.

A huge upsurge in ticket sales is expected after tomorrow’s Final Draw, when soccer fans choose which matches they book tickets for and which teams they want to see play.  A new wave of ticket sales starts on Saturday, with low-priced tickets at R 140 still available to South Africans.

More than 5 000 media, FIFA officials, team coaches and VIP’s will attend the Final Draw at the Convention Centre.  Charlize Theron, Oscar actress and originally from South Africa, is one of the presenters, while David Beckham, Pele, Archbishop Tutu, Past President FW de Klerk, Franz Beckenbauer and President Zuma will also be present. 

The Executive Producer for the Final Draw, South African George Mazarakis, says that it would be the best FIFA Final Draw ever.    He said that “the event would showcase not only South Africa’s ability to deliver a successful World Cup, but that it would also celebrate Africa’s humanity, reports the Cape Argus.   “The final draw is more than just a TV show, it’s a celebration of football and Africa” he said.

A stage of 40 meters wide, and 8 meters tall, which took 5 000 hours to build, will be filmed by 18 cameras.   The set was almost predominantly made in Cape Town.  More than 3 000 locals are involved in the production.  Entertainers performing at the Final Draw are the Soweto Gospel Choir, Angelique Kidjo and Johnny Clegg. 

The weather forecast looks favourable for tomorrow, with lovely blue skies, ensuring good scenery shots for Cape Town.   This is Cape Town’s biggest international marketing event ever, only to be capped by the semi-final for the 2010 World Cup in July.

At the mountain end of Long Street a stage will be set up, on which local bands will perform, and large TV screens will broadcast the Final Draw.   More than 15 000 Fan Fest revellers are expected to enjoy the celebration, at which Freshlyground, Jimmy Dludlu, Coda and other musicians will play.

Access into and out of the city tomorrow is expected to be a nightmare, with numerous road closures near the Convention Centre, and around Long Street.   On Sunday evening 100 000 Capetonians came to see the switching on of the Christmas Lights, and this caused traffic anarchy in the city center.  No traffic police were visible on that evening, and pedestrians took over the street lanes, which clogged up all vehicle movement.

The FIFA VIP’s have been entertained this week, with a lunch yesterday on Signal Hill, with a spectacular view onto the new Cape Town Stadium, and a 5-jet formation flyover put on for them.   A dinner party was hosted by Premier Helen Zille in her official residence, and the FIFA executive committee is meeting on Robben Island today.   Journalists will be treated to a media gathering at Maiden’s Cove between Camps Bay and Clifton, and one hopes that the weather gods will switch off the southeaster on that day!

Disappointingly, very little FIFA World Cup branding is visible in the city – a huge banner is visible on the Westin Grand Hotel, at which FIFA President Sepp Blatter is staying with his entourage.  Eight Adidas footballs have been set up near the Caltex garage at the entrance to the Waterfront, and tiny VISA flags are visible in the Waterfront.   The lamp pole banners on Buitengracht Street are boring, and one can barely see the FIFA 2010 World Cup logo on them. 

Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions estimates that 480 000 foreign soccer fans will attend the 2010 World Cup, and will generate R 8,5 billion for South Africa, generating a benefit of R 11,5 billion for the country’s economy.    The consultancy expects 50 % of the tickets to be sold to locals, and the balance to international soccer fans.  About 18 000 journalists are expecetd  next year and 26 million soccer fans will view the World Cup on TV.   The largest number of international tickets have been sold to the USA (360 565), the UK (481 184), Germany (25 060) and Australia (17 848), reports the Cape Argus.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio www.whalecottage.com

Table Mountain climbs to the top!

Table Mountain has made the top list of  the “mountains and volcanoes” list in the New7Wonders of Nature, and as one of the top 77 sites selected from over 261 participants from around the globe, reports News24.

Cape Town’s icon, Table Mountain, beat fellow category contenders Mount Everest, K2 and Mount Fiji in round two of the international competition that relied solely on votes from the public.   It needed to be ranked in the top 11 of its category – mountains and volcanoes – to carry on in the competition.   Other categories include seascapes, lakes, islands, ice formations, waterfalls and forests.

“We are thrilled at the enormous level of support and votes from the citizens of South Africa as well as from fans around the globe,” said Sabine Lehmann, CEO of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company.

A panel of experts will select 28 finalists (four per category) later this month.  A third and final phase of voting will begin. The official New7Wonders of Nature list will be announced in 2011.

Archbishop Tutu, comedian Marc Lottering, radio DJ Natalie Becker and the Proteas cricketers have supported the drive for Table Mountain.

The campaign is run by the New7Wonders Foundation, and works to document monuments and conservation efforts worldwide.

Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

Dalai Lama barring could damage World Cup 2010

The barring of the visit by the Dalai Lama to attend a peace conference in Johannesburg on Friday has caused an international outcry, the South African government being accused of bowing to pressure from China.  

The conference has been postponed, due to the refusal by Nobel Peace Prize winners FW de Klerk and Archbishop Desmond Tutu to attend if the Dalai Lama may not attend.  

The South African government has justified its decision on the fact that it does not want to detract attention from the country for World Cup 2010, but appears to have achieved exactly the opposite as the story has hit the world media.   President Kgalema Motlanthe’s is to have said:” It would not be in the interests of the country to invite the Dalai Lama to South Africa at this stage, because the attention of the whole world is on us as the host of 2010 Fifa World Cup.   The presence of the Dalai Lama here will divert such attention from us to other issues” reported the Cape Times.

The conference has been organised by the Premier Soccer League, as part of the celebrations leading up to the 2010 World Cup.