Tag Archives: Rodriguez

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 17 July

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  The 6% decline in international Tourist arrivals in the first quarter of this year is the biggest since our country became a democracy 21 years ago, writes the Financial Times. Ebola is partly to blame, but the new visa rules are the main reason, requiring personal biometric evaluation in India, China, and Russia, and unabridged birth Continue reading →

South Africa wins and loses an Oscar in one week! Will it affect Tourism?

It is ironic that the Valentine’s Day shooting of model Reeva Steenkamp by her boyfriend and Olympic and Paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius should have happened so close to the Academy Awards’ Oscar presentations, for which M-Net had contracted Pistorius as its Oscar presentation broadcast marketing icon. Thankfully, South Africa received fame at the Oscars, for the Documentary ‘Searching for Sugar Man’, which was largely filmed in Cape Town, and tells the story of Capetonian Sugar Segerman’s search for forgotten American singer Rodriguez, being wonderful free marketing for our city to all who have seen the movie.  The question that the Pistorius case raises is what damage it is doing to tourism to South Africa generally, and to Cape Town specifically, with the Oscar Pistorius story making world headlines, in such leading publications as Bunte and TIME.

Bunte is one of Germany’s largest cirulation magazines, with a readership of 4 million, and featured the Pistorius story on the front cover of the 21 February issue. The front cover caption murder due to jealousy’ links to the article in the magazine, which names TV series ‘Tropika Island of Treasure’ co-star and singer Mario Oglo as the main focus of Pistorius’ jealousy.  It quotes extensively from the City Press reporting, which subsequently was found to be sensationalist and inaccurate, relating the (inaccurate) cricket bat attack on the victim. The magazine sensationally claims that the couple were the Beckhams of South Africa’, and that hardly a society event was not attended by the glamour couple – yet the couple had only been dating for three months, and were first seen at an event in November last year.  Crime statistics are quoted as 17000 break-ins per year, implying that wealthy South Africans have to barricade themselves in security villages like Silver Woods in Pretoria, in which Pistorius lived.  Pistorius’ Olympics performance is highlighted, and one senses that the magazine cannot come to terms with the sporting hero and the tragic occurrence on the fatal Valentine’s Day.  Parallels are drawn to the OJ Simpson case, and the defence team is likened to a marketing campaign‘.  Overall, the German Bunte reader should be unlikely to cancel his or her plans to come on holiday to the Cape, a relief as Germany appears to be the largest source of tourism to the Cape in this summer season. Fortunately not one of our German guests have spontaneously raised the issue with us  in the past two weeks.

TIME has the world’s largest weekly magazine circulation, with 25 million readers, of which 20 million live in the USA, according to Wikipedia.  Its latest issue tells the story of Pistorius’ rise to sporting fame, and his fall since Valentine’s Day, not too dissimilar to any other reporting of the tragic events.  What is damaging however is that four paragraphs of the article are dedicated to Cape Town (and the Western Cape), its tourism appeal sounding positive, but in the context of the tragic event it is severely damaging to our city:

And from New Year’s Day to Jan. 7 she posted regularly from a vacation she was taking in and around the city where she was born, Cape Town, with a few friends and the man she called “my boo,” who on Twitter goes by @OscarPistorius. On Jan. 3 she posted a picture of the sunrise taken from the balcony of the $680-a-night presidential suite at a spa hotel in Hermanus, 90 minutes southeast of Cape Town. Later that day she tweeted, “The chauffeurs in Cape Town hey. Nice!” and attached a picture of Pistorius driving an Aston Martin. On Jan. 4, name-checking Pistorius, her best friend, a private banker and a luxury-car importer who was sourcing a McLaren sports car for Pistorius, she tweeted about a lunch the five were sharing at Cape Town’s newest hip hangout. “Shimmy Beach Club!” she wrote. “Tooooo much food!!! Amazing holiday :)”‘

This is followed by Cape Town’s ‘dark side’, and this is when the article becomes really damaging for Cape Town:

To understand pistorius (sic) and Steenkamp, to understand South Africa, it helps to know the place where the couple chose to spend their holiday. Cape Town has arguably the most beautiful geographical feature of any city in the world: Table Mountain, a kilometer-high, almost perfectly flat block of 300 million-year-old sandstone and granite that changes from gray to blue to black in the golden light that bathes the bottom of the world. From Table Mountain, the city radiates out in easy scatterings across the olive, woody slopes as they plunge into the sea. Its central neighborhoods are a sybarite’s paradise of open-fronted cafés and pioneering gastronomy, forest walks and vineyards. Commuters strap surfboards to their cars to catch a wave on the way home. The business of the place is media: fashion magazines, art studios, p.r., advertising, movies and TV. Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy just wrapped the new Mad Max movie. Action-movie director Michael Bay is shooting Black Sails, a TV prequel to Treasure Island.

But while Cape Town’s center accounts for half its footprint, it is home to only a fraction of its population. About 2 million of Cape Town’s 3.5 million people live to the east in tin and wood shacks and social housing built on the collection of estuary dunes and baking sand flats called the Cape Flats. Most of those Capetonians are black. Class in Cape Town is demarcated by altitude: the farther you are from the mountain, the lower, poorer and blacker you are. Cape Town’s beautiful, affluent center is merely the salubrious end of the wide spectrum that describes South Africa’s culture and its defining national trait: aside from the Seychelles, the Comoros Islands and Namibia, South Africa is the most inequitable country on earth.

This stark gradation helps explain South Africa’s raging violent crime (and why, contrary to legend, Cape Town actually has a higher murder rate than Johannesburg)’.

The balance of the five page article is focused on our country’s ‘violent crime‘, and traces this back to the Battle of Blood River, the Boers building a laager to protect themselves against the Zulus. Similarly whites live in security estates, in modern day laagers, the article relates.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Rainbow Nation barely exists, despite our country being the benchmark for ‘racial reconciliation’, and ultimately still ‘South Africans live apart’, the article concludes.  What makes for fascinating reading is the close to 1000 comments to the article, which is attacked by many loyal South Africans for factual inaccuracy, and supported by a handful of what could be ex-South Africans. Very few international readers appear to have commented.

Gratifying to find is the link by HuffPost Lifestyle UK, which evaluates the media frenzy relating to the Oscar Pistorius bail hearing, introducing the article as follows:‘…could be forgiven for thinking that South Africa is the new Wild West, full of gun-toting, trigger-happy outlaws’.  Its writer Amanda Willard defends our country, having visited ten times already, puts crime into context, shares that tourism is growing, and recommends that tourists continue visiting South Africa:So don’t be put off travelling to this incredible destination and don’t be fooled by the media reports. The bark of the newshound is worse than its bite‘.

SA Tourism, Wesgro, and Cape Town Tourism have a challenging task in communicating that what was a crime involving a couple in a private home is not a reflection of crime in South Africa.  It also needs to highlight that tourists visiting South Africa generally, and Cape Town specifically, will be safe.  The problem is that neither Cape Town Tourism nor Wesgro are doing any marketing at all, let alone damage control to address this tragedy which has keen international interest, a saga that will be guaranteed to fill news headlines for months to come!  Mary Tebje, Cape Town Tourism’s communications representative in the UK, has written to Southern African Tourism Update, calling for an objective and honest response to South Africa’s new status as a gun-toting country, which may reinforce what many potential tourists to our country are already thinking, and will deter them even more from coming on holiday.  Our current tourists will be our best spokespersons, in relating that their holidays were safe and most enjoyable!

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

Cape Town wins Best Documentary Feature Oscar for ‘Searching for Sugar Man’!

Cape Town’s tourism players are ecstatic about ‘Searching for Sugar Man’, the documentary filmed largely in Cape Town and documenting the search for ‘Seventies singer Sixto Rodriguez, winning the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards in the early hours of this morning.  This is the Oscar association with South Africa our country would far rather be known for and proud of!

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.

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.

Not only has ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ won the film industry’s highest award, but it has also won the BAFTA for Best Documentary, and won the Special Jury Prize and Audience Award for best international documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, reports The Times.

‘Searching for Sugar Man’ tells the story of the revival of Sixto Rodriguez as a performer, having just completed his latest South African tour, whilst showing off our beautiful city to audiences around the world, especially after the latest Oscar accolade.

POSTSCRIPT: 25/2: Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Alan Winde proudly sent out a media statement congratulating ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ in winning the Oscar, and to ‘Asad’, having been nominated for Best Short Film (Live Action) : “Congratulations to the teams behind ‘Asad’ and ‘Searching for Sugarman’, you have done us very proud. Both films showcase the natural beauty of the Western Cape and will undoubtedly encourage international and local viewers to come and visit our Province. The film sector is a priority sector in the Western Cape’s economy. It generates R5 billion and creates an estimated 6,058 direct jobs and 2,502 indirect jobs. In the year ahead we will ramp up the support the sector receives. Last year, we announced that Wesgro, our Destination Marketing, Investment and Trade Promotion Agency, will now take up the role of promoting Cape Town and the Western Cape as a film destination.” Minister Winde continued.

In improving the support for the Western Cape’s film sector, for the 2013/2014 financial year, Wesgro’s efforts in marketing of Cape Town and the Western Cape as a film destination will include:

• Together with the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, facilitating access to national film rebates.
• Supporting commercial orientation of existing film makers.
• Exploring potential of developing local content film making.
• Developing local film audiences.
• Trade and investment missions in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry.
• Development of a film market within the provincial film festivals.
• Focused engagement with Cape Town Film Studios for investment purposes in the long film and TV productions.
• Hosting regular engagements with industry on key issues for the Western Cape in collaboration with the City of Cape Town, the Media, Information and Communications Technology SETA (MICT SETA), the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Minister Winde concluded: “Oscar Winner ‘Searching for Sugarman’ not only depicts the natural beauty of our City, it also tells the story of who we are as a people. The spirit with which South Africans have embraced Rodriguez was also shared with the foreign travellers who visited us during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We are a friendly, warm and welcoming nation. Our people are undoubtedly our biggest asset.”

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

Cape Town set to rock, juggle, and laugh this year!

An exciting line up of shows is planned for Cape Town in the next few days and months, according to the Weekend Argus, and could be good for the City’s tourism coffers, as we experienced with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers last week, visitors having flown in from Johannesburg and other parts of the country to attend the concert.

On the programme for this year to date are the following shows:

*   Rodriguez performs at another two concerts this week, at Grand West (‘Search fro Sugar Man’ awarded a BAFTA for Best Documentary last night)

*   Cirque du Soleil‘s new show ‘Dralion’ will run over five days at Grand West from 5 March.

*   Internationally acclaimed Chinese pianist Tian Jiang is doing a charity performance at the Franschhoek Dutch Reformed Church on 29 March for La Residence Hotel and Villas, in aid of Lelieblom House for Children and the Stuart Andrew McFarlane Foundation for Motor Neuron Disease. Tickets cost R325, and include canapés and bubbly. Tel (021) 876-4100 (Chantell)

*   Metallica performs at the Cape Town Stadium on 24 April

*   Bon Jovi plays at Cape Town Stadium on 7 May

*   The Justin Bieber show at Cape Town Stadium on 8 May is already sold out.

*   John Cleese will do stand-up comedy in June, at a venue to be advised.

Big Concerts has not confirmed speculation that Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, and Mumford & Sons will be performing in Cape Town later this year.  Big Concerts pushes Cape Town as a concert destination, said its CEO John Langford: ‘Cape Town is a great destination for live entertainment of all forms, and we are certain that it will continue to play a major role in all future international tours‘.

Given the huge tourist attraction concerts generate for Cape Town, Big Concerts in conjunction with Cape Town Tourism should consider ticket/accommodation/restaurant packages for big acts performing in our city.

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

Cape Town sweetens Oscar awards list!

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

‘Searching for Sugar Man’ movie about Rodriguez boost for Cape Town tourism!

‘Searching for Sugar Man’ is a recently released documentary about the 1970’s American singer Sixto ‘Jesus’ Rodriguez, who sold more records in South Africa than did the Rolling Stones at that time.  It tells the story of the search by two South Africans and their chance find of Rodriguez, against the backdrop of beautiful (if very ‘Seventies) filming of Cape Town’s icons, including Table Mountain, Camps Bay, Lion’s Head, the city centre, Signal Hill, and the ocean road alongside the Twelve Apostles.

Stephen Sugar Segerman from Cape Town was intrigued by the success of Rodriguez in South Africa, having sold 500000 records locally but appearing to not have made it internationally.  He wondered what had happened to Rodriguez, having heard a rumour that the singer had committed suicide.  At the same time journalist Craig Bartholomew Strydom from Johannesburg was intrigued by the same question, and in the 1990’s he launched an investigation, to find out more about Rodriquez.  Segerman started a website, using the ‘Missing Persons’ milk carton device to request anyone with information about Rodriguez to contact him.  Bartholomew Strydom tried to trace the singer via the three local record distributors, paying royalties to Sussex Records in the USA.  Rodriguez’s lyrics of his two records were analysed, and this led them to a town called Dearborn, in Detroit, where the singer lived   One of the singer’s daughters saw Segarman’s website, and he received a call from her, and later from her father. The singer was overwhelmed to hear how famous he was in our country, without ever having been, having given up performing to become a construction worker, to survive financially.

The documentary tells the happy end of the Rodriguez story, in that the singer and his daughters were invited to South Africa to perform in 1998 at six sold-out venues (including the Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town) around the country. Rodriguez returned to South Africa four times to perform for his local fans. Local writer Rian Malan was interviewed for the film, and he described how difficult it was to extract information from Rodriguez, reflecting his ‘mystery’ nature.  The film reflects how humble Rodriguez and his family were when they first arrived in Cape Town, surprised that the limousine awaiting them at the airport was for them, and expressing surprise at all the posters advertising his concert on the way from the airport.  It also is a reminder of our country’s censorship past, with TV banned (until 1976), and the SABC banning some of Rodriguez’s songs, the offending ones being scratched on the LP in the SABC library, to make them unplayable.  Rodriguez’s music became the ‘anthem’ for unhappy young South Africans, especially students, who were already rebelling against the political situation in the country, which had led to sanctions, and a freeze on international music acts visiting our country in the ‘Seventies.

One of Rodriguez’s daughters fell in love with the bodyguard looking after them on one of their Cape Town visits, they married, and now Rodriguez has a South African grandson!

Segerman (who has a record shop Mabu Vinyls on Rheede Street, off Kloof Street – photograph) is the key to Rodriguez now achieving the fame he deserved forty years ago. Segerman met Swedish documentary maker Malik Bendjelloul, told him the Rodriguez story, and that sparked his interest to make the ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ movie.   It debuted at the Sundance Festival, and won two awards.  Segerman has documented the search for Rodriguez.  If it had not been for Segerman’s keen interest in the mystery singer, assisted by Bartholomew Strydom’s investigative journalism, Rodriguez may never have had a second chance at fame, and Cape Town would never have featured in the Rodriguez story or movie!  With international distribution of the ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ movie, Cape Town has a fantastic international marketing platform, even if the images are very dated.

POSTSCRIPT 27/9: ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ has achieved critical acclaim. The new 2012 soundtrack with the same name as the movie has been released, and has made 13th position in the Swedish charts, and 24th in New Zealand.

POSTSCRIPT 25/10: It was announced today that Rodriguez will perform at Grand West on 20 February.

POSTSCRIPT 10/1: ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ has been nominated for an Oscar in the Documentary Feature category, it has just been announced, the best news for Cape Town!

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