Entries tagged with “rugby”.


It was at a dinner with Katie Friedman of Urban Lime that I heard about the opening of Victoire, a French Boulangerie, Pâtisserie, and Bistro in the newly redeveloped Speakers’ Corner building on Church Square in Cape Town. I attended the opening, as well as had breakfast at Victoire the following day.  (more…)

imageThere was trouble brewing for most of the remaining six contestants on Thursday evening, when the Koekedoor Season 2 episode 8 focused on beer, and its role in watching rugby at home, accompanied by beer and beer-related snacks. Craft beers were the hero of this episode. (more…)

Green Point Track Whale Cottage PortfolioOn Saturday Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille officially opened the Green Point Track, a new sporting facility which is hidden on the cul de sac road that leads away from the Cape Town Stadium, across the road from McDonalds.  Given that the launch has been very low key, with barely any information to be found via Google, we requested Artvark, the creators of ten urban art sculptures made for the Green Point Track, to let us have more information about the project.  It was interesting to read the motivation for the sculptures created, linking Cape Town’s sporting and recreation past and present.

On the cards since 2009, the urban art project was deemed to be an important part of the upgrading of the Track, to commemorate its history specifically, and the sporting and cultural history of Cape Town generally.  Landscape artist Darryl Pryce-Lewis conceptualised the idea of negative and positive panels made from metal, all to be positioned in a straight line, creating a ‘visual effect to be able to look through a negative space of an individual sculpture towards the positive, the symbolism of this already touch upon the diverseness and challenges faced in our country‘, explains Artvark. (more…)

This weekend the Durbanville Wine Valley celebrates the arrival of Spring, and its fresh and crisp Sauvignon Blancs, produced on eleven wine estates on the Durbanville Wine Route, with the ‘Season of Sauvignon’ Festival. Each wine estate is offering tastings of its wines, as well as food, and many are offering live music, other entertainment, and activities too.

The Durbanville wine region, with a valley of rolling vineyards, benefits from a cool climate terroir, and has been celebrating its Sauvignon Blanc festival for eight years.  The ‘Season of Sauvignon’ Festival has been designed to encourage wine lovers to visit as many of the Durbanville wine estates as possible, although all the Durbanville wines will be available to taste at each of the wine estates on the Route via the ‘Ward in a box’.

Each Durbanville wine estate has organised its own entertainment and food offering for the ‘Season of Sauvignon’ Festival, has different opening hours this weekend, and has different entrance/tasting fees:

*   Altydgedacht: Vineyard tours with viticulturist and owner John Parker, live music, slow food.  R20 tasting fee. Open 10h00 – 16h00 Saturday and Sunday.  Tel (021) 975-7815

*   Bloemendal:   This wine estate has the second oldest Bush Vine in South Africa. They will be offering picnics. Their new Cap Classique will be launched this weekend.  Savvy On-Tap Lounge.  Presentations in the Wine Theatre.  Open 11h00 – 21h00 on Saturday and 11h00 – 17h00 on Sunday.  R40 tasting fee.  Tel (021) 976-2682

*   D’Aria: A ‘Cirque de Sauvignon‘ will offer a carnival atmosphere with ‘jokes and giggles‘, there will be a Cocktail Bar, food stalls, and one can dance to live music. 11h00 – 20h00 Saturday, 11h00 – 18h00 Sunday.  R 20 entrance fee.  Tel (021) 801-6772.

*   De Grendel: Meet the farm animals, learn how to make mozzarella, sow and grow, learn to bake bread, food pairing with Sauvignon Blanc, Chocolate World, and Family Olympics. 10h00 – ‘sundown’ Saturday and Sunday.  No tasting charge.  Tel (021) 558-6280.

*   Diemersdal: Live music, entertainment, food stalls, tasting of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Rosé 2012. 11h00 – 18h00 Saturday and Sunday. R60 tasting fee.  Tel (021) 976-3361

*   Durbanville Hills:  Oyster and sushi bar, foot-long boerewors rolls, cheese platters, picnics, free tutored tastings by Cape Wine Academy.  Rugby match between Springboks and All Blacks screened in Barrel Cellar from 17h00.  10h00 – 20h00 Saturday, 10h00 – 17h00 Sunday. No tasting charge. Tel (021) 558-1300

*   Groot Phesantekraal: Live music, Wine tasting. 11h00 – 16h00 Saturday and Sunday.  R50 tasting charge.  Tel (021) 976-2114

*   Hillcrest: American Rock music on Saturday, and New Orleans Blues on Sunday.  Food stalls, gourmet burgers, hot dogs, olives, cheese platters. 11h00 -17h00 Saturday and Sunday.  R40 tasting charge.  Tel (021) 976-1110.

*   Klein Roosboom: Catering by Café Rugby, pancakes, cheese platters, live music.  11h00 – 17h00 Saturday, 11h00 – 16h00 Sunday.   Tasting charge R50.  Tel 082 784 5102.

*   Meerendal: Farmer’s Market, live entertainment, and free tutored tastings by Cellar Master Liza Goodwin and Marketing Manager Bennie Howard, all on Saturday.  West Coast Braai Buffet with crayfish, mussels and snoek on Sunday, 9h00 – 17h00 Saturday and Sunday. No entrance fee.  Tel (021) 975-1655.

*   Nitida:   Live music at Cassia restaurant 11h00 – 16h00 Saturday and Sunday.  Live jazz and picnic baskets at Tables at Nitida restaurant 9h00 – 17h00 Saturday and Sunday. No tasting fee.  Tel (021) 975-9357/976-0640.

DISCLOSURE: We received a bottle of Altydgedacht Sauvignon Blanc 2012 with our media pack.

POSTSCRIPT 6/10: My visit to the Durbanville Wine Route started at Meerendal, lying outside Durbanville, in the countryside.  They had a Farmer’s Market in a hall on the farm, with homemade chicken pies and melktert, biltong and droë wors, cheeses, charcuterie, breads, olives, and vegetables. The Deli had a selection of good looking tarts and sweet treats.

At Diemersdal I met the Louw family, the owners of the farm, even the 7th generation Louw who is about one year old. The farm was first registered in 1698, and the first Louw forbear took over the farm in 1855. Current owner Tienie Louw came to chat, and struck us as a humble wine producer yet proudly shared the success of his wines at the China International Wine Awards, at which the MM Louw, Private Collection Pinotage and Matthys won Double Gold, and the latter wine winning the Wine of the Show, out of 3500 – 4000 wines judged.  They are also eagerly awaiting the results of the China Decanter Awards on 24 October. Tienie shared that the success in the Eastern market is having a family business, reflecting the passion for its business, and being a ‘friend of a friend’. Tienie’s son Thys told us that his father would only give him eight rows to grow his own grapes and make wine from them initially, and it turned out to be an award-winning Sauvignon Blanc, which he branded Eight Rows.  He is now in charge of the whole farm! Diemersdal also lies outside Durbanville, and despite more than 1000 visitors tasting the food of Ocean Basket, Piroschka, Bacini’s, and more to the music of a live band, we were truly out in the countryside. A new Restaurant is about to open, with Chef Nic van Wyk at the helm, previously of Terroir, and we tasted a most unusual Brandade, a Portuguese salted dried fishcake made from smoked snoek and hake, with poached milk and mash, olive oil, cumin, lemon zest and parsley, with a crispy coating.  Errieda du Toit, PR Consultant to the Durbanville Wine Route, a gracious hostess today, shared that Durbanville has developed a signature dish served by many restaurants in the area, consisting of a sosatie with a cooked curry sauce, served with pearl barley in a risotto style, and pumpkin pickle.  Errieda showed me the sweet tiny jam storage building, Tienie’s grandmother having been a keen jam maker.

‘Season of Sauvignon’  Festival, 6 – 7 October. Tel 083 310 1228.  www.durbanvillewine.co.za Twitter: @DurbanvilleWine

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

If the London 2012 Olympic Games proved one thing, then it is that South Africa has very fine swimmers, given the two golds that Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh brought back home, as well as Le Clos’ silver medal. Now the City of Cape Town has announced its plans to transform the Newlands swimming pool into an international standard Aquatics Centre, to develop more golden swimming stars for the country.

The City of Cape Town will develop the pool in conjunction with Swimming SA, reports the Cape Argus. It is planned to make the Aquatics Centre commercial, to finance the pool’s upgrade.  The upgrade will make the pool the ‘jewel in swimming’s crown in greater Cape Town‘.  The planned upgrade will enhance Newlands’ reputation as the top sporting centre of Cape Town, the suburb already being the home of rugby and cricket.

Plans are to develop the pool, to allow swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, and water polo, to allow the development of these water sports at international level.

Due to a restriction of funds, which did not allow the South African Olympic team to travel to London ahead of the Olympic Games to train there, ex-South African Olympic 2000 swimming team member Princess Charlène of Monaco invited the team to Monaco, to practice in their pool facilities. Her pride in the team’s medal tally was even greater as a result, having given them moral support at the poolside in Monaco, and proudly supporting her team in London. She flew to Durban 10 days ago, to present funds from her Princess Charlène Foundation for the upgrade of the Pinetown pool, at which she used to train, and which is the home pool of Chad le Clos.

The Sunday Argus has reported that Cape Town and Durban are vying for the title of Aquatics Capital of the country. Durban is said to be bidding to host the Olympic Games in 2024, and its Kings Park pool is already deemed to be world class.

Once Cape Town has an international standard Aquatics Centre, international events relating to water sports can be hosted, which could become a boost for our tourism industry.

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

The best compliment that FIFA could pay South Africa is the declaration by Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary-General, two weeks ago that “South Africa will always be a Plan B for any World Cup”, reports AFP, and an amazing compliment to the Local Organising Committee (LOC), as well as to South Africans across the board, in organising the best “party” in the world and showing the “gees” of our nation to our visitors and to our fellow countrymen.

FIFA praised the country for what it believes will have been a “perfect” World Cup.  “If on July 11, we are on the same level as we are today (3 weeks ago), I would say it’s a perfect World Cup”, he said.  Initial transport problems led to empty seats at the Opening Match in Johannesburg on 11 June, but these problems were quickly ironed out.

The World Cup has made South Africa and the continent of Africa “sexy”.  At the TIME and CNN Global Forum, which was held in Cape Town two weeks ago, and was attended by a large number of the world’s global business leaders, South Africa’s smooth hosting of the World Cup had changed perceptions about the country and the continent, speakers said, reports The Sunday IndependentTIME editor Michael Elliot said that the country is riding an “extraordinary wave of energy and optimism”, and stated that South Africa is “on the verge of tremendous opportunity”.

So how has South Africa benefited from the World Cup?    The benefits have been financial and emotional:

1.   A legacy of infrastructure – I disliked the word “legacy” initially, when I heard politicians justify the billions of Rands to be spent, but now that legacy is concrete, with ten new or upgraded stadiums around the country, fantastic roadworks leading into Host Cities, and around the stadiums, airports of an international standard (almost all, given the embarrassing fiasco at King Shaka airport in Durban), a Gautrain in Johannesburg and a modernised train station in Cape Town, new modern buses, upgraded city pavements, city greening and new city artwork to beautify the Fan Walks.

2.  The “gees” Ke Nako that was the theme of the World Cup grew throughout the World Cup into an unheard of spirit of national pride, surpassing that of the Rugby World Cup in 1995. The nation-building power of sport, first through the rugby match between the Stormers and the Blue Bulls in the Orlando Stadium, and the powerful bonding of South Africans in supporting the Bafana Bafana team, as well as them demonstrating the pride in their country via mirror socks, flags on the cars, and flags on their homes and businesses, has been one of the most wonderful benefits of the World Cup, and is likely to last well beyond the end of the World Cup. For the first time the country became proud citizens of their continent too, in supporting “BaGhana BaGhana”, when they were the final African team to play in the tournament.   Many South Africans doubted their nation’s ability to host an event of this magnitude across nine different locations around the large country, but she has done her country proud.  Locals are already calling for a regular way of displaying unity, by putting up flags, wearing the Bafana Bafana colours, or those of our country’s flag. 

3.  The improvement in South Africa’s image world-wide is the best legacy of all, and perhaps we needed to hear bluntly at the start of the World Cup how dimly we were viewed by the world.   Whilst we hated her broadcasts, Emma Hurd of SkyNews was the wet blanket that reminded us day in and day out about how dreadful life can be for many of our citizens, but even then the TV station changed its tune, its broadcasts became more and more positive, and Ms Hurd’s focus moved more to the soccer and less on the social imbalances.   Maybe it was a blessing that England fell out of the tournament so early on, which led to less interest in the World Cup reporting by the station.   Reporter after reporter has written about how they feared coming to the country, having heard about its reputation of crime, AIDS, poverty, and even apartheid, but all wrote about how pleasantly surprised they were about the spirited and united nation they saw, and about the first class facilities they encountered.   Not only South Africa but Africa benefited in image, as written above already.   Africa has been the step-child of the world, and it was the “social responsibility ” of the world, and FIFA in particular, that saw South Africa awarded the rights to hosting the 2010 World Cup – a tremendous leap in faith for the body at the time, but a dividend that has paid off richly for FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his team, not just in terms of their revenue earned, but also in their image for having the faith and in sticking behind South Africa, denying that they ever had a Plan B and a Plan C.

4.   The control over crime was a surprise even for South Africans.  The cancellation of the contract between the FIFA Local Organising Committee and Stallion Security at the Cape Town and Durban stadiums was no security loss at all, and the police did an outstanding job in handling the security of the stadiums, as well as of the Host Cities in general, with high police visibility, and a marked reduction in crime in general.  Western Cape Premier Helen Zille told the Cape Town Press Club that a BBC interviewer had expressed his surprise to her about not seeing the “expected crime wave”, reports the Weekend Argus.  Never before had such visible policing been seen, not only in and around the stadiums, but generally in city streets and in shopping malls.  One wondered where they had been hidden all these years, and hopes they will remain.  South Africa was not prepared to compromise safety, its biggest vulnerability, and I experienced what I first thought was a crazy safety procedure to have my car security-checked at the Green Point Traffic Department, with a car search, a sniffer dog search,  a search underneath the car, and a personal security check, then a blue light escort into the stadium.   Special World Cup law courts also acted immediately on World Cup-related crimes, and meted out harsh fines and penalties for theft and other crimes, and the incident of the British fan entering the England team changing room, and the subsequent admission of guilt payment by the Sunday Mirror reporter related to this matter, attracted varying reaction to the harshness of the fines. 

5.   Whilst South Africa was shunned as a “rip-off” country for its cost of flights, accommodation, transport  and World Cup packages prior to the World Cup, due to the 30 % commission add-on by FIFA hospitality and ticketing agency MATCH to already high prices of flights, accommodation and transport, the prices of all of these aspects of the World Cup quickly dropped when MATCH cancelled the bulk of its booked rooms, and SAA cancelled the seats MATCH had booked.   It was unheard of that accommodation rates dropped during a world event, but pricing is about supply and demand, and the lower than expected demand necessitated the decrease in rates, which did increase last-minute bookings to some extent.  It was gratifying to see soccer fans book their own accommodation, preferring to book more reasonably priced guest houses.  It is hoped that the world will forget its initial image of our country in this regard.

6.   The biggest surprise for locals was the power and fun of the Fan Walk in Cape Town.  It appeared that this may have been the only city in South Africa to have one.  Despite one’s scepticism of the concept initially, given Cape Town’s winter weather, not even rain could deter ticket holders and even towards the end, on a sunny afternoon, Capetonians without tickets from walking the Walk.    The flags put up everywhere became a trademark, and made Cape Town look festive, and one hopes they will stay, and give a nostalgic memory of the biggest party Cape Town has ever experienced.

7.   South Africa has new tourism icons, the very beautifully designed stadiums becoming tourism assets in their own rights.   The Soccer City, Durban, Cape Town and Nelspruit stadiums in particular are beautifully designed.  Cape Town had a Big Six it marketed – now it has the Big Seven, the Cape Town Stadium added, which became the backdrop to most broadcasts from the city.

8.   If it has not been said above, the interpersonal tolerance between South Africans seems to have improved, and small courtesies towards other pedestrians, motorists and shoppers are manifestations of the wonderful spirit of “South Africanism”.

9.   “White” South Africans have caught the soccer spirit, and the majority never were interested in this sport.   One never thought that locals would rush off in such large numbers to buy their match tickets online, and to queue for tickets at FIFA outlets in Host Cities, even camping outside the doors the night before.  More than 3 million tickets were sold, and about two-thirds went to South Africans.  We all became enraptured with the game, and all learnt new terminology about soccer (although most of us still do not know if it is ‘soccer’ or ‘football’ that we have been watching!).  We got to know the names of new soccer heroes – Diego Forlan, Thomas Mueller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose, and many more, for their performance on the pitches.

10.  School children but also adults learnt about geography in terms of the participating nations, so that Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the South American countries of Uruguay and Paraguay could be placed.  Nestle ran a “Children of the World” promotion, with information about different participating countries on their Smarties boxes.   Hopefully South Africa featured on the atlas of children and residents of the world community whilst they watched the many matches in the past month, and saw their countries’ TV stations present documentaries about our country.   We got to know the flags of participating nations. 

11.  Musically, life will never be the same, the vuvuzela being synonymous with the 2010 World Cup, and will no doubt be the “spirit maker” at future sporting events around the world.   Loved and hated, the “toot toot” during broadcasts and live matches were part of this sporting event.  FIFA President Blatter refused to have it banned, when called upon to do so by the world media and by players, who said that they could not hear their coaches and the referees.  The world’s largest vuvuzela was erected on Cape Town’s unfinished highway for World Cup sponsor Hyundai.   Two songs will go down in World Cup history – “Waka Waka” by Shakira, much scorned when it first received airplay on radio, but now synonymous with the event, South Africa, and even Africa – as well as K’Naan’s “Waving Flags”.

12.   It is the future tourism legacy that will hopefully benefit the country, in that it will attract tourists to our country in future.  Due to the improvement in South Africa’s image and the wonderful documentaries about South Africa (for example German TV station ZDF dedicated hours of coverage of South Africa, using our ex-Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss, speaking her best possible German – she is engaged to a German), one can hope for an influx of tourists for years to come, but one must be realistic about the depressed economy internationally, and even locally, said our Governor of the Reserve Bank Gill Marcus last week.

13.  If there is one name we will never forget in the context of the World Cup, it is the by now well-known Paul the Octopus from Oberhausen in Germany, who correctly predicted 5 wins and 2 losses for Germany, as well as the win for Spain against the Netherlands in the Final. He even has a Twitter page @PPsychicOctopus, which surpassed 500 Followers in just four days.

14.   The media coverage for South Africa has been phenominal, many countries sending media representatives not only reporting about the soccer but also doing documentaries about the cities in which they were based.  The BBC had a special Studio built on top of the Somerset Hospital, giving it a fantastic view of a beautiful Table Mountain on the one side, and of the beautiful Cape Town Stadium on the other side.   An hour after the Final last night, ZDF was still broadcasting about South Africa and the World Cup, recapping the highlights of the sport event and of the country.  Even normally cynical Oliver Kahn, who was a co-presenter, praised the organisation, hospitality, friendliness and lack of hooliganism of our host country.  ZDF probably was the TV station that gave our country the most, and most positive, TV coverage.   The Final is expected to have been seen by 700 million TV viewers around the world last night.

15.   The power of the endorsement in terms of VIP attendance at the matches is unmeasurable, and those celebrities that are on Twitter, Paris Hilton and Shakira for example, who expressed their delight, spread the word even further.  Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel, Queen Sofia of Spain, her son Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia, Holland’s Crown Prince Willem Alexander and his wife Maxima, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock, German President Christian Wulff, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Luia da Silva, Charlize Theron, Morgan Freeman, Mick Jagger, Kimora Lee Simons, Leonardo DiCaprio, Andrea Bocelli, Franz Beckenbauer, injured ex-German captain Michael Ballack, Bill Clinton, David Beckham, will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas, Naomi Campbell, Princes William and Harry, London Mayor Boris Johnson and many more attended the matches over the past month.

16.  Despite the winter timing of the tournament, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth’s weather generally played ball.  Cape Town had three rain days during matches, and challenged the perception of Johannesburgers that it rains all the time.  

17.   The smooth logistical running of the World Cup has opened up the country to bid for other events, and the 2020 Olympics is the next event the country has been invited to bid for.   IOC President Jacques Rogge has been in the country for more than a week, and has been warmly recommended the country by his friend FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

18.  Social media marketing received a tremendous boost during the World Cup, and peaked on 11 June, the start of the World Cup.   Only one event challenged interest in the early part of the event, being the engagement of South African Charlene Wittstock to Prince Albert of Monaco.  As soon as the USA and England teams were eliminated, web traffic fell dramatically, partly though due to the problems with the SEACOM cable for those websites that are hosted overseas by their servers.   Yet action on Twitter never let off, and whenever a goal was scored, Twitter crashed. Twitter users followed soccer stars they had not previously heard of, and even Sepp Blatter opened a Twitter page (@SeppBlatter). 

19.   The initial high airline ticket prices encouraged many locals as well as tourists to drive between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and also to other parts of the country, to save on costs, thus supporting tourism in smaller towns and cities that were not Host Cities.  One hopes that this will lead to a rediscovery of the Garden Route, an area that has suffered badly as far as tourism goes in the past three years.

20.   One can be grateful from a business perspective that the World Cup did take place in winter, a normally quiet period, therefore not influencing productivity, or lack of, badly on match days, and on Bafana Bafana match days specifically, which saw shops and businesses close early.   This is compared to many companies that close for their Christmas/New Year break, when Cape Town is at its busiest.

21.   The surprise benefits of coming to the country for the international soccer fans was the beauty of the country, and in Cape Town the fans were surprised about what special beauty the city offers – the mountains, the sea, the wildlife at Cape Point, and the winelands.

22.   Soccer fans that arrived without tickets and locals enjoyed the “gees” at the Host Cities’ Fan Parks, many offering top notch musical entertainment every day, and broadcasting all matches.  In early days the Fan Park on the Grand Parade had to be closed, due to over-capacity.  Other fans went pub-hopping, Long Street being popular for this, with numerous bars and restaurants with televisions.  The V&A Waterfront was another popular destination, and every restaurant agreed to install TV sets for the duration of the World Cup.   Paulaner Brauhaus and other hospitality marquees set up at the Clocktower side of the V&A did extremely well, and I personally queued at the Paulaner Brauhaus for as long as 2 hours for the semi-final between Germany and Spain.   The law of supply and demand forced greedy hospitality marquee owners to radically reduce their entrance fees, where these were charged, from over R 100 per person, to about R 20.

23.  FIFA must be congratulated on their determination in making this an excellent World Cup, and were based in Johannesburg for a number of years, to guide the management of the event.  It gave us great confidence that the event would be a success, even though so many locals were sceptical.  FIFA executives were also ruthless in their deadlines for the completion of the stadiums, and the infrastructure, which was excellent in making everything come together, even if it felt that some work was very much last minute.   FIFA insisted on the police presence and the instant law courts, and they have dramatically reduced crime in the past four weeks.

The World Cup has not been super-perfect, and had some blemishes:

1.  I have written copiously about MATCH, FIFA’s hospitality and ticketing agency, and its ruthless attempt at exploitation of the accommodation industry, which unfortunately backfired badly for the agency, for the accommodation industry and for the image of the country as far as affordability, or lack of, goes.

2.   Many empty seats were visible, especially in the early matches, and were attributed to transport problems in Johannesburg at the first match, and to sponsors not allocating all their tickets.

3.   The inability and thereafter late landing of four aircraft at King Shaka airport in Durban on the day that Germany played Spain was the biggest logistical blunder of the tournament, and left many German fans angry about the costs they had incurred to see the match.   ACSA is offering a reported compensation of R400 per head!

4.    Restaurant business dropped dramatically, and fine dining establishments that refused to succumb to TV sets lost business badly, especially on match days in their cities.  Theatre and general entertainment also suffered, and the popular Jonny Cooper Orchestra closed down a show in Camps Bay two weeks ahead of schedule.   Retail outlets did not gain from the World Cup, and the opposite probably is true.   Sales of the Cape Times and Cape Argus have been said by its management to have been the worst ever in the past four weeks.

5.   The negative media reporting focused on only one theme – the great divide that still remains in South Africa, between haves and have-nots, and the irony of the monies spent on the stadiums relative to the lack of proper housing for all of its population will have to be addressed.   One hopes that the future impact on tourism, and resultant employment, will address this problem.  But it will also mean a new attitude by employees to value their jobs and terms of employment.

6.   The early exit of England in particular was damaging to tourism, as multitudes of fans were standing by to fly to South Africa to support their team.  The England fans were the best for accommodation business, but their bookings were linked to their team’s playing schedule.

7.  The biggest loser of the World Cup probably is FIFA itself, in terms of its image, Sepp Blatter having been booed at the Final and also on another occasion.    FIFA also came under fire about its card-happy referees, the British referee Howard Webb setting the record for the highest number of cards, with 14 yellow cards and one red card during the wild Final match.  The lack of technology to check on the admissibility of goals was also severely criticised.

8.  FIFA’s technology also failed when demand for tickets became so great, that its system crashed on numerous occasions, a dent to its image of perfection and organisation.

9.   The more than 25 000 volunteers that were appointed by FIFA and its LOC, were poorly utilised in terms of their skills and day-job capabilities and were extremely poorly managed.   They were “employed” outside of the South African labour legislation, and had to sign for this in their contracts.   They had tax deducted from their meal allowances when these were paid into their bank accounts.  In Cape Town they were served disgustingly bad food for three days, and were not compensated for it in terms of their meal allowances.   They did not all receive the designated volunteer clothing, even though it was ordered about 6 months ago when the volunteers were appointed.  Volunteers attended three days of training in April plus a morning in May, and were not compensated.   Huge dissatisfaction existed about the forced McDonald’s diet of R 60 per day, which the LOC would not alter at all, the most unhealthy food they could have been fed.  The Green Point branch next to the stadium made a fortune out of this arrangement, yet their service and food quality was shocking – the Volunteer Co-ordinator had to call the branch regularly with complaints.   Volunteers were forced to drink Coke, when many preferred water, Bonaqua being a Coca Cola brand too.   Quotas were set for the amount of water and Coke that each volunteer had to receive.   The Volunteer Farewell Function last week started two hours late, was badly organised, and lunch was served at 15h30, 1600 volunteers having to queue – many left at this stage.  More than a month after starting to work as volunteers, they have not yet been paid, despite a promise that they would be (now they are due to be paid at the end of July!).   Sadly, international volunteers left the country with an image of the poorest organisation of a World Cup relative to their experience of the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, a shame given that one third of the volunteers were from other countries around the world, and they will take this message back home with them.  I kept hearing them say that this must be “an African way” of doing things, a perception I tried to correct whenever I heard it.

10.   The FIFA sponsors Budweiser, McDonald’s and Coca Cola were not all positively received.  Budweiser was only served inside the stadiums, and comments via Twitter were only negative about the beer. McDonald’s became a swearword amongst the volunteers, and even the police and media working close to the Stadium must have disliked receiving the poor quality and service for more than a month.   Coca Cola became the butt of jokes about Paris Hilton getting the brand wrong when she was wrongfully arrested for smoking marijuana.   The food sold by concessionaires inside the Stadium was poor.

10.  FIFA also lost face when it fanatically reacted to ambush marketing, and the Kulula.com airline provoked FIFA in its newspaper ads.  Bavaria beer is the best known brand in South Africa, due to FIFA’s reaction to the Dutch brewery’s ambush marketing inside the stadium in Durban.

11.  Corruption in terms of Government departments and municipalities buying huge allocations of tickets has been hinted at, and no doubt further such claims will be written about in the media.

11.  Whilst the occupancy of accommodation establishments in Host Cities close to Stadiums was reasonable in the past 30 days (Whale Cottage Camps Bay at 71 %), the areas in smaller towns barely picked up any benefit in this period.   Sadly, business in May was at its worst ever, and what income was made in June, was offset by the “vacuum-effect” of the World Cup in May.     

12.  Last, but not least, is the anti-climax of the month-long party having come to an end.  The lives of many changed in the past month, with different habits, glued to television sets, children on holiday for 5 weeks, daily beer drinking habits having been developed, and the mundane side of life was set aside for the period.  Reality strikes today!  

POSTSCRIPT 18/7: FIFA gave South Africa a score of 9/10 for the hosting of the 2010 World Cup, reports The Times, up from the 7,5 rating for the hosting of the Confederations Cup last year.   FIFA President Blatter likened the score to a cum laude at university level.  “The greatest memory is the willingness and commitment of South Africans to show the world their ability to host this World Cup with discipline and honour” Blatter said.

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

For my last World Cup viewing I chose The Twankey Bar at the Taj Hotel in Cape Town, a bar I had wanted to visit on a previous occasion, but which was closed for stocktake on that day (the Germany versus England match).  Last night it was the 3rd and 4th play-off between Germany and Uruguay, and the five Germans at The Twankey Bar were delighted with their team’s 3-2 win.

I did not know that the Widow Twankey is a well-known character in Alladin.   According to Wikipedia, she is a “pantomime dame portrayed as a man” (read more here). The Widow Twankey figurine is a feature outside on the erstwhile Board of Executors building in which The Twankey Bar is housed, and gave the bar its name.

The Twankey Bar has a swanky feel, as you step into it from the corner of Adderley and Wale Streets, in a  venue separated from the Taj Hotel.   It has beautiful wooden floors, marble table and bar tops, red leather tub chairs (uncomfortably high and very sharp arm rests), bar chairs and some of the other tub chairs are in silver leather, a silver painted pressed steel ceiling, beautiful art deco lamps, and silk-like curtains in a deep red and silver.   The silver and red theme is not carried through in the staff uniforms, which are a creme shirt, black cap and black pants, odd given the colourful uniforms the staff wear in Mint and Bombay Brasserie inside the Hotel.   A lone black and white photograph of a boat decorates one wall, and echoes the “seafood” theme, probably picked up from the anchor in the Twankey statuette.  I would have liked a little more light, especially to read the bill.

We were given the choice of rugby or soccer, as the initial guests in the Bar were not watching any sport.  When they left, soccer won, and the volume was turned up.   Nothing in The Twankey Bar reflected the world’s largest sport event taking place in the country.  With five of us in the Bar during the match, we certainly made the “gees”, but there were not enough customers on the rainy and cold Cape Town night to give it the spirit.   But when your team wins, you don’t need other people’s “gees”!   It was an exciting match, and kept one holding thumbs and begging Paul the Octopus to make his prediction of a win for Germany come true, his seventh correct prediction! 

The menu is a simple yet elegantly designed one, laminated, and I was encouraged by the Manager Leslie Heaven to take it home with me so that I did not have to write it all down.  The menu states “Seafood * Champagne * Guinness * Oysters” on the front, and this gives one a feel of its focus immediately.  The manager told me it is an Irish pub, due to the Guinness served.   The Seafood focus is odd for a pub, but it is only Calamari (R55), Tempura Prawns (R85), and the Tuna Tatiki (R85) that meet this description.  On the table were heavily spiced cashew nuts, wasabi peanuts and chilli poppers, encouraging one to drink more beer to get over the spiciness.  On the reverse side it refers to its “Tapas Menu”.

Our food and beer were brought quickly after placing the order, with new-looking quality cutlery and very small material serviettes.   The Guacamole and spicy tortilla dish (R50) was massive – despite having asked for the least spicy tortillas, they were still pretty hot, and the manager organised some toast instead.  The guacamole was spicy too, with a strong taste of onion.  I am used to guacamole being smooth – The Twankey Bar’s was chunky.   The Quail spring rolls were served with chilli plum sauce, and were an expensive choice at R 65 for four small rolls, but were enjoyable.  I liked the Karoo Lamb Samoosas, four small ones costing R 55, not having any spices in them.   The serving of four large prawns came with a very diluted soy sauce, but I was brought the real thing when I requested it.    Oysters cost R90 for six.  Other “Small plates” one can order are Chicken Tikka Wrap served with mint chutney (R55), Tequila Salmon Gravlax (R75) and Jalapeno Poppers (R45).  What I liked was that as far as pub food goes, this was the most creative menu of all the pubs I visited during my World Cup journey.  What I disliked was the spiciness of almost all the dishes, limiting my choice.  

The Menu is dominated by the drinks on offer; including ten Cocktails all costing R40; four non-alcoholic ones (R30 each); two draught beers (Guinness at R 29 and Jack Black at R 20); and bottled beer – Heineken, Peroni and Windhoek are very reasonably priced at R 20, while the Brewers Union Unfiltered, Dark and Stepheiss (sic) all are charged at R 40, the same price at which it is sold at &Union up the road.   One can order Moet et Chandon at a precious R 225 per glass, or at R 900 per bottle, and even splurge on a bottle of Dom Perignon Brut Rose at R 8000!  Seven of the thirteen Methode Cap Classique wines offered can be ordered by the glass, and seem expensive – Pierre Jourdan Cuvee Brut and the Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel are the cheapest at R 50 per glass, while the Teddy Hall Blanc de Blanc costs R 100 per glass.  I was proud to see Melissa Nelsen’s Genevieve Blanc de Blanc listed – what a prestige for the new sparkling wine producer who only launched her brand earlier this year!   A small selection of red and white wines is offered, by the glass and per bottle, and commendably the vintages are specified.  The prices seemed more reasonable here – for example the 2007 Villiera Merlot costs R 35 by the glass, and the Warwick First Lady Red Blend 2008 costs R40.  

I was grateful when the Manager took over looking after our table when our waitress seemed more interested in chatting to her colleague and watching the soccer.  She was asked to bring the prawn tempura dish to the table in the halftime, but this did not happen and had to be requested.   While the World Cup is history after tonight, it surprised me that, generally speaking, bar staff do not seem to understand that one would like to hear the commentator during a match – a problem I picked up at Harvey’s Bar and Salt Vodka Bar too.  It irritated me that they kept coming to ask something and even blocked the TV screen during what was a most exciting match.   At one stage we had to ask them to stop the icemaking machine because it made such a noise.   It was one of few pubs (also Salt Vodka Bar, and Pure at Hout Bay Manor) in which I saw a manager, and whilst he could have been more assertive with his staff about the disturbances, he was good at reading customer irritations, coming to check with us, and acting upon feedback immediately.

The Twankey Bar is not a food destination in itself, but would be the start or end to a special evening in town.  Recently it was decided that The Twankey Bar should stay open until 23h00, as guests were popping in for a late snack.  The food is expensive and spiciness dominates, but the drinks are more reasonably priced. 

The Twankey Bar, Taj Hotel, corner Wale and Adderley Streets, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 819-2000. www.tajhotels.com  (The website exaggerates, in my opinion, when it describes The Twankey Bar as a “seafood restaurant”.   It also claims to have “sublime jazz”, but we did not experience any music).  Open from 11h00 – 23h00, Mondays – Saturdays.

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

The future of the Cape Town Stadium after its use for the World Cup is uncertain.   SAIL Stadefrance, the operators of the Stadium on behalf of the City of Cape Town, plans to host 18 events in the Stadium in 2011, but the nature of the events has not been declared, reports the People’s Post.

SAIL Stadefrance entered into an agreement with the City of Cape Town, to manage Cape Town Stadium, paying a rent of R1 (!!!) per annum, for a 30-year lease period.   The company must pass on 30 % of its revenue to the City; must pay R45000 in parking fees per event, for 3000 temporary parking bays around the Stadium; must invest R 10 million in capital improvements;  must pay for maintenance, cleaning, security, municipal rates and taxes, maintenance of the pitch; fit out 134 suites; responsible for security and cleansing of the Green Point Park.  

It has been confirmed that rugby will not move from Newlands to the Cape Town Stadium, and that soccer will continue to be played at the Athlone Stadium after the World Cup.  Cape Town Stadium would be likely to be a “multipurpose venue” for events and concerts, and a “…a few international sporting events” are also hoped for.

The planned events will be a mixture of six “major” (35 000 – 55 000 spectators), six “medium-size” (25 000  – 35 000) and six “small” (5 000 – 25 000 spectators) events.  The nature of the events has not been announced.

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

The British and Irish Lions rugby tour team has arrived in South Africa, to take on various local sides as well as the Springboks in the Castle South Africa 2009 Lions series. 

The double page spread full colour ad for the Series has a banner “The Hunt for Glory”, and details the matches against the Lions team as follows:

 

30 May:  Royal XV in Rustenberg

3 June:   Xerox Golden Lions  in Johannesburg

6 June:   Vodacom Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein

10 June: The Sharks in Durban

13 June:  Vodacom Western Province in Cape Town

16 June:  Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth

20 June: Springboks in Durban

23 June: Emerging Springboks in Cape Town

27 June: Springboks in Pretoria

4 July: Springboks in Johannesburg

“Boktowns” have been created, according to the ad, and in Cape Town it is La Med in Camps Bay, Montecasino in Johannesburg, the Suncoast Casino in Durban and the Springbok Bar in Pretoria.

The tourism effect of the rugby series is clear, with Whale Cottage Camps Bay close to fully booked for the two Cape Town matches.   This is contrary to the IPL, which benefit was not experienced in Camps Bay at all.