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Will the Boks defend their title in 2011?

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AB Captain Ritchie McCaw

Image by nznationalparty via Flickr


 It was bound to happen. At some stage of his Springbok coaching career, Pieter de Villiers was going to get exposed. The time has come in 2010, where a shift in rules that favours the attacking team was completely missed by de Villiers.

The All Blacks were ready. They blasted off the 2010 Tri Nations in style, obliterating South Africa and Australia in the process. The Men in Black played intelligent rugby. They are holding onto their ball in their own half and backing themselves to retain possession and eventually create space out wide.

A large part of their game plan has been based around Ma’a Nonu who can carry the ball up powerfully as the second receiver. In contrast the Boks have looked directionless and have played with no real purpose, although nothing can be taken away from the passion they breathed into the Soweto Test.

Jake White’s game plan has come to an end. The strategy that won the 2007 World Cup is old school now and fresh ideas are needed…..and quickly.

Some of the senior men in the Bok team are looking…..well ….old. John Smit is captain courageous but Ritchie McCaw is more looking the part of a 2011 World Cup winning captain than Smit is right now.

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It would take a brave coach with certain knowledge that he will win the World Cup next year to fire Smit at this late stage. Pieter de Villiers is damned if he drops Smit and damned if he doesn’t.

Key combinations have still not been established in the Bok team. Just who the center pairing, the loose forwards and the front row are going to be in a year’s time is still not clear.

Playing “Barney” at prop is not a solution for 2011 and if he is not the first choice hooker then sadly it is time to let the old warrior hang up his boots. Just who will captain the Springboks then is an intriguing question.

Victor Matfield has lead the Boks before but has not dominated the line out internationally this year and may be under pressure from Andries Bekker for the number 5 jersey come 2011.

Another candidate being mentioned is fellow Blue Bull Fourie Du Preez. Much respected by both the players and the South African public nobody would argue with the choice.

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However, Fourie is a quiet man and the captaincy role may cause him to take his eye off his game. And if South Africa is to win 2011, it will all revolve around Fourie Du Preez being on top of his game without any added responsibility.

One other player that is in the mix is tough as nails Juan Smith from the Free State. The rugged flanker had a lot of input into the Springboks resurgence at Soweto and is also a well respected man in South African rugby.

Smith leads from the front and will never take a step backwards. We have learnt from the great victories of 95 and 07……it takes nerve to win a World Cup. Being led into a final by Juan Smith in 2011, nerve and a determination not to step backwards will be instilled into the Springbok’s quest to defend our title of World Champions.


The new political thought in Africa – Indigenization

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To “indigenize” means to force local cultures to adopt another. Most changes in original culture occur when western corporations impose their products on other economies i.e. Westernization

In world politics, Indigenization is the process in which non-Western cultures redefine their belief systems and impose their religions, culture and take ownership of  native land.

Due to imperialism and the impetus to modernize, many countries have invoked Western values of self-determination, liberalism, democracy and independence in the past.

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(Above: The War In Afghanistan is part of the bigger struggle of culture vs culture)

But now that they are experiencing their own share of economic prosperity, technological sophistication, military power and political cohesion, they desire to revert to their ancestral cultures and religious beliefs.

Since the 1980s and the 1990s, there has been a resurgence of Islam and “re-Islamization” in Muslim societies as one example. This has resulted in the chaos and invasions one sees in the Middle East at present.

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(Above: Julius Malema is an adherent of the new political thought – indigenization- in Southern Africa)

And what we are seeing in South Africa is Julius Malema, the president of the ANC Youth League preaching indigenization and gathering support from  and supporting the brothers in Southern Africa who believe the same philosophy.  He is going to Zimbabwe to study nationalization and Malema has picked the right country to start his studies.

Zimbabwe has an Indigenization Minister and The Indigenization and Empowerment Bill was passed by Parliament in 2007 and signed by Robert Mugabe in 2008. The bill demands that all foreign and locally owned companies hand over at least 51 percent ownership to black Zimbabweans. Mugabe has insisted the the economy must be taken out of the hands of white corporations and others and that  the the Bill will be enforced.

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(Above: Robert Mugabe’s election poster says it all. The Indigenization and Empowerment Bill was passed into law in March 2010.)

Will Julius Malema become South Africa’s first Minister of Indigenization? Malema seems to heading on a collision course with South African President Jacob Zuma despite being part of the cartel that propelled Zuma to the presidency. Tim will tell……….

Will Ghanaian fishermen be forced to become pirates of the highs seas?

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The oceans have become the dumping grounds of the world and the technology age is ensuring human beings are eating toxic fish caught off the African coastline.

A report published by the Global Post has revealed some grim statistics:

100 million: The weight, in tons, of all plastic litter in the world’s oceans.

13,000: The estimated number of plastic pieces, on average, in one square kilometer of ocean

8 million: The number of pieces of marine litter, from ships and land runoff, that enter the oceans each day

1.69 billion: The weight, in pounds, of cigarette butts littered each year

3,454,542: The number of cigarette butts that wash up on the Pacific coast of America each month

600: The approximate lifespan, in years, of the most durable plastics in the ocean

3: The number of years the World Wildlife Fund claims it will take for Mediterranean Blue fin Tuna to go extinct

3 billion: The number of people worldwide who rely on the ocean for essential nutrition.

Ever wonder what happens to that mobile phone you just toss away when you get the latest model?  Or what happens to the old computer or lap top when the affluent of the world gets the newest upgrade?

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(Above: There is an ever increasing amount of electronic waste in the world)

It is estimated that up to 80 % of America’s electronic waste or e waste ends up in the oceans of Ghana, Namibia and India.

According to estimates by the US Environmental Protection Agency, around 40 million computers are discarded each year in the US alone.

It costs about €3.50 to properly dispose of an old CRT monitor in Germany. But it costs only €1.50 to stick it on a container ship to Ghana.

The world produces between 30 – 50 million tons of e waste according to Time Magazine and much of it lands up in African coastal waters.

The ironic part about dumping of e waste off the coast of Ghana is that America imported about $ 12 million of tuna from Ghana in 2008, many of which could be contaminated with cadmium, mercury and arsenic from discarded computers and lap tops.

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(Above: Fishermen from Ghana head out to sea to try catch some of the ever dwindling stocks of fish off their coastline)

The Somalian pirates have stated in the past that they hijack ships to ensure those responsible for dumping toxic waste in their territorial waters were taxed.  Funnily enough the acts of piracy off Somalia will probably ensure the restocking of the fish population of Somalia.

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(Above:  The Somalian coast guard.  Are they guarding against illegal dumping of e waste in their waters as well as against pirates?)

As catches diminish  for the Ghanaian fishermen and their fish become more and more toxic will they too be forced to become pirates of the high seas to ensure their survival?

South African Art Market remains firm

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Despite the turmoil experienced in the world’s economy in 2009, the year has proven that South African art has arrived on the international stage and can be considered as a sound investment.

The top end of the South African art market displayed considerable strength with Irma Stern’s Magnolias selling for R 7 241 000, a world record for a still life by Stern.

Irma Stern paintings remain South Africa's premier art investment. Photo

Showing this trend was no flash in the pan, Anton van Wouw’s sculpture Die Nooitjie van die Onderveld sold for R 946 900, the highest amount ever paid for a South African sculpture. These painting were sold at a recent auction of South African art by Bonhams in London.

Other South African old master artists also sold for the highest price ever, amongst them Wolf Kibel’s Self Portrait selling for R 1 225 400 and Jean Welz’s still life Cezannesque also selling for R 1 225 400. Maggie Laubsher achieved her highest ever amount for a painting and J.H. Pierneef’s paintings remain in demand and are escalating in value.  Pierneef’s painting, The Baobab Tree holds the record for a South African painting at R 11.8 million (GBP 826 400).

Maggie Laubsher seascape. Photo:

However the secondary South African art market is taking strain with art galleries and artists suffering due to a lack of demand from art buyers. Some artists have experienced a 30 % drop in the price of their paintings compared to two years ago and are battling to find buyers. A respected art gallery closed its doors in Johannesburg recently and galleries from other parts of South Africa are battling to keep the ship afloat.

However auction houses like Strauss and Co as well as Bernadies are doing very well with Stauss having achieved record sales during 2009.  This indicates that the reselling market is stronger than the “new painting” market at present.

JH Pierneef: The Baobab Tree. This painting holds the record for the most expensive South African painting ever sold at R 11.8 million.

There are less speculators buying art at the moment and it is the established artists whose painting are sought after by the buyers still in the market. This explains why artists like Gregoire Boonzaier, Gerald Sekoto, Amos Langdown and Alexis Preller are still selling for premium prices as buyers flee to proven quality. A Langdown oil under R 30 000 can be regarded as a good buy for a longer term investment.

Amos Langdown is one of South Africa's most respected seascape artists

An artist like Gabriel de Jong who is regarded as one of the masters of South African art, has seen little movement in the price of his paintings. The positive side is that there has not been a drop in value either and it may well be time to start investing in this South African landscape artist.

Other investment opportunities could be found in Errol Boyley who died in 2007. The value of his paining spiked in the past 24 months but seem to be pulling back a bit. Another artist where a bargain could possibly be found is Adriaan Boshoff whose work is now in demand internationally but prices seem to have stabilized at present. Boshoff is known as the best impressionist artist South Africa has produced.

Adriaan Boshoff paintings are highly sought after by art collectors from around the world. Photo:

Christiaan Nice paintings can also be found at reasonable values and Nice will be regarded as one of the masters of South African art in time to come. His paintings have been increasing in value for the past few years and will appreciate in the future. He is well known for his District 6 scenes and donkey carts.

Now is the time to buy art, no matter how tight the budget is for an astute art collector. Once the world recession ends, prices of painting will rise again. The trick is to buy right and invest in an artist who currently offers good value for money.

Philip Britz studied under Christiaan Nice and one can keep an eye out for one of his paintings. Britz paints rural landscape scenes as well as seascapes with the palette knife. He has painted some excellent District 6 scenes as well.

Should one be visiting Jeffreys Bay this summer, look out for art by the well known seascape artist Stephen Bibb who has recently started producing good oil paintings after working with acrylics for many years. Bibb is world renowned for his ocean inspired art and his paintings can still be obtained for reasonable prices.

Stephen Bibb: Ocean Dreams – a view from the Supertubes Park in Jeffreys Bay

Follow South African art on international auctions at Bonhams, London. More articles about South African art can be found here

“Tree Aan for Sport Parade”

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The recent media exposure given to the End Conscription Campaign made me realize that over 20 years have passed since the end of the South African Bush War.  Needless to say this occasion is passing by with hardly a mention anywhere.  This is sad because the Border was something a whole generation of young South Africans had to face and was a rite of passage for nearly two decades of SADF National Servicemen.

on patrol on Charlie kaplyn

(Above: SADF on patrol : The Charlie Kaplyn during the South African Bush War)

The dreaded brown envelope that contained the SADF national service call up papers was received in Matric.  Being a swimmer and a surfer, one obviously opted for the Navy when completing the required forms for the South African Defense Force.  Obscure details like having attended naval cadets for a few months in Standard Four were naturally included in the form in the vain hope of actually being called up for the Navy.

The day arrived and my brown envelope was in my hand.  I had to report to 2 SAI Walvis Bay in January 1985.  Cool, January was the call up everyone wanted because it meant you could get your two years over with as quickly as possible, as opposed to the July call up where it seemed a death sentence was waiting for you for six months.

Walvis Bay, but that’s in South West Africa was the first thought that went through my stunned brain.  Hey, but at least it’s at the coast so maybe I have been called up to the Navy after all, was the second consolation thought that hit me.  I showed my call up to a mate of mine who had an older brother who had been to the “Mag” already.  Nah, he said 2 SAI means that you going to the infantry.

Wonderful, I am going to a foreign land for two years to serve in the Infantry.  It didn’t get much worse than that, believe me.

I asked some of the local surfers if there were waves in Walvis Bay and whether I should take my surfboard with me. There were  vague mentions of a surf break called Guns near Swakopmund but the unanimous decision was not to believe the army when it said you could bring your own sports equipment for the Wednesday afternoon Sport Parade.

The first Sport Parade after “klaaring in” was very important.  This was when you chose your sport for the next two years.  There were two blonde PF women admin soldiers at Walvis Bay who played tennis who attracted many to the sport.  But Wednesday after Wednesday brought negative reports from the troepie hopefuls who were trying their luck.

There was wind surfing as well at Walvis Bay.  Luckily one of the ou manne warned me about the wind surfing.  The wind surfers had to “tree aan” and carry the equipment on the “loopas” all the way to the lagoon and “makkirie pas” and “om keur” so many times that by the time they got to the lagoon it was almost time to come home again.

Some of the “roofies” opted for pistol shooting as their sport.  This was also a fatal mistake because the shooting range was quite a distance away and pistol shooting attracted many of the P.F’s which meant that most of the national servicemen spend Wednesday afternoons being asked if they could “sien daardie sand duin? “Daar gat julle”

Ou manne also warned us to stay away from “Bondel Sport”.  Bondel Sport at Walvis Bay meant throwing medicine balls at each other for the entire afternoon with the P.F in charge shouting at the “Dienspligtes” to throw the heavy balls harder at each other.

There was a volley ball court right next to the bungalows at 2 SAI and that seemed to be the safest option to me, so I decided that volley ball would be my sport for the next two years.  There were so many guys doing volley ball that one never got a game but at least you could chill and relax for the afternoon.

Then rugby started.  Each platoon had to form a team to compete in the company trials.  A mate of mine Lionel Neethling was a Western Province Schools rugby player who had been classified G3K3 due to high blood pressure.  G3K3 meant that you couldn’t do physical exercise in the SADF and was quite a sought after classification by the sick, lame and the lazy.

However, once it was discovered that Lionel could play rugby, he was ordered to attend the Sport Parade and play rugby, despite being a G3K3.  He was also ordered not to fall over dead during Sport Parade.

Having played on the flank at school I was asked if I wanted to be in the platoon team for the rugby trial.  Sure I thought, it could actually be fun to play some rugby but luckily I said that I would only play if they really needed me.

Sitting on the sideline of the rugby field as a reserve suddenly made me realize that the only place where there was any grass at all in the 2 SAI army camp was at the rugby field (apart from the grass that was being smoked that is).

2 SAI was on the edge of the desert and was a very bleak place.  Actually being able to lie on a patch of green grass was something a troep at Walvis Bay did not do, because there was just sand and the odd malnourished bush here and there.

Sunday afternoon infantry school

(Above: Sitting on the grass at Infantry School, Oudtshoorn cleaning R4 rifles with the weeks washing in the background)

The first trial started and a few minutes into the game a sickening tackle by a PF corporal on a young troep jolted all those sitting on the touchline.  Yeessh, this was not schoolboy rugby we were witnessing as the injured player was removed from the field.  Fortunately it was a centre that needed replacing and suddenly none of the reserves could play centre.

I never made the company rugby team but my name was on the rugby attendance register which meant that every Sport Parade as well as Monday and Thursday afternoon PT sessions all the rugby players had to report to the rugby field.

It was bliss.  A few hours to relax and dream of home away from the madness of basic training while your mates were being drilled to death in the PT sessions or carrying windsurfers up and down to the lagoon or climbing sand dunes while pistol shooting.

Twenty years after the days when the boys had to go to the Border and it seems like nobody even remembers.  It is probably a noble thing to honour the ECC people and it was brave to make the choice to rather go to jail than do two years national service.  But many of us did do our national service and this article is written for them.  Tree aan…..staaldak, webbing en geweer………

Marathon Swimming a hit in Jeffreys Bay

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Despite a cold wind and overcast conditions, over 60 hard core swimmers took to the canals of Marina Martinique in Jeffreys Bay on Sunday to participate in the inaugural Kouga Express EP Open Water Swim Series (OWSS)

Mike Marais winner of the 5km swim wordpress

Michael Marais, winner of the 5 km open water swim at Marina Martinique Jeffreys Bay

Competitors had a choice between a 5 km, 3 km or a 1 km swim and three swimmers chose to compete in the grueling 5 km swim.  Michael Marais eventually took top honours in the 5 km, swimming a South African national qualifying time of 1:03:16

Marais said after the race that is was a tough swim and his back was hurting but he wanted to swim a qualifying time early in the season and had to power until the finish buoy to achieve his goal.

Jessica Roux took the 5 km women’s race in 1:07:10 which is also a SA national qualifying time.  Rebecca Newman had a good swim in her first ever 5 km swim and recorded a credible 1:11:26 and with some more experience, should swim a qualifying time this season.

The 3 km swim was well supported with swimmers battling it out through the Marina Martinique canals.  Local residents cheered from their houses as the competitors did a circular route in the canals. Jonathan Roux (15 yrs) won the swim in 42 minutes from Mickey Falco.  Tammy Geyer (17yrs) was the first woman home in 44:43.

Richard Jute won the Masters race with local swim coach Brenton Williams coming second.  Both Jute and Williams swam South African national open water qualifying times.  Marina Barnard, also from Jeffreys Bay was the first woman master swimmer to finish.

The 1 km swim saw 16 local swimmers take to the water and the youngsters dominated the boys U/13 division with Seth de Swart (10yrs) winning from Kendal Wright (12yrs) and Pieter Ellis (8yrs) coming third.  Competing against the older boys, Ellis showed his has the potential to become a good open water swimmer in time to come.

The youngest girl swimmer to take part in the 1 km event was 8 yr old Alexa Vaughn from Port Elizabeth, who managed to complete the course.  “I didn’t think it would be so far when I entered but I just did some breastroke and freestyle and then sprinted the last 200m to the end of the race”, said Vaughn.  “I will be back in Jeffreys Bay next month to finish my next 1 km”, she added.

Brenton Williams, coach of the Kouga Swim Club, based in Jeffreys Bay was very happy with the turn out for the first swim of the series that will see six swims take place in the Marina during the next six months.  “Open water swimming is one of the fastest growing extreme sports in the world and interest is growing after the inclusion of the 10 km marathon swim in the Olympic Games”.

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(Above: South Africa’s Natalie du Toit in action in the women’s 10 km marathon swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games)

“Open water swimmers must be ready to compete in all weather and water conditions which adds to the challenge of swimming long distances.  The EP OWSS is designed to nurture swimmers along until they are ready to compete in the 10 km event, which is only open to swimmers of 16 years and older”, said Williams.

Mike Zoetmulder from Zports who organized the event said, “This event is an exciting initiative to grow open water swimming in the Eastern Cape and EP Aquatics together with the Kouga Swim Club have put together a great 6-part Series which will take place in the pristine canals of Jeffreys Bay’s Marina Martinique this summer. With one event a month planned for the Marina, we hope to see hundreds of social swimmers coming down and taking part in this fantastic Series”.

Swimmers who want to prepare for the next EP OWSS event which will take part on 22 November at Marina Martinique can swim a 1km or a 2 km in the Ocean Racing Series which will take place on Sunday in Port Elizabeth.  Entries can be done online at

The Kouga Swim Club holds training sessions in the Marina Martinique canals on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 7 am for adult swimmers and Friday afternoons at 15.15 for all age groups.  Non members are welcome to attend and details can be obtained by emailing

More information about open water swimming can be found at:

Amos Langdown – master South African artist

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Art Amos Langdown and others 004 email

(Fisherman at the sea.  A typical Amos Langdown painting depicting the ocean on the Southern coast of Africa.)

The EPSAC art gallery in Port Elizabeth, South Africa  held an exhibition of Amos Langdown paintings recently. Langdown is one of the acknowledged South African master artists.

Amos was born and bred in Plettenberg Bay in 1930 and passed away in 2006  in Port Elizabeth was well known for his seascapes and ocean orientated scenes like boys fishing and can be regarded as the first of the South African surf artists.

Langdown managed to capture the beauty of the land and its people and was heavily influenced by the ocean. He grew up in Plettenberg Bay, a small fishing hamlet on the Southern coast of Africa that has expanded into a popular coastal holiday resort.

Seascape web

(above: people at the beach)

His father, a one-time open ocean whaler, made a living from the sea but was forced from the ocean to do odd jobs after the arrival of the Scandinavians with their whaling station in Plettenberg Bay.

He used to bring home the dirty paint brushes after a days work. Langdown would use those to create paintings that depict the little ordinary things that had happened during that day.

Langdown’s first solo exhibitions led to him being sponsored to study abroad. At this time he was already studying part-time at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT.

His mentor was the well known poet and author P. J. Philander who taught him at school in Plettenberg Bay. Their book Die Bruin Kokon is a selection of poems and illustrations.  Only 1000 editions were ever printed and Die Bruin Kokon has become a very rare and valuable book.

Langdown is one of the acknowledged South African landscape artists.  This reflects in the price of his paintings.  A  55cm x 44 cm “fishing village” painting is going for R 79000 in a reputable South African art gallery.  Similar size paintings and smaller have also been sold in the R 60 000 – R 70 000 price range.

Boys fishing web

Above: “boys fishing”

South African art prices are under pressure due to the lack of cash in the world and local economy and one can find a good painting on auction should an art investor be lucky.

A 44cm x 55cm painting entitled “fisher children playing with a wheelbarrow” was sold on auction in May for R 30 000.  Bargains like this are not common and good Langdown oil paintings of this size can be expected to fetch around R 60 000 – R 80 000 (about $ 10 000). More articles on South African artists can be found here