Monthly Archives: January 2010

Tsotsi and the CIA

Cape Town Graffiti

One of the large gangs in the Cape Town area goes by the name "The Americans", and one of the other large gangs calls itself "The CIA". We can't be sure, but it's possible that one of these gang members marked this wall with the name CIA.

Tsotsi is a Sesotho word meaning "thug" or "thief", and the word is often used to refer to a gang member. Tsotsi is also the name of an Academy Award-winning film directed by Gavin Hood that depicts the life of a gang leader in Soweto, near Johannesburg.

It's easy to judge gang members for who they are and what they do. The film Tsotsi gave me a little more insight into the life of one young man who grew up in an environment that practically forced him down a path of crime and gangsterism. The hard side of a gang member is a given, but the movie also depicted the softer side of a young man just trying to survive in the world in which he lives. I seriously encourage you to watch the movie - it really was fantastic.

Watch the short trailer here on YouTube, or a different one on the official movie site.

An empty milkshake glass

An empty milkshake glass

I stopped off at Fego Café at the V&A Waterfront for breakfast a few days ago. The restaurant/bookshop is fairly well tucked away from the general hustle and bustle of the other Waterfront restaurants, which makes it perfect for just sitting back and relaxing.

Alas, this empty milkshake glass wasn't mine, so I presume that the other patrons cast their querying eyes in my direction as I jumped up to capture this photo before the waitress took the glass away. :)

I'd have to go with chocolate, but what is your favourite milkshake flavour?

World wide weed

Hairy Fleabane

Don't you wish that flowers would grow more like weeds? We wouldn't ever have to water the beds or feed the flowers. Until I discovered my awesome weed-popper (which makes weeding more like a game) I really think I may have had more weeds than grass.

The Hairy Fleabane, shown in this photo, is a very common variety in Cape Town. The long stems and furry heads can be seen covering many people's lawns in spring, making them look more like country fields - which I guess for some has its own appeal. :)

The interesting thing is that according to there's a particular strain of Hairy Fleabane in the Breede Valley that has become resistant to herbicide. So it would seem to me that the only real solution is in fact my awesome weed-popper. Perhaps I should go into the weed-popper business. :)

Radical Rhubarb, an episode of GeekDinner

The Wild Fig restaurant

Radical Rhubarb was the codename for this month's GeekDinner, held at The Wild Fig restaurant (map), near The River Club, in Observatory.

As usual, we ate plenty of good food, many people drank good amounts of the wine supplied by Delheim, and several interesting talks were given - taking risks by carrying out small actions, running a community-based support forum, and an introduction to a constructed language called Toki Pona. And as always, of course, we got to giggle at the fun and popular slideshow karaoke.

If you're interested in attending one of the dinners, take a look at the website, subscribe to the announce list, and put your name down for the next GeekDinner!

Streaming wine from Cape Town

Refraction in a wine glass

You've been on a trip to Cape Town and it was awesome. Would receiving a bottle of our wine in the post remind you of your visit to the Mother City and help you relive your holiday? You're in luck! In 2006 friends of ours started an online company called Wineweb that allows you to order South African wine online. Take a look, and if you really love wine, consider joining the Wine Club. They'll send you a mixed case of wine every second month.

Isn't it ironic that looking at the world through a wine glass brings what's out of focus into focus, albeit upside down? :) I should point out though that this wine glass was in fact filled with white Grapetiser, so perhaps what you need to bring what's out of focus into focus isn't wine - perhaps it's just sitting back and slowly sipping a drink while reflecting on the world around you...

The Cape Grace Hotel and the yacht basin

Yachts and Boats

The Cape Grace Hotel (the brown building) must be one of the best-situated of all the Cape Town hotels. In the morning, people who stay on the other side of the building see the sun rising over the Waterfront and harbour while the group on this side have a view of Table Mountain, Lion's Head and Signal Hill bathed in the wonderfully soft morning light. In the evening, while one group watches the lights of the shops and boats, and feels the vibrancy of the Waterfront, the group on this side of the hotel gets to watch these beautiful yachts bobbing in the basin, with the sky turning red as the sun sets behind the mountain. The Cape Grace must be a beautiful place to stay!

We've never been inside the hotel - and since we live not too far away and it's fairly expensive I doubt we would stay at the hotel. So, please, if you've stayed there, leave a note and let us know how accurate my description above is. :)

Nymphaea what?

Water Lily

The flower above is commonly known as a water lily, but to the botanists among you it's more likely known as a member of the Nymphaeaceae family, possibly either the Nymphaea Alba (White Water Lily) or the Nymphaea Capensis (Cape Blue Water Lily). What makes it difficult for me to decide is that the only references I've found so far to water lilies in the Western Cape talk about the Capensis, and yet this flower looks yellowish - a lot like the Alba. But the Alba is apparently found in the northern hemisphere, in places like England and North America.

That aside, I discovered an online store that sells what appears to be dried Nymphaea Alba. One can apparently use the dried flower to make a tea that, according to them, has the following effect: "White Lotus is both narcotic and euphoric. Like Blue Lotus, the plant is said to increase sexual arousal and enjoyment."

Now, while the name Nymphaea appears to support this, I'm keen for someone to (at their own risk ;) ) get some and give it a go. If you have tried the tea, then please do leave a comment below and let us know if you experienced any effects!

Table Mountain from a different perspective

Table Mountain from a different perspective

I'd almost reached the crest of Kloof Nek Road when I saw (what I think is) an uncommon perspective of Table Mountain. Noticing a rare parking spot on the side of the road, I quickly stopped, crossed over the busy road, and scrambled up to a vantage point, where I took this photo.

The area is perhaps one of the most awesome areas in which to live in Cape Town. My uncle owns a house close by and based on my (infrequent) visits there over the years I have to say that the weather is spectacular. The wind may be howling in the city centre below, yet it's almost eerily completely absent in this area.

I'm sure that you've worked it out already, but just in case you're not familiar with the mountain, the little spot that you see marking the highest point is in fact the upper cable station.

Clifford, Frank, and Table Mountain

Clifford, Frank and Table Mountain

Besides the proximity of Table Mountain being fantastic, this area of Cape Town, Vredehoek, has gorgeous views of the city, harbour, and Table Bay. As I'm sure you can imagine, this particular spot in Cape Town is highly sought after, making it impossible for most to afford a home here.

However, there's another price to pay for living in this area - and that would be the wind. When it's a beautiful day, it's awesome, but around this time of the year every now and again the wind howls like a troupe of irate banshees, leaving the only means to a peaceful night's sleep a comfy pair of earplugs! :)

Sushi – the good and the bad

Seaweed on the beach

We recently joined a newly-created impromptu sushi club - actually just a few friends from Twitter who need an excuse to fit in an extra sitting at a sushi restaurant each month. :D The objective of the club is to find, evaluate, and and then frequent the best sushi spots in Cape Town.

I'll keep our findings closely under wrap for now, but expect a post in due course (heh) that fills you in on which were voted the best spots by our group.

I've mentioned it previously, but to clarify the reason for the photo, let me state it again. The part of sushi that I like absolutely least is the seaweed (nori). It tastes absolutely awful to me, so I avoid maki rolls like crazy. I mean, I just can't understand how someone ever looked at a piece of seaweed like this and thought, "Awesome, I should try that on my sandwich!", or "subarashii , watashi wa doryoku shi nakere ba nara nai watashi no sandoitchi!". ;)

Jameson Memorial Hall and the pillars of colonial society

The pillars of UCT's Jameson Memorial Hall

Jameson Memorial Hall on the University of Cape Town's (UCT) campus is an impressive structure that has as its backdrop the towering Devil's Peak and Table Mountain mountain range. When I first saw the building and that it was a memorial to one Leander Jameson I wondered to myself what he'd done to have his name etched into the fibre of one of South Africa's most prestigious universities.

The story basically goes that he was Scottish and practised as a doctor in South Africa. Jameson befriended Cecil John Rhodes and ran several missions for him to help establish Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Leander Jameson disobeyed the British High Commissioner and spear-headed the famous Jameson Raid on the Boer government. He was captured and forced to return to England where he was tried and spent over a year in jail.

On his release he returned to Cape Town where he was elected to Cape Parliament in 1900 and became Prime Minister in 1904!

Perhaps I don't fully understand the history and story of Leander Jameson, but to me it would seem as though the British Cape Colony started off on a bit of a wobbly foot around the turn of the 20th century! :)

Read more about Leander Jameson's story here.

Hussar Grill, a traditional steakhouse in Camps Bay

Hussar Grill in Camps Bay

We've always seen the uninspiring-looking Hussar Grill on Camps Bay Drive (just below the final hairpin bend leading into Camps Bay), but we've never bothered to visit for a meal. Finally we decided to give the steakhouse a try, so two friends met up with us for a quiet dinner.

Even though from the outside it looks (as I said) insignificant, inside is quite different. The restaurant brims with that old traditional steakhouse feeling. The staff were friendly, the seating was comfortable, the food was... well... the food was great!

I think the meals are slightly more expensive than Cattle Baron or Famous Butchers Grill, but I found Hussar Grill a little more upmarket, and the ambiance and décor (made up of classic books, '60s furniture, and old photos) make the extra few rands worth paying.

For the record, the 1kg of beef ribs that I had was awesome, and the Crème Brûlée was outstanding (I dipped into the one Kerry-Anne ordered). And, best of all, Hussar's has Jack Black on tap! :)

P.S. I'd love to, but I can't claim attribution for this photo. Jon (one of the contributors to our new Mobile Photos page) pinched my camera for a moment and managed to snap the best photo of the evening!

Water snakes and lily pads

Lycodonomorphus rufulus

We visited friends of ours at their home in Constantia for a sunny afternoon outside by the pool. Before you think that this is the pool to which I'm referring - well, no, the pool in the photo is a little garden rock pool filled with frogs, tadpoles, fish and a plethora of other aquatic critters.

From what I can tell, the little fiend that you see in the rock pool is a very young Lycodonomorphus rufulus, also known as the South African Brown Water Snake. We stood and watched the snake come up every five minutes for a breath of air and then descend below the water, behind a couple of rocks.

The last time we watched him descend I'm not sure that it was out of choice - he was being hounded by a small fish that seemed to be nibbling at his tummy. :)

Take her to ballet at Maynardville and collect 200 points

The Firebird ballet at Maynardville

While I'm pretty sure that there are plenty of guys who enjoy ballet, you'd have to agree that the passion for the art is upheld more by the fairer sex. The truth is that if I were to ask most of my male friends to join us at the ballet, I don't think I'd get many (if any) enthusiastic responses.

We were invited to Maynardville (an open-air theatre in Wynberg) to watch Cape Town City Ballet's dress rehearsal of Les Sylphides and The Firebird. The fun thing about dress rehearsals is that we photographers are able to get so close to the dancers that we're almost sharing the stage. Take a peek at the two photo albums that I've created to see ballet photos that are unlike the ones photographers usually have the privilege of shooting.

Cape Town City Ballet will be performing Les Sylphides and The Firebird each Sunday from 24 January (this weekend) until 21 February. Guys, seriously, if you're not into ballet, but would like to earn 200 points, this is your chance. Les Sylphides is fairly traditional (but also reasonably short), but The Firebird (the main act, pictured above) will almost certainly appeal to everyone, even those who don't enjoy traditional ballet. And one of the shows falls, rather conveniently, on Valentine's Day (I think you get 1,000 points for surprising your wife/girlfriend/prospective girlfriend with tickets to the ballet on Valentine's Day). ;)

Tickets cost between R90 and R100. As I said last time, my advice would be to get seats reasonably close to the front. And do yourself a favour - read the Wikipedia articles on the two ballets (1, 2) before you go. It's not like a movie - it really helps to first understand what the story is about!

The One&Only Hotel’s private yacht

One and Only Hotel ferry
A slight change of pace from the last post... This is the One&Only Hotel's yacht, presumably used mostly for taking guests from the hotel (located alongside the yacht basin) around the corner to the V&A Waterfront's main shopping and dining area.

Of course, you could walk (it's at most a 10-minute walk to the best shops and restaurants), or take a taxi (probably 2 minutes by car), but this is far more genteel, don't you think? And besides, if I were paying around R20,000 a night for my hotel suite, I wouldn't be inclined to expend any more effort than absolutely necessary either. :)

The Atlantic Adventures speedboat

Atlantic Adventures boat
Whenever I see one of these adventure boats in the harbour I'm reminded of our trip to Sydney in 2004, when we took a ride on a jet boat from Darling Harbour. Activity-wise I think it was the highlight of our holiday. Actually, we enjoyed it so much that we went back for another turn a few days later! :D

I'm so curious as to whether the companies in Cape Town, like Atlantic Adventures, offer the same thrilling, adrenalin-filled experience as the ones in Sydney. Have any of you been on one of these boats at the V&A Waterfront, and if so, how was it?

Ballet class at the UCT School of Dance

Ballet practice at UCT School of Dance
After my last post reporting on AquaBallet at the V&A Waterfront, I was invited to take photos of Cape Town City Ballet dancers practising at the UCT School of Dance (see this map).

What I can say about the experience is that it's strangely intimidating walking into a full ballet class, camera in hand. But it seemed as though the dancers were friendly enough, and soon I was clicking away without any fear that they'd bandy together in a circle around me, hissing and snarling. :D

Okay, they weren't *that* scary... I guess that's just my picture-oriented mind getting carried away. Truth be told, I sat in a corner for most of the time clicking photo after photo and listening to Professor Triegaardt directing the dancers - "No, look that way...", "Less cheek to cheek, more eyebrow to eyebrow...", "Throw the balls that way and try not to hit the camera." :)

How to support Cape Town City Ballet

Cape Town City Ballet is a non-profit organisation, so if you have a passion for ballet and would like support the art, visit this page for more details.

Yellowtail fishing and recreational permits

Yellowtail fish

I came across this spear-fisherman and his brother at Scarborough busy trying to sell the last of the ten yellowtail that they'd speared close to Cape Point. Their price? R100 per fish! Isn't that just a crazy price? I'm not 100% sure what yellowtail costs in supermarkets, but I'm sure that it's in excess of R50 per kilogram, making this buy an absolute bargain.

The only reason I didn't buy one was that I'd have had to transport it 65 kilometres home in the back of my car, without a proper fish bag to contain the fishy aroma. :)

I wrote an article a while back about recreational fishing around the Cape Peninsula, so check that out for details on where to purchase permits - they're really cheap. I had a quick look for limits with respect to quotas for line fish like yellowtail and it appears as though it's currently limited to ten per person. So, if you're lucky enough to bag a whole lot of yellowtail, make sure that you only take ten - the fines are pretty hefty.

To Hout Bay from Kommetjie

Hout Bay from a Kommetjie beach

Today's photo was taken just a little way from the photo in this post; in the distance, over the ocean, you can see Hout Bay.

The route from Kommetjie to Hout Bay has one of the prettiest views in the country - it's the famous Chapman's Peak Drive (M6), which you can see on this map. Check out the Chapman's Peak Drive website for information on whether or not the road is open (it sometimes closes in the event of rockfalls), the toll cost for using the road, and beautiful photos taken from the many viewing spots along the way.

In good weather, Chappies (our affectionate name for the road) is definitely worth the trip and the small toll charge. It may even be a cool idea to visit Cape Point in the early morning, take the coastal road past Scarborough through to Kommetjie and Noordhoek, and then head over Chappies and have lunch in Hout Bay. Keep in mind that there's lots to see along the way, so you may only end up in Hout Bay for a mid-afternoon lunch. If you're unfamiliar with the route, take a look at this route map that I drew using Google Maps.

Fresh bread in Kommetjie

Village Bakery Bistro

We met up with a friend of ours for lunch in Kommetjie, at Village Bakery Bistro. While it's a pretty building and very easy to find, don't go expecting to have a beautiful ocean view (you can see a bit of the sea in the distance, but only from the outside section). I think, however, that the fresh bread that they bake on-site (and provide with meals) has to go at least some way to make up for the lack of view.

The smells from the bakery were so good that I think that if we go out to the South Peninsula for a picnic (or even perhaps another braai at Jo's place in Scarborough) I'll have to put off packing in rolls from home and rather pick up a few from Village Bakery Bistro. :)

Sun, sand and beach umbrellas

Beach umbrella

It's been pretty warm in Cape Town, so Kerry-Anne and I decided to escape the heat of the northern suburbs by heading out to Kommetjie (close to Noordhoek) for some fresher, cooler, sea breezes. Although marginally cooler due to the nice sea breeze, it was still pretty warm out on that side of the peninsula.

I took the photo of this umbrella on a small beach in Kommetjie while the owners were sitting in the gentle waves a few metres to the right of us. I did find it a little strange that there weren't any more people swimming in the area. There were (further down the coast, to the right) a dozen or more surfers catching waves... but very few sunbathers.

Perhaps it was the cool breeze that discouraged people from visiting, or perhaps everyone had suddenly realised just how harsh the African sun is. ;-)

An empty Robinson Drydock

Robinson Drydock

I posted a close-up photo of the Robinson Drydock filled with boats once. So, when I passed by and saw that she was empty, and since the ambient light was so exquisite, there was no question, I had to take a moment to capture this photo.

This photo was taken from the other side. The Pumphouse, mentioned in this post, is also on the other side, but off to the left of this shot.

This is really a beautiful time of the year to be in Cape Town, wouldn't you agree?

2010 Football World Cup – loads to get done

Cape Town Stadium

So, in my previous photo I showed a view of the Cape Town Stadium in all its majesty. I zoomed in from the same vantage point (just above the highest road in Green Point) to capture this photo (and this one) of workmen furiously putting the final touches on the 68,000-seater grand structure.

There were many South Africans (around the time of the announcement that the 2010 Football World Cup was to be hosted here) that were negative and said things like there's no way that we'd be ready to host the World Cup. They said that there was no way that we'd be able to build the stadiums required to host such a large event.

Since the announcement we've seen several new roads, bridges and stadiums spring up out of the earth. With the World Cup only a few months away, there's still a lot to get done and time will tell whether or not our country was able to host such a large event successfully, and whether or not we'll end the month proud to be African.

If I were to put my money on it, I'd say June's going to be a good one.

The Cape Town Stadium – a prime location

Cape Town Stadium

The predecessor to the Cape Town Stadium was known as Green Point Stadium. The old stadium was somewhat underwhelming when compared to the new one that you can see in this picture.

I remember a few years back going to watch bands like Metallica and singers like Robbie Williams performing at Green Point Stadium. I even remember having a school athletics competition there many years ago. The old Green Point Stadium holds many memories for many South Africans, but even so, I can't say that I'm sad to see it replaced with a sparkling-white shiny new stadium. :)

Old Cape Town’s Oranjezicht

Old Cape Town's Oranjezicht

The suburb Oranjezicht (which means "orange view" in Dutch) was named after the old fruit and vegetable farm that used to exist here in the 17- and 1800s. Several theories remain for why the farm was called Oranjezicht - a popular one being that it had many orange and lemon trees, which (when in season) must have given the view from the homestead an orange hue.

However, the theory that I favour is that it got its name from the fifth bastion of the Castle of Good Hope, called "Oranje", which on a clear day would have been visible from the farm. This bastion in fact points towards where the farm would have been situated. See the the purple line that I drew on this Google Map, from the Castle of Good Hope's Oranje bastion to the suburb Oranjezicht.

Of course, you could argue that the bastion got its name due to the orange and lemon trees growing on the slopes of Table Mountain. But you'd be wrong. :) The bastion actually took on the name of the Dutch prince of Orange, Prins Willem van Oranje.

I took this photo in the opposite direction from the one in my previous post; that dark patch with cloud above is Table Mountain, so at this point I had my back to the Castle of Good Hope, and the bastion Oranje.

Vredehoek, a suburb of the city

Villa Portuguese Restaurant & Pizzeria

Vredehoek, Gardens and Oranjezicht are three old suburbs found just above the inner city on the slopes of Table Mountain, just to the right of Devil's Peak. For me, these three are more or less merged into a single large suburb, and I never know when I'm in one or the other.

You'll see a sign reading "Villa" on the left of the photo. That's the entrance to Villa Portuguese Restaurant & Pizzeria, and based on the restaurant's address (176 Upper Buitenkant Street, Vredehoek), it's safe to say that I took this photo in Vredehoek!

Something cool that I noticed when I zoomed in on the photo (and something that you may like to keep in mind) is that there's a sign posted in the window that reads "Mondays, 50% off pizza, sit down only". We may just have to take them up on that offer... :)

Cape Town City Ballet

Spinning ballet dancer
At the risk of sounding uncultured and like a broken record, I'd have to say that I'm not a ballet-appreciating kind of guy. The thought of watching an entire performance would normally draw tears from my eyes (or yawns from my jaw).

But, hugely to my surprise, while shooting photos only a couple of metres from the stage, I somehow developed an affinity and appreciation for the art. The show put on by Cape Town City Ballet (at Aqua Festival) was absolutely amazing! The precision by which the dancers moved every part of their body, the perfect timing, their flexibility - it was all out of this world (see the photos here). I think for me it made a huge difference being able to see the dancers really close up (with my zoom lens). I was able to see expressions on their faces that told the story of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. I was even able to see the perspiration on their brows that revealed how much effort they were exerting and exactly how strenuous and non-nancy-pancy the performance was! :)

Guys, seriously, at least once, take time out to watch a ballet performance. And, when you do, buy the most expensive tickets that you can, as close to the stage as you can. And, once you've done all of this, take along your pair of Bushnell binoculars (or riflescope if you really want to look macho). ;)

If you're in Cape Town, you could try to make a date to see dancers from the Cape Town City Ballet company perform The Sleeping Princess, the story of Sleeping Beauty. It's still showing until 10 January at the Artscape Theatre Centre and tickets cost between R70 and R105.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the V&A Waterfront

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

There's something soothing about the deep bass voices of a group of singing black men. I think it's completely unlike what any of their white counterparts could do. If you're not from Africa (or are, but haven't heard it before) then it's something that you should certainly experience. I didn't even understand the words that were being sung, but in some ways I think that's a good thing - it prevents you from being distracted by the words, and helps you to feel the music and perhaps the meaning of the words.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo (LSBM) and their style of music has its origin in the mines of South Africa. Joseph Shabalala (here's a photo of him), leader of the Grammy-Award-winning group, assembled the members of LSBM from family, relatives and friends in his hometown of Ladysmith. The group quickly rose to fame by winning every singing competition they entered.

The group's name is made up of one place-name and two concepts: Ladysmith is their home town, Black refers to the strong black oxen that were prevalent in their farming community, and Mambazo means axe. In other words - the singing group from Ladysmith that is so strong that it cuts down every other group in every competition. :) Voila! Ladysmith Black Mambazo!

An interesting fact that you may not be aware of is that LSBM co-wrote and recorded two tracks on Paul Simon's Graceland album in 1986. Do any songs come to mind? Of course they do! Possibly the first one you may think of is Homeless; the other is Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.

LSBM will be singing at the V&A Waterfront again on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 January at 20h30 (see my photos from the event here). If you haven't seen them before, go along and prepare to relax to the sound of deep, dark African voices. (You can buy tickets online or at the little Computicket caravan near the Aquarium's entrance.)

Axene – Princess of Pop

Axene, pop star
Axene is a 17-year-old pop princess from Vredenburg (near Saldanha, just a little way up our West Coast). While her song choice and style appeals mostly to kids and younger teenagers, I have to admit that her show at Aqua Festival (see the photo album here) wasn't bad at all - in fact, she could have a really great career ahead of her. She's got a really good voice, awesome stage presence, and a whole lot of energy. And besides for playing piano, she also plays guitar and drums. Now that's not too shabby at all for a teen pop artist, is it?

Her show also included a young lead guitarist, who accompanied her on several songs; award-winning solo artist Shaun V; and a talented team of dancers from the Waterfront Theatre Company. Together they performed songs by Rihanna, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Abba, Michael Jackson and more. And they were all really pretty darn good!

Axene is playing at the Waterfront's Aqua Festival until 6 January, so if you have young kids, perhaps take this opportunity to introduce them to the world of live concerts. I'm pretty sure you'll end up enjoying it too. :)

Jazz on water

Yacht basin an the V&A Waterfront

I'm not much of a jazz fan, but I have to admit that the AquaJazz show at the V&A Waterfront's Aqua Festival was pretty good. I took this photo to the right of the stage, a little while before the show - as the light was fading. Isn't the yacht basin just beautiful? It must be awesome to own an apartment that's part of such a beautiful view... even more, it must be awesome to own that huge yacht in the middle of the photo!

The seals that you see on the jetty are interesting creatures. For each show that I've attended they've sat on the jetty talking to each other in their dog-like grunts and barks. The jetty connects to a landing that the performers use to walk to the stage, and often the stage security guys have to spray water on the seals to encourage them to move off the landing so that the performers can make their way to the stage without being pushed into the water by a huge lumbering seal.

It's really entertaining to watch the little dance between the seals and the security people. :D

Edit: I've just published an album for the AquaJazz show here.

In the beginning… there was 2010

2010 and the Football World Cup

For South Africa, 1 January 2010 in some way marks the start of a new era. As I walked through the Waterfront I wasn't sure whether or not it was reality or my own thoughts that caused me to think that something felt different in the air, in the vibe.

Perhaps it's difficult for people who're not at all interested in football to understand the significance of a country hosting the Football World Cup. Two of the reasons why it's important to us are:

  1. Football is a huge sport worldwide, and the country hosting the event in a sense has a massive captive audience. Tourism is a big industry in our country. Increasing tourism in the long-term leads to more jobs for people who currently don't have work.
  2. The vast majority of our population is black, and during the battle with apartheid, football was the one outlet that they had. From what I've read, it was a place to have fun and (in a way) temporarily forget about their oppression. Although apartheid itself is a thing of the past, the legacy it left still continues to affect our society in many ways. And so the excitement and passion of The Beautiful Game continues to be an escape for many from the difficulties of their everyday lives.

For several years, the dream of hosting the World Cup, with a chance to see the stars in action, has been just that - a distant dream. Perhaps the realisation that this dream is finally about to come true is the greatest reason why 2010 has been met with huge optimism, excitement and expectation. Make sure you can say, "I was there." ;-)