A Guesthouse Owner’s wishlist

The hospitality industry is a tough one and operators are always expected to have a smile on their faces. ‘Jane Doe’ fled the crime and grime of the city and found herself in the mayhem of guest crime and grime, running a budget accommodation establishment in a small Karoo town.

Here are some of the items on her “I wish you wouldn’t ” list for guests.

Please don’t arrive with your dog/s without prior agreement. It’s too late now to turn you away, even if it means that my dogs/cats have to be locked up out of harm’s way for the entire weekend.

Please don’t blitz-mail out multiple urgent requests for accommodation and then fail to tell me you’ve “found something else” when I’ve been holding the space for you for a week.

Please don’t move the furniture around. Why would you want to rearrange my rooms. Twin beds are twin beds and I told you that right upfront. If you want a second double bed  for your friends please book somewhere else.

Please don’t drag the sofa across the room – when you shoved it in front of the fireplace it got covered in ash and burns from wood sparks.

Please tell me if you’ve broken something; I can’t do a daily inventory and it’s embarrassing when the next guests arrive and there are only three wineglasses and no salad bowl.

Please don’t save your hair-colouring date for a weekend away in my guest cottage; the red/brown/black dye is impossible to remove from my white towels. It would also be nice if you removed your mascara and lipstick before going to bed.

My fridge door is no stronger than yours, and 3 x 2-litre cokes and 3 bottles of wine is just too much in a door rack. After you left it was hanging on a thread and believe it or not, the handyman actually charges me every time he comes out to fix it.

Do you fill the bath to the brim at home? I don’t think so… then don’t do it when you’re in somebody else’s home. How do I know? The ring, darling, the ring. In the same vein, do you stand on your own towels and leave them on the floor… mmm. Not a nice habit, especially with muddy feet.

And please don’t use my white towels to polish up your Harley, however much you love it.

Do your children roller skate and ride bicycles in your own home?

Please don’t be so shocked when I charge money for children to stay. Are they sleeping in beds. Are they using hot water. Are they writing on the walls and spilling juice on my bedspread. Well, then yes, they will pay to sleep, even if it’s only half price.

Try to match your expectations and the services offered, with the price. For R200 per person a night, you’re getting down duvets, spotless white pure cotton sheets and towels and immaculate premises. As well as character, history and priceless views.

The air conditioning is a luxury. Leaving it on 24 hours a day is an offence. Pumping the heat up to a tropical 30deg C in midwinter offends not only me, but also the environment.

If you put all the heaters, aircon and oven on at once the electricity will trip; that’s how I know you’re being naughty and hoping to get away with it. I mentioned that in my welcome note. Now I also know you didn’t read it…

If checkout time is 10 am please don’t ask if you can stay till 12 “just because it’s so lovely here”. Invariably there are other guests checking in at 2 and we don’t have a fleet of housekeeping staff as in a hotel.

Is your own charlady is faced with a tower of dirty dishes, braai pans, scorched potholders and beer spills on the floor the morning after a braai? Does she have to turn the place around in double-quick time for a new set of guests. No? Well please don’t expect my charlady to do that either.

And when you leave, please don’t grudgingly peel off those banknotes! Peel off just one more, green, brown, or a nice big red one. Hotel and restaurant staff get tips, don’t they? So why should the staff of a budget self-catering establishment in a small Karoo dorp be any different.

Last week’s prizewinning question: “Can we make a fire?”
Me: “Yes of course”
“Where is the fireplace?”
Me: “It’s that big hole in the wall in the living room”.

Thank you, and have a wonderful holiday.

June 2012.

The EDP will be a success because there is a need for it

This is the third in a series of views on the establishment of the Western Cape’s recently-announced Economic Development Partnership.

The EDP will be a success because there is a need for it. After 18 years of getting to grips with a new democratic governance model for the country, provinces and local government we have a much better understanding of what is required to get the economy to grow at an accelerated pace. Most of the diagnostic work and experience tell a similar story – we cannot break out of the constraints of slow unequal growth without tackling the soft issues as well as creating investment opportunities.

By soft issues I mean the quality of relationships, network, leadership and the role of identity.  The level of social capital and social capital formation often is an indicator of a society’s ability to get things done.

The parts of those issues that the EDP will tackle are to build partnerships for economic cohesion in order to achieve accelerated growth. Such cohesion requires leadership and consensus amongst economic development agencies, stakeholders, government,business and labour – the essence of a partnership.

The EDP then has a very important role to play as a catalyst, a role which currently is vacant.

To be successful the EDP needs to establish a track record of credibility that it is not an agency for any particular stakeholder or political agenda. Its independence must not be contested and it has to remain secular in securing its victories.

Success breeds success. The EDP cannot yet claim a track record and the biggest challenge is for it to build that track record through innovation – by doing what has not been done before. To do this it must speak with its own voice.

It is not axiomatic that complex problems must have complex solutions. Likewise the prospect of the EDP being able to play a catalyst role and bring about greater economic development cohesion to the Western Cape isgood because the Western Cape is more socially fractured than most provinces.  The Western Cape has not been politically stable, has serious identity issues and is less capable of mobilising social capital.

The Western Cape lacks the space for common purpose to be pursued for the interests of inclusive growth.  The EDP can create that space without it being a negotiating forum.

Will the EDP be just an alignment of interests, or will it achieve much more?  I find that the analogy with a positive catalyst to be the most useful way to think about it. A positive catalyst speeds up a chemical reaction without being consumed by it. So too the EDP can act as a catalyst for economic growth without becoming an apex body (an association of associations).

The big question for many will be “What’s in it for me?”  My approach to that is “opportunity”.

The EDP will unlock opportunities which previously were not available/accessible and members have a duty to ensure that they are optimally positioned realise those opportunities. The flip side is: “What is the opportunity cost in not joining the EDP (on the assumption that it is effective?”

My personal hope is that it is so successful, that it becomes widely emulated.

By Ashoek Adhikari

Ashoek Adhikari, General Counsel at Media24

Ashoek Adhikari, General Counsel at Media24

Ashoek Adhikari  is the General Counsel at Media24. He is an attorney by profession and after practising law he moved into the public sector, where he held various positions in the provincial administration of the Western Cape in the portfolios of environmental and cultural affairs, social services and poverty alleviation, housing and local government. Before moving to Media24 he was the chief operating officer in the Office of the Premier.

He was active in the governance of the attorney’s profession and served as a councillor of the Cape Law Society from 1998 and as vice-president from 2001 to 2004, during this time he chaired the Law Society of South Africa’s transformation committee and served on the steering committee of the Minister of Justice to draft the transformation charter for the attorney’s profession. He is currently the chairperson of the audit and risk committee of the Attorneys Fidelity Fund, Deputy Chairperson of the Isandla Institute and a director of Welkom Yizani.

Improving the economy, advancing job creation

This is the second in a series of views on the establishment of the Western Cape’s recently-announced Economic Development Partnership.

Firstly the establishment of the Economic Development Partnership is a huge opportunity for the people of the Western Cape to tackle the challenges of sustainable economic growth and job creation in a new and innovative way.

The Provincial and City government has committed wholeheartedly to the full and transparent participation in this process which they have agreed to put in the hands of an independent body to spearhead in the interest of the Province and all its people. This is a big and unusual leap of faith on the part of the politicians and for this reason, among many others; we must ensure that this non-partisan body works effectively to deliver the results that we all expect. It is important that we maintain the non-partisan nature of the partnership so that we ensure the free participation of the widest possible membership.

Secondly the Economic Development Partnership provides the space within which different players can work collaboratively to achieve the broader goal of providing a better life for all without it being necessary for any partner to forsake his or her organizational beliefs and traditions. The partnership will have to remain resolute about not allowing petty organizational rivalry to interfere with the achievement of the targets set by the partnership.

The only measure that the partnership should use to determine if a programme should be pursued or not is whether such a programme will improve the economy, advance job creation and benefit the people of the Western Cape generally.

The Economic Development Partnership is about collaboration, cooperation, a common agenda for economic growth and job creation, providing leadership and ultimately joint action from members. If we can achieve this in our province then we would not only have ensured a better economic future for ourselves but we would also have changed the culture of cooperation within our society.

Only the naïve among us will believe that this is an easy task that could be achieved in the short term by a few people sitting in smoke filled rooms in some fancy hotel. While this is a very important opportunity provided to the people of the Western Cape we must not underestimate the enormity of this demanding task that will require great wisdom, patience and tenacity. In order that we may have the best chance of success we must collectively ensure that we nominate and elect to the Board of the EDP the smartest people in this Province. The smartest people are those who are innovative, creative, systems thinkers, team players, consensus seekers, collaborators and persons who understand the economy and the people of the Western Cape.

I am very excited about this opportunity and realise the enormous responsibility we will be asking the first Board of the EDP to shoulder. However, if every organisation, structure and group in the Western Cape supports the members of the Board of the EDP then at least they will be encouraged to tackle this task with vigor and enthusiasm.

Prof Brian Figali

Prof Brian Figaji

By Prof Brian Figaji

  • Retired Vice Chancellor of Peninsula Technikon
  • Recently retired as a non Executive Director of Nedbank
  • Retired non Executive Director of the DBSA
  • Currently Chairman of I&J Ltd
  • Currently Chairman of the South African National commission for UNESCO
  • Serves on a number of NGOs

An effective partnership between citizens, business & government

 This is the first in a series of views on the establishment of the Western Cape’s recently-announced Economic Development Partnership.

The Western Cape Government’s number one goal is to create the opportunities for businesses and citizens to grow the economy. We want to create a Western Cape that is a better place to invest and make a profit, to do business, get a job and earn a living, for everyone.

This is a goal we cannot achieve on our own.

It is with this understanding in mind that two years ago, I proposed the formation of an institution that would bring together all actors in the economy in order to build effective partnerships between citizens, business and government.

Following an intensive study of the best Economic Development agencies in the world, and work on a model to suit our region, the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP) was consequently launched on 26 April 2012 as an independent, membership-based not-for-profit company to lead, co-ordinate and drive the Western Cape economic delivery system.

Thus far, 60 organisations have expressed their interest in joining the EDP, including sector promotion bodies and economic development agencies from across the province.

The EDP will provide a new way of working together to deliver better outcomes.

In its first year, the EDP will focus on:

  • Formulating a co-constructed, strategically coherent plan for the Western Cape economy that includes an analysis of our risks and opportunities;
  • Building effective partnerships between citizens, business and government;
  • Co-ordinating a strategy towards contested markets and building a strong economic and business brand through an integrated platform;
  • Continuously monitoring the performance of the economic delivery system and make recommendations for service delivery improvements; and
  • Co-ordination of a regional market attraction, retention and expansion strategy

Let me take the opportunity to clarify the role of the EDP, its structure and its membership.

The EDP will not be driven by the Western Cape Government and it is not a government institution.

In a letter to the Cape Times, EDP convenor, Andrew Boraine, explained that the EDP is a voluntary, independent, non-partisan organisation that will focus on building effective partnerships for inclusive growth.

Membership is open to all organisations that constitute the Western Cape economic delivery system, drawn from twelve categories of potential members. These include government and government agencies, local authorities, industry associations and sector development agencies, knowledge-based institutions, training and skills development organisations, non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations and social movements, local economic development partnerships, business associations, trade unions and professional associations.

There is one class of membership; all members will therefore have equal status. There is no special position for government, or business, or funders.

The Western Cape Government does not even have a guaranteed seat on the Board. Like all potential members of the EDP, we have submitted an expression on interest form to join the EDP, and look forward to working with this body in years to come toward achieving our primary goal of growing our economy and creating jobs.

In the months to come, the board and CEO of the EDP will be appointed.

I am confident the EDP will deliver on its objectives for the benefit of the people of our Province.

By Alan Winde

Alan Winde

Alan Winde, Western Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism

Alan Winde has been a member of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature since 1999. During his first term, he served as Western Cape Provincial Finance Chairman and Executive Committee Member with the Democratic Party. Prior to being re-elected in April 2009, he served as the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition in the Western Cape, as DA Spokesperson on Environment and Planning and as Deputy DA Spokesperson on Economic Development and Tourism.

Prior to his first election to the legislature, he served as a councillor in the Outeniqua Rural Council and the South Cape District Council. Alan Winde also has experience as an entrepreneur, having started up a number of small businesses, as a director of a tour company, and as a business broker with Aldes Business Brokers, a South African Top 100 Company.

Alan Winde became Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism in May 2009, shortly after the DA won the Western Cape Province. Minister Winde gained his political prowess by working from the bottom up – first as a councillor, then as a member of the Provincial Legislature, and finally, as Minister of the Provincial Government. In his two years in office, Minister Winde has initiated exciting new projects to increase the attractiveness of the Western Cape as an investment destination, and stimulate job-creating growth. In the coming years, the Minister would like to see the Western Cape become a centre of business excellence, where an efficient and corruption-free administration works together with an educated and healthy civil society to ensure better lives for all.

The State of the Fresh Fruit Market in South Africa

While browsing at my local Supermarket some time back, I had a sudden urge to quaff a long draft of delicious, fresh orange juice. I immediately set off in search of a pocket of the best of what South Africa could boast of, in the way of enticing fresh fruit that would burst forth with the taste of orchard fresh nectar !

I used to be a Citrus farmer, and there was nothing nicer than to select, and eat a freshly reaped ripe, juicy orange out of the fruit trailer, just before it was transported to the pack house where it was transformed into an enticing, alluring, shining, carefully waxed, and wrapped example of fruity goodness. As one bit into a segment, the abundant cascade of pure heaven used to fill our mouths with unadulterated tangy thirst-quenching pleasure. I suppose this image has stayed with me, and I thought that I could perhaps get close to repeating the dream.

I noticed pockets of “oranges” lying on a pallet. They contained fruit that had a dull orange color. On closer investigation I noticed that there was a typical metallic sheen to the fruit. The pockets were labeled as having come from Zebedelia Estate in Limpopo Province. The fruit was not fit for pig food. Then I remembered how the Citrus Industry in the Lowveld, with specific reference to oranges, was dealt a death-blow, especially to groves in the higher lying areas, by a disastrous disease named “greening”, which renders oranges unfit for any consumption whatsoever. I also remembered the sad demise of Zebedelia Estate.

Greening is caused by what is termed a Cytoplasm, (see wikipedia) which renders the fruit useless. This is because the one side of the fruit never develops further than a certain stage, which leaves that one side “green”. A casual look at some fruit will in fact not immediately identify the greening. A sure give away is to squeeze suspect fruit gently; which will produce a typical metallic sheen. If tasted, the fruit is bland, and almost juiceless. Labourers reaping citrus are instructed to drop greened fruit to the ground, where it eventually rots.

Greening disease is a secondary infection that invades the citrus groves through a vector by the name of Citricilla, which is a nymph type of creature that innocently imbeds itself into citrus leaves, in shady spots near to windbreaks. Until recently growers never realized what sort of death-knell was being rung through this vector in their industry. The only way to prevent the Citricilla spreading too rapidly, is to not plant citrus in high-lying cool areas, but only in areas with a hot sultry climate where Citricilla does not easily thrive. It is however wise to practice pest control against Citricilla in any event in the warmer areas, to prevent the possible threat of greening in those areas as well.

Once the greening phenomenon presents itself, there is virtually no hope for the trees bearing greened fruit. There were efforts to inject infected trees with anti-biotics at one stage; this was not a solution.

Zebedelia Estates was a magnificent show-piece of a citrus estate. It belonged to the Schlesinger Group in previous years. From the air it could be seen to stretch for kilometers displaying the neatly trimmed orchard lines of a well planned, organised, and adequately managed enterprise. It was reputed to be the largest private citrus estate in the world at one stage.

It used to be called “the diamond of agricultural projects,” and in 1978 the Readers’ Digest, in its Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa, wrote: “Nearly 400 million oranges are harvested each year… At the height of the season, about 15000 cases of oranges leave Zebediela every day. The fruit comes from more than 565000 trees irrigated by enough water to supply a city…” (p. 122) The harvest was worth R30 million a year. But after its hand-over to the Agricultural and Rural Development Corporation of the ruling ANC Government the estate suffered a loss of R30 million in 2000 and of R35 million in 2001. The press reported that it was “beyond recovery.” A lemon yield worth R8 million was left to rot because there was no money to pay staff. In March 2001 ABSA Bank stopped all credit and bounced a pension cheque for R56 million. The seller had been only too ready to help the new owners, but their assistance was rejected.

And so this marvellous icon, cash cow, source of foreign exchange, basic food producer, and a showcase of proficient and successful agricultural management, was systematically neglected and then allowed to disintegrate into total and absolute ruin.

Some enterprising hawkers now reap whatever fruits that have had the misfortune to hang on neglected trees, still not cut down for firewood, badly infected with diseases like greening, stuff them into orange pockets, and then sell them cheaply to some greedy entrepreneur who is trying to make a quick “buck” out of any unsuspecting ignorant shopper, who can’t see the difference between poor and healthy fruit. Unfortunately in this instance, the Law says, “buyer beware”. The irony of the whole affair is that the product brazenly displays a Zebedelia label, showing the origin of this abortion !

Then a supermarket franchisee proudly displays this tragedy on his “fresh fruit” pallet as an example of his choice of a quality high standard delicious product.

I tried to find out what the current policy was as far as the quality of local fruit was concerned; in earlier years it was illegal for anyone to sell fruit locally of any kind that did not conform to export internal quality standards. I was referred from pillar to post between officials from various bodies, private and otherwise, involved with guidelines for the quality and sale of fruit. I was eventually told that only export fruit with required standards was controlled, and that the bodies involved with the regulation of local fruit quality in the old days no longer existed, and that local fruit was no longer controlled for quality, and that it was impossible to monitor the myriads of people selling fruit anyhow. In other words, one is virtually at the mercy of unscrupulous operators who certainly don’t care a hoot about the sale of quality healthy fruit. What about those shoppers who are not in any position to make trips to other places, where they may have a choice of purchase? I suppose that one could surmise that if one doesn’t really want to deliver this kind of service – well, so what anyhow.

Someone I know whom has recently relocated to Qatar in the Persian Gulf says that excellent quality fruit from the different countries in the world is abundantly available, with fruit from South Africa of better quality than she ever saw even in the supermarkets in the Cape where she was before. I wonder what we South Africans did wrong to have to be saddled with our poor quality, or should I ask why vendors that have a duty to showcase the best that we have, with pride, and commitment to service, and the protection of their and our good name, cannot (or refuse to), rise to the occasion. I feel positively ashamed to refer precious overseas tourists to our local supermarket.

I do still wish I could make my dream come true.

Social Media and Freedom of Speech

Cape Town Tourism logoThe debate over freedom of speech in social media and the fine line between constructive and destructive criticism is an interesting talking point. Social media is pushing the traditional boundaries of freedom of speech.

The internet, and the immediacy thereof, is providing many new ways to interact with ideas. Blogs and social media are public spaces where metacognition rules.  The social media environment has given rise to a new phenomenon where content is generated and directed by consumer opinion and experience.  The consumer has become the marketer, the producer and the critic. Cape Town Tourism uses what is called the customer journey  as the very foundation of our marketing strategy, singling out the customer as Cape Town’s most important  marketer and story teller. We have embraced social media and the web as the most effective and cost-effective marketing platform of our city and its incredible experiences. In the run-up to the World Cup we decided to use Facebook to create a virtual fan park for Cape Town in our quest to turn soccer fans into fans of Cape Town.

The I ♥ Cape Town fan page was launched on 11 June 2010 (one year to kickoff) and quickly became a growing and active Cape Town brand ambassador community of proud citizens, homesick expats, previous visitors yearning for a return trip to the Mother City and first time visitors asking advice and tips from other fans. We stand at more than 160 000 fans, making it one of the largest destination Facebook fan pages. The rapid growth of the page was not aided by paid advertising. It has been purely organic, which shows the strength of brand Cape Town and the impact it has had on the lives of locals, international and domestic visitors, expats and the industry. It also illustrates that the story, more so than the product, has become the unique selling point. It is a story told by many voices and these voices cannot always be controlled or managed.

Whilst we are staunch supporters of freedom of expression, it does come with a great sense of responsibility. We have learnt that rules do apply to the world of Social Media, especially if you want your voice to be taken seriously and to garner respect – we apply some basic, unwritten rules of journalistic ethics, decency and professionalism to our social media presence and activities.

When social media, and in this case blogs, become soap boxes where ego’s clash and all sense of professionalism and decency is discarded for the sake of controversy and a better ranking on search engines, then I question the value of these platforms of “freedom of expression and opinion”. As someone else has said on this topic, no one benefits, least of all the tourism industry.

There is a very fine line between constructive feedback and personal vendettas disguised as professional reviews. As an industry we do need constructive criticism and Cape Town Tourism welcomes this, but when comments and feedback become destructive it serves very little purpose.  Just because blogs and social media are free and easily accessible doesn’t mean that rules of playing fair and good old common sense and decency need not apply.

The current debate has again highlighted the importance of defining the principles of honesty, transparency, respect, privacy, relevance, and responsibility within the social media communications realm. All of us participating in social media platforms, whether in our personal or professional capacity, are part of public dialogue and discourse. We need to take responsibility for our views expressed and the repercussions thereof.

Mariette du Toit-Helmbold

Mariette du Toit-Helmbold

Cape Town Tourism has specific procedures in place for dealing with grievances against our staff and / or our members. We have taken the necessary action against staff members who have helped to fuel the debate in contravention of Cape Town Tourism’s communications protocol. This does not mean that we condone bullying or will accept accusations made against a team member or a member of the industry without question.

Mariette du Toit-Helmbold is CEO of Cape Town Tourism

2010 WC: Elaine Hurford — Me and my Vuvuzela

From the threshold of the Great Karoo, 400 kms from the Green Point Stadium,  1100 kms from Soccer City,  the World Cup was something that was happening to other people.

It wasn’t going to be great anyway. Tourists would be ripped off,  or worse, just ‘offed’ – I could see the headlines, feel the shame,  hear the “I told you so’s” from the world’s media. Tour bus crashes, gruesome murders, hijackings, robberies……….

So, tuned out of the World Cup hysteria and most of what’s on TV anyway,  I missed the opening ceremony.  I half-watched the big concert – all those lights! all that equipment! – wondering when the power would go down and plunge the nation into irredeemable embarassment in full view of an audience of a gillion million viewers.

At the very least I expected a series of Eskom’s banners to sail past the performers with warnings to “use electricity wisely” as the national supply was “under severe pressure”.  Huh? Nothing happened.  Well, that’s a start, I thought – at least the nation can stage a big concert.

Our neighbouring town, baby sibling de Rust,  had for months, sported swathes of patriotic red, yellow, green, blue, black and white wrapped impressively round an avenue of bluegums on the main road through the town between Meiringspoort and Oudtshoorn. Why hadn’t I seen anything at home in Prince Albert? I started to feel a little indignant. My soccer sap was rising. Where was our dorp’s spirit!

Better late than never, soccer balls were hoisted in the bluegums outside African Relish,  flags raised  at Onse Rus guesthouse, balls and bunting appeared outside the Tourism Bureau, Rudy van der Ley hung two giant soccer balls on his stoep, and car flags and mirror flags bedecked every second vehicle in the town. I didn’t have a flag to my name and the World Cup was under way. Nor did I have a vuvuzela, which had finally penetrated  my consciousness as the soccer accessory du jour.

Now I was a woman on a mission. Although I wasn’t quite ready to commit to a 16-inch plastic bugle made in China,  I was on a hunt for a flag.

First let me explain that flag suppliers and vuvuzela stockists are thin on the ground in a small town in the middle of the Karoo. We have Pep, the co-op, the bottle store, a hardware shop…….. and aside from a lot of guesthouses and restaurants, not much else in the way of the sort of places where you can just stroll in and buy a flag.

My first flag (a scrap of nylon on a plastic stick) arrived from Oudtshoorn via a friend who’d gone to do a day’s shopping. “But I wanted two” I wailed “one for each side of the car.”  My R25 flag was the last one left in Oudtshoorn.

"patriotism was pumping through my veins"

By now, patriotism was pumping through my veins. I surprised myself  by  engaging in a furious Facebook debate with someone who thought the vast new SA flag raised on the Donkin in Port Elizabeth (presumably in honour of the World Cup) was reminiscent of Nazi Germany, and by trawling the internet for the meaning of our flag’s colours. I mastered the words of the national anthem in minutes. And I boughtt a HUGE flag at the farm stall a few days later, which spanned my front gate right in the face of every tourist driving into town. Now it was time to get a vuvuzela in time for the first match : SA against whoever.

Too late. Although I hadn’t heard a single blast in town, every vuvuzela in Prince Albert was sold out. I trudged from shop to shop and by the time the petrol attendant at the BP garage told me smugly they were “alles uitverkooop” I nearly strangled her.

The last resort was “Maydays” Handelswinkel,  the Chinese shop round the corner. Now possessed by a near demonic need to own a vuvuzela I was way beyond a rational response when they told me new stock would be arriving “only on Thursday”. I stormed off doing wheelies all the way home.

When I remembered to go back they had ONE vuvuzela left.  It was black. It was short. It was ugly. But it was MINE. Never was R15 more willingly spent.  I tried to give it a blast on the way home but all that came out was hot air.

I still have no idea who our opponents were in that first match, but when Tshabalala scored That Goal I grabbed my vuvuzela, inhaled deeply, strongly and patriotically and sent out a very respectable blast towards the TV screen. And then several more.

[youtube wem0RMkh-5I]

My only audience was two alarmed dogs, who rushed off, barking hysterically, so I captured it on cellphone video for myself and  posterity. I’ll show it to my grandchildren : The Day Granny Blew the Vuvuzela.

Elaine Hurford

Elaine Hurford

Elaine Hurford

Urban emigre, living in the Karoo.
Former journalist, author, and profound soccer ignoramus.
Got gripped by world cup fever and may never fully recover.
Now inseparable from vuvu, delivering (usually inappropriate) blasts at every opportunity.
Misses the world cup spirit that pulled South Africans and the world together for a whole wonderful, bright, shining month.

2010 WC: Hilary Bama — The African Wave

On the 13th of June 2010 myself and three friends set out on a 14hrs roadtrip to Bloemfontein from Cape Town for the Cameroon-Japan game.

Stopped over in Beaufort West and a few other small towns along the road. Our interactions with the locals was massive. The spirit of the World Cup, first ever on the continent was evident everywhere.

Arrived Bloem late night and spent the night at a B&B, very welcoming host. Next morning we went out to familiarise ourselves with the city and meet other Cameroonian fans. Amazing to see the amount of local support for the African teams. Had breakfast and lunch at a local restaurant, the food was just exquisite. Then arrived the stadium and met up with other fans both from Cameroon and Japan. It was just wow. Got painted with Cameroon flag.

The fun, the fanfare, photographs — never before had i experienced such goose bumps — and the vuvuzelas.

Then it was match time. The stadium though one of the smallest of the tournament was just as exciting. I personally termed it “THE AFRICAN WAVE”, (Waving of the vuvu’s). I carried my theory of the African Wave throughout the tournament and everywhere I went I made sure to transform the area into an African Wave.

The highlight of this was clearly visible at the Cape Town Stadium on the evening of the game between Cameroon and Holland. On this day both Cameroonian and Dutch fans turned the precinct into a sea of Green and Orange. After the game, despite our African team losing, the celebrations were “wild” just the way we made the “Dutch Train” feel at home.

Hilary Gama

I am an ardent sports fan, student, and peace amabassador and believe that sport can unify the world. Consequently I'm pursuing studies in tourism and events management with a view to contribute my ten pence worth to changing the African Outlook and perceptions.

The unifying effects were so real and palatable that we were continouos forced to reecho the words like “Ayoba”, “Once in a Lifetime” “Kenako” and many other slogans related to the African World Cup.

My experiences as a spectator, a volunteer, a researcher during the event, and just an ordinary observer made me grasp the fullness and wholeness of the event from all these different perspectives, but more importantly, it made me view Africa and especially South Africa (Cape Town especially) as a Country with such extraordinary people and potential.

Hilary Bama

2010 WC: Sally Grierson — Gees

The shouting and excitement is over – the 2010 World Cup has come to an end. Congratulations to Spain who are the soccer champions but congratulations to South Africa and it’s people who are the real winners!

[youtube VmAeY8mb11I 640]

How does one pick a single moment of GEES from a month of excitement? Did it start on the 9th June 2010, with the “Blow Your Vuvzela – united we stand for Bafana Bafana?” – we rushed outside to blow as loudly as possible and felt the spirit of all colours, creeds, religions with a triumphant noise that gave shivers down the spine.

Is gees that moment, shared with a group of friends all dressed in Bafana Bafana shirts in Green Point, just above the glorious stadium? Was it the South African flags flying and vuvuzelas blowing as we watched the first Bafana Bafana game against Mexico? Was it the moment that Siphiwe Tsabalala scored the first goal of the tournament in spectacular style and we felt that surge of hope and excitement that united close friends along with a nation.

Blowing my vuvuzela in the stadium

Blowing my vuvuzela in the stadium

Is gees that moment when I first walked into Cape Town stadium for the France – Uruguay opening match in our city and was awed by the facilities and the efficiency of access and infrastructure or the complete hum of a stadium full of people bursting with pride and energy. It did not matter that no goals were scored – the interaction with French, Uruguayian and South African supporters were what mattered.

Was Gees standing at the fanfest with Table Mountain and city hall as a backdrop and seeing a little kid waving her flag, fans dancing, people interacting and a massive screen showing our dreams and those of the nations playing? Goosebump stuff.

Was Gees that moment when I first walked the fanwalk dressed in orange to support Holland, after my team was no longer a competitor for the title? Or the second or third or fifth time that I walked amidst thousands of fans who took photos of themselves, each other and me with them?

Celebrating in Orange with the Dutch

Celebrating in Orange with the Dutch

Was it that ability to talk to strangers, regardless of language and just smile? Or was it that every passing visitor that I spoke to loved my city and declared without prompting that they would be back with friends and family.

Gees could well be that insatiable feeling that we as Cape Town city and its people have created a tourism legacy. Gees could well have been catching the train from Mowbray to Cape Town, squashed in with commuters and fans alike and a spontaneous outbreak of singing our national anthem, and then Shosholoza in a harmonious rendition that touched every pore in my body.

Gees was seeing the smile on the street cleaners faces when I said thank you for keeping the city clean and seeing the SAPS officers trying not to smile when I thanked them for keeping us safe.

Gees is a friend who supported a new team because he wanted a new outfit to dress up in. Gees is the fact that the most famous animal in South Africa during the World Cup was not one of the Big 5, but a psychic octopus living in Germany!

Gees was realizing that vuvuzela’s became South Africa’s biggest brand ambassador and hearing comments such as: “I hate it when I go to a vuvuzela concert and people start playing soccer”.

Was gees sitting in a crowded bar near the stadium on match day and feeing the energy pulsating? Was gees watching a match at home with loved ones and discussing and debating football? Was gees getting advice on where to get off the taxi from a domestic worker rushing home and concerned that I would have to walk too far? Was gees being in the German club dressed in black, red and yellow to watch Germany play Spain and feeling as though I was in a German beer hall? Was gees celebrating victory or defeat with a group of fans dressed as zebras? Was gees walking on the beach and seeing children building stadiums, not sandcastles?

Was gees making every effort to see every match?

Gees was meeting people from all around the world – Argentinians, Australians, Algerians, Americans, Brazilians, Cameroonians, Chileans, Canadians, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, Germans, Ghanaians, Greeks, Irish, Italians, Japanese, Kiwis, Mexicans, Nigerians, Portuguese, Russians, Spanish, Swiss, Uruguayans … and Zebras!

I did not meet someone from every team that played but it was close and I met others visiting from countries that weren’t even competing and just came to be part of it.

Gees was being humbled by an sms from a Dutch friend as the final whistle blew on 11 July 201o which read, “South Africa! Thank you for a great World Cup”.

GEES WAS ALL OF IT, not a moment, wrapped up in a warm fuzzy feeling of pride, excitement & hope. It was singing Nkosi Sikelel’ I Africa and dancing to the Waka Waka, it was anxiety and ecstasy, it was sharing and interacting and being and feeling safe and it was all so REAL and ALIVE!

Farewell World Cup but thank you FIFA for giving us the chance and whilst Spain may be the football champs, South Africa is the winner. We were given the opportunity to welcome the world and we said “Ayoba”! We did it.

We gave the World our “gees” We depart this world cup with our heads held high and hearts full of pride.

Africa is not the dark continent many thought it was – so many people around the world have discovered South Africa and so many South Africans have discovered themselves.

I believe that it is the South African people who have made this World Cup a success. The friendship, the welcome, the enthusiasm, the humour, the support, the comaraderie, the unity, and the confidence of South Africans is the true legacy that many will remember.

There is no price that can be attached to a nation coming together. Our very own world icon Nelson Mandela (Madiba) made his entrance to Soccer City at the 2010 World Cup final on Sunday night 11 July 2010 to a standing ovation.

Madiba once said, “Through football, we can celebrate the humanity of the African continent and share it with the rest of the world.” This event was his dream and with it came so many dreams of world peace and a better life for all.

What Now? What Next? These questions may be on everyone’s lips but I have goosebumps thinking about South Africa’s achievements. I am so proud and I believe this is the start of great things to come. Perceptions of South Africa have changed and the hearts and minds of South Africans have changed.

Sally Grierson

I am a passionate Capetonian that trained as a physiotherapist but through a love of travel and many explorations, was drawn to the tourism industry. I now live, work and play in the city that I love and promote!

Thank you South Africa for hosting the first World Cup on African soil and proving the naysayers wrong. I challenge the global community to come and experience Ubuntu for yourselves.

I challenge South Africans to experience their own country like our visitors did. I challenge you to get out there and explore. We have so much to offer and so much happening in our own country.

Sally Grierson

Cape Town renewed & ready

Cape Town is Africa’s creative and lifestyle capital, and a proud host city for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. There are few places in the world that can match Cape Town’s scenic beauty and superb tourist attractions. Cradled by majestic mountains and fringed by oceans, South Africa’s oldest city boasts breathtaking natural beauty, a melting pot of cultures, and a fascinating history. Our rich cultural and architectural heritage and warm, friendly people add a special quality to this jewel on the southern tip of Africa. For these reasons and more, Cape Town is the recipient of numerous international tourism awards and visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.

Cape Town Stadium is set to become one of the world’s sporting landmarks. With its state-of-the-art facilities, outstanding design, and incomparable setting at Green Point with the backdrop of Table Mountain, it will be an iconic image of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Built at a cost of R4,5-billion, the stadium is the result of an exhaustive process of planning, public participation, environmental impact assessment and feasibility and sustainability studies. It is one of the biggest planning and construction projects the City of Cape Town has ever undertaken.

Cape Town residents who aren’t interested in the stadium or don’t understand soccer still have very good reason to appreciate the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This is because the event is giving Cape Town an injection of more than R12 billion into its economic base. This will come in the form of new and upgraded infrastructure, which will make Cape Town a better place to live in for many decades to come.

Apart from the beautiful stadium, Cape Town has been preparing itself for years now, with a range of important developments around the city that are now nearing completion. Key new infrastructure improvements are upgrades to the airport, the rail system, several major road interchanges, the Grand Parade, and the Philippi and Athlone stadiums and the redevelopment of the Green Point Common as an urban park and sport precinct. Cape Town needs all of this for 2011 and beyond, but it’s 2010 that has kick-started it into actually happening.

These investments directly benefit citizens and will also help us to promote further economic growth and job creation as we head toward 2020. For example, as a result of government investment improving the prospects of Cape Town’s CBD, the area is benefiting from between R20 and R30 billion in new private sector construction projects. Many are related to 2010, for example hotels, but they are also built because their shareholders feel Cape Town is a sustainable investment destination, with good infrastructure and services.

With all of these preparations from the side of government, setting the stage for this event, I would like to encourage the citizens and businesses of the Cape Town to make the most of the opportunities it has created. It is an opportunity for celebration and excitement. It is an opportunity for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Cape Town has the honour of hosting the 2010 Final Draw on 4 December at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. At this event the match order of the 32 participating teams will be determined, after which the teams will decide where to base themselves. The draw is another important showcase for our city and will be watched live in some 200 countries.

Dan Plato, executive mayor of Cape Town

Alderman Dan Plato, executive mayor of Cape Town

Before the end of the year, there will be weeks of events, starting with the switch-on of the festive lights on Sunday, 29 November. We will have the Final Draw event itself and public viewing in Long Street and after that we should be celebrating the completion of our stadium on 14 December, the Province and the City will host FIFA and the soccer family, FIFA will visit Robben Island, FIFA’s first Football for Hope Centre will be opened in Khayelitsha, the Sony Fevapitch soccer tournament will be held at the Waterfront and Cape Town will host the World Broadcasters Conference.

We live in a very beautiful city, and, with our stadium and our infrastructure upgrades, it just got even more beautiful. I hope it can inspire us to take Cape Town to new and even greater heights in the future. Let us be bold, let us consider all the incredible things that are really possible for us

Alderman Dan Plato, executive mayor of Cape Town