Wines of South Africa, or WOSA, is the marketing and promotional body for SA wines internationally. Every year they host their marketing managers based in other countries, for a Strategy Conference and AGM. This year they identified Darling as a key region to visit and we were delighted to have them here and show them what we have to offer.

All well and good… but we were then told we had to have a theme, as all the other regions had a theme – and this is where it got very interesting, indeed even heated at one stage! As we pointed out:

  •  While we certainly make some great blends – we are not JUST blends;
  •  While we certainly make some great varietals – we are not JUST varietals;
  •  We do not claim to “own” any varietal as some other regions do;
  •  Our THEME is our DIVERSITY and our common aim is for our individual wines to “speak for themselves”.

Indeed, if you look at the wines from Darling that have been attracting awards and a lot of attention recently you will find SEASALTER, LIME KILNS, CHARLES DARLING, LADY ANNE, SALT OF THE EARTH, DRIE PAPENFONTEIN, LYNCHPIN,
HOMTINI and ROAN RANGER – and the list goes on.

Tim Atkin, Wine MasterAll of these wines reflect their uniqueness and that is what makes them so attractive to serious wine people – people
order them by NAME and not by the varietals which they may contain.

Darling simply does not do “boxed in” in thought or deed. The last decade especially has seen probably more
innovation than the previous 20 years; it is all so exciting.

PS: There was an interesting postscript to our “diversity spat” in that when Tim Atkin MW, also a recent visitor to our area, released his report he listed “The 10 Things you need to Know about South African Wines” and a key paragraph is headed as follows:
– please come back soon – Darling is Diversity.

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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.

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!

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