Reigning Wines2Whales champions Renay Groustra and Nico Pfitzenmaier will be looking to add the RECM Knysna 200 title to their list of successes when the three-day mountain bike race starts on the Garden Route next Friday (June 6). The Cape Town-based RSA Web-Dorma duo are returning to their best stage-racing form after reuniting for this month's Nedbank sani2c, where they placed sixth overall. Groustra, who took a break after withdrawing from the Cape Epic in April due to illness, said he had surprised himself with how he had shaped in the KwaZulu-Natal race. "I look forward to seeing how I've progressed after two weeks of solid training." His German teammate, who won the Magalies Monster by a comfortable margin two weeks ago, is also on song after opting out of multistage racing this season due to a broken thumb. Groustra said the Knysna race would be an important part of his build-up towards the marathon world championships in Pietermaritzburg, while Pfitzenmaier was preparing for the seven-day BC Bike Race in Vancouver, Canada, at the end of June. Groustra said he had decided to forego the SA champs, which coincides with the Garden Route event, as a three-day race would be better for his conditioning ahead of the international competition. He has already qualified to compete, achieving the required top-20 finish in a UCI-ranked marathon race in the MTN Series events at Sabie and Clarens. "I know that I am maybe not in the best form to contend for the national title, so for me coming to Knysna is the sensible choice." As a former winner of the Garden Route 300, Groustra said his existing route knowledge would stand him in good stead. "I've raced here many times in my career and I know the area pretty well. My parents moved up here last year, so now it definitely suits me to come 'home' a few times a year!" Cross-country masters world champion Pfitzenmaier is also no stranger to success at the RECM Knysna 200, having podiumed with . . .
Dynamic young presenters are invited to audition to MC the Finals of the 2014 ACT | DALRO | Nedbank Scholarships Awards. After a countrywide series of auditions due to take place in June, the sixth annual ACT | DALRO | Nedbank Performing Arts Scholarships will culminate in a Final performance, allowing the six finalists the opportunity to showcase their acting, dancing and singing abilities to a live audience and an independent panel of judges. Performed in the format of a variety show, the showcase of their talents needs to be brought together by a charismatic presenter into a seamless performance for the audience and judges to enjoy. The finalists will be competing to win one of three performing arts scholarships, with a combined value of R315 000. The event, hosted by UJ Arts & Culture at the University of Johannesburg, will take place on 13 October 2014. “Deciding to audition means that you have already completed the most daunting step,” says Altovise Lawrence, host of the 2013 Scholarship Awards Finals. “Being awarded the chance to be the ACT Scholarship Awards MC for 2013 was the opportunity for me to push myself to the limit. It was a gift and I was given a chance to showcase my talent on one of the biggest stages in my career thus far. The most important lessons that I walked away with was that it requires a team to see a vision through - that I do not have all the answers and that as people, it really makes a difference when we listen more.” “The ability to captivate an audience and take them through a journey that keeps them engaged is increasingly becoming a highly sought skill and career path. As a bank for all, Nedbank is committed to providing such opportunities to young and talented people who want to make their dreams happen” explains Maseda Ratshikuni, Head: Nedbank Cause Marketing. “We have been so impressed with previous MCs of the Scholarship Awards, that they have been approached to take on further work for Nedbank and other . . .
Cape Town’s original place of trade – the historic 17th century Castle on the Foreshore– will shortly be a place of entrepreneurship and trading once again. However, instead of wares such as vegetables and livestock, the products on sale from 5-8 June will be exquisite handmade goods from 110 craft producers and designer makers. The Cape Craft & Design Institute (CCDI) has teamed up with Kamers for this huge retail pop-up event, part of the World Design Capital 2014 programme (#265). The CCDI was established in 2001 to promote and grow the Western Cape craft and design sector. Kamers is known for its country-wide retail events that feature handmade products, delicious food and wine and live music. “As one of the WDC2014 projects, Kamers & CCDI (Trading at the Castle) has a distinct focus on innovation.There will be an amazing range of great products on offer,” said Doreen Hendricks, CCDI Market Support Coordinator: Domestic & Local Markets. “This event will also support product development, help establish new brands in the marketplace, and assist longer-term job creation.” The handmade goods are produced from materials such as clay, textiles, wood, beads and wool, and range from exquisite jewellery and homeware to stationery and garden products. Of the 110 exhibitors taking part in Kamers & CCDI (Trading at the Castle), 70 applied directly to Kamers and another 40 were selected by the CCDI from about 55 applicants. The CCDI participants have further honed their costing, pricing and selling skills at two workshops, plus enjoying one-on-one sessions with a professional stylist. Producers will set up their stands on three interior levels of the historic building, an ideal creative space to display goods, sell and interact. The event should not only attract the general public, but also retail buyers, who will be keen to discover new products and make fresh connections. Date: 5-8 June Venue: Castle of Good Hope, Buitenkant Street, . . .
In an era where mobile is fast becoming the medium of choice for marketing campaigns, a Durban Wireless Application Service Provider (WASP) has taken a giant leap forward by launching a specialised mobile digital agency division. Always Active Mobile, a division of holding company Always Active Technologies, launched in January 2014 and has seen great success through enabling companies, agencies and brands to embrace mobile campaigns as a successful and measurable marketing medium. This niche digital agency, with a significantly South African flavour, focuses on creating and implementing highly effective mobile marketing campaigns using ubiquitous mobile technologies that are relevant to the South African market and audience, which has unique needs as a developing country. In South Africa, where smartphone penetration sits at approximately 38% and the sending and receiving of “Please Call Me” (PCM) messages is still the most popular cellphone activity, mobile marketing campaigns cannot be solely geared towards smart phone users. Always Active Mobile took note of this, and has committed, through its new division, to help brands engage in a relevant, easy way with lower LSM groups B and C, using mobile technologies that are both familiar and effective. When asked why Always Active Technologies has chosen to create a specialised division that focuses on creating mobile marketing campaigns, CEO Loet de Swart commented: “It would be nice to share a story of a great epiphany, but it was a rapid progression and in some ways it was there before we realised it. With all the mobile technology we have, we naturally started consulting and running campaigns for our clients and it evolved from there.” But, starting a new agency isn’t easy, especially in an economically tense and competitive environment. In chatting to their Business Development Manager, Alan Haarhoff, he had this to say: “It’s not easy as full service digital agencies are prolific - this . . .
Andrew Hill and Adriaan Louw were in confident form ahead of next week's national marathon championships as they cruised to victory in the three-day PwC Great Zuurberg Trek in the Addo area near Port Elizabeth on Sunday. Hill and Louw, riding in the colours of Fairview-TIB, crossed the finish line at the Zuurberg Mountain Village in a time of 3:01:56 to take their third consecutive stage win and the overall title in 10:01:28. Former roadies Andrew Mclean and Bruce Diesel of Cycle Lab-PwC powered up the Zuurberg Pass to finish second on the day in 3:06:43 and in the same position on the general classification in 10:37:30. There was disappointment for Eastern Cape duo Grant Mac Geoghan and Jason Reed, who had held the runner-up spot overnight. Reed slashed his tyre on a rocky section within the first 5km, effectively ending the race for the Cyclo Pro-Car Spares team. Siyaya teammates Jade Muller and Francois De Villiers rounded out the stage and overall podium in 3:19:08 for an aggregate time of 11:10:12. According to Louw, the three solid days of racing had bolstered his and Hill's preparations ahead of the national and world champs in Pietermaritzburg later this month. "I think the confidence comes from a good block of training, not so much winning the race. It's a big block that sets you up for what lies ahead." Hill said the 215km route had presented three diversely challenging days on the bike. "This is different riding - just exciting. You're constantly on an adventure, waiting to see what's around the next corner. "The organisers have got it right with the diversity of riding. It's just such a great event and one I'd definitely encourage people to come and race." Veteran cyclist Mclean congratulated the winners and said he and Diesel had raced hard to claim the runner-up spot. "Every time you line up for a race you dream of coming first, but Adriaan and Andrew are just in another league." After battling with punctures and . . .
Overnight leaders Andrew Hill and Adriaan Louw stamped their authority on the PwC Great Trek to take a commanding victory on day two of the three-stage race at Addo on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth on Saturday. The TIB-Fairview duo powered across the southern and northern ridges of the Zuurberg mountain range to claim the gruelling 81km queen stage in 4:02:12. Eastern Cape duo Grant Mac Geoghan and Jason Reed, riding in the colours of Cyclo Pro-Car Spares, followed a distant second in 4:16:52, with Andrew Mclean and Bruce Diesel of Cycle Lab-PwC rounding out the day's podium in 4:25:59. Hill and Louw's combined time of 6:59:32 puts them 18 minutes clear of their closest challengers. Mac Geoghan and Reed (7:17:44) and Mclean and Diesel (7:30:47) occupy the lower steps of the podium going into the final day. The top three teams got off to a flying start as they entered the remote northern section of the Addo Elephant National Park, which is not open to the public. Less than five kilometres into the stage, Port Elizabeth's Mac Geoghan and Reed upped the pace down the White Knuckle horsetrail descent, which took riders into the White River Valley via numerous tight switchbacks. "They seemed to know that single-track and what to expect, so they really pushed the envelope going down the hill," said Hill. "Adriaan was actually first going in and then we had one of their riders get in between us. We didn't want to do anything stressful or take any risks, so we just sat on their wheels." With Louw forced to stop and make an adjustment to his bicycle, the pair dropped off on the Monty's Python climb out of the valley leading up to the first waterpoint at the 15km mark. "It didn't take long and then we climbed back on. As we got back to them, I accelerated and we were able to ride away from the guys." Hill and Louw slogged on at a solid pace to extend their lead over the ensuing kilometres that included the infamous Stepsisters, three tough . . .
Mountain bikers Andrew Hill and Adriaan Louw turned in a workmanlike performance to claim the opening stage of the three-day PwC Great Zuurberg Trek at Addo just outside Port Elizabeth on Friday. The TIB-Fairview riders set a tempo that few could match to finish the 74km route, which started at the Zuurberg Mountain Village and finished on the national cross-country course at Hayterdale in the Sundays River Valley, in 2:57:25. PE-based duo Grant Mcgeoghan and Jason Reed, riding in the colours of Cyclo Pro-Car Spares, were second in 3:00:56. Cycle Lab-PwC veterans Andrew Mclean and Bruce Diesel showed their class to finish third in 3:04:52. Port Elizabeth's Andrea von Holdt and SanMari Woithe, riding for Merrell, won the women's race in 3:34:25 while fellow Port Elizabethans, Siska van der Bijl and Lester Tait, took the mixed category in 3:44:48. Racing together for the first time, Hill said he and Louw had decided to set a hard pace on the first 10km of dirt road to gauge their opposition and the lay of the land. "Mcgeoghan and Reed sat with us quite nicely." Then, on the first climb around 6km into the stage, Hill and Louw went on the attack and pulled clear of their rivals. "From there it was just unbelievable; really, really spectacular," said Hill. By waterpoint one at Slagboom Dam, around the 18km mark, they had opened up a lead of more than a minute over Mcgeoghan and Reed. By the second waterpoint, 35km into the stage, they had extended that lead to more than two minutes, with Mclean and Diesel a further three minutes adrift. "We basically just set a solid tempo, making sure we consolidated a good lead but not taking any stupid risks. There are still two days of racing ahead." Hill, who finished fourth at the Nedbank sani2c earlier this month alongside Darren Lill, said he was still nursing a sore leg after a bad crash at the KwaZulu-Natal race. The Hillcrest resident said Saturday's 81km queen stage, which featured . . .
Mountain bikers will have a final chance to enjoy one of the Central Drakensberg's most challenging stage races when entries for the FedGroup Berg & Bush reopen on Monday, June 2. According to organiser Gary Green, participants in October's eighth edition could look forward to brand-new innovations such as the 13km Drakensberg Drop and a dedicated racing section up Spioenkop. Green said the online entry portal would open at 10am and close as soon as the event reached capacity. "Preference will be given to those riders who are already on the waiting list." Originally started as a two-day race in 2006, the KwaZulu-Natal event has now grown to include two three-day options, with a combined prize purse of R250 000. The 2014 event kicks off with the flagship Descent on Friday, October 10, followed by the Great Trek on the Tuesday, while the original two-dayer brings proceedings to a close the following Friday. With the weekend events almost at capacity, Green said both solo and team entries would be accommodated for the Great Trek. "It is also the official competitive event for the elite women, so they can enjoy unencumbered racing in a smaller field." He said participants in the three-day races would be the first to ride the Drakensberg Drop, which plunges over 600 metres from the escarpment into the Sandspruit Valley below. "This section includes a reconstructed Solly's Folly and exhilarating tracks cut into the sides of the mountain." The route continued through natural berg forests and single-track along the river, said Green. "Weather permitting, all three races will also be going over the iconic Spioenkop, with the added feature of a race to the top." He said prizes would be awarded to the fastest men and women over the 1.5km distance. "We'll hopefully be making a sponsorship announcement in this regard shortly." Every year, said Green, participants could look forward to something different. "As usual with Berg and . . .
CLIVE Taverner (62) has been invited to the 2014 World Clay Target Championships to be held in Italy in August. Taverner is well known as “the voice” of the Tavcor Motor Group and his marketing related successes, but this time will be jetting off to represent South Africa in the World Clay Target Championships. When asked what sort of skill set is required to compete on this level, Taverner responded by saying that, “shooting clays which travel at over 120 kilometres per hour and at distances of up to 75 metres, requires quick reflexes and sound hand-eye coordination.” He is one of the three members of the Protea team, including Dave Cohen and Orazio Cremona from Gauteng North Province and has previously represented South Africa in Dayton Ohio 10 years ago in the United States, and in Cauzabon in France, at the European Championships in 2009. Taverner was a league Rugby player for the Crusaders in PE and ran for the Achilles Athletic club. He started shooting clay targets late in life at the age of 47 after rugby and running injuries eventually caught up with him.He is a member and former chairman of the Port Elizabeth clay target club, situated near St. Albans just outside PE and is one of the oldest persons in South Africa to obtain his National Colours for clay target shooting. He explained that, “the sudden arrival of a dominant left eye and being right handed has meant that I have had to close my left eye to be able to continue competing in the sport. This has put me in difficult situations when the targets fly out to the left –I suppose this comes with age.” Despite the challenge, Taverner who has been employed in the family business for the past 43 years added that, “people used to retire from their jobs at the age of 55 not so long ago – this goes to prove that there is no age limit to achieving the highest levels in sport or business.” He is married to wife, Susan and has 6 children, including two sets of twins. Susan is a former Protea track . . .
“The utility industry is maturing in Africa” African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa has come of age as a truly pan-African event, by the industry and for the industry, with continent-wide collaboration and celebration to produce the best of Africa, says programme director Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl. She adds: “this year’s gathering at the CTICC in Cape Town had just over 5000 registered attendees from 76 countries, of which 30 African, 1100 delegates, 240 exhibitors, 190 speakers, nine conference tracks, and with a high profile opening session and an industry awards gala dinner it was the biggest event yet in our 14 year history.” Eskom’s Group Executive Transmission, Mongezi Ntsokolo, lead the high-level panel of experts during the opening session, which included Agnes Dasewicz of the USAID’s Power Africa Initiative and NERSA CEO Phindile Balendi. Other leading delegates and experts who were at the event included Reynolds Dagogo-Jack, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Power in Nigeria, Robert Kisubi, Stakeholder Manager at Umeme in Uganda and the World Bank’s water development expert Diego Rodrigues. Utility industry is maturing African Utility Week’s Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl says “the focus for 2014 covered the vision for a sustainable African utility sector including topics around the restructuring and privatisation of the Nigeria power sector, delving into what is required to improve the financial viability of water utilities, and the growing concern around the need for water-energy-food nexus initiatives.” She continues: “it is evident from the frank presentations delivered by industry leaders and through the open conversations during the networking functions that the utility industry is maturing in Africa. This market is the frontier for development and is not willing to copy current formulas without exploring and thoroughly researching solutions that fit the environment.” African Utility Week Awards The sold out, inaugural African . . .