This year, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden celebrates its Centenary. The Botanical Society of South Africa, formed as a civil society in June 1913 to support the establishment of Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, also celebrates its Centenary. During this milestone year, the Kirstenbosch Centenarians, some of the plants that have survived over the last 95 to 100 years, are taking centre stage both in Kirstenbosch and at BotSoc’s annual Garden Fair. Many Centenarians are still growing where they were planted all those years ago. Some have propagated themselves vegetatively or by seed, while others have been propagated, or lifted and divided by Kirstenbosch Horticulturists, ensuring these original plants continue through their offspring. You can get to know these old-timers of Kirstenbosch by picking up the free Centenarians brochure at the Information Desk in the Visitors’ Centre and following the marked trail through the Garden. ‘Kirstenbosch Champion’ is a term Kirstenbosch horticulturists apply to selected plants that for various reasons stand out from other similar plants by virtue of their beauty, impact in the horticultural industry, great rarity or association with famous persons. Some of these plants are superior forms found in the wild while others have been improved by selection and breeding. A good example is Strelitzia reginae (Crane flower), which was originally collected in 1936. Yellow flowered forms of this plant are known in horticulture, but their colour is not stable. John Winter, Curator of Kirstenbosch from 1979-1999, began a project to increase the yellow-flowered stock. It took him almost 15 years of careful selection and hand-pollination and, by 1994, he was able to introduce a stable form of yellow Strelitzia reginae to horticulture. It was released and traded under the name 'Kirstenbosch Gold' until 1996, when the then National Botanical Institute (now SANBI) was granted permission to re-name it in honour of Nelson Mandela, as . . .
Easter weekend offers everyone a chance to enjoy leisure activities with friends and family. With Mi Casa & Natasha Meister performing at the Old Mutual Summer Sunset concert on Sunday March 31 at Kirstenbosch where else would you want to be? The most beautiful garden in Africa plays host to these performers at this penultimate concert of the season. As a destination Kirstenbosch is the perfect spot to picnic, enjoy great music or simply enjoy the ambience of this acclaimed Botanical Garden. With a concert stage that is overlooked by the majestic Table Mountain, musicians consider that performing on this stage to a crowd of 5000 is the pinnacle of their career and audiences are treated to the best that this country offers. Mi Casa has shot to fame in three short years, scooping up SAMA awards with their soulful house music and showing just how talented South Africa’s musician’s are. Groove to the sound of Mi Casa’s three members, Dr Duda (producer and club DJ), J’Something (vocalist and guitarist) and Mo-T (trumpeter) as they blend their musical talent to create a soulful sound. Warm house beats peppered with jazz trumpet and a fresh twist of soul, the Mi Casa sound recipe is rich and authentic. Since the band was founded in 2010, they have already won three SAMA Awards. No stranger to the Kirstenbosch stage Natasha Meister opens the show and, having been named SA’s very own Blues Queen, this singer – songwriter already has a strong fan base. In the three years since returning from Canada to her ancestral home in Africa she has carved a strong niche for herself on the blues platform. Soon after her first overseas tour in Dubai with Jimmy Thomas, Michael Roach and The Crossroads band, Natasha became South Africa’s first woman to be endorsed by Fender. Her recently released You Tube/Facebook videos are creating a big stir locally and abroad. She was endorsed by Lakewood Guitars in Germany. Her first album ‘Halfway, Natasha Meister band’ produced by Roger . . .
Nicholas Dougall of MTN-Qhubeka finished safely in the bunch on a slippery final stage to seal the overall victory in the four-day Bestmed Tour de Boland, presented by ASG, on Friday. Dougall, who holds dual Australian and South African citizenship, won the opening stage, an individual time-trial, to establish a 40-second buffer early on. The 20-year-old kept the leader’s jersey throughout the team time-trial and road race stages on days two and three to take a 50-second margin into the final day criterium. Team-mate Till Drobisch stole the show in the crit when he snatched both the points jersey and second place overall with a daring solo breakaway in dangerously wet conditions. JC Nel dropped down from second to third in the general classification to lock out the podium for the Potchefstroom-based team, which serves as a feeder unit for MTN-Qhubeka’s Pro Continental squad. Their Ethiopian colleague Estifanos Gebresilassie claimed the king of the mountains jersey following a powerhouse display in the 110km road race, which finished on top of the old Helshoogte pass above Stellenbosch the day before. Dougall described the tour as “an all-round kind of race” and said the different stages had offered something for every rider, with each course presenting its own challenges. “As a whole, the team rode really, really well throughout and helped me defend the jersey.” He said he was relieved to have finished in tact on a stage in which three riders, including ASG’s pre-stage favourite and sprint jersey winner Nolan Hoffman, crashed. “I was very nervous on the descents today. I’m not overly confident in the wet but I had JC with me through all the corners.” The former Brisbane resident said he was happy to be back on local soil and racing for the pan-African team. Nel said their victory in the tour, which visited Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl in the Cape Winelands, certainly boosted their confidence ahead of Sunday’s Cape Argus Pick n . . .
The East African climbers came to the fore on the queen stage of the Bestmed Tour de Boland, presented by ASG, in the Cape Winelands on Thursday. The MTN-Qhubeka feeder team’s Ethiopian rider Estifanos Gebresilassie outsprinted team-mate and countryman Getachew Yohans to take the 110km third stage by four seconds in 3:02:43. Rwanda’s Jeanvier Hadi, riding in the colours of MTN World Cycling Centre Africa, followed them home in 3:02:56. It was the third stage victory for the Potchefstroom-based team, placing control of the tour firmly in their hands. Australian Nicholas Dougall, who opened their account with a convincing win in the individual time-trial on Tuesday evening, retains the leader’s jersey with a combined time of 3:23:31. His squad mates JC Nel of South Africa and Till Drobisch of Namibia occupy the second and third positions in the overall standings in 3:24:21 and 3:25:00 respectively. Despite their comfortable lead, MTN-Qhubeka team manager Andrew Smith said his riders had gone all out for the stage win. “It was up to these guys to protect Nic and keep him in the yellow jersey and they did a good job of that. But their aim was not just to defend and control but to race aggressively, which they did.” The stage started with a 25km neutral zone from the Allée Bleue wine estate near Stellenbosch through the town of Franschhoek. Turning onto the Wemmershoek road, the bunch went into racing mode, with international track star and Franschhoek resident Nolan Hoffman taking the sprint prime at the 37km mark. After passing through Paarl, a split of 14 riders went off the front on the gravel climb towards the Taal Monument. The East Africans pushed the pace on the ascent, with Gebresilassie taking the king of the mountains hotspot at 47km. A daring breakaway after 70km by RSAWeb’s junior category leader Chris Jooste and MTN WCCA’s Calvin Beneke saw the two riders put a minute into the chasing bunch. The two youngsters worked . . .
In association with several local and international partners, GIPCA offers members of the Cape Town public two unusual experiences at the Africa Centre’s 2013 Infecting the City Public Arts Festival. One of the great socio-realists of his time, Charles Dickens captured the joys and tragedies of city life in his little-known non-fiction work, The Uncommercial Traveller. The book features people and places which inspired many of his future works and gives the reader a glimpse into the personal thoughts and opinions of a man fascinated by cities and those living in them. Dickens was particularly interested in the parts of a city which remain hidden from public view, and he could often be found wandering the back streets on late-night insomniac walks. Using this approach of seeking out forgotten places and uncovering hidden stories, participants in Punchdrunk and Arcola Theatre’s workshops explore the city and work in teams to devise, write and record short audio pieces over a five day period. Working with directors Owen Calvert Lyons (Arcola Theatre) and Raquel Meseguer (Punchdrunk), and acclaimed artist James Webb, 15 local theatre practitioners will develop creative and reflective audio-guided tours of locations in the city of Cape Town – journeys that allow audiences to see the city in a new light. The project will culminate in downloadable public guided tours of Cape Town, to be launched at the Infecting the City Festival. Known in the UK for their innovative approaches to theatre Punchdrunk and Arcola Theatre have worked closely with the British Council to reconceive The Uncommercial Traveller as an international project. To date, the project has travelled to Karachi, Melbourne, Penang, Singapore and Portsmouth. Curated by Winnie Sze, the collaborative project, Under Construction, involves the meticulous construction and spectacular public destruction of a complex wooden structure in the District Six Museum to ask poignant questions around what it . . .
Friday 1 March was International Wheelchair Day and Cape Town company Adapt To Change and Avondale Primary School in Atlantis marked the day by making a donation of bread tags to the Breadtags for Wheelchairs Foundation. The children from Avondale, in collaboration with Adapt To Change, had been collecting the tags since last year. “Please give a very, very big thank you to all the staff and learners at Avondale School who contributed so many tags,” said Mary Honeybun of the Breadtags for Wheelchairs Foundation. She added that so far the foundation has managed to give out 368 wheelchairs and last year alone 5-tons of breadtags were recycled and kept out of landfills. International Wheelchair Day was started 6 years ago by Steve Wilkinson in Australia. Steve was born with Spina Bifida and wanted to create a day that raised awareness of the needs of disabled people around the world and more importantly create the opportunity to celebrate the positive impact a wheelchair can have in someone’s life. Says Steve about Adapt To Change and Avondale Primary’s initiative forming part of International Wheelchair Day: “I'm honored to include you as the first event to be featured from South Africa and for the fact that you are working so hard alongside the school and Mary (of the Breadtags for Wheelchairs Foundation) to support one of the key aims of International Wheelchair Day (which is) to provide wheelchairs for the tens of millions of people who need a wheelchair to improve their quality of life.” ‘We are privileged to have played a small part in two such incredible initiatives that are making such a big difference in many people’s lives,’ said Johann Koegelenberg, Adapt To Change’s co-founder. Adapt To Change’s relationship with Avondale Primary started in July 2012. Said Koegelenberg: ‘All 3 founding members of Adapt To Change have spent significant time working in Atlantis and to this day we have family and friends residing in the area – it is an area close . . .
Newly crowned national champions MTN-Qhubeka showed their winning form when they swept to victory in the team time-trial on the second day of the Bestmed Tour de Boland, presented by ASG, near Stellenbosch on Wednesday. Africa’s first Pro Continental team’s feeder riders set a blistering pace in near-perfect conditions on the 38km course to record a time of 48 minutes 14.1 seconds at the finish on the Allée Bleue wine estate. They were followed home by the Stellenbosch-based Smith & Associates team, which incorporates the strong Maties outfit, in 51:50:17. In third, clocking 51:59:30, was JP van Zyl’s MTN World Cycling Centre Africa squad. The win further asserts MTN-Qhubeka’s dominance on the overall standings with Australian Nic Dougall, South African JC Nel and Namibian Till Drobisch locking out the podium. Dougall, who claimed the yellow jersey with a surprise performance in the individual time-trial the previous day, said the team had gone all out to make good time. “The guys made it really fast and the pace was smooth out there today.” Nel agreed and said everything had gone to plan and that all six riders had been on song. “We came here for the overall victory and we are now on course for that.” Although the stage did not count towards the individual classification, Nel said his squad had had more to play for. “We’d also like to win the team competition, so I think we took a big step towards that today.” With two stage wins under their belts, the men in yellow and black now seem in firm control of the four-day tour. However, Nel said they would not be resting on their laurels in the testing 140km road race that visits Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl on Thursday. He said the presence of world-class sprinters like Tasol-GT’s Nolan Hoffman and Barbadian Jesse Kelly, who are riding in the colours of ASG, would make a sprint finish less than desirable. “I think you can look forward to a very aggressive race tomorrow.” For race . . .
It was a clean sweep for MTN-Qhubeka on the opening stage of the Bestmed Tour de Boland, presented by ASG, near Stellenbosch on Tuesday. Australian Nicholas Dougall clocked the fastest time in the 14km individual time trial, which saw riders battle headwinds all the way from the Allée Bleue wine estate up the Helshoogte pass to the hilltop finish at African Valley Estate. He crossed the line in 20 minutes 17.3 seconds, a full 50 seconds clear of team-mate JC Nel, who recorded 21 minutes 7.1 seconds. Till Drobisch rounded out the podium for the Potchefstroom-based squad in 21 minutes 45.5 seconds. Dougall said riding the course earlier in the day had been critical to his team’s success and allowed him to gauge his pace correctly. “It was a very tough course. With the two climbs being at the end, you didn’t want to go out too hard. “I paced it fairly well and when I got to the bottom of the first climb I was feeling good and started picking it up towards the end from there.” He said he caught his one-minute man on the flat section halfway through the stage, and passed a second rider on the first climb. “When I got halfway up that climb I was feeling good but it’s very difficult to judge and you never really know until you see the results at the end.” The 20-year-old said the win had come as a surprise to him, following a poor showing at the national road championships last weekend. “My form hasn’t been that great but I thought I’d just go out there today, give it 100% and see what happens.” He said MTN-Qhubeka’s dominant showing would make the outfit a major contender for Wednesday’s 38km team time-trial. “The team is very strong at the moment and we now essentially have three cards to play.” Dougall said Thursday’s 140km road race would be the decisive stage. “We can now afford to race aggressively, not just sit back and wait.” He said the presence of world-class sprinters like Tasol-GT’s Nolan Hoffman would certainly influence . . .
The Gordon Institute of Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) partners with this year’s Infecting the City Public Art Festival, to present provocative, award-winning dance performances from the continent. Having recently returned from sold-out performances at the Ovalhouse in London, highly acclaimed choreographer and Donald Gordon Creative Arts Fellow, Mamela Nyamza, presents a startling dance performance Okuya Phantsi Kwempumlo (The Meal), for which she received a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival 2012. Conceptualised, choreographed and directed by Nyamza, the work is performed together with Dinah Eppel and Kirsty Ndawo. Okuya Phantsi Kwempumlo considers cooking, eating, art, love and sex. It celebrates the creative capacity of young South Africans to subvert and transform instruments of oppression and denigration into expressions of ecstasy and beauty; and reflects on the relationship between women from different generations and races. “Before a meal can be eaten, preparation is necessary. The most basic division is between the creator of the meal and those who are being served. This work examines the process in which the eater becomes one with the meal, though the process of reaching satisfaction can take many forms,” Nyamza comments. Awarded the main Puma Creative Prize and the first prize in the Group Pieces category at danse l'Afrique danse in Bamako, 2010, the collaborative performance Orobroy, Stop! was conceptualised under the creative direction of internationally esteemed Mozambican choreographer, Horácio Macuácua. Orobroy means ‘thought’ in the language of the Gypsy nomads with whom Flamenco originated. In an inventive intercultural reconstruction of Flamenco; deep emotions, notions of identity, gender and conflicting experiences are explored in a visceral manner through both body and sound in this provocative work; which features Sónia Janeth Mulapha, Domingos Bié, and Pedro Machava.Subsequent to the work’s success . . .
The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) partners with the Public Culture CityLab (African Centre for Cities, UCT) on Thinking the City, from 12-15 March 2013. This series of talks and discussions seeks to strengthen thinking and practice at the intersection of culture and public space, particularly in Cape Town. These sessions will take place at the Infecting the City Festival Centre (6 Spin Street) from 10:30 – 12:00 daily, from 12-15 March 2013, and are presented as part of the Africa Centre’s annual Infecting the City Public Art Festival. Cape Town has a long history of public art and culture, and has more recently embraced the notion of a ‘creative city’. This is an exciting prospect for creative practitioners, yet the question of ‘creative city for whom?’ keeps bubbling to the surface of public debate, as different interest groups lay claim to the creative expression in, and of, public space. Thinking the City will contribute to the Infecting the City programme by unpacking a series of examples and contested territories related to cultural practice in the city, in order to foster a more critical dialogue about creative practice in public space. It will comprise four presentation and discussion sessions. Led by Public Culture CityLab co-convenor, Rike Sitas, and Oddveig Nicole Sarmiento (Centre for African Studies); the opening session Public space, festivalisation and contested cultural expression will take place on Tuesday 12 March. It aims to unpack questions of cultural expression in the increasingly prevalent phenomenon of public events and festivals. The Kaapse Klopse Minstrel Carnival in Cape Town is simultaneously the most popular and one of the most critiqued public space events in Cape Town. Discussing this case in the context of Infecting the City, the speakers raise questions about the problematic popular culture vs ‘high’ art binary, asking us to rethink cultural claims to expression and knowledge production in the . . .