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May 27, 2011

16 and 17 September, Wanderers –stadium, Windhoek: Westlife, Kurt Darren, Theuns Jordaan, Freshlyground, Die Heuwels Fantasties and many more.

If you enjoyed last year’s Hart van Windhoek festival, then this year brace yourself for double the fun. Hart van Windhoek 2011 takes place on 16 and 17 September at the Wanderers Stadium in Windhoek. Not only will festival-goers be entertained by more than 35 top artists and their bands, they’re also in for a special treat with internationally acclaimed group Westlife coming all the way from Ireland to perform on Friday 16 September!

“We are incredibly excited about this year’s festival,” says Willem Breytenbach, general manager of Media 24 Weekly Magazines. “This year will be even bigger and better than last year and Westlife in particular promises to draw large crowds.”

This is the second year Huisgenoot, in partnership with Hilltop Live, will be presenting this festival. FNB Namibia, KykNet, Tafel Lager, Shoprite and Checkers also form part of the team working to make this an unforgettable weekend. Shoprite and Checkers are in charge of the food court, where hungry festival-goers will find a variety of stalls offering all sorts of traditional Windhoek food.

The finalists of the Shoprite and Checkers Namibian Boerewors competition will also be there to give people a small taste of their winning recipes and the winner of this competition will walk away with a brand new car.

Tafel Lager is the official sponsor and will provide more than 100 metres of bar space, while FNB Namibia will offer financial services. KykNet will be there to capture all the best moments on camera and the kids can also look forward to the KykNet play area, where there will be fun games, jumping castles and characters from their favourite TV programmes.

Apart from Westlife, there will also be performances by Romanz, Nianell, Kurt Darren, Theuns Jordaan, Charlize Berg, Heinz Winckler, Charné, Kobus Muller, Viljoen Retief, Adam Tas, Wicus van der Merwe, George Meiring, Adam, Snotkop, MoniQue, Jay, Bongi, Corlea, Melissa van der Spuy, Broers, Lee Scott Die Heuwels Fantasties, Nicholis Louw, David Fourie, Dewald Louw, Sorina – die Flooze, Karlien Husselman, Freshlyground and the Namibian artists Ludik and Pieter Naudé. Keep an eye on the Hart van Windhoek Facebook page for updates on additional Namibian artists and to enter our SMS competition.

If you live in Johannesburg or Cape Town, why not make use of the YOU Travel Club package to Windhoek. The package includes return flights, accommodation and festival entrance. For more information phone 011-866-9545 or email

Tickets to the festival are available at Computicket at your local Shoprite and Checkers. Tickets for Friday (including the Westlife performance) are N$205 and N$120 for Saturday. Tickets can also be purchased at the gates at a cost of N$250 for Friday and N$150 for Saturday. Reserved parking is available at N$30 a day.

Due to stricter safety regulations this year no cooler bags, chairs or umbrellas will be allowed. Drinks that are not in a plastic container will not be allowed outside the bar area.


A phenomenal accolade for Vergelegen Wine Estate

May 24, 2011

Vergelegen has received a phenomenal accolade from Stephen Tanzer, editor and publisher of the critically acclaimed International Wine Cellar. Tanzer samples more than 10,000 wines annually and his independent journal, translated into French and Japanese, is read by wine lovers in 28 countries.

Tanzer awarded eight of the 11 Vergelegen wines a score of at least 90 points (based on the US 100 point scoring system). The 2009 Estate White Blend, the most sophisticated of Vergelegen’s white wines, received a score of 94+ points. And the 2004 Estate Premium Red Wine received 94 points. Click here for the full Tanzer review.

It is not only a phenomenal accolade to receive such a consistently high rating across a wide range of wine, but as Don Tooth, MD of Vergelegen remarked, it is also an important milestone in recognising South Africa as a leading performer in the notoriously competitive top league of world wines.

This month, Vergelegen winemaker Andre van Rensburg shares his latest tasting notes and viticulturist Dwayne Lottering giving a glimpse behind the ‘harvesting scenes.’

If you are in the Cape Town area, come and taste the ‘accolade’ wines at The Estate.

South Africa Wins Gold at Chelsea Flower Show

May 24, 2011

It was a golden day for South Africa as the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI’s) 2011 Kirstenbosch – SA Chelsea entry “Botanical Landscapes” scooped its 31st gold medal at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show (CFS) in London.

Featuring two World Heritage sites, the Cape Floral Kingdom and the Richtersveld which are also biodiversity hotspots – of which there are only 25 worldwide- the design captured the judges’ imagination to scoop a coveted gold once more. With the backdrop of the majestic Table Mountain our ever popular proteas and fynbos picked according to the Sustainable Harvesting Code of Best Practice makes up a portion of the fynbos display at the show and showed the diversity of our Cape endemic plants. In contrast, the dry desert of the Richtersveld sector showed some rare, and hitherto unseen at Chelsea, species as part of the Succulent Karoo biome which is the only arid biodiversity hotspot on Earth.

Exhibiting for the 36th year the hardworking team raced to put the finishing touches and add the unusual specimens to this year’s exhibit in time for the judging. The long hours of preparation with the team of designers, SANBI members and volunteers were worth it!

A joyful team celebrated at the show joined by jubilant sponsors, Gerrit van Rensburg, MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Provincial Government of the Western Cape (PGWC) and Alan Demby Chairman of the SA Gold Coin Exchange and Scoin shops.

Thanks to these generous sponsors the Kirstenbosch-SA exhibit was able to exhibit once more at the Chelsea Flower Show. Empowerment projects sourced through the PGWC have also been key suppliers to this display and Edwin Gouws of Mountain Dew and Dorah Siduka of Fynsa, representatives from two of these farms, were also able to enjoy firsthand, the fruits of their labours.

Visitors to the stand will also receive an eco-friendly bag sourced from women’s cooperatives in Khayelitsha through a project called “Township ”. These are just some of the ways that the global community is experiencing some of the extraordinary job-creating projects that are thriving in our country.

“Our exhibit is always popular but this year exceeded expectations as there was a fascination for the unusual specimens we were able to show” said designers David Davidson and Ray Hudson. “The display offers visitors many reasons to visit South Africa, but mostly because of the diversity of our plant life.”

As a desirable tourist destination South Africa thrives on presenting exhibits such as these. With the hope that Table Mountain will become one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and that Cape Town will win the bid for World Design Capital 2014 potential visitors have a taste of what they can experience through the global excellence of this exhibit.

“This advertisement for our beautiful country benefits the Western Cape tourism industry and the rest of the country. It also serves as a showcase for empowerment farming projects that are creating jobs and contributing to the economic development of the country” said MEC Gerrit van Rensburg. “We are privileged to be part of this event and to be able to show the more than 160 000 visitors to the show what we can offer”.

Alan Demby of the SA Gold Coin Exchange and Scoin shops was effusive in his praise for the exhibit and the team behind it.

“ Some months ago, we heard that Kirstenbosch had lost their sponsorship and that they would not be able to attend the Chelsea Flower Show this year. This meant that they would no longer be able to add to their substantial collection of gold medallions they had won over the years. The South African Gold Coin Exchange and The Scoin Shop decided to come to their assistance for a whole host of reasons, such as our involvement with gold coins and medallions featuring flora and fauna. In addition we have been involved with the 2004 Democracy Coin featuring Nelson Mandela, which is part of the Protea series, which has been minted since 1976. Flora and fauna is depicted on the Mandela Medallion of Nobel Laureate fame, as well as on the world famous Krugerrands. We felt it only natural to step into the breach as the connection is so strong. In fact, we subsequently discovered that there is a Strelitzia called Mandela’s Gold! We decided to sponsor the South African Kirstenbosch entry to Chelsea, which we did, together with the Western Cape Government.” He said

“At the same time, on a personal level, to incentivise our own award winning horticultural designers, we have decided to offer them each a gold Mandela Medallion, to spur them on to win gold once again. We are pleased to announce that David Davidson and Ray Hudson have won gold for South Africa and gold for themselves! We are proud to have sponsored the event and we hope in some small way it will promote South Africa, tourism, employment and the beauty of our country.” He added

Dr Tanya Abrahamse, CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) was delighted to hear the great news: “Once again our team has done us proud and is bringing back gold! The Chelsea Flower Show continues to reveal South Africa as a country of diverse and fascinating scenery. Our two major sponsors have enabled us to continue presenting South Africa as a tourist destination of note.” she said.

“The diversity of our regions, the richness of our plant life, the value we put on our landscapes are major tourism factors. Above all we are able to show how this exhibit benefits all communities in the long term”.

This 2011 award winning exhibit will be recreated back on home ground later in the year in Gauteng, Durban and Cape Town when residents will once more be able to celebrate another golden milestone!


May 20, 2011

With little more than a month to go before the historic alleys of Grahamstown are festooned with posters and passionate arts lovers, there are a few things to take special note of to get ready for the 2011 National Arts Festival.

Firstly, accommodation. Grahamstown is filling up fast, so make sure you have a place to rest your head after a hard day of arts appreciation.

The programme is up online, and hardcopies are available from selected Standard Bank, Exclusive Books and Computicket branches. Once you have taken about a week to work meticulously through the HUGE programme, get onto Computicket and secure your place for the shows that you know you’ll regret missing.

A few headliners to look out for on the Main menu are Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the Jazz programme for the first time, Chris Chameleon back with Boo! on the Music line-up, and the flying dance acrobatics of Ireland’s Fidget Feet in Madam Silk on the Dance programme. The Main Theatre stages are carrying the weight of veterans like Lara Bye (with Night, Mother), the Market Theatre (with Death of a Colonialist), Alan Swerdlow (with The History Boys), Rob Murray (with Benchmarks) and Sylvaine Strike (with The Table). Amongst other things, the Visual Arts line-up brings comic art to the forefront with the CO/MIX Pavilion 2011 , conjoining expressionist comic art with political and underground cartooning and the contemporary visual subcultures of skate, surf, street, hip hop, Indie craft and graffiti. The streets of Grahamstown will also be buzzing with flying acrobats, ethereal dance, aerial battles, the beat of many drums and the soaring harmonies of feminine voices in Machitun, one of the various Public Art displays planned for the Festival this year.

Everything showcasing the five 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners’ work will also be a highlight. Look out for Neil Coppen (Drama), Nandipha Mntambo (Visual Art), Mamela Nyamza (Dance), Ben Schoeman (Music) and Bokani Dyer (Jazz).

And we haven’t even gotten to the Arena, Fringe or Film programme yet, not to mention Wordfest, Spiritfest, Thinkfest or the Eastern Cape Showcase. In total we have over 2 500 performances currently in rehearsal for you. Yes, that’s about six months of viewing time. We’re cramming it in to 11 days so hold on to your hats and get ready for the ride.

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It’s closer than you think … 11 days of Amaz!ng … 30 June to 10 July … see you soon!


May 16, 2011

Durbanville Hills is offering a new chocolate and wine tasting, combining two of the world’s most tantalizing palate pleasers.

Chocolate and wine are natural companions offering both complex flavors and notes, similar components and nuances, and their individual tannin structure combines effortlessly adding a new dimension to the wine.

The tasting includes five Durbanville Hills wines paired with an assortment of decadent chocolates and is served daily. The cost is R50 per person and booking is advised for groups of eight people or more.

For more information contact Laura Carswell 021 558 1300


May 7, 2011

The Wine Show Road Show Nelson Mandela Bay is returning to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth from Friday, 10 June 2011 until Sunday, 12 June 2011. After the huge response the inaugural event received in 2010, this year’s edition promises to wow wine lovers with the same informal and fun introduction to some of the best wines in the country.

According to show organiser John Woodward, the overwhelmingly positive feedback from visitors and exhibitors showed that the lively, interactive format of the show continues to appeal to audiences around the country. “We had over 2000 Eastern Cape visitors last year and the exhibitors achieved sales in excess of R300 000, which was almost 70% higher than sales reported by the largest wine show in Cape Town last year. These are really impressive figures for a new show and proved to us that the Eastern Cape market was starved for attention from wine marketers. The show statistics revealed that Eastern Cape audiences were not only keen to buy wines, but also eager to experiment with and taste new wines,” mentions Woodward.

Space will be at a premium as the number of stands will be limited and close to 80% of the available exhibition space has already been booked. The three-day wine extravaganza will feature an exhilarating line-up of wine producers ranging from boutique wineries, garagistes to some of the biggest producers in the country. Show visitors can get more in-depth information on various wines and cultivars during free tutored tasting sessions presented by winemakers in the Wine Theatre throughout the weekend. Visitors will be able to enjoy the wines at leisure and utilise the Dawn Wing Sip & Ship to ensure that the wines are delivered to their doors. Food courts will be located on both levels of the impressive stadium’s World of Windows.

According to Buli Ngomane, marketing and communications manager for Access Management, they are looking forward to hosting the event again. “The response to the first wine show was absolutely phenomenal and we’re really happy to have the event back at the stadium and in Nelson Mandela Bay. We are confident that it will be even bigger and better this year,” mentions Ngomane.

Confirmed exhibitors include Arumdale, Boland Cellars, Bonnievale Cellar, Capaia, Crystal Direct, Dawn Wing, Durbanville Hills, Eminent Fine Wines, Fleur du Cap, Frogitt & Vonkel Private Wine Merchants, Knorhoek, Major’s Hill, Monis, Nietvoorbeij, Nixan Wines, Opstal Estate, Orange River Cellars, Quoin Rock, Rickety Bridge, Robertson Winery, Rooiberg Winery, Schalk Burger & Sons, The Company of Wine People, The Goose Wines, The House of JC le Roux, The Winery of Good Hope, Under Oaks, Vrede en Lust, Weltevrede Estate, Whalehaven/Idiom, Yonder Hill and Zonnebloem.

Tickets are available from Computicket for R90 per person. Weekend passes cost R150 per person and special group rates of R80 per person apply for bookings of ten or more people. Show times: Friday from 17h00 – 21h00, Saturday from 12h00 – 21h00 and Sunday 12h00 – 16h00. For more information, please click on


April 21, 2011

One of South Africa’s most successful athletes of all time, Sonja Laxton, will have much to celebrate when she runs in the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at King’s Beach in Port Elizabeth on May 7.

Laxton will be celebrating running her 70th SPAR Challenge – a record for this event. She will also be celebrating her return to competitive running, after being out of action since September because of a burst appendix followed by a back operation. “I’m so happy to be back and I’m especially happy that I will make my return in a SPAR race,” said Laxton.

“I love the Challenge races – it is wonderful to take part in a women’s only race, where you are not swamped by male runners, and the atmosphere in the Challenge races is always so friendly.”

She said that for many of the elite athletes, the Challenge races were as important as the national championships. “They are very competitive races, and SPAR are pretty generous with prize money, even in the age category sections, so many runners try to peak for the Challenge races.”

Laxton was also very pleased to be making her comeback in Port Elizabeth. “I spent my high school years in Port Elizabeth, at Pearson High, so I have a very soft spot for PE, and I always enjoy running in the Challenge there,” she said. “The course is a very good one – there’s a tough little hill after two kms, but otherwise it is a very nice course, and providing it isn’t too windy, you can usually do good times in PE.

“The atmosphere at the PE Challenge is always very good and PE certainly lives up to its reputation as the Friendly City,” said Laxton.

In a career spanning more than 45 years – she now competes as a grandmaster – Laxton claimed 70 national titles, on the track, on the road and in cross-country. She set 28 senior national records over the 1500m, mile, 3000m and 10 000m on the track, and over the half and full marathon distances on the road. She also set numerous SA age group and provincial records.

One of her greatest achievements was being the first South African to be awarded national colours in all three branches of running: track, road and cross country. “I just love running,” she said. “I really miss it when I can’t do it. It’s such a wonderful thing to do – if you travel, and you run, you get to see so much more if you go for a run in a strange city than you would from a car. And all you need for running is a pair of running shoes. You can buy all sorts of other things, but really it is a very cheap sport.”

Entry forms for the SPAR Women’s Challenge are available at all SPAR, SUPERSPAR and KWIKSPAR stores, or online at