WELCOME to everyone from near and far who will be attending the 2017 National Arts Festival, which starts today and lasts until July 9. This year promises to be another amazing celebration of the best in performance and visual art in South Africa.
ON Saturday, Durban will once again host the biggest and most prestigious horse-racing event of the year – the annual Vodacom Durban July. The fashion theme for this year is “The Colour of Magic” and we are sure the designers – and fashionistas – will dress to impress. AND, on the subject of style, what about our own J’Something (also known as Joao da Fonseca) who sang the South African national anthem at the third rugby test against France at Emirates Airways Stadium (previously, Ellis Park), last Saturday? Joao’s mom lives here in Port Alfred, so J’Something, although born in Portugal, can be considered a homeboy.
ON to more serious matters, the trial of murder-accused Tonny Donile was stalled once more at the Port Alfred Regional Court on Tuesday, just a day in, when Donile and his advocate, Matthew Mpahlwa, parted ways. Donile is charged on three counts – two murders, as well as breaking and entering. One murder was in 2003, and the other, in August last year when he is accused of murdering local businessman Noel Maddocks by stabbing him almost 50 times. Meeting with the family and friends at the courthouse on Tuesday, they want closure on this matter and to see justice has been served. Let’s not have any more delays in this case and work towards its rapid resolution.
THE judgment handed down by Judge Willem van der Linde at the South Gauteng High Court on Wednesday means that public schools may no longer favour any specific religion or religious philosophy. Van der Linde said public schools were organs of the state and that society was diverse. The Organisation for Religious Education and Democracy brought the case against six schools with a Christian ethos, arguing the schools’ decision to stop scientific teaching of the theory of evolution was an abuse of pupils’ rights. So, no more prayers at the morning assembly.
AND now there is new alleged evidence of President Jacob Zuma’s plundering of state resources, at least according to a report due to be presented to parliament and compiled by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) on Wednesday. The report, titled “No Room to Hide: A President Caught in the Act”, is intended to boost the support for a motion of no confidence when tabled shortly. Due to an earlier Constitutional Court ruling, speaker of the house Baleka Mbete has the right to order a secret ballot, something opposition parties are hoping will allow more freedom for ANC MPs to exercise their moral duty rather than their duty to the party. We must wait and see how this one plays out.
CONGRATULATIONS and happy birthday greetings to everyone celebrating a special day in the next week, especially Liza Kohler, Melville Vogel, Ann Hewett, Peggy Goosen, Anneke Steyn, Mollie Jordaan, Kim Nel, Margaret Burgess, Vukile Gongqa, Jean Babin, twins Daniel and Hannah du Plessis, Betty Bruton, Stella Crawford, Sylvia Purdon, Mirna Myburgh, Tyler-John Lang, Greg Timm, Odette Hilpert, Edna Smethurst, Robin McLean, Malcolm Christie, Roy Hewett, Helena Stols, Doreen Steenkamp, Rodney Keet, Alan Butterworth, Robin Gout, Delina van Heerden, Eileen Roussow, Anne Harris, Deirdre Anne Odendaal and Mark Warren.
MAY the following businesses continue to be successful as they celebrate another business anniversary. Best wishes for the future to OK Value Store (Alexandria) and The Water Bar in Van der Riet Street.
THE rand is still holding its own against international currencies and, with the new Fica bill having been passed into law, South Africa now conforms (and in certain instances exceeds) international financial standards. This is a boon to the country as, without it, international companies would have found it difficult to trade with us. The bill sets out the need for transparency in financial dealings, and calls for investigation where money laundering is suspected or undue payments are made to organisations or individuals. With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the market trading was as such with R13.01 to the dollar (R15.04), R16.69 to the pound (R20.12) and R14.79 to the euro (R16.60). Commodities such as gold, was $1 252.55 per fine ounce ($1 323.50), platinum was $921.50 ($990.50) and Brent crude oil at $46.63 per barrel ($49.11).
SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all those folk who are not well, who are having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. “Sterkte” to Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, June Hart, Dot Fetherstonhaugh, Ben Kember, Myrna Keet, Barbara Tee, Brenda Shelton.
THE cold snap we are currently experiencing might prompt you to spare a thought for the needy who are suffering with no electricity, no water and very little shelter for themselves or their (often extended) families. With only 19 days to go, it’s time to consider what you are going to do for Madiba Day on July 18. It is up to all South Africans to take the plight of all our people to heart and give 67 minutes of their time. Talk of the Town is organising a beach clean-up from Kelly’s Beach to West Beach, starting at 1pm on the day. You are very welcome to join us there and help keep our beaches clean and free of broken glass and other debris so that we and our visitors can enjoy one of most precious tourism attractions.
WEDDING anniversary congratulations to couples, especially Len and Pat Holford, Johan and Anne Ross, Rodney and Lyneth Gradwell, Richard and Judy Henshall, Peter and Valerie Wynne, Basil and Alice Were, Craig and Claire Sponneck.
A SPECIAL Happy Birthday to Doreen Steenkamp who reaches her 80th milestone on Tuesday, US Independence Day, July 4. Your husband, Tiny, as well as sons and daughter and their children would like to wish you lots of love, and Tiny remembers it is 60 years since the day you both met.
LAST weekend was a strange one, sports-wise. Supersport United’s wining the Nedbank cup, playing against Orlando Pirates, was a fitting end to Stuart Baxter’s career with the club and his move to head up Bafana Bafana. We wish Baxter and his replacement at Matsatsantsa, Eric Tinkler, all the best in the future. And the Springboks showed great determination in their 3-0 series whitewash of France in the final game at Johannesburg’s Emirates Airlines (Ellis) Park. However, the Proteas lost the third game and thus the series of T20 matches on Sunday. AB de Villiers has stepped down as national cricket captain and Faf du Plessis has taken over the reins as captain at T20, ODI and Test level.
FINAL thought, and on a personal basis, I wish to say a very fond farewell to both Jeanne Harris Metter and Bev Lear, who are leaving the country this weekend. Thank you for being such great people, and good luck on your return to your family and friends in the USA and the UK.
THOUGHT for the week: “An inevitable though often ignored dimension of the quest for wholeness is that we must embrace what we dislike or find shameful about ourselves as well as what we are confident and proud of”.
BEST regards as always,