#TravelTuesday: Walking tours to take on South Africa

South Africa in her most natural state is filled with picturesque habitat that beckons one to spend as much time as possible outdoors. For this reason, walking tours are a hit in the major cities like Durban, Cape Town and Joburg. Try these out:

Beset Durban –  is a monthly walk founded by four friends namely Jonas Barausse, Mark Bellingan, Cameron Finnie and Dane Forman. The walk is free and takes place every four to six weeks, the aim of it is to explore the city.

Maboneng Precinct Tour –  The precinct has become a hotspot for travellers who want to experience Johannesburg at grassroots level and to find hidden treasures within the city, as well as a popular hangout spot for locals. The two-hour walk covers art, gallery visits and Kwa Mai-Mai Traditional Healers Market.

 

Cape Town Free Walking Tours – Those who want to explore Cape Town should try these. The organisation offers five walks daily – for free! They showcase Cape Town’s most iconic spots and are 90 minutes long. The Taste of Cape Town, Jewellery and Diamond tour, Bokaap and Historical Tour are some of the offerings.

 

Walking safaris in Marakele National Park – This a 2- 3 hour walk in the wild through the Kruger National Park. The guides lead the group of tourists for wildlife sitings without disturbing them.

Table Mountains Walks – This is believed to be one of the most breathtaking views in the world. Tourists gets to explore the natural beauty of the mountains and learn more about pieces of history while walking. 

 

 

Cape Town Food Tours – Tour for foodies guided on the old town centre, including a visit to the oldest restored townhouse in South Africa. The experience includes indigenous tea-tasting with rusks and of course, wine-tasting. During the Foodies on Foot walking tour, travellers get to sample the flavours of Stellenbosch, from a variety of sweet and savoury handcrafted products to a sit-down lunch.

Source: IOL

 

International community ready to invest in SA

South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa, ended off his Canadian business trip by attending the G7 Leaders’ Outreach Summit held in Quebec City, Canada. Also in attendance was Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa and other business delegates. The theme of the Summit was “Healthy, Productive and Resilient Oceans and Seas, Coasts and Communities.”

President Ramaphosa participated in the two-day session by invite of the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. Engagements were held with the business community regarding attracting investment in South Africa, growing country’s economy and creating jobs in the hopes of reducing poverty and inequality.

According to the presidency, President Ramaphosa is excited about the interest by the international community and stated that it shows that the international community recognises South Africa’s new dawn – a period of renewal and rebuilding.

(Source: Africa News Agency)

SA elected to United Nations Security council

It’s official, South Africa has earned a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Voting  took place at the UN head office in New York today, where South Africa earned a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN council.

Being elected for the third time, South Africa is the only African country as part the council. This is a new dawn for both South Africa and Africa ahead of the government elections in 2019. In her new term as the Foreign Minister of South Africa, LindiweSisulu has a big task ensuring that the African Union and BRICS policies are upheld.

NtsikeleloKuse

Through the eyes of African Chef

Exploring food’s soft power with chef and author Nompumelelo Mqwebu

Nompumelelo Mqwebu is an enterprising chef who has travelled the world to hone her skills. Yet her roots remain firmly planted in her homeland of Africa. She has recently released her debut cookbook, Through the Eyes of an African Chef.

Chef Mwqwebu runs Africa Meets Europe Cuisine, a skills-training and hospitality service provider, as well as the Mzansi International Culinary Festival. Before this, Nompumelelo spent 10 years training and mastering her cooking skills around South Africa and the world, including at culinary schools and kitchens in New York, London, Paris, Bremen and Shannary. She has sat on various judging panels, including judging the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Having trained at the prestigious Ballymalloe Cookery School in Ireland, Chef Mqwebu has mastered the art of making yoghurts, butters, preserves and countless more recipes and methodologies that are included in her book. We chatted to Nompumelelo about food as a powerful ingredient in human and foreign relations.

In your years of travels as a chef, have you experienced the “soft power”of food?

Yes, food transmits with it a cultural identity. When people taste your food, they appreciate and embrace your identity and culture. This bonds well in business as well as in social circles. Offering your food means opening your world. Hospitality is incomplete without food. As part of etiquette, people are catered for when they visit. There’s a certain level of respect people afford you, when you display information of who you are.

A chapter in your book is titled “Ukuhamba Kuzala Induna (My Food Travels)”- if you had the opportunity to travel to any of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), where would you go and why?

Brazil- from what I have learnt over the years about Brazil being the largest country in South America and the most diverse, it fascinates me. I would love to try their local dishes and explore the influences of their neighbouring countries, such as Venezuela and Peru. I am interested in gauging if the food I have eaten outside Brazil, which is said to be authentic Brazilian, measures up to the cooking in Brazil. Dig into their indigenous and ingredients and cooking methods to feed me into their cultural identity.

Each of the BRIC countries have a signature drink or dish – what would South Africa’s be?

South Africa is not a one-nation one-dish type of country. We have indigenous ingredients from our diverse cultures that make up this South African nation, reflected by our 11 official languages. From samp with marrow, to dovhi la mukusule, tsama melon, springbok meat with maize meal rice, ting and many more!

What do you think other nations can learn from South Africa food techniques, from growing and harvesting to preparation and preservation?

The art of preserving meat called mukoki (biltong), which has been with us for decades. It has been transformed to the rest of the world, but much of its important history if from the Khoisan hunters, VhaVenda and other South Africa peoples and has been lost along the way. Another example is umqombothi (traditional Zulu beer) – the fermentation is an age-old formula using sorghum that has entered world trends, but which has been part of our daily lives for centuries. Even looking at the “new”nose-to-tail talk – it has always been here, the relationship between Africans and animals. The skin is used rather than thrown away. The skin is used rather than thrown away. The animal is eaten from the premium cuts to tripe. Horns, hooves, tail hair – everything has its use. Food waste is something of a new phenomenon by reviving our methods of old. 

What can be done to ensure South African effectively uses food for national branding purposes?

We must take up our food identity with the national pride it deserves. We need to listen to our visitors. They do not come to our country to taste their food; they are here for our food. They need us to genuinely welcome them by opening our culinary journey in earnest, sharing who we are that reflective of our roots and our food culture. We are a diverse nation, and that should be reflected fully in our cuisine. Embrace the cultures previously left in our culinary history.

What advice would you give South African chefs who are cooking beyond the borders of our country?

Keep it real. Show pride in your roots and our identity, which is brimming with diverse cultures that are yet to explored. Remember to know where you’re going- it’s important to know your history. 

 

 

 

SA Business Confidence Down in May

The South Africa Business confidence dropped for the month of May after the release of business confidence index (BCI) on Wednesday by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI). The BCI dropped by 2 points, by the end of May it was at 94.0 while in April it was at 96.0. This is the fourth month in a row that South African business confidence has dropped. The unfavourable rating is a result of the increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) and lower levels of trade activity.

January however, saw a climb in the business confidence after the election of President Cyril Ramaphosa as the new ANC President, resulting in predictions of more business favoured policies. The Rand appreciated by 10% in December and April against the Dollar, but is now low  again. The slip in the rand is mostly caused by United State tariffs on metal and commodities and how that could affect South Africa’s steel sector.

According to the report, the construction industry is another sector that been hit badly. The SACCI has stated however, that even though the BCI outlook is negative, they are still forecasting the economy and business to recover. SACCI believes accountable governance is the best remedy for the economic challenges facing South Africa and emphasizes that more attention should be placed on structural economic issues.

Source: fin24.com

10th BRICS Summit hot topics

The BRICS 10th summit will be taking place next month in Johannesburg, South Africa. The global community will have their eyes on this summit. In its 10th year running, it’s a good time to reflect on what’s been achieved and make decisions for the future.

  1. With recent unpredictable and drastic foreign policies introduced by United States President Donald Trump, most recently visible in the realms of nuclear proliferation and trade, the global economy has been shaken. The BRICS member countries have called for fair trades and an open economy previously, the tariffs and sanctions are in contradiction with their principles and thus it will be on top of the list of the things to discuss. Xi Jinping,  President of the People’s Republic of China, has won the battle of narratives against Trump, and the Chinese leader is regarded as a global stabilizer and defender of global rules and norms, while Trump is seen as a source of risk. BRICS members will need to look at this issue and set a united standing point.
  2.  The US Foreign policy and dependence on China is not the only thing that binds the BRICS member countries. The establishment of the New Development Bank and the plans to add additional members to increase the institution’s capacity has been an achievement for BRICS. The Bank has currently approved more than US$ 5 billion in financing for infrastructure projects since its establishment. The countries will use the summit to discuss how they can reduce non-tariff barriers amongst themselves and seek ways to continue promoting the “people-to-people” ties, which improved markedly over the past decade, but which remain well below what they could be.
  3.  This being South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first summit since he took over from Former President Jacob Zuma, the Ramaphosa will be given an  opportunity to tell the BRICS community how he plans to turn around South Africa’s economic standing. The South African Chairmanship, is also important for Ramaphosa’s election campaign as South Africa will be going into elections next year, for this reason President Ramaphosa will also need to convince the South African community that he is ready to take the country forward.
  4. Brazil has faced increased economic instability over the years, with the elections later in October, the new Brazilian President will go straight into taking Chairmanship of BRICS in 2019. This means the current President of Brazil, Michel Temer, will not have much ground to shape debate at this year’s summit as he will be finishing off his term. The next President will have an advantage of starting their term and chairing BRICS in 2019. This leaves little weight for the President Temer.(Source: Post-Western World)

 

#TravelTuesday : Claim To Fame

Brazil is home to the biggest carnival in the world, and the Rio Carnival sees over 2-million people per day on the city’s streets. www.festivalsherpa.com

Russia is home to the world’s longest rail journey – the Trans-Siberian. It starts in Moscow and ends in Vladivostok, with the train crossing several time zones. In addition to the endless birch forests of Siberia, the scenery includes the Ural Mountains and Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world. Distance 5,753 miles while duration is in six days. www.telegraph.co.uk/travel

India has the largest postal network in the world with over 155, 015 post offices. A single post office on average serves a population of 7,175 people. The country is also home to the world’s only floating post office, which has been operating in Dal Lake, Srinagar since August 2011. www.india.com 

China is where toilet paper was invented, with simple but much-needed product’s origins dating back to the pre-1300s, when it was exclusively for the emperor’s use. www.factretriever.com

South Africa is home to the world’s largest bird (ostrich), largest mammal (bull elephant), smallest mammal (dwarf shrew), largest reptile (leatherback sea turtle : 1,500 pounds), largest earthworm (African giant earthworm), fastest animal (cheetah ), tallest animal (giraffe) and the largest fish (whale shark). https://everything-everywhere.com 

 

 

SADC Grows as Comoros Joins the Southern African Bloc

The Union of the Comoros (a former French colony), on the 25th of May announced it will be joining The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which will be made Official at the Annual SADC Summit hosted by Namibia in August this year. The French speaking archipelago’s goal in joining SADC is to branch out, to do more business and trade with more English speaking nations.

Comoros, which is known for being one of the most impoverished countries in the world, is already a part of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), is made up of three islands in the Indian Ocean near the North East of Mozambique and its economy is mainly dominated by primary sector production, like agriculture, fishing, forestry and hunting.

Comoros will become the 16th member state of SADC. Foreign Minister Mohamed Elamine Souef of Comoros said the reason in joining is that SADC had nothing to do with resent disagreement with France over the disputed island of Mayotte and the ending of French Visa’s to Comoros citizens.

Source: businesslive.co.za

Foreign Ministers in preparatory meeting in Pretoria ahead of BRICS Summit.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu opened up the second meeting of the BRICS Foreign Ministers. She shared that forums of this nature strengthen the long-standing bonds of friendship and cooperation. 

The meeting is in preparation for the 10th BRICS Summit that will take place in South Africa from the 25th to 27th July 2018.

Sisulu stated that ministers are making further concrete contributions to BRICS cooperation through deliberations. 

“There can be no doubt that our shared commitment to BRICS will bear fruit and we will make  advances in confronting our common challenges and realising our common objectives for  peace, harmony and greater representation in global governance institutions.” she said 

The Minister added that “ the current global geo-political realities make a meeting of this nature, not only necessary but timely. We meet in the face of multilateralism under siege; when the integrity of international agreements can be hastily and expediently compromised; when more and more countries take an inward-looking position at the expense of others.” 

South Africa is fortunate to host a number of BRICS related event this year. 

“It is fortuitous for South Africa to hold the Chairship of this august Forum, and to have the responsibility of hosting the 10th BRICS Summit in this year that coincides with the Centenary commemoration of a world icon, former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Throughout the year, we will honour the life and legacy of our leader, a distinguished global statesman and father of our nation. 

“We are excessively proud that out of a deplorable inhuman system, we produced one as he. The life of this remarkable human being urges us to recall that nothing is impossible to achieve, no matter the magnitude of the task and irrespective of how daunting it may seem at the time.” 

By Ntsikelelo Kuse

OPINION : Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu’s duties in the new era.

South Africa’s new minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, promises to breathe new life into the country’s foreign policy posture if her early moves are anything to go by. She has displayed a steady but firm hand, a quality that’s needed to navigate the tricky international relations in the era that features the likes of Donald Trump.

Sisulu’s main strength is her seniority in South Africa’s ruling party; the ANC. Life can be easier in the international relations era if you do not have to second-guess your bosses. Diplomacy can be smoother if you are not a lackey of the president and as such you do not have to consult all the time because you’re watching your back, because you know that there are people in your party who are more qualified to hold your position.

You can do what appeared to be unthinkable by your predecessors. You can recall the country’s ambassador to Israel without blinking even though you know that this has the potential to disturb your other interests.

Sisulu has wasted no time in stamping her authority on the world stage. A few days after she took over the new office in early March, Sisulu displayed a firm hand in dealing with the Australians.

An Australian minister of home affairs, Peter Dutton, made nauseating comments about South Africa’s land redistribution policy in March this year. Influenced by neo-colonialist views Dutton said Australia would consider offering refuge of sort to white South African farmers who according to the neo-colonialist view are facing persecution. This view comes to counter South Africa’s newly found sense of urgency to redistribute land to the dispossessed indigenous black majority.

She wasted no time in issuing a diplomatic démarche to the Australian High Commissioner in South Africa, Adam McCarthy. A démarche is a diplomatic petition or protest reserved for extremely serious matters. And she complemented the démarche with a strong public statement. South Africa, said Sisulu, demands a retraction. All indications are that she’s managed to discipline the Australians.

Sisulu made the situation look easy to handle but it was actually a tricky space for Sisulu. She had taken over the international relations’ reigns a few days earlier. She needed time to figure out the system. This could have easily rendered her indecisive. It’s almost certain that an inadequate leader would have staggered around Australian case and its timing. A dangerous vacuum could have developed if Sisulu deferred action, if she had opted to go into consultation with seniors in the ruling party the ANC.

Sisulu comes with an advantage of being a senior herself. As such she probably doesn’t suffer from the weakness of second guessing what her party is about. She’s one of the longest serving executive members of the post 1994 government. And she’s key positions like being minister of intelligence, housing, defence and public service administration.

And Sisulu’s name was strongly considered during the race for presidency in the run up to the 2018 ANC conference which elected Cyril Ramaphosa. Her seniority in the ruling party should make for a huge advantage. Presumably she doesn’t have to second guess her party’s needs.