I know, I was fairly taken aback reading this too. Those of us who choose to live here know why we do (or can’t leave for whatever reason) but many of us can recognise the great reasons that keep us here. I didn’t think that many other countries shared our views what with all the terrible media coverage we get abroad.
But we beat out France and the USA in an HSBC poll recently. Here is the top ten list:
Ed’s note: This is the second blog post in a series written by Rich Laburn.
“Let your intentions be good – embodied in good thoughts, cheerful words, & unselfish deeds – & the world will be to you a bright and happy place in which to work & play & serve.” – Grenville Kleiser
It’s never going to happen unless you get intentional. Change is a given, but how your ability to seize the opportunities of this change lies in your intent. This intent could be personal, professional or it could be about South Africa. South Africa will continue to get better as more of its citizens start getting intentional about making it as such.
Recently I met an artist by the name of Simon ‘Max’ Bannister who created an Intention Circle at Londolozi Private Game Reserve. This ‘Land Art’ is made from discarded strips of rusty game fencing. The same wires that once separated wild animals, including elephants, from each other are now two enormous ‘tusks’. Facing west towards the Spring/Autumn equinox, the ‘tusks’ represent the intent to create an elephant corridor connecting the The Limpopo Transfrontier Park to the Blyde River Canyon.
What I like most about this piece of ‘Land Art’ is more than the tangible look and feel. I like the notion of having an intention for something greater than self, and in particular I like an intention for South Africa.
Last night I watched a thunderstorm through the arch of these two ‘tusks’. This time of year makes me comprehend another passing cycle, more passing change. The summer heat will soon swelter in, subsiding into autumn hues then winter bite before emerging into spring once again. The change is constant and everywhere. The change will never end. Plants sprout leaves, animals give birth and abundance is all around. Yet trees are pushed over, newborns are killed and rivers flood themselves out to wait again for the rain.
In South Africa, as in the bush, there are negatives and positives to the motion of change. Businesses will prosper, wealth flourish and democracy reign supreme as much as crime will continue, public services fail and corruption fester. The people with the right attitude and intentions are the ones who are able to best serve this change and as such best serve this country. For me the lessons are in the bush, for others wisdom will be found elsewhere. The questions, though, are ultimately the same….Is your intention to create a space and a place where this country can be the best version of itself?
KuduClub, in collaboration with the ATKV, Jukebox, kykNET, Rapport and OFM, are offering one lucky family the opportunity to bring a loved one home for Christmas.
Recognising that returning home to spend the festive season with the family is what all homesick expats long for, KuduClub – the online subscription channel that dishes up the best in South African entertainment – conceptualised the Tuis vir Kersfees campaign.
Now one lucky individual and his/her companion stands the chance of winning two return tickets back to South Africa on 22 December 2009. The KuduClub team will fetch them in their current country of residence and bring them home. There is nothing like a warm South African Christmas surrounded by loved ones, when you’ve spent the last few knee-deep in snow.
Says Andries Vrey, General Manager: Afrikaans (DStv Online): “The number of expats who log onto KuduClub.com to watch Jukebox and request songs for their friends and family back home, has opened our eyes to the fact that there are many South Africans spread across the world who would love to be home for a sunny Christmas. The festive season is a time when families come together and celebrate, and the KuduClub community are no different. We are pleased to offer the lucky winner of Tuis vir Kersfees the opportunity to spend Christmas at home”.
To enter the competition, SMS* the word KERSFEES and your name to 34585. Or visit www.kuduclub.com to enter online.
* R2 per SMS. Free SMS’s don’t apply.
Competition closes soon (Nov 25th 2009) so get your entries in ASAP!
Following on from my first post about the Consumer Protection Act, here are a couple more bite-sized chunks about the new legislation to help you get to grips with how it will affect your life and help you to realise your rights as a South African citizen.
1. The Act protects you against a range of discriminatory marketing practices. In a nutshell this means that suppliers cannot unfairly exclude you from accessing a good or service if you meet the necessary basic requirements. An example of a ‘necessary requirement’ is being eighteen or older to purchase alcohol.
2. Many of you will be relieved to hear that the automatic renewal of contracts for a fixed length will be a thing of the past. You will also be able to cancel a contract at any time, subject to certain conditions. Click here to find out more about these conditions.
3. Can suppliers charge more than they quote for? The short answer is no. Not unless you have authorised them to continue working once they have exceeded the original estimate.
Let us know if you have any questions, and look out for part three in this series next week.
Ed’s note: This post is a guest post from Rich Laburn who has worked extensively in the South African bush and currently at Londolozi Private Game Reserve. This is the first of four posts that Rich will be writing.
There is nothing quite like South African wildlife. It is impressive and has endured long before the first seeds of the country were sown. In South Africa the opportunity to spend uncluttered time with this wildlife is phenomenal because of the accessibility and diversity of game reserves. South Africa hosts many concessions and reserves that provide exclusive opportunities to experience wildlife in its purest form and in uncrowded freedom. Frustratingly though, with so much wildlife around, it’s impossible to experience all of the remarkable encounters that occur every second of every day. Instead, all you can do is pick one animal at a time and give all your energy, thoughts and appreciation to moments spent with that being.
Where I work, at Londolozi Private Game Reserve, the animal that is most frequently picked is the leopard. After 30 years of continual respect, habituation and game viewing, these elusive cats are content to allow us to view them for hours on end. Following them down dry riverbeds and gazing up at them whilst they fall asleep in the cradle of large trees, the leopards viewed by the rangers, trackers and guests are plentiful. From the 17 year legacy of the recently deceased Female leopard to the muscular Camp Pan Male. The Nyeleti female with 3 tiny cubs and the Nottens Female who has just taken over her mother’s territory, these leopards are iconic. They are stars in their own unwitting way, yet still wild animals working with the pure existence of nature for their survival.
For me, there is one leopard that I feel the most affection for. The Maxabeni Young Male, so called owing to the spot pattern on either side of his shiny pink nose. Unlike his more evasive twin brother, this young male is willing to share his journey into adulthood. Cocky and cheeky but still desperately trying to learn where his place in the world is, every moment spent with him is different, interesting and thought provoking. I have watched him hunt his first antelope, leap away in fright from prowling hyenas and how his body language shifts from fear to confidence in momentary flashes. He has taught me lessons of persistence, courage and the value of cutting your losses. He is only a year old, yet he is wise.
This leopard is just one of many different animals that we as South Africans are lucky enough to have on our doorstep in the game reserves throughout this country. I don’t know where else in the world people are granted access to the exclusivity of spending time alone with wild animals, deep in the bushveld. It is here that the madness of the daily grind fades, the pollution of noise and carbon dissipate, and the seamless progression of days into nights into days allow you to just sit, enjoy and possibly learn something small from a moment with that being. It’s moment such as these that make South African wildlife truly rock.
Isn’t this interesting? Oxford University has singled out South Africa is it’s “Place of the year” for 2009.
This in light of the 2010 World Cup, the string of films being produced about South Africa or by South Africans.
Words from the Oxford University Press:
I dare you to watch the trailer for this December’s Invictus—the story of how a newly elected Nelson Mandela used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to bring his people together—without feeling slight heart palpitation. Particularly in a scene where we see Mandela speaking with a political confidante:
“This rugby, it’s a political calculation,” she says.
“It is a human calculation,” responds Mandela.
Sounds like one awfully loaded conversation about rugby, but if there’s anything history, cinema, and Nike commercials have taught us, it’s that the game ultimately represents something much bigger than itself. From taking a stand (1980 Moscow Games boycott) and breaking social barriers (Jackie Robinson, Dara Torres) to beating odds (Nancy Kerrigan, Lance Armstrong) and growing up (Mighty Ducks 1, 2, and 3), sports are often the metaphors and inspiration of our lives. Which leads us to our big announcement… as it moves to the forefront of the global sports arena once more, we are excited to announce South Africa as Oxford’s “Place of the Year.” The 2010 World Cup—arguably the most important international event the country will host since officially becoming a post-apartheid, democratic nation only 15 years ago—signifies further transformation, quantifiable in millions of dollars worth of new infrastructure.
The blog post goes on to discuss infrastructure of the 2010 World Cup, questions and concerns around the event as well as list some information about our beautiful nation.
In line with the Don’t Complain Campaign, we would like to congratulate South African businesses that have listened to their customers feedback and have impressed them with top quality customer service. Here are a couple of great examples from the getclosure compliments section:
Supplier:First National Bank
Supplier Branch: Constantia Village
Customer: Debbie Lewis
Date of Occurrence: 6 November 2009
I am due to travel to Australia this weekend and went to F&B to increase my International Daily Limit to be used at the ATM when I arrive. I was helped by Gillian Cloete and had stunning service, quick, efficient and she was so pleasant going about all of this, as this is not my branch she had to fax to get permission but kept me in the loop all the way. Well done for excellent customer service!! As I have a Recruitment Business I am always on the look out for great customer service staff…well she would sure be on the top of my wish list and get mentioned everytime I need to induct staff!!! Well done once again for that pleasant smile and willingness to go the extra mile.
Thank You F&B and Gillian Cloete
Customer: Gustav Heuer
Date of Occurrence: 9 November 2009
It’s really good to know that there are people out there who really care about customer service. I would like to thank David Butler (CEO Nando’s) for his personal contribution towards solving the matter. Keep it up.
Supplier Branch: Wynberg
Customer: Heidi Lawrence
Date of Occurrence: 9 November 2009
Your website has proved to be swift and effective! Thank You getclosure! Thank You Lewis Stores for being so efficient! You guy’s are fantastic!
Supplier Branch: Johannesburg
Customer: Tamara Pascall
Date of Occurrence: 10 November 2009
Thank you – I have only used your service 3 or 4 times but will continue to do so and will recommend you to everyone. The service is fast and efficient and your drivers are incredibly friendly. Thanks for great service.
Supplier Branch: Durban
Customer: Mr. William Swart
Date of Occurrence: 12 November 2009
Good Morning Mr.Mohammed.
It has been quite a long time since I’ve had the pleasure of such outstanding service as you provided me today. Your initial response to our problem was timely; you were on time for your service call; you diagnosed the problem and its cause promptly and knew exactly how to solve that problem (which was not easy). I wish you and your company the very best of success. A big thank you to you and your staff.
In a unanimous vote from the UN, Nelson Mandela day has gone international.
Here’s the press release I received:
The resolution was unanimously adopted yesterday, with the support of all UN member states and co-sponsorship of over 165 members, from all regions of the world. This represents the overwhelming support of the entire international community in honouring Mr Mandela. We hope this signals the beginning of greater involvement by the global community in this movement for good.
Mandela Day is an annual international day of humanitarian action in celebration of Mr Mandela’s life and legacy. It serves as a catalyst for each and every person to realise that they have the ability to change the world through action.
It is not about creating institutions with huge infrastructure, but a global movement for good which recognises that positive change begins with small actions. These actions can range from a vision for creating peace and reconciliation to sharing food with a neighbour in need. Mandela Day is particularly geared towards people doing work in their communities and is not event-driven. It is not a holiday.
As Mr Mandela has reminded us, “it’s in our hands” to create a better world. We take inspiration from his example to take responsibility for ourselves and to understand our responsibility to others.
Nelson Mandela spent 67 years of his life actively devoted to promoting and bringing about social change. On Mandela Day we ask individuals to symbolically give at least 67 minutes of their time in service to their communities in whichever way they choose.
We would like to express our gratitude to the South African government for its efforts in making this international resolution possible.
We urge people to ensure that they observe Mandela Day every day – contributing to the global movement for good – and not only on July 18.
If you are interested in supporting the fund and cause one cool way to do so is get yourself a Mandela 46664 Bangle.
If you want to download and skip right to the SA Rocks/zasucks debate, it’s around the 25-30 minute mark that it starts. But don’t be fooled, the rest is just as riveting and occasionally soap-opera-esque.