Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Local fashion gets international exposure

It was founder and director of SA Fashion Week Lucilla Booyzens who used the phrase "The Business of Fashion" as her marketing message for fashion in South Africa. The message was clear. No matter how creative a young designer is, he or she cannot possibly hope to make it in the tough world of fashion if they don't have a sound business plan and know how to merchandise their work.

South African designer Spero Villioti has worked in haute couture for many years and a few years ago started up an Elite Design Academy for budding fashion designers to learn the craft of "high dressmaking". However Spero and his wife Vanessa decided that they needed an exchange programme in addition to the three-year course at their design academy, to help their students to have a more global approach. Spero and Vanessa liked the Parsons School of Design model and approached Parsons about giving Spero's students exposure to an international market via an informal exchange.

The Parsons School of Design, in New York's Fashion District, is of course where Project Runway was shot during summer school. There was an attempt to film it in California for one season but the series stayed in New York thereafter as it worked for TV better, says John Jay, one of the lecturers at the school who has been teaching Spero's students for the past three years.

Both John Jay and fellow lecturer Jean Larkin's programmes are extremely condensed. John, who takes the afternoon class after Jean's morning session, says he only has two days to teach a programme that would normally take a week. With only three hours in each class he says that his South African students are just as focused as their counterparts in New York and that he sees progress in their work. High praise indeed.

John Jay with his pupils, teaching them about the business of fashion.

It's fashion boot camp and the students sweat bullets, but the payoffs are massive. Students get a certificate from Parsons and the discipline and knowledge they acquire give them a huge advantage.

What's involved in the courses? John teaches his pupils "model drawing", which differs markedly from life drawing. It's not an art class, there is a formula to model drawing and everything is very idealised (for example, the people in the sketches would be extremely elongated and unrealistically skinny). The student has to capture a pose and make sure there is movement in the sketch.

Interestingly, model drawing has evolved over the decades. If you look back to Dior's New Look the physiques, poses and physiognomy of the models (the "orchid women") were remarkably different from today's, which are longer and leaner.

The requirements of a fashionable look and silhouette changes dramatically from generation to generation. The student needs to start off with an inspiration for his or her design, but has to understand history and always go back to the same departure point. There is also the question of fabrication: is it the right weight for the garment? So practical concerns also need to be taken into consideration.

Not only do the students study model drawing but they are introduced to new projects which throw them out of their comfort zone. They have to undertake projects which are the opposite of their own personal style and be made to go in another direction from their normal way of doing things. They have to learn to be more practical and are given a fictional person that they have to create a profile of, along the lines of a real-life client. So the profile they create of their "client" has to be accurate, not fictional or unbelievable. This profile is supported with technical drawings (called "flats") of an entire collection, and every detail and proportion has to be in proportion with no guesswork.

In John and Jean's courses students learn to make not just couture work, but the full gamut of clothing from menswear to children and ladieswear, and even knitwear. There are a lot more options for students to gain experience.

What about the counter-exchange programme? Will students from New York come out to Spero's Hyde Park studio? John Jay says that NY kids could learn about couture techniques, that specialisation which is evident in Spero's dresses.

He says he is impressed by Spero's students' progress over the past three years. "Design does not know borders," he adds.

Will anyone from the Parsons School be in South Africa to see South African fashion? Africa Fashion Week will be showing at the end of June, but sadly John Jay will be teaching summer school in New York. Maybe next time ....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Warm buttery Jaguars and a couple of Sirs

Two Sirs, a couple of Ma'ams and a Right Honourable or two... was I in a Nancy Mitford novel? No, indeedy, though it felt just as grand. Yesterday saw a reception to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's birthday at the British High Commissioner, Dr Nicola Brewer's Johannesburg residence in Hyde Park and the Prince William and Prince Harry were guests of honour, as was the Rt Hon Boris Johnson, the half Russian and Eton-schooled Mayor of London. He arrived in South Africa this week to lend support to London's hosting of the 2012 Summer Olympics, as well as England's bid to stage the Fifa World Cup in 2018.

Things have calmed down a little since the ultimate football Friday and the vuvuzelas have died down all over town since Bafana Bafana were defeated at the hands of the Uruguyans this week and focus is on the games. But famous folk are arriving every day to support their teams, and the "Sirs" (as we were instructed to address them; what if I were to panic and call them Ma'am instead?) came out to support the English team, as Prince William is the head of the Football Association in the UK. The FA has always had a member of the British Royal Family as its figurehead President, since 1939.

The princes had been at the dismal game between England and Algeria the night before and had a busy schedule. Just before our function they had both attended a Fifa lunch at The Saxon and so were somewhat late for the Commissioner's reception, despite all the British insistence on protocol and punctuality. All the formal hobnobbing made a change from their time at the Mokoladi Wildlife Foundation in Botswana where Prince Harry was photographed by my newspaper mock-threating his brother with an African python. It peed near William's feet - Harry's face was a picture.

When we arrived we were sent down the road to Summer Place in Hyde Park where gleaming Jaguars with soft leather interiors the colour of butter, central heating and walnut finishes picked all the gentlemen in their military dress and medals and the ladies in coats and suits up and shuttled us to the venue. Heady stuff and enough to make you feel like a Ma'am, or at least as though you were in a James Bond movie! The warmth made a welcome change from the icy winter air which has slammed down on sunny South Africa. It's bliksem cold, colder than an ostrich's plucked behind. Fans have been shivering in temperatures of -10.5 degrees in places like Polokwane. The travel agents warned the British fans to pack their long johns and prepare for cold weather, but the silly poohs are constantly seen on television looking ferociously pink and pre-pneumonial in T-shirts and shorts.

Before the royal arrival talk focused on the "angry fan" who managed to breach security and slip into the English team's dressing room. He had a "frank discussion" with David Beckham about the team's no-goal performance against Algeria; by "frank' we understood his language was somewhat unrestrained. Fifa's face was even more eggy because the Princes had just left the dressing room and all security had been focused on them. The thing is there have been upsets all round (including us!) and even Germany lost to Serbia. I will put money on the fact that the stoical Germans just drank more beer, instead of weeping and wailing, gnashing their teeth and invading dressing rooms.

The princes were due to circle the room and the guests were instructed to get into "clusters", each with its own "cluster champion". The clusters were tables where groups were expected to gather in groups so it made it easier to circulate. First we got to meet the Rt Hon Boris though. Former journo-turned-politico Boris turned out to be a character, very raconteurial. He looks a bit like an albino-esque, unmade bed and is no stranger to controversy, but seems great fun and obviously good with the press.

He is currently blogging from South Africa on how football can transform lives for the better and even has been seen blowing the vuvuzela. The travel agents did not warn fans about "vuvu fever" which has bitten so many of them. When you hear that incessant droning, it's not just the South Africans, the fans are piling in too whether the BBC likes it or not. Love 'em or hate 'em, the vuvs are going back to Europe with the fans and even flying off the shelves at Sainsburys. So much for noise pollution, just buy it a plane ticket and send it somewhere else!

Prince William was ushered over to our table which was mostly media (The Guardian, Pretoria News, Nadia Neophytou from Eyewitness News, Chris Maroleng "dont touch me in my studio"" from E News Africa) and handsome former footballer Paul Elliot turned football ambassador, looking fabulously GQ in a striped tie and suit. Paul is a smoothie of note and rather hogged the prince but we all finally got a chance to shake his hand. The prince obviously loves to talk football and was quite frank about the fan incident. The English need to get behind their team, he said and the South Africans nodded sagely, agreeing that they need to do the same for theirs. He also let fall the fact that team coach Fabio Capello could be a "bit petulant", which could qualify as the understatement of the year.

It's such a weird thing about people always in the media but you feel as though you know them. I have had a very soft spot for Prince Harry since he was born, but was told that he would only be greeting the other side of the room, not the side I was on. His brother is the future king of England but Harry is the one who touches people's hearts, the "naughty one". He is his mother and is so good with children, in Botswana the children made him a "Chelsy Davy" television set which he loved!

I was told to be "more pushy" if I wanted to meet my favourite prince, so I went over to the other side, greeting Mike Higgins en route. Mike was formerly with Virgin Airlines but is now with Botswana Air. Mike was delighted there were fellow Glaswegians present, such as Brian Gallagher, also of the British High Commission. Brian introduced me to Prince Harry and I was able to tell him that I had seen his cousin, Lady Kitty Spencer, another charmer, this February (in 44 degrees heat, I might add). He looked quite surprised by this information but said they very seldom went down to Cape Town. My prince was looking very tired at this stage, not surprisingly what with the exhausting schedule and the fact that they had probably got to bed late after the game.

The princes moved towards the front as the High Commissioner gave the toast to the Queen after both national anthems were sung. A lot of nice things were said about the way South Africa is hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and about the country in general. After the royals had left we all got stuck into the cupcakes before the buttery Jaguars purred up the front door to take us back to our cars and we all ran shivering for our heaters at home.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The ultimate Football Friday

It was an early morning start to what has been dubbed "one of the most important days in South African history", the opening match between South Africa and Mexico, as the vuvuzelas rang out at 5am, the sound that a despondent music lover has described as "the gray drone of the B flat". It may have been the constant monotonous droning, but even the family cat was infected by the soccer spirit. He kicked the carpet with his back legs and played vigorously, looking for new toys and attention.

I decided to go to work early as the highway would probably be choked with 80 000 fans making their way to Soccer City and I was worried I would not be able to make it. Is there anything worse than having to go to work when everyone else is having a huge fabulous party?. Taxi commuters vigorously blew their vuvus out of the windows and pedestrians waved little flags, but otherwise things seemed surprisingly quiet. The freeway was clear, with its four new lanes, and no roadworks in sight, and I sailed into work. Unlike the past 18 months, when every morning produced a new set of challenges and everywhere there was an obstacle and a driving nightmare.

At work things were frenetic. A colleague had brought along her naughty-eyed 12 year old son and his young friend dressed in a British fan outfit. The two ran around blowing their vuvuzelas at top volume all around the harassed journos, and I could see colleagues visibly gritting their teeth. Finally, like a good Afrikaans mother, she put her foot down. "Stephen! That's the last time you blow that thing!" she yelled at him. The vuvus ceased and soon she left, taking both boys with her.

Newspapers have to come out, come rain or shine and most of us were tied to our desks for the day while others had taken leave or were leaving at 1pm. Someone had set up a projector behind me with a big picture onto the wall. Normally it was reserved for news conferences but today it was all ours as our editor was at the match, with his whole family (only editors got consideration, everyone else got kicked to the kerb!). Everyone wore their yellow soccer shirts, which they had been sporting on "Football Fridays" for some months now.

I had two pages to put out but was afraid that things would get so noisy right behind me there would be no way in Hades. But then we got the news about Nelson Mandela's great-grand-daughter being killed on her way back from the World Cup opening concert and that he would not be attending today's match. She had only turned 13 on Wednesday, a few days ago. Devastating for the family, especially her mother Zindi. Her great grandmother Winnie had not been in the car, a friend told me. A close friend of the family, she had woken up that morning to about 30 SMSs and missed calls about the tragedy. It was a blow on both a personal and public scale and a waste of a young life.

Not a good start to the World Cup. Especially when South Africa was on such a high. We need to win this match so desperately I thought, not just for sporting reasons.

A journalist approached me about Victoria Beckham whom she had been tipped off was arriving that morning. It would be a perfect time for Posh to slip into the country, especially when every single press member would be either at Soccer City or reporting on the soccer. It would be like Frodo Baggins going to Mount Doom when the Eye of Sauron was turned away from his own kingdom. I phoned a journo friend at another publication but he was watching the game with his mum and hadn't heard anything. The Queen of the Wags was free to slip into the country during the opening ceremony without any stray paparazzi recording her every move.

702 began to report on the hideous traffic jam which had ensnarled Sandton. Johannesburg has earned itself the unenviable reputation of having some of the worst traffic jams in the southern hemisphere and this was the mother of all traffic jams. The motorists had knocked off from work at 12 (even the Johannesburg Stock Exchange was closed for the day) and were trying to get their cars to the Park and Ride stations so they could take buses to the stadium. Even the Bafana Bafana team was trapped in the traffic and missed the opening ceremony! The Fan Parks at Innisfree and Tshwane, which were to take the overflow, had to close their doors after the first 20 000 fans.

Despite many empty seats the "Calabash" stadium looked quite astonishing from the air as five jets roared overhead. What a beautiful stadium. I was filled with pride over my home town. Soweto was where it was all happening, quite rightly as the soccer culture of South Africa was born here. How wonderful to think that these images were being beamed all around the world.

Finally I finished my pages and could take my seat next to my colleagues and watch the match itself. How the whole place went crazy when South Africa scored its first and only goal against Mexico, the vuvus started all over again! It was an amazing attempt by the 80 something-th ranked team against the 17th top team in the world. The sangomas might not have been right when they anticipated a 2-0 win for South Africa but we held our heads high, defended our goalposts furiously and made the country proud.

Tonight Cape Town will be in the spotlight as the second game, Uruguay against France, kicks off. The Mother City looks gorgeous with the city lights on and the fans are streaming into the Green Point Stadium.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


The picture says it all!

I have not felt the electric current coursing through South Africa's veins so strongly since I was a junior sub working at the Star newspaper in 1994 when, suddenly, we were the news and the whole newsroom came alive.

The World Cup is one day away and the party is only just beginning. Cape Town has finally woken up and lit up Adderley Street with soccer lights, Durban and Port Elizabeth are going crazy and Nelspruit is completely itself. Not to mention all the other towns, dorpies, farms and countryside where games are and are not being played.

The country is awake with the sound of the vuvuzela, our secret weapon designed to strike terror into the hearts of our opponents and awaken love in the hearts of our friends. All the school children are on holiday and adding to the "vuvu" cacophony which sounds at odd hours of the day and night.

I am still nursing my "vuvuzela mouth wounds" after yesterday's amazing Bafana Bafana bus tour through Sandton. The country turned out to support their team and Sandton was estimated to hold around 500 000 fans in one city block alone. The aerial view must have been astounding. The media bus set off first from the Grayston Drive Southern Sun hotel which is where the team is staying. Foreign and local press alike clambered onto the roof for the best view of a sea of flag waving, diski dancing, whistling, screaming, cheering happy and patriotic fans who had been gathering since 10 that morning. The streets were choked with cars, sitting on their horns in solidarity, and people walking, walking, walking. A bank of vuvuzelas had formed outside the hotel and the crowd grew restless, wanting a glimpse of their heroes. The only problem was that there was no space left open for the police escort and three buses (media, team and local celebs) which was to drive through. A Castle sponsored Combi full of crowd whippers up was accompanying us, together with a whole lot of cyclists. What a circus! I blew away at my vuvu, a newly acquired skill, and started to produce the right kinds of sounds. The crowd responded and blew back at full throttle. My mouth started to feel like it had been caught in the pool cleaner but no matter, I blew on.

The police had to walk in front and literally part the crowds inch by screaming inch. The media on the roof had the bird's eye view: South Africa in unison as it has not been since 1994. Old and young, all colours, all political affiliations, soccer or rugby supporters, Chiefs or Pirates, construction workers who downed tools for their lunch break, stockbrokers who peered out of their rooftop offices, gogos, madalas, babies till on the breast, school kids, tourists, fans, visitors, Sandtonians, Capetownians, all of them going absolutely Bafanas. The music was pumping out and streetfuls of people were dancing. "Make the circle beeger, make the circle beeger!"

Coach Carlos Parreira waved merrily at the crowd in the bus behind us, blowing kisses. The team beamed and waved. The vuvuzelas sounded out, triggering the response in the crowd. The police took pictures of each other, presumably to Facebook later. The whole of Mexico had just arrived at OR Tambo, we were told, but only saw one lorn sombrero in the crowd. One cheeky Brit lad had sneaked into the parade with his father and held up a banner reading: "ME AND ME DAD". Another had a banner saying: No, I am not David Beckham, so please stop asking." A cute fellow in a South African flag jumpsuit did a striptease in front of the bus, revealing his soccer shirt below.

We are all so happy that Madiba has decided to join us for a few precious minutes at the opening ceremony tomorrow. With support like this and the ole Madiba magic behind them Bafana Bafana can go to their game tomorrow against Mexico with the hopes and dreams of the country backing them.

You see, it's not just about soccer. It's about two years of economic misery, it's about the disillusionment of our political situation. It's about needing something to believe in, something to make us happy again, something to unite us, something to make us believe in the rainbow nation again. The event was organised by Primedia who wanted originally to confine it to the hotel but something spoke out and said bring it to the people. The World Cup is going to be about everyone, not just all the famous people who are coming. It's not about whether you have tickets to the games, whether you have accreditation, whether you are a bigwig or not. It's about everyone. The mood and spirit will infect everyone, it will heal everyone. It just proved once again that when it comes to the crunch South Africans pull together as one, forgetting all about colour, divisions, hatred. It's what makes us such a unique, special bunch of people. We are AMAZING!

PS: Let's hope my mouth feels better so I can blow my vuvuzela some more tomorrow. Hands up everyone who is going to the opening concert at Orlando Stadium today!

Standing room only!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

South Africa's 'A list'

I always carry my trusty little black book around with me to record the names of those who are making their mark in my world. As you know I am a self-avowed enemy of the ""oxygen thief", so the A-LIST that I have come up with does not contain any residue of the OT. Be warned ...

The celebrity world is a ruthless one and those who are "in" today may be "out" tomorrow. Some survive to become icons of their time but many a celeb bites the dust after their 15 minutes of fame. Here is who's currently who in the South African zoo, honorary South Africans for the months of June and July included (I realise that everyone is going to copy me now and do their own A-Lists, no doubt):



Obviously socceris the flavour of the month so anything related to the beautiful game is high up in the alphabet.

Aaron Mokoena, Bafana Bafana captain, and all his team (South Africa has got firmly behind its teamand is united in its support).

Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, the star of the show of the SA-Mexico match. Why did they have to red card him??

Siphiwe Tshabalala, who scored the sole goal against Mexico.

Defender Matthew Booth (nicknamed "Booooooo" by his adoring fans. No, they are not booing, it's an acknowledgement of his undoubted skills). Carlos was mad to leave him on the bench for the only three matches we did play.

Danny Jordaan (looking much tireder after the weight of the past four years).

Carlos Alberto Parreira (although he has been grossly overpaid as the Bafana Bafana coach. The next coach will get about a third of what he earned)

Daiiiii-vid Beckham (sorry about the injured tendon, but he's is still hot at his age. Has anyone spotted him around town?). Even though the English team did not do as well as the Brit press have predicted in their first two games, Wayne Rooney and feared striker Michael Owen are still their top players.

Portugal's great hope, Ronaldo

2018 World Cup bid ambassador Paul Elliot. Got a great GQ look.

Lucas Radebe (the perennial soccer hotty).

Blue Bulls captain Victor Matfield. Victor and his boys rock! Thanks for beating France, your win was appreciated!

Our very own Proteas for coming back from the brink (South Africa is so bipolar that we love em when they are winning and threaten to change the captain when we lose).

"Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius (the girls love him).

Caster Semenye (keep running).

Human polar bear, swimmer, environmental campaigner and amazing speaker Lewis Pugh, whose epic swim at Mount Everest went out on Carte Blanche. He is married to a South African girl and is now based in Cape Town.


Seth Blatter (for obvious reasons, as all the stories about Fifa are going to come out after the World Cup. City Press already ran a brilliant expose of how much money Fifa is making off of South Africa, none of which will find its way into the local coffers or help the poor in this country. Fifa were described by a senior government official as as "mafioso". And the local press have been kicked to the kerb by Fifa's "embedded journalists", all 2000 of them, who are getting preferential treatment. Despite applying for accreditation at the end of last year many South African journalists will not get to see any of the matches and will be forced to use Fifa's pictures and stories). Andrew Jennings is one journo you will never see at an opening Fifa match thanks to his brilliant book Foul.

Jerome Valcke..

The French coach.

Benni McCarthy (shame on him that he didn't have the self-discipline to want to get into shape and play for his country. We NEEDED him)

Rowan Fernandez, such a naughty boy. To think that Patrice Motsepe, another business A-lister, was after him for years for Sundowns.

Jose Wotisname, the coach before Carlos or between Carlos (I cant keep up). Oh yes, my favourite band, Santana.

Irvin Khoza (lock up your daughters, man, for God's sake)

Leonard Chuene (plain ole shame on him for lying and bringing our country into disrepute over the Caster Semenye story)

Ryk Neethling (past his sell-by-date, except in Potch)

Bad boy of rugby, Joost van der Westhuizen


Princess Diana's niece, Lady Kitty Spencer, still dating footballer Larry Cohen.

Sonia Booth, fabulous model and mother of two cute dimpled baby hotties!


Victoria Beckham, whose hold over the WAG throne is undisputed. We hope she will come out to SA if England go through.

Colleen Rooney.

Fabio Capello makes my COACH A-LIST .

POLITICAL A-LIST (always a thorny one and tends to start heated Facebook debates, all over South Africa where everyone has a good vent).


Madiba (he is the reason why we got the World Cup in the first place and we pray for his good health. Check out the Madiba banners all along the Nelson Mandela bridge)

Helen Zille for telling the truth about the "toilet wars" in Cape Town. And for having the biggest balls this side of the southern hemisphere.

Mosiuoa Terror Lekota,


Julius Malema (this stupid little dude can stand on his head and wave his naked butt around for the next week and no one will take any notice, thank heavens. The soccer is much more newsworthy. Anyway he is off to The Hague for singing That Song)

The Tripartite alliance (guys, plse stop squabbling like Tweedledum and Tweedledee about your nice new rattle. It's embarrassing. I cant keep up with who is sueing who or who doesn't want to speak to whoever, and as for all the death threats ...).

Eugene Terreblanche and his murderers.


Tselane Tambo (honorary vote because the airport is named after her father)

Winnie (good for her not liking the movie about her. Damn Americans!). Winnie's kids, grands kids and great grand kids. Our hearts go out to the family for the tragic loss of great grand daughter Zenani, the namesake of her aunt Princess Zenani Dlamini, who captured the hearts of then nation last year when she handed over the Confederations Cup.

That perennial and venerable strugglista Archbishop Desmond Tutu.


Madiba's grandson, Mandla who wanted to sell the rights to his grandfather's funeral. Ouch.



Thula Sindi (making some lovely stuff, cant
wait for his collection at Africa Fashion Week. Has a great shop in Parkhurst)

Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe (given up her practice for fashion)

Malcolm Kluk (must stop stirring, though).

Francois Rall (one of South Africa's undiscovered secrets.

New York milliner extraordinaire Albertus Swanepoel, whose relationship with Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez in 2005 saw his famous turbans. the next day he was bombarded with emails Barney's and Neiman Marcus, and the rest is history.

Cape designer Stefania Morland


David Tlale (hasn't done anything good for years. There was a time when he was young and hungry and creative but not any more)

Gavin Rajah (except in Cape Town where he seems to get away with it)

All the pretentious fashion crowd who only promote each other. All the fake celebrities and all those vicious queens...



The saga of President Zuma's second wife Nompumelelo Ntuli, the prettiest and naughtiest looking of all his wives. Did she really have it off with her bodyguard? Bad girl! And what is he ging to do to her when they get back from their official trip to India? Do naughty wives get stoned like in some parts of the Middle East?

Scandal and Rhythm City (doing terribly well in the ratings I hear)


Isidingo (so boring and politically correct these days. How I long for the days of Barker Heyns and Cherel de Villiers when men were men, there were women like Cherel and the baddies were real bad. I have been told by my fellow scribe that Michelle Botes is returning to the series, so she will be IN)

All the other soapies. They are boring, kitchen sink, badly acted crap.



Well, of course the Blk Jcks who have made such a name for themselves in international circles and performed with Shakira, Alicia Keys and the Black Eyed Peas at the opening concert.

Lira, Lira, Lira, queen of the stage.

Andrea Bocelli, performing at the final concert organised by Primedia. The man gives me eternal goosebumps.

Danny K, who is sporting a very cool new mohawk. The king of reinvention has moved on from his Leanne Liebenberg (OUT: her pregnancy is going to wreak havoc with that famous FHM figure) days and is getting the female sympathy vote. Danny's dad, Daddy K, also gets an A-list vote for his part in the creation of Shout SA, along with Crimeline. Maybe I need an activists' section? Also royalties for giving Daddy K his name? In that case Yusuf Abramjee of Primedia and Crimeline also gets the A list thumbs up.

Jesse Clegg, a very cute version of his dad with his own musical style and a brand new album from Gresham Records. Vive le fils Zoeloe Blanc (my French is non existent, sorry)

Zebra and Giraffe

Kwela Tebza (snappy dress sense)

The Showstoppas


PJ Powers (sorry, stop dusting her off and resurrecting her for every opening ceremony. After 25 years it's time to give someone else a chance)

Louise Carver (good for Christmas singalongs these days, but hasn't done anything new)



Pabi Moloi (a bit of a brat but she's got staying power. And All Access is a very cool programme)

The perennially classy former Miss South Africa, Joanne Strauss (the best MC in town).

Debora Patta of Third Degree. Love her or hate her, Debora always gets people talking and respect to for doing their jobs and going where angels fear to tread (same goes for City Press editor Ferial Hafajee. The South African press need to be free, independent and vigilant even if they don't win popularity awards)

The coolest hottest weather man around, Mr Derek van Dam (he makes the weather interesting).


Penny Lebyane

The SABC, who have zero credibility or news cred

Basetsana Kumalo (She was nice about 12 years ago but seems to have had a personality transplant since)

Michael Mol (great for the ladies who lunch and his own wife but perhps it's time to hand over the reins)

Jeannie D The double DD list. (yeuch. How far up your own butt can one person be? Even the Philip Treacy hat which she wore to Royal Ascot failed to make a silk purse out of a sows ear. And the Errol Arrendz dress she wore failed to go with the hat. It was, as usual, too tight and too short)


Nadia Neophytou of Eyewitness News (flies all over the world to get her story and digs deep to get the sponsorship to do it)

Pabi, again. Though we still don't know what happened with her contract with Highveld? Hmmmm.


Jenny Cryws-Williams (change the channel unless you are an old fart)


The stellar Charlize Theron (pity she is such a snotpoppie to the SA press, though!)

Gavin Hood, of Oscar winning Tsotsi fame. He needs to move on from Wolverine though and make another gem of a movie.

Actress Terry Pheto. Pretty and fabulous.

Oliver Schmitz, director of Life, Above All, which got such a good reception at Cannes this year.

The stars of Life, Above All, first-time-actress Khomotso Manyaka and Lerato Mvelase. This is a movie to watch.

Athol Fugard, now and for ever.

Janet Suzman, Helen Suzman's daughter. What a voice.

Actor Stevel Marc, appearing at the Market Theatre in Zimbabwean director Tendayi Nyeke's production. Tendayi is telling fabulous African stories.


Vicky Crease, caterer du jour. Her clients read like a who's who and she was voted Best International Caterer. Her events beat out anything I have experienced overseas and she thinks completely out of the box.

Party maestro Otto de Jager, recently put together a no-expense spared dinner for Fifa delegates.

Floral couturier Franz Grabe, does the flowers for the Cartier boutique in Sandton.

Anthony Hamilton Russell, of the Hamilton Russell Estate in Hermanus.

Michael Fridjhon, for his fabulous Wine Experiences. Long may they continue.

Juliet Cullinan, who always finds the best boutique and garagiste wines in the country for her annual wine festival. Juliet really knows wine.

Justine Drake, editor of Eat in and foodie writer extraordinaire.

Michel Morand who attracts the A listers to Auberge Michel week after week.


Former CNN anchor turned World Cup spokeman turned lingerie businesswoman, Tumi Makgabo. Way to reinvent yourself girl! And thanks for finding a niche in the lingerie business!

The ever wonderful actress-activist Rosie Motene. My photographers always linger over her cleavageous pictures and say: "That Rosie, we smaak her .."

Miss South Africa Nicole Flint. Goes everywhere with her brother Jeffrey these days and he puts his foot down on her behalf. Nothing like a bit of brother power!

Publicist Jill Grogor, whose brainchild was the Style Awards, celebrating South Africa's most stylish people every year. She puts this fabulous event together every year, along with the Glamour Oscars.

Geoff Rothschild of the JSE, who is one of the busiest people I know but always has time to answer his emails. Now that's manners!

Businesswoman extraordinaire Wendy Luhabe.


Ray Mccauley of Rhema Church (comes across as seriously dodgy)

The Big Brother inmates from 2000 (seriously folks, how desperate are you to invite these people to anything?). Also people who were on any season of Survivor South Africa. All of them are so forgettable.

Miss South Africas from ten years back or more (unless it's Amy Kleynhans Curd)

Girls in sashes, in general.

Social climbers and wannabes

Bad boy bands