Toyota bringing Giniel to VW rally

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From the IOL Motoring website

Giniel de Villiers, in the driving seat, tries out his brand new S2000 Toyota Auris.

The Volkswagen Rally, one of the most demanding on the National calendar, promises yet another close contest – and an unexpected new challenge – when the cream of the country’s special-stage racers line up for the start of the two-day rally in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape on – you guessed it – Friday, 13 July.

After three rounds the championship is delicately poised, with five crews covered by just 10 points and the sixth crew only a further four points adrift. There have been only two winners thus far, but seven different stage winners, and most of the top contenders have performed consistently well.

Leading the official entry of 18 four-wheel drive Super 2000 cars, 14 two-wheel drive Super 1600s and nine S20 regional competitors, are championship leaders Mark Cronje and Robin Houghton in an S2000 Ford Fiesta.

With wins in the first two rounds and 16 stage victories out of 38 to their credit to date, they have 60 points and lead Toyota’s Johnny Gemmell and Carolyn Swan (S2000 Auris) by just three points. They’re also looking for a second consecutive successive victory in the Eastern Cape event.

Gemmell, like Cronje, is looking for his first overall championship after being runner-up three times and finishing third last year. He’s also looking for a rally victory that has eluded him since he won the VW Rally in a Toyota in 2010. He has finished second five times since then.

BREATHING DOWN THEIR NECKS

Between them, Cronje and Gemmell have dominated the stages this season, taking 25 between them.

Only four points behind Gemmell and Swan are Jon Williams and Cobus Vrey, winners of the Gauteng Rally five weeks ago in the second works Fiesta. Breathing down their necks are former champions Jan Habig and Robert Paisley, in a privateer Fiesta, who are just two points behind.

Fifth with 50 points are the Dutch/Belgian combination of Hans Weijs Jnr and Bjorn Degandt, who are impressing in their first season in South Africa in a works Volkswagen Polo – and they’re just four points ahead of Jean-Pierre Damseaux and Grant Martin in a Team Total Toyota Auris.

But the top crews will be looking over their shoulders in Uitenhage because, out for the first time this year in a brand new S2000 Auris built for them by Toyota motorsport head honcho Glyn Hall, will be Dakar legend Giniel de Villiers and vastly experienced regular navigator Ralph Pitchford.

De Villiers finished a remarkable third overall in the Dakar Rally in South America in January in the South African-designed and built Toyota Hilux’s first attempt at the world’s longest and toughest motor race.

He said: “I’ve been keen to get back into rallying after my debut year with Ralph in 2011 – we have unfinished business there and we were just getting into our stride when the season ended.

“Racing a four-wheel-drive rally car over loose gravel roads at high speeds is also a great way to sharpen my driving skills and keep me focused between Dakar Rallies!”

SERIOUS CONTENDERS

Making up the top 10 in the championship are Charl Wilken and Greg Godrich (Ford Fiesta), Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin (VW Polo), Hein Lategan and Johan van der Merwe (Peugeot 207) and Mohammed Moosa and Andre Vermeulen (Toyota Auris).

Also serious contenders for an overall win in the Eastern Cape are the works Volkswagen team’s former champions Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries, winners of the 2009 VW Rally, and Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson.

The works Volkswagens have recorded an uncharacteristic three DNF’s as their new-for-2012 Polos have suffered teething problems and they’re 12th and 15th respectively in the points standings.

Similarly, Toyota’s hot young crew of Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee, who won two rallies in 2011, in their debut S2000 season, have only finished one rally so far this year and are languishing in 20th position.

Nevertheless, write them off at your peril.

Zulu and Peskin have impressed in their first year in the premier class in an old-specification VW Polo, in which they are leading the newly created S2000 Challenge, ahead of Wilro Dippenaar and Morne du Toit (Toyota RunX), Henk Lategan and Barry White in a Polo and the RunX of Werner Koekemoer and Etienne Lourens (Glasurit Toyota RunX).

Former champion Craig Trott and Robbie Coetzee are leading the Two Wheel Drive Championship for S1600 cars with 46 points from a win in the opening round and second in the recent Gauteng Rally. Four points adrift are Nic van der Westhuizen and Henry Dearlove in a Ford Fiesta R2), class winners in Round 3, with Matthew Vacy-Lyle and Schalk van Niekerk (Toyota RunX) third on 38 points.

Competitors in the 30th Volkswagen Rally will contest 12 stages – five on Friday and seven on Saturday – over about 200km in the Gamtoos Valley, the Longmore Forest, Uitenhage and at Port Elizabeth’s oval track in Greenbushes, ending with the traditional Kings Beach spectator stage on Saturday afternoon.

Source : IOL.co.za

Cults in our Midst Talk/Seminar

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Cults, How They Work in South Africa book Robin Jackson Durban UitenhageThis is a message from my friend Robin Jackson, Uitenhage born and bred. He is now a leading expert on cults and their influence on teenagers. So don’t miss this seminar…

The next leg of my countrywide talks and seminars kicks off on 5 March 2011 in my hometown of Uitenhage. Thereafter it will move to Cape Town on the 12 March 2011 and Johannesburg on 26 March 2011.

The exact venues in these cities are to be confirmed.

Cult activity is a growing menace in our society and is being left unchecked to ravish and destroy families and societies as a whole. Young people in secondary schools, universities and colleges are especially susceptible to cult recruitment and are often targeted by these groups. Would you like to know how to identify these groups and how to protect yourself, your family and your friends from being recruited into a cult? Then come and listen, interact and educate yourself at the event.

So, you think you are immune to cult recruitment? Think again!

Tickets to the first event cost R80 and includes 2 free e-copies of my books on CD, as well as other informative material. Hardcopies of my books will also be on sale.

Bookings and reservations can be done by e-mail or you may call me on 083 991 8568. I will follow up with payment details in an e-mail.

Please note seats are limited. You may also book for this seminar via Facebook.

Letting Rex off the lead

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EMPOWERMENT icon Brimstone looks set to cause a flutter among the corporate fashionistas and perennially fashionable value investors.

This week Brimstone signalled an intention to cast off its investment in fashion retailer Rex Trueform (RexTru).

Brimstone acquired an effective 34.6% stake in RexTru in late 2007.

At last count, the empowerment company’s interest in Rextru was spread as follows: 242 654 Rextru ordinary shares and 2.6 million Rextru N-shares as well as 254 126 ordinary shares and 3.7 million N-shares in Rextru’s pyramid holding African & Overseas Enterprises.

That’s a holding roughly worth R50m, but – more importantly – a holding representing a big chunk of a company which cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be regarded as one of the JSE’s most liquid counters.

Despite the canine connotation of Rex – having been schooled in the classics at Muir College in Uitenhage, I do know Rex is actually latin for “king” – the company is no dog. Rextru, which owns the Queenspark fashion chain, has proved a remarkably resilient (and rewarding) business over the years.

Originally, Rextru was to form part and parcel of Brimstone’s longer-term plans to build a fashion brand house around its clothing manufacturing subsidiary, House of Monatic (HoM).

I suspect that plan is no longer on the table. And Brimstone directors admit as much in commentary that accompanies the company’s recently released year to end-December results.

In reference to the Rextru investment, they noted: “Events and developments within the clothing industry and specifically within Brimstone’s clothing cluster have given cause for Brimstone to review its strategy.”

Brimstone unlikely to be panicked

In this regard Rextru is no longer considered strategic, which means Brimstone is “actively pursuing opportunities to extract maximum value” from the Rextru investment.

For those that need reminding, Brimstone’s clothing cluster was dealt a heavy body blow when subsidiary Fifth Element was liquidated after some unsavoury business practices were uncovered in an internal investigation.

In any event HoM – which thankfully does hold some valuable industrial properties – posted a loss of R30m after factoring in write-offs and expenses.

Still, Brimstone probably won’t be panicked into selling Rextru. Indeed the empowerment company, which has a strong portfolio ranging from healthcare to fishing and assurance to insurance, can afford to sit back and collect the dividends from Rextru.

I reckon, though, Brimstone has done a clever thing in “putting out” its intentions for Rextru. It certainly would not surprise me to hear that Brimstone was inundated with polite calls of enquiry from interested parties – probably ranging from larger fashion retailers to private equity specialists.

I even wonder whether former asset manager Hugh Roberts, who already holds a sizeable position in Rextru, might be tempted to harness a bigger stake?

While there should be no shortage of buyers for Brimstone’s Rextru stake, there is a question around price. When Brimstone struck the deal to buy out Old Mutual’s stake in Rextru and Af&Over, the shares were trading at around 800c and 600c respectively on the JSE.

The shares have crept up, but are still – according to my calculations – trading below tangible net asset value. NAV aside, the earnings multiple on Rextru is well below its larger peers like Foschini, Mr Price and Truworths.

In other words, I don’t think Brimstone will be looking at a 1 000c/share offer for its Rextru shares or 800c/share for its Af&Over shares.

The thing is that there is so much potential tucked away in Rextru, more specifically Queenspark, that it seems quite possible that a larger fashion conglomerate or private equity firm could well be willing to fork out a premium.

One has to consider that Rextru, run for generations as a family-controlled business, has always erred on the side of caution.

Quite striking is the fact that at last count Rextru had over R100m in the bank and a chain of around 50 Queenspark stores.

Perhaps the real potential of the business could come to the fore with a chain of 100 Queenspark stores and only R50m in the bank?

source: – Fin24.com

All Miss PE finalists will be dressed to nines in ‘red carpet diva’ designs

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A ONE-OF-A-KIND designer dress and a chance to model it is just one of the great prizes The Herald Spec- Savers Miss Port Elizabeth 2010 finalists can look forward to.

A group of talented local designers has been given the task of designing a dream dress for each of the finalists, to be worn at the gala.

Mum’s has sponsored the 10 designers with R10000 and they have been told to let their imaginations run wild to create the ultimate “red carpet diva” design. The look must be feminine and beautiful, with a subtle underlying sex appeal. No doubt all the finalists will look stunning in their beautiful creations. What makes these dresses a little different from the designer creations of Ralph Lauren or French Connection, is that they will be one-of-a-kind. Both the audience and the finalists are sure to be excited to see what these designers come up with for the big day.

The chosen designers include up-and-coming couturiers Natalie Creed, Megan Holden, Zuhdi Abdol, Ati Qina and Thabo Makhetha, who wowed audiences during the Weekend Post Fashion Challenge last year, and well- known local designers and regular La Femme bridal fair exhibitors Colinda Raath, Lee-Anne Griffiths, Leandra Fourie, Jason Kieck and Johan Wolmarans.

The designer dress prize goes with a host of others for the winner and runners-up, adding up to a total of R546000. The title winner alone will receive prizes worth more than R345029.

This includes an all-expenses- paid cruise on the MSC Sinfonia to Portuguese Island in the Bay of Maputo in southern Mozambique, courtesy of Uniglobe Bay Travel, and the use of a new 1,4 Polo Comfortline, including insurance for the year, from Market Square VW, Uitenhage.

Those interested in winning The Herald Spec-Savers Miss Port Elizabeth 2010 title can go to www.theherald.co.za for how to enter and call 041-5047300 to book a free photographic shoot.

Source: The Weekend Post

Close Top Afrikaans group heads for East Cape

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The members of Van Coke Kartel (from left) drummer Justin Kruger, singer Francois van Coke and bassist Wynand Myburgh will be in action in Uitenhage, Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay in the coming week.LEADING Afrikaans rock band Van Coke Kartel hits the Eastern Cape next week with a series of very different gigs around the province.

The group, which has just released its new album Waaksaam en Wakker containing the hit Wat Het Van Ons Geword, consists of Francois van Coke on guitar and vocals, Wynand Myburgh on bass and Justin Kruger on drums.

The group is one of several acts to emerge from the popular punk rock act Fokofpolisiekar – Myburgh and Van Coke were both founding members and Kruger toured with the band but didn‘t record with them.

Myburgh said that there was no animosity or issues between the bands which often liked to play together.

“At the moment there‘s Van Coke Kartel and some members are involved in aKing and some other members are involved in Die Heuwels Fantasties,” Myburgh said.

“And then our guitarist from Fokofpolisiekar is also involved in Jax Panik.

“So it‘s pretty much like a family of bands all hanging out and all with the same sort of mindset around music.”

He said Van Coke Kartel and aKing often played together, and would be doing so again on July 10 at Pool City, Walmer. That show will be a full rock show and will also feature up-and-coming Port Elizabeth band The Merchant of Menace. But before getting to Port Elizabeth, Van Coke Kartel will first appear at the Barkly Street Theatre in Uitenhage on July 8.

“We started rehearsing an acoustic show in February this year,” Myburgh said.

“It was something we always wanted to do.”

He said with a limited number of rock venues, it gave the band more opportunity to get on the road and visit smaller towns which might not be able to stage a rock gig. Then after the Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth shows, the group heads off to the Bilabong Pro surfing festival in Jeffreys Bay on July 11. Myburgh said with this being an outdoor venue and a festival vibe, that once again the feel and set list would change from the other two shows. Looking back at the rise of the group, Myburgh said he started playing bass guitar at the age of 16 and formed a band with Van Coke at high school.

“Our careers started together and we initially played in a Christian band called 7th Breed, which became quite popular in Cape Town,” he said.

But Myburgh‘s path to stardom wasn‘t straight forward. He got involved in the music industry, particularly in sound engineering and worked for a while in television broadcasting for e.tv.

“I eventually decided on music as a full-time thing when we formed Fokofpolisiekar in 2003,” he said.

Asked about what he does when not performing in the two bands, Myburgh said that music had become a full-time 24 hour job.

“Even when we‘re not playing live, we‘re rehearsing, writing, recording, doing interviews, working on the business side of the band, producing flyers, organising bookings or other logistical elements.

“Even when you go out for the evening to relax, you still find that you are ‘working‘ because you‘ll meet someone who recognises you and end up posing for photos and signing autographs.”

source: Weekend Post

Kirkwood Wildlife Festival set for a higher turnover this year

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TAKING CARE ... Burn victim Thandeka Phillip, 4, pictured with Suzette Celliers of Absa, the main sponsor of this year‘s Kirkwood Wildlife Festival. Phillip is one of a number of impoverished and disabled children living in the Langbos area near Addo being looked after by the Sisters of Mercy NGO.ORGANISERS of the Kirkwood Wildlife Festival hope it will generate more than the R18-million in turnover it achieved last year.

Event organiser Jenni Honsbein said the fact that the festival was profitable last year was an achievement, because “most big festivals barely break even”.

Profits for the festival, now in its eighth year, were down last year due to increased overheads and the larger scale of the enterprise. Last year‘s headline game auction brought in R11-million of the festival‘s turnover.

A small portion of the event‘s profits are retained to pay for emergencies and the salaries of the two permanent staffers on the festival team (the others are all volunteers) and the rest goes to social improvement projects.

The projects, which have together received R80000 to R150000 a year in cash or in kind from the festival, each revolve around “centres of hope” focusing on Aids, children, the aged, the disabled, poverty– and the World Cup.

One of these is the Isipho (“gift” in Xhosa) Aids Project in Paterson, run by David Banesi, 38, and his wife Sindiswa, 44, who is HIV-positive.

The couple met and first talked about their project while both in prison in Grahamstown. He wrote a play about Aids and she performed it with other women inmates. Operating from an abandoned municipal building, the two Aids activists now take care of 23 Aids orphans and run a creche.

Working with a state social worker and a team of care-workers, they ensure the orphans are fed, clothed, accommodated and schooled. Isipho gives them uniforms and stationery and pays their school fees. Eight of them sleep at the Isipho building and the rest have been placed with families.

The Kirkwood festival‘s funding was used to help Isipho feed and clothe the children, Honsbein explained.

“Isipho is a centre of hope. It has killed the stigma of Aids and encouraged people to come forward to be tested.”

The festival also sponsors the Bergsig Aged in Action project. Initiated as a franchise by the national Council for the Aged, Bergsig co-ordinator Ouma Evie and her team work out of an industrial container, providing food for indigent elderly and increasingly jobless youth.

The festival also funds the Tape Aids Mini Wheely Library Project, which allows blind or illiterate residents to book out audio-tapes.

It had operated in the Moses Mabida and Valencia townships and had been hugely popular, Honsbein said.

“It is a wonderful form of upliftment.

“Our librarian has been struggling to keep up with the demand.”

Another project, initiated in conjunction with the Sundays River Municipality, was aimed at training local people to become traffic officers.

“The thinking behind this and similar projects that we support is to retain and empower the locals rather than have them drift away to the city.”

In celebration of 2010, the festival has also been sponsoring Bush Pirates from Nomatamsanqa near Addo. The festival management team hopes to target a mega-project to clear alien vegetation in the valley.

The project, which was launched in 2006, promises to create hundreds of jobs, benefit biodiversity and free up precious water. The cost of maintaining the project is about R100000 a year and it is now being run by the Sundays River Citrus Co-operative. But festival organisers are hoping this year‘s festival will generate enough revenue to launch a second inspirational eco-project, possibly to clear the Sundays River of suffocating Spanish reed.

source: Weekend Post

Female performers show just how it is done

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The cast of Divas Are Forever (from left) Lynn Cosme, Thuba Mayeki, Donna Africa and Robynn King will be in action in Uitenhage this week and Port Elizabeth next week.FOR the first time, Centrestage presents a two-night run of one of its shows, Divas Are Forever, at the Barkly Street Theatre in Uitenhage on Thursday and Friday – before the show moves to Uptown Theatres in Port Elizabeth for performances from June 15 to 20.

Divas are Forever showcases some of the most scintillating live performances and song arrangements sung by female performers whose popularity has endured over time. The show features Donna Africa as show host Shirley Bassey.

She is joined by the big voiced Robynn King, who pays tribute to Aretha Franklin Barbra Streisand, Etta James and Whitney Houston, while Lynn Cosme is introduced as the newest addition to the Centrestage fold as Liza Minelli, Bette Midler and Shania Twain.

Joining the ladies on duets through-out is another Centrestage newcomer Thuba Mayeki, who become known to Eastern Cape fans through his Top 14 appearance on this years Idols singing competition.

Aside from Bassey‘s Diamonds Are Forever, Never Never , This is My Life and her rendition of Hey Jude, Africa also performs other big numbers such as the Jennifer Holiday classic And I‘m Telling You I‘m Not Going and Gladys Knight‘s emotional interpretation of Free Again/I Will Survive. She also strides out as Tina Turner.

Mayeki joins Africa on You Can‘t Take That Away from Me, and performs the Elton John role in the Shania Twain/Elton John duet versions of You‘re Still the One and Something About the Way You Look Tonight.

Tickets in Uitenhage can be bought from the theatre and in Port Elizabeth through Computicket. They cost R95 and shows start at 7.30pm.

Check-out the Classifieds

source: The Herald, Arts Correspondent

Uitenhage golf day a huge hit

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by Meshack Khotha (Sowetan)

Uitenhage Golf Course in Eastern CapeAn amount of R100000 was raised during a fundraising golf tournament held at the Uitenhage Golf Course in the Eastern Cape at the weekend. This was a dream come true for Butityi “BK” Konki, boss of BK Investment Holdings, who was the organiser of the one- day event to celebrate his 50th birthday.

“It has been my wish to stage a development tournament in Uitenhage. I am chuffed about the way things happened and would like to thank all participants who made this day a success.

“ The money that was raised in this tournament will benefit aspirant golfers at school level in the area,” said Konki, who added that the event will be held yearly .

It was the second development tournament sanctioned by Konki after the successful Butityi Konki Schools Rugby Tournament won by Solomon Mahlangu High School last season. Konki’s 50th birthday celebrations ended with a glittering function at the Barkly Theatre in Uitenhage on Saturday.

Prominent people who attended the tournament included former Springbok manager Zola Yeye and former Uitenhage Springboks Morgan Cushe and Vusunzi Nakani. Others were Eastern Cape MEC for sports, arts and culture Noxolo-Abraham Ntatiso and boxing legends Philip Ndou, Dingaan Thobela and Welcome Ncita.

source: Sowetan newspaper

Women’s Day Inspiration conference generates R800 for Friends of the Uitenhage Town Library

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Mrs Elizabeth Muller received R800 cheque from Yusuf MosesIn August 2008 I hosted the first annual Women’s Day Inspiration Conference in Uitenhage. This fundraiser collected R800 for the “Friends of the Uitenhage Town Library”, which was handed over to Mrs , the Senior Librarian, who also supported this project from the very beginning.

How did we decide to give the funds raised to the Uitenhage Town Library over any some other worthy cause? Well it was easy because this place was my only source of information during and after school. I received the benefits of studying and the same material and resources were made available like at any tertiary institution. This advantages I reaped is freely accessible for nothing more than your South African ID document and a small annual membership fee. By acting on what was available I conveyed my appreciation for learning.

For the previous five years I worked at Inergy Automotive System assembling fuel tanks. I spent eight hours a day, five days a week working for money. I treasured, appreciated, and loved every single Rand I earned in wages. Sometimes I worked overtime and if it was not my shift I would swap with someone else, just to work overtime. That is how far I would chase money. The harder I worked, the more selfish I became. This was true not only for others but myself as well. So people usually considered me a stringy person. And I would defend myself by saying I am not stingy, I am just saving for a brighter day. One thing I stayed away from was any form of gambling. And therefore I never cared about playing the lottery because I felt it was a waist of good money.

Than I started a company called YKM Events & Marketing because I wanted to earn an extra income and keep even more money for myself. People didn’t believe they had enough money to make their dreams come true. I organised weddings and 21st birthdays for people on reasonable terms. YKM was my second source of income and I minimized the costs for my clients while making a good return on investment. I worked with people from all walks of life; some were in low income brackets, while others earned high income. In August 2008 I made a bold move to leave Inergy Automotive Systems and sell my share in YKM to my previous business partner. YKM really changed my life and opened up my eyes. It allowed me to see things I never saw before and find out giving was a good thing.

On Thursday, 14 August 2008, I fully embraced my charitable side by handing over the cheque raised in the Women’s Day Inspiration Conference a week earlier. The Uitenhage Town library will use the money to continue with their good work in helping people less fortunate. These are the people like myself who have the urge to become something better although they do not always have the means to do so. Handing over the cheque I could see the faces of the chairman, Mr. T.G. De Beer, secretary, Mrs. L. Lerdon, the treasurer, L. Terblanche, assistant treasurer, G. de Beer , committee member, T. England, L. v.d. Merwe, H. de Beer, G. Timms, light up with appreciation, gratitude and new inspiration to continue their great work.

Mrs Elizabeth Muller, the Head Librarian of Uitenhage Town Library, thanked us and was overwhelmed with joy for our great efforts.