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Australia’s Premier Monthly African Magazine BRISBANE • PERTH • MELBOURNE • SYDNEY • ADELAIDE

March 2011 • Issue 6


Extraordinaire Grace Barbe: The sound of Kreo Australian

A non-stop start to your African adventure. Making tracks to Africa? South African Airways offers direct non-stop flights out of Sydney and Perth to Johannesburg. We can get you to South Africa faster. Once you’re there we offer more African flight connections than any other airline so you can easily get to where you need to go. So visit or your local travel agent or call us on 1300 435 972 to get started on your adventure today.



04 From the Editor 05 Moments

Events Afriqan Times could not pass by in February 08 Flood Survivor 10 Around Africa: Planning your holiday to Africa? Plan your itinerary with Around Africa 12 Young, African Australian & Setting the Pace Who said you can’t achieve your dreams untill 40, read about our own Zuckerburg making waves in the African Australia community. 16 My Africa – Morocco 18 Ambassador Extraordinaire An ambassador extraordinaire - a voice for the Indian Islands in australian through the power of music 20 Getting Ahead Why should get more on your 2011 tax return 22 Afrillionaire Nicky Oppenheimer is an unusual billionaire, Chairman of De Beers and an African diamond forever 23 Yes, I am AfroAussie 24 AT Fashion: 2011 Hottest Fashion items to keep you cosy and stylish 26 Hair & Beauty - African Tresses Win the war against the myth of growing your hair 28 Secrets of Training 30 Entertainment – Komodo The Art of No Flow – The Art of No Art 31 Tasty Safari Pleasures of Plaisir De Merle 34 Sports – A Wild Cat Ater Majok - from refugee camp to the Boomers.

Printing By (African Australian owned)



Founders Circa 2009 • Emmanuel K Solomon, Gabriel Gomado

The Afriqan Times welcomes comments and suggestions, as well as information about errors that call for corrections. We are committed to presenting information fairly and accurately. The Afriqan Times Level 28, AMP Tower 140 St Georges Terrace Perth WA 6000 P. O . Box 445, South Perth 6951, Tel: +61 8 9278 2624 Fax: +61 8 9278 2727 Feedback: - News inquiries: Advertising inquiries: • 0417 001 080 Chief Editor : Emmanuel Solomon - Writers:Mukuka Mayuka, Lani Masuku, Rumbidzai Chekeche Teurai Chanakira - Guest Writers: John Kirchner, Graham Osthuizen, Kwesi Foster, Lucy Jarvis Graphics: nqa Creative & Kuda Mukondiwa Photography: Simbarashe Mashanyare, Emily Dimozantos, Henry Gomez Subscribers Visit: Publishing Information: The Afriqan Times is Australian owned and operated. Afriqan Times Pty Ltd ABN: 521 386 161 09 / ACN: 138 616 109.

Priden Printing Services PMS 533

PMS 320

PMS 125

COVER: Grace Barbe, Photography by Emily Dimozantos


From the Editor

We Call Australia, HOME!


henever Australia is mentioned in a movie or series, Land Down Under by Men At Work is heard in the background. It’s a light, feel-good piece of music that beautifully describes Australian nature. The man singing the song meets several Australians in different parts of the world, and they all receive him with smiles and welcome. An Australian lady gives him breakfast in the wilderness, a tall Australian man gives him a sandwich, and even when he’s drunk and vulnerable in Bombay, an Australian stranger gives him words and comfort. The reason the song is taken to represent Australia I believe speaks clearly of who we are. We hold our arms out to people from all over the world, and we’re always ready with a firm handshake and a kind word. Although Australia had less than glamorous beginnings, she is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The first Australian settlers were strangers in an unknown land, they knew


what it felt like to be far from home. For this reason, they were always kind to new people, and this ideal has passed down to Australians today. We are always willing to extend a hand and home to travellers, whether they come from Asia, Antarctica, or Africa. Recent national policies make have led to the expansion of our large Australian family. The landowners, the Aborigines add immensely to our culture. From them, we have such trademarks as the boomerang, and the digeridoo. And it’s not just the human inhabitants that make Australia beautiful. We are blessed with unusual, amazing animals like the koala, the dodo, the platypus, the Tasmanian devil, and the kangaroo. Australia is a vast and magical place with the best of old and new. We have a culture that is found nowhere else, one that is melded from ancient English folklore mingled with bits from Asian travellers, brewed together with indigenous thoughts and recipes and iced with the bits we’ve picked up from recent migrants from Southern & Eastern Europe, Africa, guests and tourists. Many come for a few weeks and

decided to make Australia home, and we’d be glad if you did too. As an African, Australia is the ideal place, its tropical climate feels just like home. There’s sunshine all year round, outdoor lifestyle, magnificent beaches and cosmopolitan cities. As part of the Commonwealth, Australia shares tenets and ideas once developed in the British Empire, so as an African I feel at home in more ways than one. Just like Africans, and just like the song says, Australians are really, really friendly.

Emmanuel Solomons


Gambian Independence Day Celebration The Gambia marked the 45th anniversary of its nationhood with thousands of Gambians in Banjul, Kanifing Municipality and Western Region, converging in their respective regions to celebrate the day. On the 18th February 1965, Gambia became the smallest - and 37th sovereign state in Africa and the last of Britain’s West African colonies to gain independence. It was the first African nation conquered by the British and became the 21st member of the Commonwealth, as well as the 116th member of the United Nations. Gambia has been one of the most stable countries in Africa. It has a liberal, market-based economy characterised by traditional subsistence agriculture, a historic reliance on groundnuts (peanuts) for export earnings, a re-export trade built up around its ocean port, low import duties, minimal administrative procedures, a fluctuating exchange rate with no exchange controls, and a significant tourism industry.

Australia & China – Together in Africa The Australian Chinese Business Council (ACBC) Chinese New Year Dinner was held on 16th February at the Burswood Grand Ballroom, under the theme “Australia and China - Together in Africa” focusing on the potential partnership and cooperation between Australian and Chinese companies in resource projects in Africa. High profile speakers at the dinner included Mr. Alan Davies, President International Operations, Rio Tinto Iron Ore and Mr. George Jones, Chairman of Sundance Resources. The newly arrived Chinese Consul General to Western Australia, Madame Wang Yiner, was also in attendance and proposed a toast to welcome the Year of the Rabbit. Mr. Bill Repard, the Honorary Consul of South Africa, was also in attendance.


2011 African Nations Cup Perth The 2011 Perth African Nations (PAN) Cup tournament held at the Sutherlands Park brought together African Australians from various national backgrounds together in the spirit of the WORLD GAME. In front of a healthy crowd of about 500 spectators, the festive atmosphere at the final was palpable with the Sudanese team defeating their counterparts from Burundi 5-1. Sudan qualified for the final after defeating Uganda 3-0 in the semi-final, while Burundi qualified by virtue of the disqualification of the Democratic Republic of Congo whom they lost 10-7 to in their semi-final match. Sudan won the trophy and a $1000 cash prize with Burundi taking a $500 cash prize as runners-ups. Joseph Wilomjar from Democratic Republic of Congo was awarded the top scorer prize with nine goals and the Best & Fairest. The Community Spirit award went to the vociferous fans from Burundi. Uganda won the bronze medal.

Valentyns Dans Queensland A Valentine’s Dance was held in Brisbane by the “Noordelike Geesvangers” on Saturday 12th February and was a party of colour and fun with lots of prizes won throughout the night. The event organised by a group of friends on the Brisbane northside raised funds which will be donated to the South Africans who were caught up in the 2011 floods in Queensland. The “Afrikaans Klub of Australia” will be distributing the funds. The night was a buzz with an estimated 650 adults, children and friends dancing to the latest music from South Africa and big-screen music videos for young and old. Join the “Musiek Fabriek” forum on Facebook, check out the photos of past events and stay up to date with all upcoming South African dances, artists and music events in Australia and New Zealand. For more information on how you can assist our flood victims or advertise your event for free, please contact Hennie Botha at musiekfabriek@


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Flood Survivor (11th January) and people were talking about the flooding in Toowoomba and that people had died. We were all looking at the Courier Mail when we saw an article that advised that Brisbane was at risk and listed several areas that would be flooded in 24 hours, including my own.

My ex-partner attended at the house first thing Wednesday morning to collect important documents as we had heard that the water levels were continuing to rise in Brisbane. By this time the house was already waist high in water and a lot of property destroyed. Over the next two days the water level continued to rise to within a foot of the ceiling.

AT: What was your first reaction?

Queenslanders are being admired by the whole country for their heroic attitude amid the flood devastation in Brisbane. The Afriqan Times headed to the Sunshine State to find out about the state of African Australians in the aftermath of the wreckage. AfriQan Times caught up with Michelle Tantenda Katsande for a short chat.

AT: Tell us about yourself. When did migrate to Australia and what have you been doing recently, working, studying or...? Michelle: I am originally from Zimbabwe. I moved to Australia in 2001 to study law and accounting. I graduated in 2006 and commenced practice as a lawyer. At the moment I am taking a break from the law and working as a debt and finance management supervisor at Queensland Fire and Rescue Service. Prior to the floods I lived in Indooroopilly.

AT: Do you own the property or were you renting? Did you live with your family there? And how many people were living there? Michelle: I owned the property. My ex-partner and I purchased it in September 2008 and I have lived there since. We were in the process of attempting to sell the property prior to the floods so we could both move on with our lives. The house was a three-bedroom home opposite a park. It would have been 150 metres from a creek and 800 metres from the Brisbane Rive on a quiet street opposite a park in the low lying areas.

AT: Where were you when you first noticed something wasn’t right? Michelle: I came in to work on the Tuesday morning 8 AFRIQAN TIMES MAGAZINE • MARCH 2011

Michelle: Initially I did not panic and just went on with the day at work. It was people around me who started panicking and doing a survey of where people lived and encouraged those in at risk areas to leave and go and get sandbags to protect their homes.

AT: Were you struck by the water?

AT: At what point did you begin to realise the seriousness of the situation?

Michelle: Complete and utter disbelief. It was a surreal feeling. It was not until the waters had receded and it was time to clean up that I realised that we had lost everything. I was greatful to be fine, and for friendships and the only time I felt otherwise was anger at discovering the insurance policy we had dutifully paid for did not cover us because this was a flood and not a flash flood as defined in their small print.

Michelle: I left work at about 10.00 am and went to the Brisbane City Council depot to collect sandbags. This process took several hours and my ex-partner and a friend were also present to assist. Only one road leading to the house was open as all the others had been closed off due to rising water levels. I did not notice anything amiss by the afternoon except that the park across the road was flooded. This was not surprising as the park often flooded after some heavy rain and the water in the park was flowing towards the river and away from the house. There were some State Emergency Service volunteers driving around our neighbourhood to check on events and they seemed to think we would only be mildly affected. We eventually sandbagged the house and I left with my laptop and a change of clothes. At this stage I still did not think it was serious and I was just going to a friends place for the night and would return the next morning.

Michelle: I was not personally struck by water. No.

AT: How would you describe your emotions as the full event unfolded before you?

AT: How complete was the destruction? Michelle: Everything was totally destroyed, including the house which according to a quote from builders will require between $100,000 to180,000 to repair.

AT: Once you were out of immediate danger, what did you do? Michelle: Attended at the house to start the clean up process. There were a lot of friends and strangers who came to assist with this. Strangers brought us food and drink and it was just heart-warming to see people come together to assist regardless of background or colour. Continued on page 11 >>>


All donations can be made on the Queensland Government website:

Around Africa 1. Holi Holi is a Hindu festival of colour celebrated in great style in Mauritius. This has always been my favourite Hindu holiday. Basically you have license to spray any passer-by with colourful dyes from head to toe. It’s a wonderful way to welcome the spring. When: 01 March 2011 Where: Mauritius

2. Cape Town Festival Cape Town’s annual arts festival sets the city alight with the best in South African and international music, performing arts, comedy, spoken word and visual arts. Committed to bringing the arts to the masses, most festival events are free. An eclectic mix of arts and culture is presented across a range of genres from modern to classic, by artists from South Africa and beyond. Established theatres host a range of productions, museums provide visual arts experiences and literary events take place in educational institutions, from universities to libraries. When: 14-21 March 2011 Where: Cape Town, South Africa

3. Wellington Wine Harvest Festival

4. Marrakech International Magic Festival

Come and celebrate the Wellington Wine Harvest Festival with remarkable and award-winning wines, wine walks, mountain biking, wholesome family fun, foot-stomping music and lip-smacking food. Visitors are required to purchase an access pass at their first port of call or Wellington Tourism Office, serving as registration to the weekend. This includes a wine tasting glass together with your program. The pass will allow you free wine tasting at participating cellars throughout the weekend. Thereafter, it works on a pay-as-you-go system with many of the activities for free. With tickets costing just R60 per person, this festival is not to be missed! The Wellington Wine Route consists of 26 members comprising 3 producer cellars, well-known estates and smaller boutique wineries, and produce acclaimed and award-winning wines. Wellington has been divided into four areas for this Festival. When: 19-21 March 2011 Where: Wellington, South Africa

Performances by international illusionists and magicians thrill audiences at the Marrakech International Magic Festival. The biggest shows are held at the Royal Theatre, and there are also free street performances throughout the city. When: 19-22 March 2011 Where: Marrakech, Morocco

5.Human Rights Day When the African National Congress succeeded to power with Nelson Mandela as their leader, March 21st was instituted as the South Africa Human Rights Day as a tribute to a gruesome massacre by the ousted regime in South Africa. South Africa Human Rights Day seeks to ascertain that the South Africans have developed an understanding of the various human rights they are entitled to and can protect themselves against human rights exploitation. South Africa Human Rights Day also marks the beginning of the South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in 1996. When: 21 March 2011 Where: South Africa

6. Cape Town International Jazz Festival Southern Africa’s biggest jazz festival is held annually in Cape Town, South Africa. Jazz legends from all over the world perform for just two days at the convention centre. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has grown into a hugely successful international event since its inception in the year 2000. Attendance figures have increased from the initial 14,000 to 34,000 in the last 11 years. 10 AFRIQAN TIMES MAGAZINE • MARCH 2011

Known as Africa’s Grandest Gathering, the festival will be in its twelfth year when it takes place on Friday 25th and Saturday 26 March 2011 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Once again, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival will thrill loyal and new fans with worldclass music. More than 30,000 people have attended past festivals, so advanced ticket purchase is absolutely necessary. When: 25-26 March 2011 Where: Cape Town, South Africa

7. Freetown Film Festival The Freetown Film Festival provides a unique annual showcase for Sierra Leone films and an insight into the tremendous growth of local filmmaking and its potential for the future. It provides everyone with a chance to gather together, to network and to meet with screen actors, filmmakers, production teams, corporate sponsors, film investors, and other relevant people. When: March 2011 Where: Freetown, Sierra Leone

Flood Survivor continued...

AT: Were you able to save any valuables when you got back? Michelle: Just what I had on me when i left.

AT: Are you staying at the same home or living with others at the moment? Michelle: I am living with others as the house is completely uninhabitable

AT: Do you intend returning and how is the cleaning of the place going? Michelle: With the help of friends, family and strangers all the cleaning was done in a few hours and everything was left out front for the council to take to the dump.

AT: How do you feel about the devastation and bravery of many Queenslanders to push ahead as reported by the media? Michelle: Definitely impressive. I know personally, I did not let this experience get me down. Some people lost their lives, I just lost personal possessions which can be replaced over time.

AT: As an African Australian are they any valuable lessons you have learned from this and something you would like to share with the community? Michelle: Tragedy brings people together and it does not matter where you come from, people were all too willing to help and I definitely believe in the saying, ‘We are one. We are Australian’.

Getting Ahead? Why you should get more on your 2011 Tax Returns By: David Aylmore Key tax rates & rebates important to you this financial year!

As the financial year progresses, it is important to keep up to date with the latest in income tax rates and rebates which may affect you in 2011. Below is a quick guide to ensure you’re up to date and prepared! What are the income tax rates for residents and non-residents? The following is a list of the 2011individual tax rates. Residents

Taxable income 0 – $6,000 $6,001 – $37,000 $37,001 – $80,000 $80,001 – $180,000 $180,001 and over

Tax on this income Nil 15c for each $1 over $6,000 $4,650 plus 30c for each $1 over $37,000 $17,550 plus 37c for each $1 over $80,000 $54,550 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000

Non Residents

Taxable income 0 – $37,000 $37,001 – $80,000 $80,001 – $180,000 $180,001 and over

Tax on this income 29c for each $1 $10,730 plus 30c for each $1 over $37,000 $23,630 plus 37c for each $1 over $80,000 $60,630 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000

Do you have a HELP study debt?

If you have a debt from tertiary or post graduate education you must inform your employer to ensure additional tax is withheld to cover your compulsory repayments. Below are the income thresholds that will attract a compulsory repayment of your debt. Continued on page 20 >>>




here is an African proverb that says, “A chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the very day it hatches”. The need for humans to be recognised by their stature in society is an age-old institution. In the 21st century networking and the perception of success is a key element of business. Business cards emblazoned with a fancy position or title can make the difference between a follow up phone call or a dismissive handshake. With young entrepreneurs entering the fray and making waves in the arts, fashion, music and business fields, it takes more than just a great title or a business card to be noticed in the crowd. Aspiring to be a CEO, director, or general manager of someone else’s multi-million dollar company is almost passé; the “in thing” is charting your own unusual and divergent career path that normally begins with starting your own business.


African & Distinguished

Nnamdi Oranye

Young, African Australian and Setting the Pace By Mukuka Mayuka


he poster child for the young and successful entrepreneur is Facebook’s, Mark Zuckerburg, aptly named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2010. Love him or hate him, Zuckerburg epitomises the change in 21st century career choices and the power of young entrepreneurs. However, this section of AfriQan Times isn’t about Zuckerburg. It’s about our own Zuckerburg’s making waves in the African Australian community. That is where 30-year-old Nigerian native, Melbourne based business owner, Nnamdi Oranye fits in. He recently took over and started to run Priden Printing Services, a specialist printing company with a 34 year history located in one of Melbourne’s growing and well-known south eastern industrial suburbs. At first glance, this confident, articulate and accomplished man’s story might not seem to have common ground with all African youth; from those with refugee backgrounds to those with a student background. However, when AfriQan Times sat down with Nnamdi it was soon apparent that although his story had similarities with the seemingly easy, usual transition story of African student turned Australian come good, there were lessons to be learned in the way his attitude and work ethic led him to become a business owner. The substance of who he is and how he became a business owner was much more important and riveting than the title itself. Nnamdi is the first of five siblings; his sisters and parents form his supportive family base outside Australia and probably are the reason why this go-getter can be looked upon to take the lead. His ability to integrate into Australian society so easily could be associated with his travel past. Being born in England, raised for a few years in Nigeria, settling with his family in Botswana and working in South Africa one gets the impression that he often has to “make good” where ever he is or which ever country he decides to lay his coat down. However, like most migrants, this was not an easy process for him. He had to leave Botswana as a young adult where he was working as an engineering consultant to further his studies in Australia. He soon managed to obtain a Masters of Telecommunications at the University of Melbourne. During this time he took up odd jobs to supplement his income and between those jobs and study his social life took a back seat. From these humble student beginnings, Nnamdi has been able to transition from consultant to business owner in a few short years. Since taking over Priden Printing in September 2010, he has set his sights on continuing to build the printing firm’s reputation MARCH 2011 • AFRIQAN TIMES MAGAZINE 13

and increasing it’s sales by widening it’s appeal to clients not only in the African Australian business community but to all Australian businesses as well. Priden Printing Services’ sleek, high quality and professional website is exactly the sort of site that reflects the person Nnamdi is. Although he is not a printer by trade the service he provides is competing with other similar businesses, as more and more clientele are impressed with the products. Products such as brochures, manuals, annual reports, presentation folders, posters, flyers, office stationary and business cards are only some of the solutions that the firm has already been able to print for a growing client base. It’s quite an amazing leap for an engineering consultant to now own and run a growing successful printing firm, such a journey can only be explained in Nnamdi’s own words.

I feel that I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. I’m Nnamdi. At the end of the day I’m just doing what I need to do to fulfill my dreams. Anyone can print business cards and call themselves a director. A director of what? If I scratch beneath the surface and there’s no substance, then they are really director of nothing. You have to work hard for that title. AT: OK, we know you don’t like titles, what does “Nnamdi” do then?

Nnamdi: I own a business; I guess you can say I’m a business owner. It’s called Priden Printing, it’s got a 34 year history and it’s a specialist printing firm with about 10 staff. I’m not a printer by trade so my role in the business is to grow the business by getting more sales and making it more efficient. AT: How did you start the business?

AT: A lot of people like titles, they like being CEO of whatever and feel entitled to have the cushy job and the kudos. You have a master’s degree, you are a businessman and director, do titles matter?

Nnamdi: People often do feel entitled. I even feel weird with you calling me a business man because I don’t like titles. On my business card it doesn’t have any titles like director or CEO. Personally,

Nnamdi: In 2006 I ventured out of full time work to start my own business and I guess you could say I became a consultant. When I started off, my role was to help businesses expand predominantly between Africa and Australia. I got a client who owned a manufacturing and telecommunications space called MTIL. I helped them set up their South African office and get clients for about two years. That was a baptism by fire, which was a massive learning curve for me. The exposure taught me how to grow a business. I came back to Australia to set up base in 2008/2009 where I officially became a consultant helping business owners grow their businesses. During that year I also ended up meeting around about 100 business owners that inspired me to ask myself why I couldn’t run my own business. Early January 2010 I started looking for a business and searched for about six months. I then came across Priden Printing and by the time the owner and I worked everything out I was running the business by September 2010. AT: Did you ever find that your age combined with being African surprised the people you were dealing with in the business world?

Nnamdi: Yes. I would find that I would have a decent conversation with someone on the phone and set up the meeting. When you walk into the meeting and immediately see the surprised expressions on the faces of people, you immediately know you have to prove yourself because they are worried about possible inexperience not just because of your background but because of your age as well. AT: At the levels you have achieved have you interacted with a lot of African people in business? What is your advice to young Africans about making it in business and getting to the top?

Nnamdi: No, not that many, especially at the top. However, it is empowering knowing that I am able to pave the way for people to come after me and do similar and even better things. I think people should just do it. It’s quite simple. Work hard, don’t over think it and if it’s starting a business; do your market research beforehand. At some stage you just have to stop saying you’ll do something and you have to go out and do it. It’s simple advice really, “Just do it”, reminiscent of a well known slogan by a popular sneaker brand but it really does embody what Nnamdi Oranye has achieved with his career. Owning a business at his age requires more than just business cards (which he could print out in batches at his printing factory), it’s more than just the title of business owner. It’s simple hard work and getting up to “have a go”. That’s pretty Australian if you ask us. Priden Printing Services | 21 Century Drive, Braeside, VIC 3195


LIMOUSINE EXCURSIONS | e | For more information please call 08 6260 9800 MARCH 2011 • AFRIQAN TIMES MAGAZINE 15

My Africa: MOROCCO

PHOTO Copyright: Bernie Olbrich

Tinerhir Tinerhir is a town in the High Atlas region of Morocco. Take a day hike in the beautiful Todra Gorge. Catch a grand taxi up the gorge then walk further past the last of the hotels and the end of the narrow section of gorge. The approach is thrilling and somehow urgent, as though the doors of heaven were about to close before you


Courtesy: Zak Harvey

Country: Kingdom of Morocco Capital: Rabat Region: North Africa Population: 32,200,000 est. 2009 Currency: Moroccan dirham (MAD) [1MAD = 0.12AUD] Economy: $193.15 billion GDP est. 2010 Language: Berber language, Moroccan Arabic Calling Code: +212 Tourist Attractions: The Majorelle Garden, Ménara, Fez, Essaouira, Chefchaouen, Merzouga, Jebel Toubkal (Atlas Mountains), Meknes, Dades Valley. Independence Day: 1st of March



Phenomenal Woman

Grace Barbe: The sound of Kreo Australians

Ambassador Extraordinaire By Rumbidzai Chekeche | WA

Photography: Emily Dimozantos



friqanTimes had the wonderful opportunity to chat with the talented and rising star Grace Barbé (pronounced barbay). She is an award winning singer/ songwriter, and live performer with the heart of Africa and her country coursing through her blood and music. This soulful ambassador is not only a voice for the Islands but she is a university graduate with a degree in marketing. Her collaboration “Mon Ankor Anmourer” with Raggabeats base player James Searle was awarded song of the year in 2006, in the ‘World and Folk’ category of the prestigious WAMI (West Australian Music Association) awards. Recently Grace was awarded the ‘Best World Act’ of 2009/2010 by WAMI. Currently she is a finalist in the prestigious APRA Professional Development Awards in the music contemporary category. AT: Tell us a bit about your childhood and move to Australia.

Grace: I was born in the Seychelles, which is a tiny Indian Ocean island that is part of Mother Africa. I moved to Perth, Australia when I was six years old with my mother who came to study, I did my primary school years and then we went back to the Seychelles where I completed my four years of high school. At first I was resistant and did not want to go back, but it gave me an opportunity to reconnect with my culture, roots and people, as well as catch up on my Creole and French. We then came to permanently live in Australia in 1997. AT: Tell us about the journey of your career

Grace: Since childhood I have always been involved in music as my mum was a dancer and she has always been artistic. I recall singing hymns and harmonising with my mother when I was a little girl, which I guess is why I love harmonising. Music is my passion/calling and so I did not even have to ask myself what I wanted to do. Professionally, I have been in the industry for about ten years now and I started out as a backing vocalist with different Perth bands as well as Perth Seychelles community bands. Bands include Seychellois singer Sonny Morgan, East Timorese bands Jah-Era and Ramabauk (which was chosen by UNESCO to promote and conserve East Timor culture), Seychelles Rhythms (which promotes Seychelles culture) and Seychelles Dance Troupe, promoting the traditional dance (which she learnt formally from her mother). I have also collaborated with reggae group Doggpound, which toured Australia for four years performing and working with the indigenous community. In 2003 I joined Raggabeats, a popular reggae act, as a singer/songwriter and performed all over the state including being support acts for UB40 and Ben Lee. Through all this, I gained local and international experience and then four years ago I decide to form a band and go solo. My first album is called Kreol Daughter. AT: Which instruments do you play?

Grace: When I was a teen I taught myself to play the base guitar, which is my main instrument, by listening to Bob Marley on an acoustic guitar. When other young girls would be going out, I would be in my room practicing for hours because I knew what I wanted to do. I am improving on the acoustic guitar with the help of my guitarist. AT: How has your African background and heritage influenced your music?

Grace: I grew up surrounded by culture, languages, food, music and art which has allowed me to appreciate different styles of music. Being involved in my Seychelles community in Perth further taught me to appreciate my own culture and music. I try to bring this across in my music, rhythms and different languages that I sing in.

AT: What is your style of music?

Grace: I broke it down and decided to call it “Afro Kreol”, a combination of African music, Afro beat, funk, soul and music from the Creole Islands. I am influenced by pop, reggae, Caribbean zouk and Seychelles sega music. My main focus is to promote Indian Ocean music (Seychelles music). AT: What drives you and what are you hoping to accomplish through music?

Grace: I am driven and motivated by world issues, so I try to write songs to bring out the positive side and uplift people, as music is a powerful tool to spread a message. For example, the Indian Islands economy is going down and people are struggling, but through my music I say ‘yes we are all struggling but let’s be hopeful that something better will come out of this’. We have music, culture, beautiful people, art and food. Let’s look at the positives and create something really nice out of them. I consider myself a voice through my music, rhythms and languages and an ambassador for the Seychelles and the Creole region (Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, and Reunion Island). To let the world know that the Indian Ocean Islands are here, we are a group of amazing beautiful islands, with fantastic history and culture. Beautiful music, genres and artists also motivate me. AT: Is the music industry challenging to get into and what advice do you have for upcoming artists?

Grace: It is a challenging and hard industry to get into period, but always learn from your mistakes. Know that your music doesn’t have to be in English as one of my songs in Creole made it to number one on the Triple J Roots Charts. It is about the way you market yourself and your image. Have good management, publishing and distribution. Follow the music industry changes and the laws. Being an artist in Australia is a wonderful opportunity as there are many platforms for you to showcase your music. Look at other artists and see how they do business, but remember it’s good to be different. Competition is tough, but if John Butler Trio can do it then you and Grace Barbé can do it too. AT: Grace, thus far what is the monumental moment of your music career?

Grace: I love and listen to Fela Kuti, whom I consider to be an icon and the master of Afro beat music. I was a supporting act for his former drummer Tony Allen, who created the Afro beat rhythm (a mixture of jazz, funk and African music). Afro beat is a great influence on my music so it was wonderful to work with Tony. AT: Let’s talk about the APRA awards. How does it feel to be a finalist and are you anxious about the results in March?

Grace: It is fantastic to be a finalist as it reflects that the industry is aware of you as an artist. Yes, I am anxious because it is very competitive and I am a finalist out of 2000 entrants Australia wide. It would be great to win the award. AT: How do you juggle your music career and performing live?

Grace: I am focused on my music career full time and I am a music teacher part time. So I am giving it my all making music my priority. I also have an effective team from accountants to lawyers who help me to be able to focus on my music. Very soon I will be an official ambassador for the Seychelles, which will add another dimension and flavour to my career. To know a bit more about Grace Barbé visit: |,


Why you should get more on your 2011 Tax Returns continued... By: David Aylmore | WA Warning: If you salary package and include a reportable fringe benefit on your PAYG Payment Summary your income threshold for the HELP repayment includes both your taxable salary and the fringe benefit amount.

In 2009–10 the surcharge applied if your income for MLS purposes was more than: • $73,000 for a single person with no dependants, or • $146,000 for a couple with no children or one dependant child, plus $1,500 for each additional dependant child.

HELP Repayment Thresholds 2011

HELP repayment income (HRI*) Below $44,912 $44,912–$50,028 $50,029–$55,143 $55,144–$58,041 $58,042–$62,390 $62,391–$67,570 $67,571–$71,126 $71,127–$78,273 $78,274–$83,407 $83,408 and above

Repayment rate Nil 4% of HRI 4.5% of HRI 5% of HRI 5.5% of HRI 6% of HRI 6.5% of HRI 7% of HRI 7.5% of HRI 8% of HRI

What is the Medicare Levy Surcharge? The Medicare Levy Surcharge is in addition to the 1.5% Medicare levy that the majority of Australian taxpayers are required to pay. The Medicare Levy Surcharge is 1% of:

The Medicare Levy Surcharge income thresholds are reviewed annually. The thresholds for the 2011 financial year are yet to be released and will be advised in our May edition with the ‘Budget Analysis’ for 2011. I am a parent…am I entitled to the Education Tax Refund?

You may be eligible for the Education Tax Refund (ETR) if you incurred eligible education expenses for the primary, secondary or TAFE studies for: • a child, or • yourself, if you were an independent student under 25 years old undertaking primary or secondary studies. For further information on any of the above, or to arrange an appointment, contact us at or (08) 9382 3355.

• Your taxable income, • Your reportable fringe benefits, and • Any amount on which family trust distribution tax has been paid. You are required to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS) if your income is above the thresholds below, and you and your dependants do not have appropriate private patient hospital cover.


name: Helene Von Wielligh | meaning of name: Light | country of origin: South Africa ethnicity: German | state of residence: Western Australia | profession: Hairdressing 3 words to describe Africa: Magical, Natural and Culture 3 words to describe Australia: Patriotic, Diversity and Safe PHOTO: Mmuluki Moyo (Cadet) PHOTOGRAPHEY: Ange Dellarosa

Submit Your “I AM AFRICAN” profile picture at to be featured.



An African (Diamond) Forever - Nicky Oppenheimer By Van Der Mey | QLD


icky Oppenheimer is an unusual billionaire. While his peers have private air strips and chartered planes, Nicky prefers to fly his helipad himself – in every sense of the word. At 65, Nicky still flies his own helicopter. He has special permission to fly it within a mile of London, a privilege not usually given to private citizens. Unlike his peers, he doesn’t enjoy opera or other high end hobbies, and when asked why, he simply says. ‘I am a Philistine.’ He prefers to spend his time walking his dogs and reading crime novels. Nicky Oppenheimer is part of a dynasty, but he doesn’t brag about it. He says he joined the family business simply because he lacked the imagination to do anything else. But despite his alleged lack of imagination, he has run the business and run it well. The business in question is De Beers, one of the world’s largest diamond dealers. De Beers was founded by Cecil Rhodes, and in 1926, Nicky’s grandfather - Sir Ernest Oppenheimer - bought into the company. The family partly owned Anglo American and ran the companies together, but in 2001, De Beers was separated and is now run privately. Nicky was born in South Africa to Jewish parents of German Origin. He studied Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at Oxford, then


joined the family business as a bottle-washer at Anglo American then got promoted to be a personal assistant to his father. Nicky retains the down-to-earth personality that allowed a billionaire’s grandson to wash bottles for a living. He married Orcillia ‘Strilli’ Lasch in 1968, and they have a son named Jonathan. Nicky and his wife are members of the Anglican Church of St Georges in Parktown, Johannesburg. He splits his time between Jo’burg and London, and describes himself as an African. ‘I was born there, I live there, my family lives there, and we will keep living there.’ He shares the opinion of many Africans that we suffer from ‘donor fatigue’ and he said so in reference to the Live8 concert in 2005. It was one of the few times that the soft-spoken man stirred up controversy. Nicky rarely speaks in public and hardly ever accepts interviews, yet he spoke out on this high profile issue because it’s very important to him. He says, ‘Africa needs education, not charity.’ His words were passionate, scathing, and very true. ‘Africa doesn’t exist simply to make people in the UK feel good about themselves.’ Nicky’s rosy cheeks, easy manner, and dignified beard often hide the fact that he is worth $2.87 billion and is ranked 154 in the Forbes list of the world’s richest men. He runs his own cricket team because, ‘It’s the only way I can get a game.’

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Melbourne’s Answer to Sassy Vintage Grandma’s Finest Vintage By Teurai Chankira | VIC


xploding onto Melbourne’s fashion scene, come two sisters who bring a distinct blend of stylish, high quality yet affordable vintage clothing. Laurinda and Fatuma Ndenzako are online vintage retailers, “Grandma’s Finest Vintage” (GFV). After years of looking through beautiful yet unaffordable items in magazines, they grew weary of attempts to save money for the latest designer trend. GFV say, “we are not ashamed to admit that some days a Prada bag meets a Sportsgirl sweatshirt, a deep Chanel red lipstick and Rubi heels. Fashion is no longer defined by the price of the dress, but the dress itself and the confidence you exude in it.” We couldn’t agree more! AT met up with GFV for a fun fashion shoot and interview.

How did GFV begin?

We always knew that this is something we wanted to do. We talked about it for so long that it was not until the tragic loss of our mother a year and a half ago, that we realised life is too short. Knowing your dream and living it is the purpose behind simplifying your life. By knowing your dream, you have a powerful motivator to make changes in your life. This lifechanging event has been our motivation and drive to live and fulfill our dreams. Where do you source your items from?

From various little gems across Melbourne. 24 AFRIQAN TIMES MAGAZINE • MARCH 2011

It’s all about expanding our horizons and venturing out to places outside our comfort zone - from country towns outside of Melbourne, garage sales...we are always on the hunt. Laurinda is our Buyer, has been collecting vintage for the last seven years and has an amazing eye for what works.

the days when all you worried about was playing dress-ups and running away from boys? It’s that innocence that many younger girls may lack today. Too much emphasis is placed on what we wear, who we are wearing etc. Noone should have to break the bank to “conform” to what society deems “normal”.

Which part of Africa are you from?

Our mother was born in Angola & our father was born in the Congo. We migrated to Australia in the 80’s with our family. Has your heritage had any influence on your journey in the fashion scene?

Yes! We say that with so much pride, admiration and respect for our heritage. We are so proud of our roots & traditions but have also been blessed with many opportunities that this beautiful country we now call home, has brought us. Our love of fashion is due to our mother. She had impeccable taste, we believe we get our sassiness from her (hahaha). Furthermore, Melbourne’s fashion scene continues to cement that it is leader of the pack. Women sometimes feel pressure “to break the bank” to look glam. Where does this stem from and how can it be improved for Australia’s youth? It is well documented that many Australian women increasingly feel the pressure to look good. This may stem from the media and the unrealistic pressures sometimes forced upon us. Our obsession with movie stars and “It” girls has risen alarmingly. What happened to

Who inspires your fashion sense?

We draw our inspiration from some of fashion’s most iconic women. We have a love for so many wonderful Australian designers. Our wardrobes are a mixture of many things, we love to take risks and as we have matured, have realised that you should dress to make yourself happy and showing a little skin (tastefully) is ok. Where do you see GFV in five years?

We just want to be happy! We want GFV to grow, bring us the same joy and excitement that it has since its establishment and bring our customers the same passion and desire into every hand-picked item. We dream of one day travelling the globe in the pursuit of happiness that beautifully crafted vintage gems bring us. What are your other passions?

We love spending quality time with our amazing partners, family and friends. Surrounding yourself with good people is “food for the soul”. Cooking is also always high on our agenda. Blog:


African Hair Care Tip of the month By Lani Masuku | VIC


ll over the world, women of African background have been winning the war against the myth that their hair cannot grow. We are taming our tresses and actually seeing positive results with our hair. We have healthy, luxurious, weave-looking, soft and growing hair. I see heads shaking in disbelief. The notion that our hair can grow past a certain length is a concept that is hard to believe for most. Why? We don’t see many black women with hair that is past their shoulders, and when we do, it’s such a novelty; we don’t ask them for their hair secrets. But the secret’s out now … yet it ceases to be a quick answer that will have your hair soft and manageable in no time. It takes just a little commitment and a change of attitude. What is the secret?

The view that ‘black hair just don’t grow’ is incorrect. The fact is, the majority of us have hair that grows, evidenced by actual hair on our head. The issue is that our hair doesn’t seem to grow past a certain length because it breaks quicker than it grows. The secret is in ensuring that you’re doing all you can to curb hair breakage so that you can see your hair grow. That leads us into how we take care of our hair … African Tresses

As kinky as our natural hair is and ‘tough’ looking, it’s actually really sensitive and delicate. Kinky hair is tightly curled, wiry and very fragile. It tends to be quite fine, but because it’s dense it seems thicker than it actually is. It also looks tough and durable because of this perceived thickness yet it is the most fragile hair type. Because of the difficulty in maintaining it in its natural state, most relax, lock, braid or weave it. Our natural tight curl also makes it difficult to retain moisture, which is why we are always oiling our hair. Moisture helps to build elasticity within hair which helps build strength. The stronger your hair is, the least likely it will break. If your hair is prone to breaking, it’s most likely because it’s always in a state of dryness. Understanding how unique your hair is will help in determining how to take care of it the best way possible. Ok, it’s delicate, now what?

Here comes the clincher, the beauty! Use the right product. A lot of popular products that are in the market may not actually be benefitting your hair. Please bear with me while I take you through a basic lesson: Because our hair is dry, brittle and finds it hard to retain moisture because of its unique make up, the products that are good for our hair are quite specific. I will not knock any specific products, but I will say the following, ‘any moisturiser that has petroleum, petrolatum, mineral oil and to a lesser extent lanolin’ is probably adding to your ‘dry hair’ woes. Why? These ingredients actually dry your hair out. The do not penetrate the hair shaft to add moisture at all, they coat your hair. This is one of the reasons why you 26 AFRIQAN TIMES MAGAZINE • MARCH 2011

may get ‘greasy’ hair. A moisturiser was created to absorb into your hair. These ingredients are cheap and make your hair look nice and shiny. Our cries are being heard though, more and more products are coming onto the markets that actually state that they DO NOT CONTAIN these harmful ingredients. Now I know. Where do I begin?

Most people start this change by simply exchanging an old product with a new one. One effective hair challenge that has seen women all over the world change it up has been ‘The Castor Oil Challenge’. Born out of United States, this challenge is created to introduce you to a revolutionary way of protecting your hair while strengthening it, therefore allowing it to grow. For more information on The Castor Oil Challenge, visit Melbourne Readers: If you would like to be featured in AfriQan Times as a Castor Oil Challenger, please contact Lani, our Beauty Editor on The challenge to get your hair healthy, is on now!

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Television – A real health hazard Dr. Ayensu | NSW


ritish doctors have recently ruled on the effects of watching television. Television addiction, which is separated from factors like smoking and high blood pressure, can spell dire health consequences. How much time, on average, do you spend watching television each day? According to British doctors, watching more than 2 hours of television a day dangerously increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. Spending at least two hours a day watching television is harmful to the health of our heart. In fact, spending 120 minutes a

day in front of the TV significantly increases the risk of premature cardiovascular disease. And this is doubled for TV “addicts” who spend more than 4 hours a day in front of the screen. This is an aggravating factor and separate from the traditional risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure. The authors of this report explain this increased risk by pointing the finger at certain metabolic and inflammatory factors. They have observed that the time spend in front of the television appears to have a negative effect on several cardiovascular markers. So people who watch a lot of television need to rethink their behaviour. A large

percentage of the population already spends several hours a day at work in front of a computer. In the evening, it is very often almost a reflex to switch on the television and settle down on the sofa to watch. It’s easy and it’s comfortable … but not for our heart. And there’s nothing new about the solution the researchers suggest: “It is essential to replace this sedentary time, or at least part of it, with physical activity”. These recommendations also apply to children and adolescents. In fact, health professionals regularly express concern about the impact of television and computer games on sleep quality.

The secrets of training by John Kirschner | WA


elcome back to the secrets of training series. Last issue we discussed reps, sets and load. I hope your training has been progressing steadily since last issue and you are ready for more training variables to layer into your program. This issue you will learn how rest and range of motion (ROM) can be utilised to vary the training intensity. When I talk about rest, I am referring to the short breaks between sets or sections of a workout. During rest the body replenishes the energy system that was just utilised to perform the exercise. We use the amount of rest to manipulate the energy available for the next set. If all the other variables remain the same then decreasing the rest between sets will increase the demands on the body’s energy systems and therefore increase the training stimulus. Same load, reps and sets but less rest will equal a tougher workout. Range of motion is an interesting variable that is often overlooked in training. Have you ever seen someone do twenty push-ups and while it looks impressive, you noticed they didn’t go all the way up or down with the movement? Unless there is a specific reason for the decreased range


they are cheating. Now there is no right or wrong way to do something in the gym if there is a specific outcome that is being achieved by doing an exercise in a particular way, providing it is safe. “You will want to use a movement with less ROM if you could potentially injure yourself. As compared to an exercise completed at the full ROM.” Keeping all the other variables the

same but increasing the ROM will create a greater training overload and now training gets interesting. Same load, reps, sets and rest but greater ROM equals a tougher workout. So now you can see how complex working out really is, there is more to it than just lifting weights. See you next issue, until then keep training and have fun.

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WIN! WIN! FREE GIVE AWAY! Giving away (hard to get) 1.5 litre Magnum of the 2008 Plaisir De Merle Cabernet Sauvignon courtesy of South African Wines and The Afriqan Times. To win subscribe now at You must be 18+ to enter and receive the prize Plaisir De Merle Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. A radiant ruby red in colour with a sweet plum aroma. It has a spicy palate full of plums, black berries and dark chocolate backed by soft tannins. Big, bold and made for food, this wine is versatile and would accompany all red meat dishes. Cellaring potential is 10 + years.



The Flow of No Flow, The Art of No Art By G. Money | WA

Vengaboys, Alice DeeJay, Derb, and a lot more. Komodo left his hometown Lusaka, Zambia in early 2003 to pursue his tertiary education in Australia, which is where he is currently based. Komodo, before he adopted the name, use to write lyrics off the styles of existing rappers like Method Man for example, but never took it anywhere as the realities of his environment were not likened to that of the artists he looked up to. Instead he saw his way to success through education and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor in Information Technology, with a double major in Computer Security & Software Engineering. Self Discovery:

Known to his family as: Anthony Walusungu Mkandawire Born: On 11th December 1985 in Lusaka, Zambia. Interesting Facts: The youngest of 4 siblings, Derived the name “Komodo” with the intention of being unique without having a link to the Komodo dragons or Komodo Islands in Indonesia


nfluenced mainly by Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z, Bob Marley, J. Cole, Joe Budden, Michael Jackson, Janelle Monáe, Mozart, Damien Marley, etc Early Life:

Komodo grew up in his mothers’ farmhouse and was exposed to sounds from her music library such as ABBA, Michael Jackson, Tracey Chapman, Bob Marley, BB King, and others when she was indulging herself in the music of her time. Komodo was only exposed to rap/hip hop prior to his teens, by his neighbour at the time, and to the sounds of Onyx. Komodo then gravitated to the likes of DMX, Ruff Ryders, Eminem, Jay-Z, Bone Thugs, 2Pac, Diddy (then Puff Daddy), B.I.G., and many others. Later on in his teen years he delved deep into his dance music as well by artists like Tiësto, Paul van Dyk, Darude,


In January 2008 Komodo decided to take a proactive step in rapping and started writing lyrics again but with a different approach in that he would develop his own flow. He adopted Jay-Z as his unofficial mentor, listening to his songs & analysing his flow and song composition. A lot of people around Komodo mentioned that he had developed a similar flow, which in turn led Komodo to now craft out his own flow. Although it was hard, as he became use to flow a certain way, and was determined to find his own flow. Komodo adopted Bruce Lee’s philosophy to be formless like water and came up with the mantra “The Flow of No Flows – The Art of No Art”. This mantra can be heard throughout The Dark Mixtape. In September 2008, Komodo decided to create The Dark Mixtape as a showcase of himself to the world as the artist he has developed into. Keeping true to his mantra, he rapped on varying instrumental arrangements tapping into different feelings, emotions, styles, flows and topics to show his range as an artist; continually discovering himself, remaining formless and keeping the audience least expectant of what was to arrive next. The Dark Mixtape:

The Dark Mixtape is a bit of everything including the needs of the world and society, introspective expressions of his ambitions, life in Africa as he knows it, fun music for your i-pod, and stories told in a unique format inspired by Anime. In summary, The Dark Mixtape is a creative collage that relates to different aspects of life and promises not to disappoint. It is a definite must listen if you desire something distinct and different, some say fresh, but absolutely deserves a spot on your MP3 player. Komodo in his own words:

“Creating this mixtape has definitely been a journey of self discovery, musically. With what I have discovered, I have decided to create music that empowers people. God help me, I will keep the music good for all who embrace it. Free music for the free people, love music for the love people.” Check him out on these sites:,

The Pleasures of Plaisir De Merle By Hanli van Staden | WA

Across the rolling foothills of the majestic Simonsberg Mountain thriving vineyards of the Plaisir De Merle estate produce grapes of exceptional richness and quality.


his historic farm was established in 1687 when French Huguenot Charles Marais was granted land on the east-facing slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains between Paarl and Franschhoek. Since then much has changed, but varying slopes and aspects running from the steep, stony mountain slopes to the valley floor and the fertile soils on the undulating slopes of the Simonsberg still produce grapes of exceptional quality and flavour. Plaisir de Merle’s wines focus on noble cultivars only. It is a philosophy inspired by the soil and founded upon the firm belief that the grapes grown here would produce wines of a singular character in the classic style. It is a decision driven by the desire to make the best wine possible; big with ageing potential yet fruity and ready to drink while relatively young. Few Cape wine farms can boast a winemaker that has been around since the beginning and here is perhaps Plaisir de Merle’s trump card. Niel Bester was there when the refurbished cellar open its doors in 1993 and has put the grapes through their paces vintage after vintage with increasing success. Niel selects only the best grapes for his wines blending them carefully and maturing them in the farm’s cavernous barrel cellar.

Strict adherence to the harmonious integration of vineyard practice with modern wine-making techniques has left Neil free to naturally influence the wine making process. He strives for fruity tannins rather than hard tannins; wine with ageing potential, yet ready to drink while still quite young and with an emphasis on being foodfriendly. Capturing as much fruit flavours as possible is of paramount importance as is the discreet use of small wood. The objective is to consistently produce from the farm’s top quality grapes, special wines that will be internationally acceptable. With Plaisir de Merle exports accounting for about 70 percent he has more than achieved this. You’ll love the Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon, the cellar’s flagship which boasts soft, plummy fruit and an indefinable elegance that rates it up there with the best. When you savour a Plaisir de Merle vintage, you’ll not simply be enjoying the balance and finesse of a world class wine, but a palate rich with heritage and historical undertones. Cheers! All wines featured in The Afriqan Times are available online at South African Wines



to Karel Van der Berg | Gold Coast Winner of the Tukulu “Fair Trade” Competition for February Issue He won 2009 Tukulu Fair Trade Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Tukulu Fair Trade Unwooded Syraht.

Subscribe and enter into the draw for the March Issue


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A WILDCAT – from refugee camp to the boomers. By Danny Walcott

Photo: Ater Majok Photography: Emily Dimozantos


ne of the great sons of Africa and world icon Nelson Mandela said, “after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb”. This quote is amplified in the life of migrants all over the world and personified in the life of Ater Majok – an African Australian. Ater Majok is an African Australian basketball player formerly of the University of Connecticut Huskies and FMV Isikspor, among others, but currently plying his trade with the Perth Wildcats and as member of the Australian men’s senior national team the Boomers. The oldest of six children, he was born in 1987 in Sudan, a nation then gripped by a civil war that claimed almost 2 million precious lives. At the tender age of 5 years, his family fled to Cairo leaving behind all they had, including precious memories, and began life as refugees in a foreign land. Conditions were tough living in the refugee camps where numerous reports of racial discrimination and violence towards the Sudanese was widespread. When prompted for details on life at the camps, he quickly points out, ‘’most of it is real, but I look at it that whatever has happened, happened, and we move on.’’ While he declined again to focus on this subject, Ater would not deny the treacherous conditions. In 2000, his family moved to Australia through the United Nations refugee settlement visa program – he was 13-years-old. They settled in Bankstown, Sydney and he recalls that his first visit to the basketball court was on his second day in Australia. Football and volleyball were his preferred sports when growing up, even though he recalls watching the American National Basketball Association (NBA) stars on TV at the camps including Chicago Bulls Sudanese star Luol Deng. After 3-years in the wilderness of basketball, Ater Majok did return, with a bang. This earned him a place in a local league with

Parramatta and practise sessions with the West Sydney Razorbacks, under coach Rob Beveridge. Ater headed to the United States and received a basketball scholarship with a division one school: the University of Connecticut. He played one season there, 26 games, before deciding to head to Turkey in September 2010 to play with FMV Isikspor Istanbul in the Turkish second division as a professional. After honouring his contract in Turkey, Rob Beveridge offered Majok a short-term contract. ‘’Having Rob as coach at Perth WildCats, basically sealed my decision to join them in the National Basketball League”, he said.

“My advise to young African Australians is to stay away from drugs, alcohol and smoking because they destroy you, your body and your future”


Ater noted is still learning as much as he can playing under Rob again, and helping the Wildcats as best he can. Since being in Perth, Ater has also been engaged with the Sudanese community, mentoring young Sudanese through workshops and basketball clinics on the dangers of drugs, alcohol and smoking. His young shoulder carries a lot of responsibility as a role model for young African Australians. In ending our interview Ater points how fortunate he has been even though his past may have seemed challenging. My advise to young African Australians is to stay away from drugs, alcohol and smoking because they destroy you, your body and your future”



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Afriqan Times Magazine_March Issue  

This issue has great stories from African Australians surviving the QLD floods, African Australian Zuckerbergs, Kroel Australians sharing th...

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