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CONTENTS EDITORIAL

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STRIDING FIRM LY IN TO

BLACK DIAMONDS |

THE FUTURE W ITH FASHION

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T H E P I O N E E R R I D E R

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I S T H A T Y O U R H A I R

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S W I T C H

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L E G A L M I N D

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D I A M O N D M I N D

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S E L F L E S S S P A R K L I N G

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P O L E M I C

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EDITORIAL

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overty is an evil. It is the best possible way to describe it. It robs people of their pride and this loss is further reinforced when shacks are razed to the ground by a fire or flooded beyond repair during a storm. Dignity is, however, not negotiable and everyday people continue to inspire us at Black Diamonds magazine with their journeys through life. In the midst of present day cynicism and negative news headlines, we find reasons to offer hope to our readers through the stories of the people that we present. Their journeys could be yours; starting off in poverty in some instances but driven by an idea or a cherished dream, the people that we feature present a picture of quiet and dignified determination to succeed. Along the way, they stumble, come across challenges that are not of their making and yet march

“In the right key one can say anything. In the wrong key, nothing: the only delicate part is the establishment of the key.�

right through them, refusing to be deterred by failure. Africans are on the march and you too can join this journey, perhaps after being inspired by the people in our pages. Sometimes the detour in life offers better opportunities and it is the ability of our readers and contributors to see the opportunity when it presents itself because defining moments hardly ever announce themselves. Take what you can from our Black Diamonds. They are everyday people like you.

~George Bernard Shaw~

Black Diamonds magazine is a publication of Oyster Print House Editor: Albert Gumbo

albert@blackdiamondsmag.co.za editorial@blackdiamondsmag.co.za Sales: Khanyi@blackdiamondsmag.co.za PO BOX 1423, Lonehill, 2062 63 Umfolosi Road Paulshof

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S T R I D I N G F I R M LY I N T O T H E F U T U R E W I T H F A S H I O N

WETIVE NKOSI

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WETIVE NKOSI

STRIDING FIRMLY IN TO THE FUTURE WITH FASHION B

orn in the rural area of Boschfontein, Mpumalanga, fashion designer Wetive Nkosi spoke to Black Diamonds Magazine.

WN: I was raised by my sister because our mother was working away from home spending all her time selling fruits and vegetables to earn a living for her 7 children. Although it was tough, it became a good training for me to learn to take care of myself from an early age. My sister who is a teacher always used to say, “You must make it a mission of making a good life for yourself.� She played a big role in my life. She introduced me to Christianity and helped me live my life according to those principles.

was involved in student Christian fellowship where we hosted a lot of functions which inspired me to be creative when constructing BD: What did you do after my garments just to Grade 12? maintain a distinctive look. WN: I decided to do a degree in Industrial Sociology and BD: How did you get started? got my first degree at the age WN: My sister blessed of 19 from the University of me by buying me my first Zululand. Although my first sewing machine which choice was to study music enabled me to fully and drama at RAU, I did express and showcase my not meet their points system creativity, thus attracting requirements - which lead the admiration of students me to take up my second on campus who then began choice of studies which to notice and appreciate was to pursue a BA degree my talent. As my skill in Industrial Sociology and was not yet polished my that is how I ended up at confidence in taking orders Zululand. It was when I from people was lacking, was doing my Honours in as I was still failing to Sociology that I discovered make perfect fits for myself my passion for fashion. I and I would have to make

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adjustments several times before I was satisfied with my craft. As a result, my earliest customers had to come and sit by me while I made adjustments for them too! Luckily they were very patient. So you found yourself getting regular customers. How did you progress from there? WN: By the time I had two machines, I realised my limitations and decided to move to Johannesburg so as to broaden my horizons and take up Fashion design, not just as a hobby but as a career. This decision brought about a huge challenge to me. I was concerned as to how I would communicate it to BD:


WETIVE NKOSI my sister and her husband who had done so much for me by supporting me both financially and emotionally with attaining my degrees in Sociology. God granted me the strength and wisdom as I sat them down and shared with them my vision and honestly I was very humbled and overwhelmed by their response. They basically said they would continue to support me in doing what was in my heart as long as it made me happy. BD: So when did you move to Johannesburg? WN: Upon my arrival in Johannesburg which was in 2010, I called Lali Dangazele, the actress, and asked her for assistance with accommodation for a week at her residence at WITS University where she was studying her masters. I was later referred to the Motubatse family who helped me look for accommodation around Johannesburg. When this proved difficult, they took me in for five months for free and treated me as their own child. BD: So you enrolled in Fashion school? WN: Yes I did, I was able to enrol myself at Sew Africa Fashion Design College with the R6000 I had saved up prior to my arrival in Johannesburg. That money soon ran out after a month because I took care of all school necessities.

Where did you get transport money? WN: Some of my friends helped me but others would say, “We graduated at the BD:

How did you do in fashion school? WN: My hard work earned me the Top First Year Student Award- which came to me as a surprise as I had no idea that the top student received full sponsorship for their second year studies. I cried when I received this news as my

lost her patience and called me in and showed me all her bills, explaining that they needed to be paid on time. I cried. She spoke to me for more than half an hour but all I remember was her asking me, “For how long are you going to live like this?” I sat there quietly as I was brought up not to talk back to elders when they address me as a child. You simply listen and obey. When she had finished talking, I stood

opened many doors for me in this industry. My first collection consisted of six garments that I had to make in five days! That is no mean feat, as you have to find the fabric, make the patterns, stitch- the works, oh it was a nightmare!!!! I had two hours sleep in five days, and I drank a lot of coffee and took energy supplements to increase my focus levels and help me to stay awake. It was an unforgettable door and eye opener for me where getting down to real business is concerned. I was ready to give up on the sixth garment and went to African Fashion International offices to tell them that I could only do five garments by the set deadline but to my surprise they decided to be lenient towards me and gave me an extension to allow me time to finish the sixth one as long as it was before the show.

future became brighter with the favour that was upon me from God. I was now even more challenged to excel in my studies so as to maintain the level of performance that is expected of a top student. I did exactly that and received the award yet again- full sponsorship for third year!!!

up and went to my room and continued crying. Her question haunted me and I then moved out to Johannesburg CBD where I shared an apartment with a fellow student. Gradually the orders started coming in and I eventually moved in to my own flat in early 2011.

BD: How WN: It

Were you still staying with the family that took you in? WN: I was now renting a room in Mondeor and I often paid my rent late but the landlord, was patient with me because I would only manage to pay rent after selling dresses that I made for clients. Eventually she

What are you doing now? WN: I am currently running my own business in Fashion Design as I have finished my Diploma.

same time, why don’t you get a job?” I was a burden but today they are proud of me. BD:

BD:

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BD:

BD: Was it a great opportunity

getting your first show? It was an overwhelming experience which has now WN:

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did the show go? was an absolute success in spite of the challenges I met on the day. The main challenge was that I discovered two hours before the show was scheduled to start that the shoes that were sponsored for my models were in direct contrast with the collection I was showcasing. Fortunately, the CEO of the buying and merchandising teams of Foschini happened to have an appointment in Hyde Park with the director of the College I was attending. As a man of great influence, he was able to organise urgent sponsorship on my behalf with Lulluela – the


WETIVE NKOSI shoe shop. I can safely say he saved the day!

become your reality. Do you still have the first BD: How do you cope with item you made? BD: Tell us about your WN: Yes I do. It was a your Christian principles Internship at The Foschini black dress for my student and the challenges that the Group (TFG) fellowship functions that I fashion industry poses? WN: It was a wonderful, mentioned earlier. WN: Before I exist in the challenging, inspiring fashion industry, I am a and educative six weeks BD: What does the future person living in society. spent in Cape Town. We look like for you? If I can cope in a society spent a great amount of WN: I have great ambitions of divergent values, I can time shadowing Foschini’s and aspirations towards a survive in the fashion buying and merchandising future I believe to be bright industry. When you are teams and working in the and prosperous. That which confronted by certain factory. I can say that my eyes have not seen, my realities that you cannot technology proved to be ears not heard and my heart change, you have to pick very much ahead of me not conceived is everything yourself up and tell yourself as I was the only designer that the future holds for me. you are strong. I have a very who did my work manually strong attitude towards life. as opposed to the rest of the team who were BD: Any advice for young BD: On a final note, we using advanced computer people in general and believe you have met Nelson programmes to work on young people in the fashion Mandela. WN: It was in March their designs. That fact did industry, specifically? not work in my favour as I WN: I believe that it 2008 when Madiba was was always last to finish the is imperative for an well enough to meet the individual to discover Mandela –Rhodes scholars. tasks at hand. their passion, nurture it This is the scholarship BD: What inspires your and most importantly live I was awarded for my designs? it each and every day of Masters in Sociology. We WN: It depends on the their lives! Always strive were a group of about client’s brief on the project for originality in your craft thirty students from all at hand, the theme that has as that becomes a distinct over the African continent. been given, the season or trademark for which you are They arranged for us to the colours. I am a very recognised. Learn and grow meet him in Houghton. detailed person. I love neat from failures of yesterday He walked in slowly and I work and take my time but work towards a better said to myself, “Wow, this to produce good quality tomorrow! Never give up is really happening!” We clothes. on your dreams until they were each given time to sit BD:

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with him for a chat. During our conversation I thanked him for supporting us with the opportunity to further our studies. He told me to study hard and not let anyone look down on me. He was lucid and made a lot of jokes. EDITOR’S NOTE. Wetive Nkosi has had opportunities to exhibit in the following events and received recognition: • Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg March 2012 • Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa October 2012 • African Mosaiqu Fashion show in Ethopia Addis Ababa January 2013 • Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg March 2013 • Mbokodo Award an initiative by Carol Bouwer Productions in the Category Fashion Design.


WETIVE NKOSI

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WETIVE NKOSI

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THE PIONEER RIDER

THE PIONEER RIDER

ENOS MAFOKATE

Enos Mafokate is a remarkable man. Born in Alexandra in February, 1944, Enos says he was born at the “right time” as the second world war was drawing to a close and he could be a part of a new world. Too often in the rainbow nation, we forget the pain and damage caused by Apartheid and, though Enos is far from bitter, you feel the pain in his voice and see it in his eyes as he laments those dark days. “Apartheid killed us,” he says adding that “we missed seeing the cream of South African society on both sides” because of conflict.

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THE PIONEER RIDER

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lack Diamonds spoke to him at the SOWETO Equestrian Centre where about fifteen children were going about their paces. Enos went to Skeen Bantu school in 3rd avenue and attended church at the Dutch Reformed Church, hastening to emphasise that it was his family that took him there. His father worked as a builder near the 12th avenue Coal Yard in Rivonia. His mother worked as a wash maid but his father stopped her from working because Enos would miss school looking after his siblings. She did not have formal schooling and could not pronounce the baptism name, Inosi, he was given thinking it was Nyosi, the Zulu word for bees. Young Inosi then changed the “I” to an “E” because a friend had told him about this version of the name. When he was five, the family moved to Rivonia. His home name is Mosotho. It was at the farm that he discovered his love for animals. He would lead the cattle during ploughing and also when taking the harvest of six bags of maize to Randjesfontein Milling from Glen Williams farm to Halfway house which is present day Midrand. He did not go to secondary school because he had problems with his eyes and spent some time at the St Johns hospital when he was thirteen. There was a race course, a stable called Blue Hill Riding School in the area and it was there that he came across a horse called Black Magic that he was drawn to. Young Enos wanted to touch it but he could not because he was not a groom. When an opening presented itself as the result of a friend’s departure, Enos seized the opportunity to go and work as a groom. He learnt to ride and train the horses but the pain is etched in his face when he recalls how painful it was not to ride the horses during events. Because he is black,

he could only attend as a groom. At one point, his friend John Walker allowed him to ride a donkey and both sets of parents were furious, not wanting them to be friends because of prevailing status regarding inter-racial relationships in the country back then. Enos’ parents warned him

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he could go to jail just for riding that donkey. In December 1960, two weeks before Christmas by a sheer stroke of luck, he went to work with private horses at the Bryanston riding school owned by Lesley Taylor, whose son Barry was still very young. Enos used to take young Barry to crèche,

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putting him literally on his lap on a horse called Ping Pong. “I started Barry off,” he proclaims proudly with a twinkle in his eye. “I put Barry in the saddle and I was scared that Barry’s father would take issue with it,” but the senior Taylor encouraged him to carry on. Barry


THE PIONEER RIDER

is currently a top South people were recognized African rider and they are as riders and members of still friends. the sport. Annalie queried aloud why blacks were ALEXANDER not allowed to compete PETERNELL and eventually there was During the interview, Black a breakthrough and Enos Diamonds came across became the first black rider Alexander Peternell. He has to be allowed into the then been highly involved with Transvaal Horse society the SOWETO Equestrian which is now known as the Centre and Enos for over Gauteng Horse Society. four years now and runs In 1975, the multi-racial clinics in dressage, cross Marist Brothers School country and show jumping in Sandton was the only at Enos’ centre about three school and place that times a year . He grew up allowed blacks to compete. in Meredale , not far from A Grooms competition SOWETO,and is currently was introduced. A focused based in the UK. He Enos, received training competed at the Summer from Tony Lewis, and 2012 Olympics in London. entered his first competition becoming in the process, Enos was determined the first black show jumper to ride. “My heart was in South Africa. He came determined that someone 5th and 6th that year and had to open that door,” he finished 2nd in 1976. A says of wanting to break year later, teaming up with down the artificial walls Annalie, Enos won a multithat apartheid had put up racial event and followed it between human beings. up with two wins in 1978 He recalled that “people and 1979. had died trying to open Enos came up against that door” and he was both prejudice & downdetermined to play his role. right hostility in succeedEnter Annalie and Errol ing years. The 1978 event Wucherpfenning who were in the then Natal was parvisiting the country from the ticularly historic as it was UK. The Wucherpfenning’s the first time in 128 years played a crucial role in that Pietermartizburg had making sure that black allowed a black rider at the BLACK DIAMONDS |

Agriculture Royal Show for the King George’s trophy of a showing show competition. Enos became the Reserve Champion of the King George’s Trophy. The top rider then was Mickey Louw who was Springbok Captain. Out of the number of riders that participated On Pairs, Enos and the Springbok rider Mickey Louw rode and came first, they were riding 2 grey horses, wearing red jackets, and they won the class. The 2 were the first ever Multi-racial riders to break through. As Enos and Mickey were walking out of the ring, a white teenager came charging towards Enos in disbelief, and asked where he got the red jacket. Enos sarcastically responded “I stole it” It was the simple response because the question implied that a black person could not possibly legally have such a jacket. As fate would have it, the two met years later and the accuser recognized Enos and confessed to his friend who had then become a common friend to both of them,“ I remember when I was a young boy running and crying to my dad that a black guy had stolen the special Red jacket.” He

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only realized then that the man he had confronted then is now the Founder of the Soweto Equestrian Centre, and someone who has achieved many results in the Equestrian International Platform. Today, that remark is still a source of banter between the two and their friends . In another incident in the Orange Free State in August 1981, the organisers of an event denied Enos participation because of his skin colour but the Transvaal Horse Society backed him confirming that he was a legitimate entrant and a registered member. The Orange Free State organisers would only allow Enos to participate as a Groom. Ironically, by that time he had already participated internationally on two occasions. After Enos won the class, the organisers tried to win him over by inviting him to a cocktail. Given Enos’ humble nature, he diplomatically turned down the invitation under the pretext that his horse was ill and he wanted to stay with her. The psychological barriers continued as late as 2000 at Thabazimbi, near


THE PIONEER RIDER

Rustenburg, when Enos arrived at the entrance only to be confronted with questions about the ownership of the car he was driving and the horses. When he replied that they were his, the person at the gate still asked him where the “baas” was, and ordered him to stand aside, refusing him entry. Enos insisted that they call the Secretary who then confirmed that Enos was indeed entered for the event. Undeterred the man checking the entries insisted that Enos was not entered. Upon the Secretary’s insistence on looking at the list, it became clear that the gentleman had hidden Enos’ name with his thumb on the clipboard that he was holding! It did not end there. He was still asked for a receipt for his horse! These types of challenges carried on until 2002. ENOS MAFOKATE • 1984 performed in front of 65 000 people at the Midlands showing show in the UK • 1992 Botswana show jumping champion. • 1992 Development representative, Olympic Sports Committee • 2007 represented SA in All Nations Cup championship. Offered land by Swazi princess which he turned down because he

had his SOWETO dream to accomplish • 2008 voted volunteer of the year in Bloemfontein • Recipient of Siyabakhumbula award • 2010 Development representative, Kentucky World Equestrian Games • Life member of Gauteng Horse Society • 2011 Olympics Conference, where Enos gave a speech to 300 people in London, he was Honoured in Buckingham with the Royal Red Jacket by the General of the English Army • 2012 hosted Princess Anne at SOWETO Equestrian Centre Enos is at pains to insist that not every white person supported apartheid and that there are as many people for as there were against in his world. Today Enos is invited in to people’s homes and is genuinely accepted for what he is. A champion rider. He is now working to bring white South Africa to his centre in SOWETO, just to balance things out. His Equestrian Centre grew out of his services to the community. He was “squatting” at the SPCA while providing a horse drawn service to the women on Women’s Day. He got noticed and the City of

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Johannesburg offered him the unused hockey stadium on Gumede street which had become a white elephant. Two benefactors from the UK put up the money and he started his centre offering vaulting. His SOWETO mixed team ended up SA champions three years in a row and 3 children from his centre have Gauteng colours. Recently at the Nissan Easter Festival Show, riders from the Soweto Equestrian Centre achieved 1st place, 2nd place and other wins in vaulting , show jumping and Victor Ludorum. The centre contends that a winning spirit is the norm with the young boys and girls throughout their competitions, and yet these champions are not celebrated as they should due to a lack of sponsorship. Enos has big dreams: to see a child from his centre participate in the World Cup, the Olympics and the Kentucky World Equestrian Games in the US.

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For a man who bought his first horse for R700, after borrowing money from the SPCA, Enos has travelled a long journey. He is planning to celebrate his victories and Nelson Mandela’s birthday by riding a cart from Pietermaritzburg where it all started to Johannesburg. His centre is the only riding school in a black township in the world. Buried in the grounds of the SOWETO Equestrian Centre is his faithful Salmy, the horse that he rode for 22 years and who was like a second wife to him. He will be putting a tombstone on her grave in August. He never got to touch Black Magic at Blue Hill School that many years ago, but he has touched thousands with his ground breaking feats over the years. He is a black diamond and the father of Kwaito musician, Arthur Mafokate.


I S T H AT Y O U R H A I R

Is That Your Hair? Image source: www.disilgold.com

~ Sisa Mbambo ~

Standing in the queue of a department store I feel a tap on my shoulder and face a smiling face. A young lady looks at me in wonder and asks, “Is that your real hair?” Sound familiar? That is probably because it has happened to almost every black woman at some point or another, whether you are sporting a long lustrous weave or working your natural hair, relaxed or not. Now the question remains, what is the big deal with black woman and their hair?

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he relationship black women have with their hair dates back to the days of the transatlantic slave trade. During these times, women were forced to look for ways to straighten their hair in a bid to distance them from their culture as well as blend into the western ideal of good hair. With time, advances in the black hair industry allowed women to chemically alter their hair to produce straighter looking hair. In fact, the straighter one’s hair was, the easier it was to obtain work. All this changed in the 60’s with the advent of the ‘Black is beautiful ‘ movement. With James Brown’s ‘I’m black and proud’ many women ditched the relaxer in favour of an afro and a comb in the hair. Let us fast track to the 21st century. Hair is now a multi-billion dollar industry with many a woman admitting to spending thousands on her hair be it natural or a weave. The question remains, why? The younger generation in black society seems to BLACK DIAMONDS |

think the straighter one’s hair is the better and they invest heavily. Inevitably large numbers of black women spend anything between R100 and R5000 on hairdos. Not to mention the pain involved and the amount of time involved in attaching extensions. Despite these many factors, many women persevere all in an attempt to reach the ideal of ‘good hair.’ So once again, why all the effort? It boils down to one answer, manageability. As black women, most struggle with the effort of styling and maintaining their hair. Relying on personal experience, I can identify with the pain of spending two hours on washing and styling my hair at home. Not to mention the constant war to have good looking hair while trying to beat the clock on my way to work. Most mothers recognise the need for easily manageable hair for their daughters and styles that are pain free so their little girls can look good. And let us face facts. Most women want to look good. The abundant supply of different coloured

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weaves and wigs, all in different colours, allow for a different look each and every day. Any woman can now be guaranteed the fun of a blonde on Wednesday, and the wild child ways of a redhead on Saturday. So what about the woman who is in love with her natural hair? Nowadays, many black women are choosing to abandon the long, luxurious locks for their own natural hair. The trend is now for quirky afro hairstyles and curly locks all with the idea of embracing one’s natural self. And no one could have said it better than India Arie in her song ‘I am not my hair.’ Backing up her words, this songstress also shed her tresses to sport a bald look for a number of months. This bold move not only solidified the idea that natural is beautiful but made it a worldwide phenomenon. At the end of the day, natural or not, who cares if it’s your hair or not? Whether it’s natural or straight, sleek or kinky, it’s all about making the right choice for you.


SWITCH

SWITCH TO BRAND VISION!

Elizabeth Mpiti

In a monopolized industry having a business or company vision is not enough, you need to get to thinking Brand Vision instead. Beating the monopoly means seeing beyond the obvious; you offer accommodation, food and beverage services within your current hospitality venture. Think beyond the usual success story. One simple word for this is innovation. The perhaps over exaggerated, overused word that makes you crawl under your desk during peak service hours. Innovation is the process of thinking out of the box, reinventing the wheel or recreating the wheel altogether.

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ell, it’s easier said than done you might think. Actually, it is possible to achieve this. The trick is to switch. Switch? Yes, Switch from where your business is and teleport to where you want it to be in the future. Where do you want to see this brand you have committed yourself to growing in 6 months, a year or even ten years from now? After you know the end you wish to see, it is easier to carve your journey to that end. Everything you do will be driven by the vision you have for your hospitality ventures brand. Every conversation, magazine article or advert you see on television will serve to fuel your creative spirit in bringing that end to fruition. First things first though,

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let’s get the concepts right. What is the difference between a company or business vision and a brand vision? A business or company vision is what can be described as a set of aspirations created for a company or business. These aspirations are usually designed by the founder and are, therefore, widely associated with the founder and his or her aspirations for the business or company. In order to keep that vision alive, the founder will need to constantly be involved in the business, its personnel and running. In short, for the vision, full realisation is dependent on the founders’ activity and presence in the business or company. A brand vision deems a company or business to have its own identity. It is the source of encouragement,

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motivation and relevance to clients, personnel and shareholders. When brand vision is employed people identify with the brand and not the founder of the brand. They understand the offering, values and standards of the brand whether the founder is present or absent. Personnel are inspired by the brands mantras and standards regardless of the founder’s presence in the running of the business or company. You can investigate this kind of mindset in operation by observing franchises. One store is the same as the other. There is a consistency from their product offering, the look and feel of the property to their service standards. The product and the level of service you receive will be the same from one


SWITCH hospitality venture to the next. This kind of thinking can however be employed by a one venture owner as well as a franchisor. Employing a brand vision mind-set as opposed to a business or company vision cultivates consistency in the services and products offered while supporting the development and implementation of set standards. Now let us look at what it takes to get to a brand vision state of mind for your hospitality venture. Switch. This process will require you to be completely honest with the desires you have for your business or company. 1. Envision your brand in three years.

Remember that your brand and your business or company are associated. The brand, however, transcends things such as location, owner or personnel and core processes. The only things your brand associates itself with are the image you have created for it (i.e. the business or company logo), the standards that are linked to that image and the fundamental processes that execute those standards consistently. When you envision the brand, see only what you want it to become, not what it is currently. Do not compare the current state of your hospitality venture with your brand vision until you

have exhausted the process of the information you of defining that vision. have regarding the areas and processes in your 2. Identify the areas hospitality venture before and business processes you start the identification that do not fit your process. The next step is defined brand vision. to start with the ones you deem to be the most critical ones. You can shift your focus to the other areas as you grow your brand vision.

The process of identifying hindrance areas does not involve scrutiny. On the contrary, it involves looking at each area or process and listing its strength and weaknesses without analysing the results. In this step you are meant to call out the area or process and its attributes, that’s it. The old saying ‘There is only one way to eat an elephant; one bite at a time’ is fitting to this identification process. Instead of looking at your venture as a whole and making your notes of identification based on the collective, select one area at a time to observe. Service quality level could be the first one because that is the core of a hospitality venture. You could then progress to other areas such as the product offering quality level. The next step might be the processes, policies and procedures that are in place for all of those areas. If you have been operational for a year or more you will have statistics, customer and personnel feedback that highlight the problem areas in your hospitality venture. Consider all

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3. Assess your findings from the identification process and compare them to the brand vision you have defined for your hospitality venture.

The process of assessing can be defined as applying scrutiny or analysis to information gathered. Assess your current processes, services and products and take note of what is hindering those areas or processes’ ability to achieving your brand vision. Ask yourself questions like are my products and services going to bring my brand vision to fruition? If you own a steak house for example, you could define your brand vision as “to serve the most sought after steaks in the country”. You would have to assess whether or not the food area of your hospitality venture is able to communicate and deliver on that brand vision. You could complete this task by asking yourself questions such as are my steaks currently tasty, juicy and different enough for

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customers to seek them out. Is the execution and presentation to a level that would make customers seek them out? Overall are they really good enough to make people pass a steakhouse within their vicinity to get to your steakhouse? At this stage, do not concern yourself with the areas or processes that work. They can be improved upon after the areas hindering your brand from growing are refurbished and improved. Once you have this information, start with the next step; 4. Setting and implementing target based solutions that will grow your venture to its brand vision.

Create a comprehensive list of all the possible solutions to the hindrances you have identified and assessed within your hospitality venture. More than one solution per area is advisable so that you can gauge how feasible a solution is. When devising these solutions and their targets, Make sure that they are challenging. There is no point in setting targets that do not inspire the recognition of progress. Make your targets specific so that there is no room for misjudging the results. Set deadlines to the solutions you have devised for implementation.


SWITCH Without a deadline, you risk the chance of implementing a solution that does not reap benefits for longer than necessary. In turn, a lack of deadlines may lead to a loss of resources and other commodities such as time. Be realistic about the solutions you have chosen to implement. If you cannot afford to implement the entire solution in one swift stage, whether due to a lack of resource or commodities, break the implementation process into stages that are manageable and realistic. During this fourth step of your switch cycle, keep your brand vision in mind. It is easy to get side tracked in the implementation of solutions and forget the purpose of the changes being applied to your hospitality venture. 5. Evaluate your progress and redefine your solutions if necessary.

It is important to consider that the solutions you have devised may not work at a particular time due to circumstances or reasons you may not have factored into your original plan. It is, therefore, imperative that you are honest and flexible in your evaluation processes. Evaluating progress does not have to be an action that is taken up during deadline periods only. Evaluating process can be done as many times as you deem necessary for your hospitality venture.

“Just because your business or company is generating revenue does not mean that you are operating in the positive or at a profit.� Keep a hands-on approach or develop personnel to be your eyes and ears during this process. The more feedback you receive from customers, personnel and media platforms, the better for your evaluations. There are four commonly made errors made by hospitality venture owners and managers when implementing this switch strategy. Firstly, not setting standards for your brand is one of the biggest errors made by hospitality venture owners. This should actually be completed and defined before the venture opens its doors to the public. It creates a solid foundation for your business so that you do not incur unnecessary losses before you start seeing any real profits. Set policies, procedures and train your personnel to your brand vision standards before you expose your brand to the public. These standards can evolve as your hospitality venture grows. Knowing what you want for your hospitality venture is one of the best ways to establish these standards. Secondly, it is easy to impose your personal desires and preferences on the brand you are growing. This however may or may not always be what customers desire or want. The switch strategy may assist you in viewing your BLACK DIAMONDS |

hospitality venture from the customer’s point of view and not your own. Another commonly made mistake made by hospitality venture owners and their management is that they strike straight into the marketing aspect of their business without assessing deliverability and quality standards within their operation. This can be hindering to your business. Word of mouth is still one of the most trusted decision making tools trusted by customers. If you cannot deliver on your brand promises as defined with your brand vision, you may lose out more than you gain from your marketing ploys. Make sure that your internal areas and processes can deliver to the standards you set out for your brand. Lastly, focusing on the areas that generate revenue in your hospitality venture is great, that way you can generate more revenue through customer satisfaction. If you flip the switch though you will become more aware of the processes, policies and procedures that sustain, maintain and control that revenue. Just because your business or company is generating revenue does not mean that you are operating in the positive or at a profit. It is for this reason that the switch method advises you to return to the processes,

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policies and procedures that drive profit generating areas. A cycle half completed only reaps half the benefit. The switch cycle is a guideline to getting your brand to be independent of people and their ideas of the hospitality venture they are running. It serves to shift the focus to the brand vision instead of the business vision. Hospitality ventures may offer the same general services (i.e. food, beverage and accommodation services and products) but differ dramatically from each other. It is advisable when considering this method of running your business that you take into consideration all of the things that make or break your business on a day to day operational basis. Other aspects you should consider include the things that make your venture stand out in comparison to your competitors. Take note of every area of your venture and use that as the solid base for your analysis, solutions development and implementation processes.

CONTACT Elizabeth Mpiti at empiti@solidsolutionshc.com www.solidsolutionshc.com Solidsolutionshc @SS_HC


LEGAL MIND NTHABISENG DLAMINI

LEGAL MIND WITH AN EYE ON AFRICA Mdalimunye Ncube the leading Africa-focused corporate law firm on the continent in the energy, finance, commercial and utilities space by providing an innovative and complete solution for all its clients. The law firm has a specific bias towards female associates and candidate attorneys. The law firm supports a total of 9 full thabiseng Dlamini time jobs. grew up in Soweto. After attending Soweto high In an interview with school, she wanted nothing Black Diamonds more than to become an air Magazine, she talks hostess. After all, she had about her life, career the perfect smile, height and inspirations. and waist. Sadly, she never made it to the skies. What BD: Why did you specifically Nthabiseng did not know, choose to be in the law was that this rejection industry? would open greater doors for ND: I have always been her. With a heavy heart, she looking for a career where took a gap year, after which I can speak my mind freely she sent an application to and send out a message Witwatersrand University. without boundaries. I have She got a place to study always wanted to send out for a Bcom Degree, which my own voice in one way or she dropped out of after a another, and I believed that year, opting instead for an this industry was the one to LLB degree. Today she is do it in. the Director of the law firm, BD: How has your career Dlamini Attorneys which shaped you? she established in June ND: I cannot say it shaped or has shaped who I am. I 2009. Dlamini Attorneys is became who I am, before I based in Johannesburg with began my career, and after. key focus on cross-border My career is instead led by infrastructure related what I have become and projects within the African chose to be. continent. Its core areas of BD: What inspires you to go expertise are focused on on every day? Project Finance, Corporate ND: It’s the knowledge that Finance and Structured I wake up every day as a Finance. The business has new person. Also the mercy positioned itself to become of God is the one that helps

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me carry on during difficult times, but I always know that I will pull through. I have been through a hard time in my life that turned my life around BD: When you reflect back to the past, did you ever imagine you would make it this far? ND: I have always known that I would make it this far, and further. But at this point in my life, I wish I could have achieved more, but this does not mean that I have reached the end of my road. I do not believe that I have under achieved, and I am grateful for my achievements, but my wish is that I would have been in a different space, succeeded more, done more in my life than I have right now. BD: Do you have plans of expanding the firm beyond South Africa, world-wide? ND: Yes, beyond South Africa. Firstly we want to have small branches in and around South Africa, and then expand to other African countries like Ghana. As I speak, the firm has a team that is involved in energy and infrastructure related projects in and around the SADC region, including some countries in East Africa. I see the firm expanding beyond these borders to greater heights. BD: What drives you? ND: I am driven by passion to want to achieve, and mercy. I always feel more

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comfortable knowing that I can help someone out there. I will never be comfortable knowing that I am having a good meal and sleeping on the most comfortable beds ever, knowing that someone out there is not sharing the same pleasures. I’m driven by the desire to change other people’s lives. I want to do something different that will change someone’s or people’s destinies and fulfil their wishes if possible. BD: What does the future hold for you? ND: Better opportunities. I am hoping to help as many people out there as possible. For example, Dlamini Attorneys annually train up to 120 candidate attorneys to aid in their career development. Also, the Law Firm annually teaches Grade 11 and Matric about the law. It is amazing how tomorrow’s youth knows so little about the law. I want to live my life knowing that I am helping someone. In the future I am hoping that the firm can introduce scholarships that will sponsor deserving students. Education is the best thing that you can give to any youth. It is important that every child gets the opportunity to get a proper education. The bursaries are not only aimed at outstanding students, but also the students who show traits and potential for success. Also, it will cater for those who have the will to carry on with their studies, but cannot further their level of education due to circumstances over which they may not have control.


DIAMOND MIND

SIPHO NDEBELE

DIAMOND MIND ~ Sisa Mbambo ~

T.S. Elliot once said, “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” And this is especially true of one such young man, Sipho Ndebele. He is well known in the Capetonian poetry circuit for his sharp wit and rhythmic slinging of words, and it is almost impossible to stop bobbing your head to Mr Ndebele’s dance with words. Our curiosity more than aroused, BD sat down with the young word dynamo himself. Sipho, would you like to introduce yourself and what it is you do to our readers? SN: My name is Sipho Mthabisi Ndebele and I sometimes go by the name Kotoba which means “Words” in Japanese (I’m a huge fan of anime and the Japanese language). I am a 23 year old Poet based in Cape Town. I write all sorts of poetry with a focus on Religious and Performance poetry. I co-founded the Spoken Word poetry circle at George Campbell Technical High School in Durban. I am currently part of a poetry collective called Exodus Klan where I am a founder. The collective has released 2 audio mix tapes and are currently busy with a third. BD:

When did you first start writing and were there any incidents in your life that made you want to write? SN: I started writing in 2003. Although at the time it was just to wile time away. I actually thought I was an emcee/rapper. What happened in fact was that my friends and I started listening to a lot of rap music and fell in love with it. One of my friends came through one day and was like “yo, I wrote a verse” so we all listened to him rap. It really wasn’t anything to write home about. It was more like one of those just fooling around set-ups. So I figured I could drop a better verse. I went home and started writing and I never looked back. BD:

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Why poetry and where does the inspiration come from? SN: From the moment I started listening to rap I fell in love with words. There was an attraction to how you can tell stories and share emotions that can reach people you have never even met. With rap however, I found that a lot of emphasis goes to the beat and flow rather than to what the artist is actually trying to say. This is a fundamental aspect of hip hop. It makes the art form awesome and yet it is one of its weaknesses. This was a weakness that poetry did not have and that is why I made the transition to a “softer” form of expression. It also amazed BD:

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me how much you can bend the rules of language and still be meaningful in passing the message along. I believe poetry is a means of reaching people where it matters, the mind and the heart, as well as entertaining. It educates and makes people conscious of the world around them. This ability to reach people is what drives my poetry. BD: Do you sit and think through every word of every stanza or do you just write freely and allow the words to flow? SN: I wait for the words to come to me. Sometimes they flow freely and sometimes it takes a long period. There are poems I have written beginning to end in 5


DIAMOND MIND minutes and there are some that have been written over a full year. Every poem has its own story. BD: Do you care whether or not your words mean something to anyone, or is the writing a self-serving exercise? SN: Both. I write in order to say what’s on my mind and what I have seen in the world around me. There are poems that have helped me get through some heavy things in my life. At the same time I believe that virtually every story and emotion has been experienced by someone else. Therefore, I write in order to reach out to those who can relate but may not necessarily know how to express. BD: So what does “being creative” mean to you? SN: Being creative means to use what we have and what we know in a way that has never been done before. In this particular art form I believe every word has been used, every subject has been written about and every emotion shared. Creativity then lies in the how. How you present the message, the word combination, the phrasing, the structure, the approach, the comparisons. How you do all this is what makes one poem different from any other. This is creativity. Doing something that has already been done in a way that it has never been done. BD: Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? SN: The first verse I wrote was to prove to myself and those around me that

I could do it. But the first time I felt it was something I had to do was the first time I took to the stage with an audience made up of mostly of non-poets. When I realized that I could move people with mere words my love for language grew deeper. That was June 16th of 2006. BD: What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have? SN: I don’t really have any patterns and stuff. I just wait for the words to come to me and I write. Once the writing process is done though I can often be caught reciting to myself as I walk around in the streets, either trying to memorize a poem or trying to prepare for performances. People probably often think I’ve lost it. BD: What is the one word you would use to describe your work and why? SN: Eclectic. I have always tried to challenge myself in different directions and have tried to experiment with different writing styles. By so doing I have collected an assortment of skills for my work. All of these put together form my voice BD: What is your favourite poem that you have written to date? SN: I have many favourites in my collection but currently I am in love with an incomplete poem that I call A Poet’s Shadow. If I had to choose a complete poem I would say My God, which is a poem inspired by Sakhile Shabalala. I took a few lines from one of his poems. BD: What are you trying to

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communicate with your art? Three things: there are beautiful things in this world e.g. love; there are ugly things in this world e.g. pain; there is hope in the form of God. BD: Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet? SN: Music. Everyone in my family sings, apart from me, so I would love to join in on the music. I’ve been contemplating taking up an instrument, maybe the piano. BD: What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative? SN: Let your mind run wild, don’t limit yourself. The world will call you crazy but that’s simply because they don’t understand you. BD: What do you think is a measure of success as a poet? SN: Poets write for many different reasons so I think the measure of success would be when a poet reaches their individual goal. Only you as a poet will know when this happens. Achieving someone else’s target is the equivalent of failure even if you get paid a fortune for it. BD: Who is your favourite poet and why? SN: I’m currently stuck between Rudy Francisco and Joshua Bennett. You can clearly see how much of themselves they invest in their poetry in terms of emotion yet they do not lose sight of the literary magic. They use virtually every writing technique there is and they do it without compromising the message. They are both sheer genius. BD: What do you think SN:

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makes a poem “good”? A meaningful message/ story is the main point of a poem. Word play and literary devices are like the cement and paint that complete the house. A well-articulated message therefore makes a poem good but the writing flair is what makes the poem awesome. BD: Any advice do you have for aspiring poets? SN: Do not write or perform to please critics or any crowd. Write what you want to write, the way you want to. In so doing you will find your own voice. Do not try to sound like someone else. Your own voice is too important not to be heard. Speak from your heart and your mind will follow suit. BD: What project/s are you working on right now? SN: Exodus Klan is in the process of producing a third poetry mixtape, I as an individual, am busy planning a solo audio production as well as engaging a number of establishments and individuals for some poetry festivals around Cape Town. BD: How do you plan to develop your work in the future? SN: I surround myself with talented poets in order to learn from them and hopefully the inverse also applies. I am constantly in search of new spaces to perform and by so doing I hope to open doors to collaborative work. It is through collaboration that we can grow. And by growing help those we encounter to grow as well. SN:


S E L F L E S S S PA R K L I N G

DR MAUREEN TONG

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S E L F L E S S S PA R K L I N G

Dr Maureen Tong is a determined woman who uses her education to advance worthy causes. We spoke to her to ask her about her work and we also publish her thoughts on the Chagos Islands saga in our Polemic section. BD: Where are you from? DMT: I am from Pampierstad

in the Northern Cape. It was previously part of the Northwest and later became incorporated in to the Northern Cape.

What was it like growing up? DMT: I am a second born daughter and I have two brothers and two sisters. We were raised by both our parents. My mother was a housewife while my father worked as a driver. From early on, our parents instilled in us the value of education and I work mainly in the field of knowledge production. I attended Matlhajaneng Primary School in Bloemhof in the Northwest; Olehile Manchwe Middle School and Kgomotso High School in Pampierstad. BD:

of the best universities to study law. Growing up in apartheid South Africa, most young student activists like me felt the need to learn law with a view to using it as a tool of obtain justice for the majority of South Africans who at the time were under white minority rule. While I started my PhD studies at Lund University in Sweden, I was awarded the PhD in international law by the Université de Strasbourg, in France. My PhD thesis is entitled the Right to Self-determination and Restitution: the Matter of the People of the Chagos Islands (British Indian Ocean Territory). There is a lot of symbolism associated with the fact that I successfully defended my PhD thesis in France, the

former colonial power over the Chagos Islands and in Strasbourg, the city where the European Court of Human Rights is based. You were appointed as part of a team to help establish the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI). What do you do there and what is TMALI about? DMT: I was appointed on 1 July 2009 as a Senior Researcher for a three year period to attend to the legal and institutional arrangements for the establishment of the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute. I completed this task by the end of 2009 and became the Acting Head of TMALI from 2010 to ensure that TMALI becomes a viable structure BD:

Where did you go to university? DMT: I studied B.Iuris at the University of DurbanWestville; LLB and LLM at the University of Natal, Durban (Howard College); Both universities have now merged to become the University of KwaZuluNatal. My choice of Howard College was that it was at the time regarded as one BD:

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within Unisa with clear programmes and activities. TMALI has now become an effective, efficient and highly respected institute that it is today. TMALI is a public service, pan African programme for the training of Africans for the political, economic, social and cultural renewal of the African continent and its people, based on the all-Africa policies already agreed through the OAU and the AU. It is also a vehicle to enable Africa to respond on time to new developments which impact on the continent, which will also help to ensure that Africa’s voice is heard in both the local and global contexts. The mission of TMALI is to invest in thought leaders for Africa’s renewal through


S E L F L E S S S PA R K L I N G formal and non-formal training courses, high level seminars, conferences and visiting professorships by outstanding African leaders, scholars and intellectuals as well as those in the diaspora. It is a partnership between the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the University of South Africa (UNISA). TMALI was launched through an international academic conference in October 2010. The first Short Learning Programme (SLP) was offered in July 2011, two new SLPs were offered from May 2012. More SLPs are to be developed in line with the TMALI Academic, Training, Research and Publications programme. There is a pipeline of Masters and Doctoral students.

International Journal on African Renaissance Studies (IJARS). Launch conference proceedings were ready to be launched in December 2012. The TMALI research colloquium took place in June 2012 as part of the approved research plan; its outputs include two publications per annum.

are undertaken by TMALI? DMT: The Annual Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture has become one of the most important UNISA calendar events. In 2012 TMALI co-hosted the annual Africa Day Conference for which I co-chaired the Steering Committee. Other co-hosts of the annual conference included the Tshwane University of BD: What other activities Technology (TUT), the

Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA), National Research Foundation (NRF), Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), StatsSA, the City of Tshwane and Ditsong Museums. TMALI has established and grown the stature of International Women’s Day (IWD), starting with 150 participants in 2010, about 250 participants in 2011 and attracting more than 800 participants in 2012. TMALI will in future design tailor-made training programmes for different sectors and institutions. BD: How does it feel like to work for former President Thabo Mbeki? DMT: Working with one of the African intellectual giants and promoters of the African renaissance has been one of the greatest blessings and highlights of my relatively young career. It can be daunting to work for an institute that carries the name of a Patron who is not only hands on, but is also respected for his excellent work ethic, professionalism and perfectionism. Yes, he does keep really long hours and it is often very hard to keep up with him. Being a prolific writer and reader also means that he has read many more books than the average academic or professor and can debate almost any topic. This, therefore, requires those that work with him to ensure that they also spend a good amount of time keeping abreast of not only current

There was talk of a library. DMT: In May 2012, the TMALI Management Board approved the concept note for the establishment of the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library and Museum (TMPLM). The TMPLM, one of the first to be established in Africa, is an African adaptation of the US model of Presidential Libraries and Museums established in 1955 after President Roosevelt donated his personal library to the government of the USA. The TMPLM is aimed at showcasing works by outstanding African scholars and leaders and former President Mbeki’s own intellectual contribution to the African renaissance. In June 2011 TMALI published a Special Edition of the BD:

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S E L F L E S S S PA R K L I N G and global affairs but also read progressive writers that are often not easy to find in the mainstream book stores and/or many libraries. Former President Mbeki has an unshakeable belief in the possibility of the renewal of the African continent and for Africa to rise up like a phoenix and claim the 21st century. His most recent and significant contribution is the work he did in helping to birth the newest member state in Africa, namely South Sudan and contributing to ensuring there is lasting peace between Sudan and South Sudan. His appointment by the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA) to monitor the outflow of capital from Africa is a testament to the faith that the international institutions and community has in his abilities and commitment to the renewal of the continent.

the Prosper family heard about the work I did at the Land Claims Commission in South Africa in assisting communities to claim land they had lost since 19 June 1913 due to racially discriminatory laws and practices, they excitedly asked whether I could assist them in getting their land back, the Chagos Islands, which they lost in the 1960s when a US military

base was established on Diego Garcia, the main island in the Chagos Archipelago! The Prospers provided me with some first-hand account of life on the Chagos Islands, how they lived there and were ultimately deported to the Seychelles after the United Kingdom handed the islands over to the United States to establish the military base.

To move on to another subject that is close to you heart, you have written quite extensively about the Chagos Question. What attracted you to that specific topic? DMT: I first became aware of the Chagos matter when I travelled to Seychelles in 1999 on holiday. This was when I worked as a Deputy Director for the Legal and Policy Unit at the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (Land Claims Commission). While visiting the Prosper family I learned that Mr Willis Prosper had been the administrator on the Chagos Islands and his wife Rachel was the midwife. When BD:

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To say I was intrigued by what I learned from the Prospers would be an understatement. I knew there and then that this was a matter I would be honoured to be involved in for many years and assist in any way I could! As I mentioned earlier, ten years later, on 6 November 2009 I was awarded a PhD in international law by the Université de Strasbourg on the right of the Rights to Self-determination and Restitution: the Matter of the People of the Chagos Islands (British Indian Ocean Territory). Once I embarked on the journey of dealing with the Chagos question, a completely new world opened up to me. For example, I visited the Seychelles about six times for research and become more than just a tourist in one of the most beautiful countries in the world; I was hosted by Olivier Bancoult, the President of the Chagos Refugees Group in Mauritius; and I travelled to London where I was hosted by Richard Gifford, the British lawyer who has been involved with the Chagos litigation for many years. I visited the United States where I did research at the United Nations Committee of 24 (Decolonization); I presented a paper in an expert seminar at the City University of New York (CUNY) at the invitation of Prof David Vine, author of the definitive publication ‘Island of Shame: the Secret History of the US Military Base on Diego Garcia’; I participated in an expert seminar at the American University in Washington’s


S E L F L E S S S PA R K L I N G College of Law; I became a visiting scholar at the John Marshall Law School at the invitation of Prof Tayyab Mahmud; spoke on the nationally syndicated World View Programme of the Chicago Public Radio; and was visiting scholar at the Florida International University at the invitation of Prof Maisel. I became part of Olivier Bancoult’s awareness raising campaign in the Unites States, part of which included visiting the Human Rights Committee of the US Congress, meeting staffers of the Congressional Black Caucus, and meeting staffers of the late Senator Ed Kennedy. Prof David Vine, Olivier Bancoult and I participated in an academic conference hosted by the Vrije University in Amsterdam in 2008, which led us to contributing chapters in a book entitled Eviction from the Chagos Islands: Struggle for Identity against two World Powers published by BRILL publishers in 2011. I was honoured to host Olivier Bancoult in 2012 and facilitate his participation in an international academic conference entitled ‘the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Protection of Human Rights in African Union Member States: Thirty/ Twenty-Five/Ten Years on Achievements, Challenges and Prospects’ hosted by the College of Law at the University of South Africa (Unisa), Pretoria, South Africa from 5 – 7 November 2012. The papers that Olivier and I presented at the conference will

be published in a peer reviewed academic journal! Along the way I have made some long lasting friendships with the Prosper family, Prof David Vine at the American University in Washington and Olivier Bancoult, the President of the Chagos Refugees Group in Mauritius. I have established firm friendships with the Reddy and the Gabriel families in the

people around the world, did not know about the plight of the Chagossians and their struggle to return to their homeland from which they have been exiled since the 1960s. More broadly, the Chagos question raises very important questions for Africa, namely the militarization of the Indian Ocean and the threat it poses to peace on the African continent. There

the European Parliament took a resolution on 25 March 2009 in terms of which it ‘‘recognized the plight of the people of the Chagos Islands who have been forcibly removed from their islands and are currently living in a state of poverty in the islands of Mauritius and the Seychelles, and considers that the [European] Union should work towards trying to find a solution for the Chagossians to allow them to return to their rightful homeland islands.’ Is the AU actively pursuing the issue? DMT: In 1980 the Organization of African Unity (OAU) passed a resolution on the Chagos Question and the African Union passed its resolution on the Chagos matter in 2001; it is time that the African Union took the matter up again. This is especially in light of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in December 2012 that the Chagossians cannot return to the Chagos Islands because the United Kingdom does not want them to return; that the European Convention of Human Rights and the UK Human Rights Act do not apply to the Chagos Islands because the United Kingdom has never extended the application of the European Convention and the Human Rights Act to the Chagos Islands; and that the matter has been finalized in the domestic (British) courts. This signifies the fact that the Chagos Question will only BD:

Seychelles, where I signed a marriage certificate as a witness at a wedding at one of the most beautiful countries in the world, as the constitution of the Seychelles says. Why does the Chagos Question interest you? DMT: I am a human rights lawyer with great interest in restitution, reparations and the international law of rights of peoples, decolonization and selfdetermination. I am also keenly interested in the role of foreign military bases in displacing local communities thereby leading to a violation of several of their human rights. The Chagos matter presented me with a unique opportunity from a research point of view. Most significantly, however, I realized that I, like most BD:

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is a need for the African Union to address the Chagos Question as part of the unfinished business of decolonization, one of the raisons d’ etre of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which turns 50 in 2013. The US military base on Diego Garcia continues to serve the military and economic interests of the United States, yet the people of the territory; the Chagossians are being forced to live in exile without any significant reparations or hope to return to their homeland. This, despite the fact that agencies of the United Nations like the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination take the view that Chagossians must be allowed to return to their homeland. Further,

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S E L F L E S S S PA R K L I N G be dealt with decisively once African institutions like the African Union take it up. The European Court of Human Rights made a final decision on the matter in December 2012 that Chagossians do not have a right to return to their homeland because one of its member states, the United Kingdom, prohibits their return. It is now up to Africans to address the matter through political, diplomatic and intergovernmental institutions. What is the history of the Chagos Islands? DMT: The history of the Chagos Islands, now known as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), is linked with that of Seychelles and Mauritius. The Chagos Islands, together with Mauritius and the Seychelles, were initially colonized by the Dutch and later by the French. They became British colonies after Napoleon lost the battle of Waterloo and French ‘possessions’ or colonies were ceded to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1814.The United Kingdom separated Seychelles from Mauritius in 1903 and continued to administer the Chagos Islands as a dependency of Mauritius. The Chagos Islands, together with Agalega were initially called the Oil Islands because they were used mainly for the production of coconut oil. The Chagossians lived a very simple lifestyle centred on coconut oil

production, lived well for from what they produced from the land and rearing small animals like pigs, poultry and sea food. They built homes and raised families on the islands since their arrival in the later 1700s as slaves and some indentured Indian labourers when the British abolished slavery in 1835. Initially called the Ilois, they later started calling

were descendants of former African slaves who inhabited a British colony in some far away land deep in the Indian Ocean probably added to the view that they could be disposed of with little ease. In 1964 the United Kingdom entered into an agreement with the United States to establishing a US military base on Diego Garcia. During the

themselves Chagossians and developed into a distinct community with its own culture, distinct Creole language, music, dance, cuisine and so on. They were left to get on with their lives with little or no interference, until the Cold War started and the United States identified the Chagos islands as strategically located to use as a military base. Once Diego Garcia, the main island in the Chagos Archipelago proved to have excellent natural attributes to be used as a harbour for large military ships and had enough space to establish a landing strip for large military aircraft, its fate was sealed. Little if any consideration was given to the fact that the islands had a permanent population going back several generations. The fact that the Chagossians

Mauritius constitutional conference in London in September 1965 Mauritius was persuaded to agree to the excision of the Chagos Islands prior to receiving independence. The Queen passed a decree, an Order in Council to establish the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) on 8 November 1965. Mauritius was granted independence in 1968 and Seychelles, which had also been persuaded to give some of her islands, was awarded independence in 1976 but received those islands back. The BIOT, therefore, currently only comprises the Chagos Islands. The United States insisted that the islands should be free of any permanent population. The process of depopulating the islands was done through the passing of the 1971 BIOT

BD:

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Immigration Ordinance to prohibit the Chagossians from being on the territory without a permit, denying re-entry to those who had travelled to Mauritius on holiday or to seek medical attention to and finally by forcibly removing those who were still on the islands by 1973 on ships destined for Mauritius and Seychelles. Those taken to Mauritius lived on the docks for a long time due to a lack of a resettlement plan and were passed off as Mauritian by secretly including a clause in the Mauritian constitution granting them Mauritian citizenship. Those taken to Seychelles had to be temporarily accommodated in a disused prison due to lack of a plan for their arrival. BD: At what point did the call

for a return begin formally? Chagossians began litigating for restitution and reparations (financial compensation) in the 1980s, leading to the woefully inadequate compensation awarded to the Mauritian exiles some twenty years after their enforced removal and in exchange for which they were required to denounce their right to return. The Chagossians litigated before British courts and received favourable judgements in 2000, 2006 and 2007, before the House of Lords decided in 2008 that they do not have the right to return to the Chagos Islands because the executive branch of the government of the United Kingdom does not want them to return and

DMT:


S E L F L E S S S PA R K L I N G on the basis that it is not for the courts to interfere with political decisions. The Chagossians lost their case in the United States based on the ‘political question’ doctrine that holds that US Courts do not have the power to ‘second guess’ decisions of the US Congress because these are matters for political deliberation and not for judicial adjudication. How does this compare with the matter of the Falklands? DMT: The approach that the United Kingdom has taken with regard to the Chagos islands is at odds with the approach it has taken with regard to its other ‘overseas territories’ as the United Kingdom refers to its colonies, which are settled by people of British descent. BD:

Do you have any future plans to do something about the Chagossians? DMT: I will continue to make my contribution to the resolution of the Chagos Question until such time that the Chagossians have received justice in the form of their right to return to their homeland and receiving adequate reparations. Chagossians need as many people as possible to champion their cause and to undertake advocacy activities on their behalf. Those of us in the academic and human rights field can continue to write about the matter and bring it before appropriate international forums. Being South African, I am fully aware of the sacrifices of BD:

members of the international community who relentlessly campaigned for the end to apartheid, which was declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations. The Chagossians can also benefit from a similar worldwide campaign. They are currently preparing a case for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to declare their forcible exile as a crime against humanity. I will continue to assist with research that may be of assistance to the Chagossians in their struggle to return to their homeland and receive reparations. BD: Speaking of apartheid, you are also writing about land restitution. Tell us more about that exercise. DMT: I wrote my Master of Laws (LLM) thesis on the implications of the constitutional protection of property rights in South Africa given our history of land dispossession dating back to colonial expansion into South Africa in the late

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1600s, the Natives Land Act 27 of 1913 enacted on 19 June 1913 and the apartheid policies such as Bantustan and homeland consolidation, influx control, Group Areas Act, etc. I subsequently worked for the Department of Land Affairs (Rural Development and Land Reform) and the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights (Land Claims Commission). It was during my time at the Land Claims Commission that I published two books on Restitution, one focussing on the administrative settlement of claims and another one focussing on restitution cases settled by the Land Claims Court. I am currently finalising a manuscript entitled Jurisprudence on Restitution of Land Rights in South Africa: 100 Years since the Natives land Act 27 of 1913. As is evident from the title; the year 2013 marks 100 years since the promulgation of the Natives Land Act. It is opportune to review what the restitution programme has achieved in reversing

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the impact of the Natives Land Act. The government has decided to reopen the date for the lodgement of restitution claims to allow for historical claims predating the enactment of the Natives Land Act 27 of 1913. These include claims by the Khoikhoi and the San communities that pre-date the 1913 cut off point. While the political decision has already been made to reopen the date for lodgement of claims, the relevant law must still be passed to give effect to this political decision. It was decided at the time of adoption of the ‘interim’ constitution in 1993 and the adoption of the ‘final’ constitution in 1996 to recognize claims for dispossession of land rights dating back to 19 June 1913, because this was the date that the Union of South Africa established in 1910 passed the first law on land rights, namely the Natives Land Act. This law was modelled on the Glen Grey Act of 1825 that established ‘native reserves’ or ‘locations’ to which Africans were banished while reserving the rest of the land for the white population. The Natives Land Act of 1913 led to Africans being allowed to have access to only 8 % of the land; while the 1936 Natives Trust and Land extended the amount of land reserved for Africans to 13% reserving 87% of the land to the white population. These patterns of land ownership have not changed much since the advent of democracy. Only about 5 % of land


S E L F L E S S S PA R K L I N G has been redistributed since 1994, against a target of redistributing 30% of agriculturally productive land by 2014. The year 2014 will mark 20 years since the enactment of the Restitution of Land Rights Act 22 of 1994, the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights was established in 1995. How do you think the land issue/reform should be addressed in South Africa DMT: The government has decided to review the ‘willing buyer-willing seller’ policy it has adopted for purposes of implementing land reform. This is in recognition of the fact that this policy has greatly impeded the ability of the State to implement a large scale land reform programme. The reality is that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996 does not compel the government to implement the ‘willing buyer- willing seller’ policy but allows the government to expropriate land for land reform purposes. The Constitution expressly recognizes the land reform as a public purpose or a public interest for which expropriation of land can be undertaken. The Constitution does provide guidelines on how financial compensation can be made for land and tenure reform. The Land Claims Court and the Constitutional Court have developed authoritative jurisprudence on how to calculate financial compensation in the context of land and tenure reform, which includes restitution. BD:

This means that there are clear constitutional and judicial guidelines on how to expropriate land for land reform purposes. What is required is boldness on the part of government to expropriate land and redistributing it more equitably thereby changing land ownership patterns in the country. Another matter that has negatively affected the pace of land reform is the exorbitant prices at which the State is required to buy land for land reform purposes. The value of rural land has increased astronomically since the advent of land reform. This is attributed mainly to the land reform programme itself. It appears therefore that the increase is artificial, bearing in mind that the main buyer of rural land is the State for land reform purposes. The State can improve the process of land valuations, there have been some promising signs that the office of the land valuer will finally be established. This should have the effect of the

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pricing of rural land for land reform purposes. The Constitutional Court has confirmed that it is possible to expropriate land and pay less than market value for the land. The market currently distorts the value of land at any rate. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform implements the ‘pro-active’ land acquisition programme through which it acquires land ‘pro-actively’ in order to redistribute it to land reform beneficiaries. This has the potential to increase the pace of land reform. BD: What else are you passionate about? DTM: I have a keen interest in the rights of indigenous peoples as well as gender equality and women empowerment (gewe) BD: What other organizations

Parliament. I was seconded as a legal advisor to the Electoral Code of Conduct Observer Commission (ECCO) during the first local government elections in KwaZulu-Natal in 1996. I was a part-time facilitator for the Independent Project Trust (IPT) training communities, government departments on alternative dispute resolution in KwaZulu-Natal in the early 1990s. I was deputy director at the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria where I taught in the LLM in democratization and human rights in Africa. I worked as Operations Manager at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and subsequently worked briefly as a project officer for the African Management Services Company (AMSCO), a private limited liability company set up by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank and the UNDP to implement the African Training and Management Services (ATMS) Project, which is a regional project, aimed at developing capacity for private sector companies in Africa with a view to making them globally competitive. I was based in the Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA), which also houses the Headquarters of AMSCO and the ATMS Foundation. My portfolio included South Africa, Botswana and Democratic Republic of Congo.

have you worked for? I have worked for the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where I coordinated the Street Law For more information see: Programme and the Youth www.drmaureentong.co.za DTM:

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POLEMIC

POLEMIC

A WHOLE PEOPLE, DENIED ~ Dr Maureen Tong ~

British Prime Minister David Cameron must show Consistency Regarding the Falkland Islands and the Chagos Islands. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr David Cameron was reportedly ‘very delighted’ by the outcome on the referendum by the population of the Falkland Islands who voted on Monday 11 March 2013 to maintain their ties with the United Kingdom. He is reported to have said that ‘the Falkland Islands may be thousands of miles away but they are British through and through and that is how they want to stay. People should know we will always be there to defend them.’ Indeed the Falkland Islands are about 12,000 kilometres from London; they are geographically much closer to Argentina, separated by a distance of only about 500 kilometres from continental Argentina. The United Kingdom has contested sovereignty over the Falkland Islands for over 300 years. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina has the support of most Latin American States in its sovereignty claim over Las Malvinas, the name Argentina uses for the Falkland Islands. The manner in which the United Kingdom has consistently protected the rights of the Falkland Islanders, who are white British settlers, including going to war with Argentina in June 1982, contrasts sharply with the manner in which it continues to violate the rights of Chagossians, who are comprised mainly of former African slaves.

T

he United Kingdom euphemistically called governing island territories London. These ‘overseas’ still has a number ‘overseas’ territories, most situated thousands of territories include the of colonies, of which are small non-self- kilometres away from Chagos Islands, (British BLACK DIAMONDS |

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POLEMIC Indian Ocean Territory), the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Guernsey, Jersey, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St. Helena & dependencies, Turks and Caicos. Apart from the Chagos Islands, these territories are included on the United Nations (UN) list of nonself-governing territories under the responsibility of the UN Special Committee of 24 on Decolonization. The non-self-governing island territories of the United States include Palau, Guam, Puerto, etc. Most are used to serve the military interests of the United States. For example, the Marshall Islands were used primarily for the nuclear testing programme that started in 1946 at the beginning of the Cold War, when the US was anxious that the Soviet Union might have nuclear power more superior than itself. On 1 March 1954 the United States detonated the hydrogen bomb, code-named Bravo in the Marshall Islands. Bravo was apparently of the same magnitude as the nuclear bomb that the United States dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in August 1945. The Nuclear Claims Tribunal estimates that it will cost more than US $ 250 million to clean up the islands of radioactivity. Some claims by the people of the Marshall Islands have made their way to US courts. Apart from contesting sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas) with Argentina,

the United Kingdom has sustained a long dispute with Spain regarding sovereignty over Gibraltar, which is geographically close to Spain but is occupied by British citizens. Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, with the condition that Spain would have the right of pre-emption should Britain chose to ‘grant, to sell, or by any means alienate’ the territory. The United Kingdom organized a referendum in Gibraltar in the 1960s, the outcome of which was predictably that the people of Gibraltar chose to continue under British sovereignty. The UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2253 (XXII) on 19 December 1967 declaring that the holding of the referendum on Gibraltar was in violation of Resolution 2231 (XXI) of 20 December 1966. The population of Gibraltar organized a referendum on 7 November 2002 in terms of which they voted against passing under Spanish sovereignty. They argue that their 2006 Constitution amounts to an exercise of their right to self-determination and that Gibraltar is no longer a colony. The United Kingdom asserts that Gibraltar remains British. The role of the UN Special Committee of 24 (decolonization) is to assist the people of the territories to attain self-government. The United Kingdom has never included the Chagos Islands on the UN list of non-self- governing territories because it has no

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intention of developing selfgovernment on the Chagos Islands and continues to assert sovereignty over the islands in order to safeguard the interests of the United States to maintain a military on Diego Garcia, the main island on the Chagos Archipelago. When the UK excised the Chagos Islands from Mauritius in order to establish the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) on 8 November 1965, it deliberately misled the UN and the international community by claiming that there was no permanent population on the islands. This was in order to avoid its obligations in terms of the UN Charter to safeguard the interests and well being of the Chagossians. When the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2066 (XX) against the ‘dismemberment’ of Mauritius on 16 November 1965, the United Kingdom did not disclose the fact that the BIOT had already been established on 8 November 1965. At the same sitting of the General Assembly the United Kingdom strongly defended the rights of the population of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) to selfdetermination, arguing that no one could speak on their behalf. This approach is very similar to what British foreign secretary; William Hague said on 12 March 2013, that all countries should accept the wishes of the Falkland Islanders to remain British. This approach is remarkably different to the one the United Kingdom has taken in relation to the Chagos Islands,

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whose people the United Kingdom forcibly deported to Mauritius and Seychelles and continues to block any attempt to allow them to return to their homeland and receive reparations. The United Kingdom resorted to using very archaic legislative measures like royal prerogative to undermine its own courts by nullifying court judgements that have decided that the laws that were used to exile the Chagossians were ‘unlawful’ and to circumvent the role of the British Parliament to debate the issue. On 11 December 2012 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the European Convention on Human Rights does not apply to the Chagos Islands because the United Kingdom has never extended its application to the territory. It also held that the Human Rights Act is also not applicable to the Chagossians for the same reason. This means that the United Kingdom, while strongly defending the rights of the Falkland Islanders and those in Gibraltar, is free to violate the human rights of the Chagossians because they are inhabitants of a British colony to which it chooses not to extend application of human rights. Judge Dillard famously stated in his dissenting opinion in the International Court of Justice’s case on Western Sahara that ‘it is for the people to determine the destiny of the territory and not for the territory to determine the destiny of the people.’


EDITORIAL

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Profile for celestine ngulube

BLACK DIAMONDS May 2013 Issue  

Black Diamonds Magazine is a publication that showcases successful black South Africans who work hard, work smart, have overcome failure or...

BLACK DIAMONDS May 2013 Issue  

Black Diamonds Magazine is a publication that showcases successful black South Africans who work hard, work smart, have overcome failure or...

Profile for celestine
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