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Level 34 designed by Werner Aisslinger for Vitra is an ofce furniture system that offers excellent solutions for both team-oriented work settings and indivdual workspaces where concentration is a high priority. The basic element of Level 34 is the Bench, which rests 34cm above the oor on widely spaced legs, giving the entire system a lightweight, almost oating appearance.

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J o h a n n e s b u r g

1 Jellicoe Avenue Rosebank, JHB Tel: +27 11 343 8900

The Jupiter Drawing Room 39946

Absa Wealth, a division of Absa Bank Limited, Reg No 1986/004794/06. Authorised Financial Services Provider Reg No 523. Registered Credit Provider Reg No NCRCP7.

Wealth Actualisation Not many people reach the summit of Maslow’s stages of selfactualisation, where all aspects of life are in perfect balance. In the same way, only a handful achieve harmony between wealth creation, building a legacy, giving to those less fortunate and, of course, enjoying their money. These people see views not many see. These people bank with us.




special features 18 The Thrill is Gone BB King Jazz Legend


The Modernist Author


Nectar of the Northern Gods


Faces of Diversity


The Assassin’s Handbook

Autonomous Art Forms

Inniskillin Icewine

Tibetan Photographic Essay

The Catcher in the Rye

boating & yachting 14 Seafaring City Block 62 Turbo-Powered Tender 76 Sleek, Stylish & Evocative Oasis of the Seas

Williams Turbojet 505D Makes its Debut

All New Aicon 64 FLY

business & csi 58 The Art of Wealth 86 Mythmanagement

Investment Advice from ABSA Easy Money and the Death of Service


haute horlogerie 34 The Poetry of Time 52 Wristwatches Alla’Milanese 84 Pure Luxury Van Cleef & Arpels Grimoldi

Piaget & Polo



Airplane Charter

Down to earth? No way!

HELICOPTER CHARTER Michael Fletcher, boarding his charter flight.


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S A L E S l M A I N T E N A N C E l PA RT S l AV I O N I C S l C H A RT E R l T R A I N I N G l VA L U E A D D E D P R O D U C T S l F I N A N C E l I N S U R A N C E “I know it’s not always easy to live up to my lofty expectations, but when it comes to my VIP charter needs, I can always count on NAC. Whether I’m taking a hop for business or pleasure, NAC takes care of my security, privacy, safety and comfort. And with no long check-in queues, baggage delays or red tape at airports, there is no better way to fly.”


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For more information contact: Lanseria +27 11 267 5000 • Rand +27 11 345 2500 • Cape Town +27 21 425 3868 Pretoria +27 12 567 5161 • Durban +27 31 571 8316 • Gaborone +267 397 5257 Australia +6189 429 8881 • USA +27 001 316 685 8660 • ISO 9001:2008 Quality Assured •




lifestyle & travel 24 Fordoun Midlands 28 The Autobahn to Health 40 In Your Face, and Around it Too 64 Lavish Allure 70 Between Image & Imagination 74 Carpeted Collectibles KZN Treasure

NamastĂŠ Wellness Retreat 3D Television

Italy’s Greatest Cities

20th Century South African Art

Beauty & Wealth from the Orient

motoring & aviation 20 Audacious Dutch Design Spyker C8 Aileron





Weathering the Storm


Speed Unlimited


Modesty and Magnificence

Helicopter Expo 2010

Sikorsky X2

Embraer Lineage 1000

regulars 10 Letter from the Chairman 12 Letter from the Editor 61 Premier Travel Portfolio 78 Savour 88 Live the Life


BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo granturismo

Sheer Driving Pleasure




Comfortable and luxurious seating offers more space and leg room.

letter from the


In our quest to bring you the best lifestyle publication in the territory, we have had to look within and understand what makes Prestige successful, and draw upon those elements. It takes precision and mastery of this craft to make this work, as the old adage that “one cannot please all the people all the time” comes into play more often than not. It does help though, to please most people all of the time, something the Prestige team has become very good at doing. Our previous edition was an interesting venture into the fashion space with a very well received piece on designer David Tlale. In this month’s issue we have put together an interesting mix of content from the arts, wellness, and music genres, not forgetting our core genre, lifestyle. It is our belief that finding balance is something presently playing on the minds of many of our readers. In the words of Brian Tracy, the renowned human development practitioner: “Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.” Sometimes, all that is needed is a reminder of those things that inspire us. Music and the arts are ideal catalysts, especially when one considers the commitment, passion and creativity that artists put into their work. What we are also mindful of is that, in our own way, we are all artists, each of us carving out our unique destiny. Brian’s words hold true for each and every one of us as



we are our happiest and progress the most when all four wheels are in perfect alignment. Each of us is a sculptor, a painter, and a musician in our own special way. For the Prestige team, we have had to work at understanding each other to get this ship sailing in balance on an even keel. We have placed our team members in the most appropriate roles, where their talent, expertise and creativity are most suited to the publication. This will ensure that Prestige remains the work of art that it strives to be. I would like to welcome to the helm, taking over from the experienced Charl du Plessis, the talented Ms Toni Ackermann. Toni has been instrumental in supporting Charl for several years now and has intimate knowledge of the operations and nuances of Prestige. Charl will continue to work with the Prestige team to develop the publication, taking it to even greater heights to reach a global audience. Thank you Charl for your efforts thus far in making Prestige such a success. Finally, I was intrigued by the wise words of Lewis Mumford, which I stumbled across recently and thought I would share with you: “The artist has a special task and duty: the task of reminding men of their humanity and the promise of their creativity.” Imagine what the world would be like if everyone lived this way...

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SMS the words 'Subscribe Prestige' to 079 876 4130 or email your name, cell number and delivery address to

February Winner: André Vorster

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PUBLISHER – Neo Publishing (Pty) Ltd Tel: +27 11 484 2833 Fax: +27 86 699 2266

the editor About two weeks before Christmas a friend of mine was involved in a car accident. The injuries he suffered were mostly to his head, which he had bumped several times – quite hard, the doctors later told us, as he slipped deeper into his coma. As the hours and later the days ticked painfully by, I realised with In Our Next Edition: unexpected lucidity that life Missing Kruger Millions can change in an instant. And then, when we didn’t think we could wait any longer, my friend opened his eyes. Just one, initially, and only halfway. When we visited, he whispered hellos and waved clumsy goodbyes. Collectively, friends and family whooped with joy and wept with relief. The doctors had warned that his recovery would be lengthy and difficult, but just five days after being admitted to a rehab hospital, and five weeks since the accident, my friend walked on his own, to the end of the corridor and back – a feat doctors had said would take months to accomplish. It is now several weeks later and his hair has grown back, covering the scars left by so many surgeries. He tackles any and every Sudoku puzzle, as his occupational therapist swears it is the best exercise for his healing brain. And he is doted on by a mother who can’t stop fussing over a son she came so close to losing. I consider my friend a sterling example of the incredible tenacity of the human spirit, and our ability to triumph over adversity. His is not the only victory. All over the world every minute of every day, someone achieves something great – be it a small conquest just for him or herself, or a massive one for all humankind. The lesson I learnt from this most unforseen event is to make good use of the time given to us, because time is precious; a luxury, not something to be scoffed at, or thoughtlessly squandered. So, with what time you have set aside from your busy schedule for R&R, I suggest you take this copy of Prestige and surround yourself with the little written pleasures we used our precious time to prepare for you this month. From Van Cleef and Arpels’ most exquisite ladies watch to a tranquil spa hidden deep in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands; from the snow-capped mountains of Tibet to the sprawling villas of Italy; from the world’s fastest helicopter to its largest, most extravagant cruise liner; from the astonishing technologies that have brought us 3D television to the eternal legend that is BB King; we’ve scoured the globe so you don’t have to, to bring you stories you won’t find in just any magazine. Sit back, take your time, and please, do enjoy.

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EDITOR – Toni Ackermann AVIATION EDITOR – Kevin Barker ADVERTISING Rui Barbosa (Sales Manager) Tel: +27 84 290 2070 Adie Pranger (Gauteng) Tel: +27 83 601 2291 / +27 11 465 1572 Michiel Faber (Cape Town) Tel: +27 82 922 3856 Jean Ramsay (Cape Town) Cell: +27 79 508 0428 Lodene Grobler (Gauteng) Tel: +27 79 876 4130 Namibian BUREAU Mynard Slabbert (Commercial Manager) Tel: +264 81 227 2380 DESIGN & LAY-OUT VDS Design Studio Liesel van der Schyf Tel: +27 82 336 7537 SUBSCRIPTIONS R499 for 12 issues; R949 for 24 issues SMS the words SUBSCRIBE PRESTIGE, followed by your name and email address, to +27 79 876 4130. Alternatively, email your name, cell number and delivery address to Print Paarl Web, Gauteng DISTRIBUTION Prestige is available on newsstand and through subscription. Free public space distribution includes over 50 charter fleets operating in the Southern African region. Top five-star hotels and all major business class airport lounges nationally receive free monthly copies. Also look for Prestige in up-scale coffee shops, spas, and private banking waiting areas. Cover Images © Graham's Fine Art Gallery; Van Cleef & Arpels; Maritz Verwey; Bob Guthridge/Polarmusicprize; Spyker All rights are reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. PRESTIGE is published by Neo Publishing. Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher or any of its clients. Information has been included in good faith by the publisher and is believed to be correct at the time of going to print. No responsibility can be accepted for errors and omissions. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information and reports in this magazine, the publisher does not accept any responsibility, whatsoever, for any errors, or omissions, or for any effects resulting there from. No part of this publication may be used, or reproduced in any form, without the written permission of the publisher. Copyright 2010. All copyright for material appearing in this magazine belongs to Neo Publishing and/ or the individual contributors. All rights reserved.



of the

Seas Seafaring City Block




Although no man is an island, Oasis of the Seas nearly qualifies as just that. More fitting in description as a floating city than a luxury cruise ship, the 220,000 gross ton vessel is the largest ship ever built. It is based on the concept of a floating metropolis that includes shopping malls, lush green parks and seven distinctly themed neighbourhoods. Words: KEVIN BARKER Images: OASIS OF THE SEAS


uilt in the Aker Yards at Turku in Finland, Oasis of the Seas is the first of the Oasis Class (formerly the Genesis Class or project Genesis) of luxury cruise ships in the Royal Caribbean International fleet. The 16-deck ship, which has an estimated build cost of $1.24 billion, is the largest cruise ship afloat with a double occupancy capacity of 5,400 passengers in 2,700 state rooms, and a gross tonnage of 220,000

The vessel has an overall length of 360 metres, a beam of 47 metres, a height above the waterline of 65 metres, and a draft of nine metres. Powered by eight Wartsila V12 diesel engines generating 17,500hp each, the main propulsion system consists of three 20MW azimuthing Asea Brown Boveri Azipods, to give the ship a cruising speed of 20.2 knots. With the distinction of being the largest commercial ship ever constructed, the gargantuan technical stats are impressive on their own, though once

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onboard, you can really appreciate the incredible magnificence of Oasis of the Seas. Oasis of the Seas has a number of facilities never before seen on a cruise ship. The most prominent of these is her interior, which is dominated by the lush and green open-air central park. Occupying the ship’s heart, the park forms a rather exceptional public gathering place that includes pathways, flower gardens and a canopy of trees. The central piazza here is a multi-purpose space for alfresco dining, entertainment, concerts and street performances. The ship is divided into seven neighbourhoods with different



themes, including Central Park, Boardwalk – which is reminiscent of a seaside pier – and the Royal Promenade. The Central Park neighbourhood is lined with 334 staterooms (254 with balconies) spanning five decks in height, and offers magnificent views of the park and glitzy restaurants including seven bars and eateries. The exclusive Rising Tide bar, which moves up and down three decks in central park, makes for a most intriguing moving venue to sit sipping drinks. Central Park also hosts two glass-arched domes called the Crystal Canopies, which provide natural light to the inside decks of the ship and house a

range of boutique shops, a chess garden, a pergola garden, and a sculpture garden. The spectacular Entertainment Place sets the beat aboard the ship with its 1,380-seater Opal Theatre, comedy and jazz clubs, and wellappointed Casino Royale. With the capability of hosting ice shows and music spectaculars ranging from a big band through to large-scale discos, the Entertainment Place certainly caters for all onboard. For water babies, Oasis of the Seas lives up to its name in its pool and sports zone, which consists of four pools and 10 whirlpools surrounded by a tranquil poolside solarium. Two large Flowriders also form part of this zone, which plays host to an H20 Zone aqua park for kids and the Solarium bistro and Wipe Out café and bar for adults. Mini-golf and a nine-deck-high zip-line complete this neighbourhood. In another first for luxury cruise ships, Oasis of the Seas features an AquaTheatre – an outdoor venue at the stern of the ship, near the Boardwalk neighbourhood. The amphitheatre space offers a kidneyshaped pool (swimming and scuba diving) and sun loungers on tiered platforms. There are also two diving towers, two spring boards and two 10-metre-high dive platforms, not to forget a trampoline between the dive towers. A trapeze wall is built on the rear side of the high-dive boards, trapeze artistes appearing to be climbing the curtain of water. Further features on deck include a full-size carousel and two rock climbing walls. At night, the pool is used for performances such as acrobatics, synchronised swimming, water ballet, and high-diving, as well as fountain shows. Underwater cameras film shows and project the images onto two giant Barco LED screens around the stage. Three-stage machinery devices raise or lower its depth for different usage. There are also three

lifts for multi-level performances. The AquaTheater pool is 6.67 by 15.7 metres in size, with a depth of 5.5 metres, making it the deepest shipborne pool in existence. The Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Zone offers couple and solo massage suites, hair and make-up services, over 150 cardio and resistance machines, and a vitality café. A nursery service is available for very young children, while teens are kept entertained in several areas, including

contemporary fashion, and has its own private butler as well as all the mod cons of a top-end hotel room, including 52-inch LCD televisions, two bathrooms, fog-free mirrors and limestone tiles. There are a further three types of loft. The Royal Loft Suite, measuring 465 square metres, sleeps six, has its own baby grand piano, inside and outside dining room, private wet bar, Jacuzzi, library and 78.3square-metre balcony. The two

Lifestyle Division Our lifestyle division was born of the need in the market for an exclusive and personalised service to manage

the Fuel disco, Living Room Lounge, and Back Deck. Oasis of the Seas also features a Youth Zone, which boasts an open gym and activity area, an Adventure Ocean Theatre and Science Lab, and The Workshop, which includes activities such as jewellery making and scrapbooking. The ship has a range of 37 accommodation classes including suites, family suites, and staterooms. However, a new concept being introduced on this ship is the loft suite. There are 25 of these two-level accommodations, called Crown Lofts, with private balconies and floor space of around 51 square metres. Each Crown Loft is decorated in

corner Sky Loft Suites are larger than the standard lofts, giving up to 71 square metres of floor space and separate dining room and spacious balcony. Oasis of the Seas has revolutionised the concept of life at sea. One might feel justified in questioning whether there is, in fact, a market for a ship of this size, though recent figures have shown that 40 percent of the UK’s 2010 cruising set have already booked a journey on her – a good indicator of just how seriously in demand this gargantuan ocean-going city is turning out to be. For more information, visit 

high-profile VIP clients with a seamless turnkey solution, surpassing industry standards. We have the ability to meet unique requirements by operating as a luxury facilitation mechanism with the following premium service capabilities: › Aviation company to manage charters › Event planning and support › Access to major events as a VIP › Luxury vehicle hire › Chauffeur hire

Tel: +27 11 484 2833 Fax: +27 11 484 2899


The Thrill




orn Riley B in a small sharecropper’s cabin in rural Mississippi in 1925, King’s modest and hardworking parents would not have known that this baby would one day play 56 countries as far as beyond the iron curtain in one year; receive honours



at the highest level of state; academia and pop culture, and be credited as one of the most influential musicians of an entire century. Young Riley B learnt his first music in church, making his way down to Indianola in 1945 as one of the five members of “The Famous St John’s Gospel Singers.” By 1946, now

in Memphis, the town he would someday share with Elvis and the site of blues homebase Beale Street, he moved in with cousin Bukka White, who taught him the blues. His first big break came only a few years later, when a local radio station was swamped with calls after he appeared as a guest on the show. By 1952 he


The blues. The blues. The soul-searching sounds of a good man feeling bad. A punch-drunk Jelly Roll Morton or T-Bone Walker crooning the 12-bar beat on a record player after you saw your first love in the arms of another man. And then there was BB King. The Blues Boy, or little Baby Brother as his 18-year-old father called him. Always BB, since the day he was born and always there to make sure you never felt too alone when the thrill was gone. Words: CHARL DU PLESSIS Image: © GALLO IMAGES / GETTY IMAGES

toured the nation, starting at the Howard Theatre in Washington DC. By the late sixties he made the Tonight Show, entering mainstream culture across the US. He never looked back. Duke Ellington brought jazz from the nightclub and dance hall into the concert hall and the cathedral. Armstrong, before him, brought ensemble jazz from the saloon to the silver screen and onto the diplomatic circuit, where it became a symbol of America in the 20th Century. But it was BB King’s penetration into the mainstream that has given blues a distinct place in history and helped to break down racial intolerance in ways that no-one could have imagined. As biographer Charles Sawyer wrote: “When BB King, an orphaned sharecropper, who witnessed the body of a black man on public display on the courthouse steps after his electrocution, is hosted at the White House, our society has changed for the better. When he, who ran in fear from the white hoods of the Ku Klux Klan, bows his head to accept the crimson hood of Doctor of the Arts from Yale University, our values are confirmed in a way that marks progress.” As happens so often, fame and bliss did not go hand in hand, and “The Beale Street Blues Boy” suffered two failed marriages, yet both these heartbreaks yielded award-winning

songs. Woke Up This Morning was written after his first breakup, while The Thrill Is Gone followed the end of his second marriage. Through all these years he only had one constant companion – his guitar, Lucille. Mostly a Gibson man, King risked his life running into a burning building to save his guitar. He learnt that the fire was started when two men fighting over a woman named Lucille knocked over a barrel of kerosene that set fire to the building. Each of his guitars after that was named Lucille, which King said was to “remind me to never do a thing like that again.” There is little trace of anyone ever collaborating with King in his song writing. He has been a prolific recorder since the 1950s, with compilations and collectors’ sets peppering the shelves since his later break into mainstream. Despite this phenomenal success, his songs kept the traditions of the blues intact, as reflected in the naive simplicity of his song titles through the years: Don’t Answer the Door, Putting All My Eggs in One Basket, You’re The Boss, I Pity the Fool, and Going Down Slow, to name but a few. BB King was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1984, received the Presidential Medal of the Arts in 1990 and an Honorary Doctorate of Music from each Yale University, Berklee College of Music, Rhodes College and Tougaloo College. Rolling

Stone Magazine once placed him third after only Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman as the most influential guitarist ever. That was in 2003, and seven years later, King is still out there singing the blues. For those of us who have sat in a Beale Street bar and heard the King at his best, the thrill will live on long. 

The Thrill ls Gone by BB King The thrill is gone The thrill is gone away The thrill is gone baby The thrill is gone away You know you done me wrong baby And you'll be sorry someday The thrill is gone It's gone away from me The thrill is gone baby The thrill is gone away from me Although I'll still live on But so lonely I'll be The thrill is gone It's gone away for good Oh, the thrill is gone baby Baby its gone away for good Someday I know I'll be over it all baby Just like I know a man should You know I'm free, free now baby I'm free from your spell I'm free, free now I'm free from your spell And now that it's over All I can do is wish you well

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Audacious DUTCH DESIGN Spyker C8 Aileron


ow, in the 21st Century, Spyker has realised yet another feat with the development of its C8 Aileron, the second generation of the C8, which made its world debut in 2002. Since then, it has seen a very limited production run of just 250 units. Following the same basic formula as the original C8 – which, with its aluminium frame, mid-engine layout, and Audi-sourced 400hp, 4.2-litre V8 engine was pegged as the Netherlands’



answer to the Shelby Cobra and the Dodge Viper – the C8 Aileron may be construed by some as one and the same car. And how wrong these misinformed folks would be, as this is a completely new car with a completely new set of intentions. For starters, the C8 Aileron’s allaluminium space frame was completely redesigned from scratch in a bid to increase torsional rigidity and to incorporate an all-new suspension system. Spyker put tremendous effort into the space frame performance of the Aileron, specifically the structure’s

efficiency. The dynamic stiffness characteristics of the structure were carefully tuned to minimise unwanted cabin noises and vibrations. These technologies have allowed Spyker to arrive at the most efficient chassis in its history, and are the basis for the enhanced vehicle dynamics. The design of the hand-crafted Aileron represents the latest evolution of Spyker’s signature architecture, which is prominently inspired by the company’s aviation heritage. The Aileron’s proportions are perfectly balanced: the long overhang at the


At the dawn of the motoring age a Dutch vehicle manufacturer was building cars to become a benchmark for foreign counterparts. Combining technological innovation with a drive for engineering perfection and superb quality, Spyker cars won gruelling races and set speed records, swiftly becoming known as the most prestigious cars of their time. Words: TONI ACKERMANN Images: Š SPYKER

nose and the short rear section of the car give it a powerful stance. The relation between the wheelbase, the overhangs, the width of the front and rear of the car, and the height of the car give it a dynamic, powerful elegance. The design underlines the car's performance potential, but does so without any extrovert features distracting the eye. This almost architectural purity of the design gives the car a clean shape that represents the essence of the Spyker experience. To better the aerodynamic

performance of the vehicle, several styling changes were made. The canopy was stretched backwards and the shark-like gills were abandoned, making for a cleaner, smoother look. The front end is now characterised by a larger grille while the rear diffuser was redesigned for improved functionality. An extra spoiler under the diffuser boosts the ground effect thereof. The wheelbase of the C8 Aileron is 15 centimetres longer than the shorter base of the first generation cars, giving greater driving comfort and stability at high speeds, not to

mention significantly improved road handling. Thanks to this longer chassis, the Aileron has more interior space, which results in a higher comfort level and improved ergonomics. The interior, with its typical attention to detail, is made of the highest quality leather from the Litano range of the Dutch Royal Tannery Hulshof. Both driver and passenger sit low, close to the car’s centre of gravity, where the reaction of the car to the input of the driver is easily felt. Space was created around the Spyker-characteristic floor-

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mounted pedal box. The dashboard was completely redesigned to suit the new identity, and to improve ergonomics and functionality. Air vents were designed in turbine style, and a multifunctional LCD display integrated between speedometer and odometer. Chronoswiss dials and switches are available as an option. The cabin is still free of touch screens and black plastic, though it is not lacking in modern amenities. Driving the car is an experience in itself. To power it up, flip up a red cover in the middle of the dash to reveal a toggle switch which must be switched on first, before the start button can be pressed. As the powerful V8 engine roars to life and you give a little gas, the 1,425-kilogram Aileron shoots forward with remarkable clout, reaching 100km/h in 4.5 seconds. With a power output just shy of 300Kw, a maximum speed of 300km/h and the ability to produce 480Nm of torque, this is certainly an easy car to drive hard and to drive fast. The Aileron is fitted with a brandnew front and rear independent double-wishbone suspension system. This includes a new kinematic layout of the front and rear suspension, front and rear stabiliser bars, mono-tube dampers, coil over damper steel springs, and anti-dive and antisquat setup for improved handling properties. The suspension components are made

of forged aluminium where possible, to keep the vehicle’s unsprung weight as low as possible. Shock absorbers are now placed vertically within the wishbones. The Aeroblade™ wheels of the first-generation cars were replaced by newly designed 19-inch alloy wheels. New 10-blade, 19-inch directional rotor wheels, branded Rotorblade™, are available as an option. These wheels are inspired by the turbine blades of a jet engine – another hint at Spyker’s aviation heritage. The C8 Aileron will be available with two transmission alternatives. The first is a six-speed Getrag manual gearbox, with ratios perfectly matched to the V8 engine. The second is a ZF six-speed automatic gearbox, which comes standard with paddle shifts behind the steering wheel. Both transmissions retain Spyker’s trademark exposed gear change mechanism. All Ailerons will be fitted with a six-speed torque converter automatic transaxle. But what makes this car what it is really isn’t the way it drives. Rather, it is the rarity; the unusualness of this car that gets heads turning. Spyker believes that this sort of exclusivity is what will attract around 75 buyers per year. The vehicles will be available later this year, with base prices starting at around $220,000. Visit for more information. 


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Fordoun Midlands

Award-Winning Spa

When you drive down the tree-lined lane into Fordoun Hotel and Spa, you enter more than 300 years of history and a contemporary calm that reflects the deep sense of place and purpose that motivate its passionate owners. The original 1860s settler homestead and barns plus the 1950s dairy, manager’s house, garages and cattle sheds were incorporated into a modernist development, yet retained their sense of tradition and architecture. Words: CHARL DU PLESSIS; JON BATES Images: Š FORDOUN





uffice to say that with some of the best accolades from the hospitality industry, the spa experience one enjoys at Fordoun is top notch. All massages start with the same welcoming technique, and the air is filled with the aromas of indigenous products grown on the farm. The spa menu is best viewed online and nothing is overlooked. But what soothes the soul even more than the body is the charm of the farm, its surroundings and the colourful history of the place and the people.

William Taylor was the first owner of the property that he called Fordoun, named after his local parish in Scotland. He settled here after arriving with the Byrne settlers and was granted the land on perpetual Quit Rent. The title deeds, dated July 1858, are framed at the entrance to Fordoun’s Skye Restaurant. All stone walls except for the low retaining walls in the gardens were built by Taylor, who packed the joins with mud and lime. When building the current hotel, the joins had to be removed and cement keyed in between the old stones.

In the early 1900s the Taylor family sold Fordoun. In 1949 the farm was purchased by Sir George and Lady Nora Usher, from a Mrs May who lived most of the time in Durban and came to the farm to escape the heat of summer. Sir George was a successful industrialist who, with Lady Nora, came from England after World War II to live and establish his businesses in South Africa. The primary residence was redesigned and constructed by wellknown architect Stephan Ahrens, who also designed the dairy, tractor shed, cattle pens and manager’s

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house. The current restaurant is built in and around the farm manager’s house, which was erected using corrugated tin and tongue-andgroove planking, imported in kitform from Britain. Some of these materials have been retained and can be seen at the back of the restaurant and veranda. Sir George and Lady Nora built the house for their first manager, Mr Punt, whose daughter Anna was current owner Jon Bates’ first major love when he was just five years old. Dick Bates, the father of current owner Jon, had been left

Fordoun go back a long way in the history of this place. Concierge Vincent Zuma started as a young assistant and driver. Lazarus Gabuza, also a concierge, was a butler to Lady Nora and later the main tractor driver for Jon Bates. Sylvia Pillay, in housekeeping, worked all her life in the dairy. A Jersey cow fanatic, she had the honour of leading supreme champions around the show ring on many occasions. All at Fourdoun are part of the substance and family of the place. KwaNdlovu, meaning “the place

spa. We existed like this for some months and then something amazing happened. We noticed that from time to time therapists were becoming drained, depressed, and exhausted, for no obvious reason. We had read an article about Brenda Mcfee and were intrigued by the concept of 'Positive Energy.' Brenda was asked to provide our therapists with the basics of Bio Energy Balancing. This enabled them to avoid being affected by negative energy and to impart on our guests a sense of positivity. It changed our whole philosophy.”

Fordoun by Sir George and Lady Nora in their will. Dick, however, passed away prior to Lady Nora and the farm went to Jon on Lady Nora’s death in 1994. In 2000, Jon and his family ceased dairy farming and turned the farmyards into Fordoun Hotel and Spa. The major challenge in this development was how to tastefully retain the old ambiance and features while creating a world-class facility; a challenge they not only met but surpassed, too. The spa, for example, is built in the old dairy. What was a barn where cows were milked by a bucket system now houses the main heated pool. Grain for feed was stored in the silo, which now hosts the saline floatation pool. And the Jersey stud bulls and calf pens were located where the gym, sauna and steam rooms are now situated. The conference centre was originally a tractor shed built by Sir George and Lady Nora, while the two offices alongside the conference centre were used for housing orphan lambs. Many of the staff members at

of Ndlovu,” is Fordoun’s Zulu spiritual area. Here, under the guidance of Traditional Doctor Elliott Ndlovu, over 130 varieties of traditional healing plants are grown, serving as the inspiration for Fordoun’s exclusive Ndlovu range of products and treatments. The area houses Dr Ndlovu’s consultation room and two therapy rooms – the Labola and the Senga rooms. This is where the vision of a world-class hotel and spa, based on the spirit of “ubuntu,” is completed. Fordoun was built to give a sense of history, quality and oneness with nature, and wherever one walks at Fordoun there is water. African spiritual and plant healing is integrated into the Fordoun Spa as a natural (and not contrived) feature. From international brand Elemis, Fordoun benefits not only from a premium range of products but also from the value of professional therapist training. Says Jon Bates, “When we opened our Spa, we thought of a spa as being a tranquil and beautiful environment where guests would be pampered and treated as they would at any leading

Since opening in March 2005, Fordoun has won several awards that testify to the success of this philosophy. The most recent of these are the “SA Leading Hotel/Spa” Award, from the World Travel Awards – Africa (2009); “Best 100 Retreats in Africa” Award, where they won the category of “Culture and Heritage” (2008); and “SA Best Boutique Hotel and Spa,” from Les Nouvelles Esthethiques (2008). The Hotel’s Skye Restaurant also received two accolades in recent years. At Fordoun the belief is that health begins with the mind and spirit. Life ought to be enjoyed, and the experience of staying here should leave the guest feeling light-hearted, de-stressed and energised. Guests are encouraged, therefore, to indulge in organic meals and to enjoy a glass of wine or two. Detoxing via massage and the wide range of treatments is quite enough for the Fordoun guest. If one can detox the mind and uplift the spirit, consider the Fordoun philosophy rewarded.  Visit or contact +27 33 266 6217.



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The Autobahn to Health I ran into an old varsity friend I haven’t seen for a few years on the beach at Plettenberg Bay. He had developed the habit of taking the last week of January off to, as he put it, “Get over the shock of being back at work after a long Christmas break.” When Namasté invited me to join their intensive detoxification week in Natal early this year, I thought it offered a similar way to slow down a year that had started at quite a pace. Words: CHARL DU PLESSIS Images: © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM; NAMASTÉ





ith a mix of trepidation and curiosity, I made my way to the Natal Midlands. I had earlier indicated on the phone that I would opt for the fruit juice fast and also include the optional colon hydrotherapy in my personalised programme. The prospect of daily massages, a flotation tank, a personal fitness instructor and sunrise yoga sessions set my mind a bit more at ease, as did the beautiful drive through the lush Drakensberg on my way down. Maybe I could indeed make it through a week without solid foods and caffeine? At least, my research prior to arrival had revealed that there was some serious science behind this programme. Six of us checked in, and the following morning, with only a hot apple cider drink to start the day, and after our yoga and meditation session (my first encounter ever, and a pleasant surprise), we weighed in and had a “before” photo taken. I was about 10 kilograms off my ideal target weight, and despite my vanity, my Body Composition analysis indicated that I was “nominally obese,” an image I associate with fat Americans in shorts and sneakers eating ice-cream while visiting Niagara Falls. I then made my pilgrimage to the dining room for the first of my six daily “meals” of exquisite organic fruit juices and a handful of balanced supplements, swallowed with a dollop of fibre. The next six days were an absolute dream. Extensive talks from experts on exercise and nutrition, stress management, African herbal medicines, allergies and food types, a one-on-one lifestyle coaching session, or naps and bike rides filled the early afternoons. Yet, it was the mornings I would want repeated every week of my life: daily massages by the first-grade therapists, steam sessions, a facial and a pedicure, while the tough choice between the flotation tank and the heated indoor

pool helped me viscerally feel the toxins leave my body. I even slipped in a haircut. My eyes turned whiter, my skin started glowing, and I slept so much better (perhaps because of the pleasant aches and pains in my muscles from the daily yoga stretches and personal fitness sessions). The six of us got to know each other well – investment bankers, entrepreneurs and artists alike – and soon realised there was a reason for moving us to our own dining room as our discussions became decidedly more explicit about the various stages of detox through which our bodies were passing. I started to understand why the serene and poised 50-somethingyear-old artist in our midst participates in four of these detox programmes each year. It felt like the autobahn to health, bypassing 20 years of bad habits. By mid-week, after the only really nasty part of our programme (a liver detox involving Epsom salts, olive oils and who knows what else), I did not have enough notches in my belt to tighten when I dressed for “dinner.” In between, we had the pleasure of a session with Traditional Doctor Elliot Ndlovu. I stocked up considerably on his home-grown range of soaps, body lotions, shower gels and hand creams, mostly because I had come to love the smell of the Artemisia they grow on the farm. The biggest torture was when, four days in, the Executive Chef gave us a cooking demonstration on a few healthy and quick-toprepare vegetarian dishes. Those of us on the juice fast were not even allowed to sample a morsel, putting our new-found willpower to test, despite the aromas of curries, coriander and ginger floating around. After a final fitness session and the steam room on my seventh day, I had my “after” picture taken and weighed in at almost five kilograms less. My Body Composition now made me “nominally overweight,” and I had shed four centimetres off my waist.

Stocked with water, fruit and nuts, and a whole new lease on life, I hurriedly made my way back home in anticipation of my wife’s expected oohs and ahhs for this new man in her life. 

Namasté Wellness Retreats are hosted at some of the country’s top five-star spas. My thinking is that if you want to Detox and cleanse your body then why not do it somewhere truly luxurious where you can be distracted from the initial unpleasant Detox effects. Namasté offers fully inclusive programmes that range from a three-night Revitalise programme for a mild detox, to the six-night Detox programme and intensive ninenight Weight Loss programme. Several therapies are optional, including colon hydrotherapy. The ideal retreat would likely be for you and your spouse to invite some old friends and their spouses whom you never get enough time to see, and spend a week catching up on old times while getting a total health boost under the guidance of Namasté. The next programme at Fordoun Hotel and Spa is scheduled for 30 May to 5 June 2010. For a more comprehensive overview of Namasté's carefully designed programmes and scheduled dates, contact Storme Kennedy on +27 83 317 4766, email, or visit

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2010 Weathering the Storm

While the rest of the world stands anxiously by, waiting to judge the rate at which the industry emerges from the gloom of economic thunder clouds, this year’s Helicopter Association International (HAI) Heli-Expo, held in Houston Texas, proved beyond a doubt that the rotary wing market was transitioning back into forward flight, albeit mainly on the back of a strong military and parapublic market resilience. Words and Images: Š KEVIN BARKER




Agusta Westland's AW109 Grand New was launched at Heli-Expo


ccording to HAI President, Matt Zuccaro, it was the corporate and VIP market that was hardest hit by the economic slump. A further catalyst to decreased sales and utilisation was the negative publicity campaign recently waged against all forms of business aircraft. This demonisation of a core industry segment has seen sales of new corporate helicopters plummet to rock bottom levels, while resulting in a large number of very low time VIP helicopters being sold back into the market. This will inevitably affect new helicopter sales

for some time to come, even once the market steadies, by allowing corporate flight departments to scoop up low time airframes sold during the darker days. In the military, oil, gas, and emergency medical services sectors, however, the markets were booming, with the majority of manufacturers relying on these parapublic entities for continuous positive sales figures. It was uncharacteristic of Eurocopter not to unveil at least one new type at Heli-Expo, though, at Eurocopter’s press breakfast, CEO Lutz Bertling did let on that they would most probably be launching two new types at the 2011 show. When pressed for more details he

declined, but did advise attendees to keep their eyes open for test flights in Europe first. With the focus on saving, improving and investing, under the banner of innovation, Eurocopter unveiled its cutting-edge rotor blade technologies, Blue Edge and Blue Pulse, which reduce rotor noise by over 50 percent and totally remove the familiar blade-slap produced by helicopters in certain phases of flight – part of Eurocopter’s push for a greener footprint on all levels. Going hand in hand with this was the new diesel engine for helicopters, currently under development. Although not powerful enough for its larger models, the diesel engine on display was perfectly suited to the lighter EC120 and 130 models. Eurocopter also used Heli-Expo to display its full-scale EC175 mock-up, this year in its search and rescue guise, featuring a full 360-degree search radar, an electro-optical system, high intensity searchlight, dual class-one rescue hoists and bubble windows. The medium twin is ideally suited to SAR missions thanks to its large sliding doors and cavernous interior able to accommodate multiple casualties and medical equipment. Thus far Eurocopter has taken 114 pre-orders for the EC175 and anticipates certification in 2011 and first deliveries in 2012. In its corporate/VIP configuration, the EC175 has nearly no equals, and the manufacturer is looking forward to the expected resurgence in those markets, something that could see this seven metric ton, sixteen seater leading the way. AgustaWestland used Heli-Expo 2010 to launch its AW109 Grand New. Described by head of marketing, Roberto Garavaglia, as a “step change follow-on to the AW109S Grand,” the new helicopter is already EASA certified, with FAA certification pending at time of going to press. Powered by the same Pratt and Whitney Canada PW207C turbines as

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Eurocopter's seven-ton EC175 mockup, in its search and rescue configuration

its predecessor, the Grand New sports a max gross weight of 3,175 kilograms and is capable of 140 knots. It is equipped with the top-of-the-range Cobham avionics suite, which vastly improves pilot situational awareness while cutting down pilot workload. Not to be outdone, Sikorsky displayed its spectacular S76D mockup, which has recently gone into production following a very successful flight-test programme. What has to be one of the most luxurious VIP copters available today, the S76D not only stands out as the sexiest machine currently in the helicopter market, but also one of the most advanced too, particularly when it comes to cockpit technology. The twin engine S76D is equipped with the all digital, integrated TopDeck avionics suite by Thales. The system combines synthetic vision (which allows the pilot to see through darkness, fog, or smoke), with dual flight management systems (FMS), terrain awareness systems (TAWS), moving map, and large glass display panels. The latter puts pilot situational awareness into a totally new league on the helicopter front while cutting down workload immensely, thanks to



its intuitive, user-friendly manmachine interface. Resembling the top end of avionics found in modern corporate fixed wings and airliners, it can only be said that it is about time that those integrated panels and FMS functionality found their way into the rotary wing market. There can be no doubt that the TopDeck avionics suite will have a major impact on helicopter flight safety into the future. Entry level helicopter pioneers, the father and son team of Frank and Kurt Robinson, were on site to reveal the long-awaited turbine-powered R66 Robinson helicopter. To the casual observer the four place R66 is externally very similar to the R44 Raven II, but the Rolls-Royce RR300 powerplant makes for some substantial operational differences. The payload with full fuel is an impressive 420 kilograms, allowing the carriage of four large adults and some baggage. The machine can hover out of ground effect at over 10,000 feet and climbs at over 1,000fpm. With an initial price of US$770,000 for the basic R66, which includes leather upholstery and HID landing lights, it is quite likely there will be an immediate demand for the

machine. FAA certification is still underway, but according to Kurt Robinson the first deliveries of the R66 should begin late in 2010. Last but not least, Bell Helicopters showed off its impressive twin turbine Bell 429, which was the only new helicopter to receive certification in 2009.The Pratt and Whitney Canadapowered 429 features a new main gearbox with run-dry capability, a four-blade rigid composite rotor, dual hydraulics and three axis autopilot. At its maximum speed of 155 knots it can remain aloft for nearly two and a half hours, translating into a range of around 400 nautical miles. What became very clear at this year’s Heli-Expo was that major manufacturers are feeling bullish about the future, with nearly each company unveiling a new product into a market that is slowly but surely showing an upsurge – the pace of which might be the deciding factor in which of the majors are best able to weather the storm. If the number of orders and letters of intent signed at the Expo are anything to go by, there is little doubt that the helicopter market is growing globally and in great fashion. 





The Poetry of Time

One of Van Cleef & Arpels' artisans deburring the dial's details

If the logo on a watch dial tells you everything, what is signalled when it belongs to a jewellery house? Most have squandered their good will, with evocative names adorning mediocre timepieces, the movements of secondary concern, while the external gem count is all that matters. Van Cleef & Arpels, though, pursued haute horlogerie credibility from the beginning. The founders knew – and their descendants still know – that VC&A clients expect nothing less than the most serious of watches. Words: KEN KESSLER Images: © VAN CLEEF & ARPELS





Le Pont des Amoureux

an Cleef & Arpels was born in Paris at the tailend of the 19th Century, following Alfred Van Cleef’s marriage to Estelle Arpels in 1896. The name was created in 1898 and the opening of the first boutique, in the Place Vendôme, occurred in 1906, in collaboration with Estelle’s brothers Charles and Julien. Thus, by one set of standards highly prized by the watch community, Van Cleef & Arpels already possesses a basis for the gravity needed to sell watches at this level in the 21st Century: longevity. At a time when every jewellery or fashion house is launching its own watch line, the latest including Ralph Lauren and Graff, the discerning client will be relieved to know that when it comes to timepieces, Van Cleef & Arpels are not arrivistes. Even more telling of their commitment to watchmaking is the knowledge that they are not merely purchasing great movements from others, for their track record includes a number of innovations. In this respect, their watches have more in common with Harry Winston’s Opus models, the latest Cartier complications, models from De Grisogono, Chopard and other jewellery houses that do not distinguish between the quality of their static offerings and those that tell time. A wander through Van Cleef & Arpels’ history uncovers complicated pocket watches; the innovative Ruban gent’s watch of 1920, with rectangular case and dial sized like one of the bracelet links; the chunky Cadenas of 1936; and even a model that has become VC&A’s icon: the PA49, which arrived in 1949 yet looks as current and daring as any lean, clean watch,

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The Lady Arpels Colibris dial (left) in preparation, and the finished masterpiece on the right

with only central stalks holding the straps. Some 60 years on it remains a key model in the catalogue. Merely adding superior movements to cases that qualify as jewellery would not be enough to produce stand-out models. The company exploits its special skills to bestow upon the models the spirit of the brand. Connoisseurs of VC&A’s finest pieces will see in the watches the touches that reveal over a century of expertise: the extensive use of enamelling, exquisitely cut stones of equally exquisite hues, and the mounting of gems with “invisible” claws – even on wristwatches. Under the banner “The Poetry of Time,” VC&A has produced a range of collections with expressive dials, each a work of art unto itself, involving myriad techniques including cloisonné, enamelling and engraving. Names are evocative, and – indeed – self-explanatory: the landscapes of California Rêverie, the flora and fauna of Lady Arpels’ Extraordinary Butterfly and Lady Arpels’ Extraordinary Hummingbirds.



But crowning this year’s collection is a piece to dazzle both the incurable romantic and the drily objective watch enthusiast. For the latter, it’s enough that the watch employs “retrograde hands” to show the hours and the minutes. Instead of completing a 360-degree circle every hour and minute as required, they trace two arcs. One traverses 12 hours, the other 60 minutes. When each hand finishes tracing the curve, it flies back to the beginning. Called “Le Pont des Amoureux,” it embodies the concept of “The Poetry of Time,” with the grace and wit of a love song from Gershwin or Porter. Instead of hands, the indicators are two figures in profile. On the left, showing the hours, is a young lady with an umbrella, on the right, a man with a flower. The pair are standing on an arched bridge. As Van Cleef & Arpels tell the story, the pair represents two lovers setting off to meet, “under an autumn sky in the most beautiful city in the world, surrounded by centuries of history.” The two lovers mark the time of their

romantic stroll by ascending the bridge from opposite sides. Over the course of 12 hours, the lady makes one ascent, the man makes one every hour – he’s smitten, she’s tentative; coy. Every minute brings them closer and closer, until they finally meet, at midnight, and at noon, for the briefest of kisses. Creating the tableau worthy of this tale of eternal love involved an array of jeweller’s skills demonstrative of Van Cleef & Arpels’ expertise. The background against which the story is set is nothing less than a dial of contre-jour enamelling, using back-lit enamel technique, framed by a white gold bezel set with round diamonds. The case, too, is white gold, as is the bridge on which they pass. It is held on the wrist by an alligator strap or bracelet of chequer links, the buckle made of white gold set with diamonds. Like all of the watches in these collections, “Le Pont des Amoureux” will be produced in a limited edition. One can safely assume – or perhaps, hope – that each will be a gift from one lover to another. Visit 



Modernist Author

and an Autonomous Art Form

Post-Victorian 1900s may not precisely be a contemporary idea of the term “modern,” yet many of the views that the Modernists held true are still surprisingly progressive today.


he stagnant Victorian era was becoming a distant memory, and stance du jour was that of embracing new forms of knowledge and ideas. The start of the 20th Century brought with it a strand of avant garde thinking that rejected all previous norms and beliefs. In short, it was about questioning the




very fabric of reality itself. The Modernist movement put a great deal of emphasis on radical individualism, which was executed through a writing technique known as the “stream of consciousness.” This progressive and reactive stance rocked the proverbial boat of authors and, as a result, produced a new subjective and autonomous form of art.

Modern “stream of consciousness” is a writing technique that relays the direct conscious thoughts of the writer onto the page. It is not constrained by style, structure and punctuation as it comes straight from the mind of the writer, filtered only through the mind of the character. This technique portrays the inner psyche of the character and is usually regarded as a


special form of interior monologue characterised by associative – and at times dissociative – leaps in syntax and punctuation that can make the prose difficult to follow, tracing a character's fragmentary thoughts and sensory feelings. Modern authors Virginia Woolf and James Joyce were both advocators of this literary technique, and are regarded as two of the foremost modernist literary figures of the 20th Century. The most noteworthy and important influence of Woolf’s life and subsequently her writing was undoubtedly her involvement with the Bloomsbury Group. The Bloomsbury group comprised an intellectual circle of writers and artists who lived in Bloomsbury, London. A common ethos concerning the nature of the fundamental separateness of individuals involving both isolation and love underlie the group’s core ideals. These Bloomsbury assumptions are also reflected in what Bloomsbury group members saw as repressive practices of sexual inequality, and in attempts to establish a new social order based upon liberation from these established norms. Love (an inner state) was held in higher esteem than monogamy (a demonstrable behaviour), and several of the members had more than one serious relationship simultaneously. Woolf herself had a lengthy extramarital affair with writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West, wife of Harold Nicolson, which lasted the greater part of the 1920s. Woolf is considered one of the greatest innovators in the English language and it is because of this concentration on the inner state of the autonomous individual that her definitive “stream of consciousness” writing style came to fruition. Her novels are highly experimental. Her narratives, which are frequently uneventful and commonplace, are refracted, sometimes almost dissolved, in the characters' receptive consciousness. She frequently fuses intense lyricism and stylistic virtuosity to create a world overabundant with auditory and visual impressions. This

technique often elevates the ordinary, sometimes banal settings of most of her novels. Along with Virginia Woolf, James Joyce is a key figure in the development of the modernist novel. Joyce also made use of the “stream of consciousness” technique. But, even though their works show an overlapping and an interconnected similarity of ideas, the only link between Woolf and Joyce is the period of time in which they existed. The most significant influence on Joyce’s journey into the “stream of consciousness” stems from geography. Indeed, although most of his adult life was spent outside the country, Joyce's Irish experiences are essential to his writings and provide all of the settings for his fiction and much of their subject matter. Another noteworthy titbit regarding his novels is the early relationship with the Irish Catholic

into one great cycle. Indeed, Joyce said that the ideal reader of Finnegans Wake would suffer from “ideal insomnia” and, on completing the book, would turn to page one and start again, and so on, in an endless cycle of reading. The Modernist emphasis on radical individualism is echoed in Richard Huelsenbeck's First German Dada Manifesto of 1918: “Art in its execution and direction is dependent on the time in which it lives, and artists are creatures of their epoch. The highest art will be that which in its conscious content presents the thousandfold problems of the day, the art which has been visibly shattered by the explosions of last week... The best and most extraordinary artists will be those who every hour snatch the tatters of their bodies out of the frenzied cataract of life, who, with bleeding hands and hearts, hold fast

Art in its execution and direction is dependent on the time in which it lives, and artists are creatures of their epoch... The best and most extraordinary artists will be those who every hour snatch the tatters of their bodies out of the frenzied cataract of life, who, with bleeding hands and hearts, hold fast to the intelligence of their time. Church, which is reflected by a similar conflict in his character Stephen Dedalus, who appears in two of his novels. This inner conflict, pertaining to the existence of God, mirrors the Bloomsbury ideals of the time: a concentration on the inner state of the autonomous individual. Joyce's method of “stream of consciousness,” literary allusions and free dream associations was pushed to the limit in arguably the most interesting and simultaneously frustrating book of all time: Finnegans Wake, which abandoned all conventions of plot and character construction and is written in a peculiar and obscure language, based mainly on complex multi-level puns. The book ends with the beginning of a sentence and begins with the end of the same sentence, turning the book

to the intelligence of their time.” The beauty of the Modernist movement lies in its subtext. The fact that both Woolf and Joyce employ similar writing techniques in order to convey corresponding ideologies even though their paths never crossed is astonishing. The very notion that two completely unrelated human beings can share the same ethos just because they share a point on a universal timeline is a testament to the profound interconnectivity that we share with one another. When we pick up one of Woolf’s novels, we take a journey through her thoughts and inadvertently through the thoughts of her contemporaries. We assimilate the mindset of the modern and become a part of the greater collective consciousness of humanity and in so doing discover the elixir of life. 

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In Your Face... And Around It, Too

With or without the recently-released Avatar, and soon-to-be-released Alice in Wonderland, 3D TV was going to be the hottest topic at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas earlier this year – Apple’s iPad could wait. Even though 3D has been in cinemas periodically since the 1950s, it has only really come of age in the digital era. 3D circa 2010 is almost perfect. Words: KEN KESSLER Images: © DISNEY ENTERPRISES INC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED; 3D-VISION.BIZ


imply a heightened experience for the viewer, 3D exaggerates the depth of the image being viewed to create a more vivid sense of “being there” in the film or TV show. Although the very best 3D has yet to ape precisely the way we perceive reality, the flickering, headache-inducing monochromatic 3D of the red-andgreen cellophane era has thankfully been resigned to the dustbin of history. Driven by the combined forces of the electronics hardware manufacturers and the film industry, 3D is to add spice to both equipment sales for the former, and cinema attendances and DVD purchases for the latter. What has taken place over the past few years, especially since the arrival of netbooks and “smart phones” such as the iPhone and the BlackBerry, is a change in the way we

consume and enjoy films, and the two industries have felt it in their bank balances. Factor in the effects of the economic downturn and you can see why both want a new reason for consumers to flock back to video stores and cinemas. An increase in viewing online, or downloading media – often illicitly – to hand-held players has resulted in a decline in the sale of DVDs. And while Blu-ray, the higher-resolution disc format introduced in 2006, created a little upward blip in sales, its higher pricing and the need for a new disc player meant that the uptake was much slower than DVD back in the mid-to-late 1990s. But its time was right, because the most crucial element in preparing the world for hidef video in the home was a runaway success: flat-screen displays with resolution high enough to exploit the best signals that cable, satellite or Blu-ray could deliver. They have

penetrated the market with the blinding speed that accompanied home computers and mobile phones. With high resolution hardware available and accessible (though not yet compatible with the added demands of 3D), and with the public already familiar with the benefits of digital video playback, 3D in the home is just a short step away. The key, as with every new format ever launched, is the availability of programme material. 2010 is expected to see a new generation of Blu-ray players and flat-panel displays along with the appropriate new discs and material broadcast via satellite or cable. But the first taste most will have, the little sip that will make us crave more, will come through cinemas. James Cameron’s Avatar couldn’t be further removed from painful-towatch 3D attempted by Hollywood from the 1950s onward. Avatar is in full colour, which didn’t occur with

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the earlier system that depended on red and green filters to create the stereoscopic image. And the technology occurs in the digital domain, so it is convincing, free of distracting artefacts and completely effective in creating the sensations of stage depth; of objects flying toward or away from you. While some could argue that the main reason Avatar is now the highest-grossing film in history might be due to the phenomenal amount of publicity and hype, which created unprecedented levels of curiosity, the point is moot. Gimmick or not, the film’s success proved that consumers want that same buzz in the home. But Avatar alone is not enough to inspire the public to commit to 3D in large numbers. For the format to establish itself, exciting titles in the hundreds, along with key broadcasts such as major sporting events, are needed to sustain interest. All of this will prove mutually beneficial to the two forces behind 3D. The hardware suppliers will be selling new displays and Blu-ray players, while Hollywood will be selling new discs. Cable and satellite suppliers will profit, too, as the highdefinition set-top boxes are already in place, such as those for Sky+HD in the UK. These are said to be “3D-ready” without any changes to the set-top boxes themselves. Although the focus for 3D in the home has centred on discs played back via Blu-ray, broadcast materials will prove crucial, especially the aforementioned sporting events, live concerts and other attractions that will complement a steady flow of



cinema fare. How quickly Hollywood can produce new movies to the 3D standards of Avatar remains to be seen, though Alice In Wonderland, and a reworked Toy Story 2, will be out in time to accompany the entry of 3D hardware into the home. And timing is crucial. LCD and plasma displays took off so quickly that most homes acquired them fast enough for sales to have started levelling off by 2009. The electronics giants want us back in the stores, and 3D has precisely the pizzazz to do it. How the public reacts to needing both new screens and new Blu-ray players so soon after buying their first flat screens and DVD players may depend entirely on what 3D material is available. Panasonic, Philips, Sony, Samsung and nearly every other flat-display producer have 3D-compatible screens waiting in the wings, while the “next generation” Blu-ray players should appear in tandem. Sony’s Technical Marketing Manager in Great Britain, Eric Kingdon, confirmed that the rollout of 3D wares will occur from the end of the first quarter of 2010 onward, suggesting that by Christmas, 3D will be on everyone’s “wants” list. Samsung announced that it will launch 3D-enabled TVs in the UK as early as March 2010, followed by North America, the company promising that all of its high-end sets will be 3D-capable. Like Sony, Samsung will also manufacture 3D-compatible Blu-ray players, while it is believed that both players and screens will come with the required 3D glasses. All systems will depend on these 3D glasses, which the screen

must “talk to,” the signal from the display determining the way the glasses’ “active shutters” synchronise to process the signal. But, content will remain more of a problem than hardware in the short term: how many 3D movies exist that can be ported over to current 3D technology? From the format’s debut we will see 3D Blu-ray movies from the likes of Disney and DreamWorks, with the soccer World Cup being broadcast in 3D too. According to industry sources, Monsters vs Aliens may be the first Blu-ray 3D title, though Avatar on Blu-ray will surely be the format’s first seller to ape the sales on plain ol’ DVD of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series. Hollywood will address any lack of material as quickly as possible, and there are rumours of computer technology that can render all 2D films in 3D. Other concerns may prove more problematic, such as how 3D is not realistic when compared with the way we see depth in real life, that it’s tiring for more than the length of a feature film, or that it only works convincingly with extravaganzas, sport and animation. It begs the question: do you really want to see a talk show in 3D? A source that may prove to be 3D’s salvation is yet another type of material entirely: computer gaming. Those who have used the hands-on sporting games with the Wii system, as well as most “first person shooters,” will recognise how much 3D can add to the experience. As gamers are already accustomed to wearing headphones or other types of goggles, 3D facewear won’t be an issue. What the industry must not do is view 3D through rose-coloured glasses, however compatible. When polled after the trade-only Consumer Electronics Show as to what they’d like to see in 2011, the majority of those professionals asked the question answered: “3D without goggles!” Sadly, such technology is not commercially viable, so glasses-free 3D simply will not happen in the foreseeable future. 

Icewine Nectar of the Northern Gods




The story of how a slender bottle of Canadian Icewine made its way to the sultry shores of Southern Africa is short and sweet. My long-lost cousins were here on a voyage to trace the footsteps of their ancestors and brought it as a gift. The story of how this nectar is made, however, is a tale of the labour of love.


or some, especially those born in the Southern Hemisphere, the notion of a frigid, long winter is a dreadful one. For Karl Kaiser, a native Austrian, who adapted the idea of producing Icewine to Canada, it is a blessing. The novelty of Icewine was first discovered by the Germans (where it is called Eiswein) during an unexpected frost in the winter of 1794, when Franconian peasants tried to produce wine from semi-frozen grapes. Nowadays, the vineyards of Inniskillin, located in Canada’s Niagara Peninsula, produce an Icewine from their own fertile soils, where the moderating effect of Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment creates a unique mesoclimate whose relative mildness allows for the growing of Vitis vinifera grapes. It is the high level of acidity that one finds in the cool climate of this region that gives balance to the intense concentration of the sugar in grapes harvested during a frost. Nowadays, rather than waiting for a freak event of nature, the vineyard plays a waiting game, leaving the grapes untouched on the vines under a cloak of protective netting, even after they have ripened in the autumn. The harvest then takes place following the first deep freeze of the Canadian winter, typically sometime between December and January, at temperatures of –9 to –13 °C. It is during this time that the magic happens: repeated freezing and thawing causes the grapes to


dehydrate, thus concentrating the sugars and acids in the juice, and intensifying the flavour. When the grapes are ready, they are either handpicked or machine-harvested in their naturally frozen state, usually during the night. After the winter harvest, they are pressed while still frozen – the winery doors left open to maintain the sub-zero temperature. The water in the juice remains frozen as ice crystals during the pressing, and only a few drops of sweet, concentrated juice are obtained. After “racking” to clear the sediment, the clear juice is inoculated with a yeast culture, which is responsible for the primary fermentation that changes grape juice into wine. The juice ferments very slowly for several weeks, sometimes even months, while aging. It ceases fermenting naturally at approximately 10 to 12 percent alcohol by volume. There are, of course, extremely low yields, sometimes as little as five to ten percent of a normal yield, so production varies each year. Getting your hands, or lips, on one of these remarkably rare bottles of nectar is, therefore, an experience to which few can lay claim. Our bottle of 2005 Pearl Wine, served chilled and sipped under an African starlit night after a scorching day at the beach, was intensely sweet and sumptuous, balanced with brilliant acidity; a one-of-a-kind sensation on the palate. Both a natural wonder and a testament to extreme winemaking at its best, Inniskillin Icewine has the

remarkable ability to meld the taste of the tropical with its hints of mango, peach and litchis to the refreshing smoothness of an icy Canadian winterscape. To celebrate the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Inniskillin produced a commemorative bottle of Vidal Icewine, featuring the work of Canadian artist Gordon Halloran. Using ice as his canvas, Halloran paints spectacular abstract images that, like Icewine, have garnered worldwide acclaim. Halloran comments: “As Canadians, we have a personal and collective experience with ice and cold which is unique: we take pride in the beauty of our landscape and at the same time make peace with its harshness. We stare down into a sheet of frozen ice and see ourselves reflected clearly in a mirror the size of the sky.” For more information, visit 

Tasting Notes

• Appearance: White Icewines: Brilliant golden colour Red Icewines: Lighter to medium red colour • Bouquet: White Icewines: Aromas of litchi, apricot, pears, vanilla, apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg Red Icewines: Aromas of strawberries, rhubarb • Palate: White Icewines: Complex flavours of honey, mango, tropical fruits, spices Red Icewines: Full, rich flavours of red fruit such as strawberries

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Tibet Faces of Diversity

With The Potala Palace overlooking the whole of Lhasa and Tibet, one can only imagine what it must have been like when the Dalai Lama still resided there. Now, converted into a museum, The Potala is a major tourist attraction, with people queuing even in sub-zero temperatures to get a glimpse of the art, architecture and religious artefacts within. Words & Images: Š MARITZ VERWEY





hasa, meaning “The Place of the Gods,� is also home to the holiest of Buddhist temples. Each day, hundreds of pilgrims gather around the Jokhang Temple. They either circumambulate the exterior of the temple in a clockwise direction, or do countless

prostrations in front of the temple as a part of their pilgrimage or simply to repent. Barkhor Square, where the Jokhang Temple is situated, is surrounded by an immense flurry of trade. The activity ranges from fleamarket-type stalls all around the temple to Chinese fast food joints,

traditional restaurants, dentists specialising in gold fillings and crowns and even a sidewalk butchery where the frozen carcasses get dumped and chopped-up right there on the sidewalk. The people are gracious and their faces speak a thousand words. From the four-year-old boy begging in an

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alley, trying to sell sweets, to a woman in her mid-twenties helping her grandmother to the local market; their features show signs of some or other hardship. With the high altitude causing sunburn and the freezing temperatures causing frostburn, their weathered faces are evidence of the harsh environment in which they live. And yet, hardships aside, an open



smile, shy wave or burst of laughter are never too much effort. Photographer Maritz Verwey graduated from the National College of Photography in 2001. Deciding that a change of scenery would do him a world of good, Verwey set off for the United States, to take up a job as a photographer on a cruise liner. Photographing countless numbers

of people in different circumstances enabled him to anticipate some of the best reactions from people. He says, “I’ve come to love the reportage style of photographing people, hence I ended up photographing people in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Nepal, and Tibet. Although all these places ignited my urge to travel, I will always call Africa my home and I would


love to explore the continent in more depth.” Verwey’s passion for his craft grew even greater while he worked in a photographic studio in London; time spent in closer proximity to his clients, working hard to get the shots they wanted or needed. Verwey, who spent the past couple of years working with commercial and

advertising photographer Shahn Rowe, feels he has learnt a great deal from some of the best photographers in the industry. He says, “I’ve realised that collaborations are the order of the day and that multiple creative minds are infinitely better than one. Each commission is different and it challenges you to reinvent yourself and push the

limit of your abilities.” On plying his trade Verwey says, “The world is interpreted in different ways and each person sees it through different eyes. I simply capture brief moments in time, moments of how I see the world; real moments. Photography is my way of giving the world a chance to see it as I see it.” Visit 

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Speed unlimited Sikorsky X2

In aviation, the old adage, “to hover is divine,” might ring true when referring to the remarkable versatility that helicopters have brought to the modern aviation scene. While versatility might be paramount, the Holy Grail that has eluded helicopter manufacturers since day one is speed – pure, unadulterated speed.


ince the dawn of rotary wing flight, helicopters have always presented manufacturers with a complex paradox: the compromise between the




machine’s ability to hover like a dragonfly versus its ability to attain respectable forward speed. This, by its very nature, has become the defining factor in helicopter design philosophy.

In practice, helicopters that make good slow speed and hovering platforms are usually quite limited in top speed, while the higher-speed helicopters are normally quite twitchy and often downright challenging in


discrepancy. If the speed increases too much, the machine tends to roll to one side and the retreating blade will stall, generating no upward force at all. In order to solve this problem, Sikorsky’s engineers opted to replace the conventional single rotor design with twin, eight-metre-long rotors that spin in opposite directions on the same axis. The rotors both produce dissymmetry of lift, but in counteracting directions. This setup is referred to as a coaxial rotor system and brings with it numerous advantages. Firstly, there is no longer a need for the helicopter to have a side-facing tail rotor, as the counter-rotating blades no longer produce a torque

can have catastrophic consequences. In the case of the X2, Sikorsky has replaced the side-facing tail rotor with an aft-facing pusher propeller, much like that found on a boat. Called the propulsor, this added thrust lies at the heart of pushing the X2 to speeds as yet unheard of in the helicopter world. In addition, the Sikorsky X2 incorporates and demonstrates several new technologies in the rotary wing flight environment. These technologies include an integrated Fly-by-Wire system that allows the Rotor/Propulsor/Engine control system to operate efficiently, with full control of the rotor rpm throughout the flight envelope, high lift-to-drag rigid blades, low drag hub fairings,

Sikorsky doesn’t know whether its first clients will be military or commercial or both, but for now, the X2 team has set the speed bar high – at a staggering 460km/h.

the hover. Sikorsky recently shifted its focus towards creating an aircraft able to offer greater speed without compromising the essential attributes that make helicopters valuable. But what lies behind the complexities that have made it so hard to breach the limiting barrier that has plagued helicopter designers for decades now? The speed limit for any conventional helicopter is about 300km/h. But this was just not good enough for Steve Weiner, the X2’s Chief Engineer who “just wanted to go faster.” Now, the problem with going fast in helicopters is a phenomenon called “dissymmetry of lift.” When a helicopter starts to fly forward, the advancing blade cuts through the air faster, thereby generating more lift. At the same time, the retreating blade’s relative velocity and lift decrease. The faster the helicopter goes, the greater the

effect that tries to turn the helicopter’s nose in a direction opposite to the blade rotation. This improves the safety around the helicopter, which is a particularly important advantage for military and tourist applications, where circumstances may not allow time to stop rotors before personnel or passengers approach or disembark the aircraft. Secondly, helicopters powered by coaxial rotors are generally capable of higher speeds and able to bear greater weights than single-rotor aircraft. This superior performance is due to the sheer physics of how rotors work. Every conventional helicopter has a maximum speed at which it can no longer produce sufficient laterally balanced lift and maintain controllability on the rotor due to retreating blade stall. Furthermore, power is taken from the engine to operate the tail rotor, which in certain extreme circumstances can lead to either loss of power to the main rotor system or the tail rotor, both of which

and Active Vibration Control – all of which combine to make for smooth, safe and efficient flight and, more importantly, higher top speeds. The X2, is the descendant of the XH-59A, a machine with the same stacked rotor configuration that the company built with NASA and the US Army in the 1970s. The craft was thought unwieldy and the project shelved, though Sikorsky engineers never gave up on it. Sikorsky doesn’t know whether its first clients will be military or commercial or both, but for now, the X2 team has set the speed bar high – at a staggering 460km/h. “But the physics say we can probably go to 560km/h,” says Weiner. At that speed a medical transport helicopter could fly 250-odd kilometres, pick up a patient and return to the hospital in the same amount of time it would take a conventional helicopter to just get to the scene. Impressive. Visit for more information. 

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Grimoldi –

Wristwatches Alla’Milanese

Anselmo Grimoldi must be proud of his brood. This veteran Milanese jeweller and watch-and-clock expert has daughter Pamela running one of the family’s four stores; son Roberto – a watchmaker-cumretailer – working the Via Manzoni and Piazza Duomo shops; son Giorgio heading up the eponymous watch brand – with its own boutique – also on Via Manzoni; Grimoldi BO2

while son Cesare can usually be found in the Piazza Duomo shop where he, too, is hands-on in the growth of Grimoldi watches. Words: KEN KESSLER Images: © GRIMOLDI MILANO




nd what watches they are! The family’s assorted disciplines and expertise all come into play, including Papa Anselmo’s halfcentury-plus expertise as a master jewellery maker, blended with Cesare’s inimitable style and Roberto’s skills as a trained watchmaker. The overall signature, though, is Giorgio’s, whose background in architecture leads him to unconventional sources for design ideas, especially Mother Nature. Giorgio explained that the shape of the Adesso, for example, was “inspired by an ice cube – made to become a modern, natural sculpture, shaped to enclose all of the mechanical pieces and to follow the anatomy of the wrist.” When he puts it that way, you find yourself stifling your first impression of a translucent rectangular block measuring a massive 54mm by 41mm.

Try it on, though, and it feels as if it was shaped especially for the curve of your wrist and no-one else’s. The daunting dimensions are quickly forgotten. As with every series the company has introduced since the watch brand was launched in 2002, the Adesso avoids traditional shapes or sizes. Despite the seriousness of Grimoldi watches – Swiss-made automatic movements, robust cases, complications including chronographs and tourbillons – each model exhibits witty touches more in keeping with strictly decorative, rather than functional, jewellery. For the Adesso, the watch’s personality is formed by the size, the shape, the choice of bold colours, and the most in-your-face component of all: a cleverly-constructed case fashioned of polycarbonate, assembled “like a sandwich,” with the case back, movement, water-resistant ring, dial

Concierge Division Neo Africa’s concierge division prides itself on being an industry leader in turnkey solutions for managing VIP’s and groups seeking new and unconventional experiences. We are more than a travel company with our innovative thinking and the depth of resources to be able to deliver seamless and reliable services throughout the globe to our discerning clients.

The Last Word Retreats, part of Mantis Collection, offers you three nights for the price of two. Valid: March 2010 – 30 April 2010. Excl the Easter weekend. Subject to availability. Venues: The Franschhoek, The Long Beach, The Constantia or The Bishops’ Court. Info: Komla Natasen

Top, from left to right: BO2 in black, BO2 in pale blue Above, from left to right: Adesso, Borgoforte Chronograph

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B02 in cream, seen with separate winding tool supplied with each watch

and glass layers stacked one above the other. The parts are held in place by four screws, which are then capped with genuine 6mm Swarovski crystals. For the dial itself, four large crystal-topped screws keep it in place, with 10 stones embedded in the hour positions (except for 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock) to serve as luminous indices. The crown, too, is fitted with a brilliant, 6mm diamond-cut stone, and the entire package is waterresistant to three ATM. So, if you happen to be poolside and forget to take it off, the watch will survive your



dip. And once you exit the pool, you might check out the side of the Adesso. Built into it is what Giorgio calls “an original touch of design madness” – a thermometer. As the case is transparent, Giorgio can boast that: “the see-through case allows the admiration of the technical construction – every single piece of the movement, so that every little detail becomes no secret.” Securing the watch to the wrist is a silicon strap inspired by military tank treads, coloured to match the case. Colours include red, green, orange, black and clear – a lot of watch for only €490. In direct contrast to the Adesso is the Monforte, designed by brother Cesare. He felt it was time that one of the earliest styles of wristwatches – WWI military models – was revamped for the 21st Century. Fitted with the same base movement found in manual-wound Panerais and countless other oversized watches, Cesare has produced an eye-catching 46mm timepiece offered with assorted options, including a removable 50mm “hunter” case with WWI-style protective grid, and three case materials: stainless steel, black PVD or pink gold plated. Dial choices are black or white, both featuring precisely the graphics of military

watches of the early 20th Century, with the black dial’s numbers coloured in the caramel shade of aged luminous material familiar to collectors of vintage watches. It is supplied with either a black or white silicon strap, or a two-inch wide, wrist-band-type strap in python grain, and even that is convertible. If the wearer prefers, the wider back section can be removed, leaving a conventional thin strap. The Monforte in steel retails for €1,390. For 2010, Giorgio has harked back to the “kidney” shape of the model that launched the brand: the elegant Borgonovo. Now it emerges as a multi-material confection that possesses a frisson of outdoorsy sportiness, with the sort of edginess found in such icons as Hublot’s Big Bang and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore. This is a watch that won’t mind being knocked around a bit, and it seems tailored for beaches from Cap Ferrat to Kapalua. Employing the oval shape of Borgonovo, the BO2 boasts rubberised elements to complement stainless steel and anti-reflection sapphire glass, in a selection of cool colours ranging from black or white to pale blue, pale green and cream. BO2’s 57.2mm x 39.4mm case is made up of three horizontal layers, with separate bezel, case body and case back, held together by eight large case screws. The stainless steel bezel is then treated with rubber and decorated with eight unique case screws. A design fillip that also references earlier Borgonovos are a large “12” and “6” as the main indication, supported by plain indices, elevated from the dial surface. Finishing off the BO2 is a complex rubber strap rubber with the “Double G” Grimoldi logo butterfly buckle. As the retail price for the BO2 is only €2,300, one can imagine enthusiasts purchasing the entire palette – a BO2 for every occasion. After all, it’s what the welldressed Milanese would do. Visit for more information. 




Handbook Several assassinations have been linked to JD Salinger’s book, The Catcher in the Rye. Could this be due to an unfortunate coincidence or perhaps some sort of sinister subtext? Either way we seem to be faced, once again, with the oft-asked question: Who shot John Lennon? Words: CARMEN POOL Images: © GALLO IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES; LITTLE BROWN



riginally published in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye became the symbol of teenage angst, isolation and rebellion. Although it is listed as one of the classic novels of the 20th Century, it frequently lands on banned books lists because of the controversy surrounding its content. Factors contributing to the novel's mystique and impact include its tone of sincerity, its themes of familial neglect, tension between teens and society, rebellion, and Salinger's reclusiveness. But this list is frivolous compared to the extreme anti-social behavior that this book has catalysed in some. The protagonist in the novel, Holden Caulfield, embodies numerous characteristics that can be associated with loners who just don’t fit in with societal norms. This notion quite accurately describes most teenagers at some point in their angst-riddled adolescence, but sadly a handful of individuals have associated so strongly with Caulfield that they believe that they are Caulfield incarnate and therefore must convey his ideologies to the rest of the world. This perceived connection to Caulfield was most frighteningly linked to three horrendous occurrences in history: Mark David Chapman's shooting of John Lennon, John Hinckley Jr's assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, and Robert John Bardo's shooting of Rebecca Schaeffer. The first incident occurred in 1980, when Beatles fan Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon. This heinous act stemmed from the fact that Chapman believed Lennon to be hypocritical, or in Caulfield’s words “phony.” Said Chapman, “He told us to imagine no possessions, and there he was, with millions of dollars and yachts and farms and country estates, laughing at people like me who had believed the lies and bought the records and built a big


part of their lives around his music.” Chapman took Caulfield's polemics against “phoniness” in society very seriously. He was holding a copy of the book in which he had written “This is my statement,” when he shot Lennon in the back four times. After his arrest, Chapman wrote a letter to the media urging everyone to read the “extraordinary book” that may “help many to understand what has happened.” When asked if he wanted to address the court at his sentencing, Chapman instead read this passage from The Catcher in the Rye: “Anyway, I keep picturing these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.” Chapman later said that he thought the murder would turn him into Holden Caulfield, a “quasisaviour” and “guardian angel.” Chapman was sentenced to a prison term of 20 years to life and remains incarcerated at Attica State Prison in New York, having been denied parole five times. The second incident happened a year later when an unstable young man named John Hinckley Jr plotted to kill President Ronald Reagan. His motivation stemmed from an obsession with actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley stalked Foster relentlessly and even enrolled in a writing course at Yale University in 1980 when he learned that she was a student there. He wrote numerous letters and notes to her in late 1980. He called her twice and refused to give up when she indicated that she was not

interested in him. Convinced that by becoming a national figure he would be Foster's equal, Hinckley began to target Presidents, a decision that was likely inspired by the film Taxi Driver. In 1981, just 69 days into the presidency of Ronald Reagan, Hinckley attempted to shoot Reagan six times. He only managed to hit Reagan with the sixth and final bullet after it ricocheted off the side of the limousine and hit the president in his left armpit, grazing a rib and lodging in his lung, stopping nearly an inch from his heart. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity on 21 June, 1982. Following his lawyers' advice, he declined to take the stand in his own defence. Hinckley was confined at St Elizabeths Hospital in Washington DC, where he is still held. After his trial, Hinckley wrote that the shooting was “the greatest love offering in the history of the world." He did not indicate any regrets. After this attempted assassination, police found The Catcher in the Rye among half a dozen other books in Hinckley’s hotel room. Hinckley later claimed it was his favourite book of all time. The final incident that can be directly tied to the novel involved Robert John Bardo and his obsession with Hollywood actress Rebecca Schaeffer, who was best known for her role in the sitcom My Sister Sam. In 1989, after viewing Schaeffer's film Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, in which she appeared in bed with a male actor, Bardo became enraged and decided that Schaeffer should be punished for becoming “another Hollywood whore.” Again we see this Caulfieldean anti-conformist ideology surfacing violently. Bardo then approached a detective agency to get her home address through California Department of Motor Vehicles records. Bardo set out for Schaeffer’s house, a copy of The Catcher in the Rye in one hand, a brown paper bag in

the other. Schaeffer answered the door and Bardo pulled a gun on her, shooting her once in the chest at point-blank range. Schaeffer screamed and collapsed and Bardo fled. The following day, Bardo was arrested in Tucson. He immediately confessed to the crime. Convicted of

capital murder, Bardo was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. There are numerous conspiracy theories surrounding The Catcher in the Rye, but the truth of the matter is that even though Holden Caulfield did embody many anti-social and rebellious traits, he is simply an interesting character that adds to a plethora of characters that have been attributed to the rich canon of 20th Century literature. We live in a time when imagination is no longer a tool for the essential act of self-examination, but an anaesthetising escape from the inner life that we should be embracing and exploring. Any book, even the seemingly most innocent of texts, can become dangerous in the hands of a fundamentalist. It is a sad state of affairs when individuals misinterpret texts as a means to their own end. 

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the art of





“To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information. What's needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework.” – Warren Buffett Image: © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM


ecoming wealthy is rarely an end in itself. How you enjoy the fruits of your labour is as personal a choice as the individual way in which you created it. However, those who have created their own fortunes are usually faced with an unforeseen problem: managing their vast riches. Unfortunately most people have focused all their efforts on creating wealth and have not spent much time deciding how to look after it. It is rare to meet an ultra-wealthy individual that is singularly in control of their personal wealth outside of their business activities. The investment landscape is such that private investors typically have insufficient knowledge to navigate the potential pitfalls. The knowledge and instincts they’ve acquired and used to succeed in their own businesses are often ineffective in the vast expanse that is the current investment environment.

Investment Industry For over a century, the finest financial minds have focused their efforts on managing the assets of large institutional investors such as pension funds. All the innovative research and development of cuttingedge investment techniques was designed to maximise returns and minimise risk for investors. The manner in which they invested was designed to suit the unique objectives and constraints of these institutions. It was assumed that these investors, because of their size, required sophisticated solutions and the most attention. Individuals around the world were left in the care of their

inexpert accountants, insurance advisors and stockbrokers. Investment management techniques made available to consumers were simply packaged replicas of the models used for institutional investors, offering little or no customisation.

• They want to limit the percentage of their hard-earned assets that they give over to the taxman. Wealth management is often erroneously assumed to be a sub-set of investment management. In reality, however, investment management is

Building an investment portfolio strategy for an individual is a complex process that needs to take cognisance of many factors that influence the nature of the investment components. A new wave of thinking has, however, seen top investment managers and academics turning their efforts to the complexities of managing the fortunes of individuals. For institutional investors one can broadly assume the following: • The investment strategy is typically designed to cater for known liabilities, for example the retired members of a pension fund. • A very long investment time horizon. • They are normally advised by a group of trustees, a committee and professional external consultants. • Institutional returns are not taxed, thereby making the investor indifferent as to the nature of the returns. Conversely for individuals: • Individuals typically have unique, multiple objectives and dynamic investment time horizons. • They want to use their wealth to improve their lifestyle. • They want to transfer their wealth to their heirs or to a charitable cause.

only a component of wealth management, which additionally incorporates lending, legal and tax advisory services. Outside the realms of investments, the regulatory environment is ever changing, requiring that professionals remain abreast of relevant developments. It can be argued that a good legal and tax-structuring plan can preserve and create even greater financial value than a good investment strategy. A professional wealth manager is essentially a trusted advisor who is capable of managing and assisting with the multiple components of an individual’s or family’s wealth. Wealth management businesses that are attached to banks are able to offer additional investment banking services like structured lending, structured foreign exchange, leading global research, hedging and protection strategies, which allow the wealth manager to add value to their clients on the business front as well as to their private matters.

Behavioural Finance If dealing with an unknown environment was not enough,

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empirical evidence repeatedly suggests that private investors permanently destroy value in their investment portfolios by making short-term decisions driven by emotion. Behavioural Finance is simply the study of why investors (both professionals and individuals) make these irrational financial decisions. Despite being accepted since the 1960s, it is only during the last decade that attempts have been made to incorporate it into investment portfolios. It has been found that wealthy people who are comfortable with risk tend to outperform less wealthy investors because they can afford to ride out the storm, where the layman panics and sells at the bottom, causing short-term market fluctuations to become permanent losses. The correct approach during times of crisis is to reassess the longterm strategy and use it to guide and resolve to stay the course.

Investment Strategy While building wealth may not be easy, eroding it may be more so. Investment returns, although essential, need to be closely associated with a profound appreciation of risk. A successful investment strategy focused on wealth preservation and growth requires starting with clearly formulated goals and the ability to manage uncertainty, which is the key to achieving great success. Risk by its very nature is unforeseen and inevitable. Risk management is the process of



identifying potential risks and positioning oneself accordingly. So, is success a result of luck or smart risk management? We believe that unforeseen risks are almost impossible to avoid entirely with any degree of skill, therefore successful risk management is more about dealing with risk than avoiding it. A solid investment strategy needs to be forward-focused and incorporate the full complexity of multiple cash flows, the impact of risk and the legal framework to optimise achieving your objectives. Building an investment portfolio strategy for an individual is a complex process that needs to take cognisance of many factors that influence the nature of the investment components. The major factors that need to be considered when formulating an individual investment policy are: • The investor’s risk objectives – ie their ability and willingness to assume risk. In the world of the ultra wealthy, one’s willingness to take risk is often overtaken by the ability to take risk. • The investor’s return objectives, which may be multiple and can change over time. • The time horizons applicable, which again may be multiple, for example pre-retirement and postretirement. • Tax – different individuals and entities have different tax rates. • Legal and regulatory constraints. • Necessary liquidity and cash flow requirements. • Unique circumstances.

A comprehensive investment strategy comprises all assets and liabilities including one’s own business or employment. The resulting investment portfolio is a combination of the understanding of individuals investment asset classes, and how they are likely to interact and move relative to each other. Most importantly, is how best to combine them in your portfolio to maximise the return potential for a given level of risk. Developing an individualised wealth management strategy is a time-consuming exercise requiring the ongoing attention of experienced investment professionals. The result of this is that wealth managers focus their business models on servicing the ultra wealthy, who typically have greater need for their assistance. By focusing on this segment, large wealth managers can often use their scale and influence to negotiate lower administration and investment management fees for their clients, thereby justifying their own costs. They are typically also able to provide their clients with access to unique opportunities usually not available to individuals such as private equity and other alternative opportunities.  Supplied by Philip Bradford, Head of Investment Specialists, Absa Wealth. Absa Wealth, a division of Absa Bank Ltd and an affiliate of Barclays Wealth*, serves ultra high net worth and family office clients in South Africa providing investment management, fiduciary services and structured lending solutions. With the backing of Absa Capital, Absa Group and Barclays Wealth, Absa Wealth offers clients a sophisticated, integrated wealth management proposition, centred on the individual, leveraging the depth and breadth of its global and local expertise. *Barclays Wealth is the wealth management division of Barclays and operates through Barclays Bank PLC and its subsidiaries.

premier TRAVEL



This family-run hideaway in the Natal Midlands, with its pristine country air and rolling hills, offers luxurious accommodation and some of the most advanced, award-winning spa facilities. Highly personalised service includes the very best in traditional African treatments. Fordoun is the perfect place to escape and refresh mind, body and spirit. Reservations: +27 33 266 6217

Known as the “place of water,” Nkomazi represents the true symbol of Africa – with its vivid scenic beauty, dramatic landscapes and wildlife. Accommodation is offered in the form of “African Campaign” styled tents where nature-loving guests can enjoy various exciting activities or be pampered and rejuvenated in African style. Reservations: +27 41 407 1000



Ideally located within walking distance of the vibrant Seapoint promenade, and boasting picturesque views of the Atlantic coast, Hotel Le Vendôme is a luxury boutique hotel with impeccable attention to detail. This timeless, elegant hotel is a benchmark in South African hospitality and five-star service excellence. Reservations: +27 21 430 1200


Away from the frenetic pace of modern living, Frégate is a different world. Not solely a means of escapism, Frégate strives to set new standards by integrating luxury tourism with a focus on the environment. Private butlers are also assigned to each villa. Combining the most elusive qualities – space, seclusion, security – makes it distinctive among its competitors. Reservations: +27 21 556 9984

A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, The Michelangelo’s Renaissance architecture in the heart of Sandton's business and leisure district, service excellence and world-class facilities set it apart from others. Built around a central atrium, guests enjoy the decadent use of space and a feeling of grandeur. Reservations: +27 11 282 7000


In the finest tradition of this very select international group, the One&Only is located in the V&A Waterfront, walking distance (or water taxi) to the convention centre, conference venues and the best tourist attractions and restaurants. Enjoy spectacular views of Table Mountain and the city’s yachting life, with the world-famous Nobu restaurant ready to treat you. Reservations: +27 21 431 5800

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Williams Turbojet 505D Makes Its Debut Williams Performance Tenders, the world’s leading jet tender specialists, recently launched their eagerly-anticipated Turbojet 505D at boot Düsseldorf. The Williams Turbojet 505D is the lightest and most compact fully equipped diesel yacht tender on the market and was available to view alongside the rest of Williams’ impressive range of world-leading jet tenders.


esigned to combine the smooth, safe ride of a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) with the power and fun of a jet, the Turbojet 505D is an ideal craft for waterskiing or coastal




cruising away from a parent yacht. It is also a superb standalone sports boat, easy to trail and launch, making it perfect for day trips with family and friends. Mathew Hornsby, joint Managing Director of Williams Performance

Tenders, says: “Following discussions with yacht manufacturers, we recognised there was a niche in the market for a production tender that offers owners a high level of individual customisation without the traditional price tag associated with tailoring a

tender to a parent yacht. The Turbojet 505D is our response to this demand and is a culmination of five years of specialist jet tender research and development.” The craft marks a progression in the design of Williams’ existing range and so far, the response to the 505D has been a good one. “We have received a high level of interest from potential buyers and anticipate this to increase as we launch the craft at many international boat shows over the next year,” Hornsby says. A class apart from competitors’ RIBs, the Turbojet 505D marks the next generation of Williams performance tenders, offering owners a fantastic production tender that can be customised to their individual style and taste. With 30 different tube colours, a wide choice of upholstery fabrics and colours, and unlimited GRP colour matching, Williams provides a new level of customisation that enables owners to choose a colour scheme to suit their exacting standards and complement any luxury yacht. Fitted with a 110hp Yanmar diesel engine, the 5.05-metre craft can reach an exhilarating speed of 35 knots, has great stability both on and off the plane, and can carry seven adult passengers. It features a new high-torque jet pump, specifically designed by Williams to accompany the Yanmar engine, providing optimum performance while maintaining a smooth and comfortable ride. Developed for the professional market, this bespoke system offers superb handling, excellent thrust for load carrying and precise low-speed manoeuvrability. The system is also extremely durable, reliable and resilient to corrosion. The Turbojet 505D features big boat technology, including a powerassisted reverse system. This userfriendly, responsive system gives the driver more control over the craft. The new craft features another Williams first – a unique underwater exhaust system that vents exhaust gases through special ducts under the hull,

keeping exhaust noise to an absolute minimum and making the craft incredibly quiet for passengers. Hand-built to the highest standard, the ergonomic layout of the helm provides ample space for fullengine instrumentation, a chart plotter and VHF. Located at the rear of the craft, the helm offers the added safety benefit of allowing the pilot a full view of everyone onboard. The Turbojet 505D has two forward bench seats with additional seating on either side on the tubes, removable storage bags under seats and folding backrests to provide supported seating for passengers. The forward wet and dry lockers have lightweight removable canvas bags, which are easy to transport. As with all Williams tenders, the new craft has a number of safety features including strategically positioned strap handles and boarding poles. It also has a useful central seat with armrests that flip inwards to cradle the passenger – a great safety feature for children onboard. For plenty of enjoyment on the water, there is a large bathing platform for easy boarding and water access and an integral bathing ladder. In addition, the craft comes with a number of optional extras including overall covers, bimini tops, music systems, chocks, LED lighting and a bespoke Williams bow spray protector. Prices start at £35,000 ex VAT.  For more information contact: • Tel: +44(0)1452 472330 • Email: • Visit:

Specifications of the Williams 505D Turbojet Length: 505 metres Beam: 2.00 metres Depth: 1.05 metres Weight: 780 kilograms Crew limit: 7 adults Fuel tank: 95 litres Speed: 35 knots Tubes: Six-chamber hypalon Specifications subject to change without notice

Events Division Our Events division is an elite and dynamic turnkey management and coordination entity with an additional full-house marketing, communications and public relations services ability. The concept of our Events division is built on providing an end-to-end exclusive business service solution by leveraging strategic and benefi cial relationships based on service excellence, creativity, quality and professionalism.

Tel: +27 11 484 2833 Fax: +27 11 484 2899





The Lavish Allure of


Greatest Cities

Italy is a country of great beauty – and great beauties. Discover among its teeming palazzos, ancient monasteries and sprawling villas some of the finest hotels offering both the desired thread count and experiences as rich as can be had in any museum. Words: MARCUS BREWSTER Images: © MARK LEACH; ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

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s it is inevitable that Italy’s capital, Rome, will be your entry point into the country (after all, all roads – and all flights – lead to Rome), you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to suitably grand hostelries. If on business, you can be assured of all the executive trappings at the Hotel Splendide Royal, which borders the Borghese Gardens. If your room is on one of the upper floors, you may enjoy a view across the rooftops to St Peter’s Basilica. For an intimate, contemporary and sleekly glamorous stay try the Hotel Lord Byron, located a little deeper into the Borghese Park, in the exclusive ambassadorial Parioli quarter. It has high-lacquered, artdeco furnishings, beautiful books in the lounge and a Noel Coward quote stencilled onto the lobby wall. For sheer blow-away grandeur, however, nothing in Rome comes close to the Residenza Napoleone III. A suite of inter-leading rooms in the Palazzo Ruspoli, the Residenza was the domicile of Emperor Napoleone III, who lived here with his mother,



the former Queen of Holland. Saying this suite is fit for royalty would be an understatement: gilded candelabra, gleaming parquet floors, a swooning canopy bed, 17th Century oil paintings standing three metres tall, and sumptuous velvet upholsteries; this is by far the most luxurious self-catering apartment in the Eternal City. And the Residenza has a butler service, so expect your breakfast to be laid out on Bulgari silver each morning. There’s a bijou little kitchen – hidden behind one of the many museum-quality oils that swing open on a secret hinge – probably a practical necessity since you really don’t ever want to have to leave these damask walls for something as prosaic as nutrition. For honeymooners or for serious shoppers who want strolling distance to the luxury labels on Via Condoti, Rome’s über shopping street, this is a superlative choice of accommodations. Florence is well known as a repository of art history. In fact, Stendhal called it “a vast museum full of foreign tourists,” so one cannot stress too highly how important it is to find restful lodgings far from the

maddening crowds. The historic Villa San Michelle, situated on the breezeassisted hillsides of Fiesole, just five minutes out of town, has many a desired feature. Originally a 15th Century monastery, the current structure owes its façade to Michelangelo and its discreet patina to the always consistent OrientExpress group. Even if you don’t choose to sleep here, at least enjoy a meal on their terrace, which overlooks the red-tiled Renaissance roofs and the gleaming curve of the Duomo baking in the valley below. Some of the best contemporary art in Florence can be seen not in a museum but in a boutique hotel – the Residenza del Moro. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels portfolio, it is the 10-roomed, mid-life crisis of its owner Gilberto Sandretto and his wife, architect and art gallerist Maria Rosa. Sandretto is a billionaire industrialist who certainly does not need the money while Maria Rosa, who presumably does not need the work, has impeccable taste. Combine the talents of the two and you have the perfect Florentine pied-à-terre; equal parts elegance and luxury. A palazzo in its past life, the Residenza has a fitness centre in the former kitchen and one of just two roof gardens in all of Florence, not to mention the only cork tree in the city. If you can, make like Liza Minnelli and request the Suite del Marchese – a 92-square-metre former ballroom with impossibly high stucco ceilings. The Residenza’s extraordinary contemporary art collection is valued at some €60 million and includes an Anselm Keifer – his only canvas in a public collection in Europe outside of a museum. I worked out that our room, which featured a Gloria Pastore and an Amish Fulton, must have had over €1million displayed on its silklined walls. With that kind of outlay, it seems positively Philistinistic to switch the lights off at night and sleep – albeit under 500 thread count, hand-stitched-in-Naples-bed linen – while the masterpieces appreciate in value overnight. Now, when in Venice, getting lost


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is something of a rite of passage. Thus, I cannot conceive that a shortstay visitor would be well served by finding a little hotel tucked away down some shadowy canal. There can be no more frustrating prospect than trying to find one's way back to it after dinner, and with limited illumination. No, much rather plump for one of the properties situated on the Grand Canal. We propose the Londra Palace Hotel for its sense of history as much as its modern luxuries. Created in 1900 when Hotel D'Angleterre merged with its next door neighbour the Beau Rivage, the Londra Palace was where Tchaikovsky composed his Fourth Symphony, the Do Leoni. That historic room, (#106 for purists), is one of over 100 windows that open up onto the Grand Canal with views stretching across to San Giorgio Island. Our room, on the fifth – and highest – floor was reclaimed from under the rafters. Being at the end of the building, our tasteful, sumptuous lodgings had windows on three of its silk-lined walls, and the use of a Jacuzzi. I resolutely left the blinds up at night, so that when I woke it was to a staggering view outside the window. Tchaikovsky's symphony also gives its name to the Do Leoni restaurant downstairs on the Riva degli Schiavani, the main quayside running eastwards from in front of the San Marco Piazza to the Londra Palace. As privileged as one feels to have dinner there as the crowds mill past, it cannot touch breakfast when there are no passersby and you feel as though all of Venice and the pearlescent hue of its early morning sky belong only to you. Here, location is everything as you gaze across the Grand Canal to the beaming white dome of the Chiesa della Salute on the opposite bank. Venice's only swimming pool can be found at the Cipriani, probably the most expensive hotel in the city. Bought in 1976 by the Orient-Express group, it was also the first in their portfolio (they have subsequently



added another three establishments elsewhere in Italy). The Cip – as it is known – is not in Venice proper but on Giudecca Island. This was extremely perspicacious of the original Mr C because he realised that between the pulsing crowds and the flustering heat of summer, a refined traveller would be grateful for an oasis of calm and tranquillity away from the tourist mass. The rooms were recently refurbished, though I imagine one is not staying at the Cipriani for the room itself. There is a very grand restaurant with several signature dishes, the chance to spot a celeb or two or three, and let’s not forget the one-and-only swimming pool in town. In his classic 1912 novella Death in Venice, Thomas Mann noted that “to come to Venice by the station is like entering a palace by the back door. No one should approach, save by the high seas.” To take nothing away from the Cipriani, one of the best reasons for visiting it is to leave it. That's because the Cip has an elegant vintage speed boat (think From Russia with Love) that ferries guests to and fro. So, if you're not going to book in, at least spoil yourself with a meal or a drink at the bar simply so that you can experience both the return trip to the boat's mooring in front of St Mark's Square and the sagacity of Mann’s advice. A testament to the excellence of your hotel is whether you have second thoughts about ever leaving the comfort of your room. These establishments pack as much showstopping punch as any of the public sights visitors queue to see. From villas to palaces, monasteries to apartments, these are the properties that transcend the sensational to reach the realm of the sublime. Small Luxury Hotels of the World is an unsurpassed collection of over 480 hotels spanning more than 70 countries, which together offer an infinite variety of tailored luxury accommodation experiences. Visit 


Bouscharain, Claude Marie Madeleine; (1922 - ); “The Race”; Acrylic on Canvas; 92 x 141cm

Between Image and Imagination:



South African Art 70




hether figurative or abstract, these artworks provide an interesting view of South African social and cultural history as it unfolded over the 20th Century and into the new millennium. Thus, while there is a great deal of variety in terms of subject and style, the artworks that have generated such excitement among collectors locally and abroad may be united by a conceptual rubric that one may describe as existing between the image and the imagination: by engaging with the physical appearance of things and people, they all “image” the experiences and visual sensations that they transcribe. At the same time

Pierneef, Jacob Hendrik; (1886 - 1957); “Farmhouse in a Vast Landscape”; Casein on Paper; 22.7 x 30.4cm; Signed: “JH Pierneef” (Lower/Right); Dated: 1926

The increasing interest by local and foreign collectors alike in 20th Century South African art has brought into sharp focus the range and scope of a body of artworks that is as diverse, compelling and provocative as the artists who produced them and the country with which they are associated. Words: FEDERICO FRESCHI Images: © GRAHAM’S FINE ART GALLERY

Battiss, Walter Whall (F.R.S.A F.I.A.L); (1906 - 1982); “Metaphysical Figures”; Oil on Canvas; 32 x 42cm; Signed: “Battiss” (Lower/Left)

they provide a conceptual “imagining” of aspects of the South African subject, by engaging it in different ways and in different contexts. Extrapolating from this, four obvious categories emerge: Landscape, Still Life, People and Abstraction. These are not rigid categories, and – obvious exceptions aside – there is often a great deal of overlap between them. What they all have in common, however, is the subtle and complex conceptual and creative synergies that exist between the acts of looking and seeing; creating and perceiving; the seen and the unseen. Landscape is one of the most enduring and important themes in South African art. This is hardly surprising, given not only the variety, scale and beauty of South Africa’s natural resources, but also the

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centrality of questions of land and land ownership to our cultural and political identity. Indeed, landscape has been an important genre in Western art at least since the Renaissance, precisely because it represents an engagement with the world that we inhabit, and therefore offers a compelling sense of imagining oneself in this world. Landscape painting is therefore more than simply a mirror of the world around us. By its nature it raises profound questions about space and place; ownership and belonging; history and memory. There is ample evidence for this in the sheer variety of landscapes painted by such canonical South African artists as Hugo Naudé, JEA Volschenk, JH Pierneef, and Gregoire Boonzaier among others. In different ways these artists all allow us ways of imagining South Africa from across a broad spectrum of historical, cultural and social points of view. Given the scope of the genre of

empty landscape nonetheless resonates powerfully on a number of levels. On the one hand it suggests a contemplation of the infinite and a spiritual yearning for the ineffable that is evoked by the silent majesty of pristine nature. In view of our fraught history of colonial conquest and competing nationalisms, however, in the South African context the empty landscape is never neutral. On the other hand, then, inevitably it seems to speak of the desire for order possession and control; ownership and belonging. The inhabited landscape retains some of the sense of the celebration of the beauty of the landscape for its own sake, but now mitigated by the presence of people and dwellings. In different ways, landscapes by Pieter Wenning, Maggie Laubser, Gwelo Goodman and others speak eloquently of the notion of nature mediated by culture; the landscape being rendered truly visible only in the extent to which it is framed and contained by

What they all have in common, however, is the subtle and complex conceptual and creative synergies that exist between the acts of looking and seeing; creating and perceiving; the seen and the unseen. Landscape painting – as vast, indeed, as the world that it depicts – various themes and sub-genres emerge. At one end of the scale are those works that seem concerned primarily with presenting an image of the outside world, while on the other are those that appear to focus on expressing the ways in which we imagine ourselves in, and interact with, the world. Paintings by artists like Volschenk and Pierneef are animated largely by their celebration of the sublime beauty of the uninhabited landscape. Despite its beguiling appearance of neutrality – the presentation of a seemingly straightforward and unmediated image of the world – the



human intervention. The notion of the inhabited landscape thus introduces the centrality of the human subject into the ways in which artists engage the world. As an unequivocal expression of the fundamental human desire to assert order and control over implacable nature, paintings by Gregoire Boonzaier, Gerard Sekoto, Irma Stern and others that focus on the hustle-and-bustle of the urban landscape develop this theme. Closely related to the theme of the uninhabited landscape is the picturesque landscape. The difference is essentially one of gravitas: where the uninhabited landscape reminds us

of our insignificance in the face of nature, the picturesque landscape is primarily focused on expressing romantic notions of the beauty of nature – literally, as the term suggests, “fit to be made into a picture.” Works in this genre include paintings by Hugo Naudé and Terence McCaw, and allow us to focus on the imaginary world of an aesthetic ideal as imagined through the landscape. Other more densely layered and complex works, seemingly engaged with the intangible world of dreams and fantasy, might best be described as engaging another kind of landscape altogether: the internal landscape of the unconscious mind. Walter Battiss and Cecil Skotnes, for example, conjure fantastical visions of a mythic Africa, while the enigmatic works of Claude Bouscharain, Simon Stone and Dorothy Joan Wright take us into an uncanny, dream-like world where the strange becomes familiar and the familiar becomes strange. The entirely abstract works by artists such as Douglas Portway and Karel Nel bring us full circle by finding in the pure language of form the ability to transcend the image and privilege the inner landscape of the imagination. In the best tradition of high Modernism, Douglas Portway’s hard-edged colour field paintings attest to his belief in the ability of pure form to transcend time and place and speak in a universal, even mystical, language. In his densely evocative work, Karel Nel uses formalist devices, combined with impossibly ancient, elemental materials, to show that the line dividing art and science – and the ways in which both allow us to image and imagine ourselves in the world – is indeed a fine one. For further information, contact Graham’s Fine Art Gallery on +27 11 465 9192 or Sarah Sinisi (Cape Town) on +27 84 568 5639 or Graham Britz (Johannesburg) on +27 83 605 5000. Alternatively visit 


Beauty & Wealth from the


Art lovers and collectors are drawn to tradition and craftsmanship for several reasons. It could be that the aesthetics or the rarity of the items produced may yield a considerable financial return over time, or simply that the pleasure of owning something so precious and beautiful might be gratifying enough. Words: CHARL DU PLESSIS Images: © V&A MUSEUM LONDON, STEVE MOORE; VICTOR Lidchi


The world's most famous and most priceless Oriental carpet: "The Ardabil"; 1539-1540; Unknown maker



n the world of collecting fine items, there is hardly anything that can compare to owning a superior example of a luxurious and enchanting Persian or Oriental rug or carpet. The tradition of hand-knotting fine Persian and Oriental carpets dates back at least 2,500 years, making this form of art and craft significantly older than most other kinds of valuable collectibles such as haute horology, paintings, vintage cars, personal memorabilia or even some highly desirable ranges of ceramics. Stretching from West Orient to East across a band of climate zones, the creators of handmade rugs and carpets use the wool from domesticated animals that thrive in these climates – from Turkey, Persia, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and onwards, deeper into the Orient. If you are as confused as I was at first, “Persian” refers to modern day Iran, while “Oriental” would cover all of the areas east of Turkey, including Iran. The differentiation between rugs and carpets is a matter of size – rugs are smaller than approximately 2.5 by 1.5 metres, while carpets are typically larger. And then you get “runners,” those long, narrow examples you see adorning the hallways at very exclusive private clubs and your rich aunt’s stately home.


Not all carpets with Oriental designs are handmade. Machine-made reproductions are produced in factories across Europe and the East. As technology has improved, the painstaking work of shearing, cleaning, dyeing and spinning wool, even before a single knot has been tied on a particular carpet, has been replaced by more mechanical means. For this reason, it is the authentic handknotted article that is loved and prized world-wide for the finest interiors and which holds true allure, whether it is the almost naive figurines on a nomadic carpet or the most intricately woven masterpieces that could take skilled knotters up to three years to complete. Somewhere in between the rural and city examples, there is also a cottage industry that produces handmade pieces with their own beauty and character. For most passionate lovers of this timeless craft and art, it is the soul of the creator and the “imperfections” of these handmade perfections where the joy in identifying a treasure is found. It is actually surprisingly easy to spot the difference between a handmade and factory-made carpet. For example, the sides and ends of a handcrafted carpet can never be perfectly straight, as the handloom and methods used make it virtually impossible to do so. To understand more about the magical world of Persian and Oriental carpets, we sat down with one of the doyens of this field in South Africa, Victor Lidchi. Listening to Victor, a gentleman with an old world charm and an irrepressible enthusiasm for his calling, I started to learn about the many intriguing stories that surround these creations and just how fascinating the world of Oriental carpets and rugs is. Prestige Magazine (PM): Mr Lidchi, how long has your family been in this field? Victor Lidchi (VL): Originally from Spain, my family had lived in Constantinople under the Ottoman Empire since the mid-1800s before my father Henri moved to Paris in the early 20th Century. From there we

came to Johannesburg for the 1936 Empire Exhibition at the urging of Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, who was a friend and regular client of my father. We stayed, and have become the longest established name in this business in South Africa. I have lived, breathed and travelled carpets all my life, and have been to some of the most distant and fascinating markets across all of the Orient in search of desirable examples for our clients. PM: What is the appeal that Persian and Oriental carpets seem to have for people, and why their prestige, if you pardon me using a phrase we hold dear? VL: It goes back to biblical times in the East, and since the Renaissance in the West when carpets were first imported for the nobles and royalty by merchants from Venice, Holland and other trading nations with links to the Orient. Being handcrafted works of art, each piece is unique and carries something of the soul and personality of its creators. Also, they are an expression of the best of Eastern art, which has always fascinated the West. Their seductive colour combinations and enchanting designs have made them the ultimate in luxury and style for traditional and contemporary interiors, from New York to Hong Kong, Cape Town to London. PM: How does one get started learning more about these enchanting objects? VL: Once a month we offer a free early evening “Introduction to the World of Persian & Oriental Carpets” at our showrooms in Dunkeld, Johannesburg, and Clearwater Mall, Roodepoort. These gatherings start at 6:30pm and kick off with a short colour movie on this craft and art. We then cover basics such as identifying authenticity, determining quality and value, understanding the stories each carpet tells, decor considerations, and much more. Anyone is welcome, although booking is essential. We can even set up an evening like this as a private event for friends or colleagues. We also welcome visitors to our showrooms, whether enthusiasts or

Victor Lidchi demonstrating how to spot the authenticity of Oriental carpets.

newcomers, to see our collections without obligation, or to see and handle examples with one of our specialists. Contact us on +27 11 341 0367 (Dunkeld) and +27 11 675 5008 (Clearwater Mall) for reservations. Also visit our website at PM: Thank you Mr Lidchi. I look forward to our ongoing series over the next few months, where I will try to learn as much as I can on behalf of our readers. It has been a pleasure, indeed, to spend the time with you.  “Shah Abbas,” hand knotted wool carpet from the Victor Lidchi, Classics collection.

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All New

AICON 64 FLY Sleek, Stylish & Evocative While clinging onto the characteristics that have determined the Aicon 64 Fly’s success since being launched, the Italian manufacturer has breathed new life into its award-winning design, enhancing it with a number of attractive, functional upgrades that take a good thing and make it even better. Words: KEVIN BARKER Images: © AICON


n the outside, the designers have achieved a rational and harmonious use of space by creating more room to live, relax and play, while on the inside, large rounded portholes bathe the interior



with natural light. The concept of elegant design that captures the essence of movement is what drives the Aicon Style Centre, the brains trust of architect Marco Mannino, from whose imagination these clean lines are drawn. Luxury and finesse are two

buzzwords that come to mind when entering the cockpit, thanks to the teak ceilings that characterise Aicon’s larger craft. The quality of the teak finishes carry through to the interior, too. From gold trim on the outside to the enlarged Flying Bridge, the Aicon 64 Fly has been given such


a make-over that it may as well be a different craft, but one that embraces the elegance and performance for which its predecessor was known. Designed to offer the best in luxury right from the extended flybridge down to the bow sunpad, the exterior spaces on the Aicon 64 Fly have only one purpose – to quantify the maximums that are set by the scene. Maximum comfort from the maximum space, for the maximum pleasure and relaxation during open water cruising, as well as when at port – these requirements are what the designers set out to achieve. And there is no question that they succeeded magnificently in this task.

the cockpit via a contemporary stainless-steel sliding door. On entering one is immediately struck by the spaciousness available to the ship-owner and his guests, which is even more defined by attention to detail and master craftsmanship. The interior is enriched with solid oak, precious fabrics and teak flooring to give the Aicon 64 Fly a warm feeling that extends into the saloon and dinette. Welcoming one into the saloon is a comfortable sofa on the starboard side, opposing a cabinet with hide-away TV and two armchairs. The dinette is separated from the saloon by two steps at the port side,

advantage of the full beam. It has a spacious king-sized bed and is furnished with a practical wardrobe with drawers, a night table with mirror, hassock and comfortable twoseat sofa. The en suite bathroom has a shower stall with wooden grate and wash basin. At the centre of the VIP cabin, located in the bow, is an adequately proportioned queen-sized bed. Two wardrobes and en suite bathroom with washbasin and a shower stall round off the offerings here. Another guest cabin with en suite bathroom features two single beds, a centre night table, wardrobe and mirror. The crew cabin located at the stern is optional and furnished

The archetypal Aicon stairwell, smartly encased in the stern cockpit, provides quick and safe access to the sizeable flying bridge, while a large stern sunpad extends on, occupying the space normally reserved for the tender and the davit. A large L-shaped sofa along the wall from the stern to the bow sunpad creates a peaceful, practical seating arrangement opposite the large extendable dining table, able to seat six. A multifunctional cabinet recessed behind the second helm station has a sink, mini fridge and electric barbecue to cater for every outdoor dining desire. Found at the stern is a large bathing platform that includes the tender lift, which can be hidden for an uncluttered, aesthetically pleasing area. The living area is accessed from

and comfortably seats eight. Adjacent to the galley, this is the perfect layout for the boat owner who considers himself both a skipper and a culinary artiste. The dinette is equipped with four burner pyroceram cooker, microwave oven and grill, as well as a fridge and freezer. The spacious counter makes this more of a gastronomic canvas on which to create masterpieces than just a galley. Where the Aicon 64 Fly really comes into its own is its innovative sleeping quarters. Based on a three or four cabin layout, the independent quarters are pleasantly appointed. Each has opening portholes that allow guests to flirt with the fresh, salty air from the comfort of their cabins. The master cabin is located at the centre of the boat and takes

with two single beds, wardrobe and chest of drawers with en suite bathroom. The main helm station is laid out in spacious double seating and is equipped with the most cutting-edge navigation and boat electronic systems on the market. The craft is powered by two potent, Man V12 engines. Long renowned for producing craft that epitomise style and performance, embodying some of the sleekest lines to be found on the water, Aicon continues to lead the pack with its eye-catching, mouthwatering designs, none more so than this exquisite upgrade of the desirable Aicon 64 Fly.  Visit or call 0860 MARINE (0860 627 463) for more information.

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Cooking Up a Storm at

Pepper Club

Chef Gabriel Le Roux

Camps Bay’s newest fine dining restaurant and cocktail bar, Pepper Club on the Beach, has appointed notorious chef Gabriel Le Roux as the Group Executive Chef of its restaurant and recently opened hotel restaurant, Salt and Pepper.




e Roux has amassed an enviable career history, having trained under Michelin star chef Raymond Blanc at his French fusion restaurant Le Petit Blanc in the UK, as well as gaining experience in the restaurants of a number of five-star hotels across South Africa and internationally. He was also responsible for the opening of several successful restaurants, including Tarragons Mediterranean Fusion Restaurant in George and The Bungalow Restaurant in Camps Bay. David Solomon, developer of

Pepper Club, says: “Le Roux is very much in demand and we are lucky to have been able to appoint him to head up Pepper Club’s restaurant operations.” Solomon feels confident that with Le Roux on board, Pepper Club, the R400-million luxury hotel opened in March, will become one of Cape Town’s must-visit attractions for both tourists and locals looking for top quality dining in plush surroundings. “He is a chef of high calibre, having trained and worked within some of the greatest food establishments in South Africa and the UK, and we are sure he will bring

About Pepper Club Developed by Solomon Brothers Property Holdings, Pepper Club – a R400 million, five-star luxury hotel residence and spa – opened its doors in Cape Town this month. The 20 storey hotel will cater for discerning business and leisure travellers, and is set to address the growing need for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Mother City. Pepper Club is also the first South African hotel to combine a five-star hotel property in the centre of town with a multi-million Rand beach club on the Camps Bay beachfront – Pepper Club on the Beach. For hotel bookings, contact +27 21 812 8888 or email For restaurant bookings call +27 21 438 3174. To reach Pepper Club on the Beach email Alternatively, visit



his own unique style to the dishes at our restaurants,” says Solomon. Le Roux says he is thrilled to be heading up the fine dining operations at Salt and Pepper and Pepper Club on the Beach. “Already, the latter has proven to be a real hit since opening last year, and has made its mark on Camps Bay, so it’s an honour to be taking over the reins and steering it to the next level,” he says. Salt and Pepper, the setting of which is a combination of stylish and modern touches, offers a diverse range of continental, nouvelle-style cuisine that combines South African flavours with an international twist. Le Roux calls it “contemporary dining with some classic combinations and fusion food.” The restaurant menu boasts the very best in fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and includes a variety of dishes to cater for most dinners ranging from seafoods and grilled meat to pasta and some South African favourites. It also caters for diabetics and serves a sugar-free dessert. Says Le Roux: “The seafood selection is perfectly crafted in terms of variety and can be enjoyed while looking at the Camps Bay beachfront. We have just re-introduced sushi onto the menu, too, making it even more versatile.” 


Chicken Supreme Filled with Mushroom and Feta


For the chicken • 2 x 180g chicken breasts on the bone • 40g black mushrooms, sliced • 60g feta cheese, crumbled • 5g fresh thyme, chopped • 2c seasonal fresh vegetables such as baby carrots, baby corn, sugar snap peas, asparagus, broccoli • olive oil to fry • butter for vegetables • pinch salt For the potato mash • 250g potatoes • 20g butter • 30ml cream • salt and white pepper to taste


Cook the chicken Combine the mushrooms, feta cheese and thyme. Cut a small pocket into the chicken breasts and fill with this mixture. Fry the chicken in a little olive oil to brown. Transfer to a pre-heated oven, (180 ˚C), and cook through. Prepare the vegetables Steam the vegetables in salted water. Drain any excess water, toss in a knob of butter and season with a pinch of salt. Set aside but keep warm. Make the mash Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes. Drain and mash, before adding the butter and cream. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Serve Arrange the vegetables on a plate. Spoon the mash over this and place the chicken breast on top. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme. Using available gravy stocks and a dash of Pinotage wine, a gravy can be made to accompany the dish. Serves 2.

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Lineage 1000

As the third largest dedicated private jet on the market today, the Embraer Lineage 1000 might seem modest from the outside, even resembling your average airliner. On the inside, however, engineers have sculpted an environment that resounds with unadulterated magnificence in which to work, rest or play. The question is whether you will ever want to get out again. Words: KEVIN BARKER Images: Š EMBRAER EXECUTIVE JETS




Holistic Matrimony of Modesty and Magnificence


ased on the wellestablished Embraer 190 airliner, the Lineage, with its sleek lines and swept wings that end in sharply raked winglets, cuts a clean albeit modest presence on any typical ramp. When considering how much more real estate it covers when parked alongside other VIP machines, it quickly becomes clear that beneath the modern external veneer lies a massive interior canvas for designers to create what

can only be described as largescale luxury. Polished chrome handrails line the retractable forward airstair, leading you into the main entrance on the forward left side of the twin-engined jet. Temperature-controlled floors embrace the 19 passengers as they reach the top of the stairs, which reveal 100 percent New Zealand Wool and silk carpentry. Throughout the 25.9-metre-long cabin the floor is padded with multiple layers of insulation that assists in

controlling temperature, as well as dampening ambient noise levels. The cabin arcs to a lofty two-metre height and stretches to a width of almost three metres, creating vast interior space that is elegant and attractive; functional and practical. Designed in six modules, each with its own functionality, the Lineage is leading the pack in terms of interior practicality. Customers can either work with Embraer designers, or bring in their own teams, to customise each module. With more than 700 options

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in fabric for panels, divans and curtains, and over 400 choices in leather available from catalogues; combinations and styles are infinitely variable and can be combined to satisfy the most demanding of tastes. Starting up front with the cockpit, which features the most modern, Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite with heads-up display and infrared synthetic vision, flight crews have at their fingertips some of the most cutting-edge tools with which to operate efficiently, but more importantly, safely. Aft of the cockpit one finds a crew divan, necessary for long-haul flights requiring three pilots, with one resting at any given time, as well as the crew lavatory – one of three, wellappointed lavatories found aboard this craft. Behind the crew rest is the galley, which serves as a fully functional meal and refreshment centre and has large amounts of counter space, a custom sink that swings out from behind sliding doors, and as many conveniences as one would expect of a modern, luxury kitchen. A touch screen control panel in the galley allows the flight attendant to control video and music, lighting, pleated curtain window shades and temperature in any or all zones. Cabin lighting – styling lights, accents and downwash – is by way of LED lights, with red, blue or green tint options available. Cabin air refresh is designed so that air circulates without drafts, a task handled by careful attention to the environmental control system diffuser.



Behind a closing door you enter the heart of the Lineage: the conference centre, which is laid out in a club-four seating arrangement, each with pull-out side ledge tables and an LCD monitor (up to 42 inches) against the front left bulkhead. Each seat has been designed using computerised pressure mapping of test subjects to deliver the optimal density and layering of foam cushioning. Further individual seating is available in the next zone aft, which forms the fore-section of the main cabin. Once more, each seat is wired with connectors for power and signal, behind recessesed outlet covers situated in the side ledge deco panels. All eight executive seats across the various zones are equipped with controls for sound and video. This section also features the mid-cabin lavatory on the left hand side, and an in-flight entertainment cabinet on the starboard side that is factory equipped with three DVD/CD players and sound systems by Audio International, or DT Sound. The largest zone features an entertainment area with 42-inch LCD mounted atop a credenza, two adjacent chairs and the “wow” divan, named for its impressive size, on the opposite side of the mid-cabin zone. Custom-built speakers assure theatrelike surround sound that includes subwoofers hidden beneath the stretched divan. External noise is minimised through the judicious use of layers of insulation around the fuselage and under the floor – the amount of which is dictated by

customer audio requirements while not compromising too much weight, which affects payload and maximum range. Capping off the main entertainment area is an executive office area with CEO’s desk featuring voice connectivity through the Air Cell system, as well as Iridium satellite communications and a Thales-built wireless Internet connectivity suite. Located at the very end of the cabin is the VIP bedroom and lavatory, which includes an optional shower. There are warmed floors in the shower area thanks to the use of radiant heat, while the bedroom features a Grosse Point-lined wardrobe. The Lineage is able to carry enough water for an indulgent shower time of 93 minutes, notwithstanding the other water usage from entities such as galley and lavatories. A large baggage compartment is built into the left-hand rear of the aircraft and depending on other options, measures a cavernous eight cubic metres. It is heated and pressurised and can be accessed during flight from the rear of the aircraft. Designed to carry 19 passengers in ultimate, large-scale luxury, the Lineage can also be configured to carry more pax, should the customer require, thanks to its original design as a 100-seat airliner. Of course, this requires sacrificing some luxury. At a base price of only $41 million, some 30 percent less than that of its rivals in this class, there is currently no greater value for money on the market.  Contact Embraer Executive Jets: Agent in Africa: Lynton Van Aswegen • Email: • Tel: +27 11 465 0314 • Fax: +27 11 465 2532 • Mobile: +27 82 947 4444 • Visit:

B1 Western Bypass, Windhoek South, Namibia Windhoek, Namibia Tel: +264 (0) 61 205 5911 Fax: +264 (0) 61 205 2797 E-mail: GPS co-ordinates: 22°37’6”S | 17°4’23”E

Namibia 2 Theo-Ben Gurirab Avenue Swakopmund, Namibia Tel: +264 (0) 64 410 5200 Fax: +264 (0) 64 410 5360/1 E-mail: GPS co-ordinates: 22°40’27”S | 14°31’13”E


Pure Luxury

Pure Piaget

“People still want luxury. But only if your product represents true luxury.” Such were the words of Piaget CEO, Philippe Léopold-Metzger, when he met with press at this year’s SIHH watch show amid the biggest crisis in modern horological history. Right he was, and right he is, for not only does Piaget represent incredible luxury when it comes to extravagant jewellery, but also when it comes to high-end watch making. Words: KRISTIAN HAAGEN Images: © KRISTIAN HAAGEN; PIAGET





ves G Piaget created the distinctive Polo in 1979. The original Polo was a sporty watch featuring an integrated bracelet and distinct horizontal design elements on both case and bracelet. Much more than just a watch or a fashion accessory, this piece was an authentic symbol of luxury. The novel design, helped along by personal friend of Yves G Piaget, Ursula Andress, was embraced by Hollywood A-list celebrities, making the Piaget Polo the first choice of the rich and famous of that time. A legend was born, and powerfully revived for its 30th birthday celebration, with the introduction of the Polo FortyFive.

Featuring a trendy 45mm-diameter case reminiscent of the 45 minutes of a polo match, it adopts a resolutely sporty attitude with an exterior that is a first for Piaget, combining titanium, injected rubber and steel. This ultralight yet solid material gives the watch a dark and sporty look and makes it that much more comfortable on the wrist, thanks to the lightweight nature of the metal. This Piaget watch sets itself apart from the rest but is

Polo is, after all, the sport after which the watch was named. And Polo is the sport of Argentina, which is why Piaget is the main sponsor of the Pilará polo team with Marcos Heguy. Heguy is part of Argentina’s most famous polo dynasty and was first awarded his 10-goal rating in 1987. During a long and illustrious career playing at home and abroad, Heguy has won many of the most important tournaments at the top end of the

nonetheless treated to outstanding finishing. In terms of its movement, this model is equipped with the selfwinding Calibre 800P, with a large date window that displays its functions on a red, anthracite and silver-coloured dial. The Polo FortyFive is offered with or without an automatic in-houseproduced chronograph. A model without chronograph features both flyback and secondary timezones, while both versions have a large date aperture at the “12” marker, and sport a rubber strap with steel detail. “Each time people saw the name Piaget, they thought of the Polo, and each mention of the word Polo evoked Piaget,” said Yves G Piaget.

sport. It was thus no surprised that he was presented with a watch celebrating not only his chosen sport but also his name: Piaget Polo FortyFive Chronograph Marcos Heguy Limited Edition. The Piaget Polo FortyFive is a masculine watch; a sporty watch. This exclusive model has blue dials on a black face incorporating the words “10 Handicap,” while the crystal caseback, which also reveals the watch’s movement, bears Heguy’s name and signature. Production is limited to just 45 pieces. With a Piaget Polo FortyFive on your arm you not only get a piece of exquisite horological history but a rare specimen of luxury, too. Visit 

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Easy Money

and the Death of Service Somewhere in the 1980s, the customer supposedly became king. Management gurus everywhere finally let the penny drop that the person who paid for goods and services was actually in charge of the transaction, and could vote to go somewhere else with their money. A fabulous myth of the time regaled how the customer service desk of a wellknown retail store gladly refunded an unhappy customer for a set of misfit tyres, even though the store didn’t sell tyres. They did this in the name of positive customer perception and repeat business – the Holy Grail of business success during that era. Words: CHARL DU PLESSIS Image: © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM



hese days, those happy customer moments seem like a distant past. The management gurus have moved on to greener pastures where all the problems of business are now solved shorthand in Seven Easy Steps of Sorts, or by Ten Laws of Something or Another. And finding good customer service has become as rare as a Danish backpacker in the Sudan. In the meantime, South African suburban dinner-table conversations run the serious risk of having the usual chronicles of crime and corruption dethroned by stories about bad customer service. Tales of death and destruction have become so passé when there is the opportunity to hold sway with one’s exasperation at the hands of a continuousloop insurance company voicemail system, or at the mercy of a telecommunications technician whose notion of “within 48 hours” means “within 48 hours of my being able to clock overtime pay on a nonworking weekend day.” So, being the management consultant at heart, I tried to explain this change in service culture to myself in less than seven steps. My first hypothesis was that something must have changed in the structure of industries. I figured that the global trend towards consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, along with increased pressure for productivity (read “more work for less wages”), probably resulted in one never coming face-to-face with the owner of the business anymore. Instead, we mostly interact with disgruntled, underpaid employees who couldn’t care a rat’s gizmo about the customer or repeat business. I was convinced that I was on the right track after a sundrenched week in Jamaica. We spent many wonderful hours talking about life and the universe with local business owners, our bare feet in the sand and our bellies full of their famous jerk-chicken, before running into the correctly hypothesized disgruntled, non-owning, underpaid but very productive, employees at any


one of 20 franchises back in Miami airport. I was convinced that in ownership lay the key to good customer service, even when allowing for some skewing of my research by the balmy effects of Jamaica’s lovely Red Stripe beer. That beer thing bothered me, and so I had to at least consider a few other explanations. This led me back to the “Alette-effect.” To explain – Alette was the name of the woman who answered the phone at a company I ran several years ago, which was part of a large JSE-listed group. Our division supplied South Africa’s garden centres with one of their major hardware lines. Now, have you ever considered that garden centres only have eight days in the month, Saturdays and Sundays, to really conduct their business? And furthermore, that there are only four or five months of spring and summer. Allowing for rain on 30 percent of those days, it means that garden centres must make their full year’s profit with only 28 days of available decent trade. Hence, it becomes rather critical to the average garden centre owner that the supplier of major hardware items successfully delivers by Friday afternoon in anticipation of the weekend. Still, despite a significant salary increase, the completion of long-promised restrooms adjacent to our office, a new coat of colourful paint with matching curtains in the office, a more relaxed dress-code, and several expensive customer service workshop attendances, Alette would still slam the phone down on irate garden centre customers on Friday afternoons when they complained about scheduled deliveries that had not yet arrived. It finally dawned on me that this woman went back home at night to a modest home in a nasty neighbourhood, where her similarly nasty husband at best ignored her before she dutifully took to her nasty local shopping district over weekends where nasty people offered her bad service without a smile. She could not relate to our customers’ concerns. She had never demanded nor received good customer service in her life, and imagining herself in the shoes of our

customers on the other side of the phone was just a plain logical impossibility. Hence, the Alette-effect tried to explain the lack of customer service as a factor of some endemic social neglect and of the lifestyle gap between the northern and southern suburbs of our major cities. That was until I was recently letdown badly by a series of contractors, all at the same time. Among the poolguy, the electrician, the landscaper, the fence company and the plumber, the TV-man was the worst. After running off with a deposit, it took five weeks of legal threats and cell phone harassment before he finally completed a one-day job at my house. I wouldn’t stand close to him for fear of being hit by lightning, for if there was a modicum of truth to his excuses about the death and funeral of an aunt, cancer in the family, children in intensive care, a burglary

in a place “so African.” My own words to an old classmate slaving away at a 120-hours-perweek job on Wall Street came echoing back: “We are moving back to South Africa because it is the easiest place in the world to make money.” Finally, it seemed evident what has happened to our service culture – it is the lack of competition. I did not know enough other pool-guys, plumbers, landscapers and the likes that were hungry enough for my business. The real estate boom of the previous few years had drawn every tradesman worth his salt into the formal construction business, and nobody could care any less about my little fiddling contracts. This is where the back-of-the-bakkie types have zeroed in. Ex-teachers or civil servants now out on their own and in business for the first time, they are as

She had never demanded nor received good customer service in her life, and imagining herself in the shoes of our customers on the other side of the phone was just a plain logical impossibility. and what more, such bad luck was sure to attract more. What really struck me was that each of these contractors defied my previous hypotheses about bad service. These were the owners of their own businesses, own bakkies and own rusted tools. And they all appeared to have attended decent schools, to have decent lives and to share anecdotes about decent wives and kids. White men to a fault, they complained about how things have gone to the dogs as this was “just Africa,” and, upon hearing that I lived abroad, a few mentioned their own ambition to someday pack-up and leave. Yet, each one of them let me down either by not showing on an arranged time, not calling to reschedule, not completing their contract properly, or by breaking something while fixing another – the very things they so badly wanted to blame on some undefined resentment with being

embittered by the loss of their previous pampered existences as they are ill-equipped to deal with building long-term small business relationships with customers in a country with which they no longer made common cause. And so perished my hypothesis about large-scale conglomeration and its effects on a sense of ownership in business, as did my Alette-effect hypothesis about the ability to develop empathy with the customer. The lack of service in our country is a competition thing. Or rather, it is the lack of competition that has killed off any hope of decent service. I thought I would test this new theory with some people in the formal sector, yet my bank only came back to me after three weeks of repeated calls and messages, and then couldn’t reach me because the Telkom guys had not yet fixed my phone. I rest my case. 

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livethelife Masterful Milestone

TIRION Répétition Minutes TriRetrograde Through the combination of minute repetition and tri-retrograde function, the TIRION Répétition Minutes TriRetrograde underlines Milus’ incredible watchmaking expertise and the high art of developing a watch with an aesthetic and lasting language of form. Over 400 individual parts of the clockwork movement are put together in excess of more than 140 hours of meticulous work by watchmakers of the highest reputation. Each component is decorated by hand and tested repeatedly to optimise the functional precision of the watch. A round, nine-part case in 18K red gold 6N – the noble gold tone used at the beginning of the last century – with a diameter of 46mm encloses the precious movement. In the centre, the dial permits a clear view of the exclusive calibre and underlines the fascinating play of the three hands, which spring back at 20-second intervals. The strap is hand-sewn, made of the finest alligator leather. After two years of intensive development, the watch will be launched as a limited edition of just 50 pieces. Visit

Classique 2006

Gucci Gucci Goo

Eikendal’s 2006 vintage of its elegant Classique – the estate’s flagship Bordeaux-style red blend – shows remarkable finesse and flavour owing to cooling maritime breezes and ideal soil compositions. With Cabernet Sauvignon dominating the blend (70 percent), the wine also includes classic Cabernet Franc (15 percent) and for the first time in many vintages, a touch of Merlot (15 percent), which adds abundant fruit layers and a feminine body. The three individual components spent 24 months in 50 percent French oak barrels before they were blended together. Further maturation after blending continued in older barrels over a sixmonth period. The wine was bottle matured for an additional six months prior to its release. The Classique 2006 has juicy plum, cigar box, tobacco and dark ripe fruit flavours infused with a minty, spicy undertone point to a strong Cabernet Sauvignon presence. It is available directly from the cellar at R130 per bottle, or from select retail outlets. Contact +27 21 855 1422 for more information.

The New Bamboo is a 21st Century reinterpretation of one of Gucci’s most iconic handbag designs. It is a blend of tradition and history with innovation and high fashion. The Gucci New Bamboo comprises 140 separate pieces hand-assembled by an expert artisan in Gucci’s Florentine workshops, and requires 13 hours of work to ensure all details are perfect. For the first time, nickel has been introduced as the hardware for the bag, giving it a cooler touch. For the materials, Gucci has chosen a range from the heights of high-tech to the most noble of Gucci traditions, including rubberised crocodile and white or black python. Exclusively available from GUCCI Boutiques in Cape Town and Johannesburg, contact +27 21 421 8800, +27 11 784 2597, or visit

– the Essence of Eikendal



The New Bamboo Bag

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