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Marilyn Elana Meyer Ryk



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Hanneli Rupert


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ISSN 2221-4852

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SA Polo triumphs



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32 Food & Wine




Photo JACQUES WEYERS Production CYRIL NAICKER fashion:

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ElaNa mEyEr ryk



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Editor’s Letter



Martin Venter

14 -

5 Nations Invitational

16 -

Bred in Bone, Hanneli Rupert

26 -

Olympics Power & Glory

32 -

Ode to Marilyn

36 -

Scent of a woman, Tammy Frazer

42 -

V Must haves

45 -

Beauty, Face Forward

49 -

Food & Wine

54 -

Udaipur, Venice of the East

58 -

the social pages


Last Word


editorial team




Editor - Talia Sanhewe Art Director - Sharyn Seidel-Kometz Production Manager - Warren Needham Fashion Editor - Cyril Naicker Copy Editor - Alexa Anthonie


homage to


sa Polo triumPhs


Contributors David Allardice Darrel Bristow-Bovey Elwin Buchel Hans Croukamp Nawaal Deane Vivian de Waal Kevin Epstein Evan Milton Cyril Naicker Cally Palmer Lin Sampson Harold Versfeld Jacques Weyers Val de Vie Marketing Director Ryk Neethling Ad Sales Simone De Wet Printed By Paarl Media Published By Talia Productions (PTY) Ltd Val de Vie Magazine is published for Val de Vie Estate Elements Management (PTY) Ltd Val de Vie Estate, R301, Jan Van Riebeeck Drive Paarl, 7647 South Africa Contact: Phone: +27 (0) 21 863 6100 Fax: +27 (0) 21 863 2741 Email: Ad Sales: Website: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

No Part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in an electronic system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, digital or mechanical including scanning, photocopying, recording or otherwise without written permission of the publisher and the copyright owners as featured.


DARREL BRISTOW BOVEY // Last Word In winter you’ll probably find me quite easily, because I only wear my false moustache and glasses in summer. If I were to win Gold at the Olympics strong questions would have be asked about how drinking while watching television became a sport. If I weren’t a ‘creative’ I’d probably be someone who wouldn’t mind the use of an adjective (“creative”) as a noun. But I do.

LIN SAMPSON // Hanneli Rupert Feature In winter you’ll probably find me in Gstaad, Switzerland lying on my face trying to ski... If I were to win Gold at the Olympics I’d melt it down and make a pair of earrings If I weren’t a ‘creative’ I’d probably be dead, cannot imagine life without writing.

ALEXA ANTHONIE // Copy Editor In winter you’ll probably find me curled up in front of a fireplace with my fingers wrapped around a mug of hot cocoa or gluhwein. If I were to win Gold at the Olympics I’d establish a sports training institute in my home town, Beaufort West. If I weren’t a ‘creative’ I’d probably be a Linguistics professor.

JACQUES WEYERS // Photographer In winter you’ll probably find me booking a flight to somewhere summer If I were to win Gold at the Olympics it would probably be for the Paralympics If I weren’t a ‘creative’ I’d probably be Fishing in Zanzibar

CYRIL NAICKER // Fashion Editor In winter you’ll probably find me Hiking up Lions Head at 6am. I am not your average fashion editor! Paragliding off Lions head and images of the unshaven Marlboro man come to mind. And now you can wake me up because I am really in bed warm with my electric blanket on the highest setting! If I were to win Gold at the Olympics I would be on the cover of US Vogue flanked on either side by Karolina – Kurkova and Hilary Swank and shot by the legendary Annie Leibovitz If I weren’t a ‘creative’ I’d probably be …The Malboro man

EVAN MILTON // Tammy Frazer Feature

In winter you’ll probably find me...smiling indulgently at misguided

complaints about one of Cape Town’s best seasons. If I were to win Gold at the Olympics the Board of Inquiry would be both immediate, and damning. If I weren’t a ‘creative’ I’d probably be wondering what “a creative” is. Or what they do. Or why they do it.


WOUND UP COLLECTION Inspired by Nature.

w w LIKE US ON Carrol Boyes Functional Art


“New beginnings in all their glorious splendour are sweeter when shared: uncertain steps steadied by a firm hand, a single melody joined by a chorus.�


Talia Sanhewe’s Editor’s Letter


genesis has begun


s I write this Editor’s letter, my first as editor and publisher in the history of my still burgeoning career, I am reminded of the brevity of life – its ebb and flow, its beginnings and at times its sudden endings. I remember the fragility of life at its inception, so full of promise, so full of life and incomprehensible possibility. Beginnings represent hope: that golden vein of possibility, that green shoot of change. The genesis of this magazine has taught me that new beginnings in all their glorious splendour are sweeter when shared: uncertain steps steadied by a firm hand, a single melody joined by a chorus. The journey of this magazine has encapsulated journey every emotion and laced between each of these 64 pages are the names of friends and family who have championed and cheered. They may not be linguists, photographers or designers, but like the birth of a newborn baby, they have stood in nervous anticipation in the waiting room of my first issue. To each of you, I thank you for being nothing short of remarkable. This issue is a collection of stories that speak of new beginnings. We celebrate the visionaries, the entrepreneurs and the sportsmen and women who have stepped out and begun where so many have been too intimidated to start. Life is beautiful, complex and painful. It seems ironic that as I speak of new beginnings, I am poignantly reminded of life’s endings. A dear friend’s father passed away as I prepared to write this. And so, this letter is for him and those of you who have started life’s journeys without the cheering sounds of the familiar. To each of you who keep moving forward, bravely taking steps towards your destiny, take heart in knowing that every day is that new beginning, the genesis, the kernel of new life. It is my pleasure to present to you the great work of my outstanding team, who have crafted every element of this magazine so as to inspire. This is our beginning, our valiant start and our triumphant leap forward.



MARTIN VENTER Over 200 years of history, restored and developed into a pristine polo & wine estate in the Franschhoek Valley. The history of the Val de Vie Estate tells the story of a visionary with a passion to combine equestrian sport and wine making into an exclusive residential development in the heart of the Cape Winelands.


artin Venter is the visionary behind the Val de Vie Estate. A lawyer by profession, Martin discovered the 250-hectare property in 2002 while flying a charted plane over the Cape Winelands. “We were flying at about 300ft. and I saw the old manor house, the Berg River and the old vineyards and I realised that this was it.” The Val de Vie property dates back to 1783, which was when the original manor house and wine cellars were built. Preserving the rich heritage of the property and its winemaking tradition were important elements to the development of Val de Vie. After receiving development rights in 2004, Martin Venter set out to build a lifestyle residential estate that would reignite a childhood dream. “Since I was a young boy I always had a dream that one day I would build an estate that would include wine and horses. I travelled the world looking at successful golf estates, polo estates & up-market lifestyle estates and I made a list of all the critical success factors and then I started to create the vision that would become Val de Vie.” The maxim is true, when it comes to property development it’s all about location, location, location. And none could be more apt than that of Val de Vie. “When I bought the property it was all about location and quick access. The estate is 35 minutes from Cape Town International Airport, 35 minutes from the Cape Town CBD and when you have finished a hard days work, you are living in a secure lifestyle estate that’s surrounded by vineyards, mountains and unsurpassed beauty.”


TEXT - Talia Sanhewe

PhotographY - Elwin Buchel STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY - VAL DE VIE WINE & polo estate

A Man of



In establishing the property, Martin included his love for equestrian sport into the development mix, “I love polo. It’s my sport of choice and I wanted to create a property that would celebrate the love of polo but also other equestrian sports.” With approximately 60 polo clubs in South Africa, Val de Vie is unique in that it is the only polo club to also include a residential estate. Martin’s vision was clear from the start: create a property that offered safe, secure living, celebrated family life, is known for sport and the joie de vivre of the Cape Winelands. By 2005 construction work began on phase one of what would become a R350 million property development project.

The first phase of the construction was completed in 2008 and with it came the headwinds of the global recession. “That was a really tough time, especially if you were in property development. We navigated our way through that period through blood, sweat and tears. When the recession struck we had R100 million left in debt exposure but we managed to pay it off and we survived.” Martin attributes his survival through the recession to dedicated focus, “the main reason we managed to come through was focus. We focused on the estate. We believed in the product. Although the recession broke we completed our development.Investors could see we were serious; we were in it for the long haul.”

Martin Venter shows Talia Sanhewe where it all began.



he sports and events facilities at Val de Vie were overcapitalized to ensure value and long-term benefit for the property investor, “We invested considerably into our buildings because we knew we had to put the best product onto the market. We had to create a product that would sell and attract the right long term investor. There is a lot of value in this property. It would be difficult to get the same value today at the current market related prices. That is why Val de Vie offers a residential owner a unique proposition.” The favorable economics of supply and demand have seen investment flow into Val de Vie from South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world, as buyers identify the distinction of the estate and what it has to offer. Of a total 550 plots, 470 plots have already been sold. Currently 50 homes are being built on the estate, bringing the total number of residential properties on the estate to 200 by the end of 2012. With the estate close on capacity on the selling of plots, the aim is to take a long-term growth projection on how to populate the estate to ensure critical mass. “Val de Vie is still a young estate, but its important to take an eagle’s view of what the estate will look like in 20 years time. That’s what we keep a focus on, where are we going and who do we get there.” Inspired by the French Huguenots, Val de Vie means “Valley of Life” and was so named after Martin Venter first set foot on the property. “I remember the first day I drove onto the property I drove through the main gates and down the road straight to the old manor house. I thought about the first settlers who probably rode that down that same path on their horses. I am humbled every time I drive through the gates to think that this is where it all began, in this valley of life.” With plans of developing a 5-star hotel and niche retail development, Martin Venter and his team at Val de Vie have their eyes set on achieving the next phase of growth. “That’s why I am passionate about property development, because you can physically touch it. And its multi generational, that’s the differential. You can work on a project and it doesn’t just remain on your balance sheet you can actually see the asset. Its tangible.” Over the past 10 years Val de Vie has grown and become synonymous with exclusive polo matches, bespoke weddings, large-scale concerts and tailored events. The estate is also home to the Ryk Neethling Swimming School and offers a premiere sports and training facility as well as a wildlife conservation area stocked with zebra, 10

the beautiful lake at val de vie estate, reflecting the magestic drakenstein mountains.

bucks and wildlife. Alongside equestrian sport, the estate is known for its award-winning wines. These are made from the Rhône cultivars and pay homage to the winemaking traditions of the French. The Val de Vie wines are currently sold throughout South Africa and are exported internationally. For Martin Venter, the journey of building Val de Vie into what it is today has been one of hard work. “We have had to work extremely hard to get to where we are today, and I could not have done any of this if I did not have a team of dedicated people who saw the vision and ran with it.” The residential split of the estate is particularly unique. “We find that most of our residential buyers are South African looking for value, security and exclusivity. We do have a growing number of buyers from across the continent, Europe and America. A large number

A Man of Definitive Vision “We’ve had to work extremely hard to get where we are today. And I could not have done any of this if I did not have a team of dedicated people who saw the vision and ran with it.” of our local residents are from Johannesburg & Pretoria who have relocated here but still run active businesses in Johannesburg, London and the rest of the world. That’s the beauty of the estate, it offers you an ideal live-work position and from an investment side you have better liquidity if your primary residential location is close to a CDB and an airport. In the long-term Val de Vie affords you a worthwhile lifestyle investment.” The concept of family is very important to the live-work-play balance at Val de Vie. A father of two, Martin is a keen polo player and cites Cyril Ramaphosa and Johann Rupert as business leaders who have inspired his outlook on business. Martin attributes his success in development to two salient points. “There are two things I firmly believe in: you never sell a good property and when there is blood on the streets, buy.” It has been said that opportunity favors the brave and in the case of Martin Venter, bravery and opportunity converged on an old Cape farm, its potential skillfully unearthed to create a visual masterpiece.

Leonhard Jonas: For former investment banker

Leonhard Jonas, life at Val de Vie is nothing short of outstanding. He enthusiastically invites, “Look at my view; how beautiful is this! And the best part is it takes me all of 5 minutes to get to work!” Leonhard is a director of Guardian Development Projects, a residential property development company situated on the Val de Vie Estate. Like Renier Swart, Leonhard exchanged his Pretoria boardroom for one with a better view. “The return on investment on a property at Val de Vie is twofold. On the buying side, there is the capital appreciation of an asset in a sought-after residential estate, and then there is the strong rental component. There is huge demand for rental properties on the estate. Irrespective of the property price you can expect a 5% plus rental return on your property. So from an investment point of view the numbers at Val de Vie make sense.” With the Paarl and Franschhoek Valley regions being declared a World Heritage site, development options in the area will soon become limited due to stock availability. Leonhard explains, “property is all about supply and demand. There will come a point at which nothing more can be developed in the Valley. At that point, when the demand comes you will have a great return on your investment, if you have invested well in the supply.”

Renier Swart is a Pretoria man through and through,

however after 37 years of “winning the rugby”, he decided to relocate to the Western Cape for a change in lifestyle.”I run my own businesses located across the country in Vereeniging, Durban and Cape Town. I decided to move to the Cape in 2007 and discovered Val de Vie. At first I wanted a plot as an investment but soon realized that this was where I wanted to live. I have a young family, two kids under the age of 4, so deciding to build our first home together on the estate was the most natural decision for me and my wife.” Renier’s previous Pretoria home was in the affluent suburb of Waterkloof but it was Val de Vie’s security and proximity to good schools that swung the vote in favor of life in the Franschhoek Valley. “I was very impressed with the security on the estate. From every access point and along the perimeter it was clear that security was a top priority. That coupled with an additional R4 million security upgrade and proximity to some of the leading schools in Paarl & Franschhoek, I knew this is where I wanted to be for the long term.”

the polo field at val de vie washed in the golden rays of the paarl sunset.



A place of sheer and utter beauty set amongst the rolling vineyards of the Winelands, and bordering the Berg River, lies Val de Vie Estate - nestled between Paarl Rock and the majestic Simonsberg mountains towards the Franschhoek Valley - affording you & your family the secure and idyllic country Lifestyle you deserve....let us introduce you to your new home!



on show seven days a week

plots priced from R600k | off plan homes from R1.695m | completed homes from R3.2m email or ph 021 863 6101 or 082 55 333 96

construction- and project management

At Guardian construction- and project management we understand the emotive nature of building a dream home. We provide that vital independent and professional service to plan, lead, organise and control the management of projects and programs, from inception to reality.

Architectural design | Engineering services | Building and construction | Interior design and -decorating Landscaping | Procurement of finance | Project management | Specification consulting

Visit our showroom at The Polo House, 268 Les Lions Street, Val de Vie Wine and Polo Estate, Paarl C +27 83 641 888 7

T +27 21 863 1139





olo in all its glory was on show at the inaugural Val de Vie 5 Nations Invitational Polo Classic that made its calendar debut on the 17th of March. Val de Vie Polo Club played host to the Invitational in a tournament that proved to be a clash of the titans. The Invitational, a first for South Africa, featured five teams and some of the top international polo players; among them, Aki van Andel and Tom de Bruin who captained the Dutch and South African teams respectively. The five teams, all sponsored by top brands, were Nikon Great Britain, iClyps Holland, Hästens Pakistan, Absa Wealth Zimbabwe and Carrol Boyes South Africa. De Bruin, who had recently led his countrymen to a second-place victory at the FIP (Federation of International Polo) World Snow Polo Championship in China, was at it again in an unmatched display of equestrian speed and power. This six-goal tournament consisted of 12 matches in which Absa Wealth Zimbabwe and iClyps Holland fought it out for the 3 and 4 places. Carrol Boyes South Africa pitted their strength against Nikon Great Britain for the winning trophy. Both teams played their hearts out in what was a nailbiting finale, but Team South Africa emerged as victors from this kingly battle. Turco Puga who played for Holland, was named the tournament’s most valuable player (MVP) while Tom de Bruin’s mount, Peace, won him the Best Pony accolade.The prize giving was a spectacular affair with the Pakistani team bestowing great honour on the Val de Vie Polo Club with numerous awards. In the true spirit of polo, the Val de Vie 5 Nations Invitational showcased the elegance and panache of the game, with guests dressed in chic sophistication. Val de Vie Wines were paired with canapé’s as local and international guests were served an afternoon of sport and lifestyle. The event was a huge success and as children played freely between parents, the first Val de Vie 5 Nations Invitational was a toast to a game that’s captured the heart of our local champions. We look forward to hosting more teams next year in what’s set to become a signature calendar tournament. TEXT - VdV Magazine & Kevin Rixon Photography - Werner Ryke, Jurie Senekal, inecke de kock 15




text - Lin Sampson

Hanneli Rupert is a young, dynamic entrepreneur who is revolutionising the African luxury goods market, one handbag at a time.


anneli Rupert is the embodiment of genesis. With her bright projects and clever ideas she has given birth to a new world.

Standing in the shadows of the darkened emporium, Merchants on Long, its owner seems to radiate light. Hanneli Rupert’s caramel coloured skin is set off by a swag of accessories, a long gold Piaget chain, a present from her father, and a gold Cartier watch that belonged to her paternal grandmother. Her armoury of accessories has become her trademark. ‘I love adornment and traditional wear,’ she says. ‘I love the fact that in Africa, people are often brave enough to incorporate it into their day-to-day dressing.’ And this, she points out, makes for clothes with narrative, ensembles that hint at stories beyond the ordinary. ‘I am so influenced by the colours of Africa that when I go to London with my normal wardrobe I feel like a freak. Everyone in London will be in black then I’ll be dressed in multicoloured shweshwe prints (a beguiling all-cotton fabric produced locally on copper rollers and named after the sound a skirt makes when you walk). Here people celebrate colour. I think it reflects a generally jolly outlook on life.’ ‘Can you believe it, I used to go to school barefoot,’ she says. This is indeed hard to believe when you look at this well-put-together woman. But perhaps her expressive dress sense has its origins in these barefooted jaunts. Hanneli is the youngest daughter of Johann Rupert, the forward-looking and imaginative entrepreneur who has stamped both the local and international business scenes with his critical intelligence and acute sense of business.




“The world has become so globalised, people care about origin but they also care about an individual voice. We have to protect the Made in Africa label ferociously.�


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t is these genes that she brings to her projects, but it is her personal style, her compelling charm and easy-going manner that makes everyone sit up and take notice. She has a tremendous respect for people, especially her employees and she exudes a natural happiness that is simply enchanting. “On my mother’s side of the family,” she tells me, “they are all lawyers and artists. My maternal grandmother, Donna Downie, is my greatest artistic inspiration. She is incredible actually. At 81 she went to Burning Man; she still does yoga and teaches art to children from the townships.”


just painting. “I was very solitary, a recluse really. I felt I was too young to be shut away but I didn’t want to go commercial with my art. It seemed like selling out. I needed to do something more structured, something I could market.” When she returned home three years ago, she started various projects spearheaded by her shop, Merchants on Long. With its emphasis on job creation and small-business development, the shop is a lush repository of what Africa has to offer. There are hats as big as huts, crocheted out of plastic bags, and thin rubbery bathing suits in yolky yellows and cobalt blues.

“I was raised to appreciate beautiful environments from a young age, but it’s only when I first went to London that I realised exactly how fortunate I was to have grown up where I did.”

n my father’s side they are very creative and very good at marketing. I am very lucky that on both sides there is an understanding of rectitude and integrity. I have been brought up in this way and these values are very important to me.’

At 27 she is emerging from the chrysalis of a protected background with startling professional acumen. The Ruperts are a notoriously private family and Hanneli is wary of journalists and chooses her words carefully, often saying, “No, let me rephrase that ...” After leaving school she went to England and studied art at Wimbledon College of Art, doing five years of intensive painting and winning prizes for her skill. “I do miss it but for the moment I have put it aside. It is not something you can do part-time. But I do think my training has helped me in the designs I do now.” She recently launched Okapi, a range of handbags that hints at her ability as award-winning artist and draws on her particular love for Pre-Raphaelite artist, John William Waterhouse. “He is not my favorite but I am very inspired by the myths and legends he reworks. I used some of his works as a foundation for the Okapi fashion shoot. All the bags were named after African goddesses and I recreated works like the Lady of Shallot in an African setting.” “The handbag launch was really magical,’ says Binky Newman of Design Afrika, ‘she turned her shop into a forest with real trees and a peat floor. There were branches coming down from the roof that formed a leafy canopy with stuffed animals and other wild life paraphernalia: a little eye here, a big swooping fish eagle there and a background track of birdsong.” After leaving art school Hanneli lived in Greece for a while

You notice the old ivory-coloured bangles and big glass beads like blotches of gelatine that line the shelves while your eyes dart from the of eau-de-nil skirts in shagreen-type fabric to the swathes of finely woven raffia, the amber, coral and imitation tortoise-shell, and the miscellany of scarves in a haze of tigerish colours, topaz and aquamarine clotting into scarlet. ‘This,’ she says unclasping a chain and balancing on the palm of her hand a small metal object, ‘is what the new chains for the Okapi bags is going to look like.’ She chose the name Okapi because although it is a real animal, it also has an element of the mythical and very few people have seen one. “It’s often referred to as the African unicorn. In the wild they are rare, but there are still some in the Ituri Forest in the Congo.”


hese bags, with their semi-structured, easy style are her latest addition to a raft of entrepreneurial projects that started less than two years ago and which she has master-minded with the acumen of a seasoned entrepreneur. Like her father, her roots are embedded in local soil and her eyes shine at the mere mention of anything made in Africa. “My commitment really is to Africa in quite a profound sense. I feel that anyone who has food on their plate and lives here has a responsibility to make the country work.” Part of what attracts her to the continent is a sense of mysticism, the potent ju-ju of the talisman and respect for the ancestors. Her mind is open to serendipity and chance. “I met an African prince once; his grandfather raised Mandela. He was fascinated by the horns on the Okapi bag and this got me thinking. I had wanted to visit a traditional healer for a long time, but I didn’t want to look one up. I 21


“My strongest influence has always been nature and organic references like skin and horn.�


F E AT U R E knew one would come. Then one day I was visiting a leather maker and there was a woman wearing springbok horns. She was a healer. I had never met a traditional healer before and guess what? I am going to see her tomorrow. I am really excited.” Hanneli grew up in the Cape. “It was a very happy childhood. We travelled quite a lot but not extensively. I got to see a lot of the low veld; my mom is from there. The natural and primordial beauty awes you. I was raised to appreciate beautiful environments from a young age but it’s only when I first went to London that I realised exactly how fortunate I was to have grown up where I did. The genesis of the Okapi can be traced back to the Karoo. I think the Karoo is one of the most special places in the whole of Africa. It encompasses all the subtleties of our country and is also part of the big picture of the whole continent. I think one tends to overlook the familiar. I couldn’t believe it when I discovered that a lot of the bags in the smart shops in London were made of ostrich skin. They might not have been of the best quality or style but they were made using a raw product from South Africa that was mostly overlooked at home.” I wanted to design something that would be classic and attractive to a very wide audience. I wanted each handbag to have the potential of becoming an heirloom, a piece that could be handed down. My greatest inspiration comes from nature and my work always has organic references like skin and horn. The bag has come full circle from veld to fashionable venue.”


he bag, as a whole, was sourced and made locally. Even the string that ties it is made from mopani silk. “We are very lucky in Africa because we can easily trace the origins of what we make. We can tell the story and prove it. I think people were becoming jaundiced not knowing the true genesis of things; a bag sold in London might be manufactured in Shanghai with handles that were made in Hong Kong. Nowadays people don’t mind paying, but they want to know where things come from. The world has become so globalised. People care about origin but they also care about an individual voice. There is a lot in Africa that is authentic and not reproduced. We have to protect the Madein-Africa label ferociously.” And Hanneli Rupert is doing just that. Her Made-in-Africa Okapi bags are stocked only in Merchants on long and in the Singita Serengeti game lodge. ‘Maria Ramos bought one and we gave one to Michelle Obama and she said she really liked it.’ Adding to their exclusivity is the fact that there are no more than 10 in each range and you get a limited edition number.



anneli has chosen to work with designers who all have the same sort of reckless talent she admires. Among them are Allen Schwartz, an architect and ecologist who is brave enough to live his dream. He founded the Mezimbite Forest Center in 1994 just after the civil war ended in Mozambique. In an area that was wrecked by slashand-burn operations, he now makes beautiful artefacts and parts for musical instruments out of hardwood. Gareth Cowden is another. He’s the mind behind the Babatunde styles with their liquorice-all-sorts colours. Then there’s Guidemore Chigama, a self-taught Zimbabwean who uses a mixture of ancient African trading beads and contempory artefacts like plastic hang tags to make interestingly different jewellery. Her genius is picking up on people’s uniqueness and bringing them together. She recently employed South African, Tammy Tinker who worked at Vogue in London for many years. Hanneli is confident that she has a great team. And with this knack for recognising talent, she always will. “In Africa the things might be beautiful but things have to be a hundred per cent perfect. We cannot allow carelessness to creep in and I do a lot of the packaging and presentation myself,’ she says. ‘There might be fascinating stories behind the pieces but that is not why I want them to be desirable. I want them to all be stand-alone pieces, beautiful in their own right.” Here, at the bottom of Long Street, among the souvenir shops, tinselly low rent boutiques, hamburger joints and tacky 70s commercial high rises, Merchants on Long represents a piece of authentic African turf. Its curvy belle epoque silhouette is home to rarities such as Madagascar chocolates, permanganatecoloured cotton dresses and obeisance glass beads. “There are shops in London like Dover Street Market that specialise in smart African products but we are the only ones in Africa doing the same thing. I do such a strict edit of what comes into the shop that if anyone wants to get the best things made in Africa they would be able to find them here.” In April Merchants on Long is doing a pop-up shop in London at Bluebird on King’s Road, “It’s exciting, only runs for one month and we have done collaborations with our top designers,” says Hanneli. ‘People underestimate the emerging African market. They assume we Africans are label-obsessed but we are really patriotic. Given the choice between a top African brand and another, we will go for the African brand.’ When asked if there pressures to succeed she simply answers, “I just think in life you have to try your hardest at whatever it is you are doing and real success is making the best of your individual strengths whatever they may be.”

Fashion Editor: Cyril Naicker Stylist: Cally Palmer Hair & Make-Up: Kevin Epstein location: Merchants on Long Photography: Elwin Buchel TEAL top: Country Road Skirt & shoes: Models own Location: Val de Vie estate franschhoek valley Photography: JACQUES WEYERS Dresses: Gavin Rajah Sunglasses: Ray Ban Boots: WESTERN SHOPPE




power & the

Glory an Olympic Reflection text - TALIA SANHEWE Photography - COURTESY of ELANA MEYER, RYK NEETHLING & GETTY IMAGES

The London 2012 Olympics marks exactly 20 years since Elana Meyer ran victoriously to win silver in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. In anticipation of the greatest sporting event on earth, Elana reflects on her glory moments as does fellow Olympic medalist Ryk Neethling.


or Elana Meyer, the 1992 Olympic Games was one that she will never forget, not only because she won an Olympic silver medal in the 10 000m race but because participation in the Games meant that the tide of change had finally come to South Africa. “1992 was a different time. As a country we were not able to compete internationally due to the politics at home. There was so much uncertainty regarding our participation. South Africa qualified for the Olympics only months before, so four years prior we were not even practicing for international competition.” The political unrest in South Africa meant that competition for Elana was restricted to local races, which limited her ability to benchmark her talent against the very best in the world. ‘Those eight years from 1984 to the Olympics were very frustrating. I survived by competing with the international athletes on paper because I could not compete with them physically. I would record my times until I improved.’ When South Africa finally qualified for the Olympics in 1992 it was a roller coaster ride leading up to the announcement. “I remember racing in Europe, receiving faxes saying that there was still so much uncertainty around the Games. This was tough, because you just wanted to focus on the job at hand.”

After competing in the Unity Games in Dakar, the South African Olympic team made history when they walked onto the track at the opening ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, this after 32 years of sporting isolation. “Emotionally it was such a highlight for me. We had been waiting for such a long time and finally to know that when you walk on that track you are part of this international group of athletes. I was so emotional, after that you know that you belong there. Your emotions range from relieved and happy to scared.” For three weeks during the Olympic Games the world’s most supreme athletes live side by side in what is called the Olympic village, an area dedicated to catering for everyone from Roger Federer to Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkhina. Elana recalls the behind-the-scenes experience at the Olympic village as a big introduction to the world of international sport. “It’s a concentration of the world’s best athletes, best gymnasts, best basketball players, best everything. It almost feels like a freak show. The world’s most talented sports people, tall, short, thin you name it, are all there. It’s so easy to get to the Games and get overwhelmed by the great athletes, that you forget why you’re there in the first place.” Going into Elana’s historic 10 000m race, she knew it was going to be difficult. There was a lot of pressure riding on her to 26

Elana Meyer and Derartu Tulu doing a victory lap at the 1992 olympics.

bring home a medal for South Africa. “Wayne Ferreira and Piet Norval both won silver medals the day before in the men’s tennis doubles and now it was up to me. As a country we had been waiting for this moment.” Successful long distance running is all about technique, tactic and strategy. For Elana it was about reading her competitors some of whom she was meeting for the first time at the starting blocks. ‘I did not know the girls, I did not know their tactics and I did not know their strategy. But I had to go in prepared.’ She also knew that when the gun went off, she would be a little nervous but would then have to be in the moment and be in the race. With ten laps to go Elana made her move knowing full well that she needed an explosive last lap to win. ”That very last lap was unbelievable. Crossing the finish line and winning silver meant gold to me. I was relieved to get a medal even though it wasn’t gold. It was a truly exceptional moment for me.” Draped in a white Olympic flag, Elana ran hand in hand with gold medalist Ethiopian Derartu Tulu in a victory lap that became poignantly symbolic. “We used the Olympic white flag with Olympic rings on it because South Africa was at a point of transition; we had no national flag at the time.” South Africa had been banned from 27

an Olympic Reflection

Elana Meyer with some promising jag athletes.

the Olympics since 1964 because of the apartheid regime and here three decades later, a South African and Ethiopian walked hand in hand in a show of post-apartheid harmony that captured the imagination of the globe. For Elana Meyer, sport has the magic to unite people across the racial divide, “from the 1995 Rugby World Cup, to the FIFA Soccer World Cup. For a brief moment people don’t see colour. And it’s this power that I want to use it as a catalyst for change.” In 2007 Elana launched the JAG Foundation that aims to train and develop South Africa’s most promising young athletes, through programs that teach self-esteem, values, goal setting and sportsmanship. “After retiring as a professional athlete, I realised just how much sport gave me. It enabled me to set goals, it became my greatest teacher. What I learned made the

Ryk Neethling with fellow gold medalists at 2004 olympics.

difference between success and failure and that’s when I realized that I need to give back. Jag is about giving back to young people through sport. That’s the great thing about where I am now, I’m completing the circle and giving back to the next generation.” With the London 2012 Olympic Games edging closer, the games are a constant reminder of how far South Africa has come, “It’s incredible to think that it’s been 20 years since Barcelona. I am so happy for the next generation of South African athletes. They can compete knowing that international competition is within reach. I’ll be in London watching a few of the track and field events. It’s great to be able to enjoy the sport on this level. When I think about the Olympics it’s difficult to put it into words, it’s like nothing else you have ever experienced. The Olympics was a great moment for me, unbelievable and incredible.”

Ryk neethling sharing a special moment with former president nelson mandela.


an Olympic Reflection


or South African swimming sensation Ryk Neethling, participating in his first Olympics was a dream come true. “I remember my first Olympic Games, it was Atlanta 1996. It was such a proud moment. To think there I was, 18 years old representing South Africa, in a stadium filled with over 100 000 people! I can still remember watching Muhammad Ali light the Olympic torch. That was when I realized that like Ali, I could call myself an Olympian.” Ryk Neethling has participated in a total of four Olympic Games and currently holds the record as the only South African athlete to have participated in four consecutive Olympic Games. Born in Bloemfontein, Neethling began his swimming career at the age of six after a near-fatal drowning accident. His talent in the pool was prodigious and in his late teens he was offered a scholarship to join the swimming team of the University of Arizona, USA. Under the coaching of Frank Busch, Neethling developed into a strong and powerful distance swimmer. The Olympic Games represent the pinnacle of sport and for Ryk Neethling, the 2004 Athens Olympic Games hold vivid memories of his first Olympic Gold medal. “I can remember it like it was yesterday, just thinking about it blows my mind. It was the 4 x 100m men’s relay and Roeland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and I walked out to the pool and we could hear the fans screaming and we looked up and realized this was real. We had been training hard in Arizona and we knew what we had to do in the pool. When we prepared for the race, we didn’t aim for a position, we just aimed to swim as consistently as we had practiced. And when the gun went off we knew that our moment had arrived.” After a brilliant start by Schoeman followed by Ferns and then Townsend, it was Ryk Neethling who crowned off their achievements in an exhilaratingly strong freestyle finish that saw South Africa clinching gold with Neethling’s time of 3:13:17. The triumph of victory, the surge of emotion after the Olympic dream had finally been reached, is perhaps the one of the most incredible moments in an athlete’s career. For Neethling, winning gold at the Athens Olympics was a culmination of years of hard work and dedication. “Winning gold was the most unbelievable feeling. In that moment you remember all the tough times and you remember how you pushed yourself through. You realize that you have spent the past 20 years of your life working towards becoming an overnight success. For four years you train everyday to improve by something as small as a tenth of a second. And then when you stand on the podium with a gold medal you realise this is the very moment you have spent years working towards. It’s incredible.” Ryk agrees that life in the Olympic village, pre- and postcompetition, requires a little adjustment. “As an athlete you realize pretty quickly that you are part of this international community of the world’s best sports people and at first it’s quite overwhelming. You can be having lunch with LeBron James and then in walks Andre Agassi. It’s equally inspiring to think that you are part of this community of athletes.”

celebratory fist pumps at the realisation of victory.

After the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Ryk Neethling retired as a professional swimmer having achieved his goal of another Olympic gold. His passion for the sport remains as he mentors, coaches and runs the Ryk Neethling Swimming Schools in Cape Town and Pretoria. Leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, Swimming South Africa have invited Neethling to attend the Games where he will be coaching and mentoring the younger swimming talent. “I already coach and mentor Chad le Clos, who is a promising young swimmer. Being in London will be fantastic. I look forward to seeing him perform at an international level. My goal is to help inspire the next generation of swimmers so that we can develop and retain a legacy in South Africa.” With over 10 000 athletes from 203 countries competing in the London Olympics, the Games yet again promises to be a spectacular celebration of the spirit of sportsmanship. The torch that once burned in ancient Greece has been passed on and the world’s attention now turns to modern day London in the true spirit of Olympia. For South Africa, our place amongst the world’s greatest remains; championed by the runners, swimmers and sportsmen across all disciplines who have waved the flag. They continue to show us that victory in all its glorious splendour is attainable to those who push relentlessly forward in victory and defeat, in combat and in triumph. 29

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Fifty years after her death, we pay tribute to an icon.

Ode to Photography - Vivian de Waal Fashion Editor - Cyril Naicker Styling - Cally Palmer Hair and Make up - Kevin Epstein model - tammy frazer 32




Jewelry - Christoff Jewelers Grey long dress and feathers - Stefania Morland All other dresses - House of Fashion location - Delos, Woodstock Cape Town 35


scent of a woman Like all stylish and sophisticated women, Tammy Frazer loves perfume.What makes her different is that her lifetime’s passion is sourcing, understanding and creating perfumes. What makes her unique is that she is using Africa as a base to launch the Frazer Parfum range to London, Paris and the world. TEXT: Evan Milton

PhotographY: Nawaal Deane


t begins in Africa. The daytime temperature is nudging 40 degrees Celsius and hasn’t dipped below 30 in days. It’s been almost two weeks since any vehicles have used this remote gravel track. Balancing precariously on a crumbling shale slope beside a weather-battered clump of twigs is a curious site: an attractive young woman in cowboy boots and Tom Ford sunglasses who’s better groomed than these parts have seen in decades, if ever. With a shard of slate she deftly scrapes tree resin off the twiggy endemic scrub known to the local Himba tribe as omumbiri. The Namibian sun is a merciless fireball overhead, but this woman is smiling contentedly. Meet Tammy Frazer, perfumer and founder of Frazer Parfum. She’s as comfortable wandering through the exclusive boutiques and parfumeries of Europe and America, draped in Roksanda Ilincic silk, as she is getting down and dusty in her pursuit of botanical raw materials. And she’s willing to go wherever that might take her. It’s a hunt that has taken her across the globe, from the jungles of Madagascar and the immortelle fields of Corsica to the lavender mountain plateaus of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the precipitous crags of South Africa’s Cederberg, where the explorer is rewarded with the much sought-after hyraceum in situ (the fossilised metabolic product of rock hyraxes). At present, this explorer finds herself 250km north of the Angolan border and about 100km east of the Skeleton Coast. The roads are so rutted that potholes and sand drifts pose a mortal danger. Apart from facing sure death en route to this remote location, she 36

also risks acid reflux with her modest lunch of crackers, cheese and three-day old chicken paté from a 4x4’s cooler box. So, how is it that this resident of Bantry Bay – who speaks so fondly of the 1971 MG she had to leave behind in Sydney, and so ill of the 4x4 rental company that are indirectly responsible for rain leaking onto her Louis Vuitton wallet – can be so happy in the desert? ’Before Frazer Parfum, when I worked on communications and sustainability for Westpac Bank in Australia, I had always known that I wanted a career that would consume me,’ she says. ‘When I discovered that I wanted to be a perfumer, I found exactly that. I love travelling to find the origins of raw materials, and meeting the farmers and people who harvest and process them.’ Sometimes that means driving two hundred kilometres into the desert to meet the Himba ladies who work with the Commiphora plants and the IRDNC (Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation) agency that’s helping them. The extensive travelling that’s required does little to diminish her passion. In fact, in her mind these business trips are adventure-filled holidays. ‘I simply love that perfume takes me to all these places.’ Frazer Parfum has three primary offerings for clients, all handmade from natural and organic ingredients. There is the ready-to-wear range of nine fragrances which Frazer has lovingly christened Chapters because they tell the story of her journeys to the source of the raw materials. Each chapter is available as haute parfum in hand-blown glass flacons or as parfum solides – scented beeswax encased in African hardwood. These innovative boxes fit readily in a lady’s handbag and are perfect for travelling.


razer Parfum’s clients further include corporate enterprises like hotels and fine dining houses. They call upon Frazer to develop a signature scent for their establishments. She has even created a fragrance as a gift for attendees of a counter-culture festival! The piece de resistance of her work is the pinnacle of what a parfumerie can offer – the opportunity to create a unique, bespoke scent for one particular individual. Naturally, privacy means that Frazer can’t divulge too much, but her clients include socialites, interior designers, actors and actresses, architects, the political set and the business professionals who frequently travel internationally. “What I mean by bespoke scents is that they are handmade to order,” explains Frazer. “I work with the client for three months, meeting once a week for an hour.” These meetings are used to discuss the client’s personal style, their lifestyle, whether or not they live in a hot or cold climate, how frequently they travel and whereto. “We touch on technical elements like medication, which has an influence on a person’s skin. We also talk about significant memories and recollections of childhood, including the plants and smells that the client remembers growing up with.” Further inquiry into the client’s background, their lineage and personal brand, reveals how they are perceived and how they wish to be perceived. “The next step is working with raw materials,” says Frazer. Her eyes light up as she speaks about the beauty and uniqueness of the extracts and distillations that are the very heart of her pheromancer’s craft. “I take my clients on a journey of discovery as they learn about

my friends, these raw materials,” she says. “I show them what it is that makes up the head, heart and dérriere of a perfume. In time an idea for their fragrance develops between us, from both the abstract and tangible components. We work on that idea and let it grow, and before long I am able to create their signature perfume.’ Raw materials like rose, jasmine, orange blossom and tuberose, and distillates like myrrh, frankincense and labdanum (rockrose) in different concentrations and combinations form the foundation of a Frazer Parfum. Although retaining the ability to be strikingly powerful, the naturals offer a far more subtle set of olfactory notes than any factory-made chemical concoctions. In fact, after comparing the smell of synthetic perfumes with the scent of the raw materials Frazer uses in her laboratory, it can be hard to tolerate the jarring miasma that artificial smells induce. It’s not just the almost alchemical mystery in which she is shrouded or her in-depth understanding of molecules and their chemical properties that makes one sit up and take note of Tammy Frazer. There’s also the stark reality of being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry, and of being an entrepreneur running a business single-handedly. “What I’m doing pertains to art, science and business; they’re all there,” she says. “My previous career felt separate from my personal life. When I made the decision to make Frazer Parfum my life’s work, I wanted something that would be personal and I wanted to try my hands at being an entrepreneur. 37

F E AT U R E That’s one of the reasons I love South Africa, and why I returned from Australia. Here, you can navigate new territory. You have the freedom to be a pioneer; a maverick. Frazer Parfum is all about quality, from the natural raw materials that form the bases of each perfume through to the hand-blown glass bottles that David Reade creates for me and the hardwood boxes that are hand-carved. Even the hand-sewn silk handkerchiefs and the packaging, that I design, undergo the strictest quality control – my own. If I take an unbiased look at the industry, there is definitely a gap in the market for this kind of authenticity.” Frazer describes South Africa as unsullied by industrialisation and mass production. “In South Africa we can be truly bespoke because we make things to order. First-world countries have been gearing up for mass production ever since they mechanised their processes. In Africa, however, we can produce things to order – here it’s all about the tailor-made. You can see that in the workmanship – we have artisans that are at the forefront of manufacturing one-off pieces.” It’s clear that Frazer follows in the artisans’ footsteps when she points out that “there’s just me, at midnight, making the perfume. This means that, just by how I do what I do, I can offer the international market something that they want – complete traceability.” And Frazer’s hands-on approach goes even further. When she launched at Colette in Paris, she was there in the store room the night before, packing out the perfumes alongside the staff; ensuring that it’s done correctly and training the shop assistants.’ Frazer is delighted that her products are moving towards spaces that are curated by like-minded individuals, instead of pure retail environments like her first international stockist, Harrods. In South Africa, the Frazer Parfum range is showcased in Merchants on Long, an African design emporium opened by Hanneli Rupert, with items from across the African continent selected for their beautiful design and quality. “It’s like an African Colette,” says Frazer. She also highlights the fluidity and entrepreneurial spirit that underpins many of her dealings on the continent. One example is the supplier of her sustainable African Blackwood from Mozambique, Allan Schwarz, who has now

scent of a woman also become one of her retailers. “There’s actually a social element to what I do,” adds Frazer. “Rather than having twenty chemistry-trained perfumers in a sterile laboratory somewhere, researching synthetic molecules and pushing out thousands of chemical fragrances that are then market researched to choose the one that will be advertised all over the world, I do something different. The farmers on the land; they are the scientists. They make their livelihoods from the raw materials that laboratories are trying to synthesise. I showcase what they do and it serves as the inspiration for my creativity.” She describes it as sustainability linked with inspiration that makes business sense and creative sense. “I love to make perfumes inspired by the environments that the raw materials come from. I visit those environments to truly understand them; to learn what they smell like even before anything is distilled.”

“When you put on a good perfume, you are putting on style, like an impeccably cut dress, or a fine diamond bracelet.” Ultimately, of course, everything Tammy Frazer does is about the scents; about the fragrances she creates for her clients to wear, quite literally as a second skin. ‘I consider myself an avant-garde perfumer. I don’t look at contemporary trends or other perfumes for my ideas. I create from within, with no marker for the market. My ideas for perfumes are an extension of my life experiences and thoughts and what comes out is usually unusual.’ These are not attempts to be edgy for the sake of being edgy, she emphasises. ‘Honestly, I only create what I personally adore and it just so happens that my creations tend to err on the side of interesting. Perfume is an expression of style. It’s like an accessory, an addition to your clothing, but it can also be a mode of communication, for conveying secret feelings, like an innuendo. When you put on a good perfume, you are putting on style, like an impeccably cut dress, or a fine diamond bracelet.’ What makes this accessory, this style of Frazer Parfum so unique, though, is that when the diamonds and the dress have been stowed for the night, the scent and the subtle intimations still linger on.


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food&wine photography - inecke de kock stock images - courtesy of val de vie estate

‘Tis the season to indulge in the joy’s of slow food. A tender springbok shank paired with a fruity Shiraz. Harold Versfeld, wine maker at Val de Vie Estate, shows us how.


s the days get shorter, the nights longer, and as frost starts appearing on the grass when you leave your house in the morning, one thing is clear: it is definitely not summer anymore. Which is perfect! I love summer, but winter is equally fascinating and enjoyable. After all, it is the intimate season. People stay indoors, light up the fire place and snuggle on the couch with pancakes, hearty foods, and of course, red wine. From a winemaker’s perspective, winter is really important for the vines as they go into hibernation, accumulating vital reserves and minerals for the growing season. It also fills up our underwater supplies, which is crucial in the hot summer months to ripen our grapes. The most enjoyable of all winter indulgences apart from Super Rugby, Vodacom Cup rugby, Currie Cup rugby, Test Rugby and Tri-Nations Rugby, has to be hunting. If you are a tree hugger, please don’t stone me. I will send you the meat from the animals that committed suicide, so that you know it had an ‘organic’ death. The spoils of hunting always make for an array of culinary delights. There’s making ‘skilpadjies’ in the veld, drying biltong, chilli bites and droëwors at home and of course, whipping up the odd shank and leg of venison. As venison meat is significantly lower in fat than lamb or beef that come from inactive animals, I would recommend that it be cooked in some form of liquid. With a liquid forming the basis of a venison dish, there is less chance of the meat drying out. Now, there is no doubt that a dish can be fantastic on its own. Yet, when paired with just the right wine the result is simply exquisite. There are two different approaches to pairing food and wine. One is to consider the richness of the dish. When the food is rich, acidity is needed to cut through it and with tangier dishes you’ll need a rounder taste to stand up to it. The second is an egalitarian approach where neither the dish nor the wine is allowed to overpower the other. They should therefore be equal in freshness and weight. Since winter has already determined the foundation of my meal, a venison dish, the season must then dictate my choice of wine as well. It was always going to be red.


“Food and wine: Which is the soloist and which is the accompanist. You decide.”


Michael Broadbent


he following is a recipe for an old Karoo favourite and the wine that I’m pairing it with suits it perfectly. This dish is not very rich and fatty because of the lean venison, so not a lot of acid is needed. The added cream does however accentuate the texture of the wine beautifully.

THE WINE The Val de Vie Shiraz 2008 evolves in the glass. There are initial mocha and chocolate flavours that develop into big opulent red fruits and culminate in a meaty profile of smoked and spicy roast. Textures are balanced between tannin and acid with a smooth and elegant finish that lingers on the tongue.

Springbok Shank Ingredients: 1.5 kg Springbok shanks cut into 50 mm pieces – this allows the marrow to cook out of the bone and flavour the meat. 5-6 Strips of fatty bacon, chopped 1 Spanish onion, chopped 2 Garlic cloves, bruised Bouquet garni 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice Zest of 1 lemon, grated 350 ml good quality venison stock 1 tsp. Smoked Paprika 250 ml Crème Fraiche Salt and Pepper to taste Fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped Pomegranate arils, fresh

Method: Fry bacon in a thick base skillet and remove once browned. Add shanks to the same skillet and sear. Remove when done. Sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add bacon and shanks to the onion mix. Also add the lemon juice and zest, paprika, salt and pepper, venison stock, and bouquet garni. Cover the skillet and allow to cook in a pre-heated oven at 160º C for 5-6 hours. The dish is cooked when the meat falls from the bone. Stir in the crème fraiche and garnish with pomegranate arials and fresh coriander. Serve with brown rice, or fluffy mash.



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2/3/12 11:38 AM


uda i pu r

text - DAVID ALLARDICE IMAGES - Courtesy of Getty Images & Taj lake palace hotel, udaipur


daipur is arguably the romantic essence of India. Even the well-traveled Colonel James Todd, the East India Company’s first agent in the region, waxed lyrical about it. In his Annals of 1829 he described it as ‘the most romantic spot on the continent’. It is nestled within a large system of lakes, amidst the verdant Aravalli Hills on Lake Pichola and has become known as the Venice of the East; not least for its unique setting and architectural beauty. And as in Venice, boatmen ply the waters ferrying guests from one breathtaking location to the next. This city of romance lies in the southeast of the second largest state in India, Rajasthan. Its crenellated forts and impregnable palaces bear testament to the aristocrats that once lived in Rajputana, literally translated as “the land of princes”. Desert castles that overlook sun-schorched plains and shimmering lakes instantly transport you to an enchanted time of Rajput warriors and princes. Over a hundred heritage properties are found throughout the state: palaces and forts and ornate havelis (wealthy industrialists’ mansions). It comes as no surprise then that Rajasthan’s hotels are equally spectacular. You can bed down in the sumptuous Taj or Oberoi hotels, all of which are synonymous with luxury, or opt for the more laidback family-run estate. World-class service is a common denominator in all these establishments, so you are guaranteed to feel like royalty wherever you choose to stay. Dignified, turbaned men and delicate


women in dazzlingly colourful saris are the everyday princes and princesses that make your stay unforgettable. Rajasthan’s rich cultural heritage and its unparalleled hospitality make it one of India’s most popular destinations. And this richness in culture and spirit is nowhere quite as evident as in Udaipur.


uilt around three man-made lakes, the city’s ethereal white palaces is reflected in its placid blue waters while and the Aravalli Hills glisten in the distance. The light that plays on the water creates a sense of space and peacefulness that is reminiscent of a quiet dawn. This is perhaps why Udaipur is also endearingly termed City of Sunrise. Such peace and quiet is a far cry from the intense hustle and bustle that so marks the standard Indian city street experience. This may have something to do with its proud Hindu history of maintaining a fierce independence. Bloody wars were fought to repel Turkish, Afghan, Tartar and Mongol invaders while allegiances with the Mughals were rejected until its acquiescence in 1818 when it reluctantly came under British control. Udaipur is a luxury aficionada’s paradise with the famed Taj Lake Palace, the Oberoi’s Udaivilas and the recent Kempinksi Leela all vying for your attention. A little further out you may also find your senses tickled by the eclectic Fateh Garh and the modernist Devi Garh.


boat transporting visitors on lake picholo

BADi pal jetty


ag Niwas, an island of approximately 15 000 square metres, is devoted to a shining white marble structure that was originally built in 1754 as a summer idyll. It has since been renovated and modernised and is now managed by the Taj Hotel Group who is renowned for their exquisite heritage hotels. The Taj Lake Palace is perhaps the most romantic and certainly the most photographed hotel in India. Boatmen carry you across the water of Lake Pichola and as you alight you are greeted by heady scents of jasmine and lilies. As the resident flautist fills the air with sweetness, you can explore the palace’s courtyards, its flower beds and fountains, and get lost down its winding, white marble passages.

Booking nr. 116 or 117 is not your only hope of a royal experience, though. For some royal romance you need only book an early evening treatment for you and your partner. As the sun sets over the surrounding hills, you are bound to emerge from your very own spa boat feeling rejuvenated. This is best followed up by a rooftop dinner of lal mass (curried mutton), bhaingan bharta (roasted eggplant curry) and bhindi masala (masala okra); dishes with pungent yet discernable flavours. The recommended desert is the sweet gulab jamun (fermented milk dumplings in rose-flavoured syrup) and a strong cup of chai – the perfect ending to a royal day.

Rajasthan is renowned the world over as the very essence of India, with crenellated forts and impregnable palaces that rise like giant fairytale sets above dusty sun-scorched plains and shimmering lakes. Both standard and deluxe rooms are fitted with wooden panels and marble bathrooms. Well-crafted furniture and opulent fabrics make for an aesthetically pleasing interior while the Egyptian cotton linen ensures a blissful night’s rest. The layout of the Lake Palace is such that you have picture-perfect views from any vantage point: be it the bed in your room or the poolside lounger; even if you’re sprawled beneath the 263-year-old mango tree, you need only lift your eyes. To the east you’ll find the statuesque City Palace, and to the north, lining the shores of the lake, the whitewashed havelis and temples of the Old City. To the west lies the lush Aravalli Hills and the palace of Jag Mandir to the south. The City Palace, which is lit up at night, is best appreciated from the deluxe east-facing rooms. The opulent suites, with its stained glass windows, marble floors and crystal chandeliers, have been restored to reflect the grandeur of its former royal occupants (the king and queen stayed in nr. 116 and 117, respectively).


Further down Lake Pichola lies Oberoi’s Udaivilas, an expansive, landscaped resort. Its striking domes have become an unmistakable part of Udaipur’s western skyline and can easily be mistaken for another of the city’s palaces. The Udaivilas are in fact a contemporary addition that was erected in 2002. It soon becomes clear that an extraordinary experience is no way related to the recent history of this hotel. Oberoi staff are renowned the world over for being discreet and attentive. They are always engaging, sincere and intuitive. The concierge is your guide to everything quintessential to the area – a modernday genie who graciously attends to your every whim. The impressive property boasts beautifully landscaped gardens as well as a wildlife conservatory where peacocks and deer roam about. Its stunning contemporary interiors include a massive central dome which, when lit up at night, evokes images of St Peter’s Basilica. Intricately crafted furniture pieces are artfully combined with rich and textured fabrics to create elegant rooms and luxurious bathrooms. The

arriving in vintage style at the taj lake palace

chandrapakash suite

exquisitely soft linens are comforting to the touch while piles of colourful cushions and original artworks offer optical delight. If you’re a first-time visitor to Udaipur, reserve a lake-view room which has access from your porch to a semi-private infinity pool. The pool forms a veritable moat along the length of the hotel and ensures an uninterrupted view of the City Palace and the Taj Lake Palace hotel. A visit to the City Palace is a must for first-time and returning visitors to Udaipur. The impressive Durbar (Royal Reception) Hall is arguably the grandest, most lavish room in the country and houses India’s largest chandeliers and a formidable display of royal weaponry. Imposing portraits of past rulers of Mewar, believed to be the oldest ruling dynasty in the world, are also on display. For a spiritually inspiring experience, visit the intriguing Eklingji Temple Complex about 20 kilometres away. Built entirely from sandstone and local marble its 108 temples are elaborately constructed under a voluminous inverted pyramid roof. The structure’s countless pillars are all devoted to the black marble image of Eklingji, an incarnation of Lord Shiva who is also the special family deity of the Mewar Royal family. Once you’ve paid your respects, hit the high street. In Udaipur shopping is an unhurried, leisurely experience. The city is famous for its local crafts, especially its miniature paintings with many local schools teaching this ancient art. Local markets abound and are found in many areas from the City Palace road through to the Old Clock Tower and beyond. You can find everything from silver and gold jewelry, books and textiles, food and vegetables. Whatever catches your eye bargain hard, but always with a smile. And above all, enjoy the interaction, the sights, smells and sounds, as these sensory memories are what will endure beyond your new possessions. Udaipur’s enchanted setting arrests your senses as you relax in a lounger by the pool or dine alfresco on the rooftop. Its romantic atmosphere captures your

royal service

imagination when you gaze out at the night-lit City Palace or drink in the peace of Lake Picholo. And its men and women seize your heart as they greet you by name and ferry you off to your next engagement. It is here where royalty and romance become intertwined; here in the land of princes, in the Venice of the East.

For further information on India travel contact: 57

the 2012

veuve clicquot


masters The 2012 Veuve Clicquot Polo Masters upped the glamour stakes once again.

Cape Town and Johannesburg’s social set were out in full force at the second annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Masters that took place at Val de Vie Estate in Cape Town in February. Following the success of last year’s event, which was the champagne brand’s first foray into African polo, the 2012 Veuve Clicquot Masters once again proved to be one of the top events on the South African social calendar.



th 34 birthday

Photography Arron Graham

Olympic gold medalist, Ryk Neethling celebrated his 34th birthday in impeccable style in November last year. The exclusive event took place at his newly built architecturally designed villa on the picturesque Val de Vie Wine & Polo Estate in Paarl. Blackberry sponsored the celebrity party where guests where driven around to the black and white chess inspired Bedouin tent in front of Ryk’s house in classic Rolls Royces. Nikon was there to capture every moment on camera while Chivas lavished guests with whiskey and cigars.


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The first annual Art & Life charity event proved to be unforgettable. The best in entertainment, all in the name of love. The guest list boasted over 300 VIPs, socialites, art lovers and their families who generously showed their support of this great initiative. The day included a fashion show by Jenni Button and Hilton Weiner, spectacular acoustic sets by Louise Day and Just Jinger’s Ard Matthews, a stand-up comedy performance by Mark Palmer, and a moving Xhosa musical item by Lusanda Gwayi and Basha Magwape. The Art & Life Initiative was set up to support and develop the arts in a dynamic way in order to contribute to the creative and intellectual prosperity of South Africa. A passion also shared by the associate sponsor, Absa, who is the largest corporate patron of the arts and has the largest South African corporate art collection in Southern Africa.


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last word From the witness protection program to new beginnings, Darrel Bristow Bovey discovers that starting afresh is like an episode of The Kardashians.


ll my life, I wanted to be in a witness protection programme. It’s not that I’ve actually committed any serious crimes and then ratted on the mob bosses when I was caught. The closest I came was when the TV license inspector knocked on my door unexpectedly and I panicked and tried to bribe my way out of it with a list of everyone else I knew who didn’t have a license. He took the list and fined me anyway. And my grandmother still doesn’t return my calls. No, it’s more the thought of starting again that so appealed – beginning over somewhere else with a new identity, surrounded by new people who don’t know me and my flaws and foibles and failings large and small. How fine it would be to step out of a new front door and into a new world where I am only as I behave now and not as I was before, where I can start afresh with all the wisdom of my experiences and none of the collateral damage.

It would be, I imagine, like every New Year’s Eve rolled into one. Because that’s the real appeal of the New Year, isn’t it? Not so much the jelly shots in the early evening and the marginally inappropriate hugging with your best friend’s wife at midnight. Rather, it’s the thought that a new year is a new start: from now on you won’t be as lazy, slapdash, defeatist or fond of extra cheese on your pizza as you were before. But New Year’s resolutions don’t work because they’re never actually a new beginning: within the month you’re back at the same rotten job and the same clinging life, surrounded by the same infestation of villains, grudge-holders and bozos that surrounded you last year, all expecting you to be the same person you were then. What chance do you have? But even more seductive than a new year is the promise of a new relationship. New horizons! Thrilling new possibilities with a brand-new person! Although, of course, the brandnew person that thrills me most is never actually the other person – it’s me. A fresh love story is a chance to see yourself reflected in the adoring eyes of someone who doesn’t know you yet. They don’t know about the wet towel you just can’t stop leaving on the bed, or the cold resentment with 64

which you relinquish the remote control, or the way you’re almost certain to make sarcastic comments about your new partner’s friends no matter how you try to stop yourself. For me, a new relationship is a race against the clock – until they do actually get to know me, there’s still the possibility I might finally manage to become someone else. And that’s the really tragic part of it all: after a certain age, unless you’re a Kardashian or my best buddy Irvine, to whom love is a kind of Moebius strip of bafflement and déjà vu, you kind of know what you’re doing wrong in relationships. I know I should feign interest in how her day was, and I know hurling graphically inventive death threats at Capetonian drivers whenever I’m behind the wheel isn’t an attractive quality. So at the beginning of each new relationship I manage to hold it off long enough to actually start believing that it’s possible to change: I can be an engaged and interested partner. I can start being a bit more George Clooney, a bit less George W. Bush. I can! I can start again! But, of course, it’s only a matter of time before I find myself wondering why I keep hearing the new me saying the same things the old me used to say: “I do like your friends. I do. Well, I don’t hate them” and “You don’t hear me telling you about my boring day, do you?” and “What woman? I wasn’t looking at her. I didn’t even see her. I was just looking at something behind her.” And that’s why I’ve given up on witness protection. What could be worse than being in my new life, surrounded by new people, and realising with sinking dismay that I’m seeping back up to the surface again like an old red wine stain? There’s no way of truly starting over. Even the new people around me quickly lose their appeal – none of them are my friends, the ones who know who I am but love me anyway, or at least put up with me, which is much the same thing. I still periodically try to be better, and sometimes I pull it off, but I’ve given up on starting again. I’d have to leave too many people behind. People who’ve stuck with me, people who can say, ‘Well, you’re not great, but you’re better than you were.’ In the end, what more can you ask for?

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The Val de Vie Magazine  

The Val de Vie Magazine is an exclusive publication that celebrates luxury living. From fashion and fine dining to travel and top trends, th...

The Val de Vie Magazine  

The Val de Vie Magazine is an exclusive publication that celebrates luxury living. From fashion and fine dining to travel and top trends, th...