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Passage to Cape Town December 20, 2009 Issue 3

Cape Town Coat of Arms

Important Dates Single room and guest fees 1/15/10 due to VCU Copies of passport due to 1/29/10 Heather Roommate preference to Heather


Trivia Question South Africa is home to the worlds largest land mammal, but do you know what the smallest mammal in South Africa is? Here is a hint:

History of South Africa—Diamonds and Gold Many people know that diamonds are a significant part of South Africa’s economy, but gold has played a large part as well. It all began in 1866 when a small boy was playing with a glittering pebble that turned out to be a diamond. That would be the beginning of an economic revolution that saw the diamond trade replace agriculture as the source of a nation’s economy. By 1871, capitalists Barney Barnato and Cecil John Rhodes vied for control over the diamond fields. By 1890, Rhodes would take control of the region thanks to an influx of foreign capital and establish the De Beers company. The De Beers Company today is a worldwide diamond retailer as well as mining company with established partnerships with Louis Vuitton for high end fashion and other companies for industrial applications of their gems.

In 1886, while surveying for future diamond mines, George Harrison discovered a very wealthy gold-bearing reef on the Witwatersrand in Transvaal. This was to be the second rush in South Africa that would establish the city of Johannesburg by the end of the 19th Century. Because the mining for gold was far more laborious than diamonds, the colonial government imposed taxes on rural Africans forcing them to take low paying jobs in the mines in order to meet their tax debt. These indigenous peoples who were forced to work in the mines were strictly controlled, their pay was low, and they were forbidden to unionize or change mines for improved pay or conditions. The discovery of diamonds and gold in South Africa was both a blessing and a curse. The economy of the region and levels of wealth would never be the same fol-

lowing the discovery. These discoveries however go on to spawn conflict between the South African Republic and the British. The final straw came over control of the region’s railways when Rhodes led a British-backed raid to overthrow the SAR. His effort failed, but was a pre-cursor to the Boer War or Anglo-Boer War in 1899.

Cecil J. Rhodes—founder of De Beers

Top 100 things to do on a 22 hour flight—the next 10 E-mail your answer to

We are keeping score Brought to you by:


90. Upload viral videos 89. Max out your credit card on Duty Free items from the in-flight catalogue 88. Take a Comanaprosil pill—Warning: may cause dizziness, sexual nightmares and sleep crime 87. Get drunk, pass out, get a hangover, recover, get drunk, pass out, get a hangover, recover; get drunk, pass out, get a hangover, recover arrive in Cape Town.

86. Make friends, if that doesn’t work, make enemies. 85. Gamble 84. Play EMBA Bingo 83. Expire flight attendant’s patience 82. Completely digest the food you eat on the plane 81. Make three batches of beef jerky using a dehydrator

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Passage to Cape Town

Cape Town Weather Castle of Good Hope Cape Town

Tentative Itinerary April 29, 2010 Depart Richmond 10:00 am Depart Washington-Dulles Airport 5:40 pm

May 3 Start of Business Site Visits

Most tourists visit Cape Town during the long summer from November to February, but local wisdom holds that spring (September and October) and autumn (April and May) are the smart times to visit Cape Town. They are usually balmy inbetween seasons, with little wind, when nature is at its showiest. If you’re into flowers or whale-watching, or seeing the vineyards at their best, these are great seasons to be in the Cape. During our visit in April, we can expect mild fall like weather with average high temperatures of 21˚C (69˚F) and average lows of 14˚C (57˚F). With just 18mm (less than 2 inches) of precipitation in the month of April, the Western Cape is just entering its rainy season, but has only 6 days during the month with measurable rainfall.

Many locals however warn of an old joke. Cape Town has four seasons sometimes in the same day. This is especially true if you plan to go hiking or be outdoors. Check the weather forecasts in local papers or on radio.

South Africa Quick Links Since this is purely on on-line version of the newsletter, here are some interesting links to Cape Town Websites:

City of Cape Town—Official Web Site Cape Town Daily Photo—Great photos from the region Cape Town Travel Blog—Discussions on travel South Africa Government Online—Official Government Site Trip Advisor Website—Travel Information Site Cape Times—Cape Town’s Local Newspaper

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