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Cape Town’s Culinary Scene – Standing Tall

Playing casino games is becoming one of the most popular pastime activities for South Africans, but also for people all over Africa. Especially with the widespread use of computers and smartphones, improved internet connection and the popularisation of online and mobile casinos, it is not surprising that the market is thriving. Recently, PWC published a report in which it was stated that Nigeria, Kenya and, of course, South Africa, are countries where the growth is most significant. Check out GamblingAfrica.com if you want to know more about African casinos. Casinos are an integral and vital part of the entertainment and hospitality industry and Cape Town is doing very well in that respect. Another aspect where Cape Town outperforms its competitors is the gastronomic offer. Some of the best restaurants and bistros in South Africa are located in Cape Town and, in the past few years, the Cape has really made its mark on the culinary map of Africa.

 

Addis in Cape

Located in the very heart of Cape Town, Addis in Cape is one of the best Ethiopian restaurants outside of Ethiopia. Each person orders individually but everything is served on one large platter, so that people can share.  After all, it is what dining out is all about, sharing great food with your loved ones. Great stews, and large injeras (sour pancakes) spiced up with amber, chilli, garlic, saffron and fresh tomato salsa will make your mouth water as soon as you smell the dish. There are some great vegan and vegetarian options as well, including chickpeas, lentils and mushrooms. On top of that, they also offer authentic, roasted Ethiopian coffee and traditional sweet wine. And a six dish meal costs less than 100 Rand (ZAR).

 

The Opal Lounge

The Opal Lounge is definitely one of the fanciest restaurants in town. It is located on the prestigious Kloof Street. The interior is truly breath-taking, lavishly decorated with Victorian ornaments. There are several separated dining spots, including the Persian Lounge that features an oriental design with red walls, Middle Eastern decorations and beautiful rugs and the Gold Bar Lounge that is more European-like in style. The food is just like the place itself, unique and authentic; here you can order dishes that originated from different corners of the world, as well as some novelty fusion food. If you have a strong eye for detail, this is a place you will definitely enjoy.

 

The Roundhouse Restaurant

The Roundhouse Restaurant is located in The Glen, on the western slope of Table Mountain, and is one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. It was built in 1786 as a guardhouse for the Dutch East India Company. If you enjoy a glass of wine or two with your meal, you will definitely love this place. Most of their food is a combination of European dishes with a South African touch. The chef at the Roundhouse managed to revive many forgotten old South African dishes by giving them a modern touch. It is a bit more expensive, but it is definitely worth considering, especially if you want to treat someone special to a lovely meal.

 

Miller’s Thumb

If you want a simpler experience, and are looking forward to enjoying some great food, then the Miller’s Thumb might be the place for you. Known for its fresh fish, this restaurant offers a lot of intriguing international dishes that you’ll won’t find elsewhere. For example, their House Salad is inspired by Greek cuisine, featuring Feta cheese, large calamata olives, cucumber, egg, peppers, lettuce and spinach leaves. You can also try Moroccan, Malay, Portuguese, Japanese and Thai dishes. Their New Orleans style Jambalaya includes chicken, fish, chorizo and shellfish. All in all, it is a very nice and pleasant family restaurant that has been in business for more than 20 years

MultiChoice give very little choice – but not scared to charge

Multichoice v Very little choice

Multichoice v Very little choice

Some aver-God directs our lives (it is written?), but permits us choices …  correct and incorrect.  That’s far more than offered by Multichoice.

As a DSTV package subscriber it’s a case of having to eat my veggies if I want my dessert … no compromise.

I happen to like watching sport (not ESPN), the crime channel, National Geographic, poker and BBC entertainment.

Yes, of course I can have those; oh goody!

But there is a catch.

To enter my couch potato utopia I also have at my fingertips myriad “musts” such as a Muslim channel, the entire Portuguese network,  umpteen children’s animated cartoon channels, a cacophony of hip-hop, rock and worse, and about 12 self-appointed guru chefs.

To these add Phileas Fogg type travellers beckoning me to exotic unreachable spots, wearying after a few hours and in any case so expensive they are accessible to only a privileged few.

Do I really anticipate the joys of watching six varieties of boring bourses or the news in Urdu or Hindi, Turkish or Greek? Are basketball, gridiron football, horse racing or motor- cross, snow boarding, skiing or inflatable boat racing, pots of gold at the bottom of my DSTV remote?

I think not.

I find “mulltichoice” to be nothing of the sort. Would you frequent a pizza parlour if your hard-earned dough was destined for “the specialty of the house”; take it or leave it? Yes, I can have salami and pineapple, but I must take olives, garlic, feta and anchovies. When I query this imposition I am told “but, you have a choice…”

Am I really alone in wondering how Multichoice have got it so wrong and gotten away with it? Do the two million subscribers about who they regularly boast truly accept their lot without a bleat, or sheepishly grin and baa it?

How many more might join their empire if there truly was choice? Who knows? I’ll leave it to Frank Sinatra, who cooed: “All or nothing at all…”

And to add insult to injury, they break contractual agreements with impunity and have become expensive; they could tailor viewers’ needs and save time, money and exasperation.

A letter arrived telling me the cost of the bouquet (containing so much material I do not seek) to which I must subscribe to enjoy what I really want to watch is to be raised almost 20% without so much of a choice (oops sorry, there it is again…).

Choice is such a precious commodity; a God-given right, no less?

In the case of Multichoice I feel a bit of an oxy-moron!

Drivel on the box; A South African phenomenon?

South Africans, as are Australians, are sports mad. The biggest difference here at home, it seems, is demographic lines are etched more finely than Down Under.

In Australia, rugby, cricket, tennis, Aussie Rules, hockey, swimming, athletics, bowls, cycling and anything international are fervently followed by a seemingly endless eclectic procession of fans … and from a national population of only 21 million.

Sometimes it seems as if all of Australia from Darwin to Perth is either glued to a TV set, or attending something live.

In South Africa, the population of 49 million is choosier. Blacks prefer soccer, everyone rugby, whites watch golf, surfing, off-road and off-beach racing, some bowls, cycling, tennis and swimming, coloureds love rugby, soccer, horse racing, motor racing and bike racing; the lines do overlap, but are far more clearly defined than Down Under.

That is why commentating on sport, especially on television, becomes so vital. A need to offer expert, clear background and intelligent commentary, not on what everyone can see, but the implications, nuances, historical probabilities and statistics.

Alas, while in Australia, except for a couple of exasperating commentators, Channel 9 Sport is slick, smart and its staff totally professional, viewing at home and especially on SuperSport, is largely a nightmare.

Perhaps too many are rushed before the cameras? Week after week they provide banal, boring, and repetitive monologues. Their biggest problem is they cannot differentiate between radio commentary and TV descriptions. The transgressors fail to realise that viewers, thanks to superb camera teams, are able to actually see what is happening; they do not want the obvious pushed down their throats.  Does no one train the staff; not in their sports, but in TV commentary technique?

Some expert commentators, love the sound of their own voices (cricket non-stop gabblers Mike Haysman, Ian Healy) others (alas, even Pom Mbangwa and Hugh Bladen) ask and answer questions themselves, leaving their interviewees without anything to say; clichés abound as feeble attempts are made to inject excitement.

Do perpetrators ever listen to what they have said? Does anyone tell them, or is the majority of those watching satisfied either with mediocrity or simply do not know better?

Good commentators provide insight and allow viewers to espouse their own judgment.

Greats such as Aussie, Ritchie Benaud (watching, waiting, whack), Britain’s golf whiz, Peter Allis (“he’ll find David Attenborough in there,” after an errant shot went into the woods); former England cricketer Robin Jackman (stand and deliver, smack);

The following are a few of the excruciating drivel to which viewers are subjected:

  • “…It’s been raining, so it’s wet underfoot…”
  • “… Another single past the bowler…”
  • “… By putting them in, they hope to get some quick wickets…”
  • “…He’s hit that like a tracer bullet…”
  • “…He’ll cut or hook anything short and wide…”
  • “…It’s a dead, dry pitch, with some live grass rolled in…”
  • “…More for Mr Extras…”
  • “…After the downpour the bunker sand will be wet…”
  • “…That’s not what he was expecting before he arrived here…”
  • “…He’s volleyed that home on the full…”
  • “…They converse in Afrikaans so no one can understand them…”
  • “…Do you think you can beat Roger?”
  • “… He’s really hit that, it’s gone high in the air…”
  • “…That’s gone all the way to the boundary for four runs…”
  • “…Both teams are desperate to win this one…”
  • “…Yes, he’s called heads, it is a head, not a tail, so he has won…”

And many more … perhaps you might like to tell us your pet hates?

Is Julius for real, or just a finger in the wrong direction?

Is Julius Malema for real, or is he part of a huge spoof to suck everyone in, providing a diversion for an inept,  mostly corrupt, beleaguered, bumbling, ANC? I mean, racism, retro economic thought (nationalisation), corruption, incivility, crass grossness and a raised digit to anything that smacks of First World norm (let alone Third World) appear as  the ruling party’s Youth League leader’s trademark.

I think Julius (derided for his scant education) has been reading up about the greatest evil to have lived in modern times, Adolf Hitler. After all, much of Malema et cronies’ actions smack of 20th Century hate and holocaust potential, almost as orchestrated.

Is he funny? Is he the butt of bar room jokes? Is he the cartoonists’ dream? Is he not to be taken seriously? Bad odours, fears and disturbing ideas are traditionally excised in traditional ways; whistling a happy tune is a prescribed panacea.

South Africans, especially the non-black middle class, are whistling a happy tune.

They may regret it; they will have only themselves to blame. “I told you so” does not repair shattered dreams and lives.

Laugh at the perceived joker by all means; if you dare.

In the 2007 Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler, a film by writer-director Dani Levy, Hitler was portrayed as the funniest man in the world.  Poor taste, you might say, right on, but there were Hitler comedies before – Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 film The Great Dictator, where the comedian-director played Hitler caricature Adenoid Hynkel, and later a Nazi-bashing comedy from Mel Brooks -The Producers.

As sagacious observers will note, the USA did not suffer jackboot dictatorship; most of Europe did and might have wryly smiled, but 6 million Jews and who knows how many million “others” might not have found things that amusing.

That is why in South Africa, cartoons from the brilliant Zapiro, so admired overseas for what they see as political lampooning, to those nearer the ever-present swart gevaar may portend more sinister implications and be nearer the truth than the titters.

Perhaps, it may be argued, it is in poor taste to ridicule a nation’s leader?  Certainly if unfunny, blatantly malicious and degrading, it is descending to the levels for which one’s adversary is despised. But if freedom of speech is enshrined in a constitution, so be it.

But is Malema a leader in the true sense of the word? The answer of course, is a resounding NO. He may be an elected member of a ruling party’s organisation, even  possessor of a freebie MP’s ticket, but he has the mandate of only a lunatic fringe …but then there’s one in every organisation and nation’s cupboards.

Forget at your peril that revolution is not an offspring of the masses, but a concerted, organised movement from those in power. The masses provide the gun fodder.

Much media speculation and letters to editors around the world have either vilified or supported Sandton-dwelling Malema’s anti-white, anti-Coloureds and anti anti-ANC diatribe.

If, as his detractors say, he is a jumped-up Johnny-Come-Lately, what have they to fear?

Is Malema laughing behind everyone’s back, or does he really mean what he says?

And my guess? Would he really take power if it were offered? A true joker eschews responsibility. If Ian Botham, England’s doyen of the cricket world’s boozy buffoonery, was offered chairmanship of the ICC, he’d laugh in their faces and order another pint… That’s the type of man who doesn’t want to be taken too seriously.

But if JM were offered all that JZ has, would he head out and buy a new pair of cuff links (or another 4×4)? You bet he would. After all, didn’t Uganda’s Idi Amin claim he was “the last king of Scotland”?

I think he will, if ever he takes power, or controls enough of the nation, or convinces sufficient similar thinkers to run the risk of finally turning South Africa into the shambles in which the rest of the African continent’s nations find themselves, the die will be cast.

How does one stop him?

Well, a peek into history might help. In the late 1990s, after seventeen years of “freedom”, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe pottered along quite happily, its agricultural infrastructure intact and its economy stable. Mugabe, the “joker in the pack” rapidly turned into “the angel of death”… where is Harare now? Is South Africa, seventeen years after independence, teetering on a similar political precipice?

Or go even further back. The Romans, the Mongols, the Goths, the Vikings, the Spanish, the Brits, the Austrians, the French, the Germans, the Afrikaners, some Muslims and without doubt the Americans, have all had screaming figureheads in their histories.

It usually took guts, sacrifice and long, long, bloody wars to topple those that seized power or mesmerised the unemployed or the “disadvantaged” (ring a bell?) into pursuing a forlorn and hopeless cause …  until another “cause” arose phoenix-like from the ashes of the so-called  “good guys’” pyrrhic victory.

Hitler was the “upstart Austrian corporal”, Napoleon the “Corsican peasant” and Mussolini the “Italian imposter” … remember them?

Time to stop snickering and passing on sotto voce jokes about JM … believe me friends, this guy is for real

Swinging along with roundabouts

By Peter Alex

The cliché about swings and roundabouts is decidedly unfair. Why should the gains always accrue to the swings and the roundabouts debited? On closer inspection it need not be so.

For many wasted years the fathers of the city have pondered deeply on the growing traffic congestion in the Mother City’s environs; little seems to ease the growing gridlocks, save for more freeways to allow for more speed (with more speed controls immediately slapped on) and more traffic cops to (invisibly it seems) patrol the teeming thoroughfares.

Traffic lights (robots to the locals) abound, (for four-way stop streets read “inevitable death” ) seldom linked, thus causing more delays, frustration and road rage.

These “controllers of passage” are expensive. They require high maintenance and when they fail or another power outage occurs, chaos reigns. Moreover, drivers appear to take a delight in knocking them over with regular monotony.

There is a solution … yes, you guessed it, roundabouts!

I remember visiting Welkom in the early 1970s. I was impressed with the manner in which residents drove. They were calm, collected and polite. They did not speed and demonstrated great courtesy to fellow road users.

I later realised it was the city’s chain of roundabouts at major intersections throughout the area that contributed greatly to that relaxed road use. Residents and visitors rapidly got the hang of giving way to traffic from the right, not needing to signal and only slowing rather than stopping.

“Driving the roundabouts” became prescribed Sunday afternoon outings …like  taking a sort of calming down motorised pill.

The same applies to minor intersections in the east of Pretoria, where leafy, green suburban roads twist and turn. There, tiny “traffic pacifiers” makes non-stop driving a pleasure.

How about it Cape Town?

Cut out the lights, bring on a new look … it works well in Green Point behind the new Stadium, why not everywhere. Think of the long-term saving.

In any case, it’s a wonderful chance for roundabouts to get their own back on the swings.