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Unpacking trends with the world’s leading forecaster, Li Edelkoort

Back for Design Indaba Festival 2018 in Johannesburg and Cape Town, trend guru Li Edelkoort’s annual forecast seminar will reveal three critical future trends that will affect business and culture 

Design Indaba 2018 once again sees internationally celebrated trend guru Li Edelkoort sharing her invaluable insights. Held as a stand-alone seminar, Edelkoort’s trend forecast presentation has become one of the most anticipated items on the annual Design Indaba Festival offering.

This year’s seminar will be held in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, and is set to take place at the LISOF: Fashion Design School & Retail Education Institute on 19 February 2018 and Artscape Theatre Centre on Saturday 24 February 2018 respectively. Attendees from across the country will get the opportunity to hear from the internationally renowned Dutch trend forecaster and discover how trends – from fashion, style, colour palettes and fabrics to design concepts and more – are emerging in a world in transition.

In keeping with the Design Indaba’s aim of making a positive impact on society by building a movement that attracts producers of meaningful culture and business, Edelkoort’s seminar unpacks themes that find inspiration in the natural world; from finding spiritual expression in domestic design to the exploring the manifestation of the goddess in fashion trends.Three main themes that span three spheres of design will be explored.

Firstly, Edelkoort will highlight how trends for home and lifestyle design will focus on the spiritual; in response to a world in transition, the home environment becomes a sanctuary, an escape, a refuge and a comfort. “A profound search for simplicity, tenderness and humanity will pervade the spiritual home in which our relationship to furniture, objects, materials and colours will gently shift…” says Edelkoort.

As an extension of lifestyle from the home into the world, activewear for spring/summer 2019 features prominently. “A sudden shift in the wind will mark a change in colour, welcoming a family of beiges as the backbone of the summer season, with bright accents that are taken directly from nature.” says Edelkoort. This will be seen most directly in footwear through the merging of garments and accessories that play between the urban and the outdoor.

Finally, Edelkoort will explore the role of the goddess movement in a turnaround in fashion. “The days of normcore and streetwise basics seem to evaporate in the face of a revolution in shape and making,” says Edelkoort. The most important part, Edelkoort says, is to find your own goddess and express inner divinity through majestic fabrics and regal colours.

By exploring how human needs and desires translate into designed environments and interactive expression through fashion, Li Edelkoort’s seminar is sure to expose, uplift and inspire – as always!

In Johannesburg, the seminar starts at 08h30 and has three sessions and a short break, finishing at 12h30. In Cape Town, the seminar will take place at the Theatre venue at the Artscape. The talk starts at 09h00, with three sessions and a short break, finishing at 13h00.

Tickets for both seminars are available from webtickets, and cost R715 per person. It is essential to book in advance, particularly as the Li Edelkoort sessions are sell-out events. To book, click here: http://www.webtickets.co.za/EventCategory.aspx?itemid=1477136802

Tickets are R 715 per person and can be purchased through Webtickets.

For updates on the Design Indaba Festival of Creativity 2018, Li Edelkoort’s seminar and for ticketing information please visit www.designindaba.com/festival.

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Image Credits Below:

TRENDS & TEXTILES – the credit is : artefact from the Metropolitan Museum of art, 4500-4000 bc, bequest of Walter C. Baker, 1971
ACTIVEWEAR – the credit for “the elephant” is : photo by san diego zoo
Daniel Costa (spiritual house)

 

How Agro-Tourism is Marketing Rwanda’s Coffee

Need is the mother of all innovations, goes an old adage. It is also true that solutions to most of our problems are always around us. So, when a Huye-based farmer sought sustainable ways to market local coffee and promote Rwanda’s unique tourism attractions to the outside world, the resources at hand came in handy.

The farmer created a ‘coffee experience tour’ hiking trail across the Huye Mountain Coffee plantation and the historically important Nyirankoko hill just above the plantation. Where does the coffee you drink at Ban Café or any other coffee houses come from? Or why would one visit a coffee or tea farm, or a cattle ranch? These questions are expounded on during the hike and, by the time one descends the hill, they are ready to roast and brew their first coffee as the hike takes you through all the stages of the coffee production process, right from planting to roasting and coffee brewing. The ‘coffee tour experience’ trail is unique in that it has created a synergy, promoting agriculture and tourism as one product.

This agro-tourism initiative is essential as the country seeks more products to market to the world and boost tourism receipts. It is even more important as it creates awareness about the two sectors, helping expand their markets and add value to clients’ experience in the process.

The approach has made it possible for farmers working with Huye Mountain Coffee to get a ready market abroad and better prices for their coffee. Besides, it strengthens efforts by the government and other stakeholders to create 200,000 off-farm jobs per annum under the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II). Innovative approaches like this one will play an instrumental role in helping the country realise this objective.

Agro-tourism, in simple terms, involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch, according to Farm Concern international (FCI), an Africa- wide market development agency focusing on commercialisation of smallholder farmers and agro- pastoral communities.

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Huye Mountain Coffee tour experience trail

When I visited the recent Made-in-Rwanda expo at Gikondo Show Grounds in Kicukiro, Huye Mountain Coffee was one of the exhibitors. A closer look at the brochures from the attendants at the stall indicated that the firm was more than just a coffee processor. I learnt from the brochures that they had recently introduced a new product targeting coffee lovers and buyers – the ‘coffee tour experience’. This was intriguing… so I was curious to go check it out.

About 10 days later, I hit the trail in company of other 10 visitors from the US. Our guide for the day was Aloys, or Mr Coffee, as he is fondly called, who took us through the trail on paper at the reception centre at Gako trading centre, explaining the various 12 stages of the coffee tour in preparation for the hike. After the briefing we boarded our vehicles for a two-kilometre ride on a rather bumpy and steep gravel road to the starting point. The trail begins at about 1,689 metres above sea level, with an introduction about coffee planting and the initial growing stages of the crop.

We went through other stages, and I learnt that the coffee tree life cycle is over 50 years. We also learnt of some of the enemies of coffee, like the berry bola disease, leaf rust disease, coffee bug that gives unpleasant potato taste. Mr Coffee says the firm mostly uses organic means to fight these enemies, including tobacco and pyrethrum organic pesticides. The harvesting stage comes next (during my visit it was off-season) that prepares visitors for the exciting coffee roasting (using Rwandan traditional means) at 1,870 metres above sea level. This is done under an acacia tree that provides much-needed shade (on day hot day like when I visited). It’s here that we introduced to the coffee roasting process using the Rwandan traditional technology.

One gets that sense of satisfaction roasting green coffee beans to a rich dark brown (colour) that makes for aromatic coffee distinct to Rwanda. And the aroma… Nothing beats the aroma of freshly roasted Rwanda coffee!

‘Tour of Rwandan culture and history’

The icing on the hike is when visitors embark on the second segment of the trail, which marks the ‘tour of Rwanda culture and history’ as visitors explore the breathe-taking Nyirankoko rock, just about a 100 metres from the coffee plantation.

Mr Coffee takes you through the history of Rwanda particularly during the era of the kingdom and inter-kingdom conflicts. He tells us that the hill’s name originate from an incident in 1348 following a confrontation with the then Burundi kingdom army. The name was given to Nyirarutenge by king Kigele I for her heroic acts in helping them defeat the Burundian army, according to legend.

Nyirarutenge was buried at the foot of the rock after she was killed by the Burundi kingdom soldiers. The rock and hill were to later be renamed Nyirankoko by the king in honour of Nyirarutenge.

“From then onwards, all Rwanda kings would hold planning meetings with their military advisors at the rock before any military operations with neighbouring kingdoms and communities to ensure victory,” Mr Coffee concludes the legend.

He notes that the rock, shaped like a meeting place at the top, is complete with a chairman’s chair, and ‘stairs’ leading up from the bottom of the rock’s upper side. Standing on top of the rock, one can see all the surrounding villages, terraced hill bellies, meandering roads and pathways in the lower valley and shinny tin roofed houses of communities surrounding the ‘holy’ mountain.

The final lap of the hike leads you to the hilltop. When here, you cannot ask more; this is the highest peak at 1,986 metres above sea level, but it’s almost flat. It hosts the ‘coffee tour experience’ trail monument and gardens, complete with tents and chairs. Those too tired can grab much-needed rest, relax, and stretch their aching muscles and bones.

Atop Nyirankoko mountain, one is able to see all the surrounding communities, Huye Mountain on the eastern side, Huye town, Nyanza town, Rugwogwe, Mount Simbi, as well as Sovu town and Gako trading centre.

The monument that tells of the history of the enterprise; the pedestal that has a pot and a coffee tree growing therein, also documents the humble beginnings of the leading coffee washing station in Huye District, from the time they were using wooden ‘bicycles’ to ferry red coffee cherries to their small washing station way back in the late 2000s.

The enterprise now operates a fully-automated washing station at the foothill. Mr Coffee says the coffee tree in the pot signifies the firm’s resolve to promote coffee drinking among Rwandans as part of the local culture.

He argues that since the country grows the beans, Rwandans should partake of the beverage as part of the daily menu besides earning foreign exchange from the beans. Mr Coffee believes the ‘coffee tour experience’ will greatly impact the competitiveness of Rwanda’s coffee, noting that most visitors write blogs about the hike when they return to their home countries.

“This is a plus for Rwandan coffee and for us; we are currently expanding potential and giving opportunity for others to join the sector,” adds David Rubanzangabo, the brain behind the venture and the Huye Mountain Coffee chief executive.

He told me later, that the ‘coffee tour experience’ was introduced partly to demystify the coffee production value chain because many coffee lovers, including Rwandans, don’t know much about the beverage, especially how it is made.

He adds that though the firm opened shop around 2011, “it was like something was always missing to make the enterprise more beneficial.” Rubanzangabo says the tour is also strategic marketing, noting that visitors who participate in the hike “will always remember Rwanda’s unique coffee and recommend it to others”.

“It (tour) is a big marketing tool for us… the agriculture-tourism mix helps hit multiple birds with one stone – we teach visitors about our coffee and its importance to Rwanda’s economy, they get to understand why it’s costly on shelves in their home countries, and we also showcase Huye and Rwanda tourism attractions to the outside world,” he explains. He argues that creating a synergy between the two sectors benefits every stakeholder, and gives more value to visitors and local products (tourist attractions and coffee).

Tourists narrate experience

Randall Diericks US citizen resident in Kigali, says the coffee tour opened his eyes to the realities about coffee farming, noting that he now understands ‘where my coffee comes from’.

He says the hike of the Nyirankoko hilltop after initial coffee processing tour gives a rich historical perspective of Rwanda, and adds value to trail, enriching the visitors’ experience. He says the Nyirankoko rock atop the hill is like that in the legendary “Lion King” kids’ cartoons. Przemek Praszcalek from the US, says it was fun learning about coffee and hiking. He says the traditional coffee roasting at the third stop on the hike was insightful, and the “roasted beans were aromatic and delicious”.

Advisory

The hike will take you under three hours, especially as Mr Coffee puts his charm to use explaining the making of Rwandan coffee, detailing all the processes from the garden to the cup. After hiking, tourists are taken through the coffee pulping process at the plant’s modern coffee washing station downhill.

From the reception centre in Gako town, one can use a bike or car to the starting point that’s about 2km away.

You are advised to carry fresh drinking water, sports shoes or jungle boots can suffice for the hike, and you need not carry warm clothing, especially during the dry season. Don’t forget that camera to capture the moments.

The hike is suitable for most people, including kids of five years of age, and grannies. The day I was there, there were about four kids (and they made it to the top effortlessly), and a granny who could be close to 80 years of age.

Challenge that birthed Huye Mountain Coffee

Rubanzangabo worked with two USAID-sponsored projects (PEARL and SPREAD) that were promoting coffee growing in the area in early 2000s.

He says when President Paul Kagame was launching one them in 2002[3], he challenged him, asking what would become of the initiative at the end of the projects. He said, “After these white men have left, will you be able to continue on your own.” That put the entrepreneur in him (Rubanzabagabo) to test, and vowed to carry on similar work as was being done by the two projects, giving birth to Huye Mountain Coffee brand operated by David and Family Company Limited, years later. The brand name derives from the fact that most of the coffee (70 per cent) processed by the firm is provided by farmers around Mount Huye. He says the firm works with over 600 farmers organised in 24 savings groups.

PPP model

The venture is a perfect example of how the country can use the private-public partnerships (PPP) model to promote investment and spur development initiatives across the country. Rubanzangabo says the firm is working with the local and central governments to promote the ‘coffee experience tour’ trail, especially among Rwandans.

Only about 10 local people have so far participated in the hike almost a year (nine month to be exact) since the trail and agro-tourism venture were initiated, according to Mr Coffee.

Mr Coffee says the majority of the tourists are from the US, Europe, Japan, Australia and China. Rubanzabagabo says Nyirankoko mountain belongs to the district but was given to the firm by the local authority for tourism and projects that benefit the community. As a result, people from the surrounding communities are not charged hiking fees, and 5 per cent of the tour earnings support community projects. Ironically, this incentive has not excited them to go hiking already! Both the local authority and central government provide security along the trail and on the plantation, and help promote the trail as a tourism product.

Rubanzangabo says that they are working with local leaders to promote the trail among the community and surrounding districts, and the general Rwandan population.

The firm sells most of its coffee to global brand; Stumptown Coffee Roasters of USA, Falcon Coffee Roasters (England), L Coffee of South Korea, UCC from Japan and Single Origin Coffee Roasters of Australia. The coffee is marketed under the Huye Mountain Coffee brand name, according to Rubanzabagabo.

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How WeFarm Connects Small Farmers Without the Internet

There are about 500 million small-scale farmers on Earth, and most of them live on less than $1 a day. That’s half a billion people laboring below the global poverty line, surviving and sometimes struggling to improve their harvests. They’re often separated from larger population centers, or lack the means to educate themselves on specialized farming methods, or run up against natural and man-made obstacles that leave the futures of their farms in jeopardy. In these situations, knowledge is as valuable a tool as a shovel, a seed or a plow. But whereas the internet is readily available to Western nations on the grid, farmers in Africa and parts of South America operate on a digital deficit.

That’s why WeFarm calls itself, “The internet for people without the internet.”

Founded in 2014, WeFarm is a free, peer-to-peer service designed for farmers living around the world. It enables farmers to share information with each other via SMS (Short Message Service), or text messaging. WeFarm translates and connects queries from continent to continent, and has thus far provided more than 100,000 answers to its 43,000 registered farmers.

WeFarm CEO and founder Kenny Ewan developed the service after spending seven years working in sustainable agriculture with indigenous communities in Peru. Many of the communities he lived and worked in were remote and without regular access to the internet, which left them isolated from their neighbors. Ewan was largely concerned about the effects of climate change on the region, and how global warming will necessitate a change in harvesting techniques.

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Today, over 97 percent of scientists agree that global warming will increasingly impact the way human beings live. Developing countries will be hit the hardest of all, making them the critical locus for climate adaptation strategies.

According to Zoë Fairlamb, WeFarm Comms and PR Manager, the idea for a peer-to-peer service came to Ewan when he saw how innovative certain farmers could be when meeting the challenges of climate change. “Kenny noticed, quite soon on, that people could come up with these low-cost, ingenious solutions, but farmers five miles down the road wouldn’t have heard about what these people were doing,” she told Planet Experts. “So that prompted him to think about communication and really pose the question, ‘Why isn’t there a global resource for information on agriculture?'”

Ewan began the process of creating that resource in 2009 when he joined Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation (CPF), a UK-registered charity that works with smallholder farms and their organizations.

Connecting Farmers and “Changing the Conversation”

Internet connections might be less common in the developing world, but mobile technology is pervasive. GMSA estimates that there are 7.5 billion mobile connections, and 3.7 billion unique subscribers, worldwide. By comparison, a little more than a third (36 percent) of the planet is online. In Africa, many countries have leapfrogged landline technology and gone directly to mobile phones. According toPew, some 90 percent of adults in Nigeria and South Africa own cell phones (mostly “basic feature” phones capable of calling and texting).

Indeed, for most Africans, SMS technology is already an invaluable tool. In 2007, Vodafone launched M-Pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer system, for mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania (the “M” stands for mobile, the “pesa” is Swahili for money). It was the success of mobile tech like M-Pesa that spurred WeFarm to make its initial launch in Kenya in February 2015.

“In East Africa, people are very used to using mobile technology for other services,” said Fairlamb. “There’s also a very strong culture in Kenya and Uganda of people sharing and giving. People trust one another and want to share and help each other.”

In 10 months, WeFarm registered about 33,000 Kenyan farmers with its service. “People love it,” said Fairlamb.

The ultimate goal is to create a global network for small-scale farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. As Fairlamb explains, “Basically, a farmer can register on WeFarm’s service completely for free just by sending an SMS message to our national number. Once they’ve signed up to the service, they can then ask any question regarding farming and we distribute that question to other farmers locally, nationally and internationally, and the farmer who asked the question should receive between three to five crowd-sourced answers within a couple of hours without having to leave their farm, without having internet access and without having to spend any money.”

It’s a fast, free and convenient solution for farmers on the edge of developing infrastructure, yet marketing the service proved an initial challenge. By definition, these unconnected farmers are scattered and separated, remote and difficult to reach. “We’ve had to be quite inventive in solutions of ways to reach these people,” said Fairlamb. Part of that has been making use of CPF’s farming network and training farmers to become WeFarm ambassadors, which then go out and train others in turn. The most successful method for getting the word out, however, has been radio.

Interviews with radio presenters on both the local and national level have had incredible results, said Fairlamb. “There was one occasion where we did a national radio show and within the space of an hour we had 4,000 people sign up to the service. It was really exciting seeing everyone registering that quickly.”

WeFarm’s Uganda network has also shown promising growth. After launching in late November, they had already signed 2,500 farmers by mid-December. A Peru launch earlier in the year has also added invaluable insights to WeFarm’s information network. “We’re seeing some amazing things, pieces of advice, coming through the system from Peru,” said Fairlamb.

The growth of the service in Africa alone has been extremely gratifying for the WeFarm team. “I think Kenny [Ewan] would say that it wasn’t a surprise but maybe a relief just how much farmers use it and how much they value it,” said Fairlamb.

“There were a lot of people who questioned the peer-to-peer model, but that’s the core of the business. There’s kind of a widespread approach in international development circles whereby people kind of assume and think that people who are living in poverty need to be told what to do. WeFarm wants to be about changing that conversation and giving these people a voice, showing their knowledge is valuable and giving them a way to share that information.

WeFarm’s next big launch will be in Côte d’Ivoire. A Tanzania launch is forthcoming, as are launches in India and Brazil.

Balancing Social Good With Making Profits

Though a humanitarian endeavor, WeFarm is also a for-profit business. Yet it’s a business that is following the growing economic ethos that profit is not divorced from doing good.

The social good of the WeFarm SMS service is giving farmers the means to communicate with each other and share techniques and strategies for improving crops and adapting to climate change. That service is free, so the revenue comes from the wealth of insight that emerges from that communication. Still in the pilot stage, WeFarm hopes to sign up businesses to a monthly service that provides disaggregated data about what’s going on in their various supply chains.

As Fairlamb explains, “Small scale farmers are responsible for producing 70 percent of the world’s food, but the majority of corporate food and drink businesses, retailers, any kind of consumer brand that has small scale farmers in their supply chain, has next to no visibility as to what goes on in that bottom rung. So we offer a service to these types of businesses that enables them to improve supply chain sustainability, make better decisions and help the people who are producing the products that they rely on.”

For a tea company, that might look like, “What are the top three questions that tea farmers are asking this month?” or the top two crops that tea farmers are looking to diversify into. Disaggregated data from WeFarm can also help identify challenges facing various farmers and techniques for overcoming them. WeFarm is also interested in providing lead generation and SMS advertising for more local businesses.

“Constantly on the system we see people asking questions about ‘where can I find this type of seed’ or ‘where can I buy a solar panel,’ ‘I’m interested in a micro-finance loan, how do I go about finding that?’ We’re quite well positioned to be able to connect these farmers to the products and the services that they’re looking for,” said Fairlamb.

WeFarm is currently seeking investment to scale up their operations and connect a million farmers by the end of this year. Thus far, the company has received £500,000 in seed funding from Google.org and Wayra, Telefonica’s incubator. WeFarm recently opened its Series A funding round and is seeking £2.3 million in investment.

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Joburg Tourism campaign: making visitors feel welcome

Joburg Tourism launched the Welcome to Jozi – Make a Visitor’s Day! campaign with the aim to encourage Joburg’s residents to make visitors feel welcome. The campaign is designed to educate and inform Johannesburg residents on being Johanessburg ambassadors, promote the city and enhance visitors experience.

As Africa’s most visited city and the continent’s leading business and lifestyle destination, Joburg attracts visitors from Gauteng, from South Africa’s other provinces, from other African countries and from destinations around the world. The reasons they come to Johannesburg are as diverse as the visitors themselves. They could be students studying at our tertiary institutions, people who come for medical reasons, business people visiting the city for meetings, business events, exhibitions and incentives, sports enthusiasts, concertgoers, those seeking leisure, lifestyle, heritage and cultural experiences, and those who come to visit friends and relatives.

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Joburgers encouraged to make a visitor’s day

The Welcome to Jozi – Make a Visitor’s Day Today! campaign takes a collaborative approach with Joburgers to go the extra mile and make a visitor’s day. They are encouraged to be helpful, courteous and friendly. This may be a simple gesture such as helping a visitor with directions. They are also encouraged to learn more about visitors to Joburg, for example by providing Indian diners with plenty of serviettes and a finger bowl as they generally eat with their hands. The campaign will also educate locals on how to interact with visitors, for example etiquette and conversing in their languages to make them feel welcome

Joburgers can also make a visitor’s day by showing them the city’s rich culture, heritage, leisure and lifestyle attractions and activities. This means that they have to be familiar with the city’s tourist attractions and how to access them. As in many other destinations around the world, residents often remain unaware of their city’s tourism and leisure offerings and the campaign aims to address this.

Joburg is so much more than a stopover city, with a great deal to experience and explore. Our struggle history, and culture and heritage attractions provide fascinating insights into the city’s past and current developments.

Among the many exciting things to do:

• Visit historical sites such as the Apartheid Museum, Constitutional Hill and Liliesleaf

• Take a walking or cycling tour of Soweto or downtown Joburg

• Hang out in the funky Maboneng District and Braamfontein where you’ll find Joburg’s hip crowd exploring art galleries, theatres, bookstores, food markets, bars, specialty stores and more

• Adventure and adolescent junkies love the bungee jump at Orlando Towers in Soweto, zip lining in Melrose and go-karting at Kyalami Race Track

• The City Sightseeing Red City Tour hop-on-hop-off bus takes visitors to some of Joburg’s most iconic attractions and is a must-do adventure for any visitor to Joburg

• Eating out at our many fine restaurants for a culinary experience

• Shopping at our world class malls

• Explore Joburg’s art scene at fine art galleries and markets

• Enjoying world-class productions at our many theatres

• Taking part in our many outdoor annual sporting events

• Being part of exhilarating music concerts, entertainment and lifestyle events

Showcasing Joburg as a business events destination

When compared with other global cities, Joburg is one of the most affordable to visit for both domestic and international visitors, whether it’s paying for transport and accommodation, entry into the city’s many tourist attractions, shopping, or enjoying its superb restaurants, nightlife and cultural attractions.
The Welcome to Jozi – Make a Visitor’s Day Today! campaign will also showcase Johannesburg’s capabilities and credentials as an international destination of choice and as a year-round destination for business and investment, business events, lifestyle, sports and leisure.

Meeting planners organising meetings, conferences or exhibitions in Joburg are spoilt for choice when it comes to business events venues. They don’t need to venture outside of Joburg to source suitable venues. In addition, by retaining their meetings in Joburg, there is a range of four and five-star stand-alone international convention centres, expo centres, and multi-purpose venues that can cater for smaller meetings and large conferences of up to 20,000 delegates. To date, over 28 000 lifestyle events have been hosted in Joburg alone in 2015.

Nurturing tourism

There is also a wide range of three to five-star hotels that have high-tech meeting rooms, combining the best in accommodation with world-class conferencing facilities. “Visitors to our city make a significant contribution to Johannesburg’s economy, which benefits development, job creation and transformation. By giving our visitors the best experiences while in our vibrant city, we are nurturing and growing tourism’s contribution to our local economy which is advantageous to all of us.” Says counsellor Ruby Mathang, head of economic development at the City of Johannesburg.

He adds that the campaign’s success is dependent on collaboration and cooperation between the City of Johannesburg, its residents and all tourism stakeholders. “By working together, we can ensure visitors to our wonderful city experience the best that Johannesburg has to offer – our warm and welcoming people and the fantastic variety of experiences and attractions on offer.”

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Reaching Zero Waste is Impossible Without Strategies for Reducing and Reusing

Have you seen the documentary “Racing To Zero” yet? It spotlights San Francisco’s efforts to achieve an aggressive zero waste goal of diverting 90 percent of its municipal waste from landfill by 2020. San Francisco leads the country in this endeavor, and in that regard has much to teach the rest of us.

However, the film’s too sunny presentation of the City by the Bay’s recycling efforts to the near exclusion of reducing and reusing risks sending a message to consumers that could perversely result in more waste generation—and wasteful consumption, not less.

Recyclables can be a valuable source of materials that can be turned into new products for often less cost and environmental impact than mining and processing virgin materials. It creates jobs and protects resources.

That said, not all materials can be physically recycled (due to difficulties separating for instance), or benefit from profitable markets that would warrant their collection.

Achieving zero waste is about more than collecting recyclables and turning them into new products. It’s about an integrated approach to solid waste management that reduces the amount and toxicity of wastes in the first place. It’s about making sure that waste materials are directed to their highest and best use; this may include refilling some packages, for example, rather than simply sending them for recycling.

Finally, according to the definition adopted by the Zero Waste International Alliance, and espoused by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council and others, zero waste is about more than landfill diversion. It is about preventing waste from occurring in the first place by changing consumption culture with a prominent role for Reduce and Reuse, the two R’s that rank above Recycling in EPA’s Waste Management Hierarchy.

“Racing to Zero” has close to zero (couldn’t resist the pun) discussion of San Francisco’s efforts to promote these other 2 R’s by highlighting campaigns (which I presume exist) to encourage consumers to use refillable water bottles and coffee cups, bring their own bags to the supermarket, or shop in thrift stores, swap instead of buy new, or obtain used products via online platforms such as eBay and Craig’s List.

These other 2 R’s are just as important if not moreso within an integrated solid waste management plan (and documentary) educating folks about the best way to get to zero waste.

Composting does play a key role in “Racing to Zero” (and is the ‘star’ of the film’s trailer), as it is considered to be a form of recycling, and its benefits are well displayed, although its treatment too could benefit from a more balanced discussion of alternative, environmentally preferable ways of disposing of food waste such as nourishment for humans and animals.

Understanding why “Racing to Zero” is so unbalanced is not germane to this column (although the film’s producer is listed as an artist in residence at Recology, the city’s outsourced recycling organization, and Recology is listed as a partner on the official website.) And I don’t mean to shoot the messenger. This film has much to teach about the potential value of recycling to shift perceptions of trash from garbage to a resource. Given its single-minded focus on recycling, perhaps it would have been better titled along those lines rather than as a portrayal of San Francisco’s zero waste efforts with its multi-pronged approach.

My main point is this: Without a more concerted focus on Reduce and Reuse, together with a more balanced discussion of the effectiveness of recycling with the context of achieving zero waste, “Racing to Zero” and any related communication by any other group to follow will lose an important opportunity to credibly educate the public at large and those of us in cities like my own (New York) about the role that recycling can play as an effective solid waste strategy. At worst, it risks sending a message to consumers that recycling is the new ‘away,’ and that our throwaway culture can continue unabated.

Source: waste360


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Cape Town makes world’s top 10 list

Cape Town – Cape Town has again featured in a list of the world’s top 10 cities according to the latest Travel + Leisure survey.

Travel + Leisure, an international travel magazine, hosts the annual survey via a reader questionnaire.

Readers vote on several categories, including the world’s best hotels, airports, spas and islands.

Ranked at number 9, Cape Town has featured in the top 10 for several consecutive years.

Top of the list, however, was Japan for the second year running with Charleston, South Carolina and Siem Reap, Cambodia in second and third place respectively this year.

These were followed by Florence and Rome in Italy, Bangkok in Thailand, Krakow, Poland and Barcelona, Spain.

Jerusalem was listed at number 10.

Readers rate the top cities based on sights, culture, arts, food, friendliness and shopping.

The Cape Grace, a Cape Town hotel also made it on to the list of the World’s Best Hotels , ranked at number 34.

Also on the list was Singita Kruger National Park at number 59.

Hotels were rated in terms of facilities, location and service.

Based on the survey, the top hotel in the world is The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur, India.

Source: traveller24.news24


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24 hours in Durban

Beautiful beaches, warm weather, curry, seafood, art-deco architecture, culture, history … Durban has it all.

So, you’ll be visiting Durban and have just a day in which to see the best that South Africa’s third largest city has to offer. Here are some ideas of what you can get up to.

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This coastal playground is most famous for its perennially warm climate and beautiful beaches. While summer temperatures may reach 34°C, winters are balmy, with days averaging in the mid- to high 20s.

As a result the lifestyle in the city is geared to making the most of the outdoors, and so should you.

A day’s itinerary should definitely include a visit to the Golden Mile, Durban’s famous beachfront, where a long, paved promenade provides pedestrian access between golden sands and a variety of hotels and holiday apartments that overlook the Indian Ocean.

You may choose to join the joggers and walkers in the early morning or late afternoon; or rent a bicycle from a promenade vendor; or follow the promenade northwards to theMoses Mabhida Stadium to sign up for a Segway tour along the beachfront.

The stadium is a beautifully designed modern sports structure that’s well worth a visit. If you’re in need of an adrenalin boost, there’s a bungee swing from the top; or take the SkyCar to the viewing site on the stadium’s great arch for a 360-degree view of Durban and a great photographic opportunity.

While in the beachfront environs, at the most southerly end, just before the Durban harbour, is uShaka Sea World, the largest aquarium in the southern hemisphere and an extensive marine fun park. An aquarium tour will see two hours fly by, as there’s an incredible array of marine creatures to see.

Fancy some breakfast, or perhaps a hearty brunch? You could stay at uShaka, where there are many eateries to choose from, or pop up to the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts in Bulwer Road for a tasty meal under the trees, and then browse the gallery and ethnic craft shop for mementos afterwards.

If “retail therapy” is high on your list of things to do in Durban, the N3 road will take you to the Pavilion shopping mall in Westville, while the N2 South takes you to the Galleria shopping mall in Amanzimtoti, and the N2 North to the Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Umhlanga.

Durban’s best-known cuisine is curry, followed by seafood. The city has many excellent curry restaurants that specialise in this spicy cuisine, and there are as many that have made seafood their main drawcard. A hollowed-out half-loaf filled with curry – a “bunny chow” or “bunny” – is a traditional way of enjoying a Durban curry.

In the city itself, historical points of interest on your itinerary might include the City Hall, KwaMuhle Museum, the Old Court House Museum or simply taking in the many examples of 1930s art-deco architecture. Walking tours of the city also depart daily for a more comprehensive experience.

Also try the Durban Botanic Gardens, where you’re assured of a good cuppa and a plate of the best crumpets, syrup and cream south of the Sahara.

Enjoy a stroll around the gardens or take a golf-cart tour if you’re running out of time and want to see the orchid house, herbarium and other hidden parts of this magnificent green lung.

You may also cocktails on the pier at Moyo (back at the beachfront) as a lovely way to end the daylight hours, as surfers below catch the last waves of the day.

An evening meal may be a meat-lovers’ delight at the Havana Grill at the Suncoast Casino (on the promenade), or at one of the trendy restaurants that line Florida Road; or head north on the N2 to Umhlanga for a stylish repast at one of Durban’s two oldest hotels, theOyster Box or the Beverly Hills. Umhlanga has a host of alternate dining venues within a stone’s throw of these grande dames.

Source: southafrica


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#MeetSouthAfrica’s Groot Marico

Groot Marico, named after the Marico River, is a wild and wonderful town, where historic wars have been fought, South African moonshine is produced, water sports, hiking, camping and hiking are the order of the day, and time is optional.

The fascinating little town is a two-hour drive from the Gauteng border with the North West province, and is a useful stop for travellers on their way to Madikwe Game Reserve or Botswana. Populated by down-to-earth and hospitable people, the town’s economy relies upon mining, agriculture and tourism.

Besides having the perfect climate and terrain for farming cattle, maize and citrus fruit, and quarries for mining various rock, Groot Marico produces one product that many find more interesting.

The town is famous for its mampoer, a South African version of moonshine, which is made from fruit and has a frighteningly high alcohol content (although some maintain it is still quite tasty). For guests who wish to see how mampoer is made, there are tours in the area, but however interesting the process might be, you probably shouldn’t try it at home.

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If traditional Afrikaner alcohol isn’t really your thing, the area also offers various physical activities. There are several nature hikes that allow you to experience the typical African bushveld up-close and personal, while cyclists gather in Groot Marico once a year for the annual Marico Mountain Bike Classic.

The Marico Bushveld Dam (also known as Riekertsdam) is a popular spot for various water sports such as sailing, skiing and fishing (fishing enthusiasts also have the option of other nearby dams along the Marico River that provide good fishing).

Although people typically think of scuba diving as a seaside sport, the Eye of Marico dam with its clear, pure water and other-worldly terrain offers an enchanting scuba experience.

Groot Marico is also a good place to get to know a bit about South African culture and history. Most notably, it was one of the places where the famous South African writer,Herman Charles Bosman, set many of his stories. He summed up his attachment to the town thus: ‘There is no other place I know that is so heavy with atmosphere, so strangely and darkly impregnated with that stuff of life that bears the authentic stamp of South Africa.’ The culturally curious might like to visit the Herman Charles Bosman Festival, held every year in October

As well as being ‘Bosman territory’, Groot Marico was also the site of some Anglo-Boer War (also known as the South African War) battles – a cemetery on Wonderfontein farm still holds graves where some British soldiers were buried. Visitors who have a penchant for history can indulge their lust for learning on battlefield tours in the area.

The town is renowned for its artistic flair; there are several artists in the village, as well as shops and activities that revolve around art and creativity. The tourism centre is home to several shops selling curios, crafts and local creations, and the Art Factory’s products include leatherwork, ironwork, pottery and paintings.

If enjoying the creativity of others lights a spark in your own artful heart, a visit to the Café Verre Glass Studio will enrich your soul. At Café Verre, visitors are given the opportunity to create their own works of art in the medium of glass, mosaic and stained glass.

Accommodation in the town is plentiful and varied, with everything from guest houses and B&Bs to genuine farmstead accommodation, and camping and caravan sites.

Source: southafrica


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Designing the Rainbow Nation: Contemporary Design in South Africa

“It looks like a pair of bloody Y-fronts!” activist poet, Sandile Dikene, complained as the black-and-white image of the winning design for South Africa’s new flag inched from the fax machine. The year was 1994, and Dikene was working with me on Mandela’s election campaign in the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic elections. His reaction to the design, chosen over from 7,000 in a public competition, was a common one at the time. But two decades on, despite the initial luke-warm reception, South Africa’s flag has become an iconic design: an instantly recognizable emblem of the so-called Rainbow Nation.

In many ways South African design mirrors the county’s remarkable recent political history, emerging as it has from turbulent times and international isolation to create a vibrant synthesis of the traditional and modern: the African and the European. “Design reflects the society in which it is practiced and, since South Africa is a very political society, design here reflects a level of social consciousness that is perhaps not seen in other countries,” says Capetoian graphic and web designer, Justin Slack.

During the apartheid years, South African design was dominated by engineering design as well as and industrial design that aimed to replicate European products which could not be imported due sanctions. Design also reflected the inequalities and divisions of the society with designers producing things such as swimming pool cleaners, portable barbeques and camping equipment for the affluent white market whilst the majority population’s needs were largely ignored.

The isolation that resulted from trade and cultural sanctions severely limited the possibilities for South African designers to engage in international creative exchange and many left to seek opportunities overseas. For those who stayed behind isolation had an ironically positive impact helping to foster a degree of independence in the industry as well as removing external competition. With the growing levels of social consciousness in the country designers began to focus on more culturally and geographically appropriate locally designed products.

The unbanning of the ANC in 1990 and the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as President in 1994 marked the start of a dramatic transformation of the country. “There was an explosion of creativity and innovation borne out of necessity and circumstances,” recalls Erica Elk, executive director of the Cape Craft & Design Institute. Those circumstances have not always been easy with one-in-four South Africans unemployed, over a million living in shacks and an estimated 5 million infected with HIV/AIDS.

Figures from the department of trade and industry suggest that South Africa’s craft sub-sector annually provides jobs for approximately 40,000 people through 7,000 small enterprises. Furthermore, government agencies such as the Department of Arts and Culture have launched a number of design initiatives partnering with the South African Fashion Week and non-governmental organisations and design institutes. Initiatives such as the Design Indaba, an annual expo that bills itself as the largest creative conference in Africa, have given the design industry a substantial boost.

The distinction between craft and design has traditionally been a problematic one with an implied division between the educated and the uneducated, the professional and the artisan. Crafts are generally seen as being handmade involving tools rather than machines, whilst design often requires a higher degree of specialized teamwork sometimes involving the separation of conception and production. With one of apartheid’s legacies being a huge disparity in educational opportunities, this division between design and craft has social and political dimensions.

In South Africa there is a substantial degree of overlap between design and craft with traditional materials and methods being incorporated by designers in all fields to create a distinctive synthesis. Indeed South Africa is regarded as a world leader in ‘slow design’, a movement which fuses design and craft in a sustainable way which celebrates diversity and pluralism. “In an African context the overlaps between craft, design and art are obvious,” says Cape Townian designer Heath Nash. “Cultural practice here has morphed due to colonial pressures over time, and in so doing, traditional art/craft/ritual/functional/spiritual/tribal/social/personal spaces have all been mixed together.”

Nash works with galvanised steel and recycled plastic producing a range of re-purposed post-consumer plastic waste products which he calls ‘other people’s rubbish’. He outsources most of his standard products to wire-workers around Cape Town and distributes around the world. “The history of re-use as a typical South African mode of production was inspiring,” says Nash. “I realized that by using the right materials and knowledge – wire and plastic – combined with typically South African skills and contemporary design, a new aesthetic could be created which really spoke to the current South African situation.”

Use of recycled materials is being pioneered by other companies such as Mielie who design and hand-craft a range of handbags and homeware products using recycled materials such as t-shirt fabric and leather off-cuts, coffee bags and billboards. The importance of craft and design as a means of economic empowerment and is also crucial for people like Bishop Tarambawamwe who began his business selling his wire and bead art on the streets. “I would sell at traffic lights but my work became so popular that I started disrupting the flow of traffic and the police kept moving me on,” Tarambawamwe recalls. He now has a company, Master Wires & Bead Craft, that exports internationally.

Casamento is another design house that relies on traditional techniques and materials in their production of handcrafted furniture. Avoiding foam the upholstery they use recycled and natural-fibre alternatives including coir, sisal, raw cotton wadding, horsehair jute webbing, Hessian. They also work with local needle workers, from crochet artists, to knitters and embroiderers who contribute panels for their furniture, as well as work on commissions for their clients. Although the materials used may be traditional, their furniture is playful and creative, blurring the boundaries of fantasy and function.

Wola Nani is an initiative which attempts to use crafts as a way of supporting communities hit hardest by the HIV crisis. Meaning ‘we embrace and develop one another’ in Xhosa, Wola Nani is a non-profit organization providing work to over 40 HIV-positive women giving them a regular and sustainable income with which to support their families. Using popular Xhosa shweshwe designs Wola Nani produces and markets crafts which are sold via mail-order catalogue and through retail shops regionally and worldwide. The organization not only exploits the potential that exists in fair trade stores but also has contracts with stores such as Anthropologie.

“South African design, especially communication and fashion design is alive and very well and competing successfully within the global market,” according to Esme Kruger of Johanesburg’s Design Institute. But the design industry has been hit hard by the recession and although South Africa has experienced a virtually uninterrupted two decade period of economic growth the recent economic down-turn is taking its toll.

Among apartheid’s many legacies was a legacy of bad design that, nearly two decades on, is still manifested in a spatially, socially and racially divided society. Indeed a striking thing about a visit to any South African city is the impact of apartheid town planning with so-called white suburbs, coloured suburbs, Indian suburbs and black townships all dotted separately around the city centres. Despite this legacy the fact that clean air and a healthy environment are inscribed in South Africa’s Constitution has ensured that social development is central to contemporary urban planning and design South Africa. According to urbanist, Edgar Pietersen, South Africa has set itself a very high bar for intervening in the built environment by insisting on sustainable outcomes, meaningful citizen participation and addressing socio-economic imperatives. “This is what makes South Africa a demanding and fascinating laboratory – the imperative to invent and deploy innovative approaches to achieve developmental outcomes in the context of limited resources, vast need and profound natural resource constraints” he explains.

“We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world” says Archbishop Tutu in describing the meaning of ‘ubuntu’, a Bantu philosophy prominent in South Africa. Ubuntu is a founding principle of the new South Africa and can be applied to design in all its forms. The Rainbow Nation does not have a single distinctive design aesthetic and its inter-connectedness that is part of its strength. “One of our competitive advantages in South Africa is our cultural diversity and the myriad influences and styles at play in our creative sector” Erica Elk explains. South Africans and their design may be individualist, distinctive, and unique but they are all part of a much greater whole.

 

Source: Huffington Post


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WTM Africa 2015 announces new raft of delegates

WTM Africa 2015, the leading business-to-business tourism event in Africa, has added an array of new International exhibitors, including destination hot-spot Abu Dhabi and a number of major players from the hotel, travel technology, cruise and airline sectors.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 8.58.03 AMThe new exhibitors at WTM Africa 2015 – which will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from April 15th-17th – signed up following glowing publicity and positive feedback that resulted from the hugely successful inaugural WTM Africa last year.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority is the latest destination to sign up to WTM Africa 2015, while, from the global accommodation sector, International Hotel Group, Best Western and Hotel Verde are new exhibitors.

Mubarak Al Nuaimi, director, destination promotion department, TCA Abu Dhabi, said: “We followed with interest the success of the inaugural WTM Africa exhibition in 2014 and we are excited to be exhibiting this year at what has already established itself as a major trade must-attend event on the continent.

“Our delegation of leading hotels, tour operators and national airline Etihad Airways will showcase the very best of Abu Dhabi’s tourism opportunities while also highlighting the culture and heritage of the emirate.

“Airlift to Abu Dhabi will substantially increase from March when South African Airways begin flights direct to the UAE capital, joining Etihad Airways’ seven flights a week to Abu Dhabi, and this is an ideal opportunity for us to increase our inbound visitors from the African continent.”

From the airline sector, fastjet, the low-cost pan-Africa airline – part owned by easyJet – will be highlighting new opportunities following its newly launched routes to South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe from its Dar es Salaam base.

From the world of cruising, Pullmantur Cruises is aiming to raise awareness of its fleet of five ships and its wide selection of destinations.

The company has long served the Spanish market, but is now keen to establish itself as an international brand.

Finally, two new travel technology companies will be exhibiting for the first time this year: booking system provider Traveltek and All In Travel, which provides travel agents with an online reservation system that integrates hotels’ inventory and direct contracted products.

This year’s event has been expanded by an extra day to become a three-day event and the exhibition floor space will be 50 per cent bigger.

WTM Africa 2014 facilitated an impressive $314 million in industry deals.

WTM Africa, Thebe Reed Exhibitions, managing director, Carol Weaving said: “We’re excited to welcome more of the world’s key tourism players to WTM Africa 2015.

“It’s great to see such a wide range of new exhibitors from such different International tourism businesses, and it’s a result of the buzz WTM Africa created during its inaugural event last year.”

Source: Breaking Travel News

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