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Soweto’s first four-star hotel

first_img1 November 2007More than 50 years after the Freedom Charter was signed, Soweto’s Kliptown is once again the focus of much attention. Setting the trend for other townships in South Africa, it is about to enter a new era in its history with the opening of its first-ever hotel.Holiday Inn Soweto opened its doors to the public on 1 November. Situated at Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, a tourist draw card, in Soweto’s oldest suburb, the four-star hotel offers accommodation at an international standard to the more than 200 000 tourists who visit the township every year.This was not merely a 2010-focused initiative, confirmed George Phefo, the hotel’s general manager. In time, the group hopes to do more for the neighbourhood. “We are looking beyond 2010. We believe there are opportunities for Soweto.”Jazz and politicsIn addition to its location on a world-famous national heritage site, the hotel overlooks the informal market in Union Street and Jada’s place, the house in which Nelson Mandela was hiding when the Freedom Charter was drawn up on 26 June 1955. It plans to give tourists the opportunity to explore the Kliptown of the 1950s.“We will deliver on the Holiday Inn promise but also bring the political and historical stories into focus,” confirmed Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, the chief executive of the Zatic Group, or the Zuka Afrika Tourism and Investment Corporation, at the hotel’s inauguration. Zatic holds the franchise and a 30-year contract with the Intercontinental Hotel Group to manage the hotel.The decor is a mix of Kliptown history and African township – gogo blankets, Alf Khumalo photographs, vintage radiograms. With an eclectic blend of the modern and the old, private rooms and public areas offer style and comfort, without the visitor feeling removed from the real Soweto on the doorstep.Interior designer Fanie Makhanya said the brief was to take the uniqueness of Kliptown and modernise the application.Half a century ago, on 26 June 1955, more than 3 000 representatives of resistance organisations and ordinary people made their way through police cordons to gather on a dusty square in Kliptown, 40 kilometres south of Johannesburg.It was the Congress of the People, held to draw up the Freedom Charter, an alternative vision to the repressive policies of the apartheid state. At the time, Nelson Mandela was in hiding to avoid the police. On the second day, authorities broke up the illegal gathering, but by then the charter had already been adopted as a guiding document. It remains the cornerstone of ANC policy to this day and is seen by many as the foundation of South Africa’s 1996 Constitution.Local prospectsAnd the Zatic Group is determined to have as many locals benefit from the project as possible. At least 80 percent of the workforce comes from small, medium and micro enterprises based in Soweto.There will be about 40 permanent employees at the hotel, and numerous opportunities will be created through procurement of services from businesses based in Soweto, including sourcing fresh produce from traders.“We want to procure as much as possible from our immediate surroundings,” said Steven Bagg, the director of the Zatic Group.In another move to improve conditions on the ground, the group has spoken to Deputy President Phumzile Mlambu-Ngcuka about funding for the hospitality clinics it wants to offer to local matriculants.“Above all, our job will be to train young people from this community who want to enter the hospitality sector,” Sangweni-Siddo confirmed.The local bed-and-breakfast industry was also bound to benefit, Bagg pointed out. Foreigners would take comfort from the globally recognised brand, leading to an increase in the number of visitors to the area. “This is a step up for Soweto.”Initial discussions with local tour operators and African curio artists have also taken place.Priceless accommodationHoliday Inn Soweto is owned by Freedom Square Hotel, a consortium of leading business and leisure shareholders. Built at a cost of R23,4-million, it forms part of the Walter Sisulu Square mixed-use precinct initiated by the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC).The Kliptown project comprises the hotel, the recently opened Kliptown Museum, retail, restaurant and office space as well as an informal trading area. The JPC has signed a 10-year lease with empowerment group Zatic Hotels and Resorts to operate the hotel. Capello, the restaurant chain, plans to open a restaurant on the square soon.The Holiday Inn Soweto has 48 rooms, including two suites, the Oliver R Thambo and Chief Albert Luthuli suites; two executive boardrooms, the Winifred Mandela and Helen Joseph rooms; the Jazz Maniacs restaurant and Rusty’s cocktail bar, which is named after Rusty Bernstein, who assisted with the drafting of the Freedom Charter.Families are catered for in the 10 inter-leading rooms. The passages are called The Long Walk to Freedom – it is indeed a very long passage – and Unsung Heroes.The hotel is easily accessible from the Golden Highway and, with additional policing and security, the safety of guests and visitors is ensured. The luxury rooms cost R1 500 per person for one night, bed and breakfast. Deluxe suites cost R2 700 per night.For reservations, contact Holiday Inn Soweto on 0800 999 136.Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

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Giving taxis a good name

first_imgEntrants from previous competitionshave become better drivers throughthe countrywide training opportunities.(Image: Arrive Alive) This year four of the country’s bestdrivers will win a snazzy Ses’ifikile taxi.(Image: Imperial Toyota)Janine ErasmusThousands of South African minibus taxi drivers who take pride in their work are competing for the coveted title of the country’s best.The Number One Taxi Driver competition has been running since 2004, with the 2011/2012 edition launched in December and the national finals scheduled to take place in June.The initiative was started by beverage company brandhouse, and is the flagship of its corporate social responsibility efforts to promote the responsible use of alcohol.With top brands such as Smirnoff, Amstel, Heineken and Captain Morgan in its portfolio, the company identified the taxi sector – with its vast reach into and influence on South African society – as the ideal target for the Number One competition.Working with Toyota South Africa, Caltex, the Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation, brandhouse seeks to place responsible role models in the taxi industry, ready and able to inspire and educate their colleagues in road safety and good customer care.“The campaign is one of our key community enrichment programmes at brandhouse, aimed at not only promoting road safety within the minibus taxi industry but providing valuable skills to the drivers,” said brandhouse MD Gerald Mahinda.It’s a crucial part of the company’s efforts to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the communities that support it, he said. Over 25-million people use minibus taxis every day, and the general public opinion is that drivers are reckless and have very little regard for their passengers or fellow drivers.“Their bosses want money so they’re working under very strict conditions and it pushes them to go over emergency lanes and to drive recklessly,” said driving instructor Sthembiso Segolela, speaking at a testing session.Thousands of drivers to improve their skillsThe competition is promoted annually by distributing entry forms at taxi ranks, shopping centres and tollgates, and also through roadshows and other events, and has attracted thousands of hopefuls over the years.In this year’s competition, over 3 500 taxi drivers across the country have received training, in 53 testing sessions.The best of the best stand to win a 14-seater Ses’ifikile taxi, courtesy of Toyota – there will be four big winners this year – and each of the top provincial finalists will get petrol to the value of R50 000 (US$6 300)  from Caltex. To top all of that, six taxi owners will each win fuel worth R20 000 ($R2 500) and three will get a R15 000 ($1 900) fuel package.Participating drivers are tested on their theoretical and practical knowledge and are trained in advanced and defensive driving procedures, such as keeping a correct following distance, the safest way to stop, and driving in bad weather. The Toyota Advanced Driving Academy conducted the testing in all nine provinces and will also oversee the final round.Adjudicators are currently adding up the scores to identify the finalists from each province.Of the 27 shortlisted drivers, only nine will make it to the last round, but the remaining 18 will each receive R3 500 ($444) just for taking part, and will also take away invaluable skills learned along the way.The finals will take place at the Gerotek facility in Hartebeespoort, northwest of Johannesburg. A division of Armscor Defence Institutes, Gerotek is a multi-purpose organisation that encompasses consultation, training, testing and evaluation services to the industrial, military and commercial vehicle industries.The chance of a lifetimePrevious winners and now proud owners of their own vehicles have used the opportunity to put their entrepreneurial ideas into practice.Mpumalanga’s Raymond Ngomane, the 2010 winner, wanted to be a better driver, but also had his eye on the top prize. He said his life has changed dramatically since being named the country’s best taxi driver.“Through this initiative, I have managed to realise both of my wishes. I am now a proud and responsible taxi owner,” said Ngomane, who is the sole breadwinner for his family. His first passenger was his 89-year-old grandmother.The winner in 2008 was Godfrey Mosala from the North West province, and in 2009 it was Lunga Ronnie Tilolo from the Eastern Cape who drove off with the big prize.last_img read more

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Ateneo needs more maturity, says captain Madayag

first_imgMadayag was the first to commit a crucial miscue when her service error gave NU an 8-6 advantage, then Kat Tolentino followed it up when her hit struck the net giving the Lady Bulldogs an 11-7 lead.The Lady Bulldogs eventually capitalized on the errors with Audrey Paran scoring a block, 12-7, and Jasmine Nabor scoring three straight aces to finish the match.Madayag said their lack of maturity can be attributed to her team’s inexperience as Ateneo have seven new players in its lineup for Season 80.“The new players just need to have that confidence in them,” said Madayag who had six points. “I was the one giving them the confidence earlier but when I went to the bench they became quiet, no one was talking anymore.”Madayag added their losses should serve as lessons as they look for sustained improvement throughout the tournament.ADVERTISEMENT “I guess this will give us more lessons on not giving in so easily,” said Madayag. “I think we’re wasting chances here because we’re already in the fifth set and in the end we would end up slipping.” John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Making the Wright plays View comments Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Ateneo Lady Eagles. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netFor two straight games in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball, Ateneo has been coming up short in matches that have ended in five sets.The first was the Lady Eagles’ collapse in their season-opener against Far Eastern University, and the second was their failed comeback attempt against National University.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ Those losses have put Ateneo on a 0-2 card, the school’s worst start in recent memory eclipsing the 1-1 mark in Season 73, and captain Maddie Madayag knows that the Lady Eagles still need to mature if they ever hope of getting back to elite status.“We still need the maturity because we’ve been talking about starting strong and ending games strong,” said Madayag in Filipino Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre. “Because sometimes we’ll start strong either that or we’ll have a slow start then a strong finish.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAteneo did have a slow start against the Lady Bulldogs, falling two sets to none before forcing a fifth set through a spirited fourth run that ended in the most lopsided score line of the match.The Lady Eagles, however, ultimately faltered in the deciding set when a couple of errors spelled their untimely demise. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers AFP official booed out of forum 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoiseslast_img read more

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IPL 2011: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Deccan Chargers- KKR win by 9 runs

first_imgJacques Kallis score a fine 53 and took four catches as Kolkata beat Hyderabad by nine runs during their Indian Premier League match at the Eden Gardens on Monday. Score | PhotosThe target (164) proved to be a daunting one for the visitors as Kolkata bowlers got on with the act of counting heads early. It was young Iqbal Abdulla, who drew first blood in the form of Ishank Jaggi’s wicket. The 21-year old left arm spinner’s turner uprooted his his off stump on 10/1.The other opener Shikhar Dhawan too did not stay at the crease for long and got run out in the 4th over off a direct hit from Eoin Morgan.Captain Sangakkara and Bharat Chipili then tried to bring Hyderabad back on track after early setback. But their effort came a cropper when Rajat Bhatia got the better of Sangakkara on the last ball of the 9th over to reduce Hyderabad to 53/3.New man JP Duminy too did not stay in the middle for long and was hurried back into the dug out by Abdulla with Jacques Kallis performing the final honours at deep mid-wikcet. And the visitors were down to 81/4 in 12.2 overs.Then Bhatia came around to remove Bharat Chipili on 48 to reduce Hyderabad to 88/5 in 14 overs. Aussie Daniel Christian fell trying to up the run rate in the 17th over. He hit Abdulla for a six and then went for another one but this time failed to clear Ryan ten Doeschate in the deep. He fell for 25 and Hyderabad fell to 124/6.advertisementThe fist ball of the next over saw D Ravi Teja walk back and the scoreboard read 127/7. Here on it was easy for the Kolkata bowlers who went for the kill even as the visitors tried hard to eke out runs at death. But, they fell short of the target by 10 runs and ended up with 154/8 on board.Kolkata inningsEarlier, Kolkata opener Jacques Kallis scored a fine 53 as Kolkata posted 163/4 in 20 overs against Hyderabad.Kallis and Manvinder Bisla got off to a flyer scoring in boundaires after their skipper Gautam Gambhir won the toss and decided to bat. The duo batted on till the 8th over putting on 51 on board before the first ball of the ninth over saw leggi Amit Mishra trap Bisla leg before on 19.Then in the 13th over Jacques Kallis fell to his South African team-mate JP Duminy on 53. A short ball off Duminy saw Kallis attempt a pull that failed to clear the boundary and instead was pouched by Shikhar Dhawan just ahead of the ropes. Kolkata were 90/2 at the stage.Soon captain Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary went on charge keeping the opposition fielder on an alert. Tiwary was more brutal dealing in boundaries. And he picked Duminy for his assault hitting two massive sixes off him in the 15th over.Hyderabad were trying hard to break Gambhir and Tiwary’s stand. And it was Mishra, who got the desired result when Gambhir trying to go for a big hit, missed the ball and it crashed into his stumps. He fell on 29 and Kolkata were 133/3 in 16.5 overs. Finally Tiwary and Yusuf Pathan 30 runs for the fourth wicket helping their team to a commanding 163/4 in 20 overs. Yusuf Pathan fell on the last ball of the innings to Dale Steyn.last_img read more

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