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CHRIS KONEY: Light, Bright & the Mountain in full Prospect – The Stunning sight of Cape Town (+IMAGES)

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After three amazing nights in the Free State, together with the other members of the 2017 SA Specialist experience, we made a three-hour road trip to Bloemfontein to catch a flight to the “Mother City”, a more commonly used nickname for Cape Town by locals.

Cape Town, which happens to be the oldest town in South Africa, is a port city that is situated on the country’s southwest coast and positioned on a peninsula just beneath the magnificent, imposing and popular Table Mountain.

After an hour and forty minute flight, we arrived in Cape Town and were welcomed in a grand but an unusual manner. Over thirty of the world’s most iconic bike brand, Harley Davidson together with professional riders lined up just outside of the arrival area of the airport waiting for us to hit town.

Cape Town has its own vibe – from the weather, mood of the people. Arriving from Clarens, it was in fact very obvious and effortless to try and identify the differences. Cape Town has a lot to offer tourists on any day and even for people who have previously visited the “Mother City”, it is always a totally new experience when they return to the city.

From the airport, we rode through the principal streets of Cape Town for almost an hour before settling at the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront for a series of fun activities. From a good spot, you could see slowly rotating cable cars climb to the mountain’s flat top, sweeping views of the city, the busy harbour and boats. After all the fun on the day, we checked into the five-star Westin Grand hotel, next to the Cape Town Conventional Centre.

Designed by Adrian van der Vyver, the V&A Waterfront is a complex situated on the Atlantic shore, Table Bay Harbour. The 123 hectares (300 acres) area has been developed for mixed-use, with both residential and commercial real estate. The complex houses over 450 retail outlets, including fashion, homeware and curious, to jewellery, leather goods and audio-visual equipment. The V&A Waterfront still functions as a working harbour and fishing boats bring in fresh fish, and larger container ships are towed in by tugboats.

One of the major attractions at the V&A Waterfront is the Two Oceans Aquarium. There are over 3,000 new fishy friends who are swimming to meet your acquaintance such as, sharks, fishes, turtles and penguins. The aquarium raises environmental awareness through high-quality exhibits, conservation and education programs. The more fearless you are, you can attempt to do a shark dive in the I & J Predator Exhibit.

The Wheel of Excellence is another spectacle at the complex. You can get into the skies in one of the 36 fully-enclosed cabins on this 50m high, giant observation wheel (for R70/p). The 20-minute journey affords panoramic views of Cape Town, Paarl, Table Mountain and Robben Island. Feeling a bit flash, you can opt for a VIP cabin, complete with canapés and champagne for a true VIP treatment.

Cape Town caters to the nature lovers as much as the culture enthusiast and the hop-on-hop-off bus tour is a great start. The tour grants you the flexibility to explore the city according to your own itinerary for an inspiring introductory scene of Cape Town. At the foot of the Table Mountain sits Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, one of the nine national botanical gardens covering five of the South Africa’s six different biomes.

History buffs can head to the Castle of Good Hope to discover the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa which was constructed in 1666 as a maritime replenishment stadium. Currently, the star-shaped structure houses the Castle Military Museum and the Iziko Museum of Cape Town.

Quad Biking also happens in Cape Town and I experienced the mountain trails. The quad bike trails take you through some of the rarest plants on earth and the off-road quad tours are perfectly designed for those with a sense of adventure and an appreciation for nature. A qualified field guide leads the quad biking tour group, offering interesting insights as you enjoy your off-road quad bike trail through the awesome scenery of this Western Cape region.

A visit to Cape Town is not complete without visiting a winery to have a wine tasting experience.    Cape Town is a favourite destination for wine connoisseurs from around the world with some of the best and oldest wine farms in the region can be found right in the city’s backyard. Cape Town is a world-renowned wine region, recognized internationally for its fine wines. While the Cape’s famed Winelands have spread to Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and beyond, it all began in Constantia, quite literally Cape Town’s backyard. With a wine-making tradition that spans more than 300 years, the Constantia Valley is the oldest wine-producing region in the Southern Hemisphere, its picturesque farms still produce world class and award-winning wines.

Our adventure came to an end at the Cool Runnings Toboggan Family Park. Being the only toboggan track in Africa, Cool Runnings comes with its sunny skies and warm temperatures. The toboggans definitely don’t run on the traditional snow and ice, Instead, Cool Runnings toboggans run on a stainless steel track, each seating one or two people. Your ride starts with a pull up a steep grassy slope by a hook at the bottom of your toboggan.

From there, your sledge is released and you will go down the track with seventeen corners, S-bends and a tunnel. You can control your own speed with a break, but adrenaline junkies can easily reach up to a whopping 40km an hour. The sledge will automatically slow down as it comes into the docking station, so you have nothing to worry about except having a good time.

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Chris Koney

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Sounds from the City

Paintings by Ghana’s Lynette Yiadom-Boakye sell for 1 MILLION DOLLARS

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The more people willing to buy a work, the more convincing the argument that the work is here to stay. When that artist’s pieces begin to find a new life in the secondary market, the more you can be sure that his or her work is a good investment.

A Consideration like No Other, 2011, by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.Source: Sotheby’s

After taking stock of last month’s contemporary auctions, anyone could look to the market of London-born Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and reasonably conclude that her work has crossed over, in market terms, from “up and coming” to something more significant.

Blockbuster Results

Over two days, three of the painter’s lush oil paintings depicting fictional black characters came to auction at Sotheby’s. One, The Hours Behind You, 2011, which is more than eight feet wide and depicts a group of dancers dressed in white, was estimated to sell for $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $1.575 million.

The next day, two more came on the block at Sotheby’s. The first, estimated between $80,000 and $120,00, sold for just under $340,000, while the second, estimated between $100,000 and $150,000, sold for $118,750.

Oral Chapters, 2010, by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.Source: Sotheby’s

“Only five or six years ago you could still buy one of these canvases for less than 10,000 pounds [$13,476], says Hannah O’Leary, the head of Sotheby’s modern and contemporary African Art department, a division that was created last year. “Certainly, in the last 12 to 24 months, we’ve had a surge of people desperate to acquire her pieces.”

Call it a market trend or call it simply a long-overdue recognition of heretofore overlooked artists, but Yiadom-Boakye, who was born in 1977, joins a select group of peers from the African diaspora, including Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Kerry James Marshall, whose paintings have recently surged past $1 million at auction.

“She’s a great artist, first of all,” says O’Leary. “But the fact that she is a woman, she is black, she is of the African diaspora—these are all things that the [art] market is turning toward.”

Existing Market

It’s not as if Yiadom-Boakye has been hiding or is unknown to many in the art world since she graduated from the Royal Academy in London’s MFA program in 2003.

An installation view of the solo show “Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Under a Song for a Cipher” at the New Museum in New York, which ran from May 3 through September 3, 2017.Photographer: EPW STUDIO

While her style has evolved over the past 10 years, Yiadom-Boakye has consistently painted large-scale oil portraits of people she paints from her imagination. Drawing on established stylistic precedents—Manet and Goya are often evoked—she developed a distinct aesthetic with deep, saturated colors and dynamic figures.

“She’s an extraordinary painter,” says Tamsen Greene, a senior director at New York’s Jack Shainman gallery, which has represented Yiadom-Boakye since 2009. “She’s made her own, unique style, but she uses this classic, incredibly formal visual language that draws people in.”

By 2007, Yiadom-Boakye had been included in an array of group shows, including the Tate Liverpool Biennial and the Saatchi Gallery’s Triumph of Painting Part 6, and in 2010 the Studio Museum in Harlem gave her a critically acclaimed solo show. She’s since been a subject of solo shows at the Serpentine Gallery in London (2015), the Kunsthalle Basel (2017), and the New Museum in New York (2017).

“Since the day we’ve started working with her, there’s been a great deal of demand,” says Greene. “We’ve always had to manage a wait list.”

That could partially be due to Yiadom-Boakye’s core group of prominent collectors, who have been vocal supporters of her career by lending her work to exhibitions whenever possible.

The Hours Behind You, 2011, by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.Source: Sotheby’s.

Those collectors include former NBA player Elliot Perry and his wife Kimberly, the German hair-care heir Thomas Olbricht, the Belgian collecting couple Wilfried and Yannicke Cooreman, the Japanese industrialist Hiroshi Taguchi, and the American philanthropist and collector Pamela Joyner.

“The people who live with her work love it,” says Greene. “It’s not rare that someone acquires a work and then immediately wants to acquire another one.”

Breakthrough

For all that, it took nearly a decade for a single painting by Yiadom-Boakye to come up to auction, when her work Politics, which was made in 2005, was put on sale at Sotheby’s in London in 2010 with an estimate of 15,000 to 20,000 pounds. It sold for 52,500 pounds with premium.

The next day at Christie’s London, another one of her paintings sold for 146,000 pounds above a high estimate of 50,000 pounds, and the day after that, also at Christie’s London, another painting sold for 116,553 pounds over a high estimate of 15,000 pounds.

“We, along with her London gallery, do everything we can to place her work in collections that are going to be good stewards,” says Greene. “A lot of the works that go to auction predate her work with either of her galleries.” (The three works that came to Sotheby’s in November were from the estate of the collector Jerome Stern, who died in April.)

An installation view of the show at the New Museum.Photographer: EPW STUDIO

O’Leary credits Yiadom-Boakye’s secondary-market breakthrough to the New Museum show earlier this year. “She was really in the London auctions,” she says. “But we can attribute a lot of her success to her newly raised profile in the U.S.”

The inevitable question—whether her new status in the art market can be sustained—has already been answered, Greene says. “She’s not a new artist. She’s had important solo shows, and I don’t see why that would change,” she says.

“I think all the market frenzy is just a testament to the work.”

 

 bloomberg.com

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“Think Africa, Shop AHOOM” – African Heritage Outlet and Online Mall launches in Accra

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African Heritage Outlet and Online Mall (AHOOM) launches in grand style at the AHOOM Retail hub in Accra, Ghana, promising the very best out of African creativity.

AHOOM is a social entrepreneurial initiative of Groupe Nallem STM with the key objective of providing a platform for artist and artisans leverage on the following:

– Skills and talent Development

– Quality and finishing

– Information sharing     

– Mentorship

– Customer focus

– Application of ICT

– Application of Science and Technology

– Market readiness and focus

If you appreciation the Arts, a good sense of style and a healthy living, then AHOOM is a click of a button away or offline in our fast growing network of shops.

“Think Africa, Shop AHOOM” both a Retail and wholesale hub for Afrocentric and fashionable garments, jewelry and accessories, furniture and fixtures, artefacts, cosmetics, herbs, organic food and lots more.

The AHOOM RETAIL HUB is an Afrocentric Cultural and Event centre for Retail, Wholesale, Exhibitions, Cultural performances, Workshops, Healthy Food, etc

The general public is invited to the launching of a unique showcase of a heritage of Afrocentric glamour by designers and artisans of Clothing and accessories, Jewellery, bags, footwear, etc from across Africa. Many of these artisans have been honing their craft with techniques which have been passed down over many years at unbeatable prices

The launch of the AHOOM retail hub is slated to take place in Accra from 7th December – 10th December, 2017 with lots of discount sales from well-established African brands and lots of activities to keep you glued for the period.

The AHOOM retail outlet is located at La Palm Wine Junction, on the La Trade Fair Road.  Side attraction during this four (4) day period shall include the following

  • An exhibition of unique afro-centric fashion
  • Fashion show
  • Jewelry and other fashion accessories
  • Artifacts and furniture
  • A delicious mix of African food
  • Open Bar
  • Music, drumming and dance

 

And lots of surprises

 

The CEO describes AHOOM as, “being the preferred marketplace for Afrocentric products to buy and sell and also cultural centre. The ahoom concept creates a platform to support artist and artisans from training, concept design, production all the way to market access both online at www.ahoomstore.com and in our outlets in Ghana, Africa and the world at large as per our strategic plan. We are very passionate about contributing to an employed youth.

Event is partnered by ABL.

 

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Guest Blog - The Other View

CHRIS KONEY: Adventure in South Africa’s ‘Jewel Of The Eastern Free State’

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By the kind courtesy of South African Tourism West Africa, I recently spent a week in South Africa, three nights in one of South Africa’s hidden treasures, a small town by name Clarens. I was part of about thirty players within the tourism industry and media practitioners from Ghana and Nigeria for the 2017 South Africa Specialist experience.

Clarens is situated in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains in the Free State province of South Africa and nicknamed the “Jewel of the Eastern Free State”. Established in 1912, it is named after the town of Clarens in Switzerland where exiled and former South African president, Paul Kruger, spent his last days. Clarens can be found 336 kilometres away from Johannesburg and about three hours by road.

In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, celebrated African legend, liberator and former South African President Nelson Mandela expressed his feelings for the Free State as follows: “the Free State landscape gladdens my heart, no matter what my mood. When I am here I feel that nothing can shut me in and that my thoughts can roam as far as the horizons“.

Clarens is an artists’ haven with many well-known artists either living in or frequenting the village, with many art galleries scattered around the village square and the town. The tranquil village ambience combined with scenic views and a mild climate has made Clarens a popular getaway for city dwellers from Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Durban, among other places. Clarens is known for its spectacular sandstone mountains and wonderful climate; it is one of the most picturesque spots in South Africa.

The transfer from O.R Tambo International airport to Clarens was organized by leading tour management outfit, Thompsons Africa. The journey was quite shorter than anticipated with Tefo Legobate as our tour guide on the day. He is a true professional with an all-around and deep knowledge about the region, making it a great engagement with him. Themba Ndayi from Thompsons Africa, on the other hand, will come in as and when the need is to give valuable information about the Free State and also answer questions about tour management mechanisms across South Africa and beyond.

After our arrival in the town and looking around with some members of the team, we had to make my way to the Clarens Wellness Day Spa for a shea aroma therapeutic massage. After the forty-five-minute spa treatment, we then made our way to the Protea Hotel in Clarens for dinner before going to bed to get rejuvenated for the next day’s activities.

By 9 am the next morning, we were at the Clarens Xtreme to start what will be a day full of excitement. By the way, Clarens Xtreme, the Great Adventure People, as they are called is a team of energetic adventurers seeking to experience the real world with a grassroots approach to adventure and team building. They have created amazing adventures that are meaningful and memorable on the path less travelled with an extraordinary experience.

Individuals, as well as groups of up to hundred people, can be catered for at Clarens Xtreme. It could either be school or education camps, fun adventure camps or perfect corporate getaways with great activities for all ages, shapes and sizes. Activities offered at Clarens Xtreme include White Water Rafting, Abseiling, Archery, Hiking, Leadership Challenges, Traditional Games and Paintball. Others are Zipline, Geology / Dinosaur Fossils, Volleyball, Soccer, Cricket and much more.

There is also the Clarens Oxwagon Camp, a unique ox wagon camp which is situated 7 kilometres from Clarens on the farm Linwood. Accommodation consists of 14 authentic, restored ox wagons, each furnished with 4 single bunk beds for up to 8 people. Each wagon has a braai with table and chairs.

The wagon is fitted with a light but no electrical point. Communal ablutions include classic bucket showers with hot water available, hand basins and flush toilets. In addition, a communal kitchen for the use of all campers consists of a wash-up area, 4 plate gas stove, fridge and a kettle. The function venue consists of a big hall and lapa area ideal for groups up to 200 people. A terraced bank on the mountain side of hall serves as an amphitheatre, with the side of the hall as a stage are. The huge lapa is ideal for end of year functions, unique birthday parties and a great school camp.

Our adventure on the day commenced with the daring white river rafting which turned out to be an amazing experience. It comes with a lot of thrilling moments especially going through the rapids though perceived initially as scary and dangerous. I guess the professional guides on each raft makes participants feel comfortable knowing they are not on their own.

After hours of rafting going through five categories of rapids downstream, we moved on to the second and last activity for the day, the Mountain Quad Zip-Line. Zip-line, also known in South Africa as foefie slide, consists of a pulley suspended on a cable, usually made of stainless steel and mounted on a slope. It is designed to enable a user propelled by gravity to travel from the top to the bottom of the inclined cable by holding on to or attaching to the freely moving pulley. These two made our day giving us a totally outstanding experience.

Have you ever heard of the Basotho Cultural Village? That was where we spent the third and final day in the Free State, experiencing another spectacle of nature and learning the culture of an ethnic South African group. The Basotho Cultural Village nestles in the heart of the Qwaqwa Nature Park which recently has been incorporated into the world-renowned Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

The Basotho Cultural Village is a real cultural treasure with a simple and fascinating architecture of the South Sotho and a host of activities which tourists can take part in. The village celebrates the culture and tradition of the Sotho people – huts are built and furnished according to the time period and one can enjoy traditional dancing, cuisine and some time with the resident sangoma.

A big highlight of a visit to this cultural village was the various walks in and around the area, including the Matlakeng Herbal Trail. This walking trail takes the visitor on a walk through the grasslands and woodlands, with impressive views of gorgeous sandstone cliffs. An Ngaka (healer) and social ecologist guide visitors and locate an array of roots, herbs, grasses, leaves and bark that have healing properties.

Soon, it was time to pack our bags and move to our next destination, Cape Town, the Mother City.

 

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Radio & Television

DStv airs #MissUniverse2017 this SUNDAY!

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DStv will air the 66th #MissUniverse2017 Beauty Pageant this Sunday 26th November at 12:00 midnight on Vuzu (DStv channel 116).

23-year-old Ruth Quarshie is Ghana’s rep at the event held in China this year.

Compered by Steve Harvey and Ashley Graham, the ceremony has been running since 1952, and sees 92 countries contest for the ultimate prize.

There will be repeats on Tuesday 28th November at 6:00pm and Saturday 2nd November at 12:00 midday.

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Deputy Director Calls For Help Over Collapsing Museums

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Deputy Director of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, Kingsley Ofosu Ntiamoah has revealed that for the past two years, the board has had its doors shut to the public for lack of resources to operate.

According to him, the board which was established on the eve of Ghana’s independence by the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to preserve the cultural heritage of the country is suffering for lack of funds.

He said still the board has in its possession the belongings of the country’s first president as well as that of the last Governor of the Coast Coast appointed by the British queen.

He noted that the board which harbours the heritage of the country has been left to rot for the last two years for lack of funds.

He said even though the president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo promised to revamped  the board during the electioneering campaign, the board still  needs corporate organizations to come to its aid.

Deputy Director of the board noted that, the board needs the assistance of  corporate bodies as well as well-meaning Ghanaians to survive in the preservation of the country’s heritage.

Kingsley Ofosu Ntimoah made this appeal when he appeared as a member of the communications team of the governing New Patriotic Party on the ’Epa Hoa Daben’ show hosted by Kwame Afrifa Mensah on Accra-based Happy FM.

According to him, the board is one of the cardinal institutions in the country for the preservation of the country’s heritage and history so it must not be left to rot and fade away under the watch of all well -meaning individuals in the country.

 

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Afua A. Akrofi Is Ghana’s Queen For Miss World! HERE’S HOW TO VOTE FOR GHANA!

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Miss Ghana 2017 Ambassador, Afua Asieduwaa Akrofi, who was also the 1st runner-up at the Miss Ghana 2015 pageant – is Ghana’s representative to the 2017 edition of Miss World pageant.

The 20 year old Ghanaian beauty queen will battle it out with 117 other queens from countries across the world, all gunning to be the 67th Miss World, taking over from Stephanie Del Valle of Puerto Rico.

Afua Asieduwaa Akrofi was chosen to represent Ghana at Miss World 2017 by Executives of Exclusive Events Gh., the organizers of Miss Ghana pageant after the organization decided to send Margaret Derry Mwintuur, Miss Ghana 2017 to Miss World 2018 pageant as the 2017 edition of the national pageant was be held in just a week ago, leaving no time to prepare the new winner for the Miss World pageant.

This year, Miss World will have a new format, giving greater emphasis on social media and interactivity. This new format is called the ‘Head-to-Head Challenge’, which will select 20 out of the Top 40 contestants.

Here is how to vote for Ghana and Miss Afua Akrofi;

  1. Visit the website missworld.com and check out the contestants
  2. Sign up at the top right corner of the website
  3. Login with your details attained via signing up
  4. Browse to the Contestants section and search for Ghana
  5. Vote for Ghana/Afua A. Akrofi.

Miss World 2017 will be held on 18 November 2017 at the Sanya City Arena in Sanya, China.

 

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