As I sit here contemplating another interpretation of the moratorium applicable to companies in business rescue, I get distracted by the gnashing of teeth and bones. It's dark, so I grab a flashlight and start pointing. Not 20-feet away I see a hyena masticating on the remains of some poor creature that did not survive the recent drought. After enjoying the spectacle for a couple of minutes, I refill my glass of Cabernet, ascend my bushveld throne, throw up my bare feet and savour the moment with a swig of fermented grape juice. In vino veritas. I am in Africa. And I love it.
Early this year I attended the Advanced Management programme at Columbia Business School in New York City which introduced me to a number of interesting management and learning techniques. Two of the most powerful were the concepts of experiential learning and learning from fields outside of business.
One of the most interesting and fulfilling projects I undertook during my 31-years at Webber Wentzel was to help build the firm's art collection. I joined the firm in January 1984. At that time Webber Wentzel's main offices were in the Standard Bank Centre, Fox Street, in the centre of Johannesburg. This was, and is, an iconic building. Clive Chipkin described the building as "the spectacular and elegant Standard Bank Centre, the sculptural form of the tower block 137 metres high, designed by Helmut Heinrich of Dusseldorf." (Johannesburg Style; Architecture and Society 1880s – 1960s.) Working in this wonderfully modern building was an incredible experience but unfortunately the art collection the firm had at the time did not match the style of this mini-skyscraper.
As Christmas approaches, there is nothing better than going into a book shop and sorting out your entire present list in one fell swoop. And this year, I want to encourage you to support local writers and buy a local book. "Oh no," I hear you say. "They're so heavy and self-conscious and filled with political angst." I am glad to tell you that that is decidedly no longer true. The new wave of South African writing is on a par with international writing, with gripping stories set in South Africa (for the most part) and informed by our past – but not about politics.
Without prejudice spoke to Paul Hoffman about his book "Confronting the Corrupt", which chronicles the campaigns of Accountability Now over the past few years, and pleads for the establishment of an Integrity Commission as a new Chapter Nine Institution in South Africa.
Another month, another record price for a classic Ferrari, Jaguar, Mercedes or whatever. In August 2014, the most recent peak year for auction prices, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was sold for an eye-watering $38 million. The previous record ($291⁄2 million) had been set just a year earlier, for a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 racer. In February 2016, a 1957 Ferrari 335S was auctioned in Paris for over $35 million, while a few months later a 1955 Jaguar D-Type fetched nearly $22 million. Private sales are rumoured to realise even higher numbers.
I am not entirely confident about describing the BMW i8. It has amazing looks, great economy, a wonderful sounding engine, and uses the most technologically advanced ideas in the automotive industry...even if it is just a Scalextric car.
Some things happen by chance. In 2002, top technology lawyer Hans Evenhuis and his wife Mary Ann visited a small family run olive farm in New Zealand and decided to start a similar project to keep him busy post retirement. In 2005 Hans stumbled upon what was left of an old experimental timber farm outside Hermanus, in the cool climate Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge region. This beautiful mountain and fynbos farm, situated on the watershed on the highest ridge adjacent to the original Hemel-en-Aarde farm, was renamed Hemelrand: The edge of heaven.
By far, the majority of whisky consumed globally is in the form of blends. Leaving aside the traditional American whiskies for the moment, the greatest exposure that the average spirits drinker has to whisky is to blended scotch.
The wider Constantia valley is arguably the most gastronomically gifted region in South Africa. It is foodie Nirvana, boasting the legendary La Colombe, a frequent contender on South Africa's top 10 list, and the great Greenhouse at the Cellars-Hohenhort. More than 40 well-rated restaurants nestle amidst the vineyards of eight award-winning wineries. New restaurants are popping up all the time. Harbour House, La Parada and Foxcroft (owned by La Colombe's Scot Kirton) have recently opened their doors.