Introducing The Week That Was

As a researcher at the Center for Public Diplomacy, I came to appreciate the need and the convenience of a timely recap of the news. With so much going on in many different fields, and various mediums through which to receive and explore news and information, having one source with a quick summary and commentary on the current events is invaluable.

The Week That Was

The African File will begin to publish a weekly recap of news from the African continent, with a focus on my three areas of interest/specialty: technology, politics, and sport. The weekly digest isn’t meant to cover the biggest news stories, but examine a range of topics that might be interesting for those who are interested in keeping up on events from the continent. It will contain links to the stories so that readers may gain a deeper inside, and The African File will attempt to add thoughtful, or at least satirical, commentary to the news each week. It will publish under the title: ‘The Week That Was’ (TWTW).

With a brief preview of the format, a sample from this week is below: Continue reading


The Afrikaner Experience

June 19

This morning we packed to leave Gemini and debated causing a scene over our remaining balance of what we had payed for our accommodation, but conveniently the man we would need to speak to was gone for the morning. Very unsatisfied about our stay up to that point, we decided to get on the road to Witbank, where the Test Match between Italy and the Springboks would take place. Skipping the cold breakfast that was served at Gemini (perhaps due to the frequent power fluctuations?) we headed to Rosebank mall where we had eaten our post game meal from the previous night. We found our restaurant, Nino’s, to be bustling with leople, so we decided to pop in and give their breakfast menu a go after last nights dinner had turned out quiet well. It turned out to be the best breakfast we have had since our return to South Africa. Mugg and Bean no long is top as they’ve suffered a bit of a let off since we were here in 2007. Great eggs, and carne in their omelets. WIll definitely try to go again if we find another.

We set off east towards Witbank and arrive just before 2 in the afternoon. We want to track down a top for Alisa, as she had hesitated on getting a Springboks kit when we first arrived, and now the match is upon her and the surprisingly warm temperatures, means that wearing my fleece is not yet an option. For some reason all the shops in Witbank close are 2pm, and the Mall was dark and deserted at 1350. Decided to head towards the stadium, and found a mess of cars spread out all over much as we have for our World Cup matches, but with more disarray. Continue reading

Following the Invasion of Boks into Witbank

On May 7th, I happened to be checking out SuperSport’s new iPhone app (which is surprisingly robust and filled with information) and I saw that SA Rugby just recently announced a test match would be taking place in Witbank, a two hour drive from Joburg, between the Springboks and Italy in June. I was excited to learn that we would be in Johannesburg on the 19th(the day of the match), as the Slovenia – US match was being played just the day before at Ellis Park. A chance to see World Cup matches AND catch a Springbok game is a great score as it fulfills one of the things that I truly missed out on in my time in South Africa.

The first Springboks game I watched was one of their World Cup warm-up games against Namibia, held in Cape Town in August. I had no real sense of desire to watch them play, but after their subsequent run to hoisting the World Cup in Paris that November, the desire to watch a Springboks game had taken hold.

I booked on my calender the day test tickets were available, as I the article made it seem they would go quick. Tickets in the end were easy to get, we just bought ours through Computicket tonight, and it’s only $70 for the both of us. It’s only a 20k seater stadium, and out in the rural areas, so not in the pantheon of Afrikanerdom that say Newlands or Ellis Park offer, but it should be a great experience regardless. They were predicting a quick sell out as this is the first Springbok game to come to the local rugby union of the province, though I’m sure there will be lots of people from Gauteng making the trek out east to catch a glimpse of the Springboks while the country is in the throes and drama of the World Cup.

Making the trek to Witbank is very doable as we’ll be in our three week period of hiring a car. A much longer trek is heading out to Bylde River Canyon which is close to Mozambique border. As it’s nearly a six hour journey by car, I’ve had a hard time convincing Alisa to wake up early enough to get out there and get back. I had originally hoped that we could get out there for a morning stroll and hike, and then head back to Joburg and stop in Witbank (which is on the way) for the Boks match. While a typical South African could make up that distance in the speed that they drive at, I’m not sure we want to rush throughout that day as it will diminish the enjoyable of two spectacular events. I think we’ll put off the canyon till the end of the trip, and hire a car for 2-3 days to make the journey out there and take in all the park has on offer.