My normal, crazy, mixed-up country

first_imgGet me to the church on time. A still from South Africa’s hit movie White Wedding. Jann Turner, the director and joint writer and producer of White Wedding. (Images: White Wedding) This article originally appeared on page six of South Africa Now, a six-page supplement to the Washington Post produced on behalf of Brand South Africa. (Click to enlarge.) MEDIA CONTACTS • Clay Dollarhide New Media – MPRM +1 323 933 3399 cdollarhide@mprm.com • MJ Peckos Marketing & Distribution – Dada Films +1 310 273 1444 mj@dadafilms.net RELATED ARTICLES • Movie draws public – and pirates • New film tackles race with humour • SA short film makes festival finals • Hopeville: a journey of restoration • SA film shines at Zanzibar festivalJann TurnerSouth African hit movie White Wedding is now showing in the US to rave reviews. Jann Turner, who directed and jointly wrote and produced the film, writes about the place that inspired it – South Africa.Are there lions in the streets? Do you live in a mud hut? How come you ain’t … ?As a South African, I get the strangest questions from Americans. Their impression of Africa ranges from the lions-snakes-loincloths version, all the way to the guns-Aids-ghettos version. Often they are wildly off the mark, although, since we hosted the World Cup soccer tournament, they do know that we have stadiums, TV and vuvuzelas.What they don’t know is that we have it all! Wild animals and guns, Aids and ghettos are here, but we also have highways, high schools, high-tech, high-life and high hopes. We’re on Twitter and Facebook and all the other social networks. Charlize Theron is one of us. So is Elon Musk, the PayPal founder and Dave Matthews of the band. We invented super-glue, open-heart surgery and short-range tactical nuclear weapons and we were also the first to ever give up the latter voluntarily.Our country is hauntingly beautiful – beaches, mountains, deserts, forests, cities, jungles. It’s the size of California and Texas combined and 50-million of us live here, of all colours, speaking 11 different languages. Since Nelson Mandela led us out of our painful past, we’re all working hard to get along and make our country a success. And slowly, we’re getting it right. Most of us even have rhythm now.Take Beyonce, Denzel, Obama and Oprah. Throw in LeBron and Tiger. Sprinkle with Bill Gates, Al Sharpton, Pat Buchanan, Spike Lee and Paris Hilton. Make most of them poor, but some rich. Given them each a different language. Now tell them to sort out the US, quickly and peacefully. Get the idea? Ask anyone who visited us for the World Cup. We live in a crazy, mixed-up, fun loving, rich-and-poor, up-and-down place, and we are immensely proud of it.The point I’m trying to make is that South Africa is fast becoming just a normal, crazy mixed-up country. So we – that’s my two partners, Kenneth Nkosi and Rapulana Seiphemo and me – want to tell stories that are fun, real, and normal.So White Wedding came about from a road trip the three of us took across the country about seven years ago – two black dudes and white girl and all the bizarre, funny, typically South African things that we encountered.It was on that long drive that we made up the story about Kenneth (Elvis, the groom) and Rapulana (Tumi, the best man) trying to get from Johannesburg to Cape Town to Elvis’s wedding. Things go wrong – but not in the way you might expect. George (the goat), played by Bella (the goat) isn’t a guest at the wedding – he’s the lunch – a gift from Grandma. Befriended by Rose (the heartbroken British hitch-hiker), George sits in the back seat of the car with Elvis, while Tumi and Rose flirt in the front. Tony, the ex-boyfriend of Ayanda (the bride), pays for her wedding dress. Elvis hasn’t made the transfer from the bank, because he’s lost in mountains, and there’s no phone signal. It’s not really George’s fault that they crash, but in the end, poor George ends up getting cooked and eaten. Or does he?We ended up with a funny, romantic, feel-good road-movie, reminiscent of Sideways and Little Miss Sunshine. We shot the film in 18 days, for a budget of less than U$1-million (R7-million). And South Africans loved it. When did you last see a film in which you laugh at different scenes to the person next to you – and you don’t understand the jokes you are missing? Or when, at the climax, people stand and dance to the soundtrack, shouting in excitement? We heard many stories of black and white strangers hugging each other as the credits rolled, or of employers and their housekeepers sitting side-by-side, shedding simultaneous tears when the story gets weepy.We sent Nelson Mandela a copy for his 91st birthday and he loved it. Mandela is a Xhosa, like Grandma and the beautiful Ayanda, but he wouldn’t mind the gentle fun that is poked at their laid-back, stubborn stereotype. The film gives everyone a bit of a rev.But you don’t need to be South African to appreciate it. At heart, it’s a universal story about love and prejudice. It’s warm, charming, and reminds us that our similarities are greater than our differences. President Obama, you should see it!So … I’m not black. I live in the suburbs, and the lions I hear at night are in the Joburg zoo. But I am South African, and I think Americans are going to like our movie. If you do see it, don’t be afraid to laugh aloud, whistle, dance, cry and applaud during the show. And tell your friends.That’s how we do it.For more information, visit whiteweddingmovie.com.Download South Africa Now in PDF format (2.2 MB), or read selected articles online:Powering towards a green economySouth Africa plans to build a massive $21.8-billion, 5 000 MW solar park in its semi-desert Northern Cape province as part of an aggressive push to grow its highly industrialised economy without increasing its carbon footprint.The everyday beauty of SowetoSouth African photographer Jodi Bieber has a special ability to bring out the beauty in the ordinary, even the disfigured. On the cover of Time magazine she made a mutilated Afghani girl look beautiful, and in her latest book Soweto she makes everyday township life shine.Launchpad to a billion consumersBy offering to acquire Massmart for some $4.2-billion, Wal-Mart has joined the parade of global companies looking to South Africa as a springboard into what is increasingly seen as the world’s last great investment frontier.A trek to the start of timeIt will probe the edges of our universe. It will be a virtual time machine, helping scientists explore the origins of galaxies. It’s the Square Kilometre Array, and South Africans are at the heart of its development.Brewing up a global brandMiller Lite. Tastes great. Less filling. And brought to you by world-beating South African company SABMiller.Looking south and east for growthAs the shift in global economic power gains momentum, South Africa’s trade is moving eastwards and southwards in a pattern that both reflects the worldwide trend and helps drive it, writes John Battersby.More than just a celluloid Mandela There is a special bond between Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman and the man he played in the Clint Eastwood movie Invictus, South African statesman Nelson Mandela.Africa in the new world orderKgalema Motlanthe, South Africa’s deputy president, looks at how African economies’ resilient performance during the global financial crisis points to the continent’s new place in a changing world.Mining history for new solutionsMark Cutifani, CEO of the multinational AngloGold Ashanti mining company, examines why South Africa’s past is key to successfully doing business here in the future.Turning up the media volumeSince 1990, South Africa has been a noisy place. After decades of apartheid censorship, the lifting of restrictions on the media led to a cacophony of debate. For the first time in centuries, everyone could be heard, and it was sometimes deafening, writes Anton Harber.A joule of an energy-efficient carSouth Africa, which builds BMWs and Mercedes Benzes for the US market, is in the thick of the race to deliver a truly practical – and stylish – electric car. Meet the Joule.South Africa: Time to believeThe forgiving philosophy of “ubuntu” helps explain how South Africa managed to transcend its turbulent apartheid past and create a unified democracy, writes Simon Barber.Finding sound real estate investmentSouth Africa’s post-apartheid transformation and new middle class are fuelling demand for affordable homes. For private equity fund International Housing Solutions, that means opportunity.My normal, crazy, mixed-up countrySouth African hit movie White Wedding is now showing in the US to rave reviews. Jann Turner, who directed and jointly wrote and produced the film, writes about the place that inspired it – South Africa.Bring on the braaiAll South Africans love it – including Nobel peace prize-winning Desmond Tutu – and its rich, smoky smell floats over the country every Sunday. Celebrate the braai with our great recipe for making boerewors, traditional South African farmer’s sausage.last_img read more

Punjab to set up 400 plants to process paddy residue

first_imgIn a bid to curb stubble burning that has been one of the reasons for dense smog in the country’s northern States, the Punjab government has decided to set up 400 processing plants before next year’s paddy season to convert paddy straw into bio-energy. “The plants will become operational before the next paddy season, thus preventing recurrence of the environmental hazard triggered by stubble burning,” an official spokesperson said in a statement.The MoU was signed on behalf of the Punjab government by R.K. Verma, CEO, Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion, and K. Iyyapan, MD of NEWAY, a Chennai-based company. “Plants will be set up by NEWAY Engineers MSW Private Limited with a total investment of ₹10,000 crore over the next 10 months,” added the spokesperson.The spokesperson said the company would use its breakthrough and patented pollution-free zero residue technology to ensure that there was no residue at the end of the process, thus preventing any land filling. “The technology will provide a sustainable solution to the environmental problems caused by burning of paddy residue in the State.” Under the agreement, the company will set up 400 cluster units for the 20 million tonnes of paddy straw expected to be generated in the State in a season. Each unit will have the capacity to process 50,000 tonnes through the year, or 150-175 tonnes per day per unit.last_img read more

Wimbledon 2011: Azarenka to face Kvitova in semis

first_imgIt’s been one hell of a rollercoaster ride for the women at The Championships with the favourites falling by the wayside.Victoria Azarenka is confident of doing well. APAs the combatants prepare for the climactic semi-finals on Thursday, Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka will have a go at each other. The other clash features former champion Maria Sharapova and rising star Sabini Lisicki.Kvitova versus Azarneka definitely is a semi-final match-up which few had imagined at the start of Wimbledon. But the way it has panned out, old-timers now recall how these two players slugged it out last year. The venue was the same, though the thirdround clash was not on the show courts but Court 18.On Tuesday, eighth seed Kvitova did have a slump in form against Tsvetana Pironkova before winning 6-3, 6-7 (5/ 7), 6-2. Considering that Pironkova had ousted title contenders Vera Zvonareva and five-time champion Venus Williams, her eventual loss to Kvitova was a surprise.”At the beginning I was better and played like my matches before, but then I got a little nervous.I made some easy mistakes,” Kvitova said. “I was so happy I won the first game in the third set, when I broke her. It got better from there.”As a natural left-hander, Kvitova does have some advantage on grass. The last time Wimbledon saw a southpaw women’s champion was Martina Navratilova in 1990. But Kvitova is not looking that far ahead.”Anybody can win here and I think it’s open,” she said. And then she reflected on Navratilova.advertisement”Yeah, she was my idol when I was young. I have seen her matches on TV. But there’s no special connection with her though she did say to me ‘ well done’.” As if sounding a warning to Azarenka, Kvitova said: “Being left-handed is an advantage here for sure. So when I get a better serve, it’s good. I consider my game fast and my legs are strong to move well on grass,” she added.But the slight handicap for Kvitova is an abductor muscle injury she is carrying. “With pain-killers, it’s fine,” she said.Meanwhile, Azarenka says this is the best tennis she has played till now. “This is the best result but I still think I can improve my game,” she said.As one who emigrated from Belarus to the United States, Azarenka says she did it purely for tennis. “In Belarus, it’s impossible to play outdoors for a long period of time because of the weather.The conditions and facilities in America are excellent and it’s great preparation for me, though I never really had an American coach,” said Azarenka.When Azarenka was reminded that she had lost twice before to Kvitova, she shrugged it off. “It’s going to be a different story. You know it’s a completely different game, and different stage of the tournament,” she said.The other semi-final is intriguing, though bookmakers have tipped Sharapova as the favourite. Champion here in 2004 as a 17-year-old, the Russian is a mature player today.Her form has been sublime, though against Lisicki’s mixed pattern of play, nothing can be taken for granted. As the first German to enter the Wimbledon semi- finals since 1999, Lisicki knows she has to live up to the hype. Thursday will provide us with all the answers.last_img read more

Australian Camp Diary – Jessica McCall

first_imgFollowing the weekend’s training camp in Sydney, Australian Women’s Open squad member, Jessica McCall tells us about how the camp went and the squad’s excitement in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup. I always get excited when it comes to an Australian Touch Camp because although we all live pretty far apart, when we come together it feels like we see each other every week. Although when everyone arrived, we hadn’t seen each other since we were playing against each other at State of Origin a few months ago so we had the usual catch up with everyone while preparing for the start of the camp. While Belly, Phil, Swingers and Marto got the formalities out of the way about what to expect in the next six months, we had a few fresh faces that have been included into the squad which is always great to see. Hannah, Laura, Tamika and Sammy were included into the Women’s squad after an amazing year of Touch from all four of them. Belly also had asked three Under 18’s Australian reps to train with us which gave them in insight into the Australian Open’s Team and hopefully where they’ll end up in next couple of years.While we all knew that we had a fitness test before the camp, everyone was a bit on edge, especially me, as we all knew Belly likes our team to be physically fit as he likes a running game. While there were a few nervous faces and a few panic attacks, the test got under way. We ran for eight minutes, had an eight minute break and then ran for eight minutes again. While it doesn’t sound like much, the test is quite physically demanding and even more mentally demanding. Luckily I had Hannah Dyball helping me every step along the way but the whole team really put in a massive effort which I think comes down to our attitude to retaining the World Cup. With fitness out of the way, Belly decided to put us into two teams: Cows and Ducks. The Ducks were practically any squad member under 20 years of age versus the Cows which we classified as the older but more experienced.  Although the Cows didn’t possess the youthfulness or the speed of the Ducks, the Cows had experience and experience won us the first challenge of line attack. The young ones were punished by Phil with V-sit holds and the young ones were determined to get back at us. Dummy-half running was next on the agenda and my team, the Cows thought it would be a good idea to give the Ducks some confidence and let them win this challenge, although this punishment would happen after our 20 metre Touch game. 20 metre Touch is a variation of Beach Touch and the Old Cows were once again winners so we ended up doing the punishment which was planks. The day was over after Ice Baths and everyone is a little sore and sorry but a very successful first day.We arrived on Sunday quite early and as everyone is booting up, Laura Peattie realises she forgot her boots. So lucky a Touch friend lived close by and her dad Ray Ray drove her boots out to her. The morning session revolved around driving patterns and yet again another challenge occurred with the experienced Cows winning again and the young Duckies had to army crawl the whole length of the field. This was one challenge us Cows knew we had to win as we probably wouldn’t be able to stand up if we had to do this punishment.We then had a proper game against the West’s Division One Men’s team which really showed us how far we’ve come in the space of two days. Our driving, talk and defence was amazing and the commitment shown by every player was world class. When the game finished we all knew we that we had something special within this squad and every player could pull on the Green and Gold jersey without any hesitation. If only we were allowed to take 20 players to the World Cup as I believe everyone deserved a spot to take the field in the World Cup.Our whole team would like to thank Belly, Swingers and Phil for such an organised camp and we all know the direction in which the Australian Women’s Open team is headed in. To Marto, thanks for being our Touch mum while at camp and knowing what we are going through really helps us more than you know. To TFA, thank you for your time and for organising a great camp for the entire Open squads. Related LinksAussie Camp Diarylast_img read more