The world’s biggest cycle race

first_imgThe Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tourmay take riders through some of SouthAfrica’s most spectacular scenery, but it’sstill 100 kilometres of hard work. The race brings out many cyclists’ innerclown. Hollywood actor Matt Damon’sparticipation in the 2009 race lured manyhopefuls out onto the streets of CapeTown. Some cyclepunk. After successfully negotiating the worst ofthe Boyes Drive descent, these cyclistshead towards the bright yellow-coveredhay bales at the bottom of Clairvaux Roadand a sharp right turn into the Main Road. The Argus is as much about the spectatorsas the cyclists. These Clovelly locals madethemselves comfortable on the pavementoutside their house.(Images: Jennifer Stern)Jennifer SternThe 32nd annual Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, held in Cape Town on 8 March 2009, had some 25 600 cyclists pedalling the roads of the Cape Peninsula and tens of thousands of spectators lining the route to cheer on friends and strangers. The world’s largest individually timed cycling event, it’s a circuit of over 100 spectacularly scenic kilometres, and a celebration of sport, community and place with a history going back over more than three decades.The 2009 tour was, according to David Bellairs, co-director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust that organises the event, “without a doubt the toughest Cycle Tour ever. Never before have we experienced such gale force winds during a race.”Although 35 000 cyclists entered this year’s race, conditions were such that only 25 600 actually took part. Winds of up to 60 kilometres an hour blew down tents and caused a number of injuries – mostly broken collar bones, arms and legs, luckily none of them too serious.There have been other years that offered an equally tough challenge. In 1987 freezing rain and wind had a number of cyclists opting out, and in 2002 the race was officially stopped because temperatures of up to 42°C made it unsafe. This year, the start was delayed because of the strong wind and – towards the end of the day – people were literally being blown off their bicycles, so the organisers called a halt.One of the race’s most famous stretches, both dreaded and loved by cyclists, is Chapman’s Peak Drive. This long, steep and beautiful coastal drive is a test of mind and muscle, and most of the leisure cyclists are extremely grateful for the granny gear on their mountain bikes.But the road has been closed to traffic for quite a few months because of the risk of rock falls after heavy rains last year. It was a big decision but, after careful consultation, the drive was declared safe and the traditional route could be followed. Well, almost.The Main Road between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay on the False Bay Coast is undergoing extensive rebuilding and so it was likely that the single lane would cause a severe bottleneck and, more seriously, the uneven road surface could be dangerous. So the cyclists had to take a short detour over Boyes Drive. This only added a kilometre to the race, but it did include a long, uphill slog and a scary, twisting and steep descent.Recognising the extreme nature of the final little downhill chicane on Boyes Drive, the organisers brought in loads of hay bales, put up warning signs and stationed marshals with loud hailers exhorting cyclists to slow down. It worked. There were a few minor tumbles, but nothing like the potential carnage that cyclist and organisers alike were dreading.A beginning in protestThe Argus started off more as a protest than a race. In1977 two keen cyclists, John Stegmann and Bill Mylrea, fed up with the lack of cycling infrastructure in Cape Town, decided to do a long race around the peninsula. It was part of a plan to popularise the sport and get support for the construction of safe cycle lanes and routes throughout the city.It was a great idea, but not particularly successful. A few bicycle lanes appeared over the next few years, but it was pretty ad hoc and remained a small isolated feature of the city’s streets. Fortunately, this is in the process of changing. In March 2006 the signing of the Cape Town Declaration led to the formation of the Non Motorised Transport Forum, which is now managed by the Cape Town City Council.But that first race, which was run on Saturday 26 October 1978, was the start of big things. Originally, Stegman and Mylrea intended to call it the Peninsula Marathon but, realising they needed media backing, they offered naming rights to – at that stage – a rather reluctant Cape Argus newspaper.So the race started off as the Argus Cycle Tour, and soon became simply “The Argus”. This remains its popular name, although today supermarket chain Pick n Pay is the main sponsor.Rapid growthThat first race saw 585 hopefuls lined up at the start, of whom 446 finished in the cut-off time, then set at eight-and-a-half hours. It seems like a long time, but cyclists had to weave through normal Saturday morning traffic. The following year it moved to the now familiar March slot and, in 1990, it was moved to a Sunday as it was getting far too big for a Saturday. By 1997, with over 28 000 participants, it was clear that competitors and cars could not coexist and the route was closed to traffic for the morning.There are many reasons for the immense popularity of this iconic race. First, the scenery is simply gobsmackingly gorgeous. But it’s also the vibe. It’s one of the few races in the world where recreational cyclists can ride in the same event as serious professional competitors – albeit at different times.In fact, most of the serious cyclists are finished and showered and starting on breakfast before many of the “fish and chips” at the back have even got on their bikes. In 1992 it got even more serious with the inauguration of the prestigious Giro del Capo or “Tour of the Cape”, an event made up of four one-day races of which the Cycle Tour is the last leg.Although for most the entrants it’s really all about taking part – and finishing – the serious cyclists are fiercely competitive. This year, the first man home was  Arran Brown (Medscheme), shortly followed by Robbie Hunter (Barloworld) and Nolan Hoffman (Neotel), all within a split second of each other in a time of  02:46:32. Jennie Stenerhag (Alpha Pharm) led the women’s pack in a time of 03:06:01, with Anriette Schoeman (Nashua Telecoms) and Marissa van der Merwe hot on her wheels.While these serious athletes whizz along the route early in the morning in a dazzling blur of colourful lycra, it’s the slower, more relaxed entrants that really embody the character of the Argus. And there are always the weirdos – the people dressed as rhinos, Superman or fairies. Cyclists in lycra shorts and a dress shirt with a bow tie are not uncommon, and even one intrepid Braveheart lookalike has been seen pedalling the route in a kilt – hopefully wearing far more underneath than is traditional.This year there was much excitement with Hollywood actor Matt Damon and his younger brother Kyle taking part in – and finishing – the race on a tandem bike. Damon is in South Africa to film the new Clint Eastwood movie about South Africa’s win in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.And then, of course, there are the spectators. Cape Town makes a day of the Argus. Those lucky enough to live on the route set up camp in their front gardens, on their verandas, or on the pavement outside their houses. Deck chairs, umbrellas, picnics, bottles of bubbly and various forms of music all add to the festival air.It is a bit of a mixed blessing as most of them can’t go anywhere until after midday, but it’s only one day a year. And a few thousand travel in from adjacent suburbs to line the route.It’s Cape Town’s biggest party.Related articlesImproving lives with bicycles The Tour de Kruger – a wild ride Bikes for Africa – from bamboo The adventure starts here Useful linksThe Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle TourGiro del CapoPick n Pay 94.7 Cycle Challengelast_img read more

South Africa’s commercial radio stations

first_imgA guide to South Africa’s commercial radio stations, which includes what each offers, what frequency to tune into and where the broadcasting areas are.South Africa’s commercial radio stations include Metro FM, Jacaranda FM and Kaya FM. (Image: Jacaranda FM, Facebook)Brand South Africa reporterUnder apartheid, South Africa had only two independent radio stations. With the deregulation of broadcasting in the late 1990s, the number of commercial stations operating outside of state control proliferated.In 1996 six lucrative SABC stations were privatised: Gauteng’s 947 and Radio Jacaranda, KwaZulu-Natal’s East Coast Radio, the Western Cape’s KFM 94.5, the Eastern Cape’s Radio Algoa and the Free State’s OFM. The government raised over R500-million as the stations were licensed to various black-controlled groups.In early 1997 eight new commercial radio licences were granted for broadcasting in South Africa’s three biggest cities – Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.Applicants targeting black audiences with new formats were generally favoured, with two “smooth jazz” licences, Heart 104.9 in Cape Town and Igagasi 99.5 in Durban; one urban youth station, YFM; and one urban contemporary station, Kaya FM. The remaining four licences went to an English-language talk station, CapeTalk 567; two Afrikaans talk stations, Punt in Cape Town and Durban; and a classical music station, Classic FM.Metro FMBroadcast in English, Metro FM is the largest national commercial station in South Africa, targeting 25- to 34-year-old black urban adults – who its owner the SABC describes as “trendy, innovative, progressive and aspirational”. While the station does have some information and educational aspects, the focus is firmly on contemporary international music – hip-hop, R&B, kwaito and more.Frequency: 96.4 FMMetro FM websiteBroadcast area: Metropolitan areas of Gauteng, Limpopo, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western CapeAudience (past seven days): 5.26-millionLanguage: EnglishOffers live internet audioJacaranda FMOne of the largest independent commercial stations and also broadcasting in Gauteng, Jacaranda offers a mix of more easy-listening adult contemporary music and news.Frequency: 94.2 FMJacaranda FM websiteBroadcast area: GautengAudience (past seven days): 2.32-millionLanguage: EnglishOffers live internet audioEast Coast RadioEast Coast broadcasts a mix of music and news to Durban and throughout KwaZulu-Natal.Frequency: 94 to 95 FMEast Coast radio websiteBroadcast area: KwaZulu-NatalAudience (past seven days): 2.06-millionLanguage: EnglishOffers live internet audioYfmHome of Kwaito and the “Y Generation”, Y is the country’s most popular youth station. Yfm has a self-imposed 50% local music quota – more than any other radio station in the country. It works in partnership with New York-based Masters At Work, who have released SA artists into the US and Europe as part of YFM’s ongoing commitment to South African music and culture.Frequency: 99.2 FMYFM websiteBroadcast area: GautengAudience (past seven days): 1.34-millionLanguage: EnglishOffers live internet audio5FMThe SABC’s trendy youth-oriented station, 5FM’s emphasis is on the latest music, movies and South African youth trends. Broadcasting in English to South Africa’s metropolitan areas, its music styles are international, and include a strong component of South African artists of world standard.Frequency: see the 5FM frequency finder5FM websiteBroadcast area: Metropolitan areas of Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western CapeAudience (past seven days): 1.32-millionLanguage: EnglishOffers live internet audio947 (previously known as 94.7 Highveld Stereo)Popular home of Anele’s Breakfast Club, 947 broadcasts a mix of contemporary music that connects with Joburg. It is owned by Primedia Broadcasting.Frequency: 94.7 FM947 websiteBroadcast area: GautengAudience (past seven days): 1.18-millionLanguage: EnglishOwned by: PrimediaKaya FMKaya FM provides an African-focused adult contemporary and jazz format, with a mix of music and talk. One of the country’s newest radio stations, Kaya broadcasts throughout Gauteng.Frequency: 95.9 FMKaya FM websiteBroadcast area: GautengAudience (past seven days): 932 000Language: EnglishOffers live internet audioGood Hope FMCape Town’s largest radio station, the SABC’s Good Hope FM plays contemporary music ranging from R&B, ballads and pop through to hip hop, dance, jazz and old school. With a broadcast footprint covering metropolitan Cape Town, Langebaan, Malmesbury, Wellington, Paarl, Franchhoek, Stellenbosch and Gordon’s Bay, it targets the 22- to 32-year-old age group.Frequency: 93.9 to 96.7 FMGood Hope FM websiteBroadcast area: Western CapeAudience (past seven days): 620 000Language: EnglishOffers live internet audioAlgoa FMAlgoa FM’s music and news is broadcast to the entire Eastern Cape region.Frequency: 94 to 96.7 FMAlgoa FM websiteBroadcast area: Eastern CapeAudience (past seven days): 448 000Language: EnglishOffers live internet audio702702 is Gauteng’s number-one current affairs and information station, offering news, sport, business and actuality programming – and lots of phone-in debate. Established in 1980, it was initially a youth music station, moving to the more adult talk format in 1988. During the apartheid era it was one of the only independent sources of broadcast news. The station is owned by Primedia.Frequency: 92.7 FM702 websiteBroadcast area: GautengAudience (past seven days): 281 000Language: EnglishOffers live internet audioCapeTalk 567Broadcasting on Medium Wave 567, CapeTalk is Cape Town’s first talk radio station. CapeTalk promises to bring you all the news, views, sport, weather, traffic and information you need. It is owned by Primedia.Frequency: 567 AM (MW)CapeTalk 567 websiteBroadcast area: Western CapeAudience (past seven days): 82 000Language: EnglishOffers live internet audioClassic FMBased on the UK station, Classic FM has been broadcasting classical music throughout Gauteng since September 1997. Through their partnership with Business Day, the station offers in-depth business coverage each week night from 6pm. There are also lifestyle features, news, financial updates, sport, and interviews with local artists and composers.Frequency: 102.7 FMClassic FM websiteBroadcast area: GautengAudience (past seven days): 151 000Language: EnglishOffers live internet audioKfm 94.5With the tagline “The most music. Feel Great”, Kfm 94.5 broadcasts adult contemporary music in the Western Cape and as far afield as Alexander Bay and the Northern Cape. It is owned by Primedia.Frequency: 94.5 FMKfm 94.5 websiteBroadcast area: Western Cape, Northern CapeAudience (past seven days): 1.29-millionLanguage: EnglishOffers live internet audioOFMThe commercial regional station of the Free State (a province with the name Orange Free State before 1994, hence the O), OFM broadcasts adult contemporary music.Frequency: 94 to 97 FMOFM websiteBroadcast area: Free StateAudience (past seven days): 436 000Language: English and AfrikaansOffers live internet audioRadio 2000To the listener, Radio 2000 is a laid back and non-intrusive radio station. Radio 2000, being a facility station, relies heavily on sports broadcasts. The result is that its listenership fluctuates, since it is often based on national and international sports events.Frequency: 97.2 to 100.2 FMRadio 2000 websiteBroadcast area: All provinces, except the Northern CapeAudience (past seven days): 151 000Language: EnglishChannel AfricaThe international radio service of the SABC offers a multilingual source of information on Africa – with news, music and sports. Broadcasts are in Chinyanja, Silozi, Kiswahili, English, French and Portuguese, with shortwave broadcasts covering south, east, central and west Africa, satellite broadcasts covering the sub-Saharan region – and internet broadcasts covering the entire world.Frequency: see the Channel Africa frequency guideChannel Africa websiteBroadcast area: south, east, central and west Africa (shortwave)Language: English, Chinyanja, Silozi, Kiswahili, French and PortugueseOffers live internet audioUseful linksAnt RadioBroadcasting Complaints Commission of South AfricaDepartment of CommunicationsFreedom of Expression InstituteInstitute for the Advancement of JournalismWits JournalismMedia Development and Diversity AgencyMedia Institute of Southern AfricaNational Association of BroadcastersNational Community Radio ForumPrimediaSouth African Audience Research FoundationSouth African Broadcasting CorporationSouth African National Editors ForumWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Black filmmakers get boost for big productions

first_imgSouth Africa has launched a three-year incentive scheme to help black filmmakers develop their businesses to the point they can take on big productions – and create more jobs in the country’s growing movie industry.Trade and industry minister Rob Davies launched the South African Emerging Black Filmmakers Incentive Programme on 16 September.The programme, which will run until March 2017, will give a rebate of 50% for the first R6-million filmmakers spend in Qualifying South African Production Expenditure. Known as QSAPE, this is the money spent on copyright and goods owned by film producers, and on facilities and services provided by South African companies and individuals. Qualifying applicants will also receive 25% of QSAPE expenses over R6-million.Local filmmaker Uzanenkosi Mahlangu, creator and producer of the local TV series Intersexions, said the new incentive would benefit South African black scriptwriters and filmmakers, as they currently struggled to produce uncommissioned, original material by themselves.“The incentive programme will change all of that,” he said. “Although it might not persuade lawyers and economists to turn into filmmakers but it might stop some filmmakers from feeling like they needed something to fall back on.”Making films to boost economic growthDavies said at the launch that the new incentive aimed to give emerging black filmmakers direct support that was not available in the Film and Television Production and Coproduction Incentive programme, launched in 2004. That scheme was set up to stimulate economic growth and participation in the industry.“The film industry, through various engagements and consultations, indicated that the previous scheme and threshold did not accommodate nor support emerging filmmakers,” he said.“The Department of Trade and Industry has now reduced the threshold and upped the incentive in an effort to create many opportunities for people with low-budget productions for televisions and films. In this way more productions will be supported than ever before.”In discussions held with members of the film and TV industry in May, Davies gave the assurance that his department would continue to improve its incentive scheme for South African filmmakers.The country’s movie industry needs quality filmmakers, he said at the launch of the incentive, for it to live up to its reputation of being a competitive driver of the economy. The DTI also plans to send a trade mission to Hollywood to showcase the South African film industry.The incentive is open to South African black-owned qualifying productions with a total production budget of R1-million or more. Companies must be at least 65% owned by black South Africans and have a level three black economic empowerment status. They must also employ a black producer or director who is credited for that role in the film.Related links:Industrial Development CorporationDepartment of Trade and IndustryNational Film and Video Foundationlast_img read more