Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Education - We've lost the plot

I don't have kids so some would ask what I have to bleat about education?  Well I'll tell you!  Our entire education system as well as our entire culture are just in shambles and yet those in the know with small voices (figuratively) can do little to change the tide of devastation.  Our country is ripe for a new revolution, but sadly the only revolution currently taking place is heading in the wrong direction as well. 

We are 20 years post the dawn of democracy and what do we have to show for it?  A 75% pass rate.  Mind you they don't even tell us how many of those who failed have done so for the second or third time, so technically that should push the figures down.  Even more shocking is how few children that start in grade 1 actually matriculate. 

But is it only the school system that is to blame?  I don't think so but I'll come back to the schools in case you were thinking I'd spare them.  No education begins at home.  I'm no idiot I know that in today's society in most cases both parents HAVE to work in order to make ends meet if you are in the lower classes, but there are those who could afford to stay home that choose to work.  Ja right, women's lib, I hear you, BUT!....... I know what a key role my mother played in my education. 

Was my mother a teacher?  Nope, but the one thing she did teach me is how to think for myself and not only that, how to learn by myself.  My mom nurtured childish curiosity not by giving me the answers to all the questions I had about life and school work, but with some simple words, "Go and look it up in the dictionary or encyclopedia."  Mom knew full well that the moment I sat down and looked up a word in our beautiful Readers Digest dictionary's that I would not leave the study for a good hour.  The pictures drew me in, captured my imagination and fed my hunger to learn.  What do we do nowadays?  There is no time for parental guidance, so we push the kids through their homework with only completing the bare minimum that needed to be done. 

Okay so now I hear you say, "but what about the rural areas where there are no resources?"  Well Mr President, if you had taken the money spent on Nkandla and rather spent that on rural school buildings, our country would be richer for it.  There are a ton of ways that we could improve rural education without having to increase the staff compliment, like video's, computer access, education TV and so much more.  We don't need more teachers, we need more tools. 

But lets go back to teachers for a moment.  Now if you consider that most likely the teachers teaching your child today probably also only completed schooling with the bare minimum education and then probably skidded through teachers training college, then how in the world are they supposed to deliver top quality education to our children and get them to excel?  Is there a requirement that in order to teach you need to have an 80% pass rate?  Nope!  Then don't get me started on unions and strikes!!!!!

The worst part for me about how poorly children are passing these days is that they never figure out what their aptitude is inclined towards, so they finish school and take the wrong jobs and make the rest of the population unhappy and that does affect me directly, so again, yes I have a right to bleat!

So what are the answers?  I don't have them because I did not study to be an educator but an accountant.  What I do know is that in the multitude of counsellors, good counsellors, comes wisdom.  So if you don't want to take advice from a South African white person, then go to another country where they are getting it right and ask them how to sort out this mess. 








Friday, November 14, 2014

So much more

It has been a long time since I just sat down and doodled or wrote something creative, just for the sake of putting words on paper.  Today is my Friday afternoon off and yes there are things that need to be done, so many things, but if I don't first take the time to express my heart and soul I just won't find meaning in anything else. 

This year has been hard, rough in many ways and it has taken its toll on me, but I would not change a single moment of it for anything better.  I have found so much meaning in every tragedy and every triumph and I know deep down in there is just so much more to life than I am currently experiencing and I so desperately want more.....I want so much more!

There are so many things that have happened this year that could have left me feeling angry and bitter at life but I am choosing not to go there.  I am choosing to allow each of these difficult circumstances to break chains of bondage that have held me back for so many years from achieving my dreams and goals. 

Now I have no more inhibitions!  I have found my core.  I know what I am capable of in life, love and in my career and I know that next year will be the year I break all barriers and limits and I am going to forge on in the direction I want my life to go in.  I will let nothing hold me back, not money, not race, not religion, not my marital status, not the car I drive or the home I live in....it is indeed time to break free!

In the next 2-3 months I will gather my strength, I will plot my course and when the new year breaks I will be ready to take on the challenges that will most certainly face me. 

I am ready!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

HOW TO WORK IN ANY ENVIRONMENT (By: T.D. Jakes)

1.  Don't expect to be appreciated. Your only expectation should be to get a pay cheque.
2.  Don't come to work to have personal relationships.  Don't allow what you do to affect who you are.
3.  Do your job well, but remember your mission. God put you there to be a Light.
4.  Seek opportunities to change the atmosphere without commenting on the problems.
5.  You are on an assignment. Quietness and competence shall be your strength.
6.  Don't let your environment get inside of you. You should influence it, not let it influence you.
7.  Stop going to work to be fed. You didn't come to receive, you came to give.
8.  Increase your capacity to work with different personalities. God will often bless you through people you don't even like!
9.  Remember, where you are does not define where you are going. This will deliver you from frustration. God has a plan for your life. Keep your     eye on the prize.
10.  Get the optimum results with minimal confusion. Be effective without making the environment worse.
11.  Don't be associated with one group or clique. Labels limit your usefulness. God wants you to work with everybody but be labelled   by nobody.
12.  Use all your gifts.
13.  Always keep your song near you. Keep a consecrated place in your soul. Hold on to your praise.
14.  Understand that God anoints you for trouble. Put on the whole armour of God before going to work.
 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Just chilling

Note: This article shares my personal convictions and political views and don't expect others to share my opinions.

The icy cold weather in SA over the last two weeks certainly has changed the way I look at the two words 'just chilling'. It was reported last week that it was the first time in known history that it has snowed in all 9 provinces in SA at the same time and we certainly felt that.

I suppose the biggest frustration for me is knowing that in nearly 20 years of democracy our government has shown little resolve in fixing the problems of the homeless and destitute with many still living in shacks and informal dwellings. This while millions of rands of government funding by tax payers is wasted through fraud and corruption.

Though I would certainly never join our current governing party myself as I don't share their political views, I certainly would have more respect for the party if it showed any real commitment to being a government for the people, by the people (To quote Abraham Lincoln). The world stands by and applauds that we now have democratic freedom in our country, but I have to dispute that view.

A balanced democracy would have a balance of power that forced the governing party to act in a manor that would benefit the majority of the population. This benefit should be best shown in the way we treat the poor and everything possible should be done to ensure that we provide adequate housing for all.

What is the purpose of having rigid building codes when faster, and cheaper building methods could be found that could possibly cost less and support recycling initiatives? In the tornado rife USA, wooden homes are a norm. Sure America has larger forestry supplies than SA but have you taken a drive through our forestry lands? We certainly have sufficient stock of wood to be used for better purposes than just paper and furniture.

Why are we not engaging the engineering skills of other countries as opposed to adopting a do it yourself strategy that is clearly failing the poor? What about using all the top notch university qualified brains that we do have at our disposal to find solutions to our dilemma.

When the 'housing boom' hit the country, why could foresight not be given into ensuring that all new homes were built with solar geysers? Surely if this was done we would not have seen the collapse of our electricity energy grid.

I think a drastic change of mindset is needed in our country. We have the means, opportunity and ability to address the issues of poverty, what we lack is the political will to make it happen. That being said, street riots, burning buildings and destroying government property is not the solution. Has no thought been given to the fact that if you break something, time and money needs to be spent first fixing what is broken before new money can be spent on new infrastructure?

If pen and paper were all it would take to fix the problem, I'd write until my fingers bled. I wish there were more I could do but for now, I suppose the only option I have is stand by my convictions and write about them and hopefully one day, when the sun shines on a reformed country we will see justice, peace and above all provision for all who live in our beautiful country.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Interesting Springbok Facts

  1. Barry John was the first International player to be replaced (substituted), British Lions vs Springboks, the Replacement of injured players was added to the 1968-69 Laws (law 12) of up to two players per team. Keven de Klerk is first Springbok replacement.
  2. Herbert Hayton Castens was the first Springbok cricket & rugby captain.
  3. Paul Roos was the first Springbok captain as they where only called "Springboks" since 1906.
  4. South Africa (Springboks) has never lost in a IRB Rugby World Cup Final.
  5. Chris Koch only Springbok to play for 3 decades.
  6. Victor Matfield & Fourie du Preez became the first rugby players to beat the All Blacks four times in a single year when they defeated the Kiwis in the Barbarians match as well.
  7. Since the Springboks inception at IRB Rugby World Cup in 1995, the mighty All Blacks has never again won the Webb Ellis Trophy.
  8. The Springboks are one of only two teams since 1987 who have managed to win the Webb Ellis Cup twice.
  9. In 2009, the Springboks beat the New Zealand (All Blacks) in all three tests they played against each other.
  10. In more than 100 years of test rugby, no one has ever scored a hat trick of tries against the Springboks.
  11. Legendary Springbok Prop Os du Randt is one of only four players to have won the Rugby World Cup twice. The others are Australians (Wallabies) John Eales, Tim Horan & Jason Little.
  12. On 25 September 1937, the Springboks clinched their first-ever series victory in New Zealand by beating the All Blacks 17 – 6 at Eden Park in Auckland.
  13. The Springboks have never lost to Canada, Fiji, Georgia, Namibia, Romania, Spain, Tonga, USA, Uruguay, Argentina, Portugal or Samoa.
  14. Two players, Christian Stewart & Tiaan Strauss, have played both For & Against the Springboks.
  15. South Africa played their first test in 1891 in Port Elizabeth against the British Isles, and lost 0-4.
  16. Percy Montgomery is the first Springbok to have played in 100 tests. He retired in 2008 after a record 102 tests & 893 points in the Springbok jersey. Victor Matfield & John Smit also have 100 test caps now.
  17. Ten sets of fathers and sons have played for South Africa, the most recent being Hennie & Andries Bekker.
  18. The wives of twelve Springboks have represented South Africa in other sports, the most recent being Hannelie du Randt, wife of Os, as a swimmer.
  19. Francois Pienaar, led the South African national team, the Springboks, to victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the first major tournament held in post-apartheid South Africa. Pienaar was praised by Pres. Nelson Mandela for his leadership of the team and his attempts to reach out to all sectors of South African society.
  20. In 1949 Danie Craven became selector & manager/coach of the Springboks & he served in that capacity for several years. In 1956 he became president of the South African Rugby Board (SARB), a position he held until his death in 1993. In 1959 he was elevated to chairman of the International Rugby Football Board (IRB).
  21. Tom Van Vollenhoven (Karel Thomas Van Vollenhoven), born April 29, 1935, Bethlehem, South Africa. He is Springbok rugby player who reached the pinnacle of success in both Rugby Union & Rugby League. He played on the wing for the Springboks, in 1955 against the British Lions (known as the British & Irish Lions) & during its 1956 tour of New Zealand. Against the Lions at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, he became the first Springbok to perform a hat trick (score three tries) on home soil.
  22. In 2005, the Springboks scored 134 points against Uruguay in East London, their most in a test ever.
  23. Joost van der Westhuizen scored 38 tries in 89 tests for the Springboks.
  24. Percy Montgomery & Naas Botha are the only Springboks who have kicked 50 or more conversions in tests.
  25. After scoring for the Springboks in 2004, Victor Matfield had to wait 57 Tests before scoring for the Boks again in 2009.
  26. The Springboks have won 15 out of 18 Tests at neutral venues.
  27. The first drawn Test for South Africa was on 26 August 1903 against the British Lions in Johannesburg (10 – 10).
  28. South Africa scored 10 tries in their 38 – 0 victory over Ireland in Dublin in 1912.
  29. The Springboks have drawn 19 Tests between 1891 & 2010.
  30. The Springboks have never lost to Argentina.
  31. South Africa's first Test victory was on 5 September 1896 against the British Lions at Newlands in Cape Town. The score was 5 – 0.
  32. The Springboks' first overseas victory was on 24 November 1906 against Ireland in Belfast. The score was 15 – 12.
  33. In 1910, the Springboks beat the British Lions 2 – 1 in South Africa.
  34. Springboks Jannie du Plessis, Brendan Venter, Divan Serfontein, Chris Pope, Dr Edrich Krantz, Uli Schmidt, Dr Daan du Plessis, Derick van den Berg & Ian Mc Cullum are all medical doctors.
  35. At 893, Percy Montgomery has scored the most test points ever in a Springbok jersey
  36. Former Springboks Felix & Morné du Plessis are to date the only Father-Son combination to both Captain the Springboks
  37. The late Jaco Reinach was a Springbok wing in four tests and represented South Africa in track and field.
  38. Schalk Burger was the IRB International Player of the Year in 2004.
  39. Between 1984 & 1986 Springbok centre Danie Gerber scored tries in six successive tests for the Boks, scoring a hat trick twice!
  40. Garry Pagel, Rudolf Straeuli & Brendan Venter were used as Springbok replacements in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Finals.
  41. The quickest try ever scored in a Bok test was by Fourie du Preez against the All Blacks in Wellington in 2006. Du Preez scored in 15 seconds!
  42. Peter Cronje scored the first four-point try for the Boks in the last test against the British & Irish Lions at Ellis Park in 1974.
  43. Tonderai Chavhanga's six tries against Uruguay in East London in 2005 is the most in one test by a Springbok.
  44. Five Boks – Chester Williams, Pieter Rossouw, Stefan Terblanche, Bryan Habana and Jongi Nokwe – have scored four tries in one test.
  45. Percy Montgomery holds the Springbok record for the most conversions in one test: In 2007, he converted 12 tries against Namibia at Newlands.
  46. Gavin Johnson, Johan Roux and Naka Drotske were the unused Springbok replacements in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final.
  47. Bismarck du Plessis and Wikus van Heerden were used as Springbok replacements in the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final.
  48. George Daneel is the only Springbok to ever reach the ripe old age of 100. He was born on 29 August 1904, played eight tests between 1928 and 1932 and passed away on 19 October 2004.
  49. Between 23 August 1997 & 28 November 1998, the Boks won 17 successive test matches.
  50. Johan Ackermann, at 37 years & 34 days old, was the oldest Springbok to ever play in a test match. The game was on 7 July 2007 against the Wallabies.
  51. On 22 September 2007, the Boks had a combined total of 311 test caps on the bench when they faced Tonga at the Rugby World Cup. The reserves were John Smit, BJ Botha, Victor Matfield, Juan Smith, Bryan Habana, Francois Steyn and Percy Montgomery.
  52. Morné du Plessis & his dad, Felix, both captained the Boks.
  53. Morné du Plessis captained the Boks to 13 victories in 15 tests.
  54. Jaque Fourie has scored tries against each of the 16 opposing nations he has faced in tests for the Boks.
  55. The first time the Boks managed to score more than 50 points in a single test was against Western Samoa at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
  56. Danie Gerber scored 19 tries in his 33 tests for the Boks, the best Springbok try-scoring ratio.
  57. With six tries, Joost van der Westhuizen is the Springbok who has crossed the All Blacks' try-line the most in tests.
  58. Three Springboks have scored hat tricks of tries against the All Blacks, although Bryan Habana scored his tries playing for the Barbarians. The others are Ray Mordt & Marius Joubert.
  59. John Smit scored tries in two consecutive Castle Tri-Nations tests in 2011, the first two of the season.
  60. Morné Steyn's eight penalty kicks against the All Blacks in Durban in 2009 are the most by a Springbok in a test.
  61. Chiliboy Ralepelle scored his first test try against Australia in Sydney in 2011.
  62. From 1891 to the end of 2010, the Boks have played 395 tests & 339 friendlies.
  63. Irish referee Alain Rolland has handled the most Bok test matches – 13 to be exact.
  64. Os du Randt holds the record for the longest Springbok career – 13 years and 12 days – stretching from his debut in 1994 to his last test in 2007.
  65. Out of the 28 tests Adrian Garvey played for the Springboks, they won 24. This is the highest winning percentage (86%) by a Springbok for players with 20 tests or more.
  66. At 60 tests, Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha hold the world record for the longest lock partnership in a starting 15.
  67. Breyton Paulse's seven tries against the Wallabies are the most by any Springbok in tests against Australia.
  68. Ten sets of fathers and sons have played for the Boks – the last being Flippie (prop) and Flip (lock) van der Merwe.
  69. The Springboks scored 15 points in both Rugby World Cup Finals that they've won, 1995 it was 15-12 & in 2007 it was 15–6.
  70. To date, the Boks have won 20 out of their 26 tests in Port Elizabeth.
  71. To date, the Boks have won 20 out of their 31 tests in Durban.
  72. The Springboks have the second-highest winning percentage in test rugby out of all the major test-playing nations.
  73. Ollie le Roux, with 43 appearances on the Bok bench, is the Springbok who was used most as a replacement in tests.
  74. Joost van der Westhuizen and Henry Honiball played together as half-backs 24 times – the most in tests for the Springboks.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Winter blues

1. Winter Solstice

In the northern hemisphere, the first day of the winter season is the day of the year when the Sun is farthest south, normally on December 21st or 22nd. This day is known as the Winter Solstice. A common misconception is that the earth is further from the sun in winter than in summer, but the Earth is actually closest to the sun in December which is winter in the Northern hemisphere. The day of the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, because the length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a minimum for the year. In the United States, there are only about 9½ hours of daylight on this day.

2. Boy that's cold!

The coldest temperature ever recorded in the world was -128 degrees Celsius, in Vostok Station in Antarctica in 1983.

3. Ice

Black ice is extremely dangerous, because this type is difficult if not impossible to see. Black ice usually forms in a very thin, very slippery layer, and usually forms first on structures such as bridges. Much of the damage done by winter storms is not from snow, but from the weight of ice.

4. No Two Snowflakes are alike!

Snowflakes start as ice crystals that freeze around small pieces of dust in the air. As they fall to the earth, the ice crystals join together to form snow flakes. The shape of each snowflake is determined by temperature, wind, the amount of time it takes to fall to the ground, and the amount of water vapor in the air.

5. The Largest Snowflake

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, on January 28, 1887, a 15 inch wide, 8 inch thick snowflake ever observed fell in Fort Keogh, Montana.

6. World's Tallest Snowman

It was built to bring attention to the Bethel, Maine area and allow the total community to come together for a project. The people of Bethel and the surrounding area worked 5 months to plan and build the 113 foot 7 inch tall snowman which broke the former record held by Yamagata, Japan of 96 feet 7 inches. At 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 1999 the record was officially broken. Two town officials, a regional photographer, a videographer, a licensed professional surveyor and the president of the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce were on hand to verify the actual size and height for the Guinness Book of World Records.

7. The Winter of 1779 – 1780

It was so cold that ice was piled 20 feet high along the Delmarva Coast and stayed there until spring. The upper portion of the Chesapeake Bay and the entire Potomac River was frozen solid, allowing people to walk from Annapolis to Kent Island and from Alexandria in to D.C.

8. Snow

The all-time world record for the largest snowfall in a single day was set in the United States on December 4, 1913, when Georgetown, Colorado received a staggering 63 inches of snow – more than five feet.

9. Seasonal Affective Disorder

The "winter blues" were first diagnosed in 1984. And have recently been named seasonal affective disorder or S.A.D. According to the Mayo Clinic, Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you're like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.

10. Chionophobia

People with chionophobia are simply said to have a fear of snow. One of the largest components to this fear is the idea of becoming snowbound. A forecast calling for a snowstorm can bring on cold sweats, panic attacks, and even an unrealistic feeling of doom and dread. People with chionophobia will rarely venture out into the snow for fear of being stranded as well.

 

 


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Awesome facts about South Africa

Infrastructure:

The world's biggest hospital is the Chris Hani - Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.

South Africa is one of only 12 countries where tap water is safe to drink. Its tap water is rated the third best worldwide.

Pretoria has the second largest number of embassies in the world after Washington, D.C.

South Africa is the world's biggest producer and exporter of mohair.

The rand, the world’s most actively traded emerging market currency, has joined an elite club of 15 currencies - the Continuous Linked
Settlement (CLS) - where forex transactions are settled immediately, lowering the risks of transacting across time zones.

South Africa mines deeper than any other country in the world, up to depths of 2.5 miles at the Western Deep Levels Mine.

It has the largest hydro-electric tunnel system in the world at the Orange Fish Rivers Tunnel.

South Africa is the second largest exporter of fruit in the world.

Electricity costs are the second lowest in the world.

South Africa is the world's largest producer of macadamia nuts.

Officially, the youngest language in the world is Afrikaans. By the early-20th century Afrikaans had developed from Dutch, French and
other influences into a fully fledged language with its own dictionary. After a mere 90 years, it is the second most spoken
language in South Africa (Zulu is the most spoken, the Zulu people being the largest ethnic group).

South Africa is the world's biggest producer of gold, platinum, chromium, vanadium, manganese and alumino-silicates. It also produces
nearly 40% of the world's chrome and vermiculite.

Durban is the largest port in Africa and the ninth largest in the world.

South Africa generates two-thirds of Africa's electricity.

There are about 280,000 windmills on farms across South Africa, second in number only to Australia.

The world's two largest platinum mines are located near Rustenburg.

While occupying 4% of Africa's landmass, South Africa boasts more than 50% of the cars, phones, automatic bank tellers and industrial facilities on the continent.

The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), now rising from a Karoo koppie in Sutherland is the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere (and third largest in the world).

South Africa is a middle income country with a strong emerging economy – the 25th largest in the world - and produces more goods than Portugal, Russia or Singapore. It also has Africa’s biggest economy, three times larger than Nigeria or Egypt.

South Africa has the fourth largest coal reserves in the world. Its coal industry ranks sixth in the world in terms of output of hard coal and third in terms of seaborne international coal trade.

Currently, South Africa is the only country in the world that has voluntarily dismantled its nuclear arsenal.

South Africa has 19,004 miles of railway track - 80% of Africa's rail infrastructure.

South Africa has the oldest wine industry outside of Europe and the Mediterranean, featuring Chardonnays, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cinsault, Riesling, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage varietals.

Entertainment:

South Africa has the second oldest Film Industry in the world.

The Cape Argus Cycle Tour is the largest timed cycle race in the world.
South Africa has the longest wine route in the world.

South Africa has the highest commercial bungi jump in the world (710 feet).

M-Net is Africa's largest pay television service, delivering 24-hour programming to dozens of countries across the continent.

South Africa has the most luxurious train in the world, The Rovos Rail.

The Lost City Resort is the largest thermal resort in the world as well as the largest building project undertaken in the southern hemisphere.

Military History:

South Africa has the world's second oldest air force, established 1920.
The Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) was the first war of the 20th century and saw the introduction of trench warfare, the first large-scale use of concentration camps for non-combatants, and the most prolonged period of guerrilla warfare by a conquered nation's military against a victorious army.

Camouflage was first used in battle by the Boers, who used camouflaged trenches and adapted battledress to blend into treeless landscapes.

The world's first news footage and propaganda films were shot during the Anglo-Boer War.

Technologically, it saw the first use of a generation of weapons that are still with us today - automatic handguns, magazine-fed rifles, and machine guns.

The Guinness Book of Records lists the Anglo-Boer War as Britain's most costly war outside of the two World Wars.

Travel & Nature:

The Kruger National Park nature reserve supports the greatest variety of wildlife species on the African continent. It is roughly the size of Wales, or the state of Massachusetts (USA), which makes it the eighth largest reserve in the world.

Home to one of the world's 6 floral kingdoms, South Africa has one-tenth (23 200) of the world's flowering plants, of which nearly 19 000 are endemic, making it the richest region in the world in terms of species to area - 1.7 times richer even than Brazil. It is the only country in the world to contain an entire floral kingdom.

It is home to more kinds of mammals than North and South America combined; or Europe and Asia together.

South African grasslands have approximately 30 species per square kilometer, greater than the biodiversity of rainforests.

Table Mountain in Cape Town is believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world. Standing at just over 1000 metres, it dominates the city's skyline. Table Mountain can be seen as far as 200 kilometres out to sea.

South Africa has the third highest level of biodiversity in the world.

Paarl is South Africa's third oldest town and home to KWV Cellars- the largest wine cellar in the world (covering 22 hectares).

Kimberley's 'Big Hole' is the largest hand-dug hole in the world and is deeper than Table Mountain is high. Kimberley also has the only drive-in pubs in the world.

Mpumalanga province is home to the Blyderiver Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world - and the largest green one. The Grand Canyon in the U.S. is the biggest, and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia the second, but both are very dry.

The Tugela Falls in KwaZulu Natal, at 948m (3110ft), is the second highest waterfall in the world.

The world's best land-based whale-watching spot is located in Hermanus, Western Cape.

Mossel Bay is in the Guinness Book of records as having the second most moderate climate in the world.

Seal Island in False Bay is the only place in the world where Great Whites consistently breach (leap completely out of the water) to catch their prey, mainly seals. It also boasts the highest frequency of Great White shark attacks in the world.

In 1991, South Africa became the first country in the world to protect the Great White shark.

According to 'Trivial Pursuit', Graaf-Reinett in the Western Cape has the world's biggest grapevine.

Fossilized footprints were found at Langebaan Lagoon, Western Cape, in a sand-dune-turned-rock. The 117,000 year-old fossils are the oldest known footprints of an anatomically modern human.

Most of the world's proto-mammalian fossils are found in the Karoo region.

The 2,02 billion year-old crater in Vredefort is the oldest known crater on Earth. The general estimate of its original diameter is roughly 300 km, which makes it the largest crater on the planet, as well.

The Sterkfontein Caves, in Gauteng, is the site where the oldest human skeletal remains were found in the world (3,5 million years old). This is the place where the human race was born!  

Close to Oudtshoorn are the Cango Caves, a 3 km long sequence of caverns of glittering stalagmites and stalactites, which makes it the longest underground cave sequence in the world.

The Boesmansgat is renowned as the second deepest sinkhole (about 299 metres) and the largest of its kind in the world. Many attempts have been made at world records in cave-diving in this exceptional sinkhole.

The St. Lucia estuarine system, in Kwazulu Natal, is the largest estuarine system in Africa.

South Africa is home to the world's smallest succulent plants (less than 0.39 inches) and the largest (the baobab tree).

Business:

The Rand Refinery is the largest refinery of gold in the world.

The South African oil company SASOL has established the only commercially proven oil from coal operations in the world.

The world's biggest producer of non-fuel minerals is South African company Anglo-American Corporation.

The University of South Africa UNISA is a pioneer of tertiary distance education and is believed to be the largest correspondence university in the world with 250,000 students.

Eskom, the national electricity utility, is the world's fourth largest in terms of both sales volume and normal capacity.

The De Beers Group of companies control more than 80% of the world supply of rough diamonds.

SABMiller ranks as the largest brewing company in the world by volume. It supplies up to 50% of China's beer.

Samancor Limited is the world's largest producer by sales of manganese and chrome products.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange was the 7th best performing stock market in 2005, according to the World Federation of Exchanges.

Stellenbosch University was the first university in the world to design and launch a microsatellite.

South Africa is the sole producer of the Mercedes Benz C Class, right-hand drive vehicles.

KSDP Pentagraph is rated as the world's second best design company by British design magazine, 'Creative Review'. The company is responsible for the new-look packaging of 'Fanta' and design modifications of 'Coca-Cola' soft drinks worldwide.