2023 Joburg Film Festival Announces Opening Film

The Joburg Film Festival powered by Multichoice, taking place in the heart of Egoli from 31 January to 5 February 2023, is excited to announce the opening film, the Moussa Sene Absa directed masterpiece “XALE”. 

Tickets for the 60+ films being screened across Gauteng are now on sale via the JFF website, www.joburgfilmfestival.co.za.

The festival will showcase some of the finest films from over 35 countries across the globe, including 20 African premieres and 27 South African premieres, and will run until Sunday, 5th February 2023 at various locations across the city.

The opening film XALE follows the life of Awa, a 15-year-old  African schoolgirl who is happily living her teenage years alongside her twin brother Adama, who dreams of Europe. This beautiful Senegalese feature immerses the viewer into a storyline of family values, love, life and betrayal.

The Joburg Film Festival line-up includes films from South Africa, Tunisia, Brazil, Seoul, USA, Japan, Morocco and more, with a mix of feature films and documentaries showcasing stories that cross cultural boundaries.

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Sandton City Shoppers Urged to Donate School Uniforms and Stationery

As part of its commitment to its extended community, Sandton City has launched a school uniform and stationery essentials collection drive, urging shoppers to donate anything from shirts to pants, from socks to shoes, and stationery items to help learners in Alexandra Community start their year off on a high note. Aimed at making learners’ schools journey more meaningful, the centre started the collection with the first 400 sets of stationery and hopes that shoppers will get behind the initiative that has the potential to make a real difference.

Any individual stationery items, such as pens, pencils, rulers, erasers, notebooks and crayons, are welcome. Alternatively, pre-packed sets are available from Checkers and CNA in the centre. The collection boxes are located in front of back-to-school specialists Checkers, Jet and Woolworths and will be emptied regularly until 31 January, when the items will be handed over to the non-profit organisation Rays of Hope, well known for its incredible work focused on uplifting the youth in Alexandra.

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Urchin Makes Waves in Cape Town’s Culinary Scene

The culinary panorama in the Mother City has been elevated with the opening of Urchin Restaurant, located at The Hyatt Regency Cape Town on Buitengracht Street.

There is a complexity to achieving true simplicity in a restaurant setting. It is an art. At Urchin Restaurant it is a beautifully and precisely choreographed ballet in which sustainable fresh fish and seafood are the prima and danseur. The hallmarks of the Urchin elemental ocean dining experience are underpinned by excellent, unobtrusive service, locally sourced and produced ingredients, and world class wine from a carefully curated wine cellar.

The Chef

Throughout his life, Chef Gerard van Staden has strived to achieve greatness within his chosen field, and so far, his personality and inquisitiveness have allowed him to achieve many great things in South Africa and abroad. Growing up in a single parent family in Zimbabwe, Gerard taught himself to cook out of necessity, not knowing that he was following a path which would eventually lead him to becoming acclaimed Chef of the Year on three occasions, alongside South Africa’s Number One restaurant in two different locations.

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Ndlovu Youth Choir “AGT All-Stars” Performance

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT: ALL-STARS – “VTR” Episode – (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

I’ve had the privilege of seeing the Ndlovu Youth Choir live on at least 3 separate occasions at corporate gigs, and each time they blew the audience away with their energy, audience interaction and sheer talent!

Image by Mishkah Roman-Cassiem

From humble beginnings, in the Moutse Valley, in rural Mpumalanga to performances at the 94th Academy Awards (Oscars) and across the globe, South Africa’s ever popular and most loved choir, Ndlovu Youth Choir were recently invited to perform at the America’s Got Talent All-Stars competition in Los Angeles earlier this month. The Choir’s exemplary performance was broadcast on NBC Eastern time in the USA on Monday, 23 January 2023.  Local fans can catch the Ndlovu Youth Choir’s performance tomorrow, Tuesday, 24 January 2023 after the NBC broadcast.  Tune in to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday morning after the broadcast.  Website: https://www.youtube.com/@AGT 

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Gregory Porter Performs in sold out concerts in South Africa

One of the greatest voices of our generation, two-time GRAMMY® Award winning singing sensation Gregory Porter returns to South Africa this month for his first solo concert tour ‘An Intimate Evening with Gregory Porter brought to you by Liberty’. He performed in Cape Town at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens today, Saturday, 21 January 2023.

Johannesburg concerts take place at Montecasino’s Teatro on 23, 24, 26, 27 and 28 January 2023 at 8pm.

Brought to you by Liberty and Showtime Management in association with Cape Talk and 702, the SA concert tour dates, including two additional Johannesburg shows, sold out within days of going on sale.

Cape Town based South African singer, actress, storyteller, playwright and inspirational speaker, The One Who Sings (Zolani Mahola) is the opening supporting act at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and local musician, composer, producer and curator Msaki is the supporting act for the Johannesburg concerts.

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Shazam Shares 2023 Predictions

Every day, Shazam receives tens of millions of requests from users around the world who want to know more about the artist behind the song they’ve just discovered. These Shazams can come from anywhere—social media, car commercials, coffee shops, the mall —making them a powerful tool for predicting the next class of global superstars. 
 
Today, Shazam unveils its annual Predictions 2023 playlist, a 50-track selection of artists that are perfectly poised to have a breakthrough year. Additionally, Shazam is spotlighting 5 artists from the list who have the potential to break out globally in 2023 and, for the first time, 5 artists who are gaining popularity regionally. Based on Shazam’s uniquely predictive data and algorithms, and coupled with the expertise of Apple Music’s global editorial team, this incredible selection of artists show early indicators of future growth — early and consistent momentum in Shazam activity, as well as discovery trends in more than one country.

Looking back at last year’s predictions, Shazam demonstrated, once again, its ability to uncover talent from every corner of the world earlier than any other service. Artists like the incredible Ayra Starr, who was one of Shazam’s five featured predictions last January, made Shazam’s Global Top 10 in October and is now being heralded as an artist to watch in 2023 by other platforms. Looking at streams, several listed artists saw their plays more than double on Apple Music worldwide from Dec. 1, 2021 through Nov. 30, 2022, compared to the previous 12 months, including Ivan Cornejo (+329%), DannyLux (+189%), Mina Okabe(+217%), La Zarra (+308%) and Lojay (+696%)
 
Overall, around half the artists featured in the Shazam Predictions 2022 playlist made Shazam’s Top 200 National charts and Apple Music’s Daily Top 100 charts. These artists were featured on 44 Shazam charts and 148 Apple Music charts. Three artists made Shazam’s national Top 10 and 13 made Apple Music’s. And two artists made national  No. 1 on Shazam, and seven did the same in Apple Music, showing a plethora of amazing accomplishments by these artists over the course of 2022.
 
This year’s selection represents another remarkably global and diverse group of talented artists, hailing from all corners of the globe including Japan, Colombia, Spain, France, and Nigeria. 
 

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Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide

Things can get a little awkward when you realise that you forgot to buy a Christmas gift for your loved ones.  But don’t be too hard on yourself, we’ve all been there. Despite the best laid plans, Christmas always manages to appear out of nowhere and surprise us. Between all the shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, and prepping for the big day, something is bound to fall through the cracks. The good news is that you’ve realised before it’s too late, and there is still plenty of time to muster up a meaningful gift.

Let’s face it, figuring out what to gift someone can be quite challenging. Even more so when you only have a matter of days to pull something together.  While you could grab a holiday card and stuff it with cash, the best gifts are thoughtful ones. That’s why the gift of experiences is an amazing idea as experiences are meaningful, surprising, and often, much more impactful. And what bigger impact can you make when you give the gift of experiencing the Kruger National Park? Kruger National Park, and its surrounds, boast some of South Africa, and the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders. From the iconic wildlife, such as the Big Five, to majestic rivers and waterfalls, and vast forest canopies to unique outdoor experiences.

Below is a last-minute Christmas gift guide to suit any budget and what’s even better is that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home. 

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Festive Feast of Live Sport on ESPN

Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers waves to fans before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on December 11, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and sports fans across Africa are in for a festive feast with the best American sports set to broadcast live across the continent on ESPN (DStv 218, Starsat 248) and ESPN2 (DStv 219, Starsat 249) on Christmas Day, with additional treats in store for Boxing Day.

After the family festivities ends and bellies are full on 25 December, NBA basketball kicks off with a live game between the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers at 19:00 (CAT) followed by the Dallas Mavericks vs the Los Angeles Lakers at 21:30. The action from the world’s top basketball league continues when the Boston Celtics take on the Milwaukee Bucks at midnight. These basketball games will air on ESPN.

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Just Teddy Unveiled in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton

I recently attended the launch of the fine boutique pâtisserie and boulangerie Just Teddy in Nelson Mandela Square. The event was spectacular, with belly dancers showing off their mystical moves, which mesmerized those in attendance.

Just Teddy is renowned for having redefined heritage haute cuisine, curating a fashion-inspired fusion of Parisian delights fused with Middle Eastern flair. Now, visitors to Nelson Mandela Square can savour and experience the luxury café dining and world-class confectionery creations that accompany Just Teddy’s signature savoir-faire, with a new dining destination that was unveiled recently in Africa’s richest square mile.

The emerald of Nelson Mandela Square, Just Teddy, takes its Middle Eastern flavour even further.  The décor was inspired by the chic decadence of Dubai, offering purveyors of fine banqueting everything the brand is renowned for, and more, now with a sumptuous dinner menu added to the bespoke experience. Additionally, a champagne bar and semifreddo station will add to the exclusive artistry of the Nelson Mandela Square experience.

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Maserati Grecale Launches in South Africa


A few years ago I got to experience the magic of Maserati when I test drove one of their convertibles at the GeroTech driving range. So I was excited when the invitation to the new Maserati Grecale popped into my inbox!

So off we went, to the launch of the new Maserati Grecale in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

Grecale strikes the right balance between versatilityeleganceperformance and innovation, guaranteeing performance, comfort and safety, all at the same time. These features are combined with off-road capabilities and uncompromising driving pleasure.
Developed at the Maserati Innovation Lab in Modena, the new SUV is produced at the Cassino plant.

Grecale is a range within the range, the Trident brand’s fullest ever. An extremely wide range of engines is available: conventional internal combustion, hybrid and, in a year’s time, Grecale will also be the first full-electric SUV in Maserati history.

Three versions are coming to South Africa:

GT, powered by a four-cylinder mild hybrid engine capable of delivering 300 hp; 

Modena, with a four-cylinder 330-hp mild hybrid engine;

and the powerful Trofeo, equipped with a high-performance 3.0L 530-hp petrol V6 based on the Nettuno engine fitted to the MC20.

At launch, the Grecale is also available in the PrimaSerie Launch Edition, a limited edition featuring exclusive content.

To complete the range, the Grecale Folgore, the 100% electric version with 400V technology.

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