Europe tour: Denmark – Phillip Grobler

Our first stop on our European tour was Denmark. This place is really amazing! It is clean, filled with fresh air and everything works! For the first part we stayed at our friend’s family.

It was a lovely time and we enjoyed the countryside. For the last part we visited Copenhagen and spent two days there. We took the train to Copenhagen and saw picturesque landscapes on our way to the capital city. It is a bustling city and we walked till our feet said ‘hokaaaaai’. Our hotel was quite small and we had to manoeuvre around each other just to get to the bathroom.

But we only slept there one night, so we managed the situation very well. We’ve made use of the hop-on, hop-off bus tours during our stay in Copenhagen and found it great value for money. You even get a free canal cruise.

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You will see an African lady on a few of my photos. She was the official South African ambassador on our trip. I’ve tried to take photos of her in front of all the major attractions, but sometimes I got carried away and completely forgot about her.
Another highlight of this tour was Legoland.

It was startlingly impressive how they’ve made all those figures out of Lego. We’ve spent the whole day there but the rain caught us off guard a few times. We all scrambled to buy ponchos and the shop owners made a fortune out of the wet-look participants. It was still an enjoyable day and we felt like kids in a Lego store.

The Danish cuisine is to die for. No diet will allow any of the lovely food they eat. Those pastries and pork chops are still sitting in a fat compartment, just beneath my liver. The beer is tasteful and goes excellent with the majority of food.

The first four photos below were taken at the Søndervig Sand Sculpture festival. This year’s topic was African wildlife. It was extra special as we are from Africa and we felt right at home between those wild animals.

In my next blog post I will share some photos of the next stop on our tour: Germany.

Safe travels!

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News from Brisbane – Kerneels Olivier

Oh, well, this time I once again have something special to share with the readers, but it is of a complete different nature.

I wrote a book about our Olivier family (311 pages) over a period of more than two years. The book is known as Die Oliviers van toeka tot nou; ’n Herinneringsreis. It mainly discusses my parents and our seven children, but I also take it back quite considerably, even as far as four generations of Oliviers before the first Olivier (Hendrik Corneliszoon) arrived in the country in 1662.

It is written more in a style of narrating a story, but I believe very interesting.
I presented the concept book here in Brisbane last week during my 20th kilo-day party (20 000 days since my birth). Since we came here, we have also baked no less than 20 000 dozen koeksisters and at the same time also celebrated this achievement.

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Approximately 75 of our best Afrikaans friends attended the celebrations. It was a huge success and everyone enjoyed it very much.

I only just completed my newsletter about the occasion and sent it to my family and friends, but I think one can distribute it even further and it may just be an interesting story for you as well. For example, there were four high school children who came and recited some of my parents’ favourite poems.

Another interesting story is that one of the boys who goes to school here can read Afrikaans quite well, but talks with a strong Australian accent, and still did it with pride.

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3 SA golfers earn European Tour cards

Three South Africans have earned their 2018 European Tour cards after the Qualifying School Final Stage at Lumine Golf Club in Spain.

FINAL SCORES: 2018 European Tour Final Qualifying

Justin Walters regained his European Tour card on Thursday at the last possible moment after an eagle at the final hole.

He joined compatriots Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Jacques Kruyswijk as South African representatives among the 33 players who gained playing privileges for the 2018 European Tour season.

According to the Sunshine Tour website, Walters was outside the projected score for players to gain qualification, but his 18th hole eagle lifted him back into contention for one of those precious spots.

Walters finished outside the top 100 players on the 2017 Race to Dubai who retained their playing privileges for 2018, which meant the only way back was through Qualifying School.

Bezuidenhout’s fate was also touch-and-go for a while during the six-round qualifier, but he eventually finished on 13-under for a share of 25th.

There were no such difficulties however for Kruyswijk. He finished in a tie for second place overall on 19-under par.

Anthony Michael, Bryce Easton, Hennie Otto and Anton Haig all failed in their attempts to obtain a sought-after European Tour card for next season.

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Email from abroad: Adventures in Japan

My name is Michelle Krüger. I am 24 years old and live in Shirakawa-shi, Fukushima-ken, Japan. I moved to Japan in July 2017 after I was accepted for the JET-programme.

To give a little background: JET stands for Japanese Exchange and Training. It is a programme celebrating its thirtieth year this year and South Africa has been part of the programme for 20 years. In this programme there are two types of positions available, but unfortunately South Africans can only apply for one of the two. The position I am currently in is called ALT or “Assistant Language Teacher”.

The function of an ALT is to be an assistant teacher in the classroom for the JET (Japanese English Teacher), but in many cases the ALT takes over that position in full and presents the class themselves.

My journey to the programme started when I was 13 – or maybe younger – but I remember that I was told about it at age 13. My father’s best friend is married to a Japanese woman and since I can remember she has told about the JET programme. As a child many things go in the one ear and out the other, and it wasn’t until my final year at university that I heard the word ‘JET’ again.

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I was sitting in a lecture and the embassy came to speak to us about this lovely programme. Something in me awoke and I decided I wanted to know more about this programme and immediately consulted all resources. I also contacted the embassy and asked what I needed for my application, as this sounded like something I very much wanted to do. I am sure that the only reason for my acceptance was only so that they could get rid of this crazy person who harassed them with constant questions!

In September 2016 I sent my application forms and waited. It was December 2016, while I was on a bus in Amsterdam, when I got an email with my invitation to the second round (although it would’ve been the first round of interviews) in Pretoria.
“Yes – I got it!” was my first thought. “I can do this; I have to do this.”

In January 2017 I went for my interview. What an exciting day! I almost missed the interview because I forgot a form at home. I had to quickly turn around on the highway and speed home at 120 km/h in my Volkswagen Golf – a pure student wagon – and get the form. Afterwards I ran into the interview hall like a whirlwind. Already I was of the opinion “Oh dear, now it’s over!” but luckily the candidate before me was still busy and I could quickly get my lost and confused face (and hair looking like Klara’s in Fiela se Kind) ready and try to look decent for the interview.

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“Miss Krüger,” my name is called out and I take a deep breath walking into the hall. The interview goes well and the questions are only to confirm whether everything written in your application form is true. Some questions were a bit difficult, and I didn’t think for one moment that I would make it. After the interview I had to write an English test as well, so that they could test my English capability. It was by far the easiest part of the whole application process.

After the interview and the first round of the programme’s application process I waited and waited, and waited. There is nothing worse than the whole waiting process, because one’s life can’t also come to a standstill – I needed to know if I had to extend my contract at work and my boss didn’t know why I postponed for so long.

My heart wanted to jump out of my chest. The excitement was overwhelming and I didn’t know what to do or say: It was happening; it was time.

In July I was moving to Japan. I give a month’s notice at work and wait for feedback of where in Japan I will be placed.

The next three months are the worst, because after three years I now had to pack up my flat and move everything to my parents’ house and start preparing for my life in a new, unknown country. But I am excited and nothing can take away that feeling: I have it – it’s happening – I am finally on my way…

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Life in the UK Test – proving your knowledge of life in the UK

The Life in the UK Test is part of the KoLL requirement – Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK.

Persons who want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or British Citizenship have to fulfil this KoLL requirement. The Life in the UK test is thus the one part of the KoLL requirement.

The Life in the UK Test tests an applicant’s knowledge of the United Kingdom. The test covers British customs and traditions. It covers 24 questions, and you have 45 minutes to answer the multi-choice questions. You will need to score 75% or higher to pass the test, meaning that you have to get at least 18 out of 24 questions right.

Failing the Life in the UK test

If you fail the test, you can do it again. There is no limit on how many times you can do the test, but you have to wait seven days to do so.

You can take the test as many times as you need to until you pass, but you will have to pay the £50 fee every time you do so.

Preparing for the Life in the UK test

There is an official handbook that will help you prepare for the test. The handbook is called “Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents.”

Some of the typical multi-choice questions you can expect are;

What type of government was formed after the General Election of 2016?
At what age can you vote in the General Election in the UK?
What is the name of the UK currency?
The name of a novel by Jane Austen?
The capital city of the UK?
What is the role of the jury in a court trial?

Applicants who need to take the Life in the UK Test

Many persons are confused about when they are required to take the Life in the UK Test.

The short answer is that persons who want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, or British Citizenship have to take the Life in the UK test.

Some persons are exempt from the KoLL, and thus the Life in the UK test. This includes inter alia;

Children under the age of 18 and persons aged 65 years and older;
Persons with a physical or mental condition that makes it impossible for them to take the test;
People on the adult dependent relative;
Retired person of independent means migration routes;
Spouses of British citizens or persons settled in the UK who have been victims of domestic violence or whose spouse has died etc.
EU citizens are not required to undertake the Life in the UK test and English language requirement to apply for permanent residence. However, they have to pass the test to apply for British citizenship.

If you are unsure whether you are exempt, it is, of course, best to confirm with your immigration consultant.

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Russia students see future for Afrikaans

“Afrikaans is a beautiful and emotional language. It is very unfair that it is being suppressed in South Africa.”

These are the words of Valentina Kim (22), one of six Russian students who study Afrikaans as first and second additional language at the Lomonosov Moscow State University’s Institute for Asian and African Languages.

The student group visited the offices of the civil rights organisation AfriForum and the trade union Solidarity as part of a cultural tour that was arranged by the Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge (FAK) to teach them more about Afrikaans and Afrikaans-speaking people.

According to Johan Jansen van Vuuren, Project and Communications Officer at the FAK, the students attracted the attention of the organisation after Prof. Deon Geldenhuys from the University had visited Moscow. The organisation then invited the students to visit South Africa to learn more about Afrikaans and Afrikaans-speaking people.

“For me, Afrikaans has the most beautiful sound patterns and pronunciation,” says Alisa Balikhina (22), one of the students who also studied Afrikaans at the North-West University in Potchefstroom for six months during an exchange programme.

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“I stayed with an Afrikaans family in Potchefstroom and felt very safe and at home. It had a great feeling of unity and a nice student life. Even today I still say that I am a proud Pukkie (a student of the NWU).”

She tells Forum Nuus that Russian institutions do not experience the same pressure to anglicise as is the case in South Africa. She feels there is huge potential for Afrikaans to blossom world-wide.

“There is no way that English will ever become an official language of Russia. We are simply too proud of our own language and culture.”

The Lomonosov Moscow State University is the oldest educational institution in Russia and has a long tradition of academic excellence. Afrikaans is one of five African languages that students of this university can study.

Stefan Loekjanenko (21) says that he decided on Afrikaans as it sounded to him like a beautiful language. He tells that the visit to Cape Town has so far been the highlight of his visit. “This town has it all: mountains, sea and so many people from different cultures. It was an unbelievable experience to have visited it.”

Warvara Smirnowa (22), also one of the Russian students, tells Forum Nuus that it was challenging at times to learn to speak Afrikaans, as its sentence constructions are so different from Russian. She also says that she enjoyed attending an Afrikaans church service at the DR Church Lyttelton. “The service had a wonderful feeling of unity. I enjoyed it very much.”

The students have already visited the Centurion High School, the Protea-boekhuis (bookstore), the Voortrekker Monument as well as the set of the Afrikaans soapy Binnelanders and the offices of Beeld in MediaPark, Johannesburg.
They will also be visiting various other attractions in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

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Draaiboek van skrywer François Bloemhof word Hollywood-fliek

Hy het nie besef dat dit sy droom is nie totdat dit gebeur het. ’n Rolprent gaan aanstaande jaar in Hollywood van ’n draaiboek van die skrywer François Bloemhof gemaak word.

Sy voorstel vir ’n rolprent wat hy ses maande gelede aan ’n Amerikaanse rolprentvervaardiger voorgelê het, is pas aanvaar.

“Dis een van daai dinge wat so onrealisties is dat ek glad nie op daardie skaal gedink het nie. Hier in Suid-Afrika moet jy iemand ken voordat jy ’n voet in die deur kry, of iemand ken wat íemand ken. En ek ken niemand nie! Nog minder in Hollywood. Dit was dit dus nooit ’n opsie nie.”

Bloemhof se draaiboek The Night Visitor, ’n wetenskapfiksieriller handel oor ’n model wie se suster vermoor is. Met haar terugkeer na haar tuisdorp besef sy dat haar suster nie die enigste slagoffer is nie en dat sy dalk ook in gevaar verkeer.

Sy enigste verfilmde vollengte-draaiboek is Double Echo wat onlangs voltooi is. Dit is gegrond op sy spanningsroman Doodskoot/Double Echo. Brandon Auret en Amalia Uys is in die hoofrolle.

Verder het hy bydraes gelewer en voorstelle vir die lokettreffers Pad na jou hart, Vir Altyd en Vir die voëls gemaak. Hy het die romans geskryf.

Een van sy kortverhale is ook al in ’n kortfilm verwerk, maar nog niks op hierdie skaal nie.

“Ek skryf die soort boeke wat nie sommer plaaslik verfilm sal word nie, want dit verg ’n goeie begroting, al kan ek natuurlik “daai soort draaiboekstories” ook skryf as iemand sou vra,” skerts hy.

Om ’n roman skryf is een ding, en om ’n draaiboek te skryf stel ander eise. Wat dink hy verg ’n goeie draaiboek?

“Ek laat dit nou baie elementêr klink, maar jy dink maar net visueel. Ek skryf in elk geval visueel, so dis nie veel van ’n aanpassing nie. In boeke het jy baie meer dialoog en “verduidelikings”, dikwels onnodig, maar in ’n fliek wys jy wat aangaan!”

Hy meen plaaslike rolprentmakers moet meer kanse waag. “Ek verstaan darem ook dat hulle bang is dat hulle hul beursies skud en niemand ondersteun hulle in die teaters nie. Vanselfsprekend voel jy veiliger met ’n resep. Gelukkig het ek nie ’n groot behoefte daaraan om veilig te voel nie . . .”

As hy nog verder mag droom, sou hy graag wou werk met

Meryl Streep en Russell Crowe “omdat hulle so deksels goed is”, en Steven Spielberg “omdat almal dan van die fliek sou weet”.

Amore Bekker, die RSG-omroeper, het hom ’n wenk gegee dat ’n Amerikaanse rolprentvervaardiger konsepte vir ’n wetenskapfiksierolprent soek.

“Ek het ’n paar maande gelede die konsep ingestuur, en reeds so half aanvaar dat daar niks van sou kom nie – en toe kry ek hierdie verrassing. Sedert ek boeke skryf, was daar seker al 15 vals alarms van my werk wat verfilm sou word. Iets het telkens voorgeval, of mense speel bankrot, of hulle maak maar net nóg ’n romantiese komedie. Maar dis nie hoekom ’n mens skryf nie. Dalk was ek ook net te lui om ongeduldig te raak!”

*Bloemhof se jongste spanningsroman, Dieretuin/Feeding Time, verskyn oor twee weke by Imbali Uitgewers.

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Where South Africans abroad feel at home

Worldwide, an initiative of the civil rights organisation AfriForum, has for the past five years already been an online home for South Africans who have settled in other countries.

This initiative is the ideal platform for every South African who lives in another country, but who still wants to stay in real touch with his homeland.

The initiative involves a website that helps people to keep abreast of news events in South Africa. Here you can also get reliable advice, just hang out with others, share your experiences and tell more about the interesting places where you are living and working.

Our Worldwide team conducted thorough research to determine exactly what is important for South Africans in a foreign country, and therefore precisely this information is available on the website. This includes current local news, contributions – photos and stories – of South Africans living in interesting places in all corners of the globe, as well as a one-of-a-kind World Guide.

This guide is also the place where South Africans abroad can shop for authentic South African products such as biltong, Ouma rusks and traditional chutney. It also contains a database with details of businesses and restaurants serving South African food, people offering help with financing, as well as the names of South African lawyers abroad.

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The World Guide aims to help people who do not feel at home in a foreign country, to meet other South Africans, while supporting their businesses at the same time. The demand for a more user-friendly and interactive guide has grown and South Africans abroad can now include their businesses in the World Guide free of charge.

Worldwide also has a free weekly newsletter, Spotlight, to which you can subscribe free of charge. This newsletter contains, inter alia, reports of the Afrikaans media house, the latest news on festivals and foreign performances by well-known South African artists, as well as important information on citizenship, passports and tax.

Worldwide continually strives to keep South Africans informed of the best events in foreign countries where you, your friends and family can get together and celebrate a shared heritage. Therefore Worldwide will this year be the main sponsor of the Afrikaans is lekker concerts in Australia and New Zealand as well as the Barry Hilton tour that will be held in Canada in May.

In the past few years we have already involved several partners and made friends Worldwide. Our partners include, among others: South African events, Texas Potjie, Kuier in Dubai, Cashkows, Merise, Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants, and Showmax.
We look forward to continuing this tradition and want to serve South African citizens to the best of our ability – no matter where you find yourself.

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South African Expats (SAFFAs) with Kids Take Six Months to Settle but it Makes Families Closer

Despite the benefits of raising a family abroad, parents and children alike take time to settle into their new life. However, the challenge can bring families closer together, according to new data.

Almost half of expat parents say their children take longer than six months to feel at home in their new country, with 25% saying they take more than a year, according to the HSBC Expat Explorer survey. South African parents find the adjustment even more difficult, with 67% taking longer than six months to feel at home and 49% taking more than a year.

Settling into life abroad comes with special challenges, especially for children leaving friendships and school behind. Parents of older children (aged 11 to 16) say settling into a new school is particularly difficult, with more than half highlighting it as a major hurdle.

Parents report that missing family and friends is the biggest challenge for children across all ages. Half of expat parents say missing friends and family is one of their children’s top three challenges. Other difficult experiences for children include making new friends and understanding the new language.

Raising a family abroad also presents financial problems for parents. Sixty two per cent of expat parents find the overall cost of raising children abroad more expensive than at home, with 58% saying the cost of childcare in particular is more expensive.

In the long term, however, this may be money well spent as the majority of parents say life as an expat has had a positive effect on their family life and child’s lifestyle. Three in five expat parents say their children’s overall quality of life is better as a result of the move, while 27% rate it the same.

Indeed, the challenges families face in moving to a new country can help bring them closer together. Forty-six per cent of expat parents say that moving abroad has brought them closer to their children, with only 14% saying it has not, while 48% say that life abroad has brought them closer to their partner, with just 16% saying it has not.

The experience of growing up abroad also helps the wellbeing and development of children. Just under half of expat parents say their children’s health and wellbeing has benefited by moving abroad, while 69% find that their children are open to new cultures and experiences and 45% say that their child is a more well-rounded and confident individual.

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‘The Children’s Monologues’ will be performed to benefit a charity that uses the arts to uplift children in South Africa and Rwanda.

-list stars like Anne Hathaway, Ewan McGregor and Trevor Noah will come together on Monday night to perform stories written by children in South Africa at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Danny Boyle The Children’s Monologues will be performed to benefit Dramatic Need – a charity that uses the arts to uplift children in South Africa and Rwanda.

The New York production will take place on Monday evening just after an all-women South African version of the production is staged in Johannesburg.

It’ll blend musical performances, dance and dramatic interpretations of monologues by the likes of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The Children’s Monologues presents performances based on the stories of children growing up in Rammulotsi in the Free State.

Children there were invited to describe a day they would never forget, which award-winning playwrights then adapted for the stage.

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