On the 25th of April 2015, an immense earthquake measuring between 7.8 and 8.1 on the Moment Magnitude Scale (the successor of the Richter-Scale) hit the south-east Asian country of Nepal – the traditional departure point for most climbers attempting to ascend the ever imposing Mount Everest. As of the 1st of May the official death toll has been measured at over 6000, with some officials predicting that as many as 15,000 may actually have perished. An instantaneous, devastating and seemingly senseless loss of life, but far from the pinnacle of Mother Nature’s wrath.
24 April 2015 – The South African release date for Avengers: Age of Ultron, another epic superhero blockbuster delivering a wantonly destructive romp through numerous international destinations, this time including downtown Johannesburg. The latest Iron Man and company outing includes a 20 minute scene featuring (yet another) gratingly accented South African – Hollywood rarely seems able to get it right – and a shocking disregard for private property in the Joburg CBD, the owners of which are certainly kicking themselves for not staying up to date on their “collateral damage resultant from an over-exuberant altercation between hulking green beast with surprisingly elastic purple pants and 3 meter tall metal-machine-man” insurance payments. The inevitable carnage was filmed over a period of 3 weeks in Egoli, thereby adding A:AoU to the lengthy list of feature length films that were shot, at least partially, on location in South Africa.
Cecil John Rhodes – businessman, mining magnate, politician, colonialist and subject of transformative debate. Also, not surprisingly, one very rich South African.
In 1907, five years following a fatal heart-attack at his Muizenberg home, the British-born Rhodes’ estate would eventually be valued at an impressive £3,345,000, a figure that even today would leave a twinkle in any SARS representative’s eye . Take into account a hundred years of inflation, however, and the contemporary value of Rhodes’ fortune rapidly inflates to a statue toppling £307 million, or R5.5 billion* at the current exchange rate. Although not quite enough to secure the colonial fat cat the distinguished honour of being the country’s richest person it is enough to ensure a respectable 19th spot on the SA richest list – just behind Raymond Ackerman, best known for being the only billionaire ever to have been fired by Checkers.