Good food and fine art at the Peech

first_imgThe Peech’s energy-saving strategy includes solar heating and grey water recycling. (Image: The Peech Hotel) When James Peech relocated from Britain to South Africa, he didn’t think he’d be opening a hotel in the middle of Johannesburg.After a lengthy spell curing their mutual wanderlust in south-east Asia, Peech and his South African partner Cassie Janisch planned to return to her homeland and settle in Cape Town. The Cape, however, did not prove hospitable to their ambitions for the hospitality industry and they decided to try their luck in the ostensibly less tourist-friendly Johannesburg instead.Luck, fate or sheer serendipity? Call it what you will. The point is that they happened to find a charming house in the suburb of Melrose, north of Johannesburg’s city centre, at a time when the owners were looking to escape a massive construction project underway next door.They saw the potential and, within a few years, their vision had been fulfilled: the construction site turned into über-trendy Planet Fitness at The Wanderers sports club, while the house and grounds nestling alongside were expanded into a tranquil and surprisingly spacious four-star 16-room boutique hotel.That the Planet Fitness complex doesn’t intrude on the aesthetic or atmosphere of the Peech Hotel is largely attributable to architect Kate Otten, whose design for the extensions emphasised seclusion: hotel guests hardly feel that they are in the biggest city in the country, just a short distance from its commercial hub.This proximity is, of course, appealing to business travellers, and The Peech boasts a 10-seater boardroom and workspace facilities for such guests. Yet judging from the diverse conversations and languages to be overheard in the hotel’s bar and lobby area, an equal proportion of the international clientele are leisure travellers.Whether it’s business or pleasure that brings them to the Peech, those who stay there soon learn a thing or two about the art of living.Laid-back and chicThe Bistro, under head chef Greg Jardim, has developed a reputation for fine dining. After sampling the sundried tomato, asparagus and fennel risotto I was happy to concur; the Asian fishcakes with wasabi dipping sauce entrenched my opinion.Then there was the duck confit served with polenta and a berry coulis, the sirloin with blue cheese sauce, the chocolate torte with Frangelico … it’s clear that Jardim and his sous-chefs are living up to their promise to create dishes that are both “laid-back and chic” with “an understated touch of sophistication”.Robert Chifunyise is kept busy as resident sommelier; the Peech hosts monthly wine evenings, at which local vintners proffer a selection of wines paired with appropriate dishes. Connoisseurs of other beverages are not entirely neglected – earlier this year the Collective São Gabriel, a multi-national group of craft beer-makers, shared some of their luxury brews. And the hearty brunch on offer every Sunday morning is accompanied by an endless supply of Cap Classique Brut from Villiera Wines.Care of the environmentThe Peech, by example, also teaches another subject: eco-living. Certified for Fair Trade in Tourism, the hotel implements a strict sustainability policy incorporating solar water heating, double-layer insulation in rooms and the recycling of grey water from baths and showers.In addition to operating with the environment in mind, Peech exercises a social conscience through charitable contributions towards the Little Eden Children’s Home in Edenvale, east of Johannesburg.What would the art of living be without the visual arts? Sculptures from various African countries are displayed in the hotel’s rooms, augmenting the eclectic decor and sleek finishes. While works of art serve an anodyne decorative function in most hotels, however, this is not the case at The Peech.James Peech has teamed up with art agent and curator Christina Wiese of Brown Spice Boutique to ensure that the hotel’s walls are continually adorned by new art works in various styles. As a result of these floating exhibitions, the hotel has become something of an informal gallery.In 2009 an environment-themed collection of photography and sculpture that also displayed fashion, industrial and interior designs reinforced Peech’s passion for ecological sustainability. Artists who have subsequently opened exhibitions at the hotel include photographers Neil Corder and Babi Prokas; Layziehound, with his music-oriented pastel images; and Anupama Das, whose geometric designs tease and delight the eye.The arts programme is ongoing, as are the wine evenings and other events. In fact, for such a calm and quiet place, The Peech is veritably abuzz with new developments – from landscaping of the already lush and leafy gardens, to plans to convert the poolside eating area into an al fresco deli.All this activity can only bode well for visitors to, and residents of, Johannesburg. As for Capetonians … well, they’re likely to feel they’ve been missing out.last_img read more

Standard Bank comes out tops in Africa

first_img27 July 2011South Africa’s Standard Bank Group has again been named Africa’s top bank in The Banker magazine’s 2011 rankings of the world’s top banks by their Tier 1 capital.It also rose from 106th to 94th place in the list of 1000 top banks in the world.Standard Bank Group Deputy CEO Sim Tshabalala said the bank’s continued rise up The Banker’s rankings table demonstrated the group’s strength and ability to implement its strategy across Africa.“It is particularly pleasing to achieve a top ranking on the basis of objective criteria applied by an independent journal,” Tshabalala said in a statement this month. “The ranking points again to the substance in our strategy to keep Africa firmly at the core of Standard Bank Group.”Leading global journalThe Banker is a leading global journal of the banking sector. Its annual top 1 000 world banks survey is to show banks’ soundness in relation to the Basel requirement of a minimum ratio of Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets of 4% (increasing to 7% by 2019), and a minimum ratio of total capital to risk-weighted assets of 8%.In its July edition, The Banker says that Standard Bank has increased its Tier 1 capital to US$12.06-billion, an increase of 26.15% on the previous year and almost twice as much as the second-ranked bank.“The strong capital position, highlighted by The Banker’s rankings, provides a stable platform for further growth,” Tshabalala said. “We will continue to build first-class, on-the-ground banking franchises in chosen markets in Africa, investing in people, branch networks and systems.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Some Thoughts on Transformational Change

first_imgIf you want transformational change, you have to start by making transformation your goal. It has to be the single most important thing on which you focus. Even when transforming requires that you build new skills, training isn’t transformation. Consulting isn’t transformation either, even though it may be required to move forward.If you want to lead change, you have to answer the question, “Why must we change now?” Without a reason and consequences for not changing now, you will not compel your sales force to take the actions that lead to transformational change. We ask our salespeople to help our clients understand the reasons they need to change now. Your transformation starts in the same place.You have to be willing to go to the mat for your transformation. You have to be willing to fight for it. You will have to work with members of your leadership team. You will have to force some people to come along. Unless you insist that the change occurs, it won’t. People will try to wait you out, passively resisting the transformation. Others will actively and vocally work against you. You will have to deal with both.One of the primary obstacles to change is believing that you can’t change because your people aren’t going to be happy. Many of them won’t be thrilled with change, no matter what it is. You cannot accept a lack of effort on the change that you need, and you must remedy a lack of activity immediately. Some people, the ones who are comfortable with the way things are, may leave for what they believe to be greener pastures. But that is the part of the price that change requires of you.Until you achieve your goal, you are going to have to begin and end every conversation with the change initiative. You are going to have to remind people why you are changing. You’ll also have to insist that new beliefs are adopted and new actions taken. It has to be all-consuming. It has to underly every conversation.The front line managers are the most valuable resources you have when it comes to change. They have to ensure that everyone is doing what is necessary, especially holding their people accountable. Without the front line managers, and without real accountability for change, it won’t happen. Change isn’t easy.These things are necessary if you are going to become something newer, better, and bigger than you are now.last_img read more

THIEVES STEAL RUSTLERS GEAR ON EVE OF NTL

first_imgThe Rustlers Mens 35’s arrived in Coffs Harbour yesterday for the 2005 Asics National Touch League with nothing except the clothes on their back, after thieves stole their trailer containing all of their gear. The team had stopped to grab a bite to eat at the Toombul shopping centre and came back out to discover the trailer was gone. Now this was a mini bus and a trailer, not just a bag or suitcase. So somebody or several somebody’s removed the trailer and pulled it away, all while the team was in the shopping centre grabbing some food. Fortunately for the Rustlers boys the trailer was found…unfortunately for the Rustlers boys, everything of any value had been stolen…clothes, playing gear, shoes, personal items, anything and everything. Thankfully, the Rustlers administration managed to collect and scrape together an entire new set of uniforms for the Mens 35’s. Bronwyn Holland is not quite sure how they did it, must have been a miracle, sort of like the fish and the loaves story in the bible. “I don’t exactly know how we managed to get another whole set of uniforms for the guys, but thankfully we have scraped it together and they can take the field for the NTL,” she said. All the Rustlers players from the other divisions also came together to support their Mens 35’s. They did a quick collection amongst themselves to raise $700 so the men could buy some clothes to wear. ATA also kicked in with a deal so they could all afford to buy some new shoes for their matches. So the Rustlers Men have one thing to ask…if you see anyone who looks nothing like a Rustler Touch player running around in Brisbane wearing Rustlers clothing, get in touch with police, report it. If the Rustlers clothing appears on the black market or e-bay, you know where it came from. We just want to wish the team good luck, you certainly deserve it and obviously need it. By Rachel Moyle, [email protected]last_img read more

Australia Claims 2012 Trans Tasman Series

first_imgAustralia won the Mixed Open division two games to one as well as the Women’s Open division 2-1, while the Men’s took out their series 3-0.  Game OneMixed Open – Australia 8 defeated New Zealand 4Women’s Open – New Zealand 4 defeated Australia 3Men’s Open – Australia 5 defeated New Zealand 4Game TwoMixed Open – New Zealand 10 defeated Australia 9Women’s Open – Australia 4 defeated New Zealand 3Men’s Open – Australia 8 defeated New Zealand 5Game ThreeMixed Open – Australia 10 defeated New Zealand 8Women’s Open – Australia 7 defeated New Zealand 3Men’s Open – Australia 11 defeated New Zealand 3 To read all the match reports and stories from the event, please visit the Trans Tasman event website:www.transtasman.mytouchfooty.com To see all of the photos from the event, please visit the TFA Facebook page:traliawww.facebook.com/touchfootballaus To view all of the highlights from the event, please visit the TFA YouTube Channel:www.youtube.com/touchfootballaus RJ Media, the company professionally filming the 2012 Trans Tasman Series, have put together some fantastic highlights of day three of the series which can be viewed on the TFA YouTube channel. The video shows highlights from Australia’s three wins on day three of the series and is a taste of what we can expect to see in the final product. To view this clip, please visit the TFA YouTube channel:www.youtube.com/touchfootballauslast_img read more

6 days agoReal Madrid boss Zidane defends Jovic slow start

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Real Madrid boss Zidane defends Jovic slow startby Carlos Volcano6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has defended Luka Jovic slow start to his Bernabeu career.Jovic has struggled for minutes since his summer arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt.Zidane said, “He’s not demotivated. “He’s just arrived and he’s looking much better now than when he came in. He’s slowly learning Spanish and becoming part of the group. “I will be counting on him and he’s important despite the fact he hasn’t played much recently.” last_img

ONGC Q1 net dips 39 on lower oil price production

first_imgNew Delhi: State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) on Tuesday reported a 3.9 per cent decline in net profit for June quarter as it faced a double whammy of falling oil prices and declining production. Net profit during April-June stood at Rs 5,904 crore, 3.9 per cent lower than Rs 6,144 crore in the year-ago period, the company said in a statement. Revenue fell 2.4 per cent to Rs 26,555 crore. ONGC got $66.30 for every barrel of crude oil produced and sold, down 7.3 per cent from $71.49 a barrel net realisation in April-June 2018. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalHowever, natural gas price realisation was up by a fifth to $3.69 per million British thermal unit. ONGC said oil production dropped 4.7 per cent to 4.8 million tonnes as its ageing fields faced natural decline. Natural gas production, however, rose nearly 4 per cent to 6.15 billion cubic metres. The nation’s top oil and gas producer said it made four discoveries during the first quarter of the current fiscal. These include a gas discovery in Tripura.last_img read more

Young First Nations woman found dead on trail in Whitehorse

first_imgAPTN National NewsA First Nation suburb in Whitehorse is in shock after a young woman was found dead on a local trail.Brandy Vittrekwa was found Monday night and police are calling her death a homicide.APTN’s Shirley McLean reports her death comes just days after a vigil was held in Whitehorse in the memory of murdered and missing Indigenous women.last_img

Canadian employers content to avoid costs and headaches of providing childcare

first_imgCALGARY – One of the keys to Jenna Pickering’s return to work at the Suncor Energy Inc. head office in downtown Calgary was making sure her son Luke had a place at the affiliated daycare in the same office tower — even before he was born.“I think I was about six months along and I put ‘Baby Pickering’ on the wait list,” the 33-year-old recalled with a laugh.When her husband Shea, 34, got a job at the Suncor building two years ago and their 18-month-old daughter, Hannah, started going to daycare last year, the daily grind truly became a family affair.Each day, they drop Luke, now 4, and Hannah off at the daycare on the third floor before mom and dad head up to their respective floors.The Pickerings know they are among the lucky few in Canada to have childcare at the office.Despite the rising number of women in the workforce and a federal government push to help even more join — an effort it says will add billions of dollars to the country’s economy — few Canadian employers offer childcare in the workplace.In 2000, a federal government study found 338 work-related childcare centres operating in the country. The survey counted on- and off-site daycares supported by an employer, a group of employers, a union or an employee group, that sought to meet the needs of employees.Employment and Social Development Canada said it could not find more recent figures, while the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, whose 1992 study identified fewer than 200 employer-related daycares, stopped collecting data on employer centres years ago because of their rarity.Even when offered financial incentives by government, employer apathy persisted.In last year’s otherwise childcare-friendly budget, the Liberals quietly axed a Harper government initiative that provided employers a 25 per cent tax credit to a maximum of $10,000 per space on costs incurred to build or expand licensed childcare facilities.The goal of the program implemented in 2006 was to create 5,000 new workplace daycare spaces annually, but fewer than 100 individuals and 20 corporations were claiming the credit each year, according to Finance Canada.Employers’ lack of interest in childcare in Canada is disappointing, said Tanya van Biesen, executive director for Catalyst Canada, whose mission is advancing women’s progress in the workplace.Many parents have no choice but stay home to watch their children because they would be “breaking even or falling behind” financially if they had to pay full fare for daycare, she said.“For many years, people didn’t really think about or care about the fact that women were exiting stage right because they didn’t have any other options,” she said.Employers recognize childcare is a major factor in attracting and retaining female employees, but balancing the costs and matching needs with resources is difficult, said Peter Dugandzic, CEO of Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of Alberta.“I think that’s the issue for most companies. One, there’s the cost, and secondly, the physical layout,” he said.While some employers advertise daycare access to attract staff, most — if not all — refer to third-party services. Some subsidize certain costs or provide the space to daycare operators for free in return for preferred access.For example, when Mediacorp named BASF Canada as one of its Top Family-Friendly Employers for 2018, it cited the chemical company’s programs including salary top-ups and extended leave for new mothers and fathers — and mentioned the private onsite daycare at its Mississauga, Ont., head office.But the company has no formal relationship and doesn’t financially support the daycare on the ground floor, said Terri Howard, director of human resources.Among the few employers that do provide childcare services, many of them are public institutions, such as universities and even Parliament Hill.At Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby, B.C., campus, a daycare centre that has operated for at least 50 years is run by a non-profit operator with preference for its 315 spaces given to employees and students.The university provides space on its grounds rent-free and subsidizes the salaries of two employees, at an annual cost of about $500,000, said Sandi de Domenico, associate vice-president of human resources.The benefits in recruiting and retention of staff justifies the cost, she said. However, the university’s two other campuses in the area don’t offer childcare and de Domenico couldn’t say why.Canada could add $150 billion to its economy by 2026 by employing more women in technology and taking steps like providing better access to childcare to boost women’s participation in the workforce, McKinsey Global Institute estimated last year.In the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields — areas that Canada is focused on strengthening due their potential contributions to economic growth — women represent just 20 per cent of jobs in the field.“Tech doesn’t traditionally support parents,” said Amanda Munday, an advocate for women-identified rights who works at technology startup HiMama in Toronto.“When you think about evening workshops, beer and ping-pong night-time activities, long hours, those things are not conducive to the parent lifestyle.”Munday estimates it costs $3,400 per month for good-quality daycare for her two kids, a bill she recognizes is unaffordable for her startup employer.Her return to work after having her daughter four years ago, therefore, involved compromises. She negotiated a flexible schedule, including sometimes working from home, and unlimited sick days for her and her children. Her daughter attends preschool three days a week and Munday’s mother watches her son to save on daycare costs.Daycare at work is a major perk of working at Suncor for the Pickerings. The company doesn’t subsidize their daycare costs, but the fees are competitive.Jenna Pickering said the children thrive there, excited by fire drills and enjoying regular walks through downtown.“I went into having children knowing I wanted to go back to work,” she said.“It’s still a hard choice, but I like having them close by and this is the best of both worlds.”Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version did not include the full name of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit.last_img read more