Soweto vendors are hard at work, making craft to send overseas to tourists who came for the World Cup and loved their work. (Image: Makoena Pabale) It’s been six months since the final game of the 2010 Fifa World Cup was played in South Africa and the last of the foreign tourists returned home, but small vendors in this country say they are still reaping the benefits. South African street traders say that brushing up on different languages ahead of the tournament was really worth it – and they’re still getting craft orders from overseas fans.Thulani Mabhena is a vendor outside the Hector Peterson Museum in Orlando West, Soweto – South Africa’s biggest township. He picked up some French so that he’d be able to converse with World Cup tourists who visited the museum and expressed interest in buying some of his handmade crafts.A hot spot for tourists in general, the museum on Khumalo Street commemorates the 1976 Soweto Uprising and is named after the first pupil who was killed in the protest.“My business did really well during the World Cup,” said Mabhena, who sells handmade beaded leather shoes, shirts, hats, wooden bangles, wooden wine glasses, handmade painted tablecloths, calabashes, small sculptures of elephants and rhinos, key holders and other ornaments painted in the colours of the South African flag.Mabhena said it was a happy time for both the tourists and for his business. “We got to exchange cultures. With my conversational French I was able to sit with some of the tourists and chat about life and the amazing experience of the World Cup. We talked about our favourite teams and players, and I taught them how to play the legendary vuvuzela.”He said tourists felt safe in the township and spent time before and after games enjoying the culture, food and drinks at local spots close to where he worked. “It was amazing how free everyone was. I taught some of the visitors how to sing and dance South African style, it was a lot of fun. The best part was making sales … many of the tourists thought my stuff was magnifique (magnificent, in French) and bon marché (cheap, in French).”Mabhena said he is still hard at work keeping up with a number of orders for “local treasures” – such as calabashes and animal sculptures – which foreigners want packaged and sent back to them as a reminder of their time in Africa.“The crafts painted with South African flags were also quite popular with many tourists – they also asked me to tailor-make some crafts painted with their countries’ flags too.”A recipe for successDuring the 2010 tournament Ntabiseng Molefe and Lufuno Mgomane were based a few kilometres from Soccer City, which hosted the opening and closing matches. They learned Portuguese so they could chat to fans supporting their food business. “We sold plates and plates of pap and tripe, a local delicacy,” said Molefe.“Business is a bit slow now because there isn’t the same flow of people coming to the stadium, however, we have used the money we made during that time to pay for baking and cooking classes so we can open a small shop and sell food,” said Mgomane.She said many World Cup tourists asked them to write out the recipes and ingredients of the food they sold, so the fans could make the dishes back home. “Many were willing to pay for the recipes, but we were happy to give it to them for free. A lot of them insisted so, well, we were not going to refuse money.”Breaking into new markets“I made a killing on vuvuzelas,” said Siphamandla Njilo. “ I was just travelling around fan parks and along stadium routes all over Gauteng with vuvuzelas and flags. Within two hours I would be rushing back home to get more vuvuzelas and make more orders because tourists loved them so much and snapped them up within minutes.”Njilo said he couldn’t believe how popular the loud plastic horns were. “It was crazy … everyone wanted to blow one, it was all you could hear from any part of South Africa. It may have irritated some, but it excited me because I made major money from it.”As with the other vendors, Njilo said he is still enjoying the financial benefits of the World Cup. “Ive put my money away and want to go to school to learn how to make crafts that celebrate football and African culture. I could send these overseas to be sold there. I think I’ll do well, I saw how many foreign visitors loved African craft and I want to break into that market.”
A dam built as part of the Kumbha Ram Arya lift canal project near Malsisar town in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district breached on Saturday, inundating several areas in the region.The water swept away a large number of cattles and vehicles, but no loss of life was reported. Jhunjhunu Collector Dinesh Kumar Yadav said Kakdeu village and some government offices on the outskirts of Malsisar were submerged and several houses damaged. The dam – constructed barely three months ago – had 80 million litres per day (MLD) of water in terms of supply, stored at a height of 9 metres. A portion of the dam first developed cracks and later breached. The cause of the breach was yet to be ascertained. However, the flow of the water had been diverted towards open fields away from Malsisar, Mr. Yadav said.The State government rushed the State Disaster Relief Force teams from Jaipur to Malsisar, situated 210 km away. Disaster Management and Relief Secretary Hemant Gera was monitoring the situation. The rescue teams evacuated project officials and labourers trapped inside the dam’s filter plant, control tower and administrative building.
Reacting to orders from the Chief Minister’s office, the District Magistrate of Saharanpur inspected the under-construction library in the sprawling Darul Uloom campus in Deoband on Saturday.Vikas Tyagi, zonal coordinator of the Bajrang Dal, had made a complaint to the CM’s office that a helipad was being built on top of the huge structure.District Magistrate Alok Kumar had asked the administration to submit a report. Unsatisfied, he made a detailed inspection of the site with SSP Dinesh Kumar and PWD engineers. After the inspection, Mr Kumar told the media that there was no trace of a helipad on the rooftop but the university administration did not ask for permission for addition to the existing structures and building of new structures from the authorities concerned. “Action will be taken in this regard as per law,” he said. Responding to the action, Maulana Arshad Madani, national president of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, said: “This is for the first time that the local administration has undertaken an inspection after a complaint, which seemed to be motivated, was lodged. We will abide by the rules and take necessary permissions in future.”
Till a few months ago, India’s middle order looked rock solid in the longest format of cricket. However, with the departure of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, Indian selectors and the team management have been short of ideas as far as their replacements are concerned.However, the solution might already be there in Indias playing XI. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni might look to Delhi batsman Virender Sehwag to anchor a solid role in the middle order rather than using him in his usual role as an opener as India take on New Zealand in the twp-Test series beginning in Hyderabad on Thursday.Sehwag can bring solidity to the middle order if he curbs his natural playing instincts. In fact, Sehwag had himself expressed his desire to bat in the Indian middle order earlier this year.No doubt, Sehwags solid starts have been central to shaping many a wins for Dhoni’s Devils in the longer version. However, the exit of highly dependable Dravid and crisis manager Laxman has left a big hole in India’s batting order.And the onus is on the team management to either plug the gap in the middle with youngsters like Cheteshwar Pujara and Suresh Raina or offer Sehwag his much sought after slot at 5 or 6.Dhoni, in his media address ahead of the opening Test against New Zealand, had said that India would miss the two top batsmen, but he also insisted that the youngsters needed to step up to fill the gap.The presence of Mumbai’s Ajinkya Rahane could provide India an opportunity to experiment with the Gautam Gambhir-Rahane combine at the top against the inexperienced Kiwis.advertisementSehwag’s record as an opener stands testament to his prowess with the new ball. However, for a batsman who started off with a debut Test century batting at number six on a hostile Bloemfontein track in South Africa in 2001, one cannot deny Sehwag’s utility as a middle order batsman.While it has been a catch-22 situation for Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher, if the explosive Sehwag can prove his mettle lower down the order against the Kiwis it would certainly lend some much needed strength to India’s batting mix.Moreover, the move could provide India some much-needed dependability and experience in the middle before the more dangerous Englishmen and Aussies come calling.Teams (from):India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane, Subramaniam Badrinath and Piyush Chawla.New Zealand: Ross Taylor (Capt), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Daniel Flynn, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Chris Martin, Brendon McCullum, Tarun Nethula, Jeetan Patel, Tim Southee, Kruger van Wyk, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.Match Starts at 9.30 AM IST.