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Oct 23 2014

My “Friedrichs moment”

Published by under More News

I saw this statement of German journalist Hanns-Joachim Friedrichs for the first time today: “You can recognize a good journalist in that he does not allow himself to be taken in by any cause – not even a good one. He is everywhere but never belongs”.

Friedrichs died in 1995. The following story would, I’m sure, have pleased him.

In 1995 I worked for Naspers, reporting from parliament for its newspapers. The new SA was about one year old and the ANC government still driven by principles. Many at Naspers were still struggling with the idea that the whites had handed political power to the blacks. Including my boss. In the four years I reported from parliament for his newspaper he summoned me to his office three times to tell me how unhappy he was with my work. My reports were “far too soft on the ANC government”, he always complained.

Every red carpet affair challenged me for days thereafter. Was I really such a bad journalist? I mean, I was there; I heard what was said; I made my judgment calls and wrote the story as I saw it. And now this experienced editor tells me I got it all wrong…

And then I was saved by a “Friedrichs moment”. There came a week in 1995 in which I was first summoned to the Naspers HQ by my boss to be told that I was too soft on the ANC, and then summoned by Thabo Mbeki, then deputy president of SA, to hear that I was too hard on the ANC.

In the same week.

That was when I knew I was getting it right: sailing straight down the middle, not belonging to anyone, not allowing myself to be drawn in by any cause. If that was the criterium, I was doing a better job at serving the community than my editor.

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Sep 05 2013

Mail.ru to pay Naspers “special dividend” later this year

Published by under Companies,More News,South Africa

Whoop-whoop. Some more cash on its way to Naspers….check this out and get ready for the next, big move.

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Sep 04 2013

Back to the feudal system

Published by under More News,Uncategorized

In Kenya seaside property may only be acquired by foreigners with the personal approval of the country’s president. Don’t believe it? Check the link out.

http://www.buyrentkenya.com/cms.php?page=59

One can only hope president Zuma doesn’t hear about this. A better procedure for arranging under-table payments can hardly be conceived. And then the inevitable Beachgate, or Seasidegate.

Back to the feudal system! (Or, have we never left it behind us?)

 

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Feb 18 2013

I’m famous…

Published by under More News,People

I know, I know. Behind every successful man stands someone who says he’s been at university with him.

But, I played squash with him. Team mates, even. That’s something else, man! I’m talking about Graham Mckay, No. 16 on Harvard Business Review’s list of 100 best-performing CEO’s in the world (here). Back in the 1980s. Johannesburg. For several seasons.

Yes, the competitive streak was evident on the squash court back then, in case you wondered. And he enjoyed a beer afterwards.

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Jan 31 2013

A frackin good idea

Published by under More News,Opinion,South Africa

Water, water everywhere. And every drop to drink.

What a fantastic invention…run it off your solar electricity, and you’re made. Thanks to the creative mind of “Mr. Segway”.

PS. Suddenly, it’s unimportant whether they frack the Karoo, or not…..

(Not really. Just joking.)

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Jan 15 2013

Naspers on Top 100 list

Published by under Companies,More News

The Boston Consulting Group compiled a list of 100 firms which “may become world-leading companies in the next 10 years” and Naspers is one of them.

Five companies from South Africa made it onto the list. They are: Aspen Pharmacare, Bidvest Group, MTN Group, Naspers and Sasol.

German magazine DIE WELT published a neat little box with the companies from every country on 17 slides (here), so even English-speakers can read it.

 

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Nov 20 2012

Hopla! Good news for Naspers share

Published by under Elsewhere,More News

Monetization of Tencent’s WeChat is on the way.

Check it out here: http://thenextweb.com/asia/2012/11/20 .

That should roll a few extra cents into Naspers coffers in coming years. Quite a few, I guess. Maybe even rands….millions and millions of them.

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Sep 19 2012

Marikana article: trick or treat?

Published by under More News,South Africa

The Marikana wage saga in South Africa has a new, very interesting (if not scary) dimension: it seems as if vital background information on Cyril Ramaphosa’s role might have been leaked non-nonchalantly on September 5, in the form of a comment below an article on Politicsweb.co.za (here).

The comment was supposedly written by Arthur MacKay, a guy who calls himself an “analyst of global economic and political issue”. It looks like a rip-off of the mining journalist we all know, called Dave McKay, of Miningmx.com fame.

The comment (copied here) is worth a read. Even though the nagging feeling remains that we’re dealing here with a Marikana insider trying to “piepie” on Ramaphosa’s fire.

Is this South Africa’s version of the Prophet Mohammed film trick?

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