Cape Town

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Barnato was born Barnett Isaacs (1851-97) who started his working life at 14 in his father’s shop in Petticoat Lane. London. Barnato was a stage name. He was intelligent but ill-educated; he was adventurous and possessed physical courage.

Barney Barnato …

Who Was for Sometime One of the World’s Wealthiest Men

“Diamonds are Forever”

South Africa’s history is replete with rags-to-riches stories, but few so incredible as that of Barney Barnato, who possessed diamonds, gold and a lightning combination punch to the midriff. His vibrant character stood in contrast to the dourer mien of his rival on the Kimberley diamond fields, Cecil John Rhodes. Barney Barnato, who sold his diamond empire to Cecil John Rhodes for more than 5-million Pounds Stirling (making him a billionaire by any modern-day standards), had to walk from Cape Town to Kimberley when he arrived from London he was so poor (a distance of about 1000km), and began his working life in Kimberley as a boxing jack of all trades.

When Payne’s Travelling Circus came to Kimberley in the mid-1870s, their main drawcard was The Champion of Angola, a behemoth of a boxer who took on all comers for a gold medal.

The relatively tiny Barnato climbed into the ring fully dressed – he even kept his little round spectacles on his nose. Barney literally pummelled the giant about the midriff and finally finished him with a blow to the solar plexus.

He then entertained the roaring crowd by juggling his bowler hat and three bottles and finished off by quoting a soliloquy from Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

That was the nature of the most colourful character on the Kimberley diamond fields, a bustling dynamo who believed in the true wealth that lay below in the so-called ‘blue ground’, the rock now known as kimberlite. Barney Barnato, born Barnett Isaacs Barnato, arrived in South Africa from England at the age of 20. He arrived in South Africa penniless, but within 10 years he was a millionaire.

In the late 1800′s and more than 8,000 miles away from America in the backdrop of a burgeoning diamond industry, people were travelling to South Africa in search of opportunity and wealth. Most of them were English, including the two that emerged as the dominant figures: Barney Barnato and Cecil Rhodes. They were competitors, friends and bitter rivals.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo via Leandra Vissr’s Facebook page Unidentified Creature Found On Beach

Photo via Leandra Vissr’s Facebook page
Unidentified Creature Found On Beach

Odd Sea Creature Puzzles South Africa Experts

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How they deal with rapists in South Africa

The Roastbusters chaps should be very thankful they live in West Auckland and not Cape Town, where they treat rapists somewhat differently.

Vigilantes in a Cape Town shanty whipped and stoned to death a local ruffian after he was accused of raping a girl of 15 at knifepoint.

A mob from the Crossroads township dragged the 32-year-old from a shebeen just yards from the victim’s home on Sunday morning – a day after the alleged rape.

They beat him with heavy whips before using rocks to finally bludgeon him to death. His body lay in the road for five hours before paramedics came to remove it.

One Crossroads resident told the Cape Times said it had been ‘only a matter of time’ before people took revenge against the man. He was said to have gone around armed with a knife which he used to rob people of their phones.  Read more »

Government sacks Selwyn College Board

Selwyn College, deservedly, has the reputation as a school of lefty wombles, more interested in cuddles and hugs than academic outcomes. People try to avoid sending their kids there like we all try to avoid cancer.

Well, Education Minister Anne Tolley made the announcement this afternoon following an Education Review Office finding that called for more intervention that she is sacking the Board of Trustees and appointing a Commissioner to run the wayward school.

I think the last time a Board of Trustees was sacked was by Lange at a Nga Tapuwae school in South Auckland (Now renamed Southern Cross Campus). At the time he appointed my old Headmaster John Graham as Commissioner.