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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

UK & World

Nelson Mandela making ‘steady progress’

January 7 2013

SOUTH AFRICA’S president says Nelson Mandela has recovered from his recent lung infection and surgical procedure to remove gallstones. South African president Jacob Zuma issued a statement announcing that doctors say that Mr Mandela (94) has made “steady progress and that clinically, he continues to improve”. Mr Mandela spent nearly three weeks in hospital in December before going home on December 26. Mr Zuma’s statement said Mr Mandela “continues to receive high care” at his Johannesburg home and “his daily routine is being gradually re-established”. He congratulated Mr Mandela on his recovery and said the anti-apartheid icon has “the love and support of all South Africans”. The news that Mr Mandela has recovered from the recurring lung infection and the minor surgery will reassure many in South Africa concerned about his health.


Strauss has no regrets about being in blue

October 1 2015

There’s no getting away from it Josh Strauss might, had the stars aligned and a different road taken, been a Springbok. He grew up like most boys of his age in South Africa, worshipping the real religion of his community, rugby and specifically Springbok rugby. He played for the Lions, one of South Africa’s premier rugby heartlands, he even attended a Springbok training camp. As it was, the Lions were relegated from Super Rugby and he had no contract to play professionally other than that offered by Glasgow and perhaps, as may well be said to him on the St James’ Park pitch this weekend in the harsh vernacular of his homeland, he was never going to get the treasured green jersey. It doesn’t matter now. Strauss will play for Scotland against South Africa tomorrow as will WP Nel and he has absolutely no regrets. “Anyone who plays rugby dreams of playing at the highest level,” he said of playing for South Africa. “All I was trying was to achieve the highest level I could but it didn’t happen there, but it’s all worked out well.” Strauss said that his training camp in 2012 the South Africans yesterday cheekily tweeted a picture of him from it sat next to South African head coach Heyneke Meyer was all about planning. “It wasn’t the final squad, it was final preparation for that summer’s tests,” he said. “I got to know a lot of the players there as well as the coaching staff who are still the current coaching staff. “It was a good experience, but not being part of the final squad didn’t influence my decision to come to Scotland. “I was with the Lions at the time and I was kicked out of Super Rugby which pretty much meant the end of my contract. It was either move somewhere else in South Africa or head overseas.” Heading to Glasgow is what he did, and he believes it was the best thing he ever did. “Everything in life happens for a reason, I’m a firm believer in that. I’ve loved my time in Scotland and everyone has been great. I’ve been really proud of the things I’ve achieved and I wouldn’t wish it any other way. “It’ll be like any other game. When I had to sign the national anthem before my first Test it was in front of the whole squad and there were huge nerves doing it for the first time. “But when I stood there it was a very proud and emotional moment.” His family have come over to supporting Scotland as well, he added. “They just support me, to be honest, but obviously your family plays a big role in your support system and my family have been great, all through school and everything. “They’ve been there every step of the way, so they will be there in full force and in blue.” As for the South African claim on Wednesday that they’d had to change their lineout scheme because Strauss and Nel knew their codes and could speak Afrikaanse, he laughed it off. “I don’t know their calls. We got a training manual at that camp three years ago but I think I had to give it back certainly if I kept it I’ve no idea where it is and don’t remember much that was in it,” he said. “Speaking Afrikaanse will only be helpful if they’re wanting to make a quick change and say something, they can do that when they’re playing team who don’t know the language, but I’m sure they’ll have codes and formulas. “I’ve know some of their guys, Schalk Burger is a great guy and I’ve obviously played against a lot of them in the past. They’re big physical guys and they’ll come right at us that way.”


A taste of the Cape

December 17 2016

Wildlife and superb scenery attract visitors to South Africa. But food and drink are the real draws for a visit to Cape Town, says Katie Wright, as she reveals the city's burgeoning culinary hotspots Awards aren't the be all and end all, of course, but when it comes to gourmet gongs, the metropolis that lies at the foot of Table Mountain sure has garnered a lot recently. The readers of Conde Nast Traveller voted Cape Town the number one food destination in the world this year; the revered annual Eat Out rankings state that 17 of the country's 20 best restaurants are found within the city limits; and it's home to the best coffee shop on the planet, bar none. And with BA's new direct overnight flight from Gatwick, a long weekend of non-stop scoffing is now a viable option. Another bonus? The time difference is only two hours, so jet lag won't rear its ugly head. In need of a quick post-flight pick-me-up, I make the aforementioned coffee mecca my first port of call when I land. Truth Coffee Roasting on Buitenkant Street was declared the world's number one coffee shop by the Telegraph last year, testament not only to the anything-but-average cup of Joe it peddles, but also its expansive industrial-chic cafe. The open-front space, peppered with quirky curios, is ridiculously cool. When I stop by, actor Johnny Knoxville is chatting with a friend at the ornate chrome bar. Yet it's not at all pretentious - and the house Resurrection blend is extraordinarily smooth and satisfying. Unbeatable bean juice is just one of many reasons foodies are flocking to the city. "We have a lot of talented chefs. It's where people come if they want to establish themselves," Truth's assistant general manager Samantha Long tells me. "And we all support each other," she says of the burgeoning scene, citing toasted sandwich shop Melt on Long Street as her current favourite hotspot. A couple of blocks away, where Bree and Shortmarket Streets intersect, is the epicurean epicentre, where new eateries are springing up at such a rate, even those in the know are struggling to keep up. Want to lunch like a local? Take a stroll along Bree to pick up the ingredients for a DIY feast. "Get your bread from Jason's, your cheese from Culture Club, and your meat from Bacon on Bree, then go and have a picnic in Kirstenbosch gardens," recommends Matt Fuller, who leads food-themed tours around the tastiest suburbs. Over on Shortmarket Street, the third opening from celebrated chef Luke Dale-Roberts is one of the latest jewels in the city's culinary crown. Capetonians flock to the Shortmarket Club for tart crispy octopus, daily changing fish specials and orgasmic desserts (as a pudding-worshipper, the gooey chocolate souffle is nothing short of a religious experience). Brit Dale-Roberts isn't the only out-of-towner who recognises the Cape's potential. "A lot of people are watching the city," Chef Nobu Matsuhisa tells me over lunch. "Since I've been here, people are looking for good food, the city is growing." The Godfather of sushi is visiting Africa's only outpost of his wildly successful upscale Japanese chain, housed in the plush One&Only resort. Nobu's sushi is second to none, which is why his two starry London branches command a pretty penny. But a visit here, thanks to the favourable exchange rate, costs about a third of what it would back in Blighty. It's not all high-end and haute, however, in this urban jungle. I'm treated to a taste of home-cooked Cape Town when I venture into the Nyanga township to experience Theatre In The Backyard, which takes place in a house borrowed from a local dweller. Following an outdoor performance of Is He Mad? - a moving one-man monologue brought to life with boundless energy by actor Lamla Ntsakub - I sit down in the home's cosy living room with the star and his director, George Mhlanguli, to chat over a hearty dinner of chicken wings, spicy chakalaka stew and savoury doughnut-like vetkoeks, washed down with tangy home-made ginger beer. I'm ashamed to admit the only South African delicacy I could name before my trip was billtong, but there's far more to the nation's repertoire than that leathery dried meat, as I learn when I visit the suburb of Bo-kaap, where houses painted pea green, cyan, lemon and aqua are luminous in the fierce midday sun. In the kitchen of a violet two-storey property on Wale Street, Faldela Tolker, who's lived here for 26 years, teaches classes specialising in the melting-pot cuisine known as Cape Malay. "You'll find a little bit of Asian Malay influence in all our dishes," she explains, flitting between motherly advice and delightfully cantankerous banter as we get to work whipping up a fragrant seven-spice chicken curry and stuffing samosas. We kneed, twist and flatten a stretchy dough to make roti flatbreads, which Faldela fries to flaky, golden perfection. Since we're in a Muslim household, there's no booze served when we sit down to sample the fruits of our labour. But you're never far from a tasty tipple in the country famed for its world-class viticulture. Hermanus, a 90-minute drive south-east, is home to the so-called Wine Road, an 18km stretch where rolling hills patchworked with rows of verdant vines are framed in the distance by craggy terracotta peaks and an astonishingly vivid cloudless sky. And just outside Cape Town proper, you'll find Constantia, with its 10 vineyards and yet more tempting restaurants. Truth be told, if you're serious about hunting down the best eats South Africa has to offer, you'd do better to skip the Table Mountain tour and take your place at one of the city's fine-dining tables instead. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you. FIVE OF THE BEST: WHERE TO DINE AND DRINK IN CAPE TOWN :: Best for: Food theatrics The Test Kitchen, www.thetestkitchen.co.za The first seven courses of the spectacular Test Kitchen tasting menu take place in the sumptuous wood-panelled Dark Room, before guests move to the airy Light Room for the remainder of Brit star chef Luke Dale-Roberts' award-winning offering. HOW MUCH?: Taster menu is R1500 (£91)pp. :: Best for: Cracking cocktails The Secret Gin Bar, www.honestchocolate.co.za/the-gin-bar Knock on the door of the Honest Chocolate shop after hours and you'll discover a secret gin bar where just five varieties of G&T are served in a candlelit courtyard. HOW MUCH?: G&Ts are around R65 (£3.70) each. :: Best for: Authentic South African flavours Greenhouse, www.greenhouserestaurant.co.za Overlooking the vineyards at the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, Greenhouse focuses on traditional South African dishes made modern. Choose from Hunter (meat) or Gatherer (veggie) tasting menus. HOW MUCH?: From R900 (£51)pp. :: Best for: Beer lovers The Taproom, www.devilspeakbrewing.co.za The craft beer scene is booming in Cape Town. Sample the Devil's Peak Brewing Company's finest ales in its trendy Woodstock bar while enjoying views of Devil's Peak through the floor to ceiling windows. HOW MUCH?: From R25 (£1.60) for a bottle of beer. :: Best for: Date-night dining Chef's Warehouse, www.chefswarehouse.co.za 'Tapas for 2' is the only main course on the menu at this relaxed restaurant, which will get you a selection of small pates served in three courses with dishes changing daily. They don't take bookings though, so arrive early. HOW MUCH?: R620 (about £35) for two. TRAVEL FACTS :: British Airways flies from Gatwick to Cape Town twice a week (ba.com/capetown; 0344 493 0787). Prices start from £535 return, including all taxes and charges. :: For more information on South Africa and Cape Town, visit uk.southafrica.net


Spoilt for choice with the fine wines of the Fairest Cape

October 7 2017

As a travel writer I’ve been lucky enough to get out to all of the world’s great wine destinations and while I love the likes of France, Australia and New Zealand, for me South Africa stands head and cork shoulders above all the others for wine touring. I’ve just been back to the Western Cape Winelands for the fifth time, my first visit for eight years, and I’m happy to report that I found that this remarkable wine destination is better than ever, with big changes on the wine front. Things have really stepped up a notch on the accommodation and food scenes too, so join me now for a personal tour of the best of the best in South Africa. When I first toured the Western Cape Winelands in 2004 I wasn’t as impressed. Two grapes totally dominated proceedings on the single varietal front – Chenin Blanc and Pinotage – and the latter especially I found frustratingly inconsistent. There was a movement too to eschew New World styles and try to copy French blends. Today the South African wine industry is very much ploughing its own furrow. Chenin Blanc is still the most prevalent white, but there are some superb Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs too. Pinotage has stepped up with greater consistency and has been joined by a host of grapes, even superb Pinot Noir, a grape I thought the Winelands here may be too warm for. Even on the fringes of Cape Town I was straight into the action in Constantia, the oldest wine area in the Cape. I love that these days it’s not just all about the wine as the Winelands and wineries have other things to see and do. Here I bashed around on two wheels at the Constantia Uitsig Bike Park. This brilliant test of skills is run by a champion rider and it’s spot on. After the bike park I eased along to the Steenberg’s Bistro Sixteen82 winery, a perfect example of the new wave of winery restaurants. The bistro is set in a spectacular building with great use of natural light and sweeping views out to the hills. The Cape Winelands are unremittingly dramatic with craggy peaks vaulting up from the green valleys that host the vineyards. I savoured the perfectly cooked local fish of the day, kingklip. It was time now to push into the epicentre of South Africa’s wine industry, Stellenbosch. My base was a gorgeous one at the Asara Wine Estate & Hotel (www.asara.co.za) just outside the town. My room offered panoramic views of the vines and those rugged mountains, a view that was jaw-dropping at sunrise. After my first epic sunrise it was off to one of the wine industry big boys, Spier. They offer excellent tours, great food and even boast their own golf course. I embarked on one of their great fun Segway tours. After a quick learn the ropes session we were off on these ingenious two wheeled vehicles exploring the vineyards and learning about their terroir. I’d previously visited many of the excellent wineries around Stellenbosch so decided to push on to Durbanville, where I’d heard they are producing some excellent Sauvignon Blanc. At Diemersdal I was not disappointed by their interpretations of my favourite white wine varietal. It worked really well with the tapas dishes I enjoyed here, which were laden with produce from the region and indeed the winery’s own farm. Stellenbosch’s sister wine town is Franschhoek, which boasts wineries of its own, as well as being my favourite foodie destination in South Africa. My favourite vineyard around here is Boschendal. They may be a deeply historic winery, but they never rest of their laurels. They now have a choice of three places to eat (where much of their estate produce is used) and accommodation on-site to go along with their wine tours. At Boschendal I got more acquainted with the Methode Cap Classique sparkling wines. I’m a huge fan of champagne, but the wines on offer here were up there alongside some champagnes. Unlike prosecco, the MCC wines are fermented in the bottle like champagne and some are stunning. I also enjoyed trying my hand at sabrage, flicking the cork off with a sword. I headed for dinner in Franschhoek at La Petit Colombe at the Quartier Francais for what proved to be the best meal of my trip, a nine-course tasting menu that spectacularly wove local produce infused dishes with the Cape wines. A brilliant way of exploring the Winelands around Franschhoek is aboard the Wine Tram. This spot on concept means you can ease around a number of vineyards in style without having to worry about nominating a driver. You can sample wines and snare a few bottles to take home – South African wines are generally excellent value. I also took time to explore Franschhoek. Like Stellenbosch, it’s a lovely place for strolling around checking out the striking whitewashed Cape Dutch buildings, nosing through the little shops and galleries and enjoying the Mediterranean climate that the Western Cape revels in. Its history is intriguing too as it was first settled by French Huguenots back in 1688. Pushing deeper inland I came into a new wine district for me in the form of Breedekloof, which was accredited in 2003. Chenin Blanc, South Africa’s signature white varietal, is the star here and I enjoyed a tasting at Bosjes, an impressive restaurant and guest house. The tasting brought together Chenin Blancs from a dozen different producers and I was impressed by the diversity within this versatile grape. There is one place in the Western Cape that I always head back to on every trip and that is Hermanus, the best venue for me in the world for land based whalewatching. Literally as I stepped out of the car two humpback whales were slowly making their way across the bay, spouting and breeching as they went. The next day I joined one of the superb whalewatching boat trips to get even closer to our marine mammal cousins. Just inland from Hermanus I came across another valley blessed with superb wineries. At Creation Wines I met a volley of local producers who together are grouped as Hemel-en-Aarde. I was delighted to find Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thriving here in the slightly cooler, ocean breeze-kissed climes.  They also took me on a tour that took in an education project where the wineries are ploughing some of their profits into helping local disadvantaged kids. I met more local kids – they loved my kilt – at Melissa’s, an initiative run by the Du Toitskloof Wine Farm. This impressive Fairtrade project not only aims to help kids through their well equipped school, but also to encourage them on their journey to further education. I have to admit I was glad I had my sunglasses on when their choir sang three songs for us beautifully, including my six year old daughter’s favourite song, Roar, by Katy Perry. I’m finishing writing this article now en route to Cape Town airport. I’m heading for Pretoria to catch up with my favourite train ride in Africa, Rovos Rail. Stay tuned for my report on that. I dare say I may enjoy a glass or two of South Africa’s glorious wines onboard. They will remind me of those epic vineyards that for me offer the world’s finest wine touring.   Factfile For more on South African wine see www.winesofsa.co.uk.   Hotel of the Fortnight Tenerife has its fair share of average hotels, unsurprisingly as it attracts over six million tourists a year. One of my favourite hotels ranks as one of the best in all of the Canaries. The Ritz-Carlton, Abama is every bit the five star dame. It’s got a great location too right by the ocean with its own stretch of beachfront in the Guia de Isora area. As well as plush bedrooms and lavish public areas it boasts an award winning health spa and an excellent 72-par golf course designed by legendary golf course guru Dave Thomas. Amongst its restaurant options it sports two Michelin star restaurants. It’s a venue for a serious treat - you really don’t need to leave the grounds. www.ritzcarlton.com


Springboks miss Matfield but du Preez skippers against Scotland

September 30 2015

If anything, it’s the Springboks who are trying to induce complacency. South Africa will field a midfield trio with just 29 caps between them, a youthful second row partnership and admitted, with a fair degree of amusement at themselves, that they’d had to overhaul their lineout for Saturday’s crunch meeting with Scotland in Newcastle. Head coach Heineke Meyer unveiled scrum-half Fourie du Preez as the new captain in the absence of the injured Jean de Villiers, who underwent surgery on a cheekbone fracture in Cape Town yesterday. du Preez has passed a fitness test but lock legend Victor Matfield failed his, meaning that Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager are the second rows. Meyer admitted to a number of “niggles and knocks” in his squad after the successful if bruising victory over Samoa partially righted the Japan debacle in their first game. Willem Alberts will be on the bench but is less than 100 per cent fit, the coach admitted, but has to be involved or they would have to replace him in the squad. There’s plenty experience in the team with Bismarck du Plessis returning at hooker, Bryan Habana’s 112 caps and 60 tries, including a fair few against Scotland, and Schalk Burger retianed at blindside. One of the chief problems for the Springboks in this game, said Meyer, was that Josh Strauss and WP Nel for Scotland knew much of South Africa’s lineout strategy. “They were both in Springbok training camps three years ago, they both got the coaching manual,” he said. “It means we’ve had to change our lineout scheme, because they are intelligent guys and I’m sure they’ve remembered everything!” Both also speak Afrikaanse but South Africa won’t be changed their method of calls. “It’s tougher to speak English if you’re an Afrikaanse speaker,” said Meyer. “Lood (de Jager) will be calling the lineouts and he’s got enough on his mind.” de Jager, who scored two tries on debut when South Africa routed Scotland last summer, doesn’t think it’ll be a problem. “We’ve had to change some things, but it’s pretty simple and nothing drastic,” he said. “We’re aware this isn’t the same team we played last time, Scotland are one of the most improved teams in world rugby this year.” Meyer agrees that it’s a different Scottish team. “They play total rugby, Vern Cotter is a great coach I have a lot of time for,” he said. “They are confident after two good wins, had a great warm-up campaign and I’ve been impressed with Glasgow, who supply a lot of their team. “When you get a lot of players from one club or province it has to help the international team, and this is nearly a home game for them. They’re definitely a team on the up.” However, added the coach, his adage was always if the Springboks played their best rugby, they would “beat any team in the world”. “We’ve been under pressure since day one of the tournament because we made a big mistake there,” he said of the Japan defeat. “We’ve been fighting ever since and Saturday will be no different. “We’re expecting a brutally physical match and we’re really looking forward to the challenge.” South Africa: W le Roux; JP Pietersen, J Kriel, D De Allende, B Habana; H Pollard, F du Preez (capt); T Mtawarira, B du Plessis, J du Plessis; E Etzebeth, L de Jager; F Louw, S Burger, D Vermuelen. Replacements: A Strauss, T Nyakane, F Malherbe, P-S du Toit, W Alberts, R Pienaar, P Lambie, J Serfontein.


VIDEO: Glory for Scotland at World Rugby Sevens Series

May 23 2016

A last-gasp try from Dougie Fife earned Scotland their first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title as they defeated South Africa 27-26 at Twickenham. The Scots had never been to a sevens series final before and found themselves 26-15 down in the closing stages before two late tries, both scored by Fife and the second coming after time had expired, delivered a historic success for Calum McRae’s team. They set up a showdown with the Proteas earlier in the day in similar fashion as another pair of late scores from Fife in the semi-finals saw off the United States, who won at Twickenham 12 months earlier. “It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Fife told Sky Sports. “This team have come a long way. We truly believe we can beat anyone on our day and today we showed that. I think we surprised a few people.” Fiji had already been confirmed as the overall winners of the series having successfully defended their title, but were knocked out at the last-four stage in London by South Africa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90UXGSIeh8g The Scots’ day had started with a 17-0 quarter-final success over England, before Fife’s semi-final tries saw them progress to a meeting with South Africa. The Southern Hemisphere nation were 10-7 down at the break in the final after Scott Wight dotted down from an innovative driving maul that caught the South Africans out. They responded by building up an 11-point lead courtesy of tries from Rosko Specman and Cecil Afrika and, even after James Fleming had somehow held off two would-be tacklers 10 metres out to finish over the line, another try from Specman looked to have killed Scotland off before Fife’s late heroics. “I’m very, very proud of the guys,” McRae said. “They put absolutely everything into it; they’re a pleasure to work with week to week. “They’re a real honest bunch and it’s nice that the guys get the rewards at the end of today.”


Zuma remains head of ANC

December 19 2012

SOUTH AFRICA’S governing African National Congress has voted overwhelmingly to keep president Jacob Zuma as its head, probably guaranteeing him another term leading the country. Mr Zuma trounced deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, his only challenger who ran a largely muted and reluctant campaign, getting 2,983 votes to 991. The ANC voted to install wealthy businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as deputy president of the party, sending Mr Motlanthe out of the top rungs of power after his challenge.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


‘A beacon of hope’ tributes as Nelson Mandela is laid to rest

December 16 2013

The president of South Africa has led tributes to Nelson Mandela, describing him as a “beacon of hope”, as the anti-apartheid hero was laid to rest on a family plot. Dignitaries from around the world gathered for the state funeral of South Africa’s first black president in Qunu, the remote village where Mr Mandela grew up. More than 4,000 people, including Mr Mandela’s family members, African leaders and several heads of state, attended the final farewell service in a specially erected marquee. After the ceremony, his casket was carried by the military, accompanied by family and friends, up a hill to the graveside. The burial marked the end of a week of memorial events for Mr Mandela which have attracted thousands of South Africans and world leaders. The Prince of Wales, who arrived in South Africa on Sunday morning, attended the service along with US civil rights activist the Rev Jesse Jackson, entrepreneur Richard Branson and broadcaster Oprah Winfrey. Addressing the congregation, South African president Jacob Zuma said: “It is the end of an extraordinary journey that began 95 years ago. “It is the end of 95 glorious years, of a freedom fighter, a dedicated and humble servant of the people of South Africa. “Fountain of wisdom, a pillar of strength, and a beacon of hope for all those fighting for a just and equitable world order. Your long walk to freedom has ended in a physical sense. “Our own journey continues. We have to continue working to build the kind of society you worked tirelessly to construct. South Africa will continue to rise.” Reading an obituary, Mr Mandela’s grandson Ndaba Mandela said the former leader became “one of the world's greatest icons”. “It is through Mandela that the world cast its eyes on South Africa and took notice of the severe and organised repression of black South Africans,” he said. “Yet it was also through Mandela that the world would learn the spirit of endurance, the triumph of forgiveness and the beauty of reconciliation.” In the Xhosa language, Mr Mandela’s granddaughter Nandi Mandela said: “Go well Madiba. Go well to the land of our ancestors, you have run your race.” She added: “We will carry lessons you taught us throughout our lives. As South Africans we must stop pointing fingers, but must rather lead by example, as you did.” The coffin, draped in the country’s national flag, was taken on a gun carriage from Mr Mandela’s house on Sunday morning to a giant white marquee that had been specially erected for the service. Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, a representative of Mr Mandela’s family, said: “A great tree has fallen, he is now going home to rest with his forefathers. We thank them for lending us such an icon.” Ahmed Kathrada, who was imprisoned on Robben Island with Mr Mandela, said: “Your abundant reserves of love, simplicity, honesty, service, humility, care, courage, foresight, patience, tolerance, equality, justice, continually serve as a source of enormous strength to many millions of people in South Africa and the world. “Today, mingled with our grief, is the enormous pride that one of our own has during his lifetime and now in your death united the people of South Africa and the entire world on a scale never before experienced in history.” Prince Charles described Mr Mandela as the “embodiment of courage and reconciliation” and said his passing had left “an immense void” in the lives of everyone who had been affected by his fight for justice and freedom. The 95-year-old former leader, who was imprisoned for 27 years for opposing apartheid before emerging in 1990 to forge a new democratic South Africa, died on December 5.