This weekend was the Argus cycle race, a 105Km race around this beautiful part of the world by 35,000 people, the largest such race in the world.

It was also a weekend where the Milnerton Players had the “Millie awards”, their annual awards for “best of” 1998. I ran sound for the musical review they staged beforehand - quite excellent. To watch such a review, with tap, musical numbers from twenty years of shows, with music from piano, bass guitar and drumset, rehearsed in six evenings, was quite an eyeopener.

Our side of Table Mountain burned last weekend. Feinboss, unique flora from the Cape, spreads its seeds during fire. However, it takes six or more years for the plants to mature, and the fires are more frequent than that.

Politics is getting into gear for the election now slated for June 2. The last elections in 1994 were marked by violence between rival parties - heaviest between the IFP and the ANC. There has been a spate of tit-for-tat killings in the Western Cape between the UDM and ANC, and some attempts by members of the church to promote reconciliation.

I went on a business trip last week to Jo’burg, visiting Vodacom at Vodaworld, the new company headquarters and also a cellular Mall, where you can buy all things cellular. The building was impressive, a large glass and steel building in Midrand, business suburbia that is joining Jo’burg and Pretoria in one builtup metropolis. I was debugging 1960’s technology serial links that join our computers to Vodacom’s SMSCs, the computers that perform text messaging to all their cellphones.

We perform all Vodacom’s corporate SMS messaging, but cooperation and technology leaves a little to be desired at the interface…

We also do the Website for Business Report, a well-respected newspaper from the Independent Newspaper Group, and international media company run by Tony O’Reilly from Ireland, where he also runs (all ?) the newspapers. I showed him around our Cape Town facilities, as he also has a stake in InTouch. For extra credibility in the IT industry, I paint my toenails and tint my hair nowadays :-)

I am taking a break next month to do a little travelling and to canvass support for my Internet ideas.

I chatted this week with someone that does import/export to Angola, another of the forgotten wars of Africa. The UN, I notice, are pulling out, in frustration at lack of resolution of 30 years of civil war. The war is funded by the enormous mineral wealth of the country. Oil is tapped by American companies, and controlled by the MPLA, the government that won the 1992 elections. Diamonds are also mostly controlled by the MPLA, but 30% of that vast wealth is controlled by UNITA and its leader Jonas Savimbi, who lost the election, was offered, Africa-style, palaces, places in the new government, influence, babes, and still refused it all. His strength is the local language-speaking tribes in the north, ignored by the Portuguese before. Most of Angola speaks only portuguese, there was no support at all for local languages during colonial rule. The guns come from Eastern Europe, and the diamonds, I was told, go to Belgium and are ‘rescued’ from the open market by De Beers.

Angola has next to no infrastructure left - has lost all its wildlife to the war, and all it has left is a beautiful country ravaged by war with minerals to be fought over by greedy militarists.

Cheers, Andy!