The Honorable Chief Justice: Town Trap is Not for Rat Alone

first_imgDr. Kadiker Rex Dahn No Liberian is more Liberian than the others. Mitigating cultural dishonesty and miseducation in Liberia requires a democratic solution, a collective effort where citizens proffer and propound diverse constructive views for the betterment of the society. That said, I am having my say…By Kadiker Rex Dahn, MA, M.Ed, PhDIntroduction The questionable impeachment proceedings of Justice Kabineh Ja’neh are exposing the judgments of individuals whom we may have otherwise had different opinion about. Whenever there are legal issues that cannot be handled by the lower courts, the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice is the final arbiter. It is assumed that the Chief Justice and the High Court as well as the lower courts in the Republic will dispense justice without fear or favor. On the other hand, if a member of the court actions or inactions of judicial matter becomes questionable as if the member of that court is afraid of being harm or losing a tenure position and therefore appears to compromise the rule of law, such action if true, undermines the independence, neutrality and separation of powers embedded in the Liberian Constitution.I am disturbed and taken aback of a potential feud between Chief Justice Korkpor and Associate Justice Ja’neh as reported in the Daily Observer newspaper on December 5, 2018, Vol.18 NO. 231, under the caption: “Korkpor-Ja’neh Relationship Turning Sour?” This article will attempt to argue that if there is a carefully crafted, conspiracy and plot by anyone to remove Justice Ja’neh in this public manner, I maintain: Chief Justice Korkpor, BE VERY, VERY CAREFUL AND VIGILANT BECAUSE TOWN TRAP IS NOT FOR RAT ALONE.Discussions The Daily Observer’s narrative on the relationship between the two men from Nimba County clearly indicated that there is an underneath friction between the two. I do not intend at this point in time as a prominent citizen of Nimba County to render judgment as to the rightness or wrongness of any of the two. The issue at hand is national, and may equally so set a legal precedent. However, my attention is drawn to the egregious disrespect shown to the Supreme Court when that legal supreme body empowered by the Constitution instructed House Speaker Bhofal Chamber and others to appear before that body, and desist from any proceedings about Ja’neh’s impeachment pending the ruling of the Justice’s complaint of a constitutional violation by the full bench of the Supreme Court.”With no regard to the Court, Speaker Chambers and the Lower House told the Supreme Court to, “vacate the purported stay order and avoid embarrassment.” With such public disrespect and challenge, Chief Justice Korkpor bowed and submitted instead of using the rule of law enshrined in the Organic Law of the country to fight back. The action of the Chief Justice undermined the Judicial Branch of which he is the head. The Chief Justice’s action may equally frighten potential investors, because if the Chief Justice and the rule of law can be publicly challenged and disrespected, and still submit to pressure, how could the Court protect foreign nationals within the scope of the law? Better still, how could the Chief Justice and the Court stand against injustices? The Chief Justice’s action or inaction maybe a legal disaster, and according to Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe may, “overthrow the rule of law… because he will be acting against himself.”One must ask what is it that the Chief Justice is wanting at the expense of the rule of law? Better still, is there anything that the Chief Justice has received or been promised in exchange for the death of rule of law? What a judicial legacy where the Executive and Legislative branches of government appear to have an absolute power over the Judiciary? Even if there is an internal disagreement between Chief Justice Korkpor and Justice Ja’neh does it warrant sacrificing the rule of law which is foundational to a genuine democratic form of government? Where, Honorable Chief Justice, do you want the Liberian judicial system to be among nations of the world?The very building the Supreme Court is housed is enshrined on the wall, “LET JUSTICE BE DONE TO ALL.” Honorable Chief Justice, we wonder how justice will be done in the legal confine of the law when the Supreme Court you head is publicly challenged and disrespected and you who should be the chief defender sides with those who undermines the authority of the Supreme Court? We ask, is the Temple of Justice where the Supreme Court you head is housed actually intended for justice or is it for injustice and manipulations?Our country is at the brink of lawlessness because those who make the law and interpret the law, actions or in actions seem to be incongruous with their given mandate. Honorable Chief Justice, rather than in the words of Cllr. Gongloe “conspiring to overthrow the rule of law” wouldn’t it be prudent to protect and save the rule of law by resigning since the Supreme Court under your supervision is besieged by claim of manipulations? ECOWAS, AU, UN and Western Countries are equally watching and should Justice Ja’neh be removed under your watch and approbation with full view of constitutional violation of the Supreme Court’s mandate, your legacy will be tainted.ConclusionHonorable Chief Justice, I would like for you to be very careful and vigilant because town trap is not for rat alone. Be as it may, the town trap set for Justice Ja’neh has already been set. Again, town trap as we say in Liberia is not for rat alone and who knows those who set the trap and those who helped to set the trap for Justice Ja’neh may themselves be caught in the same trap. Time will tell!About the author: Kadiker Rex Dahn holds two Masters and a PhD in Historical, Philosophical and Social Foundations of Education from the University of Oklahoma. He formerly served as a Deputy Minister of Education and Deputy Director General, National Commission on Higher Education. He is a member of the North America Scholar consortium, membership with the highest honor. Contact: yenpuu@yahoo.com.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

West Ham duo return for Tottenham clash

first_img1 West Ham will be boosted for Sunday’s trip to Tottenham by the return of centre backs Winston Reid and James Collins.The Hammers have been light at the back during the pairs’ absence, with midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate filling in as emergency cover.However, the duo have now recovered and Allardyce believes that with a fit squad his side can start to push on up the Premier League table.“Everybody has recovered – Matt Jarvis, Winston Reid and James Collins – which is very important to us,” said Allardyce.“I think where we go from here will depend on how fit we keep the squad. Not only the dip form of individuals, but injuries to certain players have caused us problems.“Hopefully now the squad is fit again and we will strive to get as many victories as we can before the end of the season.” James Collins and Winston Reid in action for West Ham last_img read more

Louis van Gaal insists he will NOT quit after ‘fighting’ Manchester United draw with Chelsea

first_img Louis van Gaal 1 Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says he has no plans to walk away from the club after his players turned in a spirited performance in the 0-0 draw with Chelsea.The Red Devils responded admirably to the terrible 2-0 defeat to Stoke on Boxing Day and will feel aggrieved they didn’t take all three points after squandering some gilt-edged openings.Van Gaal had suggested he could resign following the loss at the Britannia, but dismissed those claims after his side’s battling display.“When the players an give such a performance with this lot of pressure then it is not any reason to resign for me. Maybe the media wants that, but I shall not do that,” said the Dutchman.Despite arresting a run of four successive defeats in all competitions, United extended their winless run to eight games and are nine points behind league leaders Arsenal.The pressure remains firmly on Van Gaal, but he does not appear to be too worried about his future and welcomed the support of the United fans.He added: “It’s for me not an interesting subject because I cannot have any influence on that.“I can only work with my players and you have seen that the players are fighting for me; they have given a good performance.“Even after this result the fans were applauding. I cannot say that I am very much concerned, but in this football world you never know. I have full confidence in the board and that’s also more important I think in my players.”last_img read more

Accused deputy impersonaters due in court

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Jones alleged the suspects wore green clothing displaying sheriff’s department logos, identified themselves as sheriff’s deputies or police officers, and subjected the victims to “pat-down” searches. The suspects then took the victims’ wallets and/or cash and told them to keep walking, Jones said. The pair were arrested in the city of Los Angeles when a detective from Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart Division saw them detaining several people, Jones said. “It appears that some of these locations where the suspects hit (were) in areas where day laborers would work,” sheriff’s Detective Dan Jaramillo said at a news conference. “In the afternoon hours, people would be coming home from work with large amounts of cash in their pockets,” Jaramillo said. “Sometimes it was hundreds of dollars that people lost.” A preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin today for a man and a woman charged with robbing more than 20 people, most of them undocumented workers, while impersonating sheriff’s deputies. Steve Leo, 34, and Sabrina John, 32, are each being held on $500,000 bail, said Deputy Johnie Jones of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau. The pair, arrested late last month, are charged with three counts of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery stemming from alleged crimes committed between Aug. 30 and Oct. 23 in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Leo and John are due in Bellflower Superior Court this morning for a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial on the felony charges. Deputies displayed the uniforms and badges that the suspects allegedly wore. “The key to this is that we’ve caught the suspects, because it’s serious to … what law enforcement represents,” Sheriff Lee Baca said. “We are not in the business of committing crime.” Other possible victims were urged to call the sheriff’s department at (562) 946-7136. Spanish-speaking investigators will be available to handle complaints, authorities said. For the latest news and observations on crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

DONEGAL HAMMER CORK IN CHAMPIONSHIP (IN BOSTON!)

first_imgDonegal GFC Boston Vs Cork – Championship May 27th 2012Donegal met with the men from the rebel county in their second game ofthe championship last Sunday. The northeners dominated the first halfand were a goal and six points ahead before Cork got on thescoreboard.Cork battled back in the second half with a goal from Peter Kirwan andlooked like they were back in the game, however points kept comingfrom the Donegal men. Robert( Rocky) Ivers, Ciaran Williams and BrianDonnelly all did well in keeping the rebels from closing in on theDonegal lead.Donegal are looking strong at this early stage of the campaign andrecorded another victory in Canton, Massachussets. Final score Donegal1-14  Cork 1-05Donegal:  P. Boyle, D. Doyle, M. Canning, P. Wanish, C. Bell, K.Mulhern, B. White, B. Donnelly, N. O’Connell, M. McGinty, R. Ivers, G.Friel, C. Williams.Cork:  J. O’Toole, C. Caffrey, E. Barry, M. Carolan, J. Hogan, D.Mulvey, P. Leddy, M. Burke, E. O’Sullivan, M. Moynihan, J. Crowley, P.Kirwan, D. Hughes  DONEGAL HAMMER CORK IN CHAMPIONSHIP (IN BOSTON!) was last modified: May 29th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:DONEGAL HAMMER CORK IN CHAMPIONSHIP (IN BOSTON!)last_img read more

BASKETBALL: LETTERKENNY SUMMERLEAGUE WEEK 4 UPDATE

first_imgWith one week to go in the league before the playoffs begin, it is all to play for in the Letterkenny Basketball Summerleague. The league semi-finals will take place in Aura on Tuesday July 3rd between 8-10pm, while the finals night will take place on Thursday July 5th between 8-10pm. There will be competitions held on Finals night for all players, such as a three-point contest and a Knockout shooting competition, as well as a few prizes up for grabs for our fans. We expect a big crowd down for these so get down early and cheer on your team at the Aura Leisure Centre.Game 1: Lakers 39 – Clippers 73 A weakened Lakers squad took the floor against the in form Clippers and it was clear from the start how this would pan out. In the most lopsided victory in Summerleague history, the young Clippers ran in lay-up after lay-up against their opponents for easy scores to build a huge lead early on. Big scoring from Paul Murray, Moe Ismail and Steve Cannon ensured they had put this game out of sight in the first half. Connor Reid (Lakers) tried hard to get his team back in it but the deficit was too much and Clippers won big. Top Scorers: (Lakers) Connor Reid 18pts and (Clippers) Steve Cannon 25pts.Game 2: Magic 50 – Bulls 53This was a close game right the way through until the final buzzer. Bulls were in need of a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Troy Morris got to the basket and converted early on, but Magic’s Erik Dragunas matched him. Bulls hit back through their veteran Arnold Custodio who scored a team high. Magic never gave up and Edvinas Dapsys and Daniel McArdle ran the break to notch up scores. The game went back and forth the whole way through until the end when Bulls were up 6 with seven seconds to go. Dragunas hit a three-pointer to narrow the gap to three points, but Bulls held the ball in the dying seconds to grab a win. Top Scorers: (Magic) Erik Dragunas 14pts and (Bulls) Arnold Custodio 16pts. Game 3: Celtics 58 – Thunder 53Both teams started hot offensively with Billy Banda (Thunder) and Renatas Jocys (Celtics) getting on the scoreboard. Mike Foy went down with an injury for the Thunder and as they had no sub (a problem their team has faced all Summerleague), they had to play 4v4 for the remainder of the game. Aidan Campbell took advantage of this extra space for the Thunder and notched up a tremendous 33points for the game. Celtic’s Ejder Akkoc played very tough inside and was scoring at ease it seemed. A couple of costly turnovers down the stretch for the Thunder hurt them and Celtics capitalised to win in a closely fought game. Top Scorers: (Celtics) Ejder Akkoc 17pts and (Thunder) Aidan Campbell 33pts.Game 4: Lakers 43 – Magic 44Both teams were missing their big centre so this would prove to be a well matched game and it didn’t disappoint for the neutral fans as it went right down to the wire. Lakers started sharper jumping into a 10-4 lead through scores from Darryl Hamm and Kieran O’Neill. Mark Cannon hit back with a couple of drives to the basket to get his team on the scoreboard. Joseph King then tied the game up on a lovely reverse lay-up and then we had multiple lead changes until the end. Eduardas Diktonas shot the ball extremely well for the Lakers. Edvinas Dapsys grabbed two monster blocks for the Magic and Erik Dragunas scored a number of tough drives in the final few minutes to keep it close and give Magic a two-point lead with 10seconds to go. Kieran O’Neill came down the court and hit a deep three-pointer to put the Lakers up one with four seconds left. Magic called a time-out and found Mark Cannon in the post with the inbound pass, but he was fouled in the process. He calmly knocked down two free throws to put Magic up 1. Diktonas scored a shot after the buzzer had sounded for the Lakers but it was too late and Magic held on to win by a point. Top Scorers: (Lakers) Kieran O’Neill 21pts and (Magic) Mark Cannon 21pts.Game 5: Thunder 38 – Bulls 52Once again the Thunder struggled with numbers, missing their big man inside, but Bulls were missing their top scorer so it was all to play for. Conor Dorrian started great scoring on numerous post moves in the opening half for the Thunder. Ger Murray used his speed to beat his opponents up the court and scored on lovely drives for the Bulls, whilst displaying great handles for a big man. With Thunder missing players, young Andrew McGeever got called up for his Summerleague debut and he held his own throughout. Padhraic Coll scored well for the Thunder, while Gilbert Castillo played tough for the Bulls. The difference maker in the game was Conor McGoohan who had a superb all round game, and couldn’t be contained. Bulls ran out winners. Top Scorers: (Thunder) Andrew McGeever/Conor Dorrian 9pts and (Bulls) Ger Murray 18pts.Game 6: Celtics 52 – Clippers 64 This game proved to be a classic shooting display by two players and was great to watch. Paul McHugh (Celtics) scored a Summerleague record 35points with four three-pointers and Steve Cannon (Clippers) scored 26points with six three-pointers. Clippers lead early with scores from Cannon and Moe Ismail, who were finding numerous gaps in the Celtics defence. Andrew McGeady and McHugh answered back with drives of their own. Shaun Wogan (Clippers) hit a number of mid-range jumpers to maintain the lead. Alex Liu came into the game more in the second half for the Celtics with his aggressive drives, but the speed of the clippers proved too much and they ran out winners. Top Scorers: (Celtics) Paul McHugh 35pts and (Clippers) Steve Cannon 26pts.Come out and support your favourite players for both the semi finals and finals next week. All our information (stats, fixtures, results and more) can be viewed online at http://www.edwinfoley.ie/Letterkenny-Summer-League-2012BASKETBALL: LETTERKENNY SUMMERLEAGUE WEEK 4 UPDATE was last modified: June 28th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Letterkenny Basketball Summerleaguelast_img read more

Donegal fan travels back from Australia for big match at Croke Park!

first_imgA Donegal GAA supporter has flown back home from Australia to see his native county take on the Dubs at Croke Park. Neil Anthony O’Donnell, originally from Ranafast in West Donegal, is now based in Perth, Australia. However, the former Naomh Muire player jetted back from Down Under to see his beloved Donegal in action against the reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin.Donegal take on Dublin at GAA HQ later this evening, and thousands are hoping that they will see a repeat of Donegal’s 2014 heroics.Thousands of ex-pats from Donegal will be tuning in all over the world to see Rory Gallagher’s men take on the Dubs, but fair play to Neil Anthony from travelling all the way back from Australia!Hopefully Donegal can make his trip worth all the time and expense spared. Now that’s what you call a real supporter!#TirChonaillAbúDonegal fan travels back from Australia for big match at Croke Park! was last modified: August 6th, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:AustraliaCroke ParkdonegaldublinGAANeil Anthony O’DonnellnewsPerthSportlast_img read more

City to merge its security forces

first_img Julie Butcher, general manager of the union representing most of the workers that would be affected, supported the merger. “This is really about the most efficient way to use people and resources,” said Butcher, of Service Employees International Union, Local 347. “This goes a long way toward making us one city.” Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 rick.orlov@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Greuel said the consolidation is designed to coordinate city response to potential emergencies. A separate civilian commission is to be created, comprised of members nominated from the existing Recreation and Parks, Library, Convention Center, Zoo and Police commissions. While some expressed concern about the impact on parks, City Administrative Officer Bill Fujioka said the 19 park rangers will continue to work separately even though they will be included in the new agency. Councilman Tom LaBonge also won support for a proposal to try to hire an additional 37 rangers to supplement that force. “We think that once this is in place, that it will increase safety at all parks,” Fujioka said. “We will have more officers available to respond to problems at individual parks than we now have.” After two years of review, the Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to create a new Office of Public Safety to coordinate all city security forces under one agency. The nearly 400 officers will be managed by the Department of General Services and will provide security at all city buildings as well as libraries, parks, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo and the Convention Center. “We have been trying to do this since 9-11, to better coordinate our security forces so we can respond to an emergency,” Councilwoman Wendy Greuel said before the 12-0 vote. “The goal of this is simple – to improve the service and level of safety for the general public.” The decision will become final after the council’s expected approval of two ordinances Friday, and their signing by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Officials said they hope to have the new unit operating by Jan. 8. last_img read more

Clean-up drive along SA borders

first_imgThe clean-up campaign will address anumber of social and environmental issues.(Image: stock.xchng) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sello MabotjaDept of Environmental Affairs+27 74 319 2794 or +27 12 336 7902• Nick NuttallUNEP Spokesperson+254 20 762 3084 or +254 733 632 755Janine ErasmusSouth Africa’s border areas and the communities living there are to receive a “green” boost in the form of a clean-up campaign, which is being driven by the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs.The campaign was launched at the South Africa-Zimbabwe border post of Beitbridge in October 2009 by South Africa’s deputy minister of environmental affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, and her Zimbabwean colleague, Environmental Minister Francis Nhema.The theme was “Cleaning our borders for a healthy society and environment”, and a number of trees were planted on both sides of the border to commemorate the occasion.The initiative will focus on waste management, air quality, climate change, and the importance of establishing strong ties with neighbouring nations to achieve sustainability and economic growth, as well as an attitude of tolerance.There are plans to extend the campaign to other communities along South Africa’s borders, namely those in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia and Mozambique.Awareness across SADCThis is the first such environmental drive to involve Southern African Development Community countries, said Mabudafhasi, speaking at the launch ceremony. She added that it will be used as a tool to heighten communities’ awareness and responsibility towards keeping their own immediate environment clean.It is targeted at border communities, she explained, because of the constant movement and mingling of people from different nations. As such, it is also an ideal platform to encourage people to fight xenophobia as they work together towards a common goal.In April and May 2008 South Africa was rocked by a series of violent xenophobic attacks against foreign residents, mainly in townships and informal settlements, which left scores dead and thousands homeless. Many victims were Zimbabwean.At the launch Nhema also committed himself to ensuring that South Africa and Zimbabwe work together towards a clean and healthy environment, saying that the relationship forged would unite the two countries.In terms of South Africa’s Constitution, all residents have a right to live in an environment that is not harmful to their health. One of the prerequisites of a higher standard of living for Southern African citizens is a sustainable environment, said Mabudafhasi, and this is why it forms one of the pillars of the campaign.She said there were many opportunities in waste management, and the campaign will highlight this as viable means of generating an income. Encouraging people to start their own recycling projects will also result in cleaner communities.Speaking with one voiceMabudafhasi took the opportunity to remind those present at the launch that South Africa was a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate.Under these two instruments, the country has a responsibility to cut down on its greenhouse gas emissions if sustainable development is to be achieved. The introduction of waste recycling projects in villages, townships, and rural areas was critical to this goal, she said, as it would help offset the amount of methane gas generated by open dumps and landfills, and reduce harmful nitrogen that is given off by fertiliser and livestock dung.Africa simply does not have the resources to invest heavily in climate change mitigation, and the effects of this phenomenon are tightening their grip on the continent: untimely drought and flooding now pose a real threat to African plants, animals and ecosystems, while its people feel the growing bite of poverty.Although waste recycling is a start, the continent still needs international support to address these challenges. If its interests are to be considered, it must be a vocal and active participant at the upcoming UN climate conference, taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 7 to 18 December. This is the 15th edition of the Conference of the Parties, or COP15.“As the most vulnerable continent we are have to speak with one voice. We are among the ones likely to bear the brunt of climate change the most. Our continent is one of the areas where the adverse effects will be felt,” said Mabudafhasi.More climate change actionSoon after the launch of the clean-up campaign, the deputy minister attended a conference of gender and climate change in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, held as part of the Global Gender Climate Alliance movement.This is an initiative of the Women’s Environment Development Organisation and a number of UN agencies such as the UN Development Programme, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, among others.At the conference delegates discussed the gender implications of climate change. Men and women are affected differently by it, with women usually coming off worse because of social and cultural inequalities. But, it was noted, women are powerful agents for change and should have a stronger voice in environmental discussions.Much of the conference focused on areas outlined in the Bali action plan, which was adopted at the 2007 UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, as part of the strategy towards a globally binding agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009. Bali 2007 included the 13th Conference of the Parties gathering.last_img read more

Irish flair comes to SA

first_imgThe Riverdance show has toured all over the world and now graces local stages for the first time ever. (Image: Riverdance) Riverdance, that quintessentially Irish phenomenon, is onstage in South Africa for the first time. Sure, we’ve had plenty of Irish dancing over the years – multiple visits from spin-off shows like Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance and David King’s Spirit of the Dance.But Riverdance is the original and is still held to be the more authentic production. The show runs until 20 February in Johannesburg and then moves to Cape Town for the rest of its six-week tour.What started off as a seven-minute interval piece at the Eurovision Song Contest, held in 1994 in Dublin, rapidly grew into a full-length music and dancing extravaganza: an exhibition of traditional Irish dancing such as had never been seen before, and which became the Emerald Isle’s major cultural export of the 1990s.In Riverdance the improbable foot and leg movements of the distinctive Irish dancing style, multiplied by twenty dancers and performed perfectly synchronised, are accompanied by Bill Whelan’s music that’s both joyous and full of pathos, by turns invigorating and haunting.As the show evolved, it began to incorporate other dance forms that complement, and perhaps even influence, the modern Irish style, notably jazzy American tap and sultry Spanish flamenco. Indeed, while the first half of Riverdance celebrates the “primitive and powerful world” of ancestral Ireland, the second act hinges around the notion of diaspora.As the programme notes explain: “War, famine and slavery shattered the ancient bonds between people and place. Forced dislocations marked and altered our histories … we learned to guard what we valued, to accommodate ourselves to others. Cast out and momentarily orphaned, we learned to belong to the world.”Irish settlers drawn to South AfricaMillions of Irish left their homeland out of hunger – the potato famine of the mid-nineteenth century was the most famous but certainly not the only period in which food shortages caused great suffering – or out of a desire for political and economic freedom. Ireland gained, lost and regained independence from Britain in the 1920s and 1930s, after being an occupied territory for about 700 years.South Africa may not have drawn as many Irish as America or Australia, but it was the destination chosen by thousands of immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They came to mine gold, to farm, to trade; and, in their search for a new home, they spread far and wide across the country.There are two South African towns called Belfast – in Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, although the former town is now officially known as eMakhazeni – and numerous other places bear evidence of Irish influence.The Eastern Cape’s Cradock was named after John Cradock, an Anglophile Irishman who was once governor of the Cape colony. Upington in the Northern Cape took its name from Irishman Thomas Upington, former premier of the Cape Colony.One of the most famous South Africans of Irish heritage was Percy Fitzpatrick, author of Jock of the Bushveld. But while Fitzpatrick was an advocate of British intervention and expansion, most Irish sympathies lay with those who, like themselves, were victims of British oppression.At the end of the 19th century, that list included the Boers of the then-Transvaal; even James Joyce, in his mock-epic novel Ulysses, took up the cause of the Boer War as a war of independence. The Irish fought on both sides of the conflict, as volunteers with the Boer guerillas and as conscripts in the British army.A little bit of Ireland in AfricaGiven all these connections between Ireland and South Africa, it’s hardly surprising that when one Edward Strangman bought a tract of fertile soil near Somerset West in 1868, he named it after the country of his birth: Erin Vale, or Irish Valley.Little is known about the owners in subsequent decades, although there are a few stories in circulation about a redoubtable pair of sisters who ran the farm in proto-feminist fashion a few generations after Mr Strangman.What can be more readily verified is the history of the surrounding farmland, which was part of the 30 000ha Vergelegen estate founded in 1700 by conman, autocrat and horticulturist extraordinaire Willem Adriaan van der Stel. It was later sub-divided after Van der Stel was sent back to the Netherlands for extortion and mistreatment of his fellow Dutch farmers – thus it was that, along with Vergelegen, Lourensford and Morgenster were turned into wine farms.Today they remain major attractions on the Helderberg wine route, offering tastings, not only of wine but also of olives and chocolate, and tours in exquisite settings: Cape Dutch architecture, perfectly manicured grounds and terraced vineyards all around.Erinvale, however, did not end up as a winery. David Gant of Lourensford saw its potential as a residential golf estate and commissioned Gary Player to design the course layout. Erinvale presents a challenging 18 holes with spectacular views that do offer some comfort to those golfers – such as the author of this article – who frequently find themselves in the rough, the sand or the water … And the golfers, in turn, offer some entertainment for occupants of the houses looking onto the fairways.In 1995, Peter Baragwanath opened the Erinvale Estate Hotel and Spa, a complex of buildings developed around the original 300-year-old manor house of the farm; where once there were stables and barns, there are now elegantly furnished thatched rooms.In 1999 Erinvale returned to Irish hands when County Kerry-born tycoon Xavier McAuliffe purchased the hotel. It was acquired by the Louis Group in 2007, but a few Irish touches remain: Skelligs Pub and the Shannon room, for instance, hark back to the days of Mr Strangman.Erinvale is thus able to offer the highly appealing combination of a top quality golf course and decadent spa treatments, along with good food and wine, in a luxurious setting. It’s all a far cry from the deprivation that forced so many people to leave Ireland over the centuries – but that change in fortune can be attributed, you might say, to the luck of the Irish.last_img read more