300: Rise of an Empire

Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel Xerxes, and running parallel to the events in the first film, 300: Rise of an Empire tells the story from the point of view of the Athenians, culminating in the Battle of Salamis. Persia is still the antagonistic force, but depth is provided to the characters on the opposing side – even for the “god-king” Xerxes. This makes some reparation for the vilification that was so glaring in the first, drawing inevitable comparisons to strained relations between the US and Middle East in recent years to the point that the film was banned in Iran.

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Jack Parow – Nag van die Lang Pette

Ek laaik vir Jack Parow even though I am not an ardent fan of rap and find that his themes remain the same. Rather, it is the way he delivers his music that I enjoy. Although he is categorically placed under the term rap, he continually displays an ability to stylise his work with incredible diversity.  Part of the reason lies in his various collaborations, which immediately add a different feel and tone to the music. There is no better testament to this than his latest album, Nag van die Lang Pette. His third studio offering, released as a double album, it showcases 11 acoustic tracks, 12 new electric tracks and 6 comedy skits.

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Meeting the Volunteers: John McIlvaine

I mentioned previously that the cheetah team could no longer be referred to as the cheetah girls, and this is due to the presence of John McIlvaine. Coming from Seattle in the United States, this is his second time working with cheetahs in South Africa. “Everything about them is awesome,” he says when naming the cheetah as his favourite animal, “and I’ve worked with them quite a bit now and every time I’m with them I learn new things about them.”

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Meeting the Volunteers: Annami Grabe

Something I loved about meeting the volunteers and talking to them was the way they carefully contemplated each question I put forward to them – and none more so than Annami Grabe, a local volunteer, hailing from Somerset West. She has found a perfect haven in Inverdoorn’s open spaces as she explains that she’s an outdoor person. “I like the bushveld and openness. I don’t like the city, so this is perfect for me.”

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Meeting the Volunteers: Cynthia Knuppe

The lodge is abuzz with activity, and not only because it’s summer season. The other reason for all the energy coursing through the reserve is the interns and volunteers. I have never seen so many at one time, and considering the passion and enthusiasm they bring with, you can just imagine the spirit in the place. I caught up with the new arrivals, sitting under the shade close to the dam, with Velvet and Iziba gamboling nearby. The term “cheetah girls” doesn’t apply anymore, as the team no longer consists of women only. I got a chance to chat to all of them, but as Cynthia Knuppe, a dental hygienist from the Netherlands, was literally on her last day I decided to share her interview first.

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