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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Vernon RL Head’s The Search for the Rarest Bird in the World Launched with Hamilton Wende in Joburg

Book Launch: Search for the Rarest Bird in the World

Book Launch: The Search for the Rarest Bird in the WorldThe Search for the Rarest Bird in the WorldFour years ago the chairperson of BirdLife South Africa, Vernon RL Head, embarked on a search for the rarest bird in the world and on Wednesday, 5 November 2014, he launched his epic tale of discovery and adventure at Love Books in Johannesburg. Head was in conversation with journalist and author of Arabella, the Moon and the Magic Mongongo Nut, Hamilton Wende. Wende said The Search for the Rarest Bird in the World reminds him of the best nature writing: “The prose is so evocative.”

“This wonderful adventure made me want to share this story. Putting it on paper made me think about why I watch birds – it structures my whole life,” Head said. This book is meant for people who don’t watch birds, people “on the edge of watching birds”. Head hopes his story will open up a wonderful world of inquiry for people who want to watch birds, but do not know why or where to begin.

The rarest bird ever first appeared in ornithological literature 20 odd years ago when an unknown wing was found squashed into the mud. It became the first bird to be named without ever having been seen. The place where the wing was found became a map for Head, an “X marks the spot”. “Maps take you on wonderful journeys to places physically and in the mind. Maps also get you lost.”

Head explained the importance of seeing and naming elements of nature: “Knowing the names of things unlocks their stories. That’s what bird watching is about for me.” Conservation is close to his heart and the act of giving something in nature a name allows people to identify and communicate what is it and why it is important to save it. “Part of bird watching is collecting names and having a list of what you’ve seen, how many birds you’ve seen and what your friends have seen.”

Our world is becoming smaller and smaller. When we watch birds we are reminded of the wilderness, Head said. Rare birds are relics from a pristine world, ambassadors of an unspoiled past. “We need these places to feel human.” Head referred to island eco-systems as “mini reflections of our world” that tell the “story of our world in miniature”. He said that the alarming number of bird species that become extinct every day reminds us that “time is running out, we need to walk gently and look”.

Wende described nature’s allure as being one part dangerous, one part exciting, with reference to Into the Wild by John Krakauer. Head said there have always been communities living on the edge of wilderness who serve as a buffer between cities and the pristine. “Taking from nature is not the answer. Learning from nature is the answer.”

“What is it to watch, to really see?” Head described himself as a visual person and explained what exactly happens when you watch birds. First you just look at birds, then you see what they do and eventually all the other things will start to unravel – weather patterns, frogs, and much more. One thing is clear to the author – “connecting with nature enriches your life”.

During the question and answer session the audience was very interested in Head’s journey. Like an Indiana Jones of bird watching Head battled the elements to reach his goal – from conflict over grazing lands to fluctuating water levels, more often than not he relied on his instincts or “winged it”. He could not have done it alone, he said. The Search for the Rarest Bird in the World is also a tale about friendship, an integral part of bird watching. One audience member asked whether Head had encountered a local memory of this bird. “We often ask the locals,” he said. “There was no local understanding of this bird.” So did they find the rarest bird in the world? Well… read the book and find out.

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Annetjie van Wynegaard (@Annetjievw) tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:


 

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Join Passes and Poorts South Africa Author Marion Whitehead at The Athenaeum in Cape Town

Passes and Poorts South Africa: Getaway's Top Scenic Mountain RoutesThe Cape Natural History Club and Jacana Media would like to invite you to a talk by Marion Whitehead.

Marion Whitehead, the author of Passes and Poorts South Africa: Getaway’s Top Scenic Mountain Routes, will be delivering a lecture at Athenaeum in Newlands on Friday 3 October at 8 PM.

Entrance costs R20 for visitors; there is no charge for members of The Cape Natural History Club. Copies of her book will be on sale – please bring cash as there will not be credit card facilities.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Friday, 3 October 2014
  • Time: 8 PM
  • Venue: The Athenaeum
    Boundary Terraces
    1 Mariendahl Lane
    Newlands | Map
  • Cover charge: R20, free for Cape Natural History Club Members
  • RSVP: Sheila, 021 782 1620

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Daphna Horowitz Launches Courage to Lead: Leadership Lessons from Kilimanjaro

Daphna Horowitz

 
The Courage to LeadThe beautiful hall at Villa Arcadia on the Parktown ridge, once the Jewish Orphanage and now owned by the Hollard Group, was well filled for the recent launch of Daphna Horowitz’s debut, The Courage to Lead: Leadership Lessons from Kilimanjaro.

Former actuary, leadership coach and public speaker Horowitz was inspired by a client’s ambition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Although she admits she is not the sporty type, although she does try to keep in shape, Horowitz says she loves a challenge and decided that she would climb Kilimanjaro herself. The climb was challenging and difficult, but day by day she was struck by how the metaphors and symbolism the climb revealed resonated with real life, and on her return home she needed to stop, reflect on and derive meaning from her experience. Horowitz never planned on writing a book, but she kept a blog during her climb, which was the genesis for the project.

Horowitz began her launch with a slide show of the Kilimanjaro journey, which conveyed the feeling of camaraderie among the climbers and of course the wonderful views as they neared the summit, including an incredible photograph taken from high above the clouds.

The key message of Courage to Lead: Leadership Lessons from Kilimanjaro is that everyone is a leader, and that leadership can be made practical and simple – and that it can be learnt. We all know of great leaders we can learn from. Horowitz’s message of leadership does not only relate to business; there are four parts to this book: Doing, Being, Relating and Meaning. Each part tells a short story, followed by a leadership lesson with questions and exercises. The book challenges readers to take the lead in their own lives and to get to a level of fulfillment rather than just going with the flow. “Be conscious of the choices you make,” Horowitz says.

Horowitz shared an extract from her final, and favourite chapter, Meaning, which outlines her thoughts and reflections on her return from the Kilimanjaro. She mentioned that her book does not have to be read from beginning to end but can be read in any order, depending on the reader’s sphere of interest.

To achieve anything in life, one needs good preparation, the correct tools, the right people and faith. Good leaders also need courage, vulnerability and soul. Horowitz challenged the audience to find their Kilimanjaro and find out how to derive meaning from it. She described her biggest personal lesson as the “lesson of being slow”. Kilimanjaro contained so much peace, solitude and connectedness that she wanted to try and keep hold of those feelings when the climb was over. Horowitz says she only managed to hold onto the feelings for about a month, even driving well below the speed limit on Joburg’s busy roads, before the fast pace of life in the city claimed her back. Since returning , this driven woman has written a book and completed her master’s degree. As the first Mount Everest climber Edmund Hillary said, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

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Join Daphna Horowitz for the Launch of The Courage to Lead at the RCHCC, Houghton

The Courage to Lead: Leadership Lessons from KilimanjaroJacana Media and The Rabbi Cyril Harris are pleased to invite you to the launch of The Courage to Lead by Daphna Horowitz.

The event will take place at the Clive M Beck Auditorium at The Rabbi Cyril Harris Community Centre in Houghton at 6:30 PM. Author Daphna Horowitz will speak about the book, and a bit about her trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, drawing parallels between the climb and leadership.

Don’t miss it!

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Launch of The Courage to Lead by Daphna Horowitz at Hollard, Johannesburg

The Courage to Lead: Leadership Lessons from KilimanjaroJacana Media invites you to the launch of Courage to Lead: Leadership Lessons from Kilimanjaro by Daphna Horowitz.

Do you find that leadership is an abstract concept, difficult to define and grasp? Or do you think it is a collection of simple, practical steps that can be applied with relative ease?

Daphna Horowitz will answer your questions and tell you more about her life-transforming journey climbing Kilimanjaro. With every step she took, she was drawn to the parallels between the climb and leadership. The summit is a metaphor for the vision every leader needs to hold, the mountain a metaphor for the largest obstacles standing in a leader’s way.

The launch will take place on 20 August at the Great Hall, Hollard Villa in Johannesburg. See you there.

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 20 August 2014
  • Time: 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Great Hall,
    Hollard Villa,
    22 Oxford Road,
    Parktown | Map
  • RSVP: zinta@jacana.co.za, 011 628 3250

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Daphna Horowitz Offers Tips and Advice in The Courage to Lead: Leadership Lessons from Kilimanjaro

The Courage to LeadJacana Media presents The Courage to Lead – Leadership Lessons from Kilimanjaro by Daphna Horowitz:

Leaders need to possess certain qualities, and Daphna identified those qualities during her ascent to the summit of Kilimanjaro. “Climbing Kilimanjaro was a life-transforming journey for me. In every step I took, I was drawn to the parallels between the climb and leadership. The summit is a metaphor for the vision every leader needs to hold, the mountain a metaphor for the largest obstacles standing in a leader’s way.”

Written in a fun and practical way, this book will help leaders identify their personal mission (the climb) and relate that to their work performance and leadership skills.

About the author

Daphna Horowitz works with leaders to help them identify their personal mission and relate that to their work performance. She is the founder of PEAC Solutions, an innovative and dynamic company that provides a variety of coaching solutions for maximum leadership impact. These include one-on-one personal and executive coaching, team coaching, workshops, facilitation and motivational speaking.

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Peter van Kets’ The Eighth Summit Launched with David Becker at The Book Lounge

Peter van Kets

The evening of Peter van Kets’ arrival in Cape Town for the launch of his book, The Eighth Summit, was cold – relatively speaking. Not the kind of cold portrayed on the cover of his first book, admittedly, for what could possibly compare temperature-wise to the adventure narrative that took the extreme athlete skiing across Antarctica? It was certainly one of the city’s nippier nights but that proved no deterrent to the large crowd that gathered to celebrate the author’s latest success. Nor did it prevent a warm mood filling the inside of The Book Lounge with congenial laughter, vibrant conversation, delicious snacks and fabulous tales of grit, courage and humility.
Peter van Kets and David BeckerThe Eighth SummitThe author was joined by peak performance coach, David Becker, who chatted to him about how “an ordinary person” gets to do some pretty extraordinary things.

“This is a man,” said Becker, “who in 2007 won the Atlantic rowing race in a double with his friend, Bill Godfrey. He then, despite promising his wife that he would never do it again, rowed solo across the Atlantic, going for 76 days, non-stop!”

In 2012, after 25 days in extreme conditions over 742 kilometers of indescribably tough racing, he arrived at the South Pole with his friend, Braam Malherbe. They completed the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race to the South Pole taking a joint third position with Team British Green/Centrepoint.

Those who’d come to listen to Van Kets heard about his passion for the environment. A former teacher who is passionate about the conservation of the planet, he spoke about the attitudes that foster his resilience. Van Kets read a quote by his hero Muhammad Ali, which has particularly impacted on his thinking:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

The author insists he is “just an ordinary guy” who has some amazing friends. Van Kets, who passed through Wynberg Boys High, says he never won a race at school and never captained a sports team. He learned to push himself mentally and endure incredible hardship to reach “the eighth summit”, that place inside yourself that you have to come to terms with.

He described the physical conditions – not for the squeamish – including a wickedly funny account of how to pee in a boat, as well as the terrifying weather conditions and the extreme good fortune that enabled him to survive. The adventurer took comfort in audiobooks and music and a daily phone call that inspired his focus during the hours of enormous physical pain and exhaustion. He spoke of an extract by Theodore Roosevelt he had stuck inside the cabin that kept him going as he crossed the Atlantic alone. In particular these words strengthened him while facing an unavoidable storm, requiring strength of purpose in unimaginably arduous conditions:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Before returning to the wintry street, many bought books and waited in the queue for Van Kets to sign their copies. Those who stepped out into the night were buoyed against their own inner challenges, made a little braver for having been to hear the author’s inspirational words that were simultaneously funny, tough and kind.

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Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Join Peter van Kets for the Launch of The Eight Summit at The Book Lounge

The Eighth SummitJacana Media and The Book Lounge invite you to the launch of The Eighth Summit by Peter van Kets.

The event takes place on Tuesday, 15 July, and starts at 5:30 for 6 PM.

Van Kets will be sharing stories from his greatest expeditions – incredible, unsupported adventures across the Atlantic in rowing boats and across the icy high plateau of Antarctica on foot and sledge.

See you there!

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Join Peter van Kets for Dinner at the Launch of The Eighth Summit in Johannesburg

The Eighth SummitJacana Media and the Gordon Institute for Business Science invite you to the launch of The Eighth Summit by Peter van Kets.

The Eighth Summit is a motivational memoir that recounts and takes inspiration from three epic expeditions undertaken by Van Kets: winning the Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race in 2008, rowing the Atlantic single-handed in 2010, and trekking unsupported to the South Pole in 2012.

Van Kets will be chatting to Kelvin Watt about these three expeditions. Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 19 June 2014
  • Time: 6:00 PM
  • Venue: 26 Melville Rd
    Illovo
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Kelvin Watt
  • Refreshments: Catered supper
  • Cover charge: R250
  • RSVP: 011 628 3200, www.gibbs.co.za/forums

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Be Inspired by Adventurer Peter van Kets’ New Book, The Eighth Summit

The Eighth SummitOut this month, The Eighth Summit by Peter van Kets:

What does it take to row 5,500km across an ocean? Or to trek 500 miles through Antarctica? How do we achieve incredible things?

Peter van Kets has done this and more and yet he could be the average guy next door. A teacher in East London with a fondness for the ocean, Peter was given a rare chance to compete in the 2007 Atlantic Rowing Race.

His decision to grasp this opportunity would change his life. Together with Bill Godfrey, he rowed across the Atlantic and won against the odds. Then he came back two years later to row it alone – a truly epic feat. After that he joined forces with adventure runner Braam Malherbe to represent South Africa in the unique Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race to the South Pole, one of the most gruelling endurance events ever staged.

Peters feats of endurance in the face of endless ice, snow and saltwater are testament to the power of the human spirit and the greatness possible when an ordinary person sets out to do extraordinary things. In rowing the Atlantic and trekking the Antarctic, he has come to understand what it takes to conquer the limits of your mind. To conquer your Eighth Summit.

About the author

Peter van Kets is one of the world’s top professional endurance adventurers, a conservationist and an international keynote/inspirational speaker. He has been involved in numerous expeditions around the world.

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