Friday, December 4, 2009

Read more about Tsvangirai and the IJR

Zimbabwe prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai at IJR press conference

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wants his countrymen to return home to take part in the reconstruction of the country. This was the theme of his comments at a press conference held yesterday hosted by the Insitutute for Justice and Reconciliation, a major client of HWB.

Tsvangirai told journalists in Cape Town that he was having to convince sceptics that had a role to play in rebuilding the country.

"My message is that this is the time to consider taking part in the reconstruction phase of Zimbabwe by Zimbabweans who are in the diaspora," Tsvangirai said.

He said the Zimbabwean diaspora constituted almost four million skills of various attributes needed in Zimbabwe for its reconstruction.

"I am here to convince the sceptics who are quite wide ranging, including my own countrymen. This is not a salesman's job. It is real serious patriotic challenge to all Zimbabweans to come and really create a Zimbabwe we demand and deserve."

Extracted from Times Live

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa. The IJR is a client of HWB.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Message from Rape Crisis

You might like to follow the progress of our bus by following the daily blog posts on - please comment as you go and send this link to others. The crew on the bus really value the supportive comments they get from around the country and the world!
Love, Kath

Kathleen Dey

Stop the Bus Campaign 2009

In an effort to encourage communities to create safe relationships and safe spaces to prevent rape and sexual violence Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust is launching their Stop the Bus campaign during 16 Days of Activism.

The campaign will run from November 22, to December 5, 2009. A bus on tour in the Western Cape will carry volunteer trainers, community activists and counsellors travelling to a number of communities conducting workshops, holding networking meetings, training and counselling on issues related to rape and sexual violence.

The links between sexual violence, HIV and substance abuse, highlighting the voices of rural communities and building stronger partnerships between urban and rural organisations will also be explored.

“We need to encourage people to speak out and not to deny the reality of rape and sexual violence. We cannot turn away from the horror of what is happening in our streets, back yards, schools, businesses, places of worship and homes when it comes to violence against women and children. We need to work together to change the society that we live in”, said Nazma Hendricks, Operations Manager, Rape Crisis Cape Town.

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa. Rape Crisis is a pro bono client of HWB.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Futuregrowth pathfinder in new BEE agricultural deal

Targets for agricultural land reform moved a step closer today as South African Fruit Exporters (SAFE), one of South Africa‘s leading global fruit exporting and logistical services providers, announced a large empowerment transaction funded by Futuregrowth Asset Management.

The deal involves the sale of 50% of the equity from existing shareholders in SAFE to the United Farmers’ Fund Trust (UFF), a broad-based BEE trust with a focus on land reform and rural development.

A new joint venture will be formed together with SAFE and the UFF to be known as SAFE Farm Ventures.

James Howard, portfolio manager of Futuregrowth the main investor behind the UFF on this deal, said that the Futuregrowth Infrastructure Development Bond and the Development Equity Fund, on behalf of investors, had provided R25 million to fund the purchase of SAFE equity. “This transaction ticks all the blocks for institutional clients seeking to invest in the development of the country. The benefits of this particular deal include sustainable and profitable land reform with a guaranteed minimum return to meet the Funds' performance targets,” said Howard.

Read the full text of the press release from the HWB

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa. Futuregrowth is a client of HWB.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Constantia Wine Estate - Eagles’ Nest - Wins Best Shiraz in the World

Eagles’ Nest, a boutique vineyard situated on Constantia’s highest slopes, has won the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s (IWSC) International Trophy for the Best Shiraz in the 2009 Competition, announced on Wednesday.

Andrew Leaver, Commercial Manager of Eagles’ Nest, said: “We are delighted with this international acclaim. This is probably the most respected competition held on the international stage. The finest wines from every wine region in the world enter, making the winner, essentially, the best example of its cultivar in the world.”

The acclaim of the International Trophy for the Best Shiraz has previous only been bestowed on two other South African wine estates, Boland Kelder in 2001 and 2003 and Nederburg in 2007. Leaver said: “Both previous South African winners are from well-established estates, the 2007 Eagles’ Nest Shiraz is, however, only our vineyard’s second release.”

Consulting winemaker to Eagles’ Nest, Martin Meinert, who won Winemaker of the Year at the Investec Private Bank Winemakers Choice Awards with this Shiraz, said: “I am exceptionally proud of this wine. To my knowledge it is unprecedented that a small estate can win such international acclaim with its second release. The team at Eagles’ Nest are passionate about what they do, it is an exceptional wine estate to work with and I am absolutely delighted with this award.”

The IWSC entries are judged using professional blind tasting and detailed chemical and microbiological analysis. The awards will be celebrated at an IWSC function in London for 500 guests in November.

Eagles’ Nest vineyards were established after the devastating fire in 2000 destroyed the fynbos and natural vegetation on the farm, as well as 95% of the forestation, and the owners, the Mylrea family, decided to shift the focus of the estate to wine,” said Leaver. In the 1600s the farm had formed part of Simon van der Stel’s Groote Constantia that produced wine for the nobility in Europe.

According to resident winemaker, Stuart Botha, although the Constantia wine region is well known for its white wines, Eagles’ Nest has a unique terroir within the valley as it is situated on the highest slope in the Constantia Valley, making it more suitable to reds.

“We are concentrating on three cultivars, our prize winning Shiraz, Merlot which is award winning in its own right with four stars in the John Platter and ironically the cultivar our customers often prefer, and one white, our Viognier, which also won a Silver-Best in Class award at this year’s IWSC.”

The Eagles’ Nest Shiraz is a typical cool climate Shiraz with rich, fresh dark-plum colour and white pepper tones on the nose. It also won local acclaim with a Best Red Wine Trophy at the Investec Private Bank Winemakers Choice Awards.

Tastings at Eagles’ Nest are welcomed, but by appointment, please call 021 683 0487.

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa. Eagles' Nest is a client of HWB.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Read more about the Helen Suzman Foundation

Ramphele's memorial lecture to Helen Suzman Foundation

Read full text of the speech

BY NOT protesting against the decay of social services and public schooling, all South Africans are to blame for high rates of crime and unemployment among youths, says businesswoman and anti- apartheid activist Dr Mamphela Ramphele.

Speaking at the annual Helen Suzman lecture in Cape Town this week Ramphele urged South African youth to engage in peaceful protest against the moral decay of society “as loud as we did (under apartheid) — even against laws that could have you shot”.

“We’ve had shocking statements made in our public sphere. What kind of ethics allows young people to say Kader Asmal should just lie down and die? In the Free State a young man said (University of Free State Rector Professor) Jonathan Jansen should be shot dead? For what? For making a decision?

“That’s the morality of the group which thinks this is a good thing. But what morals make you silent in the face of these words? We should really be outraged,” she said.

Ramphele said this was the result of allowing the schooling system to decay to a point where a high number of youths are not attending school anymore.

“And you wonder why you have higher electric fences and youths who will take your cellphone and come back to stab you. They are filled with rage. And you have failed them. We are responsible for the situation we are in now.”

Ramphele said these were all signs that SA was at a crossroads, struggling to emerge from the growing pains of its young democracy.

“The issue we are faced with is to rediscover the ideals so many people have dreamt of. We have to (acknowledge) that we have grossly underestimated what is needed to become a society.

“We underestimated the diversions in the journey, pre-1994, that has brought us here and the foundations of our democracy is only emerging now. But we are compelled to double our efforts.” Roux van Zyl Business Day

Read the text of news today about the speech
on Business Day

and then Independent Online

And read about Mamphela Ramphele

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa. The Helen Suzman Foundation is a client of HWB.

Monday, November 2, 2009

HWB client Futuregrowth wins Mail & Guardian Award

Futuregrowth, part of the Old Mutual Group has been awarded the Enterprise Growth Award from the Mail & Guardian. Specifically, the company's Trust for Urban Housing Finance was recognised for the funds it has made available for urban renewal projects in the CBD of Johannesburg and its surrounds.

The Trust's primary purpose is to provide finds in the short and medium term to refurbish buildings that are then rented out.

Read the full text of the article here

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa. Futuregrowth is a client of HWB.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Used cooking to reduce South Africa’s carbon emissions

Trucks delivering concrete to Cape Town’s 2010 football stadium are using diesel enhanced by used cooking oil and poultry fat.

This was revealed this week by Bruce Thorndike, CEO of Biogreen Diesel, a renewable energy company that is pioneering the conversion of waste oil to a less expensive, pollution-free biodiesel.

As waste cooking oil is reused, the Free Fatty Acid content (FFA) increases, making it harmful to consumers and decreasing the quality of biodiesel that can be made. Often this oil finds its way into animal feed, pet food, or sold to unsuspecting consumers.

A safe alternative is to have this oil converted into a high quality biodiesel by a reputable company. Monthly tests on Biogreen Diesel’s finished product have certified that the company consistently produces high quality biodiesel that meets international standards.

“No other company in South Africa has set this as a norm,” said Jeff Theodor, a Director in Biogreen Diesel.

Although Biogreen Diesel only became operational earlier this year, the company also supplies biodiesel for Pick n Pay and Spar delivery trucks.

The company uses the first patented Jet Reactor, invented by Org Nieuwoudt, to convert waste oil from restaurants and retailers, to an environmentally friendly fuel that can be used as a mixture with, or a substitute for, diesel.

Biodiesel has a minimal impact on the environment. It is non toxic, has a higher flash point than mineral diesel so it is safer to handle, and has reduced exhaust emissions in comparison - 400L biodiesel exchanged for the same volume of diesel will reduce the Carbon Dioxide emissions by 1 tonne.

“Sixty percent of the brown smog that often sits over Cape Town is created by diesel emissions,” said Dave Morison, Production Manager of Biogreen Diesel, who has a background in atmospheric sciences. Switching to biofuels will help to reduce this pollution.

By using a biodiesel/diesel mix, Pick n Pay and Spar combined will reduce their carbon emissions by approximately 1000 tonnes in the Western Cape over the next year.

Biogreen Diesel, based in Cape Town, will open in Johannesburg in November and plans to expand operations to Port Elizabeth and Durban by mid-2010.

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa. BIOGREEN is a client of HWB.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spier Red Week Friday October 23rd to Saturday 31st

Spier’s environs will soon be draped in brilliant shades of red, with the blossoming of 230 indigenous coral trees. In celebration of the event, and the arrival of spring, Spier will host its annual Red Week festival from Friday October 23rd to Saturday 31st.

Red wine tastings will be a focus of the festivities, with limited offers, special tastings and unusual food pairings showcasing award-winning blends and single-cultivar wines.

Red-spot specials at the luxury Spier Hotel will include a Red Revive package complete with dinner by candlelight, red wine and a red-related surprise. Restaurants will incorporate red themes into the dishes, bringing delectable ruby and scarlet tones to the table or picnic fare.

The conservation programs will be on red alert all week, with special activities planned to educate and enthuse.

Further information can be found at, or telephone 021 809 1100 for stay-over specials and more.

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa. Spier is a client of HWB

Monday, October 19, 2009

SA in top ten Tweeters

Cape Town - Can't live without Twitter? Can't go through your day without tweeting about it? Well, give yourself a little pat on the back, because you have helped to tweet South Africa into the 10th spot of the world's top Twitter countries.

Yes, go on and tweet it: South Africa has become the 10th largest user of Twitter in the world.

According to Canadian research company Sysomos, South African Twitter users make up 0.85% of total online Twitter interaction, beating Japan (0.71%), the Philippines (0.64%) and China (0.49%) to a spot in the top 10.

The US is the winner by far with 62.14% of the world's users, followed by the UK (7.87%), Canada (5.69%) and Australia (2.8%).

Twitter attracts around 55 million unique visitors worldwide per month - 0.85% of this amounts to 467 500 SA visitors per month.

Since starting out as a side project in March 2006 in San Francisco, the popular social networking and micro-blogging site Twitter experienced explosive growth, attracting celebrity users such as Oprah, and a growing mountain of media and blog coverage.

In fact, according to Sysomos's study, 72.5% of all users joined Twitter during the first five months of 2009.

Sysomos analysed information disclosed on 11.5 million Twitters accounts to take an "extensive snapshot" of Twitter "that goes far beyond anything done to document Twitter's use, growth and demographics".

"While Twitter's growth has been well documented, we wanted to put the spotlight on how people use Twitter, as well as identify many of the key trends in their backgrounds, demographics and activity," said Nick Koudas, Sysomos' co-founder and chief executive in a press release.

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa

Internet overtakes television to become biggest advertising sector in the UK

The internet now accounts for 23.5% of all advertising money spent in the UK, while TV ad spend accounts for 21.9% of marketing budgets.

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa

Friday, October 16, 2009

HWB involved in media for UN victim empowerment programme

On Friday HWB handled media relations for the handover of contracts for 12 NGOs, recipients of grants from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime through a programme run by the European Union.

Victims of crime, trauma, and violence - and those who work to assist them - will receive a boost with the handover of grants totalling R4.77 million from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the South African Department of Social Development today.

The grants, being made to Western Cape-based civil society organisations (CSOs) fall under a European Union (EU) funded project “Support the Government of South Africa’s Victims Empowerment Programme”.

Following the initial call for proposal, the first round of grants resulted in 66 approved applications – funding to the tune of R25 million. In the Western Cape specifically, 12 grants are being issued totalling R4.77 million. In line with supporting both established and emerging CSO’s, R2.03 million has been allocated towards well-established CSO’s in the Western Cape, while the remaining R2.74 million will go towards supporting less-established CSO’s.

Read more about the UN Office on Drug & Crime
Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa. UNODC was a client of HWB

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Credible PR lends legitimacy

Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the communication between an organization and its publics.[1] Public relations gains an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment.[2] Because public relations places exposure in credible third-party outlets, it offers a third-party legitimacy that advertising does not have.[2] Common activities include speaking at conferences, working with the press, and employee communication.

PR can be used to build rapport with employees, customers, investors, voters, or the general public.[2] Almost any organization that has a stake in how it is portrayed in the public arena employs some level of public relations. There are number of related sister disciplines all falling under the banner of Corporate Communications, such as Analyst relations, Media Relations, Investor Relations, Internal Communications or Labor Relations. wikipedia

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa

Microblogs and PR: "involvement, dialogue & fun"

By Bartek Lewicki, Senior Account Manager, Multi Communications, PRGN POLAND


Late last year the owners of the American tourism portal TravMedia were thinking of ways to increase their brand’s recognizability, the number of unique visits and, most importantly, revenue, all on a limited budget. They were aided by the Boston-based Castle Group agency from the PRGN network.

Their advice was simple: Twitter. A focused use of the micro-blog service as a marketing tool proved extremely useful, and helped increase the number of portal visitors by 150%. More importantly, revenues in the first five months of this year twice exceeded the budget prognosis.

There are many more such examples. Not surprisingly, the eyes of PR consultants in Poland are on Blip – the Polish equivalent of Twitter – a service which allows you to post messages of up to 160 characters. This amounts to a message about as long as the previous sentence. Can such short messages be useful in building effective and efficient communications?

Opinions vary, not only among Polish PR specialists, but also their global counterparts.

No one doubts that micro-blogs are becoming a very important tool in the everyday work of communication specialists. Abbie Fink of HMA PR in Phoenix, Arizona believes that Twitter will become a staple of most communication strategies developed by her agency, enabling them to directly involve consumers and journalists. “We use Twitter every day to communicate with the media. We use it to signal a story that we elaborate on by e-mail or over the phone.” David Landis of LCI, San Francisco-based agency, emphasizes: “I follow the media, and the media follow me. With Twitter I have a good sense of what journalists may be needing at a given moment and I do my best to provide it to them.” Landis believes that Twitter is an indispensable tool in everyday communications. “ The way we access information is changing rapidly. As communications professionals we must speak where people are listening,” he says. As an example, he describes a project carried out for the San Francisco symphonic orchestra. “Twitter helped establish a loyal group of lovers and sponsors of the Orchestra, as well as fans of its conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas. With daily updates, music lovers became more attached to the orchestra.”

Twitter is also invaluable in crisis situations which require fast reactions and ongoing monitoring of the development of events. Patricia Pérez of VPE PR in Pasadena California says: „We have been following Twitter on behalf of our clients and report on ongoing discussions, especially if they are negative. With the shrinking of traditional media, we have less opportunity to place our clients' opinions. Twitter enables us to reach the public directly.” For Pérez it is also important that micro-blogs help her keep in touch with opinions on the client side, which is invaluable when cooperating with large corporations.

But not everyone is equally enthusiastic about micro-blogs and public relations. Mark Patterson of Australian-based Currie Communications believes Twitter can only serve as a source of information for monitoring potential crisis situations, and emphasizes that: “The majority of our receivers do not take this form of communications seriously. There is also insufficient proof that it can influence audience attitudes and behaviors. We find it hard to encourage our clients to invest in such activities.”

The TravMedia portal mentioned in the beginning of this article had no reservations about investing in communications via Twitter. Mark O’Toole from The Castle Group in Boston admits that the biggest challenge lied in establishing the initial group of people who would follow the company’s Twitter account. In the first month, the agency managed to attract several hundred people from a database of opinion leaders. This initiated a viral marketing campaign into social media. Less than six months later, the @TravMediaUSA address had over 3400 followers. This enabled the company to rank among the top 400 tourist portals (from among 20,000) in the Twellow ranking. The Twinfluence ranking placed this microblog in the top 15 000 - which is a success considering that Twitter has 10 million users. With Twitter, TravMedia reaches out to over 5 million people.

Uwe Schmidt from Hamburg-based IC AG believes that Twitter may be used to communicate with consumers, but it will not be successful in B2B communications. “In Germany this tool is still looking for its place in the PR professional’s toolbox. We are beginning to introduce it slowly in our services to selected clients, because it speeds up communications and provides support for classic PR” – he says. Representatives of other agencies agree with his opinion. “Social media like Twitter are another communications tool, but they will never replace materials developed by professional journalists, who continue to prefer traditional ways of developing and verifying information” – believes David Landis. Abbie Fink adds that this isn't about replacing “traditional methods” but about applying different strategies that must be planned, tested and developed.

“You cannot just open a Twitter account, make a bunch of entries and call it a strategy. You need to manage it like any other communications plan”, she emphasizes. “You need to remember the three basic premises: involvement, dialogue and fun.”

Poland’s most popular micro-blog – – is approaching half a million user, but it is hard to find evidence of successful marketing campaigns in the medium. Rather, agencies are testing the capabilities of the new service and focusing on building a network of contacts, referred to as “observers”.

Lively discussions are underway to integrate the public relations community.

Mariusz Pleban, president of Multi Communications admits he is interested in what goes on in “I currently see two benefits for businesses that open accounts in Blip. Firstly there is the opportunity to talk directly to the consumer, which translates into the second benefit – imagebuilding.

However, there are no tools to precisely verify effectiveness, which chills our enthusiasm somewhat. Fortunately, we have access to the experiences of our global colleagues associated in the Public Relations Global Network.

Their experiences with Twitter have been very valuable for us"

The benefits of twittering and PR are there for… Twitter itself. The monthly value of its advertising equivalent is around $48 million ( Hard to believe? Not if you got 2.73 billion quotes over several months in CNN, Fox News and the press all over the world.

Independent of whether the PR industry has fully embraced the possibilities offered by micro-blogs, the phenomenon of Twitter and similar service is undeniable and cannot be ignored. Agencies which come up with the right idea and persevere in including social media (micro-blogs in particular) into their communications strategies, will be successful.

The PR agencies and firms quoted above are part of Public Relations Global Network associating 40 independent agencies operating on 80 international markets.

Posted by HWB Communications, Cape Town's premier PR agency specialising in crisis communications & media relations in South Africa