Hartford House

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Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Filtering by Tag: 2010 Fifa World Cup


Gorgonzola Samoosas / Jackie Cameron (p)

Gorgonzola Samoosas / Jackie Cameron (p)


Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

The reverberation of vuvuzelas, and motor vehicles of all makes and shapes sporting a flag or three, heralded a national unity unseen since 1995. The 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup has arrived – and anticipation is behind us.  Continued enthusiasm, spirit and ubuntu are inspiring and I’m stirred by a warm, fuzzy proudly-South African sensation. With the month-long festivities and little time to indulge in cookouts, I suggest a selection of sensational bites.

Ensure you always have available thinly sliced biltong, the cheesiest-of-cheesy cheese straws and a selection of lightly-salted hot nuts. An assortment of olives and pickled onions are also an option. These quick-and-easy nibbles are the basics of my 'emergency kit'.

The easiest samoosas are the gorgonzola-filled option and they never fail to impress. I relish the warm centre of oozing gorgonzola surrounded by the crisp spring-roll pastry. Simplicity at its best!

A smoked snoek spread brings South   Africa into your television room. Serve this with paper-thin Melba toast, bowls of roasted garlic, caper berries and sundried tomatoes. Scrumptious!

I enjoy something slightly spicy when having a drink or two. This sparks memories of Dodo’s vegetable market in Church Street, Pietermaritzburg where my mom would stock up on supplies and my dad would buy a large paper packet filled with greasy chilli bites for my sister and I. The outer crispness and the inner slightly-spicy softness - almost sponginess - is a texture sensation. I add onion, tomato, pepper and lots of roughly chopped dhanya. For its intensity and versatility I rate dhanya one of my favourite fresh herbs and served on Camembert it makes a memorable meal with a homemade sweet chilli sauce, or with curry, or in samoosas, or in salads or with chicken livers. The options are endless.

On a healthier note, an avocado guacamole served with crudités (raw vegetables cut into bite-size strips) is light and satisfying. Nearby, place slices of old-style homemade cumin flavoured white bread and excellent-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil. This will allow guests to drizzle vinegar and oil on the bread and, for a more substantial portion, finish with a spread of guacamole.

I am sure these quick, uncomplicated snacks will serve you and your guests well. Keep the spirit alive… Ayoba!

Take these recipes and try them.



Ubuntu - The Essence of Being Human / Channel 4 (p)

Ubuntu - The Essence of Being Human / Channel 4 (p)


Our countrymen have surprised themselves, it seems. There was so much apprehension in the world about our ability to stage a successful World Cup, we’d begun to believe it ourselves. That it’s been a resounding success, is evident from this article by the exalted American International Development Executive in the Public Health sector, Shari Cohen. Read it; it’s worth it.

"South Africa Rolls Out the Ubuntu in Abundance"

I went on a rant the other day regarding the cost of the 2010 World Cup versus all the critical needs South Africa is facing and whether or not the most vulnerable of this country would gain anything from having the World Cup hosted in their country. At that time, I also had some very positive things to say about our hosts for the 2010 World Cup and I wanted to share that side of the coin as well, because it is equally important.

To say that I have been blown away at the hospitality South Africa has shown the rest of the world would be an understatement. I think back on recent Olympics and struggle to remember much reporting in the USA of athletes from other countries. I remember when a Togolese guy won a bronze medal in kayaking and NBC reported it and I thought to myself, "where are all the other fascinating stories like this one… like the Jamaican bobsledding team." In today’s America, sadly, we have drifted so far towards being so US-centric that we only seem to root for the Americans.

Not so here in South Africa. I’ve been here since early May and each week I have become more and more impressed with the global embrace that South Africans have offered up to the world. On the way to the airport a couple of weeks ago, I heard a radio program that said each day they would focus on one country that would be coming to South Africa for the World Cup, and they would explore not only that country’s history in soccer, but also their politics, religion, and socio-cultural practices. On the television, I’ve seen numerous programs that focus on a particular country and its history of soccer and how the history of that country is intertwined with their soccer history. I’ve seen programs on India, exploring why India enjoys soccer but hasn’t really excelled at the global level… yet. And I’ve seen shows on soccer in Muslim countries. Maybe it’s planned, maybe it’s unplanned, maybe it’s by chance, but it is happening. It’s not just about South Africans showing off their varied and multifaceted culture to their global guests; it’s also about using this opportunity to educate South Africa on the rest of Planet Earth’s inhabitants.

As I moved through my work here in the provinces over the last six weeks, I had a pivotal meeting with the Board members of a rural NGO. They were explaining their guiding program philosophy of Ubuntu. No, not the Linux program. I’m talking about the traditional African philosophy of Ubuntu that essentially says, "No man is an island."

I found a better explanation from Wikipedia :

Archbishop Desmond Tutu further explained Ubuntu in 2008 :

"One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu - the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality - Ubuntu - you are known for your generosity."

We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.

To me, Ubuntu is the acceptance of others as parts of the sum total of each of us. And that is exactly what I have experienced during the lead up to, and the initial days of this World Cup. There is nary a South African citizen that I’ve met on the street, or in shops or restaurants or hotels, that hasn’t gone out of their way to greet me and make me feel like I am home. And I don’t mean that in the trivial, "Oh, aren’t they nice, homey people here…" sort of way. I mean real, genuine interest and questions. People seriously want to know where I come from. What it’s like where I live. How does it compare to where I am now. What do I think of South Africa? Oh yes, and what do I think of Bafana Bafana… The questions and conversations are in earnest. They are honest. And they are had with enthusiasm and a thirst to know more. South Africans are drinking deeply from the cup of humanity that has been brought to their doorstep. I would never imagine that an American World Cup or Olympics would ever be this welcoming to the rest of the world. And that saddens me for the state of my home country, but it also makes me feel the pride of the South African people.

I have been truly humbled on this trip. And while I have my gripes regarding development here, I cannot say one negative thing about how South Africa has handled its duties as host and hostess to the world. If I could say one thing to sum up being here during this once-in-a-lifetime experience, it would be that I’ve learned the value of Ubuntu, and that when found and offered in abundance, the world is indeed a better place to live in.

So, if South Africa accomplishes nothing more on the playing field, it will still have won as a host country. I am a cynic, no doubt about that. And yet I have to admit, I’m a little teary just writing this because I leave for home next weekend and I will be leaving a little piece of myself here in South Africa. I just hope I have learned enough to bring back a little piece of Ubuntu to my homeland, where perhaps with a little caring and a little water, it will take root as naturally as it does here, in the cradle of civilization. It’s funny, many people in America still ask me, "are the people in Africa very primitive?" Yes, I know, amazing someone could ask that but they do. And when they do, I usually explain that living in a mud hut does not make one primitive, however, allowing kids to sell drugs to other kids and engage in drive-by killings - isn’t that primitive behavior? I think it is. When I think of Ubuntu and my recent experiences here, I think America has much to learn from Africa in general, in terms of living as a larger village; and as human beings who are all interconnected with each other, each of us having an affect on our brothers and sisters.

As the 2010 Cup slogan goes, "Feel it. It is here." Well, I have felt it, because I am here. Thank you South Africa, for giving me this unexpected gift. I am humbled."

Moses Mabhida Stadium landmark for 2010 FIFA World Cup

moses mabhida stadium, durban photo

View of the final piece fitted to the arch at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban.
(Photo: Felicity Hayward)

Preparations are well under way for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be staged in South Africa next year and just an hour and a half from Hartford House at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, we were last week fortunate to witness history in the making. On 13 January 2009 the final piece was fitted to the 350m arch that spans KwaZulu Natal’s iconic new football stadium.

Hartford's Durban correspondent, Felicity Hayward, submitted the following report :

"For those who live and work just outside the dirtiest little village, on the darkest continent, at the southern-most tip of Africa... (Eish... I’m even starting to talk like Mick!!) – I thought I would share a bit of history in the making, here in Durban, last week...

The city was abuzz with the final piece of the arch of the soccer stadium going into place – the weather had to be absolutely still and Tuesday was the day. After waiting for hours (this is Africa time) and being updated by a friend who works for Lafarge... the moment finally arrived. I was perched on high ground in Innes Road (with many many other people) with a zoom lens and as the final piece slotted into position – the crowds applauded. I felt proud to be a South African and part of history in the making.

Today the arch has a Christmas tree perched on the top, as we believe that it is German custom, to position a Christmas Tree on an arch once it is built."

The report from eThekwini Municipality reads as follows :

“Today’s fitment concluded one of the most spectacular aspects of the multi-billion stadium construction. In March last year the first sections of the free-span arch arrived by ship from Hamburg, Germany. An engineering feat of epic proportions, the Moses Mabhida stadium with the completion of the arch will give Durban a landmark similar to Sydney’s Opera House; New York’s Statue of Liberty and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro

The arch, which consists of 56 separate 10m pieces stands 106m high, weighs 3500 tons and is symbolic of the South African flag – the two legs on the Southern side of the stadium come together to form a single footing on the Northern side, symbolising the unity of a once divided nation through sport. A high-tech cable car has been designed to take visitors to the highest point of the arch where they can take in panoramic views of the city. Standing 30 storeys tall, the arch is the same height as one of Durban’s tallest buildings - John Ross house overlooking the harbour.

The last piece fitted this morning weighed 60 tons and the arch pieces had to be opened by 5cm’s on either side to accommodate this final section.

Functionally, the arch will also provide critical support for the stadium roof, which will consist of Teflon coated glass fibre membranes. In total the roof will have a surface area of 46 000m2 and will be suspended from the arch by 95mm diameter steel cables and secured around the perimeter of the stadium by an 880m steel compression ring.

Julie-May Ellingson who heads up Durban’s Strategic Projects Unit said: “This is an event which we’ve eagerly looked forward to for many months! The completion of the arch is a major milestone in the City’s preparations for 2010 and exciting proof that we’re well on track.”

The construction of the stadium has captured the imagination of Durbanites, many of whom have made regular stops at the visitors’ centre to photograph the progress of the building and particularly the erection of the arch.

The Moses Mabhida Stadium is at the heart of the Kings Park Sports precinct that is bordered by the Umgeni River, a major rail line, the beachfront and KE Masinga Road (formerly Old Ford Road).

Construction of the stadium is but one aspect of a major eThekwini upgrade for 2010.

Huge road and rail projects are currently underway to ensure the smooth movement of people around Durban when thousands of soccer fans descend on the city.

Special lighting, hard and soft landscaping and street furniture will be used to ensure that the sports precinct and the rest of the city is visually appealing to visitors."

If guests should require accommodation for matches being played at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, please be sure to make reservations well in advance.