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CEO of Northern Cape Tourism Authority Sharron Lewis, Lynn Whitfield, Bronwyn Thomas (acting chief of staff Premier's office) and Sol Plaatje Municipality's executive director Nomonde Kesiamang.
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Leading Hollywood actress Lynn Whitfield has been impressed with her excursion to the Kimberley Big Hole Mine Museum. And, if this is what the Northern Cape has to offer, she will be back for more: “Oh yes, there is so much more to see that I do not know about. I would love to come back to the Northern Cape,” beamed Whitfield in her midday parting shot in her interview with NCNN.Live on the platform of the Kimberley train station on Monday, 10 December.

Earlier, just after 09:00 am, the luxurious and iconic Blue Train, had steamed into the diamond city with hordes of its usual discerning tourists, powerful personalities and an unusual package.

Something to cheer about on the first count; the train’s Kimberley stopover time has been extended with 2-hours from an hour and the day marked its maiden voyage in unveiling its new itinerary. Added to the extra-time for those aboard was the opulent in an up close and personal feel of Rolls Royce (RRs) SUV, the Cullinan. The veil got lifted and we shall return to that part.

“It was a wonderful tour. I found interesting facts that Kimberley was the first with so many things – street lights, washing machines, toilets, drive-thru bars and all of that. Unfortunately, part of it made me really sad when I saw what a hard life it was, when you realise how few people received wealth from it,” asserted Whitfield in reference to Kimberley’s early mining history displayed through mine museum.

“As an African-American person, when I look at it, taking history and culture and as an actress I can foot myself and ask what it must have had felt like?,” she probed, having been confronted with the reality of one of the world’s biggest man-made holes that birthed South Africa’s racialized wealth ownership that was enforced through the exploitation of its natives.

With her penchant for producing and in being eager to delve into directing, the multi-talented award winning movie star might consider Kimberley for a future production. And, that will be all thanks to the Blue Train for having exposed Whitfield to the city’s history and for having extended the stopover.

“It is the first time that I have been to this museum and I am in love with it. It just shows we can do it on an international level and it has made me a very proud person,” enthused trip-coordinator Colleen Vilela who also cited the Pretoria-Cape Town route with a Kimberley stopover as her personal favourite.

On the showtime front was the unveiling of an ageless car in a backyard of old wealth, unearthed ages ago through diamond digging. Coincidentally, Kimberley’s time of fame and fortune matched the birth of Rolls-Royce in 1904. In carving a niche for itself in the SUV bracket, the Cullinan was unveiled with a touch of pomp and ceremony designed for its special clients who embraced what is “a jewel of SUVs,” or as fashioned by the carmaker “the Rolls-Royce of SUVs.”

Marek Letowt general manager of Royce-Royce Motor Cars Southern Africa explained their concept of turning a segment of the mine museum into a showroom for the unveiling of the Cullinan. “Diamonds have a natural link and diamonds are special all around the world and Roll-Royce has acknowledged that by calling it the Cullinan, it is the jewel in their crown and it is something revolutionary and worthy of linking back to South Africa and be proud of.”

Preferring to remain unanimous for privacy and security reasons, one of the company’s guests and a Rolls-Royce connoisseur, assured NCNN.Live that his Kimberley experience of the brand new Cullinan has brought with it a definite future purchase of the “jewel.”

“As a Rolls-Royce buyer this is amazing, the Cullinan, so appropriate that it got launched in Kimberley and you know that Cullinan means one of the biggest diamonds. This was great.”

The Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA) added cultural entertainment to the day’s activities from the arrival point to the tourist attraction in ensuring that the train’s extended three-hours translates into a memorable tourism experience that would result in a return of the guests. And, herewith a reminder of Whitfield’s spoken word; “I would love to come back,” which amplified it all.

By Thabo Mothibi


CEO of Northern Cape Tourism Authority Sharron Lewis, Lynn Whitfield, Bronwyn Thomas (acting chief of staff Premier’s office) and Sol Plaatje Municipality’s executive director Nomonde Kesiamang.


International movie star Lynn Whitfield adding Hollywood glamour to the unveiling of the Rolls-Royce’s flagship SUV; Cullinan.


Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s Jean Wilson with Lynn Whitfield.


Young Batswana cultural dances receiving guests with song and dance.
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Thabo Mothibi is a former broadcast journalist (TV and Radio) – with specialist reporting experience; SABC Political/Parliamentary and TRC Teams over a period of five years (1995 to 2000).

One key foreign assignment - is the 11-nation African Connection Rally – overland journey from Africa’s northern-most pole in the coastal Tunisian city of Bizerte to the southern-most pole in South Africa’s Cape Agulhas. From the journalistic years, Thabo then delved into Government media liaison and serving two former Ministers and three MECs. He became the Northern Cape Provincial Government’s first department based Communications Director at Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development - 2008-2010 – where he also served as Head of Ministry from 2003 – 2008.

As a former anti-apartheid activist, his political background and professional training aided him in spearheading the Northern Cape ANC’s 2004 National Elections media and publicity campaign and that of the 2006 Local Government Elections.

Whilst based in Waterkloof in Pretoria -2010 to end 2011, he consulted for Manstrat Agricultural Intelligence, then returned to the Northern Cape in 2012 to date, to consult independently and pursue other entrepreneurial interests in media and communications through KwaVuko Communications and Marketing.

Thabo Mothibi obtained his NQF7 through Wits University’s Graduate School of Public and Development Management (P&DM) in Johannesburg, a Unilever Mandela Rhodes Academy for Marketing and Communications Academy (UMRA). The goal of the NQF7 programme was to educate and train public and private sector professional communicators and marketers in government communications..