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It’s stunningly good



Some people argue the Volkswagen Golf GTI has become too big and stolid to be a Golf GTI anymore. There’s an answer for that: it’s the Volkswagen Polo GTI and it’s stunningly good. It’s been years in the planning and it shows, with crisp, reliable handling, a terrific interior and a character all its own – all while being larger than the original Golf GTI. Finally, the Polo GTI will fit into a neat model range when it arrives in Australia in August.

GTI family ties

Volkswagen hasn’t traditionally thrown a lot of coherent thought into developing a coherent performance sub-brand, like Benz’s AMG, Renault’s RS, BMW’s M or Audi Sport. There have been six generations of the Golf GTI and three versions of the Polo GTI, but the latter has had a chequered history with the original Polo GTI being a limited-edition model based on the Mk3 Polo of 1994 and built only in left-hand drive. The Polo GTI badge didn’t return until 2005 on the Mk4 Polo and since then there’s been the Mk5 Polo GTI in 2010 and now the fourth Polo GTI based on the new Mk6 Polo.

Meantime Volkswagen has also been a bit hindered by its own insistence that a GTI is a front-drive hatch, which rules out GTI versions of the top half of its model range. Furthermore, the latest Polo GTI, which will arrive in Australia priced from $30,990 (plus on-road costs) in August, is a very good car all by itself. And it fits better and more logically as the middle child of a VW GTI family that is bookended by the Up! GTI (in Europe) and the eponymous Golf GTI.

Solid starting point

It helps that the latest generation of the Polo is the best the badge has ever been, because it finally moves onto a junior version of the Golf’s MQB chassis, giving it a lower centre of gravity and a whole suite of safety, strength and in-car entertainment features the Polo GTI never had before. It’s no toe-in-the-water exercise, either, as some previous Polo GTIs have been. Volkswagen worked on this car for three years – right from the initial stages of the Polo’s planning – and it’s more integrated into the family than it’s ever been. And that shows in the way it feels. It’s lighter than the Golf GTI by 32kg, so even though the angry-ant Golf GTI Performance outpunches it for power (180 to 147kW), it only outpaces the Polo GTI to 100km/h by half a second.

Yes, the 2018 Polo GTI now scores the same 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine as the stock Golf GTI, but with a slight detune that nevertheless brings an uptick over the old model’s 141kW/250Nm 1.8-litre turbo four. Throw in the slightly bigger size (and price) and the Polo GTI is starting to look a lot more convincing than it once did. In fact, close your eyes from the passenger seat of both GTI models, even when they’re being belted around a track, and they’re very, very similar in their characters. The Golf GTI is stronger in the mid-range, the Polo is a bit nimbler in the bendiest bits.

Of course it’s smaller than the Golf, although the sixth-generation Polo finally crosses the four-metre barrier at 4053mm long, and it scores a unique grille and twin exhaust tips, plus some signage on the side. There’s added stability, too, thanks to a 92mm stretch in the wheelbase, and it’s 69mm wider. All that gives it a bigger footprint, which is just the thing for a car that wants to be flung around, but stable while it’s doing it.

Heart of the matter

The engine is a tough little cookie too, with 147kW from 4400rpm to 6000rpm, while its beefier 320Nm of torque arrives at 1500 revs and hangs around until the power takes over the job. That same no-gaps attitude is found everywhere in the car. There are no weak points (other than the $3300 jump in price from the old car) and there’s nothing it doesn’t do at least well, and usually at least well with an added sparkle. Even the jump in price is deceptive, because the sixth-generation Polo offloaded the old three-door bodyshell and moved strictly to a five-door shape, plus there’s no longer the entry-level manual version.

The Polo GTI only runs a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission now, which really makes the price difference just $1000. For that, it actually delivers quite a lot. It’s not just bigger inside, but it’s bigger in its specifications list and its technical features. And it’s also big in its character and it wasn’t that long ago that a 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds was pretty special for this size of car. Hell, it probably still is, and so is a 237km/h top speed.

Natural instincts

It does everything like it was born to do it, not converted to do it. It helps that it was designed from scratch to use optional 18-inch wheels and tyres and big-boy Golf-sized parts, rather than upsizing stuff to fit its old PQ chassis. Handling, for example, is smooth, effortless, agile and sharp, but in a way that always lets you know there’s a level of security underpinning it all. And there is, with autonomous emergency braking going forwards and backwards, with grown-up cruise control, with advanced skid control and the list goes on.

It’s actually more advanced than the Golf GTI in some areas, though it can dull its on-track performance. We found it grabbing the brakes and nudging the steering across whenever we went deep under brakes at the Ascari private race track in Spain, where the Golf GTI just lets you go your hardest. That all felt like bonus safety on the road, though, rather than the slight hindrance on the track. It helped the car remain stable and swallow up any road imperfections or sudden changes in camber or grip without feeling like it was ever under stress.

It’s a deeply unflustered car at its core, at only a slight cost to its entertainment value. Its steering is well weighted and though it could be more informative, it should be remembered that it’s still a small car dealing with a big engine. It’s more nimble than the Golf GTI, whipping through low-speed corners with an alacrity that paces the bigger hatch and only slightly falls behind it in high-speed bends and out of corners in a straight line. It would be an interesting fight, putting a Golf and Polo GTI head-to-head on a road that was just second- and third-gear bends with shortish straights. My money would be on the Polo, especially if it was well driven. –



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All set for Lesotho Tourism Festival



STANDARD Lesotho Bank, in collaboration with Alliance Insurance, on Tuesday launched Lesotho Tourism Festival (LETOFE) Lifestyle Experience.

The launch was meant to lighten up the festive mood in preparation for the LETOFE event to be held in Thaba-Bosiu on December 23.

LETOFE is an annual event that takes place at the Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village, which has since been transformed from a mere jazz affair to a lifestyle event.

Speaking at the launch, Standard Lesotho Bank CEO Anton Nicolaisen said he was pleased to launch the LETOFE lifestyle experience.

“This festival is arguably one of the biggest music festivals that Lesotho holds and we are pleased to continue as the headline sponsor of this event that brings moments of jubilation and friendship,” Nicolaisen said.

He said since the arts industry should be guarded jealously, the bank will continue bringing joy to Basotho as a means to promote artistes.

“As patron of arts, we have jealously guarded the creative industry. The SLB is still here to promote the arts and bring happiness to Basotho,” he said.

He said the bank has been sponsoring the festival for the past 18 years.

“We are now 18 years on the trot and I am proud that we have been a significant contributor to the growth of this festival.”

He said this festival has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the biggest features of their entertainment calendar during the festive season, attracting multitudes within Lesotho, Basotho in diaspora and tourists from neighbouring countries.

“We have benchmarked on the successes of these festivals and we will improve our offering every year to the level of a full lifestyle event.”

He said the event is a way of acknowledging the talent that Basotho have as well as the avenue for cross-fertilization of local artists to experience and present their craft.

He added that the bank had made an arrangement for their customers to enjoy a six percent discount when they buy festival tickets using Standard Lesotho Bank cards at any Computicket in Lesotho or other countries.

The promoter of the LETOFE Lifestyle event said they are transforming the event from a jazz festival to a lifestyle event.

“We are introducing young stars to the concepts hence our event is composed of the upcoming stars.”

The co-sponsor from Alliance Insurance, ’Makearabetsoe Mabaleha, said as sponsors they sponsor the LETOFE Lifestyle experience because they are also benefiting from the event.

“Our benefaction is seeing the event creating jobs for Basotho and attracting foreigners in order to improve the economy,” Mabaleha said.

Alice Samuel

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Joang locked in rentals row with tenants



FORMER Home Affairs Minister Joang Molapo is in a nasty fight with tenants over rentals at a shopping complex in Maputsoe which he is managing.

The main tenant, Ha Seotsanyana managed by Jaan Mahomad Suleman, says Molapo does not have authority to demand monthly rentals from him as he does not legally represent the company owning the property.

The property belongs to Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd. The owners of the mall are however locked in a fight for its control.

In April this year, the High Court issued an order giving Molapo power to manage the mall pending finalisation of the case.

The tenants have however refused to pay rentals to Molapo. Molapo then filed an urgent application in the Northern Region High Court seeking intervention.

The Deputy Sheriff Mpho Maphiri padlocked the shopping complex last week executing an order sought by Molapo in the property dispute.

Molapo, who is a former deputy leader of the Basotho National Party (BNP), claims that the tenants owed him rentals for 10 years.

He has sought to terminate the sublease agreement entered between the company and the tenants.

The High Court’s deputy sheriff closed down the shops on Monday last week amid resistance by the tenants. The police told the tenants that they would be arrested for contempt of court if they continued to resist the order.

Six businesses trading there were closed.

However, before the end of the day, Maphiri was sent back to open the pharmacy under condition that the owner was still paying directly to Molapo and did not owe any rentals.

Suleman told thepost that his company, Barakah (Pty) Ltd trading as Ha Seotsanyana, was in agreement with Molapo to use the property but “we are surprised to find a court order without notice”.

He said even in that order they inserted wrong company details.

“I find it illegal that they are closing me down,” he said.

He said Molapo’s company, Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd, had entered into an agreement with him through lawyers that there was a new board of directors.

He said Molapo illegally kicked out the other shareholders from the company and they have a pending case in the High Court.

“Molapo acts as a secretary and does not have any decision-making powers alone,” Suleman said.

He said Molapo’s actions should be directed by the board.

He said Molapo does not want to discuss the agreement he had entered into with the former board of directors.

“He must honour the previous agreement on the sublease,” he said.

Suleman said what pains him is that they have made a lot of developments on the property under the previous agreement with Litjotjela, which Molapo is now ignoring.

“We have made developments worth over M4 million, constructed a garage and other buildings,” he said, adding that it is odd that Molapo wants him to pay rentals to use them.

“This cannot happen under my watch,” he said.

Suleman said it is either they take all their investments away or Molapo has to compensate them for all the developments on the site.

Molapo told the court in an affidavit that he is the one who was put in charge of collecting rentals from all tenants.

“They have failed to pay rentals to me without any justification and have refused to comply even after the demand had been made,” Molapo said.

He said the tenants owe him about M110 400.

He said he is a director, shareholder and board secretary of Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd.

He said in June 2013 Litjotjela Mall and Ha Seotsanyane concluded a sublease agreement of 10 years.

He said it was agreed that Litjotjela was going to develop the site and was to collect all the rentals to be generated from the development site in order to recoup its expenses.

He said the 10 year period expired in May 2023.

“Prior to the expiry of the sublease agreement we engaged with Litjotjela (Pty) Ltd on the possibility of extending the sublease agreement,” he said.

He said after a lengthy deliberation, it became evident that they could not reach an agreement on the terms of the extension of the sublease agreement.

“It was at that time that we instructed our legal representatives to write to Litjotjela on September 20, 2023 that if the parties cannot agree on the extension of the sublease agreement the sublease shall be given a period not less than a year to find a market price to sell (the) business,” he said.

He said Suleman was informed that he was going to vacate the premises in a period of a year from June 2023 and that he had to pay rentals for that period at the rate of the rental payment immediately before the expiry of the sublease agreement.

He said other cited parties were further informed that they should no longer pay rentals to Ha Seotsanyane (Pty) Ltd.
He said to his surprise Suleman responded that Molapo does not have any authority to represent Litjotjela.

He said there is a court order issued on April 27, 2023 that he together with ’Mamphaphathi Katiso and Mpeuoa Mafike will remain in control and administration of Litjotjela Mall until the dispute has been resolved by the court.

He said Suleman is now benefiting from occupying the premises of Litjotjela without paying anything to him.
He said he has a right to receive rentals from its premises from the tenants occupying the premises.

He emphasised that his authority to represent Litjotjela in this matter cannot be questioned.

‘Malimpho Majoro

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The lawyer who designs wedding dresses



Fikile ’Makhang Khang has always loved working with her hands, designing and producing fabulous patterns of knitwear.
“The sewing has always been something I have always liked to do,” Khang says.
“While I was still at the NUL (National University of Lesotho), I would crochet and sew my own skirts and even for others. It was common practice that I would be seen walking around working with a crotchet.”

Years after graduating with a degree in law from the university, Khang has now transformed her hobby into a booming business. She now designs wedding outfits for lovebirds.

She told thepost this week that for one to thrive in business, they must follow their passion.
Khang says although she graduated as a law student, she just could not fathom spending the rest of her life in the courtroom and in her chambers drafting legal documents.

It was for that reason that she decided to follow her passion by designing wedding gowns.
Khang was admitted as an advocate in the High Court of Lesotho in 2007.
Although the financial rewards as a lawyer aren’t satisfactory, it is a job she says she finds really fulfilling.

“In October 2010, I needed to be more focused in my craft and therefore abandoned practising as an advocate and concentrated on the bridal boutique business full time,” she says.

In an effort to meet the high standards for her clients, she would travel abroad in search of the most impressive wedding gowns she could lay her eyes on.
She would travel as far as China searching the best bridal collection.

She says her husband, who has been very supportive, has always advised her to search for other ventures to supplement the family’s income.
It was against that background that she thought of venturing into the sewing business.

Each and every generation has a way of conducting a wedding ceremony and the question of fashion is always pinned to it.
At some point in the past, shiny apparels were considered to be eye-catching.
Today, when people plan a wedding, Khang suggests that brides should go for heavy bead work, melano draped gowns with exaggerated shoulders, side trains and corsets.

On the other hand, grooms should go for a tuxedo, army green and wine coloured three piece suits.
Khang has not refuted the fact that, although vintage, there are timeless designs out there which remain relevant to this day.
A dent of cultural taste is also acceptable, she says.

It is undeniable that anyone can have a nuptial anytime of the year but for many they consider certain aspects which might impact on their occasion.
For instance, some people may prefer to host a wedding when it is warm so that everyone can showcase and flaunt their fashionable looks.
Moreover, other people can opt for end of year weddings when the majority of people are on holidays so it wouldn’t interfere with their schedules.
This explains the reason why spring marks the beginning of the wedding season.

“September to April is the best time to set a date for a wedding because it is warmer and people are at liberty to sew any design they desire,” Khang says.

Currently, it has proved that a lot of people are discouraged and shying away from having wedding ceremonies for different reasons.
Among them, others feel it is a waste of money as it is costly while others are appalled by alarming divorce rates which have nothing to do with whether one had a wedding ceremony or not.

Khang has however spoken highly of the need to normalise having wedding ceremonies in celebration of matrimony which unifies two devoted hearts in love.

“The celebration of a union between two people is very important,” she says.

“It brings the two families together. It makes everyone in attendance feel included and honoured to be part of the beginning of the union.”

Due to frustrations that often come up on the wedding day, many people are now resorting and adopting to outsourcing the services of wedding planners.
This gives opportunity to the bride and the groom to have a moment of their lives without having to be bothered to attend to the hurdles that are presented by the occasion.

“In the past, this was the role reserved for cousins or any immediate family members but I’m not sure if they are still willing to carry it out,” she says.

With a wedding planner in place, a space for calmness by the bride and the groom is at least guaranteed to a larger extent as there is someone overseeing that all is in order.
Although it’s optional, Khang says everyone can do with some help.

Organising a wedding can be tedious and stressful, a lot of brides never get to enjoy their special day.
If one can afford the services of a wedding planner, then they can go for it.

Khang has also highlighted that from the outlook many people believe that nuptials are for the sophisticated people due to their demands.
For ease of presentation, she has outlined necessities of a wedding: officiator, rings, music, cake, décor, photographer and refreshments.
In a nutshell, Khang is of the opinion that people should make wise decisions when planning for their weddings.

“The wedding day is a joyous day for everyone involved from the couple to their friends, family and colleagues,” she says.

“Everyone anxiously anticipates the day. The mood is always blissful and peaceful. The only thing that could go wrong is when couples fail to celebrate within their means and make ridiculous and unnecessary decisions.”

She says lately, anything seems to go when it comes fashion.
A lot of couples are breaking traditions and doing what best represents their style and preferences.

“Brides have been seen wearing coloured gowns for instance,” she says.
Khang now designs and makes wedding gowns, thanks to the skills she learned at the Bloemfontein Fashion Academy in 2016 which has beefed up her art.

Calvin Motekase

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