Cover Shoot – Nicky Oppenheimer for Forbes Africa Magazine

My first cover for the year turns out to be one of the biggest names in African business – Nicky Oppenheimer, for Forbes Africa Magazine.

Nicky Oppenheimer and his family – worth $6.8 billion according to FORBES – are looking to blaze a trail across Africa – its out with diamonds and in with investment in Africa’s entrepreneurs.  The Oppenheimer wealth makes them the third richest in Africa.

“The Oppenheimer family ended its 85-year reign atop diamond giant De Beers in 2012 when Nicky sold his 40% stake to mining conglomerate Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash. Anglo American, which Nicky’s grandfather founded, now controls 85% of De Beers; the government of Botswana owns the remaining 15%. 

Nicky Oppenheimer served on Anglo American’s board for 37 years through 2011, and he retains an estimated 1.8% stake in the company. Now he’s turning to private equity through his E. Oppenheimer & Son, which controls investment arms Stockdale Street Capital and Tana Africa Capital, a joint venture with Singapore government-owned investment firm Temasek. Tana holds minority interests in African food manufacturers Promasidor and Regina Co.”

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FA 2015 Feb OFC


I didn’t quite know what to expect when meeting Mr Oppenheimer. He is known to be very media shy. He turned out to be quite relaxed as we chatted about cricket and Pangolins during the shoot. Time with businessmen is a rare thing, and with Mr Oppenheimer we had about half an hour to shoot.

Things to do to make the most of your half an hour shoot:

1. Pre-scout

With limited time and with us shooting on location it’s always advised that you try and arrange a pre-scout of the space. Also try go at the same time as the shoot to gauge the lighting.

2. Have a backup.

When we did Mr Oppenheimer’s pre-scout, I immediately noticed the office space was too busy for our cover shot. There was too much going on. So we brainstormed other solutions and came up with a low key shoot with a black backdrop.

3. A mock set-up

When renting kit, you could always practice on someone the day before, at another similar location, so that you have an idea where to put your equipment and the settings.

4. Don’t mess around

You and your client are not there to mess around. Work efficiently. Know the body positions you want to work with. Have everything set up (arrive an hour before the client if you have to) before the client arrives. Then make minor adjustments to your lighting. The last thing you want to have is technical issues before you have even started.

5. Have a spare flash to shoot ‘off the grid’

Nothing ever goes according to plan. An interview may run late. Your subject may need to leave on an emergency. Have a portable flash set up and be ready to go if you have to abandon the studio. Follow the client until they have to leave…and then follow them to their car. Snap along the way if you have to make sure you have got a variety of shots.


This gives you a better idea of how we set up the photo.

This gives you a better idea of how we set up the photo. I removed the softbox on the right of the figure, and lowered the power to 1/16 for the head shot.






Portrait – Nick Durandt, Boxing

Portrait – Nick Durandt, Boxing

Nick Durandt is one of Africa’s most successful boxing trainers but his real hobby is outside the ring and inside his tattoo shop.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – Durandts Boxing World Norwood with Nick Durandt
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine July Issue


Portrait – Dinesh Patel, OrderIn

Portrait – Dinesh Patel, OrderIn

Dinesh Patel has done a lot: sport, entertainment and worked as a banker on Wall Street. After 10 years in the United States, he found his calling back on African soil, where he hopes to change the way we order food. He esablished the popular delivery service OrderIn based in Cape Town.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – Sandton Drive Johannesburg with Dinesh Patel
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine July Issue


Portrait – Mark Bennett, iSchool

Portrait – Mark Bennett, iSchool

Beneath a rusty ceiling, in a room whose light blue paint is peeling from its cracked walls, Juste chisenga hands each of his seven-year-old pupils their latest learning aid – ultra-cheap tablet computers with software in Bemba, a language spoken across north-east Zambia. Known as ZEduPads, the tablets are part of a project aimed at making computers part of the everyday schooling of all young Zambians.

Dreamed up by British-born Mark Bennett, the solar-charged computers make technology accessible to children even where electricity supplies are non-existent. Available in all eight of Zambia’s official languages and preloaded with 12,000 classes, the tablets can be used almost anywhere in the country, allowing children to keep track of their individual progress across every subject they study.

Mark arrived in Zambia in 1985 on a two-year contract to work at a computer center at the University of Zambia. He stayed for twelve years, before branching out on his own, first starting africonnect, an internet service provider he sold to Vodacom in 2005, and then launching ZEduPad. Already, 7,000 of the tablets have been distributed across Zambia. “We’ve spent around US$6 million developing the software,” says Mark. “So far, we have had 2.3 million words translated into local languages and a quarter of a million sounds.”

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – Kasisi Mission School, Zambia (A couple of kilometers outside of Lusaka) with Mark Bennett
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine May Issue, The Other Hundred Winner



Mark Bennett (left) at Kasisi Missionary School



Cover Shoot – Winnie and Zindzi Mandela by Jay Caboz for Forbes Woman Africa

It gives me great pleasure to reveal that my first ever cover shoot for FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Magazine is of Winnie and Zindzi Mandela.

I have been holding in the excitement for months waiting for this to hit the shelves. It finally arrived on my desk this morning.

Winnie Mandela gave us an exclusive interview in her house, in ‘the Angola Room’, in Soweto. An amazing and inspirational woman who has dedicated her life to human rights.  I quote that she said to me “You really are an energetic photographer.”

Zindzi is no less of an inspiration. She is canny businesswoman, incredibly media savvy, and is currently South Africa’s ambassador-designate to Denmark.

FWA 2014 Dec-2015 Jan OFC

The shoot was made all the more special when Winnie came downstairs in her traditional ceremonial attire, worn for a year in honor of Nelson Mandela’s passing. It was therefore completely apt that Zindzi would bring along a black designer dress, the last time worn at the royal premier of Long Walk to Freedom in London where she first heard the news that her father had passed away.

The story written by FORBES WOMAN AFRICA‘s editor Methil Renuka is one you cannot miss out on. Pick it up off the shelves as soon as you can. Winnie and Zindzi’s journey over the last year to cope with Mandela’s death is laid bare. I was fortunate to have witnessed this interview in person. It will remain with me for years to come.

There was no doubt in my mind that this photoshoot had to be given justice to the content and I was very happy with the outcome.

It’s hard to believe that almost a year ago I was outside Mandela’s house in Houghton photographing the many people leaving bouquets of flowers and letters to his memory; or the my rainy 5AM wait with thousands outside the FNB Stadium to witness the Nelson Mandela Memorial Service; or the queues and queues of thousands more lining up to see the former President’s body at the Union Buildings. It made the meeting with Winnie and Zindzi even more special.

To finish you won’t believe it, but I did this whole shoot with just a flash, an LED light and a reflector. No serious lighting equipment was used since it was a spur of the moment story.


Portrait – Alpesh Patel, Mi-Group

Portrait – Alpesh Patel, Mi-Group

Alpesh Patel was born in the Ugandan bush, had lunch with John Wayne and became a millionaire at 23. In between, he was kicked out his country with only a $100 and a pillow. Now he is the mobile entrepreneur behind Mi-Group.

Alpesh founded Mi-Fone in 2008, after leaving Motorola where he was their Director of Sales in Africa where he placed more than 5 million devices into the continent. Whilst there, he realized that the big brands were missing the point and that ultimately Africa was best served by Africans themselves.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – Sandton, South Africa with Alpesh Patel
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine March Issue


Portrait – Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi

Portrait – Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi

Weeks after she stood down in a controversial election, Joyce Banda opened her heart on corruption, prosecution and why she has no regrets. An amazing person to meet, Banda is full of passion for women rights issues. She exudes authority and power. One of my top people to photograph.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – Johannesburg with Joyce Banda
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine November 2014 Issue, CNBC


Do we need a fracking future? #frackingSA video doccie is now online.

My fracking doccie is now online. Do we need a fracking future? a CNBC Africa special in association with Forbes Africa Magazine


The video covers the  information regarding the Fracking issue in the Karoo, South Africa and was first broadcast on 16 October 2014. Filming and interviews were done around September 2014.

In part one, I looked at the people who are standing against it and their reasons why they think it will destroy their livelihoods.

Part two looks at the other side of fracking, the industrial and economical benefits it could bring, as well as addressing some more views on fracking as a mining process.

Hope this helps to create a platform for debate and raise awareness (both for the proposed benefits and costs if could bring for South Africa)

For more click the links below:

Last Gasp For Eden: Creating a Peaceful Buffer Against Fracking

Who said Fracking was Bad?

Fighting the Good Fight Against Fracking in South Africa

Fracking: One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison


Fracking could be the $100-billion energy game changer that Africa needs at the risk of destroying this land. It’s has sparked conflict before a drill has touched the earth.

Fracking could be the $100-billion energy game changer that Africa needs at the risk of destroying this land. It’s has sparked conflict before a drill has touched the earth.

Fighting the good fight against Fracking in South Africa — Jay Caboz #frackingSA

Dickie Ogilvie

Dickie Ogilvie


Tv interview on CNBC Africa — Should Fracking Proceed in the Karoo

Published – Fighting the Good Fight Against Fracking in South Africa

Published Forbes Africa Magazine October 2014 Issue


In a year, the fighting fund for farmers in the Karoo has swollen. A sure sign that the gloves are off.


Published Forbes Africa Magazine October 2014 Issue

Like his fellow 3,000 farmers, Dickie Ogilvie won’t let fracking vie without a fight. Ogilvie gave up teaching to help his wife, Colleen, take over her brother’s farm, Doorndraai, 100 kilometers south west of Graaff Reinet. His fears have led him to pledge R3 for every hectare on his 14,000 hectare farm to fight fracking in court. Most farmers across the Karoo are as trenchant as him.

“Some guys have given a lump sum payment. Most of the other moneys are per hectare basis, the pledge varies from R1 a hectare to R10 ($1), depending how strongly a farmer feels.  There is a lot of money to fight this if it goes to litigation process. Farmers have realized now how serious this can be,” says Ogilvie.

“Our resolution from the Aberdeen district is dire. I don’t believe they understand that if something goes wrong the Karoo is finished. You cannot rectify the water contamination, once it’s been contaminated it’s over, we will have to move off. It’s not only farms; the towns rely on underground water. My small little family can make a plan, but we are talking about whole communities in towns. It’s a huge problem, no answers are given, there is so much uncertainty.”

The Legal Battle

Derek Light

Derek Light

The fierce litigation between big business and the Karoo’s landowners has been brewing since 2009, when fracking(insert hyperlink video graphic of what is fracking) explorations were stopped in their tracks by the government to allow for regulations.  Landowners locked horns with government over the lack of consultation and what they call flawed laws and uninformed environmental assessments.

Their lobbying has seen some results, says Derek Light, the small-town lawyer from Graaff Reinet. The small offices he works in have been consumed by fracking for three years. Light even took a cell phone when he went for hip surgery so he wouldn’t miss anything. He represents hundreds of landowners, including millionaire Johann Rupert, the second richest man in Africa, who lives around the corner.

In September, four years after the first applications were submitted, baseline water testing began. The study, researched by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and financed by the Eastern Cape provincial government, looks at the Karoo’s underground water system.

“Baseline testing is not done overnight, it’s a long process that takes two to three years. The timing of it has been poor, and it is something the oil companies should have done in their environmental management plan process, which they failed to do. It’s now being done by the taxpayer. The government should have had this information at their disposal when they first made their decisions on the whole process,” says Light.

He adds that the government jumped the gun. Drafts, issued in March and October 2013, were incredibly flawed and focused on regulating fracking while forgetting about the mining operations around it, says Light.

“Drilling in South Africa is not regulated at all. Shell and other companies feed off the fact that there are few documented cases of contamination from the actual fracking process. Because the wealth of contamination comes from the other process, you can’t divorce the one from the other. It’s shifting the emphasis on the height of the fracking process. It means the attention is taken away from the other harmful processes.”

Fighting All the Way

Jonathan Deal, CEO of Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG)

Jonathan Deal, CEO of Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG)

Another loud and stringent voice against fracking is that of Jonathan Deal, CEO of Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG). Strangely enough, he didn’t know about fracking until he read a news article in 2011 when Rupert was speaking out against it.

“I began to investigate and attended the Shell public meetings. It was very clear for me, with my corporate background, that Shell was trying to control the meetings. There was a very specific aim in those meetings and it wasn’t to tell the truth as far as I was concerned,” says Deal.

From his 40,000-hectare Eco-farm near Montagu, in the Karoo, Deal has been calling on the Presidency, the Public Protector and gas companies to revise their actions before fracking takes place. He’s not alone; Julius Kleynhans, the Head of Environmental Affairs at the NGO AfriForum, has declared it will back TKAG financially should it go to court.

“It is the balance of convenience. If companies and the state have invested enormous amounts of money and the public sits and watches what happens and wait for everything to be built and then goes and complains. It’s very difficult for a court to literally throw its investments away.”

“If something goes wrong with a fracking well ten years later and those chemicals migrate 30 kilometers away, even if a farmer ends up with polluted water, what chance has he got of proving that it was from that well… if people get sick from air and water pollution, like what is being happening in the United States, who is going to pay for it? The state is; the people who pay tax. Not the companies that have shut down their operations when they have moved on somewhere else,” says Deal.

It’s not just a Karoo problem, says Deal.

“If fracking starts in this country and the gas reserves are there. We will see the technology of fracking march across this country just like it did in the United States. Geologically speaking the Karoo basin is where the gas bearing shale is thought to reside, and that extends right into Gauteng and parts of Mpumalanga. In fact it extends out of the northern borders of South Africa,” says Deal.

Despite plans to halt shale gas explorations until proper research is completed, the government remains adamant it will go ahead and be a game changer.

“New regulations should be released in September, but we don’t yet know what they contain. All of this has happened without consultation. It seems what will happen are inadequate regulations will be passed, with inadequate consultation. We are then faced with serious decisions where we go from there. If the regulations are unlawful, that may have to be challenged in the Constitutional Court. It seems, from the ministers announcements, hot off the heels of the new regulations will be the issuing of licenses which seems to indicate government has already taken a decision on those, which should not be granted because they don’t comply with the new laws,” says Light.

The Lifeline

The impact of exploration could be catastrophic, says Deal, especially since companies refuse to disclose the chemical composition of the additives. Chemical additives make up 1% of the 20 million liters used for a well. On one pad there can be 32 wells.

“With exploration, the same risks are there, they have to frack to see if it’s there. Don’t come to this country and look for secrecy privileges. Don’t come and try hide behind commercial interests to hide the mix of chemicals, this is not America,” says Deal.

“The minute these licenses are issued, these corporates are going to carry on with what they want to do anyway. It’s going to be challenged. People are well aware of it. The minute those licenses are issued, they will be challenged,” says Ogilvie.

Landowners seem to be putting their money where their mouth is. One wonders what people across Africa, who don’t have money will do.


For more click the links below:

Last Gasp For Eden: Creating a Peaceful Buffer Against Fracking

Who said Fracking was Bad?

Fighting the Good Fight Against Fracking in South Africa

Fracking: One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison



The Karoo

Who said fracking was bad? — Jay Caboz #frackingSA


Independent geologist, Wlady Altermann, believes that the fears of fracking are full of hot air.


Published —Who said Fracking was Bad?

Tv interview on CNBC Africa — Should Fracking Proceed in the Karoo


Published Forbes Africa Magazine October 2014 Issue


Wlady Altermann

Imagine a rock with thousands of pockets. Then imagine you have to drill, thousands of times, to release the gas from these pockets. This is what the Karoo looks like underground and the amount of drilling needed could make fracking costly, says Wlady Altermann, a geologist at the University of Pretoria.

(insert hyperlink vidoe graphic of what is fracking)

“All the knowledge of these compartments and the distribution of pockets are very poor. [The Karoo] would require a very good geophysical investigation. After that, the drill hole positions need to be drilled to investigate the properties of the rock, the stability of the composition and the wealth of the gas. Only after that, can a decision be made as to the wealth of the shale gas,” says Altermann.

The German- born professor knows a thing or two about rocks. Apart from studying them since he was a child, Altermann spent years studying rocks on Mars. Space travel was out of the question so Altermann flew across the globe and has been studying mineral deposits in South Africa since the 1980s.

Altermann, now the Kumba-Exxaro Chair in Geodynamics of Ore Deposits at the university, believes that fracking is harmless if it’s done properly.

“The misconceptions are basically based on poor information. It comes from the direct comparison with the United States, which I think is not comparable. Secondly, it comes from the perceptions that the surface and the shallow subsurface have something to do with shale gas deposits. Shale gas deposits are much deeper.”

Fracking is harmless

“The fracking itself is such a tiny part of the entire process itself. It’s not the dangerous part of the process. The dangerous part of the process is the later methods of production. Fracking itself, I think, it’s the wrong discussion,” says Altermann.

Water contamination by drilling through the Karoo’s aquifers, 300 meters below the surface, is also unlikely says Altermann, because the distance between the underground water and the shale gas is far.

“The shale in the United States is at much shallower levels. Between 1,000-1,500 meters. The deeper you go, the less the risk of contamination. The pressure in the ceiling holds the gas better. The chance to contaminate groundwater through that type of production is so low; you really must act like an idiot to do this. It’s not impossible but if it’s done properly, there’s no problem,” he says.

The fracking process has made significant technological steps since it began 70 years ago, says Altermann. Wells can be spaced further apart because drilling horizontally can stretch for 5 kilometers. Ten years ago, that same reach was a kilometer.

The Hidden Dangers

The risk lies with the waste after fracking. Companies in the US have been guilty of reusing this water to save costs, instead of disposing of it.

“This is what causes most of the problems. In other countries, it is forbidden, there are environmental laws. That should be avoided in South Africa as well, controlled in a way that you can be sure nothing happens,” says Altermann.

Natural gas is a greener fossil fuel than coal, says Altermann.

“South Africa’s energy demand is expected to increase by 60% up to 2050. Coal cannot supply it; if coal supplied it we would sit in darkness and not see our beautiful sunsets under the African sun. At today’s state of technology, the best way to mitigate climate change and CO2 emissions, the cheapest thing technically is to switch from coal to gas combustion. It reduces CO2 emissions by 50%. It’s a much more effective way of producing energy,” says Altermann.

“People talk about fracking and groundwater; no one realizes that actually in many areas where groundwater is scarce, where there is not enough water to supply the population, fracking is used to extract groundwater. They frack the rocks, the aquifer, without chemicals with just water and sand and crack the rocks, so that water can flow out the cracks easier. It is used by many countries especially in sub-Saharan Africa.”

According to the professor, fracking could change the face of South Africa and not cause too much worry.


For more click the links below:

Last Gasp For Eden: Creating a Peaceful Buffer Against Fracking

Who said Fracking was Bad?

Fighting the Good Fight Against Fracking in South Africa

Fracking: One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison