The British High Commissioner's French manoeuvre

2014-02-13 15:24

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

There was the usual talk about Jaguars, culture, arts and GREAT Britain, and Scottish bag pipes welcomed the guests, but British High Commissioner Judith Macgregor’s French manoeuvre was the highlight of the evening.

Macgregor opened a bottle of Pierre Jourdan sparkling wine using sabrage – a ceremonial French method invented by Napoleon of opening a champagne bottle using a ceremonial sabre – at the British High Commission’s annual reception the night before the opening of Parliament in Cape Town.

With some assistance from Achim von Arnim from wine sponsor Haute Cabriere from the Franschhoek wine valley, she managed to cleanly chop off the top of the bottle, cork and all.

The reception, held at the high commissioner’s official residence in the city’s upmarket Bishopscourt suburb, hosted judges, politicians, former politicians, diplomats, senior journalists and apparently some spooks too.

Planning Minister Trevor Manuel rubbed shoulders with former DA leader Tony Leon, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and law professor and blogger on constitutional issues, Pierre de Vos.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela also made an appearance in a very yellow but classically cut dress, and just before she left, she was seen in deep conversation with Lawson Naidoo from the constitutional lobby body Casac.

Various DA MPs also showed up, including David Maynier, Dianne Kohler Barnard and Mike Waters, who all missed yesterday’s march by their party in the Johannesburg city centre because they had meetings in Cape Town.

See the gallery: DA march ends in chaos

Macgregor was wearing a dress by British fashion designer Karen Millen, who had several creations on display at the function.

In her speech, Macgregor said Britain had various initiatives for cooperating with South Africa this year in arts, culture and education.

Apart from the Haute Cabriere wines, fine whiskies like Lagavulin and Johnny Walker Gold, traditional foods with a finger-food twist like fish and chips on a stick and bite-sized apple pies were also served at the do.

The remainder of the invited 600 guests – still networking up a storm in the giant marquees in the garden – were kicked out after 9.30pm, much later than previous years.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.