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This car will create a balegan in your household

No respectable Jewish driveway should be without one, but, be warned, untold trouble will brew in the family. Why? Because there’ll always be more than one shouting “Shotgun!” for the privilege of using it! Jewish Report’s team test drove KIA’s new KOUP. It’s fast (very), seriously safe, an unbelievably fun-filled drive and it has every mod con. It does have its issues, though, so don’t let bobba go shopping in it! Why not? Read on to find out…





I’ve started this review off with a peppy, company-made video to save me having to go through much of the essential jargon it covers in an audiovisual I could never match. Also, because from here on in, for those who haven’t read my vehicle reviews before, I always call a spade a spade, I never fail to point out what I don’t like and I refuse to be the manufacturer’s (or in this case, importers’) salesman. I include a feminine perspective, a younger perspective, and, if it’s sporty (and this one really is), I get driven by a “Mystery Speedster” until the hair stands up on the back of my head and wish I hadn’t.

koup-ex-meanWhat follows, is what we all thought of KIA’s new KOUP which, we all thought, must be their boldest car to date.

It creates – defines, even – a category of its own (not falling into any conventional description) and is by far the most fun drive I have had in some long time. This not-so-pocket rocket is the car that dad will insist on using for work, golf and holidays.

Mom will want to us it for lift-schemes because of easy access and a massive boot, but will insist when she goes shopping because it’s so easy to park. The teens will fight to go out jolling in it.

It’s an almost-full-size car that looks tamer than it is. It sticks to the road, has three optional driving modes, is seriously accessorised and has every mod-con you could imagine. The sporty two-door Kia Turbo uses the same souped-up petrol 1.6 Turbo GDi as parent company Hyundai’s Veloster – our test vehicle was coupled to a six-gear manual gearbox – but there is also an auto option – and, although not low-priced by KIA standards, it has a great price tag if one takes into account all the full-spec features it offers.


Don’t test-drive if you’re not serious

The Cerato Koup from KIA boasts youthful exuberance with dynamic performance and a class-leading level of high-tech features? Don’t test-drive this baby if you are not a seriously interested potential buyer. Because you would be surprised how easily you could become one! If you do want a test drive, CLICK HERE and you’ll be behind the drivers’ seat before you can say “Bob’s your zaider!”

It is sleek and sporty, a remarkable performer that touches the core of individuality through its driver, which explains why it is not only the flagship model in the Cerato range but looks set to shake up the entire *coupé segment. Bold and athletic front styling cues create an aggressive, sporty stance, while the sleek and dynamic side and rear views embody a poised and powerful profile. The balance is the thrill.

koup-auto-manualBut, more important than its dynamic styling is the great drive. This car comes standard with all the bells and whistles of fast car and all the safety features to make sure that if you do overstep the boundaries, it will be able to keep you on the road.


Driving around the shtetl was no way to test this baby – nor are my rudimentary race-driving skills up to the task – so I enlisted the help of my Mystery Speedster (one who probably is known to 50 per cent of those reading this). He wanted to take it on a track. No way – too much red tape. So we did a twisting section of highway with me agreeing to pick up any speeding tickets.


The Mystery Speedster

The car is very fast, accelerates like a mamba and brakes just as well. Despite the fact that I was sweating from fear throughout, the racing-style seats kept me completely still. The speedster loved it! This car’s got to have 18-inch wheels he said as it stuck to the road around a tight bend. (I checked afterwards, they come standard with 18” alloy wheels with and 225/4OR18 tyres).

He found the drive exhilarating. “It would have been much more fun on the track,” he said. Fun? To me this was sheer terror. Any more fun and my heart would have stopped. “Hold tight,” he warned as he decided to stand on the brakes at 180. The car stopped quickly enough – but most staggering of all was that it never moved an inch left or right. I was amazed. The Speedster had only good things to say about this car – except that he found very little, if any change when engaging the three optional driving modes: Normal, Sport or Comfort.

He rated it high on road-holding and safety features. “Would you buy one?” I asked. No, he said emphatically, “my wife and I would argue about who would drive it.”

He liked the very smooth keyless entry and start/stop button, too, and, like everyone, couldn’t stop parking just to see the large, real-time wide-angle TV and the lasers beeping.


Afterwards I tried the optional driving modes in suburban driving, and I must admit that I didn’t notice any difference either. It is possible that we just expected more. When I switched to “Sport” I was half-expecting transformer-like action: the car dropping down, the seats readjusting and the engine’s purr turning to a roar at idle.

Even before they invented auto retracting side mirrors, I used to often do mine manually in parking lots to make sure I wasn’t going to be paying for a pricey replacement knocked off by another parker, a supermarket trolley or a kid on a skateboard.

I especially liked the KIA keyless entry and welcome home lights and mirrors. When you have the small tab (okay, call it a key) in your position, it senses your imminent arrival, opens the side-mirrors and puts on some discreet lighting to allow you to find the door handle. This car never, ever, sees its key!

While I loved the newly-styled bucket seats up front, and I loved the digital and electronic everything on the dashboard, I was disappointed to find the ashtray was the standard KIA design. Not that I smoke in a car, but I do always keep change on the ashtray for tipping and the KIA ashtray does have a way of causing a few cuts and blood-blisters before one learns to keep one’s wits about.

Younger driver

It nipped my “Younger Driver” twice in one day, in fact. When they heard I wanted them to spend a day with a two-door car, they said it was a waste of time for a family of four.

They were surprised when I ignored them and turned up with it anyway. Once I had seen and experienced the KOUP, I knew it could work for them and really wanted their opinion. Here were some of his family’s key observations:

They loved the ease of access to the back seats – insisting it was easier to get a baby-seat in and out than in their standard four-door. Sounded odd, but it was true. The interior is an almost full-size replica of the Cerato sedan and with a single long door and an auto slide-forward and down motion one gets in a two-door for rear access, it opens up a cavernous amount of space.

They also liked the Isofix child-seat anchors, the humongous 433 litre boot space which could fit their two prams and shopping (and that still has a 60/40 fold-down option to increase the space).

For them, the keyless entry meant being able to access a car while carrying a sleeping baby. To me, it is just the coolest feature because it is so cool. They were also very impressed with the safety-met of the six-airbag system that includes rear curtain airbags – which neither of their cars have and that would keep their kids safe in the event of an accident.


Would he buy one, I asked the Younger Driver? Sure, he said, but it was a bit above his budget.


koup connectivityThe ladies

Why I like to get everyone’s opinion when reviewing a car is that everyone has different needs. All the ladies who had a go with the KOUP liked the accessories and the spaces to put accessories. Like What? Well, among other things:

  • Being able to charge any devices, any time;
  • Being able to connect their music and phones to the car’s superb sound system;
  • Having all those extra cup-holders and storage places for make-up, etc; and
  • The most amazing lighted vanity mirrors on both sides.

Now, would any of you fellas have come up with these advantages?

The negative two ladies expressed: the “cheap, plastic-looking” finishes. Indeed? Those, ladies, were carbon look – and-feel-alike finishes. Plastic-looking indeed!


For myself

koup-spaceI hate to get into my car after someone else has driven it and have to start readjusting everything they have handled. Maybe that’s why I get so grumpy about anyone driving my car.

This car, however, remembers me and all my settings. That I really like.

It is a very comfortable drive. The leather-covered steering wheel has both height and telescopic adjustments, the lights take corners with me, the dual zone aircon is something I have missed since I had one some years back. Somehow, I always seem to have a different aircon need to my passengers and we always need to compromise. Dual-zone aircon is standard on high-end models today – a league I do not fall into – but I found it a treat in the week I spent with the KOUP – all the more so because it was winter.

The TV that comes on every time one selects Reverse is way more than a toy. It is fun, I must admit, but it has to be one of the most amazing inventions to save one those little dings. It also saves one having to crook one’s neck from hither to thither and back. Just look forward and drive backwards.


Back to bobba and the shopping…

koup-ex-softOkay, so why my warning about not letting bobba go shopping in this car? This is a very well- designed two-door, five-seat vehicle. To make that work, the two doors are, of necessity, pretty long – allowing ease of access from the back without the person in front having to get out.

That means that one has to take this into account when parking in tight spots like at shopping centres. For the front passengers to get out there needs to be quite some space for that door to swing. And, seriously, bobba will always want to park as close to the entrance as possible. So even if she allows herself enough room to get out when she arrives, she may find on her return that the new car next to her didn’t realise she needed the extra room and she is going to have to squirm to get in or jump over from the other side!

And who do you think will never hear the end of it after that? The “brainless idiot” who bought this incredible two-door vehicle, that’s who. For the rest of her life you will be cursed. Of course the rest of the family will never be able to thank you enough – but you will probably be keeping this one for your own use and telling them to take the Lexus!

The stats on the car are impressive, but there is no point in my giving the whole gantseh megillah here. You can find them all on the KIA WEBSITE and you can click here for a TEST DRIVE, but remember my earlier caveat – don’t drive it for fun, you’ll risk owning it for that!

FYI – * This car was obviously named with the US market in mind, where the term coupé is pronounced “coup” – or, in this case, KOUP. Also, in the US the name Cerato is replaced by Forte.

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Nominations are now open for Absa Jewish Achiever Awards 2021




  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has achieved iconic status within the business community.


  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has played a critical leadership role in business during this period.


  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has achieved national recognition and acclaim in their profession during this period.


  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has a proven track record in entrepreneurial ventures.


  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has served the Jewish community with remarkable distinction.


  • Honouring the leadership, success and overall contributions of distinctive Jewish women in business or in the broader South African community.

in honour of Helen Suzman

  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has contributed in an extraordinary manner over a long period of time.


  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has excelled in any of these spheres.

In honour of Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris

  • Awarded to a Jewish or non-Jewish person who has contributed substantially to the betterment of the lives of the people of South Africa.

To nominate visit this page.

Nominations close at 17:00 on 3 September 2021

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Build hope by reaching out and nominating



As the sun rises through the darkness of the pandemic and looting in South Africa, we begin to renew our hope for the future, and with that, we start our search to celebrate our Absa Jewish Achievers in 2021. Nominations are now open.

This year, we will celebrate on 7 November with great ‘hope’, the theme of this year’s event that so perfectly fits our growing sentiments.

The past 18 months have been so incredibly tough on our community, our country, and our world. What with more than 200 Jewish people dying from the COVID-19 pandemic in Johannesburg alone, we have really felt the coronavirus to our core.

We haven’t been able to be at loved one’s funerals, and have sat shiva alone. We have isolated from our loved ones to protect them. We have put much of our lives on hold because of this illness. Many have lost businesses and livelihoods.

But the end of this pandemic is in sight. We have “hope” again. As we vaccinate en masse, we move towards a new tomorrow.

We survived the wholesale looting and violence of the past month, and people have gone to great lengths to help each other make it through.

As a community, we work best together. We support each other, making us stronger and more resilient.

The Absa Jewish Achiever Awards is all about our community putting heads together and coming up with those unique individuals who stand head and shoulders above others.

We will pull out all the stops to celebrate our 2021 achievers on 7 November. Once again, we’ll keep it online to avoid any potential COVID-19 risks. But in so doing, we’ll bring your international fantasies to life with our annual revelry. And in so doing, we will enable far more people to participate than can fit in a large hall. Last year, we took our numbers from 1 000 to 60 000 viewers.

It’s time to look around and find those unique individuals, those gems within our community who have performed in their own areas like no other. You know who they are, and they will be given the kavod only if you nominate them for the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards. It’s up to you.

“The Absa Jewish Achiever Awards is so important as it allows us as a community to take stock and celebrate our disproportionate contribution to the people of South Africa,” says Howard Sackstein, Absa Jewish Achiever chairperson.

“It allows us to create role models for everyone to emulate as we celebrate the extraordinary. In so doing, we encourage others to find greatness in their own fields.”

Though we will once again be looking for lifetime achievers this year, a humanitarian champion, and those who have gone way beyond the call of duty for the community, we are also focusing on those who have excelled in the past year.

We want to find those outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves over this past year with its unique challenges.

We are looking for nominees in the following: women in leadership; business award; entrepreneurship; business icon; professional excellence community award winner; a lifetime achiever; a winner in sport, science and culture; and a humanitarian award winner (who doesn’t have to be Jewish).

It’s up to you to nominate these people. Without your nominations, they won’t get the acknowledgement they deserve. Although there are judges involved, we need your nominations and online participation in the public vote.

This is a communal event, focusing on our magnificent community, to find the individuals that will become icons for the rest of us. “As you all know, we work best as a community, and in this, we encourage each other to take pride in the achievements of others,” says Sackstein.

Nominations are open from today, until 17:00 on 3 September.

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Achiever Awards reimagined



It’s official: not even a pandemic can stop the South African Jewish community from paying tribute to the heroes in its midst.

Against a background of social distancing and sanitisation, thousands came together last Sunday for the most iconic iteration of the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards in its 22-year history.

Instead of gathering in person at a decked-out venue, guests participated in an evening of glamour and fine dining from the comfort of their own home for the first ever online version of the annual awards ceremony.

Other than hundreds of paying and invited guests, between 30 000 and 60 000 people from around the world also watched the spectacular event on YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and Zoom.

No effort was spared to ensure that the evening was as enthralling online as it would in person. In the run-up to Sunday night, couriers shuttled staggering numbers of cocktail packs to each individual guest’s home, making sure that the annual Achievers magic wasn’t lost.

Gin, tonic, and prosecco flowed freely in homes across South Africa as participants prepared to watch a livestream of the awards ceremony, ready to raise a l’chaim as they cheered the winners.

As if this wasn’t enough, many guests who would otherwise have reserved a table at the live event also had a lavish three-course gourmet kosher meal delivered to their doorstep. Arriving in a sleek cylindrical box, the spread included tantalising entrees, a mouth-watering main course, and even an array of sweet treats to accompany the evening’s viewing.

The meals were catered by Maxi Kosher Discount Butchery and styled by Dolores Fouche under the strict supervision of the Johannesburg Beth Din. Added to the food, there were beautiful fabric placemats, napkins, face masks, and even the traditional Achiever kippa for participants. Each featured the artwork of renowned South African artist Kim Lieberman.

The evening began with an exclusive red-carpet event presented by Dina Diamond, with various nominees joining her virtually to chat before the ceremony got underway. Excitement mounted as the red carpet concluded at 18:00 when the Awards ceremony began.

“For the past 21 years, we have gathered in hotel boardrooms and convention centres to celebrate the remarkable and disproportionate contribution made by the Jewish community to the development of post-apartheid South Africa,” said Howard Sackstein, chairperson of the SA Jewish Report and the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards.

“When we started planning tonight’s event more than a year ago, we didn’t expect to be playing hide and seek with a virus. We didn’t predict that the world would be gripped in the vice of a worldwide pandemic that has so sadly claimed the lives of so many in our community.

“This year, we cannot just recognise nine winners. We as the board of the SA Jewish Report feel the need to pay tribute to literally hundreds of South Africans who have been an ohr lagoyim [a light unto the nations].

“Tonight, we announce our roll of honour to recognise and pay tribute to the many South Africans who have sacrificed so much for a better South Africa during the pandemic of 2020.”

That list was both extensive and illustrious. This year’s winning personalities included seasoned entrepreneur Liran Assness, the chief executive of holding company Sekta and recipient of The Kirsh Family Entrepreneur Award; Ferrari icon turned cheese aficionado Jody Scheckter, who received the Art, Science, Sports and Culture Award; as well as Wendy Fisher, acclaimed sculptor and philanthropic powerhouse, who took the Humanitarian Award in honour of the late Chief Rabbi, Cyril Harris.

Title sponsor Absa’s award categories recognised the accomplishments of renowned lawyer Professor Michael Katz with the Absa Business Icon Award. Professor Mervyn Mer, the principal specialist and head of intensive-care at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital received the timely Absa Professional Excellence in the Time of Covid Award, and Discovery’s Dr Jonathan Broomberg walked away with the Absa Business Leadership in the Time of Covid Award.

The Europcar Women in Leadership Award went to Pick n Pay group’s Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, and Professor Barry Schoub, retired expert in vaccinology and virology, was recognised for his contribution to humanity with the Kia Community Service Award.

Ninety-eight-year-old Sir Sydney Kentridge, whose lifetime in service of the law is nothing short of legendary, received the Lifetime Achievement Award in honour of Helen Suzman for his decades of service. Even Sackstein received a surprise award – the Lawrence and Karen Abrahamson Family Award for his efforts to connect the Jewish community with an array of webinars during the lockdown period.

Not even the annual event’s signature entertainment was dispensed with this year. Jewish comedian Gilli Apter kept guests giggling as compere, and the musical performances screened between each presentation were spectacular.

These included the melodies of singer Danielle Bitton and opera aficionado Yudi Cohen, whose performance of The Prayer shook the speakers in every home. They were joined by the toe-tapping yiddishe music of Caely-Jo, and even international Jewish-music sensation the Maccabeats.

Completing the line-up of musical magic was Choni G and six-year-old Bibi Shapiro (whose Avinu Malkeinu previously took YouTube by storm), and Jonathan Roxmouth of Phantom of the Opera fame.

In true Achiever Awards style, this once-in-a-lifetime event delivered an evening that not only paid tribute to the heroic personalities among us, but also provided a much-needed dose of positivity and joy.

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