Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Living as a Croatian in South Africa: Part One - Introducing Ova Klapa

June 28, 2022 - In a new TCN series, intern Adriana Tasovac talks about living as a Croatian in South Africa. 

My earliest memories of my childhood are with mixed feelings. Although my childhood within my family and Croatian community was very joyful and content, it was difficult for me initially to blend in with my South African peers at school, as they were all English speaking and I had only spoken Croatian until the age of two. Children can be brutal and unfiltered and most unaccepting of someone that does not blend in with their norm, which is what I was, with my unpronounceable name and lack of common language. Today as an adult I can laugh off the awkward childhood as my upbringing within my Croatian community as a Luška (Female from Vela Luka) is what stirred up my strong feelings and absolute love of my roots and rich heritage and culture. Living as a Croatian in South Africa has been a very positive experience, which has taught me the importance of embracing other heritages, cultures, and countries, and the significance of loving who you are.

Velo Lučani (Croatians from Vela Luka), are bound by a common love for singing and acapella choirs. Gathering with our friends and family, was always a frequent occurrence. Every opportunity was taken at any given time, to get together where much eating, drinking, and singing took place. Upholding the traditions from home seemed to fill the void of living in a foreign country. It was these joyous get-togethers that prompted a group of close-knit Lučani friends, including my father to start their singing journey.

klapa_Ova_klapa.jpg

Soon after, they gave their group a name, and "Ova Klapa” (This Acapella) was born. Ova Klapa ignited my interest in music, particularly our traditional folk music. The klapa (acapella group) would sing traditional folk songs after dinners during our many gatherings, which in turn prompted them to record a compilation of their favourite and most revered songs in an album.

One very fond memory has always remained with me, Ova Klapa’s introduction of themselves and their complete cover album ‘’Jo, Da Mi Je” (Oh, How I Wish), as well as some teaser songs from their then-upcoming, second cover album, to the South African- Croatian community at the Saint Jerome Croatian Catholic Church in Johannesburg.

(Part 1)

A memorable concert was organised and performed on the evening of the 28th of February 2004, which told the story of their love for Vela Luka and their longing to return someday.

(Part 2) 

This nostalgic and emotional event showcased a variety of songs from their cover album as well as their appreciation of South Africa, by including a native South African choir to perform some of their own traditional dances and recitals. There were many laughs and tears throughout the journey of the tale that they told, and the concert concluded with their rendition of ‘’Sjećanje na Velu Luku’’ (Remembering Vela Luka).

 

I recall waiting patiently all night for my big moment to arrive. All the children of the members of Ova Klapa, were dressed in traditional outfits and given the task of presenting all the ladies and benefactors with a bouquet of flowers. I proudly executed my duty and then spent the finale in my father’s arms gazing into the audience.  “Vela Luku, mala, ne zaboravi!” (Little Vela Luka, I won’t forget you!).

adriana_traditional_dress.jpeg

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 16 June 2022

EIB: Croatian Companies Among Worst Hit By Ukraine War

ZAGREB, 16 June 2022 - Over the next year, Croatian companies will be among the EU companies hardest hit by the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the European Investment Bank (EIB) says in its latest report.

"Firms in countries closer to Ukraine and Russia, such as Hungary, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, will feel the pressure. Moreover, firms in Greece, Croatia and Spain will also be more affected than the EU average," says the report, entitled "How bad is the Ukraine war for the European recovery?"

The EIB published a ranking of countries whose companies face the greatest risk from the current situation. The most vulnerable companies are those in Greece, while those in Croatia rank seventh in terms of the risk of losses and bankruptcy among the 27 EU member states.

The EIB noted that EU companies, particularly small ones, were already weakened by the COVID-19 crisis.

"The war will exacerbate firms’ vulnerability through three channels: (1) a reduction in exports, (2) lower profit due to higher energy prices, and (3) difficulty finding funding as banks avoid risk," the report says.

According to the EIB, Croatian companies will be mostly affected by increasing energy prices.

"Firm-level simulations conducted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) suggest the proportion of firms losing money will increase from 8% to 15% in one year, and that the share of firms at risk of default will rise from 10% to 17% over the same period," the bank said.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 10 June 2022

Discover Magnificent Croatia: Something For Everyone

June 10, 2022 - A look at magnificent Croatia through the eyes of new TCN intern Adriana Tasovac!

As somebody who frequents Croatia on a regular basis, I emphatically and inarguably consider it a premier destination for an idyllic holiday. There are so many amazing activities for every member of the family offering an array of discoveries. You could: go Island hopping, traverse through nature, take guided tours through cities and towns, immerse yourself in its culture, and many more! 

A country also known as the land of a thousand islands, it comes as no surprise that, Island hopping is a very popular choice to see many of the islands around Croatia’s coast. The private cruise yachts offer an in-house chef and captain. This number one “to do trend”, from one setting to another offers, enjoying sizzling summer sunsets on pristine beaches, swimming and diving in the crystal clear, blue seas, and guided tours on many popular islands like Hvar, Vis (of Mamma Mia 2 fame), Pag, Korčula (recently proclaimed as the 5th most beautiful island to travel to), and more. 

WhatsApp_Image_2022-06-10_at_4.56.52_PM.jpegGradina beach, Vela Luka, Korcula Island

For nature lovers, who prefer a more mountainous escape, Plitvice Lakes National Park is the place to be. This visit embraces hiking trails and native flora and fauna for all the wildlife enthusiasts. There is an abundance of parks to choose from, and with all the breathtaking waterfalls and lush rainforests, one is bound to fall in love with these parks. They also offer a variety of adventurous activities such as mountain climbing and exotic animal spotting.


croatia-812260_1280.jpgPlitvice Lakes National Park, Plitvička jezera | Pixabay

To all the “Game of Thrones” fans out there, this one is for you. The coastal city of Dubrovnik has been one of the most prominent filming locations for the exteriors of Westeros’ capital city, King’s Landing. Another beautiful city, Split, helped shape the landscape for the famous series’ location of Daenerys Targaryen’s throne room. The old and impeccable architecture is something that supporters and non-supporters of the show can equally enjoy and appreciate. Guided tours through these stunning locations add feeling to the story that the buildings tell. 


dubrovnik-city-2236067_1280.jpgGame of Thrones Filming location, Dubrovnik | Pixabay

Croatia’s history has played a significant role in molding its rich and diverse culture today. A great influence on its gastronomic culture is the food and wine. Many residents on the islands and in smaller towns have developed gratitude for the finer details in life. An appreciation for food that brings them joy. Croatians have developed a fine sense of taste by creating cheeses, wines, rakija (brandy), oil, and many other delicious treats. Most of these delicious treats have already found their way into delis and supermarkets all over the world. 

A scrumptious cheese called “Paški Sir” which is made from sheep’s milk originates from the Island of Pag. Locals of Pag willingly display their love for the cheese, by sharing the cheese-making process at many of their cheese farms.

20140507_Paški_sir_cheese_from_Pag.jpegWikimedia Commons


Another enriching site to experience the culture, is through wine. Tasovac winery, is a fairly new winery that specialises in multiple tantalising wines. There is a wine variety for every palate. “Plavac Mali” is a traditional Croatian variant commonly found on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. 
Tasovac Winery, Žrnovo, Korčula

In a nutshell, Croatia offers a variety of interesting and extraordinary activities for the whole family to enjoy. The unique and memorable experiences are well worth a visit and return to this beautiful country. Discover Magnificent Croatia on your next holiday. 

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 3 June 2022

Croatia Nations League Campaign Kicks Off with Shock Defeat to Austria (0:3)

June 3, 2022 - A troubling display in Osijek tonight as the Croatia Nations League campaign kicks off with a 0:3 defeat to Austria.

The Croatia-Austria match was the first in a series of four UEFA Nations League matches the national team will play in 11 days this month. 

On paper, Austria was the easiest opponent for Croatia in this year's Nations League edition, which will serve as preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Croatia was after three points at City Garden tonight, as the next three matches will be even tougher to win points. 

Tonight's match was also the final for the national team at City Garden, as the new Pampas stadium will be used in Osijek from next year.

Lineups

Austria: Lindner - Danso, Trauner, Wöber - Lainer, Laimer, Schlager, Weimann - Sabitzer - Arnautović, Onisiwo

Croatia: Ivušić - Juranović, Pongračić, Ćaleta-Car, Sosa - Brozović, Kovačić, Pašalić - Majer, Kramarić, Brekalo

Recall, Croatia was without Perišić, Gvardiol, Musa, and Livaja, while Luka Modrić will get some rest in this match after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid.

Recap

Croatia had their first chance of the match already in the 2nd minute. Brekalo found Pasalic in the penalty area. In the 8th minute, Majer found Kramaric on the far post and Lainer's reaction nearly caused an own goal. 

Kramaric's shot was blocked in the 14th minute after which Brozovic also had a chance. Croatia was hungry for an early goal. 

Croatia's best chance so far came in the 18th minute. Brekalo again found Pasalic running into the box who missed with his head. 

Pasalic had another chance in front of the goal from a corner in the 21st minute, and Austria had a chance just wide of the goal moments later.

Another chance for Croatia in the 25th minute - Brozovic played the Austria defense to find Pasalic open in the box who shot a second too late. 

Kovacic had the first shot on target in the 28th minute, which was pushed out by the Austria keeper for a corner. Kramaric shot at the keeper in the 31st which went out for another corner. 

Sosa lost the ball in the defense giving Arnautovic a shot on goal, which he luckily hit over. But Austria got their goal in the end - Arnautovic scored for 0:1 in the 41st minute. 

Majer hit the near post for a corner in the 44th minute. The first half ended 0:1 for Austria. 

Borna Barisic went on for Borna Sosa at the start of the second half. 

Croatia came out motivated at the start of the second half. Brekalo and Majer found Pasalic who had a chance in front of the goal in the 47th minute, after which Brozovic missed a chance. 

Ivusic brilliantly defended an Austria shot, though Austria caught the Croatia defense asleep shortly after. Gregoritsch calmly put the ball in the back of the net for 0:2 in the 53rd minute - and in the 57th minute, Austria made it 0:3. 

Dalic subbed off Kramaric, Majer, and Pasalic for Modrić, Budimir, and Vlasic a minute later.

Croatia's shaky defense and inability to find the back of the net did not make for a pleasant atmosphere at City Garden. 

Kovacic came off for Orsic in the 70th minute.

Croatia was without any solid chances in the second half and was lucky that Austria didn't increase their lead. 

The ref added 3 minutes of stoppage time, but the match ended 0:3 for Austria. 

Croatia will welcome France on Monday in Split, followed by the first two away games in Group 1 - on June 10 in Denmark and on June 13 in France. All matches are played at 20:45.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Monday, 30 May 2022

Croatia Nations League Gathering: Perišić Out, Musa and Livaja Questionable

May 30, 2022 - The Croatia Nations League gathering is held today before the Vatreni plays their first match against Austria in Osijek on June 3. 

Croatia national football team coach Zlatko Dalić has announced the first Nations League match against Austria, which will be played on June 3 in Osijek, reports Gol.hr and Index.hr.

It will be great preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which awaits us at the end of this year. After Austria at City Garden Stadium, Croatia will go to Poljud against France, which should come with its biggest stars.

Four days later, on June 10, Croatia will play against Denmark away, and on June 13, Croatia will head to Paris to meet France in the return match.

It is already known that Ivan Perišić will not compete in this June Nations League campaign due to injury. Still, two other players are in question - Petar Musa and Marko Livaja.

"Unfortunately, Perišić dropped out. He may have been in the best shape of all the players, but now the most important thing is recovering and being ready for the World Cup. Petar Musa, who is ill, will probably drop out, but Marko Livaja is also sick. That is why we invited Luka Ivanušec. I am incredibly sorry for Musa, who was supposed to be with us for the first time today.

Many have had good seasons, but it's six months until the World Cup. Our quality is unquestionable because we have the backbone of the older players. The younger ones are also coming. For Musa, this was supposed to be a good test. I hope that during the summer, those who have problems in their clubs will solve them to be even better. I don’t have any bad insights about last year. A lot of good things have been done."

Dalić says he wants to test all the players in four Nations League matches but that the result is very much the priority.

"We want to be good, competitive. Try all the players we invited, but the result is important. It will be a problem that the boys have been on vacation for seven or eight days, but everyone is like that. We will play in our system 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1. We are going for the victory in every match," said Dalić.

And what about Modrić?

"Luka Modrić is coming tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. After everything he has done, he will compete in Osijek and Paris, i.e., all four matches. We need him to be in good health. We will see how much and how he will play in Osijek. After training, we'll see whether we need to call anyone else."

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Croatia Marking 30th Anniversary of Admission to United Nations

ZAGREB, 22 May 2022 - The ministry of foreign and European affairs on Sunday issued a statement to mark the 30th anniversary of Croatia's membership in the World Organisation, underscoring that its entry into the UN was a crown of the process of international recognition of Croatia.

Croatia was admitted to the United Nations on 22 May 1992. By hoisting its flag outside the UN building on 22 May 1992, with then Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali attending, Croatia was admitted to the organisation together with Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The statement issued by the ministry points out that during the first years of the membership "the priority of Croatia's diplomatic efforts in the UN was to ensure the cessation of the Great Serbian aggression as soon as possible."

Also the priority was given to the recognition and the defence of the internationally recognised borders of the Republic of Croatia, the care for hundred of thousands of internally displaced persons in Croatia and refugees arriving from Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the peaceful reintegration of the occupied areas which had been under control of the Serb rebels.

After its admission to the UN, Croatia affirmed itself on the global political scenes through its active participation in many bodies of the UN.

Croatia has been a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, and also a member of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Human Rights Council, the Peacebuilding Commission and other bodies and commissions.

The statement highlights a significant contribution of Croatian troops, police officers and diplomats in the UN-run peace missions.

Croatia sits on ECOSOC in the 2022-2024 period, for the second time.

Croatia is taking active part in the implementation of many initiatives and reform processes launched by the UN, including the initiative for responsible use of the right to veto, aimed at holding the five permanent Council members accountable for their use of veto, and the Responsibility to Protection concept.

Croatia gives firm support to multilateralism as a form of global cooperation and finds that the present-day challenges require joint approach and concerted effort..

The ministry says that the 30th anniversary of the UN membership will be marked at a conference on 30 years of Croatia's international recognition, scheduled for 29 May.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Pupovac: Criminal Ideologies, Perpetrators Deserve Condemnation, Contempt

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - Serb National Council (SNV) president Milorad Pupovac said on Saturday, in a comment on the commemoration of the Bleiburg tragedy, that every victim deserved to be commemorated and remembered but that criminal ideologies and their executors deserved condemnation and social and moral contempt.

"Each victim deserves their suffering to be commemorated and remembered. Ideologies that are criminal deserve condemnation and contempt. Perpetrators of crimes deserve social and moral contempt. Those who do not want to make this kind of distinction are not guided by the highest of moral principles," Pupovac said at Petrova Gora, where the SNV, the Association of Antifascist Fighters and Antifascists (SABA) and local officials marked the 80th anniversary of a Partisan attack launched to break from enemy encirclement on that mountain in Karlovac County.

The operation helped establish a free territory and save 10,000 refugees and is considered the first organised case of resistance to fascism in Europe.

Reporters asked Pupovac how he interpreted today's commemorative events for the Bleiburg victims, to which he said that the preamble to the Croatian Constitution spoke of the Partisan movement and decisions by the State Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Croatia (ZAVNOH), of which the Partisan field hospital at Petrova Gora was part.

Preamble to Constitution does not communicate what present-day Croatian policies communicate

"The preamble to the Croatian Constitution and the part of the Mirogoj cemetery dedicated to the Ustasha and Home Guards do not communicate what our policies today communicate," he said.

The SNV said that at Petrova Gora today it remembered May 1942, when 730 Partisan fighters launched an attack on Ustasha and Italian fascists whose forces were ten times bigger, broke out of the encirclement and established a free territory, saving 10,000 people who had fled their villages.

"This is a very important place in the modern history of Croatia and in the struggle of the peoples of Croatia and Yugoslavia for freedom, against Nazi, fascist and local (collaborationist) forces," the SNV president said.

He called for restoring the Partisan hospital complex at Petrova Gora so that the place is given the treatment it deserves "in line with the freedom-loving traditions of Croatia and Europe."

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Homeland Movement Says Authorities Disregard Tuđman's Role

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - An event was held in Vukovar on Saturday to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman, with speakers at the event saying that the current state leadership and Zagreb city authorities disregard the role of the late president.

Vukovar Mayor and Homeland Movement leader Ivan Penava, historian Josip Jurčević, the late Croatian president's advisor, former justice minister and member of parliament, Bosiljko Mišetić, and academician Josip Pečarić spoke about Tuđman at the event.

Jurčević said that the more "Tuđman is de-Tuđmanised, the greater symbolic importance he has."

Pečarić believes that the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) treats Tuđman the same way the state does, with his membership of HAZU being regularly passed over.

Penava said that if the Homeland Movement had been consulted on how Tuđman's 100th birth anniversary should be commemorated, celebrations would be taking place across the country.

"Institutions, kindergartens, schools, research and other institutions would be discussing Tuđman's 100th birth anniversary the whole day. Military aircraft would be flying over Zagreb in his honour, instead of Macron's, as seen a few weeks ago," said Penava.

Commenting on Tuđman's younger son Stjepan's failure to attend the Vukovar event, Penava said that due to disappointment with events surrounding the 100th anniversary of his father's birth, Stjepan Tuđman decided to stay in Zagreb and visit with his family Veliko Trgovišće, where his father was born, as well as attend Mass in Zagreb.

Penava said that the state leadership and the Zagreb city authorities' treatment of the Tuđman family was the best proof of the authorities' attitude toward Tuđmanism, sovereignism and to Croatia as created by Tuđman and defenders in 1991.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Slonjšak Calls For Enabling Disabled Persons To Exercise Family-Related Rights

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities Anka Slonjšak on Saturday issued a statement on the occasion of International Day of Families, observed on 15 May, emphasising sustainable urban policies, in line with this year's theme, highlighted by the UN for this day: "Families and Urbanization".

The United Nations underscores on its website that "urbanization is one of the most important megatrends shaping our world and the life and wellbeing of families worldwide."

This year’s theme, "Families and Urbanization", aims to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable, family-friendly urban policies.

Slonjšak says that in Croatia, persons with disabilities are still struggling to achieve their fundamental right to a home and life in a family.

Institutionalisation and admission of persons with disabilities to institutions due to an undeveloped network of support that should enable them to live with their families has a devastating impact on entire families and denies disabled persons the right to live with their families, the ombudsman warns in her statement.

Slonjšak particularly warns about the non-availability of non-institutional social and health services in rural communities, which makes families with members with disabilities move to larger urban areas.

The ombudsman says that even though persons with disabilities are guaranteed the right to marriage, the right to found a family, the right to intimate relationships, sexual activities and childbearing and the right to be foster and adoptive parents, those rights often are unattainable for them.

In this context, she raised her voice against the negative stereotype about persons with disabilities not being able to care for children or get married.

She also calls for pro-active measures that will make it possible for persons with disabilities to exercise those rights.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Over 400 Participate in Recreational Cycling Tour of Vinkovci

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - The third edition of the annual event called "Tour Natur", which was held in the eastern Croatian city of Vinkovci on Saturday, brought together over 400 cyclists who toured the city to get acquainted with its past and its ongoing projects.

Commenting on the event that attracted the highest number of participants so far, Mayor Ivan Bosančić, who also participated in the ride, said that the route passed by the city's landmarks and through parts where EU-funded projects were being implemented.

The mayor announced the construction of 20 kilometres of bicycle lanes throughout the city.

The purpose of the Tour Natur event is to promote tourism and raise awareness of the beauties of scenery in the city.

Since last December, public bicycles have been available at three locations in Vinkovci as part of efforts to make the city cleaner and greener.

Before using public bikes, users need to register in the Nextbike application, scan the bicycle number and pay. Rental prices start at HRK 5 (€0.66) per 30 minutes, and the annual ticket costs HRK 200 (€27).

The value of the project is HRK 656,000 (€87,470), of which 40 per cent was provided by the EU through the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund and 60 per cent came from the city budget.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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