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Ecco Chamber

Fortnightly Italian news made in South Africa

 II edition April 2024

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Freedom is Creative

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19 April


25 April


27 April


28 April


16 May


18 May



Chamber's Note


Freedom is Creative

Very few concepts appear simultaneously as simple and as complex as that of freedom. Additionally, no concept of such apparent simplicity but inherent complexity has had as global an impact on human value and culture. 

The two facts are connected: because freedom is such an important value, it is highly contested and has several overlapping definitions owing to the various contexts and societies in which it is applied. The word is present everywhere, everyday, and used to mean a multiplicity of things. Free of charge, guilt-free, free-form, free trade, freedom of expression. All these senses of the word connote something slightly different. 

In the lead up to South Africa’s Freedom Day (27 April) and Italy’s Anniversario della Liberazione (25 April), we have chosen freedom as the overarching theme of this edition of Ecco Chamber. Despite our distinct histories, the value of freedom in both our countries is profoundly important. Both countries have a history where the freedom of its populations were constrained for other ends. In many countries today this continues to be the case. 

Key tenets of liberty underpin our daily actions and we may take these principles for granted. Take for instance the functioning of a Chamber of Commerce. As an organization that promotes networking, we thrive on the freedom of individuals to associate with whom one chooses; we make use of freedom of speech to voice the interests of our stakeholders; and through our members we support the opportunity and benefits that come from the practice free enterprise.

This week’s newsletter features a myriad of content and opportunities which are born of the diverse initiatives and interests from within our network. The beauty of such an array of content is that the freedom and creativity of our community is fully on display.  In the lead up to this freedom week, we therefore wish to celebrate this abundance with our network and encourage all to continue choosing to populate our lives with expression and activity, all of which is underpinned by a freedom to do so. 

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Fashion Bridges 2024: Celebrating Italian-South African Collaboration

We are thrilled to announce the fourth edition of "Fashion Bridges - I Ponti della Moda," a wonderful initiative fostering partnerships between Italian and South African fashion sectors. Organized by the Italian Embassy in Pretoria, in collaboration with Polimoda, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI), and South African Fashion Week (SAFW), this project aims to foster both commercial and creative connections.

This year, the spotlight shines on ANDREĀDAMO, the Italian designer selected by CNMI and Polimoda to showcase his spring-summer collection at two prestigious events. The first show will take place on April 19, 2024, at South African Fashion Week in Johannesburg, followed by a special event in Cape Town on April 24, 2024, hosted at the Residence of the Ambassador of Italy. In Johannesburg, ANDREĀDAMO will share the stage with South African designer Lezanne Viviers, while in Cape Town, he will collaborate with Michael Ludwig.

Alongside the main event, Fashion Bridges continues to invest in emerging talent through its mentorship program. This year, Sipho Mbuto, a participant in the inaugural edition of Fashion Bridges, has been selected to undergo an intensive online training program in order to create a collection with the support of fashion and marketing experts. 

Fashion Bridges 2024 promises to be a celebration of creativity, innovation, and cross-cultural exchange, reaffirming the strong ties between the Italian and South African fashion industries.

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Emperors Palace is about to unleash the culinary experience of a lifetime at the return of
The Johannesburg World Festival of Food and Drink, an unparalleled 11-day extravaganza
of international food and drink festivities, happening on Level 5, Emperors Palace from
Thursday the 25th of April to Sunday 5th of May 2024.

Tickets for this extraordinary event start from R150 and can be booked at TicketPro.



Adventure into Brewer's Lane, which will boast the best local brewing culture and find
favour with beer, gin, cider and mead enthusiasts.
Then there is the What's Trending exhibition, introducing our food lovers to a beautiful
range and diverse selection of what's current in food, drink and prep gadgets and


This groundbreaking event offers your company unparalleled exposure and benefits,allowing you to demonstrate, activate, and sell your goods and services to an anticipated 30,000 visitors.

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We are thrilled to extend a warm invitation to all music enthusiasts to an unforgettable musical show by Faraualla, the renowned Italian polyvocal quartet.


Presented by the Italian Cultural Institute of Pretoria, in partnership with the Embassy of Italy in South Africa and the Consulate General of Italy in Johannesburg, this promises to be a fantastic occasion to attend the musical performance of this globally acclaimed group.


Formed in 1995 by four innovative musicians from Puglia, Faraualla received international acclaim for their experimental fusion of vocal expressions from different ethnicities and historical periods











Their South African tour coincides with the release of their latest album, Culla e Tempesta, a real artistic experiment mixing songs in Italian, English, dialect, and even invented languages.


The tour will take place at the current venues:

  • Friday, April 26th, 6:30 PM, Etienne Rousseau Theatre, Sasolburg

  • Sunday, April 28th, 6:30 PM, Italian Club Johannesburg, Bedfordview, Germiston

  • Monday, April 29th, 6:30 PM,  Atterbury Theatre, Pretoria


Admission to all concerts is free, but reservations are required.

Don’t miss this opportunity and secure your spot now!

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The Italian Consulate General in Johannesburg presents the screening of Italian Movies on April 27th and 28th, 2024 at the Italian Club Johannesburg.


Admission to the event is free of charge. (Please note that seats are limited and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.)

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Information Day on Strategic Projects under Critical Raw Material Act Webinar  

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The European Commission invites you to the Information Session on Strategic Projects under the Critical Raw Act Law.  The event will take place on 30 April 2024 from 14.00 – 16.00 (CET) in the form of 2 hours online webinar

This event is meant to help project promoters (potential applicants) with preparing their project application.  


The WEBEX link is the following:

During this information session, colleagues at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs will provide comprehensive and detailed information regarding the entire workflow for application, evaluation and selection of strategic projects, including practical information on how to apply. 

Agenda Highlights: 
Opening: Introduction to CRMA and Strategic Projects 
Content & Process: Overview of Strategic Projects Objectives, application process and criteria clarifications 
Application template in detail: including the User Guidance 
How to apply: Practical Demonstration and Support Channels 
IT Tools, UNFC Training, Website, Helpdesk and Communication 
Q&A Session 


Should you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us or to send directly your query to



The Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries has been organising the Business Excellence Awards annually since 1999 as a Charity Gala Dinner. In its 25th year, the BEAs 2024 will again provide recognition of the ongoing efforts and extraordinary achievements of the Italian Business Community. The ItalCham BEA 2024 will take place 


Date : 16 May

Venue: Sandton Hotel (JHB)

Time: 18:00 till midnight

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This year the following categories will be awarded:


Business Person of the Year

Enterprise of the Year

SMILE Enterprise of the Year

Lifetime Achievement Award

Click here for table bookings and individual bookings: 

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If you are an Italian resident abroad registered with AIRE, Trenitalia has reserved exclusive benefits for your travels in Italy: 

•    Discounts up to 80% with the Speciale Eventi offer when travelling on Frecciarossa, Frecciargento and Frecciabianca trains;
•    40% discount on the purchase of Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, and Frecciabianca tickets for groups of at least 10 paying passengers travelling together 
•    Possibility to purchase a Trenitalia Pass to visit Italy 


These discounts are valid for travel until 31 December 2024.

Do not miss out on this valuable opportunity to explore Italy at a reduced cost. For further information and details, please visit :

Giornata Della Ristorazione 2024  

"An initiative for Italian Restaurants abroad"

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Goal: to strengthen Italian catering and gastronomy around the world

Date : 18 May 2024
Who: Italian Restaurants abroad
Cost: FREE

After the great success of the 2023 edition, which earned recognition from the Italian President and global participation, the FIPE (Italian Federation Public Establishments) has once again announced the “Giornata della Ristorazione”, an important initiative aimed at enhancing the role of Italian catering and gastronomy globally.

This initiative offers the opportunity to celebrate Italian cuisine and to foster a feeling of community among Italian restaurants all over the world.  

High-quality and authentic Italian restaurants are invited to take part in it. 
Participation is free and will allow restaurants to appear in the list of establishments joining the event and in the Federation’s app. In addition, the restaurateurs may send a promotional video that FIPE will post on its social media. 

More information and a link for restaurants to register for free at:



Report Brief - South Africa Marble Import Sector


Since 2010, the global natural stone industry has experienced significant growth. According to a report by Grand View Research, the sector was valued at $47-billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.7% until 2030. 
However, in South Africa, the marble industry has experienced considerable decline in recent years. This is likely to be because of a series of factors including the increased importation of competitor products, the increasing volume of local granite production, weakening of the local construction sector and a steadily weakening local currency. Nevertheless, factors such as a sustained demand for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, as well as a growing middle class, have contributed to the industry's continued long-term existence, in spite of its decline. 


ItalCham has explored the feasibility of importing marble slabs from Italy to South Africa. This research showed that there is an established marble sector in the country which presents ongoing opportunities that however hampers new entrants owing to the maturity of the sector and a relatively small consuming middle class.
A robust ecosystem exists in South Africa which facilitates the delivery of final marble products. There are a considerable number of fabricators involved in cutting and handling marble slabs, as well as a number of companies involved in the export of marble to parts of sub-Saharan Africa. 






When considering the marble sector, it is important to take into account the various competitor products that exist including engineered stone and porcelain. In terms of dimension stone, which is the broad term for products such as marble and granite, 87.7-million tons of locally produced quarry products, with a value of R 9.5-billion, were sold in South Africa in 2018. Furthermore, in terms of granite alone, local production is estimated to be a total of 800-thousand tons per year . While South Africa has an established local sector for quarrying and is well developed in the field of dimension stone, very little marble is actually produced locally and all marble is imported.

As can be seen in the below table, Italy is among the countries with the largest quantities of marble exported to South Africa, holding a 21,5% percent market share in terms of value and is the top of the pile for the highest unit value. The average selling price of marble during 2023 from Italy was around $1 859 per ton, while the average price from the world is $951 per ton. This is further confirmation that the quality and value of Italian products are recognized in South Africa, with people willing to pay a premium for the product.

Two HS codes  were considered for this research, in consultation with marble importers: 680291 and 680221.

South Africa’s overall marble imports have steadily dropped over the last 15 years, having reached a peak during the mid-2000s when large constructions for the world cup were underway and when the rand was stronger, stimulating demand and favouring imports. South Africa is not a comparatively large importer of marble, representing only 0.1% of world imports for these products and ranking 66th in world imports.  

Overall prices for the material have also risen steeply over the last inflation-heavy years, increasing by more than 20% across the board. A major factor influencing imports across the board is the strength of South Africa’s local currency. Since 2007 a strong negative correlation has persisted between South Africa’s Rand-Dollar Exchange rate and its imports of marble. Correlation does not necessarily mean causation and several other factors should be considered as influencing marble imports including local production of substitutes, import of substitutes and the strength of the local construction sector  . 

Celebrating Made in Italy:
“ITALIA: un valore nel mondo” 
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On Wednesday, the Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and industries took part in "Italia: un Valore nel Mondo", a significant event held in Rome and live streamed on April 17th as part of the week-long celebration of Made in Italy. Organized by Unioncamere in collaboration with Assocamerestero, under the patronage of the Ministry of Enterprises and Made in Italy, the event aimed to promote the value and quality of Italian culture and products on a global scale.


Moderated by RAI journalist Laura Chimenti, the event featured esteemed speakers who provided valuable insights into Italy's global standing.


After a brief video introduction by the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, who thanked the work of the Italian Chambers in Italy and abroad, Andrea Prete, President of Unioncamere, emphasized Italy’s excellence in innovation, technology, and education which contribute to the global recognition of the Made in Italy brand. To follow, Piero Bassetti, President of the Associazione Svegliamoci Italici, highlighted the role of the Italians around the world as ambassadors of Italian culture and tradition globally.

Testimonials from experts and promoters of Made in Italy further underscored the importance of Italian craftmanship and heritage.

Nando Pagnoncelli, CEO of Ipsos Italia, presented findings from a 2023 survey focusing on Italy's global image. The study took into consideration 22 countries, including South Africa, whose data have been entirely collected thanks to the work of the Italian South African Chamber.  It examines the attractiveness of Italy, encompassing aspects such as the country's perception, its system, and the Made in Italy brand.

The survey revealed Italy’s positive image globally with respect to its gastronomy, positive attitude, and high quality of life. However, there is room for improvement in areas such as innovation, organizational skills, and sustainability that are not particularly recognized to Italy.

Of relevance, the speech held by Mario Pozza, President of Assocamerestero – the network of the Italian Chambers abroad -, highlighted the vital role of entities such as ItalCham as real ambassadors of Made in Italy promoting its values of excellence, sociality, and culture, envied worldwide.

In his concluding remarks, the Minister of Enterprises and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, stressed the significance of Made in Italy system and the need to enhance skills, fight counterfeiting, and promote Italian manufacturing identity.

Overall, the event offered an in-depth look at the many features of Made in Italy and highlighted the crucial role of Italian Chambers of Trade in preserving and promoting Italian businesses globally.



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Doppio believes that life is too short to be serious - unless it's about the food we eat, company we keep, or the coffee we love. This is the distinctive essence of the Mediterranean approach to life; which has inspired who we are, and is what we believe is the simplest recipe for living well and happy. we exist to bring contemporary and consistently fresh moments of Mediterrannean-inspired living to the communities we serve. where real good mood food and uplifting personal connection are effortlessly enjoyed in our aspirational and 'localised' eateries, where you always feel comfortable to be you


Contact Details:


Tel: +27 11 486 4119


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The Excellence Group is made up of multiple award-winning interior design, manufacturing and installation companies focused on the high end residential market. Our offering includes a combination of international and local products, from luxury glass kitchens to locally handmade furniture, imported Italian wardrobes to custom cladding solutions.

We aim to present the construction industry with a world-class collection of owner-run, innovative companies that in turn, can interpret and bring your visions to reality through our extensive basket of offerings. The true essence of The Excellence Group shines brightest when our companies collaborate and work together on a shared project. 

Our three Italian import brands are Eurocasa, Valcucine, and Poliform


Eurocasa offers a unique experience of Italian craftsmanship and high-end design solutions to the South African and African markets. Specialising in kitchens, wardrobes and living, each of our pieces is handcrafted in Italy before being imported into South Africa. The designs of which are tailored to each client’s unique ideas and compositional requirements. Working closely with our Italian partners helps us bring Italian flair into African homes through our bespoke designs and high-end solutions. 

Valcucine pioneers the production of luxury kitchen designs with outstanding customisation abilities. Our innovative process led to the creation of the world’s first fully recyclable glass kitchen and numerous breakthroughs in ergonomic design.Valcucine has since become a world leader in timeless, luxury designs for kitchens, wardrobes and living spaces. Our modern interpretation of compositional design is inventive and ingenious. By working side-by-side with our Italian partners, we are able to bring Italian hand craftsmanship to South Africa with our clients’ wellbeing in mind with products that are made to last through timeless design.

Poliform Cape Town is the exclusive representative of the Poliform brand in the city. The showroom showcases the entire Poliform collection from kitchens to wardrobes and complements for the day and night areas. Opened in collaboration with The Excellence Group, Poliform Cape Town provides a dedicated team of sales professionals and designers able to provide custom-made solutions to meet the requirements of the most sophisticated projects globally.

Visit our exclusive showrooms:
117 Strand Street, Cape Town.


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Contact Details:


Tel: +27 21 745 6691



Job Board

There are three new job vacancy on the SMILE Job Portal:​


Summer Job-Gelateria in Southern Sardinia (Italy)

Job Vacancies- GJM Ultra Brokers

National Marketing Manager (Ital Deli)


You will find where to apply on the above link.

View this and other job vacancies on the SMILE website via this link - CLICK HERE

If you are currently hiring, please take a look at SMILE vetted candidates HERE




Alla prossima!

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