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Objectives:
This site, established in 2000, represents the leading dealership in fine violins and related instruments in Southern Africa, aiming to create an effective platform for both buyers and sellers. Although operating mainly within the Southern African context, this operation also has close relations with leading experts abroad, notably in London, Paris, Cremona and New York.

Based in Ballito (near Durban in South Africa) this site provides the means for string players, from professionals to students, to access a wider range of instruments of varying qualities available within South Africa.

For those wishing to sell their instrument, experienced assistance is available in establishing responsible assessments within international norms and in finding the best possible buyer, both within South Africa and abroad.

Every effort is made to reach fair and reasonable assessments of instruments and to work as closely as possible to international norms and price structures.

A further objective is to re-establish norms and standards in an effort to counter the disintegration and chaos that currently prevails in the violin trade in this part of the continent. By informing both buyers and sellers of the norms and standards associated with buying and selling string instruments, all are empowered to make informed decisions and to excercise caution and integrity.

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Currency values:
Prices may be shown in either USD, GBP or South African Rand (ZAR written as “R”). In June 2015 US$ 1.00 equals roughly R12.40.

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The operation:
The Violin Connection of Southern Africa is a one-man operation. All buying and selling, communications, updating of the site, all photography and editing, and the writing of all texts are done by one person – Johan Grobbelaar (me).

Although operating all over the country, this dealership is based in Ballito – a small coastal town about 40 km north of Durban, on the East Coast of South Africa. At this stage the business does not comprise a shop or business premises, and all activities are conducted from a private office.

Why such a small town so far from the main centres? Because I like it here. (If you see this place, you’ll understand why…)

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About the design:
This website was conceived by Johan Grobbelaar in 2000. The original version was designed jointly between Johan and WEBPRO, an Internet Consultancy based in Durban, South Africa, who put it together, based on layouts and directions provided by Johan.
In the course of 2010 it became apparent that technical developments in IT, stylistic developments and taste, and particularly great increases in screen resolutions have all overtaken the original design of the site, which meant it needed a major overhaul and modernization. I began thinking of new designs for the site, and in September 2010 went to work on shaping a new look that would not only bring it more in line with modern trends, but would also serve the presentation of instruments more effectively and streamline a visitor’s experience while in the site.

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The current look:
The French aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (author of The Little Prince once commented on early aircraft design by noting that aeroplanes were improved by taking away from them, by reduction – not by adding to them. Similarly, after trying out many designs and sketches, spending hours on Photoshop, I found that the more I took away from the designs, the more I liked the look.
I’m a minimalist at heart (a euphemism for a technophobic simpleton…) and have taken the new look to an extreme in simplicity. I have tried to retain just the essentials of what a site like this should do – which is to give a visitor smooth and seamless access to the photos of the instruments. Less blah blah and confusion and more streamline.

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Some technical aspects:
As broadband connectivity became more accessible and screen resolutions increased (particularly during 2006), the photographic dimensions and file sizes used on this site were increased commensurately. However some of the earlier photos from the early years are still on this site and may now display very small or highly compressed. They will eventually be phased out with time.
Furthermore, it became necessary to modernize the technical specs of this site to keep up with ever-developing screen resolutions and bandwidth availability and in September 2010 the site received a major technical overhaul and modernization which should hopefully last for some time.
In 2004 this website was transferred from Durban to a server in San Diego, USA, which has greatly increased its speed and accessibility. A few years later it was transferred to a server near Seattle, USA - its current base.

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Texts:
All text in this site is written by Johan Grobbelaar. Wherever the first person pronoun "I" is used on this website, it refers to Johan Grobbelaar, unless the context shows differently. The views expressed in this site, as far as the music instruments are concerned, are the views of Johan Grobbelaar and are presented in good faith.

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About the photography:
Unless otherwise indicated all the photographs on this site are taken by Johan Grobbelaar - which in fact means ALL the photographs. For photographic credits I use the name John du Plessis – the name I assumed when I became a French citizen. (I adopted my mother’s surname.)
The main problem with photography of this type is to eliminate light reflections on the instruments – they tend to obscure clear observation of the wood and other details. The earlier photographs in the initial years were taken on my verandah in shaded daylight, but this still resulted in reflections which could not be eliminated.
For the past year I’ve been using three large tripod-mounted studio flashes with modeling lights which enable me to eliminate almost all the reflections and which results in a more even light distribution and much brighter light – this in turn allows for smaller apertures and deeper depth of field.
I do the photographs indoors with a white backdrop and mostly work at around a 400th of a second at f8.

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Photographic copyrights:
All my photography is copyrighted.
However…
I know it’s virtually impossible to control the download of one’s photos from the internet unless you resort to advanced software. Violin photos taken by myself have surfaced all over the internet on other websites. Mostly this doesn’t bother me too much, and in fact it tells me that my violin photography is appreciated elsewhere.
So, I have a few rules in this respect

  1. You are free to download any of my violin photos from this site, provided it is used for personal purposes, for your own records and files and simply because you like looking at them.
  2. If you want to use them on the internet, that’s ok too, BUT I would appreciate some credit (as has been done by the Cozio.com archives) such as “Courtesy the Violin Connection of Southern Africa” or "Courtesy John du Plessis".

BUT…
It’s not acceptable to take photos off my site and use them for commercial purposes and to make money out of them. In such a case you are in serious violation of my ownership and rights in the photos and are setting yourself up for a claim against you. If you want to use any of my photographs for commercial purposes, please contact me so we can come to some agreement.

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Hosting:
Since its creation in 2000 until now this site has been serviced and hosted by:


WEBPRO - Internet Consultancy and WWW Services
Durban, KZN, South Africa
e-mail: webpro@webpro.co.za
http://www.webpro.co.za
tel: +27 (31) 563-8344
fax: +27 (31) 564-4928

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