Issue 213 | 11 March 2016
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South Africa and Nigeria have good bilateral political, economic and social relations underpinned by strong historical ties dating back from the years of the liberation struggle.
President Jacob Zuma was invited by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to visit that country from 8 to 9 March.

During the State Visit, President Zuma addressed the Joint Session of the National Assembly of Nigeria and together with President Buhari, addressed the South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum..

“The two countries conduct their bilateral relations through a structured Bi-National Commission (BNC) established in 1999 and have thus signed 34 bilateral agreements, including memoranda of understanding, which are coordinated through the BNC covering a broad range of areas, including trade and investment, science and technology, immigration and consular matters, defence, agriculture, the environment, energy, as well as arts and culture,” The Presidency said.

There are over 120 South African companies doing business in Nigeria in various sectors, including telecommunications, aviation, tourism, banking, property, retail, entertainment and fast food.

“With its large population and vast natural resources, especially oil and gas, Nigeria is South Africa’s key trading partner on the continent, providing significant opportunities for its exports and investments and is ranked seventh in terms of South Africa’s total trade in Africa,” The Presidency said.

He was accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies; Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba; Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson; and Minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane; as well as a South African business delegation. – Source:
South Africa has called on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to combat without fear of favour the scourges that continue to undermine human rights.
South Africa said the intergovernmental body tasked with safeguarding human rights must fight with renewed vigour the insurgence of extremism, terrorism and other inhumane acts.

“The council must have the same collective commitment without fear, favour or selectivity in dealing with these vexing issues. If the ever-elusive notion of universal justice is to be realised, these must be addressed,” the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, said recently.

He was speaking in Geneva during the UNHRC’s 31st session. Deputy Minister Landers said South Africa joined the rest of the countries in the South in their desire to see developing countries receive equal and undivided attention.

The UN structures and institutions established in 1945, he said, needed to rise above the challenge of tackling contemporary global challenges.

“The UN system requires serious reflection on the establishment of new Institutions of Global Governance to respond effectively to contemporary global challenges as well as to give effect to the notion of universal justice predicated on the practical realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms,” said Deputy Minister Landers.

He said the people of the world could not be entirely free until the Palestinian people and the Saharawi people were free. “The legitimate struggles for self-determination and statehood for the people of Palestine and the Saharawi people must be at the centre of the mandate of this council until these objectives are fully attained.”

South Africa has long held the view that the key to peace in the Middle East is a sovereign Palestine state co-existing in peace with the state of Israel, based on the borders of June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Deputy Minister Landers also used his address to join the international community in expressing grave concern at the flagrant disregard for the sanctity of life and the preservation of human dignity, as evidenced by forced migration, with all the associated risks in loss of life, acts of xenophobia and the erosion of human dignity. – Source:



National Treasury said in a statement the bank was in the process of establishing the Africa Regional Centre (ARC) in Johannesburg, as announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in his 2016 Budget Speech.


The New Development Bank (NDB) is formally “open for business" and the recruitment process for its ARC in Johannesburg had started, National Treasury announced recently.

Treasury said South Africans were encouraged to apply to work for the bank.

The start of formal operations of the NDB follows an agreement signed on 27 February 2016 by the People’s Republic of China and the NDB regarding its headquarters. The headquarters will be in Shanghai, China.

This agreement marks the completion of legal procedures that give way for the bank to begin its operations. The bank is intended to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and other emerging economies and developing countries. – Source:

Government has concluded negotiations on poultry, beef and pork with the United States of America (USA), a move that brings to a close months of discussions with the USA on the terms required for South Africa to secure its position on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
In a recent statement, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said the first shipment of poultry (frozen chicken legs) arrived at the Port of Durban and was cleared by the Port Health Authorities. This will allow the products to be placed on South African retail shelves before the 15 March 2016 deadline.

According to the dti, US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman has communicated his satisfaction to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies.

Froman said he would recommend that US President Barack Obama lifted the threat of suspension of South Africa’s agricultural concessions under AGOA.

Minister Davies has thanked all South African stakeholders in the poultry, beef and pork sectors, the AGOA agriculture beneficiaries in the wine, macadamia nuts and citrus sectors and the public at large for their patience and understanding during the very complex negotiation.

South Africa and the USA have already started facilitating access to the import quota on chicken legs to newly emerging business from previously disadvantaged communities.

The Minister said the process of discussing market access for South African products to the USA was continuing. – Source:
Egypt and South Africa have agreed to strengthen their relationship for the mutual benefit of tourism in both countries.
South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, and his Egyptian counterpart, Hisham Zaazou, recently signed an agreement that detailed how the two countries would cooperate to extract the potential economic and cultural benefits of tourism.

Minister Hanekom was on a three-day visit to Cairo to promote South Africa as a destination of choice among the Egyptian travel trade and tourists. The visit strengthened bilateral relations between the two tourism ministries and cemented the implementation of the Agreement of Cooperation in the Field of Tourism.

“Egypt is an important outbound tourism market for South Africa, and the number of Egyptian tourists visiting South Africa is growing steadily,” said Minister Hanekom.

“It makes perfect sense for Egypt and South Africa to work together and unlock the full potential of tourism in our countries,” said Minister Hanekom.

“Our ultimate aim is to create a strong tourism chain that links the north of Africa to the south, and includes as many of our sister nations in between as possible, so that we all benefit from tourism together.

“Africa has great potential to grow tourism, and tourism can provide the jobs and resources needed for the advancement of people across the continent.” 

Flights from South Africa to Egypt depart from OR Tambo International Airport daily.

According to the Implementation Plan signed recently, Egypt and South Africa will exchange information with regard to the organisation of festivals, conferences and symposiums and tourist fairs, and will participate in tourism events, and fairs held in both countries. Travel agencies in each country will be encouraged to arrange travel programmes for tourists.

There will be cooperation on training and the exchange of experts and skills. There will also be meetings and study tours between tourism institutions to share best practice and exchange tourism-related information to enhance market intelligence. The exchange will include information related to grading standards and classifications; tourism policy, legislation and planning initiatives; marine and coastal tourism; tourism statistics; sustainable tourism development; cultural and heritage tourism; and responsible tourism.

The countries will encourage their business communities to seek opportunities to invest in each other’s tourism industry.

The Department of Basic Education and Chinese Embassy partnership sees Sci-Bono Discovery Centre benefit from the new planetarium


The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, and Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in South Africa, Tian Xuejun, on Monday, 7 March 2016, launched a planetarium together with the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg.

As part of ongoing educational development partnerships between the South African and Chinese governments, particularly in the fields of Mathematics, Science and Technology education, the China Educational Instrument and Equipment Corporation has graciously donated a planetarium to South Africa as part of the cooperation agreement.

The planetarium is housed at Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown.

Minister Muthambi was one of the panellists speaking about the role of the public media service and challenges of the digital arena in government and communications.


The Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, was on an official visit to Davos, Switzerland, for three days to attend the 2016 World Communication Forum (WCF). The forum took place from 7 to 10 March 2016.

The purpose of the forum was to unite trend makers and influencers from the global communications elite and provide a platform for discussion focused on the future development of communication and its role.

“Developmental communications is key in emerging countries as it amplifies the voices of ordinary citizens. It is therefore imperative that we amplified that voice,” said Muthambi.

Minister Muthambi was accompanied by senior officials from Government Communication and Information System and the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation.



The seminar was hosted by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and aimed to find practical solutions to address violence and discrimination perpetrated on the
bases of sexual orientation, gender
identity and expression.

The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Michael Masutha, officially opened a three-day regional seminar on Thursday, 3 March 2016, at the Premier Hotel in Kempton Park, Gauteng.

Several dignitaries, including the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; the former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano; the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery; and the Chairperson of the SAHRC, Lawrence Mushwana; participated in the seminar.

The international conference was held from 8 to 10 March at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
Youth development came under the spotlight when 300 delegates from 53 Commonwealth member states descended on Pretoria for the second Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work.

The Minister in The Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, recently said participants would include young people from various communities, youth workers, ministries responsible for youth affairs, academics, researchers, students from higher education and training institutions, officials from international youth development agencies, national youth councils and non-government organisations.

The Minister said South Africa was proud to host the second instalment of the Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work to further consolidate the preliminary work flowing from the inaugural conference.

The conference was held under the theme “Engaging Young People in Nation-Building – the Youth Workers’ Role”.

Minister Radebe said focus would be placed on youth work and professional recognition, education and training of youth workers, concepts and practice of youth work, creating collective strength through association for youth work professionals and certification and licensing of youth workers.

The youth constitutes the majority of South Africa and Africa’s population, which poses serious challenges with respect to youth development in areas such as skills, entrepreneurship and employment.

Minister Radebe said the Commonwealth Conference would focus on the youth of the country, continent and the world, particularly the participating countries that are members of the Commonwealth. – Source:
The Deputy Minister participated in a Ministerial panel discussion hosted by the World Tourism Organisation as well as attended various networking trade and media engagements to lend impetus to the robust marketing campaign of South African Tourism in Germany.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, attended the ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) from 8 to 11 March to further and strengthen tourism relations between South Africa and Germany – a core source market for South Africa.

ITB Berlin is a platform to promote South Africa’s tourism offering to the global market. With more than 180 000 visitors, among these 110 000 trade visitors, of whom 43% are from abroad, ITB Berlin is the leading B2B-platform (Business to Business) of all tourism industry offers. All levels of the value added chain are present: tour operators, booking engines, destinations, airlines, and hotels up to car rentals.

South African exhibitors include Northern Cape Tourism, Eastern Cape Tourism (also with Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay), Tourism KZN, Joburg Tourism, City of Tshwane, Cape Town Tourism as well as lodges, hotels, car rental and airlines.
Amb Mamabolo succeeds Abiodun Oluremi Bashua of Nigeria, to whom the Secretary-General and the Commission Chairperson are grateful for his dedicated service during his tenure with African Union (AU)-United Nations (UN) Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), including his contribution as acting Head of the Mission.
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, recently announced the appointment of Jeremiah Nyamane Kingsley Mamabolo of South Africa as Deputy Joint Special Representative for the UNAMID.

Amb Mamabolo brings to the position a wealth of experience from his distinguished career in the diplomatic service. Since 2013, he has served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the UN, during which he also acted as Chair of the Group of 77 and China. In 2009, he was appointed High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Previously, Amb Mamabolo facilitated peace processes in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi as the Special Envoy of the Republic of South Africa to the Great Lakes Region (2006 to 2009). He also served as Deputy Director-General for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Africa (2002 to 2006).

Amb Mamabolo held other senior positions, such as the Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the AU and to Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti (1999 to 2002), during which he led efforts to promote dialogue in post-war Sierra Leone in his capacity as the Special Envoy of the AU to Sierra Leone and the Mano River Basin (2001 to 2002). He was also South Africa’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Zimbabwe (1995 to 1999).

Amb Mamabolo holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, a diploma in Journalism from Harare Polytechnic College, Zimbabwe, and a graduate diploma in Social Sciences from the Moscow School of Social Sciences, Russia.

Born in 1955, he is married and has four children.
As countries around the globe marked World Wildlife Day on 3 March, South Africa's Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, called on all citizens to work together for the protection and conservation of the country’s wildlife.
World Wildlife Day was first proclaimed in 2013 at the Sixth Session of the United National General Assembly (UNGA), and aims to raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. Countries around the world marked World Wildlife Day on 3 March, with the theme: “The future of Wildlife is in our Hands!”

Molewa said every citizen had a role to play in the protection of wildlife and their habitat.

"As noted by the UN, our collective conservation actions can be the difference between a species surviving, or disappearing.”

"Globally, the survival of wild species of animals and plants is under threat, as mass harvesting of natural resources, human settlement encroachment and industrial activity like mining and logging, result in habitat loss and ecosystem depletion.

A highlight on the widlife protection calendar for South Africa is the 17th Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be hosted by South Africa in Johannesburg.

The conference, that will run from 24 September to 5 October 2016, brings together government representatives, lawmakers, enforcement and customs officials and rangers from across the globe.

COP17 is expected to tackle some of the biggest issues in conservation, such as poaching and the illicit trade in wildlife and plant species. Elephants, pangolins, rhinoceros, sharks, tigers and precious tree species are among the most critically poached and trafficked species across the world.

Minister Molewa recently signed the Host Country Agreement for the COP17 at the international conference on wildlife crime in The Hague, in the Netherlands.

The conference saw an adoption of an anti-wildlife crime action plan for the European Union (EU). Key stakeholders, including CITES Secretary-General, John Scanlon, ministers from the EU, as well as South Africa's all-women anti-poaching unit, the Black Mambas, were exploring new, concrete solutions to tackle wildlife crime.

The most conclusive of the 32 measures put forward in the anti-wildife crime action plan, and to be adopted immediately, is for all EU countries to regard wildlife trafficking as a grave and serious crime - with convicted poachers, smugglers and illegal trophy hunters now facing a prison sentences of at least four years.
This is the second term Mketeni will serve on the United Nations (UN) conservation body.
South Africa's CEO for South African National Parks (SANParks), Fundisile Mketeni, has been elected to serve as a bureau member on the Inter-governmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), representing African countries.

This was announced at the IPBES session held from 22 to 28 February 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Mketeni’s election, together with the African representative from Ghana, was unanimously supported by delegates from African countries present at the conference, and together they will be serving with other esteemed members from Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin American and Western Europe.

Mketeni says the involvement of Africa in this vital global network “will assist South African conservation scientists within the continent to interact with globally acclaimed scientists from other areas, while ensuring the full use of national, subregional and regional scientific knowledge and expertise in our respective protected areas.”

He said through this platform, key collaborations would be established on biodiversity and ecosystems. “This will ensure credibility, relevance and legitimacy through peer review of scientific work, while also avoiding duplication in various research programmes embarked upon – collaboration is the key to excellence in our work in this regard.”

There are over a thousand scientists from all over the world who are currently contributing to the work of IPBES on a voluntary basis.

IPBES is placed under the auspices of four UN entities: the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Food and Agriculture Organisation and United Nations Development Programme, and administered by UNEP.

It strives to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development. – Source: Traveller24
The Russia-Africa Anti-Drug Dialogue at the International Convention Centre in Durban from 8 to 9 March 2016 provided a platform to enhance the National Drug Master Plan (2013 – 2017).
The fight against illicit drugs is in line with the National Development Plan and the dialogue was held under the auspices of the African Union (AU) in pursuit of the obligations in terms of the relevant United Nations (UN) Drug and Transnational Organised Crime Conventions, AU Plan of Action on Drug Control (2013 – 2017) and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) resolutions.

The conference was a follow-up session of the Russia-Africa Anti-Drug Dialogue, which aims to present a consolidated position in how world leaders intend to tackle the international drug problem. This will be tabled at the UN General Assembly Special Session in April 2016.
The largest solar farm in Africa is set to launch this month.
Phelan Energy Group’s Pascal Phelan told Fin24 how he decided to transform his game farm near Kimberley into a solar farm to generate 175 MW electricity. It will light up 175 000 households. 

“I call the solar photovoltaic business Lego land,” he said. “If you can work out how to make a megawatt, you simply plug another set of megawatts together and the sky is the limit in terms of volume.”

Phelan has invested R4 billion into the project near the small town of De Aar in the Northern Cape, creating 2 000 jobs during the construction phase and 50 full-time employees to run the solar farm.

The Minster of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson singled out the project in her debate on the State of the Nation Address this year, and will open it officially on 17 March in De Aar.

This forms part of the successful Independent Power Producers Programme, which has seen R194 billion invested in South Africa. – Source:
SacOil is a South African-based independent African oil and gas company, dual-listed on the JSE and AIM, with business operations in Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Botswana.
SacOil has signed a cooperation agreement that will result in the construction of an estimated $6-billion, 2 600-km, large-diameter pipeline to transport natural gas from Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin to Gauteng.

Part of the consortium entering the deal with SacOil is the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau, a Chinese and international pipeline construction company.

The signing of the deal is seen as a major milestone and is in line with SacOil’s strategy to become a leading Pan-African oil and gas company engaged in upstream, midstream and downstream activities.

SacOil CEO Thabo Kgogo told Fin24 that the idea was to investigate building the pipeline from northern Mozambique to Gauteng to supply the market along the route, both in Mozambique and South Africa.

He said the way the consortium was structured, was first to start with a feasibility study. If the project turns out to be bankable, it will be taken further from a financing point of view.

"For these kinds of studies, it typically takes about 18 months until a final investment decision is made. Construction would then take up to three years after that," said Kgogo.

"We think that if we can have gas flow by 2020, it would be great."

In his view, the benefit of the project for South Africa would be to enhance the Government's promotion of an energy mix of gas, coal and nuclear. On top of that, gas-to-power is "easier, quicker and cheaper to implement", according to Kgogo and will help with South Africa's energy shortage.
– Source: Fin24
The code share is effective immediately said the national carrier, in a statement, on Thursday, 3 March.
South African Airways (SAA) and JetBlue Airways have introduced code share operations on SAA’s flights between Washington, DC-Dulles Airport and Accra, Ghana.

JetBlue is now placing its “B6” code on SAA-operated flights between Washington, DC-Dulles Airport and Accra, Ghana.

Customers purchasing a codeshare itinerary will benefit from having a single ticket combining JetBlue and SAA-operated flights, as well as the convenience of one-stop check-in and baggage transfer on their day of travel.

“SAA offers non-stop service between Washington, DC Dulles Airport and Accra, Ghana, four days per week aboard modern state-of-the-art wide-body Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft.”

At the Washington, DC Dulles Airport, both SAA and JetBlue are co-located on Concourse “B”, which allows for fast and convenient connections for customers.

“SAA welcomes the addition of the JetBlue code share on SAA-operated flights to/from Accra, which will enhance the award-winning service that both airlines can offer the business and leisure customers, as well as, the Ghanaian diaspora communities in the US,” said Marc Cavaliere, executive vice president, the Americas, for SAA.

Cavaliere said the new code share flights on the Washington, DC-Accra route is further expansion to the successful code share services that SAA and JetBlue previously introduced to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London in South Africa and Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa. –
Starbucks coffee chain will open its first two cafes in South Africa in April, the company announced, marking its entry into sub-Saharan Africa.
The coffee shops will be located in upmarket shopping malls in and near the financial capital Johannesburg, catering for South Africa's growing urban coffee market.

"Both stores will open in late April 2016," Starbucks local partner Taste Holdings said in a statement.

The company said the new stores would serve coffee sourced from Africa in Starbucks original Espresso Roast blend, and other coffees from around the world.

The cafes will compete with a host of locally-owned brands and independent coffee shops.

Starbucks Coffee Company has a presence in only two other African countries, Egypt and Morocco.

The chain operates more than 22 000 cafes worldwide. – Source: Fin24
Journalists in print, online, radio and television across Africa can enter the continent's most prestigious journalism competition at
Entries have opened for the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2016 with the 21st edition that is again expanding, adding another new category to recognise the excellent work of a young African journalist.

The award is named in honour of the late Maggie Eales, a CNN executive and former journalist who during her 20-year career at CNN was the driving force behind the development and growth of the African Journalist Awards.

This new award will recognise a young journalist starting out, and telling an impactful story with conviction. A journalist in this category must be born after 1 January 1990.

"Africa is an increasingly important part of the global story, and CNN reflects that," says Tony Maddox, the executive vice president and managing director of CNN International (DStv 401).

"We are committed to the African story, not just editorially, but also in terms of supporting its own journalistic enterprise through the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards. I am immensely proud of our long-term commitment to Africa and there is no better example of that than these awards.

"The longevity of these awards is indicative of how these awards continue to play a meaningful role for the advancement of outstanding journalism across the continent," says Tim Jacobs, MultiChoice Africa CEO.

"I'm confident that the 2016 installment of the awards will continue to unearth extraordinary African talent whose tireless work and search for the truth may otherwise not receive the recognition it deserves."

The categories in which African journalists in any medium can enter this year include the:
  • Culture Award
  • Innovation Reporting Award
  • Economics & Business Award
  • Features Award
  • Francophone General News Award – Electronic Media
  • Energy & Infrastructure Award
  • Mohamed Amin Photographic Award
  • Health & Medical Award
  • News Impact Award
  • Portuguese Language General News Awards
  • Press Freedom Award
  • Sport Reporting Award
  • Environment Award
  • The Maggie Eales Young Journalist Award.
Out of these entries, the independent judging panel will choose the overall winner – the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2016.
The theme of the festival is: “Land, Unity and Prosperity: Ungasali”
On 7 March, the Chief Executive Officer of Freedom Park, Jane Mufamadi, launched the International Storytelling Festival.  

The festival aimed to strengthen the country’s cultural exchange programmes with the partnering countries for the purpose of growing the arts, culture and heritage industry and to contribute to the scholarship of the oral narrative.

This was the third time the Ungasali Storytelling Festival took place at Freedom Park. Storytelling is an integral part of learning and teaching in the basic education system. It has long been proven that storytelling enhances the academic ability of learners and assists in strengthening their emotional being. In the festival, learners acquire storytelling, performance and presentation skills.

A series of activities made up the festival throughout the week leading to 12 March 2016. Included in these activities were academic paper presentations and discussions, teachers and librarian workshops, prison performances, visit to orphanage institutions and performances at Freedom Park.
A 12-year-old boy from Kuils River who has spent his life in and out of hospitals has beaten the odds to win an international writing competition that will see him going on his first
overseas trip.
Joel Greek’s 500-word essay on the topic of “Share Peace” was picked over entries from children in about 100 other countries.

The event was organised by Lions Clubs International, a charitable organisation that focuses on working with visually impaired people. 

“It is unbelievable. It means so much for the school and the pupils. We didn’t expect it,” said Barbara Davis from Joel’s school, the Athlone School for the Blind.

Joel is only the second South African to win the prize.

The bright and history-loving boy, who is blind in one eye, wrote his piece in just one day, his mother said.
Joel has optic glaucoma, a degenerative condition that was a result of a brain tumour when he was just six months old and saw him go for chemotherapy.

Doctors didn’t think he would make it past the age of one.

He beat the odds but has still had to live with tumours all of his young life. Just last year, around the time when he had to submit his entry to the competition, he was hospitalised for a few days because doctors discovered another tumour.

“It is a privilege to be his mother. He has achieved way more than I ever expected!”

Joel and his mother were scheduled to travel to New York on 9 March where he was due to receive his award and prize money of $5 000 (more than R75 000) at the United Nations headquarters.

The trip was also his mother’s first one overseas. “I always told him he would change the world,” she said. – Source:
The iconic song, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” reflects life back in the 1930s, when South African composer Solomon Linda spent his childhood herding cattle and warding off predatory lions. It was released afresh on Thursday, 3 March, in aid of World Wildlife Day.
Beau Davidson and Jay Siegel’s Tokens have recorded a refreshed version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight – in honour of Cecil the Lion and all lions being killed in Africa. According to the International Union of Conservation of Nature, lions are listed as vulnerable with the existing population believed to be less than 20 000 to 35 000 animals. It is estimated that more than 600 lions are killed legally every year by trophy-hunting tourists.

Big Cat Conservation confirmed the beautiful music video compilation now included iconic footage taken from the vast body of Dereck and Beverly Joubert's work. Both are dedicated wildlife conservationists and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence. The video is also available for purchase on iTunes, with all proceeds going to Big Cat Conservation.

Linda was initially not recognised or rewarded for his work for the song, originally called Mdube, as South Africa's oppressive apartheid laws at the time did not afford him much rights as a black man.

He reportedly sold the worldwide copyrights for the song for less than two dollars to a South African record label. Linda died in poverty in 1962. However, after a lengthy court case in 2006, millions of dollars in royalties were eventually awarded to his three surviving daughters.   

"This version of Lion is bigger and even more universal than its predecessor," says Jay Siegel, the original falsetto for The Tokens recording of the song. "It includes African percussion, real instrumentation and a powerful vocal as different now as it was when it came out in 1961!" – Source:



After becoming a household name in South Africa as the lovable Bart in the SABC2 soap drama "7de Laan", actor Neil Sandilands is set to become a household name in the United States, landing regular roles in "The 100" and a new series, "Hap & Leonard".


Sandilands went to Los Angeles in 2007 to try his luck on the notoriously competitive acting circuit. In 2010, he featured in an episode of House MD, but soon ran out of luck. Returning to South Africa to star in a number of popular Afrikaans films, including the award-winning drama Die Ballade van Robbie de Wee, he returned to Hollywood in 2014, determined to make his mark.

I had to revert to other disciplines such as directing and post-production and sometimes built fences for my neighbours or some other unmentionable activities to simply keep the wolf at bay," Sandilands told News24.

In January 2015, he had a recurring role on the 1980s-themed spy drama The Americans, which helped to boost his CV. From that, he landed two more regular roles on the teen sci-fi drama The 100 and a new series produced by Robert Redford's Sundance TV channel called Hap & Leonard. It started on 2 March 2016 in the US. – Source:

The action movie “Mad Max: Fury Road” already has more than one southern African connection: it was filmed in Namibia; some of the post-production was done by BlackGinger, the Cape Town animation and visual effects studio; and it stars South African-born actress Charlize Theron.
To add, Margaret Sixel, the South African-born film editor, has won the Oscar for Best Editing in a Feature Film for her work on it. Her win was one of six Oscars that it picked up.

Filmed in the Namibian desert, the blockbusting Australian action film Mad Max: Fury Road was one of the most surprising critical and commercial successes in 2015.

Starring Tom Hardy and Theron, and directed by Australian George Miller, the film has won numerous awards over the past year, including Bafta and Critics' Choice awards, culminating in several wins at the 88th Academy Awards, known as the Oscars, held in Los Angeles on Sunday, 28 February 2016.

Sixel's frenetic editing was described by the Los Angeles Times as "Herculean", considering the amount of footage shot by Miller to bring his masterpiece to life. Miller, who is also Sixel's husband, used up to 20 cameras to shoot more than 480 hours of film. Sixel spent over 6 000 hours crafting 2 700 individual cuts, helping to create what the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) praised as a two-hour "cerebral post-apocalyptic car chase". – Source:
The pair will star in the film adaption of the popular Stephen King novels, “Dark Tower”.


In a few weeks, Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba will begin filming their new movie in South Africa, reports Entertainment Weekly.

The novel is a mixture of horror and fantasy and tells the story of a gunslinger who has dedicated his life to locating The Dark Tower – which is the nexus of the universe – before evil invades and ends all existence by destroying it.

Elba will play the gunslinger and McConaughey will be playing the villainous man in black.

The film is set to be released in January 2017.
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa recently announced the hosts for Lip Sync Battle Africa, the first localised format of the multiplatform, pop-culture phenomenon to air on the continent.
South African entertainment superstar Pearl Thusi and Nigerian music legend D’Banj will host Lip Sync Battle Africa. Pearl Thusi will serve as all around host and "master of ceremonies", while Koko Master and Oliver Twist star D’Banj will step up as the "colour commentator", adding his lively observations to the proceedings.
Lip Sync Battle Africa will premiere in April 2016 on MTV (DStv channel 130), MTV Base (DStv channel 322) and

The critically acclaimed and award-nominated Lip Sync Battle, originally created for Spike, features celebrities going head-to-head, lip-syncing the song of their choice, battling for the coolest bragging rights on the planet.  – Source:
The Blitzboks finished third in the tournament after beating hosts, the United States of America, 21-10 in the Bronze Final at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Springbok Sevens speedster Seabelo Senatla was included in the Las Vegas Dream Team following the conclusion of the World Rugby Sevens Series event there this past weekend.

Earlier, the South Africans lost 14-12 to Australia in the Cup semi-finals.

However, the performance of Senatla again caught the eye of tournament organisers, who included him in their Dream Team for the event.

Following their victory, the Fijians took the outright lead on the World Rugby Sevens Series standings with 91 points after five rounds.

The Blitzboks are placed second on 86 points and they are followed by New Zealand (82) and Australia (73). – Source:
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