Issue 222 | 12 May 2016
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President Zuma also commended the people of the Republic of Chad for expressing their democratic choice in a peaceful manner.
President Jacob Zuma, on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa, has conveyed his congratulations to President Idriss Deby Itno on his re-election as President of the Republic of Chad, following the presidential election held on 20 April 2016 and the subsequent confirmation of the election results by the Constitutional Council on 3 May 2016.

President Zuma reaffirmed his commitment to continue working closely with President Deby Itno in deepening the already good bilateral relations that existed between South Africa and Chad with a special focus on the consolidation of economic cooperation as well as on matters of mutual concern related to peace and security on the continent.
South Africa and Venezuela have always maintained strong political relations. Diplomatic relations were established in 1993 and in 1995, Venezuela opened its Embassy in Pretoria. South Africa opened its Embassy in Caracas in January 1998.
The Deputy President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Aristóbulo Istύriz's, paid a Working Visit to South Africa from 8 to 10 May 2016. South Africa was the start of Deputy President Istύriz’ agenda of working visits to the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) countries. During his visit, he met his counterpart, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, and also paid a courtesy call on President Jacob Zuma.

Venezuela remains a strategic country to South Africa and will be hosting the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in September 2016. The two deputy presidents discussed, among other things, economic cooperation between the two countries. The visit also aimed to continue the consolidation of diplomatic ties that already exist.

Venezuela plays an important role in the region and is a member of the Union of South American Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America and the proprietor of the PetroCaribe initiative.
The PJCC is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries in the fields of mining, retail, insurance, transport, tourism, banking, telecommunications, construction, services, franchising, manufacturing, fishing, advertising, aviation and energy.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, led a South African delegation of senior officials on a Working Visit to attend and co-chair the Fourth Session of the PJCC between South Africa and Ghana from 5 to 6 May 2016 in Accra.

The Minister and her counterpart, Hanna Serwaah Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana, utilised the PJCC to discuss regional, continental and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

The bilateral political relations between South Africa and Ghana are good, with both countries maintaining residential diplomatic missions in each other’s capitals.

There are more than 61 registered South African companies operating in Ghana, which include, among others, MTN, AngloGold Ashanti, Goldfields, Shoprite, Woolworths, Game, Group Five, Stanbic Bank, SABMiller, Engen, Hytec Engineering, Afripa Telecom, African Explosives Limited, Alliance Media, Steeledale, Sherwood, Steers, SAA, 3M South Africa, and Multichoice.

South African investors are active in various sectors, including mining, retail, insurance, transport, tourism, banking, telecommunications, construction, services, franchising, manufacturing, fishing, advertising, aviation and energy.
South Africa's participation to these engagements comes within the context of the country's commitment to the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Group as a vehicle to enhance South-South cooperation and solidarity.  In this regard, a key element of South Africa's South-South and North-South engagement is the ACP, which brings together 79 countries from three different global regions to discuss issues of common importance and to engage as a group on such issues with the European Union (EU).
International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister, Luwellyn Landers, recently concluded a successful working visit to Senegal, Dakar. The Deputy Minister represented the South African Government at the 103rd Session of the ACP Council of Ministers and the 41st Session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers, held from 25 to 29 April 2016.

South Africa put across its position on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), taking into consideration that it had an existing agreement with the EU and also that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region was in the process of finalising its agreement. Deputy Minister Landers expressed confidence that this would be concluded before the October deadline as discussion were underway among SADC member states.

The finalisation of the EPAs will open up the entire EU market for all ACP countries. Equally so, Deputy Minister Landers said " the agreement with the EU and SADC as a whole is a positive step towards strengthening trade arrangements between the two regions and also respond to our region's economic growth".
A South African delegation is attending the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa from 11 to 13 May in Kigali, Rwanda, to promote South Africa as open to business and a preferred destination for investments.
“The delegation will utilise the opportunity of the various platforms provided by the forum  to communicate to regional and international investors a positive message that South Africa's macro-economic environment remains resilient – with a dynamic and stable economy underpinned by solid economic fundamentals,” The Presidency said.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading the high-level government and business delegation to the annual forum in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, which is convened under the theme: "Connecting Africa's Resources through Digital Transformation”.

The forum is being attended by regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society focusing on how the digital economy can act as a catalyst to drive radical structural transformation, strengthen public-private collaboration on key global and regional challenges and agree on strategic actions that can deliver shared prosperity across the continent.

In pursuit of their objective, Team South Africa is also reiterating to the international community, the country's commitment to the full implementation of the National Development Plan as a cornerstone of the economy.

The South African delegation includes the ministers of finance, Pravin Gordhan; trade and industry, Rob Davies; and post and telecommunications, Siyabonga Cwele; and Minister in The Presidency, Jeff Radebe.
The business delegation comprises representatives from Eskom, the Industrial Development Corporation, Old Mutual and AcelorMittal, among others.
Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) has affirmed South Africa’s government bond long- and short-term ratings of Baa2 and P-2 respectively, and has assigned a negative outlook.
Moody’s is the only solicited rating agency that assigns the same rating for both the domestic and foreign currency denominated debt, Baa2 – a rating that is two notches above sub-investment grade.

The investment grade credit rating affirmation marks an end to the review period that started on 8 March 2016, when Moody’s placed the country’s ratings under review for possible downgrade.

National Treasury said there were three reasons for Moody’s to affirm the ratings:
  • South Africa’s economic growth will start recovering beyond 2016 after reaching its trough this year
  • the adoption of more aggressive consolidation measures in the 2016 Budget will increase the likelihood that general government debt to gross domestic product will stabilise in the current year
  • according to Moody’s, the recent political developments are testament to South Africa’s institutional strength compared to its peers.
Treasury said South Africa’s monetary and fiscal institutions had remained sound over time.

“Despite adverse political developments in recent months, government continues to demonstrate determination to bring public finances under control and ensure that programmes such as nuclear and the National Health Insurance are financed at a scale and pace that is affordable,” said Treasury.

Moody’s warned of the need to implement the structural and legislative reforms agreed to by government, business and labour. The rating agency said the future trajectory of the rating would be “highly dependent on government’s success in enhancing medium-term growth prospects, stabilising debt and restoring investor [confidence]”.

It said the country’s outlook could be changed from negative to stable if government delivered on commitments that supported growth and achieve fiscal targets.

Government, meanwhile, is intensifying efforts and focus on inclusive economic growth, job creation and improving investor confidence through addressing structural constraints.

“Collectively working with business, civil society and labour, government will continue to demonstrate its commitment to translate plans into concrete actions that will ensure South Africa remains an investment grade country,” said Treasury. – Source:
South Africa’s tourism industry is on the mend after its meagre performance in 2015, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom told Parliament recently.
More than one million tourists arrived in South Africa in January, a 15% increase from the same month last year. In February, 18% more international visitors arrived than the previous year.

This showed that the industry was resilient and “recovering rapidly” after a 6,8% decline in international tourists last year compared with 2014, he said.

Quoting estimates from the World Travel and Tourism Council, Minister Hanekom said that tourism was set to earn R120 billion in export earnings and contribute more than R380 billion to the economy this year.

Presenting his R2-billion Budget Vote, Minister Hanekom admitted that the new visa regulations had aggravated the negative impact of global and economic pressures on the industry last year.

But, he said that progress had been made in implementing Cabinet’s decisions on changes to the immigration relations. For instance, after the decision to allow travel agencies to apply for visas on behalf of travellers, tourism from China was “rebounding very strongly” – numbers nearly doubled in January this year compared with the same month last year.

Tourism from India was still being held back due to the long delays in obtaining visas, but his department was working with the home affairs department to find a solution. – Source: City Press
South Africa's Tourism Indaba 2016, in Durban from 7 to 9 May, put a firm focus on the industry's small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). For the first time, a Hidden Gems Zone showcased products and services from promising small travel businesses.
The 70 enterprises were given workshops on how to access the market – and grow. "The significant role SMMEs play in the economic development of both developed and developing countries, and in this instance, the growth of the tourism sector, is recognised and supported by South African Tourism," Tourism Indaba said in a statement.

Hosted by South African Tourism, the annual Indaba is the largest tourism marketing event in Africa and one of the top three "must-visit" events of its kind in the world.

The Tourism Enterprise Partnership, a non-profit that works to develop and grow sustainable tourism companies, worked with the Department of Tourism’s Tourism Incentive Programme to identify and fund the 70 small businesses chosen to exhibit.

A further 14 were winners of the Lilizela Tourism Awards, which honour companies that work to enhance South Africa's reputation as a tourist destination. The winners on show at Indaba were recognised for the world-class quality of their services.

South African Tourism brought 150 South African tourism professionals, the people who book the tours, to meet exhibitors at a networking event on Sunday, 8 May.

The Media Talk, a discussion panel, focused on small businesses in the tourism industry, and the economics of the industry. Delegates unpacked the impact tourism had on their local communities. They also discussed government policies, processes and projects aiming to ensure the empowerment, development and growth of small businesses.

Indaba 2016 saw interactions between 1 047 exhibitors from 18 African countries and 1 856 buyers from across the globe. This year, INDABA hosted 3 000 more meetings than last year. In total, 14 000 business meetings took place over the three days of INDABA, presenting a significant economic benefit potential. The event was also attended by 575 national and international journalists. – Sources: Tourism Indaba and
The OGP is an international voluntary effort to improve government performance, encourage civic participation and enhance government responsiveness to people.
The OGP Africa Regional Conference, held in Cape Town recently, explored ways in which the OGP could support the implementation of Africa’s Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, delivered the keynote address at the opening of the two-day conference.

It aimed to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. It achieved this by bringing together governments and civil-society organisations as true partners in the process.

Ahead of the conference, Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister and Chairperson of the OGP, Ayanda Dlodlo, chaired the OGP Steering Committee meeting in Cape Town.

Represented at the Steering Committee were ministers from France, United Kingdom, Georgia and Croatia, as well as senior government representatives from Chile, Indonesia, Mexico and Romania. – Source:
A journey of building a stronger KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is continuing with KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu determined to position this province as an economic powerhouse.
On 6 May, Premier Mchunu hosted the Ambassador of Qatar, Salem Abdulla al-Jaber, and the Ambassador of Poland, Anna Raduchwska-Brochwicz.

“Because of our hard work and political stability, over the years we have seen inward investments and the flow of goods, services, knowledge and a variety of skills in health, ICT and engineering into this province.

“Our marketing efforts have generated interests resulting in the provincial government hosting numerous business delegations from many countries.

“We have in turn undertaken fact-finding missions to different parts of the world as part of our efforts aimed at ensuring that the KZN economy serves as an engine for South Africa and Africa’s socio-economic development.

“We have hosted successfully, international events of note, thereby putting KZN on the global map. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In view of this we want to facilitate exchange programmes focusing on sports and arts development, tourism and more importantly we want to share with them skills on how to host a successful World Cup as we hosted the most successful 2010 FIFA World Cup.”
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) will put R70 billion towards developmental investments in the next few years to drive economic growth and job creation.
Tabling the National Treasury Budget Vote recently, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Jonas, said the success of the PIC – a state-owned company that manages the money saved by the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) – was critical to ensure that the GEPF would always be able to meet its obligations.

The PIC, wholly owned by government, is a registered financial services provider, with the Minister of Finance as shareholder representative.

“The PIC will invest R70 billion in developmental investments in the next three to five years to drive economic growth and job creation,” said Deputy Minister Jonas in the National Assembly.

Agriculture and agro-processing, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, infrastructure and real estate, social infrastructure and energy (renewable and conventional) will be the focus areas of the PIC investments.

The PIC will further allocate about R1 billion towards investments in small and medium enterprises.

“These investments are expected to improve the risk profile of our client portfolios and deliver sustainable returns. The PIC has allocated a further R5 billion towards job saving in vulnerable sectors such as mining, construction and manufacturing,” said Deputy Minister Jonas. – Source:
Government’s Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy initiative has yielded more results with the launch of two tugboats built for the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).
“Operation Phakisa is reigniting growth in the oceans economy and has been a catalyst for Transnet’s fast-tracking of investments into our ports,” Chair of Transnet SOC Limited, Linda Mabaso, said recently in Durban.

The two tugs – named Qunu and Cormorant – form part of the TNPA’s R1,4-billion contract awarded to Durban shipbuilder, Southern African Shipyards.

According to the Ports Authority, this is the largest single contract the TNPA has ever given to a South African company for the building of harbour craft and will see a total of nine new tugs built for the South African port landlord over three and a half years.

Mabaso said the tugbuilding contract was a concrete demonstration of the local shipbuilding expertise that Operation Phakisa aimed to leverage as part of its focus on the oceans economy.

“South Africa’s location and the expertise demonstrated by projects like this are key to us increasing our share of the global marine manufacturing market, including shipbuilding and repair, rig repair and refurbishment or boatbuilding,” Mabaso said.

According to the Chairperson of Southern African Shipyards, Dr Donald Mkhawanazi, the project of building the tugboats has created at least 500 direct and 3 500 indirect jobs.

Tug Qunu will be allocated to the Port of Port Elizabeth alongside her sister tug Mvezo, which was the first to roll off the production line recently.

Qunu is expected to be handed over in June, while Cormorant is destined for the Port of Saldanha in July. – Source:
The Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU) has recently conferred an Adjunct Professorship on Dr Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director-General for Asia and the Middle East of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
The Professorship has been conferred by the Faculty of Law and Humanities. FAFU was founded in 1938 as a public university and is today ranked among the leading universities in China, with a student population of over 30 000, comprising eight faculties.

Dr Sooklal has had a long-standing association with China spanning over 30 years. This relationship has included both his undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Chinese history, culture and philosophy, which continued through his academic tenure at the University of South Africa and Durban Westville (KwaZulu-Natal), which focused on Oriental Studies. Since joining government, the major part of Dr Sooklal’s responsibilities have been focused on Asia and the Middle East, including overseeing relations with China.

It is in recognition of this long-standing relationship with China, that the FAFU invited Dr Sooklal to become an Adjunct Professor of the university. The President of the university, Prof. LAN Siren, in his letter inviting Dr Sooklal to receive the Adjunct Professorship stated that, “Today, we consider it a most special privilege and a great honour to invite you to be Adjunct Professor at the College of Humanities and Law at our university, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, China.”

Prof. LAN Siren summed up Dr Sooklal diplomatic association with China as follows “… As a visionary senior diplomat and in your capacity as the Deputy Director-General in charge of Asia and Middle East affairs in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Your Excellency has been promoting a wide range of international engagements and cooperation between China and South Africa. Your contributions to the friendship between both countries has long been acknowledged by our respective governments and as a well-known expert in Chinese history and philosophy, with your expertise in oriental history, especially in Chinese history, Your Excellency has been actively promoting the bilateral relations between China and South Africa”.

At the induction ceremony, held on 4 May at the university, Dr Sooklal delivered a keynote address, entitled: “China-South Africa Relations: A Win-Win Partnership”. The lecture was attended by over 250 students, academics and members of the local government authorities.
South Africa and Kenya have announced measures that will make travelling between the two countries easier.
South African Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, was in Kenya recently where he met with Joseph Nkaissery, Kenya’s Minister of Interior and Coordination of National Government.

The two ministers held a meeting where a number of steps were agreed upon to make travelling between the two countries smoother.

Both countries also agreed on:
  • Visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and official passports.
  • A decrease in the visa service fee. Fees have been decreased from $71 to $49, a downscale of $22, or more than R300.
  • The issuing of three-year multiple entry visas for frequent travellers.
  • Issuing of study visas for the duration of students' study periods (including extending permanent residents to those studying in the critical skill categories).
  • Removal of transit visa for travellers transiting through South African airports.
  • Ten-year multiple entry visas for frequent business travellers and academics.
The two ministers said the visit was a way of opening an important door to the establishment of a high-level strategic dialogue that would ensure any issues between Kenya and South Africa were resolved amicably and expeditiously. – Source: The Diplomatic Society
A new online application service, called Access UK, has been launched for South Africans.

The simple-to-use online application service is now live in South Africa, after being successfully rolled out in China and India earlier in February.

When compared to the old system, Visa4UK, the UK home office says Access UK has a shorter application form, with questions logically ordered and dynamically based in that it asks relevant questions related to your previous answers.

Added to this, you can review, edit and download your partially completed application at any point before submission, with the application fee displayed in rands. Thereafter, you will be able to seamlessly apply, book your Visa Application Centre appointment as well as pay online – with you only needing to submit biometrics in order to complete the application. Priority visa applications and payments for this can also be done through the new online service. 

South Africans are able to apply for the following via the new service:

  • Visitor (Standard)
  • General and Family
  • Child
  • Business
  • Entrepreneur
  • Religion
  • Sportspersons
  • Creative
  • Private Medical Treatment (six months)
  • Other: Visitors undertaking the PLAB test, Objective Structured Clinical Examination, Clinical Attachment and Dental Observations
  • Visitor (Marriage and Civil Partnership)
  • Visitor (Permitted Paid Engagement).
– Source: Traveller24
The Department of Justice has achieved a conviction rate of 78% in cases of rhino poaching.
According to Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Michael Masutha, between April 2015 and March 2016, there were 49 finalised cases involving 103 accused.

“A total of 80 of these accused were convicted, resulting in a conviction rate of 78%,” he said.

Minister Masutha was speaking on Sunday in Pretoria during a media briefing that was held by Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa.

Minister Molewa was providing a report-back on the progress of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros, which was announced by Cabinet in August 2014.

She was joined by Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenant-General Mthandazo Ntlemeza, and the chairperson of the Committee of Inquiry on the Feasibility of Rhino Trade, Nana Magomola.

Ntlemeza said since 1 January 2016, a total of 206 alleged poachers had been arrested in South Africa.

“These successes are the result of the improved collaboration within the security cluster, as well as working with communities and non-governmental organisations,” he said.

The Hawks currently have six projects under investigation. Four of them are on the court roll and 11 major investigations are underway in relation to rhino matters.

Minister Molewa said the detection capacity at the ports had been increased. A total of 712 multidisciplinary border officials have been trained, in addition to the 1 047 trained last year.

“This  brings the number of officials who have received training from the Environmental Management Inspectorate (Green Scorpions) on the Illicit International Cross Border Movement of Endangered Species to 1 759 in a space of less than eight months,” Minister Molewa said.

She encouraged South Africans to come forward with information on rhino poaching and other wildlife crime.

“Be vigilant. Report suspicious activity in your area that you think may be related to rhino poaching. No matter how small or insignificant you may think it is, it can help us,” Minister Molewa said. – Source:
The celebrations to be held in Alice, in the Eastern Cape, will acknowledge the role the university has played in educating Africans. It will celebrate the values and traditions that made the university to be Africa’s most respected institution of higher learning.
The centenary of the University of Fort Hare‚ whose alumni has included some of the African sub-continent’s most famous leaders‚ will be celebrated on 20 May, government said recently.

“The centenary is a reminder that all higher education institutions must be an extension of our nation’s core values of non‐racialism and non‐sexism,” said acting Director-General of the Government Communication and Information System, Donald Liphoko.

The event in May will coincide with Africa Month to commemorate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, presently known as the Africa Union (AU) under the theme, “Building a Better Africa and Better World”.

The AU aims to promote greater unity and solidarity between African countries. It seeks to accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of Africa.

The historic university’s alumni included the likes of late President Nelson Mandela‚ late ANC President Oliver Tambo‚ the late President Sir Seretse Khama of Botswana‚ President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and the late Lesotho Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhetle.

Well-known political struggle stalwards like Govan Mbeki, Oliver Tambo, Professor Zachariah Keodirelang "ZK" Matthews, Robert Sobukwe and the leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party‚ Mangosuthu Buthelezi‚ also studied at the university.

Government has called on Fort Hare University alumni and members of the public to share their Fort Hare stories for the Tell Your Story Campaign using the hashtag #MyFortHare.

Alumni and members of the public can join the #MyFortHare Tell Your Story campaign by e-mailing pictures, videos and audio to

A number of activities will take place throughout the year to mark the centenary celebrations. To keep abreast with these activities, follow @GCISMedia and @SAGovNews. – Source:
South African Airways (SAA) says its new revenue-based airline loyalty programme has helped it reach a new milestone, exceeding 7,8 billion mile earnings and 5,7 billion miles spent.
It issues at least 15 000 Voyager Miles every minute, with an estimated 10 000 miles being redeemed simultaneously during the past 12 months.

These milestones come as Voyager celebrates 15 months since its strategic changeover from a distance travelled to revenue-spend earning structure for SAA-operated flights.

In 2015, the programme was fundamentally changed to become Africa’s first revenue-based airline loyalty programme.

The two most important changes at the time were to issue members with miles based on the ticket price (base fare and fuel levy) rather than the distance travelled and to allow members to spend their miles on any available ticket price (base fare and fuel levy) for flights operated by SAA.

“Member research has shown that the growth in both earning and spending of miles is directly attributable to the positive changes made in both product and service levels over the past 15 months,” says Suretha Cruse, SAA Executive Customer Loyalty.

Members are issued with one mile for every R1,60 spent on SAA-operated flights and members enjoy a minimum return of 5% for SAA-operated flights based on their SAA spend.

“SAA Voyager is already the largest airline loyalty programme on the continent with ambition now set on becoming the largest on the continent with the widest reward base.” The programme has grown with an annual aggregate exceeding 14%, says Cruse. – Source:  Traveller24
A South African team of marketers and neuroscientists has announced the launch of the world's first neurowine, a wine developed by applying techniques usually used in neuroscience to winemaking.
Pieter Walser, a Cape winemaker from the Blankbottle label, partnered with local "neuro-marketing" consultancy Neural Sense to test 21 white and 20 red wine varietals from vineyards across the country.

Walser's emotional and cognitive responses to each taste were assessed, using neuroscience and biometric technologies.

The test results were then used to create a perfect blend, a neurowine. It is available as both a red and a white wine.

South Africa is the eighth-largest wine producer in the world. Local wines are increasingly popular overseas, with exports doubling from 2005 to 2015.

"One of the pieces of technology we used – known as electroencephalography or EEG – is a device which fits around the head and picks up the electrical activity on the surface of one's scalp," said Dr David Rosenstein of Neural Sense.

"It looks at how the brain is functioning and the associated brain waves, which in turn tells us various things about brain activity."

The team of scientists built a model of Walser's brain activity and, coupled with the biometric data, was able to reveal his unconscious responses to the wine-tasting experience.

"This model enabled us to determine what were the best performing aspects of the various varietals he was tasting and identify the top wine varietals that his unconscious appealed to, together with his subjective reporting, to form the neurowine blend," Rosenstein said.

He said his wines came from an array of vineyards, allowing him to create many different wine styles.
Neurowine will be available at Woolworths. – Source:
Horn has spent half his life pitting his wits and testing his endurance against the most extreme terrains, including circumnavigating the equator, while aiming to protect the environment and educate the world's youth along the way.
South African-born Swiss explorer Mike Horn recently set off from Monaco at the start of an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in an unmotorised expedition.

Horn, who will be 50 in July, left the principality aboard his sailboat Pangaea en route for South Africa, the Monaco Yacht Club said in a statement.

The 270 000-km Pole2Pole journey, described on Horn's website as "the greatest exploratory expedition of the 21st century", will include a four-month trek across the Antarctic on skis, pulling a 200-kg sled and aided by a kite when the wind is in his favour.

Once he reaches South Africa, where he was born, Horn will cross the Southern Ocean to Antarctica.

After crossing the Antarctic, he will sail up the Pacific, eventually reaching the Arctic.

From there, he will travel by ski and kayak to Greenland, before sailing back to Europe.

Along the way, the explorer will visit Botswana, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Himalayas, Japan and Russia, among other places.

Horn set off from Monaco on Pangea with scientists, filmmakers and writers on board for the first leg. – Source:
Ghanaian Asamoah was crowned on Saturday, 30 April, in Johannesburg. Zambian Michelo Malambo was named first princess, and South Africa's Jemimah Kandemiiri second princess.
Rebecca Asamoah, the first Miss Africa Continent, has high hopes for the continent. She believes cooperation between her and the other contestants will help create a united Africa. One that can deliver a better life for all who call it home.

Asamoah wants each of the contestants to empower youth in their own countries. "There are a lot of things to be fixed in Africa – water, education, environmental issues," she told the news agency AFP. "My main concern is the empowerment of youths … so we can work hand in hand and put our continent in the best place it should be."

Asamoah says her aim is to unite the continent. "To say no to xenophobia, and also to alleviate most challenges Africa is facing under health, education, poverty and environment. These are things I am passionate about. I plan to help raise not only the flag of Ghana high, but that of the African continent at large."

The 24-year-old Asamoah told local news channel ANN7 that it was not our differences that mattered. Instead, she emphasised that we have a collective responsibility to Africa. "It does not mean we are different people. We are not divided … We are each other's keeper."

Asamoah said her two princesses would visit projects in Ghana that supported the aged and the combating of diseases such as malaria.

The Miss Africa Continent pageant is the brainchild of South African film producer Neo Mashishi, who said it was about uplifting young African women. To make the pageant African, the finalists walked barefoot on stage – in their traditional clothes. The swimwear category was dropped; instead, finalists wore a uniform of black T-shirts and shorts.

Mashishi told AFP that they did this to go against the norm of Westernised pageants. "The way everything was done was African. We didn't emulate anything from Miss Universe or Miss World. This is about Africa. We are selling Africa to the world, and we are proud to be African."

According to the Guardian, during the weeks running up to the event, the 12 finalists embarked on a series of pre-pageant activities such as showing off their culinary skills by cooking traditional meals from their home countries. – Source:
Twenty-seven European countries were represented, and the SCCC was the only choir from the continent of Africa to be invited to participate, and was the choir who travelled the furthest of all participants (16 500 km) to attend.
The SCCC, a regional children's choir based in George, Western Cape, and representing 14 schools from four towns, was awarded first prize cum laude (90-96%) at the 64th European Festival for Young People, held on 31 April 2016 in Neerpelt, Belgium.

The SCCC also participated in the winners' laureate concert, the flag parade, a "happening" concert on live Belgian TV, with an audience of 5 000, as well as a "friendship" concert in the Palethe Concert Hall, in Neerpelt.

The choir also participated in concerts in Waregem, Tongerlo, Brussels and Antwerp before returning home on Saturday, 7 May 2016. – Source:
South African writer Faraaz Mahomed has been selected the Africa Regional winner for his short story "The Pigeon" for the 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
"I am an unseasoned writer, who continues to struggle with the insecurities and anxieties of inexperience," said Mahomed. "Winning the Commonwealth Prize for the African region is more than an accolade, it's a prompting to continue down this path."

Based on Johannesburg, Mahomed is a clinical psychologist and human rights researcher. His previous writing has been largely academic, reads the Commonwealth Writers website. Mahomed has published articles in journals relating to issues of human rights.

He also has fellowships from the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg and is a former Fulbright scholar. Mahomed would like to write a novel and obtain a PhD on mental health and human rights.

"The Africa region included stories on almost every conceivable theme, accentuating the endless complexity and beauty of the continent; a testament to the inexhaustible talent that abounds there," said Africa region judge Helon Habila.

"The Pigeon is a carefully and patiently woven tale about love, lust, guilt and escape. It illustrates just how, as humans, we will always come short of our ideals, and we must learn to live with that."

The other winners include:
  • Pacific Regional Winner: Tina Makereti for Black Milk from New Zealand
  • Asia Regional Winner: Parashar Kulkarni for Cow and Company from India
  • Canada and Europe Regional Winner: Stefanie Seddon for Eel from the UK
  • Caribbean Regional Winner: Lance Dowrich for Ethelbert and the Free Cheese from Trinidad and Tobago.
Chair of judges, South African novelist and playwright, Gillian Slovo, said the winners were all worthy of their award and they "show how well the short story is flourishing in the Commonwealth".

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize aims to "bring stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience".

The five winners selected each win £2 500 (about R53 000) each. The overall winner will be announced at the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica on 5 June, and will walk away with £5 000 (about R106 000) in prize money. – Source:
Veteran actor John Kani had many local fans surprised after they recognised him in the newly released movie, "Captain America: Civil War".
Kani plays the part of King T’Chaka in the film and although his part was very brief, it is pivotal because it is where audiences get introduced to the Black Panther. Marvel president Kevin Feige has previously explained the importance of Black Panther, who is played by Chadwick Boseman in the movie, saying that when audiences meet T’Challa he is on the cusp of taking over the reins of Black Panther from his father, T’Chaka.

T’Chaka is the current ruler of Wakanda and South Africans were excited when they not only recognised John Kani in the role but also picked up on the fact that he spoke some Xhosa during his scenes. – Source:
A first-of-its-kind reality TV series guest starring the legendary Jamie Oliver, will be hitting South African screens next year.
My Food Addiction will be anchored by world-renowned psychologist and nutritional expert, Patrick Holford and Professor Tim Noakes, who will each help South African contestants to tackle their addictive eating habits.

My Food Addiction is a social experiment reality TV show that will take contestants and viewers on a journey to discover their food triggers and the intoxicating effects these triggers have on their bodies. Holford and Noakes will develop science-based, tailored programmes for individuals seeking help with specific health issues such as weight loss, diabetes, digestion, and inflammation. Through the course of the show, these participants will learn how to take charge of their health and live a better, fuller life. – Source:
Athletics South Africa has congratulated middle-distance runner Caster Semenya and javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen on their victories at the opening leg of the 2016 IAAF Diamond League series in Doha, Qatar, recently.
Semenya won the Women’s 800 m race, bursting clear down the home straight to cross the line in 1:58.26, and Viljoen launched a 65.14m heave with her first attempt of the international campaign to win the Women’s Javelin Throw.

“This series forms the pinnacle of the international track and field circuit, outside of major championships, and to have two winners at the first meeting of the year is a fantastic achievement,” said Aleck Skhosana, the ASA President.

“This gives an indication of the magnificent performances we can expect this season, in the build-up to the national team’s highly anticipated campaign at the Rio Olympics.

“Congratulations also to all athletes who competed in Doha! There were promising performances all round by a strong South African contingent.”

Victor Hogan, who had displayed spectacular form in the domestic season, also got his international campaign off to a solid start by taking third position in the Men’s Discus Throw with a 65.59-m effort.

Wenda Nel ended fourth in the Women’s 400m Hurdles in 55.18, Antonio Alkana was eighth in the Men’s 110m Hurdles in 13.50 and Dumisane Hlaselo finished ninth in the Men’s 1 500m race, covering the distance in 3:36.65 on his Diamond League debut. – Source: African News Agency (ANA)
Binder's success at Jerez de la Frontera earlier in 2016 was a first for a South African in the world championship since Jon Ekerold in 1981.
The young South African racer, Brad Binder, recently grabbed his second win in as many races with a fantastic victory at the French Moto3 grand prix at the Le Mans' Bugatti circuit.

He extends his lead in the world championship title race.

The KTM rider recorded successive wins after his debut triumph in Spain, beating team mate Romano Fenati and Honda rider Jorge Navarro. The 20-year-old from Potchefstroom has a 24 point lead ahead of Navarro and 35 ahead of Fenati.

Binder and Fenati fought for the lead over 24 laps and the pair was joined by Navarro and Aron Canet in a four-way battle to the line. – Source:
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