Issue 269 | 7 April 2017
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President Zuma reiterated the position of the South African Government, saying: “Terrorism in any form and from whichever quarter cannot be condoned. South Africa stands firmly with the international community in condemning all terrorism. We will continue to support regional and international efforts to address the scourge of terrorism in all its forms.”
President Jacob Zuma has, on behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, extended the country’s deepest condolences to the Russia Federation following an explosion at a subway station in the city of St Petersburg on 3 April 2017 that has left scores of people dead and others injured.

President Zuma said: “We sent our deepest condolences to President Vladimir Putin, the Government of the Russian Federation and particularly to the families who have lost their loved ones. The targeting of innocent civilians must be condemned in the strongest terms.”

President Zuma also said: “South Africa stands with the Russian people during this time of mourning and share their grief”. 

South Africa and the Russian Federation enjoy strong diplomatic relations founded on a shared history of the struggle against apartheid. Full diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in February 1992. The two countries share common values in terms of their respect for the rule of law in international relations, multilateralism, the central role of the United Nations (UN) in global governance, the primary role of the UN Security Council in the maintenance of global peace and security as well as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.
The South African Government has learnt with shock and dismay of plans by the Government of Israel to further expand its settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory of West Bank.
This surprise decision by the Israeli Government follows closely after the adoption in December 2016 of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which affirmed that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law.

This development constitutes a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

South Africa is deeply concerned that the actions by Israel will undermine the conditions for successful final status negotiations and for advancing the two-state solution through the negotiations. The cessation of all Israeli settlement activity is essential for reversing the negative trends already created on the ground.

South Africa calls on the Government of Israel to immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respects its legal obligations in this regard.

South Africa remains committed to working with Israel and Palestine and with the international community to find a lasting and durable solution to the conflict within the parameters of international law.
The purpose of the visit was to strengthen bilateral relations between South Africa and the CAR under the Framework Cooperation Agreement (FCA) signed in 2006.
On Wednesday, 5 April 2017, President Jacob Zuma hosted the President of the CAR, Professor Faustin-Archange Touadera, at the Sefako M Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

The FCA provides for political, economic, social, security, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation between the two sister republics.

The two presidents reaffirmed the urgent need for armed groups in the CAR to lay down arms and take part in security sector reform and the disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration and repatriation programme. In this regard, President Zuma commended President Touadera for his steady efforts of dialogue with armed groups.

The two presidents reviewed bilateral relations between their two countries and agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation within the ambit of the founding FCA signed by both countries on 28 April 2006. They reaffirmed the strategic importance of this agreement as it seeks to promote political, economic, social, security, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation.

The two presidents decided to establish a structured mechanism to manage and coordinate bilateral cooperation between the two countries by establishing a Joint Commission for Cooperation. In this regard, they directed their respective ministers of international relations and cooperation and foreign affairs and African integration to work out its modalities.

They called on the relevant structures of their governments as well as private sector to take advantage of the abundant opportunities for bilateral trade and investments in their respective countries.

The two presidents reaffirmed the warm relations that existed between the two sister republics and committed themselves to working together to enhance close political, economic and social cooperation for the mutual benefit of their countries and peoples.
“The changes bring some younger MPs and women into the National Executive in order to benefit from their energy, experience and expertise.”
President Jacob Zuma has made changes to the National Executive in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

“I have directed the new ministers and deputy ministers to work tirelessly with their colleagues to bring about radical socio-economic transformation and to ensure that the promise of a better life for the poor and the working class becomes a reality,” the President said in a statement. The changes are as follows:
  • Minister of Energy: Mmamoloko “Nkhensani” Kubayi
  • Minister of Transport: Joe Maswanganyi
  • Minister of Finance: Malusi Gigaba
  • Minister of Police: Fikile Mbalula
  • Minister of Public Works: Nathi Nhleko
  • Minister of Sport and Recreation: Thembelani Nxesi
  • Minister of Tourism: Tokozile Xasa
  • Minister of Public Service and Administration: Faith Muthambi
  • Minister of Home Affairs: Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize
  • Minister of Communications: Ayanda Dlodlo
  • Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration: Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba
  • Deputy Minister of Finance: Sifiso Buthelezi
  • Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises: Ben Martins
  • Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture: Maggie Sotyu
  • Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry: Gratitude Magwanishe
  • Deputy Minister of Communications: Thandi Mahambehlala
  • Deputy Minister of Tourism: Elizabeth Thabethe
  • Deputy Minister of Police: Bongani Mkongi
  • Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services: Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams
  • Deputy Minister of Small Business Development: Nomathemba November.
“I wish to extend my gratitude to the outgoing ministers and deputy ministers for their service to the country. I also wish the new ministers and deputy ministers the best in their new responsibilities,” the President said.

 – Source:
This is the first-ever train that has been designed, engineered and manufactured locally by the state-owned entity, Transnet, which will serve the African continent.
On 4 April, President Jacob Zuma officially launched the Trans African Locomotive in Pretoria.

The locomotive is specifically customised to African conditions and is suitable for use on branch lines and in shunting yards.

Transnet designed the original underframe, superstructure, bogies, body and locomotive control system to withstand the African environment and is needs-specific to the continent.

Through the Trans Africa Locomotive, Transnet has heeded the resolution taken at the 2015 Heads of State and Government Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, for South Africa to champion the manufacturing and supply of rail stock in Africa.

Other intended benefits of the Trans Africa Locomotive for South Africa and the continent include:
  • regional integration
  • localisation
  • industrialisation
  • skills development
  • road-to-rail migration.
The prospective socio-economic spin-offs of the project are crucial in enabling government to address the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality in the country, in line with the National Development Plan and Vision 2030.
In his State of the Nation Address, President Zuma declared 2017 the Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo, who would have been 100.
President Jacob Zuma on Friday, 31 March 2017, officially launched the Mbizana Rural Enterprise Development (RED) Hub, which is an OR Tambo Centenary Project at Dyifani village in Mbizana, in the Eastern Cape, run by the Eastern Cape Provincial Government.

The Mbizana RED Hub is one of the four RED hubs in the Eastern Cape, implemented by the Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR)’s agency, the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA) and covers six wards which constitute 14 villages in the Mbizana Local Municipality, Alfred Nzo District Municipality.

These wards have registered 14 primary cooperatives that have then formed a secondary cooperative which is a structure that owns the RED Hub.

The RED Hub will service the villages with a strong focus on value addition of grain as well as hub primary production, mechanisation and establishment of a trading centre for farmers to assist cooperatives in growing the local rural economy to create jobs and sustainable livelihoods.

A total of R53,5 million has been invested in establishing and operating the Mbizana RED Hub. The funds for this initiative have been provided to ECRDA by the Eastern Cape Provincial Treasury and ECRDA is implementing the initiative.

The Mbizana RED Hub planted 986 ha in the 2014/15 crop production season at 13 primary cooperatives. The total white maize yield that was bagged was 317 tons and 226,5 tons was sold to Mqanduli RED Hub.

In the 2015/16 crop production season, there were only 488,1 ha planted land with white maize. This was attributed to the dry and hot conditions that affected the entire country. In the 2016/17 crop production season, there was approximately 1 459 ha planted land with white maize.

Primary cooperatives received a R6,4-million subsidy for mechanisation operations from DRDAR and they took a loan for production inputs.

In 2015/16, DRDLR assisted primary cooperatives with production inputs. The department also supported primary production with fencing of all the arable land that is currently being used for maize production and with two crop interns.
South Africa will continue to provide support to the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in their efforts to achieve lasting and sustainable peace, security and development.

The South African Government recently expressed concern at the death of two members of the United Nations (UN) Group of Experts on the DRC as confirmed by the Secretary-General of the UN on 28 March 2017.

The Government of South Africa conveyed its deepest condolences to the families of Michael Sharp (United States of America) and Zaida Catalan (Sweden) as well as the UN family for the loss of these members of the Group of Experts.

Both Mr Sharp and Ms Catalan lost their lives in the line of duty in pursuance of their invaluable responsibilities in support of the work of the UN Sanctions Committee. Sadly, they have paid the ultimate price and their death, tragic as it is, should not deter the international community from finding a lasting solution to the challenges in the DRC.

South Africa calls upon the authorities in the DRC to work with the UN and investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of these officials.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, has concluded his Working Visit to Central America, where he visited the Republic of El Salvador from 30 March to 1 April and the Republic of Honduras from 2 to 4 April 2017.
During his visit to El Salvador, the Deputy Minister met with his counterpart, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Integration and Economic Promotion, Carlos Castaneda. The two countries emphasised the need for continuous strengthening of bilateral relations in various fields and to focus on new investment opportunities. At the conclusion of the meeting, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations.

The Deputy Minister also paid a courtesy call on the President of the Republic of El Salvador, Prof. Salvador Sánchez Cerén. The President reaffirmed El Salvador's commitment to building stronger relations with South Africa as the two countries share a similar history.

Deputy Minister Landers concluded his visit to Central America by visiting the Republic of Honduras. Central America hosts a large part of the African Diaspora. In this regard, Deputy Minister Landers met with the Afro-Descendant Diaspora Community and the National Garifuna Ballet of Honduras. During the meeting, the Deputy Minister confirmed South Africa's commitment to continue working with the African Diaspora to preserve the historic ties of the African continent and its Diaspora.

While in Honduras, the Deputy Minister also met with his counterpart, Ambassador Maria del Carmen Selman Nasser, Under Secretary of State of Honduras. Deputy Minister Landers emphasised the importance of strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries as well as working together in multilateral forums.

Deputy Minister Landers and the Under Secretary of State, Ambassador Selman Nasser Selman, agreed on taking the bilateral relations to the next level by creating instruments that will govern it. The two countries agreed to work together to expand trade as there were opportunities for such expansion.

The event took place under the theme: “Knowledge is Power”.
On 30 March, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) hosted an Open Day for university students in the field of International Relations, Political Science and Law.

The purpose of the Open Day was to inform and educate students about DIRCO’s mandate, and to let them experience the work environment and the duties of different branches within the department.
South Africa’s InvestSA has been recognised for its outstanding work with a runner-up award at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) in Dubai, said the Department of Trade and Industry.
South Africa’s investment promotion agency, InvestSA, took home the runner-up award at the seventh edition of the two-day AIM, which started at the Dubai World Trade Centre in the United Arab Emirates, on Sunday, 2 April.

The AIM Investment Award is granted to investment promotion agencies in each region globally in recognition of their outstanding work in attracting sizeable and beneficial foreign direct investment projects and thus contributing to economic growth and development of their markets.

Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, congratulated InvestSA for the award, which is the fourth that South Africa has received from AIM in its seven-year history.

“These awards are a vote of confidence in South Africa as an investment destination of choice and our ability to facilitate investments as a government. President Jacob Zuma recently launched the InvestSA National One Stop Shop to enhance our investment facilitation and aftercare service.

“In InvestSA, we have a capable team that offers investors a professional service and is able to fast-track, unblock and reduce red tape in government,” said Minister Davies.

He added that receiving the award was evidence that InvestSA could compete with the best investment promotion agencies in the world and was capable of facilitating large-scale projects that contributed in growing the country’s economy and creating much-needed employment opportunities

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The plan addresses the key challenges of economic and industrial growth, race-based poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Cabinet has approved the ninth annual iteration of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) 2017/18 to 2019/20.

In a statement released following its fortnightly meeting, Cabinet highlighted that the IPAP was a key component of President Jacob Zuma’s Nine-Point Plan and was aligned to the policy perspective of radical economic transformation.

The IPAP, which is a product of the Economic Cluster of government, has scored significant successes in a number of areas, including saving many firms and jobs, supporting sectors which are indispensable to South Africa’s prospects for longer-term industrialisation. It has also shown success in opening new areas of economic growth.

Drivers of IPAP 2017-2020 include a redoubled commitment to radical economic transformation and ongoing efforts to secure shared and inclusive growth.

Other drivers include the rapid acceleration of the Black Industrialist Programme, and a much stronger and ongoing focus on labour intensity across the value chains that link the primary sectors of the economy to the manufacturing and services sectors. This is in addition to a stepped-up export effort

In May 2016, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, launched the eighth iteration of the IPAP, saying it was a continuous action plan that was meant to reindustrialise the South African economy and stressed the need for structural change.

Speaking at the launch at a factory in Benoni, Minister Davies said IPAP 2016 again stressed the pressing need for structural change in the economy.

At its meeting on Wednesday, Cabinet also approved the publication of the Information Communications Technology (ICT) Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMME) Support Strategy for public comment.

The strategy aims to develop strategic interventions to accelerate the development and growth of small enterprises in the ICT sector and to facilitate an increase in the levels of uptake and usage of ICTs by the general small business sector.

Cabinet also approved the publication of the Draft National Tourism Sector Strategy for public comment.

The strategy is South Africa’s tourism growth and development framework. It aims to increase direct contribution of the tourism sector to the economy from R118 billion to R302 billion by 2026. This will be done through collaborative planning, and the implementation of agreed priority actions.

This as implementation of the current National Tourism Sector Strategy has led to significant growth in terms of tourist volumes; contributed to the country’s gross domestic product and a significant positive trade balance and job creation.

The next growth phase focusses on inclusive growth and transformation in the sector.

Cabinet also approved publication of the National e-Strategy for public comment.

“The e-Strategy articulates the vision for the development of an inclusive information society and knowledge economy for the country that is based on the needs of the citizens, business and public sector.

“This provides a platform for South Africans to integrate technology in their lives in a manner that is beneficial to society as a whole,” said Cabinet.

The aim of the strategy is to develop a people-centric, caring and knowledge-based society, and transforming the South African society and the economy based on access and utilisation of modern ICTs.

Cabinet also approved the publication of the National e-Government Strategy and Road Map for public comment.

The strategy guides the digital transformation of the Public Service into an inclusive digital society, so as to better enable citizens to benefit from the opportunities offered by digital technologies to improve their quality of life.

This will contribute towards the realisation of the objectives of the National Development Plan as well as leverage government plans and programmes to provide government services in an effective manner.

– Source:
South Africa will embark on a roadshow in China to attract investment in special economic zones (SEZs).
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, recently oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and the Bank of China.

Speaking following the signing ceremony in Johannesburg, Minister Davies said the move would bear immediate results when the roadshow to promote SEZs kicks off in May.

Through the MoU on strategic cooperation, the dti and the Bank of China have agreed to cooperate on issues of investment promotion and facilitation, trade promotion and projects support.

The bank will also mobilise international and domestic resources to promote investments for South Africa in its capacity as a commercial bank.

“I am pleased that there are already plans to move speedily in implementing the MoU, as there are arrangements in place for the SEZs investment roadshow that will take place in China in early May.

“The main purpose of the roadshow is to promote our SEZs in China and showcase the opportunities that are available there, with the view of attracting more investment in the SEZs,” said Minister Davies.

Minister Davies said China was not only South Africa’s largest trading partner but it had also emerged in recent years as a significant investor in both infrastructure and industrial projects in South Africa.

“China’s investments in South Africa are important, particular to the dti, as they boost the department’s efforts to industrialise the country. Financial institutions like the Bank of China play a very critical role in the facilitation investment projects in the country.

“We are optimistic that the MoU will strengthen cooperation between South Africa and China in a number of areas, including trade missions, joint marketing activities, investment and industrial finance,” said the Minister.

The MoU was signed by the Director-General of the dti, Lionel October, and the General Manager of the Financial Solutions Department at the Bank of China, Ren Li. SEZs are geographically designated areas of a country set aside for specifically targeted economic activities, supported through special arrangements (that may include laws) and systems that are often different from those that apply in the rest of the country.

– Source:
Government recently launched the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV, Tuberculosis (TB) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) for the next five years..
Cabinet approved the five-year plan, which will guide South Africa’s response to HIV, STIs and TB, at its fortnightly meeting recently.

The plan, launched in Mangaung, in the Free State, draws on the vision of the United Nations programme of zero new HIV infections, zero preventable deaths associated with HIV and zero discrimination associated with HIV.

It is also in line with the World Health Organisation’s goals for reducing TB incidents and mortality.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, supported by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe, and Members of the Executive Council, launched the plan

The Deputy President is the Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council, a voluntary association that includes government, civil society and all other stakeholders committed to drive an enhanced country response to HIV, TB and STIs.

The launch of the NSP is one of the highlights of TB Month, which is commemorated annually across the globe to raise awareness about TB.

The plan is usually developed for a period of five years.

The slogan of the new NSP is: “Let Our Actions Count”, which is a call to action for all South Africans to play a part in achieving the goals of the plan.

– Source:
The theme for the conference will be “Strengthening the Independence of the Judiciary and Respect for the Rule of Law”.
The Fourth Congress of the CCJA is scheduled to take place from 23 to 26 April 2017 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town.

The CCJA is an independent institution established by Constitutional Judiciaries in Africa to ensure that the Judiciary in each member state supports and deepens democracy by upholding constitutionalism and the rule of law.

The conference is hosted by the South African Judiciary, led by the Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, Mogoeng Mogoeng.


Fast-tracking the growth of almost 100 small businesses in South Africa is one of the initiatives at the upcoming Indaba, Africa’s top travel show. It will be held in May at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.
The media launch of this year’s Indaba was held on Tuesday, 28 March 2017.

Delegates from countries such as Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Reunion, the Seychelles, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe will be displaying tourism-related products and services alongside local South African exhibitors at the event in May 2017. The event is hosted in Durban.

The Indaba 2017 will host 90 small tourism businesses at the show. Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three "must visit" events of its kind on the global calendar.

It showcases the widest variety of southern Africa’s best tourism products and attracts international buyers and media from across the world. Indaba is owned by South African Tourism.

The event, also known as Africa’s top travel show, takes place from 16 to 18 May 2017 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.

Sisa Ntshona, Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, said at the media briefing at the Killarney Country Club in Johannesburg that this year’s Indaba would have a special focus on accelerating small businesses in the tourism sector.

One of the key focuses is an initiative to train and mentor small and medium-sized enterprises, and give it preferential access to influential industry players.

“For me, one of Indaba’s highlights is our new Hidden Gems Programme, which will help boost tourism by enabling smaller players. The 90 small businesses are emerging and existing enterprises are at least 50% black-owned,” said Ntshona.

“They are drawn from each of South Africa’s nine provinces and we call them our Hidden Gems, because they are tucked-away treasures that only a select few know about.”

South African Tourism, in partnership with the National Department of Tourism and the Southern African Tourism Services Association will allow the entrepreneurs to get exposure at Indaba as well as the opportunity to “pitch” their offerings to travel buyers during speed marketing sessions.
Nandi Zama (31) has just flown into the history books by becoming the first black woman commander (the equivalent of a civilian captain) to fly the C-130 military cargo plane.
According to Sowetan Live, Nandi made her maiden journey on Friday, 24 March 2017, when she flew the C-130 from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Waterkloof Air Force Base in Gauteng, South Africa.

The South African-born pilot said in an interview four years ago that she had joined the military in 2004 straight from high school, and then “there was a year of military training”, followed by aerodynamics. In 2006, she received her wings after attending central flying school, and in 2007 she was transferred to 41 Squadron.

She is now in 28 Squadron.

Lieutenant Colonel Ntsikelelo Mantshongo, SA National Defence Force spokesperson, said Nandi’s history-making command of the four-engine military plane C-130 came with major responsibility.

He said: “If there’s a mission and she needs to take the aircraft‚ she needs to assemble a team that includes specialists on board. The plane can take up to 160 people.”

Nandi has already been flying the aircraft for four years, but this was her first time as commander.

She describes the experience as something that can’t be explained in words. “You just have to be there to experience it,” she says.

– Source:
One of only five awarded each year, it recognises the best research papers published in society journals by early-career scientists.
University of Cape Town (UCT) ecologist, Gabriella Leighton, has won a British Ecological Society Young Investigator prize.

Leighton, 23, won the Robert May Prize for the best paper in methods in ecology and evolution in 2016 for “Just Google It: Assessing the Use of Google Images to Describe Geographical Variation in Visible Traits of Organisms”.

The prize, which includes a year’s British Ecological Society membership plus a year’s subscription to the journal, will be presented at the society’s annual meeting in Belgium, in December.

It is awarded for an important contribution in converting one aspect of field ecology to a desktop science, and Leighton’s paper shows how Google can help make ecology cheaper, faster and safer in the future.

Leighton analysed online image data across a range of species, from black bears in western North America to black sparrow hawks in South Africa, comparing data on their colour collected by fieldworkers with data from Google images, and found the online images are reliable.

To make the method accessible, Leighton’s paper includes a web application, Morphic, that allows the approach to be widely implemented.

Leighton is reading for her Master’s degree at UCT, where she completed her Honours in Biological Sciences supervised by Dr Arjun Amar, a co-author of her paper.

“I am extremely honoured, I never thought I would get this award. I am only at the very beginning of my career. It is a huge accolade.”

She said her passion for ecology grew from her love of animals. “I decided to study zoology at a young age. I loved animals and nature, and have an appreciation for all kinds of animals, especially cats.”

– Source:
The Mother City was awash with jazz fundis and funky soul masters as the 2017 CTIJF kicked off in Cape Town on Wednesday, 29 March, and rocked music lovers until Sunday, 2 April 2017.
Organisers pulled out all the stops as the music ranged from puritan jazz to jazzy sounds infused with ancestral roots and urban beats, including acts such as saxophonist, producer and composer Kamasi Washington; Grammy-nominated songstress Andra Day of Rise Up  fame; as well as vocalist, pianist, composer and music educator, and two-time Metro Music Award winner, Nomfundo Xaluva for South Africa.

As the festival ended, organisers hailed this year's event as an outstanding success,which exceeded all expectations.

A highlight, as always, was the Free Community Concert, kicking off the festival at Greenmarket Square. The famous market plain hosted thousands of listeners – a mix of young and old, tourists and locals.

Now in its 18th year, the actual festival saw more than 40 international and local artists perform over the five days at the International Convention Centre.

– Source:
South African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza has sung in some of the world’s greatest opera houses, and gave a rare homecoming performance in Johannesburg in March 2017.
Pumeza Matshikiza, critically acclaimed opera star, grew up in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, listening to classical music on a portable radio. Today, she sings in some of the greatest operas throughout the world.

Matshikiza fortuitously stumbled upon opera as a child living in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Hearing a recording of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro while scanning for stations on a portable radio, it was love at first listen.

“I was just transfixed,” Matshikiza told The Australian newspaper in 2016, “I thought, what language are they singing in, how people can sing like this, are they angels?’”

Following her dream to imitate those voices, a teenage Matshikiza began to find her voice while singing in church choirs.

As a student at the University of Cape Town, she collaborated with South African-born composer Kevin Volans on a number of his works for the Handspring Puppet Theatre. It was Volans who urged her successful application for a young artist scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London.

Matshikiza sang her first lead role with Germany’s Stuttgart State Opera Company, and then later performed around the world in a variety of productions, including Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at Milan’s famous La Scala opera house, and as Mimi, the lead soprano, in Puccini’s La Bohème, a role made famous by some of opera’s legendary sopranos, including Maria Callas and Angela Gheorghiu.

Matshikiza gained widespread acclaim for her performance during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, seen by a global television audience of over 20 million.

She was also chosen to perform at the wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco and his South African-born bride Charlene Wittstock.

Ever mindful of her South African roots, Matshikiza released her first album in 2014, titled Voice of Hope, which featured, in addition to stirring versions of some of opera’s most popular arias, unique operatic renditions of classic South African songs, including Mariam Makeba’s Pata Pata/Click Song. The album was well received by fans across Europe and South Africa.

Matshikiza recorded a second collection of lesser-known opera favourites, titled Arias, in 2016.

In the often stilted world of classical music, Matshikiza is hailed as a veritable game-changing superstar. Opera Magazine called her voice “dusky, overtone-rich, abundantly sensuous, the timbre has fullness, freshness and purity alloyed to the darker tones of an almost-Callas like palette.”

In addition to filming music videos for her album in South Africa, Matshikiza returns regularly to the country to visit her mother and, as she did recently, to perform.

On 16 March 2017, she performed alongside an upcoming South African opera talent, soprano Noluvuyiso Mpofu, at a once-off recital at Johannesburg’s Linder Auditorium. She also gave a live performance for radio station 702.

– Source:
South African film "Dora's Peace", starring Khabonina Qubeka, Hlubi Mboya and Danny Keogh, has been selected for the prestigious Boston and Beijing international film festivals in April.
The film follows Dora, a Hillbrow prostitute, who shields a gifted young boy from a gang of organised crime lords responsible for the death of his mother. The journey leads her to face her demons.

The Beijing International Film Festival recognises films all over the world with categories such as World Cinema Directing Award: Feature, World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Best Debut Feature and World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Best Cinematography among others.

Other awards and recognition Dora’s Peace has received include Best South African Feature at last year’s Jozi Film Festival, a SAFTA for Hlubi Mboya as Best Supporting Actress and a nomination at the Rapid Lion Awards for Best South African Film.

Dora’s Peace is currently available on DVD.

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Terry Pheto recently took home the award for Best Supporting Actress at the National Film Awards UK for her role in "A United Kingdom".
On the news of her win, Terry expressed her excitement and thanks on Instagram. Alongside a picture of her with her award she wrote, "I won. I won. I won. Thank you #NationalFilmAwardsUK." The ceremony was held at the Prochester Hall in London where Terry walked the carpet in a dazzling Thula Sindi design.

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