Issue 410 | 23 January 2020
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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor represented South Africa at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London.
The two ministers were joined by Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel at the 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, from 21 January to 24 January 2020.

In a press advisory, National Treasury said the ministers would represent South Africa at the meetings at the behest of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was unable to attend.

The UK-Africa Investment Summit this year focussed on four interactive sessions on sustainable finance, trade and investment, future African growth sectors, and clean energy and climate.

“Team South Africa will communicate at both the UK-Africa Investment Summit and WEF platforms the message that while South Africa faces challenges of weak economic growth and fiscal pressures, the country remains open for business as one of the best investment destinations in the world.

“Team SA will also highlight the strides being made to implement structural reforms to ignite economic growth, ease the cost of doing business, curb government debt and stabilise SOEs,” National Treasury said.

The 50th WEF Annual Meeting is convened under the theme: “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World”.

According to WEF, the meeting brings together 3 000 participants from around the world, who are expected to give concrete meaning to “stakeholder capitalism”, assist governments and international institutions in tracking progress towards the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals and facilitate discussions on technology and trade governance.

This year’s WEF theme is timely and speaks to complex transnational challenges faced globally, such as climate change, migration, increased geopolitical tension and cybercrime.

– Source:
South Africans will as from next month pay a fee of €80 instead of €60 when applying for a Schengen Visa from South Africa.
The increase also affects children, who will now have to pay €40 instead of €35, as it is currently.

South Africans will also be subjected to several changes in terms of visa application procedures, rules and benefits, starting from February 2020.

Due to the implementation of the Updated Schengen Visa Code, adopted by the European Union (EU) Council in June 2019, all representative missions of the Schengen countries located abroad are obliged to apply the new rules, including the ones in South Africa.

The Schengen Visa is one of the most famous visas in the world, and one of the best to have.

The French Embassy in Pretoria confirmed the price increase to SAnews. “This decision has been taken by the EU for all the Schengen countries,” said French Embassy Head of the Press, Yana Brugier.

Granting to its holder the possibility of travelling to 26 European countries, 22 of them part of the EU, the number of Schengen visa applicants has been steadily increasing every year.

Currently, travellers from 104 countries and entities need to obtain a visa to enter the EU for stays up to three months within the Schengen Zone.

“Since Regulation (EU) 2019/1155 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 amending Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) is binding in its entirety, and is directly applicable in all EU Member States in accordance with the Treaties, all Schengen countries, including Lithuania, will apply it from 2 February 2020,” an official from the Information Monitoring and Media Division of Lithuania explained to

The new rules also permit South Africans to submit an application up to six months in advance of their trip, instead of three as it is now, and foresee a harmonised approach to the issuing of multiple entry visas with lengthier validity to regular travellers with a positive visa history.

According to, member states that are not represented in South Africa in terms of visa admission, are now obliged to cooperate with external service providers, in order to facilitate visa applications for travellers.

The external service providers are allowed to charge a service fee, which cannot be higher than the visa fee. This means South Africans applying at an external visa service provider may have to pay up to €160 per visa application, if the external service providers set the maximum service fee permitted, which is €80.

In addition, the updated Visa Code introduces a mechanism that assesses whether the visa fees should change, every three years. Another mechanism that will use visa processing as leverage will be introduced, in a bid to improve cooperation with third countries on readmission.

According to Gent Ukëhajdaraj from, due to this mechanism, the fees may increase even to €160, if the EU authorities see it necessary.

“A visa fee of €120 or €160 will apply to non-cooperative third-countries, in cases when the EU Commission considers that action is needed in order to improve the level of cooperation of the third country concerned and the Union's overall relations with that third country,” Ukëhajdaraj explains, adding that this provision shall not apply to children under 12 years old.

The mechanism may also shorten visa validity, and introduce prolonged visa processing periods.

Statistics by show that in 2018, Schengen embassies and consulates in South Africa processed 221 790 visa applications, of which 5 403 were rejected.

Italy was the top favourite country for visa submission, as 44 298 of the applications submitted in South Africa were for Schengen visas to Italy, followed by France with 37 042 and Germany with 32 167 applications.

In terms of expenditures, in 2018, South Africans spent €13 307 400 on visa applications to Europe, and €324 180 was spent by applicants who had their visas rejected.

– Source:
The United States Government has invited South Africans interested in pursuing a Master’s or Doctoral degree to apply for a Fulbright scholarship to study at any accredited tertiary institution in the United States (US).
The Fulbright Programme is the US Government’s flagship international educational exchange. It was established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between the people of the US and other countries.

It currently operates in South Africa and more than 150 other countries worldwide.

The US Embassy said the applications for the 2021-2022 Fulbright Foreign Student Programme were now open.

“The scholarships cover the full cost of tuition and living expenses in the US for up to two years. Highly motivated South Africans wishing to pursue a Master’s degree must have completed a four-year B-Tech degree or a three-year Bachelor’s degree with an Honours degree. Prospective Doctoral students must have successfully obtained a Master’s degree,” the US Embassy said.

According to the US Embassy, in 2019, 23 South African students and scholars received fully-funded Fulbright scholarships to complete postgraduate studies at American academic institutions and to conduct research in the US.

“These talented South Africans are currently pursuing studies in fields ranging from molecular biology and viticulture to mechanical engineering and philosophy, at institutions including Ohio State University, the University of Missouri, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of California and the University of Pennsylvania.”

Students with disabilities and from underserved areas are encouraged to apply.

South Africans interested in applying for the Fulbright Programme can visit

South Africans interested in applying for the Fulbright Programme can learn more by visiting

The closing date for submission of applications for scholarship is 31 March 2020 and applicants are encouraged to start the application process as soon as possible.

– Source:
South African model Thando Hopa is starting the year off with a bang as she gave a talk at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The star, who graced the cover of Vogue Portugal in 2019, this year started her fellowship with the WEF's New Narrative Lab.

The fellowship was launched in Geneva, Switzerland, and announced Thando as one of three candidates chosen globally for its 2020 programme.

As part of the New Narrative Lab, Thando will be mentored by Grammy award-winning musician Angelique Kidjo for the next year.

In a statement released to the press, Thando said she was "exceptionally excited" about joining the fellowship.

"My objective is to do what is within my capability to contribute to a more inclusive approach to our cultural economy. The fellowship serves as confirmation that our voices are loud enough to be heard across the world," she added.

To kickstart her journey, the model presented a Betazone talk at the WEF among global cultural leaders on 22 January 2020. The presentation was streamed live on the forum's social media platforms.

– Source: Channel24
The six-time Grammy Award winner Benjamin, "BeBe" Winans will be gracing South Africa's shores this March.
The American gospel and R&B sensation will take his ''Born for This - The Musical Experience" to the TicketPro Dome in Johannesburg on 20 March, before heading to Durban to perform at the Durban ICC on 21 March 2020.

After 10 years working behind the scenes on projects such as serving as a former Executive Music Producer for the OWN Network’s latest scripted series, “Greenleaf” he moves back into the forefront with a new album, his first solo album in nearly 10 years, "Need You", and plans to bring his critically acclaimed original musical "Born for This" to Broadway.

As a solo artist, Winans has released eight albums with guest appearances from friends as diverse as Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, David Foster and Anita Baker and is known for his jaw-dropping performances on some of the most important and star-studded musical specials of the past decades.

South Africa can look forward to Winans performing some of his best-known hits that have cemented his status as a legendary artist worldwide.

Winans has won 10 Dove Awards, six Stellar Awards, four NAACP Awards (three with CeCe and one with 3WB with brothers Marvin and Carvin), three Soul Train Music Awards (two of them with sister CeCe), and recently the NAACP Theatre Award for Best Playwright for his musical "Born For This".

– Source:
The news was confirmed recently as the lists of final nominations were revealed by Laureus.
The Springboks have been nominated in the Team of the Year Category at the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Berlin next month.

The Boks, who won the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, will be up against tough competition from Jürgen Klopp’s Champions League-winning Liverpool side, the US women's football team who won the women’s World Cup, six-time Formula One world champions Mercedes-AMG Petronas, the first Canadian team to win the NBA Championship, the Toronto Raptors, and two-time FIBA World Cup winners, Spain's men’s basketball team.

The Springboks won the category at the 2008 Laureus Awards having triumphed at the 2007 World Cup the year prior.

"You have to remember when we went into the 2019 Rugby World Cup, we were only ranked fifth or sixth, but as the competition proceeded we really got together as a team and we realised how we could unite the country. It became a bigger cause than just winning a competition. To be nominated for this award is unbelievable," hooker Schalk Brits said of the honour.

Team of the Year

Laureus Academy chairperson and All Blacks legend, Sean Fitzpatrick, also had kind word for the Boks.

"One could not have predicted the immense impact that South Africa’s win of the Rugby World Cup had around the world. With their victory inspiring the hearts of so many, uniting a multitude of communities, we see once again the exceptionally unique power of sport to unite," he said.

"It seems only fitting that the Laureus theme for the 2020 awards ceremony is 'Sport Unites Us'.

"If I wanted to identify a figure that symbolises the unity that sport has brought about in 2019, Siya Kolisi comes straight to mind.

"I greatly admire the way Kolisi led his team and how he has transcended his leadership role within rugby to become a leader and a role model for his entire country. I am not alone in applauding the whole team for the passion, determination and commitment they have shown. They are truly deserving of this nomination for the Laureus Team of the Year Award."

– Source:
South African bike riders Kirsten Landman and Taye Perry received heroes’ welcomes as they returned to South Africa recently, the first women from Africa to ever complete the challenging Dakar Rally, which was held in Saudi Arabia from 5 to 17 January 2020.
Ryobi Africa (who stepped up as one of Kirsten’s main sponsors) announced on Friday: “She’s done it! Kirsten Landman has achieved her dream of crossing the Dakar Rally finish line, and becomes the first African woman to ever do so on a bike.”

Kirsten’s story is one of courage and determination, overcoming a major accident in 2013 (at the Desert 1000 race in Botswana) that almost killed her, and conquering her (natural) fears of enduro racing to not only enter the 2020 Dakar Rally, but participate with a mission to be the first female from Africa to cross that finishing line, and earn the coveted Dakar finisher’s medal.

On the eve of finishing the famous race, the “Proudly South African 🇿🇦🇿🇦” rider admitted: “This has been an emotional roller coaster. I can’t wait to cross that finish line 🙏🏁🇿🇦”.

Cross it she did, making history. Her fans, some from back home in Bryanston, were elated. One summed up the feelings of most, saying: “Congrats, Kirsten! What a brilliant achievement! Courage, determination and pure guts! What an inspiration you are to all your proudly South African supporters!”

Taye Perry – South Africa’s Desert Rose 🌹

Fellow South African Taye Perry may not have crossed first, but she also won many hearts with her refusal to give up, despite being stranded for hours after suffering a knock and a fall … and her bike experiencing electrical problems.

The 28-year-old from Rustenburg is being called South Africa’s “Desert Rose🌹” and the People’s Champion; the “little girl  (1.58m) from South Africa who, against all odds, has just finished the Dakar Rally 2020 and who inspired everyone around the world to never… give… up!”

With just two days and 1,1,73km to go of the Rally, after completing 10 days (and 6,666 km), lying third in the Ladies Bikes Category and in the Top 10 of the Rookies Category disaster struck for Taye when she fell and her bike wouldn’t start up again.

If she evacuated, the race would be over. So she hung in there for hours, in a section of the desert called the "Empty Quarter" (as big as France with rows and rows of dunes) – until a Spaniard and Argentine car team rescued her, refusing to let her dream die, and towed her for hundreds of kilometres to a spot that they were allowed to take her to.

After that, she pushed her bike to the stage’s finish line! Into the welcome arms of her team. Taye had just two hours to rest in her tent, while the team fixed her bike, before it was time to set off on the final day of the Rally.

Taye barely had 90 minutes’ sleep. Her position in the final stage, Stage 12, was “dead last”… but she pressed ahead. “My general standings were no longer relevant. But I was thankfully still in it,” she wrote on Facebook. “And here I am – with a Dakar finisher’s medal! …still loving every moment, knowing I fought for it, and appreciated every struggle and challenge. I will be back and better. And I can’t wait to get on my rally bike again…”

Taye finished 77th, but the young South African finished first in the hearts of all those watching her grit and determination. Of the 144 who started the race, Taye was one of only 93 who finished it.

– Source:
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