SA voted top ‘dream destination’
South Africa has been voted the top destination by members of the world’s largest travel and lifestyle social network, Where Are You Now? (WAYN), in the site’s recent “dream destination competition”.
The country beat Brazil, India, Dubai, Fiji, Turkey and Indonesia with 15 300 votes from members around the world.
A total 78,000 votes were counted for all seven of the destinations. The nominated countries and cities were selected through market research and tracking user engagement on WAYN.
“All seven countries and cities nominated were extremely worthy contenders and dream destinations in their own right,” WAYN co-founder and chief risk officer, Jeremy Touze, said in a statement last week.
Team SA wins World Surfing Games
The South African surfing team celebrated a superb double at the 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games in Panama on the weekend when they were crowned the ISA World Team Champions and captain Shaun Joubert clinched the ISA men’s world champion title.
Team SA fought a see-saw battle for the most prestigious team title in world surfing, leading the standings on days five and six before slumping to fourth place going into the final day. Joubert’s outstanding victory, however, saw them overtake perennial rivals and defending champions Australia, emerging surfing powerhouse Peru and Brazil, who earned silver, bronze and copper medals respectively.
The Sunday Times, in partnership with PRAESA (The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), launched the new Sunday Times Nal’ibali Storybook yesterday.
Attended by the Western Cape Minister of Education, Donald Grant, the event celebrated ten new children’s stories commissioned by the Sunday Times and written by South African authors.
The illustrated stories will be printed in all our official languages, starting with English and followed with isiZulu and isiXhosa later this year. The storybooks are aimed at young children from Grade R to Grade 6 with the first 200,000 copies donated to schools, reading clubs, libraries and other NGO reading initiatives around the country.
The Sunday Times has already produced two such storybooks and distributed 2 million copies of these to schoolchildren nationwide. Having received a generous donation from Mrs Coralie Rutherford this year, Times Media has been able to commission a new book and incorporate it as part of a joint literacy initiative with PRAESA. The initiative, Nal’ibali, is a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign that supports bilingual literacy development and encourages parents and children to engage with each other through reading.
“We have been fortunate to work with a number of talented South African authors and illustrators in putting together this magical collection of stories. A treasured storybook can be just the thing to spark a love of reading in children and this is precisely our intention – to skill children to become readers for life,” comments Patti McDonald, publisher of Times Media Education’s supplements.
“Books and stories deepen our thinking and understanding by stretching our imagination while encouraging creative problem-solving. To have stories that our children can relate to in their home languages is an invaluable asset that we need to keep growing in our country,” comments Dr Carole Bloch, Director of PRAESA.
The Storybook launch, held at the Dalubuhle Primary School in Franschhoek, as part of the Franschhoek Literary Festival, was attended by the school’s pupils. It included a reading by Chris van Wyk of his contribution Mr Hare meets Mr Mandela in English and in isiXhosa by volunteer librarian Ms Siphokazi Mangwane.
Gordon Institute of Business Science number one African business school
The annual UK Financial Times Executive Education rankings, a global benchmark for providers of executive education has once again ranked the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) as the top South African and African business school for 2013.
Business schools are asked for details of a number of top clients, who are then invited to complete an online survey about the school that nominated them. For GIBS, top clients comprising not only leading SA corporates but top multinationals operating in the rest of Africa and abroad participated in the survey.
Professor Nick Binedell, dean of GIBS, said, “We are pleased to have again been ranked in line with prestigious business schools across the world. This year it is encouraging to see another South African school ranking in the world’s top fifty; we congratulate Stellenbosch Business School on this achievement.”
South Africa President Jacob Zuma met and held discussions Monday with Lesotho Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, in an effort to promote the African Agenda and strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
“Bilateral cooperation between South Africa and Lesotho spans a wide range of areas including, but not limited to, trade and investment, security, energy, transport, agriculture, tourism, water and environment,” the Presidency said in a statement on Monday.
The Presidency said the two leaders reaffirmed the historical and cultural relations that exist between the two sisterly countries.
“They committed themselves to working together in the implementation of the joint projects in the areas of water, energy and tourism,” the Presidency said.
South Africa recently hosted the Joint Bilateral Commission for Cooperation (JBCC) with Lesotho, where wide ranging bilateral, regional and international issues were discussed.
The kindness and commitment of a young postman has lead to a better life for sight-impaired people in Mpumalanga.
Announcing the opening of a new service centre in Waterval-Boven which will dispense audio material to sight-impaired people in Mpumalanga, Aileen Mickleburg of Tape Aids for the Blind said the town was chosen as a result of the extra work done by Petros Majola, the only postman in the town.
Majola (22) made a detour of 10 kilometres on foot over the mountains to deliver parcels containing audio books to Mrs Makkie McDonald, a resident of the to Silwer Daes retirement centre in Waterval Boven. This lead to her daughter, Anita de Beer, volunteering to manage a service centre in Mpumalanga on behalf of Tape Aids for the Blind.
On 6 May 2013, a day after Mrs McDonald celebrated her 89th birthday, a shy and humble Majola received a certificate to recognise this outstanding service from Tape Aids to the Blind. The event took place at the retirement facility.
“Tape Aids for the Blind offer a huge selection of nonfiction, fiction, and magazines on tapes,” said Mickleburg when handing over the certificate. “The organisation relies entirely on donations, contributions from donors and the goodwill of the Post Office.” All items meant for sight-impaired people are delivered free of charge by the SA Post Office.
According to Mickleburg, the Post Office delivers many thousands of items sent by Tape Aids for the Blind.
Mrs MacDonald has been an avid reader all her life and used to read a good 30 books a month. Failing eyesight now means that she cannot see fine print anymore. As a former scientist, science fiction is her favourite genre and “my favourite magazine is Popular Mechanics,” she said.
With a mind as lively as ever, she was fascinated by the MP3 player which Mickleburg demonstrated to her. The event was marked by a birthday party that befitted the occasion, thanks to the organising skills of Anita de Beer, matron of the retirement facility, as well as the generosity of the NG Church ladies and the Spar supermarket in town.
Manufacturers welcome electric vehicle road map
Vehicle manufacturers in South Africa have welcomed the launch of the Electronic Vehicle Industry Road Map, which aims to introduce electric vehicles into the South African market.
“It’s a tremendous initiative and a good start to working with all stakeholders. We will fully support it,” Nisssan SA CEO Mike Whitfield said on Thursday.
Toyota SA CEO Johan van Zyl and BMW CEO Bodo Donauer congratulated the initiative. “This is not a short term issue; it’s a long term plan. It is a process whereby we have to work together to first of all, establish the infrastructure. From the motor industry side, the technology has already been developed and is available whether it’s electric or hybrids. In the future, [most] vehicles will use alternative technology.
“This is the right time to start. If we don’t start sometime, we will be left behind,” said Van Zyl, adding that the country needed to ensure a greener environment in future.
Netcare assists with measles and polio vaccination campaign
Selected Netcare Stork’s Nest clinics will be administering vaccinations against polio and measles free-of-charge to pre-school children in support of the Department of Health’s (DOH) drive to eradicate these potentially dangerous childhood diseases.
Managing director of the Netcare Hospital Division, Jacques du Plessis, says that the Gauteng DOH requested the support of private healthcare providers such as Netcare to help ensure that as many children as possible in the province are immunised against polio and measles. “Netcare views this as a critical initiative to protect South Africans from these illnesses,” he continues. “We therefore did not hesitate to once again offer the services of selected Netcare Stork’s Nest clinics to assist with the campaign.”
Sharlene Swart, national Stork’s Nest operations manager, explains that the more people who are immunised against infectious diseases such as polio and measles, the less likely these diseases are to spread from person-to-person within the community. In this way families and communities can be protected from the two illnesses.
SA scientist wins award for TB research
South African scientist Valerie Mizrahi from the University of Cape Town’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine has been awarded the Grand Prix Christophe Mérieux Prize by the Institute de France in Paris for her tuberculosis research.
The institute’s Academy of Sciences presents the annual €500 000 (approximately R6-million) prize to talented scientists and for innovative research projects.
“What characterises Valerie Mizrahi’s work is not only her excellent research on Mycobacterium tuberculosis and tuberculosis, but also her very active involvement in the tuberculosis community in South Africa, on the African continent and internationally,” Academy of Sciences member, Pascale Cossart, said in a statement.
The award was announced last week, and the prize will be conferred to Mizrahi in Paris on 5 June.
London marathon dream becomes a reality
Crossing the finish line of the 2013 Virgin London Marathon marked the culmination of a life dream for Khubulani Zondo. The 36-year-old athlete from Soweto recently completed the marathon in a time of just 2 hours and 31 minutes, earning a silver medal and finishing first among the South African contingent of runners.
A few months ago, completing one of the world’s most prestigious international marathons was nothing but a pipe dream for Zondo, whose job as a security guard in Johannesburg’s West Rand has not afforded him the same privileges enjoyed by other local athletes.
But thanks to a charitable initiative undertaken by Virgin Money South Africa, Zondo, along with two other runners from underprivileged communities, was given a unique opportunity to shine on an international stage.
“It’s always been a dream to run in the world’s biggest marathons, but I never thought I’d get the chance,” says Zondo, who had previously achieved four silver medal finishes in the Comrades Marathon. “I have watched the London marathon on TV, and when I found out about this opportunity, I knew I had to go for it.”
Safmarine recognised for it’s commitment to community development
On Saturday, April 20, 2013, Safmarine received the South African Maritime Industry’s ‘Commitment to CSI’ Award for its pioneering Containers-in-the-Community programme which uses decommissioned shipping containers for community development purposes.
The award – which was presented to Safmarine by event sponsor, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) – aimed to recognise the efforts of those within the maritime sector who reached beyond their own structures to uplift, empower and skill fellow South African citizens.
Safmarine South Africa’s Patricia Simons dedicated the award to all those who had partnered Safmarine in making a difference to communities in need. “This award goes to the many customers, Safmarine staff and A.P Moller-Maersk Group companies who have contributed time, money and energy to support our community projects in their own and very meaningful way.
“Not only have these partnerships allowed Safmarine to deliver on its promise of being the ‘people making the difference’, but together we have been able to positively impact the lives of many communities.”
The initiative will be launched in May. It has taken 18 months to finalise and been piloted by FNB to ensure the system operated properly, CIPC’s senior manager Rehelda Williams told Parliament’s portfolio committee on Thursday.
Growsmart Program Helps to Improve Literacy Rates in Western Cape, South Africa
Elementary school children in Cape Town, South Africa are definitely in need of help, in terms of support in education. While there are many learning advocacy groups in South Africa, Growsmart operates a program in Western Cape to help elementary school children, primarily those who are in grades four to six to improve their writing, comprehension, verbal and reading skills.
The Western Cape Education Department and Growthpoint Properties joined forces in creating Growsmart and launching it in 2010. It is a high impact literacy program that not only provides positive influence on school children but also on teachers, the schools as well as the Western Cape communities.
Low literacy rates
In a numeracy test given by the Department of Education in the Western Cape, only 35% of children in grade three were able to process problems in basic math. However it was much lower for children who are in grade 6, with only 17.4% passing the numeracy test. Literacy rates for the same level of students have a pass rate of 48%. Education authorities are very worried as these children will be the future leaders of South Africa.
Growsmart’s positive impact
According to Growthpoint Properties’ head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Shawn Theunissen, the competition they annually run in the schools have truly taken off. During their first year, there were only 80 schools and 240 pupils that participated in the program. This year, the number has dramatically increased to more than 700 pupils and 200 schools.
Commitment to educate and further literacy
Quoting Shawn Theunissen: “Literacy is the foundation of learning and continued growth.” This embodies the program of Growsmart. For them it is not about learning to spell and repeat it like a parrot; it is how a student is able to grasp the meaning of a word and use it to verbalize. This, Theunissen added, is what a successful educational system is all about. The Growsmart program approach provides school children with a fun and engaging way to learn while encouraging their competitive spirit to pit their learning skills with other school children. Even teachers in the underprivileged areas of Western Cape are provided with crucial materials for lessons.
Children are enjoying the fun way that they learn new words, spelling them correctly and using them in a sentence. They are also mighty proud when they give their school the prestige of them winning the competition for their school. With them having fun, they forget that they were indeed learning and increasing their literacy, which removes the tedium in sitting inside a classroom and listening to a teacher giving lessons.
Tiger Brands serves 10 millionth school breakfast
Tuesday 16 April 2013 was not a normal day at Gqebenya Junior Secondary School in the Lady Frere district, Eastern Cape. The Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and the CEO of Tiger Brands Peter Matlare attended this school to celebrate the serving of it’s 10 millionth breakfast meal.
The children were at school bright and early clearly excited by all the activity in their school - unusual in this beautiful rural windswept valley. They sang along with the dignitaries and proudly shared their breakfast with the Minister, CEO and Trustees of the Tiger Brands Foundation.
To quote the CEO, Peter Matlare “it was both surprising and humbling to share the 10 millionth breakfast with the little ones. It is really quite a remarkable achievement”. Adding further impetus to the impact of in-school breakfast feeding was Mr Matlare’s announcement the Foundation would supply kitchens to Gqebenya Junior Secondary, Nonesi Senior Primary and Kundulu Junior Secondary; a much needed addition to schools with limited resources yet fully committed to their learners and communities.
In just 22 months, the Foundation in partnership with the Department of Education (NSNP) has shown an effective in-school breakfast feeding programme can make a significant difference. An in-school breakfast is served by Tiger Brands to nearly 40,000 learners across 60 primary schools in 6 provinces every school day.
MasterCard has continued its support of entrepreneurship in South Africa, with a R1 million donation to Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA), which will see 440 learners from 11 South African high schools taking part in the 2013 Mini Enterprise Programme, a globally-recognised initiative that fosters entrepreneurship, particularly amongst females.