Issue 556 | 9 February 2023
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The Cape Town City Hall has been temporarily declared a Parliamentary precinct to facilitate the hosting of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday, 9 February, and the Budget Speech on Wednesday, 22 February 2023.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday evening deliver the SONA at the Cape Town City Hall.

The address, which is scheduled to start at 7pm, will take place before a joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament.

The address is an important milestone, as it brings certainty to the country’s political, social and economic landscape. It demonstrates that South Africa’s democracy remains robust.

In his address, President Ramaphosa will set out government’s key policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead, flag challenges and outline interventions to unlock the nation’s potential.

During his address, the President will also highlight what has been achieved since his last address in 2022. He will also reflect on the progress made in implementing the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

The 2023 SONA is one of the most important annual events on Parliament's calendar and is the only ceremonial occasion that brings together the three arms of the State, including the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary, under one roof.

Parliament spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said the Joint Sitting was called specifically for the President to deliver the address and “no other business may be considered at this sitting”.

“It provides the President an opportunity to speak to the nation on South Africa’s general state of affairs, to reflect on a wide range of political, economic and social matters within the domestic and global context, to account to the nation on the work of government and to set out government’s programme of action,” Mothapo said.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has assured South Africans that preparations for the hosting of the 2023 SONA on Thursday are well underway.

At a media briefing on Tuesday, 7 February 2023, at the Imbizo Media Centre in Cape Town, the Speaker thanked the City of Cape Town for availing the City Hall for this year’s Joint Sitting of the two houses of Parliament, and for the hosting of the SONA. 

Mapisa-Nqakula said the city had handed over the City Hall to Parliament.

“The City Hall is now officially a precinct of Parliament, as per the definition of the precincts of Parliament provided for in Section 2 of the Powers, Privileges, and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act.”

Mapisa-Nqakula said in addition to the SONA, the hall would also host the two-day debate on the President’s address by the Joint Sitting of the houses, the reply to the debate by the President and the Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance on Wednesday, 22 February.

The theme under which the Joint Sitting of Parliament will be held remains the sixth Parliament’s focus, which is: “Following up on our Commitments to the People: Making your Future Work Better”.

According to the Speaker, the 2023 SONA will be fully physical and all attendees, including members of Parliament and invited guests, will be present in the chamber and the public gallery.

“We can confirm that similar to last year, this year’s proceedings of SONA 2023 will follow the full ceremony format.

“Activities undertaken and observed during a full ceremony include the Flame Guard, the 21-gun salute, an aircraft flypast, the lining of the route, the Ceremonial Guard, the Salute of the Step Guard, the singing of the National Anthem, the full Military Band and the ceremonial processions of the provincial speakers, premiers, the Judiciary, the Deputy President and the President.

“The President will take a salute at the platform prepared in front of the statue of uTata Madiba, which is on the balcony of the City Hall, where he will observe the singing of the National Anthem by the South African National Defence Force Military Band, synchronised with the 21-gun salute and flypast,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.


Over 650 members of the media have been accredited to cover the event. The names of the accredited members of the media were published on Parliament’s official website last week, with details of areas to collect their access tags.

The Parliamentary Broadcast and Audio Visual Unit will provide a broadcast feed to all television stations that will be broadcasting from the precinct. The Government Communication and Information System will provide an audio feed for all radio stations.

This will be the second year the City Hall hosts the SONA after a fire destroyed parts of the Parliamentary building.

The fire affected both the Old Assembly Wing and the National Assembly Wing, which house the chambers of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

– Source:




President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday, 3 February 2023, concluded the first Cabinet Lekgotla for 2023, where government deliberated on its programme of action for the year.


Chaired by the President, the Lekgotla allowed the National Executive to review the performance of government against targets and objectives set in 2022.

It was also a platform for the national leadership to agree on key actions that are needed this year to advance the country’s economic recovery and long-term development, with resolution of the electricity crisis as the top priority.

The Lekgotla resolutions will form the basis of the State of the Nation Address (SONA), which President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver to a Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces – convened in the Cape Town City Hall – at 19h00 on Thursday, 9 February 2023.

Political parties will debate the President’s Address in the National Assembly on Tuesday and Wednesday, 14 and 15 February, with the President replying to this debate on the afternoon of Thursday, 16 February.

Mining Indaba, 7 February

President Ramaphosa on Tuesday, 7 February, addressed the annual Investing in African Mining Indaba – or Mining Indaba – which was themed “Unlocking African Mining Investment: Stability, Security and Supply”.

The event attracted more than 6 000 delegates comprising investors, innovators, companies in the mining and natural resources sector, lawmakers and ministers associated with these sectors.

Presidential Golf Challenge, 10 February

Following the delivery of the SONA, President Ramaphosa will on Friday, 10 February, officiate at the annual Presidential Golf Challenge at Atlantic Beach Golf Club, Melkbosstrand, Western Cape.

Coordinated by the Department for Public Service and Administration, the Presidential Golf Challenge raises funds for charities designated by the sitting President.

The challenge allows the private sector to participate in developmental initiatives to empower society, with this year’s contributions going to the Adopt-a-School Foundation’s programme to support schools with sanitation infrastructure and services.

The foundation is an award-winning non-profit organisation that supports the creation and enhancement of a conducive learning and teaching environment in disadvantaged schools. The foundation is a partner entity to the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation.

African Union (AU) Summit, 17 to 19 February

Following his participation in an Extra-Ordinary Organ Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community on 31 January 2023, President Ramaphosa will continue his international programme by attending the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU from 17 to 19 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Africa’s political leadership will convene under the economically focussed theme, “Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement” in a year which marks the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Organisation of African Unity.



President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed deep sadness at the large-scale loss of life and extent of injuries inflicted by an earthquake that has affected the nations of Turkey and Syria.
Thousands of people have reportedly died in the two countries, which were struck by an earthquake on Monday, 6 February 2023.

“Our nation and government are deeply saddened by the unthinkable loss of life in Türkiye and Syria, and by the vast damage to social and economic infrastructure with which the two governments and populations are now confronted.

“Our hearts go out to families who have lost loved ones or are searching for relatives, and we wish injured survivors a full recovery,” the President said.

He expressed his appreciation to the South African humanitarian aid organisation, Gift of the Givers, which has joined the international response in Turkey and Syria.

– Source:



President Cyril Ramaphosa and Lesotho Prime Minister, Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane, have held bilateral discussions on the progress being made in the Kingdom of Lesotho since the Prime Minister’s ascension to office.
President Ramaphosa hosted Prime Minister Matekane at his official residence at Mahlamba Ndlopfu, Pretoria, on Saturday, 4 February 2023, where they had bilateral discussions.

Both leaders also affirmed their commitment towards strengthening the historic bilateral relations between the two countries.

President Ramaphosa reiterated his well wishes to Prime Minister Matekane for his electoral success and his appointment as the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, as well as the formation of the new Government.

“The successes recorded thus far towards the conclusion of the national reforms process is encouraging. I believe that, as per the Prime Minister’s undertaking, the new Government will expedite its efforts and complete all outstanding matters to finalise the reform process and pass the outstanding Constitutional Amendment Bill,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President also expressed his personal commitment and South Africa`s continued readiness to support the Basotho on the journey towards the Lesotho that the Basotho want.

On bilateral ties and friendship, South Africa attaches immense value to the bilateral cooperation with the Kingdom of Lesotho. In this regard, President Ramaphosa undertook to convene the inaugural Bi-National Commission at a mutually agreed date in 2023.

The leaders further affirmed their commitments to multilateral institutions, including their support of the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM).

President Ramaphosa voiced his gratitude for the Kingdom’s contribution to SAMIM.

– Source:




The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, will host the Annual Ubuntu Awards at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Saturday, 11 February 2023.


The event takes place after the opening of Parliament and brings together captains of industry, civil-society leaders, members of the Cabinet and eminent persons in addition to all ambassadors and high commissioners accredited to South Africa.

The Ubuntu Awards were launched in 2015 to celebrate South African citizens who play an active role in projecting a positive image of South Africa internationally through diligent service in their respective fields.

The 2022 winners of the various categories were:

  • Ubuntu Award in Economic Diplomacy Africa: Old Mutual
  • Ubuntu Economic Diplomacy Award Global: Aspen Pharmacare
  • Ubuntu Social Responsibility Award: Nomso Faith Kana
  • Ubuntu Sports Diplomacy Award: Pitso Mosimane
  • Ubuntu Youth Award: Lesego Finger
  • Ubuntu Cultural Diplomacy Veteran Award: Don Mattera
  • Ubuntu Cultural Diplomacy Youth Award: Master KG
  • OR Tambo Lifetime Achievement in Diplomacy Award: Aziz Pahad
  • Special Ubuntu Humanitarian Award: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.



The Deputy Minister of International Relations, Candith Mashego-Dlamini, hosted the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Shahriar Alam, on Friday, 3 February 2023, in Pretoria. Minister Alam visited South Africa from 1 to 6 February 2023.


The meeting between Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini and Minister Alam focussed on ways to pursue bilateral cooperation in defence, agriculture, law enforcement, transport and higher education and to expand private-sector business-to-business engagements in support of trade and investment promotion.

Bangladesh has been identified by South Africa as a country with enormous potential for the expansion of trade and economic relations. Since 1994, bilateral trade between South Africa and Bangladesh has grown significantly from a mere R28 million to approximately R5.2 billion in 2021, with South African exports amounting to more than R3.4 billion and South Africa enjoying a trade surplus of R1.6 billion.

During his stay in South Africa, Minister Alam inaugurated the “Made in Bangladesh” Exhibition at the Sheraton Hotel. The Minister was accompanied by representatives from the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry for engagement with the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote business-to-business links.

South Africa established diplomatic relations with Bangladesh in September 1994, followed by the opening of the High Commission of Bangladesh in Pretoria. South Africa is non-residentially accredited to Bangladesh through the South African High Commission in New Delhi, India. Sibusiso Ndebele is accredited as South Africa’s non-resident High Commissioner to Bangladesh.

Bilateral relations between South Africa and Bangladesh are managed through a structured bilateral consultation mechanism, the Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM), which provides for both parties to meet annually, on a rotational basis. The SOM is co-hosted at the level of Deputy Director-General. The inaugural SOM took place from 11 to 12 June 2012 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the latest (Fifth) SOM took place on 3 September 2019, in Dhaka. The next SOM is scheduled to be hosted by South Africa in 2023.

Bangladesh and South Africa share common views on a range of global issues, and South Africa regards Bangladesh as an important partner in the advancement of the development agenda of countries of the South. South Africa and Bangladesh share membership of the following international organisations: the G77+China, Commonwealth, Non-Aligned Movement and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). Bangladesh is the current Chair of IORA.




The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) participated in the annual Investing in Africa Mining Indaba, which took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 6 to 9 February 2023.


the dtic joined other government departments and agencies such as the departments of mineral resources and energy (DMRE), science and innovation, Brand South Africa as well as state-owned companies reporting to the DMRE to form Team South Africa.

The Investing in African Mining Indaba, often referred to as the Mining Indaba, is an annual professional conference dedicated to the capitalisation and development of mining interests in Africa. It is currently the world’s largest mining investment conference and Africa’s largest mining event.

More than 6 500 delegates representing international companies attended and interacted with more than 400 sponsors and African government and non-government representatives.

The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, was among the South African Cabinet ministers participating in the Investment Forum on Green Hydrogen, held at the Westin Hotel on Tuesday, 7 February 2023.

The Acting Deputy Director-General of Invest South Africa, Yunus Hoosen, said the indaba was an appropriate platform that would assist efforts to realise the goals set out in the Government’s economic recovery strategy aimed at increasing growth, investment and employment.

“South Africa is committed to creating conditions for inclusive growth and transformation of the economy. Structural transformation of the South African economy rests on a partnership between government, business, organised labour and all stakeholders who share our commitment to inclusiveness in our development path,” said Hoosen.



Months after its major brand refresh, new digital interfaces and a new approach to integrated advice, First National Bank (FNB) has been named the Strongest Banking Brand in the World in the “Brand Finance Banking 500 2023” report.
FNB emerged as the leader among the world’s 500 largest banks, with an impressive Brand Strength Index score of 93 (out of 100), a AAA+ rating and a brand value of US$1,540 billion.

The Strongest Banking Brand acknowledgement is determined through an independent brand valuation where scores for independent measures are informed by brand investment (including products, service and innovation), brand equity (functional and emotional drivers), and financial performance data (incl. current revenue and price premium).

FNB CEO, Jacques Celliers says, one of the key reasons for their continued success is their commitment to platform innovation and advice-led financial services.

“Our advice-led approach to financial services offers customers the full benefits of personalised help across our range of solutions. This helps customers make more informed decisions about their finances, such as identifying potential financial risks and opportunities. Overall, our aim is to help customers achieve their goals and aspirations by improving their financial well-being. Our success over the 185 years of our brand’s existence is also due to the high levels of trust and loyalty shown by our customers, and this is something we deeply cherish.”

FNB Chief Marketing Officer, Faye Mfikwe, adds that “our recent efforts to refresh our iconic brand, interfaces and value propositions was not only designed to help customers with their needs, but to equally broaden our brand’s appeal and transcend geographical limitations. This accolade gives us impetus to continue making a difference in the lives of our customers and the communities we serve. Furthermore, we believe that a one-of-a-kind global recognition such as this one can be instrumental in inspiring hope to people on our continent about the limitless possibilities when we all strive to be #changeables at heart.”

FNB is no stranger to global acclaim after its eBucks Rewards programme was ranked first in the world for its use of technology in 2022, while at the global MVNO Awards, FNB Connect was named Digital MVNO of the Year in the same year. Some years back, FNB was also recognised as the Most Innovative Bank in the World.

– Source:



To commemorate World Wetlands Day, South African National Parks (SANParks) recently announced the expansion of the Agulhas National Park through the incorporation of a significant wetland.
World Wetlands Day is commemorated annually on 2 February and aims to raise awareness about the significance of wetlands for water security and biodiversity.

The expansion is thanks to a partnership between the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa, which, through a generous donation, took ownership of the Vissersdrift property for incorporation into the Western Cape park last year.

The move secured 90% of the Soetendalsvlei wetland and added 2 345 hectares to the park.

The vlei gets its name from the Dutch ship, Zoetendaal, which was wrecked in 1673 en route from Jakarta.

The survivors, who made it to shore, walked inland and found freshwater at the vlei.

They were so grateful that they named it after their ship.

They were helped by a local Khoikhoi chief and cattle trader back to Cape Town, explained Luthando Dziba, SANParks' Managing Executive: Conservation Services.

Soetendalsvlei is Africa's southernmost freshwater lake and plays a critical role in recharging groundwater and supplying fresh water for local agriculture, said Dziba.

It drains into the Heuningnes River, which connects with the sea at De Mond Nature Reserve between Struisbaai and Arniston. Here, the Heuningnes estuary provides a safe haven for migrating birds and breeding fish.

Dziba said: “By turning this area over to conservation and reducing alien plant infestation and other pressures, the hope is that Soetendalsvlei's ecological functions will be safeguarded into the future – in line with this year's World Wetland Day theme of restoration. Wetlands internationally are among the most threatened ecosystems and often overlooked and degraded.”

Dziba added that the acquisition would also protect inland salt pans, many of which were under threat from urban development, mining and agriculture.

It would protect rare veld types, such as the critically endangered Central Rûens Shale Renosterveld, Vulnerable Agulhas Sand Fynbos and Limestone Fynbos, which face similar threats.

Dziba said that estuaries and wetlands were the most threatened and least protected ecosystems in South Africa.

"The inclusion of this area into the Agulhas National Park not only expands the park, but also contributes towards the protection of a critical wetland ecosystem for the Overberg region and its people. It is through productive partnerships such as this that we can achieve great things as we strive towards meeting the ambitious goals in the new Global Biodiversity Framework agreed to in Montreal recently."

– Source:



Tourism Sentiment Index (TSI), a travel data intelligence solution created by destination marketing agency Destination Think, has released “Leading Places: The 100 Most Loved Destinations Around the World” for 2023. In the number 18 spot was Hermanus, after being seeded 41 last year, with Stellenbosch ranking at 34, and Cape Town moving up 14 places to 40.

Welcoming the announcement, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, said: "To have not one, but three of our stunning towns in the top 50 of the ‘100 Most Loved Destinations in the World’ is an outstanding accolade for the Western Cape. Congratulations to Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Hermanus for being recognised, and rightly so. I am hopeful that the exposure generated by this recognition will attract even more visitors to our shores to explore more of our many diverse towns, attractions and offerings in the Western Cape.

"The Western Cape Government will continue to collaborate with stakeholders across the tourism and hospitality sector to reach new heights and attract more tourists so we can boost economic growth, which will create jobs in the province.”

Uncovering the 100 most loved destinations around the globe according to consumer sentiment, the study tracked more than 1.6 billion online conversations and content pieces publicly available, about 2 330 global destinations, to identify the top 100 most loved destinations around the globe.

Hermanus, Stellenbosch and Cape Town have been repeatedly spotlighted by international visitors ‒ making it onto the “Most Loved Destinations in the World” in 2021 as published by TSI.

2022/23 summer season

The local sector recorded significant growth in revenue, visitor numbers and bookings when compared to 2021. Hotel occupancy for the Western Cape stood at 72% in December 2022, representing a full recovery rate of 106% when compared to December 2019 (68.1%).

The Average Daily Rate exceeded December 2019 levels, recovering to 114% while revenue Per Available Room fully recovered by 121% against December 2019.

Celebrating the announcement, Wesgro CEO, Wrenelle Stander, says: "Three Western Cape destinations being ranked in the top 50 out of 100 places globally is an impressive achievement. These three featured as part of five destinations representing the continent, indicating that we are competitive not only in Africa, but internationally too.

"Our latest survey data reveals that close to 90% of responding businesses were fully booked during December 2022, which further demonstrates the popularity of Cape Town and the Western Cape as a world-class tourism destination. We remain confident about the growth of our tourism sector this year."

– Source:



Two beautiful South African getaways have been added to the “Most Romantic Hotels in the World” list for 2023.
South Africa is home to some beautiful landscapes that bring out the romantic side for couples. Two stunning getaways have earned a place on the “50 Most Romantic Hotels in the World” list. Neither of them is actually a hotel; more like a lifestyle getaway to the mountains or the bush.

Some 1.5 million people from 60 countries take surveys and vote for the best travel accolades around the world. Big 7 Media shares several lists which promote global travel

The very best in South Africa according to Big 7 Travel is the Future Found Sanctuary, which earned 22nd place on the list. Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, which earned 35th, has been placed on the list for a second time.

22. Future Found Sanctuary – Western Cape
“Future Found Sanctuary is Cape Town’s only mountain retreat. Set in seven acres of secluded gardens brimming with indigenous flora and fauna, it’s the perfect place for couples to wind down after a few days in bustling Cape Town. Facilities and amenities are geared towards relaxation and restoration, from yoga and meditation to the heated and natural pools.” – Big 7 Travel

35. Lion Sands Ivory Lodge – Mpumalanga

“Set in truly unspoiled wilderness, where the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve meets the world-renowned Kruger National Park, Lion Sands Ivory Lodge is one of South Africa’s most spectacular lodges. And, the team have thought of everything, from serving your favourite champagnes in the maxi bar to dining under the stars. For the ultimate romantic getaway, check The Kingston Treehouse. Built on boulders, you’ll need to step across a small drawbridge, with lanterns to light the way. The pictures speak for themselves …” – Big 7 Travel

– Source:



Cape Town has earned a spot on the “World’s Most Instagrammable” list for the fifth year in a row, this year, placing 22nd on the list.
The first time the Mother City made the list was in 2019; at the time, the city earned fifth place. Every year since them, the city has bounced around, but always earning a place.

The reason Cape Town keeps earning a spot is because there are so many different places to go. You can take your heart-worthy photos at the top of Table Mountain or Lion’s Head. You can pose on the sandy white beaches or with a cocktail in hand at a trendy cafe; you can run through the vineywards and taste cheeses and wine. The options are endless!

The award is given by Big 7 Travel, which uses a comprehensive scoring system that analysed the number of hashtags and TikTok views per destination, sample survey results of Big 7 Media’s 1.5 million audiences, and from the global editorial team.

“Dramatic scenery, fantastic hiking trails and deserted beaches that boast spectacular ocean views. What more could you ask for? Cape Town is an Instagrammer’s dream location to visit endless natural beauty and clifftop views, pastel pink neighbourhoods and turquoise waters.”

– Source:



Zakes Bantwini, Wouter Kellerman and Nomcebo Zikode are officially Grammy Award winners.
The trio won the Best Global Music Performance Award for their hit Bayethe at music's most prestigious event in Los Angeles on Sunday night, 5 February 2023. The awards were hosted by South African comedian, Trevor Noah.

"This moment right here to anybody who's in Africa just proves and affirms that every dream is valid," Zakes Bantwini said in his acceptance speech.

"Thank you so much. This is such a beautiful moment on the road to sharing South African music and culture with the world," Kellerman said during his acceptance speech.

Taking to the mic after her colleagues, Zikode sang a portion of Jerusalema before thanking her family and team.

This is Kellerman's fourth Grammy Award and both Zakes Bantwini's and Zikode's first.

"Unkulunkulu uNumber 1 (God is Number 1)," Zakes Bantwini wrote, retweeting the winning announcement.

"We won the Grammy for the Best Global Music Performance for our song 'Bayethe'. Thanks so much to everybody for all the support ‒ this is for the whole of South Africa! Awesomeness," Kellerman wrote, also sharing the news on his social media.

In an interview with News24 ahead of the awards show, Bantwini predicted their win, saying, "I'm very optimistic that we're going to come back with it. I have such a very positive vibe about it. Somehow, I'm content."

The musician added that he already felt like a winner:

"This is not a PR answer, but to me, I've already won. Why I'm saying we've already won is because I'll die Zakes Bantwini, a Grammy-nominated artist, forever, like forever. You'll never mention me and not say that now. So that is already a win because there are some artists who might never be able to get that."

Bantwini, Kellerman and Zikode's win marks the 10th time a Grammy Award will come home to South Africa.

In 2022, South African DJ and music producer Black Coffee won the Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album for Subconsciously.

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has congratulated the South African musicians for winning the Best Global Music Performance at the Grammy Award.

“South Africa is proud of the great work of art that you continue to churn out with excellence and high levels of creativity without compromising national identity and our beautiful story of a beautiful people, able to rise from the ashes of the past, and rise to conquer against all odds. We salute you on behalf of all the people of this, our beautiful country, South Africa,” the department said.

– Source:



Cape Town is gearing up for the most incredible pop-culture marvel, hitting its shore between 27 and 30 April 2023.
Comic Con Cape Town, hosted by the City of Cape Town, will offer the highly anticipated, first-ever four-day festival dedicated to the world of pop culture – boasting the best in gaming and esports, cosplay, international celebrities and more for the whole family to experience.

Comic Cons are globally renowned as the centre of pop culture and community. Not only focussing on the world of comic books, superheroes, fan fiction and their creators ‒ these fan conventions are synonymous with an offering for everyone.

The pop culture event launched successfully in South Africa in 2018 and has had three successful festivals in Johannesburg. Now, the excitement is palpable with the announcement of the first-ever Comic Con Cape Town.

With fan-favourite TV stars and famous movie actors also on the schedule, along with already announced bona fide Marvel and DC Comics comic book artists, fans can look forward to a festival of international standard.

"As a team, we are thankful for the welcoming spirit that the local pop-culture fans have already shown. We are so excited to be bringing Africa's largest pop culture and gaming festival to the Mother City, where visitors get to embrace being themselves, regardless of their cultural background, physical ability or personal identity," said Carla Massmann, Show Director, in a press statement.

But the party doesn't stop there; Comic Con Cape Town will also be co-located with the renowned Cape Town International Animation Festival.

In collaboration with the well-known FanCon, to unite and strengthen the pop culture community within Cape Town, Comic Con Cape Town will host over 100 local artists in the Artist Alley – a place on the show floor where illustrators from across a various range of mediums can sell unique art pieces and take on custom commissions.

Tickets for Comic Con Cape Town are now on sale via Howler.

– Source:



South African Sean Geiser and British Darryl Thole rowed 3 000 miles (4 800 kilometres) across the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera, Canary Islands, to English Harbour, Antigua. They completed the 22/23 challenge in 54 days. The pair took it in turns, rowing every two hours for 24 hours straight, every day.

Geiser first heard about the challenge while in Antigua; fellow South African Grant Blakeway had arrived on the island after completing the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in 20/21. Blakeway had done the challenge as a solo rower and used his event to raise awareness for Plastic Pollution.

Geiser was so inspired by Blakeway’s accomplishment, he bought his boat and started training to take on the challenge himself. The boat was built in Ukraine before making its way to Scotland where Blakeway had to collect it as the pandemic had meant he couldn’t get it to South Africa.

The challenge is one of the premier events on the global ocean-rowing calendar and it is sponsored by Talisker Single Malt Whisky and organised by Atlantic Campaigns. The race involves a 3000-mile (approximately 4800km) unassisted row from the Canary Islands to Antigua and Barbuda. Race teams compete solo or in groups of up to five people and carry everything they need on their boats.

Geiser teamed up with Darryl Thole and the pair used the challenge to raise funds for children with cancer. It is rather fitting that they managed to finish their row on 4 February, World Cancer Day. They raised €18 000funds in support of Children with Cancer UK, Kids Cancer Foundation and Cancer Society of The Bahamas.

One of the unique design aspects they added to the boat, was handprints of children fighting cancer. These little hands served as a daily reminder for both Sean and Darryl.



The Springboks' fixture list for the 2023 season was finalised by SA Rugby recently.
The Boks will face arch-rivals New Zealand twice: away in the Rugby Championship and in a World Cup warm-up match in London.

SA Rugby also confirmed the Boks' home venues in a shortened Rugby Championship. The world champions will kick off their season against Australia on 8 July at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.


They will then travel to New Zealand to tackle the All Blacks at a yet-to-be-determined venue on 15 July, before returning to South Africa to host Argentina at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 29 July.

"Loftus Versfeld and Ellis Park are iconic stadiums, and we thoroughly enjoy the fanatic support from the home crowds at these venues, so we are thrilled to start off what is a vital season for the team at these stadiums," Bok coach, Jacques Nienaber, said in a statement.

"These Rugby Championship matches are going to be crucial as we look to get our Rugby World Cup season off to a good start and playing against New Zealand away and Australia and Argentina on the highveld will be ideal for our preparation.

"All three sides will enter the international spectacle in France among a handful of teams that will be considered potential contenders for the title, so we are expecting a thorough test throughout the campaign."

Nienaber's charges will also play World Cup warm-up matches away to Argentina (venue TBA, 5 August) and Wales (Cardiff, 19 August), before the second encounter against the All Blacks at Twickenham (25 August).

SA Rugby's Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, added that the match against the Pumas in Argentina would boost their World Cup preparations.

"Playing against Argentina in South America is unique as they have a very passionate home crowd that brings the best out of their team, so that environment will serve as good preparation for our team with an eye on the Rugby World Cup, especially after getting a taste of the atmosphere we can expect at the international extravaganza in our match against France in Marseille last November," Erasmus said.

Nienaber added that the Bok coaches were already hard at work for the 2023 Test season

"The coaches have hit the ground running this year and we'll continue to put in the hard yards as we attempt to ensure that we leave no stone unturned before the World Cup.

"We are on course in terms of finalising our planning for the season and we are excited about returning to the training field," said the Springbok coach.

At the World Cup, the Springboks will contest Pool B alongside Ireland, Scotland, Tonga and Romania.

Their first match is against Scotland in Marseille on 10 September, followed by games against Romania (Bordeaux, 17 September), Ireland (Paris, 23 September) and Tonga (Marseille, 1 October).

– Source:




Cape Town is bracing for a busy year of events, including several major international showpieces like Africa’s first-ever E-Prix event in the Green Point Precinct on 25 February 2023.


The return of the popular Tweede Nuwe Jaar street parade started the year off with a bang, with more than 80 000 spectators in attendance, followed by the very successful Netball Quad Series.

The city, through its Events Department, has also confirmed support for a host of exciting events still to come this year.

Anchored by Africa’s first-ever Netball World Cup in July 2023, a number of international women’s sports events will head to Cape Town.
The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup takes place from 10 to 26 February 2023, and Cape Town will be one of three host cities.

The tournament will feature 12 of the best international cricket nations battling to be crowned T20 champions. Newlands Cricket Ground will host 12 of the 23 matches, including two semi-finals and the final.

At the same time, the city will support the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group B tournament featuring South Africa, New Zealand, Turkey, Australia, Belgium and Croatia. The tournament will take place at The Ice Station, GrandWest from 20 to 26 February 2023.

The city will also continue its long-standing relationship with the Sunshine Ladies Tour, the prestigious professional golf tour, by sponsoring the Cape Town Ladies Open and the Investec SA Women’s Open.

“Supporting these events forms part of the city’s contribution to efforts aimed at elevating the status of women’s sports and providing as many platforms for athletes to showcase their skills. In this regard, our Events Department is defining 2023 as the year of women by doing more to support women-driven events, in particular women’s sports. These events have the potential to raise the status of women’s sports in the country and the City of Cape Town is thrilled to be part of those efforts,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security Alderman JP Smith.

“Events have for years proven to be a great catalytic for growth, especially for the tourism and hospitality sector because the people we attract to Cape Town with these events spend money on accommodation, restaurants, transport and other attractions. They also contribute massively to our efforts to stimulate the local economy after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and we anticipate events will have an even bigger role to play in 2023. The city is again thrilled to be playing its part as an enabler in ensuring events achieve their objectives.”

In addition to these events, the Mother City will also host the following events and more:

  • International Public Art Festival (March)
  • African Youth Kung Fu & Martial Arts (March)
  • Cape Town Ramadaan Festival (March)
  • Cape Town Cycle Tour (March)
  • Cape Town Carnival (March)
  • Drift City (March)
  • Africa Travel Week (March)
  • Monster Jam (March)
  • SA Christmas Band Board Competition (March)
  • U/18 Ice Hockey World Championships (March)
  • Comic-Con Cape Town (April)
  • Two Oceans Marathon (April)
  • Encounters Film Festival (June)
  • Jive Cape Town Funny Festival (June)
  • Totalsports Women’s Race (August)
  • Cape Town Festival of Speed (September)
  • WOMAD Cape Town (September)
  • Open Book Festival (September).

Cape Town will also join 11 other cities around the world as hosts of Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

– Source: Media Office, City of Cape Town



While cold water swimming and ice plunges may have become one of the latest health trends, 50-year-old South African Amber Fillary is taking things to a new level.
As the current Guinness World Record holder for the longest swim under ice on a single breath, wearing only a bikini and goggles – 90 metres – which she set in March 2022 in Norway, Amber has set her sights on achieving two new Guinness World Records this year.

On 4 March, Fillary will be in Norway, to not only attempt to beat her current record, by swimming more than 110 metres on a single breath, but then get straight back into the water to set a new Guinness World Record for the longest swim under ice on a single breath using a mono fin.

“I am really excited to be getting back under the ice again this year, it truly is my happy place,” said Fillary.

“These two record attempts are very exciting and very scary at the same time. It will be intense getting into the icy water twice to do two breath holds in one day, but I’m not getting any younger and want to give this my all!”

In November last year, Fillary returned to the pool that started her love of ice water swimming, the 91.44 metre Tooting Bec Lido, one of the United Kingdom’s oldest outdoor swimming pools, where she set a new record of swimming the length of the pool and a few extra metres – 104.8 metres to be exact – on a single breath.

“It was such an honour to be able to go back to where it all started and use the swim as part of my training for the new attempts,” said Fillary.

“The water, while not frozen over yet, was below 10 degrees, making it a great training swim!”

The driving force behind Fillary’s record attempts is to raise awareness for mental health issues plaguing so many people in the world, particularly after the global pandemic.

As a recovering addict and eating disorder survivor, Fillary’s key message to those she interacts with is, to not let depression and addiction get in the way of achieving great things and live your dream.

For more information about Amber and her records, visit

– Source: www.sapeople.cpm



The FNB Stadium in Johannesburg has been named one of the most beautiful sports stadia in the world. The accolade has been bestowed on 41 venues across the globe, with the proudly South African stadium earning the 13th spot.
British-based Online Betting Guide hosted the listing by asking fans and analysing hashtags on social media platforms like Instagram.

The City of Johannesburg shared the exciting news along with the history of the stadium. They shared that it was originally known as Soccer City, before being changed to FNB Stadium. The sporting venue was built between 1986 and 1989.

In the leadup to the 2010 Soccer World Cup, which was hosted in South Africa, the stadium underwent a colourful makeover. It played host to the opening and final matches of the Soccer World Cup.

“It is used as a multipurpose venue and hosts everything from sporting events, conferences, church events and mega international artist concerts. The stadium also boasts a seating capacity of 94 000,” says Siyanda Mnukwa, the Director of Sport at the City of Johannesburg.

The management is thankful for the accolade after the two very hard years of lockdown. The pandemic had meant no events and the stadium remained quiet until last year. Now, they can bring in more events and bring communities together again.

The venue has played host to Metallica, U2, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, to name a few.

“The hardships experienced make everything so worthwhile especially after being named the 13th-most beautiful stadium in the world. It inspires us to continuously raise the bar of our own expectations.”

– Source:

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