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President Cyril Ramaphosa says his meeting with his Portugal counterpart, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is an opportunity to deepen the two countries’ collaboration on energy, which is a crucial field.

“Portugal is one of the countries in Europe that has been pioneering the deployment of renewable energy.

“As we confront our own energy challenges, we are keen to discuss best practice, technology transfer and investment potential in this sector,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President said this while delivering opening the remarks during official talks with President De Sousa on Tuesday, 6 June 2023.

President Ramaphosa hosted his Portugal counterpart on a State visit at the Union Buildings.

President Ramaphosa told his counterpart that he had come to appreciate how interconnected the global community was, and how countries needed to work together to solve common challenges like climate change, pandemics and armed conflict.

“As the countries of the world work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must step up our collaboration to address these challenges,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President said African countries recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union.

He said this anniversary came at a time when the cause of continental economic integration was finding expression in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

This free trade area, President Ramaphosa said, would create a single continental market with a population of about 1.3 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of approximately US$3.4 trillion.

He said the AfCFTA would not only boost intra-African trade and investment, but it would also create opportunities for greater trade and investment between Africa and other parts of the world.

“It is therefore encouraging at this time to receive visits from countries such as Portugal that are committed to the cause of Africa’s development and prosperity,” he said.

President Ramaphosa said in their discussions, the two presidents also took note of multilateral matters of mutual importance.

He said the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine had a global impact.

“As South Africa, we believe that negotiation and dialogue can indeed play an important role in resolving conflict. We know this from our own experience of our transition to democracy.

“We continue to advocate for rules-based multilateralism that should be at the centre of global efforts to address common challenges.

“It has always been our view that peace and security create more space and favourable conditions for development and advancing mutual prosperity,” the President said.

The relationship between Portugal and southern Africa stretches back several centuries and has evolved into a partnership of cooperation and solidarity.

The two countries’ bilateral relationship is of strategic importance to South Africa, as they collaborate in several sectors, such as education, science and technology, trade, investment and defence.

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On Tuesday, 5 June 2023, President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted his counterparts who will be involved in the African Peace Initiative with regard to the war in Ukraine.
Participants included the President of the Comoros Islands and current President of the African Union, Othman Ghazali; President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi; President of Senegal, Macky Sall; President of Uganda,  Yoweri Museveni; and President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema.

The heads of state deliberated on the devastating impact the war has had on the people of Ukraine and Russia as well as the threats this war poses to Europe and indeed the rest of the world if it continues.

The leaders agreed that they would engage with both President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelensky on the elements for a ceasefire and a lasting peace in the region.

The foreign ministers of the respective countries were tasked to finalise the elements of a roadmap to peace. The presidents confirmed their availability to travel to Ukraine and Russia in mid-June.



On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent a message of condolences to India following the train accident that claimed the lives of more than 200 people in the state of Odisha.
The three-train collision happened on Friday, 2 June 2023, and reportedly left more than 850 injured.

“The South African Government and people stand in solidarity with those effected by this tragedy and laud the emergency rescue and medical personnel for their tireless efforts,” said The Presidency in a statement.

President Ramaphosa added that the thoughts of the South African people were with the people of India, particularly the affected families, during this time of mourning.

South Africa and India enjoy strong historical, political, diplomatic, economic and people-to-people relations. The two countries established full diplomatic relations in 1993.

South Africa and India share several common interests, including the reform of the United Nations and Bretton Woods institutions. The two countries also cooperate in a number of multilateral fora, including BRICS, the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum and the G20.

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The foreign affairs ministers of the five-nation grouping, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), on Thursday, 1 June 2023, said they appreciated the proposals put forth for mediation aimed at a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Ukraine war through dialogue and diplomacy.

“The ministers recalled their national positions concerning the situation in and around Ukraine, as expressed at the appropriate fora, including the UNSC [United Nations Security Council] and UNGA [United Nations General Assembly],” a joint statement from the ministers on Thursday read.

The ministers held a two-day meeting in Cape Town, which started on Thursday.

They called for the full and effective implementation of both the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the Secretariat of the UN on promoting Russian food products and fertilisers to world markets.

The leaders also stressed the importance of allowing grains and fertilisers to continue to reach those most in need.

The gathering was a precursor of the BRICS Summit to be held in August in Johannesburg.

The ministers exchanged views on major global and regional trends and issues. They reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the framework of BRICS cooperation under the three pillars of politics and security; economics and finance; and culture and people-to-people cooperation.

The ministers also expressed concern about the use of unilateral coercive measures that are incompatible with the principles of the Charter of the UN, which have "negative effects, notably in the developing world".

“They reiterated their commitment to enhancing and improving global governance by promoting a more agile, effective, efficient, representative and accountable international and multilateral system,” the statement said.

In addition, the ministers expressed concern about the outbreak of violence in Sudan.

“They urged the immediate cessation of hostilities and they called for the unimpeded access of the Sudanese population to humanitarian assistance.”

They welcomed the efforts of the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, the League of Arab States, the UN and its Security Council in seeking solutions for the ongoing crisis.

According to the statement, the Ministers further welcomed the support rendered by various countries, international organisations and agencies in the evacuation of foreign citizens from Sudan.

The ministers expressed serious concern over continued conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa region and endorsed the joint statement by BRICS deputy foreign ministers and special envoys at their meeting in April.

Meanwhile, the leaders emphasised the importance of energy security as a crucial foundation for economic development, social stability, national security and the welfare of all nations worldwide.

“They called for resilient global supply chains and predictable, stable energy demand to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources.”

They also stressed the importance of enhancing energy security and market stability by strengthening value chains, promoting open, transparent, and competitive markets, and ensuring the protection of critical energy infrastructure.

“They strongly condemned all terrorist attacks against critical infrastructure, including critical energy facilities, and against other vulnerable targets,” the statement read.

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The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Candith Mashego-Dlamini, has travelled to Astana, Kazakhstan, from 6 to 9 June 2023 to co-chair the Seventh Session of Political Consultations with her Kazakhstani counterpart, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Africa and Asia, Kanant Tumysh.

Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini will also participate in the Astana International Forum (AIF) from 8 to 9 June 2023. The intention of the AIF is to bring together stakeholders from various regions and industries to discuss the global economy, energy, climate and regional cooperation and development. The forum aims to tackle global challenges on climate, energy security and food scarcity, and will seek to address key global challenges.

Bilateral relations between South Africa and Kazakhstan are cordial and are conducted under the umbrella of the structured Protocol on Regular Political Consultations, signed in 1997, and is co-chaired at the level of Deputy Minister. The Bilateral Consultations Forum convenes at alternating venues in South Africa and Kazakhstan. South Africa hosted the Sixth Round of Political Consultations on 23 November 2018 in Pretoria.

The Seventh Round of Bilateral Consultations reviewed progress made since the previous round of consultations and further explored closer cooperation in the fields of skills development and technological transfers, people-to-people cooperation, science and technology, mining, agriculture and energy to allow for increased expansion in terms of economic cooperation.

The mainstreaming of continental development priorities in the African Union, Southern African Development Community, Central Asia as well as other multilateral cooperation objectives formed part of discussions.

Kazakhstan has been identified by South Africa as a strategic country in Central Asia with enormous potential for the expansion of trade and economic relations.

Economic relations have steadily grown between South Africa and Kazakhstan and bilateral trade between the two countries is estimated at more than R2 billion. South African imports to Kazakhstan include machinery and chemical appliances, products chemical or allied industries and mining equipment. Several bilateral agreements in a variety of fields, including economic cooperation, immigration and justice are currently under consideration.



Employment and Labour Minister, Thulasi Nxesi, is leading a tripartite South African delegation composed of government, workers and employer’s representatives to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) 111th International Labour Council (ILC) being held in Geneva from 5 to 16 June.
Delegates from the ILO's 187 member states are tackling a wide range of issues, including apprenticeships, labour protection and a just transition towards sustainable and inclusive economies.

The Department of Employment and Labour's Acting Deputy Director-General: Labour Policy and Industrial Relations, Sipho Ndebele stated that for this conference, South Africa’s highlight moment would be when President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the World of Work Summit on 14 June as well as the address to the plenary by Employment and Labour Minister Nxesi on 13 June.

Ndebele said this high-level participation reflected the country’s important footprint in global labour market activities. For South Africa, it remains imperative to use the conference to develop solid positions on issues of social protection and just transition, he said.
As part of his programme, Minister Nxesi will use his visit to ILO conference to also engage in bilateral meetings with various counterparts which the country has relations with. He will also attend the African Regional Labour Administration Centre Governing Council as well as host the BRICS employment and labour ministers to appraise them on plans for the September meeting to be held in South Africa.

South Africa is attending following an invitation from the Office of ILO Director-General in February 2023.

The ILO conference is held at the Palais de Nations and ILO headquarters. This year’s conference is conducted fully in person. It comes on the heels of the 2021 conference, which was held fully online due to the outbreak of the global pandemic, COVID-19. The 2022 ILC was a hybrid event and South Africa did not send a delegation because it was hosting the Child Labour Conference in Durban.

Formed in 1919, the ILO is an agency of the United Nations. Its mission is to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.




Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister, Barbara Creecy, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), on Monday, 5 June 2023, hosted World Environment Day (WED) 2023 in Cape Town.

The WED 2023 was commemorated under the theme: “Beat Plastic Pollution” with a strong focus on eliminating all forms of waste/pollution, particularly plastic.

In a statement, the department said this year’s WED was aimed at seeking innovative ways to end plastic pollution.

“Plastic pollution is now a global problem with an estimated 353 million tonnes of plastic waste produced in a year and finding itself polluting our oceans because of its durability and taking a much longer time to disintegrate.

To mark WED 2023, Minister Creecy embarked on a tour of two recycling plants in Cape Town that are supported through Producer Responsibility Organisations – POLYCO and PETCO ‒ to gain further insight into the benefits of Extended Producer Responsibility in support of plastic recycling.

The Minister started her tour at Waste Want, which is located in Kraaifontein.

Waste Want started out as a small collections company, selling collected recycling material to recyclers.

Through this project, around 200 people have been employed, recycling in the local community has improved and backlogs in waste processing have been addressed. Waste Want diverts 1 000 tonnes of waste per month.

The Minister then visited CRDC SA RESIN8, situated in Blackheath Industrial.

CRDC SA RESIN8 is a site where plastic is mixed and converted into an aggregate modifier for the construction industry.

At its pilot plant facility, CRDC processes about 420kg of plastic waste per day, enabling it to test various waste streams in its process.

At the new facility, CRDC will be able to process 610 tonnes of plastic waste per month and thereby produce 725 tonnes of RESIN8. The project has partnered with various existing waste reclaimers.

Minister Creecy concluded the WED 2023 commemoration with a beach clean-up at Macassar Beach.

– Source:



Professor Debra Roberts from Durban has been nominated as one of four climate change leaders to head up the International Panel on Climate Change.
While the fight for the planet’s sustainability belongs to all of us, there are leaders making the big decisions that impact today and tomorrow’s world. In incredible news for South Africa, Professor Debra Roberts might have a chance to lead some of the most important environmental decisions; a massive stride for women in global leadership and South African environmentalists.

Prof. Roberts was recently nominated to head up the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as one of four nominees from around the world.

Not only was the scientist listed as one of the most influential people in climate policy, she has also earned the microphone as South Africa’s voice in global conversations to do with biodiversity and climate change.

Having an African perspective matters when it comes to global decision-making as the fight for the global South’s representation continues across international organisations.

Prof. Roberts is also a huge inspiration for female scientists, environmentalists and activists in male-dominated fields: governance and science.

Earlier this year, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for Law in celebration of her efforts by Rhodes University, which praised her efforts in establishing the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department of eThekwini, among a host of other achievements.

Prof. Roberts also established the Durban Metropolitan Open Space System and has been a key influence for South Africa in numerous climate change round tables.

President Cyril Ramaphosa largely advocated for her leadership after endorsing her candidacy, sharing:

“If elected, Professor Roberts would be the first woman and first person from Africa to be an IPCC chair in the organisation’s history.”

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Human Settlements Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, is leading a South African delegation to the Second United Nations Habitat (UN-Habitat) Assembly, which is currently underway in Nairobi, Kenya.
The UN-Habitat Assembly is the highest global decision-making body on sustainable urbanisation and human settlements, which convenes every four years.

The assembly, which is being held from 5 to 9 June 2023, takes place every four years, and is bringing together representatives from 193 member states.

Held under the theme, “A Sustainable Urban Future through Inclusive and Effective Multilateralism: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Times of Global Crises”, the gathering is open to all UN member states and determines the global strategic direction on human settlements and sustainable urbanisation.

The department said South Africa’s participation in the assembly was significant in that it sought to, among others, obtain support for the Global Action Plan Framework on Informal Settlements and Slums, launched in the country in October 2022.

“The Global Action Plan is aimed at accelerating the transformation of informal settlements and slums by 2030. The South African Government has been championing the urgent need to transform informal settlements as a crucial entry point and catalyst to achieve Sustainable Development Goals,” the department said in a statement.

The delegation includes, among others, South Africa’s High Commissioner to Kenya, Mninwa Mahlangu; Limpopo Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC, Basikopo Makamu; South African Local Government Association President, Bheki Stofie; and UN World Urban Campaign and National Coordinator of Federation of Urban Poor Chairperson, Rose Molokoane.

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The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s Working on Fire Programme is deploying a team of more than 200 firefighters and management to the Canadian province of Alberta to assist with firefighting and fire suppression efforts.
This will be the fifth deployment by a Working on Fire team to Canada.

“I would like to extend my best wishes to the team as you embark on your deployment to Canada to help put out the fires raging in Alberta.


"You go to Canada to raise the South African flag and share your expertise and camaraderie with colleagues from other Canadian provinces to save lives, homes, businesses and large swathes of vegetation,” the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, said on Friday, 2 June 2023.

The request for urgent assistance came from the Canadian Inter-agency Forest Fire Centre in terms of the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Canada and South Africa.

Alberta has already experienced more than 550 wildfires this season, resulting in significant damage to property and infrastructure, and displacing thousands of people. Evacuation orders have been put in place in many areas.

The MoU, signed in 2019, provides for the exchange of wildland fire management resources between South Africa and Canada. It was put in place following two earlier deployments to Canada to suppress wild fires in Alberta and Manitoba.

The first deployment of 200 firefighters and 15 managers departed for Canada on a chartered aircraft from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport on Saturday, 3 June 2023. The deployment will see the team assist firefighters in Canada for 35 days.

“A second team of 200 firefighters and 13 managers will join the crew in Alberta in a week’s time. The 2023 Canadian deployment team comprises pump trained firefighters, who have a valid Yellow Card; more than three years actual firefighting experience and who are physically fit,” the department said.

Twenty-five per cent of the selected firefighters in the first deployment are women.

This includes two members of the management team, which highlights Working on Fire’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

A number of the team members have previous international firefighting experience, which further enhances the expertise in tackling complex fire situations.

“We are proud of the fact that South Africa is again able to assist Canadian firefighting teams in their battle to bring the wildfires under control. The extensive experience and training of these firefighters will significantly enhance efforts to effectively suppress and manage the wildfires in Alberta,” said Minister Creecy.

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Palaeontologists in South Africa said on Monday, 5 June 2023, they had found the oldest known burial site in the world, containing remains of a small-brained distant relative of humans previously thought incapable of complex behaviour.
Led by renowned palaeoanthropologist Lee Berger, researchers said they discovered several specimens of Homo naledi ‒ a tree-climbing, Stone Age hominid ‒ buried about 30 metres (100 feet) underground in a cave system within the Cradle of Humankind, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation world heritage site near Johannesburg.

"These are the most ancient interments yet recorded in the hominin record, earlier than evidence of Homo sapiens interments by at least 100 000 years," the scientists wrote in a series of yet to be peer reviewed and preprint papers to be published in eLife.

The findings challenge the current understanding of human evolution, as it is normally held that the development of bigger brains allowed for the performing of complex, "meaning-making" activities such as burying the dead.

The oldest burials previously unearthed, found in the Middle East and Africa, contained the remains of Homo sapiens and were around 100 000 years old.

 – Source:



Africa’s plans to build capacity to respond to future pandemics has received a major boost after the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) received an investment worth US$4 458 033 (R80 million) from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to drive skills and health innovation. 
The investment, which seeks to strengthen Africa’s biomanufacturing capability through a workforce training and skills development programme, is a significant milestone that will reduce the continent’s dependence on imported critical health products.

“Skills development and the establishment of the necessary infrastructure in the field of biomanufacturing require urgent action to strengthen our capability to manufacture health products that are accessible and cost-effective locally,” said CSIR Group Executive: Advanced Chemistry and Life Sciences, Dr Rachel Chikwamba.

Dr Chikwamba believes the cash injection will reduce the continent’s reliance on imported therapeutics and promote the development of tailored health products for the African population.

“Therefore, this workforce development programme will have a significant catalytic role in stimulating local biomanufacturing by providing hands-on training and competency-building,” she said.

The grant, according to the CSIR, will support local training and workforce development for the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients, biopharmaceuticals and vaccines in Africa.

The investment will also contribute to the modernisation of infrastructure and equipment that are key to building a robust local biomanufacturing capability.

“The grant from the Gates Foundation will allow for the expansion of the existing microbial production facility and the establishment of bench-scale production using mammalian cell-culture systems. This is a key focus area for us because, quite often, lead biopharmaceuticals that are discovered in Africa remain in the research and development phase and never reach commercial reality,” explained CSIR Research Group Leader: Bioprocess Technologies, Dr Santosh Ramchuran.

According to Dr Ramchuran, the work, which will support product development, is in keeping with the CSIR’s role in research translation and innovation.

“We provide knowledge, skills development and infrastructure to drive sustainability in the biotech sector,” he added.

The initiative will focus on black female candidates and applicants from other African countries to make up a majority of those who will benefit from the programme.

The CSIR, an entity of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa.

The CSIR undertakes directed and multidisciplinary research and technological innovation, as well as industrial and scientific development to improve the quality of life of all South Africans.

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The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has scooped the world’s top spot for universities doing the most in the fight against poverty.
UJ is putting up its fists in the fight against poverty, and now has the global recognition to prove it.

In a refreshing worldwide report, universities from around the world were scored based on how much impact they’re making toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

Here, 17 “impact goals” were investigated as institutions went under the microscope.

This is based on the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all member states in 2015 and includes:

  • No Poverty
  • Zero Hunger
  • Good Health and Well-Being
  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Climate Action
  • Life Below Water
  • Life on Land
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • Partnerships for the Goals.

Times Higher Education revealed that UJ scored first overall in the world in the fight against poverty, the No Poverty goal.

According to the report, the No Poverty goal is measured by looking at universities’ research on poverty, their support for students in need as well as citizens in their reach.

Of the top spot, UJ’s Principal, Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi, said:

“It is gratifying to see that our university has once again been recognised highly for its significant contribution to societal impact, sustainability and innovation, through the SDGs. We are very proud of this achievement and excited to see even more outputs from our scholars in the near future.”

UJ also scored in the top 10 for “Decent Work and Economic Growth”, while other South African universities like the University of Pretoria and the University of the Witwatersrand made us proud in efforts toward the same category, and the University of Cape Town earned a high score for “Clean Water and Sanitation”.

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Afroama, a new Encyclopaedia dedicated to African history, current events and the future, has been released to give people an accurate resource for their studies, curiosities and heritage.
Afrorama, a new African encyclopaedia and information platform has been launched on the back end of Africa Day for anyone with an interest in Africa. Afrorama provides a curated collection of articles, videos and other multimedia content.

This packaged, dynamic content includes information on arts and literature, business and politics, entertainment, geography and nature, history, sciences and technology and philosophy from pre-colonial times to the present day.

Afrorama aims to combat misinformation, promote a nuanced understanding of Africa and showcase its true beauty and complexity. Afrorama’s database of African knowledge is curated by a team of writers and researchers located globally – a team that strives to ensure that information about Africa is accurately represented.

Chloé Bertrand, platform founder and Managing Director of Afrorama, started Afrorama after struggling to find accessible, accurate and well-presented information related to the African continent.

“We are excited to launch Afrorama and progressively give people access to a comprehensive digital encyclopaedia of the African continent,” said Bertrand.

Afrorama is also launching an oral history competition, which invites afro-optimists from around the world to submit videos of themselves capturing the best and most captivating tales on African heritage, tradition and culture. Participants will stand a chance to win prizes including a cash prize and online courses and be featured across Afrorama’s platforms. The competition will run for two months from 25 May to 25 July 2023. Entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges, including Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, Managing Director, Sub-Saharan Africa at Spotify. Winners will be announced on 31 August, the International Day for People of African Descent.

Afrorama is available at

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South African photographer, Vuyo Mabheka, has received the prestigious Grand Prix Images Vevey Special Jury Prize Award for his photo series, “Popihuise”.
Grand Prix Images Vevey is an international photography competition attracting entries from artists worldwide. Mabheka's entry was chosen from 564 projects submitted to the Grand Prix Images Vevey from 65 countries.

Born in 1999 in Libode, Eastern Cape, Mabekha later moved to Thokoza, Johannesburg. In 2017, he discovered photography through the Of Soul and Joy project – a creative platform that aims to provide the township's youth and its surroundings with professional skills in the field of photography.

The 24-year-old has since participated in the group exhibitions In Thokoza: Place of Peace at Stop Sign Gallery (Johannesburg, 2019), Inganekwane at Constitution Hill (Johannesburg, 2021) and NWU Gallery (Potchefstroom, 2022).

Earlier this year, Mabheka joined Afronova Gallery as a represented artist.

Popihuise (a Xhosa vernacular version of the Afrikaans word for doll's house) explores the artist's lived experience through collaged still images, contrasting the childhood memories and the toys he would play with in his often-difficult lived reality.

Creating a unique series of artwork and installations inspired by this environment, Mabheka uses cut-out pictures from his childhood, drawings, and a photo collage to reference Umkokotelo, a slang term for reinvented structures.

"Through his photography, Vuyo Mabheka seeks out some kind of expressive truth to restore his memories and find a way to come to terms with the reality of life in a South African township, for himself and his community." -- Grand Prix Images Vevey jury.

Of Soul and Joy project manager, Jabulani Dhlamini, congratulated Mabheka, saying: "Vuyo embodies our mission at Of Soul and Joy, and we couldn't be prouder of this monumental achievement. His images are able to at once accommodate, engage and challenge audiences' perspectives ‒ a rare quality that he is only improving as his understanding of photography deepens."

Past Grand Prix Images Vevey award winners include Sasha Kurmaz from Ukraine, South Africa's Lebohang Kganye, and Kristine Potter from the United States.

– Source:



May was a good month for the Adspace Studio, being honoured at a second international awards ceremony in as many weeks ‒ this time at INMA's Global Media Awards in New York.
The studio won big at the International News Media Association's (INMA) flagship event on Friday, 26 May 2023, following on from their recent win at the Native Advertising Awards in Copenhagen earlier in May.

At the recent INMA awards, two Adspace24 digital solutions for product and price advertising ‒ Swipe Cards and Catalogue – won gold for the Most Creative Use of Advertising Formats; silver for Best Idea to Grow Advertising Sales; as well as the Best in Africa Award. The studio also won silver for its already award-winning content campaign City Press & ABSA Money Makeover in the Best Multi-Channel Client Advertising Campaign Category.

"These wins are a testament to the innovative, brilliant designers and content creators who make up our studio," says Jerusha Raath, Head of Adspace Studio. "They’re truly the best in the business – globally."

Adspace Studio is a division of Media24's leading sales team Adspace24. It is responsible for the commercial content published on News24, in City Press and in Media24's other news titles, as well as the digital ads placed in the News24 and Netwerk24 networks.

The wins were the second round of global honours earned by the team in as many weeks. Earlier in May, the team won the gold award for Native Advertising Studio of the Year for teams fewer than 20 employees at the Native Advertising Awards in Denmark.

It also took the bronze award for Best Use of Print Media at the same awards for City Press & Absa Money Makeover.

Here, the studio joined the company of BBC Storyworks, which was named Studio of the Year for teams of more than 20 employees. The jury consisted of studio heads from Vox Media, the BBC, Conde Nast and the Washington Post, among others.

"Being a winner on an international stage, speaks to the quality and calibre of our team’s expertise and skill at Adspace Studio. We are truly world class," says Adspace24 General Manager, Tasmia Ismail.

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Adding another notch to South Africa’s belt in global recognitions, Franschhoek’s gorgeous Boschendal vineyard has been dubbed the “World’s Most Beautiful Vineyard”.
Beating numerous other wine farms for the coveted spot (including the likes of the Champagne region in France), Boschendal was deemed the champion of vineyard aesthetics.

CV Villas went through an extensive process to deem the top dogs in wine. First, by studying the top 50 red, white, rosé and sparkling wines themselves. Then, by cross-referencing them with their average score to discover their home regions.

Soon, the 200 champions of wine were revealed and yes, Champagne certainly sparkled on the top Wine Destinations List.

“The vineyard claiming the prize as the most beautiful in the world is Boschendal, in South Africa’s Cape Wineland district, which has been shared with the world 95 501 times,” shared CV Villas of the winner.

Boschendal has been around since 1685, known for its many charms. Lush greenery, flower fields and quaint Dutch buildings brushed against the backdrop of surrounding mountains are just some of its sweet spots amid the wine, of course.

While Boschendal took first prize, other South African wine farms also made the list, including: Tokara Winery, Waterkloof and Spier Wine Farm.

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The Gourmand Cookbook Fair took place recently and several South African authors took home prizes for their work.
The fair screened over 100 000 books from 230 countries to select the overall global winners. The 2023 awards recently took place in Umea, Sweden, and there were many South Africans honoured.

“The scope of this selection reflects the passion of all humanity for cooking, as well as the immense food challenges of the 21st century.”

The Proudly South African winners are:

  • Mokgadi Itsweng was awarded a special award for her book Veggielicious.
  • Zola Nene won the 2023 Gourmand “Food and Media Celebrity – English Speaking” Award for her cookbook, Simply 7 Colours. She also won the World Food Television Award for her Tik Tok.
  • Mogau Seshoene won fourth place for the 2023 Gourmand “Entertaining” Award for her cookbook, Hosting with the Lazy Makoti: A Celebration of Food.
  • Neo Nontso won second place for the 2023 Gourmand “First Cookbook” Award for her cookbook, @dinewithneo – my insta feast.
  • The Gourmet Guide won the award for “Best Publishers – Digital”. It is South Africa’s leading restaurant ratings guide.
  • A cookbook from four incredible wine regions, featuring South Africa, won the 2023 Gourmand “Best International Book” award.
  • Louis Jansen van Vuuren and Isabella Niehaus won third place for the 2023 Gourmand “French” Award for their cookbook, There’s a vegan on my verandah. They also won the award for the Subject – Vegan.
  • Chef Mbombi won fourth place in the 2023 Gourmand “Best African Cookbook” Award for his cookbook, An African Bite.
  • Cooking from the Heart, DASH Edition. A cookbook initiative between Pharma Dynamics and The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa. It won the 2023 Gourmand “Pro Health and Nutrition” Award.
  • The Zaki Family won fourth place for the 2023 Gourmand “Subjects – Bread” Award for their cookbook, Just Teddy.
  • Leslie van der Merwe won the 2023 Gourmand “Subjects – Game Meat” Award for his cookbook, Everyday Venison.

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The World Cetacean Alliance recently announced some epic news for whale lovers in South Africa. Plettenberg Bay has been named the seventh whale wonder of the world as a Whale Heritage Site.
Two of the seven whale heritage sites are also proudly South Africa: The Bluff and Algoa Bay. Plettenberg Bay’s addition is another nod to all the whale activists and communities in South Africa who work tirelessly to protect the gentle water giants and affirmation that their efforts do not go unnoticed.

“Very few places have been granted full Whale Heritage Site status, demonstrating the importance of destinations such as Plettenberg Bay where tourists can support local conservation and see whales and dolphins responsibly in their natural habitat,” shared the World Cetacean Alliance as part of its announcement.

Given its location between two marine protected areas (Tsitsikamma and Robberg), Plettenberg Bay is a hotspot for a host of aquatic diversity, from Orcas who visit during whale season to locals like the Bryde’s whale and winter-dwellers like the Humpback.

The Whale Heritage Site Programme is an important celebration of people who care for their coastal ecosystems, awarding communities for their care, and celebrating and protecting aquatic neighbours like whales.

It is a way to let the world know which areas have the environment and conservation efforts front of mind through whale consciousness.

Especially with conservation efforts like the Plett Ocean Festival, Plettenberg Bay is well-deserving of this splash of an award.

Meanwhile, in other wonderful whale news, an AI system that is designed to protect whales from dangerous man-made encounters has been developed in South Africa ‒ a big win for both whale species and the planet.

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Paris is still calling Dr Esther Mahlangu as the Galerie Enrico Navarra extends her successful showing of “The Breath of Calligraphy”.
In early May, it was announced that Dr Esther Mahlangu’s work would once again be honoured with solo exhibitions. She had three shows for the month of May: one in London and two in Paris. The second in Paris, at the Galerie Enrico Navarra was such a success, it has been extended!

“Enrico Navarra has decided to extend Dr Esther Mahlangu’s solo in Paris as it has been so well received. We will travel to Switzerland in June to attend the launch of an exciting AI project with Dr Mahlangu, BMW, and Art Drunk at Art Basel” – Craig Mark, Director at the Melrose Gallery.

Not only that but the talented Doctor of the Arts has been invited to take part in the Art Basel in Basel 2023, by BMW. The company is presenting “The Electric AI Canvas”, which will see the virtual works transformed into physical art as artists are invited to transform an electric BMW i5 into a dynamic canvas of distinct generative art. Dr Esther Mahlangu has been included in this and will travel to Switzerland with The Melrose Gallery in June 2023.

Dr Mahlangu is a South African artist from the Ndebele nation and best known for her bold, large-scale contemporary paintings that reference her Ndebele heritage. Dr Mahlangu’s art references are found in the clothing and jewellery of the Ndebele people.

Over the years, she has become an international icon in art and has proudly shown her heritage to the world. This has earned her many accolades, including being honoured three times with honorary doctorates.

Dr Mahlangu’s show will be running until 30 June 2023.

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The stage was Musa Motha’s once again during the season finale of “Britain’s Got Talent” (BGT). His BGT performance earned a standing ovation from all the judges, a nod to the notion that no matter where the future takes him, it’s going to be bright.
Throughout his BGT journey, the cancer survivor and South African talent became synonymous with the kind of dance mainstream TV often sleeps on ‒ dance that moves our feelings out of their hiding places.

With one leg, Motha was able to tell stories of resilience through rhythm, earning him crowd favour, tears and a unique golden buzzer straight to the semi-finals; a showcase he won.

As the curtain drew for the finals over the weekend, it was evident that the moment was Motha’s.

The performance was of the same calibre that the dancer has carried throughout his stage presence with an added dose of fierce, adrenaline-soaked movements.

Despite the standing ovation and crowd calls, Motha didn’t win the competition. Viggo Venn from Norway may have won the show, but Motha won the hearts watching at home and better yet, the hearts of those who didn’t even follow the show for any other reason but him.

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In a stunning and emotional display of talent, Mzansi Youth Choir from South Africa took the stage on “America’s Got Talent” (“AGT”) and left both the judges and the audience in awe. Their breathtaking rendition of Nightbirde’s song “It’s Ok” not only paid homage to an inspiring artist but also touched the hearts of everyone present.

The heartfelt performance was so moving that, for the first time in the history of AGT, the Golden Buzzer was awarded by the audience.

Mzansi Youth Choir, known for its impeccable harmonies and vibrant energy, brought their unique sound to the AGT stage with an emotional twist. The decision to cover Nightbirde’s song was not a random choice. The choir was deeply inspired by Nightbirde’s story and her uplifting message of resilience in the face of adversity. They saw the opportunity to pay tribute to a fellow artist who had touched the world with her strength and courage.

As the members of Mzansi Youth Choir filled the stage, their voices united in perfect harmony. The beautiful composition of their voices, coupled with their powerful choreography, created a mesmerizing performance that transcended language and cultural barriers. The audience was captivated from the very first note, feeling the raw emotion pouring out from each member of the choir.

The choir’s rendition of It’s Ok was a heartfelt portrayal of the struggles and triumphs of the human spirit. Their voices carried the weight of the lyrics, reminding everyone that it is okay to face challenges and find the strength to persevere. The emotional impact was tangible, and tears flowed freely from both the judges and the audience.

As the last note echoed through the auditorium, the room was filled with a profound silence. The judges, visibly moved by the performance, rose to their feet in a unanimous standing ovation. The audience erupted in thunderous applause, expressing their deep appreciation for the choir’s exceptional talent and the heartfelt tribute they had just witnessed.

Just when it seemed like the moment couldn’t get any more extraordinary, the unexpected happened. The AGT host, overcome with emotion, gave the audience the choice to award Mzansi Youth Choir with the coveted Golden Buzzer. The deafening cheers and tears of joy filled the air, as the choir members hugged each other, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the honour bestowed upon them.

“You defined what this show absolutely is all about,” Simon Cowell’s stated.

The Golden Buzzer, usually reserved for the judges, signifies a truly exceptional performance that has the power to move and inspire. In this historic moment, the audience recognised the profound impact of Mzansi Youth Choir’s tribute to Nightbirde and their ability to touch the deepest corners of the human soul.

The choir’s music director, Sidumo Nyamezele, explains: “During every new season of ‘America’s Got Talent’, each of the four judges and the host are given one opportunity to press the Golden Buzzer for any act they liked most during the series. For every season there is also one Group Golden Buzzer. That one Golden Buzzer allows the participant to move straight to the semi-final rounds. For the first time in the 18th season 2023, an Audience Group Buzzer was introduced to the former Group Buzzer: all four of the judges, the host in the wings as well as the audience representative come together, put their hands on top of one another and press the Golden Buzzer simultaneously. This is the first season where the Audience Golden Buzzer was introduced, and Mzansi Youth Choir made history by receiving nothing less than all six Golden Buzzers simultaneously”.

The Mzansi Youth Choir’s performance on AGT will forever be etched in the show’s history as a powerful testament to the transformative power of music and the universal language it speaks. Their ability to unite people from different backgrounds and cultures through their extraordinary talent is testament to the enduring power of the human spirit.

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South African talent continues to shine, earning golden buzzer passes from all corners of the world.
Completing the triple-threat streak of golden goodness for South Africa is Belinda Davids. Known for her powerful vocals channelling the late Whitney Houston, Davids has lit up stages all around the world from Cape Town to Frankfurt.

Born in Port Elizabeth, Davids grew up to the sounds of Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway and of course, Whitney Houston.

She began nurturing her vocal craft from a young age without any training. As she grew through life, she took Whitney with her to almost every stage; family gatherings, competitions and later on, her hugely popular Greatest Love of All concerts.

Recently, she returned to the Got Talent stage to compete against the best-of-the-best performers who made it, won or wowed at the final stretches of the Got Talent franchise.

Back in 2020, Belinda Davids took on Britain’s Got Talent in an audition that left us all feeling proudly South Africa.

Simon Cowell even went as far as to praise her performance as “the moment we’ve been waiting for”, and soon Davids was through to the semi-finals.

For her comeback performance at the recent All Stars, Davids performed Houston’s I Have Nothing, one of the late singer’s most emotive ballads.

Her performance and energy were so loved, they earned her a golden buzzer pass, a powerful moment for anyone who has dedicated so much of their life to song.

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The famous South African icon, Chef Siba Mtongana, has bagged two more awards for her restaurant after earning international status as Cape Town’s Most Exclusive Fine Dining Experience for 2023.
Chef Siba Mtongana is cooking up a storm in more ways than can be plated. After her sought-after eatery, Siba The Restaurant, earned international accolade a few weeks ago, Chef Siba bagged two more sparkling awards for her culinary finesse.

Recently, the prestigious Luxe Restaurant Awards were underway in Johannesburg where culinary magicians were awarded for their service to South Africa’s tastebuds.

Here, Chef Siba followed in the footsteps she made the year before (she earned the Culinary Icon award) by bagging not one, but two sought-after achievements for her restaurant known for its African flair through food.

Siba held the Best Hotel Restaurant Award and the Service Excellence Award under each arm, beaming with joy at her wins of the night.

“This is for the entire team in Cape Town that keeps us going,” she shared.

The Luxe Awards are presented to the Holy Grail of Foodies (South Africa’s Culinary Elite) recognising outstanding chefs, restaurants and culinary professionals.

Winners are selected by a team of anonymous food critics as well as by the public through a digital vote.

“The restaurant business is hard, so these awards are as much for me, as my team. We couldn’t have achieved any of these awards without our amazing and talented Front of House team as well as the engine – our chefs in the back, our support team at The Siba Co Group, our landlords at The Table Bay Hotel and everyone else who believed in this crazy dream,” Siba said.

“Our beloved guests who travel constantly across the country and from outside the country to dine with us which keeps our fires burning”.

Another nod to the restaurant’s glittering moment comes because it was opened during the peak of the pandemic, easily the toughest time for the hospitality industry collectively. It is also Siba Mtongana’s first adventure in the hospitality industry.

You can visit Siba The Restaurant at the Table Bay Hotel in the V&A Waterfront.

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Zalika Methula is diving straight toward her dream of being an Olympic champion. Her recent selection to represent South Africa as part of South Africa’s diving squad for the World Aquatic Championships is a plunge closer to Paris (where the 2024 Olympics take place); a dream she’s had for years.
This follows another huge milestone for the talented diver who, at 16 years old, was invited to dive at the FINA World Championship in Budapest ‒ one of only two black divers (alongside Keratile Manaka) to achieve this.

But, Zalika’s talent almost comes second to her determination. She’s been diving since she was nine years old, an age where the pool is more often than not associated with floaties. Breath-holding competitions. Maybe a handstand or two.

For Zalika’s, the diving itch turned into a passion ‒ and one that might just lead South Africa to great heights and plunges. She was already awarded Most Promising Athlete earlier this year, and we can’t wait to see her hoist South Africa’s flag among the world’s diving stars.

The World Aquatic Champs are set to take place from 14 to 30 July in Fukuoka and we will be rooting for all the epic divers: Julia Vincent, Bailey Heydra, Stefan Steenkamp and of course, Zalika Methula.

Meanwhile, in other en-route to the Olympics news, South Africa’s gymnastics team took gold recently, earning them an automatic qualification for the World Championships in Belgium and status as the Artistic Gymnastics Champs of the continent.

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Two South African surfers, Jordy Smith and Sarah Baum, are the first surfers to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Two South African surfing superstars nabbed the first qualifying spots for the 2024 Paris Olympics in surfing and have aptly been dubbed Africa’s male and female champions of the waves.

The qualifying event ‒ the 2023 ISA World Surfing Games ‒ took place in El Salvador recently where both surfing stars rode to the greatest heights. Beyond qualifying for the big leagues, they both took the official titles of top-ranked male and female African surfers.

A total of eight qualifying spots were up for the taking, with 48 spots in total set to surf at Olympic level.

As surfing only became an Olympic sport in 2021(the postponed 2020 games), it’s a pioneering moment for South African wave cruisers.

And, for Smith, it’s the revisiting of a dream come true. If you’re wondering why we never saw Smith strut his surfboard in Tokyo for the last Olympic stretch, it’s because he had to withdraw last minute due to a knee injury that would’ve impacted his performance and potential health.

“A lot of hard work has gone into achieving this since I had to sit 2020 out due to injury. It’s paid off and couldn’t be more stoked to represent [South Africa],” Smith said on social media.

Both surfers hail from Durban. Despite living abroad now in Australia, Baum shared:

“Even though I live out of South Africa, I’m so proud to be South African and I’ve always just wanted to wave the flag wherever I am.”

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