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As South Africa prepares to host the 15th BRICS Summit in August, President Vladimir Putin has expressed his full support and confidence in the summit’s success. 

The Russian Head of State stressed the close collaboration between Russia and South Africa in various international fora like the United Nations, G20 and other multilateral organisations such as BRICS, which is currently being chaired by South Africa.

“We closely and constructively cooperate within this grouping in order to extend our strategic cooperation between the five countries [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa].

“I am convinced that the meeting you are currently preparing for will be held on the highest level possible. I have no doubts about this and we will spare no effort in giving our assistance to you,” he said.

President Putin was speaking on Saturday, 29 July 2023, during a bilateral meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa at Konstantinovsky Palace in St Petersburg. The gathering was held to discuss South Africa and Russia’s bilateral relations.

In response, President Ramaphosa expressed his sincere appreciation, underscoring the longstanding history of collaboration between the two nations.

He emphasised that their cooperation went back to their joint efforts within the G20, where they had successfully worked together on numerous critical issues.

Additionally, President Ramaphosa said that the partnership extended to the BRICS platform, where they have actively engaged in addressing matters of mutual interest.

“We are delighted to have your support as we are going to host BRICS in a few weeks. We agree with you that BRICS should be held at an appropriate level.

“We are in the process of preparing for BRICS and we thank you for the support you are giving and that you are willing to give. As it is, a number of Russian officials and ministers have been to South Africa to attend the various preparatory meetings that are taking place for BRICS. We are hoping that the participation of all the BRICS countries will lead to a valuable outcome. We are looking forward to a successful summit,” President Ramaphosa said.

Turning his attention to the recently concluded second Russia-Africa Summit, President Ramaphosa lauded President Putin for hosting a successful summit, with a declaration that was “well negotiated and well crafted”, representing the views of various countries.

President Ramaphosa took the opportunity to express gratitude to his counterpart for hosting a successful and well-organised summit.

“We believe the summit was successful and well organised. The outcome was very good and the declaration was well negotiated and well crafted.

“It represents the views of various countries that were here and put together with your views. I believe that we have a declaration that can take forward our relationship between Africa and Russia.

“What is particularly pleasing is that Russia conducts its relationship with Africa at a strategic level, with a great deal of respect for and recognition of the sovereignty of African states,” the President said.

President Ramaphosa acknowledged that Russia's support for Africa had remained steadfast over time, dating back to the days of the Soviet Union. He expressed satisfaction that the spirit of cooperation between Russia and Africa endures to this day.

Trade ties

Regarding the bilateral relationship between Russia and South Africa, President Ramaphosa affirmed that the two nations shared and upheld strong ties.

“It’s a multi-level relationship. On an investment level, there are quite a number of companies in the South African market that are also invested in the Russia market,” he said.

The President emphasised that South Africa was grappling with an energy crisis and could gain valuable insights from Russia's experience.

“Currently, South Africa is going through an energy crisis and we could learn a lot and do a lot together with Russia on the energy side. On the science and technology side, there's a great deal that we can learn from each other. We can learn a lot from you,” he said.

The President mentioned his interest in exploring fields such as space, noting the presence of a space institute in South Africa.

“You have advanced a great deal in space, and that is one area in which we could cooperate.

“We appreciate the support we received from Russia during COVID-19. Your innovation when it came to COVID-19 helped to inspire our own scientists. I remember you [President Putin] and I having a conversation after our scientists discovered Omicron and we spoke on the phone. You sent Russian scientists to South Africa so that we could exchange views. I do believe that that was really impactful. We thank you for that,” the President said.

Regarding education, President Ramaphosa expressed South Africa's deep appreciation for the support received from Russia. He conveyed his desire to encourage an increasing number of students to pursue studies in various disciplines in Russia.

President Ramaphosa acknowledged the value of the extensive support provided by President Putin to many South Africans who have been educated in Russia and expressed his wish to see this support continue.

Furthermore, President Ramaphosa praised President Putin's stance on the representation of Africa at the United Nations (UN) level.

“We'd like to appreciate your position on the issue of the representation of Africa at the UN level. We continue to be a continent that is not represented in the key structures of the UN. Thank you for being supportive in that regard,” he said.

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The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, on Tuesday, 1 August 2023, hosted the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Yoshimasa Hayashi. The two ministers held consultations focussing on various bilateral and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

The visit of the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs marked the continuation of high-level engagements between South Africa and Japan on a bilateral level, and it was a follow-up to a telephonic engagement between the two ministers in early June 2023.

Japan is one of the major investors (over R90 billion) into the South African economy and has a presence of 273 companies, sustaining over 200 000 local job opportunities. Investments by Japan in the automotive industry include R4.28 billion by Toyota, R3.2 billion by Nissan and R1.2 billion by Isuzu in the past two years while several new investments were made, among others, by Sumitomo Rubber, Komatsu, Kansai Paint, NEC, Lixel, Nomura Investment and Tokyo Marine.

At the conclusion of the visit of Minister Hayashi, Minister Pandor launched the Mapungubwe Dialogues under the theme: Agenda 2063 @ 10: Consolidating the Gains Made over the Past Decade, Keeping the Momentum towards the Second Ten-year Implementation Plan: 2024 ‒ 2034.

The Mapungubwe Dialogues is a series of dialogues and open discussions bringing together members of the Diplomatic Corps from the continent who are based in Pretoria as well as think tanks and African Union organs based in South Africa (such as NEPAD, African Peer Review Mechanism, the Pan-African Parliament and the African Development Bank). The launch was timely as it took place during the 10th anniversary of the adoption of Agenda 2063.



The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, undertook a Working Visit to Ethiopia to co-chair the Fourth Session of the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) with her counterpart, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Demeke Mekonnen, on Monday, 31 July 2023.

Minister Pandor also used the opportunity of her visit to Ethiopia to visit the Kolfe Military Training Centre, where former President Nelson Mandela received his military training. Minister Pandor’s visit to the centre formed part of activities aimed at commemorating Mandela Month, which is commemorated in July in South Africa.

Minister Pandor also delivered a lecture in celebration of the University of South Africa’s (Unisa) 150th anniversary, under the theme, Science Diplomacy (and Innovation) in the Reclaiming of Africa’s Intellectual Futures into the Next 150 Years, at the Ethiopian Regional Centre.

The JMC oversees the implementation of numerous bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding across various sectors, including trade and investment, science and innovation, health, education and culture.

The JMC was preceded by the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) from 27 to 28 July 2023 and received feedback on the agreed minutes of the SOM from the co-chairs of the two working groups that have been established, namely, Political and Social Working Group and the Economic Working Group.

Diplomatic relations between South Africa and Ethiopia were established in 1994. In 2004, the two countries signed a General Cooperation Agreement, which provides for annual meetings of senior officials. In 2008, a JMC was established, which created an overarching framework for cooperation and partnership between the two countries.

In January 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa received Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on an Official Visit to South Africa. During the visit, the two leaders emphasised the need to focus more on economic cooperation issues. Three legal instruments were signed: Waiver of Visas on Diplomatic and Service Passports; Memorandum of Understanding on Health Cooperation; and Tourism Cooperation.

Among others, the key objectives of the Minister’s visit to Ethiopia were to:

  • strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation through the convening of the Fourth Session of the JMC between South Africa and Ethiopia
  • enhance the implementation rate of the signed agreements and memoranda of understanding
  • explore new possible economic, trade and investment cooperation areas, especially in telecommunications, road infrastructure, mining, agro-processing, trade and investment, and manufacturing to the benefit of both countries
  • highlight successes in the bilateral relations such as the achievements by Unisa - Addis Ababa, identify challenges and work together to find solutions
  • receive an update from the Minister’s counterpart regarding current developments in Ethiopia and the process of national dialogue
  • share views on issues of mutual concern in the region and on the continent to advance the African Union’s objectives as outlined in Agenda 2063
  • exchange views on issues of global concern, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the support for the struggle of the peoples of Western Sahara and Palestine.



Also delivering speeches on the occasion of the lecture were the Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of South Africa (Unisa), Professor Puleng LenkaBula, and the Ethiopian Minister of Education, Dr Bernahu Nega.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, delivered a lecture in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Unisa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday 31 July 2023.

The lecture, premised on the topic: Science Diplomacy (and Innovation) in the Reclaiming of Africa’s Intellectual Futures into the next 150 Years, was organised jointly by Unisa, the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation as well as the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Ethiopia. It underscored Unisa’s commitment to the renaissance of the continent and its pride as an African university seeking to advance the following goals:

  • supporting the objectives of the African Union’s (AU) Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Department, which coordinates the AU programmes on human resources development, education, science and technology and promoting the youth development agenda
  • encouraging scholarship and thought leadership on the impact of shifting global geopolitics on the African continent and how to reposition the continent for the future
  • supporting the catalytic niche areas of Unisa, championed by the Principal and Vice Chancellor, with the aim of activating and enhancing the academic agenda
  • promoting Unisa as a thought leader on continental issues, including innovation in the higher education sector, the changing global geopolitics and benefits of eLearning modalities to meet the knowledge production needs of the continent
  • promoting intra-Africa knowledge production and knowledge-sharing
  • promoting science diplomacy.

Unisa’s vision demonstrates its pride in its African roots and identity as it responds to Africa’s needs and aspirations nationally, on the continent and on the global scene. This is the milieu that holds the anchor, ethos and vision of the Unisa-Ethiopia Regional Learning Centre, which was inaugurated in January 2007 as a practical manifestation of Unisa’s vision outside the borders of the Republic of South Africa.

Hinged on the South-South paradigm of operation between South Africa and Ethiopia, Unisa began operating in Ethiopia with the sole mandate to assist the Ethiopian Government in human-capital development in the sphere of education.



The Government of the Republic of South Africa condemns the coup d’état in the Republic of Niger and calls on the military establishment to ensure the safety of President Mohamed Bazoum. The Government further calls for the return of the military forces to their barracks and for the speedy restoration of the democratic order in Niger.

The South African Government strongly rejects unlawful seizure of power by any group or individual as this reverses democratic gains and development and threatens the realisation of Africa’s aspiration for a better Africa.

South Africa fully supports the positions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and the United Nations in their call for all parties to return to constitutional rule urgently and unconditionally and to refrain from further interference with the democratically elected Government of the Republic of Niger.

South Africa encourages the international community to continue to support the people of Niger, the initiative by ECOWAS and the fundamental role of the civilians in the transitional process leading towards the restoration of normalcy and civilian-led government in the country.




The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes, has concluded his successful Working Visit to the Republic of Chile and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, which took place from 22 to 26 July 2023.

The purpose of the visits was to strengthen political, economic and social relations as well as multilateral cooperation.

In Santiago, Chile, the Deputy Minister commenced his visit by co-chairing the Eighth Joint Consultative Mechanism between South Africa and Chile. The meeting discussed areas of mutual interest, which include education; mining; science and innovation; social development; sport, arts and culture; trade and investment; and parliamentary relations.

The Deputy Minister also met with the Chile-South Africa Chamber of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, which included CEOs of South African and Chilean companies, to discuss cooperation in trade and investment and exchange notes on multilateral issues of mutual concern.

The Deputy Minister concluded his visit to Chile by launching the Exhibition on the 10th-Year Remembrance of Nelson Mandela at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago.

In Montevideo, Uruguay, the Deputy Minister co-chaired the Second Meeting of the South Africa and Uruguay Bilateral Consultations Mechanism on Wednesday, 26 July 2023.

The two countries reviewed progress since the first meeting of 2022 and discussed areas of bilateral cooperation in agribusiness; sport; arts and culture; education; energy; mining; social development; science and technology; and trade and investment and exchanged notes on multilateral issues of mutual concern.




South Africa’s tourism sector continues to exhibit strong recovery post-COVID-19, with the first half of 2023 recording more than four million tourist arrivals.

This is a significant increase from the 2.3 million tourist arrivals between January and June 2022.

The total number of tourist arrivals to South Africa between January and June 2023 showed a 78.2% surge in the first half of 2023 when compared to the same period in 2022.

“There has also been a substantial increase across all regions in the same period. Although the current growth demonstrates signs of recovery, we are still operating at 80% of our pre-pandemic capacity. In 2019, South Africa welcomed more than five million tourists between January and June,” the Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille said, on Thursday, 27 July 2023.

Minister de Lille said that the African region continued to bring the largest share of tourist arrivals to the country.

“We are pleased with the number of visitors that our country continues to receive from the rest of the African continent. This is testament to the marketing efforts that we have implemented to attract tourists from this region.

“Africa remains a key source market for us, and we are committed to collaborating as a tourism sector to make sure we welcome visitors from this region and that we cater for their needs and preferences.

“Beyond the African continent, South Africa has welcomed more visitors from other regions too. These robust figures showcase South Africa’s charm and attractiveness as well as the work that we are doing in marketing South Africa as a tourist destination of choice,” Minister de Lille said.

Minister de Lille said the substantial increase, particularly from Australasia and Asia, reflected the global trend towards post-pandemic travel recovery.

“We are growing stronger each day and we are determined to pass pre-COVID-19 arrival numbers. South Africa is open for tourism and we are ready to welcome more tourists from across Africa and the globe to experience our diverse cultures and heritage.

“I wish to express my deepest gratitude to all travellers who chose to explore our country and contributed to the tourism sector’s growth and to our economy. The support of travellers, both domestic and international, has played a crucial role in revitalising our economy and restoring the vibrancy to our tourism sector.

“I also wish to thank the tourism private sector across the country for all your hard work to grow our tourism offering, promote South Africa as a must-see destination and for your amazing hospitality in welcoming and hosting our visitors,” the minister said.

South Africa was recently honoured by readers of the United Kingdom’s Telegraph Travel publication with the title of "Best Country" while Cape Town claimed the coveted title of "Best City in the World”.

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The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, launched the Energy One Stop Shop and Energy Resilience Fund on Thursday, 27 July 2023.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has tasked Invest South Africa to establish an Energy One Stop Shop to deal with and fast-track applications from energy developers.

The Energy One Stop Shop is expected to streamline regulatory processes required for private investment in electricity generation, facilitate pre-investment screening for all energy projects and thereby fast-track the approval of energy applications.

This is to be achieved through timely intervention in blockages and red tape, and consequently reduce both the time and cost of getting energy projects onto the grid.

The requirement for predictable energy availability has led the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) to formulate a series of interventions, including alternative energy generation solutions, storage and efficiency measures aimed at supporting businesses to become energy resilient.

Speaking during the launch, Minister Patel said the Energy One Stop Shop was developed to address a key constraint that energy developers face, namely that the many regulatory and other measures that need to be complied with, can and do slow down approval of energy supply projects.

“The Energy One Stop Shop and Energy Resilience Fund are critical steps towards alleviating the challenges faced by our industries during this energy crisis. We are committed to fostering a resilient business environment and accelerating private-sector investment in electricity generation to secure a stable energy future,” Minister Patel said.

“While The Presidency is exploring ways to simplify these processes, we have seen that having a dedicated resource available to the private sector, to address blockages, has worked in other parts of the economy.

“It is worth noting that we have also put in place several other instruments to support the energy transition – from new standards on lightbulbs issued in May this year, to exemptions granted to companies to collaborate on both the supply of energy and on demand-measures,” Minister Patel said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Energy Council of South Africa, James Mckay, said South Africa was re-shaping the regulatory landscape to facilitate the energy transition to distributed, decentralised and traded energy.

“There is significant reform still required and the One Stop Shop will play a significant role in developing this evolving landscape,” Mckay said.

Mckay said they needed all technologies, collaborative partnerships and significant investment.

The dtic said it had availed R240 million to be administered by the Industrial Development Corporation under the Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme’s Energy Resilience Fund to support companies through interest-free loans, while R150 million will be dispersed in partnership with the National Empowerment Fund to support businesses operating in townships.

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The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) has signed a technical cooperation agreement with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to promote quality and productivity improvement technologies in South Africa on Thursday, 27 July 2023.

This, according to the department, will be done through the implementation of a training programme, called Quality and Productivity Improvement (QPI), also known as Kaizen, across the country for the lower tier component suppliers in the automotive value chain, including the steel and metal sectors, across the country.

Kaizen is a hands-on and practical expertise programme developed through a participatory, learning-by-doing, human-focussed and process-oriented approach.

One of the key objectives of the project is to strengthen the competitiveness of the suppliers in the automotive sector, in line with the South African Automotive Masterplan 2035.

The main beneficiaries of the training project are organisations that form part of the dtic’s National Quality and Productivity Network.

Among these are training institutions and service providers that support business management and skills support for companies.

The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Nomalungelo Gina, says the programme's objectives would promote cooperation between management and workers in companies and organisations that assist to improve the quality of services and products.

"The benefits created by the QPI activities should be fairly distributed among management, workers and customers to promote the welfare of people and reduce disparity in society. Creating a functional training delivery system is one of the most critical issues for the success of the project.

“Members should share common values of QPI promotion in South Africa in order to strengthen business competitiveness and create job opportunities,” Deputy Minister Gina said.

The countrywide training programme started in Gauteng on 31 July 2023, with a launch ceremony to be held in Sandton.

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to build a facility near Matjiesfontein that will provide communications services for the next mission to send humans to the moon.
A delegation of NASA representatives was in South Africa to rekindle its relationship with the country.

This is according to international programme specialist at NASA, Gregory Mann, who was part of the delegation along with Badri Younes, senior adviser to NASA for space communications.

The delegation arrived in South Africa on Saturday, 22 July 2023

Top of the administration's plans in South Africa is the construction of a lunar exploration ground site (LEGS), which is being built in Matjiesfontein to enable communications for NASA's Artemis Programme, in which it plans to send the first woman and person of colour to the moon. The move was initially scheduled for 2025, but it is likely going to be delayed.

It will be the first time since 1972 that humans return to the moon.

To enable communications for the project, NASA is building three communications facilities known as LEGS across the world. The Matjiesfontein station in the Karoo is one of them.

Mann said part of the appeal for the construction of the LEGS antenna in South Africa was its global positioning at the tip of the African continent as the three LEGS facilities need to be spread across the globe to enable constant communications with the spacecraft.

Mann said the hope was that the LEGS facilities could be used for future missions beyond Artemis, including trips to Mars.

But NASA does not want its interaction with South Africa to end with the construction of the facility.

Mann said: “We see our cooperation with the South African National Space Agency not about building an antenna in Matjiesfontein, but about building a partnership with South African people here and that includes outreach and inspiration with the youth here.”

He added that South Africa and NASA had a relationship that stretches back 60 years, to when South Africa assisted in building a communications facility for the Apollo Programme.

In 1960, NASA established a tracking station at Hartebeeshoek that relayed communications from a spacecraft to NASA control centres.

"We've had a 60-plus-year partnership with South Africa, who were supporting the Apollo Programme back in the day with an antenna here. We are looking to rekindle that with this new antenna," said Mann.

"We have a partner that we know and trust, that knows what they are doing, that we can feel very comfortable with."

Education outreach

Mann added that skills development in South Africa was an important component of NASA's plan to build a relationship with the country.

The NASA delegation spent time doing outreach at Western Cape schools to get young people excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

He said a lot of the outreach was facilitated by Kids Innovate Africa, an edutech organisation that attempts to ignite interest in STEM fields at a grassroots level.

Rekindling partnerships

On Wednesday, 26 July 2023, the delegation flew to Gauteng to meet the South African National Space Agency’s (Sansa) new CEO, Humbulani Mudau, before heading to the Department of Science and Innovation to meet with the Director-General, Phil Mjwara.

He said the sessions were productive, and that they were "rekindling relationships" between South African agencies involved in space initiatives and NASA.

On Thursday, NASA travelled to Hartebeesthoek to see the Sansa space operations facility and meet the team as well as the United States Ambassador to South Africa..

On Friday, 28 July 2023, the delegation visited the Engineering Faculty at the University of Pretoria.

A BRICS meeting

It was a big week for space initiatives in South Africa.

The heads of the space agencies from the BRICS countries met in Hermanus last week to discuss potential avenues for collaboration and their visions for their space agencies.

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An award-winning game that was developed to teach primary school children in the Eastern Cape how to code – without using a computer – has gone global, thanks to the power of partnerships and thinking bigger.
In a captivating tale of innovation and impact, a group of business students in South Africa embarked on an extraordinary journey into the world of coding and big data.

What might have been a nerve-racking experience for these MBA students, turned into a game-changing initiative that has the potential to transform education not only in Africa, but also on the global stage.

The story begins with Byron Batterson, a former Honours student in Computer Science at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and now a programmer at Amazon. Fuelled by the belief that everyone needs a basic understanding of critical digital skills, Batterson developed an ingenious game to teach coding fundamentals to young learners, especially those in low-resource settings.

This game, originally called TANKS, evolved into RANGERS and BOATS, two exciting variations that shed the military references and offered a more inclusive learning experience.

What sets these games apart is their simplicity and accessibility. A combination of a cardboard puzzle and a phone app makes for an engaging coding adventure that requires no electricity and works offline. This makes it a perfect fit for schools in underprivileged and remote areas, where access to computers is scarce or non-existent.

It was the visionary eye of NMU’s Professor Jean Greyling that saw the true potential of these games. Together with Batterson, they joined forces with the Leva Foundation in Gqeberha, which became the implementation partner and helped fund the Tangible Africa program. Fast forward a few years, and Tangible Africa has expanded its reach across the continent, earning accolades and recognition along the way. But the impact did not stop there. Tangible Academies were established across the country, offering additional math and language lessons to exceptional learners. The results were astounding, with students’ academic performance seeing significant improvements. Beyond coding skills, the games also impart essential 21st-century skills like creativity, conceptual thinking and teamwork, preparing learners for a brighter future in the tech sector.

With over 100 000 learners and 2 000 teachers benefitting from Tangible Africa, the success story continued. Even MBA students at NMU Business School and participants in executive education programmes at Henley Business School Africa got to experience the transformative power of the games. A specially crafted module called “Big data and Coding” was co-created by Leva and Henley to help corporate middle managers embrace the world of big data without fear.

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Three Western Cape vineyards have made the World’s Best Vineyards list in the Top 50 and a further two made the Top 100 – highlighting just how incredible Western Cape vineyards are on a global scale.
The top 50 vineyards in the world were announced in mid-July at an event in Bodegas Beronia in the heart of Rioja Alta, Spain, by World’s Best Vineyards which compiles an annual list, showcasing the finest vineyard experiences from around the globe.

“The awards recognise the very best of wine tourism. I am thrilled that this year the Western Cape has three exceptional vineyards in the top 50, including Creation Wines in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in fourth, Klein Constantia at 32 and Delaire Graff Estate, in Stellenbosch at 36. I’d especially like to congratulate Creation Wines which secured a spot in the top five in the world and is recognised as the best vineyard in Africa, an accolade it has held for several years in a row,” said Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger.

There are a further two vineyards in the top 51 – 100, including Benguela Cove in Walker Bay, at 53rd, and Tokara Winery in Stellenbosch, at 93rd.

This news follows the announcement that Cape Town and South Africa were voted the best city and the best country in the entire world, according to the UK’s 2023 Telegraph Travel Awards.

“The rest of the world continues to recognise the incredible breadth and depth of excellent tourism offerings we have in the Western Cape and in beautiful South Africa. I believe that our province and country have everything it needs to succeed. Which is why we will continue to work with all levels of government, the private sector and all stakeholders to enable the growth of the tourism as well as other sectors, so we can achieve the break-out economic growth we need to create thousands of new jobs and the opportunities our residents need,” concluded Minister Wenger.

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A South African photographer is behind multiple album covers for Travis Scott’s “Utopia” release; another notch to South Africa’s creative belt at an international level.
As the hype continued to build until Travis Scott dropped his latest album Utopia on Thursday night, 27 July 2023, the album cover reveals had South African creatives feeling even more connected to the project. Scott credited South African photographer, Pieter Hugo, as the perspective behind the lens, sharing that the journey through the album had taken him all over the world.

Although the main cover was only revealed on Thursday night, Hugo’s involvement in creating a series of cover drops for an artist as big as Travis Scott adds another international notch to South Africa’s creative belt, especially in music.

Earlier this year, the sounds of South Africa journeyed to the world at Coachella where Uncle Waffles and Kyle Watson lit up California.

More recently, a plethora of South African acts made global noise and earned global buzzers from Belinda Davis to the Mzansi Youth Choir and of course, dancer of hope, Musa Mothe.

In country music, South Africa’s Micaela Kleinsmith was crowned the Country Star of the World and in classical realms, Pretty Yende blew royal socks off at the King’s Coronation while for fictional royalty, Ofentse Pitse teamed up with Alicia Keys for Queen Charlotte masterpieces.

The photographer behind Utopia’s array of covers hails from Johannesburg but is based in Cape Town and known for his raw portraiture work. Hugo has also shot the likes of Patti Smith for Harper’s Bazaar and directed #VogueCreativity, one of Vogue’s most inspired features to date.

His work has been featured across multiple galleries both near and far, from the V&A Waterfront to the Museum of Modern Art.

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Trevor Noah has penned a new book. Taking a different approach to his previous work, “Into the Uncut Grass” is an illustrated book for all ages.
Noah has been busy at the writer’s desk wrapping up his latest book. Unlike his bestseller Born a Crime, his new book, Into the Uncut Grass, is for all ages, accompanied by Christopher Myers’ illustrations.

Noah’s new book is built on a series of themes, navigating topics that people across all age groups can relate to.

Into the Uncut Grass is shared as:

“An illustrated fable about a young child’s journey into the world beyond the shadow of home, a magical landscape where he discovers the secrets of solidarity, connection and finding peace with the people we love.”

According to Noah, penning a book that can connect with all ages has always been something he’s wanted to do. While the book isn’t out just yet (the release date is set for 31 October), it’s anticipation already has people excited for their kids and themselves.

Into the Uncut Grass isn’t the only exciting recent news for the South African legend. Noah was recently nominated for two Emmys, marking the first time his own comedy special has earned the acclaimed nomination beyond The Daily Show.

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Two Johannesburg youngsters will be jetting off to Berlin, Germany, after being offered a two-week scholarship following their performances at the South African International Ballet Competition recently.

The competition has been likened to the "Olympics of ballet", and it is notoriously difficult for dancers to place well.

Rahl Burke, 16, and Noelia Schulz, 11, were offered a place at the Berlin State Ballet School after competing in the South African International Ballet Competition in Cape Town recently.

Both dancers train at the Orlovska Dance Academy in Johannesburg.

Orlovska dance teacher, Alisa Balayan said the dancers competed against students from some of the most highly ranked dance institutions around the world. She said the competition was "like the Olympics of ballet" and that it was notoriously difficult for dancers to place well.

The competition was launched in 2008 and allows dancers to compete in three age groups in both classical ballet and contemporary categories. It has been dubbed "Africa's finest and most established ballet event".

Among the assessors were Ted Brandsen, Director of the Dutch National Ballet; Feng Ying, Director and Artistic Director of the National Ballet of China; Hyo Jung Jun, Director of the Incheon City Ballet in South Korea; and Christoph Boehm from the Berlin State Ballet School.

Burke has been dancing for just over two years. He took up the ballet slipper after retiring from competitive gymnastics when a teacher suggested that he try dance.

Burke's mother, Shanti Govender, said her son retired because competing nationally and internationally in gymnastics had taken a toll on his body.

He joined Mzansi Ballet shortly afterwards and has been receiving dedicated tutoring at Orlovska.

"Many children start learning ballet from the age of four or five and, of course, Rahl started much later. But he really took it seriously," said Govender.

Despite undergoing surgery on his knee in December, which required almost four months of rest, Burke won a bronze and was offered the bursary by Boehm.

"Competition always helps to drive him," said Govender.

"Even when he competed in gymnastics, he would train for six hours a day."

Burke said that, alongside hard work, he focussed on the fundamentals of dance and understanding that each movement is beneficial.

He hopes to pursue a career in dance and performance art, and believes the scholarship is a step towards that dream.

"It's so surreal. There were other dancers who have been dancing since they were five, yet I was able to make it to finals. It's so motivating. I'm going somewhere," he said.

He added: “I love ballet. It's the only art form where you have to put in as much effort as possible, yet make it look as effortless as possible.”

Schulz said she started dancing at the age of three, primarily because her friends were dancing too. However, she soon uncovered a natural talent and deep passion for ballet.

She hopes to go on to perform in the Royal Ballet in the United Kingdom.

She competed in a category with dancers as old as 13 and was showered with praise for her performance, said her mother, Otilia Deli-Schulz.

Schulz won silver in a category where no one walked away with gold.

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The South African side emerged 3-2 victors over Italy on Wednesday, 2 August 2023.
Thembi Kgatlana scored a stoppage-time winner to give Banyana Banyana their first victory at the Women's World Cup and a spot in the last 16.

The three points saw South Africa finish the group stage in second place with four points, above Italy and Argentina, who lost 2-0 to group winners Sweden.

Banyana Banyana will play the Netherlands in their last 16 tie on Sunday.

Kick-off for that match is at 4am South African time.

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The Proteas played out to an exhilarating Netball World Cup draw against the defending champions, New Zealand, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Wednesday, 2 August 2023.

At a full CTICC, South Africans cheered on loudly as they witnessed a mighty fightback from the Proteas who drew 48-48 with the Silver Ferns.

It was a thrilling contest that ended with Nichole Taljaard clinching the draw with a clutch shot as the clock ran out on one of South Africa's most famous netball days.

It was an exciting first quarter. The Proteas only lost the opening quarter by one point with the scoreline 11-10 in favour of the defending champions after the opening 15 minutes.

It was another hotly contested second quarter as the game left everyone with their eyes fiercely on the action in court.

Elmeré van der Berg replaced Ine-Mari Venter at goal shooter and made an impact as she scored twice but the Silver Ferns still extended their lead to five points at half-time.

Back from the break, the third quarter had the entire arena out of their seats as the Proteas dominated proceedings for the first time.

Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius made it almost impossible for New Zealand to score in their circle as the Proteas won that quarter 13-12.

Trailing by four points with the final quarter to go, it was all to play for the Proteas. And so they did, dominating proceedings to take the quarter 14-10.

Taljaard was the star performer for the Proteas as she shot 15 goals in 18 attempts.

It was Taljaard's last second buzzer equaliser that sent the CTICC into a frenzy and saw South Africa secure an epic 48-48 draw.

South Africa's next Pool G encounter will be against Uganda on Thursday, 3 August 2023, at 16:00.

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As South Africa’s netball team, SPAR Proteas, takes on the rest of the world at the Netball World Cup 2023 (NWC2023), the players have encouraged fans to work hard if they want to follow in their footsteps.

Captain of SPAR Proteas, Bongiwe Msomi (34), said hard work was the key to success.

“When some of the kids say ‘I want to be like you one day’, I always say: ‘You can even do better’. “It is hard work to play and constantly be at your best,” she said.

She added that highlights of how well someone played during a game, did not show the hard work and preparation that went on behind the scenes before each game.

Msomi, who is from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, said the team was well settled ahead of the NWC2023 and was looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd.

The NWC2023 is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. “We have an advantage of playing in front of our people, who back us … We will be playing in front of our siblings and parents, which is just amazing,“ said Msomi.

A rising star in the SPAR Proteas team is Emeré van der Berg (20), from Bloemfontein in the Free State, who plays in the goal attack and shooter positions.

She was recently selected for the SPAR Proteas team that is playing in the NWC2023.

“I feel very honoured and privileged to represent my country. I am ready to go on court and put on the best performance and give it my all every time,” said Van der Berg.

She added that the team was focussed and ready to represent the country. 

NWC2023 takes place from 28 July to 6 August.

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Tatjana Schoenmaker added 200m breaststroke gold to her 100m silver to become the first South African woman in history to win a world title at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, on Friday, 28 July 2023.
The 26-year-old Olympic champion had been the fastest through the semifinals of the event and made sure she finished out in front again in the final, reaching the wall in 2:20.80.

American Kate Douglass was second in 2:21.23, with Dutchwoman Tes Schouten claiming the bronze in a time of 2:21.63.

An emotional Schoenmaker admitted she has had a tough time since winning Olympic gold in the same event two years ago, but the former world record holder proved she was well and truly back, producing her fastest 200m breaststroke time since that famous race in Tokyo

“I think it was unexpected – that’s why there’s so much emotion because coming into this meet, I wasn’t really ranked in the top three in any of my events. My times haven’t been as great since the Olympics,” she said.

“I just wanted to pitch up and not be scared to take on the opportunity to race some of these girls … I just wanted to come and see where I am personally and I didn’t expect to walk away with any medal.”

Despite Penny Heyns’s phenomenal Olympic success and her numerous world records, the former breaststroker never won a medal at the World Championships. Schoenmaker was the first to do so in claiming 200m breaststroke silver at the 2019 event before Lara van Niekerk collected 50m breaststroke bronze last year. This is the first time a South African woman has topped the podium at the event and it bodes well for Schoenmaker’s Olympic title defence in Paris next year.

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Swimming legend Kat Swanepoel scooped the first medal for South Africa and set a record (the first of its kind for South Africa) in a single swim at the World Para Swimming Champs.
Competitive pools around the world weren’t ready for the heat that South African female swimmers have brought this season. After Tatjana Schoenmaker made history in Japan by becoming the first female South African swimmer to earn a world title at the event, Kat Swanepoel made South Africa proud in Manchester with her record-setting silver performance at the World Para Swimming Champs.

The Paralympian earned the first medal for Team South Africa at the event, anointing South Africa’s presence with a silver win. This was earned after a stellar race in the women’s SB9 50m breaststroke where Swanepoel scored a time of 57.19 seconds.

Beyond adding another medal to her World Para Swimming Champs collection, Swanepoel’s time also set a record; the first of its kind from Team South Africa and an African record.

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