It's Your Voice   UBUNTU Magazine   UBUNTU Radio  
If this newsletter doesn’t load or images don’t display, please click here
Consular Services - Travel Smart with DIRCO
President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, held from 19 to 20 January 2024 in Kampala, the Republic of Uganda, under the theme, “Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence”.
The summit was preceded by a meeting of the NAM ministers, held from 17 to 18 January 2024.

The NAM Summit is the highest decision-making authority of the movement and holds the summit every three years. The summit is also the occasion when the NAM formally rotates its chair to the head of state of the host country of the summit, who then holds office until the next summit. Azerbaijan has been the Chair since 2019 and handed over the position to Uganda for the next three years (2024 to 2027).

The Government of Uganda has identified five focus areas and priority goals of its Chairship:
  • Regional and International Peace and Security
  • The International Fight against Terrorism
  • International Migration and Humanitarian Crises
  • Human Trafficking and Drug Smuggling
  • Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
During the two-day summit, Azerbaijan as the outgoing Chair of the NAM, reported on the activities of the movement during its three-year Chairship. The President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kagura Museveni, was elected by acclamation as Chair of the NAM.

The summit adopted the Kampala Final Outcome Document, the Kampala Declaration and the NAM Ministerial Declaration on Palestine.

Delivering the country statement of South Africa, President Ramaphosa reiterated South Africa’s unequivocal call for an “immediate and comprehensive ceasefire” in Gaza, Palestine.

The Israeli-Palestinian war erupted in October 2023 when militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel – killing at least 1 200 people.

The Israeli retaliation on Palestine has been far greater with estimates that more than 20 000 Palestinians have been killed with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reporting the internal displacement of some 1.9 million people in Gaza.

“South Africa calls for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Gaza. We call for the release of all hostages and the resumption of talks on a just solution that will end the suffering of the Palestinian people. We further call for unhindered and expanded humanitarian access to allow for vital aid and basic services to meet the needs of everyone living in Gaza.

“As a consequence of the ever-worsening situation of the people of Gaza, South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice to issue provisional measures ordering Israel to stop its military campaign in Gaza. This is necessary to protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President said the ongoing conflict laid bare the “inadequacy” of global governance organisations such as the UN.

“South Africa recently made financial contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency and the UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] to support their humanitarian operations in Gaza and the broader Palestinian refugees. In addition, many ordinary South Africans and NGOs have mobilised resources to assist the people of Gaza.

“The conflict has again illustrated the inadequacy of the United Nations, in particular the UN Security Council, in maintaining international peace and security. We should establish a system of global governance that is fair and equitable and has the capacity to respond to the needs of all persons in situations of threat and harm,” he said.

World challenges

Fixing attention on the summit, President Ramaphosa said the gathering took place at a time when international challenges – “exacerbated by geopolitical dynamics and conflicts in various regions of the world” – were abound.

“The wars taking place in Ukraine and Palestine are causing grave humanitarian and health crises and contributing to international instability. The supremacy of multilateralism as embodied by the UN Charter and international law is being undermined exactly when it is needed most.

“At a time when the world appears to be once again divided between East and West, the Non-Aligned Movement should continue to assert its independence based on our common values.

“South Africa remains steadfast in advancing its non-aligned approach in the maintenance of international peace and security and advocating for inclusive dialogue and the peaceful political settlement of disputes,” he said.

President Ramaphosa called on the NAM to work together in pursuance of:
  • the right to self-determination of the peoples of Palestine and Western Sahara
  • the lifting of the economic blockade against Cuba and unilateral sanctions against Iran, Venezuela and Zimbabwe
  • reaffirmation of the inalienable right of access to nuclear materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes
  • upholding the centrality of the UN Charter and international law in the peaceful resolution of conflict
  • defeating the scourge of terrorism and its root causes
  • the alleviation and eradication of poverty and underdevelopment.
“This interconnected world calls for a collective determination to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to address the economic, social, health and environmental challenges that every country faces.

“We need to give dedicated attention to the reform of global governance institutions, including the United Nations. We must give meaning to the principle of sovereign equality of nations and ensure that the voice of the African continent and the Global South is strengthened in the broader multilateral system,” he said. With its 120 member states, the NAM is the largest grouping of countries outside of the United Nations, making it an important role player in global and multilateral affairs. Since its inception in 1961, the movement has played a crucial and obvious political role in representing the interests of developing countries, particularly in the eradication of colonialism, supporting struggles for liberation and self-determination, the pursuit of world peace and the search for a more equitable and just global order.”

Following the 19th NAM Summit, Uganda also assumed the Group of 77 (G77) Chairship and hosted the G77 Third South Summit from 21 to 23 January 2024.

With the theme, Leaving No One Behind, the Third South Summit hoped to bring a new cooperation dynamic among the 134 member states of the Group of 77 in a more competitive world. The summit was aimed at boosting South-South cooperation, including in the areas of trade, investment, sustainable development, climate change, poverty eradication and the digital economy.

The South Summit is the supreme decision-making body of the Group of 77 plus China. The Group of 77 plus China is the largest negotiating bloc of developing countries in the UN, which provides the means for the countries of the South to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues within the UN system and promote South-South cooperation for development.

South-South cooperation remains an important pillar for strengthening the economic independence of countries of the South as a complement and not a replacement to North-South cooperation. South Africa participates in the work of the G77 to ensure its strength, unity and cohesion in pursuit of the vision of a fair and equitable multilateral system.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, accompanied President Ramaphosa to the G77 plus China.

– Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa on 20 January 2024 arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) capital, Kinshasa, to attend the inauguration and swearing-in of President-elect, Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo.
South Africa continues to play a constructive role in the pursuit of peace and security as well as the post-conflict reconstruction and development in the DRC and the Great Lakes region.

President Ramaphosa's attendance of the Inauguration and the swearing-in ceremony provided an opportunity to reaffirm the strategic nature of the cordial bilateral relations between South Africa and the DRC as well as consolidation of bilateral cooperation.

The bilateral cooperation between South Africa and the DRC is conducted through the Bi-National Commission (BNC), which is convened at the heads of state and government level as provided by the establishing agreement of 2004. The 12th Session of the BNC was held in Kinshasa on 6 July 2023 and was co-chaired by President Ramaphosa and President Tshisekedi.

President Ramaphosa was accompanied by his newly appointed Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, Jeff Radebe. – Source:
Deputy President Paul Mashatile on Tuesday, 23 January 2024, welcomed His Royal Highness Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, on a courtesy call at the OR Tambo Official Residence in Pretoria.
The Duke of Edinburgh was on a Working Visit to South Africa from 22 to 23 January 2024.

The visit followed the successful State Visit that President Cyril Ramaphosa undertook to the United Kingdom (UK) in 2022 at the invitation of King Charles III.

The visit was indicative of the strong bilateral relationship that the UK and South Africa share.

During his visit, His Royal Highness met stakeholders from the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa, Endangered Wildlife Trust, GreenMatterZA, TRAFFIC, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Birdlife and Conservation South Africa.

Prince Edward also met the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Barbara Creecy, for a tour of the Pretoria National Botanical Garden and was accompanied on the tour by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) CEO, Shonisani Munzhedi.

This followed President Ramaphosa’s visit to the Royal Botanical Garden, Kew, in November 2022, and marked the long-term collaboration between Kew and SANBI to ensure the survival of South Africa’s rich plant diversity.

The Duke also met the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, at a dinner marking the deep partnership between South Africa and the UK in the field of science and innovation.

In addition, the Duke of Edinburgh met with the awardees of the President’s Awards, the international arm of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, of which President Ramaphosa is a patron. Both countries share a strong commitment to youth empowerment.

During the courtesy call, Deputy President Mashatile held discussions with the Duke and his delegation on key areas of importance in the bilateral relationship between South Africa and the UK.

– Source:
The South African delegation to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting has returned back to South Africa, having driven home the message that the country remains a "top destination for growth and investment”.
This is according to a media statement released by National Treasury on Monday, 22 January 2023.

Team South Africa’s delegation was led by the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, and comprised the Ministers of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel; Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande; Communications and Digital Technologies, Mondli Gungubele; and Health, Dr Joe Phaahla.

Minister Godongwana said the message to investors, civil society, businesses and governments was that despite the many challenges it faces, South Africa is making progress.

“We took the opportunity of the WEF Davos gathering to remind our partners around the world that South Africa has made tremendous progress in the past 30 years since we achieved democracy.

“Yes, we face a number of obstacles to achieving policy that balances fiscal sustainability, growth-accelerating reforms and targeted spending on social services and infrastructure. However, we are forging ahead and making good progress,” he said.

According to National Treasury, the annual meeting – held last week in Davos, Switzerland – offered an opportunity for South Africa to engage world leaders on a number of issues.

“[It] offered South Africa’s policymakers a genuine and rare opportunity to speak directly with a cross spectrum of stakeholders in global affairs, exchanging views on how to weather the rise in geopolitical and economic tensions that are shaping today’s world.

“Climate, technology, trade and multilateral cooperation were high on the agenda, as was South Africa’s upcoming presidency of the G20 in 2025.

“In addition to its participation in the G20, the country is playing a key part in the expansion of the BRICS group, as well as the deepening of intercontinental economic integration through the African Continental Free Trade Area,” the department said.

– Source:
The Government of the Republic of South Africa is deeply concerned about the increased attacks on civilians around the world and recent reports that more civilians were killed in armed conflict over the last year than any other year for more than a decade.
The deliberate targeting of non-combatants is a blatant violation of international humanitarian law and human rights laws and principles.

Daily, innocent civilians are being indiscriminately harmed or killed in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel, Sudan, Yemen and Ukraine.

In recent days, we have also seen an increase in extra-judicial executions in breach of territorial sovereignty. These breaches of international law escalate current global tensions.

Nations of the world have committed to promote peace, security and the protection of human rights, through the adoption of various international treaties and conventions. Through these actions, and the establishment of a global system of governance at the end of the Second World War, there was an aspiration to end the scourge of the war as reflected in the preamble of the Charter of the United Nations (UN).

Despite these valiant commitments, violence or harm directed towards civilians during armed conflicts continues and it is often the most vulnerable in society that are affected in times of war and conflict. The intentional harm caused to innocent women, men and children is not only morally reprehensible but also runs counter to the values of humanity that the global community upholds.

It is vital that all parties involved in armed conflicts strictly adhere to international humanitarian law, which prohibits the targeting of civilians, schools, hospitals, places of worship and other civilian infrastructure. The protection of civilians must be a paramount consideration in all military operations and those responsible for any violations must be held accountable. The culture of impunity and blatant disregard of international law by powerful states and their allies has often laid the basis for these kinds of actions.

South Africa supports the efforts of the UN and other international organisations working towards the resolution of conflicts through diplomatic means, dialogue and peaceful negotiations. The global community must unite in its commitment to prevent and address the root causes of armed conflicts, including addressing global development challenges and ensuring the protection and well-being of civilians caught in the crossfire.

South Africa extends its condolences to the families affected by these heinous acts and expresses solidarity with those in the international community, including civil-society activists striving for a world where the rights and safety of civilians are upheld and protected.

South Africa remains committed to playing a constructive role in fostering peace and stability globally and calls on all nations to work together to prevent further suffering and bloodshed and aim to protect civilians from harm.
The National Police Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola, hosted the Commissioner of the Angola National Police, General Arnaldo Manuel Carlos, who was on a seven-day Working Visit.
The purpose of the Working Visit was for Angola’s Police Force to benchmark and share insight and knowledge on how the South African Police Service (SAPS) prevents and tackles transnational, organised and emerging crime trends.

The need to benchmark from SAPS is part of a longstanding partnership, which was fostered in 2017, according to the police.

This after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MU) between the two police organisations to enhance working relations with a view to jointly prevent and combat cross-border crimes such as drug and human trafficking as well as the theft of minerals.

The delegation from Angola consisted of senior officers and the heads responsible for Angola’s Criminal Investigation Service, Narcotics Investigations Unit, Environmental and Natural Resources Investigations Unit as well as the Angolan International Criminal Police Organisation National Central Bureau Head.
The delegation engaged and exchanged first-hand knowledge with SAPS detectives, crime intelligence officers, experts from the Forensic Science Laboratory, Police Emergency Services (flying squad, K9 and mounted unit) as well as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, commonly known as the Hawks.

General Masemola said the visit aimed to showcase the capabilities and expertise that exist within the SAPS.

“We have a variety of experts within the SAPS that work together to prevent, combat and investigate crime.

“Ours is to share knowledge and expertise with our counterparts with the aim of also ensuring that we benefit through joint cross-border operations between the two countries,” he said.

The visit will culminate with a meeting between the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, and the Minister of Interior of the Republic of Angola, General Eugenio Cesar Laborinho, to foster closer working relations between the two police organisations.

– Source:
The Combined Joint Exercise GOOD HOPE VIII 2024 Implementation Arrangement was signed on 11 January 2024 at Joint Operations Division in Eco-Park, Centurion, by Captain (SA Navy) SM Majozi and the German Defence Attaché, Captain (Navy) T Burchert.
The exercise takes place from 15 January to 6 February 2024 in Saldana Bay in the Western Cape. The first week entails Mission Readiness Training and marrying-up drills between the participants. South Africa is the host and lead nation of the exercise.

Exercise GOOD HOPE is a binational maritime exercise between the South African National Defence Force and the German Navy. This combined joint exercise is designed to demonstrate friendship and military cooperation between the two countries to achieve military strategic objectives.
The strategic objectives of Exercise GOOD HOPE VIII are to portray South Africa and Germany's positive commitment to the regional and global maritime security strategies. Among others, the operational objectives of the exercise are to:
  • establish and manage forward operating bases
  • conduct visit, board, search and seizure
  • execute fast roping, rappelling and hot extraction
  • carry out search and rescue
  • conduct maritime air defence
  • implement command and control.
The South African Navy is the main executor of the exercise and will be supported by elements from other services and divisions.

– Source:
From hosting Africa’s first Netball World Cup, ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, the first Formula E race in sub-Saharan Africa, Loeries Creative Week, the return of the Tweede Nuwe Jaar Minstrel Street Parade and many more, 2023 has been a prolific year for events in Cape Town.
The City of Cape Town’s Events Permit Office permitted over 1 200 events in the calendar year.

From major international sporting events, top tier music concerts, cultural masterpieces and an abundance of lifestyle events, Cape Town had it all in 2023.

Through its Events Support Process, the city supported more than 170 events during the period.

Research studies on three key events hosted in the city during this period revealed a substantial R2-billion economic impact. This is a holistic impact on the economy, which includes direct and indirect economic impact and destination marketing, among others.

A further R1,9 billion in economic activity was generated by just 20 of the events hosted in the calendar year. This is the actual direct spend by event attendees, participants and event organisers in Cape Town.

In addition, over 1,3 million people attended or participated in the top 40 events in 2023.

“The importance of these economic spin-offs from events cannot be overstated. We have seen over the last couple of years how events can become catalysts for growth for other sectors in the value chain, including accommodation and food, travel, local retail and tourism attractions here in Cape Town. We have also seen that an overwhelming majority of event organisers use local suppliers for logistics, equipment rental, security, production, staffing and hospitality. Additionally, hosting a number of local and international events has helped tremendously in promoting Cape Town as a premier tourism destination to a global audience.

“Event organisers have worked hard over the last 15 months with support from the city’s Events Department to get the events back in the direction we were headed before the pandemic. We would like to salute all involved for their hard work,’ said the city’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith

The top 20 events hosted in Cape Town in 2023 created over 26 000 job opportunities for people in the greater events ecosystem, including security, catering, logistics, production and transportation, among others.

Cape Town has an exciting 2024 lined up in the events space with the SA20 Final at Newlands, the Cape Town Carnival, Africa Travel Week, Comic Con Cape Town and the world champion Springboks do battle with the All Backs at DHL Stadium in September 2024.

– Source:
The birth of a unique foal at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is a beacon of hope for Cape Mountain Zebra conservation. Over the last 300 years, hunting and habitat destruction have decimated Cape Mountain Zebra numbers and isolated the three remaining small populations. Genetic drift over subsequent generations resulted in three genetically distinct stocks. Public and private conservation efforts led to a substantial increase in numbers, which resulted in the Cape Mountain Zebra being removed from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of threatened species; except for one of the three stocks, which remained isolated and showed signs of inbreeding.
Until recently, Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, near Calitzdorp, was the only place in the world where zebra of this stock occurred. In 1974, the already small Cape Mountain Zebra population on Gamkaberg was reduced to only six animals when seven were poached by a local farmer. The expansion of the nature reserve through land purchases by the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa has helped the population to grow, but the genetic problem remains.
To address this, CapeNature and Sanbona developed a genetic rescue plan in consultation with experts from the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the University of Venda. The chosen location for the project was Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. Sanbona, at the foot of the Warmwaterberg mountains, was the ideal zebra genetic mixing bowl. At 62 000 ha, it is already home to a large and growing Cape Mountain Zebra population. This includes animals of mixed Cradock and Kammanassie stock from De Hoop Nature Reserve, which CapeNature made available to Sanbona in 2016 under a custodianship agreement. In 2021, the agreement was taken a step further when three stallions were translocated from Gamkaberg to a dedicated genetic rescue camp in Sanbona. The following year, a group of Sanbona mares – some of Cradock stock and some of De Hoop origin – was added to the camp.
Although initially stand-offish, the stallions and mares eventually warmed up to one another. Sadly, two of the stallions died – one of unknown causes and the other as the result of a severe tooth abscess. The success of the genetic rescue project then hinged on the performance of the only remaining stallion, five-year-old GB42. It has now become clear that he has met his brief. Liesl Vorster, Sanbona’s ecologist, spotted GB42 with a Cradock mare and their precious young offspring. The foal is the only Cape Mountain zebra in the world which contains both Cradock and Gamkaberg genes.

All eyes will be on this little herd in the hopes of another union that will combine all three genetic stocks and help restore what remains of the genetic diversity that was lost to the species many years ago.

– Source:
Tangible Africa is celebrating being included in an international expo to be hosted in London.
Taking African solutions to the world, Tangible Africa will be exhibiting at Bett Expo in London from 24 to 26 January 2024, in partnership with CreativeHUT.

Known as the biggest educational technology event in the world, over 123 countries are represented to showcase the latest trends and developments to a global education community of around 30 000 people at the expo.

Tangible Africa is one of the few African organisations invited to this major expo and will be represented by Tangible Africa’s Engagement Manager, Jackson Tshabalala, and Leva Foundation’s CEO, Ryan le Roux.

Tangible Africa is an engagement project of the Nelson Mandela University Computing Sciences Department and the Leva Foundation. Very little online resources are needed to play tangible coding games, by making use of Tangible Africa’s flagship applications, RANGERS and BOATS.

These coding games develop young people’s 21st century skills and are played across Africa as well as selected European countries where it was successfully introduced by Tangible Africa recently.

“We are proud of our African solution, which is not only making an impact in Africa, but it is also now being used in Europe as a solution for European schools,” said Le Roux.

Tangible Africa Founder and Associate Professor at the Nelson Mandela University Computing Sciences Department, Prof. Jean Greyling, is excited by the prospect of a greater global audience being reached with the tangible coding project.

“Attending this expo is a great culmination of our work after 2023 when we increased our footprint in Europe through teacher training, participation in the European Union Code Week as well as hosting the Coding-4-Mandela World Championships in December. Teams from countries such as Ireland, Germany, Cyprus, Estonia and Finland participated in the championships,” said Prof. Greyling.

Tangible Africa’s exhibition partner, CreativeHUT, provides support for educational initiatives spanning the globe. Head-officed in the United Kingdom, the company’s reach extends to learners of every age, nurturing the growth of vital skills such as creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking in all things STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), Music and Esports.

“Every now and then, you come across a resource that impacts education globally … Tangible Africa is one of them. We are looking forward to partner with them at Bett UK,” said CreativeHUT CEO and co-founder, Gareth Boldsworth.

“Last year, CreativeHUT won The Company of the Year BETT Award and has again been shortlisted for the same award this year. The awards recognise global excellence and innovation in education technology.

“We are excited and honoured to be nominated for an award that celebrates all of the hard work we have put in over the past six years.”

– Source:
There are many natural wonders in the world, but only a few offer such remarkable diversity as does the pristine De Hoop Nature and Marine Reserve in the Western Cape, one of the largest natural areas managed by CapeNature and renowned as one the best spots for land-based whale watching in South Africa.
And now, some great news about an addition to this natural wonder comes with an announcement from William Stephens, founder of The De Hoop Collection – the first Tourism Private-Public Partnership in the Western Cape that opened in De Hoop Nature Reserve in 2007.

“De Hoop Collection and CapeNature, in collaboration with the Evolutionary Studies Institute; University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; the SFF Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour (SapienCE); and the University of Bergen, Norway, are proud and delighted to welcome you to the exhibition Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour here at De Hoop Collection in the heart of De Hoop Nature Reserve.”

The Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour Exhibition highlights the Southern Cape coastline’s archaeological heritage and rich marine environment and showcases the unique archaeological discoveries that have been made at the archaeological sites – Blombos Cave, Klipdrift Shelter and Klasies River ‒ occupied by early Homo sapiens between 120 000 and 50 000 years ago.

The culmination of a lifelong passion and commitment to documenting human origins and indigenous wisdom by Craig Foster (co-founder of the Sea Change Project, the producers of the Oscar and BAFTA winning documentary, My Octopus Teacher) and Damon Foster and decades of archaeological research in the southern Cape by SapienCE scientists, Professor Christopher Henshilwood, Dr Karen van Niekerk, Professor Sarah Wurz and their research teams, the exhibition first opened in 2018 at Spier Wine Estate.

Various iterations followed: Iziko South African Museum (2019 ‒ 2021); Origins Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (2021 ‒ 2023); and The Sea Change Project in collaboration with South African National Parks (SANParks), Wits University and the SFF Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour (SapienCE), University of Bergen, Norway, at the Cape of Good Hope Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre in Table Mountain National Park in June 2023.

The De Hoop Collection exhibition has been curated by Craig Foster and archaeologist Petro Keene and will be managed and maintained for an initial three-year period by the De Hoop Collection team.

“The exhibition at De Hoop Collection will offer visitors and learners to the De Hoop Nature Reserve the opportunity to enhance their cultural experiences of South Africa. The “We Are All One” message features strongly throughout the exhibition, pointing to the clear genetic evidence that all Homo sapiens, people like us, have their origins in Africa,” said Stephens. “We are grateful to Sea Change Project for its support of the SapienCE palaeoscience team with its custom-developed content and media, and a special vote of thanks to Foster Brother Film Productions’ Damon Foster and Craig Foster for so generously donating film footage and photographic images that span over 20 years.”

The De Hoop Collection’s Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour Exhibition opened on 18 January 2024.

– Source:
The Cyber Tigers from Swellendam were crowned the victors of a national robotics competition, but that’s not all. Thanks to their big win, they have been invited to an international festival in Houston, Texas.
Jean Mouton, Luka Steenekamp, Lara Pretorius and Christelle Glatz make up the Cyber Tigers – the impressive team that recently participated in the First Lego League’s national robotics competition and won.

The international competition for children between ages nine to 16 focusses on different areas in robotics from research to programming and professionalism. The competition heated up in December 2023 where two days of rigorous competition were underway in Johannesburg. But the Cyber Tigers were well prepared to put their best paws forward, and as such emerged victorious against their competitors.
Thanks to their big achievement, they have been invited to represent South Africa at the World Festival in Houston, Texas, in April.

This is a chance of a lifetime for the high school students from the rural town of Swellendam who began their quest into the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), not knowing where it would take them.

“Their robotics journey had humble beginnings in our house’s garage six years ago when my husband and I decided we wanted to start Lego Robotics in Swellendam,” shares Sanet Glatz.

Since then, the talented students have merged creativity and logic masterfully to raise their stakes in the robotics field.

Not only are they pretty good at what they do, but they also pay it forward by offering lessons on bucket drumming and robotics both to rural schools and online.

As we celebrate their victory in South Africa, we are now setting our sights on even greater challenges at the World Festival in Houston, Texas,” Sanet adds.

– Source:
Local photographer, Cape Town-based Jodi Windvogel, has just been announced as the winner of a prestigious opportunity and coveted challenge after her work beat over 2 000 global entries to claim the photographer’s prize.
This achievement has not only made Windvogel, Cape Town and South Africa incredibly proud, but it has also made history. It’s the very first time a South African has won the Fujifilm GFX Challenge Grant Programme ever ‒ on account of it being the first time local photographers have been permitted to enter.

Beyond the glitter of this accomplishment and the US$10 000 (around R191,574.40) grant’s glow, there is another win in Windvogel corner: gender-based violence (GBV) awareness.

The photographer’s work that’ll be funded (The Body at Risk) seeks to take several steps out of the box to depict scenes of GBV ‒ without individuals. Instead, Windvogel hopes to capture 30 to 40 landscapes that echo the sentiments of the aftermath of sexual and physical violence to further awareness.

“Through photographs of the sites where gender-based violence took place, The Body at Risk aims to visually raise awareness about women’s safety, examining the psychological weight and vulnerability experienced by women in South Africa.” ‒ Jodi Windvogel.

She adds:

“Documenting the issue of GBV in South Africa is crucial to me because it provides a visual narrative that goes beyond statistics. These images, whether showcasing a house, bedroom or an empty field, serve as poignant memories and contribute to a discourse without intrusive exploitation of bodies. By capturing this, I aim to amplify the voices of survivors, raise awareness about the pervasive problem and spark conversations around the safety of women.

Windvogel’s final content will be showcased at the end of the challenge’s production period in June 2024 and exhibited in Tokyo.

– Source:
South Africa’s Tyla has made us so proud over the past few months. From breaking records to earning a Grammy nomination, we are hardly surprised that she is performing at Coachella 2024.
It has been a whirlwind past few months for Johannesburg gem and South African pop star, Tyla Seethal. From soaring to the summit of YouTube’s music charts to earning a Grammy nomination and even getting former United States President Barack Obama’s playlist approval, the local songstress has surfed the wave from her hit Water to the kinds of places and opportunities most musicians have only dreamt about – Coachella.

It’s a musical milestone for the artist who is only in her early twenties. In fact, it’s a milestone for any artist; one which Kyle Watson – who made South Africa very proud when he played at Coachella 2023 – described as “the pinnacle of all festivals”.

For Tyla, who takes almost every opportunity to flaunt her home city country, a spot to sing on the coveted stage is just another reason artists and fans continue to look up to the singer.

Tyla will share the stage with some of the world’s most popular and talented artists, including Lana Del Rey, Ice Spice, Tyler – The Creator, Dojo Cat, J Calvin, Jhené Aino and Skepta, among a constellation of other stars.

– Source:
Dr Esther Mahlangu is one of South Africa’s most iconic artists. For seven decades, she has contributed her creativity to the country and the world. Now, a new exhibition, “Then I Knew I Was Good at Painting”, is taking visitors back through the living icon’s history book.
Dr Mahlangu has spent the last seven decades contributing to, inspiring, influencing and crafting her renowned space in contemporary art.
For the Ndebele artist who hails from humble beginnings, her decades in the art world have made history for South Africa in cultural appreciation and talent. Fans will recall Dr Mahlangu’s iconic “art car” that saw her become the first female and non-Western person (never mind South African) to be in the driving seat of the BMW’s iconic design. She is also an Honorary Doctorate holder for her cultural entrepreneurship.

Known for her expressive relationship with colour, Ndebele patterns and a knack of turning any surface into a canvas, Dr Mahlangu has unsurprisingly won the world’s respect for her creativity. Now, she’s looking back at all she has created in a new exhibition.

Come 18 February, her retrospective exhibition, Then I Knew I Was Good at Painting, is set to take Cape Town on a journey through time with 100 artworks that have been loaned from international collections. A series of historic photographs and a short film will also form part of the once-in-a-lifetime exhibition.
Recounting how her artistic journey began, the artist often tells the story of being trained by her grandmother in the 1940s.

“I would continue to paint on the house when they left for a break. When they came back, they would say: ‘What have you done, child? Never do that again?’ After that, I started drawing on the back of the house, and slowly my drawings got better and better until they finally asked me to come back to the front of the house. Then I knew I was good at painting.”

Curated by Nontobeko Ntombela and implemented by The Melrose Gallery, the exhibition is set to showcase Dr Mahlangu’s acclaimed life as an artist. Spotlighting iconic pieces throughout her career is only one part of this wonderful painter’s story. The commitment, passion, storytelling and cultural appreciation in each work are another.

“Mahlangu’s journey is a testament to passion, innovation and resilience,” Ntombela shares.

“The retrospective pays homage to Esther Mahlangu’s unique approach to art, which intersects African cultures with modernity and the contemporary. The exhibition celebrates Mahlangu’s voice, agency and pioneering spirit, symbolising her self-enunciation, self-determination and creativity.”

Then I Knew I Was Good at Painting will be on at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town until 11 August and all South African art enthusiasts are implored to experience her seven decades of magic first-hand. Thereafter, the exhibition will gear a global tour, beginning at the University of the Witwatersrand before heading to the United States in 2026.

– Source:
Glaad has unveiled the nominees for the 35th annual Glaad Media Awards, which include South Africa’s proudly trans-positive father-son road comedy, “Runs in the Family”, in the Outstanding Film-Streaming or TV Category.
Runs in the Family follows the adventures of an Indian dad and his transgender son as they cross South Africa to rescue the son’s mother from a rehabilitation clinic.

“We’re delighted and honoured to be on this great nomination list.” said father-son director-writer duo Gabe and Ian Gabriel.

Glaad, (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is recognised as the largest international LGBTQIA+ media monitoring organisation in the world.
This year’s nominated LGBTQIA+ film and TV hits and artists will be honoured at Glaad’s dual 2024 ceremonies on 14 March 2024 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and on 11 May 2024 in New York City.

Presented since 1990, the Glaad Media Awards honour film, TV, podcasts, news media and video games for fair, accurate and inclusive representations of LGBTQIA+ communities and issues.

Glaad notes that a wide range of their 2024 nominees centre trans and non-binary subjects and filmmakers “in timely nuanced, and empowering ways”.

Now streaming globally on Netflix, Runs in the Family, is produced by Giant Films in partnership with the National Film and Video Foundation, Indigenous Film Distribution and Fae Pictures.

The film has been nominated alongside 2024 Awards Season favourites such as NyadRustinAll of Us StrangersMonicaPassagesRed White and Royal Blue, and Beyoncé's Renaissance.

Meanwhile, renowned icons like Billy Porter, Brandy Clark, Janelle Monáe, Kim Petras, Miley Cyrus, Reneé Rapp, Troye Sivan and Victoria Monét compete for music artist.

– Source:
Dricus du Plessis has made history by becoming the first South African Middleweight champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) with a split-decision win over Sean Strickland, showcasing his impressive journey from debut to triumph in just six fights.
In a thrilling showdown at UFC 297, Du Plessis etched his name in South African sports history by becoming the first-ever UFC Middleweight champion from the Rainbow Nation.

The Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada, played host to this historic moment as Du Plessis secured a split-decision victory over Strickland in the main event.

Known by the moniker “Stillknokcs”, Du Plessis showcased his mettle in a closely contested battle against Strickland, who asserted his dominance with a trademark jab early in the fight. While Du Plessis is recognised for his fast starts, he opted for a more measured approach in the initial stages. The clash unfolded over five intense rounds, ultimately culminating in Du Plessis clinching victory and seizing Strickland’s middleweight belt.

Amid the adrenaline-fuelled moments, Du Plessis couldn’t contain his jubilation, exclaiming, “This is history!” The newly crowned champion expressed his pride for his homeland, proclaiming, “South Africa … we can probably hear them from outside. That country is amazing.”

Despite the competitive tension leading up to the fight, Du Plessis, with humility and respect, acknowledged Strickland’s prowess. “Every time he hits you with that jab, it feels like someone hit you with a rock. You are one heck of a man; thank you for bringing out the best in me tonight,” Du Plessis graciously remarked. In response, Strickland, in his own candid manner, declared, “I called it from day one – it was going to be a war.”

Du Plessis’ journey to the championship has been nothing short of impressive. Since his UFC debut in October 2020, he has navigated through six fights, securing victories over formidable opponents such as Darren Till, Derek Brunson, Robert Whittaker, and now, adding Sean Strickland to his illustrious list of triumphs.

The victory not only elevates Du Plessis to championship status but also paves the way for a new era in South African mixed martial arts.

– Source:
South African para-athlete, Darren Thomas, has made history as the first adaptive male CrossFit athlete from Africa to win bronze at Wodapalooza in Miami, showcasing resilience and determination.
In a remarkable display of resilience and determination, Thomas has etched his name in history by securing the bronze medal at the prestigious Wodapalooza CrossFit event in Miami, Florida.

The victory highlights Thomas’ unstoppable spirit and unwavering commitment to overcoming life’s obstacles.

The Wodapalooza event, celebrating its 12th year, has established itself as one of the world’s premier functional fitness festivals. Bringing together thousands of athletes, spectators and fitness enthusiasts over four days, Wodapalooza promotes inclusivity by allowing both able-bodied and adaptive athletes to compete on the same stage.

Thomas made history in the Adaptive Seated Division, becoming Africa’s first adaptive male CrossFit athlete to compete internationally in this demanding arena.

In 2007, Thomas faced a life-altering incident when an armed housebreaking left him paralysed from the chest down. A once avid sportsman, his life took an unexpected turn, but his unwavering spirit and dedication fuelled his journey to this moment of international recognition.

Despite the physical challenges posed by his paralysis, Thomas’ passion for sports persisted.

His venture into CrossFit began in 2021 when adaptive athletes were granted the opportunity to compete. This event marked a personal achievement for Thomas and a groundbreaking moment for adaptive athletes in Africa.

“I’m truly humbled by the overwhelming support that made this achievement possible. The donations, messages of encouragement and motivation from people I’ve never met have been incredibly special,” shared Thomas.

He expressed gratitude to those who contributed, acknowledging the significance of every donation and the support of friends who covered his family’s costs to join him in Miami.

Arriving home on Friday, 19 January, at Cape Town International Airport, Thomas was welcomed with pride and admiration by his fellow South Africans. His sponsors, including Daytona Group, Lottostar and Motimoves, have played a crucial role in making this incredible journey possible, providing the support needed for Thomas to showcase his prowess on the international stage.

– Source:
South Africa has advanced into the knockout rounds of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after they held Group E rivals Tunisia to a 0-0 draw at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo on Wednesday evening, 24 January 2024.
The result sees Bafana Bafana finish second on the log behind Mali, with Namibia in third and the Carthage Eagles fourth. All but the North Africans will be involved in the Round of 16, which will get underway this coming weekend.

Tunisia created all the early pressure, though their only genuine scoring chance arrived in the 26th minute when Wajdi Kechrida crossed to find the head of Seifeddine Jaziri, but his effort was wayward.

South Africa looked the more dangerous team after the half-hour mark, with Thapelo Morena whipping a long-range effort just over the crossbar, before Mothobi Mvala got on the end of Teboho Mokoena’s free kick and flicked a header wide.

Nonetheless, the first half closed with the score locked at 0-0.

Bafana Bafana brought on Nyiko Mobbie at the start of the second half to replace Khuliso Mudau, who was involved in a couple of heavy challenges in the opening 45 minutes.

Just as in the first half, Tunisia started strongly before South Africa found their own attacking rhythm – though both teams lacked quality and penetration in the final third.

The Carthage Eagles looked to address this by sending on the likes of Youssef Msakni, Naim Sliti and Haythem Jouini, while Bafana Bafana had their first shot on target in the 77th minute when Sphephelo Sithole fired off a long-range grass-cutter, which forced a sharp save from Bechir Ben Said.

The Tunisian goalkeeper was in action again in the 81st minute when he palmed away Evidence Magkopa’s header on target from a corner kick.

The Carthage Eagles had a great chance to finally break the deadlock in the 89th minute when Sayfallah Ltaief crossed from the right to find Jouini, but the substitute striker was unable to head on target.

The match closed at 0-0, with South Africa celebrating progression, while Tunisia were eliminated from an Afcon in the group stage for the first time since 2013.

– Source:
Giniel de Villiers further enhanced his status as Dakar Rally legend recently to become the first competitor in the history of the gruelling event’s history to finish 21 consecutive races.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa (TGRSA) driver finished this year’s race in Saudi Arabia in seventh place in the Cars Category to become the sole holder of this remarkable record. Going into the race, he shared the record with Yoshimasa Sugawara from Japan, who finished 20 consecutive races as truck driver from 1989 to 2009.

Sugawara still holds the overall record for most Dakar finishes, having crossed the finish line 29 times.
De Villiers, who again had Dennis Murphy as navigator, made his debut in 2003 in a Nissan and only finished outside the top 10 once. His eight podium places include one win in a VW Touareg in 2009.

De Villiers’ vast experience no doubt rubbed off on both his fellow TGRSA drivers, Guy Botterill and Saood Variawa. Both excelled on their Dakar debut.

Botterill, who was partnered by the injured Henk Lategan’s navigator Brett Cummings, finished in sixth place, 2:40:33 behind winner Carlos Sainz. He managed to beat De Villiers by just under 10 minutes.

The 18-year-old Variawa lived up to his family’s rich racing credentials by finishing 17th alongside French co-driver Francois Cazalet, 5:44:41 behind Sainz.

Like father, like son

South Africans also enjoyed a good return on two wheels with Bradley Cox, Charan Moore and Stuart Gregory reaching the finishing line.

Cox, son of Dakar biking legend Alfie Cox, was 13th overall, 3:01:04 behind American winner Ricky Brabec. Cox came third in the Rally 23 Category, just 6:28 behind winner Harith Noah.

Moore, who won the unassisted class in 2023, was ninth in Rally 2 and 21st overall, while Stuart came ninth in the unassisted class in his fourth Dakar finish.

The South African trio’s training partner, Ross Branch from Botswana, came second overall, 10:53 behind Brabec.

– Source:
Jaco Peyper is a world-renowned rugby match official. The talented South African is retiring from the field, to take on new challenges. Many well-known people within the industry have bid Peyper the best of luck, including World Rugby Chairperson, Sir Bill Beaumont.
“Jaco has been a fantastic ambassador for rugby, a role model for aspiring referees and will be remembered as one of the greats of international and club refereeing.

“But above all the accolades, he is a great person. He cares deeply about the game and championing his fellow match officials. He has played a huge role in the development of burgeoning international referees and is a calm, assured presence within a great team.

“It takes a special type of person to be at the top of their game in the most challenging of arenas, and Jaco has done that superbly. In short, he is a credit to rugby, his nation and his family, and I wish him all the best as he begins a new and exciting chapter.” – Sir Bill Beaumont.
Jaco Peyper has had an incredible local and international career. He is the sixth most-capped Emirates World Rugby referee of all time with 67 tests. The 43-year-old is considered one of the sport’s great referees, having blown the whistle in three men’s rugby world cups, 10 Guinness Six Nations championships and nine rugby championships since making his international debut with Kenya versus Zimbabwe in 2011.

Peyper also bows out having achieved the highest accolades in the professional club game, refereeing nine finals – five Currie Cups, three Super Rugby and one Champions Cup final.

He also set a few firsts for South Africa – becoming the first South African to referee the European Champions Cup final with Leinster against La Rochelle in 2023.

Away from the field of play, Peyper has played a pivotal role in mentoring and championing the next generation of match officials. Reflecting this passion, Peyper was elected to the inaugural management committee of the International Rugby Match Officials body in 2023, serving the interests of the top male and female officials on the international stage.

His work with broadcasters has also helped to deepen the understanding of refereeing and laws.

– Source:
Stay connected with us
facebook youtube

For back issues of NewsFlash, visit:


video button video button fina winners