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South Africa’s new draft work visa regulations are a milestone for the country’s efforts to attract investment and promote job creation.
This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa who addressed the nation through his weekly newsletter on Monday, 12 February 2024.

Last week, the Department of Home Affairs released the draft second amendment of the immigration regulations for public comment. The draft regulations deal with remote work and critical skills visas.
“The publication of the new draft regulations is part of our ongoing drive to reform the country’s visa system, making it easier to attract the skills our economy needs and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. An efficient, agile, responsive visa regime is key to attracting business investment and boosting economic growth.

“International experience shows that employees with critical skills contribute to improved productivity, enhanced innovation and improving the competitiveness of the firms they work for,” President Ramaphosa said.

He explained that the new remote working visa was a response to “the rapidly evolving world of work, where increasing numbers of skilled workers … are attracted by the lifestyle benefits of working from a remote location”.

“It also caters to so-called digital nomads, who are able to work virtually from any location in the world. A remote worker who wants to work in South Africa while being employed by a foreign company will be able to receive such a visa.

“The draft regulations propose the introduction of a points system for critical skills visas that will take into account factors such as age, qualifications, language skills, work experience and having an offer of employment, among others,” the President said.

Attracting the right skills

President Ramaphosa explained that although South Africa had invested in producing the skills needed for the digital economy, more was needed.

“To succeed in an ever-changing global economy, our country needs far more people with the right skills. This is so that our economy can be competitive, grow and create employment. As a country, we have invested much in producing these skills, from significantly expanding access to higher education, introducing digital programmes in TVET colleges and a shift to a new pay-for-performance approach to skills development.

“However, it will take some time before we will be able to produce enough skilled people to enable our country to grow rapidly.”

He added that attracting these skills to South Africa would be important as the country was “fast becoming an increasingly attractive destination for industries like business process outsourcing and customer experience”.

“Last year, for example, a leading international strategic advisory firm ranked South Africa second as the most favoured offshore customer experience delivery destination globally. Since 2016, government has invested more than R3 billion towards supporting the growth and expansion of business process outsourcing and is targeting the creation of approximately 500 000 jobs in the sector by 2030.

“In line with our ongoing efforts to attract higher levels of investment and promote job creation, the new work visa regulations are a milestone. They are part of high-impact structural reforms we are undertaking to improve the business operating environment.

“They send a clear signal to business that we are committed to attracting skills that meet the demands of a modern, inclusive and growing economy,” he concluded.

– Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the Football for Humanity match between the Palestinian national team and the South African Football Association Third Division at Cape Town's Athlone Stadium on Sunday, 11 February 2024.
The Football for Humanity international showpiece, held under the theme, Peace, Hope and Solidarity, aimed to provide Palestinian players with the opportunity to enjoy their favourite sport in conditions of peace and a sound infrastructure.

The Presidency said the event symbolised South Africa's historic solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle against illegal occupation and violent excesses by the State of Israel.

The Football for Humanity event showcased the Palestine National Football Team in two exhibition matches on Sunday, 11 February 2024, and again on Sunday, 18 February 2024, at the Athlone Stadium.

The second match, also to be held at Athlone Stadium, will feature a South African Invitational XI facing off against the Palestinian visitors in the Freedom Cup.

The Palestinian National Football Team, fresh from their historic achievement in the Asia Cup, where they qualified for the round of 16 for the first time, touched down in Cape Town on 8 February 2024.

The South African side was coached by football legends, Boebie Solomons, Dr Jomo Sono and Farouk Khan, adding a significant layer of expertise and leadership to the occasion.

The Presidency said the match held great significance, as it took place on a day embedded in the history of South Africa and in a momentous period for the Palestinian solidarity movement.

“It was on this day, 11 February, in 1990 that former President Nelson Mandela was released from prison, marking the victory of the liberation struggle against apartheid.

“It is noteworthy that the matches occur in the 30th year of South African freedom, a time when South Africa has taken decisive and historic steps on the global stage in the fight for Palestine's liberation and the end of the conflict in Gaza,” The Presidency said in a statement.

According to The Presidency, the Palestine Football Association had expressed enthusiasm about participating in these matches, recognising their focus on humanity and peace.

“The Football for Humanity match is poised to be a fitting display of the power of sport to promote peace and unity, echoing the sentiments of former President Mandela, who believed that sport has the unique ability to unite people in ways little else can,” The Presidency said.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa undertook a Working Visit to Windhoek, Namibia, on Saturday, 10 February 2024, to pay his respects following the passing of the President of the Republic of Namibia, His Excellency Hage Gottfried Geingob.
President Geingob passed away on Sunday, 4 February 2024, while being treated in hospital for cancer.

President Ramaphosa reiterated, on behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, his deep condolences to the Government and people of Namibia, especially First Lady Madame Monica Geingos.
President Ramaphosa extended his sympathies to President Nangolo Mbumba, the Cabinet of our neighbouring state and the leadership and members of the South West Africa People's Organisation Party at this time of mourning.

President Ramaphosa and President Geingob enjoyed a close relationship, which infused relations between the two countries.

In April 2023, President Ramaphosa hosted President Geingob during a State Visit to South Africa, while in October 2023, President Ramaphosa undertook a Working Visit to Namibia to co-chair the Third Session of the South Africa-Namibia Binational Commission with President Geingob.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has once again used his public platform to reiterate his call for a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine and condemn the killing of civilians.
“Guided by the fundamental principle of human rights and freedom, we have taken up the Palestinian cause to prevent further deaths and destruction in Gaza,” President Ramaphosa said during the State of the Nation Address on Thursday night, 8 February 2024.

The country’s first citizen also took the time to welcome the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel must take all measures within its power to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians.
South Africa approached the top United Nations court last year to request to order Israel to halt its military operations in Gaza and also to ask the court to find the Israeli Government guilty of committing acts of genocide.

The ICJ ruling delivered last month found that it was “plausible” that Israel committed acts which violated the Genocide Convention.

The ruling issued by the ICJ ordered six provisional measures, including for Israel to refrain from acts under the Genocide Convention, prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to genocide and take immediate and effective measures to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.

“We condemn the killing of civilians on all sides and call on all parties involved in the conflict to commit to a peace process that will deliver a two-state solution.

“Today, every South African can hold their heads high, confident that we have assumed our rightful place on the world stage,” President Ramaphosa said.

The Head of State said South Africa remained committed to playing a constructive role on the continent and around the globe for the realisation of a better Africa and world.

“We will continue to play an important role in silencing the guns throughout our continent.”

During his televised address, he said government's involvement in resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict through the Africa Peace Initiative was progressing with various parties.

“We engage in these peace efforts because we believe that even the most intractable conflicts can be brought to an end through negotiations.”

In addition, he said the country would continue to use its foreign policy to pursue developmental goals.

“During our leadership of BRICS last year, we witnessed a new chapter for the BRICS family of countries.”

President Ramaphosa labelled the expansion of the group from five to 10 members as an opportunity for trade and a strengthening of political and diplomatic ties between countries in the global South.

“We will build on the progress we have made in establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, which will transform South Africa’s economy and that of the continent by creating new jobs and increasing economic participation.”

The President also vowed that the country would place Africa’s development at the top of the agenda when South Africa hosts the G20 in 2025.

“The achievements over the last three decades are a testament to the power of collaboration and partnership to address our most pressing challenges.”

– Source:
South Africa has honoured the contribution made by those who have excelled in promoting the interests of the country on an international stage at the eighth Ubuntu Awards, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Saturday night, 10 February 2024.
Hosted annually by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), the awards recognise South African industry leaders, including eminent people and ordinary South African citizens for their distinguished service and contribution to promoting South Africa’s national interests and values across the world.

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

Addressing the event, Deputy President Paul Mashatile said South Africa’s unique perspective on global issues had found expression in the concept of Ubuntu, which informs the country’s approach to diplomacy and shapes its vision of a better world for all.

“It was the commonly shared values of Ubuntu that motivated us as a government to mobilise our sharpest legal minds to prepare a solid case to be presented to the International Court of Justice in the hopes of arresting the genocide in Gaza, which the United Nations Secretary-General has called an unprecedented catastrophe,” Deputy President Mashatile said.

The Deputy President said the reference to Ubuntu in the interim Constitution created hope of an equal and just society, which does not discriminate against people on the grounds of their culture, race, gender or religious beliefs.

The Deputy President reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring that South Africa maintains its position as a prominent nation in diverse sectors in the coming years, thereby effecting positive change both domestically and internationally.

Awards winners

The recipients of the Ubuntu Award were:
  • Ubuntu Economic Diplomacy Award (Africa): MultiChoice Group
  • Ubuntu Economic Diplomacy Award (Global): Maxhosa Africa
  • Ubuntu Social Responsibility Award: Rescue South Africa
  • Ubuntu Youth Diplomacy Award: Ncumisa Mkabile
  • Ubuntu Sports Diplomacy Award (Male): Siyamthanda Kolisi
  • Ubuntu Sports Diplomacy Award (Female): Janine van Wyk
  • Ubuntu Arts and Cultural Diplomacy Award (Youth): Thuso Mbedu
  • Ubuntu Arts and Cultural Diplomacy Award (Veteran): Dr John Bonisile Kani
  • OR Tambo Lifetime Achievement Award: Ambassador Mohammed Dangor (diplomat, legislator and advocate for peace and justice).
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The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, is leading a South African delegation at the 44th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU), taking place from 14 to 15 February 2024 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The AU Executive Council is composed of foreign ministers, or such other ministers or authorities as designated by the governments of member states.

The Executive Council’s core functions include considering reports and making recommendations to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

On the margins of the Executive Council, Minister Pandor will chair a meeting of the AU Ad Hoc High-Level Committee for South Sudan (C5), comprising the republics of South Africa (Chair), Algeria, Chad, Nigeria and Rwanda. The meeting, scheduled for 16 February 2024, will focus on the peace process in South Sudan.

Minister Pandor will also hold bilateral meetings with several of her counterparts.

The 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU will take place in Addis Ababa from 17 to 18 February 2024 under the theme: Educate an African Fit for the 21st Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Lifelong, Quality, and Relevant Learning in Africa.

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The South African Government has urgently appealed to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to assess Israel's recent declaration to expand its military presence in Rafah, which is the last refuge for surviving people in Gaza.
Government is urging the ICJ to determine if it should intervene to prevent any imminent violation of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza.

“The South African Government has made an urgent request to the International Court of Justice to consider whether the decision announced by Israel to extend its military operations in Rafah, which is the last refuge for surviving people in Gaza, requires that the court uses its power to prevent further imminent breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza," The Presidency said in a statement on Tuesday, 13 February 2024.

The Presidency said that under Article 75(1) of the Rules of Court, "The court may at any time decide to examine proprio motu whether the circumstances of the case require the indication of provisional measures, which ought to be taken or complied with by any or all of the parties".
“In a request submitted to the court yesterday (12 February 2024), the South African Government said it was gravely concerned that the unprecedented military offensive against Rafah, as announced by the State of Israel, has already led to and will result in further large-scale killing, harm and destruction. This would be in serious and irreparable breach both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court's Order of 26 January 2024.

“South Africa trusts this matter will receive the necessary urgency in light of the daily death toll in Gaza,” The Presidency said.

Last month, the United Nations top court ordered Israel to, among others, take all measures within its power “to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide” and to immediately ensure that Palestinians have access to basic services and humanitarian assistance.

In a landmark judgment, the ICJ determined that it was “plausible” that Israel had committed acts that violated the Genocide Convention.

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South Africa is to deploy at least 2 900 members of the South African National Defence Force to assist in the fight against illegal armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered the deployment in line with fulfilling South Africa’s international obligation towards the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission to support the DRC

The deployment comes as the DRC battles Tutsi-led M23 rebels whose attacks and advances in recent days, is threatening the North Kivu provincial capital, Goma.

According to media reports, decades of conflicts in the eastern DRC between myriad rival armed groups over land and resources have killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than seven million.
The SADC Mission in the DRC (SAMIDRC) was deployed on 15 December 2023 to support the Government of the DRC to restore peace and security in the eastern DRC, which has witnessed an increase in conflicts and instability caused by the resurgence of armed groups.

“The employment will cover the period from 15 December 2023 to 15 December 2024 and it was authorised in accordance with the provisions of section 201(2) (c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

“The budgeted expenditure to be incurred for the employment amounts to just over R2 billion. This expenditure will not impact provisions for the defence force’s regular maintenance and emergency repairs,” The Presidency said in a statement on Monday, 12 February 2024.

The obligation to contribute troops to the SADC Mission in the DRC is borne by all SADC member states. SADC is a 16-member group of countries, including the Congo.

The deployment of the SAMIDRC was approved by the Extraordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Windhoek, Republic of Namibia, on 8 May 2023 as a regional response to address the unstable and deteriorating security situation prevailing in the eastern DRC.

As part of the SAMIDRC, a SADC regional force from the republics of Malawi, South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania and elements of the DRC Armed Forces are working with the Congolese Army, the Forces Armees de la Republic Democratique du Congo, in fighting armed groups operating in the eastern DRC.

In a statement in January, SADC said the presence of the SAMIDRC demonstrated the commitment of SADC member states to support the DRC in its efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability and, ultimately, create an enabling environment for sustainable development and prosperity.

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Cape Town is set to host The Earthshot Prize 2024, marking a significant event on the global environmental calendar. This will be the first time the prestigious event is held on the African continent, signalling a growing recognition of Africa’s crucial role in addressing global environmental challenges.
The Earthshot Prize, initiated in 2020 by Prince William, aims to search for inspiring and innovative solutions to problems facing the planet and is coming to Cape Town this November.

The event, dubbed Earthshot Week 2024, will span five days, culminating in an awards ceremony that celebrates 15 of the world’s most promising environmental solutions. The Earthshot Prize is built around five key objectives, namely to:
  • protect and restore nature
  • clean our air
  • revive our oceans
  • build a waste-free world
  • fix our climate.
These goals reflect a comprehensive approach to ensuring a sustainable future for our planet.

South Africa’s selection as the host country is particularly poignant, given the continent’s vulnerability to climate change despite its minimal contribution to global warming. Africa is home to a wealth of innovative environmental solutions and nearly 400 of this year’s Earthshot Prize nominees are based in Africa, showcasing the continent’s potential to drive global change.

The Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony in Cape Town will not only spotlight the finalists’ groundbreaking work but also bring together a diverse group of innovators, Earthshot alumni, partners, investors and philanthropists. This convergence aims to foster inspiring conversations and actions that can catalyse further solutions for protecting and restoring our planet.

Hannah Jones, CEO of The Earthshot Prize, emphasises the urgency of this decade, dubbed the “Earthshot Decade”, to make significant strides in reducing CO2 emissions and protecting our natural world. The prize serves as a reminder of the power of human ingenuity and determination to overcome environmental challenges and create a sustainable future.

The prize’s presence in Africa for the first time is a testament to the continent’s burgeoning role as a hub of environmental innovation. It highlights the importance of supporting and scaling the solutions that emerge from regions most affected by climate change. The Earthshot Prize 2024 in Cape Town is not just an awards ceremony; it’s a global platform that shines a light on the critical environmental work being done worldwide and the collective action needed to ensure a thriving planet for future generations.

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With several stores across the globe, Pret A Manger, often referred to as Pret, renowned and loved for its organic coffee and fresh food options, has announced that it will be opening in South Africa.
The official announcement follows an official landmark development agreement between Pret and Millat Group, a leading financial advisory and private equity firm. The signed agreement provides Millat with the exclusive licence to operate.

With an astounding global footprint of 650 stores in 18 countries, this will be the first time Pret makes its way to Africa.

The first Pret A Manger will open in Johannesburg with an opening date yet to be confirmed. A number of branches will then be opened across the country, in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria.

CEO of Millat Group, Hamza Farooqui, says, “Pret A Manger has the best-in-class offering of organic grab-and-go and a food-service offering that stands out,” adding that the partnership “is in line with Millat’s strategy of bringing global brands into South Africa”.

Solidifying itself as a brand known for its premium organic coffee and fresh food offering, Pret A Manger opened its first store in 1986 and has soared to heights, with stores across the globe in countries such as Hong Kong, France, India and Ireland.

Pret A Manger offers freshly handmade sandwiches, salads and wraps, utilising high-quality ingredients to create an unforgettable experience for foodies. Not only is the coffee organic, but Pret A Manger prides itself on applying this to both the teas and hot chocolates, ensuring consistency with all drinks offered.

“Bringing Pret’s freshly made food and organic coffee to the African continent for the first time marks a major milestone in our international expansion. Partnering with the Millat Group to launch Pret in South Africa is hugely exciting, with our Johannesburg shop set to be the first of many in the South African market.

“The partnership aligns with Millat’s vision of fostering entrepreneurship within South Africa, driving economic growth and providing a service that will enhance the daily lives of South Africans. We look forward to welcoming customers right across the country in the coming months and years,” says Pano Christou, Chief Executive Officer at Pret A Manger.

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Two incredible South African lodges have been named on the 2024 Top 50 Most Romantic Hotels list by Big 7 Travel. The lodges both landed in the top 15. They are the Outpost Lodge at fifth place and Lion Sands Ivory Lodge earned 14th place.
The award is given by Big 7 Travel on their newly updated website, which uses a comprehensive scoring system that analyses the number of hashtags and TikTok views per destination, sample survey results of Big 7 Media’s audiences and from the global editorial team.

“This is the sixth year that Big 7 Travel has released the Most Romantic Hotels and they’ve taken on board a lot of our reader suggestions from the previous years’ lists. Hotel inclusions were ranked based on several factors, including properties with high Tripadvisor review scores from couples, unique ‘romantic’ experiences, room facilities and luxury.”

The Outpost Lodge #5

“Overlooking a valley of baobabs and the Luvuvhu River, the surrounding scenery is so beautiful that the Outpost said ‘no’ to windows and doors. All twelve bungalows, which are suspended on stilts and connected by a wooden walkway, are completely open to the elements. Think special sunrise viewing from your bed, coffee in hand. Watch elephants play in the valley below, whether that’s from the daybed on the wraparound balcony or the rounded bathtub.” – Big 7 Travel

Lion Sands Ivory Lodge #14

“Ivory Lodge thinks of everything – from your champagne of choice in the maxibar to unique dining under the stars. The accommodation is so geared towards romance, that they even offer a discount for newlyweds. After days spent exploring in a land cruiser, you’ll end the night listening to the not-so-distant sounds of hippos and lions. Guests can also spend a night or two in one of three luxury treehouses: Tinyeleti, Kingston, and Chalkley. The Kingston Treehouse is built on boulders, across a small drawbridge, with lanterns and the bright moon to light the way.” – Big 7 Travel

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Rooibos, a plant native to the botanically diverse Cederberg region of the Western Cape, has found a new home in the virtual world. The plant, which has been grown exclusively in this region for over a century, is now featured in the action-packed survival game, “Enshrouded”.
The game was developed by Germany-based Keen Games and launched via early access for Windows PC users on 24 January and requires players to gather resources, including Rooibos, to survive in the virtual Nomad Highlands, a resource-rich area at the heart of the game.

The game has already attracted more than one million users, with numbers growing daily. Players, known as “the flameborn”, are the last hope of an ancient civilisation. They must fight against “the shroud”, a creeping blight that absorbs and mutates all life it encounters.

To survive, players must gather resources such as wood, stone, metal, leather cloth and rare plants like Rooibos.

The Rooibos shrub, which is difficult to find in the game, resembles the plant in its spring bloom, covered in tiny yellow flowers. Players can use its seeds to create a plantation or brew a cup of tea.

Some users have reported that using the Rooibos tea recipe provides bonuses to a player’s stamina and endurance. The game is still in development and more features are likely to be added.

The decision to incorporate Rooibos into the game may be due to the plant’s growing popularity in Germany and Europe.

Rooibos is now available in almost every German supermarket, department store, health food shop, specialised tea shop and even petrol station convenience stores. The South African brew accounts for about 10% of the tea consumed in Germany.

“The inclusion of Rooibos into Enshrouded has come as a complete surprise and is sure to drive Rooibos’ visibility and reach new demographics. Gaming has gone from a niche hobby to one of the biggest markets in the entertainment industry with more than three billion gamers worldwide,” says Rooibos Council spokesperson, Adele du Toit.

“We hope that players worldwide will associate positive experiences with Rooibos in the game, which could potentially lead to increased awareness and a greater demand for our locally grown tisane.”

Last year, nearly 10 000 tonnes of Rooibos were exported to more than 40 overseas markets, with Japan, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom being the top five importers of the product.

Enshrouded is currently available on STEAM and GeForce and is set to be released in late 2024 for Windows PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Series S.

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Pola Maneli, a Gqeberha artist, got his big break unexpectedly. Now, his work has graced the cover of New York’s most famous magazine and was sold to an Oscar-winning director.
Maneli’s work has travelled a long way from the Eastern Cape. For the Gqeberha artist who decided to post some of his university work on social media, what would come thereafter was a whirlwind of unexpected moments.

After the Gqeberha artist shared an editorial illustration project that he did for his degree on Instagram, the “calls” from New York came.

“I got a random email from The New Yorker for an illustration for a piece in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in 2020 in the US,” Maneli shared in speaking to his former university, Nelson Mandela University.
The New Yorker (New York City’s most famous magazine) loved what he created and soon more illustration opportunities came, including the biggest yet.

In 2023, the artist got the chance to be part of creating one of the most iconic magazine covers, which featured Dr Martin Luther King for the annual MLK edition. A ton of thoughts surrounding socio-political discourse went into the creation, but Maneli chose to spotlight a very important side to the historical figure that isn’t always spotlighted ‒ that of being a father and a husband. A human.

Not only was the cover a big success, but it also caught the attention of Spike Lee. The Oscar-winning director ended up calling Maneli in what he describes to have been a “wild, wild, experience”.

“He told me that he’d like to purchase the original drawing of the cover.”

Not to mention, Lee also went on to put Maneli’s work in an art exhibition in Brooklyn.

Of his interaction with Lee and gratitude to The New Yorker, Maneli shared:

“We spoke about Johannesburg, art, politics, Brooklyn and his ties to Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s family and his love for Morehouse College. Later, he purchased the original pen and graphite drawing of my New Yorker cover, and I was content for that to be the end of the story.

“But, in keeping with his generous spirit, he’s included that piece in his Brooklyn museum exhibition, Creative Sources, a look into his history, passions and sources of inspiration. Insane. I am grateful beyond words to Spike, the Brooklyn Museum and the folks over at The New Yorker magazine’s art department for the countless opportunities.”

Today, Maneli celebrates having been in multiple publications, including The Atlantic and the New York Times, as well as a “Google Doodle”. Despite his work being all over the world, he still calls Gqeberha home and has made his university, community and young artists from South Africa looking up to him, incredibly proud.

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Captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was the hero again as South Africa beat the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 6-5 on penalties in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) third place play-off on Saturday, 10 February 2024.
After a 0-0 draw following 90 minutes in Abidjan, Williams saved spot kicks from Chancel Mbemba and Meschack Elia to give Bafana Bafana the bronze medal in the Ivory Coast.

Before Elia had his kick saved, Siyanda Xulu converted to give South Africa what proved the decisive lead in the shootout.
Williams saved four shootout kicks last weekend to help South Africa get past Cape Verde after a goalless quarter-final.

The DRC team will regret many missed chances during regular time in a lively match while South Africa maintained a perfect record in third place play-offs having beaten Tunisia on penalties 24 years ago.

South Africa made three changes to the team beaten in a penalty shootout by Nigeria after an incident-packed semi-final.

Nkosinathi Sibisi, Thapelo Morena and Mihlali Mayambela came in for suspended Grant Kekana and injured duo Mothobi Mvala and Percy Tau.

DRC retained only two of the side that lost to hosts Ivory Coast in the other semi-final – captain and centre-back Mbemba and midfielder Samuel Moutoussamy.

But eight of the nine who were dropped sat on the bench, leaving French coach Sebastien Desabre with multiple options should he wish to make changes.


Although the Congolese had less of the ball in the opening half at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in the Ivorian economic capital, they were the more threatening team in the attacking third.

Physically imposing Silas Mvumpa came close to breaking the deadlock after just eight minutes, but as he tried to round Williams in the area, the goalkeeper snatched the ball.

Simon Banza worked his way into a dangerous position close to the South African goal midway through the half, only to deliver a weak shot that posed no danger.

Despite some neat build-up play, it took South Africa 43 minutes to get a shot on target and the effort from Mayambela went straight to goalkeeper Dimitry Bertaud.

As the match reached the mid-point of the second half, the DRC continued to look the side more likely to break the deadlock.

When Williams fumbled the ball and lost possession, the ball went across the goalmouth and Silas fired wide when he should at least have hit the target.

So should Mbemba, who had ventured forward for a free-kick, but he blazed over when the ball fell invitingly into his path close to goal. Substitute Fiston Mayele also wasted a chance.

The countries met at the group stage last month in the same venue and the Super Eagles won 1-0 thanks to a William Troost-Ekong penalty.

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Ronwen Williams won the Africa Cup of Nations' Goalkeeper of the Tournament Award, announced after Saturday night's final where hosts Ivory Coast sent the country into delirium beating Nigeria 2-1 in Abidjan.
Bafana Bafana also won the Fair Play Award and was the bronze medallists.

Bafana Bafana captain Williams' heroics helped his team to a first third-place finish since 2000 and included an unheard-of four stops in the penalty shoot-out in the quarterfinal against Cape Verde.

After a 2-0 defeat against Mali in Bafana Bafana's opener he kept five clean sheets. These came in the 4-0 group stage win against Namibia, 0-0 draw against Tunisia and 2-0 last 16 win against Morocco. There was also the 0-0 extra-time result in the quarterfinal against Cape Verde and goalless full-time third-place playoff result against the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Williams conceded a goal in the 1-1 result after extra time in the semifinal against Nigeria, who won on penalties. He made two saves in the third-place penalty shoot-out. After the two goals against Mali, the South African keeper only conceded once again in six matches.

Despite such impressive statistics, the Mamelodi Sundowns star would have had stiff competition from Nigeria keeper, Stanley Nwabali, who interestingly also plays in South Africa, for Chippa United.

Nwabali conceded twice in the final. Before that he conceded in the Super Eagles' opening 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea, then kept four clean sheets going into the final.

The Fair Play Award is determined by the total number of yellow and red cards accumulated by each team and was awarded to Bafana Bafana.

Africa Cup of Nations prize winners:
  • Winners: Ivory Coast
  • Finalists: Nigeria
  • Third: South Africa
  • Fourth: Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Best Player: William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria)
  • Golden Boot: Emilio Nsue Lopez, five goals (Equatorial Guinea)
  • Best Goalkeeper: Ronwen Williams (South Africa)
  • Fair Play Team: South Africa.
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Erin Gallagher swam a best time at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha and made history with a new record.
South Africa is participating in the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha with many of our swimmers well-prepared to make South Africa proud as a precursor to the Paris Olympics. Basking in South Africa’s pride is 25-year-old swimmer, Erin Gallagher, whose swim turned into an African record.

Gallagher made her record-setting splash thanks to her time of 57.59 for the 100m butterfly. The record Gallagher set is a new record for the continent; breaking the previous time set by Gallagher herself.
Experiencing a moment of such magnitude so early on at Worlds came as a big surprise to the young swimmer, who described it as “both a shock and a treat”.

“Being the first race of the gala, with the nerves and breaking the ice, sometimes you can have a bit of a rusty swim and you realise what you need to work on, so to see that African record next to my time was a really big shock for me.”

Because she hardly expected it to go so well so early on made it that much more of a treat.

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South African men’s and women’s wheelchair tennis teams won their titles and will now represent the continent as African champions.
Good news for South African tennis has come in a big way after our local men’s and women’s wheelchair tennis teams won their titles at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup Africa Qualification Event in Abuja, Nigeria. This has earned them the honour of representing the continent at the World Group Event as teams of African champions.

Meet the African champions

Women’s team: Kgothatso Montjane and Mariska Venter.

Men’s team: Alwande Sikhosana and Evans Maripa.

Both teams performed outstandingly at the Paribas World Team Cup, defeating Morocco 2-0 in the men’s and women’s finals.

Led by coach Patrick Selepe, the teams have reminded South Africans (yet again) that the talent of our nation continues to conquer, inspire and uplift.
The World Group Event is pencilled for May and will take place in Turkey where teams from around the globe will slam down for victory.

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South Africa is set to host the U20 Championship again in 2024, adding more excitement to the upcoming sports line-up in South Africa.
World Rugby unveiled the details for its two flagship U20 competitions with South Africa hosting the World Rugby U20 Championship 2024 and Scotland the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2024.

The two age-grade tournaments are a key part of the international federation’s investment in increasing the competitiveness of global rugby by providing a meaningful pathway to the elite level for talented young players. The showpiece tournaments, first held in 2008, have seen more than 1 550 players go on to make their test debut after playing on this stage, including 32 Rugby World Cup winners.

South Africa hosts back-to-back U20 Championships

The World Rugby U20 Championship 2024 will be played over five match days in the Western Cape regions of Stellenbosch and Cape Town. The world’s best 12 nations have been placed into three pools of four with three-time consecutive winners, France placed in Pool A alongside New Zealand, Wales and Spain, who will make their debut after winning the World Rugby U20 Trophy in 2023.
After claiming a bronze medal with a superb defensive and forward display the Junior Springboks will look to impress again on home soil and face England, Argentina and Fiji in Pool C while 2023 runners-up Ireland, Australia, Georgia and Italy make up Pool B.

The final will be played at Cape Town Stadium on 19 July 2024.

World Rugby U20 Championship 2024 participating teams:
  • Argentina (Pool C)
  • Australia (Pool B)
  • England (Pool C)
  • Fiji (Pool C)
  • France (Pool A)
  • Georgia (Pool B)
  • Ireland (Pool B)
  • Italy (Pool B)
  • New Zealand (Pool A)
  • South Africa (Pool C)
  • Spain (Pool A)
  • Wales (Pool A).
South Africa Rugby CEO, Rian Oberholzer, said South Africa was looking forward to welcoming back the world’s best young players in the beautiful city of Cape Town: “We have a proud history of successfully staging world-class events and we are extremely proud to be hosting the World Rugby U20 Championship for a second successive year in the Western Cape.

“Despite the challenging weather we experienced at times during last winter’s successful tournament, our enthusiastic rugby supporters truly showed their passion for the game and eagerness to see the world’s best young players in action by turning out in numbers in Stellenbosch and Cape Town.

“We are determined to improve on last year’s event and to present a memorable, world-class tournament that players, match officials and rugby fans – locals and from abroad – will thoroughly enjoy.”

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