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President Cyril Ramaphosa concluded his participation at the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) on Sunday, 18 February 2024.
The AU Assembly met under the theme: Educate an Africa Fit for the 21st Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Lifelong, Quality and Relevant Learning in Africa.

The assembly discussed the status of peace and security on the continent and the Report of the AU Peace and Security Council. The discussion took place against the backdrop of great concern regarding the state of peace and security in Africa, especially the ongoing and concerning trend of unconstitutional changes of government that have occurred in West Africa as well as the ongoing conflicts in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, South Sudan and Mozambique.

Furthermore, the summit accepted a report on the progress of the institutional reforms of the AU.

The highlight of the summit was the launch of the Second Ten-Year Implementation Plan of the AU’s Agenda 2063: The Africa we Want.

Agenda 2063 serves as a 50-year blueprint for Africa’s socio-economic development and integration, adopted by the AU member states after extensive consultations across the continent.

A key flagship project of Agenda 2063 in which South Africa plays a leading role is the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, that serves as a milestone development in the evolution of the AU.

President Ramaphosa presented a report on the continent’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of readiness against future health threats, in his capacity as the Champion of the AU’s COVID-19 response. As the pandemic is waning on the continent, South Africa intends to work with the AU Commission and the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) towards expanding the role of the President to include all other health pandemics that are affecting the continent.

“Although the Africa CDC has classified COVID-19 as no longer a public health emergency of international concern, it remains an ever-evolving endemic virus. Furthermore, the effects of the pandemic continue to reverberate across our continent and beyond. The COVID-19 crisis was an opportunity for us as Africa to bolster our manufacturing sector. We were able to draw in an impressive US$1.1 billion in financial and technical investments, in addition to the US$1 billion advanced market commitment from GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance”, said President Ramaphosa.

The President praised the concerted efforts and collaboration demonstrated by the continent during the COVID-19 pandemic. He further urged the gathered leaders to continue improving the levels of alertness of their countries against future pandemics.

“Despite these successes, we are still at the delicate juncture of recovery. There is the threat of future pandemics. Our rapid and precise interventions have averted further crises and for this, we must continue to sharpen our vigilance.

“The adoption of a strong Common Africa Position on Pandemic Preparedness and Response is non-negotiable. It will define our roadmap to safeguarding our people, with a keen focus on critical issues”, said President Ramaphosa.

Addressing the summit leaders on positive masculinity and the need to support the development of the AU Convention on Ending Violence against Women and Girls, the President expressed his gratitude for the effort of champions on positive masculinity and all member states that have been part of the continental movement.

The President called on the assembly to forge a strong and enduring commitment to protect and uplift those who have suffered from violence against women and girls.

“We must now launch the AU Convention on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Campaign, championing continent-wide consultations and ensuring that the journey to developing this critical instrument is shared by citizens across our vast continent.

“Developing the AU Convention on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls is more than a political act. It is a moral imperative to redefine our societies, confront the legacies of colonialism, patriarchy and racism and champion equality, freedom and self-determination for every African.

“As President of South Africa, I hereby commit to support the development and timely adoption of a comprehensive convention that is backed by resources and institutional mechanisms to ensure its efficacy”, concluded President Ramaphosa.

South Africa supported the principles and spirit of both the 2024 AU theme as contained in the concept note and the roadmap, which affirmed the critical need to transform and revitalise systems on the continent to place education at the centre of Africa’s development agenda.

On the margins of the AU Summit, President Ramaphosa held several bilateral meetings with heads of state and government of the Republic of Angola, the State of Palestine, Republic of Kenya and the Republic of South Sudan. The meetings centred on the strengthening of cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

President Ramaphosa also held a trilateral meeting with President Felix Tshisikedi of the DRC and President Évariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi. The meeting focussed on areas of common interests, including the restoration of peace and security in the eastern DRC.

President Ramaphosa wished His Excellency President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, the President of Mauritania, a successful tenure on his election as the new Chairperson of the AU and commended the leadership of outgoing Chairperson President Azali Ghazouani of the Union of Comoros.

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South Africa is enhancing its efforts to address climate change by introducing the Climate Change Response Fund aimed at fostering collaboration between government and the private sector to effectively tackle environmental challenges.
This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who addressed the nation through his weekly newsletter on Monday, 19 February 2024.

“For our part, South Africa has established the Climate Change Response Fund that will bring together all spheres of government and the private sector. By coordinating financial mobilisation from both government and the private sector, our country will have collaborative efforts to build resilience and respond to climate change.

“This includes climate-proofing existing essential infrastructure and facilities, such as water and food systems, roads, rail and ports, human settlements and healthcare.

“The fund will also collaborate with a variety of partners to respond to immediate needs in communities following climate change-related disasters,” the President said.

The fund forms an important part of South Africa’s comprehensive response to climate change, which includes both adaptation and measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

President Ramaphosa returned from the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the worsening effects of climate change on the continent were raised prominently.

African leaders have been advocating for urgent, practical and stepped up climate action, given the continent’s extreme vulnerability to the effects of global warming.

“We have seen a rapid increase in climate-related disasters worldwide as extreme weather events become more frequent. In our own country, we have had wildfires in the Western Cape, heatwaves in the Northern Cape, continuing drought conditions in the Eastern Cape and intense storms in Gauteng.

“Even before we could properly recover and rebuild after the 2022 floods in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and North West, we were hit again this year with more flooding, further loss of life and damage to livelihoods, property and the local economy,” he said.

President Ramaphosa said the insurance industry warned about the increasing costs of disaster risk finance and the prospect of highly vulnerable regions eventually becoming uninsurable.

As noted during the AU Summit, the President explained that the African climate action was constrained by inadequate and unpredictable climate finance.

“It has long been the continental position that those most responsible for climate change and its impacts, namely developed countries, bear a responsibility to assist developing countries to build climate resilience.

“We therefore welcomed the historic agreement at the United Nations Climate Conference in the United Arab Emirates in December last year to operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund to provide financial support for developing countries that are vulnerable to the impact of climate change. South Africa and the African Group were key to securing this agreement,” the President said.

At the same time, the President said, African countries were forging ahead with plans to mobilise resources in support of climate action across the continent and the AU Commission had recently established the Climate Finance Unit to ensure this is done in a coordinated manner.

The President emphasised that as a country, South Africa could not be complacent about climate change because its impacts were already being felt.

“We will continue to contribute our fair share to the global climate-change effort. Our country will remain vocal in calling for developed countries to meet their obligations for financing and technology transfer support.

“We will continue to campaign for transformation of the international financial architecture and reform of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions so that developing countries can access the resources needed for climate action and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

The President committed to continue to campaign against the implementation of climate and environment-based unilateral actions, policies and taxes and their potential impacts on African exports and trade.

“Climate change is a global problem and as such, requires collective global action that is sustainable, that takes the differing circumstances and capabilities of countries into account and that, above all, leaves no-one behind,” President Ramaphosa said.

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The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, is in Rio de Janeiro, Federative Republic of Brazil, to participate in the Group of Twenty (G20) Foreign Ministers Meeting, scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 21 February and Thursday, 22 February 2024.
The meeting follows the first Sherpa’s meeting that was convened in December 2023 during which Brazil presented its broader priorities for its G20 Presidency, which are:
  • Social Inclusion and Fight Against Hunger and Poverty
  • Energy Transition and Sustainable Development in its Economic Social and Environmental Dimensions
  • The reform of the Global Governance Institutions.
The theme of Brazil’s G20 Presidency is Building a Just World and a Sustainable Planet.

The Foreign Ministers Meeting will discuss the reform of the global governance institutions and the collective roles of G20 member states in dealing with the ongoing international geopolitical tensions.

On the margins of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting, the Minister will also participate in the India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) Standalone Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs on 22 February 2024.

Other ministers to join Minister Pandor during this meeting are the Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India, Dr S Jaishankar; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Ambassador Mauro Vieira.

The meeting will discuss IBSA’s perspectives and institutional development and is chaired by Brazil. Minister Pandor will also use the opportunity of her visit to Brazil to have bilateral meetings with some of her counterparts.

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The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic), in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), will host the second Black Industrialists and Exporters Conference at the Sandton International Convention Centre on 20 March 2024.
The day-long conference will provide a platform for an exchange of ideas, knowledge and information on the achievements of the Black Industrialists Programme since its inception in 2015, as well as challenges and opportunities presented by the programme.

There will also be an exhibition that will showcase proudly South African products manufactured by black Industrialists and an awards ceremony that will recognise and reward Black Industrialists that have contributed significantly to the country’s industrialisation, job creation, poverty alleviation, innovation and transformation efforts.

More than 1 300 delegates, including 800 black firms, 73 panellists and speakers, 139 exhibitors, nine buyers from the country’s biggest retailers and seven ministers participated in the inaugural event that took place in Sandton in July 2022.

The objective of the Black Industrialists Programme is to increase the participation of black South Africans in the ownership and control of productive enterprises in key sectors and value chains of the country’s economy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa graced the inaugural event, which took place in Sandton in 2022. He officially opened the conference and later handed over certificates to deserving and distinguished black industrialists in various categories.

In his keynote address, President Ramaphosa described the conference as “an opportunity to reflect on progress in advancing redress and equity in the South African economy”.

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The United States of America's (US) Embassy in South Africa has announced a poetry and creative expression video competition, called “Next Generation Democracy”.
Participants must upload their videos on a private YouTube account or other shareable video channel and submit a link to by 23:59 on 25 February 2024.

The initiative is part of the embassy's Black History Month Campaign for February 2024 and also marks 30 years of South African democracy and the US-South Africa democratic partnership.

South Africans aged 18 to 28 can submit one English spoken-word poetry video clip of under two minutes.
The videos should share "the young poet's perspective on what the promise of democracy means to South African youth today and into the next 30 years", according to the competition details.

"Videos will be judged on effectiveness in communicating the importance and unique take on the topic, as well as what the author stands for," the details state.

The 18 finalists will be notified via e-mail or phone and announced publicly at the live Poetry Slam on South African Human Rights Day, 20 March 2024, according to the US Embassy's website.

"The top 18 nationwide winners (two from each province) will be invited to participate in a three-day spoken-word poetry workshop with accomplished American slam poet Alysia Harris in mid-March 2024," the details continue

The finalists will then have a final performance of their pieces in collaboration with Harris. The US Embassy will award three top prizes to the participants, including a MacBook for first place. Second and third places will be awarded an iPad and iPad Mini, respectively.

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South African satellite component manufacturer CubeSpace, which is using technology first developed at Stellenbosch University (SU), is producing parts being used in National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellites and a lunar rover.
CubeSpace is a fast-growing spinoff company of SU that is building parts for satellites being deployed across the world.

CEO Mike-Alec Kearney said the company had built over 5 000 components for satellites since launching 10 years ago, including 300 control systems ‒ one of the most complicated components on a satellite.

Control systems play a crucial role in the operation of satellites, ensuring they can be manoeuvred with precision.

As a component manufacturer, the company does not launch any satellites into space itself but produces parts of satellites that are used for a host of different applications.

While some electronics are imported, CubeSpace’s 55-strong team designs, manufactures and assembles the products in South Africa, said Kearney.

Kearney explained that the company was started in 2014 as a spinoff of SU. Research at the university formed the basis of the component designs that the company started developing.

The products have been refined through experience based on how they perform in space.

"The interesting thing about space is that you can design and build something to the best of your ability, but you can’t really test it unless you launch it. You have to actually launch it into space to see if it works," said Kearney.

With over 150 clients throughout the world, including space agencies, companies and research bodies, Kearney wants the company to be established as the global leader for the manufacturing of control systems for all sizes of satellites.

"Our goal as a company is to become the standard for control systems for any sized satellites globally," he said.

The company has several high-profile clients showing its strides to achieving this.

The company has provided NASA with a range of stock and customised components that are being used in their smaller satellites.

"I am sure NASA has clever enough people in-house to be able to do these things if they are sending stuff to other planets, but we are really specialised and the fact that they end up outsourcing to us is kind of testament to how niche and complicated this is and how good our team is," said Kearney.

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From a big dream in Joburg to expanding across the continent, GirlCode’s mission continues to empower African women in technology and it is only getting greater.
GirlCode, an organisation on a mission to empower women and girls through technology, has come a long way since the dream to reduce unemployment rates through future-focussed opportunities began in Johannesburg.
As GirlCode gears up for its 10th Annual Hackathon, the team has reflected on just how much impact has been possible and just how much more impact is possible. This reflection has inspired GirlCode team’s decision to expand the hackathon reach across the continent to 10 African cities.

Fittingly, the theme for this year’s Hackathon is: Empowering Change Across Africa. For GirlCode, using opportunities that exist in technology spaces cleverly, not only addresses the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, but also encourages female participation in a male-dominated field.

Past participants of the hackathon have gone on to do incredible things, including attending Global Women in Tech conferences and securing job opportunities.

Zandile Mkwanazi, CEO of GirlCode, says, “We believe that technology has the power to shape a better future and through the GirlCode Hackathon, we are inviting companies to join us in making a meaningful impact on the tech industry and contributing to positive change across the African continent. Together, let’s empower change across Africa and build a more inclusive and sustainable future.”

The 2024 Hackathon is taking place from 31 August 2024 to 1 September 2024.

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In Paris on Sunday, 11 February 2024, Creation Wines was awarded the global V d’Or Award for Best Brand Experience. Dubbed the “Oscars of Wine” by Committee Chairperson Michael Chapoutier, the V d’Or celebrates business innovation and corporate social responsibility commitments among global producers in the wine and spirits industry. The V d’Or is sponsored by VINEXPO in Paris
Among an impressive list of nominees across the world, the international judging panel chose Creation as the winner of this prestigious award. It is based on five key criteria, including the innovative and original quality of the brand experience, its personality and consistent quality.

According to the V d’Or committee, Creation’s category represents the significant contribution brand experiences make in the wine industry.

“This is such an important recognition for Creation,” says Brand Creative Director and co-founder, Carolyn Martin. “It is a journey we began over two decades ago with sustainability and innovation at the heart of what we do and key to how we chartered our course. We are blessed with a beautiful setting in the Hemel-en-Aarde and an enviable climate for producing fine wines such as our flagship chardonnays and pinot noirs.
“Creation’s fine wine alchemy is a rare blend of art, science, our people and a sense of place. We live by ‘what grows together, goes together’ and create pairing menus that reflect the region. No one leaves our table without some sense of the journey we have taken together and the role they have played. This is what creates a memorable experience.”

Submissions called for an extensive and 360-degree exploration of the brand. Judges were exposed to how Creation wines are affected by its terroir, reflecting a true sense of place. The entry also covered the importance of team contribution: the Creation team is encouraged to bring individual culinary heritage to the table, introducing their guests to unique, indigenous tastes and aromas. At the same time, wine lovers experience wines of rare balance, elegance and finesse. The combination results in a wellness experience with leaving guests feeling positively transformed and revitalised.

Of critical importance is Creation’s impact on the surrounding community. Not only are Creation teams recruited locally, they are given vital technical and soft skills training. The team’s support of the Pebbles Hemel-en-Aarde project, which provides schooling and nutritional meals to children from the local community, is well recorded. Creation now selects graduates from this project to develop what could become a life-changing career, starting in the tasting room or cellar.

“Making Creation’s experience relatable is critical to our success and a positive influence on wine tourism,” says Martin.

It has been a stellar 2023/24 for Creation. The V d’Or Award follows Creation’s position as number one in Africa and number four on the World’s Best Vineyards list. The estate furthermore scored 95 points for the Art of Creation Pinot Noir 2022 in the international Decanter Pinot Noir blind tasting, positioning them in the top five of the 273 wines tasted. In a recent Robert Parker Wine Advocate review of South African wines, the 2022 Creation Art of Pinot Noir came up tops among the 501 wines tasted, scoring an impressive 95 points. Creation was also placed first in two categories at the Great Wine Capitals Regional Best of Wine Tourism Awards: Wine Tourism Services and Art and Culture. What’s more, the estate was awarded one-star status in The Eat Out Awards, South Africa.

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Sudan is currently facing heavy conflict, which has seen the need for organisations to evacuate animals that are being housed in the capital of Khartoum.
In November last year, Four Paws International evacuated 48 wild animals from the area. They were transported to Wad Madani for safekeeping, and as of last week, 11 lions were brought to South Africa, where they are being kept at a big cat sanctuary.
The conflict has been ongoing, and these lions were left traumatised, weak and emaciated. They responded well to the care offered to them by the Four Paws teams and once their strength was up, were transferred to the care of Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. Here they will continue to recover.

As Four Paws has a strict no-breeding policy, the rescued lions will be “spayed” to avoid any breeding in captivity. They are being placed in four interconnecting enclosures, separated by gender and behaviour and once settled in, the male lions will undergo vasectomies.

“We are glad that the tireless efforts of the Four Paws team, with the support of the Sudanese authorities and our global network, paid off. These 11 lions are ambassadors for hope and they symbolise a need for change in how humans treat animals.

“Sadly, more and more conflicts arise all around the world, causing humanitarian crises but also posing a threat to captive animals dependent on human care. We work globally not only to rescue wild animals from cruel and dangerous conditions but also to prevent their suffering in the first place.

“As we see the lions step on the grass in their new home after being stuck in the middle of a conflict zone for months, we are dedicated to care for and protect them for the rest of their lives. They will hear no more sounds of fighting or witness suffering among each other, but enjoy the natural surroundings of our South African sanctuary,” says Four Paws CEO and President, Josef Pfabigan.

Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary was chosen because it was established by Four Paws in 2006. It is one of 13 sanctuaries around the world that works alongside the organisation, taking in rescued big cats, including lions, tigers and leopards.

There are currently over 100 big cats at the sanctuary, rescued from private keeping, circuses, zoos or conflict zones all across the globe.

The sanctuary encompasses a total area of 1 250 hectares. The land is also inhabited by other typical South African species that live freely like zebras and antelopes, as well as a wide variety of bird species that have found refuge on the property.

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A designer from Limpopo, Judy Sanderson, and her eponymous brand have won the Global Fashion Brand Prize, beating out a hundred hopefuls.
As the winner of the 2024/26 edition of the Maison Mode Méditerranée Endowment Fund’s grandest scholarship, Sanderson will now be positioned to elevate her brand and the cultural underpinnings that act as its muse. This was the first time that the Global Fashion Brand scholarship called for projects from Africa.

Hailing from Limpopo, Sanderson now resides in Portugal. Despite her well-travelled footing in the world, Sanderson’s female-centric brand is richly rooted in African energy. In fact, she shares her brand’s ethos is based on Ubuntu – “the oneness to humanity”. The Judy Sanderson brand’s commitment to sustainability is evident in zero plastic packaging, recyclable hangtags and clothing made by local artisans in Portugal and Zimbabwe with limited cut-off designs in mind to minimise waste.
Says the proud South African of the fantastic win: “This achievement holds immense significance, as it reinforces the belief that limits are merely illusions created by those who choose to accept them. Let’s now embark on a journey of resetting our dreams and setting our sights even higher. With gratitude in my heart, we march forward, determined to reach new heights. Onwards and upwards, always.”

In more thanks, the Sanderson brand adds: “We extend our thanks to every artisan we work with. From the seasoned 80-year-old tailor to our talented crochet artisans in Aveiro and the skilled macrame weavers in Zimbabwe, among others. Your contributions have been invaluable. We are excited to share more about the incredible work done behind the scenes by these artisans, inviting you to join us on this journey.”

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This year marks the seventh edition of the Art Connects Women event in Dubai, and each year, women from around the world are selected as ambassadors of their countries. Mandi Friedman has been selected to represent South Africa in 2024.
We got the chance to speak to Friedman, learning how she got into art and what her hopes are for attending the event on behalf of South Africa. She shares that the news of her being chosen has been “truly exciting”.

To fund her trip, she set up a raffle for a beautiful Peace Bowl of her creation and it has been a great success. The event takes place in the first week of March 2024 and she is taking her sculpture called “Fossey”.
Friedman is a ceramic artist who loves brightly coloured whimsical sculptures, but her Fossey piece, which weighs over 10kg, was inspired by Dian Fossey and her work with primates in Rwanda. It honours the life’s work of Fossey, who was murdered in 1985, and every ounce she gave of herself to protect the gorillas of Rwanda.

“She’s a gorilla mom with her baby in her arms. She’s looking at this infant with all the love in the world.

“To me, she represents all women, all mothers, she is the embodiment of love and peace, but fierce and protective and she’ll do whatever it takes to bring this being to adulthood. We could learn a lot from animals about love and kindness, and the need to protect our planet“.

Fossey took six months to complete and is sculpted from earthenware paper clay, which was fired three times.

“Paperclay is regular earthenware clay with added paper pulp, which makes the clay sturdier to build with as a sculpture. The paper obviously burns out with the subsequent firing of the piece in the kiln”.

Friedman started her ceramic career 20 years ago under the guidance of Anthony Shapiro. After his relocation, she then worked with Anne Rimbault.

She has, over the years, built up great experience in the field. Two years ago, Friedman started teaching the art form and teamed up with her friend, a stained-glass artist, to open the Potted Glass Studio in Linden. They teach various art classes for people wanting to stretch their creativity.

Her love of clay work has been the driving force behind her creative and artistic pursuits.

“I love the texture [of clay] and the fact that you can create anything. Clay is so incredibly grounding and keeps you in touch with the Earth. I can be in the worst mood ever, which is quite easy living in Joburg, but 15 minutes after picking up a little clay I’m a different person. Clay has the most incredible healing properties, it’s as old as the planet and when you play with clay, you’re literally at love with Mother Nature, in my head at least”.

Being an art ambassador for South Africa

Friedman saw an open call for entries into the exhibition on Instagram and sent in an entry,

“I wasn’t even expecting to hear back from them, never mind have my piece accepted. So, I’m pretty blown away.

This exhibition selects one female artist and one piece of work from each country that enters, 112 this year. They have this gala event on the last night where you wear a banner with your country’s name on and walk across the stage, which means I get to be Ms South Africa, who knew!”.

This opportunity to showcase her work on an international stage and represent South Africa is a once in a lifetime experience for Friedman. She is honoured to be chosen and plans to fly the flag high.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to showcase myself and my work to the world and an opportunity to highlight South African ceramic artists overseas. I’m honoured to be an ambassador for South African art, all art, but my passion is South African ceramics.” – Mandi Friedman

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South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim will mark his return to the stage after five years with a series of landmark concerts at City Hall in Cape Town and SunBet Arena at Time Square in Pretoria on 12 and 14 April, respectively.
The concerts form part of Ibrahim’s world tour, visiting cities and cultures that in their time were pivotal in his exiled life. It follows the release of his 15-track album, titled 3, on 26 January. The project is a recording of two sets from London’s Barbican Hall, with Cleave Guyton Jr (on flute and piccolo) and Noah Jackson (on bass and cello) featured with Ibrahim.

“To be launching my M7 Foundation in Johannesburg, playing concerts in Pretoria’s new state-of-the-art arena and uniquely returning to performing inside City Hall – an illustrious venue I first played at aged 16 for a segregated audience – is something that at one time was unimaginable. I am honoured and thrilled to have the opportunity,” Ibrahim said.

Over the course of his career, Ibrahim has performed with some of the greatest names to ever emerge from South Africa’s legendary jazz scene, including Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Jonas Gwangwa and Kippie Moeketsi.

“As I embrace my 90th year, I am delighted to be undertaking these concerts. For me, they are a deeply personal dream, envisaged first many years ago. Perhaps when as a free South African I bought land, or perhaps so many years before that when I was forced to exile? But certainly, I was thrown into sharp relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, when I wondered if, or when, I would see home again.”

Born Adolph Johannes Brand in 1934, Abdullah Ibrahim is a leading South African jazz pianist and composer who first rose to prominence using the name Dollar Brand. Ibrahim has performed internationally, mainly in Europe, and with occasional shows in North America.

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Eight-year-old dance prodigy, “Klein Kwagga”, captivated audiences on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” with his mesmerising performance and infectious energy.
Hailing from South Africa, Dirkco Jansen van Nieuwenhuizen, also known as “Klein Kwagga”, has charmed his way into the hearts of millions across the nation with his mesmerising moves and infectious energy but now he’s reaching people around the world with his feature on The Kelly Clarkson Show.

It all began with a simple act that sparked a global phenomenon – a young kid’s passion for dance, ignited during his sister’s annual concert, swept across the Internet like wildfire. Who would have thought that a performance fuelled by love and enthusiasm would catapult “Klein Kwagga” into the spotlight, captivating audiences far and wide?

With every graceful step and exuberant twirl, Dirkco captured the essence of joy, his effervescent spirit radiating through every movement. His video, showcasing his talent and the power of unbridled passion, quickly became a sensation, garnering over 10 million views on TikTok within a matter of days.

The world is witnessing a new chapter in “Klein Kwagga”’s journey as he graced the esteemed stage of The Kelly Clarkson Show. With its illustrious history adorned with 15 Daytime Emmy awards, including accolades for Outstanding Talk Show Entertainment and Outstanding Talk Show Host, The Kelly Clarkson Show is the daytime show any dancing star would dream to be on.

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The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa, congratulated champion boxer, Sivenathi “Special One” Nontshinga, for regaining the International Boxing Federation (IBF) World Light Flyweight title. Nontshinga defeated Mexican Adrian Curiel in Mexico City to reclaim the title and become a two-time world champion.
Minister Kodwa said, “Sivenathi ‘Special One’ Nontshinga had displayed true character to regain the IBF World Light Flyweight title against Adrian Curiel. ‘Special One’ is an excellent fighter and a model professional who exemplifies the best of South African boxing.”

Minister Kodwa added, “When I spoke to ‘Special One’ before the fight, he was confident of regaining the title, saying ‘Ndizobuya nayo mkhuluwa, I am ready’. I would like to congratulate ‘Special One’ for regaining the world title. You continue to raise the country’s flag sky high and have made us all so proud.”
In a message to the South African boxing fraternity, Minister Kodwa said, “I would like to once again express my commitment to stabilise boxing in South Africa and to bring the sport back to its glory days. We will soon make announcements in this regard.”

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With the Accra African Games under a month away, the excitement of South African athletes is high. Here are the sports South Africa will be participating in and rooting for.
This will be the 13th annual African Games where athletes from across the continent will compete in their respective disciplines for a chance to break records, win titles and make their home countries proud. A massive tournament that happens only every four years (usually one year before the Olympics, however 2023’s edition was delayed), the African Games are also a chance for our continent’s budding sporting excellence to shine on this prestigious platform.

Opportunities to book qualifications for the Paris Olympics are also on the cards, including table tennis, tennis, triathlon, cycling and wrestling.
South Africa will be participating in the following sports:
  • arm wrestling
  • athletics
  • badminton
  • beach volleyball
  • boxing
  • chess
  • cricket
  • hockey
  • judo
  • karate
  • swimming
  • table tennis
  • taekwondo
  • triathlon
  • weightlifting
  • wrestling
  • tennis.
“The African Games have historically been a successful springboard for Team SA athletes who have gone on to claim world championships and international glory. Penny Heyns (six golds in 1995 in Harare and 1999 in Johannesburg); Chad le Clos (nine golds across Maputo in 2011 and Brazzaville in 2015); and Caster Semenya (gold in 2015 in Brazzaville), were some of the African Games champions who were also Olympic gold medallists,” said SASCOC President, Barry Hendricks.

According to the event’s organisers, over 4 000 athletes in total are expected to participate in the games from 8 to 24 March 2024.

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Yane van der Merwe made her first time at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix count in a big way with a stellar silver debut experience that has added another record-breaking moment to South Africa’s tally.
Representing the country and the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Van der Merwe who is a Sports Science Master’s student, made her wish to earn a podium placement come true while setting a new African record in the process.

During the discus class F44 (lower limb deficiency category),  Van der Merwe made her power throw a star of the show with an amazing 31.88 metres. Despite narrowly missing the gold medal to Norway, Van der Merwe’s silver came with its own epic bonus ‒ the new African record.
Van der Merwe has a powerful record of proud moments, including finishing in the top 10 positions in shotput and discus in the World Championships last year as well as being part of the cohort who represented South Africa at the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

She is also the African record holder in the T44 discus throw with 31.66m and the captain of the UJ Sports for Students with Disabilities Team.

She said: “I can only go up from here. I’m looking forward to this year’s Paralympic Games in Paris, France.”

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A blisteringly quick final 50m in the 200m backstroke saw South African star Pieter Coetzé powering from eighth to third place to claim the country’s first medal at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha on Friday night,16 February 2024.
Swimming in lane eight, the 19-year-old reached the first turn in fifth but then dropped right back to last place by halfway and the 150m mark before making his move, out-touching American Jack Aikins at the finish to claim the bronze medal in a personal best time of 1 minute 55.99 seconds.

Spain’s Hugo Gonzalez took gold in 1:55.30 and Switzerland’s Roman Mityukov the silver in 1:55.40.
Speaking about coming back from the disappointment of missing out on a podium place in the 100m backstroke final, Coetzé said: “I was a bit disappointed with the 100 and I decided to just trust my body and let it happen and it’s pretty unexpected so I’m very happy.”

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Procter was an outstanding all-rounder who became South Africa's first coach in the post-apartheid era and had a controversial stint as an International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee.
South Africa cricket legend and former national coach Mike Procter died on Saturday, 17 February 2024, at the age of 77. "He suffered a complication during surgery, became unconscious and never woke up," his wife, Maryna Procter, said.

On Monday, 12 February 2024, his family revealed that he had suffered a "cardiac incident" while recovering in a hospital intensive care unit following routine surgery.

Procter was being treated in a hospital near his hometown, the coastal city of Durban.
Jonty Rhodes leads the tributes

Former Proteas cricketer, Jonty Rhodes, paid tribute to Procter on X, formerly Twitter: “Devastated to hear about the passing of Mike Procter. He was my first provincial and international coach and I obviously knew something about his playing career. Yet, it was only when I played for @Gloscricket that I appreciated the extent of his all-rounder abilities.”

Herschelle Gibbs said: “Sad news about the passing of the great Mike Proctor ... great all-rounder and competitor of note. Rest well Proc.”

Procter's international playing career with South Africa was cut short in 1970 when his country was banished from world cricket because of its apartheid government.

Before the ban, South Africa won six of the seven tests in which he played, all against Australia.

Procter was renowned primarily as a fearsome fast bowler, taking 41 wickets at an average of 15.02 runs in his seven tests.

But he was also a flamboyant batsman and equalled a world batting record when he hit six first-class centuries in successive innings.

Coaching career

Post-democracy, South Africa returned to international cricket and Procter became coach of the international side and led them to the semi-finals of the 1992 World Cup.

Procter played first-class cricket for 16 years, including 14 seasons with English county, Gloucestershire, five of them as captain, where he achieved legendary status.

David Graveney, a former Gloucestershire team-mate of Procter, said the South African "was a fantastic player and quite rightly regarded as one of the best all-rounders that has ever represented Gloucestershire”.

He added: "I don't think people realise that when Mike played, he was playing through great pain in his knee, but that didn't stop him from performing at the level he did. He was just one of the best players I ever played with.

"The phase 'Proctershire' was very apt for Mike. He put in the biggest performances in the biggest games.”

In South Africa, he played most of his cricket for Natal, the province where he was born.

His six successive centuries were made for the then Rhodesia between 1970 and 1971, culminating in a career-best 254 against Western Province.

He scored 21 082 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 36.92, hitting 47 centuries and took 1 357 wickets at an average of 19.07 runs.

He leaves behind his wife and two children.

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Despite calling herself an “ordinary woman”, Leanne Maiden has done a most extraordinary thing. She has officially completed the World’s Toughest Row and become the first South African woman to do it.
Maiden can cast any notions of her being an “ordinary woman” out the porthole because she has successfully completed the World’s Toughest Row and became the first South African woman ever to finish the 3 000-mile journey.

An achievement that’s made history, Maiden took something of a midlife crisis spurred by lockdown and turned it into an incredible adventure where she sailed the waves of resilience, isolation, bravery, pressure and dreams across the Atlantic on her boat, Rieka.

Maiden boasted her South African flag on Saturday, 17 February 2024, when she celebrated the end of the nearly 5 000-kilometre odyssey she hoped would help charities in need and inspire minds in need of inspiration.

The row took her 66 days and five hours from La Gomera to Antigua. On the water, December to February became a lifetime.

To embark on an endurance challenge of this magnitude takes an extraordinary kind of willpower. To do something despite the doubt, is what puts the extra to the ordinary. Above preparations, weather conditions and other side effects that come with living on your own on a boat for so long, nothing will make or break your experience quite like willpower ‒ and in that, Maiden has taught anyone who has ever thought they were not special enough to do something, a life lesson.

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