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President Cyril Ramaphosa has acknowledged that the relationship between South Africa and the United States (US) has recently received a great deal of attention due to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
In his weekly newsletter, the President assured citizens that strengthening ties between the two countries was among the important issues discussed by the International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, during her working visit to Washington last week, where she met with US officials.

“The topic also featured prominently in a meeting that I had in Cape Town last month with a bipartisan delegation from the US Congress,” he wrote in his weekly letter.

He also touched on the US-South Africa Bilateral Relations Review Act, which seeks to review the bilateral relationship between the two nations amid geopolitical differences that was discussed last week in the US House of Representatives’ committee.

The discussion, President Ramaphosa wrote, provided an opportunity to clarify South Africa’s positions and to correct misperceptions about the Republic's foreign policy.

“An important starting point for that discussion is that since the advent of democracy in 1994, South Africa has sought, through its foreign policy, to promote peace, security and development on the African continent and across the world.”

Consistent with history, he said South Africa has taken a non-aligned position in its international relations.

“We have deliberately avoided aligning our country with any of the major powers or blocs. Rather, we have sought to forge cordial relations with all countries. While we have taken a non-aligned position, we continue to pursue positions that are in keeping with the UN [United Nations] Charter.”

He emphasised that South Africa has aimed to promote an inclusive and representative global order, strengthen multilateralism, and resolve conflicts through dialogue.

“It is in pursuit of this approach that South Africa has worked to strengthen relations with countries around the world, including the US.

“Our relationship with the US is characterised by mutual respect and a willingness to engage in constructive dialogue even on issues where we may differ.”

Shifting his focus to subjects such as the docking of a Russian ship in Simonstown in late 2022, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the current conflict in Gaza, President Ramaphosa said the South African and US governments have been able to share views in a frank and open manner.

“We have encouraged greater understanding and cooperation between ourselves as South Africa, the US and many other countries on matters of mutual interest.”


On the conflict in Gaza, the President acknowledged that this area has been “contentious”.

“One of the areas of contention on which there has been much commentary, as well as much misinformation, is the position that South Africa has taken on the conflict in Gaza.”

This follows a case that South Africa brought to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where the country argued that the actions of the Israeli military in Gaza violate international law and actions prohibited under the Genocide Convention, to which South Africa, Israel and many other countries are signatories.

“We have always supported the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians to self-determination and statehood, and of the state of Israel to peace and security.”

In the same breath, he said South Africa has condemned the “atrocities” committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians on 7 October 2023 and called for the release of hostages.

“We continue to call for an immediate ceasefire, the urgent provision of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza and meaningful negotiations towards a lasting solution.

“These are positions that are increasingly being taken up by more and more countries around the world. The suggestion that the position we have taken on the conflict could lead to a deterioration of our relations with the US is therefore unfounded,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President said South Africa has strong economic, political and social ties with the US and over the last three decades, the two nations continue to have a mutually beneficial and cooperative relationship.


He also expressed his gratitude to America for supporting South Africa in its fight against HIV and AIDS.

“The PEPFAR [US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] programme has contributed significantly – and continues to contribute – to the remarkable progress we have made to deal with AIDS.”


On investments, President Ramaphosa said South Africa is home to more than 600 American companies and that the US is the second largest destination for South African exports.

He also highlighted the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which grants qualifying African countries duty-free access to the US market for their exports.

He said the recent AGOA forum held in Sandton last year confirmed its value to Africa’s industrialisation and integration and the diversification of its economies.

President Ramaphosa also welcomed the US participation in the Just Energy Transition partnership alongside a growing number of other countries.

“There is great potential to further develop our relationship with the US and to find ways to work together for a more peaceful, stable and just world.

“South Africa will continue to seek firm and friendly relations with countries around the world in pursuit of a better world,” he said.

– Source:

President Cyril Ramaphosa has encouraged South Africans to continue to honour those who fought for the rights that all enjoy today and hold dear.
President Ramaphosa delivered the keynote address at the Human Rights Day commemoration in Sharpeville, Gauteng on Thursday, 21 March 2024, held under the theme: Three Decades of Respect for and Promotion of Human Rights.

“Sixty-four years have passed since the ground on which we gather here in Sharpeville bore witness to one of the worst atrocities committed by the apartheid regime against the South African people.

“And although many decades have passed, we still remember with great sorrow and pain the 69 people who were killed and the many more who were maimed as they protested in peace against the grave injustices imposed upon them,” the President said.

President Ramaphosa led a wreath laying ceremony at the Sharpeville memorial site in commemoration of South Africans who laid their lives in sacrifice for the struggle for the attainment of human rights and democratic South Africa.

He also met with family members of the fallen Sharpeville Massacre victims during the wreath laying ceremony.

The gathering, he said, was held to trace the journey as a nation over the last 64 years, from a state of discrimination and repression to a land of democracy and freedom.

“Ours was a journey of relentless struggle. We still recall how every black South African – African, Coloured and Indian - was denied the basic human rights to which they were entitled.

“We recall how many generations of black South Africans were denied the right to life and dignity, the right to equal treatment, the right to vote and to be heard, the right to live where they want, to work in the trade of their choice, the right to education and health care, the right to the protection of the law,” he said.

The President reflected that it was a difficult and dangerous journey travelled by community activists and union organisers, by traditional leaders and religious groupings, by freedom fighters and underground operatives, by political prisoners, by exiles and by friends and supporters across the world.

He added that it was a struggle to realise the rights contained in the Bill of Rights which called for equal treatment of all people, equal access to land, direct representation and voting rights.

“Ours was a struggle to realise the vision of the Freedom Charter, adopted by the Congress of People in 1955, of a South Africa that is prosperous and free and in which all enjoy equal rights and opportunities.

“It was these principles and these ideals, these struggles and these sacrifices, that enabled the achievement of our democracy and the adoption of the Bill of Rights that is at the centre of our democratic Constitution,” he said.

And as the country celebrates this milestone, President Ramaphosa said the country will reflect on the journey taken towards the full realisation of the fundamental freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights.

“We will count the elections that we have held every five years since 1994, elections that have been peaceful, free and fair and that have reflected the will of the people.

“We will assess the institutions that make our laws, that both represent the views and regularly seek the counsel of the South Africans people. We will point to the independence of our judiciary, the vibrancy of our civil society, the activism of our trade unions and the freedom of our media.

“As we celebrate 30 years of freedom, we will reflect on the progress we have made in progressively realising the social and economic rights contained in our Constitution,” he said.

The President said the country had much to celebrate as he detailed the progress made by government throughout the years.

He highlighted that millions of South Africans have been lifted out of dire poverty, while eight out of every 10 households have proper housing.

“Nine out of every 10 homes have electricity and access to clean drinking water. South Africans are living longer. Far fewer women are dying in childbirth and far fewer children are dying in infancy.

“More children from poor families are completing school, passing matric and going on to study at universities and colleges,” he said.

The President said this has been made possible because the country had focussed on correcting the injustices of the past and meeting the needs of the poor and excluded.

He highlighted that working together, nearly four million hectares of land had been returned to people who had been dispossessed of their land and acquired over five million hectares of land for redistribution and to provide security of tenure for labour tenants and other farm dwellers.

Government has provided social grants for children, the elderly and people with disability, and recently introduced a special social relief of distress grant for unemployed people.

Government also provides free daily meals to millions of school children and has expanded the number of fee-free schools and has massively increased funding for students from poor and working-class families to attend universities and colleges.

“As our economy has changed, more and more people have been able to exercise the right to freely choose their trade, occupation or profession. Our economy has tripled in size since 1994.

“While unemployment still remains unacceptably high, the number of South Africans in employment has more than doubled in the last 30 years. The proportion of executive management positions held by black people increased almost five-fold between 1996 and 2016,” he said.

– Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the Inaugural Biodiversity Economy and Investment Indaba on Tuesday, 26 March 2024.
Hosted by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), the Indaba took place from 25 to 27 March 2024 and brought together stakeholders in the biodiversity sector including government officials, traditional leaders and healers, academia, business, communities and youth structures. The theme for the indaba was Collective Action for Thriving Nature and People.

The objectives of the Indaba included mainstreaming the Biodiversity Economy imperatives across all four goals of the White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity. The goals are:
  • conservation
  • sustainable use
  • fair and equitable sharing of benefits
  • transformation.

Delegates discussed the biodiversity sector’s contribution to the alleviation of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

The event mobilised investment for the biodiversity sector and associated value-chains and showcased market-ready biodiversity products and services from across the biodiversity economy value chains through exhibitions for business-to-business trading, networking and sustainable partnerships. The Indaba was a blend of a conference format, networking session and exhibitions.

Cabinet recently noted the review of the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES), which was at the centre of discussions at the Indaba. The NBES aims to leverage the biodiversity economy to promote conservation, and species and ecosystems management. This strategy will also promote growth and transformation in the biodiversity sector.

The opening session took place on Monday, 25 March 2024 and was addressed by Minister of DFFE, Barbara Creecy. President Ramaphosa conducted a walk-about of the biodiversity exhibitions showcased at the Indaba. The exhibitions include biotrade/bioprospecting, wildlife economy, eco-tourism, forestry, fisheries, ocean and coast and marine tourism.

– Source:

President Cyril Ramaphosa has congratulated the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, on his re-election to the position of President of the Russian Federation.
President Putin won a landslide re-election victory on Sunday, 24 March 2024, taking 87% of the vote.

In a statement, President Ramaphosa recalled the commitment of South Africa and the Russian Federation to mutual cooperation at multilateral level, including the two countries’ common membership of the United Nations; the Group of 20; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) and other multilateral bodies.
“President Ramaphosa concluded by indicating South Africa’s strong belief in the maintenance of international peace and security and that South Africa will continue to engage both the Russian Federation and Republic of Ukraine in search of lasting peace between the two neighbouring countries,” The Presidency said.

– Source:
South Africa has welcomed the adoption of Resolution 2728 (2024) by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 25 March 2024, which demands an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip for the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Responding to the adoption of the Resolution, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor said, “South Africa is pleased that the Security Council has, at long last, demanded an immediate and lasting ceasefire for the month of Ramadan and the Resolution also proposed that this ceasefire should lead to a lasting sustainable ceasefire.
It is now the responsibility of the UNSC to ensure that there is compliance with the resolution, which is binding on the parties.

South Africa remains concerned that in over five months, since the conflict began, thousands have lost their lives, including over 13 000 children.

As Resolution 2728 notes, there is an “urgent need to expand the flow of humanitarian assistance to and reinforce the protection of civilians in the entire Gaza Strip”.

It is therefore vital that the parties comply with the Security Council, “demand for the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale, in line with international humanitarian law, as well as Resolution 2712 (2023) and 2720 (2023)”.

– Source:
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Alvin Botes, held a meeting on 25 March 2024, with his Swedish counterpart, Jan Knutsson.
The meeting offered an opportunity for South Africa and Sweden to reflect on the status of their bilateral relations.

South Africa and Sweden enjoy good relations based on mutual respect, human rights, dialogue, consultation and cooperation.

The two countries conduct their relations through a Bi-National Commission (BNC) at the Deputy President level, which comprises four working groups, namely:

  • Political Affairs, Co-chaired by Department of International Relations and Cooperation
  • Economic Affairs, Co-chaired by Department of Trade, Industry and Competition
  • Science and Technology, Co-chaired by Dept of Science and Innovation
  • Environment, Water and Energy, Co-chaired by Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.
The lead departments conduct the committee meetings at the senior officials’ level and report back to the BNC.

Deputy Ministers Botes and Knutsson used the occasion of their meeting to discuss the strengthening of bilateral political and economic relations between South Africa and Sweden. The Deputy Ministers also discussed political and security developments in their respective regions and globally.

– Source:
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has confirmed that South African embassy staff and students who are based in Russia are safe following a terrorist attack at Moscow's Crocus City Hall.
According to media reports, more than 130 bodies have been recovered from the rubble and more than 100 people were injured on Friday, 22 March 2024.

“The South African embassy staff in Moscow, including locally recruited personnel, are all accounted for. All South African students that we know of in Moscow are safe. The South African government condemns this attack and all acts of terror.
“Condolences to the families of the victims and we wish the injured a speedy recovery. We will continue to monitor the situation and share updates,” the department’s spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a tweet on social media platform X.

– Source:
The Director-General (DG) of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Zane Dangor, visited Kyiv, Ukraine, as part of South Africa’s ongoing diplomatic efforts aimed at contributing to the resolution of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
DG Dangor was joined by Advocate Nokukhanya Jele, Legal Advisor to President Cyril Ramaphosa. The two joined other international partners in talks with senior Ukrainian officials on Wednesday, 20 March 2024.

The visit to Kyiv formed part of a series of high-level engagements by South Africa at bilateral and multilateral levels and indicates South Africa’s commitment to finding a lasting solution to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

– Source:
South Africa’s ongoing efforts to respond to Tuberculosis (TB) have been strengthened with funding of US$94 million for the next five years.
“Just over R4 billion was budgeted in the 2024/2025 [financial year], meeting the projected needs for implementing the National Strategic Plan (NSP). Seventy-one percent of the TB budget is from domestic sources, 21% from Global Fund and 8% from United States (US) government commitments,” Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla said on Sunday, 24 March 2024.

The Minister was addressing South Africa’s commemorations for World TB Day, which was observed under the theme: Yes! You and I Can End TB.

“We applaud the announcement by National Department of Health and US Agency for International Development (USAID) of the award of the Accelerate Tuberculosis Elimination and Program Resilience Activity (referred to as ACCELERATE) in the amount of US$94 million for the next five years.

“As government, we welcome the generous support from Global Fund and the US government and appreciate their continued support towards HIV, TB and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) response,” Minister Phaahla said.

In addition, the TB Programme of the National Department of Health has developed a comprehensive TB Recovery Plan dashboard, which is used by provinces and districts to monitor the progress of the TB programme.

The department has also developed an HIV and TB dashboard in the Health Information Centre.

“The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Situation Room is a state-of the-art data consolidation and visualisation hub built at the SANAC offices in Pretoria but can be accessed virtually from anywhere in the world.

“There is an enormous quantity of data that is generated in many parts and entities of South Africa. It exists in silos and that fragmentation is due to the lack of a central data repository and management point.

“This has made monitoring and evaluation of the country’s efforts against HIV, TB and STIs rather difficult. These new data visualisation dashboards have been set up precisely to address that challenge,” the Minister said.

Progress in fight against TB

Although South Africa remains among the TB high burden countries, there has been notable progress in the country’s fight against the disease.

“A steady decline has been noted in the number of people diagnosed with TB each year since 2007 where the figure was 644 000 compared to 280 000 in 2022. TB-related deaths are falling, but at a much slower rate,” the Minister said.

At last year’s commemoration South Africa launched the NSP for HIV, TB and STIs for the period 2023 to 2028 with ambitious targets for TB and the other two epidemics.

“The National Department of Health has further developed a TB Strategic Plan, which lifts our very pertinent actions that must be taken to address the TB specific challenges as we go towards the end date. This TB strategic plan is fully aligned with our NSP for HIV, TB and STIs and it will inform the content of the annual TB Recovery Plans for the period 2023 to 2027.

“The successful implementation of the NSP relies on several critical enablers such as the proper implementation of the National TB Recovery Plan, which is one of the tools we have to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19 on the national TB programme.

“We must scale up the implementation, use and rapid uptake of new tools and innovations – these include GeneXpert; shorter and oral regimens for drug-resistant TB, as well as routine testing of TB contacts and at-risk populations,” the Minister said.

He said the collective counter-response to TB must focus on strengthening early case detection through targeted testing initiatives, particularly among vulnerable populations like men.

“There has been demonstrable will and desire by this government to use all innovations and technology to confront this challenge. As we all know, South Africa has been and remains the world leader in the introduction of new tools to test TB and to treat TB.

“The introduction of the new World Health Organisation (WHO) approved Rapid Diagnostic tests for TB has been done as early as 2010. To date we are looking forward to targeted new generation sequencing.

“The introduction of new and repurposed TB drugs has helped significantly improve the proportion of cured drug resistant (DR-TB) patients. We have rolled out shorter regimens with better drugs for the treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis, with the notable launch of the bedaquiline-pretomanid-linezolid-levofloxacin (BPAL-L) programme in September 2023, that has almost 2 000 patients on a six-month DR-TB regimen,” the Minister said.

South Africa has been part of a vaccine development programme, which is conducted by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

“This gives us hope that indeed, we will end TB, by working with all role players, opinion makers, scientists, academics, politicians and the general population,” the Minister said.

– Source:
The event will comprise more than 200 exhibitors from the fast-moving consumer goods; manufacturing; automotive; retail clothing, textile, footwear and leather; furniture; and agro-processing sectors over the two-day event.
Taking place on 25 and 26 March at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, the flagship event is renowned for its innovative convergence of manufacturers, buyers, government officials, policymakers, decisionmakers, consumers and business development agencies.

The first day kicked off with addresses by some of South Africa’s biggest changemakers, such as Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi; Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel; and Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams engaged with local small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) and witnessed what local businesses have to offer.

The second day closed off with a refreshing mixology “Happy Hour” segment where participants enjoyed the flavours of locally-made gin cocktails and conversed with mixologists.

Under the theme Localisation: An Inclusive Approach for Economic Growth and Job Creation, the expo emphasised the critical role of local procurement in fostering job creation and economic growth in South Africa.

While the expo produced everything from lifestyle goods to locally manufactured furniture pieces for delegates to appreciate, the conference component sought to impart the importance of localisation, encouraged support of locally made goods, as well as highlighted the role each industry plays in creating jobs and boosting the economy.
The conference topics on day one delved into the importance of localisation. The first panel of the two-day event explored the theme with Cosatu's Zingiswa Losi; Proudly SA community constituency and board member Thulani Tshefuta; and Nedlac Executive Director Lisa Seftel. The panel was facilitated by award-winning financial journalist and broadcaster Fifi Peters.

Day one was rounded off with a panel by South Africa’s most popular export: Amapiano. The discussion saw urban culture curator and promoter Thulani Way, musician Legendary Crisp and music journalist Shiba Mazaza unpack the relevance of the genre, its origin and popularity, while looking at the impact Amapiano has in sustaining households and creating jobs.

Day two was an extravagant affair, with an exciting SMME showcase. Small enterprises are what keeps the economy going, but how have they become the successes they are?

“It's a family affair” was one of our most exciting moments. The discussion, with some of the best family-run businesses, talked about what works and what doesn't and if it is better to keep business in the family.

– Source:
The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) has launched its new Golf Chapter, aimed at uniting the golf tourism community within its membership, marking a breakthrough in coordinated golf tourism promotion for South Africa.
According to Satsa CEO David Frost: "Golf tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the global travel industry and as a luxury segment has massive potential. Golfers spend 120% more per person per day than the average tourist. We aim to tap into this potential to promote high-value experiences across Southern Africa for both international and domestic travellers."

The launch of the Golf Chapter follows years of work by Satsa to formalise a partnership with South African Tourism (SAT) around collaborative golf tourism promotion. “Having a Golf Tourism Chapter within Satsa allows for structured engagement with SAT. Under the umbrella of Satsa, it provides the golf tourism industry with a platform from which to drive this important tourism sector for South Africa,” says Carl Reinders, co-owner of Pro Golf Africa Safaris and Satsa member, who has been appointed as Golf Chapter Chair.

“Our major competitors in this segment do not face the challenge of being long-haul destinations, but in terms of value and the overall offering, South Africa has far more to offer over and above the quality of our golf courses and hospitality. When you add cultural experiences, gastronomy, wine, great weather all year round, the beauty of our country and course safaris, no country can compete with our offering."

Raising awareness of SA as a premier golf destination

Satsa has now submitted a business plan to SAT that focusses on creating awareness around South Africa as a premier golf destination. Key elements include the sponsoring of a South Africa pavilion with 12 exhibitors and funding of a destination presentation at the biggest golf trade show in the world, the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) conference in October 2024 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Satsa has also suggested a familiarisation trip for international golf tour operators and pros to experience firsthand South Africa's world-class but underappreciated golf offerings and the making of a promotional video showcase.

The Golf Chapter’s first meeting was held virtually on 23 February 2024, convening members to shape its priorities, structure and activities. "The launch of this chapter represents our ongoing commitment to enriching the services we offer our members. We invite them, whether involved in golf tourism or simply interested in exploring synergies, to join and contribute," says Frost.
South Africa has climbed to 83rd place in the 2024 World Happiness Report, showcasing significant improvement in national well-being and happiness.
The World Happiness Report (WHR) for 2024 has just been released and South Africa climbed two places since last year and 23 places since 2019. South Africa is also in the top five happiest places in Africa.

Since its inception over a decade ago, the WHR has provided the world with insights into the quality of life in various countries. More than just a ranking, it serves as a valuable tool for leaders to identify areas that could enhance the happiness and well-being of their citizens.

Produced through a partnership between Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the United Nation Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the WHR’s Editorial Board, the WHR is a comprehensive study that reflects a growing global demand for prioritising happiness and well-being in government policies. It delves into the factors contributing to personal and national happiness, offering a nuanced understanding of what makes people content.
South Africa now finds itself in the company of several emerging markets, such as Colombia (78), Indonesia (80), Bulgaria (81) and Algeria (85). This demonstrates the country’s progress in improving its population’s overall well-being.

How are the rankings determined?

The WHR calculates the average happiness of a country over a three-year period, comparing it to the previous period to identify trends and changes. The report takes into account several key factors:
  • gross domestic product per capita
  • social support
  • healthy life expectancy
  • freedom to make life choices
  • generosity
  • perception of corruption
  • dystopia.
Each of these factors contributes to the country’s overall happiness score. South Africa’s ranking at 83 reflects the positive developments in these areas, moving from last year’s position of 85 to the year 2022 which was 91.

This remarkable improvement is even more impressive compared to the 2019 rankings, in which South Africa languished at 106th place.

A global perspective

For the seventh consecutive year, Finland has secured the top spot as the happiest country in the world. The rest of the top ten includes Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Israel, The Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Australia. On the other end of the spectrum, Afghanistan remains at the bottom, maintaining its position as the world’s “unhappiest” nation.

Interestingly, the United States has dropped out of the top 20 for the first time since the report’s inception in 2012. This decline has been attributed to a significant drop in the well-being of Americans under 30.

Celebrating South Africa’s progress

South Africa’s improved ranking in the WHR is a cause for celebration and reflects the efforts of its people in enhancing the quality of life and well-being of the nation. While challenges remain, the upward trajectory in happiness and life satisfaction is a positive sign of progress.

South Africa’s progress is a shining example of resilience, optimism and the human spirit’s ability to thrive against all odds.

– Source:
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC Studios) and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) have announced the May launch of BBC Primetime, a brand-new content block for S3, featuring a hand-picked selection of award-winning dramas, factual entertainment and documentaries from BBC Studios’ award-winning catalogue.
BBC Primetime will be available to watch weeknights between 21:00 and 23:00 on S3 and on SABC+ from May 2024 and is BBC Studios’ widest reaching branded service in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

BBC Primetime has been hand-crafted by BBC Studios, offering S3 viewers access to globally recognised content Monday to Friday. The content block will include a range of shows including the psychological crime thriller starring Idris Elba, Luther; the intense medical drama, Critical, the gripping factual motoring show, Top Gear (seasons 14 to17), and the romantic comedy, Cheaters. Documentary series, Louis Theroux: Forbidden America, exploring three controversial corners of American entertainment and culture, will also be available to watch from launch.

Pierre Cloete, the Commercial Director at BBC Studios in Africa says “I am so excited to launch our first BBC branded block in Africa with SABC. BBC Primetime will be hand-picked for S3 audiences, packed with a selection of incredible programming from our award-winning catalogue. From intense thrillers, crime dramas and inspiring documentaries, this marks our first block for free to air audiences in South Africa, giving 13 million homes access to BBC Studios’ shows. I can’t wait for the 2024 launch.”
Sane Zondi, Programming Manager at SABC says “This partnership with BBC Studios is born out of the need for us to fulfil our commitment in delivering high quality international content to our viewers. We are excited to have access to a vast catalogue from the BBC and the unlimited world-class entertainment our viewers will be able to enjoy through BBC Primetime on S3.

The deal allows us to bring back some of the iconic BBC titles to our viewers which formed weekly habitual viewing, with Top Gear being the most notable one. I know our viewers will be delighted for the return to their screens and I know it will form their weekly engagements with us. There is a range of new content which we are keen for our audiences watch. We look forward to seeing some of the sentiments and reactions across our social media platforms on this great new era on our channel.”

– Source:
Just as food seems to taste better when being consumed outdoors, shopping feels more real when wandering around a market.
South African markets – be they farmers, flea or street – are not only among the best on the African continent, but among the finest in the world.

Two Gauteng-based markets have been ranked in the world’s Top 20, according to a recently released ranking by Merchant Machine.

In addition, no fewer than 12 South African markets haven been ranked in Africa’s Top 20.

The Victoria Yards market in Johannesburg and the Market @The Sheds in Pretoria have been ranked as the seventh and 15th best tourist markets in the world, respectively.

To rank the best markets for tourists, Merchant Machine analysed publicly available review data from Tripadvisor and ranked listings tagged “farmers market” or “street and flea market” by their percentage of five-star reviews.

Only markets with at least 25 reviews were considered and data was collected in December 2023.

The number one-ranked market in the world is the Provo Farmers Market in Utah in the United States (US).

The US boasts 12 of the Top 20 markets in the world.

The Victoria Yards market, located in Lorentzville in Johannesburg, is held on the first Sunday of every month and boasts a 91.9% five-star rating.

The Victoria Yards market is described as “a thriving hub of artists, artisans, designers and small businesses.”

Meanwhile, the Market @ The Sheds is a monthly market which has received an 87% five-star rating.

On the continent, South Africa sports 12 of the Top 20 – and all 12 are in the top 16.

They are the Victoria Yards market (1), Market @ The Sheds (2), The Playground (4), Pretoria Farmers Market (5), Hermanus Country Market (6), The Old Biscuit Mill (7), Hazel Food Market (9), Mojo Market (10), Earth Fair Food Market (11), Mosaic Outdoor Market (14), The Bryanston Organic and Natural Market (15), and the Outeniqua Farmers Market (16).

– Source:
Hand weavers from the Klein Karoo teamed up with an upcoming designer to do something slow and spectacular enough to showcase at Paris Fashion Week.
In the Klein Karoo’s small town of Barrydale lies a hidden gem of South African talent that’s slowly but surely weaving its way to some of fashion’s most renowned intersections.

The crafters behind the humble and meticulous art of handloom weaving are also the life force and heart of the rural town. By their hands, they have turned an upskilling opportunity into something much bigger than bespoke blankets or fabrics. Instead, each piece of garment or homeware they produce and share with South Africa (and now, the world) is a piece of hope that where you are from does not dictate how far you can go.
For the Barrydale Hand Weavers, a big pitstop on their global showcase is none other than the recent Paris Fashion Week for a capsule collection of slow-made garments.

Made possible by an ongoing collaboration with local fashion designer Luke Radloff of UNI FORM, the designs by Radloff and the craftsmanship by the Barrydale Hand Weavers brought to the stage a taste of the Klein Karoo and slow fashion in fashion’s capital city.

For those who haven’t yet met Luke Radloff’s work, the designer and creative director won the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation x Orveda Residency Programme prize last year, largely for “perfectly” embodying the foundation’s values which are social responsibility and craftsmanship, as per Vogue.

As the hand weavers bask in the spotlight, they remind us that a lot can happen when you take things slow and let the community lead your path.

– Source:
Cape Town’s Bree Street has been named the 11th “coolest street” in the world in this year’s “Time Out” ranking. It also scooped the honour of best in Africa.
It’s not the first time a South African street has been listed among the best in the world.

As reported by The South African website, in 2021 Cape Town’s Kalk Bay Street and Melville Johannesburg’s 7th Street both made the list.

In 2022, Kloof Street in Cape Town also made the list in 26th spot.

Time Out ranked Melbourne’s High Street (Australia) at number one followed by Hollywood Road in Hong Kong in second place, and East Eleventh in Austin, Texas in the United States (US) in third spot.

Top 15 “coolest streets” in Time Out’s list are:
  • High Street, Melbourne (Australia)
  • Hollywood Road (Hong Kong)
  • East Eleventh, Austin (USA)
  • Guatemala Street, Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  • Commercial Drive, Vancouver (Canada)
  • Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
  • Rua da Boavista, Lisbon (Portugal)
  • Arnaldo Quintela, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  • Chazawa-dori, Tokyo (Japan)
  • Consell de Cent, Barcelona (Spain)
  • Bree Street, Cape Town (South Africa)
  • Oranienstraße, Berlin (Germany)
  • Fifth Avenue, Park Slope, New York City (US)
  • Ban Tad Thong, Bangkok (Thailand)
  • East 3rd Street, Los Angeles (US).
From going out for a bite to eat, to bar hopping, to visiting boutique stores, occasional markets or just browsing works of art at various galleries, it seems that Bree Street in the Mother City has it all.

With Table Mountain in the background, Bree Street boasts some of the Mother City’s best restaurants and is a popular place to hang out during the monthly First Thursdays events.

The name “Bree” originates from the English adaptation of the Dutch word breë, signifying “broad” or “wide”.

Time Out said the following about Bree Street: “This buzzy inner-city boulevard in the heart of Cape Town has been a hub for the ‘Mother City’ for centuries.”

The street was named because it was breed – “wide”, in Afrikaans – enough to turn an ox cart at the nearby market and today you’ll often find yourself jostling for space.

Bree Street comes filled with boutiques and bars, restaurants and art galleries showcasing the best the city has to offer.

It is also set for an injection of new energy in 2025 with the redevelopment of the City Park building, a former hospital, which will become a multifunctional hub of apartments, restaurants, co-working spaces and a design-driven international hotel brand.

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Two young female chefs from Bloemfontein not only received top awards at the World Food Competition, but also showed that female chefs can compete with the best in the world.
Chef Michelle Jansen van Vuuren and chef Palesa Pejane, two students at the FBI Chef School, travelled to Kolkata in India where they competed in three categories, representing South Africa.

Pejane won in the cake icing division of the competition, hosted by the Guru Nanak Institute of Hotel Management in Kolkata.

She was also placed second out of 23 competitors in the culinary arts category.

Jansen van Vuuren was placed second in the mixology division, with her African inspired cocktails.
Chef Michele Fourie, their mentor at FBI Chef School, said this accolade was not only an achievement for the country, but also a significant leap forward for women in the culinary arts in South Africa.

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South African sensation Tyla has released her self-titled debut album, captivating global audiences with her unique blend of Amapiano and pop, following her historic Grammy win and international chart-topping success.
With a voice that resonates across continents and a talent that knows no bounds, Tyla has been making waves since her debut single, Getting Late featuring Kooldrink, captivated the nation in 2019. Now, the songbird from Johannesburg is celebrating another monumental milestone in her already illustrious career – the release of her self-titled debut album.

The highly anticipated album dropped on 22 March 2024, accompanied by the scintillating music video for her single ART. In less than 24 hours, ART has already garnered nearly one million views and has claimed the eighth spot on the global YouTube Music list for trending songs. This achievement not only speaks volumes about Tyla’s immense popularity but also highlights the global appetite for her unique sound and artistic vision.

Tyla’s meteoric rise to international fame was cemented with the release of her 2023 single Water. The song made history by entering the top ten in sixteen countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States (US). Remarkably, Water became the first song by a South African soloist to enter the US Billboard Hot 100 in over half a century. The accolades continued to pour in as Tyla became the youngest-ever African artist to win a Grammy Award, taking home the inaugural Grammy for Best African Music Performance at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2024.

With nominations for prestigious awards such as a BRIT Award, a Soul Train Music Award, a MOBO Award, and two South African Music Awards under her belt, Tyla has proven time and again that she is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

Her self-titled debut album highlights her growth as an artist and demonstrates her versatility and range as a singer-songwriter.

Rolling Stone has hailed Tyla as “the perfect Amapiano ambassador who is set to globalise the music genre like never before”.

Variety believes that Tyla has “cemented herself as a growing pop star who is distinguishing herself from her Afrobeats peers”.

Vogue has aptly described Tyla as a “Girl on Fire”, noting that “She’s showing everyone where her music came from. She’s a South African girl speaking to the world through dance, through music”.

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The baby Proteas have earned South Africa’s pride after the rising star squad qualified for the Netball World Youth Cup and did so without losing a single match at the qualifiers.
South Africa’s baby Proteas (the up-and-coming netball stars who are under 21) have successfully secured their spot at the upcoming Netball World Youth Cup thanks to a shining performance at the Africa Regional Qualifiers in Pretoria.

The qualifiers’ tournament took place from 17 to 23 March 2024 and saw netball teams from around the continent venture to Pretoria to face off, clenching the hope that they would secure spots for their countries at the upcoming Netball World Youth Cup, set to take place in 2025.

In the final against Malawi, the baby Proteas held their own and welcomed a final win of 45-26.

This not only meant that South Africa qualified for the Netball World Youth Cup, but that they did it on a winning slate, given that the team did not lose any matches along the road to qualifying. If this tournament is anything to go by, bets are on that the World Youth Cup in Gibraltar will be yet another prestigious opportunity for the baby Proteas to show the world what they have to bring to the court.

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As the final events of the 13th African Games unfolded, South Africa welcomed not only enough victorious moments in Accra to see us cross over the 100-medal mark, but even more podium prizes that took us to a grand total of 106 medals.
Fathoming the concept of 106 homebound medals is mind-boggling in the best way. Fathoming that each of those 106 medals means a moment where hard work, discipline, never giving up and believing in yourself made all the difference, is heart tugging in the best way.

Big shout outs go to Rogail Joseph who copped Team South Africa’s 100th medal thanks to her golden effort in the women’s 400m hurdles. Another shout out goes to Asande Mthembu and Ashley Erasmus who in long jump and shot put respectively, brought in the gold, and all the athletes who made the last moments of the African Games count in victory as they chased dreams and podiums.

For South Africa, the recent display of sport at its finest is a huge jump from our previous tally to beat 2019’s display of 86 medals earned in Morocco.
These Games would not have been as legendary as they were without the South African swimmers who neatly shifted South Africa into victory’s lane with 46 medals for their heats, and all the athletes who kept the momentum going.

Given that the African Games is an opportunity for young athletes to show the continent what the next generation of sportsmen and women are made of (from boxing to cycling) South Africa certainly understood the assignment and has given us a lot of young names to know and root for.

Another event, another example of South Africa being a team of winners.

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Over the past weekend, river racers united at Victoria Lake for the South African Canoe Championship, a chance to book spots for the 2024 Paris Olympics and rock the current race boat of athletes already qualified.
The heat was on before any of the regatta’s events began, as the tension of opportunity loomed around all those participating (and even those rooting on the sidelines).

Four athletes would emerge from the men’s and women’s races as the canoe squad set to represent South Africa at the upcoming Olympic Games. But the competition came with its own version of a twist that rocked the boat, as crews from outside the traditional sprinting community opted to paddle for the qualifiers.

The first to secure their spots to Paris were Hamish Lovemore and two-time world champion Andy Birkett who dominated the men’s 500km k2 crew event. With a speedy finish just over one minute and thirty seconds in the final, the two surpassed other hopefuls and claimed their Olympic placements.
Following the Lovemore-Birkett excitement in the earlier portion of the champs, the pressure was on for Esti Olivier and Tiffany Koch who successfully navigated a series of trials. Together, they survived a serious shoot-out to secure their places, beating 2012 Olympic bronze medallists Bridgitte Hartley and Michelle Burn (the former world surf ski champ) in the process.

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Heinrich Bruiners woke up at 1:30am on the day of the final round of the Stella Artois Players Championship and had the number of eight under par in his mind.
Several hours later he shot an eight-under-par 64 to end an 11-year win drought with his emotional victory in this Sunshine Tour event at Dainfern Golf Estate on Sunday, 24 March 2024.

Bruiners birdied his final three holes to finish on 28 under par, one shot ahead of Jaco Ahlers (66), Michael Hollick (68) and Haydn Porteous (68).
It was an emotional win for a man who has worked so hard to reclaim the form that saw him win the 2013 Vodacom Origins of Golf, and who has had to overcome a car accident, serious injury and sometimes even his own doubts as he’s fought his way back into the winner’s circle.

“It’s been such a long journey to stand with a trophy again. I never stopped believing, but it was tough. But everyone behind the scenes has been supporting me. The Nomads, the guys on the driving ranges – I’m so grateful for those who have been behind me. When you’re on top everybody wants to be part of the victory but there is a lot of darkness and searching to get to the top,” said Bruiners, who finished before the final group and was on the putting green preparing for a playoff before he broke down in tears when it was confirmed that he had won.

This week showcased some of the best scoring seen on the Sunshine Tour as players threatened to shoot 59 while a number of golfers had 29s for nine holes.

It was exactly the realisation of how the standard of golf is improving on the Sunshine Tour that Bruiners says pushed him to work even harder at his own game.

“Everyone has been playing so well and the standard of golf is unbelievable. I remember shooting four under at Glendower Golf Club in a regular Sunshine Tour event and finishing in the top 10. This year, four under on the same golf course was just the cut at the Jonsson Workwear Open. It’s unbelievable.”

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