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President Cyril Ramaphosa concluded a visit to the Kingdom of Eswatini on Wednesday, 3 April 2024.
The courtesy visit was held by His Majesty King Mswati III in Lozitha, Eswatini.

“On arrival in the Kingdom of Eswatini, the President first paid a brief visit to the Queen Mother, Her Majesty iNdlovukazi, before proceeding to meet with His Majesty the King,” The Presidency said in a statement.

According to the statement, the two discussed the “historical bonds” of the two Southern African nations.

“The two leaders affirmed their commitment to strong historical bonds between their two countries, including growing political and trade ties.

“They also highlighted the historical success of collaboration between the two countries, where the two leaders collaborated to work together for a better future,” the statement concluded.

– Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to distinguished journalist, acclaimed editor and former special adviser in The Presidency, Tony Heard.
Heard died at the age of 86 late last month following a short illness.

“Tony Heard was brave in his resistance to apartheid and was an influential thought leader who challenged the conscience and beliefs of South Africans who benefitted from apartheid. He deployed significant newsroom resources to expose the brutality of the apartheid state and to portray the everyday suffering of oppressed and impoverished communities.

“In so doing, he mobilised and nurtured a generation of journalists who took a clear stand on critical issues in the country and scurried between typewriters and teargas to give a voice to those whose pleas and outcries were muzzled and repressed by the state,” the President said.

On Heard’s contribution to journalism, President Ramaphosa said he “inspired quality journalism which enriched the profession and media audiences alike and contributed to the inevitable momentum that led to our freedom.”
“We value the contributions he made as well as a senior adviser to government in his later years. May his soul rest in peace”.

Heard is survived by his partner Jane Porter and his children Vicki, Janet, Pasqua and Dylan.

Meanwhile, the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) referred to Heard as a “titan of journalism.”

“With heavy hearts, SANEF mourns the passing of a doyen of a conscientious journalist whose contributions to the field left an indelible mark on South Africa and beyond,” it said in a statement.

– Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa has congratulated Senegal’s President-elect, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, following Senegal’s recent elections.
President-elect Faye won at least 54% of the vote in Senegal’s presidential elections.

“The Senegalese people have [lit] a beacon which will usher in a new hope in the journey of rebuilding Africa by opting for a peaceful change of government as opposed to violence,” President Ramaphosa said.

A statement released by The Presidency reflected on the close relations enjoyed by South Africa and its West African counterpart.

“South Africa and Senegal enjoy close political, trade and social relations deepened by strong historical ties rooted in the anti-apartheid struggle. President Ramaphosa has committed to strengthen the bilateral relationship between South Africa and Senegal in pursuit of a better and peaceful continent.

“The outcome of the election bears testimony to the resilient spirit of the Senegalese people, who preferred the democratic course of change of government, through voting. The President applauded the other contestants for displaying maturity in accepting the election outcome,” the statement read.

– Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa held a telephone discussion with the President of the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, 28 March 2024.
The two leaders discussed the ongoing efforts in the search for a peaceful end to the conflict in Ukraine.

The leaders also discussed broad areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

President Ramaphosa also expressed his condolences to President Putin and the people of Russia following the recent terrorist attacks that killed 137 people. – Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday, 4 April 2024, officially opened the Newlyn PX Terminal and the Tetra Pak Manufacturing plant, respectively, in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal as part of his investment promotion drive.
These entities made pledges through the South African Investment Conference; an initiative led by President Ramaphosa with an ambitious goal of attracting R1.2 trillion in investments over five years.

The multi-modal rail terminal in Bayhead, next to the port of Durban, pledged R2 billion for the development of the largest multi-modal rail terminal in Africa and has completed the last phase of the development exceeding the initial pledge by R2.6 billion.

The entity has over the last 26 years demonstrated its commitment as well as significant financial, technical and human resource development in developing transformational logistics infrastructure along the country’s major trade corridors.

The terminal has also been recognised as a flagship development, expanding the logistics capacity of the country as well as enhancing global competitiveness as part of the critical trade corridor linking Johannesburg to the port of Durban (NatCor).

The development will further facilitate an integrated ecosystem yielding benefits to freight owners, Transnet and logistics service providers. This will also accelerate government’s objective of migrating cargo from road to rail.

In 2022, the Tetra Pak Group invested more than R500 million in the manufacturing plant in KwaZulu-Natal. Tetra Pak is the world’s leading food processing and packaging company with presence in more than 155 countries.

Post the investment, the manufacturing plant is now the only state-of-the-art facility in Africa producing carton aseptic packaging for the domestic market and African export; meeting standards of sustainability; supporting a circular economy; and propelling industrial growth.

These investments will form a critical industrial base for South Africa’s recent commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area for export opportunities.

– Source:
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has granted South Africa’s Urgent Request of 6 March 2024, for further provisional measures to prevent Israel from causing irreparable harm to the rights invoked by South Africa under the 1948 Genocide Convention in respect of the ongoing siege of Gaza.
In doing so, the ICJ agreed with South Africa’s assertion that the situation in Gaza had deteriorated significantly since the court’s order of 26 January 2024 as a result of Israel’s failure to comply with that order. Therefore, it was necessary for the ICJ to indicate further provisional measures.

As the ICJ put it, “Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine, as noted in the order of 26 January 2024, but that famine is setting in, with at least 31 people, including 27 children, having already died of malnutrition and dehydration”.

The ICJ unanimously ordered Israel to:

Take all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full co-operation with the United Nations, the unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance, including food, water, electricity, fuel, shelter, clothing, hygiene and sanitation requirements, as well as medical supplies and medical care to Palestinians throughout Gaza, including by increasing the capacity and number of land crossing points and maintaining them open for as long as necessary.

By 15 votes to one (Judge ad hoc Barak of Israel dissenting), the ICJ ordered Israel to:
  • Ensure with immediate effect that its military does not commit acts which constitute a violation of any of the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza as a protected group under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, including by preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance.
  • Submit a report to the court on all measures taken to give effect to this order, within one month as from the date of this order.
These provisional measures supplement those of 26 January, which ordered Israel, among other, to refrain from committing genocidal acts against Palestinians in Gaza and to prevent and punish direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.

The impact of the ICJ’s order is significant. The changing circumstances in Gaza warrant the implementation of new strategies.

The fact that Palestinian deaths are not solely caused by bombardment and ground attacks, but also by disease and starvation, indicates a need to protect the group’s right to exist.

The most effective way to uphold this right is through prevention. The ICJ’s actions include specific responsibilities to prevent genocide.

As a number of judges pointed out, these responsibilities can only be fulfilled by halting military operations in Gaza and adhering to the court’s directives. If there is non-compliance, the global community must ensure adherence when it comes to the sanctity of humanity.

– Source:
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) hosted the inaugural Biodiversity Economy and Investment Indaba from 25 to 27 March 2024, under the theme: “Collective Action for Thriving Nature and People”. The Indaba brought together a range of stakeholders in the biodiversity sector including government officials, traditional leaders and healers, academia, business, communities and youth structures.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the Indaba on 26 March 2024, where he highlighted importance of transformation within the sector in order to grow employments opportunities. “Job creation must be at the centre of our efforts. As with our mineral resources, we cannot simply be mere exporters of raw materials so that jobs and industries can be created elsewhere,” said President Ramaphosa.

Cabinet recently noted the review of the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES), which formed a central part 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 NBES is fully aligned with the goals of the White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity, which are conservation; sustainable use; fair and equitable sharing of benefits; and transformation. “The revised National Biodiversity Economy Strategy is guided by both the Global Biodiversity Framework and our own White Paper and is intended to provide strong direction for the growth and transformation of the biodiversity-based economy in South Africa. It emphasises that a successful biodiversity economy must be linked to ecosystem restoration, as well as recognising the importance of ecological infrastructure. Balancing use of the benefits, services and values of biodiversity while sustaining these elements, will ensure that both nature and people thrive in a sustainable way,” said Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy.

The Indaba was a blend of a conference format, networking session and exhibitions. The objectives included, among others, mainstreaming the biodiversity economy imperatives across all four goals of the White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity, and the sector’s contribution to addressing poverty, unemployment and inequality; mobilising investment for the biodiversity sector and associated value-chains as well as showcasing 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 exhibitions included biotrade/bioprospecting, wildlife economy, eco-tourism, forestry, fisheries, ocean and coast and marine tourism.

Brief overview of the South African Biodiversity Sector

South Africa has exceptional biodiversity, much of which is unique and makes us one of the world’s like-minded megadiverse countries. This biodiversity wealth gives people tangible benefits like food, clean water, medicine and materials. It supports agricultural and fisheries production and helps protect us from natural hazards such as droughts and floods; and provides a vibrant tourism industry while offering natural spaces for recreational, spiritual and cultural activities.

South Africa’s economy is dependent on this biodiversity. For example, biodiversity-based tourism generates R31 billion in the economy annually and our almost 2000 medicinal plant species contribute to the African medicinal sector approximately of more than R3 billion per year. The sector supports many jobs across a range of sectors. As of 2018, the sector has been maintaining over 418 000 sustainable jobs. Many of these jobs are created in rural areas, providing an opportunity for contributing to the rural economy.

While protected areas are providing good refuge for species and ecosystems, our biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate. Thus, there’s more work to be done to ensure that this rich endowment is conserved for the benefit of all South Africans and future generations.

– Source:
Dr Steve Chingwaru, a 26-year-old geometallurgist, has made a discovery that could revolutionise South Africa's gold mining industry and inject billions into its economy. His groundbreaking PhD research, completed at Stellenbosch University, has identified a massive, previously overlooked gold resource hidden within the country's unsightly mine dumps.
Hailing from Zimbabwe and raised by his aunt in Johannesburg, Chingwaru has mining in his blood. His grandfather, the legendary prospector George Nolan, pioneered lithium discovery in Zimbabwe.

Despite setbacks, Chingwaru inherited a passion for earth sciences and a determination to leave a brighter legacy for Africa.

Unlocking a hidden fortune

Chingwaru's research reveals that mine waste from the Witwatersrand holds up to 460 tonnes of gold, worth an estimated R450billion. This "invisible gold" exists in microscopic particles within other minerals. While low in concentration, dwindling traditional gold reserves are making this resource increasingly economically viable.

Historically, gold extraction from these tailings has been inefficient and environmentally harmful. Chingwaru's PhD work not only pinpoints the vast gold reserves but also proposes new extraction methods that could eliminate heavy metal pollution and acid mine drainage – major environmental threats associated with the dumps

He advocates for processing the pyrite found in the dumps, simultaneously removing the source of pollution and unlocking further valuable by-products like copper, cobalt and nickel.

Academic rockstar

Chingwaru's work has garnered international attention, with publications in top industry journals and a prominent presentation at a global mining conference. His research is attracting interest from major mining companies who see the potential for both profits and environmental sustainability.

Chingwaru, driven by both personal history and scientific rigour, envisions a future where Africa leads in innovative, responsible resource extraction. He is currently weighing job offers from prestigious research institutes in Australia and Germany.

Yet, he remains committed to serving his continent: "Africa has brilliant scientists. It's time we unlock their full potential and harness discoveries for the benefit of our people."

– Source:
Six South African young scientists who presented their innovative research projects at international science fairs in Tunisia and Beijing have returned home triumphant, each securing medals in their respective categories.
Keerthana Kishor Nair (Grade 12 at Bryanston High School) and Alexia Hilton Smedmor (Grade 10 at Parktown High School for Girls) competed at the International Festival of Engineering, Science and Technology in Tunisia (I-FEST2) from 22 to 28 March 2024 after award-winning performances in 2023.
Keerthana successfully placed in the top 10 of the best performers, achieving a gold medal, while Alexia achieved silver.

“I did not expect it at all,” Keerthana shared.

“This was an experience unlike any other. I met so many new people from across the globe and learned so much more about their culture and lifestyle. This is knowledge and a feeling I would have never gotten anywhere else. My highlight in Tunisia was definitely the Colosseum-Amphitheatre of El Jem. To be in the presence of so much history, authenticity and something so massive. It really showed me the beauty of travel and nature. I was humbled in the moment with the breathtaking masterpiece of this ancient architecture. Truly ineffable.”

Further east, Nyakallo Nonjabulo Mbongo (Grade 11 at Welkom-Gymnasium); Kiyara Tami Swartbooi (Grade 12 at Port Rex Technical High School in East London); along with Steffan Thielen and Rohan van Loggerenberg (Grade 12 from Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch) competed at the Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition (BYSCC) in China from 28 March to 1 April 2024.

There, Steffan and Rohan were awarded gold medals, while Nyakallo and Kiyara were awarded silver wins. Nyakallo was also awarded the second prize for the Yanqi Innovation Competition and received a cash prize of RMB 2000.

Nyakallo reflects: “I am deeply honoured and grateful for the awards I have received. Simply being chosen by Eskom Expo to represent my country was a significant achievement for me, but to receive an award further added to my joy. Witnessing the scale and competitiveness of the BYSCC was truly eye-opening, especially seeing the remarkable projects presented by other participants. This experience reinforced the belief that hard work indeed yields results and emphasised the importance of pursuing our passions wholeheartedly.”

– Source:
“The Wall Street Journal” has hailed Prince Albert in the Karoo as one of South Africa’s coolest destinations, celebrated for its artisanal crafts, stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage.
In a glowing feature penned by Mary Holland for The Wall Street Journal, Prince Albert in the Karoo has been hailed as one of South Africa’s most enchanting destinations.

Despite its remote location deep within the arid landscapes of the Karoo desert, this farming town has defied the odds to become a vibrant hub of creativity, artisanal crafts and culinary delights.

Often referred to as the “Jewel of the Karoo,” Prince Albert is a historic gem nestled at the southern edge of the Great Karoo in South Africa’s Western Cape. With its stunning backdrop of the Swartberg mountains and wide-open spaces, the town offers visitors an opportunity to reconnect with nature and find solace in its tranquil surroundings.

Describing the town’s unique allure, Holland writes, “Against the odds, a farming town deep in South Africa’s Karoo desert has emerged as a hot spot of homemade crafts and heirloom treats.”

Indeed, Prince Albert has become synonymous with quality craftsmanship, from hand-loomed textiles to artisanal dairy products and locally produced olive oil.

In recent years, the town has earned the moniker the “Franschhoek of the Karoo,” highlighting its growing appeal to the art community and affluent South Africans who have chosen to make Prince Albert their home. The town’s rich history, dating back to its founding in 1762 as Albertsburg, adds to its charm, with beautifully preserved Victorian, Karoo and Cape Dutch architecture lining its streets.

One of the town’s standout features is the awe-inspiring Swartberg Pass, which lies at its foot and offers outdoor enthusiasts a plethora of hiking and biking trails to explore. The clear, crisp air and star-filled skies of Prince Albert provide the perfect backdrop for stargazing and soul-restoring retreats. With its friendly locals, purveyors of fresh produce and an array of cultural events like the Leesfees literary fair and the Journey to Jazz festival, Prince Albert offers a unique blend of experiences that cater to a diverse range of interests.

Holland’s article, which has the potential of reaching approximately 3.5 million readers (as per their most recent readership stats), could very well ignite the interest of travellers from around the globe.

– Source:
Bulletproof and “kanniedoodnie” are sure ways of describing Mercedes’ venerated W123 model and a group of enthusiasts plans on reaffirming this reputation with an expedition across Africa.
Kicking off 27 March 2024 from Vilakazi Street in Soweto, Johannesburg, the Cape2Cairo 2024 Expedition plans on taking several W123 models across 12 500 km of African landscape later on in the year.
The primary goal is to explore, showcase and celebrate Africa’s diverse cultures, cuisines and people, positioning the continent as an enticing tourist destination. The Mercedes Benz W123 symbolises the resilient spirit of Africa’s inhabitants. Through film and photography, we aim to draw global attention to the vibrant mosaic that defines Africa.

With the iconic Mercedes Benz W123 vehicles, the mission hopes to transcend a typical road trip by offering an immersive experience celebrating endurance, cultural diversity, and the unparalleled beauty of Africa. Often touted as one of the most reliable vehicles ever produced, the W123, which includes several iterations on this journey, including 200, 280E and in two-door coupe form will serve as the protagonists of the journey.
In preparation for the massive undertaking across the continent, the crew of the W123 vehicles completed two trial runs in June and September 2023 which spanned from the Northern Cape Hakskeenpan to the Heritage Trail across five SADC countries: Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. In March, the team embarked on a route to Luanda, Angola and stop in Gaborone, Botswana and Windhoek, Namibia. This is all preparation ahead of the ultimate African odyssey which will see the several vehicles driven from Cape Town to Cairo later in September of this year.

– Source:
Minister Barbara Creecy announced that South Africa has laid out plans to phase out the captive breeding of lions for hunting purposes as the country moves to ban the practice.
South Africa on Wednesday, 3 April 2024, laid out plans to phase out the captive breeding of lions for hunting purposes as the country moves to ban the controversial business.

The practice of breeding big cats to later have them shot by wealthy hunters, typically paying thousands of US dollars, has long been loathed by conservation and animal rights groups.

Hunters, usually foreigners, sometimes take home the head or skin of the killed animal as a trophy.
The South African Government had already announced its intention to ban the breeding of lions for hunting in 2021 and an ad hoc panel has been working on the issue for the past two years.

“The panel recommended the closure of the captive breeding sector, including the keeping of lions in captivity, or the use of captive lions or their derivatives commercially,” Minister Creecy told a press conference in Cape Town.

Breeders will have two years to voluntarily withdraw from the sector and change their business model before the ban kicks in.

The idea, which has faced strong opposition from representatives of the highly lucrative industry, was approved by the government last week but is yet to be translated into law.

The move comes with trophy hunting facing a growing backlash in the West.

Campaigns to ban the import of trophies have drawn support in the United States, Australia and several European countries in recent years.

“The industry is large and complex with a long history that is not aligned with current international trends and domestic policy changes on conservation,” said Kamalasen Chetty, Head of the ad hoc panel.

Between 8 000 and 12 000 lions are kept on about 350 farms across South Africa, according to estimates by animal rights groups that regularly denounce the conditions in which the animals are held.

The number of wild lions in comparison totals only around 3 500, according to the Endangered Wildlife Trust, a South African-based NGO.

– Source:
From the Karoo to the Cape Agulhas, four of South Africa’s national parks have expanded, meaning more spaces for local nature enthusiasts to fall in love with, and more animals and plant species can enjoy protection.
The increase in size for some of South Africa’s most loved national parks comes by way of the hard work the National Parks Trust of South Africa and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa have put in. This wholesome news for natural spaces comes part-and-parcel with an important declaration that, on 2 February, incorporates an additional 20 206 hectares of land for the four national parks, some 18 000 hectares of which were added through the Trust and WWF.

“These declarations are part of our work to bring some of South Africa’s most threatened habitats and species under the umbrella of SANParks as the custodian of our country’s very special natural heritage for the benefit of everyone,” said WWF CEO, Dr Morné du Plessis.

“All of this work contributes towards South Africa’s commitment to the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) to protect 30% of the planet’s terrestrial and marine habitats by 2030.”

Namaqua National Park saw the largest of the expansions and has enjoyed growth by 18 391 hectares, while the other national parks to have been expanded are Mokala National Park by 844 hectares, Karoo National Park by 397 hectares and Agulhas National Park by 574 hectares.

How do parks grow?

The National Parks Trust of South Africa (managed by the WWF) helps SANParks acquire land that the national parks will then call home. The goal is to meet conservation targets and create spaces where the unique fauna and flora of South Africa can flourish and inspire generations of nature lovers to come.

Why does the growth of these parks matter?

More threatened species of fauna and flora have a better chance of surviving and growing when there is more space for them to thrive under protection (like that of SANParks). In the recent expansion of the Namaqua National Park, an array of threatened veld types and rare endemic plant species like the kokerboom are now covered.

Additionally, the extra space encompasses a six km section of a 41km stretch of the Buffels River, as well as the upper catchment of the Swartlintjies River system. Both of these play an important part in the ecological health of the park.

Mokala National Park offers grazing space for a rare range of rare antelope like sable and roan, and the disease-free buffalo. Its expansion includes Northern Upper Karoo vegetation (of which less than 1% is protected formally).

There are also the Cape Mountain zebras who, under the Karoo National Park have a safer home in nature. The breeding Verreaux’s eagles, almost 900 species of plants and five species of tortoises (the highest density in the whole world) too, can relish in this.

As for the Agulhas National Park, threatened habitats of the Cape Floristic Region on the surrounding Agulhas plain are encompassed.

All in all, the efforts of expansion are efforts for South Africa’s biodiversity health and that of the planet.

– Source:
Global Humane, the international brand of American Humane, the United States’ (US) first national humane organisation and the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare practices, announced this week that the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) Gqeberha Centre located in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, has earned certification through the Global Humane Conservation programme and is recognised for its high standards of care and treatment of animals.
“We are thrilled that SANCCOB Gqeberha has met the standards for the Global Humane Conservation certification,” said Dr Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of Global Humane.

“The work they do to reverse the decline of seabird populations, especially endangered species like the African penguin, is critical to conservation efforts and the long-term survival of species in the region.”

Rigorous certification standards

To be recognised as Global Humane Certified, SANCCOB passed a rigorous independent assessment that reviewed the well-being of animals in their care and demonstrated overall excellence in their animal care and welfare practices. The unique process is guided by the latest science and best practices and is informed by respected veterinarians and experts in the fields of animal welfare, animal science, zoology and ethics who have decades of experience in protecting animals.

The independent validation process, which goes above and beyond to help protect animals, provides visitors with confidence that the institution is meeting a high benchmark of care. The process includes the submission of a pre-audit application, followed by an onsite audit that assesses animal welfare. Factors considered during the audit include, but are not limited to, housing, nutrition, water, lighting, shade, sound, activity levels, and the training of staff who are interacting with the animals. The benchmarks are species-specific.

“SANCCOB Gqeberha is proud to have met Global Humane’s high standards for animal welfare. Through this certification, we will continue to provide the highest quality of veterinary and rehabilitative care to our seabird patients, continue to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to achieve the best outcomes for seabirds and the habitat they rely on and to always be accountable, transparent, and to uphold our reputation to provide communication that can be trusted,” said Carl Havemann, SANCCOB Gqeberha Centre Manager.


SANCCOB is a registered non-profit organisation with facilities based in Cape Town (Western Cape) and Gqeberha (Eastern Cape), South Africa. SANCCOB’s primary objective is to reverse the decline of seabird populations through the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of ill, injured, abandoned, and oiled seabirds – especially endangered species like the African penguin. The core of SANCCOB’s work has, through the years, evolved from being responsive to disaster situations (seabird oiling events) to expanding our conservation measures to boost the African penguin population through rehabilitation, research, preparedness and response, training, and education.

SANCCOB is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of seabird rehabilitation due to its commitment to providing the highest standard of veterinary care through purpose-built seabird hospitals and rehabilitation facilities in Cape Town and Gqeberha. SANCCOB admits an average of 2,000 seabirds per annum (excluding emergencies), and collaborates with conservation management authorities to rescue seabirds, including abandoned eggs and chicks from six colonies. Their rehabilitation efforts have resulted in an impressive release rate of approximately 75% for African penguins and 50% for other seabird species, successfully returning them to their natural habitat to bolster wild populations.

The African penguin population in southern Africa is dire. The causes are complex but include a lack of available food due to competition with commercial purse-seine fisheries, effects of climate change, predation and maritime-associated risks, including oil pollution and underwater noise disturbance. With the African penguin population declining at a rapid rate, and with around 9,900 breeding pairs left in the wild globally, it is imperative to act now to prevent a further decline of the species. Should no further effective management actions be implemented, scientists predict that the African penguin population will face extinction by 2035.

About Global Humane

Global Humane is the international brand of American Humane, which is the US’ first national humane organisation and the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare, helping to verify the humane treatment of more than one billion animals across the globe each year.

Founded in 1877, American Humane has been first to serve the cause of animals and for over 145 years has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in the humane movement.

– Source:
Tshepiso Mazibuko (b. 1995), a former student of the social and artistic mentorship programme Of Soul and Joy, has been announced as one of the nominees for the esteemed Discovery Award at the upcoming “Rencontres d’Arles” summer photography festival in France. The festival, known as one of Europe’s premier photography events, will take place from 1 July to 29 September 2024.
Out of a pool of 300 applicants, Mazibuko has been selected, highlighting the exceptional talent and creative vision demonstrated in her submitted project. The winner of the Discovery Award, which first launched in 2021, will receive €15,000, showcasing the festival’s commitment to recognising and supporting emerging photographers. Her work will subsequently be exhibited alongside other selected projects during the festival.

Mazibuko’s project, Ho tshepa ntshepedi ya bontshepe, considers how the political designation of “bornfree” has impacted the post-1994 generation of South Africa’s black youth. Derived from the Sesotho proverb meaning “to expect something that will never happen”, the work considers the paradoxical nature of this title and how, due to the structural remnants of apartheid, this freedom has not been fully realised. Born into this generation herself, Mazibuko uses herself as subject, considering her own relationships to her community and how this has been shaped by the societal constructs she was born into.

“We’re so proud of Tshepiso on this recognition. Her nomination for this award is a testament to her exceptional talent and the impact of her work on the global stage. As an alumna of Of Soul and Joy, she embodies the program’s mission of empowering young South Africans through creativity, using photography as a means of self-expression and social change,” says Of Soul and Joy project manager and mentor Jabulani Dhlamini.

Thokoza-based Mazibuko’s journey in photography began in 2012 when she joined the Of Soul and Joy Photo Project as one of its first students, discovering her passion and talent for the medium. Completing her studies in photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg in 2016, T Mazibuko has had her work exhibited at the Ithuba Art Gallery in Johannesburg, The Ghent photo-festival in Belgium, Gallery A MaGNIN’, The Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Warren Editions in Cape Town and the Addis Foto Fest in Ethiopia, among others.

Mazibuko received the prestigious Tierney Fellowship in 2017 and the Prince Claus Fund grant in 2018, cementing her status as a rising star in contemporary photography.

About Of Soul & Joy

Of Soul & Joy is a social and artistic mentorship program dedicated to empowering young South Africans through creativity. By providing mentorship, training and support, the programme aims to cultivate artistic expression and storytelling skills among the youth, enabling them to have a positive impact on their communities. Through photography and various art forms, Of Soul & Joy encourages dialogue and addresses pressing social issues while celebrating the unique voices and perspectives of South Africa’s youth.

More about Rencontres d’Arles

The theme of the 54th edition of Rencontres d’Arles, A State of Consciousness, underscores the festival’s dedication to exploring the multifaceted ways in which photography can document and contemplate the world around us. This year’s festival aims to serve as a platform for artists to engage with pressing social issues and showcase diverse perspectives.

– Source:
Pretoria’s Akustika Chamber Singers have won the “Vox Lucensis Concorso Corale Internazionale” and two additional awards while in Italy.
The Akustika Chamber Singers were in Italy for the Vox Lucensis Concorso Corale Internazionale and have been named the 2024 Winners of the competition. The proudly South African choir from Pretoria was overjoyed with the win.

The Interkultur organisation hosts up to 14 international choir competitions and festivals around the globe each year. Founded by Günter Titsch, it was born to bring together people of all countries, cultures and world views in peaceful competitions.

This event featured choirs from around the world and took place in Lucca, Italy. Choirs joined from Denmark, Germany, Poland and beyond.

The choir also won the SACRA Category and the Mixed Choir Category. The choir, conducted by Christo Burger, say they sang for South Africa, when they won the competition.

– Source:
Six South African athletes took on an incredible challenge: racing 230km around the Arctic Circle in just five days.
Earlier this year, six South African athletes participated in The Beyond Ultimate Ice Ultra in Sweden. They faced days of freezing temperatures and pushed their limits.

Andre Erasmus, Cordi van Niekerk, Nick Denoon-Stevens, Paul Venter, Robin Kelly and Tarryn Gordon-Bennett each flew the South African flag high at the event. They worked as a team to prepare for the event and continued to support each other through the gruelling five-day trek across the Arctic.

The Beyond Ultimate series includes the Desert Ultra, Ice Ultra, Jungle Ultra and Mountain Ultra. Being South Africans, the group had never experienced cold and snow like they encountered. No matter how much they prepared, whether wearing snow shoes on thick beach sand or wading through the tall grass at Delta Park, encountering an environment of these cold extremes was totally out of the norm for a South African. Despite the challenges, each of the athletes finished the race.

The five-day race was broken down into day one – 50km, day two – 43km, day three – 42km, day four – 64km and day five – 15km. Day four was the most brutal, with the group each having faced a blizzard on day three and then preparing for the longest distance on day four while facing a time cut-off at 50km.
Highlights of the event?

Everyone had one common highlight from the trip, which was seeing the Northern Lights. They got lucky, before setting off on the five-day trek, they were woken up at 11pm and got to watch as the lights danced across the sky. Another common comment was having total silence; the snow absorbs all sound… well, almost all sound. Venter recalls how the lake they were on, on day three, cracked in the distance and it sounded like a gunshot.

“As a South African, seeing snow fall is always special to me. I recall one evening, walking along (legs were too tired to run in the soft snow), while these big snowflakes were fluttering through the air into the beam of my headlamp.” – Paul Venter

“I felt completely cleansed. The self-accomplishment after an event that big, the feeling is amazing. Being able to understand what your body is capable of, what your mind is capable of. Considering I had a really tough day four, it’s unbelievable what the body and mind can do. I finished feeling very strong, very positive, I had a sense of calmness and I really felt content. It is the most amazing event but extremely brutal and undoubtedly the biggest challenge I have ever taken on” – Tarryn Gordon-Bennett

For Denoon-Stevens it was having the time alone in the arctic – the silence and the beauty of the snow-covered landscape. He explained that gratitude played a powerful role in his experience, knowing that he was strong enough and able to take on the challenge, brought him great personal joy.

For Van Niekerk, making the 50km cut-off on day four was a highlight. Day four was a challenge for every athlete as it was the longest, with each athlete needing to complete 64km.

“Making the 50km cutoff point on day four (had to be there by 20:00 after starting at 6:30) the day took 17 hours and seven minutes to complete” – Cordi van Niekerk

One of the takeaways of the experience for the group, was that the Sami people, who call Lapland home, are really proud of their heritage. They are passionate about their part of the world and their way of living. To make sure the event runs well, they provide the logistical support on the route, without which the event would not be possible.

The best part was that all the South Africans that entered, finished the race. Gordon-Bennett went on to win the female title, being the first woman to cross the finish line.

– Source:
Nicole Van Aswegen has qualified to represent South Africa at the FIM World Women’s Superbike Championship in Europe.
Nicole Van Aswegen has her heart set on Europe to represent South Africa at the first-ever FIM Women’s Motorcycling World Championship. The championship will take place at six European tracks, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, Hungary and Spain.

Van Aswegen has had an incredible career to date. She has a full-time job, so she spends her weekends training and racing wherever she can. She started competing in the sport in 2005. She has made waves in the South African motorcycle industry as the first female motorcycle racer to ever compete in the 600cc South African National Championship in 2009.

Continuing to make history in 2015, Van Aswegen became the first woman to ever podium in a National SuperSport race.

In 2023, she was appointed as the BMW South Africa brand ambassador and Motorsport South Africa brand ambassador and finished fourth overall in the Superbike 1000 class.

The challenges she has faced and overcome have paved the path for many young women who aspire to compete in the very male-dominated arena that is motorsport.

Van Aswegen is ready to take on the challenges of the 2024 sporting season and this year is a major one for women’s motorsport. The inaugural FIM Women’s Motorcycling World Championship will see a major international superbike competition bring the world’s best together.

Van Aswegen has managed to gather an impressive list of sponsors who are supporting her. These include Motorsport South Africa, FIM Africa, the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Amlagum Welding Shop, Andalaft Racing, Bikewise, Hi-tech Elements, Arai Helmets and Onex Race Suits.

“I would just like to thank my current sponsors for all the support thus far, I am super excited about this adventure because in South Africa I have only been racing against guys.”

We asked her about her hopes for the championship and she shared that she would love to earn a podium, but just the chance to compete is exciting.

“My goal would obviously be to podium place, but I will be happy with a top five and just to be racing against these girls is a privilege, as they race for a living and get paid to practice all week, I have an 8-5 day job so can only ride weekends”.

– Source:
South Africa hosted Basketball Africa League (BAL) matches for the first time as Fath Union Sport (FUS) de Rabat emerged the top team in the Kalahari Conference, clinching a spot in the BAL playoffs in May, alongside second-placed Clube Atletico Petroleos de Luanda. Third-placed Cape Town Tigers will have to vie for a wildcard entry to the Kigali playoffs.
Despite Burundi’s club Dynamo withdrawing from the competition, other conference matches went on as planned, with Morocco’s Fath Union Sport de Rabat emerging at the top of the conference, followed by Clube Atletico Petroleos de Luanda of Angola.

The two are automatic qualifiers for the BAL playoffs in May at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.

The home team, the Cape Town Tigers, finished in third place, which means that they will have to compete with third-placed teams from other conferences for a spot in the playoffs.

The Tigers had launched their playoff aspirations in front of a sold-out arena, securing a crucial 82-78 win against Petro de Luanda, before going down 84-75 to FUS de Rabat in a much-anticipated final match of the conference.

Notably, the win against the Luanda side was the Tigers’ first BAL win since May 2023. They had earlier in the season lost 100-88 to the same side.

The South African champions finished with 50 rebounds against Petro de Luanda’s 45.

“This win means so much to us… We had our backs against the wall. We gave everything we had. This win was more than a win; it feels special,” said Tigers guard Ngor Manyang, who contributed eight points, after the match.

“We stuck together. That was the most important part of the win,” the South Sudanese shooting guard added.

Competition for the top two sports was fierce, with Petro de Luanda defeating FUS Rabat 89-86, with Childe Dundao scoring 25 points and Aboubakar Gakou adding 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The Kalahari Conference is a new addition to the league, with the fourth season of the BAL featuring an expanded number of top club teams from 12 African countries, playing a record 48 games.

Previously hosted in Cairo, Dakar and Kigali, this season marks the first time that BAL games will be played in four different countries.

BAL action moves to the Hassan Mostafa Indoor Sports Complex in Cairo for Nile Conference group matches between April 19 and 27, before attention shifts to the Sahara Conference at the Dakar Arena from 4 to 12 May 2024.

The 2024 playoffs and finals will take place at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, in late May, promising more thrills and unforgettable moments.

– Source:
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