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In his weekly newsletter, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the growth of South Africa’s automotive sector is a demonstration of “the potential of South Africa as an investment destination”.
The President said that 2023 was a milestone year for South Africa’s automotive sector, with the sixth millionth South African-built vehicle exported and new vehicle exports reaching nearly 400 000.

“These figures are significant for a number of reasons. They show that our auto sector continues to grow despite a gloomy global economic outlook and disruptions to the flow of goods between countries.

“The growth of the automotive sector also demonstrates the potential of South Africa as an investment destination. It is a good example of how committed investors, supported by government policies and programmes, can achieve good returns for their shareholders while contributing significantly to the South African economy,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President pointed out that the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers and other companies continue to pour more investment into South Africa.

“By way of example, Volkswagen last month announced a R4 billion investment to expand its Kariega plant in the Eastern Cape in preparation for the production of a new vehicle model expected to roll off the assembly line in 2027. This investment is expected to secure the livelihoods of approximately 3500 workers and support an additional estimated 50 000 indirect jobs and opportunities.

“South Africa’s value as an investment destination extends across many other industries, as local and international companies continue to either expand their investments or undertake new investments.

“Investment is important because, among other things, it creates employment, supports the growth of emerging suppliers, generates revenue for the country, and, in doing so, supports our efforts to reduce poverty and inequality,” he said.

According to the President, a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that net foreign direct investment (FDI) into South Africa had been consistently positive since the global financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 – meaning more investment has come into the country than out.

“Last year, FDI inflows amounted to R96.5 billion, equivalent to 1.4% of our gross domestic product (GDP). This supports a trend where FDI has, on average, been far greater over the last five years than over the previous decade.

“The PwC report notes that South Africa has attractive fundamentals, such as world-class financial services and communications industries, deep capital markets, abundant natural resources and a transparent legal system. Furthermore, South Africa is ‘a strategic geographical location for entry into the rest of sub-Saharan Africa’,” he said.

Addressing challenges

President Ramaphosa highlighted that although there is a “broadly positive attitude towards South Africa among investors”, more work needs to be done to ensure that the FDI as a percentage of GDP is heightened.

“That is why we continue to work to implement our policies and align regulatory and other obstacles, so that we can attract higher levels of investment. Through the auction of broadband spectrum and progress in digital migration, for example, we have greatly expanded opportunities in telecommunications.

“We have significantly reduced waiting times for water-use licences and other authorisations that are so important for getting major investment projects off the ground. We are working to get rid of other forms of red tape that impede and slow down investment,” the President said.

He also acknowledged that South Africa’s electricity problems remain a “major challenge to our people and the economy at large” and issues at ports and rail are being addressed.

“Through our Energy Action Plan, we have made much progress in dealing with the country’s electricity crisis. We have seen an improvement in the performance of Eskom’s power stations and substantial investment in new generation capacity. This has contributed to a sustained decrease in the severity of load shedding.

“The work we are doing with business, labour and other social partners in improving the efficiency of our ports and rail infrastructure is also starting to bear fruit. Further progress in these areas will increase the country’s competitiveness and attractiveness as an investment destination,” the President said.

The President assured that government will continue on its path towards economic recovery.

“We will continue to build on the gains that we have made towards creating an enabling business and investment climate that promotes economic growth and creates jobs.

“It is only through attracting higher levels of investment, both foreign and domestic, that a swift, sustainable economic recovery can be assured,” President Ramaphosa said.

– Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa offers his deep condolences to the relatives and friends of five people who have died in an incident where a building collapsed in George in the Southern Cape.
The collapse occurred on Monday, 6 May 2024.

The President’s thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones as well as the families of close to 50 people who are trapped in the rubble.

President Ramaphosa wished rescue teams the best as they go about their operations and said that investigations into the cause of the incident must aim to bring closure to the community and prevent a repeat of this disaster.

– Source:
Government is committed to engaging in continuous dialogue with interfaith organisations on any issue affecting society, as it strives to provide equal respect and protection to both believers and non-believers, as well as to different religious denominations.
“As interfaith leaders, you represent the starting point from which acts of kindness and generosity should originate. I greatly esteem you as the leaders of our society, as you are the individuals who regularly interact with communities on a daily basis,” Deputy President Paul Mashatile said on Friday, 3 May 2024.

He was speaking at an engagement between interfaith leaders and government in Cape Town.

The Deputy President said that through weaving together the threads of different faiths and the tireless work of numerous organisations, the dark cloud of apartheid was finally vanquished, paving the way for a freedom that the country cherishes.
“It is important to always maintain a sense of gratitude for the achievements we have made and not let the pessimistic voices that solely focus on the negative aspects overshadow our progress.

“We built our progress on the unity of diverse faiths, treating every religion with equal respect. In stark contrast, the apartheid era unfairly elevated Christianity as the sole faith, causing division among South Africans.

“Today, it is truly remarkable to see people from diverse backgrounds joining forces to achieve great things, overcoming obstacles and fostering unity for the betterment of our communities,” the Deputy President said.

Deputy President Mashatile said government is committed to upholding the rights of all individuals, regardless of their beliefs or religious affiliations.

“We strive to provide equal respect and protection to both believers and non-believers, as well as to different religious denominations. Equally, our commitment to addressing social issues has been unwavering. Over the past 30 years, we have made remarkable strides in enhancing the well-being of South Africans.

“We have transitioned from an authoritarian state apparatus that overlooked the lives and living conditions of millions of our citizens to a democratic nation that guarantees equal protection for every individual,” Deputy President Mashatile said.

He said a significant number of South Africans, especially those who are less fortunate, now have the opportunity to access education, healthcare and basic services.

“More than ever before, millions of our citizens are shielded from abject poverty by means of, among others, the redistribution policies that represent progress, such as the Land Reform Programme.

“Today, our churches, mosques, synagogues and temples serve as cornerstones of society, providing vital education, feeding the poor and needy, and speaking out against injustices in our nation with a consistent and strong approach,” the Deputy President said.

The Deputy President commended the work that the interfaith communities in the Western Cape have done.

“I also appreciate the Western Cape interfaith leaders for uniting most of these diverse religions and denominations under one umbrella body. We have a shared responsibility to bring all religions together in our efforts to promote national unity and social cohesion.

“This is a task that I began while serving as Minister of Arts and Culture and it remains important to me even today.

“South Africa, with its widely diversified community, has encountered enormous obstacles to social cohesion and togetherness,” he said.

– Source:
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, was in Malabo, Republic of Equatorial Guinea, on a two-day Working Visit.
On 5 May 2024, on the first day of her visit, Minister Pandor held bilateral talks with her counterpart, Simeon Oyono Esono Angue, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Diaspora.

The discussions focussed on strengthening bilateral relations between South Africa and Equatorial Guinea. The ministers also discussed regional, continental and global issues of common interest.

At the conclusion of their meeting, Minister Pandor and Minister Angue signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.

– Source:
The capacity of journalists to report on events in real-time is crucial, and intimidating or killing members of the media must not be permitted to persist without consequences.
This is according to International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, who spoke at the second Shireen Abu Akleh Memorial Lecture at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Wednesday, 8 May 2024.

Abu Akleh was a prominent Palestinian-American journalist who worked as a reporter for Al Jazeera. She was killed by an Israeli soldier while wearing a blue press vest and covering a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The lecture, organised by the Faculty of Humanities at UJ, centred on the role of academic institutions during periods of genocide.

Minister Pandor said the lecture occurred against a “troubling” backdrop of an evident decline in media freedom.

She is of the view that academics and institutions must allocate more time to address the decline and the escalating threat to free expression.

“In the past, journalists knew they would enjoy robust and active protection from fearless colleagues, who would risk their lives to protect them. The decline we are witnessing cannot simply be explained away by citing wireless, social media or other technologies.”

This week marks two years since the assassination of Abu Akleh, whom Minister Pandor described as a beloved veteran journalist who dedicated her life to the pursuit of justice and truth.

“To date, no one has been held accountable for her death despite the global outrage and there has been no reported progress in the investigation at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and silence with regards to any other investigation,” the Minister said.

She cited the United Nations (UN) Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which “concluded on reasonable grounds that Israeli forces used lethal force without justification under international human rights law” when they shot and killed the journalist, violating her right to life.

Minister Pandor bemoaned the situation for journalists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which she said has become increasingly grave over the past seven months.

She cited Committee to Protect Journalists data, which revealed that as of 23 April this year, at least 97 journalists and media workers were among the 35 000 that have been killed in Gaza since 7 October 2023.

Minister Pandor is of the view that the targeting of journalists in the Occupied Territories is part of a pattern of silencing the free press and is an outright contravention of international law.

“International human rights law obligates an occupying power to allow for freedom of expression and protests. The ability of journalists to cover events as they take place is essential and efforts to intimidate and assassinate members of the media should not be allowed to continue with impunity.”

International human rights law, Minister Pandor said, obligates an occupying power to allow for freedom of expression and protests.

“If Shireen were alive today, she would have been in the trenches in Gaza, reporting day and night on the atrocities taking place in the hopes that the world would take notice and show their solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

Minister Pandor believes that Abu Akleh would have been devastated by the destruction of civilian life in Gaza and the global tolerance of the unending suffering of the Palestinian people, many of whom have died agonising deaths trapped under rubble.

“She would have been reporting on the immense suffering of survivors in Gaza, who are now battling unprecedented hunger and starvation, as well as continuous military assaults by the Occupying Forces.”

Despite the International Court of Justice ruling, the Minister said the Israeli state had continued its murderous assault on the people of Gaza with impunity, killing more civilians, injuring thousands, the continued bombing of homes and other buildings and infrastructure, affecting every possible avenue of life of the residents of Gaza.

“The lack of accountability by Israel is increasingly clear.”

Crimes against humanity

The Minister said the evidence of the mass killings of civilians pointed to the perpetration of war crimes, crimes against humanity.

International humanitarian law prohibits attacks on civilians and non-combatants, underlining the need to protect human life during times of war, Pandor said.

She stressed that South Africa continues to call on the ICC to prosecute these war crimes and to issue arrest warrants for those leaders in Israel who have ordered and presided over these crimes.

“The slowness to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these war crimes necessitates greater mobilisation among the youth and civil society around the globe to ensure that justice for the Palestinians is realised.

“It is time for collective action and for us to champion the call for the implementation of UN resolutions and rulings of the world’s highest court. We owe this to the people of Palestine and the memory of Shireen Abu Akleh,” Minister Pandor said.

– Source:
The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says it is finalising preparations for the 78 092 South African citizens who applied to cast their special vote abroad.
Working with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), the IEC said it has begun shipping voting materials. These include voting booths, ballot boxes and papers, stationery packs and all the relevant lists.

The commission said voting out of the country will take place in 111 foreign missions.

South African citizens in Algiers, Amman, Cairo, Kuwait City, Jeddah, Ramallah, Riyadh and Tehran will vote on Friday, 17 May 2024.

The rest of the 102 missions will make their mark on Saturday, 18 May 2024.

The voting stations will be open from 7am to 7pm, allowing the 78 092 voters to exercise their right to vote in South Africa’s 2024 National Elections.
“In respect of the mission in the United Kingdom, the commission has determined two days of special voting. These are Saturday and Sunday, 18 and 19 May 2024 from 7am to 9pm.”

The IEC explained that the extended voting hours are intended to enable proper arrangements for the 24 535 voters registered to cast their vote at the mission.

“Similarly, extended voting hours have been prescribed for the mission in Washington DC and New York. The voting hours are 7am to 9pm.”

As per IEC, the largest international voting stations by population are London (24 535), followed by Hague (6 659), Canberra (3 674), Dubai (3 266), Dublin (3 040), Wellington (2 292), Abu Dhabi (1 825), Washington DC (1 799) and Berlin (1 476).

Voters will need to be present in person at the mission where they are registered or where they successfully applied for by VEC 10 notice.

“After the voting process, cast national compensatory ballots will be transported through a source channel back to the national office of the Electoral Commission for counting. The votes will be counted in the presence of agents presenting contestants.”

The IEC has since thanked its stakeholders, staff and employees from DIRCO for tirelessly working to ensure that registered voters make their mark in the upcoming elections.

“The commission is aware that voting is not possible in some countries for security reasons. DIRCO has confirmed that the missions in Sudan, Tel Aviv and Kyiv remain closed. Unavoidably and regrettably, voters registered at these missions will not be able to vote in the forthcoming elections if they were not able to make arrangements by the 22 April deadline to vote at another mission.”

Meanwhile, IEC said it will operate extended hours on both voting days abroad to assist voters with queries.

– Source:
With a fully sold-out floor space, Africa’s Travel Indaba has reached a ground-breaking achievement as it will see an unprecedented participation of 26 African countries exhibiting this year. This is testament to the pivotal role the trade show plays in advancing the continent’s growth.
This year's Africa's Travel Indaba will take place from 14 to 16 May 2024 and will be preceded by Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONday) on 13 May 2024. This is an important gathering of the global tourism sector and other related industry stakeholders.

The 26 countries exhibiting this year include Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe. These countries represent a total of 344 products that will be showcased, an increase of 14% compared to last year’s 301 products.

Burkina Faso, Eritrea and Guinea are the three new entrants.

Overall, a total of 55 countries are participating in this year’s event, including all newcomers.

In total, this year’s event will see more than 1 030 exhibitors showcasing their products and tourism offerings and more than 890 buyers attending the event from all over the world.

The buyers include inbound tour operators, foreign travel agents, destination marketing companies, online booking agents and airlines.

As usual, the Department of Tourism will be funding the participation of 120 South African small to medium enterprises to exhibit their tourism offerings at this year’s Africa Travel indaba and gain exposure to wide-ranging network of tourism trade industry players from all over Africa and the world.

“Africa’s Travel Indaba’s ongoing mission and commitment to driving the continent’s economic development and fostering collaboration and growth are clear. I am particularly pleased to welcome the new countries that are joining us in exhibiting at the trade show for the first time. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership,” said South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille.

The increase in the number of countries can be attributed to several key factors, including the fact that in the past few years, tourism has also emerged as a cornerstone of sustainable development strategies across the continent.

“Africa’s Travel Indaba provides a platform for African tourism product owners to meet with global buyers. With a record number of participating countries this year, buyers will have a wide variety of products and experiences to engage with. I am confident that Africa's Travel Indaba will continue to be a fertile environment for closing business deals that nurture partnership and drive growth,” adds Minister de Lille.

The number of countries opting to exhibit at Africa's Travel Indaba also reflects a collective commitment to showcasing the diverse and unique tourism offerings that each country has to offer. By coming together on a unified platform, these African nations amplify their voices and strengthen their position in the global tourism market, thereby driving demand for African tourism products and experiences.

The rest of the African continent remains a key source market for South Africa. According to the latest statistics, in the first two months of 2024, South Africa welcomed 1.3 million tourists from the rest of the African continent, marking a significant 76.0% of all arrivals.

Minister de Lille continues to be pleased with the impressive numbers from the African continent once again highlighting that South Africa welcomed 6.4 million visitors from the rest of the African continent between January and December 2023, marking a significant 75.6% of all arrivals.

– Source:
The latest official release of international arrival figures by Statistics South Africa for January to March 2024 points to a robust and growing South African tourism sector.
International tourist arrivals from January to March 2024 totalled 2.4 million, representing a remarkable 15.4% increase when compared with the same period in 2023.

Africa leads the way
  • South Africa welcomed 1.8 million tourist arrivals from the rest of the African continent between January and March 2024, marking a significant 74.5% of all arrivals.
  • Zimbabwe and Ghana stood out for their remarkable growth, with Zimbabwe experiencing a 21.8% increase in tourist arrivals to South Africa when compared to the first three months of 2023, totalling 613 675 arrivals, while Ghana recorded a 249,4% increase when compared to the same period in 2023, reaching 7 904 arrivals for January to March 2024.
Minister de Lille expressed further appreciation for the continued remarkable growth in arrival numbers from the African continent, especially Ghana.
She added that “Ghana’s immense performance can be attributed to the fact that South Africa and Ghana announced a visa-waiver scheme on 1 November 2023. The visa waiver allows for travel for periods of up to 90 days within a calendar year, for purposes of business or tourism. This, coupled with targeted, integrated marketing initiatives executed by South African Tourism to attract visitors from this market, makes for a winning formula for the growth of our sector.”

Travellers from other parts of the world also continued to show their appreciation and love for South Africa.

Strong Momentum from the Americas (North and South America)
  • Tourist arrivals from the Americas registered at 118 194 from January to March 2024, reflecting a 12.4% growth compared to the same period in 2023.
Strength in European markets
  • From January to March 2024, South Africa saw 420 727 tourist arrivals from Europe, an 8.6% increase compared to the same period in 2023.
  • The United Kingdom remains the top European source market, with 125 420 tourists choosing South Africa, marking a 5.3% growth compared to 2023.
  • Germany experienced a 9.9% increase in arrivals compared to the same period in 2023, amounting to 98 954 tourists.
  • This was followed by the Netherlands, which saw an increase of 9.9% when compared to 2023, amounting to 37 548 tourist arrivals between January and March 2024.
  • Russia exhibited a dramatic growth of 9.6% when compared to 2023, contributing 9 329 arrivals in 2024.
Noteworthy growth from the Asia markets
  • Asian markets also showed significant growth with a total 49 741 arrivals from the region, representing an astounding 25.4% when compared to the same period in 2023.
  • We welcomed 16 209 tourists from India, a 0.9% lower compared to 2023.
  • Notably, South Africa received 11 017 visitors from China, registering a massive 82% increase in the first three months of 2024 when compared to the same period in 2023.
Middle East arrivals
  • South Africa received 2 387 arrivals from Saudi Arabia in 2024, marking an increase of 31.7% when compared to 2023.
  • The United Arab Emirates saw 321 arrivals to South Africa between January and March 2024.
“The tourism sector is a significant contributor to the economy and job creation. We are determined to continue with this momentum. South Africa remains attractive and accessible for all travellers to enjoy,” concluded Minister de Lille.

– Source:
The National Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Minister Zizi Kodwa in collaboration with the Free State Provincial Government launched the Africa month celebration on Tuesday,7 May 2024.
The launch took place at the Waaihoek Methodist Church, Bloemfontein, in the Free State Province.

The 10th edition of Africa Month is celebrated under the theme Celebrating 30 Years of Freedom: Building a Better Africa and a Better World.

May marks Africa Month – a moment for the continent to pause, reflect and celebrate our unique African identity and cultural expression. This launch served as a precursor for the Africa Day event celebrated annually to commemorate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity founded on 25 May 1963.

The 2024 Africa Month launch programme featured various activities, which among others included, indigenous food exhibitions, a colourful street parade showcasing the continent’s unique cultural diversity through dance, large 3D costumes, acrobats and an eclectic mix of African melodies. Government will, as part of the launch, unpack and outline a detailed month-long programme of activities to be rolled-out nationwide during the month of May.

Now in its 10th edition, this year’s Africa month celebration also coincided with South Africa celebrating the three-decades milestone of the country’s constitutional democracy.

– Source:
On 6 May 2024, the National School of Government of South Africa (the NSG) announced a partnership with the German Institute for Sustainability and Development (IDOS). This partnership marked a significant milestone in advancing public sector development and performance in South Africa.
The NSG has a responsibility to build capacity through education, training and development initiatives for the public sector to effectively pursue sustainable socio-economic transformation in South Africa and also contribute to a “Better Africa and Better World” through partnerships.

IDOS advocates for a global public welfare policy focussed on sustainable development through interdisciplinary research, impactful policy advice and internationally focussed training to address poverty, inequality, global risks, environmental threats and ensuring political participation through forward-looking concepts for strategic cooperation and policy-making activities.

The collaboration between the NSG and IDOS aims to strengthen the capacity of Schools of Government or Schools of Public Administration to drive the sustainability agenda to ensure that “no one is left behind”. This is done through a number of initiatives, including the annual participation in the Managing Global Governance Academy (MGG) and conferences organised by IDOS. These initiatives convene public sector and civil society professionals from Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa to shape future global leaders. A total of 52 South African young professionals from governmental institutions, think tanks, research institutions, civil society and the private sector have participated in the MGG Academy.

Furthermore, IDOS is kickstarting a three-day conference as of 6 May 2024 with the NSG in Cape Town to discuss how to harness the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build public sector capacity for digitalisation. The conference will start with a Masterclass by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Artificial Intelligence as a Tool for Accelerating the Achievement of the SDGs. The conference will conclude with the development of a capacity-building action plan for the Schools of Government/Schools of Public Administration to fast-track skilling for digital capabilities to achieve the SDGs. With only five years left to 2030, progress towards the achievement of the SDGs remains bleak and capacity for the implementation of the goals needs to be accelerated now more than ever. This calls for increased capacity in innovation and AI.

This partnership is the commitment of both parties to promote South-South and North-South Cooperation for an inclusive and better world. “This partnership signals the NSG ongoing commitment to use the power of collaboration to bolster efforts of public institutions as uniquely placed institutions to drive transformation and sustainable development in an increasingly complex world” said the NSG’s Deputy Director-General, Dr Botshabelo Maja.

– Source:
Bilateral relationships between Thailand and South Africa have yielded good outcomes, especially in the agricultural sector, according to South Africa's Ambassador to Thailand, Darkey Africa.
Ambassador (Amb) Africa gave the Bangkok Post an exclusive interview to mark the 30th anniversary of freedom and democracy in South Africa and three decades of the South Africa-Thailand bilateral relationship.

"Thailand and South Africa's relationships over the past 30 years have been positive," Amb Africa said.

The Ambassador said that the long-standing relationship resulted from Nelson Mandela's visits to Thailand in 1997 and 2004, which were driven by Mandela's vision to expand connections with many countries, especially in Asia.

The positivity is evident through cooperation between the two countries at the global level and attempts to boost bilateral trade, he said.

Amb Africa said many agreements have been signed over the years, with the areas of tourism, sport, culture and agriculture being the key focus.

The Ambassador highlighted the agricultural sector, which has seen South African fruits being imported to Thailand while Thai fruits, such as mangosteen and durian, are exported to South Africa.

He said he'd also love to introduce beef and wine from South Africa — regarded as some of the world's best — to Thailand. However, the exchange of agricultural know-how is more important to Amb Africa.

Thailand has an excellent agricultural background and the exchange of expertise could be beneficial to South African farmers, he said.

Gaps in tourism

Cooperation in tourism, however, can be improved, Amb Africa said.

Only 2 000 people travelled between South Africa and Thailand in 2022, he said. The number should be increased, adding that there have been meetings between South African officials and tour operators in Thailand to discuss ways to make this possible.

One of the barriers is a lack of direct flights between the two countries.

"We hope Thai Airways and South Africa Airways, which are national carriers, will consider the prospect of connectivity between the two countries," he said.

He added that state authorities should help make such an idea economically viable for the airlines.

The implementation and monitoring of agreements have challenged the bilateral relationship, he said.

Amb Africa said many collaborative schemes and frameworks signed between the two countries have not yielded results. He suggested there should be a monitoring mechanism to ensure those agreements are implemented and their results monitored.

"It is only through results that the benefits of the relations between two countries are fair to the people," he said.

Amb Africa said trade figures from 2023 showed that South Africa's export value to Thailand was R7.31 billion (14.45 billion baht), while it imported goods and services worth R59.97 billion (118.5 billion baht) from Thailand.

"The figures showed an imbalance of bilateral trade in favour of Thailand. We bought more from Thailand while Thailand bought less from us," he said.

Peace to the world

Amb Africa said that since the end of apartheid, marked as 27 April 1994, South Africa has removed the discrimination created by the apartheid system to consolidate a nation with diversity.

Now, South Africa can proudly stand tall in the global community and defend democracy and human rights across the globe, he said.

"Before 1994, [most] people could not have a chance to vote or represent the country as an ambassador," he said.

"Today, South Africa has one of the best constitutions in the world, which guarantees human rights to everybody regardless of differences. We are now able to talk about non-racial South Africa with positive prospects of prosperity and development," he said.

Amb Africa said the country is working on improving its economic transformation and de-racialisation while empowering women and children.

"It is to ensure the suppression will never happen again and people can enjoy freedom," he said.

"We cannot teach other countries. We can only learn from each other through exchanging viewpoints. Given the fact that Thailand and South Africa have a bilateral relationship, it indicates that we have lots in common and can share and learn from each other," he said.

Amb Africa commented on the new Nelson Mandela Centre at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, launched on 21 March 2024.

"The centre is a platform to share experiences on how to resolve conflict, address and prevent atrocities, and promote peace, not only between two countries, but in the world," he said. "It demonstrates the two countries' determination to work on critical areas to enhance global peace."

– Source:
On Tuesday, 7 May 2024, the United States (US) retail giant launched in South Africa as, offering shoppers access to 20 product categories, including consumer electronics, sporting equipment, toys and home appliances.
The retailer is competing head-on with Takealot, South Africa’s largest online retailer. However, Takealot has a significant advantage in that it has been operating in South Africa since June 2011. It will also compete with and other online retailers, like Makro. is promising shoppers a reliable online shopping experience featuring great value, including same-day delivery, more than 3 000 pick-up points, easy returns, 24/7 customer support and free delivery on first orders either via its app or in a browser.

More than 60% of what Amazon sells across the world comes from independent sellers, the bulk of which are small- and medium-sized businesses. will also offer its platform to independent sellers, allowing them to rapidly launch, grow and scale. At the same time, Amazon will enable these businesses through educational content.

Minister of Small Business Development of South Africa, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said: “The heartbeat of our small business enterprises measures the health of our country’s economy. If they are pumping, the nation is growing. We welcome companies that provide opportunities for local sellers and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

“We are counting on Amazon to provide such opportunities to our small enterprises and look forward to working together to unlock these opportunities. This will create jobs and contribute to government’s objective of repairing the legacy of poverty and inequality. This is the heartbeat we want to hear.”.

Amazon has also partnered with goGOGOgo, a South African non-profit organisation, offering customers the opportunity to package eligible products in handmade gift bags. Based in Johannesburg and with projects across South Africa, goGOGOgo is dedicated to building the capacity, skills and knowledge of gogos. (grandmothers).

Made from recycled plastic and hand-sewn, the gift bags support local businesses and provide income-generating opportunities for gogos raising children. With more than four million children in South Africa being brought up by gogos, the project helps contribute to improved life outcomes for the families.

The founder of goGOGOgo, Jane Simmonds, said: “We are grateful for this wonderful opportunity to partner with Amazon to expand our reach and make a meaningful impact in promoting positive life opportunities and health outcomes for gogos and the children they are raising, often in difficult conditions.

“Through this partnership, Amazon recognises the importance of our cause to support these extraordinary women in the vital role they play within their families and their communities around South Africa.”

Other local products that will be available include local brand NomakadeTM, which offers organic haircare products.

“Building a strong relationship with South African brands and businesses – small or large – is incredibly important to us. We want to be the place where they can reach millions of customers,” said Robert Koen, the Managing Director of sub-Saharan Africa, Amazon.

“Today is only the start of We will continue to improve and enhance our shopping experience to serve customers and sellers across South Africa.”

– Source:
A unique and significant fossil bed, believed to be unprecedented in South Africa and potentially the entire world, has been unearthed during the South African National Roads Agency Limited's (SANRAL) upgrade of the R336 Kirkwood-Addo Road in the Eastern Cape. The discovery features a perfectly preserved section of a 145-million-year-old forest.
The fossilised trees are remarkably found in their original living positions, accompanied by leaf litter and soil with signs of ancient worm burrows. Researchers have already identified at least two potential new plant species awaiting further classification.

"Some of the leaves were so well preserved that the spore cases (sporangia) on the underside of the ferns could be seen," explained palaeontological consultant, Dr Dewald Wilken, who stumbled upon the site on 13 April 2023. "But the perfect leaf preservation is only part of this find."

Further intrigue lies in the contrasting preservation techniques found at the site. The trees have undergone silicification, while the leaf litter shows both imprints and carbonisation – a combination that baffles scientists due to the vastly different processes involved.

To Dr Wilken's knowledge, this mix has never been observed anywhere else in the world.

The site also holds multiple fossil layers, chronicling cycles of lush vegetation, catastrophic floods and regrowth. This treasure trove of prehistoric life is now under investigation by paleo-botanist, Dr Rose Prevec at the Albany Museum in Makhanda.

The R336 road upgrade project area rests on the fossiliferous Kirkwood Formation, leading to the inclusion of palaeontological monitoring throughout construction. Dr Wilken stresses that the area holds immense palaeontological potential.

SANRAL, responsible for the R275 million road project, has played a crucial part in this discovery. "We are proud to be part of this big discovery, which not only contributes to education and research in South Africa but globally as well," says environmental coordinator Nenekazi Songxaba.

This find highlights a commitment to environmental awareness and the potential rewards of collaboration between infrastructure development and scientific discovery.

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A transformative rewilding project is underway at the Loskop Dam Nature Reserve, a groundbreaking initiative set against the backdrop of South Africa’s natural wonders. This ambitious endeavour aims to revive lost species and craft an ecotourism haven that celebrates the nation’s rich biodiversity.
At its core, the project seeks to elevate Loskop Dam Nature Reserve into one of South Africa’s premier wildlife sanctuaries, boasting a vast expanse that will rival the country’s renowned Big Five Game Reserves. Spearheaded by a strategic partnership between the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MPTA) and the Aspinall Foundation, this collaboration marks a significant conservation milestone. This partnership represents a pioneering venture, setting a precedent for future collaborations between provincial conservation agencies and international NGOs. By marrying expertise and resources, this alliance is poised to redefine conservation paradigms and chart a course towards sustainable stewardship.

In addition, the renaissance of Loskop Dam Nature Reserve will herald the return of species that once roamed these lands—among the anticipated reintroductions are the critically endangered black rhino and various species of majestic cats.

Dereck Milburn, South African Project Director for the Aspinall Foundation, explains why they chose the area. “We fell in love with the area, its potential for conservation, and the fact that it’s so pristine yet understocked from a wildlife perspective,” Milburn remarks. We decided to jump on the opportunity and unlock the area’s conservation and economic potential.”

Central to the project’s vision is the empowerment of local communities. By fostering high-value ecotourism ventures, the initiative promises to uplift surrounding communities and cultivate meaningful career opportunities.

Hekzin Vilikazi, Chief Executive Officer of the MTPA, lauds the partnership as a catalyst for positive change, affirming the agency’s commitment to fostering innovation and driving tangible benefits for local communities. “As the MTPA, we are progressive, we pride ourselves in being innovative and most importantly, we are here to make a tangible difference to the communities that live around our reserves and who own land within our reserves,” Vilikazi asserts.

The project will unlock at least R120 million of funding for the reserve and the surrounding areas. Although the initial focus will be on the uplifting of the Loskop Dam Nature Reserve, the plan is to expand the reserve to an area of at least 100,000 ha by incorporating community-owned and privately owned land, by far surpassing areas such as Pilanesberg, Madikwe and other well know protected areas in the region.

Damian Aspinall, chairman of the Aspinall Foundation and WeWild Africa, envisions the project as a trailblazer for similar initiatives across South Africa, advocating for the replication of successful models to bolster conservation efforts nationwide.

“This ambitious restoration and expansion initiative will set a blueprint for other partnerships in other provincial reserves in South Africa, which desperately need investment and private sector support if they are to survive,” Aspinall asserts.

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A new mural depicting Nelson Mandela has been unveiled in Bristol, United Kingdom (UK), commemorating 30 years since the end of apartheid in South Africa.
Situated in the vibrant city of Bristol, known for its rich maritime heritage, the mural symbolises freedom and unity.

The striking artwork, measuring 8 x 4 feet, was brought to life by talented artist Nick Halahan. Completed on 27 April 2024, the day also recognised as “Freedom Day” in South Africa, the unveiling coincided with celebrations organised by Sisanda Myataza, the lead curator, who orchestrated a “Freedom Day Bloc Party” to mark the occasion.

“The Freedom Day Bloc Party was about bringing people together from all walks of life and focussing on things that bring us together rather than things that pull us apart,” remarked Sisanda, emphasising the event’s inclusive spirit.

Halahan’s dedication to capturing Mandela’s spirit shines through in the mural, embodying the former president’s values of grace, forgiveness, and resilience.
“I’m so proud that people in Bristol and across the globe still recognise Mandela as the iconic role model that he was,” expressed Sisanda, reflecting on the significance of Mandela’s enduring legacy.

For the first time in Bristol, members of the South African community came together to celebrate Freedom Day, embracing their heritage through traditional cuisine and cultural festivities. The aroma of South African delicacies like chakalaka, samp and beans, and boerewors filled the air, evoking a sense of nostalgia and belonging among attendees.

“It was incredible to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Freedom Day here in Bristol,” shared one attendee, highlighting the event’s significance in honouring South Africa’s journey towards democracy.

The screening of the once-banned South African crime film, Mapantsula, added depth to the commemoration, offering a poignant reminder of the struggles endured during apartheid.

The mural at the Pickle Factory in Easton serves as a permanent reminder of Mandela’s enduring legacy and the ongoing fight for freedom and equality.

As we reflect on 30 years of “Freedom Day” in South Africa, may Mandela’s spirit continue to guide us (around the globe) towards a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

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Time” magazine has recognised Prof. Tulio de Oliveira in its inaugural 2024 “Time”100 Health list, a new annual compilation that celebrates 100 individuals who have had the most impact on global health this year.
This recognition, determined by Time’s international network of editors, thought leaders and previous honourees, marks Prof. de Oliveira’s second appearance in Time’s influential rankings, following his previous inclusion in the 2022 Time100 list of the world’s most influential people.

Prof. de Oliveira is a world-renowned scientist in the field of genomics. He is the Director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI) at Stellenbosch University (SU), Director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Deputy Director of the Genomic Surveillance Unit at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom.

In 2021, De Oliveira led a groundbreaking multidisciplinary team of researchers and scientists in the discovery of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, which swiftly emerged as the dominant global variant of the virus. In 2020, he led the team that discovered the SARS-CoV-2 Beta variant. In the last decades, De Oliveira has led multiple networks of scientists in South Africa and Africa and in 2023, he launched the Climate Amplified Diseases and Epidemics Consortium, a global consortium to characterise diseases and pathogens that are amplified by climate change.

Commenting on this remarkable achievement, Prof. Sibusiso Moyo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies at SU, said: “Prof. Tulio de Oliveira’s tireless dedication to advancing scientific knowledge and his exceptional leadership in the field of genomics and bioinformatics exemplify the spirit of innovation and collaboration that defines our institution.”

“I am deeply honoured to be recognised once again by Time magazine and to be included in the distinguished Time100 Health list of 2024. This acknowledgment underscores the importance of collaborative research efforts in addressing global health challenges.” De Oliveira expressed his gratitude and added: “Once I saw that the COVID-19 pandemic was receding, I decided to work with our team of over 100 scientists in South Africa and with the largest genomics facility in the world, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, to create a new programme of work, this time to fight the multiple diseases that are being amplified by climate change, such as dengue, chikungunya, the Zika virus, influenza and cholera.”

Throughout his career, De Oliveira has garnered numerous accolades for his contributions to public health and infectious disease research. In addition to him being listed in Nature as one of the top ten people who helped to shape science in 2021, he was also included in the MIT Technology Review list as one of the leaders of the ten breakthrough technologies in 2022. He was the recipient of the Lifetime Leadership Award from Discovery Health and has received the Order of Merit medal from the Portuguese President, the Gold Medal Award from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), the Batho Pele Award from the South African government for his contributions to society and the winner of the German Africa prize in 2022.

His commitment to excellence and innovation continues to inspire colleagues and researchers worldwide.

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Jana Schreuder from Stellenbosch University (SU) has made history by being named the first non-United States (US) Board President of the IFTSA, an international student association.
The Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA), a student-governed community of members of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), has elected Jana Schreuder from Stellenbosch University in South Africa as its next Board President. Schreuder is the first President-Elect from a non-US institution in the history of IFTSA. Schreuder will spend the next year serving as President-Elect when the next board cycle begins on 1 September 2024 and will then assume the role of Board President the following year starting on 1 September 2025.

IFTSA is a mission-driven organisation that supports student members and chapters and aims to develop the leaders in the future of the science of food.

A graduate student, Schreuder is currently a Harry Crossley research fellow investigating the use of near-infrared hyperspectral imaging for rapid pathogen detection. She is passionate about the food industry including the development of new technology that will ultimately make food production systems safer, less wasteful and more effective. In 2023, she was one of the recipients of SU’s prestigious Rector’s Award for Excellent Achievement in the Academic Excellence category.

“It’s an incredible honour to represent Stellenbosch University in this journey and I am grateful for the support from academic staff in achieving this milestone for our local food science department,” said Schreuder.

“I am excited to start my next chapter within the office of the president of IFT and I especially look forward to learning from the accomplished leaders in the food industry that currently serve on our Board of Directors. I hope to contribute an international perspective to IFT’s diverse leadership team and play a role in expanding our global membership base over the next few years.”

Schreuder will have the opportunity to attend her second IFT Food Improved by Research, Science and Technology (FIRST): Annual Event and Expo, from 14 to 17 July 2024, at McCormick Place in Chicago. IFT FIRST includes the largest global food science and innovation expo, with more than 1 000 exhibitors offering the latest in ingredients, food and food tech trends, food tastings and exposure to global innovations in food.

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Tyla’s “Water” has made history as the fastest African song to achieve Platinum status and now double Platinum status, solidifying her status as a global pop sensation.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Tyla’s Water has officially ascended to the pinnacle of success, earning the esteemed double Platinum certification in an astonishing six months.

Surpassing notable tracks such as Burna Boy’s Last Last, Wizkid’s Essence featuring Tems, Rema and Selena Gomez’s Calm Down and CKay’s Love Nwantiti, Tyla’s Water stands tall as the fastest African song to achieve Platinum status in the United States (US) and now double Platinum. This milestone celebrates Tyla’s individual triumph and also heralds a new era of African music’s influence on the world stage.

Tyla’s meteoric rise to international fame began with the release of Water in 2023, a track that captivated listeners worldwide with its irresistible beats and soulful lyrics. The song’s unprecedented success saw it soar into the top ten charts of sixteen countries, including the coveted United Kingdom and the US. Notably, Water made history as the first song by a South African soloist to grace the esteemed US Billboard Hot 100 in over fifty years, solidifying Tyla’s status as a trailblazer in her own right.

Adding to her illustrious journey, Tyla made headlines as the youngest-ever African artist to clinch a Grammy Award, triumphantly winning the inaugural Grammy for Best African Music Performance at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2024. Her accolades further include nominations for prestigious honours such as a BRIT Award, a Soul Train Music Award, a MOBO Award, and two South African Music Awards, attesting to her undeniable talent and unwavering dedication to her craft.

With each accolade and milestone, Tyla continues to break barriers and defy expectations, proving herself to be a true luminary in the music industry. With her infectious energy and unparalleled talent, Tyla has undoubtedly carved out her place in the pantheon of music legends and her journey is only just beginning.

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Growing up in the ’80s, best friends Jeffrey and Brad, try to navigate the growing pains of being teen boys in the hilarious new South African movie “Just Now Jeffery.”
Local, coming-of-age comedy Just Now Jeffrey is set to have South Africans in stitches when it was released at cinemas countrywide on Friday, 3 May 2024.

After years in the making, the movie was snapped up on completion by international film festivals in Toronto, Beverly Hills and Poland; as well as Ster-Kinekor, Nu Metro, the Labia and Bioscope theatres locally. It’s been praised for its world-class production, beautiful cinematography, art direction and catchy soundtrack.

Toronto Film Festival Director Stuart Hands says, “People always ask what is it that festivals look for in a film, and we say something we’ve never seen before. And Just Now Jeffrey is just that. We’d never seen a coming of age film set in South Africa in the 1980’s, with world-class production values”.

While the world was radically changing around him, teenager Jeffrey Greenbaum (Julian Robinson) hardly noticed. Jeffrey convinces his best pal Brad Berman (Dino Vavatzanidis), to help devise a strategy to lose their virginity before they finish high school.

But things don’t go as planned and Jeffrey and Brad soon become entangled in a crazy web of love, lust, videotape piracy, rugby violence, political protest and pornography. This unique and edgy coming-of-age story will touch your heart and your funny bone.

From writers / directors Brett Morris and Hylton Tannenbaum and featuring an all-star ensemble cast including Rob van Vuuren, Nicky Rebelo, Nik Rabinowitz, Natasha Loring, Frances Sholto-Douglas, Mila Rayne and Meghan Oberholzer and introducing newcomers Julian Robinson and Dino Vavatzanidis, the comedy is set in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1989.

Hylton Tannenbaum and Brett Morris have been best friends since they were 12 years old. After more than 25 years of working in advertising, and winning several international awards, they have finally realised their lifelong dream of making a movie.

Just Now Jeffrey has been several years in the making. It was our intention to create a unique coming-of-age comedy that represents and normalises our youths as teens growing up in 1980s South Africa. We have also always wanted to give a voice to a generation that grew up in South Africa towards the end of apartheid. We found that South Africans were generally painted with the same brush, and we wanted to show all of the complexity and nuances across the political spectrum during that time: from right to left and everything in between.” shared the directors.

Bioscope Films, one of South Africa’s most established and awarded production companies, teamed up with Moonlighting Films, a successful local film services company, to create a unique, world-class production. Filmed on location in Cape Town during 2023, Just Now Jeffrey was produced using an all-South African cast and crew.

The rich and layered soundtrack of the film is made up of a combination of original music scored by Alun Richards and a wide range of local and international 1980s hits by artists including Twisted Sister, Soft Cell, Joy, Petit Cheval, Cinema, Sweatband, Wonderboom and Sipho Hotstix Mabuse.

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The countdown until “Mufasa: The Lion King” hits screens has already begun, with fans all over the world ready and waiting to go on a journey back into the Pride Lands, this time to follow in Mufasa’s legendary paw steps.
While much of the casting headlines have focused on names like Beyoncé and Blue Ivy Carter, South Africans might be thrilled to know that local stars will also be a part of taking us through Mufasa’s epic story.

South Africans John Kani, Thuso Mbedu and Kagiso Lediga are all part of the cast, lending their voices to the film in main and supporting roles.

John Kani will bring Rafiki to life again, as he did for the 2019 Lion King Live Action, while Kagiso Lediga will play a young Rafiki. Thuso Mbedu is set to form part of the additional castings crew, as announced by Disney Studios.

Seeing and hearing that South Africans will be a part of a story so loved by Africans everywhere is a proud moment for our country, and further testament to our creative talents taking the world by storm.

What is “Mufasa: The Lion King” about

Through a series of flashbacks, audiences will get to immerse themselves in the journey of Mufasa as the king’s origins unfold from his beginnings as an orphaned cub to the legendary figure beloved around the world. The story of resilience, friendship and heart is set to be told by Rafiki, and Pumbaa against a backdrop of a musical odyssey spearheaded by songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and another local name, South African composer Lebo M.

Mufasa: The Lion King is scheduled to showcase on 20 December 2024.

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Whether you enjoy a cuppa, a koffie, kofu, or just plain ikhofi, locals can take pride that Cape Town's vibrant café culture has earned it global recognition as one of the world's top cities for coffee, according to the prestigious United States’ culinary magazine “Food & Wine”.
The Mother City secured a spot on the magazine's 2024 list of the top 10 cities for coffee. The ranking, determined by votes from over 180 food experts, celebrates the best culinary destinations worldwide.

Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, says, "Cape Town's recognition as one of the world's best cities for coffee is a testament to our local coffee community’s passion, creativity, and resilience. From the exceptional roasters to the skilled baristas, our city's coffee scene reflects the vibrant and diverse culture that makes Cape Town so special. We invite local and global coffee lovers to come and experience the rich flavours, warm hospitality and unforgettable moments that await them in the Mother City."

Three ways to experience the Mother City’s vibrant coffee scene

Cape Town's thriving coffee culture extends beyond its cafés with unique experiences and initiatives that unite communities. The I Love Coffee Group, one of South Africa's largest coffee shops run by the deaf community, has become a force for positive change since its inception in 2016.

With seven sites in the Mother City, the organisation provides employment, training and growth opportunities for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community while fostering connections between deaf and hearing people through their shared love of coffee.

Another shining example of Cape Town's coffee scene is Sikis Coffee, founded by Sikelela Dibela. His first coffee shop, Siki's Koffee Kafe in Khayelitsha, serves as an active social hub for entrepreneurs, creatives and coffee lovers in the heart of the neighbourhood. Siki's coffee is a well-balanced combination of Ethiopian, Kenyan and Burundi beans.

For those looking to immerse themselves in Cape Town's coffee culture, Cape Culinary Tours offers a Cape Town Coffee Experience. This experience takes visitors on a guided tour of coffee tastings, food pairings and insights into the city's coffee history and brewing methods.

Duminy concludes, “This recognition by Food & Wine not only celebrates our coffee scene but is also a tribute to the unwavering spirit of our city and its people. We look forward to welcoming coffee enthusiasts who want to experience the magic of Cape Town's coffee culture firsthand."

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Not one, but two teams of South African relay runners have booked their places in the upcoming Olympic Games.
During the World Athletics Relays event in the Bahamas, South Africa’s men’s national relay runners, Gardeo Isaacs, Wade van Niekerk, Zakithi Nene and Lythe Pillay swiped a silver victory during the opening round of the 4x400m on Sunday, 4 May 2024.

Not only were they second-fastest overall for the initial heats (with a time of 2:59:76), but also booked their team’s place at the upcoming Olympic Games thanks to their finals qualification.

The team, with Antonie Nortjie stepping in for Van Niekerk, finished off the World Relays with a final silver and a time of 3:00.75 after narrowly missing out on the gold secured by Botswana, who had a time of 2:59:11. It marked South Africa’s first medal from the World Relays event since 2019.
Another South African relay team, Bayanda Walaza, Benjamin Richardson, Bradley Nkoana and Akani Simbine, successfully won their heat for the 4x100m, meaning that South Africa will have two teams of relay runners represented at the Olympics.

“Congratulations to our three squads for a job well done. We have shown depth in how we substituted some athletes for today’s races and it will assist our coaches as they continue to prepare for the Olympic Games in Paris, France. The various preparation camps have clearly worked for us in this instance,” says James Moloi, Athletics South Africa President.

“The excitement is that our mixed relay squad still has a chance and has just less than two months to try and qualify for the remaining spots for Paris. Finishing third again gives us the confidence to take our fight forward to find that qualifier. We will leave it to the coaches to map the way forward and emphasise better finishing times for the Olympics.”

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South African pro-skater and champion of boards Jean-Marc Johannes from Athlone recently claimed a top spot in the world of skateboarding.
Johannes’ latest accomplishment saw him place sixth in the Global Open Qualifications round of Kardo 7, an international skateboarding competition where he shared the best spots with pros from all around the world, including Argentina, Russia and Peru. For the pros division of the competition (amateurs compete in their own section), the Top 24 skaters advance to the next round of Kardo’s season seven which includes Johannes in sixth position.

As the only South African in the Top 24, it is a moment of pride for South Africa in a sport that is still fighting for competing opportunities. This is not the first time that Johannes and his wheels have made us proud. Last year, the pro-skater celebrated not one, but two Guinness World record-smashing moments for the most skateboard 360 frontside spins in 30 seconds (seven) and most consecutive skateboard ollies (323).

South Africans everywhere will be rooting for the “kid from Athlone” in the next stage of the competition.

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The Blitzboks finished sixth at the Singapore Sevens this weekend and stayed in seventh place in the overall standings.
Despite an unbeaten run in their three pool matches, the Blitzboks unfortunately came unstuck in both their playoffs, going down by 29-24 to Australia in the quarterfinals on Saturday, 4 May 2024 – with their opponents clinching the victory with a golden try in extra time – before Sunday morning’s result against Argentina.

The Blitzboks led 10-0 at the break after first half tries by Tiaan Pretorius and Siviwe Soyizwapi, but both conversions were unsuccessful.

The Argentineans then came back with a spirited second-half display, scoring the match-winning try in the final minute to condemn the South Africans to a second consecutive sixth-place finish at the end of the league phase of the season.

The Blitzboks finished in seventh place overall, but they still have a lot to play for in the Grand Finale in Madrid later this month before they set their sights on qualifying for the Paris Olympics 2024 in Monaco next month.

As a result of their victory, Argentina finished top of the overall standings and were crowned league champions, with Ireland unable to catch Argentina on the log, despite reaching the Singapore final where they lost to New Zealand.

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Kendra du Toit, a determined young lifeguard from South Africa, has defied the odds to represent her country at the World Lifesaving Championships in Australia.
Representing South Africa on the global stage is a dream come true for Kendra, but she’s quick to admit that the road hasn’t been easy. Raised by a single mother, navigating financial constraints seemed like a daunting wave to overcome. However, Kendra refused to let circumstances extinguish her fiery ambition.

The World Lifesaving Championships, akin to the Olympics in its significance, is more than just a battleground for medals. It’s where athletes like Kendra showcase their prowess in water rescue, a sport that embodies the virtues of speed, precision, and, above all, saving lives.
“For me, it’s not just about winning,” Kendra shares, her eyes reflecting her passion. “It’s about representing my country and becoming an inspiration for others while raising awareness about water safety at the same time.”

Despite the odds stacked against her, Kendra has shattered two South African national records, all thanks to her grit and determination.

Her sights are now set on the podium in Australia, where she aims to make her country proud.

But Kendra’s dedication extends beyond the pool. On weekends, she imparts crucial water safety lessons to underprivileged communities, a noble endeavour to prevent tragedies like the recent incident in Daveyton.

“I believe in giving back,” Kendra emphasizes. “Lifesaving is not just a sport; it’s a calling. And I’m committed to making a difference, one life at a time.”

As Kendra prepares to dive into the waters of the World Lifesaving Games, she carries with her the hopes and dreams of a nation. But more importantly, she carries the spirit of resilience, the passion for her craft, and the unwavering belief that with enough determination, anything is possible.

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