- Emilie Gambade
There appears to be a broadening global consensus that humankind has collectively underestimated the values intrinsic in forests. The theme for the 14th World Forestry Congress to be held in Durban this week – its first time on African soil – is Forests and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future. By EDITH VRIES.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of absentee fathers in the world. But one group of local (present) fathers has designed an award-winning application that will incentivise dads in the rest of the country to be more involved in their children’s lives from early on, stimulating children’s emotional and intellectual development and providing support to both fathers and mothers along the way. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Nowadays, it seems that every second South African is on a spiritual quest to actualise his/her inner victim. As a nation, we appear to run the gamut from aspirant household moaner to fully initiated hierophant of the public whinge. KEVIN BLOOM, in an effort to meet people who really have something to cry about, spends an afternoon in the paediatric oncology unit at one of our most notorious public hospitals.
In June this year, four months after Al-Shabaab militants massacred 148 people at Garissa, South African safari-operator Steve Fitzgerald welcomed the first guests to Angama Mara in Kenya. Fitzgerald maintains there’s simply no comparable super-luxury lodge in the Mara. ‘If Angama is successful, it could do the same for Kenya as the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge did for Tanzania,’ he says. It’s certainly a vote of confidence in the future of the Kenyan tourism industry. By CAROLYN RAPHAELY.
On Saturday 29 August, an exhibition entitled Karoo Disclosure opened at the Iziko South African Museum. Part art exhibition, part scientific discussion, part economic analysis, it was a unique and sobering look at the problem of fracking from various angles. MARELISE VAN DER MERWE left deeply concerned.
A small group of well-heeled rhino ‘farmers’, each sitting atop his own rhino-horn stockpile, has lobbied the South African government to push for the legalisation of the local and international sale of rhino horn. But the mere talk of legal trade seriously compromises a current, cost-effective, proven and far more durable solution to the rhino crisis; demand reduction, or making rhino-horn use socially unacceptable in Vietnam and China, as it has become in places like Taiwan. By PETER KNIGHTS and ADAM WELZ.
Inspired by a belief in making knowledge more accessible – open source education, if you will – combined with a concern for degrading physical materials, a team of researchers and technologists at the University of Cape Town have spent the past seven years working on a massive digital archive of rare physical objects. The result, the Humanitec Digital Showcase, went live earlier this month. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Artist Arlene Amaler-Raviv is exhibiting at the South African Jewish Museum. The exhibition, which is unofficially a retrospective of her work, is an exquisite journey into the soul of one of the country’s most compassionate artists. But don’t be fooled – her critical eye doesn’t miss much, either. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Animal Farm at the Market Theatre is so fabulous that even the word fabulous barely does it justice. Playwright Neil Coppen has woven in some wicked local references quite brilliantly, leaving the audience in stitches as the animals discuss the wayward activities of the pigs gorging themselves on the profits of revolution and proving even more oppressive masters than the Nats, sorry, the farmer, that they overthrew. By LESLEY STONES.
Judge Fikile Mokgohloa’s recent decision in the Durban High Court has confirmed shack dwellers’ certainty that the state’s habitual use of legal loopholes to evict land occupiers from their homes is unconstitutional. What’s more, his decision has finally shown up the courts as sharing responsibility for allowing these evictions to go on unchecked. By DANEEL KNOETZE for GROUNDUP.
South Africa has a youth unemployment crisis. Statistics suggest the problem has worsened since 2008, leaving more than 5-million people between the ages of 15 and 34 neither employed nor receiving education or training. In the first of a two-part series, SIBONISO MNCUBE puts a face and a voice to their struggle.
The Imagined Land is the tale of an elderly writer stricken with brain cancer and her daughter who has always come second to her writing. A wordy play, it follows the themes of class and guilt and plenty of intelligent verbal sparring that keeps the tension topped up as the characters explore their pasts and their futures. By LESLEY STONES.
Imagine being 22-years-old and still stuck in primary school simply because no local high school can accommodate your physical disability. This is the fate of Makhosi Ndabambi. More than 500,000 disabled South African children have no access to any schooling, despite the constitutional guarantee of their right to education, because schools are only built for the abled. By FATHIMA SIMJEE for HEALTH-E NEWS.
Even for those who believe Oscar Pistorius should have received a much longer sentence for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp, the sudden decision to review his parole two days before his advertised release date has raised some eyebrows. The justice minister’s actions may be within the strict letter of the law, but the whole scenario poses some difficult questions. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Foul-mouthed and ever funny John Vlismas is one of seven comics who present their own government line-up in the Mass Hysteria comedy show now on at Montecasino, before heading to Cape Town. The annual event aims to deliver comedy that’s as funny as the ludicrous antics of our politicians, and the Joburg line-up does it brilliantly. There’s not a weak link in the chain. By LESLEY STONES.
Throughout history, human beings have killed wild animals to defend, avenge, profit or feed themselves. They still do. But there are a few who kill for another reason: pleasure. Why the pain and death of a beautiful creature gives them gratification is puzzling – perhaps they had father issues as teenagers – but there are more important questions that need answers. DON PINNOCK tries to sort out the truth from the rhetoric.
South Africa met Chaeli Mycroft as a determined little girl with cerebral palsy, desperate to raise enough money for a motorised wheelchair. Just over a decade later, she’s gearing up for her 21st birthday, which she plans to celebrate as the first female quadriplegic to scale Kilimanjaro. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Much like solar farms use mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto solar cells, large white butterflies use their wings to direct sunlight onto their bodies before flight. Butterfly wings are both highly reflective and are far lighter than solar panels. A group of researchers from the University of Exeter got to thinking: what if we could mimic butterfly wings to create super lightweight solar concentrators? By ANDREA TEAGLE.
Last week, 14-year-old Klara Göttert jumped to her death from Northgate Mall in what is believed to have been a suicide. Just months ago, a 16-year-old boy’s body was found hanging from a tree at St Stithians College in Bryanston. South Africa’s suicide rates are among the highest in the world, and our teens are particularly at risk. MARELISE VAN DER MERWE took a look at the problem.
Some half-a-million children living with disabilities have been shut out of South Africa’s education system, Human Rights Watch says in a report released today. Although the government claims it has achieved success in the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of providing all children with access to primary schools by 2015, the reality is a far cry from that. By MARELISE VAN DER MERWE.
Despite growing nyaope addiction, only one public health treatment centre in South Africa offers Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST), which gives a medical helping hand to opioid drug addicts who are trying to kick their habit. Instead, addicts are expected to go ‘cold turkey’ and many relapse from sheer pain. By KYLA HERRMANNSEN for HEALTH-E NEWS.
The boom of black urban comedy is the healthiest thing to have happened to South Africa’s entertainment scene, driven by figures like Kedibone Mulaudzi, founder of the Soweto Comedy Festival, and the other older comics plugging away week after week, year after year. The groundwork they have laid has made comedy an actual career choice and an aspirational goal, and the result showed in the multicultural melee the Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards celebrated at the weekend. By LESLEY STONES.
A Pretoria pastor who has been ‘blessing’ his congregants by making them eat ants, rats, snakes and even grass has sparked a call for religions to be regulated by the Culture, Rights and Linguistic Communities Commission. Chairwoman Thoko Xaluva said she would propose regulation to stop people like ‘snake pastor’ Penuel Mnguni of the End of Times Disciples Ministries. The SPCA has also laid charges against the self-proclaimed prophet. But is regulating the religious sector really the way to deal with wayward pastors and can the sector actually be regulated? By RUSSELL POLLITT.
Internationally renowned broadcaster and writer Kenan Malik was in town this week to deliver the University of Cape Town’s annual TB Davie Memorial Lecture. Malik warns that free speech is under threat – but not necessarily in the ways we fear most, like government censorship or Charlie Hebdo bombings. By REBECCA DAVIS.
It's been an interesting week in the interface between politics and the media, with many questions raised about the role, and agenda, of the media. It started with a column by the editor-in-chief of The New Age and ANN7, Moegsien Williams. That sparked a response from Yours Truly, which in turn elicited a slightly annoyed missive from Lumko Mtimde. At the same time, the editor of The Citizen newspaper, Steven Motale, wrote a long piece in his newspaper, in which he said he wanted to publicly apologise to President Jacob Zuma for accepting the media message that Zuma was corrupt. The timing of all of this led to the more conspiratorial among us to mutter darkly. Whether deliberate or not, none of this should not go unchallenged. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
The nuclear energy sector future looks to be in dire straits. Most of the current new builds are in China but in 2014, China paid $9-billion for nuclear while spending $83-billion on wind and solar. French nuclear company Areva, once the standard bearer for nuclear, is now technically bankrupt. Most telling is the fact that no Generation III reactors (the ones South Africa is apparently looking to procure) have come into service in the past 20 years due to continued delays. So what is the attraction? By DIRK DE VOS.