In the entrance to the South African Parliament a remarkable piece of artwork winds its way along the wall, its 120-metre length reaching through the lobby to wrap around the exterior of the chamber.This is the Keiskamma Tapestry, an exquisite embroidery in the tradition of the famous Bayeux Tapestry and the work of over 100 previously unemployed women from the Eastern Cape.Along its length, the tapestry tells the turbulent history of the Cape frontier region, from the Stone Age San through the wars and tragedies of the Xhosa people to the peaceful resolution of the 1994 elections.The embroidery depicting the San Bushmen, the earliest inhabitants of the Eastern Cape, mimics the rock art the hunter-gatherers left behind (Image: Keiskamma Trust)The artwork’s presence in Parliament reflects the kinder, more vibrant and open nature of post-apartheid South Africa. Under the old regime, forbidding portraits of the 1961 Cabinet stared down from the walls of the austere lobby – including one of HF Verwoerd, the architect of grand apartheid.Interestingly, Verwoerd features on the tapestry, at the Rand Show in 1961 – the site of the first assassination attempt against him – and right next to an image of Nelson Mandela burning his pass book during the ANC’s 1959 defiance campaign.Nelson Mandela burning his pass book during the 1959 Defiance Campaign, and HF Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid, in 1961 (Image: Keiskamma Trust)From craft to artThe tapestry is a product of the Keiskamma Trust, set up in 2000 as a skills development project in the impoverished Hamburg region of the Eastern Cape. The trust helps women of the region develop their traditional embroidery skills to produce craftwork of a scale and skill that approaches art – which has a higher premium.Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, created by Saxon women in 1067 to tell the story of the Norman invasion of England, the Keiskamma Tapestry follows the same form as that artwork, with a similar narrative structure.The first panel of the Bayeux Tapestry, created in 1067 (Image: Museum of Reading)It begins with the San Bushmen, the earliest inhabitants of the Eastern Cape, with embroidered replicas of the rock art images of animals and human forms the hunter gatherers left behind.It then follows the history of the Xhosa people in the region, to the arrival of the white colonial settlers, the frontier wars and the great cattle killing of 1856.In that tragic event Nongqawuse, a 15-year-old girl prophet, instructed the people to kill 400 000 of their cattle, leading to mass starvation and the end of effective Xhosa resistance to white encroachment.The great Xhosa cattle killing of 1856 (Image: Keiskamma Trust)Cattle are a dominant motif throughout the tapestry, reflecting their importance in the history and economy of the Xhosa people.The tapestry continues through the history of the Eastern Cape and South Africa as a whole, ending with the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. In creating the epic embroidery, the trust says, the women involved came to learn about their own history, which they can then disseminate throughout their community.The people of the Eastern Cape queuing to vote in the 1994 elections (Image: Keiskamma Trust)The Keiskamma Tapestry was created with funding from the Department of Arts and Culture and over 100 private donations. The Standard Bank bought the work for R500 000, and loaned it for a long-term exhibit in Parliament.It was unveiled by Parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2006, at a ceremony attended, among others, by all of the Eastern Cape women who laboured to create it.View the full Keiskamma Tapestry on the Keiskamma Trust website.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
In a year of upheaval and discontent at least one story sparkled: “Air travel was a good news story in 2016,” asserts Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association. New routes and low fares helped prompt a record number of people to fly.“Three-point-seven billion of them flew safely to their destination,” says the IATA chief. Airlines forged some 700 new routes, linking the world ever more closely, this as average roundtrip airfares fell by US$44.And the show isn’t over yet. Juniac says,“Demand for air travel is still expanding. The challenge for governments is to work with the industry to meet that demand with new infrastructure,” Translation: we need more runways, new terminals and new airports to cover demand.By the numbers, total international passenger traffic skyrocketed 6.7 percent compared to 2015. Capacity—essentially seats and flights—rose by 6.9 percent. Load factors—the percentage seats filled by paying passengers—fell by just a whit, to 79.6 percent. Here is a breakdown of international activity by region:Buoyed by the likes of Emirates, Etihad andQatar the Middle East saw the most robust growth of all regions: 11.8 percent.As it has been for a while now, Asia-Pacific was robust. Demand there increased by 8.3 percent compared to 2015.Despite what IATA calls “some economic and political uncertainty” traffic was up by 7.4 percent among Latin American carriers, even as Latin airlines put on 4.8 percent in capacity.Not since 2012 has activity been as strong in Africa, where determined demand for seats to and from Asia and the Middle East means international traffic among that continents air carriers shot up 7.4 percent. Capacity precisely matched demand.In Europe, international traffic climbed by 4.8 percent in 2016, this while seat capacity gained 5.0 percentage points.Bringing up the rear in terms of international air traffic was North America, whose driving force was the United States. Traffic demand inched up by just 2.6 percent last year. Despite the ongoing consolidation of carriers in the region capacity rose 3.3 percent. Had it not been for strong passenger demand for seats on the transpacific the numbers here would have been even softer.That’s’ the scene as far as international air traffic is concerned. IATA says domestic air travel grew by a healthy 5.1 percent, on average. Interesting to note here that all major markets, save for Brazil, showed some growth.The International Air Transport Association represents some 265 air carriers all told. Together they account for 83 percent of global air traffic.
9 September 2010Free, face-to-face, personal advice and assistance with anything financial – from debt issues to bank accounts, wills, taxes, car purchases and burial societies – is now available, with no strings attached, from a new venture called iMali Matters.A joint venture between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Credit Ombud, FinMark Trust and African Bank, the Money Advice Association – trading as iMali Matters – aims to give South African consumers free, informed advice on money matters across the consumer spectrum.“Lack of education in financial matters and knowing where to go when things go wrong are just some of the issues that affect many South Africans,” iMali Matters states on its website.“With approximately 13-million unbanked or incorrectly banked South Africans, there is a great need to assist people in gaining knowledge to make the correct choices about their money.”Three pilot advice centres have recently opened – in Wynberg, Cape Town, in central Durban, and in Germiston.iMali Matters contacts, advice centresEach centre, according to The Star, is staffed by two expert counsellors “who will not only deal with individual cases, but [also] conduct free workshops and lectures on topics most needed in their areas”.Each centre will also be equipped to provide a phone-in service to complement the walk-in service.Imali Matters offers advice on specific needs, such as savings, signing contracts, taking insurance, inheritance, budgeting, financial products, getting the best deal, understanding account statements (including interest and charges), and understanding credit bureaus and reports.Members of the public can also visit iMali Matters for redress on issues such as defaults, legal action, over-indebtedness, emolument attachment orders, overcharging, defective products, harmful business practices and unlawful contracts.Visits will, “unless countered by the consumer, include a needs analysis of the consumer’s financial health … with specific and general guidance,” iMali Matters states on its website.The advice offered, Credit Ombud Manie van Schalkwyk told The Star, “will be unbiased, not based on any brand or institution, and will not result in a sale. We have our own brand – iMali Matters – and will not be linked to any commercial venture.”The pilot project, according to the Money Advice Association, will test the feasibility of offering money advice to low-income people in South Africa, working in urban areas to begin with. Funding for the pilot project is being provided by the Financial Education Fund and African Bank.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Africa is about to launch its first private satellite. It’s a unique achievement – not least because the engineers designing the satellite’s payload aren’t veteran astrophysicists, as you might expect. They’re teenage schoolgirls.South African schoolgirls taking part in an intensive one-week Medo Space Space Trek bootcamp in Worcester, Western Cape, in early 2016. (Image: Medo Space)Africa is about to launch its first private satellite.Scheduled for late 2016, the launch will make Medo – an acronym for the Meta Economic Development Organisation – the first private company in Africa to build a satellite and send it into orbit.It’s a unique achievement for two reasons. First, South Africa (where the company is based) has only ever sent three satellites into space. And second, the engineers designing the satellite’s onboard experiments aren’t veteran astrophysicists, as you might expect – they’re teenage schoolgirls.Medo Space has one aim: to equip school girls in Africa with the science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) skills they need to compete and thrive in our digital future. What better way for girls to learn that the sky is not the limit than to get them to build and launch space satellites that connect the continent?Why does Medo focus specifically on young women? The organisation discovered that while 80% of jobs are predicted to require a Stem-related education by 2020, less than 10% of young women are currently interested in studying science, tech, engineering and maths subjects in further education.Graphic: US Department of Education“Ten to eighty percent is a huge chasm to cross, and we knew we needed a compelling project,” Judi Sandrock and Carla de Klerk of Medo Space writes on the WEF Africa website. “Enter our satellite programme, designed to stir up young women’s interest in science by having them literally reach for the stars.”In the past three years, small-format satellites have come into their own as a means of collecting data about the planet quickly, cheaply and effectively. Medo Space aims to give young women a hand in the process, by having them design the payloads of private satellites.Watch Judi Sandrock and Carla de Klerk of Medo Space discuss their Girls in Space initiative at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda on 13 May 2016:“Our motto, ‘Building the economy one job at a time’, is normally aimed at start-ups and entrepreneurs, but we soon realised we should be starting earlier than that,” say Sandrock and De Klerk. “To have any real effect on the economy, we found, we would need to engage with people at school level.”The aim is to inspire young women with a passion and excitement for Stem subjects. Medo wants them to go back to their schools as ambassadors for science and tech, and spread their enthusiasm to other students.Nwabisa Sitole, a Medo Space graduate and future electrical engineer, says: “I feel inspired. I never imagined a girl from a township doing these big and amazing things, learning from world-renowned astronomers.”Sometimes big things can start from something as small as a confidence boost, which in the long run will enable young women to take paths that have traditionally been dominated by men. Medo’s goal is to have every young woman leave their programme with confidence, passion and a sense of power.The Medo Space Programme is put together in three phases:First, Space Prep, is a series of one-day workshops at local high schools.Second, called Space Trek, is a one-week intensive bootcamp at which up to 30 young women build and launch their own small CricketSat satellites using high-altitude weather balloons.Third, the phase where Space Trek graduates and students design and implement payloads for satellites.Watch a Medo Space Trek satellite launch in January 2016:“We have found that participants at our workshops and bootcamps often return to school with renewed energy for their subjects and new goals for the future,” say the Medo team. “Most go on to enter Stem-related fields of study after high school.”While the ultimate goal is to produce a raft of female engineers, there is much work to do first, in both Africa and South Africa – especially when it seems the statistics are squared against progress.“We need to raise the pass rate of national exams, so we can start setting up young people for success, regardless of the subjects they pursue,” say Sandrock and De Klerk.“Our aim for the year is to help as many individuals as possible, so that we can create a generation of passionate young minds that contribute to the economy – not only with skills, but with solutions. We are definitely up to the challenge. This is our private-sector solution.”Edited and compiled by Mary Alexander
Indian boxers Shiva Thapa and Kuldeep Singh advanced to the quarterfinals while Akhil Kumar and Amritpreet Singh were knocked out of their respective categories in the 17th Asian Games at Seonhak Gymnasium on Friday.Thapa was adjudged the winner against Nadir of Pakistan by technical knockout due to injury in the round of 16 bout in the bantamweight (56kg) section . The 20-year-old took just a minute and five seconds, recording a round one TKO-I win over the Pakistani fighter. He will face Filipino Mario Fernandez in the quarterfinal slated for Tuesday.In the men’s light heavyweight (81kg) category, Kuldeep defeated Thongkrathok Anavat of Thailand by a split decision, winning 2-1 to make it to the quarters. He will next take on Iran’s Ehsan Rouzbahani on Monday.Later in the day, comeback man Akhil lost his lightweight (60kg) round of 16 match, going down 1-2 in a split decision against Charly Suarez of the Philippines’ in a tight contest that could have gone either way. Akhil took the lead after winning the first round but Suarez came back strongly to clinch the next two rounds to seal the contest in his favour. The last-eight round of this category will be held Oct 29.Amritpreet Singh’s, heavy weight (91kg) category, loss by a split decision against South Korea’s Namhyeong Park was similar to Akhil’s. Amritpreet started the contest positively bagging the first round in a split decision. But then his aggressiveness dipped as Park clawed back in the fight, bagging the bout in a split decision. The quarter-finals of this event will be held on Tuesday.advertisement
Dan Cohen AUTHOR The city of Alameda hosted residents at an event last month to show off plans for a major component of Alameda Point and to celebrate the most recent property transfer from the Navy at the former Naval Air Station Alameda.The 2.5-mile walking tour focused on the city’s plan to redevelop the area surrounding Seaplane Lagoon, which calls for several large parks, a 500-acre federal wildlife habitat, housing, retail and a ferry building. Site A is slated to have 800 homes, including some reserved for low-to-middle-income residents, and 600,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, reported the East Bay Times.“This is a completely unique opportunity,” said Alameda City Planner Andrew Thomas. “There’s nothing like the Seaplane Lagoon in the Bay Area. As Alameda residents, you should be thrilled.”One of the parks will provide a stunning view of downtown San Francisco, the lagoon and a decommissioned aircraft carrier. One goal of the event was to build interest among residents and park enthusiasts for the city’s plan to turn another portion of the site, now a concrete slab, into a park.“We need people to know about ‘De-Pave Park’ so when it comes to advocating for money to build it, we have people contacting their representatives,” Thomas said.Mayor Trish Spencer is confident the city has come up with the right formula for reusing the site. “We’re all excited about the new development,” Spencer said. “It’s been almost 20 years since the base closed.”The city is directing the project itself. Its development team includes commercial builder srmErnst, retail company Madison Marquette, residential developer Thompson Dorfman Partners and nonprofit Eden Housing. The team hopes to start on the first phases of the project within the year, according to the story.