YPO Innovation Week Launches Across Africa

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Annual Event Connects Global Leaders of the World’s Most Innovative Companies 27 April 2017 – YPO, the world’s premier network of chief executives, today announced the launch of Innovation Week across Africa. Through a series of more than 50 events around the world, the second annual YPO Innovation Week will connect 24,000 YPO members in […]

Freedom Day: Remembering SA’s magic moment

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On 27 April 1994, South Africa held its first democratic elections which gave birth to freedom and constitutional democracy. It was a special moment for millions of South Africans, who for the first time could vote for the government of their choice in the country of their birth.

The elections made it possible to embark on a journey to build a country that belongs to all who live in it. Since then, every year on 27 April, South Africans mark the day which forever resonates as a turning point in the country’s history.

This year’s celebration coincides with the centenary of struggle stalwart Oliver Reginald Tambo who epitomised South Africa’s struggle for liberation. Government says this presents an opportunity to reflect on the many sacrifices that were made for the freedom South Africans enjoy today and on how the country’s democracy was achieved.

SAnews asked a few Ministers and Deputy Ministers what freedom means to them. We further asked what progress they think the country has made in the past 23 years of freedom.

Minister of Communications Ayanda Dlolo:

For me, freedom means that it’s time for government to review where it is and also look at what it is that government is going to be doing in the next years to ensure that the lives of people are improved.

Freedom is the only thing we have as South Africans and we need to own it, preserve it and need to guard jealousy so that it’s never taken away from us

For South Africa to go forward, the country needs people who are very driven, very positive, critical in certain senses, but also very introspective.

This is what we need going forward to the future. We need a collective of people who will be able to introspect honestly about themselves, but also be able to drive programmes to better the lives of people.

South Africans live through the era of freedom and 27 April has been set aside as a special day which reminds us of what happened on 27 April 1994. The celebration of freedom itself is the life that we live. It is a celebration in itself.

Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi:

Freedom day to me means that we have started a journey to have one prosperous, non-sexist, democratic, non-racial South Africa. Freedom day was the beginning of that journey.

Attaining freedom on 27 April 1994 was the first phase of the transition. There was no way that South Africa would achieve economic freedom without first attaining political freedom.

The second phase of the transition is to look at the economy and equality. That is why government is always talking about radical economic transformation or inclusive growth. The current economy of the country does not include everybody.

Deputy Minister in the Presidency Bhuti Manamela:

We need to remember that South Africa’s liberation did not come for free, it came at a cost to human life. It also came as a result of sacrifices made by many South Africans, black, white, Indian and coloured. We therefore need to remember that our role as the current generation is not only to harness but to protect these freedoms.

We need to ensure that we interpret these freedoms to what it should mean now. It means jobs creating jobs for those who are unemployed, it means meeting the potential of those who want to be entrepreneurs. Freedom also means living in peace and harmony understanding our diversity and also that we should respect each other as South Africans. Freedom also means we should be intolerable as young people over acts we believe are intended to undermine this democracy.

I believe beyond the general theme that government has agreed to in terms of this freedom day, we need to mobilise young people to get involved and take action to change lives, that’s the only way we can honour those who lost their lives and their time in prison.

Deputy Minister of Human Settlements Zoe Kota � Fredericks:

As we celebrate this day and Freedom Day, let’s all remember and pay tribute to the country’s unique and remarkably detailed and inclusive constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Our Constitution is recognised globally as one of the most developed in the world and guarantees all the country’s citizens freedom from all inequalities of the past.

Deputy Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga:

The 27th of April in South Africa reminds us of the journey that we have travelled from before 1994 to the 27April 1994 which was preceded by a blood bath. People like Chris Hani and many others who were killed on the eve of our freedom. But today we are happy that we stand here ready to celebrate yet another Freedom Day. We take these things for granted sometimes we forget as to how our freedom came. We take it as something that was delivered on a silver platter, people died [for our freedom].

We are happy that today we celebrating yet another Freedom Day. I’m looking forward to tomorrow with excitement, happy to be alive and I want to believe that many more South Africans are looking forward to it also. We are free to be South Africans and we have a right to say that we are not foreigners in our own country, we decide on the government of our choice.

We also decide on what we want to do including the careers we want to follow. I grew up at a time where I could not choose the career I wanted, you could be a nurse, a teacher or a Clarke. Today I’m living in a country where I have young people who are journalists, pilots or sea farers and anything else they want to be. That is the South Africa we are celebrating today.

This year’s national Freedom Day celebration will take place at the uMhlabuyalingana Local Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal under the theme: The year of OR Tambo: Together deepening democracy and building safer and crime-free communities. President Jacob Zuma will lead the commemoration.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Sun farming technology spells good news for food security

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Pretoria � Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana has commended a farming project, which harnesses the power of the sun to grow vegetables.

The Minister visited the SUNfarming project, situated at the North West University in Potchefstroom, on Tuesday.

The solar powered vegetable growing project was born from a partnership between SUNfarming and the University of Potchefstroom in 2013, establishing the first Solar Training Centre in South Africa. The centre has trained over 450 people since 2013, providing skills on solar photovoltaic (PV) technology.

The project began production in June 2016, producing tomatoes, spinach, cauliflower and other herbs. No soil is required to grow vegetables in the project’s tunnels and water productivity is increased through drip irrigation.

The project has three tunnels, with six young women trained per tunnel. Solar tunnel production has much higher yields compared to conventional farming.

The project provides an opportunity to grow affordable and nutritious food in local municipalities. This is an opportunity to effectively address household food and nutrition insecurity.

This is innovative technology for agriculture and we want to see this replicated in other parts of the country, as it effectively deals with the issue of climate change and the scarcity of water and land, said Minister Zokwana.

Buni Maretlwa, one of the workers at SUNfarming, said she was excited to have been in the first group of people who were trained in this project.

“We are no longer planting our vegetables using the soil, but coco fibre. Our system of farming saves water. Our vegetable pots are irrigated on time and we produce fresh vegetables, said Maretlwa.

Professor Fika Janse van Rensburg, the University of the North West Potchefstroom Campus Rector, said the North West province is blessed with a lot of sunshine, and all that was needed was creative, innovative minds to come up with great initiatives to make use of the sunlight in order to increase agricultural production.

Sun farming is good for our future… In Potchefstroom, we have more agriculture land that must be utilised.

Tlokwe Mayor Kgotso Khumalo was pleased with the potential sun farming presents.

I am excited about the project and the potential it has for our municipality. I want to pledge our full support to this project. �

Source: South African Government News Agency

Barred Food Trucks for Burundi Return to Rwandan Capital

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BUJUMBURA � Ten trucks carrying much-needed food for Burundi are back in Rwanda’s capital after authorities denied entry at the border, citing security concerns.

The World Food Program in Burundi says the trucks, carrying 300 tons of beans to feed Congolese refugees and other WFP recipients, were stopped at the border last Friday and returned Tuesday to the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye defended the decision to deny entry, saying Rwanda has been the source of crime and “insecurity” for Burundi since 2015.

“If today, there are objects or people coming from the same area, we must take every necessary measure to protect the population,” he told VOA’s Central Africa Service.

Burundi has been in turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for and won a controversial third term in 2015. Low crop yields and high food prices have made hundreds of thousands dependent on international food aid.

The head of WFP in Burundi, Nicole Jacquet, says the hardship prompted the agency to buy food in Rwanda, where more goods could be purchased at lower cost.

She told VOA that if Burundian officials will not let food enter the country through Rwanda, the trucks will have to drive south and enter through Tanzania. She said the detour will cost the agency $35,000.

“This is a huge amount of money,” she said. “Our objective is to spend less money and provide more goods to the beneficiaries.”

Jacquet said WFP is seeking clarification from Burundian officials on whether the route through Rwanda is permanently closed.

“If we have to buy less food, with higher costs, we penalize beneficiaries who are the most vulnerable people in Burundi at this moment,” she said.

Source: Voice of America