South Africa’s growing political maturity

first_imgJustice MalalaOne of the great myths of the new South Africa is the belief that, with time, we will go the route of “all Africa”.This route, the myth goes, is the descent into dictatorship, the free-fall into hunger and poverty and the collapse of institutions such as an independent and vigorous judiciary, free press and civil society.“Surely even you have to admit,” I am often confronted by people, “that what is happening to us is pretty much what happened in Nigeria, Kenya, and so forth.”The volume about the impending implosion of South Africa has increased phenomenally since December 2007 when Jacob Zuma defeated Thabo Mbeki in Polokwane for the presidency of the African National Congress (ANC). With the arrival of Zuma and the new corps of ANC leaders, the myth has now taken on a bit of an all-encompassing truth. It is the easy answer to a far more complex question about where South Africa is headed.But let us look at these myths and test their veracity.In January, for example, Kenya became the great example of where South Africa might be headed. Kenya had held national elections in December and these had been blatantly stolen by the incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki.The people of Kenya, rightly, felt violated. They took to the streets in protest and the State – in typical dictatorial fashion – lashed back with violence. By the end of January some 1500 people had died, thousands injured and hundreds of thousands had been misplaced.Could South Africa go the same way as Kenya? The truth is that the people of Kenya have never known true democracy until last Christmas. Jomo Kenyatta, the first post-colonial president, was in power from 1963 to 1978. Such a long period in leadership breeds a certain culture: that people are to leadership born and the populace has no choices.Kenyatta’s successor, Daniel Arap Moi, stayed in power for 24 years! By the end of his tenure (he was pushed out screaming and shouting) the people of Kenya surely must have lost all sense of democratic instinct.Let’s look at another country. Zimbabwe to the north of us gained its independence in 1980. It has had only one president, Robert Mugabe, since then. It is my humble opinion that any country that is ruled with an iron fist by one individual for 28 years is likely to find itself facing the challenges Zimbabwe now faces.So then let us contrast this history with South Africa since 1994. Nelson Mandela came to power in April 1994 and stayed for a single five-year term. This is something unheard of on the continent: most liberators stayed on for longer and many had to be deposed. Surely Mandela’s decision is an example for the whole world?After Mandela, in 1999, came Thabo Mbeki. At the end of September 2008, with about nine months of his second term left, the African National Congress recalled Mbeki and replaced him with its deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.Now think about. In just less than fifteen years South Africa is into its third president! The recall of Mbeki was done without fuss, rancour or bloodshed. It was as smooth as when former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was recalled by his Labour Party and the reins handed over to the country’s current PM Gordon Brown.“The process shows the maturity of our democratic developmental state. We are an example to the rest of the continent and particularly the subcontinent, that a peaceful transition of power is possible.“People must not panic. There will be no chaos, political maturity will prevail,” said Khotso Khumalo, the ANC’s parliamentary spokesman, when Mbeki was recalled.The Financial Times, a newspaper regarded as the Bible of capitalism the world over, said after Mbeki’s recall that the ANC “should be commended for showing signs of democratic health – a rare sentiment in a former African liberation movement”.It is worth noting that the ANC is putting Zuma forward as its presidential candidate for the 2009 general elections. If the party wins these elections, then South Africa will be into its fourth president in just fifteen years. If another party – say the opposition Democratic Alliance – wins those elections instead, the same will be true.So, compared to many states all over the world, our turnover of heads of state is actually very healthy indeed. And we know what a change in head of state means: new energy in government, new Cabinet ministers keen to prove their abilities and the entrenchment of a philosophy that no person is born to perpetual leadership.It is very easy to fall back on stereotypes of where an African country such as ours is going. But the truth is far more complex and challenging to all our stereotypes. Sure, we have our challenges.But a stereotypical African basket case we are not. Indeed, democracy is entrenching itself in our beloved country. And that is good for all of us.Justice Malala is an award-winning former newspaper editor, and is now general manager of Avusa’s stable of 56 magazines. He writes weekly columns for The Times newspaper and Financial Mail magazine, as well as a monthly media and politics column for Empire magazine. He is the resident political analyst for independent television channel e.tv and has consulted extensively for financial institutions on South African political risk. Malala was also an executive producer on Hard Copy I and II, a ground-breaking television series on SABC 3. Hard Copy I won the Golden Horn Award for best television series. Malala’s work has been published internationally in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Independent, Forbes, Institutional Investor, The Age and The Observer.last_img read more

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South African producer gets Olympics for Korea

first_imgRay Maota South Koreans celebrate after the cityof Pyeongchang was chosen as the2018 Winter Olympic Games host city inan overwhelming first round victory,scooping 63 out of 95 votes.(Image: Rianovosti) Caroline Rowland, executive directorand founder of New Moon, said shehoped South Africa would consult hercompany if it decided to bid for the2022 Commonwealth Games.(Image: BBC)MEDIA CONTACTS• New Moon+44 20 7479 7010RELATED ARTICLES• Olympic community gathers in SA• Green Goal gets top IOC award• Cannes triumph for SA films• SA short films in international festivalCaroline Rowland, a Rhodes University journalism graduate, has helped the South Korean city of Pyeongchang win the bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, with her evocative visuals of the alpine resort.The Welkom, Free State-born producer showcased the city’s hosting ability in the films New Horizons; Best of Both Worlds and Heroes, which eventually saw it overcome competition from France’s Annecy and Munich in Germany.UK resident Rowland was present to witness the announcement during the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) 123rd session, held in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, of Pyeongchang as the host for the 2018 Winter Olympics.She said: “I think Pyeongchang had the most amazing story, which they told very well. The presentation team were sensational.”Rowland expressed her delight that her films were so well received, and said that she felt privileged to be part of such an emphatic winning bid.Pyeongchang was chosen as the host city in an overwhelming first round victory, scooping 63 out of 95 votes. Annecy got seven votes while Munich received 25 votes.Winning the bid meant South Korea became the fifth country after France, Italy, Germany and Japan to host the Winter Olympics, Fifa World Cup, World Athletics Championships and a Formula One car race. The 2018 event will be the country’s first Winter Olympics.South Korean president Lee Myung-bak said: “Pyeongchang’s victory is a victory for the Korean people, and I thank them.”Helping cities win bidsThrough her production company New Moon, Rowland was instrumental in London’s successful bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.New Moon has also produced films for Sochi, a Russian city on the shores of the Black Sea, which won its bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The company also helped Qatar with its 2022 Fifa World Cup campaign.“London’s message was that it’s a city that can inspire young people around the world to take up Olympic sport,” said Rowland.New Moon shot a short film, Inspiration, in South Africa, showcasing children from four continents drawing inspiration from the Olympic Games to become athletes for London’s 2012 Olympic bid. The other Rowland production was Sport at Heart.The executive director and founder of New Moon said she hoped South Africa would consult her company if it decided to bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.New Moon leading the wayThe former competitive swimmer, horsewoman and skier is based in London and is modest about her achievements.“I’m really not sure I personally have any influence over the media at all,” she said in a newspaper interview.“However, New Moon is leading the way in redefining how production companies work to create content that is appropriate for delivery across the platforms now available.”Rowland says the proudest moment of her working life was standing in London’s Trafalgar Square when the 2012 Olympic host was announced.She said: “It was incredible to have seen Steven Spielberg’s and Luc Besson’s films for New York and Paris in those presentations and having this creeping feeling that our film had a greater impact.”What a week for DurbanDurban was a hive of activity during the first 10 days of July.The annual Durban July, one of South Africa’s most popular horse races, took place at Greyville Racecourse on 2 July, and the IOC held its annual meeting from 4 to 9 July at the city’s International Convention Centre.The wedding reception for Prince Albert II of Monaco and his South African bride, former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock, took place on 7 July at the lavish Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga, just north of Durban on the KwaZulu-Natal coast.The 400 guests included European and African royalty, politicians, and sport and showbiz personalities.last_img read more

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Awards honour four young SA creatives

first_img27 November 2014Four young South African artists were announced as winners of the 2014 Arts & Culture Trust awards at a ceremony in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.The ACT awards, now in their 20th year, recognise young professional creatives with promising futures ahead of them. The artists must be within five years of their professional careers. Finalists are nominated by the public, and adjudicated by a panel of judges.This year’s winners are Jade Bowers for theatre, Thabo Makhethe-Kwinana for design, Bevan de Wet for visual art, and Nomfundo Xaluva for music.Inspired“We never cease to be inspired by the ImpACT Award winners each year,” said Pieter Jacobs, the chief executive of the trust. “They follow in the footsteps of remarkable artists who have continued to soar to greater heights, not only locally but internationally as well.”The judging panel was headed by Caroline Smart, ACT Ambassador and creative professional. Other judges were visual artist David Koloane, arts education and heritage activist Nadia Virasamy, 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre Prince Lamla, culture and craft mentor Eugenie Drakes, and jazz music legend Herbie Tsoaeli.“The judges look for impressive progress and excellence in both the individual and the impact that they have made in their communities,” Smart said. “ACT is committed to supporting their development path and ultimate success.”Previous winners of the award include Gloria Bosman, Arlin Bantam, Kamogelo Nche and Tankiso Mamabolo, all of whom performed at the ceremony on Wednesday.Lifetime achievementACT also honours those who have had a lifelong commitment to the arts. This year, a special award was given to Mandie van der Spuy for arts advocacy. Other lifetime achievement awards made this year include Sam Nzima for visual art, Richard Cock for music, Andre P Brink for literature and Richard Loring for theatre.The Arts & Culture Trust is a funding agency which aims to increase the amount of money available for arts and culture initiatives, and to apply these funds to innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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BBC Resurrects Early Sound-Effects Machines On The Web

first_img5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… No Flash RequiredFor each retro sound-making device, the site has historical information, a live simulator demo and the source code used to create it. The kicker? It was all built without a touch of Flash or anything other than open, cross-device-friendly Web standards. The team at the BBC utilized the Web Audio API, which uses JavaScript to process and synthesize audio in the browser. It’s the kind of thing developers once had no choice but to rely on Flash for, but is now easily achievable using lighter weight, more open technology.  As for the interfaces, those were done using frameworks like backbone.js and jQuery, alongside custom-built elements developed in house at the BBC. Each demo has a detailed technical breakdown showing how it was built. This is awesome. Not just because it gives us fun little browser-based synthesizers to play with, but because of what demos like this mean for the Web. For the last two or three years, developers have been moving away from clunky, proprietary technologies like Flash and Silverlight and, whenever possible, using HTML, CSS and JavaScript to build complex interfaces and embed multimedia. The result is a smoother experience that works across devices and browsers without the need for extra plugins. And yes, simulating old-fashioned gun shots using a graphical UI in the browser while you should be working? That’s cool too.  john paul titlow 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… Related Posts We take our ability to create sounds for granted. Today’s software and synthesizers allow any teenager to take a sample of any sound, manipulate it any fashion imaginable, forming entirely new sounds. If they so desire, they can create their own album of electronic soundscapes. Today, anybody with even minimal training can be a sound producer, DJ or radio host. We’ve come a long way. Back in 1958, though, sound was not so easy to create and play with. But the then relatively young medium of radio demanded sound effects like gunshots and new music for a growing line-up of audio programs. To meet the needs of show producers, the BBC launched the Radiophonic Workshop, a sound effects lab where musicians and sound engineers created fake gun shots by slapping rulers on a table, used analog tape loops and built pre-synthesizer sound effects machines. Interactive, Web-based simulations of those early machines are now available, thanks to the BBC’s Research & Development Department, which recently launched a fascinating prototype showcasing four digital noisemakers. The fun site features a gun-shot sound effect generator, a pre-synthesizer “wobbulator,” a trio of tape loop machines and an early ring modulator, which was used to generate the robot voice on the original Dr. Who. 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Tags:#audio#BBC#sound#web standards last_img read more

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How the lack of interoperability standards could be killing IoT

first_imgSmall Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Dr. Shipeng Li Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Related Posts We are experiencing unprecedented levels of innovation in the Internet of Things (IoT), with research firm Gartner estimates that 5.5 million new things will get connected every day this year.Despite its promise, a big obstacle still stands – interoperability – the key to the viability and long-term growth of the entire ecosystem, especially consumer IoT. It is the biggest hurdle facing the industry and hindering its acceleration. McKinsey & Co. estimates that “interoperability is required for 40 percent of the potential value that IoT can provide.”See also: Wi-Fi standards needed to fuel IoT growthIoT, as it stands today, is still in its simplest stage. Basically, we have a myriad of devices that are connected to the Internet that we can control remotely and we receive notifications from. As it moves to the next level, now is the time to act. Interoperability has many layers. We’ve already solved key issues on the physical connectivity level such as wireless standards, in making sure that devices can communicate with each other within a system.However, the areas we now need to focus on are in data, human machine interfaces (HMIs), knowledge and service interoperability.Brands don’t always work well togetherCurrently, devices from different brands or even from one single brand, models and generations are incompatible at the data layer. Today you can’t transfer your data from an older version of an IoT device or different device from another manufacturer, for example, if you are using an Apple Watch and transferring to a Microsoft Band.As a result, you lose data continuity. And at the HMI level, what controls capabilities are necessary on all devices for services to flourish? For instance, specific recognition capabilities such as voice or gesture for consistency in IoT applications.On the service level, can devices talk to each other and share information to offer higher level offerings? Think of the smart home where you might have connected things – lighting, home security, refrigerator, washing machine, entertainment system, and more – from different manufacturers and systems, working together to bring greater energy efficiency, comfort, or convenience.In addition, at the knowledge level what information like user preferences can be shared between ecosystems so that consumers aren’t always having to rebuild their profiles? And finally, at the end of the day, who owns the data?These are the questions that need to be answered, and the responsibility lies with all stakeholders – companies, associations, governments and the public.Some countries are taking charge. For instance, a new industry alliance is forming to set up standards and protocols in areas of data, HMI, knowledge and service interoperability in China. But there needs to be a global response because these issues on interoperability are the same in every market. Standards, industry and consumer organizations can all play a role in defining these protocols.Consumers need to be more awareThere needs to be a higher level of awareness for consumers about their stake in IoT and much needed participation in these conversations, especially regarding their data and privacy. Governments must set directives and guidance regarding these issues. Companies from startups to global corporations also must align efforts with each other regarding policies around sharing information and technologies.My hope for IoT is for an open platform compatible with different systems and devices, easily supporting the interchanges of services, knowledge, data and communications, and where there is end-to-end protection for user data and IoT devices. Most importantly, in my opinion, allow end-users to decide who can store and use their data.Allow me to use electricity as an analogy: no one has to worry about standards for voltage and frequency. Plug in your device or appliance and you get power. Imagine if that was the case with IoT and how many devices and services will flourish. But first, we have to set the standards.center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck Tags:#China#Internet of Things#IoT#standards last_img read more

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Tendulkar delights crowd in short span, Finch wins it for MCC

first_imgMCC’s captain Sachin Tendulkar prepares to catch a ball during a cricket match against a Rest of the World team to celebrate 200 years of Lord’s at Lord’s cricket ground in London, July 5, 2014. Photo by Philip Brown (Reuters)Sachin Tendulkar made everyone at Lord’s nostalgic with some delectable strokes but it was young Aaron Finch, who stole the show with a magnificent 181 as MCC comfortably beat Rest of the World by seven wickets in the ‘Bicentenary Celebrations’ match on Saturday..It was a ‘Union of Legends’ as the likes of Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Shane Warne once again put on their cricketing gears.While Tendulkar, who made 41 and Lara, who chipped in with 23, showed their class and touch of genius in their short stay, it was Finch’s century that helped MCC overtake Rest of the World’s commanding 293 for seven with 27 balls to spare.Finch’s 145 ball innings had 23 fours and six sixes as he overshadowed India discard Yuvraj Singh’s attractive 132 for the Rest of the World.The only disappointment in the contest was public being robbed a chance to watch a Tendulkar vs Warne duel as the Aussie legend fractured his right hand trying to evade a Brett Lee beamer.It was vintage Tendulkar as he square drove Peter Siddle and hit him for a straight drive. A cover drive off Paul Collingwood was sheer class.He got a little too cheeky with his stroke-making and it proved to be his undoing as he was bowled by Sri Lanka?s Muttiah Muralitharan. His 41 off 44 balls had seven fours.advertisementFinch then carried on and put on another 67 runs for the second wicket with Brian Lara. The latter didn’t look too comfortable in the middle and departed in the 30th over, after scoring 23 runs off 38 balls, including 3 fours.Earlier Yuvraj made a strokeful 132 to power the Rest of the World XI to 293 for seven in 50 overs.Electing to bat in overcast conditions, the Shane Warne-led side slumped to 68 for 5 in the 12th over when Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal (4/45) bagged four wickets but soon Yuvraj and Paul Collingwood stitched together a 131-run sixth-wicket partnership to put the innings back on track.The opening combo of Virender Sehwag and Adam Gilchrist had given ROW a brisk 54-run start in 6.5 overs but Brett Lee (2/55) cleaned up the Indian dasher for 22 and then Ajmal took over.Ajmal’s country-mate Umar Gul though sustained an injury and hobbled off after bowling two overs post sharing the new ball with Lee.Gilchrist displayed his trademark pull and cut shots as he scored 22 runs off 24 balls, including 5 fours before being stumped off Ajmal.The champion off-spinner then trapped Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal (1) LBW, got England?s Kevin Pietersen (10) stumped and finally bowled his team-mate Shahid Afridi for a two-ball duck. But strangely Tendulkar took Ajmal off the attack after his third over, probably to give the crowd some entertainment in the exhibition tie.Collingwood scored 40 runs off 64 balls, hitting 3 fours, but it was Yuvraj who really put on the fireworks. He brought up his half-century in the 25th over of the innings, off only 53 balls and including 4 fours as well as 2 sixes.Yuvi didn’t let up, perhaps trying to make an impression on the Indian selectors, who will soon be gathering to select an ODI side for the ongoing England tour.He brought up his hundred off 114 balls in the 45th over.In doing so, he put on 84 runs for the seventh wicket with Peter Siddle (34 not out, 32 balls, 4 fours). He added 32 more runs off another 20 balls faced and was finally dismissed off Tendulkar (1/33) in the penultimate over. Warne (3 not out) was the other unbeaten batsman.last_img read more

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