#JaVotes2016: Fist fight in Seaforth, Robertson accused of being an absentee MP

first_imgTempers flared in Blacksmiths Lane, Seaforth just yards away from the polling station, as the Jamaica Labour Party’s James Robertson, who is vying for another term as the Member of Parliament (MP) of Western St Thomas, addressed a small group of community members. Robertson, who was being accused of being absent in the constituency, was assuring the people of the work that he had put in over the years. “I have been a father to this lane for almost 30 years, long before I was elected as MP,” he said. Robertson’s proclamation was met with shouts and nods of agreement from a few of the people who had gathered. However, one man, who was holding a cup of what appeared to contain alcohol, approached the candidate with slurs contrary to what he had proclaimed. Another resident of the community exclaimed that the man was drunk and asked him to move away. The accusing man refused, which escalated to a brief fist fight. Robertson ensured that the dispute was settled before leaving the location.last_img read more

Ivory sale to fund conservation

first_imgSouth African National Parks says that proceeds from the sale of 51 tons of stockpiled ivory will benefit elephant research, conservation and community development. The sale will also improve conservation through the employment of additional game rangers, obtaining more vehicles, erecting elephant proof fences where needed, purchasing of equipment. “There is no argument that this money will go a long way towards enhancing conservation research, boosting our enforcement capabilities and helping communities who share land with elephants,” he said. “As specified by CITES, the proceeds from this sale must be used for elephant conservation programmes and community development, especially those communities in and around the area of elephant habitation,” said SANParks CEO David Mabunda. The money allocated to the specific programmes and projects within the CITES stipulations will be monitored in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act and National Treasury Regulations. CITES guidelines 28 October 2008 CITES guidelines stipulate that a major portion of the money will be earmarked for elephant related research, conservation, anti-poaching measures, monitoring of herds and land expansion. China and Japan have been accredited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) standing committee to buy the ivory stockpile from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Community development projects will centre on communities affected by the presence of elephants. Extensive planning Mabunda said conservation agencies had planned extensively to ensure that the proceeds of the sale would be used according to the specifications. South Africa will use the proceeds of the sale of ivory within the specific guidelines which were set out at the 14th Conference of Parties to CITES held in July last year. The sale to CITES will take the form of an auction, but there is no prior indication of what price it will be sold for. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Exhibition traces migrant workers’ journey

first_imgSouth Africa was built on mining, and its mines were built on migrant workers. Millions of black men across southern Africa were forced by economic circumstance and taxes to travel to the city of gold, leaving their families at home. (Images: WAM) • Fiona Rankin-Smith Curator Ngezinyawo – Migrant Journeys Wits Art Museum +27 11 717 1365 Fiona.Rankin-Smith@wits.ac.za • Benin gallery keeps African art in Africa • Exhibition exposes apartheid, celebrates South African photography • Soweto: from struggle to suburbia • Historic Soweto township turns 80 • Africanis – the dog of AfricaMelissa Jane CookAs the country emerges from a volatile five-month long strike in the platinum mining sector, the Wits Art Museum (WAM) opens an extraordinary exhibition focusing on migrant workers in South Africa. Migrant labour is fundamental to the making of modern South Africa and the exhibition tells the stories of these men.Ngezinyawo – Migrant Journeys is rich and diverse, and spans many years of collective heritage. Items on display include contemporary artwork, archival documents, photographs, films, music, artefacts from ethnographic collections, and interviews. It glaringly highlights that 20 years into democracy, there are still numerous, unresolved problems associated with the system of migrant labour.The elaborate art, dress, dance, music and song that migrants crafted to assert and express their humanity feature prominently. Life was and continues to be difficult for migrant workers. Performance and song played a vital role in passing on oral histories, for social commentary and artistic expression. These creative outputs show an ability to survive with dignity despite the daily hardships they faced.Like the migrants, visitors to the exhibition participate in a physical journey through the museum. They walk the road alongside early migrants to the cities, who mainly sought work on the mines. Overcoming hostility, harsh living conditions, violence, dispossession and loss are the recurrent themes at the exhibition – yet there are also themes of resilience and creativity.The glitter of goldSouth African society changed greatly when gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand in 1886. This discovery was central to South Africa’s industrial development and to the politics of segregation. Here, on the goldfields of the Rand, the lives of many people intersected. Within a decade, Johannesburg had developed into the largest city in South Africa, populated by tens of thousands. Prospectors, labourers, fortune hunters, shop keepers and immigrants from all over the world flocked to the city. Residential areas were hastily constructed and in the poorer sections slums developed.As the mines went deeper underground, the demand for cheap labour intensified. The Chamber of Mines asked the government to provide a cheap labour supply. Over time, the state introduced a number of measures to force more black men to work in the mines. These included introducing taxes such as the hut tax and the poll tax – they had to leave their land to work in the city to earn money to pay the taxes.For its part, the Chamber of Mines preferred to use migrant labour because they could be paid very low wages. The industry justified the low wages by claiming that the migrants’ families earned an additional income in the reserves. Because migrants were supposedly only part-time workers, the mine owners did not have to provide them with any kind of social security. Mine owners also preferred migrant labour because the workers could be controlled more easily. The men had to sign employment contracts. If they broke their contracts by deserting, which many did, they were arrested and got a criminal record. The migrants were also housed in closed compounds, or hostels, which were tightly controlled.Conditions on the mines were very bad in the early decades. Workers often laboured 14 hours a day. Deaths from major accidents, pneumonia, tuberculosis, silicosis and malnutrition were extremely high.Tracing the journeyTracing the journey from rural areas to the city, the interactive exhibition includes personal objects such as hut tax receipts and a stamped passbook. There are envelopes decorated by self-taught artist Tito Zungu. Using pencil, ballpoint pens and coloured pens, the envelopes were decorated with images of boats, aeroplanes and transistor radios. Moving between time and space, these envelopes made the journey from work to home, linking the migrants’ different worlds. They spent long periods of time away from their families and letter writing was the only means of communication.Personal objects such as walking sticks, snuff bags and pipes that the workers carried with them were powerful reminders of the homes and families they left behind. These objects can be thought of as symbols of the personal journey that they made.Single-sex compounds with concrete bunk beds and cold, bare walls were constructed to house migrant mine workers. Some of these mining compounds, or hostels, are still in use today, although the city of Johannesburg is renovating them and turning them into family units. Photographs and other remarkable objects on display provide insight into the living conditions and hardships encountered in hostels. But there are also extraordinarily creative everyday objects, music and performances that transcended the daily struggle. There are envelopes decorated by self-taught artist Tito Zungu. Using pencil, ballpoint pens and coloured pens, the envelopes were decorated with images of boats, aeroplanes and transistor radios. Kentridge filmA short film by artist William Kentridge is part of Ngezinyawo – Migrant Journeys. It is a dramatization of the inequality and oppression of life on the mines. Set in the over-exploited, scorched industrial and mining landscape around Johannesburg, it represents the legacy of a time of abuse and injustice.Kentridge develops the analogy between the landscape and the mind. A journey into the mines provides a visual representation of a journey into the conscience of the main character, Soho Eckstein, the white South African property owner who exploits the resources of land and black human labour which are under his domain. Throughout the film the imagery shifts between the geological landscape underground inhabited by innumerable black miners and Soho’s world of white luxury above ground. Soho sits at his desk in his customary pin-stripe suit and punches adding machines and cash registers, creating a flow of gold bars, exhausted miners, blasted landscapes and blocks of uniform housing. Soho sits at his desk in his customary pin-stripe suit and punches adding machines and cash registers, creating a flow of gold bars, exhausted miners, blasted landscapes and blocks of uniform housing.The issues surrounding migrants that are addressed in this exhibition are part of a history that continues to profoundly affect South African society. The difficult lives of migrant workers and their families, xenophobic violence and recent upheavals in the mining sector – culminating in the Marikana massacre and this year’s devastating strike in the platinum sector – are just a few of the headlines that confront contemporary South Africa.A book entitled A Long Way Home: Migrant Worker Worlds 1800 – 2014 has been published to accompany the exhibition and includes essays by leading local and international academics.Guardian of the exhibitionThe exhibition was curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith, veteran WAM curator and the force behind important exhibitions such as Figuring Faith: Images of Belief in Africa (2005) and Halakasha, the football exhibition mounted to coincide with the 2010 World Cup.For Ngezinyawo – Migrant Journeys, she collaborated with Peter Delius, the history professor and widely published author from Wits University. “South Africa is internationally infamous as the site of a systematic and pervasive system of racial discrimination. What is less well known, though, is how uniquely fundamental migrant labour was to the making of modern South Africa,” Delius explains.Ngezinyawo – Migrant Journeys is on display at the Wits Art Museum until 20 July 2014.last_img read more

SKA will drive growth of Africa’s human capital

first_img2 March 2015Construction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a strategic infrastructure project that is being overseen by the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Committee. And it is anticipated that this will lead to new innovations in manufacturing and construction, according to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa“The SKA forms part of efforts to transform South Africa’s economy through human capital development, innovation, value addition, industrialisation and entrepreneurship,” he said, speaking at the SKA site in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape on 28 February.He said the project would create jobs not only during the next decade or so of construction, but also for the next 50 years of operation and maintenance. “The SKA project, which is aligned with the African Union’s 10-year Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa, will help to drive human capital development on the continent. It will contribute to Africa’s efforts to build innovation-led, knowledge- based economies.”This was part of efforts that sought to harness science, technology and innovation to advance the continent’s developmental goals. The SKA is a global science and engineering project to build the world’s largest radio telescope, and Ramaphosa said it would collect and process vast amounts of data, which would require and encourage significant advances in high-performance computing.“Producing the thousands of dishes required for the SKA will demand an entirely new way of building highly sophisticated and sensitive scientific instruments.”Youth developmentThe 699 students and postdoctoral fellows who had been supported through the SKA South Africa bursary and fellowship programme were at the forefront of leading the project, said Ramaphosa.It was developing technical and artisan skills while producing a new cohort of young scientists. “Scientists are not born. They are made. They are the products of a society that values knowledge, promotes learning and rewards innovation. They are products of a society that reads, of schools that work and parents [who] are engaged in the intellectual development of their children.“We need universities that have the academic capacity and financial resources to conduct ground-breaking research, companies that are prepared to dedicate resources to research and development, understanding that sustained profitability depends on innovative products and evolving ways of working, schools that have libraries, and schools that have capable and enthusiastic teachers of maths, science and language,” he said.National Development PlanScience and technology could do much in the fight against poverty, unemployment and inequality, he said, adding that the National Development Plan (NDP) highlighted the vital role played by science, technology and innovation in national development and equitable growth.“Throughout human history, technological progress has fuelled economic and social development. From agriculture to commerce, from health care to communications, from manufacturing to education, technology has transformed the human experience.”While the first phase of the SKA would be situated in South Africa and Australia, 11 countries were participating as members of the SKA Organisation. “Around 100 organisations from about 20 countries have been participating in the design and development of the SKA. It is particularly significant that eight other African countries will be involved in hosting the second phase of the project. This promises to establish Africa as a hub for expanding scientific inquiry.”He said the SKA would be a revolutionary new radio telescope, a highly flexible instrument designed to address fundamental questions in astrophysics, fundamental physics, cosmology, particle astrophysics and astrobiology.“Through the SKA we will be able to probe the cosmic Dark Ages and previously unexplored parts of the distant universe. We will use it to search for planets and black holes, and examine galaxy evolution, cosmology and dark energy, in search of answers to fundamental questions about our origins and how the universe works.”The government commended, encouraged and supported partnerships between the SKA Project Office and the private sector that were transforming the lives of people in the Northern Cape.“We are witnesses to human capital development through a bursary programme for learners in the surrounding areas of Williston, Brandvlei, Van Wyksvlei and Carnarvon,” Ramaphosa said, encouraging people to work together to expand knowledge and apply what was discovered to improve the condition of all life on Earth.“Let us work together to explore the history of our universe and, in doing so, secure our common future.”Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

ST demand for dominant groups fuels campaign in Assam, Manipur

first_imgAssam and Manipur have something in common ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha election on April 11 — the demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for some dominant communities.The Centre’s decision to grant ST status to six communities in Assam coincided with the move to get the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill passed in Parliament in January. The anger over the latter somewhat overshadowed the reaction to the former in the State, although some groups doubted the BJP’s intention.After a brief lull, the ST status issue has resurfaced with both the BJP and the Congress claiming to be more sincere to the cause.The six communities — Adivasi, Chutia, Koch-Rajbongshi, Matak, Moran, and Tai-Ahom — are currently in the OBC list. Together, they form a sizeable chunk of voters in at least nine of Assam’s 14 Lok Sabha constituencies.‘Congress brainchild’ “ST status is a Congress brainchild. It was taken forward on our recommendation, but the BJP cheated the six communities with no clarity on how they will be accommodated beyond the existing quota,” State Congress president Ripun Bora said.Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who heads a panel for settling the ST issue, said only the BJP can be true to the promise. “We have cleared the deck with the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes giving the nod to the proposal. We shall take it to a logical conclusion if voted back to power,” he said.Mr. Sarma and Mr. Bora have been campaigning extensively for their respective parties.Tribal groups, however, fear that the six communities – three of them used to rule large swathes of Assam and beyond until the advent of the British in the 1820s – would take away a major chunk of benefits if granted the ST status. The Coordination Committee of Tribal Organisations has asked the voters to be wary of any party that backs the move.Hagrama Mohilary, chief of BJP’s ruling ally Bodoland People’s Front, said his party has no problem with the ST status issue. “We support it,” he said. His party is dominated by the Bodos, the largest plains tribe of the Northeast.Meitei as tribe?The demand for ST status for the Meitei community has gained currency in Inner Manipur, one of two Lok Sabha constituencies in the State where voting is scheduled for April 18, since the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee imposed a 30-hour shutdown across Imphal Valley to drive home the point.Apart from a few Scheduled Castes, the largely Hindu Meiteis belong to the general category. They dominate the Imphal Valley that covers less than 20% of Manipur’s total land.The State’s former Chief Secretary and Congress candidate O. Nabakishore Singh said the Meiteis deserve the ST status, which many feel would pave the way for safeguards that the Constitution provides to tribal-dominated areas of Manipur – the hills around Imphal Valley.“We cannot ignore the people’s sentiments, as the Meiteis are becoming a minority. Even if not ST status, we are supporting constitutional protection for landownership and greater political representation,” BJP candidate R.K. Ranjan told The Hindu.The United Tribal People Council of Manipur, however, sees in the push for ST status for Meiteis a design that could push Nagas, Kukis and other tribes to the brink. “Meiteis are one of the most advanced communities in the Northeast and do not qualify to be tribals,” the council’s president S. Azar said.last_img read more

Ind vs Eng: India thump Sussex by 6 wickets, record their first win of tour

first_imgVirat Kohli and Rohit Sharma cracked half-centuries as India recorded their maiden win of the England tour with a six-wicket thumping of Sussex in a rain-affected practice game here on Thursday. India have already lost the Test series 0-4.The two talented youngsters put on 104 runs for the third wicket in impressive style as Indians chased down the 235-run target with 4.1 overs to spare after the game was reduced to 45-over-a side affair due to two rain interruptions.Put into bat, Sussex were 236 all out with seamer R P Singh snaring four wickets but the Indians needed 235 to win due to the revised target under Duckworth-Lewis system.The Indians looked in control even though Sachin Tendulkar (21) did not last long as the other opener Parthiv Patel (55), Kohli (71) and Sharma (61 not out) played around with an average home attack.Kohli’s knock came from 83 balls and included six fours and a six. Sharma’s unbeaten 61 came from 65 balls and studded with eight fours and a six.Tendullkar played some gorgeous strokes before he spooned up a catch at mid-off against left-arm paceman Chris Liddle.As many as four fours were hit by Tendulkar in his brief 17-ball knock.Patel was similarly aggressive, relying a great deal on chipped shots behind square before he played back to off-spinner Chris Nash and missed the line completely. He made his 55 runs from 65 balls and slammed nine fours.But Kohli and Sharma then took over and literally toyed with the home side attack, running their singles crisply and hitting big shots at will.advertisementSharma was effortless in his drives through the off-side and a driven six over mid-off was as exciting as it come. He hit the winning runs off Luke Wells.Much welcomed as the Indians’ win was, it still would bother the tourists that the bowling attack was not looking up to a scratch and that Suresh Raina failed once again.Left-hander Raina, a miserable presence at the crease during the Tests, came into bat with only token runs required by the visitors for a win. He survived a near-catch at the square leg ropes and was bowled off the next ball for a personal score of 12.Earlier, RP Singh took four for 44 but two of his wickets came in the final over when batsmen were attempting to slog and the first two when the conditions were overtly favourable to swing bowling under overcast conditions.Munaf Patel was disappointing and conceded 52 runs from his seven overs for a wicket and generally was slogged around the park.Praveen Kumar was a heartening return to bowling crease after his ankle injury which made him miss out the final Test at the Oval last week. He bowled his eight overs for 28 runs and picked up a wicket.The two spinners, leg-spinner Amit Mishra and off-spinner Ravichandra Ashwin bowled economically without appearing threatening at any stage.- With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

Take the ‘middle path’ with kiwi

first_imgRainbow diet, brown rice, oats and lemon and honey in lukewarm water… You’re doing everything to ensure that you get all the essential nutrients and keep empty calories at bay. However, your search for health foods takes a beating when there’s a slice of cheesecake staring at you. The good news is that sometimes, it’s possible to take the “middle path” by packing in healthy goodness and appeasing your taste-buds. This season, we recommend kiwi if you’re looking for that unusual healthy balance.Wealth Of Health BenefitsYou will be surprised at what a kiwi a day can do for your well-being.Improved DigestionThere are few fruits that are as fibre rich as a kiwi. With only 42 calories per piece, they offer a commendable 2.1gm of fibre. This means that your intestinal and gastric functions are enhanced thanks to its natural ability to retain water. It can also fool you into feeling more “full” and combat bloating after a greasy meal. Its mild laxative effect relieves constipation by adding “bulk” to the food; thus increasing the frequency of bowel movements. The fuzzy fruit goes well with a protein rich diet as it’s able to break down proteins found in a wide variety of foods and dairy products faster and more readily than our digestive enzymes.Kiwis are known to be rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C, E and polyphenolsZing Of Vitamin CA medium sized kiwi has more vitamin C than an orange and a golden kiwi has almost three times more of the vitamin than a lemon. Healthy bones, good skin and strong teeth need enough vitamin C and since our body cannot produce it naturally, it’s essential that we include it in our daily diet. *To up your body’s immunity, relieve achy muscles and joints, heal bruises and better your skin, make sure you have a kiwi a day. ‘One serving of kiwi gives the body 230 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C,’ says Dr Iti Bhalla, nutritionist, Paras Hospital, Gurgaon. Even those who’re anaemic can benefit from the vitamin C content in kiwis as that helps in iron absorption.Safe For Diabetics & DietersKiwi’s low glycaemic index restricts the rise in blood glucose, making it a preferred fruit for diabetics. In fact, even sports-persons and weight-watchers can benefit from the kiwi’s low-calorie and high nutritional content. ‘Increased consumption of plant foods such as kiwis decreases the risk of obesity and improves the rate of mortality,’ concludes Dr Bhalla.advertisementThe Goodness Of MineralsFolate (a type of B vitamin) is what’s responsible for making DNA and genetic material. It also aids the formation of red blood cells that make efficient use of oxygen, iron and other minerals. Women before or during pregnancy, teenagers, people who consume a lot of alcohol or those with problems of nutritional absorption are specially found lacking. Also cooking saps the essential nutrient from foods. So, a kiwi should be your answer. While it won’t suffice to meet your daily quota, it will stand you in good stead, nutritionally.Apart from folate, kiwi also boasts of large amounts of potassium. This mineral is crucial for those suffering from chronic high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm or high cholesterol. So, as a preventive, include fresh fruits, green veggies, cereals and a kiwi (it has higher potassium content than most fruits such as a banana, apple, orange). ‘In one study, those who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium per day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from **ischemic heart disease, as compared to those who consumed less than 1,000 mg per day,’ shares Dr Bhalla.Antioxidant ValueKiwis are known to be rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C, E and polyphenols – thanks to the flavonoids in them. Research shows that people who ate a kiwi a day saw a considerable improvement in blood plasma. ‘Antioxidant-rich foods help create collagen which prevents damage caused by the sun and pollution, smoothes wrinkles and improves skin texture,’ says Dr Bhalla.GOOD-TO-KNOWLook for a kiwi that is plump and fragrant with no visible bruising or wrinkles. It should feel slightly firm.Kiwis ripen quickly when placed in either a paper or plastic bag with a banana.However, once ripe, store them away from other fruits or they will decompose quickly.A ripe kiwi can last in the refrigerator without rotting for 1 to 2 weeks l Kiwis are more nutritious with their skin intact (it’s what has most of the fibre). However, make sure that you wash the fruit thoroughly to remove the pesticides and rub its surface to minimise the fuzz.advertisementlast_img read more