Friday, February 24, 2012

A Bit of Celebration in South Africa's Gay & Lesbian Community

Sibusiso Banda

Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe but Taurai Zhanje takes part in Mr Gay World.
The gay and lesbian community in South Africa has gone through a lot lately, but they can finally take a breather and celebrate a bit despite the many challenges facing the community in the country. Mr Gay World is coming to Johannesburg in April and there are four African countries participating, the largest number from the continent in the competition’s history. This is despite homosexuality being illegal in over 30 African countries. Another reason for celebration, although bitter-sweet, would be the recent sentencing of the murderers of Cape Town lesbian, Zoliswa Nkonyane.

Mr Gay Ethiopia, Robel Gizaw Hailu.
In the Mr Gay World competition, organisers say there will be participants from Ethiopia, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Homosexuality is illegal in all those African countries even though the law is hardly enforced. Zimbabwean contestant, Taurai Zhanje, will struggle to convince authorities to accept his decision back home as the country is going through constitutional reforms with gay rights left out. The quotes President Robert Mugabe saying about gay people: “All of us at some point in our lives have raised dogs, and we know that in raising them you need a female and male to mate in order to have puppies. Now, if even dogs know that to procreate you need a male and a female, what of us humans? They want men to wed men! That’s what we reject.”

Monday, February 20, 2012

Stranded Students Find Shelter in Townhip Church

Ofentse Ramatsetse

A lack of information has led to many students from areas outside Pretoria to remain stranded as they applied late for university, leaving them without accommodation in the city while the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) processes their applications. After being approached by the university’s Students Representative Council (SRC), a local church has decided to house the estimated 265 applicants as they await a response from TUT. Some arrived in the capital with no food and the Apostolic Faith Mission in Soshanguve’s Block B has decided to take on the responsibility of feeding them too. SRC president, Khoisan Sonti, says he saw the need to approach various churches after realising many students would camp outside TUT’s Soshanguve campuses. Luckily they were willing to help. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Township School Received Important Gifts

Sthembiso Sithole

Pupils with their new and needed pots.
Many township schools often struggle to compete with former Model C schools and private schools as they are under resourced. Feladelfia High School which caters for pupils with disabilities in Soshanguve is one of these schools. Despite its struggles, it managed to receive a pass rate of over 70 percent in 2011. Even so that doesn’t mean its pupils, many of whom are from poor families, don’t need cooking equipment and other basic needs for children to eat.

To make things easier for the pupils of the school, recently a donation of several important needs were given to Feladelfia by Denel Land System at an event attended by government representatives. “We decided to finance the school. We told them to tell us what they need from us; from then we developed the partnership,” explains Denel’s Human Resources Manager, Thulani Mahlinza.

Zambia Has a Few Lessons for Bigger Football Nations

Khuliso Nemarimela

Many are now asking what Zambia’s secret is after they cruised to African victory at the recent Cup of Nations tournament. It is simple - they have a well-run football association, under the guidance of football legend Kalusha Bwalya. That is a rarity in African football as many leaders of associations often fight to enrich themselves. The president of the association being a former footballer himself means that he knows what his players needs are and therefore takes care of them. Imagine football legends like Lucas Radebe running SAFA, Sunday Oliseh or Jay Jay Okocha in Nigeria, Misheck Marimo or Peter Ndlovu in Zimbabwe and the list goes on.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Young Entrepreneur Needs Funds to Attend Bright Minds Conference

Robert Mabusela

Paseka Lesolang with the toilet he says can save a lot of water and lives.
Twenty-three-year old Paseka Lesolang from Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria, could be taking his invention of a hygienic toilet system to the United States of America to represent South Africa at the Third Annual Unreasonable Institute. His participation in the event depends on him raising R80 000.

Lesolang is one of 25 young entrepreneurs who have been accepted into the Institute after 306 applications from 55 countries were received. He believes his toilet could save 288 billion litres of water annually if installed in a million houses. His invention came after realising the system installed in his township wastes water. “The toilet system was a dual flush system. When you flush with the half flush for a given period of time you flushed the whole tank and when you flushed with the full you automatically flushed the whole tank. Therefore the objective was good but the implementation wasn’t so good,” explains Paseka.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Exclusively Breast Feeding But Community Doesn't Get It

Zanele Ngwenyama

On 23 August 2011 the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, issued a statement saying that government has decided to adopt breastfeeding as the only strategy to feed infants. He further said the distribution of breast milk substitutes through health facilities would be discontinued. Motsoaledi believes it’s essential to do this as South Africa is one of 12 countries in the world where the child mortality rate has been on the increase. The minister said this method is safe and would assist in reducing the death of babies in the country.

This grabbed my attention as I had just given birth at the time. I have been exclusively breast feeding my baby for six months now. This has meant my child who lives with me in the rural areas of Bushbuck Ridge has been fed no other forms of liquidised or solid food. It has also made things easy for me as we live in an area where shops and places for basic needs are far. As a young mother I decided to discuss the feeding plan with my mother and she understood, but I live in a close knit community and as a result everyone tends to be an expert on the subject of breast-feeding, as they are experts on other subjects too. When my baby turned one month old I constantly had to explain my reasons for not feeding him porridge to community members. They think he starves if I don't. Sometimes I couldn’t answer all their questions so when they ask now, I just tell them it’s my decision and the baby is healthy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

TUT Students Believe in University's Mentorship Programme

Sthembiso Sithole

Every first year in university deserves a mentor to assist them with their academic work and give them a start – especially at the beginning of the year. A lot of the time students have to stand in long queues while processing last minute paper work, they would get lost as they move from office to office and yet still have to get to lectures and might even get left behind in their work. That is where mentors come in to assist.

In South Africa a lot of schools also have an education system that doesn’t prepare most students for university. In high school students have teachers who spoon feed them the whole time whereas at university they will get lectures and lecturers, but they have to do a chunk of the work by themselves and lecturers just work as facilitators as it would be getting discussed in class after readings would or should have been done for homework. Many students aren’t used to this and as a result fail to do the readings properly or end up not doing them at all expecting the lecturer to spoon-feed like the high school teacher did.