Soweto to Oxford and beyond

first_imgTamara O’ReillyIf the Rhodes Scholarship Trust were looking for a poster boy, Nhlanhla Dlamini would probably make the cut.As the latest recipient of the generous and prestigious Rhodes scholarship, 23-year-old Dlamini possesses all the certificates, medals, blazers and fancy “colours” that have come to be expected of applicants.The scholarship, founded by Cecil John Rhodes more than a century ago, will see him begin reading for his Masters in African Studies in September 2008 at University of Oxford, England. Dlamini views this as a vital step in achieving his goal of playing an active role in the broader development of his community, and ultimately Africa.“I understand that my analysis of Africa’s problems is incomprehensive. It is this acknowledgment that leads me to want to pursue a Masters in African Studies,” he says. “It will broaden my knowledge of African economics, history and sociology – three essential areas in understanding Africa’s context and challenges. By being in a class that will explore socio-economic concepts in Africa, I will be able to deepen my passion for my continent by grounding it in evidence and research.”His selection, over several other hopefuls from the Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga regions who no doubt displayed credentials that were also admirable, has not surprisingly been stunning.“I am extremely grateful at this stage to all those who have influenced me and contributed to moulding me into the person I am today,” says Dlamini. “Everyone has been overwhelmingly congratulatory and happy for me. It’s been a humbling reminder just how many friends and family members I have who are always rooting for me.”‘Resigned to a life of hardship’Although he was born in Soweto, at age seven his family moved to a traditionally white suburb and he was transferred to a multiracial school.Beyond the challenges of acculturation, both his parents were also retrenched from their jobs in the early 1990s, resulting in significant financial woes for his family.“I was convinced at the time that my family and I were resigned to a life of hardship,” says Dlamini.In 1992, what he calls a “seemingly small event” changed his outlook on what he could achieve academically.“At the end of Standard One [now Grade Three], I was invited to a prizegiving. I knew nothing of prize giving or what actually happens at such evenings. It turned out I was awarded the “Most Conscientious Student “ award. For the first time since I had moved to my new school, my background didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that I came to school in a jalopy or that I was part of an awkward minority in the school.”By the end of his secondary education at Marist Brothers College in 2001, Dlamini finished top of his class with five distinctions and full academic colours. He had also by then amassed several other awards in the areas of academics and community work. In Grade 11, he became the first pupil in the school’s history to be awarded an Honours Blazer, an accolade usually reserved for final year students.In 2002 he enrolled for a BCom Degree in Information Systems at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He graduated cum laude, making the Dean’s Merit List every year and pronounced Wits University Council’s Academic Merit Scholar from 2002 to 2004.Dlamini is an avid sportsman with several school and university captaincies to his name in the games of rugby and soccer. He is a national silver medalist in martial arts.He is currently employed in Atlanta, USA as a consultant for McKinsey & Company, a firm that advises leading companies on strategies around operations, staff and advancing their business.Dlamini returns to South Africa in March 2008 and he has left the six months remaining until he begins at Oxford without serious commitment for now, affording him well-deserved time to “tie up loose ends and perhaps take a road trip through the country”.Useful linksRhodes Scholarship WebsiteWits Universitylast_img read more

Football feast for local fans

first_imgFNB Stadium is one of the legacies of the2010 Fifa World Cup. FNB Stadium sports a calabash design. Safa vice president Danny Jordaan waspart of the Afcon bidding team.(Images: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS• Morio SanyaneDirector: Communications and MediaSouth African Football Association+27 82 990 0835Bongani NkosiThe legacy of the 2010 Fifa World Cup will stand South Africa in good stead, as the country prepares to stage yet another spectacular football tournament, this time the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).South Africa received the nod to host Afcon 2017 after being pipped by Morocco for the 2015 event. The two were the only nations bidding after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) pulled out.The Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced its decision on 29 January in Lubumbashi, DRC, after evaluating bids from the two competing nations.The South African Football Association’s (Safa) delegation, comprising its president Kirsten Nematandani, vice president Danny Jordaan and outgoing CEO Leslie Sedibe, concluded their bid in a 45-minute presentation before Caf’s announcement, as did Morocco’s representatives.Safa wanted the 2015 rights as it felt the country is more than ready to host Afcon within the next four years.“Considering that we have all the resources in place, our preference was to host the tournament in 2015,” said Nematandani in a statement.The country’s 2010 Fifa World Cup infrastructure has been widely acclaimed. Dazzling venues like FNB in Soweto, Moses Mabhida in Durban, Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth and the eye-catching Cape Town Stadium are part of the international tournament’s legacy for South Africa.Billions were spent on building new and reconstructing old stadiums. Even low-key provinces like Mpumalanga and Limpopo now have world-class venues.The 43 500-seater Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga was built at a cost of R1.5-billion (US$140-million). Peter Mokaba Stadium in Limpopo cost the tax-payer about R1.24-billion (US$150-million) and can accommodate more than 45 000 spectators.The football World Cup’s 64 matches were staged in 10 stadiums across eight of the nine provinces. With such a wealth of experience, South Africa will not find it difficult to prepare for 2017.“I think we’ll rely on the legacy of the World Cup.  Our stadiums are in good condition,” said Safa’s spokesman Morio Sanyane in an interview.“Our roads are also good,” Sanyane added. “We did a great job in transporting people during the World Cup.”While main roads were transformed for the international spectacle, public transport also received a major boost in cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town, where efficient Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems were introduced.Road to 2017Though Safa lost the bid for 2015 Afcon, it does not feel hard done by Caf and has congratulated Morocco.  “Safa has welcomed the decision of Caf,” Sanyane said.“We congratulate Morocco and wish them all the best in hosting this project of continental importance,” Nematandani said.Part of the preparations for the 2017 event will be to review Safa’s 2014 vision, a strategy that focuses on competitions like the 2012 Afcon in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.“Our strategy has to incorporate various aspects that will lead to the successful hosting of the 2017 Afcon,” said Nematandani. “2017 may seem far away, but the work starts now so that we are better prepared come the time.”Safa has confirmed that they will bid for the 2014 Fifa Club World Cup tournament, whose 2010 edition was hosted by the United Arab Emirates last December.Preparing Bafana for gloryIn 2017 it will be exactly 21 years since South Africa hosted Afcon. The historic 1996 contest took place in the four host cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth, and national team Bafana Bafana snatched the top honours from Tunisia before 80 000 fans in magnificent style.But Bafana’s Afcon performance has slumped after their debut victory in the tournament. The best results the team has produced since then are runners up in 1998 and third places in 1999 and 2002. They went out in the first round in three Afcons between 2004 and 2008.Fans around the country were devastated when Bafana failed to qualify for the 2010 Afcon in Angola.However, the team started their 2012 qualifying matches rather well in 2010. Bafana, which beat France in the World Cup, went on to thump Niger 2-0 in their first Afcon qualifier at Mbombela Stadium in September 2010.They played to a 0-0 draw against Sierra Leone in an away match. The next qualifier is a contest against the resilient Egyptian team in March in South Africa.Bafana have four important home and away matches where they have to achieve top points to secure a place in next year’s tournament.Then it’s the race to qualify for the 2013 Afcon in Libya, and Bafana will also need to qualify for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.last_img read more

Connecting small business to the world can help Africa thrive

first_imgAn M-Pesa agent in the Bunda region of Kenya. It is estimated that a third of the country’s US$44-billion annual economic output now flows through the innovative mobile money transfer service . (Image: Emil Sjöblom, Flickr)• Jarle HetlandMedia officerInternational Trade Centre+41 22 730-0145hetland@intracen.orgArancha GonzálezSub-Saharan Africa is a rare bright spot in a still-sluggish world economy, with the International Monetary Fund projecting 6% output growth this year. A decade of expansion has been driven by peace, better economic governance, investment and high commodity prices. But make no mistake: it has not just been about resources. Some of the best performing countries are not rich in natural resources, such as Rwanda, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. Services such as retail and communications, together with agribusiness and manufacturing and exports, have driven growth more than is generally recognised. Business incubators and accelerators are spawning technology start-ups from Accra to Dar es Salaam.That said, Africa faces daunting challenges. The extractive sector propels growth in several countries but does not directly create many stable jobs. By 2050, the continent’s labour force will be bigger than that of China or India. Creating jobs for hundreds of millions of labour market entrants will mean the difference between a demographic dividend and a social time bomb. Africans don’t just need more jobs; they need better jobs. Prosperity hinges on getting people out of subsistence agriculture and marginal self-employment into more productive activities.Growth without diversification, technological improvement, and increased productivity is easily reversed: all it takes is a dip in commodity prices. This is where trade and small to medium enterprises, or SMEs, fit in. Trade demands competitiveness. Exporting firms are more productive, and pay higher wages than their domestically focused counterparts, especially in places like sub-Saharan Africa. If firms manage to thrive in world markets, they tend to increase their productivity even more.Turning mobile phones into banksJust take a look at the success story that is M-Pesa .The impending launch in Europe of this mobile money transfer service, which has transformed the way banking and business are done in East Africa, is more than a feel-good story about technology pioneered in one of the world’s poorest regions being imported to one of its richest.M-Pesa is a powerful example of the gains to be had when the development community works together creatively to empower people and businesses in developing countries. From a modest pilot project focused on microfinance repayments, M-Pesa – “pesa” means “money” in Kiswahili – has grown to the point that an estimated one-third of Kenya’s $44-billion annual economic output now flows through it. M-Pesa has turned mobile phones into both offices and banks.Responsive governments committed to improving the broader trade facilitation and business environment can help companies of all sizes by improving infrastructure: roads, transportation, ports, information and communication technology, and electricity. For enterprises to capitalise on opportunities to grow, they need access to finance. This can be difficult for SMEs that are too big for microfinance institutions but too small to interest commercial lenders.Meeting export markets’ health and quality standards, together with the dizzying array of private voluntary standards, is especially tough for smaller firms, although the rewards for compliance can be considerable. The recent World Trade Organisation agreement on trade facilitation should cut customs-related red tape which weighs heavily on SMEs, making it easier and cheaper to bring goods across borders.Internationalising small businessThe International Trade Centre works to internationalise SMEs in developing countries. Some of our work is with governments to improve policies and to strengthen their institutions in trade and export development. The rest of our work is with the private sector: creating free intelligence tools to help them learn about conditions in potential markets; assisting them to connect to value chains; helping with product branding; and tackling non-tariff measures.In our experience, modest, targeted interventions can yield substantial rewards. Facilitating contact (and contracts) between Southeast Asia and Western and Central Africa yielded over $150-million in deals for cashews, rice, and cotton in the space of a few years. Bringing experts from Bangladesh spinning mills to the Tanzania to train cotton farmers and gin operators on how to reduce contamination, led to higher prices for the farmers and better raw material for the mills. Connecting women in rural Burkina Faso to a rising star in Italian fashion meant more sales than ever for their traditional prints which helped Stella Jean’s high-end customers do some good while being fashionable.Watch: Stella Jean’s “ethical fashion” using prints from Burkina Faso:Governments, African business, foreign investors, and civil society groups have an opportunity to pool their ingenuity and their resources to find innovative new ways to strengthen the African private sector and help SMEs access capital and markets.The broader development community can support the private sector to improve productivity and generate jobs which can free people from unemployment or the drudgery of subsistence labour. Prioritising the private sector will require some development policy experimentation.Small risks, huge payoffsInternational investors, representatives of international and regional organisations, and African leaders from government and civil society, who attended the World Economic Forum on Africa in Abuja, Nigeria last month are seeking to translate the region’s economic promise and youthful demographics into employment opportunities and poverty reduction.A key subject at the Abuja summit was the bottlenecks that prevent existing and yet-to-be-founded firms in African countries from exporting value-added goods and services, and think about how best to encourage investment and hiring in modern, tradable sectors.The policy makers and policy takers at the Abuja meeting could take a lesson from M-Pesa’s success where small risks can have huge payoffs. They can think about how they can work together to help the continent’s biggest job creator: its immense ecosystem of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Empowering the African private sector to tap into value chains would bolster prospects for growth and job creation.Arancha González is the executive director of the International Trade Centre, Geneva. This article originally appeared on the World Economic Forum Blog.last_img read more

The top 10 “best” geocaching songs — Volume 2

first_imgMission Impossible2. Mission Impossible theme for gadget cachesBongo beats, trumpets, and that sassy jazz flute! MI6 anyone? Born To Be Wild3. Born to Be Wild – SteppenwolfGet your motor runnin’Head out on the highwayLookin’ for adventureAnd whatever comes our way The top 10 “best” geocaching songs — Volume 2What makes a great geocaching song? Sure, the tune has to be catchy (cache-y?), but there’s a lot more to it than that. The lyrics and spirit must include one or more of the following: discovery, far away travels, overcoming incredible physical challenges, the thrill of victory, and agony of defeat.So in response to our original post about geo-music, you submitted your own sing-a-long suggestions. Here they are in all their glory, the second list of the Top 10 “best” geocaching songs.* Ain’t No Mountain High Enough10. Ain’t no mountain high enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi TerrellListen baby, ain’t no mountain highAin’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough babyIf you need me call me no matter where you areNo matter how far don’t worry baby Boxes7. Boxes – Goo Goo DollsWe’ll have tiny boxes for memoriesOpen them up and we’ll set them freeThere’ll be bad days and some hard timesBut I’ll keep your statistics, if you keep mine On the Road Again9. On the Road Again – Willie NelsonOn the road againGoin’ places that I’ve never beenSeein’ things that I may never see againAnd I can’t wait to get on the road again You Can’t Always Get What You Want6. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling StonesNo, you can’t always get what you wantYou can’t always get what you wantYou can’t always get what you wantBut if you try sometime you findYou get what you need I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)8. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The ProclaimersBut I would walk 500 milesAnd I would walk 500 moreJust to be the man who walks a thousand milesTo fall down at your door cachecenter_img SharePrint RelatedAin’t no Mountain High Enough… for Geocachers – Interview with Team GCTransAlpsJune 8, 2015In “15 Years”Geocaching Road Trip ‘15 – Ain’t no Mountain High Enough… for GeocachersJune 9, 2015In “15 Years”The top 10 “best” geocaching songsMarch 5, 2018In “Community” These Boots Are Made For Walkin’5. These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ – Nancy SinatraThese boots are made for walkingAnd that’s just what they’ll doOne of these days these boots are gonna walk all over youAre you ready, boots? Start walkin’ And the number one song for geocachers has got to be…Happy TrailsHappy Trails – Roy RogersWho cares about the clouds when we’re together?Just sing a song, and bring the sunny weather.Happy trails to you,Until we meet again.*And yes, the word “best” is intentionally in quotation marks! We Are The Champions4. We Are the Champions – QueenAnd bad mistakesI’ve made a fewI’ve had my share of sand kicked in my faceBut I’ve come throughWe are the champions, my friendsAnd we’ll keep on fighting ’til the endWe are the championsWe are the championsNo time for losers‘Cause we are the champions of the world Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Look beyond electoral gains, Mirwaiz tells BJP

first_imgHurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday asked the BJP to “look beyond the electoral dividends” and “behave as a genuine democracy” if it wanted genuine peace to prevail in Jammu and Kashmir. Speaking at the historic Jamia Masjid after seven weeks, the Mirwaiz described the current unrest in Kashmir Valley as “spontaneous”. “It is time the leadership of India recognizes this fact and confronts the reality in an imaginative way.”last_img