First half goals from Meddie Kagere and Bernard Ondiek sent K’Ogalo sailing, but a slump in the second half saw Batoto ba Mungu raise their tails wit substitute Ezekiel Okare scoring a late brace adding on to Kepha Aswani’s early first half goal.It seemed to be three points in the bag for Sofapaka, but Wafula slammed the ball in from close range after a poorly defended corner to hand Gor a reprieve.It was a game of two halves as the record 16-time champions utterly dominated the opening half while the 2009 champions were better in the second half dominating possession and creating most of the scoring chances.Gor boss Dylan Kerr made seven changes from the team that played USM Alger in a midweek CAF Confederation Cup Group D tie at Kasarani with skipper Harun Shakava Boniface Oluoch and Ephraim Guikan retaining their places.And the holders started the match with immense pace and within the first minute had the ball inside the net but Guikan’s finish off an Innocent Wafula cross was ruled out for offside.A minute later, the speedy Boniface Omondi tried his luck with a rasping shot from distance but it elevated a few inches off target.K’Ogalo were rewarded from their emphatic start to the match in the ninth minute when Willis Ouma’s clearance off a corner inside the box ricocheted off Meddie Kagere and bounced into an empty net.Batoto ba Mungu should have gone level just three minutes later but Ugandan import Umaru Kassumba missed a one on one chance. A mistake from Joachim Oluoch who was defending deep saw Kassumba win the ball and stride goalward with only the keeper to beat.However, Oluoch narrowed down the angle coming fast off his line forcing Kassumba to shoot and the effort sailed wide.Oluoch made a brilliant save on the quarter hour mark spreading his body nicely on the ground to block Kevin Kimani who had picked the ball unmarked from an Elli Asieche cross.Gor Mahia kept pounding keeping the fans in the stands heated despite the cold afternoon in Machakos and their hard work was once again gifted with a second goal in the 24th minute.Yussuf Mohammed’s effort at clearing the ball away ended up in the left back heading to the edge of the six yard box finding Ondiek unmarked, the midfielder doing the easy task of glancing the ball into the net beating Mathias Kigonya who was off is line.Three minutes after going down, Sofapaka almost scored an own goal when Mohammed’s effort at blocking a cross from Yussuf Mohammed ended up in a deflection towards his own goal but luckily the ball bounced off the upright for a corner.Sofapaka head coach John Baraza was pushed to initiate his first change after just 27 minutes, pulling out holding midfielder Humphrey Okoti and bringing in forward Stephen Waruru.Waruru almost got into the party immediately when he was picked out by a drop ball from Kigonya, but keeper Oluoch was faster off his line to clear the danger away.Sofapaka were also giving in much in attack despite the fact that Gor were faster off the blocks and they had a chance in the 33rd minute when Waruru’s cross found Kimani at the edge of the box but the pint sized winger’s shot went inches over.Kerr was forced into a change as the second half started, defender Charles Momanyi coming off clutching his thigh and was replaced by Joash Onyango.And it was the home side which had a better start to the second set of 45 minutes, pulling one back through Aswani six minutes after the restart. Kimani picked out his team mate with an incisive through pass and Aswani made the most of it rifling a left foot shot past Oluoch.Sofapaka’s Mousa Omar tackles Gor Mahia’s Ephraim Guikan during their Kenyan Premier League clash at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on May 20, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaAswani should have doubled his tally an brought his side back level six minutes later but he shot over from inside the box after being picked out by a cut back from Kassumba who had done well to outmuscle Onyango on the right.Sofapaka continued their upward trajectory and they came inches close on the hour mark when Waruru tried to chip the ball over Oluoch who was advanced off his line from a counter attack but the ball kissed the upside of the crossbar.Gor made their second change with goalscorer Ondiek who had become prone to losing the ball in the middle of the pack pulled out for the versatile Philemon Otieno.Gor gained a bit of stability and Sofapaka keeper Kigonya was forced into a brilliant double save to keep his side in contention.First, he poured his body out to deny Kagere one on one after the striker had raced to a through pass while his second was a beauty of a reflex, leaping to his left to parry away a diving header from Guikan off a Wesley Onguso cross.But Batoto ba Mungu kept on fighting to get at least a draw off the match.They were rarded in the 84th minute when Okare who had just come on for Kassumba jumped higher than both Joachim Oluoch and harun Shakava to win a header and power it past Oluoch who was off his line.With their tails up, Sofapaka scored what looked like a possible winner when Kimani outjumped Shakava for the ball at the edge of the box feeding Okare who slammed the ball into the net with just two minutes of regular time left.However, Gor showed the true character of a champion fighting on till the final whistle and in the first minute of added time, Wafula slammed the ball home after it was initially cleared off the line from a corner.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Gor Mahia’s Meddie Kagere vies for the ball with Sofapaka’s Mousa Omar and Elly Asieche PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaMACHAKOS, Kenya, May 20- Innocent Wafula scored in the 90th minute to rescue Kenyan Premier League leaders Gor Mahia from the jaws of their first defeat of the season as they played to a 3-3 draw with Sofapaka in a high-octane fixture at the Kenyatta Stadium on Sunday evening.Ezekiel Okare’s late brace seemed to have handed Batoto ba Mungu a huge win against direct title rivals, but Wafula struck two minutes after his side went down to rescue a point for K’Ogalo.
Some science news outlets are having an eye-poking battle against intelligent design with the latest eye-popping claim about eye evolution. It seems to have started in Australia on Science Alert, where some exceptionally-preserved placoderm fossils were found:The palaeobiologist discovered that unlike all living vertebrate animals – which includes everything from the jawless lamprey fish to humans – placoderms had a different arrangement of muscles and nerves supporting the eyeball – evidence of an “intermediate stage” between the evolution of jawless and jawed vertebrates. “The vertebrate eye is the best example of structural perfection – as used by proponents of intelligent design to claim that something so complex couldn’t possibly have evolved,” Dr Young said.The creature already had fully-formed, functioning eyes. The discoverer was only claiming that a change in the arrangement of muscles and nerves around the eye hinted at a transitional arrangement between jawless fish and modern vertebrates. The suggestion that a missing link had been found, however, was enough to send other reporters wielding their fingers in battle against ID. “One in the eye for intelligent design,” jeered Brendan O’Keefe in The Australian. The Sydney Morning Herald was even more brazen: “‘Eye ancestor’ debunks ID nonsense.” The Science Alert article was slightly more reserved. Entitled “Fossil evidence of early eye,” it ended, “This means that we’re able to add one more piece to the puzzle of how the human eye came to be.”Next to Tinker Bell and Yoda, Popeye is one of the Darwin Party’s favorite characters. Believing that eyes can just pop into existence with the greatest of ease, they picture Popeye, filled with Darwin spinach, knocking the living daylights out of the ID Brutus, as Olive Oyl (Eugenie Scott) grasps her hands adoringly, saying, “My hero!” Problem is, the ID folk aren’t watching the cartoons. They are grown up. They live in the real world. They look ahead. They watch ID the Future.(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Creation-Evolution Headlines needs reader feedback to rank this week’s winners. Some of these articles are so over the top, giving Darwin credit for anything and everything, it’s a wonder the Darwinists themselves don’t censor them – just to avoid public embarrassment.Evolve! Sing Along: New Scientist is letting you take part in the evolutionary process with music. The headline “You have the power to make music… evolve,” is accompanied by a picture of Darwin wearing headphones. So what’s this about? “At DarwinTunes.org, bioinformaticist Bob MacCallum and evolutionary biologist Armand Leroi of Imperial College London have devised a way to watch music evolve right before their eyes – and in doing so study the cultural analogue of biological evolution, also known as memetics.” So how are they going about this? “MacCullum’s computer program creates a randomly generated pair of ‘Adam and Eve’ ‘songs’–brief loops of sound. They mutate, recombine and reproduce to form a base population of 100 descendants.” OK, then what? Participants act as the force of natural selection by listening to the songs and rating them, from “I love it!” through “It’s OK…” to “I can’t stand it ”. For every 20 songs, the 10 worst rated die off, while the 10 best rated go on to reproduce at random, with each “mating” producing two new songs. Each daughter song inherits a mixture of the parents’ computer codes, just as a biological organism inherits a mixture of its parents’ genetic codes.Their idea compares “DarwinTunes” to chromosomes, altered notes to genetic mutations, and the junction of two random tunes to mating. It appears this entire experiment is based on analogy – similar to how Darwin used artificial selection as an analogy to natural selection. So have some fun and sing along. Just don’t use any intelligent design. Maybe the results will improve on John Cage.Bombs away to photosynthesis: Did Jeffrey Touchman (Arizona State) really mean to imply that meteorites gave rise to oxygenic photosynthesis? If so, that sounds almost miraculous. Photosynthesis is one of the most complex mechanisms in the living world. Here’s how the write-up on PhysOrg liberally employed the word evolution. Watch for the miraculous meteorites:Oxygen, one of the by-products of photosynthesis by microbes such as cyanobacteria and their descendants (including algae and higher plants), transformed the Precambrian Earth and made possible the evolution of more complex organisms.His research is focused on genome sequencing and molecular analyses of heliobacteria, proteobacteria and a cyanobacterium with the ability to shift into anoxygenic (oxygen-free) photosynthesis in the presence of sulfide, a possible evolutionary ‘missing link’ between anoxygenic and oxygenic photosynthetic organisms.“Knowing how photosynthesis originated and evolved is essential to obtaining the deep understanding required to yield improvements in bioenergy, agriculture and the environment,” Touchman says.Hidden in these organisms’ various genetic codes may be hallmarks: traces of early evolutionary innovations pointing to the origin of oxygen-evolving high-energy photosynthesis.”The arrival of oxygenic photosynthesis via transport of materials by external means, such as meteorites, could profoundly change the direction of biological evolution on a planet’s surface. The article twice employed one of science writer’s favorite stock evolutionary phrases: “‘Extreme’ genes shed light on origins of photosynthesis…. One of those actively shedding light on the origins and evolution of photosynthesis is Jeffrey Touchman, assistant professor in Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences.” He got $867,000 from the National Science Foundation for his light shedding.Talk to your monkey: Scientists have uncovered the “potential existence of precursors to human language in animal vocal communication.” A reader might wonder what “potential existence” entails – especially if it is only a precursor to a real cursor (or curser). Does it mean something like a possible pre-possibility? Anyhow, Science Daily trumpeted “Syntax in Our Primate Cousins.” Certain monkeys appear to be able to combine six alert calls into sequences that provide different warnings. “This ability to combine calls may have appeared during the monkeys’ evolution to compensate for limited vocal flexibility (monkeys have less vocal flexibility than birds and cetaceans) and provide a way to encode new messages.” Conundrum: If there’s a way, is there a will? If evolution provided them with a way to encode messages, did the monkeys do the encoding by intelligent design? Or did natural selection they pay their syntax for them?No dentures allowed in carry-on baggage: Here’s an intriguing hypothesis: “Early birds may have dropped teeth to get airborne.” Colin Barras at New Scientist gave free rein to the speculations of Chinese scientists with a new idea of why modern birds have no teeth. “Archaeopteryx, at 150 million years old still the oldest known bird, had an imposing set of teeth,” he said. “But within 20 million years, at least some birds were toothless. Now a team led by Zhonghe Zhou at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing believe they know why.” Presumably someone can believe they know something without knowing they believe something. Maybe a new toothless bird fossil from China can shed some light here, too: “Their analysis shows that Z. yangi belonged to one of four bird groups that independently lost their teeth, implying that this loss was no evolutionary fluke.” The parasites known as flukes (blood flukes, liver flukes, etc.) are not what they are talking about here. The statement seems to imply that while there might be an occasional fluke (or happenstance) of evolution, there are also events that are purposeful or intentional – an idea which, or course, runs contrary to the whole Darwinian paradigm. Z. yangi’s group is the most primitive among them,” the article continued, “suggesting it could provide clues as to why tooth loss occurred.” A suggestion that a clue might be forthcoming implies that there are no clues yet. Yet without clues, it seems, there can be no answer to a “why” question based on evidence. Enter Darwin’s mechanism to the rescue: “They think natural selection may have put pressure on weaker fliers to lose their teeth in a bid to improve their skills by losing excess weight.” A curious reader might wonder if birds bid on auctions or go to self-improvement classes. An ornithology-astute reader also might wonder if the presence of gizzard stones makes this a zero-sum game for the bird, which must have compensated for the lack of teeth with additional digestive system modifications. Reporter Colin Barras did redeem himself somewhat by quoting a lone skeptical voice: “That theory is ‘as good as any other’, says Mike Benton at the University of Bristol, UK, though he remains sceptical. ‘Losing teeth wouldn’t make a huge difference to balance in the air.’” If one theory is as good as any other, is it also as bad as any other? That would seem the only logical possibility in a set of theories lacking any ranking of good or bad.The emptiness of evolutionary speculation approaches a vacuum. We should abhor this vacuum. With no evidence at all, their belief in evolution is allowed to substitute for evidence. A gushy media with no guts to challenge fact-free speculation plays into the hands of belief masquerading as science, imagination masquerading as knowledge. They’re shedding light on evolution, all right (shed., verb: to discard, abandon, cast off). They walk in darkness, the blind leading the blind into the ditch, bragging about all the light Darwin gave them.(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Fewer people would say foolish things if they noticed how ideas can refute themselves.“There’s no such things as free will.” Stephen Cave, a “philosopher and writer in Berlin,” argues this position on The Atlantic:In recent decades, research on the inner workings of the brain has helped to resolve the nature-nurture debate—and has dealt a further blow to the idea of free will. Brain scanners have enabled us to peer inside a living person’s skull, revealing intricate networks of neurons and allowing scientists to reach broad agreement that these networks are shaped by both genes and environment. But there is also agreement in the scientific community that the firing of neurons determines not just some or most but all of our thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams.His interlocutors could tease back by asking if Mr. Cave made that argument of his own choice. Did the neuroscientists choose to research what goes on in another person’s skull, without thinking about what’s going on in their own? Is their agreement about genetic and environmental determinism determined by the firing of their own neurons? Then how can they claim it is true? In their view, it would be no more true than the firing of neurons in the skull of a person who disagrees with their consensus.“To strengthen an opinion, simply say it is based on morality: ‘Moral’ label instantly makes opinions more resistant to change.” (Science Daily). This observation may well be true; persuaders might indeed get more mileage out of their rhetoric by appeals to morality. But we must turn the question around, and ask if the psychologists from Ohio State believed it was moral (or not) to conduct their research. If so, they are not simply saying it was moral; they are presupposing that morals are more than matters of opinion or rhetoric. If not, they give us no reason to believe their research at all.“What’s the Meaning of Life? Physics” (National Geographic). In this piece, Jeremy Berlin reviews a new book by Adrian Bejan with a self-explanatory title, The Physics of Life: The Evolution of Everything. Bejan, starting with Darwin’s view that humans are coextensive with all of nature, considers his so-called “constructal law” a purely materialistic process that generates universes, life, and minds. If so, it generates ideas, too, like this one:Evolution is a crucial part of how we need to define efficiency. I don’t mean evolution in the Darwinian sense. I mean that there’s a universal urge or tendency toward design and organization that changes over time in a discernible, seemingly goal-oriented direction. So it would be more accurate to call these things evolutionary design and evolutionary organization. This has nothing to do with intelligent design, by the way. It’s simply treating design and evolution as two natural scientific concepts. One must ask in response, though, if concepts are real. If they are outcomes of unguided, non-intelligent natural laws, and are always changing over time (evolving), on what basis can they be considered true? Bejan is certainly aware of opposite worldviews that see things differently. Did the constructal law produce those as well? How is he to determine which concept, then, is better, or truer, than any other?My own thinking evolved while I was writing this book. I conclude with the idea that science itself is an evolutionary design that empowers humans. So in that way alone, I think, the Constructal Law has a lot to say—and a lot of eyes to open.He speaks as a guru whose eyes, like the Buddha, have been enlightened. A clever debater could ask if his thinking has stopped evolving yet and reached Nirvana, and how would he know. If it is still evolving, who’s to say it might evolve into its opposite some day?The bottom line is that many of the things that we take for granted need to be explained in a better way. As you and I know, they can disappear overnight if we take our eye off the ball. Or, worse, the ball will hit us in the face. Wake up! I say to readers. If you don’t wake up, the ball will wake you up. Explanation implies importing truth. If truth evolves, it isn’t true any more. And explaining “in a better way” presupposes an unevolving standard: i.e., knowing which explanation is better and which is worse—not just for our culture, but for all time.Incidentally, his definition of “physics” encompasses more than the laws of Newton or Einstein. To him, physics (Greek) and nature (Latin) refer to “everything that happens.” Well, then, his constructal law is just one of those things that happens from time to time. In that vein, here’s how he might explain physics: “Stuff Happens.” That phrase, however, is incapable of evolving, otherwise nothing would ever happen again, and the phrase would be false.Accused of reductionism, Bejan admits, in spite of himself, that his own idea is a manifestation of the Stuff Happens Law (q.v.). Apparently, that ball has not hit him in the face yet.There is no rational escape from the self-refuting fallacy. Your job is to recognize it when you see it and extricate those entangled in it back into the realm of rationality. Justifiable logical concepts presuppose non-evolving morality and supernaturalism. Materialism cannot supply the preconditions for intelligibility of concepts argued to be true. It defeats itself, therefore. This means it is not true, was not true, and cannot ever be true, despite any new evidence put forth in its favor. It’s like saying, “My idea is that there are no ideas.” Yes, we all need to wake up to the crazy ideas materialists and relativists are pawning as “science.”
29 December 2003The Soweto Gospel Choir, drawing from the churches and communities of South Africa’s most famous township, mixes earthy rhythms with rich harmonies to uplift the soul and express the energy of South Africa.After a 32-date tour of Australia and New Zealand, and four weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the choir has yet to go without a standing ovation. Now they’re planning to take their unique brand of gospel magic to Asia, the US, and again to Europe and Australia. Not bad for a group that’s only been together since November 2002.The choir was the surprise hit of the 2003 Edinburgh Festival: they were the fourth-highest selling act out of 1 600 acts booked for the festival, putting on extra shows to meet the demand and eventually performing 29 concerts in the space of a month – delighting the reviewers as much as the audiences.Fiona Shepherd, writing for The Scotsman, had this to say of their concert performance, “Voices of Heaven”: “A capella groups Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Black Umfolozi have already cracked open the western market for indigenous South African song, but nothing can really prepare you for the riot of exuberance and depth of emotion emanating from this 24-piece ensemble …“This is a seamless show brimming with spot-on multi-lingual performances which, for all their technical precision, are universally expressive and unfettered, charged by the choir’s constant movement.”When they toured Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, the choir bowled audiences over with their powerful performances, receiving standing ovations after every show, including a performance at the Sydney Opera House.The choir ended their tour by winning a Helpmann award in the category “Best contemporary concert presentation”. The Helpmann awards, established in Australia in 2001 for excellence and achievement in the live entertainment industry, are similar to the Tony Awards on Broadway or the Olivier Awards in London.With their fast-growing international profile and the rapid success of their first album (also entitled “Voices of Heaven”), the Soweto Gospel Choir is perhaps better known to foreigners than those at home!Choir master David Mulovhedzi attributes the success of the 34-member choir to the fact that it is tapping into South Africa’s enormous talent pool. Its members, whose ages range from 16 to 40, hail from churches and communities in and around Soweto, and are all lead singers in their own community choirs.The choir includes a four-piece band and some thrilling drummers and dancers in the African tradition where song, dance and drumming are an integral part of life and faith.The choir sings traditional African gospel and a cappella. Their overseas performances also included other gospel greats like “Amazing Grace”, “Paradise Road” and music by Otis Redding and reggae artist Jimmy Cliff. According to the Australian ABC Shop online, the “Voices from Heaven” CD “showcases an inspirational programme of a capella and African gospel.“Ranging from traditional African gospel to songs drawn from Western and contemporary gospel traditions, South African gospel music is indeed unique. It has strong roots in traditional music and conveys a powerful spiritual message.”To order the CD, visit the ABC Shop or the choir’s online shop.SouthAfrica.info reporter
14 May 2012 South Africa has become a member of a European institute that makes joint use of radio telescopes spread across the world to produce the clearest available images of some of the most distant and energetic objects in the universe. The Joint Institute for Very Long Baseline Interferometry in Europe (Jive) last week welcomed South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) as a member. JIVE’s funding organisations already include the National Astronomical Observatories of China, as well as European national research councils and facilities in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Jive supports the European VLBI Network (EVN) of radio astronomy facilities, which collaborates with international facilities to conduct Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), an astronomical technique “that uses widely separated radio telescopes in conjunction with each other to simulate a single telescope hundreds or thousands of kilometres in diameter,” Jive said in a statement last week. “This technique produces the clearest, highest resolution images of some of the most distant and energetic objects in the universe.” South Africa’s Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) has been an active member of the EVN since 2001, and its 26-metre dish has participated in EVN observations for an even longer time. HartRAO is also working with various African countries to convert obsolete satellite communications dishes across the continent into radio telescopes to create an African VLBI network which, it is planned, will also collaborate with Jive. South Africa’s radio astronomy – and VLBI – capabilities will be hugely augmented when the Karoo Array Telescope (also known as the MeerKAT), a 64-dish precursor instrument for the Square Kilometre Array, is commissioned in 2014/15. “The formal addition of the NRF as a full Jive member signals the NRF’s commitment to VLBI and to the future of our collaboration in the EVN in particular,” said Jive director Huib van Langevelde. “The NRF partnership commits Jive to actively assist in making these facilities successful new additions to the VLBI network. “Hartebeesthoek’s participation in VLBI observations over the past several years has improved the performance of the EVN tremendously,” Van Langevelde said. “We look forward to observing together with these new South African telescopes to further strengthen the EVN.” SAinfo reporter
Danny K paints the walls of the Tlhatlogang. Junior Secondary School CEO of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Achmat Dangor speaks at the launch of Mandela Day 2012. SA celebrities address pupils. UN officials do their bit for Madiba. (Images: Cadine Pillay) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sello Hatang Spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory +2711 547 5600 RELATED ARTICLES • Schools to benefit for Mandela Day • Mandela TV series to start production • Mandela archive goes live • Mandela Day now a global eventCadine PillayThe annual International Mandela Day was launched on 23 May with several of South Africa’s most popular celebrities taking time out to roll up their sleeves and fix a partly dilapidated school in Soweto, Johannesburg.Working under the theme “Take action and inspire our youth for tomorrow” they toiled alongside officials from the UN Information Centre (UNIC) as well as employees of several large corporates to get a head start to their 67 minutes for Mandela. South Africans and the world at large are urged every year to spend 67 minutes doing a good deed for someone less fortunate than themselves as a way of observing Mandela Day.Singer Danny K, rapper and presenter ProVerb, model and presenter Bonang Matheba and fashion designer Gert Johan Coetzee painted the walls of two container classrooms at Tlhatlogang Junior Secondary School in White City Jabavu, Soweto. The school was selected by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory as the launch venue.The voices of SA“All South African artists have a close connection with Madiba,” said Danny K, referring to Mandela by his clan name. The singer challenged musicians at the launch to give their voices, all the while reminding guests of the vital role young people play in society.“Providing them with an education and a good start in life can help them overcome challenges,” he said.Danny K is also part of the SHOUT campaign, an initiative that raises awareness on issues related to crime in South Africa.Matheba has also been busy with her initiative called “Carry Yourself with Confidence”. Her aim with the project is to reach 6.7 million girls by the end of 2012 across through motivational talks.“I believe that God gives to you so that he can give through you, and that is the message I want to send to young girls,” she said.Addressing pupils, ProVerb called on them to not only engage in their own 67 minutes of good deeds, but to also encourage their peers to do the same.“They should also not just do it for Mandela Day, but carry on to with the spirit of goodwill in their everyday lives,” he said.Sello Hatang, spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, said: “We are particularly pleased with the artists who have decided to join us and hope that all their followers will take their lead.”Backing of corporatesLindsey Sherman from Investec, who spoke on behalf of the Companies for Mandela Day initiative, explained the importance and benefits of employee volunteering.She said in the past companies would just do their part on 18 July every year, but that has changed and they have now taken their efforts to include the weeks, even months prior to the day.The Companies for Mandela Day participants have created a system that encourages staff to undertake community service throughout the year.“This mobilises more people and encourages change makers to make their good deeds on-going and sustainable, rather than just once off,” said Nelson Mandela Day Coordinator Frank Meintjies. At least 25 companies form part of the initiative.In some cases the participating companies have gone as far as involving their staff in ‘payroll giving’, where employees agree to a certain amount being deducted from their salaries to go to the community projects their companies support.“This is excellent for sustainability and Mandela Day gives a boost to this on-going work, as well as bringing new employees into volunteer work,” said Meintjies.A global movementSpeaking at the launch, CEO of the centre Achmat Dangor said “Mandela Day is proof that one small step at a time can become a global movement around the world. All that is required is action.”Dangor called on guests to take time out of their lives to inspire change in their communities.“We would like to remind all that the Mandela Day campaign is a call for activism in order to build better communities.”Mandela Day was established in 2009 following the success of the former stateman’s 90th birthday commemoration the previous year. It is now officially adopted by the UN as a day to recognise the man and his efforts towards reconciliation in South Africa.“The aim is to inspire people not just in South Africa, but all over the world to follow by his example and take action,” said Dangor.Last year, the premier basketball league in the US, the National Basketball Association (NBA), will host their second series of basketball clinics in Alexandra, after a successful run in Soweto last year.Another initiative that is driven by Richard Mabaso, founder of Imbumba Foundation will see him climb Mount Kilimanjaro for the first time in July.His efforts are to raise funds and awareness for the education of girls from underprivileged backgrounds across the country.British comedian Eddie Izzard was not to be left behind. He started a marathon race in honour of Mandela earlier in the May at Mvezo in the Eastern Cape.“I will attempt to run 27 marathons in 27 days, as a small tribute to Mandela to symbolise the 27 years he spent in prison,” he said.The marathons will be run all over South Africa in areas of significance to Mandela’s life, including the Eastern Cape areas of Qunu and Fort Hare. In Gauteng they will be in Johannesburg, Soweto, Pretoria and Rivonia, while Cape Town and Robben Island will have their own events. Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years at Robben Island.‘Encouraging active citizens’As the emphasis for Mandela Day is being placed on raising youth through decent education, the centre of memory – along with its partners – is driving some of South Africa’s most meaningful initiatives.“We would like to encourage young people to be active citizens by participating wholeheartedly in this campaign,” said Hatang. “There are countless ways to give back and start affecting a positive change for our youth.”The projects were inspired to improve conditions and literacy levels among youngsters from historically disadvantaged communities.The Container Library Project driven by Breadline Africa installs container libraries at primary schools throughout South Africa, benefiting about 1000 pupils.The 94+ Schools Project, initiated by the Department of Basic Education, has identified 94 of the country’s neediest schools for upgrades and refurbishment in honour of Mandela. “The message of giving your time to uplift your fellow citizens is reaching people, and the spirit of volunteerism that has been shown is humbling,” said UNIC Deputy Director Helene Hoedl.“We can only work harder by ensuring that this is more sustainable, and that we indeed make every day Mandela Day.”
The Dubai-based Lulu International Group (LIG) has become the first overseas company to engage with the J&K government to purchase horticulture and agriculture produce, including apples, in bulk from the State since the revocation of its special status on August 5.A delegation of the company met Farooq Khan, Adviser to Governor Satya Pal Malik, last week to discuss the plan. An official said the delegation had discussed “elaborate plans” of marketing the producte with Agriculture and Horticulture Secretary Manzoor Ahmad Lone.Mr. Khan offered the group access to the markets of saffron, honey and heirloom rice varieties, an official said.Yusuff Ali M.A., Lulu Group chairman and prominent NRI businessman, said 200 tonnes of produce was the first consignment being shipped outside Jammu and Kashmir.