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President Ramaphosa officially opens the National House of Traditional Leaders

By Stella Sigcau

25 February 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially opened the National House of Traditional Leaders for 2020 at a colourful event that took place in parliament, Cape Town. The diversity of South African traditional communities was expressed through the traditional clothing that the attendees wore to showcase their diverse cultures. On arrival Ramaphosa was greeted by the Minister of COGTA Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders Nkosi Sipho Mahlangu.

(Photo by Siyabulela Duda/GCIS)

The event which was attended by various government representatives including Deputy Ministers and Traditional Leaders from various parts of South Africa commenced with a traditional praise singer rendering an item creating a vibrant atmosphere in the house.


SA host Portugal for bilateral consultations

22 February 2020

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, hosted the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Portuguese Republic, Professor Augusto Santos Silva, for bilateral consultations in Pretoria.

Photo: Bilateral Consultations between Minister Naledi Pandor and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Portugal, Prof Augusto Santos Silva in Pretoria, South Africa (Yolande Snyman / DIRCO)

“The visit is part of a series of high-level engagements between South Africa and Portugal, and follows the meeting between President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of Portugal in Maputo on 15 January, where the two leaders attended the inauguration of the President of Mozambique, Felipe Nyusi,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said in a statement.


Autonomy of the Demarcation Board is expressed through active public participation

by Congress Mahlangu, President of State-Owned Entities Communicators Association (SOECA)

22 February 2020
In terms of the constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) has the autonomous mandate to determine and redetermine the municipal boundaries, without any fear, favour or of prejudice. In fulfilling, its mandate the Board must consider the capacity of a district or local municipality concerned if it could perform its functions and exercise its powers when determining or re-determining boundaries.

Needless to say, without the MDB discharging its constitutional mandate, it is certainly unthinkable that South Africa will be able to conduct local government elections, hence it is crucial for this body to exist and discharge its responsibility.

The word autonomy is very important in the following context – firstly it demystify the myth that the ruling governing party or any other political party in power for that matter, may, wittingly or unwittingly influence the outcome of the determining or re-determing of boundaries.


AfDB committed to Zimbabwe realising its full potential

21 February 2020

The African Development Bank (AfDB) pledged support for Zimbabwe when a team of its executive directors paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa Offices.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said the AfDB was happy with Zimbabwe’s economic reforms.

Photo: Professor Mthuli Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Zimbabwe

“The AfDB continues to support us in various social production projects. As you know, they supported us when we requested resources around Cyclone Idai. In fact, they visited Chimanimani and just returned this afternoon.


Direct Air Connectivity between Mumbai and Joburg

21 February 2020

Recently appointed Consul-General of South Africa in Mumbai, Andrea Kühn met with the Governor of Maharashtra, Bhagat Singh Koshyari at the Raj Bhawan who welcomed her to Maharashtra.

Consul-General Kühn noted that with the many Indian companies investing in South Africa and the tourist numbers growing, direct air connectivity between Joburg and Mumbai , the two financial capitals, would be mutually beneficial. The Governor committed to take this matter up with the Central Government.

The links between India and South Africa are strong.


A showcase of Tunisian jewellery

20 February 2020

Amel Henchiri, a Tunisia jewellery maker was inspired by jewellery that her mother and aunts wore, jewellery passed down over generations. Jewellery is heritage, said Henchiri, and not wanting old jewellery to be destroyed, Henchiri came up with the idea to give new life to this jewellery adding her own special touch.

Photo: (l-r) Amel Henchiri, Elif Çomoğlu Űlgen, Ambassador of Turkey, Narjes Dridi, Ambassador of Tunisia and Zodwa Lallie, Deputy Director General at the SA Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Henchiri comes from Jerba, an island in the south of Tunisia that is steeped in history and is well known for its preservation of its traditional dress and jewellery culture. Having studied jewellery making in Belgium she has adapted techniques which resulted in her own distinctive style and she has exhibited her creations internationally.


President Cyril Ramaphosa assumes AU chairship

9 February 2020

“Let us build the Africa we want. Let the guns be silenced. Let our swords be beaten to ploughshares, and our spears turned into pruning hooks. It is the actions we take from this day onwards that will determine our continent’s destiny,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Photo: President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt hands over the chairship of the AU to President Ramaphosa of South Africa (Katlholo Maifadi/DIRCO)

With these words, the President highlighted South Africa’s focus for the African Union (AU) chairship, which he assumed during the first day of the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


The dynamism of South Africa’s diversity of cultures: A Rainbow nation

by Stella Sigcau

19 February 2020

South Africa, which is often referred to as the cradle of humankind, is home to diverse cultures which are dynamic for example but not limited to, Sotho, Tswana, Pedi, Afrikaner, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Thembu, Bhaca, Mpondo, Hlubi, Balibedu, Tsonga, Venda, Swati, Indian, Khoi, San.

(Image credit Pixabay)

These cultures have unique history, heritage, languages, dress codes, cultural practices and even religious beliefs. The late former President Mandela referred to this diversity as the rainbow nation. Some of these cultures trace their origins from the Abambo and the Nguni groups; others are of Indian, Dutch, Malay origins, others are of the Khoi and the San origins, some descend from the mixing of these cultures and the list goes on.

Prior to the advent of the arrival of the colonial powers in South Africa it is reported that the San and the Khoi often referred to as abaThwa or Bushmen who were semi nomadic hunter gatherers were already in settlement and the Bantu clans and tribes migrated to the Southern part of Africa splitting and establishing various Kingdoms. Some tribes along the way would be conquered and absorbed by the dominant ones to form Kingdoms and some tribes or clans would seek refuge in other Kingdoms and thus become part of those Kingdoms recognising the King of that Kingdom as the supreme ruler. Some of these tribes were of Nguni and Abambo origins which it is reported originated from Ntu or Bantus. There is a view that Ntu was either the first created individual hence umntu (nguni name for person) or the first leader of the Bantu tribe in Africa.


SA open for increased German investment

6 February 2020

South Africa is keen to attract higher levels of investment from Germany and to increase bilateral trade, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The President made the remarks while addressing delegates during a South Africa – Germany Business Roundtable in Tshwane, on Thursday. The engagement is part of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Official Visit to South Africa.

A recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report has noted that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to South Africa have increased substantially over the last two years.

“This confidence is aptly demonstrated across sectors and companies, including by German companies and their subsidiaries with a longstanding presence in South Africa,” said the President.


Traditional Leaders: unsung heroes of the liberation struggle and colonial resistance?

By Stella Sigcau

13 February 2020

2020 marks 30 years since the release of the global icon the late former President Mandela from prison after having spent 27 years for fighting for liberation. It was a historic moment, a moment like no other. South Africans were celebrating. The world was celebrating with South Africans. It was a historic moment in the history of South Africa. Many people from various walks of life had sacrificed their lives for this freedom. It was finally here.

The many South Africans who fought colonial resistance and liberation struggle include Traditional Leaders. They were part of this struggle from time immemorial however, it seems their role in the liberation struggle and colonial resistance is often underplayed. Traditional Leadership has throughout the ages remained an integral part of the various cultures on the African continent. It was and continues to be an important institution in particular in the rural areas.


The fall of a legend: Joseph Shabalala of the Ladysmith Black Mambazo passes

By Stella Sigcau

12 February 2020

On 11 February 2020 South Africans woke up to the sad news of the passing of a musical legend Joseph Shabalala, this when South Africa was celebrating 30 years since the release of the late former President Nelson Mandela from prison.

Mandela’s release was a historic moment in the history of South Africa which marked, according to President Ramaphosa speaking at the 30th anniversary of the release of Mandela from Victor Verster prison, “the end of apartheid”. The legend Shabalala fell on this historic day. Shabalala had shared a special friendship and bond with the late President Mandela. When President Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, he was accompanied to Oslo by the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, founded and led by Shabalala. President Mandela referred to the group as South Africa’s cultural ambassadors to the world. The group also performed at his presidential inauguration in 1994. 11 February will thus forever be important to South Africans as it is synonymous with the release of President Mandela and now the passing of Joseph Shabalala.

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January/February 2020










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