Category Archives: South Africa

Botswana repatriates citizens

Botswana will undertake efforts to repatriate citizens stranded abroad due to coronavirus travel bans, with more than 100 travellers to arrive on June 3 from Ethiopia, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Saturday, May 30.

In order to alleviate the plight of our citizens abroad who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic, mostly students and those affected by the global travel bans, we have decided to assist them with financial assistance to either cope where they are or to return them home,” Masisi said in a speech, transmitted by TV channels.

Masisi said the government has already helped 400 people to return from South Africa and neighbouring countries.

Botswana medics have established 35 coronavirus cases, one of patients died.

However in spite of the relatively low contamination cases rate the economy has been severely hit, with real gross domestic product forecast to contract by 13% in 2020.

Botswana ended a 48-day lockdown a week ago, allowing businesses and schools to reopen under strict conditions but its borders are still closed with only returning citizens and essential goods allowed in.

At present the toursitic industry operators reamin trapped between clients requesting their money back, and accommodation in safari lodges reluctant to return deposits. This has caused serious cash flow problems.

The proposal of a voucher or credit for the future trips do not convene many clients,
explainging they found themselves in a financially fragile situaiton, and they are not sure they will be able to afford the luxury trip to Botswana natural resorts in the future.

As a result the Botswana communities has been suffering a serious economic set back caused by absence of toursits, who were the major consumers of local services of guides, drivers, restaurants, traditional crafts, and souvenirs, and other endeavours related to the touristic industry infrastructure.

Africa’s tourism industry in general has been hard hit by coronavirus lockdowns. Overnight, hotel bookings were canceled, safaris postponed and cultural tours abandoned. The operators are struggling to stay afloat in hope the tourists will come back soon.

Wildlife trafficking to China

Under the guise of legal exports, South African traders with China are illegally selling thousands of wild animals threatened with extinction and endangered, according to an investigation.

Apes have been stolen from the wild along with cheetahs, tigers, rhinos, lions and meerkats, they have been trafficked to circuses, theme parks, laboratories, zoos and “safari parks”, and simply as exotic foods, researchers revealed.

Their report says at least 5,035 live wild animals were exported to China from 2016 to last year – “an extremely conservative” estimate – including chimpanzees and “a bewildering number” of giraffe, which “are also eaten in China”.

Lesotho PM «dignified retirement» 

Government of the Kigndom of Lesotho has agreed that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who is accused of murdering his estranged wife, will resign without any further delay.

The deal brokered with the help of South African mediators is said to promise the Prime minister a “dignified and secure” exit from office.

Thabane has been under pressure to resign over persistent suspicions he was involved in the assassination in 2017, and his new wife has been charged. Both deny any involvement in the brutal murder. Gunmen shot and killed Mr Thabane’s then-wife Lipolelo Thabane on 14 June 2017. Officials charged Mr Thabane’s current wife Maesaiah with the murder this year, and also named Mr Thabane as a suspect – although he has not yet been formally charged.

It is not yet clear if he will agree to stand down immediately, as the deal indicates.

Zuma arrest warrant issued

A South African court has issued an arrest warrant for the former president Jacob Zuma after he failed to appear at hearing on the grounds of a medical treatment.

Zuma’s lawyer, Daniel Mantsha, presented a document from a “military hospital” to excuse his client absence, but the judge questioned whether the note was valid or even written by a doctor. Prosecutors said it was a criminal offence not to fully explain an absence on medical grounds. Jacob Zuma face charges in a corruption case that he has been avoiding for months, most recently by referring to health issues, preventing him to stand a trial.

“Zuma’s absence is disappointing … we want Mr Mantsha to tell us what the illness is and why Zuma can’t be here. It is a criminal offence for the accused not to be present if he has been warned in court,” said Billy Downer, representing South African the state.

According to former President lawyers, he had two operations in early January before going abroad. However the judge questioned the authenticity of a letter from a “military hospital” in the administrative capital, Pretoria, explaining Mr. Zuma’s absence.

Kendell Geers ventures African mask philosophy

South African conceptual artist Kendell Geers presents African masks in unconventional way to evoke re-evaluation of cultural heritage of the continent, shifting from outdated perception of  “fetish” to artefact, and further to reading the profound philosophical meaning of the ritual objects.

Concluding the exhibition IncarNations (BOZAR, Brussels)  debates took place on contemporary vision of African cultural heritage, and imminent need to shift away from the Colonial era patterns of exoticism to genuine understanding of meaning of African culture. Passionate proponent of African art,  Kendell Geers calls for abandoning Eurocentric system of assessment of cultural heritage, and regarding historic artefacts with African eyes.

Kendell Geers presentations of African masterpieces stretches beyond Africa, pointing to their universal spiritual strength, fearlessly confronting the most sensitive issues of Colonial past, and problems of the present dialogues between East, West and Africa to ensure transformations leading to engagements, empowering Africans, and reconstructing their rich cultural heritage.

The artist reflects upon dramatic history of colonisation of Africa, suggesting “negative” overpowers “positive” in synergy of two continents, until Europeans keep their prejudices and fantasies, and desires rooted in the bygone era.

 

The exhibition IncarNations created by the artist Kendell Geers in co-operation with the Congolese art collector Sindika Dokolo has challenged a traditional outlook on African culture, proposing Afrocentric perspective. It took place in Brussels Art Centre BOZAR from 

 

 

South Africa urban violence outbreak

South African police  have arrested dozens of people in Johannesburg on September 2 after rioters looted shops, burned tyres and blocked road junctions – the second outbreak of urban rioting in a week. (Image: Johannesburg).

Police had no answer what exactly had triggered the violence, however it is generally considered that the social context has deteriorated: unemployment at close to 30%, widespread poverty and income disparities have all been blamed for recent outbreaks and attacks on immigrants.

Last week, hundreds of protesters in the administrative capital Pretoria set fire to buildings, looted mostly foreign-owned businesses and clashed with police, who started to fire rubber bullets at the crowds in attempt to stop further devastation.

Taxi drivers issued an alert to commuters asking them to avoid Pretoria downtown.

However, Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said Nigerian shops had been targeted by “mindless criminals” and promised to take “definitive measures“.

SA Cabernet Sauvignon in focus

South Africa has a long history with Cabernet Sauvignon, both as a varietal and blended wine. Highly rated examples abound, too, including many Stellenbosch-based bottlings from producers with long track records, like KanonkopLe RicheRust en VredeRustenberg and Waterford,

But South African Cabernet Sauvignon was never firmly identified as a consistent exemplar on the international wine stage.

It’s time for that to change, the Wine Enthusiast online recommends. Beyond the diversity and caliber of Cabernet Sauvignon produced in South Africa,­ the wines also represent tremendous value.

Babylonstoren 2015 Nebukadnesar (Simonsberg-Paarl); $45, 93 points.

Dark and brooding, this Cabernet Sauvignon-led blend, with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, currently smells somewhat reserved, with shy notes of black plum, cassis, Baker’s chocolate, boysenberry and cigar-box spice. It’s medium-plus in weight, with opulence and a rich body that’s framed by bold, supporting tannins and medium acidity. It’s well balanced, with a long, spicy finish that ends with a kiss of dark chocolate. Catamarca Imports LLC.

Ernie Els 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch); $24, 91 points. While this is currently slightly tight and closed, it shows the structure and elements to present a complete and well-balanced wine with a little time. Scents of charred plum skin, dark chocolate, cigar box and roast beef dance in the bouquet, while the bold, firm palate offers flavors of black fruit skin, cassis and char. Drink 2019–2022. Editors’ Choice.

Robertson Winery 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Robertson); $10, 91 points. Brambly berry, black plum and cherry abound on the nose of this attractive wine. Touches of cinnamon stick, violet and milk chocolate add interest. The medium-weight palate is fresh and vibrant in ripe fruit tones, with velvety tannins and ample acidity. It’s well balanced and harmonious, while the lasting finish evolves from fruit flesh to soil then tree bark and finally soft sweet spice. Best Buy.

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