Spotlight on words at Arts Fest

first_imgTwenty-six-year-old Thando Mgqolozanamade his literary debut at this year’sfestival with his novel, A man; who is nota man. Mgqolozana’s work challenges thepractices of male circumcision in theXhosa culture.Khanyi MagubaneFind out more about using MediaClubSouthAfrica.com materialWriters took to the streets in Grahamstown on 7 July as part of Wordfest, the literary programme at the National Arts Festival that seeks to highlight the need for the proper development of a reading culture in South Africa.The 200 writers who gathered outside the Wordfest venue at Rhodes University in the town were also there to protest against the poor state of reading levels in South Africa.The initiative was supported by a number of prominent people in the literary programme, including the convener of Wordfest and professor of poetry at Rhodes University Chris Mann, and Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture MEC Xoliswa Tom, who launched event.This year’s programme will include lectures from academics, readings from authors, book launches and poetry recitals.The book chain store Exclusive Books has also set up a small shop at the venue.The opening keynote address was delivered by award-winning author Mandla Langa, whose latest novel, Colours of the Chameleon, recently won the Commonwealth Prize for Literature in the Africa region.Langa spoke about the struggles that South Africans have had to overcome, focusing specifically on his own childhood, growing up in the township of Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal province. As a child he was unaware that the Bantu education, as it was referred to during apartheid, he was receiving was of a much lower standard than that of white students in the country.But, despite the social difficulties of growing up in a township, Langa recalls how he immersed himself in books and reading.His love of reading exposed him to poets and authors within his own community. He was groomed by late legendary South African poet Mafika Gwala. He recalled how seeing his first published poem in a literary journal moved him.“When, some years later, one of my poems was published in a magazine, Ophir, edited by Peter Horn and Robert MacNamara, I was over the moon.“I remember going around, getting free drinks in shebeens [home taverns], this boy who’s got a poem published in a real magazine, alongside names of white people, no less. That’s when, to put it mildly, my troubles started. I had found a role that would define me.”But Langa’s elation didn’t last after enrolling in the University of Fort Hare’s English programme.According to Langa, his English lecturer frequently and openly told him, and his fellow black students, that they would never pass “his English”. This did not deter Langa, who went on to finish his degree.Going into exile in the late 1970s, he lived in various countries including Nigeria. During a theatre production based on the infamous 16 June 1976 Soweto uprising, by students from the University of Ibadan, Langa was painfully reminded of his homesickness and the conflicts in his home country.“I remember that, as soon as the students’ performance got to the enactment of the Hector Pieterson shooting, the soldier standing next to me, who was a big man, started weeping uncontrollably.“I also wept. I wept for my country, for the fact that we were thousands of miles from home. In those years it was difficult to think of the possibility of apartheid’s end.”Langa’s speech centred on the need for South Africans to move forward, not to be stuck in one particular era, but also not to forget what had happened in South Africa at the time. He used the metaphor of walking, which he says also inspired former president Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.“Nelson Mandela’s journey in Long Walk to Freedom mirrors the efforts to raise up black American slaves through education by Booker T Washington, who wrote Up From Slavery, another form of walking – it’s less about the physical activity of walking than about attitude; an attitude that, granted, derives its inspiration from walking.”Breaking the silenceAlso launched at the festival was the controversial book by first-time writer, 26-year-old Thando Mgqolozana. His novel, A man; who is not a man, published by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, challenges the practices of male circumcision in the Xhosa culture.During his opening address, the young Eastern Cape writer spoke about his own experience with circumcision. He said that it is difficult for him to see what was once a proud ritual to usher boys into manhood, become a thorny issue veiled in silence in his community.“I felt the need to break the silence and publish this book because the fear is no longer. I wanted to start a debate on this issue, and lift the veil of secrecy around the issue of the death of initiates.”A number of Xhosa traditionalists attended the launch as the topic of male circumcision has long been regarded as an exclusively male issue, and could not be addressed in a public forum including women.Mgqolozana said he was prepared to field tough questions from Xhosa traditionalists, who may have been offended by the book. Instead, he was met with an unexpected amount of support from the audience. He said he was touched by the encouragement from, especially, elder males who, in acknowledging the sacredness of the practice, felt that the writer had taken a leap of faith in openly addressing it.The issue of male circumcision has been a hot topic in the South African media as a number of young men have died due to alleged medical complications. The South African Press Association reported on 7 July 2009 that a 37th Eastern Cape man died after an initiation ritual. The youths, most of them between the ages of 13 and 22, died after undergoing the traditional practice at illegal initiation schools.“You are brave because us man folk don’t talk about such things in front of women folk. But it is good for you to talk about it, because when tradition changes and it results in death, that’s a problem,” said one attendee during the question-and-answer session.“Now is the time for the custom to be transformed. How many deaths must we witness until we do something about it?” asked another attendee.Mgqolozana criticised the House of Traditional Leaders, a body set up by government to deal with traditional issues, whom he says has failed to protect the age-old practice.“They have failed us. The government has tried to come up with legislative laws to try and govern practices around male circumcision. However, the House of the Traditional Leaders has rejected the promulgation of this Act.”Mgqolozana was referring to the Children’s Act number 38 of 2005, which also includes a section on male circumcision.According to the law, males under the age of 16 may not be circumcised, unless:performed for religious purposes in accordance with the practices of the religion concerned and in the manner prescribed, orperformed for medical reasons on the recommendation of a medical practitioner.Mgqolozana says he hopes the book will encourage young and old to open up, as well as integrate women into the conversation, as many mothers are losing their children.“This book doesn’t really have a target audience, but I hope that people who practise male circumcision will read this book.“I’m hoping that the fathers will get my argument, and that the mothers will finally know the secrets of circumcision as they deserve to know what is happening.”The young writer says his mother, though, has been a tough one to convince, “She read the book overnight and she sms’d me the next morning and she said ‘this is really a work of fiction’.”Wordfest will continue at the National Arts Festival until 10 July.Do you have any queries or comments about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at khanyim@mediaclubsouthafrica.comUseful linksWordfest National Arts Festival University of KwaZulu-Natal presslast_img read more

South Africa tots up population wins

first_img24 July 2015Just over a week ago, on 14 July, UNAids released its report, How Aids Has Changed Everything – Meeting the MDG Targets.It said the world had met and exceeded the Aids targets of Millennium Development Goal Six, and was on track to end the Aids epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Among other nations, it spoke of South Africa as one of the countries that had made significant strides in halting and reversing the epidemic.Yesterday, Statistics South Africa added its research to the story. About one in 10 South Africans was living with HIV, it said in its mid-year population estimates report, published on 23 July.Speaking at its release in Pretoria, statistician-general Pali Lehohla said 6.19 million South Africans were living with the disease, out of an estimated total population of 54.95 million people, or 11.2%.The number of South Africans infected with HIV had increased by 2.17 million since 2002, when 4.02 million South Africans were HIV-positive. However, he said, infections were declining, with the incidence rate among people between the ages of 15 and 49 waning.A reduction of infections in people aged between 15 and 24 bore this out: in 2002, 6.75% of this group was infected with HIV, dropping to 5.59% in 2015.In addition, there had been a gradual drop in Aids-related deaths since 2002. In its mid-year report, Stats SA estimated that 531 965 people had died, with 162 445 of those being Aids-related, or 30.5%. In 2002, 44.6% of all deaths were Aids-related; this figure peaked in 2005 at 50.7%.Saved by treatmentUNAids said that the goal of 15 million people on life-saving HIV treatment by 2015 had been met nine months ahead of schedule. In 2014, the report showed that 83 countries, which accounted for 83% of all people living with HIV, had halted or reversed their epidemics, including countries with major epidemics, such as South Africa, India, Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.“Countries that rapidly mounted robust responses to their epidemics saw impressive results. South Africa turned around its decline in life expectancy within 10 years, rising from 51 years in 2005 to 61 by the end of 2014, on the back of a massive increase in access to antiretroviral therapy,” UNAids said.“South Africa has the largest HIV treatment programme in the world, with more than 3.1 million people on antiretroviral therapy, funded almost entirely from domestic sources. In the last five years alone, AIDS-related deaths have declined by 58% in South Africa.”Life expectancy lengthensStats SA also looked at life expectancy. “We need to look at what progress is being achieved in demographics,” Lehohla said. “Life expectancy is increasing. That is the biggest demographic gain the world observes.”In Africa, life expectancy had increased by 20 years since the 1950s. In South Africa, average life expectancy in 2015 was 62.5 years, up 9.1 years since 2004. The average life expectancy for a South African male was 60.6 years, for a female it was 64.2 years.The increase in average life expectancy was matched by a drop in both the infant mortality rate and the children-under-five mortality rate. In 2002, the infant mortality rate was 51.2 babies per 1 000 live births; it peaked at 52 babies per 1 000 live births. In 2015, this number had dropped to 34.4 deaths per 1 000 live births.Similarly, in 2002, there were 77.2 deaths per 1 000 children among those under five, peaking at 79.1 in 2005. In 2015, this figure has dropped significantly to 45.1 deaths per 1 000 children.Meanwhile, Lehohla said, on average, South African women were having 2.55 children each since 2011, a drop from 2.79 in 2002. While Gauteng had the lowest birth rate in South Africa, it was the country’s most populated province, with 13.2 million people – 24% of the country’s total population.Turning to population, Stats SA said the country’s population had grown 1.65% from 2014 to 2015, compared with 1.28% from 2002 to 2003. The natural rate of the increase was 1.3% in 2015, with the remainder being made up by migration.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Solar Panels Installation: 6 Unexpected Factors to Consider

first_img Costs In 1956, solar panels cost about $300 per watt. The 7.5 kW system could only be afforded by the very rich.Today, prices have fallen significantly. In most areas, solar panels operate at around $3-5 per watt. You will pay closer to $3 if you install it yourself, and closer to $5 if you have professionals to do so. For 7.5-kW or 7500 watts panels, you could pay from $22,500 to $37,500.If you need less electricity, of course, the number gets lower. If you only consume 600 kWh per month or 20 kWh per day, you could install a system with a capacity of up to 5 kW which would cost around $15,000.Of course, you could partially supply the house with solar energy. If you want to invest $10,000 in solar panels, you can add electricity from the grid with a 1.5-kW solar system.However, tens of thousands of dollars for solar panels are still quite exorbitant, especially since it can take decades before the money is redeemed.You can rent them (the panels), though. There are no advance payments. Homeowners pay a monthly rent for the use, and the rental company owns and supports them. Over the past 10 years, rooftop houses with solar panels have evolved from curiosity to a common phenomenon. This technology has been available for decades – astronauts have been using solar-powered satellites since 1960, and in the Second World War, passive solar heating systems, which convert solar energy into heat instead of electricity, have been used in U.S. homes.However, the introduction of active solar systems as a consumer good turned out to be an issue. Active solar energy uses photovoltaic panels to convert sunlight into electricity, and this has traditionally been a prohibitively expensive technology.The advantages of solar-powered residential buildings are obvious: solar energy is infinite (at least for the next 5 billion years approximately), provides clean energy without emitting greenhouse gases, that may save people’s money on their electricity bills.But there are factors to consider when deciding on solar energy – and the cost is just one of them.In this article, I will consider 6 of the most important issues that need to be addressed when you think about investing in solar panel installation. The use of photovoltaic energy is a very “green” solution and a potentially useful step, but it is not as easy as getting energy from a conventional power grid.Solar Panels Installation. The first factor is the one that you, perhaps, weren’t even considering: Thanks to The Home Dweller for Image. Roy Emmerson Contrary to what most people think, the size of a solar power plant has nothing to do with the size of a house. Instead, only 2 parameters should be considered:insolation which we have just discussed;the amount of energy you need.To get a very rough estimate of how big the system you need should be, look at your electricity bill and find out how much kWh you use per day.The average house uses around 900 kWh per month or around 30 kWh per day. Multiply this by 0.25 and get 7.5, so we need a 7.5 kW system.A typical solar panel produces up to 120 watts or 0.12 kW per day. To provide 7.5-kW, you need about 62 panels. One panel can be about 142 x 64 cm, so that the 62 panels will occupy about 65 square meters.You should also consider the insolation and how many hours of sunshine peak-hours you get per day, make adjustments if you use rechargeable batteries with the panels as well. Therefore, it is best to contact a professional. Turning your home into a solar energy station requires more than using a conventional old power grid. But not much.Solar panels have no moving parts. They are a part of a complete stationary system. So, once they are installed, there aren’t many things that can go wrong. Almost the only one a house owner should do is to keep the panels clean. That’s important because too much snow, dust and bird droppings on the panels can reduce the amount of sunlight. Dust accumulation on the screen can reduce the amount of electricity produced by the system by as much as 7 %.There’s no need to do this once a week, though. It is sufficient to water the panels with a hose once to four times a year. You don’t have to climb on the roof to do this. The hose with a nozzle works perfectly from the ground. If there is construction work in your area, you need to clean the panels more often to avoid additional dust accumulation of building debris.Also, periodically check that all parts are in working order. You need to replace the batteries as well, but this is once a decade. Tags:#solar#solar energy Roy Emerson is a technology enthusiast, a loving father of twins, a programmer in a custom software company, editor in chief of TheHomeDweller blog, greedy reader, and a gardener. Sunlight is obviously the key when it comes to solar energy, and not all regions have equal conditions in this regard. It is important to know how much sunlight reaches the ground in the area where your potential solar home is located.What we are talking about here is called “insolation”, a measure of how much solar emission will fall to the ground in a given area over a given period of time. This is usually measured in kWh / m2 / days and it will show you how much sunlight will be available for your solar panels to turn into electricity. The higher the insolation value in your region, the more electricity each of your panels will be able to generate. A high insolation value means that you can get more energy from smaller panels. A low value means that you might end up spending more to achieve the same output power.So you have to build your solar home in the southwest, not the northwest? Far from it. This simply means that you will probably need more panels to achieve the same output power. Coverage Related Posts center_img Maintenance Surroundings Insolation Recycling The location of your house has a great impact on your solar energy efficiency. It’s an obvious problem – if your electrical power depends on sunlight, things like tall tree shadows and high building shadows will be a drawback.This is an even bigger issue than some people realize. Different types of panels differently react to shadows. While polycrystalline panels can significantly reduce the output of electricity, any part of shading on a mono-crystalline panel will stop electricity production completely.Thus, to build a solar-powered house, it is necessary to make sure that there is no shade on the roof panel during sunshine hours per day (usually from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and preferably during all solar hours. The more hours the panels are exposed to full sunlight, the more efficient the production of electricity will be.Achieving the greatest efficiency can mean trimming or completely removing trees on your site. If your home is surrounded by high-rise buildings that block the sun, you should pull them down too 🙂 If you can’t do that then that’s a big problem. Aramco, Holder of the Largest IPO in History is… How Battery Storage Is Revolutionizing the Sola… The Top 5 Issues Faced by Futurists Get Smarter About Enterprise Management with AI The service life of solar panels is 40-50 years, the controller and inverter – 15-20, batteries (depending on their type and usage) – 4-10 years.Although the issue of disposal of solar panels remains open, only 30% of all manufacturers take them back for recycling.  But nevertheless, the demand for spent solar panels is growing every year. As extraction of rare metals becomes more and more expensive, and processing of the panels will lead to their reuse.In addition, there is a secondary market for photovoltaic and wind-electric sets, where already used equipment can be further used. In countries in transition, former solar modules can be used. Due to the more intense solar emissions, these modules can produce more electricity. An example of this is the second solo project – an online platform for the purchase and sale of used modules.last_img read more

Get Feedback Directly in Premiere With the New Wipster Add-On

first_imgWipster’s new integration seamlessly creates Premiere Pro markers from online client feedback.As a video professional, one of the biggest pain points that comes up during the editing process is getting feedback from clients. In the past, the best option was to upload a private video to Vimeo or YouTube and send your client a link. The client would then send their feedback and you’d have to repeat the process over and over.However, Wipster changed the game in 2014 by introducing editors to a new kind of review process. No longer would editors have to upload video versions to YouTube or Vimeo. Instead, users could use the Wipster interface to upload their videos and get client feedback with detailed instructions at certain points in the timeline. In a way, this was similar to adding markers in Premiere, except it took place entirely online.Outside of a few new players in the game and added workflow improvements, this review process has remained relatively similar over the last two years. However, Wipster just changed the game with a new feature that will certainly get Premiere Pro users excited: the Wipster Review PanelUsing this new Premiere Pro Add-On, you can now send videos directly from Premiere Pro to your clients for feedback. Once your clients review the video and add critiques online, their notes will automatically be placed into your Premiere Pro timeline as markers. This new feature will make it incredibly easy for you to get feedback without disrupting your workflow. In the words of Wipster CEO Rollo Wenlock:What used to be ten disconnected steps became just three with the arrival of Wipster, and is now down to one – the increased efficiencies will seriously help the bottom line of any company producing video.The Wipster Review Panel is available through the Add-On download page. Just navigate to Window>Browse Add-Ons to find it. Once installed, you will be prompted to input your Wipster account information. This helpful video explains how to use the new add-on. It’s a surprisingly simple process.This new service is currently only available to Wipster Video Pro users. You can create your own Wipster account for $15 a month, which is a great deal if you work a lot with video clients.What do you think of this new feature? How will it effect your workflow? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

2G: Kanimozhi learns candle making in Tihar Jail

first_imgKanimozhi at the Patiala House court for the 2G trial in MayLodged in the assistant superintendent’s office in Tihar Jail in a cell especially created for her because of security reasons, Kanimozhi misses her 10-year-old son Adithyan the most. He is under the care of his grandmother Rajathi Ammal. She,Kanimozhi at the Patiala House court for the 2G trial in MayLodged in the assistant superintendent’s office in Tihar Jail in a cell especially created for her because of security reasons, Kanimozhi misses her 10-year-old son Adithyan the most. He is under the care of his grandmother Rajathi Ammal. She also misses her diamond nose-pin, an accessory she has sported since she was a little girl. She had sought permission to continue wearing it, saying she felt “improperly dressed” without it, but jail authorities did not allow it, or indeed any other jewellery.Adithyan visits her often, but not often enough, as jail rules allow visits by family members twice a week. That is the only time her calm cracks. “Once she broke down and kept saying sorry to her son”, disclosed a jail official who understands Tamil. Though the prisoners meet their families in ‘mulaqaat’ (meeting hall) with a glass shield in between, she was allowed to meet her son in the superintendent’s office because she wanted to hug him.Jail officials say Kanimozhi keeps to herself and does not interact much with other inmates. By various accounts, she appears to be an Orhan Pamuk fan. On May 20, when she was sent to jail, she carried a half-read My Name is Red with her. Museum of Innocence by the same author is keeping her company now. Kanimozhi spends her time reading and writing poetry. “She keeps writing something or the other and is completely immersed in it”, reveals a jail official. She was earlier lodged in ward number 8, which is called the ‘mulayaza’. It is a place where new inmates are lodged for the first six months to prevent them from interacting with the more hardened inmates. It is the only ward which has a spacious courtyard in the centre, where inmates can mingle with each other.advertisement”She is the calmest of the 2G lot and doesn’t make unreasonable demands”, says the jail official, referring to the other vvips lodged in Tihar for the 2G spectrum scam. They include former telecom minister and Kanimozhi’s party colleague A. Raja, the Balwa brothers, Unitech’s Sanjay Chandra, Karim Morani, Kalaignar tv’s managing director Sharath Kumar, senior bureaucrats and corporate executives.Till June 10, it was not very difficult for her or for the others in the 2G case to spend the day since they had daily hearings at Patiala House. They were out of the prison at 9 a.m. and returned around 6 in the evening. The day was spent in the air-conditioned CBI court, where the accused could meet their families. Now, with the courts closed for vacation till June 24, the day has to be spent in the jail.A jail official said that she once enquired about a beauty parlour on the premises. “She was told about one run by jail inmates which is free of cost, and the other run by Jawed Habib which costs money. She has not visited either yet”, the official saidlast_img read more

Sachin Tendulkar adds value to batting line-up, says Sanjay Manjrekar

first_imgSachin Tendulkar ‘s vulnerability against full-length deliveries in the New Zealand series may have raised a few eyebrows, but Sanjay Manjrekar, a former Test batsman and Tendulkar ‘s teammate, feels the days of batting maestro at the highest level are not yet over.”To me, the way Tendulkar got out in his three innings against New Zealand does not suggest by any stretch of the imagination that he is finished as an international batsman,” he said.”I will stand by what I’ve said all along about Tendulkar – that his run-making at the international level will stop only when he stops playing. Until then, he may not dominate as he used to but he will still be a good enough batsman to get runs at the highest level, and to add value to the Indian team, especially in Test cricket,” he told cricinfo.Sanjay Manjrekar felt that Sachin was aware of the difficulties an ageing batsman has to face and he will soon find an answer to it.Tendulkar, 39, was clean bowled three times out of three in the just-concluded two Test-series between India and New Zealand, triggering a spate of negative comments. Even Manjrekar and Sunil Gavaskar, who were doing television commentary when Tendulkar was bowled in the first innings of the second Test, questioned his lack of foot movement.Now, Manjrekar says Tendulkar still adds value to the batting line-up and must be part of the team in the four-Test series against England at home.Also a Mumbaikar like Tendukar, Manjrekar argued that the maestro was not first one to have struggled with full-length deliveries.”I have seen with great players as they age that it’s the full delivery that seems to bother them more than short ones. Short balls land on the pitch well before full-length ones do, so their mystery is revealed to the batsman earlier,” he pointed out.”Watching a ball from the point of release to almost right under your eyes is not easy to do. Great batsmen do it as a matter of habit, but with age they have to remind themselves to keep doing it right through their innings.”Manjrekar felt that Tendulkar was aware of the difficulties an ageing batsman has to face and he will soon find an answer to it.advertisementlast_img read more