All the big winners at the 2017 HSS: Book, Creative and Digital Awards

The Humanities and Social Sciences: Book, Creative and Digital Awards (2017) hosted by the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) in a ceremony held last night (29 March 2017) announced its winners.

From the respective categories, the winners are:

Book: Non-Fiction Monograph: (joint-winners) “Declassified – Moving beyond the dead-end of race in South Africa” by Maré, Gerhard (Jacana Media), and “Regarding Muslims: From slavery to post-apartheid” by Baderoon, Gabeba (Wits University Press);
Book: Non-Fiction Edited Volume: “Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after Apartheid” by Harrison, Philip; Gotz, Graeme; Todes, Alison and Wray, Chris (Wits University Press);
Book: Fiction Single Authored (Novel): “What Will People Say” by Rossouw, Rehana (Jacana Media);
Book: Fiction Single Authored (Poetry): A Half Century Thing by Rampolokeng, Lesego (Black Ghost Books); Creative Collections: Best Pubic Performance: BodyTech – The Ar(t)chive: co-founded by Denyschen, Jessica and Sichel, Adrienne;
Best Musical Composition: Explorations: South African flute music by Stoltz, Liesl;
Best Visual Art: Penny Siopis Time and Again, edited and co-edited by  Olivier, Gerrit and Siopis, Penny; and Digital Humanities Contributions: South African History Online Website by Badsha, Omar.

“Second year in their instalment, the Humanities and Social Sciences: Book, Creative and Digital Awards 2017 celebrate outstanding HSS scholars who are stimulating and contributing to serious critical work, while authentically telling South African stories that are shaping our new ways of knowing,” says NIHSS CEO, Prof Sarah Mosoetsa.

“Indeed, much work needs to be done to identify, support and promote new South African voices, authors and stories in the humanities and social sciences (HSS). New partnerships also need to be developed to prioritise books and creative collections that promote African languages.”

The NIHSS, in partnership with individual scholars, publishers and universities; is undertaking the necessary work of transforming the HSS landscape and contribute towards building a truly post-apartheid South Africa.

The HSS Awards breathe life to the ideas expressed in the Humanities Charter to increase the recognition afforded to book and creative outputs; reposition these scholarly contributions as having public-value; and increase their appreciation and the role they play in building sustainable social cohesion and the re-imagining of the humanities and social sciences.  “They are a catalyst designed to provide a necessary platform for the celebration, recognition and honour of outstanding, innovative and socially responsible scholarship that enhance and advance the fields of HSS,” explains Prof Mosoetsa.

Noting that “the 2017 HSS Awards entries expressed a diverse wealth of passionate, at times poignant, South African stories in all their varied artistic forms.”

She thanked all the entrants, citing that the 2017 HSS Awards would not be possible without such submissions.  “We are grateful that you continue to toil, helping to shape the new HSS landscape and casting a shining light on our very own South African stories. This is especially so during challenging times in higher education and the publishing world – as the HSS is also facing a decline in funding.”

“As the NIHSS, we remain committed to the cause of advancing the transformation of the HSS community, universities and greater society. The institute is enthused to be part of the collective HSS, from the tip of Southern Africa, to play a meaningful role that will see the humanities claiming its rightful space here at home, within the continent and the world at large.”

The Call for the HSS Awards 2017 opened in November 2016, covering works for the period of January 2014 to December 2015. The submissions received include 21 Books: Non- Fiction; 14 Books: Fiction; 14 Creative Collections and three (3) Digital Contribution.

Prof Mosoetsa pointed out that much more still needed to be done to encourage significant creative HSS outputs within the Creative Collections and Digital Contribution space, citing that the HSS Awards presents an opportunity for the entire HSS community, to learn and grow.”

SA to welcome more international tourists

South Africa plans to increase its international tourists by five million in the next five years for the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s GDP.

The country recorded a record-breaking 10 million international tourists in 2016 but its contribution to the economy stands at about 3% and Tourism SA CEO Sisa Ntshona said this needs to change.

“The continent as a whole reported an 8% surge in international arrivals in 2016, with Sub-Saharan Africa increasing by 11% and South Africa by a massive 13%. These figures far exceed the global increase in international arrivals of 3.9% overall. So Africa is definitely the happening place to be, with vast untapped tourism potential that could buoy the greater African economy and contribute to its prosperity,” he said this at the launch of Tourism Indaba 2017 to be hosted in Durban in May.

Ntshona said their role is to get the message to the world that Africa’s tourism industry is open for business and ripe with possibility.

“Our continent is a value-for-money destination offering multiple incredible experiences that will take your breath away, from high-end luxury to bush-whacking fun,” Ntshona said.

On Tourism Indaba 2017, Ntshona said they expect 7 000 delegates from around the world to meet in Durban to grow the African tourism economy through constructive conversations and dynamic partnerships.

About 90 small tourism businesses would be hosted at the show to “be given valuable exposure as well as an exposure to pitch their offerings.”– emerging and existing enterprises that are at least 50% black-owned,” Ntshona said.

“They are drawn from each of South Africa’s nine provinces and we call them our Hidden Gems, because they are tucked-away treasures that only a select few know about.”

Thanks to a partnership between South African Tourism, the National Department of Tourism and the Southern African Tourism Services Association, these entrepreneurs will be given valuable exposure at INDABA as well as the opportunity to “pitch” their offerings to travel buyers during speed marketing sessions.

The Indaba, dubbed “Africa’s Top Travel” show is expected to attract exhibitors from about 15 African countries.

Head of Durban Tourism and Acting Deputy City Manager of eThekwini Philip Sithole  said despite the highly competitive tourism environment, Indaba has been able to maintain its position as the premier travel show on the African continent.

Hong Kong elects first female chief

Displayed with permission from China Daily

Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor vows to unite city so it can advance in solidarity

HONG KONG – Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who will become the first woman to serve as chief executive of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, vowed after her election victory on Sunday to lead Hong Kong forward in solidarity.

After being approved by the central government, Lam, 59, will be the fifth-term chief executive since Hong Kong’s reunification with the nation.

“The work of uniting our society to move forward begins now,” she said, adding that during the election process, she heard the heartfelt expression of the people and learned and experienced many new things.

Lam said she will meet with people from different sectors to discuss issues like the development of Hong Kong, including applying new resources to education, tackling housing problems and introducing new financial and tax measures.

She also stressed that she will do her utmost to uphold “one country, two systems” and to guard Hong Kong’s core values.

Lam has proposed to increase recurring expenditures for education by HK$5 billion ($644 million). She said she will reach out to various stakeholders and legislators on how to apply new resources.

“I am confident that we can put aside any differences and achieve a win-win situation,” she said.

Lam proposed to apply financial and tax measures strategically through a two-tier tax rate system on profits and tax deductions to incentivise research and development.

She said she would invite employers and employees in all sectors as well as experts and academics to come up with ideas.

On the housing issue, she said, “I have pledged to help Hong Kong people attain home-ownership and to improve living conditions. To do this, we need more usable land.”

Lam also said large parts of her campaign platform were inspired by young people. “In this campaign, I have felt deeply our younger people’s strong desires and their passion for Hong Kong,” she said.

In the chief executive’s race, decided by a 1,194-member election committee, Lam garnered 777 votes to 365 for former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-Wah and 21 votes for retired judge Woo Kwok-Hing.

Lam used to be the chief secretary of administration. She now awaits appointment by the central government and will succeed incumbent Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on July 1.

Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor appears with her husband and son after she is elected on Sunday as the next chief executive of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.Edmond Tang / China Daily

Copy and image: Repubhub/China Daily

Anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada dies

Displayed with permission from Al Jazeera

Anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, who spent 26 years in jail – many of them alongside Nelson Mandela – for acts of sabotage against South Africa’s white minority government, died in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning at the age of 87.

He had been admitted to hospital with blood clotting in his brain earlier this month.

Kathrada was born on August 21, 1929, to Indian immigrant parents in a small town in northwestern South Africa.

He was among those tried and jailed alongside Mandela in the Rivonia trial in 1964, which drew worldwide attention and highlighted the brutal legal system under the apartheid regime.

Kathrada was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 and spent 26 years and three months in prison, 18 of which were on Robben Island.

After the end of apartheid, he served from 1994 and 1999 as parliamentary counsellor to President Mandela in the first African National Congress (ANC) government.

Al Jazeera’s Tania Page, reporting from Johannesburg, said that it was a sad day in South Africa – where Kathrada was affectionately known as “Uncle Kathy” – as tributes poured in about his widely perceived kindness, humility, and honesty.

He had been a major part of many South African’s memories over decades of anti-apartheid struggle, Page said.

“I think his passing is sort of signalling to South Africans, yet again, the ending of an era, of these great giants of apartheid [resistance] as they pass on,” she added.

Kathrada gave an emotional speech at Mandela’s funeral, in which he said he had lost a brother.

Kathrada was, until recently, still active in public life. He formed his own foundation, and advocated strongly for human rights causes such as youth development, anti-racism, and freedom of speech.

Last year, he joined a movement of veteran figures who were critical of the governing ANC and its current crop of leaders – particularly President Jacob Zuma, who has been mired in mounting allegations of corruption. Kathrada penned an open letter to the president and called on him to step down.

“Right to the very end he kept himself relevant, he was a newsmaker, he was honest and true to his values and his beliefs,” Page said. “And that’s why so many millions of South Africans will be very sad at his passing today.” INSIDE STORY: Will South Africa’s Jacob Zuma hang on to power? “This is a great loss to the ANC, the broader liberation movement and South Africa as a whole,” Neeshan Balton, head of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, said in a statement.

“‘Kathy’ was an inspiration to millions in different parts of the world.” Kathrada’s activism against the white-minority apartheid regime started at the age of 17, when he was one of 2,000 “passive resisters” arrested in 1946 for defying a law that discriminated against Indian South Africans.

In July 1963, the police swooped on Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, a Johannesburg suburb where Kathrada and other senior activists had been meeting in secret.

At the famous Rivonia trial, eight of the accused were sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour on Robben Island.

His fellow prisoners included Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Denis Goldberg.

-Copy & images: Repubhub (Al Jazeera)

The 2017 HSS Awards are here with just 4 days left!


The inaugural Humanities and Social Sciences Awards winners with Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Bonginkosi Nzimande and NIHSS CEO Prof Sarah Mosoetsa.


The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) is gearing up for its second installment of the Annual Book, Creative Collection and Digital Distribution Awards (HSS Awards) aimed at recognising innovative and socially responsive work at universities.

The awards are open to all academics, curators, playwrights, poets, publishers and artists who are based at participating South African universities working to advance the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

According to organisers the awards provide an opportunity to cast a deserving limelight to those intellectual-creative workers whose contributions often goes unnoticed both in the academy and society at large.

The winners will be selected according to the following categories:

Non-fiction: Non-fiction monograph and non-fiction edited volume

Fiction: Fiction-single authorized book and fiction-single authorized poetry

Creative Collections: Best Public Performance and Visual Art

Digital Contributors: Digital Humanities Contributions

The HSS Awards 2017 are expected to be held on March 29 (Wednesday) at the NIHSS headquarters in Johannesburg.


Japan develops technology to improve health

Displayed with permission from euronews

“What better place than Japan to discover innovative healthcare solutions and technology that can improve people’s lives all over the world.

‘Spotlight shines a light on Japan starting with Honda. The company has developed a brand-new device to assist people with impaired mobility. We visited Honda’s headquarters to see what it’s all about,” reports Euronews’ Daleen Hassan.

Honda’s Walking Assist Device

Recent steps into a world beyond automobiles and airplanes may sound like a bit of a leap, but a personal mobility device has been created by Honda to help those in need.

Agile and lightweight at 2.7 kilograms, this Walking Assist Device has been developed for those who suffer from walking difficulties.

It can manage the stress load of a person’s legs and reduce fatigue. Euronews met Makoto Shibata from Honda’s development department who explained how it works.

“It is a very, very simple structure, we have two motors and a battery and computer in the backside, during walking this computer senses hip angle movement. This device can assist human leg movement.

‘The walking information goes to a tablet. It is like a racing car technique, between the car and the pit,” he said.

The device has been inspired by the development of the humanoid robot Asimo, where engineers conducted thorough research on the human bipedal system.

Since 2013 more than 50 hospitals in Japan have given patients and elderly people the opportunity to utilise it which has helped to optimise functions.

Walking assist device technology could change the way we look at the concept of mobility as a whole.

Mission Arm of Japan

“Health solutions are not just the prerogative of large corporations. Genta Kondo is a brilliant, young innovator who’s come up with an affordable 3D Printed robotic arm,” explains Daleen Hassan.

It is 7 o’clock on Wednesday morning and the weekly meeting of ‘Mission Arm of Japan’, a non-profit organisation where a group of engineers, designers, and physically disabled individuals are gathering to develop prosthetic products.

Gentta Kondo, 31-year-old co-founder of the Exii startup company, has combined robotic technology with 3D printing techniques.

With the simple concept of a sensor attached to the arm, muscle contractions are converted into finger and thumb movements.

“We are disclosing all the data for free on the internet so as long as you have the access to the internet you can basically download the data and just print it right way.

‘This kind of technology trend will improve people lives because they don’t have to stick with the professionals.Everybody can make a hand.

‘Making these things has become really easy and I want to tell the world that it is not that difficult. You can customise it to your taste and it’s also really fun to make one,” he said.

Providing practical solutions that can produce an immediate impact could change Takayoshi’s life. He was born with a birth defect in his left hand. Now, he is trying his new prosthetic, before finalising a design that suits him.

“Until now I was holding things with only my right hand, but this arm will allow me to hold things with my left as well. So I hope that I can do a lot of things with my two arms, I’m very hopeful about my life now,” he told euronews.

With $500 dollars, you could purchase a stylish 3D-printed arm at 10 times less than the cost of a typical prosthetic arm. A deal you can shake on.

Saving lives with paint

“Nearly half a million people die from Malaria every year. A Japanese company has developed a paint that repels mosquitos which are responsible for spreading the deadly disease. We visited Kansai Paint in Tokyo,” said Daleen Hassan.

Kansai, known as one of Japan’s largest paint manufacturers for automotive and industrial applications, has invented a paint that uses insecticides to repel mosquitos and other insects. The paint is destined for tropical climate countries.​

“In a situation where there are a lot of children dying from Malaria in Africa, we thought of developing a paint which could repel or even kill mosquitoes.

‘This paint contains ingredients which excite mosquitoes nerves. When mosquitoes land on a wall, they become nervous and paralysed because of these ingredients and would never bite a human. That’s the mechanism,” Yu Akaki,

Executive Officer, Kansai Paint explained.

During tests the paint was found to have an 80% efficiency in repelling mosquitoes. This has led to improvements in health clinics across several developing countries, and the anti-mosquito paint has become vital, especially in nurseries and schools in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, where a lot of people suffer from dengue fever.


India’s Bajirao Mastani swept Rapid Lion Awards with 6 wins

Bajirao Mastani, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali took the spotlight at the
recent Rapid Lion 2017 Awards which formed part of the South African International
Film Festival held in Johannesburg’s Market Theatre.

The film festival which ran from March 5 to the 12th attracted about 140 films from
40 countries.

Rapid Lion was supported by S.A. Tourism, Brand South Africa, Gauteng Film
Commission and the Department of Arts and Culture to host the South African
International Film Festival.

During the festival, Rapid Lion hosted its awards ceremonyl where Bajirao Mastani scooped most of the awards.

The movie won Best BRICS award, Best Film Overall, Best Film Editing, Best
Cinematography, Best Directing and one of its leading star, Deepika Padukone won
Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Best Student Film winner was Never a Next Train, a film produced by University of
Cape Town students.

Other winners include:

Best International Short: The Call (South Africa)

Music (Original Song): Barry Gibb for Angels – Shepherds and Butchers (South Africa)

Best Actor in a Leading Role: David Oyelowo – A United Kingdom (United Kingdom)

Best Original Screenplay: Noem My Skollie (South Africa)

Best Humanitarian film: I Am Congo (Gabon/Ecuador)

Best Documentary Feature: In the Shadow of the Hill (Brazil/Australia)

Best of South Africa: Noem My Skollie (South Africa)

Best of Africa and the Africa Diaspora: A United Kingdom (UK)

Xi: Keep poverty-reduction promises

An Baijie
Displayed with permission from China Daily

The country’s poverty alleviation work is facing tougher challenges with the approach of the 2020 deadline for its ambitious poverty-eradication plan, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday, while calling on officials to make greater efforts to help poverty-stricken people.

The Communist Party of China has made a solemn promise to lift all remaining poverty-stricken people out of that status by the end of 2020, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Xi made the remarks at a panel discussion with lawmakers from Sichuan province during the ongoing annual session of the National People’s Congress, the top legislature. Mountainous Sichuan, with many ethnic groups, has 3.8 million people living in poverty.

By a standard set in 2011, China categorizes those with an annual income lower than 2,300 yuan ($335) as poverty-stricken.

The number of people living in poverty in rural areas was reduced by 12.4 million last year to 43.35 million. The government will lift another 10 million people out of poverty this year, according to the Government Work Report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday.

The whole process of poverty reduction requires tailored poverty relief policies and precision measures, and sometimes patience and accuracy like “doing embroidery”, Xi said.

The government should continue to dispatch officials to live in poor rural villages to focus on the poverty reduction work there, Xi said, adding that the authorities should make full use of poverty alleviation funds.

The president called for continuous measures to prevent those who have already escaped poverty from falling into that status again. Formalism should be stopped resolutely in poverty reduction work, he emphasized.

During the discussion, Xi also urged local authorities to push forward with supply-side structural reform in agriculture, improve quality and produce more green, organic and pollution-free farm products.

The integration of military and civil industries should speed up, Xi said, adding that a high-tech industry base should be built for military-civil integration.

The president also stressed the importance of clean governance. Government officials should stick to their beliefs, safeguard the authority and leadership of the CPC Central Committee and abide by political discipline and rules.

During the talks, the lawmakers gave their suggestions on issues including pushing forward reform, reconstruction work after the 2013 earthquake and Tibetan inhabitants’ livelihoods.


BRICS Journal TV: In Conversation with KZN MEC for Economic Development, Sihle Zikalala


In issue 3 of BRICS Journal, we chat KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala.

Xi calls on Shanghai to lead way

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President praises city, but asks it to do even more in opening-up, boosting innovation

President Xi Jinping said China will continue to open up in all respects, particularly in further liberalising and facilitating trade and investment, while calling on Sunday for Shanghai to take a leading role in deepening reform and boosting innovation.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks during a panel discussion with Shanghai lawmakers at the National People’s Congress annual plenary session.

“The door of China’s opening-up will not close,” Xi said, mentioning that creating the pilot free trade zone in Shanghai was a strategic move by the CPC Central Committee.

The zone, inaugurated in 2013, has seen about 40,000 new enterprises emerge.

Shanghai also should make a difference in deepening free trade zone reforms, advancing the construction of scientific innovation centers and social governance innovation, and strengthening CPC discipline, Xi said.

The president said the city should be bold in its pilot projects, expanding its role as a testing ground for further reform and opening-up. He also urged the city to push forward with free trade and facilitation of investment. Its free trade zone should become a bridgehead for the country’s Belt and Road Initiative and help market entities go global, he said. That way, Shanghai can achieve innovative results that can be adopted by other regions.

China faced a complex global situation and downward pressure on its domestic economy in the past year, but the nation kept “seeking progress while maintaining stability”, pushed forward on supply-side structural reform, and achieved its goals of economic and social development, Xi said.

The president recognised the achievements of Shanghai authorities in the past year in areas such as boosting innovation, optimising economic structures and deepening reform.

The key to the supply-side structural reform is innovation, Xi said. He urged breakthroughs in key technology areas. He also advocated educational reform to create the talent needed for the country’s development.

Xi said Shanghai should explore new ways of social governance that fit a super municipality. He suggested use of information technology, including the internet and big data, to enhance intelligent city management to make the city more orderly, safer and cleaner.

The president also vowed to strengthen the discipline of the Communist Party of China. Party leaders must shoulder their responsibility in clean-governance supervision, he said.