SASOD wants to conduct ‘PREP’ feasibility study

first_img…as part of enhanced HIV/AIDS fightBy Lakhram BhagratThe Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) has commenced paperwork to launch a feasibility study on the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pill brand named “Truvada”.Objective of the study is to test the viability of PrEP in the Guyana context, and to possibly introduce the pill to aid in the prevention of the transmission of HIV among homosexual males.SASOD Managing Director Joel Simpson“This year, working with the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad and their regional PAHO/WHO Office, we are going to do a feasibility study on pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) for men who have sex with men.“There is a pill to be taken every day; (it) will inhibit your chances of contracting HIV by over 90%, so we want to explore whether this is a viable method of HIV prevention for vulnerable groups in Guyana,” SASOD’s Managing Director Joel Simpson said.Simpson told a news conference on Wednesday that the organization is in the process of finalizing its Ethics Review Application destined for the Ministry of Public Health. He added that he foresees no difficulty with the application, since the Public Health Ministry’s National Aids Programme Secretariat has been asking for the data.He said that after approval is granted, SASOD would commence the feasibility study to test the viability of PrEP.Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of being infected. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently. Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%.When asked about the reason for the study, Simpson noted that before a new drug is introduced, there ought to be a demonstration project to prove its viability. “Studies have been conducted in other countries on PrEP, but not in Guyana; and one of the things you have to do in public health is that if you are going to implement a new pill or something like that, you have to do a demonstration project to see how it is going to work in your country’s context,” he noted.“We are at the stage (wherein) we are just doing the paper research. We are not going to give anybody the pill in 2018. We are doing a feasibility study to assess what people know about PrEP. If you don’t know about it and we tell them a little about it, what’s their attitude about? So we want to know that there is interest from the community in even exploring whether we should test PrEP in Guyana. This is an extensive survey, and after that we will look at the result and determine whether there is enough interest to go next to a demonstration project,” Simpson added.Simpson further stated that SASOD has already sent Truvada’s manufacturing company, GILEAD Inc, a concept note to inform of the intention to do work around the product. He noted that if it comes to the testing of the actual pill, then the possibility exists that SASOD would acquire a quantity of that prophylaxis drug free of cost for the demonstration that could begin in 2019.He said that to test the drug for a 9-month period on 100 men who have sex with men would cost approximately US$75,000, and with the dwindling resources to fight HIV, there should be a menu of options available.last_img read more

RCMP looking to name two suspects in another break-in

first_imgAnyone with information in regards to the break and enter or who can identify either of the two suspects is asked to contact the Fort St. John RCMP detachment at 250-787-8140 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Photo:  The RCMP have released these photos of one female suspect and one male suspect – RCMP handout- Advertisement – Fort St. John RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance to identify two people who are suspected of breaking into a home and later using a stolen credit card.RCMP officials say a residence on 103 Ave. near 107 St. was broken into early in the morning on Nov. 13.They say an unknown number of suspects broke into the home through a front basement window between 4 and 5 a.m. when the homeowners were not at the residence.The suspects stole two handguns with ammunition, cash, credit cards, and other personal items. A 2008 Honda Ridgeline was also stolen and later recovered on 101 Ave. at 109 St.Police say the suspects have used one of the stolen credit cards at different businesses in the area.Advertisementlast_img read more

Messi puts on masterclass for watching Coutinho

first_img0Shares0000Barcelona’s forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey round of 16 second leg football match against Celta Vigo January 11, 2018 © AFP / LLUIS GENEMADRID, Spain, Jan 12 – Lionel Messi put on a masterclass in front of new recruit Philippe Coutinho as Barcelona trounced Celta Vigo 5-0 Thursday to ease into the Copa del Rey quarter-finals 6-1 on aggregate.Coutinho, dressed in a black shirt dotted with white stars, was in the stands at the Camp Nou for the first time since his 160 million-euro ($192 million) move from Liverpool. It didn’t take long for the Brazilian star to appreciate the playing riches on show on the pitch.“The first half was extraordinary,” said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde.Level at 1-1 after the first leg, the three-time defending champions were 4-0 up by half-time.Messi grabbed the opening two goals in the 13th and 15th minutes, both finished with a sublime first touch with his left foot, both created by Jordi Alba.Messi then returned the favour by setting up Alba to score past the hapless Sergio Alvarez in the Celta goal before Luis Suarez made it 4-0 on the night after 30 minutes when the Uruguayan burst through the defence.The tie petered out in the second half but French international Ousmane Dembele showed why Barcelona paid 105 million euros for him last year when he dribbled past three defenders from the halfway line before being denied by a desperate tackle.Dembele did have time to set up the fifth goal of the night three minutes from the end when his corner was headed home from close range by an unmarked Ivan Rakitic.“It’s luxury to have Leo in the side, he’s the best in history. We always look for each other to score goals and today we have done it twice,” said Alba.Earlier Thursday, Espanyol overturned a 2-1 loss in the first leg to defeat Levante 2-0 with Leo Baptistao and Gerard Moreno on target either side of half-time.Sevilla also progressed with a 2-1 win at home to second-tier Cadiz for a 4-1 aggregate.Barcelona’s forward Ousmane Dembele (C) vies with Celta Vigo’s defender Sergi Gomez during the Spanish Copa del Rey round of 16 second leg football match January 11, 2018 © AFP / LLUIS GENEWissam Ben Yedder, after 31 minutes, and Joaquin Correa in the 54th minute, were on target for Vincenzo Montella’s team.On Wednesday, Real Madrid laboured to a 2-2 draw with Numancia to progress to the quarter-finals 5-2 on aggregate.In a much-changed side, Lucas Vazquez scored both of Real’s goals after the 11th and 59th minutes.But on both occasions, their modest visitors fought back thanks to a brace from Guillermo on the stroke of half-time and then after 82 minutes.Numancia ended the game with 10 men after captain Dani Calvo was red-carded in the dying moments.Leganes, a modest club from the Madrid suburbs, reached the quarter-finals for the first time in their 89-year existence.Despite losing 2-1 at Villarreal, who are currently sixth in La Liga, Leganes progressed on away goals having won the first leg 1-0.Moroccan international Nabil El Zhar scored the crucial away goal for mid-table Leganes on the half-hour mark.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Designs for the holidays

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! During the holidays, there’s nothing like the warmth and festiveness that flowers add to the home – whether it’s in the kitchen, dining room, hallway, bedroom, or bath.And few designers create arrangements with more style than Torrance resident Gudy Kimmel, master California State Garden Club flower show judge and a popular speaker on the design circuit. Kimmel was a guest demonstrator Monday for members of the Palos Verdes Branch of the National Fuchsia Society. She arrived at the South Coast Botanic Garden loaded with bunches of fresh flowers, seed pods, cat tails, wheat grass and greens from the Torrance Farmers Market at Wilson Park. She also toted containers – from a small wooden sleigh to autumn-colored pottery bowls filled with Oasis Floral Foam – to create eight elegant floral arrangements.Kimmel’s demonstration was packed with tips and ideas for creating unique arrangements for Thanksgiving and winter holiday decorations. When designing, remember the height of the finished arrangement generally should be 1 1/2 to 2 times the height of the container.She began with ideas using clear glass vases, which can be filled with small apples, kumquats, pine cones, ball ornaments or other seasonal materials.At Michaels craft store, she purchased a bag of potpourri filled with small pine cones, seedpods, nuts and other natural elements in fall colors, which she glued to wooden barbecue skewers and inserted into arrangements of greens with and without flowers.Another design incorporated two pint-size ceramic loaf pans Kimmel found at Michaels with Thanksgiving cornucopia designs. She filled these with Oasis and added graceful greens and short-stemmed yellow and dark red mums (buds can be used too). Each pan held a focal point of a petite gourd or small persimmon and autumn-colored greens such as solidago, a kind of yellow and green goldenrod (which, contrary to common thought, doesn’t cause hayfever) and golden euonymus. She also added bits of small green ivy and geranium leaves from her garden.Growing a small nandina bush in your garden is a must for flower arranging, Kimmel says. Designers use its graceful variegated leaves as fillers and its red and bronze berries in fall and winter. They also use dwarf pittosporum and ruscus.She pointed out that almost any plastic container can be cut down to any size, filled with Oasis and water, and inserted into a holiday-theme object.In one arrangement, she filled a table-top-size wooden sleigh with a cut-down plastic milk container stuffed with Oasis. Then she added juniper greens (she prefera sprigs with fresh new growth), holly fern, and asparagus fern, which resembles delicate, miniature pine trees. Finally, Kimmel topped off the arrangement with dark crimson gerbera daisies and snow white mums.In another design, she used a small ceramic bowl in which she placed a plastic tub with Oasis, into which she inserted a round (or cylinder) candle. Then she filled in the oasis with pittosporum, asparagus fern, holly and Princess cedar (it’s like juniper). Then she added fresh flowers.These greens will last the entire holiday season if you change the water every two days. When the flowers start to fade, just replace them or add holiday ornaments.To complete this arrangement Kimmel placed five gold balls around the candle and added white mums (or you can use white camellias). For added glitter, she sometimes sprays camellia leaves with a slight mist of Design Master silver or gold paint, or a touch of fairy dust glitter for added sparkle. To celebration the new year, Kimmel created an arrangement using a pale sea-green, cylindrical pottery vase with white birchlike branches, highlighted by a gorgeous pale pinkish-green lisianthus from the Farmer’s Market. For conditioning all holiday greens, Kimmel suggested soaking them for 24 hours in 1 gallon of water with a solution of 2 tablespoons of ammonium sulfate and 1/2-cup Karo syrup.Whether its conditioning greens or demonstrating holiday floral arrangements, you can catch Kimmel’s enthusiasm for holiday designs, along with her tips, at a demonstration at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Torrance Farmer’s Market at Wilson Park.The floral design demo is free, and fresh holiday greens and flowers will be right at your fingertips to purchase while your enthusiasm is still high.WANTTO GO? What: Discovering the Warrior Mind seminar for children 8 to 15 years old.When: Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.Where: Building H, Angel’s Gate Cultural Center at 3601 South Gaffey St., San Pedro.Cost: Free, lunch is included.Information: Call instructor Michael Berger at 323-842-0701.Information: Call instructor Michael Berger at 323-842-0701. Meredith Grenier (310) 540-5511, Ext.494 meredith.grenier@ read more


first_imgShop Local:Glenties Community Action Group aim to promote what is best about Glenties, and on Sunday 3rd November they will begin a “Shop Local” Campaign by inviting all local businesses to showcase their products and bargains in the Highlands Hotel between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. This is a great opportunity for the community to see what Glenties has to offer in shopping and entertainment, and there will be loads of offers available on the day. So please support your community and local businesses and shop local.Church Gate Collections: The Church Gate Collection for The Dyslexia Association taken up in Edeninfagh on 25th August amounted to € 95.00. A Big Thank You to all who gave generously.The Church Gate Collection taken up in Glenties for People with Intellectual Disabilities raised € 651.45. Thank you for your support.Cash for Clobber:Scoil Mhuire is having another ‘Cash for Clobber’ collection on Tuesday 22nd October. We accept bags of men’s, women’s & children’s clothing, paired shoes, handbags, belts, bed linen (no duvets or pillows) curtains etc. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support in the past and we look forward to another successful collection on the 22nd. Feel free to drop your bag(s) into the school anytime prior to the collection. Bingo:The winners at the Bingo in the Community Centre, Glenties on Tuesday 8th October 2013 were – € 25 winners – Nora Gallagher, Carmel Fitzgerald, Martina Mc Hugh, Mrs. Mc Cole, Mary Campbell and Fiona Boyle; € 50 Winners – Shirley Campbell, Jenny Furey, Brown Kid, Breidin Keeney, Majella Boyle, Rose McGroarty, Rosemarie Whelan, Rosaleen Gallagher, Cathy Connell, Philomena Mc Callaig, Evelyn Mc Hugh, Fiona Gallagher and Patricia Molloy, € 60 Winner – Maura Kilbane; € 100 Winners – Amanda O’Connell, Bridie Boyle, Maura Kilbane, P Mc Dyre, E. Sweeney and Patricia Molloy.Friends of Letterkenny Hospital Collection:The Friends of Letterkenny Hospital Church Gate Collection will be taken up this weekend Saturday19th October and Sunday 20th October. Your support would be greatly appreciated.Books Wanted: Glenties Day Centre is renewing its library and will gratefully accept donations of books in good condition for use by its clients, Thanking You.Glenties Community Centre:Bingo every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Every line € 50, every house €100. Jackpot, if not won will be € 8600 on the 22/10/2013, if not won on the night € 300 will be paid out. In house draws.Snooker Room will be open from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. every evening. Bowls every Monday night at 8 p.m.Tai Chi every Wednesday night at 8 p.m.Helen O’Grady Academy Drama Classes for children every Thursday evening from 5 p.m.Positions Available: There are still positions available on the Glenties Community Centre Amalgamated C.E. Scheme. D.S.P.criteria applies. For more information contact 087 969 5053.DD LOCAL: GLENTIES SET TO LAUNCH ‘SHOP LOCAL’ DAY was last modified: October 18th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DD LOCAL: GLENTIES SET TO LAUNCH ‘SHOP LOCAL’ DAYlast_img read more


first_imgOUR two days of glorious sunshine last week will seem like a distant memory tonight with weather forecasters predicting SLEET and SNOW for Donegal!Following three days of steady rain and showers across the county, Irish Weather Online forecaster Peter O’Donnell has more bad news for us this morning.And while the sleet and snow will be on higher ground, it’s making this June one of the coldest ever with temperatures well below what is expected for this time of the year. O’Donnell said up to 20mms of rain will hit the county today.And he adds that it will be “very cool with lows 3-7 C. A band of sleety showers is likely to push through Donegal into parts of north Connacht and west Ulster and snow could accumulate on higher ground.”That means higher ground like Mount Errigal could get a dusting of snow overnight.Tomorrow isn’t looking much better either. “Further rain that may mix with sleet or snow over higher parts of the north, while central and southern counties will see intermittent showers with some hail and thunder.  Gusty WNW winds 20-35 mph.  Daytime highs will only reach 7-9 C in the north. Rainfalls of 10-20 mms possible,” he reports.Temperatures will pick up by the weekend to around 15C or 16C but generally still wet with showers.YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP…FORECASTERS EXPECTING SNOW IN DONEGAL TONIGHT was last modified: June 7th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalmount errigalsnowlast_img read more


first_imgTHE following article was submitted to Donegal Daily by a serving Garda here in the county.It was written by Garda Tom Daly and the officer wanted us to share it with our readers:Here’s a thought for you…. At lunchtime today, I assisted with the formal closure of a country station, one of the 95 shut around the country today, located in a small County Waterford coastal village. As we waited for the Office of Public Works man to arrive, the Sergeant got a notion and disappeared. I last saw him heading towards a house a few doors down from the station. A few minutes later he arrived in with a magnificent woman of 76 years of age.She was the widow of the last Sergeant to have lived in the station. This, still beautiful, vital Tippeary woman passed an hour with us, describing her 26 years living in the station with her husband, the Gardai who’d passed through the place in her time, the 4 children she’d born in the station, the 2 she’d buried locally, in the same grave as her husband who stayed in the village on his retirement, and passed away all too soon.Almost two decades after his demise, she still visits his grave daily, and her face lit up as she told us he’d been the love of her life. Never wearing the uniform, or drawing a penny from the State, she served our country as faithfully as any sworn Garda.Her husband retired in 1990, and 23 years later, it was obvious she still saw we two, who she’d never met before, as family. A while later, the OPW man arrived, and, as he took possession of the keys, we, and the Super, signed out in the Station Diary, formally ending a century and a half of policing in this village. The beautiful old lady returned to her picture postcard home, with her daughter and son-in-law, leaving us both enriched, and saddened. It strikes me repeatedly of late that oftentimes we hear our politicans referring to us as an “economy” and frequently make reference to their efforts to rebuild our “economy.”An hour with this amazing woman would remind any politican, no matter how dense, that we are a society, not an economy, and we haven’t managed to wreck everthing yet – we still have something elft……. end of sermon!!!!!!!!! CLOSING OUR RURAL GARDA STATIONS: ONE GARDA’S MOVING STORY ON THE END OF 150 YEARS OF POLICING was last modified: January 31st, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CLOSING OUR RURAL GARDA STATIONS: ONE GARDA’S STORYlast_img read more

Onen names final squad for AFCON U17 Qualifiers

first_img Tags: AFCON U17 regional qualifiersPeter OnenU17 National team U17 players in training at the Njeru Technical Center (Photo by FUFA Media)Uganda U17 national team head coach Peter Onen has named his final squad that will represent the nation at the AFCON U17 regional qualifiers in Tanzania.After weeks of intensive training at Njeru technical center, Onen picked 20 out of the 26 players that he initially summoned.11 of the players in the squad featured at the CECAFA U17 tournament early this year.The others are new faces on the team including Polycap Mwaka from Football for Good Academy, Gulu.The tournament will run from the 12th of this month and will see Uganda face Ethiopia on opening day.Uganda is in group B alongside Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and South Sudan.The winner of the tournament will represent the East Africa region at the U17 AFCON final which will be hosted by Tanzania.The final squad of 20 players:Goal Keepers:Semwogere Daniel (UPDF JT FC), Oluka George (Buddo SS), Oyo Delton (KJSSS FC JT)Defenders:Ssekimbegga Kevin (Buddo SS), Kafumbe Joseph (Buddo SS), Kasozi Samson (Bright Stars FC JT,) Kizito Mugweri Gavin (SC Villa), John Rogers (Onduparaka FC JT), Juma Ibrahim (KCCA SA), Ekolot Ibrahim (Bright Stars FC JT)Midfielders:Ssekajja Davis (Bright Stars FC JT), Owane Yasin Abdul (Rock High School),  Mwaka Polycap (Football For Good Academy Gulu),Kakaire Thomas (SC Vipers JT), Alowo John Kokas (URA FC JT), Ngonde Elvis (KJSSS FC JT)Forwards:Iddi Abdul Wahid (Onduparaka FC JT), Asaba Ivan (SC Vipers JT), Yiga Najib (Kisozi Seed High School), Mukisa Owen (BUL FC JT)Uganda’s fixture at the AFCON U17 Zonal Qualifiers Sunday, 12-08-2018Uganda vs EthiopiaFriday, 17-08-2018 South Sudan vs UgandaSunday, 19-08-2018 Kenya vs UgandaWednesday, 22-08-2018 Uganda vs DjiboutiComments last_img read more

The king returns to Cradock

first_imgLions have been reintroduced to the Mountain Zebra National Park for the first time in over 130 years. Newly introduced lions at the park could boost tourism in Cradock.(Images: SANParks) MEDIA CONTACTS • Megan TaplinPark manager+27 83 650 8649RELATED ARTICLES• Tusker research goes social• Addo’s elephant fence comes down• SA’s national parks• Going wild in Southern AfricaShamin ChibbaFor the first time in more than a century, the lion’s roar can be heard through the tranquil wilderness of the Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock, in Eastern Cape.Three lions, one female and two males, all approximately three years of age, were released into the game reserve on 25 April. They are the first lions to freely roam the park since the species was hunted to extinction more than 130 years ago.The re-introduction of lions is mainly to enhance biodiversity in the region, according to park manager, Megan Taplin. “The lions will help in managing larger herbivores. These herbivores got to levels where they could support lions.” She says the restoration is part of SANParks’ drive to return certain animal species to their original habitats.The female had been kept in a boma since February and was joined by the two males a month later. Living in the enclosure helped them adapt to their new surroundings and allowed them to develop a healthy respect for electric fencing. Despite their first tentative steps into the wild, Taplin is certain the lions will thrive. “They are wild lions so they have their instincts. They will be able to hunt and feed.”There is a variety of choice when it comes to meals: the park is home to hartebeest, wildebeest, gemsbok, zebra, Cape buffalo, kudu and blesbok. “So far, they have mainly been killing hartebeest. Just recently they killed a wildebeest.” Since lions are opportunists by nature, they hunt and kill anything. However, Taplin says they tend to stick to bigger game as it is more rewarding. Competing for foodHunting for food is not the lions’ only concern, however. They also have to compete with the cheetahs, which mainly prey on the smaller blesbok. “SANParks introduced the cheetahs in 2007 to establish themselves before we brought in the lions, which may compete with the cheetahs for food.”The brown hyena is the third predator species in the park. But Taplin assures they will not be a threat to the lions’ wellbeing. “Hyenas are scavengers and they feed on smaller animals.”Park authorities have fitted a collar on each lion, allowing them to track the big cats. “We can see what kind of area they prefer to live in and check what kind of prey they target,” she explains. The collars will be worn for the first year of their stay, to collect sufficient information on them.The female came from the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West; the two males were adopted from Welgevonden Game Reserve in Limpopo. A game capture unit was used to seize the lions. Thereafter, they were transported to Mountain Zebra National Park where they adjusted easily to each other.Welgevonden, Taplin says, needed to reduce its lion numbers. “Game reserves try to limit the predator population to ensure a healthy gene pool. Once the fathers have offspring, we have to move some of them out. We would not want the fathers mating with their offspring.” Lions good for tourismTaplin is hopeful that the introduction of lions will bring more tourists to the park. “Most people are interested in lions and perhaps it can bring in more tourists. But it is a little too early to tell.” SANParks says cheetah tracking and guided walks for visitors will continue. Predator-proof fencing of two picnic sites in the game viewing area was done in time for the lions’ arrival.Dinesh Vallabh, a senior lecturer in the school of tourism and hospitality at Walter Sisulu University, which has campuses in various Eastern Cape towns, points out that the lions will definitely boost the number of visitors to the reserve. “Lions are great attractions because that is what foreign tourists want to see.” He says Eastern Cape game reserves have become prime attractions and those that have any of the Big Five do very well. “No one leaves the province without visiting a game reserve.”There is a possibility that more lions may be introduced, says Taplin, but only after park authorities have assessed the impact the three have on the reserve.Situated just outside Cradock, the Mountain Zebra National Park was established in 1937. Its aim was to protect the Cape mountain zebra, which at the time numbered less than 100. Today, the park is home to about 800 zebra, the largest population in South Africa. “This population is used to increase other populations in game reserves around the country,” says Taplin.last_img read more

We look up to you: Ibrahim

first_imgDr Mamphela Ramphele and Dr Mo Ibrahim, two distinguished world leaders. The ZK Matthews auditorium at Unisa in Pretoria was the venue for this year’s lecture. The annual Nelson Mandela lecture has featured prominent leaders such as former US president Bill Clinton, former Irish president Mary Robinson, and Nobel laureate, the late Wangari Maathai.(Images: Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory)MEDIA CONTACTS • Sello HatangCEO, Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory+27 11 547 5600RELATED ARTICLES• A nation of paradoxes: Robinson• ’The infinite gardens of Mandela’• ’Befriending the mistakes of the past’• Madiba’s legacy is forever• Scholarship builds future MandelasSource: Nelson Mandela Centre of MemoryDr Mo Ibrahim, businessman, academic and philanthropist, delivered the 11th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the University of South Africa (Unisa) in Pretoria on 17 August 2013. He joins luminaries such as former US president Bill Clinton, former Irish president Mary Robinson, and Nobel laureate, the late Wangari Maathai, who have all shared their opinion on important social issues through the annual event.This year’s lecture was attended by guests that included deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, academic and political party leader Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Professor Mandla Makhanya, the Unisa vice-chancellor, struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada, former Pan Africanist Congress president Mostoko Pheko, and Prof Njabulo Ndebele, chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory. Singing superstar Lira sang the national anthem, to the delight of the attendees.Mandela spent much of his 27 years in prison studying law through Unisa and on 17 May 1989, while still imprisoned at Victor Verster Prison, he graduated in absentia with an LLB from the institution.The theme for this year’s lecture was Building Social Cohesion and was a call for all South Africans to work towards a united, cohesive, democratic and national society. The address was directed at all African nations, however.According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which monitors development in Africa, South Africa moved up from 31st in 2000 to 22nd in 2012 in terms of rural development, but there is still a lot to be done.Overall South Africa is number five in terms of governance, according to the foundation’s survey. However, the gap between the rich and the poor is still stark.“South Africa is the least equitable country in the whole world, and it’s only legitimate for us to ask after 20 years of independence, why is that? It’s a challenge our friends in South Africa need to face up to,” the Sudanese national told guests.He touched on policy issues, including the subject of land: “You tried the system of willing buyer, willing seller and it didn’t work. Isn’t it time to find a solution within the Constitution to deal with this issue?” he asked.Another sacred cow, he said, was the matter of black empowerment, aimed at bridging the gap between the rich and the (mostly black) poor. “Did it help?” he asked. “If so, why are we at the bottom of the Gini table?”Ibrahim did not leave young people out of his address. “What are we preparing (young people) for?” he asked. “Are we producing the kind of people that future jobs will require? I am not sure.”He referred to the millions of young Africans who are about to enter the job market as “a tsunami”.“Where will the jobs come from?” he asked. “Without jobs, there will be no hope for the youth … and this is a major problem.”Ibrahim also urged African leaders to address the issue of education. A united Africa?On the need for African integration, Ibrahim cited another statistic: only 11% of trade in Africa takes place between its 54 states. Travelling between countries is hampered by strict controls and visa requirements.“Getting visas is a major problem,” he said, before confessing to using his British passport, and not his Sudanese one, to travel within Africa. A British passport, he said, is welcome across the continent. Women in Africa“We cannot talk about social cohesion without talking about women, the pillar of the African economy – 70% of the population is dependent on the land, and women do agriculture, not men,” Ibrahim pointed out.Violent crimes committed against women, he said, represent a serious threat to the African economy.“One cannot afford to lose this vital production element of society essential for social cohesion,” he said.He commended the South African government for being one of the most progressive in the world in terms of female representation in leadership, but pointed out that this is not reflected in society. “Cultural issues are difficult to face and it takes everyone in society to address them.” South Africa does matterIn conclusion, Dr Ibrahim called on South Africa to live up to its promise and to show the type of leadership that is fitting of the most advanced economy on the continent.“South Africa really matters to us Africans,” he said. “We look up to you. We look with admiration at the wonderful struggle for freedom, your founding fathers, especially Nelson Mandela, who is an African icon.In a frank rebuke, Dr Ibrahim said the African community expected more of us.“You are not doing your job,” he said. “We expect more of you. We expect leadership – we have a serious deficit. South Africa needs to step up and play a better role in Africa.“We are waiting. Don’t keep us waiting for a long time.” Read Ibrahim’s full speech below:I am really honoured to stand here before you today to deliver this lecture. I must confess l looked up the list of previous speakers and found out they fell mostly under categories of either presidents or Nobel Prize laureates, l am neither. l wish to congratulate the trustees in opting for a commoner like me to present this lecture – brothers and sisters, please manage your expectations.Building social cohesion is our topic today. I believe social cohesion is really about really holding our society together.It is about building a national identity that transcends ethnic, religion, class and gender. It is more than just a passport or an ID, it is where we achieve common purpose as citizens and when we really feel that we have equitable access and participation in the political, economic, social and cultural life of our country.It’s not about entitlement, but about equal opportunities and hope. It is about dialogue, listening and talking the Madiba way.Nelson Mandela is gifted with many extraordinary qualities, but for me the most potent quality he has is his ability to build bridges; to search for and find that common ground with others. And then use that common ground to build on understanding and find solutions. That is Madiba’s way.There is no doubt that great progress has been achieved in this country over the past 20 years. We do publish every year, my foundation, an index of governance, the African Index of Governance.We measure the 88 indicators of performance of each government in all aspects of their activities. South Africa ranked, in the year 2000, as number 31 in rural development out of 54 countries in Africa. Last year it was 22nd. There has been much improvement from 31 to 22nd. It is not a fantastic score, but it is a market improvement. It also tells us that a lot still has to be done about rural areas.I must say also that overall, South Africa is number five, it comes fifth in our overall index of governance. It’s a remarkable score to be number five out of 54. It is not bad at all. It is really good. However, the gap between rich and poor people in this country is still remarkable.The Gini table, which l admit is not the perfect measure but is a very important indicator, lists South Africa right at the bottom.This is the least equitable country in the whole world, and is it only legitimate for us to ask, after 20 years of independence, what exactly is really going on here? That’s the real challenge that our friends here in South Africa need to face up to. I think what we need is to have a good conversation about our policies on what worked and what did not work. We need to be brave, really, and have that kind of discussion.If we start with the issue of land, a very important issue, this country adopted a policy of willing seller and willing buyer. I think, and you would probably agree, it did not work.Isn’t it time for people to seek other solutions? Isn’t it time to find a solution within the Constitution that offers an equitable solution to all parties to address that issue? It is a very important issue for our people in the rural areas. And the government needs to have the courage in order to deal with that. Governance is never easy, but it has to be faced and this is a very important issue and it has not been addressed in the past 20 years.Black empowerment, the adopted black empowerment policy, was the objective of bridging the gap between the rich and the poor. Isn’t it the time to check what really happened with black economic empowerment? Did it help really bridge the gap between the rich and the poor? And if it did, why are we at the bottom of the table? I think we really need to have a conversation about that – at least for the sake of social cohesion. Talking about social coherence, we must also talk about young people, the youth. The youth are the largest constituency in our continent.Not only in South Africa, but in our continent. Half of the African population is below 19 years old. This is the largest constituency in Africa. This can be wonderful news but it can also be a major problem for us. It can be wonderful news because our democracy in South Africa and in Africa is the inverse of that democracy in Europe, China and Japan. There are no young people really in China or Japan. There have stopped having babies for some reason. Can Africa dream of being the future factory of the world instead of China? China is going to have a crunch in the next 10 or 20 years. Can we do that? What a wonderful prospect for us to have, that huge productivity of such young people can bring to our factories, our land and work place here. But in order to do that, we need to do two things:The first thing will have to be attention to education and training of that group of young people. What are we preparing them for? Is our education system matching our business needs? Are we producing the kind of people that future jobs will require? Are we doing that? I am not sure. I was having a conversation an hour ago with the vice-chancellor here and we both agreed that 2% of African students are studying agriculture, yet 70% of our people are living off the land. So we have an issue here of matching educational and training programmes to the job market. How many business people are involved in the educational process? I think none. That’s the first issue.The second issue is African economic integration. Only 11% of our trade is amongst the Africans. We refuse to let our people travel from one country to another. We always need a visa. And l also say, sadly, although being Sudanese, whenever l travel in Africa l always carry a British passport, because l am welcome.My colleague here, a member of our board, had huge trouble in getting a visa to be able to join me here. He was a secretary-general of the UN, a board member, but just to get a visa here is a major trouble. But with my British passport l am welcome here through your immigration lines. Is that acceptable?And let us take this further, as 54 countries, we are all subscale. We only have 14 exchanges, stock markets. Only six or seven of them have any liquidity. How can anybody start a business in a country which does not have a liquid stock exchange? If you are looking to invest money, you are looking at the dollar, you are looking for the exits. We have countries that have farming, we have countries that have tomatoes rotting because we cannot move tomatoes from here to there. There is no scale.If China was 54 different countries, would China have been where it is today? So let us get it clear in our heads that for us to move forward, we need to understand the important economic integration of Africa. We need freedom to move people, goods and capital across our borders. That is essential. So l think these are the two prerequisites. Simple. It’s not difficult. We need to get that in order for us to move forward. And we have an amazing future. We are a very rich continent. But what happens if we fail? We have a tsunami of young people, millions of young Africans coming for jobs every year. Where will these jobs come from? This is a recipe for a serious upheaval.Millions of young people without jobs and more important without hope, is a major problem. If you haven’t locked up your doors and called the army, that is a bleak future to face. That is a very serious issue. l hope that our leaders, and not only South Africa but all across Africa, can help us sleep tonight knowing that the tsunami of young people is coming, which we need to deal with. Our future depends on how we are going to deal with those young people. That is the mother of all social cohesion issues we face.Still on young people, given what is happening, given the demography of Africa, the majority of African people are under 19 years old. Below 25 years old is over 60% of the population. How much space do they have in the public arena? Who is listening to them? Are they invited to the table? The future they deserve is there. They understand the future better than us, and maybe they have better solutions than us. Have we had space for young people to come forward and join us in this process of thinking about what needs to be done? That is the challenge we need to deal with.Let’s go back to the numbers, l love the numbers, I am an engineer. I say half the population are around 19 years old. Do you know what the medium age is for African presidents? If you just compare the two numbers, you can see how divided we are. Where is the social cohesion here? This may be very interesting to note, Obama became president at 47 years old. Clinton at 46 years old. So people in their 40s are being elected to run a country that is not only the greatest super power, but it has a GDP economy of 15-trillion dollars a year – 15 times the total economy of Africa, which is about a trillion dollars.And those guys who are 40 years old are deemed to be able to run the US. Here we have somebody in our neighbouring country, who at 90 years old, is about to start a new term. So what is wrong with us? And the other day l was thinking, if Obama senior decided to take the young Obama back to Kenya, where would the young Obama be today? You may guess, l know, he will never be president of Kenya.We cannot talk about social cohesion without talking also about another important thing in our society, women.Women are actually the pillar of the African economy.  Seventy percent of our population depend on land, on agriculture. Who does agriculture? Women do agriculture. They do agriculture, family and kids and also schools. And yet women have not yet been allowed the dignity they really deserve in our society. There still is this male dominated xenophobia about women and we have to admit that.We have a problem here in Africa. And we really need to face the real problem. Rape is a terrible crime. Somehow it is widespread in Africa and widespread here in this country. That is not acceptable. So we cannot afford to lose what is vital productive element in our society, one essential for our social coherence.One thing l have to say here, is that l really wish to commend the government and the people of South Africa, l note that you have quite a good number of women in government, in parliament, as heads of state, companies and parastatals. Actually you have a high percentage of women, higher than any African country, actually higher than any country in the world and that is a wonderful achievement. So we have great tolerance and acceptance of the role of women and they do amazing jobs, really, but in the rest of society we don’t see that respect being reflected. We have a cultural issue and that is something we need to work on because culture is very difficult to change unless everybody is willing to work on that issue.Just to mention in figures, Africa in general improved a lot on ratings over the past 10 years on gender issues. We moved 37% up so that’s a great achievement over the past 10 years. But we are coming from a very low base so we should not pat ourselves on the back, not yet. There is a lot of work that needs to be done.Now finally I would really like to say that South Africa matters. Of course it matters to you as South Africans; it also matters to us as Africans. We look up to you. You are the most advanced – economically, industrially – country in Africa. We look in admiration to your wonderful struggle to freedom. We look at your founders, founding fathers, the great Mandela, he is our hero. He is an African icon. Not only for you, he is our hero too. So we expect a lot from you. And we will not refrain from being critical when we see you wavering and misbehaving because you matter for us. You are the locomotive. You are supposed to pull this region forward, economically, socially and culturally. We expect more from you.Unfortunately we have a deficit in leadership in Africa. In all of our 54 countries, you will understand exactly what l mean.We have a serious deficit in leadership. South Africa needs to step up and really play a better role in working with Africa. Leadership is not about bossing people around. Leadership is not about securing a seat on a security council on behalf of Africa or chairing the African Union.The leadership we are looking for is true engagement with Africa. We need a cohesive voice for Africa and that cohesive voice you can really help formulate. We need a cohesive voice on the issues of transparency, tax evasion and a lesser transfer of funds, a lot of issues really important for Africa, where we really need your strong voice to be there.You have a role to play in Africa by understanding Africa, by engaging with Africa. That is what we are looking for. We are waiting, don’t keep us waiting for a long time. As transcribedlast_img read more