UCT Genesis Project drives entrepreneurial spirit with six start-up ventures

The UCT Genesis Project will launch another six dynamic student start-up businesses from its Honours-level Postgraduate qualification in Entrepreneurship. These innovative student entrepreneurs will be launching and selling their new products at the annual UCT Genesis Product Launch and Expo on Wednesday, 11 October 2017. The event, sponsored and supported by Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (CCPB), will showcase some of South Africa’s most exciting new entrepreneurs who are learning how to set up and run their own businesses. Products range from laptop desks, athleisure wear, artisanal food products, earphone organisers, and a state-of-the-art power bank system.

Top business leaders, angel investors and venture capitalists annually scout the UCT Genesis Project Expo for new talent and this year will be no exception. The launch and expo will be held at the Leslie Social Sciences Building on Upper Campus from 9am to 3pm on 11 October 2017 with renowned local comedian Carl Weber acting as Master of Ceremonies. The theme for this year’s class is ‘leveraging new technology for a green student market’, and is particularly relevant in today’s progressive business climate.

Each year hundreds of hopeful local and international students apply to join the prestigious Genesis Project programme, which is run by the Faculty of Commerce at UCT. With only 50 spots open, the selected students form start-up teams where they ideate a new business concept, raise their own start-up capital and then take their innovative product to market. Student teams may import key components from overseas, but manufacturing has to happen locally in order to maximise local job creation. The student teams develop their businesses under the keen supervision of UCT academics, who are themselves serial entrepreneurs like Course Convenor and lecturer, Stuart Hendry and Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Dr David Priilaid. The teams are also mentored by high-profile business leaders like Dr Anthony Hill and legal professional Advocate, Lihle Sidake.

Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (CCPB) has partnered with the UCT Genesis students this year. “As an established regional business, we see great value in supporting and enabling our future business leaders. The partnership with UCT follows on from a very successful ‘Pitch Off’ competition held in June this year, and we look forward to seeing these concepts leading to fully established businesses,” says Priscilla Urquhart, Public Affairs and Communications Manager at CCPB.

Expo day on Upper Campus is by far the best-selling day of the year for the teams, with between 4 000 and 5 000 students visiting the event. The student start-up teams are required to raise their own start-up capital. This is typically done through a series of fundraising events such as Cake Sale Days on UCT’s Jammie Plaza. On average, the students raise between R20 000 and R40 000 start-up capital.

“Our student entrepreneurs are not only required to set up and run their own business, they also need to graduate with an Honours-level degree from UCT,” says Stuart Hendry, Lecturer and Course Convenor for The Genesis Project. “The course subjects deal with all the aspects of setting up and running a business in South Africa, including finance, marketing, sales, design-thinking, lean start-up methodology and agile engineering,” says Hendry.

“Having been a UCT Genesis Director and Mentor for more than 15 years now, I find the entrepreneurial spirit and energy amongst the students quite inspiring,” says Dr Anthony Hill, who is himself a very successful serial entrepreneur and author of the best seller “Grow Your Own Timber.”

Community leader and high profile legal professional Advocate Lihle Sidake explains: “The expo gives us a unique opportunity to showcase the qualities that are so desperately needed for the success of our society: creativity, discipline, confidence, open mindedness, critical thinking, industry, self-reliance, ability to function well in a group, healthy competition, determination, and ethical behaviour.”

The Expo is also open to the public. It runs from 9am to 3pm on Wednesday 11 October 2017 on the mezzanine level in the Leslie Social Science Building on Upper Campus.

For more information about Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (CCPB), visit http://www.peninsulabeverage.co.za/ or contact 021 936 5500.

It’s business as usual, assures Robben Island Museum

Tourists and guests to Robben Island Museum (RIM) are assured that it is business as usual.

Ferries depart daily at 09:00, 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00 to take visitors to the iconic heritage site. During the peak season there are seven tours each day to meet the demand of local and international tourists wanting to visit the Island.

The incident on 15 September 2017, where the ferry, Thandi, ran into trouble, is an anomaly, of a near perfect record since chartered ferries were introduced as a means to help RIM manage the demand. “The safety of our passengers to, on and from the Island are is priority,” says Dada.

“We are supporting the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) with their investigation. Our own internal investigation is also underway to identify any possible blind spots,” adds Dada.

“Until the investigations have been completed, we can’t speculate as to what exactly happened. What we do know and can confirm is that we comply with national laws and regulations; our systems are in place that is why all the passengers were safely transported back to the mainland. The success of having no casualties means that our current risk mitigation plans are working.

“We even have additional checks and balances in place over and above the requirements to make sure that each journey is completed safely.

“Masters of the ferries are trained to assess the water and weather conditions, and they are the best placed to know their ferries capabilities. In addition, RIM also monitors weather predictions in advance and therefore requests all Masters to do sea trials, upon which all factors are considered before a decision to run or not run tours is taken.

Both RIM owned and Private Ferries are subject to national laws without exception.

Thandi is not currently in commission.

For more information on Robben Island and daily tours, please visit www.robben-island.org.za

Is our knowledge about dyslexia dated? What is the contemporary view?

International Dyslexia Awareness Month is observed annually during the month of October and aims to unite like-minded organisations in sharing knowledge and resources about dyslexia with parents, teachers and the general public. In support of this initiative, Edublox reading, maths and learning clinic examines how early research has contributed to many misconceptions about dyslexia, and also busts a few common myths about this learning problem.

“According to popular belief, dyslexia is a brain disorder which causes otherwise smart and intelligent children to struggle with reading, spelling and writing,” explains Susan du Plessis, Director of Educational Programmes at Edublox. “The problem is that a lack of education about dyslexia has caused many myths that discourage parents the moment they hear of the dreaded word.”

The term ‘dyslexia’ originated in 1884 and was coined by the German ophthalmologist, Rudolf Berlin. It comes from the Greek words ‘dys’ meaning ill or difficult and ‘lexis’ meaning word. Since then, researchers across a variety of disciplines have tried to understand the causes and possible solutions for the problem. “Instead of viewing the collective research in its entirety, we tend to catch bits and pieces. Some of our beliefs about it date back to times before modern-day technology and research revealed the good news about dyslexia,” Susan continues.

In a nutshell, some of these misguided beliefs include:

  • The brain of dyslexics differs from poor readers with low IQs;
  • These brain differences are the cause of dyslexia;
  • A host of famous individuals such as Albert Einstein, Walt Disney and Hans Christian Andersen were dyslexic;
  • There is no remedy for dyslexia. One source states it quite bluntly: “Dyslexia is like alcoholism, it can never be cured.” *

Susan explains that contemporary research sheds doubt on some of these old beliefs. With the rise of modern fMRI-scanning technology which allowed neuroscientists to explore the human brain in more depth than ever before, old myths about dyslexia have been debunked. Neuroplasticity is a field of study that is significantly influencing the grasp that we have on dyslexia. According to research conducted in this field, the human brain has the ability reorganise itself by forming new connections throughout a person’s life.

The findings from a variety of recent studies contradict earlier beliefs in the following ways:

  • Using brain imaging scans, neuroscientist John D. E. Gabrieli at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that there was no difference between the way poor readers with or without dyslexia think while reading. **
  • In a study, published online in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers analysed the brains of children with dyslexia and compared them with two other groups of children: an age-matched group without dyslexia and a group of younger children who had the same reading level as the children with dyslexia. Although the children with dyslexia had less grey matter than age-matched children without dyslexia, they had the same amount of grey matter as the younger children at the same reading level. Lead author Anthony Krafnick said this suggests that the brain differences appear to be a consequence of reading experience and not a cause of dyslexia. ***
  • Studies of the biographies of Einstein, Disney and Andersen and many other “famous dyslexics” reveal little resemblance with individuals who are currently labelled dyslexic. For example, Einstein was reading Darwin’s writings at age thirteen. “The myth of these ‘famous dyslexics’ has been perpetuated by advocacy groups over many years to keep dyslexia in the lime light,” says Susan. “The problem is that myths like these distract from the scientific study of the field and subtly hints that it can only be okay to have dyslexia if a string of famous people also struggled with it, while that is not the case.”
  • The belief that dyslexia cannot be overcome is deeply rooted in the theory that the brain cannot change. Today we know that the human brain is a powerhouse. New connections can form and the internal structure of the existing connection can change. Susan has been extensively involved in research on the subject of reading difficulties over the last 25 years, and has made a few observations that may give South African parents hope. “At Edublox, we believe that dyslexia is not a DISability but simply an INability. While there are other causes, the most common cause of dyslexia is that the foundational skills of reading and spelling have not been mastered properly. Massive strides can be made when children’s cognitive deficits are addressed, and have seen we have seen amazing results with this approach.”

Javier Guardiola, author of the research paper, ‘The evolution of research on dyslexia’ applauds contemporary research and how it has contributed to our understanding of the subject. “Dyslexia is currently an interdisciplinary field of study, involving disciplines as varied as education and neurobiology. Researchers hope that the answers to this complex learning disability lie in the intersection of all these disciplines,” he writes. ****

“To create awareness about dyslexia, we need to keep abreast of the latest research and what this means for our children. As parents, we need to keep looking for solutions and support systems that will help us tackle the symptoms associated with dyslexia. And the good news is there has never been a better time in the history of the field,” concludes Susan.


* Clark, M., & Gosnell, M. (1982). “Dealing with dyslexia.” Newsweek, 22 March, 55-56.

** Gabrieli, J. D. E., et al. (2011). “The brain basis of the phonological deficit in dyslexia is independent of IQ,” Psychological Science.

*** Krafnick, A. A. J., et al. (2014). “An investigation into the origin of anatomical differences in dyslexia,” Journal of Neuroscience, 34 (3).

**** Guardiola, J. G. (2001). “The evolution of research on dyslexia.” URL http://ibgwww.colorado.edu/~gayan/ch1.pdf  (Accessed 20 September 2017).

Landfill 2017 to take place at operational landfill site

The most important landfill event on the calendar, Landfill 2017, takes place at Buffelsdraai Regional Landfill site in KwaZulu Natal from Wednesday 18 October to Friday 20 October 2017.

“South Africa has 876 landfill sites that receive municipal waste. This fact alone indicates how important it is for waste management professionals across all sectors to gather together to look at best practices and new technology,” says Jan Palm, president of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA).

For the first time ever, Landfill 2017 will take place at an operational landfill site. In addition to a high level of technical presentations, delegates will enjoy viewing exhibitor stands and will have the opportunity to walk outside and watch demonstrations of the most advanced landfill equipment.

The KwaZulu Natal Landfill & Waste Treatment Interest Group (LaWTIG) of the IWMSA will host the event which will bring leaders in the waste and environmental management industries together to share latest techniques and developments to improve landfill as a waste management practice. Decision makers from Government, the private sector, prospective users, academics, vendors, suppliers, and representatives of various national organisations working in the landfill arena will attend the conference which promises to provide fantastic learning and networking opportunities.

One of the topics that will be discussed at Landfill 2017 is capping. The cap on a landfill helps to limit the quantity of rain water that seeps into the waste; it essentially separates waste from the atmosphere. “The aim of this workshop is for delegates to learn more as they discuss effective capping and thereafter submit conference comments to the Department of Environmental Affairs for consideration in compiling a final Practice Note on Landfill Capping,” says Palm.

Kelvin Legge, Chief Engineer at the Department of Water and Sanitation will provide the keynote address covering aspects of landfill designs and proposals that his department receives. Amongst the other topics to look forward to at the Landfill 2017 conference are discussions on forest restoration at the Buffelsdraai Landfill site, rubble crushing, landfills as resource hubs, and developing long term municipal waste disposal strategies.

“We look forward to robust discussion and networking at Landfill 2017 as well as valuable learning opportunities amongst delegates from all interested waste management fields,” concludes Palm.

For more information visit the Landfill 2017 event website page. To find out more about the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa visit www.iwmsa.co.za. You can also follow IWMSA on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/iwmsa) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/IWMSA).

Robben Island Museum thanks all parties who contributed to successful rescue

On Friday 15 September 2017, Thandi, one of Robben Island Museum’s (RIM) chartered passenger ferries, experienced trouble during its return trip to Cape Town. Once Port Control received the distress call from the ferry, Port Control immediately implemented emergency procedures, along with notifying the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) to get everyone back to shore safely.

“Due to the quick response and effective communication from all parties involved all 64 passengers and five crew members were returned safely to Cape Town. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the NSRI, ER24, V&A Waterfront, all other emergency services and the RIM team for their quick response to the scene and for a successful rescue operation,” says Mava Dava, CEO of RIM.

RIM undertakes daily consultations with their ferry masters as a part of their stringent sea safety protocols. This is done to assess the condition and to make calls to determine whether a ferry should proceed to or from the island. The consultation on Friday confirmed that the forecast for the day was not a reason for concern. However the weather is very unpredictable and the strong winds soon caused unplanned adverse conditions that exceeded that of the forecast.

“We have risk mitigation plans in place that account for critical situations such as this,” says Dada. Once the alarm had been raised all the passengers were informed, fitted with life jackets and directed to the evacuation section on board before being picked up by the NSRI’s rescue vessels. “The success of having no casualties means that our current risk mitigation plans are working,” adds Dada.

“The safety of our passengers has always been a key priority for us. A strict requirement for any chartered ferry to conduct business with RIM is for the vessel to have a maintenance plan or maintenance schedule to ensure all machinery and equipment are always in perfect running condition, they are also required to have all the safety certificates for the vessels,” says Sandresan Thandroyan, Senior Manager Ferry Operations, Robben Island Museum. In addition to strict maintenance requirements all vessels  need to go through RIM’s mandatory safety briefing before carrying passengers to and from Robben Island.

Following this incident RIM have initiated an internal investigation which will determine the cause of the incident. South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will also be conducting an investigation; RIM will support them throughout the process.

It is business as usual. The trips to Robben Island are continuing.

For more information about the daily tours, please visit http://www.robben-island.org.za/.

Investing in the nation’s greatest asset: its children

“Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth who care for and protect our people.”

~ Nelson Mandela

Of all the many projects that the Rotary Club of Claremont invests in, the majority of them are projects that improve children’s future life outcomes. Primary and secondary school education provides the springboard for success and can shape dreams. The Club is thrilled to have the privilege of making possible numerous projects that support school children: it has provided over R 1.2 million in outreach grants to smaller Rotary clubs in Rotary District 9350 (Northern and Western Cape, Namibia and Angola) over the past five years. Some of these are included below.

Educational equipment for autistic children in Mossel Bay

Autistic children who attend the Education Training Hub for Autism Needs (ETHAN) and the Zettie Jonker Hulpsentrum in Mosselbay are benefitting from new specialised sensory equipment and educational aids after a donation by the Rotary Club of Mossel Bay. The occupational therapy interventions help improve the children’s balance, coordination, catching, kicking and jumping. The two non-profit organisations, that work together to help Autistic children and their caregivers, were also able to purchase tracks, hula hoops, a see-saw, sports equipment, puzzles, wall charts, puppets, stencils, stamps and towers for educational development. Furthermore, the office was furnished with a much-needed computer, printer, and laminator for administrative use.

Durbanville Farm school pupils rewarded for academic excellence

Top student achievers from nine farm schools in and around Durbanville were rewarded for excellent academic work at prize giving ceremonies arranged by the Rotary Club of Durbanville, with funds from the Rotary Club of Claremont. The students who won prizes for being the Top Academic Achiever, or for achieving the top marks in English, Afrikaans and Maths, won backpacks, dictionaries and novels. The schools at which the prize giving ceremonies took place are mainly attended by children from low income communities.

The Rotary Club of Durbanville hosts the awards ceremonies to inspire young students to reach for the stars. Learners who wish to win the prizes are motivated to work hard and compete for top results. This encourages overall academic performance and creates healthy competition and a sense of pride amongst learners at the nine schools.

New computers for Durbanville reading centre

Children at the Morningstar Reading Centre in Durbanville are enjoying new computers at the Centre, a privilege that few of them would have access to at home. The Reading Centre provides afterschool support for up to 30 pre-primary and primary school children from the Morningstar suburb. Most of them come of their own accord: the only admission criterion is an eagerness to learn. The volunteer teachers, mainly social workers and mothers from the greater Durbanville area, supplement the children’s academics with reading, comprehension and art. The computers were installed by the Rotary Club of Tygerberg, complete with Edubuntu educational software to provide maths, language and computer literacy support.

A garden oasis in Jim Se Bos informal settlement

The Children’s Library in Jim Se Bos informal settlement near Philippi was established by Seung Young Jung as a beacon of hope in the midst of an impoverished community. After school children flock to the library to read, receive help with homework and play in the yard. The Rotary Club of Kromboom helped Jung to beautify the library by creating a recreational and educational garden with funds from the Rotary Club of Claremont. Beautiful plants add a splash of green to an otherwise dull area and a tranquil pond was installed, making the practical learning and play area an oasis for the children. The children are more eager than ever to attend the library, unknowingly nurturing their interest in reading.

New shade port for Belgravia primary school

Learners at Belthorn Primary School in Belgravia, Cape Town had nowhere to gather for assembly except outside in the open quad, exposed to the harsh summer sun with no protection from the wind or rain. The school principal approached the Rotary Club of Groote Schuur for help. The Club installed a blue shade canopy across the school’s quad, which now provides the learners with a suitable meeting place to gather as a school.

“Whether the projects are big or small, we are delighted with every life touched. These projects all meet practical needs in the community and bring much joy too,” says PP Peter Trebble, chairperson of the Rotary Club of Claremont’s Outreach Programme organising committee. “We are privileged to play a role in helping so many other Rotary Clubs complete the worthwhile projects they are working on,” he concludes.

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit https://www.facebook.com/RotaryClubofClaremont/.

Small business set up for success at the SMME Opportunity Roadshow 2017 in Cape Town

“Building businesses are important; sustaining and moving them forward is even more important.” These were the opening words from Justin Asher, Chief Operating Officer (COO) from Picup Technologies and Programme Director at the SMME Opportunity Roadshow that took place in Cape Town last week at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

During this leg of the Roadshow, entrepreneurs from across the Western Cape shared lessons and had an opportunity to network with each other to gain insights on how best to take their businesses to the next level. With successful Roadshows already completed in Gauteng and Port Elizabeth, the next one is taking place in Durban on 15 November.

Keynote speaker, Sihle Tshabalala, Co-Founder and CEO of Quircky 30 NPC and Quircky Innovations (Pty) Ltd enthralled the delegates and had them hanging on his lips with his quick wit as he shared his incredible entrepreneurship story. Tshabalala, a convicted felon, served eleven years in prison for business robberies and heists.  As an incredibly intelligent youngster, having started school at four and matriculated at the age of 16, he had no ambition to further his studies. He got involved in the wrong crowd and so was drawn into the life of crime. His entrepreneurial journey started when he was in prison, where he sold marijuana! He had quite a sophisticated supply chain, he explains. He says, tongue in cheek, that our prisons are full of entrepreneurs. Criminals have a natural talent for hustling, courage to take risks and they know how to network.  They have just chosen crime, which is the wrong product, says Tshabalala. When he was released from prison he taught himself three different computer languages in six weeks. Today he trains youngsters who have dropped out of schools, single moms and others who have no means to further their education how to code.  Tshabalala is now a thriving businessman on the right side of the law.

Other topics during the morning included an explanation of what the Competition Commission does and the fascinating work of the Sheltered Employment Factories who empower people living with disabilities to make furniture for both office and home use.  The support provided to entrepreneurs by the City of Cape Town, The Hope Factory and Thomson Reuters were also topics of discussion. Procurement, tendering, marketing and advertising also added to the dialogue.

“Through this SMME Opportunity Roadshow we are endeavouring to reach out to as many entrepreneurs that we can. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and it is important that we give them as much support and guidance as we can,” says Robert Arendse, Managing Director of Cape Media, organisers of the SMME Opportunity Roadshow. “We are thrilled with the turnout and the networking platform that has been created to link businesses so that lessons learnt can be shared widely,” adds Arendse.

The final leg of the SMME Opportunity Roadshow is taking place in Durban on 15 November at the Durban ICC. For more information, visit http://www.smmesa.co.za or contact Bev beverley@capemedia.co.za | 021 681 7000

If you can’t be at the venue, don’t miss out: watch the live stream on http://www.capemedia.tv/. You can also join the discussion on Twitter @SMME_Roadshow #SMME2017 and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/smmeor.



Mobilising agents of change

 [CAPTION] Adriana Marais, head of innovation at SAP and one of the volunteers to join the Mars One mission in 2025, addressed the delegates during the opening ceremony at the 2017 SABC Education SA Innovation Summit.

“I believe we can harness technology, to create a future that we can be proud of,” said Marais in her opening address at the 2017 SABC Education SA Innovation Summit which took place at the Cape Town Stadium last week. The Summit was an event that saw many influential business leaders, visionaries, and start-ups interacting to share their experiences, demonstrate new technology and discuss co-creating a better future for society.

Following the opening ceremony, breakaway sessions included panel discussions with business leaders, creative master classes, hackathons, inventors demonstrating their prototypes at the Inventors Garage, and start-ups pitching to a panel of potential investors. Start-ups and successful business leaders connected to share advice on how to take an idea to market successfully.

“Innovation happens when you ask ‘Why?’,” said Rob Stokes, Chairperson at Red&Yellow and speaker at the Summit. During his talk “Why Creative Thinking is the most important skill of the 21st Century”, he addressed how we access our inner creative genius to stay ahead of automation and even artificial intelligence.

“What toolkit does one require to start a business?” asked Kieno Kammies during a CEO panel discussion. “One thing that struck me to be essential is to conquer fear, not just conquer it, banish it so that it does not exist; in this way you are just completely focused on your vision,” answered Hannes van Rensburg, founder of Fundamo, the leading supplier of mobile banking and payment solutions.

[CAPTION] Resident artist, James Durno successfully captured the ‘Innovation Revolution’ theme of the conversations taking place at the Summit.

The jam-packed event ended off with the announcement of winners of the various competitions at the event:

  • Winner of the Chivas Regal Venture Pitching Den was Benji Coetzee. Her start-up company EmptyTrips will be off to compete for a US$ 1 million investment prize at the 2018 Startup World Cup grand finale in Silicon Valley. EmptyTrips uses smart algorithms to allow empty transport vehicles on return trips to be used for cargo transport at a lower cost.
  • The Santam Hackathon, a 48-hour hackathon to find solutions to some of South Africa’s most pressing safety challenges, awarded a first prize of R20 000, and incubation support from idea to launch, to MoreEyes. The MoreEyes team proposed using biometric data to track employee and retail visitor behaviour (including movement patterns, body temperature and facial recognition) to help predict and prevent robberies.
  • The Inventors Garage, an opportunity for inventors to exhibit their prototypes, awarded a cash prize of R10 000, as well as R15 000 in services from Adams&Adams, to the winner: James van der Walt with SolarTurtle. The SolarTurtle is an ultra-secure solar energy solution for off-grid use in high-crime areas.

This year’s Summit eclipsed the success of previous years by being a catalyst of real social change. Speakers at this year’s event committed to a change that they will enact and give feedback on over the course of a year, helping to create a greater impact on the economic ecosystem. “The commitment varied from general collaboration in strengthening the innovation and start-up eco system in South Africa, to specific commitments like that of delegate Hammilton Mphidi that committed to creating start-up schools in communities to teach future skills,” explains Audrey Verhaeghe, Chairperson of the Summit. “In his presentation, Pieter De Villiers reminded people that you do not have to be a billionaire to give back: offer your time and effort. Commitments touched on creation, implementation and enablement of new ideas, capacity building, riding the wave of big data and disrupting industries. Thinking big and scaling of businesses from Africa to the World was a golden thread at the Summit.”

“We are incredibly excited about what the year ahead will bring in terms of measurable societal impact,” Verhaeghe concludes. “It is events like these that act as an important source of inspiration for many to take a great idea and turn it into something that will change the world.”

For more information on the 2017 SABC Education SA Innovation Summit, visit www.innovationsummit.co.za.

Brand-new Music and Arts Centre for Steenberg High School

Steenberg High School’s brand new Music and Arts Centre will be officially opened today, 01 September 2017. The much-needed Centre was made possible by Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages’ (CCPB) generous donation of R2.25 million, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Newlands who contributed to and managed the building project.  The Centre will be a hub for all cultural activities at the school, and will also be used as a dance studio.

As CCPB’s 2017 Corporate Social Investment (CSI) project, the newly built Music and Arts Centre boasts a foyer, office, store room and most importantly, plenty of space for two school orchestras to practice and perform in.

Steenberg High School Headmaster Andre Kraak said it was a dream come true for the school to have their own Music and Arts Centre. Previously the learners would have to squash into a small room for orchestra practice. Now they have their own cultural space.

“We are thrilled to partner with Steenberg High School in providing a dedicated space for music, dance and arts to flourish. This is our big 2017 CSI project and believe it will provide learners with a space to thrive and excel,” says Priscilla Urquhart, Public Affairs and Communications Manager at CCPB.

For children at the school, many who come from low income communities, playing music has been a significant turning point, says Kraak. “The members of the two Symphonic Wind Orchestras have been transformed. They have developed a positive self-image and have grown in confidence. There has also been a remarkable improvement in their work ethic and academic results,” adds Kraak,

Kraak mentions one specific learner from a gang-ridden area who plays the tenor saxophone. “In Grade 9 she was on the verge of dropping out of school because of bad choices. The orchestra gave her reason to stay at school. She did not feature among the top learners in the junior phase but suddenly appeared as one of the top ten academic students in Grade 10. Her transformation was recognised when the teachers selected her as a prefect in Grade 11 in 2016,” he explains proudly.

The school’s two orchestras are flourishing, and can boast that they have performed at the Baxter, Artscape and at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Some of the most talented musicians are also part of the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

“It is a privilege to be so invested in this school and its learners,” says Graham Finlayson, President of the Rotary Club of Newlands. “We look forward to seeing the learners at Steenberg High School flourish.”

Urquhart added: “The level of talent amongst learners at the school is phenomenal and it is wonderful to see children thrive as they perform together. This building symbolises an investment in arts and culture. It is indeed a place that will inspire moments of happiness in the lives of many learners, their parents, the teachers at this school and the wider community.”

For more information about Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (CCPB), visit http://www.peninsulabeverage.co.za/ or contact 021 936 5500.

Passionate teacher wins stationery supplies for her school

Mkhomazi Primary School in Breyton, Mpumalanga has received stationary supplies to the value of R16 000 thanks to Grade 6 English Teacher, Thembi Dlamini, who spotted Sea Harvest’s ‘Back to School’ Facebook competition. Little did she know that by winning this competition, she would also be walking away with R1000 for herself!

Mkhomazi Primary School is located in a very small mining town in Mpumalanga where the unemployment rate is 70% and learners are faced with extreme poverty and many social challenges. Grade 6 English Teacher, Thembi Dlamini, is always looking for ways to help improve the situation at her school, whether it is sourcing donations of shoes for orphans in her class or finding more textbooks. Winning the Sea Harvest Back to School Competition was one way that Dlamini could help make a practical difference.

The prize money has been invested wisely into additional resources for the school. The school chose to purchase 50 atlases, 50 dictionaries, pens and pencils with the prize money. Golf shirts that have the school logo embroidered on them were also purchased for the staff members. “The atlases and dictionaries are very helpful for the learners,” explains Dlamini. “They use dictionaries almost every day and across every subject and teaching map work has become so much easier now that we have atlases that the children can reference. The teachers wear their golf shirts every Friday and it gives us all a sense of belonging and purpose at the school,” she says. With the R1000 prize that Dlamini won for herself, she chose to purchase a cell phone.

“We are so glad that the prize money has been put to good use, and that learning will be that much easier for the learners at Mkhomazi Primary School,” says Nazli Philander, Sea Harvest Brand Manager. “Thembi is one of this country’s unknown heroes whose efforts we are pleased to support,” she states.

For more information about Sea Harvest, visit www.seaharvest.co.za. Follow Sea Harvest on Facebook www.facebook.com/SeaHarvestSA/ for more competitions, recipes and fun fish facts.