FREE STATE NEWS (Nov 2009 editions)
This web page(s) regularly focuses on the leading Free State (South Africa) newspaper – Free State News – the first regular newspaper to be orchestrated fully by black people in the Free State province (the paper celebrates its 10th year anniversary this year). The paper has been published on a weekly basis since 1999. Regular items like “Feature of the week” have appeared here over the months.
Free State News crew
Maki Mohapi aka “Madam Maki” “H.C”
Thato Josephine Nkatswang
051 447 1655
NOVEMBER 27– DECEMBER 3 2009 edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK: “MEC Manyoni embraces Barloworld Occasion” By S Botsime (Front page)
MEC MANYONI FERVENTLY EMBRACES BARLOWORLD OCCASION!
By S Botsime
The MEC of Police, Roads and Transport Mr. Thabo Manyoni heartily embraced the glittering function that was held at Barloworld on Tuesday. The occasion celebrated the achievements of thirteen students who were honoured after completing their artisan course at Barloworld in Hamilton.
The MEC pointed out that the Heavy Plant Equipment plays a key role in the development of the Road Infrastructure which is pivotal to economic development in the Province. The Department took a conscious decision to revamp the heavy plant equipment, which has become totally obsolete and with scarce financial resources the Department avoided to purchase new plants, which would have cost in the excess of 25 million. Second phase of life of about 10 years given to these machines at the cost less than 9 million.
On the thirteen learners that were qualified as artisans after an intensive course and the training conducted by Barloworld, the MEC assured the guests that the students will be placed not far from their home town so that it will be easier for them to visit their homes during the weekend. He further stated that Domestic Violence, HIV and roads accident are in the forefront cause of death mortality in South Africa.
This achievement is cause for celebration since it is for the first time that Black persons in the Free State would qualify as artisans. The graduates will amongst other things repair, service and maintain heavy duty equipment such as graders. The department has taken a conscious decision to utilize these newly acquired skills at Barloworld “but this will be done in –house”. It was also stated that it was expected for the government to fork out the cost of 34million which was no longer necessary. The artisans’ work will be to assist municipalities with the maintenance of heavy duty equipment.
The other employee who got the recognition is Oupa Tshabalala who has been winning multiple awards and is a frequent winner in the Driver of the year competitions specializing in the heavy vehicles. Now Mr. Oupa has been invited to participate in the International competitions specializing in the heavy duty vehicles. He will be invited to participate in the International competition to be held in Austria on the 23rd September 2010.
The Phumelela Local Municipality which is being stated as one of the poorest provinces in terms of resources approached the Department of Police, Roads and Transport for assistance and support and the decision has been made to give it support, adding that there is an agreement which was signed at the function. Also, a vehicle has been donated to the Traffic department at Phumelele and this has marked the beginning of the new Inter-governmental
NOVEMBER 20– NOVEMBER 26 2009 edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK: “The Grim Reaper wreaks havoc” (Front page)
THE GRIM REAPER WREAKS HAVOC
…Sikisi, Mandla, Gloria, give up the ghost
“Out, out, brief candle!”
In a horrific scenario, road carnage claimed the burgeoning lives of a coterie of illustrious Free Staters over the weekend.
The whole Province reeled with shock as the news broke that charismatic and brilliant ANC Spokesperson, Teboho Sikisi had lost his life in a car crash. He did not die alone. Mandla Mdali, another ANC stalwart, also perished in the terrible accident.
Incredibly, at around the same time, Free State News – The People’s Whistle – also learnt with great horror that its dynamic, upcoming female journalist Gloria Marobele had also lost her life no thanks to another disheartening car accident.
“Why do so many good and great die young?” many Free Staters have been pondering after hearing about these deaths. Some have added philosophically that it is true that even at our best health one should always think of death so that we may for certain know that we won’t remain in this earth forever.
Teboho and Gloria in particular were already blazing a trail of brilliance in the world of letters. Teboho was a renowned, pungent, committed spokesperson for the ANC who was a darling of the media. Gloria, within an astonishingly short time, was already showing excellence as a journalist with unfettered scope.
This edition of Free State News is dedicated to the unforgettable memory of these brilliant young men, and woman. Their indelible footprints have been stamped on the sands of time. Robalang ka kagiso!!!
- O Bolaji and S Botsime
“And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”
At Free State News our hearts are exceedingly heavy and our sadness and pathos know no bounds as we mourn the untimely demise of our brilliant journalist, Gloria Marobele who gave up the ghost last week after an unfortunate car accident.
A cross-section of some of the tributes from our readers over our loss:
“I’m very very sorry to hear that our young and endowed journalist Gloria is no longer around, though many had expected much from her career” – Tiisetso Thiba (0781139406)
“So quick and so fast. Life sometimes doesn’t give us a chance. Another talent gone. This is not fair. Gloria was more than just a journalist. I’m lost for words” - Richard Skietreker (0794333147)
“I know tears are flowing now, particularly at Free State News. The young lady (Gloria) is gone and all Free State News readers have lost a vigorous and enthusiastic journalist. Don’t feel forsaken. God knows why she has been taken. No one is familiar with death because all human beings desire to live and death is cruel” – Ishmael “Dada” Soqaka (0740467177)
“Siyafunda Kids in the Limelight”. (By Raselebeli Khotseng) Page 5
STREET KIDS IN THE LIMELIGHT
…Siyafunda initiative garners praise
By Raselebeli Khotseng
The purpose of this ground-breaking launch was to combat an increasing number of homeless people and destitute children roaming the streets of big cities with dismal futures ahead of them.
The focus was the prevalence of alarming conditions relating to homelessness, poverty and crime which affect good governance, business sector, economic development and community at large.
The meeting was attended by the so-called street children, SAPS, Social Development, Women’s League and other Community organisations – including both Siyafunda and New Generation Network who were the organisers of this venture. The convener was Nosibele Damane of Siyafunda.
Mr. Patrick Lehare of New Generation explained the position of NGYC as to assist youth to discover their talents and help; “Siyafunda Place of Hope” for street children and orphans to clear children off the streets.
Thereafter street children’s choir showcased their talents by singing a melody gospel song called “Ke Moeti”. Mrs Davis from ABET encouraged children to advise their friends who are still roaming the streets to join them at Siyafunda shelter. She pointed out “that you can’t teach someone whilst his tummy is empty”!
On his own part Mr Mofokeng Albert from Deaf Organisation that also deals with destitute youth, orphaned and street children said that they were worried about the safety of these unfortunate children. Mr Namana, a healer and member of MEN’S SOLIDARITY praised children’s God-given talents and promised to cleanse them with his miraculous water so as to be happy in life.
Mr R Khotseng from Men’s Solidarity on Crime against Humanity performed a poem appurtenant to street children and traced the background of the so-called street children, phenomenon. Mr. Mogomedi from Social Development appealed to children to refrain from drugs and dangerous substances as they are prepared to help their shelter.
Inspector Mdi from SAPS appreciated the existence of the shelter for it will reduce the work of SAPS members. He indicated that there are people who claimed to help this genre whilst they were only interested in money. He concluded by saying that many artists came up from being hobos.
Willem Tsintsi from Befrienders reiterated that you can not make the mistake when you are not hungry. He made a commitment that his organisation will assist in rendering services of counselling children at shelters.
On that note Mrs Susan Skalp of Tswelopele Siyaya which trains disabled people to sew, paint and also teaches them art made the same commitment. Mr Frans reminded the guests that the project does not belong to Siyafunda only but also to Youth Generation and other partners who are interested in their endeavours.
Mr. Mlungusi from Thusano said it was their duty to help organisations that developed lives of the communities, and no one is supposed to live on the streets. “Government does not sacrifice to help children but it helps them because it is a matter of must; we are bound by the constitution”
Mrs Anna from Women’s League requested the Organisers to have a meeting every month with the intention of measuring how far the shelter survives. After a formal prayer, proceedings came to an end. The next meeting will be on the 9th of December 2009.
Details of the launch were as follows:
Date: 11th November 2009
Venue: Setshabelo Centre (Former Ramkraal Prison)
NOVEMBER 13 – NOVEMBER 19 2009 edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK:
“UFS students play a pivotal role in Aids prevention”. (By Gloria Marobele) Page
UFS students play a pivotal role in AIDS prevention
By Gloria Marobele
As people we sometimes think that we have enough knowledge when it comes to HIV/AIDS; we tend to forget people based in farms and the proliferating illiterate. At the University of the Free State an HIV/AIDS Centre has recruited 21 Peer Educators. This campaign is called HIV/AIDS Prevention Program and is being coordinated by Estelle Heideman.
John Makoatsane (24) is a Research Assistant at this HIV/AIDS Centre and he started working here since early this year. Makoatsane and his colleagues have been educating the farm workers in Springfontein about HIV/AIDS. “Farmers and their workers were very cooperative and some farmers even went through the training so they can also teach their workers about HIV/AIDS. It was shocking to see that some people still think that they can be infected by HIV when someone is coughing next to them; some still think that they can be infected by HIV if they stay in the same house with someone that’s HIV positive. The list goes on and on but after we taught those people their perceptions towards HIV changed.”
Makoatsane added: “Farm workers do not have enough information when it comes to HIV/AIDS - maybe it’s because they are far from the clinics. These people are the most vulnerable because do not go to the clinic when they have got STIs. Some still have attitudes towards condoms and one other problem is that most of these people are illiterate but we overcame that by using pictures when we were educating these people. My vision is to see a project like this being hosted in all the Free State rural areas”.
“I studied Social Work and I once worked in Family and Marriage Counselling of South Africa (FAMSA) and one day I had a patient that was HIV positive and I did not have much information about HIV so I never dwelled enough on that HIV thing. Even in class one of lecturers once said they will invite someone to come and talk to us about HIV and I was so bored, I even wanted to bunk class but by the grace of God I didn’t. The lady that came to teach about HIV was Astelle Heideman of whom I later became her Assistant!” said Tarryn Nell (HIV Prevention Program Officer).
Nell added: “I realised I had a bad attitude when it came to HIV, I always thought I had enough information but I discovered that I had to empower myself with knowledge. Today I still look back and think that if only I had enough information about HIV I would have helped my clients better”.
Ntebohiseng Sekhele (18), a first year student in BSC Geology who is also a Peer Educator said: “I think there is a lot that has to be done when it comes to HIV/AIDS. I work with my hostel (Akasia) and we gather with others to talk about different topics. People have been coming and they have been participating in these discussions.”
Dear Diary (Column) By Mpumelelo Mtjekelo
The 11th November 2009 - that was my birthday! Turning 18 years old, a part of me is just relaxed about all that but another part of me hates that day. It feels like I have done so little in so much time. 18 years on planet earth, what have I done?
I don’t want to grow old. The best age in my life is 17, so much has happened and not all of it is good though but it happened and of course there are regrets and disappointments but like I said “it happened”. I guess I have to let go the age 17 and welcome 18. I wonder what it has in store for me, now that I think of the age 18 I get scared.
Does the age 18 mean more challenges or more pain or does it mean more discoveries? Is it going to bad or is it going to be good? You know, if it was the right thing to make a wish about my age, I’d wish to remain 17 years forever. Maybe it is not that I fear 18 but because I love the age 17 so much that I don’t want it to change.
Birthday wish - let me make a wish.
I just made my wish, which I shouldn’t share it with anyone because it might not come true.
Let me give you an idea of my wish…I do not wish to grow older but wish to grow wiser, I do not wish for experience but wish for knowledge. I wish for the ability to grow stronger but not older. Uhmm… Let me just wait and see what 18 years has in store for me. Not forgetting that no one said I’m going to be 18 years forever.
My wish is to find peace in my heart.
I wish that all the pain and hurting shall fade away someday and I believe that even though I just told you my wish, it will come true.
NOVEMBER 06– NOVEMBER 12 2009 edition
FEATURE OF THE WEEK:
“SACC revamps its mission”. (By Seleke Botsime) Page 4
SACC revamps its mission
By Seleke Botsime
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) held a mammoth meeting on Wednesday from nine o clock at the jam-packed Hall next to Kenworth Spar. It was a well attended event with some 150 people present from all over the Free State.
The opening of the ceremony was done by Rev P.E Yanta (PCA) and the programme director was Rev. Dr. Vellem (Deputy General Secretary of SACC).
Rev. V. Vellem started by stressing that “All churches belong to the body of Jesus Christ irrespective of how big or small the church can be. And more importantly the role of the SACC is to mold and unite the churches to be one.”
He further stated that the churches united in 1968 to form SACC and the main purpose of starting the organization was to facilitate the body of the churches. Dr. Vellem explained: “We as the SACC are the fellowship of churches and the government leaders must set good example that goes with the principle of SACC.” He made it clear that as the SACC there seems to be a serious crisis within the organization and especially when it comes to Free State province where some of the top officials have been saying that they might as well give up on Free State province since there is no unity in the province.
But Rev Vellem assured all the people that attended the function that he himself is still hopeful about this province. “The SACC is now in the process of evaluation, where a company from Kenya has been asked to evaluate the SACC and bring back the report of strategies that can be applied to improve the service and maximize the work of SACC. One of the findings was that the provincial relies much more on the national where they are expected to be spoon-fed all the time.”
The Reverend went on to state that it was about time the SACC will have to find a vision from now on and look forward; deal with the pandemic of Hiv\aids and most importantly eradicate poverty in the society for everyone to have an everlasting life. He said that there seems to be a spiritual hunger everywhere and people are experiencing a drought in spirituality.
”The SACC will have to address the poverty issue since all the factors that are being experienced in our society that are not tolerated starting from petty crime to girls selling their bodies - the root cause is poverty.” It was much clearer that the SACC work was not as effective as it should have been; and there is a need for change as well as growth. “The ship is sinking and we cannot afford to fold our arms” Those were the words of Rev. Mosala who was the interpreter of Dr. Vallem.
Vallem continued his great speech by saying that if there is one thing that the Government is afraid of, it is the church, but the problem is that the church is fragmented. Thereafter, there was a question and answer session with the church leaders that attended the function in full voice. The motion was to find a way forward. Rev Nkwane said that the SACC has to find a way to engage the government. Ten people were elected to lead the movement and encore of the organisation and the people on the grass roots level.
The message was loud and clear that the aim of the SACC is to create unity. People were divided into groups to discuss the way forward of the organization. The vote of thanks was delivered by Me A Molaka (Interim Coordinator), and proceedings were rounded off.
DEAR DIARY COLUMN (By Mpumelelo Mtjekelo) Page 6
The love of writing
Writing is my second best friend. It is neither a he nor she, it’s not human yet it feels like it is a living thing (organism) that listens whenever I need to talk. Without any fear I share all my stories knowing it will only be known by me and my living organism. This organism is different compared to humans because it doesn’t judge me!
In writing unlike talking there is freedom, it gives me the chance to let it all out. Sometimes I share a story with a human but after telling the story to humans there are times when I’d regret saying what I said and other times I fear that he/she might expose my story. With my organism after sharing my story I am able to heal and trust it, and also the funny part in writing is that sometimes within writing I can find a solution to a problem that I had. If not, it gives me the ability to cry and let it all out.
Dear Diary, there was of course a time I thought “why not share this with the world?” It is not that I trust the world with my information but it also feels great having to hear people reading my stories saying hey, this has twisted my life in a good manner or this (article) is actually talking about me. Writing is a different world; it is relaxing and fun; other times it is an adventure. It is to just let your imagination run wild without anyone stopping you.
It can be done anywhere at any time because sometimes I am inspired by something around me to start writing. On the other side, it is often stated that humans (i.e we black people) don’t like reading and if you are to hide a lot of money or a treasure you should consider a book! It is very rare that one will be able to realize that there is something worthy in the book.
And so I write to you…