Let Jan van Riebeeck take you on a guided, historical, walking tour of the V&A Waterfront

South Africa’s V&A Waterfront is considered an elite shopping destination housing the latest fashion trends, but what few South Africans know is that it is also the oldest working harbour in South Africa, home to 22 cultural landmarks and the ruins of an original Dutch Fort built in 1714. Guided historical walking tours are now being offered to educate the public about the Waterfront’s history.

On International Museums Day, pupils from Nolugile Primary School in Khayelitsha were in for a treat when they travelled back in time during a V&A Historical Walking Tour guided by ‘Jan van Riebeeck’. Tour guides in period dress enthusiastically told the story of Cape Town’s rich history and showed the pupils some of the historic points such as the Clock Tower, the Robinson Dry Dock (one of the oldest of its kind in the world and still used today), the SAS Somerset (the only boom defence vessel remaining in the world), and Cape Town’s first power station to name a few. They were also shown a glimpse of what life may have been like in the Cape during the 1700s when they explored the museum which showcases the ruins of the Fort built in 1714 that was buried for 180 years.

“It’s all about how you tell the story; that is the key to making history exciting and interesting,” said Willem Steenkamp, renowned historian, author and brainchild behind the V&A Historical Walking Tour and curator of the Chavonnes Battery Museum.

The V&A Historical Walking Tour operates in partnership with the Chavonnes Battery Museum, which is managed by a BEE, women-owned company on behalf of Nedbank/BOE. Dale Dodgen, business executive at the helm of the organisation says, “The Museum and Walking Tour allows visitors to experience the history of the Cape from before 1600 to the present. When information is presented in an exciting manner, people remember what they have learnt, become interested in the rich history of the harbour and understand its contribution to the development of Cape Town.”

Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev), the local bottler of The Coca-Cola Company’s products in the Western and Northern Cape, through its partnership with the V&A Waterfront and the “Partners in Education Project” has recently formed synergies with the Chavonnes Battery Museum and the V&A Historical Walking Tour. This pilot project sponsors pupils from disadvantaged areas with the opportunity to visit the museum and to take part in the guided tours so they can learn more about Cape Town’s roots. Denise Green, Corporate Social Investment Manager at PenBev says, “We are excited about the partnership with the V&A Waterfront and the Partners in Education Project with the Chavonnes Battery Museum and V&A Historical Walking Tour. Educating the youth about their history is important, and this is a great way to make history fun.”

The V&A Historical Walking Tour departs daily from the Chavonnes Battery Museum at 11am and booking is essential. The Chavonnes Battery Museum, located in the Nedbank/BOE Building on the Clock Tower Square, V&A Waterfront (opposite Robben Island gateway), is open 7 days a week from 9am to 4pm.  For more information contact: 021 416 6230 or visit www.chavonnesmuseum.co.za or http://www.waterfront.co.za/Pages/VandAWaterfrontHistoricalWalkingTours.aspx

For more information about the projects that PenBev are involved with visit www.penbev.co.za

Photographer: Craig Wilson

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Reptiles and arachnids visit Vuya Endaweni Environmental Education Centre

Photo caption – Thandokaza Daweti, Environmental Educator at the Vuya Endaweni Environmental Education Centre in Kayamandi, bravely interacted with snakes and spiders in front of her learners on Saturday, (19 May) when Werner Fourie and his arachnid and reptilian-friends from the Giraffe House visited their centre. Giraffe House visits schools across the Peninsula to teach learners about the wonders of South Africa’s wildlife and to give them an opportunity to interact with these amazing creatures. Fourie, Director of Giraffe House, is passionate about conservation and about educating our youth on the importance of our wildlife. “The youth are our future environmentalists and conservationists; it is important to teach the youngsters about the importance of not killing snakes and spiders. If all our snakes were to be wiped out, we would all have to start getting used to a diet of rats and mice! Snakes are very important to keep a balance in nature and to keep rodents at bay,” Fourie adds. “We teach the youth not to kill snakes, throw stones at them or to pick them up – let the snakes live in harmony with nature.”

The talks are entertaining and fun, which Fourie believes is essential for the learners to retain information. Spiders and reptiles form an important element when learning about South Africa’s wildlife. Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev), the local bottler of The Coca-Cola Company’s products in the Western and Northern Cape and the Giraffe House have formed a collaboration to take the Giraffe House’s mobile unit to less fortunate schools across Cape Town. Denise Green, Corporate Social Investment Manager at PenBev says, “For many learners, this is the first time that they get to learn about and interact with South Africa’s wildlife. The education of the youth, especially environmental education, is very important to us.”

For more information about Giraffe House visit www.giraffehouse.co.za. For more about the projects that PenBev are involved with – visit www.penbev.co.za

Organic Waste – Opening a can of worms

With waste to landfill becoming an ever critical concern, particularly in certain regions, the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) calls to attention the necessity for managing all our waste streams, especially that of organic waste.

Typically, in South Africa anything from 35% to 40% of all waste that is sent to landfill is organic; that is, of plant or animal origin, and able to be broken down by other living organisms. Stan Jewaskiewitz, President of the IWMSA says “Something that is not often stressed, is that despite the fact that waste may be ‘organic’, once it reaches a landfill and decomposes under anaerobic conditions (where oxygen is not present), it is responsible for producing quantities of methane gas as well as releasing potentially hazardous chemicals into the landfill’s leachate, and thence into the groundwater.

“We may think that our biodegradable waste is fairly harmless, but this is a misconception and needs to be brought to the attention of the public.  As matters currently stand, our landfills have limited lifespans and are becoming oversubscribed, while, for any number of reasons, gas to energy projects are not sufficiently utilised to solve the present problems,” Jewaskiewitz adds.

Our first course of action should be to minimise the amount of organic waste that we generate to begin with. As a basic example, in our homes, we all have a tendency to stock up on more fruit and vegetables than are adequate for our needs. As a result, many of these food items end up spoiling and have to be thrown away. Of course, there is the increasing need to economise, but we need to bear in mind that sometimes bulk purchases don’t necessarily represent a saving if we simply cannot use the produce before it begins to degrade. Secondly, we must make better use of composting methods wherever possible, correctly separating our waste at source. Organic matter is all too often consigned to the dustbin along with other refuse whilst if separated, both container and organic matter could be recycled.  Finally, we must employ the most effective ways of processing what is left behind, for example vermiculture, (worm farms) or Bokashi’s which are an efficient and effective means of producing rich composting material from organic matter, and needn’t take up a large amount of space.

Jewaskiewitz concludes, “The alternative management of waste is beginning to garner more interest as an industry, thanks to professionals and entrepreneurial individuals who are truly concerned with the problem at hand, and who are coming up with more and more creative and practical management methods. The IWMSA supports and encourages research and education in this sector and we hope to continue to see innovative solutions being put into practice.”

The IWMSA focuses on providing education and training for its members, as well as other interested parties, whether private individuals or government entities.

The IWMSA is a non-profit organisation comprising a body of dedicated professionals in their respective fields, who give freely and voluntarily of their time and expertise in order to effectively educate, promote and further the science and practice of waste management.  For more information, visit: www.iwmsa.co.za

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Female entrepreneur leads the way with new reading and learning centre in Bloemfontein

Annelize Lategan proudly opened the doors of the first Edublox reading and learning clinic in Bloemfontein earlier this month.

Lategan, who was a teacher for two years, identified that there was a specific need to help children with learning difficulties. “It was incredibly frustrating that I couldn‘t do more to help the learners who were battling with their lessons, so I started investigating different ways of improving my teaching skills,” says Lategan.

Despite the difficult economic times, Lategan recognised the value of opening her own business and saw the opportunities to be gained by investing in an Edublox franchise. There has been a steady increase in the number of women franchisees in South Africa and currently 23.28% of all franchisees are women.

“Edublox reading and writing clinic attracted my attention and I knew that I could not pass on this opportunity to help more learners, especially in the Bloemfontein area. So, I grabbed the opportunity and am very excited to have opened Bloemfontein’s first Edublox reading and writing clinic on 23 April 2012, offering classes in both English and Afrikaans.”

With a literacy rate of only 50% at grade three level and language competency at a shocking 21% at grade six level reported in the Free State Province in 2011, it is clear that the province would benefit from additional learning programmes such as Edublox.

Many parents are faced with being told that their child has a ‘learning problem’. They then don’t have any idea what to do or where to turn to. “I have been amazed by the results of learners who follow the program and are able to overcome their learning problems,” adds Lategan.

For more information about Edublox in Bloemfontein, contact Annelize Lategan on: 051 430 7492 or annelize@edublox.com or visit www.edublox.co.za .

References:

Education statistics: South African Department of Basic Education report on the Annual National Assessments of 2011.

Franchise statistics: “The Franchise Factor 2010” © Bendeta Gordon, conducted by Franchize Directions.