Children’s Day Celebrations for Underprivileged Learners

In celebration of Children’s Day (celebrated annually in November), over 370 learners from five disadvantaged schools across the Western Cape were treated to fun educational excursions to Cape Town’s Iziko Museums thanks to the sponsorship of Peninsula Beverage Company (local bottler and distributor of the Coca-Cola Products in the Western Cape).

The schools included Sophakama Primary (120 learners), Phakama Secondary School (74 learners), Strand Moslem Primary (64 learners), St Mary’s RC Primary (71 learners) and Ottery Road Methodist School (50 learners). The learners took home valuable knowledge about South Africa’s wildlife with talks on marine animals, birds and mammals, as well as information about our rich history including fossil exhibitions and solar system talks.

PenBev’s Corporate Social Investment Manager, Denise Green says, “Educating South Africa’s underprivileged youth is something we at PenBev feel passionate about. We are proud to have been able to assist with this initiative, and look forward to our continued support of educational programmes.”   

PenBev helped make the visits possible by providing transport for each school as well as workbooks to complete on the day and delicious refreshing Minute Maid juices to keep the scholars hydrated. “Museums are not only educational spaces; they create unique opportunities for awareness and engagement, particularly for young people. We applaud the Peninsula Beverage initiative in supporting this programme and place high value on this partnership, which allows us to further extend access to our country’s heritage resources” says Susan Glanville-Zini, Director, Institutional Advancement, Iziko Museums of South Africa.

The sponsorship forms part of PenBev’s wider Live For A Difference campaign which encourages the education of the country’s disadvantaged youth through informative and fun activities.

For more information, visit

Now is the time to gear up your business’ success for 2013 by working ON the business as opposed to IN the business

With the Festive Season almost upon us, many business owners find themselves looking back in dismay and frustration at too many unaccomplished goals for 2012. Low profits – if any, worrying about covering monthly costs and little quality family time is the bleak truth for many business owners who had a very different vision in mind of their lifestyle when they first started out. 

“At least 72% of businesses fail because the owners work in the business, as opposed to on the business,” says Kathi Clarke, international award winning Industrial Psychologist and Business Growth Expert. “For greater business success in 2013, business owners should take stock of their business before the end of the year by critically assessing their performance in five fundamental areas,” advises Clarke.

“Firstly know where you are going.  Thriving businesses are defined by the owner having a clear destination in mind and knowing what the end result looks like. Research shows that by articulating the purpose of the business, you exponentially increase the chance of your business’ survival and most importantly, success.

“Secondly you are a key component to your business, therefore knowing yourself is pivotal. It is critical to be aware of your weak points, what your strengths are, and most importantly how to play to them. Having a sober, objective appreciation of one’s own disposition and capabilities can be the biggest asset for a business owner, and is worth investing in.

“There is no shame in admitting you don’t know everything, and as a business owner, wearing many hats to keep the boat afloat is the initial reality. However, thirdly – know what you don’t know, and invest in the skills of others that can do something better than you e.g. an accountant, a labour lawyer etc. and leverage off their expertise to the benefit of your business.

“Fourthly know if it’s working or not by consistently measuring your business’ success. The outcomes will allow you to make informed decisions, and help you to fix problems as opposed to spending time on fixing symptoms. Diligently measure your turnover, cost of sales and expenses every month; know which marketing strategies are working and understand how much your customer acquisition costs are. These all seem like basic facts, but it is surprising how few businesses actually know what theirs are.

“Finally, know what to do with what you know – knowing something is not the same as knowing what you will do with that knowledge.  It is tempting to collect information, ideas and strategies as tickle-the-ear stuff, but it is worthless if you do not formulate a comprehensive plan of action to improve what you do.  ‘Who’s going to do what by when?’ is a wonderful question to ask after every seminar, intervention, meeting or last page of a good business book!”

Clarke urges all business owners, “Gift your business with these five fundamental steps by penning down a plan of action for 2013, so that you can hit the ground running in January; your business will thank you in the long run”

Kathi Clarke is an international award winning Industrial Psychologist, certified Business Coach, member of actionCOACH, business growth expert and owner of Building Best Business. With over 24 years’ experience in successfully helping clients to triple their profits whilst maintaining a healthy work life balance, Kathi also finds the time to offer her services probono to NPOs. 

Waste not, want not this Festive Season


Celebrating any holiday occasion in feasting and general overindulgence seems to be the natural order for us as humans, and is probably the single most unifying similarity amongst all our many and varied differences.  This festive season, The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) urges all South Africans to reduce excessive food consumption and wastage, to compost organic waste, and to seek out and support local producers.

The holiday season tends to be a time of largesse, which is all very well, but we really need to be conscious of the fact that food waste, especially, increases at this time of year; something we should not tolerate in our society, and which on the whole, can no longer be justified. It is estimated that almost one in seven people goes hungry worldwide.

Vice-President of the IWMSA, Suzan Oelofse says, “Not only is it an unnecessary expense to buy too many food items that we do not need and cannot possibly consume, it is simply unconscionable in today’s difficult economic times. Research has shown that for household food waste alone, the costs to society are approximately R26.7 billion per annum, or 1% of South Africa’s annual GDP.  In terms of refuse, food, or organic waste is a huge landfill challenge since it represents the major contributing factor to the production of harmful methane gases.  Altogether, a staggering 40% of the waste that ends up in our landfills annually is organic; a clue which tells us that as consumers, we are wasteful creatures indeed.  We can minimise this type of waste by planning before we shop or prepare food, careful handling and storage so that leftover food is limited and does not become tainted and inedible, and of course, composting wherever possible.”

Oelofse continues “However, food waste is not the preserve only of the end consumer; there is the issue of organic waste being produced during the agricultural process, as well as in harvesting, handling, storage, processing and distribution.  These factors are critical and very good reasons for us to support our local food producers.  There is substantially less overall wastage if the point at which the food originates, to the point of its final distribution is reduced. 

“One must also bear in mind that the production of food requires the use of all sorts of the earth’s resources.  A horrifying statistic is that yearly, we waste around at least one third of our total global food production.  Had that wasted food not been produced in the first place, perhaps more trees could be grown, which would in turn go a long way to offsetting harmful greenhouse gas emissions.   Mismanagement of our planet, it seems, is what we do best and yet if we all try to make even a minuscule difference, the cumulative effects could make a tremendous and positive difference,” concludes Oelofse. 

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:

Hazardous Waste: What is it?


Whilst there is a constant stream of communication as well as the raising of awareness around the issues of Recycling, Organic Waste and e-Waste, very little attention has been focused on the disposal of what is potentially hazardous waste: something that is generated daily by most households.  The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) sees it as an imperative to better educate those working in the field of waste management, as well as the general public, as to what constitutes hazardous waste and to stress the importance of correct disposal.

So what is hazardous waste?  Hazardous or toxic waste is discarded material which poses a threat to our environment and/or to human and animal life if disposed of incorrectly. Such waste may leach its way into our water tables, for example, or it could pose a threat in terms of flammability, or even be invisible in the form of noxious and poisonous vapours. 

Deidre Nxumalo-Freeman, president of the IWMSA says “Some examples of everyday items that may be hazardous include: motor oil, car batteries, antifreeze, diesel and other automotive fluids, corrosive or poisonous cleaners such as drain and toilet cleaners, oven cleaners and spot remover, pesticides, fluorescent light bulbs, aerosol cans including paint cans, batteries and even furniture polish, to name but a few.

“The IWMSA runs regular training courses which are hosted by our branches countrywide in order to educate and train those who work in the field of waste management, as well as any other interested parties.  Our training is facilitated by accredited IWMSA committee members who are experts in their fields and as such, the IWMSA is proud to be able to offer up-to-the minute information regarding strategy, cutting edge technological developments in waste management and a sound knowledge of policy and legislation in South Africa.

“We recognise the desperate need for information sharing, especially when it comes to the subject of hazardous waste.  It is essential that we, as individuals learn to recognize substances that could be harmful to our environment, and wherever possible to minimise their impact.  The IWMSA believes that by taking one step at a time and continuing to provide quality training, a better understanding of the nature of our various waste streams and how to manage them effectively will begin to take hold. 

Nxumalo-Freeman concludes “The only way to change the way we behave as a society in terms of waste management is to provide education from the ground up.  People need to know WHY they are required to do what is asked of them regarding waste disposal, so education at grass roots level is essential.  We, at the IWMSA are committed to striving towards this change.” 

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

The next Hazardous Waste Training course will be taking place from 22 – 24 January 2013 in Gauteng. For more information contact: or Tel: 011 675 3462

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:

Defeating dyslexia

If the end of the academic year brings with it concerns about your child’s poor performance and disappointing exam results, know that you are not alone.  Many parents are scratching their heads in despondency having watched their child struggle through the year only to end up with a poor report at the end of it. Good news for these parents is that many learners, even those that are doing very poorly at school, can be helped to improve their grades and their school performance dramatically through the correct interventions.

Branden Brooks is a prime example of a learner that seemed to have no hope of achieving academic success; to such a degree that his school even suggested he be sent to a special needs school. Yet within a year Branden had progressed from a child who was failing the year to a child achieving between a 60 – 80% average!

In Grade R and Grade 1 Branden displayed no problems but by the age of eight he was being teased at school because he could not read or spell, his handwriting was terrible and he had very little confidence in himself. Branden did not want to attend school anymore. He became rebellious and told his mother that he wished he was dead so that he would not have to struggle or be mocked anymore.

“To hear my son utter those words was heart-breaking for me as a parent,” says Branden’s mom, Annemarie Brooks. “We put Branden on Ritalin and he received a pair of spectacles that had been recommended by his school. He was also put into a special aid class at the school. But at the end of the year we were called in and told that Branden was still doing very poorly at school. His “b’s” and “d’s” were being swapped around, he couldn’t spell at all and he could not distinguish his left from his right. His concentration was very poor and as such he was frequently being scolded by the teachers.”

Branden had been tested by the school psychologist and the results were shocking. All his scores were far below average. The psychologist diagnosed him with dyslexia and recommended that he be transferred to a special needs school. Annemarie did not want to send her son to a special school and did extensive research to try and find an alternative.

“In my search for solutions for Branden I came across Edublox and set up an appointment with Susan du Plessis at the Edublox centre in Pretoria,” says Annemarie. “After testing Branden, Susan told me that Branden’s case was one of the worst cases of dyslexia she had ever seen and that we should not expect miracles,” Annemarie explains.

As Branden was required to repeat the same grade the following year, his parents decided to take him out of his current school and put him in a school where no one knew him. He then went through an extensive two week program with Edublox before commencing his usual school classes and attending Edublox classes twice per week after school.

“It was not long before we started experiencing ‘miracles’,” smiles Annemarie. “Branden started to excel, so much so that he even asked to go back to his old school. His confidence increased and he became quite the achiever. By the end of the year his report showed only 5’s and 6’s (between 60 and 80%) and Branden was promoted to Grade 3.”

“I will never forget how Susan told us not to expect miracles but that they would be able to help him. In less than three months Branden improved so much that it changed his life. I am terrifically grateful to Susan and personnel at Edublox,” Annemarie concludes.

Parents that are concerned by their child’s grades and learning abilities are encouraged to contact an Edublox centre for an assessment.

For more information on Edublox contact: Henk du Plessis on (012) 345-1480 / or visit

More about Edublox

The Edublox methodology is based on 30 years’ practical experience combined with 50 years of intensive research about reading and learning. Edublox have helped learners in South Africa as well as internationally and certain Edublox products are exported worldwide. The latest and best technologies are presented at the Edublox clinics. Edublox sharpens attention and concentration, develops accurate perception, improves memory and promotes logical thinking as well as improving reading, spelling and writing. Study methods courses for Grade 4 to Grade 9 learners are also presented.