Caring for Cape Town

3500 people were displaced, with nowhere to go after the Khayelitsha fires wreaked havoc in the township at the beginning of the year; who looks after the destitute when disaster strikes?

Mustadafin Foundation has for the past 27 years, been the first to arrive at a disaster site and the last to leave, making sure that all those in need have at least two meals a day, a blanket and emergency supplies for daily survival.

“Over the new year period, we only had three staff members who helped selflessly around the clock to provide two daily meals to the 3500 people whose homes had been burnt down,” says Founder and Director Ghairunisa Johnstone.  “A single 100 litre pot can feed between 250 and 300 people; we had to cook with at least 15 of these at a time, to ensure that everybody received meat and vegetables at each meal.”

The Mustadafin Foundation has established itself as a symbol of hope in the Cape Town Region and is currently recognised as one of the top five welfare and relief organisations in South Africa.  “We do not see ourselves as a charity or welfare organisation,” explains Johnstone. “It’s important for us to share the message of hope and to help those who are destitute to help themselves by creating a self-sustainable community. No challenge has ever been too great for our hardworking team.”

The Mustadafin Foundation would like to encourage corporate organisation and residents of Cape Town to get involved in the various projects and initiatives run by the Foundation. “We urge all Capetonians to make the time to care for Cape Town by volunteering at one of our ventures,” says Johnstone. ‘Although we are in great need of financial assistance, we also require volunteers’ time and expertise to be shared with the Foundation, for example an IT company that can give basic Microsoft training on Word and PowerPoint to children in the community as part of our education initiatives, will be greatly appreciated.

With Mustadafin’s core focuses including education, poverty eradication, disaster relief, health care and community development, everybody is bound to find a project that addresses an issue close to your heart, so why not dedicate your time and expertise to create a prosperous and self-sustainable future for all.

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SA Business Coach Wins International Award

Cape Town’s very own business coach, Kathi Clarke owner of Building Best Business and an internationally-accredited ActionCOACH has made South Africa proud by being the only African representative to win an award at the prestigious annual Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Business Excellence Awards which recently took place in Portugal. Above, Kathi Clarke with Brad Sugars, Founder of ActionCOACH.  

The Business Excellence Awards hosted annually by ActionCOACH – the world’s number one business coaching company – formed part of the three day Business Excellence Forum where business owners and international coaches from the EMEA region gathered to exchange valuable insights into building great  businesses and share best practices. The awards were categorised in two key focus areas: Entrepreneurial Awards and Coaching Excellence Awards.

Clarke won one of nine Coaching awards in the Coaching Excellence category for her contribution to growing clients’ businesses through group coaching. The awards were judged according to business results and constitute one of the highest accolades in the ActionCOACH business coaching arena.

Clarke comments, “It was a huge surprise as a South African delegate in an international arena to be singled out for excellence.  I’d gone there feeling blessed to be learning from great coaches to find myself unbelievably numbered among them.  It was wonderful validation that coming from Africa we can hold our heads up high.  It is also testimony to the on-going commitment of my entrepreneurial clients who have worked incredibly hard with me to achieve their business success and continue to do both themselves and our economy proud.”

Brad Sugars, the Founder of ActionCOACH, mentioned in a speech at the event that the awards were in recognition of Business Coaches and Entrepreneurs who are taking what they do from good to great. The other winners included:

Best ActionCLUB – group coaching – Kathi Clarke – South Africa

Best Coach – one-to-one – Peter Boolkah – Britain

Best ProfitCLUB – networking – Thierry Mouton – Ile de France

Best GrowthCLUB – quarterly planning – Jas Darar – Britain

Best MasterCoach – coaching coaches – Kevin Stansfield – Britain

Best Executive Coach – John Cottrell – Britain

Best Client Retention – Peter Boolkah – Britain

Best Client Results – Derek O’Dwyer – Ireland

Most Improved Coach – Colin Harding – Britain

Kathi Clarke is an Industrial Psychologist, international award winning and certified ActionCOACH Business Coach and a business growth expert. With over 25 years’ experience in growing businesses, she and her company Building Best Business since coming to South Africa in 2011, have successfully helped more than 50 entrepreneurs to significantly grow their profits; develop entrepreneurial muscle and enjoy the lifestyle which prompted them to start their own business in the first place. Kathi also finds the time to offer her services probono to NPOs.

For more information about Kathi and her services, contact her on

The role between academic interaction with social partners explored

What kind of responsibility does a university have to its surrounding community? How does interaction take place between universities with the society at large especially in South Africa? And who benefits from the relationship? These were some of the pertinent questions raised during a lively debate hosted by the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State in Bloemfontein earlier this month as part of their public lecture series.

“When it comes to our relationship and working with the society or communities at large; we see our role and responsibility as moulding, mentoring and educating students that are competent, caring, responsible and productive; and are well prepared for the workplace to help build the economy of South Africa. Our social responsibility is to provide a platform for the development of social and technological innovations for the benefit of the society at large,” said Prof Thandwa Mthembu, Vice Chancellor and Principal of Central University of Technology, Free State.

“Therefore, our focus on community engagement should be to work closely with business and industry, government and community organisations to transfer our social and technological innovations that should, in turn, help solve our societal problems, not only for the benefit of this region, but also the rest of South Africa, Africa and beyond”.

“In teaching and learning, the mandate of a university of technology like ours is to produce graduates with high level intellectual and work-focused skills geared for the workplace.  We therefore cannot operate in isolation from what the industry, business and government expect of our graduates.”

“Our competencies in applied research in areas such as additive manufacturing, advanced product manufacturing, agriculture, and food safety can help us to come up with innovative ways to secure a sustainable food supply for the benefit of the region and improve the manufacturing capacity of the central region.  In order to achieve these solutions, we have to work closely with the manufacturing and agricultural industries “The relationship between our university and industry is critical to being innovative in knowledge transfer and, in turn, for the upliftment of our society at large,” concludes Mthembu.     

For more information about CUT and the social responsibility projects that the university is involved with, visit CUT is also on Facebook and Twitter (@cutfsonline)


CUT closing the critical skills shortages gap

Bloemfontein – Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) proudly conferred two doctorates in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, as well as close to 300 graduates in the engineering field this week, thereby contributing and helping to work towards Government’s aim of developing 30 000 engineers by 2014.

“South Africa has for many years placed the field of engineering on the critical skills shortages list. We are very proud of our engineering students, who graduated this week and will be entering the workforce and contributing to the economy of South Africa,” said Dan Maritz, Director of Communications and Marketing at CUT.

“Both our doctoral candidates opted to study at CUT so that they could conduct their research using our world class infrastructure, which is exclusive to the Centre of Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) at CUT. Rated the best of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the Centre allows academics and scientists to conduct applied research in a more conducive environment, supporting and advancing innovations.

“We are proud to have achieved this important milestone that sets the tone for the university to become such an important resource not only in the region, but to South Africa, Africa and beyond,” concludes Maritz.

For more information about CUT and it’s graduation program, visit CUT is also on Facebook and Twitter (@cutfsonline)


Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) honours South African business tycoon and founder of Black Like Me Limited

Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) is the first higher education institution to award an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration to Dr Herman Samtseu Philip Mashaba, Founder of Black Like Me.

Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT), as an institution of higher learning focused on social and technological innovation is honoured to add a giant in the business world to its Alumni, Dr Herman Mashaba, at the Honorary Doctorate Award hosted at CUT on 12 March 2013.

From humble beginnings selling products including insurance, fire-detection systems and household goods on a commission basis from the boot of his car for almost two years, Dr Mashaba got his big break in 1983 when he found a job selling hair-care products on a commission basis for a Johannesburg-based company. He had finally found his niche, and within 19 months had made up his mind to start manufacturing his own hair-care products. With his wife, three partners and a R30 000 loan, Dr Mashaba set up production in a 200 m2 Small Business Development Corporation unit in Ga-Rankuwa, in the then homeland of Bophuthatswana. He named his business Black Like Me, and the first bottles of his products hit the shelves in February 1985. The rest, as they say, is history!

Speaking at the Graduation Ceremony on 12 March 2013, Dr Mashaba said, “I would like to thank CUT for the honour that is bestowed upon me this afternoon.  This came as a total surprise and I feel humbled by CUTs recognition of my efforts.  I had always wished to study further and obtain my doctoral degree in political science to become a political scientist of note.  My dreams of acquiring a university degree were shattered in 1980 when I was doing my second year at the University of the North due to political disturbances of the time. Unfortunately I had to abandon my studies and decided to focus my energies on a business venture to get back my freedom.

“Education has been close to my heart; hence I have always invested heavily in helping people to achieve the best in what they do.  As I receive this award, I need to make a special appeal to all South Africans particularly within academia, to work hard toward finding workable solutions before it is too late.”

Vice Chancellor and Principal of CUT, Prof Thandwa Mthembu commented, “Dr Herman Mashaba is one of the few notable figures in this country who epitomizes the true meaning of an entrepreneur.  He is truly a role model and inspiration to our youth. As a university, we have decided to honour Dr Mashaba for his immense contribution to business in this country.  He is a self-made entrepreneur who holds a conspicuous space within business for having distinguished himself amongst his peers and transcended the challenges of growing his business ventures in an environment that was less conducive and less supportive to emerging entrepreneurs like him to enter the mainstream economy.”

Today, Dr Mashaba is an internationally recognised businessman with investments in various sectors of the South African economy, including real estate, financial services, exhibitions and events, insurance brokerage, bulletproof materials, security, fuel distribution, cleaning services, facilities management, merchandising, and media planning and buying. His recently-launched autobiography, Black Like You, has been met with critical acclaim and much interest from the media and public alike.


Pride of Cape Town Art Exhibition Launches This Weekend At the V&A Waterfront

A pride of lions will be making their way to the V&A Waterfront this Saturday…Over the next eight weeks, The Born Free Foundation’s Pride of Cape Town art installations will transform the V&A Waterfront into a playground for 30 creative lion sculptures creating awareness for The Born Free Foundation. 

This weekend, Saturday 9 March 2013, sees the start of Pride of Cape Town, an eight week world-class mass public appeal art event showcasing the wealth of local artistic talent with 30 individually designed lion sculptures installed at key locations at the V&A Waterfront.

As part of their ‘Live for a Difference’ campaign, Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev, local bottler and distributor of The Coca-Cola Company products in the Western Cape) sponsored a lion which AAA school of advertising third year students designed and their lion named Buddy has been used as part of the Pride of Cape Town art event.

The three students responsible for the design of Buddy, Jason Mans, Claire Searle and Shana Sivewright drew their inspiration from the fizz in Coca-Cola; with bubbles covering the body of the lion. The fizz is also a metaphor for freedom; as bubbles are released from the confines of a container into the world round them.

Niqui Smit, On Consumption Manager at PenBev comments, “We are inspired by the creativity put into this project and fortunate to be part of an important initiative such as creating awareness for wildlife conservation. We look forward to seeing the final lion creations this weekend and urge those living in and around Cape Town, to visit the V&A Waterfront and have a look at the fantastic local artistic talent we can all be proud of.”

The event is an awareness drive for the wildlife charity, The Born Free Foundation and will culminate in an auction of the lions in May to raise much needed funds for wildlife conservation.

For more information about Peninsula Beverages, visit

Peninsula Beverages awarded Gold in Coca-Cola South Africa Stewardship Awards

Peninsula Beverages (PenBev), local bottler and distributor of The Coca-Cola Company products in the Western Cape, has been awarded Gold, the highest accolade in the Coca-Cola bottler system Stewardship Awards category.

At the 2012 Stewardship Awards hosted in Cape Town in February, PenBev walked away with top honours for their continued commitment to excellence in the areas of quality, environment and health and safety. The award was presented by Therese Gearhart, President of South Central Africa Division, The Coca-Cola Company, at the event to Peninsula Beverages for out-performing all of the other Coca-Cola South Africa’s bottlers.

Stuart McLeod, Managing Director of PenBev comments, “We are proud of our achievement this year as all our staff have been working tirelessly to attain this honour. We were awarded Bronze last year so this is a great accomplishment in just a year.”

For more information about Peninsula Beverages, visit

Uniting the Health Care Waste Management Industry

Just over one kilogram of health care waste is generated per person in hospitals daily; how is the country managing to cope with this? This is just one of the many challenges that the health care industry is being faced with. Today at the launch of the Health Care Waste Forum Summit all industry stakeholders have been called to show their support and to work together to find solutions for ethical health care waste management.

From 15 – 17 May 2013, industry experts in the health care waste sector are all encouraged to support the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA)’s Health Care Waste Forum (HCWF) bi-ennial Summit taking place at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.

Stan Jewaskiewitz, Past President of the IWMSA, “in order for the HCWF to be successful we need government’s support; many of the acts and standards on health care waste date back to as late as 2007 and are still in draft format and have not been promulgated yet.

“Unfortunately many of the challenges that the industry has been faced with six years ago, have not gone away.” Jewaskiewitz added, “Training, compliance, transport and tender irregularities are the four key issues which need to be addressed.

“At the IWMSA we are looking at ways to accredit our members, making sure that quality assurance is met with the necessary ethical and legal adherence; it is still at the beginning stages of the process, but we believe that this will have a major positive impact on the industry’s standards; however again, we will not be able to do this successfully without buy-in from government,” indicated Jewaskiewitz.

Dr Suzan Oelofse, Vice President of the IWMSA added, “We are looking forward to industry players coming up with innovative ways to find resolutions for the issues at hand at the Summit.

“At this year’s summit, the anticipated 175 delegates can look forward to having access to the latest trends, health care innovations and developments, newest technologies available on the market; not only from a South African perspective, but also from industry experts from India, United States and Central Europe.

“Providing the delegates with a platform for networking and sharing knowledge through interactive panel discussions, and debating key industry topics will be a key focus for this year’s summit.

“On the last day of the summit an interactive workshop in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Affairs has been scheduled to discuss draft regulations on the non-thermal technologies, IWMSA stakeholders are invited to participate in the discussion; it is important that we as the IWMSA give our members the opportunity to engage directly with government and provide on the ground feedback and inputs on legislation formulation. This shows our commitment to working with government and also helping our members’ voices be heard,” concluded Oelofse.

The Health Care Waste Forum (HCWF) is a branch of the IWMSA, providing the health care waste management industry with a voice for the industry.

For more information about The Health Care Waste Summit & Expo, please visit our website at or contact André Snyman, the Project Manager directly, on +27(0)83 448 8233 or via email at or Gail Smit at

Financial Year End – Something To Fear Or Look Forward To?

The President’s recent State of the Nation Address highlighted a fundamental challenge facing South Africa’s economy – an expected GDP growth too low for job creation. Over double the GDP growth of 2.5% is needed to create work for some of the country’s 42% unemployed.  

In order for our economy to prosper, the President made it clear that Government needs the support of all South Africans, and in particular, SME entrepreneurs. That said support is easy to call for but operating a successful business is no small task as many owners can confirm.  And it’s not helped by the obstacles offered up by a changing economic and consumer purchasing environment. So how can business owners ensure they’re operating most effectively?

February is the financial year-end for many businesses and the perfect time for owners to take stock of what happened over the last 12 months.  To do this well, numbers need to be crunched and the results analysed to determine successes and failures and for many, year-end is the first time this happens.

“While a monthly review is considered the very least that a ’good’ owner should do by way of watching the key metrics, financial year end is better than nothing.  Figures are your objective business barometer to assess what has worked and what needs to change”, according to Business Growth Expert, Industrial Psychologies and internationally-accredited Business Coach, Kathi Clarke.

“Businesses need facts, not gut feelings, thoughts, opinions or impressions to be able to know objectively which growth strategies and marketing initiatives worked and more importantly how well, so that they can do more of it in 2013.  Not to know these numbers is like driving your car at night without headlights – foolhardy and dangerous.”

Fundamental areas which matter include:

  • What was the acquisition cost of each customer for each marketing initiative?  If it is less than the profit on the first sale then it’s a great strategy that can be safely duplicated over and over again…and if not, then stop it – you’re losing money!
  • What were the conversion rates of leads to clients for each of your sales team members and the business as a whole?
  • What was the Return on Investment (ROI) on each of your different product / service lines…and which one/s should you be concentrating on to increase sales in 2013?
  • Were you consistently profitable?
  • Was there sufficient cash in the bank to pay your expenses, suppliers, team, tax and cost of sales and if not, what will you do to change this?
  • What will it “cost” you to grow?

“Just knowing these is a great start,” Clarke continues, “and presents business owners with information that they can use to begin fixing what needs to be fixed. To do this most effectively will take a plan of action, some SMART goals, measurables in place to check the progress and someone to hold the business owner accountable to ensure the task at hand gets done!

“These habits done consistently are a big part of what separates successful from unsuccessful businesses during economic winter and will position any SME better to aim to grow by at least 10% in 2013.”

For more information on how to analyse your financials / help your business grow, contact Kathi Clarke on


Too Many Cooks Spoil a Brand’s Facebook Page

Admin rights to a brands’ social media channels have been distributed like candy at a kids party to departments who may not have the specialist skills required to tackle such a unique brand engagement platform. The result? Mixed brand tones and language which confuse fans.

Social media platforms are just that – social. The users of these channels are looking for informative content which resonate with their lifestyles. A conversational tone which engages with its audience is some of the unique tactics needed to captivate an existing following and encourage further followers to join the network.

Another problem to consider when too many people have been given admin rights to a brand’s social media networks, is when posts are made which are off-brand, off strategy and irrelevant to their industry, which could have detrimental effects on a brand’s reputation. In this case, the post made may attract negative comments by fans questioning the brands motives for such a post, which could lead to a string of comments as long as a page. Does a brand then delete the post or is it best to leave it? At which point can a social media page be deleted, and when should it be left?

Many industry leaders have warned about the consequences of deleting unfavourable comments made by fans on their wall but no best practise has been shared about how to tackle an undesirable admin post.

Lisa Sharland, Account Director at Reputation Matters indicates, “Social media best practices are still debatable, but it is proposed to implement the same principals of deleting an admin post as when dealing with negative comments. Where possible, adverse admin posts should remain on a brands’ Facebook page – if they have attracted comments by fans – but may be defused with a strategic comment by the admin shedding light on the situation. Not all scenarios are the same and some may have to be rectified with a simple apology. Make it known that as a brand, you acknowledge the mistake and have learnt from it – brands should never have opinions on topics which do not relate to them.

“Alternatively, if the post is identified quickly as off-brand and potentially risqué and no comments have been made as yet – then delete, pronto,” advices Sharland.

For more information on how to strategically manage your social media and resultant reputation, contact Reputation Matters on 021 790 0208 or