Creating second chances for children at Zip Zap






CAPTION: For many children from disadvantaged areas in Cape Town, a trip to the circus is a pipe dream. Zip Zap is changing that, one child at a time, with the Second Chance Project which opens up a whole new world of possibilities. [Photo credit: Anne Barbotteau]

Earlier this month, 67 Grade 3 learners from Elnor Primary School in Elsie’s River travelled in a sponsored Golden Arrow bus to the Zip Zap dome in Cape Town for a fun and educational outing where they learnt basic circus skills. At the end of the workshop they were given a short performance by the instructors where they could see what hard work and years of circus training can bring.

More than 1000 youngsters from 27 primary schools and children’s homes in underprivileged areas of Cape Town will participate in Zip Zap’s Second Chance Project this year.

“The circus is an excellent intervention tool for youth-at-risk because it provides a safe and fun platform for children to learn important life skills like discipline and team work,” says Brent van Rensburg, co-founder of Zip Zap. “This programme is about inspiring youngsters from the roughest parts of Cape Town, where gangsterism and drug abuse are the norm. The project enables them to consider totally different and wonderful ways in which they can develop skills that can lead to professional careers in the future,” explains van Rensburg.

Zip Zap, a registered Non-Profit Organisation founded 24 years ago, has helped many of Cape Town’s brightest young circus stars to obtain professional circus contracts on internationally acclaimed circus stages around the world.

Even before the children, aged eight and nine years old, arrived at the Zip Zap dome they were buzzing from the simple adventure of a bus trip. Varity Witbooi, their Grade 3 English teacher explains, “Some of these learners have never been to town before and just showing them well-known landmarks on our way to Zip Zap was really exciting for them.”

At Zip Zap the learners split into groups and tried their hand at various circus activities under the watchful eye of Zip Zap’s instructors, many who come from similar backgrounds to the learners. The morning, full of activities, included: performing tricks on a trampoline, walking the wire on a tightrope, hanging upside down on a trapeze, juggling, and doing cartwheels and handstands with acrobats. Children smiled broadly and laughed with delight as they lined up to take their turn on each apparatus.

“I have never been to the circus and have only ever seen performers on TV,” says Geneva Goliath, a Grade 3 learner. “These tricks aren’t as hard as they look, you just have to try, it is so much fun,” she explains.

For another learner, Vincent Chaima, his favourite activity was learning how to jump on the trampoline, flip and land safely on the big, soft mat. The young boy was impressed with the show put on by Zip Zap’s performers at the end of the workshop which left all the learners wide eyed and amazed. “One day I want to be the one who does those balancing tricks on a bicycle,” he says, adding that he laughed so much when the one juggling ball landed on someone’s head.

The Second Chance Project started in 2009 and last year, with support from the HCI Foundation, 733 children travelled to Zip Zap on Golden Arrow Busses for a total of 18 workshops. With support from generous donors, more children can be reached through the Second Chance Project and lives can be transformed.

Check out the Zip Zap YouTube channel here to find out more.

To make tax deductible donations to Zip Zap, visit the website or contact 021 421 8622 or donate via Thundafund here.

Find Zip Zap on Facebook

Get ready for the “World Cup of Geosciences”!


South Africa is the host country for one of the most diverse international geosciences conferences, the 35th International Geological Congress (IGC). Academics together with experts from all the geosciences will convene for the 35th IGC, which will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 28 August to 02 September 2016.

The IGC is the largest event on the International Union for Geological Sciences (IUGS) calendar and this year it is coming to South Africa. The congress, held every four years, has only been hosted on African soil twice before. With a multitude of workshops, field trips, business meetings, the five-day congress promises cutting edge science and opportunities for collaboration in the multidisciplinary field of geoscience.

The 34th IGC, held in Australia in 2012, attracted more than 6000 delegates from 112 countries across the globe. This year, the 35th IGC will utilise all venues of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, running up to 35 parallel talk sessions and symposia concurrently, totalling more than 750 sessions over the course of the congress.

Greg Botha, Secretary-General of the 35th IGC, says, “Three core topics will form the basis of the congress: geosciences for society; geoscience in the economy; and fundamental geoscience.” These topics have been divided into close to 50 themes which cover every aspect of the geosciences; from soil science and medical geoscience to volcanology, geohazards and geoethics. For both individuals and organisations operating in this discipline, the 35th IGC is not to be missed.

“We have been preparing for this congress for almost eight years,” says Botha. “We are building a legacy of knowledge in the discipline. The congress will not just bring together geoscientific professionals from across the globe, it will also highlight Africa’s geological issues and advancements. It will have a lasting impact through geoscientific tourism and development.”

Registrations are open. Visit to sign up or book your exhibit on

For more information about the IGC visit Join the 35th IGC Facebook page at

Industry body contributes to the changing landscape of waste management

South Africa’s waste management industry is in a transformative state. With the country’s well-established waste management regulations, the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) encourages organisations to comply with legislation.

During the past two years, South Africa’s waste management industry has witnessed updates to the National Waste Management Act. Proper and professional waste management practices are advocated, and the implementation of environmentally conscious waste management operations is required of all organisations dealing with waste, including municipalities.

The national industry body for waste management, the IWMSA, has a close working relationship with the South African government and fully supports and encourages compliance with waste legislation in the country. Prof. Suzan Oelofse, President of the IWMSA, says, “It all comes down to implementation. The waste landscape is changing; we are moving towards a ‘green’ industry that complies with waste legislation and regulations.”

On the IWMSA’s agenda for this year is the 23rd biennial waste management conference and exhibition, WasteCon 2016. The industry body’s flagship conference will delve into ‘The Changing Face of Waste Management’ from 17 to 21 October 2016 at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. “Industry professionals will come together to discuss pertinent issues that South Africa and Africa as a whole are faced with in waste management,” explains Oelofse.

Jonathan Shamrock, Chairman of WasteCon 2016, states, “South Africa’s waste management field is not without its challenges. Implementation on ground level is needed and all parties need to comply and abide by the ethics of the industry; all of which will be discussed at WasteCon 2016.”

The WasteCon 2016 keynote speaker address from Torben Kristiansen, Vice President – Waste and Contaminated Sites at COWI A/S based in Denmark, will shed light on European advances in waste management and its relevance for South Africa. “Kristiansen will discuss the current status of the waste management industry, legislation and practice in Europe as well as its governing policies. He will also focus on South Africa, the recent policy and legislative changes and problems faced on the ground level by local government in improving service delivery,” comments Shamrock.

The conference will have three main parallel sessions. These sessions will cover the streams of recycling, waste management and landfill/leachate. Delegates can look forward to an e-waste workshop as well as a workshop by the Department of Environmental Affairs. Other topics that will be addressed at the important forum include: Health Care Risk Waste (HCRW), Integrated Waste Management Plans (IWMPs), Legislation and Waste-to-Energy (WtE).

Oelofse concludes by saying that conferences such as WasteCon 2016 are imperative in the waste management field: “We will see government and industry convene to discuss these pertinent issues affecting proper waste management. We encourage everyone operating in the industry to attend and to move towards a legal and ethically run industry.”

For information and to register, please visit

For more information about the IWMSA, visit IWMSA is also on Facebook ( and Twitter (

ArchitectureZA 2016: Scaling new heights in the architecture industry

CAPTION: Designers and architects with a passion for the creative space can yet again look forward to ArchitectureZA (AZA), Africa’s first and largest premier urban culture festival. This year’s AZA16 will be a bonanza of creative minds who operate in the architectural fraternity, and will take place from 31 August to 03 September 2016 at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. One of the speakers to look forward to is Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California in Berkeley, Stanley Saitowitz, (pictured above).

AZA, founded in 2010, has been running annually for six years and offers a plethora of information for those operating in the design and architectural industry. Last year saw more than 1 000 delegates in attendance and this year promises to be even bigger.

The AZA16 theme, ‘SCALE’, will explore ratio and proportion in design,” says Daniel van der Merwe, President of the Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIfA) and architect at PPC. “The conference will examine how architects and other designers work with both ‘bigness’ and ‘smallness’ across disciplines. We will show how architects can work across all manners of different scales, incorporating both micro and macro scale into design. The Wits Johannesburg campus, as the venue, allows for a fantastic array of SCALE elements to be incorporated into the programme,” he adds.

The AZA16 festival brings together leading local and international professionals. Workshops, seminars and exhibitions provide opportunity for multi-disciplinary delegates to network and learn. Keynote speakers will include experts from both South Africa and abroad, such as Stanley Saitowitz, Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California in Berkeley, and Baerbel Mueller from the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Saitowitz will explore the topic of ‘building the city’ – an ancient process which has been in progress for millennia. He will demonstrate how each contributing part in architecture should add to the whole of a city, taking its surroundings into account.

The festival also provides a fantastic opportunity for students to showcase their unique designs. A submission area for the Des Baker 2016 competition will be set up at AZA16. To qualify for the competition (with up to R 25 000 to be won), students need to identify issues related to urbanisation and develop long term interventions. The task is to design multiple small urban objects for various locations, forming a network as part of a strategy to address an identified issue. For more information, visit

“This year’s AZA is going to be the best yet!” says van der Merwe. “We cannot wait to see the creativity and growth that will take place at the event. It will showcase how solutions, both big and small, can make a positive difference in areas where urbanisation is taking place. For designers and architects, it is most definitely one not to be missed,” he concludes.

For more information about AZA16, visit Join AZA on Facebook at

Cape Town teachers benefit from learning exchange trip to USA

Two enthusiastic teachers from Educare Centres in Philippi, Cape Town recently returned from a three week learning exchange trip to the United States of America (USA), full of new inspiration. Nombulelo Majezi, Principal of Khululeka Educare Centre and Grade R teacher at Albertina Sisulu Educare, Zizipho Matiwane (pictured above with her class) went on the trip, arranged by the Rotary District 9350.

Both teachers are part of Rotary Club of Claremont’s Injongo Educare Project, which started in 2012 and has already spent R12 million to date. This is an initiative to provide holistic and comprehensive support to 47 educare centres in Philippi. Tom Bergmann-Harris, President of the Rotary Club of Claremont explains that the main intention behind the project is that centres become self-sustaining beacons of hope in the community, enabling children to flourish during a critical stage of their development before they reach primary school. “Teacher training opportunities, like the exchange trip, are provided in addition to on-site mentoring support, educational resources, and physical upgrades to buildings,” says Bergmann-Harris.

Majezi and Matiwane travelled with three teachers, selected by other clubs in Rotary District 9350 (Rotary Club of Kirstenbosch and the Rotary Club of Breede River Winelands) to visit 11 pre-primary schools in the state of Connecticut, USA. “I’ve already begun implementing some of the things I learnt in my own classroom,” says Matiwane who was impressed by the creative ways her America counterparts taught youngsters about the life cycle of a frog and chicken. For the 26 year-old teacher, the trip was her first time on a plane and she thoroughly enjoyed stopping over in Johannesburg, Frankfurt and Chicago before finally arriving in Connecticut.

The teachers intend to share their learning experiences with their colleagues at other educare centres in Philippi. Majezi is keen to implement new techniques to teach children about patterns, comparisons, colours, shapes and counting. “I also saw the value in teaching children to make their own playdough; this is a learning experience for them to combine flour with baby oil,” she said, explaining the recipe.

On the exchange trip both teachers saw the valuable role that an involved parent can play in the development of the children they teach. “We’d really like to see parents here take a keen interest in their child’s development by reading stories to them at home, for example,” says Majezi. She raised concerns that many parents were still young themselves and did not know how to help their children reach critical developmental stages.

Earlier in the year five teachers from schools in the States, part of Rotary’s Vocational Training Team (VTT) spent three weeks in South Africa, visiting Majezi and Matiwane’s schools, amongst others. “On both trips, teachers have benefitted enormously from sharing best practice experience regarding curriculum, learning methods and classroom structure. The teaching exchange programme is the start of what we hope to be a long international partnership between our Rotary District and theirs,” concludes Bergmann-Harris.

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont, please visit

CAPTION: Nombulelo Majezi, Principal of Khululeka Educare Centre [Photo credits: Ian Robertson]

R12 million investment injection into Philippi’s Early Childhood Development Centres

[Photo caption] Learners of the Khululeka Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre dancing in celebration of their newly upgraded facility thanks to the Rotary Club of Claremont’s Injongo Project, in partnership with the Lewis Group. [Photo credit: Slingshot Media]

Three Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in Philippi, Cape Town were officially handed over this morning, Wednesday, 08 June 2016, having undergone a comprehensive upgrade from the Rotary Club of Claremont, in partnership with the Lewis Group.

“This official handover is much more than just a celebration of some new buildings,” says Rotary Club of Claremont President Tom Bergmann-Harris. “This is about creating a positive environment which ensures children receive the best possible educational stimulation from an early age, giving them a real hope for excelling in the future. By equipping teachers with the skills they need we can ensure these Educare Centres are sustainable in the long term,” says Bergmann-Harris.

The Rotary Club of Claremont’s Injongo Educare Project has since 2012 worked with 47 Educare Centres in Philippi, with a total spend of R12 million to date. Khululeka Educare, Zamukhanyo Educare and Noncedo Educare are the latest to benefit from the project, believed to be the largest of its kind in the country. Holistic interventions include extensive teacher training, physical upgrades to existing facilities and daily mentoring assistance for educare centres to ensure that they meet the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) requirements for official Early Childhood Development (ECD) accreditation and registration. While keeping school fees affordable, these interventions make centres sustainable, and effective in the long term, through subsidies provided by the DSD and WCED. Now, 12 educare centres have been fully upgraded and reopened by Injongo together with its dedicated sponsors.

Learners at the three centres sang songs to celebrate their excitement about their new school premises. Neil Jansen, Lewis Group HR Director told members of the community, parents and Rotarians that it was an honour for Lewis to be involved in the project. “For more than four years, we have focused on making a lasting impact in the next generation through our partnership with Injongo.  Foundation phase education lays the grounding for children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development. These Early Childhood Development Centres prepare them for school and tertiary education. The results of this project already speak volumes and it is encouraging to receive so much support from the community.”

Simphiwe Smile, 36-year-old father of Kamva, who attends the Grade R class for five year olds at Khululeka Educare was full of smiles at the opening event. “My daughter knows how to count, she can write her own name and she is confident to stand in front of her class and tell stories. Her mind is really working and she is so clever. I’m really proud to see how much she has developed at Khululeka Educare,” he says.

The father, who takes an active role in his daughter’s life says he listens to her talk happily about what she has learnt at school as he takes her to school each morning. His wife also noticed a change in Kamva’s development, to such an extent that the word has spread and many of her friends have also enrolled their children at Khululeka Educare.

Principal Nombulelo Majezi says, “All of the local primary schools want Khululeka Children to enroll in Grade 1. Even schools outside of Philippi, they say that children from Khululeka are amazing. You can just call the principals to ask and they can tell you about our children.”

Majezi explains that while many people have opened day care centres to look after toddlers while their parents work, not all of these places offer the same developmental opportunities. “Whatever activities we do with the children, whether it’s reading stories, singing songs, games or craft activities, we follow the standards and norms and keep to the Grade R syllabus,” she said. Training workshops for educare centre principals and teachers, provided by Injongo are extremely valuable, says Majezi. “We are updated with new aspects to the syllabus and always learn a lot about how to practically run our centres efficiently and effectively. Injongo is really helping the educare centres in Philippi.”

KZN organisations urged to enter waste management competition

Organisations in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province stand the chance to be acknowledged for their positive environmental contributions at the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa’s (IWMSA) KZN Waste Management Awards 2016. Waste-wise businesses of all sizes are encouraged to enter the bi-annual awards before 30 June 2016 to be recognised as a respected waste conscious organisation.

“The IWMSA KZN Waste Management Awards 2016 is open to all businesses operating in the KZN province. It is a platform for organisations to showcase their commitment to responsible waste management practices,” says Sue Beningfield from the IWMSA KZN Branch, responsible for the awards portfolio.

Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI) Phoenix Manufacturing Plant, Afripack Consumer Flexibles KZN and Clifton Hill Homeowners’ Association walked away with top honours at the 2014 prestigious awards. The bi-annual IWMSA KZN Waste Management Awards began in 1992 as a Durban initiative and since 2002 has honoured the top organisations in the entire province, with the main objective of promoting best practices in waste management.

The competition is open to general manufacturing and service industry organisations operating in the province, namely:

  • General Manufacturing <250 Employees: Industries involved with the manufacturing of products, with a total number of employees of 250 or less.
  • General Manufacturing >250 Employees:Industries involved with the manufacturing of products, with a total number of employees greater than 250.
  • Service Industry: Any organisation which offers a service. These can include, but are not limited to: Retail centres, hospitality establishments, housing estates or educational institutions.

Organisations with more than one premises which operate independently should enter separately based on the above categories and will also be judged independently.

“The KZN Waste Management Awards is one of the IWMSA’s initiatives aimed towards assisting organisations to think and implement efficient and effective waste management practices. It is also an opportunity for organisations to showcase their efforts and share best practices,” says Prof. Suzan Oelofse, President of the IWMSA.

Businesses are urged to enter online. Judging will consist of a site visit and audit during August to October 2016. Professional members of the IWMSA, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) and the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC) will conduct the judging.

Organisations will be required to submit the following:

  • The organisation’s waste management or environmental policy statements;
  • Their annual waste management report which must include volume per waste type, waste classification and name of the facility where waste was sent to for 2014/5 and 2015/6 periods; and
  • Projects undertaken to address waste minimisation and cost savings.

“Professional and responsible waste management provides financial, as well as environmental and health benefits. Past entrants and winners report a wide range of benefits from entering the competition, including: a reduction in waste volumes, improved resource efficiency and better profit margins. We urge all organisations to enter, and be recognised for their green contributions,” concludes Beningfield.

For more information or to enter, please click here or call 031-564-2795.

For more information on the IWMSA and the Awards, visit The IWMSA is also on Twitter ( and Facebook (

Children’s rights and responsibilities championed during National Child Protection Week

CAPTION: Grade R learners at Witkoppen Primary School have fun with the rights and responsibilities mascot, courtesy of SANCA, during National Child Protection Week.

In celebration of National Child Protection Week which took place from 30 May 2016 – 02 June 2016, the National Children and Violence Trust (NCVT), together with partner organisations, hosted awareness campaigns on children’s rights and responsibilities at different primary schools in Gauteng. The South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA), the South African Drug and Anxiety Group (SADAG) and non-profit organisation, Childline joined NCVT for activities throughout the week which ended last week Wednesday, 01 June 2016 in Lanseria.

NCVT Social Workers were welcomed by enthusiastic faces at each school as they campaigned for children’s rights throughout National Child Protection Week. Witkoppen Primary School in Fourways, Bassa Primary School in Diepsloot and Nooitgedacht Primary School in Lanseria were among the schools visited during the week. The Social Workers educated learners on the importance of being responsible minors and to be mindful of their rights. The campaign kicked-off on Friday 27 May 2016, with grade R learners at Witkoppen Primary School reciting their rights with excitement as the Social Workers listened. “I have a right to be loved and I have a right to be protected,” shouted the little ones. The learners were equally excited to play with the bear mascot as they ended off their first day of the National Child Protection Week.

A confident grade four learner at Nooitgedacht Primary School performeda poem titled “Children’s Declaration” which highlighted his rights as a child. Teachers thanked the Social Workers for educating and inspiring children at their schools. They also reminded the learners how important it was to be vigilant at all times and to not talk to strangers unless in the company of a trusted adult.

“It’s so important that learners realise that they can take responsibility for their actions and that their rights should not overwrite their responsibilities at home and at school,” says NCVT Senior Social Worker, Nokwazi Dlamini.

NCVT Social Workers shared a list of rights and responsibilities, published by the National Programme of Action (NPA) for Children in South Africa, with learners at each school:

  • Having the right to be heard, means you are equally responsible for listening to other people and respecting them.
  • The right to good health care, especially when sick means you are also responsible for taking care of your health.
  • The right to be loved and protected from harm comes with the responsibility of caring for others.
  • Having the right to go to school and learn comes with respecting teachers.
  • Having the right to a safe, happy and comfortable home means keeping that home clean and tidy at all times.
  • The right to enough food means that you shouldn’t be wasteful with the food you have.
  • Having the right to make mistakes, means taking responsibility by learning from those mistakes.

“NCVT commends teachers and learners for their positive response during this week. It was so wonderful to see how eager the children were to answer questions and participate in these very important discussions,” concludes Dlamini.

To make donations to NCVT or volunteer, members of the community can contact | +27 11 705-1960 | +27 11 467 4936. For more about NCVT, please visit

Corporate reputation: how can businesses get it right?

In an increasingly competitive market, organisations with a robust reputation can stay one step ahead of their competitors. Reputation is more than just clever communication management; there are various factors that impact a business’ reputation. Regine le Roux, Managing Director at Reputation Matters shares insights into what it takes to take an organisation’s reputation to the next level.

Firstly, why is it important to know what your reputation is, and to improve it? Ultimately it is about improving your business so that you can attract top talent, deliver a unique product or service that people want to invest in and ultimately to grow the business and positively contribute to the economy of a country.

Part of the reputation management process is to build solid relationships with your key stakeholders, which may include employees, clients, investors, government and the media, to name a few. “Each of these stakeholders perceive the business differently and understanding stakeholder concerns can be quite complex. For this reason, reputation research is key for businesses to continuously grow,” says le Roux.

In order for companies to understand their reputations, Reputation Matters has developed a unique measurement tool, the Repudometer®. With this tool, organisations are armed with vital research that allows them to accurately adapt their business and communication strategies to all key stakeholders’ requirements. “With the Repudometer® we are able to scientifically measure and quantify an organisation’s reputation. It allows us to see what is positively or negatively impacting its reputation.

There are five core elements that make up a business’ reputation and it is critical that attention is given to all of them,” mentions le Roux.

These five core elements include:

  1. Corporate ManagementHow is the organisation run and managed?

“It is very important that all stakeholders know what the vision and mission of an organisation is and whether it is being upheld. The effectiveness of policies, procedures and leadership is also a key focus area for when measuring an organisation’s reputation,” explains le Roux.

  1. Corporate Capital – Does the business have the right resources?

“An organisation’s employees play an important part in the success of a business. Any business owner needs to ensure that they have the right people on-board with the right tools to achieve business goals,” reiterates le Roux.

  1. Corporate Positioning – How is the organisation positioning itself in the industry?

Le Roux indicates that strategic alliances, i.e. who you are partnered with; should be carefully chosen. By association, a partner’s values and reputation will affect your own. Similarly, Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives should not be done merely for the sake of it, and needs to be sustainable and form part of the organisation’s overall strategy.

  1. Corporate Performance – What is the organisation’s perceived market performance?

“It is common knowledge that business results, such as share price and future viability, influence shareholder perceptions. A business’ products and / or services should also be of a high and competitive standard,” shares le Roux.

  1. Corporate Dialogue – How do you communicate with your stakeholders?

Le Roux emphasises that communication is the essence of reputation and the glue that binds the other four elements together. Both internal and external communication are imperative to building a strong reputation.

“Any business will know that reputation does matter. Without research, will you know what perceptions your stakeholders have of your organisation, and where to start building your reputation to take it to the next level?” concludes le Roux.

For more information on managing and investing in your reputation, visit or call +27 (0)11 317 3861. Reputation Matters is also on Facebook and Twitter @ReputationIsKey.