Durban mayor, James Nxumalo believes it is a fantastic achievement for Durban, to be positioned amongst other leading global cities of the world.The Moses Mabhiba stadium with its distinctive arch that has reshaped Durban’s skyline.(Images: Durban Tourism)MEDIA CONTACTS• Mayasree MoodleyMarketing and PR Officer, Durban Tourism031 322 4169Melissa Jane CookDurban is a natural paradise, known for its lovely beaches and subtropical climate. Now, its many treasures have seen it nominated as a New7Wonder City.It pits its considerable charms against metropolises such as romance capital Paris, frenetic New York and the neon fantasy of Tokyo.Durban is the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. It is part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality, created in 2000, which includes Durban and surrounding towns. eThekwini in Zulu means “bay or lagoon”.“To be positioned amongst other leading global cities of the world, proudly shows the commitment and competitive edge of our city as a leading tourism, events and business destination,” says Durban mayor, James Nxumalo.He said the achievement was a great honour. “The city is built around one of the busiest ports in Africa and our people are our pride. We have recently been voted as the friendliest city in South Africa and this is partly due to our rich cultural diversity that includes a rich tapestry of African, eastern and western Influences.”Protecting urban and natural heritageEstablished in 2001 by the Swiss-born Canadian filmmaker, author and adventurer, Bernard Weber, the New7Wonders Foundation aims to promote protecting the world’s human-built and natural heritage and to foster respect for the planet’s diversity. The initiative kicked off with the New7Wonders of the World, choosing from a selection of 200 existing monuments.Its latest venture, the New7Wonders Cities, announced its 28 official finalists on Monday 21 October, with Durban making a splash.“The competition highlights the move toward mass urbanisation as the Earth’s population grows. According to the UN (United Nations), population growth will exceed 10-billion by 2083, and most [of these people] will be in cities.“Dramatic urbanisation is radically changing the social, economic and environmental landscape of our planet. Our world has entered an urban era where cities are defining the future of humanity,” says Eamonn Fitzgerald, head of communication at New7Wonders.eThekwini’s wide appealDurban’s lauded attractions include the Moses Mabhida stadium, which hosted Fifa 2010 World Cup matches; uShaka Marine World, one of the largest aquariums in the world; and the International Convention Centre (ICC) – the leading conference centre in Africa. The city is also a gateway to national parks and historic sites; Kwa-Zulu – home of the amaZulu (the people of heaven) – and the Drakensberg mountain range.“The City of Durban is an elegant, mature and ambitious city. It is a trendsetter in offering great lifestyle, speckled with adventure activities, blessed with natural beauty and is an astonishingly liveable city,” says Phillip Sithole, head of Durban Tourism.He adds, “As a visitor, you are faced with the perfect ingredients to make your holiday unique and special. Whether you here as a business delegate or a leisure traveller there is something special that will capture your heart forever.”eThekwini municipality councillor, Rick Crouch, says, “This is great for Durban and we as Durbanites should be proud that we were even nominated. We have a great city here and the world at large should know it. All Durbanites should be encouraged to vote and support Durban, the vacation capital of South Africa.”The city was also ranked ahead of Johannesburg and Cape Town as the country’s friendliest capital in the 2013 Anholt-GfK Roper City Brand Index™, which assesses 50 cities annually.A city at its bestWeber praised the diversity of the finalist cities as “extraordinarily stimulating as regards the past, present and future of urban life”.He says the remarkable New7Wonders Cities long list reflects the energy and culture of a city at its best.“United in their commonalties, and varied in their forms, cities remind us of the possibilities of civilization when, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population live in cities.”He hopes that the New7Wonders Cities campaign will generate debate about the challenges cities face and how they are responding to them.The official New7Wonders Cities will be revealed on 7 December 2014.
The SADC Media Awards celebrate the collective power of all media to foster positive change. (Image: Reuters) • Bongiwe Gambu Director: Media Engagement GCIS +27 82 714 9463 [email protected] • Young, gifted and African? Apply for the $75 000 Anzisha Prize • SADC: the case for a single currency • Global acclaim for inspiring South African whisky commercial • Meet Heshan de Silva, Kenya’s 25-year-old dollar multimillionaire • Bill Gates: Who says Africa will always be poor?Sulaiman PhilipThe 2014 Southern African Development Community (SADC) Media Awards will celebrate the best words, pictures and television produced in its 15 member states.The competition acknowledges outstanding contributions to journalism that report the good stories in SADC. Contributions from journalists across print – words and photographs – radio, television, and digital media platforms that were published between January and December 2013 are eligible for entry.At the announcement of this year’s competition in Pretoria, Zukiswa Potye, the director of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), explained that the awards were first mooted to inspire people to pick up a pen to celebrate the communities in which they lived. For the government, it was a way to celebrate the importance of a free press in southern Africa. The theme for the awards is “Promoting regional integration through journalism” and, as Potye explained, “for South African journalists, entry is about patriotism and celebrating South Africa’s role in the region and the world”.The government encourages South African journalists to enter to promote SADC’s vision of a regional community founded on economic well-being and social justice. “We are celebrating 20 years of freedom and democracy, an achievement that would not have been attained if other African states did not contribute to emancipating South Africa from the apartheid system,” Potye explained.It is hoped that the awards will remind journalists of the important part they have to play in fostering the SADC vision and promoting the development of the region. Judges have been tasked to find the best, liveliest, wisest and most provocative journalism produced last year. Potye asserted: “Journalists record history and ensure transparency in the region.”Journalists working for public broadcasters, commercial as well as community media are encouraged to enter. Each country has its own judging panel, whose selections will then go head to head against those selected from other member states. Through competition it is hoped that the awards will foster unity throughout SADC and strengthen the economic, political and social ties that already exist.The competition is open to any citizen of a SADC country and entries have to be in one of the languages of the region – English, French or Portuguese – or an indigenous language. Submissions must be between 100 and 2 000 words or up to an hour in length for broadcast entries. “We are looking for the African stories that people are not telling,” Nomonde Gongxeka, the chair of the South African judging panel, explained at the launch of the awards in Pretoria. The prescence of a free media across the region ensures transparency and builds strong democracies. (Image: IDS)Photographer Neo Ntsoma, the first woman to win a CNN African Journalist award for photography, is on the South African judging panel. She will be looking for work that showcases the country but admits that judging a young entrant working at community level against a journalist with years of experience may skew the results.“Yes everyone will be judged the same but competition can also be about pushing yourself, testing your ability against people who have been doing the same job as you for longer. When I started out I would lose to more experienced photographers, but I always went back to find out what my pictures were lacking, what made [theirs] better than mine.”Winners will receive $2 000 (R22 000) to be awarded at a ceremony at the 34th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in August in Harare. All entries must be submitted by 31 March. For more information and official entry forms, visit the GCIS website.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Benson Hill Biosystems, a crop improvement company unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants, and Beck’s are partnering to bring to market the first photosynthetic efficiency trait, enabling corn farmers to increase the yield, sustainability and profitability of their farms.Sunlight is the critical natural input for food production, capturing and storing carbon as a source for all energy, but photosynthesis is highly inefficient. Increasing carbon capture by improving photosynthesis efficiency is recognized as an important opportunity to improve crop productivity and sustainability.“For years, trait innovation has been largely limited to only the largest multinational companies. The goal of our product development and testing programs has always been to help farmers succeed by bringing them more choice and profitability,” said Kevin Cavanaugh, Director of Research at Beck’s. “We have been working with Benson Hill now for years and are convinced that this collaboration will allow us to open new channels for innovation and greater opportunity for our customers.”Benson Hill has developed a robust pipeline of trait product candidates that improve crop photosynthetic efficiency, one of which has demonstrated significant yield increases in hybrid corn across three years of field trials in a broad range of environments and genetic backgrounds. Through its co-development and commercialization agreement, Beck’s and Benson Hill will advance a trait product candidate through the final stages of development and anticipate filing a regulatory dossier with the USDA by 2021.“It’s encouraging to see companies tackling some of the most critical and challenging areas of crop improvement such as photosynthesis,” said David Ertl, Technology Commercialization Manager at the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. “Novel trait development research is important, but it is equally important that these trait developers partner with others in the seed industry to commercialize these traits and get them into the hands of farmers.”The partnership is particularly timely given the unprecedented level of consolidation underway in the agriculture industry. Through true collaboration, the companies will combine their expertise in product development, testing, and commercialization to bring greater choice to farmers in the marketplace. The companies plan to broadly license this exciting technology to many seed corn companies so that all farmers will have the opportunity to increase corn yields.“When we started Benson Hill, we envisioned that the intersection of disciplines known as cloud biology could help address major challenges like improving photosynthesis,” said Matthew Crisp, CEO and co-founder of Benson Hill. “This outcome has since been demonstrated, and dedicated partners like Beck’s are now helping us define new channels to market for the resulting product opportunities.”