2017 has begun with a bang for Pietermaritzburg based public relations agency UrbanHouse Media who welcome not only three companies to their expanding client stable but also a new member to their team. Following two successful years of managing public relations for The Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre, the largest and busiest conferencing centre in the southern hemisphere, UrbanHouse Media has been appointed to manage the mega-hotel’s social and digital media marketing strategy in 2017. Further adding to their client base, UrbanHouse Media will also be working with Pietermaritzburg-based, award-winning shop fitting specialists and light steel frame company, Shospec, and also with The Hillcrest Advice Bureau and Bursary Fund (HABandBF) as part of UHM’s CSI portfolio. The HABandBF are a KZN-based NPO providing underprivileged students, wanting to attend university, with financial support. To complement the company’s growth, UHM welcomes Accounts Manager Nicola Chapple to their team. Nicola has worked in the UK as a Digital Communications Manager for nine years and is passionate about effective communication within a fast-paced media industry. For more information about UHM and their clients visit www.urbanhousemedia.co.za. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
It is 4am in the morning and Sbonelo Khwela’s alarm awakes him from a deep sleep. While most people are enjoying a little more shut-eye than usual during the festive season, Khwela knows he must begin his training at the crack of dawn before December’s searing heat begins to bathe the Shongweni Dam. It is six weeks to the 2017 Dusi Canoe Marathon and the 28-year-old has entered the final and most taxing phase of his preparations. The Euro Steel/Red Bull athlete knows that it is imperative to arrive at the grueling, three-day, 120km race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in the best possible shape. Khwela along with Andy Birkett won the 2014 (K2) race. Three years on and he is ripe to add a K1 victory to his list of honours. “I am very confident ahead of this year’s race. I have a good feeling about it. Winning the K1 Dusi is the ultimate prize for any competitive paddler,” Khwela said. Khwela who lives in Shongweni trains twice a day along with fellow competitors, Banetse Nkhoesa and Marc Germiquet. “These guys are pushing me hard in training. We have a good relationship and feed off each other,” Khwela explained. A lack of rain however has made it difficult for him to prepare for the technical aspects the race requires. “You know it is important for us to find lines in the water. The low water level makes it a challenge,” Khwela explained. Widely regarded as one of the most powerful runners the competition has ever seen, Khwela admits that this year he has shifted his attention mainly to paddling. “Running is my strength but in order to win I have to paddle well. I am still running and training in the gym twice a week but at the moment my big focus is in the dam,” he said. Multiple winner Birkett and 2013 champion, Lance Kime present the biggest threats to Khwela’s charge for honours. He prefers not to worry too much about the competition though. “I am very focused this year. I know that these guys are beatable. It is . . .
The festive season has arrived and, in traditional Selborne Golf Estate style, there are a number of exciting activities and events lined up for residents, members, locals and holidaymakers. Situated on the magnificent South Coast, Selborne has an immaculate golf course with expansive ocean views adjacent an indigenous coastal forest that is home to abundant bird and wildlife. Recent rains have increased the area’s lushness just in time for the holiday season. Golfing enthusiasts have been very lucky this December with non-stop action starting with the Andrew Mentis Golf Day on 2 and 3 December. Forming part of the Nomads Golf Club – a charitable golfing organisation - this annual event is the culmination of fundraising organised by every member club. Started by Andrew Mentis, himself a founding member of the Nomads, the organisation has raised more than R20 million since its inception in 1967. The Andrew Mentis Golf Day saw both club members, and the general public, participating in a fun golfing event with the money raised then handed over to the selected charity. “The Andrew Mentis Golf Day gave people the chance to learn more about the Nomads while experiencing the camaraderie that makes this club what it is,” explained Jonathan Malkin, Selborne Golf Estate Central Manager. “It was such an entertaining day out with all proceeds going towards a very deserving cause.” This year, Selborne played host for this illustrious golfing event with participants having the added bonus of enjoying the extremely popular five-hole night golf. Here, golfers navigated the course, searching for their glow-in-the-dark golf balls using LED illumination for assistance. This was followed by a fantastic dinner at the clubhouse as well as music by entertainer, Winston. Selborne will also be hosting its monthly Par 3 Challenge, a competition that originated this year whereby golfers are given the opportunity to play a quicker round of golf on a familiar course but in a . . .
While listening to South Africa’s top musical acts and watching a parade of incredible biking machinery along Margate Beach from 27 to 30 April, visitors to the 2017 South Coast Bike Fest can be assured of their safety and security from accommodation to venue. “We have lined up world-class entertainment, exhibitions and dining for everyone attending and have taken every measure to ensure that each person is kept safe throughout the four-day biking festival,” explained event organiser, Vicky Wentzel. Local security personnel will be monitoring the new, secure event area where both visitors and their belongings – including all motorbikes – will be kept safe. “The local guards will have an internal line of sight, which is important as they have intel on the key areas that need priority monitoring,” explained Wentzel. “Further to this, we will have security guards stationed along access routes to the venue which means that visitors will be protected when walking to and from their Margate accommodation.” Wentzel said they would also be working closely with the South African Police Service ahead of, and during, the event so as to have every security angle covered. Although entrance to the four-day festival is free, no person will have access without completing an online pre-registration, which will enhance security even more. Organisers are anticipating a big turnout for the inaugural South Coast Bike Fest which will be hosting top South African bands including Matthew Mole, Prime Circle, Fokofpolisiekar, Just Jinjer and Koos Kombuis – among many others – at the #fuelyourfun Carling Main Beach Stage. The music entertainment will be extended beyond this to the Beach Pier Village Rock Stage. Thrill-seekers can catch the country’s best skateboarding, BMX, FMX and trials bike riders display at the Experiential Energy Zone, while all the best restaurants, bars and pubs will keep visitors satiated in The Daily Village. All bikes are welcome at the South . . .
There was plenty of festive cheer in the air despite blustery conditions at the 2016 Renishaw Hills Trail Run which took place on Sunday, 4 December. Now in its fifth year the event is swiftly gaining popularity on the KwaZulu-Natal trail running calendar. This year, organisers staged a 6 and and 12km race along with their main 18km event. It meant that runners of varying abilities and ages could get together for some outdoor fun on the same day. Seasoned trail runner Dean Marais won the men’s 18km race, clocking in a time of 1:45:18 amid heavy winds which swept across the course. It was a comfortable 15 minutes ahead of second place finisher, Kerry Deamer. There was no doubt that Marais enjoyed himself out there with time to take in the breathtaking views of the Renishaw Hills valley and the picturesque TC Robertson Nature Reserve along the way. James McDowell rounded of the podium, 7 minutes behind Deamer. Claire Weston who has put together some encouraging results this season won from the start to tape in the women’s 18km race. Brenda McCann put in a heartening performance to finish second, 8 minutes after Weston. Marie Strydom managed an impressive third place finish. “It was good to hear people talking about how great the course around the development is,” said Phil Barker, Managing Director of Renishaw Hills Property Investments. “We are very pleased with the exposure that the development received from the event. It was professionally organised and it was good to see people coming out despite the windy weather,” he added. Race organiser, Myles Usher from Frothing Beats Events said "I was very impressed with the performances of some of these runners on routes I tried to make as challenging as possible, whilst still including all the amazing single track sections and views that Renishaw Hills has to offer. On behalf of Frothing Beats Events, I'd like to thank Phil Barker and Renishaw Property Developments for the title . . .
On 11 November, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges in the Eastern Cape, in partnership with the British Council and the Office of the Premier, will host a Skills and Employability Conference at the Volkswagen People Pavilion in Uitenhage. This one-day programme will include a panel discussion on how the different sectors are contributing to the creation of quality and excellence in skills provision. There will be a breakaway session where delegates will respond to topics around skills development. The Skills and Employability Conference aims to: Promote dialogue on effective approaches to bridging the skills gap in South Africa. Map the role that key stakeholders like Industry, Sector Education & Training Authorities (SETA’s), Educational Institutions, Government, National & International development agencies can play in addressing skills gaps. Share and learn best practices on how the sector organisations can work together to address the skills challenge. Speakers at the conference will include Mr Glen McMahon, International Project Manager, Belfast Met College, Northern Ireland, Ms. Meike Wetsch, Programme Manager: Coega Human Capital Solutions, Mr Jean September, Deputy Country Director of the British Council (Cape Town Office) of the British Council, Mr Hein Luiters, Acting General Manager of the Office of the Premier, Ms Nombulelo Nxesi, CEO of ETDP SETA, Ms Kim Smallie Learning and Development Specialist and Mr Luvuyo Ngubelanga, Chairperson of Principals Forum of TVET Colleges in the Eastern Cape. The Provincial Conference co-ordinator, Ms Elmari van de Merwe said: “The Skills and Employability Conference is an opportunity for all stakeholders in the Eastern Cape, who have influence in skills development, to come together, look at the challenges the province is facing in enhancing quality and excellence in skills provision and come up with collaborative solutions that will bridge . . .
Senior Landscape Architect, Lizelle Wolmarans at GIBB, one of South Africa’s leading black-owned engineering consulting firms, presented a paper on child safety in playgrounds at the three-day Congress for the Institute of World Urban Parks (WUP) and Environment and Recreation Management (IERM) in Cape Town last month. Leading parks professionals and parks agencies from around the world resolving to protect and enhance the world’s urban parks and green spaces in the face of looming global challenges was present at this Congress. The paper, titled Risky Play and Children’s Safety: Balancing Priorities for Optimal Child Development focused on the construction of playgrounds, safety and safety standards of equipment used in playgrounds as well as the influence it has on physical and mental child development. Play experts such as Environmental Psychologists, Child Development Specialists, Landscape Architects and Educators are advocating a re-assessment of the play environment. While the safety of children should never be neglected, Wolmarans explained the dangers of being over-protective as potentially detrimental to a child’s development. “Our environment is not without risk and therefore, we need to learn how to manage risk continuously as a survival skill. However, where risk is eliminated from playgrounds, challenge is eliminated leading to boredom where children may potentially feel the need to take excessive risk using equipment inappropriately that can cause unintentional injury,” said Wolmarans. South Africa has adopted the international playground safety standards, these standards are not legalised but serve as a guideline to prevent hazardous risks. Locally, our decisions need to be influenced by security, economy and future sustainability. In the case of security, it is a fact that children are living in dangerous environments in their homes and neighbourhoods. Some of the dangers are traffic, kidnapping, crime and drugs. Supervision and . . .
South Africa’s rugby fraternity can look forward to working with five former Springboks as part of the Investec International Rugby Academy’s courses which will be held at St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg these December holidays. Among the iconic line-up of coaches spending a week with aspiring players (aged 7 to 17) and school coaches are former Springbok players Braam van Straaten (fly-half), Dick Muir (centre), Andre Pretorius (fly-half), Ian MacDonald (flank) and Marius Hurter (prop); as well as former Bath Rugby player Hentie Maartens (scrum-half) and current Sharks Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Steele. The Investec International Rugby Academy’s players’ and coaches courses will take place from 10 to 16 December at St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg. Visit www.investecacademy.com or contact Bernadine on 031 940 5565 or email@example.com. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
If you think that dagga is a dangerous narcotic, then you have been duped through propaganda. Dagga is as traditional to SA as biltong, boerebeskuit and witblits. It fascinated JV Riebeeck and missionaries extolled its virtues. It grows like a weed, is medicinal in its natural form with a lower potential for harm to self and society than sugar. Supported by science (endocannabinoid system), legal in 24 USA states with 200 million US citizens having access to it as medicine (endocannabinoid system) + populations of 11 other countries. Deaths from opioid overdoses has also dropped by up to 25% in states with legal dagga. The current 'war on drugs' is a broken system. It's a war on people and does little to protect anyone from substance abuse. It's the same mentality that was used to justify enforcing the mixed marriages act, where the offender is also the victim. A perverse incentive to put people into prison. From physical prison to social prison with a subsequent criminal record. You will find plenty of peer reviewed studies, medical professionals (Joycelyn Elders, Andrew Weil, Lester Grinspoon, Deborah Malka, Sanjay Gupta, Abrams, Suzanne Sisley, Denis Petro, Ethan Russo, Uma Dhanabalan, Jeffrey Block, Bonni Goldstein, Juan Sanchez-Ramos..) who support dagga as a therapeutic plant. In SA, the Bobby Greenhash foundation PTY is supplying dagga oil to people suffering with terminal diseases. Their testimonials to the healing power of dagga is worth a read. The SA central drug authority (CDA) has also called for the decriminalization of dagga and a recent study they commissioned, concluded that dagga kills cervical cancer. Vilifying dagga and then using that stance to 'protect our children' is pointless. Rather fact based solutions (science) focusing on harm reduction through healthcare and education, as recommended by the SA substance abuse experts, S Kelley and Quintin Van Kerken. Better that control of dagga is removed from the streets and regulated . . .
Mpact Recycling, in partnership with Mrs South Africa, coordinated a beach clean-up at Blue Lagoon Beach in KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend, as part of a traditional annual environmental ‘spring clean’ that countries all across the globe participate in. “Trash, whether on the beach or in the water, compromises the health of humans, wildlife and livelihoods that depend on a healthy ocean. It also threatens tourism and recreation, and the critical rands they add to our local economies. Addressing what lies unseen beneath the surface or out on the open water requires understanding by the public that the answer lies in recycling materials long before it gets to the oceans and rivers," says Donna-Mari Noble, Mpact Recycling Communications Manager. “Recycling waste at source or at homes and offices considerably reduces the amount of trash that ultimately finds its way to the coast. We encourage all South Africans to participate in recycling their paper-based products and PET beverage bottles." South Africa is one of many countries that participate in what is one of the world’s biggest volunteer efforts encouraging coastal health. Each year, thousands of kilogrammes of every imaginable type of waste is collected and removed from along the world’s shorelines, and South Africa is recognised as a leading participant in this clean-up initiative. Further, Blue Lagoon Beach is a Blue Flag certified, which according to the Foundation for Environmental Education means that the beach meets its stringent tourism standards. “How better to highlight this vital environmental issue than by leveraging the Mrs. SA pageant, and all its stands for?” says Noble. Mrs South Africa is not just a beauty pageant but a women’s empowerment programme. Beauty with a purpose and making a difference is a key part of the beauty pageant. Joani Johnson, managing director of Mrs South Africa says, “As part of the competition, our finalists are encouraged to help with community upliftment and . . .