Galway, Ireland – 23 March 2017: South African people are taking to the internet in greater numbers than ever before to gain workplace skills, according to new figures released by Alison. The organization, which is one of South Africa’s largest free e-learning providers, revealed that a small majority (57%) of its users in 2016 were female, and that the site is most popular in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Mike Feerick, Founder and CEO of Alison, said: “South Africa has been quick to take up online learning. The feedback we’re getting from learners here suggests that they value the flexibility and breadth of subjects we can offer. It’s not a surprise to us that the majority of our South African learners are women; this reflects a pattern we have seen in other parts of the world.” According to newly released figures for 2016, the most popular courses including Touch Typing Training, Diploma in Project Management, Human Resources and Business Management & Entrepreneurship. Other top courses South African learners took included Web Design, Workplace Health and Safety, Psychology and Customer Service. Eric Corbett, Course Publishing Manager at Alison, said: “Increasingly, we’re seeing learners turn to us for skills that are vital to the workplace but don’t tend to receive much focus in schools – South Africa is no different. The range of free courses we’re offering is set to grow dramatically over the next 12 months, and we expect to grow our learner-base in South Africa in tandem with this. “We would encourage students, jobseekers and workers who want to upskill to consider how a course might help them achieve their goals.” Alison will celebrate its 10th birthday next month. The site currently boasts almost 10 million individual learners studying hundreds of courses. WHAT THEY SAY What our South African learners say about Alison: “There are so many great options that I am excited about. I’ve just completed the Microsoft . . .
The memory of Springbok rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen will hover over the Liberty Winelands Encounter next month when the J9 Foundation cycling team take part in the event for the first time. Presented by ASG Events in partnership with STANLIB, the three-stage mountain bike race starting on April 21 will take riders through spectacular trails in the Cape Winelands just over two months after Van der Westhuizen passed away from motor neurone disease (MND). The team of Cape Town lawyer Dirk Kotze and Namgear cycling equipment company boss Marius Bronkhorst will represent the foundation at the race, with raising awareness of MND their chief priority. "Most people, of course, know of Joost and when they see our kit with the J9 Foundation logo there is always a lot of talk about what we are trying to do," said the 35-year-old Kotze from Bellville. "People usually ask us if we are riding for the foundation and if they do not know much about it, it provides us with a chance to inform them what it is all about." Kotze explained that the J9 Foundation was formed by the 1995 World Cup-winning star after he was diagnosed with MND in early 2011. He added that the foundation aided those suffering from the disease and helped with MND research. "The foundation have 29 beneficiaries and care for over 40 families who are affected by MND," he said. Having entered a number of races including the Cape Epic in the last three years, Kotze said their main priority was creating awareness of MND rather than raising funds. "However, we do have a snapscan logo on our left arm and anybody who wants to donate some money can do so by scanning the code with their cellphone." Kotze will experience the Liberty Winelands Encounter for the first time and said he was looking forward to the challenge after taking up mountain biking in 2013. Following a year of competing in various events with regular partner Brendan Snyman, the pair decided they wanted to ride . . .
The popular FALKE Trail Run Series presented by Dirtopia will once again offer keen outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful trails in the Stellenbosch Winelands. The 2017 FALKE Tail Run Series sets off on Saturday, 18 March with the Harvest Run at the historic Le Bonheur, which means happiness. Dating back to the 1790's hand sorting the grapes has remained a tradition and a trade mark. Enjoy this rare opportunity to be part of the harvest time in the winelands. The single track route offers awesome views and run through the forest just above the cellar. Pre-entries close on Thursday, 16 March at a cost of R90 for the 5km, R110 for the 9km and R135 for the 14km and can be done online at www.dirtopia.co.za . Late entries will be taken on event day, if available with additional late entry fees applicable. Registration is from 07h00 with the first race setting off at 08h00. Also diarise Sunday, 7 May for the second FALKE Trail run of the season and experience the splendour of autumn while running at the picturesque Peter Falke Wines. Nestled against the majestic slopes of the Helderberg mountains, the farm offers the perfect canvas for nature to paint its autumn colours and for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy a trail run in the winelands before winter settles in. Dating back to the 18th century, the traditional gabled Cape Dutch buildings of the wine estate belie a contrasting modernity within. The stately old homestead is partnered by a "boutique" winery, contemporary wine tasting room, gift shop and luxurious outdoor lounge. The rolling lawn is the perfect spot to relax with friends and family after the trail run. Don your running shoes and make the most of the beautiful winter days in the winelands and enter the FALKE Winter Trail Run at Warwick Wine Estate outside Stellenbosch on Sunday, 9 July. Appropriately dubbed the wine adventure run as Warwick not only offers magnificent trails and views, but the hospitality at a . . .
Next month's Garden Route 300 will be "more compact" to offer an even purer mountain biking experience in the Knysna forest from April 28 to 30. The three-stage race, which also occupies a new slot on the calendar, will comprise a feature event over a total of 200km as well as a Lite version of 170km. Race director Patric Mosterd, of Garden Route Events, said by shortening the two races they were able to cut out portions that did not necessarily add value to any of them. "By doing this, we are left with only the good stuff as we pursue a truly pure mountain biking experience." Mosterd said the GR300, as it is known these days, would still remain a genuine test. "Just because it comprises fewer kilometres, does not mean it is any less of a challenge," he said. "Basically it is a case of fewer kilos but more quality and I can assure you that the riders will be pleased to see the finish line each day." He said the more compact stages do however shorten time spent in the saddle, making it more accessible to participants who would have been on the edge of their ability previously. The idea, he said, was that the shorter days would be an additional incentive for prospective participants to try out the Garden Route event for the first time. "We really want to share this gem of a riding area with as many people as possible." With the event initially taking place at the height of summer as a precursor to races like the Cape Epic, Mosterd said there was a feeling that the original distances were just too far for its current slot - especially being in a mountainous area. "We think the event is now doable for a broader spectrum of riders instead of just a select few. We hope many more can now enjoy the experience with us." He said the stage distances of the feature event would be 75km, 50km and 75km. Mosterd said the Lite version, which was introduced three years ago as an alternative to the main race, would also have a facelift. "The . . .
Get set to revel with two of South Africa’s biggest and finest institutions, FreshlyGround and Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, when they share the stage, for the very first time, on Saturday, 25 March 2017. In what is set to be an extraordinary night out, these two heavyweights will come together at the intimate Spier Amphitheatre stage, on the cusp of Stellenbosch, as part of Mabuse’s 50-year-celebration in music. “All the classics will be in there,” Sipho divulges, “including Burn Out, Shikisha, and many more of songs that have shaped me as a musician, philanthropist and father to my beautiful daughters.” As to what Freshly fans can expect from the multi-platinum-selling globetrotters? With their 6th album currently in final production with Swedish producer Tore Johannson, the group may just offer a sample of what’s to come from the group in the months ahead. “There will be material never performed before,” Zolani teases. “There will also be some deviations from the usual popular material too.” “I’ve never played at Spier before,” Sipho declares. “I’ve also never performed with FreshlyGround before either. I have huge respect for the music they create, and they are lovely people which just enhances the whole experience.” The much-applauded Around The Fire and Wrestling With Dawn producer, playwright and performer, Siphokazi Jonas will also share the stage, on the night, revealing yet another side to her dynamic talent. “I’m delighted to have her open for us,” Sipho says. “I have watched Siphokazi, over the last two years, create her own path and make work for herself, all of which needs to be heard and applauded. I’m really looking forward to a great night.” A long overdue marriage of two trailblazers, expect pomp, expect ceremony and a night filled with glorious celebration and tumultuous applause. Join the chorus and come sing along. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
RoadCover's Kent Main ticked a significant item off his bucket list when he was crowned Bestmed Tour of Good Hope champion in a sensational finale at the Taal Monument near Paarl today. In one of the tightest finishes to any road tour in South Africa, Main powered his way up the steep climb to make up a 51-second deficit on Pro Touch's overnight leader Myles van Musschenbroek to snatch the title by a single second. It was an agonising outcome for the 24-year-old Van Musschenbroek, made more excruciating by a wait of about 15 minutes before the timekeepers were able to confirm the final standings. Main ultimately clocked an overall time of 8:31:22 over four stages after the penultimate stage was cancelled due to extreme winds yesterday. His teammate Eddie van Heerden completed the podium in 8:32:22. After forcing his way into overall contention with a fourth-place finish in Tuesday's individual time-trial, Van Musschenbroek put in a desperate effort to protect his lead up the final climb, but Main's power on the hills ultimately made the difference. Stage honours went to Dimension Data's defending champion Stefan de Bod after he also won Tuesday's Buffet Olives time-trial, followed by teammate Joseph Areruya. Main took third place on the day. Afterwards the 21-year-old Main, from Linden in Johannesburg, said he felt the first major victory of his career was a result of a more structured programme he implemented last year. "With the help of my brother I set up a plan halfway through last year aimed at training for this tour, but I always knew it would be hard to win. "I have often said to my mates this is one of my favourite races and one I always wanted to win. Now that it's happened, I'm really happy and it will boost my career going forward." He paid tribute to his Johannesburg rival, who fought all the way to protect his overnight lead. "Myles was able to manage everything that came his way today and his team looked after him really . . .
Excessive winds in the Boland region caused stage four of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope to be cancelled shortly after the start from La Paris Estate near Paarl today. The decision was made by president commissaire Sammy Hardine, on behalf of Cycling South Africa, after consulting his team and the organisers following reports of dangerous riding conditions, particularly on the Du Toitskloof and Bain's passes. Following a managers' meeting to explain their decision, Hardine said their primary concern in calling off the stage had been the riders' safety. "This morning was very windy and lots of questions were asked, but after speaking to my panel and the organisers it was decided the stage would go ahead," he said. "We had hoped that if we could get to the other side of the mountain there would be fair conditions for racing. "But soon after the 10km neutral zone I was advised by race director Darren Herbst, who was on top of the mountain, that the conditions were extreme." Hardine said they would monitor the situation before making a call on tomorrow's final stage. Speaking on behalf of ASG Events, Herbst said it had been a difficult decision to cancel the stage. He emphasised the point that the riders' safety had been their chief concern. "It's really windy down here at the start but times that by 10 and that's what you are getting on the passes." Bestmed sales and marketing chief Chris Luyt, who is riding in the race, said he felt the right decision had been made. "It is disappointing, but you can't control nature and I support the commissaires' call," he said. "We also want to use the opportunity to ask the motorists to have patience with the riders during the race, which is bringing in between R20m and R30m of revenue to the region." The cancellation of the stage means South Africa's premier road classic, presented by the City of Drakenstein and Scicon, will be decided over four stages. Luyt wished everyone luck for tomorrow's final day, which will . . .
RoadCover's Kent Main held his composure on the climb up Du Toitskloof Pass to take the stage three spoils in the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope road race just outside Paarl today. The 21-year-old from Linden in Johannesburg led the way to the finish line of the 133km queen stage of South Africa's premier road race in 3:19:12. He was followed home three seconds later by teammate Eddie van Heerden, with Dimension Data's Hafetad Weldu third in 3:19:18. Pro Touch's Myles van Musschenbroek took over the yellow jersey from defending champion Stefan de Bod after ending fourth on the stage. After 6:15:47 of racing, he provisionally leads Main (6:16:38) and Van Heerden (6:17:00) in the overall standings. Main, who was part of a group of eight leaders that also included teammate Eddie van Heerden, said he knew they needed to make it hard at the start of the final climb. "Eddie and I knew if it was too easy the guys would just follow. I don't really have a big kick at the end so knew I had to go long," said Main. "I went a few times and Eddie did as well, but we were closed down each time. "Luckily we caught them off guard with about two and half kilometres to go and managed to ride away. But it was a big effort and I'm a bit broken now." Given his climbing ability, Main said this was a stage he had always dreamt of winning. "To be honest, this is a stage I targeted from last year and I was really happy to get the win." With African continental champion Willie Smit their general classification pick, he said they would reassess the situation overnight. Main said there had been a number of attacks in the first half of the race with Franschhoek Pass "being quite hard". "Dimension Data set the pace early on and there were a few attacks up the pass for the King of the Mountains points. "The descent was quite fast with guys trying to break clear but everyone came together at the bottom." The RoadCover climber said he did not follow any of the . . .
One of South Africa's longest-serving sportsmen, Paralympian Ernst van Dyk, will give his perspective on how the Olympic Games have played a critical role in inspiring athletes like himself. The 43-year-old wheelchair racer and handcyclist, who won the road cycling gold medal at the Rio Paralympics last year, will be one of the keynote speakers at the Western Cape Provincial Conference of Sport to be hosted by NMMU in George on Friday and Saturday. The theme of the conference is Olympism and will, among other things, explore the impact the Games have on the development of sport and the role it plays in influencing rising stars. Born in Ceres in the Western Cape, the sports science honours graduate from Stellenbosch University first represented South Africa at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 when, he said, the Paralympians were still regarded as "social charity". "In those days nobody even knew there was an event like the Paralympics and our manager had to go on television to spell out what it actually meant," said Van Dyk, who was born with a congenital absence of both legs. "At that stage the sports minister said there was no funding for something he labelled as ‘social charity'." Now, Van Dyk, who won the Boston Marathon in the United States 10 times from 2001 to 2014, said he was amazed when he compared the reception they received in London (2012) and Rio to his experiences in 1992. "What I see now is that people have an appetite for the Paralympics. They want to see the people who are doing it and get insights into their stories. "And you get able-bodied sports people looking up to their disabled colleagues, holding them up as role models. That shows how far we have come and, to me, is one of the most significant effects the Olympics have had over the years." Having overcome many challenges during his career, Van Dyk will be speaking on sport from the athlete's perspective. "It will be a message for the conference delegates to see . . .
Bouchard Finlayson is inviting entries for the 2017 Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Art Award as part of the Hermanus FynArts Festival. The Tollman family, owners of Bouchard Finlayson, has long been great supporters of the arts in South Africa and is sponsoring this competition for the fourth consecutive year. Artists are invited to submit their entries, in tondo format (circular – at a maximum of 60cm in diameter) under this year’s theme ‘Reflections’. The works of about 40 finalists will form the Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Barrel Head Exhibition that will be exhibited in the Hemel-en-Aarde wine estate cellar, where they will also be available for sale for the duration of the Hermanus FynArts festival (9 – 18 June 2016). The competition closes on 19 May 2017. Judges will include Stefan Hundt, curator of the Sanlam Art Collection; Michael Godby, Professor Emeritus of History of Art, UCT; and Lien Botha, artist, writer and curator. The winner will receive a cash prize of R20 000, followed by a second prize of R10 000, and two merit prizes of R5 000 each. Further details and competition entry forms are available on www.hermanusfynarts.co.za @BouchFinlayson @FiveStarPRZA Established in 1989 in the temperate Hemel-en-Aarde Valley on 125 hectares (312 acres) of Walker Bay's prime viticultural land, Bouchard Finlayson Vineyard and Winery is a small cellar dedicated to the quality production of Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. Ever since releasing their first vintages, the name Bouchard Finlayson has been internationally synonymous with excellence. Today, owned by the Red Carnation Hotels’ Tollman family and under the leadership of Victoria Tollman, founder Peter Finlayson and winemaker Chris Albrecht, 22 hectares (54 acres) of the estate are currently under vine with 50% devoted to the varietal for which Peter is most acclaimed – Pinot noir. Other cultivars under production include Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc and Sangiovese, as well as a handful under . . .