The Asian Roundabout: Afghanistan After the West's Withdrawal

26 July 2021

Between 2001 and 2019, two million men and women from abroad served in Afghanistan, and more than $2 trillion was expended, an extraordinary, once-in-a-generation commitment of resources to a poor country, a staggering opportunity cost.

As NATO troops prepare to leave Afghanistan by 11 September in the face of a Taliban surge, this documentary asks two timely and critical questions: why did the international intervenors fail in their mission to bring stability to Afghanistan, and how might peace now occur?

Drawing on the two presenters’ vast experience in government and in making peace, and shot in various locations around Afghanistan during February and June-July 2021, this 30-minute production identifies five critical reasons for the West’s failure to bring about peace:

The West’s best wasn’t good enough. The lives of 3,500 international troops plus an estimated 200,000 Afghans have not been sufficient to turn the tide against a highly motivated Taliban. The West’s political leaders have simply lacked the strategy and patience necessary to execute a longer war.

Biovac to manufacture and distribute Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine doses within Africa

21 July 2021

Cape Town based, specialist biotech company, Biovac, has been appointed to manufacture the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for distribution within the African Union, making it the first company in Africa to produce an mRNA-based vaccine.

Biovac is set to immediately commence technical transfer activities, which includes on-site development and equipment installation activities. Biovac will obtain drug substance from facilities in Europe, and manufacturing of finished doses will commence in 2022. At full operational capacity, the annual COVID-19 vaccine production will exceed 100 million finished doses annually. All doses will exclusively be distributed within the 55 member states that make up the African Union. Biovac expects the facility will be brought into the Pfizer-BioNTech supply chain by the end of 2021.

A Philosophy that Empowers from Within

by Mr Dusit Manapan, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand

21 July 2021

Thailand is a dedicated advocate for global sustainable development. The Kingdom has been promoting its homegrown Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) as an alternative approach to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). First introduced by King Bhumibol Adulyadej after the Asian financial crisis in 1997, SEP has become Thailand’s development concept that is universally applicable.

The philosophy is a culmination of His Majesty’s reflections from decades of extensive tours and conversations with villagers around the country. Even the grounds of Chitralada Villa, his royal palace, were used for experimenting agricultural projects that could be extended to other areas. This royal legacy remains the core of Thailand’s national development efforts to this day.

A gallant, visionary and progressive Traditional Leader leaves a legacy: iNkosi Sipho Mahlangu

by HRH Stella Sigcau

19 July 2021

On 16 July 2021, South Africa woke up to the news of the passing of the Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders of South Africa and Senior Traditional Leader of Ndzundza Mabusa Traditional Council in Mpumalanga, INkosi Sipho Mahlangu. He was the eldest son of the late iNkosi Senzangakhona James Mahlangu and Ndlunkulu Busi, a grandson of the Ndzundza-Mabhoko King Mabusabesala II, and Queen Johanna.

This loss happens at a time when South Africa is faced with the worst kind of instability since democracy on the one hand and the emergence of a new mutation of covid as well as the rise in the reported cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV), a time where visionary, selfless and dedicated leaders like INkosi Mahlangu who lived to serve the people are needed to contribute in this regard for a better life for all South Africans.

Argentina Celebrates its National Day and Reaffirms its Friendship with South Africa

By María Florencia Segura, Chargé d´Affaires, Embassy of Argentina to South Africa

9 July 2021

The Embassy of Argentina to South Africa celebrated, on the 9th of July, the 205th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Argentina that took place in the city of Tucumán, on July the 9th of 1816. In 1816, we declared our political independence and started our road as a young nation to build our own future.

As it happened in the past, we are facing new challenges. Nowadays, Argentina to-gether with the rest of the world is suffering all the health, economic and social conse-quences of the COVID-19 pandemic. I do believe that what the pandemic has shown us is the recognition of the values of solidarity, the need for multilateralism and the presence of the state to help its people, especially to those who have been affected the most. Argentina and South Africa share with the international community the idea that in this pandemic, no country can survive alone, and to achieve sustainable development for its societies and to fight COVID-19, more than ever, multilateralism is needed as was conveyed by our pres-idents in the last G-20 meetings.

The “No Name Campaign”: a game-changer in ensuring all African children acquire their legal identity

2 July 2021

In June 2020, the African Union and UNICEF launched the No Name Campaign, an initiative aimed at promoting the right for every child in Africa to a legal identity, and therefore to justice. With barely half of the children under 5 years living on the continent registered at birth, thereby denying millions of others the ability to enjoy their human rights, the No Name Campaign calls on Governments and relevant stakeholders to accelerate measures that have proven efficient to provide children with a legal identity.

MeerKAT discovers large gas-rich galaxy group hiding in plain sight
(Credit: Shilpa Ranchod/MIGHTEE/HSC project): Optical image of the galaxy group with 3-colour optical images of each member galaxy using data from the Hyper-Suprime Camera on the Subaru telescope. The red outline indicates the extent of the neutral hydrogen gas around each galaxy. The central image, also showing the many thousands of background galaxies, is one degree on each side, large enough to fit four full moons.

6 July 2021

A group of 20 galaxies has been discovered with South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope. This large galaxy group is likely the most neutral hydrogen gas-rich group ever discovered, and it is the first time this group has been identified, despite residing in a very well-studied area of the sky.

Most star-forming galaxies are embedded within a cloud of cold neutral hydrogen gas, which acts as the raw fuel from which stars can eventually form. This gas is extremely faint, and can only be detected in radio wavelengths. It is diffuse, and extends beyond the visible part of the galaxy. By observing this hydrogen gas, astronomers are able to understand the evolutionary processes that take place in galaxies.

Mobile robot lends a hand at Steve Biko Academic Hospital

Dr Mathabo Mathebula, CEO Steve Biko Academic Hospital (SBAH); Prof Tiaan de Jager, Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences at UP; Prof Robin Green, Chairperson of the School of Medicine at UP; and Prof Fathima Paruk, Academic and Clinical Head, of the Department of Critical Care at UP and SBAH.

6 July 2021

The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP) and Steve Biko Academic Hospital have welcomed a mobile robot called Stevie to help improve the treatment of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Named after Steve Biko - one of the most prominent leaders during South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle – Stevie works at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and will be vital in allowing for a bedside ward round attended by ICU teams across the globe.

SABDF - Continental socio-economic integration is a multi-sectoral effort

Dr Srimal Fernando, Diplomatic Society's Inter Regional Advisor meeting with Theuns Wessels and Jabu Mabobo of the Southern African Business Forum during his visit to South Africa in October 2018

6 July 2021

Jambo Africa Online’s Publisher, SAUL MOLOBI, profiles the Southern African Business Development Forum (SABDF) that rallies the business community to drive regional economic integration.

The Southern African Business Development Forum (SABDF) is a not-for-profit which initially had its headquarters at the CSIR complex in Pretoria, South-Africa. Due to it signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Zambia on 16 October 2019, the organisation made an informed decision to relocate its headquarters to Lusaka. This has also led to the registration of the SABDF as a corporate citizen in the country too.

Despite Covid we give back

Dr. Pavel Řezáč, Ambassador of the Czech Republic in South Africa and Percy Koji handing over a donation to Bophelo Impilo Community School

5 July 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit South Africa hard with many livelihoods compromised with imposed lockdowns. Almost a year and a half after the first case was detected, the country is in the throes of a third wave which looks to be much worse than the first two. The country has also gone into a further lockdown.

As a business person, Percy Koji of FML- Friends of Morokweng, a registered NPO, says that despite Covid he has been able to give back. He has partnered with the Czech Embassy in Pretoria to make a donation to Bophelo Impilo Community School.

Slow food, good company, stimulating conversation Japanese Style

Anisha Pemjee, The Diplomatic Society, Chef Jun Suzuki, Kirtan Bhana, The Diplomatic Society and Ambassador Norio Maruyama of Japan

2 July 2021

The ascension to the throne of the new Emperor of Japan, Naruhito, in 2019 ushered in the Reiwa era, or beautiful harmony. The Emperor’s birthday is normally a big celebration, but this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, Ambassador Norio Maruyama opted for intimate meals with fewer guests at a time. This way, said Maruyama, he was able to spend quality time with each guest.

Upon coming to South Africa, Maruyama convinced a young, very talented chef to accompany him on his posting.  Chef Jun Suzuki was in the process of opening a restaurant in Tokyo but obliged Ambassador Maruyama’s request.  Suzuki and his wife were the creative artists responsible for the tantalising, magnificently presented dishes we had the pleasure of indulging in.

South Africa and Czech Republic strengthen bilateral relations

Pictured (l-r) Mr Martin Tlapa, Deputy Foreign Minister for non-European Countries and Economic Diplomacy of Czech Republic, Ms Naomi Ribbon Mosholi, Ambassador of South Africa to the Czech Republic, Dr. Pavel Řezáč, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to South Africa and Mr Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa (Photo Jacoline Schoonees)

2 July 2021

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Mr Alvin Botes, held virtual Political Consultations with the Deputy Foreign Minister for non-European Countries and Economic Diplomacy of Czech Republic, Mr Martin Tlapa.

The Political Consultations took place as countries across the world are forging means of re-engaging internationally following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. South Africa is also looking at re-engaging international partners in pursuit of the priorities of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which seeks to inject much-needed growth in our country’s economy.

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