LIME and Flow on track with athletesOn August 4, the combined business of LIME & Flow announced a major investment in Jamaica’s track and field, a partnership that will see us, as Jamaica’s premier quad play telecommunications provider, on the starting line with the world-class Team Jamaica athletics programme for the next two years.We are honoured to be able give support to a team that continues to make Jamaica proud, both on and off the field of competition. Jamaica’s team of 53 athletes and 19 officials to the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, carry the hopes and dreams of our proud nation. Their efforts will undoubtedly galvanise Jamaicans both locally and in the Diaspora, as they continue to display the spirit of our beautiful island Jamaica.It is that indomitable Jamaican spirit that we celebrate. We celebrate passion, optimism and determination displayed not only in athletics, but through every positive aspect of our society today.As the exclusive telecoms partners, to the JAAA and Team Jamaica, for both the senior and junior national track and field teams, we are doing our part to ensure that Jamaicans have a reason to feel proud. We will celebrate with our athletes each and every time they step out on the track.To all track and field fans, let’s rally around our athletes and support them. Cheer them on and help them bring glory to our communities and to the nation!
12 April 2007Evelina Tshabalala, Zukiswa Matamo and Nomawethu Nika from Mandela Park informal settlement in Hout Bay, Cape Town are used to making their way through hardship.That’s why they’re not daunted by their latest project: to climb the highest mountains on each of the seven continents and, in the process, become the first black women to conquer Everest. The journey beginsMatamo and Nika summited Russia’s Mount Elbrus on 9 September 2006. Tshabalala summited Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro on 8 July 2006, followed by Matamo on Women’s Day, 9 August and Nika on 9 November.Next up was Aconcagua in Argentina, South America’s tallest peak, summited by Matamo and Nika on 7 January, followed by Tshabalala on 26 February. Australia’s Mount Kosciuszko is next in line for the trio, with Tshabalala planning to catch up on Elbrus before or after the Australasia trip.They’ve called their project “Isicongo”, after the isiZulu word for the top of a mountain.“Every summit has its own character,” says Tshabalala. “They differ in heights and levels of difficulty. Kilimanjaro is not the most difficult or dangerous, but when I reached the top, at that very moment I was the highest person in Africa.“There is no feeling like it. I can’t wait to get started on Elbrus.”The Seven SummitsLess than two hundred people have climbed all of the so-called Seven Summits, the highest mountain top on each of the seven continents.Subject to debate, the seven are: Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa; Elbrus in Russia, Europe; Vinson Massif in Antarctica; McKinley (also known as Denali) in Alaska, North America; Kosciuszko in Australia, Australasia/Oceania; Aconcagua in Argentina, South America; and Everest in Nepal, Asia.[*Note: there is some controversy over which seven summits count as the seven – and accordingly over how many have climbed all seven. See more on this below.]Although the seven are “non-technical” mountains – meaning that advanced rock climbing skills and equipment are not needed to climb them – they involve gruelling routes, hostile weather conditions, and extreme altitude.John Reader, in his book Kilimanjaro, describes climbing Africa’s highest peak as follows:“The climb is not difficult in mountaineering terms, you could say it is equivalent to scrambling up a staircase more than three kilometres long. Or you could say that it is equivalent to clambering up the side of nine Empire State Buildings laid end to end at about sixteen degrees.“But then at 4 710m, where the final ascent of Kilimanjaro begins, there is little more than half the density of oxygen which occurs on Manhattan or at the foot of most staircases. So, in effect, the aspiring climber attempts the equivalent of those feats with the equivalent of only one lung.“The result is agonising, there is no other word for it.”Tshabalala, no stranger to endurance sport, describes her own experience on the mountain as follows: “When I was near the top of Kili, I began to get very tired. My water was frozen, my feet were frozen and my legs felt heavy.“I had to talk to myself and focus my thoughts. I thought about all my family, living and dead, and willed them to help me. I imagined the pride I would feel when I reached the top. Eventually I got there.”Beating the oddsTshabalala, 41, is a single mother, the sole bread-winner in her family, and lives in a one-bedroom shack next to a rubbish dump. She’s survived a car accident, the death of her second son – and the news that she’s HIV-positive.She’s also an accomplished marathon runner: in 1994 she realised her life-long dream of taking part in the London Marathon, where she placed 25th.It was running that first brought Tshabalala and Matamo, a domestic worker and mother of three, together in 2003.Matamo had spent the previous two years struggling to lose the weight she had put on after the birth of her third child. Tshabalala’s solution began with a 20-kilometre run.“After that run I decided I never wanted to see Evelina again,” says Matamo. “I kept looking at her and thinking, I’m never running with you again.”Eighteen months later, the two were running marathons together, Matamo had shed 42 kilograms, and the friendship was unbreakable. They remember each others’ times for every race they have run together. And Matamo doesn’t mind finishing behind Tshabalalo – because she always runs back to keep her company until the finish line.Then there were threeIn 2005, Tshabalala and Matamo climbed Table Mountain, and were hooked at once on this lofty new expression of their sporting abilities.In the same year, Matamo met Nika, also a mother and domestic worker, who had also starting running in order to lose weight.Matamo encouraged Nika to start running competitively, and within the space of a few months Nika had completed the Winelands Marathon, Two Oceans Half Marathon and Knysna Marathon.Achieving their new goal will require intense physical and psychological effort – and a fair dose of good luck, especially when it comes to the highest of them all: Mount Everest.Logistical mountains“Denali [or Mount McKinley, in Alaska] is the best preparation for Everest,” says Matamo. “You are dropped off on a glacier where you have to drag your supplies on a sled as you start climbing. We will need to dig a hole in the ice and pitch our tent inside the hole.“After that, we will need to hack enormous bricks out of the ice to place around the perimeter of the hole to protect our tent from the violent winds. All this must happen in the wind, snow and freezing cold. This mountain is going to test our strength, mentally and physically.”The logistics involved in the project are daunting in themselves. Take the Vinson Massif, part of the Sentinal Range of Antarctica, located at 78°S and a mere 1 200km from the South Pole.In order to get to the Vinson Massif base camp, mountaineers must take a plane from Punta Arenas in Chile to the Patriot Hills blue-ice runway on the Antarctic surface. From there, they must take a one hour’s helicopter ride to the base camp – and hope that the weather is kind.People often have to wait up to three weeks before the weather will allow helicopters to land there – to drop them off or to pick them up afterwards – often resulting in supplies being exhausted.And that’s just one leg of the Seven Summits journey. There are six more trips to be organised, timed and carried out.Mountains of the mind“What we are doing may be newsworthy because it is a ‘first’, and no other black women have done this,” says Tshabalala.“But just because it makes the papers, it doesn’t make it more important than someone overcoming their own challenges – whether it’s getting an education, a promotion, or surviving an ordeal.“Isicongo is a project that we hope will move others to move their own mountains.”Which seven summits?To climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents is a challenge that mountaineers have aspired to since American Dick Bass first publicised the idea in his book “Seven Summits” in 1985 – although he climbed the Australian summit Kosciuszko instead of the higher, more difficult Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia.Canadian Pat Morrow was the first to complete all seven summits with Carstensz in 1986. Four months later, the great Reinhold Messner followed suit.Since then, there has been controversy over which seven count as the seven – some arguing that Kosciuszko, the highest point in Australia, should be included; others arguing that Australia is really not a continent, but that Australasia/Oceania is, and that Carstensz should therefore be included.Two overlapping lists of climbers who have climbed the seven summits – the seven with Carstensz list, and the seven with Kosciuszko list – have thus developed.According to 7summits.com, there are currently 100 names on the former list, and 139 on the latter. Taking overlaps into account, a total of 180 climbers have climbed the seven summits … 59 of them having climbed all eight!The eight summits (including both Carstens and Kosciuszko) are: Mt Everest, Nepal – 8 850mAconcagua, Argentina – 6 962mMt McKinley (or Denali), Alaska – 6 194mMt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania – 5 895mMt Elbrus, Russia – 5 642mVinson Massif, Antarctica – 4 897mCarstensz Pyramid (or Puncak Jaya), Indonesia – 4 884mMt Kosciuszko, Australia – 2 228mThe 8 000 metre peaksOf course, the seven summits – excepting Everest – are nowhere near being the tallest seven in the world.For these one has to consult another of mountaineering’s favourite lists: the list of the world’s 14 highest mountains, all of whose summits top 8 000 metres (above which one enters mountaineering’s “death zone”) – and all of which are found in the Himalayas (eight in Nepal, five in Pakistan, one in Tibet).SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
The first SME Indaba organised by AHI South Africa discussed why big and small businesses should work together.Former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas (left) and AHI South Africa president Bernard Swanepoel. Jonas was a speaker at the SME Indaba on 5 April 2017. He says bringing small and big business together is a powerful tool. (Image: Melissa Javan)Melissa JavanPay invoices on time, AHI South Africa president Bernard Swanepoel challenged owners of big corporates, the government and members of his organisation. “Think small [businesses] first. Consider the effects on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).”Swanepoel gave the welcoming address of AHI South Africa’s first SME Indaba, held in Centurion on 5 April 2017. The theme of the one-day conference was “Creating jobs against all odds”.Swanepoel’s second challenge was that his members commit this year to creating two entry level jobs. “Take your business and create a job.”He added: “If there is no growth in your business, it will die. You cannot stagnate as a business… Invest in your businesses. Invest in the future of the country.”Businesses, get involvedFormer deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas was the keynote speaker. He said the future of the country was in South Africans’ hands. “We need to strengthen leadership.”There was a need for the business sector to be involved in and to collaborate with government programmes, especially when it came to training emerging entrepreneurs, he said.Jonas also urged businesses to invest in doing research so that relevant training could be given to students. Businesses should go to where students who needed relevant industry training were, in colleges and universities.Members should not underestimate the power of an organisation such as the AHI, he said. “[An organisation like this] can provide a stronger network of enterprises. Bringing small and big business together is a powerful tool.“You can see how you can use the supply chain to promote growth – you enhance growth where there is an organisation of big and small business.”The AHI is a national multisectoral, inclusive business organisation consisting of corporate, medium and small enterprises and affiliated business chambers. It represents more than 100 business chambers, more than 4,000 businesses and has trained 740 entrepreneurs, it says.The AHI’s mission is to promote the economic and business interests of its members and to facilitate networks and interaction between businesses and the government.DowngradeAsked about South Africa being downgraded to junk status by ratings agency S&P Global Ratings on 5 April, Jonas said: “We will bounce back as a country but it will require that we become more robust. We need to boost things such as our agricultural programmes and other programmes that are working.”He added: “We need to do more about scaling.”A national dialogue was needed so we could talk about where we should be going as a country. “I fear that if we don’t have a national dialogue we’ll be replacing the white elite with the black elite. That is not right.”Chief executive officer of AHI South Africa, Dr. Ernest Messina, Prof. Edith Vries of the Department: Small Business Development and Ashraf Adam of the South Africa Local Government Association are panellists discussing “How national and local governments enable or stifle SMEs” at the SME Indaba on 5 April 2017. (Image: Melissa Javan)SMMEs’ challengesBusiness Unity South Africa (Busa) had found the number one barrier for many SMEs was access to skilled staff, said Tanya Cohen, the organisation’s CEO. She spoke about the challenges SMEs faced.Skills training and relevant transformation was necessary, said Cohen. It was important that the South African economy was open to all. “We need to do this; [South Africa must be] inclusive of black people, women, people with disabilities and those living in rural areas.”Cohen also spoke about the country’s minimum wage and its effect on SMMEs. A quarter of small, medium and micro enterprises were able to afford the minimum wage, but three-quarters of SMMEs “are going to struggle to pay [it]”.Negotiations were ongoing to exempt SMMEs from paying the minimum wage. “It’s something that we will have to continue to motivate for.”It was Busa’s mission to secure conditions so that business could thrive, Cohen said. “Our focus is what we can do for business.”Other discussionsEntrepreneurs on the panel “Negotiating the minefield of regulation and bureaucracy affecting SMEs”, had advice for businesses:Paul Marias: “My best investment advice is read, read and read. Also comply with the legislation.”Octavia Motloa: “A lot of people think that if they are a small business they can do mediocre work. No, it shouldn’t be. The quality of your work must be exceptional. As you excel in that it creates opportunities.”Annie Malan: “Continuously ask yourself ‘how do I re-evaluate myself?’ You have to stay ahead [of the game].” Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material