Remembering Enoch Sontonga

first_imgn 1897, Enoch Sontonga, then a teacher,composed the hymn “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”(God Bless Africa), which was lateradopted by the liberation movement and,after 1994, became part of the nationalanthem of a democratic South Africa.Sontonga’s black granite memorialreflects the image of the viewer, andis meant to encourage a state ofreflection.(Image: Find a Grave)MEDIA CONTACTS • Jenny MoodleyJohannesburg City Parks+27 11 712 6615 RELATED ARTICLES • Local heroines in the spotlight • Opening up SA’s heritage • Craft celebrated on Heritage Day • Building bridges with classical musicSource: SouthAfrica.infoEnoch Mankayi Sontonga, a teacher and lay preacher from the Eastern Cape, died in obscurity 106 years ago today, aged just 33. But he left an indelible legacy.His hymn “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” (God bless Africa) went on to become the continent’s most famous anthem of black struggle against oppression.Sontonga wrote the first verse and chorus of “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”, a prayer for God’s blessing on the land and all its people, as a hymn for his school choir in 1897. Later in the same year, he composed the music.The famous song has since been reworked and adopted as South Africa’s national anthem, translated into numerous African languages, including Swahili, and incorporated into the national anthem of Zambia, Tanzania and Namibia.African anthemThe song was first sung in public at the ordination of Reverend Boweni, a Shangaan Methodist minister, in 1899.On 8 January 1912, at the first meeting of the South African Native National Congress, the forerunner of the African National Congress (ANC), it was sung after the closing prayer.Solomon Plaatje, a founding member of the ANC, first recorded the song in London in 1923, accompanied by Sylvia Colenso on the piano. In 1925 the ANC adopted the song as the closing anthem for their meetings. The song was published in a local newspaper Umthetheli Wabantu on 11 June 1927, and was included in Incwadi Yamaculo ase-Rabe, the Presbyterian isiXhosa hymn book, as well as a Xhosa poetry book for schools.Seven additional stanzas in isiXhoza were added by the poet Samuel Mqhayi, and a Sesotho version was published by Moses Mphahlele in 1942.Popularised at concerts in Johannesburg by Reverend JL Dube’s Ohlange Zulu Choir, “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” was later adopted as an anthem at political meetings.Prior to South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, the country’s official anthem was “Die Stem van Suid Afrika” (The Call of South Africa), composed by Afrikaans poet CJ Langenhoven in 1918. “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” was the unofficial anthem, sung by the majority of the population.In 1994, the two anthems were amalgamated into one through the talents of a team of South African music experts, including renowned composer and choral director Prof Mzilikazi Khumalo, and Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph, currently Professor of Composition at Wits University’s music school.Searching for SontongaAlthough Enoch Sontonga had become a national treasure in the years after his death, and especially after 1994, the location of his grave remained unknown for nearly a century.An act of vandalism at Johannesburg’s Braamfontein Cemetery helped locate the grave, ending months of detective work by Johannesburg officials, archaeologists and historians.The search started by chance at a dinner by the National Monuments Council in honour of then-President Nelson Mandela, in Cape Town in late 1995.A relative of Sontonga’s who was present told Mandela that Sontonga was believed to be buried somewhere in the Braamfontein Cemetery. Mandela called for a memorial to Sontonga in the cemetery, to be erected in time for the first post-apartheid Heritage Day, which takes place annually in September.The National Monuments Council instructed the Johannesburg Parks and Technical Services Department to investigate, but finding the grave proved far from simple. It took project manager Alan Buff almost nine months of intensive research – a lot of it in his own time – to locate the exact spot.One problem was that in the early 1970s, the city council covered much of the long-disused cemetery with a metre of soil, and grassed it over, hiding all traces of the older graves. Another problem was that although records of several graves under the name of Sontonga could be found, no grave could be found under “Enoch Sontonga”.A suggestion that Buff search under “Enoch” proved correct: grave number 4885 was revealed, buried in the Christian Native section on 19 April 1905. Sontonga had died unexpectedly the day before, of gastro-enteritis and a perforated appendix.“It was a common cause of death at the time,” said Buff. “The water wasn’t very safe.”Sontonga’s death was confirmed by a notice found in the newspaper Imvo Zabanstundu.The Christian Native area consisted of three sections covering 10 acres, with 600 graves – but the plan for that section of the cemetery was missing. This called for sharp detective work.Buff scanned all the registers and eliminated sections one by one until he arrived at an L-shaped plan within which Sontonga was likely to be buried.Infra-red photographs, taken in 1979, indicated long-covered grave shapes and pathways.Professor Tom Huffman of nearby Wits University’s archaeology department was called in to do a shallow excavation to help establish the precise burial spacing.This helped narrow down the likely area to a 40 square metre triangle containing 33 graves. But this still didn’t answer the question: where exactly was grave 4885?Vandalism and lateral thinking“At the end of February, in the middle of my investigations, vandals removed tablets from the cremation wall,” said Buff. The vandalism prompted him to take a look at documents from the cremation section of the cemetery – which he had not considered before – and there he discovered a plan of the cemetery.“It was the original cemetery plan and showed the starting point of the section where Sontonga was buried.”The Wits dig uncovered a grave number plate with 17 inscribed as the last two digits, with a faint 4 preceding the 17. A check of the register showed that a number ending in 417 was situated four graves away in the same row as 4885.Further checks of the registers and plans revealed discrepancies and inaccuracies in the original plans. But the final clue was that the family had registered for private rites, which gave them the right to erect a headstone at the grave.The Wits archeologists were called back to excavate further, and although no actual headstone was found, the mark of a headstone was visible. This had to be the site.Memorial: reflectionsBy this stage the National Monuments Council had formed the Enoch Sontonga Committee. On Heritage Day, 24 September 1996, a large, striking black granite cube was unveiled on Sontonga’s grave, and the site was declared a national monument.At the ceremony, the Order of Meritorious Service in gold was bestowed on Sontonga posthumously, accepted by Ida Rabotape, his granddaughter. This award was given to citizens who served their country to an exceptional degree. It was replaced in 2002 by the National Orders.The granite cube placed on his grave was designed by architect William Martinson, and is meant to signify reflections, especially as one moves closer to the monument and one’s image becomes visible.Nelson Mandela unveiled the monument, and said: “By the pride with which we bellowed your melody and its lyrics – in good times and bad – we were saying to you, Enoch Mankayi Sontonga, that with your inspiration, we could move mountains …“In paying this tribute to Enoch Mankayi Sontonga, we are recovering a part of the history of our nation and our continent … Our humble actions today form part of the re-awakening of the South African nation; the acknowledgement of its varied achievements.”At a ceremony in 2005 to mark the centenary of Sontonga’s death, then-arts and culture minister Pallo Jordan appealed to the country’s writers, artists and composers to deposit copies of their work with the National Archives, since “we all have the responsibility of preserving our heritage”.Jordan was lamenting the loss of Sontonga’s exercise book in which, it is believed, he recorded many of his songs.Sontonga’s exercise book was lent out to other choirmasters and eventually became the property of a family member, “Boxing Granny”. She never missed a boxing match in Soweto, hence the nickname. She died at about the time Sontonga’s grave was declared a heritage site in 1996, but the book was never found. In 1897, Enoch Sontonga, then a teacher, composed the hymn Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (God Bless Africa), which was later adopted by the liberation movement and, after 1994, became part of the national anthem of a democratic South Africa.Read more: /index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=35:culture_bg&id=106:music#ixzz1JsQZoCCblast_img read more


Denel in the black after 10 years

first_imgThe Agusta A109 Light Utility Helicopter isone of many products of Denel SaabAerostructures, a subsidiaryof Denel. Denel CEO Talib Sadik is confident theparastatal is on the path to self-sufficiency.(Images: Denel)MEDIA CONTACTS• Sinah PhochanaGroup Communications ManagerDenel+27 12 671 2662 or +27 79 511 6257Bongani NkosiAfter returning a profit for the first time in a decade, the state-owned arms manufacturer Denel looks set to turn the tide on financial losses and dependence on the government for capital.Denel announced its R111-million* net profit for the financial year ending March 2011, which is considered a welcome improvement as the group had ended in the red every year since 2001, and posted a loss of R246-million in 2010.“We are pleased with our results, and particularly because the business generated cash from operations of R178-million, compared to last year when we utilised R344-million,” outgoing group CEO Talib Sadik said in a statement.Denel said the annual results, released on 6 June, are encouraging in light of the challenging local and global market environment.The statement also expressed the CEO’s confidence that the company was “firmly on the path to self-sufficiency, prosperity and sustainability”.Management competence is one of the factors that resulted in income gains, noted the group’s financial director, Fikile Mhlontlo.“The results have been influenced by improved efficiencies, cost-containment exercises, improvement of financial performance by associates and significant once-off items,” he said.Denel’s incoming chairman, Zoli Kunene, can already predict profit stability in the group, thanks to the promising results. He said: “During the last five years Denel has seen a steady turnaround, culminating in this year’s operating profit.“The immediate objective must now be to secure the orders that are in the pipeline and move the company towards a position where it is no longer dependent on government financial support,” Kunene added.The group was particularly pleased by the fact that Denel’s marketing strategies and efforts had paid off, said outgoing chairman Dr Sibusiso Sibisi. This resulted in increases on export contracts concluded in the previous year.The public enterprise even scored its largest export ever during the year.Settling debtDenel’s debt funding balance remains high at R1.85-billion, resulting in a staggering annual interest charge of R118-million.The group plans to negotiate settlement options to bring interest down to reasonable levels.“We are engaging the shareholder with a view to restructuring the funding balance in order to reduce the interest burden,” said Mhlontlo.DSA needs to improve The public enterprise’s fortunes are largely dented by losses at its subsidiary Denel Saab Aerostructures (DSA). It incurred a loss of R237-million, which is still a 28% reduction from the previous financial year.The “successful implementation of the turnaround plan” adopted in 2009 helped improve DSA’s expenditure to R104-million, down from R263-million. The plan focused on improving manufacturing competence, among other things.“The narrower loss and improved efficiencies notwithstanding, DSA will still require further shareholder support over the next five years to ensure it becomes self-sustainable,” the group said.DSA is positioned as a leading designer and manufacturer of metallic and component aerostructures for the military and commercial aviation industry. It supplies aircraft manufacturers like Airbus, AgustaWestland, Boeing and Saab with the locally made aerostructures.Had DSA achieved the required results, Denel’s net profit would have at least gone up to R348-million, noted Sadik.DSA should bank on the imminent adoption of the Aerospace Sector Development Plan for profit sustainability.Role in the economyWith about 6 500 employees, Denel is one of the largest employers in the country. It draws some of South Africa’s most talented engineers and artisans, which means that keeping it as a viable entity would certainly be in the nation’s interest.The group estimates that its involvement in the local market resulted in the creation of 30 000 skilled technical jobs recently, through sub-contractor companies.It drew supplies worth over R2-billion from local businesses during the financial year to March 2011, contributing to sustained employment.“Denel’s economic footprint reaches far beyond the financial performance detailed in the group’s financial statements,” said Sadik.“As a significant employer we are making steady progress in human capital development as part of our drive to be a world-class and well respected South African company.”* The South African rand was R6.71 to the US dollar at the time of publishing.last_img read more


Job creation tops Youth Month agenda

first_img4 June 2013 Education, skills development, job creation and the fight against substance abuse will top the agenda for South Africa’s Youth Month programme this year, says Deputy Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Obed Bapela. Speaking to young people at the launch of the programme at the Hector Peterson Museum in Orlando, Soweto on Monday, Bapela said the government would hold a number of public participation sessions around the country during an Imbizo Focus Week taking place from 11 to 17 June. “The izimbizo will provide a great opportunity for communities and other entities to get involved and make their voices heard.”Presidential Youth Working Group Bapela said President Jacob Zuma had set up a Presidential Youth Working Group to provide a platform for youth leaders meet with him and Cabinet ministers to assess the progress the country had made in meeting their challenges. According to latest statistics, about three-million South Africans between the ages of 15 and 34 are currently jobless. Bapela said the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) had helped to create more than 28 000 jobs in the last three years, while providing career guidance services to more than 1-million young people, granting over 110 bursaries and issuing more than 33 000 loans to small businesses. Calling on the government, business and labour to form strategic partnerships with the NYDA to reduce unemployment, Bapela said it was only when everyone in the country acted in concert “that the lives of young people will be changed for the better”.NYDA to discontinue loans, offer grants Yershen Pillay, the newly appointed NYDA board chairperson, said that with unemployment and lack of skills remaining a big challenge, the agency had shifted its focus from enterprise development to education and skills development. “[We want to change] from loan provision to grant finance, which will be a combination of career guidance, grants, training and mentorship programmes.” Pillay said the NYDA planned to reach over 700 000 young South Africans through career guidance alone, starting with 1 250 first-time entrepreneurs through various roadshows that taking place around the country in June.New education programme The June 16 Foundation, meanwhile, will be launching a programme to improve maths and science teaching at several schools around Soweto. Dan Motsitsi, the chairperson of the foundation, said they had partnered with Gauteng Department of Education MEC Barbara Creecy to roll out the ” Culture of Learning and Teaching” programme to priority schools in the township. He said that Soweto residents, under the leadership of the foundation, would take it upon themselves to ensure that the culture of learning was prioritised by their children. “Saturday and holiday classes will form part of the programme, starting from Grade 9, 10, 11 and Grade 12 learners,” he said. SAnews.gov.za and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more


How to Know The Number of Shots a DSLR Camera Has Taken

first_imgIf you’re looking to verify the use of a camera you can quickly see how many shots (or shutter actuations) it has taken using these handy apps.Cameras, like any piece of mechanical equipment, will break down over time. After enough use the moving parts will simply wear out.There are instances then, when it is important to know just how many times a camera has been used. Perhaps you’re looking to buy a used camera body or are simply curious about how much life you may have left in yours (you don’t want to be stuck out on a shoot with an old, faulty camera). You can measure how used a camera is by looking at the shutter actuations.Every time a picture is taken on a DSLR camera the shutter opens and closes – one actuation.In this post we’ll share a few FREE shutter actuation apps that will tell you your cameras shutter count, as well as info on the average life of popular DSLRs based on shutter actuations.Canon Shutter ActuationsHere are two free Canon shutter actuation apps that make it quick and easy to determine previous shot counts..Shutter Count Tools is a FREE PC based app that’s LearningDSLRVideo.com recommended. You can download it here. Check out the following quick tutorial on how to use it:Mac users will want to check out ShutterCount, a simple app that will display shutter actuation and serial number for Canon DSLRs. At $1.99 it’s nearly free. ShutterCount can be downloaded from the app store here.Maximum Shutter Actuations Life Prediction for Canon Cameras (taken from this forum):Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS / 1000D – 100,000Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i / 500D – 100,000Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi / 450D – 100,000Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / 400D – 50,000Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT / 350D – 50,000Canon EOS 50D – 100,000Canon EOS 40D – 100,000Canon EOS 30D – 100,000Canon EOS 20D – 50,000Canon EOS 10D – 25,000Canon EOS 5D Mark II – 150,000Canon EOS 5D – 100,000Canon EOS 1D Mark III – 300,000Canon EOS 1D Mark II N – 200,000Canon EOS 1DS Mark III – 300,000Canon EOS 1DS Mark II – 200,000Nikon Shutter ActuationsNikon (and Pentax) shooters can determine shutter actuations by uploading a still photo from the camera to MyShutterCount.com. Image file types supported include: “Nikon’s NEF, Pentax’s DNG and PEF format, and of course JPG.”Maximum Shutter Actuations Life Prediction for Nikon Cameras (taken from ShutterActuations.com):Nikon D4 – 400,000Nikon D3, D3x, D3s – 300,000Nikon D800/D800E – 200,000Nikon D700, Nikon D600 – 150,000Nikon D7000, D300s, D300 – 150,000Nikon D5100, D5000, D3100, D3000, D90 – 100,000last_img read more


M.P. ex-MLA’s daughter alleges torture

first_imgThe daughter of a former BJP MLA from Bhopal has approached the Madhya Pradesh High Court claiming she was being given “injections” by her family to force her to marry a legislator’s son, police said on Saturday. Bharti Singh (28) is the daughter of Surendra Nath Singh, former MLA from Bhopal Central.Mr. Singh had filed a case with the Kamla Nagar police station here on October 16 about his daughter going missing and had claimed she was “mentally unwell”, Inspector Vijay Sisodia said. A local news channel played a video clip showing the woman talking about the alleged torture.last_img