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Raising flags in SA for different scenarios

South Africa is still in the “premier league” in terms of the future, scenario planner Clem Sunter told a breakfast hosted by Afrika Tikkun at a Rosebank hotel last week.

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Lifestyle/Community

MICHAEL BELLING

PHOTOGRAPH: WESLEY POON

The other two possible scenarios, or flags, as he calls them, are South Africa as a failed state, or “playing in the second division – a gentler meander downwards”, he said. The probability of this is as great as remaining in the premier league.

Sunter, a former director of Anglo American who was known for his high road-low road scenarios for South Africa before the end of apartheid, said the country is at an economic crossroad and that we need to do things differently to prosper in the future. We need to watch the “rising flags”, particularly relating to the economy, he noted.

The point of flags is to try to see things differently.

The country needs a conversation on boosting the economy and creating greater economic freedom and encouragement for entrepreneurship, he said. The political revolution has occurred and now economic change is required, for example, with young people creating jobs, rather than simply finding jobs. The world of work has changed.

Five rising flags should be noted in this country:

  • Corruption and crime – corruption is “changing the game”;
  • The declining quality of infrastructure, particularly electricity and water;
  • Leadership, particularly inclusive leadership. “South Africa is probably more divided now as a nation than at any time since 1994,” he said;
  • Pockets of excellence that exist in many places, “a green flag”;
  • The “entrepreneurial spark flag” – that is what changed nations more than anything else.

“We must change our mantra for 2020 from creating five million jobs to creating one million entrepreneurs,” he said.

“I would like to see some kind of economic Codesa to turn things round.”

On the international front, a number of flags indicate threats on several levels. The first is the religious flag, a growing confrontation between the major religions. “The Arab Spring has turned into the Arab nightmare,” which also includes Sunni versus Shia.

“The world is more dangerous now than in 1990,” he said. This is a “cloudy flag”, as we do not know where it is going to lead to.

The second flag is an existential threat to the West, illustrated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of the Crimea. This has resulted in concerns in Western Europe about Russian ambitions.

The third flag is a “clockwork flag”, a grey flag ticking away – the ageing of the population in the West and China – but not in Africa.

Middle-class anger at the super rich is another flag. The level of inequality in Europe and the US “is back to where it was in the 1880s” and it was the middle class that produced revolutionaries.

The last flag, another “clockwork flag”, includes threats such as international terrorism and climate change, including changing weather patterns and rising sea levels.

In his introduction, Afrika Tikkun CEO Marc Lubner said his organisation has a business model designed to assist beneficiaries “from cradle to career”, to give them the skills to be employed after finishing school – not just getting them into jobs, but into jobs for which they were well-suited and trained.

This is also done on a professional basis that brings in income for Afrika Tikkun, as opposed to it being only a charity.

Afrika Tikkun has over 20 000 beneficiaries, he said.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. David Abel

    Jul 30, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    ‘SA will soon maintain (or regain?) its status of playing in the \”premier league\” by arresting its economic downward spiral through the re-invention of its energy structures and methodology.
    \n
    \nThere is a \”pocket of excellence\” right here in SA – an \”entrepreneurial spark plug\”, to use Clem Sunter’s terminology – that is going to change the way the world generates and uses electricity.
    \n
    \nThat \”green flag\” will impact hugely (and beneficially) on every level and strata of the socio-economic fabric of our society.
    \n
    \nWATCH THIS SPACE!’

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Lifestyle/Community

Shabbat Around The World beams out from Jozi

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More than 75 devices around the globe logged in to Beit Luria’s World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) Shabbat Around the World programme on Friday, 15 January.

Whether it was breakfast time in California, tea time in Europe, or time to break challah in Johannesburg, participants logged in to take part in Beit Luria’s Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Among those participating were Rabbi Sergio Bergman, the president of the WUPJ; chairperson Carole Sterling; and Rabbi Nathan Alfred, the head of international relations. Singers Tulla Eckhart and Brian Joffe performed songs from a global array of artists, along with Toto’s Africa to add a little local flair to the service. After kiddish was said and bread was broken, Rabbi Bergman thanked Beit Luria for hosting the WUPJ. The shul looks forward to more collaborations with its global friends in the future.

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UJW Sewing School graduates model creations

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The outfits modelled by graduates of the Union of Jewish Women’s (UJW’s) Sewing School were all the more spectacular for the fact that some of their creators had never seen a sewing machine prior to the four-month course.

They were modelled at the school’s graduation ceremony at Oxford Shul on 15 December to much excitement and applause.

UJW executive member and Sewing School Manager Ariane Heneck expressed her gratitude to Chido Tsodzo, the school’s superb teacher, and the event ended with a much appreciated lunch for graduates and their invited guests.

The self-empowerment Sewing School for unemployed men and women was started by the UJW 10 years ago. It now has a small production team of ex-students, and some of its graduates have been employed in factories, while others are selling their own creations.

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Israel Rugby 7s to camp with the Blitzbokke

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The thrill-a-minute Rugby 7s have captured the hearts of fans around the world. The Blitzbokke, South Africa’s national Rugby 7s team, ranks second in the world, and is among the most exciting, formidable, and feared of 7s teams.

Exactly 9 191 km away are the Israelis, an emerging rugby nation that has talent, determination, and a world-class coach in South African Kevin Musikanth. Now, these two squads will meet. The Israeli 7s side will be travelling to the SAS Rugby Academy in Stellenbosch to train with the Blitzbokke.

The Blitzbokke will have the opportunity to prepare for the coming 7s rugby season by measuring their skills of play against the Israelis. And the Israelis, well, they will be rubbing shoulders with, and learning from the best in the world and honing their skills for their coming European Rugby season.

“It’s an opportunity for our boys to learn from the world’s best,” says Musikanth. The SAS Rugby Academy is run by the legendary Frankie Horn, a technical expert whose coaching guidelines and methods are second to none in World Rugby 7s.

Musikanth took over as Rugby 15s head coach in Israel in 2018, and in October 2019, he became director of rugby for the Israeli Rugby Union and head coach for the national programmes of both the 15s and the 7s.

Horn visited Israel last December at the behest of Rugby Israel and its supporting Olympic body and since then, the partnership has continued to grow. The upcoming training camp will begin in Israel, where Horn, together with Phil Snyman, the former Blitzbok captain and multiple world champion winner, will spend a week with the players and coaching staff at Wingate, Netanya, the home base of Rugby Israel. They will then all travel to Stellenbosch for a week’s camp with the Blitzbokke.

“We’ve already seen the difference through our partnership with Frankie. Two of our players were spotted by him on his previous trip to Israel, and have been training at SAS on the off-season,” says Musikanth. The two players are Omer Levinson (scrum half) and Yotam Shulman (lock).

Horn, technical advisor to Rugby Israel’s 7s, says “It is a great opportunity for both teams to derive positive benefit from the camp.”

Israel Rugby has been making considerable professional strides since Musikanth took over the reins. Israel 15s played their 100th test match against Cyprus and celebrated with a 34-22 victory.

“We’re in the top 25 in Europe in 15s and in the top 16 in 7s, the toughest, most competitive continent in world rugby,” says Musikanth, “and I can realistically see us setting our sights on the Top 15 and Top 12 respectively in the future.”

Currently, there are three eligible South Africans who are on the Israeli national squad: Jayson Ferera as flanker (Pirates Rugby Club), Daniel Stein as fly half (studying in Israel), and Jared Sichel as prop (Hamilton’s Rugby Club, Cape Town). Eligibility to play for a national team in rugby is stricter than in other sports. One does not qualify just because one has a passport. One has to have had a parent or grandparent that was born in that country or one has to have lived in the country for at least three years.

“With so much Jewish rugby talent around the world, we would be able to put a world-class Israeli national team together if not for the measures that restrict eligibility to national call ups,” says Musikanth.

The Israel Rugby development project was accelerated thanks to Musikanth initiating Bridges through Rugby. This project is the collective effort of a few South African Jewish businessmen who appreciate the long-term vision of Israel becoming a stronger rugby nation. They have come on board to assist with this most opportune tour. National financial support is fixed and, as such, is limited. While the strong players and national coaches will be attending the training camp in Stellenbosch, there will be some that will, unfortunately, have to stay behind.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players and coaches. To get to see the best upfront and feed off their knowledge is going to be incredible,” says Musikanth. “Everyone is eager to go, of course, but there is a cap to the support we have in place. We would like to take a development u20 squad as well as coaching staff who would carry the benefits of this into the future. A rugby visit to Stellenbosch can change rugby lives in many respects. Stellenbosch is rugby utopia!”

Rugby aside, with the Israelis and South Africans camping together, the question of what will be for dinner after a gruelling day’s training may be a matter of contention. A tussle for whether to serve boerewors or shwarma may result in a scrum in the SAS dining hall to determine the outcome.

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