Parliament congratulates South Africa’s first three black women Master Mariners

Pretoria: 23 May 2017

South Africa’s first three black female Master Mariners (a.k.a ship Captains) received a warm welcome and applause at the country’s Parliament on Tuesday when they were introduced to lawmakers for the first time by the Minister of Transport, Joe Masangwanyi.

Transport Minister, Joe Masangwanyi (2)Mr Masangwanyi introduced the trio to Parliament during his maiden speech as Transport Minister in which delivered the ministry’s budget for the 2017/2018 financial year.

In his speech during which he also announced an allocation of about R119-million for maritime, Mr Masangwanyi described the Master Mariner qualification obtained by Captains Thembela Taboshe, Captain Tsepo Motloutsi and Captain Pretty Molefe in 2016 as the highest qualification for seafarers, and which enables them to command vessels of up to 3000 tons worldwide.

The three ship captains who made history by being the first black African females to do so, are currently working as ship surveyors for the South African Maritime Safety (SAMSA) at the port of Durban while furthering their academic studies in maritime law.

In the video below, Mr Maswangwayi makes his remarks about the three pioneers from 19:38 minutes to 20:30 minutes.

Meanwhile, a number of SAMSA projects came under the spotlight during the debate including the establishment a year ago of ships bunkering services at the port of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, some aspects of its involvement in cadet training as well as its social responsibility contributions to communities impacted by maritime activities, among them the community of Enkovekuni at uMhlabauyalingana in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as projects earmarked for the Port St Johns community in the current year.

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SA maritime heritage to feature prominently in National Heritage Council’s O.R Tambo celebration events beginning in Pretoria in May 2017

Pretoria: 22 May 2017
South Africa’s maritime heritage is among key topics of a series of public engagements by the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) contribution to this year’s national celebration of the life of the late African National Congress (ANC) president, Oliver Reginald Tambo.

SHAKING ON IT: Mr Tilayi and Adv Mangcotywa shortly after signing an MoU in Pretoria in March 2017

In the series of lecturers, discussions and dialogues beginning on May 30 in Pretoria, the NHC has partnered with several institutions among which is the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the progenitor and current driver of the country’s maritime heritage development initiative.

The launch of the series formally brings to life an agreement SAMSA and the NHC recently entered into, to co-operate and collaborate on especially maritime heritage development and initiate would incorporate the honoring of O.R Tambo who spearheaded the country’s freedom struggle’s use of maritime resources, among other pillars, to enhance the military struggle against the apartheid regime, according Mr Sobantu Tilayi, Acting CEO of SAMSA.

In statement in Pretoria on Monday, the SANHC announced that next Tuesday (30 May 2017), the council and its partners; Freedom Park, Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation and SAMSA would host the first public discussion in a series; Oliver Tambo Centenary Talk, at Freedom Park in Pretoria under the theme “Celebrating the Life and Legacy of OR”.

The event takes place during the “Africa Month” that falls in, with this year’s theme being: “Celebrating African Unity“.

It also takes place on the same month the continent marked the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) “African World Heritage Day” celebrated annually, internationally on May 5.

O.R Tambo 1In Pretoria on Monday, the NHC said the Oliver Tambo Centenary Talk, roundly supported by Government through an inter-ministerial committee involving among others, the Department of Arts & Culture; was based on the NHC’s Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route (RLHR) concept, intended to unearth neglected but significant stories about the liberation struggle and to preserve those legacies.

“It also aims to connect the stories that give a comprehensive account of the South African liberation struggle history through a network of different but of linked heritage sites. This year has been declared as a year to celebrate the centenary of OR who would be turning 100 years on 27 October 2017,” said the council.

Keynote speakers at the event next Tuesday and among whom worked closely with O.R Tambo led during the liberation struggle, include liberation struggle stalwart and retired judge, Justice Albie Sachs; former ANC’s uMkhonto Wesizwe naval unit Commissar Tlou “T.T” Cholo; retired South African High Commissioner to Mozambique: Thandi Lujabe- Rankoe and former Minister in the Office of the Presidency, Dr Essop Pahad.

They will speak respectively about O.R Tambo according to the following topics: “Human Rights: The Land Question as a Central Piece in Human Rights”; “Recalling the internationalist and his strategist interventions”; “Socio Economic Freedom in a Democracy”; and “Harnessing the intellectual and leadership wealth”.

Explaining the O.R Tambo celebration’s rationale further, the NHC said: “Tambo’s life from his birthplace in Nkantolo in the Eastern Cape, his active political life in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg to his exile journey on the continent and abroad touches on many aspects that informs the celebration of his legacy.

“It is these aspects that frame the Oliver Tambo Centenary Talks as a platform for public engagement on the values of O R Tambo. An internationalist and diplomat; principled leader; revolutionary intellectual; humanist are some of the values OR is fondly remembered with.

NHC chief executive officer, Advocate Sonwabile Mangcotywa said: “Our forefathers are the architects of our democracy and part of Africa’s rich heritage in the liberation from apartheid. We need to awaken the legacies by adopting their values and rid the nation from forgetfulness. It has been noted that the youth of our continent do not have access to the legacy of OR and his contributions to Africa’s liberation are not well recognised. Through these talks and centenary, we believe that Oliver Tambo’s values will be reawakened and his legacy will live forever”, he said.

The NHC indicated that reservation for attendance of the event would be essential as the series of talks on O.R Tambo had attracted a lot of public attention and interest already.

To RSVP before 26 May 2017 – E-mail: liberation@@nhc.org.za to RSVP. For more information visit http://www.nhc.org.za or call the NHC on 012 348 1663.

Women in maritime: “We’re on our own!”

ON THEIR OWN! Key participants during a SAMIC 2017 session on “Increasing woman participation in the maritime industry” in Port Elizabeth recently were (from Left), Ms Hermoine Manuel (SHEQ Manager: Nautic Africa), Ms Sefalo Montsi-Zuma, Director: Darmen Shipyards (Cape Town), Ms Angelique Beatrice Tlouenguene-Nlend (Women In Maritime Africa – Cameroon), and Ms Asmaa Benslimane (Vice-President, WIMA -Arabic Countries, Morocco).

Pretoria: 01 May 2017

Women in maritime – what few women there are in the world’s maritime economic sector, all ‘2.2%’ of them – are virtually on their own!

At least that seems to be the overriding view held by African women with keen interest in the maritime economy  and a few of whom see the sector as yet another gender based economic zone, primarily and almost exclusively for men by both design and function.

This view emerged strongly, publicly perhaps for the first in South Africa during the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC) 2017 held over two days at the Boardwalk Conference Center in Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape some three weeks ago.

Appropriately, the conference deliberations’ structure had deliberately devoted time – just over an hour – to focused discussion on women’s role, participation, empowerment and contribution in the world’s and African/South African region’s oceans economy but with specific focus on African women.

The women present – both speakers and floor participants – expressed appreciation of the fact.

However, the focused discussion held on the second day of SAMIC 2017, ironically involved only women speakers from South Africa and the rest of the continent, and to the women participants in the dedicated slot, the exclusive female-only discussion did ‘not make sense’, they said.

Was it illustrative and indicative of a male-dominated sector passively letting women to ‘sort out your own problems on your own?’ – both on the podium and the floor the question emerged!

Ms Olufunmulayo Folorunso, a maritime lawyer, administrator and publisher currently the Secretary-General of the African Shipowners Association among key participants during the discussion on woman participation in the oceans economy

Key contributors to the BreakAway Session 3 discussion dubbed: “Increasing the participation of women in maritime industry” involved Ms Hermoine Manuel of Nautic Africa, Ms Angelique Beatrice Touenguene-Nlend of the Women in Maritime Africa (WIMA) organization in Cameroon, Ms Sefalo Montsi-Zuma of Darmen Shipyards (Cape Town) and Ms Asmaa Benslimane, vice-president of the WIMA for Arabic countries, based in Morocco; in that order.

While recognizing efforts being made for women mainstreaming, they were all generally scathing in their assessment of the position and participation of women in the African maritime sector, even as they acknowledged that the responsibility also lay with women to entrench and assert themselves as deserving role-players and therefore equally accountable for ensuring an increase in women participation in the sector.

In the four (4) videos below, an effort has been made to both present their speeches with as little editing as possible except where the use of presentation slides  (not all available for this production) required trimming.

The 5th video, captures the ensuing discussions with the audience and which also remained lively and indicative of the interest, but also confusion and dissatisfaction experienced by women in the maritime sector generally.

To view each video, click on the name of the person and for Video 5 click on “Group discussion

Floor participants during a discussion on women in maritime at the SAMIC 2017 event in Port Elizabeth

Video 1: Ms Hermoine Manuel speaking on Mainstreaming gender participation in the maritime sector

Video 2: Ms Angelique Beatrice Touenguene-Nlend –  Access to maritime careers and maritime business opportunities

Video 3: Ms Sefalo Montsi-Zuma  – Challenges facing women in the maritime sector and

Video 4: Ms Asmaa Benslimane – Policies, strategies and action plans to mainstream women’s participation in the maritime sector. 

Finally, Video 5: Group discussion.

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