The weather did not quite play fairly over the two days of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) festival at the port of Port Elizabeth at the weekend, leading to curtailment of some of the activities.
But it was still great turnout by thousands of people that filled the port for fun and games whose theme centred on greater public awareness and education on maritime issues.
The TNPA port of Port Elizabeth’s 2018 port festival was, as usual, the first in a series reportedly planned for some of the country’s major ports over the next few weeks, including Richards Bay, with the aim being to facilitate greater engagement between the ports and the general public for enhanced understanding and knowledge of aspects that make up the country’s maritime economic sector activities.
This year’s festival in Port Elizabth enjoyed support from a range of stakeholders including the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which again featured its vessel, the SA Agulhas – a former research vessel that has been retuned for purposes of servicing the country’s national cadet training programme now under the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI).
Another notable supporter at this weekend’s festival was the South African Navy which provided four of its vessels including two frigades, as well as the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries whose fisheries monitoring vessel, the Ruth First, participated – adding to the great fun many festival revelers, many among them young children, enjoyed.
Also present was the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the Nelson Mandela University and several others.
However, strong winds particularly on Saturday, the first of the two days of the event, proved a major challenge as it forced some of the water sports lined up for the weekend to be suspended – well until Sunday, after the strong winds subsided in the early part of the day.
Women empowerment but particularly the previously disadvantaged is gaining momentum in South Africa’s maritime economic sector, boosted this time around by the launch of a study bursary being offered to young black women keen on maritime studies.
The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the country’s newest institution entrusted with among other things; the country’s national cadet training programme, is behind the initiative announced two months ago.
In a statement (below), SAIMI announced the opening of applications for the bursary and whose deadline is 10 December 2018.
SAIMI Statement (Issued Wednesday, 21 November 2018)
WITH only two percent of the entire world’s maritime workforce consisting of women, a new bursary scheme announced by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) plans to unlock the oceans economy for women in South Africa.
The Sindiswa Carol ‘Tu’ Nhlumayo Merit Bursary is now open for young black women wanting to pursue a qualification at a South African university to develop their career opportunities in the maritime sector.
As head of the Centre for Maritime Excellence at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the late Nhlumayo played a pioneering role in putting maritime skills development on the map in South Africa, in particular by empowering women in the sector, and championed the establishment of SAIMI.
The Sindiswa Carol ‘Tu’ Nhlumayo Merit Bursary is offered for maritime, marine or related studies at undergraduate and postgraduate level at any tertiary institution in South Africa. The bursary is open to South African black women (African, Coloured and Indian) under the age of 35 years.
The bursary is available for a wide variety of maritime-related study fields including Marine Engineering, Oceanography, Logistics, Shipping, Ocean Governance, Environmental Law, Geological Sciences, Zoology and Marine Ecology to name just a few.
SAIMI Project Manager Odwa Mtati said the bursary aimed to continue the work of the late Nhlumayo by encouraging women’s meaningful contribution to the maritime sector, and particularly to bolster the participation of young black women.
“Her role was pivotal in the promotion of women’s participation in the maritime sector. She also played a critical role in establishing SAIMI, and the bursary scheme in her name honours her contribution to growing South Africa’s skills capacity in the oceans economy,” said Mtati.
SAMSA Chief Operations Officer Sobantu Tilayi encouraged women to apply for the bursary scheme in Nhlumayo’s honour. “We thank SAIMI for acknowledging the legacy and role that Sindiswa played in the human capacity building of the South African maritime industry,” said Tilayi.
During her time at SAMSA, Nhlumayo initiated the National Cadet Programme that enables South African seafaring students to obtain the professional qualification for careers in the global shipping industry.
In 2013 she was a recipient of the Oliver Top Empowerment Award for Best Female Public Servant. At the time of her death in 2016 at the age of 45, she was enrolled for a PhD in Maritime Affairs at the World Maritime University in Sweden.
Recipients of the Sindiswa Carol ‘Tu’ Nhlumayo Merit Bursary will have the full cost of their tuition fees and textbooks covered. They will also be afforded opportunities to attend SAIMI conferences and other maritime-related events, as well as participate in organised bodies supporting women in maritime and science.
The closing date for applications to the Bursary Scheme is 10 December. To apply, download the application form from the SAIMI website:
Women education in South Africa’s maritime sector has been given a shot in the arm with the recent launch of a new merit bursary in honour of the late Ms Sindiswa ‘Tu’ Nhlumayo, a former South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) executive and reputably a pioneer in skills development in the sector.
The new merit bursary known as the Sindiswa Nhlumayo Merit Bursary, conceived, developed and administered by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, was launched recently and is now open for applications until end November.
According to Mr Odwa Mtati, Projects Manager at SAIMI, the new bursary is in recognition and acknowledgement of the pioneering work of Ms Nhlumayo in the field of skills development for the maritime economic sector while at the employ of SAMSA in Pretoria as head of its Centre for Maritime Excellence.
Ms Nhlumayo, also an academic and work performance multi-award winner, passed away in February 2016.
Significantly, said Mr Mtati, the new maritime education funding would target primarily women in South Africa as a means to increase their opportunities in the sector. The main reason was the apparently miniscule number of women in the sector, which he said constituted a mere two (2) percent of all workers.
“SAIMI is proud to announce the establishment of the Sindiswa Nhlumayo Merit Bursary to enable young black women to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies in maritime-related fields and achieve success in their careers in the oceans economy.
“The bursary has been created to honour the memory of Sindiswa Nhlumayo and her substantial contribution to the growth of the maritime sector and skills development in South Africa. Her leadership, her passion for the maritime economy and commitment to empowering young people to enter maritime careers, made her a much-loved role model to many,” said SAIMI in a statement during launch of the new bursary in Port Elizabeth two weeks ago.
For Mr Mtati’s full remarks, click on the two minutes video below.
Meanwhile, the SAIMI initiative has been met with excitement and full support by SAMSA, describing it as a necessary and opportune intervention for women in maritime education and skills development, while also a highly significant and appropriate gesture in honour of its former employee, Ms Nhlumayo.
SAMSA is a pioneering founding member of SAIMI which was established in 2014. Key among its activities is the management of the country’s National Cadet Programme.
Reacting to the launch of the Sindiswa Nhlumayo Merit Bursary for women keen on maritime education and training, SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi said: “Firstly we thank SAIMI for the initiative and we feel honoured to be associated with the name of someone such as Ms Sindiswa Nhlumayo who was a colleague to me and a hard worker.
“The legacy that she left, having worked so hard to try and focus the whole issue of capacity building for the maritime industry, to support the maritime economy, required us to acknowledge her,” he said.
Crucially, it was the targeting of particularly women that the launch of the bursary remains highly significant, he said.
For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks (three minutes), Click on the video below
Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront will be the host venue on Wednesday for Poland’s celebration of its 100th year of independence, an event marked by the docking of one of its most celebrated old sailing vessels, Dar Młodzieży which docks at the port of Cape Town at about noon, with a crew of more than 100, comprising mostly cadets and maritime students.
The vessel’s stop-over in Cape Town is part of a 10-months round-the-world trip dubbed Independence Sail and during which it will visit as many as 22 ports. Cape Town is its second stop from Europe and one of two involving the African continent.
Other ports in the list include Tallinn, Copenhagen, Stavanger, Bremenhaven, Bordeaux, Tenerife, Dakar, Mauritius, Jakarta, Singapore, Shanghai, Osaka, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Acapulco, Panama, Miami, Ponta Delgada and London.
It is expected to finish the round-the-world trip sometime in March 2019.
According to organizers of the event in Cape Town over the next three days beginning Wednesday morning, senior representatives of both the Polish and South Africans, during the three day stop-over in South Africa, a number of events focusing on Polish history and culture will be held.
Central to the activity, according to organizers, will be the promotional events to establish and enhance both socio-economic and cultural cooperation between Poland and South Africa.
On arrival in Cape Town today, the vessel is scheduled to be welcomed jointly by the Deputy Minister of Transport Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, along with Polish government counter-parts that include the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Mr Marek Grobarczyk, the Ambassador of Poland to South Africa, Dr Andrzej Kanthak.
According to the programme of Wednesday’s welcoming event, two ‘Letters of Intent’ are scheduled to be signed between the Ministry of Transport (South Africa) and the Ministry of Economic and Inland Navigation (Poland) as well as between Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the Port of Gdynia.
Later in the day, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will host the Polish maritime students and cadets to a braai on board its cadet training vessel, the SA Agulhas. The festive event will also involve maritime students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
The eloquence and apparent sheer constant focus of a group of maritime high school children at an awards ceremony held at the quaint Western Cape town of Simonstown last night drove renowned South African academic and author, Professor Jonathan Jansen into tears, literally.
And by his own admission, Prof Jansen, a former Vice-Rector of the University of the Free State, committed to sharing publicly the moving experience of his encounter with the group of children on Thursday evening. He’d tell it all in his regular national newspaper column due next Thursday, he said.
Prof Jansen, generally known for his outspokenness on especially educational matters in South Africa, was the guest speaker at a Lawhill Maritime High School annual awards presentation ceremony – an event during which the school’s top performing pupils are rewarded with a range of scholarship awards, some for continuance at the high school, others for near future advanced education at tertiary level, while the rest are for pure personal recognition.
The annual event at the hill side school overlooking the South African Navy naval base at the Simonstown harbour below, also presents the pupils an opportunity to reflect on their school related experiences during a given school year period.
Among these are their oft sojourns out of the classroom into the world of maritime sector transport in South Africa and abroad, courtesy of a range of sponsors and other supporters of the school in its ongoing maritime education endeavors.
At Thursday night’s event, true to form, Prof Jansen – clearly highly impressed by the evident sharpness of the group of pupils that made presentations during the function, as well as their high level of achievements in various aspects of their school life as reflected by their range of awards – was both highly grateful for their performance but also scathing towards the country’s general education authorities for what he described as the ‘dumbing down’ of children’s intelligence and consequently, their potential.
Prof Jansen said the country’s education authorities’ attitude was that the country’s school going children were not really expected to achieve much academically hence the lowered levels of pass marks, to as low as 20%, in crucial subjects such as mathematics.
“The biggest problem we have as South Africans is that they mess with your head! They told you can pass with 30%. You know what they did last year, your Government? They said they would condone the entire Grade 8 class last year with a pass mark of 20%”
“Thank goodness that black people can’t blush! I blushed. I was embarrassed. They were not talking about the children at Saxon and Bishopscourt. They were talking about you and me. The expectation of you is so low! You only just have to get up, dress nicely, write your name on a matric certificate and you pass, because the expectation of what you can achieve is so low” said Prof Jansen.
Sadly, he added that the low expectation was also prevalent among tutors at the country’s universities where the dominant approach was an emphasis on what students could not achieve rather than a positive focus on their potential and what was possible for them.
Partly as a result of this condescending and demeaning attitude, some of the country’s best achievers globally, such as Elon Musk, a former Pretoria Boys High pupil and later the founder of American automaker Tesla and aerospace firm, SpaceX; have had to leave South Africa for places in the world where they were better recognized for their potential to achieve.
Prof Jansen said while overseas, he’d had an opportunity to meet a group South Africans who’d gone to make sterling achievements elsewhere, and asked them why they’d left the country.
“They said ‘Professor, here, people expect us to do well. They look at you and they see greatness.
“Young people of maritime I am emotional, because I am so proud of what I saw here tonight.
A highly animated and sometimes tearful Prof Jansen heaped praises upon the Lawhill Maritime High School pupils for their ‘go getting’ attitude, urging them to not only be constantly vigilant in the look out for emerging opportunities but to also grab them with both hands at the first instance.
On national unity and race relations, Prof Jansen also said ‘old white people’ supporting the awards as well as other financial support to the school and similar institutions, should be welcomed as a benevolent, albeit, necessary gesture that is a crucial contribution by the previously advantaged to nation building, and an investment in the country’s youths.
To listen to Prof Jansen full remarks, Click on the video below.
Xhariep Dam Resort (Free State): 30 September 2016
Ill-discipline by South Africa’s youth at the country’s educational institutions involving wanton violence and destruction of property is a serious threat to many gains made to improve the socio economic conditions of South Africa’s people, Free State MEC for Transport, Bhutana Khompela has warned.
The warning came during celebration of World Maritime Day 2016 held this year at the Xhariep (Gariep) Dam in the Free State. The national Department of Transport driven annual event’s proceedings incorporate a Careers Expo during which foundational students (Grade 10-12) are taken through an exposition of a variety of careers in the country’s maritime sector.
Speaking during the main event on Thursday, Mr Khompela said the Free State Province regarded education as top priority and that it led the country’s other eight provincial governments in spending the most on bursaries to support tertiary level students with their studies in South Africa and abroad.
However, he said he noted with sadness and frustration that the country’s universities had been forcibly closed down by violent students for what he described as no sensible reason.
“When we fought for the liberation of this country, we said ‘liberation first and education last’. We achieved liberation and now it is time for education. Education must come first and nothing else!” said Mr Khompela
He warned that the notion of a free education was a misnomer South Africa’s youth at universities were using based on ignorance bothering on malice, and that their violent actions to demand free education were both unreasonable and a serious threat to socio economic development gains made since 1994.
He said in full recognition of the fact that education was not free, a total 8000 bursaries were awarded students in the province by the provincial government with the ultimate objective of producing highly educated youths who would in turn contribute even better to the development of the country’s economy in a whole range of sectors inclusive maritime.
Mr Khompela said at the end of the current year, the province would be welcoming back a total 400 doctors who have completed their medical studies through support by the province and who would now contribute to uplifting the health standards of people in the province’s rural communities.
He pledged that the Free State provincial government would extend the the same financial support also to students keen on pursuing careers in the country’s maritime sector.
However, he said; those efforts would all be in vain if wayward youth at the country’s tertiary level education institutions demanding free education and bent on violence and destruction of valuable property solely to force their way, were allowed to get away with it.
“We never received free education. We were oppressed, yet we did everything possible to obtain education under the most difficult conditions. There is no such thing as free education. There is no country anywhere in the world that offers free education. Even Cuba, does not offer free education,” said Mr Khompela.
The creep of maritime sector education in South Africa may be decidedly slow, almost imperceptible yet it is an absolute certainty, and it is about to come full circle with the envisaged formal roping into the milieu of the country’s technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in a year’s time.
With TVETs on board, maritime sector-focused public sector education will have reached virtually all relevant levels of formal education structures in the country, from foundational (currently high schools) through to vocational and tertiary levels.
The ‘10th Province’ has it in good authority that TVETs will be drawn into the fray in earnest from January 2017, with the launch of a pilot project involving two TVET institutions in as many provinces; one in KwaZulu-Natal and one other in the heart of Cape Town, Western Cape.
This follows the completion and approval of appropriate curriculum for a National Occupation Certificate in certain levels of discipline in seamanship that include, “Able Seafarer Engine”, “Able Seafarer Deck”, “Able Seafarer Fishing” “Marine Motorman Grade 2” and “Fishing Deck Officer”
South Africa’s renewed drive to formally incorporate the country’s marine economic sector into the mainstream economy is gaining steady yet significant momentum, with education and training at both school and tertiary levels, inclusive of technical and vocational education and training; leading the initiative.