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KaXu Solar One to ease pressure on Eskom energy grid

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It has been a tough ride for all South Africans for the past months, having to cope with the problems of Eskom load shedding schedules. As South Africans wait on the government to come to the rescue and save businesses and the economy as a whole. Development in the area of infrastructure to aid the energy structure of the country, is one that should excite all South Africans.

In view of the situations, both corporate and government entities have focused more on ways to stabilize, boost and fix Eskom’s energy grid issues. South Africa’s first solar thermal electricity plant to reach completion was officially opened near Pofadder in the sparsely populated Northern Cape on Monday, 2 March 2015.

The arid region’s relentless sun is proving to be a valuable renewable natural resource that ultimately will benefit the local community, the country as a whole, and the environment.

KaXu Solar One was opened by Geoffery Qhena, chief executive of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC); Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel; Armando Zuluaga, chief executive of Abengoa Solar; and Fadiel Farao, chairman of the KaXu Community Trust. All are partners in the project.

“It is the result of partners working together. And it has demonstrated South Africa’s capabilities in converting the Northern Cape’s sun into a rich, useable resource,” said Qhena.

KaXu Solar One is the first solar thermal electricity (STE) plant in South Africa. It is also the biggest of its kind in Africa and the southern hemisphere. In opening the plant, Patel said: “Tonight, when ordinary South Africans put on their lights, put on their stoves to cook food, or watch television, some of that electricity would have been generated today near Pofadder.”

Already 33 renewable energy plants had been opened, Patel said, and by the end of the month there would be 1 685 MW of renewable energy available – almost equivalent to Koeberg’s entire output. “In 12 months we have been building plants that will generate almost as much as Koeberg. The difference is that Koeberg generates all the time.”

Coal had not been forgotten though, and Patel spoke of the synchronisation taking place at Medupi, South Africa’s new coal-fired power station, on the same day as KaXu’s inauguration. “Over the next few months, we will make sure the system is stable, and we will bring 800 MW of electricity into our grid. All of these are examples of the government working hard to solve the electricity problem.”

The total investment in KaXu came in at R7.9-billion, with about R1-billion coming from Spanish group Abengoa. The balance was supplied by the IDC, Nedbank RMB, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the International Finance Corporation.

KaXu is owned by Abengoa (59%), the IDC (29%) and the KaXu Community Trust (21%). The risk was carried by Abengoa, said Patel, which had put in its equity.

An important benefit is the value of the project to the rural area of Khai Ma. During construction, 4 500 jobs were created, 80% of them local. Now during operations there are 80 permanent jobs, and South Africans are being trained to run the plant.

Through the trust, the dividends would be invested in long-term projects that would benefit the community for generations to come, said Fadiel Farao, chairman of the KaXu Community Trust. Projects would be in education, health, and skills development.

“Big projects come and go,” said Patel, “so we must see that they create something out of it so that generations to come can be helped.”

The life of KaXu is 20 years, but there is an emphasis on growing local manufacturing of the components, which will allow the country to build a solar power manufacturing sector. “We pay more for renewable energy, so we must have a better return,” said the minister. Renewable energy used to cost 100% more than coal-fired power; now that cost had dropped to 50% – and this was dropping all the time as more companies invested in new technology.

In conclusion, Patel said that a project like this made a positive contribution to the sustainability of life on planet. “If we burn coal and petrol all the time, we damage the environment and will kill opportunities for our children and the next generation. We can’t destroy the earth to grow our economy. Renewable energy is a bit more expensive, but we have to invest in it. Because we use the power of the sun, it doesn’t cause damage to our environment.”

Metrosmag,sa ( inspired by Mzansi Lifestyle ) Mzansi is rich in Lifestyle, a nation diverse in race and culture. Mzansi Magazine explores the rich heritage , versitile culture and the celebrations of Life in Mzansi. Metros Magazine, SA is South Africa's informative Metropolitan lifestlye magazine with all the fresh and important news in Mzansi.

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Local Highlight

Starbucks opens in Pretoria, South Africa

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In partnership with Taste Holdings, Starbucks has opened its third South African store in Menlyn Maine in the city of Tshwane. Once the mall is complete in 2017, Menlyn Maine will be the biggest green development in South Africa, and the new epicenter of the city. Beginning today, Tshwane residents have their own place to enjoy Starbucks 100% arabica coffee, fresh food offerings and free high-speed Wi-Fi in a beautiful new store.

“We are honored to open our doors in a city with such a rich culture and appreciation for food. Just like in our first two Starbucks stores, we hope our customers will consider this new store as a ‘third place’ between home and work, where people connect, share and create. It is a place where ideas are born and memories are created – it’s about so much more than a cup of coffee,” said Carlo Gonzaga, CEO of Taste Holdings.

The store’s design was inspired by the cityscape of Tshwane. Strong geometric lines of the buildings and the city’s warm tones had an influence on the store’s aesthetic. The natural, scored concrete walls celebrate the hard work and craft of the city. The highlight of the store is a hand-painted mural by Seven Veil Studios that pays homage to the very first Starbucks store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, while celebrating South Africa through the local flora.

“Every aspect of this store has been created to be the ultimate ‘third place.’ We hope that this store will become a part of the city and our history,” said Gonzaga.

Starbucks Reserve™ Bar offers special small-batch single origin coffees served by skilled baristas through a variety of brewing methods, including Siphon, Pour-Over, and the Clover™ brewing system. Customers can enjoy Reserve coffees from Colombia San Fermin, Colombia Los Rosales, and Cape Verde Figo Island.

“With our first two South African stores open and doing well in Johannesburg, I am delighted to see a new store open in Pretoria,” said Martin Brok, president, Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Our whole business is excited about being part of these South Africa neighborhoods and I’m proud that this store will extend the Changing Lanes program even further. We’ll now be able to offer great career opportunities to local young people in Pretoria, including training in world class customer service and barista mastery.”

The store team of 30 partners has been recruited from the surrounding communities through Taste’s Changing Lanes program, which focuses on giving opportunities to currently unemployed youth.

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Comedy

Comedy Central flies the flag for South African Comedy at the “JUST FOR LAUGHS” Festival in Canada

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Popular South African comedians Robbie Collins and David Kau will be flying the flag for South African comedy when they perform at the biggest comedy festival in the world: the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, Canada (July 13 – 1 August).

The two comedians are joining Comedy Central (DStv Channel 122) on the channel’s annual pilgrimage to Canada where they’ll be showcasing South African comedy at the world famous event

Under an annual collaboration partnership with Comedy Central, Collins will be making his Festival debut, while veteran South African comedian Kau will perform at Club Soda, one of the Festival’s premiere club shows (where Loyisa Gola and Conrad Koch have performed in previous years). Kau’sperformance is being taped as part of the Just For Laughs: All Access television series, and will air onComedy Central later in 2017.  Comedy Central has also brokered a deal for additional All Accessepisodes that will start airing on the channel later this year.

Commented Evert van der Veer, Vice President, Comedy Central, Africa, “Just For Laughs is such a great shop window for African comedy and we are delighted that Robbie and David will have this opportunity to show off their comedy wares at the biggest comedy festival in the world.”

Commented Robbie Collins: “I’m very grateful to have this opportunity to represent my country and craft at the biggest comedy festival in the world. I’m also humbled that Comedy Central Africa andJust For Laughs have recognized my hard work. There are many talented comedians in South Africa and for them to invite me is really an honour.”

Added David Kau, “I first performed at Just For Laughs about 16 years ago. I am definitely looking forward to going back and performing there again. Also I have a lot of catching up to do with some of my comedian friends I haven’t seen in a while… Finesse Mitchell, Lil Rel Howery, Russell Peters… It is still the number one and biggest comedy festival in the world. I guess the cherry on top is going back there now with Comedy Central Africa. It’s going to be a great day at the office.”

Added Eric Y. Lapointe, Senior Director, International & Digital Development, Just For Laughs, “TheMontreal International Just For Laughs Comedy Festival is proud to partner with Comedy Central to present the very best comedians from one of the fastest emerging stand-up scenes in the world. The highly collaborative South African comedy community showcases a younger generation eager to bring their nation together through humour. Just For Laughs is thrilled to be part of this adventure and applauds Comedy Central for becoming a major catalyst in propelling the careers of South African comedians.”

For more information about Comedy Central’s trip to Montreal please go towww.comedycentralafrica.com, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/comedycentralafrica or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @comedycentralAF.   To join the conversation on social media, please use the hashtags #CCLiveAt JFL.

 

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Local Highlight

The impact of local content

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With the SABC introducing the local content quota in May, it’s been a hot topic across the media in South Africa. Focal Points* conducted an analysis on the media surrounding the announcement, as well as the potential impact the quota could have.

As a result of globalisation, international influences have become more evident in all aspects of life. Specifically in local music industries, a growing trend exists in the disenfranchisement of musicians and artists. Subsequently, government entities enforce local content quotas to increase the consumption of local music (Maqina, 2013:iv). The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, commented that “the SABC is the custodian of our culture and heritage1.” It can therefore be said that government organisations play an essential role in ensuring that the demand for national music is not lost.
Why enforce a local content quota?
Local content quotas emerged in the late 1980s and 1990s as a result of international influences filtering into numerous countries due to globalisation (Chari, 2013:6). Many countries were, and still are, threatened by the power of international cultures impacting the deterioration of local culture. Consequently, the implementation of local content quotas are, to date, experienced worldwide (Richardson, 2006:605). Local content quotas contribute towards creating a sense of national identity and cultural diversity (ICASA, 2014:32). Music, as a cultural product, assists in developing these identities to become more tangible to consumers, consequently providing a platform for the local music industry to grow through the promotion of local talent (Chari, 2013: 6). The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) articulates the role of broadcasters in local content quotas, stating that “radio and television can make a vital contribution to democracy, nation building and development in South Africa ”(ICASA, 2014:5).
Kalawa Jazmee, co-founder of a South African record label, claims that thousands of jobs have been lost in the South African music industry due to local musicians not gaining airplay on national radio stations2. Economic factors play a key role in local content quotas, most notably through the potential growth of the local music industry (Fourie, Mentz, Lloyd & Martini, 2014: 2). As broadcasters comply with the quotas, an opportunity is created for musicians to profit. It is explained that the more a song is played, the more royalties an artist receives and the higher the chances of public interest become (Knab, 2010:1). In addition to artist exposure, local content quotas promote local entrepreneurs and record labels, which in turn create and sustain local jobs3.
Possible impact of local content quotas
Accompanying globalisation is the increased use of mobile technology, television and the internet, ensuring a gradual yet prominent infiltration of international influences. Local content quotas do not exempt local musicians from including elements of international music, nor do they guarantee that local music will preserve national identity or accurately reflect it (Bere, 2008:277; Chari, 2013:30). Subsequently, the opposite desired result could be achieved as the quotas could lead to increased ‘internationalisation’ of local music (Richardson & Wilkie, 2014:2). After the implementation of a 75% music content quota in Zimbabwe, it was found that younger musicians became increasingly culturally ambivalent, as their musical style was neither local nor global (Chari, 2013: 31).
As radio is one of the most accessible forms of media in South Africa, implementing a local music quota will be “far-reaching and have long run consequences4.” However, it is essential to measure whether quotas are receiving the desired result. A study, conducted in 2014 on content regulations in South Africa, proved that content regulations have contributed to the promotion of local music and that a demand for local music does exist (Fourie, et al., 2014: 3-4).
One problem lies in providing quality local music in order to retain a captive audience, as “value for money supersedes poor quality patriotism5.” Besides quality, diversity becomes an issue as certain genres do not have as much recorded music as others, leaving broadcasters with limited availability of music to play (National Association of Broadcasters 2001: 9). Due to local music quotas limiting quality and diversity, losing listenership is expected6.
Consequently, broadcasters may have trouble gaining advertising revenue, as advertisers typically support platforms where they can access the largest possible audience (Richardson 2006: 606).
An issue regarding the supply of quality local music becomes prevalent with the implementation of local music quotas. This creates challenges, but also opportunities for the local music industry to produce higher volumes of quality local music in order to address the increased demand (ICASA, 2014:36). The South African local music industry, although abundant with talent, lacks funding opportunities for artists to grow. “If the SABC is serious about having 90% local content, [they] need to provide resources for the artists. Recording a single track and booking a studio can set an artist back almost R50 0006. Therefore, supply-side initiatives should be put in place by government organisations to create a platform accommodating local artists, meeting the demand at an acceptable quality (Fourie, et al., 2014: 2).
Concluding remarks
International music has been dominating the airwaves for decades, distracting the public from supporting the local music industry, thereby restricting its growth. Furthermore, it is evident that local cultural expression may be compromised by foreign influences. Local quotas can therefore be regarded as a means to safeguard national traditions and promote local talent (Bernier, 2004:3). There will invariably be a period of adjustment, as South Africa has not yet experienced local content quotas to this extent. However, local musicians call on the country to embrace and support the SABC’s decision3. It has been found that local music quotas benefit the country by defending cultural and economic activity; improving public knowledge of local music; promoting diversity; and improving the local recording industry (Maqina, 2013:9-17).
Juliet Harding, member of the South African band Goodluck, states: “We need to stop thinking that because it’s local it’s inferior… We honestly need to look at ourselves and go ‘wow we make the best music’. I call it national pride3.” It is worth noting that no country can exclude the international music community, or prevent it from influencing local music. This paper found that local music quotas, properly enforced and monitored, can help foster a sense of national identity by supporting the local music industry (Chari, 2013: 6). However, the true impact of the 90% local music quota in South Africa is yet to be seen.

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