(Image: Wikimedia Commons) MEDIA CONTACTS • Institute for Security Studies ISS staff contacts +27 012 346 9500/2 +27 021 461 7211 [email protected] RELATED ARTICLES • Uranium – the new gold? • Russia eyes Namibia’s uranium • Infrastructure development in SA • ‘Africa’s advocate’ Sarkozy in SANicky Rehbock and Samson MulugetaThe continent of Africa is now officially free of nuclear weapons, after a 14-year-old treaty banning their development, production, testing or acquisition finally came into force in July.This means the entire southern hemisphere is now free of nuclear weapons.The desire for a nuclear-arms-free Africa was first expressed at the Organisation of African Unity’s inaugural summit in Cairo, Egypt, in July 1964. Thirty-one years later, on 2 June 1995, a suitable treaty was drafted and adopted in South Africa at Pelindaba, a nuclear research facility west of Pretoria. The treaty was opened for signature a year later in Cairo.Pelindaba was an appropriate place for the treaty to be drafted as its name comes from the isiZulu iphelile indaba, which roughly means “the matter is settled”. The pact itself became known as the Treaty of Pelindaba.All 54 African countries were eligible to become parties to the agreement, but it could only come into effect once 28 or more states had ratified it. Burundi became the 28th state on 15 July 2009.The treaty does not ban nuclear activity altogether. It supports the use of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes, and requires each party to “conduct all activities for the peaceful use of nuclear energy under strict non-proliferation measures”.A South Africa-based commission on nuclear energy has been established to monitor compliance.The treaty also invites the US, France, UK, Russia and China “to agree not to use or threaten to use a nuclear explosive device against any treaty party or against any territory within the African zone”.It also urges the five powers not to test nuclear weapons in the African zone and requires France and Spain, which have dependent territories within the zone, to observe the treaty.Only the UK, France and China have accepted these terms.Praise for the treaty“The Treaty of Pelindaba maintains and enhances Africa’s regional peace and security, and promotes the global goal of a world free of nuclear weapons,” says the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, one of several peace organisations working to promote the pact.“The treaty also contributes to the developmental imperatives facing the continent by, for example, regulating nuclear-related industries – such as uranium mining.”The International Atomic Energy Agency, an intergovernmental body that promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy, has also welcomed the enforcement of the treaty.“The director general welcomes the entry into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty [Treaty of Pelindaba],” it says, adding that it also “welcomes the treaty’s support of the use of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes and trusts that the use of nuclear technologies in Africa will contribute to the continent’s economic and social development”.“The African Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone, similar to other nuclear-weapon-free zones in Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, South Pacific and Central Asia, is an important regional confidence and security-building measure that will contribute to our efforts for a world free from nuclear weapons.”The countries that have officially accepted the treaty (PDF) are Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo and Zimbabwe.Other nuclear-weapons-free pacts around the world include the Treaty of Tlatelolco (Latin America and the Caribbean), Treaty of Rarotonga (South Pacific), Treaty of Bangkok (Southeast Asia) and the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Nicky Rhebock at [email protected]
Everyone has a story to tell, and the Humans of South Africa website is a space for those stories to be told and pictures to be shared. The project started a year ago and has grown substantially since then. So far, more than 500 anecdotes have been shared. On Humans of South Africa, Sandy Levenstein opens windows on to the lives of ordinary South Africans. (Image: Humans of SA)• Be good brand ambassadors for South Africa • Beading and computer programming a way out of prison • Spelling Bee aims to improve literacy • Digital storytelling shaping aspiring teachers • Business-minded Rapelang Rabana is conquering the world Priya PitamberSandy Levenstein, who is originally from Johannesburg but now lives in Cape Town, calls herself a storyteller. She likes to open windows into worlds people would otherwise not know existed. So she started a website called Humans of South Africa. The concept is similar to its Big Apple counterpart in the US, Humans of New York.The premise is simple: photograph a person and get them to tell you a little bit about their life. “At the very beginning I asked people for pictures and for a line or two,” recalls Levenstein. The US site started the same way – Brandon Stanton, its creator, wrote: “I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants, so I set out to photograph 10 000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map.”Once out the starting blocks, Levenstein began to explore more in depth in talking to people on her site. “Eventually I found myself doing full interviews,” she says. Her platforms have also expanded to include others in the creative field. “I have a huge love and respect for creativity and wish to help get eyes on creative South African’s work.” Sandy Levenstein calls herself a storyteller. She started the Humans of South Africa website a year ago. (Image: Supplied)Baby stepsLevenstein started the website about a year ago; she describes it as the longest and shortest year. Humans of New York began in 2010. “Humans of South Africa is still a baby; it will grow and extend to all areas,” she says. “I am a patient lady.”It has already grown substantially. Photography is found on the Bricks and Sticks page, while artists and animators have their spot on Pens and Pencils and writers are published in A Thousand Words.“My Attachment Theory page looks at fashion from a new angle. How does that which we wear connect us with others? Every piece of our clothing ties us to a person or a memory, evoking some sort of emotion.”Everyone has a story to tellLevenstein explains that a few years ago, she had an impulse to tell stories. But she also wanted to be original, so she waited for inspiration to strike. “I got really busy and life carried on, years down the line looking at Humans of New York again, I realised that we stood on the shoulders of giants and concluded that being original meant I could take an idea that had already been done and use it as my starting point,” she explains. “By injecting myself into it, I would make it original.”Every story she has heard over the year has left an impact on her. “Some have made me laugh, some have made me cry and all have made me think,” she says.But one of her more memorable interviews was with Derek Watts, the anchor on the investigative journalism television show Carte Blanche. “I think I am naturally curious and want to know how things work and do want to make a difference,” Watts told Levenstein about his job. “I have got an inane thing about justice. I am neurotic about things being fair.”She was humbled to have chatted to him, and motivated.Tell me everythingThere are more than 500 posts on the site so far. To commemorate her 500th entry, Levenstein looked back on her very first update, when a woman in Cape Town told her:I am getting married in October. First boyfriend. First love. He is counting down the days until then.Post number 500! – Shanaaz from Cape Town To celebrate Humans 500th post we are going back in time. Below find Humans…Posted by Humans of South Africa on Monday, 20 April 2015She says she must have an honest face as people open up to her in a meaningful manner. “But in seriousness, I tell people what I am doing and ask them to be a part of it. I have been lucky; people have been kind and willing to talk.”She does not limit her posts to her home city of Cape Town. Opening up her website to submissions from people allows her to get interviews from people across South Africa.Looking to the futureFor now, Levenstein is happy to tell stories. “As I have mentioned before, Humans is a baby, I don’t know what colour hair it will have, how tall or how short it will be,” she says. “Time will tell where it goes.”Through her Humans of South Africa work, she has learned people are good, and that they want to help each other but often do not know how. “In the mists of great sadness there is still great kindness.” It has also helped her improve her craft of writing.
At what age must my child enter school? What if I can’t afford the school fees? Are teachers allowed to smack my child? What if my child has special educational needs? Can I educate my child at home? We give you the answers, and more, to frequent questions about South Africa’s schooling system.We give you the answers, and more, to frequent questions about South Africa’s schooling system. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterClick on the question to read the answer.What are the South African government’s responsibilities regarding education?At what age must my child start school?What are the grades in South African schools?What documents do I have to supply to admit my child to a school?Can my child attend any public school?How do I go about finding the right school?What can I expect to pay?Can a school take legal action against me if I don’t pay my child’s school fees?But what if I can’t afford to pay school fees?Can a school refuse to admit my child if I haven’t paid school fees?Can a school refuse to admit my child for any other reason?What if I’m still having trouble getting my child into a school?Are teachers allowed to hit my child?How large will my child’s class be?Is learning computer-based?Will my child have access to sporting and other facilities?Will tuition be in English?What if my child has special educational needs?Do parents have a say in the running of their children’s school?Are school uniforms compulsory?Are children allowed to wear religious dress to school?How long are the school holidays?Can I home school in South Africa?Useful documents What are the South African government’s responsibilities regarding education?Section 29 (1) of South Africa’s Constitution reads: “Everyone has the right to a basic education, including adult basic education; and to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.”According to the South African Schools Act of 1996, schooling is compulsory for all South Africans from the age of six (grade 1) to the age of 15, or the completion of grade 9.At what age may my child start school?The age of a child entering grade 1 is age five turning six by 30 June in the year of admission. For grade 0 (otherwise known as grade R – the reception year), the age is four turning five by 30 June in the year of admission.If parents feel their children are not yet ready for school, they are allowed to admit them at an older age – five turning six for grade 0, and six turning seven for grade 1.Many schools conduct school-readiness tests to determine if a later admission would be in the child’s best interests.What are the grades in South African schools?Schooling runs from grade 0 (the reception year also known as grade R) through to grade 12 (known as matric). Grades 1 to 9 are compulsory and are classified as General Education and Training. Grades 10 to 12 are considered to be Further Education and Training.Grade 12 is the year of matriculation, which is required (with certain minimum conditions) for tertiary education. Some private schools also offer a post-matric “sixth form” year which allows students to sit for A-level examinations.What documents do I have to supply to admit my child to a school?For public schools, the only documents parents are required to supply when applying to admit their child to school are:The child’s birth certificate;The child’s immunisation card; and,The child’s transfer card or last school report, if the child has already been to another school.A child may be registered provisionally if these documents are not immediately available, and the parents must be given a reasonable time to submit them.If you are not a South African citizen, you should also include a copy of your study permit or your temporary or permanent residence permit. If you do not yet have a permit, you will need to submit evidence that you have applied for permission to stay in South Africa.It is the responsibility of every parent (or guardian) to ensure that:Their children are registered for the following year, well before the end of the current school year;Their children attend school regularly; and,All children between the ages six and 15 years attend school.Can my child attend any public school?A parent may register his or her child at any public school, if there are vacancies.Most schools have established so-called feeder zones, the area the school favours when admitting students. The order of preference for admission to schools generally is:Children whose parents live in the school’s feeder zone – this includes parents who live at their place of work, such as domestic workers;Children whose parents work in the feeder zone; and,The rest are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, and may be placed on a waiting list.However, the provincial departments of education are obliged to find a place in school for every learner. The feeder zone system does not apply to private or independent schools, which have their own admission requirements.How do I go about finding the right school?For state schools, contact the provincial department of education, which keeps a comprehensive list of all registered schools. Most provincial departments have searchable school databases on their websites – see the list in the box on the right.For private schools contact the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa for its list.What can I expect to pay?Many of our state-aided schools – which receive a state subsidy as well as fees from parents – are on a par with private schools at a fraction of the price. A good state-aided school, offering smallish class sizes (about 25-odd) – generally the former Model C schools – may cost R8 000 to R20 000 per year compared with a private school, costing about R30 000 to R70 000 per year – excluding boarding, which could cost an extra R50 000 a year.Some 80% of South Africa’s school pupils don’t pay fees. Fees are paid at about 5 000 of the 25 000 schools. At primary school, fees are about R1 000 a month; at secondary school fees are about R2 300 a month, depending on the school.State funding is organised on a quintile system, in which schools are divided into five categories according to the poverty levels in the areas they serve. Poorer schools are given larger state subsidies, and so have lower school fees, while wealthier schools are given smaller subsidies, and so have higher fees.In the poorest areas of all, parents are completely exempt from paying school fees. These schools are called no-fee schools that receive all their required funding from the government. For the first three quintile groups, the government’s allocation for schools per child is R1 116. In quintile four, R559 is paid per child, and for quintile five the allocation is R193.No-fee schools will be published in the Provincial Gazette and the criteria to determine no-fee schools will be based on the economic level of the community around the school.In January 2015, it was reported that the most expensive private school in South Africa was Hilton College in KwaZulu-Natal. Pupils who board at this school each pay R219 500 per year.Like most private schools, Hilton College’s annual increase for school fees in 2015 from 2014, was 5%. Other expensive private schools, such as Treverton College in KwaZulu-Natal, cost R72&nsbp;800 annually per pupil, boarders at the school pay R149 800 annually.Can a school take legal action against me if I don’t pay my child’s school fees?Yes; in terms of the Schools Act, parents have a legal obligation to pay public school fees, as determined by the school governing body.But this action can only be taken if the fee-exemption criteria have been applied, and the parent still found to be liable for – in other words, can afford to pay – the fees. This obviously excludes no-fee schools, and orphans are exempt from school fees.But what if I can’t afford to pay school fees?At all public schools, parents may apply for a reduction in or even exemption from school fees. If both parents’ annual earnings are less than 10 times the yearly school fees (before tax), the child qualifies for a full fee exemption. Partial exemptions can also be made for parents with financial problems. This generally requires some kind of proof of income.Schools are encouraged to form a school fees committee, which should assist parents in applying for exemption. Forms for fee exemption should be available at the school office; otherwise contact your provincial department of education.Can a school refuse to admit my child if I haven’t paid school fees?No; in terms of the Schools Act, no student may be refused admission to a public school on the grounds that his or her parent or caregiver is unable to pay, or has not paid, school fees.It is also illegal for a school to refuse to allow a child to take part in the school’s sporting, cultural or social activities – such as the matric dance – on the grounds that fees have not been paid, or to retain the child’s report.Can a school refuse to admit my child for any other reason?No, the school may not, unless the child has already been expelled from that particular school. All schools must admit students without discrimination of any kind. Schools may not administer tests or use pre-school experience or language as reasons not to enrol a child. Admission may not be refused because parents or guardians:Are unable to pay, or haven’t paid, school fees;Do not subscribe to the school’s mission statement;Have refused to sign an indemnity contract; or,Are unable to afford all or part of the school uniform.What if I’m still having trouble getting my child into a school?Call the Department of Basic Education’s toll-free hotline on 0800 202 933, contact your provincial education department, or contact the Education Rights Project.Are teachers allowed to hit or cane my child?No; the Schools Act outlaws corporal punishment. Any teacher administering physical punishment faces prosecution for assault, and may be fined or even jailed.Corporal or physical punishment can take many forms, including hitting with a hand or an object such as a cane, belt, whip, shoe or ruler, slapping, kicking, shaking, burning, pinching or pulling hair, forcing someone to stand in an uncomfortable and undignified position, denying or restricting someone’s use of the toilet, denying meals, drink, heat and shelter as a form of punishment, or forcing someone to do excessive exercise.How large will my child’s class be?There is usually some correlation between class size and fees. At the state- aided schools where parents pay for extra teachers by way of school fees, and at the more expensive private schools, the maximum number of pupils is usually about 30. At poorer schools this is often higher, with as many as 40 to 50 children in a classroom.Is learning at schools computer-based?This depends on a particular school’s resources. Most private and state-aided schools have well-stocked computer or media centres, and increasing numbers have computers in every classroom. There are several government and private initiatives to get the rest – most schools in townships and rural areas – online within the next few years.For more information on schools online, see School Net.Will my child have access to sporting and other facilities?While schools in poor areas are sorely under-resourced when it comes to sports fields and other facilities, most schools in the suburbs have good to excellent sporting facilities. Space is seldom a constraint in South Africa, and a growing number of schools boast state-of-the-art Astroturf hockey fields, indoor gyms, squash courts and swimming pools.The emphasis on sport depends largely on the school, but – given that sport is a national preoccupation – most schools devote substantial amounts of time to it. In fact, under the new curriculum introduced in 2012, sport is included in the school day, aiming to ensure all children have the opportunity to participate.Other facilities such as music rooms, theatres and art centres depend largely on the particular bent of the school and on its financial resources. Most state-aided schools offer a range of curricular and extramural choices in the arts.Will tuition be in English?It is compulsory to do a home language, which is the language of learning and teaching, and an additional language from grade 1. These are set by the school governing body (see below), and are not necessarily the language spoken at home by the majority of learners.While research shows that learners who are taught in their mother tongue perform better, most schools choose to teach in English because of parent perception that it will benefit their children. From grade 4 onwards, learners are encouraged to switch to English.If you want a new language to be introduced to your preferred school, you must get at least 35 parents together who want this option. You must then see the principal and school governing body as a delegation.My daughter has special learning needs. Do regular schools have remedial programmes, or must she go to a special school?It depends on the severity of the problem and on how well-resourced the school is. In 2010, there were 104 633 children in 423 public special needs schools. There are also private schools for children with severe remedial problems or disabilities.South Africa has a policy of inclusive education, which includes various models to integrate special-needs children into ordinary schools. However, a lack of resources and infrastructure have meant that this policy has been slow to implement and children who have been mainstreamed don’t always get the special education they need.Some of the better-off schools, both state-aided and private, offer remedial education in one form or another. They employ remedial teachers and run small remedial classes alongside regular classes.Do parents have a say in the running of their children’s school?Definitely; national policy on state schools requires that the school governing body (SGB) – made up of management, teachers, learners (at high school) and parents (51%) – plays a large part in how the school is run, within a national framework.Dynamic SGBs capable of raising funds and offering diverse skills to their schools have managed to turn them into thriving centres of excellence. On the downside, where parents are uneducated and poor, the SGBs are hamstrung from the start. Also, many children go to school miles from home, making it difficult for parents to get involved.At private schools, parental involvement depends largely on the nature of the school.Are school uniforms compulsory?Yes; they are compulsory in all state schools and most private schools.Are children allowed to wear religious dress to school?In terms of the Constitution, learners may not be prohibited from wearing particular attire – such as yarmulkes and headscarves – to school. Schools are encouraged to have uniform policies that accommodate learners’ religious beliefs.How long are the school holidays?State schools follow the four-term system, while most private schools have three longer terms. At state schools, students are on holiday for two to three weeks between each term (except after the third term, when the break is usually 10 days) and for about five weeks in December and January, at the end of the school year.At private schools, the holidays are usually about a month between each of the three school terms, with a longer holiday, also usually about five weeks, at the end of the year.Download the public school calendar from the learners page on the Department of Basic Education’s website.Can I home school in South Africa?There’s a growing trend worldwide towards home schooling and South Africa is no exception, with thousands of families opting to home school their children, for a variety of reasons. Some parents are keen to give their children religious or individualised tuition which they won’t receive at school; others want to avoid the institutional nature of school life.For those who wish to send their children to private schools but cannot afford to, home schooling is a cheaper alternative. Several home schooling associations are on hand to help those who choose to go this route.Although home schooling is legal in South Africa, it is not actively encouraged by the government: permission must first be sought from provincial authorities, and various requirements must be met, such as the provision of a weekly timetable and a learning programme.See the Department of Basic Education website for details on home schooling requirements.Useful documentsFollow these links to download the following documents:The South African Schools Acts (1996)The Rights and Responsibilities of Parents, Learners and Public Schools (2005)The Education Rights Project has a range of online information regarding the rights of students and parents, from school fees to admissions, HIV/Aids, teenage pregnancy and more.Updated October 2015Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
“I have failed in my initiatives to find a settlement of the Ayodhya issue. The only course left now is to wait for the court verdict.”ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE, Prime Minister “The matter will remain hanging in the court and so long as it is there, it will remain unresolved and,”I have failed in my initiatives to find a settlement of the Ayodhya issue. The only course left now is to wait for the court verdict.”ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE, Prime Minister”The matter will remain hanging in the court and so long as it is there, it will remain unresolved and continue to be a national problem.”UMA BHARATI, Union Sports Minister