President Ramaphosa conveys condolences on the passing of acclaimed actor-playwright Mr Winston Ntshona

President Cyril Ramaphosa joins the creative sector and audiences in South Africa and beyond in paying tribute to the widely acclaimed and uniquely talented actor and playwright, Mr Winston Ntshona, who passed away today, 02 August 2018.

President Ramaphosa has extended his heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and comrades of MrNtshona who will be remembered for his immeasurable contribution to the creative industry and performance art in particular, which he leveraged as a platform of resistance against apartheid.

In 2010, MrNtshona was awarded the National Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for his excellent contribution to theatre and the arts scene in South Africa. MrNtshona’s shining gifts in performance art were widely appreciated when he collaborated with his peers � the equally celebrated John Kani and Athol Fugard � in the political dramas SizweBanzi is Dead and The Island.

MrNtshona was a protest theatre stalwart who captivated audiences globally and earned a prestigious Tony Award for Best Actor from the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League in recognition of his exceptional perfomances.

President Ramaphosa said: We are saddened by the loss of a leading light in our creative sector; one who caused us in the audience to focus attention on his compelling performance, while he caused us to reflect on ourselves and the human condition.

Winston Ntshona embodied in the important role that artists played in exposing the injustices of apartheid and moving people in South Africa and elsewhere to act against an unjust regime. As an artist with a just cause, he ensured that the curtain would never come down on our Struggle”‘.

Winston Ntshona is a one-of-a-kind, one-in-a-generation artist whose impact on our world today is inscribed on South Africa’s history for generations that follow to draw lessons from and uplift our nation as he has done in his lifetime. Our hearts are heavy as a towering tree of knowledge has fallen, and yet we are comforted to know that his work will continue through those he helped shape in instilling social consciousness through arts and culture. May his soul rest in peace.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

President Ramaphosa conveys condolences on the passing of acclaimed actor-playwright Mr Winston Ntshona

President Cyril Ramaphosa joins the creative sector and audiences in South Africa and beyond in paying tribute to the widely acclaimed and uniquely talented actor and playwright, Mr Winston Ntshona, who passed away today, 02 August 2018.

President Ramaphosa has extended his heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and comrades of MrNtshona who will be remembered for his immeasurable contribution to the creative industry and performance art in particular, which he leveraged as a platform of resistance against apartheid.

In 2010, MrNtshona was awarded the National Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for his excellent contribution to theatre and the arts scene in South Africa. MrNtshona’s shining gifts in performance art were widely appreciated when he collaborated with his peers � the equally celebrated John Kani and Athol Fugard � in the political dramas SizweBanzi is Dead and The Island.

MrNtshona was a protest theatre stalwart who captivated audiences globally and earned a prestigious Tony Award for Best Actor from the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League in recognition of his exceptional perfomances.

President Ramaphosa said: We are saddened by the loss of a leading light in our creative sector; one who caused us in the audience to focus attention on his compelling performance, while he caused us to reflect on ourselves and the human condition.

Winston Ntshona embodied in the important role that artists played in exposing the injustices of apartheid and moving people in South Africa and elsewhere to act against an unjust regime. As an artist with a just cause, he ensured that the curtain would never come down on our Struggle”‘.

Winston Ntshona is a one-of-a-kind, one-in-a-generation artist whose impact on our world today is inscribed on South Africa’s history for generations that follow to draw lessons from and uplift our nation as he has done in his lifetime. Our hearts are heavy as a towering tree of knowledge has fallen, and yet we are comforted to know that his work will continue through those he helped shape in instilling social consciousness through arts and culture. May his soul rest in peace.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

Zimbabwe Human Rights Groups Condemn Post-Election Violence

Zimbabwean human rights activists on Thursday condemned soldiers’ actions in post-election violence that killed at least three people in the capital, as the nation’s electoral commission promised delayed presidential poll results would be issued soon.

“There’s absolutely no skullduggery or anything untoward happening, said Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairman Emmanuel Magade, when asked why the presidential results had yet to be announced.

Legally, officials said, they have until August 4 to release results, and promised they would release them very soon.

Opposition challenger Nelson Chamisa has claimed victory in Monday’s election, and on Wednesday, hundreds of angry opposition supporters protested outside the election commission. Demonstrators threw rocks as police fired back with tear gas and water cannon. Later, army vehicles rolled through the streets, and soldiers were seen beating and shooting at pedestrians.

The streets of central Harare, usually a hive of activity and a snarl of traffic, were eerily quiet Thursday morning as soldiers and police manned the streets and told shopkeepers to close early and go home.

On Wednesday, the police announced that they had called in the army to assist in keeping order, invoking the controversial Public Order and Security Act. That act has been used during previous elections under the iron-fisted rule of longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

Activist JestinaMukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, described the soldiers’ response to protests as outrageous.

Reports indicated that the [police] were in control of the situation when military vehicles were observed driving into the central business district, she said. Gunshots were fired randomly throughout the central business district, and forum observers witnessed soldiers randomly firing live bullets and beating up bystanders who were not involved in the protest. The military’s conduct fell short of internationally accepted standards in controlling protesting crowds.

On Monday morning, President EmmersonMnangagwa appeared to strike a conciliatory tone on Twitter, saying he would call for an investigation into the violence. He also said, We have been in communication with Nelson Chamisa to discuss how to immediately defuse the situation, and we must maintain this dialogue in order to protect the peace we hold dear.

But LizweJamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said Zimbabwe’s leadership needs to do more than make statements.

What is needed is a commitment that what happened yesterday will never happen again, he said. The statements may just be words loaded with promises, but the real issue is: what are they telling the soldiers that are on the street, what are they telling the police that are on the street in response to what is going to happen if citizens protest? What [are] the orders that are being given? Because responsibility lies entirely on the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that all Zimbabweans are being protected and that the sanctity of life is respected.

Source: Voice of America

Heatwave Hits Iberian Peninsula, Bringing Health Warnings

Much of the Iberian Peninsula is experiencing the year’s first heatwave, with the mercury expected to soar before peaking at 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in some areas of southern Portugal this weekend.

Authorities say temperatures are being driven higher Thursday by a hot air mass moving northward from Africa.

Forecasts are for a high of 44 degrees (111 Fahrenheit) in the Portuguese city of Evora, 130 kilometers east of Lisbon, and the Spanish province of Badajoz across the border.

Portuguese authorities have issued a nationwide health warning, while warnings have also been issued for 40 of Spain’s 50 provinces.

The Portuguese town of Beja is expected to record a peak of 47 degrees on Saturday.

Spain’s Meteorological Agency says thermometers are expected to begin dropping that day.

Source: Voice of America

Zimbabwe Protesters, Security Forces Clash as Election Results Delayed

Zimbabwe waited Thursday for the results of its presidential election, a day after security forces clashed with protesters who were demanding to know who will be the country’s next leader.

The voting took place Monday and election officials were expected to have results by Wednesday, but they delayed the release at least one more day.

In the capital, Harare, the clashes between protesters and police left three people dead and afterward authorities invoked a law formally calling on the army to help maintain order.

President EmmersonMnangagwa called Thursday for an independent investigation of the violence while stressing the need for the nation to move forward together.

We believe in transparency and accountability, and those responsible should be identified and brought to justice, he wrote on Twitter. It is also more important than ever that we are united and commit to settling our differences peacefully and respectfully, and within the confines of the law.

Mnangagwa said his government has been in communication with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa to discuss ways to immediately diffuse the situation.

Chamisa and his opposition Movement for Democratic Change party have alleged cheating in the election and say Chamisa won the vote.

Results from parliamentary races have been announced, with the ruling ZANU-PF party winning a majority in that body.ZANU-PF is the party of longtime ruler Robert Mugabe who stepped down under pressure from the military in November, and the parliamentary result could signal a strong showing for Mnangagwa.

Election office protests

Wednesday’s violence happened after about 150 demonstrators gathered outside the offices of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Police tried to disperse the protesters using water cannon and tear gas. Protesters threw rocks in their direction and started fires in the street.

Then the army appeared, in armored personnel carriers on Harare’s main boulevard, and overhead in a helicopter. VOA saw five armored vehicles with mounted high-caliber weapons, navigating around large rocks that littered the road. Gunfire echoed in the distance.

VOA saw three soldiers beating a young man with batons; other witnesses reported seeing one man shot dead and a woman face-down on the pavement, a bullet hole in the middle of her back.

Protesters did not give their names, but had plenty to say.

You see, they are using military! How can a general be a president? That government is full of military personnel! shouted one young man.

Chamisa’s spokesman, NkululekoSibanda, rejected an accusation from Mnangagwa that the opposition was responsible for the violence.

President Nelson Chamisa has not ordered any guns on the street. So he cannot be accused of being violent, because he has put no guns on the street, Sibanda said.

He said the opposition has serious doubts about official results that show the ruling ZANU-PF party is winning control of parliament and has suspicions about the delay in the presidential results.

How do we have results from a place that has no telephone line first before we have results from Harare central? he said. Harare is an opposition stronghold.

Inside the headquarters of ZEC, international observers aired their concerns, with the EU and American observer missions voicing worry over subtle intimidation ahead of the vote and noting that the longer the results take, the more tense this wounded nation will be.

Former Ethiopian prime ministerHailemariamDesalegn urged ZEC to conclude the electoral process in a speedy manner in accordance with the law.

We also urge other stakeholders, particularly political party leaders and their supporters, to continue to maintain peace and refrain from acts that might undermine the integrity of the process or threaten the peace and stability of the country.

Mnangagwa has promised to restore the nation’s fractured international relations.

Difference for Zimbabwe

U.S. Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, who is in Harare, says this election could make a difference in Zimbabwe.

Shortly before coming here, we passed out of the House of Representatives a resolution really calling on the Zimbabwean people to have a peaceful, transparent and fair election, and raising the possibility of evaluating U.S. policy. So that hangs in the air, she said.

Source: Voice of America