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Finland - South Africa Association
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Latest Ubuntu in pdf format


The latest Ubuntu in available in pdf format in http://www.afrikka.net/uploads/ubuntu2014web.pdf.


FSAA board for 2013 chosen


FSAA chose the board for 2013 in the annual meeting on May 25. Board members are as follows: Arja Alho, Vesa V. Viitaniemi, Börje Mattsson, Pekka Peltola, Leenä Märsylä, Eila Karhu, Helvi Kolehmainen, Suvianna Hakalehto-Wainio as well as Iikka Saunamäki. The representative for adoptive families will be announced later. Substitutes are Annu Kekäläinen, Mark Waller, Kari Kallonen and Petra Jääskeläinen.



Ubuntu 1 / 2012 is published electronically on our website!


The latest issue of FSAA's Ubuntu magazine can now be read free of charge on our website. You will find it in the Publications-section. In this issue you can read about ANC at 100, the Micro Entrepreneurship Project, and an interesting interview of an emerging South African author Deon Meyer. Ubuntu met Mr Meyer in Stockholm last spring.


FSAA Board 2012 was chosen


In the annual meeting of Finland-South Africa Association on June 9, a new board for the year 2012 was chosen. Arja Alho will continue as the chair. Board members are Arto Bryggare, Börje Mattsson, Carita Nygren, Erkki Haarala, Helvi Kolehmainen, Iikka Saunamäki, Leena Märsylä and Suvianna Hakalehto-Wainio. Substitutes are Annu Kekäläinen, Kari Kallonen, Mark Waller and Pekka Peltola.


Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Savoy Theatre in Helsinki


Eastway proudly presents:


"It isn't merely the grace and power of their dancing or the beauty of their singing that rivets the attention, but the sheer joy and love that emanates from their being." -Paul Simon

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has immortalized its name in the history of world music. During an outstanding career of more than 50 years, this brilliant a cappella group has become one of the best known South African music groups worldwide.



A long and winding road for Zille's DA


Karima Brown &  Vukani Mde Southern Africa Report Editors

The major plus for South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) in the 18 May 2011 local elections has been its entrenchment as the only real opposition to the ANC political juggernaut.

Of the 122 parties competing it was one of only two (alongside the ANC) to take more than a million individual votes in the urban proportional representation (PR) vote. Its 21,9% of the total vote reflects a remarkable recovery from the DA's 2006 local government poll performance, when it plummeted to just 16% - down from 22% in the first council elections in 2000. This year's showing is slightly ahead of with the party's performance in South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994 (20,4%). A second plus is the professionalism of its electoral machine - its improved showing was mainly a consequence of its success in getting its supporters out of their homes and into the voting queues.


Watershed election to reflect SA's shifting political sands


ALLISTER SPARKS Published: 2011/05/11 06:38:12 AM

As we enter the last days of campaigning for the local government elections it is evident that the tectonic plates of our political structure are beginning to shift. There appears to be a consensus among analysts that the Democratic Alliance (DA) is making some inroads in the black townships and that the African National Congress (ANC) is in a state of confusion.

How far this will go remains to be seen, but I suspect it will be greater rather than less than most analysts expect. Our political history indicates that when the leviathan parties that have dominated this country in successive phases since the Act of Union 101 years ago begin to lose momentum, the decline can be quite steep.

This is because liberation-cum-nationalist movements tend to be coalitions of different factions bonded together to attain a particular objective, which, once attained, begin to lose cohesion and become prone to faction fighting. Which is why I believe a changing political landscape lies ahead and that next Wednesday will see the start of it


2010 South African Reconciliation Barometer Data


2010 South African Reconciliation Barometer data has been released by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

*Press Release 14 December 2010

Economic insecurity threatens 2010 World Cup gains, survey finds

* South Africans are increasingly worried about their economic security putting at risk gains that have been made and leading to significant stress, a major reconciliation survey has found.

"Human security concerns have been amongst the country's biggest challenges," said the Institute of Justice's Kate Lefko-Everett and "one could argue one of the areas in which progress has been the slowest".

On the positive side there has been a moderate overall improvement in perceptions of physical security and safety which "goes some way to offset the negative social consequences of physical insecurity", said Lefko-Everett.


Tutu announces retirement plans, thanks South Africans

By Munyaradzi Makoni Cape Town, 22 July (ENI)

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has announced his intention to wind down his public engagements, when he turns 79 in October. "I think I have done as much as I can, and I really do need time for other things that I have wanted to do," Tutu told a 22 July media briefing at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town. He also thanked South Africans for their contribution to the world. Tutu became the first black general secretary of the South African Council of Churches in 1978, and then in 1986 the first black Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, a post from which he retired in 1996. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and he chaired South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated human rights violations in the apartheid era.



New project coordinator

The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted NGO support for the coming years. The Finland - South Africa Association has been granted 731 00 euros for 2010-2012 for its Project on Micro Entrepreneurial Training. The share of self financing is 15 %, 132 000 euros.

The long-time project coorditor Leena Marsio will leave her post due to maternity leave and Mr. Iikka Saunamäki will continue the work. 


Why I choose not to write a political column at this time


To be quite honest, I have little enthusiasm for writing this or any other column at this time. After all, it is nearly Christmas and peace and goodwill should be the theme transcending all others these next several weeks. Not that there is any dirth of material to cover.



Funding for FSAA entrepreneurial project

The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted NGO support for the coming years, altogether 24,5 million euros.

The Finland - South Africa Association has been granted 731 00 euros for 2010-2012 for its Project on Micro Entrepreneurial Training. The share of self financing is 15 %, 132 000 euros.

FSAA shall continue its work with the SA partners on training micro entrepreneurs with enthusiasm!





SAHO - breaking the silence of the past - South African History Online

SAHO is a non-partisan people's history project that provides a mass of information on different aspects of South African history. In a country that for a long period only promoted the history of the oppressor and sought to eliminate the history of the non-white majority of people, history has become an important means of recovering the past, of recording memory andovercoming the subjugation of African culture.

The site includes encyclopedic chronologies of South African history, profiles of people, events and key areas of arts and culture, interactive debates on past and present SA events and teaching aids. It also has an online bookshop. According to the website's authors SAHO's mission is to break the silence of our past and to create the most comprehensive online encyclopedia of South African history and culture. SAHO has committed itself to involve heritage and academic institutions as well as ordinary South Africans in rewritingthe country'shistory and in that way contributing to reconciliation, the building of a common humanity and a non-racial, non sexist and democratic society.SAHO is a valuable means of increasing knowledge and awareness of SouthAfrica, not just in the country but in all countries.

 Readmore at http://www.sahistory.org.za/

 By Mark Waller



President Zuma's state of the nation address




Poet Vonani Bila to Finland

One of SA's top poets, Vonani Bila, will be in Finland in the end of May 2009. The fifth in a family of eight children, Vonani Bila was born in 1972 and grew up in poverty-stricken Shirley Village, Limpopo, where he walked 14 kilometres daily to Lemana High School in Elim. He went on to study at Tivumbeni College of Education and hoped to join Umkhonto we Sizwe until the death of his father necessitated a change of plans.

Vonani Bila is especially known for his powerful poetry of social commentary. A poet writing in English and Xitsonga, Bila has performed in Belgium, Sweden, Holland, Ghana and Brazil, and has authored eight storybooks in English, Northern Sotho and Xitsonga for newly literate adult readers. In 2005, he was nominated for the Daimler Chrysler 2005 South Africa Poetry Award.

Bila is the founder of the Timbila Poetry Project, which has published a series of poetry collections and the literary journal Timbila. He has been instrumental in getting the works of marginalised poets into circulation and has been a nurturing inspiration for aspiring poets, holding workshops and actively encouraging new voices.

You can meet Vonani in the World Village Festival in Helsinki
Sat 23.5.2009 16:40-17:00, Mekong-stage, Vonani Bila: Poems 
Sat 23.5.2009 18:20-18:40, Amazon-stage, African Poems: Shailja Patel and Vonani Bila 
Sun 24.5.2009 13:40-14:00, Amazon-stage, Postcolonial Literature in Africa: Shailja Patel, Vonani Bila and Mohammed Umar

On the 16th May Vonani is in Tampere Social forum, 17th May Poetry Marathon' of the Lahti Poetry Week and on 25th May his poems can be heard in Hämeenlinna.


Finnish Entrepreneurs in SA

"Wonderful, great, beautiful, clean. People are very friendly and helpful." "Our trip was full 10! A piece of our hearts was left in South Africa."

This summarises the thoughts of entrepreneurs from Turku region who spent two weeks in SA in February. The group got to know differents part of the country, but also the project of Finland-South Africa Association "Developing Micro Entrepreneurship in SA 2005-2009".

Newspaper Turun Sanomat published an article by Helvi Kolehmainen.


Health Care Crisis in SA


The decision of the Free State government to scale back essential health care services has resulted in thousands of patients in immediate need of care being turned away from Free State clinics since 1 November 2008. This has caused avoidable deaths and illness.



South Africa's troubled waters

by Mark Waller

The recent outbreaks of cholera in South Africa are highlighting deeper and more persistent problems with the country's overstretched water resources. These feature the legacies of South Africa's turbulent past and present - a century of largely unregulated and rapacious gold mining and the current HIV pandemic.



Crisis in South Africa

The wave of xenophobia must not expand into a human catastrophe. In China the earth has quaked, in Myanmar the water flood, but in South Africa people have seeked for shelter from each other - and are now being beaten.

The Government of Finland and the international community must intervene in this and support the South African government in stopping the violence. But not with violence, but to give shelter to those affected by xenophobia and for giving the poor South Africans a message of social development also from the international community.

The restlessness stems from the troublesome building of democracy, and the slow development of economic, social and educational equality. In the poor black communities unemployment and poverty have not eased off as hoped during the almost 15 years of democracy and now this fact is taken advantage off for political purposes. People in plight react to loss of hope by seeking offenders from people speaking different languages, people who have fled for their lives from Zimbabwe, Somalia and Mozambique.

The world is in the village this weekend in Helsinki. Now interference in the situation is needed both from Finland and the international community. South Africa must not become the new Zimbabwe.

Chairperson Arja Alho, 23.5.2008

World Cup Victory... The Morning After

By David Dalling

There is absolutely no doubt. Sport is a great uniter. And a world beating sports team such as the 2007 South African Springboks is of solid platinum value to our nation, both in our standing in the rugby playing world, and in the sense of belonging, togetherness and mutual pride it has brought to every South African , Black, White, Coloured and Asian. There is a real excitement in the success of our team, which reflects on us all. We all bask in the afterglow.

And the brilliant success on the field of Brian Habana and J.P.Pietersen, the only two players of colour who made the squad for the semi final and final matches of the World Cup brought joy to every South African regardless of political affiliation or race. They deserve every ounce of praise they receive.

But the question is,.... Is that enough? Only two players of colour in the national side of fifteen players and one on the bench? Why so few? Given the population demographics of our country it is obvious to see that the numbers are out of kilter.

The answer lies in the following conundrum..... Virtually all South Africans would like to see more Black players in our South African Springbok rugby team.

The rub is that these same South African supporters like their team to win. In fact they demand that their team be winners. Losing national sides lose their supporters and their spectator base. No doubt about that. In order to be a winning side, we need at all times to select the strongest side possible and include in it only the very best players.

And players like Breyton Paulse, Akona Ndungane, Chilliboy Ralepele, Lawrence Sephaka, Errol Tobias, Chester Williams and the like do not emerge every day and are few and far between.In fact I am willing to wager that with very few exceptions , Black and Coloured Super 14 and Springbok players emerged from schools where rugby was played. Chilliboy Ralepeli, like our current Springbok captain John Smit, for instance is a product of Pretoria Boys High School.

And the problem will not be solved by the ignorant bleatings of Butana Komphela, the unfortunate chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport who threatened to block the granting of passports to the Springbok team because it was too white. Anyway it was all just bluster, because in the end result he eagerly accepted a corporate freebee to attend the Cup Final in Paris.
Hypocrisy at its best!!

The truth is that really top players are not created overnight.They are nurtured, they are coached, they are trained, and in the final result they have access to up to date fitness equipment and technical support. And it takes years, not weeks nor months to produce a player of truly high class quality.

And as we all know,most schools in the Black townships hardly have playgrounds at all, let alone cared for rugby fields. The chances of a Super 14 or Springbok player emerging from a township school, given the paucity of facilities, the scarcity of rugby coaches, is remote to say the least.

Currently the pool from which black rugby players are drawn is relatively small, and is made up of boys who have been educated in rugby playing former Model C schools or private schools.

Exceptions to this are in the Western Cape where many so called coloured schools play rugby and also in the Eastern Cape where rugby is played in some black schools.

So even to Mr Komphela the way forward must be staring him in the face. His committee , instead of insulting the Springboks should use its influence to promote the playing of rugby and the training of rugby coaches in the township schools. And so should the Department of Sport.

And herein lies a huge opportunity for big business, Telkom,Sasol,Iscor, Rupert International, Anglo American, the Shoprite Checkers Group, Old Mutual, SA Breweries, Pick and Pay and the like to make a real and lasting contribution to the building of rugby teams in the township schools, as also to the improvement of the quality of life of thousands of kids, and ultimately to the selection of more skilled athletes to the Springbok team who are black.

Surely it is possible to establish black interschool competitions as well as non racial rugby contact and competitions within the next five years. This is not an impossible task.

Vodacom, for instance should stop telling us at great cost that they are the greatest supporters of SA rugby supporters and rather do their bit in making a difference in the black communities where their money can be much more productively spent.

As Sir Richard Branson wrote in one of his most recent books, "SCREW IT,... LETS DO IT !

A Warning to ANC


Lets face it. South Africa is suffering from an acute case of schizophrenia.

There is so much happening that is good and praiseworthy, yet on the flipside of the coin there is inscribed a litany of negative and blameworthy events, detracting from both the image and the living standards in our country for all our people.

Only a few weeks ago, Leslie Maasdorp was quoted in the influential Wall Street Journal as follows......,

"Over the past decade, SA implemented fiscal and structural reforms that are a case study in sound economic management for developing as well as developed countries............ Mr Manuel once again carefully balanced policies that promote growth and alleviate poverty. Though the government revised down the growth outlook for 2008 to 4% from 4.5% to take account of the global slowdown and the impact of electricity rationing, the outlook looks more favourable than it has been in several decades."

Overhauling Apartheid's expansionary budget policy the government fast cut the deficit , overhauled the tax system and shifted expenditure from defence to education health and welfare."......

"At the same time SA reduced its debt and hence its debt service costs. This freed up money to fund public services."

John Battersby, spokesperson for the International Marketing Council of SA has been quoted as writing........

"SA has weathered a change in Party leadership which marks the first time that a governing Party in Africa has removed a serving leader in a free vote.The change of Party leadership sends a clear signal to the rest of Africa and the world that SA will observe both the letter and the spirit of term limitation and leadership renewal"

He commented further,....."Government has moved swiftly to compile and implement a comprehensive response to the electricity crisis including an emergency period for outages, a four month period of rationing, and a two year energy conservation period."

Meanwhile, other sources of power, including nuclear, hydro-electric, gas, coal and wind , are being harnessed urgently to overcome the shortage and build for the future.

Battersby comments lastly,.... "The underlying fundamentals of the economy are sound and the economy has weathered the international credit crisis and volatile equity markets better than most. "

Tony Heard, former editir of the Cape Times, and currently an advisor in the office of the Presidency, after commenting favourably on the growth of the economy, tangendentally wrote,......"Tourism continues to attract increasing millions each year, drawn inter alia by our legendary natural beauty, our vibrancy as a nation and exquisite wildlife areas."

True this is, but if we are honest we cannot but admit that the idyllic image of the Mandela inspired rainbow nation has faded badly.

The electricity crisis which has threatened to implode the growth of our economy, is a direct result of both government executive incompetence and indifference, as also the lack of planning of the power generating monopoly, Eskom. President Mbeki has apologized to the nation and has accepted Cabinet collective responsibility, yet no-one has resigned. No-one has been censured, rendering both his apology and acceptance of collective responsibility totally meaningless. This is no doubt deliberate.On the contrary the senior management of Eskom were rewarded for their manifest failuresby receiving their usual multi million rand bonuses.

On top of this Eskom, apparently with government backing has demanded a price increase of some 60% and has arrogantly told the independent regulator that if not approved immediately, it will be back dated to 1st April, thus furthering the pain suffered by all citizens, which has been caused by the maladministration of the electricity facilty by both the Eskom management and the ANC government.

To cap all this South Africans continue to live with an excessively high crime rate ( 50 murders per day, 365 days p.a. ), a failing school education system, the continuation of the asanine admiinistration of our health care system by a Minister derided by all except the President.

South Africa's limp wristed response to Zimbabwe's criminally tyrannical leadership of that hapless and tortured country to the north of us is yet another good reason for strong condemnation.

The results are sobering to say the least. Skilled South Africans are by the thousands voting with their feet. Perhaps just over 1 million such people have in the past two years found greater security, better jobs, a warmer welcome in such countries as the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the like. No amount of "Please come home" campaigns will bring people back while families feel unsafe in their homes, or lack cofidence in their future and that of their children due to the skewed application of affirmative action.

Unless this unfairly applied racialistic policy is drastically amended,...unless violent crime is decisively defeated, more and more educated people will quietly leave, never to return to live. Delivery to the masses of quality services, of health care, of education will go from bad to worse, and the damage will take decades to repair.

But in all this lies a clear warning to the ANC. The people are not fools. They see the newly acquired amazing wealth of the favoured few via cozy BEE deals. They suffer from crime just like all of us. They note the apparent toleration of corruption, - the venal and unpunished ANC Parliamentarians who tried to defraud Parliament and the taxpayers via Travelgate.

Very recently, Macassar, a mixed black/coloured ward on the outskirts of Cape Town, including in its area an enclave of some 2500 wealthy white voters was the scene of a municipal by election. In 2005, the DA won the Ward by polling 2500 votes, with the ANC coming in secondwith some 1500 votes, and the newly formed Independent Democrats led by the feisty Patricia De Lille trailing in third position with some 1000 votes.

This time around the DA dropped some 200 votes to come in second, the ANC lost some 700 votes to drop to a poor third and the ID won the Ward by polling over 2500 votes, an improvement of some 1500 votes.

The warning is this: If the ANC continue to use their energies to enrich themselves and their friends, rather than uplift the entire country,.. if the ANC led government continues to fail to to provide security against crime to ordinary families, if the ANC's policies continue to make skilled minorities feel unwanted in their own country, whether it be in the workplace or on the sportsfields, these people will drain away and leave the country. Service delivery will suffer even further, and the ANC will eventually lose the loyalty of even its strongest supporters.

This is no threat, but merely an informed prediction.

It is time to get back to the policies and attitudes of Nelson Mandela. It is time to re-create the "Rainbow Nation"'

As a Nationalist Prime Minister once said, "The alternative is too ghastly to contemplate".

David Dalling is a former ANC Member of Parliament of SA.

FSAA's project trainer as a candidate for SA's social entrepreneurs

Four innovative South Africans have been chosen as finalists for the Social Entrepreneur Awards South Africa 2007, in recognition of the positive impact of their achievements in the areas of social change and sustainability.

According to organisers the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the awards, held in partnership with Ernst & Young, are an acknowledgement of the positive impact of those people's efforts on South Africa, through a focus on social change, innovation and sustainability.

One of the four finalists is Cedric Buffler from the Trident Institute that offers the Micro-MBA programme. Most of the trainees in FSAA's Project "Developing micro Entrepreneuship in South Africa" have been traines in the programme.

Micro MBA has helped to create or improve over 160 000 small businesses since 1991. To date Trident has trained over 4800 Trainer - Mentors, representing some 350 organisations. Recognising the challenge of funding for education, Trident also established the Micro-MBA Bursary (Scholarship) Fund, to provide an avenue to donors to provide funding for people who could not afford to attend the courses to have full access.

South Africa Info

Book by learners bridges Soshanguve and Finland

A book titled Know my Language - Tseba leleme la ka - Tunne kieleni, has been written jointly by learners from the Arethabeng Primary School in Soshanguve,SA and Mikkola School in Vantaa, Finland in 2007.

The book is a collection of learners' stories and descriptions of their everyday lives - the things they like, what they do at home, their routines, families and games. The book has translations to and from Finnish, Sesotho and English of the children's writings.

The book has been edited by teachers from Arethabeng and Mikkola schools, who have created a ‘friendship school' between them of small scale projects that have become progressively more ambitious.

These started with exchanges of letters from learners, exchanges of music and curricula, and visits by teachers from both countries.

The presentation of the book will be made by six teachers from Mikkola who have come to Soshanguve to further develop the friendship ties between the two schools. The aim is that they will eventually be able to run exchanges among learners.

"It's important that children in Finland get to know about life in South Africa and the changes taking place here directly through their own interaction with those at Arethabeng," says Helena Korpela from Mikkola school, one of the pioneers of the project.

"Having Mikkola as a friendship school has been a great ting for our teachers and learners," says Mmapula Sekhu, Principal of Arethabeng. "They have learnt about life in a country they would otherwise have hardly heard of. Many school twinning projects come to nothing. But ours has taken off. We've become a family."