ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Credit union leaders from six states visited Washington, D.C. during a busy week in the Nation’s Capital, discussing credit union concerns with policymakers as the House was preparing for its historic vote on the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act.Representatives from the Illinois Credit Union League, Minnesota Credit Union Network, New York Credit Union Association, Ohio Credit Union League, Montana Credit Union Network and West Virginia Credit Union League all visited with legislators and regulators during their visits.Emily Leite, vice president of advocacy for the Ohio Credit Union League, said these trips are impactful for credit unions, as traveling hundreds of miles to Washington, D.C. illustrates the importance of the issues in question. continue reading » CUNA Director of Advocacy Becca Durr speaks with West Virginia credit union leaders as part of their Hike the Hill activities. (WVCUL photo)
As expected Airbus has launched two new versions of its very popular A330 aircraft taking advantage of the latest engine technology from Rolls Royce.Dubbed the A330-800neo and A330-900neo, two new aircraft will incorporate latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features. Benefitting from the economics, versatility and reliability of the A330, the A330neo reduces fuel consumption by a claimed 14 per cent per seat, making it one of the most cost efficient, medium range wide body aircraft in the market. The A330neo will also have an increase of range up to 400 nautical miles. Deliveries of the A330neo will start in Q4 2017. Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group said that the A330 is a very important margin (profit) contributor for Airbus. “It’s also one of the most reliable and efficient commercial aircraft ever. Customers love it. With our decision to re-engine the plane, we will keep the A330 flying high for many more years to come.” In addition to the new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330neo will feature incremental innovations, including aerodynamic enhancements such as new winglets, an increased wing span and new engine pylons.
From left, Bokani Dyer, Nandipha Mntambo,Ben Schoeman, Mamela Nyamza andNeil Coppen.(Image: Suzy Bernstein) The striking art of Nandipha Mntambois created from cowhide.(Image: The Volta Show)MEDIA CONTACTS • Gilly HemphillThe Famous Idea Trading Company+27 21 886 4900 or +27 82 820 8584Chris ThurmanFor any South African feeling gloomy about the state of the nation, the plight of the continent, the receding world economy or any other anxiety-invoking subject, attending the annual Standard Bank Young Artist Awards ceremony should be prescribed as an antidote.Now in its 27th year, this collection of awards acknowledges both the past achievements and future potential of artists under the age of 35 in the categories of visual arts, film, dance, drama, classical music and jazz.Recipients are given a monetary prize, but perhaps more valuable is the platform that the awards provide for promoting each artist’s work; the awards have always been associated with the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and the winners feature prominently in the annual festival programme.The list of former recipients reads like a veritable who’s who in the South African arts community – artist William Kentridge, musician Johnny Clegg, mezzo-soprano Sibongile Khumalo, actors Paul Slabolepszy and Richard E Grant, and director Darrell Roodt, to name just a few.Distinguished winnersThe Young Artists for 2011, announced in late October, have a keen awareness of the prestige of the award.Jazzman Bokani Dyer summed it up in his acceptance speech: “The previous winners are all musicians whom I admire and respect … so this award is a great honour.”In similar vein, theatre-maker Neil Coppen admitted that he had often felt envious of previous winners, and that receiving the award had long been an ambition of his.The sense of continuity between Young Artists past and present was reinforced by the participation of previous recipients such as 2010 music award winner and violinist Samson Diamond, and 1982 theatre award winner Janice Honeyman, the evening’s compère.Indeed, varieties of continuity – both expected and unexpected – developed into the underlying theme of the evening.One such variety was the continuity between childhood dreams and their realisation through the support of family members. It is, of course, something of a cliché to begin an acceptance speech with the words, “I’d like to thank my parents …”. Yet there was nothing trite about the tributes paid by each of the Young Artist recipients to parents, grandparents, siblings and wider family who provided an environment in which their artistic talents could be nurtured.Dance winner Mamela Nyamza recalled how her grandmother, a domestic worker, made it possible for her to attend ballet lessons. Dyer pointed out that his father Steve is a seasoned jazz muso.Coppen jokingly thanked his parents for “not making me play rugby” – but the light-hearted allusion was nonetheless a reminder that there are many young people whose school experiences are tainted by widely-held prejudices in favour of sport and against the arts.Music recipient Ben Schoeman, who is passionate about the role that classical music can play in education, emphasised a different form of continuity by connecting South African students to Ludwig van Beethoven. In his acceptance speech Schoeman showed how, through a series of teacher-pupil relationships and over many generations, the famous German composer can be associated with those who have studied music at the University of South Africa.Such local/global continuity was echoed in the visual arts category. Award winner Nandipha Mntambo has pioneered the use of cowhide as a material for sculpture and in her photographic self-portraits she uses bovine images to provoke the viewer into questioning divisions between humans and animals, as well as between men and women. Cattle have a significant symbolic status in South Africa, but this is not unique: as Mntambo noted, they are central to myths and religions all over the world.Previous generations of South African artists have experienced acutely the tension between local and global commitments. For these Young Artists, however, the two are by no means mutually exclusive. Each of them is already well-travelled and has studied, exhibited work or performed internationally; the award will facilitate the growth of their reputation outside of South Africa’s borders as much as within the country.Supporter of the artsStandard Bank has been in the news of late for all the wrong reasons – sustained low revenues have forced the company to retrench over 1 500 staff members – and as a result it faces numerous public relations challenges.The bank’s long-term sponsorship of the arts in South Africa, particularly its association with the National Arts Festival, is doubtless one of its major assets in terms of public image, yet suggestions that the bank will reduce its sponsorship portfolio as part of a spate of cost-cutting measures do not augur well for the continuation of that relationship. If this does prove to be the case, it will be a great pity.But all may not be lost – in the words of Standard Bank’s head of arts and jazz sponsorship, Mandie van der Spuy, “As a bank we are dedicated to nurturing arts talent in South Africa, and we believe that the awards play a vital role in advancing the artists’ careers as well as our country’s cultural heritage.”Van der Spuy added that the Young Artist award plays a key role in the bank’s commitment to developing upcoming South African talent.
Unable to find books written in her mother tongue, telling stories that related to her life, Charmaine Mrwebi wrote her own – and set up a distribution platform for her own and other writers’ books.Charmaine Mrwebi uses her love of the performing arts to help kids in the Free State learn about their world. (Image: Charmaine Mrwebi)Sulaiman PhilipEveryone should read says Charmaine Mrwebi. The published author, librarian and founder of the Charmza Literary Club says: “Our people should visit our libraries and become friends of books. Remember, any person who reads books on a daily basis, develops listening skills. Reading helps learners and students to perform better at school.”Charmza Literary Club visits schools around Thaba ‘Nchu, her hometown, where she shares her love of reading and its importance through poetry readings and puppet shows. She wants to empower communities to be able to tell their stories in their own language. “We also teach adults the necessary writing steps on how to write their books, edit and publish them in their language.”Mrwebi uses her monthly school visits to identify young writers to mentor, to encourage them and let them know they are not working in isolation. Once they have been identified, Mrwebi will, “…donate books to these writers after they have formed their book clubs, poetry groups and reading clubs”.She says that these visits bring her the greatest joy, especially if she gets to tell stories in her mother tongue. “I love that the children can get to teach me new songs. Or tell me a story their grandmothers told them. The more books we read together or stories we tell the more they open up and feel safe sharing their experiences.”As an author and poet, she feels blessed to belong to a community that passes on lore, history and culture from one generation to the next. The world is blessed, she says, by having writers who share their love of words. “When each one teaches the other, eventually we are going to have a community of writers telling stories and contributing towards solutions in our country. I feel that I have to keep pushing and investing in the seed of literature continuously even in the midst of challenges.”Charmza Literary Club gives children the opportunity to tell stories in their mother tongue. (Image: Charmaine Mrwebi)Among her first published books was Mantlwane… Ga re Tshamekeng (Mantlwane Let Us Play) based on a game she played as a child. “Mantlwane was a game I played as a child. It helps to build your imagination, it moulded who I am today. Children have so many distractions today that we are losing that ability to build whole worlds.”Travel while standing stillGrowing up in Thaba ‘Nchu, Mrwebi was a voracious reader. She has often spoken about how reading allowed her to travel the world without leaving her home. “There was one library in Thaba ‘Nchu and no mall. The first time I even heard about this thing called a mall was in a book. That is an important lesson I share. It does not matter where you come from, the world does not need to be a mystery. Or strange.”But she yearned to find books written in Setswana, her mother tongue, about her own experiences. She believes it’s important to read, and write, your own literature. Writers, she says, think and dream in their mother tongue and something is lost when it is translated. Desperate to share her culture with the world, she has self-published four books in her mother tongue. “In the mother tongue a writer’s message is clear. In translation, something is lost.”The desire to get more mother tongue books into print was the acorn that grew into Charmza Literary Club, her publishing business. Charmza is, as she explains, one house with many rooms that include publishing, her storytelling school visits, her poetry workshops and the work she does with the Performing Arts Council of the Free State.“When I published my first book I thought book stores and distributors would jump to stock it. When that did not happen, I needed to create a platform to distribute my book so I created Charmza. I’ve got my books and the authors we publish out because we needed to learn how to be persistent and innovative.”She is hopeful that, like her, there is a young Setswana writer who will be inspired to tell their own story. And who is Mrwebi inspired by? There is her grandmother of course, Ellen Kuzwayo, author of Call Me Woman.Without missing a beat, however, she says Buchi Emecheta, the Nigerian author of The Bride Price and The Joys of Motherhood. “Despite all her challenges – a single woman in a foreign country; raising four kids. Unemployed. She rose above it all. Her writing, her love of books lifted her up.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.