5 Positive RSA Stories within 2016

By December 9, 2016Prestigio

Headlines Don’t Shout the Good News Loud Enough

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It is unfortunate but true that many headlines are tailored to grab attention and shock with the wildest exclamations. Often they are not cheerful positive news stories detailing the progress made either. It is possible that not enough reporting regarding the people working to effect positive change towards a better future is being made. Research shows that positive news stories increase our confidence in being able to contribute meaningfully to build the future we want!

For this reason, Prestigio wants to focus attention on #PotentialUnleashed and remind everyone of the exciting and hopeful inspiration that abounds here in South Africa. Check out these citizens bringing their ‘A’ game!

Academics: The Sky is the Limit

Teenagers can change the world too! Check out what these inspiring school girls from economically disadvantaged areas in Cape Town are doing!

They are working on the launch particulars of Africa’s first privately-funded satellite which hopes to find solutions to South Africa’s drought!

The tech-savvy initiative was developed by The Meta Economic Development Organisation working side by side with Morehead State University. The aim of it is to involve girls in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Subjects where currently there is a gender gap. A group of 120 girls was selected to participate in technical workshops, science camps, and projects such as building high-altitude weather balloons. Twelve girls have now been selected and given the important task of deciding the satellite’s payload measure, as well as details such as radioactivity, sound levels and temperature.

The plan is for the satellite to be launched in May 2017, and once in orbit, the women will be able to continue communicating with it and analyze the data it generates. The aim is to employ the data in crop monitoring and disaster prevention.

The program seems to be accomplishing its mission already as Bhanekazi Thandwa; a seventeen year old participant reported that “SpaceTrek has opened my eyes. Now I can stand my ground and pursue science.”

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Adventure: In Love and Breaking Records

One could be forgiven for thinking that Riaan Mansler and Vasti Geldenhuys had enough rowing to last a lifetime after they became the first people to row from mainland Africa to New York City in 2014. But in an unusual celebration of tying the knot, the couple decided to get back into the boat and take on the Pacific Ocean!  During 39 days at sea and over 2,400 miles paddled they were sorely tested by bad weather conditions. They completed their journey at the end of August, to discover upon docking that their row was record breaking! As the first mixed pair to row the route, they beat the previous record held by four men, by over five and a half hours.

This trip gave Vasti and Riaan the distinction of being the fastest, and the first mixed gender pair to row the Mid-Pacific alongside the being the first South African’s to row any Pacific route.

Well-done intrepid adventures! To hear more about their trip watch this interview, click here. Riaan shares some words of wisdom on the importance of relationship, “If you’re going to be inspirational you need to connect with people” and “When people listen to this story, they also realize that stories that you create yourself are only relevant when you can share them with people you care for.” [Additional source]

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Aesthetics: Fashion as wearable Art

South Africa fashion got to bask in the international limelight this year. Beyonce brought massive attention to the work of wearable art designer Laduma Ngxokolo.

She openly admired his work on her blog in April after she saw his work on display in a New York City art gallery.  Laduma Ngxokolo credits his mother with teaching him how to use a knitting machine as a youth.

Since learning the skill, Ngxokolo has fabricated original knitwear designs that draw inspiration from traditional isiXhosa beadwork. His fresh use of colour and pattern are garnishing international awards and bring more attention to the evolving world of high-end design coming from our continent. This year Ngxokolo was honoured with the coveted Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa award.

Ngxokolo’s clothing inspires other artists to make the most of their skills and to never under-estimate the power of one social-influencer being impressed with a product.

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Athleticism: Awesome Body Feats

“Ambitious Vision” was exemplified by Temba Bavuma in a test match against Australia. His impressive catch mid-air was then pitched at the wickets to run out David Warner. Watching professionals bust out skills like this is pure inspiration on what is possible! Watch the acrobatic catch and toss here.

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Attitude: A New Approach to Mental Health in Lockup

Mental health often goes unaddressed in spite of its importance, especially among the incarcerated.

In a unique approach inspired by a similar program in India, Cape Town based Non-Profit SevaUnite has introduced Yoga for inmates at South Africa’s Pollsmoor Prison.

This year over 250 inmates took part in practicing Yoga. Scientific research published in 2016 suggests that teaching Yoga to encourage ‘mindfulness’ in prisons. ‘Mindfulness’ is said to assist in curbing impulsivity such that one may alter from previous forms of self-sabotaging-behaviour.

In a correctional system that is only able to offer 7 psychologists to ever 10,000 inmates, Yoga may go a long way towards providing positive coping mechanisms, helping them feel more positive about life, undertake activities to improve their life, and deal non-violently to the stress of incarceration. Manelisi Wolela a spokesperson for the DOC said “Most offenders taking yoga classes have attested that the programme provides them with the opportunity to learn to accept themselves the way they are, to deal with stressful situations in a calm manner and to avoid negative thinking. Many of them are now less aggressive and have seen improvements in their health and wellbeing,”

Yeshe Schepers a clinical psychologist who has introduced Yoga into another SA institution says “The one thing that the offenders will say is ‘I have learned to think before I act’. I think that’s a lot because that, in essence, is the mindfulness. A moment of awareness to give (inmates) a choice to think through and to choose their response and that is very, very powerful.”

We agree and commend these innovators who choose to care and are making a difference! These creative strategies serve both incarcerated individuals and reach into the wider community at large.

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Awards: Excellence being Honoured

Prestigio was one among many to be excited for the launch of the Township Entrepreneur Awards in Johannesburg. It was a delightful to watch the first group of talented winners announced in March and we are equally excited awaiting the 2016 results. We think it’s great that these awards in their second year of existence garnered over 200 applicants this year! There are start-ups that are growing food, recycling, creating, inventing and finding solutions!

Congratulations to all of the 2016 finalists [ entire list published here ]. These intrepid innovators and entrepreneurs have committed to putting their minds and skills to work in building a more beautiful South Africa! Keeping the business of positive change booming, we are grateful for your vision and diligent work.

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A Future to Look Forward To

“You don’t describe the future you see; you see the future you describe.” Steuart Pennington

Perspective is a vital to maintaining balance and balance is a way to experiencing well-being.

Our perspective will influence how we feel about the future and that is why we must remember to highlight the positive!

That is why we say ‘Thank You’ to all of the people choosing to do more than the minimum; inspiring us to see the way forward with less cynicism – by demonstrating how to create opportunity from adversity and how to persevere! You show us that we must not be idle, the time is now to work with what we have!

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