Rolling blackouts are killing small businesses in South Africa

1 day 21 hours ago
“We are losing profits. Our clients are impatient and always in a hurry. They can’t wait for about two and a half hours.”

By Mary-Anne Gontsana, Thembela Ntongana and Tariro Washinyira

Photo of restauranteers
Thulani Mguda and Tumi Mayende say that even though their restaurant in Gugulethu is doing well, load shedding has been making things difficult for them. Photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana

Toni Burton started Zizamele Ceramics in 2008. Located in Masiphumelele, a small township in the south of Cape Town, she employs nine people. She has trained them to do ceramics. She and her employees depend on this small business for their livelihood.

The kilns which make the pottery the business sells, cannot work without electricity. “We may need to resort to going to the studio at night to switch the kilns on after load-shedding ends at 8:30pm and before the 10am one begins,” Burton says. But she also says it’s dangerous to travel in Masiphumelele at night.

The kiln needs to reach a temperature of 1,000ºC over 12 hours. During load shedding it is impossible to get one firing cycle completed before the next outage begins. “Our glaze firing takes even longer as it needs to reach 1,175ºC over 14 hours,” Burton explains.

She is investigating using paraffin to power the kilns. That would mean getting rid of the ones that use electricity.

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Lake Malawi is home to unique fish species. Nearly 10% are endangered

4 days 21 hours ago
Underwater world of Lake Malawi. Shutterstock/Radek Borovka

An estimated 9% of the 458 fish species assessed in Lake Malawi are at high risk of extinction. This is worrying, not least because the lake, and the fish species that occupy it, are very unique.

With more than 1000 fish species, Lake Malawi has more distinct fish species than any other lake in the world. New species are discovered regularly and some scientists believe that the lake may contain more than 2000 species. As a result of this exceptional diversity the lake is considered a global biodiversity treasure because almost all of the species that it contains occur nowhere else on the planet.

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Pasha 6: Kenya's battle with poverty

5 days 21 hours ago
Kenya poverty

Kenya has made important strides in its battle against poverty. But millions of Kenyans remain extremely poor. In a study he conducted, this week’s guest – Timothy Njagi Njeru, a research fellow at Egerton University – looked into this issue and explored how poverty is affecting so many households in the East African nation.

The study focused on how some households escape poverty – and stay out of it – while others fall back into it. It also explored what drives some into poverty for the first time. In this episode of Pasha, Njeru discusses solutions for the poverty problem.

Read more: What's driving persistent poverty in rural Kenya

Photo: Daily life in Kibera, Kenya. Kibera is the largest urban slum in Africa. By John Wollwerth. Shutterstock

Music “Happy African Village” by John Bartmann found on licensed under CC0 1.

Sounds “Food Market in Kenya buying food for Pinewood Village resort” found on Youtube licensed under Creative commons.

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Aleph Hospitality Signs Deal with Marriott International to Manage the First Four Points by Sheraton in Liberia

1 week ago
Aleph Hospitality

Pioneering hospitality management company, Aleph Hospitality (, today announced the signing of a franchise agreement with Marriott International for the first Four Points by Sheraton ( hotel in Liberia. Located in the capital city, Monrovia, the hotel is due to become the first internationally branded hotel in the country upon opening in 2020 and will be managed by Aleph Hospitality under the Four Points by Sheraton brand.

The landmark property is ideally situated in the city’s central business district, adjacent to the United Nations mission and in close proximity to a number of government organisations and commercial offices. It will offer 111 stylishly appointed guest rooms to the capital’s expanding business traveller base, along with meeting facilities and a multitude of food and beverage outlets, including one all-day-dining venue, one speciality restaurant, a beach bar and grill and a rooftop bar.  Guests will also be able to take advantage of a gym, spa, swimming pool and access to the beach. The hotel will boast Four Points by Sheraton’s approachable design and excellent service and reflect the brand’s promise to provide what matters most to today’s independent travellers.

The opening of the hotel will play a vital role in helping to realise the country’s tourism strategy, which aims to deliver 15 million international visitors by 2023. 

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Are sharks being attacked by killer whales off Cape Town's coast?

1 week 6 days ago
Morne Hardenberg/Shark Explorers

Large, predatory sharks occupy the top of ocean food chains, where they play important roles in maintaining diverse and healthy ecosystems. The loss of these predators can therefore have significant impacts on ecosystems.

For a long time broadnose sevengill sharks have occupied the apex of the food chain alongside the more famous great white sharks in False Bay on the southern tip of South Africa. Both species feed on seals, dolphins, other sharks and fish.

However, the structure of the False Bay food chain began to change significantly in 2015 with the appearance of a “new” predator, shark-eating killer whales.

The change was noted with the discovery of several dead sevengill sharks by scuba divers from a popular dive site inside the Table Mountain National Park marine protected area. This site was home to an exceptionally large group of sevengill sharks. Divers could dive with up to 70 sharks on a single hour-long dive – no other place in the world had this many broadnose sevengill sharks in one place.

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11 hours 28 minutes ago
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