Features

The science of sustainable food in South Africa

SAVANNAH PLASKITT

South Africa has a population of almost 56 million people and with a recent scourge of droughts in South Africa, feeding this many people can be difficult. However, according to Wandile Sihlobo, South African agricultural economist and columnist for Business Day and Farmer’s Weekly SA, South Africa’s maize yields have increased in production since 1919. In 1919 South Africa produced approximately 0.7 tonnes of maize per hectare, in 2010 almost five tonnes of maize per hectare were produced, and the amount produced is continuing to rise.

South Africa has a long history with Genetically Modified crops (GM) the first GM crops being planted in 1998. This came after the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Act of 1997 came into effect. South Africa is now the 8th largest producer of GMOs in the world. The Public Understanding of Biotechnology, an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, says that in 2012 to 2013 “86% of maize cultivated in South Africa is GM maize.”

Read more: The science of sustainable food in South Africa

New hope for opioid addicts

SAVANNAH PLASKITT

According to the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (SACENDU), up to 26% of patients in specialist treatment centres reported heroin as their primary drug of abuse. But there may soon be a safer alternative available for Opioid addicts in Pretoria. Working with the University of Pretoria, the City of Tshwane is providing Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) at seven clinics in Pretoria and surrounding townships.

Read more: New hope for opioid addicts

Ray Phiri: a legend that will live on

SERISHKA MOODLEY

On 12 July, South Africa bid farewell to the iconic jazz musician, Ray Phiri. The legendary artist succumbed to his long-standing battle with lung cancer during the early morning. According to the Daily Maverick, the 70 year-old musician was surrounded by loved ones when he died.

Phiri co-founded the instrumental band called Cannibals in 1971. The band represented the soul of Soweto. It included Isaac Mtshali, Thabo Lloyd Lelosa and Jabu Sibumbe, along with Ray Phiri. These members later joined Phiri in founding Stimela.

Read more: Ray Phiri: a legend that will live on

Controlling the mosquito problem

SAM MUKWAMU

When asked what the most dangerous animal in the world is, most people would assume something notorious for causing harm to humans, like a snake or a crocodile. Humanity’s most efficient killer is actually the mosquito. It has the ability to carry and transmit various bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause very serious diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “up to 500 million cases [of mosquito-borne diseases] occur every year, 90% of them in Africa, and there are up to 2.7 million deaths annually”. These mosquito-borne diseases include malaria, yellow fever, West Nile virus, Zika virus and dengue fever.

Read more: Controlling the mosquito problem

UP’s memory bank

GEMMA GATTICCHI

Perdeby spoke to Director of the University of Pretoria Archives and Professor of History in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies, Prof Karen Harris to find out about UP’s archives, located in the Old Arts building on Hatfield campus.

 

What do you store?

In a nutshell, the archive is the memory bank of the university. We only collect university related material. That means from the top, right down to the bottom. We’ve got all the personnel records for example of every person who has ever been employed here, whether they are in academic administration, whether they are in academia, rectors, the works. We’ve got all that information, all the human resources information. We’ve got information about students. We’ve got all the financial records and so on. We try and keep a track record footprint at the university and we’ve taken the history at the university way back to prior the South African war. We also have the history of residences, student life [and] Perdeby. We have closed collections as well. We are completely in compliance with the National Archives Legislation which is across the country. We are also in compliance with the access to information and then also with the PIA (Privacy Impact Assessment) act, which is your privacy. While information is available you also have got to protect the individual.

Read more: UP’s memory bank

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