The UK’s flagship scholarship scheme, Chevening, offers opportunities for fully-funded postgraduate study in UK universities.
The Chevening programme is now in its 33rd year, and to date, almost 700 South Africans have been through the programme and are now contributing to South Africa’s development in different spheres.
In the 2015/16 academic year, scholarship places tripled to more than 1,500 opportunities globally. 40 of these places are given to South Africans.
Common subject areas include: economics and finance, human rights, law, management, international relations, good governance, media studies and journalism, development studies, public administration, environmental studies, computer and information technology, engineering, energy-related fields, and political science.
Chevening Scholars have to commit to return to South Africa after completing their studies in the UK.
The new round of applications for the academic year 2016/2017 will be opening soon, and there are likely to be up to 50 places for South Africa. This is according to the British High Commissioner to South Africa’s speech at Africa Renaissance 2016.
The UK is further part of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries.
Awards to study in the UK are jointly funded by the UK Government and UK universities and in 2015 alone, 34 awards and 1 fellowship were awarded to South Africans.
Applications for Commonwealth Scholarships 2016 are now open and will be so until 18th of November.
There are also a range of smaller UK-funded scholarships, such as the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, which was launched as part of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in 2013.
Winners of this prestigious Award receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK, during which they collect their Award from Her Majesty the Queen.
THE South African Local Government Association (Salga) has reiterated its call for the equitable share formula, which is used to allocate funding to the country’s municipalities, to be reviewed urgently because it leaves metros such as Cape Town underfunded.
The local government equitable share, which is divided among 278 municipalities, is an allowance for basic services, community services and administration.
Salga Western Cape chairman Demetri Qually said at the weekend the financial sustainability of local government was a challenge. “The funding model of local government as proposed in the Local Government white paper should be reviewed and Salga is consistently discussing the issue of unfunded and underfunded (municipalities) and sustainability of local government in the national budget forum,” said Mr Qually.
Local government’s share of the national budget is about 9%. More was needed given the infrastructure and services delivered by municipalities, compared with other spheres of government.
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has previously bemoaned the inadequate annual allocation the city receives from the national government, saying it was insufficient to meet the growing service needs of the city.
“People are moving to Cape Town in search of opportunities as confirmed by the census, (but) national government is giving more money to smaller municipalities away from the metros,” Ms de Lille said recently.
Mr Qually said revenue collection by Western Cape municipalities averaged 96%. The 9.4% electricity tariff increase awarded to Eskom would put municipal revenue under pressure.
Petroleum product supplier Shell Oil Company and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry, on Thursday entered into a cooperative agreement to assist black South Africans wanting to own and operate service stations. Through this initiative, Shell was aiming to ensure that 40% of its service stations were black-owned by 2017. “The energy sector was the first to adopt a transformation charter and it is in line with that trend that Shell’s ground-breaking target of 40% black-owned service stations is coming to life,” said NEF CEO Philisiwe Mthethwa. Shell South Africa chairperson Bonang Mohale noted that Shell’s aim was to to select high-quality brand ambassadors who would receive the necessary training by qualified Shell Retail trainers.
Once the selection and training process was complete, Shell would facilitate a retail site handover, which involved essential mentoring and support in the initial phases of the business operation. “We want to ensure that we do not only comply to the rules and regulations governing the industry, but we also attain leadership status in the transformation area,” he noted. Mthethwa added that, within the NEF’s franchise portfolio of R709-million, service stations ranked as the most successful. The review of the Liquid Fuels Charter – a regulation that provided a framework for empowering black South Africans in the petroleum industry, revealed that one of the major barriers to entry for black entrants in operating and owning service stations was a lack of access to capital. To address this challenge, the Shell and NEF partnership would result in the provision of funding to black retailers with a majority share of no less than 51%. To date, the NEF has invested R300-million in the acquisition of 63 petroleum service stations that were owned and managed by black entrepreneurs countrywide, with these stations supporting 1 920 jobs. The NEF’s total funded portfolio exceeded R7.1-billion, while strategic industrial projects were valued at over R27-billion.
Many academic institutions and universities around the world are providing financial support in the form of grants and scholarships for all South African students to study abroad, as well as in South Africa. The University of Oxford is one of the institutes that off these scholarships to talented young individuals. Their scholarships and International financial aids are accessible South Africans who wants to follow doctoral, master’s, graduate, undergraduate and postdoctoral programs.
The University of Oxford has historical ties to South Africa and the whole African Continent, most in particular from side to side with educational charity, scholarships and educational support they provide. Oxford gives a 1000 full scholarships to selected candidates every year. They seek bright young minds that offer great potential the opportunity to complete their studies at the university in UK. About 70% of their courses only require candidates to meet the basic stipulations. They also host a big amount of other scholarships such as the Rhodes scholarship and the Clarendon Fund scholarship.
Oxford Graduate Scholarships Bursaries Available
Interested individuals can look at a wide range of fields available for study.
Some of the fields made available are as follow:
- African studies
- Chinese studies
- Diplomatic studies
- Celtic studies
- International development
- Social science
- Fine art
- Earth science
- History of science, medicine and technology
- Criminal justice
- Legal research
- Cyber security
- Ancient history
- Engineering science
- Medical science
- Global business
- Banking and economics
- Mathematical finance
- Primary health care
- Computer science
- Organic chemistry
These are just a handful of the courses available for study at Oxford.
Oxford Graduate Scholarships Bursaries Requirements
For candidates to be considered for one of Oxford’s graduate scholarships bursaries, there are a few requirements that must be met. Eligibility will be given on grounds of a new graduate course application being completed and submitted before the closing date in January each year. Their selection process is based in accordance to academic distinction.
Requirements may vary slightly depending on the field of study applying for. Candidates may be obligated to do a Mathematical and English admission test to see if they qualify for their chosen field of study.
Along with the application candidates must also supply the following:
- A complete and up dated curriculum vitae
- Three letters of recommendation
- All transcripts of qualifications or certification
- A research proposal
- A complete portfolio
All these documents must accompany the application.
There is also a number of external bursaries for interested individuals to consider. These can be found on their External Scholarships page under the heading ‘Students from Africa’. Two of these external scholarships are open to candidates from South Africa. They are the Canon Collins Trust and the Mohamedali Karimjee Trust.
Oxford Graduate Scholarships Bursaries Application
Oxford graduate scholarships bursaries applications online can be found on the Oxford University Website. Interested candidate can also find more information on theirApplications Guide Page or their Guide Page for South African Students. Candidates will be required to firstly select a course of study, which can be found here. Many of their full scholarships will cover study, examinations, and living costs. Candidates wanting to apply for a full scholarship must fully understand the Financial Declaration.
Oxford Graduate Scholarships Bursaries Closing Date
The closing date for applications differs slightly according to field applying for. However, applications close during the month of January each year, and then again in March and scholarships are usually awarded between February and June. Candidates who have not had any contact within six months after the closing date may assume that their application was unsuccessful.
Bursaries (financial assistance) are available to students residing in the Gauteng Province who wish to study at a recognized/ accredited higher learning institution within the Province.
BURSARIES AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR STUDY PURPOSES – 2016
The GDSD Bursary Scheme promotes career development within the Social Development professions and scarce skills.
Applicants must demonstrate a willingness to be part of a dedicated and skilled workforce committed to social development for a better life for the population of Gauteng and all South Africans.
Assistance will be for the education, training and skills development of youth who are considering a career in Community Development (Revised NQF level 8 qualification), Clinical Psychology, Social Work, Occupational therapy, Demography and Population Studies.
Bursaries aim to assist in achieving the Employment Equity imperatives within the National Skills Development Strategy and the Department of Social Development’s strategic priorities.
The selection of candidates are within the framework of the Departmental policies but Preference will be given to:
• Youth with a disability
• Youth leaving child and youth care facilities( incl. places of safety and children’s homes).
• Students that have gained university entrance to study in the year 2016.
• Students that excel academically with at least a C Symbol Aggregate in Matric.
• Students that are not currently benefiting from any other bursary scheme.
• Applicants who wish to study towards areas identified by the department as scarce skills such as Community Development, Demography and Population Studies, Clinical Psychology, Social Work and Occupational Therapy.
• Applicants that have been permanent residents within the Gauteng Province for at least one-year prior to application.
• Applicants that are South African citizens.
All successful applicants will be required to enter into contractual agreements with the Department.
Application forms are obtainable at any Social Development Regional Office or Institution situated in Gauteng.
Applicants are required to forward their applications directly to the above offices.
Enquiries: Mr. Veli Ngobese, at tel: (011) 227 0065 / Ms Dikeledi Kutu, at tel: (011) 355 7616
If you do not receive any response from us within 3 months, please accept that your application was unsuccessful.
CLOSING DATE: 12 OCTOBER 2015
The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) will be joining Green Building Councils across the globe to celebrate World Green Building Week, and has invited all South Africans to take part in the celebration by getting involved in making their homes and workspaces greener.
The GBCSA will use the week, which takes place from 21 to 27 September 2015, to highlight the valuable contribution green buildings are making towards a sustainable future and, at the same time, encourage all South Africans to join in powering positive change around the globe.
Brian Wilkinson, GBCSA CEO, comments: “As of last year, South Africa ranked 18th in terms of biggest emitters of CO₂ – ninth as a proportion of our GDP and 27th in terms of CO₂ emissions per person. Buildings account for 40% of end user energy consumption, 40% of solid waste and 12% of fresh water usage worldwide. These figures are alarming, and they highlight the need for more education around green building.”
He adds: “The good news is that green buildings have already taken great strides in powering positive change by slashing energy use and emissions, saving water, reducing the volume of waste to landfill, and providing healthier places for people to work and live.”
World Green Building Week started in 2009 to create a more connected, more interactive, more public conversation around the role buildings play in creating our sustainable future.
“This week presents us with a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on the global movement and our collective mission to create sustainable built environments,” Wilkinson says.
The GBCSA will be using World Green Building Week as a platform to educate building users about the benefits of working in a green building.
“By providing this motivation we hope to, in turn, encourage as many people as possible to also adopt positive environmental habits at home,” urges Wilkinson. “We would like to encourage everybody to get involved, to become green advocates and spread the word to power positive change.”
The GBCSA has also created a special platform to further educate South Africans on how to green their living places with the ‘My Green Home’ project.
“With co-funding from the German government and a set of valued sponsors and partners, we spent six months working with one suburban family to green their home and show what is possible. In that short time, the family saw a 53 % reduction in electricity consumption, a 44 % reduction in water consumption and an 81 % reduction in waste to landfill. We encourage more South African families to take up the challenge, and what better time to start than World Green Building Week?” Wilkinson says.
“We hope to see as many South Africans as possible support not only this very special week, but also join us in our continued journey to build a sustainable future for South Africa,” concludes Wilkinson.
Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Barbara Thomson has encouraged the plastics, metals and glass industries to continue with their voluntary efforts to increase recycling.
“Furthermore, we need to encourage all South Africans to become concerned about recycling and make the effort to buy material produced from recycled material,” said Deputy Minister Thomson.
She was speaking on Saturday at the International Coastal Clean-Up project in East London.
The clean-up activity forms part of the annual International Coastal Clean-Up Day which was initiated by the Ocean Conservancy in 1986 and has grown with more than 100 countries participating in cleaning up their coastal areas.
“The significance of the International Coastal Clean-up campaign is that it not only promotes awareness of the litter problem, but also draws our attention to the need for better waste management on land,” Deputy Minister Thomson said.
About 1000 volunteers collected around 1395 cigarette butts, 718 plastic bags, 1004 bottle caps, 588 food wrappers and 564 plastic beverage bottles in just one hour.
The beach clean-up covered about 2.5km of the Eastern Beach and this year the clean-up was not only focused on one beach location but on several areas, some of which are further away from the coast.
The areas included the surrounds of the Orient Theatre, Quigney, and Ebuhlanti.
“The International Coastal Clean-up Day once again reminds us of the importance of our beautiful and valuable coastal and marine environment, and the need to take care of it,” she said.
South Africa has been participating in the ICCD event for 19 years and information on the litter and debris removed from the beaches has being forwarded to the Ocean Conservancy to form part of the global beach litter database, Ocean Trash Index, annually.
The information assists in finding solutions on litter management from land-based sources as well as from offshore sources.
Last year at the coastal clean-up event in Kwazulu-Natal, 1400 volunteers picked up 1 877kg (almost 1.9 tons) of waste in just one hour.
September is Tourism Month – the perfect time to Discover South Africa!
This year the National Department of Tourism (NDT) has decided to focus on the Limpopo province to showcase all it has to offer. This is the home of the Waterberg Biosphere, a UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve; the biggest Baobab tree in the world; the ancient Kingdom of Mapungubwe and the rain queen Modjadji – to name but a few.
The NDT has teamed up with the “Sho’t Left Away” campaign, which will be the driving force of Tourism Month. This campaign advocates domestic travel before anything else, inviting South Africans to discover the unlimited greatness and beauty of our own country. They facilitate this with an incredibly useful website and beautiful documentaries.
Naturally, the #ShotLeft guys have also created an incredibly inviting documentary on the luscious Limpopo province, revealing some of it’s most spectacular spots.
September is Tourism Month in South Africa, and this year’s celebrations were kickstarted with an official launch on August 16 by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, at Euphoria Golf Resort in the Waterberg region of Limpopo province.
“During Tourism Month, we focus our efforts on domestic tourism in particular, using the period as an opportunity to encourage all South Africans to get out and explore this unique, beautiful and diverse country,” said Hanekom.
As part of his address at the Tourism Month launch, Hanekom pointed to a new domestic tourism marketing campaign – A Million New Experiences are a Sho’t Left Away – which will be the theme for this year’s Tourism Month as well.
The new domestic campaign, informed by consumer insights research conducted by South African Tourism, encourages South Africans to take a leisure break away from home and start travelling their own country. The campaign premise is about the joy of discovering new experiences for the first time, thus highlighting that South Africa has myriad tourist experiences to be discovered, whether one is a new or a seasoned traveller.
Tourism Month celebrations rotate among the provinces each year, with a different province given an opportunity to host the celebrations. During this month all provinces are encouraged to showcase their leisure experiences on offer so as to inspire domestic travellers. Tourism Month coincides with Heritage Month in South Africa, fitting for this year’s choice of Limpopo as the host province.
Limpopo is a culturally rich and diverse province that boasts attractions such as the Modjadji cycad forest, the Mapungubwe Heritage Site and the Ribolla Cultural Route, to mention but a few.
“Limpopo is a wonderful region of the country to explore. Its warm, friendly culture makes one feel truly at home. It is a must-visit destination for any South African who wants to learn more about South Africa’s cultural heritage,” added Hanekom.
He explained that domestic tourism is critical to the long-term growth and sustainability of South Africa’s tourism industry.
In 2014, tourism contributed some 9.4 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product and accounted for close to 10 percent of all employed people in South Africa. Last year, 35 percent of all adult South Africans took a trip domestically. Domestic trips increased by 11 percent to reach 28-million last year. The revenue generated by domestic tourism alone in the same year was R26.8-billion in 2014, an increase of 11 percent on the previous year.
“We have ring-fenced significant budget to invest in growing this specific sector and to enhance our marketing efforts. It is important to us that all South Africans become ambassadors of their own country, and the first step to achieving this is to travel, discover, learn, and fall in love with South Africa’s beauty and tourism offerings. Making domestic travel affordable and accessible will encourage South Africans to explore and experience their own country,” concluded Hanekom.
Royal College of Art graduate Charlotte Slingsby has developed energy generation system involving sheets of plastic with wave-like filaments.
While the cost of electricity is a constant bugbear in many countries, South Africans face a bigger problem: keeping the lights on. These blackouts prompted Cape Town native Charlotte Slingsby to seek out a solution after her family home was found to be unsuitable for solar panels.
The result was Moya (wind in the Xhosa language), a new energy generation system: sheets of plastic have wave-like filaments attached that capture tiny amounts of wind energy that can then be stored in a battery.
“We need an independent solution for today,” Slingsby said. “You see a city which functions on electricity which just falls apart, from the most basic things like opening a door [or] an electric gate. You can’t even take your car out of the garage.”
She cites serious examples, such as people on life support machines who depend on a reliable electricity supply for survival. In a security-conscious society like South Africa, the shutdown of alarm systems at night can also be an invitation to criminals.
“It is quite terrifying and it is those day to day things that you forget about. Every part of your day changes,” she said.
Moya was developed during a two-year postgraduate course in innovation design engineering that Slingsby recently completed at the Royal College of Art (RCA) and Imperial College London. The system is aimed at accumulating small pieces of energy into a larger mass, in a similar way to drops of rain gathering together to eventually form a stream.
“I thought ‘ow do you come up with a new type of material- one that can accumulate all of those abundant but lower grade forms of energy?’”
The plastic sheets have slivers of bendable filaments that stand up and are moved by gusts of air. The filaments, which are encased in plastic, work using the piezoelectric effect – the ability of some materials to generate a charge in response to pressure. In this case, when the filaments are moved by gusts of wind, tiny pieces of energy are created. For her prototype, Slingsby used a flexible film of polyvinylidene fluoride.
“They have the ability to transform strain or bending energy into electrical energy,” she said.
This energy is then passed on to a capacitor – a device used to store an electrical charge – and then eventually on to a battery. Like the rain over a mountain, “thousands of tiny drops need to be accumulated to have enough energy to bring itself to the rivers and eventually to the sea”.
From tests she has carried out on wind tunnels, Slingsby has calculated that her prototype Moya system can generate about 10% of the energy per sq metre that a solar panel can. But the advantage of her sheets is that they can be installed in areas where solar panels cannot, such as under bridges. “It is reduced in efficiency but it is looking at a new type of material which has the ability to go in far more locations. It is all about accessibility to captured energy.”
One possible location for the panels is on the London underground. “Every tube is stopping and starting all the time and as it stops you can actually line the section of tunnel where it is slowing down, which almost assists the breaking through the added drag, and absorbs this wasted energy,” Slingsby said.
In theory, the sheets can be mounted anywhere, she said, including on the side of a skyscraper, but light would still be able to get through.
It will be some time before the system makes it that far. Slingsby said it could take between five and 10 years – after significant amount of research – to get to a marketable product.
Among the problems she faces is encouraging people to accept another form of energy generation. “What has to be understood is that in the future, whatever energy we are able to absorb freely is actually really valuable and there is going to be lots of different methods with different environments no matter how you look at it,” she said.
Power to the people
The energy crisis which has hit South Africa has sparked often daily blackouts and has hit growth projections for the country. The blackouts are known as “load shedding’, where there is not enough power to cover the whole area resulting in sections being shut off. South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, blamed the poor infrastructure on apartheid, saying the system had been built to service only the white population. About 11 million people have power now in South Africa, twice the number in 1994. The problems have also been blamed on poor management and lack of investment.
Cape Town – At 15.4% of its GDP, South Africa has one of the worst savings rates in the world. And it’s getting worse, according to statistics released by the Reserve Bank.
And it’s not just that our salaries are low and our cost of living is high – the Chinese earn less than we do, and they manage to save over 50% of their GDP, according to the Financial Services Board (FSB). India manages to save about 30%, Brazil around 25%, and Australia about 22.5%.
The highest this figure has been in South Africa in the last 13 years is 17.2%, which was recorded in 2002. The lowest was 14.7%, which was recorded in 2009, shortly after the worldwide recession on 2008.
These savings include pension contributions, and all forms of investment. In short, says the FSB, to save means spending less than you earn, and it encourages people to adjust their lifestyle so that they can contribute a part of their income to a savings scheme.
But, according to SA government statistics, South Africans are now borrowing more money than they are saving. Household debt as a percentage of household income now stands at approximately 80% (this includes loans, overdrafts, credit card debt, home loans, accounts). In the United States, the household debt-income ratio stands at 138%.
Only a quarter of those between the ages of 18 and 30 are saving for retirement, according to the Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor. Only 31% are saving for possible emergencies, while 35% are saving for a car and 26% to pay off debt. But the rising cost of living is also affecting this sector of the population, as 68% of them have said they had to reduce their expenditure in 2014, up from 55% the previous year.
The South African Savings Institute gives a number of reasons for the low savings rate in SA:
* low disposable income growth;
* low employment growth;
* a rising tax burden;
* an inflationary environment; and
* lack of confidence in the future.
The Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor published in July 2014 provided some interesting statistics on South African households and their savings and spending habits:
* 65% of income is spent on consumables and living expenses;
* 38% of those interviewed said they were saving less than in 2013;
* 50% believe that death, funeral and disability cover are more important than retirement savings;
* 18% of households in the R40 000+ income category have unit trusts, mutual funds or exchange-related funds;
* 32% of parents are saving for their children’s education; and
* 45% of black households contribute to at least one stokvel per month.
The attitude to retirement savings mentioned above also explains why only 6% of SA retirees are financially independent at retirement. The rest are dependent on their families, friends, or the government, according to the FSB.
The savings rate is determined by looking at household savings, savings in the public sector and savings in the corporate sector. According to stats from the Reserve Bank, both the public and private sector were actually ‘dis-savers’ (borrowing more than they were saving) and the corporate sector was the only net contributor to gross savings. But that, at 4.2% was also not as high as it could be, according to the South African Savings Institute.
The reasons they give for this low rate in the corporate sector include the following:
* a lack of profitable investment opportunities;
* high cost of capital;
* labour market inflexibility;
* high corporate taxes; and
* short-term behaviour.
So if and when South Africans do save, what are their priorities? The following statistics from Old Mutual paints an interesting picture, especially as retirement savings and saving for funeral expenses come in at the same rate:
* 43% save for a rainy day;
* 37% save for retirement;
* 37% save for funeral expenses;
* 22% save for children’s education;
* 18% save to pay off debt;
* 16% save for home improvements; and
* 13% save for a vehicle.
In an effort to encourage South Africans to save more, National Treasury has introduced the Tax Free Savings Account from 1 March 2015.