Olympic and Paralympic athletes, their families, friends and supporters, and all South Africans will find a home away from home at the Ekhaya Hospitality Centre in Belvedere Road, London.Team South Africa, as well as those citizens going to London to show their support, will be welcomed at the Ekhaya Hospitality Centre, a home away from home for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.Ekhaya Hospitality Centre will be run by a host of national government departments during the sporting spectacular – Sport and Recreation, Arts and Culture, Trade and Industry, International Relations and Co-operation, and Tourism – in partnership with South African Tourism and Brand South Africa.Noluthando Ngendane, Brand South Africa’s public relations officer, explains: “The Ekhaya Hospitality Centre has been created as a base for Team South Africa, its sportsmen and women, their friends and families and, of course, their supporters to gather.”But it is more than that: “It is a place where the spirit of South Africa comes alive,” she adds. Supporters at the New Zealand Ekhaya during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, show their patriotic spirit.(Images: Ekhaya Hospitality Centre) Facilities at the centre will include wi-fi and internet connectivity, meeting rooms, a media and business centre, a business lounge, function facilities, full coverage of all sports events, and a South Africa bar.Ngendane says: “South African businessmen and women can use the facilities to network and showcase the success stories of our beautiful country to visitors from abroad and the rest of Africa.”The 30th Summer Olympics begin on Friday, 27 July and end on Sunday, 12 August.Ekhaya Centre is at Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road, London. It will be officially opened and closed for the Olympics from 26 July to 12 August and for the Paralympics from 28 August to 9 September.Home away from homeEkhaya is a hospitality programme at overseas events presented by the Department of Sport and Recreation in collaboration with partner organisations.“Ekhaya Hospitality Centre is also intended to unite South Africans across race, gender, culture, geographical location, social status and class through sport, thereby promoting social solidarity and common citizenship,” the department notes.South Africa is sending a team of 125 athletes to the Summer Games, with 13 names added to the initial 112 published in June. Blade runner Oscar Pistorius is among them. He will be making history as the first double amputee to compete in the Games. Pistorius will be running in the 4 x 400m relay with Willem de Beer, Ofentse Mogawane and Shaun de Jager.Among other activities, the Ekhaya programme will feature a daily cultural exhibition; Olympic and Paralympic events broadcast on big screens; meetings for London-based local businesses to network; and celebratory events for Team SA.The department describes the Ekhaya Centre as “a home away from home” that provides an opportunity to:All South Africans, at home and abroad, are encouraged to wear their supporters T-shirts on Fridays to show their support for Team SA.Athletes’ villageDubbed Victory Park, the athletes’ village in Stratford, East London, has a uniquely British feel. It’s open for business from 16 July, housing some 17 000 Olympic athletes, 6 000 Paralympians and officials from 203 nations.It covers 36 hectares, with comfortable living quarters and large areas of open space. Competitors dine in a huge 225m x 80m tent, which is large enough to accommodate about 100 double-decker buses.This facility, which can seat 5 500 at a time, is open 24 hours a day. The menu includes popular British staples such as fish and chips, as well as Asian and halaal food. There is also a McDonald’s on site.The social hub of the village is a pub called the Globe Centre which, while it boasts 10 pool tables, live music and karaoke, will not serve a drop of alcohol. After the Olympics, the village will be converted into residential accommodation.Source: Mediaclub
31 August 2012 South African President Jacob Zuma and Botswana President Ian Khama have signed an agreement establishing a bi-national commission, which will be convened annually. The signing of the agreement was one of the highlights of Zuma’s two-day state visit to South Africa’s neighbour, following Khama’s state visit to SA in October 2010. The commission will meet annually, alternating between Gaborone and Pretoria, and be chaired by both presidents. Zuma and Khama also signed cooperation agreements on energy and coal-based energy projects, and discussed the development of the Mmamabula coal-fired power station and the need to expedite cross-border transport and infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges. They urged their ministers responsible for defence, justice and security to intensify efforts to combat illicit drug trafficking and poaching of endangered species such as elephants and rhinos. The two leaders also discussed the political and security situation in Zimbabwe, while urging the Zimbabwe’s political parties to set and adhere to the timelines for the adoption of the new Constitution, and the holding of a referendum and elections.Botswana-South Africa business seminar During his visit, Zuma addressed the Botswana-South Africa business seminar, which sought to encourage business linkages between the two countries. Over 100 business people representing South Africa’s agri-processing, mining, construction, energy, ICT/telecoms, infrastructure and financial services sectors met with their Batswana counterparts at the Gaborone International Conference Centre. The delegates were led by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, together with other government departments and Brand South Africa. “We are looking forward to visiting Botswana with a large delegation of business people who are keen to identify and pursue trade and investment opportunities that exist between the various sectors in our two countries,” Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola said ahead of Wednesday’s seminar. Strong economic ties already exist between the two countries, and South Africa remains Botswana’s major trading partner. South African companies have a huge presence in Botswana and are involved in various sectors, including mining, housing, food and beverages, construction, retail, hotels and leisure, banking and medical services. SANews.gov.za, with additional reporting by SAinfo
Several jawans were injured in an attack by militants on a CRPF patrol party near Lazibal area, Anantnag district of south Kashmir, on Thursday morning.However, unconfirmed reports suggest four jawans were injured. “We are assessing the situation. Reinforcements have been sent to nab the attackers,” said a police official.