Men’s Soccer Hosts Missouri State Saturday in Home Finale

first_imgStory Links Blalock, from Overland Park, Kan., was a goalkeeper for Drake but he was forced to stop playing due to continuous concussions. He has served a student assistant coach the past two seasons and served as the team’s goalkeepers coach. Missouri State (8-1-4, 2-1-1 MVC) leads the all-time series, 14-12-7. However, Drake hasn’t lost to the Bears since 2014 and even knocked off the nationally ranked squad last season in Springfield, Mo. Their last meeting was a scoreless draw at Cownie in the final regular season game in 2017. This season, Josh Dolling leads the team with nine goals. Ciszewski has played in 60 career matches, scored three goals and recorded four assists, including scoring game-winning goal in the 2015 MVC Tournament title game versus SIUE that sent the team on a run in the NCAA Tournament. He has been honored as an MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week. Ciszewski has graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and is now excelling in Drake’s MBA program. Live Stats Drake (6-5-2, 1-2-1 MVC) lost a 1-0 overtime match to Bradley in its last match on Oct. 20. The Braves scored a header in the 99th minute to knock off the Bulldogs. DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University men’s soccer team hosts Missouri State Saturday night with kickoff at 7 p.m. at the Cownie Soccer Complex. It will be senior night as six student-athletes: Paul Ciszewski (Germantown, Wis.), Steven Enna (Overland Park, Kan.), Nic Jaimes (Olathe, Kan.), Ryan Merideth (East Moline, Ill.) and Alex Peterson (Duluth, Minn.) as well as student assistant coach Andrew Blalock will be honored for their respective contributions to the program. Merideth has not played this season due to an ACL injury but played in 55 career matches before the injury. He scored two goals and handed out two assists. An excellent student, who is a biochemistry and molecular biology was a Third-Team Academic All-American last season.Peterson, who redshirted his first season and missed the next season due to injury, has started all 32 match the past two seasons, scoring two goals and recording one assist. Peterson earned 2017  MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention honors. Following Saturday’s match, Drake visits Valparaiso Nov. 3 for the regular season finale. The match with the Crusaders will start at 7 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPN3. Print Friendly Version Enna has played in 66 career games and scored 16 goals with six assists, and earned honorable mention All-MVC honors in 2016. Enna like Ciszewski has graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and is also excelling in Drake’s MBA program. Jaimes, a business studies major, has played in 68 career games, scored 10 goals and handed out six assists and was named to the 2015 MVC All-Freshman team.last_img read more

Infrastructure development in South Africa

first_imgSouth Africa is on a multibillion-rand development drive to remedy the skewed implementation of infrastructure during the apartheid years, and to meet the demands of a growing economy and population.Power lines outside Beaufort West in the Western Cape. (Image: Chris Kirchoff, Brand South Africa, For more free photos, visit the image library)Brand South Africa reporterIn its preparation to host the 2010 Fifa Football World Cup, the government invested heavily in building or upgrading 10 world-class stadiums, and on the energy, transport and telecoms infrastructure needed for this massive event.Sections in this article:FundingEnergyTransportTelecommunicationsWaterUseful linksFundingInfrastructure funding is largely provided by South Africa’s national government. Parastatal companies also undertake infrastructure development in some sectors, while other initiatives include the government’s Expanded Public Works Programme, and public-private partnerships.The government has courted foreign direct investment to lure investors into areas that need infrastructure, and foreign companies often build, own and operate facilities. The government has introduced a policy of broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE), which requires foreign companies to go into partnership with local businesses, shifting company ownership patterns.In 2006 parastatals such as the power utility Eskom and transport group Transnet were earmarked to receive 40% of the R372-billion the government set aside for infrastructure development. Eskom is to spend R84-billion, mostly on energy generation, transmission and distribution. Transnet is to spend R47-billion, with R40-billion of this going to harbours, ports, railways and a petroleum pipeline.The Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) will spend R5.2-billion on airport improvement and the Dube Trade Port, while R19.7-billion will go to water infrastructure.In 2006, South Africa’s Public Investment Commission (PIC) announced plans to create a continent-wide, 25-year equity fund to mobilise local and international investment for infrastructure development in Africa. PIC includes the Government Employees Pension Fund and has around R600-billion in assets under management, making this the largest fund-management initiative in the country.PIC will spend around R1-billion on property development – mostly in shopping centres in South Africa’s townships and rural areas – over the next three years. Its “Project Rural” will merge its Community Property Fund with Government Employees Pension Fund retail.The government’s budgeting of a massive R372-billion for upgrading and building new infrastructure over the next three years is set to be a powerful growth driver for South Africa’s construction industry, and its infrastructure spending plans are attracting growing interest from the investment community.In 2006, three construction-related companies on AltX were listed in the space of a month, and the share prices and capitalisation of these companies climbed rapidly. Launched in October 2003 as a parallel market to the JSE, AltX is aimed at fast-growing businesses, start-ups, family-owned businesses, black economic empowerment companies and junior mining companies.Given the backlog in the province of Limpopo, the government plans to spend over R3.6-billion on upgrading and providing new infrastructure. Over R1-billion has been budgeted for rural electrification, and in addition R600-million has been allocated for municipal support, township establishments and site demarcation.Energy South Africa Mpumalanga, 2008: Kendal Power Station. (Image: Graeme Williams. Brand South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library)South Africa’s economy is booming, with the GDP growth rate hitting 4.9% in 2004, 5.1% in 2005, and 5% in 2006. This growth, together with rapid industrialisation and a mass electrification programme that has brought power deep into the rural areas, means increased demand for energy, and an overworked electricity infrastructure. It is anticipated that generation capacity will peak by 2011.In 2007 the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) released the findings of an audit into 11 major electricity distributors in the country; this recommended that the government spend more than R400-million on refurbishing of infrastructure. The energy regulator was forced to intervene following a spate of power outages across the country in 2005, blamed mainly on the poor state of the country’s electricity distribution infrastructure.South Africa is to spend R97-billion to increase the capacity of its electricity grid over the next five years. Eskom is committed to spending R97-billion over the same period on building new coal-fired power stations and reopening mothballed ones. The private sector is expected to invest a further R23-billion in increasing capacity in the same period.Earlier in 2007, Eskom received a licence to build the first new coal-fired power station in the country for more than 20 years, with a R66-billion project in Limpopo.In addition, consortium led by US power producer AES will build, own and operate two new open-cycle gas turbine peaking-power plants, representing an investment of over R5-billion during the construction phase, a significant portion of which will be foreign direct investment.In August 2005, five consortiums qualified to bid for the right to build, own and operate two new power stations in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The plants are expected to cost R6-billion to build and to be fully operational by the end of 2008.New markets In the past five years, the electricity market has been deregulated to make way for regional electricity distributors (REDs) and independent power producers (IPPs), limiting Eskom’s monopoly.REDs will be run by Eskom and local authorities, which will buy electricity from power generators at wholesale prices determined by Nersa. Plans are to set up six REDs across the country, combining the distribution function Eskom with that of 187 municipalities already distributing electricity in the country.Coal and carbon Coal accounts for 75% of primary energy consumption in South Africa. Most of this is used to generate electricity, while a significant amount is channelled to synthetic fuel and petrochemical operations. Due to its dependence on coal-fired electricity, South Africa is among the top 15 emitters of greenhouse gases in the world. As the country is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, there is a commitment to reducing its emissions. To this end Eskom is diversifying its energy sources, in conjunction with other parastatals such as the Central Energy Fund.Fuel The current energy crunch will also be alleviated with a US$600-million (about R4-billion) diesel and petrol pipeline linking the Mozambican capital, Maputo, with South Africa. Operated by the firm Petroline, which is controlled by a South African-Mozambican consortium, the pipeline is expected to be in operation by the end of 2009.Nuclear power South Africa serves on the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The government has identified uranium as a strategic mineral, and will be developing a uranium mining and beneficiation strategy.A nuclear centre is planned with the Department of Science and Technology helping establish a national Nuclear Manufacturing Centre (NNMC). The Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa will provide R10-million a year for the next three years to establish the NNMC.Peaking power The Coega Industrial Development Zone has been identified as one of two sites for constructing a peaking power plant. The Department of Mineral Resources aims to procure about 1 000 megawatts of new peaking generation capacity for 2009 and 2010.Transport A minibus taxi rank in Johannesburg. In order to get rid of unsafe taxis on the roads, the Department of Transport is implementing its R7.7-billion taxi recapitalisation programme. (Image: Chris Kirchhoff, Brand South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library)The government will be spending some R9-billion on upgrading the transport system ahead of the 2010 World Cup. The funds are to be divided among South Africa’s nine World Cup host cities as follows:Bloemfontein: R298-millionCape Town: R766-millionDurban: R851-millionJohannesburg: R1 320-millionNelspruit: R212-millionPolokwane: R179-millionPort Elizabeth: R520-millionPretoria: 694-millionRustenburg: R69-millionIn addition, the Department of Transport is to spend R2.3-billion on the country’s bus system, including the creation of a bus rapid transit system. Money is also being channelled into the South African National Roads Agency (R430-million), the South African Rail and Commuter Corporation (R1 316-million) and the Cross Border Road Transport Agency (R1-million). The department is also to spend some R65-million on monitoring and evaluation specialists.Transnet is to invest R78-billion on revitalising the country’s railroads, ports and pipelines. The company’s strategy is to dispose of its non-core assets, and use the proceeds of their sale in developing its infrastructure. About R20-billion of these funds is to be spent on pipelines, ports and rail infrastructure for the KwaZulu-Natal-Gauteng corridor.Taxis In order to get rid of unsafe taxis on the roads, the Department of Transport is implementing its R7.7-billion taxi recapitalisation programme, with 20 000 old vehicles targeted for scrapping in 2007, and over 7 000 old taxis scrapped to date.The government aims to have replaced up to 80% of the country’s taxi fleet by 2010. Owners who want to exit the industry or buy new vehicles are offered R50 000 for each unroadworthy minibus taxi that they send in for scrapping by accredited agencies. New government regulations demand that minibus taxis be fitted with seatbelts for each passenger, have rollover bars, a type-two braking system and commercially rated tyres of sizes 185R or 195R. Some R353.5-million has been paid out in scrapping allowances, allowing taxi owners to revamp their ageing fleets with newer, safer vehicles.A draft plan to reform the country’s current bus subsidy system to include minibus taxis has been approved in principle by stakeholders in the transport industry.Air travelIn 2002 the semi-privatised Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) was formed to upgrade standards at the country’s airports and improve productivity. Its capital expenditure to this end was R800-million in 2003, and a total of R2.6-billion by the end of 2004.In preparation for the demands of the 2010 World Cup, Acsa has allocated R5.2-billion to an infrastructure expansion programme for the three main airports at Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban International, as well as at seven smaller airports.In 2006, OR Tambo International Airport announced that R3.4-billion would be spent on upgrading security and facilities by 2010, and another R8-billion on building a new terminal, to be completed by 2012.The upgrades will also ready the airport for both handling the giant Airbus A380 and accommodating the Gautrain rapid rail link. A new R8-billion terminal will be built, as well as a R1.8-billion central terminal building. A further R218-million will be spent on nine new aircraft stands, and a R512-million “international pier” development will allow for a substantial increase in the number of passengers boarding and disembarking via air bridges. About R81-million will also be spent on expanding the international departures concourse, and a second multi-storey parkade is being built. Security at the airport has already been improved with the construction of a 25 kilometre perimeter wall and strengthened access control at the gates, costing R52.5-million.At Cape Town International Airport, Acsa plans to spend R900-million on a new central terminal building as well as building a R160-million multi-storey parkade with 2 500 parking bays, to add to the R100-million, 2 000-bay parkade recently completed.Durban International has begun construction of a R90-million, 1 500-bay multi-storey parkade, and plans are in place to expand the airport’s existing terminal. In 2007 construction began on a new airport north of the city, the King Shaka International Airport, which will be managed by Dube Tradeport. The airport is due to be completed in 2009, at an estimated cost of R2-billion.In 2006 the Eastern Cape Transport Department unveiled the Blue Skyway Aviation Strategy, in an effort to maximise the potential of the Bhisho and Mthatha airports in the Eastern Cape. In 2007, Bhisho airport underwent a R100-million upgrade, making it suitable for international flights.The South African Police Service Air Wing will relocate to the Bhisho Airport, while the Port Alfred-based 43 Air School has declared its intent to expand to the airport and has started assisting in recommissioning refuelling facilities.Air BP has also started refurbishing the fuel depot at own cost. A new R5-million fire tender was brought in from overseas, with a view to increasing the emergency capacity of the airport and improve its grades from two to four.The Limpopo government will spend R76-million on upgrading the international airport in Polokwane and domestic airports in Giyani and Thohoyandou. In 2006, R13-million was spent to improve navigational aid and R10-million on the construction of part of the terminal building. In 2007, R28-million was set aside for the completion of the terminal building, R31-million for the construction of infrastructure at the cargo hub and R17-million for the development of Aero City, which includes parking, feeder roads and ring roads around the terminal building.Ports The National Ports Authority (NPA), a division of Transnet, controls seven of the 16 biggest ports in the region. In 2006, the NPA finished building the Ngqura Port, a multi-user deepwater port on the Coega River outside Port Elizabeth. It is South Africa’s eighth and latest commercial port development.Rail South Africa’s rail network is controlled by Transnet Freight Rail, a division of Transnet, and the South African Rail Commuter Corporation (SARCC). SARCC currently has an initiative to provide a safe and efficient service for commuters, while reducing traffic on the roads, and has set aside over R16-billion over three years to improve its services, R7-billion of which is earmarked for upgrading coaches.Johannesburg’s Soweto Business Express was launched in 2007 in order to cut down commuting times between Soweto and the city centre, offering additional amenities to lure travellers away from the roads. It operates during peak hours only, travelling between Naledi in Soweto and Johannesburg Park Station in less than 45 minutes.Further plans include the multi-billion rand Gautrain high-speed rail link between Johannesburg, Pretoria and the OR Tambo International Airport; the Moloto Rail corridor linking Gauteng and Mpumalanga, and the Klipfontein corridor in Cape Town.There are also plans for improving passenger rail and road transport, including creating a bus rapid transit system in all metropolitan municipalities, and recapitalising Metrorail.Transnet is conducting a feasibility study on building a railroad ring around greater Johannesburg, in an effort to reduce delays and boost rail freight capacity.Road Government projects to maintain new and existing roads, as well as the construction of several new toll road developments, are under way, under the South African National Roads Agency.TelecommunicationsTelkom’s massive telecoms tower, the Hillbrow Tower, dominates the Johannesburg skyline and has become the symbol of the city. (Image: Chris Kirchhoff, Brand South Africa. For more free photos, visit the image library.)National operator Telkom has met and exceeded its roll-out targets of over 1.6-million lines along the country’s large transmission infrastructure, necessitated by the country’s vast geographical area, and covering about 156-million circuit-kilometres. Digital microwave and optical fibre serve as the main transmission media.Although Telkom’s monopoly has expired, its right to provide basic services has simply been extended to include the second network operator, Neotel, and, in some cases, signal carrier Sentech.Mobile communications operators Virgin Mobile, Vodacom, MTN and Cell C, contribute to making the country the fourth-fastest growing cellphone market in the world, a market that is expanding at a rate of 50% a year.In September 2007, MTN announced plans to build a 5000km fibre-optic network covering the country’s major centres within the next two years in order to cope with the increasing demand for bandwidth from its customers. This national backbone could cost up to R1.3-billion, depending on possible joint ventures or partnerships.Neotel Neotel, the second landline operator, will land a private-equity funded fibre optic submarine cable locally that will connect south and east Africa to Europe and India by early 2009. Neotel’s network rollout involved an R11-billion capital expenditure plan as the company develops its network and services.Neotel has agreed to a partnership with private submarine cable operator Seacom to land the SEA cable system in South Africa, to cater for growing local bandwidth demand. The system has a design capability of 1.28 terabits, in order to cope with expected demand in 2010 and beyond.At the same time, Neotel states it is committed to its participation in the East Africa Submarine System (EASSy), while the company also announced that it would partner with Infraco to build a second submarine fibre optic cable along Africa’s west coast.InfracoInfraCo Africa  is a new state-owned company, formed in 2007 to provide long-distance connectivity to the country’s telecommunications market on a cost basis. It will not be a full-fledged telecommunications company itself, but will act as a provider of broadband capacity through fibre-optic cables to other operators in the country.Sentech The role of state-owned signals provider Sentech will be to provide internet connectivity through wireless systems rather than fibre-optic cables. Sentech will also focus on delivering connectivity to the government and wider public sector.EASSy East Africa Submarine System (EASSy), a 9900km-long optical submarine cable between Durban and Port Sudan, will slash telecommunications costs in Africa, and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008. The network will deliver a regional capacity of 320 Gigabits per second, and it is expected to cost some US$240-million (about R1.6-billion).Alcatel-Lucent, a Paris and New York-listed network solutions provider, will lay the optical cables for EASSy in 2007. EASSy will link up with terrestrial fibre-optic cables to make up what will be known as the Nepad ICT Broadband Network, which aims to free the continent from its dependence on expensive satellite systems to carry voice and data traffic.City broadband plans The metropolitan municipalities of Cape Town, Tshwane (Pretoria), eThekwini (Durban) and Johannesburg plan to have their own broadband networks to provide their residents with cheaper voice and data services.Johannesburg has invited companies to bid for a R500-million public-private project to build its own broadband network and the city will invest about R100-million in the project, with the private sector asked to finance the remaining R400-million. The city expects the private partners to make money from the project through selling its spare capacity to businesses and consumers, and possibly also charging the municipality to use the network.Call centres South Africa is to build a R125-million, 1500-seat call centre to boost the global competitiveness of the Coega Industrial Development Zone outside Port Elizabeth – the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Park.WaterDamsDam wall of the Blyde river dam- Hoedspruit Limpopo province South Africa. (Image: Chris Kirchoff, Brand South Africa. For more free photos, visit the Image Library)Water from the Berg Water Project near Franschhoek will flow through Cape Town’s taps in 2007, 18 years after the project was first mooted. The project yield is an 18% increase in the yield of the Western Cape water system, with a gross storage capacity of 130-million cubic metres. In today’s terms, the project will cost between R1.4-billion and R1.5-billion.The Cabinet has approved the establishment of the National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency (NWRIA) by April 2008 to ensure long-term water security. The agency will take responsibility for developing and operating the major national dams and water transfer schemes that are currently managed by the Department of Water and Sanitation.The agency will also integrate the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), the parastatal organisation responsible for funding the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. The TCTA has already been tasked to finance and implement projects such as the Berg Water Project in the Western Cape and a new R2-billion pipeline from Vaal Dam to assure supplies to Eskom and Sasol.Several dams being commissioned or completed around the country, will ensure bulk availability of water, and there is a bulk supply upgrade planned for linking Polokwane and Flag Boshielo Dam.Useful links Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative Airports Company of South Africa Cell C Central Energy Fund Coega Industrial Development Zone Cross Border Road Transport Agency Department of Minerals and Energy Department of Science and Technology Department of Transport Department of Water Affairs and Forestry Dube Tradeport East Africa Submarine System Eastern Cape Department of Transport Eskom Expanded Public Works Programme Gautrain GCIS: 2010 Fifa Football World Cup Infraco AfricaMetrorail MTN National Energy Regulator of South Africa National Ports Authority Neotel Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa Public Investment Commission Public-Private Partnerships .Sentech South African National Roads Agency South African National Roads Agency Spoornet Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority Transnet Virgin Mobile Vodacom Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

The joy of music reigns in Kinshasa’s veins

first_img“If you listen carefully you can hear the African rhythms in Beethoven,” says Armand Diangienda. (Image: Vincent Boisot)• Maren BorchersFor Artists+49 30 414 78 17 [email protected]• Cementing peace in the DRC • Goema music goes classical • Building bridges with classical music • South African youth orchestra set to wow Europe • Limpopo Orchestra releases albumSulaiman PhilipBeethoven’s 9th Symphony – The Symphony of Joy – is the sound of happiness captured. It is an everlasting moment of bliss. The second chair violins and cellos set the background, the rich sound building hesitantly. Then the first violin breaks free, with the orchestra, building an unstoppable wave as the themes crash into each other, big and loud and unstable.Facing the orchestra, marking the tempo, a look of pure joy on his face, is the conductor, Armand Diangienda. The fourth movement begins, repeating the themes of the first three. Instruments transition to a solo baritone, the lone singer joined by the chorus. Their voices rise, bouncing off the green walls of the courtyard. And then silence, murmurs of irritation as the lights go out and the power dies, and generators are repaired by the light of mobile phones.The 9th is a remarkable and – at the time of its composition – revolutionary ode to hope, joy and brotherhood. Listening to it is inspiring and one of the most rousing musical experiences one can have in a concert hall. But this performance is not in a European concert hall; it is taking place in the courtyard of musical director, composer and conductor Diangienda in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), performed by Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste (OSK). It is the only symphony orchestra in central Africa and the only all-black orchestra in the world. Even though it has been performing for two decades, it was only recently that anyone outside of Kinshasa learned of its existence.An unassuming building, its hallways and courtyard are filled with self-taught classical musicians playing patched-up or made-from-scratch instruments. Instead of the local soukous or ndombolo music, the OSK plays the music of Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelsohn and Stravinsky. “Here in our country, music is listened to so that you can dance. It is very rare that it is listened to just for meditation, but I think classical music takes you really far,” Diangienda told a German documentary crew in 2010.Sounds of the cityIn the bustling cacophony of Kinshasa, even as the sun goes down, the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste competes with the sounds of the city: the blaring hooters, the stamp of feet on the hardened mud, and the voices of pedestrians just on the other side of the wall.For the 200-strong orchestra and choir this nightly ritual of practice is an escape from the grinding poverty of their daily lives. Josephine, raising a son on her own, rises at 4.30am every day to sell omelettes in the local market. In the evening, she turns up religiously for rehearsals that go on for hours. “When I sing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, it takes me far away. When I turn from mother to musician I feel I have left the planet. I am not in the Congo anymore,” she says.“They come because they’re passionate about music,” says Diangienda, the man who founded the OSK 20 years ago. “It gives them something more in terms of confidence, of feeling capable and of being able to contribute to a collective endeavour.”Watch Peter Gabriel perform his song “In Your Eyes” with the OSK:National heroDiangienda comes from a line of men considered heroes of the nation. As a descendant of Simon Kimbangu, the healer and religious leader who died in 1951, he is considered a living god. Imprisoned for sedition by the Belgian colonial government, Kimbangu spent 30 years in jail for founding the Kimbanguist Church, an African interpretation of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. After his death, Simon Kimbangu Kiangani, his son and Diangienda’s father, took the reins of the church and grew it into the largest in the DRC.Colonial Kinshasa was a place of dreams and fascination for Europeans. It was a violent city where European ideas of Africa became real and African dreams of a cultured west fed off each other. Kimbangu’s message and warning that one day “the black man will become white and the white man will become black” earned him a death sentence.In large parts of Africa, classical music is still considered a foreign import, a vestige of colonialism. When he founded the orchestra in 1994 it was the biggest misconception Diangienda had to fight. He argued instead that music was universal, that classical music was an expression of the culture of the DRC. And with his lineage, the former airline pilot found people willing to listen to his argument.For adherents of the church founded by his grandfather, The Church of Jesus Christ on Earth (the Kimbanguist Church), music is a form of spiritual wealth. “My grandfather claimed that to sing was to pray twice. But what inspires me even more is that my grandfather’s message was a universal one, a message of peace, of love, of reaching out for others and bringing people together.”Night-time rehearsalsWith no sheet music and no one trained to play the instruments he did not have, Diangienda recruited 12 members of his father’s church to his project. He found five violins, in need of repair, and began spreading the gospel of classical music in Kinshasa. “We rehearsed at night to accommodate people’s working hours. One person played for 20 minutes, then gave the instrument to the next person for their turn.”In the German documentary, Kinshasa Symphony, a young violinist describes the first time he picked up the instrument. Unsure of what he has in his hands, he says: “It was such joy to touch the instrument. I broke strings. I couldn’t get music out of it.” It is not a challenge from which he shies away. Like the choir which learned German for a performance of Carmina Burana, he embraces the test. In the end, he adds: “I dream of doing great things with my music.”Débrouillardise is a French word that means “making ends meet” or “surviving”; it’s a word Diangienda uses to describe the lives of his musicians –men and women who struggle and hustle daily to make ends meet. But it is a spirit that has helped to grow the orchestra. Instruments that could not be borrowed had to be reverse engineered and built by a self-taught instrument maker. Bicycle brake wire became violin strings. Scores were copied out by hand after being deciphered through hours of listening to CDs. “I couldn’t read music, but driven by my passion, and with help from my friends, I gradually learned. We are like my grandfather who thought the impossible and just did it.”The self-devised techniques to build and repair the orchestras instruments are unorthodox and effective. (Image: Vincent Boisot)Congolese and classical mash upOver 20 years Diangienda has strayed from the path of Brahms and Beethoven. For the 50th anniversary of Congo independence the orchestra mixed Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and Orff’s Carmina Burana with a selection of Congolese folk music in a performance in front of 3 000 appreciative Congolese. Arranged by Diangienda, it sounded like Gershwin with an African beat.“Everything we’re learning by playing classical music allows us to enrich our own music as well and immortalise it by writing it down,” Diangienda says. He and the orchestra’s first violinist, Heritier Malumbi, and bassoonist, Balongi, have already composed several symphonic works full of rich Congolese flavours.Last year was the biggest year for the OSK. The orchestra completed its first international tour, with performances in New York, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. And Diangienda received an honour once bestowed on the composers Brahms, Rossini, Stravinsky and Wagner when he became an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society.He has now broken ground for a musical academy in Kinshasa. He hopes that the children who come after will help spread the DRC’s rich culture through classical music. “That is my dream, to create a musical school where kids and adults will learn how to write music and play instruments. They’ll do symphonies or sonatas which will be classical but completely African.”last_img read more

A Journey of 1001 Days of Geocaching

first_img SharePrint RelatedAin’t no Mountain High Enough… for Geocachers – Interview with Team GCTransAlpsJune 8, 2015In “15 Years”From the Desk of Moun10Bike: How to Keep Your Geocaching Streak Going in the SnowDecember 18, 2013In “Community”Dear Geocaching Diary: Orange Headbands for the WinSeptember 1, 2013In “Community” Editor’s Note: Kiet and Jill Callies (kietc) along with their daughter visited Groundspeak HQ on June 18th, 2010.  It was their 1001st straight day of geocaching. The journey began on September 22, 2007 and ended that day at HQ. Kiet authored this guest blog. This is his story.  These are his words.  Here’s what you can learn from a team that completed a geocaching streak of 1001 days. Kiet and Jill Callies with daughter McKenzie. Geocaching username “keitc” When we started our streak on September 22, 2007, it was a reboot of a previous 41-day streak, broken by work commitments, which just whetted our whistles for the big one. No other commitments would interrupt our next streak until June 18, 2010 – a thousand and one days later. In that time, if stringing our finds together like a necklace of pearls, we traveled nearly 60,000 miles and made finds in 15 states.The original streak probably began as a pacesetter for reaching a milestone by the year’s end. The big streak was to prove we could go all the way. We started setting the goal of 100 days, then a year and, if a year, why not a thousand days. Then, again, why not be literary, like A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, A Thousand and One Geocaching Days.I almost carried the whole load alone. However, this was never meant to be a loner’s endeavor. My wife and daughter stepped in my place a couple of times. Once, during one of life’s frustrating moments of defeatism when I decided to give up on everything and pick a fight with the world, my wife, unable to witness the regret I would face in the after-moment, took my daughter and made a find to keep the streak alive.The next generation of geocacher, McKenzie Callies.Now, to maintain such a streak, the quality of some caches suffers. Though we have seen and discovered some amazing things in the course of our adventures, both obvious and hidden, we often had to settle for some mundane finds – a film canister tucked under a lamp post cover or inside a guard rail, which can be demotivating when these are the majority of your finds. Then I stumbled upon the Danboard and Stormtroopers 365 photo projects and was inspired.One of the things we enjoy about geocaching is the context of location. There is a reason why someone chose a particular location and decided to share it with others. Now you can argue whether the location is worth sharing, but you cannot deny that it now has context, a story. I decided to lay another narrative on top, and my medium was Legos and Star Wars.Legos are small and portable, perfect for travel, and like in Star Wars, we as geocachers use technology to get us close to the truth, the cache, and then use the mystical, or our geo-senses, to actually find it. Over-thinking it? Probably. I grew up under the strong influence of the original trilogy, and besides that, Star Wars is just so cool. On Day 779, I introduced the Star Wars Lego storyline and have managed a few chuckles here and there.Click the picture to view Kiet Callies Flickr pageNow that the streak is over, and I have had time to digest it all, I will tell you that I did experience withdrawal and guilt the next day, June 19th. What’s next? In celebration of geocaching’s 10-year anniversary, to find a cache placed in each month of geocaching’s existence. Isn’t setting goals fun?Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Maintool can now make any watch into a smartwatch

first_imgHow Wearables Will Take Health Monitoring to th… Tags:#Apple#apple smartwatch#Apple Watch#Classi#Maintool#smartwatches#Swiss watches#wearables You Think Your Employees WANT to Wear That Devi… Cate Lawrence Related Posts center_img In the increasingly crowded market place of smart watches, a small niche of companies is offering an alternative to the standard designs by offering smart watch bands as an alternative to smartwatch faces.One of these is Madrid- and Paris-based startup Maintool, who have created the Classi watch band, a wearable which enables users to make their regular watches “smart.”I met with co-founder and CEO Hussain Ahamed and Community Manager Jody Serrano to learn more.“We’re giving you the chance to keep your own watch but still benefit from the same functionalities as some of the best wearable technologies,” Ahamed said.The smart watch band can be attached to any watch face. It offers a range of functionalities: sensors within the watch band measure heart rate, track footsteps and calories burned (pedometer), skin and ambient temperatures, alert through discrete vibrations and communicate with apps for iOS and Android. You can navigate to your destination hands-free and send out for help with the push of a button. Classi also has a phone loss prevention feature and will vibrate strongly if you forget your phone.Serrano notes that “Many times, people can’t tell the difference between a Classi strap and a regular watch strap. We switched out the microUSB port we used in our first prototypes for a custom magnetic charger, which greatly reduced the thickness of our watch straps. The new size makes our technology even more discreet.”Enter the smart watchbandSales of Swiss watches are on the incline with global wearable tech devices overtaking them in Q4 of 2015, according to figures released by market researcher Strategy Analytics.This marked the first time the wearable tech devices have overtaken their luxurious counterparts. Much of the credit is attributed to the Apple smartwatch. Further, a 2015 report by Deloitte into the Swiss watch industry revealed a lack of appreciation of the challenges to the industry by smart watches with only 25% of Swiss watch executives considered smartwatches to be a competitive threat.In response to the challenge of the economic outlook of the industry, 41% of respondents expressed pessimism with most attributing the economic challenges to weakened demand in China and Hong Kong and the strength of the Swiss franc. It suggests an industry that is in denial with Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics stating:“The Swiss watch industry has been very slow to react to the development of smartwatches. The Swiss watch industry has been sticking its head in the sand and hoping smartwatches will go away.”However, the upward trend of smart watches has begun to decline. IDC’s second quarter wearable sales report for 2016 revealed a 27 percent decline in smart wearables and during this time Apple had a significant decline in wearable sales. Sales dropped from 3.6 million in the same quarter last year to 1.6 million this year, a 56 percent downturn. Perhaps it’s time for smart watchbands to strike.Maintaining that Swiss watch heritageAhamed believes that their smart watchband can actually preserve the heritage factor of the Swiss watch industry, noting that their conversations with Swiss watch makers have been positive:” The CEOs and board members are acknowledging that they didn’t get on board with quart [Mechanical movements are typically chosen over quartz movements for luxury watches because of the level of quality and craftsmanship]. They admit ‘We’re Swiss so we’re going to be slow but we’re interested and we’re taking notice’. The beauty of Classi is that you’re not changing your industrial model. Instead you’re allowing consumers to change to our strap.”He also contends that:“Every watch has a personality, we want people to be able to express themselves and their personal style. Smart watches don’t have a lot of personality, there’s so much more to the watch than something that just tells the time, for a lot of people it’s about the design, the brand, the culture, Smart watches today destroy this. Classi has intergenerational appeal and we believe that for the first time, this is a product that our parents and grandparents will actually wear.”It’ll be interesting to see how sales of smart watch bands fare. They could be key to bridging the gap between a very traditional industry of dedicated craftspeople and future focused technology. 4 Ways Big Data & VR Are Changing Professi… The Key to Mass Adoption of Wearableslast_img read more