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#FillUpRoyalBafokeng with Zonk News!

Zonk News is giving away tickets to the #FillUpRoyalBafokeng 2019 Experience.

Stand a chance to win one of 100 tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime experience at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, in Rustenburg on Sunday, December 15.


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Cassper’s #Fillup exposes unique (South) African places to explore


Inspired by the celebrated rapper, Cassper Nyovest’s famed #FillUp concert series, South Africans revealed Thursday top destinations they would like to visit and explore in their lifetime.

The hashtag #ShotLeft2FillUp was all the rage throughout the day as it topped Twitter’s hottest top trending topics, alongside Cassper Nyovest’s upcoming Samsung-sponsored  #FillUpRoyalBafokeng stadium concert.

The festival brings a vast range of artists within South Africa and other African countries – yet to be revealed.

An initiative of the South African Tourism (@ShotLEft) which called on South Africans to post pictures of the places they’d like to visit in order to win a trip to the Fill Up Royal Bafokeng concert on Sunday, December 15 in Rustenburg, North West, the #ShotLeft2FillUp had users showing interest towards the continent at large.

 While many seem to have taken fancy to the likes of the Sun City Resort in Rustenburg, North West, and the Mpumalanga’s God’s Window, along with Kruger National Park  – which lies across Limpopo and Mpumalanga – other top world destinations such as the Gesbok National Park, a vast wildlife preserve situated in the Kalahari Dessert region of Botswana and South Africa, featured among their top travel destination wish-list.

So did the land of the gods, Bali, in Indonesia.

Top travel destinations S.Africans wish to explore

Precious Ramabulana’s alleged murderer appears in court

Precious Ramabulana’s alleged murderer, Aubrey Manaka, made his first court appearance at the Morebeng Magistrate Court on Monday, where it emerged that he was on parole after serving six years for a “rape type of charge”.

Manaka, 28, appeared at the Morebeng Magistrate Court in Limpopo, for the alleged rape and murder of the Capricon TVET College student. 

The 21-year-old died after being stabbed 52 times in her rented room in Mokomene, Botlokwa on Sunday, November 24.

Manaka, who was arrested last week after being found in possession of Ramabulana’s phone and a murder weapon, has been charged with rape, murder, and housebreaking with aggravating circumstances.

Following widespread reports that the alleged murderer had a previous conviction for child rape, police spokesman Briagadier Vish Naidoo said they are yet to confirm if these reports are true.

The revelations were made by President Ciryl Ramaphosa during his visit to the family of the slain student on Sunday. 

“What saddens me even more is that the perpetrator had had his brushes with the law on a rape type of charge. I don’t have the full details and he was still out patrolling the streets of our country,” Ramaphosa said.

He added that perpatrators of sexual violence and murderers should not be in jail and enjoy life there. “They should be subjected to hard labour – the harshest of labour.”

Meanwhile, Manaka has abandoned bail and will appear in court again on January 30, 2020.


Five killed during Ramadan celebrations in Tillaberi, Niger

Five killed during Ramadan celebrations in Tillaberi, Niger. [Image: Courtesy]
NIGER — Five people have been killed in Niger during an attack on Fantio village in Tillaberi region.

The fatal incident happened as the country celebrated Eid-Ul-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan. A local official confirmed that five people died and two were seriously injured.

The attack is alleged to have been carried out by armed terrorists who were on motorcycles.

The Tillabéri region is regularly hit by jihadist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda or the Islamic State.

Niger is among the Western Sahel countries which are under insurgencies from jihadists. Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Chad are members of the G5 Sahelian countries and they have been working together since 2017 to fight against jihadists.

“G5-Sahel soldiers have been dispatched to Fantio and will stay in the village for a few days at the request of the governor of the region,” a source close to the authorities in Tillabéri said.

Since the beginning of the year, Jihadists have killed over 300 people in a series of attacks launched in Niger.

In March, at least 137 people were killed by suspected militants at several locations in West Niger near Mali’s border.

No one has claimed the attacks however Groups affiliated to the AlQaeda and Daesh groups are said to be responsible for these attacks.

Senior DCI officer arrested for shooting a guard

Senior DCI officer arrested for shooting a guard. [Image: Courtesy]
NAIROBI, Kenya — A senior police officer of the DCI (Directorate of Criminal Investigations) has been arrested for shooting a guard in Kayole.

The officer identified as Simon Muita Mwongela is said to have shot the security guard after an altercation ensued between them.

According to witnesses, the officer arrived at a lodging in Masimba, Kayole and demanded the guard to open the gate for him.

The guard however refused to give him access since the lodging was closed. This prompted the officer to shoot him, killing him instantly.

“He had gone to the club in the morning and demanded to get in and when he was told it had been closed, he shot one bullet towards the gate, and it went through to where the guard was standing, hitting him straight on the chest,” said a police officer who witnessed the incident.

Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said investigations are ongoing to establish what caused the incident.

“He has been arrested and is now under investigation for murder,” Mutyambai confirmed.

The body of the guard has been taken to City Mortuary.

YouTube releases performance schedule for the Africa month virtual celebration

YouTube releases performance schedule for the Africa month virtual celebration. [Image: Courtesy]
AFRICA — YouTube Music has released a schedule of performances and music-industry related events in celebration of Africa month, with an exclusive live stream concert on YouTube platform for all fans throughout the month of May.

The platform revealed the schedule on 12 May with performances to start the same day.

YouTube Music organised the event in partnership with MTV Base Africa. It features prominent artists from South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.

The lineup includes South African artist Sho Madjozi, Kenyan band Sauti Sol, and Nigerian Afrobeats artist Fireboy DML.

You can watch the artists’ performances on their official YouTube channels.

YouTube Music will host virtual sessions with Afro Nation, Slikour Onlife, and Leading Ladies Africa to discuss various topics. The topics include The Global Impact of Afrobeats, The Acceleration of Amapiano, and Women and Music.

The schedule leads up to the annual Africa Day Concert on 25 May.

Hosted by actor Idris Elba, the concert will feature several African artists performing on stages across the continent.

Zimbabwe: Lawyers challenge extension of Chief justice’s tenure

Lawyers challenge extension of Chief justice Luke Malaba’s tenure. [Image:Courtesy]
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Lawyers in Zimbabwe have taken to court to challenge the extension of Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s tenure following contentious amendment of the constitution.

The lawyers together with the opposition argue that the amendment is a violation of the country’s charter.

According to them, the amendment extended Malaba’s term in office and has also given Mnangagwa the power to appoint judges of the Constitutional and supreme courts instead of going through public interviews.

They also claim that the constitution only allows changes to term limits to be made through a referendum.

In papers presented to the court, the lawyers cited the Chief Justice (Malaba) and all the 16 judges of the constitutional and supreme courts as respondents in this case. The judges have opposed the court challenge.

The government has however said it has not breached the law since it only changed Malaba’s retirement age.

Malaba’s tenure was extended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa whose ruling party ZANU-PF took advantage of its majority in parliament to change the constitution.

Before the amendment the retirement age of senior judges in Zimbabwe was 70 years, however parliament has now changed it to 75years if one proves to be in good health.

Malaba will be turning 70 on Saturday and was due to retire but following the changes, he will continue to occupy the seat.

Chief Secretary to the cabinet said Malaba issued a medical report to the president showing he is physically and mentally fit.

On Friday, the High Court will hear preliminary arguments before confirming a date for the full hearing.

According to some legal experts, Zimbabwe could be heading towards a constitutional crisis should the court dismiss the case and the lawyers appeal.

If the lawyers appeal, they will then have to face the same judges they have cited in their court challenge.

KQ holds plan to launch direct flights to Somaliland

KQ holds plan to launch direct flights to Somaliland. [Image: Courtesy]
NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya airways has temporarily halted its plans to launch direct flights from Nairobi to Hargesia in Somaliland.

According to KQ, the move is due to delayed clearance and approvals.

The airline has in a statement said that flights have been put on hold until it meets Somaliland Aviation Authority’s travel requirements.

“Kenya Airways would like to clarify that plans to launch flights to Hargesia, Somaliland are currently on hold pending requisite clearance and approvals.

“We currently do not have flights in operation, contrary to information circulating on social media.” Read part of the notice by KQ.

The airline has not disclosed the requirements for operations needed by Somaliland.

KQ had plans to launch direct flights to Egal International Airport in Hargesia. The launch was expected to boost trade and strengthen diplomatic ties between Kenya and Somaliland.

In December 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somaliland’s Muse Bihi struck a deal that allowed direct flights between Nairobi and Hargesia.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement said, “President Uhuru will be seeking stronger relations between the two countries to bolster security, economic and social interactions.”

Somaliland is a self-declared sovereign state in the Horn of Africa, internationally considered to be part of Somalia.

It is currently seeking international recognition amid tensions with the government of Somalia. The government of Kenya had on Tuesday 11 banned all flights to and from Somalia with an exception of military flights.

The government however did not give reasons for the ban which came just days after Kenya and Somalia restored their diplomatic ties.

Ascendis Health strikes deal with its lenders to settles R7.61 bn debt

Ascendis Health strikes deal with its lenders to settles R7.61 bn debt. [Image:Courtesy]
DURBAN, South Africa — South African based health and wellness Company, Ascendis Health has reached a restructuring and recapitalization agreement with its lenders Blantyre Capital and L1 Health

Following the agreement, Ascendis hopes to settle its outstanding debt of R7.61 billion ($447 million).

This agreement comes after the two creditors increased their exposure to the company’s debt to an aggregate of over 75%.

The company said the proposed transaction required 75 % of shareholder approval.

According to Chief executive Mark Sardi who was speaking during a webcast presentation, this agreement is the best outcome for all stakeholders considering the company’s unstable debt levels.

“The agreement provides an opportunity to protect the value of the company’s South African assets, as well as the interests of all stakeholders, including shareholders, creditors, suppliers, customers and employees,” Sardi said.

Should the company fail to receive the required shareholder support, the senior lenders would then assume rights of the company and Ascendis would be placed in business rescue.

The company got into debt in 2016 when it acquired Cyprus-based Remedica for 260 million euros and Europe’s leading sports company Scitec for 170 million euros.

The company had hoped that this acquisition move will lift its market capitalization to R11bn.

Contrary to their expectation, the move made the company plunge into serious debt, weak earnings growth and a market capitalization of only R410 million as of yesterday.

Sardi has faulted the company for its debt stating that the group found itself in this position due to these acquisitions.

“The acquisitions made in 2016 and 2017 were financed mostly by obtaining debt, and some people believe the company paid a lot of money to land those acquisitions, and the debt has continued to roll over the past few years, which has been problematic for the business,” Sardi said

The group said under the terms of the agreement, lenders would exchange their debt interests for Ascendis Health’s European subsidiaries, Remedica, Sun Wave Pharma and Ascendis’ 49 percent shareholding in Farmalider.

Tourism CS wants privatization of game parks and tourism outfits

Tourism CS wants privatization of game parks and tourism outfits. [Image: Courtesy]
NAIROBI, Kenya — Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has revealed that the government is hinting at a new model of business for the tourism sector which will see the privatization of convention centres, national parks and game reserves.

While speaking at the European Union Green Diplomacy Webinar held yesterday, the CS said the above public facilities will be managed by private agencies.

He added that the sector is unable to run the business due to the covid-19 pandemic reiterating that the tourism industry should inform changes on its business models.

“The pandemic has taught us lessons. We have woken up to a new reality that we must change.  Nobody is left out and anybody going to open up after the pandemic must be refreshed.”

According to Balala, the sector is eyeing new investments and exploring new business models that will ease entry into new markets.

He also questioned why the State still manages key facilities noting that the private-public partnership is a good example of how the model can work.

“Why does the government run a national park? These are things that need to be corrected, and this is the time to think again…. Why don’t we outsource and make it more efficient? ” He said.

Balala said that the proposed model is aimed at reducing the number of institutions in the tourism sector as it will rely heavily on technology.

He also said the adoption of technology post Covid-19 should go beyond Facebook and Twitter noting that the whole business economy depends on sales applications.

“Nobody imagined that there is a market called the domestic market. Not only Kenya; we tried it but a lot of countries never appreciated their local and domestic clientele who are the people around you,” he said.

Cameroon jails two transgender women for “attempted homosexuality”

Cameroon jails two transgender women for “attempted homosexuality” [Image: Courtesy]
YAOUNDE, Cameroon — Two transgender women in Cameroon are facing a five-year jail term for flouting homosexuality laws.

The two, Loic Njeukim alias Shakiro and her friend Roland Mouthe alias Patricia, have today been sentenced after being found guilty of “attempted homosexuality.”

According to their lawyers, the pair who were arrested in February 2021 were found guilty of the charge as well as outraging public decency and problems with their Identification Cards.

The two were also fined 200,000 francs each and if they fail to pay the fine, they will face another year in prison which is separate from the five-year sentence.

“It’s a hammer blow. It’s the maximum term outlined in the law. The message is clear: homosexuals don’t have a place in Cameroon,” said Alice Nkom who is one of their lawyers.

Richard Tamfu, also a lawyer representing the pair said that they will appeal against the ruling since there is no proof showing the two committed homosexual acts.

Cameroon is among 31 countries in Africa that criminalizes gay sex. Human rights have come out saying this arrest is part of a growing trend in the country to criminalize minorities and transgender people.

Shakiro is a YouTuber with massive followers on social media, Patricia on the other hand is highly profiled. Critics claim this prosecution is a political decision.

SADC convenes Extraordinary Meeting of Ministers of Health

(L)Professor Douto Armindo Daniel Tiago, Minister of Health of the Republic of Mozambique, and (R) SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax.

The Ministers of Health of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 11th May 2021, held a virtual meeting to discuss the COVID-19 epidemiological situation in the Region and come up with recommendations to mitigate the spread of the pandemic.

In a statement issued by SADC, the meeting was chaired by Minister of Health of the Republic of Mozambique, Hon. Professor Tiago in his capacity as the Chairperson of the SADC Ministerial Committee on Health.

Tiago said despite the efforts and progress made in the Member States so far in relation to COVID-19, there is still a need to strengthen and reinforce joint plans to ensure the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as to sustain the gains achieved in the Region. 

SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said while the COVID-19 general outlook in the SADC Region has been steadily improving, the trajectory of the outbreak remains unpredictable. She noted a decline in the number of new cases of COVID-19, except in few States.

The organization urged members to continue strengthening existing disease control activities, including epidemiological surveillance, strategic testing, and increase routine systematic sequencing of representative samples of SARS-CoV-2 isolates from across the country whenever possible.

SADC executive also requested Member States to share information on the types of vaccine and numbers of doses they are receiving from suppliers in order to strengthen vaccine coverage monitoring in the Region through the Secretariat for wider dissemination.

Among the issues discussed was strengthening the Regulatory Capacity of National Regulatory Agencies (NRA) to conduct vaccine assessment and issue emergency use authorisations; and to proactively build and maintain trust in the COVID-19 vaccine by engaging communities in order to mitigate the increasing mistrust and vaccine hesitancy as part of the pandemic response.

They called upon Member States to vaccinate SADC citizens residing within their territories including, but not limited to diplomats, migrants, students and those residing along the borders.

Ministers of Health proposed Member States to continue using COVID-19 Test Certificates to allow a smooth and gradual resumption for all economic activities and ensure non-discrimination until Herd Immunity is reached for all Member States, and gradually move towards the vaccine certificates.

The Ministers also requested the World Health Organisation to help Member States to track and tackle new variants by helping to build and boost complex genomic surveillance capacities needed to detect and respond to new variants, shipping samples to sequencing laboratories and providing supplies, technical guidance and financial support to countries for laboratory equipment.



President Yoweri Museveni sworn in, promises to observe the law and promote Ugandans’ welfare

President Yoweri Museveni sworn in, promises to observe the law and promote Ugandans’ welfare. [Image: Courtesy]
KAMPALA, Uganda — Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has officially been sworn in today for his sixth term in office.

In his speech, Museveni vowed to faithfully serve the people of Uganda while promising to protect and defend the constitution.

“We built this system for our people, we neither seek nor need any approbation from anybody outside Uganda except our peers with whom we are linked by the African brotherhood.” He said in part of his speech

Museveni also criticized foreign actors saying Uganda does not need any interference when it comes to matters democracy.

“It is comic and laughable to hear some actors in the world giving us lecture about democracy. What are their credentials? We designed a democratic system from the jungles of our country where we lived with the people.” He said

The swearing in ceremony took place at the Kololo Independence grounds under heightened security.

11 African heads of states were in attendance. They include: President Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Samia Suluhu (Tanzania), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed alias Farmajo (Somalia), Evariste Nyayishimiye (Burundi), Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe), Salva Kiir (South Sudan), Hage Gottfried Geingob (Namibia), Alpha Conde (Guniea), Sahle-Work Zedwe (Ethiopia) Felix Tsishekedi (DRC) and Nana akuffo-Addo (Ghana).

More than 11 000 Ugandans who had undergone covid-19 tests also witnessed the ceremony.

Museveni is Uganda’s longest serving president having been in power since 1986. Early this year, he won a contested election which saw him beat his Rival Bobbi wine.

Bobi Wine contested the elections but later withdrew his petition.  The opposition had earlier announced that it would boycott the swearing in event.

Homes of opposition leaders Dr. Kizza Besigye and Bobi Wine were surrounded by security following intelligence information which alluded that some members of the opposition were planning to disrupt the swearing-in ceremony.

“Dictator Museveni is swearing in well aware he stole the elections and disenfranchised Ugandans and he is scared of people opposing the sham ceremony.

“Even if he has sworn in, we will continue the struggle to dislodge him from power through peaceful means and this will come soon.” Bobi wine said