26 year old Sasha-Lee Laurel Olivier is the new Miss South Africa 2019. She assumes the mantle from title holder, Zozibini Tunzi, who was crowned Miss Universe in December 2019.

Sasha-Lee said she was thrilled to wear the Miss South Africa crown.

“I am so happy for Zozi who deserves, in every way, to wear the Miss Universe sash. I wish her every success. I step into big shoes. I just want Zozi to know that I will do my best to fill them.

Speaking from New York, Zozi said she was delighted that Sasha-Lee would be taking over from her.

“I cannot think of anyone who is more suitable to be Miss South Africa. Sasha has it all: beauty, brains and, above all, a commitment to help others. I have no doubt that she will use her reign to help improve the lot of those in need.”

Miss South Africa Organisation CEO, Stephanie Weil said Sasha-Lee would, going forward, assume all Miss South Africa duties, as well as fulfilling her obligations to the sponsors.

Sasha said: “Taking over the Miss South Africa title means that I am able to continue working to help women who, like me, have been sexually abused. It will be a top priority for me during my time as Miss South Africa.”

She intends to continue to devote her time to The Beauty with a Purpose campaign that she took to the Miss World pageant in December 2019.

Sasha-Lee’s #itsnotyourfault campaign is aimed at making sure that people who, like her, have endured sexual assault, know that they are not to blame for their abuse.

As a survivor of rape and sexual abuse, Sasha-Lee’s campaign is designed to support, inspire and help girls, boys, women and men who, like her, have survived sexual abuse.

She says she chose #ItsNotYourFault because “A very deep sense of shame accompanies rape and long term sexual abuse. Those who have suffered at the hands of the predators and perpetrators feel responsible for their own abuse, and are profoundly ashamed of what is happening, or has happened, to them.

“We need to change the commonly held perception regarding this – the shame does not lie with the victim at all.”

The Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer has welcomed learners at the start of the 2020 school year.

She visited St Mary’s Primary School in Gardens to welcome some of the more than 1 million learners that will start the school year in the Western Cape.

Of these, about 107 000 are just beginning their school career in Grade 1 – an increase from 104 336 learners in 2019. Fortunately, principals and teachers will be on hand to dry any learners’ (and parents’) tears.

Starting high school, a projected 93 000 learners are joining us for Grade 8. This is a significant increase from 85 771 Grade 8s in 2019. They’ve also welcomed 69 400 Grade R learners so far.

As learner numbers continue to increase in our province, the MEC says the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is pulling out all the stops to find space for new learners.

The WCED opens two new schools this year: Delft High School and Disa Rd Primary School. Learners from Crestway High School and Phillipi High School will also be moving into two new school buildings as part of our replacement programme.

There have been a number of expansion projects at schools across the Province. This includes the building of additional classrooms at schools to accommodate growth through a variety of means:
• 8 schools received 40 new brick and mortar classrooms
• 6 schools received 18 Moladi classrooms
• 11 un-utilized classrooms were refurbished
• 103 mobile classrooms were built at 16 identified schools

Three schools received an additional 7 classrooms to accommodate more Grade R learners.

She has urged parents, who are having difficulties enrolling their child, or who have failed to enroll their child, to approach the local district office as soon as possible, for assistance with finding a place at a school.

Special walk-in centres have been set up to assist parents at district offices, and each office has identified specific officials who will assist parents who struggle to find a place when schools re-open. A list of these officials is available on the WCED website: https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/admissions-201920

Photo credit: Steven Chang, Edumedia WCED

Endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh is preparing for his toughest challenge yet… in Antarctica.  Pugh will soon swim a kilometre across a ‘supraglacial’ lake in the Antarctic.

The endurance swimmer, who also lives in Cape Town part-time,  has trained off the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

He hopes to create a network of protected marine sanctuaries in east Antarctica. On his blog Pugh says after the swim, he will travel to Moscow to meet Russia’s leaders.

Under international law, 25 nations plus the EU need to agree on any measures to protect the continent. Twenty-three nations and the EU agree. Just Russia and China still need to be persuaded.

Read the full blog HERE.

Pics: Courtesy Lewis Pugh / lewispugh.com

Large parts of the drought-stricken Great Karoo in the Eastern Cape have received good rains in the past few days.

In the Fort Beaufort area, another 10 millimeters fell yesterday, bringing the total rainfall to 80 millimeters this week. 41 millimeters were recorded in the Graaff-Reinet area, while Makhanda and Cradock received 49 and 37 millimeters respectively.

Figures of between 10 and 46 millimeters have been recorded in the catchment area of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro over the past three days.

The weather office said scattered thunderstorms could still occur over the northern and eastern parts of the province this afternoon.

We are speechless.. 30mm in and around Graaff-Reinet!Photo: On a farm 14km from Graaff-Reinet.

Posted by Graaff-Reinet Magazine on Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Die kans vir reën lyk goed in die Karoo.

Posted by Great Karoo on Wednesday, 8 January 2020

The Matric results for 2019 are in and the Western Cape has lots to celebrate!

While the National Matric pass rate is 81.3%, the Western Cape improved from 2018, scoring 82.3% in 2019.

Western Cape MEC Debbie Schafer has congratulated all our learners, teachers and administrative staff, who have put in an immense effort.

Highlights for the province:

1. The Western Cape Province has maintained an above 80% pass rate, achieving an increased percentage pass rate from 81.5% in 2018 to 82.3% in 2019.

2. The Western Cape achieved a trifecta in terms of the top three candidates in the country overall, and the top two in Mathematics.

Top candidates:

o Madelein Dippenaar from Paarl Gimnasium High School – number one in the country

o Gary Allen from Rondebosch Boys High School – second in the country

o Anuoluwa Makinde from Milnerton High School – third in the country.

Mathematics:

o Timothy Murphy from Rondebosch Boys High School – top mathematics candidate in the country

o Ivan Badenhorst from Outeniqua High School second in Mathematics in the country.

3. The number and percentage of Bachelor passes has increased – 21 981 candidates achieved a Bachelor pass, equaling 43.6% of candidates in this Province, compared to 42.3% last year.

4. The Western Cape achieved the highest percentage of distinctions in the country.