Zulu encourages students to reach for their dreamsPublic must ignore social media talk on Geingob’s funeral arrangements: Mushelenga

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has encouraged the new cohort of students at the Cape Town Society for the Blind to use the year-long course to learn, grow and provide for their families. 'Nothing must stop you from achieving your dreams. Take the skills you learn and use it to improve your lives. This programme offered [by] the Cape Town Society for the Blind is a great opportunity and I want to urge you to give it your best,' Zulu said. The Minister was speaking during the first day of build-up activities leading to the State of the Nation Address (SONA). Zulu is conducting a two-day outreach programme focusing on teenage pregnancy, gender-based violence, youth, women and persons with disabilities in and around the City of Cape Town. The Cape Town Society for the Blind is a non-profit organisation (NPO) registered with the Department of Social Development, and funded by its agency, the National Development Agency (NDA). The NPO assists persons who struggle with their eyesight by equipping them with skills so that they may reclaim and live positive lives and make a positive impact in society. The NPO provides Low Vision Assessment and Treatment Clinic services. According to the department, the organisation used more than R558 000 from the NDA to purchase equipment for the Low Vision Clinic and their Braille programme as well as on staff training courses. The visually impaired and those with low and reduced vision have applauded the work, and support they receive from the Cape Town Society for the Blind. Roeshda Panday, who works as a receptionist at the Low Vision Clinic said that her life changed dramatically after she lost her vision in 2020 after struggling with headaches. She was later diagnosed with a brain tumour which affected her optic nerve. 'As a single mother, it was difficult to adjust to my new life but survival mode kicked in, so I started reading up on blindness and discovered this society which gave support to people like me. It was here, at Low Vision Clinic, that I found a com munity of people who gave me support and care as I learned how to live with my condition,' Panday said. The 52-year-old excelled in the courses offered at the clinic and was then offered an internship to work at the clinic. She added that it was at the organisation that: 'I found my joy by helping those who walked through the clinic doors. We can all learn so much from each other.' She also learned a lot more from the optometrist at the clinic who taught her about the anatomy of the eye. She advised the new class to grab every opportunity offered by the Cape Town Society for the Blind. Another beneficiary at the organisation, Sergil January, said that he became blind in 2006 after he was shot in the head. However, he refused to have his confidence taken away by the loss of his eyesight. In 2009, he joined the Cape Town Society for the Blind where he completed a computer course. Two years down the line, which was in 2021, he took up the position of an awareness officer within the organisation. January's work includes conducting outreach programmes at schools and even participating in radio and television interviews on a regular basis to educate communities and persons who need help. 'I am responsible for creating awareness and advocacy for this amazing organisation that continues to change lives and, in the process, I have grown so much and can confidently say that this is my space, and these are my people,' January said adding that being blind should not stop people from achieving their dreams. Minister Zulu also visited another organisation, the Sozo Foundation, a local NPO in the Cape Flats which was funded by the NDA. The organisation renders youth development programmes, focusing on young people who are not in education, employment, or training. This NPO achieves this by creating pathways to skills development and youth-led enterprises to address high rates of school dropout, gangsterism and youth unemployment in the area. Today, Minister Zulu will continue with pre-SoNA outreach activities by host ing a dialogue with boys and girls on teenage pregnancy at Ihlumelo Junior Secondary School in Mbekweni, Paarl. Source: South African Government News Agency WINDHOEK: Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), Peya Mushelenga, has urged the public to disregard information circulating on social media regarding the mourning and funeral arrangements of the late President Hage Geingob. Addressing the media here on Tuesday, Mushelenga said the ministry will be the focal information dissemination centre regarding all arrangements and activities for Geingob's mourning period, leading to the funeral. 'There are people who have a habit of saying apparently this and that about the funeral…if you have heard your things keep them to yourself. If you have not heard it from me and I have not heard it from the national preparatory committee…' he said. A national preparatory committee chaired by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila was constituted by President Nangolo Mbumba to preside over the protocol on the funeral planning and sequence of events in consultation with the family. Mushelenga further called upon the public to observe the period of mour ning in harmony, noting that the government has requested organisations to keep their planned official ceremonies and gatherings at a minimum and in a dignified manner. He further noted that public members and singing choirs willing to deliver a message should make their request through the executive director of MICT for further communication to the family for a final decision and dates. Equally, regional governors planning to host any event in honour of Geingob must receive the directive from the national planning committee. 'It is very important that during this time we remain calm as a nation. National mourning of the country is not different as we have it in most cultures, it means it is time to reflect, honour and respect the spirit of a departed one,' he noted. Geingob, 82, died on Sunday in Windhoek. Source: The Namibia Press Agency