10 reasons South Africa doesn’t suck right now – April edition

April went by really fast – but at the same time, April was really, really long. And not just because of the public holidays. It’s been a tolling month, but there was some good that came out of it too. AAISHA DADI PATEL rounds up the April edition of why South Africa doesn’t suck right now.

1. Justice for the inventor of the Please Call Me
Nkosana Makate took on Vodacom in a legal battle for justice – and won. The accountant, a former Vodacom employee, sued the cellular network giant after it refused to compensate him for inventing the “please call me” concept, which has earned billions for Vodacom since its invention 15 years ago. Former Vodacom CEO Alan Knott-Craig Sr had taken full credit for the idea, leading Justice Chris Jafta to label him a “liar” in the Constitutional Court. Along with a multibillion-rand compensation figure, yet to be negotiated, Vodacom will have to cover Makate’s legal fees.

2. Caster Semenya’s hat trick
Running superstar Caster Semenya won three races at the National Track and Field Championships in the space of four hours: the women’s 400m, 800m and 1500m – in the fastest times by a South African athlete in 15 years.

3. Steady rand again – lowest since November, when it first went up
It’s been a rough few months for the rand and its exchange rate. In last month’s roundup we reported that the rand was finally under R15 against the dollar – and just as April came to a close, it was sitting steady at 14.19, the lowest it has been since November 25, 2015. Experts say the rate can be attributed to the ConCourt ruling against Zuma and weak US inflation.

4. Smartest maths genius in the world is a South African schoolboy
17-year-old Somerset College learner Dario Trinchero scored 100% for Maths in the International Cambridge AS levels. While thousands write the international exam and he was one of a handful to get 100%, his mark is considered the highest due to the depth and quality of his responses.

5. First dustings of snow
Winter has officially arrived in South Africa! While it’s not common for us to get snowfall in the mainland, it’s always a treat to spot smatterings of snow on some of South Africa’s mountain passes and high altitude regions.

6. 33 rescued circus lions have come home to South Africa
The wild cats have been welcomed home and are settling in at a cat sanctuary in Limpopo after being rescued from circuses in South America. While they were kept as circus entertainment they were brutally beaten and declawed, meaning that now they can never live in the wild as they won’t be able to fend for themselves.

7. SA’s opened its first skin bank
The “skin bank” programme has been launched at the Centre for Tissue Engineering (CTE) in Pretoria. It will use skin from cadavers to stimulate a person’s own cells to heal. It is primarily aimed at burn victims and is cheaper and causes less scarring than synthetic dressings. Once skin is treated and harvested at the CTE, it can be stored for up to two years.

8. Awards all around with the 2016 national orders
National orders are the highest orders bestowed by South Africa, honouring contributions to community service, business and economy, science, medicine and technological innovation. President Jacob Zuma presented the orders on 28 April in a number of categories, recognising bravery, excellence in the arts, and service. One of our favourites, Professor Phakeng was a recipient of the Order of the Baobab – the highest order in the land. Well done to her and all the other recipients!

9. The PMB schoolgirls who represented South Africa at a UN competition in Dubai
Three Sobantu Secondary School learners represented South Africa in an opportunity of a lifetime in April. Fezeka Bhengu, Nokubonga Xaba and Thobeka Shange entered an essay last year on how their hometown, Msunduzi could be ­sustained by using methane gas from the municipal dumps to generate electricity for the city into a United Nations research competition on sustainable cities. They were the only South African school chosen, and with some help from a local business were able to fly to Dubai and participate and network with other participants from all over the world.

10. The mom and her two daughters who all graduated days apart – with Masters degrees!
Dorah Mutula, 51, graduated with her master’s degree in adult education just days after her eldest daughter Barbara, 28, received her masters in educational psychology, and two days before her younger daughter Katie, 26, graduated with her masters in economics. All three graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Dorah, originally from Kenya, was one of eight children. Her parents were uneducated, and she says this is one of the things that makes her proudest about her achievement.

Featured image via Flickr