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The master of the makarapa

first_imgThe man behind makarapas, Alfred Baloyi, and hisunique fan gear. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) Scan the crowds at any major football match in South Africa and what will immediately stand out are the elaborately carved and colourfully decorated plastic hard hats settled on fans’ heads.Known as the makarapa – isiXhosa for the migrant workers who wore hard hats on the mines – this iconic adornment is, with the noisy vuvuzela trumpet, an important part of the local football matches’ festival atmosphere. But it is not a fly-by-night commercial gimmick; it’s the brainchild of a highly talented artist who invented it not just for show, but for safety.The idea came to Alfred Baloyi, now 51, in 1979 at a local derby in Soweto, South Africa’s largest township, in the southwest of Johannesburg. Soweto derbies, traditionally played by top local teams Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates, are tense affairs, and crowds can become unruly. At this particular match Baloyi saw a bottle flying through the air about to hit another fan’s head. At that moment, the idea for the makarapa hit Baloyi.“We used to go to the stadium without wearing anything on our heads and it was dangerous,” he said. “I realised that these hard hats could protect me.”Baloyi, an ardent supporter of Kaizer Chiefs, known locally as Amakhosi, started collecting plastic helmets, painting them in his team’s yellow and black colours and adding its emblem. Initially, these were only for himself.With only primary school education, Baloyi was employed as a municipal bus cleaner in Pretoria at the time, but soon became totally focused on his new-found art. His work didn’t stop at hats either: he began painting workmen’s overalls in the Amakhosi colours, transforming them into vivid and gaudy fan gear.Other football fans started to notice, and asked him to sell his makarapas on the spot, and gave him their overalls to paint.Makarapas mean business“Supporters taught me business. They used to say, ‘This is beautiful. Sell it to me’,” Baloyi said.By the 1980s Baloyi was starting to make money from his makarapas, which he sold for R7 apiece. But he never stopped thinking up ways to craft a better product.I caught up with Baloyi at his small shack in an informal settlement in Primrose, east of Johannesburg. The shack is like most in the area: there’s little light inside and barely enough space to do any sort of work.But this is where Baloyi, known as “Magistrate” or “Professor” to his fans and friends because of his impressive skills, creates the beautiful helmets.In his work room, which reeks of paint, there is a display of finished and unfinished products, and his personal archive of newspaper clippings and photos. One article, written by Don Makatile and published by Drum magazine in 1999, is prominently placed.It was in 1990 that Baloyi started carving pieces out of the plastic hard hats and manipulating them so they stood upright, changing the headgear’s traditional shape. As he recalls, it was at the request of his friend and fellow football trendsetter, Saddam Maake.Now one of the defining features of the makarapa is its many intricate protrusions, which make the hat appear far larger and taller than it really is. The outward pieces are sometimes fashioned into horns, emblems of local or international sports teams, or expertly cut into the shape of football players dribbling a ball.Baloyi started out by selling his makarapas at stadiums and taxi ranks, but business has taken off, so he now takes orders. Some of these come from large South African companies such as Absa and Vodacom, who buy the headgear for their staff to wear at matches.“I am having more and more companies putting in orders,” Baloyi said. “Individuals are also ordering.”Baloyi’s work is sold through Makarapa Integrated Marketing, a company he founded with sports marketing expert Grant Nicholls, and his production rights are protected under the trademark “Baloyi Makarapa”.The current makarapa price ranges between R300 ($47) and R500 ($67), depending on the accessories Baloyi adds – some customers have special requests. He’s now able to create at least two a day.His makarapa earnings have allowed Baloyi, a father of five, to build a “big and fine” house for his family in Kgabyane village in Limpopo province, as well as to send his 20-year-old daughter, Calphina, to college to study graphic design.“My dad’s art is special,” Calphina said. “He did not learn it in school, but he’s making interesting things. I would like to take over from him one day.”For Baloyi, it’s all about family. “I want to give my family a better life,” he says. “I have to grow it [the makarapa brand] and leave a legacy for my children.”World Cup feverNicholls and Baloyi plan to build a factory that will employ young artists to produce thousands of makarapas in a month – this has always been Baloyi’s dream.Other companies and individuals are picking up the makarapa craze and beginning to make their own, but Baloyi isn’t worried. “I’m not scared by the competition I now have. My makarapas are different because I use my hands to make them and I paint them very well.”Baloyi is a busy man and his phone hardly stops ringing, with old and new customers placing orders.While I was there two calls came through, one from a Golden Lions rugby supporter, and the other from a Coca Cola employee – identified only as Lerato. She was making plans to fly him to Cape Town on 4 December, apparently for the 2010 Fifa World Cup draw.Baloyi is expecting business to boom in the months leading up to the tournament, which kicks off on 11 June 2010. “I know most orders will come next year before the World Cup,” he said. “I will have to work very hard.“When people come to South Africa next year they must come to Primrose to see the father of makarapa. Going back to their countries with a makarapa would be the only way to show that they were indeed in South Africa.”Celebrity football fansMost of the regular, well-known football fans in South Africa – especially in Gauteng province – proudly wear Baloyi’s makarapas. Their headgear, together with their impressive dance moves, singing and vuvuzela-blowing, always attract television cameras and help to get the crowd going.These regulars try to attend as many matches as possible and often pool money so they can travel across the country to work their magic.World Cup visitors are likely to hear some of their names and nicknames, including Baloyi himself, Saddam, Masilo Machaka, Mdokies, Mzioni Mofokeng, Gladys Bailey and uNtshebe. These fans will be seated in the front row of 2010 matches to stir up the atmosphere and drum up support for South Africa’s national squad, Bafana Bafana.Machaka, also a staunch Chiefs fan, says he has never worn and never will wear a makarapa made by anyone other than Baloyi. “Baloyi’s makarapas are different, and that’s why we call him Professor,” he said.“This is the best man for the job. When people want makarapas, especially international supporters coming to South Africa next year, they must go to him.”last_img read more

Brand South Africa calls on citizens for humanitarian support following a massive fire in Alexandra

first_imgJohannesburg, Friday, 07 December 2018 – Brand South Africa calls on citizens for humanitarian support following a massive fire in Alexandra (Alex) on Thursday, 06 December 2018. The Johannesburg emergency services managed to distinguish the blaze preventing further damage to the area.The fire has displaced hundreds of people, according to emergency services spokesperson, Nana Radebe, “at least 500 shacks have been destroyed, leaving 150 families displaced”.Brand South Africa calls on all to unite, play their part and assist with providing humanitarian support in the form of food, water, shelter which can be delivered to Alex and the Sandton fire station. It is imperative now more than ever to be reminded that “a nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”Brand South Africa applauds Gift of the Givers who are on site in Alex providing aid and have moved a mother who gave birth yesterday and another with four children who lost everything in the fire, to their Logistics Centre in Bramley.In a statement Gift of the givers said; “our teams are registering the rest of the victims and transporting them to a nearby hall where we are providing food, bottled water, blankets and mattresses. During the course of today, further appropriate interventions will be effected”.Gift of the Givers on-site contact person, Emily Thomas 083 652 0315.last_img read more

Woot + Amazon = Real-Time Social Shopping

first_imgmarshall kirkpatrick Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Analysis#NYT#web Shopping giant Amazon bought online auction phenomenon Woot today, and given the relative sizes of the companies, it can only be a move made with long-term Amazon strategy in mind. Earlier this afternoon we wrote about the deal as a victory for freaks and a marriage of light- and heavy-weight supply chains, but there’s something else going on here, too.Woot is bringing real-time social shopping to Amazon. We pinged ReadWriteWeb reader Michael Vorel, the CEO of commerce, Internet marketing and consulting company Vastplanet for a brief comment, and he argued that this was a competitive move against the coming media convergence that will pit Amazon against TV shopping networks.Vorel:“It’s an excellent move by Amazon. Amazon needed something that was real-time shopping, in the sense of a QVC or HSN [Home Shopping Network]. It gives Amazon the opportunity to tie together with existing retailers into a daily special. With the infrastructure and connections Amazon has, it could tap into these two communities to offer better pricing and a more successful operation. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Compete says Woot got 2.2 million unique visitors in May. Facebook referred 10.5% of that traffic, so it extends far out into social media.”“The emergence of social shopping is evident in Woot, very similar to the special of the day on HSN. Amazon is looking for unique properties that fit the social shopping model that they can bring under their umbrella. “Compete says Woot got 2.2 million unique visitors in May. Facebook referred 10.5% of that traffic, so it extends far out into social media. “I think what we’re going to see from Woot is, we’ll see more interesting products roll through and maybe a hint of more categories per day. You could have a channel where you had it by category, Mens items, Women’s items, etc. That would allow a lot more people to play within Woot and a lot more money to be made. “The products they [Woot] are selling are so slim margin, they needed to look at other ways to make money. Someone like Amazon could look at behavioral learning techniques, they could learn how to serve those people. I think it’s very interesting that both Zappos and Woot were big social media ecommerce companies and both were acquisitions.”That sounds like a pretty smart take on the deal to me. Woot says it will maintain its functional independence, but there’s got to be some cultural cross-pollination in the plans. As media convergence brings Amazon into direct competition with at-home TV shopping, what better way to gear up than with one of the new geniuses of real-time social shopping, Woot? 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

Giving Nature a Chance for a Comeback

first_imgReadied for restorationOnce acquired, a golf course must be readied for restoration. This can include dealing with potential water quality issues, dilapidated infrastructure, security concerns, invasive species, and more. And conditions that were perfectly fine for growing grass might need upgrading to make them suitable for other vegetation. “A lot of times [turf management] leaves behind a layered profile of soils that is not very conducive for a healthy reforestation effort,” Yoder says.At Lemon Bay Conservancy’s Wildflower Preserve — situated between Sarasota and Fort Myers, Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico — thick mats of duckweed covered three interconnected ponds, a result of past fertilizer use and an influx of nutrients from a nearby water treatment facility used for irrigation. In 2010, Lemon Bay purchased the shuttered Wildflower Golf Club after plans for a residential development stalled amid the 2008 financial crisis. The small conservation organization employed solar aerators, artificial islands of native vegetation, water pumps, and volunteers armed with nets to remove vegetative cover and reduce nutrient levels. Today the ponds are clear and the nutrient levels have normalized.If not managed right away, opportunistic invasive plant species can quickly dominate the open spaces that make up vacant golf courses, so routing them is an important part of renewing the landscape. More than 50 acres of non-native Brazilian pepper trees were removed from the Lemon Bay Conservancy’s preserve, and it will be a constant battle in the near term to keep invasive species at bay.“Treatment on an ongoing basis until we can really get a new native community established is a real long-term challenge we’re worried about,” says Eva Furner, a Lemon Bay Conservancy board member and chair of the Wildflower Preserve Committee.It took more than five months to prepare the Blandford Nature Center’s Highlands site for public use.“You have underground sprinklers, utilities, electric lines. All sorts of hazards, safety concerns, and security issues,” says Joe Engel, executive director of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, which partnered with the nature center to acquire the property. Before the public could set foot on the site, cart paths had to be removed, trails had to be cut through overgrown fairways, and invasive species had to be managed.Despite the challenges, golf courses offer relatively blank canvases for restoration ecologists to work with. “Since they’re pretty large spaces, 150 to 200 acres, often times it’s very flexible as to what type of threatened or endangered species habitats you can put there,” Yoder says. Travis Wood is a graduate student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. This post originally appeared at the website Ensia. RELATED ARTICLES Developers Replace Golf Courses with Hiking TrailsDevelopers Discover That People Like to WalkGreen Basics: Native Plants and Soil Opportunity knocksDuring the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, more than 4,000 golf courses were built to feed an expected growth in demand tied to baby-boomer golfers. But the cost and time commitment required to play eroded demand, putting courses across the country out of business. Golf participation dropped nearly 17%, from a high of 30 million players in 2003 to 25 million in 2013, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF).The 2008 financial crisis exacerbated the problem, resulting in owners placing large tracts of open land on the market, often in the heart of urban or suburban areas starved for green space. In fact, golf course closures have exceeded openings every year since 2006, according to the NGF, with 211 courses closing their doors in 2016. And the NGF expects the trend to extend for several more years as an oversaturated market continues to shed unprofitable golf courses that fail to find sufficient players to pay green fees.After the housing market collapse beginning in 2007, nature-preserving organizations in Ohio, Wisconsin, and many other states took advantage of affordable land prices to purchase golf courses, protecting green space from development. While many defunct courses are repurposed as residential developments, community opposition, zoning requirements, and locations in floodplains are all barriers to development. Areas prone to flooding may be poor candidates for residential development, but perfect locations for wetland restoration efforts, while sites zoned for open space are candidates for parks and nature preserves that avoid contentious rezoning efforts. Nature respondsRepurposed golf courses can offer large tracts of contiguous green space that attract native wildlife, restore ecological functions, and provide opportunities for members of the surrounding community to interact with nature. “This really provides access for kids and for a lot of different constituents in the city to really get out and put their toes in nature a little bit,” says Engel of the Highlands site.Along the coast of Lake Michigan in eastern Wisconsin, Squires Country Club, which is surrounded by private land, operated for more than 70 years before the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust bought it. The land trust, along with Pheasants Forever and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, created a mosaic of habitat types for migratory birds at what is now the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve.“We wanted to achieve something to attract the widest diversity of birds, we achieved that by creating nine different habitat types,” says William Mueller, director of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, located in the former clubhouse on the property.Acquired in 2008, the preserve now boasts 27 wetlands with water control structures, upland prairie, an expanded hardwood forest, and opportunities for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. “This immense area of prairie grassland with a lot of different wildflowers in it right now bears no resemblance to the golf course that it once was,” Mueller says. Observers have witnessed more than 255 species of birds visit the preserve.Just west of Dayton, Ohio, Five Rivers Metroparks purchased the Larch Tree Golf Course adjacent to both the Great Miami Mitigation Bank Conservation Area and Sycamore State Park in 2014. Plans for the site are still in the works, but as natural succession begins to take over, grassland birds are responding.“We’ve already seen several species of grassland birds that have begun to show up once we stopped mowing the golf course,” says Mary Klunk, regional conservation manager for Five Rivers Metroparks.Lemon Bay Conservancy’s Wildflower Preserve is home to a mangrove saltwater creek system, vital for juvenile tarpon development. Upland prairie restorations and the expansion of freshwater wetlands feeding into the creek system will improve the water quality flowing into Lemon Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. “There’s so much development in Florida, that to be able to take a parcel like this and go the other way, that’s the interesting aspect of this project,” Furner says.Back in western Michigan, Jason Meyer, president and CEO of the Blandford Nature Center, is working with the surrounding community to shape the long-term plan for The Highlands. The restoration project will transform the once vacant course into an asset for the whole community, protecting 121 acres of urban green space from development.“Once these places are gone, they’re gone,” he says. “We need to do what we can do to save them today.” By TRAVIS WOODNo longer constrained by repeated mowing and herbicide applications, the manicured fairways of the shuttered Highlands Golf Course in western Michigan have given way to tall grasses swaying in the breeze, interrupted only by more than two miles of looping trails in what is now The Highlands natural area. Several of the old greens are now tall and short-grass prairie plots, offering a glimpse of what the future holds for a piece of land that had been a golf course for the past 100 years.By annexing the 121-acre Highlands Golf Course, the Blandford Nature Center is following a path blazed by organizations in at least 13 states across the country: converting courses closed due to reduced demand into nature preserves, parks and restored wetlands. From Washington to New Jersey and Florida to Wisconsin, dozens of golf courses have been transformed into natural areas, providing new recreational and environmental education opportunities to surrounding communities and restoring habitat for native plants and animals.“The potential for recreation to meet with wildlife habitat is pretty rare, because not much large open space is available for that kind of development in urban space,” says landscape designer Nick Yoder, who examined sustainable reuse options for closed golf courses as a graduate student at the University of Maryland’s Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. Golf courses offer a unique and valuable opportunity to protect green space from development and incorporate nature into existing developed areas.last_img read more

Gasol, Mills lead balanced Spurs attack over Grizzlies

first_img2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Spurs: Host the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.Grizzlies: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. Willie Marcial is new PBA commissioner Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City LATEST STORIES Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa View comments Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Deyonta Davis added 12 points. Dillon Brooks finished with 10 points as the Grizzlies were hampered by 43 percent shooting, including 2 of 18 from outside the arc, and 17 turnovers.Between illness and rest, each team was down at least four players, creating some makeshift lineups. Spurs leading-scorer LaMarcus Aldridge took the night off for rest.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBoth teams started 2 of 11 from the field in a sloppy first half. Memphis committed 10 turnovers while shooting just under 40 percent, while the Spurs shot slightly better at 44 percent along with eight miscues.Pau Gasol was the only player to reach double figures with 10 points in helping San Antonio to a 51-40 lead at the break. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises The Spurs maintained the double-digit lead through the third and early stages of the fourth as the Spurs defense pressured the Grizzlies, still mired at 41 percent shooting, including 2 of 12 from outside the arc.Memphis got the lead to single-digits with just under eight minutes remaining, but the Spurs scored the next six points, including four from Parker to match their biggest lead at 91-76 with about six minutes to go.That was in the midst of a 14-2 Spurs run to take the lead to 20 points.Spurs: Joffrey Lauvergne made his first four shots. … Rudy Gay, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard also sat out for San Antonio. They’re each dealing with long-term injuries. … Bertans started his second game of the season. … Pau Gasol is 17-10 in games against his younger brother Marc. … Spurs have a 27-3 record when leading after three quarters.Grizzlies: F Dillon Brooks was named to the Rising Stars World Team earlier Wednesday. Brooks is a native of Canada. … Ivan Rabb, a rookie out of California, made his first career start. … Saw their streak of five straight games with at least 10 3-pointers snapped.UP NEXTADVERTISEMENT NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Read Next Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) drives against his brother and San Antonio Spurs center, Pau Gasol, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Pau Gasol ended an assist short of a triple-double, Patty Mills scored 15 points and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Memphis Grizzlies 108-85 on Wednesday night.Gasol had 14 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, and Bryn Forbes and Danny Green also finished with 14 points each. Davis Bertans and Dejounte Murray each had 11 points.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

Champions Trophy 2017: Team India on the streets of London, fans go berserk

first_imgThe Indian cricket team went out for their first official team dinner in London to a Japanese restaurant Wagamama and Rohit Sharma led the tour to the restaurant.”I will take you to a place where not many people have been,” Rohit Sharma said at the beginning of the video posted by bcci.tv.Rohit talked about how the whole team was enjoying walking on the streets of London and Ravindra Jadeja added, “I think the weather is very beautiful.”Upon reaching the restaurant, Rohit said that it was “one of the best places in London, certainly one of my favourites.” (Also read: Virat Kohli’s India, away from media glare, revel in their freedom) Sharma also gave a sneak peek in Ashwin’s choice of food as when the India opener asked the spinner what’s on the menu, Ashwin said, “I’m looking for a good salad.”Sharma continued smilingly, “Good salad, that’s the way to go. A good salad keeps you nice and healthy and fresh all the time.”Sharma then introduced to Team India’s fitness trainer sitting across Ashwin and jokingly said, “When you are sitting across the fitness trainer, you cannot afford to do anything stupid.”The video also had Team India’s batting coach R. Sridhar telling that he’s a hardcore vegitarian and found a dish called Tama Yasai which was “the best I can lay my hands on in Wagamama.”By the end of the video, Rohit Sharma said, “The food was excellent and we look forward to coming back here again,” even as he acknowledged the love of the fans who were waiting outside to catch a glimpse of them.advertisementlast_img read more