Press Union of Liberia 50th Anniversary Statement

first_imgEsteemed Members of the Press Union of LiberiaVeteran members of the Press Union of LiberiaSurviving Organizers of the Press Union of LiberiaCompatriots in the march for a better LiberiaMy fellow citizensLadies and GentlemenToday had promised to be a very exciting date on the calendar of the Press Union of Liberia – 50 years on the struggle to ensure a free and responsible media landscape – 50 years of standing up to power, demanding and insisting upon the right to freely express ourselves, in so far as this expression was not tearing down bridges and creating division.Unfortunately, the difficult and cruel army of the ebola virus disease has restricted our desire to celebrate this day, given the wily disruption it has posed in our country and the sub-region.Further on the account of the ebola situation, all aspects of Liberian life have gradually ground to a halt. Schools are no longer open – children are lazying home; non-essential staff – whether from government service, NGOs, factories or other work places – have been ordered to stay away from work; Hospitals are operating at less than a quarter of their potentials, restoring such previously ignored diseases as mainline killers. In other instances, basic health services no longer run, and people are living until they die. Now in our country, the most significant activity that keeps working is the search for food – to survive.In the few instances where some work is going on, the preoccupation is on addressing the ebola situation. Today, every newspaper story has an ebola angle and every development grant is now directed at ebola.Now, given the gravity of the ebola situation and the risks involved with holding a normal celebration, the Press Union of Liberia has dedicated the observance of its 50th Anniversary to a nationwide Media Ebola Awareness Day.While we are joining the rest of the people of Liberia in talking about the gravity of the ebola situation, we also like to pay tribute to the men and women who, on this day in 1964, set forth the challenge to organize a body to protect the rights of journalists in this country, coordinate space for a free, independent and impartial media in Liberia, and at the same time chart their role in the development of the Liberian state, especially towards ensuring freedom of speech, the actualization of democracy and ensuring a guarantee of freedom, justice, equality and development in our country.The task set forth by those our compatriots have today bloomed into a most respectable organization – which cannot be ignored in anything good that has come out of Liberia.While our notes will continuously refer to E. Reginald Townsend, Henry B. Cole, Chauncey Cooper, Aston King and J. Persey Gumel, I nonetheless like to reference Tuan Wreh, who would go on to become a professor of law, but especially because he has provided for Liberian journalism students one academic text that provides a clearer idea of what journalism was in the days the Press Union of Liberia was organized. I also noted the longevity of James E Dennis, who has survived his contemporaries, and has given us the opportunity to think of the men who led the struggle.I also like to recognize Kenneth Y. Best, who has remained in the newsroom, even at the ripe age of 75.I wouldn’t forget T Nelson Williams, Sr., who led the organization of the Department of Mass Communications at the University of Liberia, providing for once an opportunity for Liberian journalists to gain academic qualifications here at home.But among all, our hero remains Stanton A. Peabody, who had the audacity to describe members of the House of Representatives in the best disposition of his thoughts, risking contempt and jail, raising the conviction of Liberian journalists to hold together and resist intolerance and alarm that speech must for once be free, especially within the realm of public service.Regrettably, despite a revolutionary coup in 1980, a new democracy-based constitution in 1985, despite ravaging wars that reorganized the entire state in 1990 and again in 2003, the very contempt of 1964 remains ridiculously unclarified in 2014.This simply says that the purpose of the Press Union of Liberia is just as relevant today (perhaps more) as it was 50 years ago.Across these years, the work of the Liberian media – now away from just newspapers and radio as in 1964 – has become even more challenged.The rights to freely speak, think and write – as guaranteed by the constitution have often been suppressed by various methods. At one point it was fancy to lock journalists up. As sensitivity grew and there is now the resort to court of laws to prevent that, other measures grew. Those have included shutting down, burning and in some instances torture and death.In more recent years, printing establishments were warned against printing certain papers, and as more papers have metamorphosed to owning printing presses, multiple, crime-based lawsuits are cropping up, with intent to shut down media houses.In still other cases, media houses have been shut down on claims of hate crimes, and at times just short of seditionIn all of these, our observation is that governments – in and out – have simply not come to grips with the reality that none can stop others from disagreeing in words, unless they have the capacity to stop others from thinking. Because the latter is impossible, efforts to prevent people from disagreeing is but a failed venture that only contributes to the evolution of conflict in our society.Ladies and Gentlemen:Given that we have dedicated our 50th Anniversary to the fight against ebola, we are keen not to get involved with rhetoric that will take over the recognition we are giving to the fight. Nonetheless, it is fair to note that the fight against ebola can only succeed when the various parties are confident that we are all in it together. That means, principles are standard and do not sway from case to case.We have a situation here, where all ebola deaths are buried en masse, and then burnt. Note is taken of the Ugandan Doctor from Redemption Hospital and the Catholic Priest. In the future – perhaps with better knowledge – some deaths are allowed special burial rites.At one point, all unexplained deaths will be treated as ebola deaths. A lot of loved ones were allowed to be carried away by a burial, then a burning team. At some point, the ratio changed, and the death certificates began. With deaths extending into the families of lost ones, an alarm has sounded.While crying aloud about denial and traditional practices, and telling all relatives and friends to accept the ebola reality, a new row has come forth when deaths in high quarters are cited to be ebola.There must be one standard that will instead get appreciation from all. Otherwise, those who have also doubted the circumstances of ebola in the first place will always have reason to maintain their doubts.On the other hand, the ebola situation has brought more challenge to the role of the media in reporting occurrences in our society. The state of emergency and yet unexplained restrictions introduces a tricky situation for a battle that must be fought inclusively. While media has pledged to work along in providing public education, the yet unknown keeps media in a position of fear, not sure of what happens next.In all of these, the Press Union has become a victim, observing 50 years of existence with a closure of a fearless newspaper outside of due process. As difficult as we find this, we still look forward in confidence to a High Court ruling on a number of constitutional issues that will effectively open up the space for freedom and justice for journalists and others in the wider Liberian society.So, as we arrange the 50th anniversary, our admonition is for journalists to strengthen their drive into making their journalism one that tells the entire Liberian story in a factual and inclusive manner. Our admonition is for journalists to take the greater responsibility of making their journalism enviable, stepping up to the challenge to ensure opportunities for all.On the other hand, after 50 years, and after a number of transformation in Liberia, it is time that the government – including the legislature, the judiciary and of course the executive – take additional efforts to tolerate dissent and disagreement. This is the purpose of journalism, and of democracy and human rights. Appreciation of free expression is more of the issues and expressions that one find especially offensive. The wider the diversity in our thought and speech, the better we can work together to find a common ground.We will continue working to improve the quality of journalism in Liberia; We will continue with our self-regulatory mechanism to show greater accountability by Liberian journalists to their audience, but we demand that going beyond fifty years – there must be increased opportunities to make journalism the pivot of our democracy, our governance system and stretching out accountability in Liberian society.Our disagreement with journalists should not be expressed through the power we wield, to the extent of violating rights and ignoring guarantees of freedom and accountability.Thank You!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Bartica landfill to be completed by 2020 – Mayor

first_img…current site does not cater for liquid wasteThe new Bartica landfill at 14 Miles in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) should be operational by next year, providing waste management services on a larger scale than the Byderabo site.This is according to Bartica Mayor Gifford Marshall who told Guyana Times on Thursday that the works are moving apace.The Communities Ministry had provided funds back in 2017 for a landfill site to be developed at Bartica. An area at 14 Miles was selected and the Mayor is certain that it will be completed by 2020. For now, there is a site which is operated by private contractors and the Council is monitoring the situation so that activities are carried out in an environmentally friendly manner.“The landfill site at 14 Miles is a work in progress and that should be completed sometime in 2020, if not 2019. We continue to manage the site in Byderabo. There was a private contractor that was given the contract to take care of that site and works are continuing on the 14 Miles site. We’re managing Byderabo and ensuring that it’s in an environmentally friendly manner,” said Marshall.He noted that the new landfill site will be much larger than the current operation at Byderabo. It will also initiate other infrastructural projects within the township to access the sites.Bartica Mayor Gifford MarshallAt present, there is no facility to dispose liquid waste, which will add one more function to the new 14 Miles landfill operation once completed.“It will improve our infrastructure because in order to get to 14 Miles, we’ll definitely have to develop our roads and purchase some new trucks. Presently, there is nowhere in Bartica for us to dispose of our liquid waste so that site will facilitate such,” the Mayor explained.An overseas-based firm, ESP Inc, was involved in the preliminary studies for the design of sanitary landfill sites at Mahdia, Linden and Bartica, covering a total cost of GY$125 million.For this, soil investigations will were scheduled at various proposed sites including 14 Miles, Bartica, Region Seven; Kara Kara, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice); Bon Success, Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo); Red and White, Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni); Khan’s Hill, Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini); White Creek, Port Kaituma, Region One; and Onderneeming, Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).Dumpsites that will be upgraded to landfills are Byderabo, Bartica, Rose Hall, Lusignan and Haags Bosch.Conditional approval was given by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a proposed site at Khan’s Hill in Mabaruma and Sia/White Creek at Port Kaituma.Back in 2018, approval was also given to the Lethem municipality. A service contract to the tune of $36.3 million was awarded to International Imports and Exports to manage the town’s solid waste for 18 months.last_img read more

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Exclusive – Sanchez’s Arsenal switch ‘almost done’, reveals Wenger

first_img Barcelona and Chile striker Alexis Sanchez Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has told talkSPORT the club expect to complete the signing of Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez in the coming days.The Chile star has been linked with a number of top clubs across Europe, most notably with the Gunners’ Premier League rivals Liverpool, who wanted the 25-year-old as part of a player-plus-cash deal for Barca-bound Luis Suarez.Sanchez is keen to leave the Catalan club following their approach for the prolific Uruguayan, and – with Liverpool recently cooling their interest in the attacker – Arsenal have landed their target with a superior offer.Latest reports have suggested Sanchez will move to north London for €35million [around £28million], signing a four-year contract at the Emirates Stadium.This latest deal means Arsenal will spend approximately £40million in a matter of days, having already secured the arrival of French international full-back Mathieu Debuchy, who admitted he will move from Newcastle this summer. 1last_img read more

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Christmas riders are ready to roll

first_imgWhittier Wheelmen and others wanting to show off their new bicycles can take a short ride through local Christmas Tree Lanes on Sunday.The bicycle club departs at 7:30 a.m. Sundays from the Community Center parking lot, 7634 Washington Ave.For more information, call (562) 947-5771.Country croonerto appear at lunchMontebello Woman’s Club will have country singer/banjo player Pamela Kay perform for their meeting at noon Jan. 5 at the clubhouse, 201 S. Park Ave. A catered luncheon will be served by Anita Dean and her Committee. Everyone is welcome.For reservations, call Anita at (562) 698-7101.To volunteer or for more information, call Margaret A. Rostedt at (323) 728-3765. University Women to present author The Whittier Area American Association of University Women will meet for brunch at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 21 at the Whittier Depot. The guest speaker will be Jackie Shadzadi, who will relate her experiences of living in Iran. Reservations should be made by Jan. 16.Shadzadi’s book, titled “Goldoon and the Professor,” describes memoirs of a bicultural marriage.For reservations, or more information call (562) 696-8626. Writers to meet today at church The Writers’ Club of Whittier meets for workshops every third Friday of the month at 9:30 a.m. and every second and fourth Monday at 7:15 p.m. at their new location, United Methodist Church (Wesley Building) at 13222 E. Bailey Ave. in Whittier.The poetry section meets in members homes.For more information, call Sherry Barber at (562) 696-5102. La Mirada Scribes meet on Thursdays La Mirada Scribes Creative Writing Club meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. at the Activity Center, 13810 La Mirada Blvd.For more information, call Gertrude Ulrich at (562) 777-1560. Club news items must be received by the Monday prior to publication. Submit to Community News, Whittier Daily News, 7612 Greenleaf Ave., Whittier, CA 90602; fax to (562) 698-0955; or e-mail in plain text (no attachments) to news.wdn@sgvn.com. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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DON’T PANIC BUT IT’S TIME FOR THE DONEGAL CHRISTMAS SHOEBOX APPEAL!

first_imgIt may only be September but it’s Donegal Christmas Shoebox Time again!You too can light up a less well-of child’s face this Christmas.Team Hope are looking support from groups and individuals to fill Christmas shoeboxes for children who may otherwise never receive a gift this Christmas.Schools and pre-schools are being approached by members of the team, however if you are a community group or a business or group of staff that would like to take on a project to make a difference in a child’s life, this Christmas, please consider gift wrapping a shoebox and filling it with things to wash, wear, write with and bring a “wow” smile to a child’s face as they open the box. A certificate of thanks will be issued to any group of whatever age who work together to donate gift-filled shoeboxes to this year’s appeal. Leaflets are now available in shops across the South Donegal region and from Vanessa Purdy, South Donegal Team Hope Coordinator on 074 9737052.Bring your gift-filled shoeboxes by Monday 10th November your participating local school or to drop off points: Mr G’s in Ballyshannon, Eurosaver by the Central Hotel in Donegal Town, the DCL office or Baskins Cafe in Dunkineely and Niall Mor Community Centre in Killybegs, or if your group has 50+ boxes, please call Vanessa to arrange collection.If you don’t want to do a full shoebox, please consider donating items to the processing centre where boxes are checked and filled up where necessary.You might have small soft toys, extra copy books, unused toothbrushes around the house, you might be a knitter and be able to donate us hats, scarves and gloves, or you might just add an extra tube of toothpaste or soap to your weekly shop which would just make a box complete. You can pass these items in alongside your box or instead of a box to your local school or drop off point and ask them to pass them along to the processing centre – the South Donegal Team Hope team would be really grateful.All items donated individually will be made up into boxes and find their way to bring a smile to a needy child’s face this Christmas.DON’T PANIC BUT IT’S TIME FOR THE DONEGAL CHRISTMAS SHOEBOX APPEAL! was last modified: September 26th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Christmas Shoebox AppealdonegalTeam HopeVanessa Purdylast_img read more

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‘OUTSIDERS’ TRYING TO DISRUPT WATER METER AGREEMENT IN INISHOWEN – CLAIM

first_imgTHOSE behind an agreement with water meter installers and contractors in Inishowen say they’ve done a good deal – and claim ‘outsiders’ are trying to wreck the agreement.In a lengthy statement Buncrana Against Irish Water says the online abuse against them is unfair and unwarranted; and that the agreement was mandated by the public.Comments threatening violence have been left on the Facebook pages of Donegal Water Warriors and several other groups. This is the Buncrana Against Irish Water statement in full:BRIEF EXPLANATION OF MAIN EVENTS LEADING TO AGREEMENT WITH JOHN GILDEA, MBC Builders1. In January Buncrana Against Irish Water became aware of the development of an Irish Water meter installation programme that had successfully taken place in Moneymore Co. Louth.2. The architects of this agreement came to Buncrana and explained how they achieved a peaceful resolution between the water meter installation contractors and the residents of six housing estates in Moneymore. 3. At the meeting at the Lake of Shadows hotel, there was an overwhelming show of hands from over 250 people (which included representatives from different groups) to replicate this system. We therefore had a mandate to meet the contractors to discuss putting the plan into operation. We contacted the Garda, Irish Water, GMC Sierra Ltd and politicians.ALL EFFORTS WERE PUT IN THE PUBLIC DOMIAN ie: www.buncranatogether.com AND FACEBOOK4. On the 25th May, 2015 James Quigley received an e mail from Councillor Jack Murray Sinn Fein saying John Gildea (GMC Sierra Contractor) would like to talk to the anti water charges groups in Inishowen. Groups in Inishowen were informed and asked to reply. There was dissention from Inishowen Against Water Charges after all that had been achieved at the Lake Of Shadows meeting and the mandate given by the people.5. Buncrana Against Water Charges wished to fulfil the mandate and met the contractor on the 16th July. A similar arrangement to Moneymore was agreed upon. Mr James Quigley was appointed spokesman.6. Vitriolic statements and insults then appeared on Facebook from Donegal Water Warriors (Letterkenny) and Inishowen Against Water Charges. Here are a few of them:‘What the f—-? So Inishowen ventured into talks with meter installers.. this has to be bullshit and this James guy is a complete arse’and more sinister; ‘Cheers James, lol, I’ll split ye next time I see ye with that meter…grrrrrr’There is a plethora of disgraceful insults, too many to be seen here.7. It would appear that Inishowen Against Water Charges caved in and abandoned the agreement and mandate given at the Lake of Shadows hotel under pressure and influence from people outside of Inishowen.THIS AGREEMENT APPLIES ONLY TO THE INISHOWEN PENINSULA. IF YOU HAVE READ THIS STATEMENT AND WISH TO EXAMINE IN DETAIL ALL MEETINGS, AGREEMENTS (AND CONTENT OF AGREEMENT) DISCUSSIONS, E MAILS, ABUSIVE COMMENTS…….EVERYTHING IS IN THE PUBLIC ARENA PLEASE CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINKhttp://buncranatogether.com/…/the-inishowen-agreement-the-m…‘OUTSIDERS’ TRYING TO DISRUPT WATER METER AGREEMENT IN INISHOWEN – CLAIM was last modified: July 26th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalInishowenIrish Watermeterslast_img read more

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Well-known store targetted in overnight break-in

first_imgTopline McCrearys in Killygordan, Donegal, has been targetted by thieves in the early hours of this morning, causing damage to the popular store. The widely-condemned incident occurred at 4.20am on Monday morning. Gardai are investigating after two males are believed to have entered the store yard and caused criminal damage to the building. It is not yet known if the perpetrators managed to take any goods from the store.Cllr Patrick McGowan has condemned the attack, saying: “This is a very valuable resource to this area and countywide and the McCreary family have served this community for generations.“I hope anyone with information will report to the Garda immediately.”The business has been forced to close today due to the incident. Management have apologised to customers for any inconvenience caused.Well-known store targetted in overnight break-in was last modified: April 9th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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South American Dinosaur Find Modifies Theories

first_imgA deinonychus-like dinosaur has been found in Argentina.  Representatives of this group, including velociraptor, had previously only been known in the northern hemisphere and Asia.  Since South America was supposedly on another land mass at the time, “The new discovery demonstrates that Cretaceous theropod faunas from the southern continents shared greater similarity with those of the northern landmasses than previously thought.”  The new species, named Neuquenraptor, was reported in Nature1 this week; see also the summary on BBC News which says the bones are “probably implying a much more ancient evolutionary history” for this group of dinosaurs.    The discoverers invoke “convergent evolution” (homoplasy) in their phylogenetic classification of this species, stating that it’s a common problem:As prompted elsewhere, homoplasy is a common problem in coelurosaurian phylogeny.  In this regard, the arctometatarsalian metatarsus shows a complex evolutionary history, and the basal position of Neuquenraptor provides useful information to test the monophyly of arctometatarsalian theropods.  Our analysis is consistent with recent interpretations that evolutionary transitions between the arctometatarsal and non-arctometatarsal foot occurred multiple times both in basal Coelurosauria (for example, Tyrannosauridae, Ornithomimidae) and maniraptorans (for example, alvarezsaurids, some oviraptorosaurs, derived troodontids and basal dromaeosaurids).  The arctometatarsalian condition thus constitutes one of the homoplastic features most frequently evolved between Coelurosauria.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)1Fernando E. Novas and Diego Pol, “New evidence on deinonychosaurian dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia,” Nature 433, 858 – 861 (24 February 2005); doi:10.1038/nature03285.“Convergent evolution” is a cop-out term, a non-explanation, that hides the ignorance of Darwin Party members behind jargon.  We see it all the time, whether talking about plants, vertebrates, bacteria, or what have you: the magic wand of convergence does the miracles.  Does it explain how similar features in very different groups converged on the same solutions?  No: it multiplies the improbability that these groups would all get the same lucky mutations to develop similar structures and functions independently.  This new find also pushes back the origin of this group of dinosaurs much farther back in their timescale, giving the Darwinists less time to evolve these mobile, agile hunters from their presumably less-capable ancestors.  The BBC News states, “Neuquenraptor argentinus is slightly different from its Northern Hemisphere relatives, having had several million years of isolated evolution.”  Can they tell this from a few foot bones?  The story, like a weak fence, is breaking down; don’t fall for linguistic tricks to whitewash the rotting timbers.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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New hope for the deaf in SA

first_imgMonthati Makofane and his mother Agnes. The two year old toddler is the first child recepient of a cochlear implant from Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital’s speech therapy and audiology department. (Image: Mujahid Safodien, The Star) A graphic representation of a cochlear implant. (Image: Kids Health) MEDIA CONTACTS • Dani Schlesinger Senior Speech therapist and audiologist, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. 082 821 3448 • Mandla Sidu Gauteng provincial health spokesperson +27 83 602 6169 USEFUL LINKS • National Insitutute for the Deaf in South Africa • Deaf TV • Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. •Gauteng Health • National Health RELATED ARTICLES • South Africa’s miracle health train • Universal Health Care for South Africa • Booster for child health in SA • More nurses to be trained in SA Khanyi MagubaneThere’s new hope for the deaf community in South Africa following a batch of successful cochlear implant operations performed at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg.All these procedures, estimated to cost about R200 000 (US$ 25 000), have been fully funded by the state.The cochlear implant programme, established in 2006, is the first of its kind in South Africa. It is run by the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department and the Department of Speech Therapy and Audiology, in partnership with the Department of Health.Lavine Mokhojoa, a chef from Soweto, became the first recipient of a cochlear implant at the hospital on 29 September 2006 when he was 45.To date seven adults and one child have undergone successful cochlear implants through this particular programme.When the unit opened its doors to the public three years ago, the hospital was optimistic about the far-reaching effects it would have.“Through the dedication of the highly trained support staff, in both the ENT and Audiology Departments, the selected patients will receive the highest level of post surgical care and speech rehabilitation necessary to make the programme a success,” the hospital stated when announcing the establishment of the unit.Implants for childrenThe programme has recently extended its reach by opening a paediatric wing.On 1 July 2009 the unit performed a cochlear implant on a two-year-old boy, Monthati Makofane.During such a procedure an electronic device is inserted into the inner ear, which is accessed through a small incision made at the back of the patient’s ear. After the surgery, the wound is given about four weeks to heal.When the doctors are satisfied the wound has healed sufficiently, the external part of the cochlear implant is fitted. The external apparatus consists of a microphone which picks up sound, a battery which runs the device and a data chip which processes sound.Makofane’s device was switched on for the first time on 6 August. Experiencing sound for the first time in his life, the little boy was quite taken aback.“As the device was activated, Monthati immediately reacted to the sound by screaming and crying as he heard noises for the first time in his life,” said the hospital’s senior speech therapist, Dani Schlesinger.Makofane’s parents are ecstatic that their third child is now able to hear.“We’re very happy and excited. We’re looking forward to him hearing and being normal,” Abel Mokofane, Monthati’s father, told the daily newspaper The Star.Abel says he and his wife realised Monthati had a hearing problem when he was six months old.“Whenever a noise was made, clapping or the TV, he never responded.”After a battery of tests confirmed that their son was deaf, the Mokofanes were disappointed, but accepted their child’s condition. This was until an audiologist referred them to the Baragwanath unit and Monthati’s life changed forever.A second child on the list has recently received the go-ahead from the hospital, while two other children have now started the application process to be a part of the programme.Screening processScreening candidates for cochlear implants, Schlesinger explains, is a complex and involved process.“At first, when we see a patient in the Audiology Department, we start by taking a detailed history of that person’s hearing problems to determine how they came about having a hearing impediment, especially if they used to hear normally before. We investigate how it deteriorated over time and what factors were involved.”During the screening process potential implant recipients undergo a series of hearing tests. During these tests patients are asked to listen to sounds played at different frequencies to determine the extent of their hearing impediment.If the tests indicate a severe hearing impediment, patients are fitted with a hearing aid, to see if the device will help them.Speech and language tests are also conducted to assess how the patient has coped with his or her hearing impediment.Patients are assessed on their ability to express themselves, their ability to understand others through lip-reading or hand signals, their ability to learn in a classroom situation (if the patient is a student) and their ability to read and comprehend.When hearing tests are conducted again and the hearing aid is found to be ineffective, the department considers other options.“Once the hearing aid is found to be ineffective in enhancing hearing, we then refer the matter to the Ear, Nose and Throat Department, where the state of the cochlear inside the ear is examined.”“For the patient to be considered for the cochlear implant, there has to be severe to profound permanent hearing loss in both ears, in other words, hearing that cannot be treated,” Schlesinger says.A team comprising speech therapists, audiologists, an ENT specialist and psychologist then gets together to weigh up their findings on a particular patient. If it’s decided that a cochlear implant may be the best way to assist the patient, the operation is approved.Once approved, the patient and his or her family are taken to see a psychologist who prepares them for the emotional and somewhat stressful journey ahead.The patient’s family is required to attend weekly consultations with doctors and therapists in preparation for the operation.A more detailed examination of the inner ear, detecting where the damage lies, and more speech therapy takes place before the procedure.After the implant operation, for the next six months, the patient is required to go for regular check-ups at the hospital.During the check-up sessions the patient will receive auditory training – this includes coaching on how to identify sounds and programming the device to the patient’s hearing level.At the moment the hospital has a long list of patients awaiting cochlear implants.New chance in lifeAgnes Sekete, 23, suffered severe hearing loss in her Grade 12 year after developing meningitis. But her story has a happy ending – she’s one of Baragwanath’s cochlear implant recipients.After her device was switched on in September 2008, she said she felt like a completely new person.Before the operation Sekete said she “was almost knocked down by a car because I did not hear the driver hooting behind me”.After recovering from the operation, Sekete was granted special permission by the Education Department to write her Grade 12 exams.She is now waiting for her final results before applying to tertiary institutions to continue with her studies.“My life was saved by a passer-by who pulled me away from the street. Now I’m able to hear sounds, listen to radio and TV and even answer my cellphone,” she says.How does it work?A cochlear implant differs significantly from a hearing aid.While hearing aids amplify sound, cochlear implants bypass the damaged areas of the ear and stimulate the nerves in the auditory region.A person with a cochlear implant hears sounds differently to a person with normal hearing, but both are able to recognise warning signals and understand everyday noises like music, animal and car sounds.While hearing is not restored to its natural state after a cochlear implant, the recipient will have the ability to interact with others and have a conversation like a person with regular hearing.Overcoming hearing impairmentSouth Africa has a thriving deaf community that’s committed to uplifting and empowering those with hearing difficulties.According to the National Institute for the Deaf in South Africa (NIDSA), there are more than 400 000 deaf people in South Africa.Some 47 deaf schools across the country provide for the needs of 7 000 hearing-impaired children.Organisations like NIDSA aim to help develop the full potential of deaf people through avenues such as basic education, training, welfare services and spiritual care.One of the unique features of the institute is that it dispels myths that many people with regular hearing have about the deaf community.For example, one myth is that sign language is universal.South Africa’s sign language differs from that in America and other countries. Each country develops it’s own, unique form of sign language.Just like any other language, sign language also has dialects. In South Africa, there are many different sign language dialects, but the various groups of deaf people, do not, in general, experience problems in understanding the different dialects, according to the NIDSA website.Another myth is that deaf drivers are more prone to car accidents. The NIDSA says this is definitely not the case, citing increased awareness and a greater reliability on site, making deaf drivers more attentive.Deaf TV, a channel on Digital Satellite Television, caters specifically for the deaf community in South Africa, and offers lively programmes, including movies and lifestyle features.Deaf TV presenters and actors all use sign language but sub-titles are also provided for those who are not deaf, and wish to follow the programmes.Schlesinger says that people who cope with communicating in sign language should carry on with it, as it is an effective way to converse with other deaf people.“If [a deaf person] is leading a normal life, a cochlear implant would not necessarily be the best route for them, as they are already equipped with an effective communication tool. This operation is not a replacement for sign language, but is there to simply help patients where other interventions have failed.”last_img read more

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Brenda Fassie immortalised in comic book

first_imgAn anthology of comic books featuring notable women from all over the world, Femme Magnifique, has included a South African. The late singer, Brenda Fassie, gets her own comic book. South African music legend Brenda Fassie is one of the women included in a comic book anthology celebrating those who “take names and change the game”. (Image supplied) Priya PitamberSouth African music icon Brenda Fassie is one of the women featured in a comic book anthology, Femme Magnifique.These comics “celebrate women who crack ceilings, take names, and change the game”, reads the Femme Magnifique Kickstarter website.South African author Lauren Beukes wrote the comic and Anja “Nanna” Venter drew the artwork.“I was approached by US comic book editor Shelly Bond to write on a South African for the Femme Magnifique anthology,” said Beukes. She worked with Bond previously on graphic novels Survivors’ Club and Fairest: The Hidden Kingdom.Both Venter and Beukes work at the same office, but had not collaborated before. “We’ve been dying to do something together for ages,” said Venter. “She received an invitation to participate and immediately cornered me to do art.”Easy choiceBeukes knew from her first book, Maverick, a pop history on women in the country, that there were many who could fit the bill for Femme Magnifique. “I had many to choose from, from Lilian Ngoyi to Ruth First, Krotoa Eva and Sara Baartman.“But Brenda Fassie worked on so many levels, as a provocative pop star, as a lesbian icon, as a black woman who lived through apartheid and sang about the personal and the political.”Beukes said Fassie had an incredible voice, both in her singing and in how fearless she was in being herself. “Her songs made the personal political, from Black President to Too Late for Mama, she sang about the lived black experience.“Nanna and I pitched Brenda Fassie, because we thought she would be the most fun to do,” explained Beukes.It was a way to introduce Fassie to an international audience along with other female heroes, from astronaut Sally Ride to Nina Simone and Michelle Obama, all featured in the anthology.Venter said she felt pressure to do justice to an icon such as Fassie. “Brenda was the first person to say that she ultimately ‘belonged to the people’. She had an immense celebrity which has always been well-documented, and part of the public domain in South Africa.”For the artwork, Venter said she and Beukes remixed Fassie’s rich legacy to reflect it back to the world in a new form, so a new audience could appreciate it.Short but effectiveThe story is a biographical look at Fassie’s life and cultural legacy. “Like the rest of the comics in the anthology, it’s only three pages long, so it was hard to condense it,” said Beukes.But with comics, Beukes said, the art did a lot of work too. “Nanna was able to nail her iconic looks and show her through the ages.”Venter said despite having two weeks to complete the comic, it came together “super quickly”.It will be released in September and the team at Femme Magnifique are working on international distribution.We did a short comic on the life of Brenda Fassie, art by @nannaventer, for the Femme Magnifique anthology edited by @sxbond! (Out in sept). https://t.co/UIHL4XZbQ8— Lauren Beukes (@laurenbeukes) May 14, 2017Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

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