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MR D VENTER SHARES HIS PASSION FOR MILITARY HERITAGE TOURISM

Nontobeko Zondi

Image: Mr Dewald Venter - VUT Tourism Management Lecturer who’s currently completing his PhD has a passion for military heritage tourism.

History is a narration of the events which have happened among mankind, including an account of the rise and fall of nations, as well as of other great changes which have affected the political and social condition of the human race. —John J. Anderson. 1876. A Manual of General History.

Mr Dewald Venter is a Tourism Management Lecturer who is currently completing his PhD. He describes himself as an amateur military historian with a fascination for military history and a passion for tourism. Combining his fascination and passion has led him to publish an article titled "Examining military heritage tourism as a niche tourism market in the South African context”.

Mr Venter says that military history has often underplayed or erased the indigenous narrative which has only until quite recently shown signs of being addressed in South Africa. An example is the SS Mendi which was transporting mostly indigenous South African soldiers to Europe during the First World War when the cargo ship Darro collided with it during thick mist, killing 616 crew and passengers. The sinking of the SS Mendi is commemorated by a number of monuments in South Africa, Britain, France and the Netherlands.

Military heritage encompasses several components which include military museums, battlefields, memorials and monument, events and festivals, re-enactors and re-enactments and private militaria collectors. Mr Venter points out that military heritage tourism can serve as a platform for various groups to engage in and better appreciate the dynamics of globalisation and expansion, thus empower individuals with an understanding of the world they live in.

In South Africa he is the only one focusing on military heritage tourism and aims to encourage people to learn more about military heritage through tourism. He points out that South African tourism is showing remarkable, steady and sustainable growth and lately there is a growing interest in the stories, lives and experiences of those who fought and died during past conflicts.

 

 

 

VAAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY ALUMNI CONTRIBUTES TO YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Thabiso Sechele

Image: Mr Tshepo Sechele (middle) and his grade 4 learners from Ikokobetseng Primary School

Tshepo Sechele, a Vaal University of Technology alumni who is known for his contribution to the 2014 Budget Speech, has gone out to educate the learners in his community.

Mr Sechele is currently running an English Literacy Programme for grade 4’s at Ikokobetseng Primary School in his community, Bophelong – a township based on the outskirts of Vanderbijlpark. He says being a member of the international organisation “YALI”, has inspired him to contribute to the development of the nation. According to research he did, he saw a great need to assist in the education sector. “The Annual National Assessment - 2013 (ANA), reported that only 39% of grade 4 learners can read and comprehend the English language,” said Tshepo. This was evident to him when he started the programme. Learners were taught in their home language and only learned English for an hour during the subject period, which has negatively impacted the learners’ performance in tests and exams.

Through Tshepo’s programme, the learners have improved, parents have even gone to the school to give thanks for the literacy programme - encouraging its continuation. Another parent said her child had been failing English before the programme started, but passed at the end of the year because of the assistance her child got through the English Literacy Programme.

The English literacy programme piloted in 2016. This year, the programme will start early with the aims of providing even better results. Tshepo wants to have more people supporting this initiative and giving their time to help the learners. The programme is supported by Nal’ibali and Activate (youth development organisation).

VAAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY’S UPINGTON CAMPUS SET TO LAUNCH CENTRE FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP; addressing skills gap in the Northern Cape region.

Azande Ralephenya

In what’s deemed to be an iconic move that will not only place the Vaal University of Technology’s, Upington Campus on the map, but also aims to boost the local economy by providing jobs and skills through quality training programmes; the VUT Upington Campus’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, is set to launch on 19 April, 2017, boasting a guest list of high profiled names from both local and national government expected to share in this momentous occasion.

The Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE) will share premises with the Technology Station (TS) which is strategically situated in the industrial area. The CfE’s model, entails a core offering of a 6 month programme which will include all aspects of entrepreneurship. Upon completion, it is envisaged that the graduates will be assisted in establishing their own businesses which will be fully supported through an incubation programme. Initially, the resources of the TS will be used for this purpose. Mr Anthony Mac Minn, who is the CfE’s newly appointed Business Development Officer says that he’s already approached SEDA to fund a fully-fledged "Rapid Incubator". “Rapid, refers to failing quickly and expediting the developmental process for start-ups. The post CfE phase includes facilitating access to funding and markets. In addition, we also offer specialised and technical training focused on entrepreneurs,” said Anthony.

VUT funded this initiative to set up the Centre for Entrepreneurship in order to address the skills gap in the Northern Cape region, however, the bulk of the funding is from SEDA, as it currently funds 11 other similar models across the country. All, except the one based at Durban University of Technology, are linked to TVET Colleges. A substantial portion of the funds provided in the first financial year is being utilised for the capital expenditure. The remainder of funds (including subsequent financial years) are to be split between operational costs and programme-related expenses.

Contributing to the reduction of local unemployment:

The aim of the CfE in relation to the region and local community, is to not only focus on entrepreneurs, as initially described, but also to create a paradigm shift with students of Upington VUT and NCR TVET College in the sense that they should see entrepreneurship as a career choice. This should contribute to the reduction of local unemployment and the creation of sustainable jobs; on a regional level.

The vision is to replicate this model on a larger scale at the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) planned for roll out in about 18 to 24 months. The CfE team also envisage upscaling this model to tap into the regional agricultural, mining, renewable energy and solar industries.

 

 

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