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AG Mobile leads #Freedom2learn Madiba campaign

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AG Mobile, MediaTek and the Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Education Project have partnered to launch the #Freedom2Learn campaign.

The campaign will see a range of affordable “Freedom” smart devices hit South Africa markets, promoting Madiba’s legacy and the spread of education.

AG was chosen by the Long Walk to Freedom Education Project to be its exclusive partner to roll out its mobile strategy, to support their vision of “Easy Access to Education via Technology for all”.

AG Mobile and the Long Walk to Freedom Education Project have partnered with mobile agency Silverstone Solutions to create a #Freedom2Learn mobile app. The app will contain information on all of the AG Mobile products, exclusive Mandela content and a chance to take part in 67 #Freedom2Learn challenges, with prizes available. The app also provides access to participate in a massive drive to donate one million AG Freedom smart devices to children in Africa.

According to AG Mobile’s CEO, Anthony Goodman, AG Mobile wants to enable access to the internet via their smartphones and tablets, as well as encourage learning and education, the cornerstone of the Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Education Project.

#Freedom2Learn will also promote access to education through the build and placement of Library containers in communities throughout South Africa and eventually into Africa. These Library containers will be fully equipped with learning materials, WI-FI connectivity and study facilities, further promoting access to education and learning among disadvantaged youths.

“A percentage of profits made on the sale of all AG Mobile Freedom devices will go to the Long Walk to Freedom Library Project, thus giving longevity to Nelson Mandela’s legacy on education”, says Goodman.

Corporate donations are encouraged through the #Freedom2Learn CauseWRX platform and individual donations are encouraged through the #Freedom2Learn Generosity crowdfunding platform accessible via www.freedom2learn.org.

Robert Coutts, CEO and spokesperson for the Long Walk to Freedom Education Project, says: “Literacy is the key to all education. We are looking towards the future where technology will play an increasingly important part of our literacy campaign, not to mention the fact that access to technology often accelerates the learning process.

“We may not be able to help every child but we have a responsibility to give each child the tools to help themselves. The Freedom phones and tablets will be loaded with learning and education apps to help integrate children, adults and teachers into our digital world, a necessary component of an economically active citizen.”

The mobile devices range from a feature phone, very affordable 4-inch smartphones, a 4.5-inch LTE device and a more highly specified 5-inch offering as well as tablets. All devices will feature exclusive educational content and approved never seen before Nelson Mandela content in the form of pictures, wallpapers, quotes and more. The Khan Academy App and Madiba’s Journey App are two of the apps to be made available on the AG Freedom phones and tablets.

The Khan Academy is an educational tool that enables the user to download over 10,000 educational videos and content which can be used for learning even when offline.

Users will also be able to explore Nelson Mandela’s inspiring journey through the Madiba’s Journey App. By finding key locations on the phone’s mapping system, users can follow directions and immerse themselves in narratives from poignant moments throughout South African history. Users will be able to create a customised itinerary before embarking on their journey into Nelson Mandela’s inspiring life.

There are also exciting galleries displaying sneak peeks of what sites and stories await and users will be able to ‘check in’ at each site through the App and their experiences.

The partners involved in this initiative believe that providing a mobile-first approach to education will pave the way to promoting and spreading education among learners in South Africa, and ultimately success later on in life.

“MediaTek is very pleased to be supporting AG Mobile in this incredibly worthwhile partnership with the Long Walk to Freedom Education Project to bring greater access to education and learning,” said Chet Babla, Senior Director Corporate Sales EMEA at MediaTek. “Making great technology and the mobile internet accessible to everyone is at the core of MediaTek’s vision, and this is embodied in the Freedom range of devices powered by MediaTek.”

The first Freedom Access (4 inch) smartphones will be available in Truworths stores nationwide on the MTN network. The Freedom mobile devices and tablets can also be pre-ordered at www.freedom2learn.org.

In addition to these 2 channels, we expect multiple new retailers to stock the Freedom range in the near future.

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SAFTA awards get first streaming video nominees

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The 2019 nominations for The South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) were announced late last week, and for the first time in the 13-year history of the awards, a TV series produced for a video-on-demand service was in contention. The result was a surprise boost to streaming service Showmax.

The comedy series Tali’s Wedding Diary, which premiered in December 2017, represented a major step for the then two-year old streaming service. It was the debut Showmax Original, the first time Showmax ventured into producing its own content. The gamble paid off, with the show becoming the most watched of any series on its first day on Showmax, and now Tali’s Wedding Diary has been further recognised with seven SAFTA nominations, making it this year’s most nominated comedy.

“When we first floated the idea of Tali’s Wedding Diary, we joked about winning awards,” says Candice Fangueiro, Showmax’s head of content. “At that point, just getting our first Showmax Original off the ground was already a major challenge and it was more than we could hope for to actually hit it out of the park. I was stunned when I heard the news about the nominations – it’s amazing to be considered in the same company as these other shows and thanks to this we’re already seeing a fresh spike in Tali views.”

Tali’s Wedding Diary was also a first for co-creator and star Julia Anastasopoulos, who until then was best known as YouTube star SuzelleDIY. “I am so thrilled about the SAFTA nominations for Tali’s Wedding Diary,” says Julia, who is up for Best Actress – TV Comedy and Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Comedy, along with her husband Ari Kruger and Daniel Zimbler. 

“It was such a big and daunting step to create a full TV comedy series and intro a brand-new character. I really didn’t know how it would be received and am so happy to have received such positive feedback for the show and the Tali Babes character, along with the nominations. It feels so good to be recognised for something we poured our hearts into. None of it would have been possible, of course, without the incredible hard work and vision of my husband Ari and the incredible team, cast and crew that were part of the show. And a huge thank you to Showmax of course for making it all possible. Congratulations and best of luck to the entire team and to all the other nominees.”

Tali’s Wedding Diary is a mockumentary that follows Tali, a self-obsessed Joburg princess who’s moved to Cape Town and is planning her wedding to property-agent fiancé Darren (Anton Taylor). The series was inspired by Julia’s own wedding to Ari, her SuzelleDIY and Tali’s Wedding Diary co-creator, who is also up for Best Achievement In Directing – TV Comedy.  

In addition to Julia and Ari’s nominations, Tali’s Wedding Diary is up for Best TV Comedy, Art Direction (Keren Setton),  Cinematography (James Adey), and Editing (Richard Starkey). Winners will be announced on 2 March 2019 at Sun City Superbowl.

Following the success of Tali’s Wedding Diary, the second Showmax Original, The Girl From St Agnes, was released earlier this month. A third Showmax Original, Trippin With Skhumba, is slated for release at the end of February.

“With three Showmax Originals now under our belt and more on the way, we’d like to think this is the start of many more SAFTA nominations for shows from a streaming service,” concludes Candice.

South African content currently on Showmax has 110 nominations and includes the most nominated movie (Five Fingers With Marseilles), telenovela (The River), drama (Lockdown) and soap (Isibaya), with more SAFTA nominees scheduled for the coming months.

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Ford begins production of high-tech Ranger in SA

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Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria has officially commenced production of the new Ford Ranger, bringing a raft of product upgrades and refinements to one of South Africa’s best-selling vehicles and export models.

“Following the investment of over R3-billion in our local operations and extensive upgrades to our plants over the past 18 months, we are delighted to see the first of the new Ford Ranger models coming off our production line,” says Neale Hill, managing director for Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region.

“This is an extremely important and exciting year for the Ford Ranger, which will also see the launch of the first Ranger Raptor that is undoubtedly one of this year’s most highly anticipated new models,” says Hill.

“The 2019 Ford Ranger will deliver more power, greater fuel efficiency, enhanced refinement, and additional advanced technologies when it goes on sale in the coming months, and we are confident it will once again set the benchmark in the extremely competitive pickup segment.”

Selected range-topping models, including the Ranger Raptor, will be powered by the all-new 2.0 Bi-Turbo diesel engine assembled at Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth. This unit produces 157kW and 500Nm of torque – up by 10kW and 30Nm compared with the current 3.2 TDCi – and delivers up to a nine percent improvement in fuel efficiency when combined with the advanced new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Certain derivatives will feature a 2.0 Single Turbo version of this engine, producing 132kW and 420Nm of torque, mated to the same 10-speed transmission. Various other models in the line-up will retain the proven 2.2 and 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engines and existing gearbox options – thus giving customers the widest choice yet in this category. As usual, the line-up includes Single Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab body styles to suit customer requirements.

Along with freshened design cues, range-topping Ranger models will raise the bar once again with industry-defining safety features on the Wildtrak such as Pre-Collision Assist and Active Park Assist. SYNC 3® with Navigation remains one of the Ranger’s technology highlights as a fully featured infotainment system with intuitive voice control.

Following the launch of the ‘standard’ new Ford Ranger models, the attention will be shifted to the locally assembled Ranger Raptor that is set to create an entirely new segment in the pickup market when it makes its eagerly anticipated debut.

“There is a lot of excitement and hype around the Ranger Raptor, and this exhilarating new model will occupy a white space in the pickup market when it goes on sale in the second quarter of this year, creating a much-needed performance model in this crucial segment,” Hill states.

“We can’t wait to get the Ranger Raptor to market, enabling our customers to experience unrivalled off-road performance, cutting-edge technologies and the most muscular design yet seen in this class.”

Some of the defining features of the Ranger Raptor include Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) shock absorbers exclusively manufactured by FOX, and an advanced Terrain Management System (TMS) that includes an exciting Baja mode for fast off-road driving. It also boasts a toughened reinforced chassis, powerful all-disc braking system and specially developed BF Goodrich tyres.

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