As a little girl in the village of Mhangweni in Tzaneen, Limpopo, Gladness Baloyi would sit and listen to her grandmother interpret life traditionally. But she decided that when she grew up she would become a scientist, writes AMANDA KHOZA.
At the weekend Baloyi, now 24, was among leading scientists and astronomers who gathered for the two-day Third Annual Astronomy meeting in Umhlanga, Durban.
She told News24 on Sunday that she was an example that “where you come from does not determine where you are going”.
Raised by a single mother, Gloria Bvuma, who died in 2009, Baloyi said she always had big dreams.
“My mother had a spaza shop in the village and she used all the money she got to support me and my younger sister, Glacious,” said Baloyi.
“When we were growing up we used to spend a lot of time with my grandmother who used to tell us these traditional tales and she would interpret them traditionally. One day I told her that I wanted to be a scientist so that I could interpret things scientifically.
“I told my grandmother that things had changed and that we were living in the modern times and that there was technology.”
After high school Baloyi applied for a bursary but she did not receive a reply so she applied for a student loan at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
“I realised that my mother had saved up enough money for me to register so I went to the University of Limpopo and applied to study for a Bachelor of Science and I was accepted.”
Baloyi said she remembers assisting other pupils in Maths and Science in high school.
“Today I am a graduate and an intern at the Department of Science and Technology because I persevered,” she said shyly.
Baloyi started working for the department in April.
“We do research in astronomy. I am looking at furthering my studies so that I can become an astronomer. People in my village lack information and some of them don’t imagine themselves out of the village and beyond their circumstances.
“Everyone in the village wants to be a nurse or a teacher. People should dream big and stay away from social networks. That is what is killing our youth today,” she said.
Baloyi said the youth should rather focus on doing research into their careers.
“One day I want to pass on the knowledge I have to my family. I think my mother is very proud of me where she is,” said Baloyi.
Chair of the South Africa’s committee of the International Astronomical Union Professor Patrick Woudt, who also heads the University of Cape Town’s astronomy department, said the two day meeting brought together astronomers and policy makers from the department and the National Research Foundation.
“We come together once every two years to discuss developments, new initiatives and share ideas of where we are going in the future and the capacity development is the most critical part of it.
“Young people need to be excited about astronomy. The discussions also focused on the efforts made by the community as well as the support from the department in developing capacity in astronomy.
“We also discussed the vision of astronomy, where we see ourselves in five to ten years… because there is a lot of investment that is made by the country and that investment needs to be matched by a clear vision and strategy,” said Woudt.
Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards
The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.
The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).
Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”
Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever Award. She has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).
The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:
The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognition, Age cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.
Cons exploit Telegram ICO
Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.
In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.
Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.
The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.
Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.
“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.
Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:
- Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
- Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
- Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.