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Border breakthrough for solar car

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The kick-off on the 18 June 2015 of The 2015 African Solar Drive is the start of a Sub-Saharan adventure which sees Ilanga II, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Energy Movement’s solar powered electric car, cross the border into Namibia and Botswana.|The kick-off on the 18 June 2015 of The 2015 African Solar Drive is the start of a Sub-Saharan adventure which sees Ilanga II, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Energy Movement’s solar powered electric car, cross the border into Namibia and Botswana.

Aside from the adventure of the drive, an important focus of The 2015 African Solar Drive is to raise awareness and promote green technology.  By showcasing Ilanga II and hosting public lectures, the UJ Energy Movement aims to educate schools, researchers and people that are interested in pursuing a career in the fields of science and engineering, specifically relating to alternative energy.  The lectures will be taking place in Kimberley, Upington, Windhoek and Gaborone.

During the 4 160 km educational road trip, engineering students will also be collecting and analyzing data to optimise the performance of the vehicle.

Mechanical Engineering Science lecturer and the UJ Energy Movement Programme Manager, Nickey Janse van Rensburg says “The UJ Energy Movement programme was established in 2010 to help promote skills development, energy conservation and sustainability through technology innovation. We are really excited to be taking Ilanga II on its longest trip yet and introducing the programme to our neighbours across Africa.”

Spectators can look forward to seeing Ilanga II along the route and at specific pit stops; the solar powered electric car was awarded the Technology and Innovation Award at the 2014 Sasol Solar Challenge and is one of the most advanced solar powered vehicles produced by UJ students and industry partners to date.

Team and Technology Manger of the Energy Movement programme, Warren Hunter, explains that there are a lot of logistical arrangements behind The 2015 African Solar Drive. “A team of engineers and academics has been involved in the technical planning of this twelve day road trip to make sure operations run as smoothly as possible. We are also happy to announce that Mitsubishi is the official transport partner of the ground patrol team.”

The 2015 African Solar Drive route and lecture dates are as follows:

·         Tuesday, 09 June:                    Johannesburg (Public Lecture and launch of African Solar Drive)

·         Thursday, 18 June:                  UJ Solar Lab  – Kimberley (Public Lecture)

·         Friday, 19 June:                         Kimberley – Upington (Public Lecture)

·         Saturday, 20 June:                   Upington) – Hakskeen Pan – Rietfontein Border Control – Keetmans Hoop

·         Sunday, 21 June:                      Keetmanshoop – Mariental – Rehoboth

·         Monday, 22 June:                    Rehoboth – Windhoek (Public Lecture)

·         Tuesday, 23 June:                    Windhoek– Swakopmund – Walvis Bay

·         Wednesday, 24 June:             Walvis Bay – Swakopmund

·         Thursday, 25 June:                  Swakopmund – Windhoek – Buitepos

·         Friday, 26 June:                         Buitepos – Kang

·         Saturday, 27 June:                   Kang – Sekoma – Kanye – Gabarone

·         Sunday, 28 June:                      Gaborone Day (Public Lecture)

·         Monday, 29 June:                    Gaborone – UJ Solar Lab

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Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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