Category: kmigg

Postseason Play Continues for Four Southland Women’s Basketball Teams

first_imgFRISCO, Texas – Postseason play for the Southland Conference continues as Abilene Christian headlines four Southland member institutions with a bid at the NCAA Tournament.Abilene ChristianThe Wildcats are coming off their first-ever Southland Conference Tournament title where they topped Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Sunday in a 69-68 thriller. ACU is making its inaugural appearance in the NCAA Tournament at the Division I level. The Abilene Christian program will enter the tournament as a No. 16 seed and will travel to Waco, Texas to take on No. 1 Baylor. Tipoff against the Bears is slated for 4:30 p.m. CT Saturday, March 23 inside Ferrell Center and will be televised regionally on ESPN2, plus streamed nationwide on ESPN3.NichollsNicholls (20-11, 14-4 SLC) accepted an invite into the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) where they will square off with Southern Miss, Thursday at 6 p.m. The Colonels are coming off of their first 20-win season in program history and concluded Southland regular-season play on a seven-game win streak. Head coach Dobee Plaisance and her Colonels squad enter the WBI as one of 16 teams and will play their opening round contest in Hattiesburg, Miss. at Reed Green Coliseum. The game will be streamed on F. AustinStephen F. Austin earned an at-large bid into the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) after compiling a 25-6 overall record and a 16-2 mark in Southland play. The Ladyjacks will hit the road to take on the Mavericks of UT-Arlington in the opening round of the 64-team tournament, marking the program’s sixth overall appearance in the WNIT. SFA is set for a 7 p.m. start time Thursday inside the Mavericks’ College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. Thursday’s contest will be streamed on ESPN+.LamarLamar will round out the four Southland schools continuing their postseason contention with an appearance in the WNIT tournament. The Cardinals (24-6, 17-1 SLC) earned an automatic bid after capturing a Southland Conference regular-season title. LU will host South Alabama inside Montagne Center on the Lamar campus beginning at 7 p.m. Friday and will stream on ESPN3. Robin Harmony and her Lamar program will make their fourth appearance in program history Friday night at the WNIT.last_img read more

RCMP dispel rumour that child was hit by a vehicle

first_imgFort St. John RCMP are dispelling rumours that a 12 year-old boy was hit by a vehicle Wednesday night.Various social media and other media outlets had reported that a child had been hit by a vehicle around 8 p.m. Wednesday in the area around 93 Ave. and 86 St.- Advertisement -Sergeant Steve Perret says this was only a rumour and police had actually responded to a call to assist BC Ambulance after a 21 year-old woman had experienced a drug-related medical issue. Perret says the drug-related incident had occurred at the woman’s apartment at 83 Ave. and 86 St. The woman then got in her vehicle and drove off.He says officers eventually stopped her vehicle at the intersection of 93 Ave. and 86 St., where she was arrested for causing a disturbance because she was yelling and acting hysterical at the time.The woman was taken to hospital, treated, and later let go without charges.Perret says he would like to remind the public to ensure they check the source of their information before spreading unreliable information as fact.Advertisementlast_img read more

Agwanda wins back-to-back Monthly Award

first_imgHe got a unanimous majority vote to beat Nakumatt’s Joe Waithira in the poll conducted by Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) Football Committee.“It wasn’t an easy decision to rejoin Sony more so after many people had written me off. But the results are there for everyone to see. We were in a difficult position when I came back but we have already made the impossible possible,” said Agwanda.“It is a great feeling to become the first player to win this award twice. I thank God for everything and the coach for instilling confidence in me. Our target still remains to flnish top five.Sony Sugar’s Enock Agwanga became the first ever player to win the SJAK/SportPesa Player of the Month Award back-to-back.Sony coach Paul Odhiambo was equally elated at Agwanda’s recognition.“I thank God for his (Agwanda) recognition. He deserves it and it is a morale booster to the team.  We had targeted top five and we believe it is still achievable. Destiny is in our own hands,” said Odhiambo.Agwanda, who rejoined Sony in the mid-season from Ushuru FC, scored four goals and provided two assists to his team-mates as the Awendo-based side continued with their resurgence in the Kenyan Premier League.The burly striker netted his first goal of the month from the spot in their 3-1 victory over relegation threatened Thika United on August 5 before scoring the lone goal of the match away to Ulinzi Stars (0-1).EnochAgwandaHe went on to hit a brace against Kariobangi Sharks (2-0) to take his season tally to nine goals as he helped Sony to move into the top half of the table after ending the month with a barren draw against Tusker.For his impressive performance, Agwanda was awarded Sh100 000, a trophy and a 49-inch LG TV courtesy of the sponsors, while the tenth placed Paul Odhiambo’s side team got an extra Sh100,000 for their contribution to the player’s exploits.Agwanda couldn’t hide his joy after receiving the award for a month he played with a hamstring injury. He thanked his teammates and the technical bench for making their relegation survival possible.0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Enock Agwanda posing with the trophy and LG TVNAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20 – Sony Sugar assistant captain Enock Agwanda became the first player ever to win back-to-back SportPesa/LG/SJAK Player of the Month awards after being named the best player for August at the Awendo Green Stadium on Thursday.The former Gor Mahia and Sofapaka forward picked up his second successive award after continuing with his sparkling scoring form last month.last_img read more

Record six-goal triumph for South Africa

first_img0Shares0000Captain Thulani Hlatswayo hit the second goal as South Africa recorded their biggest ever win before a tiny crowd against the Seychelles © AFP / PHILL MAGAKOEJOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Oct 13 – South Africa achieved their biggest victory when they hammered the Seychelles 6-0 Saturday in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier before a tiny rain-soaked crowd in Johannesburg.The previous widest winning margin by ‘Bafana Bafana’ (The Boys) was 5-0 at home to Guatemala in a friendly match as the republic prepared to host the 2010 World Cup. South Africa scored three times in four minutes midway through the first half with a Nigel Hoareau own-goal followed by goals from captain Thulani Hlatshwayo and Lebo Mothiba.A string of saves from goalkeeper Romeo Barra prevented South Africa going further ahead until Percy Tau and substitutes Dino Ndlovu and Teboho Mokoena netted in a late burst.Mokoena scored the record-creating sixth goal two minutes into stoppage time with a close-range header off a cross at Soccer City stadium.The one-sided affair matchday 3 affair in Group E came as no surprise as South Africa are ranked 73rd in the world — 116 places above the Seychelles.Only a few thousand watched the mismatch in heavy rain despite the public broadcaster not screening the qualifier because of a financial dispute with the national football body.Matches involving ‘Bafana Bafana’ used to draw 80,000 crowds, but poor results in recent years has seen a dramatic fall-off in attendances.South Africa have seven points from three matches and Libya four and Nigeria three from two in a three-team chase for two places at the 2019 Cup of Nations in Cameroon.Nigeria, who suffered a shock matchday 1 home loss to South Africa, host Libya later Saturday in Uyo.In Kampala, Uganda cruised to a 3-0 victory over Lesotho that moved them three points clear of Cape Verde at the top of Group L.Emmanuel Okwi opened and closed the scoring with a goal in each half and Farouk Miya converted a penalty to give the ‘Cranes’ a two-goal half-time advantage.Uganda have seven points halfway through the six-round qualifying competition, Cape Verde four and Lesotho and Tanzania two each.Another eight qualifiers are scheduled for Saturday.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

DD Motoring: Marathon Memories

first_imgThis week a Donegal registered Ford Escort Mk2 has found its way onto my motoring column for the second time in its 40 year history.Henry Ford may have made this two door version but the car’s passion was added up here in Co. Donegal. Up here we are different, we have one of the finest stages in the world in the Donegal International Rally in June, a place where we all can compete together. This car made its way on to the start ramp of the Donegal Rally in many different colours and many different stages of development over the years. Sadly its creator is no longer with us and his memory at this time of year is too much to bear, that the rally weekend in June is not the same anymore for some.A painting that Sharon has of her Dad’s famous Ford Escort and her and father John on the Donegal rally.“Life is for living, we can rest when we sleep in heaven” Advertisement On the June 4th Sharon Clarke, a mother of three will take part in her first ever marathon. She has pushed herself to do this with the help of her family and friends. She is doing this to remember her father, John Boyle on his tenth Anniversary. John Boyle was one of Donegal’s best known and respected members of the Donegal Motor Club and was only 55 years of age when he passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was cared for on his final journey through life at the Donegal Hospice in Letterkenny.By a way of saying thank you to all the staff that helped in any way, Sharon his daughter is hoping to raise funds for the Donegal Hospice through her attempt at her first ever marathon in Derry on the 4th of June.Sharon’s memory of her father John in her own words;“My father John was one of the most fun loving and adrenaline seeking people that I have ever known. His motto in life was “life is for living, we can rest when we sleep in heaven” and this was how he lived, through his work ethic and social life. He worked hard and played hard. His biggest passion in life after his family was his love for rallying. Much to my sadness I have found it too difficult to continue my love for the sport. It brings back too many beautiful memories that unfortunately have my father in them all. Advertisement “Competing in the Donegal International rally on a father’s weekend was the highlight of my year. I still to this day find the loss of my father very difficult as do many people across Donegal. Dad was one of those people who touched a lot of lives across the county. He had such a bubbly personality. He was one of those people when he walked into a room, it lit up!“When sitting one evening with my friends, I suggested that I would love to do something fun for dad’s tenth Anniversary. A few suggestions arose like a parachute jump or drive a rally car , which I have all completed in the past thanks to my dad. One of my girls suggested what about running a marathon and I was like, sure I have never ran before.“After talking it over with my cousin Lynn, she convinced me that I could do it, if I really wanted too. Lynn said “sure you have a year now to get ready for it”; start with the couch to 5K and work up from there. So with the encouragement from my family and friends I decided to run the Walled City Marathon in Derry. I have been so lucky that a close family friend Ciaran Callaghan from Drumoghill said that he would join me by becoming my training partner. I was so delighted when he also agreed to run the 26.2 miles with me on the 4th June in Derry.”Sharon Clarke with her husband Andrew and children Una, Ella and Dean, as she prepares for the marathon in memory of his father John Photo by Terese DuffySharon is 36 and married to Andrew, they have 3 young children, Dean 7, Ella 3 and Úna 2. Sharon’s father John passed away in the Donegal Hospice on the 15th July 2007 and with the Donegal Rally always in June. This is always an emotional time but doing something this year on his tenth anniversary the memory might ease the pain of loss a little.Sharon is hoping that she might get the number 85 for her entry for the Marathon as that was the number her father’s car was in the days of the rally. Our picture show Sharon and her father in happier days rallying but hopefully these memories will drive the girl from Manor over the finish line in the maiden city on the 4th of June.Pictured back in 2006 John Boyle and his daughter Sharon pictured with that famous Mk2 Escort as they line out at No 135 in the Donegal International Rally Photo By Brian McDaidFor anyone who didn’t know John Boyle, this is the way I described him just before his death, just over ten years ago when I interviewed John in 2006 on the run up to the Donegal International rally.John Boyle’s personality was infectious to all that he met. I met John many times over the years, I even met him in the middle of the Manor Roundabout one night when I misjudged my braking, John spotted me and landed back with a rope and gave me a pull out. I never told anyone about this until I was asked by his daughter to give her a hand with this piece this week. That gesture of help that night from her father John just sums him up so well.This was a piece I wrote about John Boyle when I last met him around this time of year on the run up to the Donegal Rally, He was fighting his illness at the time but was trying to enjoy life as much as that was possible. John Boyle-O-Manor.2006“It’s 1978, and we are in the road tax office in Lifford. A dark curly-haired man lines up in the queue. In those days everyone had to head to Lifford to get their car taxed. A complete set of documents in the right order were the only way to secure a tax disc for the windscreen. As our dark stranger approached the counter he stooped down so he had direct eye contact with the counter staff through the small circular hole in the glass screen. The hole wasn’t much bigger than the round tax disc he hoped to secure from the assistant.“Hello there” he said politely as he turned on his best Lagan charm. The larger than life dark stranger talked with such a gentle voice as he explained the details of his “wee car” as a new brown tax book was brought to the counter and the assistance started to fill it out. A double punch from the stamper lifted enough ink to dent the tax book for LZP 85 and the rest is history.Thirty-eight years on and that red MkII Ford Escort, LZP 85 still belongs to that curly haired man, now his hair is more a metallic silver shade of black. His escort has been around for over thirsty five years, but it was not his first rally car.John Boyle’s first rally car was an ex Russell Brookes Mk1 Escort Mexico which he bought for 1,150 English pounds. He competed in the Donegal Rally in 1973 with co-driver John Mc Cafferty from Termon. That year John’s main sponsor was the Ford Dealer in Letterkenny, McClean & McLaughlin. Then in 1978 the year that he purchased LZP 85 which had parts of the old ex works Russell Brookes car fitted he competed in the Donegal International but retired with clutch problems on the Saturday. That year the rally was won by another great famous Mk2 Escort in the hands of Ari Vatenan.The man in “our” famous Mk2 Escort was none other than John Boyle, from Manorcunnigham better known as “John Boyle O Manor”.John, a panel beater by trade has had a long association with rallying in Co. Donegal, John was involved in the preparation of many of the top drivers cars in Donegal including double Donegal winner, James Cullen. Over the years John’s work in the motor-trade for the public and the motor-sport left him with little time to work on his own car, which always left him burning the mid-night-oil to get that escort ready for the road.Now-a-days John has a different outlook on life, he has taken a step back from the fast lane as far as work is concerned and motor-sport is purely for enjoyment. LZP 85 has never looked better. The Donegal registered Escort is entered for this weekends event, John will do the steering and his daughter Sharon will do the navigating. This father and daughter team have had great success this year already in Killarney and also in a rally in France where they finished 4th over all in March.John has been involved in the Donegal International in one way or another since it start back in the seventies. His escort has a lot of Mc Geehan Motorsport input, which are the same rally car team that prepares Eugene Donnelly’s Toyota which has won the Donegal International rally for the last two years.John gets so much enjoyment from his rallying now-a-days. It also gives him a chance to meet with old friends as they recall the great days of the ‘Donegal’. On Friday morning car entered at No 135 will leave the start ramp in Letterkenny , John knows the roads like the back of his hand especially the old stages. John is looking forward to his journey through Donegal over this weekend.”That was LZP 85 in 2006, it’s now eleven years on and John Boyle still burns in the memory of his daughter Sharon and in the rest of John’s family as the tenth anniversary of his passing approaches. His old Escort sat up for a long time until Sharon realised she never would feel the same behind the wheel of it anymore.She accepted an offer on the car which now has started the possibilities of new beginnings with its new owner who lives in Australia. Sharon still has the old tax book that her father got for his own piece of engineering in 1978 which is a keepsake for her forever. Now she put the final touches on her journey through life as she remembers her father John when she heads to the start ramp in Derry on the 4th of June to compete in the marathon in Derry to raise much needed money for the Donegal Hospice.Please feel happy to share this article along the with the link to Sharon’s fundraising page: Motoring FolksDD Motoring: Marathon Memories was last modified: May 12th, 2017 by Brian McDaidShare 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:dd motoringdonegal international rallyJohn BoyleMarathonsharon clarkelast_img read more

Coombe Leads Bulldogs On Second Day of MVC Championship

first_img Print Friendly Version 110-Meter Hurdles11. Dominic Lombardi, 15.05 TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Victoria Coombe (Centennial, Colo.) turned in a huge personal best and the third-fastest 400-meter hurdle time in school history to lead the Drake University track & field teams Saturday at the Missouri Valley Conference Track & Field Championship. Drake Individual Men’s Results100 Meters (Prelims)4. Aaron Chier, 10.705. Kundai Maguranyanga, 10.79 Dominic Lombardi (Columbus, Ohio) completed the qualifiers in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 54.33 to claim the seventh-fastest time of the day. Tyler Zak (Little Chute, Wis.) narrowly missed earning a spot in the finals with a time of 55.26, the ninth-fastest qualifying time of the afternoon. 400 Meters (Prelims)19. Blair Barrow, 50.95 Story Links The Drake men continued to add points in the standings as Josh Yeager (Center Point, Iowa) finished fifth in the steeplechase with a personal best of 9:12.07, while Erik Olson (Rockford, Minn.) picked up points in the decathlon by finishing seventh with 5,662 points. Bryce Lang (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) completed the final day of the heptathlon in 10th place after notching multiple personal bests in the events. Drake also advanced competitors in the men’s 100 meters and women’s 100-meter hurdles during preliminary heats Saturday. Aaron Chier (Belgium, Wis.) and Kundai Maguranyanga (Harare, Zimbabwe) posted times of 10.70 and 10.79, respectively, in the 100 meters to record the fourth and fifth fastest preliminary times of the day. 400 Meters (Prelims)15. Kayla Giuliano, 57.0319. Rai Ahmed-Green, 58.53 Decathlon7. Erik Olson, 5,662 400-Meter Hurdles (Prelims)1. Victoria Coombe, 59.87 400-Meter Hurdles3. Malik Metivier, 52.166. Hudson Priebe, 54.677. Dominic Lombardi, 54.339. Tyler Zak, 55.26 800 Meters (Prelims)13. Meghan Kearney, 2:17.46 Coombe clocked a time of 59.87 to win her preliminary heat of the event easily and qualify for Sunday’s final. She became just the third Bulldog to break the 1-minute barrier in the event. Her success in the event was replicated by the Drake men in the event as three Bulldogs advanced to Sunday’s 400-meter hurdles finals. Malik Metivier (Toronto, Ontario) led the trio of qualifier with a time of 52.16 followed by senior Hudson Priebe (Chamberlain, S.D.) in 54.67. Metivier’s time was the third-fastest on the day while Priebe’s was the sixth to advance the senior to the finals for the fourth time in his career. High Jump9. Forest Moses, 6-6 (1.98m) 3,000-Meter Steeplechase16. Olivia Rogers, 11:57.07 Heptathlon10. Bryce Lang, 3,861 2018 MVC ChampionshipMay 12 – Day 2 3,000-Meter Steeplechase5. Josh Yeager, 9:12.0714. Matt Cozine, 9:48.54 100-Meter Hurdles (Prelims)6. Mary Young, 14.07 Drake begins the final day of the MVC Championship Sunday with the men’s team in sixth place after two days while the women’s team’s finalists aim to rack up points for the Bulldogs. Saturday’s Results Drake Individual Women’s Results100 Meters (Prelims)13. Sophia Jackson, 12.32 Mary Young (Urbandale, Iowa) advanced to her fourth-straight 100-meter hurdles final at the MVC Championship by posting a qualifying time of 14.07 to advance.last_img read more


first_imgVoodoo staff will b seeing out in Letterkenny tonight in aid of the Simon Community.Voodoo Venue staff in Letterkenny will be braving the wet and windy weather tonight in the Market Square taking part in a street sleep to raise funds and awareness for the North West Simon Community.The charity provides supportive service. At all stages of homelessness and helping people rebuild their lives and am power the to secure a safe home.With close to 5,000 people sleeping rough across the country every night the served of Simon can be rather stretched.Voodoo will also be hosting a bucket collection this weekend in the bar, and encourage customers to spare their loose change for this worthy reality!! Various companies, societies, clubs, and individuals from Donegal will be taking part in the street sleep tonight and there’s a great buzz in the town regarding this event..VOODOO STAFF TO JOIN IN SLEEP-OUT FOR SIMON COMMUNITY was last modified: October 2nd, 2015 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:letterkennysell-outSimon CommunityVoodoo Vnuelast_img read more

Anger as residents left without supply yet again following water burst

first_imgHundreds of householders and business owners in and around east Donegal today (Sun) are without water again following a burst pipe between Ballindrait and Tober. It is understood that Irish Water are currently at the scene addressing the issue.It is expected that the normal supply will return around 4pm on Sunday. Cllr Gerry Crawford told Donegal Daily: “The water from Ballindrait to Tober has burst and is off again this morning.“This is the norm here burst to fix, burst to fix, which results in no water supply to the community in these areas, who rightly feel that their right to a water supply is being completely ignored.“Irish Water has been informed and will repair but the necessity is clear. (They have to) replace the water pipe (and) treat this community with respect.”Anger as residents left without supply yet again following water burst was last modified: September 22nd, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare 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

Video: Vuvuzela, Africa’s call

first_imgAnchoring the Brand South Africa campaign for the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup is a stunning television advert featuring the vuvuzela – the trumpet that has come to symbolise South African football – and nine of Africa’s most famous locations. Click arrow to play video.last_img

‘Free and united in diversity’

first_img“From the ruins of a racially polarisedorder, we have built a nation driven by astrong commitment to the values of justiceand equality,” President Jacob Zuma saidon Freedom Day.(Image: Chris Kirchhoff, For more freephotos, visit the image library.)MEDIA CONTACTS• Vincent MagwenyaPresidential spokesperson+27 72 715 0024RELATED ARTICLES• Zuma speech in UK parliament• State of the Nation 2010• Zuma welcomes world at Davos• Jacob Zuma on World Aids Day• Medium-term budget: full textFreedom Day on 27 April 2010 marked 16 years since South Africans of all races went to the polls to vote in the country’s first democratic elections, in 1994. This is the full text of President Jacob Zuma’s speech to the nation at celebrations marking the event at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.I am deeply honoured to address the nation on this historic day, on which South Africans buried racial oppression, and ushered in new non-racial democratic order.On this day we remember all the brave men and women whose struggle and sacrifices made it possible for us to enjoy the benefits of democracy today.It is a day to reflect on how far we have advanced in building a new, united and democratic nation.Importantly, it is also a time to consider the extent to which the freedoms articulated in our Bill of Rights find expression in the daily lives of our people.From the ruins of a racially polarised order, we have built a nation driven by a strong commitment to the values of justice and equality.As taught by our icon, President Nelson Mandela, we must remain steadfast in our determination that never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.And so with freedom, came the responsibility of building a non-racial, united and reconciled nation.And we learned from the greatest, our national heroes Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Ahmed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu and many others.We recall the wise words of our icon, Oliver Reginald Tambo who said:“It is our responsibility to break down barriers of division and create a country where there will be neither whites nor blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity.”This powerful vision can be achieved, in line with the preamble of our Constitution which states clearly that: “South Africa belongs to all those who live in it”.Compatriots,When celebrating the notion of a country that now belongs to all who live in it, we recall that on this day, sixty years ago, the apartheid government introduced the Group Areas Act.This marked the institutionalizing the racial partition of our cities and towns.That law and the impact it had on our society, illustrates the legacy we have to deal with. And there are many others.Sixty years later, and nearly 20 years after it was repealed, our people still have to daily confront the impact of that law. Many still live in areas once designated for black people on the periphery of our towns, far away from economic opportunity and civic services.The cost of transport alone takes a heavy toll on the lives of the poor. This is only one example among many of the work we still need to do to ensure that our people enjoy the fruits of freedom.These laws may have disappeared from the statute books, but their effects are still felt across the country. Freedom imposes on us a responsibility to work together in the process of changing such conditions.And we must do this fast, because in four year’s time we will have been free for 20 years. We will not have much sympathy for any reasons advanced to explain the failure to make a difference in the lives of our people.When I spoke in Parliament earlier this year I stated that we are entering a new era, an era of doing things differently. It is an era of ensuring that our work is determined by clear outcomes.It is an era of increasing the pace and form of service delivery.That is what we have begun to do during this term of government. We are changing the way government works to improve the lives of our people.As we work to increase the pace and quality of delivery, we must also together acknowledge the progress we have made thus far as a nation, working together as government and the people.We must note that despite numerous challenges and backlog, South Africa has provided over 2.8 million housing opportunities since 1994.We are currently on target in terms of delivery of new housing stock in the various provinces.We must still work further to get our human settlement model entrenched, as we now do not see housing in isolation in this administration. The provision of social services in the communities in which we provide housing is also critical.In this regard, I have convened a special Presidential Coordinating Council meeting on the 18th of May, to discuss with all nine provincial premiers, the need for habitable human settlements throughout the country.Together as national and provincial governments we should find lasting solutions.In extending social services we are building on current successes.Over 91% of households had access to piped water. South Africa has passed the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people without sustainable water.We are likely to achieve the 2014 goal of universal access to potable water, despite the challenge of ever-increasing number of households.As of March 2009, more than 10 million households had access to sanitation compared to about 5 million in 1994. South Africa has moved closer to the target date for universal access to sanitation which is 2014.We do not deny that there is still much more to be done, but a lot has also been achieved already.Fellow South Africans,If we are to make a difference in the lives of future generations, we must pay special attention on the development of our youth.According to Stats SA, nearly 70% of all South Africans are under the age of 35, making South Africa a youthful country.For any developing country, animportant step towards reducing poverty and inequality is to invest in education.We want an education system that will provide opportunities for children from poor backgrounds to advance economically and socially.The good news is that we are getting somewhere.More South Africans are being educated, and that is because South Africa has one of the highest rates of government investment in education in the world.Our plan is to improve the output and the pass rates through increasing efficiency and accountability in our schools.That is why we say our teachers should be in school, in class, on time, teaching for at least six and half hours a day. If they do that, the results will speak for themselves.Fellow South Africans,We reiterate that a defining feature of this administration will be its closeness to the people it serves. As you are aware, I established the Presidential Hotline last year. It has opened our world to a host of issues that are affecting our people.I know that thousands of South Africans have battled to get through to the hotline due to the high volume of calls.I know too that the response rate from many government departments has been very slow, and that while many callers have been assisted, many others are frustrated.We are working hard to improve the service. You should not battle to talk to your own government. That should be corrected.We will make formal announcements soon on how to improve your access to the Hotline, and how to ensure quicker responses from government departments, nationally and provincially.Compatriots,Earlier this week we launched our new upscaled HIV and Aids prevention and treatment plan.This is an integral part of our broader campaign to improve the health profile of South Africans. I urge all of you to heed prevention messages, and to get tested for HIV.Through testing, you will know your status and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Testing also helps us to deal with the stigma attached to the epidemic.Together we must eradicate the silence and the shame that is associated with HIV and Aids. This epidemic can be beaten if we all decide to play our part and work hard.Ladies and Gentlemen;Freedom Day reminds us that we should all work hard to defend the freedom for which so many have fought and lost their lives.We must work together to build our country and shape its future. We must all work for unity, true reconciliation and cohesion.In February this year, I indicated that there was a need for us to have a dialogue to remind ourselves why our country’s founding fathers and mothers declared us one nation united in diversity.I suggested at the time that we needed to reach out to all South Africans across the class, racial, ethnic, gender, religious and political divides. I said we must engage in a conversation about the true values that underpin our common identity and destiny.My suggestion was motivated by my deep belief and conviction that as a nation, we should yet again draw on the collective South African wisdom to understand one another.I think such a dialogue would help us to live better with one another as South Africans.It will help us to find a common perspective through which we can view the various backgrounds, habits, traditions, customs, cultures and religions that define who we are.It is a modest addition to many other mechanisms we must devise as a nation to arrive at a common understanding over many issues.It will enable us to arrive at a common perspective around the following amongst others:The changing of certain geographical names.The transformation in the workplace and in sport.The songs we sing and the symbols we embrace.Our desire to determine language policy at our schools and universities.The slaughtering of animals to appease an ancestor which is practiced in some cultures.It will assist us with the task we face as a country, to breathe a new life to our nation building efforts.This national dialogue will capture the attention of all our people. Like the 2010 FIFA Soccer World, you will feel it!We will share further information once the initial consultation phase has been concluded.Compatriots,We are just 44 days away from hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup.We have been offered a significant opportunity to share our humanity, heritage and the beauty of this country with the world.We will display the rich tapestry of our culture in dance and music to show that this is a truly African World Cup.We do not spend enough time celebrating our country, and this is an opportunity to show off. South Africa is rich in its cultural diversity. We have produced music that has earned international accolades.We have a varied landscape with tropical, temperate and Mediterranean climate. We grow a variety of food, fruit and flowers.Our mineral wealth is legendary. We have people who are inventors and innovators.Our country boasts eight world heritage sites, and we must familiarize ourselves with them so that we can all become ambassadors and effective tour guides during the World Cup!These are:iSimangaliso Wetland ParkRobben IslandCradle of HumankinduKhahlamba Drakensberg ParkMapungubwe Cultural LandscapeCape Floral RegionVredefort DomeRichtersveld Cultural and Botanical LandscapeThese sites are a source of pride and identity that should unite all of us. Let us make the 2010 World Cup a memorable event. Let us rally behind Bafana Bafana.Let us celebrate our national symbols; and let us show the world that we are one nation, united in our colourful diversity.Ladies and gentlemen before concluding let me extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the 16 people who died in a road crash in the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.Pain suffered by any South African affects all of us. We are one nation, one people.We extend a special happy Freedom Day to the families of four South African peacekeepers who were released after being held captive in Sudan. They are in good health and good spirit.We thank the United Nations and the Sudanese government for working with us to secure their release.Happy Freedom Day and a happy Soccer World Cup to you all!I thank you.last_img read more