A scene from The Silver Fez, a look atSouth Africa’s colourful Malay subculture.(Image: Africa in Motion)MEDIA CONTACTS • Gillian CookAiM press officer+44 7790 200 471Janine ErasmusAfrica will be the main attraction at a film festival, which runs from 21 October to 5 November in Edinburgh, Scotland.The 2010 Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival is the fifth edition of its kind, with this year’s productions sharing themes of celebration, freedom and independence, according to festival organisers.Last year’s festival focused on conflict and reconciliation across the continent, in keeping with the declaration of 2009 as the UN International Year of Reconciliation.As a tribute to AiM’s role in drawing international attention to issues of reconciliation, it received a commendation from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.The 2010 theme of celebration marks a number of auspicious occasions. Besides AiM’s fifth anniversary, there are 17 African countries that celebrate 50 years of independence this year. Among them are Nigeria (1 October), the Democratic Republic of Congo (30 June), Cameroon (1 January), Côte d’Ivoire (7 August), Madagascar (26 June), and Senegal (20 August).The others are Togo, Somalia, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Mali and Mauritania.Access to African cinemaFestival founder and director Lizelle Bisschoff obtained her BA in Communication Theory and BA (hons) in Literary Theory and Audiovisual Production Management at the University of Johannesburg.She recently completed her PhD at Scotland’s Stirling University, conducting research into the role of women in cinema in the sub-Saharan region.She established AiM because during her research she found it difficult to gain access to African cinema works in Scotland. The festival also gives African filmmakers a platform to show their work to audiences that, on the whole, know very little about the continent’s vibrant film industry.With more than 70 films from 28 countries, including South Africa, film lovers can expect a feast of innovation and creativity around the central themes. Films are also screened according to the specific theme of the day – these include North Africa, children, dance, sport, Nelson Mandela, and the environment, among others.The festival arranges a range of accompanying events for those who are interested in other artistic genres. Children can attend an animation workshop; the Scottish Poetry Library presents the Poetry in Motion gathering; veteran Cameroonian director Jean-Marie Teno leads a free masterclass in documentary filming at the Edinburgh College of Art; and the Filmhouse Guild Room hosts an afternoon of African storytelling.Some of the films will gain further exposure through a tour of the rural Scottish areas of Fife, Cromarty, Orkney and Skye later in November.Full details of all the events, dates and venues are available on the Africa in Motion website, and film lovers may book online to see the productions of their choice.Trailers, shorts and interviews may also be viewed on AiM’s online television channel.South Africa on the big screenSouth Africa is represented by a variety of short and full-length films that offer a fascinating glimpse of the country and its people.The film City Breath is a collection of diverse short films, or breaths, of South African cities. No segment is longer than four minutes, and through these 20 experimental shorts, the project offers insight into the way South Africans view their cities.Made in 1994, Voices from Robben Island is a documentary on the notorious island where political prisoners were jailed for many years at a time. The film examines the island’s 400-year history and profiles some of its most famous inmates – Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, and others.The other film honouring former president Nelson Mandela is titled Welcome Nelson. This is an intriguing 23-minute montage of original footage from 11 February 1990, the day he was released from a 27-year prison sentence.The documentary Fezeka’s Voice profiles Phumi Tsewu, for the past 12 years the choirmaster of the award-winning Fezeka High School Choir. Through his guidance and inspiration, 77 youngsters from the underprivileged Western Cape township of Gugulethu have used music to lift themselves out of their everyday lives, which are often filled with hardship. Their work in the choir has given them a sense of belonging, acceptance and pride.The dance documentary Freedom follows five South African dancers as they express their individual concepts of freedom and democracy through their art.Visual artist Nico Phooka and playwright Fatima Dike collaborate in the documentary Amagagu: Dreaming the New. The film also explores their personal backgrounds, cultures and beliefs.The Silver Fez is a documentary featuring Cape Town’s famous Malay musicians. The film provides a glimpse into the Malay subculture and the age-old musical traditions that help to sustain it.Passion Gap is another collection of snippets of South African life, filmed among the young people of Cape Town. The title refers to the tradition of dental modification – or quite simply the removal of the front teeth – favoured by many coloured people of the Western Cape as a fashion statement and rite of passage. The missing teeth are replaced by dentures often outrageously decorated with gold, silver or precious stones.Cape Town as an adventure destination is the subject of Unfinished Business, a film that probes the culture of thrill-seeking associated with the city’s world-famous Table Mountain.Set in 1993, uGugu no Andile (Gugu and Andile) is a film about a Zulu girl who falls in love with a young Xhosa man. In Romeo and Juliet style, their union results in disapproval from both communities, and in the troubled political climate of the time, the pair becomes caught up in violence and uncertainty.
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Following a bitter split from the Shiv Sena in 2006, Raj Thackeray founded the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), a political party aimed at “sons of the soil” and the “Marathi manus” (Marathi community). Despite occasional electoral wins since then, the MNS never became a political force in the State, unlike the original Sena that his uncle Bal Thackeray founded and his cousin, Uddhav Thackeray, now leads. The MNS suffered humiliating defeats in the 2014 general election as well as in the Assembly polls. Out of the 288 Assembly seats, it won just one. Its general election tally was zero. The downfall continued in the 2017 civic polls. Stung by the 2014 defeats, Mr. Thackeray has remained silent for three years.In an exclusive interview, he says the MNS chief regrets endorsing Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the 2014 general election. For the first time, he has spoken openly against what he calls “BJP’s gimmicks”. He insists that forceful imposition of Hindi is wrong and that he admires the southern States for their stand on the Centre’s push for Hindi as a link language. He has also made a startling claim that wanted terrorist and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim wants to return to India in exchange for a deal with New Delhi.You have claimed Dawood Ibrahim wants to come back to India and is negotiating terms with the Centre. How do you back this claim?It was not out of nowhere. The Prime Minister performs such gimmicks to win elections. He invited the Japanese Prime Minister to Gujarat to inaugurate the bullet train project. This is to score in the Gujarat elections. As per my information, Dawood himself proposed the deal, and talks are on with New Delhi. Don’t expect me to reveal my source. Dawood is only a part of a grander scheme. I think they will not hesitate to wage war against Pakistan or incite communal riots. What else do they have in hand to win elections?But why would an elected government do this?To win elections. Why else? India has voted many times on emotional content. I ask you, what happened in Doklam? Does anyone know the outcome, and why it happened at the first place? Divert attention to such things, while you get to do what you want on the other side. The media gets busy, and the discourse shifts. Is there anything else (for the BJP) other than these issues to attract votes? There isn’t.In 2013, you spoke in favour of Mr. Modi. What went wrong in 2017 that you have changed your stance?I speak when I find things going wrong. I am doing the media’s job. Are reporters and editors speaking against the government? They can’t. Because the government holds the financial strings of their owners. I know editors and reporters who are desperate to expose the government, but they cannot. I had seen Mr Modi as a visionary Prime Minister. But to be frank, he is a leader who organises events. Be it yoga, cleanliness drives, Make In India, or something else. The government is working as an event management company. Are you saying your support of Mr. Modi was a mistake?When I supported his candidature, he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. But since then he has acted exactly the opposite. Prior to becoming the Prime Minister, he opposed GST and protested against Aadhaar. Now, he has implemented GST as well as forced Aadhaar down everybody’s throat. The grand promise of giving Rs 15 lakh to every Indian citizen was termed “jumla” (election gimmick) by (BJP president) Amit Shah. One feels Mr. Modi lied to voters to grab power, and now does not even feel ashamed of admitting it. Demonetisation was announced to unearth black money. If 99% of the cash is back in bank accounts, then where is the black money? Has corruption or terrorism stopped? Which black money hoarder is behind bars? If the BJP is against corruption, then where does all this money for advertising, election campaigning come from? BJP men are arrested with cash, but news reports are suppressed. The point is, it takes time to know the real face. I am saying it now, maybe others will express it later. I don’t oppose Mr. Modi as an individual, my opposition is policy-based.But he succeeded in the perception game with demonetisation and voters supported BJP in State polls.If you are talking about votes, then the electronic voting machine (EVM) is a big issue. The nation has never seen a bigger stage show than this. Never ever has the BJP had so many votes. Where did all these voters come from? I can understand one wave. But how can it be constant? In the traditional ballot box, the voter is certain that he or she has voted for a particular person. But what about these EVMs? How would one know? A number of people have approached courts. I am sure something positive will come out of it. MNS suffered a major setback in 2014 and it is yet to regain lost ground. How do you see this period?Every party suffers from highs and lows. Unfortunately, we are in the latter phase. Then there are those who jump from one party to another. They are merely hawkers who peddle their loyalty. But it is not constant. Did the BJP look invincible four years ago? Politics is not a cricket match, where a player would get an opportunity within a few days. We have to wait for five years. Mr. Modi contested a strategic election where Rahul Gandhi (Congress vice-president) was no match. In addition, Mr. Modi had the financial support of the wealthy Gujarati and Marwari communities.You recently changed from being against the Hindi-speaking population to opposing Gujaratis. Do you fear this stand will affect MNS electorally?Let me be very clear. I have not jumped from Hindi to Gujarati. I am pro-Marathi, as always. People should respect the State they reside in. Everything cannot be acquired through money. If they have money power, my strength is my power on the streets. Is this country left for businessmen only? Tell me the need for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train. What type of development are you talking about? And for whom? For Gujaratis of Gujarat and Mumbai? And we will spend ₹1.1 lakh crore on them. Don’t we understand the politics behind it? The pledge we take in school where we call all Indians brothers and sisters is a lie. Had it been the case, then we would not have seen colonies of particular communities with builders selling flats to select people. This was never the condition in Mumbai and Maharashtra until a few years ago.Do you oppose BJP’s idea of Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan?Yes. India is more like Europe. Just like each country in Europe, every State in India has its own culture, language and traditions that need to be preserved. Like Europe, what binds us is currency. Take any language, be it Marathi or Tamil or any other, it has a history of thousands of years, unlike Hindi which is barely a few hundred years old. A conspiracy to claim every Indian as ‘Hindi Hindu’ is in progress. We cannot allow this. There could be Marathi Hindu or Tamil Hindu and so on; but one cannot make blanket imposition of Hindi on the entire country. All Hindus cannot be Hindi. Who are you to tell us to use Hindi? We will not follow your rules. If forceful action is taken to wipe off our distinct identities, then people are bound to hit the streets. This will result in chaos.Are you ready to join hands with organisations from others States on this issue?Of course. Every State language has to be preserved. Hindi is not our national language. English and Hindi are official languages for communication. That’s it. I am not opposed to any language, but any attempt to sideline my language by imposing another will not be tolerated. If there is a platform to oppose this, I am ready to be a part of it to save my language. My stand is clear from the start, and that is why people from Karnataka and Assam approached me recently. I extended my support. Do you fear it will go against the national interest?I believe in India and I am patriotic as much as any other person. But isn’t it also our duty to protect the diversity of this country? If actors, players, authors from southern States hit the street on issues important to their State, why can’t our celebrities do the same? If you remember, I said in 2014 that Mr. Modi should concentrate on the development of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand for the next five years. A lot of problems would have been solved. If every State concentrates on individual development, it will help the country as a whole.How do you see present the BJP-Sena government in Maharashtra?Their divorce papers are already in the court, waiting to be signed. The State is witnessing these husband-wife fights every day. I don’t even need to comment on this. I see a vacuum of strong Opposition, which will be filled eventually. I will be that force. One may not agree now, but my claims have always proven right.
JUTC will be reclaiming routes in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR) JUTC has added more units to its fleet, which will enable it to provide quality service to these areas Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Omar Davies, says that the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) will be reclaiming routes in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR) that rightfully belong to the state-owned bus company.He said that the JUTC has added more units to its fleet, which will enable it to provide quality service to these areas, which have seen an influx of taxi operators. The move is also expected to cut down on transport violations and ensure greater protection for commuters, while reducing losses to the bus company.“We have turned a blind eye to some of the violations because we were not able to provide the service…as the JUTC increases its roll-out… it won’t be allowed, because the JUTC carries too great a subsidy, to make losses at the present levels…so we are going to provide an improved level of service,” Dr. Davies said.He was speaking at a certification ceremony for participants in the Public Passenger Vehicle Driver and Conductor Training Programme on Wednesday, August 28, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, where some 541 persons received certificates for having successfully completed the course.Approximately $2.14 billion has been allocated in this year’s budget to purchase buses to service routes across the KMTR, where the current fleet of 244 will be increased to 350 as of next month.Managing Director of the JUTC, Colin Campbell, recently told JIS News that 35 new buses imported earlier this year, have been serviced and are ready to be incorporated into the fleet.Meanwhile, Dr. Davies stated that the training is part of efforts by the Ministry to transform the public transportation system into a civilized, efficient, first-world operation.He stressed that a reliable public transportation system is critical to the operation of any modern society.“We must understand the importance of these training courses, because we have to ensure that the people who man the system bring to the stage, what we can consider first-world…an objective of this administration, is that we will provide the same quality service, if not better than what is provided elsewhere,” he asserted.He said that while conduct cannot be legislated, measures can be put in place to ensure that those operators, who do not abide by the requirements, would be excluded from the public transport system.“It cannot be that anybody, who can’t do anything else, feels that his/her place is in the public transportation system. We are going to raise the quality of service, raise the respect demonstrated,” the Transport Minister said.In his remarks, Chairman of the Transport Authority, Norton Hinds said the training programme, which was first conceptualised and designed in 2004, in collaboration with HEART, covers the laws governing the transport sector, customer service, conflict resolution and defensive driving techniques.“This training programme has exposed over 5,000 drivers and conductors to customer service skills…several rewarding partnerships have been forged with the government and private sector stakeholders, which have formed the foundation on which the programme stands,” he stated.The course participants included 261 drivers and conductors from the KMTR; 61 from the North Eastern Transport Region; 120 from the Western Transport Region; and 99 from the Southern Transport Region. Story Highlights Approximately $2.14 billion has been allocated in this year’s budget to purchase buses