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Saturday, 02 December 2023

“Our Africa by Merck Foundation”

Fashion and Art can be used as powerful tools to address and raise awareness on pressing social and health issues in Africa and beyond, Merck Foundation CEO Senator Dr Rasha Kelej has said.

Speaking during the eighth episode of their TV programme ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ last Saturday, Dr Kelej said fashion and art have a purpose beyond just entertainment and looking good.

“We must make the most out of these platforms to advocate for the causes we work towards every day.  “Merck Foundation works closely with media and art communities across Africa to address and raise awareness on sensitive social and health issues such as diabetes, breaking infertility stigma, ending child marriage, stopping FGM, stopping GBV, supporting girl education and women’s empowerment and many more.

“Together, we can be the voice of the voiceless and bring about a positive change in our communities that will lead to a culture shift in Africa,” she said.

Dr Kelej also said young people have numerous untapped capabilities that if unleashed can empower and enable them to lead the sustainable development and green environmental agenda for their countries, encourage others to lead a sustainable lifestyle and adapt to the impact of climate change.

She also said their aim is to raise awareness about sustainability and environmental protection through their ‘Fashion and Art with Purpose’ community.

“I am happy to bring to you the eighth episode of ‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’, with this episode we aim to raise awareness about sustainability and environmental protection through our ‘Fashion and Art with Purpose’ community. I am very happy that this episode was aired close to World Environment Day 2022 which is observed on 5th June every year,” she said.

Merck Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany.  The TV programme’s eighth episode addressed the important topic of “Sustainability is a Shared Responsibility”. Watch the Eighth Episode here:

The episode featured Nana Kwabena Anoff, African Artist in Sustainable Art, who displayed his unique and remarkable art pieces made up of sustainable materials; Dr Sabrina Devi Ramamy Iranah, Director of Fashion and Design Institute, Mauritius and Jean Luc Emile, Managing Editor, Defimedia Group, Mauritius.

Young Fashion Designers from Mauritius – Desire Cedric Vincent and Deena Appaddo also featured showcased their recyclable fashion designs with messages on environmental sustainability during this episode.

Previous episodes have addressed diabetes prevention, breaking infertility stigma, supporting girl education, promoting a healthy lifestyle, ending female genital mutilation (FGM), and Coronavirus health awareness.

‘Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ is a pan African TV programme that is conceptualised, produced, directed, and co-hosted by Dr Kelej, to feature fashion designers, singers, and prominent guests from various domains with the aim to raise awareness and create a culture shift across Africa. The show is co-hosted by Brian Mulondo from Uganda.

“’Our Africa by Merck Foundation’ has been receiving an overwhelming response from our viewers who watch the show on TV. Our social media is also flooded with lovely messages from our followers across the globe.

All this attention is very valuable and inspiring to do more and to do better. I am certain the upcoming episodes will also be received well”, added Dr Kelej.

Globally, the textile and clothing sector is one of the largest segments of the economy, contributing almost $2.4 trillion to manufacturing and employing close to 300 million people across the world.

Fashion makes a sizeable contribution to climate change. The fashion industry accounts for about 8-10 percent of global carbon emissions, and nearly 20 percent of wastewater. This means that the fashion industry consumes more energy than both aviation and shipping combined.

Sustainable Fashion is a term for clothes that are created and consumed in a way that can be, quite literally, sustained, while protecting both the environment and those producing garments.

This is the reason cutting CO2 emissions, addressing overproduction, reducing pollution and waste, supporting biodiversity, and ensuring that garment workers are paid a fair wage and have safe working conditions, are all crucial to the scope of sustainability.

“Sustainable Fashion is a term that is increasingly used these days, as we all become aware of the serious environmental impact of our clothes. I feel so proud that the local fashion industry across Africa is exploring new sustainable solutions, and tapping into more traditional ones, that will enable them financially and protect the environment” added Dr Kelej.

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DJ Sway ‘saved’ the YAMAs

22nd November 2023

DJ Sway, the daring and ambitious on-air presenter of Yarona FM, played a crucial role in saving the radio station’s music awards, known as the YAMAs. The event was initially dry and disorganized, but DJ Sway, who co-hosted with Pearl Thusi, injected life into the show. However, things took a turn for the worse when Pearl Thusi abruptly left the stage, leaving DJ Sway to carry on alone. Despite the unexpected setback, DJ Sway rose to the occasion and captivated the audience, effectively putting an end to the drama caused by Pearl Thusi.

In an exclusive interview after the YAMAs, DJ Sway revealed the behind-the-scenes chaos that unfolded during the event. He acknowledged the script editors, Phalana and Hope, who worked tirelessly to reedit the script and adapt it to a one-host format. Despite the last-minute changes, DJ Sway remained composed and focused, thanks to the support of his colleagues, such as Owen Rampha, Katlego Rakola, Tshepang Motsisi (DJ Easy), and LB.

When asked about his initial reaction to the unexpected turn of events, DJ Sway admitted to feeling saddened by how things ended. However, he credited Pearl Thusi for giving him a much-needed confidence boost during his moment of doubt. She reminded him that he was destined for greatness and that he didn’t need big stars to succeed. With her words of encouragement, DJ Sway regained his composure and approached the rest of the show with the same professionalism and charisma he displays on the radio.

To overcome the challenges he faced, DJ Sway relied on his radio skills and calm personality. He engaged with the audience as if he were speaking to a single person, pointing out individuals in the crowd to create a more intimate connection. He also expressed gratitude for his backstage team, who provided support and ensured the smooth running of the show.

DJ Sway expressed satisfaction in being seen as the saving grace of the YAMAs. He believed that he fulfilled his role as a host and brought joy to the Yarona FM board, his family, and his fans. Despite his success, DJ Sway’s journey has not been without hardships. He has experienced the loss of his mother and sister, which has left a lasting impact on him. While he continues to grieve, he seeks solace in therapy sessions and relies on his father for emotional support.

DJ Sway’s dedication to his craft and ability to overcome adversity make him a remarkable figure in the radio industry. His vibrant personality and deep knowledge of music have made him a perfect fit for Yarona FM. Despite the challenges he has faced, DJ Sway remains determined to make a positive impact and bring joy to his listeners. With his talent and resilience, there is no doubt that DJ Sway will continue to thrive in his career and leave a lasting legacy in the world of radio.


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Chef Gustos walk of shame

22nd November 2023

Chef Gustos, the renowned hitmaker, recently experienced what can only be described as a walk of shame at the 8th edition of the Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAs). Despite being nominated a whopping seven times, he failed to secure a single win. Ouch!

The night was filled with surprises, drama, and controversy, but the biggest winner of the evening was Han C, who walked away with three awards, including Best Pop and Best Male Single for his hit song, “Sebinki.” Han C graciously announced that he would be donating P10,000 from his winnings to his fellow nominees, promoting a spirit of togetherness among artists. What a noble gesture!

Meanwhile, Chef Gustos found himself on the losing end of several categories, including People’s Choice Artist of the Year, which he had won in the past. He seemed unfazed by the loss, stating, “People know that ‘Away’ was big, but they won’t stop me.” It’s clear that Chef Gustos is determined to continue making music, regardless of the awards he receives.

However, he did express his frustration with the outcome, suggesting that the awards may be corrupt. He declined to comment further, citing the need to protect his brand and maintain good relationships with corporate clients. It’s understandable that he wants to avoid any potential damage to his future prospects.

In fact, Chef Gustos went so far as to request that Yarona FM not nominate him for future YAMAs. It seems he wants to distance himself from the disappointment and focus on his music without the pressure of awards. Perhaps this decision will allow him to create freely and without the burden of expectations.

While Chef Gustos may have experienced a walk of shame at the YAMAs, it’s important to remember that awards do not define an artist’s talent or success. His fans still appreciate his music, and he continues to have gigs with corporate clients. So, despite the disappointment, Chef Gustos remains optimistic about his future in the industry.

In the end, the YAMAs may have been a letdown for Chef Gustos, but he’s determined to keep moving forward. He won’t let a lack of awards dampen his spirits or hinder his creativity. And who knows, maybe next time he’ll come back stronger and prove that he’s deserving of recognition. After all, the true measure of an artist’s success lies in the hearts of their fans, not in shiny trophies.


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Women in Science: Breaking Glass Ceilings

16th November 2023

Women scientists have made significant contributions to the field of science, yet they continue to face numerous challenges and barriers. Despite their remarkable achievements, women represent only a fraction of researchers globally, and their work often goes unrecognized. The need for scientific role models to inspire the younger generation is urgent. However, organizations like the Fondation L’OrĂ©al and UNESCO are working tirelessly to empower women scientists and promote gender equality in the scientific community.

The Fondation L’OrĂ©al and UNESCO have collaborated for over two years to support and recognize women scientists who have achieved scientific excellence. These organizations have awarded more than 100 laureates, with five of them going on to win Nobel Prizes. These women researchers, who have worked in various scientific fields across different continents, are not only changing the world through their discoveries but also serving as role models for aspiring women scientists.

The L’OrĂ©al-UNESCO For Women in Science programs annually support over 250 talented young women researchers. Through regional and national programs, the Fondation L’OrĂ©al and UNESCO provide crucial support to these researchers during their thesis or post-doctoral studies. While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to achieve true gender equality in science. However, both organizations remain determined to make this vision a reality.

Recently, the Fondation L’OrĂ©al and UNESCO hosted thirty winners of the L’OrĂ©al-UNESCO For Women in Science 14th Rising Talents Sub-Saharan Africa awards in Kasane. These awards recognize African women scientists for their outstanding research. During a press conference, Fondation L’OrĂ©al CEO Alexandra Palt emphasized the importance of empowering women scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa, a continent that suffers greatly from climate disruption. Palt highlighted the challenges these women face, including overcoming prejudice, sexism, and harassment, to become accomplished scientists.

The finalists of the awards are scientists, PhD students, and post-doctoral researchers who are advancing various disciplines such as biology, agronomy, physics, mathematics, genetics, and engineering. Their goal is to improve the daily lives of Africa’s people, whether through advancements in health or the environment. These women, such as Dairou Hadidjatou, a pioneer in cardiovascular disease treatment in Cameroon, Esther Uwimaana, conducting research on potential tuberculosis vaccines, and Mwende Mbilo, innovating clean energy solutions in Kenya, are driven by their desire to advance science and society.

The need for scientific role models to inspire the younger generation is crucial. Palt emphasized that Africa currently represents only 2.5% of scientists globally, making it challenging for young girls in Africa to pursue scientific careers when women researchers in their countries are often invisible in the media, scientific publications, and international forums. To address this, the Fondation L’OrĂ©al and UNESCO have increased the number of young talents awarded from 20 to 30. These researchers also receive leadership training to enhance their communication and negotiation skills, as well as their ability to address harassment and speak publicly or with the media.

By highlighting the achievements of these women scientists, the Fondation L’OrĂ©al and UNESCO aim to break the glass ceiling and provide them with the recognition they deserve. It is essential to take urgent action on multiple levels to enable these talented women to emerge onto the public stage and be acknowledged for their excellent work. Only then can we truly achieve gender equality in the scientific community.

In conclusion, women scientists have made significant contributions to science, yet they continue to face numerous challenges and barriers. Organizations like the Fondation L’OrĂ©al and UNESCO are working tirelessly to empower women scientists and promote gender equality in the scientific community. By recognizing and supporting these women, we can inspire the younger generation and create a world where women in science are celebrated and their work is valued.


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