MASON CITY – The No. 2 NIACC women’s basketball team rolled to a 131-56 victory over Ellsworth Wednesday in an Iowa Community College Athletic Conference contest in the NIACC gym.NIACC received a career-high 46 points, including 11 3-point goals, from freshman Mandy Willems. Freshman Jada Buford scored 31 points, sophomore Tahya Campbell scored 17 points and freshman Autam Mendez scored 12 points.The 46 points by Willems is the most ever by a NIACC women’s player in a conference contest and ranks second on the school’s career single-game list. Trudy Peterson holds the single-game record with 51 points against Kennedy King in the 2015-16 season.The 131 points by the Lady Trojans is tied for third on the school’s single-game scoring list. The women’s all-time single-game record came in a 135-33 win over Hibbing CC in the 2013-14 season. == other 1A quarterfinalsNewell-Fonda 69, Springville 39Bellevue Marquette 62, Clarksville 49 Listen back to our full post-game interview with Paul Sonius CLEAR LAKE — The Clear Lake boys basketball team found out Wednesday afternoon their schedule in next week’s Class 3A state tournament. Despite being top-ranked and one of two undefeated teams left in any class, the Lions are the fourth seed in the 3A field. Clear Lake will face the fifth-seed West Delaware in the quarterfinal round next Tuesday at 1 o’clock at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Norwalk is the top-seed and will face 8th-seed Ballard in the first 3A quarterfinal at 11:15. On the other side of the bracket, second-seed Sergeant Bluff-Luton faces seven-seed Winterset, while third-seed Oskaloosa faces sixth-seed Marion. You can hear the Clear Lake-West Delaware game on AM-1490/96.7-FM KRIB and kribam.com starting with the pre-game at about 12:35 next Tuesday afternoon. IOWA CITY — A big turnaround season for the Iowa basketball team is being overshadowed by multiple suspensions. Hawkeye basketball coach Fran McCaffery was suspended for two games following a profanity laced tirade at an official following Tuesday night’s loss at Ohio State. It comes just days after play-by-play announcer Gary Dolphin was suspended for the remainder of the season for a term he used to describe the play of Maryland’s Bruno Fernando in a game last week.McCaffery says he let his emotions get carried away.McCaffery says he coaches with passion and that won’t change.Iowa athletic director Gary Barta acknowledges it has been a rough week for the department.Barta says Dolphin will return to the booth for Iowa’s spring football game.There was speculation that a rift between Dolphin and McCaffery might lead to his ouster.Dolphin says he will try to remain descriptive in his call while at the same time being sensitive to his choice of words.Iowa hosts Rutgers on Saturday DES MOINES — Drake will play for a Missouri Valley title on Saturday at Missouri State. The Bulldogs celebrated Senior Night with an 80-68 win over Indiana State to move to 11-6 in the Valley. A UNI loss to Loyola prevented the Bulldogs from clinching a share of the title.Tremell Murphy recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead Drake to an 80-68 win over Indiana State on Wednesday night.Brady Ellingson had 16 points for Drake (22-8, 11-6 Missouri Valley Conference), which earned its fourth consecutive home victory. Nick McGlynn added 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Anthony Murphy had 13 points for the home team. CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Marques Townes registered 16 points and eight rebounds as Loyola of Chicago edged past Northern Iowa 56-55 on Wednesday night.Aher Uguak’s dunk gave the Ramblers a 55-53 lead with 54 seconds remaining in the second half. Lucas Williamson made the second of two free throws and Loyola led 56-53 with 17 seconds to go. After UNI’s AJ Green cut the deficit to one, Townes had a turnover. Green missed the go-ahead jumper with three seconds left.Cameron Krutwig had 14 points and three assists for Loyola of Chicago (18-12, 11-6 Missouri Valley Conference). Williamson added 12 points.Green had 18 points for the Panthers (14-16, 9-8), whose four-game win streak was snapped. Isaiah Brown added 13 points. Wyatt Lohaus had 10 points.The Ramblers improved to 2-0 against the Panthers on the season, both victories coming by one point. Loyola of Chicago defeated Northern Iowa 61-60 on Jan. 30.Loyola of Chicago, tied for first place with Drake, finishes out the regular season against Bradley at home on Saturday. Northern Iowa finishes out the regular season against Indiana State on the road on Saturday. == 3A semifinals today1:30 p.m. – North Polk (22-2) vs. Waukon (19-3)3:15 p.m. – Des Moines Christian (23-2) vs. Center Point-Urbana (22-2) TODAY:= AM-1300 KGLO, kgloam.com — Class 4A girls state semifinal — Mason City vs. Marion — pre-game 4:40, tipoff 5:00 == 5A semifinals today10:00 a.m. – Johnston (22-2) vs. West Des Moines Valley (18-5)11:45 a.m. – Dowling West Des Moines (17-7) vs. Southeast Polk (20-3) DES MOINES — Rachel Leerar scored 19 of her 23 points in the first half in leading West Hancock over North Mahaska 67-54 in a Class 1A quarterfinal round game at the girls state basketball tournament in Des Moines Wednesday evening, as you heard on AM-1300 KGLO. Leerar also handed out six assists and had five steals. West Hancock coach Paul Sonius says the ballgame started the way he wanted to with the speed and fastness going up and down the court.Sonius also credited the play of Amanda Chizek, who had 11 points and 13 rebounds.Sonius says the plan was not to use full-court pressure on defense during the game, but that changed as the contest went along, to the advantage of the Eagles.Mahayla Faust added 12 points while freshman Kennedy Kelly added 10 for the Eagles.West Hancock improves to 24-1 on the season and will face Montezuma in Friday afternoon’s semifinal round. Montezuma overcame a 12-point first quarter deficit to beat CAM of Anita 59-45 last night. You can hear live and local coverage of the West Hancock-Montezuma game on AM-1300 KGLO and kgloam.com starting with the pre-game at about 3 o’clock Friday afternoon MASON CITY – The No. 3 NIACC men’s basketball team topped Ellsworth 86-64 for its 11th straight win on Wednesday in an Iowa Community College Athletic Conference contest in the NIACC gym.The win clinched at least a share of the conference regular season title for NIACC men. The Trojans (23-3 overall) are 12-1 in the league with one game remaining – at home Thursday against DMACC.No. 5 Kirkwood is 11-2 in the league with one game remaining at Ellsworth on Saturday.The regular season champion clinches home-court advantage throughout the Region XI tournament, which starts on Tuesday.The 23 wins by NIACC is the most since the 2006-07 team was 23-9. The school record for wins in a season is the 1994-95 national championship team that was 24-12.NIACC, which started the season 1-2, has won 22 of its last 23 games. The Trojans have produced two win streaks of 11 games, which is tied for the third longest in school history.In Wednesday’s win over Ellsworth, freshman Wendell Matthews scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Also scoring in double figures were Quentin Hardrict (15), James Harris (12), Deundra Roberson (10) and Chandler Dean (10). == 2A quarterfinals WednesdayCentral Decatur 57, Aplington-Parkersburg 49Treynor 53, North Linn 44 DES MOINES — Mason City faces Marion in the Class 4A semifinal round late this afternoon at the girls state basketball tournament. The Mohawks advanced with a 55-49 win over Waverly-Shell Rock in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round, while the top seed Marion overwhelmed Cedar Rapids Xavier 70-35. You can hear the Mason City-Marion game on AM-1300 KGLO and kgloam.com starting with the pre-game at about 4:40 this afternoon, with the tipoff scheduled for 5 o’clock. The other 4A semifinal has North Scott facing Bishop Heelan of Sioux City.
Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award UFC boss meets with Floyd Mayweather’s team Ioka (23-1), who is seven years the junior of the 36-year-old Nietes, ended a 16-month retirement when he scored a unanimous decision win over McWilliams Arroyo after 10 rounds in his first fight in the junior bantamweight division and in the United States.Nietes and Ioka were actually in the same SuperFly 3 card on Sept. 8, 2018.Both Nietes and Ioka are three-division World champions winning titles in the flyweight, light flyweight, and minimumweight divisions.“It won’t be an easy fight either way but Donnie has always been confident,” said Aldeguer. “Ioka is a bigger name and comes from a respected country like Japan.”“Nietes wants the biggest fights out there and this fight is a step towards it.”ADVERTISEMENT Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil LATEST STORIES Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown View comments If Nietes wins the bout, he will join fellow Filipino IBF World super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas as titlists in the 115-lb division.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college As per Ring Magazine, the ruling was brought upon during the WBO Convention in Panama with Nietes’ promoter Michael Aldeguer of ALA Promotions confirming the news.“In principle, the fight is done is a done deal,” said Aldeguer.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissRing added that Aldeguer and Ioka’s promoter TLAROCK and manager Taku Nagashima discussed everything and that the contract signing was a mere formality.Nietes (41-1-5) had his first chance at the WBO junior bantamweight belt when he took on fellow Filipino Aston Palicte (24-2) but the judges ruled on a split decision draw in the Sept. 8, 2018 fight that left the sanctioning without a champion in the division. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. FILE – Boxing world champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes. Photo by Mark Giongco/INQUIRER.netFilipino boxing icon Donnie Nietes can get another chance to become a four-division World champion after the World Boxing Organization ordered him to fight Japanese star Kazuto Ioka.The bout will be for the sanctioning body’s vacant World junior bantamweight (the super flyweight division in the WBC, IBF, and WBA) belt.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew
Dear Editor,Alarm bells began to ring with Michael Ten-Pow, Guyana’s Ambassador to the UN, voted against the United States of America’s resolution to amend the Rights of the Child Convention. In so doing, Ten-Pow was acting converse to Guyana’s existing laws on this issue and also inimical to Guyana’s geopolitical interests (18/11/2019). Whispers were heard that Ten-Pow was actively seeking the Chair of the G77 and was willing to kowtow to Venezuelan demands (which included this vote) in furtherance of his (Ten-Pow’s) ambitions. Patriotic Guyanese throughout our Foreign Service began to warn the home office of the dangers inherent in Ten-Pow’s conduct. The Director-General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry wrote to David Granger to apprise him of this seemingly rogue conduct. Mrs Jardine-Waddell must have been shocked at what happened next.The caretaker president responded to the concerns of the patriots with alacrity but not in the manner they hoped/expected. David Granger ordered the removal of Mrs Jardine-Waddell from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the recall of all diplomats (senior and Junior) who expressed dissent with Ambassador Ten-Pow’s actions. The at-all-costs campaign for the Chairmanship of the G77 has the full and unequivocal support of David Granger!The Venezuelans have remained steadfast in their objection to Ten-Pow, in their letter to HE Mr Riyad H Mansour, Ambassador, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations. Chair, Group of the 77 on the 22nd November, Venezuela stated: “I address Your Excellency, in your capacity as Chair of the Group of the 77 (G77) for the year 2019, in the opportunity of referring to the ambassadorial-level meeting held earlier this afternoon to address the question of the Chairmanship of the G77 for 2020…In this regard, I am obliged to, at the very outset, categorically reject your unilateral ruling on the ‘endorsement’ of the candidature of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana to the Chairmanship of the G77 for 2020”. The betrayal of our nation’s values and willingness to concede on aspects of the Border dispute have(thankfully) been in vain thus far.Editor, the signs that titles, medals, awards, and ceremony are of utmost importance to David Granger have always been there; Granger’s willingness to kowtow to Venezuelan demands in furtherance of the Chairmanship of a UN Group (77) is a descent into depravity. We have betrayed our children on the Rights of the Child Amendment and our ally, the United States of America, in favour of an aggressive neighbour. The sins of vanity and hubris are laid bare for all to see.Respectfully,Robin Singh
Crystal Palace would be in the top four of the Premier League if they had England striker Harry Kane, according to Eagles boss Alan Pardew.Palace’s progress has slowed in recent weeks, having taken the league by storm in Pardew’s first full season in charge. They have caught the public eye with an exciting brand of football, but they have won just three of their last ten outings. The south Londoners are currently eight points behind fourth-placed Spurs and Mauricio Pochettino’s side travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday.17 goals in 36 appearances for club and country this season, Pardew says a top striker like Kane can be ‘the difference’, but he has one of his own in English forward Connor Wickham. “If Harry Kane was in our team we’d be in the top four if I am honest,” the Palace boss said.“That is the difference a striker can make of that quality.“What we have is a player in Connor Wickham who’s not too dissimilar to Kane, trying to learn that going through the middle of the pitch.“Him coming back to us has been a huge lift, so forget about anything else at Manchester City [they lost 4-0] in terms of the result.“The factor from that game is that Connor is back and he produced a good number nine display. If he gets goals on the back of the displays he’s done, we’re going to have ourselves a really good player and we can start talking about Connor Wickham rather than Harry Kane.”Pardew is hoping to bring in a new striker to boost their attacking options and Palace have been linked with a number of players during the January transfer window.The former Newcastle boss dismissed suggestions of a swap deal involving Dwight Gayle and Swansea’s Bafetimbi Gomis, while a move for former Spurs man Emmanuel Adebayor has also been reported in the papers.He said: “We’re after somebody who would fit into our group.“It’d be nice to see a big player come in. There’s been no contact from either club (with regard to Gomis).“We can give ourselves a lift so it makes sense for our fans, our players.“We can improve from within, but having said that, we are trying to improve the situation.”He added: “Most of the noises on the market are probably being generated by agents and the media. It’s part of the game, I quite enjoy it!“We have to be realistic. Some of the figures being bandied about for good players, not great players, are massive.“We mustn’t get out-priced. It’s difficult for us.”
Flippin also claimed to know of instances in which the department wasted money. He said he learned once that the DWP had an unclaimed $100,000 credit with an equipment supplier but said that when he informed supervisors he was told it was none of his business. Maryanne Pierson, a longtime department public relations representative, also linked the workplace problems to misspent public money. Pierson, who is involved in litigation with the utility, referenced Fleishman-Hillard, the giant public-relations firm with close ties to former Mayor Jim Hahn that paid the city $6 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it overbilled the DWP. Several company executives were also indicted. “LADWP has difficulty recruiting and retaining highly qualified and experienced public-relations professionals due to questionable and retaliatory labor practices,” she said. Some speakers criticized the union that represents most DWP workers for exerting too much influence over management. The business manager of IBEW Local 18, Brian D’Arcy, could not be reached for comment Friday. Commissioners decided to hold the hearing after receiving an anonymous letter charging that harassment and retaliation are rampant in the department and several speakers made similar statements during public comment periods at board meetings. The meeting marked the beginning of a process in which claims will be probed and the board will try to determine what action to take, Nahai said. “This is not a tribunal,” Nahai said. “We’re just trying to gather facts at this point.” Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Department of Water and Power Commission launched an investigation Friday into allegations of workplace discrimination as a steady stream of workers at the nation’s largest municipal utility told of alleged harassment, retaliation and misspent taxpayer dollars. The three-hour hearing – which officials called the first of its kind for the panel overseeing the DWP – drew an overflow crowd that listened to the proceedings on a loudspeaker from the lobby. “It’s in response to what the commission perceived to be a certain level of discontent among DWP employees,” said Commissioner David Nahai, who along with colleague Edith Ramirez sits on the board’s Personnel Relations Committee, which held the hearing. Speakers ranged from relatively new hires to multidecade veterans, and included employees as diverse as those who work with heavy equipment and those who handle retiree benefits. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Some said they feared further retaliation for speaking out in public and several employees traced problems back to the 1990s when the department was reorganized and downsized. Brad Chow, who said he has been at the DWP for more than 30 years, claimed new managers stifled his efforts to make his generating station more efficient starting in the late 1990s. “A new culture of disrespect and intimidation tactics was brought in,” he said. Kenneth Flippin said he was fired from the department, where he spent 16 years as a heavy-duty truck operator, after he testified against a supervisor he accused of making offensive comments. “I have been out for two years because of the fact I stuck up for somebody,” said Flippin, who has been trying to get his job back.
IN PICTURES: BALLYSHANNON 5K SUCCESS was last modified: May 8th, 2011 by gregShare 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) TRIBUTES have been pouring in for the organisers of the Ballyshannon 5k – with a superb event enjoyed by all those involved.Results are available by clicking on our previous post here: https://www.donegaldaily.com/2011/05/07/ballyshannon-5k-results/.Our picture gallery shows some of those who took part.
SEAMUS Coleman and Aiden McGeady put on superb performances at the Aviva Stadium on Friday night to help Robbie Keane to a hat-trick in Ireland’s 3-0 win over the Faroe Islands.Killybegs man Coleman set up Keane’s crucial second goal and McGeady set up the first – and almost scored twice himself – to move Ireland into third place in their World Cup qualifying group.“It was nice to get the goals,” said Keane, making a record 126th appearance, one more than Shay Given’s record. “But obviously, most important was the three points. All in all it was a good day for us. It’s always important against these teams to get the first goal and I managed to do that. I keep saying it’s a privilege and an honour to play for my country. To put this green jersey on means a hell of a lot to me and long may it continue.“Aiden (McGeady) was on fire in the first half especially, he was killing the full-back. I just anticipated the pull-back and lucky enough for me I managed to get there to get the first ball.“It’s about movement and getting in front of the first man, knowing where the ball will go. I’ve been lucky enough in my career to score a few, so you get used to knowing certain positions to be in where the ball might go.”Ireland hustled and bustled at the Aviva – frustrated by an eight-man Faroes defence. But the win leaves us just behind Austria on goal difference – and three points ahead of Sweden who have a game in hand.Ireland: David Forde; Seamus Coleman, John O’Shea, Sean St ledger, Marc Wilson (Stephen Kelly 81); Simon Cox, Glenn Whelan, Wes Hoolahan, Aiden McGeady (James McClean 77); Jonathan Walters (Conor Sammon 74), Robbie Keane.Subs not used: Kieren Westwood, Darren Randolph, Damien Delaney, Richard Dunne, Darren O’Dea, Paul McShane, Stephen Quinn, Andy Keogh, Jeff Hendrick,Booked: Hoolahan.Faroe Islands: Gunnar Nielsen; Jonhard Frederiksberg, Atli Gregersen, Rogvi Baldvinson, Ari Mohr Jonsson; Suni Olsen, Heini Vandsdal; Simun Samuelsen, Christian Holst (Hans Pauli Samuelsen 84), Pol Johannus Justinusen; Pall Klettskaro (Joan Simun Edmundsson 65). Subs not used: Jonas Tor Naes,, Vilijormur Davidsen, Atli Danielsen, Christian Mouritssen, Hans Jorgensen, Tietur Gestsson.Booked: Vandsdal, Justinusen, Baldvinson.Referee: Mattis Gestranius (Finland).COLEMAN AND McGEADY PUT ON FINE DISPLAYS TO HELP KEANE TO HAT-TRICK HEROICS was last modified: June 8th, 2013 by BrendaShare 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:COLEMAN AND McGEADY PUT ON FINE DISPLAYS TO HELP KEANE TO HAT-TRICK HEROICS
PULSE VENUE BANK HOLIDAY PREVIEW: With SIX rooms and NINE bars spread over two floors ‘The Pulse Venue is the ULTIMATE clubbing experience for revellers in Letterkenny. The Pulse was fantastic again on Saturday night last with Dara K playing the tunes in the CLUB. The Rock hill ramblers rocking the LIVE EXPERIENCE and Paul R boogieing in THE LIVING ROOM.And if dancing wasn’t for you customers could take in the relaxing vibe of the Secret Garden or tuck in to a delicious Pizza from the Pizza shack or go all out for the VIP experience in the Reserve lounge.Check out the Pulse Letterkenny Facebook page for pictures of the weekend.This Saturday Night we have DJ AHMED in The Club, DJ AHMED is the one of Irelands Entertainment Industry’s premier DJ’s, his name is synonymous with what’s happening in all the top clubs, concerts, festivals in Ireland. The WAXIES are playing in The Live Experience and PAUL R in The Living Room.On Sunday we have FUTURISTIC POLAR-BEARS in the Club with support act Dark9ine.In the Live experience we have Johnny B & Boogie men and our Paul R The Living Room.Why not go to our Facebook page Pulse Letterkenny for your chance to win free entry and a bottle of Bubbly.SUPERB LINE-UP OF ENTERTAINMENT THIS BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND AT THE PULSE VENUE was last modified: April 28th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare 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:EntertainmentFeaturesnewsPulse VenueWeekend preview
Gardai in Co Donegal arrested a man after seizing more than €3,000 worth of drugs.Gardai executed a search warrant and raided the home of a person in Letterkenny.As a result of the swoop, officers recovered €#2,780 worth of cannabis and also €350 worth of cocaine. One man was arrested at the scene, detained and questioned at Letterkenny Garda station.He was released without charge pending the submission of a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.A Garda spokesman for the Donegal division said “Illegal drugs destroy lives. We are working hard to try and keep them off our streets.“Please seek help if you have a drug addiction. Please don’t watch your future go up in a puff of smoke.” Man arrested after €3,000 of drugs found in Letterkenny Garda raid was last modified: October 4th, 2019 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)
Romaana NaidooThere are just 218 days until 27 April 2014, when South Africa marks a significant milestone – 20 years of democracy.In preparing for the anniversary, citizens have been urged to join the likes of Lead SA and Brand South Africa to pledge their support in building national pride and reflecting on how far the country has come in two decades. Along with the Department of Arts and Culture, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and Proudly SA, four initiatives in this vein were launched by Lead SA on 20 September in Soweto.Richard Simmonds dressed for Freedom FridayFreedom Friday is a call on the nation to wear something every Friday that expresses their pride in being South African. This includes anything from a jersey of a favourite football or rugby team to traditional wear. Other projects to celebrate South Africa’s heritage as well as 20 years of democracy include 20 Hours of Volunteerism, between 20 September and Freedom Day, 27 April 2014; Wikipedia Wordathon, to improve South Africa’s digital footprint on the online encyclopaedia; and 20 Memorable Moments, which will retell people’s stories about their most memorable moment in the past two decades.On 27 April 1994, South Africa cast aside centuries of discrimination and oppression to form a new society built on a foundation of freedom and democracy. This change marked the beginning of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society. Lead SA’s Yusuf Abramjee kicked off the festivities for the launch of the initiatives by explaining the importance of having the event on Vilakazi Street.“It is a great privilege to be here today as we make history. It is fitting that we gather in Vilakazi Street in Soweto, which enjoys a prominent place in the history of South Africa … We are here today to start a journey of reflection and celebration as we count down the days to 20 Years of Democracy on 27 April 2014,” he said.“Some of you may recall every day since the first vote was cast on that day in 1994, and even the days, months and years before, while others were born to a free South Africa. We have a great opportunity to look towards the future with a greater understanding and appreciation of our past.”Unique storyBrand South Africa’s chief executive officer Miller Matola and Lead SA’s Yusuf AbramjeeThe South African story, Abramjee said, was as unique as the people who made up the diverse and vibrant nation. It was a story of great sacrifice and perseverance; it was the stuff of legends.An excited Miller Matola, the chief executive officer of Brand South Africa, spoke about 20 years being a significant milestone for all citizens. “We must all now participate in driving the future we would like to see for ourselves, our children and the generations of descendants who will come after us,” he said.“Brand South Africa is inspired by the launch of the Freedom Friday initiative. We look forward to working with our partners on this initiative, as well as with all citizens to find new ways to celebrate our democracy, our freedom, our nationhood.”Matola explained that through the National Development Plan citizens would be able to achieve a better future for all. “We must each of us play our part to make this a better reality.”He concluded by quoting Nelson Mandela: “Let us never be unmindful of the terrible past from which we come, that memory not as a means to keep us shackled to the past in a negative manner, but rather as a joyous reminder of how far we have come and how much we have achieved.”Among those at the launch were Minister of Sports and Recreation Fikile Mbalula; Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile; Leslie Sedibe, Proudly SA’s chief executive officer; Phumla Williams, GCIS’s acting chief executive officer; struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada; social cohesion advocate Judge Yvonne Mokgoro; and Primedia Broadcasting’s chief executive officer, Terry Volkwyn.Youth commitment20 years of freedomAcknowledging the youth’s support and active participation, Abramjee introduced some inspirational schoolchildren. Among them were Madison Volkwyn; Jordan van der Walt, the Lead SA hero of the year; and Tshogofatso Dhlamini. Madison, a pupil at Redhill High School in Johannesburg, spoke about a business studies and design project that inspired her and a group of friends to give back to an underprivileged school in Orange Farm in the form of a colourful play area.The group was instructed to go out and implement a sustainable, green corporate social responsibility project, “whatever you want, whatever you need, but you need to do it yourself”. “For us, being raised in homes that are very open and exposed to the current situations of the people in our country, we were hopeful that we could find somewhere where we could make an impact but we hadn’t gone looking specifically for a place to do community service,” she explained.“Solwazi Primary School is a way of helping keep the children occupied during the day, educating them and helping to keep them off the streets, as many of these children are orphans. When interviewing the directors of the school, they expressed the importance of playing and felt that their students were being deprived of this aspect of their schooling, especially in the foundation phase of Grade R and grades one to three,” she said.“Studies have shown that low-income children have limited opportunities to play. Having gone to a school such as Redhill, my peers and I have always had boundless opportunities … which I have no doubt has significantly helped us to this very day. When visiting the school, seeing those 600 children, playing in what could only be described as a flat, dusty playground, with no equipment and nothing to stimulate these children’s minds or provide a ritualistic form of exercise, it really sparked a desire in us to make a change, however small.”Tshogofatso, a Grade 11 pupil at St Martin de Porres School in Orlando West, Soweto gave a moving speech about the importance of national heritage and pride. “Heritage is anything that we discover or know about the past. But heritage is not simply history – that which befalls us – it is rather what we choose to know, keep, and value from the past. Heritage is that part of our history which defines us and which we cherish.”She said: “A shared heritage provides us with a common past, and this gives us a sense of identity and belonging … A shared heritage is like a rich mine from which we may select and emphasise that good that we choose to cherish and to celebrate with others. These aspects of heritage tie us to other human beings, often forming the strongest human bonds.“One of the most important things about heritage is that it gives us a sense of identity, defining who we are, as well as seeing that we are part of something that is bigger than what we are, and something in which we can take pride,” she said.