All aboard for education. Professor Isabel Hofmeyr in discussionwith a commuter on a train to Soweto.Sermon on a Train encourages dialoguebetween the lecturer and the audience.(Images: Sermon on the Train)MEDIA CONTACTS• Molemo MoiloaSermon on the Train+27 84 892 0610RELATED ARTICLES• SA university puts lectures online• South African academics shine• University honour for Tutu• Education in South AfricaNosimilo NdlovuSowetan commuters are being given a taste of university education, with top South African academics giving free lectures on trains as part of the Sermon on the Train art project.The initiative takes up the old South African tradition of public preaching on trains in a different way, and aims to challenge the concept the “public lecture”.Final-year fine arts students Molemo Moiloa and Nare Mokgotho from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in central Johannesburg started the project in early 2009 with academics from the university. The idea was that, while universities do occasionally give lectures open to the general public, these are not public enough.“Ordinary members of the public do not form part of the group of individuals that attend university public lectures,” said Mokgotho. “Hence, the sermon seeks to bring an exchange between the creative community and greater society.”Moiloa said Sermon on the Train began as a once-off art project for their degree. “Since then the project has taken on a life of its own,” she said. “Though we are still graded on the project, it has a greater public significance that has become separate to our degrees.”The sermons take place in the late afternoon, targeting workers returning home from work. They begin at Park Station in the city centre, where commuters board the train, and end in Soweto in the southwest of Johannesburg. Audiences are encouraged to ask questions and discuss issues with the lecturer, creating the opportunity for dialogue and the exchange of knowledge.The project kicked off in March, with the first lecture was given by Professor Anitra Nettleton, head of History of Art at Wits. On a train trip to Dube in Soweto, she spoke on the topic “Meditations on the African Avant Garde”.“The sermons serve as a critique of public access to information and the isolation and elitism often endemic in tertiary institution – particularly in relation to ordinary members of the public,” said Moiloa.All on boardThe first sermon was well received by the audience, to the relief of the organisers and lecturer. Soon other academics approached Moiloa and Nare Mokgotho, offering to do sermons.The second sermon was delivered by Wits architecture lecturer Professor Kirsten Doermann on a train to Orlando Station in Soweto in August. She read from a lecture by the radical avant-garde Greek architect Elia Zenghelis, dealing with democracy, urbanisation, globalisation and the role of the architect.Despite the seemingly daunting topic, the sermon set off critical discussion between the students, lecturers and commuters, confirming Moiloa and Mokgotho’s view that the initiative would encourage dialogue.In October award-winning writer and academic Professor Isabel Hofmeyr from the Wits School of Literature and Language Studies presented the third sermon, called “Revelations”, on the train to Phomolong, Soweto.Discussing African and Indian literature, Hofmeyr spoke of the birth of a new world power order, with the Indian Ocean as the central point of orientation. She handed out printed copies of the sermon to all commuters, which many read from top to bottom.Bridging social gapsMokgotho said their art had been about “re-observation and the defamiliarisation” of the everyday – questioning the way people saw the world and finding the aesthetic in the simple.More than this, according to the students, Sermon on the Train aims to raise questions about access, social divisions and the stereotypes that get entrenched by keeping people separate. The work also chips away at the hierarchy that separates students from lectures by encouraging lecturer-student collaborations.The university continues to provide resources to allow the project to grow further. “We have received major support,” Moiloa. “The university has sponsored the last two sermons because they feel it makes strides in some of the objectives of the university itself. This has resulted in a workshop and tutorial information packs we give out on the trains.”Some have argued that having a public lecture in a public space is imposing on that public. But Moiloa and Mokgotho believe it is no different to other performances such as public preaching, and are set to continue their journey.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest AccuWeather reports after blasting the northern Caribbean, dangerous Hurricane Irma will turn toward the United States, potentially bringing life-threatening impacts from Florida to the Carolinas beginning this weekend.“This hurricane has the potential to be a major event for the East Coast,” Evan Myers, AccuWeather expert senior meteorologist and chief operating officer, said. “It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of Harvey.”“Because Irma is likely to move up along the east coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, people from the Florida Keys all the way to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, should prepare to be ready to evacuate coastal areas, starting with South Florida now,” Myers added.The storm should be taken very seriously and preparations should be hurried to completion.While Irma’s track beyond the Caribbean is not set in stone, AccuWeather meteorologists anticipate the southern Atlantic Seaboard will experience significant and possibly devastating impacts from Irma.Irma’s anticipated track will bring tropical-storm- to hurricane-force conditions to South Florida as early as Saturday. Flooding rainfall and damaging winds are expected to increase from south to north across the Florida Peninsula over the weekend.“If the center of Irma does pass near Miami and continues northward over eastern Florida, the impacts will be severe,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll said.The most severe effects from the storm will extend outward about 50 miles from the storm’s center. Tropical-storm-force conditions can extend over 150 miles from the storm’s center.People should not be near the east coast of Florida, according to Myers.Those along the coast should heed all mandatory evacuations and strongly consider leaving if a voluntary evacuation is issued. This is true all the way up the southern Atlantic Seaboard toward North Carolina.If the storm makes landfall in Florida, isolated tornadoes could be spawned north and east of Irma’s center, threatening to bring further damage to some communities. Coastal areas would be inundated with storm surge.Low-lying and poor drainage areas will be particularly susceptible to flooding from Irma’s torrential rainfall.How quickly Irma turns to the north after passing Cuba will determine whether the center of the storm makes landfall in southeastern Florida or passes between Florida and the Bahamas.A large storm surge could inundate coastal areas even if the center of the storm stays offshore.“Although Hurricane Matthew last year passed east of Jacksonville, they experienced flooding due to water pushing into the St. Johns River,” Doll said. “The same thing could happen with Irma.”Irma may lose some of its strength by the time it approaches Florida due to interaction with nearby land. However, it will remain a powerful and dangerous hurricane.“It is also possible that Irma doesn’t make landfall over South Florida and heads into the eastern Gulf of Mexico, but this is an unlikely scenario at this point,” Doll said.Those from Georgia to the Carolinas will need to be on alert for direct impacts from Irma beginning as early as late Sunday and Monday. This includes preparing for power outages, flooding and major disruptions.“A landfall across the Carolinas is certainly within the realm of possibilities,” Doll said.Should Irma make landfall along the Southeast coast, it would likely occur between Jacksonville, Florida, and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, early next week. Isolated tornadoes could be spawned north and east of Irma’s center.Residents, visitors and government officials in these areas need to prepare now for the potential of destructive winds, flooding rainfall and a large storm surge.Heavy rain is forecast to spread inland toward the southern Appalachians, potentially leading to extensive flooding due to the mountainous and hilly terrain. Damaging winds will become less of a concern the farther inland Irma moves. Some of Irma’s rain may reach into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast toward midweek.There is a low chance that Irma completely misses the United States.“Stay tuned to local government information and AccuWeather.com for timing of the hurricane’s progress, remember it is not too early to prepare to leave; pack bags, gas up your car and prepare your property now,” Myers said.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Pork Producers Council wrapped up its Spring Legislative Action Conference. More than 100 pork producers from across the United States gathered in Washington this week to meet with their representatives in Congress to discuss solutions for trade, animal disease preparedness and agriculture’s labor shortage.“Lifting metal tariffs on Mexico and restoring zero-tariff access for U.S. pork in our largest export market is our number one priority,” said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina and president of the National Pork Producers Council. “Restricted access to Mexico has placed a severe financial strain on our farmers for more than a year. We asked our representatives to do all they can to push for an end to this and other trade disputes, including China, that are hurting our export-dependent farmers.”NPPC members also urged members of Congress to advocate for the quick completion of a trade deal with Japan at a time when new trade agreements Japan has formed with other countries are threatening U.S. pork market share in its largest value market. Pork producers also urged their representative to vote to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to secure long-term zero-tariff pork trade in North America.Producers also discussed two solutions to mitigate the risk of animal disease in the United States: 1) appropriations funding for 600 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors to further strengthen defenses against African swine fever (ASF) and other animal diseases and 2) to sign a letter of support that calls for the USDA to implement the Farm Bill as intended, including development of a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank.“Prevention is our best defense against an animal disease like African swine fever for which no vaccine exists,” said Herring. “For a disease like Foot-and-Mouth disease, which would also close U.S. pork’s export markets, prevention is also critical. Should an outbreak occur, a vaccine bank will allow us to quickly contain the disease. A vaccine back is critical.”NPPC members also asked members of Congress to address U.S. agriculture’s labor shortage challenge by reforming the H-2A visa program to include year-round agricultural workers and asked for support to place for oversight of this program with the USDA.
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When Kedar Jadhav learnt about the big news of his India call, there wasn’t much time to celebrate. The moment he had been waiting for all his life had arrived as the selectors named him in a 15 man squad for the Bangladesh ODI’s, but he was busy attending to his father’s fearful road accident. “He was returning after watching me in an IPL game when his car suffered a bad accident. His spectacles had hit both the eyes hard and the right eye was badly damaged,” Kedar recalls in an interview with India Today. Thankfully Jadhav Sr has since recovered and he can now afford to breathe easy. Kedar credits his father a lot in allowing him to take the punt in playing professional sport. His father’s sorted ways and retirement planning has allowed him to live a content life even as Kedar’s three sisters and he are all married. “I have to say I never had the pressure of what happens if I fail in cricket. He has taken care of all that,” he says. Aged 29, if Kedar now gets his opportunity to play his first India game in Dhaka, he will be one of the older pros in a youthful and very different India side. Unlike his captain for the series Suresh Raina, Kedar wasn’t someone in national reckoning in age group tournaments or youth World Cups. He made his List A debut, aged 23. “I have always got most things a bit late but once I have got them, they have not gone away,” Kedar philosophises. And than goes on to add, “On the cricket front I must admit I have wasted a few opportunities. Two years back I got a 300 plus in the first game of the new season but ended up scoring only 630 runs in the year. If I had carried on from there I should have played for India two years back,” he says. Its Kedar’s free flowing style of batting that’s helped him score 1200 plus runs in the last Ranji season and earn the selectors nod. Inspired by the Virender Sehwag school of batting, he plans to continue carrying the same approach to international cricket. “There’s one thing about Viru pa’, he looks to hit a boundary or a six first and if it’s not possible, than looks for a single. That’s what I try to do in my batting as well,” he says. “Of course I can’t bat like him. He is unique; I have to use my legs to connect the ball to the middle of the bat. But I try to think like him while batting,” he adds as a rejoinder. Kedar also comes across as someone ever willing to learn. “While I am motivated by Viru pa’s batting, I am a middle order player and one batsman whom I look to learn from in that position is MS Dhoni. There is a lesson in his calmness in the middle overs. I may have to bat there a lot and try to be a good finisher,” Kedar opines. While he’s observed and learned from Sehwag and Dhoni, his hands-on mentor has been Maharashtra coach and former India selector Surendra Bhave. “One thing he always tells me that performance is not based on talent all the time, it’s about making most of the opportunity you get,” an advice he always keeps close by his side. Kedar has left for Bangladesh with the rest of the Indian team and opportunities like these may not come too often. With the cream of Indian batting rested for a not so important series, it’s his chance to make it count. And while he may have got his India call at 29, Kedar suggests he will try to ensure he is here to stay. “Hopefully will try to retire an India cricketer,” he throws himself a challenge.advertisement