south africa

TRAFFIC is a U.K.-based wildlife trade monitoring network, and it wants to change the culture around rhino horns. As Taylor Hill reported last week, the organization has set up workshops at traditional medicine schools in the Vietnamese cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. TRAFFIC hopes to teach the next generation of traditional medicine practitioners that there are alternative—and more humane—ingredients.

To honor the former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Berlin's Red Ballroom hosted an event which featured eight bands playing a variety of musical styles. [...] Now in its second year, the concert was put on by the Mendy's Ubuntu Initiative, which takes its name from the Southern African word meaning a universal bond.

China’s approach to winning friends around the world has long been characterised as cheque-book diplomacy, with big events overseas invariably accompanied by top-dollar deals. But President Xi Jinping’s ongoing visit to Africa seems to point to a shift, with China more concerned about politics than pure economics.

The University of Johannesburg is home to a centre that aims to build better relations between South Africa and China. According to the director of the Confucius Institute David Monyae, relations between the two countries are currently only conducted at a high level. The institute aims to boost relations “people to people”.

In a bitter irony, Prince Harry was pictured coming face to face with the bloody work of illegal poachers in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, just hours before the palace released a selection of his own personal photographs and videos that were taken during his summer visit to Africa, where he worked on frontline conservation projects.

There are obviously concerns about the impact on Africa through a decrease in commodity exports (and income) to China. Yet such shifts also signal opportunity and perhaps changes in China's approach towards the continent, to include 'softer' issues - like closer public interaction…The 6th iteration of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held this week in Johannesburg, South Africa.

 This is reflected in China’s active global public diplomacy drive [...] which started in the mid-2000s. This aspect of people-centred relations has also featured as an element in official Focac documentation. China’s current engagement in South Africa has expanded to include the subset cultural diplomacy, a term described by the US State department as the ‘linchpin of public diplomacy’ that reveals the soul of a nation.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the much-anticipated film Mandela's Gun will be released in the first quarter of 2016. Mthethwa is busy drumming up support for Africa Day next year, where he signed agreements with counterparts in the fields of film cooperation, oral history and cultural exchange programs. He says they will be using cultural diplomacy to forge people-to-people relations.

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