Arts festival celebrates turning 40

first_img24 April 2014South Africa’s National Arts Festival, held in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.The main programme will feature artists from 26 countries in more than 550 performances in theatre, dance, performance art and music, the festival said in a press release on Wednesday. It will include the work of 65 former Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners.The festival has commissioned nine music works, with musicians with more than 40 South African Music Awards and three Grammy Awards between them on the bill.They are also planning “an ambitious, sprawling ‘Creation of a Nation’ project across Grahamstown”.“It is a bold programme that veers between the extravagant and the intimate as it attempts to reflect on major milestones – of the festival, of the Young Artist Awards – which have been sponsored by Standard Bank for 30 years – and of South Africa, in our 20th year of democracy,” artistic director Ismail Mahomed said.The event, which contributes an estimated R349.9-million to the economy of the Eastern Cape each year, has become a touchstone for the state of South African art. “This year our artists have risen to the triple-anniversary challenge with some extraordinary proposals that we are excited to bring to life,” Mahomed said.Balancing the Main programme is the vast and exciting fringe, supported primarily by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. “The fringe, also celebrating an anniversary as it is presented for the 35th time, continues to grow as South Africa’s biggest open-access platform. Hundreds of productions bring their talent to Grahamstown and fill theatres with their work across every conceivable genre,” Mahomed said.Straddling the Fringe and the Main is the increasingly popular Arena programme, which showcases the work of previous Standard Bank Ovation Award winners as well as award-winning work from other Festivals around the world – this year including the Amsterdam, Prague and the Adelaide Fringe Festivals.ThinkfestThe Thinkfest programme will feature a recording of two panel discussions by the BBC World Service for broadcast globally to the service’s estimated 180-million listeners.Winners of the Short Sharp Stories Award for fiction writing and the Arts Journalist of the Year award will be announced at the festival.‘Family fare’The Children’s Arts Festival and the Fingo Festival in Joza are just two of the initiatives which aim to reach out to families and younger audiences in the festival’s drive to create new and sustainable auidences.“We’re also featuring, on our Arena programme, one of the world’s best beatboxers – Tom Thum – in collaboration with musician Jamie MacDowell, which will appeal to the whole family,” Mahomed said.“We’re giving audiences the opportunity to think, reflect, celebrate, empathise, laugh and to look to the future through this year’s programme,” Mahomed said. “We’re proving that life begins at 40!”Bookings for the 2014 National Arts Festival open on 9 May and can be made online at www.nationalartsfestival.co.za.Programmes can be obtained through selected Exclusive Books and Standard Bank branches from the beginning of May.The National Arts Festival is sponsored by Standard Bank, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, The Department of Arts and Culture, The Eastern Cape Government, City Press and M Net.Source: National Arts Festivallast_img read more

Is “fat” a four-letter word?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Is fat a bad word? Not necessarily. Simply put, fat is just the body’s storage form of energy. If an animal consumes more energy than it uses, the excess calories will be stored as fat — money in the bank to be used in an energy shortage (think cows calving in late winter). Fat also imparts flavor to food (like a T-bone steak) but it also adds calories. So managing fat can be a delicate issue in the cattle business.Presently, eating quality of beef is estimated to a large degree by the amount of marbling (intramuscular fat) that it contains. Tenderness is also important but is generally a function of age (younger is better). Marbling generally increases after the animal attains some maturity and external fattening has occurred. External fat is frequently used as an indication of when cattle will have enough marbling to grade choice or prime. I know what you are thinking — why don’t we just measure marbling? We’re getting to that with ultrasound technology and it would allow us to avoid over finishing (high yield grades) of fed cattle. Ideally, marbling would occur in feedlot cattle with very little external fat being present. We would like to have Choice and Prime quality grades with yield grades of 2 or 3 for our fed cattle. But . . . If we bred cattle to meet this criterion, what would it mean to the beef cow herd? Don’t ever take fleshing ability away from the brood cow herd! It will have a negative effect on reproduction.It is important to understand how cattle fatten so that we can manage them accordingly. Fat is “laid down” from front to back and top to bottom. The fore ribs and spinous processes are covered first then the fat cover continues backward and downward. That’s why folks look for cod fat (in the scrotal area) as an indicator of when cattle are finished. It is the last place to fatten. Loss of body fat happens in reverse order. Fat cover is the basis for condition scoring in beef cattle.Body condition has a definite impact on reproductive performance. Cows should generally be at a Body Condition Score (BCS) of five at the beginning of the breeding season. A cow with a BCS of 5 will have some fat reserves, with fat cover over all the ribs. As cows lose condition (in the reverse order that it was put on) a BCS 5 would become a BCS 4 when they lose condition so there is no cover over the last two ribs. This would mean that the cow has very marginal energy reserves for good reproductive performance. If this loss of condition (fat reserves) continues so that you can see the foreribs (BCS 3), then you have a real problem. Conception rates will suffer.Loss of condition generally happens after calving when dietary energy needs have increased dramatically and feed supplied isn’t meeting those needs. The cow has to “withdraw, from the bank” to meet her nutritional needs. It is important that some energy reserves are available.And what about the herd bulls(s)? We need some energy reserves so that bulls can stay active during the breeding season but … bulls are athletes. They should have muscling, sound feet and legs and be able to sire a large number of calves in a short period of time. At least that is what we say we want but then we frequently buy young, fat bulls that look great at the start of the breeding season and are a wreck before the season is over.Why does this happen? Probably because we confuse fat with muscling. We are looking at thickness as a sign of muscling but it could just be a layer of fat. Fat can “plaster over” thin-muscled cattle. Fat doesn’t move but muscles will “ripple”. Watch the animals as they move. Observe the hindquarters and shoulders. Remember, “if it ain’t movin’, it ain’t muscle!”So managing fat (or condition) is important in the cattle business, especially in the cowherd for optimum reproduction. Fat is important — both too much or too little can be a problem. Astute producers recognize the importance of efficient cattle that can maintain adequate energy reserves without wasting feed resources.last_img read more

I took to running as I can do it barefooted: Kavita

first_imgBorn to a poor family in a non-descript village in Nashik district of Maharashtra, pursuing athletics was the only choice left for Kavita Raut.And she does not regret her decision after becoming the first Indian woman to win an individual track medal in Commonwealth Games.Raut bagged a bronze in women’s 10,000m race on Friday by clocking 33:05.28 to give India its first athletics medal in Delhi Commonwealth Games.Before Raut, the women’s 4X400m relay team had won a silver in 2006 Games in Melbourne where long jumper Anju Bobby George and Seema Antil had also bagged a silver and a bronze respectively. Neelam Jaswant Singh had won a silver in discus throw in 2002 Manchester Games.But Anju, Antil and Neelam’s medals have come in field events.last_img read more