National Team: Looking Ahead

National Team: Looking Ahead

first_imgEvery business is created to make money. That is the primary motivation but along with that is the human face that covers many well meaning businesses that are making very useful contributions towards Liberia’s rebuilding.Some businesses choose to call their contribution ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ and it is geared towards the most important issues that help ease difficult problems. In the sports arena, and particularly football, it is Cellcom GSM that has brought significance to the development of the national football team and even the national league.True, Cellcom-GSM is here to make money, and like to let the sporting populace knows that it is also here to help improve what brings a lot of unity to this country.The euphoria that welcomed the national team’s recent triumph against Guinea Bissau away is a clear sign of the enduring benefit that sports can have on a nation.Perhaps due to a remarkable sixth sense, Cellcom GSM chose to become the official and primary sponsor of the national team. And sponsoring the national team has meant for Cellcom GSM to provide some of its profits to support the national cause. And so with what has happened so far, it is true that Cellcom GSM has been right on the money. The national team’s next assignment, and the most challenging one, is the forthcoming encounter against The Elephants of Ivory Coast. This final two-leg encounter would determine many things, one of which would be for the team to go on to play in the group stages for the 2018 Russia World Cup. So there is work to do, and how prepared we are ready for the game would be determined, I dare say to a large extent, in the outcome of the first leg in Monrovia. While it does not help the situation for anyone to dabble in pessimism, it makes sense to point out that all of us must do what we can do to make sure that we make the journey less burdensome.We cannot forget to mention the incredible performance of striker William Jebor and his team-mates for ending the away goal drought that the national team was afflicted. It also means we must gain over the difficulty that the national team faces that at times makes it difficult to deliver the goods before home fans. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the national team’s courtesy call at her Foreign Ministry office commended the players, calling them heroes for their united effort that brought GuineaBissau down on their knees in their own backyard.President Sirleaf then committed the government to provide necessary support for all future competitions. With the government’s promised support, it would be to the team’s advantage if they can maintain their winning record against any opponent, beginning with The Elephants to serve as an appreciation for Cellcom-GSM’s support to the national cause.I am encouraged of Cellcom GSM’s farsightedness to identify with the national objective to promote football’s endurance strength to unite Liberians as such a crucial period in the country.As President Sirleaf mentioned about the strength of sports’ excellent way of uniting Liberians despite the things that divide us, Cellcom GSM must be congratulated for first realizing and utilizing the most effective means for Liberia’s internal cohesion: football.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Blairmont sugar workers down tools

first_img– call for increase in wages, salariesField and factory workers attached to the Blairmont Sugar Estate, on Tuesday came out in their numbers to protest for increase in wages and salaries.The angry protesters stood outside the estate compound as they chanted, “Wage increase, wage increase.”Some held placards, with slogans, “address out 15 per cent clam”, “No closure and sell out of Blairmont Estate”, “2014 rates in 2018 can’t work”, “higher cost of living and less pay” and “big bosses eating mutton, workers eating nothing”. Another group chanted, “Sarwan must go”.Hemraj Lackram from the bell loading department argued that they deserve betterThe section of the aggrieved sugar workers at the protest line on Tuesday morningworking conditions. “The cost for a lot of things raised and the money can’t compensate. We have little children going to school and the money is not sufficient.”Another worker, Zaman Ali, who is a weeder, said on many occasions they are given tasks which they cannot complete in a day. When this happens, he said they are not paid for that day.On some occasions they are given a half day’s pay. According to Ali, the field supervisor has been reluctant to visit weeding sites with the workers to address their concerns. “The boss man say he coming and he not coming and see the work,” he explained.“We want wage increase,” says Nical Nero, another member of the weeding gang.GAWU’s Berbice Representative, Harvey Tambron“It is long overdue. Since 2014, we get a wage increase and we did not get any from 2015.”Another gang member, Vanessa Phillips was more to the point. “Cost of living going up and I have children to look after. Me wan money. Wage increase money.”They are contending that since the change of government in 2015, working with the estate is no longer something to look forward to.A representative of the workers, Bickram Singh related that apart from the lack of salary increases, the cost of living has skyrocketed since the last time an increase was given to workers.“It is about time that sugar workers deserve a wage increase because this Government has imposed over 200 taxes on us and took away the children’s school grant so the burden come back right away to the workers and therefore whatever was our wages in 2014 can’t carry on any longer.”Earlier in the year, teachers through their union, the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) took to the streets in protest demanding salary increases. It was given to them after the Union and Government met several times to iron out the increases.Government has now given public servants between 0.5 and 7 per cent salary increases and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) has rejected the increases approved by the Government, saying it is an imposition while the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has criticised the coalition Government’s move for imposing a salary increases on public servants.The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) believes sugar workers are being targeted. The Berbice representative, Harvey Tambron says the Union made representation for wage increases for workers in 2015, 2016, 2017 and this year.“We had negotiations and those negotiations were declared deadlocked. We tried and exhausted the system and [the Guyana Sugar Corporation] GuySuCo nor the Government did not pay heed to our demands or proposals and so the sugar workers did not receive anything. So far for this year they have not gotten a dime. As to the 15 per cent that we are proposing, we went to the bargaining table and discussed fringes and other conditions and of now there is no offer on the table for the sugar workers.”According to Tambron, not only has commodities increased, but the Guyana Water Inc (GWI) has also increased tariffs.The protest received full support from factory workers, the bell loaders and the field workshop, cane harvesters and other small gangs in the cultivation. Tambron said they are all affected by the wage freeze.“Life has become a challenge. They cannot see a way forward and the holidays are coming… making mention of teachers and other public servants, the Union rep said sugar workers are being ignored… I want to believe it is an act of spitefulness to undermine the sugar workers and the industry.”The workers are willing to continue their protest but the Union is not in support saying that it first has to strategise a plan. Tambron says it is being hoped that Government will be moved by the one day protest to make an offer to the workers.Tambron’s comments come on the heels of the presentation of the National Budget which was presented to the Parliament hours before the protest. The budget made no mention of wage increases for sugar workers.last_img read more

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Biz Buzz for Monday, April 2

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Wells Fargo Bank recently opened locations in both the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and named local residents as their community banking store managers. Sarkis Tarkhanian of Sherman Oaks will take over the new Ventura Oakdale branch in Woodland Hills. Tarkhanian joined Wells Fargo in 2004 as a customer sales representative, and he has since held various roles in the company. Valencia resident Patricia McMillian will take over the Newhall Plaza branch in Newhall. McMillian started her banking career 20 years ago as marketing director for Dart National Bank in Mason, Mich., and she has held various posts at National City Bank, Bank One and Great Western Bank before joining Wells Fargo in 2000. Most recently, she was store manager at the Westridge Plaza branch in Valencia.— Chatsworth Data Corporation recently named Linda Zabors as its new vice president of business development for its Impactograph division. Zabors’ primary focus will be on the sales marketing and evaluation of Chatsworth Data’s products impact indicators and recorders that ensure the safe shipping and handling of sensitive equipment and materials. Zabors comes to Chatsworth Data from the display technology company Ocuity, where she was director of business development. Before that, she was a principal consultant for Zeta Enterprises, director of strategic planning with Inkindex and held various positions with SBC-Ameritech (now AT&T).— The national real estate investment bank Buchanan Street Partners recently committed $15.7 million in equity and provided a permanent loan for two industrial buildings in Conejo Spectrum Business Park in the 1400 block of Lawrence Drive in Thousand Oaks. Buchanan Street joined with Voit Development Company to invest in the properties. The buildings total about 467,000 square feet on more than 26 acres. Only 55 percent of the space is occupied, but rent growth projections are strong, and aggressive marketing will begin immediately.— Randy Kobata, a principal at commercial real estate provider Lee & Associates’ Calabasas office, represented First Industrial Reality Inc. in its recent $6.3 million purchase of two industrial buildings in Chatsworth. The property in the 21700 block of Marilla Street totals 51,728 square feet. Karen Fussell of EZ Realty represented the seller, Perpetual Real Estate Investments. — Compiled by Ben Jauron Opening a new business, got a hot tip or a big promotion? If so, we want to hear about it. E-mail your news to bizbuzz@dailynews.com and be sure to include your name and phone number.last_img read more

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Swansea City confirm third summer signing in £11million deal

first_imgSwansea have completed the £11million signing of Spanish midfielder Roque Mesa on a four-year deal, the Premier League club have announced.Mesa joins from Las Palmas, where he spent seven seasons and helped the Canary Islands club win promotion to LaLiga in 2015.The 28-year-old becomes Swansea boss Paul Clement’s third summer signing following Dutch goalkeeper Erwin Mulder and England Under-21 striker Tammy Abraham, signed on a season-long loan from Chelsea.Mesa becomes the third most expensive signing in Swansea’s history after Borja Baston (£15.5m) and Wilfried Bony (£12m).His pass-completion rate of 91.4 per cent was ranked as the fourth highest in LaLiga last season and Clement knew of Mesa’s ability from his time working as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Real Madrid between 2013 and 2015. An English lesson with a twist… 👀 pic.twitter.com/wc7WsGcnHc— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) July 6, 2017 Roque Mesa [left] is Swansea’s latest summer signing “I’m very happy to be here. It’s a new challenge and a new adventure,” Mesa told the official Swansea website.“The manager knows me, he knows how I play and what I can contribute to the team. I’ll try to make the team play.“I know he’s like Ancelotti – he likes to play and wants to create a different Premier League team which likes to play.“The manager is a person who knows how to play and that’s something I really like.”Las Palmas, who signed Mesa from Segunda Division B club Tenerife B in 2010, paid tribute to the player’s “great professionalism and commitment” on their official website.The Spanish club said under the terms of the deal they are entitled to 15 per cent of the surplus value of any future transfer, as well as receiving a further payment from Swansea should Mesa be capped.Las Palmas said Swansea had also agreed to play a friendly in Gran Canaria in the next two seasons.Mesa’s arrival follows the departure of his fellow Spaniard Borja on a season-long loan to Malaga.Borja joined Swansea for a club record £15.5m from Atletico Madrid last August after successful loan spells at Real Zaragoza and Eibar.But Borja, now 24, started only four Premier League games and scored just once in 20 appearances in all competitions.Another Spaniard, central defender Jordi Amat, is also expected to depart on a season-long loan to Real Betis after arriving in Spain to undergo a medical. 1last_img read more

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GAA NEWS: FOUR MASTERS LAUNCH THEIR TRAINING PITCH DEVELOPMENT DRAW

first_imgFour Masters G.A.A. Club launched their annual fundraising draw on Saturday last at Tir Conaill Park with all proceeds going towards the development of their new grass training pitch adjacent to the main playing pitch.On hand to launch the draw was Donegal Senior Team Manager, Jim Mc Guinness and the Donegal Senior players who were preparing for their tussle with Kerry in Croke Park this Sunday.The training pitch is now complete and will be open for use in May/June 2013. The top prize is €2,000 but the 1st prize of 2 x All-Ireland Football Final tickets plus €250 will hopefully be a very attractive prize come the 3rd week in September. Tickets are now on sale from all club members and online at www.fourmastersgaa.com or www.locallotto.ie   Members of the Donegal squad in Tir Conaill Park on Saturday last for the lanch of the Four Masters Training Pitch Development Draw with team manager, Jim Mc Guinness and Four Masters represented by Sean Dunnion and Maeve Espey GAA NEWS: FOUR MASTERS LAUNCH THEIR TRAINING PITCH DEVELOPMENT DRAW was last modified: July 31st, 2012 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) Tags:FOUR MASTERS GAA CLUB NEWSlast_img read more

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Everton looking to complete double deal for Barcelona stars

first_img targets Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ England fans will be all too aware of centre back Mina, after the giant Colombia defender scored the header which sent their last-16 clash into extra time.He only moved to Spain last summer for £10 million, so could prove to be a shrewd piece of business by the Goodison Park outfit. The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star At 24, he will be hoping he still has time to force his way back into Didier Deschamps’ thinking after missing the World Cup squad in Russia this summer. The bizarre reason why Man United didn’t sign new Liverpool playmaker Minamino Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January targets Digne was part of the provisional France squad, but failed to make the cut for the World Cup Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti LATEST Liverpool tracking Toulouse youngster ahead of possible January move IN DEMAND RANKED 2 Top transfer stories from talkSPORT.com blunder REVEALED Man United joined by three other clubs in race for Erling Haaland New boss Marco Silva has identified Barca duo Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne as his primary targets.According to the Daily Mirror, getting Wayne Rooney off the transfer bill has freed up significant funds for investment.Digne, a France international left-back, started just eight games in LaLiga last season – finishing only half of them. Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade 2 Gossip Everton want to sign Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne from Barcelona this summer, according to reports.The Toffees are looking to invest in their defence with Ashley Williams, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka all approaching their mid-thirties. Barcelona defender Yerry Mina was a big hit at the World Cup with Colombia. last_img read more

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HARTE CALLS ON SINN FEIN TO EXPLAIN WHY THEY BURIED A5 MOTORWAY

first_imgDonegal Senator Jimmy Harte has called on Sinn Fein to explain why they failed to agree to a start on the A5 motorway.The Letterkenny politician says the £400M allocated to the project should not have been redirected to different projects across the North.“I am disappointed to read that the N Ireland Executive will spend the £400 million it has to fund the A5 on other projects rather than start the road and get the project under way. “According to Sammy Wilson, the Finance Minister, he says that the money will not be spent on the A5 and now says that he will spend it on other projects in the North,” he said.And he says that Sinn Fein have now buried the project but claiming a different story in the Dail.“I call now on Sinn Fein to explain why they have agreed with Sammy Wilson and not insisted on the commencement of the route and get it over 50% of it completed as the design costs will be covered initially.“Sinn Fein have now totally buried the project and shows that they are posturing as usual but are happy to tell one story in Donegal and Dublin and another in Stormont. “The total cost of the 55-mile upgrade — which would create a key corridor route linking Dublin to the north west — was to be £850m and the £ 400 could be wisely spend at this stage on starting the road at Strabane which would hasten the Lifford – Letterkenny upgrade that is badly needed.”HARTE CALLS ON SINN FEIN TO EXPLAIN WHY THEY BURIED A5 MOTORWAY was last modified: November 15th, 2011 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) Tags:A5jimmy harteSinn Feinlast_img read more

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LETTERKENNY TOWN COUNCIL GIVES GREEN LIGHT FOR NEW SPORTS COLLEGE

first_imgLetterkenny Town Council has granted planning permission for a third level sports college in the town.The campus will be located at the old UNIFI textile plant at Kiltoy.At first permission had been sought for indoor sporting and changing facilities but the application was changed to include lecture theatres, a library, a gymnasium and a lab. Letterkenny Town Council has granted permission for the revised project in recent days.It is also understood that Donegal GAA senior team manager Jim McGuinness is a key figure in the proposed project.The application to Letterkenny Town Council was made by Dublin-based company MCR Personnel.IT is understood the site on which the new college will be built will be leased from its current owners Emley Developments Ltd. When opened, it is believed the college will cater for up to 450 students. LETTERKENNY TOWN COUNCIL GIVES GREEN LIGHT FOR NEW SPORTS COLLEGE was last modified: February 13th, 2012 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) Tags:Jim McGuinnessLetterkenny Town CouncilSPORTS COLLEGEUNIFIlast_img read more

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Ji the hero in Chelsea Ladies win

first_imgJi So Yun came off the bench to grab an 89th minute winner as Chelsea Ladies opened their WSL Cup campaign with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Reading.The South Korean, introduced at 2-1 down, set up the equaliser and then took advantage of slack defending from the WSL 2 side to ensure the Blues began the midweek competition with three points.Chelsea had the better of the first half and looked to be going into half-time in front when Gilly Flaherty headed home Gemma Davison’s corner in the 44th minute.But before the referee could blow the whistle for the break, Reading levelled as former Blues player Becky Jane converted Emma Follis’ cross.Reading took the lead on 58 minutes thanks to Lauren Bruton and Chelsea responded to going behind by bringing on Ji.She played an influential role in the turnaround, floating in a free-kick from which Millie Bright headed home the equaliser, before her dramatic winner.Arsenal, London Bees, Millwall and Watford are the other sides in Chelsea’s group.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

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Botswana revives ostrich farming

first_imgAn ostrich farm in the Oudtshoorn district.Ostrich meat is an increasingly popular low-fat alternative to red meat. (Image: RodgerBosch, MediaClub South Africa. For morefree photos, visit the image library.) The six-colour South African flag madeentirely of ostrich feathers.(Image: Ostrich Business Chamber) Africa-shaped keyrings made from high-quality ostrich leather.(Image: Ostrich Business Chamber)Janine ErasmusSouth Africa is known internationally as the leader in ostrich farming. Now the country’s neighbour, Botswana, is to boost ostrich farming through the new Ostrich Out-grower programme. The scheme is driven by the Department of Animal Health and Production, which is responsible for improving sustainable livestock production and management practices.The world’s biggest bird has been a major source of income for South Africa – after gold, diamonds and wool, it was the country’s fourth largest export as early as the 19th century. The South African Ostrich Business Chamber says that the industry contributes R1.2-billion (US$98-million) to South Africa’s economy every year.Now Botswana is hoping to cash in, with the establishment of a scheme that will revive the neglected ostrich industry in that country. The out-grower scheme is to be implemented and managed by Talana Farms, a subsidiary of the Botswana Development Corporation.Feathers flew in 2006 when frustrated farmers in Botswana blamed the government for the failure of the ostrich industry. In response, the government established an ostrich multiplication unit at Dibete, located north-east of the capital Gaborone, later that year, to help with the supply of birds. That, and now the out-grower scheme are indications of the authorities’ willingness to improve the situation.The government is ploughing BWP13-million ($1.6-million) into the multiplication unit up to 2009 to help it reach sustainability. Botswana has the largest number of ostriches in Africa, most of them wild, and the industry holds huge economic potential but has laboured to fulfil expectations.An out-grower partnership generally involves an arrangement between landholders and a processing company for the production of certain products. The new programme involves the outsourcing of chick rearing to farmers on a contract basis, along with supervision and technical and veterinary support.Talana Farms identifies suitable farmers and provides them with all the training and resources necessary to raise chicks. The farmers build paddocks with the materials supplied and buy day-old chicks from the Dibete unit. Once the chicks weigh about 60kg, Talana buys them back, rears them to an established size and then sells them.There are five farmers in the scheme at the moment but Talana hopes that they will eventually have up to 50 participants.Once ostrich production is again rolling along, the government will designate a company to run the country’s sole ostrich abattoir, which is owned by the Ministry of Agriculture but is leased to the Botswana Ostrich Company. The facility closed down temporarily after the slump in the ostrich industry but re-opened in October 2007. For reasons such as limited infrastructure, unreliable feed supply and scarcity of chicks, farmers have struggled to meet the multi-species abattoir’s capacity. It is currently slaughtering cattle as well.Ostrich capital of the worldSouth Africa’s ostrich farming hub lies in Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo region of the Western Cape. The town is known as the ostrich capital of the world and is widely recognised as a source of top quality ostrich feathers, leather products and ostrich meat. Although there have been some significant slumps along the way, South Africa has managed to maintain the industry’s momentum.The industry was initially built on the feather trade but today leather is the main reason for the country’s dominance in the global ostrich market. Ostrich meat is also a popular export and is recognised as the healthiest red meat available, with lower cholesterol and saturated fat content, and fewer kilojoules. The meat is sought after in South Africa and abroad, in line with the general trend towards healthier eating.The South African ostrich feather duster is a profitable spin-off of ostrich farming. The item was invented in Johannesburg by a missionary and broom factory manager named Harry S. Beckner in 1903, although a patent had been filed in 1876. Beckner later took the technique to the US and started a feather duster company in Massachusetts. The Beckner Feather Duster Company, now the oldest US-based feather duster company, is still operational.According to the local Ostrich Business Chamber, more than 65% of the world’s domesticated ostriches are found in South Africa, and the country is also responsible for 90% of all ostrich-related products globally.The Ostrich Business Chamber has also embarked on a number of black empowerment initiatives to help emerging farmers in the ostrich industry. High start-up costs, inexperience, and risk of disease are factors that retard the growth of the industry, but the chamber has pledged to do its utmost to remove obstacles. The West Coast Ostrich Empowerment Project, the Klein Karoo Leather Goods Project, and the Southern Cape Ostrich Tanning in Mossel Bay are among the successful community-run projects already implemented.Unlike the uncertainty of the early days, today’s blood lines are strong and the various products are increasingly sought after. Ostriches have been classified as farming stock in South Africa and are no longer subject to the regulations of the various conservation bodies.World’s largest birdThe ostrich (Struthio camelus) is the only living species of the family Struthionidae and genus Struthio. However it shares the order Struthioniformes with other flightless birds such as the emu, rhea and kiwi. In South Africa the predominant species is S. c. australis, or the southern ostrich.The ostrich is flightless because of its selfishness, according to the ancient San legend. The story tells of Mantis, the Bushman demi-god, who became aware that Ostrich was keeping a secret to himself. Ostrich’s food always smelt delicious but he never shared his method, and this prompted Mantis to stealthily observe him. He noticed Ostrich taking fire from under his wing and using it to cook his food, then tucking it back under his wing after the meal.Mantis wanted the fire but he knew Ostrich would not give it to him, so he planned to trick the bird. Mantis called Ostrich to the site of a huge plum tree and encouraged him to eat the fruit, adding that the best ones were at the top. As Ostrich stretched further and further he eventually opened his wings to balance himself, giving Mantis the opportunity to snatch the fire. Ostrich was very ashamed and from that moment on has walked with his wings pressed close to his side, refusing to fly. Mantis subsequently gave the fire to the San.Ostrich countryThe Karoo’s hot, dry summers and mild, sunny winters are the ideal climate for ostrich breeding. The dryness also helps prevent the outbreak of disease.The first South African ostrich farm was established in 1864. However, ostriches, which are native to north, south and east Africa, had already lived in the area for hundreds of years. The indigenous San people used their meat and eggs, retaining the strong shell to use as water containers, and storing water in buried egg caches for emergencies.By the 19th century there was increasing demand for ostrich feathers from other parts of the British Empire, and canny farmers in the Oudtshoorn area seized the opportunity to begin an ostrich domestication process. The ostriches, placed in vast fenced-off areas, did not take long to begin breeding and by 1865 the annual feather harvest weighed in at a hefty 8 600kg.During these early days farmers faced challenges such as high mortality amongst chicks due to predators and disease, but the invention in 1869 of the ostrich incubator changed the face of ostrich farming. Arthur Douglass, the Scottish inventor of the device, was a resident of Albany, Eastern Cape, at the time, and his invention was one of two major developments in the industry. The other was the introduction of lucerne as a feeding crop around the same time.The birds thrived and in the decade from 1865 to 1875 their number rose from a paltry 80 to over 22 000. Breeding pairs sold for up to £1 000 ($1 500).Overcoming setbacksDuring the early part of the 20th century, the ostrich industry in other countries began to take off. South African farmers realised they may be facing stiff competition, but resolved to fight back by producing the best feathers in the world. Meanwhile, RW Thornton of the Grootfontein Agricultural College had conducted research into feathers from all parts of the world and identified the Evans-Lovemore strain of the Barbary ostrich as the source of the best, and cheapest, feathers.An expedition to find this Barbary ostrich, an almost-mythical creature with superior “double floss” feathers, red skin and a bald head, was launched. The members of the expedition were Thornton and two other colleagues. After many trials the team returned with 141 magnificent specimens, which were cross-bred with home-grown birds to form the new nucleus of the local ostrich farming industry.The new arrivals adjusted well to the Karoo, bringing with them a bumper crop of the finest quality feathers. Wealthy farmers, or feather barons, built lavish and opulent mansions known as feather palaces, constructed mostly from sandstone and influenced by contemporary art nouveau. The homestead on the farm Safari, known as Welgeluk, is a national monument.Oudtshoorn earned the nickname of Little Jerusalem, not only because of the large Jewish population but in reference to the many sandstone buildings found in the Israeli capital.In 1914 a huge surplus in feather stock and the outbreak of World War I caused a temporary plunge in the ostrich industry and farmers who one day had been millionaires were penniless the next. By the end of the war in 1918 there were still 314 000 domesticated ostriches in South Africa but by 1930 there were only 32 000, and by 1940 there were only 2 000 ostriches left in Oudtshoorn.Tourist attractionAfter World War II the industry began to recover and besides feathers and skins, it took a new direction – into tourism. The nearby Cango Caves brought many visitors to the region and they naturally took an interest in the flocks of odd-looking birds. Today, show farms such as Highgate in Oudtshoorn offer participation in routine activities such as feather clipping and ostrich feeding, provide information on every aspect of ostrich farming, and allow chick cuddling and ostrich rides.Visitors may also get the chance to literally walk on eggshells, except that these are the immensely strong ostrich eggs, which on average measure 15cm in length and 13cm in width and weigh 1.5kg. The eggs must be this strong in order to withstand the weight of the adult bird during incubation.Tourism, and a growing demand for leather, caused ostrich numbers to rise from the 1930 low of 32 000 to over 100 000 by the 1980s. Most of these were found in Oudtshoorn. Today the national ostrich population is stable at around that number.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Related storiesOstrich eggs hatch art fadSouth Africa’s tourist highlightsUseful linksOstrich Business ChamberDepartment of Trade and IndustryOudtshoornHighgate ostrich farmBotswana Development CorporationOstriches onlineThe Heart Foundation – ostrich recipelast_img read more

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