Thulani Madondo: a South African hero

first_img8 October 2012A South African man from Kliptown in Soweto is one of 10 finalists for the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year award, an annual campaign which honours everyday people doing good deeds in their communities.Within hours of hearing about his nomination, Thulani Madondo has gone from being a relatively unknown Soweto resident with a heart to change the lives of children, to gaining international celebrity status.Madondo is one of 45 000 nominees from more than 100 countries.Winners are decided entirely by public vote, and you can vote for him on www.CNNheroes.com by clicking on his name. Voting closes on 28 November 2012 and the winners will be announced on 2 December.Helping children to dreamMadondo was nominated for his work with the Kliptown Youth Programme (KYP), which provides meals for children, support with school fees, after-school care as well as educational help and tutoring to about 400 disadvantaged children from the Kliptown area.The organisation has also made it possible for 18 youths to get tertiary education.Madondo is a founder of the organisation and its chairperson. He works with a team of permanent staff and volunteers to inspire children who are growing up in difficult circumstances to have dreams and hope for the future.The main focus of the initiative is its tutoring programme, which runs four days a week. It provides tutoring for grade two to seven pupils, and uses professional teachers to help grade eight to 12 children with subjects such as maths and science.“To achieve this means a lot. It is an honour and privilege and we feel we have already achieved a lot just by being in the top 10,’ Madondo says.“It gives us hope to receive this type of exposure and recognition for the work we do.’Each of the finalists will receive R412 000 (US$50 000) for their organisation and the winner gets about R2-million ($250 000).Changing a community, one child at a timeMadondo is Soweto’s ordinary hero who has made it his life mission to change his community.Growing up in Kliptown, in a one-room shack that he shared with seven other siblings, he knows the challenges of young people in this area.His family didn’t have enough money to keep him and all his siblings in school, but he was determined not to drop out.He washed cars to earn enough money to pay his school fees, and went on to become the first member of his family to graduate from high school.With his schooling behind him, he wanted to become an accountant, but his family didn’t have the means to send him to university.Looking back on his childhood, Madondo realised that education is the most powerful tool to empower people, and this led him to co-found the KYP.“We feel education is the only key out of these challenging conditions that people live in,’ he says.Kliptown is one of the oldest residential areas of Soweto and is home to about 45 000 people. Here people live in informal housing, some don’t have access to services such as electricity and there is a high rate of unemployment.Many children from this community drop out of school because they don’t have school uniforms and text books.Learning how communities workMadondo set out to educate himself on everything to do with community development. Soon after completing high school in 2001 he participated in the City Year Programme (an intensive year of leadership training and skills development) in Johannesburg’s Yeoville community.Through the programme he had an opportunity to travel to the US, where he met former US president Bill Clinton.Then he received his community development practitioner certificate from Wits University and his certificate in community development at the University of Johannesburg.Today he is in charge of national and international fundraising for the KYP and provides regular guided tours through Kliptown.“When we started the organisation I thought I would do it part time and then still look for a job, but this ended up being my fulltime job,’ he explains.A deserved nominationMadondo was nominated for the award by Prof Ilhan Akbil from Fortham University in New York, after the KYP hosted the professor and a group of student volunteers.“He was so impressed with the work we do that he asked me if he could nominate me,’ he says.“I never thought this would happen. I suppose good things come to those who wait.’Through his community work, Madondo wants to emulate the life of one of his biggest heroes, South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.“This is someone who prioritised peace in the country and through his sense of humour made South Africa a very special country to live in,’ he says.And does Madondo plan to one day go back to university to get his degree in accounting?“Probably not,’ he says. “I have found my new passion.’First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

10 Things to Know About Salesforce.com

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… bernard lunn Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#enterprise#NYT#web center_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts These are reflections from having spent a few days at the annual Salesforce.com event, Dreamforce. We hope they are valuable to people who need an executive summary-level understanding of the company and its position in the cloud and SaaS marketplace. Full disclosure, the company paid for my flight and hotel to attend Dreamforce.1. They Are AmbitiousSalesforce wants to be the dominant cloud platform for business. Their view is that computing has seen two waves: the first was the mainframe, and then the PC client server, and now the third is cloud computing. They have been consistent about this since their inception in March 1999, so this is no recent bandwagon hopping.2. They Have a Good Shot at Meeting This AmbitionThey have a powerful mix of capability and relentless focus. They have the resources — cash, cash flow, clients, track record, management team, and so on — needed to execute on this vision. Their competitors are bigger, but Salesforce has the advantage of focus. They are pure play, and they have no legacy to protect.3. They Are a Marketing Machine with FlairHaving attended a few big rah-rah events, such as Java One, I see that Dreamforce compares well on scale, details, and flair. Its messaging and visuals were consistent and powerful, and everything just worked well. This all costs a lot of money (which relates to the next point), but that money has to be well spent, and they seem to be doing that. The presentations had real flair and humor. Benioff knows how to be controversial to get press. They are a billion-dollar business that still acts like a start-up. Even the music was good.4. Their Biggest Issue Is Maybe PriceThere are many lower-cost competitors to their base CRM application. Now that SaaS is increasingly accepted, due in part to Salesforce’s evangelical marketing, smaller competitors spending a tiny fraction of what they spend on marketing can undercut them. Their most visible competitor is Zoho, and it does not look like Zoho is going to shy away from this battle, and they have staying power. So Salesforce is fighting on two fronts. On the one hand they are competing with Oracle and SAP for big enterprise accounts. On the other hand they are fighting low-cost competitors, such as Zoho. This will require all their marketing and management skills.5. They See Today’s Troubled Economy as Their Moment to Win BigThey got their early big traction in the last downturn around 2001 and 2002 and have never looked back. They are greedy while others are fearful. They spend more, grow, and hire, while other firms lay off people. The basic economic advantages of cloud computing, such as lower capital expenditures and a faster time to market, resonate in a downturn to the point that they overcome the resistance of conservative buyers to cloud computing.6. Their Vendor Eco-System Is Making Money and Acting BullishSalesforce knows that this matters. This is the lesson they learned from Microsoft. Will they move into the spaces currently occupied by vendors? Of course they will. Vendors will have to be agile; that is just how the game works. But today, in these tough markets, we see vendors that are profitable, growing, hiring, and raising money. The winners in many segments are being defined now. It is a great time to be an entrepreneur in this space. Salesforce knows how to leverage all its capability to make a few winners do very well and then promote that success big time, thus inspiring others to come on board.7. They Believe That Good Software Design Matters to the Core Economics of Cloud ComputingThey refer constantly to their “multi-tenant kernel,” which sounds very techie for a such a marketing-driven company. It does appear that they are not suffering from the scaling and reliability problems that we have seen affecting consumer Web 2.0 ventures such as Twitter and Facebook.8. They Also Know How to Partner with Big Companies to Make Themselves Look BiggerThey wheeled out large companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, as partners. The message was, “We are at the center of an eco-system with big partners.” This makes large conservative enterprise buyers feel comfortable.9. Focused Research and DevelopmentThey have a predictable and focused R&D plan, with a major theme each year. This again makes large conservative buyers feel comfortable: they know what to expect.10. They Will Need to be Careful About Usability IssuesThey are adding so much functionality and so many partners that they face the danger of users getting confused and going to simpler point solutions. That “hairball-of-complexity” problem bedeviled Microsoft as it grew fast, but Microsoft enjoyed a lock-in that Salesforce cannot count on. The SaaS world is naturally lock-in resistant, with low switching costs. There is no sign of this being an immediate problem for the company, but it is something they will have to look out for.See also our most recent story about Salesforce: Salesforce.com Says Hello World.last_img read more

Ex-St. Louis County executive pleads guilty to corruption

first_img(AP) – In less than a week, Steve Stenger went from the top elected official in Missouri’s largest county to a convicted felon.Stenger pleaded guilty Friday to federal corruption charges for providing political favors in exchange for campaign donations. Sentencing for the former St. Louis County executive is scheduled for Aug. 9. He could get up to 20 years in prison on each count.The indictment of the Democrat was announced Monday. Stenger, who is an attorney and an accountant, resigned about an hour later and surrendered his law license. By Thursday, Stenger had agreed to plead guilty to all three counts in the indictment – bribery, mail fraud and theft of honest services.Stenger has been under scrutiny for months. A federal investigation began early last year.last_img read more

5th India International Boat Show: Leisure boat industry in India finally comes of age

first_imgSetting Sail: YachtKabir Kurian, 28, was elated. For most visitors at the fifth India International Boat Show (IIBS) at Kochi, which was on from October 20 to 22, were green with envy at his buy: a FastTrac 1900, the latest luxury sports yacht from the famed Regal Marines of the,Setting Sail: YachtKabir Kurian, 28, was elated. For most visitors at the fifth India International Boat Show (IIBS) at Kochi, which was on from October 20 to 22, were green with envy at his buy: a FastTrac 1900, the latest luxury sports yacht from the famed Regal Marines of the USA. The 20-m speed yacht won the highest customer satisfaction award at the Miami Boat Show this year. George Pottamkulam of Indmerc, which in India represents global luxury boat brands like Regal and Walkerbay, says he won at least 10 orders for the Rs 15-lakh FastTrac at the boat show.The fifth IIBS, South Asia’s only boat show, which has seen a 30 per cent increase in participation, is all set to be Asia’s third biggest, after Singapore and Phuket. Attended this year by 63 sellers including 10 from abroad and 500 registered buyers, it showcased an array of state-of-the-art leisure boats, speed yachts, power boats, marine equipment, navigational and telecommunication hardware and software, fish-finder radars, marine sports equipment, diving gear, jet skis and docking systems. Present at the threeday show were global majors like Bayliner, Lalizas, Plastimo, Vetus, Volva Penta and Ferretti. There were also 20 Indian boat builders at the show, including some from Kerala, who specialise in traditional houseboats.Speed Boat at IIBSThe area of display went up from a mere 5,500 sq ft last year to 1,20,000 sq ft this time. Visitors at the show-there were over 1,000-included celebrities like noted racer Farhan Bathena. According to Kerala Tourism, which organised the Rs 60 lakh event, business enquiries worth Rs 80 crore have been made. India’s boat and marine equipment market is estimated to be worth Rs 5,000 crore.A highlight of the IIBS this year was the arrival of two of the 17 yachts participating in the 4,000-mile Vasco da Gama Yacht Rally which began its sail from Fineka, Turkey, on October 31 last year. The rally, passing through Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Sudan, Eritrea and Yemen before arriving in India, commemorates the 15th-century Portuguese traveller’s sail to the East. “The IIBS has given impetus to India’s emerging leisure boating industry. Like golf, it will soon become a major lifestyle sector,” says Shakeel Kudrolli, ace yachter and memberin-charge of the recently formed Indian Marine Federation. The federation has 12 boat and marine equipment companies as members and expects 12 more to join soon.advertisementBarry A. Wilson, chairman and managing director of Hunter-M India, a subsidiary of the Australian boat building major, says, “The fact that most global boat builders have Indian subsidiaries or exclusive representatives in the country is a sign of the industry’s growth. However, India does not have a single marina for parking boats yet.” Hunter-M displayed a luxury fishing sports boat with a bedroom, fishing rods, barbeque and a freezer at the IIBS.Vasco Da Gama Rally ParticipantsThe IIBS has helped Kerala’s traditional boating industry explore new markets. “We have international exposure now,” says S. Jeevan, CEO, Samudra Shipyard, which specialises in building traditional houseboats plying the backwaters-the state’s unique tourist attraction. Samudra’s luxury houseboat has two fully furnished, airconditioned bed rooms complete with all mod cons. The new Samudra composite boat-the first ever traditional fibreglass boat-was designed by three IITs and funded by the Department of Science and Technology.However, it was the “Ecosol”-an eco-friendly solar boat designed by the students of the Department of Ship Technology, Cochin University of Science and Technology-which stole the show. “We have been overwhelmed by the response and have won orders from the state Government and some backwater resorts. This is the answer to our fuelguzzling boats which are ravaging Kerala’s backwaters,” says Pradeep George, who led the six-member student team which built the four-seater speed boat at a cost of Rs 1.70 lakh.India’s leisure boat and marine equipment industry is estimated to be worth around Rs 5,000 crore.Encouraged by the response, the state Government is planning to set up a Rs 70-crore marina at Kochi. “We propose to set up an oceanic aquarium attached to it, like the one at Sentosa Cave, where the Singapore boat show takes place,” says E.K. Bharat Bhushan, special secretary, Kerala Tourism.According to World Travel and Tourism Council projections, the annual growth rate of tourism in Kerala stands at 10.5 per cent, the world’s highest. “We had an all-time high of 34 per cent growth in the first half of this year,” says Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, state tourism minister.The Government has initiated efforts to have Kochi as a point for the famed International Volvo Ocean Race next year. India will have its second international boat show in February next year at Mumbai, to be organised by the marine federation. “Unlike the Kochi show with its thrust on tourism, the Mumbai show will focus on leisure yachting as an industry,” says Kudrolli. One can expect luxury yachts like Ferretti costing up to Rs 25 crore being bought by Indians who are starting to plunge head first into leisure sailing.advertisementlast_img read more