The top image of the port of Sona, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, is sourced from Google Earth and is dated September 2010. The bottom image was taken in April 2011 by SumbandilaSat and shows the extensive tsunami damage in the area. (Image: Sunspace) South Africa’s maritime domain, including the area around the Prince Edward Islands.(Image: Sea Around Us project) Former science and technology minister Naledi Pandor expressed her thanks to Japan for its continuing collaboration with South Africa.(Image: Janine Erasmus) MEDIA CONTACTS • Anacletta Koloko Science communication unit, South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement +27 12 392 9338 RELATED ARTICLES • Space science thriving in SA • SA’s space capabilities set to grow • Great astronomy, with or without SKA • Pandor: we did it • New Dawn satellite now in orbitJanine Erasmus The science of earth observation (EO) is gaining ground in South Africa. It gives us a new perspective on our planet, helps us understand our environment, and uses satellite information to anticipate climate variations such as drought or floods. This was the message at the Space Science Colloquium that took place at the University of Pretoria (UP) in early October. Organised by the Japanese embassy in South Africa, along with the national Department of Science and Technology (DST), the event brought scientists from the two countries together to discuss the latest developments in EO, micro-satellites and astronomy. The colloquium was co-hosted by the Nairobi Research Station of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and supported by South Africa’s National Research Foundation. Its theme was Promoting Space Exploration and Earth Observation: Contribution of Japan and South Africa to Humanity.The event coincided with the first day of World Space Week, which was first held in 1999 and celebrates its 13th anniversary in 2012. It takes place every year from 4 to 10 October and this year is held under the theme Space for Human Safety and Security. EO can also help in assessing water quality through the mapping of eutrophication – the excessive growth of plant matter on a water surface when nutrients are present in abundance, often because of the addition of chemicals – as well as fire scar mapping and damage assessment: Another use for EO is to detect change in land use, for instance the growth of informal settlements, and uncover other crucial information that could affect the ecology of an area or the safety of residents. For instance, if the settlement is built on agricultural land or wetlands, or is located near or under electricity pylons, the people and fauna and flora could be at risk. Other EO applications that have a benefit for society are disaster response and management, atmospheric pollution observation, and the monitoring of deforestation.Learning from the experts In the last 80 years Japan’s space industry has come along in leaps and bounds, said former science and technology minister Naledi Pandor, speaking at her last engagement in that position, and South Africa can learn much from the Asian island nation. “We have good relations with Japan, our most important commercial partner in Asia,” she said in her opening address. “They are working with us in areas such as biotechnology, information technology, the development of manufacturing technology capacity, renewable energy, and the development of capacity in space.” These are key areas into which the DST invests its resources, added Pandor. “The Japanese government pays particular attention to three key areas – funding of basic research, strong university partnerships, and strong protection of intellectual rights,” she said. “We are attempting to follow suit, to learn from them.” South Africa’s funding of basic research has grown in the last decade and the country recently established an agency to protect university intellectual property. “We’ve learned a lot from Japan but we can still learn more,” said Pandor. “We need to focus more strongly on university and private sector partnerships if we want to make the most of opportunities.” She named the relationship between industry and universities as a massive opportunity for entrepreneurship and job creation, and added that South Africa has to make better use of the transfer of technology contracts, as well as the expiry of drug patents, to create more opportunities. “We are lucky to have a competent core of scientists who are world-class in technology and innovation, so the base is there,” Pandor said. “Our scientists achieve very well and hold good rankings in the international arena, but we need to grow the ability to commercialise the intellectual property they produce.” South Africa has to work faster to accelerate this commercialisation, she said – if not, it will always be the client of others.Imaging for the good of mankind Climate change specialist Dr Jane Olwoch, MD of the South African National Space Agency’s (Sansa) earth observation division, said that satellite imagery helps people to understand the current situation in terms of land use and degradation. Sansa has a number of operational themes in its EO programme, including environmental and resource management, disaster management, industrial activities, and urban planning and development. Based at Hartebeeshoek, west of Pretoria and Johannesburg, the core business of Sansa’s EO division is data reception and processing, image archiving, dissemination of information, and development of applications. Satellite information is received at Hartebeeshoek, explained Olwoch, and once it is processed by a bank of 14 dual and quad core processors, it is archived in an 80-terabyte online catalogue, with older data held in a 760-terabyte tape library. The archive goes back to 1972 and is a rich resource, she said, holding, among other data, about 1 900 images captured by the now-defunct SumbandilaSat, South Africa’s second commercial satellite. These are available at no charge. Sansa EO is also responsible for the redistribution of imagery from other sources such as the Ikonos EO satellite and TerraSAR-X – these, however, are not free. “We want more people to access our data, and understand what we can derive from it,” Olwoch said. The catalogue is available online at http://catalogue-sansa.org.za Keeping an eye out from the sky Dr Waldo Kleynhans, a senior researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s remote sensing research unit (RSRU), is one of a team of experts that is developing EO applications for South Africa. Two of these projects involve the detection of anthropogenic – man-made, caused by humans – land cover change, and maritime domain awareness, involving the monitoring of South Africa’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and territorial waters. In the first instance, said Kleynhans, the objective of the RSRU project was to develop a change alarm that is able to detect the formation of new settlements and can accurately distinguish between the spread of settlements and natural cycles. “Human settlement expansion is the most pervasive form of land cover change in South Africa,” said Kleynhans. However, to ensure accurate readings, a bi-temporal approach is not always appropriate. This refers to readings that are taken only twice. For example, the land may become drier in winter but a computer, given only a summer and winter reading, will interpret the natural event as a change. “The temporal frequency should be high enough to distinguish change events from natural cycles such as the seasons.” The change alarm program uses Nasa’s moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer on board the Terra and Aqua satellite platforms, which covers the earth every two days or so and delivers images with a resolution of 500 metres – this is the dimension of each pixel in the image. The data are analysed using two change detection methods, both developed by the local team. They are the extended Kalman filter change detection method, and the autocorrelation change detection method. Moving on to the maritime application, Kleynhans named piracy, illegal fishing and oil spills as a few of the potential problems in South Africa’s maritime domain. Monitoring is currently achieved predominantly through transponder-based systems such as satellite automatic identification or long-range identification and tracking, as well as terrestrial-based radar systems such as those situated in Simon’s Town, the seat of the South African navy. “Terrestrial based radar systems are effective but only cover a fraction of South Africa’s total EEZ, which extends over 1.5-million square kilometres,” said Kleynhans. “South Africa has more sea than land to monitor, because the land area is just over 1.2-million square kilometres.” Satellite data and newer technologies such as synthetic aperture radar, he said, play an important role in monitoring this extensive piece of ocean, which includes the area along the coast and also that around the Prince Edward Islands – Marion Island and Prince Edward Island – situated some 1 800km southeast of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is used mostly from the air, from an aircraft or satellite, and uses the flight path of the platform to electronically simulate a large antenna or aperture. The captured information is then used to generate high-resolution remote sensing imagery. SAR is viewed as a potential addition to current maritime monitoring efforts, said Kleynhans, and using the technology, thousands of square kilometres can be surveyed in a single overpass. An international collaboration between bodies such as Pretoria University and the US office of naval research has yielded a system known as the International Collaborative Development for Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness. “It’s an open source platform,” said Kleynhans, “which everyone can use. We are one of five countries contributing to the database.” The program and web portal is under development by researchers in Chile, Ghana, the Seychelles, South Africa and Mauritius. It provides information that can be freely accessed and analysed by the global maritime community on issues such as wave detection and oil spills. UP’s contribution focuses mostly on vessel detection. Even if a ship switches off its transponder, said Kleynhans, the program will still be able to detect it and in fact, disabling a transponder is often a cue to illegal activity, meaning that the relevant naval or coastal authorities can be alerted in time. “With historic vessel location information, intent detection algorithms are currently being researched, with particular emphasis on illegal fishing and piracy,” he said.
Sam Nzima’s famous picture hangs at the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto. Antoinette Sithole, left, gives tours at the museum and says schoolchildren still find the uprising hard to believe. (Image: Lucille Davie) • Hector Pieterson Museum +27 11 536 0611 • Soweto: from struggle to suburbia • Historic Soweto township turns 80• Trio aspires to retain Hector legacy• Soweto tours with a twist• Youth Day: lessons from 1976Lucille DavieAntoinette Sithole, Hector Pieterson’s sister, finds that schoolchildren want to touch her to see if she is real, once they have heard the story of 16 June 1976, and see the famous photograph of her running alongside Mbuyisa Makhubu, who was carrying the dying 12-year-old Hector in his arms.“They find the story unbelievable,” she says now, 38 years later. On that fateful day, police opened fire on thousands of schoolchildren who were protesting against Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in township schools. Hector was the first child to die on the day, in uprisings that spread across Soweto and the country in 1976. By the end of the year, there had been more than 500 deaths around the country.Sithole now gives tours at the Hector Pieterson Museum in Orlando West in Soweto, built just a few blocks from where her brother was shot. The children say that the event happened a long time ago, and it’s hard to believe it took place. “They just keep on touching me – I am the past and the present, and it is very exciting.”It is striking that the children of today don’t appear to have unity, she says; she explains to them that back in 1976 children supported one another; they had a sense of unity. “Now children do drugs, and there is teenage pregnancy, and they don’t take a stand. They are living in another world.”She has told the story thousands of times of how she joined the march of up to 15 000 schoolchildren, on their way to Orlando Stadium to discuss their grievances. About having to repeat it almost every day, she says: “At first I could not talk about it, but I am part and parcel of the story. I now feel honoured and proud to talk about our history.” Schools on strikeTensions in schools had been growing from February in 1976 when two teachers at the Meadowlands Tswana School Board were dismissed for refusing to teach in Afrikaans. Efforts to make representations to the education authorities were rebuffed, and in mid-May about a dozen schools went on strike, with several students refusing to write mid-year exams.On 16 June, students from three schools – Belle Higher Primary, Phefeni Junior Secondary, and Morris Isaacson High – marched but before they got to the stadium, the police met them, in Moema Street. No one knows who gave the first command to shoot, but soon children were running in all directions; some were left lying wounded and dying on the road.The museum, opened in 2002, captures in graphic photographs, posters, TV footage and artefacts the events of the day, together with eye witness accounts. A series of ramps leads the visitor into the belly of the museum, where one is finally confronted with the famous photograph taken by The World photographer Sam Nzima. He took a sequence of six photographs of Makhubo carrying Hector and putting him a car. He was taken to the nearby Phefeni Clinic, where he was pronounced dead. The photographs were splashed across the front pages of newspapers around the world, and Hector became the symbol of apartheid repression.Sithole takes overseas visitors through the museum, and says that they cry when they hear the story. “They say I am brave, that they couldn’t talk about it. But I am not angry, I have learnt forgiveness.”She remembers the events “just like yesterday”. But on the other hand, sometimes she doesn’t believe the story herself, as if she is watching a movie, she adds. Sometimes she is restless, and would like to have “me time”.Recently turned 54, “every birthday to me is very, very important” she says, “because if my brother hadn’t have died, it could have been me”. She gives talks around the country, and has been invited to speak in Europe, Canada and the US. She gives credit to her mother, as the one who is strong. “Whatever happened to her she accepts.” Hector’s motherSeventy-one-year-old Dorothy Molefe says she still misses her only son, who would be 50 this year. “I miss him a lot, we were very close, he was like a brother to me. I miss the jokes, the teasing. He was clever, jolly, always smiling.” And because he was her only son, it was harder for her. “I don’t even think of how old he would be now.”Molefe still visits his grave in Avalon Cemetery, in Soweto. “I think of the memories of when he was alive.”Back in 1976, it took three weeks to get Hector’s remains from the mortuary. “He was the last one of the children to be buried,” she said in 2005. She found the funeral “very hard”. “I didn’t want to be too sad, in case everything didn’t go right.”Hector was one of six children; Molefe had three daughters and a son with her first husband, and two daughters with her second husband. Since Hector’s death, she has had to bury a second child: in 1997 her 15-year-old daughter, Debbie, died in a car accident. She has 12 grandchildren – her son would probably be a grandfather today, if he’d lived.The apartheid government was jolted by the event. The immediate consequence was that Afrikaans as a medium of instruction was dropped. More schools and a teacher training college were built in Soweto. Teachers were given in-service training, and encouraged to upgrade their qualifications by being given study grants. But the most significant change was that urban blacks were given permanent resident status in South Africa. Previously they had been considered “temporary sojourners” with permanent residence only in the designated homelands, far away from industrial centres and jobs. The hunt for MakhuboThe 18-year-old Makhubo was harassed by police after the incident and eventually went into exile. His late mother told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the mid-1990s that the only communication she received from him was a letter he wrote in 1978 from Nigeria. According to the Mail & Guardian, he is believed to be still alive and detained in a Canadian jail on immigration charges.The newspaper reported on 13 June: “Last year saw the failure of a Department of Arts and Culture-initiated project to repatriate a man – believed to be the very same Mbuyisa Makhubu – detained in Canada for 10 years on immigration charges. The DNA results into his identity were pronounced inconclusive. But for the Makhubu family, hope remains.” The Citizen newspaper reported the following day: “[The department] is in the process of clarifying the situation regarding DNA tests done on a man currently in Canada that some maintain could be Mbuyisa Makhubo.”The man has been imprisoned in Canada for a decade on immigration charges, claiming his name is Victor Vinnetou. In its report, the Mail & Guardian said that according to detention review transcripts supplied to it by Canada’s immigration and refugee board, “the detainee in question has been living in Canada since 1988 and has been detained there since 10 August 2004. He assumed multiple identities since arriving in Canada and has the symptoms of a mental health disorder.”
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If you are not “asking,” you are not selling.It sounds nice to say things like, “I am facilitating a buying decision, and I will wait until my prospect tells me that they are ready to take the next step.” It sounds nice, but it isn’t. It’s abdicating your responsibility.Not asking doesn’t make you consultative. First let’s dispatch with the idea that not asking for commitments makes you consultative. It doesn’t. Consultants make recommendations on next steps as a matter of course. Consultants also help organizations change. The very nature of helping a company change not only requires asking for commitments, but it also requires asking for massive commitments of time, energy, money, and political capital.By not asking, you do not establish yourself as a peer. If you want to serve your dream client as a trusted advisor and a peer, you ask for the things that you know you need to make a difference. If you need access to and other stakeholders, you ask for that access. If you need information, you ask for the information. If you need your dream client to take a run through your proposal and presentation before you present, you book time on their calendar. A subservient, non-value creating salesperson who fears damaging relationships by asking for what they need will never be considered a peer.Not asking cedes the process to your prospective client, and it presupposes that you are not necessary beyond whatever point it is where you stop asking for commitments. Let’s say you make a discovery call and your dream client tells you that they will get back to you in the next few weeks. By not asking for a future commitment, you have agreed that you are irrelevant in the process of decision-making that they will engage in during those few weeks. If you make a proposal without asking for the business, you leave open the idea that your prospective client should consider this on their own, potentially looking at other partners. You need to ask for agreement on the process.By not asking, you don’t demonstrate your serious interest in helping your dream client make changes. Asking your dream client for their business shows your serious interest in working with them. Not asking demonstrates your apathy. There is nothing attractive or sexy about someone who is dispassionate about what they sell. People want to work with people who are all in on helping them get the results they need. You cannot be ambivalent. Therefore, you have to ask.Just ask.