The washing powder wars

This article first appeared on ewn.co.za / Author: Prelene Singh

JOHANNESBURG – An interesting generation gap may not lie in the area of technological advancements and the advent of social media but in a much more traditional space, that of laundry.

With the aggressive entry of new players to the market, the landscape for cleaning agents such as liquid soap and washing powder has dramatically changed in recent times.

Over the last six months brand managers have noticed a significant drop in the price of washing powder on the shelves.

Charmaine Lodewyk, General Manager at Brand Leadership, says Unilever brands in particular are facing significant competition.

“With the entrance of Maq and Ariel consumers have more choice than they did before.”

Manufacturers now have to fight for shelf space by implementing price cuts in order to sell their product.

Omo, Surf, Skip and Sunlight as well as no-name house brands are no longer leading the pack.

These older brands, which were the go-to brands for our parents and grandparents, are now being forced to up their game in the race for market share.

It seems that traditional brands, which have lived in the homes of their customers for a very long time, are losing ground to newer products.

Lodewyk says today’s consumers are more concerned about their pockets than brand loyalty.

“Most people are brand conscious and brand loyal, but I think now they vote with their pockets. We buy what we can afford.”

Listen to the full interview on the Midday Report.

Working life: Being a journalist

“A veteran journalist has never had time to think twice before he writes” – George Bernard Shaw

The view through the eyes of a journalist is not one easily seen through the eyes of the professionals, philanthropists and terrorists of the world – instead it is a combination of all.

This year I took huge leap into the very rigid and responsible sphere of the working world. The thought of leaving behind my years of being a carefree, oblivious and drunken student – in the least – terrified me.

Taking this leap of life was like walking with a blindfold into trouble. All I had to base my perception on was the endless bills I watched my parents pay, all the dreadful responsibility of being an independent adult and the distant thought that I would be answerable to someone – someone like a boss.

This “working life” I speak of came to me in the form of Eyewitness News (EWN) from Primedia Broadcasting in South Africa.

Having being a diligent student throughout my academic career – I was sure that will not drown as I take on my next career – this being journalism and the media.

I perceived myself as an informed honour student from Wits Journalism and when I got that email from EWN offering me a job – I perceived that it would be the perfect place to take the next step in this new career I was yet to embark on.

“A person without any ideas but with an ability to express them; a writer whose skill is improved by a deadline: the more time he has, the worse he writes” – Karl Kraus

Coming into a newsroom every day – you become less vulnerable to the little things in life. The small arguments from day-to-day with people you encounter, the tough criticism and the unshy sometimes unrealistic demands on you – all become something simple – like drinking tea.

You learn to become a tough and unconquerable person – immune to the things that would normally affect the average person.

A colleague of mine – in a long deep conversation – said to me that life is about friendship and acknowledgement. That’s exactly what I think about being a journalist. You need to have a lot of friends as contacts and the foundation of why we [journalists] do the work we do is for acknowledge. We want people to take notice of what we say, write and produce.

“The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read” – Oscar Wilde

Seeing reporters in and out of the newsroom – going to places of danger, celebration and sadness –  and coming back to produce some kind of content as if it were just one of those things is a talent that not many have – I believe.

This same colleague I spoke of earlier – told me that he lives a two-fold life and it’s important to dream – not just in your deep sleep – but in your day-to-day life. In line with the title of this blog – journalism is the dream in reality and – while we are not regarded as professionals in the “working world” it is something some people only dream of. It is a life experienced like no other. There is very little left to dream about – expect a better paycheck at the end of the month – I suppose.

Sometimes I do wonder how these journalists do it every day, with the minimal sleep, the long hours and the crazy deadlines – because you really do give your life to be a journalist – but suppose its about we live – the passion within that life.

As a young one starting off – I am excited of what the “working world” has in store for me. It turned out okay with some minor bumps, but an exciting career it is.

“I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon” – Tom Stoppard

From flames to fiery opposition, protests rock Ukraine, Venezuela, Thailand

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I thought I would post this story I came across this morning while catching up on my morning news. This is a fluent and comprehensive round-up of what is happening in the world around us, as we speak. Protests do not only happen in South Africa, they are world wide. The protests in Ukraine have looked medieval at times, and this is disturbing not to mention earth shaking when you see the situation people all over the world are in.  

Its a good read and I hope it changes the way you view your world. 

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THIS STORY WAS LIFTED FROM CNN’S WEBSITE. WRITTEN BY: CATHERINE E. SHOICHET. JETHRO MULLEN AND GREG BOTHELHO, CNN. FEBRUARY 19, 2014

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(CNN) — Demonstrators pack public squares. Flames shoot into the air. Tear gas sends crowds scrambling.

Dramatic scenes are unfolding during anti-government protests in three disparate countries this week, on three different continents.

The images are striking, and things are heating up quickly. What’s happening on the ground?

Here’s a cheat-sheet guide to the protests in Ukraine, Venezuela and Thailand:

Clashes in Kiev, Bangkok and Caracas

UKRAINE

Photos: Ukraine protests turn deadlyPhotos: Ukraine protests turn deadly

What are protesters’ demands?

Who’s a better economic ally, Europe or Russia? That’s the key issue at the heart of Ukraine’s protests.Demonstrators want the government to forge closer ties with Europe and turn away from Russia.

But the dispute is also about power. Many in the opposition have called for the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych and the ordering of new elections. And both on the streets and in parliament, they’ve also pushed to alter the government’s overall power structure, feeling that too much of it rests with Yanukovych and not enough with parliament.

Who’s protesting?

An opposition coalition has been leading the charge against Yanukovych and his allies.

On CNN iReport, protesters and onlookers have shared more than 100 photos and videos of clashes between demonstrators and police. The nighttime images are especially striking — figures aresilhouetted against large bonfires set alight in the streets.

When did demonstrations start?

In November, thousands spilled onto the streets after Yanukovych did a U-turn over a trade pact with the European Union that had been years in the making — with Yanukovych favoring closer relations with Russia instead.

What’s the latest?

Long-simmering tensions exploded anew in Ukraine as clashes between police and anti-government protesters left more than 25 people dead and the capital’s central square on fire into early Wednesday.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will raise the possibility of sanctions against the Ukrainian government in remarks in Paris, a senior administration official told CNN.

Also Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande said the violence and crackdowns in Ukraine are “unspeakable, unacceptable, intolerable acts.” “Those who committed violent acts have to know they will be sanctioned,” Hollande said.

Photos: Protests erupt in VenezuelaPhotos: Protests erupt in Venezuela

VENEZUELA

What are protesters’ demands?

Demonstrators are demanding better security, an end to goods shortages and protected freedom of speech.

They blame Venezuela’s government, led by President Nicolas Maduro, for those problems. Maduro and other officials blame the opposition for the country’s security and economic problems.

Who’s protesting?

Many demonstrators across the country are students. Prominent opposition politicians have also led protests and joined marches.

Since February 13, more than 1,100 images have been uploaded to iReport, CNN’s user-generated platform. Many of the videos and photos are gruesome and depict violent scenes between demonstrators and police.

When did demonstrations start?

Nationwide student protests started this month. On February 12, the demonstrations drew global attention after three people were killed.

What’s the latest?

As throngs of supporters chanted their support, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez turned himself in to authorities Tuesday. He faces charges of terrorism and murder connected with violence during the protests. Lopez has denied the charges. Maduro, meanwhile, has called members of the opposition fascists and compared them to an infection that needs to be cured.

Photos: Protests in Thailand\'s national electionPhotos: Protests in Thailand’s national election

THAILAND

What are protesters’ demands?

Protesters in Bangkok have been calling for months for the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whom they allege is a puppet of her billionaire brother, the deposed, exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Who’s protesting?

Opposition to Thaksin and Yingluck is strongest among the urban elites and middle class. That’s why the demonstrations have been concentrated in Bangkok. The protesters want to replace Yingluck’s government with an unelected “people’s council” to see through electoral and political changes.

Thailand residents and visitors have shared dozens of stories of unrest on CNN iReport over the past month. The latest approved photos show demonstrators sleeping in the streets in Bangkok as a form of peaceful protest.

When did demonstrations start?

Protests began in November after Yingluck’s government tried to pass an amnesty bill that would have paved the way for her brother’s return to the political fray.

What’s the latest?

Deadly violence erupted in the heart of Bangkok Tuesday as anti-government protesters clashed with police, and the country’s anti-corruption commission filed charges against the Prime Minister.

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[VIDEO] #702Unplugged with Lloyd Cele

I had the opportunity to meet the talented and humble Lloyd Cele. You might know him as one of the contestants from South African Idols.

He joined Xolani Gwala on the Afternoon Drive on Talk Radio 702. I filmed this video of him performing in studio.

He is an amazing talent coming out of South Africa and someone we definitely need to look out for.

Mining Indaba: Mining heavyweights head for Indaba

heavyweights

JOHANNESBURG – Delegates at this year’s Mining Indaba will include national mining ministers, government leaders and professionals from over 1,000 international mining exploration and services companies with vested interests in the African mining value chain.

The annual event will be held at the Cape Town International Centre from 3 to 6 February. It is aimed at people interested in a global perspective on African mining and those who wish to build and accumulate international business relationships.

Keynote speakers will conduct panel discussions and offer talks on the global mining sector.

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett will share Australia’s mining investment model and how African mining can benefit from lessons learned around the globe.

Barnett will discuss the creation of win-win mining scenarios and how investors, mining companies and governments can build sustainable mining models.

Global head of mining at the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Tom Butler will talk about investment activities in the mining sector. He will focus mainly on the exploration and development of mining and how partnerships are the way forward.

Eleni Gabre-Madhin, co-founder and chief executive of Eleni LLC, will tackle the promise of Africa as an emerging global investment destination and what it will take to capture this potential in terms of perceptions, public sector, people, and policies.

Sipho Nkosi, CEO of Exxaro Resources, will hold a panel discussion with the CEOs who have invested the most in the mining sectors success and about the future of South African mining.

Top mining CEOs and visionaries will give their thoughts on why South African mining still represents some of the best opportunities in the sector.

Mining Indaba: People, profits and politics

mining

While most people remain optimistic about the mining industry in Africa, the real agenda for mining and development in Africa includes people, profits, and politics.

These are some of the more difficult problems mining-based companies in Africa are facing and have been recognised by Keith Slack who is the Global Program Manager of Oxfam America’s Extractive Industries team. Slack will also be attending the conference this year.

This conference poses an abundance of opportunity to network with some of the top professionals of the industry as well as space for deal-making. While there will be much socialising and bottomless champagne-drinking, an in-depth discussion on the tougher issues which face mining companies in Africa needs to happen.

The key issues African mining is facing at the moment can be categorised into four sections, according to Slack.

Firstly, African countries need to find ways to capture more added-value from the raw minerals they produce and try to use their mineral resources to develop their nations.

“Adding value or “beneficiation” is critical to helping economies grow and move up the economic ladder” says Slack.

The continent cannot afford to rely heavily on the exportation of raw materials solely for their development as this may hinder the economic growth of the continent. There needs to be more value added in the African mining industry which is important for economic building and growth and will help with the problem of unemployment in Africa. By creating opportunities through the mining sector could lead to job creation.

The Politics of Poverty blog site identifies that the African mining industry needs to ensure that there is more retention of profits and minerals for themselves.

A cluster of bad deals and sky-high transfer pricing leads to the poorer African countries being robbed of billions of dollars every year and a loss for the mining sector.

Peter Leon, the Head of the Mining Sector Group at Webber Wenzel says there has been a recession since 2013 in African mining because demands for commodity from the major commodity importers, like China and India, has abated and commodity prices are either stagnant declining or flat.

“The mining industry around the world is in difficult territory and there is a huge pressure on mining companies to cut costs,” says Leon.

Along with this is the problem of resource revenue management and the politics around this issue, according to Slack.

Slack says all transactions with mining companies need to be disclosed to government and there should be a strict compliance with global anti-corruption regulations.

These are some of the tougher and more serious issues that the Mining Indaba Conference of 2014 needs to address in order to push African mining out of the “resource curse”.

Leon says, “In South Africa, if we don’t get our act together mining companies will simply retrench more and the mining industry will decline.”

The mission of the conference is to attract investment in African Mining. Its foundation is based on capitalisation and development of mining interests in Africa. It creates a unique opportunity for international professionals to connect with African mining.

Global mining professionals will gather this year at the Cape Town International Convention Centre for the annual Mining Indaba Conference, which is the largest annual global mining industry conference.

The conference will run from the third till the 6th of February 2014.