Deputy Public Works Minister Claude Langley has disclosed that government is scouting for money for the maintenance of the Gbarnga to Voinjama road in Lofa County.Mr. Langley told a recent news conference that the road, which is currently in good shape despite the rainy season, needs to be maintained.The road was rehabilitated by Westwood Corporation, a Liberian firm.The Gbarnga to Voinjama Highway, according to several officials who recently traveled to Lofa with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, is so far the best in rural Liberia.The road is better for the first time in the last four years, since the celebration of Liberia’s Independence in Lofa County in 2010.Some independent journalists who travelled with President Johnson-Sirleaf to Lofa recently, said motorbikes (pen-pen), taxis and buses are currently engaged in serious transportation business because of the good condition of the road.Some residents of the county told our reporter that since the civil conflict, this is the first time Lofa has experienced low transport fares. This, they noted, is because of the good road network in the county.Mr. Pewu Kollie, a resident of Zorzor, said prior to the rehabilitation of the road, commuters used to pay about L$4,500 per trip, “but now we are paying about L$3,000 from Voinjama to Monrovia.He described the drop in the transport fare as a great financial relief for the people of Lofa County and said “We want to thank the company for doing such a wonderful job.”“My brother, some companies will take the money and do a bad job, to the detriment of locals who have to face great difficulty traveling on bad roads, especially during the rainy season,” he said.Also speaking, Tenneh Baysah, a business woman in Voinjama, said “We used to travel with water, buckets, cook spoons and pots for cooking because we would spend more than a day on this road. But today it takes a few hours, not days or a week from Monrovia to Voinjama.”“Goods, especially vegetables and other perishable commodities, are no longer getting rotten as before due to the number of days we would spend on the road, businesswoman Baysah said.According to our reporter, instead of days or a week, it now takes a maximum of five hours from Voinjama to Gbarnga, depending on the type of vehicle.The volume of traffic along the route has increased significantly, thus boosting economic activities and reducing prices, our reporter said.However, Deputy Minister Langley has given the assurance that government will attract funding to keep the road intact.He attributed the deplorable road network in other parts of the country, especially in the southeast, to the lack of maintenance.According to him, the Ministry of Public Works lacks the necessary equipment to maintain roads across the country and was looking for funding to ensure that roads built or rehabilitated by contractors remain intact.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
James DeGale is backing his friend Steve O’Meara to become Commonwealth light-middleweight champion this weekend.Both men are products of Dale Youth boxing club in Notting Hill and as professionals have worked under trainer Jim McDonnell.McDonnell has nurtured O’Meara.And European super-middleweight champion DeGale believes O’Meara has what it takes to beat unbeaten Liverpudlian Liam Smith at the ExCel London on Saturday and win the vacant title.DeGale told West London Sport: “I’ve seen myself how much he wants it and how much work he’s put in.“I hope all that work pays off and I believe it will. I think he’s going to do it and no-one deserves it more.”O’Meara, who has won his last three fights with early knockouts, will be appearing on the undercard of fellow West Londoner George Groves’ Commonwealth super-middleweight title defence against former world champion Glen Johnson.And McDonnell, who has long been keen for O’Meara to fight for a major title, is confident his man will prevail.“With Steve we’re talking about a quality boxer who’s now also showing he’s got power to match.” said McDonnell.“The improvement in the guy has been phenomenal. When he first came he was probably the weakest guy in the gym. Not anymore.“He’s so strong these days and is ready to take his chance, no doubt about it.”West London Sport will have live updates from ExCel London during Groves and O’Meara’s title fights.See also:O’Meara stuns Toms in west London clashTrainer eyes title shot for O’MearaO’Meara aiming for title gloryO’Meara tipped for title glory in 2012Victory moves O’Meara closer to title shotSteve O’Meara v Tony Randell in picturesO’Meara to fight for Commonwealth titleGroves believes he can stop JohnsonGroves and DeGale in new war of wordsO’Meara ready to seize title chanceSteve O’Meara ‘excited’ as he prepares for his title clashWatch O’Meara and Smith weigh in ahead of their title fightDuo weigh in ahead of title 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
25 February 2010 Architect Bob van Bebber waited 15 years to realise his dream – and it’s a dream the world can share on 11 June when 88 851 spectators take their seats at South Africa’s spectacular Soccer City stadium for the opening of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™. Van Bebber originally proposed a stadium – not just any stadium but a World Cup stadium – back in 1991 while completing his architecture degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. But he was told a stadium required too much engineering – until then engineers mostly designed stadiums. So he told his professor at the time, respected conservation architect Herbert Prins, that one day he would do it. That day arrived in 2006, when his design for Soccer City was approved. “This has been a dream project that I have been chasing for so long,” he says. A massive calabash, one of the symbols of rural African life, rises from the ground at Nasrec on the outskirts of Soweto in Johannesburg, outflanking the long, surrounding mine dumps. “I wanted to bring aesthetics and design into a stadium,” explains Van Bebber, a keen footballer at one time. The calabash was selected from a number of designs as being “the most recognisable object to represent what would automatically be associated with the African continent and not any other”, he says. “The calabash, or ‘melting pot of African cultures’, sits on a raised podium, on top of which is located a ‘pit of fire’. Thus the pot sits in a depression, which is the ‘pit of fire’, as if it were being naturally fired,” reads the info pack. It is hoped that the calabash shape will be “recognised instantly by spectators in every corner of the world”. Aesthetics and design So, does it have aesthetics and design? Its large, rounded shape is created by means of thousands of glass-fibre concrete panels in eight different earthy colours, fitted together in a patchwork, and curving around into the cantilevered roof. Odd glazed panels punctuate this facade, allowing sunlight to stream in. The three-tier stadium soars 60 metres into the air, and stretches across 300 metres. At night when the lights are on, it takes on a fantastic glow, something almost extraterrestrial. It looks magical from a distance; it looks magical from inside, with its multiple shapes and colours soaring above your head in a curve, as you enter. Although it encases you in its roundness, that roundness is tempered by huge angled concrete columns and ramps on the inside, and although the concrete is dead and grey, the contrasting shapes are alive with design, enhanced by tall open spaces. Van Bebber says that for him the design of the calabash has special meaning. “It symbolises people coming together, a melting pot of cultures, sharing and passing around the calabash.” And the world is going to be sharing from that calabash come June. He says now, with the stadium almost complete and a truly splendid addition to Johannesburg’s growing list of African-inspired structures, that he is “very proud” of it. Construction will take three years – it started in February 2007 and will be complete in March 2010. Sibongile Mazibuko, the executive director of Joburg’s 2010 unit, says the design of the stadium “symbolises the unity of Africa”. “There is something very cultural about it, it touches who we are,” she says. World football body Fifa describes it as “one of the most artistic and awe-inspiring football venues on the African continent”. Seats Arguably the most striking of all the 10 stadiums, teams playing at Soccer City are likely to be overwhelmed by the sounds of cheering and vuvuzelas coming from 88 851 people, the number of seats in the stadium. This is almost double the capacity of any of the other nine World Cup stadiums around the country. Symbolism has been built into it. Nine vertical lines run through the seats and through the facade, aligning with the other nine 2010 stadiums, as well as the Berlin Stadium, where the 2006 World Cup was held. “These are representative of the road to the final, and it is hoped that, after the World Cup, the scores of each game at each venue will be placed in pre-cast concrete panels on the podium,” reads the information statement. “A visit to the stadium will thus provide one with a full history of the World Cup and all its scores.” The stadium has other significance, too. In 1990, Nelson Mandela was welcomed back to his home town, Johannesburg, here. A funeral service was held here for Communist Party leader Chris Hani, who was assassinated in Boksburg in 1993. First in South Africa Van Bebber is an architect at Boogertman Urban Edge & Partners. The firm was ranked first in South Africa and Africa and 63rd in the world for 2008, according to the World Architecture Magazine. It has been around for 25 years, with offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Dubai and Mauritius. Its designs range from hotels, shopping centres, office parks and showrooms, to industrial parks and homes and palaces. It has picked up awards for the design of the Parktown Quarter, the Irene Village Mall, the Blu Bird Centre in Rivonia and the Bigen Centre in Pretoria. Van Bebber has previously been involved in the design of office towers, a beach resort in Dubai, retail developments, a parkade, sections of OR Tambo International Airport, and Emperor’s Casino in Benoni. He had been working on a stadium design since 2001, believing that South Africa would win the bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup. So when, in 2004, it was announced as the host for the tournament, the firm was asked for its design. Boogertman were ready with seven different proposals, among them a design acknowledging the city’s disappearing mine dumps; the kgotla, defined by the tree, of the African city state; the African map as a horizontal representation, with the roof of the stadium depicted as a desert plane set within the mineral wealth of southern Africa; and a representation of the national flower, the protea. Van Bebber says that very little of the old remodelled FNB Stadium was kept. It had only one grandstand, on its western side, with the other three sides simply banked seats. All sides now have covered stands, with two levels of VIP boxes and suites running completely around the stadium. The moat and the curved geometry of the edges of the field have been retained. Van Bebber is particularly proud of the fact that all seats have a good view of the field. The stadium has green-friendly elements. All lighting is energy efficient; materials from dismantled sections of the old stadium were re-used; water collected in the moat around the field is used to water the field, and excess water is used to flush the toilets. The flushing of the urinals is programmed, releasing water in tune to the use of the toilets. Budget The major challenge has been making the budget stretch as far as it can, says Van Bebber. “But despite this, I think we have given value for money.” The original budget started at R1.9-billion in 2007, and escalated to R3.3-billion by the end. Increasing costs for items like materials, the scope of the stadium and import duties led to the jump in budget, costs felt equally by all the stadium construction teams. Mazibuko agrees, saying that the City has got value for money in Soccer City, and that the investment was “quite justified”. She is also pleased with the impact of the development on the surrounding neighbourhood, which is receiving an upgrade. A transportation hub and pedestrian mall is being constructed to its south and the precinct will contain new roads, walkways, lighting, signage, landscaping, CCTV cameras and public amenities. Boogertman brought in overseas stadium contractors Populous, despite not being required to. One person spent three to four days for six weeks working with Van Bebber’s team, fine-tuning the design. “It was amazing how much we had done right,” says Van Bebber. He admits, however, that building the stadium has been an “almost vertical learning curve”. He is pleased with the comparison with the other stadiums around the country. He feels three of them – in Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth – are good but Eurocentric designs, having been designed by German architects. “They’re very slick, with very high specs, and therefore more expensive.” The Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban cost R4.8-billion to build and the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town cost R5,8-billion. “Soccer City compares very favourably with the others, but we feel it’s ahead of the pack,” he says. It seems appropriate that South Africa will play the first game here. At 4pm on 11 June, Bafana Bafana will run on to the field, to face Mexico. Every South African hopes that the final game, at 8.30pm on 11 July, will also see Bafana Bafana run into the stadium, to take the trophy. Standing with Van Bebber in the stands on a wet day, I suddenly became aware of a gentle roar. I looked around, wondering what it was, then realised: it was the rain flashing down on the roof. A gentle roar seemed a good sound for this spectacular stadium. Source: City of Johannesburg
Bongekile Radebe tells us why it’s important to have positive role models to inspire young South Africans to pursue their dreams.Bongekile Radebe is a social entrepreneur and founder of Her Destiny. Her leadership potential has been recognised through her inclusion in the One Day Leader programme. (Image: Mathiba Molefe)Bongekile RadebeFor a young, black, woman like myself, raised in a township, representation has not only mattered but has also been my saving grace in believing and achieving my dreams.Representation has allowed me to believe, with no permission needed, that my place is anywhere in the world I want it to be. When spaces of leadership are not gender sensitive, gender inclusive, and gender deliberate, it perpetuates a silent discouraging message that “women don’t matter”. One thing though that representation has also taught me is that gender and merit are not mutually exclusive; at least not for me.Growing up, I found myself fascinated by smart and successful women. I remember seeing this beautiful woman who would appear in every issue of my mother’s favourite magazine, True Love. Perhaps as a little girl I loved her beauty more than I could make sense of her words, but I guess I just admired her a lot.Khanyi Dhlomo was an inspiration to many of us and I wasn’t the only one who considered her as a role model. Perhaps, because back then you could literally count the number of popular black business women. She made us want to work in media and advertising spaces.For some reason, this aspirational outlook on life never left me; I saw it with my friends and other women I would interact with.No matter our age, we had people we looked up to who gave us hope for our own journeys, that we too could be significant in the world and definitely succeed at it.Representation also played its role in my own unique destiny. From losing my dad as I was about to become a teenager, to painfully experiencing how his death would impact my family and our lives, and involuntarily fighting throughout life and its hardships. If it wasn’t for representation, I wouldn’t have known why the fight is worth it.Our Constitution, from the rights and issues it defends on education, gender equality, health, religion, justice and all the way to trade has not only afforded me the ability to live out my dreams globally, but it has inspired me to be brave enough in this life that still demands us to fight, to master our own destinies. To create, to build, to believe, to serve and most importantly to love.I love who I am, I love what I do, and I love that I can give and share it with you!My clan name was right about me, as a Radebe: ngiwuBhungane oyenza ngakuningi! uMthi wami uMkhulu ngempela, meaning, “I am Bhungane and prepare everything in abundance. My majestic tree towers over all those around.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been urged to fight on by the club’s former goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, despite reports of tension at Old Trafford.Dark clouds have started to gather over the Theatre of Dreams following Monday’s 3-0 loss to Premier League rivals Tottenham and Mourinho’s post-match rant.Mourinho, who suffered the heaviest home defeat of his career, demanded “respect” during a fiery news conference in which he reminded reporters he has won more Premier League titles than the division’s 19 other managers combined. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! It cast further doubts over Mourinho’s future amid reported tension with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward over transfers, but ex-Australia international Bosnich – a Premier League champion at United in 1999-00 – told Omnisport: “Every manager will have their frustrations, but there are always two sides to every story.”Regardless of what club you’re at, he who’s got the gold makes the rules. There’s only so much these people will say yes or no to. It would have happened to every manager.”Mourinho won two trophies in his first season and finished second last season. It’s not all bad, no matter what’s happening at the moment and people including him need to remember that.”But there’s a team called Manchester City who have an exceptional manager who has what he’s asked for. There’s been times before where he has made signings that haven’t worked out. And at the moment, United, like everyone else, are a bit in the shadow.”We’re talking about one of the best teams in Premier League history.”Mourinho, in my opinion, just needs to fight. If he wants to be there, which I’m sure he does. I don’t think you sign a five-year contract, especially someone like him, if you don’t want to be there.”It’s still early in the season. It’s not encouraging at all and we know that, but there’s still a long way to go. He has the firepower to make sure they have a good season.”The defeat to Spurs came after United suffered a shock 3-2 loss at Brighton. Next up is a trip to Burnley on Sunday. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.