Neotel introduces consumer services

first_img6 April 2008South African second landline operator Neotel has introduced its first set of products and services for individuals, with the company’s NeoConnect Prime bundle being introduced to its employees residing in parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria following a successful pilot phase.The company initially intends to address those consumers who had already approached Neotel and had registered for services during the pilot phase, though a formal announcement, with a wider range of bundle options, will be made during the course of this month.In a statement released last week, Neotel said that the bundle, which had undergone commercial testing since March, was designed after conducting in-depth consumer research.“We picked up a number of pain points for consumers during this research process, including the issues relating to the perceived speed and capacities for internet access, lack of voice quality and reliability, the complexity associated with obtaining and setting-up services and a lack of true value for the customer,” said Neotel MD Ajay Pandey.“We believe that we have addressed these points in the design of our offering to consumers.”The NeoConnect bundle uses a CDMA2000 EVDO network to handle a number of different tasks such as internet access, voice and SMS over a single connection and service, providing customers with high-speed internet access and combining the best of fixed-line and mobile technologies.The current peak speed offered is 2.4 megabits per second and Neotel expects an average user experience ranging between 300 to 700 kilobits per second, with future upgrades ensuring even faster speeds brought to the market.“A key differentiator in our product is its ease of use – it will take you next to no time to install and start using the service”, said Pandey.This first bundle introduced by Neotel includes 1 000 Neotel to Neotel voice minutes, 50 Neotel to Neotel SMS’s, an email account and free internet access up to 10 gigabytes of data for a monthly charge of R599, inclusive of all monthly fees such as device charges and service rentals, as well as VAT.The only charges that consumers will have to pay in addition to the monthly fee will be the out of bundle usage charges which are summarised in the table below.“This is just the first of a number of packages we will bring to the market and we believe that customers will not only find value in what we offer, but will be able to choose a package that best meets their needs,” said Pandey. “There will be packages that address lower usage and are therefore lower in price, and then of course there will be those packages that directly speak to high-end consumers.”SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Hector’s sister tells the story still, 38 years later

first_imgSam 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.”last_img read more

Silicon Welly

first_imgrichard macmanus Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… This post mayring a bell for all the non-Silicon Valley readers. Firstly an admission: I hardly everwrite about my home country, New Zealand. The reason for that is mostly down todemographics: just 1% of Read/WriteWeb’s page views come from my own country. The US, UKand Canada are where the bulk of R/WW’s readers come from – but I’m also pleased with thegrowth in readers from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.So 1% would indicate that NZers are just a tiny slice of the R/WW target audience –and that’s true. But recently I’ve noticed an increase in web 2.0 excitement in NewZealand. And I think people from other countries may have a similar feeling – thatthis current era of the Web is creating opportunities and innovation far outside SiliconValley (even though the Valley still is the spiritual and monetary home of theWeb).The NZ 2.0 mailing list wasstarted by Nat Torkington (of O’Reilly Media)and yours truly in November last year. Lately on the list there’s been discussion about“Silicon Welly” – a new nickname for my hometown of Wellington, coined by NatalieFerguson and Tim Norton of local startup Decisive Flow.Wellington is beginning to see a lot of activity in web app development, accompanied (itmust be said) by a sudden increase in Wellingtonians wanting to show me their businessplans or prototypes ;-). Plus there are more events – the Webstock conference earlierthis year and a recent fun geek event run by my friends at geekzone.co.nz. Christchurch too has a lot ofactivity and is where the development arm of Eurekster (the social search engine) is based. Notforgetting my pals in Auckland, such as the team behind Throng – a site for TV fansfrom New Zealand.Idealog, a magazine in NZ, recentlyran a piece about the Silicon Welly phenomenon:“So where are the bright young things creating kick-ass web businesses in Godzone?The good news is they’re out there. Take, for example, ProjectX, a team ofsuperbright online mapping gurus who have licensed their technology to Trade Me for itsSmaps website and have their sights set on providing mapping tools for the world.Consider also Star Now, an inspired site built by three Wellingtonians on their OE whichintroduces dancers, actors, models, musicians and reality TV wannabes to castingdirectors, movie and TV producers and to each other.”So the Web is (finally) making an impact in NZ, a country of 4 million peopleon the other side of the world. If you’re an international R/WW reader, I wonder if youhave a similar story to tell about your local Web market? Is the Web ramping up in yourcountry too?Picture of kiwi bird: jdlasica Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#international#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more