Jan Braai wants the nation to unite around a fire on Heritage Day. Photo: braai.com By Anne Taylor23 September 2013September 24 is Heritage Day in South Africa – a public holiday intended to focus the nation’s attention on the importance of South Africa’s diverse cultural heritage and traditions. It is a day when we are called on to find unity in our diversity.“When our first democratically elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation. We did so knowing that the struggles against the injustice and inequities of the past are part of our national identity; they are part of our culture. We knew that, if indeed our nation has to rise like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes of division and conflict, we had to acknowledge those whose selfless efforts and talents were dedicated to this goal of non-racial democracy.” – Nelson Mandela, Heritage Day speech, 1996This year’s theme, set by the government, is “reclaiming, restoring and celebrating our living heritage”. In Cape Town, entrance to all Iziko museums will be free during heritage week, from 23 to 29 September.Read about the in_herit festival at Cape Town’s Company Gardens and other Heritage Day activities on Play Your Part: Celebrate SA’s rich heritage For many South Africans, Heritage Day is also unofficially national braai day. Originally the initiative of Jan Scannell, known as Jan Braai, South Africans haven’t needed much encouragement to light a fire and braai. Yes, you can barbeque anywhere, but you can only braai in South Africa!“It is called many things: Chisa Nyama, Braai and Ukosa to name few. Although the ingredients may differ, the one thing that never changes is that when we have something to celebrate we light fires, and prepare great feasts,” Jan writes on his website, braai.com.In a recent inteview with NPR, Jan uses boerewors (a South African sausage) as the perfect analogy to describe the rainbow nation: “You’ve got sausage-making skills from Europe that came with the European settlers to Africa. Then you’ve got spices and the knowledge of how to use them from the East, stuff like coriander, nutmeg, cloves and then in Africa it was very typical to cook all your food on a fire.”Smoke, charred meat and a cold beer – what’s not to love? See you across the flames tomorrow.Read more on SouthAfrica.info: Celebrate South Africa on Braai DayJan Braai’s Top 10 braai tips on CapeTownMagazine.com
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The hot days and muggy nights of late have certainly all but erased now distant memories of the late frost that punctuated the cool, wet spring planting season. Even though harvest season is drawing near, it may not hurt to review the crops that were hurt by the late frost in the not-so-distant past to see if any lessons can be learned for the future.May 16, 2016 is not a date Levi Runkle will soon forget. He is an agronomist for Tri Ag Products in London and he spent the day looking at frost damage in customer’s fields. He is still haunted by what he saw in his corn field that night when he got home.“That particular field was one of the best fields I have ever had in terms of emergence, stand count and population. Even the morning of the 16th it looked great when it had a little frost on it,” Runkle said. “But that night about 8:00 I came back and it was a punch in the gut. It looked pretty bad. I work with customers all the time and tell them that it will be alright, but when it is your own field it is a little different feeling. You could row it great the morning of the 16th and it looked awesome. By the 17th you couldn’t row it. You couldn’t even tell anything had been planted in some places.”After more assessment in the following days, the field looked like a total loss on the surface and multiple people (including the insurance adjuster) said it was a clear replant situation. But according to Ohio State University Extension, the best way to assess the impact of freezing temperatures on emerged corn is to check plants about five days after the freezing injury occurred and observe the condition of the growing point by splitting seedlings lengthwise. If the growing point appears white to light yellow and firm several days after the frost, prognosis for recovery is good.Ohio State University Extension corn specialist Peter Thomison said that corn as far along as the V1 stage (one leaf collar visible) survived freezing soil temperatures with little impact on crop performance or plant stand.“Agronomists generally downplay the impact of low temperature injury in corn because the growing point is at or below the soil surface until V6, and thereby relatively safe from freezing air temperatures,” Thomison said. “Moreover, the cell contents of corn plants can sometimes act as an ‘antifreeze’ to allow temperatures to drop below 32 degrees F before tissue freezes, but injury to corn is often fatal when temperatures drop to 28 degrees F or lower for even a few minutes.”A bit of digging below the surface in Runkle’s field showed good results, but there was still significant skepticism about not replanting the field.“Three days later it was ugly and my neighbors thought it was all dead, but we still had a root system under there and we still had a lot going for us. As we started digging, the stems were still good. They were still intact with a lot of good color to them and they weren’t squishy. I was doing a lot of reading at night, reviewing the things I learned in school and talking to agronomists. The growing point was still under the ground, so I just needed a little time and faith,” he said. “By May 26, though, insurance companies were looking at it and saying that it needed to all be replanted. Replanting then would have lost us a whole month on the original planting date. The plants looked bad but the root system was still good. By May 31, the plants were looking better, but the field still needed torn up according to some people.”But Runkle held strong on the belief that the sound root system and the struggling field just needed more time.The field today, though, looks great after the decision to not replant.“After two or three weeks, it came back up and some of the leaves were curled and it still looked bad. After three weeks it started catching up with the rest of the crop and now it looks great. If we would have replanted then we would have lost the great root system we had. It had been planted around April 20 to 24. Even though it looked bad above ground, it still had a great root system below ground and I wouldn’t trade that for anything going into the hot, dry conditions we saw in July,” he said. “By July 14, you really had to look to find the areas that were frost damaged. It really came back. We had fairly good pollination conditions for that corn and the root system was able to capitalize on the little water we did get. I feel a whole lot better now about not replanting that. If I’d have corn planted a month later, it would have been headed into the hot, dry 90-degree temperatures for pollination. That earlier corn was already pollinated before the heat.”Ultimately, the stand counts had been reduced by the frost, but not at levels great enough to justify replanting.“We might have lost 10% or 15% in the worst parts of the field. We would have needed to see around a 50% loss to warrant replanting that late in the season. From what it looks like today after not replanting I think we are in pretty good shape,” Runkle said. “We would have had to have a really low population to warrant a replant a month later. Where we are now is above 30,000 population and we have a lot more potential with that than a stand that was planted a month later.”While leaving Runkle’s initial corn stand was clearly the way to go, soybeans in the frosted areas did not fare so well. If frost damage occurs above the soybean cotyledons, the plant will likely recover. It will not recover if damaged below the cotyledon.“Beans were a little more of a problem with that frost, especially in a no-till situation with a lot of residue. For the most part, beans that were frosted in that situation needed to be replanted,” Runkle said of his customers’ fields. “There were still some surprises though, where the frost didn’t quite get all of the growing point, or maybe it wasn’t all of the way out of the ground and it looked bad on the cotyledons but once that opened up there was still a good growing point there. Some of those beans surprised us and the beans came back and didn’t need replanting.”Some wheat fields also took a hit.“We had some record wheat yields, with great quality this year and good straw. But, in the areas where it was flowering when it got frosted, especially in the lower areas of the field, we had about half the yield we had everywhere else. We had a lot of issues and it was hard to tell the effect of the frost when it happened because we did not have much experience with a frost on wheat when it was flowering. We learned a lot about that this year,” Runkle said. “With wheat, we had to search far and wide to find anyone with experience with flowering wheat getting frosted. There was purpling on May 18 after being frosted. It looked a little bit like head scab, but it was frost damage. It really did hurt the wheat in some areas where the wheat was flowering when it frosted.”What is now almost forgotten by some has proven to be a great learning experience for Runkle for his fields and the fields of his customers in the future.“We are going to keep track of things in that field and pull some ears on that corn,” he said. “But as of right now, I think we’re doing pretty well.”
A day after the Income Tax Department conducted raids at 22 locations in New Delhi and adjoining areas in connection with the alleged benami (proxy) land deals linked to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and his family members, a clash broke out between workers of the RJD and the BJP in Patna on Wednesday. Several workers from both parties were injured.The BJP later filed a police complaint against Mr. Prasad and his two Minister-sons for “orchestrating the attack on the BJP office”.At least six partymen from the BJP and others from the RJD were injured in the clash which broke out after hundreds of bare-bodied RJD youth wing workers marched to the BJP office at Beerchand Patel Path, shouting slogans against BJP and its party leader Sushil Kumar Modi for “continuously attacking the RJD chief and his family”.The protesting RJD partymen were, apparently, also furious at the Income Tax raid on Mr. Prasad and his kin on Tuesday.Carrying party flags, the RJD youth wing workers reached the BJP office, just 100 metres from the RJD office on the same road, and a clash broke out. They exchanged baton blows and threw bottles and stones at each other. Several vehicles parked outside the BJP office too were damaged. The police had a tough time controlling the situation.In the BJP office at Patna, no senior leader was present as the party had called a State-wide dharna against corruption, while demanding that the two sons of the RJD chief [Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav] be sacked from the Nitish Cabinet.‘Shameful attack’“It was an attack on the BJP office to gag the voice of the opposition,” alleged senior State BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.Describing the attack as “shameful”, State BJP president Nityanand Rai said it happened “on the direction of Lalu Prasad Yadav…we’ll take this issue to the court and not be distracted from the real issue of corruption charges against Lalu Prasad and his family members.”A delegation of BJP leaders met the Director General of Police P.K. Thakur and demanded action against RJD workers. “We will take action after verifying the evidence,” said Additional Director General of Police (headquarter), S.K. Singhal.RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha blamed the BJP workers for first throwing stones and beer bottles on the “peaceful march” of RJD workers. “As many 26 RJD workers were injured…the police should investigate how beer bottles came in the BJP office in dry Bihar,” Mr. Jha told journalists in Patna.
Manoj said that he will file a case in the Punjab and Haryana High CourtFeeling “insulted” after his name was not added to this year’s list of Arjuna awardees, boxer Manoj Kumar today said he would sue the Sports Ministry for the “injustice” meted out to him.The controversial recommendation of boxer Jai Bhagwan for the prestigious Arjuna Awards stands after the selection committee yesterday decided not to make any changes in the original 15-athlete list.Sports Authority of India Director General Jiji Thomson, who was part of the Awards committee, said the panel discussed seven athletes in the review meeting but it was unanimously agreed that no changes were needed.Manoj said that he had been assured by the sports secretary and Thomson himself that his name would be added in yesterday’s meeting and their backtracking was a “betrayal”.”When my elder brother met the Sports Secretary on August 13, the Sports Secretary had admitted that there was a mistake on the part of the ministry by mistakenly thinking that I was involved in a dope offence. Mr Ajit Sharan had told my brother that my name will be added in the review meeting,” Manoj, who is in the national camp at the NIS, said.”The SAI DG himself called me up the next day (August 14) that my case will be considered and no injustice would be done to me. He assured me that my name will be added in the Arjuna list. But all these turned out to be false promises and they have backtracked now. I have a trial for the Asian Games next week and I am in severe mental stress,” he said.advertisement”First, they tarnished my image by mistakenly calling me a dope offender and then betrayed me by backtracking on what they had promised. It’s an insult and betrayal,” a dejected Manoj, who won a gold in 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, said.Manoj’s elder brother and coach Rajesh Kumar said that he will file a case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.”This is an injustice to my brother. What motivation an athlete will have to bring laurels for the country if he was treated like this. I will file a case at the High Court in Chandigarh very soon.”I will file an RTI to the government tomorrow first and then the case at the High Court. I will ask for the points Manoj has got under the marking system used by the selection panel and the points earned by the 15 recommended athletes. That information will be used as evidence in the High Court case,” said Rajesh.Rajesh also wondered how Thomson can claim that Manoj has time with him and he can get the award later on. “How can it be? He (Manoj) won a gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and this achievement will not be considered for next year’s Arjuna Award as only four-year achievement is counted. Next year’s Arjuna will start counting achievements from 2011 onwards,” he said.”Otherwise, what is the point of waiting. If a person is deserving, then he is deserving. Many a times in the past, two athletes from the same sport were given Arjuna.”Rajesh said Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also assured, through his personal secretary, that the case of Manoj will be addressed and those officials who committed the mistake of taking him as a dope offender will be taken to task.”I sought a meeting with the sports minister on August 13 and I waited for him late on that day. The Minister returned to office around 9:30pm after some work. The Minister sent his PS to tell me that Manoj’s case will be reconsidered in the selection committee meeting.”The PS also told me that the officials who placed Manoj’s name as a dope offender before the selection panel will also be taken to task. But now it turned out that all these were just talk in the air,” he said.