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Tonight with Lester Kiewit
Captured SA photographer is still alive, says Gift of the Givers

Captured SA photographer is still alive, says Gift of the Givers

28 April 2019 9:34 PM

Guest : Imtiaz Sooliman | Founder and Chairman at Gift of the Givers |

Humanitarian organisation the Gift of the Givers believes that SA photographer Shiraaz
Mohamed, who was captured in Syria more than two years ago‚ is still alive.
“It has taken two years and three months but finally, Gift of the Givers has received
proof of life for journalist Shiraaz Mohamed, who was abducted on January 10 2017 in
the vicinity of Gift of the Givers Ar Rahma Hospital in Darkoush, Syria,” said the
organisation’s founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.
He said that Mohamed, a photojournalist, had appeared in a "proof of life" video
recording that was made on April 13, giving his family renewed hope.
Mohamed was captured in Syria near the Turkish border after travelling there to
narrate the tragedy of the Syrian people to the world through pictures.
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“My name is Shiraaz Mohamed, a South African photographer. Dr Imitiaz Sooliman, my
South African president, my family, my friends, the international community, anyone
that can help, I need your help in securing my freedom please,” says the man in the
As he speaks, he holds up a sheet of A4 paper with the words, “Saturday, 13/04/2019”
and the name Shiraaz Mohamed. A man wearing camouflage, whose face is covered
and is holding an assault rifle, stands behind him.
“I live in fear of my life. I am scared. We are being bombed. The area that I am in is
being bombed by the Russian air force. The bombs are getting closer and closer and
closer. I need your help. Please help me," the man says.
The first proof that Shiraaz Mohamed was alive was received on January 8 2018 in the
form of answers to 10 personal questions which only he could answer.
“The answers were accurate and Shiraaz's family had no doubt that it was from him. It
has been a very difficult period engaging large networks of people to trace Shiraaz's
whereabouts. The proof of life video, made on April 13 2019, arrived by WhatsApp at
10pm on April 26.
“Shiraaz's family was very emotional, ecstatic, full of hope and grateful to the Almighty.
They knew for certain that Shiraaz was alive,” said Sooliman.
“An important event” on April 12, he added, had led to the receipt of the video.

More episodes from Tonight with Lester Podcast

CoCT suspends metro cops involved in eviction of naked man - when do we question the actions of metro police officers? When will they be disciplined?

2 July 2020 9:48 PM

Guest : Eldred De Klerk | Senior policing and Social conflict specialist at Africa Centre for                                             Security and Intelligence Praxis

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Artscape's New Voices 2020 Programme brings drama to your radios

2 July 2020 9:39 PM

Guest : Rafieq Mammon |

Artscape has partnered with community, regional and national radio stations across the country to bring the 2020 New Voices Programme to individual South African households as radio dramas over a two-month period from June to August. 
The project seeks to give an opportunity to young writers as well as restoring dignity and confidence to those who have been disregarded and under-represented in the past. 

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Only Grade 6, 11 and Grade R will return to school on Monday - WCED responds

2 July 2020 8:35 PM

Guest : Kerry Mauchline | Spokesperson for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer|

The Council of Education Ministers has made amendments to some grades returning to school.
Minister of the Department of Basic Education Angie Motshekga held a meeting with stakeholders on Thursday and announced that  "After careful consideration of all the reports CEM took a decision that only Grade 6, Grade 11 and Grade R will return to school on Monday, 06th July 2020," the council said in a statement. 
Other grades will be phased during the month of July. 

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Beautiful News feature: Food Flow

1 July 2020 10:00 PM

Guest : Ashley Newell

Food Flow is a new initiative pioneered during this crisis in Cape Town – with donations they buy produce from small-scale farmers who would usually supply the restaurant business – to make up essential vegetable boxes to distribute to communities facing food insecurity.
Thus, protecting the supply chain for the future, keeping small farmers afloat – Food Flow shifts the flow of produce coming from farms to those most vulnerable. 
FoodFlow then matches the farmer with a community organization in their vicinity who distributes harvest bags or cooks a meal for their beneficiaries. FoodFlow works to sustain food livelihoods, enabling farmers to continue sustaining their business despite the loss of restaurant, hotel and market clients and ensures fresh nutritious food keeps flowing to those who are most impacted by food insecurity

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Subs bench with Akhona Mashaya

1 July 2020 9:55 PM

Guest : Akhona Mashaya 

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Online Children’s Conference

1 July 2020 9:26 PM

Guest : Lawrence Manaka 
              Liyema Saliwa

Today,  Equal Education held an online Children’s Conference, bringing together learner members of Equal Education (Equalisers) and education officials from various provinces, to discuss how to address the challenges faced by learners during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the realisation of a Charter for the Equal Education organization. 

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Athlone school starts crowd-funding campaign 'Save Sunnyside Primary'

1 July 2020 9:04 PM

Guest : Chantal  Bredenkamp | Grade 3 teacher  at Sunnyside Primary School

The last few months have been tough on the education sector. 
Schools were one of the first institutions to shut down even before the nationwide lockdown was announced and soon all classes turned digital. 
As the economic repercussions of lockdown led to job losses and pay cuts, many parents found themselves battling to pay school fees. 
The effects have been dire. But one school refuses to go down without a fight. 

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Mars 2020 launch slips again

1 July 2020 8:49 PM

Guest : Dr Pieter Kotze | Head at Geomagnetism Group At Hermanus

The launch of NASA’s next Mars rover mission has been delayed to no earlier than July 30 because of a launch vehicle processing issue, the latest in a series of slips that have now used up nearly half of the available launch opportunities for the mission.
NASA announced June 30 that the mission, previously scheduled to launch July 22, would be delayed to investigate “off-nominal” data from a liquid oxygen sensor line during a wet dress rehearsal of the mission’s Atlas 5 launch vehicle June 22 at Cape Canaveral, Florida - according to 

The mission was originally scheduled to launch July 17, the beginning of its launch period, but has slipped three times. None of the slips have had to do with issues with the Mars 2020 spacecraft itself - NASA announced. 

The Mars 2020 project (carrying a rover named Perseverance) will land on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021, regardless of what day it launches during the current launch period. The rover will land in Jezero Crater on Mars for mission designed to last at least one Martian year, or 687 Earth days. Perseverance’s instruments will reportedly look for signs of past life on Mars, but the mission’s biggest purpose is to cache samples of Martian rock for later return to Earth.

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