Lalla Hirayama shares sunshine stories about Japan and South Africa
Japanese-South African actor and TV host, Lalla Hirayama is taking South Africans on a whirlwind tour of just some of the amazing initiatives that have emerged from the long-term partnership between the Land of the Rising Sun and sunny South Africa.
The series highlights the strong ties between Japan and South Africa, the cultural affinity between the two nations, and the way in which they work together on a range of matters such as skills transfer and development support. Since 2013, Japanese companies have invested USD5 billion in South Africa, creating 150 000 jobs, and the country has provided important development assistance.
Let the sunshine in
The first episode in the series features our very own Princess of Africa, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, who is also the UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador and the global goodwill ambassador for the continent-wide Roll Back Malaria campaign.
Yvonne shares the story of how she collaborated with a leading Japanese company to distribute life-saving mosquito nets in Tanzania. The prevention of the scourge of malaria is a special focus of her and she actively advocates for the elimination of the disease, which is endemic to 14 out of the 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. She has lobbied for malaria interventions at the World Economic Forum, the United Nations General Assembly, the African Union and the White House.
The series also shines a light on the activities of UN Women in South Africa, which is particularly active in addressing gender-based violence (GBV). In collaboration with partner countries, including Japan, UN Women uses educational and awareness-raising initiatives to help break the cycle of violence against women and children. We also meet some incredible self-starters from Young Women For Life, a community-based organisation that is sponsored by Japan through The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
Other episodes include an in-depth look at how Japanese companies operating in South Africa have stepped in to help support the country’s response to Covid-19. We also showcase how the island nation is supporting grassroots social development programmes like Pink Drive, as well as how it is providing funding for institutions like the Orlando Children’s Home in Gauteng and Didi Primary School in Eastern Cape. Japan also provides funding to international agencies working in South Africa, such as the UN Development Programme and the World Food Programme.
On the cultural front, the series also features musical sensation Nasty C, who shares with us his favourite stories about his travels through Japan; we also explore the growing popularity of Japanese food in South Africa and take a look at how the Japanese phenomenon of anime and manga has changed popular culture forever.
On the sports front, viewers will be treated to a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how Japan is preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games, which are scheduled to be held this summer after Covid put the brakes on the event for a year; how South Africa’s Paralympic team is preparing for the Games; and how rugby is gaining a loyal following in Japan.
The show also highlights projects that have been designed to expand and strengthen South Africa’s skills base, which aligns with what President Ramaphosa said in SONA this year about increasing local production and reviving the manufacturing industry.
One of them is the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion Approach programme, which helps small-scale farmers to adopt a market-related approach to agriculture. Another is the Artisans Development Project for TVET colleges. This project helps to strengthen skills in the trade of fitting and turning, a key skill in the automotive industry and aims to increase employment opportunities for TVET graduates.
Further episodes highlight the incredible work of Japanese NPOs, SAPESI (the South African Primary Education Support Initiative) and TAAA, (the Together with Africa and Asia Association).
"Sharing the Sun" airs every Thursday on the YouTube Channel of Japan in SA. This 13-part web series provides a platform to showcase these successful economic partnerships along with many other fascinating aspects of the beautiful friendship between the two nations.
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