Government remains silent on findings of investigations into Hayatullah Khan’s murder

first_img April 21, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Pakistan RSF_en January 28, 2021 Find out more News Pakistani journalist critical of the military wounded by gunfire “The government clearly has no intention of releasing the full results of the commission of enquiry headed by a Peshawar judge or the investigation by the governor of North-West Frontier Province,” the press freedom organisation said.”The lack of transparency is shocking, coming as it does after the reassuring statements by senior government officials that followed the discovery of Khan’s body,” Reporters Without Borders continued. “We support the demand by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists for both reports to be published in their entirety at once.”Reporters Without Borders asked the European Union, members of the European parliament and the parliament’s president to ensure that the cases of Khan and other journalists kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan were raised with President Pervez Musharraf during his visit to Brussels yesterday.Two other journalists, Munir Mengal of the TV station Baloch Voice and Mehruddin Marri of the Sindhi-language daily newspaper Kawish, are still missing after being kidnapped by intelligence agents.Judge Mohammad Raza Khan sent the report on his investigation into the Hayatullah Khan case to the authorities in Islamabad on 18 August, one month late. “I have done my job by handing in this report,” he told Reporters Without Borders. “It is now up to the government to publish it or not.”The judge interviewed many people, including Khan’s family and a Reporters Without Borders representative. Despite requests by journalists’ organisations, the commission conducted all of its interviews without the press or public being present.The governor of North-West Frontier Province announced on 9 September that the team he had ordered to investigate the Khan murder had also submitted its report to the government in Islamabad. Strangely, the governor seemed unaware that the judge had also submitted his report.After Khan’s body was found on 16 June near Mir Ali in North Waziristan (one of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas), the prime minister, interior minister and information minister all separately promised that those responsible for his murder would be punished.Khan’s body was handcuffed when he was found, and he had been shot several times in the head. He looked very thin and his beard was much longer, suggesting that he suffered considerable deprivations during his months in captivity.He was kidnapped in Mir Ali on 5 December, a few days after he produced evidence refuting Pakistani army claims that the death of Hamza Rabia, a leading Arab militant in Al-Qaeda, and four others on 1 December was the result of an accidental munitions explosion. Photographs taken by Khan at the scene indicated that Rabia was killed by a US missile that was probably fired from a plane or a drone. News News Pakistani TV anchor censored after denouncing violence against journalists Pakistani supreme court acquits main suspect in Daniel Pearl murder June 2, 2021 Find out more PakistanAsia – Pacific Help by sharing this information News Receive email alerts September 13, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Government remains silent on findings of investigations into Hayatullah Khan’s murder PakistanAsia – Pacific Reporters Without Borders voiced dismay today about the silence with which the Pakistani authorities, including information minister Mohammad Ali Durrani, have greeted the findings of the two reports they have received about the kidnapping and murder of Hayatullah Khan, a journalist based in North Waziristan who worked for the Urdu-language daily Ausaf and the European Press Photo Agency (EPA). to go further Organisation last_img read more

Read More →

Go USA! Five All-American Shows to See on the Fourth

first_img Rocky If there’s anyone who fought from the heart, it’s the Founding Fathers of the United States. That’s why if these guys were all hanging out in New York City and decided to see a musical together, we’re pretty sure they’d choose Rocky. It’s also got gorgeous sets, and plenty of muscley, shirtless dudes hitting each other. And besides, there’s only one song more emotionally stirring than “The Star Spangled Banner,” and that’s “Eye of the Tiger.” The Book of Mormon Hello! The boys from The Book of Mormon are as American as apple pie, so why not head to Utah (followed immediately by a thrilling missionary trip to Uganda) to hang out with Elder Price, Elder Cunningham and the rest of their pals this Fourth of July weekend? It’s a great opportunity to catch a usually-sold-out fan favorite while the rest of the East Coast is trying to claim a square of sand at the Jersey shore. Newsies Last we checked, America is the land of the free and the home of the brave—and nobody on Broadway exercises their first-amendment rights quite like the boys of Newsies. Based on the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899, the Disney hit is only running on Broadway through August 24, so it’s time to get your hunks-doing-pirouettes fix now, before it’s too late. Grab your sparklers and your American flags, because it’s time to celebrate the only holiday that makes it socially acceptable to sport these bad boys all weekend. After chowing down on delicious barbecued treats and watching fireworks (accompanied by the song stylings of If/Then star Idina Menzel) on the Fourth of July, here’s some great news—you’ve got the whole rest of the weekend to catch a Broadway show! Check out our picks for the best shows to see on Independence Day weekend. View Comments Jersey Boys Wait, did someone say Jersey? After seeing the Four Seasons bring their signature tunes to the silver screen in the new Jersey Boys movie, we’ve been dying to go back to catch Frankie Valli and the boys live on Broadway. Featuring Four Seasons hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “December 1963,” Jersey Boys is a must-see for the whole family. Motown the Musical Instead of sitting in traffic on the BQE, take a trip to Hitsville, U.S.A.! Where else can you relax inside an air-conditioned theater and hear 40 Motown songs performed live by a cast of stellar triple threats? Featuring a book by legendary record producer Berry Gordy, this jukebox musical might even teach you something about the history of American music. (No, not Frances Scott Key—Stevie Wonder!)last_img read more

Read More →

Build diversity, equity, and inclusion into your workplace environment through universal design

first_imgFor two days in late September, the Filene Research Institute brought credit union industry leaders and partners together with university academics to “connect the dots” between diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in credit union HR and marketing. As part of Momentum’s ongoing research into delivering the best employee experiences in the credit union workplace, we spent some time at the event contemplating how credit unions can approach workplace design with diversity, equity and inclusion in mind. We did this through a concept known as Universal Design – an approach to design that creates spaces that are useable and accessible to as many people as possible with little need to make special adaptations.One speaker shared a story about accessibility in her office space that illustrates the idea of Universal Design. Her office building has an employee gathering place, a central hub of activity and connection that was intended to be an inclusive space. When a new wheelchair using employee joined the team it was quickly apparent that he couldn’t access the space without asking for assistance. For him, a space that was intended to help employees build stronger relationships, relax, and celebrate became a place that highlighted his disability and made him feel different. It was off-limits to him. When the speaker brought the issue to her facilities department, she was met with a shrug and an explanation that “the space is built to code.”But for credit unions, with their mission of improving the lives of the people and communities they serve, there is little excuse for a bureaucratic approach to their office design. Universal Design puts users at the heart of the design process, asking them how their environments can support a great experience for all. Inclusion is never an afterthought, and the result are office spaces that are more welcoming and inclusive, that have given thought to accommodating various needs in an efficient, effective, and subtle way. Universal Design isn’t just about considering physical disabilities – it also considers other important differences in all users, in areas such as gender, age, culture, developmental disorders, even differing perspectives and states of mind.One particular challenge to delivering a great office environment is in balancing the need for workers to complete both cognitive, focused work and social, collaborative work in an environment that is comfortable for workers who may identify as being particularly introverted or extroverted. Recent data from our workplace research partner, Leesman, shows that only 26.6% of credit union workers are satisfied with the noise level in their workplace. A Universal Design solution to a problem like this could result in a work environment where employees have more mobility within their office building, and the ability to select work settings that are more comfortable for them. The result would be less stress for introverts, more opportunities for expression for extroverts, and zero unnecessary attention drawn to either group.One interesting point of debate that the Filene audience and speakers worked through was whether diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives should be pursued by credit unions primarily by building a bottom-line business case, or if diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives should be pursued more for ethical and moral reasons. While acknowledging the business case, University of Texas business professor Sekou Bermiss warned the group of what could be lost by reducing the topic to the narrow purpose of pursuing a business return. This comment brought me back to the wheelchair user who wanted to connect with his colleagues in the credit union’s central hub but couldn’t because the facilities department had taken a code-minimum approach to their workplace’s design. Credit Unions, with their community-oriented missions, have the opportunity to deliver a great experience for their entire employee team, and one way to do this is through Universal Design. 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mark Alguard Mark Alguard is the President and Director of Client Strategy at Momentum, a strategic design-build partner that takes a people centric approach to helping credit unions across the nation thrive.  Web: www.momentumbuilds.com Detailslast_img read more

Read More →

Klopp seeks solutions for Liverpool defensive crisis

first_imgShare on: WhatsApp FILE PHOTO: Jurgen Klopp The Liverpool boss, who has no intention of seeking a solution from the transfer market, told liverpoolfc.com: “Now we need the time to recover obviously, because we had a few injuries.“Hopefully we can bring a few back. ‘Millie’ (Milner) will be out for sure, unfortunately, but we will see, as long as we have enough players we will find a solution.“These boys are real fighters,” added the German. “It’s a bunch of proper warriors — I love that. They all stick their leg in or whatever.“It would have been a massive challenge if we had to play Wednesday and then Saturday. I have no idea how we would have done that, to be honest.“Now we have two days’ recovery for the boys with the most minutes then we start preparing them for the Leicester game, which is another tough task. It will not be a real break, we have to use it for training.”center_img London, United Kingdom | AFP | Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has taken his “warriors” to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp where he will search for a solution to his defensive dilemma.The Premier League leaders, four points ahead of Manchester City, are not in action this coming weekend because they were knocked out of the FA Cup in the last round.But James Milner’s sending-off in Saturday’s 4-3 win over Crystal Palace leaves Klopp with a headache at right-back for next week’s visit of Leicester.Joe Gomez, sidelined with a broken bone in his foot, will step up his recovery in Dubai and could have an outside chance of making the game but Trent Alexander-Arnold is still a couple of weeks away from fitness.Fabinho would have been an option in a position he has played for Brazil but he came off injured late on against Palace and even if fit he may be needed in midfield, with Georginio Wijnaldum out with a hamstring problem.Klopp gave 18-year-old Rafael Camacho his Premier League debut for the final few minutes at the weekend and he may be a one-off answer against Leicester.last_img read more

Read More →

Florida Man Sings and Reads to Relax Alligators During Pandemic

first_imgOne Florida resident is taking time to bring comfort to reptiles who are disoriented by the pandemic.Michael Womer is known as the “Gator Crusader.”He regularly posts videos in which he gets extremely close to alligators during live shows.Wormer explains that he has loved alligators since childhood, even going so far as telling his high school counselor that he wanted to perform with gators at that time.He recently shared with our news partner, WPTV NewsChannel 5, what changes he has made during the challenges of recent months, and whether he believes that alligators can sense the difference.Typically, Womer performs with a gator show in central Florida.His videos show him performing stunts and even reading to the alligators.According to Womer, alligators can tell something is different when they are not many people around them.“They don’t know exactly what’s happening, but they do register something is going on,” he said. “In order for an alligator to eat out in the wild, they have to be very observant. They are smarter than most people think.”Additionally, he explains that the change in the reptiles’ behavior was obvious in the first couple of days.“The first day or two, I had one or two that would just kind of sit in the back of the pen like, ‘I don’t know what’s happening. It’s weird,’” he said. “I started singing to them. I read them books. I talk to them, and then all of a sudden, they’re like, ‘All right. I know this guy. It’s OK.”The change in his personal work has provided Womer with an opportunity to reach a more global audience through streaming and posting his videos on YouTube.last_img read more

Read More →

Venus Williams wins Dubai title for 3rd time

first_imgVenus Williams of the U.S. shakes hands with Alize Cornet of France after she beat her in the final match of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Venus Williams won her 45th career WTA title at the Dubai Championships in an impressive 6-3, 6-0 victory over Alize Cornet of France in the final on Saturday.The 44th-ranked Williams, playing courtesy of a wild card, also won this title in 2009 and 2010. She’s won her last 15 matches in Dubai.Williams, who will move up to No. 29 in Monday’s updated rankings, last won a title at the 2012 Luxembourg tournament.“I have had a good week,” she said. “Everything is falling together.”The former world No. 1, Williams won all five of her matches this week in straight sets.“Just a lot of match toughness, mental toughness,” said Williams, when asked to explain her remarkable week of play. “When things got tough, I definitely got going this week.“If I was down break point, when push came to shove, I was pushing and shoving, I guess,” she added, laughing.The scoreline didn’t indicate how strong an effort Cornet put into the final, often matching Williams stroke by stroke, but falling short in the end.After Cornet squandered a 2-1 lead with a service break by losing the next four games, she was in tears during the changeover.“I think 6-3, 6-0 is a bit tough in an hour and 30, so I guess there was a battle on the court, but she was just better than me today,” Cornet said. “She was playing more aggressive.“She was pushing me out of the court very far from the baseline, and I didn’t play as deep as yesterday, didn’t serve as well. She deserved to win.”Williams closed out the first set on a third set point with a clean backhand winner. In the second set, it was Williams all the way.The 26th-ranked Cornet was attempting to post back-to-back wins over the Williams sisters.On Friday, Cornet scored her first career upset over a No. 1-ranked player by beating Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals.“The difference between me and Serena was just I put a few more balls in the court,” Williams said.But Cornet walked away hoping if she ever had a similar opportunity to play the Williams sisters in the same tournament the result might go in her favor.“For sure, beating the Williams sisters in the same tournament would have been amazing, and maybe next time if I have the chance (I can) do it,” said Cornet, offering her only smile of the night.last_img read more

Read More →

Olympia Arts Walk XLIV 2012 – Friday, April 27 from…

first_imgArts Walk is sponsored by the City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Department and Olympia Arts Commission, with support provided by Art House Designs, Capitol City Press, Heritage Bank and MIXX 96fm.  Arts Walk maps are available after April 14 at participating locations, Olympia City Hall, 601 4th Ave. East and The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW.  For more information, contact Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation at 360/753-8380. As day reaches into night, Arts Walk brings together over 120 businesses, hundreds of visual and performing artists with over 30,000 visitors as they welcome the arts in all forms during this twice-yearly event.  Literary and performing arts share the limelight with paintings and sculpture. Meet artists from all career levels: pre-school through professional.  Listen to a variety of live music including jazz, classical, folk acoustic, bluegrass, blues and rock & roll.  Learn to swing dance, or attend performances from Middle Eastern Dance to martial arts.  Check out “Poetry From the Heart”, storytelling and classic car design.  Take in impromptu street performances, and of course, exhibition of fine art from photography, painting and drawing to sculpture, glass, fiber, ceramics, printmaking and more.  Always new and different, Arts Walk events and activities reflect the interests of a community dedicated to the role of art in their lives.  The festival also includes the spectacular Procession of the Species, an artistic and environmental celebration presented by Earthbound Productions, a colorful and joyous street pageant using the languages of art, music and dance to inspire cultural appreciation, understanding, and protection of the natural world;  the Procession begins at 4:30pm on Saturday.  Due to the popularity of the Procession, cars parked in the route will be towed after 2pm on Saturday, April 28.  Drivers are advised to pay attention to street signage.  Arts Walk is the largest festival of this type in the region – an unparalleled opportunity to embrace the arts and meet the artists. Pollinators, by artist Susan Aurand, adorns the cover of the Arts Walk map this spring, constructed with oil on board.  Her work is strongly influenced by her passion for nature and philosophical inquiry into symbols, metaphor, memory and consciousness.  Susan has exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally with numerous solo and group exhibitions spanning from 1977 to present.  Her work is included in several public and private collections.  Susan received her graduate training in studio art from Ohio State University.  She has been a Professor of Art at The Evergreen State College since 1974.  Susan’s work can be seen during Arts Walk at Childhood’s End Gallery, located at 222 4th Ave NW. Facebook171Tweet0Pin0Photos by Lonnie Paul, courtesy of the Olympia Camera ClubCelebrate the creative and spirited arts community of Olympia as Arts Walk XLIV takes to the streets of the city’s historic downtown.  Tucked into a valley at the foot of South Puget Sound, Olympia is the state’s Capital, and also home to a vibrant mix of musicians, filmmakers, writers and visual and performing artists.  Dates for the event are Friday, April 27 from 5-10pm and Saturday, April 28 from Noon-8pm. Photos by Lonnie Paul, courtesy of the Olympia Camera Clublast_img read more

Read More →

Wig Warriors Comes to Red Bank

first_imgLawson doesn’t just address the obvious hair loss fromthe head. She can also help with remedies for thinning andloss of eyebrows and eyelashes, including eyeliners, browliners, powders and stencils, among other options. “It’s a tough road navigating through the side effects of chemotherapy,” she said, “but in the end the hair does grows back.” RED BANK – When Michele Lawson’s stepmother battled cancer she remembers the anxiety over the unknown effects her treatment would have on her body, both inside and out, including the potential loss of her hair. Wig Warriors was founded to help patients deal with the often traumatic, but sometimes overlooked side effects of cancer treatments. Chemotherapy drugs are powerful medications that attack rapidly growing cancer cells and unfortunately also attack other rapidly growing cells in the body, including those in the hair roots. Physicians deal with the nausea and potential for infections arising from the treatment, but don’t offer much support for hair loss, a non life-threatening side effect. “We help women navigate through the cosmetic side effects they will endure while going through treatment,” Lawson said. Wig Warriors offers each patient a free wig plus free wig services during treatment, along with a consultation to set up a plan of action to help deal with the difficulties clients may face during their treatment. Wig Warriors, housed at Hair & Co. salon in Red Bank, provides wigs, hair coverings and beauty tips at no cost to women undergoing cancer treatment. Photo courtesy Wig Warriors In a private room in Lawson’s salon, stocked with donated wigs, scarfs, head wraps and head coverings, Lawson meets with women undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. In this safe haven she discusses what they may experience, guides them through the stages of hair loss, and explains the options available to them, including pre-emptive hair cutting and shaving, as well as fitting, styling and caring for wigs. “When you look your best, you feel better,” says Lawson, who has volunteered with the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better program that teaches beauty techniques to people with cancer. “I started volunteering when our stepmom was suffering through her diagnosis in 2001 and I needed to help in some way and I started fitting and styling wigs for cancer patients.” By Judy O’Gorman Alvarez Now much of Lawson’s family is involved, includingher sons Luke, Kyle and Peter who sit on the foundation’sboard of directors. Now Lawson, a hair stylist and salon owner, has launched Wig Warriors: The Maureen S. Konopko Foundation in honor of her stepmother who sadly passed away from the disease. On Nov. 18 friends, supporters and the Red Bank community kicked off the nonprofit at her salon Hair & Co. on White Street. On any given day Lawson could be shaving a client’s head, discussing the best wig or head scarf options for another woman or coloring another client’s hair that hasstarted to grow back. “I helped one client transition into awig and start her hair loss journey from the difficult taskof shaving her head to discussing wig care and head wrapsand coverings,” Lawson said.last_img read more

Read More →

Origin of Life: How Dry I Am?

first_imgStephen Benner (U of Florida) has stopped looking for life in water.  A researcher into the evolutionary origin of life, he understands that “water is a terrible solvent for life” – not life as we know it today, he means, but life at the beginning.  This sounds strange, considering most astrobiologists believe in a “follow the water” approach to finding life in space.  In Nature,1 he explained:Benner points out that water is generally not a good solvent for doing organic chemistry – which is, in the end, what life is all about.  For one thing, water is rather reactive, tending to split apart the bonds that link the building blocks of biomolecules together.  It readily breaks peptide bonds, for example, as well as many of the bonds in nucleic acids, such as RNA.  “The structure of RNA screams ‘I did not arise in water!’” Benner asserts.  He says that in about four out of five cases, synthetic organic chemists will avoid using water as a solvent.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Benner shared his ideas at a conference in Italy earlier this year.  Philip Ball investigated his ideas in the article, but puzzled over what Benner said and what we know about how life utilizes water:But of course organic chemists aren’t usually trying to create life.  Water has many properties that seem indispensable for the functioning of proteins and cells.  It is an excellent solvent for ions, for example – crucial for nerve signalling, enzymatic processes, biomineralization and the behaviour of DNA.  It is also a master of weak intermolecular interactions such as hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic forces.  The latter play a central role in protein folding and protein-protein interactions, whereas the former often act as bridges between protein binding sites and their substrates.  And water’s ability to absorb and lose heat without undergoing a large temperature change provides thermal cushioning, shielding cells and organisms from wild temperature swings.    No other known liquid combines all of these properties.Because water is an enemy at the origin of life but an indispensable friend for sustaining it, chemical evolutionists have a conundrum on their hands.  As an escape, they are asking “what if” questions about whether life could have arisen in other solvents.Asking such ‘what if’ questions might seem strange to biologists and chemists, but it is far more common in cosmology or physics [see 08/16/2005].  For cosmologists, the physical Universe seems to be precariously fine-tuned to make life possible.  For example, the fine-structure constant, which determines the strength of electromagnetic interactions, is not fixed by any known fundamental theory; and yet if it was ten times larger, stable atoms could not exist….He [John Finney, University College, London] adds that “the fine-tuning argument with respect to water is a far more complex problem than that in astrophysics.  Without knowing what aspects of water are important, I suspect we are doing little more than speculating.”Others at the conference thought Benner was putting the cart before the horse: “life on Earth is adapted to water rather than the other way round,” they agreed.  Benner, meanwhile, beset by the problems with RNA and proteins in water, is going to investigate uncharted territory: dry, frozen worlds with liquid methane, perhaps, like Titan (08/09/2005, 01/21/2005), or ones of his own making:Benner is participating in a US National Academies panel funded by NASA that is looking at possible alternative chemistries for life, and which he hopes will identify research directions that funding agencies can pursue.  He believes that researchers should aim high – to create life forms that do not reproduce the chemistry that is found on Earth.  In other words, if we can’t easily get to other worlds, we should build them here.1Philip Ball, “Water and Life: Seeking the Solution,” Nature, 436, 1084-1085 (25 August 2005) | doi: 10.1038/4361084a.Steven Benner should know better.  He knows more than most evolutionists how many and intractable are the problems with chemical evolution; the problems are so bad, in fact, that he joked that they are almost enough to make one consider becoming a creationist (see 11/05/2004 entry).  Now that is really bad to a Darwinist!  Nothing could be worse.    Articles like this are useful to show that creationists and intelligent design advocates are not making things up when they talk about the fine-tuning of the laws of physics and the impossibility of getting life by chance.  Here you have it in the evolutionists’ own words.  There is nothing to show for a century of speculation – only futureware.    Cynics will undoubtedly follow not the water, but the money.  Chemical evolution has no real use for water, methane, or any other solvent, really; the thing that lubricates it is funding.  It’s what gave the charlatan Sidney Fox his fifteen years of fame (01/07/2005), and is keeping Astrobiology the slickest new drainpipe for NASA dollars.  Without funding, the Darwinian storytelling enterprise (12/22/2003) would dry up, and the bums would have to work in the real world.  Meanwhile, it’s your tax dollars at work.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Read More →

Xhosa knitwear design goes global

first_img8 September 2010When Laduma Ngxokolo, a textile graduate from South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, decided to create a range of men’s knitwear as part of a research project for his studies, he had no idea his love of knitting would cause such a stir in the fashion industry.“It feels like a dream some days,” Ngxokolo says when asked how it feels to go from being a student to an internationally acclaimed men’s knitwear designer.Ngxokolo’s distinctive pure kid mohair and Merino wool jerseys celebrate traditional Xhosa heritage and have put the spotlight on South African design talent.The fashion world first took notice of Ngxokolo’s designs when he entered an international competition initiated by the Society of Dyes and Colourists.He won the national leg of the competition, earning him a trip to London, some money and the Veronica Bell Trophy.He then went on to compete against eight other countries and, much to his surprise, was named the overall winner.Since then, one of his knitwear pieces was nominated for the 2011 Design Indaba Most Beautiful Objects in South Africa competition.Research project with a differenceAlthough wool and mohair garments have come to be associated with high-end fashion, Ngxokolo’s original intention for the jerseys was far much more practical.“For my BTech research project, I wanted to develop a Xhosa-inspired range of knitwear for amakrwala Xhosa for new initiates,” he says.In Eastern Cape Xhosa communities, boys between the age of 18 and 23 undergo circumcision as part of a manhood initiation ritual. After initiates return home from initiation school, they are guided through a six-month process where their elders teach them manhood protocol. Xhosa initiates are traditionally called amakrwala during this process.Before amakrwala attend circumcision school, all their old clothes are given away, which symbolises the end of boyhood. Their parents have to buy them new clothing, including high-quality men’s knitwear. This is where Ngxokolo saw a gap in the market.Amakrwala buy imported knitwear brands, but he says these bear no resemblance to Xhosa traditions. For this reason, Ngxokolo wanted to develop knitwear using only traditional Xhosa designs and colours.He says that amakrwala are influenced by urban, western styles and it was important to create contemporary garments that are still in keeping with Xhosa culture. He also wanted to use long-lasting fibres. “One of my main considerations was to use high-quality materials so that the items could be passed down to the next generation,” Ngxokolo adds.Finding design inspirationThe designs and patterns for each jersey are well researched. “I draw inspiration from traditional Xhosa beadwork. I add my own interpretation of each design and then develop the knitting motifs. This makes each jersey distinctive,” he says.The recurring zig-zag, arrow and diamond motifs found in Xhosa beadwork designs are structured geometrically, making them ideal for knitting.There is no sense of mass-production associated with Ngxokolo’s garments. Designing, sourcing of wool, dyeing and production can take up to a month. Once he has found motifs that he likes, he develops computer-aided knitwear designs resembling those of traditional Xhosa beadwork.Colour is important in Xhosa culture and the palette of each jersey is well thought-out.“Orange is one of my favourite colours. I select light, medium and dark colours so that they can be mixed and matched to form exciting colour combinations,” he says. The patterns on each jersey are attractively arranged, using various shades of red, orange, green, brown and even a touch of blue.Natural fibresNgxokolo is a purist and big supporter of using local and natural fibre in fashion. “Consumers are becoming more discerning about what they buy and wear and natural fibres are much more popular these days,” he says.All his jerseys are knitted using only pure wool and mohair from the Eastern Cape. “I enjoy working with mohair and wool because both fibres are durable, breathable and they have good colour fastness.”The Eastern Cape is a leading producer of high-quality wool and mohair, producing the majority of the world’s mohair. The absence of a thriving textile industry means the majority of mohair is exported.Ngxokolo says that in utilising the fibre, he can indirectly contribute to the sustainability of local farmers and small-scale black community farmers.Building a businessThanks to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) incubator initiative, a programme that helps promising graduates turn their creative ideas into viable businesses, Ngxokolo is on his way to building a thriving business.The NMMU Fashion and Textile Department provides him with a rent-free workshop and he is training four apprentice knitters to help with the growing demand for his knitwear. Ngxokolo also hopes to launch a female knitwear range in early 2012.The response to his work has been overwhelming and he says he has his mother to thank for first getting him interested in knitting. “She taught me everything I know,” Ngxokolo says.First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Read More →