Rare African Black Leopard Photographed in Kenya

Images of a rare African black leopard have been captured in Kenya.

British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas set up motion-sensitive cameras to capture the largely nocturnal cat in Laikipia Wilderness Camp in January.

“I’m able to set up a kind of studio-like lighting and just leave my cameras set up for weeks or months,” he told Reuters.

Black leopards – or panthers – carry a gene mutation for “melanism” that makes their coats black, but the night-time infrared cameras used by Burrard-Lucas can reveal their spots.

While he was capturing stills, researchers from San Diego Zoo Global studying leopards in the area set up remote video cameras nearby, publishing their findings in the African Journal of Ecology.

Burrard-Lucas heard from a friend that a black leopard had been spotted in the area and, after contacting the landowners, headed off to set out his cameras near the animal’s tracks.

“It’s very dusty, so you can pick up tracks especially early in the morning after the night,” he said. “You can see everything that’s passed.”

Scientists had assumed that a black coat was an evolutionary response to leopards moving out of the dense forests where their spots camouflage them, San Diego Zoo said in its statement.

The discovery of a black leopard in a open, arid habitat in Kenya raises questions about that theory, however.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

From The Hippo’s Ears: Namibia

Facts you may not have know about Namibia:

Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in southern Africa. Its western border is the Atlantic Ocean; it shares land borders with Zambia and Angola to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek, and it is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Namibia has a population of approximately 2.6 million, is a Unitary dominant-party semi-presidential republic, and gained independence from South Africa in 1990.

1.  When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?

The basic physical greeting is the handshake. In English, the common greeting is “hello”. In Afrikaans, it’s “hallo”. German speakers say “guten tag”, and in Oshiwambo it’s “Ongaipi”.

2. What languages are spoken in the country?

English is the only official language in Namibia. The most common language, spoken by around half of the population, is Oshiwambo. Other common languages include Nama, Afrikaans, Otjiherero, Kavango, Lozi, San, and German.

3. Do you use a twelve hour clock, or a twenty-four hour clock?

We use a 24-hour system.

4. What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in the country?

We drive on the left side of road. Due to low traffic volumes the majority of roads are not tarred.

5. How important is punctuality?

Punctuality is important in Namibia, with trying to arrive on time being part of the local culture.

6. Which types of music are popular? Who are some of the most popular musicians?

The music of Namibia has a number of folk styles, as well as pop, rock, reggae, jazz, house and hip hop. Folk music accompanies storytelling or dancing. The Namaqua use various strings, flutes and drums while the Bantu use xylophones, gourds and horn trumpets. The Namibian reggae platform has produced artist such as Ras Sheehama, Petu, Ngatu, who has been performing since 1994. Rock n roll is widely celebrated by the white communities of Namibia. Die Vögel is one of Namibia’s most outstanding rock n roll bands. Kwaito is also very popular in Namibia, with local artists including The Dogg, Gazza, Sunny Boy, Qonja, Tre Van Die Kasie, and OmPuff.

For a taste of Namibian music, listen to Ras Sheehama’s Inotila, and Makgona Ngwao.

7. Are there any Traditional Dances?

Traditional Namibian dance occurs at events such as weddings and at traditional festivals such as the Caprivi Arts Festival. Watch an example of traditional Namibian dance here.

8.  What traditional Festivals are celebrated in the country?

Lusata Festival
Lusata Festival is an annual festival for all Mafwe tribal people of Namibia and nearby countries. The Mafwe people are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Caprivi Region. The festival celebrates traditional values, commemorates the past, and looks forward to the future. It occurs annually in the last week of September. The festival’s name is a reference to the royal mace – an ivory-encrusted stick. Most people from all villages in Caprivi come to celebrate by dancing and feasting. It always is held where the king stays, in Chinchimani village, 6 km away from Katima Mulilo.

Bank Windhoek Arts Festival
Held every February, the Bank Windhoek Arts Festival celebrates local artists and their work. It encourages the development of artists, helping locals establish a name in the industry and giving people a vehicle to enjoy the local design scene. A variety of events from dance and theater to visual arts are held throughout the capital.

Windhoek Karneval
The biggest cultural event in Windhoek, and Namibia in general, is the Windhoek Kareneval or WIKA. A remnant leftover from German occupation, visitors in attendance will feel a distinct German vibe throughout the festival. Held in April, WIKA involves a number of events including musical performances and a masked ball for adults and carnival and Independence Avenue parade for kids.

Oktoberfest
Having formally been a territory of the Germans, Namibians naturally celebrate what has become one of the world’s best-known drinking events, Oktoberfest. Beer, fun and games attract people of all ages to the capital of Windhoek..

9. What are the seasons like?

The winter (June – August) is generally dry. Both rainy seasons occur in summer: the small rainy season between September and November, the big one between February and April. Rainfall is highly variable, and droughts are common. Weather and climate in the coastal area are dominated by the cold, north-flowing Benguela Current of the Atlantic Ocean, which accounts for very low precipitation (50 mm (2 in) per year or less), frequent dense fog, and overall lower temperatures than in the rest of the country. Efundja, the annual seasonal flooding of the northern parts of the country, often causes damage.

10. What are some interesting facts about the President?

President Hage Geingob has been President of Namibia since 2015. He previously served as the country’s Prime Minister, from 2012 to 2015, and its Minister of Trade and Industry, from 2008 to 2012. After obtaining a MA degree in International Relations in New York, Geingob was appointed SWAPO Representative at the United Nations and to the Americas. He served in this position until 1971.

Geingob is known to be an avid football fan, and has attended many high-profile games. He also regularly attends the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs), and in his youth sang in a choir, and played in a band.

11. What are the country’s major industries?

The largest economic sectors are mining, agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. About half of the population depends on agriculture (largely subsistence agriculture) for its livelihood, but Namibia must still import some of its food. Namibia is the fourth largest exporter of non-fuel minerals in Africa and the world’s fourth largest producer of uranium. Tourism is a major contributor to Namibia’s GDP, creating tens of thousands of jobs directly or indirectly, and servicing over a million tourists per year. The country is a prime destination in Africa and is known for ecotourism which features Namibia’s extensive wildlife.

12. How do people spend their free time?

Locals spend their free time with family and friends, visiting the beach, taking road trips or off-roading, camping, or watching local sports matches. There are also a number of nature reserves to visit.

13. What is a popular local drink?

Namibia has a strong beer culture, and produces many varieties of local beer, including traditional African millet varieties. Examples are Windhoek lager, DAS Pilsner, and Oshikundu. Despite the climate, the country also produces its own wine.

14. What is a popular local dish?

When you visit Namibia, you will find that the cuisine is very different and varied. Local specialities worth sampling are Swakopmund green asparagus (September to April), Luderitz oysters (all year round), Kalahari truffles (May and June if they appear), and Omajowa, the large fleshy mushrooms that appear for a brief period at the foot of termite hills north of Okahandja shortly after the rains in February.

A wide selection of home-made cheeses are made by Danis Kuche near Otjiwarongo and the production of Namibian olives — the Kalamata (black) variety as well as the green —has taken off well. In Swakopmund, Luderitz and Windhoek you can indulge in traditional German-style confectionery including classics such as Schwarzwälder, Kirschtorte, and Apfelstrudel as well as the renowned Springer chocolates produced in Windhoek. A favourite breakfast and light lunch are crisp bread rolls, referred to as Brötchen, filled with cheese, eggs, meat or salad.

15. What do you pay, on average, for the following? (1 USD = approx. NAD 14)

3 Course meal: NAD 250
Domestic beer (500ml): NAD 20
Cup of coffee: NAD 25
Coca cola (330ml): NAD 12
Milk (1l): NAD 18
Loaf of white bread: NAD 10
Apples (1 kg): NAD 30
Water (1.5l):NAD 17

16. Any general safety tips?

Namibia is generally very safe for travellers. Exercise the same precautions as you would back home: don’t have valuables on show, and don’t walk through the townships at night unless accompanied by a guide. It is safer to call a taxi than hail one on the street – your accommodation should be able to arrange this for you. Avoid driving outside of the towns at night – the roads are not lit and vehicles are in danger of colliding with roaming wildlife.

17. In conclusion, famous (and sometimes infamous) people from the country include:

  • Rosa Namises, a politician and human rights activist, and former member of parliament. A prominent voice on gender issues, human-rights violations, and violence against women and children in Namibia, she is the director of Woman Solidarity Namibia.
  • Frankie Fredericks, a former track and field athlete. Running in the 100 metres and 200 metres, he won four silver medals at the Olympic Games (two in 1992 and two in 1996), making him Namibia’s so far only Olympic medalist. He also won gold medals at the World Championships, World Indoor Championships, All-Africa Games and Commonwealth Games. He is the world indoor record-holder for 200 metres, with a time of 19.92 seconds set in 1996.
  • Trevor Dodds, a professional golfer. Turning pro in 1985, Dodds has compiled 14 wins on four different tours.
  • Samuel Shafiishuna Daniel Nujoma, a Namibian revolutionary, anti-apartheid activist and politician who served three terms as the first President of Namibia, from 1990 to 2005. Nujoma was a founding member and the first president of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) in 1960. He played an important role as leader of the national liberation movement in campaigning for Namibia’s independence from South African rule. Nujoma led SWAPO during the lengthy Namibian War of Independence, which lasted from 1966 to 1989.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3]. Image sources: Jonatan Pie [1].

What to Look Out For When Buying Property Overseas

Buying property abroad as an expat can require more research, and may involve more risks than buying in your home country. You should start planning the purchase well in advance, do some research on formalities such as visa requirements for buyers and mortgage conditions, and get expert advice when necessary. Expat.com has put together a guide to finding and buying the right property for you, whether it’s an investment solution, a holiday home, or a permanent residence.

Know why you want to buy a property

In all cases, a property is a type of investment, however, before purchasing real estate, define the main reasons behind such a costly move. If you are buying with investment in mind, look in tourist hubs or big cities which are popular among digital nomads, leisure, and business travellers. These properties tend to go up in value and secure a high rental income throughout the year. On the other hand, if you are searching to buy your permanent home abroad to settle in with your family, consider the cost and quality of life, accessibility, population of expat community, and facilities (e.g. hospitals, schools, entertainment) in different regions in the country before you conclude.

Create a budget

Owning property doesn’t only involve the cost of buying it — there are more expenses to consider beyond the price of the house. To complete a real estate purchase and to make the house livable or profitable, you will have to pay the broker’s and attorney’s fees, taxes, and spend money on furniture and appliances. For example, in Spain, a stamp duty, which is the tax you pay on any property purchase, is about one per cent of the purchase price, and a VAT tax is about ten per cent. Also, there is a yearly ownership tax which fluctuates from property to property and location to location; in Spain, it starts from 100 Euros and goes up to as much as 3,000. In general, you may end up spending an additional 2 to 5 per cent of the purchase price in closing fees.

Research the different regions

Before deciding on a specific location, it’s a good idea to understand what everyday life is like in the area. If you aim to rent out your property to holidaymakers, make sure the area is well-connected and has attractions, as well as activities for different ages and tastes. Also, do market research to check whether property values in the region have been declining or increasing in recent years. This will help you understand whether a property purchase in this location is a good investment or a risky one. The best way to get a clear picture of all the above is to rent a house for a few weeks and explore the area where you plan to buy with the mindset of a permanent resident.

Consider all types of properties

Do you prefer to buy a new construction property, which won’t require any refurbishment or a resale property in which you can apply your creativity and renovation ideas? There are also off-plan properties, which have been approved for construction by the local authorities, but it is likely that the house will not be built due to bureaucracy, the bankruptcy of the development company, or other reasons.

Hire a property agent and an attorney

Once you have decided on the region, type of property, and budget ask the help of a property agent, who will narrow down the options for you based on your criteria. However, keep in mind that a property agent may not always prioritise your best interest, but the sellers, as often it is the seller who pays the agent’s commissions. If you aren’t fluent in the official language of the country you want to buy property in, an attorney (who speaks your native language too and is registered with the local bar association) will guide you through the process and the local real property laws.

Organise the formalities

Depending on your expatriation plans, you will have to apply for a different visa to stay and purchase real estate in your host country. For example, if you wish to retire overseas, you will need a resident permit, which allows you to live in the country without working — as long as you can prove that your pension from back home is adequate to support you financially while abroad. Many countries such as Spain, Portugal, the Bahamas, and Mauritius offer residency in exchange for foreign investment in property, which is worth more than a certain amount.

Get a survey and an inspection done

Before you make up your mind about a property, book an inspection to find out about defects in the house that most likely aren’t obvious, and about structural improvements that you can make. A survey, which is also done by experts, will tell you where is the beginning and end of your property and land; also you will find out about the exact locations of underground cables and pipes.

Negotiate the contract

Before signing the contract for your property purchase, make sure that you have no unanswered questions left. Among other details, the contract has deadlines, both for you and the seller, for different stages of the process depending on the type of property you are buying. Some information you should see on the contract is the date of completion for an off-plan construction, scheduled repairs and the person in charge to cover the cost, taxes, etc.

Close on the property

To close on your desired house, you should be able to pay an initial deposit, which varies from one country to another. In Europe, it’s about ten per cent, whereas in the USA and Australia it’s up to 20 per cent. In general, a bigger deposit increases the chances of the approval of your loan and means borrowing less money, thus paying less interest to the bank. This final stage of your purchase should take place at a notary’s office, and if you cannot be there in person, you have the option to send a representative.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: Expat.com [1], [2]. Image sources: rawpixel [1], [2].

Home Affairs Clamps Down on Illegal Immigrant Employment

It is now a matter of when and not if companies employing foreign nationals will be audited by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

The arrest of at least 25 illegal foreign nationals at the beginning of May by the Cape Town Police, accompanied by officials from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), sparked a scramble among the local business community who are concerned that they may unknowingly be employing foreigners who are working in the country illegally.

Marisa Jacobs, immigration specialist at Xpatweb, says that considering recent arrests that have been made, HR professionals, managers, business owners and CEOs need to make sure that systems are in place to ensure that expatriates are legally employed within their business.

“The Department of Home Affairs has warned that they will be increasing the number of audits and investigations among South African companies that employ foreign nationals. This isn’t an empty threat and they are clamping down on foreign nationals who contravene the act as well as employers who are illegally employing foreigners. Anyone who is deemed responsible for the appointment of the person could face repercussions which means that everyone from HR managers to CEOs could face fines or imprisonment,” says Jacobs.

Pitfall no.1: Employees job titles don’t match work visa job titles

Making sure that an employee’s job title matches the title on their work visa is a vital step to ensuring that foreigners are complying with the Act. “It can happen that a company employs a foreign national and that the employee is promoted or moved within the business. When an employee changes jobs and their job title or position changes, their work visa may no longer comply with the conditions thereof.

The process to update the visa so that it is in line with the work contract is relatively simple and straightforward, but it’s a step that many employers overlook, and this can put them at risk to non-compliance,” says Jacobs.

Pitfall no.2: Information on permits don’t match DHA system information

If a company has employed a foreign national already in possession of a visa, the company may not know if the worker’s visa is legitimate, whether it was obtained in the correct manner or even if it was issued by the DHA.

“In this case, we recommend that employers contact the DHA to check what information is on the system. This additional check beyond looking at a work visa is needed to ensure compliance with the Act,” says Jacobs.

Pitfall no.3: No skills transfer plan

Another potential pitfall that companies should take note of is the condition relating to the transfer of skills. Certain categories of work visas for foreign nationals stipulate that the skill that is being imported needs to be transferred to local citizens. If a company is audited by the DHA, the company may be asked to present their skills transfer plans.

“One of the main reasons South African businesses employ foreign nationals is because we don’t have the skills, knowledge or expertise within our borders. Having a skills transfer plan in place is a great opportunity for local employers to upskill their employees and give them an opportunity to learn from foreigners so that they can cultivate the skills that are needed within their business as well as the country. Besides requesting a copy of the company’s skills transfer plan, DHA may further request to interview people who have been earmarked to learn from the foreign nationals,” concludes Jacobs.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: IT-Online [1]. Image sources: [1].

SA President Ramaphosa Announces R1.2 Trillion Investment Drive

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday evening that South Africa would host a major investment conference in August or September 2018, which would aim to raise over R1trn in new investments over five years.

“The investment conference, which will involve domestic and international investors in equal measure, is not intended merely as a forum to discuss the investment climate,” said Ramaphosa, according to his prepared notes.

He was speaking at OR Tambo International Airport, before leaving for a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

“Rather, we expect the conference to report on actual investment deals that have been concluded and to provide a platform for would-be investors to seek out opportunities in the South African market. We are determined that the conference produce results that can be quantified and quickly realised.”

Ramaphosa said government hopes that the conference would generate at least $100bn – or about R1.2trn -in new investments over the next five years.

“Given the current rates of investment, this is an ambitious but realisable target that will provide a significant boost to our economy.”

Special envoys

Ramaphosa also unveiled the names of four ‘special envoys on investment’, who he said would spend the next few months engaging both domestic and foreign investors around economic opportunities in SA.

They are former minister of finance Trevor Manuel, former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas, executive chair of the Afropulse Group Phumzile Langeni, and chair of the Liberty Group and former Standard Bank head Jacko Maree.

“They will be travelling to major financial centres in Asia, Middle East, Europe and the Americas to meet with potential investors. A major part of their responsibility will be to seek out investors in other parts of Africa, from Nairobi to Lagos and from Dakar to Cairo,” he said.

The president also named businesswoman Trudi Makhaya as his economic adviser. Makhaya holds a number of degrees in business and economics, including from Oxford University and the University of the Witwatersrand.

Ramaphosa said that Makhaya would coordinate the work of the four special envoys and organise a series of investment roadshows in preparation for the conference.

According to Makhaya’s website, she has served as an adviser and angel investor to a number of companies, and has held non-executive directorships at Vumelana Advisory Fund and MTN South Africa.

She has also held management or consulting roles at Deloitte South Africa, Genesis Analytics, AngloGold Ashanti and the Competition Commission.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: Jan Cronje (Fin24) [1].