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Andrew Watt- The work of a Kenyan born artist has gone on display at the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield.

Bringing together more than 50 works by Magdalene Odundo, one of the world’s most esteemed artists working in ceramics, this new show including a vessel made in 1978 from Wakefield’s art collection, which was the first of her works to be purchased by a public institution.

These will be shown alongside a large selection of objects chosen by the artist from across the globe and spanning 3,000 years, to reveal the rich and diverse range of making traditions that have informed the development of her own work.

Magdalene was born in Kenya in 1950. She attended the Nairobi Polytechnic in Kenya to study Graphics and Commercial Art before moving to England in 1971 to follow her chosen vocation in Graphic Design, completing her qualifications in foundation art and graphics at the Cambridge College of Art.

After choosing ceramics as her preferred medium, she traveled to Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria to study their ceramic traditions and subsequent travels across Europe, Africa, Asia, and Central America have continued to inspire her art.

Internationally acclaimed architect Farshid Moussavi OBE has designed the exhibition which places Magdalene’s work at the heart of a constellation of objects that she has drawn inspiration from including British studio pottery by Hans Coper and Lucy Rie, ancient vessels from Greece and Egypt, historic ceramics from Africa, Asia and Central America and Elizabethan costume and textiles.

Magdalene Odundo said: ‘I am excited and looking forward to enabling visitors to experience my work within the context of the very many cultures, histories and works of art that I have had the privilege of studying and taken inspiration from over the last 40 years.”

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Sometimes being happy and living an anxiety-free life is really as simple as slowly adding small, positive spices into your life in order to get a different taste. Self growth isn’t actually as challenging as one may think.

Most people approach personal growth as “I have to remove all of these bad habits or choices in order to live a good life”, or "I have to stop hanging out with them, they're intoxicating and poisoning my life"; which ties your perspective to what you don’t like, what you “should feel bad” about doing, and what you don’t want to be. This is good to be aware of, but on the same token, who are you when you are actively living what you don’t want to be? Should your awareness focus on what you don’t want, or what you do want?

Law of Attraction states when we focus on what we do want, we attract exactly that into our lives. So I think this should be the first easy way to live a happy life, free of anxiety.

Now by simply adding positive changes that support who you do want to be, you will grow and your life will improve in favour of this.

Here are 9 very easy ways to improve your life:

1. Make your bed within an hour of waking up

It’s so good on the mind to feel like you’ve accomplished something right at the start of your day. It’s a simple task that’s easy to turn into a habit. It’s very calming on the mind to have a decluttered space, so when the blankets aren’t in bunches, or sprawled over the floor; you’re already setting the tone for a clear headspace kind of day.

2. Drink a warm glass of water first before your daily dose of caffeine.

After spending the past 8 hours sleeping & not at all eating or drinking, your stomach/digestive systems are very delicate and your body is often dehydrated. Rehydrate your body before consuming dehydrating substances, such as coffee or tea. This can help minimize that mid-afternoon caffeine crash as well!

3. Spend some time off of your phone when you wake up to set the tone for your day

When slowly awakening from dream-land, your brain and mind very sensitive. When we immediately turn to our phones to begin scrolling; checking in on what has happened while we were sleeping, we take away our opportunity to decide for ourselves what kind of day we’re having. Allow this to be prioritized you time. Check in with yourself first, before checking in on the rest of the world.

4. Choose an outfit you feel good in!

Okay but how great does it feel when you’re wearing an outfit you LOVE. I don’t know about you but I feel unstoppable and ready to conquer anything when my outfit is on point. This is a great feeling to have more days than not. (Treating yourself to a PJ day every once in a while is totally important, too).

5. Listen to your favourite songs while going about your daily activities

Familiar tunes & upbeat music naturally makes us feel good. Music can make even the worst tasks, more enjoyable. Picture this; you’re doing the dishes, everything is silent – you probably hear some background noise of other housemates or the sound of cars driving by and all you can focus on is the seemingly never-ending pile of dishes you’ve been sorting through. dreadful. Better yet, picture yourself doing the dishes while your absolute favourite playlist is on shuffle. The dishes become a mindless task while you hum/dance/sing along. Moral of the story is music makes everything better.

 6. Smile at other people (including yourself!)

A smile goes a long way, simply put. Try it out Read More

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There are two types of people in the world: those who love speaking in public and those who are scared stiff at the thought of it.

Performance anxiety and stage fright are perfectly normal phenomena that occur to many people. It is important for you to understand what stage fright is, so that you can fully overcome it.

Stage fright or performance anxiety is a persistent phobia which is aroused in an individual when required to perform in front of an audience.

Even the most confident performers can suffer from stage fright. Stage fright is common for everyone from Broadway actors to professional presenters. If you have stage fright, then you may start to feel nervous, shaky, or even completely debilitated at the thought of performing in front of an audience. Its not like stage fright is incurable, you can overcome your stage fright by training your body and mind to relax.
PS. it helps if you're performing in pair and it also helps if you've a lot of your close friends in the audience.

Here are some things to keep in check;

1. Know Your Stuff.

Nothing will stop stage fright in it’s gripping tracks like being prepared. Know your content, your speech and more importantly your audience. If you know what you are talking about then you have no reason to be nervous.

Understanding your topic will enable you to speak more naturally and hence more confidently. Also, should a technical hitch occur, this won’t faze you as you are already confident on the subject.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice.

Knowing your stuff helps, but it doesn’t necessarily eradicate the problem. You need to practice as much as you can before the performance or public speaking d-day.

Really know your content inside out and practice (preferably in front of a live audience) as much as possible to build your confidence.

3. Relax your body. To overcome stage fright, there are a few things you can do to relax your body before going on the stage. Easing the tension from your body can help steady your voice and relax your mind. Rehearse your lines. If you mess up on stage, don't panic! Make it seem like the act.

Eat a banana before you perform. It will lower that empty or nauseous feeling in your stomach but won't make you feel too full either.

Chew gum. Chew gum a little bit to ease the tension in your jaw. Just don't chew gum too long on an empty stomach or you may upset your digestive system a bit.

Stretch. Stretching your arms, legs, back, and shoulders is another great way to reduce the tension in your body.

Pretend that you are acting as a different character. This can help you put aside the audience's pressure.

4.  Set a "stop time" for your anxiety. On the day of your performance, tell yourself that you can allow yourself to be nervous for a certain amount of time, but that after a certain hour -- say, 4:00 PM -- all anxiety will just have to go. Just setting this goal and making this promise to yourself will make it much more likely to happen.

5.  Imagine your favorite person in the audience. Instead of imagining every person in the audience in their underwear -- which can be a little weird -- imagine that every seat in the audience is filled with a clone of your favorite person.

That person loves you and will listen to and approve of anything you say or do. That person will laugh at the right times, encourage you, and clap wildly at the end of the performance.

6.  Drink citrus juice. Drinking citrus juice half an hour before your performance can lower your blood pressure and ease your anxiety.

7.  Laugh as much as you can. Watch a comedy in the morning, put on your favorite YouTube video, or just spend the afternoon hanging around the funniest person in your company. Laughing will relax you and take your mind off your nervousness.

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Some of us may have come across the gay Muslim account that posted comic strips on Instagram that brought online commotion, most people are wondering where the account had disappeared to.

The Instagram account which posted comic strips depicting the struggles of gay Muslims in Indonesia vanished from the social media site.

Indonesia's communications ministry was quick to take credit for the disappearance of the account, saying it had asked Instagram to take the account down because it contained "pornographic content".

Instagram later denied this claim, saying it had not removed the account.

The question now is, where did the account disappear to?

The Instagram account - under the username @Alpantuni - featured comic strips that showed the abuse and discrimination faced by a gay Muslim character. It had close to 6,000 followers.

In a statement, the social network said "it did not remove this account", adding that there are "a number of other reasons why an account may no longer be accessible, including, for example, if the account holder deleted the account, deactivated the account, or changed the account username."

It also added that it had "reviewed the account against our community guidelines and found that it does not violate our policies."

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Valentine must be going real red for some of you.. Now lets hold our red down a bit and admire this pure work of art from Egle Ellerman. Nothing makes Val more exciting than a series of red themed artwork. Egle calls this series 'Sisters Of Mercy' and you just really have to love it.

Enjoy these wonderful series

Anastasia (Egle) Ellerman is a photographer originally from Russia, now based in Denmark. She studied graphic design at Moscow University and photography in Denmark. 

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President Trump remains defiant as far as the border wall with Mexico is concerned. There is dissension among the Congress members as to how many undocumented immigrants can be detained. For instance, there are 17 Republican and Democratic negotiators from the Senate and the House of Representatives who have been conducting talks to be made acceptable by the Congress. Therefore, there is a possibility of another government shutdown because of the stalled talks over a border security deal. The last shutdown lasted 35 days and this was the longest period in US history. The latest impasse seems to be hinged on a Democratic demand to restrict the number of undocumented migrants already in the US who can be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Democrats insist to limit the number of beds at detention centers at 16,500. Furthermore, they anticipate funding between $1.3bn and $2bn for the construction of the border which is quite less than the %5.7 billion being demanded by President Trump. Conceding that the federal funding agreement is running out, it is worrisome that the legislation has not been passed by Congress.

Owing to the imbroglio, many have suffered. For instance, a number of workers were furloughed. Even those working in essential services, like hospitals and law enforcement, worked without payment. Overall, the cost to the US economy was estimated at $11 billion (8.5 billion pounds). Earlier, on 25th January, President Trump had agreed to a three-week spending deal to end the shutdown and allow Congress to reach an agreement. That funding ends at midnight on Friday. Any attempt for settling a new short-term deal could be one of the ways of preventing a new shutdown.      

It is important some solution be devised to emerge out of this crisis lest the federal agencies lose access to money and impact the federal employees adversely owing to their being unpaid for their services.


--- Stuti Saxena  is a contributor on Blueprintafric,

Stuti is a follower of Open Government Data (OGD) as a research theme. She is a research scholar at the Central University of Haryana in the Political Science Department. Hitherto, where she has been associated with the National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad, Indian Institutes of Management, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Indore, and ICFAI, Hyderabad in diverse roles. Stuti holds an MPhil degree in Public Administration from Lucknow University.

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Many people have the impression that the only benefit of weight training is to build muscle mass and get big. The truth is, however, that weight training in its various forms is also great for burning fat and toning muscle.

Even if you’ve never been to a gym or are opposed to the idea of lifting heavy weights amongst a crowd of sweaty guys please shelve your skepticism and read on.

Let’s take a look at five ways weight training can help you get to where you want to go when it comes to fitness:

1). Cardio & Resistance Training: Most people try to burn fat by cardiovascular workout alone. They may do aerobics, power-walk, play a sport or hit the treadmill. Cardio is an indispensable part of any fat burning regimen, though better results will be achieved when some kind of resistance training is included. Consider arm and ankle weights for example. Any power-walking session will increase in intensity and in turn burn more calories with the addition of strap on weights at your extremities.

2). Burn fat while you sleep: Weight training burns fat by stressing out your muscles. This minor “damage” results in the ache you feel post workout. While your body is repairing the damage it’s consuming calories and as such burning fat. Hence, your workout continues even while you sleep!

3). Lightweights & high reps: This is a great way to tone the muscle you already have. When you use lighter dumbbells example to perform curls and a host of other exercises, you help stop the natural atrophy of your for muscles that occurs as you get older. Not only will you experience the benefit of burning fat by consuming more energy, but you will also start to look more toned and defined.

4). Heavyweights & low reps: Lifting heavy weights less often is the key to muscle growth. Bodybuilders want to stress their muscles to the point of failure, so they achieve the greatest increase in size during the recovery period. They are in a constant cycle of “tear & repair” as their bodies respond to the increased demands put on them. Heavyweight training can help those wanting to burn fat also when used as part of a complete training regimen. By stressing your muscles out in this way even once a week, you’re aiding in the growth, toning and fat loss processes.

5). Keep your muscles confused: The human body is extremely good at adapting itself to new conditions and physical demands. If you jog every day, your body rebuilds itself to perform that task. So too if you swim or do weight training. It’s common knowledge though that a good swimmer is not necessarily a good runner. We have to train for the specific task we want to perform. When you lift weights, your body will be stressed out initially, though grow accustomed to the practice over time. This adaptation leads to great efficiency and less energy consumption during the exercise.

By mixing up your weight training routine with different exercises, you can trick your body into thinking you’re starting something new each time you train. This keeps energy consumption at a maximum and burns fatter.

To conclude, there are many ways to achieve your fitness goals. By incorporating resistance training and weights into your regimen, you can get where you’re going faster and look a little more toned in the process.

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Often in business and education, we talk about goals and objectives, indeed sometimes we use the terms interchangeably – but are they the same?

Let's start with some history and definitions:

Goal – 1530s, “end point of a race,” of uncertain origin, perhaps from O.E. *gal “obstacle, barrier,” a word implied by gælan “to hinder.” The word goal appears once before this, in a poem from early 14c. and with an apparent sense of “boundary, limit.” Sports sense of “place where the ball is put to score” is attested from the 1540s. Figurative sense of “object of the effort” is from the 1540s

Objective- The 1610s, originally in the philosophical sense of “considered in relation to its object” (opposite of subjective), formed on the pattern of M.L. objectivus, from objectum “object” (see object (n.)). Meaning “impersonal, unbiased” is first found in 1855, influenced by Ger. objektiv. The noun is 1738, with a sense of “something objective to the mind;” meaning “goal, aim” is first as a military term from the American Civil War, 1864 (in objective point), from French; general use of it is first attested 1881

Goals & Objectives in a modern business & educational sense

It has been said that Goals without objectives can never be achieved while objectives without goals will never get you to where you want to be. Indeed the two concepts are related and yet separate. Using both can enable you (or the organization) to be and do what you want to do.

A company’s goals and objectives are the foundation, which measures how much distance it has covered to attain its vision. Goals are defined as the lifelong aims, which an individual or entity endeavor to achieve something. It determines what the company is attempting to accomplish. On the other hand, objectives are the specific milestones which a person plans to achieve in a limited period. These are precise, measurable, time-based, actions that assist in the achievement of the goal.

Some management academics would say that the difference between goals and objectives is that a goal is a description of a destination, and an objective is a measure of the progress that is needed to get to the destination.

In this context, goals are the long term outcomes you (or the organization) want/ need to achieve. More often than not, these goals can be broken into “chunks” or objectives. Goals are often open and unstructured in nature. Goals can be fluid and are directional in nature.

Objectives tend to be single achievable outcomes. They are concrete in statement and purpose. There is no ambiguity as to whether they have been achieved or not

Examples of Goals and Objectives


I want to be the best musician in the school

We will be the number 1 supplier of….

I want to maintain a good knowledge of the profession.


we will sell xxx units by June next year.

I will pass my stage 3 business French assessment.

We will deliver 90% of the contract by…

So what is the real difference between goals and objectives?

Simple – your desired outcome, scope and time frame… one is a goal… the other an objective.

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Only one elephant remains in the Knysna forest and surrounding fynbos: a mature female. There is enormous pathos and tragedy in this finding as she is the last truly wild, free-roaming elephant in SA and the southernmost in the world.

The finding was recently published in a scientific article titled And Then There Was One by leading mammal scientists, following a rigorous camera trap survey, using 72 passive infrared-triggered cameras, 24/7 from July 2016 to October 2017 in the Knysna elephant range that spans 185km².

This range includes the Garden Route National Park, privately-owned commercial timber plantations and privately-owned forested land. The Knysna elephants have always moved directionally and seasonally along clearly-defined elephant pathways between feeding patches and water in the area.

“There has been a debate for years now about how many Knysna elephants there are, as they are difficult to see or locate,” says Graham Kerley from the Centre for African Conservation Ecology at Nelson Mandela University, one of the renowned mammal researchers who participated in the research and co-authored the article.

“To have it confirmed that there is only one Knysna elephant left is a shock to many as there is a deep aura of mystique and mythology around them, fuelled by their elusiveness, and by stories like Dalene Matthee’s Circles in a Forest.”

Camera Traps

To conduct the survey, the 72 cameras were deployed at 38 locations within the elephant range and set to take high-quality images with a one-second interval between sequential photographs, and a two-second delay between video clips. They were fastened to trees within 1m of elephant-used roads and paths, at a height of 1m–1.5 m. Recent technological improvements in camera-trap technology make it a widely used, reliable application in ecological studies.

“The cameras were all active for 15 months, and covered the range evenly during this time, ensuring there were no gap areas where elephants might reside undetected,” says SANPark scientist Lizette Moolman, one of the researchers who worked on the study.

Over a period of 17,306 active camera trapping days, a total of 5,195 elephant photographs or video clips (15–30 seconds each) were captured, in 144 capture events. All of these solely identified one heavy, round-bodied adult female with a highly wrinkled forehead that forms a unique, easily identified pattern. “She is about 45 years old and moves in the indigenous forest and fynbos areas on SANParks and neighboring private land,” says Moolman.  

Elephants have unique individual physical features such as ear notch patterns and tusk shape and size, making them individually identifiable. In addition to this female’s shape and forehead, she has unique serrated ear notch patterns and relatively wide-spaced asymmetrical unbroken tusks, the left tusk higher than the right.

“The brutal reality is there is no longer a population of Knysna elephants. All the mystique of the Knysna elephant is reduced to a single elephant left in rather tragic circumstances,” says Kerley. Female elephants are not meant to be alone — they spend their lives in family units of related adult females with their calves.

The images reveal that although she is a fully mature adult female, she lacks developed breasts because she is neither pregnant nor lactating. Her shriveled mammary glands suggest that she has not had a calf in a long time, if ever.

Kerley adds that she appears to be in reasonably good condition with the exception of her swollen temporal glands with excessive temporal streaming, suggests that she is experiencing stress, very possibly as a result of being alone.

“Considering all these factors, the debate about how we have allowed this population to go functionally extinct and how to manage the last elephant is very emotional and very serious as she is a symbol of how we are treating biodiversity as a whole,” he says.

“It is a societal responsibility as we have forced these elephants, which are savanna elephants, into inhospitable forest habitats as a result of hundreds of years of hunting them and chasing them out of their natural habitat.”

The leaves of the Knysna forest trees are low in protein and high in fiber — a poor-quality food. Most of the forest canopy is 30m-40m high, and out of browsing reach. By deduction, the Knysna elephants supplement their diet on the forest edge and in the fynbos.

Historically,y the Knysna elephants roamed in their thousands as a continuous population for hundreds of kilometers along the southern Cape coast. They had access to thickets, fynbos, and Karoo habitat. Over the past 300-odd years they were forced, as a result of persecution and human encroachment, to retreat into the forest as a refugee population.

Population decline

By 1876, as a result of hunting and persecution, the thousands of southern Cape and Knysna elephants were down to 400 to 500 animals, according to the Conservators of Forests’ official reports. In 1920 a Major PJ Pretorius conducted the last-known legal hunt of Knysna elephants — he had a permit to kill one elephant, but five died in the process, reducing the elephants to about 13 animals. By 1970 they were down to 11 (Wildlife Society survey); by 1981 down to three (forestry department records).

In 2007 a fecal DNA genotyping survey suggested an increase to five female elephants, a calf and a breeding male, but this kind of survey only provides statistical estimates of population size, not an actual count, which the camera survey does.

Rigorous follow-up counts have been neglected, and we are now down to one. She could live for 65 years, as elephants do, and she could be in the forest for another 20 years, or not, we just don’t know.

“Managing her is a huge challenge because she is very shy and avoids humans,” Kerley says. “It is not viable to introduce savanna elephants from other populations — from Addo or Kruger — to the forest. This was tried with three young Kruger elephants in September 1994 and it failed. In less than a month, one died of stress-related pneumonia. The other two left the forest causing human-elephant conflict and they ultimately had to be moved to Shamwari Game Reserve.  

The last Knysna elephant has the same genetics as the Addo and Kruger populations and so the question has been raised whether she should be moved out of the forest to a herd.

“The option of capturing her and moving her somewhere else would be dangerous for her and we don’t know if it would even be of any value to her as she only knows the forest and she might not be able to settle into another area with other elephants,” says Kerley.

The same goes for any attempts at artificial insemination. It’s too risky and if it was decided to attempt the "impregnation" route, it would be better to move her to another elephant population, which, Kerley says, could be too traumatic for her.

He says a major voice that needs to be considered in the decision about her management, is the people of Knysna — who, in all probability, would not want to see her go. “It comes down to a societal decision as it is no longer a population decision, it is about the last Knysna elephant’s well-being. My personal opinion is that we should leave her be.

“Hopefully we humans have learned a nasty lesson because it is ultimately our fault that we are down to the last elephant here. She is the metaphor for our treatment of all species that live on this planet with us. The saying ‘the elephant in the room’ could not be apter; she is telling us we are making some big mistakes and we are going to lose a lot more than her if we don’t substantially change how we treat and value biodiversity.”

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What's the major difference between having talent and having a skill?

Talent = innate ability

Skills = are specific and are developed with practice.

Yes, talent is considered innate and natural while skill is developed with practice. Calling a performer (like an actor or musician) "skilled" emphasizes the technical aspect of their work and may even be an insult, while calling them talented is always a compliment.  Saying, "Bella is skilled" implies some particular skill is relevant to the conversation, while saying "Bella is talented" doesn't imply any particular talent; perhaps it means she has a remarkable array of talents.

While talent is an inborn ability or natural aptitude of a person which is often hidden and needs recognition. It means, being good in a certain activity, without actually learning or acquiring it.

Skill is a learned ability, and it can be developed in someone if he/she put his time and efforts in it. The efforts need to be voluntary, systematic and sustained, to acquire a skill and satisfactorily undertake various tasks and activities. 

Key Differences Between Talent and Skill

There are a few briefly explained differences between talent and skill 

1. The term talent refers to an inborn and special ability of a person to do something. A skill is an expertise, which is acquired by the person through learning and constant practice.

2. Talent is God gifted ability, whereas Skill is an ability in which you put your time and efforts to develop.

3. Talent is often possessed by a limited number of people. On the other hand, any person can learn a particular skill, if he has the capacity, capability, and willingness.

4. Talent is hidden, that is why it needs recognition. As opposed to Skill, requires development, which can only be possible through practice.5. 

5. Coaching may prove helpful in getting the best out of someone i.e. talent. Conversely, training is necessary for acquiring a skill, to put your best into something useful.

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