first_imgNigel Williams tried to explain in Current Biology1 why “size matters” among marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands: the vectors of natural and sexual selection don’t always line up.  Females appear to like the big males when times are good, but when drought comes, the smaller dudes do better.    There’s a difficulty with such investigations.  Even though this habitat was a “rich source of information for Charles Darwin when developing his theory of evolution,” the article admits that “Factors influencing the evolution of complex traits such as body size are notoriously difficult to study but a new review of work on marine iguanas in the Galapagos islands suggests an answer may lie in the interplay of natural and sexual selection” (emphasis added).1Nigel Williams, “Size matters,” Current Biology, Volume 15, Issue 18, 20 September 2005, Page R742.Why should Darwin be mentioned in this article, except as a historical embarrassment?  There is no evolution here.  Heap big iguana is still iguana as much as peewee.  Size is not a “complex trait” in the sense of evolving wings or some new organs; it is just a modification of parts already present.  There is no long-term evolutionary trend here, but rather only oscillations around a mean that reflect climate conditions – otherwise we should see iguanas the size of Godzilla by now.  If natural and sexual selection work against each other, then stasis rules, not evolution.  Charlie won’t get anywhere with slippage on the treadmill (see 03/17/2003 entry).(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


first_img6 April 2009Volunteers will be the first and last point of contact for visitors to South Africa during the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan told over 1 000 volunteers at their first training session in Tshwane/Pretoria on Sunday.“You will all play such a critical part in delivering this event,” Jordaan told the group at the Tshwane Events Centre. “When, as a fan, you come to an event such as the World Cup or the Confederations Cup, the first point of contact is with the volunteers at the airport.“When the tournament is over, the last person they see is also a volunteer. The volunteers are what shape your attitude and experience of the country – it is you who will do this”.Sindisiwe Ngcongwane, a financial systems lecturer who will be assisting in the protocol department when the Confederations Cup kicks off on 14 June, said Jordaan’s speech was “moving … You think you are doing so little, but Jordaan made me see the bigger picture.“I want to be part of making a difference to our country and improving it,” Ngcongwane said. “Change starts with one person, and this is why I volunteered.”David Stables, a civil engineer from Centurion, said Jordaan’s speech was “so good for the volunteers. You could see from their reaction that everyone enjoyed his presence.“I have been passionate about football since I was a little kid, so this is really a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Stables said. “It proves that you don’t have to be a footballer to be involved in this tournament.”For Mandla Msimanga, financial manager for the Embassy of Ireland, said: “Sometimes you need to pay back and provide your services for free. I am very excited for the tournament, and we must make things work; it is time to take responsibility.”SAinfo reporter and the 2010 Fifa World Cup Local Organising CommitteeWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more


first_imgDidi Sydown in a dance scene from Johann Strauss’ opera Die Fledermaus. Gerald Samaai, principal tenor for the Eoan Group, during a rehearsal at the Cape Town City Hall. May Abrahamse singing the role of Rosalinde in Eoan’s 1962 production of Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.(Images: Cloete Breytenbach)MEDIA CONTACTS• Dr Hilde RoosEoan book project co-ordinator+27 21 808 2597Wilma den HartighA new book has been published to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Eoan Group, South Africa’s first grassroots amateur opera, ballet and drama organisation.Eoan – Our Story is the first book to tell the story of the relatively unknown group, which was established in 1933 by British immigrant Helen Southern-Holt, as a cultural and charity organisation in the former inner-city suburb of District Six in Cape Town.The publication is a project of the Documentation Centre for Music (Domus) at Stellenbosch University (SU). It was compiled by the Eoan History Project, with Dr Hilde Roos and Wayne Muller as editors.The Eoan Group played an important role in promoting the performance of classical music in South Africa, developing artistic talent and preserving the vibrant cultural heritage of District Six.This historic area is known for the forced removal of about 60 000 of its residents during the 1970s by the apartheid regime.The name Eoan comes from the Greek word ‘Eos’, the goddess of the dawn. In Greek mythology she is personified as the one who brings the hope of a new day. The group’s founder chose this name as it referred to her desire to bring hope and new opportunities to the community of District Six.Despite working under the constraints of apartheid, the organisation provided a platform where gifted actors, musicians and dancers could express their life’s calling.“Their story is inspirational. It is time to celebrate their memory,” says Roos.For many people who had talent, this was their only chance.“This is why the organisation was so important,” she says. “It gave people an opportunity to develop their talent and perform, even if these were limited opportunities.“There is no other group like this.”Important memories preserved in printThrough the book the Eoan History Project hopes to preserve the organisation’s history for future generations.The publication tells the story of Eoan’s establishment, but also shows the impact of the apartheid government’s racial policies on South African communities.“What is extraordinary about this group is that there is just about no other example in the country where the evolution of a cultural group and the development of the apartheid regime are so closely linked,” Roos says.When the Eoan Group started, their headquarters were situated in District Six and 15 branches were established throughout the Cape Peninsula by the mid-1950s. They offered a wide range of activities that included ballet, folk dance, speech, drama, singing, painting and sewing.After the destruction of District Six, the group moved to their new premises, the Joseph Stone Theatre in Athlone.Years later, documents and photos of Eoan’s productions were found at the theatre. The photos, permits for performances, letters and programmes were organised into an archive which has been housed at the SU Music Department since 2008.Roos says many stories about the group and its members were undocumented for years, and numerous oral accounts of their activities appear in this book for the first time.The book is an oral history and includes extracts from 47 interviews which have been structured in a narrative around themes such as opera and ballet productions, and is complemented by photos and other archive material.The interviews were done mainly with former Eoan members, most of which sang in the group’s opera productions.A bittersweet storyDuring the 1950s, Eoan performed to mixed audiences. But Roos says the group’s activities became more restricted as apartheid intensified in the 1960s.“It had a major impact on their performances, but they kept going amid the political difficulties,” she says.Eventually apartheid legislation completely prohibited mixed audiences. To comply with these requirements, the group applied for permits to perform in the City Hall for mixed audiences from 1966 onwards.Roos says the group suffered a setback when they were forced to accept financial support from the apartheid government’s coloured affairs department, which caused their standing and support in the community to suffer.“They were forced into a tricky compromise,” she says. “They needed funding to put on performances but they also didn’t want to betray their community.”Despite these conditions, they remained successful and popular, and this was widely reflected in ticket sales and media coverage.Outstanding performances, against all oddsDuring their artistic peak from the 1950s to 1970s, the group often performed to packed houses in Cape Town’s best concert halls.Eoan performed the first full-length indigenous jazz ballet by a local composer for a South African ballet group. The Square by Stanley Glasser was about gang life in District Six.From 1956 until the late 1970s the group had an active amateur opera section which performed at arts festivals and annual opera seasons and toured throughout South Africa (1960 and 1965) and the United Kingdom (1975).In 1956 they performed Verdi’s La Traviata in the Cape Town City Hall, Eoan’s artistic home before apartheid legislation forced them to move to Athlone.By 1977 they had eleven operas in their repertoire: three by Verdi, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and La Bohème, Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Bizet’s Carmen, Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci and Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana.Making a name overseasSome of Eoan’s members went on to build successful international careers.“Many of them went abroad, got bursaries and took their chance at better opportunities,” Roos says. “Some big names emerged from the group.”They were mostly dancers, but a handful of singers also made it overseas, despite not having access to good vocal training in South Africa.One of the group’s success stories is Vincent Hantam. According to Scotland’s National Centre for Dance, Hantam danced most of the principal roles with Scottish Ballet from 1975 to 1991, and has performed with many companies on the local and international stage.Tenor Joseph Gabriels was discovered by Joseph Manca, musical director of the Eoan Group.“He had an exceptional voice,” Roos says.He received no musical or vocal training while in South Africa, but in 1967 he secured a bursary from the Schneier family of Johannesburg to study in Milan.In 1969 he won the famous Verdi competition in Busseto. He made his debut in 1971 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Canio in I Pagliacci – the first South African to sing there.The Eoan Group stopped performing operas in 1977, but the company still exists today and they focus on dance productions.According to the team who compiled the book, the interviews with former Eoan members show how much people invested into the arts through the group, the extraordinary circumstances in which they had to operate, and the influential role that the group played in so many lives.last_img read more