Men of Stone

Witsies were entertained by human statues this week. A few men, dressed in cement clad suits posed as statues near the Matrix and promoted a competition run by a local cement company. A first prize of R50 000 is awarded to the best concrete sculpture entered into the competition.

Cool kid of the week

This week’s Cool Kid has got the footwork to give Ronaldinho a serious run for his money.

Radhesen Naidoo, honours, actuarial science


Q: Why did you choose freestyling as a hobby?

A: I think it’s pretty cool. It lets me get away from the more serious work that I have to do.


Q: What do you like most about freestyling?

A: It’s sort of a show-off thing, it impresses people when they see me in action and that’s great.


Q: What are the some of the reactions you get from people who watch you?

A: People are really impressed because, as an actuarial science student, many wouldn’t expect me to do this kind of thing.


Q: How long does it take for someone to be a good freestyler?

A: It takes roughly a year to establish yourself but once you’re good it’s easy to learn a new trick.


Q: Who’s got the best tricks between Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo?

A: Ronaldinho in his prime and the amount of flair he shows is great.


 Q: What makes you a proud Witsie?

A: Wits is a great place to develop myself and I also get to interact with people of different cultures.

Former Miss Deaf SA to become a movie star

FORMER Miss Deaf South Africa, Vicki Fourie, landed a role in an international movie while she was competing at the Miss Deaf World competition in Prague.

The 22-year-old beauty and motivational speaker from Bloemfontein took part in the 11th Miss Deaf World competition in July. She competed against 38 contestants from different countries and Fourie says they were treated like royalty.

“I was completely lost in a fairy-tale world where the streets are made of cobblestones and the window banks are decorated with flowers. The mystical atmosphere of narrow streets and the tower-high buildings makes Prague a must-see for any foreigner,” she said.

Although Fourie didn’t place in the pageant, she was offered the opportunity to play in an international movie opposite an Oscar-winning actress – only an hour after the pageant finished. Fourie says the role is small and she cannot reveal much detail but says she is very excited.

After the competition in Prague she also received an offer from a German psychologist to be a guest speaker in her country.

Fourie was crowned Miss Deaf SA in 2009 and crowned as 1st princess at the Miss Deaf International competition in Las Vegas last year. She has been taking part in pageants for four years but has decided she wants to move on to bigger things.

“I’m still the same girl I was before I started, but at the same time I developed so much more in my character and I’m so much stronger now.”

Her motto in life is: “Courage isn’t a gift, it’s a decision.” This is one of the messages she brings across in her motivational speaking.

At the moment Fourie, who is a published writer with over 70 magazine articles, locally and internationally, is writing her memoir which she plans to get published in 2012 .

Although she is not completely deaf, Fourie has 97% hearing loss and relies on her apparatus and reading lips to converse. But she does not see herself as a deaf woman and believes the world doesn’t owe her anything and that it’s her responsibility to make something of her life.

“Embrace who you are. Your disability does not need to define you…Be courageous!”

Readers are welcome to contact Vicki for a guest appearance:

Read her blog:

Follow her on Twitter: @vickifourie


Ramadan project packs up

THE annual Ramadan Humanitarian Project packed its last box on campus this week. The Wits’ Muslim Students Association (MSA) project has grown every year since it began in 2005.

It is ending because of logistical reasons said MSA medical school committee member, Yaaseen Cassim. Ramadaan – the Islamic fasting month – falls 10 days earlier every year according to the lunar calendar.

Next year it will fall during the holidays and exam period and running the project then would mean less student involvement and disrupt the project’s week of packing food hampers.

“That takes away from the objectives of the project [which is] to teach social responsibility and make students aware of the underprivileged,” said Cassim.

The project saw its seventh and final year end with the usual “packing week” on the Wit’s library lawns .

RHP – which was initiated by two Wits MSA committee members – has been a joint project with MSAs from the University of Pretoria and the University of Johannesburg who ran their “packing week” at the same time.

Cassim said collectively they aimed to reach a target of R2-million. By Thursday the universities had packed 2600 hampers with a variety of foods in a total of 5200 boxes.

MSA main campus treasurer, Alia Kajee, said the project still gets alumni pupils involved and she was sad to see it end. Like Cassim, she said the end of the RHP does not mean the end of the project entirely.

The committee is thinking of new project ideas to generate support of this nature for next year’s fasting month as well. “In a couple of years when logistics and time permit, the MSA members of that time might revive the project,”said Cassim.

Students who volunteered to pack boxes this week said they did it because it was fun, they were able to meet new people and it was their way of giving back to the community.


Fong kong and “made in China” for sale

Fake products being sold on campus are not a big issue for students and vendors who say they benefit from the flea market at Wits.

The flea market, set up around the library lawns on Main Campus at the beginning of each term, is organised by the SRC with the assistance of the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU).

According to Siddeeq Omar, SRC entrepreneurship and skills development portfolio holder, students have a chance to buy whatever they need and like at the market. “It’s up to the willing buyer to decide whether to buy knockoffs (due to freedom of enterprise). This is South Africa, you can’t put constraints,” he says.

Omar says the market encourages entrepreneurship within arts and crafts, jewellery and winter apparel. He claims it’s a beneficial event as it generates SRC funds and income for the vendors. “It enhances the social activity and creates a culturally diverse atmosphere.”

George Maina, one of the store holders who often shops at China Mall and China City Wholesale Market behind Ellis Park, sees no wrong in selling fake goods.

“At the end of the day, it’s just money,” Maina says. But the vendors claim they don’t attempt to deceive the consumers into thinking they are purchasing legitimate items.

Maina and his 23-year-old colleague, both from Kenya, say the products are more expensive at shopping malls “just because of the label”, but they are “the same quality, the same stuff” as products sold on campus.

Besides, shop owners have to pay for rent, electricity and staff, they say. They claim shops often buy goods from the same place as street vendors.

Students interviewed said they were aware that the products were not legitimate but didn’t think this was a bad thing. Third year construction management student Phendla Phendla says the market on campus “makes life easier because I don’t have to go all the way downtown” to shop.

Caroline Mahani, 1st year law, says: “I love fake stuff, because it’s much cheaper and more affordable.”

Wits hockey survives jaws of relegation

The Wits men’s first team hockey had a must-win encounter against New Rovers to avoid threats of potential relegation from the Southern Gauteng hockey premier league on Tuesday evening at the Randburg Sports Grounds.

Wits won the game with a single goal. The game started with a fast pace, with New Rovers showing dominance and controlling much of the first few minutes of the game.

Wits soon settled into the fast-paced game pushing up into the New Rovers goal area but unable to net in the goals. Freezing conditions on Tuesday evening might have affected both teams’ performances, however they warmed up quickly and were able to play great hockey.

The Wits performance was also slacking a bit without their star striker Jaryd Poval, who was out because of a knee injury. New Rovers were not taking the game lightly either because they were also facing possible relegation to a lower league.

Wits goalie Cole Zondhag saved a flick into the goals that could have opened the lead for New Rovers. Both teams created numerous chances but failed to convert in the first half.

Wits opened the lead minutes into the second half by the captain, Kelsey Stuart, after a short corner. This instilled a whole new approach to the game as the Wits boys attacked continuously throughout the second half.

New Rovers continued their tough attack on Wits, hoping to equalise to keep their lifeline of staying in the premier league.

“I think we played well considering that our intervarsity tournament in Pietermaritzburg didn’t go so well,” said Wits striker Paul Ndiweni. Our main problem is that we struggle to score goals.”

Wits  will play their final game of the season in two weeks time and hope to produce a favourable result again.

The Wits team is now 10th on the log with only four points. University of Johannesburg A is on top of the log with two points separating them from second position Wanderers A.

In the Men’s 2nd league, Wits B is second on the log, eight points behind leaders Beaulieu A. Wits B will play their next game on Sunday at the St John’s Astro in Houghton.

The women’s team is currenlty in the 8th position  of the premier league.


ANCYL website hacked

The ANCYL’s website was hacked this week, showing a picture of Julius Malema saying: “HA HA HA I have a 16 Million Rand house and all of you don’t!”

The site was compromised last weekend and the picture and message were still up on the site as of Thursday. Duncan Harford, business development manager at Unwembi, the company which hosts the ANCYL’s website, said it was impossible to know the identity of the  hacker at this stage.

He said his company has had hacking attempts on a daily basis for about 15 years but very rarely are they successful. Harford did not wish to comment on whether the matter is under police investigation.

The ANCYL could not be reached for comment by the time Vuvuzela went to print.

Hacked off: The controversy around Julius Malema’s finances is parodied by a hacker on the ANCYL’s website.

No surprises at start of Super-Six stage

The Wits Steinhoff Interfaculty rugby season resumed on Wednesday with only the top six teams battling against each other on a cold winter night.

The ‘Super-Six’ stage of the season began with the four lowest ranked teams knocked out after the group stages. Each team will play against each other once, with the top four teams after the five rounds progressing to the semi-finals.

There were no real surprises on the night with the top three teams all registering wins and reconfirming the gulf in class between those at the top and those chasing.

In the first game of the night defending champions and leaders after the group stage, the Humanities Titans, trounced Monash by 38 points to 14.

The Titans have now stretched their unbeaten run to 17 matches and, judging by this performance, look set to defend their title later this year.

Zander Venter in a switch from lock to eighthman ran in a man-of-the-match performance. Returning players added depth to an already talented squad and the Titans will definitely take some beating.

In the most one-sided game of the night the surprise package of the season Medics demolished the only res side left in the competition, Masakhane, by a score of 52 points to 15.

Despite the Masakhane tighthead prop scoring an amazing solo try, the Medics were simply far too physical. Their team spirit on display at the end of the game was perhaps a sign of why they have been so good this season, and they will need that for their remaining matches.

The final game of the night was a close affair between third placed Engineers and fourth placed Commerce. Engineers ran out 7-3 winners on the night in a match that neither side ever looked like winning until the final whistle.

Both teams will expect to progress to the semi-finals but this will be a massive morale boost for the Engineers who will be hoping to regain the title that they lost to the Titans.

The Super-Six resumes next week Wednesday with all teams hoping to cement their spots in the final four.


Injured Esselen resident denies suicide rumours

Suicide rumours spread after a person was seen lying on a side roof of Esselen Residence on a cold Saturday morning on June 11.

Students suspected the worst. The person was a first year education student, who does not want to be named. “I don’t know what happened, all I remember is falling from a window,” he said.

“[The next thing] I remember is waking up in the morning on the floor outside feeling cold and screaming for help because I couldn’t move.”

He said he wanted people to know that it was not intentional, he did not intend committing suicide. His roommate said: “He woke me up at about 1am [on the Friday night], telling me that he feels dizzy.

“I advised him to go to the bathroom sink and wash his face.” The student then decided to take a shower and went to sleep. He woke up later and went to the bathroom. It was then that he fell from the second floor.

He was bleeding excessively and had cuts on his left eye, hands and nose. He fractured his pelvic bone and could not walk for two weeks. The cuts were from a shattered bathroom basin that had been pulled off the wall.

The window he fell through is about the size of a normal computer screen.The student said he was told he might be epileptic. When he was released from the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, doctors couldn’t confirm the diagnosis and are still to run more tests.

He said he is fine at the moment.The house committee held a prayer that Saturday evening and the hall co-ordinator, Muchaparara Musemwa, explained to students that he had a medical condition.

Accommodation officer Elsie Mooke said there are no safety measures taken to prevent jumping incidents.



Strike action: Noise or power

The wave of recent strike action in the country has stretched over weeks and is accompanied by violence.

This year, strike action by workers began as early as mid-February when the South African Road Freight Workers downed tools in protest to get employers to meet the demands of their workers.

In July, members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) downed tools demanding a 13% wage increase and the banning of labour brokers.

They were soon followed by the members of the Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu), whose strike action disrupted fuel delivery to petrol stations leaving most Joburgers scrambling to fill their tanks.

This week, members of the National Union for Mineworkers (NUM) are on strike over wage increment disputes.

Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) spokesperson, Patrick Craven says, “Strikes take place for very specific reasons and it’s coincidental that so many [negotiations] have reached that stage at the moment.”

“The strike action reflects the growing sense of frustration of people who feel marginalised, in what is now officially recognised as the most unequal society in the world.

“The people are getting impatient and want a reasonable share of the country’s wealth,” says Craven.

Professor Anthony Butler, head of political studies at Wits University, says, “The hike in strike action is based on people’s low standards of living and the fact that it’s hard to live on the wages that most Cosatu members earn, but it’s also partly political.

“The political aspect of the strikes can’t be ignored.”

Butler says the ANC now has more conflict between the different economic classes that exist within it and Cosatu now plays a part in that conflict. This has resulted in Cosatu using its industrial muscle to play the political game.

In the run-up to important conferences such as next year’s elective conference of the ANC in December, Butler expects we are likely to see a very high level of  strike action that is politically motivated.

“When people use industrial strike action and violence as a way of communicating their political demands, it’s usually because they are excluded and weak and not because they are strong.

“We shouldn’t confuse noise, violence and conflict with power,” says Butler.

Oh Canada…

You were wonderful but I can’t say that I’m in a rush to leave my South Africa. While there are so many awesome things I discovered about this big country (for example the free refill drinks at Burger King), looking around at my own land I still see a lot of potential and many good things here. I spent this winter’s varsity vacation in a hot 30 degree climate – yes, Canada has a summer season too. It was a great holiday spent in a great country; however I still believe that one of the most uniquely South African things to be found here are the friendships and the people. My family moved overseas about 10 years ago and even to this day they remark how there are no people in the world like South Africans.

The flying time just to get to this maple leaf country added up to about 21 hours. Being in this faraway land was an enjoyable experience and I’m not just talking about the beautiful scenery such as Niagra Falls, Lake Ontario, the parks and the wine farms. Even the small things, such as the subway system in downtown Toronto, made my heart leap for joy. This may seem silly but it was a truly wonderful and relaxing experience not having to worry about leaving my handbag in the car or not having to clutch my purse so close to my chest in the city to prevent it from getting stolen.

While these things certainly make life easier it still seems that no amount of reliable public transport, free quality healthcare and (FREE) WIFI almost everywhere can make up for the relationships I have attained here in South Africa. In between the social and economic troubles we face, there is a closeness we have as a nation as well as in our individual circles of friends. There was a certain “South Africaness” missing in Canada, something I think we are blessed with and need to appreciate more.

So, I would love to go back and visit Canada one day, but for now I am content to be proudly South African and get by with a little help from my friends.

Witsies slow to claim R200-million

TWO hundred million rand of national funding for graduate students in debt has apparently gone unused by Witsies.

The fund was set aside by  Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande in his budget speech in May. The fund was created for students who have either been blacklisted or are in debt and cannot graduate because of their unpaid fees.

The fund will clear their debt so that they can find employment. Since the announcement, the Wits SRC says they are having difficulty reaching the students, and that no students have come forward to claim from the fund.

Wits SRC treasurer, Tshepo Ndlovu, says the reason behind this apparent lack of action on the part of the affected students is miscommunication from the department of higher education.

“The department itself did not inform institutions properly, so that they might create avenues where students could know about the fund.

“There were no posters, there were no adverts. At least in newspapers there should be something that alerted those graduates that [they should] go to the relevant offices or institutions so that they can source the funding.”

Deputy Minister of Education, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, says the department expected university institutions to play their role too.

“They have to assist [and] promote that information. We thought that they would write to people who are affected,” he said.

The minister also encouraged the use of social networks in an attempt to spread awareness of the unclaimed funds. “The student leadership has to use their social networks to encourage their members to come forward and take advantage of this”.

Ndlovu says that they have begun to make efforts for those still in the university’s system.”We have lobbied the Alumni Relations office that we should try and track down the people who are still on the system and with outstanding fees.”

David Molehlane, 3rd year BA, says it was the first time he had heard of the fund. “I don’t even know who to call, the SRC, do I call the fees office? You see that’s the thing, they don’t even put the information out. That’s their problem.”