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.”