Wits change things up for CUT clash

Wits will be making several changes for their match tonight against their Free State rivals.

Midway through the Varsity Shield competition, Wits find themselves in second place while tonight’s opponents, Central University of Technology (CUT) trail them by one point in third position.

Bronson Lange and Ryan Odendaal will take over the centre pairing from Rudolf Prinsloo and Heinke Hartdegan, when they kick off at 7pm at the Wits Rugby Stadium.

Mandla Dube will have a chance to impress on the wing, which sees Zunaid Kock dropped to the bench, while Petrus van Biljon replaces Thato Mavundla at flank.

Tonight’s encounter is most likely to be a close match, as Wits and CUT have the best defences in the league, conceding 71 and 78 points respectively.

Meanwhile Wits will be hoping University of Forth Hare (UFH) can pull off a surprise win over current log leaders, University of the Western Cape (UWC). This result would see Wits regain the top spot, providing they beat CUT tonight.

Clever Boys hoping to oust Chiefs swagg

BIDVEST Wits will hope their forward players are more clinical in spearheading the attack when the Clever Boys look to outsmart Kaizer Chiefs in Saturday afternoon’s Absa premiership clash at the Mbombela Stadium.

Since the resumption of the premiership the students have had a string of unfavourable results picking up only one from a possible six points in their last two fixtures, with a nil-nil draw against Maritzburg United at home and a 3-1 away loss to Santos.

Wits’s previous games have been uninspiring with the goal-shy strikers looking rusty and showing a lack of precision in their finishing after two months without competitive football during the league break.

Despite this, a calm looking Wits coach Roger De Sa believes the result will go their way “if the team continues in the form they are playing”.

“We should’ve won both previous league games because our performances have not been bad.

Against Santos, especially, we controlled 70% of the possession and were unlucky to hit the post five times,” he said.

Wits aims for a top eight finish in the league this season and there will be no room for error, particularly in defence, if they are to turn their fortunes against Kaizer Chiefs.

The Glamour Boys have proven that “swagg beats brains” in their recent battles with the Clever Boys both in league and cup fixtures.

In fact one would have to look back to 2009 for the last time Wits had a victory over Chiefs.

To add to Wits’s woes, Chiefs carry a confidence-boosting 3-0 victory over Moroka Swallows in their last fixture into this game, and the quest to displace Mamelodi Sundowns at the top of the premiership log is more than enough motivation for the Soweto based team.

Wits reserve keeper, Steven Hoffman, believes the “team’s mindset will improve” and the players will be “geared up” for the Chiefs encounter.

“We have been working very hard in training and it is to our own benefit because at the end it will all pay off,” he said.

The Wits players are prepared to work even harder to overturn their fortunes in the league and start displaying the fast-paced and dazzling football for which the team was once known in the league.

 

Whiter shade of pale

ST PATRICK’S day is less than a month away: just enough time to dust off a green shirt, ready yourself for drinking dyed-green beer and pretend Irish-themed bars are cool.

Every March 17 the Irish celebrate their patron saint by inexplicably drinking copious amounts of Guinness.

However, their folklore also says St Patrick chased snakes across the sea into Britain, so apparently anything goes.

Last week, my friend and colleague wrote a great article about how her Indian family perceive and treat her differently she is unmarried.

This got me thinking about my own cultural identity and the way I define myself. I’m a bit of a buffet of nationalities, my mother is Irish, my father is English but I was born and raised here in South Africa.

My immediate family are the only Roanes in the country, you can look it up on the phonebook, if you can find one. My brother and I are an island of pasty gingerness in a country where I get sunburned at night.

At last count I had approximately 5000 cousins on my mother’s side, the result of six Catholic aunts and uncles and the Pope’s view on birth control.

However, they all live on the emerald isle and as a result I visit them about as often as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela visits parliament. But each time I see them, I am warmly welcomed and it is as though no time has passed between us meeting.

I also can’t understand a word any of them say. I hate to stereotype – it’s such an Italian trait – but they are probably talking about potatoes or leprechauns or something. I just smile, nod profusely and say “yes” to whatever they ask me until they think I’ve suffered a head injury and leave me alone.

While I love going back, and may live and work there in the future, I will ultimately return to South Africa because it is a large part of who I am.

If you subscribe to arguably antiquated notions of what being an African is: skin colour, ancestry or culture, then I should not call myself African, but in my heart, I am.

Despite being a first generation South African and white enough to reflect sunlight.

South Africa is my past, my home and my future. So come St Paddy’s day I will be celebrating my Irish heritage with a Guinness, but I’ll be celebrating it here, at home, in South Africa.

Rehabilitation is better than punishment

The five-year suspension of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema makes me think hard about the allocation of appropriate punishment in getting someone to acknowledge their mistakes and not repeat them.

No, of course Malema should not walk scot free if the disciplinary committee found him guilty of sowing division and bringing the party into disrepute. Those are definitely serious violations of the ANC’s code of conduct.

But suspend him for five years? Seriously?

That seems to us more like a conscious decision to effectively end his political career and silence him forever as opposed to making him acknowledge his wrongdoing and rehabilitate him to ensure he does not repeat the offences.

We are not at all fans of Malema or the ANC, but we certainly do not believe “Juju” is a bad leader. Looking only at his leadership, he has bravely challenged unemployment, education, skills development and other socio-economic issues affecting us as young South Africans, most of which even the senior leaders have not been daring enough to speak out on.

At Wits, the Men’s Res committee is facing suspension for “misconduct” during O-week. For two weeks now they have not been formally charged and have continued to endure the hardships of eviction from men’s res, forfeiting leadership privileges and experiencing academic strain.

How appropriate is all this in ensuring that if at all these young leaders are guilty they acknowledge their wrongdoing and more importantly do not repeat their offences? Is Wits trying to rehabilitate them or simply punish them with the aim of destroying their leadership aspirations?

While they wait for their charges to be laid and disciplinary hearings, it has often been the case that leaders at Wits who have been vocal about sensitive issues have seen their academic careers end prematurely.

Just like Malema who has been “disruptive” and “tjatjaraag” the Men’s Res committee could be in for a tough time.

However, I hope management deals with this issue in a manner that rehabilitates and allows these young leaders to acknowledge their wrongdoings, if any, as opposed to simply punishing them aimlessly.

Wits res students called to open their mouths

THE national debating champions at Wits are gearing up for greater residence participation.

Last year, the Wits Debating Union (WDU) took first place at the national championships held at the University of Pretoria.

“We don’t want more residence students necessarily but we just want more residence participation,” says the head of the union, Leon Mithi.

The 2nd year law student says, “Debating is an important activity and social experience, it’s important for a democratic society.”

The union held a tournament between first year students as a way of making them feel included, says Mithi.

“We had a pilot tournament with a few prizes, like allocating R1000 to [the winner’s] fees.”

Thando Yende, a 2nd year LLB student, and the organiser of the residence tournaments, believes these tournaments have an important function. “We involve [students] in debating and public speaking so that they can have confidence in themselves.”

Sechaba Motseki, a 1st year medicine student found out about the society through residence house committee.

“It’s a challenge,” he says. “But it’s interesting. I’ve done public speaking before, and I think debate can help with my course.”

Mithi says this is the union’s intention. “We are going to start having [sessions] during lunchtime, so that we can include medical students, and students from other campuses. It’s important to expose everyone to it.”

Currently the WDU meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“On Tuesdays we do training- to improve skills and logic and on Thursdays we have practice debates,” says Mithi.

The union meets in Senate House basement room 2, from 6pm. Mithi says they are looking for all kinds of students to join, whether they are familiar with debating or not.

“People don’t realise how debating adds to your CV,” he says. “It makes you different and says you’re a different kind of person.”

WDU have been the national champions for two years in a row.

Music man’s instruments are his hand-made babies

Joe Makhanza’s storage room is 6000 kilometres from Mali, where he learned how to build his instruments, but they sound just as sweet when he plays them.

Makhanza builds several different instruments that he sells, including the kamalen ngoni and the kora, which are stringed, wooden instruments of West African origin.

He stores some of them in a room on the 8th floor of University Corner.

“I make my own instruments, they are my babies,” says Makhanza.

Makhanza completed his bachelor of music at Wits in 2007. As well as building instruments and working as a musician, he now also teaches music at four schools.

He says he was approached by the City of Ekurhuleni to run the programme.

Working with the City, Makhanza teaches a variety of “indigenous” instruments to primary school pupils from grade R to grade six.

He wants to create an orchestra and hold a festival to allow them to perform this year.

“I had to make them believe in me,” says Makhanza, who had to go through “serious interviews” before the City of Ekurhuleni chose him for the job.

“When somebody else looks at a tree, they just see a tree.When I look at a tree I see an instrument,” says Makhanza.

He says he gets inspiration for new instruments in strange places such as buildings, pipes and in his dreams.

He concludes by saying:

“I have learned whatever instrument you play you must master it”.

Laughter is material medicine

The movie Material delivers a local, curry-flavoured film with love, laughs and tears – enough apparently to make Barry Ronge cry.

Its mix of comedy and drama – now labelled a “dramedy” – is based on the reality of a young Muslim man’s (Riaad Moosa) conflict between his secret love for stand-up comedy and his father’s (Vincent Ebrahim) expectations of him taking over the family business.

Added to that is his father’s conflict with his brother and other community members.

“Anyone who finds family important can identify with the sense of duty to family and the sense of yearning to express yourself artistically in a way that might be different to what is expected by your family,” says comedian Moosa, who takes up his first acting role.

He admits it was challenging making the change from stand-up to acting, “The dramatic aspects, especially, were quite challenging, having had no experience in that regard.”

“But because I was part of the writing experience, and it’s based on personal experiences, I could identify with it a bit more.”

Material

had its opening weekend on Friday 17 and its production team are hoping to make 100 000 ticket sales so the movie can be taken to Britain and other countries.

So far the movie – which was given 40 screens for its opening weekend – has received the highest percentage attendance per cinema for a South African film, so they are optimistic as the sales “are looking good”.

“Hollywood, and the machine behind it, is quite powerful, almost overpowering,” says Moosa, asking people to go out, watch the movie and enjoy it.

“Right now it’s only the Leon Schuster movies that have good feedback and here we have a story that everyone can relate to.”

He says even though the story is shown through the life of a Muslim family and community that element is forgotten because it speaks of issues that everyone battles with.

“There’s this human theme in the movie that family is important and the challenges we face in life are extremely difficult.”

Despite tackling difficult subjects, the movie is meant to be a feel-good experience, displaying the different textures, colours and beauty of Fordsburg, Johannesburg, where it is set.

Men’s res crying out for leaders to return

FIRST years at the Men’s Hall of Residence feel “lost” and “confused” without the mentorship of their residence house committee which is currently suspended.

All nine members of the committee were evicted from men’s res two weeks ago after they were suspended.

They are accused of misconduct after they allegedly arrived intoxicated and disrupted an inter-residence talent show during orientation week.

Whilst suspended, the committee has been forbidden by Wits management from any form of communication with first years whom they had been orientating and mentoring during their first days at Wits.

Pius Chilonda, a 1st year BCom student, does not understand the “so-called misconduct” for which the men’s res committee is suspended.

“I find it hard coping without their [men’s res committee] leadership.

We are missing out on the opportunity to learn from them and this is ruining our first year experience,” he said.

Chilonda was backed by his colleague, Sbonga Mthalane, who said: “O-week was the best time of my life.

Activities we did with the house comm were fun and they didn’t force us into anything.”

Last week Dean of Students, Prem Coopoo, said the house committee had been warned against engaging in initiation practices and that humiliation of first years would not be tolerated.

A first year law student, Anathi Jakuju, said during the initiation activities he “felt built up rather than broken down.

“The real humiliation is that we are currently suffering without our leaders and we are missing out on things such as ‘Brotherhood’ which they [house committee] designed to help us,” he said.

Brotherhood is a programme in which senior students, including some from the house committee at Men’s Residence, tutor first years and give them advice on how to cope with academic issues.

First year bachelor of accounting sciences student, Tondy Gubba, believes “students from men’s residence are friendly towards each other and work as a team because of the efforts put in by the house committee.

“Even if we took a vote right now I’m pretty sure that 95% of the people at men’s res want the committee to come back,” he said.

The house committee said they still have not been formally charged and for now they will continue to comply with their suspension.

Put your guard up for parking space

You had better pray to the car gods and find the car guards if you want to find a parking spot on the roads outside Wits.

“Welcome to Godfrey’s garage,” says Godfrey Nkosi as he directs you onto the pavement, where Jorissen Street runs from west to east campus.

Nkosi says he has been working as an informal car guard outside Wits for 19 years.

Godfrey’s “garage” lies outside Senate House, in front of a gate with a sign which states: “Emergency entrance and exit. No parking in front of this gate at all times.”

There are four cars parked in front of the gate.

Two car guards operate along Jorissen Street, from Enoch Santonga Avenue to Bertha Street. From about 8am on weekday mornings, the street is full of cars parked next to the pavement and motorists struggle to find a space.

Last year some of Nkosi’s counterparts stopped working in Braamfontein as a system of official parking bays controlled by marshals moved in.

Ace Parking Services began operating a pay-before-you-park system, with official marshals charging customers for parking roadside in Braamfontein and in the CBD.

On the same road, just past one set of robots, official marshals monitor the length of time that cars park in the designated bays and fine motorists who exceed their allocated time.

“I own this street,” says Patrick Gemu, another informal car guard outside Wits. Nkosi and Gemu are not worried about Ace Parking taking over their territory.

“Students have no money; they can’t afford to pay R8 an hour to park,” says Gemu, referring to the rate

Ace Parking charges customers for an hour of roadside parking. Gemu’s area includes Jorissen Street between Station and Bertha Streets.

“We are more than willing to [provide] a service there [outside of Wits], unfortunately it is not in our control,” says Juliet Paulsen, managing director of Ace Parking Services.

Paulsen says her company cannot operate on this section of Jorissen Street as the Johannesburg Metro Police (JMPD) has said it lacks allocated parking bays and parking notice boards.

Israeli Apartheid week to face opposition

This year’s eighth international Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is set to face some opposition in the face of an Israeli envoy.

Israel’s Public Diplomacy Ministry is set to send an envoy of Israelis to represent the state against the apartheid label said an article published in the Jerusalem Post, on February 19.

But Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa condemned it in a press release, saying it was an attempt to undermine the upcoming IAW running from March 5 until March 9.

Rebecca Luton, Wits Palestinian Solidarity Committee’s (PSC) chairperson, says, “It’s a reflection that Israel is taking the charge of being an apartheid regime seriously. Unfortunately it’s responding by dispatching envoys to justify that classification rather than try to end apartheid in Israel.”

The ministry is planning to send 100 trained Israelis from different sectors in society to different college campuses around the world where IAW will take place. The mission, titled “Faces of Israel” will be split into 20 groups that will participate in conferences and panels, and speak directly to college students, in Johannesburg, Cape Town, New York, Boston, Los Angeles and other cities.

Boaz Valkin from the South African Union of Jewish Students says he has limited knowledge of the delegation.

“They should be given the opportunity to be heard as dialogue, engagement and open honest discussion is the only way to resolve the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

Despite this, Luton says 2012’s IAW is said to be the biggest it has ever been with a “nationwide buzz two weeks before it is even meant to start.”

“We not only expect a bigger turnout for events and activities but also a far more active involvement by ordinary students.

This is partly because of the great IAW line-up but also because students are far more conscientised around the issue with more and more organizations adopting BDS of Israel resolutions,” says Luton.

Witsies can expect two cultural activities and a movie screening during the week as well as an interactive art installation on the library lawns.

Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, a Wits PhD student and chairperson of Wits’ Post Graduate Association, has begun a speaking tour to Europe as part of IAW and will be uploading daily reports on Facebook.

Last year’s IAW saw 90 cities worldwide and nine universities in South Africa participating. This year, Luton says, over 25 different civil societies, political and student groups such as the South African Students Congress, Kaleidoscope, South African Council of Churches, to name a few, are getting involved.

Wonder woman lends helping hand to fellow student

A Witsie gave up her dream of buying an iPad to assist a fellow student with his residence fees.

Nandi Masemula, an honours student in BSc archaeology, gave Henry Masuko R1050 to pay the accommodation office before he moved into South Point residence.

Henry Masuko, who moved into South Point on Tuesday, said Masemula made his dream of staying at res a reality.

“I cannot describe how grateful I am for such a wonderful woman” he said

Masemula, who works part time at the Wits archaeology department, saved all the money she earns to buy an iPad.

She decided that helping the needy is more important than an Ipad. “The only way we can succeed is by helping one another, if we have the means to,” she said.

Last week, Vuvuzela wrote an article about Masuko, who received a National Financial Aid Scheme package which covers both his tuition and residence fee but not the money to confirm his res room.

The first year BA Education student could not move into res without paying the confirmation money, so he had to share a flat with four people in “unbearable” conditions at Hillbrow.

He said the conditions were “unbearable” because he didn’t have a study table or a study room. The people he shared the flat with have children who made a noise while he was studying.

Masemula learned to help those who are less fortunate from her parents, who always aid the needy.

She wants Masuko to have one less thing to worry about in order to study hard and get his degree, she said.