Clever Boy ditches diski

Football - Absa Premiership 2011/12 - Bidvest Wits v Free State Stars - Bidvest Wits Stadium

Out With A Bang: Stanton Fredericks has retired from pro-football after helping Bidvest Wits to 4th place this season.                                                                                                     Photo: Provided

As of this week, you are more likely to find Stanton “Stiga” Fredericks on the lush greens of a golf course than on the soccer pitches of the Premier Soccer League where he made his name as a footballer.

The 34 year-old veteran and former Bidvest captain decided to retire from professional football on Tuesday, ending his career at the same club where it began.

For the sake of his handicap, Stiga’s fans will hope he approaches golf with the same kind of gritty determination and fierce competitiveness he showed throughout a career spanning almost two decades including stints playing in Switzerland, Greece and Moscow.

After making his professional debut for Wits in 1996, the west-Johannesburg born midfielder went on to play for the national under-23 team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and also earned 14 caps for Bafana Bafana.

Besides often being handed the mythical number 10 jersey at most of the clubs he represented, the playmaker is also part of an elite club in local football circles.

Fredericks has played for both Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

And even though he did not move directly from one club to the other, he played for the teams at a time when the rivalry between the two, especially among their supporters, still bordered on violent proportions.

In interviews, Fredericks stated that a lack of game time with Bidvest this season made the decision to retire easier.

In the last two seasons combined, Fredericks has only started 4 league games for the Clever Boys, without scoring.  In comparison, he started 20 games in the 2010/2011 season, finding the net 4 times.

Fredericks will be remembered by football fans for his ability to “skin” an opponent, with the kind of inventive turn-of-skill that sent idiski purists into raptures.

He will also be remembered as a clean-living, dedicated footballer, a genuine role-model.

World No Tobacco Day



A meme is popularly defined as an “element of culture or behaviour that may be passed from one person to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation”.

The concept was coined by famous British scientist Richard Dawkins.

On Friday 31 May the World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates World No Tobacco Day, warning that smoking kills up to 5.6 million people every year.

Our own national health minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, recently announced government plans to tighten South Africa’s already strict tobacco and smoking legislation, seeking to completely prohibit what he called the “familiar sight” of smokers gathering outside of buildings to “pollute the air around them”.

The minister seems to buy in to the idea of meme’s, even if unwittingly.

He has not only been consistently pushing for legislation that will prevent smoking in public, but also for a complete black-out on any form of marketing around tobacco products.

A maximum fine of R100 000 for smoking less than 10 meters from the entrance of a building is already in place, and the minister also hopes to emulate laws already enforced in Australia and New Zealand where cigarettes are sold only in plain, unbranded packaging.

The minister draws his thinking from the work of international behavioural scientists, whose studies have found that the less children and young adults observed people smoking and the less the habit was “glamorised” by fancy marketing, the fewer of these age-groups would start smoking.

Despite the minister’s and government’s determined campaign against tobacco products, South Africans continue to puff away.

Research has shown that 7.7 million South Africans smoke 11.4 cigarettes a day. In total, that amounts 29 billion cigarette sticks a year.

The figure, however, only covers the legal tobacco trade. The South African Revenue Services (SARS) claims it loses up R4.5 billion in tax revenue to illicit cigarette trade every year.

South African’s are really puffing away, and Wits Campus is no different. Smokers can be seen around campus huddled in intimate groups enjoying cigarettes, and more recently hookah pipes.

Pharmacology honours student Cassandra Geldenhuys said she had started smoking because both her parents were smokers and because it “looked decent”.

“There’s one road to your lungs, you might as well tar it,” Geldenhuys joked.

A fellow Pharmacology student, who asked not to be named in case her mother read the paper, said she stared smoking when she was 12 years-old.

“I really liked the look of smoking and I forced myself to do it,” she said.

She said she had heard about the new regulations, and had been threatened with a R1 500 fine while smoking outside a Wimpy by the manger.

She wondered why it was such big deal. “In movies in the 80s you would see everyone smoking”, she said.

Another Witsie, a 2nd year medical student, said he started smoking in high school for “social acceptance”.

That both smokers and those pushing for tougher laws against smoking seem to consider the habit something taken up through imitation, lends some credibility to the idea of smoking as “cultural meme”.

Related information:

World No Tobacco Day on Twitter

Taxi Poetry: A ride on the rhythms of fiction and beyond

Stubble bearded and  glass-eyed, dressed in army-green knit sweater and soil-brown slacks, author Imraan Coovadia cut a weary figure on Wednesday evening at WISER’s discussion of an initiative, to put poetry on Johannesburg taxi’s,  that sprung from Coovadia’s 2012 novel The Institute for Taxi Poetry.
But he steadily warmed to the occasion. And while the mercury dropped in Braamfontein’s solemn streets, the temperature inside WISER’s modern conference room climbed, as the concept of Taxi Poetry was “uncoiled in the ears” of the attentive, expectant audience.   The University of Cape Town creative writing professor was at the tail-end of his Joburg lecture tour and looked like he was courting exhaustion. Taxi Poetry

The WISER event was billed “From Fiction to Reality”, and sought to “present and explore the Taxi Poetry project that has resulted in poetry being written for and placed on 70 taxis in Johannesburg over the last few weeks.”

In Coovadia’s experimental book  unusual tales are told of poets and a form of poetry that emerges somewhere beneath the skin of Cape Town’s murky taxi industry –ruled and populated by some of the most imaginative and cosmopolitan characters to be found in South African literature.


Observer: Author Imraan Coovadia engaged with audience members after the event.                       Photo: Mfuneko Toyana

Director at WISER and collaborator on the project, Sarah Nuttall, spoke in her introduction of a “tradition of transportation poetry in South Africa that was mostly found in trains”.

It was this idea, and a meeting with Coovadia in Cape Town about the possibilities of his novel, that led to the conception of Taxi Poetry.

Nuttall then co-opted Wits fine arts lecturer Zen Marie, and media polyglot and poet Karabo Kgoleng, with the backing of the Goethe Institute, to build a project around the novel.

The result: a group of Johannesburg poets wrote pieces about Johannesburg; a line each from the poems was transposed on to large “fridge magnets”; and off the poets went into CBD to convince taxi drivers to display the poetry on their taxis.

“The idea of magnets came from realising that in Joburg taxi drivers don’t have the agency to intervene on the taxi,” explained Marie, who did research for the project by collaborating with a Durban taxi driver to produce a music video about his taxi- Big Boss.

The main difference, Marie said, was that “in Durban most drivers owned the taxi they drove, while in Joburg drivers worked for owners who owned large fleets [of taxis]”.

Kgoleng picked up the thread where Nuttall had left it, and spoke at length of poetic inspiration and its relationship to the “aspirational quality of Joburg”.

“Poetry is the medium which the personal can become public,” she said. “Coovadia has used his creative licence to characterise the poet as a player in the taxi area”.

And from this, the poets were able to take poetry and expression outside of the commercial realms and return it to the people.

When Coovadia addressed the audience, reading now and again from his smartphone, his energy was palpable.

With artful simplicity, he explained the complex process that his book both captured and unleashed. A concept that all the speakers on the night had alluded to, that of the fragmented associational patterns that emerged in small, overlooked pockets of our urban society.

“Novelists are like carthorses, and poets are grasshoppers”, he said describing how the process of writing the novel had pushed him into different areas of expression and working with others.

“You realise that social reform is possible precisely because of how human feeling can pass from one person to another,” Coovadia concluded.

Israel vs SRC

The SRC said they weren’t surprised the university was under financial pressure from Israel lobbyists not to drop the charges against 11students charged for disrupting the performance of an Israeli-born pianist.

“[The SRC] suggest our refusal to do so [drop the charges] emanates from the pressure from donors who support Israel. There have indeed been some individuals who have threatened to withdraw their donations,” said Habib and Nongxa on a Business Day article.

SRC secretary Tasneem  Essop said “It is easy to draw a link between the university refusing to drop the charges and the financial threats made from donors who support Israel”. She said the reason the charges were not dropped is because financial and political pressure from Israel lobbyists.

Eleven students, nine of which are SRC members, were charged with possible contravention of university rules after they protested at the performance during Israel Apartheid Week

“11 members of the Wits community allegedly violated university rules, impinged on the rights of others, broke up the concert and in effect violated academic freedom, we acted and subjected them to disciplinary hearings,” said Habib and Nongxa.

 Essop added that a day after the March 12 protest, at about, Habib and Nongxa released a statement distancing themselves from the student protest.

“They were in New York, they received threats from pro-Israel lobby,” said Essop.

She said the university chose to charge the 11 students but didn’t do anything when they were assaulted by members of security and were sworn at by people attending the Israeli-funded concert.

“We were called monkeys, savages, Muslim agitators. We were even told to ‘go back to the jungle where you belong’ but the university chose to charge the 11 students and did nothing [about the Israeli supporters],” said Essop.

Habib said they have not received any written complaint about the allegation: “If the SRC feels that this has happened, they should lay an official complaint and the matter will be investigated as per due process.”

Habib and Nongxa said Wits was neither a political party or a civil movement. “Wits has not taken a position to boycott Israel,” they said.

Mbuyiseni Ndlovu a PHD politics student who is one of the 11 students charged said the statement was nonsense:  “Israel implements systematic racial discrimination. We can’t be neutral in such a state. Wits took sides during Apartheid. Wits took sides with the Dalai Lama. They can’t claim this neutral nonsense.”

The disciplinary hearing against the 11 charged students has been postponed to July 16.

Wits puts Hunt on top

BIDVest Wits has reportedly made Gavin Hunt the highest paid coach in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) with a salary of almost a million rands.

Bidvest Wits announced on Tuesday  that Hunt signed on as The Clever Boys’ new coach and various reports indicated his salary would be R 750 000 per month with a signing-on fee of R10 million. Hunt replaces Clive Baker, who had been leading the team for five months. [pullquote align=”right”]”his salary would be R 750 000 per month with a signing-on fee of R10 million”[/pullquote]

 Bidvest Wits FC Chief Executive Officer, Jose Ferreira, said they were impressed with Hunt’s work, “not only with Supersport United but with every other club he has coached prior to that”.

Hunt is moving from Supersport United where he had been with for six years. During his time with Supersport he won three PSL championships and the coach of the year title three years in a row. Hunt is said to have signed a three year contract with the option to renew.

“We have signed a long term contract with him and we believe that, in line with our long term vision for the club, he is the right coach to lead the process that we have embarked on to transform our team into a consistently competitive force in South African football,” said Ferreira.

 Sindile Sibiya from the Bidvest football club said Hunt will probably start at the end of June.

Barker came back from retirement in January to help The Clever Boys, who were struggling. Ferreira thanked Baker for the “remarkable” work he had done over the last five months: “Clive will always be remembered as an important part of our initial efforts to turn things around at our club.”

 It has not yet been confirmed who will replace Hunt at Supersport United.