STORIFY: Student protester’s injured in Obama rally

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VIDEO: Jimmy’s Muthi

 

Jimmy Mathebula is a 34 year old Computer Scientist at Wits University. His marriage has broken down. His business is in trouble. So as a last resort, Jimmy has decided to visit a traditional healer for the first tine in his life – to get advice from his ancestors. Will Jimmy find answers or will he be left with more questions?
Film Team:
Producer/Editor

Nokuthula Manyathi

 

Camera/Voicerover

Jacob Carstens

 

Reporter/Script

Thuletho Zwane

 

Universities face Facebook confessions

#WitsConfessions 2763:  a female lecturer once hinted sex to me during consultation
#UCT Confession 890: I’m not saying the Res food is bad… But, it looks a lot more appetizing on the way out, than it does on the way in.

Facebook confession pages are seemingly everywhere. What started as a trend in the United States earlier in January this year has entrenched itself in the South African social media space, with university Facebook confession pages for every major South African institution now in existence.

Facebook confession pages are merely Facebook pages – different to personal profiles and specifically for any interest or special group. These ‘confession’ pages are public, and the stream of updates is anonymous and untraceable. [pullquote]A constant feed of relationship problems, embarrassing confessions, and institutional slander.[/pullquote]

The administrators of these pages have found a loophole that protects the identity of the posters by directing people to a separate web page outside Facebook that contains a form for a confession submission.

This allows anyone (not even those affiliated with the universities) to submit whatever they want anonymously via email to the administrators. These posts are then uploaded by the administrators who may, at their own discretion, filter out content or amend them.

The result is a constant feed of relationship problems, embarrassing confessions, and institutional slander.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) and Wits University (Wits) have responded to articles printed in the Cape Times and The Star individually, with both press releases distancing the institutions from these pages.

UCT highlighted the issue with anonymity of the posts and reminds readers that confessions may be false. UCT also noted that the administrators of the page are filtering out hate speech and defamation but made no reference to any action they might take.

Wits is actively monitoring the page for any infringements of its policies and would take any necessary action. Wits also recognises that these pages are a “form of expression” and that the university has not received any complaints from students or staff regarding this page.

The Wits Confessions Page on Facebook has been liked over twelve thousand times. Graphic: Dean Falcke

The Wits Confessions Page on Facebook has been liked over twelve thousand times. Graphic: Dean Falcke

The reality is, given the current method in which these confession pages operate, both institutions are powerless to act. However, should any of the posts violate any of Facebook’s own content standards, it can be shut down.  In an apparent response to keeping within these standards, the Wits confession page includes a code of conduct by the page’s administrators, and current confessions even obfuscate swear words.

As with many things on the Internet, this may turn out to be just a fad. With the novelty wearing off, some posters are running out of original content. But never fear, as someone on the internet is always watching to keep you on the straight and narrow:

#UCTExpression 1897

This is meant to be a page for original material, not cut and paste jobs you got from Tumblr. Looking at you, Confession 1875.

Meeting Patrick Ndlovu

Patrick Ndlovu has worked on Jorissen Street for the past ten years. Photo: Dean Falcke

Patrick Ndlovu has worked on Jorissen Street for the past ten years. Photo: Dean Falcke

The most famous car guard on the corner of Jorissen and Bertha Streets in Braamfontein, no longer wants to be on that beat any longer. 48 year old Patrick Ndlovu has endured all weather conditions from the incredibly cold to the scotching hot for the last 10 years.

Despite his commitment to this ‘job’ for a decade, Ndlovu has little to show for it apart from his face full of sorrow and troubles.

The divorced father of two teenagers based in Cape Town, says ‘’the initial hope of making a better life in Johannesburg has faded right in front of me”.

Ndlovu says that on a good day, especially towards the end of the month, he makes about R200-R250 a day as most people give him about R5 per car. On a normal day he makes between R75–R100  as motorists give him an average of  R1-R2.  His life and that of his family depends entirely on the moods and generosity of the motorists who visit the University of the Witwatersrand and buildings around the campus. [pullquote]If he could raise enough money, he would catch the first bus home.[/pullquote]

Ndlovu spends his income on R500 rent he pays to live in a flat he shares with other people in the Johannesburg CBD. The rest he spends on food. Ndlovu says; ‘’I buy cooked meals every day because I cannot afford to buy monthly groceries.”  He says the other reason he will not risk buying groceries is that he is afraid his flatmates would steal it.

Ndlovu says most motorists respect him for the service he offers because he makes sure that their cars and portable possessions like phones and laptops are always safe. He claims that despite the help of the police cameras erected all over Braamfontein, he also fights with trouble-makers at his post.  However, he says there are motorists who -treat badly him by yelling insults at him for no reason and leav without paying.

Patrick’s work is also acknowledged and appreciated by other security officers in the vicinity. Lesley Mathonsi, a security officer contracted by the University of the Witwatersrand, says; “Patrick is doing a good job as university’s clients hardly complain about him.”  Mathonsi says Ndlovu is reliable and trustworthy because he is always there from 8am to 5pm.

Ndlovu says if he could raise enough money, he would catch the first bus home. He says; ‘’I have been suffering for more than 10 years in the streets of Jo’burg’’.

Patrick came to Johannesburg in 2000 after a divorce from his wife in Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape.  Later in the same year, he was contracted with by City Parks as a general worker. After few months of working there,  he and his colleagues embarked on an illegal strike. They were all found guilty and dismissed during the disciplinary hearings.

With no luck of finding another job, he started guarding cars on the streets of Braamfontein in  2002.

Pack your bags and get an education

The days of obtaining a degree and immediately building a career are something of the past. More and more South African students are opting for a year of travel after graduation and often, some continue their education abroad.

 In her recent blog “Why Student Travel Is More Important than Ever Before” Kay Rodriguez unpacks the main reasons for the increase in student travel globally.

 Rodriguez says: “Now, more than ever, it is becoming increasingly important for college students to go abroad. Our world is growing in its demand for global-minded people, and one of the best ways to achieve this is through travel and exploration.”

 Kelly Jackson, General Manager for Contiki SA says: “Don’t have any regrets – as Mark Twain said “twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do”. Travel is the best university. You have one life, one shot so make it count.”

 It just makes more sense to travel before you are bogged down with finding a job, buying a house, paying bills and settling down with a family.

 Student travel is an adventure without one’s parents and with a youthful enthusiasm for the world. [pullquote align=”right”] One of the most valuable investments of traveling is education. [/pullquote]

 Jackson agrees.  “South African school leavers on a gap year generally start their journey by going to the United Kingdom and Europe. They choose a multi-country trip with us to see and experience as such as they possibly can.

 “Students and those who have already travelled to Europe then go on to choose Asia as a great destination – it represents excellent value for money while the USA and Canada plus Latin America generally come in as second or third trips,” says Jackson.

 The economic challenges of students are real and many students complain that it is too expensive to travel. This is true especially with the increase in airfare travel could be pricey. However, there is one significant advantage to being a student: scholarships.

 Scholarships can fund studies abroad, international research, internships and language learning with the possibility of leisure travel.

 In addition, there is also a high premium on international experience and employers recognise the importance thereof.

 One of the most valuable investments of traveling is education.

 “You will learn so much more than you do from a textbook or from a class lecture or from taking test after test with minimal sleep.”

 Traveling provides opportunities to see things first hand and practice interpersonal skills. It provides the opportunity to gain a global perspective, teach tolerance, resourcefulness and key life skills.

Rodriguez says: “Without travel, you will only see the world on a screen or in a book, but you will never get to experience it for yourself.”

One man, one bicycle, 600 kms and 63 hours

MAN OF STEEL: Kevin Davie tells Wits Vuvuzela about cycling 600km in 63 hours on only 2.5 hours of sleep Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

MAN OF STEEL: Kevin Davie tells Wits Vuvuzela about cycling 600km in 63 hours on only 2.5 hours of sleep
Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

 

Kevin Davie only needed two and a half hours of sleep to cycle 600km in 63 hours last week. The average person needs at least eight hours.

Davie, who lectures financial journalism at Wits University and works as a financial journalist at the Mail and Guardian, has shown incredible endurance by cycling from Johannesburg to Sodwana Bay in KwaZulu Natal.

I have never done that before

Davie said he had never done a challenge like this before but was always interested undertaking an endurance sport with little sleep.

“I have never done that before. The first night I didn’t sleep at all and that next morning I did need to sleep for like half an hour,” said Davie.

Davie has had a passion for adventure sports for over three decades; completing 10 Comrade’s marathons and 24 Dusi canoe marathons. For Davie adventure sports are a way of life and a way of keeping fit.

[pullquote]“Get your bike and get out there and just explore”[/pullquote]

The Freedom Challenge

During his 30 years as an off-road cyclist, Davie has cycled a total of 10 000 km.  He was the 24th person to ever complete the Freedom Challenge; a 2300 km mountain bike ride between Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town.

“Well I’ve always liked adventure sports…it’s a way to stay fit. It’s a way of getting to explore a country and meet people on a quiet a basic level. You are not arriving in a 4X4 but on a bicycle and people relate to that”.

The most amazing thing

Davie said he was amazed at how his body was able to complete such a challenge on very little sleep.

“The most amazing thing was that twice I was really tired and completely finished. Both times what I did was I took a short sleep one was ten minutes and the other was 20 minutes. And after those sleeps I was back as fresh as I had started,”

Support from friends and family

Davie was able to complete the bike ride with the assistance of his friends who rode along with him at different points of the off road challenge. He said his family and friends were surprised and amazed when he finished the “impossible” non-stop 600 km bike ride.

Davie said preparing for the challenge was difficult. He had to follow a strict low carbohydrate and high protein diet.

“It’s a kind of way of life…in my mind it’s just a healthy way to live that you build experience and a good diet to your life.”

Freedom Rider

Davie recently published a book “Freedom Rider, 10 000 km by mountain bike across South Africa which tells the story of Davie’s mountain bike adventures which lead him discover some of South Africa’s most beautiful hidden corners.

Davie said he had future plans to do more rides and explore more parts of the country. He said biking was a good way to explore and to be with one’s thoughts, he encouraged cyclists to just do it.

“Get your bike and get out there and just explore”

 

Youth look for hope in Agang

The young supporters, who came to the launch of Mamphela Ramphele’s new political party, hope she will help them find jobs.

“I have a degree; I’m struggling to get a job. I am hoping that she’ll help me get a job,” said Ndivhuwo Tshaduli, (24).

Agang was launched at the Pretoria show grounds today and attracted thousands of young South Africans clad in white t-shirts.

Another supporter Junior Mofomme said she’s been unemployed since 2005, “I have a tertiary qualification. I can’t get a real job”. Mofomme said she hope Ramphele will bring about change.

[pullquote align=”right”]“The leaders of this current government set an appalling example that others follow”[/pullquote]

In her speech Ramphele told the crowd “20 years is too long to wait for jobs,” and that “this government is destroying our economy and our society.”

“The failure of the education system is robbing young people of their futures and is handicapping the progress of our country”.

Matric student, Martin Mathebula (18) said he will vote for Agang because he wanted an “equal education”.

“Agang means let’s built South Africa, that means equal education.  I am tired of waiting,” said Mathebula

Ramphele said she was inspired by a burning ambition to expect excellence in education: “If we upgrade the education system and get the economy moving we can start to tackle the poverty and despair that are at the heart of our social problems and are the root causes of crime.”

She said that corruption was at the heart of the problems South Africa is facing.

“The leaders of this current government set an appalling example that others follow,” said Ramphele.

“We deserve to have a President who knows that it is wrong to steal money meant for RDP houses to build himself a R206 million palace.”

Unemployed Huitsimang Sethunya (21), said she hoped Ramphele would finish the work the African National Congress (ANC) started but is failing to complete.

Wits News: A workshop on the feature length documentary

[Information taken from Wits News: email wits.news@wits.ac.za]
[hr]

The South African Guild of Editors (SAGE) and In the Bag – a Wits Film and TV initiative – present a talk by Catherine Meyburgh and Susan Scott, celebrated South African editors and members of SAGE.

Documentary films are known for high shooting ratios. The editor may work through hundreds, even thousands of hours of raw material before arriving at the final film. How does one begin to think of a structure for a feature length documentary?

How do you keep it all organised? Is working on a wildlife documentary different to working on a documentary with human subjects? These are the questions Meyburgh and Scott will consider.

 

Date: 20 June 2013

Time: 17:30 for 18:00

Venue: The Appollonia, Wits School of Arts

Wits News: Book discussion on ‘Seeing like a Feminist’

[Information taken from Wits News: email wits.news@wits.ac.za]
[hr]

The Centre for Indian Studies in Africa presents a book discussion on Seeing Like a Feminist (2012) by Nivedita Menon (Professor of Political Thought, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi) with Wits Professors Shireen Hassim and Isabel Hofmeyr, and associate Prof Tommaso Milani.

 

Date: 20 June 2013

Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Venue: CISA, 36 Jorrisen Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

Copies of the book will be on sale.

Wits News: World-renowned maths education expert speaks at Wits

[Information taken from Wits News: email wits.news@wits.ac.za]
[hr]

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO UNDERSTAND SOME MATHEMATICS? AND THOUGHTS ON THE LEARNING AND TEACHING OF ALGEBRA

 

The Marang Centre for Maths and Science in the Wits School of Education and AMESA Gauteng present two talks by the Zenex guest speaker, Prof Zalman Usiskin, world‐renowned Mathematics Education expert. He has authored or co‐authored many textbooks geared towards teaching mathematics at schools. He has been the Director of the University of Chicago’s School Mathematics Project (UCSMP) since 1987.

 

Talk 1: What does it mean to understand some mathematics?

Date and Time: 18 June 2013, 15:30 – 17:00. Coffee and tea will be served.

 

Talk 2: Thoughts on the learning and teaching of Algebra

Date and Time: 19 June 2013, 15:30 – 17:00. Coffee and tea will be served

 

Venue: WITS Education Campus (formerly JCE), Bohlaleng Block, Staff Lounge

RSVP: Innocentia.vukeya@wits.ac.za  or 011 717 3409