South Africa not competing: brand expert


SILENT WARS: The ANC, EFF and DA debate over whether democracy is delivering.  Photo: Thabile Manala.

SILENT WARS: The ANC, EFF and DA debate over whether democracy is delivering.
Photo: Thabile Manala.

South Africa’s international image is not as competitive as it used to be because of the weak economy and corruption.

This was according to Thebe Ikalafeng, founder of Brand Leadership and Brand Africa. Ikalafeng was among the panel including Mmusi Maimane, Dali Mpofu and Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane at the BBC Africa Debate this afternoon discussing: Is Democracy Delivering?

Ikalafeng said while South Africa may be significantly better since 1994, it is not looking as good as “we” want it to. This is why Nigeria’s economy managed to surpass South Africa as the largest economy in Africa.

Ikalafeng said according to Foreign Policy magazine which measures countries that yield the highest returns from investors- South Africa ranked 41, compared to Botswana (2), Rwanda (5) and Ghana (10). “Around election time there is a tendency to look at individual issues [and] not things in totality,” he said.

Mpofu, Gauteng premier candidate of the Economic Freedom Fighters, said: “political freedom is meaningless without economic freedom”. He said that the EFF emphasises questions of land because there is no reason why Africa cannot feed itself possessing so many raw materials.

Maimane said the story of South Africa must be headlined by economic growth and employment. He referred to the leadership of the ruling party saying: “our trajectory as a nation is one of decline instead of upliftment.”

Mokonyane, who is ANC head of elections,  defended the ruling party saying “Nelson Mandela would be proud today because the ANC has not deviated from its policies”. Mokonyane agreed positively to the question of whether the ANC has the moral weight to represent South Africa and said “[it is] not about ‘feeling’ but what we are doing”.

Vuyani Sam, an audience member, said the mentality of politicians promising the public things they cannot deliver to get votes needs to be challenged. “A nation as desperate as this is a danger to itself,” he said.

2014/2015 Wits PGA Executive Committee elected


NEW TEAM: The newly elected executive committee is hoping to fill in the vacant positions soon before it fully takes over. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

A new Wits Postgraduate Association (PGA) executive committee was elected this afternoon following a secret ballot.

The elections, which privately took place inside the SRC (Students Representatives Council) boardroom, consisted of some members of the outgoing executive committee along with a few members of the PGA Council who were overseeing the election process.

The Wits PGA is a student representative body for postgraduate students at the University.

Unlike the usual elections whereby candidates read out their manifestos to students, the PGA Council which is made up of postgraduate student representatives from each of the 35 Schools within the university elects members to serve on the Executive Committee.

Expressing his hopes for the newly elected executive committee, Manoshe Phasha, outgoing PGA chair stressed the importance of communication as coordinating the association was a difficult task.

“Running PGA is not as easy as running SRC whereby everyone is a fulltime student and around here.. So it’s difficult coordinating PGA. If they [newly elected executive] keep on the communication they will do well and I do hope that they stick together as a team ” The PGA often has members who are part-time students in full-time employment which can be difficult to manage.

2014/2015 PGA Executive Committee

Chairperson: Vuyisani Kuboni

Deputy Chair: Siyanda Mngadi

Treasurer: Dominic Khumalo

Secretary: Samantha Jack

Media and Liaison Officer: Ayodimeji Biobaku

Residence Student Representative: Vacant

International Student Representative: Patience Gumbo

Local Student Representative: Vacant

Research Student Representative: William Wright

Coursework Representative: Moorosi Leshoele

Faculty Rep- Commerce, Law & Management: Phelelani Mpanza

Faculty Rep- Engineering: Grant Davis

Faculty Rep- Health Sciences: Nicholas Bacci

Faculty Rep- Humanities: Vacant

Faculty Rep- Science: Marcelle Johnson


Campus radio station helps to keep students warm this winter

A CHANCE TO GIVE: With the weather becoming increasingly colder, students can donate clothes to those in need. Photo: Zelmarie Goosen

A CHANCE TO GIVE: With the weather becoming increasingly colder, students can donate clothes to those in need. Photo: Zelmarie Goosen

Winter is fast approaching and while most of us are geared for the cold, there are many students that need some help keeping warm.

Wits campus radio station VowFM recently launched their annual campaign to collect warm winter clothing for those in need.

“Every year we have different homes that we work with in the Braamfontein area,” said Vow’s marketing manager Lucky Mdaweni. “This year we’re working with the Wits Volunteering Office, [now called] Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach (WCCO).”

The WCCO office helps VoWFM locate charity homes, as well as students within the university who are in need of the donated items.

“They work a lot more closely with students on campus who need the clothing and other things … which works nicely because not all students on campus want to be known as the kids who want clothing, so they work with them anonymously.”

Mdaweni says that Witsies have responded positively to the initiative. “We’ve had a lot of requests to have the boxes stay a bit longer, purely because of the demand in terms of people giving a lot of clothing within the university,” Mdaweni said.

The campaign runs until the end of June, when all the clothes that have been donated are given out, but continues after that if people want to donate more. Boxes, such as those pictured above are located all over campus.

Race still matters 20 years on, even at South African universities

HEAVY THOUGHTS:  The Wits Transformation Office held a round table discussion on race which stirred a debate amongst the audience.   Photo: Lameez Omarjee

HEAVY THOUGHTS: The Wits Transformation Office held a round table discussion on race which stirred up a heated debate amongst the audience.
Photo: Lameez Omarjee

By Robyn Kirk and Lameez Omarjee

Race continues to be an issue in South Africa, even in the apparently transformed halls of higher education.

This was the predominant view of the audience at the Wits Transformation Office roundtable discussion on campus earlier today. The discussion looked at the relevance of race in the 20 year old democracy of South Africa but focused on the issue of transformation in higher education.

The Wits Transformation Office maintains that Wits University has transformed in terms of both race and gender over the last 20 years. But speakers at the discussion felt otherwise.

Athi-Nangamso Nkopo, a Master’s student in Political Science and founder of the Feminist Forum said that “although Wits University has improved in the racial representation of students enrolled, not enough systems are in place to ensure non-white students succeed and graduate. She argued that “in higher education, not enough is being done for women to advance,”  and added that the improvements on campus are not an accurate representation of the demographics of the country.
Michlene Mongae, the Secretary General of the Wits SRC (Students Representatives Council), pointed out that within the space of the university different racial groups tolerated one another, however this was not the case within private spaces such as at home or with friends. She also indicated that actively trying to look beyond race clearly shows that race still matters.
Mongae argued that in the past, white students were the most politically active on campus and over 20 years, black students have become the more politically dominant group on campus. “White students do not protest because they do not have to,” responded Mashele.

The comment sparked interest from the audience, where one audience member noting that the lack of white students at a discussion about race is an indication of the aparthy towards the issue.



Young people ambivalent about the vote

SERIOUS TALK: Andrew Gasnolar (Agang), Dali Mpofu (EFF), Mmusi Maimane (DA) and Fikile Mbalula (ANC) (from left to right) answer questions at a youth debate that focused on the theme, "Why do you deserve my vote?". Photo: Tracey Ruff

SERIOUS TALK: Political party representatives Andrew Gasnolar (Agang), Dali Mpofu (EFF), Mmusi Maimane (DA) and Mawethu Rune (ANC) (from left to right) answer questions at a youth debate that focused on the theme, “Why do you deserve my vote?” Photo: Tracey Ruff

 by Ilanit Chernick and Tracey Ruff

Young voters had a chance to question political heavy-hitters at a debate on Tuesday but many of the youth still expressed ambivalence about who they would vote for.

The debate, called “Why, do you deserve my vote?”, was held at Jozi Hub at 44 Stanley on Tuesday afternoon and gave young people the chance to ask questions to candidates from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), ANC, Democratic Alliance (DA) and Agang.

Musician Simon Tshukudu voiced the opinion of many of the young people present when he said he was uncertain about who to vote for because “none of the political parties running keep their promises” and he was concerned about “corruption within the parties.”

[pullquote]“No one has been that impressive or awe-inspiring,”[/pullquote]

However, despite his ambivalence, Tshukudu said he attended the debate because he wanted to “voice his opinion about issues in the country”.

Tuesday’s debate focused on addressing the youth’s lack of participation in the upcoming election and the great amount of voter apathy among the youth. In addition to being held at Jozi Hub, six students from across the country were chosen to participate in the debate via Google Hangout.

DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane said was encouraging the youth to vote because “it’s a South African’s right” to do so.

“We would like to build a country that is inclusive of all, including young people, especially the 1.6 million youth [in Gauteng] who can’t find work.”

The EFF’s Dali Mpofu said there was a “problem with the youth” and he hoped to “interest young people who are undecided to get involved and participate”.

 POLITICS OF FUN: The EFF's Dali Mpofu and the DA's Mmusi Maimane share a lighthearted moment at a youth debate held on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Tracey Ruff

POLITICS OF FUN: The EFF’s Dali Mpofu and the DA’s Mmusi Maimane share a lighthearted moment at a youth debate held on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Tracey Ruff

ANC representative Mawethu Rune said he did not agree that the youth were apathetic because ANC Youth League members were winning SRC elections in universities. “[This] shows more young people are getting involved in mainstream politics”.

Following the debate, many students were still ambivalent about the election. Student entrepreneur Tebogo Photoane told Wits Vuzuzela that he was still unsure who to vote for.

“No one has been that impressive or awe-inspiring,” Photoane said.

Former Wits student Mashokane Mahlo, however, said she had done a lot of thinking about her vote and had decided on what party to support.

“I know who I’m voting for, but my decision was changed recently because of new information I received,” said Mahlo. “It took a long time for me to decide.”


CAMPUS NEWS: Public lecture series at Wits Arts Museum: What is “contemporary” African art?

This information was received from the Wits News newsletter. For more information, email

Public Lecture Series: What is “Contemporary” African Art?

WAM, in association with the Centre for the Creative Arts of Africa (CCAA), presents a series of public lectures. Drawing extensively on the WAM collection, this six part lecture series explores a wide range of “contemporary” African art practices.

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from specialists, engage with people who share your interests and expand your knowledge of the visual arts of Africa.

Professor Anitra Nettleton, Dr Paul Davis and Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum of the CCAA, Dr Laura De Becker of WAM, and Nontobeko Ntombela of the Wits School of Arts will present different parts of the programme.

Bookings: / Enquiries: 011 717 1365

Date: 6 May – 10 June 2014 (Tuesday evenings)

Time: 18:30 – 19:30

Cost: R1 000 | R700 for students or pensioners | Financial aid is available on application.

CAMPUS NEWS: Wits traffic advisory for Bidvest Wits match on Wednesday

This information was received from Wits University.

“Due to the PSL match between Bidvest Wits Football Club and Orlando Pirates taking place at the Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday, 30 April 2014, traffic to the Braamfontein Campuses will be severely affected between 17:00 and 21:00.

To avoid congestion, especially at the Yale Road north gate to Empire Road, all University traffic to Braamfontein Campus East should enter and exit through the Yale Road south gate (Jorissen Street) from 17:00 onwards. To enter and exit Braamfontein Campus West, kindly use the Enoch Sontonga gate.

Kick-off is at 19:30 and tickets will only be sold at Computicket at R45 per person (grandstand), R40 per person (normal stands) and R20 per child under the age of 13 years.”


‘One Day Without Shoes’ without money

GO BAREFOOT:  One day Without Shoes will be held at the library lawns all day today. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

GO BAREFOOT: One day Without Shoes will is happening at the library lawns all day today.
Photo: Lameez Omarjee

Despite collecting close to 1000 pairs of shoes for underprivileged kids in last year’s One Day Without Shoes, this year’s event at Wits was organised with no finances.

The Wits One Day Without Shoes 2014 event, happening today, April 29, on the library lawns, is a global awareness day for children who do not have shoes.

Participants spend a day without shoes on their feet as they go about their daily activities. They are also encouraged to donate a pair of shoes to the initiative. This year though, the organising committee found themselves relying on donations to make the event a reality.

“We got lots of donations, like the stickers were donated,” said Wayne Mahlanga, a member of the organising team. Jo Anne Tomlinson, also a part of the team, said it was difficult to organise the event without a budget.

Tomlinson hopes this year’s event will raise enough interest to continue the legacy of the initiative once she graduates. The money made from selling stickers will go towards next year’s budget, to make it easier for the organisers, she said.

“Karuna Singh, Wits Citizenship Community Outreach (Wits CCO) manager was supportive and got so many people involved,” said Tomlinson. “She got us everything we needed from Wits,” said Mahlanga.

The team also received significant assistance from theStudent Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU).

The event today hopes to get as many donations as possible but it also intends to raise awareness among Witsies about kids who cannot afford a pair of shoes.

‘Girls compete with each other – women empower each other’

Anya van Zyl and Melinda Bam, the organisers of the Womentality Workshop.

POWERFUL WOMEN: Anja van Zyl and Melinda Bam, the organisers of the Womentality Workshop. Photo: Lutho Mtongana

One of Johannesburg’s poshest hotels played host to a bevy of beautiful women who were attending the second annual Womentality Workshop  yesterday.

The workshop, aimed at empowering young women, and is the brainchild of former Miss South Africa Melinda Bam and 2008 runner-up, Anja van Zyl, took place all through the day at the Maslow in Sandton. The aim of the former beauty queens is to help women embrace their inner femininity and be fearless and proud.

“Womentality workshops touch on several aspects of the female form and mind, to help you refine your femininity.”

“Being feminine means embracing different facets, acquiring new skills to be able to adapt to life’s changes and to realise that being a woman is the biggest blessing of all,” said Bam.

A self-confessed tomboy, she said that there is a lot for women, even the tomboys, to take away from the workshops which focus on a mind-set shift.

“There is a bit of femininity in every single woman that she should embrace, it is not just about what you look like, it is how all of that translates into how you feel about yourself every day,” she said.

Rolene Strauss, current Miss South Africa, gave a talk at yesterday's Womentality Workshop. Photo: Kudzai Mazvarirwofa

Rolene Strauss, current Miss South Africa, also gave a talk at yesterday’s Womentality Workshop in Sandton. Photo: Kudzai Mazvarirwofa

“We want to create a movement, we are going to go to each province, and yes we want to have them regularly,” said Van Zyl about the future of the workshops.