CHESS: Witsies buoy team South Africa to strong position

CHESS: Witsies buoy team South Africa to strong position

BATTLEFIELD: Evasan Chettiar, 2nd year BEng represented South Africa at the World Chess Championships held in Poland last week.  He is pictured taking on an opponent during the 4th round of the competition.  Photo: Provided

BATTLEFIELD: Evasan Chettiar, 2nd year BEng represented South Africa at the World University Chess Championships held in Poland last week. He is pictured taking on an opponent during the 4th round of the competition. Photo: Provided

A number of Witsies helped to land the South African chess team on the 13th spot overall at the World University Chess Championships in Katowice, Poland, last week.

Seadimo Tlale, 2nd year LLB,and 2nd year BEng student, Evasan Chettiar, were faced with tough competition, but helped to improve South Africa’s overall international ranking.

Tough competition

“The tournament was the toughest tournament I’ve played in my whole life.  I played World Juniors in 2008, but oh my word, it was nothing like that,” said Tlale, the only female in the team, said.  She started the tournament with the lowest rating of 0 but ended with a rating close to 1600.

THINKER: Seadimo Tlale, 2nd year LLb was the only female in a team of four students representing South Africa in the World University Chess Championships held in Poland last week.  She is pictured in the first round of the competition.  Photo: Provided

THINKER: Seadimo Tlale, 2nd year LLB was the only female in a team of four students representing South Africa in the World University Chess Championships held in Poland last week. She is pictured in the first round of the competition. Photo: Provided

“We discovered that South Africans were underrated and we performed well above our national ratings,” said Chettiar, who scored the highest in the men’s section, amongst his South African teammates.

His male teammates from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and North West University scored half a point below him.

Overall, team South Africa’s ratings were below 1800.  “Over there, our performances were above 2000, and that’s good in chess,” he said.

Tlale and Chettiar were exposed to competitors of different cultures, which added to the value of their experience.  Besides learning new techniques to aid their game, they also made new friends from Japan, Switzerland and France and learnt a bit of Polish.

Polished technique

“There’s a lot of stuff I changed about my personal play that  I think I can even  bring back home and start playing at that level and that style,” said Tlale.

“We learnt how to take advantage of opening mistakes and how to avoid making opening mistakes,” said Chettiar.

“If we could keep up to par internationally, maybe we will do better nationally and locally”

Wits Sports officer TebogoRabothata is looking forward to the contribution Tlale and Chettiar will make to the chess club.

“Their fellow players would also want to up their game,” and possibly “emulate them” which would help the club get more sponsorships in the near future.

“It will actually help the young players going forward,” he said.

Tlale and Chettiar hope to inspire their teammates by incorporating more online tournaments and touring.  They are both nominees for full Blue Cum Laude colours and Sportswoman and Sportsman of this year’s Sports Awards, respectively.

Given “home-ground advantage”, according to Tlale, Poland took the first place in the tournament, followed by Russia and Armenia.

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Fizzy drinks taking years off your lifespan

Fizzy drinks taking years off your lifespan

FATTY FIZZY: Regular consumption of these products could lead to being overweight. Photo: Thabile Manala

FATTY FIZZY: Regular consumption of these products could lead to being overweight. Photo: Thabile Manala

A young adults’ chance of being overweight increases by almost 30% every time they consume a 330ml can of a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB).

Wits Researchers have found that one can of a fizzy drink contains an average of nine teaspoons of sugar and some can easily contain more than that.

The researchers agreed there are many contributing factors to obesity, however there is a direct link between sugar and gaining weight because fizzy drinks have “absolutely no nutritional value”, they said.

The research paper confirmed a recommendation made by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi that introducing a 20% tax on all SSB products would reduce sugar intake by 36 kilojoules per day.

Mercy Manyema, fellow researcher, said South Africa’s obesity levels are number one in Sub-Saharan Africa and seventeenth in the world. Obesity can lead to diabetes, strokes, heart diseases and tooth decay said Manyema.

The study has been met with a lot of defensiveness from the public, with comments pointing out that instead of increasing the sugar tax, why is the government not subsidising healthy food?

Another comment the researchers got during a radio interview said: “If you put another tax, we are already burdened with tax, you are gonna be taking money out of our pocket.”

Aviva Tugendhaft, fellow researcher, said: “A tax would work best with other approaches including health promotion, subsidisation of health food should occur, as well as easy food labelling … It would be more effective if incorporated with other promotions.”

Manyema said: “The cost of trying to cure a sick person, is heavier than [the cost] to prevent”. She added that it cost the state 23% more to treat an obese person compared to an average weight person.

Tugendhaft advised students to be more aware of how much sugar they consume, she said “eat your fruit, don’t drink it”. Tugendhaft further emphasised that students should make a habit of checking food labels before they eat.

 

 

“Sex pest” claims new play is not about sexual harassment

“Sex pest” claims new play is not about sexual harassment

Tsepo wa Mamatu, a lecturer in Drama has also been fired from Wits for sexual harassment.  Photo: Provided

UNDER FIRE: Dismissed “sex pest” Tsepo wa Mamatu says his controversial new play is not about sexual harassment.
Photo: Provided

A controversial new play by former Wits University lecturer, Tsepo wa Mamatu,  was withdrawn from Cape Town Fringe (CTF) festival last week despite claims from the actor/director that the play does not deal with the issue of sexual harassment.

“People do not know what they are talking about. It would be incorrect to say it [the play] was about sexual harassment,” said wa  Mamatu.

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, wa Mamatu said the play is an autobiographical account of his journey that is based on his memoir called Even Still – Lessons Tsepo Learned.

He said the issue of sexual harassment does come up in the play because “it was one of the most disappointing chapters of my stay there (at Wits).”

Wa Mamatu, who previously taught in the Wits School of Arts (WSOA), was found guilty of sexual harassment at Wits through an internal disciplinary process last year and subsequently fired.

Following the removal of the play, By My Grave, from the (CTF) programme owing to protests by other participants, The African Arts Institute is hosting a panel discussion on the controversy tomorrow evening in Cape Town which includes wa Mamatu.

The debate itself has left the arts community divided.

Wits Drama for Life released a statement on its Facebook page opposing the public debate saying the organisation “does not support an initiative of this nature that implicitly validates the experience of the perpetrator and that reinforces the traumatic experience associated with sexual violence”.

According to the founder and director of Drama for Life Warren Nebe, allowing wa Mamatu to engage in a debate encourages a “normalisation” of his acts of sexual harrassment.

“He is being given a platform to validate his position in a way that we think he does not deserve”, said Nebe.

“For us this reopens wounds in many ways…trauma cannot speak back to denial”.

Brett Pyper, WSOA head, says he believes debates around the play will “advance the interest of the various parties who have a stake in the conversation”.

“As a school we believe profoundly in the capacity of art to advance dialogue, redress and restorative social relationships”, said Pyper.

Nebe confirms that the play was withdrawn due to the tensions around wa Mamatu’s history of sexual harrasment and was motivated by the withdrawal of The Mothertongue Project from the festival who were also performing a play on sexual violence called Walk: South Africa.

Artistic director of  The Mothertongue Project, Sara Matchett, says, “Even without knowing what Tsepo wa Mamatu’s work was about, we did not feel comfortable sharing a platform with someone who was found guilty of sexual harassment”.

Matchett says wa Mamatu is “unremorseful”, which is why she believes “there should not be any space on public platforms to be sharing this sentiment”.

“For us there is no debate”, said Matchett.

Nebe says the controversy over wa Mamatu’s new play “reopens wounds in many ways … trauma cannot speak back to denial”.

 

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Habib: ‘No intention to replace black students with white students’

There is no intention to replace black students with white students in Wits residences, says Wits Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Adam Habib.

Speaking exclusively to Wits Vuvuzela, Habib responded to this week’s furore around the revised residence admissions policy which saw some student organisations threatening a boycott of the upcoming SRC (Student Representative Council) elections if Habib did not address their concerns.

Habib said “there is no special incentives for white students.” “What is at place is making sure that we have an appropriate balance between demographic representivity and cosmopolitanism. We believe this can be done without adversely affecting poor students or existing students.”

“We want to ensure that our students have a holistic experience in our residences that they interact with other students across racial boundaries, religious boundaries, ethnic boundaries and cultural boundaries but also class boundaries. We do not want rich students sitting in one place and staying in one res and poor students staying in another res”, said Habib.

On Wednesday, student organisations, residents and house committee members accused Habib of wanting to replace black students with white students in the effort to make residences more cosmopolitan.

According to Habib, the university’s “integration agenda” should be reflective of South African society.

“Even though our society and institution is majority black, obviously our residences will be majority black. But a majority black institution does not mean that we can’t be cosmopolitan.”

Speaking on behalf of student leadership representatives, Sunnyside chairperson Maame Boateng said:”We are not against diversity in our residences but a policy that looks to disenfranchise the majority of current residents in order to serve a privileged minority”.

The student leadership representatives are “calling for a recall of the policy in its entirety and/ or creation of  a new policy that will be fair and equal for all students and not unjustifiably benefits any class or race group”, Boateng said.

Habib, along with university management and student leadership representatives, will hold another round of consultations on Saturday afternoon where more cases will be heard and discussed.

“Student leadership will stand firm tomorrow in the fight for students those who we serve. We will not stop until a policy is put in place that will in no way detriment any student, a decision that will serve the best interests of all students”, said Boateng

In the meantime, Habib has agreed to halt the implementation of the controversial policy pending further discussion with student organisations.

 

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