Student attacked on Wits bus makes it to graduation

Wits student Sisanda Msekele graduated in the Great Hall today after she was attacked on a Wits bus on Friday night and spent the weekend in hospital. 

Sisanda Msekele, a blind doctoral (PhD) student managed to make it to her Anthropology Masters graduation ceremony earlier today despite an attack on Friday night that left her in the hospital.

Msekele arrived late to the Humanities ceremony and was escorted up the Great Hall stairs and into the hall by an unidentified woman. Msekele received her degree together with her guide dog Romy, as both were cheered on by most of the auditorium. Some members of the academic procession rose from their seats to give Msekele a standing ovation as she was capped by the vice chancellor Professor Adam Habib.

STANDING TALL: Sisanda Msekele stands outside the Great Hall after her graduation despite being admitted to hospital on Friday after she was attacked on a Wits ciruit bus.

STANDING TALL: Sisanda Msekele stands outside the Great Hall after her graduation despite being admitted to hospital on Friday after she was attacked on a Wits ciruit bus. Photo: Samantha Camara.

Even those in the overflow room could be heard clapping and shouting in celebration. The applause continued for longer than usual and many were moved to tears by Msekele’s achievement. Fellow blind student Melusi Ncala, who also received his Masters degree, was cheered on by the audience when he took to the stage shortly after Msekele.

“I am feeling overwhelmed,” Msekele told Wits Vuvuzela after taking photos on the Great Hall steps with her friends and family.

Msekele was determined to attend her graduation ceremony despite the minor injuries she sustained on Friday night. She was attacked on a Wits circuit bus while on her way home. The attacker is yet to be identified but is a Wits student, according to reports.

Earlier this year, Msekele was almost left homeless when she was denied funding.  She was later given the funding she needed to register for her PhD.

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Student attacked on Wits bus days before graduation

Wits student Sisanda Msekele, who was attacked on a Wits circuit bus on Friday night, spent the weekend in Milpark hospital in Parktown, Johannesburg. Her attacker has not yet been identified, but is reportedly a fellow Wits student.

Sisanda Msekele, a blind Wits Masters student, found herself confined to a hospital bed this weekend after she was attacked by a fellow Wits student.

Msekele said the incident took place on Friday night, on a Wits bus, when she was on her way back to her residence at West Campus Village. She declined to comment further until she has recovered from her injuries.

A series of tweets yesterday from talk show host and Sunday Times columnist, Redi Thlabi, said Msekele’s attacker mocked her “dream of a PhD” which led to an argument, and the subsequent attack.

Thlabi added that Msekele had been searching for a job since the beginning of the year and was due to start tomorrow.

Msekele faced homelessness and financial problems earlier this year. She was fortunate enough to have received financial assistance from the university and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) which allowed her to remain in residence and made it possible for her to register for her PhD.

Msekele has been in Milpark hospital since the attack and could possibly miss her graduation on Tuesday. 

Msekele is optimistic that she will be discharged from Milpark hospital tomorrow, depending on the progress of her recovery.

Wits Campus Control was not able to comment on the incident. 

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REVIEW: Age of Adaline

Cast: Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, Ellen Burstyn, Kathy Baker

Director:  Lee Toland Krieger

Vuvu Rating:  8/10


The Age of Adaline, directed by Lee Toland Krieger, tells the story of a woman who was born at the turn of the 20th century but ceases to age once she reaches 29 due to an accident.

“Film full of beautiful visuals and amazing performances. “

Adaline Bowman spends the rest of her existence guarding her secret agelessness and spends much of her life on the run as she tries to escape capture for medical experimentation. 

Her secret is easily kept until she meets a romantic interest, Ellis Jones, played by Dutch actor and singer Michiel Huisman.

The story is told with a mixture of scenes from the present, flashbacks from Adaline’s life and documentary -style narration explaining her condition.

Blake Lively delivers a wonderful performance as the protagonist, never overplaying the dramatic and emotional moments. She perfectly embodies the agelessness and grace of Bowman.

Both Huisman, and Harrison Ford as his father, bring interesting dynamics to the story as Bowman’s male counterparts. If you have ever wondered if Harrison Ford still has the acting chops to amaze, this film will prove that he is just as strong as ever.

Veteran actress Ellen Burstyn also gives a strong performance as Adaline’s aging daughter, Flemming. The plot does move at a slower pace than might be desired, but it allows for the complicated history of Adaline to be understood.

Overall this is film full of beautiful visuals and gripping performances but its stength comes from a great concept that has been translated into a ‘nice easy watching’ film.

REVIEW: Jurassic World

Photo: Universal Pictures

Photo: Universal Pictures

Starring:  Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins

Directed By: Colin Trevorrow

Vuvu Rating: 8/10

If you’re a fan of the original Jurassic Park films or you just want to see some unsuspecting humans get eaten by ferocious and freakily intelligent dinosaurs, then you won’t be disappointed with this latest iteration of the franchise.

Jurassic World, directed by Colin Trevorrow, shows the new and improved park featured in the previous films that has now a major tourist attraction including petting zoo, dinosaur rides and luxury hotels. Having learnt absolutely nothing from the previous experiences or movies, the powers-that-be create a bigger and “better” hybrid test tube dinosaur to attract more visitors. 

The plot is predictable and the new breed of dinosaur has a murderous appetite. Park operations manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) enlists the help of  velociraptor trainer and ex-navy employee, Owen (Chris Pratt) to find her missing nephews Zach (Nick Robinson), and Gray (Ty Simpkins), who are lost in the park while the killer dinosaur is on the loose. 

The scaly situation plays out in the typical style of its predecessors complete with similar shots, plot line, cliché romantic tension, and the iconic Spielbergesque sound track.

This new installment features numerous holes in the plot and little character development. Occassional humorous quips lighten the often stereotypical character portrayals but the human villains are unconvincing and flimsy with the plot failing to explore the world of the park before the chaos breaks out.

Nevertheless fans of the original movies will be thrilled to continue along this dino-journey with the velociraptor once again taking center stage and proving that size isn’t everything. What counts is the amount of teeth. 

Much like the theme park itself the main focus of the film is the dinosaurs with the rest of the film acting as a platform to showcase them through impressive CGI and animatronics.

With action packed sequences, the heroes finding ways to avoid razor -sharp teeth and claws, and terrified bystanders being mauled, thrown and eaten by the gigantic dinosaurs, you are guaranteed to be nervously munching on your popcorn.

If judged as a visually-based adventure fantasy, the movie will ensure an earth -thumping and teeth-gnashing walk down memory lane that you would expect from a Jurassic sequel.

 

Jozi celebrates ‘Go Skateboarding Day’

Jozi Skateboarders will be out at the Maboneng indoor skatepark to celebrate Go Skateboarding Day. Photo: provided

Jozi Skateboarders will be out at the Maboneng indoor skatepark to celebrate Go Skateboarding Day. Photo: provided

 

One Love Skate Expo will be celebrating the 11th Annual Go Skateboarding Day (GSD) on June 21 at the Maboneng indoor skate park.

“We’re expecting a diverse crowd of young and old skaters who will be showing off their hip tricks in skating and long boarding,” said One Love Skate Expo founder, Quincy Braveman Moyo.

This year is the first time that One Love Skate Expo will celebrate GSD in its own turf at the Maboneng skate Park on 11 Staib Street. The skate park is equipped with long boards and protective gear.

The One Love Skate Expo initiative facilitates skating in the inner city as an alternative form of recreation. One Love is “trying to bridge the gap between those who can skate and those who are interested in learning.” Said Moyo, so amateurs are more than welcome.

Go Skateboarding Day is one of the largest gatherings of skateboarders. Founded by Steve Rodriguez in New York City in 2004, GSD has since been celebrated in major cities across the world.

In Jozi this Sunday, skateboarders will gather at 12pm at the library gardens on 55 President Street, CBD. From there, skaters will skate along a designated route that leads to the Skate Jam spot, Maboneng.

The park promises to be filled with food, music and exhilarating ‘kick flips’ and ‘arlies’. Followed by “a traditional after party to seal it” said Moyo.

The culture of skating is a growing movement in Johannesburg and “people should not be afraid to try new things” said Smash Afrika, the marketing manager of the event

“We as skaters also consider our skateboards as a means of transport.” Afrika said. Even The City of Joburg municipality has acknowledged alternative modes of transport by creating cycle lanes across the city.

The One Love Collective are also running a holiday program from June 29 where people of all ages can attend skating lessons. The holiday program will run from Monday to Thursday until 4pm daily.

It offers alternative recreation for inner city youth and serves as a platform to explore the urban use of skateboards. “We know there are a lot of kids who skate in Joburg and also want something to do in the holidays,” said Afrika.

GSD falls on Fathers Day this year and is a great opportunity for Fathers to spend quality time with their families. Parents, kids, young and old are invited to partake in both the Go Skateboarding Day celebrations and in the holiday program to learn more about skating.

Check them out on http://oneloveskateexpo.tumblr.com

 


 

Future of journalism in the spotlight at local conference

COVERING THE BIG NEWS: Business Day editor Songezo Zibi. Photo: Dinesh Balliah.

COVERING THE BIG NEWS: Business Day editor Songezo Zibi. Photo: Dinesh Balliah.

This year’s Menell Media Exchange conference played host to much needed debates and commentary about the future of the media industry. 

The conference, which took place in Sandton, Johannesburg this Friday and Saturday, was not short on humour as delegates and speakers confronted the prickly issues of the future of the media industry and sustainability in the digital age. The second day kicked off with a comedy roast of South African media by the Late Night News (LNN) team of Loyiso Gola and Kagiso Lediga.

The duo took a stab at almost everyone in a media roast, including controversial media veteran Allister Sparks, to news organisations like the Sunday Times and the Mail&Guardian to radio host Redi Thlabi.

 

Celebrated radio personality John Perlman of KayaFM joined media strategist Shaka Sisulu, commentator Palesa Morudu and Business Day editor Songezo Zibi on the first panel that focused on how South African media covered the big stories of the day. These included the coverage of xenophobic violence in South Africa along with Nkandla. Perlman offered advice to journalists struggling with coverage of big stories which can be chaotic: “We need to be comfortable with confusion and not being right,” he said.

Sisulu was critical of what he referred to as a predetermined narrative in the media and added that the South African story needs to be told in a more diversified way.

While Zibi received much applause for his contribution to the panel discussion.

Wits University had a strong presence on the second day of the conference. Wits Journalism’s Ashfaaq Carim and Dinesh Balliah  formed part of the panel discussion on new ways of storytelling. TV lecturer Indra de Lanerolle presented a short talk on the 10 things you need to know about South Africa’s digital space.

Andrew Phelps from the New York Times highlighted the challenges when faced with breaking news in the digital world. “No one remembers who was right first but everyone remembers when you were first and wrong.” He said that journalists need to choose accuracy over speed when working with online stories.

The conference wrapped up on a positive and optimistic note although the uncertainty around the future of journalism and in particularly, sustainability, will linger long after.

 

Allister Sparks talks papers and politicians

Long time journalist and public commentator Allister Sparks (82) found himself at the centre of a social media storm when he declared Apartheid architect Hendrick Verwoerd was a ‘smart politician’. Wits Vuvuzela spoke to Sparks at the Menell Media Exchange conference in Sandton about the state of journalism in South Africa and the shifts in the political landscape. 

VETERAN JOURNALIST: Allister Sparks spoke to Wits Vuvuzela about dying newspapers, the 'gimmicks' of EFF, and Baleka Mbete. Photo: Dinesh Balliah

VETERAN JOURNALIST: Allister Sparks remains vocal about dying newspapers, the ‘gimmicks’ of the EFF, and the ‘unbalanced’ Baleka Mbete. Photo: Dinesh Balliah

What stood out for you at this year’s conference and is there anything you expect to hear?

I was particularly taken by yesterday’s session by Catherine Kennedy (of the South African History Archive). I didn’t go to the branding, maybe I missed something there, I guess I feel it’s a bit too late for me to brand myself at my age (laughs). For me Catherine was the highlight. Particularly John Perlman and Songezo Zibi, I thought there were wise thoughts that came out of them.

On parliament in South Africa today …

Parliament has been a very refined and remote place, now it’s in the public eye and I think that’s good. [However] it will have to take a grip on itself, and it needs a better speaker than we have at the moment, because it can easily become a laughing stock, it can really damage its reputation.

On the EFF and their disruption in Parliament, and Baleka Mbete …

I do think the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters), has brought something, but it’s got to be very carefully monitored by a much better speaker than we’ve got. I think Max Sisulu would have managed it, Max was a very good speaker and Frene Ginwala likewise, not a partisan speaker who’s the chairman of a party, and her lack of balance shows so glaringly, nobody takes her seriously.

I think the red garments [of the EFF] was a gimmick, I guess once you’ve got them it’s very hard to get rid of them, I don’t  think it has any impact anymore, it had an impact in the beginning. The gimmicks need to be limited, but they can only be limited by the speaker, and that’s got to be by persuasion, not by bringing in the police. She (Mbete) needs to call in the whips and say ‘How do we deal with this?’

I think a lot of it [parliament] is archaic language and it’s a bit absurd; it’s meant to preserve a tradition, but at the same time its got to give way to the modern world and the modern South Africa where not everybody shares the British tradition. There has to be some kind of control in the transformation of parliament and only a really wise, strong, and influential speaker can do that.

On Business Day editor Songezo Zibi …

I think he’s a very thoughtful young man and I think he has some very important insights … he’s a real asset to the media. He’s a young man and he’s a very important addition to our galaxies of editors, he’s thoughtful and cares about the media. John Perlman has been around for a long time, but this is a newcomer really [Zibi] out of a different profession, and he has a great career ahead of him.

On newspapers in the new digital age …

I think two kinds of newspapers papers are going to survive in the new digital age: One is the local paper, the small town paper and the other is the serious paper. I think the popular press is going to die, and we have an awful lot of popular press here and its days are numbered.

There’s got to be one black newspaper that’s going to emerge as a serious one, [maybe] it is the Sowetan, City Press is getting there but it’s only a Sunday paper.

Gymnastics club and Wits Sport in USSA tussle

Wits Gymnastics may not be attending the USSA tournament over a demand for a fee of R1500 per gymnast by Wits Sport. Wits Sport has argued the club hasn’t done its part in fundraising and must now step up to the plate.

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HOOLA HOOPING:Senior Wits gymnast Makgotso Tibane showed impressive structure and skills doing her first competition in rhythmic gymnastics in the hoops section early May. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Wits Gymnastics athletes were left disappointed when they learned will not receive funding from Wits Sport to attend the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament this June.

Wits head of sport, Adrian Carter, notified the club’s co-chairperson, Nonkululeko Mdluli earlier this week that the club has not met funding requirements to attend the USSA Gymnastics tournament end of June in Potchefstroom unless each competing member coughed up R1 500. The athletes were only given three days to raise the money.

“We understand that there isn’t a lot of money and that we need to make a contribution, but three days is too short notice for students to pay such a large amount,” said Mdluli.

Carter said the gymnastics club knew since the end of February when they handed in their USSA budget, allegedly late, indicating the direct cost of R2 275 per student, of which each student would contribute R898. “They haven’t paid in their contribution nor did they meet the required fundraising amount,” said Carter.

Mdluli sent an official response on behalf of the club to Carter’s request, stating they have raised R25 656 from registration fees, a welcome braai and yet to be sold T-shirts. According to the response, over a 100 members registration fees brought the club R24 561. However, Carter said it would be unfair to allow the 14 gymnasts who qualified for USSA to use funds intended to benefit the entire club.

The gymnastics club’s USSA budget was R44 400, the club has R54 000 in their reserve account. According to Carter the money budgeted for transport is insufficient and the actual total cost to send 14 gymnasts to USSA would be more than R50 000.00.

“I’m trying to be fair as possible, but I’m not going to give this club R50 000 and leave less than R4 000 in the reserve for next year’s group to struggle,” said Carter.

Mdluli further protested that they were “thrown in the deep end” with Carter’s new financial system and there was no training from Wits Sport on how to approach businesses for sponsorship or how to draft a sponsorship proposal.

But Carter said Wits Gymnastics could have come to him for help at any time.

“Any club could’ve come to me earlier in the year to ask for help with sponsorship issues. Some took the initiative, but the gymnastics club didn’t,” said Carter.

Wits Gymnastics club is now facing cutting the list of members going to USSA or staying home altogether. Carter and the Gymnastics Committee are meeting next week once more to try and find a solution for the club to go to Potchefstroom in just two weeks’ time.

 

Comrades champion humbled by Wits support

Witsies proudly celebrated the success of runner Caroline Wostmann, an accounting lecturer at Wits University, after she won the 90th Comrades Marathon. Wostmann was the first South African to win in the women’s race in sixteen years and had a message of success for her fellow Witsies.

It was not long after she crossed the finish line of the 90th Comrades Marathon as its ladies’ winner that Caroline Wostmann was back at her day job to invigilate exams. Wostmann, a senior accounting lecturer, received personal congratulations from her students at Wits after her momentous victory last week.

“I received a round of applause after their exam today which was very humbling and many came past to personally congratulate me,” Wostmann said.

Wostmann was back to the grind shortly after her win and in between interviews with national and international media, took some time out to give Witsies some sound advice just in time for the exam period.

“We have worked hard as a family and made many sacrifices to achieve this dream”

“Believe in your dreams and work hard to make those dreams a reality,” she said. “Hard work and dedication is the key to success,” she added.

It has been 16 years since a South African woman won the Comrades marathon, and Wostmann, who ran her fifth Comrades this year, finished the race in 6:12:22.

“I am proud to have brought the Comrades victory in the women’s race back to South Africa,” she said.

Wostmann, who also won the Two Oceans in March, said her family dedicated a lot to her achievement.

“We have worked hard as a family and made many sacrifices to achieve this dream I had of winning Comrades and are thrilled that my dream came true,” she said.

Wostmann carried a rose which symbolised a top 10 position, as she entered The Oval where the Comrades marathon ended last week Sunday. Photo: Riante Naidoo.

CHAMPION: Wostmann carried a rose which symbolised a top 10 position, as she entered The Oval where the Comrades marathon ended last week Sunday. Photo: Riante Naidoo.

In previous interviews with Wostmann, she never anticipated winning, but ONLY hoped to secure a top ten position.

“When I crossed the finish line, I had no idea that second place was so far behind me!” she laughed.

Wostmann’s position earned her a gold medal and cash prize of R 350 000, among several other cash prizes.

She said she has not had a chance to think about what she will do with her winnings yet, and will “only receive my medals after doping tests have been cleared which will probably be around October.”

The Comrades winner added that she will return to KwaZulu-Natal next year to defend her title and may consider competing on an international level.

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Media gathering takes off in Johannesburg

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NEW TOOLS: Laura Grant of the Mail&Guardian demonstrated some new applications for producing digital journalism. PHOTO: Katleho Sekhotho.

The 2015 Menell Media Exchange conference started today at Maslow Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg. 

Some of South Africa’s most respected journalists, media practitioners, educators and students joined international visitors and guests for the second Menell Media Exchange conference.

Peter Ndoro, Lester Kiewet and Jeremy Maggs were some of the prominent speakers and guests on the first day of the conference in Sandton, Johannesburg, which focused primarily on training and workshops.

Themed as “innovation, brand and sustainability”, the opening panels focused on brand building by individuals and journalists in particular. Veteran journalist Gus Silber provided key insights into the use of social media for journalism and as a tool for journalists to increase their visibility.

The Mail & Guardian’s Laura Grant and SABC’s Tegan Bedser, demonstrated various apps that can be used in digital storytelling. 

Jeremy Maggs joined eNCA’s Patrick Conroy on a panel that explored the difficult subject of funding journalism in ways that does not impede it.

Andrew Phelps, senior product manager for the New York Times, gave the afternoon keynote address and stressed the importance of innovation in newsrooms.

The conference continues tomorrow.

Gauteng Premier worries about the people of his province

Reinventing Pan-Africanism in the Age of Xenophobia, a international symposium, was hosted by the WISER Institute last week.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says he worries about the people of his province as “many of those [people] come from the rest of the continent”. Makhura was speaking at the discusson on pan-Africanism in the age of xenophobia, hosted at Wits University by Wiser, (the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research) and the Ahmad Kathrada Foundation.

Makhura said the the dangers of xenophobia lie not only in the “absence of opportunities” but also in narrow “national interests”. Makhura said that if we want to build a great Africa we can no longer make “catching up” with Western civilization our intention; we must offer something new and unique to the rest of the world.

“If there is something Western capitalism teaches us, is that in fact you can even become more less of a human being as your material needs are met,” said Makhura.

The two-day symposium aimed to fostering dialogue on a number of issues affecting the African continent including xenophobia, racism, tribalism, nationalism and colonial boundaries.

Other speakers on the day included academics Neocosmos and Associate Professor Suren Pillay.

Michael Neocosmos, an academic, stressed that it remains problematic to associate xenophobia with poverty and that research shows that some 65% of South Africans feel that the country’s borders should be secured through electric fencing which is a good indication that xenophobic attitudes are prevalent throughout society.

He also mentioned that people live in subhuman conditions and the assumption is that poor people can’t think, this means that we exclude them from what we think humanity is.

“If we want to expand pan-Africanism it means we must expand knowledge,” Neocosmos said.