The Wits financial aid and scholarships office held a prize giving to reward students who have signed their lease forms in time. A lucky draw with student names was used to select the winners of the voucher.
The South Point and NSFAS team gathered quickly inside Senate House after the students name to pose for a picture. From the Left: Luthando Falakahla (From South Point), Khodani Ramukumba (winner), Zahraa Badrodin (winner), Nombini Nteyi (NSFAS) and Lehlohonolo Bhulane (winner). Photo: Anelisa Tuswa
Financial Aid Office Manager, Ennie Kubeka said that students don’t sign their lease forms on time and this creates a problem with them getting their allowance, registration fees and accommodation payment.
According to Kubeka, 3282 students were offered loans, but only 3017 came to sign.
“The 266 students that didn’t sign on time are worth R12 million,” she said.
One of the problems she raised is that students get funding somewhere else and this leads to them not signing their forms. “Now the problem with that is that we’ve got students that do qualify for the loans but we couldn’t give them anything because the funds were depleted.”
This Prize giving was to thank the 92 percent who have signed their lease forms on time and to motivate other students to do the same.
The winners were given South Point sponsored Pick n Pay vouchers valued at R1 000.
South Point Bursary Administrator, Luthando Falakahla told Wits Vuvuzela that “As South Point we thought we should contribute and make sure that the students are signing leases on time just to smooth up the progress and make sure that they get what they are actually looking for in funding.”
When asked about why they were giving students food vouchers, Falakahla said “we as South Point need to guide the students. If we give them food vouchers they will actually get food and you cannot study very well if you are hungry. So getting that voucher will actually help.”
The winners include first-year Biological Sciences student Lehlohonolo Bhulane, Accounting Sciences student, Khodani Ramukumba and first-year BA Law student, Zahraa Badrodin.
The winners expressed their excitement and joy on winning the vouchers. BA Law student, Zahraa Badrodin said “I feel very lucky because I don’t really win anything, so it’s my first time winning, so it’s quite cool. I was told to buy healthy things so I think I’m going to do that.”
REUSING WASTE WATER: Sewerage water can be purified to suit our daily water needs. Photo: Michelle Gumede
Most people gag at the thought of consuming sewerage. But environmentalists are claiming that treating our sewerage water for human consumption could be the cheapest and most efficient way to counter the water scarcity in a semi arid country like South Africa.
Sewerage water can be treated and be reused for drinking and other water related activities of daily living. That was one of the pertinent messages conveyed at the first ever Living Planet Conference.
Hosted by the World Wide Fund of South Africa (WWF SA) on Thursday July 30, the conference focused on the energy crisis, the looming water shortage disaster and food security and agricultural sustainability.
A large chunk of the conference was themed, “Water doesn’t come from a tap”, and featured environmentalists discussing the various ways that water usage can be reduced, reused and recycled.
“Waste water is filled with water!” said Dhesigen Naidoo, CEO of the Water Research Commission.
Naidoo emphasized that sewerage water is an incredible resource. One that can be used over and over for various activities by using the Water Quality Index (WQI).
The Water Quality Index (WQI) helps to determine just how clean water needs to be to be suitable for various household and industrial functions. The process of developing a WQI involves determining the intended use of water. Whether it will be used for drinking, bathing or flushing waste down the toilet.
“We don’t need super clean water for all water related activities” said Naidoo.
Drinking water would need to be purified to the point where the physical elements such as sediment, odor and temperature are treated to reach the point where it is suitable for drinking. The chemical factors like the pH levels, dissolved oxygen level, and E.coli level would need to be determined to ensure that the water is safe to drink. If the water is not suitable for drinking then it can be used for other activities like doing the laundry, or washing the dishes.
Waste water treatment process reduces pathogenic bacteria and other disease causing organisms, nutrients that can cause unwanted algae, biodegradable organisms and suspended solids. The water is purified through micro filtration and reverse osmosis. The primary phase of water treatment removes suspended and floating materials from the sewerage water.
This is followed by a secondary treatment, that eliminates any other dissolved organisms and sludge that escaped the primary treatment, using biological activity to filter and breakdown organic matter. According to the World Bank Group, about 85% of the suspended solids and bio gradable organisms can be removed by a well running plant with secondary treatment. Using specific chemicals and equipment the water is treated in the tertiary phase. The water is also disinfected with chlorine to produce drinkable water.
This method of treating sewerage water for consumption has been implemented in Orange county, California following the drought they experienced in 2014. Not without any critique from the public. According to the New York Post, many people found it hard to get over the ‘yuck’ factor.
Neil Mcleod, a panelist at the Living Planet conference and head of sanitation and water in the eThekwini Municipality, argued the point that treating sewerage water for reuse is way cheaper than desalinating ocean water. “Sewerage is a source of nutrients” said Mcleod.
According to McLeod, Namibia has more water supply than South Africa but they are using treated sewerage water to conserve their water sources. ”
“If we are sufficiently innovative, it (waste water) can become energy positive.” said Naidoo.
Wits University’s flags will fly at half-mast for the next six days in honour of former Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert (Bob) Charlton. Charlton passed away yesterday morning at the age of 86, after succumbing to a brief illness. He first came to Wits as an undergraduate medical student in 1946 and was appointed as vice chancellor of the university 46 years later. In a statement released by Prof Adam Habib, current vice-chancellor, Charlton’s academic and professional journey as well as his personal characteristics were celebrated.
The statement is reproduced in full below:
The Wits flag will fly at half-mast for the next six days to honour the memory of former Wits Vice-Chancellor, Professor Robert (Bob) Charlton who passed away this morning after a brief illness at the age of 86.
Professor Robert W Charlton’s long association with Wits began in 1946 when he registered as an undergraduate medical student. He was awarded the degree of MD in 1963 and appointed as Professor of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology in 1967. In 1975, Professor Charlton was elected as a Senate representative on the University Council while serving as Assistant Dean of the Medical School. In 1978, he was elected Dean and served in that capacity until his appointment as Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 1980. In February 1988, he was appointed Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University and held office for two terms until 1997. Under his steadfast and principled leadership, the University was steered on an even course during challenging times in the late 1980s and 1990s.
During his career as an academic and university administrator he served on several local and national bodies. These include the Medicines Control Council, the South African Medical and Dental Council, the Johannesburg Hospital Board, the Coronation Nursing College Council, the Witwatersrand Technikon Council and the Johannesburg College of Education Council.
Professor Charlton served with dedication on the Board of Governors of the Wits Foundation. He was invited to be a Trustee in 1987 and was reappointed in 1997. He served voluntarily in this position until 2008.
He had a passion for education and a lifelong commitment to the University that continued in many formal and informalcapacities in recent years. He initiated and supported the Charlton Awards for Service Excellence for support staff, and was always present to hand out these coveted awards to exceptional staff. He regularly attended Wits events including Evolution Day in the Great Hall in June this year.
We acknowledge with gratitude the invaluable contribution that Professor Charlton made to Wits University. Wits has indeed lost one of its stalwarts today. His wife Margaret, also deeply involved in university life, passed away some years ago. Our deepest condolences are extended to Professor Charlton’s family, friends and former colleagues and students, and especially to his three daughters, Sarah, Julia and Diana, and his son, Robert, all of whom have close ties with Wits.
We wish you peace during this difficult period.
– Professor Adam Habib”.
This serves as a response to the privileged white girl Anlerie de Wet on her piece that appeared in the Wits Vuvuzela, on August 24, 2015. De Wet states that she was, “only bouncing around her father’s testicles” when the racist lunatics orchestrated the venomous system of colonialism in all its manifestations – internal, external, apartheid and structural mechanisms that served and continues to serve as restrictions for the black man to gain economic emancipation in his own land.
It is important to initially clarify the historic events because they shape the current material conditions that many black people are subjected to survive under.
De Wet might have ‘been bouncing in her father’s testicles’ when the separate developments were implemented by her forefathers, but she does not have to ignore the fact that her parents received quality education while many of our parents, as black people, were the initial recipients of inferior education that systematically shaped them to be slaves. It is therefore easy for De Wet’s parents to be promoted at work as she clearly stated in her piece.
While on the other hand, our black parents are coerced to be in the primary sector of economic activities, they work hard in the field, and in the assembly line to increase productivity. Our parents are exploited and alienated from the benefits of their hard labour, they earn peanuts, while white monopoly capital advocates enjoy the surplus through profit obtained from the sweat of our parents.
Our parents are not slaves because they want to be. The workers that De Wet always sees on campus are not cleaning toilets because they want to but they sell their labour all the time, to put food in the table for their children. They are not stupid, most of them would have been doctors, lawyers, successful entrepreneurs and good educators today, but they cannot be that, because De Wet’s parents and many others who share the same pigmentation with her are pure beneficiaries of institutionalised racism.
I keep wondering if she ever noticed that there are no white cleaners on campus? Well, she seems to have the same mentality as the apartheid engineers for they believed that white people are blessed and black people are cursed. Maybe that is why she keeps emphasising that she is “blessed”; does it then mean that the black workers on campus are not blessed?
We are not jealous of white privilege. In fact, for many black poor students who have no place to sleep and often feed on food from dustbins at night, they do not care about white people who “reside in Sandton” and own “Iphones” per de Wet’s example of the wealth of white people.
But black students do care about academic excellence, striving to be employed and then to transform the material conditions at home.
De Wet is thinking about creating an environment that will make her white kids privileged like her, but we not even thinking about our future kids, because we have our families to care about and also our communities.
Her utterances are a pure indication that most of the white people are in tertiary institutions to create a better future for their kids, while the black poor majority have a bigger task to firstly combat poverty at home, in our societies and also create better conditions for our kids.
De Wet is not alone, there are many like her who are prepared to protect and enhance white monopoly capital using the phrases, “blessed” and “equal”. It cannot be that the All Mighty God blesses thieves.
I mean De Wet was too quick to say that she is blessed, and it is not a sin to be privileged, well the Ten Commandments put it clear that; “Thou shalt not steal” De Wet’s forefathers stole our land! Let them bring back our land then we can talk about blessings.
Bhekithemba Mbatha is a Postgraduate Law student who hails from Orlando, Soweto.
Wits University students receive their first semester results close to the start of the second semester. As a result, many complain that they go through unnecessary stress over their holidays waiting for marks to be released. The university says the long procedure is to the benefit of the students.
Wits University prides itself in its complicated and lengthy marking procedure, but students complain about the long wait to receive marks.
First-year architecture student Siphokazi William, who received the majority of her marks last Friday, said it is stressful to wait so long for results. “I want to know if I passed and move on.”
William and her fellow classmates only received their mathematics marks on Tuesday, July 21, a day after the start of the new semester. The posting of the results on a noticeboard went more than 10 days beyond the requirement of the university’s Senate Standing Order.
One of the reasons the marking process is so long is due to the external marking process used by Wits, according to the Dean of Humanities, Professor Ruksana Osman.
She explained that “50% of all course work of undergraduates and postgraduates must be externally marked”, in order to focus on students at risk sooner than later.
Another issue delaying results is the new system of online access to marks.
With the use of two systems to submit the results online, “interfacing” takes a lot of time, according to Head of Academic Information and Systems Unit, Maggie Maseka. “We had a few glitches here and there we picked-up and will fix, but 96% of students didn’t have a problem getting their marks.”
Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Andrew Crouch, said there were two faculties that asked for an extension delaying the release of marks. In one case there was a lecturer who did not submit their marks on time and who currently faces disciplinary action.
Generally the university staff believes there has been a great improvement to the marks system in the past couple of years.
“We have a fairly complex procedure to follow, but it is to the benefit of the students,” said Crouch.
Uber Hour, an initiative by Project W, is a new plan to help Wits university students get to Bree and Noord taxi ranks safely after school.
Wits’ Project W have created an initiative to take students from the Wits campus to Bree and Noord taxi ranks in Johannesburg CBD at the end of each day.
This project, which kicked off yesterday, aims to influence Wits management to implement the Uber Hour across campus to get students safely to their respective taxi ranks, said SRC transformation officer Thami Pooe.
Uber is an international transportation networking company that operates by connecting commuters to drivers through a cellphone app.
Presently Uber are sponsoring this service by providing ride shares with the Uber Van which will pick up students at the Wits main campus bus stop. However, Pooe could not offer the specifics of how long Uber was willing to provide the service.
Pooe said Project W was looking into a way to make the ride service sustainable. He said this could work in two ways, either students pay a monthly flat rate or a small fee for every trip. Pooe said he hopes that Wits will subsidise the service, keeping costs low for students.
Pooe said a transport service to Bree and Noord have been needed and the “SRC have been promising [it] for years, and it’s not happening”. He said the university needed empirical evidence that such a transport service was in demand, and he hopes Uber Hour will prove this.
Pooe highlighted that many students walk from school to taxi ranks and get mugged on the way. The reason for using Uber as a service is also a logistically viable option, having a bus travel to the taxi ranks can also be a “security hazard”.
Pooe said Project W has been conducting surveys since 2013, with the aim of getting a sense of just how many students have been mugged while walking to and from the taxi ranks to school. “We want to give that to the university,” said Pooe.
Related articles: Taxi wars come to Wits
ALL DRIED OUT: The sight of dried out taps may become the norm in South Africa if action is not taken to conserve water. Photo: Michelle Gumede
Water restrictions have changed the lives of many across northern KwaZulu-Natal, but the rest of the country is not immune to the effects of the water shortage. Climate change, leakages and illegal connections continue to weigh heavily on our dwindling water supply.
Water shedding has been implemented in Kwa Zulu Natal since June this year. The rationing of water in the province is due to drought, non-payment of water services and continued high water usage patterns from households and businesses.
Ethekwini Municipality’s water shedding is the water equivalent of Eskom’s electricity load shedding. A certain amount of water is allocated to each household and business in the affected areas on a daily basis. Water restrictors, which restrict water flow by 30%, have been installed into taps in the eThekwini Municipality to ensure even distribution.
“When I was home during the mid-year break, we didn’t have water from 9am until 4pm on a Friday” said Riante Naidoo, a Wits journalism student and resident of Allandale, Pietermaritzburg.
Water rationing in the province has been brought on largely by the recent drought that has hit the province. Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane launched National Water Week in the drought-stricken KwaDukuza in KwaZulu-Natal on 16 March 2015 under the theme: “Water Has No Substitute”. The significantly below-average rainfall together with severe frost in the Midlands region during the past winter left many supply areas severely affected.
The water levels of the Hazelmere dam, which supplies water to thousands of people in the Northern region of KZN, declined to under 30% in July 2015. Reservoirs have been shut down in the Burbreeze, Emona, Grange, Redcliff and Waterloo areas including areas under the Ilembe District Municipality which encompasses areas like Ballito.
The eThekwini municipality also reported that water leakages, illegal water connections and vandalism account for about 237 million litres of water loss per day. The municipality is offering residents a chance to convert to a legal connection.
Amnesty is being offered to those who declare that they have been connecting illegally to the water network but a R250 service fee is then charged for the legal connection.
WATER SCARCITY: Even Johannesburg residents have experienced water cuts.
According to the Global Risks Report 2015, climate change is one of the most significant long term risks to South Africa. The effects of climate change have also had enormous repercussions on the water supply in the country.
Some Johannesburg residents say that water shedding is not a new phenomenon. “Sometimes when you wake up, there is no water” said a wits student who lives in Diepkloof Soweto.
Sporadic rains have hit the coast in recent weeks but KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube says the recent rainfall may give a false impression that the drought is over.
Hundreds of students joined the national #BuildaPresident campaign at Wits University this week. They publicly signed a pledge to good citizenship and shared their views of what an ideal South African president should be.
Hundreds of Witsies gathered below the steps of the Great Hall at Wits University on Tuesday, where they publicly signed a pledge of good citizenship for the #BuildaPresident campaign.
The Drama for Life department hosted the event in honour of Mandela month. Anzio Jacobs, campaign coordinator, said the campaign was created to honour the legacy of former president, Nelson Mandela.
The event displayed a collage of over 600 images of people who showcased their views on what an ideal South African president should be.
Acting SRC president, Shaeera Kalla and Dean of Students, Pamela Dube joined the campaign and also publicly signed the pledge.
Litaletu Zidepa and Queenin Masuabi
“Street Style is a palette of inspiration, a mutable canvas for all of us to draw on”- Elle Editor, Emilie Gambade
This week the Vuvu Style Diaries theme is street style. Street style has become a popular trend and influence for many run way looks this season. Many prominent designers have adapted the style and have started incorporating it to their collections on the run way.The team went out looking for the most stylish students on campus, and this is what we found.
Matthew Kara: First-year BA Psychology
Matthew is sporting the ‘all black’ trend with an oversized grey sweater. He describes his style as: “The way I dress is how I express myself and I am conscious of how I step out. I take time to construct my outfits, that’s why I look cool. My style is very laid back.” His outfit is paired with black ripped jeans, which is favourite for street style looks and black sneakers.
Tatum Venter: Second-year LLB
Tatum describes her style as “chic, inspired by rock n roll and very laid back”. She is wearing the classic British Footwear and very popular in the streets Dr. Martens, which she paired with grunge inspired leather jacket, and a brown suede fringe back pack which creates a statement for her outfit.
Nicholas Nabil Tebogo Rawhani: Second year Electrical Engineer
The Photographer and top 10 Superbalist 100 young South Africans who are helping to shape our scene and youth culture, is wearing a classic tartan pattern navy coat, nude brogues, paired with brown handbag and a red sweater. He describes his style as ‘uncultured’ and is not afraid to try out new things with his style.
Every Tuesday the team will be outside the Matrix at lunch time. See you there!
Zakhele Ndlela*,a part-time Wits student and business owner, began living on the streets of Johannesburg after being evicted from his building.
Johannesburg took root in a gold rush and many glittering opportunities – real or imagined – remain in its bustling streets. Going home a failure is not an option – you have to make it.
The ideal Johannesburg is appealing but the reality of life in the city is not always what it is made out to be. For 38-year-old Zakhele Ndlela* living on the streets while studying part-time at Wits is his reality.
MAKING A NEW LIFE: Making it in Joburg isn’t easy but being homeless doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams. Photo: Samantha Camara
Ndlela left his hometown in KwaMashu, KwaZulu-Natal for Johannesburg in 2006. After a year of film school he ventured out with some partners and set up a business. Two business attempts and failures later Ndlela decided to go “solo”, starting his own media company in 2010 while renting a flat in Jeppestown.
“The flats are not looked after, they are very dirty, [and] sometimes there is no electricity,” Ndlela said. After six months of people complaining, Ndlela realised the building had been hijacked and they were paying the wrong person. “Most of the people that own these things have guns, if you don’t pay you go out. Sometimes people are scared of them, you don’t have support,” Ndlela said.
Eventually, the owner of the building returned in 2011 and used Red Ant Security and Eviction services, often called “The Red Ants” because of the red overalls and helmets they wear, to evict everybody in the building. Ndlela lost everything he owned when he was evicted from his flat. He only had the clothes he was wearing.
“And worse, that day, the rain came … there is nothing that you can take there. You just have to go somewhere and hustle,” said Ndlela.
Ndlela then went to stay in Park Station where he slept outside for 18 months before moving to a Johannesburg street where he still is today.
According to Ndlela, people on the street stay there because “it is cheaper than paying rent”.
Park Station has facilities where people can pay R10 and bath before going about their daily routine. “Up until you feel you have made enough money then you can start looking for your own place but then most people, they haven’t,” Ndlela said.
Shelters are tough too
Many people on the street choose to stay there instead of going to shelters because shelters are over-crowded, strict and have a lot of crime.
“You can’t go to a place where they steal your stuff,” he said.
“It’s about protecting me, I protect myself, [and] I don’t want people to know me or know about me. This is what I do here. It’s my hustle and I need to do my hustling until I’m ok, that’s how things are outside there,” Ndlela said.
The building that Ndlela was evicted from has now been revamped and became part of the popular Maboneng District in the city.
Despite his current circumstances, Ndlela continues to work and run his media company, which runs two websites. He uses free Wi-Fi around the city to run his company while writing episodes for TV programme Isibaya and studying journalism part time at Wits.
*Name has been changed at his request.
STAGE SISTERS: The Joburg Theatre’s production of Sister Act stars Candida Mosoma and Kate Normington.
IF YOU grew up in the 90’s chances are you either saw the Saturday night movie on SABC 3 or if you were in a class and your teacher decided to give you a break by watching a movie, you have seen the film Sister Act.
Multi-award-winning South African director and writer, Janice Honeyman, directs the South African version of the hit musical, based on the hilarious 1992 comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg.
When disco diva “Deloris Van Cartier” (Candida Mosoma) witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won’t be found, a convent. Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and uptight Mother Superior (Kate Normington). Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community but, in doing so, blows her cover.
The production stars an entirely South African cast, imitating American accents. Despite a few accent drops along the way, the performance makes the audience believe that they could be in New York watching the musical’s original Broadway performance.
Normington is another one of the show’s shining stars, who creates a memorable Mother Superior and once again demonstrates her amazing singing abilities. Her rendition of I Haven’t Got a Prayer sent shivers down the spine and will be long remembered.
The musical is packed with Alan Menken’s compositions, and Glenn Slater’s lyrics. These numbers are beautifully framed with stunning costumes and amazing backdrops.
All aspects are flawlessly integrated by an experienced director who appreciates the very pulse of a musical that is cleverly aimed to uplift its audience with an ensemble that works hard.
The band, under Rowan Bakker’s command, never missed a beat, yet the sound was never allowed to drown out the singers.
On the negative side, the music has been changed from the original film, so you will be disappointed if you came to the show to hear familiar favourites such as Petula Clark’s hit, I Will Follow Him. But the ‘non-replica’ production of the musical was written by Whoopi Goldberg, and features new songs that any Sister Act or general musical fan will appreciate.
The stage production has been seen by audiences around the world after premiering on Broadway. The New York Times said of Sister Act: “When the wimples start quivering, the pinched mouths break into sunbeam smiles, and the nuns start rocking to raise the Gothic rafters, all’s right in the kingdom of musical comedy.”
Sister Act will run at The Mandela at the Joburg Theatre until August 16th 2015.
Anlerie de Wet
Yes, I’m a ‘privileged white girl’.
But why are you angry with me for being blessed? Or are you just jealous? I am not to blame for your misfortunes. I had nothing to do with the struggles your family went through and are still experiencing. I was still bouncing around in my father’s testicles when Groot Krokodil and the other apartheid lunatics were in power.
My black peers have been spitting out the phrase ‘privileged white people’ with disgust at student political protests and even in classrooms, as if it is the biggest sin of the Ten Commandments. They link every issue from unpaid workers to the presence of a certain statue to the besotted phrase.
The phrase seems like a generalisation that ALL white people are undeservedly rich and because all black people aren’t (another generalisation) they are to blame for black people’s problems.
Regularly I am the focus point of nasty looks when engaging in certain conversations about the struggles in South African society and more often than not get excluded.
They say I am ignorant about the topic at hand. “You are a privileged white girl, you don’t know.”
If you think your information is more correct than mine then please educate me. SHARE the information. Let’s have a discussion and do something about the problem.
What you are doing now is called segregation.
I understand that most white people are better-off financially than other races because of the injustices of our past. There are several policies in place now to rectify the racial inequality caused by apartheid and it will take more than 20 years to achieve it.
People need to understand it is our generation that can set right the inequality problems but you first have to graduate and yes, start at the bottom of the food chain once you start working. Just like I have to.
So don’t be unfriendly and cut me out of conversations because I’m blessed, especially if you are privileged enough to be at university. You wouldn’t be so blatantly rude to a privileged black girl.
I am blessed, because my grease monkey mechanic father and safety conscious nurse of a mother thought ahead to save the little they had to be able to give me what they never had: a tertiary education and a debt free start to life. They worked their way up for more than a decade, both staying committed to the companies they started with until they were noticed and promoted.
I don’t have an iPhone or live in Sandton (like certain black people I know), but I have what I need and a little more to buy some chips now again to settle the munchies.
So I for one will not apologise for being able to practice my basic human rights of being housed, educated and fed. Why should I, when I am working just as hard alongside every student to one day give my kids the same privileges?