Steam punk bar opens in Melville

A brand new steam punk bar opened in Melville this past week to a raging success, but what do they have to offer?

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Kicking it punk style: The brand new bar at The Countess oozes steam punk. Photo: Sam Slabbert.

This past weekend saw a new hot spot opening in Melville, oozing a fresh steam punk style.

The Countess situated in 27 boxes opened to a very successful weekend sporting a steel and copper look that gave it a trendy vibe. Head bar tender Julian Short said they want to introduce something different and unique to Melville. “We want to introduce incredibly wholesome food that people will remember and drinks that are engaging and different to what everybody else is doing.”

He said they chose the steam punk style “because copper and brass are sexy”.

The bar offers a short and sweet Cocktail list, as well as a DIY Cocktail section created “in order to educate the customer about what cocktails are and how to drink them” said short.

Food prices range from R35 -R170 and drinks range from R16 – R80. This bar offers something for everyone, serving American style smokehouse foods, cocktails from every corner of the globe, and has a sandwich and coffee bar.

Short said they chose 27 boxes because it “is an amazing centre filled with forward thinking creatives. It has an amazing energy and we feel as though we fit right in here.”

“We have something for everybody here. Our target market is anybody with an open mind who is looking for good food and drink.”

University of KwaZulu Natal on fire

The University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) has been riddled with protests in recent years. The reasons for the protests vary from poor accommodation, low staff salary increases and increasing student fees, but the main reason behind most protest action has been uncertainty around the  National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which has been a concern on campuses around the country. The timeline below takes a look at the  protests that have occurred at UKZN’s different campuses over the past 15 years.

UKZN

2000:

When it was still called the University of Durban in the Westville campus, a 23 year old student, Michael Makhabane was shot dead during a chaotic strike at the University premises. Rubber bullets had been fired by police but Makhabane was shot with live ammunition from a shotgun. The students were protesting against the de-registration of more than 500 students who could not afford to pay their fees.

2006:

In 2006, workers at the university backed by a number of worker unions and students, protested low worker wages and “sub-inflationary wage increases of the general staff while senior management were given bonuses.”  The workers, were also protesting the increasing corporate nature of the university. The strike went on for two weeks, before workers and management reached an agreement.

2007:

Two student leaders were arrested during a strike in the UKZN Westville campus after a strike that focused on the lack of transport between the university campus and the Durban CBD and dilapidated and inadequate accommodation on the Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses.

2010:

During the year of the soccer world cup, grievances surrounding poor accommodation and transport services at the University continued. Thanduxolo Sabelo, the SRC president at the time said, “There were issues over accommodation at some campuses because they don’t have proper facilities. About 200 students also applied for financial aid, but they have not received it. There were also complaints over the high prices of cafeteria food.”

2012:

This year, the University closed it’s doors after students pelted rocks and burned tyres on the campus. As student complaints continued, the University hardened its hand in disciplining ‘dissident’ students.

2015:

The recent strikes at the University have become more violent. The funding and financial aid issue, which affects mostly poor black students, has been at the centre of the protests this year as well.

 

 

Black Twitter responds to #IAmStellenbosch with #IAmNotStellenbosch


The #IAmStellenbosch campaign, where students of different races at Stellenbosch University took pictures with messages meant to “breakdown perceived social barriers”, received harsh criticism from Black Twitter last Friday.

iamnotstellenbosch

HARSH REBUTTALS: Black students at the University of Stellenbosch responded harshly to the recent social media campaign #IAmStellenbosch.                                                                                                                  Photo:Twitter/@_Kwenama

On Wednesday, September 23 students who call themselves, I Am Stellenbosch posted pictures of students with messages about their identities on their Facebook page with the hashtag, #IAmStellenbosch.

Black Twitter soon took notice of the hashtag and pictures, and quickly challenged and changed the hashtag to #IAmNotStellenbosch.

While some of the messages in the original hashtag focused on celebrating the rainbow nation and different cultural identities in South Africa, Black Twitter problematised the images and ideas carried by the images, with one twitter user saying, “There are no “Born frees” in SA that term suggests that had no residual effect .”

The responses by Black Twitter claimed that the I Am Stellenbosch messages were “tone deaf” and had no understanding of white privilege and institutional racism,

 

 


The Open Stellenbosch movement released a statement condemning #IAmStellenbosch. In the statement they say, “we can reasonably conclude that the university actively creates an enabling environment for the intellectual vacuity which results in such racist tropes as #whereisthelove and #IAmStellenbosch.” While the Twitter campaign was going on, students on the campus engaged in a peaceful protest, meant to showcase the negative side of black student’s experiences at the university,

 

That is, until campus security came:

 

Q&A with Mosiah Moshe Tau

Mosiah Moshe Tau serves as the current Miss Limpopo Province. This third-year Civil Engineering student is one of the few black South African women to have won a major pageant with their natural hair. Wits Vuvuzela sat down with her to pick her brain on African beauty and beauty pageants.

Photo supplied

Photo supplied

What is the role of beauty pageants in African societies in 2015?
The aim of pageants in general is to empower women and create role models, most especially for our young people. We encourage being happy in our own skin. But nowadays, we are steering in a direction where the title holder is an ambassador, rather than a beauty queen. It’s not just a beauty contest, it’s ‘beauty with a purpose’. So it is more about what the woman can do with the title to better the society than her own physical beauty.

Are beauty pageants in S.A a reflection of South African beauty?
No. I think they tend to be a bit superficial and most of them still miss the point. I wasn’t aware of how many pageants there are out there until I was crowned. I get invitations to come judge local pageants and sometimes when I ask the organisers what the pageant is about I realise that they don’t really have a real intention, but to make money but they hide behind “we just want to motivate the young girls”.

Following the cancellation of swimsuit wear in the Miss World pageant, do you think that South African pageants should adopt the same principle?
Yes, definitely. Like I said it’s not just a beauty contest, it’s ‘beauty with a purpose’. The beauty we are promoting is the beauty that is within the heart and mind, and I think with swimsuits it is more focused on the outside, on who is more physically appealing than the other, so I don’t think we need to have a swimsuit section. As for the outside beauty, we are saying let’s love ourselves and be comfortable and happy in our own skins.
I think it is commendable what the Miss World board did, because it is a step closer to sending the message of what pageants in these modern days stand for. Beauty with brains.

As a beauty pageant ‘queen’, in an African community, how do you celebrate African traditional values without conflicting the ‘beauty standard of the pageant world’?
By being myself I think I have already conflicted those standards *jokes*, for instance, I was the first person to be crowned Miss Limpopo with short, natural hair as opposed to popular belief that a beauty queen has to have long [sexy] hair, because that is what is more appealing apparently.
I am an African and I am beautiful. I see myself as an agent of societal change than just a ‘beauty queen’. I have come to learn that there are really no rules of being a beauty queen, but just perceptions and a mentality that people have developed over the years and I am rebellious to those ‘standards’.

OPINION: I don’t mind my language

michelle

 

To my fellow English speaking South Africans, English is not my mother tongue. So no, I don’t speak my African languages to only skinner about you.  My language is way more sophisticated than that. It is bold, descriptive, romantic and fierce.

It seems to me that there is a taboo around speaking vernacular languages in academic spaces. If you don’t speak with a Model C accent, you are viewed as a not so intelligent sub human species with a primitive understanding of the world. Its been 39 years since black students protested against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools, yet we have academic institutions like Stellenbosch University who blatantly refuse to welcome and facilitate language diversity among students.

I used to chuckle whenever I’d hear students say, “I go to Virrts”. But now it makes me sad to hear it. Sad to see my fellow African Witsies morph their speech to fit into a nonsensical and uniform mould of what an educated black person should sound like. Language should be a tool to communicate with a diverse people not a weapon used to exclude students from academic discourse.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the author of the Sesotho dictionary, Zulumathabo Zulu. I was going to write articles in the seSotho language for the first time and he was going to be my guide through it. I was in awe of the man’s accomplishments but at the same time I was intimidated by him for two reasons. Firstly, the seSotho I speak  has been infused with the other five languages that I use, so it’s not as sophisticated as his. Secondly, the man has written a whole seSotho dictionary and its focus is on my long time nemesis- MATHEMATICS!

The first question I asked him was how I as a young journalist could effectively use his book to write human interest stories? He smiled and eloquently explained that, “in seSotho, mathematics is derived from the ordinary and mundane concepts that people already understand.” He flipped through a copy of his book and randomly stopped on a page with the word ‘motshetshe’ listed on it. “As in the crease that is ironed down a pair of formal trousers?,” I naively asked. “Exactly, the angle that is formed by the crease is used in our language to explain the mathematical concept of angles and arches.” he replied.

He explained that African people have mathematical knowledge which is integrated as part of their lives, unlike the Western communities, where mathematics is more abstract. I experienced pure enlightenment and joy as I came to realise  how beautifully simple and complex my language is. It became so vividly apparent to me in that moment, that my language transcends barriers, it is versatile and far more refined than society gives it credit for.

Nasal speech does not make you sound more intelligent and speaking your mother tongue doesn’t make you stupid. Our language is an important part of our heritage, something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth. If we are not able to speak it and learn in our native tongues, I fear it may end up on the endangered species list.

So no, I don’t speak my mother tongue to just skinner about you. I choose to speak the languages that I do to be more imaginative, passionate and practical than that. 

‘It is a huge responsibility and I am humbled’

Just two weeks ago the newest SRC president was elected at this year’s PYA Branch General Meeting. Nompendulo Mkatshwa (22), affectionately known as Ulo has been chosen to sit on the Wits throne that allows her the power to push student agenda’s and politics. 

AT THE HELM: Newly elected SRC president, Nompendulo Mkatshwa, met with Wits Vuvuzela to discuss her responsibilities, feminism and social issues. Photo: Reuven Blignault

AT THE HELM: Newly elected SRC president, Nompendulo Mkatshwa, met with Wits Vuvuzela to discuss her responsibilities, feminism and social issues.                                 Photo: Reuven Blignault

As the newest president, are you excited or are you nervous about your new appointment? 

It is a huge responsibility and I am humbled. Together with my collectives and the PYA. Remember we have a huge backing, there are four organisations that will back us up in anything that we do and we will deliver as the PYA and the SRC. Our prime being in this institution is to deliver to students, why else would we then have a PYA and SRC? We are the voice of students.

What is your first and most important concern as you enter the role of president of the SRC?

My term will officially begin in November, and I think by then one of the biggest challenges the campus will be faced with will be students writing their exams. To ensure that all students are supported in whatever manner they can, we are readily available to consult any student that needs to consult and [after the exams] when results have come out and students have written their exams, we will ensure that we are here as the PYA and we’ll be here during the holidays to ensure that we represent all students that the institution excludes from itself academically and financially.

In light of the EFF members who were subsequently suspended from the elections, do you think that in any way made PYA an obvious choice for students to vote for?

One may say that a PYA vote is a vote that can be shared with the EFF as well, however speaking as someone who was observing how elections were going, I still think the PYA was going to come out victorious as it did, because at the end of the day students have always had faith in the PYA and we are humbled by that; and it’s not because we are arrogant, it’s because we try our best and we are as authentic as we can be.

As a female president are you going to consciously adopt a feminist approach in pushing women agendas in how you discuss things?

As a gender activist I have my own reasons as to why I don’t want to be called a feminist, because I’ve been called a feminist over and over again and I’m fine with it really but, I refer to myself as a gender activist for various reasons around how there’s a lot of blurred lines around feminist terms, characterization of terminology, and I so want to be part of the revolution that will seek to consolidate all feminists through the best way possible. So, yes I am a gender activist, I believe in the emancipation of all genders in society.

Then what do you advocate for concerning gender related issues? 

I advocate for the engagement and deliberations of issues of LGBTQIA; strongly so because we also reduce the discussion of gender to man and women and that’s not where it is, we talking about everyone.

App minuses minibus stress

A new web based app is taking the stress out of front seat taxi travel by doing all the calculations for you.

Symposium

FRONT SEAT FOR DUMMIES: New app Phambili is making taxi travel less stressful for commuters.                                       Photo: Thembisile Dzonzi

 

If you’ve ever been in a Johannesburg taxi, you would know how daunting the task is of sitting in front and counting the fare. Even with advanced arithmetic skills, calculating change for 15 people can be daunting.

The rule is commuters who sit in front are tasked with calculating the fare for the rest of the passengers. Now, thanks to a new app called Phambili, the front seat pressure is off.
Phambili is giving the taxi industry a much needed digital face lift and making the travel experience less stressful for commuters.

Phambili allows the user to enter the taxi fare for the trip. The app then adds the number of people that have paid and the amount they have paid. Using the details provided, Phambili calculates the change and tells the user how much the driver’s money will be in total.

The app has also recently been improved with a multiple calculation platform that allows it to calculate for trips with two fares.

According to logistics company Afta Robot, the South African minibus taxi industry is serviced by more than 300,000 vehicles transporting more than 14-million daily passengers.

Phambili is also a building a database of routes and their costs.

Access the app on their website www. phambili.co.za.

You can also take their “return change challenge” to see how the app works.

Disciplinary hearing postponed for #WitsSeven

The disciplinary hearing of the five Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and two other students who were suspended after the Great Hall fight has been postponed because they were charged with rules that no longer exist.

Wits EFF members at the men's res march. Photo: Tanisha Hieberg

Wits EFF members at the men’s res march. Photo: Tanisha Hieberg

At the disciplinary hearing which was held on September 16 Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing the students, pointed out the rules the students were charged with were out of date. He presented the disciplinary committee with the new set of rules that had been adopted by University Council in April 2015.

The new General Rules for Student Conduct makes allowance for students to disrupt “classes, meetings or any other activities of the university” if such conduct is reasonably directed towards the exercise of the right to assemble, to demonstrate and picket peacefully and unarmed.

“none of the suspended seven actually have charges against them.”

 

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Andrew Crouch confirmed that the seven students were charged under the old rules of conduct. He said that this was an “administrative error” which does not change the university’s stance on the matter.

“Anything that results in violence is deemed to be misconduct,” he said.

The charges follow an SRC debate on August 18. Wits EFF interrupted the proceedings by getting on the Great Hall stage and singing struggle songs. This resulted in an altercation between the various political parties turning violent. Following this, seven students were suspended most of whom were Wits EFF members.

Vuyani Pambo briefing EFF members after the great brawl

Vuyani Pambo briefing EFF members after the great brawl

Anele Nzimande, a Wits EFF member, said based on the video footage they reviewed, none of the suspended Wits EFF members were involved in the violence.

“In fact it was Project W who tried to physically remove our members from the Great Hall stage,” she said.

Nzimande added that since the charges are being amended “none of the suspended seven actually have charges against them.”

In a letter written to academic and administrative staff, Politics doctoral student Lwazi Lushaba, one of the suspended students, said that the disciplinary charges under the an old code of conduct had serious implications. He said the disciplinary hearings were “an issue that is now costing the university hundreds of thousands of Rands, has exposed the inefficiency of the Legal Office of the university but has also questioned the integrity of the university itself.”

The suspended students will be served with new charges by Friday, September 25 and the disciplinary hearing will resume on November 30.

New Student Rules of Conduct

New Student Rules of Conduct

new rules pg2

I don’t mind my language

 

To my fellow English speaking South Africans, English is not my mother tongue. So no, I don’t speak my African languages to only skinner about you.  My language is way more sophisticated than that. It is bold, descriptive, romantic and fierce.

It seems to me that there is a taboo around speaking vernacular languages in academic spaces. If you don’t speak with a Model C accent, you are viewed as a not so intelligent sub human species with a primitive understanding of the world. Its been 39 years since black students protested against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools, yet we have academic institutions like Stellenbosch University who blatantly refuse to welcome and facilitate language diversity among students.

I used to chuckle whenever I’d hear students say, “I go to Virrts”. But now it makes me sad to hear it. Sad to see my fellow African Witsies morph their speech to fit into a nonsensical and uniform mould of what an educated black person should sound like. Language should be a tool to communicate with a diverse people not a weapon used to exclude students from academic discourse.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the author of the Sesotho dictionary, Zulumathabo Zulu. I was going to write articles in the seSotho language for the first time and he was going to be my guide through it. I was in awe of the man’s accomplishments but at the same time I was intimidated by him for two reasons. Firstly, the seSotho I speak  has been infused with the other five languages that I use, so it’s not as sophisticated as his. Secondly, the man has written a whole seSotho dictionary and its focus is on my long time nemesis- MATHEMATICS!

The first question I asked him was how I as a young journalist could effectively use his book to write human interest stories? He smiled and eloquently explained that, “in seSotho, mathematics is derived from the ordinary and mundane concepts that people already understand.” He flipped through a copy of his book and randomly stopped on a page with the word ‘motshetshe’ listed on it. “As in the crease that is ironed down a pair of formal trousers?,” I naively asked. “Exactly, the angle that is formed by the crease is used in our language to explain the mathematical concept of angles and arches.” he replied.

He explained that African people have mathematical knowledge which is integrated as part of their lives, unlike the Western communities, where mathematics is more abstract. I experienced pure enlightenment and joy as I came to realise  how beautifully simple and complex my language is. It became so vividly apparent to me in that moment, that my language transcends barriers, it is versatile and far more refined than society gives it credit for.

Nasal speech does not make you sound more intelligent and speaking your mother tongue doesn’t make you stupid. Our language is an important part of our heritage, something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth. If we are not able to speak it and learn in our native tongues, I fear it may end up on the endangered species list.

So no, I don’t speak my mother tongue to just skinner about you. I choose to speak the languages that I do to be more imaginative, passionate and practical than that.

 

Zisine zadedelana izitshudeni

LAHL'UMLENZE: Zulu students perfoming ingoma at the Wits Library Lawns on Wednesday during the Heritage Day celebration. The Students Representative Council (SRC) organised a competition for five societies to showcase their traditional dance, songs, food and outfits. The Tsonga's Khomanani Vatsonga Society won the competition by charming the audience with their makwaya and xibelani dances. Photo: Sinikiwe Mqadi.

LAHL’UMLENZE: Zulu students perfoming ingoma at the Wits Library Lawns on Wednesday during the Heritage Day celebration. The Students Representative Council (SRC) organised a competition for five societies to showcase their traditional dance, songs, food and outfits. The Tsonga’s Khomanani Vatsonga Society won the competition by charming the audience with their makwaya and xibelani dances. Photo: Sinikiwe Mqadi.

Witsies celebrated Heritage Day at the Library Lawns on Wednesday through dance, songs, traditional outfits, food and a traditional dance competition.

Xhosa students opened the stage dancing umxhentso, followed by Venda students with their tshigombela and tshifasi dances. Zulu students, came second in the competition with their high kicks for their ingoma.

But it was the Tsonga’s students hip twisting and bum shaking makwaya and xibelani which were most loved by many students who declared them the winners for the dance category.

The Students Representative Council (SRC) organised a competition for student societies to celebrate Heritage Day. SRC deputy president Omhle Ntshingila said the aim of the event was to make students celebrate and learn diverse African cultures.

Ntshingila said all students come from different places but that doesn’t mean that they don’t get people who share the same culture with them in Johannesburg.

“We have to keep our culture because we don’t want our children to only read about our culture in iPads, we want them to see that my mother can still make a traditional beer even when you stay in New York,” Ntshingila said.

Students who were part of the audience were also dressed in their traditional outfits, chanting and screaming to performers and going around the tables to taste food. Molatelo Phanyane, 1st year BPharm, said she learnt a lot about her culture.

“I come from Venda, I have always heard about thongolifhe but I had not seen or eaten it before until today,” said Phanyane.

Another first-year BPharm student, Thembelihle Mzimela, said she learned about other people’s traditions.

“I grew up in Kwa-Zulu Natal where I was surrounded by people who speak my language and we all have the same culture, so I learnt a lot today.”

There was some strife on the day following the dance competition, with some Zulu students complaining that the competition was not fair. Thobani Mabuza, 1st year BSc, said they didn’t know that the competition allowed them to use the sound system like Tsonga students did.

“They robbed us last year, Tshwana students were declared winners and they are robbing us again this year, we will no longer participate in this competition,” Mabuza said.

“We are not complaining because they performed better than us, rather because they entertained the crowd with music, and the crowed screamed. But we beat them in performance,” said Mabuza.

But the Tsonga students denied the accusation. Vukosi Rikhatso, Psychology Honours, who performed in the Tsonga group said everyone was asked if they will need a sound system during their performance.

“It’s a mistake to say we robbed you because we were all given a chance to tell the SRC whether we will need sound or not, so you didn’t say you will need it,” said Rikhatso.

Students’ societies that participated in the event are Khomonani Students Society, West African Student Association, Xhosa Students Society and Zulu Students Cultural Society.

Do Hunt’s clever boys have what it takes?

POWER SHOT: The clever boy's Henrico Botes fires a shot towards goal after penetrating the relentless SuperSport defence. Photo: Reuven Blignault.

POWER SHOT: The clever boy’s Henrico Botes fires a shot towards goal after penetrating the relentless SuperSport defence. Photo: Reuven Blignault.

Since Gavin Hunt left SuperSport United to join Bidvest Wits three seasons ago, there has been talk that he will turn the Students into a title-contending club.

The last time the club won a trophy was the Nedbank Cup in 2010, when Roger De Sa was at the helm.

The team now finds themselves at third place on the PSL table and with a long season still ahead anything is possible.

This is what was at the back of the team’s mind on Tuesday night, when they hoped to record their third successive league victory when they hosted SuperSport United at the Bidvest Stadium.

The Clever Boys played the entire second-half with 10-men, but successfully held on to secure a narrow 1-0 win over Absa Premiership title rivals SuperSport.

Gavin Hunt’s side were in control of the match, and they looked dangerous each timed they surged forward and attacked the visitors.

Jabulani Shongwe scored the only goal of the game before Henrico Botes was sent off for foul play on the cusp of half-time.

Wits played without the suspended Siyabonga Nhlapo, while SuperSport’s Dean Furman also missed as he was still suspended after being sent off against Chiefs in the previous match.

Despite having one player less, the Clever Boys continued to create the better chances and were deserved winners on the night.

But will they go all the way?

Hunt has certainly added quality to his arsenal, spending top dollar on players Daine Klate and Elias Pelembe. Both players were part of Hunt’s SuperSport United outfit during his successful tenure at the club.

Veteran goalkeeper Moeneeb  ‘Slimkat’ Josephs may be key to any title challenge, as he has been in good form so far this season, and because the team lacks depth on the bench in the goal keeping department

The team also has star players Phakamani Mahlambi and Liam Jordan, who are both part of the national squad and are tipped to be among South African football’s brightest prospects. Veteran Henrico Botes, has always chipped in with important goals over the past few years.