Sharing the pain of “adulting”

I remember my mother sending me a text message late last year in December nonchalantly saying: “By the way you’re on your own for medical aid beginning next year…”

She was speaking of 2017.

The amount of sad and crying face emojis I sent her immediately tossed her into a laughing frenzy. This was her way of telling me, “Welcome to the world of adults.”

Shock! Horror! “Adulting” soon became a reality. One that still has me #shook.

I felt like I was being kicked while I was down and out. Ok, maybe not down and out. But in my eyes, having just moved back home as a graduate, after years of being away at varsity and being broke counted towards my struggle argument.

Do you remember your first day in first grade, high school and the dreaded first day of university? Well, none of these phases could have prepared you for the “adulting” world that social media has turned into a trend.

If you haven’t noticed, Twitter and Instagram have become abuzz with the #Adulting craze lately. These are mostly young adults who have taken to these platforms to share their daily struggles and victories of being an adult. Most, who are not of our generation, think of “adulting” as a vain manner in which we self-congratulate.

Writer Danielle Tullo in Cosmopolitan insists that the word “adulting” implies that being an adult is not a necessary part of growing up but rather a life choice you’re hesitant to fully buy into.

I beg to differ. The thing is,we are already in this “adulting” thing whether we like it or not. We are fully aware of it but we choose to share these “adulting” moments with friends, acquaintances and loved ones because of a simple need to feel like we are not alone in the struggle. Yeah sure, we get a couple of giggles and likes along the way. But it is the mere fact of knowing that I am not the only twenty-something-year-old stressed about bills, savings and responsibilities with my barely-enough-to-go-around salary – we’re in this together.

“Adulting” is having to deal with the fact that for the first time in your life you are expected to have it all together: career, finances and relationships, amongst other things. It is finding yourself sitting behind your work desk even when it is raining cats and dogs outside and you would honestly rather be at home in your pyjamas watching series. But you understand being here pays your salary and that will ultimately afford you that first car you’ve been dreaming of.

Now that I have my newfound freedom – including no curfews – you’d think I’d have more time to hangout and party with friends but hardly any of that is coming my way. See, with “adulting”, spontaneity is almost always a myth because now you resort to planning engagements with friends since everyone is always busy. Delayed gratification becomes the norm.

The reality of taking on adult responsibilities is no easy task. There are days when I’m able to get through the ups and downs. There are other mornings when the dread and constant feeling of being thrown into the deep end can be overwhelming, making me want to crawl into bed next to my mother and have her comfort me through it all.

The reality of “adulting” is having to make things work even when you don’t have it all figured out.

So, excuse me and the other young adults who want to self-celebrate and give ourselves a pat on the back every now and then for even the smallest achievements of this “adulting” life.

#FeesMustFall Infographic

On Monday September 19 2016, Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande announced that university councils had to determine their own fee increases for 2017, however the increase should not be above 8%.

Students did not take well to his announcement. They felt that he did not address the real issue of free, decolonised education so they retaliated in protest. The following weeks became characterised by standoffs between students and police. There were multiple arrests made and a sense of confusion between various groups of people.

The protests have since ended. The majority of the deployed police officers have been removed from university campuses and things seem somewhat back to normal at most institutions. The infographic highlights a few issues that have fallen under the #FeesMustFall 2016 banner. What has happened since? How much are students paying now? What’s the update on the arrested students?


Related Articles:

Wits Vuvuzela, Another night in cells for #FeesMustFall leader, October 17, 2016

Wits Vuvuzela, “We are agitated due to comparison”: the students of #FeesMustFall,  October 17, 2016

Wits Vuvuzela, Day 4: FeesMustFall 2016 regains momentum, October 22, 2016

Cool kid on campus


Meet your cool kid on campus who believes in acting for change.
Swankie Mafoko is an actress on the newest SABC2 telenovela Keeping Score and an “artist activist”.
The 23 year-old is a Kasi Durbanite who moved to Joburg to pursue her career in drama and performing arts. “It’s different when you studied something (drama) and when you go and work in the industry,” she says.
Her supporting actress role on Keeping Score is her first television gig. However, Swankie hasn’t been shy to perform on stage. “I’ve been doing theatre for years now, since 2008 from Durban,” says Swankie.
She completed her BA in Dramatic Arts in 2016. Swankie found herself having to juggle both her studies and work. Having had the opportunity to work for VowFM as a radio presenter, news compiler and recently contributed to the Wits #FeesMustFall book by Prof Susan Booysen. “I specifically spoke about documenting the revolution in relation to an art piece.
“What makes me cool? Besides me having a great personality and being fun, I can safely say that my voice and my laugh make me cool,” laughs Swankie.
“I describe myself as an artist activist who believes in community building and using my art as an act for change.”

Wits rolls out learnership for staff

Wits will be rolling out a basic education and training programme for staff members who have not reached the matric qualification level.

The programme is a National Certificate in Business Administration for National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 2 (Grade 10) and Level 3 (Grade 11).

The roll-out will be funded by the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP Seta) as the focus of the Discretionary Grant Funding allocation for 2016 and 2017.

Head of the Human Resources Development Unit (HRDU), Chantelle Murray, said the programme has space for approximately 73 individuals and, to date, they have received 55 applications.

”We have a lot of initiatives at other levels but the lower levels often get forgotten.”

When HRDU started talking with the university’s staff about the bursary scheme they realised that they had assumed that everyone had a matric qualification but that was not the case. Even more so, with the incoming insourced staff.

“We realised a lot of the workers being insourced barely have a NQF level 2 and 3 qualification, never mind a NQF level 4 or matric qualification. They can’t access all the cool benefits, such as bursaries, unless they have an NQF level 4 qualification,” said Murray.

The difference between this training programme and what was previously known as the Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) programme is that the ABET classes were to a large extent based on the school type of grounding that one needs. That includes literacy, numeracy and computer literacy. The criticism about this model is that it did not prepare the adults for the world of work.

“You do need to have numeracy in place in order to do calculations and look after your own budget at home, but if it’s not housed in a context, then it’s just numbers and words,” said Murray.
With the National Certificate in Business Administration offered at Wits, the idea is to teach numeracy, literacy and computer literacy within a context, such as putting together an agenda for a meeting and event management. These are things that they would come across while working at Wits.

Staff will be expected to complete a portfolio of work in order to receive a certificate of competence, said HRDU consultant, Megan Thulukanam.

Murray said Siyanqoba, which is part of the EOH Group would be the service provider for the programme’s first roll out, as it was nationally accredited and had corporate experience.

“It’s important to have a provider that understands the kinds of challenges the staff experience every day in terms of going home to environments where they can’t always do homework maybe because they don’t have electricity and so on.”

Part of the HRDU approach is communicating with the managers of the individuals on the final list so that they are on board and understand how best to support their staff and mentor them.

Young, black, female curators re-imagine WAM



ART APPRECIATION: A boozy young crowd wowed by the artwork on display.                                                                                                                                                                                       Photo: Lwandile Fikeni




An unlikely crowd of art-goers filled the foyer of the Wits Art Museum (WAM) during the opening of Overtime: representations, values and imagined futures of classical African art on Tuesday, February 21.

They were young, black, hip and carried themselves around the space with absolute abandon as they clinked glasses of wine and shared a cigarette or two outside the venue.

This was not by accident, said the exhibition’s curators, Tetanda Magaisa and Katlego Shoro. In fact, it was the intention of the curators when they invited young artists, thinkers and intellectuals to engage with the African art collection held by the museum.

“The majority of the material in the collection belongs to various language groups across the continent, but what happens is that only a particular kind of people tend to handle that material,” said Magaisa.

This fact led the duo to consider new ways of re-imagining how the collection is seen, talked about and interpreted. Central to their curatorial considerations was the question of access.

“People regard this African art as something that young people do not appreciate,” said Magaisa.

“It’s like ‘oh, ja, they are millennials; they’ve completely and actively removed themselves from these cultures’, which is entirely untrue,” she added.

The exhibition was inspired by the responses and conversations that arose from the From The Heart: Personal Perspectives of the WAM Collection exhibition that took place last June.

“You have these conversations that have happened about accessibility and the kind of voices that can curatorially participate in exhibiting something like classical art,” said Shoro.

“And then you have young black people, young artists and young intellectuals who work at the museum. What are their experiences with the museum besides the job that they do?” she asked.

The answer lay in giving space to people who have different experiences within the museum, with the cultural material, with art, and with imagining how exhibitions can be curated and how a museum can be engaged, Shoro said.

The multiple contributors hold the exhibition together through highlighting the humanness invested in each piece on display.

“The contributors highlight not only their experiences with the museum, with the collection and with art but they also highlight that there’s humanness that should be considered when one looks at art and when one engages with the museum space,” said Shoro.

“How these objects are presented is very important,” she added.

Speaking of the novelty of having young black people at a WAM opening, Magaisa said, “What happened, inevitably, is that having young people participate in the show brought in a young audience and increased the engagement with the exhibition.”

Overtime: representations, values and imagined futures of classical African art will run until April 23.





Boxing club on a mission to recruit

The Wits Boxing club is fighting to make a comeback following the cancellation of the University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament in December last year.
The club’s chairperson, Sifiso Malinga, said that the strategy for the club this year is to increase interest in the sport.

PACKING A PUNCH: Wits Boxing Club welomes anyone with an interest in the sport. Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

PACKING A PUNCH: Wits Boxing Club welomes anyone with an interest in the sport. Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

As a way to recruit newcomers to the club, plans are underway to demonstrate some light technical work on the library lawns once a week.
According to Malinga 35 first years have enrolled. “It has been a very slow start to the year.
“We prefer to start off light, and work our way towards getting everyone to be as fit as their weight classes require, if not beyond that fitness level,” said Malinga.
Through maintaining fitness for beginners and advance boxers, the club is gradually preparing for the 2017 USSA taking place in the middle of the year.
“Showing the general public, not just the Wits Community, that boxing as a sport is not about violence and aggression but rather about strategy, vision, determination and most importantly fun,” said Malinga.
“We have been participating in tournaments around Johannesburg since we are affiliated with Johannesburg Amateur Boxing Association (JABO) and they often invite our boxers to fight in their tournaments throughout the year,” he said.
Malinga told Wits Vuvuzela that the club is not only for people who know boxing but that anyone with interest is welcome.
The club trains from Monday to Thursday, on the first floor of Hall 29.
He added that coaches such as Boetie Lourens will be coming through to teach and train the basic boxing skills.

Related Articles

Wits Vuvuzela, Female boxers take over Wits Boxing Club. March, 2013

Wits Vuvuzela, BOXING: Witsies box their way to the top at local tournament. September, 2014

VoWFM bids Mike bye

VOICE OF WITS (VoWFM) campus radio station is bidding goodbye to long-time station manager Michael “Mike” Smurthwaite at the end of the month.

BIDDING FAREWELL: Mike Smurthwaite is ready to enter a new chapter Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

BIDDING FAREWELL: Mike Smurthwaite is ready to enter a new chapter
                                                                                                                                                  Photo: Nokuthula Zwane