History made: First black female chancellor for Wits

Wits university has confirmed the appointment of its first black female chancellor following a controversial election period in which allegations of unfairness and favouritism were levelled against senior members of the institution’s management.

Dr Judy Dlamini, a prominent businesswoman, will take up the role of chancellor from December 1, 2018 replacing former deputy chief justice, Dikgang Moseneke.

The announcement was made on July 31, bringing an end to a heated contest between Dlamini and the other candidate, Dr Anele Mngadi, an academic and business strategist.

Dlamini told Wits Vuvuzela, “I will spend the next few months before I officially take over understanding what we have and how we can improve on it as guided by other stakeholders and my convictions.”

In a statement released by the university, acting vice-chancellor Tawana Kupe said, “The university is privileged to have Dr Judy Dlamini serve as the chancellor of one of the leading institutions on the African continent. She is a public figure of very high distinction and personal calibre and reflects the university’s commitment to intellectual integrity and academic excellence.”

Mngadi, who had spoken to Wits Vuvuzela on Tuesday, July 24 accusing Kupe and university registrar Carol Crosley of impropriety, issued a statement congratulating Dlamini on the appointment. “I wish to congratulate Dr Judy Dlamini on being elected chancellor of the university and wish her the best in shaping the university to achieve its full potential as a knowledge and innovation-based institution,” she said.

Dlamini is a medical doctor by training, businesswoman, philanthropist, entrepreneur and author. She has an MBA from Wits and a PhD in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa which she completed in 2014.

 

 

 

 

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Q&A with Nazia Wadee

Miss Earth semi-finalist, Nazia Wadee.                                                                                    Photo: Londell Phumi Ramalepe

Nazia Wadee is a born and bred Johannesburger who is doing honours in Media Studies. The 21-year-old Miss Teen Commonwealth South Africa 2015/2016 is a semi-finalist in the Miss Earth competition.

What does Miss Earth mean to you?
Miss Earth South Africa is a women’s leadership programme that aims to empower and educate South African women through the lens of environmental sustainability. It aims to create awareness about issues concerning conservation, sustainability and development. Being a semi – finalist for Miss Earth SA has been an educational and enlightening experience. This platform has allowed me to live out my true potential, break my barriers and to live out what I believe is my life purpose, which is to give back and make a difference.

What inspired you to enter the competition?

Given that I am a responsible active citizen who is passionate about positive change, the core values and duties of a Miss Earth title winner are that which I would like to continue to associate myself with. As former Ms Teen Commonwealth South Africa, I fell in love with the important duties that a titleholder has and the massive platform available to create a better life for all. My journey as a philanthropist had begun with the understanding of human suffering through exploitation or social prejudice at grass roots levels.

What do you do to effect change?
I have been afforded the honour of being the ambassador for the Youth Managers Foundation South Africa. The organisation aims to develop and discover leaders in underprivileged schools, and provides them with the necessary tools, leadership skills and resources to make positive changes in their schools and their community. I am involved in various welfare, cultural and goodwill initiatives, leading me to be a recipient of a Women of Wonder award as well as a second place award for the Nelson Mandela Youth Leadership award hosted by East Wave radio station. My love of goodwill initiatives has recently awarded me with the position of Head of Student Affairs on a university governing body.

How do you balance your studies and modelling?
I have always been active in terms of running charitable projects or initiatives or involved in sports or other extracurricular activities. The most important thing that I have learnt is have good time, management skills and learning to find balance. Passion is a powerful thing, and can drive you do to amazing and sometimes unexpected things, only because we are capable of so much more than we believe.

What do you hope to achieve with the Miss Earth competition?
My goal is to expand my knowledge, grow, empower myself in order to address critical social and environmental issues within my communities. My aim is to create awareness with regard to the various environmental issues that we face, and possibly provide solutions to them; to beautify my environment and make my community a beacon of hope for what is possible, for the betterment of all. I hope to inspire young people to get involved in our community and follow their passions. I hope to touch lives through my projects and initiatives. I hope to build lifelong friendships and bonds with the new people I have had the opportunity of meeting or the people that I will meet in the future. Furthermore, my aim is to empower those I meet along the way as well as those around me. Irrespective of the competition’s outcome, if I achieve this I believe that that will be my success.

What words would you share with young girls who look up to you?
Being from a small town, if I win this title it will raise the hope of others, to believe that nothing is impossible. The human spirit is amazing. In the direst circumstances the instinct to survive triumphs everything – so me winning this title will allow others to follow in my path and escalate humanity and our humanness to a level I know we can achieve.

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Accusations fly in race for chancellorship

Candidate for the role of chancellor at Wits University, Dr Anele Mngadi, speaks to students about leadership at Wits Club.                                      Photo: Londell Phumi Ramalepe

One of the two candidates for the chancellorship of the University of the Witwatersrand is threatening to pull out of the elections over alleged unfair treatment from members of the senior management of the institution.

Dr Anele Mngadi, a prominent businesswoman and strategist, says she is considering legal action over the treatment she says she has faced.

Mngadi’s allegations against various members of the Wits University management include claims that she has been sidelined and treated like a “bridesmaid”, while her rival for the chancellorship, Dr Judy Dlamini, has received far better treatment.

Dlamini, a medical doctor and businesswoman, and Mngadi are the only candidates in the race to replace former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke as the chancellor of Wits.

When asked about the claims by Mngadi, Dlamini declined to comment.

Mngadi told Wits Vuvuzela that she had heard a recording in which Wits Registrar Carol Crosley said prejudicial things against her candidacy.

Asked about Mngadi’s accusations, Crosley responded: “It has come to my attention that a private conversation between a student and I may have been recorded. If so, it was done illegally without my knowledge and consent. I can confirm that nowhere in that conversation did I say that Dr Mngadi will never be the Chancellor. This is not my decision nor that of the University, but that of the Convocation.  The Chancellor is elected by members of the Convocation (graduates of the University) and I have no influence on how they will vote.”

Mngadi added that she had communicated her concerns in a June 26 letter to Crosley and acting vice-chancellor, Prof Tawana Kupe.

With a subject line that read: “RESTORE MY DIGNITY: I am no bridesmaid”, Mngadi’s email stated that she was pulling out of the elections due to unfair treatment in the elections.

Mngadi also alleged that Kupe, had confessed to favouring Dlamini over her. “Tawana Kupe, the acting vice-chancellor, invited me to dinner and asked me personally to help him make Judy the chancellor because he has promised Sizwe Nxasana (Dlamini’s husband) and he has to fulfil that promise.”

Yesterday, July 26, Kupe denied Mngadi’s allegations, saying, “These are spurious allegations that are emphatically denied. I did at no time meet with Mr Nxasana and I have not spoken, written or met with him at all this year. It befuddles the mind as to why I would ask one candidate to campaign for another candidate during this process.”

On Tuesday, July 24, the university distanced itself from an event at the Wits Club that was advertised by the Wits Postgraduate Association (PGA) at which Mngadi addressed a gathering of about 100 students.

“The university is not party to the organisation … nor has it authorised any other party to do so on its behalf,” the statement issued ahead of the event, read.  “The organisation of all events pertaining to the election of the university’s chancellor is the prerogative of the university,” the statement continued.

Mngadi‘s speech addressed issues of leadership and the role of a chancellor at a university. “Although a chancellor does not play an executive role like a vice-chancellor does, chancellorship should still not be a title of honour.

As an academic, a chancellor should not be reduced to only conferring degrees,” she told the students in attendance.

According to Wits documents: “The Chancellor is the titular head of the university and, in the name of the university, confers all degrees. On the advice of Council, the Chancellor may convene a general assembly of the university community. The Chancellor performs such other functions as assigned to him or her by the Council.”

Whereas Dlamini was included as a speaker on the invitation and programme for the Wits Club event, she didn’t attend. She told Wits Vuvuzela that, “I was not informed nor invited to this talk, unfortunately.”

ERROR: The article originally said the event at Wits Club was “organised” by the PGA, when it should have read “advertised” by the PGA. This error has corrected in the copy above. 

Wits students initiate two day health fair

 

Health fair: Wits students visit health stations in numbers. Photo:           Londell Phumi Ramalepe

Wits health science students hosted a two day health fair on July 20 and 21 at Solomon Mahlangu House Concourse to raise awareness about health issues faced by students.

The students offered a number of healthcare checks including dentistry, dermatology, eye testing and physiotherapy.

The event which was hosted by Jesus Christ To All Languages (JTL) society together with the Wits Campus Health and Wellness Centre (CHWC) also provided services related to specific men’s and women’s health issues along with dietary and chronic conditions.

Participants were also able to donate blood and make use of aerobic and resistance training stalls.

Final year Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery student, and leader of the JTL society, Hennah Mungure, said that convenience plays a major role in people checking up on their well-being. The 24-year-old told Wits Vuvuzela, “Students have many questions about health issues but do not necessarily go to the doctor to find out or get answers.”

The acting head nurse of CHWC, Sister Maggie Moloi, told Wits Vuvuzela that male healthcare was one of the priorities at the fair. The CHWC have partnered with Wise Up, an operation which focuses on Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC).

Dr Lubwana J. Kigozi from the VMMC project, who was also present at the fair, said that the aim of his organisation is to ensure that males are given knowledge about their medical healthcare so that they can voluntarily go for circumcision which is shown to reduce the “risks of acquiring HIV by 60%,” in males.

The high cost of health is one of the factors preventing students from getting regular health checks. “The only option left for students is to go to the public sector which can be a tedious process because you cannot wait an entire day when suffering from sinusitis,” said Mungure.

“Some of us do not have enough money to go to campus health, so this fair makes it easier,” said Dimakatso Hlahlu, a Wits second year geology student.

“I wouldn’t necessarily go to the doctor to check up on my health because the medical aid does not pay the full amount and I would have to top up,” said Yenzokuhle Hleta, a second year Wits mechanical engineering student.

Moloi added that ignorance also prevents students from thinking about their health. “Students tell themselves that they are only here to study and don’t have to look after their health. In the long run they end up with high blood pressure with the stress they get from studies,” Moloi said.

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Slice of life: The blessing of independence from the women who raised me

My mother and grandmother are two strong women in my life who have contributed to my strong and independent character.

They have been the sole providers in my brother’s and my life, making sure that ends met so we could have everything we needed.

But they have done more than that, having taught me how to survive without depending on anyone else.

They taught me courage, self-sufficiency and independence as I witnessed how they both struggled but always provided for our family.

For as long as I can remember, I have always feared having to depend on someone else because I could not help but feel like I was imposing. In higher primary school, I refused to ask for help with my homework as I would think to myself: “If my grandmother can fix broken pipes, floors and ceilings around the house by herself, what is stopping me from figuring out primary school homework alone?”

My grandmother is somewhat of a stubborn woman, a trait that has rubbed off on me. She refuses to rely on a man to fix anything around the house. I used to get frustrated when she would ask me to help her cement the bathroom floor or to take the garbage away in a wheelbarrow to the dumping site, instead of telling my older brother to do it.

Eventually I came to appreciate her showing me how to perform these duties. I’ve learnt that I can do anything for myself without adopting the stereotypical attitude of, “this is a man’s job”. Limitations based on gender do not exist in my head because of my grandmother’s teaching.

My mother too, taught me valuable life lessons. “You need to work hard for yourself. You do not want to be at the mercy of anyone, especially a man,” she has always told me.

Determined not to rely on anyone, I decided to use my talents to make my own money. I began a hair braiding business at 15, inspired by my mother’s advice and my paternal grandmother and aunts who are very good at braiding hair. This is a skill that I am fortunate enough to have inherited.

By braiding people’s hair I am able to make pocket money for myself and help my family by contributing towards household expenses. I started off by braiding my family’s hair for free to perfect my skills, and went on to start charging my neighbours R150 to braid their hair.

My hair business was at its peak in third year at Wits when I stayed in a student residence in Braamfontein. There, a lot of young women came to my room every weekend so I could do their hair. This helped a lot because I could buy groceries and necessities for myself without burdening my family with requests for money.

Staying in Braamfontein was particularly good for my business because there is a huge market for braids and I was easily accessible, living in student housing with most of my customers. I also charged affordable prices, taking into consideration the financial constraints faced by most students. I did so, however, without compromising the end result that my customers were looking for.

In early 2013, my little sister was born and I became the middle child. The very fact that I am someone’s older sister motivates me to work even harder at being financially independent. I love spoiling those who are closest to me. I constantly want to make sure that my sister gets anything she wants. More importantly, I want to lead by example and show her that a girl can do anything without relying on anyone but herself.

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