SLICE: Finding more than I bargained for in journalism

The world of journalism is awash with endless possibilities, and after entering it with the aim of ending up in broadcast journalism – a year’s worth of training has unveiled many other interests I never imagined I had.

Looking back to my high school days, I had often watched e-News and fell deeply in love with broadcast journalism after seeing anchor Nikiwe Bikitsha doing a live crossing during the funeral of the late great Nelson Mandela and testing prominent South Africans with tough questions.

As I took in her work on a daily basis, I admired the way she articulated herself, put corrupt officials in the hot seat by asking them tough questions live on air and how she moved effortlessly between television and radio.

Bikitsha certainly inspired me to pursue journalism with the hopes of one day being a senior news anchor on one of the world’s respected news channels. And so, with this in mind, I started my honours in journalism and media studies degree at Wits University in 2018.

After getting admitted to the journalism honours programme, I chose to major in television/videography with the aim of learning how to speak with confidence and poise in front of the camera before I finished my degree.

Little did I know that I would end up learning how to operate a camera, to be the one interviewing people from behind the camera and editing the footage into an entire news or lifestyle package.

I have basically learned how to produce videos that have more than just talking heads, but include sequences, cutaways and whatever else is needed to make a great video even fit for television. This was certainly way more than I had bargained for and I fell in love with the craft more and more as the year progressed.

The scope of experience I gained in the Wits journalism department proved that videography was not the only aspect of the course that became my ‘thing’. Investigating and writing ‘spicy’ stories, as my peers would call them, became one of my favourite things to do as a young journalist.

The excitement that came with hearing the rumours about a certain professor being dismissed from the university for nondisclosure of a relationship with his student was exciting enough, but it didn’t match the thrill of digging deeper,proving the story was actually true, and getting to interview all the people involved.

Beyond those spicy stories though, I also admired feature writing from a distance. After having to work on a feature article for the 2018 in depth project, I learned how difficult it is to find the right words to describe one’s surroundings in the form of showing instead of telling. Although I have not perfected the art of feature writing as yet, I certainly know a thing or two about such articles, all thanks to my mentors.

Now that I am a qualified journalist, I have come to appreciate the multifaceted field of journalism and certainly look forward to using each and every one of my skills to expand my horizons as opposed to only heading to the one thing that brought me to Wits Journalism, broadcast journalism.


Protests mar first day of classes at Wits

Classes at Wits University were disrupted on the first day of the academic year.

Members of the Wits SRC lead a protest on the Wits main campus in Braamfontein. Photo: Onke Ngcuka.

A GROUP of about 200 students, led by the Wits Student Representative Council (SRC), disrupted lectures on Monday morning, February 4, in an attempt to shut down the Wits main campus.

The SRC said the protest was in response to a statement released by the university on Sunday, saying only students with debts of R10 000 and less would be allowed to register for 2019.

“As per the Council-approved concessions for 2019 below, only students who owe the university R10 000 or less will be allowed to roll over their debt and to register this year. These students will also be required to sign an Acknowledgement of Debt form and make arrangements with the university to pay off the debt,” read the statement, signed by vice principal Andrew Crouch.

It said the university could not afford “to allow student debt to accumulate as this will result in the university not remaining financially sustainable”.

The statement contradicted what was agreed at a meeting held on Thursday, January 31, according to the SRC, which says the figure agreed to was R100 000.

SRC president Sisanda Mbolekwa told Wits Vuvuzela that, “We met with the dean (of students, Jerome September) on Thursday, we tabled our demands to the vice principal as well. He (Crouch) agreed to these concessions, come Sunday night he releases a counter-statement telling students they can’t register anymore.”

However, according to Crouch, agreements reached at Thursday’s meeting only applied to the Hardship Fund.

The protesting students congregated inside Solomon Mahlangu House before storming lecture halls across East Campus.

One lecturer, Nompumelelo Seme, showed solidarity with the protesting students who entered her property law lecture in Umthombo building, by adjourning her class.

“I think that as property law students and law students in general, we should be concerned more about justice,” Seme told her class.

“These are causes we cannot turn a blind eye to. I apologise to those of you who feel a sense of discomfort but these are real issues,” she added.

The protesters then proceeded to West Campus where they clashed with private security and disrupted lectures at the Science Stadium before returning to Solomon Mahlangu to debrief.

The SRC has vowed to continue with the protests until the university reverses its decision.

“We’re saying that no students should be in class while other students are excluded and not registered, that’s why we are going around classes. No classes must happen until our demands are met,” Mbolekwa said.

UJ dumps South Point

By Phumi Ramalepe

NSFAS students sign petition for university to reconsider decision.

The University of Johannesburg has rejected South Point’s 2019 accreditation application after the property company failed to fulfil certain requirements by the university’s policy on privately-owned accommodation.

The policy stipulates that, “Rooms should be furnished with lockable closets, single bed steel or wooden frames including mattress/sponge, study desk, chair, bookshelf, study lamp, panel heater and paper bin.”

The policy further states that the kitchen of each ‘Subscribing Service Provider’ should have “a minimum provision of cold storage, 210 litres per five students”.

After the 2019 inspection, the two Braamfontein South Point buildings (Norvic and KSI) previously accredited by U J since 2004 were deemed not to meet the requirements due to the absence of panel heaters and fridges.   

Executive Head of Precinct Development at South Point, Josef Talotta, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “In 2011, [UJ] gazetted new norms and standard criteria (introducing communal refrigerators and panel heaters) for its accreditation partners…we were not accredited for 2019, in spite of previous approvals against the same criteria.”

Last year, South Point “housed approximately 450 students as a UJ-accredited housing provider”, according to Talotta.

Some of those students circulated a petition last week to have UJ reconsider its decision not to accredit South Point. By January 31, the petition had garnered 90 signatures.   

Mpho Stephen, a third-year LLB student who has been staying at South Point for two years said, “I helped distribute the petition because we want a place to stay. We are also trying to tell [UJ] our story. Everybody has a right to be heard,” said Stephen.

UJ students who are funded by NSFAS say they are dismayed by UJ’s decision as they did not have to pay for top-ups and a deposit at South Point before signing their leases.

“I went to J1 (a private accommodation property in Braamfontein) and there is space but…now I have to pay R3 750 for deposit. Imagine the strain I have to put on my parents. I wouldn’t have to pay for deposit at South Point while on NSFAS,” said Mpho Khosa, a third-year Film and Television student at UJ.

South Point is appealing UJ’s decision, according to Talotta.

Braam crowd administers mob justice to suspected car thief

By: Phumi Ramalepe

Red traffic light stops suspect in his tracks.

‘Die, thief!’ The suspect was brought back to the scene of the alleged crime for more punishment.
Photo: Phumi Ramalepe

A MAN was attacked by a mob in Braamfontein after it was alleged that he had stolen a parked vehicle outside the construction site opposite the Wits Art Museum (WAM) on Thursday morning, January 31.

A Wits Campus Protection Service security guard at WAM who asked not to be named, said he had witnessed the crime and so did numerous construction workers.  

The suspect allegedly got into a white Nissan NP200 which was parked outside the South Point construction site at the corner of Jorissen and Bertha streets, while the owner was delivering documents to the site manager, and drove off. 

“[The construction workers] together with the owner, became hysterical. They saw him from above and they started screaming,” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

The screams were heard by passers-by who saw the suspect driving off in the vehicle.

“The traffic lights closed and he (suspect) drove into an Uber. He then got out of the stationary car and ran away,” the security guard said. 

Spokesperson for the Hillbrow Police Station, detective Mduduzi Zondo, confirmed that a case of attempted theft had been opened.

“The owner was alerted by bystanders who saw the attempted vehicle robbery at around 11:00 and told him people were trying to steal his vehicle,” he said.

“There were three suspects all in all. Two were in a getaway car, a maroon [Renault] Clio. We are investigating and following leads that will lead us to the other two being arrested,” said Zondo.

The 43-year-old suspect was seen fleeing the scene by Wits Vuvuzela and running towards De Korte Street with a large crowd of people pursuing him.

Moments later, the man was brought back to the scene of the alleged crime by the crowd. He was bleeding from the head, arms and legs from the blows of the pursuers.  

“This beating is not enough. Pour petrol on him so we can burn him,” shouted some in the mob.

The beating continued outside WAM for some time until the police arrived some 30 minutes later, apprehended him and took him to the Hillbrow Clinic.  

FEATURED IMAGE: ‘Die, thief!’ The suspect was brought back to the scene of the alleged crime for more punishment. Photo: Phumi Ramalape

67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day breaks Guinness World Record

South Africans break world record for most  people crocheting in one venue simultaneously for the longest time.

Hundreds gather inside the Linder Auditorium to crochet blankets in the name of Madiba.                               Photo: Phumi Ramalepe

By Phumi Ramalepe

Charity organisation, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, in collaboration with Mozart Music Festival, broke the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people crocheting simultaneously at a single location at the Linder Auditorium at Wits on Sunday, January 27.

The event, called Mozart for Mandela, was in celebration of 67 Blankets for Mandela’s fifth anniversary. The aim of Mozart for Mandela was to have as many people as possible crocheting for 27 consecutive minutes in commemoration of Mandela’s 27 years in prison.

This year’s record breaking attempt, which coincided with Mozart’s birthday, saw young and old come together to contribute their time and efforts in the name of giving back to the community.

Founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, Carolyn Steyn, said, “The event is a celebration of the amazing work that thousands of people are doing in South Africa in the name of Madiba, making blankets for people who don’t have, orphanages, old-age homes and homeless people in informal settlements.”

Groups of participants were provided with colour-coded balls of wool, and each person had to crochet “a square (or squares) measuring 20cm by 20cm”, according to the organisation’s website, which would then make 16-and-a-half blankets if all participants made one complete square. 

The Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and the Jeppe Girls’ High Marimba Band performed live on stage and kept the 737 qualifying participants entertained while they crocheted their way into the Guinness World Record.


 The Johannesburg Festival Orchestra entertained the crowd while they crocheted away.                                   Photo: Phumi Ramalepe

“Independent witnesses”, Carolynne Waterhouse and Peter Grealy, made the announcement to the gathering that the Mozart for Mandela participants had indeed broken the Guinness World Record for 737 people crocheting for 27 minutes nonstop.  

Among the participants were pupils from Jeppe Girls’ High and Norwood Primary School, along with their parents and teachers.

“I think it’s important for young women to understand that there are people less fortunate than themselves and also to get involved,” said Yvette Searle, a Jeppe Girls parent.  

Approximately 108 elderly women also participated and donated non-perishable goods for Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach. 

Director of Alpha World Ministries Elderly Day Care Centre, Pastor Maureen Sibadela, said, “It’s so important to us to do this crocheting… because we know that [the blankets] are for a good cause and collecting food for the Wits University kids…because we want to see our children being educated. We believe that with one stitch, we can reach someone.”

The organisation is no stranger to record breaking events for change. Last year, 67 Blankets made its way into the Guinness Book of World records after knitting the longest scarf in the world which measured approximately 29 kilometres.

Wits strolls into Nedbank Cup last-16

Ruthless Clever Boys send Boyne Tigers home with nothing after a 4-0 drubbing


 Bidvest’s Keegan Ritchie gives a Tiger player a tough time on the home pitch.                                                     Photo: Phumi Ramalepe


By: Phumi Ramalepe


Bidvest Wits secured their spot in the Last 16 after beating the amateur Boyne Tigers 4-0 in the Nedbank Cup’s Last 32 match at Bidvest stadium on the evening.

Relentless showers of rain and slippery grass presented no challenge to Wits’ Haashim Domingo who scored the team’s first goal in the 11th minute.

Less than ten minutes later, Scottish striker Simon Murray dribbled past the Tigers and passed the ball to Domingo who secured the second goal.

The unmerciful Clever Boys gave the timid Tigers a tough time on the pitch by dominating their weak defence. Murray scored the third goal in the 20th minute. The fourth goal was bagged by Murray again in the 38th minute.  

The striker was happy to have contributed to all four goals in the match. “You never know with an unknown team what you’re gonna get but it’s nice to contribute all four goals for the team. We got into the next round and hopefully we can make it to the finals”, he said to Wits Vuvuzela.

The Tigers returned with force in the second half trying to secure a goal, but were not successful, in spite of Bidvest not scoring any more goals in the second half.

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt told Wits Vuvuzela that he was impressed with the Boys’ performance.

“The performance was good and we in the 16. We’ll see how far we can go and take it from there. We obviously expect to win the Nedbank Cup,” he said.

A Wits supporter, Henrie Brownliy, thought the game was a breeze for the Clever Boys. “We don’t know the team really… so I think we had to suss them out in the first ten minutes. We put pressure on them… after that it was like a walk in the park,” he said. With a smile on his face, Brownliy added that “I think what’s important is the win.”

Bidvest Wits will be going head-to-head against Maritzburg United at the Bidvest Stadium on Friday, February 1, at 20:00 in the Premier Soccer League.