Business as usual for SRC amid fees protests

GLASS HOUSES: Frat House on the West Campus with the SRC logo. Photo: Masego Panyane

GLASS HOUSES: Frat House on the West Campus with the SRC logo. Photo: Masego Panyane

The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) is not participating in the current fees protests, #FMF2016, on campus.

“SRC is continuing with its normal governing procedures, which includes helping students with accommodation and planning for O- week,” said Mzwanele Ntshwanti, projects, media and campaigns officer of Wits SRC.

Students of the #WitsFMF movement have been protesting for fee free education since January 4. On Monday January 11, Wits management hired private security guards in riot gear to come patrol the main campus and to protect university property. Last week the department of higher education held a meeting in Tembisa with SRC from various campuses including Wits. Some student representatives walked out of the meeting.

Yesterday, Wits University and the Wits SRC issued a joint statement in response to the fees protests:

—————–

Management and SRC agreement

Wits University Management and the Wits Students’ Representative Council have reached agreement on a range of issues that are summarised here:

1. Free education: The University and the SRC commit to the realisation of free education as the ultimate goal for all students who qualify academically and who cannot afford it.

2. First payment: Students who cannot afford the first fee payment prior to enrolment/registration will still be allowed to register by filling in a form via the self-service portal (https://self-service.wits.ac.za).

a. There will be no interest on the first fee payment for those who have indicated that they cannot afford the first payment.
b. The University will provide the SRC with data on the number of students who have filled in the first payment form.
c. No student will be financially excluded during the academic year because they are unable to make their first payment.

3. Insourcing Task Team: The University agreed to more frequent reporting from the Insourcing Task Team. The next communique from the Insourcing Task Team will include information on the progress on the minimum wage demand. The University agreed that it was of utmost urgency for Council to make a decision between the proposed R4 500 and R5 000.

4. Funding for workers’ children: Workers’ children who have qualified for admission to the University and to residence will receive a full package, including tuition and accommodation.

5. General Assembly: The University commits to initiating, during the first block and upon the return of all students, the processes necessary for holding a General Assembly.

6. Safety and security: In securing and providing safety and security to the University community, police should not use undue force that violates any human rights. The University and students need to find a non-violent and amicable way of resolving issues.

7. Progression status: The University agrees that students will be able to know their progression status, regardless of whether they have outstanding debt. The University also agrees to advance students being able to view their progress report/unofficial transcript throughout the year, regardless of whether they have outstanding debt.

8. Food security: Student Affairs commits to working with the SRC on addressing the issue of food insecurity on campus. There is currently a University project to address food insecurity of which the SRC is a part.

9. NSFAS appeals: Outcomes of NSFAS appeals will be given immediately after each meeting of the appeals committee.

10. FASO: The University reaffirms the commitment that there should be accountability, efficiency and consistency within the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office (FASO). FASO is already undergoing a review process.

11. English: The University agrees to engage on the matter of students with good APS scores and exceptional marks being allowed to appeal.

12. Communication with prospective students: The University commits to communicating with prospective students who may have had difficulties with registering during the two days of registration shut-down.

13. Debt management: The University commits to providing the SRC with data to substantiate the need for state intervention on debt clearance for the missing middle.

a. All students who owe the University between R1 and R1 000 as at 31 December 2015 will be allowed to register in 2016. The outstanding debt for 2015 will be rolled over to 2016. The University estimates that this concession will benefit 3 607 students this year.
b. All students who can show that they are fully funded for 2016 will be allowed to register. They will have to sign an acknowledgement of debt for fees owed in 2015.
c. The University will work with the SRC to raise funds to clear the debt of approximately 1 284 students who owe the University between R1 001 and R5 000 (as at 31 December 2015). If this effort is successful, these students will then be allowed to register in 2016.
d. The SRC and the University will approach the provincial government to cover the debt of about 1 418 students who owe the University between R5 001 and R20 000 (as at 31 December 2015). If these efforts are successful, these students will be allowed to register for the 2016 academic year.

14. Residence fees and Food Security: Residence fees have not been increased, in line with the agreement on the zero percent fee increases. However, meal costs have increased.

The University will require about 24 hours to adjust its administrative processes to accommodate this agreement and we ask all students to be patient during this period.

Please bring any concerns or issues to the attention of the Registrar viaregistar@wits.ac.za so that they can be addressed timeously.

We trust that these arrangements will go a long way towards enabling the majority of our students to register for 2016 without hindrance.

We thank all staff members and students for your patience during this difficult period.

The high cost of a dream: ‘R9340 is a lot of money’

By Thabiso Modiba

My name is Thabiso Modiba and I grew up with my two sisters, mother and father in rural Limpopo, Mabopane district. And I’m the only guy, the first-born. It was tough, with no electricity and running water, life is tough. The only truck that brings water is the one from the municipality that comes once a week. You have to take a bucket and go queue for water.

Since I was young, I have always wanted to be a doctor. When I was young, my mother got sick. We were living in a rural village and whenever we’d go to the clinic they’d say, “The doctors not here”, sometimes for days. I would get angry because my mom would be very sick and there was no doctor to help her. But when you come here, to the city, there are many. But that side where I’m living they are scarce.

HIGH HOPES: If he can find the money to pay for his tuition Thabiso Modiba hopes to become a medical doctor one day. Photo: Michelle Gumede

HIGH HOPES: If he can find the money to pay for his tuition Thabiso Modiba hopes to become a medical doctor one day. Photo: Michelle Gumede

 

My father earns about R5900 and sometimes is working at a construction company that deals with tenders. They build schools and those sort of things.

I don’t wanna lie, I never slept that day before matric results came out. I was watching TV on the fifth and they were announcing the results officially. There’s no electricity in the area but we take chances and connect cables, just so we can get an update on what’s happening with the matric results.

Through the post office, I applied in 2015 to five universities UP, UL, UJ, SMU and Wits. I got the application form to come to Wits from my father. He knows one of the security guards from Wits. I posted applications and the money required for each too. Costs differ from tertiary to tertiary, at Wits it was about the R100 and other universities it was R200 or R300. It’s like betting for the lotto, you don’t know when or where you’re going to win.

I was stressed on January 6 because Wits had said they’d send me an sms as soon as the matric results came out. I was anxious about how my results were gonna be. I was praying the whole day and night.

In the morning I got my results from my school, but still no sms from Wits. I preferred Wits because the communication was good. They communicated with me throughout the year through email. The other universities just sent me sms’s saying they acknowledge my application and will await my matric results. They also said that I have to submit my results face to face, whereas Wits just got them through the system.

So I was panicking. It was only on January 7 when I received an email from Wits with an offer to study chemical engineering and medicine. I accepted medicine so they said I must come and pay the registration fees of about R9340 before the day of enrolment.

Immediately, I called some of my relatives, for money. They were happy because my matric results were good, so they managed to put the money together for registration plus R400 for a bus.

I arrived in Johannesburg for the very first time in my life on Thursday January 8. My father who was in Soweto at the time had no idea where Wits was, so I had to ask people for directions at Park Station. They told me to walk to Bree then I would find the campus after crossing Nelson Mandela Bridge. I walked this by foot with my R9340 registration fee in my bag. That’s when I found myself in Wits. The big buildings were intimidating, I was afraid. I’m a rural boy and it’s the first time that I saw so many different people in such a busy place.

HALF WAY THERE: Modiba has registered at Wits but is yet to come up with the money for tuition. Photo: Michelle Gumede

HALF WAY THERE: Modiba has registered at Wits but is yet to come up with the money for tuition. Photo: Michelle Gumede

 

When I got here I was directed to the enrolment center where I was shown to the financial office. I paid registration and made my four-hour trip home. When I left Wits I was a little bit happy because it was promising that I’m in. I got home and my parents were panicking that I’d just paid and only been told to come back to Wits on Monday. You know when parents pay money they want to see proof that something is happening. R9340 is a lot of money, they’ve never had that kind of money in their hands before.

On Monday I had to wake up early in the morning to catch the 4am bus so I could be here by seven. When I got to Hall 29, students had blocked the way saying #FeesMustFall. We were told to go back home or do it online. Eish, I felt like the world was turning against me because I came from so far. I didn’t understand what was going on and neither did my parents when I called them to tell them. I went back home again coz there was no place to stay so I had to spend more money.

At home my parents didn’t trust what I said about the strike, they thought I was deliberately wasting money.

MONEY WOES: At home my parents didn’t trust what I said about the strike, they thought I was deliberately wasting money. Photo: Michelle Gumede

MONEY WOES: His parents didn’t trust what he said about the #FMF2016 strike, they thought he was deliberately wasting money. Photo: Michelle Gumede

 

On Tuesday, January 12, I got an email saying I could come and fetch my student card anytime and I heard from the news that registration was happening on Wednesday. I was there preparing money to travel again. It was only because I did so well at school that even my high school teachers and neighbors helped to put together money. They just want to see me at Wits doing medicine.

I arrived in Joburg at 8am on January 14, collected my student card and registration bag. I’m happy but worried at the same time.

Although I applied for funding from NSFAS they said I don’t qualify. I also applied for funds at the Limpopo Department of Health last year and the Motsepe Foundation this year but I still don’t have funds for my tuition and accommodation. I’m gonna be contacting the department telling them that I got accepted at Wits, maybe they can help me and speed up my application. I have until February 8. If fees had fallen maybe it would be better.

As told to Michelle Gumede

 

 

Anxiety and confusion at Wits registration

New and returning students still uneasy as registration at Wits University goes ahead amidst protest action and a heavy security presence. 

THE SHOW GOES ON: Students register at Hall 29 for 2016 despite challenges. Photo: Michelle Gumede

THE SHOW GOES ON: Students register at Hall 29 for 2016 despite heavy security presence and FeesMustFall protests. Photo: Michelle Gumede

 

While sporadic protest action continues at Wits University main campus, some students have braved the demonstrations and heavily armed security guards to come and register for the 2016 academic year.  Some students were nervous about registering while others were just happy to have completed their registration.

Returning BSc student, Alexis Shumba, said her registration process has not gone smooth at all but because of university bureaucracy, not the protests.

“I have been going up and down since Monday from enrolment centre to CNS,” said Shumba.

Shumba has been coming in everyday since Monday from Crown Gardens, arriving at 7am and leaving at around 3pm. The self-funded student said she is frustrated and only saw today that the protest was actually needed. “But I hate that its interfering but its needed coz my thing was blocked because of fees.”

Newly-registered BSc student Sonwabiso Manty from Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape said when he heard about the FeesMustFall protests continuing on Monday, he became quite anxious about registering. News of extra security and calm on campus made him more “relaxed”. Registration at the university resumed today.

“Everything was smooth and the staff were so excellent,” Manty said.

Manty was able to pay the registration with money he received from his high APS scores. However he is still looking for a bursary to pay for his tuition.  “My documents are still outstanding for financial aid,” he said.

Students who are part of the FeesMustFall movement are still protesting while security presence is high and police vehicles can be spotted all over campus.

 

Private security ‘moerskonts’ students: Wits fees protestors

Update: The university has since vehemently denied claims of any students being assaulted. See the full statement here .

By Masego Panyane and Michelle Gumede
About 60 private security guards were used to evacuate protesting students from Solomon House concourse in an act protesters have called disproportionate

IMG_6904[1]

HIRED FORCE: The university hired private security in riot gear to evict protesting FeesMustFall students. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Around 60 private security guards in riot gear were used to “moerskont” and remove nine protesting students in the early hours of Tuesday morning from Solomon House, according to the students.
“They moerskonted us to a point where we could not see,” said Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) chairperson Vuyani Pambo.
The students, who are part of the Wits #FeesMustFall movement, have been occupying Solomon House, also known as Senate House, since January 3. The students had said their demands have not yet been met by Wits management and as a result, they would not move.
According to the students, in the early hours of Tuesday, Michael Mahada of Campus Control woke them up and read them a notice signed by Prof Tawana Kupe, deputy vice chancellor for advancement, human resources and transformation. The notice said the students need to evacuate the premises by the end of business on the previous day, Monday, January 11. Campus Control also had in their possession, dossiers on four of the protestors which had pictures and personal information of the students.
The students were given five minutes to leave Solomon House but they refused. The six Campus Control security guards who had been present throughout the night then stepped back and the private security guards, wearing body armour, wielding plastic shields and batons, sprang into action. Two separate groups of security entered the building from two different sides, physically throwing students out of the building and taking their cellphones. See the footage of the eviction here

BRINGING OUT THE BIG GUNS: Armed private police could be seen at various locations on east campus. Photo: Michelle Gumede

BRINGING OUT THE BIG GUNS: Armed private security could be seen at various locations on east campus. Photo: Michelle Gumede

“In that 30 – 45 minutes, they started locking up the exits but they wanted us to leave,” said one of the protestors, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation.
When questioned, one of the private security guards told Wits Vuvuzela that he was struck on the head with a bottle by one of the students. A protestor claims that this was in self-defence and they started using anything from the dustbins outside Senate House in order to keep the private security guards who had been physically assaulting them at bay.
Students were chased all the way to the parking outside Men’s Res area where they were then cordoned off.
Student protestors also said that female protesters had been grabbed around their breasts by private security guards evicting them from Solomon House.

Amadla!: Wits EFF Student Command leader Vuyani Pambo addressing protesting students and workers outside the cordoned off Great Hall. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Amadla!: Wits EFF Student Command leader Vuyani Pambo addressing protesting students and workers outside the cordoned off Great Hall. Photo: Michelle Gumede

When asked about this a private security guard responded: “When you are removing people from a space, you are not checking where the lady’s breasts are.”
On SABC’s Morning Live today, Vice Chancellor Adam Habib said that the university cannot be held hostage by twenty odd students.
The university’s senior executive team sent out a statement confirming that students were evicted because they “effectively disrupted the university’s registration process yesterday.” The statement goes on to say the occupation was an infringement of the rights of students who wanted to register and that face to face registration will continue on January 13.

 

Division over free accommodation at Wits

Affected students in a meeting with acting Dean of Students Lamese Abrahams discussing amongst other things, the plan to accommodate students preparing for exams. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Affected students in a meeting with acting Dean of Students Lamese Abrahams discussing amongst other things, the plan to accommodate students preparing for exams. Photo: Michelle Gumede

by Masego Panyane and Michelle Gumede

HUNDREDS of Wits students will be temporarily accommodated for free after being left homeless on campus over the festive season, squatting in libraries and computer labs to prepare for their supplementary and deferred examinations.

This comes after the entire end-of-year examination timetable was reshuffled due to the #FeesMustFall protests that rocked the country late last year. Supplementary and deferred exam dates were pushed back to early January and many students stayed on campus to prepare. But many were left without accommodation as residences closed on December 1.

In protest against their lack of accommodation, many of the affected students with the Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Wits Fees Must Fall (FMF) staged a sit-in at the Senate House concourse, also known as Solomon House.

On Monday January 4, several Student Representative Council (SRC) members met with representatives from the All Res Council, the university administration and Wits EFF to agree that students writing deferred and supplementary exams would be accommodated on campus.

SRC projects, media and campaigns officer Mzwanele Ntshwanti said the SRC left for holidays on December 23. When the SRC arrived on campus in early January, they received and processed a list of the homeless compiled by a few students who had been staying in the library, concourse and computer labs.  Ntshwanti said the SRC were already prepared that there might be a situation where a bulk of students would come from all over the country to write their exams.  However, he said preparations stalled over how much it would cost the university.

“Conversations were started, they were just never concluded because the university was like ‘It’s gonna be costly and they were not willing to take the cost’,” Ntshwanti said.

This week’s agreement allows for 500 students, 300 male and 200 female, to be accommodated at Men’s Res and Jubilee respectively. Ntshwanti estimates the accommodation will cost the SRC R181 per night per student.

University officials could not be reached for comment by Wits Vuvuzela as of the time of posting this article.

Vuyani Pambo of Wits EFF said his organisation spent their holidays staging a sit in at Mens res, studying and consulting with students on possible solutions regarding the academic year ahead. Pambo says during their interaction with students it became more apparent that many students were on campus studying and doing vacation work to save up for their fees while being without accommodation.

On December 28, the Wits EFF staged a “let in” at Mens Res, where they opened up the residence for all homeless student which lead to conflict with campus control.

Pambo said they occupied Men’s Res only after attempting, unsuccessfully, to negotiate for accommodation for the homeless students with the university.

Although campus control was called to the Men’s Res, the students were never removed from the res and students are now coming in to sign up for accommodation since the agreement was publicised on social media by both the SRC and Wits EFF.

The procedure is that students have to go to cluster head Doreen Musemwa at Jubilee residence the day before their allocated exam date where their status for a deferred or supplementary exam is verified. Students must then go to the SRC offices to fill out forms and then they can then move into res. Students can stay at res until the day after their exam and will receive breakfast daily at the main dining hall for the duration of their stay.

Third-year mining student, Albert Sefadi* said that learning about the agreement on Facebook, he drove to Johannesburg from Mahikeng to sign up for the accommodation before his exam date. However, he says when he got to Jubilee on Tuesday he found that Musemwa was not around and he had to sleep in his car.

Sefadi was later assisted by the SRC on Wednesday and had completed all his paperwork, ready to move into his room by 10am.

There are some students who are distrustful of the arrangement. Rendani Dumah* a final-year education student and Wits FMF member decided to not take the offered accommodation.

“I don’t want to have the SRC telling people that they did stuff for me when they didn’t do anything,” said Dumah.

As of Friday, the occupation of Senate House has continued despite the dean of students sent the FMF group a letter demanding they leave the concourse.

*Affected students requested that Wits Vuvuzela change their names.

Joburgers were eco-friendly long before the streets of Sandton were closed off

Joburgers are serious about going green, it’s not just the latest fad. It’s an alternative hipster lifestyle that separates the the cool peeps from the (global) warmers.  It’s safe to say Joburg is not just a pretty city, its an environmentally sensitive zone. And green is definitely the new black in the city of gold. Its going greener everyday and most of the city’s inhabitants embracing global cooling in very cool ways.

Thrift shopping

Many cool peeps in Jozi wear vintage or second hand clothing. Thrift markets are popping up everywhere and Joburgers love them because they are affordable and trendy. Thrifting allows styles to be shared and limits to be broken. At such affordable prices, why not.

Shopping the green way 

Shopping malls are getting greener and greener, one such space is 27Boxes. This mall is made of shipping containers, it has an edgy and sleek look that will make any shopper happy to spend money there.

 

SHOPPING THE GREEN WAY: Jozi shoppers, enjoy shopping the environmentally friendly way. Photo: Michelle Gumede

SHOPPING THE GREEN WAY: Jozi shoppers, enjoy shopping the environmentally friendly way. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Snazzy shopping bags

Reusable shopping bags can be seen hanging off the shoulders of the trendiest peeps in Joburg, from celebrities to ordinary Witsies. These bags are fashionable and eco friendly- made from recycled materials.

GEORGEOUS RUBBISH: Trendy shopping bags made from recyclable materials are hot in Jozi. Photo: Michelle Gumede

GEORGEOUS RUBBISH: Trendy shopping bags made from recyclable materials are hot in Jozi. Photo: Michelle Gumede

All naturelle body care 

Earth friendly body products are the “in” thing for the ladies of Joburg. The Africology range of beauty products is popular because not only is it cheap but they use natural ingredients to make their lathering body creams and scrubs. Having started their company in Johannesburg, the brand can now be found in hotels and spas across the world.

Healthy eating is healthy living

Most peeps in Joburg enjoy eating healthy because ‘green’ food is no longer rabbit food. Restaurants like Kauai are creating tasty and trendy meals for the everyday person. They have awesome smoothies made from “super foods’ which are healthy fruits and veggies that give you a boost when you need it.

Internet Madness

Everything is going digital! The postal office is becoming an endangered species because Jozi is going digital. Even students get their fees statements online, people are shopping online, even cabs like Uber are using the digital space to do business.

In a bid to reduce paper usage, internet in Johannesburg has gone viral! Everyone uses internet, for EVERYTHING from online shopping to online school fees statements. According to the City of Joburg, internet usage has trebbled to over 12 million since the year 2000. Nine of the 12 major internet service providers listed Internet Service Providers Association by are based right here in Jozi.

pnsan

 

Green Money

Even our money in Joburg is going green

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY: Our banks are going green. Graphic: Michelle Gumede

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY: Our banks are going green. Graphic: Michelle Gumede

 

Banks like Nedbank are committed to climate change through their Corporate Social Investment programs. As a a signatory to the Carbon Disclosure Project, Nedbank received an A-minus rating for transparency and performance. This bank is leading in sustainable business practices as their policy is strongly focused on climate change issues and sustainable banking.

Architecture

51% of Jozi buildings in the commercial sector are expected to be going green by the end of 2015 according to the McGraw and Hills World. There are long term financial benefits to going green for corporate companies including increased rental rates and asset value, reduced risk of depreciation, and higher tenant attraction and retention rates. The Green Building Council South Africa uses a green star rating system to determine how environmentally friendly buildings are built and operated.

The WWF Building in Braamfontein is one of the most cutting edge green buildings in Jozi, they have their own water purification system, light sensitive blinds and the building itself is made up of reused material.

Transport system

In an initiative to reduce carbon emmissions, the City of Joburg has embarked on a campaign to promote cycling in the city. Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau launched Cycle week in March to demonstrate the city’s commitment to cycling.

Designated cycle lanes have been set up to allow for cyclists to travel safely. Cyling lanes are patrolled and monitored by a patrol unit which is set up by the Metro Police. 31 people have been fined for parking in the cycle lanes while six cars have been impounded. Other forms of public transport like the Gautrain and the Rea vaya rapid bus system contribute to lower carbon emissions in the city.

CYCLING IN THE CITY: Joburgers love cycling and our Mayor Parks Tau agrees. Photo: Michelle Gumede

CYCLING IN THE CITY: Joburgers love cycling and our Mayor Parks Tau agrees. Photo: Michelle Gumede

The arbor city

Johannesburg is an arbor city which means that majority of the trees found in the city are planted. If there were no humans were settled here then there would literally be no trees in this semi arid space. Arbor week is celebrated from 1- 7 September every year.

EVER GREEN CITY: Luscious plants cover every corner of Johannesburg. Photo: Michelle Gumede

EVER GREEN CITY: Luscious plants cover every corner of Johannesburg. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Cars

Eco friendly vehicles can be spotted all over Johannesburg. These cars emit less harmful fumes into the environment and have a positive

The Nissan Leaf, the Toyota Prius and the Porche Panamera S e-Hybrid are some of the popular environmentally friendly cars around. The Nissan Leaf for instance runs on electricity and its laminated lithium ion batteries can be charged at home or at any other electrical station. It has zero emissions and a low internal combustion engine allowing it to reach high speeds. The Eco mobility world festival is currently happening in Johannesburg until the end of the month.

ECO DRIVING: Earth friendly cars can be spotted across the city. Photo: Provided

ECO DRIVING: Earth friendly cars can be spotted across the city. Photo: Provided

 

Businesses reducing their carbon footprint

Energy saving measures are business as usual as retailers like Woolworths. By using Energy efficient store lighting, natural gas refrigeration and solar power theyre business model is built around the concept of being green. Their farming for the future initiative is a campaign to save water and have less chemical runoff through their farms. Fabric suppliers also adhere to high standards of sustainability when it comes to dyes, materials and chemicals.

RESPONSIBLE BUSINESSES: Sustainability is a large part of most businesses in Jozi. Photo: Michelle Gumede

RESPONSIBLE BUSINESSES: Sustainability is a large part of most businesses in Jozi. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Schools going green

Schools in Johannesburg are going green by planting veggie gardens.  Today’s primary school students, like those of Sunward Park use the digital medium to interact with learning material. saving paper saving the trees!!

GREEN KIDS: Vegetable gardens can be spotted at many Joburg schools. Children in Jozi are enthusiastic about saving our planet. Photo: Michelle Gumede

GREEN KIDS: Vegetable gardens can be spotted at many Joburg schools. Children in Jozi are enthusiastic about saving our planet. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Recycling

Is big business in Jozi for both the rich and the homeless. This trend is one that helps the homeless in Jozi make ends meet while businesses get to enjoy the long term benefits of responsible recycling.

SMART CITY DWELLERS: Recycling helps homeless people make extra money in Joburg. Photo: Michelle Gumede

SMART CITY DWELLERS: Recycling helps homeless people make extra money in Joburg. Photo: Michelle Gumede

 

RECYCLE, REDUCE, REUSE: Joburgers dispose dangerous batteries in safe and environmentally friendly ways. Local supermarkets put out these boxes to assist communal recycling. Photo: Michelle Gumede

RECYCLE, REDUCE, REUSE: Joburgers dispose dangerous batteries in safe and environmentally friendly ways. Local supermarkets put out these boxes to assist communal recycling. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Solar geysers

Residential spaces like Alexandra township have taken to installing solar geysers in their homes. This has resulted in lower electricity bills and of course a greener city.

GREEN HOUSEHOLDS: Many homes in the city supplement their electricity supply with solar power. Photo: Michelle Gumede

GREEN HOUSEHOLDS: Many homes in the city supplement their electricity supply with solar power. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Chill out spots are greener than ever

The city has dedicated a whole department to oversee the 20 000 hectres of green open spaces that hosts over 2000 recreational parks, cemeteries and botanical gardens.

Currently, the Zoo has 326 species consisting of 2 096 specimens housed within 54ha area. The collection consist of 20 Amphibia (Frogs), 5 Arachnida (Spiders), 128 Aves (Birds), 47 Reptilia (Reptiles), 25 Osteichthyes (Pisces- Fish) and 101 Mammalia (Mammals).parks. this includes botanical gardens, the city zoo and cemetaries.

GREEN PUBLIC SPACES: Johannesburg has a variety of places like the Johannesburg Zoo, where people of all ages can hangout and spend time close to nature. photo: Provided

GREEN PUBLIC SPACES: Johannesburg has a variety of places like the Johannesburg Zoo, where people of all ages can hangout and spend time close to nature. photo: Provided

Sandton shutdown

The way Joburgers are so serious about going green, even the financial hub of Africa, Sandton City, is shutting down for the entire duration of October to cut down emissions. The EcoMobility World festival and exhibition is an initiative that aims to close down all roads. Only public transport, cyclists and pedestrians are allowed to use the streets.

ECO MOBILITY IN THE CITY: The streets of Sandton, the economic hub of Jozi, will be shut down in October. In a bid to cut down harmful emissions caused by heavy traffic. Photo: Provided

ECO MOBILITY IN THE CITY: The streets of Sandton, the economic hub of Jozi, will be shut down in October. In a bid to cut down harmful emissions caused by heavy traffic. Photo: Provided

Mannequins 

Woolworths Urban fashion store RE: has mannequins that are made from recycled materials. Now if that is not eco friendly then, what is?

EARTH FRIENDLY FASHION: Looking good and taking care of the environment are not mutually exclusive concepts in Johannesburg. Photo: Provided

EARTH FRIENDLY FASHION: Looking good and taking care of the environment are not mutually exclusive concepts in Johannesburg. Photo: Provided

Enough talk about green talk, Joburgers LOVE a bit of color!

 

LGBTI

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. 

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.

 

5 ways to save the rhino

 

World rhino was celebrated on September 22. Rhinos are in serious danger due to continuous poaching. This year alone, almost 800 rhinos have been slaughtered for their horns in South Africa. Wits Vuvuzela  takes a look at some of the methods currently being used by various organisations to save the rhino from extinction. 

 

  1. Anti-poaching patrols

This is the most commonly used method of conservation. Rangers drive and walk around reserves policing fence lines and serving as the first line of defence for the rhino.

Robin Cook, MSc. Candidate in Ecology at the University of the Witwatersrand says the only challenge with this method is that there is a continuous stream of poachers entering the parks and so it feels as if it is a never ending battle that the anti-poaching rangers have to deal with.

Established in 1992, the Protrack Anti- Poaching unit was one of the first anti-poaching units in South Africa. Volunteers undergo an anti-poaching course that allows them to provide specialist rural security services to farms.

 

Anti-poaching ranger patrols reduce the levels of poaching and increase the chances of catching rhino poachers. Photo: SaveTheRhino

Anti-poaching ranger patrols reduce the levels of poaching and increase the chances of catching rhino poachers. Photo: SaveTheRhino

 

2) De-Horning Rhino

Rhino’s horns are removed to stop poachers from killing them for their horn. This method has been met with mixed responses.

Sceptics feel that this technique removes the animals’ main characterising feature and poachers still kill the animals even when they’ve been dehorned. According to Save the Rhino, this is often attributed to the stub of horn that is left after removal. If the horn is cut too close to the germinal layer, this could damage the horn base and lead to deformed horn re-growth. Although poaching is made less profitable by dehorning, poachers will still kill for a horn stub due to its high value.

Dr Joseph Okori of the WWF says the horns usually grow back at about 3-4 inches every year, which means there is regrowth every 3-4 years, which means dehorning again and again.

While there have been success stories in both Namibia and South Africa. From 1989, Namibia started dehorning rhino to protect them from poachers. This project was successful as none of the dehorned rhino were poached. In Mpumalanga, South Africa, (excluding Kruger NP) out of the 33 rhinos killed from 2009-11, only one was a dehorned rhino.

 

DEHORNED: There are pro's and cons to dehorning rhino's. Photo: Brent Stirton

DEHORNED: There are pro’s and cons to dehorning rhino’s. Photo: Brent Stirton

 

3) Treating rhino horn

With this method the rhino horn is treated with a visible pink dye that is meant to deter poachers.

Cook explains that a compound made up of ectoparasiticides and indelible dye that contaminates the horn and renders it useless for ornamental or medicinal use is injected into the horn. The dye can also be detected by airport scanners, even when the horn has been grounded into a powder.

However, research by the SANParks shows that the poison may not infiltrate into the entire horn, and therefore the horn may still be usable in the market. Also human ethical and legal risks are involved when it comes to treating the horn while consequences on the welfare and health of the animal remains uncertain with this method.

 

 

RHINO DYE: Horns are treated with chemicals to make render them valueless. Photo: Provided.

RHINO DYE: Horns are treated with chemicals to make render them valueless. Photo: Provided.

 

4) High tech and Innovative Systems

Technology has is also being used in efforts to save the rhino. Drones, high tech fencing and various other gadgets are helping to beef up security for the animals.

Cook says, “It provides conservation management with a new tool for anti poaching as drones can see far more than what humans on foot can.”

Helicopters and sniffer dogs are included in the technologically advanced methods of conservation. Although these gadets are are quite expensive . In 2014, SANParks had received an initial grant funding of R254.8 million to establish air mobility capacity and purchase a helicopter in the Kruger National Park. This year they received a second helicopter to assist in the anti poaching effort.

 

A mahout walks past with an elephant used for tourist rides as a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) official carries an unmanned aircraft or drone before flying them at the Kaziranga National Park at Kaziranga in Assam state, India, Monday, April 8, 2013.Wildlife authorities used drones on Monday for aerial surveillance of the sprawling natural game park in northeastern India to protect the one-horned rhinoceros from armed poachers. The drones will be flown at regular intervals to prevent rampant poaching in the park located in the remote Indian state of Assam. The drones are equipped with cameras and will be monitored by security guards, who find it difficult to guard the whole 480-square kilometer (185-square mile) reserve. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

EYE IN THE SKY: Drones have been successfully used in other parts of the world for conservation efforts.The Kaziranga National Park at Kaziranga in Assam state, India, has been deploying this technology since 2013. The drones have cameras onboard they are faster and have a greater range than ground patrols. Photo: Anupam Nath

 

5) Rhino trophy hunting

Due to the high expenses incurred in rhino conservation efforts, rhino hunting is used as a method to pay for the care of other rhinos. One rhino must die for others to live.

“It is a touchy subject, as many people are anti-hunting, especially when it is a rhino considering just how many are being poached.” Says Cook.

This method has the potential to ensure that reserves with an abundance of rhino can secure funds to back conservation efforts.

 

TROPHY OF DEATH: Rhino conservation is expensive and wealthy hunters are willing to fit the bill. Photo: Provided

TROPHY OF DEATH: Rhino conservation is expensive and wealthy hunters are willing to fit the bill. Photo: Provided

“We believe that there is no single solution to the poaching crisis in and a range of related activities are needed right along the illegal trade chain.” Says Mxhalisa.

The WWF has developed a National Rhino Programme which focuses its efforts on boosting rhino numbers, benefiting communities around rhino reserves, breaking illegal trade networks, building bridges and working together across borders and bursting the bubble of demand in Asia.

 

Listicle: 5 places to braai this heritage day.

September 24 marks national Heritage Day in South Africa and braaing is a big part of our national heritage. Some people have braais at home but others prefer more social settings. Parks are awesome for this purpose and Johannesburg has a variety of cool spots for friends and family to enjoy.

 

1) Zoo lake

Located opposite the Johannesburg zoo on Jan Smuts avenue, this park is ideal for bringing the whole family out for a braai. It is equipped with braai stands, basketball courts for the ballers, jungle gyms for the kids and rowing boats for the lovers. Zoo lake is one of Johannesburg’s most treasured braai locations. AND ITS FREE

FUN FILLED ENTERTAINMENT: Zoo Lake is conveniently located opposite the zoo for a fun filled day for the whole family. Photo: Provided

FUN FILLED ENTERTAINMENT: Zoo Lake is conveniently located opposite the zoo for a fun filled day for the whole family. Photo: Provided

 

2)Thokoza Park

This 4.5 hectare park is popular among residents of Soweto. The Moroka dam flows right through the park and a variety of bird life can be found there. Thokoza Park is the preferred location for hosting jazz concerts in the township and has a big screen television in the middle of the park for your viewing pleasure. For your convenience, you can take a Rea Vaya bus that will drop you off right there.

SUNNY SOWETO: Thokoza Park is popular among Soweto residents. Photo: Provided.

SUNNY SOWETO: Thokoza Park is popular among Soweto residents. Photo: Provided.

 

3) Innes Free

Nestled neatly in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, Innes Free lies between  the concrete jungle of Sandton and the township of Alexandra. The park offers two dams, serene green lawns and shady trees- perfect for braaiing any day. The park has played host to some of Johannesburg’s biggest concerts and shows. Remember the Major League gardens?

HIDDEN GEM: Innes Free park is an awesome getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Photo: Provided

HIDDEN GEM: Innes Free park is an awesome getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Photo: Provided

 

4) Dorothy Nyembe Park

Named after a popular struggle icon, this 26-hectare park can be found in Dobsonville, Soweto. Dorothy Nyembe park is equipped with walking trails, sports facilities and a games area where people can enjoy a game of chess or morabaraba. It has a wide range of bird life owing to its natural wetland found there. Braaiing at Dorothy Nyembe can be done any day as its open seven days a week.

CHILL ZONE: Dorothy Nyembe Park is popular among the youth in Dobsonville and surrounding areas. Photo: Provided

CHILL ZONE: Dorothy Nyembe Park is popular among the youth in Dobsonville and surrounding areas. Photo: Provided

 

5) Johannesburg Botanical Gardens & Emmarentia Dam

This park mimics what you would imagine the garden of Eden to look like. Spread over 81 hectares, this space is ideal for braaiing. The park is a kaleidoscope of  flowers and plants in its many gardens named the Shakespeare Garden, the Rose Garden, the Herb Garden and a Hedge Demonstration Garden. The botanical gardens are a famous location for taking wedding pictures but also make a great spot for hanging out, picnicking and braaiing.

SCENIC BEAUTY: The Botanical gardens are a relaxing braai spot for friends and family. Photo: Provided

SCENIC BEAUTY: The Botanical gardens are a relaxing braai spot for friends and family. Photo: Provided

Make sure to pack your charcoal, camp chairs and cooler boxes this 24 September. The options of where to braai in Johannesburg are endless, so pop into anyone of the above listed parks this Heritage Day and you wont be disappointed.

A hairy matter: Popular urban hair trends

Women in Braamfontein love their hair and are not afraid to try daring hairstyles. But living in the city means time is limited and hairstyles have to be easily maintained and look good for any occasion. 

WILD HAIR: A woman's hair is her crowning glory. Photo: Provided

WILD HAIR: A woman’s hair is her crowning glory. Photo: Provided

 

From brightly coloured braids to cute bobs, hairstyles make a personal statement. And the women in Braamfontein make bold ones. Like any cultural expression, hair trends are constantly changing colour, length and texture. Personality, budget and bravery play a role in what kind of hair women choose to wear.

“Young and older women love changing their hair every other week, depending on their budget,” says Tendai Kumbula, a  shop assistant in a popular hair extensions store on Juta street.

With over 15 hair salons in a five minute walk of each other, hair in Braamfontein is a competitive business.

One Wits 1st year student told WitsVuvuzela that she pays at least R450 monthly for the upkeep of her hair.

“I don’t mind spending on my hair because it makes me feel good,” she said.

Some of the most popular hair trends in Johannesburg are cornrows, bright hair colours, short pixies, braided bob and natural hair:

 

Cornrows

CRAZY CORNROWS: Variations with this hairstyle are limitless. Photo: Provided

CRAZY CORNROWS: Variations with this hairstyle are limitless. Photo: Provided

 

Whether done using natural hair or adding extensions, this hairstyle is a timeless classic that is appreciated by both men and women alike. Celebrities like Alicia Keys and D’Angelo and Snoop Dogg have been known to rock this hair do. The beauty of it is that it can be plaited in a simple straight back fashion, or it can be styled with funky patterns, beads and colours. It can cost anything between R150 to R300. The plaits usually last for roughly two weeks but maintenance is really just spraying on moisturizer and brushing up the edges then you are good to go.

 

Bright hair color

SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND: Mining Engineering student, Moleseng Mokgosi says she was inspired by Rita Ora to go wild and edgy with her hair. Photo: Michelle Gumede

SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND: Daring and bright hair colour is a favorite at the moment . Photo: Michelle Gumede

 

The trend of having brightly coloured hair has grown and transcends across hairstyles, textures and length.

“More and more women are feeling brave enough to experiment with unusual and striking colors like red and blonde” says Kumbula.

You can colour your natural hair with hair dye that goes for about R30 at any supermarket. You can opt to get extensions that are pre-coloured that cost about R200 or even purchase coloured wool to strut your favourite colour. Hot red, ivy green and piercing yellows are popping up on many heads around the city.

Mining Engineering student Moleseng Mokgosi has funky silver braids in her hair. Mokgosi says she was inspired by Rita Ora to go wild and edgy with her hair.

 

Short hair

 

THE HALLE BERRY LOOK: This hair do can turn any plain Jane into a Bond goddess. Photo: Serame Maishoane

THE HALLE BERRY LOOK: This hair do can turn any plain Jane into a Bond goddess. Photo: Serame Maishoane

 

Some people like to wear their hair short. “I believe that a hairstyle makes or completes an outfit,” says socialite and fashionista Serame Maishoane.

Maishoane says “the pixie cut does it for me.”

The pixie, also known as the ‘Halle Berry’, is short on the sides and has more length towards the top of the head.  It’s easy to maintain and works for both a formal and casual look. Because it can be done using your own hair or a weave,  the pixie can be brushed down or worn in a spiky style by adding a splash of gel or mousse.  It is a bit pricey, one can pay any thing from R500 upwards.

 

Natural locks

AU NATURALE: Zimasa Mpenyama's hair is her crown of glory. She leaves it in it's natural state and wears it with pride because that is part of her authentic self. Photo: Rafieka Williams

AU NATURALE: Zimasa Mpenyama’s hair is her crown of glory. She leaves it in it’s natural state and wears it with pride because that is part of her authentic self. Photo: Rafieka Williams

 

Natural hair comes in different textures and lengths. You can dred it, comb it out into a fro, go for the unkempt urban look or add a bit of color to natural hair for some attitude. Natural hair is versatile and requires low maintenance. Cotton Curls is a hair care range that is developed especially for afro hair. “Our focus is on indigenous and locally sourced natural oils, clays and butters.” says co founder of Cotton Curls, Negin Naledi Monkoe. The range is used by many women in Braamfontein with afro textured hair.

This hairstyle can cost anything between R200 for a treatment at the hair salon or nothing by maintaining at home with regular washes.

 

Bobbed braids

CUTE BOB: This hairstyle looks good on most face shapes. Photo: Anelisa Thuswa

CUTE BOB: This hairstyle looks good on most face shapes.           Photo: Anelisa Thuswa

 

The bob braid is making a comeback. This medium length chunky braid can be worn with a side path or with a fringe. Maishoane says this is a look for young and funky peeps.

“The arty farties,” she says.

At R300 for both labor and hairpiece this look is cute and works with most face frames.

Whether male, female or any gender in between, our hair is an important part of your identity. No matter how much or how little hair you have, the way you wear it says a lot about your personality and character.

Even the flavored beer brand ‘Flying Fish’ picked up on how much people in Braamfontein love their hair and want to have fun with it. ‘Flying fish’ turned the bus stop on Jorrissen into a pop up barbershop. Professional barbers, high chairs, clippers and all.

Students were treated to a free haircut of their choice and a voucher for free six-pack of beer that they can redeem at any Shoprite Checkers liquor outlet. The event brought flavour to the ordinary and mundane.

“Not everyone is into beer but anyone can agree that a fresh new hairdo can do wonders to boost confidence” said Noxolo Ntsaba, a brand representative of Flying Fish.

 

 

Hair is the one thing that is constantly changing and so is the brand. “ We wanted people to bring more flavor to their hairstyles,” says  Ntshaba

The down side of overtreating your hair with chemicals is they can stress the skull, which can lead to dryness and dandruff.

Kumbula recommends that ladies moisturize their hair daily and keep it clean with regular washes.

“Every once in a while, the hair needs a break and no chemicals or stress,” he said.

Witsies plant a food garden to fight against studet hunger

 

Wits volunteers are planting a vegetable garden on West Campus this Saturday September 19, to fight back against hunger in the Wits community.

 

In collaboration with various student volunteers, and various community outreach groups, Wits Citizen and Community Outreach (WCCO) will be planting a vegetable garden on September 19.

 

Kauna Singh of WCCO says, “Many other universities worldwide are undertaking the planting of fruit trees and emphasizing the associated benefits that they have received.”

 

Hunger is a reality for many students and the Wits food bank has been battling to keep up with demand for free food items. As previously reported by Wits Vuvuzela, the WCCO food supplies have been running low since the beginning of this year.

 

On average, 176 food packs have been handed out to an average of 128 students monthly since June this year.

 

“If we are able to cultivate vegetables from the Wits food garden, students who receive food packs could get fresh vegetables to supplement the non-perishable food that they receive from the Food Bank,” Singh says.

 

“We are going to plant four plant beds to start off with,” says Ashleigh Machete, founder of JoziFoodFarmer.

 

The JoziFoodFarmer and Thlago Agricultural Cooperative will be training Wits volunteers the basics of urban farming. These techniques will help them develop a productive food garden that is going to supply fresh produce to the Wits Food Bank.

 

Volunteers will learn how to sustainably plant vegetables in urban environments. The project has been supported through seedling donations made by students and staff.

 

“We students are going to maintain it,” says Felix Kwabena of Generation Earth, one of the organisations involved in the garden.

 

Salad greens, carrots, tomatoes, radishes, onions, potatoes and an assortment of herbs will be planted. Some of which have been germinating for the past three weeks in plastic containers at the WCCO offices.

 

Machete reckons that, “In about two months we should be having regular harvesting especially with the salad greens”.

 

The site, which is next to the Wits Nursery on West Campus, already has a watering system with a water hose.

 

Machete says, “We want to reconnect people with locally grown food and improve public health.”

 

Students in the Food Sovereignty and Climate Justice Forum are also proposing that fruit trees should be planted on campus. The Forum are in the process of asking the university to look at current policy on plant types on the campus.

 

Volunteer and member of the Cooperative and Policy Alternative Centre (COPAC) Athish Satgoor says, “The garden is part of a wider effort to create a food commons with multiple gardens eventually and lots of fruit trees on campus.”