The editor of London’s Sunday Times Insight team opened the 2015 Power Reporting Conference by reflecting on one of the most controversial corruption stories in the past year. Speaking in front of a packed auditorium at Wits University, Jonathan Calvert recounted the intricacies of an undercover investigation with fellow journalist, Heidi Blake, that resulted in an expose of bribery and coruption at Fifa, the world football authority.
The pair went undercover in 2010 to investigate alleged corruption that surrounded 2020 World Cup-winning bid from Qatar.
Going undercover has become a crucial tactic in investigative journalism and has enabled more stories to materialise successfully.
Calvert and Blake who were tipped off by an insider, decided to go undercover and pose as lobbyists with interests on behalf of the United States.
UNDERCOVER: Jonathan Calvert, editor of the Insight Team at the Sunday Times, was the keynote speaker at the opening session of the 2015 Power Reporting Conference in Johannesburg. Photo: Reuven Blignaut.
Kitted out with minute cameras hidden in their clothing, the pair recorded meetings with six people on the bid committee. They formed part of the discussions on how to structure the campaign to lobby for support for the American bid. Eventually, two of the committee members (voters), agreed to “sell their votes”.
Calvert said that each World Cup brings in approximately four million pounds but added that, “We don’t know how they spend their money or where it goes to.”
With corruption presenting itself at the outset of their investigations, the pair pressed on and eventually presented their findings to Fifa which did not act on the allegations.
Calvert said when Qatar was announced as hosts for the 2020 soccer World Cup, “It was a surprise to everyone, but not really a surprise to us.”
Calvert said he feels that Fifa is “burning itself to death at the moment,” and has a strong feeling that “a big revelation” will be made public by February 2016 by journalists in the US who are continuing the investigations.
The pair have since co-written a book on their expose called The Ugly Game: The Qatari plot to buy the World Cup.
by Dana Da Silva and Riante Naidoo
Former Wits SRC President, Mcebo Dlamini, addresses students at the Yale Road entrance while the Wits Vice Chancellor waits to address the students. Photo: Riante Naidoo.
Students at Wits University have arrived by the thousands as they await Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib to address them on a proposed 10.5% fee increase.
Students chanted and sang on Friday morning as more groups of students arrived from the Education and Medical school campuses. Incoming Wits SRC President Nompendulo Mkatshwa addressed the students just after the groups arrived, saying: “We will occupy this campus, we will shut down this campus because you are not greater than us”.
“We will not negotiate with the vice-chancellor,” said Odwa Abraham, a 3rd year Law student. “Until the increase is done away with, the university will be shut down,” he said.
The protest began Wednesday and has resulted in the blockading of entrances and the weeks’ shutting down of Wits.
Braamfontein, one of Johannesburg’s oldest suburbs, boasts a unique food culture with modern twists on hundreds of classic recipes. The 162-year-old suburb, which has undergone a 13 year process of urban renewal, has seen entrepreneurs transform abandoned buildings into trendy restaurant spaces, artisanal shops and business centres.
And, it doesn’t matter what time of the day you pop into the area, because there is always something to tickle your taste buds. Here are 19 must try food & drink treats:
1. Early birds’ breakfast: Post, on Juta, prides itself on feeding the early birds in Braam. Opening at 6:30am every weekday, this five-year-old cafe serves a flapjack, bacon, Greek yogurt, honey and fruit breakfast which is a crowd favourite. Owner Dave Hayes says it’s their “most popular breakfast on the menu,” and setting you back only R 42.00, it’s easy to see why.
2. Mid-morning coffee boost: If Friday night’s shenanigans give you a heavy head, pop into Double Shot coffee shop on Juta, for a boost of the Kenyan Masai espresso. “It tastes like gummy berry juice, with its black current and dark berry flavours,” says coffee connoisseur, Ori Cohen.
3. Pizza perfect: Your lunch plans will never go wrong with 86 Public‘s gourmet pizza and a glass of sparkling wine, on a sunny day in the Square on Juta.
4. Wholesome & healthy: If pizza isn’t your thing, try the Quinoa salad at Anti Est on De Beer Street. Rocket and mint leaves provide a fresh body to the dish, with a hint of sweetness from the peppadews and a tangy pop from the lemon dressing . Cashew nuts and goats cheese adds contrasting textures which give the salad a smooth and crunchy, yet rounded finish. Well worth R 99-00!
5. Cocktail complements: Despite its risqué name, their Porn Star Martini and a shot of sparkling wine pairs perfectly with the freshness of the salad.
6. Tea anyone? : Give afternoon traffic a skip and try Double Shot’s Earl Grey latte.
Cohen says the latte ” is really interesting and tasty, with milk, but you wouldn’t expect it or regret trying it.” We know we didn’t regret it!
7. Diner dinner: Ever heard of a deep fried Mac ‘n Cheese burger? Well, Mr. Big Stuff, located on Melle street, is a modern take on the classic American diner with its burgers and shakes. “We wanted to stay away from the hipster, cafe style trend,” says co-owner, Shane Durrant. “We don’t do a brie and cranberry burger, we do the diner classics!” Beef patty and a layer of deep fried mac ‘n cheese? Yes please!
8. Classic ‘shakes: And it wouldn’t be an American diner experience without a chocolate & peanut butter milkshake.
9. Gourmet burger: If you’re looking for something a little fancier, then The Burger at Anti Est is a must! Fluffy matchstick fries accompany a moist, handmade beef patty topped with roasted baby peppers and mozzarella cheese. “I created these flavour combinations so that when someone bites into the burger, their mouth is full of different flavours and not just the meat flavour,” says head chef, Alona Yizhaky.
10. Cocktail hour: Most delicious cocktail in Braam – Cousin Mary, also at Anti Est. A hint of vodka, a splash of gin, some fresh litchi and mint… Hello weekend!
11. Beer instead? If you prefer beer, then choose from a selection of craft beers at the Neighbourgoods Market on Juta, over the weekend.
12. Weekend spoils: The Neighbourgoods Market is a foodie’s heaven, but be sure you arrive early! So while you wait for opening at 9am, grab a sweet, sticky pretzel, covered in slivered almonds (R10) and a coffee at Daleah’s eatery down the road on De Beer Street.
13. Neighbourgoods Market: In the mood for a weekend cheat? Buy cake and eat!
There are countless sweet treats to get your hands on from a variety of cake, candy and patisserie stalls at the market.
14. Japanese Dim Sum: A savoury snack platter of four dumplings and a Hong Kong pear is well worth R50-00 at the market’s DimSumFest stall. Filled with crab & cream cheese, chicken & coriander and spinach & cream cheese, the dumplings are delicious, but the Hong Kong pear steals the show.
15. Hong Kong pear: “I wanted to make something that would showcase my creativity,” says chef, Canny Sbu Msongelwa, and that’s exactly what he did. Filled with spring onion, spicy chicken and cream cheese, the intriguing looking pear is surprisingly fluffy and flavoursome once you bite into its golden crust.
16. Crumbed chicken and fries: The market’s Sumtin Fresh stall likes to keep the street food scene real with their fried chicken strips on a bed of fries, topped with cheese, mayo and a sweet chilli sauce.
And they might not do the chicken dance, but their chicken has them singing for customers all day:
17. Seafood Paella: It’s impossible to walk by Tutto Food Co. at the market and not stop for their seafood paella. They draw inspiration from Italian and French heritage and create what they call “Afro-Mediterranean” food.
18. Breads: Nothing can replace the taste and smell of freshly baked bread on the weekend. You can grab a loaf or two from a selection of breads at the market every Saturday and Sunday.
19. Sunday smoothie: There’s nothing like a refreshing fruit smoothie at the market on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Grab a cool one as you head home for a late afternoon snooze, as the weekend draws to a close.
The Road to Success Programme, launched by the Commerce, Law and Management (CLM) faculty, is focused on assisting students within the school with their academics and is looking to open the support programme to all undergraduate students at the university next year.
A new programme that has been successfully helping undergraduate students with their academics in the School of Commerce, Law and Management (CLM) may be expanded to all first-years next year.
The Road to Success Programme (RSP) was started in CLM in January this year. The programme has been used as a support structure to assist the faculty’s undergraduate students with their academics.
As lecturer for the RSP and course coordinator, Danie De Klerk drew up a timetable which includes a series of tutorial and one-on-one sessions to assist students who are academically “at risk”. The programme also accommodates passing students who wish to attend the classes as an added benefit.
The programme has 25 tutors who have been trained by CLM and the Counselling and Careers Development Unit (CCDU) to assist students with concepts which they find challenging, whether it be personal or academic.
THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Danie De Klerk, coordinator of the Road to Success Programme, and Masego Modise, a Law tutor on the programme discuss how work is assessed in the Law School. Photo: Riante Naidoo.
De Klerk said that “Tutors are trained to identify a problem that is greater than just academic.”
De Klerk said that all first years in CLM were enrolled in the programme at the beginning of the year were taught “generic type skills” such as time management, studying skills, note taking etc. In the second semester, students who were “at risk,” or those who wished to attend voluntarily continued with the programme.
De Klerk said that in 2013, the university applied for development grant money from the department of education. The grants were received last year and have been used to fund such programmes within each faculty at the university.
He said other faculties refer to their support programmes as the “At Risk Programme,” however their faculty chose to name it the “Road to Success Programme” instead, as the term “at risk” is very negative and they wanted to use a motivational approach.
“Our take is unique,” he said. “We are the only ones with tutors, running a programme, focussing on the road to success.” They have taken their approach a step further by focusing on related aspects of a student’s life that can impact them academically.
“If a student is hungry, it’s difficult for them to pay attention to what’s going on in class and whether he or she passes or fails doesn’t matter,” De Klerk said.
“Literature shows that very seldom is it the academic aspect of their studies that is the problem,” he added. He identified food shortage, accommodation conditions and funding problems as the aspects that have directly impacted a student’s studies most severely.
“We are trying to resolve this,” he said.
The RSP also work closely with the CCDU to refer students for counselling if they sense a personal issue is impacting the student’s studies.
De Klerk said they have learnt a great deal in the nine months that the programme has been running and “are quite happy with where the programme is at the moment”.
“The programme is evolving,” he added, and said that they are opening their doors to all 5 200 undergraduate students next year.
“It’s a big thing, but we want the programme to be more than just the baseline of time management studies etc,” he said. “We want to see them graduating, which is what the whole programme is about.”
Marcel Kleinsmith proved that the untraditional combination of being a DJ and a medical student is possible. Kleinsmith chatted to Wits Vuvuzela about his passion for both med school and showcasing his skills on deck, his recent national achievements and how he tries to find a balance between both.
Whether he’s listening to beats through his headphones or a heartbeat through his stethoscope, Marcel Kleinsmith, a 4th year Wits University Medical student, proved to be a rising star on decks as a DJ.
The 26-year-old student is also known as The Medic or by his high school nickname, DJ Cheezo, which he picked up while attending Sir John Adamson High School in Johannesburg.
He recently won the nationwide Red Bull Campus Clash competition, which took place at the University of Johannesburg’s Doornfontein campus on July 31.
Having only entered the competition a night before the deadline, Kleinsmith managed to secure a spot in the finals where he battled it out against DJ’s from 10 campuses around the country. He walked away with an iconic trophy, which proved to be a rather fitting prize.
“I love the trophy!” he said. “I grew up DJ’ing on turntables, so to win a trophy in the form of a turntable, that’s just incredible,” he added.
WINNER ON DECKS: Marcel Kleinsmith, a 4th year medical student won the national Red Bull Campus Clash competition in July, which earned him a spot to showcase his skills at the Oppikoppi musical festival last month. Photo: Riante Naidoo.
His win also earned him the opportunity to play at the Oppikoppi music festival last month, which he said was “amazing”.
Kleinsmith chatted to Wits Vuvuzela about the untraditional combination of being a passionate DJ who has always wanted to study medicine.
Studying medicine was “always something I wanted to do and I didn’t get in at the first try,” he said. He therefore studied an undergraduate degree in Health Sciences (BHSc) and graduated with his honours in Pharmacology last year.
However, his love for DJ’ing goes back longer than his medical career. Kleinsmith said he “developed a passion for DJ’ing” at 15, when his older brother, Leareil Kleinsmith brought a set of turntables home.
“Watching him play inspired me to get on there and do it myself,” he said, and added that his brother was his “inspiration.”
Kleinsmith uses DJ’ing as an outlet from the work-intensive schedule that med school presents. “You need a balance,” he said, “because when you do medicine, it’s hectic.”
However, his “main focus is to graduate and become a doctor.” He added that he is also “curious” to see where his DJ’ing career will take him.
“I really enjoy doing both, but every year med school gets harder and every year DJ’ing becomes more demanding,” he said.
“My plan is to just enjoy the ride and take it one day at a time.”
Watch a video of Kleinsmith at the Campus Clash competition here:
The School of Literature, Language and Media (SLLM) hosted the Fine Lines Festival at Wits University today. The festival was used to showcase, celebrate and discuss feminist aspects of African literature, as well as launch Writing What We Like, a new student publication.
The School of Literature, Language and Media (SLLM) hosted the Fine Lines Festival at the South West Engineering building on Wits University’s East campus today. The festival was used to showcase, celebrate and discuss African literature, as well as to launch Writing what we like, a new student-produced literary publication.
The festival began with a career fair which brought together students and “members in African literary spaces”, among the Writer’s Guild of South Africa and the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies.
Cuan Humphries, secretary of the SLLM student council, said the fair was held to give students an idea about the “professional organisations”, they can get involved with to showcase their creative work.
Fine Lines focused on feminist aspects of African literature this year with a packed line-up of female poets and literary thinkers. Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, a Wits Creative Writing lecturer, and the 2014 Commonwealth Poet, opened the event which also saw SLLM students share items of poetry highlighting their personal experiences as females in South Africa.
“African literature at this institution has not found the kind of expression and platform that it needs,” said Otsile Seakeco, deputy chairperson of SLLM. “The way the university is structured deviates from giving attention to and recognising the arts of Africans,” he added.
Humphries said the purpose of the event was “making space for Africa, in a space where African literature is not celebrated”.
He added that the “biggest draw card is the Q&A with the Feminist Stokvel”, happening this evening.
“The Feminist Stokvel is a group of vibrant women who speak on black women issues,” said Mpho Masuku, deputy secretary of the SLLM student council.
The Stokvel includes Witsies such as the 2015 Ruth First fellow, Panashe Chigumadzi, Pontsho Pilane and Nova Masango, among others.
He added that the student publication, Writing what we like, which showcases the creative work of students in the SLLM, will be handed out to those in attendance this evening.
“The aim with this, is for students to find expression through literature and decolonising literary spaces within the university,” Humphries said.
Witsies from the Knockando Hall of Residence and the Rotaract campus organisation spent last week giving back to the Johannesburg community. They spent the week fundraising for a children’s cancer foundation and also hosted thirty women from the Hillbrow community and surrounding areas at the Knockando residence in Parktown for a day of pampering.
Witsies from the Knockando residence and Rotaract raised over R6000 last week through a number of events that started with a sprayathon and culminated with the Choc Night event on Friday.
The two groups raised the funds for the CHOC (Children’s Haematology Oncology Clinics), a childhood cancer foundation. Both organisations then teamed up to host 30 disadvantaged women from Hillbrow for a day of pampering.
Ivhani Maselesele, chairperson of the Knockando house committee, said the event showcased poetry, gum boot dancing, modelling, acapella and “Knockando’s 50 shades of chocolate”.
50 SHADES OF CHOCOLATE: “Knockanian men” were auctioned off at the Choc Night event last week Friday night in order to raise funds for a children’s cancer foundation. Photo: Provided.
“It was a night full of chocolate, man chocolate if you know what I mean,” said Nonhlanlha Ncube, the Rotaract committee chairperson. A few “Knockanian men” were auctioned off at the event to raise more funds after the sprayathon which amounted to R 6637.50.
“On one hour of sleep, we had to prepare for the women’s appreciation event, after Choc Night”, Maselesele said.
Thirty women between the ages of 20 and 60 were invited and pampered all day with manicures, massages, lunch and a mini shopping trip.
Some were caregivers at the Maliaka Children’s orphanage, some, grandmothers and others were women from rehab or had previously been abused.
“Because these women now work hard to provide for their children, we collected donated clothes which allowed them to also ‘shop’ at the event,” Ncube said.
SATURDAY SHOPPING: Items of donated clothing was arranged on tables and allowed woman to shop for themselves or family members. Photo: Provided.
The women were treated to gift bags containing sanitary towels, lipstick, lotion and nail polish, among other items, at the end of the day.
“The most amazing thing was realising that we had done exactly what we set out to do when an old gogo said, ‘ooh this young man reminds me of my late husband’, while I was massaging her,” Maselesele said.
Former house committee members attended the events which they described as “very successful and well attended,” and were pleased that the charitable traditions of the organisations have been carried out, since they were started in 2007.
Five years after graduating from Wits University, Mark Middlewick, has made it to Hollywood with his latest short film, The Mascot. The film was produced by two time Oscar winner, Kevin Spacey and starred Adrien Brody, another Oscar winner. His previous film, Security, was also showcased in London and Seattle. Middlewick is a Johannesburg native, determined to create local content, despite having his foot in Hollywood’s door.
At only 28, former Witsie and filmmaker Mark Middlewick has worked with some top names in the international movie industry including two Academy Award winners.
Middlewick, a graduate of the Wits School of Arts (WSOA) spoke to Wits Vuvuzela about his latest short film produced by Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and about his quick success in a tough industry.
Middlewick recently won the international Jameson First Shot Film competition. He received the news of the film’s shortlisting from Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, via a Skype call.
Middlewick said when Spacey appeared on screen, “It was so exciting but terrifying at the same time.”
The nine minute film, The Mascot, starred Adrien Brody, another Oscar winning actor, and told the story of a lonely man who lost his job as a passionate team mascot. Middlewick added that it was down to Brody to pick the winning script.
“There was an anxiety that Adrien wouldn’t go with me because I’m a nobody from South Africa and he’s won a fucking Oscar you know!”
Middlewick, who previously worked as a script reader in Los Angeles, entered the competition as a writing exercise and was told Brody would be cast as the main actor.
“He’s a method actor and I find that interesting,” Middlewick said. “From previous trips to the U.S., I was fascinated with the mascot culture, so I meshed together the character and a method actor,” he added.
His earlier film Security was showcased at the London International Film Festival (2013) and Seattle International Film Festival (2014). The film was nominated as Best Short Film at the South African Film & Television Awards (SAFTA). It also won Best Short Film at the Jozi Film Festival and Independent Mzansi Short Film Festival this year.
INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS: Former Witsie, Mark Middlewick, is a filmmaker and director. He recently won the Jameson First Shot Film competition, produced by two time Oscar winner, Kevin Spacey. Photo: Riante Naidoo.
Middlewick also worked with Nakhane Toure, a SAMA award winning musician, producing his music video, Fog, which was nominated as Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at the 2014 Design Indaba. The Johannesburg native said he is “pretty happy-go-lucky and expressive, but I’m not great with emotional expression, so film becomes a way of doing that.” He said the script of The Mascot represented his own fear of “getting what you loved ripped away from you.”
Middlewick, who described himself as “a super proud Witsie,” said he owes his critical thinking to his education at the institution. “Wits had a huge influence on me,” he said. Commenting on the difference between his education and that offered at another film school in South Africa, Middlewick said: “AFDA (Academy of Film and Dramatic Arts) is a complete waste of money, because they teach technical know-how and Wits teaches theory. Theory is huge, it’s everything,” he added.
Middlewick, has both an undergraduate and an honours degree in drama from Wits. He said he is still “very connected” to Wits and would love to return to lecture. “I miss discourse and an academic atmosphere,” he said.
Middlewick, said he intends to remain in South Africa despite his international success.
Middlewick, selected as one of this year’s Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans, is currently juggling a number of projects including a commercial and a feature film through the South African National Film & Video Foundation. He is also working on a personal feature film which still requires funding.
Despite his international success, Middlewick said he intends to remain in South Africa. “Even if a window opened, I don’t know if I’d want to jump through it because I want to make local content,” he said.
An application to compensate mine workers with tuberculosis (TB) or silicosis will be heard in the South Gauteng High Court next week in what is considered to be a landmark class action suit.
An application to compensate mine workers with tuberculosis (TB) or silicosis will be heard in the South Gauteng High Court next Monday and Tuesday. The application will be brought by Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) as a landmark class action law suit against all 32 mining companies in South Africa.
Miners who have suffered from TB or silicosis since 1965 will be represented in the law suit, which plans to claim monetary compensation from mining powerhouses such as Harmony Gold and AngloGold.
The details of the suit were outlined at a media briefing yesterday afternoon at the offices of Section 27 (a public interest law centre) in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Anele Yawa, general secretary of TAC said, “For decades gold mines have treated their workers as inferior human beings and shown a shocking disregard for the health of these workers.”
Miners were said to have contracted TB and silicosis, an incurable disease linked to TB, due to the silica dust from drilling as well as lower standards of air quality permitted by mining companies inside mines.
John Stephens who deals with legal matters at Section 27 said the dust is “cyto-toxic,” as it destroys lung tissue. He added that silicosis is also only diagnosed 10 to 15 years after a person develops the disease. As a result, miners who fell ill were retrenched or often forced to leave work with very little or no compensation.
Together with Tanya Charles, a policy specialist at Sonke, the organisations plan to present the court with evidence aimed at securing compensation from the mining companies.
Some of this evidence will highlight difficulties experienced by women who have “societal expectations” to become caretakers and give up their jobs or education, as well as the socio-economic impact on black mine workers from homelands.
Yawa said that “mining companies are running away with murder”, and that “these capitalists must pay for the lives of our fathers and forefathers.” Charles added that “little is done to develop the areas from which mine workers come,” and that responsibilities then fall on females in rural homes.
In addition to the application, a picket will take place outside the South Gauteng High Court and the offices of the Teba miners’ recruitment agency in the Eastern Cape next Monday, to show support for the plight of ill, ex-mine workers.
If next week’s application is successful in court, a date for the case will be set for October.
Following a physical altercation which broke out at the Student Representative Council (SRC) debate in the Wits Great Hall earlier today, Wits University has released a statement outlining what actions will be taken against anyone involved in the disruption. The university urges acts of intimidation to be reported to Campus Control and the Dean of Students.
The full statement, issued by Shirona Patel, Head of Communications, is reproduced below:
“Wits University is currently in the midst of its Students’ Representative Council (SRC) elections for 2015/16. An election debate was today disrupted as a result of the conduct of parties and/or individuals and the meeting had to be called off.
Subsequently, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Adam Habib held another meeting with all the election candidates and notified them of the following:
1. The election process will continue but should any party and/or individuals violate the electoral process, the Vice-Chancellor will exercise his right to suspend that party and/or individuals from the elections.
2. All video footage of today’s incident is being reviewed and should individuals be identified as having engaged in violent physical altercations, they will be investigated with a view towards implementing disciplinary procedures.
3. If there is reason to believe that individuals constitute a threat to the safety of others, the Vice-Chancellor will exercise his discretion and rights to consider an immediate suspension of that person or persons from the University.
Wits University will not allow any individual or party to compromise the safety and security of our staff and students and we will act swiftly, within the University’s processes and rules, to end any illegal behaviour.
Any incidents of intimidation should be reported directly to the Dean of Students via Pamela.Dube@wits.ac.za as well as to Campus Control on (011) 717-6666.
We assure our staff, students, parents and guardians that the safety of our students and staff is paramount.”
The SRC, who are partnered with the Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach centre (WCCO) donated the largest amount of food to the Wits Food Bank last week Friday. The Wits Junction House Committee (WJHC) donated the second largest amount of food cans earlier that day. An average of 15 students visit the food bank daily and are mostly those who are self-funded or funded by NSFAS. The WJHC said they hope to continue to work with the food bank on a more regular basis and will be doing food collections at the end beginning of every month.
The Wits Junction House Committee (WJHC) contributed a record number of 270 food items to the Wits Food Bank last week. A new milestone, but only for an hour with the SRC and Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach centre (WCCO) donating a whopping 625 cans of food later that afternoon.
“I was ecstatic about the record-breaking,” said Tlotlego Ntshole, the WCCO campaign manager. “But it’s not so much about the record-breaking, it’s more about sustaining the food bank.”
Collections were done by all three organisations last week after the Wits Food Bank had nearly run out of supplies.
The 11 members of Junction’s house committee went door to door with boxes and bread crates and said the response from students was “great”.
Thami Pooe, SRC transformation officer, walked around campus with a bin and had help from other Witsies.
“We have a team of 16 volunteers,” Pooe said. “Each volunteer had 20 pledge forms and they approached students and asked them to pledge to bring two cans on Friday. Some people collected in Sunnyside, in Jubilee and South Point.”
Pooe added that this approach “created a big network”. Cans were also collected in bins which were outside the Matrix and FNB building.
“There are days when the food bank is just depleted,” Ntshole said. “Although this second campaign was big, we thought we’d be able to help a lot more students.”
Ntshole said that WCCO ran their own campaigns and drives but only collected one full bin, about 400 cans, earlier this year.
She added that WCCO decided to partner with the SRC after their first campaign and since then, have been able to contribute more food as they reached more students.
Similarly, the WJHC teamed up with Miss Varsity Shield, Buhle Someketa, after they were approached to assist keep the food bank stocked.
FULLY-STOCKED: The Wits Food Bank recieved two of its biggest food donations from the Wits Junction House Commmittee, the SRC and the WCCO last week Friday. Volunteers at the food bank spent the week unpacking the food items to help students in need. Photo: Riante Naidoo.
“We set dates and on those actual dates we went out with boxes and bread crates,” said Tlholohelo Mokgere, student development officer at the Wits Junction. She added that this was the only way to ensure they would make a concerted effort to contribute.
“We’re hoping to work with the food bank regularly and now plan to do this at the end of every month,” she added.
Ntshole said they keep a database of the students who come to the food bank. “An average of 15 students come a day,” she said. “Most students are on NFSAS or self-funded and live at South Point or are travelling students,” she added.
Mokgere said, “Surprisingly some students live at residences like EOH and Medhurst – catering residences.” She found this surprising and assumed people at a catering residence would find a way “to sort themselves out” but realised that people are “really battling.”
The food bank, which is run out the WCCO office, now has its shelves filled with cans of sardines, baked beans, rice, lentils and soups. Volunteers joined Pooe and Mokgere this week where they unpacked and tallied the food items.
“The students’ generosity was a shock at first, but this record encourages the SRC and WCCO to continue collecting cans and creating awareness,” Ntshole said.
The Chanceplant Initiative, started by a group of Wits University medical students, aims to create awareness about organ transplantation. The organisation plans to raise money to fund a state of the art transplant unit, for underprivileged patients who cannot afford expensive healthcare.
What started out as a brief meeting over morning coffee turned into a “runaway train” that will possibly save the lives of many patients who cannot afford the high costs of a organ transplant.
Jared Falcke, a third year Wits medical student, working with transplant surgeon, Dr Anna Sparaco, has founded The Chanceplant Initiative, an organisation that aims to “revamp organ transplantation in South Africa”.
MR CHANCEPLANT: Jared Falcke, 3rd year medical student, is the founder of The Chanceplant Initiative, an organisation which aims to “revamp” organ transplantation. Photo: Provided.
“I say ‘runaway’ only because of the tremendous momentum that exists in the organisation today,” Falcke said.
Falcke said the reason for their focus on organ transplants was because Sparaco was working within a system of “social disparity”, where “people who couldn’t afford private healthcare seemed helpless.”
“Why shouldn’t all people have access to state-of-the-art healthcare if their country can provide exactly that?” he questioned. This was why Falcke along with 46 other medical students, planned to raise awareness and fund-raise for their cause.
The group plan to use the funds to create a “state-of-the-art transplant unit”, in the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.
Falcke said this would involve refurbishing existing wards, building new ones, updating an unused surgical theatre, and funding the “super-specialized training” of health professionals who work there.
“It would be South Africa showing the world that we aren’t all about loading-shedding and lions in our streets, but actually flexing our medical muscles and out-performing many of the first world countries,” he said.
Falcke said they also want to encourage an “ethical discourse” to make people comfortable about talking about organ transplants.
Tomorrow night, the group joins a debate adjudicated by Justice Edwin Cameron, on legalising the sale of human organs.
Details about the organisation and the debate can be found on their Facebook page.