Private security offers temporary solution to Noswal Hall’s woes

WITS UNIVERSITY deployed private security outside Noswal Hall residence on September 27 in response to safety complaints raised by students in April.

The residents told Wits Vuvuzela in April that they felt like they were under siege and subjected to constant sexual bullying, the alleged selling and abuse of drugs, gambling, littering and noise pollution. The house committee requested the university to fence the residence as a solution.

Wits Chief Operating Officer, Fana Sibanyoni told Wits Vuvuzela that the university has no intentions to fence the residence because it is not allowed in terms of municipality by-laws.

The new private security company has stopped people from sitting on the benches outside.

Rosebank College student, Karabo Kubheka, said that being denied access to sit on the benches outside the residence is unfair. “It is a public area. They are public benches, they are for the public and for everyone to use. It’s not fair for them [Wits] to deny us that right,” he said.

A Noswal Hall resident who preferred not to be named told Wits Vuvuzela that it is great that Wits has deployed private security, however it is frustrating that they [residents] are also not allowed to stand outside the residence. “We pay fees to occupy the space, why are we not allowed to sit outside,” she said.

Sibanyoni said that the deployment of security outside the residence is a temporary solution subject to Rosebank College and the City of Johannesburg fulfilling their jurisdictional duties. Although Noswal is Wits property the benches are on the pavement are the municipality’s property and they are a popular spot for Rosebank College students.   He added the temporary solution has been effective as the safety complaints have decreased.

Vice-chairperson of Noswal Hall Lekaota Mokoena said that the temporary security solution is effective. “The crowd is not there anymore,” he said.

He added that they were told by the university that the deployment of security outside the residence is illegal. “They wanted to remove them [security]. We said no, let the city come here and tell us that what we are doing is illegal, and give us an alternative solution,” he said.

Mokoena added that they are worried about whether Wits will keep up with the costs of the security because it is expensive. He added that the house committee still wants to fence the residence.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Wits Vuvuzela, Noswal Hall residents subjected to ‘spanking’ and worse, April 7.

Witsie’s shine at global summit

TWO WITS students represented South Africa at the annual One Young World Summit hosted in Bogotá, Colombia last week.

The annual summit brings together young talented leaders from 196 countries from global and national companies, NGOs and universities to debate, share and formulate innovative solutions to global issues.

photo: Provided

THE WITS EDGE: Tefo Mokhine and Nkululeko Tselane at the One Young World Summit.                                                       Photo: Provided

Third year mining engineering student, Tefo Mokhine, and fourth year law student, Nkululeko Tselane, were selected based on their leadership qualities, entrepreneurship skills, civic engagement and the work they have done in their communities.

Mokhine told Wits Vuvuzela that he was the only one who represented a student business club from South Africa called the Young African Global Entrepreneurs Club (YAGEC). The business club was created last year by a Wits student, Diketso Phokungwane. “Representing YAGEC was an honour for me, our aim is to expand our network of entrepreneurs from across Africa and the world,” Mokhine said.

Mokhine was a delegate speaker and shared the stage with former Public Protector Advocate Thuli Mandonsela and the CEO of Emergent Telecom Ventures, Mahommed Amersi. “It was a really humbling and great learning curve, having to address 1 300 people is not a small feat at all. I learned a lot about the experience and happenings of many other countries. I feel empowered and more learned now,” said Mokhine.

Tselane told Wits vuvuzela that the experience was eye opening. “I did not know the problems that people in Tunisia and Tanzania face. Engaging with African’s experiencing different problems was eye opening,” he said

Phokungwane said that Mokhine representing the club internationally is a first major step. “Having that world stage and being the only business club to do so from South Africa presents a huge stepping stone form us,” Phokungwane said.

 

RELATED ARTICLES: One Young leader at a time, September, 2016.

Finding the light at the end of the tunnel

Last week, I started thinking about the challenges and emotions I experienced at the beginning of the year. Without a doubt, this year goes down as the most stressful and trying in my entire existence. I have learned one lesson in the process: the invisibility of a light at the end of the tunnel does not necessarily mean that things will not get better.

I remember being filled with so much elation at the end of last year when I received the news that I had been admitted to study journalism honours. I was ready to embark on my newest academic adventure. My joy was soon overshadowed by the anxiety of not knowing how I was going to finance my studies. I had no money for registration, never mind my tuition and accommodation fees.

When the day of registration came, and Wits offered debt agreements for students who couldn’t pay registration fees there and then, I was left with no choice but to sign on that dotted line.  As I was signing, I was at peace with the fact that I was not alone in this battle, that there were other students facing the same problem.

When classes began a few weeks later, I found it difficult to enjoy the course that I had always wanted to do. At the back of my mind toiled the fear of being financially excluded from this prestigious institution.

The funding opportunities at my disposal and for which I had applied, returned with a negative response, if any at all. With several attempts at calling to enquire about my applications, some failed to explain why they were unable to fund my studies.

As the months went by, my experience was one of tremendous defeat. The pain felt more like a punishment. I suffered dreadful unhealthy thoughts, fear and worry. I found myself continually questioning the worthiness of proceeding with my studies. Returning to Limpopo seemed to be a much better option than enduring the strife.

I realised that I was lacking coping mechanisms and that it was difficult to perform well academically when I was distressed.

I have seen a number of students across the country taking out their frustrations about their funding struggles on social media. I also came across various articles that revealed student financial burden as the predominant source of depression. All of this made me realise that I was not alone and that there were other students who were swimming in the same pool of frustration.

Thankfully my darling mother, MaMmotla, dispelled my doubts and induced a sense of optimism in me. She would tell me, that it was going to be okay and that I should persevere and that something would come up. With that little encouragement, I was able to gather myself and weather the storms that lay ahead.

The beginning to the end of my financial stresses came two months ago, when I was awarded a full bursary. The burden I had been carrying around for so long lifted off my shoulders. It meant that I would now be able to focus on my academics and finish this year on a high note. I am now able to invest and immerse myself in the course a little more than I did, and focus on enjoying every moment of what is left of my honours year.

As clichéd as it may sound, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Things may not go according to your envisioned plans, but it is important never to cease searching for opportunities and definitely never to throw in the towel.

 

 

Student fired for being ‘tired of white people’

A WITS UNIVERSITY student was fired and blacklisted by one of South Africa’s largest advertising and marketing agencies, after a group of people complained about comments she had made on Twitter about South Africa’s racial history.

Second-year drama student, Ulemu Moyo, was fired by The Creative Council, a promotions company with which she had signed a contract on September 21, to do promotional gigs, including promoting the new Samsung Note 8.

Moyo wrote on Twitter on September 25, that, “It will always be a race issue as long as our forefathers’ cries remain in the soil of a country that was built on exploitation of black people.” She continued that, “And little by little, through the cracks in our country, privilege and injustice will seep through. If the foundation is shaky so is the house.”

The 19-year-old told Wits Vuvuzela that she received a barrage of hostile comments from people who disagreed with her comments. “I started having comments in my mentions from a lot of troll accounts saying stuff like ‘You are malnourished’, ‘Stop smoking ARVs’… a lot of rude comments,” she said.

Moyo later responded to the comments and tweeted that, “I’m really. Really. Really tired of white people”. Moyo said that after that tweet, one of the people who trolled her tagged Samsung Mobile in the tweet.

Samsung Mobile South Africa released a statement on Twitter on September 26, condemning Moyo’s comments. In the statement the company wrote that, “Samsung South Africa would like to express that it had no past or current affiliation with Moyo as an official ambassador.” The company added that, “Integrity, co-prosperity and diversity are the cornerstones of our generation and we do not tolerate any form of discrimination.”

 

The 19-year-old said that she contacted the promotions company and informed them about her tweets and the hostile reaction she had received. “I went to the offices the following day to talk about the matter. One thing they asked is ‘Why did you tweet that you hate white people?’ I never said I hated white people, I said I am tired of white people. It is not equivalent to hate,” Moyo said.

Moyo said that The Creative Council told her that she had placed the agency in jeopardy with Samsung who is their client. “They said ‘We have to cancel you from our books.’ I said OK, I understand. I never expected them to keep me. They told me I will never work for them,” said Moyo.

She added that she is not blaming the promotions company for firing her. “Samsung [is] their client, I can’t blame them.”

Facilitator at Creative Council, Sarah Ann Digue, told Wits Vuvuzela that the company had conducted an internal investigation, and had decided to blacklist Moyo. “She will not be working at any of our campaigns,” she said.

Digue said that the company is aware that Moyo did not say that she hated white people. “We are aware of that. It still does not make the statement better.”

RELATED ARTICLES: Wits Vuvuzela, Racism, is it getting under our skin?, mARCH 17, 2016.

 

 

 

 

Pilot programme for women empowerment

 

TWO FEMALE Wits University students aim to empower and inspire young women through their pilot programme, the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s (Bwasa) Student Chapter Programme, which was launched earlier this year with over 160 members.

Inspire and empower: Boikhutso Mokoto and Itumeleng Makgato commit to empower young women across university spaces.

Boikhutso Mokoto and Itumeleng Makgato, who are both doing their third year in Bachelor of Commerce, identified the gap between the programmes that Bwasa offered and its empowerment structure. From there, they established the student chapter in order to help empower young women from high school throughout university and into the work place.

The organisation devised training programmes, one being a mentorship programme, where students get mentorship from experienced members in similar industries.  There are also panel discussion between stakeholders and students, and a leadership programme designed to help young women who aspire to hold positions in student governance.

Makgato told Wits Vuvuzela that the organisation is trying to empower more women into positions of leadership around campuses.

“We are trying to make sure that first year students coming to university are more prepared. Graduates have more opportunities for employment and they are better prepared for the work place and know how to navigate and set personal goals,” she said.

Makgato said the organisation also empowers entrepreneurs. “We are trying to make sure that entrepreneurs get access to funding, mentors and a market for them to sell and distribute their products and services.”

The 22-year-old said they have an entrepreneurship fund.  “We are going to fund students for any ideas that they have, that are good and are solving the problems that students have and are based on campus.”

Mokoto told Wits Vuvuzela that they are taking the empowerment message and spreading it to the varsity space and to young women. She added that they are currently running a programme called Fast Track to Success.

“It is a work place readiness programme which address the issues of CV write up and cover page skills, interview skills, personal branding for the business space, and how to navigate the business space.”

Mokoto said they are in the process of launching the organisation in six other universities next year.

Third year Information Systems student, Kuhle Siyo told Wits Vuvuzela that she benefited from the panel discussions. “It has been helpful in that aspect to talk to people that are already in that position for when you get there,” Siyo said.

Related Articles:

Wits Vuvuzela, March 2016, Scribbles and Nibbles: For students by students