A series on hairy, angry vaginas

A vaginalicious performance: Cast member Stella Dlangalala performed ‘My angry vagina’ for the audience and recieved aplauds from the giggling crowd. Photo: Thembisile Dzonzi

A vaginalicious performance: Cast member Stella Dlangalala performed ‘My angry vagina’ for the audience and recieved aplauds from the giggling crowd. Photo: Thembisile Dzonzi

It’s time to hear and talk about the vagina, whether you like it or not. The Wits Gender Equality Office, Wits Centre for Diversity Studies and Transformation Office hosted the production, The Vagina Monologues, at the Atrium on Monday afternoon. (more…)

Who’s afraid of vaginas?

I can’t remember a time when my friends and I weren’t in conversation about vaginas, hormones, penises and all that jazz.

We throw the “v” word and the “c” word around at all most all encounters over a glass of wine in the midst of roaring laughter and revelations.

However, through the conversations I’ve encountered with women outside of my immediate circle I’ve noticed that a number of young women are much less likely to find themselves inclined to talk about their sexual organs and sexual health.

Somewhere between misogyny and patriarchy we have created this vagina Narnia that deems lady parts as a mystical part of the body that is covered in flowers of which flows an endless supply of rainbows and fireworks. When in reality, the vagina is the muscular passageway that connects the vulva to the cervix. This “thing” we don’t want to talk about, comes in all different shapes and sizes.

Why is it that we see women’s bodies on our TVs, in movies, and all over the internet yet we seem to have a problem actually talking about them in real life?

For a long time anything that is related to women’s bodies has been responded to negatively. There is an internalised fear of discussing women’s sexuality and a male-dominated society has deliberately constructed the idea of femininity to keep men in control.

It was Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex who argued that women have historically been treated as inferior to men for three reasons. Firstly, society teaches women to fulfil a male’s needs and therefore exist in relation to men. Secondly, to follow external cues to seek validation of their worth.

Lastly, women have historically had far fewer rights and therefore less public influence.

Did you even know that it’s normal to have bacteria in your vagina? Did you know that even healthy bodies have a scent and it is actually a good thing because that scent is your pheromones?
But you wouldn’t know that because you aren’t bothered to discuss these things with your doctor, let alone your friends.

Another concerning aspect of this internalised fear concerns going to the gynaecologist. It seemed to me that the women who are afriad to talk about their vaginas were more afraid to go to a doctor about a sexual health issue than an older woman.

Visiting a gynaecologist is a pro-active approach for preventative care of which pap smears and annual exams are very important. According to some health practitioners advise, a woman’s first pap smear should be done within three years after first having sexual intercourse or by age 21. In all honesty, Pap smears are simple tests that can detect abnormal cells on the cervix. Wouldn’t you want to know if there was an abnormality in the “v” thing you carry around?

Whether you have body image issues, concerns about the way it looks and smells or anxiety about achieving orgasm, conversations about sexuality and sexual organs would be a beneficial social activity for all of us.

Surely if you can’t talk about vaginas, then how in the world are you going to take care of one responsibly? Maybe if we talked about the vagina a little more we wouldn’t be so scared of it. Maybe we would have more respect for it and we wouldn’t think it was so “icky and gross”.

The birth control burden

The South Africa government rolled out a free implant contraceptive that has become a burden for women across the country.

BIRTH CONTROL BLUES: Implanon Nxt, a small implant that gives women up to three-years of birth control, has been causing some of its users side effects such as excessive menstrual bleeding and fatigue. Photo: Lebo Mashiloane

BIRTH CONTROL BLUES: Implanon NXT, a small implant that gives women up to three-years of birth control, has been causing some of its users side effects such as excessive menstrual bleeding and fatigue. Photo: Lebo Mashiloane



Two years ago the government introduced a free contraceptive implant to the public health sector in what it called “the biggest family-planning programme South Africa has ever seen”.

But today, many young women are queuing to get the implants removed after complaining of side effects including excessive menstrual bleeding, dramatic changes in weight and fatigue.
And at Wits, the number of requests to remove the devices now exceeds the number of people getting the implant.

According to the Wits Campus Health, the clinic is currently at a stable rate of about three implant insertions a day and have about four requests for removal.

Matapelo Chauke*, a third-year Architecture student, is one of the students who has requested her device be removed. She has been on the free contraceptive for less than a year and is now living with the regret.

“It’s a nightmare,” Chauke said.

For Chauke, her troubles began shortly after having the implant inserted. “I got it last year around June and basically from the moment I got it I started experiencing the side effects,” Chauke said.

“The implant makes me really tired, I’ve lost so much weight and I’ve been bleeding excessively.”

“Look, it’s been a great contraceptive, you really can’t have much sex with it anyway,” jokes Chauke.

Sister Yvonne Matimba, head of Campus Health, said that when administered appropriately, the implant is safe. However, in many cases the “right patients” are not selected and patients are not informed fully about how it is going to work.

“We have had some of our own patients returning for the removal procedure, and others who had the implant inserted elsewhere,” said Matimba.

However, while some people do need to have the implants removed for medical reasons, others do not.

“One patient requested the removal of her implant due to fatigue while another sited her mother’s disapproval as her reason for the removal procedure,” Matimba said. “But most of the cases the clinic received are of students experiencing excessive bleeding over a lengthy period of time.”

However, Matimba said the clinic finds that some of the requests for removal are sometimes not as a result of the real side effects but because of perceived side effects.
“We don’t encourage them to stay on it, we are too quick to remove,” said Matimba.

Removing the devices can be a problem as well. The Treatment Action Campaign told Wits Vuvuzela that doctors and nurses had not been properly trained to remove the implant during the roll-out. In Mpumalanga, they claimed doctors were refusing to remove the device.

Sister Matimba said it was a challenge to remove implants that were inserted by other nurses or doctors. “We have had cases where we have struggled to take [the device] out. There was a girl who said she could feel it but I suspect she could have put on weight and could no longer feel it.”

“What happens once you gain weight, under the surface becomes fat and fat is very soft so anything can sit in the fat tissue which means you need to go really deep to get it,” said Matimba.

The devices were rolled out in 2014, when Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told of plans to introduce the female contraceptive Implanon NXT, a plastic matchstick-sized rod that is inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. Each device is valued at R1 700 each and was made available to women across the country.

Motsoaledi called the campaign “the biggest family-planning programme South Africa has ever seen”.

The implant has been available at Wits since 2014, however the university was not part of the government’s initial strategy plan.

“Later on they may have realised that they left the entire education institutions behind and most young females are in university so they started targeting universities, particularly those who have family planning,” said Matimba.


*not her real name

Movie Review: Ride Along 2


Starring: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Tika Sumpter, Benjamin Bratt, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong.
Directed by: Tim Story
Vuvu Rating: 5/10

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are back for the second instalment of the cop comedy Ride Along. The odd couple are causing mayhem for the justice system with their explosive cars, gang wars and ass-kicking.

After Atlanta security guard Ben Barber (Hart) proposes to his girlfriend, Angela (Tika Sumpter), at the end of the first Ride Along, the sequel picks up with Ben and Angela’s wedding just around the corner. Now a rookie police officer, Ben spends most of the movie trying to earn his blue stripes.

After some convincing, James (Ice Cube) convinces the Atlanta PD to send him and subsequently his brother-in-law-to-be (as a wedding gift to his sister) to Miami, where they’re pursuing a big case involving a hacker, his crime-kingpin boss and Miami department officials.

The movie is at its most basic, enjoyable. Hart gives a comedic performance as usual and if you’re a fan of the first movie you will surely enjoy the second one. Trust me, not much has changed.

Besides a few new cast members, a lot more bikinis and guns, the only thing new about the second film is that instead of Atlanta (as per the first one) this one is set in Miami.
Ice Cube is as cold and stern as he was in the first film but by the end a heartfelt moment warms his frozen heart before Hart comes back with the comedy.

You can tell a lot more was put into the movie, the production value is higher than the previous but just because it looks prettier and is more expensive, it doesn’t mean it’s a better movie than the first one.

If you have two odd hours to spend watching Hart type foolery then this movie is for you.

Price says UCT ‘arson’ attack premeditated

The recent petrol bombing of the Vice Chancellors office at the University of Cape Town is under investigation however Dr Max Price believe the incident was premeditated.


Surrounded by yellow police ticker tape, the office of University of Cape Town (UCT) Vice Chancellor Max Price has become the scene of a crime after an arson attack on Tuesday night.

The second day of protesting at the university escalated with student’s petrol bombing the VC’s office after the removal of a shack erected for a demonstration.

“I wasn’t on campus when the petrol bombing happened,” said Price. “Fire alarms went off and a team was called in to put it out,” he added.

This comes after the Rhodes Must Fall #Shackville demonstrations which began on Monday in protest of the lack of accommodation for black students at the university. Rhodes Must Fall activists erected a shack on Upper Campus which was subsequently forcibly removed.

A student, who did not want to be named, said “a small group of us decided to burn Bremner, Max Price’s office.”

“The building itself works against the students … We made the decision that we have to target UCT, the space, the actual building because the building, the administration particularly, it works to push black people out,” the student activist added.

It was the frustration of violence and the symbolism of the act that lead to the burning of Price’s office “[Max Price] himself is the reason why police come on campus, why they fire rubber bullets, why they imprison our comrades, basically why black people are kicked out, he is the gatekeeper of the system,” said the UCT student.

But despite these sentiments the VC seems unfazed by the demonstration, “The office represents the head of the university. Therefore, I do not take it personally,” said Price.

Price also said the attacks were “acts of vandalism which were planned and prepared.” He said evidence in the form of bottles and petrol were found in the same shack used in the protest.

At this stage there is no evidence of who is responsible for the arson attack but an investigation is underway. “It is a crime scene and will be treated as such,” said Price.

#FMF protestor tries for (wo)man of the match

It was an interesting day on the soccer pitch on Tuesday night when a game between the Clever Boys and Kaizer Chiefs boasted an appearance by a #FEESMUSTFALL  protester.


It was more than soccer obstacles in the way for Bidvest Wits on Tuesday night when during their clash with Kaizer Chiefs, a Wits student protester holding #FEESMUSTFALL banner ran across the pitch.

The student, Busisiwe Catherine Seabe, ran in the 78th minute of the game across the pitch waving the #FEESMUSTFALL banner. She was stopped by a player and stadium security and taken to the Hillbrow Police station.

“I was charged apparently with contravening an act from 2010, I’m not sure what this act is and neither are my legal representatives,” said Seabe.

Seabe was released this morning and has been back on campus, “I’m waiting to appear at the Hillbrow court at 8:30am on Friday, I am waiting to be briefed by my legal team about this,” said Seabe.

According to Seabe, she and other FMF members went to match without the intention of protesting.

“We were just watching the game funny enough and everyone brought tickets to support the team,” Seabe told Wits Vuvuzela.

Seabe said that while watching the match, she was inspired to stage an unplanned protest on the pitch.

“Bidvest is a large part of the Wits community. If Bidvest can come on campus and ask students for support then surely the students can ask them for support when we are facing issues of accommodation, fees … The soccer industry generates millions in revenue,” Seabe said.

After dodging Campus Control on the pitch, Seabe was eventually stopped by new Clever Boy S’fiso Hlanti who didn’t seem too impressed with her actions. “He actually just asked me what am I doing? What was on the banner?’,” said Seabe.

In the footage of the incident, a member of the Bidvest management team is seen approaching the apprehended Seabe and pulling the banner from her, “I was hurt in the scuff of the pulling, my pants got torn but it’s fine,” Seabe said.

She adds that even despite having exited the pitch and some fans applauding, Bidvest staff members were still unimpressed, “It was a bit violent to a certain extent even when I was off the pitch, PSL management was very upset.”

But it seems no one is as upset as her mother who believes fee protesters have already made their point, “My mom is livid! She keeps telling me I must stop, the country gets it now.”