OPINION: Blacks are not “jealous” of White privilege

This serves as a response to the privileged white girl Anlerie de Wet on her piece that appeared in the Wits Vuvuzela, on August 24, 2015. De Wet states that she was, “only bouncing around her father’s testicles” when the racist lunatics orchestrated the venomous system of colonialism in all its manifestations – internal, external, apartheid and structural mechanisms that served and continues to serve as restrictions for the black man to gain economic emancipation in his own land.

It is important to initially clarify the historic events because they shape the current material conditions that many black people are subjected to survive under.

De Wet might have ‘been bouncing in her father’s testicles’ when the separate developments were implemented by her forefathers, but she does not have to ignore the fact that her parents received quality education while many of our parents, as black people, were the initial recipients of inferior education that systematically shaped them to be slaves. It is therefore easy for De Wet’s parents to be promoted at work as she clearly stated in her piece.
While on the other hand, our black parents are coerced to be in the primary sector of economic activities, they work hard in the field, and in the assembly line to increase productivity.  Our parents are exploited and alienated from the benefits of their hard labour, they earn peanuts, while white monopoly capital advocates enjoy the surplus through profit obtained from the sweat of our parents.
Our parents are not slaves because they want to be. The workers that De Wet always sees on campus are not cleaning toilets because they want to but they sell their labour all the time, to put food in the table for their children. They are not stupid, most of them would have been doctors, lawyers, successful entrepreneurs and good educators today, but they cannot be that, because De Wet’s parents and many others who share the same pigmentation with her are pure beneficiaries of institutionalised racism.
I keep wondering if she ever noticed that there are no white cleaners on campus? Well, she seems to have the same mentality as the apartheid engineers for they believed that white people are blessed and black people are cursed. Maybe that is why she keeps emphasising that she is “blessed”; does it then mean that the black workers on campus are not blessed?
We are not jealous of white privilege. In fact, for many black poor students who have no place to sleep and often feed on food from dustbins at night, they do not care about white people who “reside in Sandton” and own “Iphones” per de Wet’s example of the wealth of white people.
But black students do care about academic excellence, striving to be employed and then to transform the material conditions at home.
De Wet is thinking about creating an environment that will make her white kids privileged like her, but we not even thinking about our future kids, because we have our families to care about and also our communities.
Her utterances are a pure indication that most of the white people are in tertiary institutions to create a better future for their kids, while the black poor majority have a bigger task to firstly combat poverty at home, in our societies and also create better conditions for our kids.
De Wet is not alone, there are many like her who are prepared to protect and enhance white monopoly capital using the phrases, “blessed” and “equal”. It cannot be that the All Mighty God blesses thieves.
I mean De Wet was too quick to say that she is blessed, and it is not a sin to be privileged, well the Ten Commandments put it clear that; “Thou shalt not steal” De Wet’s forefathers stole our land! Let them bring back our land then we can talk about blessings.
Bhekithemba Mbatha is a Postgraduate Law student who hails from Orlando, Soweto.

Wits defends marks release dates

Wits University students receive their first semester results close to the start of the second semester. As a result, many complain that they go through unnecessary stress over their holidays waiting for marks to be released. The university says the long procedure is to the benefit of the students.

09_HomelessWits University prides itself in its complicated and lengthy marking procedure, but students complain about the long wait to receive marks.

First-year architecture student Siphokazi William, who received the majority of her marks last Friday, said it is stressful to wait so long for results. “I want to know if I passed and move on.”

William and her fellow classmates only received their mathematics marks on Tuesday,  July 21, a day after the start of the new semester. The posting of the results on a noticeboard went more than 10 days beyond the requirement of the university’s Senate Standing Order.

One of the reasons the marking process is so long is due to the external marking process used by Wits, according to the Dean of Humanities, Professor Ruksana Osman.

She explained that “50% of all course work of undergraduates and postgraduates must be externally marked”, in order to focus on students at risk sooner than later.

Another issue delaying results is the new system of online access to marks.

With the use of two systems to submit the results online, “interfacing” takes a lot of time, according to Head of Academic Information and Systems Unit, Maggie Maseka. “We had a few glitches here and there we picked-up and will fix, but 96% of students didn’t have a problem getting their marks.”

Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Andrew Crouch, said there were two faculties that asked for an extension delaying the release of marks. In one case there was a lecturer who did not submit their marks on time and who currently faces disciplinary action.

Generally the university staff believes there has been a great improvement to the marks system in the past couple of years.

“We have a fairly complex procedure to follow, but it is to the benefit of the students,” said Crouch.

Gymnastics club and Wits Sport in USSA tussle

Wits Gymnastics may not be attending the USSA tournament over a demand for a fee of R1500 per gymnast by Wits Sport. Wits Sport has argued the club hasn’t done its part in fundraising and must now step up to the plate.

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HOOLA HOOPING:Senior Wits gymnast Makgotso Tibane showed impressive structure and skills doing her first competition in rhythmic gymnastics in the hoops section early May. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Wits Gymnastics athletes were left disappointed when they learned will not receive funding from Wits Sport to attend the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament this June.

Wits head of sport, Adrian Carter, notified the club’s co-chairperson, Nonkululeko Mdluli earlier this week that the club has not met funding requirements to attend the USSA Gymnastics tournament end of June in Potchefstroom unless each competing member coughed up R1 500. The athletes were only given three days to raise the money.

“We understand that there isn’t a lot of money and that we need to make a contribution, but three days is too short notice for students to pay such a large amount,” said Mdluli.

Carter said the gymnastics club knew since the end of February when they handed in their USSA budget, allegedly late, indicating the direct cost of R2 275 per student, of which each student would contribute R898. “They haven’t paid in their contribution nor did they meet the required fundraising amount,” said Carter.

Mdluli sent an official response on behalf of the club to Carter’s request, stating they have raised R25 656 from registration fees, a welcome braai and yet to be sold T-shirts. According to the response, over a 100 members registration fees brought the club R24 561. However, Carter said it would be unfair to allow the 14 gymnasts who qualified for USSA to use funds intended to benefit the entire club.

The gymnastics club’s USSA budget was R44 400, the club has R54 000 in their reserve account. According to Carter the money budgeted for transport is insufficient and the actual total cost to send 14 gymnasts to USSA would be more than R50 000.00.

“I’m trying to be fair as possible, but I’m not going to give this club R50 000 and leave less than R4 000 in the reserve for next year’s group to struggle,” said Carter.

Mdluli further protested that they were “thrown in the deep end” with Carter’s new financial system and there was no training from Wits Sport on how to approach businesses for sponsorship or how to draft a sponsorship proposal.

But Carter said Wits Gymnastics could have come to him for help at any time.

“Any club could’ve come to me earlier in the year to ask for help with sponsorship issues. Some took the initiative, but the gymnastics club didn’t,” said Carter.

Wits Gymnastics club is now facing cutting the list of members going to USSA or staying home altogether. Carter and the Gymnastics Committee are meeting next week once more to try and find a solution for the club to go to Potchefstroom in just two weeks’ time.

 

Violence on Social Media

The prevalence of Social Media has meant that ‘online violence’ has become an issue that needs to be grappled with.  Wits hosted a discussion to find a tactical way of handling and countering this.

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ONLINE VIOLENCE: Wits transformation manager Pura Mgolombane (right) opening the discussion on violence on online spaces and before introducing Nyx Mclean (middle) and Thoko-Jean Chilenga (left) as two of the speakers.

Wits Transformation and Employment Equity Office hosted a discussion focusing on online spaces as platforms for ongoing violence yesterday afternoon.

It was necessary for a discussion about violence on social media because it is becoming a common problem at Wits, according to transformation manager Pura Mgolombane.

“Wits University is not sure how to deal with these kinds of situations.”

The discussion panel included Professor Tommaso Milani, Thoko-Jean Chilenga representing #TransformWits and Nyx McLean a co-editor of HOLAA.

The line between online violence and freedom of expression was discussed as Milani argued that “absolute freedom of speech doesn’t exist as there are laws that prevent it.”

Mgolombane explained that Wits encourages the Bill of Rights and its limitations on freedom of speech. “We cannot allow people of Wits to insult or discriminate, but we can do more to clarify the lines between free speech and violence,” said Mgolombane.

“People are scared of online spaces as it can fall over to private physical space,” said Chilenga.

According to Chilenga, who met with the Black Students Movement (BSM) from Rhodes University during the #RhodesMustFall protests earlier this year, when BSM posted on social media they received threats. “People should be held accountable for things they say and do online as much as you would want them to be held accountable in a physical space,” said Chilenga.

McLean argued that social media is not just a platform for resistance, but it is also for people looking for “affirmation of existence.”

“People do serious emotional psychological harm if someone attacks someone who can only use pages [social media] for interaction and support,” said Mclean. She continued explaining that people keep looking over their shoulder when receiving a threat as there is no way of knowing whether or not to take it seriously.

Mgolombane believes the problem won’t be necessarily solved by rules, but value systems that people ascribe to such as students and staff who take up the values of Wits when they join the university.

Romantic hot spots on campus

If you are a romantic or just trying to build your credibility as one, here are some places on Wits East and West Campuses where you can ignite the flame or keep it burning.

Many students look for love and find it on campus. Witsies can grow that love by taking that special person to the romantic spots on campus.

1. Impress your date by taking her/him to the Olives & Plates on West Campus. The old architecture, fountain and beautiful garden makes this spot perfect for a romantic date.

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2. The grassy comfort and towering trees on West Campus lawn is the perfect setting to have a picnic or just relax with your Boo Boo.

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3. Have a smooch on the bridge when the waterfall on West Campus comes to life during summer and spring.

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4. Feeling passionate? head to one of the quieter libraries for a little lunch time hanky-panky.

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5. The fountain in front of the William Cullen Library on East Campus has a romantic tone with an intriguing garden with pink roses. Go sit on the benches and take in the picturesque scene.

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Wits takes sixth in varsity hockey

In the play-offs yesterday, Wits hockey lost to Pukke leaving themselves and the small audience disappointed. But the team was chuffed to take sixth place in the varsity hockey tournament.

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FIELD GOAL: Wits hockey’s bench watch the game in suspense as their teammates attempt to fend-off Pukke’s centre forward. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Wits hockey team finished the varsity hockey tournament on a low yesterday when they lost round eight’s play-offs against Potchefstroom University (Pukke) 0-2 on the Wits astro turf.

The match started off badly for Wits after Pukke’s number 12, Stephanie Baxter scored a field goal within the first two minutes of the game.

The first three quarters of the game was intense and quick with a back and forth banter after Pukke’s first goal. But after Pukke scored their second goal in the beginning of the last quarter, Wits hopes seemed to have crumbled as their play started to slow down.

“We are a bit disappointed after this game, but we are happy with achieving sixth in the tournament, which was our goal,” said Wits’ captain Wendy Panaino.

Pukke went into the game with a great defensive tactics and put pressure on Wits’ weakness to convert opportunities. Wits’ centre forward struggled to keep the ball and execute goals.

Pukke hockey coach, Elun Hack believes his team’s defence was strong “but the offence let us down because they didn’t stay composed inside the 23.”

According to Wits hockey coach, Pietie Coetzee, her team’s energy was low and they didn’t accomplish what they planned for the game, but they exceeded everyone’s expectations in the tournament.

“Our weakness lies in that we are a young, inexperienced team, although there is unity and a fighting spirit amongst the girls,” said Coetzee.

Wits faced Pukke in round five last Friday and walked away with a 3-2 win. The tables turned yesterday and Pukke grabbed fifth place in the tournament.

Both teams saw the Varsity Hockey tournament as preparation for the University Sport South Africa National Institutional Hockey Championship end of June, which will be hosted in Pietermaritzburg by the University of KwaZulu Natal.

Clever Boys end season with a win at home 

Bidvest Wits come away with their second consecutive third place in the Absa Premiership. Although Wits let their guard down in the last game of the season, they came away with a win at home.

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HUMBLE WITS:Bidvest Wits squad posing for a photo with fans on the field after the game. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Clever Boys slipped one goal past the Platinum Stars earlier today to finish third, one above Orlando Pirates, on the Absa Premiership table.

After taking to the field at the Bidvest stadium, the teams joined the crowd in a moment of silence for the victims of xenophobia. 

The first half was very slow paced with Bidvest Wits holding the majority of the ball possession. The home team received many opportunities at goal but struggled to push it through.

After a number of attempts at goal,  Vincent Pule, in the number twelve jersey, sliced the ball past five Platinum Stars players to put Wits on the score board in the 30th minute.

In the last twenty minutes of the game play slowed as both teams seemed to have lost focus.

The ref gave an extra four minutes for injury time in which Hunt instructed his team to keep the ball and let the time run out. As time ran out Wits kicked the ball out of play and the final whistle blew.

“I’m happy we managed to get a point, but we just couldn’t convert chances,” said Bidvest Wits captain, Buhle Makwanazi.
“Platinum Stars have good individual players and are not an easy team to face … although we played well, we need to work on conversions,” said Makhwanazi.

Wits’ goal for the 2014/2015 premiership was to surpass last year’s third place season finish, according to coach Gavin Hunt. “We wanted to do better this year, but third is still fantastic,” Hunt said. 

Compared to last season’s statistics, Bidvest Wits are down by three points and had one less win. Kaizer Chiefs won the premiership with Mamelodi Sundowns finishing in second.  

Wits gymnasts aiming for gold

Wits gymnasts showed off their supple skills and stretches while they were being tested for Level two at the Gold Reef Rhythmic Gymnastics competition. The girls took on the challenge with smiles all around, confident that they will get gold at USSA in June.

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HOOLA HOOPING:Senior Wits gymnast Makgotso Tibane showed impressive structure and skills doing her first competition in rhythmic gymnastics in the hoops section. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Wits Gymnastics club showed elegance and poise at the Gold Reef Rhythmic Gymnastics competition last Thursday afternoon on West Campus, Wits University.

Six of the club’s gymnasts participated in the competition in the balls and hoops sections. Even though the majority of the club are brand new to gymnastics, head coach of the Gold Reed Rhythmic club, Maureen van Rooyen believes “they will win USSA with a smile”.

“They are all starting out in rhythmic gymnastics and what they do, they do extremely well,” said Wits gymnastics coach Louise Brown.

There will be another competition in the coming weeks before the club sends its members to the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament taking place in Potchefstroom at the end of June.

Brown explains that these competitions before USSA will give the girls a better opportunity to polish their work and get a feel for what gymnastics competitions are really like.

“We have already practiced a lot and we have the best coaches, so I feel 70% confident that I will win USSA,” said mathematics honours student Vhuhwavho Matibe, who took first place for the balls section with an impressive 12.4 score.

Second-year LLB student and senior in the club, Makgotso Tibane, is positive that the club will do well at USSA, but hopes that after the tournament Wits Sport will take the club seriously.

“We have good abilities and everyone is committed. It would be nice to have some back-up from Wits Sport, because when we get medals, they take the credit,” said first-year BA General student Lihle Petros.

Although funding is a big problem for the club, Brown is more focused on taking on the challenges that the gymnasts are facing within the sport itself.

“Flexibility is the most challenging aspect for those starting a sport like this relatively late in life, but the girls are committed and enthusiastic,” said Brown.

Facing the Raptors

The young Wits Buck Ladies basketball team took a beating from the Soweto Raptors on Tuesday night, but the the big score difference doesn’t faze them. 

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SHOOTING HOOPS: Wits Buck Ladies will be taking on UJ Galaxy in their next game on Saturday morning at 09:00. Coach Maseko said the team’s goal in the tournament is to make it through a match by ultimately staying in the game and not struggling.

The Soweto Raptors shattered the Wits Buck Ladies basketball team on Tuesday night at Hall 29 with an 11-64 win.

Wits’ second division girls’ team walked on to the court to open the 11th Annual Ashraf Lodewyk Basketball Tournament and took on the provincial and national players that make up the Soweto Raptors.

The Buck Ladies stuck to a run-of-the-mill ‘man-on-man’ defence, which the experienced Raptors took advantage of by stealing a lot of turn-overs. Although the Buck Ladies carried less experience and skills in their team, they appeared to be fitter than the opposition.

“For a team filled with first-time players and first-years, who never played together before, I am very impressed,” said Wits Buck Ladies coach, Manyani Maseko.

The Raptors played a good zone defence set and showed commendable skills, but the consistency in their game seemed to be lacking.

“They applied pressure and up-tempo in spirit, but as substitutions went on the performance was not as intense,” said Raptors coach, Nthato Selebi.

The Raptors’ girls went into the game knowing they would win, but the score wasn’t the most important factor, according to their captain Charmaine Amada. “The score doesn’t matter. Without effort the game is pointless.”

The Buck Ladies were thrown into the deep end with having to play the Raptors for their first game, but took on this massive challenge with confidence- after the nerves settled.

Wits Buck Ladies captain, Nyasha Chakanetsa, said she wasn’t phased by the major score difference. “The tournament for us is to bond and learn to play as a team. My girls did brilliantly and fought till the end.”

Wits Buck Ladies will be taking on UJ Galaxy in their next game on Saturday morning at 09:00. Coach Maseko said the team’s goal in the tournament is to make it through a match by ultimately staying in the game and not struggling.

“You fucking whities”

Two white Wits students allege that Wits EFF supporters hurled racial abuse at them outside the Great Hall yesterday afternoon.  

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Ivan Sabljak and Danita Botes sitting on the Great Hall steps where they were racially abused by Wits EFF supporters. PHOTO: Anlerie de Wet

Two white Wits University students were allegedly racially abused by supporters of Wits EFF on east campus yesterday afternoon.

Ivan Sabljak and Danita Botes* said they were watching an informal anti-xenophobia protest on the steps of the Great Hall when Wits EFF supporters reacted to their verbal show of support.

“We were showing them support for the cause they were protesting for and then they showed us middle-fingers and shouted at us in an African language I don’t understand. One guy then picked-up a rock and threw it at us,” said second-year Microbiology student, and Serbian national, Sabljak.

“They shouted ‘pink skins’ and ‘you fucking whities’ at us.”

The Wits EFF supporters, all black males dressed in party clothing, apparently told Sabljak and his first-year Nursing student friend, Botes, they were the cause of xenophobia and should go back to where they came from.

Botes and Sabljak have reported the incident to the SRC (Student Representative Council) and campus security.

“After laying a complaint at SRC Secretary General, Senzekahle Mbokazi, we headed to the Campus Control offices, which are in the Great Hall.

When we passed the EFF guys, they shouted “pink skins” and “you fucking whities” at us,” Sabljak added.

South African-born Botes claims to have told the attackers how ironic it was that they were protesting against xenophobia, while they were trying to kick them out of the country.

Wits EFF chairperson, Vuyani Pambo, told Wits Vuvuzela he is unaware of the incident and cannot comment on the allegations. “We do not condone such behaviour as the EFF of Wits. We must respect everyone who shares space at Wits.”

“This is disgusting behaviour, but I don’t think it’s a real representation of the EFF on campus,” said Sabljak, whose family fled a civil war in Serbia to settle in South Africa.

Campus Control head of investigations, Michael Mahada, has confirmed that he has received complaints from the alleged victims but says he is unable to comment until the investigation is concluded.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the individual.

 

Judo helps champ study

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GOING PLACES: Wits Judo’s male representative in the USSA and Senior National teams, Calvin Fourie with his collection of championship medals. PHOTO: Anlerie de Wet

Third-year education student, Calvin Fourie, started taking judo classes after school when he was three years old. Now, at the age of 22, Fourie has four national championship wins under his belt and was ranked 9th in the 2013 World Student games.

“I tried out judo because my dad did it and I really enjoyed it. I still do it because it keeps me fit and healthy. I also get to travel the world,” said Fourie.

His success in judo has taken him to championship competitions in Japan, Portugal, Greece, Russia and the USA. Fourie will be adding the stamp of Gabon to his passport when he accompanies the senior national team to Libreville for the Senior African Judo Championships next week.

After placing first in the under 100kg and second in the open weight categories at the USSA Championships end of March, Fourie was selected for the University Sport SA (USSA) team. If the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) decides to send the USSA team to the Judo World Championships, Fourie will be heading to South Korea in July.

Although it is difficult for Fourie to balance his studies and training, he manages to make it work.  “If I don’t participate in physical activity my ADD kicks in and I get fidgety and struggle to study.”

He feels very proud every time he represents South Africa. “It’s not an easy thing to make the national team, it’s a real accomplishment.”

Wits to root out sexual discrimination in residences

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SMELLING TROUBLE: Raiders Men’s Residence first years singing the lyrics “I smell p*ssy” led by senior residents at the Varsity Shield finals. PHOTO: Anlerie de Wet

Wits will be implementing “systemic holisitic intervention programmes” in residences next semester after students from Men’s Res sang “I smell pussy” at a rugby match.

The Raiders had already received criticism last month for posting sexist tweets about women visiting the residence.

The Gender Equity Office (GEO), Wits Transformation Office, and Res Life held a closed-door meeting with the Men’s Residence House Committee (HC) on Monday afternoon.

“At first the guys told us that the song was a long standing tradition of the house mascot, Zoro the cat, but after declining to sing us the song the HC acknowledged that it can be interpreted as offensive,” said the GEO director, Jackie Dugard.

However, in an e-mail interview with Wits Vuvuzela the house committee chairperson, Rodney Motjamela, denied knowing the history of the song.

“I do not have knowledge of the history of the song,” he said.

Dugard said the problem of sexism at the residence started at the institution and not individuals, who will not be disciplined for the singing the allegedly sexist song.

“We need to change the way people think about gender and get them to find sexism unacceptable”

“This involves a systemic issue where groups are reproducing these offensive traditions. Holding individuals responsible is not the best way to ensure the problem doesn’t continue,” said Dugard.

Motjamela said that the house committee was “most satisfied with the outcome of the meeting” and that they will discuss the song with the rest of the house.

“[W]e categorically and unequivocally condemn these deeply saddening acts of discrimination. This is the stance and belief of the entire Men’s Res House,” said Motjamela.

The parties involved in the meeting have aligned to make sure that the problem doesn’t reproduce, according to Dugard.

“We need to change the way people think about gender and get them to find sexism unacceptable. Leaders of Wits need to move from reactive interventions to comprehensive reactions for change to work.”