Brains and beauty, medical student and up-and-coming model, Kelly Roux, is this week’s Cool Kid on Campus (more…)
Meet our new cool kid on campus
Meet this week’s cool kid on campus.
This week’s cool kid on campus is 22 year old S’bonakaliso Nene, who goes by Gyre, as a proudly queer rapper.
Meet your cool kid on campus who believes in acting for change.
Swankie Mafoko is an actress on the newest SABC2 telenovela Keeping Score and an “artist activist”.
The 23 year-old is a Kasi Durbanite who moved to Joburg to pursue her career in drama and performing arts. “It’s different when you studied something (drama) and when you go and work in the industry,” she says.
Her supporting actress role on Keeping Score is her first television gig. However, Swankie hasn’t been shy to perform on stage. “I’ve been doing theatre for years now, since 2008 from Durban,” says Swankie.
She completed her BA in Dramatic Arts in 2016. Swankie found herself having to juggle both her studies and work. Having had the opportunity to work for VowFM as a radio presenter, news compiler and recently contributed to the Wits #FeesMustFall book by Prof Susan Booysen. “I specifically spoke about documenting the revolution in relation to an art piece.
“What makes me cool? Besides me having a great personality and being fun, I can safely say that my voice and my laugh make me cool,” laughs Swankie.
“I describe myself as an artist activist who believes in community building and using my art as an act for change.”
TITILOPE ADESANYA is a content producer of Afrodisiac, a weekly show on campus radio station VoWFM.
Twenty three year old Adesanya, originally from Nigeria, arrived in Johannesburg in 2013 for her first year at college.
Her name means eternal gratitude in Yoruba, one of the languages spoken in Nigeria, yet she coyly admits, “I can barely speak Yoruba”. Her show which focuses on African entertainment is clearly close to her heart. “I love the show, we focus on African entertainment outside of South Africa as it’s covered by other shows,” she said.
She’s been at VowFM for the last year. “I started out in the marketing team and moved over to producing content and news reporting this year. It’s been fun” she said.
Adesanya is also a volunteer for an organisation known as Starting Now, whose mandate is to make an impact within communities in which the volunteers live. The organisation is active in 3 countries: Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.
“We organise an annual camping trip for the children at Christ Christian Church Care Centre (the 5Cs),” she reveals as she gently tucks her maroon braids behind her ear, “We take them to Harties [Hartebeesport Dam], for three days in December”.
She is currently doing groundwork for a project that will see her partnering with Black & Gold, a Nigerian fashion house. The partnership will hopefully result in the first ever “South African Students Fashion Week”.
Do you have a burning question to ask or an unsolvable problem, but have nowhere to turn to? Look no further because Ous Kudu is here for you!
Ous Kudu is a love guru from the valleys of Witwatersrandfontien. She’s a Wits University graduate who holds a Masters degree in matters of the soul. “I’ve always wanted to help people,” she says.
“There’s a whole community of people, particularly at Wits, who need a little guidance in navigating their way around love. And I really just want to help these people get there life right.”
Ous Kudu has experience in love lost, love gained and all the trials that come with being a young bokkie. You can send your anonymous relationship dilemmas to Ous Kudu on the Wits Vuvuzela email or tweet her @OusKudu.
“I want Witsies to know that I am here for them. The school of life has taught me so much, that I feel its time I shared with the masses some of my wisdom.”
Nineteen year old actor, film and television student Travis Hornsby is young but no rookie. He has already rubbed shoulders with A-list actor John Cleese. A pole fitness enthusiast and dance instructor, Hornsby says he “wakes up like Beyoncé and falls asleep like Buscemi”. The Spud actor sat down with Wits Vuvuzela and this is what he had to say.
Did you read the book (Spud) before auditioning?
Indeed, I read the series, and had to re-read the first book to get a grip on the character. Reading the fourth book was a surreal experience for us all, though. John Van Der Ruit wrote it with us in mind, so it was disconcerting at times to discover what he truly thought of us.
You auditioned on Youtube, why?
I only got wind of the auditions several weeks into the casting process, when call-backs had already been held. I messaged the producer directly and requested a late entry, and he suggested I write and upload a Spud-inspired monologue to YouTube. The result was a campy blend of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Spud and Mean Girls. In retrospect, it was absurd.
When you first got the news about getting the part, what did you do?
Forged an ID and burn my Afrikaans essay due the next day.
How was the experience of playing the character ‘Boggo’?
I found the character difficult to reach at first. Boggo represents a lot of things I strive to avoid. He is crass, arrogant and stylish. Eventually I grew to love him. Even if he smuggles poor-quality pornography under his mattress and swindles schoolchildren.
How was filming with the Crazy 8 members?
We became a second family to one another. We are all still in regular contact with one another, even though we’re so far apart – separated by a continent, with regards to Troye (Spud). We’ve seen each other grow and mature, as professionals and individuals. Having lived together for so many months, there are no secrets amongst us, regardless of our different backgrounds, ages and disciplines.
How was the experience of working with legendary actor John Cleese?
John is phenomenal, both professionally and socially. He holds himself with an unbreakable charisma while still boasting a familiar modesty that is, in a word, inspiring. He went out of his way to mingle with everyone on set, no matter their role, and readily shared his witty, often dark humour. A crew member bore an uncanny resemblance to Hugh Laurie – one day Mr Cleese took a selfie with him, sent it to Hugh on twitter and captioned it ‘Posing with a fan :)”.
It must be hard to memorise lines as an actor. Any tricks for aspiring actors?
On film it’s incredibly easy. We learnt our lines for the day every morning while in the makeup and wardrobe trucks. One rarely gets an opportunity to say much before a shot is cut, and the camera angle is changed. In theatre I find that lines are only learnt through repetition and a genuine
Is there space for young actors in South Africa?
Yes, yes, yes. The industry is as competitive as the Hunger Games, but passion never fails to benefit. The beauty of the art is in the sacrifice. Actors sacrifice their financial security, they sacrifice relationships, their petrol, driving to and from castings, and ultimately themselves.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learnt from John Van Der Ruit’s Spud books?
Everyone is insecure. Don’t miss an opportunity to place yourself amongst people you know nothing about, and open up. Therapy is free. And if you want to get away with murder at an all boys’ boarding school, don’t keep a diary detailing your exploits under your bed. Amateur.
Thando Sibongiseni Gumede, a final year Law student at Wits, is not only an Allan Gray Scholarship recipient and a Brightest Young Minds (BYM) awardee, but is also an advocate for the education of black girl children and substantive equality. A self-proclaimed feminist, she remains highly competitive in a male dominated industry.
You are studying Law but also have a keen interest in entrepreneurial activities, why?
Where the world is going is something I like to call cross-educational pollination. It means that gone are the days where law students go to law school to become a lawyer. So now, faculties will be teaching skills, skills that can go anywhere and in any way they want to.
Entrepreneurship is a mind-set where you identify inefficiencies and then solve those problems. So when you have cross-educational pollination, then someone who’s an engineer has got the hopes of becoming the president, not just a politics student.
You were chosen as one of the ‘Brightest Young Minds’. What exactly does that mean and how do you feel to be chosen as one?
It’s about collecting the brightest young minds on the African continent, 100 people all over Africa came together through a selection process. It wasn’t about marks, it was really just about people who presented ideas and presented themselves in a genuine way. All I can say is wow! The event was a great networking opportunity.
What are you currently working on?
There are basically two things I’m working on, it’s a new technology for sanitary pads and the other is a tech company. I’ve written a research paper on that [the former], it was about the right to basic education for black girl children in rural South Africa; one of the hindrances of going to school is [a girls] menstruation, so their biological disposition.
The postulation I make is that I say to the state, it has a constitutional obligation to balance the scales for both boys and girls.
You say you are an advocate for education and particularly substantive education, what does that mean?
Government needs to provide proper sanitation in schools, pads and panties to girls, particularly to girls in that community, either through social grants or making those things freely available to them.
That is called substantive equality. It’s better than formal equality, substantive equality asks why? At the starting line you need to remove all the rocks and boulders that are on the race track for girls to be able to manoeuvre themselves freely and equally.
Lungile Buhale, 22, Miss Soweto 2014 is a hardworking and very motivated individual. During her term, the 2nd year BA student hopes to improve how Soweto is perceived by the general public. She also wants to show other young women from one of South Africa’s largest townships that, as clichéd as this sounds, anything is possible if you work hard enough at it.
What inspired your decision to enter Miss Soweto?
It was mainly for two things. The first reason I entered Miss Soweto was because I needed a platform where I can communicate my initiatives and ideas that I want to do for the future, and as well as to put me in career mode for events. It’s something I want to do. So getting exposure as Miss Soweto will allow me to meet the right and relevant people in that industry.
So, are you a “pageant girl” in the traditional sense? Did you participate in pageants when you were younger, which led to you entering Miss Soweto?
This was my first pageant and luckily, I won! I don’t think I’m a pageant girl, I think I have qualities that make up a pageant girl.
Let’s talk for a bit about these qualities of a pageant girl, are you lady-like or a bit on the tomboyish side?
At the moment I am wearing a hoodie, takkies and jeans. That I believe does not make me a lady-lady. I am a lady when I have to be (laughs). I like being casual and calm because that represents who I am.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about sports and female empowerment. Sports allows you to make friends, keeps you healthy but most importantly it keeps you away from the bad stuff. It keeps you physically fit and mentally sharp.
Pageants are often linked to unattainable standards of beauty. With your experience as Miss Soweto, do you believe this is true?
The truth of the matter is that a certain type of beauty is pushed in these pageants but with Miss Soweto there were a lot of gorgeous women. What decided your fate was how well you can sell the brand. I believe that in that way, the pageant opened up to other women.
What township in Soweto are you from?
I am from the beautiful Dube Village. Not many people know about it, but it’s produced legends.
When the time comes for you to hand over your crown, what do you hope to have learnt from your experience as Miss Soweto?
I’m trying to create these initiatives and I’m hoping they work out. Sometimes you come across people who aren’t buying into an idea. That hurts. I’m learning about myself, by the end of this I want to have developed a thicker skin. I want to hand over my crown with pride knowing that I’ve done a lot for my community.I do not want to be remembered as someone that just won the crown, and left.
Pelonomi Moiloa and Itani Thalefi formed their band 8 Bars Short two years ago. Moiloa, a Wits biomedical engineering graduate, is completing the 3rd year of her 2nd degree in electrical engineering. Thalefi is completing his honours degree in Sociology. Moiloa is a self-taught guitarist and a vocalist. Thalefi taught himself to play guitar and also sings. Despite their busy schedules, they still find the time to develop their mutual love of music, rehearsing and performing at local hangout spots in Johannesburg.
How did you two come together?
Moiloa: He [Thalefi] invited me to one of his poetry sessions and then I gate-crashed one of his band practices … I joined his band but then we kind of split apart and now it’s just the two of us.
What kind of music do you produce?
Moiloa: We’re not sure.
Thalefi: I feel like music right now is in a genre-less space. There’s no need to box things into anything and putting us in a box also limits us to a particular genre. Labels suck.
What inspires your music?
Thalefi: It’s really just experiences, just reflecting on what we go through and what other people go through.
Does your music speak to social issues?
Moiloa: You lose a very wide audience when you start talking about social issues.
Thalefi: I don’t want to be boxed into the that thing. I’m a human being like anyone else and I’m just reflecting my experiences. I’m just having a conversation with me, my guitar and Nomi [Moiloa] on stage.
Meet 24-year-old MSc Engineering student, Merelda Wu. Last year, she was one of three South African Masters students selected by the Technology Innovation Agency and Siemans AG to participate in an internship programme in Germany.
Wits Vuvuzela caught up with her to hear about her experience in the land of freezing winters and great beer.
Where in Germany did you live and what type of work did you for Siemans AG?
I lived and worked in Erlangen… in upper Bavaria (southern Germany). I was doing research and design in a power electronics research group. My project was software applications… which falls under a wind energy project we are collaborating on with the Denmark Siemans Division.
Was the language barrier a challenge?
No. Most of the Germans I met spoke fairly good English, so there were no day-to-day challenges, although I always got approached by enthusiastic grannies on the bus and had no idea what they were saying!
What do you think of German men compared to South African men?
Oh, I’ll try not to offend anyone. The density of good-looking German men is definitely higher than in SA… [Laughs]. When I went clubbing in Germany, I realised the men [were] very direct and polite. If they take an interest in you, they ask [you] to dance. [If you] reject them, they… leave like grown-up gentlemen. No hard feelings. I can’t say the same about South Africans really.
What was the craziest thing you did in Germany?
I went travelling solo for two weeks. I couch-surfed, hitchhiked, carpooled, and found people to party with for New Year’s Eve in Berlin online.
What was the best thing about coming home to South Africa?
Comfort, family, friends, and my dogs. I want to say weather, but after the past two weeks, I’m not so sure anymore.
Why did you choose to study electrical engineering?
I was good with maths and science, I love solving puzzles, and I have the worst memory ever. Okay, to be honest, I watched Die Hard and wanted to become a hacker.
Do your lecturers take it easy on you because you are female?
The lecturers, no, but I get help when I need to move heavy machines around in the lab. Also, they do notice that I’m the only one ever… wearing skirts and open shoes!
What are your plans for the future?
Work… I want to live in a different country/ city every two years.
What’s your favourite thing about Wits?
I love my school of Electrical and Information Engineering. We have nice coffee, [an] excellent working environment [and] a bunch of like-minded people geeking away together.