We Are One

Wits Vuvuzela journalist Pheladi Sethusa attended the Holi One festival in Johannesburg this weekend. She recounts the experience below.

RAINBOW OF COLOURS: What it looked like when we threw the colours at the end of a countdown. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

RAINBOW OF COLOURS: What it looked like when we threw the colours at the end of a countdown. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

‘Never in my life did I think I would have this much fun at an event that emanated from a religious practice.

I had wanted to attend from the minute I heard that Holi One (which later changed to We Are One) was coming to Johannesburg this year.

I had seen the Hindu colour festival on TV before and knew I had to do it at least once in my life.

I dragged my feet on getting tickets, which did not serve me well when they were sold out a few weeks before the event.

Luckily for me I know someone who knows someone and managed to get a ticket the day before.

Within in the first five minutes of walking into the venue some over eager festival go-er decided to throw some colour on me robbing me of the before picture I wanted to take.

15 000 people had bought tickets and those same 15 000 were on the grounds of Emmarentia Dam.

I imagined it would be chaotic but it really wasn’t. There were enough bars, food stalls and toilets to cater to everyone’s needs.

There was also ample space for people to move around. I never felt uncomfortable in the crowds.



AFTERMATH: Moments after the countdown colour throw – torturous to the lungs. Photo: Pheadi Sethusa

The highlight of the day for me, were the colour throws that happened every hour. Being in the crowd when they happened was the reason we were all there in the first place.

When you threw your colour up into the air it felt like a New Year’s countdown. Then it felt like you were in the midst of a dessert battlefield as all the colours came down and their residue hung in the air.

The music was great throughout the day. Various DJ’s made our bodies move to their sounds. Goodluck were the headline act and ushered us into the night beautifully.

They also announced that due to the support this festival had received, the band would be travelling to Germany for a Holi One festival later this year.

The festivities started at 11am and were due to end at 8pm. By the time 7pm came around, my feet and legs were done in for.

Towards the same time, none of us looked colourful anymore, just dirty.

It took me a full 40 minute shower to scrub myself clean and an additional 20 minutes to clean all the contents of my handbag. By which time I was exhausted from the day’s events.

WE WERE ONE: From left to right, Megan Hamilton-Hall, Paige Fenenga, Pheladi Sethusa and Kayleigh Pierce. Photo: Tracey Hamilton-Hall

WE WERE ONE: From left to right, Megan Hamilton-Hall, Paige Fenenga, Pheladi Sethusa and Kayleigh Pierce. Photo: Tracey Hamilton-Hall

I only began to understand the “we are one” title by the end of the day, when we all looked the same.

Even though we were all covered in a rainbow of colours, we all looked the same and indeed were the same.’


Geosciences rock first open day

Fossils, meteors and Mars absorbed top Johannesburg matrics last week in an open day that Wits Geosciences hopes will draw more students to study Geology.

“Geoscience companies are banging down my door saying ‘where are your graduates?’” said Senior lecturer Dr Susan Webb.

The Exploring Earth open day, held during the university break, was a first for the School of Geosciences. The School recognised a need to expose high school students to earth science before they applied for university, and to attract top performing students.

Around 50 students were invited from the top 25 feeder schools in Johannesburg and were split into teams to compete in the five challenges of the day.

The first challenge was to match the microscopic image of a rock to its life-sized partner. The wide-eyed students were free to interact with the rocks and minerals, the microscope samples and the machine itself.


“It’s good fun, this,” said Cameron Dry (above right) from St John’s College, who wanted to be a fighter pilot before a vocational training session convinced him otherwise. “I love science. I just never thought I could have a career in it.”

On the library lawns, the students used a mallet to hit a metal plate in the geoscience equivalent of a carnival Strongman game.

“The hammer was really heavy,” said Jeppe Girls’ pupil Athena Tsai. A computer collected information about the hit for the students to use in calculating the thickness of the soil below.

Next, the students used Google Earth to explore the surface of this planet, and Mars, before sitting down to a free lunch in the Bleloch Geological Museum.

Prof Lew Ashwal headed up the meteorite challenge with an array of space rocks worth around R500 000. He told them meteorites were important because “they’re cool” and “they’re worth a f**k lot of money”. He said people often phoned him, thinking they had found a meteorite. But “nine times out of ten it’s a ‘meteowrong’”.

The last challenge was for pupils to reconstruct a skeleton from loose fossils after briefly studying a complete version.

“Judging by the students’ reactions [today] was a success,” said PhD candidate and associate lecturer Grant Bybee, who had manned the microscope challenge. The winning team members each received a mineral box worth about R300.

Photos by Anina Minnaar