CHANGING MIND-SETS: Tshidiso Ramogale believes change occurs when one changes his mind-set. At 21, he continues to live by what he preaches. Photo: Nqobile Dludla
Two Witsies have found themselves on the pages of one of South Africa’s most anticipated publications of the year. Tshidiso Ramogale and Zareef Minty have been named as two of the top 200 young South African’s in the Mail & Guardian’s Young South Africans 2014 list.
Ramogale was nominated in the civil society category while Minty in the politics and government category. At just 21, fourth-year LLB student Ramogale refused to let his childhood challenges hold him back from success.
Ramogale was 15 when he “felt like it’s over” following his father’s disappearance, his mother losing her job and their home being unlawfully sold in execution. His experience led him, at 19, to start a non-profit organisation called Change SA that “uses entrepreneurship as a trajectory for change”.
“I usually speak to schools about where I started out, this is my experience. I often say: ‘I was exactly where you are right now and I was able to work slowly out of it and why can’t you?’,” said Ramogale.
When Ramogale is not giving motivational talks, he is representing informal traders and others in need in court, in relation to socio-economic issues.
“What motivates me is my mother, undoubtedly. I always say I’m lucky to have a mother who has always been supportive,” said Ramogale.
There is no secret really to his success, he says but adds that, “the best way to start, is by starting somewhere.”
Like Ramogale, third-year LLB Zareef Minty has “always been someone who believes in change”.
The 20-year-old Patriotic Alliance national youth president, who is also the Wits Black Lawyers Association chairperson, said his aim is to “encourage leadership”, not only in schools but also in communities everywhere.
“I want to encourage people that they can be the best at what they do. As young people we always have this mind-set that we go to university and once we’re done we sit down and think ‘okay, what are we going to do with our lives?’ We need to get rid of that mind-set,” said Minty.
Minty has also established the ‘Zareef Minty Build a School Foundation’, through which he aims to create an education link between state and the private sector.
“The best part for me is sitting one day and receiving an email or message from someone saying ‘you know what, because you did this, I’m also inspired to do the same. That’s what I want,” said Minty.
by Ilanit Chernick and Robyn Kirk
Journalism student Ilanit Chernick explores a pay essay website. Photo: Luke Matthews
Some Witsies could use dishonest means to complete essays and assignments in order to get a degree.
Wits Vuvuzela spoke to a number of students about their willingness to turn to other students and websites which offer to do their work for them for a small fee.
David* said he would “pay someone” as long as he “didn’t get caught. It’s about getting my degree and passing. I just want to graduate.”
Another student, Najeeba*, said, “I would do it all the time but I would just change it around a bit before handing it in.”
One Witsie said he knew of students who had paid people to write their essays for them and had made use of pay websites without getting caught. But he was unwilling to elaborate.
A number of students said they would only do it in the most “extreme circumstances”, such as if they were failing and it was the “only way” they would pass their degree.
Zondo*, also a student, said he would “happily write essays for others if he was paid for it”. When asked about his price he said he would “charge between R100 and R150 a piece”.
But not all Witsies were willing to take the chance because of the repercussions that come with committing plagiarism. These include the reduction of marks, loss of dually performed points, suspension and even expulsion.
Wits defines plagiarism as not only “failure to acknowledge the ideas or writings of another” but also using someone else’s work as your own.
Wits Vuvuzela found a number of websites, including getanessay.com and writemyessayforme.me which cater for South African students even though they have to pay in dollars.
Wits Vuvuzela was told: “there has only been one disciplinary hearing this year in connection with plagiarism within the Humanities Faculty”.
Dean of Student Affairs Dr Pamela Dube said, “Plagiarism is not just a faculty concern, but impacts on holistic student development. A structured approach to plagiarism offers the best protection for the student and the best protection for the rights and thoughts of others.”
A student member of the disciplinary committee, Tshidiso Ramogale said, “Plagiarism is an issue that is not unique to Wits, it is of concern to any institution of higher learning. The student disciplinary committee has, and will continue to, condemn plagiarism in the strongest words possible as it is that an act that undermines the quality of the Wits degree and the reputation of the university. It also reflects negatively on the student community and the university alumni.”
He suggests students approach the Student Representation Council to get assistance with their cases because they don’t do so often enough.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.