Cool kid on campus: Ous Kudu

SIS DOLLY

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.”

 

 

Cool Kid on campus Caryn Upton

Cool Kid Caryn Upton is a 6th year Medical student who has been running a successful business for 4 years

Cool Kid Caryn Upton is a 6th year Medical student who has been running a successful business for 4 years

Story and Caption by Jay Caboz

Cool Kid
Caryn Upton spent four years of her varsity career tutoring and trying to make a little cash. She would earn, on average, R100 per hour and at the time she thought she was lucky to be paid that. Then she says she had a brainwave and “Study Doctor” tutoring was born.

What makes you a cool kid?
Well I am a sixth year med student who has been running a successful business for four years. I work hard and I play hard.

Why study medicine?
Initially, I was studying another degree, but then I found it was too easy and I wanted a challenge. I found working with people rewarding and then I knew that medicine was the right place for me.

Why open your own tutoring company?
One day, I was talking with my friend Claire Keene (now her business partner) who had also been a tutor and we said: “Hey, how come we work so hard and yet the company’s take a R300 profit? We could do a better job of this and make sure students get paid properly.” We were both med students and wanted to help people. We knew what it was like to be a tutor and were tired of getting screwed over by tutoring companies. So we thought “why not?”.

What makes your business cool?
It was started by two students who created something from nothing. We wanted to pay people for what they were worth.

How many tutors are you involved with?
At the moment we have about 70 to 80 tutors in our company.

How do you study and run a business?
Initially we were a lot smaller and I managed to fit it all in. But now we have grown so large, we have been able to hire someone and are currently looking to expand even further.

What achievements has Study Doctor made?
In 2012 we were voted as 94.7 FM’s business of the week. This year we are looking to pay back even further to the community and are trying to organise a charity that will give free tutoring for matrics.

Three Peas in a Classroom

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THREE IN A ROW: Triplets Delicia, Alicia and Felicia Arjunan (left to right) might look the same at first glance but each have their own personalities. Photo Jay Caboz

Published in the Witsvuvuzela
By Charlotte Chipangura
Photos by Jay Caboz

WITS students and staff have been left seeing triple with the addition of identical triplets Alicia, Delicia and Felicia Arjunan to the campus.

“At first glance, people can’t tell us apart but after two weeks they begin to see the differences, after a while they will so see that our personalities are similar, though not identical,” explained the chirpy Alicia.

Born 19 years ago on the 17th of August in Durban, the Alicia, Delicia and Felicia are studying BComm Philosophy, Politics & Economics, BA International Relations and BComm General, respectively.

According to Wikipedia, identical triplets are extremely rare, something that occurs only once in every 500 000 births. But multiple births are becoming more common because of the increased use of fertility treatments.

Triplets or twins are born when either an egg is fertilised more than once or if the mother has more than one egg at the same time.

According to Alicia, their mother named them in alphabetic order after they were born. But somehow Delicia, who developed in her own embryo, was born second while Alicia and Felicia shared their own embryo and came out apart.

The Arjunans say they hope to be involved in modelling and advertising where their status as triplets could be put to good use.

Peter Maher, Wits alumni relations director, said his office had no record of twins or triplets studying at Wits at the same time.

“Unfortunately our database isn’t able to capture or indicate family relationships,” he said
The Arjunans always move around campus together and say it is normal for them to be seen as a collective and not as individuals.

“This is what we have always known since we were born. Maybe it will be a hard knock when we start working and have to go our separate ways,” said Felicia.

The girls celebrate their birthdays by dressing in identical outfits. They share the same interests and friends as they make a point of introducing new friends to each other.

“Because we spend so much time together, we have formed similar likes and dislikes,” said Alicia.
Being twins, and moving around in a group, also affects their love life and how boys approach them.
“They become our friends first, and then they get to know us,” said Alicia.

“They find something they are attracted to, and then they start spending time with the particular person they like,” added Delicia.

Felicia said guys who say they wouldn’t mind dating any of the sisters did not amuse her and her siblings.

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THREE IN A ROW: Triplets Felicia(left),Alicia and Delicia Arjunan (back) might look the same at first glance but each have their own personalities. Photo Jay Caboz

Cool Kid on Campus: Mark Tatham

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STUDENT Mark Tatham started his varsity career doing a BCom in Business Management. A year later, he fell in love with dance and is now completing a degree in physical theatre at the Wits School of Arts. He recently performed in the physical theatre production In The Company of Wolves which was on show during o-week.

This sports crazy student is always busy doing something whether it’s scrambling over buildings doing parkour, playing hockey or working as a DJ.

What inspired you to change to a degree in the arts?
When I was at school I was interested in performing, but when I came to university I thought I should do a BCom first and then complete a BA in Drama. After a year of studying I just couldn’t handle it and so I dropped out and started a BA in 2011.

Why become a dancer?
I always saw myself as an actor. But one day I joined the parkour club for fun, in my first year as a drama student, and I fell in love with movement. Shortly after we were allowed to take physical theatre as a course and it allowed me to do what I loved.

When did you know you wanted to perform physical theatre?
I was chosen for the lead role in the play Carrying The Fire, directed by Bailey Snyman, which was on show last year. It was my experience under his direction that really cemented my love of performance.

How do you prepare mentally for a performance?
I have found the best way for me to focus is to clear my head. I walk around in circles and try not to think of my lines or what I am supposed to do next. When I am performing I do everything on instinct.

What do you love about performance?
I love the adrenaline rush of having to give the audience a show. It’s the same reason why I play sport.

Have you had to overcome any difficulties since doing your performances?
Injuries are always a problem. I have sprained my wrist, torn ligaments in my ankle and last year I broke my thumb.

How often do you practice for a performance?
Usually a production takes one to three months of work. We will practice five times a week for about three to five hours at a time. By the time you are on stage you know all your movements backwards and don’t even think about what happens next. It just happens.

Modernising  the classical fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, In a Company of Wolves breaks the notions of feminine vulnerability in this high physical theatre production.

Modernising the classical fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, In a Company of Wolves breaks the notions of feminine vulnerability in this high physical theatre production.

Burning to Run – Photo Essay

by Jay Caboz

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Students fool around before the start of the Wits Students Surgical Society “fun run” held on Wednesday evening at the JCE campus. The run formed part of a charity drive for a new burns rehabilitation centre run by young burn victim Pippie Kruger’s mother Anice. An estimated 300 runners attended the event.

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A fairytale retold … well!

Modernising  the classical fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, In a Company of Wolves breaks the notions of feminine vulnerability in this high physical theatre production.

Modernising the classical fairytale of Red Riding Hood, In a Company of Wolves breaks the notions of feminine vulnerability in this highly physical theatre production. Photo: Jay Caboz

One usually associates a fairy tale, like Red Riding Hood, with a small unassuming girl who gently ambles her way through the woods on the way to grandma’s house. Unknown to the red-caped girl, she is followed by a fierce wolf who among other things intends to make a lunch for two, a dinner for one. If the wolf had to see the Wits’ theatre production In The Company of Wolves, HE would have been on the menu.

In this production, the meek girl is transformed. She is manifested though the bold manoeuvres of a set of dancers that challenge the misconceptions of feminine vulnerability.

In the Company of Wolves Cast: Kirsten Mohamed,Raezeen Wentworth, Chanelle Sardinha and Linda Mdena (Left to Right Back) and Mark Tathum and Jason Solomon (Left to Right Front)

In the Company of Wolves Cast (left to right back): Kirsten Mohamed, Raezeen Wentworth, Chanelle Sardinha and Linda Mdena  and Mark Tathum and Jason Solomon (left to right front)

To watch the cast effortlessly weave among each other was simply sublime.  Equally sublime was the musical score which paired perfectly with the dancing style. A rhythmic ebb and flow was beautifully built up to a crescendo at the end of the 25 minute production.

From walls to backstage the cast makes use good use of the Wits Nunnery, which seems very cramped when six dancers try to perform on it.

In a weirdly uncomfortable way, the cramped feeling adds toward the play’s success. You cannot distance yourself from the action.

It’s in your face and you become more involved as a result. You are also forced to respect the level of planning and curatorship involved in manoeuvring in such a small space.

Cast member Mark Tathum said that the crew was hoping the production would be in contention for the Grahamstown Arts Festival later this year.

At a cost of R10 a ticket the show is well worth making the long walk down to the South side of East Campus. It will be on till the end of the week (8 Feb) and is only showing at 13h00.

Directed by Jason Solomon and Chanelle Sardinha In The Company of Wolves delightfully overturns an out of date nursery tale and is a must see. Book it now.

In the Company of Wolves
Venue: The Wits Nunnery, close to the Wits Theatre, East Campus
Dates: O Week, 4 – 8 February 2013
Time: 13h00
Length: 25 Minutes
Cost: R10 per person

jaycaboz@witsvuvuzela.com

Modernising  the classical fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, In a Company of Wolves breaks the notions of feminine vulnerability in this high physical theatre production.

Modernising the classical fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, In a Company of Wolves breaks the notions of feminine vulnerability in this high physical theatre production.  Photo Jay Caboz

Modernising  the classical fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, In a Company of Wolves breaks the notions of feminine vulnerability in this high physical theatre production.

Modernising the classical fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, In a Company of Wolves breaks the notions of feminine vulnerability in this high physical theatre production. Photo Jay Caboz

Modernising  the classical fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, In a Company of Wolves breaks the notions of feminine vulnerability in this high physical theatre production.

Modernising the classical fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, In a Company of Wolves breaks the notions of feminine vulnerability in this high physical theatre production. Photo Jay Caboz

Asawu remains in wage dispute

File photo: Jay Caboz

Wits staff unions will resume their dispute over salaries with Wits management on Monday February 11, even though staff received two raises within the last 7 months.

The Academic Staff Association of Wits University (Asawu) suspended the dispute shortly before the start of last year’s final exams “in the interest of students”, and to negotiate with the newly-appointed members of management “in good faith”. Union members went on strike twice last August after negotiations for improved salaries, improved working conditions and more research funding deadlocked. They had demanded a 9% increase for support staff and payment for academics on the 75th percentile, which is the three-quarter mark in the range of salaries in the higher education sector.

[pullquote align=”right”]“Staff are earning significantly less in January 2013 than they were earning in December 2012.”[/pullquote]

The Wits Council granted a 7.55% increase for academics and 6.8% for support staff in June 2012, and an additional 4% increase for all in January 2013. The yearly bargaining cycle was changed from June to January, meaning Wits will give staff their next raise in January 2014.

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Liz Picarra, Asawu vice-president, said management’s latest offer has not matched the costs of working at Wits. Parking and medical aid fees increased this year as they do annually.

“With these increases in medical aid and parking, academic and support staff are earning significantly less in January 2013 than they were earning in December 2012,” Picarra said.

But Yule Banda, Wits’ Human Resource manager, said the medical aid fee increase came with more benefits and was below the national benchmark. He added that while medical aid fees went up for 2013 alone, the salary increases covered an 18-month period.

In a statement, Asawu described the January salary increase as an imposition on its members that was made without consulting itself or support staff union, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu).

[pullquote align=”right”]“You have to deal with the problem of renumeration and financial incentives.”[/pullquote]

Unions’ faith in new management team

It welcomed the announcement of Prof Adam Habib as Wits’ next vice-chancellor in December, and hopes he will work to unite the “fractured Wits community”.

Habib said he played a big role in salary negotiations at the University of Johannesburg, where he was a deputy vice-chancellor, in his public address during the appointments process in November. He proposed a “university pact”: an alliance between staff, students and alumni that will investigate how best to manage their demands.

Habib said it is a vice-chancellor’s responsibility to attract and retain top academic talent from competing universities.

“You have to deal with the problem of remuneration and financial incentives. If you bury your head in the sand and say the academy is an equal socialist space, you will never attract the kinds of people you need.”

Wits has commissioned a fact-finding inquiry into last year’s salary negotiation process which will be externally headed by Mark Antrobus, SC. It is expected to recommend ways to improve future negotiations.

Published in Wits Vuvuzela 1st edition, 6th February, 2013.

Related articles

Unions adamant two strikes later

Asawu unhappy with ‘imposition’ of increase at Wits: BD Live

 

Engineers Breakfast – Photo Essay

By Jay Caboz

Clowning Around: Brennan Robinson grabs a quick break during the festivities at the Wits Engineers Breakfast on September 14. He is completing his Masters degree in the field. The breakfast is considered to be the last party of the year before the engineer faculty begins their end-of-year tests.

Professor asked students for sex

Katlego’s* story

Katlego* perches on a wall outside the Cullen Library, an old Nokia in her hand. She shields the screen against the sun, so that the message is visible.

“Hope you will turn me into your personal slave,” one message reads. “Make me serve you and then reward me!”
“Whatever we might agree would be totally secret and safe with no strings attached,” says another. These messages are from Katlego’s lecturer.

“I remember the first time he sent me an SMS. He said something very explicit,” Katlego says.

She called the number back twice, not knowing who it was. There was no answer. “That’s when he sent an SMS, he was like, ‘Don’t call me, let’s just chat via SMS.’”

Katlego had never given him her number, and was initially surprised that he had managed to get hold of it. “But then I realised that he’s a lecturer. He can just look up my name and get my number.”

Katlego says she never considered reporting him.  “It was so overwhelming; I thought, ‘OK, I’m just going to brush it off.’ I was a first year student, I didn’t want to jeopardise anything, didn’t want to get into trouble for getting a lecturer into trouble.

“I brushed him off. I told him look, you need to stop. He just said, ‘You can’t handle me, you can’t handle my attention’. But I told him that I was losing all respect for him as my lecturer. And I stopped replying to his SMSes.

“A man his age, it was really disturbing. Have you seen him on campus? He walks with his head down. He knows, he knows he’s surrounded by victims.”

Samantha’s* story

Samantha* had a similar experience in her first year, when the same lecturer invited her to be his friend on Facebook. “He invited a couple of us black females on Facebook, including myself, lots of my friends. He sent one of my friends something really, really, really nasty. There are so many girls that I know. Actually more than six.

“If you ask any black girl who did [the subject] at some stage, they’ll tell you. He approaches everyone,” says Samantha.

Wanting to expose the lecturer, Samantha spoke to her friends, asking them to come forward. But they refused. “My other friend sat me down and said, ‘You don’t want to be that girl. You don’t want to be that girl that exposes the lecturer. You don’t want that reputation.’”

Samantha was unwilling to let Wits Vuvuzela see the messages the lecturer had sent her on Facebook, although she had kept them.

“He’d remember. He’d probably check all the girls he inboxed, and then he’d know. I want to do honours [in the department], so I’m not going to do that.”

However, Samantha is quick to praise the professor. “He’s such a good lecturer, honestly. He’s making changes in the department, good changes.”

Despite this, she admits that his advances on the young women that he lectures are “bad”.

“For me, it’s no big deal because nothing happened, I didn’t entertain it. But what if I was failing, what if I was poor? What does it mean for those girls?”

Ayanda’s* story

Yet another student, Ayanda*, has also been approached by the Wits lecturer. In her case, it was via Yahoo Chat. Ayanda claims that she wasn’t the only student approached by the lecturer, and she has friends who had a similar experience.

“He asks how you are and if you are interested in him. If not, he doesn’t mind. He doesn’t want a relationship, just sex. He has a relationship already.

“At first it was just creepy then it became sad. I honestly thought it was a joke, but jokes don’t continue for months.”

 

In response to Wits Vuvuzela, the lecturer in question has denied the allegations and said: “There are appropriate channels within the university for dealing with cases of sexual discrimination and harassment”.

A complaint can be laid with one of the counsellors at the Careers Development Unit (CCDU), after which “the process will be driven/guided by the needs and wishes of the complainant”, according to the unit’s sexual harassment policy.

The CCDU’s definition of sexual harassment is “any form of unwanted sexual advance, [which] can include physical, verbal or non-verbal behaviour”.

The student laying the complaint can choose not to pursue any process involving the alleged harasser, to get counselling, follow a process of mediation, or lay a formal internal complaint, resulting in a formal grievance and/or disciplinary process.

Can lecturers date their students?

Contrary to popular belief, relationships between lecturers and students are not explicitly forbidden.

The Wits human resources department has compiled a set of “guidelines” for lecturer-student relationships, which states:
“[F]or instance in the development of a romantic relationship, a staff member should consider carefully the possible consequences for him/herself and the student. Consensual romantic relationships with student members, while not expressly prohibited, can prove problematic.”

Wits Vuvuzela is investigating cases of sexual harassment that students have brought to our attention. If you have any information, please contact us at editor@witsvuvuzela.com.

Wits Vuvuzela will protect the identity of all  its sources.

*Names have been changed.

 

Published in Wits Vuvuzela 25th edition, September 21 2012.

Unions adamant two strikes later

The two aggrieved Wits staff unions do not need to embark on an indefinite strike, says Administration, Library and Technical Staff Association (Altsa) president Adele Underhay.

Underhay met with Altsa members on Wednesday to update them on negotiations with Wits management. Altsa signed the 2012 wage agreement the day before the second union strike in August. This left the Academic Staff Association of Wits University (Asawu), and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) deadlocked with management.

“We felt that management came back and they had moved considerably on a lot of issues,” Underhay said.

The three unions jointly declared a dispute with management in May over a range of grievances, most notably salary increases.

On the morning of the second strike, some Altsa members expressed disappointment with union leadership for “breaking ranks”.

Underhay said she tried to be reasonable, although her point of view may be shifting.

“We need to get new blood into the negotiating team … maybe I’m not seeing things clearly anymore, maybe I’ve been in it too long.”

Asawu gave its members the option to vote for an indefinite strike as a way forward but they chose to boycott administrative meetings. It also considered suspending the strike until next year, when there will be new members of senior management.

“It is clear that the current management plans to talk itself out of office and make the problem that of the next administration. The unions have now run through the entire Wits senior leadership and it is clear that there is nobody with whom negotiations can reasonably take place,” the Wits Joint Union spokesperson said.

Prof Rob Moore, deputy vice-chancellor: advancement and partnerships, said management was committed to resolving the dispute “as quickly as possible”, and was grateful that strikes had not caused further disruption of academic activities.

Published in Wits Vuvuzela 25th edition, 21st September 2012

Man dies after fire on campus

Suspected foul play has been ruled out as the cause of a fire in the Yale Road staff residential quarters on East Campus on Friday. The fire led to the death of David Sekhoela after he sustained critical injuries.

Sekhoela, a Servest worker,  died in hospital on Saturday September 15.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Most of the Yale Road residents are contract workers at Wits.

Richard Quinton, the responsible engineer at the Property and Infrastructure Management Division, said: “Many unsubstantiated rumours are being spread concerning the circumstances surrounding the case and [we are] considering conflicting statements received from various witnessing parties.”

No answers yet: Grieving Yale Road residents are awaiting the outcome of an investigation into the cause of the fire on Friday September 14.

Some of Sekhoela’s belongings removed from the blaze.

Sekhoela’s former roommate, Paul Skotho, was in Germiston on the night of the fire. He was informed of the incident by phone on Saturday.

He remembered Sekhoela as “a joyful person who enjoyed laughing”.

“He wasn’t very vocal, like if someone made him angry, he would get angry but he would be laughing the next day.”

Chairperson of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) at Wits and Yale Road resident, Richard Sadiki, said Sekhoela had complained that as a contract worker he was not allowed to use just any pedestrian entrance to Wits.

Sadiki said Sekhoela had jokingly said it was better for him to go home because he was a “prisoner” at Wits.

“Maybe this wouldn’t have happened if he had just gone home,” Sadiki said.

Each room in the Yale Road residence traditionally contributes R50 to housemates who have suffered personal tragedies or to the families of those who die. Recently, R1100 was raised for the family of late resident Samson Makhunga. Sadiki said Sekhoela had not contributed to the fund for Makhunga.

Asking for donations for Sekhoela at a house meeting on Tuesday, Sadiki appealed for housemates to give voluntarily “in an African way”.

“Even if he made a mistake when he was alive, we cannot just punish him because he didn’t agree with us.”

Wits acting registrar Nita Lawton-Misra  conveyed condolences on behalf of the university.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr Sekhoela, and those who knew him well.”

This tragic incident is being investigated by the SAPS in collaboration with the health and safety manager of the company the victim worked for.

Published in Wits Vuvuzela 25th edition, 21st September 2012

No World Cup for SA Under 21 Witsie

Published in Vuvuzela, September 14

By Jay Caboz

Demi Du Toit has been chose to represent South Africa in the Junior World Cup Qualifiers to be held in October.

WITS hockey player Demi du Toit has been chosen to represent South Africa in the Under 21 Junior World Cup Qualifier Tournament to be held at the Kaspersky Randburg Astro in October.

Should the team win the tournament, they will automatically qualify for the Junior World Cup, to be held in Canada in June next year.  But Du Toit will be unable to play in this as she turns 21 this year.

“Last October I was told I had been called up into the Junior World Cup squad to join them at camp. However turning 21 in 2012 meant that I was ineligible to participate in the Junior World Cup, meaning that I would only be able to play in the qualifiers should I be selected for the team.”

Du Toit is not the only one. A further five players in the squad also exceed the age limit. Kaila Flemming, Christine Roos, Lisa Hawker and Nicole Kemp will not be able to go.

Du Toit (the only Witsie), Flemming and Roos are among the five players who were selected from Southern Gauteng. Four were chosen from Western Province, three from the Free State and Northern Gauteng, two from Amathole (formally Border) and one from Eastern Province.

She is disappointed at not being eligible, but Du Toit still hopes to make the women’s senior side in the future.  The eligible players were included in the squad to help strengthen it specifically for the qualifying tournament.

U21 SA are firm favourites to win at Randburg and have been scheduled to take on the likes of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

“In order to make the SA woman’s squad, it’s going to take a lot more hard work, focus and determination.  I believe I have what it takes to be in that team one day and I will put in the work to get there,” said Du Toit.

Du Toit most recently represented U21 SA in the Senior Interprovincial Tournament (IPT) held in August at the Randburg Astro.  They finished in fourth position overall after losing to Northern Gauteng.  The Witsie contributed significantly to the side as one of the top defenders as well as a penalty corner specialist.

“I first played in green and gold when I was 17. I made the U18 South African team. We played a series against Australia and Zimbabwe later that year. The same team then took part in the U21 IPT the following year.”

For Du Toit, every moment on the field is about being accurate, composed and patient. She accepts that balancing her university work and her hockey schedule is her greatest challenge.

jay@witsvuvuzela.com