Aniss Krid, Gary Bezuidenhout, Elishahidi Mvungi, and Linda Khumaloat (from left) were part of the winning team at the DIZSparks App Challenge. They created the Gig Guide app for students to find events near them based on their interests. Photo: Provided
A group of Wits students have won the DizSparks app competition after creating a new app for students.
Aniss Krid, Elishahidi Mvungi, Gary Bezuidenhout and Linda Khumalo created the Gig guide app where events, parties and social activities can be advertised for easy access to students through specific categories.
The Wits Locate and I’m Interested apps were also announced under the top three at the Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ) in Braamfontein.
These students formed part of the 16 applicants who took part in the month long DIZ Sparks campaign, aimed at helping to develop the app creation skills of students from diverse backgrounds.
The challenge was conducted in association with iAfrika and included not only Wits University students but anyone who wanted to take part in the competition.
Event co-ordinator, Xoliswa Nahlangu explained that the campaign was not only to train the students in app development, “The competition was done to introduce the Wits varsity students to DIZ”
DIZ is a digital technology hub for the greater Johannesburg area that is open to all students and start-ups.
The applicants were tasked with creating new Apps, from design to formation, that can be added to the WitsM mobile apps as well as be available to be re-used at other tertiary institutions and App stores.
The applicants ideas were presented to a panel of judges led by Prof. Barry Dwolatzky, the director of JCSE at Wits University. The panel investigated whether there was a demand for the app in a student market and presented the winners with an Apple iPad Air.
The challenge provided mentors as well as commercial App developers who helped the students in their month long task that began in the conception stage, which involved unpacking the usefulness of the app for potential users. From there the applicants could refine their ideas before beginning to build a prototype of their app, with the help of experts in the field.
The challenge helped the students to come up with ideas but also to create apps that appeal to the market said Nahlangu.
The public was also invited to a Learnathon where they could learn more about how to create apps and the tools involved.
Nahlangu spoke about the importance of developing mobile app creation skills in South Africa, “There is a huge market … companies have realized that they need to be on a mobile platform in Africa… not everyone has internet access, but people have access to internet on their phones.”
Statements were found spray-painted on the Wits Great Hall stairs on Friday morning.
Photo: Luke Matthews
CORRECTION: The article originally omitted the word “building” giving the impression that Umthombo is a student residence. Additionally, the term “racial statements” in the photo caption has been changed to “statements”.
“Black power, Biko lives” and “fuck white racism” were the words that greeted Witsies as they approached the Great Hall this morning.
The graffiti appeared overnight, sprayed in black paint, on the steps of Wits’ most iconic building.
Student residences Sunnyside, Mens Res and the Umthombo building were also targeted in separate but apparently related incidents. The graffiti appeared to favour the renaming of buildings on campus. Mens Res residents found their building sprayed with “Robert Sobukwe Hall” while students at Sunnyside res found their res had been “renamed” after Winnie Madikizela.
Susan Laname, a Sunnyside resident, claimed that the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) may be responsible for the tagging of the buildings as the renaming of campus buildings was part of their election campaign.
Other buildings vandalised were Umthombo, Mens res and Sunnyside res.
Photo: Luke Matthews
EFF chairman Vuyani Pambo confirmed members of his organisation were not involved in the spraying of the graffiti, saying he had only found out about it through social networks.
“We are not responsible for the tagging, we engage the university directly as we did about our campaign, he added.
“I, for one, think it’s telling, maybe the pressure the students are feeling, and this is one way in which they are finding expression,” said Pambo.
Wits Campus Control say they have no strong leads and little evidence as to the guilty parties.
“So far we have received the complaint and we have seen the graffiti and we are taking it very serious and we are doing own investigation,” said Lucky Khumela, Campus Control’s security and liaison manager .
HOME DÉCOR: Masters Students Jamy-Lee Brophy and Megan Heilig exhibit recreations of the home environment at various venues in and around campus. The displays are part of their new project which focuses on creating what they call ‘institutions’, which explores and examines what we as multicultural beings experience as an institution and the effects of this experience. Photo: Provided
You’ve probably seen the stack of bricks arranged outside the Wits School of Arts, the Great Hall and other random places around campus and been curious and confused about why they’re there.
As part of a new project, Wits Fine Arts students Jamy-Lee Brophy and Megan Heilig have collected unused bricks from campus and around Braamfontein and built small-scale structures they call ”institutions”.
The project focuses on exploring and examining the idea of what different institutions, especially homes, mean to us in Johannesburg and as students on campus.
“We’re questioning the ideas of institutions, and how institutions reinforce ideologies and constructions and we try and challenge them,” said Brophy. “We have collected bricks … and what we do from this is basically try to build an institution, one that can create a conversation in different spaces and one that’s kind of transitory.”
Heilig added: “I think an institution is an experience, so in everyone’s lives we experience things such as race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, cultural background, and all these things amalgamated within the city and especially in Johannesburg.”
Brophy and Heilig collected the bricks for free from people who wanted to get rid of them, but they also “stole” materials some of them from campus. Heilig said they stole materials because Wits wouldn’t give them funding for their project.
The duo also want to challenge and question the idea of claiming space on Wits campus. The current installation placed outside the Great Hall, which appear to be a pile of bricks, is seen as a “cornerstone”, the implication that there’s an institution outside of another institution. They move the bricks around to rebuild these institutions in various locations so that people will start talking about it and about why they’re doing it.
The focus of their project is somewhat political, and they look at political parties as institutions in themselves and what they represent or how they misrepresent. They created the Halfa Pitchca Party, which is their own organisation and which helps them examine the idea of the relationship between politics and art.
“I think that art is political, and that what’s happening here can be political and it can be social, and it can relate to other people,” said Heilig. “This thing is not just about art for art’s sake, we’re not painting to look how nice paint looks on a canvas, that’s not what all people do here.”
They want to encourage other students on campus to go to exhibitions held at places like the Substation and the Wits Art Museum and know that art is for everybody and something everybody can relate to. Their current project is a way of getting out on the streets and getting talking.
“We want people to know about it [exhibitions],” said Heilig. “We don’t want it to be this underground thing where only if you’re cool and in with the art kids you can come and check out their stuff, that’s bullshit. We need something fresh, something new, and we want to open up spaces in the city on the street and have spaces that we create, especially in the city.”
By Zelmarie Goosen and Robyn Kirk
THE RICH AND THE DUBIOUS: (from left) Obett Motaung, Campbell Jessica Meas, Michelle Schewitz, Jonathan Young with Peter Terry (foreground) in Jessica Friedan’s Government Inspector at the Wits Theatre. Photo: supplied
The wealthy vying for the favour of the powerful, people giving gifts in order to gain something and a society in which greed conquers all. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
These are the central themes of the play Government Inspector that opened this week at the Wits Theatre.
Written more than 150 years ago the play is clearly still relevant to modern-day South African audiences.
For South African audiences
“It’s a satire set in Russia, not in South Africa, but I think we’ll see a lot of ourselves,” says director Jessica Friedan, a former Witsie. Friedan feels that through laughter, people look at issues differently. “I think we’re feeling a little brutalised with the country right now … we have enough commentary that’s very direct and very blunt and very harsh and we have enough depressing stuff.”
With the struggles South Africa is facing 20 years into democracy and the fallout from the Nkandla report fresh on our minds, Government Inspector takes a light-hearted look at what the elite will do to stay rich and powerful through the deeds of a string of unlikable characters produced (or performed?) by talented actors.
“I think it sort of brings out the universal themes of awful people using their positions to get lots of money and get lots of opportunities, which is as true in imperial Russia as it is here and anywhere else,” says Friedan.
The play sees guest performers Peter Terry and Matthew Lotter (both leading South African entertainers) acting alongside Wits School of Arts students. Friedan said she was “very delighted” to have Terry and Lotter work with them.
“I think they bring a professionalism and an insight and also a perspective of what it is to work and what matters and doesn’t matter. The students have learnt a lot from them”.
Government Inspector is showing at the Wits Theatre on west campus, Braamfontein from till 30 April.