Cool kid on campus


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.”

VoWFM bids Mike bye

VOICE OF WITS (VoWFM) campus radio station is bidding goodbye to long-time station manager Michael “Mike” Smurthwaite at the end of the month.

BIDDING FAREWELL: Mike Smurthwaite is ready to enter a new chapter Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

BIDDING FAREWELL: Mike Smurthwaite is ready to enter a new chapter
                                                                                                                                                  Photo: Nokuthula Zwane


Q & A with Shandukani Mulaudzi


Wits Journalism alumnus and former Voice of Wits (VOW) FM presenter Shandukani Mulaudzi, tells Wits Vuvuzela of her dream of changing the world and telling stories via multimedia. Mulaudzi is currently a journalist at City Press. (more…)

Mcebo side-eyes campus media

SRC President Mcebo Dlamini speaks to everyone except Campus Media

Dismissed SRC president Mcebo Dlamini was a common presence on radio and websites this week with several media appearances. Everywhere—seemingly—except for campus media outlets Wits Vuvuzela and VowFM.

Since his dismissal as SRC president on Monday, Wits Vuvuzela made several attempts to get hold of him: eight landline calls, four cell phone calls, four WhatsApp messages that were read but not responded to (blue ticks!) and countless visits to the SRC offices.

After all this effort, Wits Vuvuzela only managed to get hold Dlamini only once and his comment was very simple: he was still “gathering his thoughts”. He had been booked to go on VowFm but was reportedly a no-show.

But while he has not appeared on campus media, Dlamini has appeared frequently on commercial outlets.

He spoke to the Mail and Guardian and said Vice Chancellor Adam Habib’s decision to remove him from office was because he “succumbed to pressure from the White community”.

He went on to explain to Eye Witness News that his dismissal was “proof to everyone that white supremacy is putting its boots on the neck of the black child.”

The most comprehensive of interviews that Dlamini gave was one where both Dlamini and Habib were interviewed on Power FM. Dlamini said his dismissal was a “joke” and that the vice chancellor knew he had no case against him.

Dlamini said the charges on which he was dismissed are related to a fight he had in a dining hall happened one year and four months ago before he became SRC president. He said that he had been found guilty by a “kangaroo court in an effort to protect the evil that is practiced by the university, chaired by Adam Habib”.

“The university just wanted to get rid of me,” Dlamini said.

He also told PowerFM that Habib was “twerking in my name all over social media

He continued to defend his remarks around Adolf Hitler: “Hitler is a freak of nature, I am failing to separate him from the White people.  In all of them there is a small element of Hitler.  In as much as they can do good things, there’s an element of Hitler. It is time for the Black masses to speak against White supremacy because we are going nowhere.”

When asked how he was planning on responding to his dismissal, Dlamini told PowerFM that “the students will decide”.

“I was put in office by the students, and if the students are happy that the vice chancellor will twerk in my name and at their expense on all social media, behaving like a pop star, then they will allow him, but if the students believe in the power of blackness, then they will challenge this thing because I didn’t put myself in office.”



Campus radio station’s twitter account hacked

A number of controversial tweets about the Wits SRC (Student Representatives Council) elections were sent from the Voice of Wits (VoW FM) twitter account earlier today. Mike Smurthwaite, VoW station manager, confirmed that the twitter account of the station had been hacked and the tweets were not official VoW FM tweets.

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, Smurthwaite said his team noticed something strange when the morning crew tried to log on to the station’s Twitter account, only to find the password was not working.

The crew then tried to recover the password by using the ‘lost password’ feature on Twitter which would send an email to the registered account.

According to Smurthwaite, VoW then discovered they could not access their email as the account has been in maintenance mode since this morning.

“I didn’t see any notification that it was going to happen. It just happened to have coincided at the point these guys took control of our account. They said they’ll send us a notification when it’s back up and that notification hasn’t been sent,”, said Smurthwaite.

The alleged hacker tweeted SRC elections related tweets and retweeted other student organisations.


HACKED: The VoW FM twitter account was hacked and used to send tweets in support of the EFF. Graphic: Wits Vuvuzela.

VoW had not tweeted or retweeted anything since the morning, Smurthwaite said.

“All of those retweets and tweets are done by someone or a group of people acting with their own agenda,” he said.

VoW FM has lodged a complaint with the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU) to pass on to the election officer to investigate the matter and assure the campus community that the tweets and retweets from the station’s account do not represent the views of VoW.

“It looks like we are supporting a particular entity and as an organisation we are politically neutral, we provide a platform for people to debate and we leave it up to people to decide which stories they believe or who they want to support or what the facts are,” said Smurthwaite.

Smurthwaite believes there is a possibility the hacker knows someone who works at the station, that an employee was bribed or that a former employee who was “pissed off” with the organisation saw it as an “opportunity because now they have political ambitions.

“We can however say for a fact that no one was doing it here at the station because you can see exactly what people are doing at what machines and we track user activity. So we can see that it wasn’t happening here, which means that this person was using it from another location,” Smurthwaite said.

Around 6pm this evening, VoW managed to recover access to the Twitter profile but declined to delete the earlier tweets until an investigation is completed.


Campus radio station helps to keep students warm this winter

A CHANCE TO GIVE: With the weather becoming increasingly colder, students can donate clothes to those in need. Photo: Zelmarie Goosen

A CHANCE TO GIVE: With the weather becoming increasingly colder, students can donate clothes to those in need. Photo: Zelmarie Goosen

Winter is fast approaching and while most of us are geared for the cold, there are many students that need some help keeping warm.

Wits campus radio station VowFM recently launched their annual campaign to collect warm winter clothing for those in need.

“Every year we have different homes that we work with in the Braamfontein area,” said Vow’s marketing manager Lucky Mdaweni. “This year we’re working with the Wits Volunteering Office, [now called] Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach (WCCO).”

The WCCO office helps VoWFM locate charity homes, as well as students within the university who are in need of the donated items.

“They work a lot more closely with students on campus who need the clothing and other things … which works nicely because not all students on campus want to be known as the kids who want clothing, so they work with them anonymously.”

Mdaweni says that Witsies have responded positively to the initiative. “We’ve had a lot of requests to have the boxes stay a bit longer, purely because of the demand in terms of people giving a lot of clothing within the university,” Mdaweni said.

The campaign runs until the end of June, when all the clothes that have been donated are given out, but continues after that if people want to donate more. Boxes, such as those pictured above are located all over campus.


What is the state of South Africa’s science education? This week’s episode of The Science Inside followed a trip to SciFest Africa in Grahamstown (a science event geared toward inspiring school children with science) to answer this question.

Along the way stories from the festival, including one about robots, another on the future of hydrogen and rocket-powered cars, idols for scientists, and a couple of marine biologists who work with fishing communities to make sure they can keep their businesses afloat.

Listen to the full podcast here.

Inspiration handed on a beat and a book

OFF THE HOOK: Rappers Themba Thwala, aka Mag, and Asanda Bikani, aka Nobody, explore new heights of expression.  Photo: Palesa Radebe

OFF THE HOOK: Rappers Themba Thwala, aka Mag, and Asanda Bikani, aka Nobody, explore new heights of expression.
                                                                                                                                                           Photo: Palesa Radebe

Dramatic arts student Themba Thwala recorded a hip-hop single this weekend in the presence of a rapper he hopes to emulate in the near future. For now, he will have to settle for rousing Witsies from the slumber that sweeps over the campus and the city at this time of the year.
Mag, Thwala’s stage name, is Wits’s representative in Blackberry’s campus wide search for South Africa’s next rap star. The word-slinger is fresh off a weekend with Sama-award winning artist Khuli Chana. He was one of nine artists recording a single for a chance to perform it on stage with the Maf Town rapper.


Why Do You Rap?

Wits Vuvuzela spoke to other heads (colloquial for die-hards of hip hop) on campus in hopes of understanding the relationship between hip hop and their studies.
Asked what they were “officially” studying, the hip-hop enthusiasts went from light bewilderment to spouts of philosophy at this simple question.

Third year B.Ed student Asanda Bikani, or “Nobody” when he takes on his emcee persona, said for him it was about more than rapping and listening to hip-hop music. “It’s about propagating the things people need to hear…about motivation and telling people they’re beautiful even if they know it,” Bikani said.
“I love it here…people on campus are so apolitical that if you create a platform of truth people are immediately attracted.”Bikani said what he learnt in class influenced what he rapped about, giving him more ideas to dismantle and build on.


Hip Hop is a Mirror

Karabo Randa was unusually intrigued by the “what are you studying” question, the line between her academic education and what she’d learned through hip-hop fading at the mention of the distinction.
“A lot of my vocab and the music that I listen to was influenced by hip-hop…there’s a lot ideology behind it.”
The rapper and co-host of VoW Fm’s hip-hop show The Total Package said the metamorphosis of hip-hop from the 1990s up to now interested her: [pullquote align=”right”]“At that time the music was a mirror for the listeners to look at themselves. Right now in the music, it’s me having a mirror looking at myself. It’s very narcissistic”[/pullquote], Randa said.


“There’s a weakness in our taste [of hip-hop] that didn’t exist then,” said the 3rd year BA triple major, known as Arazen behind the microphone. She said hip-hop culture as it stood on Wits campus excited her and “awoke the beast that lived inside of all of us”.

Mag, who plans to make a career of hip-hop, said he had been studying drama and art since high school and it influenced the way he wrote his music and the references he made in his lyrics Hip hop versus studies? Mag was the quickest to answer, albeit after a fit of what seemed like cathartic laughter.

Pursuit of Happiness

“I study less because I’m pursuing music half of the time. For me, the happier I am in a space [doing what I love], everything seems to work out.”
All three agreed that Wits was in a unique position to do something with the raw energy hip-hop generated on campus, be it political, introspective, or merely “for art’s sake”.

La Bonne Vie

LE GOOD LIFE: Samkele Kaase and Karabo Ntshweng having fun in studio. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

LE GOOD LIFE: Samkele Kaase and Karabo Ntshweng having fun in studio. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Two great minds and voices have come together to bring Witsies and all those in Braamfie ‘the good life’ on VoWfm.

La Bonne what?

[pullquote]”We want to expose Joburg in its entirety”[/pullquote] La Bonne Vie is the French phrase for ‘good life’ and is now the name of a lifestyle and entertainment show hosted by Karabo Ntshweng and Samkele Kaase.

“We want to expose Joburg in its entirety,” said Ntshweng. She added that they want to give students a taste of the good life that falls within their budget.

Kaase and Ntshweng said that they went about doing this by attending events, informing people about events and having weekly give-aways. Events and places that students previously might not have had access to or just didn’t know about.

Kaase said that they connect with the people who own all the hotspots in Braam and make their proposals for deals and give-aways for the show.

Who’s it for?

Kaase said: “The show is very androgynous. People often assume that lifestyle shows are for women.” The pair added that they are about reaching out to students in the Braamfontein area who want to make things happen for themselves.

Natural progression

The co-hosts have always wanted to work together and this show was the natural progression of their professional relationship. Ntshweng said that they have both been at VoW for a long time and that they wanted to host an “entertaining talk show” that did more than just play popular music.

Kaase is still a student at Wits and Ntshweng now works at a popular Johannesburg radio station.

Witsies can catch La Bonne Vie on Thursdays at 7pm and podcasts are going to be available on VoW’s website from this week onwards.