OPINION: Seven things we’ve learned from the #EFF7

OPINION: Seven things we’ve learned from the #EFF7

Wits Vuvuzela journalist, Sibongile Machika, looks back at the suspension, and then court challenge of the EFF7 and suggests seven lessons to take away from the saga.

1. “Habib must fall”

The Wits EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) has called for the fall of  Professor Adam Habib on a number of occassions demonstrating a growing dissatisfaction with the vice chancellor and principal of the university.

Adam Habib Wits University Vice Chancellor says it is not often that universities in South Africa receive funding of this magnitude.Normally  from sole philanthropists. The funding for universities is largely  sourced from corporates and state funding agencies locally, and international trusts and foundations

Adam Habib Wits University Vice Chancellor. Photo: Wits Vuvuzela.

 

The suspension of the seven students, most of whom were EFF aligned, was completely within Wits rules and procedures. Yet the court found that this decision violated the students’ right to education.  How can a university, a place that is meant to shape the minds of our future leaders have laws that contradict our treasured constitution? What does this say about our universities and the people that govern them?  Surely it is reasonable that such leaders must “fall”.

2. Choose your friends carefully

VICTORIOUS: Wits EFF members and Advocate Dali Mpofu celebrate outside the South Gauteng court, after their suspension from the university was overturned. Photo: Michelle Gumede

VICTORIOUS: Wits EFF members and Advocate Dali Mpofu celebrate outside the South Gauteng court, after their suspension from the university was overturned. Photo: Michelle Gumede

 

Had this been any other group of students involved in a fight or disruption, they would probably have turned on each other at the first sign of suspension. The relationship between the Wits EFF members is strengthened by their commitment to a shared political ideology. Under the leadership of Vuyani Pambo they fought together for a common cause through thick and thin.

3. Stick to your guns

Vuyani Pambo briefing EFF members after the great brawl

Vuyani Pambo briefing EFF members after the great brawl. Photo: Sibongile Machika

 

Throughout the threats, the fights and even suspensions, the Wits EFF members stood firm in the beliefs. They continuously defended the stance that Wits management shifts some of their responsibilities and decision-making to the SRC (Student Representative Council).

4. Timing is everything

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Although the suspended students are back at university, they still have to face the consequences of their actions. Facing a disciplinary hearing so close to the exams is never a good idea, the outcome could have huge implications on their future at Wits.

 

5. Struggle songs are still sung

We’ve all learnt at least one struggle song from the Wits EFF members.

6. Black lives still don’t matter

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Wits EFF members waiting for the keys to their rooms at Wits Senate House. Photo: Sibongile Machika

 

Some of the suspended students lived at Wits University residences as they hail from outside the Gauteng province. When the students were suspended, they were kicked out of res but there was little consideration for where they would stay and what they would eat. Granted, they are all adults who must think about the implications of the actions but education is a holistic experience.

The living circumstances of students must always be considered in both teaching and disciplining students.

7. Youth drives change

 

Wits EFF members at the men's res march. Photo: Tanisha Hieberg

Wits EFF members at the men’s res march. Photo: Tanisha Hieberg

 

Wits EFF students and the rest of the students driving the transformation across South Africa have inspired the nation in the same way that the class of ’76 did. No matter what happens now, there is no going back.

Violence on Social Media

Violence on Social Media

The prevalence of Social Media has meant that ‘online violence’ has become an issue that needs to be grappled with.  Wits hosted a discussion to find a tactical way of handling and countering this.

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ONLINE VIOLENCE: Wits transformation manager Pura Mgolombane (right) opening the discussion on violence on online spaces and before introducing Nyx Mclean (middle) and Thoko-Jean Chilenga (left) as two of the speakers.

Wits Transformation and Employment Equity Office hosted a discussion focusing on online spaces as platforms for ongoing violence yesterday afternoon.

It was necessary for a discussion about violence on social media because it is becoming a common problem at Wits, according to transformation manager Pura Mgolombane.

“Wits University is not sure how to deal with these kinds of situations.”

The discussion panel included Professor Tommaso Milani, Thoko-Jean Chilenga representing #TransformWits and Nyx McLean a co-editor of HOLAA.

The line between online violence and freedom of expression was discussed as Milani argued that “absolute freedom of speech doesn’t exist as there are laws that prevent it.”

Mgolombane explained that Wits encourages the Bill of Rights and its limitations on freedom of speech. “We cannot allow people of Wits to insult or discriminate, but we can do more to clarify the lines between free speech and violence,” said Mgolombane.

“People are scared of online spaces as it can fall over to private physical space,” said Chilenga.

According to Chilenga, who met with the Black Students Movement (BSM) from Rhodes University during the #RhodesMustFall protests earlier this year, when BSM posted on social media they received threats. “People should be held accountable for things they say and do online as much as you would want them to be held accountable in a physical space,” said Chilenga.

McLean argued that social media is not just a platform for resistance, but it is also for people looking for “affirmation of existence.”

“People do serious emotional psychological harm if someone attacks someone who can only use pages [social media] for interaction and support,” said Mclean. She continued explaining that people keep looking over their shoulder when receiving a threat as there is no way of knowing whether or not to take it seriously.

Mgolombane believes the problem won’t be necessarily solved by rules, but value systems that people ascribe to such as students and staff who take up the values of Wits when they join the university.

i-Wits iyamukela amanye amalimi

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Inyuvesi i-WITWATRESRAND ihlela umgomo wokukhulunywa kwezilimi ezahlukahlukene. Lo mgomo uzohlanganisa isiZulu, isiSuthu kanye nesingisi (English) kube izilimi ezikhulunywa emagumbini okufundela nangaphandle kwamagumbi.

Inyuvesi i-WITWATRESRAND ihlela umgomo wokukhulunywa kwezilimi ezahlukahlukene. Lo mgomo uzohlanganisa isiZulu, isiSuthu kanye nesingisi (English) kube izilimi ezikhulunywa emagumbini okufundela nangaphandle kwamagumbi.

Lo mgomo ubuye uphakamise nokubandakanywa kolimi lwezandla lwase Ningizimu Afrika. Ukuphakanyiswa kwalo mgomo kusukela ekunconyweni yi-STRATEGIC PLANNING DIVISION eyaqhuba umklamo nokuhlolwa kwabafundi, ongweti, abefundisi, abezosekelo kannye namanye amalunga enyuvesi mayelana nalelisu.

Imiphumela yalolu chwaningo yaveza ukuthi abantu abakhuluma isisZulu nabakhuluma isiSuthu kulenyuvesi bachishe balingane ngokwenani.

“Loku kufunzelele ukugudluka emgomeni wokukhulunywa kwezilimi ezimbili kwaya emgomeni wokukhulunywa kwezilimi eziningi ezahlukahlukene, lezi zilimi azincintisani kodwa-nje zisetshenziswa abazikhulumayo ngezindlela ezahlukene.” kubeka  uMilani.

“Sidinga ukuboniswa ngokundlalekile emphakathini ngezilimi zethu njengomphakathi ezindaweni ezifana nama-LOGOS.”

Umgomo owendlule waphakanyiswa ngo-2003 lapho inyuvesi ithembisa ukuthuthukisa ulimi lwesiSuthu ilenze lube elokufundisa nalo kanye nesingisi. Lokhu kwakusho ukucwaningwa nokuthuthukiswa kwezi nsizakufunda, ubuchule bezolimi kubafundisi, ubuchuli bezolimi kongcweti kanye nakubafundi.

Ukushintshwa kolimi emibhalweni eqavile nasemithethweni yesikole, ukutolikwa emacaleni okuziphatha kabi kanye nokusetshenziswa kwezilimi  namasiko ahlukahlukene emicimbini enjenge yokuthweswa kweziqu  eminye yemithetho eyasungulwa ngaphansi kwalo mgomo.

Nokho, phezu kwawo wonke lama cebo inyuvesi ayizange iwamukele lo mugomo.

“Isidingo sasibonakala sona kodwa kukonke-nje, akubanga namizamo eyenziwa ndawonye.” Kubeka isekela shansela lezemfundo (deputy vice chancellor for academics) uAndrew Crouch.

Ungcweti oyilunga lwezolimi uTommaso Milani uthe umgomo owendlule wawu “umgomo owuphawu”, kanye nokuthi akukho nqubekela phambili eyenziwa ukuthuthukisa nokuqalisa isiSuthu la enyuvesi. Uqhube wathi lo mgomo wawu ngumbhalo nje oveza “ukuzenza kahle” kwenyuvesi maqondana nokusetshenziswa kwezilimi ezahlukene kodwa awuzange uguqulelwe ekwenzakaleni okubonakalayo.

Ngokuka Milani, ukunganda izikhubazo ezenzeke emgomeni owendlule inyuvesi kumele yabe imali yokuqaliswa komgomo omusha. Noma imuphi umgomo uyohlala “uwuphawu” uma kungekho noma kwentuleka inkece ebekelwe ukuba uqalwe, kusho uMilani.

UCrouch uvumile ukuthi inhloso yokwenza inyuvesi i-WITS isebenzise izilimi ezahlukahlukene kuzomele ibekelwe imali eyanele ukuze iphumelele.

“Akudingeki ukulahlekelwa isiko ngenxa yolwandle lwezeminotho.”kubeka uCrouch.

Izinkulumo ngalo mugomo omusha zizoqhubeka kuze kube uMandulo (August). Abafundi nabasebenzi benyuvesi bayagqugquzelwa ukuba babeke umbono wabo nabo. UMilani uthe uyathemba lo mgomo uzo “sekela ukulingana ngendlela eyiqiniso”

Ukusetshenziswa kwezilimi ezahlukahlukene sekuvele kuqalile kuyingxenye yezinhlelo zezifundo esikoleni sobudokotela (Wits Medical School) lapho abafundi kumele benze uhlelo lwezemfundo (a course) ngamalimi ajwayelekile aseNingizimu Afrika ngaphambi kokuba bathole iziqu zabo.

Ngokuka Karabo Ramugondo, ongungweti kwezamalimi aseAfrika nakwezolimi jikelele, uthe lo mgomo uzo “qiniseka ukusetshenziswa kwamalimi ahlukahlukene ezikhungweni lapho ezingaphezu kwelilodwa izilimi zingasetshenziselwa ukuloba, ukudla amathambo engqondo kanye nokuvundisa ulwazi.”

“siphila emiphakathini enamalimi namasiko athe chithi saka ahlukahlukene kanti lo mgomo wamukela ukuthuthukiswa kwamalimi aseAfrika ngaphandle kokuba asetshenziselwe ukuxhumana-nje emakhaya”kubeka uRamugondo.

Translated by: Mpilo Khumalo

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Raiders sing “I smell p*ssy”

Raiders sing “I smell p*ssy”

Raiders Men’s Residence are being investigated for sexual discrimination after singing the lyrics “I smell p*ssy” at Varsity Shield rugby match.

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SMELLING TROUBLE: Raiders Men’s Residence first years singing the lyrics “I smell p*ssy” led by senior residents at the Varsity Shield finals Monday night. PHOTO: Anlerie de Wet

Raiders Men’s Residence first years sang the lyrics “I smell p*ssy” led by their senior residents at the Varsity Shield finals on Monday night.

The Gender Equity Office (GEO) has received complaints from a staff member about this song being sung at a rugby match last month.

“Unfortunately individuals couldn’t be identified,” said the director of the GEO, Jackie Dugard.

Manager of the residence, Doreen Musemwa, said she does not know the song but she is aware that there is a problem of misogyny in the residence. “We are addressing issues such as this with the GEO, because we don’t want the group to spread the wrong message.”

“The wrong doers will face the wrath of the university”

According to Raiders Men’s Residence chairperson, Rodney Motjamela, the House Committee is not in a position to comment on the issue yet. Although Motjamela has confirmed he is aware that the first years know and sing this song, he wasn’t aware that they sang it Monday night.

“The case is being pursued by the GEO and the wrong doers will face the wrath of the university,” said Wits transformation manager of diversity, ethics and social justice, Pura Mgolombane.

Early last month Raiders Men’s Residence posted a series of sexually discriminating tweets, where, among other things, the screams of women having sex with residents were compared to that of a “dying bear”.

On 10 March the House Committee apologised in an official statement on Twitter for the sexist tweets saying: “We view sexism and misogyny as deplorable in all senses of the word, and going forward we will not be shy in conveying these beliefs.”

The GEO, Wits Transformation and Student Affairs met yesterday to discuss systemic interventions to be implemented in the residences early second semester, according to Mgolombane.

“The residences’ views must be in line with the university’s value system and since that is not the case we need to find collective solutions to solve this problem,” said Wits transformation manager of diversity, ethics and social justice, Pura Mgolombane. He believes that the fundamental problem lies in residence traditions, which influences the first years, “but the boys have agency”.

“We need to bring about awareness of these issues within residences and change the image these students have of women, but it starts with the first years,” said Musemwa.