Wits Vuvuzela journalist attacked on campus

A Wits Vuvuzela reporter was attacked on campus earlier today as she attempted to take photographs at a march against xenophobia.

Anlerie de Wet was taking photographs at an anti-xenophobia march organised by Wits EFF outside the Matrix building on the east campus of Wits University earlier today when she was confronted by a group of Wits EFF supporters.

The Journalism Honours students says a female supporter grabbed her around her wrist “trying to grab the camera out of my hand camera”, as other supporters rushed towards her.  “A male student reached from behind, and smacked my head,” she added.

“They said I’m not allowed to take photos,” De Wet said.

When she questioned why not, she says she was told that she did not ask for permission to take pictures of the march and “because I am white”.

ALSO READ: “You fucking whities”

Mbe Mbhele, secretary of Wits EFF confirmed that a confrontation with De Wet took place but said “there was no physical attack on her”. He said, “the journalist just took a picture of us without asking for permission”.

“When we asked her who she is, why she did not ask for permission, she said this is a public space and that is when the confrontation started,” Mbhele said.

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ON CAMERA: This is the last photograph Anlerie De Wet managed to take at the march outside the Matrix before EFF supporters tried take her camera from her. Photo: Anlerie De Wet.

Another Wits student, Ayanda Kunene, witnessed the Wits EFF supporters trying to take the camera from De Wet.

“She (Wits EFF supporter) grabbed the camera, wanting to take it away,” Kunene said.

Quintus Dirks, who also witnessed the incident, said, “I saw three EFF members, one grabbed the journalist’s camera … threatening to smack it”.

In a series of tweets this evening, the Wits EFF account tweeted: “We will not allow any media 2 (sic) take pictures of us without our permission … its against the law. No amount of reports you use will change that”.

“This is poor journalism and misrepresentation of the truth. You can do better really!”, another tweet read.

De Wet has reported the incident to Wits Campus Control.

A tale of two marches

Wits hosted two solidarity marches this week. The march on Monday was dedicated to Kenya and Tuesday was for Nigeria. Even though the idea was to march in solidarity, the turn out differed for each event.

A solidarity March For Kenya

Wits staff and students, led by vice-chancellor Adam Habib, marched in silence across the campus on Monday in solidarity with those affected by the massacre of 147 Kenyan students at Garissa University College earlier this month.

About 700 people, mostly dressed in black and with candles in their hands, marched from the FNB Building on West Campus to the steps of the Great Hall around lunchtime. Violet Molefe, the chairperson of Amnesty International at Wits, one of the organisers of the event, said the purpose of the march was not only to express solidarity with Kenya but also to introduce a new struggle for African youth.

Solidarity March for Kenya, with V.C Adam Habib .  Photo by: Reuven Blignault

Solidarity March for Kenya, with V.C Adam Habib .
Photo by: Reuven Blignault

“As we march, we stand in solidarity with the students from Kenya,” she said. “All of the time you see students being  angry, this is time to rise up as young leadership, not let the past generations to fix our problems,” Molefe said.

A solidarity March For Nigeria

In the same spirit of solidarity on Tuesday the School of Language, Literature and Media also marched. This was to  remember the Chibok girls from Nigeria who were abducted in April 2014. Led by the head of the Media Studies  department, Mehita Iqani, to the Great Hall, no more than 20 students attended. They had a moment of silence to  remember and remind themselves that it has already been a year.

According to Dr Ufuoma Akpojivi, who organised the march, the main reason the turnout was low was because  students think the Nigerian girls are forgotten. He also said the march was planned at the last minute.

“I met a student who said, please just forget about the bring back our girls,” he said. “I told her, let’s forget about  whether the girls are coming back or not, let’s create awareness,” said Akpojivi.

Akpojivi told Wits Vuvuzela the objective of the march was to create awareness and this was achieved.

“I am happy with the small turnout, because we managed to create awareness amongst our students,” said Akpojivi.

For Amnesty International organisers, despite having less than a week to plan their Garissa solidarity march, the turnout was bigger. They had a week to organise the event.

“We didn’t expect that much support,” Molefe said.

Wits theatre staff “cheated” out of overtime pay

EMPTY POCKETS:  Disgruntled staff at the Wits Theatre are clashing with new management, about over-time pay.  Photo: Lameez Omarjee

EMPTY POCKETS: Disgruntled staff at the Wits Theatre are clashing with new management, about over-time pay. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

Wits theatre staff are complaining about changes in the way they are paid overtime saying “new management” limits their claims.

“Our contract says five days a week, but now we work up to seven days sometimes,” said *Sipho, who works at the theatre.

*Sipho said the work hours set in their contracts have been spread out across the week, and not five days.  Even though workers come in on the weekends, they do not get paid for overtime because they are still working off the week’s required work hours.

Sipho was told by management they did not qualify for “overtime” pay because the “minister” does not allow it.  Sipho also said that “all” the staff were unhappy with conditions.

“They [are] limiting worker hours,” said Olivia Moeti, whose mother works at the Wits Theatre.  Workers finish at 3pm on weekdays but come in on Saturday to work the other hours required by their contract, she said.

The theatre employs five cleaners, two of whom are directly employed by Wits.

According to theatre manager Gita Pather, university policy states that anyone who earns under the threshold of R198 000 each year is entitled to overtime and has to work at least 42.5 hours a week. They also cannot work more than 10 hours overtime, because it is against labour law.

“The rules of the industry have been negotiated and are in line with university policy and labour laws,” she said. When she took over as manager, overtime rules were not strictly enforced.

“They were getting paid overtime and taking toil,” she said. “Those who didn’t qualify for overtime were being given it anyway … People had gotten used to being paid huge amounts of overtime.”

But this year, she was given a budget and has to use that amount allocated to overtime across the whole year.

Problems started when new management took over this year, said Moeti.   “My mum has been working here for 31 years, this is the first time it’s happening.”  The new management insists that these new rules come from Wits University, she said.

“According to management, they say, Wits says it’s [work on Saturdays] is not overtime … they say Wits says they must get a day off instead of paying them,” she said.

However, Pather did not know about this and said the only thing that has changed is the number of hours they are allowed to work. Unless it is festival time, employees do not work on a Sunday and they work off a call sheet.

Wits Services, who manage the cleaning staff, are not aware of any overtime issues. According to director Nicki McGee: “We undertake when appointing service providers via the approved, transparent tender processes, and in consultation with numerous stakeholders at the university.

“The service providers adhere to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act … to ensure that such practices do not occur.”

Additionally, there aren’t different rates for night shift, from 4pm to 8.30pm.  No provision for transport is made for staff ending their shifts at night.   “It’s not fair to let a woman walk to Bree in the middle of the night,” said Moeti.

Pather said security provides transport to all Wits employees who work late at night. “They take them to the taxi rank.”

Moeti said management was trying to save on expenses throughout the year so that they could get “more money in December”.  She said: “They’re trying to save, they’re saving on other people’s expense.”

She also said more people had problems but they were too scared to come forward, out of fear of losing their jobs.

“There is an issue,” Pather said. “But I have a set amount of money.” She said the theatre is “completely compliant”. She said she is aware of the unhappiness, but has a budget and has to manage that.

“I am completely satisfied that we are working within the rules set by the university and labour laws.”

Man dies saving girlfriend

Charlie Gomez, the young man who died trying to prevent his girlfriend from falling from the fourth floor of Milpark Mews last Saturday, 26 April.      Photo: Provided

HERO: Charlie Gomez died trying to prevent his girlfriend from falling from the fourth floor of Milpark Mews last Saturday, April 26.       Photo: Provided

A twenty-one-year man old died a hero when he attempted to save his girlfriend after she fell from an Auckland Park apartment building on Saturday.

Charlie Gomez was carrying his girlfriend, Minikazi Jojo, 22, were getting ready for a night out on Saturday. Gomez was carrying Jojo in his arms on Saturday as they walked up an outdoor stairwell to their apartment. But as she was being carried up, Jojo lost her balance and fell over the railing of the fourth floor.

Gomez lunged over the railing in an attempt to save her but lost his balance and fell from the balcony.

Jojo’s cousin, who had gone ahead to collect a set of keys, came back to find the couple on the ground.

According to a close family friend, paramedics arrived on the scene and Jojo and Gomez were both rushed to the intensive care unit of Milpark Hospital.

 

Gomez arrived in hospital with his legs broken. He briefly woke up and attempted to get up  before his heart failed and Gomez died two hours after being admitted to hospital.

[pullquote]“He didn’t have to save me, but he died my hero”[/pullquote]

Jojo sustained injuries to her neck, broken bones near her spine and suffered small scratches to her face. According to the family friend, Jojo knows her boyfriend’s last act was an attempt to save her from falling.

“He didn’t have to save me, but he died my hero, ” Jojo was heard saying in the hospital.

Gomez and Jojo, both University of Johannesburg students, had been dating for about two months before the accident.

University of Johannesburg students, Minikazi Jojo, posing against the railing of the Milpark Mews apartment building.   Photo: Provided

University of Johannesburg students, Minikazi Jojo, posing against the railing of the Milpark Mews apartment building. Photo: Provided

Jojo is expected to be be discharged in two weeks’ time, but her family hopes she will be able to her attend Gomez’s funeral this coming Saturday.

This is not the first fatality to happen in the building. In 2011, two AFDA students fell from a balcony of the sixth floor. The estimated 15 metre drop killed one of the students instantly.

The safety of Milpark Mews’ balconies is a concern to some residents.

“Nothing is stable, there’s cracks all over the place, and the railings aren’t high enough. I’m just wondering how many people are still going to lose their lives here?” said Jojo’s friend.

Wits Vuvuzela approached Milpark Mews security guards for comment but they professed ignorance about Jojo and Gomez’s accident. The caretaker of Milpark Mews, known only as “Ozzy”, could not be reached at his flat in the building nor on any of the provided phone numbers.

VIDEO: Marikana First Anniversary

AUGUST 16 marks the first anniversary of the fateful killing of Lonmin platinum mine workers in North West province. The event has been dubbed the “Marikana massacre” because police opened fire at over 30 protesting mine workers. A year later questions still need to be answered by the Marikana commission of inquiry regarding the police’s conduct and events leading to the disputes. Wits Vuvuzela took to the streets to ask Witsies whether they remember the event, its significance and how the day should be commemorated.

Camera operator

Mfuneko Toyana

Interviewer

Ray Mahlaka

Editor

Ray Mahlaka and Nomatter Ndebele

The gay-friendly Catholic church

IN A rare display of commitment to gay people, a Catholic church in Braamfontein has opened its doors to a homosexual support group.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) support group has been meeting fortnightly at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church near Wits to talk about their concerns and struggles and to give each other emotional support from a Christian perspective.

Outside Holy Trinity Church. Photo:Leigh-ann Carey

Outside Holy Trinity Church. Photo:Leigh-ann Carey

“The LGBTI group was formed five years ago when some parishioners came to tell me that do I know that there were gay people coming here and they feel marginalised and could we do something for them,” said Father Russell Pollitt, head parish priest at the church.

Group co-ordinator Dumisani Dube said they are not a “charity organisation” and the main aim of the group was to provide emotional support.

According to Pollitt, the Catholic Church is “quite traditional” in its views of homosexuality. However, he said there is a diversity of views within the church.

The Catholic Church has no issues with homosexual orientation, but it does not accept the “practice or lifestyle of homosexuality, i.e. any physical activity is taboo and not acceptable,” said Pollitt.

He adds: “I think the problem with religion is that we don’t think things through. We tend to think things in black and white…whereas human life is really grey.”

Pollitt also said there are discrepancies between what religion upholds and experiences of people.

Finding refuge in the church

Zacharia Kudumela, a member of the support group, recently discovered Holy Trinity after visiting “every church you could think of”.

“I found out about the church weeks ago and I liked it as they accept the LGBTI community. I felt that I belonged at the church. Most churches do not accept the LGBTI community and look down upon us and accuse us of sexual immorality.”

Kudumela said other churches he has visited avoided the topic of homosexuality.

“I’ve had good and bad experiences. At Holy Trinity, I have found a home. I feel like I can now hear the gospel of God, without any judgement.”

Resistance to the church

Pollitt said the road to embracing the LGBTI group at the church was met with anxiety. There was conflict with some church authorities and in some instances he received letters from people who disapproved or denounced the church’s stance on homosexuality.

“People were initially afraid…one or two people decided to go somewhere else because they felt I was trying to make this into a gay church… This place looks after many marginalised people…people left out from churches, because there is some stigma attached to them,” Pollitt said.

Dube said that people came to terms with the existence of the group and supported their cause as the “ministry is getting stronger by the day”.

Perception shift towards homosexuality

Pollitt said there has been a shift in perceptions on homosexuality as people would be uncomfortable if the words “gay and lesbian” were mentioned at his church years ago.  But attitudes were changing and homosexuality “is not a big deal” anymore.

“Some people still feel uncomfortable. There was a guy who walked out of the church recently when he saw pamphlets at the door. He said it’s disgusting [that this] was happening in the church,” he said.

Pollitt said he would be happy to share the LGBTI programme for other congregations to also welcome homosexual people. However, he said no other Catholic church has approached him yet.

He does not believe the Catholic Church would change its opinion on homosexuality, as the church’s definition of marriage is that it is between a man and woman and “any sexual activity should be in the context of marriage”.

Creative activist hopes to rescue mine kids

A 25-year-old Witsie has taken it upon himself to help the children of Marikana make it through school by raising money for their fees.

Eliot Moleba explains his creative freedom.

Dramatic Arts graduate responsible for Marikana school fund

Dramatic Arts graduate responsible for Marikana school fund                   Photo by: Mfuneko Toyana

Dramatic arts graduate Eliot Moleba has started a fund whose proceeds will be invested by Investec and the profits used to subsidise the long-term education of the children of miners killed and injured in last August’s Marikana massacre.

The massacre made headlines around the world when police opened fire on protesting workers, killing 34 miners and injuring more than 70.

Moleba said South Africa’s history of violence against the most vulnerable people in society, which has carried over to the present day, inspired him to found the fund-raising campaign.

“As a theatre student my work tended to focus on social issues; there was always a need to speak back to the people and articulate a sense of history and the present,” Moleba said.

The Marikana Scholarship Fund aims to raise money through donations by putting the story of the children of the miners at the centre of the conversation about Marikana.

“Once the dust settled after the killing of miners, the narrative of women and wives of miners began to emerge but still the story of the kids was marginalised.”

Moleba says it was this story that was not being told that got him thinking.

But merely creating awareness around the children’s situation rang hollow for the man who now freelances in the creative industry and is also a consultant at the Wits Writing Centre.

It was this sense that “art should make a lasting difference in people’s lives” that inspired the idea for a play staged last year, The Man in the Green Jacket, highlighting the politics of what happened in Marikana.

Moleba struggled to identify how he could use his creativity to have a lasting impact. He said he finally realised education was key.

“It’s fucked up that in this country, that for you to ask for a raise, you have to be prepared to lose your life. And for an employer to make a profit, he has to be prepared to take your life,” Moleba said. This is “the reality that has continued from apartheid and must be changed”.

Two weeks ago NGO Education Africa joined the campaign and on Sunday Moleba leaves for Germany, where he will take up a 10-week scholarship that focuses on training those who make theatre for social change.

A visibly excited Moleba remained realistic about the trip and the mammoth task that organising the fund has been.

“Being in Europe I’ll be exposed to a greater market and hopefully this means more donations. It will also be a space to refine my ideas on how to use different media to execute projects.”

Moleba is no slouch in campaigning on media though.    Of the 1000 people a month he interacts with, on Twitter, Facebook, on his blog and in person, he says makes sure he “personally speaks to at least 700 of them”.

And a few weeks ago musician Black Coffee retweeted Moleba’s Twitter campaign and plenty followed soon after. He admits, though, that this does not always translate into real donations.

“I don’t blame people for not donating. It’s their money and it’s up to me to go back and make the product better.”

Moleba seems to thrive on pressure and sees the sacrifices – time and money – as a small price for doing something that personally matters to him.

Moleba’s motto is an interesting variation on a common maxim: “I like biting off more than I can chew; it means there’s always more for me to chew.”

Related Video

Creative activist Eliot Moleba

SRC FB hack: Student mis-Representive council

A Wits Students Representative Council (SRC) Facebook account was hacked into recently but the culprit is still at large.

The secretary of the SRC is investigating.

The hacker caused trouble  by using  the Facebook page to post derogatory comments about a former SRC member.

Head of Media and Marketing officer of the SRC Charmaine Pule said there was some confusion because the SRC page did not specifiy what year it was therefore the offensive comments were associated with the present SRC group.

“Tasneem Essop our secretary is investigating the issue,” Pule said. The SRC will only release a statement after the issue has been resolved.

In the meanwhile, in another social media incident, the Twitter profile of the SRC has also received some criticism from some students.  A group of Afrikaans students informed Vuvuzela that they  felt excluded from the SRC twitter platform because  there was no greeting in the Afrikaans language on the daily SRC greeting tweet.

The greeting only reflected eight of the official languages. The Afrikaans students felt that because Afrikaans was the third most spoken language in the country, it should have been included.

However, Pule responded: “We didn’t choose to exclude anyone. It was an honest mistake and it will be rectified,” She informed Vuvuzela that it would be impossible to include all languages in the greeting. This is due to the nature of the character space on Twitter. Twitter allows for only 140 characters.

The SRC will launch a change to the greeting on Twitter to the student body. Each day will have three languages represented in the greeting as hashtags.

This aims to include all official languages excluding sign language in a week. “We also try to encourage students to greet back in their official languages to engage with students in their mother tongues,” Pule said.

Pule shared that the amendments will be implemented as soon as possible.

A long way to go for Wits Rugby

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By Jay Caboz

FNB Wits have been left a mountain to climb after falling to bottom place with a 63-24 loss to FNB University of Johannesburg after squaring off in their first Varsity Cup match.

“The match obviously didn’t pan out the way we would have wanted but we have to take the positives out of it. We started the game too slow and after UJ got a few early tries we were playing catch up, which is never an easy thing to do,” said Wits Captain Devin Montgomery.

UJ ran in an overwhelming 9 tries to Wits’ three. Wits also fell short of a needed bonus point by a single try in their last two games. The points would have narrowed the broadening gap between Ikeys and Shimlas who are now four and six points ahead of Wits.

Luckily, Wits’ position in the Varsity Cup is secured for the 2013 season. Montgomery explained that there was no relegation zone this year guaranteeing that Wits will have two years in the competition.

“This is to ensure that we are given a fair chance to learn and adapt to this high level of rugby,” he said, “We know that every game in this competition is going to be tough and each week it’s never going to get any easier.”

“We have defended a lot this season and there has been a big gap between the number of tackles we have had to make compared to our opponents in every game.”

Wits are gaining a reputation of a never-say-die attitude on the field. During their match against UJ, Wits showed brief moments of brilliance when going forward. One of the key members to watch is Number 8 Carel Greeff who has proven to be an influential player in the squad having added another two tries to his five for the season in four matches.

“Carel is a great player and is playing great rugby at the moment. We have a couple of go-to ball carriers in the team, one of which is Carel,” said the captain.

The No. 8 has become well known for his crashing runs through opposing lines and he is a tenacious tackler that has made him an important element in the squad.

Montgomery said the “this Varsity Cup campaign is about learning and gaining experience playing at this top level of rugby for us.”

The team’s goals were to work hard in training and aim to perform for the full 80 minutes with making as little mistakes as possible.

“Wits will earn the reputation of being a difficult fixture I have no doubt about that. The team has a special bond and because we spend so much time together there is a family sense amongst the team,” he said.

For more Varsity Cup action follow the link

FNB WIts vs FNB NWU-PUKKE

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Wits beat Crusaders

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by Jay Caboz

The influence of Witsies Demi du Toit and Jaime Martin proved too much for Crusaders B as the pair played a hand in every goal of a 6-4 win on Monday evening at the Fourways Indoor Stadium.

Crusaders made the first move of the game forcing Wits goalkeeper Zimisile Shanghe to make a save over the side line from a difficult angle. Crusaders continued to look dangerous going forward until Wits’ Urselar Lesar successfully snuffed out the threat.

In the 13th minute, du Toit was able to snatch the ball from a Crusader centre link to feed Wits’ Gabriela Garcia, who was left unmarked at top D. The striker calmly slotted the ball in the right of the net to put Wits 1-0 up.

Shanghe was forced into action a final time in the half when Crusaders took a quick free hit towards the goal. She was up for the challenge, ensuring Wits remained in the lead at halftime and kept Wits 1-0 up at the halftime break.

The game exploded in the second half when Martin stole a ball from the Crusaders defence within the first minute. She hit the right hand corner of the board, seconds after making a poor decision that could have won her a penalty corner. Her celebration was well deserved having made the goal from nothing and giving Wits a two goal cushion.

Martin, who was playing a high attacking role, was proving to be a handful for the Crusaders defenders. In the 26th minute, Martin added another to her tally after she deflected a wrong-side penalty corner drag- flick by du Toit.

In the 30th minute, Crusaders’ Yolanda Kruger converted to draw the score line back to 3-1.
Martin then neatly pocketed her hat trick by wrong siding the keeper with a delicately placed shot, rather than her usual powerful efforts from top D, that went into the keepers near side post.

Crusaders’ Kruger took advantage of an off-the-line clearance by du Toit which deflected, with force, off her stick to rebound over Shanghe and into the net. Kruger managed to find the back of the net again, scoring her own hat trick and putting the score at 4-3 to Wits.

Wits went with a decision to exploit the wrong side corner again when du Toit rammed home a drag flick into the top right hand corner.

With five minutes left on the clock Crusaders’ Deslie Lester managed to squeeze in a deflection from top D from a well crossed ball.

Wits kept possession of the ball in the last few minutes, frustrating the Crusaders bench. Martin’s dribbles found space once again at the top of the D and this time she opted to win a penalty corner with some neat stick skills. The wrong-side corner was once again utilised and du Toit obliged with her second goal of the match to put Wits 6-4 ahead and end the game.

How have the women done this season? Click to read more
Hockey Women vs St Andrews
Hockey Women vs Crusaders A
How have the men done this season? Click to read more
Hockey Men vs Jeppe A
Hockey Men vs Wanderers A

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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.