Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers hosts Soweto camp fest 2015

Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers hosts Soweto camp fest 2015

The fifth annual Soweto camp festival kicked off yesterday at Lebo’s Backpackers in Soweto and will run right through the Easter Weekend until Monday, April 6.

Situated in the heart of Orlando West at the corner Pooe & Ramushu streets, the festival offers young and old people the chance to camp outdoors for the weekend. People can bring their own tent to the festival or opt to pay for the special package which gets you and a friend access and a free tent that you get to keep for life.

“We want to awaken a camping consciousness, particularly because it is something that is unusual among the Soweto community,” said organiser Lebo Malepa.

Live music bands and local dj’s will provide a variety of entertainment for day visitors and campers.  While early morning bicycle tours around Soweto are being offered for free to campers to the nearby Hector Peterson museum and famous Vilikazi street. Board games are available for all to indulge while hammocks provided will be ideal for those who just love to laze around.

Stoves and camp fires are set up at the venue and people are encouraged to bring food that they can cook in the spirit of camping. A gear list for the event includes; linen, utensils, a camp chair, a torch and a cooler bag according to camp maestro Malepa.

Through this event the organisers want to not only school people on camping, but to also to encourage local tourism as well as entrepreneurship among young people.

“The festival is an open space for networking and dialogue with campers from near and far,” said Malepa.

The festival has been organised in conjunction with Ghetto Mentality Entertainmen, the Gauteng Tourism Authority and Johannesburg Tourism.

“We are calling entrepreneurs to come and use the space to meet potential clients and partners and to have open dialogue on how we can move forward as a country as the number of people attending is growing every year,” Malepa said.

Organisers have employed young men and women from the community to do various things like helping to set up tents, and provide security and car guarding.

Let’s talk about sex, baby!

Let’s talk about sex, baby!

The Seventh annual Sex Actually festival produced by Drama for Life (DFL) is here, with the theme “Love, Intimacy and Human Connection”.

A plethora of theatre performances, workshops, sex talk series and community dialogues are taking place at the Wits Theatre. The festival started this week and runs till the end of the month.

It will offer a platform for audiences to critique social change interventions in sex-related issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexual violence and abuse.

In the opening address for the festival, DFL director Warren Nebe, said the festival was launched as an initiative to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa.

He said the aim of the festival is to explore human connections in all its shapes and forms. DFL wanted to create a festival thats transcends race, class, gender and sexualities.

Tarryn Lee, Sex Actually festival director, said this year the festival is a public intervention looking to use exciting mediums to talk about sex, relationships and HIV/AIDS since it is often viewed as a heavy subject. They use dialogue to break the silence around the stigmas attached to taboo issues.

“In South Africa specifically, sex is often a very heavy subject in our society … It’s not always a celebrated subject and is also filled with many myths and taboos,” she said.

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TALK SEX: Drama For Life students perform Ships by Night by Megan Godsell in the opening of Sex Actually festival at Wits Theatre. Photo: Anazi Zote


Lee said the myths and taboos around sex need to be de-mystified and brought to light so that sex-related issues “are challenged in our community, our families and work space”.

South African National AIDS Council (SANCA) Deputy Chairperson, Mmapaseka Steve Letsike, appeared at the official opening of the Sex Actually festival. Her opening address started by praising women for their fight for human rights.

“By talking we facilitate dialogue and conversation about the certain taboos that encircle our society,” Letsike said.

Although she highlighted the triumphs of women who fought political struggles she said the current fight over HIV/AIDS is prevalent in young women aged 15-24. According to the Mail & Guardian, the rate of HIV amongst females is four times higher than that of males in the same age group.

“We have committed to really focus on young women,” said Letsike, adding that SANCA had also  launched the Zazi campaign, which is about knowing yourself, embracing yourself and knowing your status, ” Letsike said.

Zazi is a Zulu word meaning “know yourself”. It reminds women to know their inner strength, value and what it means to be themselves so they can overcome adversity. The programme was launched at the University of Johannesburg  on Soweto campus in partnership with the Department of Social Development.

In the meanwhile, Wits students at DFL take pride in this year’s festival performances because it raises awareness on issues which continually face youth. Damilola Apotieri, Masters student at DFL, thinks the festival is a good opportunity for students to lend themselves to different conversations around sex and relationships in hopes to generate more knowledge on these issues.

“Personally, I will recommend that all Wits students attend as there can never be any better platform to engage with such issues,” Apotieri said.

INFOGRAPHIC: Sudden deaths in young people are related to cardiovascular disease

FINAL_Sudden deaths in young people related to heart diseaseA public lecture addressing the sharp increase in the number of sudden deaths among young people was held at the Wits Medical School last week.

Presented by Professor Dimitri Constantinou, Director of the Fifa Medical Centre Of Excellence, the lecture focused on sudden death among athletes and argued that most of these deaths were caused by  cardiovascular disease.

Constantinou said the media has a significant role to play in educating people about cardiovascular disease especially when it involves prominent footballers.

Instead of informing people, he said, the media tends to sensationalise these deaths and misses the opportunity to raise awareness about the risks of cardiovascular disease in young people.

According to Constantinou, anyone at risk of cardiovascular disease is at a high risk of having a heart attack if they exercise.

In these cases, high-risk persons, especially professional athletes, need to be closely and regularly monitored.

Constantinou recommends that anyone who is engaging in any form of exercise should go for regular heart wellness screenings.