WITH GALLERY: Wits reses battle it out

The All Res Sports Day brings students living at Wits University residences together, in a day of sweaty but friendly play.  

The All Res Sun-Council (ARSC) hosted their annual sports day at Digs field, pitting residences against one other for a podium finish.

Barnato Hall, Noswal Hall, David Webster Hall, Wits Junction, Girton Hall, Sunnyside Hall, Jubilee Hall, Reith Hall, Amani, Braamfontein Centre Residence, Medhurst Hall, West Campus Village, Knockando Hall, Ernest Oppenheimer Hall (EOH) and Men’s Res took to the fields and courts to compete on May 13, 2023. 

Sports such as netball, soccer, basketball, touch rugby, chess and indigenous games were played throughout the day.  

ARSC media officer, Basetsane Sithole said “This year we are really excited to try make it as big as possible [by] involving sponsors such as Redbull; this is an event for us to get the reses back together again because we haven’t done anything like this since O-week [orientation week].” 

Khethani Makhithi, Junction men’s soccer coach said, “Junction is not a well-established football team with a strong heritage like Knockendo which is known for its football prowess.”  

Makhithi said even though the match against Knockando ended in a 1-1 draw, but won in penalties, he believes it was a tight game throughout.  

Asemahle Mazamela, netball referee during a clash off between Wits Junction and Noswal said that the match went well besides the fact that “the other team [Wits Junction] only had 5 players but they tried,” which unfortunately led them to an early knockout. 

Phenyo Leornard Moje, a player for Noswal netball team was injured in the first quarter of the final match against Barnato. He felt guilty for not being able to help his team in the first two quarters of the match. Despite not being fully healed, he decided to rejoin the game in third and fourth quarter of the match. 

At the end of the sports day, the reses who came third, second and first place each received trophies and medals.  

The first-place winners were:  

  • EOH in touch rugby, men’s basketball  
  • Barnato in netball, Barnato in women’s basketball and Barnato in women’s soccer 
  • Braam Centre in men’s soccer 
  • Men’s res in chess 
  • Reith Hall in all the indigenous games 
  • The spirit award was given to David Webster  

The games all ended in high spirits as the winners celebrated and danced on the courts, Neliswa Mpangeni, one of the spectators from Noswal Hall said that she has been at Digs filed since 8 in the morning and enjoyed supporting her team who were participating in the different sports. 

The sports day concluded with roaring cheers and jubilation. The reses showcased their skills and sportsmanship, plus made memories were made that would last a lifetime. 

FEATURED IMAGE: EOH playing touch rugby against Men’s res Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya


RUGBY: Lions roar to victory  

The Lions triumphed with a dominant 40-19 victory over the junior Springboks, showcasing their rugby prowess.  

In a gripping showdown at Wits rugby stadium on May 11, 2023, the u/20 Springboks fell short against the Lions in an action-packed friendly rugby match.  

The Lions’ scrum-half secures the ball after the scrum in the match. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya

In the first half of the match the junior Springboks seemed to be in control, scoring the opening five point try of the match followed by a successful two-point conversion kick. 

Shortly after, the Lions scored their first try and conversion kick, bringing the scoreboard to an even 7-7. The junior Springboks answered with, yet another try and conversion to gain a seven-point lead. But that was short lived as the Lions quickly matched them with another try and conversion, ending the first half on 14 points apiece.  

The second half of the match got off to a slower start, but the same pace of play was quickly picked up 10 minutes into the half, when the Lions scored a try that saw them in the lead with 21-14. Just a few minutes later another try shot them up to 26-14.  

A decisive scrum saw the junior Springboks wrestle back some momentum, but it was not enough to stop yet another try and conversion by the Lions, who sat pretty at 33-14. By the end of the game, the junior Springboks only added five points to their side of the scoreboard, while the Lions won with a 21-point difference.  

The Lions and u/20 Springboks fans are mixed-seated on the grandstands and they intensely watch the friendly rugby game. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya

The energy from the field could be felt in the stands as fans’ audible excitement accompanied every tackle and try.  

Prince Mavundla, a spectator said, “The game was really nice; even though the Lions were dominating the game, my favourite team is the [junior Springboks].” 

Kelly Mpeku, who plays the outside-centre for the Lions and first try scorer of the match said, “It was a good game [and] very physical. I’m glad the boys [teammates] came through at the end of the day.” 

Springbok coach, Bafana Nhleko said that the match is part of their journey and the team’s learning curve that will prepare them for their match against the Sharks on Monday, 15. 

FEATURED IMAGE: The ball is thrown in during a lineout and secured by one of the junior Springboks. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya


Privilege, freedom and the future

Students weighed in on whether the ANC will remain relevant in a South Africa that is getting increasingly younger, report by Ayanda Mgwenya and Morongoa Masebe.

Twenty-nine years on, young people feel alienated from the ruling party and think it’s time for change. This was the overwhelming sentiment at a dialogue hosted by Wits University’s Amnesty Society.  

The privilege walk 

The event hosted as part of Freedom Month celebrations saw the Wits outdoor ampitheatre transformed into a stage on which student’s varying levels of privilege was put to the test.  

All attendees were instructed to stand in a horizontal line and asked a series of questions pertaining their geographical background, parental presence, financial status, race and more. 

The attendees were asked questions about their experiences with skipping meals, worrying about school fees, and being the first in their family to graduate. Depending on these answers, students had to step forwards or backwards.  

Mthobisi Thwala, Wits student said, “I thought more people would be in the frontline just like me, but this exercise has made me aware of the existence of dynamics around different geographical backgrounds.” 

While performative, the exercise drives home the point about the very real implications of living in one of the most unequal countries in the world.  

Attendees of the community dialogue responding to the ‘privilege walk’ questions asked by the Wits Amnesty Society Chairperson Photo: Morongoa Masebe

The dialogue session 

The second part of the evening opened a dialogue with attendees. Deputy chairperson of Wits Amnesty, Florentine Vangu asked “Twenty- nine years on, should Nelson Mandela’s legacy be celebrated for the democratic and human rights change it brought to South Africa or should it be criticized for focusing too much on peace and reconciliation and not enough on addressing the historical impact of apartheid on the socio- economic status and problems still faced by black, coloured and Indian people today?”

Responses were mixed but most attendees expressed dissatisfaction over what they called the “negotiated settlement” and the lingering legacy of Apartheid in their everyday lives.  

UNICEF chairperson of the Wits branch, Siphesihle Mkhwanazi told Wits Vuvuzela that youth-led conversations like this need to be “broadcast nationally because [citizens of South Africa] have to have uncomfortable conversations in order to have a feasible future”. 

When Vungu asked, “to what extent do you agree or disagree that the ANC is no longer relatable to the everyday black South African”? Most of the students who responded, agreed with the statement. 

Wits SRC Compliance Officer, Karabo Matloga was in awe of the discussion because he admires the gathering of active young people who “shape discussions and the narratives to change the state of the economy [in South Africa]”. The hope is that more engagements like this will take place ahead of the 2024 nation election.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Attendees seated during the community dialogue. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya


Wits to build a new cutting-edge sports complex  

The sports facility is set to be a flagship Wits centenary project for prospectus student athletes. The university celebrated its centenary last year.  

The unveiled plaque of The Brian and Dorothy Zylstra Sports Complex at Wits Education. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya

Wits has received a whooping R250 million donation towards the building of The Wits Brian and Dorothy Zylstria Sports Complex for student athletes. The complex is set to boost the university’s athletic prospects and support the next generation of athletes. The announcement was officially made during the launch ceremony hosted at Wits Education Campus, on May 4.   

The director of Wits Sport and Health, Professor John Patricios said the donor — Zylstra’s family foundation Skye — has enormously contributed not only to the enrichment of the future generation athletes but also towards remodeling Wits University’s disposition in sports.  

During the ceremony, the representative of the Zylstra family, Phil Zylstria said, “My father [Brian Zylstria] studied at Wits in the 1960s, and the university changed his life. He was a governor at the university, and he raised money for the university.” 

He added that his father has always been thankful for what the university has done for him, and that is why he started the foundation in 1997. 

The Zylstria family has been giving Wits student athletes scholarships since 1998, through the foundation, as a form of gratitude towards the university’s influence in the late Wits alumnus’ life.  

The family believes this sports complex will benefit the surrounding communities in Johannesburg and bring positive change.  

Patricios, emphasized the transformative impact of the sports facility, stating that, “this complex will revolutionize what Wits can offer in sports and exercise-medicine.”  

The complex has three pillars of focus: academic, research and clinical management. In a statement released by the university on the day of the ceremony, it said the sports facility will incorporate sports science training, research, and practical clinical applications. It will consist of state-of-the-arts therapeutic amenities, a swimming center, and a residential area with 44 beds dedicated to accommodating top-tier athletes. 

The sports complex will accommodate Wits student athletes and other high performing tertiary students around the community of Johannesburg who may come from intuitions without adequate sports facilities. 

At the end of the ceremony, the dean of student affairs at Wits University, Jerome September, delighted attendees by unveiling a remarkable surprise during the event – a Wits Sports book authored by Dr Jonty Winty. The book chronicles the rich history of sports at Wits University, dating back a century. As a thoughtful gesture, each attendee was gifted a copy of it, allowing them to cherish and reflect upon the university’s sporting heritage.  

The architectural plans have been distributed and the building construction is set to commence early January 2024 and set to be completed in 2025/26. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Representative of the Zystra family and Sky Foundation, Phil Zylstra, Wits vice-chancellor Zeblon Vilakazi and Jon Patricios, Professor of Sport and Exercise Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty Health Sciences at Wits unveil the Wits Brian and Dorothy Zylstra Sports Complex plaque. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya


Braamfontein street rocks to the sound of music

Duo captivates passers-by with energetic performance, bringing excitement and joy to the community.

A small crowd did not deter two musicians from giving a stellar performance on Bertha Street, Braamfontein on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

Their soulful performance left the small audience in awe, and passers-by were so captivated they would stop for a moment to listen to singer and guitarist, Zimbabwe-born Vusumuzi Mkandla, and guitarist Nkanyezi Mazibuko who hails from KwaZulu-Natal.

The duo performed songs by well-known South African musicians including the likes of Zahara, Nathi Mankayi and the late Robbie Malinga. Mkandla’s countryman, the late Oliver Mtukudzi, also featured in their list of songs, as did Tracy Chapman, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.

Vusumuzi Mkandla performs the track Bekezela by the artist Bekezela: Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya

They told Wits Vuvuzela that this was their first time busking in Braamfontein and they appreciated the warm reception and monetary contributions as a token of appreciation, encouragement and support.

“I am still quite new in the industry,” said Mkandla. “I started playing the guitar in 2019/20 and started singing in 2022.”

The two met on social media platform TikTok in January and decided to collaborate. In March they established their music production company, Mbuso Production, with the hope that one day they would build a musical empire that would connect people, especially in Africa, through music.

“We usually perform at the streets in Maboneng, and we’ve just begun doing gigs at a local restaurant in Maboneng called Bertrand Café,” Mazibuko said.

A woman who was in the small crowd said that this was a welcome experience for her because school had drained her. “I enjoyed the performance,” she said.

Mazibuko and Mkandla ended with a performance of their very first original song titled Inyok’encane. They plan to release their first joint extended play (EP) in July followed by Mkandla’s second album in September.

FEATURED IMAGE: Vusumuzi Mkandla and Nkanyezi Mazibuko perform in front of a small crowd in Braamfontein. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya


Success can be engineered through holistic education

Individualised learning, teacher development, educational resources, infrastructure and parental involvement are all needed if students are to excel.

Parental involvement is key in achieving academic success – this was one of the takeaways from a seminar on holistic education hosted by Mookodi Mokoatl, an engineering student at Wits University.

The seminar, titled ‘Holistic Investment in Education’ was facilitated by Mokoatle at Wits main campus on April 21, 2023.

“We cannot expect, especially black parents, who were never exposed to the same education system to support their children education-wise. That is why Lehae Arcadia is there to bridge that gap, to support parents and show them different ways to involve them in their children’s educational lives,” Mokoatle said.

He added that that lack of adequate resources and infrastructure are among the disadvantages that prohibit quality education, and actively distress and derail teachers and lecturers in the facilitation of classes.

“The goal is to promote a more sustainable and equitable future for all through comprehensive learning,” he said.

Guest speaker, Dr. Ben Mahadu, associate lecturer at Wits said, “Education needs financial resources because ultimately, it needs to produce marketable graduates who will know how to communicate, who will understand leadership skills and know how to do presentations.”

Another guest speaker, Dr. Bernard Langton, college principal at CBC Mount Edmund said, “We need to probate the private sector, which is the business sector, to get involved in education.”

Langton emphasised collaboration across sectors and reminded attendees that while “the legacy of apartheid is present, we can’t always blame the apartheid regime”.

David Saleh, one of the attendees and Mokoatle’s colleague said, “The seminar has helped me understand my purpose, that I am here to innovate and to impact change, and simply not be a workforce.” Bachelor of Education student, Kamogelo Chauke said, “I attended the seminar with intention. Hopefully, we can start our own Holistic Education Institution that will break beyond the boundary of the current curriculum.”

Mookodi hopes to use his engineering expertise to further develop his educational consulting company, Lehae Acadia and hopes that one day he could become a teacher because of his great passion for education.

FEATURED IMAGE: From the left: guest speaker Dr Ben Mahadu, Dr Bernard Langton, host and CEO of Lehae Arcadia Mookodi Mokoatle, CEO of AnalyticsX Talifhani Banks and David Saleh at the far right are listening to Dr Irene Kamar as she renders her presentation at the seminar. Photo: Mojela Mahlatsi /Supplied


OBITUARY: ‘Bright, dynamic’ Witsie laid to rest

Former student activist remembered for serving selflessly, and for being the epitome of black excellence.

Tiego Moseneke, who has died at the age of 60, has been described as “a very persuasive and dynamic leader” by Professor Firoz Cachalia, chairperson of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council.

The businessman, lawyer and Wits alumnus died in a car accident on the night of April 19, while on the way home in Pretoria. He was the brother of retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke.

“I have known Tiego for over 40 years. He always acted strategically. He lived a very dynamic life, and we were close friends,” said Cachalia who mobilised Moseneke during the 2015/6 #FeesMustFall movement to actively engage with the Wits SRC leadership and to share their perspective from their experiences as student leaders in the early 1980s.  

Moseneke was among anti-apartheid student activists who fought for the right to education, syncing with the national movement at the time. In 1983 he was elected president of the Black Students Society at Wits University.  

Dr Kenneth Creamer, senior lecturer at the school of economics and finance, said, “Over the past six years, Tiego played a key role in setting up the South African Students Solidarity Foundation for Education (SASSFE) [in 2016] to mobilise alumni to support students in need.”

He served in the first national executive of the United Democratic Front, with the current deputy president of the country, Paul Mashatile, and was an executive member of the ANC in Gauteng after its unbanning in 1990. 

Moseneke founded several companies, among them the New Diamond Corporation, which partnered with De Beers, and New Platinum Corporation. He also founded the law firm, Moseneke & Partners and was also the founder and controlling shareholder of the investment company, Encha Group.

“Tiego understood well the importance of patience, tolerance and wisdom in unravelling the complexities of race and class in South Africa and I watched his growth with pride from afar. His sagacity, and compelling mix of quiet thoughtfulness and boundless energy is a massive loss to a country that needs, more than ever, such qualities. My thoughts are with his family in this a sorrowful time,” said Dr David Johnson who is the university reader in comparative and international education and fellow of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. 

Moseneke was laid to rest at Zandfontein Cemetery in Pretoria on April 26. Delivering the eulogy, his brother Dikgang said, “Tiego’s distinct gift was his intellect. He was bright.” His wife, Koketso Moseneke, described him as the “epitome of love and laughter”.

FEATURED IMAGE: Tiego Moseneke at the launch of the South African Student Solidarity Foundation for Education in April 2016. Photo: Duane Jones


GALLERY: Wits Autumn graduation

Graduates are accompanied by family and friends to celebrate their academic achievements.

Wits University awarded hundreds of qualifications to students from various fields of study during its annual Autumn graduation, between April 17 and April 26, at the Wits Great Hall. Wits Vuvuzela journalists, Ayanda Mgwenya and Rethabile Mafisa were there to capture some of the special moments.

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits graduates leaving the Great Hall after the graduation ceremony Photo: Rethabile Mafisa


REVIEW: Jazz saxophonist serenades Joburg 

Jazz musician shares his lockdown-composed album with fans in Braamfontein

Songstress Keorapetse performing The Call at Untitled Basement on March 31, 2022. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya

 Jazz saxophonist Sisonke Xonti captured the heart strings of young jazz enthusiasts with his first ever Joburg performance of his album, UGaba: The Migration at Untitled Basement. 

Xonti composed the album during the 2020 hard lockdown, imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which left many South Africans mourning their family members who have passed, while others were left in a precarious financial position as jobs were shed.  

The album consists of nine tracks that tell stories of Xonti’s life, including the trials and afflictions he phased when he moved to Johannesburg – the City of Gold – in 2013, from Khayelitsha, in the Western Cape.  

Typical of the performances that take place at Untitled Basement, Xonti and his four-piece band were set up at the centre of the venue, surrounded by eager jazz fans who wanted to hear the album, live, first-hand.  

His band members consisted of significant jazz maestros such as drummer Sphelelo Mazibuko, pianist Yonela Mnana, double bassist Benjamin Jephta and vocalist Keorapetse Kolwane. 

Warm and dim lights hung over the musicians – adding to the soft ambience that permeated all over the entire basement.  

The band started their performance with the song, The Migration Suite Part One – which is part of a collection of songs, Migration Suite Part two, three and four in the album. The songs are the essence of the album, as they depict Xonti’s endurance of the difficulties he encountered in his journey to Johannesburg. The Migration One was performed with so much emotion and depth that some audience members closed their eyes, so they could let their other senses absorb the music. 

The audience was hungry for more – and Xonti delivered. They also performed Newness, which is the first track on the album. The song is a salutation to the birth of his daughter, explained Xonti to Wits Vuvuzela after his performance.  Newness is a beautifully crafted prelude of the album with a significant irregular beat in the bridge, that represent the vicissitudes of life his daughter will experience and overcome. Xonti explained that Ugaba is part of his clan’s name, therefore, the project also pays tribute to his family for walking beside him in his life journey. 

The seventh track, The Call is a smooth composition with soft vocals performed by Keorapetse Kolwane. The song has a catchy melodious chorus that got the audience harmonizing and clapping their hands along with the rhythm. Other songs, like  Nomalungelo and Sinivile had the audience up, dancing and singing along due to their upbeat instrumentation.  

Tebogo Mohwaduba, one of the event attendees, said that an annual attendee of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival, Xonti came onto her radar as one of the supported artists in 2020. She said, he is a music scholar, and that academic aspect of jazz comes through a lot in his songs, which she appreciates.  

DJ Kenzhero, who is the co-founder of Untitled Based and organiser of Xonti’s event, said for the album to be performed at his space, for the first time, was a goal for him, especially because he is a fan of it. “With the shortage of tickets, Xonti’s show was one of the most successful shows we’ve had,” he said.

FEATURED IMAGE: Sisonke Xonti with his band performing the first track of Ugaba: The Migration. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya