Chester Missing raises funds for two Witsies

Two Wits students were the beneficiaries of funds raised at the Cabinet Comedy show in the Great Hall on Friday evening. 

CHUCKLES: Chetser Missing had the audience in stitches at the Cabinet Comedy held at The Great Hall on Friday evening. Photo: Boipelo Boikhutso

CHUCKLES: Chester Missing had the audience in stitches at the Cabinet Comedy Show at The Great Hall on Friday evening. Photo: Boipelo Boikhutso

Two first-year Witsies were the recipients of the funds raised through YouthLab’s Cabinet Comedy Show in the Great Hall on Friday night.

Rofhiwa Tshikovhi and Livhuwani Mukwevho were in the audience watching show headlined by South Africa’s most famous puppet, Chester Missing.

Missing, and his handler Conrad Koch, were joined by Mojak Lehoko, Lihle Msimang and Alfred Adriaan who held nothing back in the austere venue.

The comedians had the audience in stiches with comedy centred around ethnic jokes, the University of Johannesburg, President Jacob Zuma, Julius Malema and the controversial Mcebo Dlamini’s love for Hitler.

Lehoko compared Hitler to Voldemort from Harry Potter, referring to him as “he who must not be named”. “Hitler is a touchy subject, we do not go there,” he said.

According to one of the organizers of the show, Pearl Pillay, the show was a fundraising initiative to ensure that Tshikovhi and Mukwevho “do not become part of the high number of South Africans students to drop out of university due to financial pressure”.

The students hail from Soweto and went to Matseliso Secondary School where they both scored numerous distinctions in their matric results.

Mukwhevo is currently pursuing a degree in Mining Engineering and would like to work for an oil mine in Eastern Asia. She told Wits Vuvuzela that she is “humbled as this is a great honour to have someone like Chester Missing performing to raise funds for me.”

Tshikovhi described his upbringing as a normal one. “I might not have had everything I wanted, but I had everything I needed,” he said. He is currently studying a general Bsc degree with the hopes of specialising in his Honours.

He told Wits Vuvuzela that he will forever be grateful to YouthLab for continuously changing his life for the better.

According to the man behind the puppet, Koch, the biggest separation in our society is “the economic walls that we have and education is a huge aspect of that.”

Lehoko told Wits Vuvuzela that as a fellow Wits student himself, he feels that it is important to give people “opportunity to pursue education”

Pillay said the total figure of the funds raised has not been finalized yet.

Veteran journalist compared to Dlamini over Verwoerd comments

Veteran journalist Allister Sparks yesterday declared apartheid architect and former South African prime minister, Hendrik Verwoerd, as one of the many “smart” politicians he has met in the course of his career. His comments were compared to those made by former Wits SRC president, Mcebo Dlamini’s remarks on his love for Hitler. 

Veteran journalist Allister Sparks has been compared to Mcebo Dlamini after he listed Hendrik Verwoerd as one of the many smart politicians he has encountered at the Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal in Port Elizabeth congress yesterday.

“I’ve encountered some really smart politicians, like the likes of Harry Lawrence, Bernard Friedman, Margaret Ballinger, Helen Zille, Helen Suzman, Zach de Beer, Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, Marais Steyn, Japie Basson and yes, Hendrik Verwoerd,” Sparks said.

The comments, which failed to list a single Black politician, was made in a tribute speech for outgoing DA leader Helen Zille. They were almost immediately condemned by many on Twitter, and subsequently compared to the Facebook post of Dlamini.

Verwoerd is considered to be the ‘architect’ of Apartheid, the system of racial segregation and oppression.

Political analyst and academic Eusebius McKaiser referred to both Sparks’ and Dlamini’s comments as “morally indefensible”

According to Professor Anton Harber, the head of Wits Journalism and the chairperson of the Freedom of Expression Institute, Sparks speaking at a political event is inappropriate for an independent journalist.

“His list of clever polticians showed a deep prejudice,” Harber added.

Harber also listed Sparks’ failure to retract his comments and apologise as one of his errors.

Like Dlamini, he stood by his comments saying that while Verwoerd’s policies were atrocious, the former prime minister built the National Party in an extraordinarily effective way.

“What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to say he was dumb or stupid? He wasn’t stupid,” Sparks is reported to have said.

Meanwhile McKaiser has challenged Sparks to a public debate about his comments.

Chester Missing comes to the Great Hall

The country’s most famous puppet comes to the Great Hall this Friday night. Chester Missing will join a host of other comedians at 8pm in an event hosted by YouthLab.

Together with Mojak Lehoko, Alfred Adriaan and Lihle Msimang, Missing will perform in aid of two Wits students and some of YouthLab’s projects.

Pearl Pillay, a Wits Masters student in Politics, and one of the organisers of the event, told Wits Vuvuzela that the idea of a comedy show came after a discussion they had with Messing.

The students were scholars at Matseliso Secondary School in Soweto and passed matric with flying colours but were only partially funded. YouthLab launched a library project for the school in the past.

Adriaan told Wits Vuvuzela that students can look forward to a funny-to-the-point comedy. “I don’t hold back and my comedy is centred around life and the funny things people do”, he said.

He said he wanted to give back to the community because he was also given an opportunity to study in the form of a scholarship.

Msimang said that she decided to participate in the comedy show because “it is an honour to help a young mind get an education, to further grow this country”.

Pillay said that it only made sense for YouthLab to host the show as they deal with politics and political satire is big in the country.

“Comedy is also a great way to raise awareness and stimulates thought in a way that’s not tiring,” she said.

“Wits alone has given Chester a lot of material so expect customized comedy.”

According to Pillay, the comedy show is going to be “absolute madness and Wits alone has given Chester a lot of material so expect customized comedy”.

YouthLab is a three-year-old organization and recently launched a branch at Wits. According to their website, some of their objectives include: educating the youth on key issues of policy, society and economics in South Africa and also creating a platform for young people to have open discussions with political parties.

Documentary questions the role of government and journalism in Marikana

SHOT DOWN: One of the final posters for the film.

SHOT DOWN: One of the final posters for the film.

The Wits Journalism Department hosted a screening of Miners Shot Down,  a documentary on the shootings at Marikana, as part of a wider discussion on investigative journalism.

Miners Shot Down, a documentary by Rehad Desai, was screened this Tuesday at Wits University, at a discussion about the state of investigative journalism in South Africa.

The film depicts the Marikana massacre which followed after a prolonged strike by mineworkers for an increase in wages. The shootings, by the police resulted in the deaths of 34 miners.

With video clips of prominent people like photojournalist Greg Marinovich speaking of the aftermath, National Police Commissioner, Phiyega, former Intelligence Services Minister Ronnie Kasrils, the film questions the role of government in the massacre. According to Desai, the footage from Marikana is the unedited versions of the killings.

The documentary opens with a scene where the miners are being gunned down by police officers. The action and tension builds up in a chronological sequence, from what led to the strike, until the day of the massacre. The narrative is from the perspective of the miners which results in a poignant telling of a story that has been heard from a number of different perspectives.
Head Wits Journalism, Professor Anton Harber, told Wits Vuvuzela that he found the film powerful because it raised important questions about who was responsible for the massacre.

“What was shocking was not just the apparent callousness of the police, but the depth of the collusion between the mine managers and the police in the build up to the shooting,” Harber said.
Tebogo Mogole, a 4th year LLB student said, “The film was real; it exposes the truth which is obviously not coherent what we were initially told.”

The role of the media

The film also questions the coverage of events by journalists because it shows the contrast between what was initially portrayed to the public versus what actually happened.

James Nichol, a lawyer working pro bono representing the dead miners’ families at the Marikana judicial commission, was present at the screening and he highlighted the importance of investigative journalism in the case.
He said that the post-mortem results of the dead miners raised questions of the killings as there were 14 people shot in the back, yet the police maintain that it was an act of self-defence.

“journalists should be the “protectors of democracy,”
According to Nichol, journalists should be the “protectors of democracy”, holding people accountable for their actions.
Harber said, “The film shows the importance of an investigative approach in that it gathered evidence to challenge the official view of what happened.”
Desai said that his intentions with the film were to set the record straight by giving truthful narratives and “moving people emotionally to incite help and ensure that a painful event like this does not happen again”.
The film was released last year and it has received several international awards such as an Aung San Suu Kyi Award for Best film and two South African awards: the Golden Horn Award for Best Documentary Feature and Achievement in Sound.
The film screening dates can be seen on their website:

Watch the trailer of the movie here:

Wits EFF victory for hungry students

The Student Affairs (DSA) office at Wits University has responded to the pleas from the Wits EFF to feed hungry students on campus. On April 17, members of the student organisation stormed the main dining hall on campus to take surplus food for hungry students after, they claimed, students had contacted them for assistance. In response the office of Dr Pamela Dube, the Dean of Students, has responded with positive solutions.

Wits EFF chairperson, Vuyani Pambo told Wits Vuvuzela that his organisation is quite happy with the solutions being implemented: “That is the victory that the action got.”

During the dining hall incident, members of Wits EFF chanted that “Students cannot achieve academic excellence on an empty stomach”.

According to the DSA, some of the solutions include:
• The provision of an online form which a needy student has to complete before receiving assistance; So far, 17 students have benefitted from this resolution.
• A needy student is allocated 10 meals from the dining hall then provided with a meal pack from the Wits Food Bank run by the Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach (WCCO), depending on the individual needs of the student. The Food Bank packs contain Stop Hunger Now meal packs.

The DSA says it is also in discussions with the SRC (Student Representatives Council) and Bhakti Yoga society about getting hot meals twice a week from the Hare Krishna Movement, who will soon set up a kitchen at Constitution Hill to feed the hungry local residents. The Wits Food Bank is also planning to work with the national Food Sovereignty Campaign to possibly establish food gardens on campus.

Pambo called on fellow students and staff to donate non-perishable food to help those in need.

Xenophobia: over 300 people arrested

More than 300 people have been arrested for participation in a series of xenophobic-related crimes.

Amongst the 300, four suspects have been recently arrested in connection with the killing of Emmanuel Sithole, a Mozambican immigrant who was killed on Saturday in Alexander Township.

James Oatway, a Sunday Times photojournalist, captured the killing which prompted the police to give a reward of R100000 for any information relating to the killing.

Photo: James Oatway. Sunday Times

Photo: James Oatway. Sunday Times

According to the Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, the state’s criminal justice should do more to guarantee a prosecution: “They have actually pushed three other people to leave their own comfort zones, their homes.” 

The violent attacks occurred in KwaZulu-Natal, after a statement made by King Goodwill Zwelithini on immigrants, saying that they need to “go home”. He later claimed that he did not call for an attack on foreigners.

The army has been deployed in targeted areas in Johannesburg to ensure that the attacks do not continue.

*Sourced from Eyewitness News and Aljazeera

Wits EFF storm dining hall for food for hungry students

Wits EFF forced their way into a Wits University dining hall yesterday evening in order to take food for needy students.

by Boipelo Boikhutso and Michelle Gumede

HUNGER & RAGE: Tebogo Mabaso forces his way into Royal Mnandi in an attempt to get food for needy students. Photo: Michelle Gumede

HUNGER & RAGE: Tebogo Mabeso forces his way into Royal Mnandi in an attempt to get food for needy students. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Some members of the Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) stormed their way into the Wits Main dining hall on Thursday evening, demanding food for hungry students.

“That food needs to be given to students not thrown away or kept by Royal Mnandi on top of the profit they are making,” said Mbe Mbele, coordinator of the WitsEFF. Royal Mnandi is one of the catering services on campus.

According to the organisation, many students have been contacting them, asking for help with regards to food and accommodation. “Students are hungry,” they chanted.

The party members, wearing their disctinctive red berets, forced their way into the main dining hall, pushing campus control security guards out of the way and demanded food from Wits Student Liaison Officer, Bontle Mogapi.

The students were adamant that if their demands were not met, they were going to jump into Royal Mnandi and serve hungry students themselves. “We are going to relieve these mothers and fathers, who are paid peanuts of their work, we are going to serve students on their behalf,” said Mbhele.

Vuyani Pambo, chairperson of Wits EFF, told Wits Vuvuzela that they requested at least 20 meals to feed needy students for the night and the dining hall management refused. Wits EFF then took it upon themselves to provide the students with food.

“What you see here is a demonstration of black rage”

Tebogo Mabeso of the Wits EFF told Wits Vuvuzela that there are students who book meals at the dining hall but end up not collecting them. These meals still get billed whether or not they are collected. The Wits EFF say these meals must be given to needy students.

“What you see here is a demonstration of black rage,” said Pambo. The Wits EFF are calling for all students in their respective faculties to reflect critically and make radical strides towards giving the university a “black face”.

According to the Wits Deputy Director of Retail and Catering,  Nicholas Matthes the Wits EFF members did not follow the correct procedure in dealing with this matter. “Students need to approach the Dean of students,” he said.

Mogapi refused to speak to Wits Vuvuzela and said she did not understand what the Wits EFF was demanding.


Drama for Life pays tribute to the victims of violence across Africa.

“147 is not just a number”. These are the words that were uttered by Faith Koli, a journalist from Nairobi, at an event hosted by the Drama for Life (DFL).

AFRICA UNITE: DFL and students commemorate victims of the discriminatory violence in Rwanda, South Africa, and Kenya at a meeting on Thursday. Photo: Michelle Gumede

AFRICA UNITE: DFL and students commemorate victims of violence in Rwanda, South Africa, and Kenya at a meeting on Thursday. Photo: Michelle Gumede

The DFL held the event on Thursday to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the recent Kenya University attack and the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

DFL invited three former Wits students, from different African countries, to tell their stories of each of the issues above. According to the director of DFL, Warren Nebe, the aim of the event was to reflect on these incidents and to heal.

On April 2, Garissa University College in Kenya was attacked by Al Shabaab militants and almost one hundred and fifty people were killed.

The theme for the meeting was #WhereAreOurLeaders, and the  governments of the different countries were blamed for inaction..

Theodogene Niwenshuti, a Rwanadan genocide survivor, recalled how his father, amongst hundreds of people from his village, was killed: “I forgave the people but I still struggle to forgive the government, for it failed us.”

His father was shot in front of him during the Rwanda genocide.

Sibongile Bhebhe, a woman from Zimbabwe, talked about her experiences of xenophobia in South Africa.

Esmeralda Cloete, an Honours student in Drama Therapy, told Wits Vuvuzela that the experience was “deeply touching and piercing,” she said.

“It questioned one’s objective in the world, it spoke to humanity.”

The event ended with a candlelight service during which all these incidents were reflected on deeply.

DJ Sbu talks business at Wits

MOFAYA: DJ Sbu powers up while he motivates Wits students to start own businesses. Photo: Tanisha Heigberg

MOFAYA: DJ Sbu powers up while he motivates Wits students to start own businesses. Photo: Tanisha Heigberg

“You are stronger than the strongest washing powder,” were one of the words of wisdom dished out by popular South African DJ Sbu at Wits University on Wednesday.

Sbu, whose real name is Sibusiso Leope, was speaking at a talk hosted by the Wits Black Lawyers Association (BLA) on west campus.

Leope, focused his talk on his prolific rise in business and was full of entrepreneurships hints and tips.

“Be good in selling yourself, a lot of graduates cannot sell themselves during job interviews,” he said.

Leope describes himself as a musician, producer, author and entrepreneur. Leope was raised in Gauteng townships including Tembisa, Daveyton and Soshanguve and started working at the age of 12 in his parents’ spaza shop.

Patrick Mahlangu, a UJ (University of Johannesburg) BComm Masters student told Wits Vuvuzela that the talk was inspirational and it was “encouraging seeing a fellow black person doing great in South Africa, someone we can relate to, who has a similar background to many black young South Africans”.

“A positive attitude, mentorships and internships gets you one foot in the door to success,” Leope said.

The DJ told Wits Vuvuzela that he being an entrepreneur gives him an opportunity to serve people, particularly his community. He urged students to read more, emphasizing that knowledge is power quoting Robert Kiyosaki: “Knowledge is very important but what is more amazing is imagination.”

OPINION: Rhodes must fall: Revolution or an act of weakness?

The #RhodesMustFall campaign has resulted in a decision by the Senate of the University of Cape Town (UCT) to move the statue of Cecil John Rhodes.

For the past few weeks the national news has been up in a storm with the Rhodes saga. It all started at the University of Cape Town (UCT) where students threw human excrement at a statue of Cecil John Rhodes. The outrage then spread to Rhodes University where students demanded that the name of the institution be changed. Most recently, students from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) have defaced the King George V statue, splashing it with paint.
Students have justified these undignified acts by calling the statues “symbols of colonialism and white supremacy”.

With over 20 years of democracy, black people are still suffering from the mental repercussions of apartheid, or what I refer to as a ‘victim mentality’. If the black population was fully emancipated, it would not be resorting to such undignified measures (throwing faeces) in order to be heard.

If the black population was fully emancipated, it would not be resorting to such undignified measures (throwing faeces) in order to be heard.

University of Free State (UFS) Rector Jonathan Jansen posed a significant article in his analysis of the movements: “Who cleans up the mess once the media cameras are turned off and the triumphal students return to their air-freshened accommodation on or off campus? It is black workers, perhaps even the parents of students. None of this humiliation matters to the students. They made their point and got their airtime. Who cares about the cleaners?”

“A sense of weakness and lack of education”

Personally, I do not think that the removal of the statue will change anything; it will not even change the history. The very act of removing the statue will only display a sense of weakness and lack of education. Instead of focusing on the negatives of Rhodes, why don’t we acknowledge the high value he put on education? Rhodes University was named after him, after the Rhodes Trust donated 50,000 British pounds in De Beers shares to build the institution in 1904. While Rhodes may be a symbol of white supremacy, he also embodies the value of education and civilization. I believe his statue was erected there for the education values he had. Removing the statue will not only be a futile attempt at resolving the race issue in South Africa, but it will also fuel it.

Mugabe on Rhodes

The changing of the name of the Rhodes University might also be problematic because already there is no unanimity with whose name it should be changed to. The changing of names is also an expensive procedure. Instead of thousands of rands being spent on name-changing, perhaps more money could be invested in transformation campaigns. Perhaps we could learn a thing or two from the president of our neighboring country, Zimbabwe. Over the years, people have threatened to dig up the body of Cecil Rhodes who is buried in that country. But Robert Mugabe has argued that Rhodes’ legacy was a significant part of history.

Does the end justify the means?

With all these movements going on, I ask myself, is this a much-awaited revolution on the race issues that are still faced in this country? Will the removal of the statue bring about ‘change’ or ‘transformation’ as they call it? Will this be a case of ‘the end justifies the means’?

Before one starts a riot, a hashtag, before one throws faeces at a statue, one must ask themselves the following questions: Do you know enough history of that person? Do you understand why the person’s statue was erected there? And most importantly, are you aware of the positive contributions of that person to the institution?

Steve Biko once said in a speech: “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

Until we emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, colonial symbols will forever threaten our existence and freedom.

Bidvest Wits through to the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup

Nqobile Dludla and Boipelo Boikhutso

FROM ZEROS TO HEROS:  The opening goal came from Dutchman Cornelis Kwakman (on the floor) in the 39th minute from a set-piece. The Clever Boys ended the game with 3 goals, sending them into the quarterfinal of  the Nedbank Cup. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

FROM ZEROS TO HEROS: Henrico Botes (on the floor) scored the ultimate final goal, sending The Clever Boys to the quarterfinal of the Nedbank Cup with 3 goals.                                                        Photo: Nqobile Dludla

Bidvest Wits are through to the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup after defeating University of Pretoria (AmaTuks), 3-0 at the Bidvest Stadium on Tuesday night.

The opening goal came from Dutchman Cornelis Kwakman in the 39th minute who landed a lead goal at the back of the net from a set-piece. Sibusiso Vilakazi came in the 56th minute and doubled their lead when he dribbled past Grant Kekana and shot past Washington Arubi.

Striker Henrico Botes added a goal in the 63rd minute after receiving a pass from Ben Motshwari.

Commenting on the first goal scored by Kwakman, Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt said “It broke the ice” for the game as both sides tried to break the deadlock in the opening minutes of the game.

“It was a hell of a goal wasn’t it? Jeez I mean he scored three goals and couple of weeks ago he scored one just like that. Fantastic goal!”, said Hunt.

Although The Clever Boys managed to break the deadlock, Hunt said the first half was “edgy” in terms of performance.

“We couldn’t get our passes and our movement and synchronization going. But we got much better in the second half as the game went on. We just lack a little bit of confidence, I guess after last week. All in all it was a great performance in the second half,” said Hunt.

Hunt hopes that his team maintains better “consistency” in the next games after suffering back-to-back Absa Premiership League defeats in recent games.

“I know the potential in the team. I mean from Tuesday to Tuesday we went from heros to zeros because we beat Sundowns and then we lost two games and then we won again,” added Hunt.

The opening proved to be difficult as both sides were determined to break the deadlock. The first chance for Bidvest Wits came after just 20 minutes when Sibusiso Vilakazi passed a promising shot to Papy Faty whose attempt went over the post.

AmaTuks tried to score straight after but Moeneeb Josephs was too quick for Geofrey Massa’s header.

The Clever Boys, who fielded the 16-year-old Liam Jordan last night, managed to hold on to their lead and secured themselves a place in the quarterfinals.

Post-match interview with AmaTuks coach Sammy Troughton