Eid Mubarak

THE fasting month of Ramadan came to an end on Wednesday with a day of feasting called Eid ul Fitr. Eid ul Fitr or the ‘festival of fast breaking’ is the most celebratory of  all Muslim festivals.

It is significant as much for its timing as for its religious implications. The festival marks the beginning of celebrations and merriment.

Eid ul Fitr is synonymous with joy and thanksgiving. On this day it is customary to greet one another by saying Eid Mubarak, which directly translates as blessed festival but means may you enjoy a blessed festival.
The day begins just after sunrise with the compulsory prayer which is usually read outside. As the name suggests, Eid ul Fitr is a day filled with a lot of feasting.
Breakfast is the meal that sets the tone for the day; the tables are heavy with a variety of meats and sweet dishes.

Every table has a jug of Eid milk, which is a sweet, warm milk drink flavoured with almonds and vermicelli. Lunch is usually a traditional briyani meal, followed by tea with savouries and biscuits, and then supper.
It is customary on this day for families and friends to get together and exchange gifts or plates of sweetmeats.
The highlight of the day for children is collecting money (Eidie) and gifts, especially for those young ones who attempted to fast during the month.
Those less fortunate are not left out of the celebration with many families feeding the poor in their homes or visiting orphanages to share a meal.

No South African rescue for Libya


Minister of International Relations and Cooperation,Maite Nkoana-Mashabane ,addressed the press regarding South Africa`s stance on Libya at the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg earlier today.

Muammar Gaddafi will not be exiting Libya on a South African plane to an undisclosed destination, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, said on Monday.

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told the media at a briefing in Johannesburg, that South Africa is confident that Gaddafi will not seek asylum in the country and have denied any plans to aid the colonel’s exit after rebels swept through Tripoli late Sunday evening

She said widespread speculation that South Africa had sent aircraft to Libya was untrue.

“The South African government would like to refute and dispel the rumours that it has sent planes to Libya to fly individuals to some undisclosed locations or South Africa”.

Despite denial from the government, Al Jazeera has reported that their sources claim talks between South Africa and Gaddafi continue.

South Africa has led the mediation efforts by the African Union, and said they will continue talks with both parties in Libya.  The minister said “as peace brokers we have got no reason to create a state within the state.”

Nkoana-Mashabana stressed, “The Libyans themselves must be given the chance to decide the future of their country and the future of Gaddafi.”

“With the imminent fall of the government of colonel Gaddafi, we wish to urge the interim authorities in Tripoli to immediately institute an all-inclusive inter-Libyan political dialogue aimed at building a truly representative and people-centred dispensation,” said the  minister.

She added that South Africa will not recognise a rebel government when Gaddafi falls. “As far as we are concerned, if this government falls, there is no government”.

Heavy fighting and gun battles raged on in Tripoli, on Monday, the morning after rebels gained control of most of the Libyan capital overnight.

Reports of Gaddafi’s two eldest sons – Muhammad and Saif-al Islam Gaddafi -being captured by anti-government forces filled social networks and the International Criminal Courts has confirmed them.


Witsies flashed Israeli delegation

Visiting Israeli students soon realised it was not just the weather that was chilly this week, but also the reception from a coalition of students.

Witsies from various students groups including the Palestinian Solidarity Commitee (PSC) and South African Student Congress (SASCO) staged a silent protest at the Israeli public relations point on the Lawns.

The group of almost 20 youth says they are here to engage with students of South Africa and change the negative stereotypes about Isreal. One of the students, Ben Ofer, said “we here to promote dialogue and to give our side of the stories”

However Robert Freeman, PSC member said their aim was not to engage with the Israelis who are not just students but who have served in the Defence Force and who have boasted of being part of the Gaza Offensive in 2009 but to boycott them.

According to a letter of support from an Israeli group, BOYCOTT, they describe the delegation as “part of a well orchestrated Israeli establishment’s attempt to whitewash severe violations of human rights, through a fictitious display of ‘diversity and democracy’”.

Students dressed in red t-shirts, branding the faces and biographies of the Israeli delegation, walked through campus, handing out leaflets calling for students to boycott the Jewish students.

A flash mob also took place at the Lawn, where students ran into the tents at a signal and engaged in a silent protest, before falling to the ground and lying down to symbolise the dead Palestinians.

South African Union of Jewish Student (SAUJS), Stephanie Hodes, said “ the protest was sad, they should rather come inside and eat falafel.”

The students also staged a “walk – out” at a panel discussion held by the delegation at John Moffet, on Monday afternoon.

According to Mo desai, their campaign was a success, and with each round of protest their numbers grew.

Protest began from the time the delegation landed at Oliver Tambo International Airport. The students were forced to leave from back exit and the host had to cancel the welcoming events.

Another Israeli student, Shirley kaufman said she was taken aback by the protestors at the airport. “I felt unwelcome and it was the first time I had landed in such a wierd way.”

The students had visited University of Johannesburg this week and are due to visit various other campuses around South Africa. Anti Israeli campaigns have also planned counter protest.


Clinical associates pioneers in health care

Clinical associate students feel they are pioneers in a programme that will be the future of healthcare field.

Clinical associates are mid-level healthcare providers who work under the supervision of doctors in a wide range of medical services, primarily at district hospitals. “Clinical associates are the future. I’m not a doctor, not a nurse. I’m somewhere in between,” says first year clinical associate student, Martene Esteves.

The Clinical Associates Programme, which was launched at Wits Medical Campus in 2009, already has over a hundred students. The programme was created as a response to the low doctor-to-population ratio in South Africa.

The course runs for three years and has a strong focus on practical learning. Esteves says the course integrates skill and theory to give students working experience.

Another student, Samantha Ncube explains that nurses and doctors are restricted to the field of their specialisation, which is very limited. However, clinical associates do “something in-between and beyond.”

Chairman of the soon to be formed Clinical Associates Programme Society, Abram Tabane feels people do not understand this new field and often claim they are “half doctors”.

Ncube agrees: “The stereotype of it being an easy course should fall away. People underestimate what we can do.”

All three students described the course as challenging, exciting and intense. “I’m very proud of wearing my scrub,” says Esteves. They say it’s a promising field, and the number of applicants has been growing every year.

The students also feel the profession offers good job opportunities. Ncube says the majority of final year students have job offers. “It’s guaranteed a job.”

The clinical associates’ programmes throughout the country are offered in partnership with the South Africa Military Health Service (SAMHS) and departments of health.

The first class of clinical associates for Wits will graduate end of this year.




Wits Junction opens doors

MEDICAL students are excited at the opening of a new residence close to the Medical Campus in Parktown.

Wits Junction opened its doors on July 1 and already has more than 100 occupants. The residence boasts fully furnished rooms, all with a telephone line, dial -up internet and television port.

 “All a student has to bring are their pens and clothing,” Says accommodations manager Carol de Wit.

Samantha Ncube, a 1st year clinical associate student who moved in a week ago, says she likes the fact that the residence is walking distance from her campus. She describes the complex as peaceful.

 “If I want to party, I go out and enjoy myself. I don’t want to bring the party home with me.”

Abram Tabane, another student at the medical campus who will move in soon, says the area is “quiet and conducive to studying”.

Residents say safety is also a plus. Tsholofelo Mputle, 1st year dramatic arts student, says she “feels very safe” compared to her old residence.

“Born Free at Braamfontein was a nightmare, with huge safety issues,” she says.

According to Mputle, the R3 800 rent is worth the extras one is receiving.

Despite the peaceful atmosphere, some residents still have mixed feelings. Precious Msweli, a 3rd year social work student who has been living at Wits Junction for three weeks, feels the room space is not big enough for four people. She says her old living quarters had more cupboard space. Tabane echoed her sentiment.

Tabane also feels the accommodation fee is too expensive.

 “A student has to be on a bursary to survive in this residence,” he says.  He feels the residence should have been fully constructed before opening. The community centre, a facility where students can play games and eat, is not yet finished.


Modestly modern: a blend of Hijab and fashion

THE HIJAB, or Islamic headscarf, has had a lot of negative attention in recent months.  However, last week in Johannesburg, it received attention for a different reason.

Hijab is synonymous with modesty but at the Coca Cola Dome it was seen on the runway completing the look for the latest ensembles.

Hijab Fashion Week SA was the first attempt at a concept that has been growing in the Muslim world. The fashion ramp was part of the Eid Shopping Festival held from Wednesday to Sunday ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan.

According to the organisers, “the show aimed to show the beauty of Hijab as well as to encourage Muslims women to be proud of their dress”. Eastern wear, casual and smart-casual ensembles as well as traditional Islamic garments where showcased.

One of the main attractions was shows by local Islamic fashion house, SILK, which launched its collection for Eid, the post-fasting celebration. SILK owner Aneesa Omar described the range as a mix of opulent detailing, draped chiffons and fine handwork that fuses the latest fashion trends of Europe with the traditional abayas (black dress).

Each model had their headscarves draped by a “Hijab stylist”, Adila Suliman, who used various bands, pins and clips to enhance the rectangle of material.

Rowena Saloojie, of Secrets and Stilettos, treated the audience to Hijab styling demonstrations to show women how to achieve the looks themselves.

Hijab does not refer just to the headscarf but the actual dress of a female. When people picture Islamic dress, they visualise dark, uninspiring cloth that drapes from head to toe. This notion is being changed; Islamic wear can be modern and fashionable, as long as it stays within the Islamic guidelines of modest dress.

Hijabistas, as the fashionable Muslim women are known, create wardrobe ideas that mix fashion must-haves in a Hijab-friendly way.


Ramadan: The month of fasting

Wits lawns may be a more subdued place next week, with less hubblies bubbling and coloured with more girls covered in head scarves, as the Muslim students enter their fasting month.

Next week marks the beginning of Ramadan, when Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking, intimacy and intercourse, from before the break of dawn until sunset.

Saum (fasting) is one of the five pillars of Islam that is obligatory for every responsible and fit Muslim. This month of fasting is a unique moral and spiritual characteristic of Islam.

In a different routine, Muslims wake up at pre-dawn (4.30 am) to partake in the early morning meal called Suhur.

Iftaar (the sunset meal) is the time of day that most look forward to, not only because one can indulge in the many delicacies that are synonymous with Ramadan but also because it is the time of day when the prayer of a fasting person is said to be answered.

Fasting is not just a test on the body but also of the mind and soul. One doesn’t just abstain from food and liquids but from seeing, hearing and doing evil as well. A fasting Muslim is taught how to practise self-restraint, patience as well as appreciation in this month.

Muslims break their fast with dates and water, along with a variety of different snacks and savouries.

The fasting day does not end at sunset, but continues to additional night time prayers (Taraweeh) that are read after the fifth compulsory daily prayers.

This month is also special as it is the month when Islam’s Holy book (the Quraan) was revealed. A lot of emphasis is placed on reciting as much of the Quraan as possible during this month.

Ramadan lasts 29 or 30 days depending on the moon’s position and ends with the feast on the Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr.

West campus residences left in the dark

West Campus and its three residences were left without electricity for nearly five hours on late Wednesday afternoon. Wits residences, especially the Highfield residences in Parktown are prone to power cuts during the peak of winter.

Campus Development and Planning (CDP), who are responsible for implementing power outageprevention strategies on campus, had said earlier this week, they were prepared for winter with two generators recently constructed.

According to CDP Director Emmannuel Prinsloo, the construction of two generators on West and East Campus was “to provide emergency backup power to the university in times of load shedding as had been the case two years ago or when unscheduled power supply interruptions are experienced.”

Students at res will also benefit from this, as all resident houses are in the process of been added onto the system. This will ensure that in case of load shedding, lights and plugs will still be available.

The national power utility Eskom have said that power supplies are on knife edge as winter approaches.The New Age quoted Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe confirming that “the system is very tight,” but no load shedding was schedule yet.

However City Power Johannesburg released the schedule for load shedding on Wednesday.

PIMD (Property and Infrastructure Management Division) and CDP were not available to comment about Wednesday`s power outage on West campus.

Check out www.witsvuvuzela.com for the link to the load shedding schedule.


A CARNIVAL of students danced along to a live band at the opening parade of the WALE 4.0 festival along Jorrisen Street on Wednesday.

The colourful parade brought traffic to a standstill as it moved through the different university campuses, led by dean of humanities Professor Tawana Kupe, who is also Wits Arts and Literature Experience (WALE) founder.

Students and Supercare workers joined the procession singing and dancing along to popular tunes of Ubuhle wen Dodta – Beauty of a Man – and many other carnival tracks.  Lecturers and staff waved flags and cheered on the parade from their office windows, with some motorists hooting their support. Traffic was slowed down to a crawl as it followed the parade.

WALE 4.0 is a four-day event aimed at showcasing the artistic, literary and intellectual achievements of the university. According to Kupe, “Wale is a celebration of energy, creativity and ideas.” The first day of the festival kicked off with a parade and a concert featuring Crash Car Burn, The Ice Project and Blind Watchman, among others.

The opening parade began at the Diggs Field, West Campus, and ended on the library lawns with DJ Ju Jones entertaining the crowd.

Express Impress, Drama4life, Field Band Foundation and Sexcetera were among the societies in the parade. Guys dressed in red shorts and angel wings accompanied by sexily dressed women advertised the sex exhibition while the sea of blue media students with their lecturer Dr Wendy Willemse encouraged the crowd to express and impress.

The crowd was made up of the young, the young at heart, with a few kudus sighted. Finance lecturer Jeremy Wafer joined the procession, dancing along to the “kick and bobozo” routine.

Walking  on stilts, John Jay joked that he was testing a new form of transportation.

“Wale is an uplifting, experimental and educational platform” said 2nd year dramatic arts student Tshepang Koloko, while Grant Davies, project manager at the Transformation Office, said it was a “great way to show appreciation of the arts”.

For full programme visit: www.wale.co.za

Local Government #101

With all the jargon and acronyms politicians throw around, most people are left confused on the difference between national elections and the local municipal elections that are taking place next week.

South Africa’s democracy has three levels; National, Provincial and Local government.  The local government which will be elected next week make and implement by-laws. This layer of the government consists of councils that are led by the speaker, mayor and ward councillors.

According to Section 152 of the Constitution, the most important function of the local government is to provide a democratic and accountable government for local communities. It also promotes social and economic development and a safe and healthy environment.

If you reside in Johannesburg, Soweto, Alexandra, Orange Farm or Sandton, you would fall under the city of Johannesburg municipality.

Readers from Tembisa, Germiston, Boksburg, Benoni or Kempton Park fall under Ekurhuleni municipality. While those from Pretoria, Temba or Centurion, your municipality would be city of Tshwane.

In a municipality election, one votes for a political party as well as the ward councillor of their choice. Voters at a metro vote with two ballot papers, a yellow one known as proportional representation (PR) ballot. This ballot form is where one votes for a political party.

The second ballot paper is a white form known as ward elections. A voter chooses the person they would like to represent their ward.

 Voters at local municipality or district council, have an additional green ballot sheet which is used to select the political party for the district council.

Now that you are powered with knowledge of local government, go out and mark your spot.


A Former Wits journalism student was one of the top contestants in the inaugural African Writing Prize for Flash Fiction competition this week.

The competition attracted 151 entries from 16 countries.

Saaleha Bamjee’s story titled Fare saw her in the top eight selections, along with two other South Africans. Entering a writing competition for the first time, after a friend sent her the link, Bamjee says she’s “something of an oddly reluctant writer”.

She says writing has been something she has wanted to do seriously, since a young age but procrastination always did her in. “However, the result of the competition has been very encouraging.” 

The acknowledgment of her story and seeing that it does interest others has urged her to put more effort into her dream of getting her writing published.

Fare tells the tale of a taxi driver in Cairo, who leads a tiring, relentless life until a passenger, Death, hails him down.

The story was inspired by an experience Bamjee had in Cairo, Egypt, where she ended up getting the same taxi driver twice, hailing him the second time in a location many kilometres from where she had first met him.

This experience left her thinking of a story where a taxi driver keeps getting the same strange passenger regardless of where he is and Fare was created.

Bhamjee describes Cairo as “the kind of place where stories stay suspended in the air just waiting for someone to pluck them down”.  

Fellow South African, Jayne Bauling, was overall winner in the competition for her story Settled, which follows an African mat weaver’s move from her informal settlement home to a low-cost housing residence.

Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature of 1000 words or less. It is also known as short-shortfiction, with some stories being 300 words or even a mere 55 words.

Sarah Ladipo Manyika, the competition judge, says “flash fiction may be short, but it is just as challenging as any other form of writing”.

Gold medal Witsie student scoops another award.

DOUBLE honours Witsie Shaheen Seedat added first place in the postgraduate category of the prestigious Budget Speech Competition to his list of accomplishments last week.

Seedat has had a fascination with economics from his school days, he says. ”Economics is logical and intuitive.” This interest led him to do an undergraduate degree in economic science, mathematics and applied mathematics. He went on to do honours in both economic science and mathematics last year.

He broke the record for attaining the highest marks in the past three decades at the school of economic and business sciences and was awarded the University Chancellor’s Gold Medal.

The 21-year-old student thrives on coffee, and early mornings. He is an “active person” who juggles studying, community involvement and living alone with ease. He volunteers his time at Student Equity Management.  With so many obligations he claims that “despite loving social media I have no time to use it”.

Seedat attempted the competition the year before and was unsuccessful. Unperturbed he decided to give it his best shot and try again.

When asked what prompted him to enter the competition he jokingly  said the cash was a huge incentive, but  went on to say that on a more serious note the opportunity of writing an academic research paper and the chance to meet interesting people was what made him enter.

Seedat’s essay on suggested changes to South Africa’s monetary policy framework saw him shortlisted to the top 10, who spent a week in Cape Town being interviewed extensively.

The Old Mutual and Nedbank Budget Speech Competition is an annual initiative which seeks to nurture and invest in the next generation of economists, decision makers and thinkers. Each year applicants are invited to submit an essay on a specific topic related to the economy. Generous cash prizes are awarded for the three top essays in the postgraduate and undergraduate categories.

Seedat jets off to the UK later this year to further his studies, after he won the Rhodes scholarship to the University of Oxford. He is planning to do his doctorate in financial economics.