Hip-hop champion against all odds

Hip-hop artist, rapper and Witsie, Gigi LaMayne will be representing South Africa at the Miami Music Conference at the end of the month.

AGAINST ALL ODDS: Gigi LaMayne is representing SA hip-hop at the Miami Music Conference.                          Photo: Ilanit Chernick

AGAINST ALL ODDS: Gigi LaMayne is representing SA hip-hop at the Miami Music Conference. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

LaMayne, otherwise known as Genesis Garbriella Tina Manney, is a third-year BA student who has beaten the odds to get to this point.

She grew up in what she calls “a dysfunctional family”. Her mom, who has been her ‘rock’, left to work as a nurse in England when she was just seven, and returned only when LaMayne was 15.

“My dad was an alcoholic and things were not stable … We moved around a lot. I grew up in the rough parts of Lenasia, Yeoville and Soweto.”

Her parents divorced during her time as a Richard Branson Scholar in England.

LaMayne was passionate about music from age 11 but discovered her talent for hip-hop through her love of poetry at boarding school.

“I was bullied at school and music was my only way out. I would just put my earphones in and find a place to listen away from everyone.”

“I’d always wanted to be a performer but just didn’t know which direction to take it. I studied drama at school too so there were a lot of options.”

“It’s not easy for women to make it in the hip-hop world. Women are so objectified in the entertainment and music world.”

Her journey into music was a difficult one. She was turned down four times by local record labels and when she approached Dream Team SA, was convinced they would “say no too”.

“It’s not easy for women to make it in the hip-hop world. Women are so objectified in the entertainment and music world.”

In her first year at Wits she was the first female to make it to the finals of the Sprite Uncontainable competition, where she came second.

She was then voted best female Hip-Hop artist in 2013 and 2014 at the South African Hip-Hop Awards. Recently she won the Jack Daniels music scout competition and part of the winning prize is to represent South Africa at the Miami Music Conference.

Her message to Witsies: “In the words of Eric Thomas, “you should be like a lion, not a gazelle”. Always have something internal to drive you. There needs to be a “why” in everything you do.”

Hefty cost for academic transcripts fazes students

CORRECTION: Wits Vuvuzela acknowledges Wits Registrar Carol Crosley was originally misquoted in saying that: Wits is in the process of implementing a self-service statement where students can print an “official” copy of their transcripts. It was meant to read as “unofficial”. We regret this error which has been corrected in the copy below.

Affording an academic transcript for a job interview or university application can be costly for a newly qualified student.

Wits Vuvuzela looked into the cost of academic transcripts at universities around South Africa and found that Wits is the most expensive when it comes to ordering a transcript.

The cost at Wits for an academic transcript is R50 for current students and R100 for Wits alumni.

With graduation taking place at least six to eight months after qualification, especially for honours and master’s students, a student will only receive their free copy a week after graduation. But this poses a problem for those applying for jobs straight after university.

History honours graduate Mick Channon said he had to buy one when he applied for a teaching post at the beginning of this year as he is only graduating in June this year.
“I was shocked that I had to pay R100 for a piece of paper,” Channon said.

Robyn Kirk, a Journalism honours graduate said the price of academic transcripts at Wits “is ridiculous”.

“I studied at Rhodes for my undergrad and there we could order as many transcripts as we needed for free.”

Wits Registrar Carol Crosley said that last year the price of transcripts was brought down from R120 to R100 for alumni.

“I was shocked that I had to pay R100 for a piece of paper,”

“It’s not a money-making scheme, the special watermarked paper and security measures that are imprinted within that paper are expensive. The price we charge basically covers costs,” she said.

Crosley also said Wits is in the process of implementing a self-service statement where students can print an unofficial copy of their transcripts “which will be useful for applying for jobs” before receiving an official copy at graduation.

Wits Vuvuzela called the records department at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and was told it costs R50 for alumni to apply for an academic transcript and they receive three official copies.

The University of Pretoria allows students to print transcripts out and have them officially stamped for free. But for alumni, it costs R50. However, they are implementing a new verification process where the older the date of qualification, the longer the waiting process and more expensive the transcript.

The University of Stellenbosch charges alumni R75 for a copy of a transcript. If a student or alumni prints out their own record a small fee is charged to have it stamped.

“I think it’s so stupid,” said a Stellenbosch alumni who asked to remain anonymous.

Rough start for Wits Ultimate Frisbee

FLYING FRISBEE: Members of the Zone Rangers and Voodoo Kudus watch as their teammates battle it out during Monday night’s league  match.                                                                                     Photo: Michelle Gumede

FLYING FRISBEE: Members of the Zone Rangers and Voodoo Kudus watch as their teammates battle it out during Monday night’s league
match. Photo: Michelle Gumede

The Voodoo Kudus had a bumpy start to the year but are hopeful they will win a few matches during the remainder of the summer league.

The Wits Ultimate Frisbee team played top Johannesburg team, the Zone Rangers this week in the second match of the season and lost 15-1.

Voodoo Kudu treasurer Jayson van Kerckhoven told Wits Vuvuzela this week about the team’s aspirations for this year.

Van Kerckhoven said there have been “a lot of changes” on the first team due to at least ten players graduating or moving to the Wits Alumni team, Skyveld.

The Voodoo Kudus played Skyveld in last Monday’s league match losing by just one point.

“It was a really close match … We really want to win against them in the near future though because they’re a home grown team too,” he said.

According to van Kerckhoven, the team also has a new coach who is an ex-player for one of South Africa’s top frisbee clubs, The Ghosts.

“We really want to win against them in the near future though because they’re a home grown team too.”

“Our coach aims to keep our team fresh and has encouraged us to improve a lot. We really want to do better than we did last year.”

This year the Voodoo Kudus will be going to nationals in Bloemfontein, taking place on the weekend of April 25.

“All teams from across South Africa, universities and league teams will be competing. There are seventeen teams and we’re hoping to come within the top 10,” said van Kerckhoven

The Voodoo Kudus came 13th in last year’s national championship.

Ultimate Frisbee practice is every Friday at 4.30pm and training before league matches takes place on Monday’s at 6pm at the Walter Milton Cricket Oval.

“It’s a cool and dynamic sport and it also keeps you fit. Who doesn’t love throwing a frisbee?” van Kerckhoven said.

The Voodoo Kudus will be playing the University or Pretoria this Monday night at 7.15pm at the Walter Milton Cricket Oval.

Mcebo plays hide-and-seek

BACK IN: SRC President Mcebo Dlamini has been re-instated as a member of the SRC after being suspended. Photo: Tendai Dube

BACK IN: SRC President Mcebo Dlamini has been re-instated as a member of the SRC after being suspended. Photo: Tendai Dube

Mcebo Dlamini has been reinstated as a member of the SRC and is back as president—for now.

Dlamini was seen back in the SRC offices and at the Law School Election Council elections on Wednesday

Dlamini was charged with “assault” and insulting senior members of the university staff via emails last year. One of the charges stem from an email sent to the head of Residence Life, Rob Sharman.

The two charges were later combined into a single charge presented at the disciplinary hearing on February 27, where he was found guilty. Dlamini was then suspended from the SRC.

He announced his resignation as SRC President on Facebook on February 28 but, hours later, deleted the posts.

However, earlier this week Dlamini announced he had been reinstated as an SRC member and SRC president.

Dlamini announced on his Facebook page on Tuesday morning that his “suspension had been lifted” by Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Habib who he thanked for “doing the right thing”.

“In short I still remain as the Wits SRC President,” Dlamini said.

Habib confirmed that Dlamini had been reinstated pending a review of Dlamini’s hearing.

“In short I still remain as the Wits SRC President.”

“On an application from him [Dlamini], I suspended his termination from the SRC for two weeks until the review of his hearing is complete,” Habib said. “Otherwise we may have to revise the decision again and it would be disruptive. Now, we can make a final decision within the next two weeks.”

Throughout Dlamini’s suspension, resignation and reinstatement, his fellow Progressive Youth Alliance members have been studiously silent on the issue, refusing to comment publically.

SRC deputy president Shaeera Kalla told Wits Vuvuzela she “was not in a position to comment about Dlamini”.

Wits Vuvuzela has also attempted dozens of times over the past 10 days to contact Dlamini via emails, texts, phone, voicemails, whatsapps and even handwritten notes—all without success.

Wits Vuvuzela was at last able to make an appointment with Dlamini on Wednesday afternoon to finally get his side of the story. However, Dlamini did not pitch.

When contacted about the missed interview he replied via whatsapp: “As we speak I am at UJ attending a graduation.”

 

 

 

Crime wave sweeps through Braam

Witsies have spoken of their “disbelief” as they witnessed criminals mugging motorists and attacking fellow students in and around Braamfontein.

A group of four men have been targeting cars waiting in traffic next to Noswall Hall residence on Jan Smuts avenue this past week.

A male student, who asked to remain anonymous, said he saw the men running into traffic on Tuesday afternoon and initially could not understand what they were doing. Soon after, he saw them approach a car with its windows down.

“They reached in and stole his valuables. I got scared and realised they were mugging people in their cars who were stuck in traffic. I thought I’d be next so I just ran away,” he said.

Student Funeka Sibande said she had a similar experience last week when she was standing with a friend outside Noswall Hall.

“They came out of nowhere and were running between cars mugging people inside the cars. Two went to the passenger doors and two to the driver’s door taking anything they could see. I was in disbelief,” she said.

When they came back one of the muggers said: “We are not here for you guys.”

According to Sibande the mugger said: “We are targeting privileged people and whites in good cars.”

Minutes later they mugged “a white man in a Jeep who had his windows down”, Sibande said.

“They came out of nowhere and were running between cars mugging people inside the cars. Two went to the passenger doors and two to the driver’s door taking anything they could see. I was in disbelief.”

“We got away after that, they were dangerous. People need to be careful. Don’t leave your windows down and please don’t leave valuables where they can be seen,” she said.

This is just one of several muggings and “smash and grabs” that have been taking place in various areas around Braamfontein over the last two weeks.

Wits security and liaison manager, Lucky Khumela, said he was not aware of the gang outside Noswall Hall but would warn Wits security to be on the lookout and “increase security” in the area. He said he would also alert police in the area.

“Don’t leave your valuables. Lock your laptops and bags in your boot and keep cellphones out of sight. There is a rise in sporadic crimes in the area and we will do everything we can to keep our students safe,” he said.

Last week a red Volkswagen Polo was targeting students on Smit, Jorissen and Simmonds streets.

The vehicle is believed to have been involved in at least five muggings around the Braamfontein and Wits area.

On Saturday a female student was mugged of her cellphone by one of the assailants who distracted her and then climbed into the waiting red Polo driven by an accomplice and the two of them drove off.

The student ran to a guard who alerted other members of security in the area. According to Khumela, one of the security guards then saw the Polo waiting at a red traffic light on Simmonds street.

“He grabbed a metal pole and hit the back window and the side of the car as a way of trying to stop them from getting away,” said Khumela.

The car managed to get away but has not been seen in the area since.

Dlamini’s suspension lifted by Habib

Mcebo

BACK IN: A Facebook post on Mcebo Dlamini’s profile states that he has been re-instated onto Wits SRC. Photo: Facebook

The suspension of Wits SRC (Students Representatives Council) president Mcebo Dlamini has been lifted by the Wits vice-chancellor (VC).

Professor Adam Habib told Wits Vuvuzela that the decision to lift the suspension was not a final overturning of the ruling.

“On an application from him [Dlamini], I suspended his termination from the SRC for two weeks until the review of his hearing is complete,” he said, “Otherwise we may have to revise the decision again and it would be disruptive. Now, we can make a final decision within the next two weeks.”

Professor Andrew Crouch, the deputy vice-chancellor: academic also confirmed Habib’s sentiments.

“I can confirm that the vice chancellor agreed to suspend the termination of the SRC membership of Mr Mcebo Dlamini  pending the outcome of an appeal against the proceedings,” Crouch said a short while ago.

Dlamini was unable to speak to Wits Vuvuzela but a Facebook account in his name confirmed the VC’s decision.

According to a status update on the account this morning, Dlamini received an email from Habib who lifted his “suspension from office as president with immediate effect”.

“In short, I still remain the Wits SRC president for 2014/2015,” he wrote in the post.

Crouch added that Dlamini is allowed to return as a member of the SRC but was not re-instated as president by the university.

“The VC did not re-instate Mr Dlamini as SRC president, but suspended the termination of his SRC membership. It is up to the SRC to determine continuation of his Presidency of the SRC.”

Deputy president of the SRC, Shaeera Kalla said she was not in a position to comment at this stage.

Dlamini was originally charged with two counts of “assault” at disciplinary hearing on February 27. He was given a suspended sentence of expulsion and subsequently suspended as SRC president pending an appeal.

 

Playing Brave rock the stage

PB3

ROCKING OUT: Witsies (from left) Tish Singh, Stevan Johnson, Luke van Aardt and Ryan Deacon showcase their musical talents. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

New band on the Wits block, Playing Brave are not just your average boozing brood. Only six months old, their love for music shows in the way they speak, sing and act.

All Wits students, the band, which is an indie-garage rock genre, came together after meeting at a party where two of the members, Tish Singh and Stevan Johnson had already started playing acoustic music together a few weeks before.

Through Singh they met their bassist, Luke van Aardt and his “good mate”, drummer Ryan Deacon (who I must mention, is of Irish decent).

“Ryan is probably the best guitarist, drummer … you name it of the band!” said lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Johnson, “Ryan actually started out as a guitarist until we realised we needed a drummer.”

“And I was like ‘Hey, I can play drums too’ and that was it,” Deacon said.

Their music is inspired by art, contemporary cinema “especially films like Whiplash”, happy times and “of course break-ups”.

“We’re also inspired by other musicians, especially Josh Homme. He’s a phenomenal musician!” said Van Aardt

Playing Brave toured in Durban for a week recently and has also played at Cool Runnings, Smugglers and the Living Room in Maboneng.

The band’s favourite food is “Ryan’s moms’ spaghetti bolognaise”.

The band hopes to eventually make it to the Oppikoppi music festival because it’s one of the “best local rock festivals”.

“It’s the best place to be as a musician,” Johnson said. “We also hope to get an album out soon as well.”

Deacon told Wits Vuvuzela that conflict and rivalry within the band is kept to the bare minimum.

“If we have an issue with someone in the band, we hash it out there and then,” he said.

“Ja, we don’t let it build up. We’re all mates!” said Singh.

To chill out the band enjoy partying together, square-mosh dancing and rocking out to music which is what keeps them motivated.

“We just do things that remind us of why we are doing this, I love it,” said Singh.

The band’s favourite food is “Ryan’s moms’ spaghetti bolognaise” and when asked about what one would find in their garage fridge where they practice, Johnson joked, “lots of Baileys and Beer”.

The band wants to appeal to “young, fun and alternative” audiences who are willing to “dance their asses off”.

“Truth be told, none of us really want to be studying, if we could really make it as musicians we’d make that our full-time career,” Johnson said.

The bands next gig will be on March 20 at Sundowners.

Braamfontein security guard takes on car full of criminals

A Wits security guard attempted to stop a car involved in a robbery while it was fleeing the scene of a robbery in Braamfontein on Saturday.

The vehicle, a red Volkswagen Polo, is believed to have been involved in at least five muggings around the Braamfontein and Wits area over the last week.

Saturday robbery

A female student, who asked to remain anonymous, was walking on Jorissen street when a man walked up behind her.

“He distracted me and then stole my cellphone right from my hands. It happened so quickly,” she said.

The robber then climbed into a waiting red Polo driven by an accomplice and the two of them drove off.

The student ran to a guard who alerted other members of security in the area. According to Campus Security and Liaisons manager Lucky Khumela, one of the security guards then saw the Polo waiting at a red traffic light on Simmonds street.

“He grabbed a metal pole and hit the back window and the side of the car as a way of trying to stop them from getting away,” said Khumela.

The car managed to get away but has not been seen in the area since.

Previous incidents

On Friday, the same car was involved in two muggings where two cell phones and a wallet were stolen. Khumela said most of the victims in the past week had been females.

Khumela has asked students to “keep an eye out” for the vehicle and to call the police or campus control if it is seen.

The number plate of the red Polo is WSW533 GP.

Crime around campus can be reported to Campus Control on (011) 717-444

 

No budging on SRC’s budget

SRC DISPUTE: Project W’s Jamie Mighti claims the SRC budget is being mismanaged.  Photo: Nqobile Dludla

SRC DISPUTE: Project W’s Jamie Mighti claims the SRC budget is being mismanaged.    Photo: Nqobile Dludla

Project W alleged this week that the SRC budget is being mismanaged by the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA). Both SRC deputy-president Shaeera Kalla and head of the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU), Lamese Abrahams denied this.

Project W’s Jamie Mighti told Wits Vuvuzela there has been “no transparency” with the SRC budget allocation. According to two previous SRC treasurers, the SRC budget is supposed to be allocated and submitted to SDLU by the last week of February.

“The SRC have not even met yet to discuss it,” Jamie said. He claimed that PYA SRC members had already allocated budgets for their own portfolios during “PYA internal caucuses’”.
“They are deliberately excluding Project W SRC members,” he said, “We have been asking for three weeks now to have a meeting about the portfolio budgets but every time we schedule several SRC members deliberately don’t show up.”

Mighti also said the budget is mostly funded by student fees “so they have the right to objectivity and to see how it is being used which is not what is happening here”.
Deputy president of the SRC Shaeera Kalla said the only reason the SRC hasn’t met yet “is because we have all been busy with the One Million One Month campaign”.
“It’s just a matter of sitting down and working things out,” she said.
“There is no mismanagement of the budget. The only event it has been used for is O-Week.”
Mighti also put forward a claim that the annual vacation stipends given to SRC members were not allocated properly and the process was “corrupt”.

He said that some members of the SRC had given themselves R10 000 whereas others had received zero.
Abrahams said these claims were “inaccurate” and that there had only been “one appeal” about the SRC stipend issue “which has been dealt with accordingly”.
“This is not true. SDLU has complete oversight over both the budget and stipends,” she said, “It is checked all the time, twice or even three times over.”
“There is no action plan here. We are stuck and if the budget issue isn’t dealt with, we will have to take it to the dean or the VC,” Mighti said.

Movie Review: Selma stands out

Cast: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo and Tim Roth

Directed by: Ava DuVernay

Vuvuzela rating: 8/10

Ava DuVernay’s film, Selma is heart-wrenching. The tears will flow and hope will reign. So get the tissues ready.

The Academy Award-winning movie is based on a chapter of the life of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King and struggle for universal suffrage in the United States. It is based on the voting rights movement of a town called Selma and its contribution to the attainment of the vote for African Americans in 1965.

selmateaser

The film opens with a scene of the violent deaths of four small children who are killed in a church bombing in Birmingham, a scene which stuns the viewer into the reality of how violent and destructive racial segregation was in the American South.

The film is real and goes beyond a screen adaptation of historical events. The director and producers are able to reflect the struggle to end segregation in the most brutal and honest way.

The director and producers are able to reflect the struggle to end segregation in the most brutal and honest way.

David Oyelowo portrays King at his best and his worst. Oyelowo is able to show King’s brave and fearless side when he addresses crowds and during periods of the film when protestors are attacked. But at the same time Oyelowo effortlessly channels the softer, more loving side of the American icon, away from the spotlight with fellow activists and his wife.

Tim Roth plays the villain Governor George Wallace perfectly. Wallace was an insensitive and cruel man who made it his mission to stop the march from Selma to Montgomery using brute force, manipulation and threats.

The cast was not allowed to use any of King’s original speeches due to copyright protection, but the writers were still able to re-design  his iconic lines and Oyelowo was able to deliver these speeches powerfully. The power of words is what gave African-Americans a sense of hope for equality and this portrayal does the same for viewers.

It is a film not to be missed even though it was snubbed a number of times by the Academy Awards (Oscars). It is a film that deserved more recognition for its acting talents, portrayal and direction. The musical score, and its contributors including John Legend, should not have been the only thing recognised at this year’s Oscars.

Selma is a film which leaves an everlasting impression on all who see it.

Wits hockey having a ball

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SMACK THAT: Jessica Picas demonstrates how to use a hockey stick. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

The Wits hockey second team plans to win this year’s varsity league.

Wits Hockey Club chair, Jessica Picas, told Wits Vuvuzela this week that they want to win so they can move up to the reserve league which falls just below the premier league.
“Last year we came fourth in the league and this year we are aiming to change this,” she said.

According to Picas, Wits’ biggest opponent is the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and it’s not because they are tough to beat.

Picas said there has always been rivalry between the two teams because they are the only official universities in the league.

“Ever since I’ve been playing and even when my sister was playing over five years ago, there was major rivalry between the two teams. It’s inherent. As Witsies, we just want to beat UJ.”

Picas said the team’s goal for this year is also to create an “off the field vibe” between team members.

“The girls’ team gets on really well with each other but with new faces on the team we want to cement the relationships we create so we play well as a team.”
To stay relaxed the team enjoy having a “good time” together. Recently they spent time speed dating, watching hockey games together and having “fines meetings” as a way to bond between matches and practices.

The team are inspired to play hard by their coach, John, who is very good at “getting the girls pumped”.

“Hockey at Wits is the perfect balance between seriousness and playfulness,” Picas said. “We push each other but we’re able to have fun at the same time.”

For Witsies who don’t want to play competitively, the Wits hockey club is planning to start a social league which will be happening every Friday.

To officially kick off this year’s season, Wits will be playing UJ at the annual derby day taking place next weekend on the UJ campus.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved with the social hockey league can email the club on witshockeyclub@gmail.com

Leaked recording confirms Wits SRC president has been suspended

Wits SRC president, Mcebo Dlamini during his speech at the IAW rally. Photo: Reuven

SUSPENDED: Wits SRC president, Mcebo Dlamini during his speech at the Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) rally this week. Photo: Reuven Blignaut.

By Lutho Mtongana and Ilanit Chernick

Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) president Mcebo Dlamini has been suspended from his position, according to a leaked recording of an emergency meeting between the student leaders and Dean of Students Dr Pamela Dube.

In the recording obtained by Wits Vuvuzela, Dube told SRC members on Monday that a disciplinary hearing had  found Dlamini guilty of “assaulting” and insulting senior members of university staff via emails at the end of last year.

As a result, Dlamini has been suspended from his duties as SRC president but would be able to continue studying as a student.

“He is still allowed to carry on with his studies and is still a Wits student during this period,” Dube said in the meeting.

Dlamini was also given a suspended sentence of expulsion for one year, meaning that if he is found guilty of another offence in the next year he will be automatically expelled from the institution.

Dube told the SRC members that Dlamini would have 14 days to appeal the judgement.

Wits Vuvuzela contacted Dube for comment but

was not able to get a response as of press time.

Community service changed to expulsion 

Initially, Dlamini had faced two charges of assault and insulting senior members of staff, the first incident taking place before he was elected SRC president. One of the university staff members was director of Residence Life Rob Sharman. The two charges were later combined into a single charge presented at the disciplinary hearing.

Dlamini had been given a punishment for the first charge of 25 hours of community service. Later, this was changed to the suspended sentence of expulsion.

In the recording, Dube said the SRC deputy president, Shaeera Kalla, would become acting president pending Dlamini’s appeal.

“We wish it could be different, we wish they [charges] hadn’t happened … Mcebo knew this was coming”

Dube said that depending on the outcome of the appeal, the SRC would have to “sit down together and try and find a way forward”.

If the appeal “yielded negative outcomes” Dlamini would have to stand down as the SRC president for good. However, if Dlamini wins his appeal he can return to his position.

“We wish it could be different, we wish they [the charges] hadn’t happened … Mcebo knew this was coming,” Dube said in the recording.

However, Dube said the disciplinary process had to unfold despite Dlamini’s status as SRC president: “We don’t just ignore this because someone is a CEO or the SRC president.”

Both Dlamini and Kalla were not available for comment.

Wits Vuvuzela has previously reported that on Feb 28 Dlamini apparently made two Facebook posts announcing his resignation. In one of the posts he said that vice chancellor Prof Adam Habib had used the “racist zionist controlled” Wits Legal Office to find him guilty of misconduct and sentenced him one year of expulsion from the university.

The posts were subsequently deleted hours later.