Music and threads


Performing to a full house at Wits Theatre, kasi-soul pioneers, The Soil, gave a show described by some as “unforgettable”.

Last Friday (July 20), the group took to the stage to present songs from their self-titled debut album and cover versions of songs by legends Miriam Makeba and Simphiwe Dana.


Soulful Sounds: Members of the The Soil (from left to right) Luphindo Nxanga, Buhlebendalo Mda and Ntsika Nxanga performing at Wits University.
Photo: Lebogang Mdlankomo


Setting the tone for the night, the opening by versifier Mxolisi Mtshali, who as part of “The Soil family” recited a poem in isiZulu, set a benchmark for upcoming performances for the entire evening.

The audience grooved to sing-along favourites Baninzi, Joy (We are family), Impossible, Inkomo and Bhomba.

Although the group released their deluxe edition in May, the audience still got a chance to listen to songs that were still “under construction”, said group member Buhlebendalo Mda.

Still maintaining their upbeat, melodic and finger snapping traits, songs like Girl you are amazing and another produced with Freshly Ground while being the supporting act during their “Love No Hate tour”, have that “The Soil” trademark sound.


Two part show

The event was not only musically orientated but included a fashion show.

The group’s stylist, Zano Sithetho known as Zano Skorzch, showcased his clothing line. The Kempton Park based designer said his “pretty much vintage” collection comprised of sleek and clean-cut items.

Targeted at 22-34 year olds, the line is for people who want to look good while being fashion forward.

Didintle Tshola, 3rd year BA student, said, “Not only did my soul get fed good music but I got to see beautiful clothing as well”.

“It’s a little early for this but I think I know where my graduation dress is gonna come from,” said Tshola.

Commenting on the experience and outcome of the show, members Phindo Nxanga and Fana Nxanga shared the sentiment that the warmth of the crowd was overwhelming and they enjoyed performing at Wits.

Soilful music for Witsies

Wits students will experience the sound of kasi-soul, a combination of the Afro-pop, Afro and neo-soul, jazz and hip-hop genres, by trio The Soil later today (July 20) as part of their nationwide campus tour.

The eclectic sounds intended to heal hearts have earned the group a large fan base among young South Africans. Soweto-based group members Luphindo Ngxanga, Ntsika Ngxanga and Buhlebendalo Mda met in high school.

They say God is the first member of the group.

With their voices alone, the group produces sounds of different instruments like the cello and violin while simultaneously beat boxing.

The vintage-styled group won two Ovation Awards at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2010.

They are giving their Wits audience a taste of the finger-snapping music which can traced back to the Sophiatown culture and era.

The sold-out show, organised by Native Rhythms Productions, will be held at the Wits Theatre from 6pm. For video interview and performance clips go to

Published in Vuvuzela 16th Edition, 20 June 2012


Workers rooms a work in progress

New change rooms promised to Wits garden and landscape workers by mid-July are not ready yet.

NEARLY DONE: The new and refurbished facilities adjecent behind the planetarium are expected to be done by month end. The structure includes seperate male and female ablution and showering sections and bigger eating areas.
PHOTO: Lebogang Mdlankomo


Although the structure is up, the completion deadline given to Vuvuzela last semester has not been met. Earlier this year, Vuvuzela documented the cramped and unhygienic condition of the change rooms located behind Jubilee kitchen and Hofmeyr House.

The East Campus shacks, intended only for temporary usage, have been used by workers for years now.

However, the Project and Infrastructure Management Division’s Siphiwe Dlamini said completion of the project is set for the end of July and, “should there be any delays, it could be just a week long. Let’s say the rooms will be ready for use between August 10 and 15.”

The refurbished rooms were initially meant to cater for 22 workers, but the procurement office increased that number to 40.

The workers expressed disappointment with the progress so far. They also claimed they had not received any information about the project since the Wits landscaping contractor changed and their employment contracts were moved from Sonke to Servest.

Besides waiting for the facilities, the workers are awaiting confirmation on whether Servest has been awarded the tender for the new financial year and what their salaries will be. They held a protest on June 12 when Servest would not inform workers of salary increases before their contracts were renewed.

A worker who wished to remain anonymous said, “We don’t know whether the rooms are going to be for us only, because some other [general] workers say they are going to be located there as well. No one tells us anything.”

Published in Vuvuzela 16th Edition, 20 June 2012


I am not my hair

I recently shaved my head … and no, I wasn’t going through something. Well, technically I was, but not what you think.

It wasn’t a break-up sob story or a spur-of-the-moment crazy hairdo act. I wasn’t looking forward to it because like, most women, I believed that “your hair is your crown”. Confidence comes not only from looking good, but from having a great mane.

However, knowing the real reason I cut my hair off made me carry the look with confidence and pride. I lost my brother in March. In my culture, a cleansing ceremony follows a certain period of mourning, set by the elders.

This cleansing is basically the process where you are, well … cleansed. There is no other way to explain it. But one of the rituals involves cutting your hair off. If you are lucky, only strands of hair are cut from the sides of your head, but if you’re not so lucky, you’ll lose it all.

On the eve of the ceremony, my siblings and I had a huge debate about this. My sisters and I decided, no way were we going to lose all our hair. In the end, though, I was the only one to come out “wounded”.

After my uncle did a choppy job on my natural afro, I decided my brother should take out the clippers and remove the rest as quickly and painlessly as possible. I didn’t break down though, when I saw it fall. I was honouring my late brother.

My new look has other advantages too, the most important being the ability to take head to toe showers. All my ladies will agree with me on this: it is such a good feeling having a proper shower without having to worry about messing your relaxed, weaved or freshly blown hairdo.

You will probably envy me for this too, but windy days do not faze me at all. I can take a ride in a convertible and have stress-free “wind in my hairless” moments.

Even though the father of the reformation, Martin Luther said, “The hair is the richest ornament of women”, I’ve let my hair down on this one and enjoy the fact that I now know that my tresses do not define me.

 Published in Vuvuzela 14th Edition, 18 May 2012


Driving knowledge

WITSIES have come up with an initiative that is going to help fellow students who cannot afford to buy textbooks.

The Volunteer Initiative for Students’ Textbooks (VIST) is the brainchild of Witsie Crossley Mjojo. It is aimed at assisting Wits students who struggle to obtain study material despite being able to pay for their tuition.

The team consists of Mjojo as the initiative’s coordinator, Rabia Kamdar, Palesa Molebatsi, Lesego Ndala and a number of Wits graduates who play an advisory role. They hope to not only make an academic difference but a financial one as well.

The initiative, which was only authorised by the university in September last year, will begin in the second semester because the team has focused on getting the project off the ground and finding ways to make the concept as good practically as it is theoretically.

The drive is intended as a means for “students to help other students,” because not everyone is privileged enough to afford new books or any at all, said Mjojo.

Mjojo highlighted the team’s hope to raise awareness to Witsies about the circumstances of their fellow students.

Under the Wits Volunteer Programme’s WVP) structure which is responsible for a number of social responsibility projects, VIST anticipates collaborating with well-known bookstores in making textbooks accessible to all students but more especially first years.

Major demands that have been noted are for science and commerce-related subjects because the material is generally costly and reading material can be used throughout one’s undergraduate degree.

Mjojo said, “This is an initiative that should continue here at Wits even after I have graduated and should hopefully become an independent charity that will function within multiple universities.”

Students who are interested in donating books and be part of VIST can find them at room 241 at the Matrix.

Published in Vuvuzela print edition, 18 May 2012


Knockando smashes the Raiders

The inter-faculty games showed a new level of competitiveness last week when the two male res’s, Knockando and Men’s Res, better known to students as the “Knocks” and the “Raiders”, went head to head in what seemed to be more like a test of the residences’ pride.

The match started out quite slowly with both teams trying to find each other’s weak spots.

For the first 20 minutes of the game Men’s Res dominated the play, with attempts to break the Knockando defence. But against the flow of the game Knockando centre, Marcus Sham, scored a try which gave Knocks the lead.

After falling behind, the Raiders pushed hard for 10 minutes to equalise the score through a try from Mxolisi Makhombiti. The Raiders failed to convert the try.

For the last 10 minutes of the first half, neither team could manage to score any more points to take the lead at half time. The scores at half time were 5-5.

With half time scores at 5-5, both teams came into the second half with a point to prove. Both attempted to change the score line but the defence systems proved strong on both fronts.


Knockando and Raiders forwards locked in a scrum. Knockando won the game 18-5.

Photo: Lebogang Mdlankomo


Knockando dominated the second half with one try and a converted try that placed them in the lead for the entire game. The final score was 18-5.

A number of players that made their mark in the game included Men’s Res’s lock Graham Rex and centre Manne Adje and Knockando’s Blake Dismare.

Other games that took place on the night included Masakhane versus Monash, Humanities versus HSA, Commerce versus SAUJS and the Engineers against the Medics.


Published in Wits Vuvuzela, 12th edition, 2nd May 2012


Room for change

A Wits groundstaff member fills his locker which is clearly "not in a good condition".

and landscaping workers at Wits should finally have refurbished change rooms on the east campus by mid-July.

The creation of new change rooms follows numerous complaints about the condition of their current facilities, which contrast sharply with the clean grounds which the workers maintain.

The 22 men have been using two shacks located behind the Jubilee kitchens and Hofmeyr House on the east campus. The shacks were meant to be used temporarily until proper facilities were built.

The change rooms, which are used to store tools and hazardous chemicals, have also served as their eating area. Vuvuzela spoke to a number of workers.

“We’ve had to share the two showers and [in] most instances six people shower at the same time because the water in the geyser runs out.”

Vuvuzela saw the shacks and identified several problems. Some of them are: a shower area is exposed to public view, as the broken window pane has not been replaced. There is no drainage system for the ablution facilities and the lighting and geyser pipes are exposed to steam.

Naadira Munshi of the Workers Solidarity Committee said the matter had been raised with the university’s management and there was “a call for the removal of the shacks”.

For an institution that “preaches about human rights and respect” of its employees, the state of the workers change rooms was a huge contradiction, Munshi said.

Siphiwe Dlamini, from the Wits procurement office’s project and infrastructure management division, said the plan to improve the change room was sparked by complaints, especially those from the landscape workers.

“The project has just begun and it includes the renovation and extension of the existing structure adjacent the Planetarium,” said Dlamini.

The building, which is expected to be ready by mid-July, will include sections for males and females.

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Photo: Lebogang Mdlankomo

Published in Vuvuzela Print Edition, 13 April 2012

Bronzed honour

Refreshments served in enamel cups, crate seats, and a group of men who sang work songs as if they were on duty underground.

This was part of the ambience set for guests who had come to Wits to bear witness to the official unveiling of the “unknown miner” statue situated at the entrance of the recently renovated Chamber of Mines building.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Yunus Ballim explained the significance of the statue donated by Louis Wald, the son of the creator Herman Wald, and its relation to the celebrations of the institution’s growth.

“The statue shows the significance that the mining industry has had on the country’s  economy and the history of the institution” said Ballim.

Part of the sculpture’s symbolic meaning is that it pays homage to the unsung heroes who  contributed to the mining industry.

The statue is the first of the two sculptures that were donated to the institution as part of the Wits90 celebrations.

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Photos by: Jay Caboz @jaycaboz

Almost bitten twice

A Wits student has fallen prey to car thieves at Wits Junction twice in two months. 

A series of thefts have occurred at the residence where two cars were stolen in February this year. The previous incidents involved cars with Botswana registration plates but Vuvuzela was unable to establish if this represented a trend.

Vuvuzela received a tweet from one of the residents, @stretchdj: “@vuvuzelanews looks like sum1s car was broken into at Wits Junction. Rob Sharman, Campus Control and Hillbrow police at the scene.”

The car that was broken into over the weekend belonged to 4th year medical student, Gayathri Raveendran (20), whose previous car was stolen on February 10. 

Security Upped: One of the security measures that were put in place after the first car theft in February at Wits Junction. Photo: Lebogang Mdlankomo


Raveendran said she went downstairs to the parking lot when she saw two men in her new car, a Toyota Rav4, and one standing outside it.

“After they left the scene I went to check my car and they had dismantled my gear and cut the wires to the indicator, my car was five minutes away from being stolen,” she said.

Raveendran said after her first car was stolen she was incredibly paranoid and felt unsafe and it did not help that she was now a victim for the second time.

Junction Security supervisor Enoch Mdunge said, “The people broke into the car but my colleagues managed to stop the theft but the suspects managed to escape”.

Mdunge asserted that new security systems were put in place at the residence and that gaining entry into the residence premises will be much stricter.

New DA campaign targets graduates


Controversial DASO posters: The follow-up poster in the DASO In our future campaign.


AFTER the initial outcry following the launch of the first poster of the In Our Future campaign, the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) released a follow up poster last week.

The latest advertisement  (pictured on right) focusing on the youth wage subsidy issue depicts what the student organisation views as the current South African situation, where a young black man is standing at a traffic light begging while carrying a signboard saying “have degree, will work for food”.

The previous poster, released in January showed a naked interracial couple embracing, had social media sites buzzing about the message it put across.

DASO leader Mohammed Sayanvala said: “The [In our future] campaign expresses the DA youth’s vision for our generation and ties in with the party’s vision of equal opportunity for all, and the keywords being, ‘for all’.”

Sayanvala said: “We are trying to reflect the reality of this country; we’re looking at the demographics and not trying to put a mask by putting a white person just to show that we’re not racist.

“Currently in South Africa there are 3.2million unemployed youth and looking at the demographics black people are affected by it [the] most, but it’s not exclusive to black people only. I assure you we’d get the same response had we had a white person,” he said.

Postgraduate student, Mandumo Mguli, said the transition from the interracial couple poster to the current one was “very thought-provoking”.

Mguli said, looking at the poster, the race factor was one thing that could not be avoided. “I just thought to myself why put a black guy there and […] why would you choose to put a graduate in a position of begging when there are so many other avenues to follow.”

Second year BSc engineering student Travis Beanett thought the poster was cleverly done. “It plays on the things that students think about after they graduate. I didn’t notice the race factor, I just saw a sign,” he said.

Politics lecturer Lwazi Lushaba said the DASO campaign could affect campus life by motivating society away from the kind of mentality in which ideas need to be viewed in a black and white in order for them to be understood.

Lushaba said: “The DA is trying to help people to cease thinking of the binary opposites that they [society] are accustomed to because signs don’t matter, what matters are the interpretations attached to them”.

He added that the organisation is trying to make society move from a race-governed debate to an issue-governed debate.


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