Wits vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib said that it was “outrageous” that some protestors chanted and sang “dubula i-Juda” (shoot the Jew), at a protest against an Israeli musician on campus this week.
“It is irresponsible when anyone propagates the murder of another on the basis of religion, race or ethnicity,” said Habib.
The protest in response to the concert of Daniel Zamir was held in the Wits University Great Hall but another group of protesters went to a corridor inside the Central Block building and protested from there. This is the same group that sang the song.
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The coordinator of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), Muhammed Desai, said many African people in South Africa when using the word “Jews” meant it in the same way they would have during the eighties. “Just like you would say kill the Boer at funeral during the eighties it wasn’t about killing white people, it was used as a way of identifying with the apartheid regime”.
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Members of the Academic Staff Association of Wits University and the group Academic Freedom were present as independent observers at the protest. Kezia Lewins who was part of the observers said the protest had been relatively peaceful but a full report would be made available at a later stage. Members of the Legal Resources Centre were also there to provide legal advice to the protesters and to observe as well.
Both concert organisers and protesters felt like winners after the Daniel Zamir concert that was held at Wits University last night.
Muhammed Desai, coordinator of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa, said the protest had been effective because they were able to make those attending the concert “uncomfortable”.
“I am an alumnus of this university, they are the ones that are outsiders here, and we want them to feel like outsiders,” said Desai
[pullquote]“You have blood on your hands.You think you can use our university to cleanse your image.”[/pullquote]He said because the organisers had to send out an urgent message to those attending the concert to tell them how to get in, which entrances to use and which to avoid is also a sign of victory – “already it shows that they are tense and they are stressed because SA is becoming so difficult for pro-Israeli organisations to operate [in].”
But the organisers also felt that the night was a success. The concert was held as the university’s way of making up for the one that was disrupted in March. The president of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), Zev Krengel said Wits had lived up to its promise. : “The team was great. I could not fault Wits in anyway.”
Krengel said the protesters were peaceful apart from the group that moved into the corridor and which he described as aggressive. At first the protesters were singing softly but as the night went on they sang and chanted loudly. The protesters confronted and provoked those who came for the concert.
“You have the blood of Palestine children on your jersey,” shouted a protester to a woman who was walking in to the concert area.
“ You have blood on your hands. You think you can use our university to cleanse your image,” said another protester.
Most of the people there to attend the concert passed by the protesters quickly pretending not to notice anything but not all of them. Some passed by the protesters holding up Israel scarves and flags.
“Fuck you!” said a concert attendee to a protester. “Wits University is my University, I have two degrees Wits,” said another person attending the concert replying to a protester who had shouted that they were not welcomed at Wits. Another one gave the protesters the middle finger. Some had to be subdued by those walking with them.
At some point the protesters threw papers at concert attendees as they arrived. They also sang, “dubula i-juda” (“shoot the Jew”), and chanted “there is no such thing as Israel” and “Israel apartheid” as the concert attendees were coming in.
Desai said many African people in South Africa when using the word “Jews” meant it in the same way they would have during the eighties. “Just like you would say kill the Boer at funeral during the eighties it wasn’t about killing white people, it was used as a way of identifying with the apartheid regime”.
He said there was no evidence of Jews being harmed because of anti-Semitic impulses, – “the whole idea anti-Semitism is blown out of proportion”. He said if there were anti-Semitic sentiments they would flatly challenge it even if it came from within their protest.
[pullquote align=”right”]Bring together a Palestine musician and an Israeli one.[/pullquote]
He said there a peaceful process going on and South Africans had to encourage that.
Ari Kruger, who attended the concert said the the term “apartheid” freely used just to evoke enthusiasm and sensitivity among South Africans: “Look at their supporters, the Cosatu guys, I’ve spoken to them on many occasions, they actually don’t have the facts, they are being told, ‘come to the function, apartheid, free Palestine, South Africa’s history is Palestinian reality’ which is actually not true.”
Krengel challenged the BDS and Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) to have a joint concert with them, to “bring together a Palestine musician and an Israeli one.”
Dr Shireen Ally, a Wits lecturer who was part of a group that represented Wits staff and students, said the university refused them the right to have a silent protest and move into the Great Hall foyer.
Ally said they would be seeking legal advice because the university had “infringed” on their rights to protest.
Deputy vice-chancellor, Prof Tawana Kupe said the university had given permission for a silent protest, just not permission to be in the foyer which the protesters had not asked for anyway.
Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel told Wits Vuvuzela that Coopoo had been placed on special leave pending an investigation.
Elaine Milton, head of employee relations at Wits, said the reasons behind Coopoo’s absence are “personal and private” and she could not comment on them.
Wits Vuvuzela tried numerous times to get in touch with Coopoo and other members in management for more information but to no avail.
Head of Residence Life Rob Sharman has been named acting dean of students while Coopoo is on special leave.
According to the university’s website, the office of the dean of students facilitates student life and the academic life of students. It also assists with programmes and services to students.
The dean of students also provides “the strategic direction and co-ordination of all student affairs operations” and sets “clear and specific expectations for staff involvement in facilitating students’ experiences”.
A museum devoted to uncovering and celebrating the history of modern humankind was a fitting venue to host the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Lindiwe Sisulu, who spoke to students yesterday about the importance of setting a new gender agenda.
A new agenda
Sisulu was the keynote speaker at the cocktail dinner hosted by the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU) in association with Mail and Guardian at Wits Origins Center, on Monday. “I want to propose a new agenda, to begin by recording the struggles of women as women. To make sure that it’s a woman’s voice that speaks about the conditions we find ourselves in,” she said.
Speaking on the “agenda on gender”, Sisulu said women’s struggles were poorly documented and were often written by men. She said women still experienced gender-based violence and sexism in all spheres. Sisulu said the African National Congress (ANC) was dedicated to mainstreaming women’s struggles to ensure that these were identified and attended to effective.
“We of the ruling party the African National Congress remain undeterred in our fight for the attainment of a society where men and women would not live in fear of being discriminated against or oppressed,” she said. Kelebogile Setletjeke, 4th year Actuarial Science, asked Sisulu why there wasn’t as much outcry over the rape a four month year baby this month as with the Zuma Spear saga.
[pullquote]We must demand equality[/pullquote]
Sisulu said Kelebogile’s question was a fair criticism of the ANC. She said there was an outcry because “it was the first time that we had seen a frontal image of any president in that nature. We thought we needed to show our abhorrence on the attack on the president.”
We have run our course what remains is your course
Sisulu said addressing Witsies was a mark of her “coming full circle” as she had occupied the same space in her youth. She said as a student she wanted to ensure that woman’s struggles where always brought to the fore. Sisulu who holds as a Master’s degree in gender studies said, the task of highlighting women’s struggle was now placed upon the new generation of young women. “We have run our course – what remains is your course.”
Sisulu highlighted the importance of remembering women such as Charlotte Maxeke who had paved the way for the women of this generation. “Women’s struggle remains an appendix to our history but from time to time these struggles are only dug up as a feel good gesture in a month like this.”
She took the audience down memory lane, discussing how women had to carry over six passes to qualify to be out of prison. She used this anecdote to highlight how three generations of women had fought to give current generation women the opportunities they now have. “We are here today because they fought; there was no divine intervention,”
Sisulu said the responsibility now lie with the youth to ensure that they “address systems of patriarchy and systems that did not lead themselves to a nation of equality.
We must demand equality
Students also asked Sisulu where she drew her strength from and how men could be re-educated about the role of women in South Africa? Sisulu said she received support from the ANC Women’s League and the tireless work they do to ensure that equality is achieved. She said the education of men would not happen overnight but rather through persistence by the new generation of women consistently claiming their equal space in society.
Former Miss South Africa Melinda Bam was the keynote speaker at Wits’s Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU)’s networking connection seminar on Wednesday. Bam spoke to students about the importance of networking and also following their passions. Bam said she was passionate about inspiring young women. Bam who is also part of the National Executive for the Miss South Africa pageant encouraged Witsies to enter this year’s pageant.
Ringing alarms and the smell of burning rubber forced occupants of University Corner to exit the building unexpectedly today.
At three this afternoon, occupants of Wits’ University Corner Building on the corner of Jorissen and Bertha streets were rushed out of the building following a fire in the building. “The alarm rang in our building and we thought nothing of it. But then I went to investigate more and I saw smoke coming out of the lift,” said Juliet White who is an events coordinator at Drama for Life.
White’s colleague Zandile Bekwa then called Wits emergency services to notify them about the smoke. “I called the emergency services and they said we should just wait and not move,” said Bekwa. She said they waited for a few minutes as the smell of the smoke became more potent and they decided to leave the office.
“We decided to take the stairs down to ground floor because we got a bit nervous when we saw the smoke,” said Bekwa. On their way down stairs the ladies met James Bekes a technician from Britefire Security who told them to exit the building as there had been a fire in one of the three lifts.
[pullquote align=”right”]I think they might be waiting for somebody to get killed before they fix the lifts[/pullquote]
Bekes said a small electrical fire had started in Lift B on the 14th floor due to a faulty control panel, which made the buttons burst into flames. He said they had been called at 3:05 PM and had arrived on scene five minutes later. “I cannot confirm what created the electrical fire but we were called to come handle the issue,” he said.
Last month Wits Vuvuzela reported that faulty lifts in the building were leaving students, staff and tenants frustrated. Eddy Kekana, technical supervisor for the Property and Infrastructure Management Division (PIMD), said the lifts could only be fixed one lift at a time and that each lift would take up to six months to fix.
“Basically we found out about the fire via word of mouth”
Wits Vuvuzela has since learned that lift B which started the fire is not the lift that was being repaired, but rather the lift students and staff have been using throughout the year.
As technicians attended to the emergency, a group of people waited in the reception area of theWits Arts Museum. Nick Rumpelt, 3rd year Music student, they were rehearsing on the 8th floor and they were notified about the fire by a classmate who bumped into some people rushing down stairs.
“Basically we found out about the fire via word of mouth, no one official like security or the technician came to notify us,” said Rumpelt. Carlo Mombelli, famous South African bassist and music teacher at Wits was told not to enter the building when he arrived to give a lesson.
“I think they might be waiting for somebody to get killed before they fix the lifts,” he said. It was only at 5pm after 2 hours that occupants were allowed to re-enter the building.
Only one lift remains functional in the 21 storey building, however students and staff are reluctant to use it following the fire.
Giggles accompanied by uhm’s an aah’s is how a predominantly female audience welcomed the chizzled jawlined editor of Men’s Health South Africa, Jason Brown, yesterday.
Brown was Wits to give a talk about career opportunities for aspiring journalists. He addressed an intimate group of students at the Wits Journalism department. The seminar was organised by in part by the Media24 graduate programme which offers bursaries to journalism students.
Don’t be an editor
Brown, who has worked as an editor since 2001, told students not to become editors—which had the audience gasping, until he justified his controversial statement. The term ‘editor’ was becoming outdated because it describes those who supervise production and aren’t directly involved in news stories.
“Don’t be an editor. Become an auteur,” he said. Brown said an auteur was better as it described people who were more interested in the production of information.
The media landscape is rapidly changing. He encouraged students to always be willing to learn new skills to be able to keep up with the changes. He said regardless of the changing media landscape, journalism was still about a good story. [pullquote align=”right”]Your Twitter stream is your CV[/pullquote]
“It’s still about great journalism, great writing and a great story. A great story can be about anything, as long as it’s well written.” Brown emphasised the importance of journalists adhering to a brief, knowing their target audience and doing thorough research.
Don’t miss a deadline
Most important for Brown, were people who were able to meet deadlines. “Don’t ever miss a deadline. Most people ask me: ‘How can I write for you?’ And I say: ‘Don’t miss a deadline.’”
He said students should always seek out internships even if these were unpaid.“Work for free. Start small. Very few of us landed our dream jobs but you’ll always learn something.”
Brown worked for Cape Times early in his career. He said he hated newspapers but it was a “damn good experience”. He said he stuck it through because it was a stepping stone to getting him to his dream job.
Great books, blogs and magazines
Brown also gave advice on professionalism in the work place, specifically for the media industry. He said social media was a tool which prospective employers used to find out more about potential employees.
“Your Twitter stream is your CV. I can read your timeline and easily know if I want to hire. Follow smart people on Twitter.” Brown said the best writers and journalists were those who read a lot of literature.
He encouraged his audience to read “great books, blogs and magazines”.
TALK THAT TALK: Tumelo Mothotoane addressing a crowd Photo: Provided
Mothotoane is the host of AM NEWS which premiered last Saturday on the channel. She will be working alongside Marumo Kekana, who anchors sports, and Tsietsi Monare on the weather reporter.
She said landing the show was overwhelming. “I was truly humbled and overcome with emotion,” she said
Mothotoane had to complete two and half hours of news anchoring as well as reporting on business stories when she auditioned for the show.
Another dimension of news anchoring
Mothotoane is also the host of SABC1’s current affairs show Sunday Live. Although she will have to do juggle between both shows, she views the process as a way to grow as an anchor.
“For me, this is another learning curve, to be able to explore another dimension of news anchoring,” she said. Mothotoane said she appreciated being given the opportunity to inform South Africans about news events.
AM NEWS is one of many new shows launched on the SABC 24 hour news channel. The new channel launched more than a week ago.
At the launch of the channel, acting COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng said initiating the news channel took ten years of planning and negotiating. The channel was a joint effort between the SABC and Multichoice, but Motsoeneng insisted that SABC would remain independent.
“We are an independent broadcaster. They [Multichoice] cannot dictate to us, we will dictate to them. We can divorce them any time,” he said.
It’s a happy occasion to celebrate the growth of broadcasting
Motsoeneng said those who reported that the SABC was struggling financially, were trying to destroy the broadcaster. He went on to reassure attendees that the SABC is more than financially stable.
COMMANDER IN CHIEF: President Jacob Zuma. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
President Jacob Zuma, who gave the keynote address at the channel launch, said the growth of the SABC was a happy occasion.
“It’s a happy occasion to celebrate the growth of broadcasting…the real and full South Africa story is waiting to be told,” said Zuma.
Zuma said the new channel would provide the opportunity to tell stories about African progress and reflect optimism.
The event was an opportunity for major private sector companies to recruit current students aand graduates of WBS.
Charisse Drobis, career advisor at WBS, said this was the second event the school had hosted and it had doubled its attendance of students and companies.
“We hosted this so students could engage and network in a more compressed way than they could on a regular basis,” said Drobis.
Ruds Ramasar, a representative of the South African Breweries(SAB) graduate programme, said the event was well organised and that SAB was excited to be invited as it would allow them to engage with future employees.
“WBS did a very good job, all we had to do was just pitch up. We are excited to be here so that we can engage and be able to identify future talent,” said Ramasar.
[pullquote]You’ve got to network to get work[/pullquote] SAB was there to advertise their graduate programme which trains people in marketing, brewing technology, IT and supply chain technology.
WBS student, Ryan Hausberger, said he was looking forward to learning more about the various companies and what they had to offer. He was also excited at the networking opportunities provided at the career day as he exclaimed: “You’ve got to network to get work!”
Earlier this year Fortune Magazine released its list of 100 best companies to work for and Google topped the list for the second time.
Serious without suits
Craig Wing, a Wits alumnus who now works in Google’s marketing department, said Google was indeed the best company to work for. He said he enjoyed the easy-going and laid-back style of management and the free food and snacks.
“At Google we believe that you can be serious without wearing a suit,” said Wing.
Wing was a representative for Google at the careers workshop and said although there were no positions currently available at Google South Africa, interested students could upload their CVs on their site and would be contacted if something came up.
We want more
Hamilton Ndlovu, an MBA student at WBS, said the variety of companies at the event was very one sided. He identified a poor turnout of companies dealing with investment banking and finance, which were his preferred careers sectors.
“I see that 80% of these companies are consulting companies. And obviously you get finance divisions in those companies, but it’s not exactly the same thing,” Ndlovu said.
FROM MOYO: An email from Dr Last Moyo to a female student
In response to the concerns raised by Dr Last Moyo in his comment below, Wits Vuvuzela would like to clarify that these emails were not submitted to the sexual harassment inquiry by the student involved. In fact, Wits Vuvuzela has since learned that the emails did not form part of the evidence that lead to Dr Last Moyo’s dismissal.
Wits Vuvuzela felt it necessary to publish this information following Moyo’s interview with the Star. In the interview Moyo, denied any misconduct and said he would appeal the university’s ruling. The student in question declined to lay a complaint with the university, and we apologise if we may have inferred as such.
More evidence against Dr Last Moyo has emerged after his dismissal from Wits University, last week.
Wits Vuvuzela has received copies of an email conversation between the former senior Media Studies Lecturer and a student who indicated that the emails made her feel uncomfortable.
In an email dated 6 June 2012, Moyo said he could not wait to have his first kiss with the student, who asked not to be named. Wits Vuvuzela has confirmed that the student was a registered Masters’ student at the time and Dr Moyo was her supervisor until he was placed on special leave.
Can I see you before you leave campus today? Kisses
“Hi I hope you are great. Was great to see you, but tell you what … I just can’t wait for that first kiss now,” he said.
In the email conversation Moyo said he could not wait to see the student after their first kiss and then asked if he could meet with her before she left campus.
“It’s like I can see you blashing [sic] already, but can I see you before you leave campus today? Kisses,” he wrote. Moyo signed the email off with his initials LDM which stand for Last Dumisani Moyo.
In an interview withThe Star earlier today, Moyo denied any wrong doing and said he would appeal the University’s ruling through the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration.
[pullquote]”I just can’t wait for that first kiss now”[/pullquote]
In March, Wits Vuvuzela reported that more than six students accused Moyo of misconduct. He was placed on special leave in April while the university conducted a campus wide inquiry into sexual harassment claims. Last week, after the investigations by an independent legal team acting on behalf of the university, Moyo was found guilty of sexual misconduct and dismissed.
In the five thread email conversation Moyo also asked the student about her mother’s health and if he could see her on Friday the 7th June 2012. She responded by saying her mother was good in health and that a meeting on Friday would not be possible as her mother would still be around.
“She’s fine. I don’t think feasible ngoba (because) she’ll still be there,” she said
Flight to Zimbabwe
TIME TO FLY: an email confirming the flight
This is just one of two email conversations that Wits Vuvuzela has received. In their following email conversation Moyo emailed the student details of a flight booked for her to Zimbabwe.
The travel agency emailed the flight information to him, which he forwarded to the student. The student was part of a research team that was assigned to help Moyo with [pullquote align=”right”]“Hi, Your ticket. Kisses.”[/pullquote] project due to be completed in Zimbabwe. The flight was paid for by a research grant that was given for the project.
“Hi, Your ticket. Kisses.” he wrote.
Wits Vuvuzela contacted Moyo for a comment on the email conversation but he declined to answer any questions.
“I don’t want to make a comment. I’ve already been fired what else do you want from me?,” he said as he dropped the phone.
SHE’S GOT THE X FACTOR: Talent show judges with the winner of competition (From Left)DJ Fresh, Erica Da Silva Mpho Osei Tutu and Thuso Mbedu Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi
Idols season nine started last month and it seems everybody has caught the bug, even Witsies. Royal Mndani’s Dining Hall on West campus hosted the Convocation Talent Show, this past Saturday.
Singers, poets and dancers came prepared to battle it out for the grand prize of R1 500 and the all important bragging rights. On the judging panel was DJ Fresh, Thuso Mbedu and Mpho Osei Tutu had the difficult task of crowning the sole winner.
The students are super talented
Mbasa Tsetsana, chief organiser of the event, said he was overwhelmed by the talent and the number of people who arrived to watch the show. “The students are super talented and really good. I am just so impressed by the great turn out today,” he said.
The talent show had more than a dozen performers who fought through nerves to be crowned victorious. Ongie Gusha, 2nd year Media and Anthropology, walked off the stage after she fumbled the lyrics to her song, but was encouraged by the audience to carry on singing. [pullquote align=”right”]I think I sucked because I forgot my lyrics[/pullquote]
“I think I sucked because I forgot my lyrics. But I am happy that the audience encouraged me to carry on,” she said.
Hip hop dancing duo “Genie and Walle” entertained the crowd with performance that included classic Michael Jackson dance moves such the moon walk and the crotch thrust. Zewande Bhengu, 4th year BADA, slowed the festivities down with a poem he dedicated to his loved ones that had lost their battle with HIV. “She was my muse, my mentor, my dream,” said a captivating Bhengu in the final stanza of his poem.
And the winner is…
After 40 minutes of deliberation, the judges announced Erica Da Silva as the winner. Da Silva, honours forensic entomology student, sang an original composition called ‘I will rise’. Her win came as no surprise as she was the clear fan favourite receiving a standing ovation after her performance.
[pullquote]Whore yourself because no one else can[/pullquote] Da Silva who has been singing since she was three-years-old, predicted her win before the results were announced. “I think I will win,” she said during the results interval.
Some Fresh advice
During the prize giving ceremony, DJ Fresh encouraged students to nurture their talents and to pursue their passion. “Find your talent, nurture it and see if you can get paid for it,” he said.
DJ Fresh encouraged students to network while in university and to also use the internet to market themselves. “Whore yourself because no one else can,” he said
Today we’re taking a look at the #WitsShutdown protests which are over historical debt and unaffordable accommodation, which have seen several students suspended, physical clashes between protestors and security and disruptions to the academic programme for many. In this bonus episode of We Should Be Writing, we let students unpack their views on what has […]