Vieux Farak Toure opens Sahara exhibition


SAHARA-BORN: Malian musician Vieux Farak Toure performed at the Wits Origins Centre on Tuesday night. Photo: Ndundu Sithole.

Malian music, African archeology, arts and culture came to together at the Wits Origins Centre on Tuesday night to celebrate the history of the Sahara, in the first collaboration of its kind.

Armed with an acoustic guitar, Malian musician Vieux Farak Toure helped to bring northern and southern Africa archeology together as his performed at the opening of the Sahara exhibition.

The exhibition uses multimedia to tell the story of the Sahara, how it is has transformed, and shaped all those who find their roots in it, from the time of the first native Malian Tuareg nomads.

“We think of ourselves as Africans and we have sense that we are born here, but Sahara is the biggest part of Africa and very few people in Joburg know about that,” said curator, Lara Mallen.

The music by highly-acclaimed Toure then was a fitting way to open the exhibition.

“I am from the Sahara, born down there, I’m from there. It’s a great honor because it takes me back there in a way,” he said.

While the African continent has gone through an array of social and political disputes, the Sahara exhibition is a reminder of the rich cultural history of the African continent.

Professor Tawana Kupe, Wits deputy vice chancellor (finance) and chairman of the Origins Centre, said that the exhibition was important in placing the university, as well African archeology as major players in the world.

“People often ask where are the origins, they are right here,” he said.

The Sahara exhibition is on at the Wits Oigins Center until 15 October, the exhibition is open to the public at R45.00 per person.



Education campus caterer stays put

The catering company for Wits Education campus is set to stay put, at least for another year, along with its costly menu.

Students on the campus were hoping that a change in caterer would provide more cost-effective options but the company, Olives & Plates has just received a one year extension from Wits University.

The contract

Deputy director of Wits Services Nicholas Matthes, in response to questions about the extension, said, “The tender committee selected Olives & Plates as the preferred operator,” said Matthes. Although the contract has been secured for 2014, an agreement for the duration of 2015 has not been reached yet.

Last week Wits Vuvuzela reported that students on education campus were unhappy about the cost of food at Olives & Plates. Many students said they wanted more variety in food retailers on campus, and specifically, more affordable options.

Njabulo Mkhize, former Education School Council (ESC) vice-president said he was aware that Olives & Plates was a retailer which provided quality food.“It goes through testing and all that, but the issue is whether or not this service they are providing is financially viable for students”

The tender proccess

Olives & Plates currently complies with the tender criteria from the Wits services department which includes nutritional value, attention to current trends as well as cost for various types of menu items.

Matthes said 2013 had been “a year of significance” for the food industry as economic pressures saw food prices soar. Alongside these economic pressures, a global horsemeat scandal rocked consumers all over the world.  In light of this, Wits services invested time and effort into building strong relationships with credible suppliers adding the ingredient of “trust”.

Possibility of a new retailer?

It is unlikely that education campus will get another food retailer on the campus.  According to Matthes, feasibility, sustainability and space allocation play a role in the selection of a suitable operator. “It is not feasible to have more than one operator on campus,” he said.

The Wits services department told Wits Vuvuzela they were in talks with Olives & Plates in order to determine the best way of engaging with students to get specific feedback in relation to the service delivery.

The department would ensure “that a broad variety of products and price range is available to the variety of clientele,” said Matthes.


The “Yellow bone Factory” hits Wits

By Pheladi Sethusa and Nomatter Ndebele

Skin lightening treatments, reviled as part of an apartheid mindset pre-1994, have come back into fashion on campus .

YELLOW FEVER: Wits Vuvuzela journalist, Nomatter Ndebele, took one for the team to explore new frontiers of yellow-boneness in this photo illustration.      Image: Luca Kotton

YELLOW FEVER: Wits Vuvuzela journalist, Nomatter Ndebele, took one for the team to explore new frontiers of yellow-boneness in this photo illustration. Image: Luca Kotton

“Yellow-bone”, the hip-hop term for light-skinned black people, has become the latest unattainable beauty standard to meet – along with size 32 hips, a DD cup size and a bulbous bum.

Posters for a company, “The Yellow-bone Factory”, have recently appeared on campus offering skin-lightening treatments to students.

Wits Vuvuzela called the number on the poster. Company founder Neo Mobita said the reason for the demand was simple: “Students want to be yellow-bones.”

How does it work?

Mobita said three treatment options were available: “Skin renew” body and face creams, pills and injections.

These treatments range in cost but even the cheapest and mildest of the pills – vitamin C prep – comes in at between R150 for the smallest bottle, and R1300.

Kojic acid was “more responsive”, said Mobita, because it “stops melanin from making skin darker”. These pills range from R1000 to R2000, depending on the size of the bottle.

Be warned

General practitioner at the Execumed clinic in Killarney, Dr Safeera Kholvadia, warned against making use of any injectibles for “skin brightening” as they were “not regulated in South Africa”. People should be wary of products sold on posters and even online. Using unregulated dosages of any skin brightening treatment “could be deadly”.

“There is no cure for pigmentation, no matter what you use,” said Kholvadia. She explained that pigment cells dictated people’s colour. As soon as they stopped using the treatment, those pigment cells would override its effects. “Everyone is trying to tap into the market at the moment. Consumers should be very wary.”

Aside from being extremely expensive, skin lightening products – through making unnatural adjustments – were harmful not just to the skin but also to the mind and emotional states of users, Kholvadia said: “Usually there are deeper underlying issues for people who do this.”

What do Witsies say?

Although “The Yellow-bone Factory” targets students, the general sentiment among Witsies approached by Wits Vuvuzela was that skin lightening is unnecessary.  Students were bold in their criticisms. David Manabile, 2nd year Education, said skin lightening was a ridiculous concept.

“When women do it, it means that they aren’t proud of their skin colour and their roots. I would never do it, because I’m proud of who I am and where I come from. I was born this way, I don’t feel the need to change who I am, to be something or someone else.”

Liveni Ndlovu, 1st year BA, said because “yellow-bones are seen as hot”, darker people are left being very self-conscious and not very confident about their looks.

Engineering PhD student Ntando James said: “I understand why women want to do it, because of the misconception they have that light skin is what all men are attracted to… If someone I was dating, or knew, wanted to do it, I would discourage them. There are serious repercussions and side-effects.

“You can get skin cancer and have bad reactions to all those chemical treatments and lightening cream(s). People just don’t think about it, but they do it because of an identity crisis, to fit into a ‘fake’ society.”

[pullquote]“All women are or have the potential to be yellow-bones.”[/pullquote]

Amanda Dyandyi, 1st year Fine Arts, said skin lightening “puts people in a box. It’s like racism all over again but between black people.”

The official website of Mobita’s company contains a post that says: “All women are or have the potential to be yellow-bones.”

But the demand goes beyond gender and race, apparently. She said there were people who wanted to get darker too.  “The Yellow-bone Factory” was currently experimenting with “crossing racial lines,” she said. “We can make you whatever you want to be, white, coloured, whatever.”

Education students gatvol over food

Education  campus students still don’t have enough choice for food options, despite having raised the issue with Vice Chancellor Adam Habib at the Town Hall meeting in June last year.

During last year’s Town Hall meetings on Main campus and Education campus, students were able to raise their concerns with Habib in a public forum

Lack of food outlets

At the Education campus Town Hall, former ECS (Education School Council) vice president Njabulo Mkhize raised his concerns about the inadequate food options on the campus. Olives and Plates is the only food outlet available on Education campus. The students find the restaurant expensive.

Mkize told the VC that students could not afford to purchase food at the café because the prices were very high. His concern was that the students had absolutely no other option to get food other than Olives and Plates.

.[pullquote align=”right”]“He even said that having seen the quotes for Olives and Plates, he had decided to cut down on food expenses for staff functions,” [/pullquote]

At the Town Hall meeting Habib was said to have acknowledged this was a legitimate concern.“He even said that having seen the quotes for Olives and Plates, he had decided to cut down on food expenses for staff functions,”said Mkize

What the students have to say

Students on education canpus opt to bring packed lunches to campus as they feel the food from Olives and plates is too expensive.

Students on education canpus opt to bring packed lunches to campus as they feel the food from Olives and plates is too expensive.

Having served on the ESC for two years, Mkize said he was aware that there are students who could not afford to buy food from Olives and Plates.During lunch break, students grouped together at various spots at campus, most eating their packed lunches. Many also had polystyrene boxes of slap chips, the most affordable item on offer from Olives and Plates.

[pullquote]“You get a burger here for R22 and it doesn’t have chips, but on Main campus a meal is R25,” [/pullquote]

Two fourth year students, Zama Khumalo and Anna Lekata, sat outside Olives and Plates eating their lunch – a Butcher’s Grill meal that they had got from Main campus. “You get a burger here for R22 and it doesn’t have chips, but on Main campus a meal is R25,” said Khumalo.

Khumalo and Lekata had left at 11am to come to Main campus because they had no classes to attend. The two said they would have been late for classes in the afternoon had they not been able to leave early.

Ami Sonnenburg, 2nd year BEd, said she always brought lunch from home because she was Jewish, only ate kosher food and Olives and Plates did not provide that option. She added that she disliked buying food from Main campus,“The food at the matrix is disgusting and the matrix is filthy”.

A group of students studying a PGCE said that they had noticed a big difference in a availability of food variety since they left Main campus.“We don’t actually buy food, we just buy snacks,” said Daniella Regal. Mutshutshudzi Tshikule, secretary of the ESC, told Wits Vuvuzela that nothing had been done about most of the issues that were raised at the Town Hall forum.

Alongside the food issue, students had raised concerns about the high international upfront payment fees.

SLICE OF LIFE: Still in the dark about beauty

Nomatter Ndebele

Nomatter Ndebele. Photo: TJ Lemon

WHO is this Lupita Nyong’o? Telling the world that it’s okay to be a dark-skinned girl?

How dare she stand there courageously, in her bold colours, night shade, firm in her conviction that dark-skinned girls are, in fact, beautiful?

Seriously Lupita, this is not the time for a colour revolution. The world has not accepted me yet. Until you came along, with your “revolution” glowing brightly from your dark skin, my life was going on as it should have. I’ve finally finished my degree, soon I will have a job and I will be able to afford all my planned bleaching treatments.

The dream was within reach, but no. Thanks to you and your bold blackness the world has supposedly decided that I belong here, at every turn people are holding mirrors up to me and saying “we see you, you are something to look at now”.

Now I’ll never be able to bleach myself because the whole world is watching and my simple explanation of “I just want to be lighter” will never be an acceptable reason for ridding myself of my burdensome, melanin-induced shade.You meant well, I know you did. None of this is your fault but look what you’ve done. What your personal victory has inadvertently done to me.

[pullquote] at every turn people are holding mirrors up to me and saying “we see you, you are something to look at now”.[/pullquote]

I wanted to be noticed. I wanted my beauty to be acknowledged, not fetishised. I didn’t want to be put on a global pedestal that I will never actually be on.  Now  the world not only sees me, it has me under a microscope and God forbid I find myself even half a shade lighter before that bleaching appointment.

While I admire your bold blackness, I don’t appreciate it.Because you have unwittingly drawn me into “the struggle”. You’ve made me one with all the other dark-skinned girls. Now I will never be able to represent myself without representing a whole.When I mention skin lightening the world will look at me and ask “Have you seen Lupita Nyong’o?”

Yes, I have but let’s face facts, I am NOT Lupita Nyong’o.

Where was Lupita Nyong’o when the makeup artist religiously caked my face with a foundation three shades lighter than I was because she “didn’t have make up for dark people”? Where was Lupita when the production assistant at work would whisk me away into the bathroom before we went live to try and “fix me” since the makeup artist was too busy perfecting the lighter skinned presenters’ makeup.

Lupita Nyong’o’s win is not a win for all of us. We haven’t won, we are not simply beautiful yet. We are exoticised, we are sold to the world as “black beauties”, we are fetishised. We are the boxes that need to be ticked, our compliments are an over compensation for the years of disregard.

[pullquote align=”right”]Yes, I have but let’s face facts, I am NOT Lupita Nyong’o.[/pullquote]

I went from hearing “I have no makeup for dark people” to “I love doing make up on your flawless skin, your almond eyes are great to work on”.When will dark girls be more than “pretty for a dark skinned girl”?

What happens if I never make it to the big Hollywood lights, cameras flashing and ebony skin reflecting the afterglow of success. I may never make it. Lupita did, I haven’t.

We “made it” and, until then, I’m not ready to liquidate my “bleaching fund” just yet.

HEI life not over for café owners

Co-owners of HEI cafe,Edlison Chuene and Lincoln Ncame are determined to see the cafe open its doors once again.

Co-owners of HEI cafe,Edlison Chuene and Lincoln Ncame are determined to see the cafe open its doors once again.

The owners of HEI  Café, in Braamfontein, which closed down two months ago, are determined that the café will reopen its doors.

Co-owners of Hei Café  Lincoln Ncame and Edlin Chuene are confident about the future of HEI café, at 26 Melle street, Braamfontein. “It is the love of our lives,” they both say.

Meet the team

Ncame strolls towards me with an effortless bounce, his vintage swag buttoned firmly in a chunky cardigan.Next to me, Chuene’s face crinkles into a soft smile, as he explains the significance of the café and how its demise came about.

The café is an extension of the Hillbrow Entrepreneurship Initiative (HEI). A non-profit organization that helps people start up their own self-sustaining projects. The profits from the café have carried the work of the NGO, and while donations are coming in steadily, the gap of the investors is undeniable.

The popular café closed down after the rent had gone unpaid due to investors pulling out, leaving the café financially unsustainable. Now what once was  the “rabbit hole” of Braamfonetin has gone eerily silent. HEI  Café, has always been “different”, its loyal followers and regulars say.

[pullquote align=”right”]“We’re outliers, it’s harder to be an outlier but its more rewarding,”[/pullquote]

The space 

Housed in 100sq in what once was a dingy alley way behind Nando’s, the café welcomed volunteers from all corners of Braamfontein who wanted to make a difference by offering a space to young entrepreneurs and self-starters who needed to hold meetings and interviews.The café launched in 2013, opening its doors to curious and quirky Braamfontein  citizens.

The café  with its cheeky vintage mood  hosted music gigs throughout the year and became home to many regulars who used the unassuming alleyway to escape the hustle and bustle of Braamfontein.

Despite the financial difficulties, Ncame and Chuene have taken it upon themselves to find a way to make HEI Café work. The challenge lies in that HEI is different,“We’re outliers, it’s harder to be an outlier but its more rewarding,said Chuene.

[pullquote]“When it (HEI) [re]opens, it will show that people can give themselves to a cause,”[/pullquote]

The return

The Braamfontein alleyway art programme has managed to clean up the dingy alley, marking the entrance with fluorescent coloured umbrella’s, inviting all sorts of curious travellers to HEI’s doorstep.

Where there’s a will there’s a way. Ncame and Chuene are adamant that HEI will make its return .Chuene said that if people put more effort into who they say they are, we can do more change.“When it (HEI) [re]opens, it will show that people can give themselves to a cause,” said Chuene.  Their attitude is: Hei will survive

SRC review of new club “fruitless”: Project W

The SRC has agreed to review the decision to refuse recognition to Project W but the new organisation is already complaining the process is a “fruitless” exercise.

Initial decision

Project W’s Jamie Mighti complained that the process, which began with a meeting on Wednesday, will be unlikely to reverse the initial decision, made by the Progressive Youth Alliance-led SRC.
Earlier this month, Wits Vuvuzela reported that Project W and Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had been refused official recognition as clubs and societies by the SRC. Both organisations said their exclusion was politically motivated.

 The review
The decision to exclude them is now being reviewed by the SRC.Dean of Students Pamela Dube told Wits Vuvuzela the SRC had “committed themselves to providing an opportunity for the relevant CSO’s[clubs and societies] to present themselves following the dissatisfaction with the outcome of the Initial process,” she said.

[pullquote]“So what is the point of having a review, if you are not going to review and if you are not actually going to follow the letter of the rules,”[/pullquote]

A pre determined outcome?

But Project W SRC member Jamie Mighti, claimed the process will be a “fruitless”exercise because SRC clubs and societies officer Sarah Mokwebo declared at the Wednesday meeting about appeal process that “I’ve already made my rulings and I’m going to stand by them” “So what is the point of having a review, if you are not going to review and if you are not actually going to follow the letter of the rules,”Mighti said.

“We’re going to make presentations before three or four SRC members, but only one [Mokwebo] decides what happens and makes recommendations. The one person who makes recommendations is the very same person who declined the societies in the first place,” said Mighti.

SRC Responds 

Mokwebo told Wits Vuvuzela that she could not respond to allegations made against her since it was an “internal matter”. She referred questions to SRC president Shafee Verachia and SRC secretary Michlene Mongae. Verachia said he was in meetings and could not comment. Mongae did not reply to requests for comment.

Even if Project W is refused recognition, they may still have a reprieve Dube said the final endorsement of the SRC’s decision on clubs and societies would come from her office with some input from the vice-chancellor’s office.
Wits EFF member Tokelo Nhlapo said they were not aware of the review process and would not participate in it since they were not invited to by the SRC. Instead, they would be appeal directly to the dean of students.

[pullquote align=”right”]“We were told that if we didn’t reach quorum, we would just make recommendations to the SRC, but how can we make a recommendation to ourselves?”[/pullquote]

Project W SRC member Jabulile Mabuza told Wits Vuvuzela that the meeting the SRC held on Wednesday to review applications was problematic. She said the meetings did not have a quorum and so could not take decisions, only make recommendation.“We were told that if we didn’t reach quorum, we would just make recommendations to the SRC, but how can we make a recommendation to ourselves?”she asked.

Ghost form 6
She added that new forms needed to apply and not been provided to Project W. The form in question “Form 6” was not given to Project W at their initial application.

Mabuza added that the form does not exist, “Nobody knows where it is, or who has it,” she said. Mighti said that Project W would still make their presentation despite their complaints with the process. “We will follow their broken system, but we will point out that their system is broken,” he said.

Related Articles:


Students prevented from registering over NSFAS protest

Four of the 27 University of Johannesburg students arrested for protesting over financial aid have been prevented from registering for classes this year.

Last month, the students, dubbed the “UJ27” were arrested for protesting against a shortage of funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NFSAS).

[pullquote align=”right”] “The university would not let the four unregistered students onto the campus without an official escort.”[/pullquote]

The students were arrested and released with a warning after they appeared in the Newlands Magistrate’s Court in Johannesburg. Twenty of the students were then suspended by UJ. Among the 20 students were the chairperson and secretary of the UJ SA Students Congress (Sasco).

Prevented from registering 

Last Friday, the suspended students won a court order forcing the university to allow them to register. However, four were still prevented from registering on Monday.

Shira’h Jeenah, chairperson of UJ Sasco and one of the four students prevented from registering told Wits Vuvuzela the university would not let the four unregistered students onto the campus without an official escort.

However, on Monday when the students came to register the security escort had not been provided by UJ Campus Protection and so the students could not register.

“The university has said that we are not allowed on campus if we do not have classes,” said Jeenah.   He added that the students have had to submit their timetables into campus protection so they may be escorted to their classes and off campus.

“We’re only allowed to be on campus 15 minutes before class and 15 minutes after,” said Jeenah.

However, according to Jeenah, the university has also accused UJ Sasco of violating the court order because the students were picketing when the court order was presented to the university administration.

The verdict awaits 

On Monday afternoon the unregistered students were outside the Kingsway campus in Auckland Park waiting to hear if their attorney was able to reach an agreement with the university to allow them to register.

[pullquote] “They [UJ] should be celebrating that their students are raising critical matters”[/pullquote]

Wits Vuvuzela contacted the university for comment but has not yet received a response.

Tebogo Thotela, deputy-secretary of Sasco Gauteng, criticised the suspension of the students and the charges they are facing.

“They [UJ] should be celebrating that their students are raising critical matters”, said Thotela.

Students left financially desperate

The suspension of the UJ students was part of a spate of nationwide protests against the lack of funds from NSFAS that had left many students financially desperate and unable to continue with their studies.

In addition to UJ, the government fund had come under fire from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), the Durban University of Technology (DUT),  and UJ for being unable to meet the financial requirements of the universities.

Thotela said that NSFAS was in arrears of R200-million with UJ and a national shortage of R 2-billion. While Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande subsequently committed R1-billion to the fund, this may not be enough to cover the financial shortages between the universities and NSFAS.

[pullquote align=”right”]”The fund is struggling of keeping up with the needs of South African students.”[/pullquote]

Wits NFSAS continues to fund students

Amidst all the protests at other universities, Wits’ NSFAS office has continued to provide students with their financial grants. Thotela said that unlike TUT and UJ, only 15% of registered Wits students rely on the government fund.

Although NSFAS received an extra R 100-million to their fund which increased it from the previous year’s total of R 8. 2-billion, the fund is struggling of keeping up with the needs of South African students.

Thotela said that the issue lies in the inevitable increase in the intake of students each year. “We’re seeing kids from a working class background coming to university and the fees are increasing as well.”


Mixed reviews for new residence off campus

Students who moved into a new Wits residence had a nasty surprise when they learned they would have to pay for their own electricity.

Noswal Hall, located on Stiemens street in Braamfontein, opened as a student residence this year on February 1.

Students who expected to be offered the same services as other residences were left disappointed when they found out, upon moving in, that they would have to pay for their own electricity.

Tshepisang Mkhize, 3rd year BSc, told Wits Vuvuzela that if she had known she  would have to pay for her electricity, she would not have moved into Noswal.

“They’re giving us 150 units every month, and when that runs out we have to pay for it ourselves,” she said.

Mkhize said it would be difficult for bursary students to get money for electricity from their sponsors.

“Now we have to ask our parents for money and we’re already self-catering,” she said.

Wits Vuvuzela contacted the office of Wits Residence Life head Rob Sharman for comment but he did not reply.

That was not the only surprise Mkhize had when she moved in. On Saturday evening, Mkhize’s bachelor suite was flooded for four hours, after water came up through her shower drain.

“I heard a funny noise from the drain after my shower but I didn’t think anything of it because it always happened,” she said.

The dirty water, which had a “pungent smell that reeked through the bathroom”, soon spilled into her living space and around her bed.

According to Mkhize, plumbers had frequented the residence throughout the week as a lot of students in her wing had had problems with their toilets or showers.

In addition to the plumbing and electricity problems, Mkhize said she was unhappy with the size of her room and its layout.

“You have more space for your dishes than for your clothes, and there is a fridge in the cupboard,” she said.

Another resident, 3rd year LLB Gugu Khoza, shared Mkhize’s sentiments and had believed that Noswal would be a cushier residence like Wits Junction.

“It was quite underwhelming,” Khoza said.

[pullquote]”I heard a funny noise from the drain after my shower but I didn’t think anything of it because it always happened”[/pullquote]

Despite Noswal not meeting her expectations, Khoza still said that it was an improvement from her previous residence which was run by a private company.

She particularly liked the view of northern Johannesburg from her room on the 15th floor.

“It’s really beautiful especially at night,” she said.

Khoza’s roommate, third-year BSc Busi Mncube, said that she was content with the residence.

“Considering the fact that they worked as fast as they could so that we could move in now, they did a good job even though there’s a lot of stuff that still needs to be fixed,” Mncube said.

The gym facilities are still under construction, and students do not have access to the basement parking as yet, as ICAM is still processing student access to the res and the parking.

In the meantime, Mncube is parking her car at Men’s Res. Though she has to walk to Noswal at night, she feels safe because it is close to main campus and there is security.

“It’s the closest to campus and the security guards are quite strict,” she said.

Related articles

New RES complex for Witsies, September 23, 2013

Parktown residence to open doors, May 19, 2011

Let it burn, September 19, 2013

‘Cocaine’ conman back on campus

WITS’ cocaine conman has struck again, this time swindling a student out of his Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

On Tuesday morning John Kelm* was approached by a man near the Planetarium at about 10:30am. Kelm said the man had a Nigerian accent and asked if he could use Kelm’s phone to call a friend to pick him up. The man made the phone call and told Kelm that his friend would call him back on Kelm’s phone.

After this, the man produced two small bags of “cocaine” and said that he was going to sell it to the man he had spoken to on the phone. The man then said he needed to take Kelm’s phone with him to go and meet his buyer, and that Kelm should hold onto the second bag of cocaine as proof that his phone would be returned.

Kelm refused the offer and the man responded by threatening him with a knife and then left with Kelm’s phone. He opened the packet to find that the “cocaine” was white flour. Kelm tried to run after the man, but he had fled.

The Conman

Kelm described the man as being 1.75 metres tall and very well built. He also had a tattoo on his right shoulder. Kelm reported the theft to Campus Control and was told a similar incident had happened on east campus two days prior.

“They described the man to me, and it was the exact description,” Kelm said. The clearly frustrated student said he did not understand how the man was able to get onto campus. “Why aren’t they (Campus Control) doing anything about it?” asked Kelm.

Campus Control head of investigations Michael Mahada told Wits Vuvuzela that the matter had been handed over to Hillbrow police and the white substance would be chemically analysed.

The con

Campus Control investigations officer Luvuyo Zitwana told Wits Vuvuzela that the cocaine con was increasingly common on campus with at least seven thefts of cellphones in the past year.

He said many more thefts likely go unreported by students. Wits Vuvuzela was shown security footage of the conman and of the actual cocaine con going down.

In the video, the conman is seen asking a student to borrow his phone. He then makes a phone call and waits for his ‘friend’ to call him back. In actual fact, the conman has called his own phone, set to silent and sitting in his own pocket.

He then slips his own phone out of his pocket and, with his hand hidden, calls back the victims phone. This makes it appear that entire phone conversation is legitimate. In the security footage Wits Vuvuzela viewed, the man is seen operating at John Moffat and Chamber of Mines.

Previous incidents

Last year, Wits Vuvuzela reported that “I’ve lost my phone” stories similar to the cocaine con were one of the popular methods of theft on campus.

The conmen target students with the latest cellphones, such as Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones. In one case, the white powdered substance a conman used was found to be mealie-meal.

At the time, it was estimated that 50% of those arrested for theft were Wits students. Theft at laundry facilities in residences was particularly common.

Campus Control also stressed that non-students who gained illegal entry were responsible for many of the crimes on campus.

Lost or stolen student cards should be reported and blocked, and students should refrain from swiping in non-students. *not his real name

Related articles: Campus control put brakes on thieves.

Ex-Witsie sentencecd to 15 years.


#Teamvuvu #Neknominated

#NekNomination, a social media challenge, has flooded profile pages and time lines of young people around the world. Formerly a drinking game, #NekNominations are now used to encourage people to do good.

A person or organisation challenged does an activity that helps someone else out, then passes along the challenge. It’s sort of like a electronic chain letter for charity.

The Wits Vuvuzela team (#teamvuvu), was challenged in a #NekNomination from Wapad, the student publication of the North West University. We had 24 hours to take on the challenge of making a difference and recording it.

Wits Vuvuzela reporters hit the streets of Braamfontein to hand out cupcakes to the homeless. But we also wanted to  ask the homeless what they needed because sometimes a simple gesture is not enough.

Wits 11 defy “bogus” punishment

UPDATE: We initially reported Tokelo Nhlapo’s surname as ‘Nhlapho’. We have changed the spelling on this page and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

THE ELEVEN students found guilty of misconduct and inciting other’s to disrupt the piano recital of Israeli pianist Yossi Reshef are defying their community sentence.

Each of the students were sentenced to 80 hours of community service after a university disciplinary hearing found them guilty of misconduct during the pianists visit to Wits on March 12 last year.
The disruption ended the recital prematurely.
They claim not to be guilty, insist they were unfairly treated and threaten to go to the Constitutional Court if needs be.

Case review 

The group of 11 students planned to review the case according to former SRC treasurer Justice Nkomo when asked why they were defying the punishment.

Each of the students was sentenced to 80 hours of community service.
Former SRC deputy president Tokelo Nhlapo was sentenced an added 50 hours of community service for “not obeying lawful instructions by a university employee” said Vice Chancellor Adam Habib in a statement released after the verdict.

The bogus sentencing

Nkomo said the group were reviewing the case because “the sentencing is very bogus”.

He said they wanted a review of the case, hoping for an overturning of the guilty verdict.
Further, they could take the case to Constitutional Court, if these processes were not successful. Nkomo was angered that “they [management] took all the verdicts and made it into one”. He argued that the verdict did not take into consideration that the group “were also wronged” during the trial”.

The former treasurer insists that the group is not guilty because their cause was just.
Nkomo said that he did not understand how the students had never been charged for protesting in the past. He went on to list protests that he believed were “worse”.
In 2012 the SRC embarked on a protest against Royal Mnandi for mistreating 17 chefs.
“In that protest we even interrupted classes, why weren’t we charged for that? It’s unfair and inconsistent”, said Nkomo. Nkomo says the right to protest at Wits is being undermined.

He said it was clear that the university was trying to please bigger, powerful people at their expense.
The statement released by Habib upon the verdict of the 11 students said the group of students have been excluded for a year, suspended over two years. If the students are found to transgress any university rules over the next two years, they will be excluded.

Furthermore none of the students are allowed to hold any office of student governance for the next year. The case of the students has been put forward for review by their lawyers and they await a verdict on their case.

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