Wits sports gets its groove back

SIGN HERE: A student signs up for Wits Vibe and gets a complimentary t-shirt

SIGN HERE: A student signs up for Wits Vibe and gets a complimentary t-shirt Photo: Nomatter Ndebele

The Old Mutual Sports Hall was abuzz this week with students signing up for various sports clubs and teams. This year Wits Sports Administration boasts 37 clubs for students to choose from.

The new kid on the block is Wits vibe.  A team dedicated to breathing life into Wits’ sporting community. Wits Vibe is a community  based organisation that offers students a fuller sporting experience for every season.The group will be revealing a new sports mascot for Wits and allowing students With Wits Vibe cards free entry at Monday’s Varsity Cup rugby match.

The match will also showcase the first cheer of the year from the Wits’ cheerleading squad. The squad, who are sponsored by Samsung, only started last year and are still recruiting more cheerleaders.  Those who get through the auditions could be in line to receive a bursary to the value of R6 000.

Several students crowded around the table tennis club

, taking turns to have a go. Students who join the table tennis team will be joining the 2012/2013 university sport champions.  The team consist of five national players, offering students an opportunity to learn from the best.

The group also offers an opportunity to go on an international tour. Team member Hlumelo Rubushe described the sport as being similar to Play Station “You have to apply yourself because table tennis is easy to learn but difficult to perfect,” said Rubushe.

On Tuesday the team had already registered 30 students, with many more queuing up to join the club.

When one hears the word ‘frisbee’, you may think of a group of people leisurely throwing a plastic disk at each other. But the Wits Ultimate Frisbee team takes the sport to a whole new level. “It’s all about running your legs off and diving very hard”, said club chair Sally Crompton. Ultimate Frisbee games are refereed by the team players. “It’s a very honest game, if there’s a problem we stop play and figure it out altogether,” she said.

Relates stories: Ready okay, Wits cheerleading comes to wits

Whither Zim Student scholarship funds?

Anxious Zimbabwean students are holding their breath as they wait to hear if they will be able to register for the new academic year, as some of their outstanding fees have not been settled by the Zimbabwean student’s scholarship fund.

Gita Patel, manager of the Wits International Students’ office said that according to the university rules, all payments must be paid, before students can be allowed to register. “This applies to all students”, she said. Not just the Zimbabwean students who were affected.

A student who asked not to be named said that he was worried he would not be able to further his studies this year, as he still had outstanding fees that he could not afford to pay off personally, as he has other siblings attending varsity too. “Because it’s the government, we have to believe that they will make a way, but it’s never been this bad before”, he said. The student added that the monthly stipend was inconsistent.The visibly distressed student said that now it “was all up to hope and faith”. Patel said that the fees for the Zimbabwean students were often received as installments during the year.

While most students are uncertain when or if their fees will be settled Patel was adamant that the necessary funds would be made available, “I just don’t have a date,” she said.
A student representative from the scholarship said that he was “not at liberty to discuss the details of the scholarship”.
Patel said that students were welcome to approach her about their registrations.

 

Related stories: Elections poser for Zimbabwe students 

MDC fails,fails change, fails progress

 

African data team a first for Power Reporting

DATA SAVES: New York Times journalist, Ron Nixon, is one member of the primarily African team teaching data journalism at the Power Reporting conference. Photo: Provided

DATA SAVES: New York Times journalist, Ron Nixon, is one member of the primarily African team teaching data journalism at the Power Reporting conference.
Photo:  Dinesh Balliah.

THE FIRST primarily African data journalism team has come to the Power Reporting conference to show how data journalism can aid in ground-breaking investigative reporting.

The team of 16 seeks to introduce journalists at the conference to the world of data journalism. But the biggest challenge might be to convince fellow journalists that working with numbers is not an insurmountable task.

For most journalists, words are second nature. But when faced with numbers, however, it may seem like a daunting task to turn them into stories. Learning data journalism is an important skill for the future.

Media trainer Ray Joseph called data journalism the new “buzz word” in the field and it is a tool that can help journalists do their job better.

Data journalism does the “heavy lifting” so journalists can focus on the stories.“The story is in the data and you have to find the story,” he said.

[pullquote align=”right”]“Information becomes important when it talks to me, when I don’t have to look at the bigger picture and I see what it means.”[/pullquote]

Joseph believes that journalists don’t need to be techno savvy to make use of data journalism. He said that even a basic understanding of data journalism can be useful.

Ron Nixon, a New York Times data journalist, believes it is important for journalists to understand data because it “is as critical as learning how to write”. Nixon said understanding the collection and use of data allows journalists to understand information better, giving a fuller context for articles.

Joseph argues that an uptake on data journalism in South Africa has been slow, as journalists believe they don’t have time to acquire new skills. They are wary of taking on new things that could potentially increase their work load.

Even so, Joseph and the rest of the team are adamant that data journalism is the future of journalism. Nixon hopes data journalism will become the norm rather than something seen as “exotic”.

Team member Luvuyo Mdeni, of SABC digital news, presented a mapping seminar. The seminar showed how data can be visually appealing through mapping.

Mdeni said there is a lot to be done in terms of data journalism because it can show how large amounts of information can be relevant to an individual.“Information becomes important when it talks to me, when I don’t have to look at the bigger picture and I see what it means [to me],”said Mdeni.

Michael Salzwedel of SABC digital news presented on Google tools. Salzwedel raised concern about the fact that people were not aware of the free tools that are available to journalists. Salzwedel said it was important to use new ways of gathering and visualising data.

Campus Control deny slow response in death at Wits

A 26 year old man collapsed and died on campus two weeks ago.

The young man was part of a group who were visiting the Wits main campus on a Saturday morning apparently to participate in training for Parkour. During a break, the man collapsed  between the John Moffat building and the student club BAQT.

The young man, whose name has not been released, complained that he felt light headed before he collapsed, according to witnesses.

emergency

Emergency personnel respond to the collapse of a young man on Wits Main campus. Photo: Thikolwi Segudu

The president of BAQT Thikolwi Segudu called Campus Control to the scene.

Campus Control dispute response time

Segudu said “Campus Control took 45 minutes to respond and they were more concerned with my student number, than anything else.”

Michael Mahada, head of special investigations at Campus Control has disputed these claims, saying that they are “untrue”.

“Campus Control reported to the scene, the minute they were notified of the incident”, said Mahada

According to Mahada, Campus Control arrived on the scene and called an ambulance “which  arrived within ten minutes” but by then the young man had already passed on.

Segudu however claims that Campus Control didn’t do anything when they arrived on the scene, prompting him to call for an ER ambulance and Parklane Hospital itself.

When a student dies on campus, Campus Control is to required assess the situation and then contact the relevant parties. In this case, Campus Control contacted the “emergency services, SAPS and the deceased’s family”, said Mahada.

The university has been in contact with the family of the deceased over the weekend, according to Segudu. The cause of death was given as “natural causes,” believed to be a blood clot that went to his lung.

 

SRC election battle escalates to legal war

By Thuletho Zwane and Nomatter Ndebele

The SRC elections could soon become a legal battle as the PYA (Progressive Youth Alliance) and Project W take legal action against each other. Tokelo Nhlapo, SRC vice president internal, has laid an official complaint with the Wits Legal Office following a confrontation with Jamie Mighti, Project W candidate and former debating union chairperson.

The incident that led to the complaint.

[pullquote align=”right”]“He said I must be careful and I am skating on thin ice.”[/pullquote]

Nhlapo alleges that Mighti told him to be careful and watch his ways.“He said I must be careful and I am skating on thin ice.This happened when Nhlapo and Mighti had a political debate about an article Mighti had written about “blacks being lazy”. “My contestation with him is that he can’t say blacks are lazy because of our history,” Nhlapo said.

Nhlapo said he was also uncomfortable with the sexist remarks Mighti made a few months ago on the Wits Debating Union facebook page. Nhlapo told Wits Vuvuzela that he had lodged the complaint in fear of his life. “What I want from him is that he must stay away from me… he’s violent.”

Project W responds.

Accused: Project W member Jamie Mighti pictured here with Henry Masuku  may have legal action taken against him.

Accused: Project W member Jamie Mighti pictured here with Henry Masuku may have legal action taken against him.

[pullquote align=”left”]“He [Mighti]] is being crucified. They bring out his history and they try to score cheap political points,” [/pullquote]

During an interview with the Project W campaign manager, Cebo Gila, a female student approached him and said, “Guys, please control Jamie… he can’t go around picking fights”. Gila said Project W needed to “protect” rather than control Mighti. “He [Mighti] is being crucified. They bring out his history and they try to score cheap political points,”

Gila said the opposition was preoccupied with personal attacks against Mighti for allegedly being violent and sexist , using his “history” to undermine Project W instead of engaging with the manifesto of the student action group.

“When he is being provoked on a daily basis to the point that he is being crucified, he is going to react,” Gila said. Gila said that members of Project W were being intimidated to the point where “I feel uncomfortable wearing this T-shirt”.“Do you understand that we have been bullied, we have been forced to change strategy, we have been victimized, our volunteers are told we are puppets,” he said.Gila also raised concern that Project W posters were being torn down.

Project W allegedly receives financial assistance from management.

[pullquote] “completely false

accusations” [/pullquote]made against it.

SRC treasurer, Justice Nkomo, claimed that Project W had received R500 000 from Wits management. He said Project W misled the students because it presented itself as humanitarian.“They ran it [Project W] as a charity campaign but it has a political agenda,” Nkomo said. “They are collecting cans [of food] now; were people not starving in March and April?”

Project W is considering seeking legal avenues to deal with the“completely false accusations” made against it. Gila said that Project W never misrepresented itself. “The misconception is an incompletion of how they [the PYA] understand Project W,” Gila said.

Mighti declined to comment on the incident with Nhlapo and referred Wits Vuvuzela to Gila. Gila said the incident was “regrettable, from both parties”. Wits Vuvuzela was not able to reach the Wits Legal Office for comment.

Related articles : Top debater gets banned

How do you like your coffee?

It all began with two encounters – a fictional encounter, complicated by a peculiarly South African issue. And an encounter on a real-life level, which brought about a “mingling of different colours”.Two students,  who were no more than acquaintances before, had to work intimately together this month to create a piece of physical theatre about a relationship between two characters. But not just any two people.  56 Mocha Street follows the tensions between an interracial couple.

The Actors

5,6,7,8: Oupa Sibeko and Emma Tollman rehearse their physical theatre piece 56 Mocha Street.

5,6,7,8: Oupa Sibeko and Emma Tollman rehearse their physical theatre piece 56 Mocha Street.

Emma Tollman and Oupa Lesne Sibeko, 3rd year Drama, choreographed the piece based on their own experiences.

The two characters encounter one another in 56 Mocha Street, their home and space. Here they delve into the tensions between how society perceives interracial relationships and how they perceive themselves after being affected by society, said Sibeko.

Apart from the obvious racial tensions – between their characters and, potentially, the two of them –  the actors described what it was like to have to work together for the first time.  “I remember doing a back-to-back improvisation and Oupa’s body felt so foreign to me,” said Tollman.

How the piece was created

In creating the piece, the two took inspiration from their physical theatre class. It was about discovering “who we are in the class, personally and in the relationship”, said Sibeko. The name 56 Mocha Street uses the metaphor of coffee to describe “the mingling of different colours”, with Emma as a white female and Oupa a black male. The piece explores the intricacies of gender fights, and facing one another head-on.The two use the idea of play and using their bodies to take on the spaces in which they find themselves. Through this, they explore the idea of encounters further.

What is the piece about?

[pullquote]“It’s a vicious cycle of disconnection, finding each other and losing each other,”[/pullquote]

The piece depicts an intensely tragic relationship, “Its a vicious cycle of disconnection,finding each other and losing each other” ,said Tollman. She described the journey through Mocha Street as different from that of a more conventional theater. In this piece, “there is a disillusion of time, a flood of happenings. We are always just happening, we can’t control keeping on.”

The piece was created through a process of “play”, during which the two noticed that material “kept happening”. Through this material and their movements, they have found a story.

56 Mocha Street will be on show at the Wits Downstairs theater on August 26 and 29.

Students want Trinity access to campus

Let us in: The security coded gate that trinity residents may soon use to access main campus.  Photo: Nomatter Ndebele

Let us in: The security coded gate that trinity residents may soon use to access main campus.
Photo: Nomatter Ndebele

Students at Trinity residence could soon access main campus through an entrance that was locked after a student was raped in the passageway between the residence and the School of Arts.

The entrance has been locked for almost 10 years.

Cathy Setlogelo, Trinity res manager, told Wits Vuvuzela she was concerned that students living at the res had to go around the block to the turnstiles on Jorissen Street or go through the Jan Smuts turnstile. While students go to campus for lectures and meal times, there are also Wits staff members who attend mass services at the church. “They have to drive all the way around to come and park at the church,” Setlogelo said

The safety risk

[pullquote align=”right”]“Why do we want to impose hardship, when we can make life easier?”[/pullquote]

Students making their way to campus in the evening have been flashed by men milling around outside the entrance of the residence.Female students have to ask their fellow male students to accompany them onto the campus, which Setlogelo said was “an inconvenience for the person not going to campus”.

” Why do we want to impose hardship, when we can make life easier” , said Setlogelo. Setlogelo said she has been concerned about the access issue for a long time, but didn’t know who to speak to. “I was unsure of the process” she said.

A larger gate between the residence and main campus is locked during the week as there is no means of controlling people’s access in and out of Trinity Church property. The gate is opened on Sundays to allow more parking space for people attending church services.

Setlogelo said she did not expect Wits to open the larger gate as she could understand the concern of the lack of security. People could walk straight through the church property and onto campus if the gate was open.

Management responds

[pullquote align=”right”] “Our prayers have been answered”.[/pullquote]

Rob Kemp, head of campus control, said the little gate that allows entrance onto main campus has been out of use for such a long time as there was “no demand for it in the past”. Kemp said Trinity residence was not a Wits residence and, in the past, many people staying at the res didn’t need access to main campus. So, for security reasons, the turnstile was locked.

Kemp said it was too risky for students to walk through the passage as nobody could help them if they were accosted. “There is nowhere to shelter a guard at the turnstile,” he said. Students would therefore need a security code to use the gate, which is a shorter distance, to access campus. Although the gate and turnstile have not been in use for such a long time, they are in working order and can be reactivated if there is a need.

Kemp said he was willing to speak to the students and res manager to discuss the issue. Setlogela was overjoyed at hearing this, saying ” Our prayers have been answered”In the mean time, Kemp said, it would be better for students to use the turnstile entrance on Jan Smuts as it is better lit, has CCTV and there is a security guard there.

 

Ladies night: Unleashing the Superwomen within

By Nomatter Ndebele and Emelia Motsai

Golden Key had a women’s day celebration at the Wits Art Museum on Wednesday. It was a black tie event and the speakers included Nondumiso Mzizana and Tryphosa Ramano. Sara Chitambo from Zazi, a national women’s campaign also spoke to the students.

Project W to “make Wits better”

A group of students have come together to “make Wits better”. Project W was formed by a diverse group of students from various degrees, clubs and societies.

The group has come together under the motto “make Wits better” in an attempt to change the way students  experience Wits.

The group is starting with a food drive, called “Give-A-Can” running until the month of September.

Tapiwa Gozhore, 3rd year BA told Wits Vuvuzela , that Project W was about showing that students care about one another.

“It’s high time we have people connecting with the students, “he said.

Ethan Genende Donates a can of beans in the Project W donation Bin outside the matrix.

Ethan Genende Donates a can of beans in the Project W donation Bin outside the matrix.

For students by students

Gozhore also raised a concern, that the SRC, that should be representing the students, was overly concerned with politics rather than the well-being of students on campus.

It is for this reason that Project W is running the “Give-a-Can” initiative to help less fortunate students, who do not have the means to feed themselves.

“There are a lot of students on campus that do not have food, and it is difficult to concentrate on an empty stomach,” said Gozhore.

Project W will be working hand in hand with the Wits Volunteer programme and the Dean of Students’ assistance program.

The food collected will be distributed through the Wits Volunteer programme.

Making Wits better is an ongoing initiative for Project W. While they are starting with a food drive, they plan to have many more on-campus initiatives in the future.

Project W also a  launched a signature campaign, collecting signatures from students and encouraging them to come forward and raise their concerns at the town hall called by the wits university administration yesterday.

Ethan Genende, 4th year BComm Law, presented the petition with three thousand signatures to Prof Adam Habib. Habib said that he was happy to have them.

Students are encouraged to take part in the “Give-a-Can” campaign, by donating food at various collection points.

The collection points for the food drive are outisde the gaming room in the matrix and at the medical campus cafeteria.

In the weeks to follow, there will also be collection points at OLS on East Campus, FNB Building on West Campus and at the Business School and education campuses.

Ramadan: A time to reflect and fast

By Nomatter Ndebele and Pheladi Sethusa 

For Muslims all over the world Ramadan is a time of sacrifice and reflection.

What is Ramadan?

Anwar Jhetam from the   Muslim Students Association said Ramadan marks the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.

This is the month in which it is believed  the holy Qu’ran was revealed, said Jhetam.

“It is a month of fasting and increased worship to develop a closer relationship with God.   Ramadan is a month of reflection and self development,” he said.

During this month Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and abstain from “food, drink and sex with one’s spouse”, said Jhetam.  The fast is broken after dusk at which point people are allowed to indulge in the above.

Students and fasting 

While the rest of the students go about their day, munching this and that, Muslim students have to wake up before sunrise to have breakfast and fast throughout the day until about 5.30pm.

Romy Dasoo, 1st year Engineering, said she is finding fasting while attending university very difficult.

Allahu Akbar: Muslim students  pictured at the University of Johannesburg, reciting a sunset prayer before breaking fast on Tuesday evening. The Wits and UJ Muslim student associations broke their fast together at a Ramadan Iftar dinner.            Photo: Caro Malherbe

Allahu Akbar: Muslim students pictured at the University of Johannesburg, reciting a sunset prayer before breaking fast on Tuesday evening. The Wits and UJ Muslim student associations broke their fast together at a Ramadan Iftar dinner. Photo: Caro Malherbe

She has class from 8am to 5pm. “I end up breaking fast later, due to traffic,” she said.

Third year physiology student, Imraan Ballim, said: “Apart from the weird gastric sounds, it’s quite cool.”

Ballim believes the month of Ramadan is a very spiritual experience. “You engage more with religion and what it means,” said Ballim.

He also believes the introspection aspect of the fast makes it worthwhile. [pullquote align=”right”]”It becomes easier with time as you aren’t distracted by having to eat or drink”[/pullquote]

Dasoo wishes she was more spiritual because the month would mean more to her and added that she admires students who are very spiritual.

Many students are quite aware of the difficulty of having to concentrate on an empty stomach.

Ballim agreed the first few days are difficult but said it becomes easier with time as you aren’t distracted by having to eat or drink.

Shared experience

Many Muslim students also get together to pray in the afternoon.

Ballim said this is a “nice experience because everyone gets together” and shares in the religion. Breaking fast is another good experience, as people gather with their families to feast on food they have been wilfully avoiding all day.

Special concessions are made for pregnant women, children, the sick and people who will be travelling at the time.

“They are permitted to abstain from the fast and can fast at a later date,” said Jhetam.

“At the heart of the fast is drawing closer to God during this special time,” he added, saying that students should use this time to develop character traits and habits that they will carry with them long after this religious period is over.

Law School hostage taker released

THE MAN accused of holding eight Wits Law council members hostage last Friday has been released because he is “mentally unwell”.
According to Hillbrow Police spokesperson Constable Mduduzi Zondo, charges of intimidation and trespassing against the man, Sibusiso Mahuli, were withdrawn by the senior prosecutor at the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
It is unclear whether a psychologist was involved in the decision to drop the case.

 

On Monday, Wits Vuvuzela reported that eight Wits Law School council members locked themselves in a storeroom and called police after two men barged into a meeting and used the threat of a gun — which was not seen — to intimidate them.

 

Campus Control apprehended one of the men, Mahuli, while the second managed to escape. No gun was found on the scene or among the arrested man’s belongings.
[pullquote align=”right”]When Campus Control senior investigator Michael Mahada called Mahuli’s mother, she told him that her son was mentally “not well”.[/pullquote]

 

 

Wits Vuvuzela contacted Mahuli and questioned him about Friday’s incident. He said he was not allowed on campus anymore but that he still intended to study at the university.
However, he said his mother had forbidden him from returning to the university.

 

A Campus Control report, compiled from CCTV footage, testimony from involved students and Campus Control officers, as well as Wits Vuvuzela interviews has established Friday’s sequence of events.

 

Campus Control said the two men entered the campus via Senate House without signing in to receive a visitor’s slip.
At 5.07pm they are seen on camera entering the Law School, and at 6.16pm they are seen leaving.

 

Two Campus Control officers entered the building at 5.30pm, followed 10 minutes later by armed police.
The footage then shows Mahuli returning to the Law School building at 5.50pm, where he was pointed out by one of the Law council students and arrested. Campus Control and police found a letter in the Law School council offices from the university acknowledging Mahuli’s application to study at Wits next year.

 

Hostage man speaks

Asked about Friday’s events, Mahuli said he had come to the Law School to find out more about courses.[pullquote align=”right”] In the middle of the interview with Wits Vuvuzela, he broke out in song: “92, 92, 92, verse 92….that’s my song for Vuvuzela”.[/pullquote]

Jeanette Phiri, head of student enrolment, told Wits Vuvuzela that the university could not deny any person a place at the university based on their mental state. If a student was found to be mentally disabled when they registered, the onus was on the faculty to accommodate the student.

 

Phiri said an incident like this was unprecedented.

One of the students held hostage, Nonkululeko Sunduza, said he did not believe Mahuli should be allowed back at Wits.
“If he is mentally ill … he could pose the same threat to us and other students. He should be institutionalised. We cannot have another saga,” said Sunduza.

 

Sunduza complained that Campus Control took too long, about 30 minutes, to respond to their call for help. He said the lengthy wait resulted in the students calling the SA Police Service.

Mahada said Campus Control had passed on its findings to Wits management.

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