Johannesburg Boxing Team gets ready to rumble  

The upcoming Gauteng championship has boxers feeling motivated with their eyes set on the gold. 

In preparation for the Gauteng championship taking place on May 26, boxers from different clubs around Johannesburg are perfecting their uppercuts and jabs.  

The Hugenote Boxing Club, where the team practices on Saturday’s, looks like a typical boxing gym, fitted with heavy punching bags hanging from the ceiling, a boxing ring in the centre, and a trophy stand with medals, pictures and certificates.  

Team coach, Duncan Morris used to be an amateur boxer but had to quit boxing for health reasons. After a seven-year hiatus, Morris is now using his boxing knowledge and abilities to train others.  

Training sessions are led by Morris and two other coaches, Boetie Lourens and Jennifer Matibi. Each coach has a specific programme for the day, which they execute throughout the training session. These training programmes include, heavy bag workouts, jumping rope, sit-ups, sparring, sprinter crunches, and a run around the block. 

“I don’t just observe the boxers during training, I train alongside them. This allows me to lead by example and demonstrate the level of commitment required in training,” Morris said.  

The championship will be at the Transnet Engineering Boxing Academy in Pretoria and participants will include boxers from the three Gauteng metropolitan cities namely, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, and Tshwane. 

In an interview with Wits Vuvuzela, a boxer from the Johannesburg Boxing team Reggie Mogashoa (27) said that he uses techniques like mental training and meditation to help him stay calm and focused during training. 

Morris said that their approach is to also help boxers get mentally/psychologically prepared for the championship by creating a safe space for them to talk about their personal issues. 

“Mental strength is crucial in boxing, and physical strength alone is not enough. Lacking mental toughness can make it challenging for a boxer to perform well in a fight,” Morris said. 

One of the boxers, Hoosein Isaacs, who is a two-time South African boxing champion told Wits Vuvuzela that he wants to do his best in training and become the champion once again “to regain his status.”  

Johan Prinsloo from Transnet Engineering Boxing Academy said that the championship will follow the international boxing rules and “the winner will walk away with a gold medal and will be recognised as a South African champion”.  

The championship’s first round is scheduled between May 26 and May 28, while the second round is scheduled for June.  

FEATURED IMAGE: The Johannesburg boxing team in training mode as they prepare for the Gauteng championship. Photo: Nonkululeko Mncube


SLICE: Battling my addiction to social media

For a student journalist, social media can be beneficial if used properly, but it is very easy to cross the line to addiction 

Social media has always been something that puts me at ease after a long and stressful day, but I never imagined that I would become addicted. 

The Addiction Center website defines social media addiction as “a behavioural addiction that is defined by being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on to or use social media, and devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other important life areas”. 

It all started with me moving away from home in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, in February to study at Wits. The next thing I knew, I was spending a lot of time on my phone to escape the reality of missing home and my family, especially my twin sister. I shy away from interacting with people, though I am capable of conversing with anyone. I would be on my phone swinging among Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.  

At first, I told myself that what could be better for a student journalist than to be on the lookout for goings on around the world without stepping outside my room and talking to people about current affairs, gossip and entertainment? However, I started to notice that I could not ignore a notification tone, and that anything that hindered me from attending to my phone agitated me. Whether I was in the middle of drafting an essay or studying, I could not help but check my social media pages, especially TikTok.  

I tried to limit my screen time to no more than an hour each day, but I consistently came up short. Then I checked my screen time management on my phone settings and discovered that I typically spent close to 20 hours per week, just on TikTok! 

An article by Tanyaradzwa Pamhirwa referred to a 2022 South African Depression and Anxiety Group survey that found that more than 60% of South Africans reported being addicted to social media, and that social media addiction is most common among young people, with 80% of respondents aged 18 to 24 reporting addiction.  

I had always justified my social media usage that it was a distraction from missing my family and that I was not committing any crime by doing what other people my age were doing. So, I would constantly send TikTok videos and Instagram reels to my sister, until one day she called me and said, “You are always online, even during the day!” This is when I realised that I might be addicted to social media because my sister would not be concerned otherwise.

According to the Addiction Centre website, social media is “addictive both physically and psychologically” and self-expression on social media platforms activates the same area of the brain as using an addictive substance. 

This addiction had taken a toll on my wellbeing. I was not as physically active as I used to be. Instead, I lay in bed all the time. My sleeping patterns were irregular because it was impossible to resist the urge to check social media before bed and waking up for school every day would be a drag. I neglected my personal life, resulting in loneliness and anxiety.

My optometrist back home had told me last year that, “You are short-sighted my friend,” after he had tested my vision. My vision has gotten even worse since I started spending a lot of time on social media. I experience eye pain, watery eyes and severe headaches. 

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre says “Spending too many hours staring at a screen can cause eye strain. You tend to blink less while staring at the blue light from a screen, and the movement of the screen makes your eyes work harder to focus.” 

After my sister’s call, I made the decision to spend less time on social media, especially in the newsroom, and to pay attention and interact with my classmates. I now have a good relationship with everyone in class, and I only use my phone during break times. Talking to my family every day helps me miss them less.

Acknowledging an addiction is not easy, but it is the first and most significant step towards getting help. I have been doing research online, reading articles and taking online surveys on what to do to minimise the time I spend on my phone scrolling, double tapping and screenshotting memes.

I am willing to take those baby steps towards battling my addiction and fighting it until I feel free and comfortable without or with less reliance on social media.

FEATURED IMAGE: Nonkululeko Mncube. Photo: File


Students slam Auckland Park private digs

Residents contend with crumbling buildings, leaking roofs, infestations and absent, uncaring landlords.

Students staying at Auckland Park private residences are complaining that the landlords continually increase rent while not maintaining the residences. 

Complaints about My Student Pad, Accommodation For Students and 2 Mortlake student accommodation include that there is mould on the walls, toilets are leaking and there are insect infestations.  

From the outside, My Student Pad appears as if in a good condition, but from the back, the paint is flaking from the walls. Accommodation For Students looks neglected and its small garden is full of litter. The 2 Mortlake building looks bright with orange paint, but inside the toilets and taps are leaking, and the roof leaks when it rains. 

My Student Pad is owned by Boingotlo Tlale. She told Wits Vuvuzela that rent for single rooms ranges from R3 700 to R4 200 and for shared rooms from R2 700 to R3 500 per person, with an increase of R50 every year. Tlale said that as a property owner, she always has someone on call to manage maintenance and that the only problem she has is that some maintenance work is delayed because students do not pay their rent on time. 

However, Wits first-year bachelor of arts student Phenyo Mthombothi said that My Student Pad is not value for money and the rent does not match the condition of the rooms and the lack of service provided.  

The paint is flaking off the walls of My Student Pad student accommodation in Auckland Park. Photo: Nonkululeko Mncube

“The place is poorly managed and cleaned only once or twice a week. The floors are dirty, with mould on the walls, and the house has an unpleasant smell,” said Mthombothi, who added that she reports maintenance issues every week over the phone because the caretaker is rarely present, and “the owner never shows up”.  

When presented with this accusation by Wits Vuvuzela Tlale dismissed the query, saying, “I am busy.” 

A caretaker at one of the Auckland Park student residences who did not want to be identified, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “It is challenging for me to fix anything without funding and equipment. Also, there is no easy access to the landlord.”  

Mathaare Kganakga, a Wits student studying BSc in mining engineering, who resides at 2 Mortlake said that there had been numerous complaints to the caretaker about the leaking toilets and crawling insects. 

“I pay R4 000 per month and I cannot say I am satisfied with this place, but it is the only accommodation I can afford. Wits residences are expensive,” Kganakga said.  

The students said the Auckland Park private accommodation is inferior to that of South Point whose website boasts of safe, clean, convenient and affordable 15 buildings around Johannesburg, some of them right across the street from Wits in Braamfontein. Single rooms cost R4 038, and double and triples from R3 868 per person.  

“[Unfortunately] South Point was full by the beginning of February. I could not book a room, and their rooms are clean and well maintained,” said Kganakga. He added that students without bursaries or scholarships are condemned to stay in the dilapidated private accommodation in Auckland Park as it is more affordable. 

Wits Vuvuzela reached out by phone to the owner of 2 Mortlake who goes by the name ‘Yusuf’ but he refused to be interviewed, saying “I cannot help you with that information.”  

FEATURED IMAGE: The unnamed Accommodation For Students looks neglected and its small garden is full of litter. Photo: Nonkululeko Mncube