City Press journalists Paddy Harper and Sipho Masondo won the 2014 Taco Kuiper Investigative Journalism award for their work on misconduct within the South African Teachers Union (SADTU).
WINNERS: Paddy Harper, left, and Sipho Masondo, right, of the City Press won the 2014 Taco Kuiper award for investigative journalism last Friday at the Rand Club in Johannesburg. Photo: TJ Lemon.
This article originally appeared on journalism.co.za
The story, which revealed how members of teachers union South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) were selling and buying posts at South Africa’s public schools, was honoured with the top prize of R200 000 at Johannesburg’s Rand Club on Friday.
“I’m particularly stoked, it’s my fourth year of entering and I made the top ten for the first three years and left with lunch only, so this wicked,” said Harper.
Masondo said he and Harper spent over a year investigating the story and resisted attempts by SADTU to prevent them from publishing the story. “SADTU is a very powerful union and have tried in every possible way to bully us into stopping the story and we just kept going and it paid off,” said Masondo.
City Press editor Ferial Haffajee said she was proud of her team and described this story as particularly important. “This one explains a lot about our country and why despite the fact that they spend so many billions on education we don’t see the outcome. I was very keen on the story and it’s lovely it got recognised.”
Acclaimed journalist and member of the judging panel, Justice Malala said there were a number of good and important stories to choose from but the City Press entry stood because “this stuff is happening all over South Africa.” “It just was a fantastic ambitious, impactful piece of journalism. Look it had great competition, but this story has big, big impact,” said Malala.
The runners-up were documentary film-makers Rehad Desai and Anita Khanna for their feature documentary film Miners Shot Down based on the the Marikana shootings who received a prize of R100 000.
Freelance journalist Sean Christie received a special award for his entry “Under the Nelson Mandela Boulevard” which convenor of the judging panel, Professor Anton Harber described as a “memorial piece of narrative journalism”.
The Taco Kuiper awards is now in its 9th year and received 58 entries this year, a record for the awards and a significant improvement on the 35 received last year.
NIGERIAN postgraduate students spoke out against laws that prohibit Nigerians in the diaspora from voting in the upcoming presidential elections.
“The INEC (Nigeria Independent National Electoral Commission) has not made provisions for Nigerians abroad to vote because there is no constitutional provision for that at the moment,” said Mark Amaza, contributor to the online publication Nigeria Dialogue.
VOTING RIGHTS: Ayotunde Awosusi and Oluwadamilola MacGregor discuss the future of Nigeria as the country will take to the polls to vote in the upcoming presidential elections.
Photo: Palesa Tshandu
Amaza confirmed there have been attempts by the government to legalise voting rights outside of Nigeria but suggests these have not received any “traction”.
PhD candidate Innocent Ike, who voted in the last presidential elections, said the law should be amended to cater for Nigerians in the diaspora.
“The law does not favour Nigerians living abroad,” said Ike who said the government has been working hard to “amend the law so that Nigerians living abroad will be able to vote outside the country”.
Amaza said there was little advocacy from government officials abroad for those living in the diaspora to vote in the presidential elections.
PhD student and chairperson of the West African Students’ Association, Aurosusi Tunde, said he would not participate in the elections even if he had been in Nigeria.
“We have people in leadership today whose ideologies are from the (19)80s, that is why I believe Africa is in the problem that it is in right now,” said Tunde.
The presidential elections will take place on March 28 after being postponed from February 14.
DANCING IN THE SNOW: Oupa Sibeko dancing in the snow with a friend in Iceland. Photo: Provided
When a man is on the road to self-discovery he finds himself in a fishing town of Olafsvik, whose temperatures reach below -5 degrees, trying to warm the hearts of the audience with African cultural dances.
Wits graduate Oupa Sibeko is currently in Iceland performing two pieces, one of which he wrote during his honours course with the Wits Art theatre called Fear and Longing and the other Traumland-Iqhawe .
Fear and Longing was first showcased at the Roodeport Youth Arts Festival as part of his physical theatre course based on the “containment of the body”.“This is my first gig as an independent artist…this of course has to do with my training at Wits,” said Sibeko.
Traumland-Iqhawe explores the complex nature of memory and loss. “It takes the audience from a journey of riches to rags,” said Sibeko. In Fear and Longing Sibeko explores the emotional journey of fear. The dance works with abstract movements and images through his references to African cultural dancing and rituals.
“This is my first gig as an independent artist…this of course has to do with my training at Wits,”
Sibeko said that the training he received at Wits has taught him to be “open and fuse different mediums of art in [his] my work,” adding that along with his grandmothers folk tales have aided him in “crafting [his] my work.”
The former visual arts student began the independent journey as an attempt to explore different genres of dance as he does not want to “limit and box” himself. Audience reception can be “demanding” said Sibeko, referring to the eight shows he performed. “An audience that does not know you and is honest to you and views you on an international scale”, can be “intimidating”.
He describes the audience as “active agents” that influence the delivery of the work through responses such as clapping, sympathy, fear, joy and pain.
Sibeko was in Iceland from January 13 to March 10 and will be there again, from June to mid-July. During this period Sibeko will be hosting workshops where he will be teaching afro-fusion dance styles, incorporating African dance will classic choreography at schools in Olafsvik and Hellisandur.
After accusations of misogyny Men’s Residence House (MRH) Committee released a statement on Twitter apologising for the sexually offensive tweets they posted on Sunday night.
“We regret the posts, and would like to officially and profusely, and unconditionally apologise to anyone and all women who have taken offence to from the posts,” read the statement, which was issued on Tuesday night.
The MRH House Committee told students that the posts were “never meant to come across as or be conceived as offensive”.“We assure you that internal action is being taken to ensure that such an incident should not ever occur again.”
The statement comes after students had accused Men’s res, also known as the Raiders, of writing sexist and misogynistic tweets. “Raiders can you tell girls that you chow to stop screaming like they dying. Busy murring noise here like lawn mowers,” read the initial tweet.
SILENT SCREAMS: Men’s Res Raiders have since apologised for tweets which accused them of sexual discrimination. Photo: Rafieka Williams
After fellow students on Twitter raised objections, Men’s res replied with a series of controversial tweets. “Regardless of the day, some of us need to study and the gal (sic) here screaming like a dying bear,” read one of their responses.
“They were well within their right to complain because it’s a residence, it’s a communal area we have to respect each other’s space however I think they could have used another platform to voice their opinions,”
SRC member Fasiha Hassan said that the SRC condemned the tweets: “We have since engaged with the relevant parties and they have since released an apology.” Hassan added that the SRC does not “condone any sort of anti-feminist or chauvinistic comments, we are all about equal rights for both male and female.”
Fourth-year student Nkululeko Nkosi, one of the students who was vocal against the tweets, described the apology as “amiable”, however he said that “there’s a need for urgent change” at Men’s res. “This is not an isolated incident,” Nkosi said.
The tweets which were meant to raise student concerns on noise disruption at the res were criticised in their approach at addressing the matter.“They were well within their right to complain because it’s a residence, it’s a communal area we have to respect each other’s space however I think they could have used another platform to voice their opinions,” said Sunnyside resident Nothando Siboto, 2nd year BA.
Residence cluster manager Doreen Nusewa said they have not received any complaints on the issue from Men’s res. “I have not received any complaints, we expect that the students to come to us if they have any issues,” Nusewa
WITS mens’ residence Raiders came under serious criticism yesterday following accusations of sexual discrimination against women after a series of tweets were tweeted from their official Twitter account.
Wits Vuvuzela managed to screengrab some of the tweets which have now been deleted from their official account:
TWITTER OUTRAGE: A screenshot of the tweets sent out by mens res raiders yesterday.
Chairperson of the men’s res house committee Rodney Motjamela said that the committee are due to meet to discuss the issue, confirming that they know who sent out the tweets but will “issue a statement in due time.”
“There is a lot that I could say in my personal capacity but unfortunately when you are in leadership you don’t always have that luxury,” said Motjamela.
The residence whose visiting hours end at 23h00 on weekdays and 00h00 on weekends have been complaining. Saying that visiting girls are creating an environment that makes it difficult to focus and study.
“There is a lot that I could say in my personal capacity but unfortunately when you are in leadership you don’t always have that luxury,”
Student Representative Council (SRC) member Senzekahle Mbokazi however spoke out against the tweets saying “We feel that it was inappropriate to lodge complaints on such a platform firstly, and secondly the responses to individual students could have been handled in a more respectable manner”.
Additionally, Mbokazi advised that future matters of this capacity are taken first to the House itself in a house meeting before its internal matters are taken out in public.
Residence cluster manager of the mens res Doreen Musewa refuted the statement saying no official complaints have been lodged. “I have not received any complaints, we expect that the students to come to us if they have any issues”.
SILENT SCREAMS: Men’s Res Raiders have been criticized follwing tweets over sexual discrimination. Photo: Rafieka Williams
4th year LLB student Nkululeko Nkosi spoke out against the tweets describing them as “absolutely ridiculous” saying that they were “disrespectful.” Nkosi said “I found that type of behaviour extremely problematic and in how it painted out women in general and I don’t think that as a male res making those type of comments would be well received.”
Nkosi also mentioned that the platform was not used correctly suggesting that it “sends out a bad message that Wits encourages that sort of behaviour.”
Nkosi referred to a case of homophobia last year from the men’s res where a couple of students felt they were not welcomed into the res, “we make it clear that these sort of utterances on a public platform or private are not welcome in our space,” said Nkosi.
Mbokazi confirmed that the SRC are yet to engage with the leadership of the All Residence Council to discuss a way forward to prevent this happening in future. “We need student-unity because without a unified student body this university cannot progress in a student-centred manner where all, regardless of gender have access to education.”
Style curators will be taken on a nostalgic journey when Melrose Arch’s Piazza transforms into a 1960’s American girl group Supremes concert during the Mercedes-Benz Annual Fashion week this weekend.
“This will bring back old trends into a new era,”
WALKING IN HEELS: This year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Joburg promises nostalgia with added pomp and circumstance. Photo: Provided
said the show’s producer Jan Malan. He said designer Khomotjo Malatji from the label Grapevine with the help of M.A.C cosmetics and GHD Company will be taking style-curators down on a journey.
“There’s always a rush in the end. At the end there’s a sense of satisfaction, said designer Leigh Schubert.
Schubert explained that the process of putting together a collection can take up to six weeks and it is better to begin early suggesting that “the longer you put it off, you put yourself under pressure.”
Schubert who has been a fashion designer for over 10 years said the fashion scene has changed dramatically referring to the limited platforms available for young designers which she describes as a “pity” as it makes it more difficult for young designers to be discovered.
LISOF graduate Neo Mofammere who is a finalist for FastTrack competition for young designers, said the most difficult thing about being a designer is that you are not able to come up with something immediately.
Malan said fashion week is essentially for designers to get people to get to know them but admits that there is not much glamour in producing a fashion show. “There is no room for error,” he said.
A clarion call to act against the wave of xenophobic violence in South Africa was made to government at yesterday’s Mail and Guardian African Truth panel discussion.
“Xenophobia is entrenched in state institutions and the response from officials is clearly xenophobic,” said chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum Marc Gbaffou, one of the panellists at the discussion.
Gbaffou called on the government to respond immediately to the impending threat of xenophobic violence saying “we don’t know where it started but we know where it’s headed.”
The discussion intended to offer a platform for discourse on the wave of xenophobic attacks in Soweto, where shops owned by non-South Africans citizens where looted earlier this year. Researcher Jean-Pierre Misago suggested that there were no “concrete interventions” that dealt with the 2008 xenophobic attacks, which is why it happened again.
Misago blames the government’s ‘denialism’ on the issue as contributing to recent wave saying the attempts at intervention have not been fully effective. He further went on to explain that characteristics of xenophobia are not unique to South Africa saying “xenophobia manifests itself in different ways and violence is one is one of them.”
AFRICAN TRUTHS: Nigerian Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke at yesterdays Mail and Guardian‘s panel discussion on the recent wave of xenophobic violence in South Africa. Photo: Palesa Tshandu
“You have shed apartheid but you are still segmented. You live in segments, in pockets. You need vibrancy.”
Nigerian ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke suggested that South Africa’s apartheid past has contributed to the onslaught of xenophobic violence, suggesting that “poor white South Africans find themselves in the same basket as poor migrants.”
Ajulu-Okeke added that South African society is still segmented “You have shed apartheid but you are still segmented. You live in segments, in pockets. You need vibrancy.”
Journalist and moderator Xolani Gwala suggested that the attempts governments and leaders in creating an ‘African Renaissance’ under a political framework are “high-brow things that do not include society.”
After the floor opened for a Q&A session audience members commented on the lack diversity of the panelists, with one saying that there is a problem with having a panel where the South African government is not invited to engage in dialogue “but a foreign government is given a platform to pontificate.”
Misago however made a call to the audience saying,“if violence against outsiders makes sense, we are all in trouble because we are all outsiders in one way or another.”
WITS University has a shortage of black women academics despite efforts of transformation by the National Research Foundation (NRF).
According to statistics released by the Academic Information and Systems Unit black female academics make up one third out of a total of 322 academic staff at the university, with seven out of 33 of its temporary staff being black women.
“As black women we do not necessarily have the support of people who have walked the journey and can tell us how to fight or hold our hand as we walk the journey,” said Mamokgethi Phakeng professor of Mathematics Education at the University of South Africa and the president of Wits Convocation.
DOCTORS ORDERS: Dean of Students Dr Pamela Dube discussing the importance of female academics. Photo: Tendai Dube
Phakeng is the first black African female recipient of a PhD in Mathematics Education and said part of the transformation process of any university is having black women academics, suggesting they offer a different voice to academia
“Our experience of oppression is different from that of black men and of white women and so not having more of us in academia means that one important voice is missing,” Phakeng said.
She suggests there is difficulty associated with maintaining traditional gender roles when pursuing an academic career as “academia can be unsympathetic to women.”
According to Dean of Students Dr Pamela Dube there is a dire shortage of female academics, especially people with qualifications in the PhD level.
“We have a less than a 1% research output in the country,” said Dube. She added there was a lack of participation of female researchers in the PhD level. “We have a huge shortage and we need more.”
“As black women we do not necessarily have the support of people who have walked the journey and can tell us how to fight or hold our hand as we walk the journey”,
Other projects to help women academics include The Project Developing Young Research Leadership where undergraduate students observe and participate in research projects.
Pursuing a PhD can take up to seven or eight years to finish, but associate professor of the School of Human and Community Development Dr Mzikazi Nduna confirms that with the intervention of such projects, it can take even less time to complete.
Nduna, who is the only black African female professor in her department out of 12 professors, said it takes a lot of commitment to become an academic and that “many young people are just not willing to commit.”
Phakeng maintains, however, that despite the challenges faced when pursuing an academic career “we need a narrative of excellence, one that says we should all work towards being excellent irrespective of our background.”
MARCHING AHEAD: Witsies line up quickly to fill a circuit bus. Photo: Anelisa Tuswa
By: Palesa Tshandu and Anelisa Tuswa
Wits students were involved in a stampede while trying to board a single bus, apparently serving eighteen residences, on Sunday. The incident happened at Wits Education campus where students from various residences had converged to catch a bus to Rosebank as part of a new bus system implemented by Wits Services.
Wits Junction House Committee vice-chairpeson Nkululeko Tselane said the issue with the new system is that “all the res’es have to go to Education campus for a bus”. Tselane said the “chaos” started with Rosebank buses, where students from eighteen different residences had to use a single bus stop at Education campus.
“All these res’es come to one spot – and everybody has to get on the bus because there’s no standing in the buses … it’s a stampede hazard which is what we as the house committees we are worried about,” said Tselane.
Tselane who was at Wits Services earlier today to discuss the issue, said the change in the bus schedule was not communicated properly to his House Committee. “The House Committee has been opposed to it from the beginning … we said that we don’t agree with it, it’s not practical.”
“Siyahamba nomtwalo, bese sibuya ngomtwalo (we go with baggage and we come back with baggage)
Thivhulawi Ramukhuba, one of the drivers who was at the scene of the incident said the issue is with students who use the Rosebank route to get to main campus instead of waiting for a direct bus to the campus. “Siyahamba nomtwalo, bese sibuya ngomtwalo (we go with baggage and we come back with baggage),” he said referring to students who don’t climb off the bus at Education campus and instead remain until the bus reaches main campus.
Ramukhuba said this has been an on-going issue where students do not get off at their intended destination. “The situation is similar with those who get off at EOH (Ernest Oppenheimer) res – we tell them to get next bus but instead the students stay on the bus and we go with them to Rosebank and back.” He confirmed that he hasn’t raised the issue with students as he wants to avoid conflict. “I’d rather keep my mouth shut,” he said.
Tselane said the issue has to be addressed today because part of the changes that have been implemented was that the buses are leaving every 30 minutes instead of every 15. “That’s our issue now … people are late for lectures because they are not making it on time. It’s compromising academics.”
Wits Vuvuzela contacted Wits Services’ Operations Manager:Transport Timothy Mudau who said that he cannot respond because “we are still not sure of what happened.”
MUSIC ROYALTY: Cassper Nyovest leads the nomination pack with seven nominations.
By: Thembisile Dzonzi
ALL bets are in to see who will take top prize at the 2015 Metro FM Awards, which will be held this weekend.
The 14th annual Metro FM awards in Durban is an extravaganza themed “celebrating greatness”.
As one of the countries largest urban radio stations, Metro FM will be awarding South Africa’s hardest working artists of the past year with a prestigious silver trophy.
It seems Hip-hop is ruling the roost this year with rapper Cassper Nyovest having received six nominations, followed by AKA and K.O, who each received five. Newcomers Beatenberg also received five nominations, including Song of the Year and Best Group.
Wits Vuvuzela asked Witsies who they thought would be crowned King of the Metros by taking home the most awards. Cassper Nyovest is clearly a campus favourite, with a unanimous vote of confidence.
“I think Cassper, he has a broader appeal and he’s a lot more innovative in his music.”
“Between Cassper and AKA. I’m torn because they both had a good year, but I’ll go with Cassper,” said Bongiwe Mazibuka, a fourth year BA student in performing arts.
Aslam Bulbulia, a Development Planning Masters student, agreed and said,“I think Cassper, he has a broader appeal and he’s a lot more innovative in his music.”
Lebohang Tsotetsi, a first year BSc student said, “It will have to be Cassper, many people love him, even Kwesta said so. Plus he has so many hits.”
One of the most sought-after accolades of the awards is the Song of the Year category. Reactions on who would take home the award were mixed.
Third-year BA student, Lesego Kgado thought Call Out by DJ Fisherman should win.
“I think Fisherman because he had the number two song of the year,” Kgado said.
Tsotetsi predicted that it will be between Black Motion and Fisherman.
“It has to be Cassper Nyovest’s Doc Shebeleza. It was the song of the year last year,” added Mazibuka.
The award ceremony will be held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (Durban ICC) and will be broadcast live on SABC 1 at 8pm this Saturday, February 28.
STEWING BEEF: WITS’ cheapest eatery Kara Nichha’s has been accused of exploiting its employees after a failure to register them as employees. Photo: Palesa Tshandu
Rushing her way through a buttered six slice polony sandwich, she anxiously nibbles while taking breathes in between each bite to tell her story, “This is my tea time,” says *Primrose Moloi speedily.
Moloi has been an employee at Wits’ take-away restaurant, Kara Nichha’s for the past five years and has not yet been registered as an employee.
“I have not been registered and we work the whole day with one 30 minute lunch break and another 15 minute tea break,” said Moloi.
Moloi confirms that the Kara Nichha’s staff are solely made up of women who have to carry stock from the loading truck to the kitchen of the restaurant, which she describes as “wa kgathatsa” (tiring) referring to the labour intensive task.
“If something is missing even if it’s two samoosas, he makes us sign a document.”
Kaushik Mistry, manager at Kara Nichha’s denies that his workers have not been registered, saying that he has recently applied for them to be permanent employees so that they can receive benefits, and was told by the previous owner it would be confirmed in the next two weeks.
Mistry claims that the manager before him did not register the employees and confirmed the shop is still run by the same owner.
According to Moloi the staff are forced to sign a stock inventory document when a customer has changed an order to account for the stock.“If something is missing even if it’s two samoosas, he makes us sign a document.”
The Kara Nicha’s staff are each paid R540 per week, which Moloi complains is not enough to feed her family of five but says that the“issue is the same with the employees from the Chinese shops.”
An employee from Chinese Take-Away who has been working there for the past 10 years also complains about having no worker benefits.
“We don’t have a Provident Fund, no paid maternity leave. We work but there’s no set-aside time for lunch – we also don’t have UIF (unemployment insurance),” said an unnamed source. “What I would like to see, is for us to be registered, we are not permanent staff – but once someone dies no one receives anything,” said the unnamed source. She said another staff member passed away last year and his family did not receive remuneration from his employer and the workers could not go to his funeral because they were working.
Chesa Nyama employee Salina Motsoeng who has been working there for five months says the situation at their eatery is similar, as they are also employed on a contractual basis, but have signed a contract that stipulates that “if a person gets hurt during working hours – we are liable to cover their medical cost.”
Moloi said the general treatment of workers by Mistry at the eatery is not good, saying that he shouts at them in the presence of customers.
“Issue is the same with the employees from the Chinese shops.”
Mistry dismissed the question of the alleged exploitation of his employees saying, “No you can’t say it like that, we follow the law…whatever we need to do with the staff we are doing, so it’s not like we are doing nothing for them.”
*Primrose Moloi – not her real name
When boy met boy, they fell in love. One was Nigerian and the other South African. After a whirlwind romance traveling West Africa they finally settled in South Africa—Braamfontein—bringing with them egusi soup and pounded yam.
When Francios Ojukwu-Booyse met his husband Tony Ojukwu little did he know that his union would introduce a change in the menu option at Braamfontein’s Bannister Hotel.
“I spent quite a considerable amount of time in West Africa … and after identifying that there are a lot of West Africans in Hillbrow and Braamfontein, it made absolute sense,” said Ojunkwu-Booyse.
AN ODE TO FOOD: Bannister Hotels caters to all palette’s, including those who enjoy West African food. Photo: Palesa Tshandu
Ojukwu-Booyse who is the general manager at the Bannister Hotel introduced the West African menu to “get a little bit of everything”, said kitchen manager Raymond Coetzer.
“We’ve got a lot of overseas people that come and stay at the hotel so if they wanted to try something a little more African then at least that option is there for them,” said Coetzer.
“West African food is not very pleasing or appealing on the eye – but it tastes wonderful”,
Ojukwu-Booyse said West African food is a “segment of the market that was not addressed but it was on offer” which is why the decision to introduce the dish to the hotel was to offer alternative menu options.
“The egusi soup is made from the seed of the wild watermelon and has different variations,” said Ojukwe-Booyse who noted that Yoruba and Hausa people make it in different ways. The egusi soup on offer at the hotel is Yoruba.
Braamfontein’s multicultural climate has also influenced the hotel’s decision to have West African dishes on the menu as “the biggest contigent is Nigerian”, said Ojukwu-Booyse.
The West African dishes have been received by the Braamfontein community with mixed reactions as “West African food is not very pleasing or appealing on the eye – but it tastes wonderful”, said Ojukwu-Booyse. He admits that it took him two years to try some of the dishes, mentioning the draw soup’s slimy consistency as one of the reasons why it is difficult to try.
“West Africa is sort of up and coming territory, it’s now a booming market in terms of entertainment as business … It’s now a portal to a new world business,” said Coetzer.