A legacy of karate in Fordsburg

After 50 years of learning and teaching martial arts, Solly Said is glad he followed his heart in his career instead of following his parents’ wishes.

After all, it also brought him love.

It was through karate that he met his wife, Shamsa.

Shamsa Said hurries to the dojo, with only five minutes to spare before her next client, wearing black sweat pants and a loose T-shirt. She joins her husband who is already deep in conversation about his life as a karate master. She insists on being interviewed alone. “It is going to take forever if I do the interview with him [Solly]”. He has a great laugh because of her comment.

Shamsa talks about how she was led to karate because of her interest in Solly. “It was the only way I was going to see him,” she says.  She ended up  pursuing  karate and reached black belt status.

All five of their children have followed in their footsteps and have obtained their black belts. Twenty-eight-year-old Zahra Said is a 4th Dan black belt. Yu-sha is their youngest son and a 3rd Dan black belt. He has a keen interest in soccer and has a position as analyst of the U19 Orlando Pirates team. Tasneem is his oldest child and also a 4th Dan; she is a mother and has chosen to focus her time on family.

‘This was my father’s path, I have to look for my own path’

Said has been teaching karate in Fordsburg for the past 25 years. He wishes that one of his children would take over the karate business and one of his daughters was prepared to until tragedy struck. “My second-youngest daughter passed away 15 years ago, I thought she was going to be the one who takes over.”

He also speaks highly of daughter Zahra and would not mind if she was the one who took over the family business. Although Zahra says her parents have been a true inspiration, she does not feel the need to one day take over the family business. “This was my father’s path, I have to look for my own path,” she says as she explains her independence from the business.

She finds a lot of pleasure in teaching children karate in her own capacity. “I love seeing them learn, I love seeing them apply, I love seeing them getting excited and wanting to show me the new kick-back that they have learnt.”

She also has a big passion for Heal Your Life therapy just like her mother, Shamsa. This kind of therapy helps with relaxation and physiological processes such as circulation.

However, Said believes that his legacy will continue one way or another, even if it is by his students. “I think what I have started 50 years ago will go to posterity. I can see future generations, sucking it dry, drinking it, eating it and enjoying what has been developed.”

Solly Said, the karate master

At the age of 13,  Solly knew that martial arts would be the path he would take. Growing up in the violent Malay camp area, he says doing karate was the only means of self-defence and discipline. At the time,  gangs were popular and there was a lot of political turmoil in the area and South Africa as a whole.

It became the community’s aim to get young children off the streets . For his early childhood, Said recalls many children from his area playing cricket or soccer every day when they got back from school. “We spent many hours on the streets playing and fooling around,” he says.

The Central Islam Youth Organisation (CIYO) started an initiative to get the youth off the streets. They wanted to introduce sports such as karate and judo that place a great emphasis on discipline and respect.  At the time karate was an unconventional sport, especially for “non-whites”, Said says. “Some people only knew about karate because of James Bond movies.”

Said, or Hanshi (master) as he is called by his students, has beaten all the odds to follow his dreams. In his final year of studying BEd  he decide to change and study draughting because it was a paying apprenticeship course. This is how he raised funds for his plane ticket to Japan.

Although he was financially and emotionally ready for the trip,  his father refused to let him “go to Japan and get killed,” so he did not help Said with his visa. “I was the fourth of five sons in the family, and while the others had seemed to have conformed to the house rules, I was the maverick,” Said says. Said laughs when he thinks of the measures he had to take in order to get a visa. “I ended up forging my father’s signature. He was livid when he found out how I got my passport but that was my dream.”

However, it was not a smooth journey to Japan for him. He had problems with his visa and had to start his travels in Zimbabwe where he would do a short karate course. It was there where he was advised by his karate master to start his international travels in New York. “He told me that there were top karate masters from Japan and you can learn from them and pick up a bit of Japanese.” This is where he was graded and tested for his 1st Dan black belt.

KARATE MASTER: Solly Said (Soke) in his early years of training. Photo: Queenin Masuabi

Said made a promise to himself that he would be in Japan on his 21st birthday and he was. Being in Japan was the highlight of his career because he was taught by the great Japanese Hanshi Masutatsu Oyama, founder of  Kyokushin Kai karate.

Said smiles when he speaks about the time he has spent in Japan. “Words can’t describe the experience, the challenges, the charm of studying in a full-time karate school. The one in Japan had the flavours of the East.”

He speaks passionately about all elements of Japanese culture, whether it be music, art, literature or food. “I feel like I must have been Japanese in another lifetime,” he says.

However, deep down in his heart he knew that he owed it to his country to come back and make a difference in the only way he knew how to, through karate. He opened his first gym and dojo at the Suliman Nana Memorial Hall in the late 1960s.

During his travels abroad he met up with his peers, who were advising him to leave South Africa for good. Especially in the 1980s when South Africa was going through political turmoil.  At the time there were national school boycotts in most townships. There were also many forced removals in the Vrededorp area where Said came from.

Ken To Fude Ryu karate

He then founded his own karate style called Ken To Fude Ryu. This karate style is a culmination of all the different styles that he had learnt all over the world, including Kyokushin Kai karate. It is Japanese for “the way of the brush and sword”.

“The name came to me in a kind of half sleep, half awakeness, after sleepless nights of thinking, dreaming and contemplating.”

The brush  refers to the continuous search for knowledge because in ancient Japanese culture, people did not use a pen but a brush to write. Said says it reflects on his keen interest for literature and writing. It could also reflect on using diplomacy and skills in creating peace through negotiation.

The sword is said to symbolise the continuous practice of perfection. Being a master in martial arts shows just how this Hanshi  has worked hard to perfect his craft and this is what he tries to instil in his students. It could also mean, if necessary, people have to fight for what they believe in order to find peace.

The principles of Ken To Fude Ryu karate are meant to instil seven core values. These include ensuring that students become stronger, tougher, gain stamina, gain knowledge of the syllabus and gain skill in their performance.  Maintaining a good attitude is also key because Said emphasises that skill alone is not enough for students to progress. Said also emphasises a good form of spirit- building  which means producing more confident students.

KARATE: This is the true philosophy behind karate according to Solly Said. Photo: Queenin Masuabi

One of the most important principles for Ken To Fude Ryu is, as Said explains it, converting “pain to power” which means that students will be able to defend themselves more quickly than the average person. This is because they would be able to withstand pain considering the continuous practice which would involve blows to the body.

Ken To Fude Ryu karate has similarities to the Kyokushin Kai style which Said learnt in Japan. Kyokushin is Japanese for “the ultimate truth” and is rooted in a philosophy of self-improvement, discipline and hard training. This concept has less to do with the Western meaning of truth; rather it is more in keeping with the bushido (warrior code) concept of discovering the nature of one’s true character when tried. One of the goals of Kyokushin is to strengthen and improve character by challenging oneself through rigorous training.

Using Ken To Fude Ryu karate, many of Said’s scholars have been able to flourish and, just like him, travel around the world. This makes Said very proud because he feels that he has served as a role model to many of the young children that he trains in and around Fordsburg.

TRAINING DAY: One of Solly Said’s students, Vhorifha Ngobele, training with his sensei. Photo: Queenin Masuabi

Solly Said in Fordsburg

Said speaks of how the dynamics in Fordsburg have changed a great deal since the time he decided to return to South Africa. Now there are people of all nationalities (Pakistani, Somali, Bangladeshi and Egyptian) coming in to learn karate. He speaks proudly of his gym having been used in a documentary as an example of a space where people are accepted regardless of their nationality, during the xenophobic attacks in 2011. “My gym was seen as the ideal kind of centre where people could work together without thinking of people as other.”

FEATURED IMAGE: One of Solly Said’s students, Vhorifha Ngobele, training with his sensei. Photo: Queenin Masuabi


Salvation Army’s third appearance at Sexpo!

The Salvation Army may be spreading their message at Sexpo this year, again.

SEX EXHIBITION: Salvation Army  to spread their message at this year's Sexpo. Photo : provided

SEX EXHIBITION: Salvation Army to spread their message at this year’s Sexpo. Photo : provided

The Salvation Army is set to be at Sexpo for the third year in a row according reports by independent online. This is not to support the event but to highlight the link between sexual entertainment and the human trafficking so rife in the industry.

The public relations secretary for the Salvation Army, Carin Holmes, said: “As has been the case with previous years, we are not at Sexpo to preach in any way whatsoever.”

“Our objective is to help people become aware of the darker side of this industry, a part that leads vulnerable people, often as young as 10, into a murky world of exploitation from which it’s difficult to escape.”

The Salvation Army is said to have a surprise for attendees. Holmes said that they are “taking something that many people experience several times in their lives and turning this into a powerful message about the dangers of human trafficking.”

Sexpo starts on Thursday September 24 and runs till Sunday at the Gallager Convention Centre, Midrand.


Coolkid on campus

Mpumi Mlambo is a Wits BA Industrial psychology graduate who has a keen interest in entertaining the masses. She also studied entrepreneurship and development at the Raymond Ackerman Academy.  This move was inspired by her business orientated family. With so much confidence, this multi-talented actress has managed to grab the attention of casting directors from an early age. She is part of the vibrant Alcatel One Touch SA team, where she has been a brand ambassador for the last couple of months. This year she won an MTN radio Award for the Best Breakfast show presenter for The Morning Shake Up on Vowfm. She has also been part of a television series on SABC. Recently she starred in a Dove advertisement for DSTV which has made her even more visible in the entertainment industry.

Photo: provided

                                                                 Photo: Provided



When did you realise that you were interested in acting or presenting?

 I didn’t have specific interests but I loved entertaining people, so when other kids left school to go home. I stayed behind because we had to practice for a school concert. I was involved in every school concert in primary school. I was always participating in most of the Drama productions as well as mc’ing school events if not dancing at the school concert. Oh and how could I forget pageants? Every girl wanted to be a queen at some point, right and I became one too (laughs).

Who or what has been your inspiration? Why?

My mother and sister. My mother was able to put all of us through University with the little that she had. My sister is a warrior; she showed me that where you come from has little to do with your success. She taught me that with drive and hard work you can be whatever you want to be.

She also taught me that it is important to fail because we learn through failure and become better at whatever it is we do.

When was your first big break?

When I was on Sokhulu & Partners at the age of 16. It was not a big break but it was great to work with people I had never thought I would even meet in my life. I am from a small Township where even making it to matric is a privilege, being on TV seemed highly impossible but it happened.

How does it feel to be a recipient of an MTN Radio Award? How has it changed your presence as a presenter

It feels absolutely amazing to know that as a woman I was able to prove to a lot of people who think that women can’t host a prime time slot like a breakfast show and do great at it.I feel highly blessed to be a part of a great platform like Vowfm, it would have never happened without my bosses constantly critiquing me!I speak with way more purpose than I did before. I keep growing each and every day. I realised that a lot of people listen and I have the power to share empowering information with them instead of meaningless content.

Acting or presenting?

I can’t choose, if I had to choose it would really suck. The reason why I can’t choose is because the two are intertwined. As a radio host, I often have to be in character and prank people on air.I love the two just as much as I love My Mom and Jesus.

How do you juggle everything that you are doing at the moment?

The weirdest thing is I really have no idea. I just make sure that I do what I have to do. Get work done.

What are the struggles that you face in the entertainment industry on a daily?

It is very hard to be taken seriously as a female in the industry. When you are taken seriously, a number of men want to mix business with pleasure.

What can we expect from you in the future?

What do celebrities say again when asked this question, watch the space? I’m joking, I am looking forward to being a part of the biggest events this spring and summer with my Alcatel One Touch SA team as well as winning or rather slaying like the Cool Kids would say every single day.



Movie Review: Boy Choir

Starring: Kathy Bates, Josh Lucus, Eddie Izzard, Dustin Hoffman, Debra Winger, Garret Wareing and Kevin McHale

Director: Francois Girard

Producers: Judy Cairo, Carol Baum, Jane Golding

Vuvu rating- 6/10

Stet (Garret Wareing) an eleven-year-old boy lives with his single-parent mom who is battling with alcoholism. After she passes away, Stet’s father is forced to take responsibility for him. He is enrolled into an all-boy’s school which specialises in singing and is home to the National Boys’ Choir.

Although Stet has an amazing voice he struggles to adapt to the school at first. The fact that he cannot read music makes life hard for him. In his first block of school he is unable to make it into the touring choir which has the school’s best singers in the National Boys’ choir going to Japan.

While the choir is in Japan, Stet works hard to improve his vocals. This is with the help of his piano teacher Wooly (Kevin McHale), who realises that Stet has an ability to learn quickly and a natural flare for music. He manages to get into the choir just in time for the next tour which sparks jealousy amongst the other boys. A rivalry starts between Devon (Joe West) who is usually the lead singer, and Stet. At the end of the day it is up to the strict choirmaster Carvelle (Dustin Hoffman) to decide who will be good enough to lead the choir in New York where they will be having their biggest concert.


This is the perfect movie for those who like happy endings. BoyChoir is the kind of story that will have you teary eyed because it shows how talent, hard-work and perseverance is all that is needed to succeed. It highlights the fact that there is hope for those who come from nothing.

This movie tends to be a bit predictable at times as it follows the kind of “Cinderella story” narrative. I believe it is more suitable for teenagers but is not stimulating enough for the older viewers.

BoyChoir could be more enjoyable for choral music fans as the boys have very good voices. The boys singing in their soprano voices are pleasant on the ear.

What can be learnt from the movie is the idea of living in the moment. After his voice breaks, Stet is confused about why his done all these singing lessons but ends up ‘losing his voice’. His teacher Wooly responds: “The lessons themselves are the point”

Umswenko: Vintage Wear

“Fashion changes, but style endures” –  Coco Chanel

Vintage clothing is one of the most popular trends in Braamfontein. This look is bold and is definitely not for the not for the faint-hearted because it involves taking fashion risks.

Mary Scholes


Mary is wearing a classic shirt and high waist black pants. She pairs her look with black court shoes and adds colour to her look with a red leather jacket which she bought in Namibia. She loves the jacket because it is “soft and feels good on the skin”.

She describes her style as “old-fashioned but smart”. This look suits the Wits director of postgraduate studies as it keeps a good balance of power and femininity.


Joshua Heim


Joshua is wearing a white shirt and blue, fitted blazer. He pairs this with skinny jeans which flatter his tall stature. His brown formal shoes and spectacles give him a classic look. This gamer describes his style as “stylish, free and earthy”. This look will definitely be a hit with the ladies this Women’s Month.

Wits EFF says ‘NO’ SRC

This week the Wits EFF caused a stir when they criticised the university  for shifting its’ responsibilities to the the SRC and have called for ‘no SRC’.

The Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) stopped the inaugurual debate of the SRC election campaign because student government only existed to “legitimise” university authorities.

“The university does not listen to students so the SRC is a body that is meant to legitimise the university because the statute requires every institution of higher learning to have an SRC,” said Wits EFF secretary Mbe Mbhele.

“We feel like at Wits it is just there so that university can be a legitimate body but it does not necessarily change anything. It is also strategic move on the part of the university because they are always shifting responsibility.”

“We are not going to use the normal and orthodox means of protest”

Mbhele made his comments to Wits Vuvuzela on Tuesday afternoon shortly after Wits EFF stopped the election debate by singing and toyi-toying on the stage. The debate was called off and a fight broke out between members of Project W, Progressive Youth Alliance and the Wits EFF on the Great Hall stage.

Mbhele said Wits EFF would continue to protest the SRC campaign and prevent the elections from taking place.

“We are going to go there and kick the ballot boxes and the IEC is not going to be able to count the votes,” said Mbhele.

“We are not going to use the normal and orthodox means of protest, if it means we are going to shit at the Great Hall or at his office then we are going to do that.”

Mbhele said the university has relied heavily on the SRC to help students through initiatives such as One Million, One Month, a fundraising drive for students who did not receive funding the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme at the beginning of the year.

Mbhele said that the university should pay for student’s fees and accused it of paying bonuses to “[Vice Chancellor] Adam Habib and his minions.”

Mbhele said the lack of bus services for Wits students to taxi ranks at Bree and Noord were one example of how the SRC was unable to serve students.

“The bus issue has been raised in 2005 and in 2015 students are still complaining about the bus, 10 years later,” Mbhele said.

Mbhele said Wits EFF will use any means possible to force Habib to take their demands seriously.

After all that was said and done, Mbhele concluded the interview with these words “fuck Habib”.

Umswenko: Celebrating women in fashion

by Queenin Masuabi and Litaletu Zidepa

This week we are celebrating women and how they express themselves through their different styles. Women like pop star Rihanna, television personality Bonang Matheba and former ELLE magazine editor Jackie Burger have continued to influence for young women.

“Give a girl shoes and she can conquer the world”- Marilyn Monroe


Nandipha Patience Mangisana

Nandipha is wearing a black crop top, leggings and a kimono to keep her warm from the nippy Autumn breeze. Her main accessory is her black hat which has been a popular trend for both men and women. To add some colour she is wearing red and black platform shoes.

She explains her style as “sexy with a click of vintage”. When asked about going bra-less, she says that she is “embracing her nipples”


Takalani Mawela

Takalani is sporting a grey woollen dress paired with a black corduroy jacket. Her olive Nike Roshe sneakers compliment her colourful socks perfectly. She accessorises with a light brown scarf and a yellow bag. Although purple braids are in trend, in her case it was simply an honest mistake (she bought the wrong colour).

This second-year BA student describes her style as “street, punky and easy-going.”

BDK Attorneys: no charges laid against first lady

The presidency has denied rumours that the first lady has had charges laid against her by the National Prosecuting Auhority (NPA) for poisoning president Jacob Zuma last year.

Zuma’s wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma was an alleged co-conspirator in the plot, which was said to be the idea of a Kwa-Zulu Natal businessman and local and foreign nationals according to Timeslive.

Law firm, BDK Attorneys who are representing Ntuli-Zuma, have issued a statement denying  several claims that that the first lady was served with court papers.

The statement comes in response to a City Press article published on Monday, stating that she had admitted to poisoning her husband. Her attorney, Ulrich Roux says  they have not yet decided which course of action to take against City Press, as they are not sure who exactly was responsible for publishing the story about Ntuli-Zuma.

BDK Attorneys added that City Press did not allow Ntuli-Zuma the right to reply regarding the story and made no attempt to verify the allegations.

The Sunday Times broke the story of how Ntuli -Zuma was banned from Nkandla after Zuma and his aides caught wind of the plot. The president fell ill in June last year and upon a trip to the US, doctors detected poison in his system and this was further confirmed by Russian medics.

We’re here and we’re queer!

Thato Pule is a firm activist for the rights of those in the LGBTI community.

“Our bodies are political … and we can use them to protect ourselves … our bodies are vulnerable and therefore are targets,” says Thato Pule a third year Actuarial Science student from the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Pule is transgender woman and she is proud of who she is. When Wits Vuvuzela spoke to her, she was confident and assertive. She wore a stylish multi-colour dress (yellow, white and brown) paired with a black coat. Her hair was tied up and her make-up was on fleek. She spoke with such a command that one could not help but pay attention.

When Pule is asked about her experiences as a young, black and gifted transgender woman, she responds “I have no say in what happens to my daily experience because it is at the hands of those who benefit from my subjugation.”

So many times, it has been said that the youth of today are lazy and have no mission. However for the likes of Pule, there is a greater mission for young people in this era.

Earlier this year, the #rhodesmustfall movement was started by UCT students. The movement was sparked by students demanding transformation at UCT, particularly the removal of the statue of colonialist Cecil John Rhodes.

Pule said #rhodesmustfall was a starting point for her own thinking and caused her to think about the inclusion on campus of “queer bodies”.

Pule was a member of the UCT SRC, the chairperson of transformation and social responsiveness, at the time. However, she later resigned from her position after controversial comments were made about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) community UCT SRC deputy president Zizipho Pae.

“We are institutionalising and normalising sin. God have mercy on us” Pae wrote after gay marriage was legalised in all American states.

These comments led to Pule posting to Facebook a picture that had tongues wagging. It showed the half-naked bodies of Pule and women in solidarity with her, standing in the UCT SRC president’s office. It was captioned “She invaded our personal space as queer bodies and now we are invading hers.”

She also criticises UCT as a whole for their lack of interest when it comes to issues relating to the LGBTI community. “UCT operates on the assumption that someone is either male or female,” she explains. Pule places emphasison residences, because she feels as though there is no consideration for people of all sexual orientations.

She is an activist with the newly formed Black Resolutions Movement which focuses on what she calls “black queerness.”  Pule believes that the fact that she is black changes the entire sphere of being transgender.

“Activism is not an option, it’s a way of life” Pule says.

Transgendered people have been in the news, with reality television star Caitlyn Jenner, formerly a man, revealing to the world her identity as a woman. She went through medical treatments to look like a woman before changing her name. While criticised by many, including some who claimed it was a publicity stunt, Jenner was also praised and received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award earlier this month.

Pule praises Jenner’s journey because she believes that it has helped to “introduce transgender people into mainstream homes.” However she still believes that is still much work to be done in Africa for people of all sexual orientations to be understood and accepted.

YOUNG, BLACK AND TRANSGENDER: UCT student Thato Pule stands up for the LGBTI community. Photo: Provided

YOUNG, BLACK AND TRANSGENDER: UCT student Thato Pule stands up for the LGBTI community. Photo: Provided

Wits launches new mobile app

Wits students have information at their fingertips following the launch of the new mobile application for IOS, Android and Mobi site users.

Wits University in conjunction with Google Cloud launched their new mobile App called “WitsM” on Monday.

The application is available for all people, however it is specifically geared towards students of the university who will need to access it for administration purposes.

The app showcases maps of the university (shown on Google maps), allowing students to be able to search for buildings by name and get directions to the building. It also will feature a RSS feed of the latest new. Bus timetables will be accessible, as well as a meal booking system for those living in residences. A short messaging system has been built into the app so that students can be informed about events on campus.

“The scope of the application will grow in terms of services and a staff component will be added… staff will be able to see leave approvals online.” said Wits University CNS Director, Xolani Hadebe

Services such as Sakai and I-Wits will also be implemented at a later stage.

 IN THE LOOP: A wits student downloading the new mobile application WitsM. Photo: Sam Camara

IN THE LOOP: A Wits student downloading the new mobile application WitsM. Photo: Sam Camara

However Witsies will be disappointed to know that there will be no games included as part of the application.

So far there has been a good response to the application on GooglePlay “Wish I had this back when I was at Wits” said former Witsie, Stevan Boskovic.


Something for the student hustlers

One of the biggest problems students have is not being able to stretch their money for the entire month. Many are stuck with the dilemma of cutting back every time they receive their allowance, whether it is from their bursaries or parents. Meanwhile other students have what we nowadays call a “side hustle”. This is a way to get money by doing a part-time job that pays just enough to cover costs. By doing this, they do not have to worry about cutting back or, better yet, nagging their parents for extra money.

There are many ways in which students can help themselves get rid of their financial woes at Wits. The Career Councilling and Development Unit (CCDU) has for many years assisted students in acquiring jobs on and off campus. Wits Vuvuzela spoke to Raj Naran, a career development educator and team leader at the CCDU, about the jobs they can offer for students.

“Some campaigns really make it worth it, some really aren’t but it beats being broke,”

“Students can register to be on the CCDU’s database, so that they can be contacted if there are any available jobs,” Naran said. They can go to their offices on West Campus to register. Unfortunately it is not always guaranteed the job they get will be related to what they are studying. Naran said  students can negotiate their pay when offered a job.


Fun off-campus jobs

MAKING MONEY: Cihangir "Gigi" Cevikmen at his part-time job at Kitcheners.

MAKING MONEY: Cihangir “Gigi” Cevikmen at his part-time job at Kitcheners. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Some students have taken it upon themselves to find fun and interesting jobs off campus. One of the most popular jobs, especially among female students, are promotions. This is considered a great job because it only requires you to work during the weekend. This could be in supermarkets or better yet fancy events, parties and clubs. We all know how students like having a good time and imagine being paid to do so, it is quite difficult to resist.

Bontle-Buhle Ngomezulu, a BCom student at Wits has been a promoter for a year now. She says that the pay can be good depending on the kind of campaign.

“Some campaigns really make it worth it, some really aren’t but it beats being broke,” she said. Bartending has also been a favourite among students, with the variety of bars in and around Braamfontein there is no reason to be unemployed. Lesego Chiloane and Cihangir Cevikem are both Witsies and bartenders at Kitcheners. Cevikem said persistence can be the key to getting a part-time job.

“I asked one of the managers for a period of four months and he kept on brushing me off, until he gave me a chance as one of the cleaners for a month or so and then I eventually got into the bar.”

Besides partying on the job, the one perk which was mentioned was the pay. “The money is really good,” Cevikem said.

“The pay is good, for a student,” Chiloane said. He said working at a bar requires a lot of discipline because you have to balance it with school.



Newly established university faces chaos

Strikes have hit the newly established University of Mpumalanga’s (UMP) Siyabuswa campus. There have also been threats to start strike action at the Mbombela campus.

After the university failed to pay students their monthly stipends and to hire a campus manager at the Siyabusa campus, students shut down campus, preventing academic staff and construction workers from entering since last week Thursday (May 7), News24 reports. The stipends were meant to be paid out as part of students’ Fundza Lushaka bursaries.

Student representative council chairperson Khulekani Mabuza has accused the University of making empty promises. “We started engaging the management in February but they have been making empty promises to solve the issues,” Mabuza said. He also states that they will not stop striking until their demands are met.

UMP Vice Chancellor Professor Thoko Mayekiso said the university is not aware of any unpaid stipends, according to News24.

“The students need the funds as their pocket money; we have since taken a decision [in the meantime] to pay the money from our funds,” said Mayekiso. The funds would then be replaced once the department of education has allocated money to them.

Mbombela campus threatens to take strike action

Meanwhile, the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) have threatened to strike over pension funds, medical aid benefits, accrued leave and housing allowances.

“Here we have our members who have worked for more than 30 years and there’s already one who has moved out of the system and has no pension.”

The affected workers at the Mbombela campus were transferred from the Lowveld Agricultural College, which was run by the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture was absorbed by the university this year. 

Nehawu provincial secretary Sizwe Motha says that there has been no clear process and transparency in the process “there was no good transition when the staff moved from the Lowveld Agricultural College to the University of Mpumalanga”.

Motha also added, “Here we have our members who have worked for more than 30 years and there’s already one who has moved out of the system and has no pension.”

Both the Sol Plaatjie University in Northern Cape and Mpumalanga University opened in 2014 as the first post-apartheid universities.

Currently, the University of Mpumalanga has three hundred and seven students enrolled for qualifications in agriculture, hospitality management, information communication technology and education.

*Sourced from News24