Do Hunt’s clever boys have what it takes?

POWER SHOT: The clever boy's Henrico Botes fires a shot towards goal after penetrating the relentless SuperSport defence. Photo: Reuven Blignault.

POWER SHOT: The clever boy’s Henrico Botes fires a shot towards goal after penetrating the relentless SuperSport defence. Photo: Reuven Blignault.

Since Gavin Hunt left SuperSport United to join Bidvest Wits three seasons ago, there has been talk that he will turn the Students into a title-contending club.

The last time the club won a trophy was the Nedbank Cup in 2010, when Roger De Sa was at the helm.

The team now finds themselves at third place on the PSL table and with a long season still ahead anything is possible.

This is what was at the back of the team’s mind on Tuesday night, when they hoped to record their third successive league victory when they hosted SuperSport United at the Bidvest Stadium.

The Clever Boys played the entire second-half with 10-men, but successfully held on to secure a narrow 1-0 win over Absa Premiership title rivals SuperSport.

Gavin Hunt’s side were in control of the match, and they looked dangerous each timed they surged forward and attacked the visitors.

Jabulani Shongwe scored the only goal of the game before Henrico Botes was sent off for foul play on the cusp of half-time.

Wits played without the suspended Siyabonga Nhlapo, while SuperSport’s Dean Furman also missed as he was still suspended after being sent off against Chiefs in the previous match.

Despite having one player less, the Clever Boys continued to create the better chances and were deserved winners on the night.

But will they go all the way?

Hunt has certainly added quality to his arsenal, spending top dollar on players Daine Klate and Elias Pelembe. Both players were part of Hunt’s SuperSport United outfit during his successful tenure at the club.

Veteran goalkeeper Moeneeb  ‘Slimkat’ Josephs may be key to any title challenge, as he has been in good form so far this season, and because the team lacks depth on the bench in the goal keeping department

The team also has star players Phakamani Mahlambi and Liam Jordan, who are both part of the national squad and are tipped to be among South African football’s brightest prospects. Veteran Henrico Botes, has always chipped in with important goals over the past few years.

Wits health receives massive funding boost

NEW FUNDING: The Wits school of Public Health will be receiving a massive funding boost to sustain better biological research in Africa. Photo: Stock

NEW FUNDING: The Wits school of Public Health will be receiving a massive funding boost to sustain better biological research in Africa. Photo: Stock

The School of Public Health at Wits University will use an approximately R70-million cash injection to develop and improve bio-statistical skills among its researchers.

Biostatistics is the use of statistics in a wide range of topics in biology. In this case, Wits’ research will be geared towards addressing some of the continent’s most difficult health challenges.

The funds will be utilised by the Wits lead Sub-Saharan African Consortium for Advanced Bio-statistical Training, a group of mostly African and some European institutions.

Examples of funded research include genetic analysis of drug-resistant malaria across East and West Africa and developing mental health programmes in countries where there is little or no investment.

The programmes are led from universities and research institutes in Ghana, Kenya, Mali, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. All the programmes involve collaborations across the continent, including between French-speaking and English-speaking countries and with international research centres.

Professor Tobias Chirwa, of School of Public Health, is one of seven leading African researchers to receive major funding over five years to establish relevant research and training programmes across the continent. The funding comes from the Welcome Trust and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Chirwa, is the Head of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He said on the Wellcome Trust UK’s website: “In many African countries, there is a shortage of well-trained biostatisticians. The few people that are trained are often overwhelmed.

“In order to ensure that data is used to inform public health policy and practice for the benefit of the people in Africa, we need to prioritise training of African postgraduate biostatisticians who can provide the required analysis to a high standard.”

In total, the DELTAS Africa scheme has awarded over £46 million (approximately R92-million) to research over a period of five years.

Infographic: Where will the Springboks play their first matches?

The Springboks are ready to take on the Rugby World Cup 2015. They will be playing in venues that are usually the hallowed ground of football fanatics.

In the past few months, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the use of these grounds. Football critics are worried about the damage 22 heavy-set men will cause to the pristine football pitches.

INBOUND: The springboks will be playing across various venues around the UK. In group B, they will be facing Japan, Scotland, Samoa and the USA.

INBOUND: The springboks will be playing across various venues around the UK. In group B, they will be facing Japan, Scotland, Samoa and the USA.

Wits FC seals the deal

ON THE REBOUND: Wits'  Aleksandar Kocic put pressure on the WSU defense on a break away. Photo: Reuven Blignault

ON THE REBOUND: Wits’ Aleksandar Kocic put pressure on the WSU defence on a break away. Photo: Reuven Blignault

Wits FC will play in their first-ever Varsity Football semi-final after they walked away with a 2-1 win over Walter Sisulu (WSU) at home on Monday.

An elated Wits coach Karabo Mogudi expressed that while he was happy for the team, it has been a stressful week for them.

“Every coach and team wants to win matches, and we are peaking at the right time, but this week was the worst for the players because its test week, I can see a lot of them didn’t sleep. This was evident with the start of the match, we were very poor,” he told Varsity Sport.

Wits started off as the more impressive of the two teams and dominated play in the opening few minutes. Wits’ Gift Baloyi had the game’s first attempt at goal.

The away side held their own though and took the lead with a goal from Bonke Mbadlanyana.

The visitors from the coast pushed forward in the second half and almost achieved the same number of opportunities in front of goal as they did in the first ten minutes of the game.

With a semi-final spot at stake, Wits gained momentum by applying continuous pressure on the WSU defence in the latter part of the game.

Goals by Saluleko Mathonsi and substitute Graeme Dor completed a great comeback in the dying minutes of the game for the home side.

This was the second consecutive fixture where Wits left it till late to secure a victory and have now increased their chances of making the next phase of the competition.

In the previous match, Wits came out firing but were unable to score against Vaal University of Technology (VUT), and managed only a draw.

Wits’ next semi-final match will take place on September 10 against an unconfirmed opponent.

Luister documentary causing a storm

LISTEN: The opening title screen of the documentary explores racism and the language barrier experienced by non-Afrikaans students at Stellenbosch University. Photo: YouTube

LISTEN: The opening title screen of the documentary explores racism and the language barrier experienced by non-Afrikaans students at Stellenbosch University. Photo: YouTube

A documentary exploring racism and the language barrier experienced by non-Afrikaans students at Stellenbosch University is causing widespread debate from within the university itself to politicians in parliament.

Last week, student organisation Open Stellenbosch, together with Contraband Cape Town, released the short documentary Luister. The documentary explores racism and the language barrier experienced by non-Afrikaans students at Stellenbosch University.

Stellenbosch University’s relations manager Wim de Villiers said he is more than willing to meet with Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Higher Education. This comes after political parties voiced their concerns over a documentary which features student accounts of alleged racism.

The ANC in Parliament expressed outrage on Tuesday over the racist reality at the University that the documentary portrays. Parliament now wants to have an urgent meeting with the institution’s management.

Luister is a 30 minute YouTube documentary showing the lived experiences of more than 30 students and a lecturer at the university who have felt forms of racial prejudice. It also deals with issues of non-transformation at the institution which is still 65% white.

De Villiers said Luister gives the false impression that management isn’t serious about transformation. He added that the University has always taken the issue seriously but highlighted that there also needs to be mutual respect from the students.

Open Stellenbosch responded to the Universities comments saying that they were, “disappointed that even now, confronted with the raw testimony of students talking about our personal lived experiences of racism and violence, the university continues to insist that our voices are a ‘misrepresentation’”.

Since its release on YouTube a few days ago, it has already had over 125,000 views. According to Open Stellenbosch, the group wants to show the public the extent of racism and exclusivity at Stellenbosch University.

“For the past three months we’ve been acting in action against the university to appeal to these issues. We saw the need to draw broader attention that’s why we decided to put ‘Luister’ together.”

“Luister is a film about Afrikaans as a language and a culture. It is a film about the continuing racism that exists within a divided society. It is a film about a group of students whose stories have been ignored. Luister is the Afrikaans word for Listen.” Contraband Cape Town added this description on YouTube.

Witsies uncover new dinosaur species in South Africa

RAIN LIZARD: Discovered by Wits PhD students, this is artist’s impression of what the newly described Pulanesaura dinosaur would have looked like. Photo: Provided.

RAIN LIZARD: Discovered by Wits PhD students, this is artist’s impression of what the newly described Pulanesaura dinosaur would have looked like. Photo: Provided.

A NEW species of dinosaur, the Rain Lizard, discovered in the Free State by a Wits team has revealed an exciting new picture of dinosaur development in South Africa.

Wits PhD student Blair McPhee, described it as a new species after he and Dr Jonah Choiniere, from the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Wits University, worked with a team unravelling the mysteries of the ancient creature.

“We used to think that only two species of dinosaur were present in South Africa. Now we know that the picture was much more complicated, with lots of species present. But the Rain Lizard is still special because it was doing something that all these newly discovered species weren’t,” McPhee said.

The discovery of the new dinosaur, Pulanesaura eocollum, meaning “Rain lizard”, shows the first evidence of dinosaurs making the transition to walking on four legs and browsing on the ground.

Pulanesaura was an early member of the long-necked sauropod lineage of dinosaurs, famously represented by Brontosaurus and has been described as small at about eight metres in length and 5 tonnes in body mass.

“This dinosaur showcases the unexpected diversity of locomotion and feeding strategies present in South Africa 200 million years ago. This has serious implications for how dinosaurs were carving up their ecosystems,” said McPhee.

Why is it called the “Rain lizard”? For one thing, it was pouring while they were excavating the skeleton. “Pulane” was also the childhood nickname of Panie Bremer, daughter of the owner of the farm where the dinosaur’s remains were found. And what does Pulane mean? It is Sesotho for “comes with rain”.

No support for Wits football team

BURSTING WITH SPIRIT: Pumping up the crowd, the Wits cheerleaders are at every match religiously, despite the low fan turn-out. Photo: Rafieka Williams.

BURSTING WITH SPIRIT: Pumping up the crowd, the Wits cheerleaders are at every match religiously, despite the low fan turn-out. Photo: Rafieka Williams.

With a capacity for 5 000 people, the Bidvest stadium has been barely filled during the past two home games, reaching a peak of about 300 fans, this despite over 2 000 free tickets handed out at lunch times before the pre-match week.

A planned beer garden to drum up excitement for the Wits football team has been cancelled due to time constraints and a lack of commitment from sponsors, the latest example of the team struggling to get support.

Wits is due to play an upcoming home match against the Tshwane University of Technology on Monday. The beer garden is now being planned for the next home game.

The roar of the crowd is enough to inspire any team to victory, but not if there is no crowd. The Wits Sport office is growing ever more concerned at the lack of fan support during this year’s Varsity Football tournament, and is thinking of new ways to gather fans for the Wits team.

“Wits played incredibly well against the NMMU-Madibaz last Monday by winning 1-0 against them, but we were disappointed with the supporter turnout,” said Wits Sports officer Marcus Toerien.

Toerien believes that this lack of spirit derives from a culture the university has institutionalised that favours rugby over football.

“The beginning of the year Varsity Shield tournament (rugby) drew thousands of supporters to the stands of the Wits Rugby stadium,” said Toerien. “Why can’t fans support football in the same way?”

Even though banners and an extensive social media campaign had been put into place, the supporter turnout is poor.

“Other universities where the same tournament is being played have stands filled to capacity … There is a deep lack of spirit amongst Wits supporters.”

“We want to give students a tournament that they love by showing that football at Wits is not just for die hard football fans … It can be enjoyed by everybody.”

With a capacity for 5 000 people, the stadium has been barely filled during the past two home games, reaching a peak of about 300 fans, this despite over 2 000 free tickets handed out at lunch times before the pre-match week.

This lack of support has called into question the lack of spirit at Wits, especially when it comes to football.

“We are urging everyone at Wits, staff and students, to come and support our team every Monday … Without your support, our team will suffer.”

The Varsity Football tournament has been running from July 20 and will end on September 24.

Project W’s Driving Support

SHOWING INITIATIVE: Project W's Jamie Mighti stands with a flyer with information about the win-a-car initiative at the Project W office.

SHOWING INITIATIVE: Project W’s Jamie Mighti stands with a flyer with information about the win-a-car initiative at the Project W office. Photo: Reuven Blignault

Project W will be raffling off a new car to raise over R500 000 funds for students who owe outstanding fees, a move reminiscent of the SRC’s #1million1month campaign at the beginning of the year.

Project W aims to raise the funds for over 1 000 students with unsettled fees with the raffle to be held Friday, August 21. Entrants stand the chance to drive away in a brand new 2015 Volkswagen UP valued at R120 000 donated by a dealership.

The plan to raise these funds has been in the pipeline for the past two years according to Project W’s Jamie Mighti.

“The biggest challenge facing all students is money … All year long the university sends you emails reminding you that you owe them,” said Mighti.

“It’s a struggle to get through university for the average student, but to have this massive financial burden is often the back breaking burden,” said Mighti. “We want to solve the problem of outstanding fees owed at the end of the year, especially for brilliant students who face the prospects of their dreams dying merely for the lack of money.”

To take advantage of the benefits of the campaign, a student needs to approach Project W with evidence that they are under a financial burden, as well as a good academic record.

The three-week long campaign will end with the car raffle draw on the August 21 on the Library lawns at 1:15pm where the winner will drive away with the car.

Theatre Review: Sister Act

STAGE SISTERS: The Joburg Theatre’s production of Sister Act stars Candida Mosoma and Kate Normington. Photo: Provided

STAGE SISTERS: The Joburg Theatre’s production of Sister Act stars Candida Mosoma and Kate Normington.
Photo: Provided

IF YOU grew up in the 90’s chances are you either saw the Saturday night movie on SABC 3 or if you were in a class and your teacher decided to give you a break by watching a movie, you have seen the film Sister Act.

Multi-award-winning South African director and writer, Janice Honeyman, directs the South African version of the hit musical, based on the hilarious 1992 comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg.

When disco diva “Deloris Van Cartier” (Candida Mosoma) witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won’t be found, a convent.  Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and uptight Mother Superior (Kate Normington).  Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community but, in doing so, blows her cover.

The production stars an entirely South African cast, imitating American accents. Despite a few accent drops along the way, the performance makes the audience believe that they could be in New York watching the musical’s original Broadway performance.

Normington is another one of the show’s shining stars, who creates a memorable Mother Superior and once again demonstrates her amazing singing abilities. Her rendition of I Haven’t Got a Prayer sent shivers down the spine and will be long remembered.

The musical is packed with Alan Menken’s compositions, and Glenn Slater’s lyrics. These numbers are beautifully framed with stunning costumes and amazing backdrops.

All aspects are flawlessly integrated by an experienced director who appreciates the very pulse of a musical that is cleverly aimed to uplift its audience with an ensemble that works hard.

The band, under Rowan Bakker’s command, never missed a beat, yet the sound was never allowed to drown out the singers.

On the negative side, the music has been changed from the original film, so you will be disappointed if you came to the show to hear familiar favourites such as Petula Clark’s hit, I Will Follow Him. But the ‘non-replica’ production of the musical was written by Whoopi Goldberg, and features new songs that any Sister Act or general musical fan will appreciate.

The stage production has been seen by audiences around the world after premiering on Broadway. The New York Times said of Sister Act: “When the wimples start quivering, the pinched mouths break into sunbeam smiles, and the nuns start rocking to raise the Gothic rafters, all’s right in the kingdom of musical comedy.”

Sister Act will run at The Mandela at the Joburg Theatre until August 16th 2015.

Drugs no longer a problem at Wits

Everything from condoms to toothbrushes can be found at two new vending machines at Senate House and the FNB building on West Campus, though some students have criticised their high prices.

A pack of Disprin, which costs no more than R20 at your local supermarket, will cost you almost double,at R35, at the vending machine.

According to its operator,PharmaShop24, this is not a typical vending machine. It is specially designed to dispense health care products, and your daily medical essentials from A-Z at a simple push of a button.

When students were asked about their opinions about the vending machines, reactions varied.

“I think that these are awesome,” saidMpumelelo Tshabalala, 2nd year BA Law. “There are so many times where I have needed medication, like Panado for a headache, and I’ve had to hike around campus looking for some, this is going to be a huge help.”

Other students were only critical of the machine’s high prices. “I think the prices are way too high for me,” said Ismael Motsoeneng, 1st year BA. “Some prices were not too bad, but I’d rather go somewhere else.”

The company, PharmaShop24, has placed these machines at high traffic points at the university, aiming for high convenience.

PharmaShop24, says that concept and design can be found all over Europe, Japan, USA and now in South Africa.

Initially implemented at Shell service stations around the counter, the South African team has been actively modifying and adapting this concept since early 2012 to introduce it into universities.

Alumni wants Wits to sing a new song

In response to the controversial Men’s Res anthem, “I smell pussy”, the wits alumni office aims to replace that war-cry with something more positive.

The Wits Alumni Society is aiming to unite Witsies by choosing a new anthem that Wits can be proud of and that creates a reinvigorated sense of team spirit.

Students, staff and alumni around the world are encouraged to send their punchy and funky new war-cry options that people can learn easily, and that Witsies will sing for years to come.

The new war-cry will be launched in September, replacing less favourable war-cries,in the hopethat all Witsies will be singing it for the new sports season.

The competition will starton July, 20 and end on August, 15. There are prizes to be won, worth R10 000.

Wits Vuvuzela previously covered the story of members of the Men’s Residence singing a war-cry with lyrics saying “I smell pussy” at a rugby match earlier in the year. This prompted the Alumni office to discuss why students would want to sing a song like this, it was determined that it was because there are no official war-cries at Wits.

The Wits Gender Equity Office previously said that itwill be implementing “systemic holistic intervention programmes” in residences next semester in response to Men’s Residence’s war-cry lyrics.

Historically, the Wits war-cry was an important part of inter-varsity competition however, most songs would not be favourable today as they were highly Eurocentric and concentrated more on varsity rivals.

Wits has not had an official war-cry since the 1960’s.

Students are encouraged to submit their lyrics to warcry.alumni@wits.ac.za from now until the end of July. More information can be found on posters that will be put up at the end of the mid-term break.