Members of the international student associations at Wits University have admitted that there is friction between them and the Student Representative Council (SRC). The SRC drafted an international students’ memorandum at the end of last semester which international students are not entirely satisfied with as they felt their concerns simplified and that were not sufficiently consulted. They plan to meet with Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Zeblon Vilakazi by next week Friday ion order to find a way forward.
Tension between international students and the Wits Student Representative Council (SRC), has caused the various international student associations’ at Wits University to join forces.
TENSIONS PEAK: Ayotunde Awosusi, Cedrick Tshizainga and Tinovimbanashe Gwenyaya (L-R) are some of the international students’ committee members who are unhappy with the efforts of the SRC in communicating their struggles to management at Wits University. The unhappiness surrounds the international students’ memorandum which was drafted last semester. Photo: Riante Naidoo
“We have to admit, there has been friction between us and the SRC,” said Tinovimbanashe Gwenyaya, deputy president of the Zimbabwean Students Association.
The friction stemmed from unhappiness around the international students’ memorandum which was drafted by the SRC and handed to Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Vilakazi at the end of last semester. The memorandum was aimed at highlighting concerns faced daily by international students studying at the University.
“There was no adequate consultation by the SRC with International students with regards to the contents, as had been earlier agreed during the mass meeting,” Gwenyaya said.
He added that there is an “attitude of patriarchy towards international students,” and stressed that all they want is not to be treated as “second class” students.
According to Gwenyaya, along with Ayotunde Awosusi, president of the West African Students Union (WASU) and Cedrick Tshizainga, president of the Congolese society, international students “were unhappy about how the meeting was handled,” which called international students together to voice their grievances.
Their concerns were jotted down, however the memorandum was created based solely on those concerns.
They added that the memorandum “simplified the everyday challenges” and “realities” of international students. “It failed to highlight issues on the ground,” Gwenyaya said.
Awosusi said the idea to draft a memorandum was raised last year and was an initiative driven by the international students, not the current SRC.
It was however only drafted in May this year as there were “communication issues”.
“Last year’s SRC council did not have an International Students Affairs Officer,” Tshizainga said. He added that even though they created the portfolio this year, it seemed as though the “SRC did international students a favour by appointing someone.”
Awosusi said that “xenophobia amplified the situation,” which speeded up the drafting process. He said their concerns are usually seen as, “the same old, same old, where nobody sees these guys and nobody hears these guys.”
Their aim is to convey their issues themselves, with the SRC as a bridge between their associations and management.
Gwenyaya said “it does not make sense to have a local student as the SRC’s international student’s officer.”
“You’re looking up to a local student to represent you but she does not have awareness about our realties,” Awosusi said. “She’s trying her best to help us but she doesn’t know anything about us,” Tshizainga added.
The international students and SRC plan to meet with Vilakazi by next week Friday, however Awosusi said they are not “expecting a happy response.”
“We just want to hear the challenges international students face in reality as they are not immune to these ongoing challenges.”
Tanya Otto, who is currently the SRC’s International Students Affairs Officer could not be reached for comment.
By Riante Naidoo
Bad sex was said to be one of the reasons that JoziFM DJ, Donald Sebolai wanted to leave his girlfriend, Flavia Rachel “Dolly” Tshabalala, a Wits secretary, last June. She was allegedly murdered by him last year. Police, friends and family were aware of her abusive relationship and said they “saw her death coming”. Sebolai’s trial began on Monday in the Johannesburg High Court where he pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. The trials continues.
The use of bad sex as one of the reasons that a popular DJ killed his girlfriend, a Wits secretary, last year was “outrageous”, according to director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies and associate law professor, Bonita Meyersfeld.
“If you don’t perform your role as a sex object, then it’s okay to kill you?” asks Meyersfeld of the alleged abuse and killing of Flavia Rachel “Dolly” Tshabalala.
TRIAL RESUMES: The trial of murder accused Donald Sebolai resumed on Monday in the Johannesburg High Court in Ekurhuleni. He allegedly stabbed his girlfriend, Rachel ‘Dolly’ Tshabalala, a Wits secretary, to death last June. Photo: Facebook.
Tshabalala was allegedly killed by her Jozi FM DJ boyfriend, Donald Sebolai, 38, last June. His murder trial resumed at the Johannesburg High Court in Palm Ridge, Ekurhuleni on Monday, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A key witness who testified on Monday was Warrant Officer Pheepa Mabitsi. According to media reports, Mabitsi said Sebolai told him the reason he wanted Tshabalala to leave their Soweto flat was because her vagina had “stretched” and the sex was bad.
He added that Tshabalala packed her belongings and left in his presence in March last year.
Mabitsi knew the couple as Tshabalala previously lodged domestic abuse complaints about Sebolai. He added that she was encouraged to file a protection order but did not want to.
According to Tshabalala’s childhood friend, Nonhlanhla Mkhize, she and Tshabalala’s family “saw her death coming,” due to the abusive relationship that she was having with Sebolai.
Prof. Jackie Dugard, director of the Gender Equity Office, said “there is clearly a problem of sexism and patriarchy in abusive relationships.”
Tshabalala was said to have reported several incidents. According to media reports, Mabitsi said that Tshabalala approached police when a second incident occurred. “Sebolai had started with his behaviour again – threatening to beat and kill her.”
Media reports said that Isaac Kubeka, the investigating officer in the case, said Sebolai would mislead the court if he does not say: “I hate women,” as he did when Kubeka interviewed him after his arrest last July.
Media reports indicated that Tshabalala was stabbed in her lower abdomen and that the wound extended to the root of her right thigh. Her death was caused by excessive blood loss and hypovolemic shock, which is a life-threatening condition caused by the loss of more than 20% of blood and other bodily fluid.
Reports indicated that Sebolai also faces charges of theft and defeating the ends of justice when he allegedly disposed of some of Tshabalala’s bloodied clothes, stole her car and planned to flee to Botswana after he allegedly killed her.
Murder accused, JoziFM DJ, Donald Sebolai, will take the stand tomorrow in the Johannesburg High Court in Palm Ridge, Ekurhuleni where his trial will resume. Sebolai allegedly killed his girlfriend, Rachel “Dolly” Tshabalala, a Wits secretary and part-time student, last June. He allegedly stabbed her to death according to a forensic report, but and pleaded not guilty, DNA samples found on items of clothing after the murder match his.
TRIAL RESUMES: The trial of murder accused Donald Sebolai will resume tomorrow at the Johannesburg High Court in Ekurhuleni. He allegedly stabbed his girlfriend, Rachel ‘Dolly’ Tshabalala, a Wits secretary and student, to death last June. Photo: Facebook.
The trial of murder accused, JoziFM DJ, Donald Sebolai, will resume tomorrow in the Johannesburg High Court in Palm Ridge, Ekurhuleni. Sebolai pleaded not guilty to the murder of his girlfriend, Rachel “Dolly” Tshabalala, a Wits secretary and part-time student, last June.
Media reports said that last Thursday, 30 July, senior forensic analyst, Captain Phineas Masetla testified in the DJ’s murder trial in the Johannesburg High Court. He said that DNA samples found on items of clothing after the murder matched Sebolai and Tshabalala’s.
Nonhlanhla Mkhize, a friend of Tshabalala’s since they were five, also testified. In a previous interview with Mkhize, she told Wits Vuvuzela she received a call from Sebolai confessing to Tshabalala’s murder. Mkhize added that she does not believe Sebolai “will get the sentence he deserves” and that both she and Tshabalala’s family “saw her death coming”.
Media reports indicated that Sebolai also faces charges of theft and defeating the ends of justice after he allegedly stole Tshabalala’s car and tried to hide some of the bloodied clothes.”
The reports added that he initially planned to flee to Botswana after he confessed to Mkhize about the murder. She then reported the matter to the police.
Tshabalala worked in the Wits School of Civil Engineering, and was studying towards a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in psychology at the Wits Plus centre for part-time students.
Professor Ian Jandrell, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment referred to Tshabalala as “a revered and much-appreciated staff member.”
Sebolai hosted a weekday chat show which focused on gender equality and issues of safety for women and children.
• JoziFM DJ’s murdered girlfriend a Witsie and secretary in engineering faculty, June 2014.
• Friends and family of murdered Wits secretary have ‘lost all hope’, February 2015.
Wits University’s flags will fly at half-mast for the next six days in honour of former Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert (Bob) Charlton. Charlton passed away yesterday morning at the age of 86, after succumbing to a brief illness. He first came to Wits as an undergraduate medical student in 1946 and was appointed as vice chancellor of the university 46 years later. In a statement released by Prof Adam Habib, current vice-chancellor, Charlton’s academic and professional journey as well as his personal characteristics were celebrated.
The statement is reproduced in full below:
The Wits flag will fly at half-mast for the next six days to honour the memory of former Wits Vice-Chancellor, Professor Robert (Bob) Charlton who passed away this morning after a brief illness at the age of 86.
Professor Robert W Charlton’s long association with Wits began in 1946 when he registered as an undergraduate medical student. He was awarded the degree of MD in 1963 and appointed as Professor of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology in 1967. In 1975, Professor Charlton was elected as a Senate representative on the University Council while serving as Assistant Dean of the Medical School. In 1978, he was elected Dean and served in that capacity until his appointment as Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 1980. In February 1988, he was appointed Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University and held office for two terms until 1997. Under his steadfast and principled leadership, the University was steered on an even course during challenging times in the late 1980s and 1990s.
During his career as an academic and university administrator he served on several local and national bodies. These include the Medicines Control Council, the South African Medical and Dental Council, the Johannesburg Hospital Board, the Coronation Nursing College Council, the Witwatersrand Technikon Council and the Johannesburg College of Education Council.
Professor Charlton served with dedication on the Board of Governors of the Wits Foundation. He was invited to be a Trustee in 1987 and was reappointed in 1997. He served voluntarily in this position until 2008.
He had a passion for education and a lifelong commitment to the University that continued in many formal and informalcapacities in recent years. He initiated and supported the Charlton Awards for Service Excellence for support staff, and was always present to hand out these coveted awards to exceptional staff. He regularly attended Wits events including Evolution Day in the Great Hall in June this year.
We acknowledge with gratitude the invaluable contribution that Professor Charlton made to Wits University. Wits has indeed lost one of its stalwarts today. His wife Margaret, also deeply involved in university life, passed away some years ago. Our deepest condolences are extended to Professor Charlton’s family, friends and former colleagues and students, and especially to his three daughters, Sarah, Julia and Diana, and his son, Robert, all of whom have close ties with Wits.
We wish you peace during this difficult period.
– Professor Adam Habib”.
Hundreds of students joined the national #BuildaPresident campaign at Wits University this week. They publicly signed a pledge to good citizenship and shared their views of what an ideal South African president should be.
Hundreds of Witsies gathered below the steps of the Great Hall at Wits University on Tuesday, where they publicly signed a pledge of good citizenship for the #BuildaPresident campaign.
The Drama for Life department hosted the event in honour of Mandela month. Anzio Jacobs, campaign coordinator, said the campaign was created to honour the legacy of former president, Nelson Mandela.
The event displayed a collage of over 600 images of people who showcased their views on what an ideal South African president should be.
Acting SRC president, Shaeera Kalla and Dean of Students, Pamela Dube joined the campaign and also publicly signed the pledge.
The reasons for Jamie Mighti’s resignation has attracted much attention on the Wits University campus this week. In Mighti’s resignation letter to Wits Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adam Habib, he highlighted “irregularities” within the SRC as his reasons for resigning, however there are other reasons which the student body feel may have influenced Mighti’s decision.
Conflict and controversy has surrounded the news of Jamie Mighti’s resignation from the SRC which was made public at the beginning of the week.
Mighti, stepped down as the SRC’s campus wellness officer with immediate effect on July 3 and notified Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib in a letter, which was given to Wits Vuvuzela on Tuesday evening.
In the letter, Mighti said he had lost confidence in the SRC and accused the student council of “several irregularities” including not meeting for several months and mismanaging funds.
Mighti also said he had lost confidence in Vice Chancellor Adam Habib and “his ability and interest in ensuring a functional student body.”
SRC MEANS BUSINESS: Acting SRC president , Shaeera Kalla said they are dealing with the resignation of Jamie Mighti, however students need to be served, so business will carry on as usual. Photo: Riante Naidoo
Shaeera Kalla, acting president of the SRC, told Wits Vuvuzela. “No one knows the true reason behind why Jamie has resigned.” However, Kalla said she believed Mighti was facing disciplinary charges related to an accusation of sexual harassment. Kalla added that neither she nor the SRC was aware of the status of the charge.
“We’re in the dark like everyone else,” Kalla said.
Kalla could not confirm whether Mighti was resigning because of the disciplinary charges “but I think logic would lead to that … If I were in his position I would do that,” she said.
Wits University spokesperson, Shirona Patel, said the university was aware of Mighti’s resignation and confirmed that he was the subject of an investigation but declined to offer further details.
“We can confirm that the University is investigating a matter concerning him but at this stage we are not at liberty to disclose any further details regarding this matter,” Patel said.
Mighti declined to comment to Wits Vuvuzela about his disciplinary hearing.
In his resignation letter, Mighti accused the SRC of failing to meet for several months and said executive SRC members “took decisions which were beyond their constitutional powers”. He also accused the SRC of misusing funds.
“It is my view that the VC was biased in failing to act against Shaeera Kalla and her compatriots within the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance],” he said in the letter.
Kalla, said she disputes Mighti’s accusations and had a “very fundamental problem” with his claims.
“There was a formal investigation done by [Deputy Vice Chancellor] Prof Tawana Kupe and none of those accusations were true,” she said.
In a report on the investigation that was given to Wits Vuvuzela, the university found that the SRC had not held some meetings nor kept minutes in line with its own constitution. However, it said there was “no evidence of misappropriation or misuse of funds”.
Kalla said Mighti’s resignation was something the SRC has to deal with “but to be honest business goes on as usual as students need to be served”.
She believes the university is “under pressure” because former SRC president, Mcebo Dlamini, was found guilty of a disciplinary charge and “to the outside world it seemed the processes were sped up” for him. “Now there’s another one awaiting his outcome,” she said.
Kalla said the SRC did not tolerate wrongdoing by student leaders: “We condemn any misconduct on behalf of a student leader because the SRC constitution is clear on that and leadership must be held accountable at all times,” she added.
“Our responsibilities are not to Jamie or Mcebo, they are to students,” Kalla said. “I think it’s ridiculous that people think the world must stop because of people like them. There are 31 000 students at Wits, we’ve really got no time for this.”
Wits University kicked off the Varsity Football tournament at home against the University of the Western Cape last night. Wits put up a strong fight despite the goalless draw. Both coaches thought it was a fair result and hoped to build on last night’s performance.
The Wits University Football Club kicked off the Varsity Football Tournament in competitive style yesterday evening against the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The game which resulted in a goalless draw. Play was even for the most part, but Wits had the edge on ball possession despite fielding eight new players.
“It was a good ice-breaker for the guys,” said Wits coach, Karabo Mogudi. UWC’s coach, Salie Adams felt that “it was a very tough game” for them.
Wits held majority of the ball possession in the first half, but Mogudi said “a few good decisions could have been made and translated into goals.”
Adams said they “gave up ball possession much too easily with poor technicalities.” Two minutes of extra time in the first half did not provide either team with a better goal opportunity.
KICK-OFF: Wits kept the pressure on the University of the Western Cape last night as both teams kicked off the Varsity Football Tournament at the Bidvest Wits stadium, Wits University. Photo: Sibongile Machika.
Wits played a stronger game in the second half with a forceful attack and three possible goal opportunities, however they failed to find the back of the net.
“If we remained calm under pressure, we could have converted a lot of those chances,” Mogudi said. “Wits’ main goal scorers let their nerves get the better of them but we can build on this,” he added.
Wits fileded eight new players, including last night’s captain, Hope Munyai. Mogudi said that as a captain, “He [Munyai] is always solid” and that the team relies on players like him to carry us.”
This is Adams’ second year as UWC coach and he came through with 70% of last year’s squad. He said what let them down was the team’s lack of general fitness.
“Being students, they don’t concentrate on fitness,” which he felt was their “biggest problem.”
Despite this, he said that the result was “a fair reflection of the game,” while Mogudi hopes that Wits’ next game is a greater success.
“Next week I assure you a better performance and I hope the fans come here in numbers,” he said.
Jamie Mighti, a member of the Wits SRC has resigned. The reasons for his resignation are currently unknown. Mighti has held leadership positions in the SRC and debating union since 2013.
Rumours have been put to rest as the resignation of Jamie Mighti, Wits SRC’s campus wellness officer, was confirmed earlier today.
“It’s true that Jamie has resigned,” acting SRC president Shaeera Kalla told Wits Vuvuzela.
It is believed his resignation was handed in last week however the reasons are still unclear.
Mighti was initially voted into the SRC in 2013 elections. Mighti ran for re-election last year and was successful, receiving the highest number of votes.
The #BuildaPresident campaign, inspired by former president Nelson Mandela, will kick off at Wits University this Tuesday, July 21. As part of Mandela day, event hosted by Drama for Life, will appeal to staff and students to make a pledge to good citizenship. Event activities a display a 3 000 citizen-driven image collage reflecting what the ideal South African president should be.
The #BuildaPresident campaign, inspired by former president Nelson Mandela, will kick off at Wits University on Tuesday, July 21. The Drama for Life department will host the event and plans to get the staff and Witsies to pledge to good citizenship.
Anzio Jacobs, event coordinator and Drama for Life student, said the pledge was created to honour the legacy of Mandela. Jacobs said he hopes the event will “draw attention to pertinent issues we face as a country”.
#BuildaPresident: 3 000 images, like this one, will cover the wall behind the Wits Art Museum facing Jorissen Street as part of the ongoing campaign aimed at fostering quality future leaders of South Africa. Photo: Evans Mathibe.
Part of the activities will include rebranding the wall at the university entrance on Jorrisson Street behind the Wits Art Museum (WAM). The rebrand will involve a collage of 3 000 images shared by people and showcasing their views on what an ideal South African president should be.
“We will rig a stage for keynote addresses from various stake-holders,” Jacobs said. “These addresses are intended to voice the university’s pledge to being a good citizen.”
Jacobs added that everyone in attendance will be asked to “record their pledge in order to show the overwhelming commitment of Wits University to a better South Africa.”
The event, which will begin at 13:15, will be hosted in collaboration with Wits Functions and Events, campus radio station VoWFM and the SRC (Student Representative Council).
“We trust that this will be the beginning of a great narrative of Wits doing its part in building a better nation for all,” Jacobs said.
For more information on the event visit the campaign website or their Facebook page.
The School of Literature, Language and Media is planning to publish a school newsletter at the end of next block, focusing entirely on student-generated creative content. The newsletter calls for submissions in the poetry, short story and intellectual dialogue categories. It will be launched at a school event called Fun Lines, later next block.
A new creative publication is on the cards for the Wits School of Literature, Language and Media (SLLM) and its first issue to be published at the end of next block. The newsletter aims to showcase poetry, short stories and intellectual dialogue pieces from the student body.
SMART THINKER: It was the idea of of 1st year BA student, Mpho Masuku, to start a school newsletter in order to foster intellectual thinking among students in the School of Literature, Language and Media (SLLM). Photo: Riante Naidoo.
The idea came from 21-year-old Mpho Masuku, a 1st year BA student who is also the deputy- secretary of the SLLM student council.
“It was necessary to have a platform like this to express their (students) art and to develop themselves,” he said.
The current student council was on board and agreed the publication would be a platform for students to “groom others as well and groom the art of literature”, according to Masuku.
The newsletter format was chosen as Masuku said it would not be a “taxing process”. He added that they could have had a newspaper, “but we already have Wits Vuvuzela for that,” he said.
“We are going to accept as many publications that come,” he added. However, only submissions from students within the school will be accepted.
“There is a possibility that in the future, we’ll have a publication that encompasses all students, but right now we are constitutionally bound to serve our school,” Masuku added.
There are also three categories which one can submit to: poetry, short stories and intellectual dialogue about university related topics.
So far, Masuku has received six submissions.
He added that the council would like for the newsletter become sustainable. “This should exist beyond this council and beyond next year,” he said.
Submissions can be sent to email@example.com.
Unlike any other shopping centre, 27 Boxes, made entirely from shipping containers, opened last week in Melville, Johannesburg. The “mini mall” as some residents call it, has established itself as a space for smaller businesses that specialise in crafts, boutique stores and unique food outlets. The development while supported by some residents, faced resistance from several others.
It is unlike any other shopping centre you have seen. In what used to be a hundred-year-old park, 80 shipping containers now stand three storeys tall. Melville’s latest shopping development, 27 Boxes, right around the corner from the famous 7th Street, opened last week and has established itself as a family-friendly, crafty space.
Developer of the centre, Arthur Blake, is also the managing developer of Citiq, a property management company. He said he decided to use the vacant land to draw people into Melville, a suburb he described as “arty”.
Some residents were very unhappy about the development and raised concerns such as crime, litter and noise, while others were enthusiastic and happy about the increased business in the area.
Wits student Sisanda Msekele, who was attacked on a Wits circuit bus and hospitalised since last Friday night was discharged yesterday morning. She chatted briefly to Wits Vuvuzela about her ordeal. Wits University’s Campus Control Director, Robert Kemp, said the SAPS and Campus Control Investigations Section are investigating the matter.
Wits Master’s graduate Sisanda Msekele, who was attacked and hospitalised last Friday night, was discharged yesterday morning after recovering from the severe injuries she sustained in the attack.
STRONGER: Sisanda Msekele and her guide dog Romy on the steps of Great Hall after her graduation at Wits University yesterday. Photo: Samantha Camara.
Msekele, who was discharged from Milpark hospital in Parktown yesterday morning, said she sustained a “severe bite on her upper lip”, had marks on her legs and bite marks on her hand and nipple.
“The girl who attacked me tried to go for my nipple,” Msekele said. “She was going for my nipple,” she reiterated.
Msekele, who is usually accompanied by her protective guide dog, Romy, said she was with a friend when the incident occurred and had left her dog at home. Msekele has declined to reveal the identity of her friend.
Robert Kemp, director of Wits Campus Control said that the incident was reported around 21h30 on Friday night.
“It is believed that the suspect is also a student,” Kemp added.
Kemp said Wits Campus Control officers went to Milpark Hospital, to gather details of the incident from Msekele on Friday night.
“The matter is currently being investigated by the SAPS [at Hillbrow police station] and Campus Control Investigations Section,” Kemp said.
Msekele told Wits Vuvuzela that “the experience has been very overwhelming” and that she needs some time before she can talk about it more openly.