A new theatre culture is being created at The Market Theatre. A culture that goes beyond the boundaries of the spoken word by using a collection of languages, performances and emotions.
Vumani Oedipus is a collaborative effort between the Wits Theatre and The Market Theatre in Johannesburg. The play is a reworking of the classic Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex into an African rendition. Directed by Wits School of Arts (WSOA) lecturer Dr Samuel Ravengai, the majority of the cast and crew are Wits students with two students from The Market Laboratory Drama School also included.
POWER HUNGRY: Edipha (Lucky Ndlovu) kneels in front of three of the seven imbongis and Jocasta (Nomfundo Shezi) during the performance of Vumani Oedipus at The Market Theatre. Photo: Samantha Camara
Friday night’s performance was nothing short of energetic and focused making it difficult to choose a single stand-out moment. Each action was met with an equal reaction that made the story flow effortlessly and the hour fly by quicker than one would have hoped.
Lucky Ndlovu (Edipha) and Nomfundo Shezi (Jocasta) are the striking lead pair whose interactions captivate the audience throughout the performance.
The theatre was filled with a diverse group of audience members who laughed, gasped and sympathised with the characters.
The play is performed in about 60 percent English and the remainder in a variety of Nguni languages such as isiZulu, Seswati, isiXhosa and Ndebele. Despite the variety of languages used in the play and the intentional abscence of subtitles or interpretation, it is simple to follow even if you only understand one of the languages used.
The performance relies far more on emotion and physical performance than the spoken word. The facial expressions from perfomers such as Sibusiso Mkhize (Kiliyoni) were more than enough to follow what is happening.
TRAGEDY: From front, Edipha (Lucky Ndlovu) is helped up by the court attendant (Sandile Mazibuko) while Kiliyoni (Sibusiso Mkize) watches during the performance of Vumani Oedipus at The Market Theatre. Photo: Samantha Camara
Although the story of Edipha was one of prophesised tragedy and the audience left the theatre feeling heart sore for the characters, there were a number of light-hearted moments. Fumani Moeketsi (Thilesi The Sangoma) was responsible for many of these moments with her witty retorts and fiesty attitude.
The performance flowed perfectly from beginning to end and it was a pleasure to watch young talent perform with such passion, energy and professionalism.
Vumani Oedipus is showing at The Market Theatre’s Barney Simon Theatre until Sunday, October 11.
The bitter, yeasty smell of fermenting beer flows out the door as you enter the brewery located in an office park in Kyalami, and the smell is surprisingly appealing. The brewery bar is simple and welcoming with light streaming through the doors making the polished silver beer taps shine. Brewmaster Apiwe Nxusani is out of sight working in the brewery. As a black female brewmaster, Nxusani is a rarity in the brewing industry.
The title, ‘brewmaster’, is given to people who have at least five years of practical brewing experience. As brewmaster, Nxusani oversees the brewing process, recipe design and quality of the beer being made at the brewery.
MASTER: Female beer brewers are rare these days but Apiwe Nxusani is a master beer brewer who has her honours in Microbiology. She hope to inspire more black women to enter the male dominated industy. Photo: Samantha Camara
“My favourite thing is seeing people interact with the beers I have made, knowing that I started them from scratch,” says Nxusani.
Nxusani is currently the brewmaster and part-owner of micro-brewery Brewhogs. She began her career climbing the ranks at South African Breweries (SAB) in 2007, leaving in 2013 to pursue a path in craft beer.
According to Nxusani, women have been the ones who brewed beer throughout history and traditionally in many African cultures men are not allowed to do be brewers. However, in modern culture being a brewer is predominantly a male job.
“A lot of people that come through are actually surprised that you have a black woman actually making the beer, which is something that is uncommon currently,” Nxusani said.
Nxusani said she became interested in brewing while in high school when she attended an open day at RAU (now University of Johannesburg). She completed her BSc (Microbiology) at Wits and went on to do her Honours degree at the University of Pretoria.
Nxusani then went on to get a Master Brewer Diploma from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) based in London. She is the only person in South Africa to get a national diploma in clear fermented beverages and the first black person in South Africa to be approved by the IBD as a Brewing Training Provider.
CRAFT BEER QUEEN: Apiwe Nxusani laughs as she poses with the kegs of craft beer she makes. Photo: Samantha Camara
“I feel I’m opening paths for other people. There are many more [black women] within the bigger breweries but within the craft industry it’s mainly male dominated.”
“It’s really quite a rare thing to find females. I’m hoping we inspire more and more so that more females would get into it and more black people would get into it” she said.
Craft beers have gained immense popularity in the past few years. Nxusani says when she got into the craft beer industry working for SAB speciality beers in 2011 she was one of the first people to make speciality beers for SAB.
“Back then at festivals you’d have five, maybe six breweries having stands but now breweries are fighting to get into festivals. Currently they’re estimating 160 breweries across our country and that’s going to be doubling or tripling by this time next year,” Nxusani said.
When asked which Brewhogs beer is her favourite Nxusani she can’t say choose because “the beers have got different tastes and are targeted for different palates.”
Wits Theatre has collaborated in The Market Theatre for a play called Vumani Oedipus, opening in October.
Vumani Oedipus, a play by Wits School of Arts (WSOA), will be showing at The Market Theatre in October.
The collaboration “came about by default, it wasn’t planned” said director and WSOA lecturer Dr Samuel Ravengai. Due to a number of productions running simultaneously, there was a shortage of performers so Ravengai had the idea to approach The Market Laboratory Drama School, the training branch of The Market Theatre. “Three [The Market Laboratory students] got places, one of them has fallen out so I’m using two and the rest are from Wits Theatre”.
Vumani Oedipus is an “an Africanisation of the classic murder mystery”, the ancient Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex or Oedipus The King, according to the WSOA website. “The play is classified as a Greek play but if you look at the history of performance, the so-called Greek civilisation and it’s so called Greek plays are actually an off-shoot of African performances” said Ravengai.
PLAYING AROUND: Director Dr Samuel Ravengai (far left) makes a joke while directing cast members Sibusiso Mkhize, Nomfundo Shezi and Lucky Ndlovu (left to right) during a photoshoot for Vumani Oedipus, a collaborative production between Wits Theatre and The Market Theatre. Photo: Samantha Camara
Ravengai explained that his motivation for doing this play was to ground the work in an African context, saying that he was, “appropriating what was stolen or taken or appropriated from Africa and replanting it back into the African stories”.
Ravengai hopes the play will show “the possibility that South African theatre has, which is a celebration of our collective identities”. He added that, “It is possible to create a uniquely South African theatre that celebrates everybody in this kind of performance, which I think has not been done in many years at Wits and at The Market Theatre”.
The play strives to develop a new theatre culture that encourages transformation by incorporating a number of languages and traditions.
“For the first time at Wits and the first time at The Market Theatre we are going to do a play where English occupies about 60 to 65 percent of the linguistic content of the play and the rest of it will be Nguni languages, which is Zulu, Seswati, isiXhosa and Ndebele. I am not going to be using titles because theatre has its own language.”
Vumani Oedipus runs from 6 -11 October at the Barney Simon Theatre at The Market Theatre.
Summer has arrived and warmer weather means shorter shorts, bikinis and maybe a crop top or two but do you look like a slut?
When walking through campus, going on a night out or just walking down the street, one can’t help but notice the girl wearing shorts or a dress that are just a little “too short”. Maybe her choice of top is more revealing than comfortable and onlookers can’t help but anticipate a wardrobe malfunction that is bound to happen any minute.
But can and should onlookers judge this person based on her choice of dress?
Slut shaming is a phenomenon that exists both in reality and on social media where people, mostly woman, are judged for their sexual behaviour or wearing revealing clothing and declared to be sluts regardless of whether or not the allegations are true.
A psychological study titled ‘‘Good Girls’’: Gender, Social Class, and Slut Discourse on Campus done by social psychologists from the University of Michigan and the University of California found that slut shaming or “sexual labels were exchanged fluidly but rarely became stably attached to particular women.”
According to the study, “the boundaries women drew were shaped by status on campus, which was closely linked to class background. High-status women considered the performance of a classy femininity—which relied on economic advantage—as proof that one was not trashy. In contrast, low-status women, mostly from less-affluent backgrounds, emphasized niceness and viewed partying as evidence of sluttiness.”
The boundaries of “sluttiness” created between different classes and the social power given to wealthier groups, means poorer groups were more likely to be slut-shamed, particularly poorer students who tried to enter into higher social circles. Higher social circles allowed “greater space for sexual experimentation” as a form of “sexual privilege”.
Wits Vuvuzela met with a group of friends to get their opinions about slut shaming on campus, and this is what they had to say:
“If there’s someone who you think is really pretty, it feels justified by saying they’re sleeping around. I think it comes from insecurity” said Ayla Senekal, 1st BA (Fine Arts).
“I believe that the word slut should be a compliment, just think about it, why would anyone feel insulted if you told them that they are enjoying their lives more than you are” said Lindo Mashini, 1st year BA(Music).
“It [slut shaming] comes from when you look at someone and you see something other to you. It’s kind of like it’s wrong because it’s not the same, no matter what it is” said Christy Golding, 1st year BA (Fine Arts).
“I think they should have the right to dress how they want to dress but people are going to think what they’re going to think regardless” said Matthew Chadwick, 1st year BA(Music).
Although the use of slut shaming in a South African context may differ from the study, slut shaming is considered to be a form of bullying that exists in and beyond the classic forms of bullying found in childhood.
University students or adults may have moved on from the days when they bullied the “weird” kid around in the corridors but is passing judgement on how people, but more specifically women dress the adult equivalent?
Johannesburg as we know it today began in 1886 when gold was found on the Witwatersrand causing people to flood to the area. Some buildings from early beginnings of the city still stand and tell a small part of the 129 year old city’s history .
The third anniversary of the Marikana massacre came and went on August 16.
The massacre, one of the worst atrocities committed by the South African police against civilians since Apartheid, has been extensively documented through the Farlam Commission that followed and documented the lives of the families of the deceased miners since 2012.
In contrast, it appears the events of Marikana are quickly fading from the memory of the student community at Wits University, one of South Africa’s top tertiary institutions.
Wits Vuvuzela spoke to a number of students on campus about their recollection of the massacre, their thoughts about the Farlam Commission and whether they commemorated the anniversary in any way.
What do you know about Marikana?
“Marikana is the human rights violation, the killing of the miners that happened in North-West,” said Boniswa Mdangi, 2nd year BA Social Work.
“I just know the strikes and the killings that happened a year ago or a year and a half ago, whenever it was,” said Michael Sithole, 3rd year Accounting.
“Absolutely nothing. This is definately the first time I have heard about it,” said Didi Allie, 1st year BA Fine Arts.
“I know there was a shooting between miners and the police and things got a bit ugly, some people died,” said Wandile Mgwenya 3rd year Accounting Sciences.
“Marikana is in the North-West where we have a platinum mine called Lonmin. I know about the massacre that happened there,” said Lutendo Mulaudzi, 1st year Mining Engineering.
“I know that Marikana was a very gruesome event that shook South Africa. I know a lot of people failed to take accountability. I know a lot of miners died,” said Lindelwa Didiza, 3rd year Bcom Accounting.
“I know it has to do with mining and it’s been going on for a long time. There’s a lot of politics around it. I’m not 100% sure what it’s regarding,” said Nthabi Maine, 1st year BA Film and TV.
“I know Marikana is a mine in Rustenburg where there was a strike and people got killed during that strike by the police,” said Mthetheleli, 3rd year BCom Accounting.
“Miners were rioting for higher wages and it’s all around the police reaction because they started shooting,” said Nicky Patchitt, 1st year Film and TV.
“There was a strike because miners were unhappy about conditions on the mines and pay. And the strike ended in miners being shot by police,” said Lunga Mputa, 3rd year Economics and Finance.
What did you do to commemorate the 3rd anniversary on the 16th August?
“No, but we were planning to do something about it since we have the Marikana killing as part of our assignments for human rights, social work,” said BA Nomasonto Bore, 2nd year BA Social Work.
“I kind of feel there’s other things we could have celebrated and gone back to, just simple protestings and shootings like, in Apartheid era, the Soweto strikes and people that were shot there, that’s old news now and now they’re worried about miners?” said Daniel Jean van der Merwe, 2nd year BSc Archeology and Anatomy.
“No, I’m very aware of what happened at Marikana and the stuff that happened but I didn’t do anything, in my heart I’m not satisfied with what they giving them, I’d like for them to get more than what they are getting [referring to a statue he saw being build near the site]. Rembering is good but people want more than that,” said Philani Ntuli, 3rd year Business Management.
Why is Marikana important?
“This Marikana issue has shown us that it’s not always a race issue, it’s also a class issue and power struggle … It’s not always a race issue, even our own black people can oppress us,” said Thato Mokoena, 2nd year BA Social Work.
What is the Farlam Commission?
“I think I’ve heard about that but I don’t know what it actually is,” said Nicky Patchitt, 1st year Film and TV.
“It’s a commission that was set up to enquire what happened at Marikana. The results were talking about questioning the authority of the SAPS (South African Police Force), if they were experienced enough to be in power,” said Lutendo Mulaudzi, 1st year Mining engineering.
“Some people that were set up to enquire about the whole thing, that’s all I know,” said Wandile Mgwenya, 3rd year Accounting Sciences.
“Not much except that it never really addressed the problem or come up with any solutions. What I know nothing really happened for the miners, which I think is unfair,” said Lunga Mputa, 3rd year Bcom Economics.
The Marikana reality
Despite media coverage, the lives of miners and their families have not changed, as explored in a recent article in the Daily Maverick. “Marikana looks the same”, the article states. Living conditions of the miners and their families have not improved significantly despite government and Lonmin mines promising to build better housing, improve infrastructure and provide support for families affected by the massacre.
The disruptions and fights that broke out during the SRC debate on Tuesday August 18, are being investigated by Wits Legal Office and Campus Control.
An investigation into the disruptions and fights that broke out during the SRC debate on Tuesday has been made a top priority by Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib.
Review of evidence and assessing complaints received by Campus Control began on Wednesday and will continue to make a decision on whether or not to investigate further or have a disciplinary process, said head of communications for Wits, Shirona Patel.
“Once the individuals have been identified, if they then have broken the university’s code of conduct or they disrupted the electoral process in terms of rules that are laid out then obviously the university will take action within our policies and processes,” said Patel.
Habib has asked the Wits Legal Office and Campus Control for a speedy investigation. An official statement will be released once the investigation is completed.
In a video and photos of the debate and fight on WitsVuvuzela.com, Project W candidate Tristan Marot is seen arguing before dodging what appears to be a punch to the face. Other members of Project W, the Progressive Youth Alliance and the Wits Economic Freedom fighters can be seen shouting and shoving.
Marot claims that the attempted punch was thrown by former SRC president Mcebo Dlamini. He said he does not remember exactly what happened prior to the alleged attack but says he does recall what he said to Dlamini before the punch was thrown.
Marot said he told Dlamini to “Calm down, you [Mcebo] are already in trouble with the university.”
Dlamini was contacted by Wits Vuvuzela for comment but did not reply as of press time.
Marot was also photographed with a man grabbing him around the throat. He said the man attempted to “strangle him” but Marot could not identify him.
“It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and wearing a Project W t-shirt … I don’t think the attack was against me as Tristan” said Marot. There was very little “calm dialogue” at the time when the fights broke out according to Marot.
Pro-Palestinian activist Muhammed Desai was removed from a Virgin Active gym for wearing a BDS t-shirt that some fellow gym members said they found offensive. BDS South Africa has now said they will be taking Virgin Active to the SA Human Rights Commission and Equality Court.
BDS South Africa will be taking Virgin Active to the Human Rights Commission for an infringement of freedom of expression.
The action against the gym franchise follows the removal of Muhammed Desai, Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) coordinator, from Virgin Active at Old Eds in Houghton. Desai was escorted away by police for wearing a Young Communist League t-shirt that featured an image of Chris Hani and a BDS message. Desai was reported defending the wearing of his shirt by saying he is a paying member of the gym.
BDS is an international Palestinian solidarity group that calls for economic action against Israel.
Virgin Active said the T-shirt worn by Desai “generated strong complaints” from other gym members and he had previously been asked to not wear such t-shirts to the gym. The statement also said Desai is welcome to return to the gym provided he “respects the conditions of membership”. The statement suggested Desai wore the t-shirt to make a political statement, however the choice to wear the shirt does not directly infringe the gym rules.
Screenshot of Virgin Active’s club rules. Image: Samantha Camara
Virgin Active’s club rules regarding clothing do not limit the wearing of shirts that support a political party or ideology. The rules do however, not allow the use of offensive language, intimidation or threats towards staff and other members.
702 Talk Radio host Redi Thlabi discussed the incident on Thursday during her show, and a caller identified as “Hilton”, claimed to be the person who confronted Desai over the t-shirt.
Hilton accused Desai of provoking the row by wearing the t-shirt and bragged about forcing Desai to remove the t-shirt by threatening to “take this outside and settle it like men”. Hilton said the t-shirt was offensive because the Virgin Active was a “predominately Jewish” gym.
Following the altercation, Desai tweeted this picture of the shirt he wore to the gym:
Zakhele Ndlela*,a part-time Wits student and business owner, began living on the streets of Johannesburg after being evicted from his building.
Johannesburg took root in a gold rush and many glittering opportunities – real or imagined – remain in its bustling streets. Going home a failure is not an option – you have to make it.
The ideal Johannesburg is appealing but the reality of life in the city is not always what it is made out to be. For 38-year-old Zakhele Ndlela* living on the streets while studying part-time at Wits is his reality.
MAKING A NEW LIFE: Making it in Joburg isn’t easy but being homeless doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams. Photo: Samantha Camara
Ndlela left his hometown in KwaMashu, KwaZulu-Natal for Johannesburg in 2006. After a year of film school he ventured out with some partners and set up a business. Two business attempts and failures later Ndlela decided to go “solo”, starting his own media company in 2010 while renting a flat in Jeppestown.
“The flats are not looked after, they are very dirty, [and] sometimes there is no electricity,” Ndlela said. After six months of people complaining, Ndlela realised the building had been hijacked and they were paying the wrong person. “Most of the people that own these things have guns, if you don’t pay you go out. Sometimes people are scared of them, you don’t have support,” Ndlela said.
Eventually, the owner of the building returned in 2011 and used Red Ant Security and Eviction services, often called “The Red Ants” because of the red overalls and helmets they wear, to evict everybody in the building. Ndlela lost everything he owned when he was evicted from his flat. He only had the clothes he was wearing.
“And worse, that day, the rain came … there is nothing that you can take there. You just have to go somewhere and hustle,” said Ndlela.
Ndlela then went to stay in Park Station where he slept outside for 18 months before moving to a Johannesburg street where he still is today.
According to Ndlela, people on the street stay there because “it is cheaper than paying rent”.
Park Station has facilities where people can pay R10 and bath before going about their daily routine. “Up until you feel you have made enough money then you can start looking for your own place but then most people, they haven’t,” Ndlela said.
Shelters are tough too
Many people on the street choose to stay there instead of going to shelters because shelters are over-crowded, strict and have a lot of crime.
“You can’t go to a place where they steal your stuff,” he said.
“It’s about protecting me, I protect myself, [and] I don’t want people to know me or know about me. This is what I do here. It’s my hustle and I need to do my hustling until I’m ok, that’s how things are outside there,” Ndlela said.
The building that Ndlela was evicted from has now been revamped and became part of the popular Maboneng District in the city.
Despite his current circumstances, Ndlela continues to work and run his media company, which runs two websites. He uses free Wi-Fi around the city to run his company while writing episodes for TV programme Isibaya and studying journalism part time at Wits.
As a young person it may be difficult to gain control of your finances. Even though money may be low while you complete your studies, it is important to learn good habits now so you are better prepared for the future. Here are 10 simple tips to keep your finances in check.
Track your spending
It is easy to lose track of where your money goes. Try to keep receipts in a safe place so you can refer back and see what you spent your money on. Write down your spending in your budget and become aware of bad spending habits such as buying on a whim.
Keep a good credit record
As soon as you enter the working world banks and stores will want to offer you credit and store cards. There is always the temptation to go out and buy everything you want on credit. Everything you buy on credit needs to be paid back so the best way to keep a good credit record is to only buy on credit when you have the cash to pay it off straight away.
This way you can avoid getting into a cycle of bad debt.
Save for emergencies
It is always helpful to have a “rainy day” fund that you add to every month. Settle on a monthly amount to add to this fund and only spend it on real unforeseen emergencies. Open up a separate bank account that you can transfer the money into as soon as you are paid and if you feel like you could be easily tempted to spend the money give the bank card to a trusted friend, sibling or parent who can hold you accountable.
Do a monthly budget
Write down all the money you receive, regardless of the amount and add it all together as “income”. Minus your expenses from your expected “income” and you have the basics of a budget. In your expenses include a set amount for going out, food and petrol. Just because you are working to a budget, doesn’t mean you can’t do things you enjoy. Be realistic about your spending limitations. For a step-by-step guide watch the video by NerdWallet below:
Invest in your retirement
It is never too early to save for your future. Starting a pension fund as early as possible gives you more years to save. Go to the local banks and shop around for investment accounts that can earn you interest. These accounts are often set at a fixed time period which means you may not have immediate access to your money, which will curb the urge to spend the money before you retire.
Many companies have retirement plans which are taken from your salary, when you start working find out what pension or retirement plans your employer offers.
At some point, being a responsible adult means having to pay taxes. Before you get too excited about that first salary learn how to do your taxes so when that first pay check arrives you will know how much to budget towards taxes.
Buy in bulk, coupon, look for the best prices and specials. Making a monthly shopping list may seem like a silly idea but it prevents you from buying things you don’t need.
This will keep your budget in check and save you unnecessary trips to the shops.
Becoming an adult means being financially independent. It may be great that your parents can help you out when you need it but the time may come when you need to step out on your own. Take responsibility for your own finances no matter how little you have.
Cut back on take out
Making lunch at home can be time consuming and not as delicious as getting lunch at your favourite café or take-away but it will save you a lot of money.
Getting a “quick bite” everyday adds up, limiting how often you buy out can make the world of difference to your budget.
Graphic: Samantha Camara
Ask for discounts
Having a student card can come in handy for money saving. Ask for student specials and go to places where students can get in for free.
People understand that being a student is tough, take advantage of the discounts while you can.
Wits student Sisanda Msekele graduated in the Great Hall today after she was attacked on a Wits bus on Friday night and spent the weekend in hospital.
Sisanda Msekele, a blind doctoral (PhD) student managed to make it to her Anthropology Masters graduation ceremony earlier today despite an attack on Friday night that left her in the hospital.
Msekele arrived late to the Humanities ceremony and was escorted up the Great Hall stairs and into the hall by an unidentified woman. Msekele received her degree together with her guide dog Romy, as both were cheered on by most of the auditorium. Some members of the academic procession rose from their seats to give Msekele a standing ovation as she was capped by the vice chancellor Professor Adam Habib.
STANDING TALL: Sisanda Msekele stands outside the Great Hall after her graduation despite being admitted to hospital on Friday after she was attacked on a Wits ciruit bus. Photo: Samantha Camara.
Even those in the overflow room could be heard clapping and shouting in celebration. The applause continued for longer than usual and many were moved to tears by Msekele’s achievement. Fellow blind student Melusi Ncala, who also received his Masters degree, was cheered on by the audience when he took to the stage shortly after Msekele.
“I am feeling overwhelmed,” Msekele told Wits Vuvuzela after taking photos on the Great Hall steps with her friends and family.
Msekele was determined to attend her graduation ceremony despite the minor injuries she sustained on Friday night. She was attacked on a Wits circuit bus while on her way home. The attacker is yet to be identified but is a Wits student, according to reports.
Earlier this year, Msekele was almost left homeless when she was denied funding. She was later given the funding she needed to register for her PhD.
Today we’re taking a look at the #WitsShutdown protests which are over historical debt and unaffordable accommodation, which have seen several students suspended, physical clashes between protestors and security and disruptions to the academic programme for many. In this bonus episode of We Should Be Writing, we let students unpack their views on what has […]