Wits SRC partners with Dunwell Properties to alleviate the accommodation crisis

Student leaders have secured at least 300 beds for scholar without a roof.

The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) has managed to secure 300 beds for students who have been without accommodation since the beginning of the academic year.

This comes after the SRC’s meeting with Dunwell Properties’ COO Thando Cele on April 19, to try resolve the Wits accommodation crisis. A deal was then struck to provide beds for students that are without a roof.

In a written response to Wits Vuvuzela, Cele said that “the deal was initiated by Dunwell’s drive to participate in solutions to resolving student accommodation challenges.”

The SRC said in a tweet on Wednesday, May 17 that “the first 180 NSFAS appealing students have been successfully allocated beds and the remaining 120 beds will be issued as per the increase in demand from affected students.”

The deal comes after students protested at the beginning of the year over financial exclusion and accommodation. The student protests were fuelled by the NSFAS R45 000 accommodation cap as well as the lack of response to students that are appealing their funding status. The cap was instituted as a way to manage price fixing and profiteering by private providers, this is according to higher education minister Dr Blade Nzimande.

Karabo Matloga, SRC compliance officer, told Wits Vuvuzela that Dunwell Properties reached out to them and said they have beds. They then agreed in the meeting to accommodate all the NSFAS students, including those that are appealing.

Dunwell will offer accommodation to students who have appealed for NSFAS and are still awaiting their respective outcomes, students will be able to reside at our building without confirmation of funding”, emphasized Cele.

Matloga, added that “this mechanism is mainly to reduce the pressure from the ‘hardship fund’ so that the university can focus on students that are not NSFAS funded and are not funded by bursaries.” The hardship fund is established by the university to assist students with financial assistance and accommodation based on their socio-economic circumstances.

Students were seen sleeping in libraries and in labs while waiting for NSFAS’ decision on the appeal process.

A third-year accounting science student, who did not want to be named said, “I was struggling a lot, it was affecting me bad mentally and I felt isolated because I was sleeping in a lab.” “I was also struggling academically”, he added.

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits students walking into Dunwell offices to sign their leases after receiving communication from the SRC. Photo: Sbongile Molambo


REVIEW: Rosebank’s JoyJozi a haven for young and old  

A family restaurant nestled in the heart of Rosebank deviates from the norm in the upmarket mall, catering specifically for patrons who want to play more than they want to eat.    

An outdoor play area with swings, slides and obstacle courses is overlooked by the patio. Photo: Sbongile Molambo.

Joburg’s newest addition to the culinary scene JoyJozi located on 51 Eastwood Road, Dunkeld is a great place for children who need to expend energy and parents who need to take a break.  

Located opposite the Radisson RED hotel in Rosebank, JoyJozi is both a playground and a restaurant, “a place where kids can take their adults out,” is their tagline.  

Upon entering the restaurant, one is greeted by big cute knitted stuffed animals such as lions, giraffes, elephants and other toys lined up on the walls. The foyer then leads to an indoor play and outdoor play area.  

Danielle Green, JoyJozi’s manager says “The space was designed with kids in mind, kids spend too much time on gadgets and PlayStation, so the owner wants kids to have fun and play without the distraction of technology.” 

An amphitheatre at the back of the garden and an arcade game room are some of the other tailormade spaces.   

Parents and guardians can watch their children from a safe but peaceful distance on the patio while enjoying a meal. But there are staffers dedicated to watching over the smaller patrons as an extra measure. 

When it comes to the menu, one must be prepared to part ways with their hard-earned money because the cost of the food stretches one’s budget. The cheapest item on the menu is a side, the twice fried fries, and will set you back by R38.  The most expensive, the Wagyu ribeye, will set you back by R560.  

Wits Vuvuzela ordered the FUNGUY pizza, priced at R142. The pizza was underwhelming with chives that didn’t add much as a topping but were rescued by perfectly cooked mushrooms.  

For dessert, the baked cheesecake (R95 a slice), topped with orange zest looked most appealing, and it did not disappoint. One could taste the sweet citrus flavour that was infused in the syrup, every bite better than the last.  

The menu also has vegan options on offer, like their vegan pizza and dessert. Their menu consists of “everyday food” with a touch of gourmet dishes for more discerning palates. 

JoyJozi has an entrance fee of R60 per child whereas adults do not pay an entrance fee. Although walk-ins are available the restaurant doesn’t guarantee that you will get a table, so reservations are encouraged, especially as it is a popular spot with an average waiting time of 10 to 15 minutes when at capacity.  

FEATURED IMAGE: JoyJozi signage is lit by LED lights at night at its entrance. Photo: Sbongile Molambo.


Curated Makers Market brings Con Hill to life

New night market hopes to put local creators on the map.

Curated Makers in partnership with Obrigado South Africa launched the ‘Curated Makers Market’ at the Constitutional Hill on Friday, May 5 at the Old Fort complex (number four prison).  

Visitors at the market were treated to a night of eclectic live music and good food, while shopping at some of the stalls at the market.   

Speaking at the launch, MEC for economic development in Gauteng, Tasneem Motara said that the market will “grow local businesses and Joburg tourism as the constitutional hill is a historic place and is a tourist attraction”. 

The market provides a platform for small and medium enterprises, artisans and entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses to people looking to shop and unwind.

Sasha Conradi, founding partner of curated Markers and founder of the Linden market said, “Our South African makers are on par with international brands but sometimes they need a bit of encouragement, confidence and guidance along the way.” 

The makers market showcased stalls of different local fashion brands, beauty products, tattoo art, alcohol, cigars and food. 

Tebogo Motloung of Impilo Leather Craft told Wits Vuvuzela that spaces like this make it easier to reach varied clientele. “They [Markets] are good for exposure and access for us to sell our products,” he said.  

Franco Kamanga of FMK clothing said that “the more you are exposed to certain places abantu bayeza [people come] and the more ba za kuwe [people come to you] they will ask questions and you will answer them, exposure is good.” 

One of the attendees at the market launch, Thabo Ngoepe told Wits Vuvuzela that the aesthetics, artwork and overall concept of the market are “extraordinary”. He said, “It’s nice that we are doing it in the city, and we are still honouring the ConHhill spirit.”  

The newly launched night market will be open on the first Friday of every month. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Tebogo Motloung of Impilo Leather Craft posing in his stall with his products. Photo: Sbongile Molambo


Despite a win, Wits bows out of the basketball season

Wits Bucks miss the playoffs of the ICSL league but bag an epic win in their final game.

UP-Tuks players defend Wits Buck’s Umtha Mavuso as he takes a shot. Photo: Sbongile Molambo

Wits Bucks emerge victorious in their last game of the Inner-City Super League (ICSL) season at Hall 29, Wits University on May 5, with an exhilarating score of 74-65.

The Wits Bucks took on the University of Pretoria (UP-Tuks) in the regional club basketball league. The boys in blue were off to a great start and took the lead in the first quarter of the match. But the opponents, UP-Tuks did not take their dominance lying down, increasing their defensive capabilities in the second half to bringing on a 32-32 stalemate by half time.

In the third and fourth quarters of the game, Wits Bucks maintained their stronghold. The home team did not hold back and blocked every advance Tuks made. Wits player Umtha Mavuso intensely blocked off Tuks player Aku Malaila from passing the ball. However, UP-Tuks came back strong for the final quarters of the game thus increasing their momentum and closing the third quarter with a score of 45-46. As the game got more intense the home side made a couple of foul plays which resulted in UP-Tuks being awarded two penalty shots.

Five minutes before the match ended Wits was leading with a score of 70-65 against their rivals.

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, UP-Tuks player Aku Malaila, said, “I think it was a good game it went down to the wire.” Malaila added that it was a good fight overall both from Wits and Tuks.

Head coach of Wits Bucks, Siyabonga Kana, said it was a good way to send the guys off in terms of the season as this was their last game. He added that the team finished fifth in the log, meaning they narrowly miss a spot in the upcoming playoffs, which will be the league’s deciding matches.

A spectator at the game, Emmanuel Maiza, said: “I feel like Wits pulled through especially with their defence. Defence won them their game.” Maiza attributed the Wits win to the team’s “high intensity.”

FEATURED IMAGE: UP-Tuks coach Kweyama briefing the team during the second half of the game. Photo: Sbongile Molambo


Wits collaborates with an international institution to fight infectious diseases

Researchers cooperate to tame the spread of communicable diseases in Africa 

The University of the Witwatersrand has partnered with the University of Dundee in Scotland to explore new pathways to fight infectious diseases — which are caused by the spread of microorganisms.   

The two hosted an online seminar on Wednesday, April 12, that discussed the use of new scientific approaches to tackle communicable diseases in ​​the continent. Furthermore, the institutions are looking at opportunities to collaborate in areas of drug development.

The African continent has been lagging behind first world countries in terms of health care for infectious diseases such as TB, Malaria and Covid-19 — the lack of proper health care facilities and drugs make these diseases difficult to treat. In addition, the region has a higher burden of infectious diseases as compared to other continents. 

The Africa Centre for Communicable Diseases reported in 2019 that the African region has more cases of TB and deaths compared to the rest of the globe. Source: Africa Centre for Communicable Diseases

According to a 2019 report from the World Health Organisation, 37% of people lose productivity due to noncommunicable diseases, while 27% are due to infectious diseases. This essentially means that people are not able to sustain themselves and contribute towards their country’s economy as they are too sick to do anything because of the lack of proper health care systems.  

Professor Lynn Morris, vice-principal at Wits University said they hosted the webinar because they wanted to get a sense of how they can really take this mutual interest in ​​the collaboration of drug development and make it work. The Scotland institution has identified gaps in the healthcare sector and want to contribute to make it to function better, she said.  

Professor Ian Gilbert of the drug discovery unit at the university of Dundee said that they want to “develop drug discovery pathway[s]” for infectious diseases because for many of these illnesses, there’s never been an integrated drug discovery process. He added that they also want to equip the effectiveness in drug discovery. 

The research collaboration aims to take the science and translate it into a clinical opportunity. This means getting new drugs as a cause of treatment to patients to reduce the risk of diseases developing into chronic illnesses— as well as to reduce the huge number of deaths. 

Featured Image: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says taking Truvada on a daily basis reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Photo: File

Related Articles:

Wits Vuvuzelahttps://witsvuvuzela.com/2022/05/13/covid-19-is-the-new-normal/, May 2022

Wits Vuvuzela, https://witsvuvuzela.com/2019/02/26/faculty-of-health-sciences-to-celebrate-centenary/, February 2019

News24 and Groundup share the spoils at the Taco Kuiper Award

Winners topped 29 entries that lifted the lid on the hidden goings-on in the public and private sectors, report Sfundo Parakozov and Sbongile Molambo 

Leslie Jamieson of The Valley Trust, joint winner Ray Joseph and Taco Kuiper Award convenor of judges, Anton Harber at the award ceremony on April 21, 2023. Photo: Sbongile Molambo

A News24 investigation into the assassination of whistleblower Babita Deokaran and a Groundup expose of corruption at the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) are joint winners of the 2023 Taco Kuiper Investigative Journalism Award.

In the documentary, Silenced, Jeff Wicks details how he dug through 60 000 Gauteng health department emails, phone records and company ledgers to continue the work Deokaran had started exposing corruption at Tembisa Hospital, before she was assassinated in August 2021.  

Ray Joseph’s winning entry on the corrupt dealings at the NLC was the latest instalment in an investigation he started several years ago, and that he has tenaciously stuck to, which resulted in the firing of the Commission’s CEO, CFO and board in 2022. 

The 17th edition of the Taco Kuiper Award highlighted the importance of “ensuring the accountability that is the foundation of good governance, democracy and economic prosperity” and had “seen journalists tackle issues at every level of our society”, said Anton Harber, the convenor of the award, at the ceremony held at the Wits Club on April 21. 

The prestigious award, in which the joint winners shared R240 000 and the runners-up got R60 000, are a collaborative effort by the Wits Centre for journalism (WCJ) and The Valley Trust (the fund created by Taco Kuiper before his death in 2004).  

News24 investigative journalist, Jeff Wicks, accepts his award at the Taco Kuiper investigative journalism award. Photo: Sbongile Molambo

Harber said there were 29 entries, which came from 13 different outlets, including an entry from Wits Vuvuzela by student journalist Tannur Anders, now an intern for news agency Thomson Reuters. 

Wicks told Wits Vuvuzela that the Deokaran project was very challenging as it required an incredible amount of data and processing. “I’m very happy to have been honored, especially considering the shortlist and I hope it’s a tribute to the life of Babita Deokaran, who sacrificed herself to fight against corruption.”  

Joseph said investigating the lottery commission took over six years of his life. “This was a dangerous project. I was reported to the State Security Agency, court cases were launched [against me] and my family was attacked. So, to describe this win, I would say it’s wonderful.” 

The TimesLive team of Tankiso Makhetha, Graeme Hoskens and Aaron Hyman secured the runner-up position for their investigation into the murder of 16 people at the Mdlalose Tavern in Soweto.

“The significance of WCJ’s collaboration with The Valley Trust is that they brought the money to the table and their generosity is making this [event] happen”, said Harber, who also announced his retirement from running the award after 17 years.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Joint winners Ray Joseph and Jeff Wicks with The Valley Trust’s Leslie Jamieson and award judge, Anton Harber, at the Wits Club on April 21, 2023. Photo: Sbongile Molambo


#FNBVarsityCup: Wits outguns UJ 

Wits snatches victory against Johannesburg neighbour to gain a spot in the semi-finals of the Under-20 version of the annual competition. 

FNB Wits Young Guns beat FNB University of Johannesburg (UJ) Young Guns 25-19 on Monday, April 4, to advance to the semi-finals of the Varsity Cup Young Guns league.  

Both teams were competitive in the first half with Wits pushing back against UJ, blocking the Orange Army’s advances. But the boys in blue prevailed over the visitors, leading with a score of 15-7 by the break.

Wits’ decent lead was cut short after the restart, as UJ’s flanker Kyle Ehrke scored a try, converted by Kelvin Berriman, earning the visitors seven points. Wits made a comeback with flyhalf Eben Hyman scoring a try. The game quickly got too intense with the UJ side making strong advances, earning them a yellow card. A penalty kick for Wits and a try by UJ Young Guns saw the visitors with a slight edge, 18-19. However, Wits made a comeback with a try five minutes from the final whistle, finishing with a score of 25-19. 

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela after the game, FNB Wits Young Guns head coach Roland Bernard said that he was very happy with the win as the team qualified for the semi-finals. However, he said there were lots of opportunities lost in the game and “would like to change how we play”.  

Wits Young Guns captain Zukhanye Dubulekhwele, affectionately known as ‘Dubs said that the team had put a lot of pressure on themselves and that they should have been more comfortable. He added that going forward they should be “more clinical”, have accuracy and precision. 

UJ’s Berriman said that his team had “good execution, however, we weren’t able to finish”. 

Supporters of the FNB Wits Young Guns came out in their numbers to support their home team. Takalani Madima, a third-year BSc student, said that “It was a close play, and I am happy Wits won, however, the referee’s decisions were questionable.” 

The FNB Wits Young Guns will play on home soil against the University of Cape Town on Monday, April 10 at 16h30.

Wits and UJ engage in a scrum during an FNB Young Guns match at the Wits Rugby Stadium on April 3, 2023. Photo: Sbongile Molambo

FEATURED IMAGE: FNB UJ Young Guns tackle an FNB Wits Young Guns player during the second half of the match. Photo: Sbongile Molambo


Glucose regulation research to explore racial disparities 

Increased cases of obesity and diabetes influence education on the maintenance of glucose levels. 

Philisiwe Ntuli, a Master of Science (MSc) student in Chemical Pathology at Wits University is currently doing research on the possibility of racial disparities in how different people regulate their blood sugar levels. 

Glucose regulation is the process by which levels of blood sugar (glucose) in blood plasma are maintained by the body. 

The study will compare the difference in how the bodies of black and white females respond when “injected” with glucose. Ntuli, said that previous studies overseas were done on animals, and she wants to see if humans will have the same reaction. 

Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition reported in 2022 that 67% of the South African population is pre-diabetic, 22% of the population is diabetic and 11% of the population is non-diabetic. Source: Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition 2022

Ntuli, told Wits Vuvuzela that the study uses normal glycaemic individuals (people who are not diabetic) and analyses data from their pancreatic beta cells. Beta cells produce insulin in the pancreas.  

When glucose is not regulated by the body it can cause long-term effects such as insulin resistance, obesity, and type 2 diabetes among others.  

In a written statement to Wits Vuvuzela, Dr Marketa Toman, Ntuli’s supervisor said: “Catestatin was suggested by several authors as a potential treatment for hypertension, obesity or type 2 diabetes”. Catestatin is an amino acid which assists in the regulation of glucose in the bloodstream.   

In 2018 the government introduced a Health Promotion Levy (HPL) known as the “sugar tax” in an attempt to reduce obesity and related diseases. 

In an article published by Health-e in 2017, Endocrinologist Dr Sundeep Ruder, said “Our hospitals are too overburdened and under-resourced to cope. Inpatient mortality rates are high from the complications of diabetes and obesity.” 

To reduce the burden on the national health care system and reduce the high rates of chronic diseases in the country, Ntuli, said that prevention is better than cure. Knowing your glucose levels will help you make better choices.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Isotape Geosciences lab has opened up advance scientific research. Photo: Nomvelo Chalumbira/File