By Pheladi Sethusa and Shandukani Mulaudzi
Pulling the short straw is something that happens a few times in your life. Sometimes you may be lucky and you won’t, this is life.
For the five man band ShortStraw, it was about the beginning of their career. They started out playing for no one then moved on to crowds of about 40 and now, they have two shows on the best Oppikoppi stages.
In an interview with the band, we told them of our sad racist encounter the night before.
“That’s fucking bullshit. It’s fucking 2013 you can only laugh at people who still think that way,” said Russel, bass player for ShortStraw.
Russel told Wits Vuvuzela that one of the first black bands to play at Oppi was Kwani Experience and that was what sparked a cultural change at Oppi.
“Black bands used to be apprehensive. But once they played and were received well they changed their minds about the fest.”
Tom added that music is an experience for everyone and something that should bring all people together.
After pulling the short straw on day one, we were on a mission to find some diversity at Oppikoppi.
Traditional music moves
FIRST OPPI: Bongeziwe Mabandla plays his first set at the festival. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
The Ray-Ban stage, where the incident happened the night before was where we found a new enlightening Oppi experience.
The act was, Bongeziwe Mabandla, who enchanted the crowd with his sweet traditional melodies in isiXhosa. His sound was one we cannot put our finger on but it made us feel like we were watching a male Thandiswa Mazwai.
The crowd, representative of South Africa’s overrated rainbow nation, more than half of whom did not understand the lyrics, stood and danced along with him.
People lost their minds when he jumped off the stage into the crowd and beckoned him to jump onto the table, which he did without protest.
Oppi’s cultural shift
AO JIKA: Mi Casa’s frontman, J Something setting the stage alight. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Bittereinder, who are veterans to Oppi said the festival has gotten bigger and better with more variety in music than ever before.
Jaco van der Merwe, rapper in three man band used the Vusi Mahlasela tribute last year as an example of Oppi’s diversity.
“Mi Casa is a great example of diversity, it’s just beautiful. They also have random black people at our show, who have no idea what we are saying, but they jam anyway,” Jaco chuckled.
Later that evening we jammed to crowd favourites Zakes Bantwini and MiCasa. At these performances, the crowds were just as diverse and responsive. As J’Something asked us to jika, we turned and saw different people jika along with him.
OPPI PAD: The long and windy road. Photo: Shandukani Mulaudzi
By Pheladi Sethusa and Shandukani Mulaudzi
Three camera bags, two spare batteries for each camera, sleeping bags, tent, camp chairs, bags and booze all squeezed into the back of a Polo hatchback.
Even though the day had been coming for a month, two Oppikoppi virgins were scrambling to get their things together at the last minute.
Rosebank Mall was full of people getting last minute supplies, mostly of the liquid variety.
The journey begins
Within the first 30 minutes of the drive, a wrong turn made it clear that it would be a long journey to Northam Farm, Thabazimbi.
The scenic route made up for the potholes and narrow roads which made for a bumpy ride and also provided plenty of photo opportunities.
After two hours of driving a toilet break was needed but no Engen, Shell or Totall garages were in sight – only kilometre after kilometre of dusty road and the odd bush. The only solution to this problem was found inbetween the two car doors of the little Polo.
A wrong turn gone right led directly to the Oppikoppi gates.
ENTER HERE: Oppikoppi 2013. Photo: Shandukani Mulaudzi
Thorn bushes and dust in the air welcomed the first-timers to what would be their home for the next three days. Setting up a tent and easing into the campsite took no longer than 30 minutes.
After settling in, it was time to explore the festival they didn’t know but had heard so much about. Having heard rumours about poor to non-existent sanitation, drunken mosh pits and rampant racism – only first-hand experiences could tell.
Rumours turned true-mours
A performance by band, CrashCarBurn proved the mosh pits true, leaving a rocky taste in our mouths.
A bird’s eye view of the ShortStraw performance from the shoulders of a strong man proved the racism claims.
While many sat on shoulders and waved their hands to the music, it was not a fun experience for one.
As soon as she was lifted to the gracious man’s shoulders, pushing and shoving came from the girls in the front. It could have been a matter of jealousy however, we learned differently.
The guy let our reporter down, and apologised for the failed experience.
His friend, known only to us as Francois, told Wits Vuvuzela journo Caro Malherbe: “I’m sorry. I really would like to talk to them (the black colleagues) but the girls won’t like it. They are of a different race classification.”
With shock and disappointment, the short straw was indeed pulled: by us. We went back to our tents feeling disheartened, but still hopeful.
That hope was quickly snuffed out by comments that came from a neighbouring tent. To our left was a tent with two black men who were very chatty, to our right were two white, Afrikaans men who were also very vocal.
We overheard the white campers saying “Ag, ek gaan nou iemand klap as hulle nie stil bly. Ons sal sommer die nuwe Waterkloof 2 wees”, this was followed by the two men laughing.
That was within a few hours of being on the farm, two more days to go.
By Pheladi Sethusa and Shandukani Mulaudzi
ALL ROADS lead to Limpopo in August, this time not for Moria celebrations or to return to one’s roots, but rather to rock out at Oppikoppi.
Bewilderbeast is the theme this year and it marks the 19th Oppikoppi festival since its inception in 1994.
Performers set to take the stage and entertain revellers include Mi Casa, Jeremy Loops, Jack Parow and the Deftones.
Two Wits Vuvuzela reporters will be attending Oppi this year and, in preparation for the festivities, they decided to find out how to prepare for their weekend in the bush.
What to expect
Most people approached for advice said to get a reliable tent, warm sleeping bags and a big cooler box to store food and booze.
A veteran who has attended numerous Oppikoppi festivals, Habrey Landman, from the University of Pretoria, told Wits Vuvuzela: “You need to take a boy, to help you make a fire and set up camp. There are no camp areas, it’s just bush.”
She added that hygiene is a major issue and the best way to stay clean is to bring along wet wipes and dry shampoo that can be bought at Clicks.
VoWFM DJ Max Motloung said he had been warned about the funky smelling festival.
“Just know that you guys are not going to bath, hey,” he said.
Motloung added that one should be prepared to wait in hours of traffic when leaving on the last day of the festival.
Landman said festival goers should keep hydrated: “a case of something, a bottle of something and dash” would suffice.
The festival starts next week Thursday, August 8 and runs for three days until Saturday, August 10.
Team Vuvu is ready, all that stands between reporters and bringing the festival to Witsies is a three-hour drive to a farm in Northam.
ON YOUTH day this year I stood in the queue at my local Spar in Pretoria while my items were being scanned.
I looked on as the cashier called her supervisor over to correct an error she had made. [pullquote align=”right”]He helped her correct the error, then smacked her bottom and said: “You naughty girl.”[/pullquote]
She was wearing a school uniform as is traditionally done on June 16 every year.
He helped her correct the error, then smacked her bottom and said: “You naughty girl.”
She giggled and carried on scanning my groceries.
I sighed and shook my head.
In my mind that was inappropriate behaviour. To me it was sexual harassment. I looked at her, felt sorry for her and thought: “If I was in her position I would definitely report that.”
Then I found myself in her position. I have a problem with receiving personal texts after 9pm from someone I work with, especially if I have no friendly relations with them.
I believe that those are the hours you are usually spending with your family and would rather not speak to a colleague.
Perhaps I am too strict but I think that once you allow the small things to happen, then this escalates to bigger problems that you can no longer put a stop to.
On a night out recently, a colleague sent me a text telling me he was lonely and had nothing to do. I responded with a text saying I was out and could not speak.
I was disturbed by his text. I didn’t know how to respond.
Soon after that he asked me out for lunch.
I said no and explained that I preferred to see him and anyone else at work in a professional capacity and environment only.
He said it was just a friendly request. I still said no.[pullquote]He said he missed the way I walked, the way I dressed and the way I talked.[/pullquote]
When I left that job soon after the request for lunch, he told me he missed my presence in the workplace.
He said he missed the way I walked, the way I dressed and the way I talked.
That had nothing to do with my work ethic. It had nothing to do with my capability and was not a compliment to me.
He was my supervisor. I thought he would mentor me.
I blocked him on WhatsApp but I did not report it to human resources. I was too scared to. He works hard and is good at what he does. What if I was overreacting? What if I was being a prude? Was it sexual harassment?
A woman with a male mentor or supervisor could find herself caught in a battle between being friendly and leading someone on unintentionally.
When I observed the interaction between the cashier and the manager at the Spar I saw that she didn’t seem to mind. Maybe it was something that happened all the time and had become the norm.
But I question the norm. I question whether the lines for how men and women should behave in the workplace have become blurred. We are often unsure what sexual harassment is and therefore do not draw the line when we are harassed.
At the moment, Wits is redrafting its sexual harassment policy. I doubt many people will read it but, if you are a young woman moving into the workplace, I advise you to know how to protect yourself. And to young men, know what the boundaries are to prevent finding yourself on the wrong side of HR and, even worse, the law.
THE WITS Business School (WBS) denies claims that its MBA degree is in danger of losing international accreditation.
Last week, Wits Vuvuzela reported claims that there were less than 14 students in the full-time MBA class, below the required 20 needed to maintain its accreditation with the Association of MBAs (Amba).
WBS communications manager, Jackie Mapiloko, denied this and said there were 15 people in the class and there was no threat to the accreditation.
Mapiloko said the intake of students in 2013 was 107, including those in the full-time class.[pullquote align=”right”]“Even where one intake in a specific class has less than 20 students, Amba gives a business school an opportunity to correct that.”[/pullquote]
Mapiloko said Amba looked at more than just the number of students before a school lost accreditation.
She said it looks at the credibility of the institution as well.
“Even where one intake in a specific class has less than 20 students, Amba gives a business school an opportunity to correct that,” Mapiloko said.
“Wits has a long-standing history of being a leader in business education.
It is expected that the majority of the faculty will hold a doctorate. Nearly 80% of the faculty has PhDs,” she said.
Mapiloko said WBS had also strengthened the criteria for students who make it into the course as this was also a major part of what the Amba reviews.
Wits Vuvuzela also reported that a lecturer at WBS said problems were caused by lack of leadership.
The Financial Mail referred to a number of resignations over the past few years that may have contributed.
Mapiloko said she would not comment on the leadership prior to head of school Wendy Ngoma’s takeover and said they had faith in the current leadership at the school.
She said the curriculum for 2014 had been revamped and would provide a world-class programme for prospective students.
According to Business Day live, Ngoma said the situation had “been worsened this year by Wits Business School being included for the first time in the university’s central enrolment system”.
[pullquote]“The full-time, five-day week programme option is thus becoming less practical for prospective working students.”[/pullquote]However, Mapiloko said she did not believe administrative issues were the cause of a drop in enrolment.
She said this could be connected to the financial crisis and high demands on working people.
“There is a predominant shift in the South African market to part-time programmes.
This may be due to career management pressures, flex-ibility and the need for job security.
“The full-time, five-day week programme option is thus becoming less practical for prospective working students.”
Mapiloko said the school always looked into administrative issues when they arose. She said the report being drafted for the vice chancellor would not be made public as it was an internal matter.
An exclusive venue that has not been opened officially was the perfect setting for the launch of a new cellphone app and website for the students in Johannesburg.
Qbsta [pronounced: cube-stah] was launched at I-Lounge in Braamfontein.
The app allows students to sign up and get discounts on some of their favourite buys.
Once the founders, Elias Sikazwe and Kyle Porter saw how students reacted to Qbsta, they decided to go national and naturally Gauteng is the starting point.
“The vision for the app is to spread it across the country and keep ahead of the innovation curve and keep improving on what we already have,” said Sizakwe.
Sikazwe said they hoped to keep the app free as long as it is in existence and said this was a non-negotiable for them.
Sikazwe said: “We were once broke students and we realised that students need to get the stuff they want but at a better deal.”
Qbsta Brand Ambassadors
Invited guests were referred to as Supernovas.
Mishka Phillips, marketing assistant at Qbsta, said a Supernova is an explosion of stars that often shines brighter than all other stars in the galaxy.
Phillips said to Qbsta Supernovas are those people who shine brighter than others in their social settings and serve as brand ambassadors for Qbsta.
Neo Leburu, a Supernova from the University of Johannesburg said: “I think this is a really amazing idea.”
Witsie, Itshekeng Kungoane said she thought it was a great idea too.
“I’m very impressed with it. Being able to have discounts saves a lot for students and we are always looking to save.
Porter said they wanted Qbsta to be “frequently useful and convenient, whether we are looking for something to eat, new clothes, entertainment or while out socialising”.
Qbsta launched in Pretoria last month. In Johannesburg students can look forward to deals at places such as Spur, McDonald’s and Liquid Chefs.
The website can be accessed and used from any phone while Android users can already download the app from Google Play Store.
The app is still being developed for Blackberry and Apple.
Fired! Dr Last Moyo pictured at a Wits event last year. Photo: Dinesh Balliah.
by SHANDUKANI MULAUDZI and PRELENE SINGH
Two of the four Wits University lecturers accused of sexual harassment have been dismissed.
Although the statement did not name the lecturers, Wits Vuvuzela has learned that the dismissed lecturers are Tsepo wa Mamatu and Last Moyo.
According to a statement released today by Wits vice chancellor, Prof Adam Habib, “the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, has just dismissed two employees who have been found guilty of sexual harassment.”
Habib declined to name the individuals.
Habib said that the hearing was conducted and chaired by independent senior counsel who submitted the guilty verdict to Wits University.
Both of these lecturers were found to be in breach of the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy, Relationship Guidelines and the University’s Code of Conduct.
“The staff members have been found guilty of sexual harassment and misconduct, and one of them has also been found guilty of sexual/indecent assault,” said Habib.
Habib apologised to all students who had been victimised by theses lecturers and added that the university would not tolerate any future incidents of sexual harassment.
The cases of the remaining two suspended lecturers are ongoing and these outcomes will be announced over the next couple of weeks.
Tsepo wa Mamatu, a lecturer in Drama has also been fired from Wits for sexual harassment.
As previously reported by Wits Vuvuzela, the university was conducting two inquiries and it is said that the campus-wide inquiry “is expected to be completed in the next two weeks”.
This inquiry is being led by the Head of the Centre of Applied Legal Studies, Professor Bonita Meyersfeld and Joe Mothibi from Norton Rose Fulbright.
Read more in the Wits Vuvuzela print edition or online this Friday.
THE REPUTATION of the Wits Business School (WBS) may be in danger following reports the school may lose its accreditation due to a lack of full-time MBA students.
Last week, the Financial Mail published an opinion article that said there were only 14 full-time MBA students at the school, below the required 20 needed to maintain its international accreditation with the Association of MBAs (AMBA).
The main reason cited for the drop in enrolment was blamed on Wits taking over administrative affairs at WBS and incorporating WBS enrolment into its central enrolment system.
However, the problem of poor enrolment may even be worse than first reported.
[pullquote]”As far as I am concerned, there are even fewer people in that class. The article said 14, I know there are less.”[/pullquote]”As far as I am concerned, there are even fewer people in that class. The article said 14, I know there are less,” said Rabelani Dagada, a lecturer at WBS.
“I do not agree that these issues can be attributed to administrative issues. I don’t buy that at all. This is a matter of leadership. If you are a good business school, you are a good business school. People will know,” Dagada said.
Wits Vuvuzela approached WBS head of school Wendy Ngoma for comment but did not receive a response before going to press.
Luzuko Ndzuta, a full-time MBA student who spoke to Wits Vuvuzela, agreed that the WBS administration being taken over by the main Wits administration may have contributed to the fall in applications.
“The administration is pathetic, I mean lecturers joke about it but I mean it’s a serious problem and if you have been a Witsie for quite some time you will know that this did not start now. It has been a matter for years,” Ndzuta said.
Other students however, said the reports that the MBA was at risk of losing its accreditation were taken out of context and “premature”.
[pullquote align=”right”]It’s put out of perspective, there is no chance of the school losing its accreditation.”[/pullquote]
“It’s put out of perspective, there is no chance of the school losing its accreditation,” full-time MBA student Herina Vlachos said.
Lynneth Petersen, a fellow classmate said it was important that people know there are three MBA classes at WBS and that the two part-time classes have about 50 or more students each.
“That was a very important fact that those articles left out,” Petersen said.
“They [the media] saw a gap, and they exploited it,” said Vlachos.
According to the guidelines given by AMBA, each MBA class must have a minimum of 20 students in order to achieve: “adequate group interaction”.
Petersen said regardless of the small class size she had no doubt in the education they were receiving.
Although some students said they were not worried about their qualification, Ndzuta said the controversy was damaging to the reputation of the degree.
[pullquote]“As a prospective student, when you have to go out and start looking for a job, this is not good for your confidence if your degree is in question.”[/pullquote]
Ndzuta said businesses look for “reputable brands” and would not care about reasons for the problems.
“The end market doesn’t look at those nitty gritties, they look at the headlines,” said Ndzuta.
A woman student, who was stabbed outside Dudley Heights, a cross institutional digs in Braamfontein, on Friday night, is still in hospital.
An eye-witness who asked not to be named in fear of being intimidated, said there were five men who tried to grab the victim right outside the main gate on De Korte Street.
“We had just jumped the robot [in a car] when we saw it all happen. There were five guys following her. Two of them came in front of her and the other three grabbed her from behind,” the witness said.
She saw the attackers grab the victim but she put up a fight. They then ran into the road which was when the witness tried to run the guys over with her car so they would leave the victim alone.
[pullquote]“There were two other cars there and they also tried to run them over and that’s when the one guy stabbed her in the neck.”[/pullquote]“There were two other cars there and they also tried to run them over and that’s when the one guy stabbed her in the neck,” the witness said.
She said she and her passengers then went to look for the police while the people in the other cars tried to help the victim.
“We went to look for the cops and as usual there were no cops around when you need them,” she said.
A Drama honours Witsie, Zabalaza Mchunu, who also lives at Dudley Heights, said he arrived on the scene afterwards.
“When I got there they had just cleaned the blood on the street and were taking her away in the ambulance,” Mchunu said.
According to Mchunu, the student’s helpers had taken her into the building to wait for the police and the ambulance.
Wits Vuvuzela went to investigate but the security guards and building caretaker were unhelpful.[pullquote align=”right”]“Where did you hear this? You just heard things out there so you can come here and do Daily Sun things. We don’t know anything about that.”[/pullquote]
“Where did you hear this? You just heard things out there so you can come here and do Daily Sun things. We don’t know anything about that,” the caretaker said.
A student waiting for the bus on Thursday morning told Wits Vuvuzela that people were frequently mugged outside their building but this was the first stabbing she had heard of.
EMBRACING THE CALLING: Albert Khoza speaks candidly about his gift.
Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
WITSIE Puleng Khwezikazi Khuthala Mthethwa had a take-home exam in November last year.
She did her work as required but when the time came to print her assignment something strange kept happening.
She clicked on the “print” icon and her assignment printed but it had someone else’s name at the top instead of hers.
She knew this was strange but assumed it was just a technical fault. She tried again.
Yet again the assignment was printed. This time a different name appeared at the top of the page but it still wasn’t her own.
Mthethwa tried over and over again and the same thing happened, each time a different name.
Mthethwa broke down, right at the computer labs. She didn’t understand what was happening.
She went home and showed the papers to her aunt who told her that each name was an ancestor’s name.
Albert Silindokuhle Ibokwe Khoza was in his drama class as usual. During rehearsals, he started seeing people.
He saw people who were not there, people who were not part of his class. He also started hearing things that other people couldn’t hear.
“I could snap into a trance and be stuck in that position for a very long time,” explained Khoza.
[pullquote align=”right”]”I could snap into a trance and be stuck in that position for a very long time.”[/pullquote]
He knew all of this meant that he had been called.
Mthethwa and Khoza are two students who are facing a transition in their lives that they feel no one at Wits understands or supports.
They have the calling.
The “traditional calling” is a process of answering one’s ancestors and learning how to use the gift the “called” have been given.
Khoza’s twin sister had the calling first which made it easier for him to come to terms with it.
Both Mthethwa and Khoza explained that people have different callings and that they were guided by their amadlozi (ancestors) to understand what their unique gift was.
“There are different types of callings. You get people that see. You get people that when they speak, their word becomes flesh. You get people that smell and are able to interpret what that smell will lead to,” Mthethwa said.
Khoza, who was dressed in his traditional cloth, and often wears beads and a braided mohawk, said people often judged him for who he is.
“I have a thick skin so what people do or say doesn’t affect me anymore. I am not an outcast but I am a misfit.”
Mthethwa said she had been called many names.
“People will call me ‘dirty’, say ‘I don’t deserve to be loved’. People don’t understand why people who are friends with me are even friends with me because of what I have and who I am.”
Mthethwa describes herself as a hybrid human being, stuck between two worlds – the material and spiritual.
“It’s difficult to explain what you are going through to people when you yourself have not come to grips with what it is,” said a visibly frustrated Mthethwa.
No help at Wits
Khoza and Mthethwa said they were concerned that there are no formal structures at Wits to help with what they are going through.
“What support do they offer for people like me who have the calling? That’s the struggle I face the most,” a disheartened Mthethwa said.
Khoza said the main issue was that they are going through an African phenomenon in an institution governed by western principles.
“They are white and then there are those who are black who have Christian beliefs and therefore this is not in line with their beliefs so they don’t take it seriously,” he said.
Mthethwa said she had been to Dean of Humanities Ruksana Osman who told her that many students had come to her with the issue of the calling and been excluded because of it.
[pullquote]“Traditional healers are registered practitioners. Why can’t we just present notes from them?”[/pullquote]
Khoza said there had been incidents at the drama department where people had psychological breakdowns and no one knew what they were going through.
He said when it was discovered that they had the calling, they simply left their studies.
These students expressed their concern that they had to present doctor notes from western doctors when they had fallen ill or had to consult with a sangoma.
Mthethwa said: “Traditional healers are registered practitioners. Why can’t we just present notes from them?”
They complained that while people who had depression or difficulties studying could go to the Counselling and Careers Development Unit (CCDU), students who had the calling had nowhere to go.
Charmy Naidoo of the CCDU told Wits Vuvuzela she was not sure if there were specific people at CCDU students with the calling could come to for support.
“There is no specific counselling. If they come through we can try and help them but if they have a specific calling and are sure of that then they would need to go see a sangoma.”
Police pull out the driver of a “blue light brigade” vehicle after it collided with another car on the corner of De Korte and Bertha streets. Photo: Mfuneko Toyana
A blue light BMW travelling in convoy through Braamfontein was involved in an accident today resulting in 2 casualties.
According to an eyewitness, the blue light vehicle skipped a red robot and crashed into a white Corolla. SAPS officers responded to the scene immediately and cordoned off the area with police tape.
An emergency vehicle arrived some minutes later and struggled to remove the driver of the BMW who was not visibly injured but stretched off nonetheless.
According to an EMS paramedic on the scene, the black BMW is “government owned.” The white Corolla belonged to the Department of Labour. The passenger of this vehicle, a middle-aged woman, was also loaded into the same ambulance.
According to eyewitnesses, the BMW spun out of control, destroyed a set of robots and hit the paper trolley of an informal recycler. The recycler ran off after the incident leaving his belongings behind.
In a related incident, a tow truck driver on his way to the accident scene, crashed into a white Honda Jazz.
Onlookers speaking to Wits Vuvuzela expressed their anger at the blue light vehicles which disregard the traffic rules.
A driver of a Blue Light vehicle is stretchered off after an accident in the CBD. Photo: Dinesh Balliah
View Larger Map