Luck and loss in the CBD

The hiss of slot machines, private conversations, numerous television commentaries and crackling sounds of tables and chairs filled U Bet – one of Johannesburg’s popular gambling clubs.

Mungoma, a 25-year-old strapping lad from Thohoyandou, Limpopo, sheepishly squeezed into this packed building for the first time in his life and took a chair that had just been vacated by one of the regular punters.

Mungoma has heard through the grapevine that people make money, lots of money in these gambling houses should luck fall into their laps.  He has since been toying with the idea of coming in to push his luck in either sports betting or lottery. But he also isn’t sure whether to just stay away from gambling completely.

To this point, he hasn’t made up his mind.  “I think sports is better though, because the results are determined transparently. All you need to do is watch the games for yourself.   But … I don’t know man,” he says as he inspects in painstaking detail a pile of betting slips on the table.  He says he is in need of cash and winnings as little as R5 000 would suffice.

“Andinawuza apha ngomso ndingawinanga kaloku” (I wouldn’t come here tomorrow without having won anything) a strident voice came as a parting shot from Sihle, a regular gambler, behind us as she was leaving her group of friends, spontaneously offering the newbie (Mungoma) a blinding glimpse of the obvious.

Truth is, to strike it lucky, Mungoma will have to risk a portion of his stipend he earns from East Rand Water as an intern process controller.  He feels aloof about spending that R2 or R6 for a single bet.  “Gambling may be rewarding but it involves wastage of money”, he says.

But gamblers want the experience they believe only people with money enjoy.  They are convinced that just a bit of more money would make things right.  Every win is breads hope with exhilaration.  Violet, a regular gambler, says she feels “ecstasy” when she wins.

A desperate quest for money

Crowds of people from across Johannesburg (mostly from the townships) converge in five of the licensed betting houses in the inner city or at some random street corner in pursuit of a windfall that would change their lives for good.

Most punters downtown are motivated to gamble by only one reason- money.  They are apt to build castles in the air and they believe their dreams of a better life would come true one day.

However, gambling demands some resources which may not always be within easy reach.  Regular gamblers, specifically, need enough time to decide their bets, and money to play with.

They sacrifice their hard-earned monies for something bigger and better.  Most of them have 9-5 jobs or businesses that lade them with even more responsibilities.

Violet, who is also a university graduate from Nigeria, says sometimes she cannot gamble because either she doesn’t have money or her food business needs her presence.

CLICK CLICK: Slot machine gamblers trying their luck at Supabets on a Sunday afternoon. Photo: Sisa Canca

Getting the numbers right

For gamblers, choosing numbers for their bets requires more than just guesswork.  Sihle, a mineworker, spends her waking hours cinching the numbers before taking a 67 kilometre trip from Carltonville to tempt fortune with her money at U Bet.

She goes underground with a notepad and a pen, specifically earmarked for taking notes of signs to be interpreted to numbers later on.  She is constantly on the look-out for signs and symbols and every dream she dreams has got a meaning about a potential lottery number.

Certain incidents, most of which come in a dream but sometimes even in real life, mean a certain number is extremely likely to win.  Gamblers will see a combination of numbers in a dream, which need to be jotted down as soon as they wake up from sleep.  Failure to do this, gamblers believe, will result in letting the numbers slip from memory.

If she dreams of a prostitute, then number 15 is her lucky number the following day.  A dead man represent number 4, whereas human faeces represent number 34.  A urinating man means 47 is the number, sea water is number 3, a graveyard is 30, fireworks is 38, a little boy is 33 and so and so forth.  Every lottery number from 1 to 49 has more than one symbol attached to it.

This belief system comes from a widely-accepted Dream Guide available in most of these gambling clubs in Johannesburg.  This system stipulates that there is a symbiotic relationship between dreams, numbers and people’s names.

Some gamblers keep track of recent previous results to follow a pattern.  Dunisani believes he has cracked a winning system of some lottery competitions.

“Yesterday I made a terrible mistake.  I switched my Powerball and lunchtime (UK 49) numbers around.  I would have won both”, he says with rue and signs of a heavy heart.  “I don’t subscribe to this Dream Guide thing, most people have these visions because that is what they are obsessed about” he says.

Going the extra mile

STUDYING THE NUMBERSPunters going through recent results to follow a pattern that will help them decide on their next lucky numbers or scores. Photo: Sisa Canca

Sihle takes the first Metro Rail train straight after her night shift at 8:15 AM to arrive in Johannesburg Park Station about two hours later.  By the time she leaves Carltonville, she has already decided on the most important numbers of the day’s world lotteries, including France Powerball, Greece Lotto, local lotto and Powerball, UK 49’s tea and lunch time bet games.

Some gamblers have the luxury of time in their jobs to focus their attention on their future bets.  Olebile, a Jo’burg City security guard, says they converse about sports betting at work with his colleagues long before they pay Hollywood Bet a swift visit during an hour-long lunch time break.  Like Sihle, who goes underground in the mine with a book and a pen, some would go about doing their jobs while secretly gratifying their betting hunger.

Between the time someone plays to the moment the numbers come out, gamblers go through a psychological turmoil.  The anticipation is one fervid, adrenaline-filled conjecture often displayed, in these dens, by intense focus on screens and tickets with few exchanges of words if any at all during the moments of results release.  “There is anticipation. Also a doubt that maybe you should have played this number instead of that one” says Violet, also a regular gambler at U Bet.

Punters need less convincing in if any at all to check the results.  Besides TV screens inside the clubs, punters make efficient use of computer monitors installed inside for them to use.  During travelling hours, they regularly check updates on their phones.

When money is too tight, more hospitable environments like U Bet have a culture of fellow gamblers, at times complete strangers, helping each other with money.  Sometimes, punters would have a good start, especially in the slot machine games and end up using all their gains and the money they had for other usages.

Terrence Mpofu, cashier at Hollywood Bet, says she always have people who need money to get home because they have used all money they had on gambling.  “I help them whenever I can, but sometimes it becomes too much and I wouldn’t have enough myself to help all of them” says Terrance.

This depicts the life of regular gamblers.  They lose money, and sometimes go bankrupt.  Violet was once up to her ears in debt trying to sustain her gambling passion.  “I was financially bankrupt.  I remember this one day I played R3 500 without any control” she says.  Loosing comes with a great deal of misery.  “I struggle to sleep at night when I’ve like a lot of money and I just change, even my children notice me” says Sihle.

In her very first bet, soon after she arrived in the country back in 2002, Violet made R2 000 out of R10 she invested as her betting price.  The next time she played, a fellow countryman from Nigeria disappeared with a R30 ticket which could have won her over R5 000.  She later learned through her other friend of her winnings.

While still in that state of despair, she gathered that women gambling in South Africa was not in any way as taboo as people make it to be in her home country.  “In Nigeria, it is taboo for a woman to gamble.  So gambling for me here represent some kind of freedom” Violet says.

LOOKING OVER THE SHOULDER: Gamblers keeping tabs on the latest lottery and sports results across the globe on a monitor screen. Photo: Sisa Canca

The inside of the gambling world

Betting dens are generally loud, busy places with people from different backgrounds sharing an interest or two.  At the entrance, there is always a security guard who searches everyone coming in, presumably for dangerous items.

Some would have a mobile security scanner that they’ll run all over your body to detect such items, whereas some will grope around your waist with bare hands, whether you are a man or a woman.

There is usually a speaker at the entrance.  Loud music is more audible at the entrance than inside.  Inside are different queues for different games ranging from lucky numbers, action sport (dominated by soccer), horse-racing, lotto and Powerball.

Lucky numbers people have their eyes fixed on screens twice every five minutes.  A stopwatch is always visible for everyone to see the countdown to the next draw.  When that time comes around, a lady (usually white) in either a black or red dress appears on the screen to facilitate the process.

Scenes of tantrums escorted by heavy huffs and foul language coming out in gasps (when a number they played is closer to the one on screen) are usually a constant background noise in these particular queues.  And rarely do you hear a roar of celebration and when that happens, people incline towards that particular winner, wanting to confirm for themselves if the numbers on the ticket correlate with the ones shown on the screen.

Soccer fans are quite obvious to notice with their markedly long slips with fixtures of up to 50 games at times.  They will fill up their coupons while looking at fixture books, which tend to be a couple of about six to 15 pages.  The fixture booklet has codes which direct them on what to tick on the coupon for different choices.

The horse-racing community is more relaxed than others.  It never really gets tense unless a major event is on the cards and the horses are heading for a finish line.  Every gambler shouts their chosen horse number, “woza number 8” (come on number 8..or 12 or 17 and whatever the case may be).

Thwala, a 60-year-old regular horse better, says Hollywood Bet is like a haven for people his age to pass time.  “It’s a clubhouse for us.  Much better than sitting in a tavern back in the townships because here, we not only spend but we also gain something out of our winnings and we have sober conversations” says Bab’(father) Thwala.

Slot machine people line up in short lines, sneering at each other when the person on the machine doesn’t give them a chance.  Some people are infamous at Hollywood for tendencies to occupy two machines at a time or using one machine the whole day.

In his worst days,*Abel loses about R2 000 on average per day on the lucky numbers game but he keeps coming back over and over again.  An insider confided that he had won an amount of over R35 000 more than once.

ACTION SPORT: Punters watching weekend sport action on television screens to see for themselves the outcome of their bets.Photo: Sisa Canca

Who’s who in the city?

The most popular in terms of numbers and vibrancy is Hollywood Bet at Newtown Mall, corner Plein and Harrison Streets.  There is also Betting World at corner Rissik and Lilian Ngoyi Streets.  U Bet is on Plein Street, between Wanderers and Eloff Street. There is Sports Bet on Jeppe and Polly Streets as well as World Sport Betting on Pritcherd and Troye Streets.

You can see more women than you could see in both Hollywood and Betting World combined.  Violet thinks the setting at U Bet is more conducive than its competitors.  “I used to go to Betting World, but that place is so crowded, the situation there is tense and there is this stink of smelly shoes and armpits of some men who jam that place”, says Violet as she frowns showing sullen displeasure about the kind of environment in question.

At U Bet, there is more interaction and courtesy for one another.  People gather in small groups chatting, giggling and swapping coins, betting tickets and pens.  The space is a social centre for Sihle where she meets and mingle with birds of a feather.

Gamblers, mostly at U Bet regularly “bank” numbers as groups of at least four members on a single bet, with each person putting forward their lucky number.  Should they win in this instance, they split the money equally amongst all the participating members.

It is hard to spot by chance someone who has just won in some of these houses.  But most regular male gamblers are notorious for flaunting at their counterparts when they’ve won big.

These gambling spaces are crowded by people traditionally viewed as working class or not wealthy.  Security guards and police officers are the most visible in their branded uniforms whereas domestic workers, cashiers, cleaners, mineworkers, small business owners, pensioners go about without much visibility.  They all come from different townships ranging from Soweto, Tembisa, Katlehong, Daveyton, Alexandra, Kagiso and so forth.  Depending on age, they all dress up differently, with youth mostly wearing sports brands in shoes and fashionable clothes like DH, Guess, and the like.  The older generation wear their semi-formal wear or golf Ts and tukkies.

The daredevils on the streets

Outside these spots, are informal groupings of illegal gamblers either playing dice or three cards or three caps.  Most of them are lining up on Plein Street.  There is always noticeable presence of young men rolling a dice by Attwell Gardens Park.  The game is played with two dices and each player must get the two pieces show the same number of dots at the top.

Three cards has been a popular game in Johannesburg for quite some time.  The owner of the cards is the only one who dictates things by shuffling three cards (two have blue colour and one is red) with other players expected to point the red one.  The cards are in black pouches and before every shuffle the player show all the colours to show fellow gamblers.  A minimum of R100 is supposed to be placed on top of the red card.  If you get it wrong, you lose the R100 but if you’re right, you get a R100 in addition to yours.

There is also a more dodgy game by unscrupulous gangs in town and that is three caps.  It is played much like three cards.  There is a little clod that is hidden underneath one of the three 2 litre bottle caps and gamblers have to point the correct cap after a long and quick shuffle.

Most people are tricked to get into the game and never allowed to leave if they have won a few games.  Next to Bree Taxi Rank, last week, a lady in her mid-30s was enticed by one of the female gang members to partake in this game and she ended losing R200, and her cell phone confiscated as she was trying to win back atleast a R100 to get her home.

In the National Responsible Gambling Programme research paper by Leanne Scott and Graham Barr, they concluded that dice and cards were perceived as being “fairer” and allowed punters to be in control than casino gambling.

“Police are regularly and routinely bought off” reads the paper about illegal gambling.  Johannesburg Central Police Station Spokesperson Xoli Mbele could not be reached for a comment.

Gambling a tad too much

Mashudu Netshivhungululu, a registered counsellor for the National Responsible Gambling Programme, said gambling problem is a mental illness.  “It’s a psychological problem, and the behaviour of people with gambling problems doesn’t make sense.  Gambling addiction falls under mental disorder on the DSM 4 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4).  One of the symptoms that reflect a gambling problem is someone who feels a need to gamble with the increasing amount in order to achieve the desired excitement.

“When you play, it’s like something is pulling you.  Gambling has got a spirit of its own,” says Violet.  The quest for money never stops.

FEATURED IMAGE: Gamblers looking at the screen for their bet outcomes. Photo: Sisa Canca


I’m cheesed off with your bloody makeup


I’m sorry to say that the views you’re about to read can be extremely abhorrent and borderline unsophisticated.  I am an exception in a world where beauty and advancement in women is gauged by the quality of nails, hair, eye lashes and the powder put on their faces.  Instead, I appreciate exquisite beauty and I love simplicity.

It’s in my constitution to treat every woman with respect and tact.  And despite my views on this particular topic, I don’t and will never treat women as subjects of my indecent judgement.  I don’t think anyone should look good “for someone else” but as a human being I just happen to find a thrill when I see unblemished natural beauty. When I can’t see any of that around, I fret, which I guess is the reason for me to talk about this.

I love my African sisters.  They are amazing in so many ways.  Most of them have luscious lips, appetizing eyes and drop-dead fine faces.  But I think most often that glamor is defaced by all these cosmetics.

I am not expecting ladies in 2016 to be backward dinosaurs but I always feel a burr in my chest when pure allure is buried beneath some insipid make-up, creepy lipstick, excessively weird nails and a weave.

We are being starved of black beauty by our black sisters who seem to have adopted in their minds an epitome of how a woman should look in contrast of true attributes of natural black women.

It’s basic common sense that you don’t tinker with something that needs no fix.  I’m left wondering why you’re tampering with such beauty with your makeup.  Part of the reason, I think, we were talking about draconian rules on black hair in former Model C schools two weeks ago is because whites have gotten so used to black people wearing weaves that it almost feels eccentric when a black girl embraces her uniqueness.

Those rules were wrong on at least two counts.  One, they’re racist and secondly that they throttle nature and uniqueness.  Dare I say that in my life I see only a few dozen black women with their natural hair.  For many the experience of having “black hair” has become foreign.

In my opinion, genuine beauty is such a rare jewel.  When I spot a beautiful, natural black woman, I don’t think twice about a compliment. Sometimes I compliment originality because originality nowadays is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

There is a television commercial that speaks about character and to a broader extent genuineness.  Towards the end of this advert, there is an important question that goes “take away his award, his car, his girlfriend. What does he have left?” and that’s the question I wish to ask every woman with bogus stuff all over her body.  If you take away your artificial nails, hair, eye lashes, and lipstick.  What do you have left?

I believe that perfection is when there is nothing to take away yet you almost feel like there is nothing more to add.  Being beautiful is being yourself.

Wits students lend a helping hand to Hillbrow orphanage

 Batho Bothong, an NGO by Wits students is helping a group of children at Malaika Orphanage with schoolwork, food, clothes, sanitary towels and other necessities.  


A GROUP of Wits students is offering aid to an orphanage in Hillbrow through their community outreach project, Batho Bothong.

The project helps 75 children, between the ages of two and eighteen from Malaika Orphanage Home with schoolwork through tutorial sessions twice a week and with items such as food, clothes, sanitary towels and stationary.

Batho Bothong volunteers tutor the children in Physical Sciences, Maths, Maths Literacy, Biology and English.  The initiator of the Batho Bothong programme, Khutjo Maganyele, said they also help with homework and other assessments for other modules when the children need assistance.

Malaika orphanage founder Juma Sebichuwu said they have seen great improvement in academic performances of the children ever since Batho Bothong came on board in 2014.

“The results of what they [Batho Bothong] have been doing here are visible to us, to guardians of these children and to them as well.  Their grades have improved a lot,” said Sebichuwu.

Malaika orphan Nondumiso Mlambo, 18, is starting the first of year of her law degree at the University of Johannesburg. She said if it wasn’t for Batho Bothong, she would not have achieved the grades that secured her a place at university.

“The programme really helped us.  We were a group of three girls (doing matric) and we all passed.  If it wasn’t for the project we wouldn’t be where we are right now,” said Mlambo.

They also organise motivational seminars for the children to motivate them.  Maganyele said it is necessary to instil positivity on children who are determined about their education and goals in life.  “The kids are passionate about where they want to go in future.  And they are such a bunch of kids, full of joy and potential,” said Maganyele.

Maganyele said he took a conscious decision to start the project as a result of the struggles he faced when he was in his first year at university as someone from a poor background.

“In my first year, I struggled with my self-image.  I had like three trousers and a few tops to wear.  And I chose to focus on people who are worse off than me,” said Magabyele.  He said he chose Malaika because of the “appalling conditions” he saw at the place.

The project was formed by Maganyele and seven of his Wits friends in 2014 with 15 volunteers at the time.  They started with few kids and he says the number has grown ever since.

Missing UJ student found in Cape Town

A second-year mechanical engineering UJ student who has been missing for weeks has been found in Cape Town.  

12687957_927898337306181_4533466266368012386_nUniversity of Johannesburg (UJ) student, Ronewa Mamburu, who has been missing for over two weeks was found last Thursday in “a place of safety”, in Cape Town, according to his uncle.   Justice Mamburu said he personally followed a lead to Cape Town and found Mamburu without the assistance of South Africa Police Service (SAPS) officials.

“I did my own investigation without any assistance from the police or anybody else”, Ronewa’s uncle.

According to the family, Mamburu, 19, was unharmed when he was found. Justice Mamburu said the family are allowing him time to settle down but he will be examined by a psychologist to check on his mental state.

Mamburu’s mother, Mkhumeleni Mamburu, said she is happy and relieved that her son has been found him safe.  “I am very happy that we found him.  I spoke to him over the phone yesterday and he sounds alright”, she said.

Mamburu is currently with his uncle in Welkom and the family say they have no explanation for his disappearance. “I didn’t want to ask him a lot of things at this point.  I think he will speak when he’s ready and tell us what led him to leave without saying anything”, said Mkhumeleni Mamburu.

Mamburu, a second year mechanical engineering student, went missing on his way from his home in Limpopo to UJ’s Robin Crest residence at the Doornfontein Campus during the weekend of July 30.

Wits ladies shine on home turf


Wits University’s two ladies’ basketball teams got off to a flying start in this year’s Wits Lady Bucks tournament winning all their matches against visiting teams from around southern Africa.

Playing at home, Wits Buck Ladies (WBL) opened their account with a close 27-20 victory over The Glen High School in court A.  The Bucks then brushed aside neighbours Deutsche Schule Johannesburg (DSJ), 45-22.

A second Wits team, the Wits Lady Bucks (WLB) followed suit with another impressive start defeating Soweto Raptors 54-32 in the opening game. They will play their second game tomorrow evening.

21 matches were scheduled on Women’s Day but only 20 took place as the Mozambique versus Phoenix Flames game was postponed to Saturday, August 13.

The tournament, held in honour of women’s month, includes teams from different parts of the southern Africa including Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland along with local campus teams.

  • ATown Ladies 56-14 Deutsche Schule Johannesburg (DSJ)
  • Jozi Nuggets 34-40 North-West University (Vaal Campus)
  • Griffinz 36-30 Katlehong Pelicans
  • Michael Mount Waldorf 65-22 Monash SA
  • Deutsche Internationa le Schule 30-49 Lakers Basketball Club Jnr
  • ATown Ladies 53-31 The Glen High School
  • Chisz Basketball Team 21-24 Katlehong Pelicans
  • Katlehong Pelicans 49-11 Monash SA
  • Lakers Basketball Club Snr 41-49 VandJ Women’s Basketball
  • North-West University 23-30 VandJ Women’s Basketball
  • Jozi Nuggets 43-47 Lakers Basketball Club Snr

Family speaks about missing UJ student

A second year UJ student had been missing for more than a week now, and his family are still no closer to finding him. 


A collage of images of missing UJ student Ronewa Mamburu. Photo: Facebook.

The mother of missing University of Johannesburg (UJ) student, Ronewa Mamburu says she is devastated by her 19-year-old son’s disappearance. Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela earlier today, Mkhumeleni Mamburu says ongoing rumours about the case are makes things worse.  “I can’t explain how I am feeling … I  didn’t even wake up today, something I am not used to”, says Mkhumeleni.

Mamburu, a second year mechanical engineering student, went missing on his way from  his home in Limpopo to UJ’s Robin Crest residence at the Doornfontein campus during the weekend of July 30. He was last seen near the Gautrain train station in Johannesburg soon after disembarking the bus he was travelling in.  According to reports given to the family, Mamburu apparently waited at the station for a friend while other passengers dispersed.

Mamburu’s uncle, Justice Mamburu, says the investigating officer has now received the relevant authorisation to access Mamburu’s phone and banking records to allow police to widen their investigation. Justice says he called Mamburu on July 30 and 31, but found that the missing man’s phone was off. “I called his mom to double-check if indeed he left home on Saturday.  They told me he did and they couldn’t get him on his phone,” said Justice.

The family say they also followed up information from one of Mamburu’s friends that the young man had travelled to Pretoria to visit a friend. According to his uncle, Mamburu never visited his girlfriend and the friend later confessed to lying.

The case is being handled by the Hillbrow Police Station and the investigation into the phone and bank records, according to Justice Mamburu, is expected to last about a week.


South Africans at the gates of greatness in Rio

Rio 2016 Olympics are finally underway. We recap on the opening ceremony and also take a look at South Africans taking part in different sporting codes this weekend.  

Olympics photo 2

With the scene beautifully set at the renowned Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro this morning, the opening ceremony signalled the official start of an intense excitement of 42 Olympic sport disciplines in one place.

The vivid ceremony celebrated not only Brazil’s multi-ethnic history, but global diversity as well.  Samba music, with a bit of cat walk by supermodel Gisele set the scene before fireworks were shot from the Olympics rings.

Carlos Nuzman, president of the Rio 2016 Committee welcomed the world to the city. “I am talking to the whole planet.  We welcome you to Rio, the Olympic city. We stand to deliver history. The Olympic dream is now a wonderful reality” said Nuzman in his address.

The South African team was led by the sprinter, Wayde van Niekerk, as the flag bearer for the first time. Our team stood out because they were wearing tracksuits whereas many other athletes turned out in formal wear. This received a mixed reaction back home, but Fox Sports gave the South African outfit top marks.

However, the mood is one of adrenaline-filled anticipation. South Africa has sent 137 athletes to carry the country’s flag in the Olympics for the 19th time in the history of the games. The country has 76 medals, of which 23 are gold, 26 silver and 27 bronze.

These records may not speak well for a country of South Africa’s standard in resources, yet in Wayde van Niekerk, Caster Simenya, Daryl Impey, SA Sevens, Banyana Banyana, Amaglug-glug, and many others, the country has all it takes to achieve the 10 medal target and upset the best-laid plans of countries who have dominated the Olympics over the years.

South African schedule of athletes who will be participating this weekend till Monday is as follows:

Date Event Participants
Sat, 06 August



(Men’s Road Race)

Daryl Impey and Louis Meintjes
Sat, 06 August



(Men’s coxless pair)

Shaun Keeling and Lawrence Brittain
Sat, 06 August Swimming

(400m individual medley)

Michael Julian Meyer (heat 2) and Sebastian Rousseau (heat 4)
Sat, 06 August



(400m freestyle) 

Myles Brown (heat 5)
Sat, 06 August



(100m breaststroke)

Cameron van der Burgh (heat 5)
Sun, 07 August



(Women’s tournament)

Banyana Banyana vs China
Sun, 07 August



(Women’s coxless pair)

Lee-Ann Persse and Kate Christowitz
Sun, 07 August



(Women’s lightweight double sculls)

Ursula Grobler and Kirsten McCann
Sun, 07 August



(Men’s lightweight double sculls)

James Thompson and John Smith
Sun, 07 August



(Men’s coxless four)

SA four
Sun, 07 August



(Men’s 200m freestyle)

Chad le Clos (heat 5) and Myles Brown (heat 5)
Sun, 07 August



(Men’s 100m backstroke)

Christopher Reid (heat 4)
Mon, 08 August



(Men’s u/23 tournament)

SA under 23 vs Denmark
Mon, 08 August



(Men’s 200m butterfly)

Chad le Clos (heat 2) and Sebastian Rousseau (heat 4)


Please note: Gymnastics are not included because for the first few days it will only be qualifying.  


Related articles:

Wits Vuvuzela; SA aims for 10-medal haul in Rio, 5 August 2016

Wits Vuvuzela; Olympic dreams for 2016, 27 July 2012

Wits Vuvuzela; The Olympics in numbers, 27 July 2012

Making a mark against all odds

Special votes took place two days prior the actual voting date of August, 3.  We have one special voter telling us about his tedious journey on the day his voting, 1st of August.  

26_Special Votes

BOX TICKED: Shaun in his workplace a day after he voted at Parkhurst. Photo: Sisa Canca

Putting a cross in a ballot box may seem like the easiest thing for most people, but Shaun* is one of those individuals who need assistance to make his mark. He cannot make a cross in a box owing to his physical disability which sees him confined to a wheelchair with little use of his arms and legs.  At election time, he needs someone else to help him through the process.

Shaun is a 53-year-old white South African man who believes in the power of the ballot box.  He’s been voting religiously since 1994 despite his inability to write on his own or even hold a pen with his hand.  For him voting is a daunting process that involves being pushed around in his wheelchair and waiting in a queue.  He says he hates the process but also feels that he needs to play a role in deciding on the governance of the country.

This past Monday, August 1, Shaun woke up early, as he usually does, to cast his special vote at the Parkhust Primary School in Randburg.  Arriving at the voting station with his helper, Zodwa, Shaun asked one of the IEC officials to make a cross on his behalf but without giving any reason the official refused.

“No IEC representative could make a cross for me”, said Shaun.  Zodwa came to his rescue, making the mark on his behalf.  Shaun says it was the first time he had had someone from IEC decline to assist him which made him feel as if the voting process is not accommodating of people with disabilities.

His says he is not happy with various issues facing the country like the corruption, lack of jobs and the contracting economy.  Shaun says he wants to be part of driving change in South Africa.   “We need change, the corruption and all these other things are becoming impossible to bear now.  Without our collective votes, that change will never come,” Shaun said.

Shaun was among a record 700 000 registered special voters for this year’s municipal elections.  Those are the people who, by law, applied for special voting because they couldn’t travel to the voting station on Election Day for a variety of reasons including disability or pregnancy. Others registered because they couldn’t be in their respective regions on the day and thus voted on predetermined special voting days, August 1 and 2.


Related articles

Wits Vuvuzela; The 2016 elections so far, 3 August 2016

Wits Vuvuzela; Parties wrap up elections campaigns, 1 August 2016

Wits Vuvuzela; Elections leave LGBTI voters feeling voiceless, 2 August 2016

SA aims for 10-medal haul in Rio

With football action already under, the Olympics will make an official headway this weekend beginning with the opening ceremony at the iconic Maracana Stadium today.  The South African team has 137 athletes who will be trying to meet the 10 medal target.  

Olympics photo 2

When the Rio Olympics 2016 kick off officially on Friday, August 5, South Africa will be represented by a 137-member squad, 12 more than the team sent to the London Olympics in 2012.

Among the squad, are the likes of 800m star Caster Semenya, swimming sensations Chad Le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh and cyclist Daryl Impey.

South Africa also has a new crop of athletes on whom the nation’s hopes rest. These include track and fielders Wayde van Nikerk and Anaso Jobodwana, Juan de Jongh (sevens rugby) and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (cycling).

Other codes in which the country will participate include judo, rowing, golf, and men’s and women’s football.

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee has set a target of 10 medals for the team. The 2012 team secured six medals, three of which were gold, two silver and one bronze.

Football games got underway on Wednesday, two days before the Olympic games officially opened. In the first round robin games in the women’s tournament, Banyana Banyana took on Sweden, playing to a UPDATE HERE BEFORE PUBLICATION result.

The so-called ‘Day minus 2’ (commencement of football action two days before the official opening) is the result of the number of games that need to be played within the 16-day event.  With 16 men’s and 12 women’s teams, there are 58 matches to get through.

South Africa has two football teams, the under 23s (Amaglug glug) and Banyana.  Amaglug glug are in group A with Brazil, Iraq and Denmark, whereas Banyana feature in Group E with Brazil, China and Sweden.


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Wits Vuvuzela; Olympic dreams for 2016, 27 July 2012