BOXING: White-Collar boxers take to the ring

A group of young amateur boxers get to test their strength in a grueling competition filled with bloody noses and technical knockouts.  

On Saturday, April 13, 2024, a white-collar boxing event was held at Lightweights Gym in Northfield, Johannesburg, giving promising and inexperienced boxers a platform to showcase their skills in front of an audience.  

Boxers squaring off in intense fight. Photo: Siyanda Mthethwa.

A group of local boxers came together to create a competition that allowed beginner boxers, who had not competed in official fights, to go up against one another. Ten fights were contested throughout the evening, each one consisting of three, two-minute rounds.

It was a high-adrenaline competition with a couple of fights resulting in a Technical Knock-Out (TKO) which is when a referee stops the match due to one of the fighters being unable to continue fighting or defending themselves. 

Lusanda Komanisi, former IBO World Champion and multiple-title holder, was one of the organizers of the prestigious event. When speaking about the importance of it, he said: “We wanted to put fun in it and make people be able to watch boxing and make them scream as much as they want to.”  

He added that the event made him proud because of the positive shift away from watching professional fighting as it was able “to put amateurs [in the ring] and give them a chance to shine.” 

One of the favourites of the night was Wits graduate, Nota Jiyane, who sparred against Third-year Wits student, Kgothatso Swandle, and won the duel. Jiyane, who was in high spirits following his victory reflected “The fight went to plan, nothing out of the ordinary, you know. I just stuck to the plan that the coaches gave me, it went well”. 

Jiyane says the sport is personal for him, “I used to be bullied back when I was a kid, and this was me stepping out of my comfort zone. So, I’m not going to stop now.” 

He also believes small platforms like this are where untapped talent lies, “we can be known as the hotspot for one of the best fighters in the world and I believe that we can do that just by doing these little events,”.  

Tshepiso Fambe, a spectator, praised the event for bringing people together and allowing people to “showcase their talent”.  

Nevertheless, the event was a success, and potential fighters can look forward to the next event which will be hosted in July, giving them ample time to prepare. 

“NSFAS board failed,” says Nzimande 

Mismanagement, failures in meeting requirements and delays in paying student allowances are some of the reasons leading to the dissolution of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. 

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Professor Blade Nzimande has blamed the outgoing National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) board for not fulfilling their administrative duties, and students failing as a result. 

In a media briefing held on Sunday, April 14, Nzimande addressed the recurring problem of non-payment and student allowances that have been plaguing NSFAS. The minister responded to this by dissolving the board on April 11, 2024. 

Nzimande said the outgoing NSFAS board were unable to uphold basic responsibilities, with some of these shortcomings being the “consistent inability to oversee payment of student allowances timeously,” and the scheme’s failure to respond to student queries timeously.  

The outgoing board was also unable to meet the Werksman Report requirements. One of the key requirements was to terminate the contracts of four of the service providers as these tenders were handed irregularly.  

Now the scheme has a new administrator, Sithembiso Freeman Nomvalo. He is the former CEO of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and has 25 years of experience under his belt, 17 split between the private and public sector. Nomvalo has also been credited for possessing “extensive knowledge and (an) impeccable track record in public finance and government processes”. 

First on the agenda for Nomvalo is taking over the governance, management, and administration of NSFAS for a period of one year, which is subject to a renewal of a further 12 months depending on the progress that is made. 

The new administrator will also be required to “finalize all the necessary financial decisions and outstanding payments especially those relating to student accommodation”. 

Joseph Baloyi, a first-year BA Law student at Wits University and a NSFAS beneficiary does not believe that the change will have any positive effect.

He claims that he has been experiencing delays in receiving his allowances throughout the year and that private banks are the reason for the delays. He believes that the solution is for the Minister to “remove the private banks, then pay the school so that the school can pay us.” 

At the briefing, Chief Operation Officer at NSFAS, Errol Makhubela, confirmed that “NSFAS has granted an extension to all universities to continue to disperse allowances to students from April to July 2024”. 

The scheme advanced an upfront payment to distribute the student allowances which will commence on Monday, 15 April 2024. Makhubela said the advanced upfront payment, which covers book allowances, food allowances and travel allowances will be paid for by the institutions.  

EDITORIAL: Kitchener’s, you will always be famous! 

“You can take away Kitchener’s and you’re literally taking away Braam,” said DJ, Billy Meliodas of the bar’s closure.  

Shockwaves have been sent throughout the street life culture this week, as Kitchener’s Carvery Bar announced their closure due to ‘economic circumstances’.  

Kitchener’s Carvery Bar in Braamfontein. Photo: Siyanda Mthethwa.

The pub has been situated in the heart of Braamfontein since the early 1900s and more recently has been an iconic cornerstone of the creative hub of the city. The blue exterior with white pillars draws people in visually, but the music and electric energy are what lure people in and make them loyal patrons. Wits Vuvuzela student journalist, Ruby Delahunt, describes the venue as a “welcoming environment” that “allowed a lot of new DJs to test the waters and start out”. 

Kitchener’s truly stands out because of its authenticity and its pursuit of keeping its unique identity. Eddie, a bartender at Kitchener’s said, “Nights where there’s just two customers here, we never said ‘Oh no, maybe we should change our music, maybe we should change business. We never compromised as so many trends came and went’”. He further went on to explain that “it’s always been a huge part of street culture in Braamfontein” and that it’s “given a platform to so many people” including creatives and musicians who were able to express themselves without shame. 

Local DJ, Billy Meliodas, went into depth about the impact that Kitchener’s had on his life and Braamfontein as a whole. “The owner of Kitchener’s [Andrew Clement] took me from the street, and he looked after me. Everyone in Kitchener’s is happy…it’s not a place where you can come and find conflict”. He continued, “They’re closing the true heart of Braam…this place is a home to everybody.” 

Kitchener’s is one of the last remaining authentic pubs which prioritizes community as Billy and the staffers explained, people could go to the bar on their own with a guarantee that they would walk out having made a friend or two. A final hoorah will be held this long weekend.   

Thank you, Kitchener’s for being a home to many. Thank you, Kitchener’s for being a safe space and encouraging people to chase their dreams and just have fun. After March 31, 2024, it will no longer be open, but it will forever be in our minds and hearts. We hope that the energy and symbol that it represented stays with us and the future of Braamfontein. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Siyanda Mthethwa Photo: File