Editorial: #NewVuvu

Tanyaradzwa Nyamajiyah Photo: Jay Caboz

It has been an eventful year at our university and Wits Vuvuzela has been part of it every step of the way.  The story of the 17 dismissed chefs and the Wits academic strike were two of the major news events for us in a year that saw our team tackle the demands of digital journalism while continuing to expand our skills in the print environment.

The May 11 #newvuvu launched in celebration of Wits 90 ran a lead story on thousands of Wits res students who cancelled their dining hall meals in support of 17 unfairly dismissed chefs.

Wits Vuvuzela took the lead in covering the story, going beyond the labour dispute to the heart of the story revealing the personal circumstances of the people affected. We continue to cover this story in order to bring home the realities of unemployment in our country.

In August our online paper received 13 729 hits due to our coverage of the Wits academic strike.

Lecturers were striking after Wits failed to meet their demand of a 9% salary increase among other demands. Lectures were cancelled and Wits Vuvuzela production was postponed as its core readership, the students of Wits University, stood in solidarity with the lecturers. Given its proximity to the site of the strike Wits Vuvuzela was the first to break the news of the academic strike online.

Using social media to expand our reach has been a major achievement of the #newvuvu team of 2012.  Wits Vuvuzela continues to exploit Twitter and Facebook in addition to other digital tools like curation and blogging in an effort to reach readership beyond the university and the community of Braamfontein.

ARC members question ambitious chair

Two All-Residence Committee (ARC) members have lashed out at the current chairperson and new SRC member Justice Nkomo.

Thapelo Mashamaite and Godfrey Dlamini said Nkomo undertook ARC chairperson office in order to use it to propel his campaign for SRC membership. The two ARC members are sceptical as to whether Nkomo is competent to take up a position in the SRC.

Nkomo’s leadership in ARC has been continually challenged. Mashamaite said he failed to deal with the unfair dismissal of David Webster Res from the All Residence Debating tournament held in August.

“I cannot say Nkomo is to blame for the debating debacle but his handling of the prevailing situation could have been better,” Mashamaite said.

Dlamini and Mashamaite have also questioned the timing of the all residence visits Nkomo organised when the SRC elections were approaching. The pair compared Nkomo to the likes of Floyd Shivambu and Julius Malema of the ANC Youth League.

“He is an opportunist but does not draw as nearly many crowds nor is he charismatic and persuasive,” said Mashamaite.

In response, Nkomo said it is the nature of people to focus on the negatives and neglect the positive aspects of a leader. ARC and SRC members were elected based on leadership credibility, Nkomo said.

“I have been elected into the SRC by the people with confidence. I won the most outstanding leadership award in the ARC last year because I had been competent,” he said.

Nkomo also pointed out that it was out of his own “goodwill” to serve as the Esselen chairperson and the ARC chairperson.

“Holding a position in the house committee and ARC is a mere thing compared to higher governing structures like the SRC. You don’t choose where to lead but lead where people want you to lead,” he said.

No sign of Afcon yet

Tanyaradzwa Nyamajiyah Photo: Jay Caboz

The African Cup of Nations kicks off in 126 days. As a die-hard football fan, I am filled with excitement at the prospect. What breaks my heart, though, is the lack of passion in the build-up to Africa’s most prestigious football tournament.

The Confederation of African football announced South Africa as hosts of the Africa Cup of Nations 2013 edition in May this year. I could not believe the country would get to experience yet another football showpiece.

But I have yet to see a widely publicised countdown and am impatiently waiting for the reintroduction of Football Fridays. There are hardly any Bafana Bafana jerseys worn on the streets. Where is the patriotism?

This is Africa’s biggest football tournament – won by Bafana Bafana when we hosted the tournament for the first time in 1996. Surely this gives the national team a chance to regain the national pride lost when they failed to qualify for the last two Afcon tournaments.

I believe the South African Football Association (SAFA) needs to do more to make the South African public aware of Afcon 2013. The build-up to a tournament of such magnitude cannot afford to be low key.

To say the Afcon tournament is not as important as the World Cup is not good enough. World class players like Didier Drogba and Steven Pienaar will be fielded. I see the Afcon as our own, African, World Cup.

The greatest dream I ever lived was the 2010 FIFA football World Cup held in South Africa. It began to unfold on May 15, 2004 when FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced South Africa as the 2010 FIFA World Cup host.

In the build-up to the tournament, digital clocks counted down to the spectacle that kicked off at Soccer City on June 11, 2010. Radio and television news bulletins counted down till the last second. Football Fridays turned the country into a bright sea of yellow and green Bafana Bafana jerseys. Cars were draped in the rainbow-coloured South African flag, a real sign of patriotism.

I had the privilege of watching Argentina play against Mexico, with football gods like Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez on the field. The memory will forever be imprinted on my mind.

Personally, I will not allow the low-key preparation to the 2013 Afcon dampen my spirits. I will continue to look forward to Africa’s greatest football showpiece.


Mistaken overdose at David Webster

A Res student representative has accused the Wits counselling unit of failing “students in crisis” following another suicide attempt at David Webster Hall this week.

A David Webster Hall resident overdosed on antidepressant pills in what friends said was an attempted suicide on Sunday evening, August 26.

Hall coordinator Prof Tumai Murombo said he received an alarming message from one of the student’s friends.

The student was transported to Milpark Hospital by Campus Control within an hour, according to investigations manager, Michael Mahada.

“The information recorded in an Occurence Book shows that CB1 made an entry at 19h39 about it and they again made a cross reference at 20h31 to effect that the sick student had been transported to Milpark Hospital.”

Mahada said Campus Control does not have the qualifications or personnel to run an ambulance service, but will call an ambulance if asked to.

Chairperson of David Webster Hall, Godfrey Dlamini, said the student refused to be admitted.

Dlamini, said this was one of about five attempted suicides at David Webster this year. In some cases, the same students have tried to kill themselves more than once.

Dlamini and the hall coordinators have had to chase suicidal students across the car park, trying to calm them down.

“Career Counselling and Development Unit (CCDU) promised to address a tailor-made workshop for the David Webster students last semester but up to now have not delivered. As psychological experts in the university, the CCDU has failed students in crisis,” said Dlamini.

Murombo said the reasons for attempting suicide went beyond academic difficulties and involved social difficulties as well.

Murombo also said the CCDU’s approach of treating students on a voluntary basis was failing because it is impersonal and technical.

“Students don’t want to be treated like patients, they feel alienated. The current counselling system is too formal and technical.

The CCDU needs to initiate therapy that takes the form of a social conversation. It’s a more effective way of picking up student issues before they get out of hand,” he said.

In response to David Webster, Toinette Bradley, therapy team leader of the CCDU, said that David Webster should follow up their request for a therapy workshop before exams arrived.

Bradley said they had received the case of a mistaken overdose and were in the process of addressing it.

“We cannot force anybody to come in and see us but we do try to get their family and friends to convince them to seek treatment with us,” she said.


Co-written with Akinoluwa Oyedele

Published in Wits Vuvuzela 22nd edition, 31st August 2012.


Clever boys keep Black Leopards at bay


Bidvest Wits attack Black Leopards in an Absa Premiership match played on Wednesday night at Bidvest Stadium. Photo: Tanyaradzwa Nyamajiyah

Bidvest Wits (2) 2

Black Leopards (1) 2

Bidvest Wits and Black Leopards played to an entertaining 2-2 draw in an Absa Premiership match at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday night.

Calvin Kadi and Ryan Chapman scored for Wits, while an own goal by Mbulelo Mabizela and a strike from Rodney Ramagalela gave Leopards an equalizer in the second half.

The first chance of the game fell to the hosts when Chapman’s powerful drive missed the top left corner of the goal.

 Black Leopards took the lead in the 16th minute with Mbulelo Mabizela own goal.

Six minutes from half time the “Clever Boys” equalized when defender Mabizela supplied a cross to Kadi who sent the ball into the back of the net.

On the stroke of halftime Bryce Moon delivered an inch perfect cross into the box which was met by Ryan Chapman, who powered home a header.

Black Leopards came out firing on all cylinders after the break, scoring the equalizer through striker Rodney Ramagalela.

Former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena came close with a header from a James Mayinga free kick but Leopards goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali pulled a save.

Wits launched one attack after another but it was the visitors who scored the equalizer in the 58th minute. Moses Kwena did well to get past the Wits defence, sending the ball through to Ramagalela who sent it home, salvaging an important point away from home.

Both teams created many scoring opportunities in the dying minutes of the second half but this did not pay off. The match finished 2-2, earning Wits its first point of the new season

One thousand free complimentary tickets were given out to students at the gate in a bid by BidVest Wits to get more students to attend their home games.

Witsies disconnected for 45 hours

Wits res students were left unable to do their assignments last weekend following an unscheduled internet downtime on all campuses.

No warning was issued by the Computer Network Services before the disconnection. According to the internet traffic graphs shown to Wits Vuvuzela by a network administrator for the school of literature and language studies, Robert Nagy, the network was down for a total of 45 hours.

Nagy suspects that the router (hardware) which links Wits internet traffic to the world wide web was malfunctioning, resulting in the network disconnection.

The first down-time occurred on Friday night and was later reconnected after 9 hours on Saturday at 1am.  The network then went down again from 10am on Saturday until Monday morning, which totaled to 36 hours. The graphs indicate that despite some inconsistency the local Intranet stayed connected.

“I looked at more graphs. The issue was outside Wits. My own assumption is that a fibre optic cable in the ground could have been cut resulting in the disconnection,” said Nagy.

Themba Motloung a third year education student said, “The last resort for me was to go to an internet café in Braamfontein, where I paid 50 rands to use the computer and print. I use a wheel chair and it was a strenuous journey travelling to Braamfontein Centre.”.

Barnato resident and third year engineering student Francis Chivhuta said he was unable to complete two assignements that were due on Monday.

“This is really unfair because missing deadline by a minute means minus 15%, and you can’t throw away marks like that,” he said.

CNS Acting Systems Director, Hanish Patel said he had no knowledge of the network disconnecting as he was away on sick leave.

“As far as I know the CNS did not plan any scheduled downtime, like we always do. I suspect something unexpectedly went wrong resulting in the downtime.”

The CNS will carry out further investigations with the technicians in an attempt to establish what caused the network disconnection.

David Webster sparks another burning debate

The David Webster Hall debating team will continue to fight what they believe was their unfair elimination from the All-Residence debating tournament, which took place earlier this month.

The team was eliminated on August 4. Team member Olwethu Peter said the reasons given by the judges were not sufficient to justify their elimination. He said the judges did not pay attention to some of their arguments. They also claim the opposing team broke the rules.

“Our major concern was that the Men’s Res reply speaker raised new points in reply to our argument. The rules state that a reply speaker is only allowed to use argument points raised by two previous speakers on his/her team.”

In an email to the David Webster team, Head of Residence Life Rob Sharman said it would be difficult for anyone who had not been present at the debate to solve their issue objectively. However chairperson of the David Webster team Godfrey Dlamini said he intended to call another meeting with Sharman.

In an attempt to resolve the dispute, All Residence Council Student Development Officer Marie Lugalya said she had tried to organise a review with the judges. “They promised to meet with the organisers and team members, but up until this day have not showed up.”

In the meantime, the David Webster debating team refused to attend the All Residence debate dinner at which they were to receive certificates of participation. Dlamini said the team felt this attempt to resolve the problem, by Sharman, would undermine their house.

“ARC [All Residence Committee] chairperson Justice Nkomo has failed to resolve the unfair elimination of our team. He is too busy minding his SRC election business,” he said.

The David Webster team is not the only house to have been angered by the debating contest. The Wits Junction debating team was “furious” when the venue was changed from JCE to Medhurst without their knowledge. The team was disqualified for their absence in the first round of the tournament.

“We arrived at JCE to find no one there,” said Wits Junction Academic officer, Samantha Ncube. “We waited there for 45 minutes with my four-member debating team. The ARC did not respond to our calls and emails. To our surprise they sent out an email thanking residences that had participated in the debate later that day.”

Commenting on the issues of both teams, Nkomo said he and Rob Sharman sat down with the David Webster chairperson and the Wits Junction vice chairperson in an attempt to resolve the matters.

“We have apologised for the breakdown in communication. Rob Sharman and I are organising an event in acknowledgement of the David Webster and Wits Junction debating teams. However the decision to hold another debating competition would be unfair to the teams that won.”

Sharman was not available to comment, since he is away.

Wits Junction will soon host an internal debating tournament to compensate for their absence at the All Residence debating Tournament.

Lopez has an objective

New Bidvest Wits coach Antonio Lopez

NEW Bidvest Wits coach Antonio Lopez has emphasized the importance of a positive and united team mentality on the pitch if the team is to start winning.

Speaking on Wednesday, Lopez said he was happy with his players’ pre-season performance, and he was aiming for perfection this season.

Bidvest Wits lost their first game of the season 2-0 to Free State Stars a week ago. Lopez believes it’s only a matter of time before the team starts winning.

“The game against Free State Stars was a catastrophe. The pitch at Goble Park was bad and we made childlike costly mistakes.”

He did admit that changing player mentality is a difficult task, and he needed at least 3 months to get the team into shape and contest for the top spot.

“Competition in the Premier Soccer League is different from pre-season. Most of our players are new and played in many different PSL teams. If we want to stand a chance to contest, our players need to play as a unit.”

Lopez has employed the same strategy that he applied when he was the Sundowns coach.

“When I was at Sundowns the objective was to keep the team at the top and I have brought the same objective to Bidvest Wits. My philosophy is perfection.”

Jose Ferreira, chief executive, has kept his cheque book open and Lopez will take advantage of the transfer window to sign another striker and a goalkeeper.

Bidvest Wits will look to turn things around in their first home game of the season against Black Leopards. With many experienced players in his side, Lopez is optimistic about the team’s fortunes.

“I will not temper around with my strategy and will maintain my policy of giving each and every one of our opponents maximum respect. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a big or small team,” Lopez said.

Leopards opened their 2012/13 Absa Premiership season with a 3-2 win over Bloemfontein Celtic at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

Bidvest Wits will have all to play for this season with the newly introduced four quarter system by PSL chairman Irvin Khoza. The top four teams in each quarter will receive R 1.5 million from the football body.

Ferreira knicks midfield maestro


Bidvest Wits’ new signing Tinashe ‘General’ Nengomasha hopes to bring the same fighting mentality he displayed on the field whilst playing for Kaizer Chiefs

Zimbabwean international Tinashe ‘General’ Nengomasha signed a three-year contract with Bidvest Wits in July after being pursued by newly appointed chief executive Jose Ferreira for ten years.

The Kaizer Chiefs midfield maestro was given a three-year contract by the ‘Clever boys’.

In 2003 Ferreira twice travelled to Nengomasha’s house in Naturena, whilst still the Mamelodi Sundowns chief executive, trying to convince him to sign with the ‘Brazilians’.

“At that time I was relatively new in the South African premier league and didn’t want to take the risk of switching from ‘Amakhosi’ to the ‘Brazilians’”, said Nengomasha.

I left Kaizer Chiefs for (financial) security; Bidvest Wits offered me a better deal and a longer contract. I have a big family to take care of hence I opted to grab this opportunity whilst it was still available, he said.

“The one year contract didn’t stand with me well”

On the prospects of success with Bidvest Wits, Nengomasha is happy with the balance of experienced and young players at the club.

“The club has an equal number of experienced players and talented youngsters. This will help create healthy competition within the team. Everyone must fight for their place, I doesn’t matter whether you are from a big or small club,” said Nengomasha.

As one of the senior players within the club Nengomasha says he will strive to inspire and mentor the younger players, in the same way he was guided by senior players when he joined Kaizer Chiefs at the age of 19.

“I was taught well by my previous coaches and teammates to overcome big challenges. The challenge here at Wits is to win the league and add trophies to the cabinet.”

The Clever boys reached the final of the Gauteng cup, losing to Kaizer Chiefs in a penalty shootout two weeks ago. The club also lost two of their pre-season friendly matches against Platinum Stars and Perth Glory.

“I know it will be a tough task for the group of new players to gel, but once we start playing as a unit we can contend for the top spot,” he said.

Kaizer Chiefs will hold a memorial match for the midfield maestro who played over 300 matches for the club.

Bakkie rolls on Bertha


Wrong way up: The bakkie involved in the crash near the Jan Smuts entrance, behind the school of arts.

Two cars were involved in an accident on the corner of Bertha and Ameshoff on Thursday morning.

The accident occurred near the Jan Smuts entrance, behind the School of Arts, which most Witsies use on their way to and from Braamfontein.

The collision which involved a white Hilux bakkie and station wagon, resulted in the bakkie flipping onto the opposite side of the road and landing on its roof. The bakkie was said to be travelling from Randburg to the CBD.

Both cars were each transporting two passengers and all managed to escape without injuries.

The wrecked cars were towed away from the scene after Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officials assessed the damages and took statements from the people involved.

Emergency services reached the scene in ten minutes. However, the female passenger who was in the Hilux was shivering and complained of coldness and chest pains refused to be taken to hospital.

Johannesburg Emergency Management Services personnel, Lizelle Delport, said the woman in the Hilux was shivering and recovered quickly after being given some water.

Delport explained that the woman who had refused medical attention signed a patient-refusal form and only showed signs of shock.

An eye-witness said, “The bakkie caused the accident after it skipped a red traffic light and hit the Toyota venture in the intersection.”

The driver of the station wagon Zivanai Msoni gave an account of what happened and said, the Hilux was right behind a taxi which also skipped the traffic light which had already turned red, when it hit his car on the right fender.

However the driver of the Hilux claimed at the time he was in the intersection while the traffic light was amber.

Fire fighters, paramedics and security guards helped lift the Hilux that had landed on its roof before it was towed away.

Designing fashion for a living

Catwalk: A model shows the baby-blue polka-dot dress designed by Cleopatra Latoya at a fashion show organised by SIFE. Photo: Tanyaradzwa Nyamajiyah

A FORMER Witsie is opening up employment opportunities for Wits students and promoting her new range of clothes.

The Students In Free Enterprise organisation (SIFE) held a fashion show last week at Hofmeyer House to launch fashion designer Cleopatra Latoya as an official retailer and ambassador at Wits.

SIFE is an international organisation in 39 countries and in South Africa has a presence in  most universities.

Latoya is the founder and owner of the Atra clothing brand. She studied BSc chemistry at Wits from 2007 before dropping out in 2010 to pursue a career in fashion design.

She funded her clothing line and website from her own pocket. She says her brand is aimed at dressing young people in the “vintage, classy and charisma-embodied” look.

“My passion for fashion design was ignited after designing my own matric dance dress. Atra is all about style, concentrating on the clothes one wears to the way they entertain themselves,” said Latoya.

Hofmeyer House was her first official fashion show at Wits.

The idea behind the fashion show was to expose Wits students to the brand and to alert them to positions available within the brand, said chief organiser Innocentia Ratshethana

“I encourage both male and female students going through financial difficulties to take up the opportunity to start as sales people. They will receive commission depending on how much they sell,” said Ratshethana.

Five students have already shown interest and signed up as sales people.

An entrepreneurial training programme, organised by Ratshethana will be launched in three weeks. Several BCom students have been assigned to create a handbook for the course.

Latoya plans to launch the brand in Swaziland, in September this year.

Students go hungry to help 17 chefs


Return 17 chefs: Students gathered at the main dining hall in peaceful protest on Monday afternoon.Thousands of students cancelled their meals between Monday and Wednesday. They are demanding for the "unconditional" return of the 17 chefs dismissed for "gross insubordination". Photo: Tanyaradzwa Nyamajiyah

THOUSANDS of students cancelled their meals on Tuesday this week calling for the reinstatement of 17 dismissed chefs.

Royal Mnandi dining hall management confirmed the company lost R27 553 on Monday after 875 students cancelled their lunch meals.

The company refused to release any figures on Tuesday afternoon.

Royal Mnandi Food Service Solutions suspended the workers in April after they refused to be transferred to different dining halls.

A working group leading the boycott said 3,300 students signed a petition in support of the chefs.

However the chefs will remain unemployed after their company rejected their appeal to be reinstated. The appeal was heard at the main kitchen in Pretoria on Monday.

The union representing the workers, Hospitality Industrial Commercial Rand and Allied Workers Union (HICRAWU), will now refer the case to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Students cancelled their lunch and dinner bookings from Monday to Wednesday calling for the return of the “Royal Mnandi 17” chefs.

According to All Residence Council (ARC) member Justice Nkomo, Royal Mnandi losses increased on Tuesday after the number of students who cancelled their lunch meals shot from 875 to 3 300. Only 700 students remained with booked meals.

“We asked students to go hungry for a good cause and they have complied. Students have proven that we can unite and conquer. The SRC and ARC leadership should be commended for this.”

Nkomo said students are pleading with university management to intervene in the ill treatment of out-sourced workers and do away with its policy of out-sourcing companies. “Contractors like Royal Mnandi put the university’s name into disrepute,” said Nkomo.

Students gathered at the main dining hall in peaceful protest on Monday and Tuesday chanting “Cancel lunch meals, support dismissed workers” and singing “My mother was a kitchen girl. My father was a garden boy. That’s why I’m a freedom fighter.”

A bigger demonstration is planned for next Wednesday. The boycott is being led by the Workers Solidarity Committee (WSC), SRC and ARC.

“students are prepared to implement violent action if the 17 chefs are not reinstated,” said Nkomo.