S & M-ing brings thrills at the SEXPO

If like Rihanna, chains and whips excite you, Sexpo is definitely your scene.
The Johannesburg leg of the health, sexuality and lifestyle Expo kicked off yesterday at the Gallagher Estate, Midrand.
The exhibition aims to educate and inform crowds on sexual health, sensuality, sexuality and beauty in a fun space. Exhibitors will set up stalls where patrons can browse and buy something fun. Local and international adult entertainers will also take to the stage for live performances.
Comedians, hypnotists, dancers and musicians will also perform.
The amateur strip is great fun because the crowd gets to participate.
Patrons will be given an opportunity to strut their stuff on the main stage and win  prizes.
One of this year’s highlight attractions will be body artist Charl Bubb. He’ll be using the bodies of Sexpo patrons as his canvas.
Another main attraction is the Las Vegas Love chapel giving patrons an opportunity to do what we only see in the movies.
Sexpo is on until October 2.

Forgiving and serving my soul

No quote annoys me more than “be grateful because someone out there has it worse than you”; it never comforts me or makes my situation seem better.

Also, I feel that it belittles one’s situation and doesn’t give them time to mourn the crappy stage in their life.

A month ago, I was told a family secret that crushed me. I cried non-stop for days and found myself questioning everything I was ever told as a child and young adult.

I felt it changed my whole identity and that my life now revolved around this secret.

The cat hasn’t been brought up again since it was let out of the bag – mostly because I’m still in mourning for the life I once knew.

A part of me wants to hold on to it and hate the messenger, but then my heart knows and understands that 21 years of unconditional love forgives and forgets. The thing with life is, no matter how bad your situation is, it doesn’t stop – life and people keep moving.

I found myself blurting out the secret to strangers and wanting the world to mourn with me. I felt as though life was happening around me and I was in the middle, screaming for help in a language no one understood. My problem seemed too large for God even.

Things are better now, not 100%, but better. I’m letting go of the pain and anger because it has held me hostage for too long. It’s not easy but I make the effort to make every day better than the one before. I love, laugh and live with my whole heart.

They say we’re spiritual beings having a human experience. I think about the secret and cry often when the pain stabs. It helps.

Yes, people all over the world are suffering, but your pain and hardships are not to be compared. Allow yourself to be emotional. Serve and value your soul.

I was told the secret was kept until I was “old enough” to deal with it. Growing up is tough but people are tougher. I now know that life’s ugliness plays a big part in its beauty. It took great pain to remind me of how quickly life can change and be shown how beautiful and freeing forgiveness can be.

Hayani is where the art is

CONFLICT BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: Atandwa Kani (left) and Nat Ramabulana hit home om their autobiographic performance Hayani snoming at the Market Theatre, Newtown

No matter how complex one’s upbringing and adult life are, Hayani’s characters find that home is where the heart rests.
The staging of Hayani (meaning home in Tshivenda) looks at the true tales of two South African men – revealing their honest, multifaceted and emotional journey towards understanding themselves through the transitional years of South Africa’s democracy.
The play is directed and collaborated by Warren Nebe, senior lecturer in the Wits school of arts. His directing credits include the Drama for Life festival, Born in the RSA and Crocodile.
Nat Ramabulana and Atandwa Kani play their personal narratives while slipping in and out of the characters of their parents, siblings, neighbours and friends – they do so swiftly and effortlessly. They don’t act – they become the characters and pull the audie

nce into the different times and places – making them forget that they’re watching a play.
Ramabulana is an award-winning actor who graduated with a degree in dramatic art in 2008. He has acted in film, television and theatre productions. These include Jerusalema, The Bang Bang Club and M-Net soapie The Wild.
Kani is an actor with an honours degree in theatrical performance. He made his television debut on a show in the United States and his international stage debut in The Tempest alongside his father John Kani, an industry veteran.
Hayani is an accomplished and entertaining play; the audience laughed through their tribulations and empathised with them through their hardships.
With no costume changes and minimal use of props, the actors’ storytelling proves to be even more compelling.
Every move is done with purpose. Also, their excellent use of performance space makes the play more engaging.
The production is a nostalgic experience because even if you don’t relate to Ramabulana and Kani’s tales, you’ll know of someone who might.
Matthew MacFarlane adds to the emotion of the play with live acoustic sounds.  isiXhosa, Tshivenda and English are the languages spoken in the play.
It is beautiful, intelligent, sincere and ugly all wrapped up in one.
The play is proof that in a time when we know more about the Kardashians than ourselves, the culture of oral storytelling is still alive.
The play is on at the Market Theatre Laboratory until tomorrow at 8pm. Tickets cost R80 and R50 for students and pensioners.


Tickets are sold at the door or   www.computicket.com

Be a legend, plant a tree

Under the oldest tree in Johannesburg, deputy vice-chancellor Professor Yunus Ballim and Johannesburg City Parks marked the opening of Arbor week (September 1-7) on Tuesday afternoon. The event was held under the eucalyptus Champion Tree on West Campus. Arbor week highlights the importance for people to care for trees to increase air quality.

Monthly winners of the photography competition “Viewing Johannesburg through green lenses” were also announced on the day. The competition, where photographers take pictures of a green Johannesburg,  continues until early next year.

The Wits Choir and marimba group Indlu enkhulu entertained guests. Children from Lapeng pre-school brought joy to the event and helped commemorate the day by planting a tree.

 “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffet.


Photos: Thato Motaung




Arts Alive sets Jozi alight

Maxi-dresses, hot-pants and cute boys with washboard chests are great, but the spring season blossoms further.
The Arts Alive festival promises to make Jo’burg come alive with music, theater, comedy and more this month.

Veteran poet Don Mattera and musician Pops Mohamed kicked the festival off on Thursday and set a beautiful tone for the month-long event.
Artists Tumi and the Volume, The Soil  and MTV Africa Music Award nominee Așa are some of the other musicians scheduled to perform.
The Soweto Wine Festival (September 1-4) and Jazz on the Lake at midday this Sunday will unquestionably be a hit with audiences.
The wine festival will have wine education classes, as well as travel lounges and exhibits.
This year, Arts Alive has joined forces with SA Fashion Week. Local designers will showcase their winter threads at the Shrine Studios in Braamfontein and other venues on the last weekend of the month. Gert Johan Coetzee, who often dresses IT-girl Bonang Matheba, is one such designer.
Among the visual art showings and film and culture festivals, aspiring artists will be given opportunities to visit workshops where more experienced artists will share their expertise and experiences with them.There’s something for everyone all month long.
Most Arts Alive events are reasonably priced and Witsies will be happy to hear that others are free of charge and all venues are located within easy reach, including on East Campus.
For a programme and more information, check www.artsalive.co.za

Bottoms up for Kudu beer

American singer Trey Songz won’t be the only one singing Say aaahhhh this weekend. Four chemical engineering students will put judges to a lip-smacking test when they participate in the annual intervarsity brewing competition hosted by Wits this weekend. The event takes place at the South African Brewery Training institute in Johannesburg.

The brewed beers will be judged by a panel of experienced and accredited Craft Beer tasters and judges from brewing clubs in Gauteng, according to international testing standards. Factors such as the conditioning and clarity of the beer will count and extracts of yeast should not be visible. The labels of the different beers will also be judged.

Nine universities will go up against defending champions University of Pretoria. Teams will be judged in three different categories: lager, ale and speciality beer. The speciality beer gives teams an opportunity to deviate from the normal beer making formula.

Evanie Deenanath, one of the Witsie competitors, says that their speciality beer is made from lager yeast and a mixture of various malts, mostly pale malt. The beer has a low sugar content and contains 3% alcohol. Their larger has a much higher sugar content and an alcohol content of 6%.

Deenanath, Ezekiel Madigoe, Augustine Mamvuka and Diakanua Nkazi form the Wits team who’ve created the Kudu lager, Kudu ale and Kudu light.

Their brewing process was done in their micro-brewery in the Richard Ward building. The plant uses basic technology and a new control system used to monitor temperature and control parameters. Before the addition of their Siemens control system, things were more manual.

The Vuvuzela team got to taste the lager and speciality beer. Kudu light (the speciality beer) is sweet and light; whereas the lager – Kudu Lager is bitter, strong and has great body. There is a great balance of hops and yeast in the lager. Hops are herbs used to impart a bitter and tangy flavour to beer.

Last year, the Wits team came second in all beer categories. This year they are hoping to take the trophy and bragging rights.

HOME BASE:The Wits micro-brewery where students brewed their beers for the intervarsity competition this week.

Guard stops suicide

: Traffic Officer Michael Bodibe point to the ledge a girl attempting suicide stood barefooted.

IN a scene that could have been in an action movie, a Wits traffic control officer grabbed the arm of a young girl and stopped her plunging to her death on the M1 South highway on Wednesday morningOfficer Michael Bodibe says he was walking up towards the Amic deck, at aabout 10.20am, when he saw a woman’s handbag and shoes lying on the grass. He then noticed a girl who had climbed over a railing and was standing on the ledge of the Amic deck, above the  highway.

“You know, I just said to myself; if I can save this girl dear God… the only life lost now is my radio which fell on the ledge), but at least that can be retrieved.”

. As Bodibe was holding onto the girl, he called on some students  to help him pull her over the railing (almost a metre high). “I grabbed her hand because I saw that if I held her jersey – she’d be gone.”

Once Bodibe and two students helped get the girl over the railing, Bodibe says he  borrowed a radio from a colleagues and called security campus. “They literally had to cuddle her because she was fighting them off, screaming ‘let me go, let me go’”, said Rofhiwa Madzena, a first year student who witnessed the event.

“He (Bodibe) literally caught her in the nick of time. I feel pretty traumatised… It was unbelievable because sadly, you see this in the movies, but don’t expect to see it first-hand”.

Bodibe says campus security arrived shortly after he made the SOS call. “They (campus security) took her to Social Sciences – they went with the boy who helped me.”

On Thursday, Bodibe said the social work department confirmed the girl was brought to their offices. Michael Mahada of campus control said, “The student is in a stable condition and has now been transferred to a hospital where she is being treated”.

A first class ticket to hell and back

It’s raunchy and vulgar, but more importantly, it’s a true depiction of past and future relativity and what township life can be like. Relativity – Township stories is on at the Wits Main Theatre until August 27. Whether one walks out of the play thinking it confronted some necessary truths and violence in townships or that it was too explicit and provocative- it will definitely have people thinking about the complexity of black people and the lives they live.

The play is written by award-winning director Paul Grootboom and actor Presley Chweneyagae of Tsotsi fame; with a cast made up of Witsies. Tsepo Wa Mamatu, the play’s director, says he went through various exercises to get the cast members out of their shells and into their intense and brave roles.   

The play revolves around the personal story of a township’s serial killer,  has an age restriction of 16 and is almost three hours long. In my opinion, it has several Oscar-worthy performances.

“This play is a love letter to blackness – to its weaknesses and to where it can go,” says Mamatu.

IT'S ALL RELATIVE: Tony Bonani Miyambo and Coco Vete at the start of what becomes an explicit brutal rape scene

“We often hear people talking about the struggles in the past, but no one is speaking to the future.  It begs the question: is blackness ready to move into the future when at the moment it is dealing with so many weaknesses?

” The play “says to you, if you had a choice to walk out of life, that’s what you’d do. But in the play, no one has the option to walk out. You have to confront the monster.  For it to do that, it can’t give a sermon. It has to take you to the very depths of what hell is, [for you] to aspire to a particular haven. But you need to know that hell because being black is a hellish experience because the world is anti-black”.

There’s lots of great music in the production; Mamatu says it’s there to bring comfort to the traumatic and sometimes uncomfortable scenes. 

Setswana, IsiZulu and Sesotho are some of the languages spoken throughout the play. I worry that non-speaking audiences might get lost. Mamatu affirms that this is a township experience. As a non-speaker of these languages, you’re an eavesdropper, and “it’s okay to be estranged by the experience”.

Talks on the play are being taken to the South African State Theatre, the Grahamstown arts festival and a festival in Europe.

Smart Witsies make smart moves

The Counselling and Careers Development Unit (CCDU) is launching the Smart Moves campaign next week to create awareness around health, lifestyle and gender issues. 

The campaign will run on East and West Campus between August 15 and 18 and on Education Campus on the 19th.

The sex and alcohol and Let’s red card HIV campaigns will also be running in the week. These campaigns have proven to be popular with students in previous years.

The campaign is taking a human rights approach to promote diversity and respect for one another. “We need to be responsible about our choices because our decisions can affect others; especially in this kind of small society and open environment and culture.

We can easily cross those boundaries and infringe others (of their rights)”, says the CCDU HIV co-ordinator Vinoba Krishna. She says the campaign is structured to be more “colourful and embracing of other issues”.

To make the Smart Moves campaign more accessible to students and more engaging, it will be run by students who volunteer at the CCDU. “Meaningful” giveaways will be handed out at the stalls Campus Health will be on site to run wellness tests.

They will calculate body mass indices of students and also check glucose levels. Phuza Wize (drink wisely) will also be taking part in this project to help students make wiser decisions when engaging in sexual intercourse under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Slam @ the Bassline


Ntsiki Mazwai is one of the headlining acts this Saturday


Among the many events celebrating women this month is the Sibikwa Art Centre’s Seriti sa Basadi (Dignity of Women) Festival, which kicks off with a poetry event on August 6 at The Bassline in Newtown.

Headliners for the day-long event will feature spoken word poets Natalia Molebatsi, Ntsiki Mazwai, Ameera Patel, Linda Gabriel and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers.  

Festival manager Tonderai Chiyindiko says choosing performers was a “difficult choice” because of budget and time constraints, as well as the wide pool of talented poets available.

“We’re not saying these are the best poets, but they are among the best poets,” he added.

This celebration of womanhood offers up-and-coming poets a platform to showcase their untapped talent and be mentored by  more established poets. It will cost R5 for participants to “buy a mic” and recite their poetry for three minutes.

The event organisers promise a “wild, contagious forum for like-minded folk of varying ages to exchange ideas and energies”.

There is no particular topic or theme, but performers are expected to interpret their understanding of Seriti sa Basadi and showcase it in their unique styles, says Chiyindiko.

The other leg of the festival is the Women in Dance and Music carnival happening at Liverpool Park in Benoni on August 14.

Various music and community dance groups will be performing during the day and later in the afternoon; Ladies in Jazz will perform at the Sibikwa Theatre. They will be joined by two giant female puppets – courtesy of The Giant Match.

Ladies will also be treated to reasonably priced massages on the day. “Any massage that can be done in public will be on offer,” says Chiyindiko jokingly.

Fans can look forward to a guest appearance by Lira. The Feel Good songstress will be taking pictures with her fans and signing autographs.




Stress managed is stress no more

Research shows that South Africa is fast becoming a suicide capital. The number of young adults (aged 15-24) who commit and attempt suicide exceeds the international rate.

Stress, as well as the pressures and demands of school work and exams, can become too much for students. Enoch Motsoaledi, an academic lecturer at Wits who is studying towards a PhD in clinical psychology, says individuals may see suicide as their only option when experiencing deep despair and hopelessness.

Motsoaledi explains that signs that one is stressed differ from person to person, but that most people have common responses. “Experiencing stress can lead to physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms”, says Motsoaledi. These symptoms are a reflection of fight-flight response and not a sign of disease. “Stress is not a disease.”

Some physical symptoms of stress are breathlessness, fatigue, tension headaches and a dry mouth. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, inability to cope, hopelessness/helplessness and mood swings.

Stress is manageable but because of the negative stigma surrounding therapy and counselling many people don’t seek help early and this leads to one’s problems worsening, says Esther Monyela, an education psychologist.

The Wits Career Counselling and Development Unit (CCDU) has support structures for students feeling stressed and not coping with their studies.

They have trained professionals who offer counselling and therapy services to students. Their role is to help you help yourself. They operate in line with standards governed by the Health Professionals Council of South Africa and their services are strictly confidential.

For student experiencing a crisis and need to see a therapist prior to booking an appointment, a therapist will be available. The CCDU also offers group and peer therapy. Peer therapy involves counselling by psychology masters students, who are supervised by qualified psychologists.

If you’re afraid to get help because of the stigma associated with therapy, Motsoaledi encourages you to build supportive relationships, engage in positive self-talk and practise relaxation techniques.

Acknowledging your problem and the elements of your problem through therapy and counselling could save your life.

For more information, visit the CCDU on West Campus or contact them on 011 717 9140/32 or info.ccdu@wits.ac.za

A star in her own right – Nomsa Mazwai

OUTSPOKEN AND TALENTED: Sama winner and activist Nomsa Mazwai

Even with the disaster that was the South African Music Awards (SAMAs), this past weekend, South Africans got to see the different talent in the industry from the nominee list and performances on the two-day event.

Although many great acts failed to make the nominee list for the event that was held at Monte Casino; acts such as Professor, Liquideep, Locinville and Nomsa Mazwai went home with awards.

When I secured an interview Mazwai early this week, my week was made because a few months ago, I was introduced to her poem Ebony and Ivory. Her recited truths resonated so much with my experiences as a young South African., as I am sure many others will say the same after hearing it.

Activist, Poet and singer Mazwai was nominated for three SAMAs this year: Best alternative (African), Best newcomer and Best Album packaging. “I didn’t expect three nominations. I was over the moon Yazi… I was walking on clouds for like four-five days.

“It was also just so wonderful, a kind of affirmation because your peers are saying you’re good and when I won I was like whaaat!!”.

Mazwai expressed that she felt she did deserve “at least one award” for all the hard work that was put in by her and all those that contributed to the album. She says it was amazing to have other people buy into her dream and she wanted them too to be awarded because when making the album, she didn’t have much money to pay everyone.

Mazwai did not study music, so she says it was difficult to have everyone understand what she wanted because she does not understand the terminology used by those who studied music. She is doing her Masters in Political Economics at Fordham University on the United States of America. She says this is her first passion and music is second.

Her album Nomisupa(star) is a fusion of Drum-base and Afro jazz. Most are love songs. “I love to love, I fall in love insanely”. Her lyrics confirm this. Listening to the album, I felt as if I was the best friend she told everything to about her love life. She also features songs that discuss politics. Her Album being for all Africans, she does have a song sung in French, a language she speaks fluently.

Check witsvuvuzela.com for an in-depth article of Mazwai and her thoughts on the SAMA event, politics, the education system and her other work.