Editorial for Final Edition

All great things eventually come to an end – the same applies to Vuvuzela.
It is very unfortunate that our last issue exposes an incident of racism at the school of statistics and actuarial sciences.
There are individuals in society who always take our progress as a democracy a step back, and resort to racism instead of resolving their issues sensibly.
Campus was abuzz with celebrations at Wits Pride and the theme for this year was acceptance of each other’s sexual preferences.
We want to thank all of you who have picked up an issue from the stands and read our stories, for Witsies by Witsies. Even those who gave us flak – you made us better journos.

‘Secrecy Bill’under the spotlight

Opponents of the Secrecy Bill believe its delay signifies a division within the ANC over its contents – a claim which the party denies.

The proposal, also known as the Protection of Information Bill, would give the minister of State Security the power to classify government information. Unauthorised people found in possession of such information could then be prosecuted and face jail terms. This would include journalists and whistleblowers.

The Bill was supposed to be voted on in Parliament on Tuesday 20. It is now in the hands of the National Assembly and not the ad hoc committee.

Right2Know campaigner Dale McKinley said the delay shows “dissension within the ANC itself [over the Bill]”.

The ANC have denied this and said the reason for the delay is to allow further consultation on the Bill. Motshekga believes the Bill will be approved before the end of the year.

The Right2Know Campaign held a night vigil on Monday night in opposition to the proposal. Organiser for the group’s Gauteng campaign, Siphiwe Segodi, said if the bill were passed in its current form it would mean the “death of [our] democracy”.

About 120 people attended the vigil on Constitution Hill and spoke out about how the Bill would affect them.

Segodi said he was not confident the Bill would be dropped or radically changed because of the ANC’s majority in Parliament.

Lyndall Shope-Mafole, Congress of the People leader in the Gauteng legislature, said:

“When I was still part of the ANC, we talked about this threat, while we were in Polokwane. This is exactly what we meant in 2008 and that is what is happening now. We should not be silenced.”

Opposition groups claim the Bill will allow the government to hide corruption and mismanagement.

“There is no reason whatsoever, limited as our current freedom is, that we should give it away in inches again like this,” said a member of the Media Organisation of South Africa.

Wits falls as UCT climbs

Wits has fallen 39 places in the annual Quacquarelli Symonds World University rankings to 399 – down from 360 last year.

Climbing up five places and ranked at 156 is the University of Cape Town. It remains the sole African university to make it into the top 200 of the world’s best universities.

“In the world we have 25 000 universities and league tables only focus on the top 500. So being positioned number 399, with the number of universities in the world, you realise Wits made strides in cutting itself globally and being recognised as one of the best universities. But we need to improve,”  Nhlanhla Cele, director of strategic planning, says.

Cele says research output is a very strong criteria to establish  a university’s position.

Cele says they aim to introduce  21st century research institutes  built around areas of academic excellence at Wits.

Wits will bring in high-level researchers and academics, high-achieving postgraduate, masters and PhD students to build on their strong research culture, “with the view that we are in the top 100 by 2022”.

Cele says, however, that Wits wants to be known for good teaching and not just research. “Academic excellence and the Wits experience are priority number one.”

In 2007 the then deputy vice chancellor, Professor Loyiso Nongxa, discussed plans to get Wits into the top 100 institutions in the world by the university’s centenary in 2022.

Cele says  Wits Vision 2022 is a strategic planning process started two-and-a-half years ago after evaluating Wits performance against the previous plan called Wits 2010.

University faculties were also ranked in the survey, placing the Wits life sciences and medical faculty at  281 – still trailing UCT’s faculty ranked at 169.

Criteria for the ranking include academic and employer reputation as well as the number of foreign students attracted

The survey evaluated 2 919 universities, including 15 in South Africa, and ranked the top 712 across the world.

The top 10 universities were all from the United Kingdom and United States, with the University of Cambridge topping the list. Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in second and third.

Bouncing to the Africa Games

TWO players from the Wits Basketball Club have been selected to represent South Africa at this year’s All Africa Games (AAG).


Lebesa Selepe and Wayne Mhlongo play for the Wits men’s first team and have been instrumental in the team’s success for the past two seasons.


Mhlongo played for the senior basketball side in January in the qualifiers for the AfroBasketball Championships held in Madagascar last month and also for the AAG.


“Playing for the national team is very nice, to be selected amongst the best that the population (of basketball) has to offer is an honour, seeing that I enjoy the sport so much,” says Mhlongo.


It is unfortunate that final year BA student Mhlongo had to withdraw from the team.


“I decided to pull out because I’m in my final year and therefore I cannot sacrifice my work to make myself eligible to represent the country.


“It is unfortunate and disappointing, but a critical and important decision had to be made on my part,” he said.
Second year law student, Selepe, played for the U20 national basketball team last year.


“It is an honour and privilege to represent my country at the games and I hope to do my best,” Selepe says.
Selepe will be playing as points guard.


The two players are on Department of Sports and Recreation bursaries. This year’s AAG will be held in Maputo, Mozambique, from September 3-18. Wits Sports is  proud of the two students and wishes them well.



Men’s squash on top of their game

 The Wits Squash men’s team won their matches 12-6 against Edenvale Squash Club on Wednesday night.

 The Gauteng second league games were played at the Wits Squash Club. The ninth team consisted of captain, Shaun Rowe, Timothy Reeder, Chris Lines and Timothy Rokebrand.

 “It was a tough game, but I am glad I won. I hope to do better in my next games, just to improve,” Rowe said.

 It was a hard-fought game across all four courts as the men all struggled to beat their Edenvale opponents.

 “Everybody will have to work much harder in our next games, because they are not going to be easy, but well done to the boys for doing their best,” said Rowe.

 Reeder and Rokebrand won their games 3-2, while Lines and Rowe thrashed their opponents 3-1.

 The men’s first team will play their next game on August 30.



Rowing their boat all the way to Slovenia

Three rowers from the Wits Boat Club will be competing at the World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia at the end of the month.

Stephen Mattushek, Sisanda Msekele and Samantha de Reuck were selected as part of the South African senior rowing team. The students have an opportunity to impress scouts for the London Olympics.

Msekele is a blind student at Wits and will be representing the female senior squad. De Reuck and Mattushek will be rowing in the adaptive boat crew. De Reuck is the cox.

Wits men’s captain, Mattushek, has not won many races this year. “I’ve finished in second place many times. But of those second places, some have been crucial in my rise to international level.”

The senior rowing squad consists of 15 athletes of whom six are from the University of Pretoria (Tuks), one student is from the University of Cape Town, two University of Johannesburg students and the remainder are non-students.

“I had just finished competing at the U23 world championships in Amsterdam when I was asked by the national coach to keep rowing and join the senior squad,” says Mattushek.

He will be rowing in the senior men’s pair competition with Lawrence Ndlovu from Tuks.

The students leave on Sunday for Slovenia, where they will train for a week, before their first race on August 28. They will have daily races during the championships.



‘Agents’ snubbed by PSC, welcomed by Palestinian envoy

 After being boycotted by the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) on campus  during their three-day visit to Gauteng, the Palestinian ambassador to SA invited Israeli students for a discussion on Wednesday afternoon.

 Ambassador Ali Hamlleh emphasised that the Palestinian embassy does not support PSC elements who criticise the embassy and its policies.

“Our position is to meet an Israeli, not to boycott. If we boycott them and they do the same we can’t find solutions.”

 Twenty-two Israeli students, who call themselves ‘What Is rael’, are on a tour to five universities in South Africa. The South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) says the students are in the country to engage in peaceful dialogue and discussions about the conflict in the Middle East.

 However, the PSC and the South African Student Congress (Sasco) refused to dialogue with the students and staged silent protest across campus on Monday.

 The Wits PSC called on all students to boycott the talks by the Israeli students. During the panel discussions at Wits, they silently stood up to interrupt the proceedings and later walked out chanting “Panzi Israel panzi”.

 On Monday, the PSC students wore red T-shirts with profiles of the Israeli students on their backs, handing out pamphlets stating that the students are ‘apartheid agents’ sent by the Israeli government to spread propaganda.

 Sasco member, Bongani Masondo, said in a press conference a week before the students’ arrival: “We have engaged with some organisations in South Africa which hold similar views held by the Israeli apartheid regime. We are not really afraid of any engagement, but we have a problem with people who are sent clearly as agents.”

 Despite these accusations, the Israeli students said they felt that SA students were warm and welcoming, many of whom had never met an Israeli.

 The students held panel discussions at UJ on Tuesday, where the discussions were moderated by deputy vice chancellor Professor Adam Habib, and visited the University of Pretoria on Wednesday.

 ‘What Is rael’ will be visiting other universities and meeting with prominent public figures like Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu during their last few days in South Africa.

 “We’ve been receiving great reactions, have learnt more about South Africa and hope to have taught South Africans more about Israel. It’s been a great experience,” said Asaf Gilboa, one of the students.



New executive for SIFE




ONE Day Leader winner, Lesley Masibi, was elected the new president of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) alongside the newly elected executive committee on Monday.


“In essence I see this position as an opportunity to  have a positive impact in the lives of many, irrespective of how minute, and it’s an opportunity to contribute, as part of a collective, towards helping others become better people who can contribute towards making our nation a better place to live in,” says Masibi.


Masibi recently won the One Day Leader reality TV competition in which six potential youth leaders compete for the opportunity to effect change and gain experience in positions of leadership with an internship in the offices of the National Youth Development Agency chairperson and the Presidency.


SIFE’s goals are to develop students to become future leaders who will in turn empower their own communities.


The new executives plan to embark on new projects, collaborate with different faculties on campus as well as companies in the coming year.


“The organisation is not only for those students doing BCom degrees, but everybody else who would like to do a bit of community work with an entrepreneur leg to it,” says Ngobeni.


Masibi says their vision is also to improve SIFE’s relations with the university, the private sector and civil society because they are essential to the organisation’s success.


Nkosi says, “In my new role, I hope to introduce more entrepreneurship seminars for all students on campus. SIFE would like to host speakers with a keen interest in community development and empowerment.”


Wits came fifth at this year’s national competition held at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park. Teams from numerous tertiary institutions presented their projects to panels of business executives from various companies. The University of KwaZulu-Natal won and will represent South Africa at the SIFE World Cup in October.

Wits hockey survives jaws of relegation

The Wits men’s first team hockey had a must-win encounter against New Rovers to avoid threats of potential relegation from the Southern Gauteng hockey premier league on Tuesday evening at the Randburg Sports Grounds.

Wits won the game with a single goal. The game started with a fast pace, with New Rovers showing dominance and controlling much of the first few minutes of the game.

Wits soon settled into the fast-paced game pushing up into the New Rovers goal area but unable to net in the goals. Freezing conditions on Tuesday evening might have affected both teams’ performances, however they warmed up quickly and were able to play great hockey.

The Wits performance was also slacking a bit without their star striker Jaryd Poval, who was out because of a knee injury. New Rovers were not taking the game lightly either because they were also facing possible relegation to a lower league.

Wits goalie Cole Zondhag saved a flick into the goals that could have opened the lead for New Rovers. Both teams created numerous chances but failed to convert in the first half.

Wits opened the lead minutes into the second half by the captain, Kelsey Stuart, after a short corner. This instilled a whole new approach to the game as the Wits boys attacked continuously throughout the second half.

New Rovers continued their tough attack on Wits, hoping to equalise to keep their lifeline of staying in the premier league.

“I think we played well considering that our intervarsity tournament in Pietermaritzburg didn’t go so well,” said Wits striker Paul Ndiweni. Our main problem is that we struggle to score goals.”

Wits  will play their final game of the season in two weeks time and hope to produce a favourable result again.

The Wits team is now 10th on the log with only four points. University of Johannesburg A is on top of the log with two points separating them from second position Wanderers A.

In the Men’s 2nd league, Wits B is second on the log, eight points behind leaders Beaulieu A. Wits B will play their next game on Sunday at the St John’s Astro in Houghton.

The women’s team is currenlty in the 8th position  of the premier league.


SIFE team lending a hand

The Wits Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team finished fifth place at the National Competition held earlier this month. The University of Kwa-zulu Natal won the competition and will be representing South Africa at the SIFE World Cup.

The teams are challenged to develop community outreach projects that reach SIFE’s educational topics such as market economics, entrepreneurship and business ethics.

SIFE teams from the country present the results of their outreach projects to determine which teams made the most impact on their communities.

Twenty-six teams participate on the first round, in four leagues. Two teams from the four leagues advance to the semi-finals and finally four teams at the finals. An awards ceremony is held at the end of the two day event.

Wits SIFE President Neilwe Mashigo says, “We were really disappointed after the Thematic awards ceremony on the first day, when Wits only walked away with one trophy. The teams that often win the most trophies go to the second round, but we were shocked to hear that we had made it to the semi-finals.”

In the first round the Wits team competed with Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Rhodes University; Tsiba education, University of Zululand and University of Limpopo.

“I am very proud of the team’s achievement and we will be starting with new projects in the coming weeks,” says Wits SIFE Faculty Advisor, Nicky Lowe.

The team presented some of their projects, namely: ‘Fit for life, Fit for Work’, a youth training scheme that combines life coping skills with work preparedness; ‘XenoSIFE’ is a project which seeks to help in building social cohesion and intergrate foreign nationals who are legally in the country, by devising a means for them to work together with locals in creating job opportunities.

The presentations are judged by leading business executives from companies like Harmony Gold, HSBC Africa, Nedbank, and Softline, to name a few. The national champion then goes to compete at the SIFE World Cup.

Thirty-nine SIFE teams are expected to participate in this year’s international competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Wits on top of their game

The Wits men’s second hockey team travelled across to the orange side of the Southern Gauteng hockey league, beating the University of Johannesburg’s D side on Sunday.

 This second division derby took place at UJ’s Astro turf in Melville against UJ’s D side who were prompted just above the Wits second side last season.

The game started with a good pace but soon turned scrappy with neither team giving much ground. Wits’s breakthrough came about 15 minutes after the start with a goal from Matthew Fletcher, whose shot squeezed past the keeper to be finished off in style by a diving flick into the net.

UJ responded with a goal drag-flicked into the bottom right corner of the box from a penalty corner 0 minutes after Fletcher scored a goal for Wits.

Fletcher struck again just before half time when strikers Fletcher, Devon Campbell and Chris Davey linked up perfectly, passing the ball right through the UJ defence, leaving Fletcher with a clear shot at the post.

The second half started off much like the first but soon became more heated with shots on target from either side but poor finishing. Wits had 3 penalty corners and finally scored the third goal with the last corner. A straight poke from Lieb van Jaarsveld was hit well into the bottom right of the goal. UJ had their fair share of opportunities from shots and penalty corners at the other end of the park but the Wits defence proved too strong and the game ended with Wits winning 3-1.

Life, Above All: An emotional journey

DIRECTOR: Oliver Schmitz

CAST: Lerato Mvelase, Harriet Manamela, Kgomotso Manyaka, Keaobaka Makanyane, Aubrey Poolo


Life, Above All is set in an unknown township and tells a story many people prefer not to talk about. It is about deep human emotions evoked by compassion and love. A young teenager stands up to her community when they chastise her mother for falling ill. Chanda, played by Khomotso Manyaka, is a bright young girl who has to grow up too quickly and drop out of school when her mother develops full-blown Aids.

Her best friend Esther (Keaobaka Makanyane) is even worse off: already orphaned and labelled a whore by the community, she figures she might as well behave like one to survive.

The film is based on a novel, Chanda’s Secrets, by Canadian Allan Stratton. It is not entirely about Aids but about how families fit into communities and how we try to help our friends.

Chanda is forced to take care of her two young siblings after her mother Lillian (Lerato Mvelase) becomes ill with the disease and depression from the loss of her new baby.  The father plays the typical role in a rural area – he is always drunk and steals the money Lillian makes from her sewing.


The mother, with the help of her neighbour Mrs Tafa (Harriet Manamela), decides to leave the community and go back to her village after a sangoma tells her that the only way to get better is by fixing the past.

The film touches on various issues that affect us in South Africa: child prostitution, alcohol abuse and the superstitions that children learn from a young age.

The film will bring tears to your eyes. It is an emotional journey that is not entirely sentimental. It shares the value of friendship, forgiveness, acceptance and honesty. It reminds us about the enormous community of people infected with Aids and how we forget about them.


Inasmuch as a South African would view this film as ordinary, it was well received overseas because the scenes appear foreign to international audiences. It makes one want to lend a helping hand.