Safety in Islamic numbers

According to crime statistics, the Fordsburg and Mayfair areas are two of the safest foreign-inhabited areas in Johannesburg. The Muslims in the area, which is increasing yearly, believe it is because of their peaceful nature. Can this be true?

Mayfair and Fordsburg have become places where refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants from the world come to find and protect one another.

For Mayfair, an area rich with foreign businesses and residents, the once “whites only” zone went through two xenophobic waves virtually unscathed.

Some residents, such as Amir Sheikh, have hailed the area as a safe haven for foreigners because of the peacefulness of Muslims, who make up the majority of the population.

Others though, still look over their shoulders and hold on tight to their children when walking in the streets and complain that ordinary crime is on the rise.

Somalis first foreigners

The vast majority of Somalis immigrated to this area in the early 1990s as their home country burnt with civil war.

“Early Somalis came here with almost nothing,” said Sheikh, who is chairman of the Somali Community Board of South Africa.

Luckily for these families, there were many Indian people of Islamic faith already living in the area.

This was partly due to a court judgment in the 1980s against apartheid’s Group Areas Act. A court ruled that Indian people could not be evicted under the Act if they bought or rented properties in Mayfair as the state couldn’t provide adequate alternative accommodation.

The wealthy and well-established Muslim Indians in the area helped the Somalis who shared their faith through one of the five pillars of Islam, zakāh . Zakāh is an annual payment made under Islamic law on certain types of property and used for charitable and religious resolves.

Bursary administrator for the South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF) Nqobani Mbanjwea talking to a possible donor via telephone from the Mint Street, Fordsburg, office. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

These Indians then took “shares” from their businesses and spread them among the destitute of the Muslim community, which included the Somalis.

As the years went by, foreign nationals from many different countries (most of which were Muslim) found solidarity living in the Mayfair and Fordsburg area, which had become increasingly commercial.

In Central Road you can find a spaza shop owned by a Bangladeshi, a clothing store owned by an Egyptian and a takeaway owned by an Indian. In the same street you would see Zimbabweans working as sales ladies and Mozambicans as chefs.

Somali Hussein Hussin in his mechanic and auto-electrical workshop, Al Maka, in Langerman Street, Mayfair. His trade is wanted more in South Africa than in his home country. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

“The truck at the borders already know to drop them [foreigners] here,” said Sheikh.

As to why the foreigners choose to settle in this area, local immigration practitioner Pieter Britz gave two reasons: The area has a lot of work for them as immigrants and some of their families are already living there.

Sheikh, however, believes foreign Muslim people choose to start their new lives in the area because “it is the only area close to the CBD that hosts people of Islamic faith”. This allows Muslims there the freedom to work and still practise their religion, such as taking breaks from work during the day to pray at a mosque.

Relatively safer?

According to Sheikh the crime rate in the area has dropped over the years, since his arrival in 2003, which he believes is due to the rising number of Muslims in the area as they are “peaceful people”.

Although the crime statistics in the area dropped to a recorded low in 2013, it increased 15% in the past two years.

Egyptian Salama Elshereef and his cousin have been working and living in Fordsburg since 2006. They followed their family here after they came to the country in 1997.

“Egyptian people here have a lot of businesses in all Islamic areas in South Africa. They helped me work my way up to owning a business.”

Elshereef agreed with Sheikh that the area became safer and more peaceful as the number of Muslims in the area grew.

“Where there are Muslims you will always feel safe,” said Elshereef, but contradictory to this statement he also noted that crimes of all sorts have shot up since the beginning of 2015.

“Crime is coming back to the area because it is getting business. Lots of foreign markets are getting busier, making more money and the thieves know,” said Elshereef.

Even with the belief that crime in the area has increased, Elshereef would still rather stay here than go back to Egypt.

“In Egypt life is better when talking about safety, but business here is better and I feel better near my family … that’s why I came here for them, not because I believe it’s safer,” said Elshereef.

Egyptian Salama Elshereef waiting for customers at his Muslim clothing store, Ameera’s Fashions, on the corner of Central Road and Dolly Rhadebe. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Zimbabwean Vanessa Chalmers said the area with all the different foreigners is “mostly friendly”.

Although “in all honesty” Chalmers said it is safer in her home country but “the economy, schooling systems and technologies are better in South Africa”.

The 21-year-old Chalmers said the area isn’t that violent although “there is always this one bum that is looking for trouble”.

‘There is fighting all the time. Shooting and stealing’

Ethiopian Hadra Ahmed is a newcomer to the vibrant foreigners’ hub. She came to South Africa in 2009 and, after living and working in Durban with her brother for five years, she moved to Mayfair in August to get married. Her fiancé owns a bistro and has been in the area for two years but she is not comfortable with the idea of living here.

“This is not [a] good area to raise kids,” Ahmed said before talking about her young daughter and her second child, which is on the way.

Ahmed went on to talk about how a Pakistani guy was hijacked on the corner of Bird Street and 9th Avenue, in front of the restaurant she has her coffee stall in.

“There is fighting all the time. Shooting and stealing. They stole the man’s car and drove back to shoot him.”

Although she believes the criminals to be South African, she doesn’t think they killed the man because he was a foreigner. “People here from all nations get attacked and killed, even South Africans.

“I like this country, but I’m scared when xenophobic attacks happen,” said Ahmed. Only bruises and an empty shop remained when her brother was attacked in Durban in 2008 with the first xenophobic wave.

“Here it is safer, but attacks still happen.”

Yet, she would rather stay here than go back home. “Life here is better, we do own business. There we can’t” due to economic conditions,” Ahmed explained.

Sheikh said he knows of one xenophobic attack that took place within the Fordsburg/Mayfair area. A Somali man was strangled to death in Carr Street in front of his garage in May 2008. Nothing was stolen.

Anti-foreigner sentiments were again spread in 2012 by a group that called themselves the South African Blacks Association, according to a media report.

The group circulated pamphlets and letters in the area warning foreigners that “we are coming for you”.

Gift of the Givers worker Fadia Jacobs on her way from the Mint Street, Fordsburg, office to go to a needy family in the area. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

They threatened to rape and kill foreign women along with the following: “We will burn your houses, your so-called luxury cars, we will kill your fucken [sic] puppies [children] and burn down your shops.”

As xenophobic violence affected South Africa in 2015, Mayfair’s Christ Church set up a refugee camp on its grounds with the support of Gift of the Givers, an African disaster relief organisation, and the community.

“This is truly a safe haven for us foreigners because when the xenophobic attacks happened other foreigners came here to find shelter,” said Sheikh.

Amir’s view of South Africa as hospitable and receptive has not changed due to the xenophobic attacks.

“The same person that gives you space to trade and doesn’t know your country of origin cannot actually be a xenophobe. Still there are people that cling to the element and claim things when there are tensions somewhere.”

Non-Muslims also welcome

Britz and his practice assist roughly 30 to 40 immigrants a month.

“I find that our clients integrate into the area easily … They have strength in numbers and know people here, they speak the same languages and know the same type of socialistic statuses.”  Then again, most of his clients are Muslims.

Muslim women waiting for friends before going to the mosque for Friday afternoon prayers. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

However, Sheikh said that while the area is dominated by Muslims, non-Muslims are also welcome.

“Non-Muslims have no difficulty coming into the community… we co-exist well,” said Sheikh.

He explained that people from the SADC region come to live and trade in the area.

“[It] doesn’t mean when you [are] of other faith that you are not accepted and accommodated into the community.” To strengthen his point, Sheikh used the example of the area’s ward counsellor, Barry Musesi, being “a black Christian from Limpopo”.

Although, over the years Sheikh has noted a change in pattern as the Muslims, especially the foreigners, are no longer as united in the area as they used to be.

“There is some inter-Islam racism and dislikes. There are talks about Somalis taking over everything … and a fear that we own most of the businesses in the area.”

Yet he believes that even with all the cultural differences they are still more united through Islam – with an understanding that their interactions are mutually beneficial.

Zimbabwean waitress Vanessa Chalmers wiping plates before Calisto’s Portuguese restaurant opened at 12pm on a Friday afternoon. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

But as a Zimbabwean Christian, Chalmers finds it difficult to integrate into the community, purely because of the tightly knit Muslim groups. She has been working in Fordsburg at Calisto’s Portuguese Restaurant for the past two months. She has been in the country from the beginning of 2015 to study accounting through South Africa’s distance university Unisa.

“Some of the Muslims are not that friendly, but with my work you are forced to get along with them. I found that if you are not of their kind, you are not seen as human.”

Other than her feeling uncomfortable in the presence of Muslims, she said she gets along well with all the other foreigners in the area.

Chalmers’s colleague, Gunjan Sur, has been in South Africa for five months under an “asylum seeker” status – although his life was not in danger in his home country.  His travel agent in India allegedly told him the status was the same as a five-year work permit. She was wrong and he can no longer get hold of her.

Although Sur is stuck in South Africa, he sometimes forgets because “there are people here from my country and from Bangladesh and Pakistan who follow different religions. I feel at home here”.

Nonetheless, despite some struggles and disputes, many foreigners still come to this area for protection and to build better lives for themselves. Compared to other areas where foreigners are found in great numbers, such as Hillbrow and Yeoville, this area still statistically remains one of the safest.

Whether Muslims are connected to the higher levels of safety for foreigners or not, the Fordsburg and Mayfair areas serve as the definition of a “rainbow nation” for many foreigners.

FEATURED IMAGE: Gift of the Givers worker Fadia Jacobs on her way from the Mint Street, Fordsburg, office to go to a needy family in the area. Photo: Anlerie de Wet


OPINION: Blacks are not “jealous” of White privilege

This serves as a response to the privileged white girl Anlerie de Wet on her piece that appeared in the Wits Vuvuzela, on August 24, 2015. De Wet states that she was, “only bouncing around her father’s testicles” when the racist lunatics orchestrated the venomous system of colonialism in all its manifestations – internal, external, apartheid and structural mechanisms that served and continues to serve as restrictions for the black man to gain economic emancipation in his own land.

It is important to initially clarify the historic events because they shape the current material conditions that many black people are subjected to survive under.

De Wet might have ‘been bouncing in her father’s testicles’ when the separate developments were implemented by her forefathers, but she does not have to ignore the fact that her parents received quality education while many of our parents, as black people, were the initial recipients of inferior education that systematically shaped them to be slaves. It is therefore easy for De Wet’s parents to be promoted at work as she clearly stated in her piece.
While on the other hand, our black parents are coerced to be in the primary sector of economic activities, they work hard in the field, and in the assembly line to increase productivity.  Our parents are exploited and alienated from the benefits of their hard labour, they earn peanuts, while white monopoly capital advocates enjoy the surplus through profit obtained from the sweat of our parents.
Our parents are not slaves because they want to be. The workers that De Wet always sees on campus are not cleaning toilets because they want to but they sell their labour all the time, to put food in the table for their children. They are not stupid, most of them would have been doctors, lawyers, successful entrepreneurs and good educators today, but they cannot be that, because De Wet’s parents and many others who share the same pigmentation with her are pure beneficiaries of institutionalised racism.
I keep wondering if she ever noticed that there are no white cleaners on campus? Well, she seems to have the same mentality as the apartheid engineers for they believed that white people are blessed and black people are cursed. Maybe that is why she keeps emphasising that she is “blessed”; does it then mean that the black workers on campus are not blessed?
We are not jealous of white privilege. In fact, for many black poor students who have no place to sleep and often feed on food from dustbins at night, they do not care about white people who “reside in Sandton” and own “Iphones” per de Wet’s example of the wealth of white people.
But black students do care about academic excellence, striving to be employed and then to transform the material conditions at home.
De Wet is thinking about creating an environment that will make her white kids privileged like her, but we not even thinking about our future kids, because we have our families to care about and also our communities.
Her utterances are a pure indication that most of the white people are in tertiary institutions to create a better future for their kids, while the black poor majority have a bigger task to firstly combat poverty at home, in our societies and also create better conditions for our kids.
De Wet is not alone, there are many like her who are prepared to protect and enhance white monopoly capital using the phrases, “blessed” and “equal”. It cannot be that the All Mighty God blesses thieves.
I mean De Wet was too quick to say that she is blessed, and it is not a sin to be privileged, well the Ten Commandments put it clear that; “Thou shalt not steal” De Wet’s forefathers stole our land! Let them bring back our land then we can talk about blessings.
Bhekithemba Mbatha is a Postgraduate Law student who hails from Orlando, Soweto.

Wits defends marks release dates

Wits University students receive their first semester results close to the start of the second semester. As a result, many complain that they go through unnecessary stress over their holidays waiting for marks to be released. The university says the long procedure is to the benefit of the students.

09_HomelessWits University prides itself in its complicated and lengthy marking procedure, but students complain about the long wait to receive marks.

First-year architecture student Siphokazi William, who received the majority of her marks last Friday, said it is stressful to wait so long for results. “I want to know if I passed and move on.”

William and her fellow classmates only received their mathematics marks on Tuesday,  July 21, a day after the start of the new semester. The posting of the results on a noticeboard went more than 10 days beyond the requirement of the university’s Senate Standing Order.

One of the reasons the marking process is so long is due to the external marking process used by Wits, according to the Dean of Humanities, Professor Ruksana Osman.

She explained that “50% of all course work of undergraduates and postgraduates must be externally marked”, in order to focus on students at risk sooner than later.

Another issue delaying results is the new system of online access to marks.

With the use of two systems to submit the results online, “interfacing” takes a lot of time, according to Head of Academic Information and Systems Unit, Maggie Maseka. “We had a few glitches here and there we picked-up and will fix, but 96% of students didn’t have a problem getting their marks.”

Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Andrew Crouch, said there were two faculties that asked for an extension delaying the release of marks. In one case there was a lecturer who did not submit their marks on time and who currently faces disciplinary action.

Generally the university staff believes there has been a great improvement to the marks system in the past couple of years.

“We have a fairly complex procedure to follow, but it is to the benefit of the students,” said Crouch.

Gymnastics club and Wits Sport in USSA tussle

Wits Gymnastics may not be attending the USSA tournament over a demand for a fee of R1500 per gymnast by Wits Sport. Wits Sport has argued the club hasn’t done its part in fundraising and must now step up to the plate.


HOOLA HOOPING:Senior Wits gymnast Makgotso Tibane showed impressive structure and skills doing her first competition in rhythmic gymnastics in the hoops section early May. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Wits Gymnastics athletes were left disappointed when they learned will not receive funding from Wits Sport to attend the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament this June.

Wits head of sport, Adrian Carter, notified the club’s co-chairperson, Nonkululeko Mdluli earlier this week that the club has not met funding requirements to attend the USSA Gymnastics tournament end of June in Potchefstroom unless each competing member coughed up R1 500. The athletes were only given three days to raise the money.

“We understand that there isn’t a lot of money and that we need to make a contribution, but three days is too short notice for students to pay such a large amount,” said Mdluli.

Carter said the gymnastics club knew since the end of February when they handed in their USSA budget, allegedly late, indicating the direct cost of R2 275 per student, of which each student would contribute R898. “They haven’t paid in their contribution nor did they meet the required fundraising amount,” said Carter.

Mdluli sent an official response on behalf of the club to Carter’s request, stating they have raised R25 656 from registration fees, a welcome braai and yet to be sold T-shirts. According to the response, over a 100 members registration fees brought the club R24 561. However, Carter said it would be unfair to allow the 14 gymnasts who qualified for USSA to use funds intended to benefit the entire club.

The gymnastics club’s USSA budget was R44 400, the club has R54 000 in their reserve account. According to Carter the money budgeted for transport is insufficient and the actual total cost to send 14 gymnasts to USSA would be more than R50 000.00.

“I’m trying to be fair as possible, but I’m not going to give this club R50 000 and leave less than R4 000 in the reserve for next year’s group to struggle,” said Carter.

Mdluli further protested that they were “thrown in the deep end” with Carter’s new financial system and there was no training from Wits Sport on how to approach businesses for sponsorship or how to draft a sponsorship proposal.

But Carter said Wits Gymnastics could have come to him for help at any time.

“Any club could’ve come to me earlier in the year to ask for help with sponsorship issues. Some took the initiative, but the gymnastics club didn’t,” said Carter.

Wits Gymnastics club is now facing cutting the list of members going to USSA or staying home altogether. Carter and the Gymnastics Committee are meeting next week once more to try and find a solution for the club to go to Potchefstroom in just two weeks’ time.


Violence on Social Media

The prevalence of Social Media has meant that ‘online violence’ has become an issue that needs to be grappled with.  Wits hosted a discussion to find a tactical way of handling and countering this.


ONLINE VIOLENCE: Wits transformation manager Pura Mgolombane (right) opening the discussion on violence on online spaces and before introducing Nyx Mclean (middle) and Thoko-Jean Chilenga (left) as two of the speakers.

Wits Transformation and Employment Equity Office hosted a discussion focusing on online spaces as platforms for ongoing violence yesterday afternoon.

It was necessary for a discussion about violence on social media because it is becoming a common problem at Wits, according to transformation manager Pura Mgolombane.

“Wits University is not sure how to deal with these kinds of situations.”

The discussion panel included Professor Tommaso Milani, Thoko-Jean Chilenga representing #TransformWits and Nyx McLean a co-editor of HOLAA.

The line between online violence and freedom of expression was discussed as Milani argued that “absolute freedom of speech doesn’t exist as there are laws that prevent it.”

Mgolombane explained that Wits encourages the Bill of Rights and its limitations on freedom of speech. “We cannot allow people of Wits to insult or discriminate, but we can do more to clarify the lines between free speech and violence,” said Mgolombane.

“People are scared of online spaces as it can fall over to private physical space,” said Chilenga.

According to Chilenga, who met with the Black Students Movement (BSM) from Rhodes University during the #RhodesMustFall protests earlier this year, when BSM posted on social media they received threats. “People should be held accountable for things they say and do online as much as you would want them to be held accountable in a physical space,” said Chilenga.

McLean argued that social media is not just a platform for resistance, but it is also for people looking for “affirmation of existence.”

“People do serious emotional psychological harm if someone attacks someone who can only use pages [social media] for interaction and support,” said Mclean. She continued explaining that people keep looking over their shoulder when receiving a threat as there is no way of knowing whether or not to take it seriously.

Mgolombane believes the problem won’t be necessarily solved by rules, but value systems that people ascribe to such as students and staff who take up the values of Wits when they join the university.

Romantic hot spots on campus

If you are a romantic or just trying to build your credibility as one, here are some places on Wits East and West Campuses where you can ignite the flame or keep it burning.

Many students look for love and find it on campus. Witsies can grow that love by taking that special person to the romantic spots on campus.

1. Impress your date by taking her/him to the Olives & Plates on West Campus. The old architecture, fountain and beautiful garden makes this spot perfect for a romantic date.


2. The grassy comfort and towering trees on West Campus lawn is the perfect setting to have a picnic or just relax with your Boo Boo.


3. Have a smooch on the bridge when the waterfall on West Campus comes to life during summer and spring.


4. Feeling passionate? head to one of the quieter libraries for a little lunch time hanky-panky.


5. The fountain in front of the William Cullen Library on East Campus has a romantic tone with an intriguing garden with pink roses. Go sit on the benches and take in the picturesque scene.

will cullen

Wits takes sixth in varsity hockey

In the play-offs yesterday, Wits hockey lost to Pukke leaving themselves and the small audience disappointed. But the team was chuffed to take sixth place in the varsity hockey tournament.

Final invite

FIELD GOAL: Wits hockey’s bench watch the game in suspense as their teammates attempt to fend-off Pukke’s centre forward. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Wits hockey team finished the varsity hockey tournament on a low yesterday when they lost round eight’s play-offs against Potchefstroom University (Pukke) 0-2 on the Wits astro turf.

The match started off badly for Wits after Pukke’s number 12, Stephanie Baxter scored a field goal within the first two minutes of the game.

The first three quarters of the game was intense and quick with a back and forth banter after Pukke’s first goal. But after Pukke scored their second goal in the beginning of the last quarter, Wits hopes seemed to have crumbled as their play started to slow down.

“We are a bit disappointed after this game, but we are happy with achieving sixth in the tournament, which was our goal,” said Wits’ captain Wendy Panaino.

Pukke went into the game with a great defensive tactics and put pressure on Wits’ weakness to convert opportunities. Wits’ centre forward struggled to keep the ball and execute goals.

Pukke hockey coach, Elun Hack believes his team’s defence was strong “but the offence let us down because they didn’t stay composed inside the 23.”

According to Wits hockey coach, Pietie Coetzee, her team’s energy was low and they didn’t accomplish what they planned for the game, but they exceeded everyone’s expectations in the tournament.

“Our weakness lies in that we are a young, inexperienced team, although there is unity and a fighting spirit amongst the girls,” said Coetzee.

Wits faced Pukke in round five last Friday and walked away with a 3-2 win. The tables turned yesterday and Pukke grabbed fifth place in the tournament.

Both teams saw the Varsity Hockey tournament as preparation for the University Sport South Africa National Institutional Hockey Championship end of June, which will be hosted in Pietermaritzburg by the University of KwaZulu Natal.

Clever Boys end season with a win at home 

Bidvest Wits come away with their second consecutive third place in the Absa Premiership. Although Wits let their guard down in the last game of the season, they came away with a win at home.


HUMBLE WITS:Bidvest Wits squad posing for a photo with fans on the field after the game. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Clever Boys slipped one goal past the Platinum Stars earlier today to finish third, one above Orlando Pirates, on the Absa Premiership table.

After taking to the field at the Bidvest stadium, the teams joined the crowd in a moment of silence for the victims of xenophobia. 

The first half was very slow paced with Bidvest Wits holding the majority of the ball possession. The home team received many opportunities at goal but struggled to push it through.

After a number of attempts at goal,  Vincent Pule, in the number twelve jersey, sliced the ball past five Platinum Stars players to put Wits on the score board in the 30th minute.

In the last twenty minutes of the game play slowed as both teams seemed to have lost focus.

The ref gave an extra four minutes for injury time in which Hunt instructed his team to keep the ball and let the time run out. As time ran out Wits kicked the ball out of play and the final whistle blew.

“I’m happy we managed to get a point, but we just couldn’t convert chances,” said Bidvest Wits captain, Buhle Makwanazi.
“Platinum Stars have good individual players and are not an easy team to face … although we played well, we need to work on conversions,” said Makhwanazi.

Wits’ goal for the 2014/2015 premiership was to surpass last year’s third place season finish, according to coach Gavin Hunt. “We wanted to do better this year, but third is still fantastic,” Hunt said. 

Compared to last season’s statistics, Bidvest Wits are down by three points and had one less win. Kaizer Chiefs won the premiership with Mamelodi Sundowns finishing in second.  

Wits gymnasts aiming for gold

Wits gymnasts showed off their supple skills and stretches while they were being tested for Level two at the Gold Reef Rhythmic Gymnastics competition. The girls took on the challenge with smiles all around, confident that they will get gold at USSA in June.


HOOLA HOOPING:Senior Wits gymnast Makgotso Tibane showed impressive structure and skills doing her first competition in rhythmic gymnastics in the hoops section. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Wits Gymnastics club showed elegance and poise at the Gold Reef Rhythmic Gymnastics competition last Thursday afternoon on West Campus, Wits University.

Six of the club’s gymnasts participated in the competition in the balls and hoops sections. Even though the majority of the club are brand new to gymnastics, head coach of the Gold Reed Rhythmic club, Maureen van Rooyen believes “they will win USSA with a smile”.

“They are all starting out in rhythmic gymnastics and what they do, they do extremely well,” said Wits gymnastics coach Louise Brown.

There will be another competition in the coming weeks before the club sends its members to the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament taking place in Potchefstroom at the end of June.

Brown explains that these competitions before USSA will give the girls a better opportunity to polish their work and get a feel for what gymnastics competitions are really like.

“We have already practiced a lot and we have the best coaches, so I feel 70% confident that I will win USSA,” said mathematics honours student Vhuhwavho Matibe, who took first place for the balls section with an impressive 12.4 score.

Second-year LLB student and senior in the club, Makgotso Tibane, is positive that the club will do well at USSA, but hopes that after the tournament Wits Sport will take the club seriously.

“We have good abilities and everyone is committed. It would be nice to have some back-up from Wits Sport, because when we get medals, they take the credit,” said first-year BA General student Lihle Petros.

Although funding is a big problem for the club, Brown is more focused on taking on the challenges that the gymnasts are facing within the sport itself.

“Flexibility is the most challenging aspect for those starting a sport like this relatively late in life, but the girls are committed and enthusiastic,” said Brown.

Facing the Raptors

The young Wits Buck Ladies basketball team took a beating from the Soweto Raptors on Tuesday night, but the the big score difference doesn’t faze them. 


SHOOTING HOOPS: Wits Buck Ladies will be taking on UJ Galaxy in their next game on Saturday morning at 09:00. Coach Maseko said the team’s goal in the tournament is to make it through a match by ultimately staying in the game and not struggling.

The Soweto Raptors shattered the Wits Buck Ladies basketball team on Tuesday night at Hall 29 with an 11-64 win.

Wits’ second division girls’ team walked on to the court to open the 11th Annual Ashraf Lodewyk Basketball Tournament and took on the provincial and national players that make up the Soweto Raptors.

The Buck Ladies stuck to a run-of-the-mill ‘man-on-man’ defence, which the experienced Raptors took advantage of by stealing a lot of turn-overs. Although the Buck Ladies carried less experience and skills in their team, they appeared to be fitter than the opposition.

“For a team filled with first-time players and first-years, who never played together before, I am very impressed,” said Wits Buck Ladies coach, Manyani Maseko.

The Raptors played a good zone defence set and showed commendable skills, but the consistency in their game seemed to be lacking.

“They applied pressure and up-tempo in spirit, but as substitutions went on the performance was not as intense,” said Raptors coach, Nthato Selebi.

The Raptors’ girls went into the game knowing they would win, but the score wasn’t the most important factor, according to their captain Charmaine Amada. “The score doesn’t matter. Without effort the game is pointless.”

The Buck Ladies were thrown into the deep end with having to play the Raptors for their first game, but took on this massive challenge with confidence- after the nerves settled.

Wits Buck Ladies captain, Nyasha Chakanetsa, said she wasn’t phased by the major score difference. “The tournament for us is to bond and learn to play as a team. My girls did brilliantly and fought till the end.”

Wits Buck Ladies will be taking on UJ Galaxy in their next game on Saturday morning at 09:00. Coach Maseko said the team’s goal in the tournament is to make it through a match by ultimately staying in the game and not struggling.

“You fucking whities”

Two white Wits students allege that Wits EFF supporters hurled racial abuse at them outside the Great Hall yesterday afternoon.  


Ivan Sabljak and Danita Botes sitting on the Great Hall steps where they were racially abused by Wits EFF supporters. PHOTO: Anlerie de Wet

Two white Wits University students were allegedly racially abused by supporters of Wits EFF on east campus yesterday afternoon.

Ivan Sabljak and Danita Botes* said they were watching an informal anti-xenophobia protest on the steps of the Great Hall when Wits EFF supporters reacted to their verbal show of support.

“We were showing them support for the cause they were protesting for and then they showed us middle-fingers and shouted at us in an African language I don’t understand. One guy then picked-up a rock and threw it at us,” said second-year Microbiology student, and Serbian national, Sabljak.

“They shouted ‘pink skins’ and ‘you fucking whities’ at us.”

The Wits EFF supporters, all black males dressed in party clothing, apparently told Sabljak and his first-year Nursing student friend, Botes, they were the cause of xenophobia and should go back to where they came from.

Botes and Sabljak have reported the incident to the SRC (Student Representative Council) and campus security.

“After laying a complaint at SRC Secretary General, Senzekahle Mbokazi, we headed to the Campus Control offices, which are in the Great Hall.

When we passed the EFF guys, they shouted “pink skins” and “you fucking whities” at us,” Sabljak added.

South African-born Botes claims to have told the attackers how ironic it was that they were protesting against xenophobia, while they were trying to kick them out of the country.

Wits EFF chairperson, Vuyani Pambo, told Wits Vuvuzela he is unaware of the incident and cannot comment on the allegations. “We do not condone such behaviour as the EFF of Wits. We must respect everyone who shares space at Wits.”

“This is disgusting behaviour, but I don’t think it’s a real representation of the EFF on campus,” said Sabljak, whose family fled a civil war in Serbia to settle in South Africa.

Campus Control head of investigations, Michael Mahada, has confirmed that he has received complaints from the alleged victims but says he is unable to comment until the investigation is concluded.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the individual.


Judo helps champ study


GOING PLACES: Wits Judo’s male representative in the USSA and Senior National teams, Calvin Fourie with his collection of championship medals. PHOTO: Anlerie de Wet

Third-year education student, Calvin Fourie, started taking judo classes after school when he was three years old. Now, at the age of 22, Fourie has four national championship wins under his belt and was ranked 9th in the 2013 World Student games.

“I tried out judo because my dad did it and I really enjoyed it. I still do it because it keeps me fit and healthy. I also get to travel the world,” said Fourie.

His success in judo has taken him to championship competitions in Japan, Portugal, Greece, Russia and the USA. Fourie will be adding the stamp of Gabon to his passport when he accompanies the senior national team to Libreville for the Senior African Judo Championships next week.

After placing first in the under 100kg and second in the open weight categories at the USSA Championships end of March, Fourie was selected for the University Sport SA (USSA) team. If the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) decides to send the USSA team to the Judo World Championships, Fourie will be heading to South Korea in July.

Although it is difficult for Fourie to balance his studies and training, he manages to make it work.  “If I don’t participate in physical activity my ADD kicks in and I get fidgety and struggle to study.”

He feels very proud every time he represents South Africa. “It’s not an easy thing to make the national team, it’s a real accomplishment.”