Liquid chefs in Rosebank last night

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SKY HIGH: Keegan Smith showing off his best flair bartending skills at the Liquid Chefs in Rosebank last night. Photo: Valerie Robinson

 by Valerie Robinson.

A flair bartending competition saw some of the best bartenders in the country competing to raise funds in Rosebank last night.

The best of South African bartenders showed off their skills at flairing competition in Rosebank last night.

Flairing is the art of performing for the audience while drinks are mixed. The participants made use of accessories such as liquor bottles and shakers, as they juggled and tossed their props in a bid to impress the audience.

The competition, hosted by Liquid Chefs, was a fund-raising initiative for fellow bartender Martin Strobes who is battling cancer and managed to raise a total of R19 360 on the night.

The 16 participants represented both old school flair and new school talent. There were eight rounds which saw a more experienced bartender flairing against a new school counterpart.

After each round of flairing there was also a speed round. The competitors had one minute to make a cocktail that was auctioned off with the highest bid peaking at R1600.

At the end of the night the competition deadlocked resulting in a tie breaker round. Victor Pires, considered as one of the best flair bartenders in the country, emerged victorious.

Solutions for electricity and unemployment?

Wits economics students Nadia Kruger and Michael Levin were among the winners of the Budget Speech Competition where they showcased some arguments for electricity problems and unemployment.

Kruger, a Masters in Economic Science student came second in the postgraduate category and received a cash prize of R60 000. Levin, a third year BCom Economics and Finance student was placed third in the undergraduate category and received a cash prize of R10 000.

The competition is organised and sponsored by Nedbank and Old Mutual. Economics students were invited to submit an essay, with proposed strategies for economic growth. The competition is aimed to inspire potential, young economists to apply the theory they learn in class to the South African economy.  At Wits it is compulsory for third year and honours economics students to participate.

[pullquote]Levin argued that vocational skills development were in short supply in South Africa and it had to be addressed as a short term solution.[/pullquote]

Postgraduates had to find solutions to South Africa’s electricity crisis while considering environmental issues and the effect on small businesses and the economy.  Kruger argued that to achieve the goals of the National Development Plan to promote economic growth, an increased supply of reliable and quality electricity was necessary.

Kruger suggested that in the long run more electricity should be provided efficiently, at lower prices by independent power producers of renewable energy.  A short term solution should be to keep electricity price increases gradual, to have a minimum effect on the economy.  Preferential tariffs for the poor and small businesses should also be introduced, Kruger said.

Undergraduates had to write about the causes of youth unemployment which was particularly high in South Africa, and propose solutions.  Levin, a second year at the time, competed with third years.

Levin argued that vocational skills development were in short supply in South Africa and it had to be addressed as a short term solution.   Levin explained that the youth wage subsidy is useful to reduce unemployment.  It provides a tax break to companies who employ people under a certain age.  According to Levin, it made the cost of employing someone lower for a company because the government paid part of the wage, lowering the risk tied to employing a youth.

Winners were announced at the budget speech competition banquet in February, held after the budget speech was presented at Parliament.  Some of the highlights for both winners were meeting former and current ministers of finance, Trevor Manuel and Pravin Gordhan. It was also a good opportunity for finalists to network.  “It was such a great opportunity to meet my fellow, young economists and to make connections with them.  It was really enjoyable,” said Kruger.

Read the winning essays here.

Commemorating Ashraf

Ashraf Lodewyk, a first team player and an active member of the Wits Basketball Club died in a car accident eight years ago.

WITS Sport will be hosting the 8th annual Ashraf Memorial Basketball Tournament this week to remember the late psychology student.

A total of 31 teams will compete in the 2012 edition. There are 21 registered men’s teams and 10 women’s teams. Seventy-one matches will be played during the four day tournament and teams from Limpopo, Cape Town and Kwazulu Natal will be participating.

The tournament will take place at Hall 29 on west campus from the 26th to the 29th of April, beginning at 9am each day.

Chief organiser Manyani Maseko said the tournament also aimed to promote good administration of basketball in the country.

“During the time Ashraf was administrator, the Wits Basketball club was well supported on campus. The club also became more recognised within the Gauteng region. Ashraf was a charismatic, committed and loyal individual, who gained much respect in the Wits basketball community,” she said.

The top men’s and women’s teams will be awarded floating trophies, while the runners-up will be given medals.
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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.

Witsies “Click” and tell

First prize winner: Stefan van Bruddenbrock, Second prize winner: Margurite de Villiers, Third prize winner: Sipho Mhlambi

 WITSIES’S photographic talents were showcased at the opening of the Wits-Carnegie student photographic competition and exhibition.

The event, hosted by the Transformation and Employment Equity office, took place in the Amphitheatre on May 12 when the winners were announced.

The guest speaker was photographic icon, Dr. Peter Magubane, who inspired everyone with his work of the past 57 years.

Explaining the passion and determination one needs for photography, Magubane said: “If someone told me not to take the picture, I still took it.”

When the moment finally arrived, project manager Hugo Canham and Magubane pulled back the black covering to reveal the winners.

Stefan van Bruddenbrock, a 1st year BSc nuclear science and engineering student, was the winner of R10 000. He said he was very surprised and did not expect to win. He found inspiration for his winning photo, Circles within circles, by walking around Wits.

“When I saw it [the circles], I took the picture. That is how I take most of my photos,” said Van Bruddenbrock. He plans to spend the money on a new lens and save some of it.

Stefan van Bruddenbrock with his winning photo

A holiday to Australia with her father is in order for runner up, 3rd year Zulu anthropology and English literature student Margurite de Villiers. She secured R5 000 with her interesting photograph of the Great Hall titled Imagineers.

Margurite de Villiers and her prize winning photo

While studying towards a masters degree in microbiology, Sipho Mhlambi still found the time to come third in the competition. His photo, Sunlight when it rains, is going to pay for some security features and a sound system for his car.

Sipho Mhlambi and his prize winning photo

There were 50 participants and about 250 pictures entered this year, compared to only 17 participants in the previous competition.

“I am really impressed with the ideas and the quality of the photos this year,” said Canham.

The plans for next year are bigger and better and he said they will build on the relationships that have been created between them and the students.

The competition judges were Dr. Veronique Tadjo, head of French studies at Wits, Iris Dawn Parker, a visiting scholar, Jo Ractliffe, a senior lecturer in photography at the Wits school of arts, and Lieza Louw, a senior lecturer in filmmaking.

The photographs will all be put into the Wits Archive together with narration from the photographers.

Dean of Humanities at Wits Prof. Tawana Kupe and Dr. Peter Magubane

Dr. Peter Magubane looks on at the exhibition


Students examine photos at the exhibition