Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers hosts Soweto camp fest 2015

The fifth annual Soweto camp festival kicked off yesterday at Lebo’s Backpackers in Soweto and will run right through the Easter Weekend until Monday, April 6.

Situated in the heart of Orlando West at the corner Pooe & Ramushu streets, the festival offers young and old people the chance to camp outdoors for the weekend. People can bring their own tent to the festival or opt to pay for the special package which gets you and a friend access and a free tent that you get to keep for life.

“We want to awaken a camping consciousness, particularly because it is something that is unusual among the Soweto community,” said organiser Lebo Malepa.

Live music bands and local dj’s will provide a variety of entertainment for day visitors and campers.  While early morning bicycle tours around Soweto are being offered for free to campers to the nearby Hector Peterson museum and famous Vilikazi street. Board games are available for all to indulge while hammocks provided will be ideal for those who just love to laze around.

Stoves and camp fires are set up at the venue and people are encouraged to bring food that they can cook in the spirit of camping. A gear list for the event includes; linen, utensils, a camp chair, a torch and a cooler bag according to camp maestro Malepa.

Through this event the organisers want to not only school people on camping, but to also to encourage local tourism as well as entrepreneurship among young people.

“The festival is an open space for networking and dialogue with campers from near and far,” said Malepa.

The festival has been organised in conjunction with Ghetto Mentality Entertainmen, the Gauteng Tourism Authority and Johannesburg Tourism.

“We are calling entrepreneurs to come and use the space to meet potential clients and partners and to have open dialogue on how we can move forward as a country as the number of people attending is growing every year,” Malepa said.

Organisers have employed young men and women from the community to do various things like helping to set up tents, and provide security and car guarding.

Wits young leaders on the rise

BRIGHT STAR:  Arthur Motolla, from AIESEC Wits explains that Wits University won the Rising Star Award at the AIESEC June Leadership Summit.  Photo: Lameez Omarjee

BRIGHT STAR: Arthur Motolla from AIESEC Wits with the Rising Star trophy. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

A global student leadership organisation has recognised its Wits chapter through an award that also acknowledges the work of its members.

AIESEC Wits (an acronym in French for the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences) received the Rising Star Award during the June leadership summit (JLS) held at Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMU).

The award recognised the efforts of Witsies from the society were involved in travel and leadership conferences, during the winter break, which allowed the chapter to fulfill the required number of exchanges and projects within a twelve month period.

AIESEC brings together student leaders from across the world towards the betterment of society as a whole.

Leadership summit

Ten students from Wits attended the five-day JLS which brought together chapters from a number of  different universities.

The summit focused on the relevance of African talent and explored leadership in South Africa within AIESEC, according to Onthatile Nataboge, 4th year BEd and president of AIESEC Wits.

Arthur Motolla, 1st year BA student, attended the JLS for the first time.  He said speakers stressed the importance of embracing Africa’s mosaic of cultures instead of striving for a unique African identity.

“Opportunity lies with the disadvantaged.  That is where opportunities lie for entrepreneurs.  That is where you can expect the most amount of growth,” he said as he reflected on the things he learned at the summit.

“I am still overwhelmed by JLS,” exclaimed Duduetsang Mmeti, 2nd year LLB.  She explained that students were encouraged to contribute African solutions to African problems.


How Braamfontein got its groove back

Adam Levy: an ordinary man with extraordinary dreams for the city.  Photo: Percy Matshoba

DREAMER: Adam Levy, an ordinary man with extraordinary hopes for the city.
Photo: Percy Matshoba

From a corporate and militant feel prior  to 1994 to a vibrant multicultural hub two decades later, Adam Levy tells Wits Vuvuzela how Braamfontein got its groove back.

Levy is the owner of Play Braamfontein, a company that enables entrepreneurs to revamp Braamfontein’s image. From retro coffee shops like The Post on 70 Juta, playful clothing shops like SupremeBeing to beach parties on now-famous rooftops, Braamfontein has seen a cultural revival in recent years

The aroma of coffee, tall colourful buildings, art galleries and inspiring new business people rushing in and out of Braamfontein has become the order of the day in this rising village.

When Wits Vuvuzela asked Levy ‘why Braamfontein,’ his answer was a firm one. “Why not Braamfontein?” He says he got his inspiration from traveling the world and experiencing a model of what a city should feel like. He said although Braamfontein is a small environment in the city, he was motivated to turn it into a “vibrant multicultural space” that people from all walks of life could enjoy.

[pullquote]“On Saturday, it’s like the suburb jumped on a ship and decided to come to the city”[/pullquote]

Levy said the city of Johannesburg has always lacked a relationship with its people and Braamfontein is transforming into a more cosmopolitan space that interacts with people living and working in the area.

“I had very little opportunity to play in the city, there was no feeling of liveliness, hence Play Braamfontein.

The manager of The Post coffee shop Shannon Schmidt said people were a lot more sceptical about coming to Braamfontein in 2010, when Post first opened but that has since changed. “On Saturday, it’s like the suburb jumped on a ship and decided to come to the city”, he said.

Schmidt said new businesses has attracted more people and has also shown Joburgers that the city can be a fun place.

Schmidt said Play Braamfontein is transforming the city into living area, a lively place night or day and has enabled entrepreneurs to “take back the city”.

“It has become a place to live, to work, to school, to shop and so much more.”

Now Joburgers do not have to look at movie scenes shot in New York and think ‘I want to have a life like that’, they can have that experience right at home.


Fong kong and “made in China” for sale

Fake products being sold on campus are not a big issue for students and vendors who say they benefit from the flea market at Wits.

The flea market, set up around the library lawns on Main Campus at the beginning of each term, is organised by the SRC with the assistance of the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU).

According to Siddeeq Omar, SRC entrepreneurship and skills development portfolio holder, students have a chance to buy whatever they need and like at the market. “It’s up to the willing buyer to decide whether to buy knockoffs (due to freedom of enterprise). This is South Africa, you can’t put constraints,” he says.

Omar says the market encourages entrepreneurship within arts and crafts, jewellery and winter apparel. He claims it’s a beneficial event as it generates SRC funds and income for the vendors. “It enhances the social activity and creates a culturally diverse atmosphere.”

George Maina, one of the store holders who often shops at China Mall and China City Wholesale Market behind Ellis Park, sees no wrong in selling fake goods.

“At the end of the day, it’s just money,” Maina says. But the vendors claim they don’t attempt to deceive the consumers into thinking they are purchasing legitimate items.

Maina and his 23-year-old colleague, both from Kenya, say the products are more expensive at shopping malls “just because of the label”, but they are “the same quality, the same stuff” as products sold on campus.

Besides, shop owners have to pay for rent, electricity and staff, they say. They claim shops often buy goods from the same place as street vendors.

Students interviewed said they were aware that the products were not legitimate but didn’t think this was a bad thing. Third year construction management student Phendla Phendla says the market on campus “makes life easier because I don’t have to go all the way downtown” to shop.

Caroline Mahani, 1st year law, says: “I love fake stuff, because it’s much cheaper and more affordable.”