GALLERY: Wits Autumn graduation

Graduates are accompanied by family and friends to celebrate their academic achievements.

Wits University awarded hundreds of qualifications to students from various fields of study during its annual Autumn graduation, between April 17 and April 26, at the Wits Great Hall. Wits Vuvuzela journalists, Ayanda Mgwenya and Rethabile Mafisa were there to capture some of the special moments.

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits graduates leaving the Great Hall after the graduation ceremony Photo: Rethabile Mafisa


INFOGRAPHIC: Wits through the eyes of the Great Hall

If the Wits Great Hall could talk, it would have a lot of stories to tell. Wits Vuvuzela took a look at some of the iconic moments that have taken place inside or on its steps.

FEATURED IMAGE: The Wits Great Hall as it stands ready to see in the #Wits100 celebrations. Photo: Keamogetswe Matlala


Chester Missing comes to the Great Hall

The country’s most famous puppet comes to the Great Hall this Friday night. Chester Missing will join a host of other comedians at 8pm in an event hosted by YouthLab.

Together with Mojak Lehoko, Alfred Adriaan and Lihle Msimang, Missing will perform in aid of two Wits students and some of YouthLab’s projects.

Pearl Pillay, a Wits Masters student in Politics, and one of the organisers of the event, told Wits Vuvuzela that the idea of a comedy show came after a discussion they had with Messing.

The students were scholars at Matseliso Secondary School in Soweto and passed matric with flying colours but were only partially funded. YouthLab launched a library project for the school in the past.

Adriaan told Wits Vuvuzela that students can look forward to a funny-to-the-point comedy. “I don’t hold back and my comedy is centred around life and the funny things people do”, he said.

He said he wanted to give back to the community because he was also given an opportunity to study in the form of a scholarship.

Msimang said that she decided to participate in the comedy show because “it is an honour to help a young mind get an education, to further grow this country”.

Pillay said that it only made sense for YouthLab to host the show as they deal with politics and political satire is big in the country.

“Comedy is also a great way to raise awareness and stimulates thought in a way that’s not tiring,” she said.

“Wits alone has given Chester a lot of material so expect customized comedy.”

According to Pillay, the comedy show is going to be “absolute madness and Wits alone has given Chester a lot of material so expect customized comedy”.

YouthLab is a three-year-old organization and recently launched a branch at Wits. According to their website, some of their objectives include: educating the youth on key issues of policy, society and economics in South Africa and also creating a platform for young people to have open discussions with political parties.

WITH VIDEO & AUDIO: Habib calls anti-semitic song ‘irresponsible’

by Nokuthula Manyathi and Emelia Motsai

Wits vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib said that it was “outrageous” that some protestors chanted and sang “dubula i-Juda” (shoot the Jew), at a protest against an Israeli musician on campus this week.

“It is irresponsible when anyone propagates the murder of another on the basis of religion, race or ethnicity,” said Habib.

The protest in response to the concert of Daniel Zamir was held in the Wits University Great Hall but another group of protesters went to a corridor inside the Central Block building and protested from there. This is the same group that sang the song.



The coordinator of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), Muhammed Desai, said many African people in South Africa when using the word “Jews” meant it in the same way they would have during the eighties. “Just like you would say kill the Boer at funeral during the eighties it wasn’t about killing white people, it was used as a way of identifying with the apartheid regime”.



Members of the Academic Staff Association of Wits University and the group Academic Freedom were present as independent observers at the protest. Kezia Lewins who was part of the observers said the protest had been relatively peaceful but a full report would be made available at a later stage. Members of the Legal Resources Centre were also there to provide legal advice to the protesters and to observe as well.


STORIFY: Habib tackles townhall


Great Hall columns to memorialise counsel members

The Great Hall at Wits University, soon to have new support columns.

The Great Hall at Wits University, soon to have new support columns. Photo: File, 2010.













A controversial campaign to rebuild the support columns of the iconic Wits Great Hall to depict members of Wits University Counsel was approved by the Wits Senior Executive Team (SET), today.
The executive team at Wits who manage spatial planning and project development on campus have announced that the project will be undertaken by the construction and development committee to transform the columns of the Great Hall into sculptures depicting members of the University Counsel.

Vice-Chancellor, Prof Adam Habib said; “As new Vice Chancellor to the university I have hopped on board with the plans to rebuild the columns. I think the fact that members of counsel will be used as part of the structure represents a philosophic idea, as they hold up the heavy weight of the ceiling, they too, hold the heavy weight of governing the university and making sure its name is held high.”

The new project was inspired by the ancient Greek architecture of The Erechtheion, an temple in the north of Athens that was build roughly around 421 BC.

Project manager, Nigel Branken said:  “The part of the temple we will be focusing on is ‘The Porch of the Caryatids’, meaning “Porch of Maidens.” The porch has six draped female figures as support columns for the roof of the temple. These six females are iconic impressions of the Greek deity, Athena, Goddess of war and tactics.”


220px-Caryatids_on_the_south_porch_of_the_ErechtheionThe 8 columns of the Great Hall will depict Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Hibib; Vice Principle Prof Yunus Ballim;  Professor P Fitzgerald; Dr Randall Carolissen; Dr John Kani; Dean of Faculties Professor Andrew Crouch; Dr S Moon and Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande, said executive team director, Emmannuel Prinsloo.


The university’s new construction project will be funded by a number of private funding sources as well as by the department of Higher Education and Training, where Minister Blade Nzimande agreed to the project under the condition that his figure would be one of those serving as supports for the Great Hall.


Cost manager, Sieberhagen Heynes says the project will cost approximately R68 million to complete and should be finished sometime around June 2014.  Heynes emphasised that local artisans would be used.

The Wits SRC have openly opposed the project citing the ‘inappropriate expenditure of valuable resources.’ They encourage staff and students opposed to this project and April Fools’ jokes in general, to make their voices heard.