Wits University’s Winter Graduations are taking place between July 10 and 14, 2023.
Hundreds of postgraduate students will be conferred with their PhDs, Master of Arts and Honours degrees during the ceremonies. Wits Vuvuzela’s Seth Thorne and Nonhlanhla Mathebula caught the Humanities ceremony on July 11, to document and congratulate the students from the Wits Centre for Journalism, as they had their fifteen seconds of fame with Wits chancellor, Judy Dlamini on stage.
FEATURED IMAGE: Malaika Ditabo, now a News24 journalist, takes a break from the politics desk to savour her achievement. Photo: Seth Thorne
Wits University hosts awards for humanities students who excelled in various degrees at their annual prize giving.
The dean of humanities, Professor Mucha Musemwa congratulated the award winners on Tuesday, May 2 in the Great Hall and advised them to, “stay curious [and] to keep conquering” the infamous ‘Wits edge’.
Different awards were presented throughout the evening to departments in humanities including the Wits School of Education, School of Arts, School of Literature, Language, and Media and many other disciplines. At the end of the evening, the most prestigious award (the dean’s medal) was given to Bachelor of Arts graduate Tshepiso Mashigo.
Students were proud of how far they have come including Italian studies graduate Josephine Matthews (21), who told Wits Vuvuzela, “It was tough to study online but perseverance is key [and] I managed to succeed in third-year despite these challenges.”
Silver medal winner, Jenna Beckenstrater (23) described their journey as “long and stressful,” and advised current students in humanities to make friends because it can help “get you through the tough times”.
Friends and family members in attendance cheered and applauded the accomplishments of their loved ones. One family member, Alessandro Colafranceschi told Wits Vuvuzela that watching his daughter receive a prize filled him with an “overwhelming sense of pride and joy”.
Award-winners were excited to have accomplished so much in their degrees, like Wits centre for Journalism’s very own, 2022 Student Journalist of the Year, Tannur Anders (23) who said students should, “Go for it! Immerse yourself in it and say “yes” to every opportunity,” adding that “you never know what you might learn”. Anders now works as an editorial intern for Thomson Reuters, showing the true possibilities of pushing yourself the extra mile.
Musemwa thanked humanities staff members and sponsors for their support in the department and for pushing a generation of “thinkers, doers, and world-changers” to succeed in future endeavours.
FEATURED IMAGE: The Patrick Laurence Student Journalist of the year, Tannur Anders walking across the stage in the Great Hall to receive her award. Photo: Georgia Cartwright
DEFEAT: Commerce team player lies on the floor after losing the game. Photo by: Lutho Mtongana
After being out of the game for three weeks, rugby side Masakhane thundered their way to second on the Wits internal league log with a resounding 52-0 win against Commerce on Wednesday night.
The team, which has not played in a while owing to a lack of availability of their opponents, returned to the league with a strong team effort and even better defence.
“I want my 50, I want my 50, tell Steve I want my 50!”chanted captain Katlego Maseko, motivating his team as the first half ended 44-0. Steve is one of the flankers and scored one of the tries of the night.
Masakhane managed a total of eight tries, with two impressive break-away tries.
“Two best moments from yesterdays match for me is firstly, Uzi’s cross kick try and secondly, when Greg threw the ball through his legs to Steve and then Steve did the same thing for Ryan,” said Maseko.
Two other games were played last night. The winning sides walked all over their opponents leaving the losing sides pointless.
The Midrand Graduate Institute (MGI) Tigers opened the night and lost their game 55-0 to Humanities (Titans). Mens Res (Raiders) won21-0 against South African Hellenic Association (SHA).
Masakhane is still the second on the log, ahead of them is the Medics (Young Doctors). There is one last round of games, next week, Masakhane taking on SHA, before the play-offs start on the August 27.
“We have decided to stop hosting a fair that is just for humanities students as the students told us that they thought it was pathetic because of the low turnout by companies,” Ndlovu said.
[pullquote] “We have decided to stop hosting a fair that is just for humanities students as the students told us that they thought it was pathetic because of the low turnout by companies,” Ndlovu said.[/pullquote]
Ndlovu shared that only four companies had showed up to last year’s fair and that most companies had pulled out at the last minute.
The graduate recruitment unit does not appear to be doing well in terms of representing humanities students. The recruitment service, aimed at linking students to potential employers, has not been as successful in servicing the humanities faculty as it has been with others.
Speaking on the low turnout of companies at the humanities graduate recruitment programme, Ndlovu said: “We have a large number of humanities students and employers don’t feel the need to recruit them [via the programme].”
The Graduate recruitment unit is however looking into hosting a Recruitment agency day in August to support the interests of potential Humanities and all other faculty graduates.
The unit is also hosting General Career Fairs where companies who are looking to recruit humanities graduates will also attend. These General Career Fairs will include all faculties.
According to Ndlovu, the successes of the graduate employment programme are not measured by the unit, but by the university’s Alumni department as well as by the companies who offer Wits feedback on the number of Witsies they have recruited.
“[Humanities]students also need to understand that they also need to market themselves and understand that there will be more of a demand for students with other niche and targeted qualifications such as a BComm or Engineering degree,” said Ndlovu.
Acting Dean of Humanities Ruksana Osman shared that none of the faculties at the university have a special unit dealing with recruitment.
Osman said: “At the level of the faculty we have students who pursue academic and professional qualifications – and the latter are in constant contact with potential employers. The former are always encouraged to pursue an honours degree as this is the distinguishing feature in the job market.”
CCDU are planning two workshops entitled ‘Job Search Skills for the Humanities Graduate’.
The annual Humanities Careers Expo was shunned by major companies after only two organisations showed up for the event on August 29.
Thabang Madileng of the Counselling and Careers Development Unit (CCDU), which organised the event, said 13 different companies had booked for the expo but had simply not turned up. Only Robert Bosch indicated that they would not be able to attend.
“This year we tried to make it diverse by inviting employers from non-governmental organisations, government and the private sector. We think they did not come because we did not attach a fee to the expo,” explained Madileng.
Humanities students felt let down and disappointed by the no-show. BA Honours (Media) student, Lethabo Malatsz said she was “not happy”.
“Im feeling discouraged, I’m having second thoughts. I’m thinking I wasted my time doing humanities. I’m doing my post grad now and was hoping I would find companies offering bursaries. I thought I would see YFM, SABC and News24 here. IT, Accounting, Commerce and Chemistry career expos had major turnouts.”
Madileng said there would be another general expo this year but not another one exclusively for the Humanities. Responding to questions about the poor response, Madileng said: “It’s a big concern. We market for all students but just struggle to find employers for our humanities students. Some companies have specifications, like engineers and accountants.
“Consulting companies usually take students from humanities but it’s mostly students who do Industrial Psychology or other programmes that are industry specific.”
Vega contact navigator, Palesa Mofokeng said the university should target companies that best benefit the students and invite those.
“It’s not that there is no demand for humanities students. It is just poor planning. If companies are made to pay R500 to book their spots here, trust me they would be here because people always turn up when they are made to pay.”
Vega came to Wits to recruit post graduate students for the programmes the college offers. The second organisation that attended was the Avril Elizabeth Home for the intellectually disabled, represented by Linda Spangenberg and Jenny Ford. Spangenberg said the home was looking for volunteers to do their accounts as well as physiotherapists to assist the physically handicapped.
In this episode we take a look at the work of Joburg Theatre, through the eyes of the people that work at there. Justine, who has been at the theatre for more than 20 years, walks us through its history, and Mbongeni, a ballet dancer, tells us how he came to make this beautiful theatre […]