LETS MAKE A CLAP: Wits boys share their victory with the crowd as they walk off the field after a stunning game of multiple tries. Photo: Lutho Mtongana
FNB WITS remain in the top spot of the Varsity Shield log after a comprehensive win against the University of Fort Hare (UFH) last night. The Witsies came away 93 – 0 against the team from Alice at the Wits Rugby stadium.
This was Wits’ second win in the season against Fort Hare, having beaten them 39 – 24 last month.
Wits flew into half-time with an unassailable lead of 48 points after right-wing Joshua Jarvis and left-wing Luxulo Ntsepe helped score two more tries. Fort Hare never managed to recover with poor defence dominating their performance.
“We didn’t make our own one-on-one tackles, we never got the ball-in-hand – we’d kick it away. So we played most of the game without the ball-in-hand, so surely when you don’t have the ball in hand in rugby, you’ll always go down,” said UFH’s coach Currie.
“It’s an embarrassment, I think the best thing about this game is that it’s over. But you have got to keep fighting, the show’s not over, we’ve got two more games left,” said UFH captain, Madoda Ludidi.
“You can’t afford to have three tries scored against you in the first fifteen minutes, then you start playing your own rugby – start playing ‘catch-up rugby’, which is not winning rugby, unfortunately,” Ludidi added.
Wits rugby captain, Richard Crossman congratulated his team on a good game. He was named the “player that rocks” for the night – the Varsity Shield title for the man of the match.
“I’m so glad we were so clinical, I think it was a great game for the team, we’ve got a great coaching style and great management,” Crossman said.
Wits coach, Van As said the boys could stay on top. “If we keep our feet on the ground and just make sure we achieve what we want at the end of the season.”
The Wits Varsity Shield team is back with a competitive bang, sitting top of the log with three wins and a draw in their first four matches of the season.
FNB Wits has been unstoppable since the season kicked off a month ago and this week was no different when the boys drew 37-all against the University of the Western Cape (UWC) at home.
Wits captain and flank Richard Crossman said the team has been fortunate in getting this far in the Cup.
“It’s been a huge transformation, we have a whole bunch of new guys, new management, and they are all fresh from matric. We only have two or three senior guys,” said Crossman.
Although they are currently leading the log, the team still have to work hard to stay ahead of the game and, according to Crossman, are training intensely.
“Our weaknesses is that we are young and inexperienced but that could also be our strength because our guys are young and are willing to learn,” Crossman said.
In their first game of the year the Wits boys went head-to-head against a normally challenging Fort Hare, and defeated them with a solid 39-24 win.
They then proceeded to squash the TUT Vikings with 71-36 in their next match on February 19.
CROSSING THE LINE: Richard Crossman, Wits Rugby Captain, flank Photo: Tendai Dube
On March 9 Wits will be playing against Fort Hare on the Wits Rugby Field and Crossman is determine that they will come out on top once again with their home ground advantage.
There are five teams in the Varsity Shield this year: UWC, Wits, Fort Hare, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). Wits needs to finish at the top of the log at the end of the season to secure a chance to move back into the Varsity Cup.
A controversial revised residence admissions policy which critics said would leave disadvantaged students without housing has been halted for now.
Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Adam Habib agreed to postpone the policy following protests and meetings by the SRC, house committees and the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) and Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
“This policy will not go forward until there has been talks between us and the VC later on Saturday,” said Sunnyside house committee chairperson Maame Boateng.
The highly contested policy states that, “[It has been revised] for new first-year undergraduates to make campus accommodation more accessible and appealing to all students, especially those who have a good academic record”.
In addition, the policy states that: “[It] will ensure a diverse and cosmopolitan residence environment in which everyone can feel at home and can succeed academically.”
Coming in effect in 2015, the policy will ensure that more single rooms will be available to new students in addition to already allocated double rooms.
This point outlined in the policy did not sit well with the majority of the residents who were worried about losing their rooms next year.
“What I don’t like is, people racialize the question as if because we are taking white students, we are going to bring out black students, I never said that.”
“The residence students who are currently here now might not have a place next year because they [management] want to open the residences to first years. What that means is that they want to give single rooms to first years and when that happens those who are currently staying here now will lose their rooms,” said All Residence Council chairperson, Mpho Maziya.
According to Maziya, the policy will also favour more affluent students who can pay their accommodation fees upfront, without the aid of NSFAS. She said the revised policy was devised to bring more white students into residences.
“They are to close off 30 percent space to try and accommodate white kids who can normally afford accommodation outside of university,” Maziya said.
Habib contested the racialization of the policy by critics and said, “What I don’t like is, people racialize the question as if because we are taking white students, we are going to bring out black students, I never said that.”
Habib said that students would not lose their places in residences because of the revised policy. He said the university intended to increase the overall number of beds in residences.
The highly contested policy was also challenged at the meeting because residents and student bodies said they were not consulted before it was drafted and rolled out.
“Consultation was the issue and the fact that students weren’t being consulted. We said we are not interested in the procedural issues we are more interested in the substantial [issues] for the purpose of that policy. What we have achieved is that, this document will not go further than it has”, said Wits EFF candidate Vuyani Pambo.
According to All Residence Council chairperson, Mpho Maziya, “the decision making structures need to be more representative”.
“We are requesting that the decision making structures need to be more representative because what you have now is certain members of the SRC sitting there making decisions for resident students without the knowledge of what’s going on in the residences and how these decisions will affect students,” said Maziya.
The revised residence policy issue was first raised at the evening circus that took place in the main dining hall on Tuesday. The 2010/2011 SRC president, Mukovhe Morris Masutha pleaded on behalf of Mens residence with the three organisations campaigning in the SRC elections—the PYA, Wits EFF and Project W—to come up with a solution.
Student organisations contest the policy
The three student organisations, SRC and house committee representatives had a meeting on Tuesday at Mens Residence about the policy.
Following the meeting, SRC president Shafee Verachia announced that all organisations agreed to reject the policy and would march to the International Office, where University Senate Council was meeting on Wednesday morning. He added that the three organisations would boycott the SRC elections if their voices fell on deaf ears.
However, Project W told Wits Vuvuzela they had not agreed to the march or proposed election boycott.
“We disagree with the protocol, we disagree with the process. There’s a process before we follow these things. We can’t make a hasty decision as an organisation,” Jamie Mighti told Wits Vuvuzela on Tuesday.
Although the Wits EFF joined the march, they were not pleased with what they said was a lack of transparency displayed by Verachia, who they said had known about the new policy since last month.
“They [PYA] knew this and they did not tell the students, they did not consult with the students when we asked [Verachia] … We found out last night, then we probed him as the EFF, he buckled under pressure and he said he knew in July,” said Wits EFF candidate Anele Nzimande during the lunch circus on Wednesday.
By Lutho Mtongana, Luke Matthews and Lameez Omarjee
Wits Vuvuzela spoke to some Witsies to find out about their thoughts on the broadcasting of pornography on local television. This comes with the news that the Justice Alliance of South Africa wants to overrule the decision by Icasa to allow the broadcasting of three pornographic channels on TV after 8pm.
THE CHAMPIONS: A victorious tournament leaves the Celtics players jumping for joy.
Photo: Nqobile Dludla
By Nqobile Dludla and Lutho Mtongana
Bloemfontein Celtic walked away with the spoils at an inaugural pre-season event hosted by Bidvest Wits in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Celtic won the inaugural Charity Showdown at Bidvest Stadium following well fought battles over fellow premier league sides Bidvest Wits and AmaZulu. Mpumalanaga Black Aces also participated in the four-team tournament.
Celtic – the Phunya Sele Sele – beat out hosts Bidvest Wits 1-0 in the semi-finals and took the tournament with a 2-0 win in the final over Amazulu.
Not a tough nut to crack after all
The Clever Boys started off on the right foot, with newly-signed defenders, Buhle Mkhwanazi and Kees Kwakman pairing up to form a strong defence team alongside Siyabonga Nhlapo.
But this wall could not resist the pressure from Gabonamong Mogogi’s header received from Heinrich Issacs’ corner kick, earning Celtic a 1-0 lead.
Early into the first half, Sibusiso Vilakazi was denied a rebound free-kick by Celtic goal keeper, Patrick Tignyemb.
Celtic Joel Mogorosi proved to be a danger coming on strong in the second half, threatening to give Celtic two more goals, but Moeneeb Josephs denied the Celtic player’s attempts.
Despite their efforts, Wits failed to equalise, leaving the score at 1-0.
Celtic coach, Ernst Midlendorp was pleased to see his team advance to the final stage but said the performance “in certain departments definitely was not the standard you want to be competitive in, in the PSL.”
“The outcome was okay. We had a good defensive performance. We have worked on it in the past 3 weeks a little bit more but the movement combat, the build up, the right decision making, the final action, not positioning up and all the stuff you need to be dangerous in to counter your opponent, I think was very poor from our side,” said Midlendorp.
Conquering the Zulu warriors
True to Midlendorp’s assessment, the final clash with AmaZulu, also known as Usuthu, started off sluggish, with AmaZulu dominating the first half.
Michael Ntechane, 20, a Celtics fan, after the first half said, “They (Celtics) are under pressure and I feel they should improve in the second half if they want to win.”
Celtics came back strong in the second half where they managed to score two goals by Vuyani Ntanga and Gabadinho Mhango, giving Celtics the victory.
The two goals however, were not without struggle as Amazulu kept them on their toes with what was believed to be the “best defence” of the day.
AmaZulu booked their place in the final by beating Mpumalanga Black Aces 2-1 in the second semi-final.
The stadium was filled with Celtics supporters who sat through the cold and overcast day, sharing the victory with their team through music and dance, even after the game ended. The team itself was particularly pleased with their win over Bidvest Wits.
“Well, you know its football, you win or lose, we knew that they (Bidvest Wits) are competitive and they have been winning most of the games we played against them so we thought we should come and see what would happen and fortunately we were the ones who won today”, Celtics captain, Wandisile Letlabika said to Wits Vuvuzela.
Despite the knockout in the first semi-final on home soil, Bidvest Wits coach, Gavin Hunt said it was a good game.
“We had a lot of opportunities to score in early stages of the game and I’m sure we’ll be better as the season goes on,” said Hunt.
The inaugural Charity Showdown tournament was aimed at raising funds for The Lunchbox Fund through playing soccer while enjoying a fun filled family day with exciting activities such as face painting, sack racing, snake and ladders for children and live performances. The event raised close to R150 000 by the end of the day.
ENCIRCLED: Wits alumni enjoying food and drinks at the newly opened Wits Alumni Pub on west campus. Photo: Zelmarie Goosen
By Zelmarie Goosen and Lutho Mtongana
Staff and alumni of Wits now have an after-work hangout on west campus.
The Alumni Pub opened its doors for a trial run yesterday in one of the many spaces at the Cape-Dutch styled Wits Club.
The pub caters for alumni, staff, and the Kudu runners, a team of Wits alumni runners.
Postgraduate students and alumni from other universities are welcome at the pub which currently consists of a lounge and outside dining area.
Jimmy Neophytou, manager of the pub, says the menu currently only consists of small food items. “It’s a starting point, we want to grow it, and once it’s grown we will add more items to the menu,” he said.
“This is like a test run. As it develops we will have specials and discounts and events”, Neophytou added.
The Alumni Pub is an initiative of the Wits Alumni office which wanted to provide a relaxing, after-hours meeting for alumni of Wits and other universities.
The pub’s survival is dependent on the number of people that will make use of it. “As it grows the menu will grow, the number of days will grow, so this [opening] is just to see if people are interested in it” says Neophytou.
The pub opens every Wednesday from 17:30 to 21:30.
NO TO CENSORSHIP: Protesters outside the SABC building at today’s Right2Know protest against censorship. Photo: Lutho Mtongana
Right2Know’s protest outside the SABC in Auckland Park earlier today brought together a number of different organisations concerned with the issue of censorship at the national broadcaster.
Supporters from NUMSA (the National Union of Metal Workers), the Voices of the Poor of Concerned Residents of South Africa, along members of the general public gathered outside the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) building to challenge the “rot and irregularities,” at the broadcaster.
These were the words of Dinga Sikwebu, the National Education Coordinator of NUMSA, who added that “the SABC is turning into the state broadcasting megaphone for Luthuli House.”
The protest was held ahead of World Press Freedom Day tomorrow which celebrates the “hard fought freedoms achieved by journalists,” according to Dale McKinley, spokesperson of R2K. “We believe [these are] being violated by our public broadcaster … we are raising concerns about threats to these freedoms.”
The SABC has come under criticism recently with the banning of political adverts from ANC-opposition parties. In both cases, these decisions were upheld by ICASA, the broadcasting regulator.
The SABC focuses predominantly on ANC-related news, according to Sikwebu. “Yesterday was May Day and there were all the rallies, other than Vavi, everyone depicted on the [SABC] news was from the ANC.”
Protesters taped their mouths in protest against censorship. Photo: Lutho Mtongana
“What the SABC does is not right,” said spokesperson Eunice Manzini, of the Voices of the Poor of Concerned Residents of South Africa. She referred to the lack of broadcasting airtime given to those living in the townships and said, “The SABC must be a public broadcaster and not for the rich only.”
The 3rd May 2014 marks twenty three years since the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic Media which was developed by African journalists in the spirit of press freedom.
POWERFUL WOMEN: Anja van Zyl and Melinda Bam, the organisers of the Womentality Workshop. Photo: Lutho Mtongana
One of Johannesburg’s poshest hotels played host to a bevy of beautiful women who were attending the second annual Womentality Workshop yesterday.
The workshop, aimed at empowering young women, and is the brainchild of former Miss South Africa Melinda Bam and 2008 runner-up, Anja van Zyl, took place all through the day at the Maslow in Sandton. The aim of the former beauty queens is to help women embrace their inner femininity and be fearless and proud.
“Womentality workshops touch on several aspects of the female form and mind, to help you refine your femininity.”
“Being feminine means embracing different facets, acquiring new skills to be able to adapt to life’s changes and to realise that being a woman is the biggest blessing of all,” said Bam.
A self-confessed tomboy, she said that there is a lot for women, even the tomboys, to take away from the workshops which focus on a mind-set shift.
“There is a bit of femininity in every single woman that she should embrace, it is not just about what you look like, it is how all of that translates into how you feel about yourself every day,” she said.
Rolene Strauss, current Miss South Africa, also gave a talk at yesterday’s Womentality Workshop in Sandton. Photo: Kudzai Mazvarirwofa
“We want to create a movement, we are going to go to each province, and yes we want to have them regularly,” said Van Zyl about the future of the workshops.
The university is considering changing the admission criteria for medicine by doubling the percentage accepted on achievement alone, regardless of race.
Currently, 25% of top achievers are accepted regardless of race but recommendations would see that doubled. The remainder is presently allocated in favour of redressing racial disparities.
This is just one of a number of big changes presented at a public meeting to discuss the current and future admissions criteria to medicine on Tuesday night. The other two big changes are that 20% of places would be assigned to students who come from rural environments and applicants with undergraduate degrees would be considered equally regardless of what they previously graduated in.
“What am I doing here, then? I’ve wasted two years of my life,” one student complained. She is currently doing her undergraduate in health sciences. Many of the students there felt they had been encouraged to do these types of degrees in the hope that they would get preference to be accepted to medicine and were now being told this might change.
“A bachelor in health sciences is not a pre-med degree,” Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Habib said.
“If you take students from here [rural areas] they are more likely to return, unlike urban students who end up leaving the country,” according to Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Andrew Crouch. He heads up the task team with Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Zeblon Vilakazi.
According to the university, about 8 000 people apply for the degree each year but only 230 receive firm offers, the majority coming from urban environments and middle class families. This excludes many applicants from rural areas, previously disadvantaged backgrounds and poor schools.
Habib said they are trying to maximise the production of doctors but are limited by infrastructure and resources. He advised that students apply for alternative degrees as “some very good people will not get placed”.
The task team is deciding if they will be able to implement the recommended criteria next year or wait until 2016. They will release their findings in a report at the end of this month.
Miss Wits Varsity Cup 2014, Callie Shepherd at her crowning last month with Miss Joburg 2013, Anushka Kapp
An investigation conducted by Wits Vibe has found that Miss Wits Varsity Cup 2014 winner Callie Shepherd did not cheat her way to earning the title.
Allegations were made that she had cheated during the social media portion of the pageant, as some of her Facebook likes appeared to be fake. The complaints were about her large number of foreign voters and their rapid increase just hours prior to the end of the competition.
Lynette Sciolla, former Miss Varsity 2013 and coordinator of the 2014 competition, said all the contestants got a last minute bump in their votes.
“After her [Callie] votes jumped all the other girls votes also jumped actually Literally all of them jumped, it was going to be quite unfair to only evaluate Callie.”
Sciolla said that the other contestant’s votes were investigated and they were found to also have foreign votes.
“[Another contestant] had people from England,” she added.
The competition did not specify where the votes should come from and so it was not limited to only South Africa or Wits.
When assessing the votes, the committee found that some of Shepherd’s voters were active Facebook users and others were not but could not use that assessment as concrete evidence that the beauty queen had cheated.
[pullquote align=”right”]“We need to make sure that we have a clear name and a girl who is going to represent Wits the best way possible” [/pullquote]
“We looked into everything, some people were active and others were not. Some people deactivated their accounts and activated them when someone needed help. So people were not active for at least four months and now all of a sudden they were active because a friend asked them to vote,” said Sciolla.
“We thought about creating a spreadsheet to actually show people every single vote and every single thing that counted because people needed so much clarity, but we felt that it would be unfair to show the people who got the least votes because it’s also quite personal and private,” Sciolla said.
“We did not want to cause more drama on top of drama,” she explained.
Sciolla said they had numerous conversations with Shepherd and asked her to be honest because she’s now competing in Miss Varsity Cup.
“We need to make sure that we have a clear name and a girl who is going to represent Wits the best way possible,” said Sciolla.
Shepherd felt allegations were unfair
Shepherd said even though she did nothing wrong and felt victimised, she understood that the investigation had to be done.
“I didn’t mind, I was confident that I did not do anything wrong but obviously I wasn’t happy about it. I felt like it was just unfair and I was being victimised for nothing, so I was quite grumpy about that but I understand,” said Shepherd.
Lizar Madhomu, one of the Miss Wits Varsity Cup finalists, said the accusations had been “saddening” and was glad Shepherd had been vindicated.
“If I’d put myself in her shoes I wouldn’t have liked it if people had made it such a big deal. She’s such a sweet person and the story did not show that. I’m happy the truth is out now.”
Shepherd is still close with the finalists and they are supporting her for the Miss Varsity Cup competition.
“I’m still close with them, we have good friendships and they support me so much with Miss Varsity Cup now that I’m doing that and they voted for me, they have been so nice about it,” she said.
Votes are still open for Miss Varsity Cup on Facebook. They are not the only deciding factor in the compeition but count for 40%, of the total score along with 40% for interviews, 15% for contestant votes and 5% for the photo shoot.
Shepherd will not be seeking for votes internationally because she does not want more drama. Instead she will go onto campus and get Witsies involved.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Miss Wits Varsity Cup 2014, Callie Shepherd(left) smiles with Miss Joburg 2013 Anushka Kapp after her victory on Monday. Photo: Luca Kotton
last Monday, March 17.
After a staggering increase in Shepherd’s Facebook likes over a 24-hour period, just two days before the crowning, accusations of cheating were posted to the competition’s official Facebook page.
[pullquote]“I know I’d never ever do anything to rig the votes. I spoke to everyone that I knew, I spoke to my aunt to phone radio stations.”[/pullquote]
“It [the rumour] started when Callie’s votes shot up, she had about 300 votes and all the other girls had 800 to 900 votes,” said Sciolla. “Then Callie’s votes shot up to about 800 more [than her competitors]”.
Shepherd denied rigging her Facebook votes and said her late surge came after she began campaigning for votes at the urging of the contest’s organisers.
She said that while she had a large number of votes outside of South Africa, this was because of friends and supporters living abroad.
“I know I’d never ever do anything to rig the votes. I spoke to everyone that I knew, I spoke to my aunt to phone radio stations. I have a very close friend who just recently moved to Shanghai. I’ve got friends in Chicago, New Zealand, that explains some of the foreign accounts,” said Shepherd.
Shepherd said she didn’t have a problem with the investigation since she had not done anything wrong. She hopes to win over her detractors.
“I hope people would give me a chance because they don’t know me and once they get to know me they won’t have a problem with the fact that I won,” Shepherd said.
“I’m really disappointed that I did not get the support from people that I feel like I deserve.”
Sciolla said the social media component of the competition contributed to 35% of the overall points each contestant had.
The other points included interviews for 40%, photo shoots for 20% and voting for fellow contestants counted for 5%.
Sciollo said the controversy resulted in hostile comments directed at Shepherd on the Miss Wits Varsity Cup Facebook page, the worst of which have been deleted.
The investigation is still ongoing and a result will be reached soon. Sciollo said Shepherd would remain Miss Wits Varsity Cup unless hard evidence of cheating was discovered.
“If the winner does have a discrepancy with her votes then the first princess is the one who takes over [the title],” she said.
The Miss Wits Varsity Cup 2014 first princess was Nthabiseng Makgabo.
The competition received more than 80 applications which were narrowed down to five finalists, Shepherd, Makgabo, Nqobile Mahlambi, Lizar Madhomu and Jessica Tovey.
BOYTJIES BUMMED: Scrum after scrum saw the iKeys Tigers taking possession of the ball, leaving the Wits Boytjies with mud on their faces. Photo: Luca Kotton
By Luca Kotton and Lutho Mtongana
Wits rugby ended their Varsity Cup season as the only team without a win after seven group games, last night. The home ground advantage and sassy cheerleaders couldn’t help the Boytjies snatch a win in their final Varsity Cup game.
Wits will now play rugby for the next two years in the Varsity Shield competition.
It has been a hard season for the Witsies but despite this, they remain optimistic for the upcoming years.
Wits rugby team captain, Devin Montgomery said, “[It’s been] very disappointing … We set high goals for ourselves and we could have done better … I definitely think we have improved but we are just not there yet, so we are going to have to work our way back into the competition”.
In the game, Wits were 10-0 down at half time and came out the blocks in the second half with a renewed energy.
The team struggled to get past their halfway line, as they continued to fumble the ball. University of Cape Town (UCT) team, iKeys Tigers could have buried the game earlier but their kicker seemed to struggle on the night missing all of his five kicks.
In the face of a seventh loss, Wits put all their effort in trying to revive their hopes of a victory. Unfortunately, their last gasp effort and single unconverted try was not enough against the strong finish of the iKeys Tigers who ended the match 25-5.
The UCT captain, James Alexander, at the prospect of a home semi-final told Wits Vuvuzela, “We came here thinking we are going to win the competition. So to have a semi-final we are in pretty good shape. We brought in new management…we came here quite confident, especially away from home we’ve done really well”.
Throughout the entire game the Wits crowd remained enthusiastic and filled the stadium with energy and song, supporting their team in the hope of a victory.
Miss Varsity Cup makes her debut
If UCT gets to the final of the Varsity Cup 2014 competition, they will be joined by the newly crowned Miss Wits Varsity Cup, Callie Shepherd.
Shepard won through a combination of likes on the Miss Varsity Cup 2014 Facebook page, photo-shoots, interviews and a fashion show.
[VIDEO: A full interview with the new title holder].
Today we’re taking a look at the #WitsShutdown protests which are over historical debt and unaffordable accommodation, which have seen several students suspended, physical clashes between protestors and security and disruptions to the academic programme for many. In this bonus episode of We Should Be Writing, we let students unpack their views on what has […]