Alumni wants Wits to sing a new song

In response to the controversial Men’s Res anthem, “I smell pussy”, the wits alumni office aims to replace that war-cry with something more positive.

The Wits Alumni Society is aiming to unite Witsies by choosing a new anthem that Wits can be proud of and that creates a reinvigorated sense of team spirit.

Students, staff and alumni around the world are encouraged to send their punchy and funky new war-cry options that people can learn easily, and that Witsies will sing for years to come.

The new war-cry will be launched in September, replacing less favourable war-cries,in the hopethat all Witsies will be singing it for the new sports season.

The competition will starton July, 20 and end on August, 15. There are prizes to be won, worth R10 000.

Wits Vuvuzela previously covered the story of members of the Men’s Residence singing a war-cry with lyrics saying “I smell pussy” at a rugby match earlier in the year. This prompted the Alumni office to discuss why students would want to sing a song like this, it was determined that it was because there are no official war-cries at Wits.

The Wits Gender Equity Office previously said that itwill be implementing “systemic holistic intervention programmes” in residences next semester in response to Men’s Residence’s war-cry lyrics.

Historically, the Wits war-cry was an important part of inter-varsity competition however, most songs would not be favourable today as they were highly Eurocentric and concentrated more on varsity rivals.

Wits has not had an official war-cry since the 1960’s.

Students are encouraged to submit their lyrics to from now until the end of July. More information can be found on posters that will be put up at the end of the mid-term break.

Initiation creates ‘camaraderie’

CORRECTION: Wits Vuvuzela initially reported that Joshua Ndlangamandla was from Men’s Res, but he is actually from EOH. We regret the error. The error has been corrected in the copy.


MARCH ON: “Freshmen” sing and dance as part of their first year initiation during O-week.                Photo: Roxanne Joseph

MARCH ON: “Freshmen” sing and dance as part of their first year initiation during O-week. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

DURING O-week the residences plan a highly interactive experience for the wide-eyed young adults in first year to help familiarise them with the university and each other.

Two years ago, Wits Vuvuzela reported on how two female students formally complained to the dean of students at the time, about unsanctioned initiations and how they were “victimised” and experienced sexism from students at a male residence.

“There’s a fine line between what the freshers can take and what they can’t and what they are going to complain to their parents about and what they are going to find fun,” said Priya Thakur, Sunnyside house committee chairperson.

“Right now we are still trying to get them used to the entire res and varsity, get them to mingle with other students because, in as much as they are going to be students who are alone, they are still going to meet with students from other res’s as well in their classes,” said Joshua Ndlangamandla, a BSc third year and the sports administrator at Ernest Oppenheimer Hall of residence (EOH).

Wits Vuvuzela spoke to house committee members at the residences about how first years were being initiated and if the acts were harmless or not.

The “freshmen”, as EOH call their first years, appear to be treated as cadets. Wits Vuvuzela witnessed Men’s res in their blue t-shirts doing a series of drills and push-ups, followed by dancing and singing.

The freshmen only earn their keep after the formal initiation, when the “freshmen” jump into the pool, and “depending on how we feel on the day, it might be fully clothed,” added Ndlangamandla. “They will no longer be called “freshmen” but “Ernest men”.

Sankie Kgatse, a first year staying in Sunnyside residence said it has been “fun”, that they were taught a lot of traditional songs and did some physical exercise. “We gym yoh! We do a lot of physical activities and they are very hard … We wake up around 5.30 every morning,” the first year added. The freshers do morning runs to get them used to waking up early for classes.

According to Sunnyside’s Thakur, one of the traditions they uphold is their pledge night with Ernest Oppenheimer Hall of residence (EOH), where the freshers pledge their allegiance to EOH. The pledge took place earlier this week.

“It’s fun because historically Knockando and Men’s Res hate each other and then Sunnyside and Jubilee are fighting over Men’s Res when EOH is not around, it’s a lot of res rivalry, which is pretty fun during the week.”

The pledge also included a wedding, where house committee chose the person they would marry, Kgatse explained to Wits Vuvuzela. Ndlangamandla regrets that he wasn’t initiated in his first year at EOH and found that he generally struggled in his first two years because he didn’t really know the people around him.

He sees the benefit in initiation because “you’re partnered with someone through initiation and you’ve been through the same struggles you’ve been telling each other, ‘oh that house comm manager is an asshole’, so you have something in common”.

“It builds that brotherhood, that camaraderie between people that if you’re struggling, don’t do it alone … Once you’re alone we can’t help you out because we don’t know where you are in life,” says Ndlangamandla.

“It’s all about building a proper rapport between the students and us so that they can come to because most of us have been there before,” he adds. When asked about any worrisome activities, Thakur said she could not reveal that to the Wits Vuvuzela, and doubts that any other res would.

“A lot of the things we do here are internal and house issues, it’s designed and meant specifically for Sunnysiders. If the university had to read about it, I don’t think they would understand – it’s a different thing living at res and the Vuvuzela has a much wider audience,” said Thakur.

Apart from morning drills, the first year are taken around Johannesburg to the Hector Peterson Museum, Vilakazi street and the South African Breweries to watch how beer is made.

A splashin’ good time

SPLASH OUT:  Members of Mens Res take rivalry to a new level as they start a water fight between Sunnyside and Wits Junction residences.  Photo: Ilanit Chernick

SPLASH OUT: Members of Mens Res take rivalry to a new level as they start a water fight between Sunnyside and Wits Junction residences. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

Wits University was the place to be this week as new and first-time students were treated to the best the campus has to offer.
With the choice of attending a number of campus parties like the Sports Party which introduces students to the different sporting options available on campus, the Silly Buggers party for the wild and wonderful or the Fresher’s Bash this evening. There is a place and home for any student who wants to experience the Wits vibe and meet new people.
Wits Welcome Day (last Sunday) was introduced with rivalry, dancing and chanting between the different Wits Residences. A water fight ensued between Mens Res and members of Sunnyside and Wits Junction early on Sunday morning.
One Mens Res resident said they want to “teach” the other residences “who is boss on campus”.
“We are management!” He shouted to his fellow comrades.
This year’s beer garden kept students entertained and excited with a number of DJ’s keeping the music pumping. Students had the opportunity to enjoy a selection of imported craft beers and usual locals favourites. .
Society sign-ups by the Great Hall gave students a taste of the social and cultural opportunities which lie ahead. With the Venda and Zulu societies show-casing their talent as dancers and singers drew onlookers by the dozen.
The Wits Choir even showcased their talents during a number of performances taking place around campus.
Overall, both new and returning students had a great time with a relaxed ban that allowed alcohol to flow, filling the campus with noise and laughter. It’s no wonder Wits O-week is one of the best on South African campuses.
After all the fun, it’s going to be hard for students to get back into the mundane tasks of student life.

The battle of the rugby shield tightens

Wits rugby team Medics “Young Doctors” is currently number one at the university, having lost none of their matches this year from ten teams. Their latest victory was against Monash for the Rugby Internal League play off.

Following Young Doctors is Masakhane with 208 points and the Engineers with 173 points. The SA Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) which still have not won any games since the league started, managed only 50 points and continue to remain at the bottom this semester.

SAUJS have not played any games this semester and have been troubled since their team had a leadership deficit – their manager only just returned two weeks ago from a two month trip overseas. Alan Leonard, Rugby Internal League coordinator, said, “If SAUJS cannot continue then the scores for SAUJS will be wiped out and it will be as if they had not played. That levels the playing field”.

Meanwhile, Masakhane is determined to take the Medics on in the finale after they lost only one game last semester against the Medics. Katlego Maseko, Masakhane captain said his team had no problems, had “the best defence in the league” and he hoped to see Medics in the final.

Even though the Medics have done extremely well their captain, Donovan Heslop disclosed that “one part of our game that needs work is our defence and kicking, this has always been a problem with us our strongest asset has been our attack, we have very exciting players who are able to create tries when needed.”

TEAM HUG: The Medics rejoice after winning a game. Photo by: Tendai

TEAM HUG: The Medics rejoice after winning a game.        Photo by: Tendai Dube

For the past three years the Medics have only made it to the semi-finals, not winning the cup. Heslop said this time, “Our goal is to make the final and hopefully win the league.”

As for Mens Res, they opened this semester with another loss. Leonard said, “Last week their fitness was not up to scratch and they seem to change their team every week.”

“I think the other teams have got stronger but also with the disruptions the teams have not played the same number of games,” he added.

Monash captain, Tatenda Mtemeri said that one of the reasons for their lack lustre performance well is that they had a lot of new players most of which were under 19. They had only three seniors remaining.

However, it’s not really a Super 6 anymore; this year all teams will play until the semi-finals. This means that all teams on the league, Medics, Masakhane, Engineers, Commerce, Monash, Humanities (Titans), Mens Res (Raiders), South African Hellenic Association (SHA), MGI Tigers and SAUJs will be part of the remaining three rounds of the games.

The Rugby Internal League Final will take place on September 10, with only three rounds left until the play-offs. The last week will see a five game round if SAUJS emerges from its leadership crises and continue to play, according to Leonard.

Close on the Medics’ heels for winner, according to the current standing, looks likely to be Masakhane or the Engineers.

Orientation vs Initiation

At least two female students have reported bad experiences during unsanctioned initiations at their residences during O-Week.

In one case, the victim said she was made uncomfortable by the “sexist” undertones during an encounter with students from a male residence.

“We’re not allowed to look any of the guys in the eye, but that defeats the whole point of orientation and getting to know each other,” said the first year, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of being singled out.

Although she feels victimized, the student said she still though initiation was important “but to some extent we have lost the point.” She said she was especially frightened by the incident because she comes from a conservative family.

The incident was reported to the Dean of Students Prem Coopoo.

“First year students are meant to be orientated to Wits, not initiated. They need to feel connected to Wits and cared for – not fearful of seniors,” Coopoo said.

Coopoo said students are encouraged to report initiations as outlined in the O-week guidebook.

Third year BEd student and JCE resident Hannah Makgopa said initiation “helps to build bonds among first years.”

She said as part of the JCE tradition, first years are given new nicknames that are written on “virginity tags” which they have to wear around their necks for the duration of O-Week. Makgopa said the nicknames are created by the seniors and are not meant to be malicious.

“When I think of my first year I wish I can do it again,” said Makgopa.

Not all O-week residence activities have gone down well with management:  last year initiations were banned at Men’s Residence after some of its residents disrupted an inter-residence talent show while intoxicated. Many people also remarked at how “hardcore” and “militant” the Men’s Residence initiations were.

“Men’s Res was a bit too harsh, if [the first years] do one mistake its 10 pushups or until they say stop,” said Makgopa.

However, Men’s Res student Muzi Phungula said he felt pity for the first years that live at Men’s Residence because they will not be able to go through the “fun things” that he went through in his first year.

He said first years are usually scared at first because it’s a new environment and it can be a “dramatic experience” but initiation built bonds with a shared experience.

A former house committee member from Sunnyside, Memme Monyela, said Men’s Residence initiations were much more “hardcore” than any other residence. She said the first years at Men’s Res were made to run around the field half-naked and occasionally had to brush their teeth with water from the coy fish pond outside the John Moffat Building.

Monyela said there are routine things that are done for fun such as waking first years up at 5am for a run on the field.

“There were others who just didn’t want to participate, they would complain and say ‘We’re tired’” said Monyela. “Sometimes they would complain that running around the field with people watching was demeaning.”

A second year student from Sunnyside Lebohang Makgopa said her initiation “was harsh, but not as bad as other residences.” “We don’t have these rules like other residences…we are a house of royalty.”

SRC election candidate claims election exclusion

A Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) candidate was apparently removed from the ballot list days before the SRC elections.

Dominic Khumalo, 4th year LLB, claims  the Legal Office recommended his removal and the decision was made at a meeting between senior Wits management and the Dean of students on Friday August 17.

A notice outside polling stations warned students that voting for ‘candidate 5’ would spoil their ballot.

Earlier this year, Khumalo and fellow members of the Men’s Res house committee were suspended and temporarily evicted for misconduct, after they allegedly disrupted an inter-residence talent show during orientation week.

But Jabu Mashinini, chief electoral officer, said Khumalo withdrew his nomination, and has confirmed that she is in possession of a withdrawal letter from him.

“It was a personal choice. He decided to withdraw for personal reasons and we had to get permission from the VC because withdrawal for nomination had closed already,” she said.

Khumalo said he was not officially informed of the decision and went to confirm with deputy vice chancellor Yunus Ballim if the “rumour” was true. According to Khumalo, Ballim confirmed that he had been excluded.

Khumalo said he consulted with an advocate who advised him that a High Court interdict for the elections was his only form of redress. However, he did not get the interdict because it was expensive, and he did not want to seem power-hungry.

Khumalo said he had written a “very long letter” to the president and the Minister of Higher Education, and was waiting for a response.

Last year, Feziwe Ndwanyana , a PYA candidate, was excluded the day before the elections. She had been found guilty of misconduct during the student protest against fee increments in 2009.

Ballim and Prem Coopoo, dean of students, were approached for comment but had not yet responded at the time of going to print.

Published in Wits Vuvuzela 21st edition, 24th August 2012

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Knockando smashes the Raiders

The inter-faculty games showed a new level of competitiveness last week when the two male res’s, Knockando and Men’s Res, better known to students as the “Knocks” and the “Raiders”, went head to head in what seemed to be more like a test of the residences’ pride.

The match started out quite slowly with both teams trying to find each other’s weak spots.

For the first 20 minutes of the game Men’s Res dominated the play, with attempts to break the Knockando defence. But against the flow of the game Knockando centre, Marcus Sham, scored a try which gave Knocks the lead.

After falling behind, the Raiders pushed hard for 10 minutes to equalise the score through a try from Mxolisi Makhombiti. The Raiders failed to convert the try.

For the last 10 minutes of the first half, neither team could manage to score any more points to take the lead at half time. The scores at half time were 5-5.

With half time scores at 5-5, both teams came into the second half with a point to prove. Both attempted to change the score line but the defence systems proved strong on both fronts.


Knockando and Raiders forwards locked in a scrum. Knockando won the game 18-5.

Photo: Lebogang Mdlankomo


Knockando dominated the second half with one try and a converted try that placed them in the lead for the entire game. The final score was 18-5.

A number of players that made their mark in the game included Men’s Res’s lock Graham Rex and centre Manne Adje and Knockando’s Blake Dismare.

Other games that took place on the night included Masakhane versus Monash, Humanities versus HSA, Commerce versus SAUJS and the Engineers against the Medics.


Published in Wits Vuvuzela, 12th edition, 2nd May 2012


Top res students rewarded

HARD work has paid off for Witsies who lived in residence and excelled academically last year.

Claude Vergie , assistant registrar in the west campus cluster, said res students had the academic edge over day students because of the accessibility of resources and ability to collaborate with other students.

Deputy Vice Chancellor: Academic, Professor Yunus Ballim, said  awardees were in a privileged historical position: “It took us way too long to get rid of apartheid […] your generation must not make the same mistakes we made.”

Noma Radebe, producer of SABC 1’s Ek se Lalela, said awardees should not make their success  about themselves. She advised them to give back: “Literally, even if it means standing up in a bus for an older person or someone that looks tired.”

Top achievers from Men’s Res and Jubilee Hall were hosted at the recently refurbished main dining hall for their joint dinner last Friday.

Reginald Matamela, a 3rd year mining engineering student, bagged nine As and emerged as the top student from Men’s Res. He said discipline and making the right decisions drove his success.

“I chose my girlfriend really well, who’s very supportive, and understands what I have to do.”

With his trophy in hand, Reginald Matamela celebrates his achievement as the top student from Men's Res. He achieved nine As in last year's exams.

Nomsa Mlambo, a 2nd year accounting science student, said it was hard in the beginning of her first year, but getting into a study group and going through past exam papers made studying “fun”.

Vergie advised the students to embrace the principle of life-long learning.

“It’s really just unlocking the door to greater success. They shouldn’t just sit back and think they’ve achieved it all.”

The res dinner formed part of a series of academic dinners occurring across campus in March.