Celeb endorses #Access to education

Tanisha Heiberg

The #Access campaign launced by the Wits SRC has raised over R2.6-million and attracted the attention of celebrities like DJ Sbu. 

NedBank Gloria Phasha, Vice-Cahncellor Adam Habib, Karabo Maruthaand Nompendulo Mkatshwa

Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib, Wits SRC president Nompendulo Mkatshwa and SRC members Karabo Marutha and Gloria Phasha were presented with a R2-million donation towards students fees from representatives from NedBank. The donation from the bank, forms part of the #Access campaign launched by the Wits SRC on Welcome Day that aims to raise money for students who cannot afford tertiary education.

The Wits SRC’s #Access campaign for students who cannot pay fees has raised over R2.6-million and attracted endorsements from local celebrities such as DJ Sbu.

“DJ Sbu has agreed to endorse the Access campaign … Sbu along with the SRC will be participating in his fund raising event on Sunday,” according to Wits SRC secretary general Fasiha Hassan. The details of the endorsement are still under discussion.

Hassan said that some of the proceeds from DJ Sbu’s Annual SLEF Benefit Concert will go towards the #Access campaign with the details still to be ironed out.

This comes after the Wits SRC launched the #Access fundraiser at the university’s welcome day for first-year students. The campaign aims to raise R10-million by the end February for the “missing middle”—students who don’t qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) but still cannot afford tuition.

“They are students who are too poor to be rich and too rich to be poor”

Hassan said the SRC is hoping to raise enough money to help at least 8 000 students with not only tuition but also necessities such as accommodation and transport.

“It’s one thing to get them into the system but it’s another to get them out successfully … we are aiming to look at this holistically,” said Hassan.

“They are students who are too poor to be rich and too rich to be poor … these are children of teachers, nurses and policemen,” said SRC president Nompendulo Mkatshwa at the welcome day.

The fundraiser includes Fill the Jar, pledges forms, donations and the proceeds gained from O-week events, such as Beer Garden, Freshers Party and the Flea Market, will go towards the humanitarian fund.  “People think that O-week is about ‘party party party’, let me tell you something O-week is not about that. It’s about raising funds for students. Party with a purpose,” said Mkatshwa

Another key focus to the initiative is the corporate challenge where they hope to encourage big business to donate. At the launch R2-million was donated by Nedbank to start kick start the initiative. Mkatshwa implored not only students and parents to donate but also corporate and other professionals. “We challenge other corporate to bless us, be our ‘blessers’,” said Mkatshwa. Other corporate donation include R600 000 from Abbotts Laboratories.

“No amount of funding is enough”

Last year the Wits SRC raised R4.4-million for the One million One Month campaign to assist students who were affected by the NSFAS shortfall crisis.

In an interview on Wednesday with Wits Vuvuzela, Mkatshwa said the SRC wanted to expand access to education towards every academically qualified student.

“The Wits SRC seeks to ensure that every single academically deserving child gains access to this institution and succeeds in this institution …We need the masses of our people skilled and knowledgeable in order for us to create the type of growth that will create socioeconomic equality and justice in South Africa,” said  Mkatshwa.

However, Hassan acknowledged that even if the SRC meets its goal of R10-million, it will still not be enough to help all of the students in need of funding for their tertiary education.

“No amount of funding is enough,” said Hassan.

This initiative comes in the wake of the Fees Must Fall protests that spread to other campuses across the country at the end of last year when students demanded a 0% fee increase and an end to outsourcing.

“#Access is an evolution of Fees Must Fall,” said Hassan.

Join the club!

There are a couple of clubs that are not as popular as Football or Basketball here at Wits. The following list is about some of these clubs.

Fun In the Sun!: Members of the Yacht Club sitting outside their yacht during O-Week. Photo: Michelle Gumede

Fun In the Sun!: Members of the Yacht Club sitting outside their yacht during O-Week. Photo: Michelle Gumede

With the long list of sports and recreational clubs at Wits, it can be pretty challenging to pick a sporting or recreational activity to participating in. We’ve got the scoop on clubs that don’t hectic waiting lists.

 

  1. The Yacht Club

If you have ever dreamed about sailing the seven seas, then this club may be for you. Established in 1972, the aim of the club is to teach its members how to sail. On average, it takes individuals about three to four 5-hour sessions for participants to learn how to sail. Subscription to the club is R400 per academic year and all you need, in the event that you do not own your own equipment, will be provided for you.

  1. The Underwater Club

Established in the 1960s, there are two sides to the club: scuba diving and underwater hockey. Scuba diving gives participants an opportunity to get accredited through the South African scuba diving instructors association for level one, CMAS-ISA at R1300 for the 2 to 3-week long course. All you need is a mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit. The rest of the equipment will be provided.  Get more information on their Facebook page: Wits Underwater Club.

  1. Futsal

Do you love football, but hate being outside? Futsal may be for you. One of the really lesser-known sports in the country, futsal is a short form of football, featuring, instead of 11 players in a team, 5 players. It is played on a plastic-like court, with a normal football pitch markings. To play, you need specialized court shoes that are available at sports shops. You can join the team for R100 per semester in order to play in a season. For more info, visit their Facebook page: Wits Futsal

  1. Badminton

Described as the fastest racquet sport on the planet, Badminton is an indoor sport that looks like tennis, but is like volleyball, with a different set of rules. The Wits Badminton club offers classes for people who have never played the sport before. Subscription is R300 to for half a year and R600 to play the full year. The club has been doing very well at various sporting competitions, being particularly successful at the University Sports South Africa 2015 tournament. If you’re looking to improve your hand-eye coordination, then Badminton is for you. You need your own racquet to play.  Facebook: Wits Badminton Club

  1. Orienteering

Voted Sports Club of the Year for 2015, the orienteering club is doing great things. The idea of the sport is to navigate using a map in the fastest time. The club’s subscription is R110 for the year and that gets you a R10 discount for every orienteering event you’re involved in. If map reading is not your strong point, that’s okay because the club is more than willing to teach you. All you need are comfortable walking shoes. Everything else, such as a hat, maps and electronics (for the navigating) are provided. For information visit: https://witsorienteering.wordpress.com/