If you are like me, you are probably nervous about every new experience and change that occurs in your life. Having recently graduated, I’m about to start an internship and am anxious about what lies ahead.
[pullquote align=”right”]Change would always occur – with or without your participation. So if you aren’t enjoying some aspect of your situation, you should actively work to change it.[/pullquote]
I recently read an O magazine article which made a lot of sense. Basically, the point was that it didn’t matter whether you embraced change or ran in the opposite direction. Change would always occur – with or without your participation. So if you aren’t enjoying some aspect of your situation, you should actively work to change it.
It turns out, even if you make no changes to your lousy job or your painful relationship, all those things will eventually change anyway.
This new phase of my life has been a bit difficult to embrace. I constantly hear my friends and former classmates talk about how interns are hated in the workplace and how their lack of experience makes them a liability.
I personally do not believe this to be true. You do have valuable skills and you need to remind yourself of that fact through the job hunting process. Companies spend large amounts on graduate recruitment and training programmes, not because they pity us, but because they need us! Yes, I said it.
The problem is that our attitudes hurt our chances of getting a job. To an employer, this lack of confidence comes over as a lack of initiative, a lack of drive. To them it’s unprofessional – a sign that you’re not competent. An indication that they’re going to have to walk you through every little stage and task. They will, but you don’t have to remind them of this. Fake it till you make it.
[pullquote]We need to learn how to appreciate the skills we possess and sell these as valuable assets.[/pullquote]
After four years of frequent visits to the career counsellor, there is one thing I have learned. Spend time learning how to sell yourself. Learn how to make your skills seem essential. Be ready to always give the best answer to this recruitment question: Why are you the best person for the job?
We need to learn how to appreciate the skills we possess and sell these as valuable assets. You might not have the experience, but remember, you have spent three or four years at university. You have learned to write essays and reports, worked in teams, made presentations and, most of all, committed to tasks. Think positively, remember your strengths and approach it like this: “I’m good. I would be an asset to this company because …”
As I venture into a new phase of life, I can’t help but feel excited about this new growth experience.
I’ll walk into my new organisation with the confidence of knowing I can make a meaningful contribution and be open to learning.
SRC treasurer Sandile Ngwenya prepares to attack, while Vice Chancellor Adam Habib readies his defence
THE VICE Chancellor’s Office and the SRC faced off at Wits University’s first futsal match on Tuesday evening. It was an equally matched struggle which saw an anticlimatic draw.
The SRC played a nine-all draw against Vice Chancellor Adam Habib’s selected team. Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Post Graduate Affairs Dr Zeblon Vilakazi impressed not only his teammates but also his opponents with his soccer skills. He alternated from goalkeeper, to midfielder and striker.
Sport Officer Dennis Tshabalala said Futsal “is a 5-a-side game played either indoor or outdoor. The game is played with a low bounce ball.” The duration of the match is a maximum 20 minutes per half.
At first glance, it appeared to be an ill-match, with Habib’s white haired, pot bellied team. The team not only surprised its audiences but their opponents, and indeed, themselves.
The older team was surprised by their own endurance, pace and skills. “Game turning out more even than I thought, guys from their 40’s and 50’s are keeping up,” said Vilakazi.The SRC made more substitutions than their older opponents. This was not an indication of their lack of fitness but a strategy to exhaust their opponents and give all their members an opportunity to play.
[pullquote align=”right”]“We had lots of fun, it’s just a pity we were faced with an opposition we had to take pity on,” SRC treasurer Sandile Ngwenya said. [/pullquote]
SRC Sports Council chairperson, Andrew Keightley-Smith said the launch was not only a way for the SRC to develop relations between themselves, senior management and sporting staff but also to make sport accessible to everyone.
“We wanted to show students futsal is not for people who play competitively but everyone, boys, girls and even staff members” said Keightley-Smith.
The futsal courts, located at West Campus Dig Field were built on donations from the National Lottery fund for over R1-million. Sport officer Dennis Tshabalala said the funds were used on futsal courts because of the variety sporting codes the futsal courts surface can cater for.
“The surface can be a design for other sporting codes; if you look at basketball court, you could do that. That surface you can literally use it for any other form of sport” said Tshabalala.
The courts are a way for people who are not necessarily a part of a sporting team to take part competitively in a fun sport which will be made accessible to everyone.
This was a way for students and the Wits community to keep active and promote a healthy lifestyle.
“Those courts are here simply because we want to grow the game on campus because there are those people who don’t necessarily want to play the normal 11-a-side and this will give them a nice platform to do so,” said Tshabalala
A tournament will officially start on the March 10 and anyone can start a team. Forms and further details can be accessed from Tshabalala at:
DISTRACTED: Learners from the Bidvest academy in class during their Isizulu lesson. Photo: Palesa Radebe
BIDVEST Wits training academy has been put on the back foot following questions about the academic performance of its students.
Wits Vuvuzela recently asked the training academy for information on how many of its students complete matric. In response, the training academy asked why Wits Vuvuzela was interested in their work.
“My worry is your article sounds little bit negative towards what we are doing,” said training academy head of development affairs Glen Salmon. Salmon could not provide statistics to tell Wits Vuvuzela how many of the academy’s students completed their studies.“It’s very difficult also within South Africa to cater for everyone, there are some boys who excel, who get fantastic marks, clever boys from privileged backgrounds.
“[pullquote align=”right”]The Cambridge syllabus requires students to think independently rather than the South African spoon-feeding system[/pullquote]
There are some boys from poorer backgrounds, with poorer schooling who struggle,” Salmon said.
Training academy headmaster Mike Crampton blamed the South African basic education system for his students’ struggle to perform academically. He said the students were not able to think “independently” without supervision. Crampton said the academy students were taught with the ‘Cambridge syllabus’ rather than the one used by the South African basic education system.
The Cambridge syllabus requires students to think independently rather than the South African spoon-feeding system,” said Crampton.
The Bidvest Wits training academy is a football-training centre with the objective to prepare young players to play professional football. The academy takes students from grade 11 to matric and follows the British Cambridge syllabus, which Crampton said is similar to university standard.
Salmon said the students come to the academy at different education levels “so it’s difficult to cater for everyone, that’s why the Cambridge syllabus is so positive in that way you can teach them on their level”.
Bidvest Wits Training Academy head coach Ashley Makhanya said the academy was set up around the soccer season. The students attend morning and afternoon training sessions, leaving only four hours in their schedule for schooling.
“The students are not chosen based on their academic credentials but more on the football skills, the academy is set up to offer support to their sporting career,” said Makhanya.
Makhanya said the biggest challenge the academy was facing is to keep the students focused on their academics.
“They need to take their school work seriously, not all of them make it to the PSL, only a small percentage makes it to the PSL,” Makhanya said. Makhanya said the academy spent a lot of funds to ensure the students did well in school providing them with food and housing in addition to an education.
A former scholar said the academy was set up similar to a private school and the syllabus was difficult. He said that most players focused more on the soccer rather than schoolwork.
The former student asked for anonymity because he feared speaking to the media would jeopardise his chances of making it to the PSL.
Mandla Maseko is part of the Axe Apollo Space Academy, he is the first Black South African to go to space on the Lynx Mark II shuttle in 2015.
SOUTH Africa’s first black astronaut-in-waiting, Mandla Maseko, hopes to be a Wits University student after he returns from space.
Maseko wants to register for a course in aeronautical engineering which he believes will bring him closer to becoming a mission specialist or pilot-in-charge at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
“It’s not just about getting the experience but getting it on paper. Wits is very accredited with this course, it excels more than any other university,” said Maseko.The “future astronaut” had to drop out from his civil engineering studies at Tshwane North College. He had only a few subjects to go when he had to put his studies on hold because of a lack of funding.
He is the only South African among a group of 23 young people from across the world that were selected to go to space on the Lynx Mark II Shuttle in 2015.
[pullquote align=”right”]”It’s not just about getting the experience but getting it on paper. Wits is very accredited with this course, it excels more than any other university,” [/pullquote]
The 25-year-old is part of the Axe Apollo Space Academy where he will be one of the 23 potential astronauts who will get to spend an hour in space on the Lynx Mark II shuttle in 2015.
“There are only two people per flight so it will be me as a future generation astronaut and the captain pilot,” he said
He is the only South African “future astronaut” among a group of 23 young people from across the world that will get to spend an hour in space
Maseko was unemployed when he entered a Metro FM competition where they were required to send a picture of themselves in the air, jumping off something.
“I chose to jump off a wall in the backyard. You know how we do it ko kasi [in the township] and a friend of mine took the picture,” he said. He made it into the finals. The last round of the radio competition involved answering a question about why he wanted to go to space.
“I answered by saying I wanted to defy the laws of gravity and be the first black South African in space,” said Maseko.
Thirty entrants were selected from 85 000 applicants for the first set of challenges in the Free State – and only three would go on to participate further in the United States.
Maseko and his two fellow South Africans faced numerous challenges at the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida.
From the 109 participants from around the world only 23 will be going to space, Mandla being one of the selected.
“I was surprised they called me unexpectedly, they called me second from a list of 23. Which means from the 23 people I was second best,” said a proud Maseko.
The challenges included skydiving, battling G-forces in a “vomit comet”, building and launching a rocket and conquering obstacle courses.
Maseko will take part in six to eight weeks of training before he launches in 2015 but until then he has been keeping fit by jogging in the morning and afternoons. He always has a limited diet to ensure he is fit and healthy for the launch.
A set date has not been decided yet but the launch is estimated for sometime in 2015.
Love is in the air, it’s Valentines’ Day. There are those out there who can’t stand the day with its cringe-worthy adverts, plastic roses, chocolates , big white and red teddy bears and then there are hopeless romantics who love everything about the day. #teamvuvu went out on campus to hear what Witsies thought of the Valentines’ Day.
So you got into university, now what? If you are like me, you are probably worried about everything else but passing the year and actually getting your degree.
I remember my first month when I got to university. I worried so much about insignificant things, I wonder how I even made it out with a degree. One of my biggest issues was my thick ghetto accent. I wasn’t worried about my first university essay that was due in four weeks, or the fact that I had my first psychology multiply choice quiz in the coming three weeks. Instead I was focused on wanting to sound like I had gone to a private school and use the word ‘like’ in every second sentence.
I remember the sick feeling I would get in my stomach every time we had to go around in large groups introducing ourselves. “Hi, my name is Palesa, I’m from Soweto and this year I’m going to be studying journalism, psychology, drama and anthropology.”
I had crammed that sentence so well and had tried to pronounce every word in the most convincing fake Model C accent I could manage.
I would worry that if I raised my hand in lectures I wouldn’t sound as smart as the kids that had attended Crawford, or whatever St-something they went to. I worried that my contribution to the discussion wouldn’t matter because I didn’t read Othello or Woza Albert in matric. How could I sound smart if I made reference to books like Maru?
Anthropology tutorials were the worst. The fact that I would stay up half the night to type a 1000-word tutorial essay was the least of my worries. What would really enrage me were the discussions we had during tutorials. Not only would I spend two days trying to understand a 40-page reading but it would be so evident that I had missed the humour and point of the reading during the discussions.
Through all of the anxiety, self-doubt and panic, you start to miss your old friends, high school teachers, the sweet sound of Sesotho or isiZulu in the school corridors. Back then you didn’t have to practice how you would ask a question to your teachers; if you didn’t know the word in English, you would say it in Sesotho and she would get it because she would be black as well.
When I finally got over the unhappy feelings and accepted my new environment and my not-so-polished accent, I finally realised that university is a place where diversity and individualism—not to mention ghetto accents—are accepted and appreciated. The trick is to not try and conform to the ‘norm’. It was only when my tutor would mark and return my essays that I realised how smart my ghetto self is. I would always get pleasantly surprised at her comments. It was not that I didn’t get or understand the reading, I just had a different perspective. The more I read and argued points from a different perspective, the smarter I sounded.
University is the one place where you learn that it’s okay to be yourself. The accent, clothes, and the ‘cool kids’ don’t matter. It’s a safe space to be yourself, to challenge yourself, surprise yourself and, most importantly, it’s a place to learn not just about the world, but yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you are from a rural school in Limpopo or a township school in Alexandria. Have the drive to always do your best and believe that your contribution matters. And one more thing, read ahead of the lectures to ask relevant questions. Those are the things that make you smart.
Puff and Pass: Wits Junction residents are using incense to disguise the smell of cigarettes and weed. Photo: Liesl Frankson
After receiving information that Wit Junction residents are irritated by the smell of incense in their corridors, Wits Vuvuzela investigated and found that students believe they have a drug problem more than a cultural intolerance to incense.
Neo Sekgobela, 3rd year politics, said the smell of incense is irritating but not overbearing, and is not reason enough to lay a formal complaint.
Pretty Mapaita, 4th year medicine, said she doesn’t mind incense as the students who burn it, do so in their rooms. Her issue is the students who smoke weed outside on the lawns. Her window faces the garden and when she opens her windows, the smell comes directly through.
“It’s annoying and disturbing. When you’re studying and open a window, you have the strong smell of weed. Weed happens often but incense once in a week or so.”
[pullquote align=”right”]“It’s annoying and disturbing. When you’re studying and open a window, you have the strong smell of weed. Weed happens often but incense once in a week or so.”[/pullquote]
Tawada Chisa, 2nd year BComm said he was first introduced to incense by his mother. She burns it around the house to chase away bad spirits. Chisa said the smell of incense is common on his floor.
“The majority of people in my corridor burn incense. The guy opposite my room is Indian so I get mine from him. “It’s like deodorant or oils or cologne.” Chisa said while incense can be used for its “soothing smell” and for cultural reasons, some students use it to mask the smell of cigarettes in their rooms.
Students are not allowed to smoke in their room, but the rule book doesn’t have any specific rules on burning incense, Chisa said.
Mcebo Olyate, chair of Wits Junction House Committee, said there haven’t been any formal complaints about the smell of incense but students do complain amongst each other in their corridors.
Olyate said Junction has some cases of people smoking in their rooms and few have been charged. He would not confirm what cases are being investigated and what was smoked but he said it would be difficult to stop the use of incense in residence rooms.
“People will say it’s their culture and religion. What we do is promote cultural tolerance.”
Campus Health does not have a doctor on its staff, nor is its state of hygiene ideal, the sexual harassment report revealed.
Wits University commissioned an inquiry into the nature, scale and extent of the problem of sexual harassment on campus.
One of the findings in the report points out that there has been a vacant position for a medical doctor at Campus Health which has five staff members servicing 30 000 students and 2 000 Wits staff members.
According to the report, Campus Health is under- resourced and does not have enough staff to deal with sexual harassment cases.
The report criticised the physical conditions of Campus Health, located in the Matrix.
“There is no fresh air, the physical conditions are unhygenic, with common cases of flooding from the top floors,” read the report.
[pullquote align=”right”]”There is no fresh air, the physical conditions are unhygenic, with common cases of flooding from the top floors,” read the report. [/pullquote]
The location is also “not suitable” for the disabled.
The report revealed that Campus Health does not have its own vehicle and cannot transport sexual abuse complainants to the necessary points of assistance. Campus Control is responsible for transporting complainants to Milpark Hospital.
The findings in the report said Campus Control does not have any particular facilities for victims who need to be transported to
Victims of sexual abuse are required to wait in a general waiting area where there is foot traffic.
The university’s sexual harassment adviser, Maria Wanyane, said Campus Health staff are currently not permitted to handle any form of sexual harassment case, due to lack of resources.
Rape kits and evidence needs to be collected by specialised doctors, but Campus Health does not have such a doctor on call, Wanyane said
One of the contradictions the report picked up was that victims can bring a friend with them to file a complaint. However, they cannot accompany the complainant when they are transported to the hospital in a bakkie, which only seats two.
The report also revealed that Campus Control does not have enough officers to deal with the number of requests they receive for their escort service.
Adam Habib answering questions at the Town Hall meeting held on Education Campus yesterday. Photo Liesl Frankson
Vice chancellor Professor Adam Habib held his second town hall meeting at the education faculty as part of his strategy to engage with the Wits community following his installation.
Habib was requested to bring the meeting to education campus, following the large number of students that didn’t have an opportunity to ask their questions. “In future, I have suggested we have town hall meetings on East, Education & Medical campuses twice a year.” he said
Habib said as vice chancellor of a public university, he was comfortable being with being held accountable for his decisions. He urged students to “feel free” to pose any questions they may have at any time. The first on Habib’s agenda during the meeting was discussing the new sexual harassment regulations.
Habib apologised to every student and staff members who had been affected by the sexual harassment saga. He said the university tried to act quickly when they were informed about sexual misconduct. “I want to send a very strong message to this campus, sexual harassment will no longer be tolerated at Wits. It’s unacceptable that vulnerable women be preyed upon.”
[pullquote]I want to send a very strong message to this campus[/pullquote]
The university recently fired two academics after they were found guilty of sexually harassing students, and initiated a university-wide investigation into the scourge of sexual harassment. Habib said there are two cases of sexual harassment pending and once the investigation has concluded he will take the necessary actions.
In his address Habib said part of his strategic plans for the university is to ensure Wits becomes a more transparent institution. Habib said one of his biggest plans is to increase research output, through a number of things. Firstly he wants to increase the number of postgraduate students from 30% to 50% postgraduate students for the next year.
Habib plans to put more money into postgraduate scholarships, in the coming years, and also double the university’s existing cohort of postdoctoral fellows. “We are going to incentivise research, staff members will get an increase from R10 000 to R20 000 for qualified research” he added. Postgraduate enrolments boost the country’s research output, but local universities have battled to increase enrolment and graduation.
Habib said two main issues had troubled the school. “One of them is the issue of leadership. It’s been a challenge at multiple levels. The second has been the issue of autonomy. And we are going to address them”
STUDENTS have laid a complaint against the Wits International Relations department about their marks, saying that they are not being assessed properly following their lecturer’s placement on special leave.
Dr Lord Mawuko was placed on “special leave” pending an investigation about four weeks ago. Mawuko’s third year International Relations class has been merged with another class taught by Dr David Hornsby.
His former students have complained that Mawuko’s class is behind those of Hornsby’s, making it difficult for them to catch up.
Hornsby confirmed to Wits Vuvuzela that the classes have merged and acknowledged that Mawuko’s classes were a week behind. However, he said Mawuko’s class had a catch up session after the lecturer was put on special leave.
“With the departure of one lecturer the course hasn’t changed and the course is no different to how it has been run”
Innocentia Kgaphola, 3rd year International Relations, said the department is “having difficulties coordinating the class. Why aren’t they taking responsibility that the standards are not the same?”
The student’s biggest concern was that due to Mawuko’s special leave their work will be assessed by lecturers whom they have never interacted with and do not know.
Third year student Nqobile Radebe said: “They have been bringing different people to lecture us. We have not been fairly assessed. We don’t get the marks we deserve.”
Mawuko had also been responsible for receiving presentation topic submissions from the third year International Relations class. However, due to being placed on special leave he could not be present and assess the presentations.
Instead, the presentations were overseen by Dr Mopeli Moshoeshoe.
Third year International Relations student Luzi Maposa said in a letter to the department that Moshoeshoe told students that he was “merely there to observe”. But Moshoeshoe wrote comments on their presentations and Hornsby, who is also the course co-ordinator, gave students their marks.
Maposa wrote in his letter that the student’s “main issue” was that while Hornsby marked their presentations, he did not see them first hand and “all but relied on bullet points which he requested from each group, which did not reflect the image of the presentation since they were merely assistance tools.”
“The stand-in lecturer [Moshoeshoe], who did not even ask what topic each group was presenting on, cannot paint a clear reflection of the quality that went into the presentation since it omits all that was elaborated through speech and illustrations on the board,” continued Maposa’s letter.
Kgaphola said the situation has left students feeling confused and unfairly treated by the department.
“Nobody explained what was happening. Nobody explained why Lord [Mavuko] was put on special leave. It’s just a mess, we don’t know what’s happening,” Kgaphola said.
However, Hornsby denies this and said students are not just assessed by their presentation; they still have essays, exam and a participatory mark. Hornsby said he had consulted with Mawuko about the students’ assessments.
Hornsby said that immediately after the presentations he and Moshoeshoe had a meeting and Moshoeshoe recommended marks.
Hornsby said he doesn’t understand why there is confusion amongst the students as there was a talk last week to discuss Mawuko’s absence and marks would be assessed.
Head of department Prof Gilbert Khadiagala said the students complaints have been addressed by the department.
“We told the students that we are going to have an impartial person to deal with the marks. We have done everything we can; the final person to deal with the marks will be the external examiner”.
Wits Vuvuzela April 26 2013: Oh my Lord, wenzeni?
There are nice gift incentives for good behaviour: the dean of students, Prem Coopoo, presented members of the Wits All Residence Council (ARC) with tablets last month.
Fifteen of the 18 ARC members were promised tablets as an incentive to ensure that last year’s all residence “Wits 90” heritage celebration picnic would be incident free.
In an email interview with Wits Vuvuzela, Coopoo confirmed this.
Coopoo said because of previous misconduct at the ARC picnics, there was a lot of debate on the future of the ARC picnic. The Student Services Advisory Committee had then decided that 2012’s ARC would be granted permission to host the picnic based on certain conditions.
“As an incentive to host an incident free picnic, I offered the ARC members tablets,” said Coopoo. “These picnics have always been without incident except for two consecutive years in 2010/2011 when we had alcohol abuse and a stabbing,” said Coopoo
Coopoo said her office had provided the funding for the tablets and that the tablets were for the members to keep.
Justice Nkomo, former Chairperson of 2011/2012 ARC, was able to confirm that he had received a Proline 9.7” tablet from Coopoo in good faith.
“All members of last year’s ARC received Tablets because of a resolution that emanates from the student advisory committee,” said Nkomo.
According to the company’s website, the Proline tablets retail for R2 295.
Nkomo said the ARC had received the tablet because they put in extra effort in organising the event and that he could not confirm whether other student representative councils would receive gifts if they performed according to the set standards.
Nkomo, upon receiving the tablets, said that other students should not be outraged that the university was spending money on them. He said the Proline tablets were among the most inexpensive on the market.
He added that he hoped to re-launch the SRC’s “one student one tablet” campaign so that all students could be equipped.
A WITS honours student is facing assault charges after hitting and biting a fellow student.
Simamkele Dlakavu, chairperson of the Wits Dreamgirls, appeared at the Randburg Magistrate’s court last week after allegations she assaulted her co-worker and fellow Witsie Ruweshka Gopie, a third year law student. Police spokesperson Captain Kym Cloete said Dlakavu was charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and was released on a R500 bail at the April 17 court appearance. The alleged assault happened on February 12 when Gopie agreed to give Dlakavu a lift to Sandton where they were working together at an event.
According to the website, Timeslive, the argument started when Gopie got lost on the way to Sandton. Dlakavu then left their employer a message saying Gopie was incompetent and did not want to work at the event. The employer later called to give directions. However, an argument between the two women still ensued.
“She started calling me a slut, said my family hates me, she called me a bitch, she said no one at res likes me,” Gopie told Timeslive.
She said Dlakavu began attacking her while she was still driving. Hitting her on the head and biting her twice. Gopie was later given a tetanus shot and put on a precautionary two week course of antiretrovirals. Wits Vuvuzela tried to reach both Gopie and Dlakavu, but neither could be reached for comment.
Residence cluster manager Doreen Musemwa could not comment on the details of the alleged assault. However, she told Wits Vuvuzela the two students had to be separated and Gopie had been placed in another, temporary residence.
Musemwa said she could not have the girls in the same residence.
The case was postponed and Dlakavu is due to appear in court again on May 21. Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said intimidation allegations had also been lodged with the University by Gopie. She said this was being investigated by the Wits legal office.