‘Art in Motion’ fascinates audiences

AN ALTERNATIVE way of viewing modern art is right on your doorstep after the Wits Art Museum launched their WAM After Hours event earlier this week.

The launch took place at WAM in Braamfontein and featured technological art called “Art in Motion”. Many art enthusiasts attended the event and were required to do a walk through the museum before arriving at the common area where drinks, live entertainment and doodling stations were set up.

The first piece by Nathaniel Stern about the distortion of communication. Photo: Ray Mahlaka

The first piece by Nathaniel Stern about the distortion of communication. Photo: Ray Mahlaka

Laura de Harde, one of the tour guides, led people into the museum for their three stop tour. The first exhibition was held on the lower level of the museum and it showcased still art. The art on display was entered into the 2013 Martienssen Prize exhibition with Antonia Brown’s “I will tell him when he comes back” piece which won the award.

Brown’s ancient audio recording device demonstrated how language can be lost by showing that once a voice of a person travels over the magnet on the recorder, it is lost forever.

Other artists whose pieces were on display included Anathi Bukani and Madeleine Dymond.

The next exhibition was held on the second floor of the museum which was called by the guide as “ground zero” of the art museum. Here people were able to get involved with the art as it was technological art. Projector screens with sensors at the bottom caught images of people who walked past and subsequently displayed different images on the screen.

The first piece used sound and image to portray art. When a person walked past the screen an outline of the person appeared and surrounding images and words appeared around the outline in a confusing and distorting manner.

[pullquote]“Experience text with your body.”[/pullquote]

The piece was to demonstrate how image and sound can distort communication. The artist Nathaniel Stern seemed to be expressing a sort of frustration he had with communication.

The art pieces by Stern make audiences encounter complex relationships between bodies and language. His artworks forces people to grab text with their bodies, draw letters with our heads and listen with their bodies.

A piece by Tegan Bristow involved talking through a microphone and looking at your face on the screen which was replaced with Jacob Zuma’s face. Other pieces captured a person’s energy by representing colourful or dull flowers depending on the energy received by the sensor.

Tegan Bristow's microphone art piece. Photo: Ray Mahlaka

Tegan Bristow’s microphone art piece. Photo: Ray Mahlaka

Bristow’s pieces invite playfulness between images and interactive engagement with the art. People are able to relate with each other within the frame of the artworks.

The last stop of the exhibition was on the third level of the museum. Here people were meant to understand the meaning of words and letters. Another piece by Stern required someone to stand in front of the screen and catch the words flying around them.

Once you caught a word a speaker blurts out a non-conformist definition of the word.
According to Mpho Qhomane a ‘WAMbassador’, this is a “saturated” experience where words make one think deeper about text; Stern wants you to “experience text with your body.”

Bristow and Stern’s artwork asks us about the consequences of our movement and how these physical interactions change relationships we have with others.

The purpose of Art in Motion is to show how our actions reflect meaning.

People were intrigued and fascinated by motion art and the attendance was high in the ranks. People experienced as much as they could with the art standings around the museum.

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Juju recruits comrades at Wits

By Thuletho Zwane and Ray Mahlaka

JULIUS Malema’s new political party is targeting Wits to gain more supporters.

Witsie and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) executive member, Innocent Thombothi, Political Science and International Relations Honours, said that Witsies were showing interest in the EFF.

“We do have supporters on campus. Most [of them] are people in the SRC, ANCYL and the YCL [Young Communist League], and members of the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance],” Thombothi said.

He said it was difficult for “comrades” to come out and admit they were members or supporters of the EFF because they still had to serve their elected official terms in their respective organisations.

“They are still deployed in the PYA. There’s a conflict of interest. Maybe after the PYA elections  [in August]. Most can’t disclose now. EFF is here, it is in Wits,” Thombothi said.

The EFF is a “radical and militant” political movement founded by former ANC Youth League President Malema.

It is a leftist movement whose policies include land expropriation without compensation, nationalisation of the banks and national resources, free education and health and opening South African borders to Africans.

[pullquote]”We do have supporters on campus. Most [of them] are people in the SRC, ANCYL and the YCL [Young Communist League], and members of the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance]” [/pullquote] SRC treasurer, Justice Nkomo, however, said the EFF had no support at Wits. He said the EFF  was holding an event at Wits but had to cancel it because most Witsies attended a talk by ANC secretary-general  Gwede Mantashe.

“They wanted to infiltrate. If EFF was strong, they would be able to influence our own people,” Nkomo said.

“Those people who have crossed have always been politically irrelevant.”

Trevor Mkhawana, 2nd year Mining Engineering, said he knew a lot of people who support the EFF. “They believe in Malema. They got disillusioned by Zuma.”

Witsie Mabhoko Mojela said if the EFF won the 2014 elections, SA would turn into a banana republic.

“[But], the presence of Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, [EFF spokesperson] allows me to give EFF the benefit of the doubt. I trust his intellectual opinions and the good work he has done in the student organisations on campus.”

Puleng Tsehla, 2nd year Media Studies, from Lesotho, said she supports the EFF because the new party promotes open boundaries in Africa.

She said South Africans are always welcome in other African countries.

Other Witsies in the EFF include Floyd Shivambu who is studying his MA in political studies, Andile Mngxitama who has completed an MA in sociology and Ndlozi, a PhD politics candidate.

Related articles:

Just EFF’ing around? July 19, 2013

UJ says no to EFF  July 29, 2013

[VIDEO] Do Witsies know the EFF? July 19, 2013

Wits still in the money

By Thuletho Zwane and Ray Mahlaka

WITS students will not be affected by a reported R42-million shortfall in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the university told Wits Vuvuzela.

According to media reports, the department of higher education reported the shortfall in the NSFAS budget to Parliament last month.

The announcement resulted in student protests at the University of South Africa (Unisa).

Wits financial aid status

Wits Financial Aid Office manager Busisiwe Sithole said Wits students are not affected by the constraints in the NSFAS national budget.

“Wits has not been affected by the NSFAS funding. The Unisa issue is a separate issue. Wits is alright, there are no funding issues,” Sithole said.

SRC treasurer Justice Nkomo rejected this and said 200 Wits students have been turned down for NSFAS funding.

Nkomo argued that the Wits NSFAS administration system had problems.

“The system is not perfect, the system has many loopholes,” said Nkomo. “I don’t know, if they say ‘there is no money crisis’ where is that coming from.”

Financially excluded Wits students

Nkomo said there were a number of students who were financially excluded, with some owing as much as R36 000.

He said there were students who didn’t receive NSFAS funding and instead had to receive help from the humanitarian fund.

[pullquote]”Wits has not been affected by the NSFAS funding. The Unisa issue is a separate issue. Wits is alright, there are no funding issues,”[/pullquote]The R3-million fund is an initiative by the Wits SRC and the university  registrar to assist students caught in emergency situations without food and other basic needs.

“We need a permanent mechanism that handles fees. There is no plan here, there is rhetoric. We have entered into negotiation with management,” Nkomo said.

Nkomo said Wits needed permanent funding that goes to the humanitarian fund.

He said the SRC did not plan on leading a protest but would instead follow official channels to solve funding issues.

“Last year NSFAS did not open for second round because there was no money. This year there won’t be a second round. This is why we call for free education,” he said.

Second round is a decision by NSFAS to allocate more funding to students when there is enough money in the budget within the same year.

Administrative issues at Wits and Unisa

Nkomo said administrative issues within NSFAS at Wits can also be attributed to students not submitting all documents during the application process, which leads to their applications being denied.

Unisa SRC secretary general Ayanda Mngadi said the university is using its own money to fund students as NSFAS said, “they don’t have money”.

Related articles:

NSFAS Central Application System launches next year,  May 16, 2013

Financial Aid funding late again, March 28, 2011


National Science Week: Applied Maths solves 200 year old astronomy riddle

Wits science students Zwane Sicelukwanda, Edwin Mokoena and Ntomfuthi Khumalo talk to Vuvuzela about their experiences of the astronomy talk. Photo: Nolwazi Mjwara

Wits science students Zwane Sicelukwanda, Edwin Mokoena and Ntomfuthi Khumalo talk to Wits Vuvuzela about their experiences of the astronomy talk. Photo: Nolwazi Mjwara

THE discovery of a massive collision of galaxies in space, a complex and massive astronomical riddle was made simple by Witsies.

This was all revealed at an astronomy talk chaired by Director of the Cosmic Dust Laboratory Prof David Block, at the new Wits science stadium on Monday night.

The talk was part of National Science Week hosted by Wits University all week to put the spotlight on science and technology research.

“No other team of astronomers had discovered this [collisions of galaxies]. This happened on our door step. Wits Applied Maths solved the riddle, solving a 200 year old riddle,” Block said.

School pupils and university students were part of the audience and were treated to graphical images of galaxies, space and years of research conducted by the Wits science team.

Block said the challenge was making people interested in science, as he is involved in an astronomy outreach programme which brings “1000 students” to Wits.

He also extended an invitation to Wits vice chancellor Prof Adam Habib to address people at astronomy talks.

[pullquote align=”right”]”There is now a paradigm shift in sciences and it’s amazing to learn new things.”[/pullquote]

Bavukile Dlamini, 3rd year mechanical engineering, said he was inspired by the astronomy talk and that Wits was at the forefront of astronomical research.

“It was very interesting and informative. There is now a paradigm shift in sciences and it’s amazing to learn new things,” Dlamini told Wits Vuvuzela.

While Zwane Sicelukwanda, 1st year BSC computational and applied mathematics urged young people to be involved in sciences as the industry has a lot of “old people”.

Through his astronomical research career, Block met renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and former president Nelson Mandela and joked that “UJ [University of Johannesburg] was not there”.

The Wits Science week runs from July 29 to August 2.



Wits Vuvuzela: GALLERY: National Science Week kicks off

Wits Vuvuzela: National Science Week: Be an archeologist at Wits for a day

UJ says no to EFF


EFF founding members Julius Malema and businessman  Kenny Kunene march through the streets of Soweto. Photo: Thuletho Zwane

EFF founding members Julius Malema and businessman Kenny Kunene march through the streets of Soweto. Photo: Thuletho Zwane


Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters were barred from entering the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Doorfontein Campus on Friday.

“Luthuli House was sabotaging us,” said EFF municipal co-ordinator and former ANC youth league secretary Walter Mokorodi. He said  UJ’s decision to bar them from entry was politically motivated.

“We were given permission to be at UJ, but were refused entry. The ANC sent UJ students messages not to attend [the event]. We ripped up ANC t-shirts,” said Mokorodi.

EFF released a statement “condemning” UJ’s decision to close the campus to EFF’s event and Julius Malema, their commander-in-chief.

However EFF still maintains proper procedures were followed to secure a venue for Malema’s speech.

“EFF condemns the decision to close the university campus against the EFF event despite the fact that permission for the event was granted,”said EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

Ndlozi said “UJ has chosen a political side, fallen prey to the cheap tricks of the ruling party which use public institutions like the police, NPA [National Prosecution Authority], SABC…”

UJ media relations coordinator Herman Esterhuizen said “the university didn’t cancel the event. There was no application. The submission was not in the time period of the university”.

Esterhuizen said the UJ process for booking or hiring a venue should happen eight-weeks prior to event, and said  the university did not “cancel the event”.

An EFF delegate handed Wits Vuvuzela the minutes of a meeting where booking of the  venue was discussed. The document, with a UJ letterhead, which was not confirmed by UJ, shows that Mayibuye Anarchist Society requested to book room 2212 on July 2 to use on July 18. The minutes show the venue bookings were approved by the UJ bookings and hiring committee.

UJ Venue bookings and hiring commitee minutes.

UJ venue bookings and hiring committee minutes showing a late venue application. Image: Provided.

Ndlozi said in a statement: “Economic Freedom Fighters were held at ransom because the toothless lapdogs of the African National Congress vowed that the EFF will not enter University of Johannesburg.”

EFF Mpumalanga media liaison officer Mpumelelo Masina said “people can cast out the fact we are disgruntled people who just want to sing and dance, we have intellectuals.”

Masina said EFF will be launching in Marikana on August 17 , a day after the first anniversary of the Marikana Massacre where  34 miners were killed.


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Laying down the law

Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron had a talk on transformation at Wits University on Wednesday at FNB Building. Photo:Ray Mahlaka

Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron had a talk on transformation at Wits University on Wednesday at FNB Building. Photo:Ray Mahlaka

Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron raised concerns about the scourge of corrective rape in South Africa and the need to celebrate differences and diversity. He was speaking at the FNB Building on Wednesday about transformation policies for marginalised groups including women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community. Cameron is often celebrated as Africa’s highest ranking openly-gay public official. He said:  “[Being gay] is not a preference or a choice. We should be proud of the way we are.”


Bidvest Wits signs new players

THE new football season will kick off with Bidvest Wits signing stars Moeneeb Josephs, Matthew Booth and Benjani Mwaruwari on the squad, according to reports in the media.

Josephs has secured a three year contract with the Clever Boys.

Booth and Mwaruwari have each signed one year contracts, with an option to extend the contract for an additional year.

The signing of players by Bidvest Wits is a move away from the club’s tradition of young players, as the trio are in their 30s.

The Clever Boys are currently training in Cape Town for the next season which starts in August where they will face Platinum Stars.

The club also starts the season with new coach Gavin Hunt who replaces Clive Barker.

Bidvest management declined to comment on details of the new signings.

Related articles:

SuperSport : Wits sign Josephs on long-term deal

Kick off: ‘I don’t want to waste Wits’ money’

Kick off: Benjani to Wits a done deal

High tech Braam city

Wits is set to transform a cluster of five abandoned buildings in Braamfontein into technology hubs.

The project is called Tshimologong, a Sesotho word for “new beginnings”.

It will be a space for software design, innovation and technological development.

Located near East Campus, the tech hubs will be equipped with advanced internet connectivity, offer technology courses and spaces for the collaboration of new business ideas.

Director of the Wits Joburg Centre for Software Engineering, Prof Barry Dwolatzky, is driving the transformation of this Braamfontein precinct into a technology city.

“It’s not our intention to tear down buildings and rebuild them. It would be too easy and very expensive. We are planning to repurpose existing buildings, as it’s much cheaper and we are trying to show what can be done with old buildings,” Dwolatzky told Wits Vuvuzela.

Braamfontein’s location is favourable to business and the availability of different types of transport make it attractive for hosting the tech hubs.

“Would it make sense to put it [tech hubs] at Sandton or Soweto? Young South Africans are more drawn to Joburg as a place to work, live and play”.

Dwolatzky also said Braamfontein is a city which attracts young, dynamic and smart people.

With a price tag of “R20 to R40 million” the two-phase rollout of tech hubs might sound like a geek’s paradise, or targeted only at Wits students who are techno-savvy, but Dwolatzky said this was not the case.

He said the tech hubs are targeted at “anyone who can get into Braamfontein. From school kids to old people who just want to interact in this space”.

He said the tech hubs in Braamfontein would “create the same energy that Silicon Valley has”.

Dwolatzky raised concerns about Wits being isolated from Braamfontein.

He said people do not acquaint themselves with the city and security concerns have led to the erection of high fences and stricter controls on access cards to campus.

“We are not interacting with our neighbourhood. Part of this project is to get Wits to jump the fence, get Wits to start to operate, not only on our campus but inner city Braamfontein.”

When the tech hubs gain traction and support from the public, Dwolatzky hopes to replicate the model in other provinces and later explore the continent.

Just EFF’ing around?


IN HIS first print interview, newly appointed  Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has defended the new movement’s founding members from accusations of being “tenderpreneurs” and “dodgy characters”.

Ndlozi, a politics PhD candidate, has defended his new organisation’s leadership against the criticism laid by his former comrades in the Wits ANC Youth League (ANCYL).

Wits SRC vice president Tokelo Nhlapo accused EFF members of having wrongly benefitted from tenders.

“The discomfort that we have is the characters in the EFF where they have benefitted from these things [tenders].”

Ndlozi defended EFF and said the new movement wants the government tendering system to be stopped.

He admits that while EFF founding member Julius Malema was a “tenderpreneur”, Malema has now realised the flaws in the government tender process and wants to end it.

SRC treasurer Justice Nkomo took a swipe at the founding members of EFF, including Malema and businessman Kenny Kunene. He called EFF a “convenience of stomach empowerment for individuals who are politically disgruntled”.

“I don’t take it [EFF] seriously, it’s not a threat to the ANC and outside Wits it’s not a threat to the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance]” said Nkomo.

Nkomo also affirmed that the South African Students Congress (Sasco) will continue to support the ANC.

Nhlapo said there were no policy differences between the EFF and ANCYL and called the new organisation’s leaders “dodgy”.

“There is no difference between the ANCYL and EFF, the only contradiction is the EFF is spearheaded by dodgy characters. Julius was expelled from the ANCYL. Floyd [Shivambu] was expelled from the ANCYL,” Nhlapo said.

Ndlozi said the allegations that Malema is corrupt are unfounded: “Julius [Malema] is facing corruption charges. He is facing those charges in court, he’s not running away.”

“Julius was never in government. Malema has not had undue influence. The prosecutor needs to prove that,” said Ndlozi.

Malema, founding member of EFF, owes the SA Revenue Service R16-million for unpaid taxes.

[pullquote]“I believe Wits students are of the highest intellect in political analysis. I have faith in Wits students, they are intelligent and they are going to see through them.” [/pullquote]

The public protector, Thuli Madonsela, alleges that Malema made his millions from a fraudulent tender.

Nkomo called EFF a “mickey mouse political party” and said the new movement will not find a place on Wits campus.

“I believe Wits students are of the highest intellect in political analysis. I have faith in Wits students, they are intelligent and they are going to see through them,” said Nkomo.

Ndlozi accused the ANC of “broad churchism” and said people were allowed to join the party who didn’t believe in the principles of the Freedom Charter. This was one of the reasons EFF was formed.

EFF has seven non-negotiable pillars which include the expropriation of land without compensation, the nationalisation of mines and banks, and free education.

“We want to nationalise the mines, we want to nationalise the banks. The banks are enslaving the middle-class through debt. We have to take over the industries and redistribute the land and wealth to all,” said Ndlozi.

Ndlozi said EFF disagrees with the ANC and their alliance partners because of their policies. He said Agang is too dependent on morality and competence. “Agang is based on morals and competence, we offer more than not being corrupt,” said Ndlozi.

The EFF wants a more radical macro-economic framework. He said the Democratic Alliance (DA) is committed to neo-liberalism, commercialisation, privatisation, the flexible labour market and the minimal role of the state.

Wits Vuvuzela asked if EFF will contest the national elections in 2014 but Ndlozi was noncommittal.

“He [Malema] is popular today. Statistical houses show that EFF might win certain provinces. The people say we must run but we must respect internal processes.”

EFF will go to the National Assembly and present their founding manifesto after a conference to be held at the end of this month.

CJC students eviction: update

College students who were evicted from their residence in Bramley last week landed up in crowded accommodation after waiting all day. Some students could not get transport to campus and as a result missed tests on Friday.

The Central Johannesburg College (CJC) students were evicted last Tuesday morning by the landlord from their Student Village residential Complex.  After CJC fell into arrears for their accomodation according to Aengus Investment properties (AIP).

Inga Matsitsela, a former Bramley resident, told Wits Vuvuzela that he had to sleep in a two-bedroom apartment with four other students following the eviction.

[pullquote]”After all of that I had to sleep in a two bedroom with four other guys,” [/pullquote]

“We waited until late on Tuesday night to get a place to stay. We waited outside Aengus from the morning already. After all of that I had to sleep in a two bedroom with four other guys,” Matsitsela said.

AIP management told Wits Vuvuzela that while the students were evicted from Bramley they were not left homeless.

“AIP ensured that all the affected students were relocated to safe, modern, convenient accommodation in the area.”

Management from AIP added that they were sensitive to the fact that many students were writing tests and exams and that they had tried their best to make sure that minimal disruption occurred.

Matsitsela and other former Bramley residents were moved to Langlaagte, near Soweto. Students had to organise their own transport to college until Friday.

Buses were organised for Friday but arrived late in the day. As a result, Henrich Makuwa missed his end of term mathematics test.

According to a notice by Aengus, students were evicted because of non-payment.

The notice by Aengus to CJC students read as follows: “Please be advised that your institution has failed to pay your accommodation in spite of numerous attempts by yourselves to secure payment.”

The students found this notice the morning of their eviction and had received no prior warning.

“We have received no apology or anything from anyone for the mess that has happened,” said Matsitsela.

Some students have managed to return to Bramley, while others such as Makuwa and Matsitsela are still staying in Langlaagte.

Students who moved back to Bramley said improvements were made to some of the broken doors in the residence.

The first CJC eviction article



CJC students evicted

Students queue outside the Aengus offices in Braamfontein waiting for accomodation. Photo:Ray Mahlaka

Students queue outside Aengus offices in Braamfontein for accomodation. Photo:Ray Mahlaka

by Ray Mahlaka and Nolwazi Mjwara

SOME Central Johannesburg College (CJC) students with their scant belongings flooded Aengus Investment Properties offices in the hope of finding accommodation this afternoon.

CJC students seeking accommodation were met by a notice which read: “Please be advised that your institution has failed to pay your accommodation in spite of numerous attempts by ourselves to secure payment.”

“The landlord kicked us out and we were moved to Braamfontein where we were told Aengus [Investment Properties] will find us alternative accommodation,” said a student who asked to remain anonymous.

Other students were fortunate to arrange alternative accommodation, and arranged to have a vehicle usher them to their new homes.

Students transported to their alternative accomodation. Photo: Ray Mahlaka

Students cram their belongings into a van. Photo: Ray Mahlaka

Wits Vuvuzela was asked to leave the premises when photographing students who queued outside Aengus offices and employees declined to comment on accommodation issues.

Students said they had been waiting outside the offices since 8am for updates about their accommodation.

Inga Matsitsela, who was evicted said he was not sure where he was going to sleep tonight. He added that CJC has failed them.

Students with their belongings on the street. Photo:Ray Mahlaka

Students with their belongings on the street. Photo:Ray Mahlaka

Earlier this year Wits Vuvuzela reported on protests by CJC students, as they accused Aengus Property Holdings of favouring Wits students who allegedly paid more for rent.

CJC students said they lived at Bramley building before their eviction.

“Our landlord said they don’t want to see us there, then transport came and brought us to Aengus offices. We had to queue this morning and only allocated accommodation if we appeared on the Aengus list”, said another student.

The Aengus list refers to students who have covered by CJC in terms of acommodation list for according to some of the students queuing outside Aengus offices.

The names of students are allocated accomodation are read out in the "Aengus  list". Photo: Ray Mahlaka

The names of students are allocated accomodation are read out in the “Aengus list”. Photo: Ray Mahlaka

“I still have exams at school, now I have to worry about accommodation problems,” expressed an angry student who declined to be named.

Related article:

Wits Vuvuzela: Wits students butt heads with Aengus