Who’s behind the shady ‘Wits’ hoodies?

A Facebook page selling hoodies to Wits University graduates gained over 2000 likes in just five days recently. It is not known who is behind the sales campaign but Wits Marketing has confirmed it has not authorised the sale of the merchandise. A similar design is being used on hoodies and t-shirts globally.

A Facebook page called the “University of Witwatersrand Graduates“, attracted a high number of likes in just a few days recently after it began promoting the sale of Wits merchandise using the university’s distinctive crest on its merchandise.

The university’s logo is used as the profile picture of the page and an image of the Wits Science Stadium building serves as the cover photo which makes the page appear as if it is closely aligned with the university and therefore a legitimate supplier of Wits University merchandise. 

“Interest grew from 131 likes on Saturday April 18 to 2289 likes by Tuesday April 21”

The page though has no information about any individual or company that could be contacted for more information. It is linked though to an international site called teechip.com which makes it possible for any individual to start a small merchandise business.

The page appears to have started on April 17 this year and interest grew from 131 likes on Saturday April 18 to 2289 likes on Tuesday April 21.

Wits University responds

Wits marketing manager Ferna Clarkson said the university received assistance from its legal office and the third party had agreed to not sell the T-shirts after being contacted by the university’s attorneys.

THE GEAR: A screengrab of a hoodie taken from the 'University of the Witwatersrand Graduates' Facebook page. The hoodie is being sold with a fake Wits emblem in the middle of the design.

THE GEAR: A screengrab of a hoodie taken from the ‘University of the Witwatersrand Graduates’ Facebook page. Graphic: Wits Vuvuzela.

According to Adams and Adams Attorneys, representatives for the university, the t-shirts were removed from the Facebook page on April 20. Clarkson said it had come to their attention the merchandise had been posted on another Facebook page and she is the process of getting the legal office to look into it.

On Tuesday, the university posted a statement on the page saying it does not approve or authorise the use of the Wits logo on the page.

Although no new posts have been made by the page since April 17, the campaign continues to run and the page had reached over 3,000 likes by this morning.

Delivery of merchandise still uncertain

The limited offer, closes later today but it is still unknown if those who have bought the merchandise will receive it.

Almost identical pages have been created for a number of South African universities including the universities of Cape Town, Pretoria, Rhodes and Stellenbosch.

Campaigns that use a similar design but do not use institutional logos are being sold for universities across the world. These include Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, University of New South Wales and University of Southern Queensland amongst others.

 

OPINION: I am white and I am an African

Samantha Camara. Photo: TJ Lemon

Samantha Camara Photo: TJ Lemon

One of my guilty pleasures is the movie Mean Girls.  In the movie, a character named Karen asks the lead character Cady: “So if you’re from Africa, why are you white?” Although the question is asked in a funny way, the idea that there are no white people in “scary, dark Africa” is a stereotype that has often annoyed me.

Does the unavoidable pigment of my skin really exclude me from being a member of the continent I call home?

I have been extremely privileged to represent South Africa overseas in international competitions. Every trip has come with countless stares, mumbles and tactless questions from strangers about my obvious lack of expected blackness.

I can remember two accounts in particular, the first round of questioning came from a young Texan man who was fascinated with the strange mixed group of South Africans, to which I belonged. To his absolute amazement, not only were some of us white South Africans but we were all dressed in “real clothes”, were well-groomed and could speak fluent English.

He then launched into a list of questions about what it was like to live in huts, how we felt about being fully dressed instead of wearing animal skins, the difficulties of driving elephants to school and what we feed our pet lions.

In his defence, we all wove elaborate stories of what life in wild Africa was like. After a few minutes, the stories became too elaborate and we felt bad so we told him the truth about life in Johannesburg and that most of the wild animals were kept safely in zoos and game parks.

“Often I feel like I am not allowed to be proud of being African because my skin is too light.”

The second incident happened in Malaysia a few years later, while I was walking in the city to get food with friends. A local woman, seeing the South African flag on my backpack as I walked passed, stopped me and with genuine confusion asked me why I was white if I came from South Africa.

Fighting back the urge to give an offensively sarcastic and dramatic answer of “Oh my gosh! I’m white? I never noticed! All my life is a lie!” I opted for the more polite response that there is actually a reasonable amount of white people in South Africa (Surprise! We are not a bunch of unseen yeti-like creatures of legend who have all immigrated to Australia).

Despite my often humorous or sarcastic responses to questions about race, I find that these questions, which often come from a place of sincere misunderstanding, cause me to question my identity as an African. From a young age, I saw myself as member of a diverse and abundantly beautiful country.

I have jumped at the chance to make friends with people from other African countries and dreamed of exploring this beautiful continent I am lucky enough to call home.  I was born in South Africa and have lived here my entire life, does that not classify me as South African? According to my I.D book it does, but I feel that society has a different opinion.

Often I feel like I am not allowed to be proud of being African because my skin is too light, like I should be ashamed to be a white African because it does not fit the common global idea of what being an African means.

I am fully aware that I am not black and that my South African family tree does not span the ages of history. But, I am an African. I am an African because this is where the roots of my identity lie, this is the land I love and this is where I will always return when home is needed.

10 things South Africans abroad miss most

South Africa is an undeniably beautiful and unique country. Those who have left the country can’t help but miss the many small things that make South Africa home.

1. Being able to watch live South African sports games at a reasonable time, not 2am.

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When you are too tired to watch the game because it is on at 2am your time. Image: Disney / Via thebestgifsforme.blogspot.com

 

2. Cosmos blooming at the end of summer to show that winter is coming.

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Cosmos grows along most roads to signal the start of lowered tempretures. Photo: Jack Holloway

 

3. South African Sunsets and Sunrises.

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Sunset silhouette of Johannesburg. Photo: Samantha Camara

 

4. Buying fresh biltong hanging in the butchery.

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Biltong selection. Photo: fabulousfab

 

5. Supporting South African Sports teams with other South Africans instead of being the only South African fan in the room.

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A lonely South African Supporter. Photo: Peter Baker

 

6. The diversity of the South African nation.

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A small representation of South African cultural diversity. Photo: Chrisna Herbst

 

7. Simple South African foods.

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Simple South African food menu offered at the Kruger National Park. Photo: Vaiz Ha pap

 

8. Having people understand your South African accent and slang.

9. The Abundance of natural beauty.

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The beautiful Blyde River Canyon. Photo: Fiver Locker

 

10. Finding South African sweets easily.

Yumminess 101: South African Goodies

An illustration of favourite sweets that many South Africans abroad miss. Image: Dimitra Tzanos

 

Art or Vandalism: Graffiti and street art in Braamfontein

Perceptions of graffiti in Johannesburg range from it being beautiful artworks to malicious damage of property. Removal of graffiti is a difficult process and where to draw the line between vandalism and art is often difficult to find.

STREET ART: Graffiti on the corner of Henry and De Korte street, Braamfontein done by  graffiti artist Rasty and  crew. Photo: Samantha Camara

STREET ART: Graffiti on the corner of Henry and De Korte street, Braamfontein done by graffiti artist Rasty and crew. Photo: Samantha Camara

Hanre Heunis spends his time removing graffiti from other people’s property. The managing director of a local graffiti removal service, Heunis believes there is an artistic side to the practice of street art. He says many property owners think that graffiti is vandalism because they did not choose to have their walls defaced or tagged (when a new graffiti artist spray-paints their name on a wall to practice and develop their own style).

Property owners who have been the victims of repeated tagging often remove the tags because it makes their business premises look unprofessional or decreases the value of the property. “There is a fine line between being artistic and repeat tagging,” said Heunis.

There is a high concentration of graffiti in the inner city and removing it is a highly-skilled, specialised and expensive process, says Heunis. It involves chemical testing, high pressure water tanks and newly developed products that often need to be imported from the United Kingdom due to a lack of local manufacturing. Removal is also extremely labour intensive as more porous surfaces require more applications.

But perceptions are shifting especially when artists ask for permission, according to Vorster, an ex-Witsie who did his honours in Fine Arts. “If you wake up in the morning and someone’s tagged your window it sucks … get permission and do your art … you’ll be surprised how many people say yes.”

Graffiti artists find it exciting to work illicitly at night but it often means that the quality of the work decreases because there is less time and more pressure to get the work done in a short amount of time, according to Vorster.

The other side of the (street art) coin 
ADDING COLOUR: Comic style graffiti done by American graffiti artist, Pose in De Korte street, Braamfontein. Photo: Samantha Camara

ADDING COLOUR: Comic style graffiti done by American graffiti artist, Pose in De Korte street, Braamfontein. Photo: Samantha Camara

In Johannesburg there are a few designated walls for street art on Barry Hertzog Avenue and Empire Road but Brian* says these walls are mostly used for graffiti style advertising and the limited amount of wall space restricts the art.

One of Vorster’s first tags was a Vodacom telephone box, he saw it as a victory when the box was removed. Vorster now gets permission for his work and is often commissioned to do murals. One of his commissioned pieces was removed for safety reasons because people were constantly taking photos at the wall, which made the owner feel unsafe.

Brian* says he doesn’t mind his art being removed: “It [the art] has its lifespan. It doesn’t faze me, I just need to do more. For every one that is taken down, I need to put up another one.”

*Names have been changed.

 

SOCCER: Wits Men’s FC suffer a 2-0 defeat to TUT-1

TUT-1 beats Wits men 2-0 in USSA league game.

CHALLENGE: TUT player Nkosenhle Ntshangase on the attack.

CHALLENGE: TUT player Nkosenhle Ntshangase on the attack. Photo: Samantha Camara

Wits Football Club Men suffered yet another defeat after they lost their second match 2-0 to fifth placed Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) at the Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Wits coach, Karabo Mogudi explained how disappointed he was at the result of the game. He said “Football is an honest game, it really shows you your weaknesses and if you’re lacking in anything, it’ll really show up”.

The pitch was damp as the rain had fallen quite heavily earlier in the evening. The grass was quite slippery, making it difficult for players to keep steady and upright on the pitch.

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ATTACK: Neo Makua dribbles past the TUT-1 defense. Photo: Samantha Camara

In the first few minutes neither team asserted themselves as ball possession was equally distributed.

A counter attack by TUT in the 15th minute led by Senzo Mtshali with the assistance of Shirinda Vogani almsost put them in the lead. Future Gumede eventually took the shot that went wide of the post.

Wits player Innocent Magasela found himself at the end of a hard tackle in the 18th minute of the game which left him in serious pain, giving Wonder Frank an opportunity to show his skills after Magasela had to be taken off.

In the 27th minute of the first half, the perseverance of the TUT side and an error by Wits gave the TUT combination of Mtshali, Vongani and Gumede an opportunity to move towards Wits goals from the left hand side of the Wits defence resulting in a surprising goal by Bongi Mkhabele. Placing TUT-1 in the lead with 13 minutes of the first half remaining.

The second goal of the match came in the 79th minute of the match after both teams had a series of back-and-forth attempts. Gumede, who had been a headache for the Wits defence throughout the game, led an attack from the middle. Vongani stole the ball from the Wits mid-fielders and went through the right hand side of Wits’ defence to score a goal that can only be described as beautiful, sealing the fate of the Wits side.

Coach of the winning side TUT Maude Khumalo said: “I am very happy with the way the boys played, they listened to my instructions, they played as a team and they worked hard.”

Both Wits teams will play away against Midrand Graduate Institute on the 24th March at the Makulong Stadium.

President Zuma gets the vote

President Jacob Zuma managed to survive an opposition-led vote of no confidence when The National Assembly voted against the motion on Tuesday March, 17.

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CONFIDENT: President Jacob Zuma received the majority of votes against a motion of no confidence in him brought forward by opposition parties at The National Assembly on Tuesday. File Photo: Amanda Lucidon.

The final result of the vote was 113 in favour, 221 against and eight members abstaining.

Voting was delayed by about 10 minutes when the electronic ballot system froze and technicians had to be called in to fix the problem.

This is the second motion of no confidence against the president this year. The first motion was brought forward by political party Agang SA in February but was withdrawn when a secret ballot was denied. The DA filed for a motion of no confidence on Tuesday March, 03 following Agang’s withdrawal.

During the no confidence debate, DA Parliamentary Leader Mmusi Maimane commented that those opposed to the motion would “…vote against their conscience…”and “vote for a thief…”. ANC chief whip Stone Sizani objected to Maimane’s comment that the president is a thief. Maimane reluctantly withdrew the comment but said it was allowed by the constitutional court.

Watch some of Maimane’s speech below:

A member of the Economic Freedom Fighters Nokolunga Sonti made similar comments to Maimane, providing an ultimatum that the vote was either for President Zuma or South African citizens. The Freedom Front Plus’s Pieter Groenewald said that “The president runs away from his responsibilities”.

The debate included numerous insults made by assembly members such as Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu saying Maimane is “a desperate man trying to prop up a desperate party [the DA].” Opposition members responded by saying speaker Baleka Mbete was acting impartially.

The president was not present during The National Assembly as he was attending the inauguration of new Lesotho Prime Minister-elect Pakalitha Mosisili according to a statement by the office of the President.