Campus radio station helps to keep students warm this winter

A CHANCE TO GIVE: With the weather becoming increasingly colder, students can donate clothes to those in need. Photo: Zelmarie Goosen

A CHANCE TO GIVE: With the weather becoming increasingly colder, students can donate clothes to those in need. Photo: Zelmarie Goosen

Winter is fast approaching and while most of us are geared for the cold, there are many students that need some help keeping warm.

Wits campus radio station VowFM recently launched their annual campaign to collect warm winter clothing for those in need.

“Every year we have different homes that we work with in the Braamfontein area,” said Vow’s marketing manager Lucky Mdaweni. “This year we’re working with the Wits Volunteering Office, [now called] Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach (WCCO).”

The WCCO office helps VoWFM locate charity homes, as well as students within the university who are in need of the donated items.

“They work a lot more closely with students on campus who need the clothing and other things … which works nicely because not all students on campus want to be known as the kids who want clothing, so they work with them anonymously.”

Mdaweni says that Witsies have responded positively to the initiative. “We’ve had a lot of requests to have the boxes stay a bit longer, purely because of the demand in terms of people giving a lot of clothing within the university,” Mdaweni said.

The campaign runs until the end of June, when all the clothes that have been donated are given out, but continues after that if people want to donate more. Boxes, such as those pictured above are located all over campus.

Big payout for pushing passion in SRC

Christmas will come early for Wits SRC members when the university pays members for rendering their services to students.

A stipend committee made up of SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa, SRC treasurer Justice Nkomo, a student development and leadership unit representative and the dean of students will determine how much the SRC members deserve. Mgudlwa said the rating criteria changed from year to year.

[pullquote]Some members “received as much as R8 000” while other unlucky members received “zilch”[/pullquote]The amount varied depending on how effective an SRC member was in implementing their programmes during the year.
“Nonetheless standard criteria would include how many portfolio objectives each member achieved, attendance of SRC events and meetings; conduct and discipline,” Mgudlwa said.

Each year all SRC members had a meeting in which they drafted criteria. It was then the duty of the stipend committee to determine the remuneration of each member. It would be difficult to estimate the average amount that a member could receive, he said. However, a former SRC member, who asked to remain anonymous, said last year some members “received as much as R8 000” while other unlucky members received “zilch”.

Mgudlwa stressed that members of the SRC should not worry as this year’s SRC had not yet sat down to discuss the 2013 stipends. He said the current SRC would hold a meeting in the coming weeks to decide the amounts and rules surrounding the 2013 stipends. “All could change. For example the current SRC could decide that no one receives more than R5 000 or a change in criteria.”

The university funds these stipends, which are included in the university’s budget each year. Last year the university set aside a little more than R60 000 for the SRC stipends.

VIDEO: Melinda Bam at Wits

Former Miss South Africa Melinda Bam was the keynote speaker at Wits’s Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU)’s networking connection seminar on Wednesday. Bam spoke to students about the importance of networking and also following their passions. Bam said she was passionate about inspiring young women. Bam who is also part of the National Executive for the Miss South Africa pageant encouraged Witsies to enter this year’s pageant.

Camera and Voice over
Shandukani Mulaudzi

Editor and Script writer
Nokuthula Manyathi

Nolwazi Mjwara

WITH GALLERY: Melinda Bam talks passion

Melinda Bam decided she would be Miss South Africa before she submitted her entry form.

The cum laude BCom Marketing graduate turned business woman, told Witsies that it was important to write your goals down and commit to them. Bam addressed students and media at the first Network Connections event held by the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU) at Café Fino last night.

[pullquote]“You all have so many contacts on your phones, twitter and other social networks right? But how many of those have turned into a job or a bursary or a book?” [/pullquote]

Early tragedy

Bam told the guests that her father’s suicide when she was eleven forced her to reflect on the person she wanted to be.

“I initially thought that I would probably have ‘daddy issues’ or that my reaction to it would have made me the perfect muse for artists and musicians from the experience,” she said.

She told the audience that her grandfather’s quote  helped her tremendously in dealing with difficult experiences in life: “’You are not a product of your circumstance but a product of choice,’ is what my grandpa told me.”


Nicole Msomi, student development practitioner told the guests that the purpose of “Network Connections” was to create a space for students to engage with influential individuals who attended the events.

“You all have so many contacts on your phones, twitter and other social networks right? But how many of those have turned into a job or a bursary or a book?” she asked the Witsies.

Msomi added that the events aimed to inspire Witsies to network more effectively and maintain long lasting networks.

Bam also told the audience that one of the activities at the Miss South Africa qualifiers included a networking challenge at an event. If entrants had not collected five business cards by the end of it, they had failed.

Wanting something more

Bam told Witsies that when she was in first year in 2008 she wanted “something more” and wanted to break through mediocrity.

[pullquote align=”right”]“We are all diamonds, you just need to refine and polish what you already are.”[/pullquote]

The former beauty queen told the audience that when she watched her mom, who is a gospel singer and public speaker, perform, she realised that she also wanted to give back in her own way: “We are all diamonds, you just need to refine and polish what you already are.”

Grass isn’t always greener

Bam said when she was younger she moved to China to pursue a modelling career. She also wanted to move to get out of her bubble that she had known in Pretoria.

“I thought the grass would be greener on the other side, but there wasn’t even a lot of grass when I got to China!” she said.

The power of Women

Bam shed some insight on being a woman this women’s month. She said that in our modern world women often felt  pressure to live in a man’s world and change to fit into that world. “Why do we want to change to be something that we are not? We are not men we are 100% women. We must be the best version of what we already are. It is a strength that we are 100% women not a weakness.”



Non-drama students show talent

A WITS theatre piece destined for this year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown has no script yet and is to be played by a cast of non-drama students.

TABLEAU: Wits Non-drama students practise still scenes during the In/Sight call-back auditions last weekend.

In/Sight has been commissioned by the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU), and the lack of drama students is deliberate.

“It is to forward people to attain different skills sets outside of what they are studying,” said the play’s co-director Tony Miyambo.

The SDLU commissions a theatre piece every year and Miyambo said it was part of their mandate to cast non-drama students. “It’s also to benefit the greater student population.”

The script still needs to be created, but it will deal with the concept of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

People suffering from BDD are excessively concerned with body image and obsess over perceived physical flaws.

Co-director Raezeen Wentworth said the story would be constructed from whatever the cast brought to it.

Different styles, such as dance, movement, music, shadow, poetry and dialogue would be incorporated into the piece.

“It’s like putting a puzzle together. The students are the puzzle,” said Miyambo.

The final call-back auditions and workshops were held last weekend.

Miyambo said the auditions were an opportunity to see what the students could bring.

“We are really pushing hard to find narratives, images and ideas from them. The story could change and mould right up until the moment when it goes on stage.”

Wentworth said the benefit of non-drama students was that they had not gone through a training system.

They had no constructed view of what had to be done in the play.

“We have the opportunity to groom them from scratch and they bring completely raw talent.”

Bridget Mtshali, 1st year LLB, took part in the auditions and described herself as “naturally curious”.

This had led her to learn a few dance styles.

She did not see drama as a career, but as her “own world”, or an escape.

“I can vent, brainstorm in this small world of mine. It does not matter what other people and society think of me. It’s one of the spaces where you feel free to let out.”

Sabelo Chuene, formerly an Accounting, but now a B Mus Foundation student, was part of last year’s cast who performed in Grahamstown.

“It was life-changing. A ctually, from that experience, I made the decision to change my studies. Today I’m very shocked that I wanted to be an accountant.”

Wentworth, who studied Directing at the Wits School of Arts, originally produced a 15-minute, two-person play on Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) for a class project.

In/Sight will feature a cast of eight students and will be an hour long.


Fong kong and “made in China” for sale

Fake products being sold on campus are not a big issue for students and vendors who say they benefit from the flea market at Wits.

The flea market, set up around the library lawns on Main Campus at the beginning of each term, is organised by the SRC with the assistance of the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU).

According to Siddeeq Omar, SRC entrepreneurship and skills development portfolio holder, students have a chance to buy whatever they need and like at the market. “It’s up to the willing buyer to decide whether to buy knockoffs (due to freedom of enterprise). This is South Africa, you can’t put constraints,” he says.

Omar says the market encourages entrepreneurship within arts and crafts, jewellery and winter apparel. He claims it’s a beneficial event as it generates SRC funds and income for the vendors. “It enhances the social activity and creates a culturally diverse atmosphere.”

George Maina, one of the store holders who often shops at China Mall and China City Wholesale Market behind Ellis Park, sees no wrong in selling fake goods.

“At the end of the day, it’s just money,” Maina says. But the vendors claim they don’t attempt to deceive the consumers into thinking they are purchasing legitimate items.

Maina and his 23-year-old colleague, both from Kenya, say the products are more expensive at shopping malls “just because of the label”, but they are “the same quality, the same stuff” as products sold on campus.

Besides, shop owners have to pay for rent, electricity and staff, they say. They claim shops often buy goods from the same place as street vendors.

Students interviewed said they were aware that the products were not legitimate but didn’t think this was a bad thing. Third year construction management student Phendla Phendla says the market on campus “makes life easier because I don’t have to go all the way downtown” to shop.

Caroline Mahani, 1st year law, says: “I love fake stuff, because it’s much cheaper and more affordable.”