Men’s Res apologise for ‘sexist’ tweets

After accusations of misogyny Men’s Residence House (MRH) Committee released a statement on Twitter apologising for the sexually offensive tweets they posted on Sunday night.

“We regret the posts, and would like to officially and profusely, and unconditionally apologise to anyone and all women who have taken offence to from the posts,” read the statement, which was issued on Tuesday night.

The MRH House Committee told students that the posts were “never meant to come across as or be conceived as offensive”.“We assure you that internal action is being taken to ensure that such an incident should not ever occur again.”

The statement comes after students had accused Men’s res, also known as the Raiders, of writing sexist and misogynistic tweets. “Raiders can you tell girls that you chow to stop screaming like they dying. Busy murring noise here like lawn mowers,” read the initial tweet.

SILENT SCREAMS: Men's Res Raiders have been criticized follwing tweets over sexual discrimination. Photo: Rafieka Williams

SILENT SCREAMS: Men’s Res Raiders have since apologised for tweets which accused them of sexual discrimination.                     Photo: Rafieka Williams


After fellow students on Twitter raised objections, Men’s res replied with a series of controversial tweets. “Regardless of the day, some of us need to study and the gal (sic) here screaming like a dying bear,” read one of their responses.

“They were well within their right to complain because it’s a residence, it’s a communal area we have to respect each other’s space however I think they could have used another platform to voice their opinions,”

SRC member Fasiha Hassan said that the SRC condemned the tweets: “We have since engaged with the relevant parties and they have since released an apology.” Hassan added that the SRC does not “condone any sort of anti-feminist or chauvinistic comments, we are all about equal rights for both male and female.”

Fourth-year student Nkululeko Nkosi, one of the students who was vocal against the tweets, described the apology as “amiable”, however he said that “there’s a need for urgent change” at Men’s res. “This is not an isolated incident,” Nkosi said.

The tweets which were meant to raise student concerns on noise disruption at the res were criticised in their approach at addressing the matter.“They were well within their right to complain because it’s a residence, it’s a communal area we have to respect each other’s space however I think they could have used another platform to voice their opinions,” said Sunnyside resident Nothando Siboto, 2nd year BA.

Residence cluster manager Doreen Nusewa said they have not received any complaints on the issue from Men’s res. “I have not received any complaints, we expect that the students to come to us if they have any issues,” Nusewa

Initiation creates ‘camaraderie’

CORRECTION: Wits Vuvuzela initially reported that Joshua Ndlangamandla was from Men’s Res, but he is actually from EOH. We regret the error. The error has been corrected in the copy.


MARCH ON: “Freshmen” sing and dance as part of their first year initiation during O-week.                Photo: Roxanne Joseph

MARCH ON: “Freshmen” sing and dance as part of their first year initiation during O-week. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

DURING O-week the residences plan a highly interactive experience for the wide-eyed young adults in first year to help familiarise them with the university and each other.

Two years ago, Wits Vuvuzela reported on how two female students formally complained to the dean of students at the time, about unsanctioned initiations and how they were “victimised” and experienced sexism from students at a male residence.

“There’s a fine line between what the freshers can take and what they can’t and what they are going to complain to their parents about and what they are going to find fun,” said Priya Thakur, Sunnyside house committee chairperson.

“Right now we are still trying to get them used to the entire res and varsity, get them to mingle with other students because, in as much as they are going to be students who are alone, they are still going to meet with students from other res’s as well in their classes,” said Joshua Ndlangamandla, a BSc third year and the sports administrator at Ernest Oppenheimer Hall of residence (EOH).

Wits Vuvuzela spoke to house committee members at the residences about how first years were being initiated and if the acts were harmless or not.

The “freshmen”, as EOH call their first years, appear to be treated as cadets. Wits Vuvuzela witnessed Men’s res in their blue t-shirts doing a series of drills and push-ups, followed by dancing and singing.

The freshmen only earn their keep after the formal initiation, when the “freshmen” jump into the pool, and “depending on how we feel on the day, it might be fully clothed,” added Ndlangamandla. “They will no longer be called “freshmen” but “Ernest men”.

Sankie Kgatse, a first year staying in Sunnyside residence said it has been “fun”, that they were taught a lot of traditional songs and did some physical exercise. “We gym yoh! We do a lot of physical activities and they are very hard … We wake up around 5.30 every morning,” the first year added. The freshers do morning runs to get them used to waking up early for classes.

According to Sunnyside’s Thakur, one of the traditions they uphold is their pledge night with Ernest Oppenheimer Hall of residence (EOH), where the freshers pledge their allegiance to EOH. The pledge took place earlier this week.

“It’s fun because historically Knockando and Men’s Res hate each other and then Sunnyside and Jubilee are fighting over Men’s Res when EOH is not around, it’s a lot of res rivalry, which is pretty fun during the week.”

The pledge also included a wedding, where house committee chose the person they would marry, Kgatse explained to Wits Vuvuzela. Ndlangamandla regrets that he wasn’t initiated in his first year at EOH and found that he generally struggled in his first two years because he didn’t really know the people around him.

He sees the benefit in initiation because “you’re partnered with someone through initiation and you’ve been through the same struggles you’ve been telling each other, ‘oh that house comm manager is an asshole’, so you have something in common”.

“It builds that brotherhood, that camaraderie between people that if you’re struggling, don’t do it alone … Once you’re alone we can’t help you out because we don’t know where you are in life,” says Ndlangamandla.

“It’s all about building a proper rapport between the students and us so that they can come to because most of us have been there before,” he adds. When asked about any worrisome activities, Thakur said she could not reveal that to the Wits Vuvuzela, and doubts that any other res would.

“A lot of the things we do here are internal and house issues, it’s designed and meant specifically for Sunnysiders. If the university had to read about it, I don’t think they would understand – it’s a different thing living at res and the Vuvuzela has a much wider audience,” said Thakur.

Apart from morning drills, the first year are taken around Johannesburg to the Hector Peterson Museum, Vilakazi street and the South African Breweries to watch how beer is made.

NETBALL: Jubilee staggers behind as Sunnyside net in a 22 victory

The one

SUNNYSIDE UP: (L-R) Jubilee’s Dia Mpopo and Sunnyside’s Venia Chirombe. Sunnyside has managed to win two out of three games thus far whilst Jubilee has only won one out of three. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

Once the most-feared netball team on campus, Jubilee was defeated 22-8 by Sunnyside in the third leg of the Wits Internal Netball League at the Digs Field on Tuesday, April 22.
Captain Makoma Molapo admitted the team lacked sparkle and “were not up to par”.

“This is not like Jubes. Everyone knows that this is the team to look out for. Today particularly I feel like most of the players were not up to par. I don’t know what was wrong with everybody: not catching balls, not throwing in the right spaces, it was just a mess. No-one looked prepared to come play the game and win the game.”

Commenting on their recent performance, which has lost them two games out of three in this year’s league, Molapo said: “Most of our team members graduated and left this year so I’m literally the only one standing from last year. Clearly we have a lot of work ahead of us and we need to learn how to work as a team.

“From this game forward I’m hoping that the old Jubes can come back because we left the bar so high, it doesn’t make sense to be losing games right now because, literally, we did not lose a game in these Tuesday games. It’s a new thing for us and it’s not a good thing. We need to get back to where we were.”

Mpho Mokoena, Esselen coach and an umpire for the Jubilee-Sunnyside match, said it was a problem that most players in the internal league still could not adjust to the level of netball required in the league.

“We’re still playing high school level netball. Meanwhile, some players have actually played at regional and provincial levels, so that becomes an issue. We play at different levels based on where we come from – either from Gauteng east, north and central, where players play differently. So it’s problematic when I have to judge the high school level players against more equipped players.”

Game of the East Campers 

Five minutes into the game, an attempt inside Sunnyside’s circle paid off for scoring machine, Lebo Mokwena. Jubilee’s Naledi Maubane netted one with a powerful angled shot, but their joy was short-lived when Sunnyside’s Khanya Zwelibanzi and Lebo Mokwena paired up for a cleverly executed goal.

The first quarter saw Sunnyside dominating with a 6-1 lead. Jubilee came back in the second and third quarter following a stern talk from the captain. Both teams were warned a number of times about stepping and crowding, which led to clumsy play by both sides.

The end of the third quarter saw Sunnyside leading 15-5. Jubilee rallied strongly after the break with some much-needed shooting by Maubane. But Jubilee could not maintain the intensity and scored only another three in the final stretch.

Sunnyside has won two out of its three league matches so far. Their captain, Musi Lidovho, applauded her team.

“The team performed really well. I think we are capable of far more, especially considering the fact that we don’t even have a coach. But otherwise, the team’s been gelling well and we hope we can keep with this winning streak.”



Sunnysider is Miss Wits Res 2014

The Top 3: From left to right- Vuyolwethu Majila, Mandisa Dlamini and Siphindile Gumede.

THE TOP THREE: From left to right: Vuyolwethu Majila, Mandisa Dlamini and Siphindile Gumede. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

Sunnyside residence has earned bragging rights as one of its residents walked away with the Miss Wits Res 2014 title in the Great Hall on Thursday.

Mandisa Dlamini, a 3rd year law student was crowned by the current Miss Wits Varsity Cup, Callie Shepherd, in a pageant that looked for humility, intelligence and beauty in the contestants. 

Vuyolwethu Majila, 2nd year, BSc Chemical Engineer from Medhurst was crowned the 1st princess; and Siphindile Gumede, 2nd year, BAcc Science from Jubilee the 2nd princess title.

Though Dlamini had entered a few pageants before, a shot at the coveted title meant coming out of her comfort zone to claim her first win ever. “I’ve entered many pageants before and made it into the top five but because I’m always shy and intimidated by the other girls, I’ve always had trouble answering the questions and well, lost out,” she said.

Dlamini walked away with R1000 in shopping vouchers, the 1st princess with R750 in vouchers and the 2nd princess with R500 in vouchers. The event was organized by the Wits All Res Council (ARC).




Orientation vs Initiation

At least two female students have reported bad experiences during unsanctioned initiations at their residences during O-Week.

In one case, the victim said she was made uncomfortable by the “sexist” undertones during an encounter with students from a male residence.

“We’re not allowed to look any of the guys in the eye, but that defeats the whole point of orientation and getting to know each other,” said the first year, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of being singled out.

Although she feels victimized, the student said she still though initiation was important “but to some extent we have lost the point.” She said she was especially frightened by the incident because she comes from a conservative family.

The incident was reported to the Dean of Students Prem Coopoo.

“First year students are meant to be orientated to Wits, not initiated. They need to feel connected to Wits and cared for – not fearful of seniors,” Coopoo said.

Coopoo said students are encouraged to report initiations as outlined in the O-week guidebook.

Third year BEd student and JCE resident Hannah Makgopa said initiation “helps to build bonds among first years.”

She said as part of the JCE tradition, first years are given new nicknames that are written on “virginity tags” which they have to wear around their necks for the duration of O-Week. Makgopa said the nicknames are created by the seniors and are not meant to be malicious.

“When I think of my first year I wish I can do it again,” said Makgopa.

Not all O-week residence activities have gone down well with management:  last year initiations were banned at Men’s Residence after some of its residents disrupted an inter-residence talent show while intoxicated. Many people also remarked at how “hardcore” and “militant” the Men’s Residence initiations were.

“Men’s Res was a bit too harsh, if [the first years] do one mistake its 10 pushups or until they say stop,” said Makgopa.

However, Men’s Res student Muzi Phungula said he felt pity for the first years that live at Men’s Residence because they will not be able to go through the “fun things” that he went through in his first year.

He said first years are usually scared at first because it’s a new environment and it can be a “dramatic experience” but initiation built bonds with a shared experience.

A former house committee member from Sunnyside, Memme Monyela, said Men’s Residence initiations were much more “hardcore” than any other residence. She said the first years at Men’s Res were made to run around the field half-naked and occasionally had to brush their teeth with water from the coy fish pond outside the John Moffat Building.

Monyela said there are routine things that are done for fun such as waking first years up at 5am for a run on the field.

“There were others who just didn’t want to participate, they would complain and say ‘We’re tired’” said Monyela. “Sometimes they would complain that running around the field with people watching was demeaning.”

A second year student from Sunnyside Lebohang Makgopa said her initiation “was harsh, but not as bad as other residences.” “We don’t have these rules like other residences…we are a house of royalty.”

Sunnyside up

A local soapie star and a number of students offered themselves for sale last Thursday night, amid the autumn leaves, golden apples and green vines of Eden.

The Sunnyside residence held their annual charity auction, themed “When Adam Met Eve”, to raise funds for the Christ Church Christian Care Centre (CCCCC) in Hillbrow. Ten guys and eight girls walked the runway, alongside Themba Nofemele, who plays Ranthomeng on Muvhango.

But it was a woman student, dressed in pink and black, who stole the show. ‘Sider Blaze drew the highest bid (R1000) and the loudest applause – bringing in more than double the amount paid for Nofemele.

The MCs were Smash Afrika and Koketso Morakile. The girls were dressed by a Sunnyside resident named Cleo. The men dressed themselves.

There was no music for the first half as organisers could not find a cable for the sound system. Even though the auction suffered a few technical difficulties, the night was a success, said chief organiser Memme Monyela.

Refreshments were provided afterwards in a nearby venue for the bidders and the auctioned models to get acquainted.

The CCCCC provides children with food, clothes and help with their homework. Monyela said the SRC also contributed financially to the charity.

Every year a different charity is picked to benefit from the auction.


The runway model up for auction.

Model up for auction

One of the models facing the crowd.

Blaze, who got highest bid.

Auctioned Models strut for a charitable cause.





Residences continue O-week tradition

Girton first- years pose with their house committee member while being taken around campus


For first year students in residence, orientation means an entirely different thing.

From the first Sunday of orientation week, house committee members in each respective residence organise and control all their fresher’s movements.

“There are certain activities that are part of res traditions,” says Pearl Pillay, the vice chairperson of the Sunnyside House committee.

“But there are generic things like the talent show, a competition between residences, the welcome dinner for all residences and a sports day.”

Sunnyside and EOH freshers have supper together at the EOH dining hall

Pillay believes the orientation process is necessary for first year students, even though it can be “rough”.

EOH freshers do push-ups as members of their house comm look on

“I like the process. I always say that res is a culture, not just a place to live in. You need that week to get accustomed to it.”

Residence traditions were also an important part of orientation such as socialising with other residences. On Tuesday the 7th  students from Sunnyside Girls’ Residence had dinner at Earnest Oppenheimer Hall where they had to get to know their brother residence a little better.

First years are also taken for tours around Constitution Hill and South African Breweries (SAB).

Sunnyside freshers do a dance at a pajama party