Who’s afraid of vaginas?

I can’t remember a time when my friends and I weren’t in conversation about vaginas, hormones, penises and all that jazz.

We throw the “v” word and the “c” word around at all most all encounters over a glass of wine in the midst of roaring laughter and revelations.

However, through the conversations I’ve encountered with women outside of my immediate circle I’ve noticed that a number of young women are much less likely to find themselves inclined to talk about their sexual organs and sexual health.

Somewhere between misogyny and patriarchy we have created this vagina Narnia that deems lady parts as a mystical part of the body that is covered in flowers of which flows an endless supply of rainbows and fireworks. When in reality, the vagina is the muscular passageway that connects the vulva to the cervix. This “thing” we don’t want to talk about, comes in all different shapes and sizes.

Why is it that we see women’s bodies on our TVs, in movies, and all over the internet yet we seem to have a problem actually talking about them in real life?

For a long time anything that is related to women’s bodies has been responded to negatively. There is an internalised fear of discussing women’s sexuality and a male-dominated society has deliberately constructed the idea of femininity to keep men in control.

It was Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex who argued that women have historically been treated as inferior to men for three reasons. Firstly, society teaches women to fulfil a male’s needs and therefore exist in relation to men. Secondly, to follow external cues to seek validation of their worth.

Lastly, women have historically had far fewer rights and therefore less public influence.

Did you even know that it’s normal to have bacteria in your vagina? Did you know that even healthy bodies have a scent and it is actually a good thing because that scent is your pheromones?
But you wouldn’t know that because you aren’t bothered to discuss these things with your doctor, let alone your friends.

Another concerning aspect of this internalised fear concerns going to the gynaecologist. It seemed to me that the women who are afriad to talk about their vaginas were more afraid to go to a doctor about a sexual health issue than an older woman.

Visiting a gynaecologist is a pro-active approach for preventative care of which pap smears and annual exams are very important. According to some health practitioners advise, a woman’s first pap smear should be done within three years after first having sexual intercourse or by age 21. In all honesty, Pap smears are simple tests that can detect abnormal cells on the cervix. Wouldn’t you want to know if there was an abnormality in the “v” thing you carry around?

Whether you have body image issues, concerns about the way it looks and smells or anxiety about achieving orgasm, conversations about sexuality and sexual organs would be a beneficial social activity for all of us.

Surely if you can’t talk about vaginas, then how in the world are you going to take care of one responsibly? Maybe if we talked about the vagina a little more we wouldn’t be so scared of it. Maybe we would have more respect for it and we wouldn’t think it was so “icky and gross”.

The birth control burden

The South Africa government rolled out a free implant contraceptive that has become a burden for women across the country.

BIRTH CONTROL BLUES: Implanon Nxt, a small implant that gives women up to three-years of birth control, has been causing some of its users side effects such as excessive menstrual bleeding and fatigue. Photo: Lebo Mashiloane

BIRTH CONTROL BLUES: Implanon NXT, a small implant that gives women up to three-years of birth control, has been causing some of its users side effects such as excessive menstrual bleeding and fatigue. Photo: Lebo Mashiloane

 

 

Two years ago the government introduced a free contraceptive implant to the public health sector in what it called “the biggest family-planning programme South Africa has ever seen”.

But today, many young women are queuing to get the implants removed after complaining of side effects including excessive menstrual bleeding, dramatic changes in weight and fatigue.
And at Wits, the number of requests to remove the devices now exceeds the number of people getting the implant.

According to the Wits Campus Health, the clinic is currently at a stable rate of about three implant insertions a day and have about four requests for removal.

Matapelo Chauke*, a third-year Architecture student, is one of the students who has requested her device be removed. She has been on the free contraceptive for less than a year and is now living with the regret.

“It’s a nightmare,” Chauke said.

For Chauke, her troubles began shortly after having the implant inserted. “I got it last year around June and basically from the moment I got it I started experiencing the side effects,” Chauke said.

“The implant makes me really tired, I’ve lost so much weight and I’ve been bleeding excessively.”

“Look, it’s been a great contraceptive, you really can’t have much sex with it anyway,” jokes Chauke.

Sister Yvonne Matimba, head of Campus Health, said that when administered appropriately, the implant is safe. However, in many cases the “right patients” are not selected and patients are not informed fully about how it is going to work.

“We have had some of our own patients returning for the removal procedure, and others who had the implant inserted elsewhere,” said Matimba.

However, while some people do need to have the implants removed for medical reasons, others do not.

“One patient requested the removal of her implant due to fatigue while another sited her mother’s disapproval as her reason for the removal procedure,” Matimba said. “But most of the cases the clinic received are of students experiencing excessive bleeding over a lengthy period of time.”

However, Matimba said the clinic finds that some of the requests for removal are sometimes not as a result of the real side effects but because of perceived side effects.
“We don’t encourage them to stay on it, we are too quick to remove,” said Matimba.

Removing the devices can be a problem as well. The Treatment Action Campaign told Wits Vuvuzela that doctors and nurses had not been properly trained to remove the implant during the roll-out. In Mpumalanga, they claimed doctors were refusing to remove the device.

Sister Matimba said it was a challenge to remove implants that were inserted by other nurses or doctors. “We have had cases where we have struggled to take [the device] out. There was a girl who said she could feel it but I suspect she could have put on weight and could no longer feel it.”

“What happens once you gain weight, under the surface becomes fat and fat is very soft so anything can sit in the fat tissue which means you need to go really deep to get it,” said Matimba.

The devices were rolled out in 2014, when Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told of plans to introduce the female contraceptive Implanon NXT, a plastic matchstick-sized rod that is inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. Each device is valued at R1 700 each and was made available to women across the country.

Motsoaledi called the campaign “the biggest family-planning programme South Africa has ever seen”.

The implant has been available at Wits since 2014, however the university was not part of the government’s initial strategy plan.

“Later on they may have realised that they left the entire education institutions behind and most young females are in university so they started targeting universities, particularly those who have family planning,” said Matimba.

 

*not her real name

Movie Review: Ride Along 2

ride-along-2-poster

Starring: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Tika Sumpter, Benjamin Bratt, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong.
Directed by: Tim Story
Vuvu Rating: 5/10

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are back for the second instalment of the cop comedy Ride Along. The odd couple are causing mayhem for the justice system with their explosive cars, gang wars and ass-kicking.

After Atlanta security guard Ben Barber (Hart) proposes to his girlfriend, Angela (Tika Sumpter), at the end of the first Ride Along, the sequel picks up with Ben and Angela’s wedding just around the corner. Now a rookie police officer, Ben spends most of the movie trying to earn his blue stripes.

After some convincing, James (Ice Cube) convinces the Atlanta PD to send him and subsequently his brother-in-law-to-be (as a wedding gift to his sister) to Miami, where they’re pursuing a big case involving a hacker, his crime-kingpin boss and Miami department officials.

The movie is at its most basic, enjoyable. Hart gives a comedic performance as usual and if you’re a fan of the first movie you will surely enjoy the second one. Trust me, not much has changed.

Besides a few new cast members, a lot more bikinis and guns, the only thing new about the second film is that instead of Atlanta (as per the first one) this one is set in Miami.
Ice Cube is as cold and stern as he was in the first film but by the end a heartfelt moment warms his frozen heart before Hart comes back with the comedy.

You can tell a lot more was put into the movie, the production value is higher than the previous but just because it looks prettier and is more expensive, it doesn’t mean it’s a better movie than the first one.

If you have two odd hours to spend watching Hart type foolery then this movie is for you.

#FMF protestor tries for (wo)man of the match

It was an interesting day on the soccer pitch on Tuesday night when a game between the Clever Boys and Kaizer Chiefs boasted an appearance by a #FEESMUSTFALL  protester.

 

It was more than soccer obstacles in the way for Bidvest Wits on Tuesday night when during their clash with Kaizer Chiefs, a Wits student protester holding #FEESMUSTFALL banner ran across the pitch.

The student, Busisiwe Catherine Seabe, ran in the 78th minute of the game across the pitch waving the #FEESMUSTFALL banner. She was stopped by a player and stadium security and taken to the Hillbrow Police station.

“I was charged apparently with contravening an act from 2010, I’m not sure what this act is and neither are my legal representatives,” said Seabe.

Seabe was released this morning and has been back on campus, “I’m waiting to appear at the Hillbrow court at 8:30am on Friday, I am waiting to be briefed by my legal team about this,” said Seabe.

According to Seabe, she and other FMF members went to match without the intention of protesting.

“We were just watching the game funny enough and everyone brought tickets to support the team,” Seabe told Wits Vuvuzela.

Seabe said that while watching the match, she was inspired to stage an unplanned protest on the pitch.

“Bidvest is a large part of the Wits community. If Bidvest can come on campus and ask students for support then surely the students can ask them for support when we are facing issues of accommodation, fees … The soccer industry generates millions in revenue,” Seabe said.

After dodging Campus Control on the pitch, Seabe was eventually stopped by new Clever Boy S’fiso Hlanti who didn’t seem too impressed with her actions. “He actually just asked me what am I doing? What was on the banner?’,” said Seabe.

In the footage of the incident, a member of the Bidvest management team is seen approaching the apprehended Seabe and pulling the banner from her, “I was hurt in the scuff of the pulling, my pants got torn but it’s fine,” Seabe said.

She adds that even despite having exited the pitch and some fans applauding, Bidvest staff members were still unimpressed, “It was a bit violent to a certain extent even when I was off the pitch, PSL management was very upset.”

But it seems no one is as upset as her mother who believes fee protesters have already made their point, “My mom is livid! She keeps telling me I must stop, the country gets it now.”

Accommodation woes at NMMU

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It is day 3 of the accommodation protest action at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University as students have staged a sit-in at the university’s main building to have their demands heard.

An accommodation crisis at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth has caused students and Student Representative Council (SRC) to stage a sit in at the university’s main building.

The sit-in, which had been going on since Sunday night, is aimed at accommodation. Hundreds of NMMU students who have found themselves without a bed despite having been accepted by the schools accommodation office.

“[Things were] hostile last night because students had blocked the building, however we are waiting to meet with the vice chancellor today,” Baxolile Nodada, SRC secretary general at NMMU, told Wits Vuvuzela.

According to the NMMU SRC, the university has 3 237 beds on-campus divided between George and Port Elizabeth campuses which only extends to 11.9% of the total student population. Of these beds, 33% currently accommodate first year students.

Nodada said no outcome was established at last night’s protest action but the university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Derrick Swartz, had committed to meet with students and the SRC where the group intends to hand him their memorandum of demands.

“Students are still occupying the main building (Embizweni main building). At the moment things are still peaceful, we are waiting for the VC,” said Nodada.

Nodada said the SRC has been accommodating students who are in need.

“We have found that some students were sleeping at police stations, outside buildings, in the SRC offices while some of them are sleeping in the toilet and the labs,” said Nodada

“70% of these students are from the poorest province in the country and cannot afford the off campus accommodation,” Nodada said.

Nodada added that the SRC through donations and partnerships is trying to accommodate and feed the displaced students at the Ekhaya residence “but there is not enough space for all of them”.

 

 

Wits Business School offers scholarships

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The Wits Business School has set aside R 2 million in scholarships for MBA students from across Africa who are in financial need.

With the conversation surrounding #Access still hot on the lips of students and staff, the Wits Business School (WBS) announced that the institution will be giving nine exceptional candidates scholarships for the 2016 academic year.

“The selection process is straight forward, we look at the candidate’s financial need, academic merit and career progression to see how they have done in the working environment. Candidates are required to submit a motivational video stating why they want to study and what they propose to do with the qualification,” said Conrad Viedge, MBA programme director at WBS.

The proposed MBA scholarships valued at over R2-million will be available to both full and part time MBA programme applicants from across Africa.

“The bursary is sponsored through the university with money sourced from our third stream income,” said Viedge.

There are different types of scholarships available: Full scholarships which cover the full tuition, textbooks, living allowance and an international study tour. The partial scholarship insures a sizable contribution towards tuition fees while merit scholarships provide for a smaller portion of the MBA tuition fees.

Before applying for the bursary, applicants must first be accepted into the MBA programme. Candidates will then be notified on the progress of their funding request.

In a statement Prof. Steve Bluen, head of the Wits Business School, said “One of our four pillars of excellence here at WBS is character excellence. Through this, WBS aims to graduate leaders that strive for inclusivity and sustainability and are driven by a desire to make a difference. But as a school we lead by example and the scholarship programme is just one instance of this in action.”

Applications for the first term of 2016 are currently closed but you can still check the WBS website for announcements regarding scholarships for the June 2016 MBA intake.

Hip-Hop kings of the Metro Awards

MUSIC ROYALTY: Cassper Nyovest leads the nomination pack  with seven nominations.                                                                                                           Photo: Provided

MUSIC ROYALTY: Cassper Nyovest leads the nomination pack with seven nominations.
Photo: Provided

By: Thembisile Dzonzi

ALL bets are in to see who will take top prize at the 2015 Metro FM Awards, which will be held this weekend.

The 14th annual Metro FM awards in Durban is an extravaganza themed “celebrating greatness”.

As one of the countries largest urban radio stations, Metro FM will be awarding South Africa’s hardest working artists of the past year with a prestigious silver trophy.

It seems Hip-hop is ruling the roost this year with rapper Cassper Nyovest having received six nominations, followed by AKA and K.O, who each received five. Newcomers Beatenberg also received five nominations, including Song of the Year and Best Group.

Wits Vuvuzela asked Witsies who they thought would be crowned King of the Metros by taking home the most awards. Cassper Nyovest is clearly a campus favourite, with a unanimous vote of confidence.

“I think Cassper, he has a broader appeal and he’s a lot more innovative in his music.”

“Between Cassper and AKA. I’m torn because they both had a good year, but I’ll go with Cassper,” said Bongiwe Mazibuka, a fourth year BA student in performing arts.

Aslam Bulbulia, a Development Planning Masters student, agreed and said,“I think Cassper, he has a broader appeal and he’s a lot more innovative in his music.”

Lebohang Tsotetsi, a first year BSc student said, “It will have to be Cassper, many people love him, even Kwesta said so. Plus he has so many hits.”

One of the most sought-after accolades of the awards is the Song of the Year category. Reactions on who would take home the award were mixed.

Third-year BA student, Lesego Kgado thought Call Out by DJ Fisherman should win.

“I think Fisherman because he had the number two song of the year,” Kgado said.

Tsotetsi predicted that it will be between Black Motion and Fisherman.

“It has to be Cassper Nyovest’s Doc Shebeleza. It was the song of the year last year,” added Mazibuka.

The award ceremony will be held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (Durban ICC) and will be broadcast live on SABC 1 at 8pm this Saturday, February 28.