Project W to “make Wits better”

A group of students have come together to “make Wits better”. Project W was formed by a diverse group of students from various degrees, clubs and societies.

The group has come together under the motto “make Wits better” in an attempt to change the way students  experience Wits.

The group is starting with a food drive, called “Give-A-Can” running until the month of September.

Tapiwa Gozhore, 3rd year BA told Wits Vuvuzela , that Project W was about showing that students care about one another.

“It’s high time we have people connecting with the students, “he said.

Ethan Genende Donates a can of beans in the Project W donation Bin outside the matrix.

Ethan Genende Donates a can of beans in the Project W donation Bin outside the matrix.

For students by students

Gozhore also raised a concern, that the SRC, that should be representing the students, was overly concerned with politics rather than the well-being of students on campus.

It is for this reason that Project W is running the “Give-a-Can” initiative to help less fortunate students, who do not have the means to feed themselves.

“There are a lot of students on campus that do not have food, and it is difficult to concentrate on an empty stomach,” said Gozhore.

Project W will be working hand in hand with the Wits Volunteer programme and the Dean of Students’ assistance program.

The food collected will be distributed through the Wits Volunteer programme.

Making Wits better is an ongoing initiative for Project W. While they are starting with a food drive, they plan to have many more on-campus initiatives in the future.

Project W also a  launched a signature campaign, collecting signatures from students and encouraging them to come forward and raise their concerns at the town hall called by the wits university administration yesterday.

Ethan Genende, 4th year BComm Law, presented the petition with three thousand signatures to Prof Adam Habib. Habib said that he was happy to have them.

Students are encouraged to take part in the “Give-a-Can” campaign, by donating food at various collection points.

The collection points for the food drive are outisde the gaming room in the matrix and at the medical campus cafeteria.

In the weeks to follow, there will also be collection points at OLS on East Campus, FNB Building on West Campus and at the Business School and education campuses.

Witsies put their bare feet forward

BAREFOOT BEAUTIES: From left to right, Nelisa Ngcobo, 2nd year BA, Mungi Llale, $th year Dramatic Arts and Ziyanda Ngcobo, 3rd year BA

BAREFOOT BEAUTIES: From left to right, Nelisa Ngcobo, 2nd year BA, Mungi Llale, 4th year Dramatic Arts and Ziyanda Ngcobo, 3rd year BA. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Witsies braved stale urine, glass and camel droppings on April 16 when they came to campus barefoot in support of the One Day Without Shoes initiative.

The Wits Volunteer Programme (WVP) hosted an event to raise awareness for the drive, which aims to collect shoes for underprivileged children. Witsies attended the event barefoot to show their support and donated shoes.
A “path without shoes” was created on library lawns, from sand, dried grass, rocks and bits of Lego. The barefoot students were encouraged to walk across it to make them aware of how tough it could be to walk across these kinds of surfaces.

SHOES FOR WHO?: Students take on the "Path Without Shoes" to understand what it is like to live without shoes. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

SHOES FOR WHO?: Students take on the “Path Without Shoes” to understand what it is like to live without shoes. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

But perhaps a normal walk across campus provided the greatest challenge. Besides camels offering rides, and depositing droppings, on Library Lawns, Wits Vuvuzela caught the scent of urine in corners and saw broken glass on pathways.
“We take shoes for granted…in some developing countries some kids are not allowed to go to school if they don’t have shoes,” said Joanne Tomlinson, 2nd year BA and co-founder of the initiative at Wits.

Some kids were denied the opportunity to get an education, simply because they did not have shoes.Children also get cuts on their feet, which turn septic over time, she said. They caught diseases which were completely preventable.

One Day Without Shoes is an initiative that was originally started by the American shoe company TOMS. “For every pair of shoes they [TOMS] sell they give one away… They have actually handed out some in Diepsloot. They take each individual pair and fit it onto a kid’s feet. They don’t just drop the shoes off,” said Tomlinson.
Asked by Wits Vuvuzela how she had survived her day without shoes, Vivien Teijlingem, 1st year Fine Arts, said: “It’s nice for us to get to experience how tough it is walking without shoes, so we can care and understand what people go through.”
BSC student Khosa Solly,added: “We can feel the pain that they [children who go to school without shoes] feel today, which will raise awareness.”



Tomlinson said she was grateful for the support the initiative had received from the WVP. Karuna Singh of the WVP attended the event barefoot.

Those who missed out on Tuesday can still donate shoes at the WVP offices in Senate House, Tomlinson said the shoes collected on campus would be given to the Bryanston Bible Church, who run a number of community outreach initiatives.


Students can prevent poaching crisis

Wits students who care about the country’s rhino poaching crisis can contribute in a number of ways.

“There are some student organisations that address these kinds of issues. For instance, Roots and Shoots and the BioSoc,” Prof Kevin Balkwill, Head of the Department of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, said

“This is one way for students to become involved. Otherwise, there are more formal initiatives around Wits Rural Facility and Pullen Farm, two of Wits’ rural properties where students can become involved in conservation issues.”

The situation for the country’s rhinos is grave. A total of 52 rhinos have been dehorned since in South Africa’s game reserves, since the beginning of 2012, Wanda Mkutshulwa, Head of Communications at SANParks, revealed in a statement on February 3.

Two more rhino carcasses were found by tourists in the Kruger National Park on Tuesday, according to a statement released by Mr William Mabasa, Head of Public Relations and Communications at the Kruger National Park. The poachers are still at large.

Balkwill said many projects at Wits had conservation goals or applications. One way to make a difference was through postgraduate study.

A Wits honours student was due to contribute to the development of an Integrated Management Plan for the establishment of the Bushbuckridge Nature Reserve.

He also suggested that the Wits Volunteer Programme could be broadened to encompass environmental and conservation issues.

Dr Jo Shaw, a Wits PhD graduate, now working at Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring network, suggested students interested in participating in conservation could start by raising funds.

“There are 150 organisations actively involved in ‘saving rhinos’ in South Africa now.”

“If you want to get involved, go for one of the larger organisations with a scientific advisory board who ensure that your money is well spent.

“As of the last estimates at December 31, 2010, there were 18 796 white rhinos and 1 916 black rhinos in South Africa,” she said,

“At current poaching rates, rhino populations in South Africa are anticipated to begin to decline in 2015 or 2016.”

The number of rhino deaths have been on the increase as early as 2006. As many as 448 rhinos were shot in 2011.