GALLERY: Wits Humanities grads cross the stage

Wits University’s Winter Graduations are taking place between July 10 and 14, 2023.

Hundreds of postgraduate students will be conferred with their PhDs, Master of Arts and Honours degrees during the ceremonies. Wits Vuvuzela’s Seth Thorne and Nonhlanhla Mathebula caught the Humanities ceremony on July 11, to document and congratulate the students from the Wits Centre for Journalism, as they had their fifteen seconds of fame with Wits chancellor, Judy Dlamini on stage.

FEATURED IMAGE: Malaika Ditabo, now a News24 journalist, takes a break from the politics desk to savour her achievement. Photo: Seth Thorne

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PROFILE: Uncovering the township’s untold stories one shot at a time 

A photographer shares her story of using her camera lens to depict the art and magic that exists in everyday life 

Dineo Mtetwa, is a storyteller at heart — whose main interest is to portray the nuances of township life.  

The 25-year old’s collection of images, which are both taken in colour, while others are black and white feature fleeting moments and regular objects that are part of our daily lives – some of which we hardly pay attention to. 

Mtetwa, publishes most of her work on her Instagram, where you can see photographs of people rushing in and out of taxi ranks, minibus taxis on the road or parked, school children milling about in the streets, street vendors, quaint houses and people sitting around in the township and protests. 

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, about the inspiration behind one of a recent black and white photo she took of a woman street vendor, walking, while carrying brooms on her head, she said, “umama othengisa umshanelo (the woman who sells brooms) was just walking by. “You don’t know her struggles or her achievements, but you can see the context and the setting”.  

Mtetwa acknowledges that township stories have been told before, but she believes she brings a different perspective.  

She says that it is not a usual occurrence to see images of people like her hanging in art galleries. To put an end to this, she dreams of one day running an art gallery in a township to make her photography accessible to her subjects. 

Born in 1998 and raised in Soweto, Meadowlands, Mtetwa is passionate about the township, adding that, “even if I become a billionaire, I still be coming from Soweto.” 

She holds undergraduate and honours degrees in Bachelor of Arts from Wits. She also holds a master’s degree which looked at the minibus taxi industry, public health and passenger’s pandemic stories in Soweto at the same institution. Mtetwa is now a PhD candidate, and her research is on medical anthropology, focusing on how electricity impacts every aspect of human life. 

She explains that education has changed the ways in which she interacts with Soweto and other people who live there.  She had questions about it that she could not find answers to before she was equipped with research tools. “School has filled in the gaps” she says.   

Social entrepreneur, creative and friend of Mtetwa, Mpumelelo “Frypan” Mfula says that “the mixture of academic understanding, social and intuitive understanding of your neighbourhood, the world and your subjects is powerful”.  

Mfula has worked with Mtetwa from late last year to date, in a project called Let’s Play Outside which is a content development programme that teaches high school pupils from different parts of Johannesburg how to use mobile phones for storytelling, content creation, publication, and monetisation. 

Mfula describes her photography as “authentic” because she has no formal photography training as she started from “a thing of feeling”.  

As a coach for Let’s Play Outside, Mtetwa currently teaches the pupils at Daliwonga Secondary School in Dube, Soweto how to develop a short documentary. 

FEATURED IMAGE:  Dineo Mtetwa in Cape Town. Photo: Supplied

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PROFILE: Self-made shoemaker’s ‘furry’ signature

Having no formal fashion training hasn’t stopped the shoemaker behind “Khechakat” from bringing her creations to life. 

Fuelled by the inability to access and afford a pair of R2 000 European designer boots made by Buffalo, Katlego Khethokuhle Chamane, opted to make her own pair and went on to launch them as a part of her brand and business. 

Khechakat – a combination of the first three letters of Chamane’s name and surname – is a shoe brand established in 2022 that makes boots with a fuzzy and warm feel that are covered in faux fur – called the “Dawgs”. The shoemaker is now expanding the range with a pair of heels with fur on the sides of the sole, on sale from Monday, May 29.  

Katlego Khethokuhle Chamane holding a packaged pair of the heels with fur on the sides of the soles. Photo: Supplied

She believes that naming the business after herself has made it very personal to her. “I think when something is associated with your name, there is a level of respect and there is a level of care that you put in that [would not have been] had it been an abstract name.” 

The 20-year-old shoemaker and third-year economic science student at Wits University believes her brand is the answer for people who like fashion but cannot afford luxury brands. 

“Usually, you would find that the best things are always the expensive things,” which is why her prices range from R650 to R1 500. 

According to Chamane, “ [Khechakat is] where streetstyle meets high-end fashion,” but within budget.  

Moshe Kgame (21), a Johannesburg-based all-round artist and Chamane’s creative assistant, said his employer’s vision is inspiring. “I know her vision [is also something] some people won’t get now but I believe in her,” Kgame told Wits Vuvuzela.   

Born in 2003 and raised in Dobsonville, Soweto, Chamane’s township background inspired her to make the most of what she had. Khechakat might have started as a pair of DIY boots, but it is slowly becoming a household name among shoe lovers with the likes of South African-based amapiano DJ – Uncle Waffles – already owning a pair. 

She sources everything locally in South Africa to help create much needed jobs. At present the venture is self-funded by Chamane.  

Her creative process includes deconstructing a garment just to analyse and understand how it was made, before reconstructing it with her unique twist.  

Childhood friend and third-year property studies Witsie, Kamogelo Letsoalo (21) described the establishment of Khechakat as a bittersweet journey. “I have watched [Chamane] fight for her brand, I have watched her find suppliers from far places, catch taxis, I have watched every single moment of it,” Letsoalo said. 

Letsoalo added that while she isn’t “really into fashion” herself, she admires how Chamane’s free spirit and raw talent translate through her designs.  

Chamane said that her greatest challenge is trying to apply herself fully in both school and business. Part of the reason she is yet to launch a website or dedicated social media account, Chamane said she still finding her feet. Without a mentor, “I am learning all these things for the first time and on my own,” she added. 

She currently sells from her personal Instagram account – @Khetho – and it is rare to find a pair ready for you to buy immediately after directly messaging her. “I usually take seven days to make a shoe, sometimes a single weekend if it is a [priority] order,” she said.  

Her expansion plans for Khechakat include going in the direction of heels of different types and bags, so she can achieve longevity and reach greater markets. 

FEATURED IMAGE: A pair of the highly anticipated heels with fur on the side of the soles, that are being launched on Monday, May 29. Photo: Otsile Swaratlhe

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