The day I got to wear my Hogwarts uniform

Photo: Prelene Singh
Photo: Prelene Singh

*self-gratifying sigh*

Here I am. Fifteen years later. This is THE DAY it’s all been about.

The day I get a piece of very expensive paper that says: this girl is smart. This girl knows stuff and she deserves a shot at making that paper (money). This girl is finally a cog in the machine.

Okay, that is not where I was going with this but what the heck I’ll just roll with it. While I am super excited about this so called milestone, it is the beginning of the end isn’t it?
I have been in professional day-care for fifteen years and guess what? I just signed myself up for more. Because a degree isn’t enough anymore – I could very well work in sales for the rest of my life. Bleak prospect.

So I’m bumping myself up a bit, to get that deluxe you-deserve-a-job-ticket. I have decided to do this through the one thing I am good at, writing. Well two things I’m good at – writing and questioning. But I fear that after I have completed my Honours in Journalism degree. It might not be enough, then what do I do?

Many qualified graduates in South Africa are left either jobless or stuck in less than desirable jobs once they have graduated. (This information comes courtesy of a Stats module I did.) I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

This piece is about the day that commemorates how far I have come. Somehow all the naps in lectures, Mike Ross-like skim reading and verbosity in essays have paid off.

Okay, let me stop being self-deprecating (holla to English Literature for that one). I actually did work my way through my undergraduate degree. Probably not as consistently as I would have liked, but I’m here.

I am very thankful for having indulgent parents who let me sign up for things that took my interest. They could have easily forced me to do something more “stable” that would make me a shit load of money. But they didn’t and I will always be thankful for that.

They let me have debates about Biko, the evils of capitalism and the origins of man. They let my young self, already keenly literary, truly bask in a plethora of works I would otherwise have never engaged with.

What I studied is directly proportional to the person I have become.

*drops mike and walks off stage*

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Wits Solar Car team gear up for take off

A GROUP of students are going to enter their very own solar car into the Sasol Solar Challenge in 2014.

Bradley Rautenbach, 4th year Mechanical Engineering, said the new Wits Solar Car will cost about R3 million to build if the team is to stand a chance of winning.
The core team members consist of three engineers and an accountant. They have 25 other people assisting them.
Chase Mitchel, 3rd year Mechanical Engineering, said that it was great that they have so many people on board at the moment but said he was certain that at least half of those people “will bail” along the way.

“We really need other people from different faculties whose different specialities will help the team,” said Kabelo Ngwenya, 3rd year Mechanical Engineering. Those specialists include Nick von Rovetz, 3rd year Accounting, who joined the team to help out with the financial side of things.

WITS SOLAR CAR: Bradley Rautenbach in the driving seat of last year’s solar car.Photo: Provided
WITS SOLAR CAR: Bradley Rautenbach in the driving seat of last year’s solar car.
Photo: Provided

Last year, the team entered the same biannual competition and their solar car came in fourth place in their category.
The team was unanimous in their claim that funding was one of their biggest stumbling blocks. They simply did not have enough money to build a car that could compete with the winning car which had a $20 million budget.

“The new solar car will feature a semi-monocoque carbon fibre chassis bringing the total weight of the car to 150 kg where as the last car weighed 339 kg” said Bradley. Carbon fibre is most commonly used in Formula One racing cars.
“The materials needed this time around cost a lot more but will ultimately make for a better quality car,” said Ngwenya.
The design concept for the solar car drawn by Rautenbach can be seen on their posters all over campus.
The solar car will be named “Parhelion” which is the name of an atmospheric phenomenon, much like the one last year when there was a halo around the sun.

Pheladi Sethusa 

The Newsroom 4.0

This week was very short and therefore a little hectic in the newsroom.

We went on a ten day break, which was just what we all needed. I got to sleep for more than five hours every day, imagine that?! But that was then.

On Tuesday morning things got real again. Our news conference was a hot mess. No one pitched anything that they believed in, or anything that was super newsworthy or even the least bit juicy. This left us with a very “thin diary.”

To be completely honest I pitched nothing. I literally had nothing, save for an old story that kept being taken in and out of the Zion that is our “revised folder.” You have to understand – when your story is finally in the revised folder you are two or three clicks away from being in the paper that week. A place you really want to be.

Luckily I ended up with something to contribute to this week’s issue. I unexpectedly offered to write our Slice of Life segment. Which is exactly what the name implies, an opinion slash diary slash refection piece. I wrote about the only interesting that has happened to me in while – my graduation.

The piece was originally a blog post of mine (I say this with great confidence now that the paper has already been sent off and there is nothing that the powers that be can do to stop me – mwuhahahahaha). Obviously I edited to be fit enough for the paper (but not so much that it lost its flavour). Not because I was lazy or couldn’t find a new angle but simply because the blog post captured the way I felt and still feel about my graduation. My colleagues seemed to like it, I just hope everyone else does.

I actually haven’t been nervous about anything I have written in the paper. Now I am. My picture accompanies the article and my unbridled thoughts will be right there for everyone to see. Oh well, they best get aquainted 😉

ps – I totally dominated with design today, I really enjoy it and suspect I will be quite legendary at it soon enough.

Witsies help to feed fellow students

The Student  Affairs division at Senate House has started a drive to collect food and toiletries for students who are most in need of these items.

Ashina Sarawan, Projects Officer for Student Affairs said their mandate was to offer “social support” to students. This support  cannot be monetary but they do aim to meet some of their  immediate needs.

Some of the things students need support with are things like food, clothes and toiletries. There are a number of drives and campaigns that are run by the division and also through student initiatives through the Wits Volunteer Programme which supply the above-mentioned items for students.

At present a toiletry drive has been launched. The drive works on a donation basis whereby students and staff donate whatever toiletries they can and these are then distributed to students in need. The toiletry packs are gender specific, said Sarawan.

The food drive is a new project that the division started running towards the end of February. They are looking for small quantities of food and items like rice, beans, tinned food and maize meal.

DONATIONS: This is what has been donated thus far.Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
DONATIONS: This is what has been donated thus far.
Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

When all the food is collected, the division will put together food packs. Sarawan said this block would be the collection phase of the groceries. During second block the groceries would be handed out.

To get access to some of the donated packs students need to go to the Student Affairs offices to explain their situation. It is a very transparent system that doesn’t discriminate against any student who comes forward.

“We understand that it is very hard for students to approach us, so we trust that no one would claim packs if they don’t need them,” stated Sarawan.

Pheladi Sethusa 

Media Studies tackles sexual harassment allegations

DR LAST Moyo has stepped down as head of the Media Studies department pending an official investigation following allegations of sexual harassment published in the Wits Vuvuzela.

The paper reported that several former students are accusing Moyo of improper conduct and said ordinary encounters with him took on “sexual” overtones.School of Literature, Language and Media head Libby Meintjes said the first she heard of these allegations was in the newspaper.

Meintjes said that she encourages those with allegations to make formal complaints for the official investigation. As Wits Vuvuzela went to press, two of the alleged victims contacted the paper and said they had laid formal complaints against Moyo.

Separate from the official investigation, Meintjes said a sexual harassment committee is being put in place by the School to assist their students with sexual harassment issues. The committee is made up of staff who volunteered and others chosen by Meintjes. It is different than the campus-wide inquiry currently taking place.

Wits Vuvuzela contacted some of Moyo’s alleged victims for comment on the recent developments.They said they were pleased with the direction things were headed. They think the measures that are being taken will help them if they decide to formalise their complaints but weren’t sure if they would in take the matter further.

“I’m not sure I want to go any further than I have, I just want to move on. I do hope the investigation is taken seriously and deals with the matter,” said one of the accusers who asked for anonymity.

While an official investigation has been launched, Meintjies took issue with the way Wits Vuvuzela reported the story. She said journalist Dineo Bendile should not have reported the story as she too had complained of Moyo’s behaviour. Meintjes believes Bendile might be viewed as biased.

In addition to leaving his position as head of department, Moyo has also stepped down as assistant dean of Internationalisation and Partnerships.

The sexual harassment committee’s first order of business will be to hold a public meeting on March 18 at 1.15pm at SH6.
Its purpose is to inform students on what constitutes sexual harassment, how to deal with it and where they should go to report any incidences. Meintjes said that they hoped to facilitate discussion through their meeting.

Pheladi Sethusa

Female boxers take over Wits Boxing Club

THOUGHTFUL PUNCH: Lungile Duma, left, strategises ringside. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
THOUGHTFUL PUNCH: Lungile Duma, left, strategises ringside. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

DRENCHED in sweat, putting their best fist forward – the girls at the Wits Boxing Club are taking on the ring.

The club has seen a steady increase of female members over the years. Coach Tando Melapi said he has seen membership numbers of women increase dramatically to 200 from only 13 when the club started in 1998.

The majority of girls said they were boxing to up their fitness levels and lose weight. “The injuries are not worth actually competing but it’s a great experience and good way of keeping fit,” said Natalie Zoghby, 3rd year Electrical Engineering.

First year Anele Masikane, however, wants to be a boxing champion. “I want to stand in the ring and be a champ, like my late uncle and Olympic boxer Barrington Mkhize,” Masikane said. She is one of the few girls at the club who love boxing as a sport and want to compete.

Another competitor, International Relations honours student Karabo Smith, said that she was scared of being injured in the beginning. However, she realised that the injuries would only help to make her a better fighter. She said boxing has helped her confidence levels and  now she can also protect herself.

“A conscious decision was made to have both genders do the same kind of training. I don’t train boys or girls, I train boxers,” Melapi said.

The female boxers don’t sit back during training. Vuvuzela watched as Lorraine Ngubane, 3rd year BAccSci, led the post-run exercises and commanded the boxers to keep going no matter how tired they were.

FIST TO FIST: Nodumiso Gwala takes Lungile Duma on during practice. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
FIST TO FIST: Nodumiso Gwala takes Lungile Duma on during practice. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

The female boxers do not mind training with members of the opposite sex. They said they joined the club to achieve their own goals and were not there to look pretty for the boys.

The club recently competed in the University Sports South Africa annual boxing championships, and brought home the trophy for winning both the male and female sections of the tournament. Wits Boxing Club has won this competition four times, the only university to have so many wins in the history of the competition.

Hedda Wolmarans, sports woman of the year for 2012, was one of the gold medalists. She also held the title for the South African National Boxing Organisation champ in 2012.

Nodumiso Gwala, 3rd year BA Geography and Sociology, said that Wolmarans was an icon to her. She added that other girls were inspired by seeing the competing girls train. Gwala has been training for two years and competing for one, the end goal being entering the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Pheladi Sethusa 

Books For No Bucks

FREE BOOKS: Charmaine Pule, Media and Marketing Officer for the SRC shows Wits Vuvuzela some of the books they have collected for their book drive. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
FREE BOOKS: Charmaine Pule, Media and Marketing Officer for the SRC shows Wits Vuvuzela some of the books they have collected for their book drive. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

WITS students now have the opportunity to loan textbooks for free. Paul Maluleka is the brains behind the SRCs latest campaign that collects textbooks and books for students who cannot afford to buy books.

Earlier this year the SRC was involved in helping excluded students with their problems. They frequently complained that buying books and textbooks was a problem. They cannot all afford to buy new textbooks each semester.

The book drive is one way of fixing that problem said Pule, 4th year Education and Media and Marketing Officer for the SRC. She is running the book drive in conjunction with Maluleka in a bid to help alleviate some of the stress that students face when it comes to lack of access to resources.

They are looking for students to donate their old books to the campaign. Donated books will be given out on loan to students in need.  It’s a fairly simple process whereby students need to fill in a form from the SRC office. The students loan the books for however long they are needed..

So far, the SRC have received engineering and law textbooks. While this is appreciated, they need more textbooks and books from across all faculties and disciplines to broaden the campaign’s reach.

In line with the book drive, the SRC will be launching  a campaign called ‘Each One, Teach One.’ This campaign will look at donating a variety of things to matric students. Things like stationary, school uniforms and matric dance dresses. The objective of this campaign will be to support matric students who are in need. When dropping off the donated items, SRC members will also hand out food parcels and interact with the students.

Pheladi Sethusa 

Cool Kid on Campus: Atish Jogi

Atish sitting outside of William Cullen Library. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Atish sitting outside of William Cullen Library. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

FINAL year law student Atish Jogi is one of the most stylish men on campus.

His swag—in his own words—is on level “one hunnid.” As GQs Best Dressed Reader 2012 this is not hard to believe.

His hobbies include a mixture of sports he loves and creative art. He plays indoor cricket at the Sandton arena and runs with both the Braamfie and Rosebank run club’s. Artistically he is a photographer with a particular fascination with urban landscapes, street life and fashion.

Why did you choose to study law at Wits?

Wits is a premier academic institution and I really wanted to do law because I want to be involved in finding solutions to some of the country’s problems.

How did you win your GQ Best Dressed Reader title last year?

We had to submit photos of five everyday looks. These photos then went through a selection process by the GQ team, where they selected the top three finalists. Thereafter readers had to vote for their favourite from the top three-which happened to be me.

Is it then safe to say that you’re style conscious?

Well, yes. I don’t plan outfits or anything but I do make an effort to be presentable and wear clothes that make me look and feel good.

Do you think other guys on campus have any sense of style?

Not really. Some guys do try to make an effort but most are the track pants and sneakers types. All I’ll say to those guys is that women appreciate men who dress well.

What are you wearing today?

Vintage Nike Air Max One’s, G-Star Raw jeans, a Country Road cotton v-neck, a Polo jersey and Gucci glasses. I know it seems like I’m obsessed with brands but I’m really not.

Do you have a style icon?

Yes, my close personal friend and model Masego ‘Maps’ Maponyane. His style is unique and fresh.

Pheladi Sethusa