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.

 

 

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Harvard graduates ASSIST kids in Alex

ASSISTANTS: Pergan Naicker (left) and Victor Sithole (right) from the Wits Volunteer Programme tutoring in Alexandra. Photo: Provided by Assist
ASSISTANTS: Pergan Naicker (left) and Victor Sithole (right) from the Wits Volunteer Programme tutoring in Alexandra.
Photo: Provided by Assist

Underprivileged children in Alexandra are scoring with some assistance from a non-governmental organisation, the African Sports and Scholastic Initiative for Students in Townships (Assist).

Harvard graduates started Assist last September to aid underprivileged children in Alexandra.

The name of the initiative is a clever play on a basketball term, which means helping someone score a goal. In this case, the assistance comes in the form of a mentorship system to tutor children in their school subjects. 

Harvard graduates from the class of 2012 Dennis Zheng, Patrick Li and Ian Choe started the initiative in September 2012. This came after Zheng and Li had visited South Africa in 2011 to volunteer as basketball coaches at the Special Olympics South Africa.

On this 2011 visit they had the opportunity to work at different schools in Alexandra township with intellectually disabled children. Zheng said: “We then became connected with Harry Nakeng, a local community leader of the Alexandra Basketball Association (ABA), and began coaching basketball with township youth every afternoon.

“What Patrick and I discovered was a testament to the power of athletics; each day after school, 50 players of varying ages took to dusty courts in bare feet or their school shoes to learn the sport,” said Zheng.

The children made such an impact on Li and Zheng that they could not stop thinking about them. They decided to return to Johannesburg with their classmate Choe to found Assist. Zheng said: “The programme aims to leverage Alexandra township youth’s excitement about the emerging sport of basketball in order to catalyze students’ success in the classroom and ultimately improve their lives.”

The founders believe it is important to have a balance between sports and academics. Assist incorporates basketball to encourage physical, emotional and mental health, Zheng added. Sports also promotes a sense of camaraderie and helps to develop traits like discipline, he said.

The initiative has teamed up with the Wits Volunteer Programme (WVP) to outsource tutors. “Forty five Wits students are tutors for the ASSIST project now,” said Karuna Singh who heads the WVP.

These students tutor on Monday to Thursday afternoons and on Saturdays. Assist provides the tutors with transport to Alexandra. They help with subjects like Maths and English, Singh explained.

Zheng agreed: “Their consistent mentorship leads to not only better marks from term to term but also empowers each child to develop and reach his or her life goals.”

The initiative continues to seek funding, Zheng: “We initially funded the first year of the programme through the generosity of supportive friends and family, but we are currently exploring local options for financial support while preparing for another world-wide fundraising campaign.”

Up until now, by April 2013, close to 60 learners have benefited from the initiative. If you wish to assist, and help children, then  find out more about the initiative and go to:

theassist.org. You can also visit the WVP at Senate House, Ground Floor.

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

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