Category Archives: Photos

Wits students lend a helping hand to Hillbrow orphanage


A GROUP of Wits students is offering aid to an orphanage in Hillbrow through their community outreach project, Batho Bothong.

The project helps 75 children, between the ages of two and eighteen from Malaika Orphanage Home with schoolwork through tutorial sessions twice a week and with items such as food, clothes, sanitary towels and stationary.

Batho Bothong volunteers tutor the children in Physical Sciences, Maths, Maths Literacy, Biology and English.  The initiator of the Batho Bothong programme, Khutjo Maganyele, said they also help with homework and other assessments for other modules when the children need assistance.

Malaika orphanage founder Juma Sebichuwu said they have seen great improvement in academic performances of the children ever since Batho Bothong came on board in 2014.

“The results of what they [Batho Bothong] have been doing here are visible to us, to guardians of these children and to them as well.  Their grades have improved a lot,” said Sebichuwu.

Malaika orphan Nondumiso Mlambo, 18, is starting the first of year of her law degree at the University of Johannesburg. She said if it wasn’t for Batho Bothong, she would not have achieved the grades that secured her a place at university.

“The programme really helped us.  We were a group of three girls (doing matric) and we all passed.  If it wasn’t for the project we wouldn’t be where we are right now,” said Mlambo.

They also organise motivational seminars for the children to motivate them.  Maganyele said it is necessary to instil positivity on children who are determined about their education and goals in life.  “The kids are passionate about where they want to go in future.  And they are such a bunch of kids, full of joy and potential,” said Maganyele.

Maganyele said he took a conscious decision to start the project as a result of the struggles he faced when he was in his first year at university as someone from a poor background.

“In my first year, I struggled with my self-image.  I had like three trousers and a few tops to wear.  And I chose to focus on people who are worse off than me,” said Magabyele.  He said he chose Malaika because of the “appalling conditions” he saw at the place.

The project was formed by Maganyele and seven of his Wits friends in 2014 with 15 volunteers at the time.  They started with few kids and he says the number has grown ever since.


When intersectionality fails among student leaders


A discussion on the future of student movements across the country resulted in a walkout of almost all the participants at a Jozi Book Fair event at the Wits’ Science Stadium yesterday evening.

The panel discussion about where the student movement is heading after #FeesMustFall hosted a number of representatives from tertiary institutions across the country. The discussion ended in the walkout after panellists ignored the rules to allow each other to speak without interruption. Ncedisa Mpemnyama (Black First Land First) and Shaeera Kalla (Wits PYA) ended up in an argument over the interruptions while Fallist Thenjiwe Mswane expressed her fury at the behaviour of the panel and some members of the audience which seemed to spark the walkout.

Sparks flew right at the beginning of the debate when Mpemnyama proposed that white people should leave the venue “because of the symbolic and historical nature of the issue of financial exclusion on higher education”.  Oupa Lehulere, the moderator, objected to his  request saying that the issue permeates all the levels of society.  A number of other members in the half-filled auditorium also rejected the idea, despite one white individual leaving almost immediately as a result.

Kalla, one of the leaders of the 2015 Fees Must Fall protests, said students need to be introspective about their hypocrisy and move past party politics in order to make a progress in their cause.  “We need to chart a new path and we need to be changing power structures,” said Kalla.

Palesa Mcophela of UWC EFF Student Command, said last year’s 0% fee increment came through blood, sweat and tears.  “When 0% increase was announced, we had been shot,” she said. She then called for all student leaders to be self-less in the struggle for free education.

Mpemnyama said he doesn’t take seriously people who have betrayed the student struggle.  He spoke of how some students claimed an undeserved victory on Fees Must Fall while they went against the mandate given to them by students.  “If we don’t speak the politics of truth, this country will be a failed banana republic,” he said.

Nthabiseng Nooe from the University of Pretoria told the audience of her disappointment on how the government reacted to the Fees Must Fall movement last year, saying the government reacted as if “we were forty years back”.

“My expectation was that the minister of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET, Blade Nzimande) would discourage us from protesting because of the implications a protest would have on our future or psychological state, but his fear was about what his (Nzimande’s) government would do to us,” said Nooe.  She said although political ideology is important, there is a need for students and the broader community to unite.

There is still uncertainty about the potential increase in higher education fees in 2016 with reports circulating this weekend that university councils are likely to propose an 8% fee increment for next year.

Wits ladies shine on home turf


Wits University’s two ladies’ basketball teams got off to a flying start in this year’s Wits Lady Bucks tournament winning all their matches against visiting teams from around southern Africa.

Playing at home, Wits Buck Ladies (WBL) opened their account with a close 27-20 victory over The Glen High School in court A.  The Bucks then brushed aside neighbours Deutsche Schule Johannesburg (DSJ), 45-22.

A second Wits team, the Wits Lady Bucks (WLB) followed suit with another impressive start defeating Soweto Raptors 54-32 in the opening game. They will play their second game tomorrow evening.

21 matches were scheduled on Women’s Day but only 20 took place as the Mozambique versus Phoenix Flames game was postponed to Saturday, August 13.

The tournament, held in honour of women’s month, includes teams from different parts of the southern Africa including Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland along with local campus teams.

  • ATown Ladies 56-14 Deutsche Schule Johannesburg (DSJ)
  • Jozi Nuggets 34-40 North-West University (Vaal Campus)
  • Griffinz 36-30 Katlehong Pelicans
  • Michael Mount Waldorf 65-22 Monash SA
  • Deutsche Internationa le Schule 30-49 Lakers Basketball Club Jnr
  • ATown Ladies 53-31 The Glen High School
  • Chisz Basketball Team 21-24 Katlehong Pelicans
  • Katlehong Pelicans 49-11 Monash SA
  • Lakers Basketball Club Snr 41-49 VandJ Women’s Basketball
  • North-West University 23-30 VandJ Women’s Basketball
  • Jozi Nuggets 43-47 Lakers Basketball Club Snr

Making a mark against all odds


Putting a cross in a ballot box may seem like the easiest thing for most people, but Shaun* is one of those individuals who need assistance to make his mark. He cannot make a cross in a box owing to his physical disability which sees him confined to a wheelchair with little use of his arms and legs.  At election time, he needs someone else to help him through the process.

Shaun is a 53-year-old white South African man who believes in the power of the ballot box.  He’s been voting religiously since 1994 despite his inability to write on his own or even hold a pen with his hand.  For him voting is a daunting process that involves being pushed around in his wheelchair and waiting in a queue.  He says he hates the process but also feels that he needs to play a role in deciding on the governance of the country.

This past Monday, August 1, Shaun woke up early, as he usually does, to cast his special vote at the Parkhust Primary School in Randburg.  Arriving at the voting station with his helper, Zodwa, Shaun asked one of the IEC officials to make a cross on his behalf but without giving any reason the official refused.

“No IEC representative could make a cross for me”, said Shaun.  Zodwa came to his rescue, making the mark on his behalf.  Shaun says it was the first time he had had someone from IEC decline to assist him which made him feel as if the voting process is not accommodating of people with disabilities.

His says he is not happy with various issues facing the country like the corruption, lack of jobs and the contracting economy.  Shaun says he wants to be part of driving change in South Africa.   “We need change, the corruption and all these other things are becoming impossible to bear now.  Without our collective votes, that change will never come,” Shaun said.

Shaun was among a record 700 000 registered special voters for this year’s municipal elections.  Those are the people who, by law, applied for special voting because they couldn’t travel to the voting station on Election Day for a variety of reasons including disability or pregnancy. Others registered because they couldn’t be in their respective regions on the day and thus voted on predetermined special voting days, August 1 and 2.