Trio carries the athletics baton

LOSING SPEED: The numbers of Wits Athletics club have dwindled since the start of the year. On the starting line (left to right) are Ndinannyi Maphula and Hope Mgwenya. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Three women are the only members keeping the Wits Athletics club alive.

“We are not where we want to be, but we have a plan,” said newly appointed athletics coach and old Wits athletics champion, Richard Mayer. The coach doesn’t seem phased by the lack of members because, as he put it: “Where there is life, there is hope.”

The club began at the beginning of the year with nine members, but as academic pressures kicked in members started tailing off, according to Mayer.

The members who quit never prioritised athletics, said first-year BA General student Hope Mgwenya. “They just came to lose weight. They don’t have the passion or competitive urge for the sport.”

Mayer, however, is not bothered about people’s motives for joining the club. “Although we do need people to perform and profile Wits, we also need others, who may not be so talented, to commit and build-up the club.”

Ndinannyi Maphula, 3rd year Geology, said: “I am disappointed about the attendance. When people don’t take the sport seriously and with Wits Sport not funding us, it is really demotivating.” When Mayer joined the Wits Athletics club as a student in 1985, the club was thriving and produced champions such as Bruce Fordyce and Mark Plaatjes. “I want to bring back Wits Athletics to the success it was back then,” Mayer said.

Due to the lack of membership and funding the Athletics club will not be representing Wits at the University Sport SA (USSA) championships in Stellenbosch next weekend. Mgwenya believes the club will grow once they start competing and do well. “But now the club is not really active.”

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 17 April 2015

“You fucking whities”

Ivan Sabljak and Danita Botes sitting on the Great Hall steps where they were racially abused by Wits EFF supporters. PHOTO: Anlerie de Wet

Two white Wits University students were allegedly racially abused by supporters of Wits EFF on east campus yesterday afternoon.

Ivan Sabljak and Danita Botes* said they were watching an informal anti-xenophobia protest on the steps of the Great Hall when Wits EFF supporters reacted to their verbal show of support.

“We were showing them support for the cause they were protesting for and then they showed us middle-fingers and shouted at us in an African language I don’t understand. One guy then picked-up a rock and threw it at us,” said second-year Microbiology student, and Serbian national, Sabljak.

“They shouted ‘pink skins’ and ‘you fucking whities’ at us.”

The Wits EFF supporters, all black males dressed in party clothing, apparently told Sabljak and his first-year Nursing student friend, Botes, they were the cause of xenophobia and should go back to where they came from.

Botes and Sabljak have reported the incident to the SRC (Student Representative Council) and campus security.

“After laying a complaint at SRC Secretary General, Senzekahle Mbokazi, we headed to the Campus Control offices, which are in the Great Hall.

When we passed the EFF guys, they shouted “pink skins” and “you fucking whities” at us,” Sabljak added.

South African-born Botes claims to have told the attackers how ironic it was that they were protesting against xenophobia, while they were trying to kick them out of the country.

Wits EFF chairperson, Vuyani Pambo, told Wits Vuvuzela he is unaware of the incident and cannot comment on the allegations. “We do not condone such behaviour as the EFF of Wits. We must respect everyone who shares space at Wits.”

“This is disgusting behaviour, but I don’t think it’s a real representation of the EFF on campus,” said Sabljak, whose family fled a civil war in Serbia to settle in South Africa.

Campus Control head of investigations, Michael Mahada, has confirmed that he has received complaints from the alleged victims but says he is unable to comment until the investigation is concluded.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the individual.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 17 April 2015

Is this the South Africa Mandela fought for?

Over the last two weeks foreign nationals living in South Africa have been stoned in the streets and displaced from their homes. With five deaths and hundreds injured, foreigners are fearing for their lives as the violence continues. These events have been debatably called acts of xenophobia or ‘afrophobia’.


 Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, made a speech in Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal near the end of March in which he complained about crime and the dirty streets of South Africa. The speech was recorded and translated by eNCA. In the translation the king says that immigrants must “take their bags and go.”

Since then some South Africans have incited violence against foreigners with the king’s words in mind. Chanting “the king has spoken” as they run ramped through the streets stoning foreigners.

Some South Africans have blamed foreigners of taking their jobs and opportunities. Humanitarian aid group Gift of the Givers named the high levels of poverty, unemployment and other socio-economic issue to be the cause of the xenophobic attack “but no matter what the grievances, violence is unacceptable.”

On Monday there was a massive mob of about 2 000 people who took to the streets of Durban and looted the shops of foreign nationals while physically assaulting them. In the hype of the event three South Africans were killed along with two foreigners. Among the killed was a 14-year-old boy who was shot during the looting and died in hospital.

Since then the violence has spread across the country but taken a more solid grip in the Gauteng province.


Throughout this week xenophobic attacks took place in Johannesburg CBD, Primrose and hit Benoni the hardest on Thursday afternoon. Shops of foreigners have been set on fire, people have been stoned, threatened and forced out of their homes. An anti-xenophobia march in Durban, where thousands attended, ended in mayhem as the police started firing tear gas and water cannons at the crows.

President Jacob Zuma addressed the country on Wednesday condemning the act where people are attacked and killed. Zuma called the current violent events in the country unacceptable. “We cannot accept that when there are challenges we use violence, particularly to our brothers and sisters from the continent.” He also promised that his government will look into the complaint of illegal and undocumented migrants who take over businesses and perpetrate crime.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation and Ahmed Kathrada Foundation welcomed the efforts by the Zuma government to put a stop to the conflict, but added: “For too long, South Africans in leadership positions have either ignored the crisis or stoked the fires of hatred.”

Authorities of African countries, such as Malawi and Zimbabwe, are appalled by the attacks and are making plans to get their people out of South Africa. Zimbabwean Environment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, took to Twitter saying that the xenophobic attack in South Africa were a shame on Africans and sad. Another Zimbabwean minister also took to social media saying that the attacks are worse than apartheid.

Mozambicans have responded to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa Friday night, by throwing South Africans with rocks and chasing them to the border. A South African truck driver, John Mashiloane, said that when he wanted to return to Mozambique on Saturday morning a mob of about 300 people were waiting just across the border and threw his truck with stones once again. This border post has been barricaded by Mozambicans since Friday night, not allowing anyone through the post.

Although one cannot pin-point one specific thing that has caused this violence in South Africa, it is clear that no matter what the cause, the reaction is making Mandela turn in his grave. The legendary freedom fighter’s work, success and views are being challenged by the South Africans participating in these attacks. If foreigners, especially African foreigners, are not accepted in South Africa, is it truly a Rainbow Nation?

Published: The News Hub on 20 April 2015

Raiders sing “I smell p*ssy”

SMELLING TROUBLE: Raiders Men’s Residence first years singing the lyrics “I smell p*ssy” led by senior residents at the Varsity Shield finals Monday night. PHOTO: Anlerie de Wet

Varsity Shield finals on Monday night.

The Gender Equity Office (GEO) has received complaints from a staff member about this song being sung at a rugby match last month.

“Unfortunately individuals couldn’t be identified,” said the director of the GEO, Jackie Dugard.

Manager of the residence, Doreen Musemwa, said she does not know the song but she is aware that there is a problem of misogyny in the residence. “We are addressing issues such as this with the GEO, because we don’t want the group to spread the wrong message.”

“The wrong doers will face the wrath of the university”

According to Raiders Men’s Residence chairperson, Rodney Motjamela, the House Committee is not in a position to comment on the issue yet. Although Motjamela has confirmed he is aware that the first years know and sing this song, he wasn’t aware that they sang it Monday night.

“The case is being pursued by the GEO and the wrong doers will face the wrath of the university,” said Wits transformation manager of diversity, ethics and social justice, Pura Mgolombane.

Early last month Raiders Men’s Residence posted a series of sexually discriminating tweets, where, among other things, the screams of women having sex with residents were compared to that of a “dying bear”.

On 10 March the House Committee apologised in an official statement on Twitter for the sexist tweets saying: “We view sexism and misogyny as deplorable in all senses of the word, and going forward we will not be shy in conveying these beliefs.”

The GEO, Wits Transformation and Student Affairs met yesterday to discuss systemic interventions to be implemented in the residences early second semester, according to Mgolombane.

“The residences’ views must be in line with the university’s value system and since that is not the case we need to find collective solutions to solve this problem,” said Wits transformation manager of diversity, ethics and social justice, Pura Mgolombane. He believes that the fundamental problem lies in residence traditions, which influences the first years, “but the boys have agency”.

“We need to bring about awareness of these issues within residences and change the image these students have of women, but it starts with the first years,” said Musemwa.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 10 April 2015

From lust to love: sex and emotional attachment

Book-Club-338x350With sayings like “women are from Venus and men are from Mars”, it is no secret that the male and female sexes are different in many ways. This difference is generally attributed to the fact that different hormones found in each sex affect the way both sexes think and feel. In spite of this, when it comes to having sex, are we really not from the same planet?

According to Emma Gray, a journalist for the Huffington Post, when it comes to the dating world, “Wisdom tells us that men and women have totally different feelings about sex. Women automatically get emotionally attached and men quickly flee to the next social partner.”

However, a study done last year disproved this myth. Psychologist Jim Pfaus and his research team from Concordia University in Canada wanted to discover where feelings of lust and love originate in the brain. By scanning men and women’s brains with fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imagining) machines, these two emotions would light up in the part of the brain they originate from – the striatum (the part of the brain that gets messages about emotions and memories from the cerebral cortex). Although these are two separate emotions, they were found to come from the same area in the brain.

However, more specifically, lust originates from the ventral striatum of the brain, which is associated with the emotion and motivation area of the brain, whereas love comes from the dorsal striatum, which is associated with decision-making. Pfaus says that although love and sex are different, his research team discovered that there is an “overlap between sexual desire and emotional love in the brain’s insular cortex”. This explains why even though someone might have the intention to have meaningless sex, that lust may change into love after sex.

Ian Kerner, a sex therapist and relationship counsellor, argues that even though men and women are free to have casual sex, women almost always form some sort of attachment. Kerner says that with women, “deeper pleasures require some level of emotional attachment”. This is mainly because oxytocin, “the cuddle hormone”, is released during the female orgasm. Dr Lauren Berman, a sex and relationship educator and therapist, says that “oxytocin can inspire feelings of closeness, affection, and intimacy”. Berman goes on to say that “This is why women might ‘catch feelings’ after a one-night stand or a so-called casual hook-up.”

When Perdeby spoke to Tuks student Tamara*, she agreed with Kerner that women feel an attachment after sex, saying, “As soon as sex is over and a guy doesn’t want you anymore, then you get emotional. So it’s more of an emotional attachment to the feeling of being wanted and being close to someone than the actual feeling of being attached to men.”

Berman further mentions that even though men also release oxytocin during orgasm, their high levels of testosterone combat the effect of “lovey-dovey” feelings, making casual one-night stands less meaningful to them. Men’s dopamine (the “pleasure reward” hormone released during orgasm) levels decrease after orgasm is achieved, resulting in men having negative withdrawal symptoms after sex. This makes men feel irritated along with the need to flee from their sexual partners.

Moustapha Diop, a second-year BPolSci student, tells Perdeby that he has never had an emotional connection with a girl after casual sex. “I sometimes feel guilty because the girl makes it obvious that she has feelings for me and my emotions aren’t [the same],” he says. He goes on to say that most men are not as hollow-hearted as they seem, but when it comes to sex, it is only considered as “making love” if the man really likes the woman before they have sex.


Erick Leech, a blogger for, argues that men who have feelings for a woman need confirmation that their relationship means as much to their partner as it does to them. This confirmation is usually made through sex. “It reminds [men] that [women] are still attracted to [them],” says Leech. Only after this confirmation can some men’s sexual desire be replaced by love and a sense of attachment.

Kerner says that it is possible for women to have meaningless sex like men. He believes that the real question is whether they should or not? Although this answer is up to each individual, there are things for both parties to consider. Kerner feels that “We can treat sex lightly, but sex doesn’t always treat us lightly back in return.” He further explains that casual sex can make a person feel depressed after climax has been reached because people, though mostly women, can sometimes feel “post-orgasm regret” along with anger and sadness if there was a feeling of hollowness and a lack of passion during sex.

It seems that the orgasm, which is the main goal of sex, may have a negative side effect after all. Although casual sex may not affect you directly, the other person could have unwillingly broken the core rule of engagement – no emotional attachment. It appears that men and women can view casual sex in the same way, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will come out on the other side seeing eye to eye.

Published: Perdeby on 2 May 2013

Condom as a contraceptive: why you should reconsider

PHOTO: Oan de Waal

When it comes to condoms, it’s a spiel most of us are all too familiar with. Our parents, teachers and the media have preached to us about how important it is to use them to avoid contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and/or falling pregnant. The question is: how would you react if you knew that condoms had an additional health benefit?

There are people who decide against using condoms for personal reasons and that choice is their right. It is understandable why some avoid them when statistics such as those by report that condoms have a 15% failure rate. However, according to the same website, the condom is still being used by 85% of sexually active couples to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STIs.

It has been found that condoms keep women healthy. A recent study by the Beijing Friendship Hospital in China set out to determine the connection between non-hormonal contraception methods, such as using a condom or the rhythm method (when couples abstain from sex when pregnancy is most likely to happen based on the woman’s menstrual cycle), and hormonal contraception methods such as the pill and the intrauterine device (IUD) on women’s vaginal reproductive health. This study was conducted in China because of the country’s high percentage of women using contraceptives due to the one-child policy that was adopted by the country in 1979. In the study, there were 164 married and/or sexually active women between the ages of 18 and 45. Of the 164, 72 women used condoms, 57 used IUDs and the remaining 35 used the rhythm method. After dividing the participants into those three categories of contraceptive use, researchers waited until the women were on the 21st or 22nd day of their menstrual cycle and then collected vaginal swabs for testing.

Although a healthy vagina contains a mix of “good” and “bad” bacteria, this study focused on the good bacteria. The bacterium that researchers were mainly focused on was Lactobacillus, described by Rachel Reilly from as “bacteria that dominates the natural flora of the vagina for many women”.

Lactobacillus in the vagina makes the vaginal environment slightly acidic and prevents harmful bacteria from growing in the vagina. The microbes in the good bacteria produce hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid which create what researchers call an “acidic buffer system” that works as a barrier against harmful bacteria that could cause infections. By blocking out harmful bacteria, the vagina can maintain an average pH acidity level of 4.5. The Lactobacillus bacterium is said to help prevent the outburst of bacterial vaginosis, which occurs when there is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina, resulting in itchiness, abnormal vaginal discharge and a “fishy” odour. According to Megan Gannon, the news editor of, good bacteria, such as Lactobacilli, have even shown to decrease a woman’s chances of contracting HIV.

In the study, researchers found that the level of Lactobacillus was predominantly higher in the women who used condoms as a form of contraceptive as opposed to those who used IUDs and the rhythm method.

Unprotected sexual activity can throw off the pH balance of the vaginal environment since semen has a pH level of 7 to 8, a number which decreases the acidity level in the vagina. Although the condom itself has not shown to provide good bacteria, it does ensure that a woman’s vagina maintains its required natural acidity level to be healthy.

Published: Perdeby 

UJ student vigilantes

“Vimba, Vimba!”

With these cries of help, students wearing pyjamas and armed with knobkieries and mops flood out of residences and into the streets chasing a mugger after hearing someone shout

This phenomenon, where students play the role of vigilante, has apparently developed in and around the UJ residences in Doornfontein over the past seven years. The students take it upon themselves to help one of their own by searching for the suspects and “beat them to bits” if they find them.

Joy Shikwambana and two of her friends were mugged by three men last year. They shouted for help and within five minutes hundreds of students were in the streets.

“It is a wise form of protection. Crime would definitely be higher around reses without it,” said the second year environmental health student at UJ. Shikwanbana said victims can only yell after the criminals start running “because they can hurt you when you scream if they have weapons”.

“When the students hear the call there are hundreds of them running out of the res to go and hit these muggers. But then sometimes they get excited and run in the wrong direction,” said a security guard at UJ Sunvalley Residence, Ntsieni Manezhe.

He said the students get out of hand and grab stones and bricks in the streets to beat the attackers.

“We security guards from Fidelity, Stallion’s and UJ security have to protect these muggers from the mob, because if every one of those hundred students get one hit in they will kill them. It’s not right to take the law into your own hands.”

This vigilante culture has drawn attention because of its violent nature. The purpose of the use of violence is “to send a message to criminals that pain will be inflicted upon them, which tends to keep them away”, said third-year Sports Communication student at UJ, Selby Mogale.

In some of these cases UJ students have chased and beaten the wrong guy, according to Marnitz Oldewage, a third-year Mining Engineering student at UJ.

“I once drove past a crowd and saw students dragging the mugger by his feet down the street while he was full of blood and unconscious,” said Oldewage. He said although it gets violent he is all for this trend because not only does it scare criminals away but “no matter what race, gender or background you have they will always have your back”.

Oldewage said students think the police only drop off the muggers somewhere else after taking them away from the crowd, to get out of the paper work.

The police are unaware of the Vimba culture in Doornfontein, where many UJ residences are situated, according to Gauteng Police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 13 March 2015

SRC secretary general: Education campus ‘segregated’

Students are racially segregated at Wits Education Campus, according to SRC secretary general Sensekahle Mbokazi. Photo: Zimasa Mpemnyama

SRC secretary general Senzekahle Mbokazi, said segregation has created a “negative vibe” on Wits Education Campus.

“White and Indian people are always together at the expensive cafeteria and black people always hang out at the bus stop cafeteria,” said Mbokazi.

Mbokazi said combating segregation was one of the reasons for the Education Week (E-Week) initiative, which took place between the 23rd and 25th of March.

As an education student herself, Mbokazi said she is bothered by the separation of the groups on Education Campus on the basis of race.

“We need more interactive space where we can watch performances and sit together,” she said.

Although visually it appears as if there is segregation on Education Campus, when Wits Vuvuzela asked Education students whether they felt their campus was segregated, few seemed to agree.

“There is no segregation, not in terms of race. It’s not a bad thing if people are more comfortable sitting next to people speaking the same language,” said fourth-year Education student Precious Mofokeng.

First-year Education student Kalvin van Wyk said as a white person from a former Model C school it is very difficult to integrate with racial groups he didn’t know or understand “but I am trying.”

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 27 March 2015


Wits Sport keeping budget confidential

FOOTBALL THRIVING: Lethu Nhlumayo doing drills with Wits U/19 men’s football team on Tuesday afternoon.

Wits Sport are keeping their new strategic budget allocations a secret.

The strategy has been implemented with the start of this year, where Wits Sport has cut-off funding for all but five sport clubs (rugby, football, basketball, hockey and cricket). This has forced other sport and recreational clubs to financially fend for themselves or die out.

The amount of money and its utilisation within these five clubs are “highly confidential”, according to Head of Wits Sport, Adrian Carter.

Carter’s reason for making the budget information privileged is to keep other universities or competitors from finding out “how Wits plans to climb to the top of University Sport.”

“We have needed to come up with a commercial plan to bring in funds on a sustainable basis as, quite frankly, the funds we currently receive are not sufficient for us to compete at any level, never mind Varsity Sport- hence the change in strategy,” said Carter.

Allegedly clubs were told that if they perform better than one of the top five clubs they will get funding back.

“It is a vicious circle. If we don’t get money, then we won’t attract good players and we won’t get recognition,” said third year Medicine student and member of the Wits women’s water polo team, Catherine Bezuidenhout.

Bezuidenhout said they understand that the university can’t cover every club completely, “but we need some sort of assistance.”

Fellow team mate and fourth year Medicine student, Jeanie du Toit, explained that many of her team mates already have student loans and that they can’t afford to pay for kits, transport and accommodation on their own- let alone pay for their coach. She added that given their academic challenges the new budget decree would now demand they use their own time to fund raise; “We are all studying. Now we must give up time not only to train and work hard to bring attention to our sport, but to raise funds too.”

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 13 March 2015

Gaming the institution

GOOD GAME: Wits Game Design students testing one of the three profile games. PHOTO: Provided

Wits Games Design students have created three games to profile and promote the University of the Witwatersrand.

The idea was that of Vice Chancellor, Adam Habib, who personally initiated the project after asking the senior Games Design students to think of out-of-the-box games to promote Wits, early last year.

The purpose of the game is to inform prospective students about Wits with honest student driven views and ideas of Wits, said Geyser.

“The students have gone above and beyond the call of duty to create games that look at Wits in a really cheeky, but fun way,” said Game Design lecturer, Hanli Geyser.

The Vice Chancellor and his team, were very impressed with all three groups’ games and promised to publish all three, where they would have initially chosen and published one.

“When the teams of third-year students were able to create and develop these games with limited resources, experience and knowledge, we were very impressed,” said Wits Marketing Manager, Ferna Clarkson.

The project was included in the students’ course work and were marked accordingly. The initiative will be a recurring project for third-year students, but will not be focussed on Wits like this project, said Geyser.

Although this project is an assignment for the students, which gave them the experience to work for a client and get published, the Vice Chancellor has insisted on giving the students a letter of service and a token of gratitude for their hard work.

The games will be released on the Wits website on May 9, with the hope to release at least one game on mobile platforms later this year.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 7 April 2015