Gymnastics club and Wits Sport tussle

Wits Gymnastics may not be attending the USSA tournament over a demand for a fee of R1500 per gymnast by Wits Sport. Wits Sport has argued the club hasn’t done its part in fundraising and must now step up to the plate.

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HOOLA HOOPING:Senior Wits gymnast Makgotso Tibane showed impressive structure and skills doing her first competition in rhythmic gymnastics in the hoops section early May. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Wits Gymnastics athletes were left disappointed when they learned will not receive funding from Wits Sport to attend the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament this June.

Wits head of sport, Adrian Carter, notified the club’s co-chairperson, Nonkululeko Mdluli earlier this week that the club has not met funding requirements to attend the USSA Gymnastics tournament end of June in Potchefstroom unless each competing member coughed up R1 500. The athletes were only given three days to raise the money.

“We understand that there isn’t a lot of money and that we need to make a contribution, but three days is too short notice for students to pay such a large amount,” said Mdluli.

Carter said the gymnastics club knew since the end of February when they handed in their USSA budget, allegedly late, indicating the direct cost of R2 275 per student, of which each student would contribute R898. “They haven’t paid in their contribution nor did they meet the required fundraising amount,” said Carter.

Mdluli sent an official response on behalf of the club to Carter’s request, stating they have raised R25 656 from registration fees, a welcome braai and yet to be sold T-shirts. According to the response, over a 100 members registration fees brought the club R24 561. However, Carter said it would be unfair to allow the 14 gymnasts who qualified for USSA to use funds intended to benefit the entire club.

The gymnastics club’s USSA budget was R44 400, the club has R54 000 in their reserve account. According to Carter the money budgeted for transport is insufficient and the actual total cost to send 14 gymnasts to USSA would be more than R50 000.00.

“I’m trying to be fair as possible, but I’m not going to give this club R50 000 and leave less than R4 000 in the reserve for next year’s group to struggle,” said Carter.

Mdluli further protested that they were “thrown in the deep end” with Carter’s new financial system and there was no training from Wits Sport on how to approach businesses for sponsorship or how to draft a sponsorship proposal.

But Carter said Wits Gymnastics could have come to him for help at any time.

“Any club could’ve come to me earlier in the year to ask for help with sponsorship issues. Some took the initiative, but the gymnastics club didn’t,” said Carter.

Wits Gymnastics club is now facing cutting the list of members going to USSA or staying home altogether. Carter and the Gymnastics Committee are meeting next week once more to try and find a solution for the club to go to Potchefstroom in just two weeks’ time.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 13 June 2015

 

Romantic hot spots on campus

If you are a romantic or just trying to build your credibility as one, here are some places on Wits East and West Campuses where you can ignite the flame or keep it burning.

Many students look for love and find it on campus. Witsies can grow that love by taking that special person to the romantic spots on campus.

  1. Impress your date by taking her/him to the Olives & Plates on West Campus. The old architecture, fountain and beautiful garden makes this spot perfect for a romantic date.

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  1. The grassy comfort and towering trees on West Campus lawn is the perfect setting to have a picnic or just relax with your Boo Boo.

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  1. Have a smooch on the bridge when the waterfall on West Campus comes to life during summer and spring.

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  1. Feeling passionate? Head to one of the quieter libraries for a little lunch time hanky-panky.

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  1. The fountain in front of the William Cullen Library on East Campus has a romantic tone with an intriguing garden with pink roses. Go sit on the benches and take in the picturesque scene.

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Published: Wits Vuvuzela 20 May 2015

Violence on social media

The prevalence of Social Media has meant that ‘online violence’ has become an issue that needs to be grappled with.  Wits hosted a discussion to find a tactical way of handling and countering this.

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ONLINE VIOLENCE: Wits transformation manager Pura Mgolombane (right) opening the discussion on violence on online spaces and before introducing Nyx Mclean (middle) and Thoko-Jean Chilenga (left) as two of the speakers.

Wits Transformation and Employment Equity Office hosted a discussion focusing on online spaces as platforms for ongoing violence yesterday afternoon.

It was necessary for a discussion about violence on social media because it is becoming a common problem at Wits, according to transformation manager Pura Mgolombane.

“Wits University is not sure how to deal with these kinds of situations.”

The discussion panel included Professor Tommaso Milani, Thoko-Jean Chilenga representing #TransformWits and Nyx McLean a co-editor of HOLAA.

The line between online violence and freedom of expression was discussed as Milani argued that “absolute freedom of speech doesn’t exist as there are laws that prevent it.”

Mgolombane explained that Wits encourages the Bill of Rights and its limitations on freedom of speech. “We cannot allow people of Wits to insult or discriminate, but we can do more to clarify the lines between free speech and violence,” said Mgolombane.

“People are scared of online spaces as it can fall over to private physical space,” said Chilenga.

According to Chilenga, who met with the Black Students Movement (BSM) from Rhodes University during the #RhodesMustFall protests earlier this year, when BSM posted on social media they received threats. “People should be held accountable for things they say and do online as much as you would want them to be held accountable in a physical space,” said Chilenga.

McLean argued that social media is not just a platform for resistance, but it is also for people looking for “affirmation of existence.”

“People do serious emotional psychological harm if someone attacks someone who can only use pages [social media] for interaction and support,” said Mclean. She continued explaining that people keep looking over their shoulder when receiving a threat as there is no way of knowing whether or not to take it seriously.

Mgolombane believes the problem won’t be necessarily solved by rules, but value systems that people ascribe to such as students and staff who take up the values of Wits when they join the university.

Watch full video recording of the violence on online spaces.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 20 May 2015

Wits takes sixth in varsity hockey

In the play-offs yesterday, Wits hockey lost to Pukke leaving themselves and the small audience disappointed. But the team was chuffed to take sixth place in the varsity hockey tournament.

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FIELD GOAL: Wits hockey’s bench watch the game in suspense as their teammates attempt to fend-off Pukke’s centre forward. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Wits hockey team finished the varsity hockey tournament on a low yesterday when they lost round eight’s play-offs against Potchefstroom University (Pukke) 0-2 on the Wits astro turf.

The match started off badly for Wits after Pukke’s number 12, Stephanie Baxter scored a field goal within the first two minutes of the game.

The first three quarters of the game was intense and quick with a back and forth banter after Pukke’s first goal. But after Pukke scored their second goal in the beginning of the last quarter, Wits hopes seemed to have crumbled as their play started to slow down.

“We are a bit disappointed after this game, but we are happy with achieving sixth in the tournament, which was our goal,” said Wits’ captain Wendy Panaino.

Pukke went into the game with a great defensive tactics and put pressure on Wits’ weakness to convert opportunities. Wits’ centre forward struggled to keep the ball and execute goals.

Pukke hockey coach, Elun Hack believes his team’s defence was strong “but the offence let us down because they didn’t stay composed inside the 23.”

According to Wits hockey coach, Pietie Coetzee, her team’s energy was low and they didn’t accomplish what they planned for the game, but they exceeded everyone’s expectations in the tournament.

“Our weakness lies in that we are a young, inexperienced team, although there is unity and a fighting spirit amongst the girls,” said Coetzee.

Wits faced Pukke in round five last Friday and walked away with a 3-2 win. The tables turned yesterday and Pukke grabbed fifth place in the tournament.

Both teams saw the Varsity Hockey tournament as preparation for the University Sport South Africa National Institutional Hockey Championship end of June, which will be hosted in Pietermaritzburg by the University of KwaZulu Natal.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 12 May 2015

Clever boys end season with a win at home

Bidvest Wits come away with their second consecutive third place in the Absa Premiership. Although Wits let their guard down in the last game of the season, they came away with a win at home.

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HUMBLE WITS:Bidvest Wits squad posing for a photo with fans on the field after the game. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Clever Boys slipped one goal past the Platinum Stars earlier today to finish third, one above Orlando Pirates, on the Absa Premiership table.

After taking to the field at the Bidvest stadium, the teams joined the crowd in a moment of silence for the victims of xenophobia.

The first half was very slow paced with Bidvest Wits holding the majority of the ball possession. The home team received many opportunities at goal but struggled to push it through.

After a number of attempts at goal,  Vincent Pule, in the number twelve jersey, sliced the ball past five Platinum Stars players to put Wits on the score board in the 30th minute.

In the last twenty minutes of the game play slowed as both teams seemed to have lost focus.

The ref gave an extra four minutes for injury time in which Hunt instructed his team to keep the ball and let the time run out. As time ran out Wits kicked the ball out of play and the final whistle blew.

“I’m happy we managed to get a point, but we just couldn’t convert chances,” said Bidvest Wits captain, Buhle Makwanazi.
“Platinum Stars have good individual players and are not an easy team to face … although we played well, we need to work on conversions,” said Makhwanazi.

Wits’ goal for the 2014/2015 premiership was to surpass last year’s third place season finish, according to coach Gavin Hunt. “We wanted to do better this year, but third is still fantastic,” Hunt said.

Compared to last season’s statistics, Bidvest Wits are down by three points and had one less win. Kaizer Chiefs won the premiership with Mamelodi Sundowns finishing in second.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 9 May 2015

Wits gymnasts aiming for gold

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Senior Wits gymnast Makgotso Tibane showed impressive structure and skills doing her first competition in rhythmic gymnastics in the hoops section.

The Wits Gymnastics club showed elegance and poise at the Gold Reef Rhythmic Gymnastics competition last Thursday afternoon on West Campus, Wits University.

Six of the club’s gymnasts participated in the competition in the balls and hoops sections. Even though the majority of the club are brand new to gymnastics, head coach of the Gold Reed Rhythmic club, Maureen van Rooyen believes “they will win USSA with a smile”.

“They are all starting out in rhythmic gymnastics and what they do, they do extremely well,” said Wits gymnastics coach Louise Brown.

There will be another competition in the coming weeks before the club sends its members to the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament taking place in Potchefstroom at the end of June.

Brown explains that these competitions before USSA will give the girls a better opportunity to polish their work and get a feel for what gymnastics competitions are really like.

“We have already practiced a lot and we have the best coaches, so I feel 70% confident that I will win USSA,” said mathematics honours student Vhuhwavho Matibe, who took first place for the balls section with an impressive 12.4 score.

Second-year LLB student and senior in the club, Makgotso Tibane, is positive that the club will do well at USSA, but hopes that after the tournament Wits Sport will take the club seriously.

“We have good abilities and everyone is committed. It would be nice to have some back-up from Wits Sport, because when we get medals, they take the credit,” said first-year BA General student Lihle Petros.

Although funding is a big problem for the club, Brown is more focused on taking on the challenges that the gymnasts are facing within the sport itself.

“Flexibility is the most challenging aspect for those starting a sport like this relatively late in life, but the girls are committed and enthusiastic,” said Brown.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 8 May 2015

LPL widening Wits’ bounderies

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NO BALLS: The Wits performance cricket squad watching their team mates bat from the Walter Milton oval’s balcony during the first innings of Tuesday night’s game against Lenasia Premier League All Stars.

The LPL All Stars hit Wits’ high performance cricket squad for six on Tuesday night at the Walter Milton oval with three overs to spare.

The Varsity Cricket preparatory tournament has lined-up Wits to play a five match series against the Lenasia Premier League (LPL) All Stars.

Their first match on Tuesday night gave us a taste of some of the skills and action we can expect from the rest of the series.

Wits made 146 for the loss of five wickets in their 20 overs. LPL chased down the score in just 17.4 overs with 7 wickets remaining.

LPL’s opening batsman, 22-year-old Yassar Cook, was batsman of the game with an undefeated 71 off just 51 balls. Cook’s fellow Gauteng squad teammate Nono Pongolo (25) was Wits’ top scorer and captain, who scored an unbeaten 43 runs off just 33 balls.

“The main focus for us with this tournament is to make sure that our youngsters who were chosen from the LPL tournament learn something and become better cricketers”, said LPL coach, Juan Le-Maitre.

To the Wits squad coach, Neil Levenson, a win was important, “but it’s more about the development of the squad and pushing the players a bit more.”

After playing the same team a few times they start to pick-up your tactics, which is the challenge of this tournament, according to Coach Le-Maitre.

“The Wits team has a good young side and we shouldn’t underestimate them”, said LPL captain, Juanré Potgieter. LPL’s weakness lies in that they can take the Wits squad for granted, because they have a better team with more provincial players, according to Potgieter.

Before the game Pongolo told his squad to learn as much as they can from the more experienced LPL team and enjoy the ride. “This is such a big occasion and as much as we want to win the tournament, our sole focus is to grow as a team.”

Despite the loss, the Wits squad keeps a professional mentality. “We’ve been working on T20 skills after the season break. We studied the opposing team’s player profiles and know the players well,” said Levenson.

With four games left to play in the tournament the final wicket hasn’t fallen yet and Wits still stands a chance at lifting the trophy.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 24 April 2015

Facing the Raptors

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EMPTY BASKETS: Wits Buck Ladies getting advise and a pep-talk from their coach Manyani Maseko during half-time with a score of 28-6 for Soweto Raptors. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Soweto Raptors shattered the Wits Buck Ladies basketball team on Tuesday night at Hall 29 with an 11-64 win.

Wits’ second division girls’ team walked on to the court to open the 11th Annual Ashraf Lodewyk Basketball Tournament and took on the provincial and national players that make up the Soweto Raptors.

The Buck Ladies stuck to a run-of-the-mill ‘man-on-man’ defence, which the experienced Raptors took advantage of by stealing a lot of turn-overs. Although the Buck Ladies carried less experience and skills in their team, they appeared to be fitter than the opposition.

“For a team filled with first-time players and first-years, who never played together before, I am very impressed,” said Wits Buck Ladies coach, Manyani Maseko.

The Raptors played a good zone defence set and showed commendable skills, but the consistency in their game seemed to be lacking.

“They applied pressure and up-tempo in spirit, but as substitutions went on the performance was not as intense,” said Raptors coach, Nthato Selebi.

The Raptors’ girls went into the game knowing they would win, but the score wasn’t the most important factor, according to their captain Charmaine Amada. “The score doesn’t matter. Without effort the game is pointless.”

The Buck Ladies were thrown into the deep end with having to play the Raptors for their first game, but took on this massive challenge with confidence- after the nerves settled.

Wits Buck Ladies captain, Nyasha Chakanetsa, said she wasn’t phased by the major score difference. “The tournament for us is to bond and learn to play as a team. My girls did brilliantly and fought till the end.”

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 24 April 2015

Trio carries the athletics baton

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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”

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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