Witsies score national spots for badminton

Witsie national badminton player, Matthew Mitchell training at the Old Mutual Building on East Campus.

TWO Wits Badminton players made it into the USSA national squad after impressing selectors throughout the year.

Matthew Mitchell, 2nd BSC Quantity Surveying, and Tashlin Hamid, 3rd year Bcom Marketing, have both helped build-up the club for the past three years and will now be representing South Africa at the University National Team World Championships in Russia next year.

Hamid first picked-up the racket in the garden at the age of 11. He will be putting on the national jersey for the third time.

Due to a knee injury Hamid was unable to participate in the USSA tournament held at the beginning of July, but as one of the highest ranked players in the country the selectors gave him a spot.

“I was very relieved, I thought the injury would exclude me from making the squad.”

It was a lot of hard work and third time the charm for Mitchell who had failed to get on the squad in the previous two years.

“Tashlin making the squad in our first year drove me to work harder, because after playing together a lot I knew I was just as good,” said Mitchell.

After making sure he met the criteria, Mitchell wasn’t sure he would make the squad this time around. “I forgot to stand up when they called my name, I was a little bit shocked.”

The two athletes said they owe much of their success to their junior coach Drikus Mentz, who pushed them into junior tournaments.

Both have a tireless love for the sport and hope to continue playing professionally.

Published: Wits Vuvuzela on 24 July 2015.

OPINION: Words you can never unhear

images (2)I can’t understand why. Why the fuck did this have to happen to me?

Haven’t I asked God every night to protect my family from anything and anyone that can harm them physically or emotionally? Haven’t I repeated that prayer over and over again throughout my life? Haven’t I told God time and time again that nothing else matters?

Was He even listening? Is He listening now as I ask Him to dampen my dad’s pain and return him to good health?

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

The phone was on loud speaker that besodded Monday night. My mom was talking about the tests that the doctor ran. Then she said it.

“It’s cancer.”

My dad has cancer.

MY dad.

Not the dad of a friend or the dad of a stranger.

MY dad.

You can never again unhear those heart numbing words. You can never again see the world as you use to.

People keep telling me to stay positive. But How?

How do people stay positive? How do they blindly believe against all reality that their loved one will beat cancer?

People keep telling me to pray. Why?

What is the use in praying to God to help him when He has already made up his mind? If His plan is to take him from me now then that’s what He is going to do.

I can only hope He doesn’t.

He’s so young. Just 47-years-old. He can’t even walk anymore.

The man who protected his little girl from harm, but made sure she knew how to jack up a car and change the tire if she needed to.

The man who had a cigar only on occasion to celebrate the success of his daughter.

The man who raised me. The man who always loved me no matter how mean and disrespectful I was at times.

But why am I talking about him as if he is already dead?

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I got a job. I heard just a couple of hours before my mother dropped the big ‘C’ bomb. It’s been a week and I haven’t even told him yet. He will light up another cigar. If mom tells him he is not allowed to, all hell will break lose. Although, it feels like it already has.

My brother and I went home to see him last weekend. We built him handles to help him stand up from the bed and toilet. The cancer is in the hip you see. His muscles there don’t work properly anymore. He soiled himself twice on Saturday.

The doctor confirmed its in the bone marrow and there is a possibility it has spread. My mom has been pleading with the medical aid for days to allow him to undergo more tests to see if the life sucking element has spread.

They said it will take time for them to help him. But we don’t know how much time he has to give.

I am barely holding on to my sanity. I am barely holding on to my faith.

I can’t imagine how my mother feels. While ill be losing a father, she’ll be losing her husband. Her best friend.

How do people deal with this shit?

How can I deal with this shit?

I don’t know. I just don’t know anymore.

Pitched & Unpublished: 1 October 2015.

The craft of survival in South Africa

28-year-old Luckias Danford shows off his art made out of recycled materials on Saturday, hoping to make a couple of sales from the street corner they occupy in Groenkloof, Pretoria to buy food for him and his six brothers. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

Occupying the corner of Florence Ribeiro Avenue and Middel Street, Pretoria are a group of seven Zambian brothers. They have been coming to this corner every day for the last five years. Not to beg or ‘steal’ jobs, but to run a recycling arts and crafts business.

The eldest brother, Jack Danford said he started the business in Johannesburg 15 years ago, but found Pretoria to be a better market with less competition.

“There are more tourists here in South Africa that appreciate our art and won’t find it in their home country, where in Zambia there are many who make a living from the same business.”

As the years went by he got his brothers into the country one-by-one and taught them the skills of his crafting as it became more difficult for him to be the only bread winner in the family.

Selling their art pieces is their only form of income. If they don’t work every day they don’t eat and neither does their family back home.

The Danford brothers started using beads with their art in 2007 and it is the only element of their work that they have to buy. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The youngest brother, Luckias Danford started working for the family business since he was 11. “I always admired my older brothers while making the crafts. I wanted to be like them and make beautiful things out of other people’s rubbish.”

The Danford brothers started by making wire cars. Slowly they became more creative and skilled by making vintage wire cars with tin cans used to give it colour. Now they make flowers, animals and massive wire art pieces in any shape and form their customers’ desire.

Although businesses in the suburban Groenkloof area know the family and tend to help them with storing their crafts, people from outside the area tend to give them a hard time.

“They don’t trust us. They think we will steal their money and they are rude to us,” said Jack.

But yet all the brothers are humble and share a passion for their work.

“Yes, we have to do this to survive, but I want to do it. It’s something I do from the heart,” said Luckias.

Pitched & Unpublished: 4 October 2015.

The Boks are back!

The Boks celebrate after their Brian Habana scored the team’s third try against Scotland on Saturday in their third 2015 Rugby World Cup pool match. Photo: Getty Images

The Springboks displayed the kind of hard hitting rugby they are famous for yesterday against Scotland in their third pool match of the RWC.

After an embarrassing 32-34 defeat against Japan in their first pool match, South Africa’s hopes for the Boks sank to an unprecedented low.  Two weeks later coach Heyneke Meyer managed to select the perfect starting XV to trump previous pool leader, Scotland, 34-16.

With Fourie du Preez at the helm for the first time, the green and gold was distinctively different from the team that ran up against Japan.

With previous captain Jean de Villiers out of the picture game changer Damian de Allende took up the inside center position, partnering up with Jesse Kriel on the outside, which made a hell of a difference to the backs.

The presence of Lood de Jager at lock had a massive impact on the game. The 22-year-old is a great offensive defender and was vital at cleaning out the rucks with Eben Etzebeth.

The first try came 11 minutes into the game where a massive team effort by Schalk Burger and the two Du Plessis brothers managed to shove down the ball right next to the left side of the posts.

Pollard’s boot proved to be worthy of the jersey as he shot the ball between the posts several times to accumulate 19 points for the team. Not to mention the beautiful dropped goal he booted in the 51st minute.

Just before half time a Springbok line-out on the Scottish 10 metre line turned into a rolling maul, from which captain Du Preez make a break and shot a well-timed pass to thunderbolt JP Pieterson, who pushed the ball over the chalk line.

In the second half Scotland came back after 24-year-old fly-half Duncan Weir intercepted a long flat pass from the Boks and loaded off to Tommy Seymour to score.

In the last 10 minutes Brian Habana finally got his gap to bring the final score to 34-16 for the Boks.

Although the Boks had a solid game their weaknesses lie in their discipline. They gave away four penalties, which will not be tolerated by stronger teams such as Australia and New Zealand.

The Boks currently hold the top position on the Pool B log with one last game against USA left (Wednesday 7 October, 16:45 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park).

After a bumpy start the Boks are back in business and still stand a chance to take Webb Ellis home again.

Pitched & Unpublished: 3 October 2015.

Emerging market meltdown: whose fault is it anyway?


imagesStates with emerging markets are running around desperately to keep their economies from becoming the next Greece.

Economies by the likes of Brazil and Russia have been decreasing throughout the year with many African states, such as Angola and the Republic of Congo, experiencing a slow pace in economic growth.

These are among many countries who have seen impressive growth over the last decade, with emerging markets having contributed to a 75% rise in world nominal GDP in terms of the US dollar.

But what caused these markets’ numbers to slump?

Some economists blame the political conditions of these states, but most are pointing fingers at the godfather of emerging markets, China.

Thanks to China’s miracle growth syrim, rapid industrialisation, their GDP spiked upward with 6.2 percentage points from 2000-2007. China’s growing economy gave the ability to help develop other countries in Asia and Africa, having them take a bite from everyone’s pie.  The big ‘C’ has been responsible for more than 25% of international growth in the last number of years.

But when the Chinese stock market crashed mid-June this year, emerging countries connected to China through trade also experienced stock losses and crippling capital outflows.

For the past 18 months China’s economy slowed to a dragging pace as wage increase demands were met, causing oil and industrial metal prices to fall. In an attempt to turn the tides, Beijing started to devalue the Yuan, which may have worsened matters.

States in Africa and Asia who are dependent on China’s export demands were hit the hardest with the crisis.

images (1)
The meltdown didn’t just come out of the blue.

Although it’s not all entirely China’s fault.

The International Monetary Fund started calculating the weakening in growth of emerging economies since 2011.

Emerging economies weathered the 2008 storm with the help of one another, but as developed nations started bouncing back from the crisis emerging markets increased their imports from EU nations and the US. This led to the weakening of import demands from their fellow emerging markets.

Another factor that contributed to the slowing down of growth in emerging economies are less accommodating fiscal policies that these economies demand. Until these states remove their policy barriers, these modest growth rates will continue for some time to come.

China may have been the last wind to push the developing economies into a meltdown, but they were definitely not the sole cause.

Pitched & Unpublished: 1 October 2015