Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Year of the Vuvuzela, Phillip & A Busy Political Zoo

Tshepo Tshabalala

The snnual university protest march at the beginning
of the year scared away a few first year students
 as it turned violent with police and extra security personnesl
being called to assist .

It was a year of great achievements, all sorts of animals prowling the political scene, attempts to muzzle the media, striking public servants and Phillip. Nobody has met Phillip but the word on the street says he is on his way to Brazil after his success in South Africa. Oh, and so came 2010 to end after the final whistle of the FIFA world cup saw Spain winning the tournament.

 At the Tshwane University of Technology it was an even more eventful year with an expected student strike right at the beginning of the year. Journalism students were not making it easy in the Soshanguve campus as many of them came with their Model C demands. It was clear that some were scared and fearful and the disruptions saw the journalism department lose at least two students but the rest of them eventually became accustomed to TUT’s ‘traditions’. Those who left were soon to find out that protest marches happen at almost all major universities in the country and the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Celebrating An African Christmas

Surfing in Durban two days before Christmas.
 Christmas is a time of year when many would listen to Boney M in the past and learn every Christmas Carol there is because is just seemed normal. As I grow up I realise that certain things we did as kids matter less and our parents don’t encourage Boney M sing alongs anymore.
I have been reading people’s facebook status updates and have realised that many have been drinking since the beginning of the festive season. Some say they will be in Durban and will be mixing their favourite alcoholic drinks with sea water.
I just wonder whether the true meaning of Christmas still exists in young people who are in their twenties. I wonder whether they ever spare a moment for “Mary’s Boy Child” or whether they have given all that up.
Then again maybe this is what the festive season should be like in a country like ours with people who are from many different religions. The Shembe, Muslims, Hindu and Rastafarians don’t believe in Christ the way Christians do so the fuss about Christmas is really unfair to them. Their holy days are also not as valued as Christmas holy days.
Christmas images we grew up seeing as children are also not the true reflection of the African continent. We never get snow on Christmas here. In fact temperatures are likely to be above 30 degrees Celsius with unbearable humidity to accompany it. The rain might come in the afternoon but it will hardly take the heat away.
Everyone does get in a celebratory mood, it’s just not the same celebratory mood that the Americans have fed us through their multi-million dollar film industry. So I say let’s ignore those messages about strange foreign trees and weather temperatures we are not used to and define our own Christmas as Africans - the one of church, the sun and the beach.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cold Showers, Inadequate Internet Access & Poor Library Facilties Empower People

Eric Mkhunjulwa

TUT empowers in the lecture hall
But residence shower facilities are
not the best.
My first year at the Tshwane University of Technology has ended and I believe that this university really does empower people as it says it does. I have learnt that my department, the journalism department, is one of the best in the country and the United Nations has named it one of the four journalism schools with potential for excellence. The other potential centres of excellence are Rhodes, Stellenbosch and the Walter Sisulu University.

Some people choose to study at TUT because of the motto, “We empower people!” On the whole the university does live up to these words, but there are places that lack in a big way.

As a university they focus strategically on developing the human resources of South Africa to address the country’s labour market needs. They remain in touch with the needs of its immediate environment and the surrounding community. This is through the university’s formal and informal community engagements namely work-integrated learning and partnerships with numerous community-outreach activities respectively.

Honestly speaking (or writing, if you wish), this institution gives many opportunities of empowerment. No matter how much of a “houtkop” or “numb skull” you were told (or reminded) you were back in high school, this place will push you to get up and make things happen for yourself or watch as things happen for others.

If you are (or were) doing the latter, it means you failed to hear professor Errol Tyobeka’s advice when he said “Those who join us for the first time - my advice for you is to immerse yourself in your studies and in student life in general, soon you will find your place in the TUT family,” and surely you have to admit you have a problem.

In published brochures, posters and advertisements and in each and every faculty prospectus you see these beautiful pictures and clips of this multicultural institution, a perfect place!

Although some may argue with me, I am of the opinion that the university failed us as its students. Despite waking up in the morning to have a cold shower before going to a lecture, the library facility in the Soshanguve North campus is small and less functional than the more superior Pretoria West campus. There are limited books to use as references in assignments. You may find that the books you are looking for are at a different campus which is kilometres away from Soshanguve.

The internet centre facilities are not enough to accommodate every student registered with the institution and the internet is not always available.

But still, the university still strives to achieve its quest in EMPOWERING PEOPLE and ITS STUDENTS. Again, it’s still producing graduates who are equipped with necessary skills needed in the labour market.
Whether positive or negative, circumstances empower people to do something good with their lives. It is unfortunate though that as students we expect people to do things for us and we tend to forget that it is us who should seize every opportunity. I am expecting a student strike at the beginning of 2011 and I believe it should be about poor library facilities.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Company Leaves Durban Employees Jobless

Portia Mvubu

As we all prepare for a great festive season and as we fill shops to do our Christmas shopping, there are people who will not be so lucky.

Some of these people are workers of a company called bizWORKS. This weekt hey were told tha the Durban plant and call centre are being shut with much of the work being moved to England and Johannesburg. Employees of this company say they were not given notice or shown any signs that closure would be imminent.

Junior employee, Zwelethemba Ngcobo, says he feels they were unfairly dismissed.

“You should have seen the people crying on the streets, it was heartbreaking to come to work and be told you no longer have a job,” says Ngcobo.

Over a hundred people of his colleagues are in the same situation. Their main grievance is that they were only told on Wednesday when they showed up for work.

Staff is threatening to take the matter to the department of labour and company management has agreed to meet with them to discuss ways of solving the problem.

BizWorks is abusiness outsourcing company with an IT call centre in Durban. It also has a non-profit organisation that provides business training and loans to entrepreneurs in need of capital, but it is not clear whether that will still be happening.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Seemingly Great Relationships Might Not Be So Perfect Under a Microscope

I have a friend who is loud, confident and is always the life of any party. She always appears self-assured with no sign of anything that distracts her from her goals. From time to time she would do stupid things like all young people, but she always appears to be a strong woman.

There was a time when she had this certain boyfriend who always seemed like he was in her shadow, but was always supportive of her in everything she did. He was the quiet type who would hold her hand whenever she needed comfort and would offer his shoulders whenever she cried. At parties they would often irritate everyone as they would be the lovey dovey couple that plays with each other and kiss from time to time. They would break up, but we always knew that a passionate make up session would follow.

When they would have their seemingly minor fights she would complain of how she found him a modelling agency and now he is acting like he did it himself. There was even a time she said she suspected him of cheating with her friend, but soon got over that and they made up again.

I recently learnt that the seemingly perfect relationship was worse than most relationships. I heard that she appeared on a magazine recently talking about an abusive relationship she was in. The way she described the man it became obvious that it was her ex-boyfriend who was the sweetest and nicest person you could ever meet.
She spoke of verbal fights that would often turn violent. I remember that there were times when she would walk around with a scarf around her even on hot days but I always thought it was a fashion statement. There was even a time when his car was involved in an accident but now it turns out that he crashed it on the wall of her apartment during one of those heated arguments.

When asked about her reasons for staying she responded by saying she always thought he would change and convinced herself that it wasn’t as bad as it appeared to be.

This makes me wonder how many of our friends go through similar experiences. Girls seem to endure bad, abusive relationships because of love, fear and the hope that one day he would change. Most girls want to be in relationships so much that they would endure even the toughest pain. A relationship seems to put a woman in a certain social standing.

Sometimes I think that as people we do not look hard enough for signs of abuse and we think it’s only couples who scream at each other in public that get involved in physical fights. What this experience has shown me is that even the closest and seemingly perfect couples go through such pain, anger and hurt. Maybe it’s the seemingly perfect relationships that we need to view with a microscope.

It’s great that my friend left the abuser in the past and is now talking about her story so she can finally heal.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't Lose Sight Of Your Dreams During This Exam Period

Takalani Sioga

The most exciting thing about our future is that we can shape it. My advice to all who are sitting for exams is that they begin to assume responsibility for their future. This time of the year is tough for many as there are many temptations to party and put books aside but in order to succeed they must push as passing means a future that results in food on the table.

As we have started our final exams, we should always remember that success will not lower its standard to us, we should increase our standard to success. A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him. Many South Africans come from poor families and being at university is a struggle for some as people at home are worried about bread and butter issues but that should not deter anyone during these tough times of writing examinations.

It’s only the disciplined that will have a great future and get out of that poverty. A day one wastes is one they can never make up. He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand, walk, run, and climb. A part of standing and walking is for us to put our head down and study so we can eventually pass our exams and hopefully make a lot of money in future.

I believe that everyone who is at university today should remember how they eventually arrived there. They started by dreaming and the dream brought them to university, now at university there are many dreams that people are discovering ith various diplomas and degrees they are studying towards. That is why I say to people, “Don’t remain a dreamer, be an achiever, no matter how many goals were missed or dashed before. It is never too late to set another goal or to dream a new dream, for goals will give you a compass to direct your path in life.” A path to achieving those goals is the one we are currently on at university.

When our dreams are born out of purpose, we can soar above the limitation to accomplish the seemingly impossible.

It is so discouraging to waste your time and money at university and go home empty-handed – remember that our single actions can completely alter our future, for better or worse.

I studied the lives of great men and famous women and found that those who got to the top were those who did the work they had in hand, with everything they had, energy, enthusiasm and hard work. So study hard and maximise your potential in exams.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thirteen Year Old Wrestles His Way To Germany

Tlaki Baloyi

Thirteen year old Thato Monyeki from Soshanguve is often told that he is a bit too big for his age, but his size is allowing the teenager to travel to Germany on a wrestling trip.

The whole community of Soshanguve and his primary school, Kgotlelelang Primary School, are proud of this young man who beat off many others in various school competitions until he remained victorious at national level before being selected for the competition in Germany.

The German trip will be the first international visit for Thato who says he just loves wrestling because he is better at it than most sporting codes. He also says the sporting code will help him uplift his community and he plans to further promote the unpopular sport in Soshanguve.

Thato also says he doesn’t like celebrity wrestling that is often shown on TV as the sport popularised by the likes of John Cena, The Rock, The Undertaker and many others is more violent than what heis familiar with. He says the wrestling he plays only involves a bit of pushing with no weapons whereas the entertainment he sees on TV is a bit too violent for his liking.

His mother, Andronica Monyeki, says she is happy about this as wrestling will keep his son out of crime and other societal ills in the crime-ridden township.

Despite this the family is still worried about Thato’s spending money in Germany and his primary school had asked all pupils to contribute R2 towards his spending money, but despite all this nothing had been received on Wednesday, 03 November 2010.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mak Manaka Offers Free Poetry Sessions in Newtown

Thanduxolo Makopo

Well known South African poet and visual artist, Maakomele “Mak” Manaka, has decided to give back to the community by hosting workshops where he allows young people to share their work and assist in moulding each other into becoming better writers and poets.

The 27 year old says these workshops also help him improve his craft. "On Saturdays I'm usually free and in need of some poetry psychology and I thought a poetry workshop would be a great idea".

Manaka says poetry sessions helped groom him when he was starting out in the industry. He believes such initiatives play a major role in establishing up and coming poets.

"The goal of the workshops is to give them the tools to believe in themselves in order for them to articulate themselves better," says Manaka.

Thandiwe Zidlele, from the Eastern Cape, arrived in Johannesburg to study but dropped out of university due to personal reasons. She says these workshops have helped her get out of the depressing slump she once found herself in and have assisted in her finding her dreams again.

On these workshops he works with other established names in the industry such as Flo, Quaz and Valentine who form the group Likwid Tongue.

Another aim of the workshops is to give young people something to do on weekends rather than sit around with a possibility of ending up as substance abusers or criminals. The free Poetry 101 workshops take place on Saturdays in Johannesburg’s Newtown.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Let's Not Kid Ourselves - New Media Has No Immediate Impact on African Newspapers

Arnoth Mabunda

Wallace Chuma once said that our education has very little to say about the African ways of thinking. As such, we tend to think that whatever affects the west affects the whole world or Africans.

Quite often we just accept western values uncritically. We don’t even look at our immediate environment to see if they really relate to the nature of our society. Now that the new media is affecting many newspapers in the United States of America - they want to make it seem as if it is also threatening our local media and that is totally wrong.

They are busy saying that the new media is affecting our local newspaper companies and some of them might close down, that’s a complete lie. These are the people like Michael Salzwedel (2010 Rhodes Journalism Review, 65) who stood firm and say “in with the new, out with the old”. Salzwadel argues that the 21st century audience is getting tired of the old media system”today, the Internet and the mobile phones are our steam whistles. When we publish a hot story online, we Tweet it and let our more than 700 Facebook fans know about it,” he writes.

His claim has been severely denied by the print media experts, particularly in South Africa, who confidently vow that “no matter how advanced future civilization may become, humans will still enjoy the look and feel of the newspapers in their hands.”(Harrower, 2008,)

Just a simple question, which website do you visit to for some updates on local and national news? Many of you might be going to or; these two companies are the same companies that dominate the press industry in South Africa. In the words of Jude Marthinus, “everything changes, nothing changes.”

In America it is Google versus the New York Times, just to cite an example, but in South Africa it is still the same Naspers, Avusa, Caxton and Independent Newspapers going online. This is what I dubbed NACI monopoly . If you don’t buy these companies’ printed papers, you still Google them. Once again, “nothing changes, everything changes.”

I want you to think

Look at your immediate environment, not in the suburbs where only the petit bourgeoisie live, not even in universities where many students get introduced to new trends - but in your local township or village where the majority of South Africans live.

You will find that many people are still consume traditional media and teachers still store files on walls as computers and all things digital remain the future.

Of course rural people do have advanced phones, but they only use them for making and receiving calls. A small number might even use them for social networking.

Really if we are to think that the internet is the present then I would like to ask why there aren’t many internet journalists’ positions being advertised? How your friends apply for jobs online? The question was about your friends and not you as you clearly have access to the internet since you are reading this.

I will keep on saying this; new media has no immediate impact on Africa as westerners would like everyone to believe.

Some often say the newsroom in Africa is getting smaller because of the new media’s impact, which is wrong. I believe that the news room is getting smaller because contemporary journos are are learning various skills now. These days it is not unusual for an African reporter to cover a story and take photographs for that story as well.

Some newspapers might not want to employ more journalists because they are trying to save costs as young journalists want massive salaries. There are also issues of high taxes being imposed by the state on our newspapers.

I would like to close my argument with a quote from editor of Die Son Mark Herman when he said: “There is still a huge gap left for newspapers in South Africa.”

TUT Students Empowered Through Great Conversation

Katlego Legodi
TUT student, Sinenhlanhla Khumalo (centre),
brought together successful young people to empower
the youth.
TUT has held its second annual Reabua Talk Show with the topic that asked participants what or who they are in the 21st century.
The show was well attended with guest speakers; Andile Ncube from Black Face, Brothers for Life founder Mandla Ndlovu, Vivian Morodi of Johnson and Johnson and Zweli Mahlangu from the National Youth Development Fund; engaging the many youngstersin attendance on the issue.
Former Live Presenter, Andile Ncube, believes young South Africans should seize every opportunity that avails itself to them and says young people should not wait for others to do things for them.
“It’s all up to you in the end on how you make sure that you uplift yourself,” said Ncube.
As many celebrities have alcohol and drug problems, those in the audience asked Ncube how he has managed to stay clean.
“Never in my life have I tasted alcohol or smoked,” a response many were not expecting.
Ndlovu received some questions from people who say his organisation, Brothers for Life, caters for the needs of women and fails to acknowledge that both men and women can be victims of abuse. He didn’t entertain such questions and said they are just an excuse by many male abusers. He continued his usual request of men not to abuse the women in their lives.
Former student leader Vivian Morodi who is now on the marketing team at Johnson&Johnson said she used her position to uplift other students.
Television producer, Andile Ncube, feels
young people should seize opportunities.
She said there is a great need for leadership education of student political leaders so they can stop fighting with each other.
Mahlangu spoke of the work of the National Youth Development Agency in providing the youth with opportunities and advice on how they can better themselves. This, he said, is done through their youth advisory centres and mentorship programmes that happen during weekend mornings.
Organisers say this year’s show was a great success and showed definite growth from last year. It was founded by TUT student Sinenhlanhla Khumalo.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Insults Thrown With Coffins & T-Shirts Burnt During Student Political Campaigning

Portia Mvubu

The gloves are off as Student Representative Council campaigns begin at the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve campuses.

On 21 October 2010 the main political parties were throwing insults at each other as they were delivering their election manifestos. In 2010 these campuses did not have a representative council after a court order disbanded all political activity at the beginning of the year due to violent student protests, but Thursday shows that insults are still the norm here.

The main two political parties, the South African Student Congress (SASCO) which is a student leg of the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA) which is part of the Pan Africanist Congress burnt coffins with each other’s T-shirts on them.

During the manifesto delivery the two used the stage to highlight each other’s previous alleged corruption and failure to lead. Intimidation was used with SASCO singing songs like: “Babekuphi labantu ngomzabalazo?” (Where were these people during the struggle?)

The two giants shared the stage with the Inkatha Freedom Party’s SADESMO, United Democratic Movement (UDESMO), the Student Christian Organisation, the Congress of the People’s COPSSA, NADESCO, and AZAPO.

All the political parties made promises of free education, camera installations to minimise security officers, cheaper cafeteria food and much more.

Earlier in the week students were allowed to wear their preferred party t-shirts, displaying banners and the singing of mother party revolutionary songs. This often takes place from around 16h00 to 22h00 every day.

Some students feel the excitement is a huge inconvenience.Nomsa Siyemela, a first year student says she never thought these events would be this serious and dramatic. She also adds that students who want to lead others often make empty promises just so they can be put into power.

This institution has seen a lot of political drama in its strike ‘subculture’ over the year, but potential leaders say the year 2011 promises to be a good one where everything will be done professionally and for the benefit of all students. Hopefully the 2011 Student Representative Council will be just that.

Love With A Bit of Caution

Lucia Sikhosana

When many friends meet what they initially think is a wonderful man who is a life partner they start going through changes which seem positive at the time. You would see them changing friends, the way they look and everything else the new man in their lives might not want.

This even leads to the woman feeling incomplete when the man is not around. It wouldn’t matter that there could be family members or the room might be filled with loving friends who are wearing the widestsmiles. These women would just feel there is something missing just because the person they have made the centre of their lives isn’t there at the time.

It’s unfortunate that many women would do anything for love even compromising all that they would know and have grown up with.

Loving and caring for someone should not mean someone should change their principles and change who they are. I agree that compromising is crucial for any relationship to work but this should be done within reason.

What I find to be a problem with many relationships is that many women get in them with fake identities. They would observe the man they are interested in from the sidelines, find out what their likes and dislikes are and then work hard to meet their criteria and get their attention. But all of that is a receipe for disaster. When doing so many women might lose a part of themselves and their personalities. They might end up becoming the people they are not only to pelase a man. Soon the truth comes out though as people cannot fake their personalities forever.

So I have come up with a list of things to do in order for women to love without losing any part of themselves.

Be yourself - a woman usually does everything in her power to make relationships last and even get rid of good friends.

Remove baggage from the past - disappointments from a previous relationship or fear being hurt should not be foundation of new love.

Love with caution - women should bear in mind that fear exists in all new experiences in life and when one goes into a new relationship they should remember that they are still to find out a lot about the new man. So while you should take that risk of falling in love, it should be done with caution.

Respect differences – Don’t expect him to like the sme things you like.

These are just a few pointers to my girlfriends, I hope some will help those who want to take risks and get into new relationships.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Movie Shoot Excites Pretoria Township

Tlaki Baloyi

Many came to see the Shoot of Mphephe in Soshanguve.

Township life is often interesting for various reasons and many townships are often seen as busy hubs of entertainment for ills at times such as crime and over indulgence.

That is just one of the reasons youths from two Pretoria communities, Soshanguve and Winterveld, decided to team up and shoot a new comedy called Mphephe. The film is produced by Bongani Magubane who says his inspiration for the script came from the Chinese movies he used to watch as a child.

Those working on the movie are hoping for some success, but they know that working in South Africa's film industry is hard work when the country has produced Oscar nominated and winning gems such as Yesterday, District 9 and Tsotsi.

Bongani and his team were working on a really tight budget. They had to shoot the movie on location in Soshanguve as that was cheap and as he says, it would help children in the community get local role models with people from the community working on the movie in the community. So for three days this poor community was turned into a movie set.

“I have always loved comedy. I chose it because it is easy to make, people enjoy it and it is in demand. I had to overcome challenges such as lack of resources, budget constraints and typical township chaos by minimizing costs and using people surrounding me” Bongani says.

Shooting in the township had its challenges though as he had to maintain discipline with onlookers who would, at times, laugh as the script was hilarious.

One of the kids in the area decided to walk through the set during the shoot, pulled one of the actors by a tie he was using as a belt, but Bongani says that doesn’t faze him.

Sound Technician, Lehlogonolo Masemene, says they are planning to have community centres where kids can practice drama. He says the movie is special because the cast and crew come from different institutions and amateurs were also given the platform. One of these amateurs is Freedom Kubheka who says she started acting in February this year and she adapted quickly because she is used to improvising. She wants to be a professional actress in the future. Her favourite actor is Martin Lawrence and she says she acts because she wants to make people laugh. The DVD will hit the stores in a month’s time and it is good value for one’s money.
Community members used for movie shoot.

Also working on the movie are Innocent Nkuna as the director, Enoch Mabona and Temba as cameramen.
The cast consist of Alfred as the main character, Mpephe, and Bongani as his friend Chini. They act to
gether with Joyce Mbele, Freedom Kubheka, Golden, the famous Xingelengele from Crazy Entertainers, Nomvula Nhlapo and Sibongile Mahlangu.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sosh Residents Woken Up By Bomb Blasts On Sunday

Mohau Ramashidja

Police at the scene after bomb blasts went off.
Sunday the 10th of October will be a day most dwellers of block KK, Soshanguve, will never forget. It was 5am when a blue Golf driving at high speed on a road leading to Soshaguve plaza almost hit a disabled man.

Five ZCC brethrens rebuked the driver of the vehicle, who drove off infuriated by the remarks that were lashed at him. A few minutes later the driver returned to where the five men were standing with a hand grenade in his hand and threw it at a group he had a quarrel with.

”I heard an explosion, when I went outside I saw this your man standing before bodies bleeding to death and I asked what he was doing and he quickly drove off,” said an elderly woman known as Gogo Shongwe.

Four people were injured as a result and were quickly rushed to hospital.

“I quickly ran to my neighbour’s house who is a policeman to inform her of what I had seen,” Gogo Shongwe continued.

Her neighbour, Sis Madonsela, quickly alerted other policemen who rushed to the scene. The suspect was later caught after he confessed to his colleagues and is currently in police custory.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bill Not Passed Yet But Government Already Accused of Refusing to Release ‘Classified’ Information

Tshepo Tshabalala

Print and Broadcast journalists alike will have to keep up with the changing media landscape if the ANC get their way with the proposed Protection of Information Bill. Getting justice will become a challenge.

In an article published by “The Times” newspaper, it is reported that the ‘State Security Agency will not let Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier have a copy of a presentation it made to a parliamentary committee earlier this year and at a meeting that was open to the media’.

The presentation, made by State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and a senior member of the SSA, dealt with the controversial new Protection of Information Bill.

For journalists the classification of information under the proposed bill has broad and unfeasible definitions which allow the classification of commercial information as confidential. Another disturbing matter is that information of private entities that are in government possession could also be classified as confidential. When this information is termed confidential, the journalist no longer has access to this information.

A colossal challenge would be if government had damaging information with repercussions regarding the nation, which could possibly have national interest, the information can be classified as confidential. The state officials are the ones who determine whether a document is classified confidential or not. This would mean that it would be impossible for the media to publish anything regarding corruption and maladministration within governmental departments.

Minister Cwele refused to make hard copies of the presentation because the document was ‘classified’. With the proposed Protection of Information Bill still in the pipeline and not made law yet, a minister has certainly failed to comprehend their own jargon. The presentation was made to the media and an open parliamentary committee meeting. It seems like the proposed protection of information bill has more to do with politics than anything else.

Tony Award Winner At The Breytie

Friday, October 8, 2010

TUT Education Students Say Hotel Accommodation Is a Former Brothel With Blood Stains on Beds

Pearl Nicodemus

The Victoria Lodge turned out to be cheap accommodation
rather than a proper hotel the students had been promised.
Tshwane University of Technology education students have just returned from what they say was promised to be an educational trip with accommodation in a nice hotel but turned out to be a week of confusion with dirty run down accommodation and beds with blood stains on them.

On arrival, the students completing education diplomas in Accounting and Entrepreneurship realised that their residence for a few days was cheap accommodation with leaking ceilings, wet carpets and cracked walls. Some of their beds had blood stains with no blankets. They say the manager of the Victoria Lodge told them he could only provide just eight blankets.

Students found leaking toilets
and big groups had to share showers.
Toilets were also not working properly with six students having to share a room. Later they also heard that the accommodation was a former brothel.

The students say this was a far cry from what they were told when they paid R250 each for the trip as they were instructed not to bring any bedding.

The bus they were travelling on broke down several times before reaching Durban and some say if anything had happened to them on the road there is nothing they could have done because they hadn’t been asked to sign indemnity forms.

When they realised the condition they would be staying under they tried to locate the trip organiser identified only as Mr Makgae but he was nowhere to be found.

An outraged student who doesn’t want to be identified says Mr Makgae “was never available. When we called him he would make appointments and then not pitch. Most of the time we didn’t even know where he was”.

Student representatives had been elected and some say they would be too scared to complain when approached. TUT South African Students Congress (SASCO) President says he became fed up after three days and packed his bags and went home. There were others who followed suit.

Education HOD, Dr Harry Rampa, sayshe is investigating reasons
behind students staying in such conditions.
The Head of the education department, Dr Harry Rampa, says he is aware of the grievances but is investigating and waiting for a proper report from the organiser of the trip who is currently difficult to locate for us.

Students say they even question the educational aspect of the trip. “We went to [a] place where they make sugar and we went to a mall in Durban. There was really nothing educational in our trip,” one student says.
Some students say they demand a full refund of their money and SASCO says they will be conducting their own investigation.

One student sums it up by saying, “I will never ever go on another TUT excursion again.”

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Africa Dreams Big Without Proper Solutions

Sibusiso Khasa

Diverse thoughts might help Africa find
the right solutions.
 Famous rappers often insinuate that people who fail to succeed get in those positions because of the choices they would have made.

“Not so many people stood up against the system called life,” are words of American rapper Kid Cudi on his Cudder Anthem In My Dreams.

In the song Dreamer, South African rapper states that people would rather be the worst than the best where he comes from. It has forced me to question whether this could be a part of the reasons most Africans are living below poverty lines or “proverbial breadlines”.

An individual who views the situation facing Africans from a liberal frame of reference might have the belief that apathy, ignorance and laziness are the reasons most Africans are penurious and take epochs such as slavery, colonialisms and apartheid as excuses. While people like Timberlake (1986: 5) describe poverty as “the biggest disaster to strike planet earth since World War II devastated Europe”

Taking the statement made by Timberlake one would argue that slavery and colonialisms played an enormous role in creating the Africa we know and live in today. The reason would be that the two “evil doctrines” tied Africans to the Europeans socially and economically and made them depend on the “evil minds” from the west. As World War II devastated Europe, Africans were not left out, poverty deteriorated in Africa since they were depending on the west as they are now.

As ties still continue today under the banner of Globalisation which is part of post modernism, some argue that this is the continuation of the western domination of Africa and view agreements signed by African leaders with bodies like the European Union (EU) as hegemony being reworked. One may argue that Zimbabwe is an epitome, of the fact that Africa “cannot do much” without the input of the west.
President Jacob Zuma seems to agree with them as he was quoted saying, “lifting of sanctions would give a chance to the efforts we are making there and empower the Southern African Development Community to do more on Zimbabwe,” during his visit to the European Parliament in Brussels on 29 September 2010.

But there is a big emerging eastern super power operating on the African continent and threatening the west. China offers a weaker currency, cheaper products and cheap labour. Their domination has forced the Americans to demand a policy that will compel China to allow its currency to strengthen. Since a weaker currency means more export and a stronger one implies more imports (Stronger currency makes it easy for a country to buy goods) South Africa is left perplexed as the Rand gains more strength.

There is an ongoing debate in this country on whether we should allow our currency to strengthen at it has reached levels that are below 7 Rand to the dollar. Some, like trade union COSATU, are against this saying it might result in job cuts.

The debate of African prosperity is bigger than that of the strength of the South African currecy and the solution for the future of this continent can

If we dwell on the past and spend hours, days, months and years trying to find the root causes of Africa’s current state then we might waste valuable time that could be used to make the continent thrive. This is the time our minds led us to seek better solutions or strategies that will help us alleviate poverty, because reality is that we dream too big when we talk of eradicating it.

International Professional Speaker at TUT

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cape Town Has A Long Night Life

Tshepo Tshabalala

Cape Town is a city often promoted for its natural beauty and history. We have seen pictures of Robben Island, Table Mountain and the beautiful beaches on postcards, films and magazines but the nightlife here is just as fantastic as those images.

There is a long, ordinary looking and dirty street that everyone talks about in Cape Town. During the day it looks like every other part of the city centre, but owls would tell a different story. This is a story of happiness, excitement and the formation of new friendships with memories that last forever. Long Street has bars, clubs and pubs to suit everybody.

Not expected in the city centre is a bar with a Tswana name, Lapeng, where one would find cheap alcohol and dance tunes from Johannesburg and Durban townships like DJ Cleo, Tira and Big Nuz. Maybe just like the name of the place which means ‘home’, it’s purpose is to make people from those parts of the country feel at home as it is different from the upmarket feel the rest of the clubs in the areas adopt at night. There aren’t even enough seats in this place but one can bargain and get sloshed at a really low price if that is their idea of fun.

Also meant to make Joburgers feel at home is club Joburg and Pretorians are not left out either with club Pretoria just next door to that. The two places are very similar inside with the music they play being the most defining factor. Pretorians love their House music and it is not surprising to hear a lot of that and Kwaito inside Cape Town’s version of the capital city. When a lot of people think of Johannesburg they would often visualise hip hop heads and it is not surprising that the club named after Africa’s richest city plays this type of music as well.

 A cross between a bar and a club is Stone’s. This place is for pool players and people who want to dance alike.


One of the trendiest places is Chrome, just off Long Street, and the entrance fee is a bit higher than in other places, but still at a reasonable R60 with Wednesday nights offering R1 shots until midnight. It’s best to get here early though as this midweek special attracts a lot of people and as the night progresses dancing with strangers becomes an intimate affair. The DJ plays popular old and current music from pop, house, RnB to hip hop.

Those who don’t want to party in the city centre and are perhaps looking for a more authentic experience in this city then Mzoli’s in Gugulethu is the best place to go.

Cape Town might be slow during the day but offers a great party experience at night.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Student Accommodation Needs Major Maintenance

Samukele Manzini

Many Tshwane University of Technology, Soshanguve, students regard a male and female residence known as Towers as one of the best the campus has to offer. On close inspection this proves not to be the case.

I was staying there this year and was shocked that getting hot water in the middle of winter is a luxury and to make matters worse, the university does not maintain this building properly. On some days we find water all over the floor as a result of blocked pipes. Some of the toilets do not flush for several days before being fixed and there is a leakage of water in the kitchen sink.

There are times when there is just now water there. Students woulf complain about this as they are often forced to go to other residences to get water to take a short bath or even drink. A source close to the maintenance guys at Towers whispered into says the problem is not with them but with the residence manager at Towers, Mr. Patrick Mabuseng, who fails to follow protocol when he needs to fix the problems they have there and while covering the story I did try to schedule an interview with the manager but he refused. He agreed to meet with me at a certain point but did not show up for the interview.

Ratshilima Maanda, who is in charge of an area known as CCT on campus says the main problem with the hot water supply is that there is one geyser supplying hot water to all six floors of the residence.

Maanda claims they have written a memorandum to the maintenance department about the matter but received no response.

“We make follow ups every week but the guys have been slow in responding” he added.
Maanda hopes the problem will be solved by the end of the year.

Jerry Msiza, head of the maintenance team at Towers denies Maanda’s claims and admits that problems at Towers are never fixed in time.

“The residence manager must follow the correct channels before we can be able to do our job, we also have bosses to report to” said Msiza.

Students don’t seem to care about the excuses they keep on hearing as their fees are the same as those who stay in better residences in Soshanguve and other campuses.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pretoria Parties On Racial Lines But Knows How To Have A Great Time

Siphumelele Zondi

Hatfield Square
Pretoria can be slow when it comes to music at times, but South Africa’s capital definitely knows how to party. As the financial hub of South Africa, Johannesburg clubs are often filled with young professionals and the emerging black middle class with a lot of disposable income to spend – but the same cannot be said about Pretoria.

Pretoria clubs are often frequented by students who would not spend as much on drinks. In Hatfield people can still find drinks which cost less than R20 whereas Johannesburg has clubs and cocktail bars which do not charge less than R25 a drink with R40 being the norm for many cocktails sold there.

While racial lines are often blurred in most night spots in Johannesburg, the same cannot be said about Pretoria. On Saturday night the Hatfield Square was packed. The crowd in the area was at least 98 percent white and Afrikaans whereas just a few blocks down in places like Zanzu, and Cappello they were predominantly black.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Man throws banner at Mbeki

Mbeki Worried About The State of Current African Leadership

Former President Thabo Mbeki says
some African leaders see academics as a threat

Former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, is troubled by poor leadership in Africa and says various governments on the continent are not doing enough to safeguard the independence their predecessors fought really hard to gain.

President Mbeki participated in the Tshwane University of Technology’s public lecture series on Thursday, 16 September 2010. During the lecture members of the public are also allowed to interact with the speaker by asking questions.

As he entered the hall Mbeki was greeted by singing, dancing and chanting which is a sign that the former South African president who was asked to resign from his position by the ruling African National Congress still has a massive following. There were two big halls booked for the event with broadcasts to various venues in other TUT campuses. The lecture was also broadcast on DSTV.
With that much support Mbeki was however interrupted by a member of the university’s Student Representative Council (SRC) who threw a banner at him shouting, “Sihamba noZuma” (We are with Zuma).

Although late to react the bodyguards quickly pounced at the man, slapping him and escorted him outside the hall. While everyone was confused and cameras flashing Mbeki quickly asked everyone not to panic and continued with what he had to say.

Those who hadn't booked spaces were turned away
as there was a huge interest in the Mbeki lecture

Mbeki, who now chairs an African Union committee tasked with looking after the Sudan, says many African leaders are worried about their pockets and the presidential seat is their way of getting out of the poverty they would have grown up with. He says they often are too scared to leave their positions with the fear those who take over from them would uncover their wrong doings in office, Mbeki says many conflicts on the continent are often started by corrupt leaders.

He says they are caused by the “concentration of political power in the hands of the political elite which abuses its power to accumulate wealth for itself and particular factions of the population, marginalising important sections of that population.”
While these leaders are trying to keep themselves in power, they then stop holding regular elections and use repressive measures to rule their countries.

He believes the international community often does not react soon enough when these conflicts break out. He also says African bodies don’t have enough funds to deal with problems on their own and often fail to curb problems early.

“The African Union will have to pay particular attention to matters of the early warning of impending conflict and addressing the root causes of each and every conflict ,” he says.

Fomer President Thabo Mbeki
is worried about corruption in Africa

Mbeki believes that a major part of the African Renaissance should be to transform the continent to that of peace.

During the meeting he was thanked by a delegation from Ethiopia. The group says they have driven from their country crossing ten borders, arriving in Pretoria on the day of the Mbeki lecture at TUT, in order to highlight a need for peace and democracy in Africa.

One of the questions he was asked by a member of the public was related to the need for good African university education. Mbeki believes that there are leaders who shun good university education. “We had African leaders who saw universities as institutions of opposition to themselves,” he responded.

Ending his lecture Mbeki called for all Africans to play their part in emancipating the continent. At the end of his 'Africa-War and Peace' lecture the crowd cheered again showing they still massively support the country's former leader.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Important Part of South Africa's History At The Rostrum Theatre

Jobless And Desperate Struggling Artists Taking the Fun Out of Big Brother

Big Brother Africa All Stars is near the end now and a question that comes to mind is why the show is called All Stars. None of the people on the show have done anything significant with their lives since they were last on the show. Many of them talk about big television and music careers, but it would be interesting to find out how well those are going.

Those who have chosen to be contestants on the show again have placed their lives on hold by spending three months in the Big Brother Africa house. They are putting their lives on hold again this year for the grand prize of 200 thousand US dollars.

If most of them had television, radio and music careers as they say then they would not need the money promised by the producers of the show. They would be spending the three months outside making more money than has been promised to them.

At least two women have children and it has been said that Meryl’s baby is only ten months old and yet this woman has chosen to enter such a competition and sits and drinks all day in the house. This is possibly a way for her to make money so she can support her baby.

It is amazing that these people receive so much support from viewers from their home countries and yet they cannot use the fame received on the show to find jobs and make more money once they are outside the house.

Their need for money also tests their morals in a big way. Some left children outside, at least one is married, but none compare to Uti. The Nigerian contestant entered the house after his father was admitted to hospital with cancer. His father died while he was inside and he chose not to attend his funeral saying he would only go if the producers would allow him to return and compete again. They never did. During the past week Kaone from Botshwana made remarks about his love for money of his father.

Uti has also mentioned that he has dreams of becoming an international actor. He says his eyes are set on Hollywood, so while the show is a way for him to possibly earn some income and at least have some food for three months – it is also a way for him to be spotted by some Hollywood producer.
Zimbabwean Munya also sounds like he has never had a solid job. The Zimbabwean studied media in South Africa and often talks about his dreams of becoming a film director and actor. Yet another contestant who has dreams of being spotted on the show.

There have been various guitar playing musicians as well who clearly also wish they could be spotted by a music producer who would possibly want to work with them.

The list goes on. During conversations in the house it has emerged that Quinn who was on the show last year refused to return saying he was busy with his school work. He has aspirations of being a radio presenter and clearly he realised that returning to university was his best option when he did not receive offers from his appearance on last year’s show. The rest should learn from that.

In conclusion it has become apparent that many contestants who enter Big Brother are struggling artists and celebrity wanna-bes who have no jobs in their countries and are on the show to make some cash so they can support themselves. There are not that many people who would not take an offer of free accommodation, free food and free alcohol for up to three months when they are jobless and desperate.

Those who cannot access the show can get highlights on this website:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lights Out For TUT As UJ Takes USSA Title

Cyril Skosana

UJ celebrates as they dominate TUT

There was poor lighting at the Bid-Vest Wits University Stadium when the University of Johannesburg met up with the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve football team on Tuesday evening. The match scheduled to start at 08:30 kicked off three quarters of an hour later because as the lights went off at the scheduled start of the match.

Once the lighting problem was sorted out then it was off to a cracker of a match which was entirely dominated by UJ as they went on to win 2-0 in their home territory.

Despite being the stronger of the two sides, UJ struggled to convert most of their opportunities into goals. At half time the score was still sitting at 0-0.

But they seemed to have taken whichever advice given to them by the coach in the change rooms as they came back to score their first goal within 10 minutes into the second half.

Both sides congratulate each other as they
progress to national competition
Thereafter TUT came back with into the game and they seemed to have been taking control but the goals were just not coming their way. Instead it was UJ that scored their second goal. Surprisingly the Pretoria team had massive support which seemed to have been giving the boys a bit of a boost.

Despite not winning the TUT team has already qualified for the main tournament to be held in Grahamstown in December.

Former President Thabo Mbeki To Give Lecture At TUT

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TUT Football Team Heading To National University Competition With A Match To Spare

Cyril Skosana

The coach says they need to stay fit for competition.

The Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve campus has beaten the University of Pretoria’s (TUKS) football team 2-1 in an entertaining clash that saw both sides showing a lot of skill.
TUKS dominated the match which saw them getting the first goal of the evening. But just as their guard was down, TUT came back to win the Gauteng Football League match.
The win has secured TUT a place in the national universities tournament to start in Grahamstown on 06 December 2010. Despite qualifying for the big tournament the team still has one more game left against the University of Johannesburg and coach says that match is also important.
“Even if we already qualified for the big tournament to be held in Grahamanstown, we will still play our final with commitment to win it, we will therefore use all the strength that we have,” explained coach, Demana S. Connie Madima.
The TUT team will be one of three from the Gauteng province to compete in the South African Sports Universities organised tournament in Grahamstown. Three teams from each province participate in the tournament.
The coach says she does not really have big plans for the December competition except to keep the team fit and keep the area on the football map.
In 2009 TUT came fourth in the national tournament.

Welcome to the Tshwane University of, uhm, Renovations

Just one of the days when the server wasn't down.
Pearl Nicodemus
The Tshwane University of Technology is the number one university of technology on the African continent. The information is even on the university’s websites. But my short time here has shown me that not all campuses of this great institution are the same.
One would think that technical problems in a university of TECHNOLOGY should be forbidden. Think about it for a bit here – imagine your favourite chicken take away restaurant running out of chicken. Technology should be smooth at a university of technology.

A Slow server, systems down and no internet are just a few problems many students are struggling with in the Soshanguve North campus. All of these phrases have become far too familiar in the ears of TUT students in Soshanguve and all of these are always justified by this one word – RENOVATIONS!  These renovations have been taking place for three years or more now. They keep on saying it would be great when it is sorted out, but we will wait and hopefully the greatness will come in our time here.
The Supervisor of the Electronic Resource Centre Tshepo Mosehla says he also doesn’t know why these renovations are taking so long. I have also heard that in certain parts of the campus there was an agreement between TUT and sub-contractors that renovations would be completed after one month and it is now well over three months without proper functioning computers and internet. 
Renovations taking place in the old computer lab.
Computer maintenance is another issue puzzling the students in the Soshanguve North campus. The computers that are currently being used by the thousands of students on campus are not being maintained at all. There are new viruses every day. The other day when I asked whether there was an antivirus there I was told that it has expired and a new one will be installed once the RENOVATIONS have ended as all computers will be moved to the old centre once it has been completed.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Journalism Students Find Success In Professional Modelling

Katlego Legodi

Maatisa Selepe has
trasformed from
baggy to model
Journalists are known as serious individuals who work long hours and discuss the state of the nation in bars and pubs.

But that is not entirely true. At least it is not entirely true anymore. While journalists are people who get caught up in discussions about politics and all that is negative and positive about our world, many of them know how to enjoy life too.

In the Tshwane University of Technology we found three students studying towards this profession but also working as professional models. Maatisa Selepe, Olwethu Mabovola and Lucy Mulima are juggling their journalism studies and the world of professional modelling.

During the fashion department’s annual show on Saturday Lucy was playing a different role. She was running around with a camera and taking photographs to report the story. She mentioned that most of the Johannesburg based professionals on stage that evening are her colleagues in her other life. They were wondering why Lucy wasn’t walking the ramp with them.

Lucy is the current face of Lemon Lite face cream and she can be seen in various women’s magazines.

In the running for this year’s Miss TUT is a lady who started her academic year in baggy trousers. She quickly transformed and showed a figure that most would not have guessed she had at the beginning of the year. Maatisa Selepe is one of the finalists for this year’s Miss TUT.

Olwethu Mabovola who is their classmate was one of the finalists for the Miss TUT Residence competition. Although she didn’t win the competition she says that boost has given her confidence to consider professional modelling.

Film Enthusiasts Get A Chance To Make Their Own Movies

An international film concept will be held in the Union Building on Saturday, 18 September 2010, where members of the public will get a chance to make their own films.

Cinema Sports gives participants just ten hours to come up with a film concept and then shoot the movie. The movies will then be screened an hour after completion. The only reward will be to make the film and having them screened and viewed by members of the public.

“There is no prize. People will just come and view the films. The movies are not rated,” says Greg Du Tertre from the Drama and Film Department at the Tswane University of Technology.

The concept was started by Jin Joo in in San Francisco, USA, in 2004. Joo will also attend the event over the weekend. The concept has been brought to South Africa by the Tshwane University of Technology’s Drama and Film Department. For further information participants can e-mail or visit

Saturday, September 11, 2010

TUT’s Fashion Conspiracy One of The Best in Its League

On Friday, 10 September 2010, the Tshwane University of Technology’s fashion department took us to bedrooms with kinky underwear, weddings, across African and international borders and even to the future with various interpretations of the senior students’ fashion show theme, Conspiracy.

The highly sponsored event was hosted by former Yo-TV presenter, Cecilia Ravele, who appeared nervous at first as she stumbled over her words. She soon broke out in loud laughter, admitted she was a bit nervous, composed herself and eventually proved to be a brilliant host. The young celebrity even praised TUT’s top standard by saying it was “one of the best fashion shows organised by a university” she had been to.

Senior students were not the only ones allowed to showcase their work as some students from junior years who had taken their work to the Durban July earlier this year were also given the opportunity to show their capabilities. The top works of some of the second years were also shown on the night. The audience seemed to enjoy the theme of Ayoba with various interpretations of Football Friday and the South African flag.


With Conspiracy the students showed a handle that probably some of the most experienced in the fashion world would not have. Just like any fashion show of good standard some of the clothes left those not familiar with such events asking where certain outfits would be worn as they were too avant-garde for the streets.

The collections on stage were also clearly from people with different life experiences as there were clothes for big girls, the extremely skinny, the well-toned man or woman, maternity wear and even children’s wear. There were even a few small African brooms, bedroom whips and stars just covering the most essential bits of the body. This year’s senior fashion students clearly had no boundaries with their work.

Tshepiso Tshabalala's collection took
top honours.
Some of the biggest prizes of the evening went to Tshepiso Tshabalala with her futuristic men’s and women’s collection. Tshepiso took home the prize for Best Range – Innovative, Thandeka Mbele had the Best Range – Commercial, Nthabiseng Nkadimeng received the award for Best Concept Collection, the Best Garment prize went to Lebogang Moaje, Boni Bowane was the Best Creative Designer, the Most Promising Student award went to Tumiso Thlabane, the Best Upcoming Student award was given to Phumzile Langa and Anika Badenhorst was seen as the Most Enterprising Student.

They were judged by a high calibre of people in the fashion industry including Nombasa Mncube, Tshepo Modiba from Artistic Soul, St. Lorient Fashion and Art Gallery Owner Lucy Anastasiadis and socialite, footballer's wife and businesswoman Sonia Booth.

As TUT’s top graduates often make it big in the fashion industry, one is certain that this year’s prize winners are some of the names to watch out for in future.