Friday, May 28, 2010

Youth Debate Media and Coolpolitics

Pearl Nicodemus

Blogging, facebooking and tweeting – that is how young people communicate these days. On Thursday night they met in Newtown, Johannesburg, to talk about how these forums can be used for the benefit of youth in the media industry.

But this was just a part of what they were discussing. The young people were split into debating teams which mainly consisted of journalism students from the Tshwane University of Technology, myself included. The debate held at Kaldi’s Coffee was organised by an organisation called Coolpolitics

Some of the topics discussed were citizen journalism, how the voice of the youth can become more prominent, how young people can challenge ideas and the state of the media in South Africa.

Their view of the largest broadcaster, the SABC, was not a very good one. The youth present felt the SABC is controlled by the government and that there is a possibility that they are not getting the full picture when it comes to the way the broadcaster imparts information. They feel that the SABC often censors information and reports favourably on government issues.

There were two sides on private media. Some felt more private companies are needed but there were those who felt that they are run by capitalists whose main purpose is to make money.

But at the end of it all everyone was in agreement that the youth has a critical role to play in the media industry. Most felt the youth just needs to tell positive stories rather than focusing on misbehaving and skankily dressed celebrities.

When it was done there was music provided by the soulful, One.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Soshanguve Venture Taxi Drivers and Some Nurses Must Catch A Wake Up!

Tlaki Baloyi

It is a normal Saturday and I am just chilling in our garden at home reading a magazine. Out of the corner of my eye I see a white Toyota Venture stopping on the edge of the road. This doesn’t trouble me much as it is a normal sight in Soshanguve. Toyota Ventures are the common form of reliable, fast transport here.

There is a down side though, some of their drivers have no licenses and often cause accidents. Now what am I on about you might ask, well let’s go back to me sitting under that tree in our home in Soshanguve on a Saturday afternoon.

Suddenly from the corner of my eye I see a child appearing. He was in front of the vehicle. Then from nowhere another car hit the child.

That was when I stood up to see whether he was okay. Nothing. Is he dead? Still nothing. This is a township on a Saturday afternoon and you can imagine everyone stopping whatever they were doing to see what was going on the side of the road. They were all now making their own assumptions about what could have happened and who was to blame.

Back to the child. Is he okay? Nothing. And then suddenly something. He is okay … he is alive. The driver got out of his car to check what the situation was like. I found that unusual as I thought most drivers would run after doing such, but maybe it’s because this one knew that he had done nothing wrong.

The child had sustained just a few bruises. The driver managed to locate his family and they quickly rushed the child to a clinic.

I was thinking to myself why can’t Venture drivers be that kind. But let’s not get side-tracked here.
Two days later the child’s wounds started swelling which surprised the parents because this child had received treatment from a professional health care worker. That baffled everyone as the results from a licensed nurse were supposed to be totally different from the result.

A question often raised by many is that health care workers do not do their jobs with professionalism that they used to. We see it all the time on TV and read about it on newspapers. Recenlty Gauteng Health and Social Development MEC, Qedani Mahlangu, was on Metro FM saying she is shocked by the lack of safety gear worn by nurses in hospitals. She even said she is tired of the myriad of uniforms she sees in some hospitals and promised that the nursing profession will return to its former glory with her at the helm of the health sector in the province. These statements were made after 17 babies died in two Gauteng hospitals.
Nurses often blame the state for not providing enough to help the patients. But I believe they should do the best they can no matter what the conditions are.

But with this in mind let me give a one-woman applause to those few good nurses, those who serve their patients with passion and patience, nurses who work tirelessly to put the lives of their patients before their own.

Let me again put my hands together for those few venture drivers out there who are considerate and treat their passengers and other road users with respect whilst abiding by the rules of the road.

Sosh Open Day Was Fun But More Marketing Needed

Pearl Nicodemus

Recently TUT Soshanguve held its open day and as always all department go all out to attract aspirant youngsters to enroll next year.

TUT, like most universities, no longer just gives information in the form of pamphlets and booklets to wannabe students. Most tertiary institutions go all out - from the advertising, marketing and even getting media personalities to come on board. All this is done in the name of getting the best of the best.
But there is a down-side to open days – some high school pupils who come are not even interested in being part of the university. They would be there for the occasional braai, music and dance sessions and to just have a good time away from home. There wasn’t a lack of that in Sosh either. Different teams – academic and social made sure that potential students would come to them for their dose of entertainment and information of course. There were even township street games being played just outside the Gencor Hall where the various departments had set up their stalls.

I also had fun with other students and lecturers at the journalism stall. The staff looked great in their white pin-striped shirts custom made especially for them by Boutique TUT. The questions we got from some of the learners were just classic, but at some point annoying. “So, will I get a job if I study journalism?” some would ask.

“Why do you want to do Journalism?” we would often ask and some responses were hilarious. The answers ranged from “Uhm ja is because of that I want to get the money you see” or “err, will TUT get the job for me in my third year.” One word of advice to everyone – research, research and more research. Oh don’t study for the sake of making money – do something you are passionate about and money will come to you that way.
With all that said, Sosh open day left much to be desired. We could blame it on the fact that most learners enroll after they’ve written their preliminary exams, bad marketing or the fact that other big tertiary institutions had theirs on the exact same day. Whatever the case may be, let’s just hope that the next one is bigger and better!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Pearl Nicodemus

The Student Journalism Association (SJA) organised yet another exciting guest lecturer this week.

The award winning editor of the Sunday Times’ Insight & Opinions section, Fred Vusi Khumalo, graced the aspirant journalists with his presence on 17 May 2010 at the Soshanguve Main Campus. Fred is also renowned for his rich literacy contribution to the arts. He has published numerous books such as the European Union Literary Award winning novel Bitches Brew, Seven Steps to Heaven and his riveting memoir Touch My Blood which has also been turned into a Market Theatre production.

His forthcoming book is called Life and Times of Jacob Zuma and he had to sit down for a chat with the president before writing it.

When he speaks Fred has amazing humility. He has a guy next door type of easiness which is similar to his satirical yet provocative style of writing. He made it quite clear to the students that he is not well acquainted with technology and prefers candid interaction with them.

As many of those he was talking to are under 21 and wouldn’t remember apartheid South Africa, Fred, spent a good thirty minutes explaining how working as a black reporter was in those days was. He said even being accepted into journalism school was quite a task as he had to get permission from education minister, FW de Klerk, to study at the white Technikon Natal. After getting that permission the university still refused him entry but he fought until he was accepted.

He said that experience and the political landscape of the country at the time shaped the kind of journalist he became. He said a major shock was when he arrived in Canada to work as a reporter in his twenties and found stories about cat rescues making it to the important page three. Now he had to change the stories he wrote and found that people of that country wanted light stories as well, unlike South Africa, Canada wasn’t burning.

image by wordpress                               Other salient issues that were dealt with were ethics in Journalism. Of course you cannot speak about ethics in Journalism and not mention the distressingly brilliant Kevin Carter photograph of a vulture waiting eagerly for an emaciated toddler to die before feeding on the little girl. While the photographer became a world renowned celebrity - he received tremendous criticism for taking the picture and not helping the child. The photographer’s explanation was that he had done his job and journalism comes before being a human being. This has since stirred up serious debates on media and Journalism ethics.

Fred also stressed that we as future journalists need to cover the unfolding stories of our country. He said it is our responsibility to understand the state of the nation, report on matters passionately but accurately. He also seemed excited to see a huge number of females studying journalism as it is a male dominated profession.

Then it was time for a question and answer session. These are just some of the questions asked.

Q: Is it more challenging to be a journalist now then it was during Apartheid?

Fred: Yes because political matters have become more complex. It is no longer a matter of black against white only.

Q: Are you ever criticised for your humorous approach when writing on serious issues?

Fred: You will constantly be criticised. When people stop criticising you as a journalist, you should be worried.

Students thoroughly enjoyed Fred’s visit and said the lecture was insightful and they liked the fact that he encouraged people to read and write more. There were however some who were not entirely satisfied with all his answers and especially the fact that he did not discredit journalists who left the field into other areas.

In spite of the diverse views the students have regarding the guest lecture, there is one common thread in the minds of all learners who were present - TUT always caters the Bests of the Best in the industry!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Done With The Punches - Now Looking Forward To Becoming A Teenage Mother

Zinhle Ndlangisa

Giving birth to a child is one of the most significant events in a woman’s life. Despite the pain and anxiety many women who view labour and childbirth as an exhilarating and empowering experience.

I now view myself as a woman and a mother rather than a teenage girl. Being pregnant has not always been roses and daisies for me and I’m certain that I’m not the first nor last to say that. But what I can say is that it certainly does take a lot of courage especially when you do not want to put your life on hold. This was obviously an unplanned event and as expected many different emotions were expressed, not only by me but also my partner, my parents, my family and friends. And as you can imagine none of these people made my pregnancy easy for me.

A lot of thoughts have come to me and I had to sit down and ask myself a few questions, make huge decisions and consider all possible consequences. But funny enough during this time all I could think about was the little human growing inside of me. How that one little thought brought great joy to my soul. It was truly amazing and very unbelievable. It was the acknowledgment and acceptance that I took from that day which made everything alright.

This journey is certainly thrilling, overwhelming and incredible. Such an experience cannot be based on theory, assumptions or opinion because one has to feel it to know it.

My little daughter does not know the joy she brings when she moves around inside me as she is stuck in a dilemma trying to decide between soccer and boxing as a future hobby. People don’t know the great things I wish for her - the love, care and protection I have stored in every muscle of my young body.

She’s not even out yet but already I’m protective of her, already hoping to make my huge contribution to the world so that the world could be a much better place for her. No-one knows the fears I have, the need and urge I have to always want to be there whenever she needs me. I don’t want her to ever be alone, she must never get scared or hurt by anything or anyone in this entire world. She has truly changed my mindset and has made me realise that I too am capable of such strong feelings. These are feelings I never thought I would have so early in my life.

I’m approximately seven months pregnant. This is not only the most scariest time due to the fact that I’m new to this, but it’s also a glorious time for me because I am almost there. I have been able to handle all the ‘punches’ thrown at me by her along with great times we shared without ever really meeting. I thank my daughter for giving me the opportunity to do this. I’m truly excited and very much blessed. I’m ready to become her mother, her best friend and provider. Yoh I’m so in love and I thank my Great Lord for such an event. I’m truly thankful.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Online Shopping - TUT Style

Pearl Nicodemus

I am convinced. If you want to survive for three years on campus without being stripped naked, then this is your stationery list:

• A knife
• A gun
• A bullet proof vest
And lastly but certainly not least:

• Install a tracker or optionally a waterproof surveillance camera on all your clothes so that even if they are stolen off the washing line, you are able to retrieve them.

A week ago, my clothes where stolen off the washing line. Yes - such things do happen in a tertiary institution that claims to be ‘the University of Technology’ but is filtered with just security guards with two eyes instead of surveillance cameras around campus.

Ok, perhaps I am still bitter and I’m just looking for someone to blame. I am entitled, so indulge me for a second. I came back from class on that particular day and then immediately remembered that I haven’t removed my washing from the line. I’ve heard about this type of online shopping before but such things only truly bother you once they hit YOU directly.

Because of the inconsistent weather, I left it out to dry until late in the afternoon. I dashed outside and my fear had come to pass. My clothes were carefully picked out. All my jeans and two tracksuit tops. One of which I liked very much. Online shoppers had attacked me. I calmly removed the remaining few items like socks and pyjama pants off the line. At that point in time I was still in a bit of shock. Like most unemployed South Africans who are between jobs, one could say I was between emotions. However it didn’t take long before feelings of frustration and anger started brewing inside. I sent a “please call me” to everyone who mattered that night and of course mom was the first to call and console me.

I did consider taking a photograph of the few remaining items I found on the line but what are the chances I would return to my room with my camera.

NOW! Online shopping - is not a new phenomenon right? This incident probed me to research a little on why on earth people steal - Kleptomaniacs to be more precise. Kleptomania has been defined as a condition of not being able to resist the urge to collect or hoard things. People with this disorder are compelled to steal things, generally, but not limited to, objects of little or no significant value, such as pens, paper clips, and tape. Some kleptomaniacs may not even be aware that they have committed the theft.
Such people according to me are just people who jut cannot think further than their stomachs who steal just because they can. Or blame their idiocy on lack.

So beware. The cutie next to you could be a ‘klepto’.

DID YOU KNOW: The great Albert Einstein suffered from kleptomania.
Can you find other famous people who could not fight the urge to just TAKE, TAKE, TAKE?

Going Home Is Always Good

Pearl Nicodemus

On Saturday morning around 6 ‘flippen’ AM. I was rudely woken up by people singing and chanting joyous melodies. I stepped out of my room to see what the happiness was about and I found people having loud conversations in the corridors - about nothing really. They all had a glow in their eyes. But it was still bizarre to me as students often don’t want to be woken up at 6 on a Saturday morning.

Even that horrible girl who never greets anybody was smiling at me. She actually greeted and that made me genuinely confused.

Just when I thought the excitement had subsided, later that night I heard people screaming their lungs out and running outside. There seemed to be a mob singing and approaching our residence area again. Of course this is not a new phenomenon when you’re living on res here. So I opened my curtain only to find that it was just a group of people who where happy to go home. They were chanting and dancing with beer bottles in hand.

It’s amazing how excited students from outside the Gauteng province get when they are going home. If going home does this to people, then I perhaps people should go home more often.

But from what they say when they get back, they often get bored quite quickly there but seeing parents, especially if you haven’t seen them is a while, is always a great feeling.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Man Brutally Murdered While Many Celebrate Holidays

Tlaki Baloyi

Soshanguve police are investigating the brutal murder of a man whose body was found in the township’s Block V, extension 1.

The man was murdered while millions of South Africans were celebrating their Easter holidays in various parts of the country.

The body was discovered by a middle aged man who was walking home from the fields on the third of April at about 6 in the morning. He alerted other residents who called the police. On close inspection it is evident that the scarred body was tortured severely. The man’s shirt was also full of blood. One of his fingers was cut.

The man’s driver’s license was still in the wallet but there was no money inside which gave an indication that he could have been mugged. Some of his family members believe his murder was a result of a hijacking.