For everyone who has been following my blog, you will have noticed that much of my posts involved sexual harassment at Wits University. These were stories my team and I wrote about which helped created awareness about this issue but to also promote change in institutional policy at the university.

A few minutes ago we received an email notifying us that  #teamvuvu 2013 has just been awarded the Vice Chancellor‘s team award for transformation.

We are a team of 17 student journalists who run the campus newspaper as well as studying journalism theory as part of our honours course. It is a great honour to have won this award and moreover right in the beginning of our careers as up and coming journalists.

We will be presented with our award on Friday night at the annual Council dinner. Thanks to all our lecturers’ and all the people who supported our ideas and judgement’s during the coverage of sexual harassment this year.  It was a fabulous and exciting year in the Wits Vuvuzela newsroom.

It is the most rewarding feeling when you receive recognition for the work you have done and just to know that we created a change in institutional policy by our investigative journalism, the feeling is untouchable.


Staff whistleblowers slammed

“Several staff members, who encourage students to report their experiences of sexual harassment, have been victimised by the university.”

This was the damning assessment of the treatment of staff members who attempted to blow the whistle on sexual harassment at Wits, as detailed in a report released last week.

The report revealed that Wits staff members felt “sidelined, marginalised” and “silenced” by the university.
These staff members have indicated that they felt like “unprotected whistle-blowers.”

The perpetrators of sexual harassment often accused whistleblowers of participating in a “conspiracy” against them.

“Staff members who have attempted to assist with sexual harassment in the past, have experienced humiliation and silencing by roleplayers, and in some cases been actively labelled by fellow staff-members for causing trouble,” read the report.

According to the report, the “roleplayers” at Wits include the Legal Office, the Employment Relations Office, the Transformation Office, the sexual harassment advisor, Campus Control, Campus Health and university management.

Some staff members interviewed in the report complained that the university did not take a “proactive stance” on sexual harassment and did not deal with the issue.

“For example, in one case, a staff member has reported that a contract worker in partnership with the university has, on numerous occasions, aggressively targeted female staff,” read the report.

“Although this has been reported, to date nothing has been done from the university’s side, and as a result, there has been a high turnover rate of female staff in that department, who simply cannot work under such conditions.”

The report notes that ordinary staff members were at the “coalface” of sexual harassment as students being victimised are more likely to turn to them for help.

Because of this, staff should be constantly trained and supported in their dealing with student complaints of harassment.

Related articles: 

[GALLERY]: The visit to the first lady’s house

Towards the end of last term me and two of my colleagues decided to Visit Fatima Habib’s house in Saxonworld.

This was before she and the Habib family were renovating Savernake for them to move into. Fatima is as outspoken and spontaneous as her husband Adam. We got look through the house and see the beautiful decor, which is unique to the Habib style.

Photos of her two sons and Adam was displayed throughout the house. Fatima told us about her personal life and her professional life as well as how it felt to be the first lady of Wits University.

[STORIFY]: Habib tackles Town Hall

Vice Chancellor, Adam Habib held a Town Hall today at Wits University. People gathered at the Great Hall to ask Habib burning questions they needed answers to.

Follow the link below to read the full storify.


BREAKING: Fired sex pests named

Some content on this page was disabled on October 21, 2015 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Anjali Sharma. You can learn more about the DMCA here:


The hours of darkness spent in study areas

Sleeping students in Wartenweilerlibrary at about 4amWhile the university administration defends its right to renovate its Savernake residence, for millions of rands, students continue sleeping in the libraries as winter rapidly approaches.

The ongoing problem of students sleeping in libraries has not been resolved yet even though the news has recently been in the mainstream media.

Meanwhile the students are playing musical chairs ducking and diving from security.

When Wits Vuvuzela camped out in Wartenweiler library last week till 9pm to see if students can hide out in the library, we found that students can dodge security and sleep under desks and in toilets till the next morning. A security guard, who chose to be anonymous, verified this.

The Wartenweiler library closes at 9pm and only the 24-hour section is open.

Prof Tawana Kupe, Deputy Vice Chancellor for finance and operations said students could not sleep or stay in the library after it has closed because the library is fully alarmed. Kupe said he had not received any reports of wrongdoing in the library.

President of the SRC, Sibulele Mgudlwa, said he had seen students sleeping in Wartenweiler, Commerce, Law and Management (CLM) 24-hour section, CLM FNB, Wits Science Stadium and at CNS. Mgudlwa said: “Everyone is aware of this problem and no one is willing to assist in resolving it”.

SRC seeks to identify people sleeping in libraries and direct them to the assistant Dean of CLM, Pam Townsend and the University Registrar or the Dean of Students, Prem Coopoo.

The SRC said it did not have funds to help students with accommodation.

A 2nd year LLB, Craig Gumbo who has witnessed sleeping students in libraries said, “A white student used to sleep in the printing room every night. He used the same clothes and carried washing powder with him”.

“These students can’t afford accommodation or they’re being squandered for their money,” said Gumbo.

In a media briefing held to address the issue of Savernake contrasted to the problem of homeless students, Adam Habib, incoming Vice Chancellor said, “These two issues need to be addressed separately” and “it is unfortunate to put the two together.”

“We will try our utmost best to identify, intervene and assist these students.”

Kupe said in a newsletter: “In this budget, Wits will spend about R65-million from its own coffers on financial aid and scholarships (up from R59 million in 2012), in addition to administering over R162 million in National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding and other bursaries and scholarships.”

The university administration did not give any concrete ideas about how it would solve the problem of the homeless students.