WITS VUVUZELA WINS!!!!!!!!!

THE WINNERS OF THE VICE CHANCELLORS TEAM AWARD FOR TRANSFORMATION: THE WITS VUVUZLA TEAM OF 2013 #TEAMVUVU

THE WINNERS OF THE VICE CHANCELLORS TEAM AWARD FOR TRANSFORMATION: THE WITS VUVUZLA TEAM OF 2013 #TEAMVUVU

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.

 

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Mia speaks of miracle Kruger

Dr Ridwan Mia at the Golden Key event last night in the Great Hall after his talk about Pippie Kruger. Photo: Prelene Singh

Dr Ridwan Mia at the Golden Key event last night in the Great Hall after his talk about Pippie Kruger. Photo: Prelene Singh

Dr Ridwan Mia, who is credited with saving the life of a three year burn victim, spoke about his personal journey at Wits yesterday.

Mia, who has achieved national fame as a result of his work with ‘Pippie” Kruger, was speaking at a symposium organised by the Golden Key Society.

“When she first came to the hospital we used to call her the ‘Michelin Baby’ as she was so huge with all the bandages.”

Mia was the last of a group of illustrious speakers, including Penny Heyns and Prof Meyersfeld, who left the audience with a sense of positivity and the realisation about the change a single person can make in someone’s life.

Using graphic images on a presentation Mia talked the audience  through Pippie’s surgery from the time she was first brought to the hospital. He contrasted these with photos of her now which clearly showed the remarkable change.

Mia said: “When she first came to the hospital we used to call her the ‘Michelin Baby’ as she was so huge with all the bandages.”

Three year-old Pippie was severely burnt in an accident at home when hot braai gel landed on her entire body and burnt through her skin and her fatty tissue. 80% of her body was burnt.

Mia explained that this happened when she was two and a half years old, on New Years Eve of 2011. It took her four hours to get to the hospital after she had been burnt and a gruelling six months of intensive surgery to stabilize her.

Pippie was put under anaesthetic an astounding 52 times and went into cardiac arrest 5 times before doctors managed to resuscitate her.

Mia said: “Her mom was very distressed through the process but later she became a very strong woman. Her dad, who is a professional hunter, was consumed with guilt and trauma and need psychology during the process.”

Mia performed a ground breaking surgery in medicine when he was the first doctor to use cloned skin in Africa.

“We had to apply to the department of Health to deport skin,” said Mia. Two pieces of Pippie’s skin each sized 2 x 6 cm was sent to the Genzyme Laboratories in the states where they have machinery which is able to clone skin to 10 000 times its size.

“It was an emotional journey for me and the family and there was times when we had to stop surgery because it became too much.”

Mia explained that this process alone was difficult because transporting the skin back to South Africa was stressful as the skin is only usable within 24 hours. Mia said: “We put the skin on Pippie with no less than 15 minutes to spare. “

Although Pippie constantly shows signs of further improvement, in the future she will be at high risk of cancer, she cannot be exposed to the sunlight and she cannot be a donor of any kind. However, she is can now walk, talk and recognise faces. “She will continue to recover,” said Mia.

After this long journey with the Kruger family Mia said: “It was an emotional journey for me and the family and there were times when we had to stop surgery because it became too much.”

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Queers rough it up in an all-fun rugby match

A GAY OLD TIME: The winning team, Wits All Stars, with members of the Wham! team clap at the end of the game to celebrate a game well played.                                                                                             Photo: Prelene Singh

A GAY OLD TIME: The winning team, Wits All Stars, with members of the Wham! team clap at the end of the game to celebrate a game well played. Photo: Prelene Singh

THE QUEERS of Wits Pride 2013 and members of Wits Sport went head-to-head in an entertaining game of rugby, on Wednesday night at the Wits Rugby Club.

Wham!, an amateur mixed-gender, queer social rugby club, and the Wits All Stars, a team put together by Wits Sport, played a fun and exuberant game with the Wits All Stars winning 26-24.

The game was part of the Wits Pride campaign which was held on campus this past week. The aim of the match was to tackle prejudices against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and asexual (LGBTIA) people of the Wits community.

This epic square-off began weak as the Wham! team tried to get their footing. Wits All Stars came in strong with a leading score by half-time.

[pullquote align=”right”]“One of the aims of Wits Pride 2013 is to establish a safe campus community for all our students and staff. This is particularly important in light of the rising number of attacks on queer South Africans, especially lesbians and trans-women,”[/pullquote]

The second half saw the Wham! players score epic tries and some ambitious drop goals, which quickly made them fast and head-strong competitors.

The game was all in fun as it aimed to integrate people of queer identity with the rest of society. Wham! was created as an alternative space for queer, which includes LGBTIA, people to meet in a healthy social environment.

“Not only is Wham! comprised of members who identify as queer in some way, it is also comprised of players of all genders – none of whom are scared to go for the tackle,” said Transformation Office programme manager Ella Kotze.

The Wham! and Wits All Stars game took place amid the annual Wits Pride festivities, under the theme “Being Me”. Wits Pride is hosted by the Transformation Office.

“One of the aims of Wits Pride 2013 is to establish a safe campus community for all our students and staff. This is particularly important in light of the rising number of attacks on queer South Africans, especially lesbians and trans-women,” said Kotze.

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The art of afroculture

MAGICAL ILLUSIONS: Phumzile Sitole, BA theatre graduate from UCT in a timeless surreal space of dreams while performing the play Afrocartography at the Wits Theatre. Photo: Prelene Singh

MAGICAL ILLUSIONS: Phumzile Sitole, BA theatre graduate from UCT in a timeless surreal space of dreams while performing the play Afrocartography at the Wits Theatre. Photo: Prelene Singh

A stage performance called Afrocartography: Traces of places and all points in between launched at the Wits Theatre on Friday July 19, as part of its 30th birthday celebrations. Produced in conjunction with the Wits Repertory Company, the piece is billed as an explorative and truly African performance piece.[pullquote align=”right”]“Its new, fresh, exciting and poetic and a seminal work for every South African,”[/pullquote]

The main character is Traveller, who takes the audience on a mystical journey of self-discovery. The play takes its audience through a walking route around the Wits Theatre. “It serves as a walking metaphor to capture the essence of travelling, identity, location” as an African person, said co-director Khayelihle Dom Gumede.

Afrocartography carries overriding themes of migration in Africa. The experiences of black people who were faced with dislocation and its emotional consequences are depicted in the stage performance. The play incorporates issues faced by African people through the decades on this continent.

Phumzile Sitole, a graduate from UCT plays the role of Traveller and Tshego Khutsoane, a Wits graduate, plays the map maker who directs The Traveller in her journeys.

The performance is written by Mwenya B Kabwe. She co-directed the play with Gumede, who won the Emerging Theatres Directors’ bursary from the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts. Liya Gonga choreographed the performance.

Kabwe is a well-travelled, Zambian-born writer who has studied at many institutions in the UK and South Africa, including UCT. Gumede said the play was based on Kabwe’s journey in different parts of the world and it was her experiences that led her to “redirect her identity and her journey as a ‘politan’ of various kinds”.

The performance has been described as “Afropolitan” and as an alternative way of being in the world.

The play was first shown in Barcelona in 2009 and again in Cape Town, said Gumede. However, this was the first time it was having a full run. The play took seven weeks to produce, from rehearsal to performance night, said Gumede.

Audiences can expect a mixture of mystery, curiosity, humour and a suitcase of emotion. “Its new, fresh, exciting and poetic and a seminal work for every South African,” said Gumede.

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