Reflections of my life since Vuvuzela

First of all…apologies to my followers of this blog. I have been out of the scene for quite a while due to hectic transformations happening in my life. Here is an update of what has been going on in my world of journalism.

Wits Vuvuzela

I did not have time to write a my final post to the amazing class of 2013 of Wits Journalism…I will therefore wrap it all up into one post.

So I finished up my year at Wits Vuvuzela in November last year. While I knew the end would come one day….when it did…it felt way too soon.

It was the most amazing year of my life. The year that I fell in love with journalism. I met 16 very different people who I spent the year with. Through the process I learnt to understand them, I grew to love them and I adapted to work with them.

Each and every person including my lecturers’ all taught me something. Tears, laughter, screaming, singing, dancing, drinking, stress, deadlines and wanting to jump off the 11th floor of Senate House of Wits University with everyone with me is how I will forever remember this year.

My last year of being a student has ended and as sad and heart-wrenching as that is to swallow, it is the brutal truth. I could have not chosen or wanted a different way to spend my last year at varsity.

I wish each and every one of my classmates of 2013 the utmost best in the future endeavors, where it be in journalism or not. I hope you all end up doing what truly brings you joy. We made history at Vuvuzela and we were the best. The world of journalism definitely needs to prepare themselves for the amount of talent that is going to hit them next week when most of us will officially start work.

You all have bright futures ahead of you and I hope to meet you guys on the field together. I will miss all our laughter, singing and most of all twerking in the Vuvuzela newsroom.

To my lecturers’ thank you for all you taught me this year…education is priceless and without your guidance, I would not be as “wise” as I am now.

Eyewitness news

I have started work at Primedia at EWN and have been here for the past month. A shock to the system might be an understatement. This is the real world okay and wow have we been thrown in the deep end.

As my boss told me on the first day “You will be thrown in the deep end, try not to drown.”
I am glad to report that I have not drowned.

This place is full of senior reporters who are excellent at their work and the passion that flows through their veins for journalism is kind of unreal.

Radio is predominantly what I have been working on, mainly for 702 Talk Radio, 94.7 Highveld Stereo in Johannesburg and 567 Cape Talk in Cape Town and Kfm.

Yesterday I got a the load down on how the EWN website works…I must say that WordPress is much simpler.

I still have a whole year to spend at this place, but for right now I am trying to dig myself out of a very big hole from underneath all this experience in this newsroom. I do hope I get there someday today.

Final thoughts

Being and living in the “real world” is tough and its hard and its tiring but its what has to be done.

Cheers to upward mobility, happiness and progress!

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.

 

[GALLERY]: Witsies bowling each other out

MEN IN BLUE:  Strikers B and the Sons of Pitches played it out on Tuesday night at the Wits Cricket pitch. The Sons of Pitches won with four wickets to spare after Strikers B made 167 runs in their innings. The round-robin match was part of the Wits Internal League. All the players in this league are Witsies from different campuses.  It was an all-fun game with players who registered to be part of the internal league. There are 14 teams who compete in the league with each playing three games. One game is played per week.  Quarter finals will take place at Walter Milton B pitch this Sunday.

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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Tuks are Varsity Football champs

Fans who showed up for epic finale of the Varsity Football Challenge at Pretoria. Fans from both NMMU and UP-Tuks were in abundance on the stands. Photo: Provided.

Fans who showed up for epic finale of the Varsity Football Challenge at Pretoria. Fans from both NMMU and UP-Tuks were in abundance on the stands. Photo: Provided.

After 31 matches, 87 goals and 23 wins, Tuks came out on top with a 4-1 win in the final game against the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University last night.

It was an explosive finale to the inaugural Varsity Football challenge. Out of the eight teams who participated in the 2013 Varsity Football challenge the two remaining teams, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) went head-to-head with Tuks from the University of Pretoria in the final.

NMMU, otherwise known as the Madibaz, had a solid defence in the first half of the game. They put their bodies on the line in an attempt at good defense against the home team.

With an atmospheric kick-off for the home team, Tuks plunged their way into dominating ball possession in the first 20 minutes of the game. The Madibaz probed on the edges, and by the 15 minute of the game all the jittery nerves had become a thing of the past.

Tuks tried hard to turn all their defences into attacks and in the 20th minute, defender Lawrence Ntswane opened up the scoring lines by executing a perfect header straight into the goal post. Madibaz goalie Lyndsay Jennings had no chance at stopping the ball just creeping in.

The Madibaz saw their best moment of attack in the first half when centrefold Lukhanyo Rasmeni from Port Elizabeth chanced a direct shot at goal, however with a disappointing result.

To end the first half off perfectly, 22 year-old defender Claudio Barreiro scored the second goal for Tuks in the 44th minute of the game.

Evangelos Vellios, coach for Tuks said: “It’s very pleasing and a wonderful thing that has happened for SA rugby and it’s a nice step from school level to professional level.”

The second half saw the Madibaz return with fighting spirits with quick and nippy kicks and clear strategy for goal attack.

Although Madibaz came back with fighting spirits they were unable to prevent Tuks from scoring their third goal in the 72nd minute of the game. Mbogeni Masilela pushed Tuks to a well deserved three goals. Masilela has scored a total of three goals himself in this tournament.

NMMU decided to make their first change of the game. Alexander Owusu was sent to the bench with number 25 Bradley Peterson replacing him.

Peterson, watching out for the counter attack along with Leroy van Rensburg, a player who was underestimated, together with a joint effort managed to score the first the goal for NMMU in the 77th minute of the game.

Although the Madibaz came back fighting, Tuks brought the game home on their own turf when Masilela once again performed his magic, and with effortless pace and shot the fourth goal for Tuks perfectly into the post in last minute of the game.

The post-match ceremony saw trophies being handed to the champions by Dennis Mumble, Professor Julian Smith and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Player of the Tournament was “Scara” Mnyamane from NWU Mafikeng and man of the match was Jarryd van der Berg who said: “ We pulled something out of the hat and we definitely saved the best for last.”

Tristyn Coetsee, goalkeeper for Tuks won the Debonairs Dynamite Goalkeeper prize and the Samsung Super Striker went to Niven Kops from NMMU who said: “We are going back to the drawing boards.”

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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.

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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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