In-depth day 17: Happy helpers and bloody footprints

TAKE FIVE: Another taxi selfie as we headed back to Wits before a Highveld thunderstorm hit. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

TAKE FIVE: Another taxi selfie as we headed back to Wits before a Highveld thunderstorm hit. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

Today was spent with part of my group Rofhi, Bongi and Kudzai. I wasn’t 100% prepared for a trip to Yeoville leaving my takkies at home and my hat in the car.

As we scoured Yeoville for someone buying dreadlocks and having them twirled in for Rofhi’s video. As our day went on our hopes began to dwindle until we saw two ladies on Raleigh Street having their dreadlocks put in. One had just started and the other was going to start – Miss Shirley who was in the process of bartering for some new dreads.

We stopped them both and their hairdressers and luckily they were happy to be filmed. We filmed Miss Shirley continuing to barter for her dreads and the decision on what she wanted. We then filmed the start of the process and interviewed both her and the hairdresser.

The other lady made us laugh, “why do you leave these projects for the last minute?” She said half joking/half chastising us. After explaining how we’d been here for three weeks she finally said we could film the process.

Bongi went to help Kudzai with her stuff at the police station while I assisted Rofhi with sound and an “outsiders perspective” with filmin the hairdressers and their dreadlock patrons. We met a mom and her two small kids – a boy and girl who were fascinated with the cameras and how they worked. We showed them pictures and let them look and listen to the pictures and sound. It was super cute.

BLOODY SHOE: My flip-flop just after stepping into a "puddle" of blood in Yeoville - Yuck! Photo: Ilanit Chernick

BLOODY SHOE: My flip-flop just after stepping into a “puddle” of blood in Yeoville – Yuck! Photo: Ilanit Chernick

As we went to meet the other girls, I wasn’t watching my step and somehow managed to walk through a “puddle” of blood… yes blood. Once we got to the police station I had a mild freak out when I saw it all over my flip-flop and some on my foot. I got disinfectant and went into the bathroom of the police station – doing everything in my power not to touch it with my bare hands.

Talk about disgusting…

Once cleaned and after a short food break, Rofhi and I went to interview a lovely Rastafarian about what he thinks about the commercialisation of dreadlocks – a strong spiritual sign of the Rastafarian culture. I met his little son and had a lot of fun running around with him in the garden. We kept making funny faces and playing games with my “Highveld Lions” cap in-between doing the sound of course.

After a lovely chat where he also explained to me the connections between Jews and Rastafarian’s we headed back to Raleigh Street to film the progress and conclusion of the hairdressers and their patrons.

Our Rastafarian friend escorted us back there with his son as he didn’t feel it was “safe” to be walking around two girls alone.

We took our final shots and as the storm clouds began to gather, we realised it was time to head back or face a rain shower – all our equipment in hand. We ran to catch a taxi (my fifth one!) and made it back just before the storm hit.

Lots of walking, lots of little adventures and quite a few laughs later and an awesome partner in crime like Rofhi… all I can say is:

I’m exhausted!

Good night 🙂

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In-depth day 7: Keep rolling

VIEWPOINT: On our way out of Yeoville today we came across an incredible view of Joburg from a hilltop. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

VIEWPOINT: On our way out of Yeoville today we came across an incredible view of Joburg from a hilltop. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

Well I can finally say that filming has commenced. Albeit I only did a bit but at least it’s a start.

The morning started off with a visit to Yeoville with Kudzai and Rofhi. We headed to the police station to meet a source of Kudzai’s and afterwards headed towards the market area to meet my other Jewish interviewee.

As we walked we spotted the scary guy that had made a move on Rofhi last week and low and behold he tried to make a move on me but I had learned my lesson from last week so we got away quickly before he could get too close to me – Kudzai pulled me away from him and I refused to answer when he tried to ask my name.

“He’s not right in the head that one,” said a man behind us, “Stay away from him.”

I headed towards the block of flats where the Jewish man I hoped to meet stayed. As we got to the building I saw a white man standing on the steps. I suspected that was my man and proceeded to go up to him.

“Hi, I’m looking for Morris,” I said shyly.

“That’s me, who’s asking?” He replied.

I explained what I was doing and who I was and he seemed very receptive. The only spanner in the works is that he won’t let me film him.

“I’m okay with recording but no cameras.”

I realised I would have to incorporate his voice as a voice-over at some point during my video. He seemed like a friendly and an interesting fellow to meet. I was excited to hear his story.

“Call me anytime, come visit. I like chatting – not interviews.” He said with a smile.

So the plan is to try see him tomorrow afternoon.

After a successful trip to Yeoville, we headed back to Wits. We got back at around 1.30pm. I needed to get back early because I had a meeting at the Jewish Charity organisation where Kosher Mobile Meals operates from. The plan was to to video some of the packing process and to speak with the organiser. I was set to meet her at 2.15pm.

I discovered that Kosher Mobile Meals focuses on supplying meals to people who are older, living in places like Yeoville and Berea and are unable to cook proper, healthy meals for themselves.

AMAZING WORK: Volunteers at Kosher Mobile Meals home cook and fill over 160 trays of food for the patrons they supply across Yeoville, Hillbrow, Berea and the Joburg CBD. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

AMAZING WORK: Volunteers at Kosher Mobile Meals home cook and fill over 160 trays of food for the patrons they supply across Yeoville, Hillbrow, Berea and the Joburg CBD. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

“We are not a typical charity organisation that looks after the poor in the community – there are other organisations for that. We look after those who are older, live alone and are unable to cook for themselves.” Said the main organiser.

After interviewing her, filming the volunteers who pack the food and the food packing process itself, I decided it was time to call a day.

The charity organisation is next door my old school and I felt I couldn’t be right there and not make a quick stop off to say hi to all my old teachers and friends on the staff.

A busy day but fun over all! I am exhausted!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s special episode of in-depth: filming the Igbo Jews and a meeting with a female member of the tribe.

“Everything else follows success”

*Featured in Wits Vuvuzela: ‘Everything else follows success’

DREAM IT: Gwinyai Dube was able to soar to great heights at Wits through belief in himself. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

Southern Africa’s first black South African Debating Champion, Gwinyai Aubrey Dube, has been successfully elected onto the SRC.

And as a new member, Dube wants “Witsies to realise that we are all a community”.

“Students need to understand their fellow Witsies, not just tolerate them. We can help the larger Wits community if we come together and deal with the issues facing students, staff, cleaners and workers on campus.”

He said he wanted to encourage students to understand the responsibility and weight “we have on our shoulders. We have a huge role to play in the world”.

Dube, Politics and International Relations Honours, believes he can “encourage students to understand transformation at Wits instead of just tolerating it” through his position on the SRC.

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela about his debating win earlier this year, he said he was “initially focused on winning for Wits, but not winning as a black man”.

“I didn’t realise how important this win was for me was until one of my teammates pointed out that I was the first black male to win such a tournament in South Africa.”

Dube is also the first black Zimbabwean to win such a tournament and this made him a bit of a celebrity in the country.

He decided to run in this year’s SRC election because he wanted to create an “effective SRC”.

Dube made it into the finals of the South African Debating Championship in Botswana, with his speaking partner, Saul Musker (who was part of the international winning team in Thailand). Dube ultimately won the tournament for Wits.

His debating career began in grade seven when his teacher asked him to debate a number of issues.

“From there, I just knew it was something I wanted to pursue. I got into debating in high school but we didn’t take it seriously.”

“Her death shaped me because, before she died, she continuously encouraged me to have faith in my abilities.”

When he got to university, the Wits Debating Union (WDU) was one of the first things he looked into. He immediately joined up and started working his way into competitions.

Dube has overcome many challenges to become a success at Wits. He experienced his parents’ “messy divorce” when he was five, which forced his family to move around a lot.

“Eventually we settled on a family farm just outside of Harare where I lived with my mom’s sister and 12 of my cousins.”

The farm was 30km from his school in Harare and Dube would wake up at 4am to get to school on time.

When Dube was 17 his mother got sick. She realised Dube was going to need his father, even though Dube and his father “had a rocky relationship” at the time. She encouraged them to re-connect.

Just before he left Zimbabwe to come to Wits, Dube’s mother passed away.

“It made me re-evaluate things. I decided to take a gap year. Her death shaped me because, before she died, she continuously encouraged me to have faith in my abilities. We were best friends.”

Dube said both the divorce and his mother’s death forced him to “grow into his own character”. It taught him how to treat women, and he hoped his relationships would never resemble his parent’s marriage.

“Everything else follows success”, a saying his father taught him, has stuck with him throughout his time at university. “My dad’s words inspire [me] every day, together with the faith my mom always had which lives within me.”

He has a message for fellow Witsies: “Success is only limited by how far you can dream.”

 

Ready to Rocktober

*Featured in Wits Vuvuzela: Ready to Rocktober

For the first time in its eight year history, the “Rocktober” Ultimate Frisbee Championship will be held at Wits University.

The competition will take place on 3-5 October.

The Voodoo Kudus, the Wits Ultimate Frisbee team, will host and compete in South Africa’s second biggest Ultimate Frisbee competition. Sixteen teams from all over South Africa will be playing, including some of the top national teams from Cape Town.

This is the second time the Voodoo Kudus will be playing in Rocktober. Their debut was at last year’s championship, which was held in Randburg.

“There’s going to be some tough competition,” said Voodoo Kudu member, Kristen Bishop.

“But we’re just striving for team synergy and to do our best in all the games we play.”

According to Bishop, the team is lucky to host this year’s competition and it was thanks to their chairperson Sally Crompton, who had pushed to bid for Wits to host.

“There’s going to be some tough competition,”

The South African Flying Disk Association (SAFDA) has been actively involved in encouraging university students to participate in Ultimate Frisbee because, they say, it is a prestigious sport, rapidly gaining momentum around the country.

“It’s not just a game,” said Bishop. “It’s a community, and a sport like this could help build connections and communities in South Africa.”

Crompton and Bishop told Wits Vuvuzela that the recent hat tournament sparked interest in the sport and for the first time in Voodoo Kudu history they were able to enter two teams into the competition.

Bishop enthused: “When people see how skilled the game is and how much athletics and knowledge is needed, it entices competition and makes you want to take part.”

Students are encouraged to support the Voodoo Kudus in the tournament, when the games start between 8am and 5pm on Saturday October 4 and between 8am and 3pm on Sunday October 5 on the Bozzoli B field, the Walter Milton Cricket Oval and in the rugby stadium.

The Voodoo Kudus will also host an open party at the Bozzoli Pavilion from 6pm on Saturday night, October 4.

Wits SRC on the edge

*Featured in Wits Vuvuzela: Wits SRC on the edge

 

IT’S PYA DAY: Project W’s Jamie Mighti (left) attempts to argue a point to PYA member and former SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa (right) after Project W walked out of the SRC’s fi rst meeting over the selection of portfolios. Mgudlwa attempted to bring Project W back to the meeting. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

The abrupt end of the new SRC’s first meeting, which climaxed with a dramatic walkout by Project W who accused the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) of being “illegitimate and undemocratic”, followed a week of behind-the-scenes battles over positions on the new council.

Project W walked out during the vote for new portfolios, which they said were decided without their input by the PYA—who have a majority of the seats on the new SRC.

The vote carried on with PYA member Mcebo Dlamini being elected as the new SRC president.

However, while the PYA presented a united front at the SRC meeting, the decision to select Dlamini and other SRC executive committee members was far from unanimous.

“There are also older comrades in the PYA who influence the decisions on the presidential candidate and the executive committee. The process is increasingly frustrating,”

Wits Vuvuzela spoke to leaders in the PYA, who confirmed the alliance struggled to make a decision on who should be elected to the important executive positions. All the PYA leaders requested anonymity because they were not authorised to speak on internal alliance politics.

According to one PYA leader, there was a struggle to decide between three presidential choices, Dlamini, Amogelang  Manganyi, and Senzekahle Mbokazi with disagreement over their different levels of experience and ability to carry out their duties.

Some PYA members believed Dlamini was the strongest candidate because of his position as Wits Junction chair despite a controversy earlier this year over his false claim to be a member of the prestigious Sisulu family.

“People want Mcebo despite controversies surrounding him in the Sisulu question,” the PYA leader said.

According to this PYA leader, Mangayani’s suitability as a SRC president was questioned because he is currently a fifth-year medical student and would face time constraints next year that would affect his ability to meet presidential duties.

This process of selecting executive members of the SRC was made more complicated by senior PYA leaders outside the current SRC attempting to influence the selection of positions.

“There are also older comrades in the PYA who influence the decisions on the presidential candidate and the executive committee. The process is increasingly frustrating,” the PYA leader said. He declined to name the senior PYA members involved.

However, a second PYA leader interviewed by Wits Vuvuzela denied that lobby groups within the alliance had been allowed to form.

“The PYA don’t squabble,” the second PYA leader said, “We meet as a collective. Those members with experience try to advise or give opinions when choosing candidates for exec or president but things change all the time.”

However, this PYA leader admitted the alliance had little control groups and friends within the PYA who form “behind closed doors” and who have decided on backing their own candidates.

“But we call all members of the PYA together to decide who should be presidential candidate. We decide and solve these issues together,” the PYA leader said.

The walkout

The politicking within the PYA ended with Wednesday’s meeting and the walkout by Project W.

Wits Vuvuzela had initially been denied access to the portfolio meeting. However, after a short conference between Project W’s Jamie Mighti and outgoing SRC president Shafee Verachia she was allowed in “as a student” so long as she put away her camera and voice recorder.

The meeting was held in Senate House and chaired by Verachia. It was attended by 14 of the 15 newly elected SRC members. Also in attendance were representatives from other Wits student councils and three members of the current SRC.

The meeting was also attended by former SRC and PYA members Sibulele Mgudlwa, Joyce Phiri and Tshepo Ndlovu, Ntshembo Vuma and Thabang Ntshanana. A Project W member, Zuhayr Tayob, was also in attendance.

The meeting first voted for the executive positions, including president, with PYA members taking the top five slots with little protest from Project W.

“What do they expect me to do, teach yoga?”

However, 20 minutes into the meeting an argument erupted during a debate over portfolios. Both the PYA and Project W had proposed new portfolios for the SRC and motivated for them during the meeting.

Verachia then moved to have a vote on the portfolios, however Mighti objected saying there should be an open debate over the proposed portfolios before the vote.

Verachia responded that both organisations had already motivated for the proposed portfolios and further debate was not needed.

After another brief exchange between the participants, Verachia again moved for a vote resulting in the Project W members gathering their belongings and walking out of the meeting.

“We walked out because it was an illegitimate forum. They are not allowed to dictate positions to us, and this was an unjust abuse of power,” Mighti said.

Verachia adjourned the meeting after the walkout and Mgudlwa unsuccesffuly attempted to convince the Project W members to return to the meeting.  Verachia then cited SRC rules governing meetings and reconvened the meeting with the remaining SRC members.

“The PYA have chosen to dictate positions to us instead. Positions which we will not agree too because they are redundant white elephants which is a betrayal to students’ needs,” Mighti said.

Mighti, who was made the Campus Wellness officer, said his position was redundant because there were already university structures to help student health.

“What do they expect me to do, teach yoga?” he asked.

Mighti said they would lay a complaint about the meeting with university authorities. Failing that, they would seek an interdict at the South Gauteng High Court to overturn the outcome of the meeting.

Vice-chancellor Prof Adam Habib said he was “gathering information” about the situation.

Verachia said the PYA were preparing a statement in response to Project W’s walkout and subsequent accusations. However, it had not been sent to Wits Vuvuzela as of our print deadline.

Remember Remember that Fateful September

LEST WE FORGET: Memorial of 9/11 taken on September 11, 2013. Photo: CNN

LEST WE FORGET: Memorial of 9/11 taken on September 11, 2013. Photo: CNN

Do you remember? Do you remember?
that fateful September?
September 11 2001…
A shake, a shock, the world just stopped.

We looked to the sky
how could so many innocent’s die?
we did not sleep, we could not eat,
We only did cry…
So many bright souls, their lives forever on hold
We could not think of tomorrow –
So full of sorrow
we could not be consoled.

But then we saw
with a glimmering light
such true bravery was a great sight
Strength beyond measure,
love beyond leisure
Big and small
there were great Heroes galore
doing all they could to help those in mortal peril.
It restored faith in humanity, brought back our sanity

We prayed for peace, we cried for hope
we clung to life, full of a deep strife
Alas we will prevail for we are strong and full of gale
we do not bow to evil!
we will not bow to evil…
For it is said “woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness…”

we will remember…
we will never forget…
the countless lives stolen…
the many tears fallen.

Yes we do remember
Yes we will always remember
that tragic day
in that fateful September.

DESTRUCTION: Aerial view of the Pentagon after 9/11. Photo: Archive CNN

DESTRUCTION: Aerial view of the Pentagon after 9/11. Photo: Archive CNN

Students! Read between the lines

*Featured in Wits Vuvuzela: Students! Read between the lines

This week, the first student-run literary festival gave Witsies the opportunity to meet and engage with literary icons from around South Africa.

The Fine Lines festival at Wits, which was organised by the student council members of the School of Literature, Language and Media (SLLM) “is good news” for literary culture in South Africa. Poet Chris Mann emphasised this point and was also positive that this idea was “coming from students”.

Organisers Priyankha Thakur, Saul Musker and Nelisa Ngcobo said the Fine Lines literary festival aimed to “encourage students and upcoming writers to engage with literary experts” they would not usually have the opportunity to connect with.

Thakur said they hope to “create more interest among students in South African literature” through the festival.

“We wanted to create conversation between students and experts,” said Musker.

Wits English professor Michael Titlestad, who has spent 30 years working in education, thinks people should be encouraged to read genres they enjoy.

[su_pullquote]“If you really want to understand your own society, you need to read about [it] because that is how you learn.”[/su_pullquote]

“It’s important that students are encouraged to read whatever they like,” he said. “The sense of a high literary culture or the need for people to read things that are improving their intellect, their life and ethics is highly naive. We should simply encourage people to pursue their interests.”

World-renowned author Ivan Vladislavic told Wits Vuvuzela: “It’s hard to get students to engage with fiction and even harder to do so with South African fiction.”

With an estimated 14% of South Africans being active readers of fiction, the Department of Arts and Culture has expressed concern about literary culture amongst young people.

“It’s difficult for South African work to become visible. There is so much competition in literature from everywhere else. Students must keep themselves informed about what is out there,” Vladislavic said.

“If you really want to understand your own society, you need to read about [it] because that is how you learn.”

Writer Steven Boykey Sidley encouraged students to join online South African book clubs like The Good Book Appreciation Society to become familiar with and informed about South African authors, genres and literature.

Former books editor of the Sunday Independent, Maureen Isaacson, said events like the Fine Lines literary festival should become “common practice” among student communities.

“Why can we not have more dialogue, argument and discussion? We need to have events that are less arranged, because we can see that experts are willing to come in and share ideas about their books outside of book launches and festivals. It’s one of the best way to encourage reading.”

The festival, which ends today, coincides with National Book Week, which is still taking place around the country until September 8th.

Student run literary festival kicks off at Wits

*Featured in Wits VuvuzelaSTUDENT RUN LITERARY FESTIVAL KICKS OFF AT WITS

POETRY READ: World renowned poet Peter Horn reads an extract of one his poems to a captivated audience. Photo: Zelmarie Goosen

POETRY READ: World-renowned poet Peter Horn reads an extract of one his poems. Photo: Zelmarie Goosen

The Fine Lines literary festival was envisioned and organised by the student council members of the School of Literature, Language and Media (SLLM).

Students Priyankha Thakur, Saul Musker and Nelisa Ngcobo put the festival together to “create conversation” between students and experts.

Thakur told Wits Vuvuzela that they realised there was “a deficit in opportunity for events in our school”. They wanted “to create a place where students and upcoming authors could interact with experts” which they would not usually have the chance to connect with.

“It started off as this absurd idea while we were sitting on the floor outside an office in Senate House. We still can’t believe it came together.”

Musker said, “The festival is an open space in an intimate setting for interaction to take place.”

“We were a bit nervous initially but the staff within the SLLM were so helpful and willing to give us contacts. The poets and authors were so open to the idea of a student festival, it was really positive.”

World-renowned South African poets Koeropetse Kgositsile, Chris Mann and Peter Horn opened the festival with poetry readings in different forms which even included a lyrical poem sung by Mann.

Mann said, “The fact that this festival is coming from students is good news.”

Following the poetry readings a discussion about the life of poetry in the world was presented.

“There are poems for different times and moments. There is one poetry but hundreds of different types,” said Horn.

Kgositsile told the audience that “one has to get inside a poem to see how it connects with the outside world”.

The festival will be running until Friday, September 5th. Students can expect to see authors and poets like Antony Altbeker, Ivan Vladislavic, Mandla Langa, Shireen Hassim and the Botsotso Poetry group.

 

Wits fair showcases the variety of options for postgraduates

*Featured in Wits VuvuzelaWITS FAIR SHOWCASES THE VARIETY OF OPTIONS FOR POSTGRADUATES

FEEL THE BEAT: Marumba band Affiti entertain attendees at the post-grad fair. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

FEEL THE BEAT: Marumba band Mr. Affiti entertain attendees at the post-grad fair. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

Encouraging students to study further was no ordinary affair at this year’s Postgraduate Fair hosted outside the Wits Science Stadium. A marimba band, warm soup and fresh focaccia were just some of the side attractions to an event intended to showcase the best of postgraduate options at the university.

The fair which took place over Tuesday and Wednesday this week provided potential postgraduates the opportunity to talk to faculty members from across the university.

Veremia Moloi, who is studying a BA industrial psychology honours, said he was confused about his plans for next year.

LISTEN UP: Students interested in doing a post-grad in Accounting hear what's on offer. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

LISTEN UP: Students interested in doing a post-grad in accounting hear what’s on offer. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

“I wasn’t sure about my future and after attending today, I have a clearer idea of where I want to go. I found out that just because I studied psych, it doesn’t mean I have to go into it.”

BSc molecular biology student, Anza Thiba said: “I discovered that I’m not limited to molecular biology when furthering my studies.  I can even pursue business or education.”

Some Computer Science students said they came to find out their “options for the future” stressing that “knowing and furthering” their future “is an important aspect” for them.

Prof Mary Scholes, director of post graduate affairs emphasised that having a “post-grad qualification is a necessity” in the working world.

“It’s no longer seen as being over qualified,” she said, “we need to close the gap within South African economy where scarce skills are growing.”

Girls victorious in a guys debating world

*Featured in Wits Vuvuzela: GIRLS VICTORIOUS IN A GUYS DEBATING WORLD

FIRST WORD:  The women from the Wits Debating Union celebrate their triumphs. From left to right:  Jabulile Mabuza, Noluthando Yeni, Irene Mpofu, Angelinah Mofokeng and Catherine Seabe.                                                   Photo: Ilanit Chernick

FIRST WORD: The women from the Wits Debating Union celebrate their triumphs. From left to right: Jabulile Mabuza, Noluthando Yeni, Irene Mpofu, Angelinah Mofokeng and Catherine Seabe. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

FOR THE first time in its 15-year-old-history of competing, there are now eight women in the Wits Debating Union (WDU), or the Lions, as they are called.

The women debaters feel they can celebrate Women’s Day with tangible progress, having broken the traditional patriarchal past. However, another transition towards diversity is the fact that the union was once white dominated but is now fully multi-racial.

Chairperson Noluthando Yeni who feels debating has grown her confidence, quipped: “Men are looking for strong, intelligent women.”

BA student, Catherine Seabe, exclaims: “I feel like I can take over the world!”

All five girls joined their high school debating teams and decided to continue until university level. Angelinah Mofokeng, a first year BA Dramatic Arts student, said: “it was fun to come to Wits and find something other than the Arts to focus on”.

“Debating is a team sport. We don’t do it for individual achievement. We celebrate wins and losses as a team,” explained BSc student Jabulile Mabuza.
Yeni told Wits Vuvuzela that they don’t have any gender issues within the team because they train together and focus on “getting into the spirit” of debating as a “united front”.

“We definitely have a strong sense of pride being the only female members in the team but at the same time we have broken the gender barrier. We blend together like a family, nobody thinks they are better than the other.”

When it comes to relationships within the team, they stressed that the 22 male members are like brothers so they don’t see any “romantics” forming.

Some did say that they “enjoy flirting” with debating members from other universities at inter-university competitions.

Individual backgrounds and famous female figures have influenced some team members to be proud of their femininity and to create equality between genders.

IreneMpofu, a BComm LLB student was deeply influenced by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela who she viewed as “not defined by her gender but rather by her hard work in society”. Mabuza’s own background has inspired her both as a person and in her passion for debating.

“I’ve grown up in the rural areas and seen the wrongs within society, especially the disadvantages women have experienced. This has inspired me to change things. I believe in leaders without titles.”

Talking briefly about the WDU win at the South African Universities Debating Championship, all said they were proud to have seen three female debaters, including WDU’s Athi-Nangamso Nkopo make it to the finals.

It was the first time a win with women in the final had taken place. Yeni said they hope to encourage more young women Witsies to join the WDU through an all-women’s debating tournament happening later this year.

“We want women to be conscious about breaking the stereotypes and gender barriers. It’s all about making us females believe in each other,” she said.