Thandisawa Mazwai celebrated her 42nd birthday with a performance at Basseline to a women only audience. Men who didn’t subscribe to solely their primary gender of birth were also invited.
WHEN I was 17-years-old I published my first article on Destiny Online. The title for my article was ‘The unapologetic woman’. At the time, the talk and ideas around feminism or being “woke” were not a popular discourse to me and my generation. But after timeless tries at getting published, following a need to be heard and understood beyond the surface of being a teenager with great ambition, Destiny Online gave me the platform.
What inspired my words was the position in the world in which I found myself. As a young black woman living in “rainbow nation” South Africa, it became important that I speak from my experiences. And make public my insecurities about being socialised into these many boxes the world had prepared for me, before I could even spell or be acquainted with my agency.
I was a young girl at an all-girls school in the Eastern Cape who made it her business to be involved in every aspect of schooling life, from sports to music, arts and leadership. I wanted to do it all, but the setup of our world and the spaces we become socialised into didn’t really accommodate that. This kind of person was doomed to produce the reality of being a jack of all trades and master of none, a misguided soul with no clear plan or ambition. But what became constant with all that I did was my desire to empower young women and girls, not so much with talk, but written work and in practice, through
When I came into university, I tried to tame myself and divorced the young girl who was curious to know and experience it all. This only lasted me in my fresher year and it was in my second year
where I returned to what was more familiar to me. I became actively involved with Wits Sports, joined the Wits Citizenship and Community outreach program (WCCO) as Math and English tutor for learners in the Alexandra Township. It was also in this time that I merged my love for service and journalism, when I joined student leadership and Voice of Wits FM. Here I felt more fulfilled and through many talks with my lecturers I found an understanding to this colourful box I called my life. My experiences gave me a greater voice to how I believe students on campus should be.
As university students we are positioned in a place of privilege more than anything to access information, experiences and opportunity to learn from each other. And we ought to adopt inquiring minds and an openness to be fully present in every moment in our university journey. It would be unfortunate of us to pay the thousands we do, only to get out with a certificate of validation on our learned abilities from the lecture halls. Ours should be the extended mission of being pioneers, leaders and visionaries who are both purposeful and impactful wherever we exist. When I took on the journalism honours programme, I had a slight anxiety as a person who was politically aligned, a journalist and a student leader. I feared the same reception as that of ANN7 reporters. The idea that people would question the credibility of my work because of the anticipated conflict of interest concerned me.
But it was political activists and journalists such as Robert Sobukwe and Ruth First who helped me understand how journalism plays a good and important role in our democracy. I believe we need more public servants and journalists who push the agenda for a transparent and accountable government. As a student journalist and student leader, I believe I have a good and not necessarily perfect story to tell.
- Orginally published on Wits Vuvuzela : October 2017
Over 400 people turned up at the Braamfontein offices of the Gauteng department of public works on Monday October 9, to apply for 45 cleaning posts.
The department had advertised the vacancies at Johannesburg’s courts a week earlier.
“Public works is a custodian to all government buildings,” said Coreen Nyapisi from the provincial human resources department. “So 45 posts became available at 10 courts around Johannesburg. The vacancies were available as a result of untimely deaths and resignations from previous workers.
“There is no strict period or time where posts are available. It happens as and when the need arises,” said Nyapisi.
On public perceptions that the government does not employ people who apply through formal processes such as responding to adverts, Nyapisi, who said she had been working in HR “for years”, said that was a false impression.
“We do open posts and take on the formal employment process, no backdoors are used. I work and am part of the process, so I can speak from experience within my sector. We published and made notices which we put in all courts and, through word of mouth, made known the availability of the posts. The applicants are given a choice to apply to a specific court or to all 10 courts,” said Nyapisi
The applicants who were in the queue were hopeful about their prospects.
Candice Buso (27) who is from Orlando West in Soweto, said she heard of the vacancies from her neighbour. “I have been unemployed for a year and have two sons who are dependent on me.” She said that although she had never heard of anyone who had applied getting a post, she was hopeful that she may get a job.
Buso, who has a matric qualification, described looking for employment as a “daunting and difficult process. I have no choice but to keep trying, and I will take whatever it is that they give me, just to support my children”.
Nyapisi said the issue of unemployment, more so of young people in the country, was a big issue. “We get applications from the most qualified people with degrees to people who couldn’t finish their matric. We decided to be lenient with working experience and chose not to have it as criteria for employment in an effort to cater for all,” she said.
Tebogo Kholele (33), a single mother of three, told Wits Vuvuzela that she trusted the process and hoped for a positive outcome. “I decided to apply because I have a month left at my current employer where I work as a cleaner.”
Vincent Mokwele (34), a qualified health safety practitioner currently working as a freelance technician, said he would stop being a technician if he was offered a cleaning job. “I need something stable and that will give me a fixed salary come month end,” he said.
Nyapisi said the applicants would be shortlisted and called in for interviews. She said the placement of cleaners would take place throughout October.
Wits University opened up proposals from development bidders who wish to partner with the university for the Frankenwald land, which belongs to Wits, located in the north of Johannesburg. The university’s decision to open the land for bidding came in response to the ongoing shortage of student accommodation which currently houses 6150 beds for a student population of more than 37 000.
University spokesperson Shirona Patel said, “The proceeds from the development of the land will be used to benefit students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Wits University needs to address and remove the financial barriers faced by academically deserving students from underprivileged backgrounds. The university thus seeks to earn an income from the development to ensure that no student who qualifies academically is excluded from a university education due to financial barriers.”
Patel added that the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng province will be looking at the proposals submitted by development bidders.
“The university has asked all development proposers to take into consideration the close proximity to Alexandra to ensure that proposals include affordable accommodation for low-income South Africans, as well as the provision of job opportunities,” she added. This follows ongoing protests by Alexandra residents wanting to occupy the Wits land.
In an interview with Business Day on July, 11 2017, Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib had indicated the ongoing plans of the university to lease out two properties in central Johannesburg, as well as an open bid to the Frankenwald land.
“Our big plan is to develop it [Frankenwald] together with public and private partners to get annuity income hopefully in the region of R100m a year, which down the line we will deploy for students,” Habib said.
Patel further told Wits Vuvuzela that the university had made a commitment to sourcing more buildings and extending existing buildings including Barnato Hall by 110 beds as well as David Webster Hall by 113 rooms as from the 2018 academic year.
Lesley Ramutlwa, a Wits student from Alexandra, indicated that he agreed with the plans of the university. “This model of using university assets to generate income that will cover social cost is the best.” Ramutlwa also said that he believes “Alex residents are entitled to raise questions but targeting Wits won’t solve their housing challenges. They must direct their anger to government. They [Alex residents] want to punish the buyer not the seller which is government,” he added.
Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, Alex community leader, Thabang Lediga said, “People of Alexandra need that land for human settlements and anything outside that is not addressing the situation in Alex and should not be seen as a priority. We sympathise with the shortage of accommodation by Wits but we need not convince anyone about the situation in Alex. We are planning to visit Wits, City of Joburg and the Gauteng department of human settlements to highlight the importance of housing in Alexandra which they might have forgotten.”
Patel says the university and the City of Joburg will, through its Communication and Community Liaison unit, “engage with all affected communities in the near
A renewing of the journey & relationship I have with the best ‘book’ I could ever have. Here’s to reading the bible in context as a young person , as a female , as black woman, as a woman, as a heterosexual , as an activist , as a student , as a lover of life, as a human be-ing. Continue reading