Wits EFFSC Rally – October 2017


RipSibulele Mgudlwa


Decolonising Editing 


Wits students start “What the Denim’” online thrift store

WITS THIRD year students have started an online thrifted denim store called What the Denim. The store was launched on Monday, August 14. Owners of the store Onelela Jijana (21) and Lukhanyo Somlota (21) spoke to Wits Vuvuzela.

“The store was established from a shared thought among us, as well as our friend Simthandile Sityebi (21) who studies at Tshwane University of Technology. We then decided to launch it this year and as three young women, August felt like an appropriate month to embark on this endeavour fully.”

What the Denim uses Instagram, Facebook and its website to reach their target market. Jijana described the store as an artistic space that uses its handpicked thrifted denim pieces as a canvas. “It is also an art movement for young creatives to come together to share their ideas and collaborate to create,” she said. “We also try make What the Denim a mood-board that our customers can visit daily to get inspiration on how to wear denim and how to style it,” Sityebi added “Our target market is both males and females, mostly students who are tired of high-priced clothes and cannot find the specific items they want in the various retail stores,” said Somlota.

The store owners said their items also make a political statement. “We understand politics of fashion as being a notion that speaks to the communication of one’s identity, beliefs and values through clothes.

It’s the whole idea of having the freedom and autonomy to wear what you want to wear whenever,” Somlota added.  “There are a lot of social constructs that need to be broken for people, especially women, to be able to fully experience and express their “politics’’ through fashion,”  they said.

One of the customers of What the Denim, Angela Rangata (19), said she was approached on campus. “I decided to support them because they are young women who are bringing affordable denims to people,” said Rangata.

Khanya Nobangule (20), who models for the store, said she agrees because of the company’s concept. “I like the image they were going for, they cater for all sizes, styles and the prices are student friendly. They told me about their future plans for the brand, I am also a fan of classic denim clothing and the store catered for me.” Nobangule also said the idea of three black women “getting their own and doing it for themselves” excited her.

Originally published on Wits Vuvuzela

Zesty Lemon adds self-defence classes to menu

A restaurant on Wits West campus has started an initiative to empower female students by offering self-defence classes. Rita Berdanis, the owner of Zesty Lemon, says she got the idea after hearing about women who had been victims of violent acts.

“There was all this talk in the news and throughout our communities, but nothing was being done,” says Berdanis. “You’d hear on 702 when they have guests to discuss issues around gender-based harm that boys should be raised differently and that the focus should not be on women defending themselves,” says Berdanis.

Berdanis says she agrees with that solution, but, out of frustration with all the “talk and no action”, she decided to bring in a solution in the meantime.

“As women we have no option but to defend ourselves. As a community at Wits and in society we need to encourage women to empower themselves and to take control of their own realities and not wait on someone else to,” she says. Student attendance has increased with every class, says Berdanis

Ndzalama Schivambu (18), a first-year bachelor of accounting science student, in an interview with Wits Vuvuzela, says: “I decided to come to the classes because it was important to empower myself. Although I’ve never encountered any violent attack. I felt it was important to equip myself to avoid living in fear.”

Phomelelo Napo (18), a first year BCom accounting student, says she is a regular attendee of the classes. “At first I thought they would include a lot of exercise, but they really focus on training the mind as well as basic techniques to use without using too much body weight or energy.”

Berdanis says her decision to empower women stems from personal experience. “Twenty-seven years ago one of my daughters was four months old when some guy tried to break into my house. I was alone with my child and tried to fight back. He eventually left, but the experience traumatised me. I even left the South Africa for 10 years. The experience took over my life for a long time until I realised how I need to take back my power”.

“What we see on campus is a small scale of what happens in the country, where women are not respected and men raise boys who view patriarchy and being misogynistic as normal. This can’t be the order of the day,” she says.

Originally published on Wits Vuvuzela

Wits student launch online textbook trading site

AN ONLINE textbook site, called SIKIO, established in June, was finally launched at the end of September.

Third year BAccSci student, Ndu Nkwanyana (21), who is the co-founder and CEO of SIKIO told Wits Vuvuzela what inspired him to create the site. “At the beginning of the year I realized that I had many textbooks from over the years that I was not using. I decided to give them out for free but at times would struggle to find people who wanted them,” he said.

Nkwanyana added that the overflow of textbooks he had, led to him creating a platform where other students could find a mutual site to sell their textbooks or donate them.

“There are many students on campus that rely on second hand textbooks and some who can’t even afford them, so I thought this website would assist in bridging an existing issue on campus,” said Nkwanyana.

SIKIO is not profit driven, instead the site is being developed to assist student entrepreneurs. “We don’t make any profit from the textbook trade, but rely on marketing strategies to make money which mostly goes towards maintaining the site. We also want to open up the site for student entrepreneurs to advertise their businesses free of charge and intend to open up the site for more established businesses to use the site to advertise at a rate,” he said.

Third year BAccSci student Siyabulela Manengele told Wits Vuvuzela that she’s excited about the website. “I often move around campus looking for textbooks and it sometimes can be exhausting, first looking for people and then being able to get the textbooks at a good price.” Manengele added that the she intends to use the website at the end of the year to sell her textbooks.    “I also love that it is a student business run by a black student”, she said.

Nkwanya says students have responded well to SIKIO. “We also got requests from other universities including University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Cape Town and Rhodes University to name a few. They want us to launch a similar platform for their campuses,” he said.

BSc Honours in Applied Mathematics, student Ntokozo Luthuli told Wits Vuvuzela, “The website is a brilliant and innovative idea. I haven’t used it but plan to use the website as a seller at the end of the year end when I clear out my books.”

SIKIO also intends to develop into a website where school leaving students can sell their appliances, such as fridges and lamps. It hopes to become a national student aid for the convenience of students throughout the country.

Originally published on Wits Vuvuzela

Jozi Book Fair focuses on women and literature

THIS YEAR’S JOZI Book Fair is moving off the Wits campus and will be held at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown on August 31 to September 3, 2017.

Nosipho Mdletshe the book fair’s coordinator, told Wits Vuvuzela: “The fair is expanding and the space at Wits became too small for the number of audience members the fair wanted to accommodate”.

Mdletshe also added that “The fair is also partnering with the City of Johannesburg, the Market Photo Workshop and the Market Theatre Laboratory for the first time”.  This year’s theme, women in literature, aims to mobilise women and explore their positions in communities and literature.

When asked about the fair’s contribution towards transformation and decolonization of literature, Mdletshe said the organizers have encouraged publishers who sell their books at the event to include languages other than English. “Every year we have published literature written by black kids from the Orphaned and Vulnerable children (OVC). Last year and this year we will be launching a book from a short story competition which we opened to

the 47 schools we work with. Ten black kids were published last year and similarly this year we will launch and publish a book written by kids from the black schools and OVCs,” Mdletshe said.

BCom in Honours in Human Resources and Management student  Moroka Ntolwane (22) says he’s excited about this year’s Jozi Book fair, “I am always looking forward to it. I started to going to Jozi Book Fair since 2015 and it’s been fantastic! This year, I have saved some money so that I can buy myself some great books to read after I am done with my research in October.”

The fair is free for all to attend. “Our primary objective is to promote reading and make it accessible rather than making profit,” said Mdletshe.

The guest speakers at this year’s fair include Dr Kopano Matlwa,who is an author of three novels CoconutSpilt Milk and Period Pain, and Shailja Patel, an internationally acclaimed Kenyan poet, playwright, theatre artist, political activist and author of bestseller Migritude, Zakes Mda, James Mathews, actress Mara Louw and Sunrise news anchor Penny Lebyane will also be at the fair.

Activities at the fair will include panel discussions, workshops, live performances of dance, poetry and music, as well as book launches and art exhibitions.

Originally published on Wits Vuvuzela