Running Jozi

Thierry Sakimdi, left, and his brother warm up before the race.

The Run Jozi 10km race attracted 10 000 runners from the running community and Jo€™burgers who have never run before were excited to experience their city in a new way.

As runners began the race, a massive fireworks display lit the Joburg skyline. A clean-up crew fetches the remains of the fireworks display that started off the run.

One way traffic: The runners finished off their 10km route on Jeppe Street.

10 000 people were expected to join the event.

The race aimed to encourage Jo’burgers to “claim back their right to move freely and without fear in their own city”.

A photofinish spot was set up 200m before the end of the race near Mary Fitzgerald Square.

The routes led runners through the Johannesburg CBD. Starting on the Nelson Mandela Bridge, runners got to see historic landmarks such as Luthuli House, Ponte, the Ellis Park Stadium and Constitution Hill.

Lisa Golden

It’s hard to get a “unique perspective” on the Run Free Run Jozi 10km that streamed through Jo’burg Wednesday night, because it felt more like a group effort than an individual attempt.

We started with the high of running across the illuminated Nelson Mandela Bridge, with the side walk filled with photographers and well wishers, and fireworks creating the lights and noise needed to make us feel like we were doing something important.

But we were soon alone, our rhythmic jogging creating a new soundtrack as we made our way through the darker, cooler part of our run.

While Nike did a good job of making sure their recognisable Swoosh was on every piece of merchandise they provided, the mandatory T-shirts created a perhaps unintended effect.

While we looked like a homogenous group of neon yellowness, moving like a stream of radioactive honey through the city, closer up most runners had a name or motivation on the back of their shirts.

As the residents of Hillbrow and Yeoville came out to watch our strange display, they read the names and used them to cheer us on individually.

Kids lined up to do the obligatory high-fives, well some locals decided it was enough to scream “Run for your lives!” as we dashed past their homes.

The Hillbrow Hill got the better of most of us, but the last push to the end was a nice downhill slope, allowing us less-fit runners to cross the finish line with the allusion we had been running the whole time.

Published Online: Witsvuvuzela

Hanging Out

Wits Mountain Club (WMC) played host to the penultimate round of the National Bouldering League (NBL) on Wednesday, March 14. The league has over 500 competitors from all over the country. The competition runs for six weeks and the finals will be held on March 24 at the SA Climbing Academy in Paulshof, Johannesburg. Climbers must participate in at least four sessions to qualify for the finals. This is the first year that Wits has entered a team into the NBL, and the team is one of the smallest in the competition. “WMC is an active and vibrant club,” said chairperson Luke Worster. “We train twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5.30pm. We also do core training on Wednesday mornings. We try and go climbing as often as possible and there is usually climbing happening every weekend.”

By Kirsti Buick

Photo: Jay Caboz

Wits hockey steals the show

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A last-minute strike by forward Robb Morris sealed a thrilling 7-6 victory for the Wits men’s hockey team against Morningside Country Club (MCC) on Tuesday night at Fourways High School.

A shaky start to the game by Wits saw them concede five goals in the first 15 minutes. They had to come back from behind after struggling to put the ball in the net.

With five penalty corners and several one-on-ones with the MCC goalkeeper, the game looked set for an MCC win.

Wits’ strategy of playing with a high court press finally paid off as defender Matthew Povall managed to break the drought with a pair of neat goals late in the first half.  Wits piled extreme pressure on the opposition’s defence who struggled to get the ball into the midfield from their back line.

MCC conceded a penalty shortly after the second-half whistle, which Wits converted to reduce the deficit to 3-5.

MCC adopted a more attacking approach putting in a high lying striker, Tim Schultz, who caused difficulties for the Wits back line.  MCC managed to score a field goal immediately after the re-start making the score 6-3 to MCC.

In a good passage of play the Witsies’ strike force took full advantage of its scoring opportunities and managed to bring the score line back to 6-6. Leg work by the Wits forwards created a series of turnovers which resulted in more shots on target.

MCC were able to get a few counter-attack opportunities but a stalwart defence by the Wits goalkeeper, Cole Zondagh, kept the ball out of the net.

Wits continued to hassle the opposition defence. With three minutes of play left Morris put in the final goal of the game to put the Wits side ahead for the first time.

In a final-minute twist, Wits’ defence was broken and forced into a last-line save that was converted in a penalty corner.  The shot was saved by Zondagh giving Wits the win.

The win is Wits’ second on the trot since the beginning of the season and puts them in a safe mid-table position.

Med students fight for right to give drugs

MEMBERS of a Wits off-campus clinic are waiting for a final decision to allow them  to distribute pharmaceutical drugs.

Trinity Health Services, a student-run clinic based in Braamfontein, was closed last year after committee members opted to “get all their Ts crossed” with legislation affecting distribution of pharmaceutical drugs.

Zeenat Bhikhoo, 2011 chairman of Trinity Health Services, said: “The pharmacy was inspected by the Department of Health and there were a few concerns that we are addressing. These will be fixed by the end of the month and then we will wait for a decision. Wits legal also had a few queries that we have addressed and we now wait to hear their decision as well.”

Bhikoo said the clinic was closed for two reasons. Firstly to register its pharmacy for the legal distribution of medication and secondly to be recognised as a Wits-associated outreach programme.

“We felt that this was important as the students are liable for any legal problems that may arise from the clinic and we wanted to be covered by insurance. We also wanted to be affiliated with Wits as we felt that this will allow us to have better publicity and attract more funders as well as allow more students access to the clinic.”

Trinity aims to offer a full service clinic that can also help educate volunteer medical students.

“At one stage we were basically a fully operational primary health care clinic.  Though not screening for all diseases, we could screen for HIV and even picked up signs of a haematological malignancy [cancer of the blood] once.” said Elize Cloete, a former volunteer at the clinic.

Bhikoo said: “It is a project that does so much good for the community and we did not want it to be shut down because of a few legal technicalities so we decided to close it down and get all our T’s crossed, so to speak, and open it again as a fully functional legal operation.

Bhikoo said when she joined there was just one consultation room with a divider in it. Since then they had created five consultation rooms, one store room and a pharmacy room.


Black Lines

A’Mazed: Art fans who wish to explore Serge Alain Nitegeka’s exhibition will have to manoeuvre themselves through a complex maze of black wooden sculptures in order to see the Witsie’s show.  

Black Lines, on at the Stevenson Gallery in Braamfontein, addresses Nitegeka’s need to illustrate his experiences of dislocation when he was forced out of his home country of Burundi.

“I wanted viewers to have a raw experience of forced migration,” said Nitegeka. “My current installations depend on the viewers’ participation to be complete. The installations are realised through obstacle-like constructions that command the body to behave and move in a directed way.”

Image Jay Caboz

Sheared Sheepless


For the first time Exams Officer Rukeya Harris shaved her hair off in support of cancer awareness at Med School Campus on Friday, March 2. Participants could support the charity drive by either cutting or dyeing their hair.

e-Toll fees hit a long way from home

Wits students driving their own cars to campus will be paying more for the privilege – especially those who live beyond the borders of Braamfontein. Vuvuzela calculated the average yearly cost for students driving to Wits with an e-tag: Witsies driving from Benoni will spend R1308, R707.88 from Centurion, R777.48 from Roodepoort and R154.92 from Johannesburg North.  Without the e-tag the prices would be about double.

“Well obviously it requires more money for one to get to varsity and back [home], and in the same sense you have less money to spend so it cuts down on where you can drive. Before, I could go home during lunch but now I have to think twice,” said 2nd year medical student Zain Patel. But students who rely on public transport will not feel the effects of e-tolling immediately. Taxis and buses are exempt from e-tolling according to the recent budget speech by Pravin Gordhan. Gordhan had also said the government would subsidise R5.8 billion of Gauteng’s e-toll fees. “It would be better if petrol was compensated in place of e-tolling”, said Darrel Moodley, 4th year occupational therapy.

This comes after Tuesday night’s 28c petrol price increase to a record high of R11.05 per litre. E-tolls were a core issue raised by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in a mass action protest march in Braamfontein on Wednesday. Former Wits SRC president Bafana Nhlapo was also marching and said: “I’m here against e-tolling because it’s going to affect the poor man on the street because it’s going to cause a rise in basic commodities such as food, water and milk. As much as taxes exempt the poor it’s still going to affect the working class.” Many protestors wore bright red t-shirts with slogans condemning labour brokering, the other focus of Cosatu’s protest.

Anina Minnaar, Jay Caboz

Students can prevent poaching crisis

Wits students who care about the country’s rhino poaching crisis can contribute in a number of ways.

“There are some student organisations that address these kinds of issues, for instance, Roots and Shoots and the BioSoc,” said Prof Kevin Balkwill, Head of the Department of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences.

“This is one way for students to become involved.  Otherwise, there are more formal initiatives around Wits Rural Facility and Pullen Farm, two of Wits’ rural properties, where students can become involved in conservation issues.”

The situation for the country’s rhinos is grave. A total of 52 rhinos have been dehorned since the beginning of 2012 in South Africa’s game reserves, Wanda Mkutshulwa, Head of Communications at SANParks, revealed in a statement on February 3.

Two more rhino carcasses were found by tourists in the Kruger National Park on Tuesday this week, according to a statement released by Mr William Mabasa, Head of Public Relations and Communications at the Kruger National Park.  The poachers are still at large.

Balkwill said many projects at Wits had conservation goals or applications.  One way to make a difference was through postgraduate study.  A Wits honours student was due to contribute to the development of an Integrated Management Plan for the establishment of the Bushbuckridge Nature Reserve.

He also suggested that the Wits Volunteer Programme could be broadened to encompass environmental and conservation issues.

Dr Jo Shaw, a Wits PhD graduate, now working at Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network, suggested students interested in participating in conservation could start by raising funds.

“There are 150 organisations actively involved in ‘saving rhinos’ in South Africa now. If you want to get involved, go for one of the larger organisations with a scientific advisory board who ensure that your money is well spent.”

“As of the last estimates at December 31, 2010, there were 18 796 white rhinos and 1 916 black rhinos in South Africa,” she said, “At current poaching rates, rhino populations in South Africa are anticipated to begin to decline in 2015 or 2016.”

The issue was much larger than poaching, Shaw said. “There has also been a dramatic increase in rhino horn trophy exports to Asian hunters and an increase in thefts from rhino horn stockpiles and museums.  All sources of rhino horn are under threat.”

The number of rhino deaths has been on the increase as early as 2006. As many as 448 rhinos were shot in 2011.