Made the Nikon – I love Jozi competition

It’s always nice to see your photos make the paper.

Wits students Kirstin Buick (left) and Lebogang Mdlankomo (right) play in snow for the first time in their lives. After seeing it begin to fall down, they ran down ten flights of stairs abandoning their class to play in Braamfontein on the corner of Jorisson and Bertha Street. I took this on the street corner of as traffic was coming by.

One thing that struck me about the image was its emmotiveness. It was completely spontaneous and its so clear that you can see the joy on their faces. This was a real genuine moment thanks for sharing Lebogang Mdlankomo and Kirsti Buick

Rainbow March – Wits staff have had enough

The Wits academic staff union have pressed ahead with their planned strike today, after last-minute negotiations yesterday failed.
Members of the union, ASAWU, have gathered at the entrances to Wits main campus in small groups, holding signs that read “We love Wits, do you?” and “Stop imposing – negotiate.”

Member of ASAWU and Senior lecturer in the School of Mining and Engineering, Carl Beaumont, said,“Our aims for today are to get our message across to Wits University management, that staff have had enough. We’ve had enough of managerialism, we’ve had enough of imposed pay-rises and poor salaries. It’s something that’s been brewing for years, not something that’s just happened in 2012.”

David Dickinson, President of ASAWU (pictured above) said, “People have to stand up for their rights, and more importantly they have to stand up for the good of Wits University. We believe the management is running this university into the ground.”

Management announced a 7.25% increase for academic staff, but the Administration, Library and Technical Staff Association (ALTSA) and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) have demanded a 9% increase.

ALTSA and NEHAWU, as well as Academic Staff Association of Wits University (ASAWU), also made non-wage related demands in a memorandum to management.

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The three unions demand:

– a 9% salary increase for support staff, to be paid at a higher scale at the 75th percentile of the tertiary education sector benchmark
– decent salaries to be given before performance regulations were initiated;
– a resolution of the dispute on shift allowances
– an agreement on sliding scales to advance equity
– the establishment of a childcare facility for Wits employees
– an end to overselling of parking permits in non-designated parking areas;
– an increase in individual research incentive
Nongxa said that Wits academics are missing the bigger picture in their fight for better pay and working conditions, in an article he wrote for Business Day last week.

A rally for staff is set to take place on the Library Lawns at 12:00.

Related articles:

School’s out: Wits lecturers on strike

Teacher’s in action over wage disputes

Wits staff protest against management

Fire blazes can be prevented Jay Caboz

By Jay Caboz, follow more on his photography page here

Gavin, who lives at number 15 Juweel Street, Jukskei Park, noticed that something was amiss after he hearing strange noises coming from his neighbour’s house. It was 4am but from his bedroom window it looked as if sunrise had happened already. The house next door, number 17 was on fire.

“I then heard the sound of the flames as the thatch caught fire. I phoned the fire department and went outside to start wetting my own thatch roof with the garden hose.”

By the time the firemen arrived the flames were two meters high.

Firemen struggled with the fire. They needed more water but the only fire hydrant was on the next street. Four more trucks and a portable water truck were called in to handle the blaze.

Until they came, firemen controlled the fire by wetting the border areas of the house. Other neighbours also began to wet their thatch rooftops in case the blaze spread.

“The house had been empty for a couple of months.” said Gavin to the other neighbours gathered around the street. One of them was watching the fire with her coffee mug still steaming.

Despite rumours of squatters on the property firemen said they found no evidence that anyone had been in the house when the fire had started.

Click here for photo essay

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Unanswered Questions

Stories like these are a regular occurrence in South Africa’s wintertime. Winter is dry in Joburg, and cold, according the city of Johannesburg these are the two leading causes that lead to fires in households in the city. People turn on their heaters and braziers, and carelessness can lead to devastating fires.

Bringing home reality http://sawdis1.blogspot.com/2012/06/real-burning-issue.html

The following is taken from an article written by Camilla Bath, Deputy News Editor for Eyewitness News, in Johannesburg.

“Fire is a terrifying thing. It tears through homes, guts buildings, destroys property and devastates the lives of those who survive it. Many don’t.”

Years ago, as a field reporter, I covered the story of a fire at an electrical sub-station in Johannesburg in which a man died. Authorities suspected the victim had been living in the sub-station and had inadvertently touched a live wire, starting the blaze late at night.

Early the following morning, I caught a glimpse of his blackened body through the painted slats of an air vent. It is an image that has stayed with me in vivid detail, one I wish I’d never seen: the badly burnt corpse somehow frozen in time, crouching, one hand outstretched, his face formless, its features seared away. Perhaps worse than that stiff figure was the smell of burnt flesh, unexpectedly sweet and cloying.

Every time I hear or read about another fatal fire, I’m taken straight back to that scene.”

Follow more of her article here -http://sawdis1.blogspot.com/2012/06/real-burning-issue.html

So what can be done?

The City of Johannesburg has outlined some Winter safety tips

  • Use only SABS-approved electrical and/or cooking apparatus
  • Experience has shown that in informal settlements – though this can also be the case in brick and mortar structures – people tend to disregard even the smallest detail regarding fire safety by warming themselves using primus stoves and braziers (mbawulas), only to fall asleep and their homes go up in flames
  • Do not leave candles burning unattended
  • Alcohol should be consumed in moderation
  • In case of emergency, call 10177 or 112
  • Children should be closely monitored
  • Fire sources such as heaters, stoves and irons should not be left unattended.
  • Boxes of matches and cigarette lighters should be stored safely

Everyone is welcome to volunteer at a fire station in Johannesburg of his/her choice. Life skills acquired through such volunteering can be used in life-saving situations. A well-trained volunteer can perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on victims of drowning and smoke inhalation. They can also train members of their own communities to be life-savers.

Other sites of interest 

Firewise

Dangerous areas

Preventing veld fires

ER 24

Competing for top 100 spot requires upgrading

To achieve the proposed top 100 ranking in the next 10 years Wits needs to address issues that other more established European and American institutions do not face, according to the university’s Strategic Planning Division (SPD).

On its website, the SPD said the university needs to address these specifically African complications in order to reach the prestigious spot and compared the challenge of maintaining league table rankings to “operating on shifting sand”.

Reaching the top 100 spot will require continuous improvement of the quality of Wits’ teaching and research outputs according to the SPD’s Vision 2022 strategic framework.

One of the ways the university hopes to achieve this is by upgrading and building more facilities that are capable of generating a higher standard of research projects.

This in turn will attract highly talented students from around the world and provide an exceptional student-centred and research-driven experience.

Wits also plans to increase improve postgraduate enrolment said Prof Loyiso Nongxa, Vice Chancellor. Nongxa said all the planned improvements require greater financial investment and the university had set aside R1.2-billion for infrastructure development. Nongxa said the programme is starting to show results.

The Wits Art Museum, located at University Corner is set to open on May 19. The urban regeneration project cost the university R40 million and will showcase some of the 9 000 African artworks collected over the university’s 90 years.

The student residence in Parktown, Wits Junction, cost R511 million and is expected to raise the residence capacity of Wits campus by 25%.

Wits has also completed the FNB Building, the New Science Stadium and the upgrade to the Chamber of Mines Building since the project’s introduction by the vice chancellor when it began in 2007.

The implementation of these building projects is aimed at consolidating the university’s status as an intellectual powerhouse by 2015, according to an SPD statement.

Wits is currently ranked 251-275, alongside Stellenbosch university, according to the Times Higher Education World Rankings (THES).

On its website the SPD outlines some of the challenges African countries encounter when competing for ranking in systems such as THES.

These ranking systems can be ignorant of social and economical contexts; tend to focus on research in hard sciences rather than other subjects; rank universities on general rather than specific institutional performances and rely heavily on public perception.

Related Articles

Wits 90 Years for Freedom – Read about the Vuvuzelas front page image.

Wits winners – Read about the achivements of Witsies

Witsies over the edge – Read about those Witsies that have gone bad

Senior executives hand over baton -It has been confirmed that the vice-chancellor and deputy vice-chancellor (DVC) of finance and operations will leave Wits by May next year.

Visit Jays Blog for more articles and for more Projects by Jay Caboz

Visit the Wits Vuvuzela page for even of campus news!

April Week 4: Photos of the week

Kony, Rockin the Skyline, Art and Comedians!

Comedian and fellow Journalist Simmi Areff, crashed the Skyline concert set to get this portrait.

jaycabozphotography2012
Kony Covered: A car in the Wits Post Grad parking lot is covered by a Kony banner, four days after the KONY 2012 Cover the night awareness campaign.

jaycabozphotography2012
A fan takes photos of CrashCarBurn during their performance at the skyline concert last week.

jaycabozphotography2012
Stars and Lights: A time exposure with a difference, i moved the camera before the exposure had finished and caught a whole 360 degree view in one shot