Witsies disconnected for 45 hours

Wits res students were left unable to do their assignments last weekend following an unscheduled internet downtime on all campuses.

No warning was issued by the Computer Network Services before the disconnection. According to the internet traffic graphs shown to Wits Vuvuzela by a network administrator for the school of literature and language studies, Robert Nagy, the network was down for a total of 45 hours.

Nagy suspects that the router (hardware) which links Wits internet traffic to the world wide web was malfunctioning, resulting in the network disconnection.

The first down-time occurred on Friday night and was later reconnected after 9 hours on Saturday at 1am. The network then went down again from 10am on Saturday until Monday morning, which totaled to 36 hours. The graphs indicate that despite some inconsistency the local Intranet stayed connected.

“I looked at more graphs. The issue was outside Wits. My own assumption is that a fibre optic cable in the ground could have been cut resulting in the disconnection,” said Nagy.

Themba Motloung a third year education student said, “The last resort for me was to go to an internet café in Braamfontein, where I paid 50 rands to use the computer and print. I use a wheel chair and it was a strenuous journey travelling to Braamfontein Centre.”.

Barnato resident and third year engineering student Francis Chivhuta said he was unable to complete two assignements that were due on Monday.

“This is really unfair because missing deadline by a minute means minus 15%, and you can’t throw away marks like that,” he said.

CNS Acting Systems Director, Hanish Patel said he had no knowledge of the network disconnecting as he was away on sick leave.

“As far as I know the CNS did not plan any scheduled downtime, like we always do. I suspect something unexpectedly went wrong resulting in the downtime.”

The CNS will carry out further investigations with the technicians in an attempt to establish what caused the network disconnection.

#New Vuvu

It has been an eventful year at our university and Wits Vuvuzela has been part of it every step of the way.  The story of the 17 dismissed chefs and the Wits academic strike were two of the major news events for us in a year that saw our team tackle the demands of digital journalism while continuing to expand our skills in the print environment.

The May 11 #newvuvu launched in celebration of Wits 90 ran a lead story on thousands of Wits res students who cancelled their dining hall meals in support of 17 unfairly dismissed chefs.

Wits Vuvuzela took the lead in covering the story, going beyond the labour dispute to the heart of the story revealing the personal circumstances of the people affected. Wecontinue to cover this story in order to bring home the realities of unemployment in our country.

In August our online paper received 13 729 hits due to our coverage of the Wits academic strike.  

Lecturers were striking after Wits failed to meet their demand of a 9% salary increase among other demands. Lectures were cancelled and Wits Vuvuzela production was postponed as its core readership, the students of Wits University, stood in solidarity with the lecturers. Given its proximity to the site of the strike Wits Vuvuzela was the first to break the news of the academic strike online.        

Using social media to expand our reach has been a major achievement of the #newvuvu team of 2012.  Wits Vuvuzela continues to exploit Twitter and Facebook in addition to other digital tools like curation and blogging in an effort to reach readership beyond the university and the community of Braamfontein.

No sign of Afcon yet

The African Cup of Nations kicks off in 126 days. What breaks my heart is the lack of passion in the build up to Africa’s most prestigious football tournament.

The Confederation of African football (CAF) announced SA as hosts of the Africa Cup of Nations 2013 edition in May this year. As a die-hard football fan I was excited and could not believe that the country would get to experience yet another football showpiece.

I believe the South African Football Association (SAFA) needs to do more to make the South African public aware of Afcon 2013.  The build up to a tournament of such magnitude cannot afford to be low key.

I am yet to see a widely publicised countdown and am impatiently waiting for the reintroduction of Football Fridays. There are hardly any Bafana Bafana jerseys worn on the streets. Where is the patriotism?

This is Africa’s biggest football tournament, which Bafana Bafana won when we hosted the tournament for the first time in 1996. Surely this is another chance for the national team to regain lost national pride after they failed to qualify for the last two Afcon tournaments.

To say the Afcon tournament is not as important as the World Cup is not good enough. World class players like Didier Drogba and Steven Pienaar will be fielded. I see the Afcon as our own African World Cup.

The greatest dream I ever lived was the 2010 FIFA football World Cup held in South Africa.

The dream began to unfold on May 15 2004 when FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced South Africa as the 2010 FIFA world cup host.

In the build up to the tournament digital clocks flicked numbers counting down to the spectacle that kicked off at Soccer City on June 11, 2010. Radio and television news bulletins counted down till the last second. Football Fridays turned the country into a bright sea of yellow and green Bafana Bafana jerseys. Cars drove around draped in the rainbow-coloured South African flag, a real sign of patriotism.

I had the privilege of watching Argentina play against Mexico with football gods like Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez on the field. The memory will forever be imprinted on my mind.

Personally, I will not allow the low-key build up to the 2013 Afcon dampen my spirits anymore and will continue to look forward to Africa’s greatest football showpiece.

ARC members question ambitious chair

Two All-Residence Committee members have lashed out at the current chairperson and new SRC elect Justice Nkomo.

Thapelo Mashamaite and Godfrey Dlamini said Nkomo undertook ARC chairperson office in order to use it to propel his campaign for SRC membership. The two ARC members are sceptical as to whether Nkomo is competent to take up a position in the SRC.

 Nkomo’s leadership in the ARC had been continually faced by challenges. Mashamaite said he failed to deal with the unfair dismissal of David Webster from the All Residence Debating tournament held in August.

“I cannot say Nkomo is to blame for the debating debacle, but his handling of the prevailing situation could have been better”

Dlamini and Mashamaite have also questioned the all residence visits that Nkomo organised only when the SRC elections were approaching. The pair has compared Nkomo to the likes of Floyd Shivambo and Julius Malema.

The questionable fact was why the all residence visits had only been organised during election time and not at any other time.

“He is an opportunist but does not draw as nearly many crowds nor is he charismatic and persuasive,” said Mashamaite.

He believes Nkomo’s  failure to make popular vote in the SRC elections is a clear indication from the students that he has not accomplished as many things as he claims to have done.

In response Nkomo said that it is the nature of people to focus on the negatives and neglect the positive aspects of a leader. ARC and SRC members were elected based on leadership credibility.

“I have been elected in the SRC by the people with confidence. I won the most outstanding leadership award in the ARC last year because I had been competent,” he said.

Nkomo also pointed out that it was out of his own goodwill to serve as the Esselen chairperson and the ARC chairperson.

“Holding a position in the House committee and ARC is a mere thing compared to higher governing structures like the SRC. You don’t choose where to lead but lead where people want you to lead,” he said.

Mistaken overdose at David Webster

A David Webster resident overdosed on anti-depressant pills in a suspected attempted suicide on Sunday evening.

 A friend walked in, found him foaming at the mouth and immediately called emergency services and campus control. The ambulance never came and Campus Control arrived two hours later. Campus control took the student to Milpark Hospital.

He was later discharged after refusing to be admitted.

The 3rd year student was first seen by fellow residents crying in the dining hall during supper time. His friend from Men’s Res rushed to David Webster, suspecting that something was wrong when he failed to answer his phone later that evening.

The chairperson of David Webster Hall, Godfrey Dlamini, said this was one of about five attempted suicides at David Webster this year. In some cases, the same students have tried to kill themselves more than twice.

Dlamini and the hall coordinators have had to chase suicidal students across the car park, trying to calm them down.

“Career Counselling and Development Unit (CCDU) promised to address a tailor made workshop for the David Webster students last semester, but up to now have not delivered. As psychological experts in the university, the CCDU has failed students in crisis,” said Dlamini.

Hall coordinator Prof Tumai Murombo said the reasons for attempted suicides went beyond academic difficulties and involved social difficulties as well.

Murombo also said the CCDU’s approach of treating students on a voluntary basis was failing because it is impersonal and technical.

“Students don’t want to be treated like patients, they feel alienated. The current counselling system is too formal and technical. The CCDU needs to initiate therapy that takes the form of a social conversation. It’s a more effective way of picking up student issues before they get out of hand,” he said.

In response to David Webster, Toinette Bradley, therapy team leader of the CCDU said that David Webster should follow up their request for a therapy workshop before exams arrived.

Bradley said they had received the case of a mistaken overdose and were in the process of addressing it.

“We cannot force anybody to come in and see us but we do try to get their family and friends to convince them to seek treatment with us,” she said.

Clever Boys keep Black Leoapards at bay

Bidvest Wits (2) 2

Black Leopards (1) 2

Bidvest Wits and Black Leopards played to an entertaining 2-2 draw in an Absa Premiership match at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday night.

Calvin Kadi and Ryan Chapman scored for Wits, while an own goal by Mbulelo Mabizela and a strike from Rodney Ramagalela gave Leopards an equalizer in the second half.

The first chance of the game fell to the hosts when Chapman’s powerful drive missed the top left corner of the goal.

 Black Leopards took the lead in the 16th minute with Mbulelo Mabizela own goal.

Six minutes from half time the “Clever Boys” equalized when defender Mabizela supplied a cross to Kadi who sent the ball into the back of the net.

On the stroke of halftime Bryce Moon delivered an inch perfect cross into the box which was met by Ryan Chapman, who powered home a header.

Black Leopards came out firing on all cylinders after the break, scoring the equalizer through striker Rodney Ramagalela.

Former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena came close with a header from a James Mayinga free kick but Leopards goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali pulled a save.

Wits launched one attack after another but it was the visitors who scored the equalizer in the 58th minute. Moses Kwena did well to get past the Wits defence, sending the ball through to Ramagalela who sent it home, salvaging an important point away from home.

Both teams created many scoring opportunities in the dying minutes of the second half but this did not pay off. The match finished 2-2, earning Wits its first point of the new season

One thousand free complimentary tickets were given out to students at the gate in a bid by BidVest Wits to get more students to attend their home games.

Lopez has an objective

NEW Bidvest Wits coach Antonio Lopez has emphasized the importance of a positive and united team mentality on the pitch if the team is to start winning.

Speaking on Wednesday, Lopez said he was happy with his players’ pre-season performance, and he was aiming for perfection this season.

Bidvest Wits lost their first game of the season 2-0 to Free State Stars a week ago. Lopez believes it’s only a matter of time before the team starts winning.

“The game against Free State Stars was a catastrophe. The pitch in Bloemfontein was bad and we made childlike costly mistakes.”

He did admit that changing player mentality is a difficult task, and he needed at least 3 months to get the team into shape and contest for the top spot.

“Competition in the Premier Soccer League is different from pre-season. Most of our players are new and played in many different PSL teams. If we want to stand a chance to contest, our players need to play as a unit.”

Lopez has employed the same strategy that he applied when he was the Sundowns coach.

“When I was at Sundowns the objective was to keep the team at the top and I have brought the same objective to Bidvest Wits. My philosophy is perfection.”

Jose Ferreira, chief executive, has kept his cheque book open and Lopez will take advantage of the transfer window to sign another striker and a goalkeeper.

Bidvest Wits will look to turn things around in their first home game of the season against Black Leopards. With many experienced players in his side, Lopez is optimistic about the team’s fortunes.

“I will not temper around with my strategy and will maintain my policy of giving each and every one of our opponents maximum respect. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a big or small team,” Lopez said.

Leopards opened their 2012/13 Absa Premiership season with a 3-2 win over Bloemfontein Celtic at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

Bidvest Wits will have all to play for this season with the newly introduced four quarter system by PSL chairman Irvin Khoza. The top four teams in each quarter will receive R 1.5 million from the football body.