Pulse Issue 29 April 2014


Pulse Issue 29 April 2014


Walter Sisulu University

Issue 29

April 2014








This month will witness the closure of

the two and a half-year administration

period for Walter Sisulu University. A

great deal of progress has been made in

investigating the challenges and issues

at WSU and a firm foundation has been

established for the new council to take

over the governance reins.




Administrator’s Update

New Statute gazetted




WSU journalism school goes


Memoirs of a veteran

Q & A with Lux September

While the period of administration may

be ending, there nevertheless remains a

long road ahead to ensure the continued

growth and development of the new

strategies being adopted to govern and

manage our university in a different way.

We wish to extend our sincere

appreciation to Administrator Professor

Lourens van Staden for his charismatic

leadership and his devotion to the

difficult task he undertook. Thank you

Prof, for your passion for WSU.

This month also saw our SRC elections

taking place and we extend our best

wishes to our new student leadership.

WSU needs all stakeholders to take

hands together as we nurture this

university which belongs to the people

of this province and indeed to the

people of our country as a whole.






New R40 million residence for


University breaks new ground

Education opens doors for car


CA students achieve 90%+


Industry-focused skills key for

better service delivery




Steady rise for WSU All-


Sex, sexuality and HIV/Aids

Transforming Education -

Transforming Society

Graduation is on the horizon and May

is always a month for the celebration of



Tide turning for marine


In the meantime, we have extracted

for this issue some of the news and

newsmakers of the first quarter of 2014.

We hope you enjoy the magazine and

that it brings home to you how many

great and good things happen every day

at Walter Sisulu University.




SRC elections announced

University beadwork to gain

national recognition

WSU graduate – a letter for

the masses


Data Centre officially launched


WSU commissions Wi-Fi


Angela Church

Acting Director: MCD




Pulse is an initiative of the Department of Marketing, Communication and

Development and is available in print and on the WSU website. We bring you

fresh news, updates, events, opinion pieces as well as visuals of Walter Sisulu

University. If you have any vibrant and newsworthy stories you would like us to

cover from your campus, faculty or department, please contact Thando Cezula

or Sinawo Hermans on telephone 043 702 9378 or send an email to tcezula@





As the administration period ends on 30 April, these past

weeks have been a time of reflection on the gains made

since October 2011.

The Ministry called a stakeholder summit on 25 March

in Mthatha where a high level delegation from the

Department of Higher Education and Training as well as

provincial MECs addressed a gathering of stakeholders on

the post-administration challenges at WSU.

As Administrator I made a presentation on the pillars of

the Turnaround and the progress that has been achieved

in all the Terms of Reference of my appointment.

Minister Blade Nzimande gave a vibrant and encouraging

address, indicating his own links with and interest in WSU.

Here is an extract from his address:

“We are gathered here today to map out the road ahead

for Walter Sisulu University (WSU), a university that has

been in the public spotlight over the past few years and

has evoked strong emotions, and holds the baton of hope

for thousands of young people in this region and beyond.

We all have the task of taking this university into the future

as this institution has the potential to fulfil the dreams

of many. The future is beckoning to us with new hope

now that the foundations, which have been laid over the

past two and a half years, have indeed stabilised and

strengthened the university so that it can move ahead with

pride and confidence.

WSU Administrator Professor Lourens van Staden

“We all have the task of taking this

university into the future.”

Our intervention in the governance of Walter Sisulu

University has proven to be highly successful. Regular

reports from the Professor van Staden have kept me

abreast of developments here at WSU and I am very

pleased with his significant achievements in a highly

charged and complex environment.

Over the past 29 months, the Department has made R858

million available to WSU to attend to the key deliverables

of the turnaround strategy. I am happy to announce that

significant progress has been made in this regard with

visible projects including the construction of the new R40

million residence here in Mthatha, the first to be built since

1976. Yesterday was marked by the sod-turning event

of the new R85 million facility for the Health Sciences

Faculty at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital precinct

made possible by the Department’s Infrastructure and

Efficiency Fund.

On the financial front, I am pleased to report that this

university has a break-even budget for 2014 and

admirably achieved an unqualified audit for 2013. Whilst

WSU has not yet reached a state of healthy financial

sustainability, clearly a great deal of effort has gone into

clearing the backlogs and overdrafts as well as resolving







to the


some of the inefficiencies

created by the complex

WSU environment.


Professor van

Staden nawo

wonke umdeni

wase Walter

Sisulu University


Whilst much has been

done to stabilise WSU, a

great deal of work is still required

to entrench a culture of hard work and pride in this

university. The WSU turnaround intervention is not a

30-month ‘quick-fix.’ What is required is the sustained

effort from all role players to build upon these stabilised

foundations and continuously work at implementing

efficiencies, improving facilities and enhancing student


The opportunity presented to WSU this time around is

unique. This university has been overhauled, given a

new framework and an opportunity to refocus itself. This

unique opportunity must be grasped by all stakeholders.

WSU belongs to the nation, not to any individual interest

group and it beholds all those who hold the university

dear to join hands and move together. There is a long

road ahead of us.

There are therefore a lot of challenges and responsibilities

resting on the shoulders of all stakeholders. We must

firmly reject an approach and posture which simply says:

What can WSU do for me or what maximum benefit

can I derive from being a worker or student at this




must demand affordable access but simultaneously

commit to improve pass and throughput rates. Workers

and lecturers must seek decent wages and conditions of

service but this cannot be at the expense of the future

viability of the institution.

The continued future success of WSU depends on YOU –

the leadership, staff, students, labour unions, communities

and all who have an interest in the ongoing development

of our people towards a better life for all.

I trust that history will judge us kindly.


Working with WSU these past two and a half-years has

been a highlight of my academic career. I have developed

a deep love for this university and am proud that I

have been able to make some contribution to stabilising

WSU for the great future that she deserves. I wish all

stakeholders well for the challenges that still lie ahead and

offer my sincere thanks for the way WSU communities

have embraced me and worked together with me. It has

been humbling, rewarding and yes, extremely challenging

but a time in my life which I will always treasure.

Prof Lourens van Staden





WSU’s new statute which forms

part of the University’s Turnaround

Strategy deliverables, hailed as

innovative and ground-breaking in

higher education circles, was officially

gazetted by the Department of Higher

Education and Training (DHET) in the

Government Gazette on 17 January

this year.

“The new statute provides the legal

framework for the restructuring

of WSU along more efficient and

effective divisional governance

and management lines. The first

step now is to install the new WSU

Council which will take over the

governance responsibility of WSU

from the Administrator,” says WSU

Spokesperson Angela Church.


The new statute provides WSU as a

unitary University with a divisional

management system to ensure

uniformity of vision, strategies,

policies, rules, control, quality criteria

and sustainability from a central

office, exercising strategic control

across all four campuses.

It enables decentralised management

decision-making and accountability at

the campuses.

This takes the day-to-day

management to the campuses, where

the students and campus staff can be

serviced directly, without having to

wait for a remote face to arrive at a

decision or on that campus.

“The centralised management

information system enables the

central staff to be informed in real

time of the state of affairs at the

campuses, thereby obviating the need

for campus persons to avoid or fudge

reports to the centre,” says Church.

The central office staff will work at

the strategic level, with only campus

rectors falling under line-authority

from the centre.

In turn, the central office will report

to the vice-chancellor and campus

staff report on their campuses. The

campus rector will participate in the

central management committee and

report to the vice-chancellor.

This statute enables each division, the

central office and the four campuses -

to be managed as an entity within the

unitary University which will have a

centralised set of policies and rules.

These entities will have divisional

budgets and accountability, local

responsibility for the programmes

offered and their sustainability. There

may be occasions where similar

programmes are offered on more

than one campus. Nevertheless such

programmes and faculties will be

managed on a specific campus.

This system requires the central

office to be situated on its own, off all


It also allows the possibility for staff

in the various entities to aspire to and

migrate to similar or better jobs in

another entities.

“In time, different campuses will

increasingly develop their own niche

programmes and compete with

other campus divisions regarding

performance such as pass and

throughput figures, student wellness

and happiness, budgets and research

output. Their contributions will

augment the overall performance and

sustainability of WSU,” adds Church.

By Thando Cezula

LICK AND FLIP: A WSU employee peruses the government gazette containing the University’s Statute




LAND TO BEAR FRUITS: A team from WSU and the

construction company set to build the residence familiarise

themselves with the piece of land during a site visit.

Construction began in late February

on a 240-bed student residence at

Walter Sisulu University’s Nelson

Mandela Drive campus.

The first residence to be built at the

Mthatha Campus since 1976, the R40

million project comes at a time when

older Mthatha residences will also

undergo much-needed renovations.

Those students affected by the

renovations are expected to be

housed in the new residence, so

that there is minimal displacement

during the renovation process.

“This new residence means the

University can carry out these

renovations to the existing

residences efficiently, speedily

and optimally,” says Head in the

Infrastructure Projects Management

Office Siya Mnyaiza.

The funding for the new residence

comes from the Infrastructure and

Efficiency Funding of the Department

of Higher Education and Training.

The new residence will see students

being housed in attractive, functional

accommodation with recreational and

study areas. The buildings are to be

connected with undercover walkways,

complemented by common areas,

green spaces and meeting places. The

residence consists of 10 units, with

five rooms and accommodating eight


Each unit allows for group study,

communal food preparation and

eating, either as a single or double

room, with improved privacy for


The Mthatha project is a forerunner

to plans to build more residences at

the Buffalo City Campus at a cost of

about R90 million. Mnyaiza says these

two projects will be funded under the

current funding cycle.

The University’s management is

looking closely at a project involving

DHET and the Development Bank

of South Africa, which will identify

four Universities in dire need of more


By Thando Cezula

Brand new spades tasted new ground

in Mthatha as WSU turned the sod

to signal the commencement of

construction of a R85 million state-ofthe-art

health sciences facility.



The new facility, funded by the

Department of Higher Education’s

Infrastructure and Efficiency Fund,

and the Clinical Fund, aims to improve

and increase research and academic


Speaking at the Nelson Mandela

Academic Hospital where the facility is

currently being built, DHET Director-

General Gwebinkundla Qonde said he

expects ground-breaking research and

excellent teaching to characterise the

faculty following this cash injection.

“The Faculty must be the hub of

intellectual activity, producing health

experts who continue to deal with

the problems of this province, and

beyond. The new facility must host

health experts from other parts of the

country and from outside our borders

to share knowledge and expertise

with us,” said Qonde.

Interim Vice Chancellor Prof Khaya

Mfenyana, whose efforts have

seen the faculty grow in leaps and

bounds, said he was encouraged and

heartened by the project.

“This will be a great boost for the

University and the province in

increasing the intake of students

studying towards health sciences

qualifications. It will help us play a

bigger role in producing the scarce

skills possessed by doctors, health

promoters, nurses and clinical

associates to aid in prevention,

treatment and cure of diseases

amongst our communities,” said


He said the facility would help the

University double, and in some cases

triple intake in some programmes that

currently have a low intake.


Qonde said the faculty must find area

of synergy with other universities,

whilst also finding common threads

with other institutions in the post

school sector such as the Technical

and Vocational Education and Training

(TVET) institutions that offer basic

health related programmes like first

aid skills.

By Thando Cezula

An artistic impression of the health sciences facility.



WSU senior tourism lecturer Tembi

Tichaawa’s (36) story of ascent from

a car guard to doctor of philosophy is

an inspiring one.

Cameroon-born Tichaawa is a

researcher and director of the

institution’s Centre of Excellence for

Tourism research.

Tichaawa tells a story of a young

lad with unwavering devotion to an

education that would be a stepping

stone to a life-long dream.

“I wanted to contribute to society and

I saw education as the key. Nothing

was going to stop me because I was

determined to get to the top,” he said.

However, Tichaawa came to realise

the hefty price tag that came with

tertiary education which led him

to working as a car guard, security

officer and a porter to support his


“I had to strive for it. I started my life

in South Africa watching cars when

the owners were in the supermarket

in exchange for little change,” said


Tichaawa saved enough to enrol

for a tourism management diploma

at the Cape Peninsula University of

Technology. His outstanding academic

performance caught the attention of

CPUT - this preceded his landing a job

as a lecturer.

During this stint, he completed a

master’s degree cum laude and

subsequently studied towards a

philosophy doctorate at the University

of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

Tichaawa’s thesis interrogated the

JUST GETTING STARTED: Dr Tembi Tichaawa says there’s still a lot to be done in building society through meaningful

and relevant education.

legacy impacts of the 2010 FIFA

World Cup in Africa, which set light

on the perceptions of soccer fans

and stakeholders in Nigeria and


Tichaawa says there’s still a lot

that he has to accomplish and

contribute in his life time.

“We still have to build a

society where we provide

meaningful education and I

have to work towards that,” he


Tichaawa recently graduated at for his

philosophy doctorate at UKZN.

“I wanted

to contribute

to society and I

saw education

as the key”

By Sinawo Hermans




ACCOUNTING FOR HARD WORK: SAICA delegates, University students and management alike celebrated the students’ great


FirstRand Limited CEO Sizwe Nxasana sounded a

clarion call to government for bigger investment into

disadvantaged institutions such as Walter Sisulu University.

Nxasana was guest speaker at the SAICA Thuthuka

Bursary Fund programme where WSU Chartered

Accounting students were honoured for their outstanding

efforts in achieving a 90% + pass rate across the levels

(1st year – 94%; 2nd year – 90%; 3rd year – 100%).

The Thuthuka Bursary Fund is a transformative initiative

by SAICA aimed at encouraging previously disadvantaged

black learners at University to pursue a career in the

Chartered Accountancy (CA) profession.

Nxasana outlined the flawed manner in which Universities

are currently funded and which is unfavourable to

institutions like WSU, saying that “We can’t continue to

use a funding model used many years ago, even in the old


“When I came to WSU with the Higher Education Minister

Dr Blade Nzimande two years ago I was worried about

WSU.”I saw the lack of investment.

Why do we see under-investment, be it in infrastructure,

lecture halls or accommodation, for both lecturers and


“By continuing to underfund WSU you are saying these

people must remain forever poor. We can’t allow an

institution like WSU to be underfunded,” said Nxasana.

In 2012, WSU embarked on a journey to regain SAICA

accreditation with much-needed aid from the Department

of Higher Education and Training. Minister Dr Blade

Nzimande invested just over R84 million over four years

into the University’s Accounting Department through the

National Skills Fund.

To this end, SAICA provided administrative support,

whilst UCT provided academic support in order to deliver

high quality lecturing to the learners on the programme.

Apart from providing funding for studies, students were

provided with access to mentors, were given workplace

skills training and they were introduced to learnership

opportunities. The project also saw many highly qualified

lecturers being attracted to the WSU programme and even

setting down roots in Mthatha.

SAICA’s Chantyl Mulder commended the students as well

as WSU’s leadership for the support and commitment they

have displayed over the past two years.

“In the last twelve years I’ve been involved in capacitybuilding

of African CA’s, of all the projects I’ve worked on

and worked with, WSU has been the most exciting project”

she said.

By Sinawo Hermans




A government sponsored project to improve service

delivery in municipalities in the Eastern Cape and the Free

State has seen opportunities being provided to 18 WSU

National Diploma students to receive experiential training

in one of the civil, electrical or mechanical fields of study.

The third-year engineering students form a total of 60

national diploma students sourced from WSU, Nelson

Mandela Metropolitan University and the Central University

of Technology.

The programme is aimed at improving the quality of life

of South Africans by making sure that government meets

the Millennium Development Goals by 2014. It also aims to

assist in growing the economy of all the targeted provinces

by increasing the skills base at all levels.

The students have been funded through the Department

of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET) National Skills

Fund to the tune of close to R4 million at just over R60

000 per student.

The allocated funds cover a stipend, as well as logistical

and administrative costs involved in recruitment, selection

and placement, equipment purchased for each student,

training material, assessments and quality assurance for

each student.

“In October 2013 a Memorandum of Understanding with

DHET was signed wherein it

was agreed to provide a grant

for this project to increase the

pool of qualified professionals

in the engineering industry.

The project is aimed at the

improvement of service delivery

and the broadening of the

skills base. ,” says Bigen Africa

Project Management team.

“Working here thus far has been quite a challenge, but also

a great learning opportunity. I’ve been literally thrown into

the deep because this is a project that brings the different

disciplines of engineering to the fore. I’m learning so much

already in terms of strategy as well as groundwork,” says


She says she is confident that the programme will provide

her with the industry-focused skills. Mbanjwa was also

full of praise for the project after it had paid for her

registration fee at the beginning of the year.

“This was a great weight off my shoulders because I

didn’t have to start the year worrying about financial

issues. I could channel all my thoughts and energies into

this programme,” says Mbanjwa.

Another crucial aspect of Bigen Africa’s responsibilities is to

ensure they keep tabs on the group after the programme

runs its course. Dedicated registered engineers are

assigned as mentors to different students.

“We have to monitor this group’s progress to ensure the

goals of the programme to feed human capacity in our

municipalities are fulfilled,” concludes Bigen Africa.

By Thando Cezula

Infrastructure developers Bigen

Africa, has made headway in

coordinating the placement

of the students in companies

such as Aurecon, Hlumisa

Engineering, Momotheka

Trading, Afri-Coast Engineers

amongst others.

Civil engineering student

Busiswa Mbanjwa is one of

the students selected for the

programme. She spends her

day honing her skills on the

site of the Second Creek RDP

housing project currently


HANDS ON: Engineering students look on as workers perform their duties at the 2nd Creek site project.




A dream without opportunity more

often than not remains just that…a


However, an opportunity provided

to three disadvantaged students at

Walter Sisulu University (WSU) has

paved the way for this trio’s dreams to

one day become reality.

Last year marked a watershed

moment for WSU’s Zoology Honours

students Yalanda Qhaji, Sonwabile

Malongwe and Lwazi Nombembe,

who became the first cohort of

graduates to benefit from a university

partnership with the South African

Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity

(SAIAB) resulting in bursaries for each

student close to R30 000 each.

Qhaji (24), who hails from the rural

town of Qumbu in the former Transkei

and now doing her Masters in Science

at the University of Johannesburg

says the initiative has played a

tremendous role in helping her inch

closer to fulfilling her dreams of one

day becoming a marine biologist.

“The initiative helped immensely by

covering payment for the bulk of my

studies. This allowed me to excel as

a student because I didn’t have to

worry about monetary issues,” says


Through the on-going collaboration

with the SAIAB African Coelacanth

Ecosystem Programme’s (ACEP)

Phuhlisa programme, a further four

Honours students, and one Masters

student, could reap the rewards of

this fruitful partnership after SAIAB

awarded a further five bursaries for


We do this through key partnerships

with national facilities and HBUs,” says

SAIAB Research and Human Capital

Development Coordinator Garth van


Another beneficiary of the

programme, 23-year-old Lwazi

Nombembe says the programme

has taught him the one of the most

important life skills he’s ever learnt –


“The Phuhlisa Programme has taught

me to swim. This is the one of the

most important lessons in this field

because without swimming, you can’t

do much in the water, and that of

course doesn’t bode well for someone

looking to go into the marine science

industry,” says Nombembe.

The benefits of the programme are

not limited to swimming lessons and

paying fees; they also offer other

services. As beneficiaries, the students

get to learn basic statistics, research

techniques, research proposal writing,

literature review writing, professional

communication techniques, coupled

with the luxury of a writing coach.

“They’ve also taught us critical life

skills like first aid, and equipped

us with other skills like a skipper’s

license,” says Nombembe.

Through the WSU and University

of Fort Hare partnerships, the

programme aims to produce 35 black

postgraduate students by 2015. Since

2012, SAIAB has spent close to R3

million in an effort to fulfil this goal.

By Thando Cezula

“The Phuhlisa Programme’s goal

is to produce a winning model for

developing a pipeline of high quality

human capital in marine science

by utilising talent at our country’s

Historically Black Universities (HBUs).


CASTING A NET: Yolanda Qhaji explores the open seas.



College Street site’s “server room”,

“Network room” and “workshop”

room, which housed the equipment

have been consolidated into one, with

the air conditioning being replaced

and upgraded, the Uninterruptable

Power Supply system being upgraded,

the electrical system and switchboards

being replaced and upgraded.

Furthermore, the new room was

cladded with fire-resistant cladding,

a fire-fighting system installed, a

biometric access control system was

installed, and all the cabling was


“We wanted to create a first-class

secure data centre which could

store all of our data in a safe,

secure environment that will not

be susceptible to environmental or

technical glitches,” said ICT’s Brendan

Langley, who’ll be managing the


A SOUND INVESTMENT: ICT Senior Networks Administrator Dumisani Lobese at the new data centre at College Street.

By Thando Cezula



Walter Sisulu University’s campuses

boast a R15 million Wi-Fi installation

by the Information Communication

Technology department across the

university’s 13 campus sites.

The project will see the incremental

installation of WI-FI hot spots in the

university libraries, common rooms

and residences.

WSU’s Solution architect and

technician, James Nengomashe says

an initiative was improvised to roll

out this Wi-Fi solution in phases and

proceed along those lines as funds

become available. Currently Wi-Fi is

available at the following sites:

• Buffalo City Campus:

* College Street library and foyer

and 2 Lecture halls, Potsdam

Library, and new office block.

* Chiselhurst library

• Butterworth library

• NMD Sasol library, Medical

student library, and 24 hour

reading room

• Zamukulungisa library and 24

hour study room

“The student residences will

internally have the necessary hot

spots and inter-building network

backbone connectivity to the WSU

network,” said Nengomashe.

Nengomashe also added that the

Wi-Fi implementation has taken a


while due to the University’s financial


A student, Ndwendwe Sigcobile

commented on the University’s

Facebook page saying “Yes, the Wi-Fi

installation has helped a lot and has

improved learning conditions because

the study centres are often over


By Sinawo Hermans



DVC for Academic Affairs and Research Prof Sandile Songca (left), Interim Vice Chancellor

Prof Khaya Mfenyana (middle) and Administrator Prof Van Staden. Prof Jadezweni (Acting

DVC: PQAD looks on from the back.a

U/21 WSU All Blacks player puts his foot through the famous ovalshaped

ball during a match held at Potsdam.

A WSU graduate proudly displays pieces from the

University’s Joan Broster beadwork collection.

The run-up to the 2014 SRC elections had some corners of the

University hollering in excitement.

WSU Directors for Research and the Centre for Youth, Gender and Disability Studies, Dr Cishe and Dr Gumbi,

discreetly chewing the fat.


DHET minister Dr Blade Nzimande is enthralled by the Administrator’s

presentation at the WSU summit.

Ibika lecturer Ntombozuko Memani shares a laugh with

student affairs department secretary Nombulelo Blaai at

the summit.

A view from above reveals WSU management engaging in some strategic talks.

WSU Convocation President Nomnikelo Puzi registers for the summit. Attending

to her is WSU staffer Bonga Sobekwa.

Students await their turn to explore the MerSETA bus which rolled onto WSU’s

Potsdam Site during the Work Integrated Learning Roadshow. The week saw different

organisations engaging with students about learnership and internship opportunities.

SASCO’s sassy lasses scrub down some dirty cars during a fundraising initiative.

A team from WSU and Dimension Data enjoyed lunch on a barge following

the official launch of the R2 million data centre.





WSU’s journalism school is considering introducing “climate

change” reporting into their post graduate curricular

following journalism head of department, Phil Schneider’s

invitation to UNESCO’s workshop on facing “Challenges of

Reporting Climate Change” in Nairobi, Kenya.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural

Organization (UNESCO) is an agency of the United Nations

that promotes education and communication and the arts.

UNESCO’s work in piloting the Model Curricula for

Journalism Education aims to contribute towards

developing transnational and interdisciplinary climate

literacy among media professionals, especially journalists.

Schneider was appointed to attend the conference after

the WSU journalism department was identified as one of

UNESCO’s 12 journalism centres of excellence in Africa.

Schneider says that journalists have a responsibility as

interpreters of news as well as guardians and curators of


“African journalists are not reporting on issues of climate

change especially at local level although Africans are

going to be the most severely affected by climate change

especially drought,” said Schneider.

A UNESCO-sponsored study on African media reporting

of science issues demonstrates that the death of science

reporting in Africa is due to lack of specialised knowledge

and the ability to cover science issues.

According to UNESCO, the guide seeks to highlight the

basic science of climate change and its interconnection

to social, political and cultural aspects of human

development, including how gender is implicated in climate

change mitigation.

UNESCO added saying climate change reporting (to what

or whom are you referring by “this”) should enable media

professionals to recognise and assess the multifaceted

impacts of climate change, and apply this reporting skill in

their professional practice.

By Sinawo Hermans

ON THE FRONTLINE: Journ students Anita Roji, Unathi Jongihlathi and Malibongwe Dayimani.




The “In Transit” autobiography

launched at WSU’s NMD campus

in Mthatha recently chronicles the

political journey of a South African

Mkhonto Wesizwe (MK) Veteran and

acclaimed academic, Fanele Mbali.

The book is one of a few South

African memoirs and recollections

of cadres who participated in the

Armed Struggle during the liberation

movement days.

In the insightful words of the National

Heritage Council CEO, Adv. Sonwabile

Mancotywa: “Reading the book

today, one is struck by the question:

how does one navigate the fine

line between critical reflection and

constructive criticism on one hand,

and perceptions of disloyalty on the


many ordinary South Africans who

paid the supreme sacrifice or who

were prepared to suffer a great

deal for their beliefs (it is a textual

memorial, as it were). It also

identifies not only those who actively

and directly participated in the

Armed Struggle (unsung heroes and

heroines),” he said.

Mancotywa also added that “In

Transit” could be a relevant source

material in developing the Liberation

Heritage Route.

“It is a sensitively written tribute to

the many ordinary men and women –

unsung heroes and heroines - who did

extraordinary things by someone who

himself did extraordinary things in the

cause of liberating South Africa,” he


By Sinawo Hermans

Mbali has published widely and

preceding his latest offering his

publications include ‘’Independent

Unions in South Africa (1986)’, ‘A Skills

Profile of Black South Africans’ (coauthored

with Dr Norman Levy, 1988),

‘A Socio-economic profile of the

Extended Wild Coast’ (1999), various

working papers for the Eastern Cape

Provincial and Local Governments and

other organisations.

Mbali found work at the University of

Transkei as it was then, now Walter

Sisulu University, where he taught

Economics, Economic History and

Development Economics. He retired

from the university in 2002.

Mancotywa said that publication of

books such as In Transit provides

balance in the way the Struggle

for Liberation in South Africa is

narrated and is an antidote to onesided

portrayals from the side of a

discredited regime.

“It records and pays tribute to the

TRANSFIXED: A University employee had an opportunity to read the book

“It is a sensitively written tribute to the many

ordinary men and women – unsung heroes

and heroines - who did extraordinary things by

someone who himself did extraordinary things in

the cause of liberating South Africa,”




Luxolo “Lux” September

A narrative of the striving chronicles

of Walter Sisulu University’s

journalism poster-boy, Luxolo “Lux”

September and his journey from a

remote village in the former Transkei,

to the boardroom of the International

Federation of Association Football

(FIFA) ahead of the 2014 world cup in

Brazil, writes Sinawo Hermans.

Please give a brief history of your

work experience in the media


I spent the first few years of my

working life working as a journalist

for the Daily Dispatch (Sport) – the

company that gave me a break while

I was still a student at WSU –I joined

the Dispatch while at first year –

mainly doing holiday and weekend

jobs. Before I graduated, they offered

me a contract. I also wrote for Kickoff,

Mail and Guardian ThoughtLeader,

Sunday Times as a freelancer. I had

spell at SABC Sport as well.

I left Journalism in 2007 (a big break

came) after FIFA offered me a job to

work in their Communications and

Public Affairs Division- I was part of

the team that delivered the 2010 FIFA

World Cup. I have worked for FIFA at

several tournaments.

Subsequently, I got appointments

to work for CAF, COSAFA and other



Currently, I’m the Acting GM of Media,

Broadcast and CRM at the Premier

Soccer League and also a FIFA


Tell us about working for FIFA,

how did that happen and what’s

the experience been like

Working for FIFA was an amazing

experience for me. It stripped me of

all the misconceptions I had about

Football as an industry. FIFA is like

a University – you learn new things

daily. It is an amazing institution. It

is a cut throat world, if you are not

good enough you don’t survive there.

Period. For me, it was challenging –

first to acclimatise – different culture

and new organisation. But I knew that

I don’t represent myself or my family

alone, I carry with me the dreams of

millions of African children who want

to one day wear the FIFA Uniform.

When you work for FIFA, you get to

travel to world – I have been to about

20 or so countries in my life.

What has your past experience

from the previous world cup

taught you that you will use in

the upcoming world cup

There are many lessons from the

2010 FIFA World Cup. Personally, it

was an honour to be part of a World

Cup in my own country. But it was

not always easy. I learned to deal

with criticism – not to take things too

personally. I learned about planning

– about preparing for all scenarios.

Brazil is a similar country but also

very different to South Africa. The

dynamics are a bit different there – so

you cannot take the same template

really. But the principles are the


Did you always know you would

make it this far

Somehow I have always believed that

I will achieve a lot in life, but there is

still a long way to go. I was raised by

my late great grandmother and she

taught us the value of reading from

an early age – so I travelled the world

through reading before I could be in

an aeroplane. Whenever I achieve

something, I’m never surprised. Some

people tell me I’m too young and

all … but why is that an excuse or a


What drives Lux September

The desire to be better, that hunger to

achieve more. I don’t dwell on glory

days, I celebrate once and move on

because life has more to offer.

From an early age, I was

driven by a desire to push

the envelope and show

people from similar or worse

background that in life,

it’s possible. So, I want to

remain authentic (no such

thing as an original person

– except you haven’t learned

from others) … I wake up in

the morning to get closer to my

purpose in life.

What would you say to students

who have just graduated

First, they mustn’t put themselves

in a box and they mustn’t limit

themselves. It is easy to say “I

qualified as an engineer, there

are no engineering jobs so I will

stay home” …. But you can always

reinvent yourself – that is the secret

in life. I know our country faces the

unemployment problem … but we

have to think global but act local.

What role has education played

in your career

Education has opened doors for me.

I look at people I grew up with who

didn’t have the same (academic)

opportunities as me and it breaks

my heart … Education gives one a

chance. Maybe you might not have an

opportunity right now, but it prepares

you for that opportunity.

As an alumnus of WSU, how has

the WSU journalism department

contributed to your success as a


I was moulded by some good





lecturers at the department - it was

a structured department. When I

was there, there was less disruption.

You see, people today demand

rights all the time – they strike for

rights but they don’t keep their part

of the bargain which is to exercise


Tell us about your work ethic.

I work … and work. Even though

I was an achiever academically, I

taught myself to work harder than

any student or person I know. So, a

person might be more talented than

me but I will just work harder than

them … Also, I’m prepared to suffer

and sacrifice a bit. So, I don’t really

care about a person’s potential – I

care about their attitude and work

ethic – in the corporate world where

results are everything, talent means

absolutely nothing.

What are your future aspirations

To make history.

By Sinawo Hermans

“The desire to be better, that hunger to achieve more. I

don’t dwell on glory days, I celebrate once and move on

because life has more to offer.”




It’s been a steady rise through

the ranks for WSU’s Buffalo Citybased

premier rugby team, the All

Blacks, since it was founded by the

University’s sports department in


So tough and unforgiving the local

club rugby scene proved to be for

the new kids on the block, it took

them close to three years to find

their footing and muster a team good

enough to present a challenge to the

other well-established powerhouses.

In 2010, the team made their first

real impression when they qualified

to play in the Border Rugby first

division. After a successful season,

they eclipsed this feat the following

year when they qualified to play in the

local Premier League.

They would continue to do battle in

this league for two seasons before

a successful 2013 season would

see them promoted to the Super 12

League, where they currently battle it

out with teams from the Border and

Eastern Province region for this year’s

top honours.

WSU Head of Sport at Buffalo City

Campus Bongo Nontshinga, who’s

been involved with the team since

it was established, says the team

is made up almost entirely of WSU

students, whilst the rest of the

players are scouted and roped in from

underprivileged areas surrounding the


“Most of our players are students here

(WSU). We don’t want to compromise

the legitimacy of this team as a WSU

product by having too many outsiders.

We do however open some doors

for talent that could help make us a

stronger unit, whilst also ensuring

that these guys don’t let their talents

go to waste,” says Nontshinga.

Nontshinga’s job as a sports

administrator has become even the

more vital this year, with the level

of competition demanding proper

equipment and facilities.

“We have a huge challenge regarding

adequate equipment and facilities. If

we hope to challenge and compete

with the rest of the teams in this

league, we have to have those basic

necessities in place. We are now in

talks with numerous sponsors who

could aid us in this regard,” says


A mixture of raw muscle and intellect,

Fort-Beaufort-born All Blacks captain

Ntsika Matomela, who currently

jostles rugby with his studies as a

third-year IT student at Potsdam

Site at the Buffalo City Campus, says

the most important aspect of being

a captain is leading by example in

building the image of the University.

“WSU is a fantastic University with

fantastic people. It is my duty as a

captain to remind my players of their

responsibility as brand ambassadors

of the institution so we can make

people stand up and take notice.

We want them to see WSU for what

it really is, a great institution,” says


Matomela says the biggest challenge

for the team is lack of incentives. He

says players need to be rewarded for

their “tireless efforts”.

“It would be great to have sports

bursaries to incentivise our players so

we can attract the cream of the crop

from the Eastern Cape. We hope that

one day the University will be able

to help us offer this to potential All

Blacks,” he says.

The All Blacks have their sights set


on qualifying for the country’s biggest

University rugby competition, where

they’ll compete exclusively with other


“This will mean our team will have to

be made up of WSU students only –

something that we’re well prepared

for. We have an abundance of young

talent in our younger ranks who I

believe can step up to the plate and

take on the likes of TUT, Fort Hare

and VUT in the Varsity Shield. This

will be our first step before we aim

to compete in the top division, the

Varsity Cup,” concludes Nontshinga.


WSU has a rich history when it comes

to producing quality women rugby

players. It has long been a feeder into

the Springbok women’s outfit, and this

trend continues in 2014 with no less

than four players chosen to represent

the Springboks – three chosen for

the Springboks under 20s, and one,

Amanda Tsedi, chosen to represent

the senior team in the upcoming

women’s World Cup later this year.

“We’ve set the standard in terms of

quality when it comes to producing

top quality women’s rugby players in

the province, and indeed the nation.

It is up to us to continue to develop

and nurture this talent so more WSU

players can follow in these heroines’

footsteps,” says Nontshinga.

By Thando Cezula

CHARGED UP: (right) The WSU All Blacks captain leads

his charges onto the field ahead of another bruising


A frank and robust dialogue regarding

the often taboo subject of sex, sexual

orientation and HIV/Aids served as a

perfect accompaniment to the launch

of a programme aimed at creating

space for discourse about these issues

within the WSU community.

WSU Centre for HIV/Aids (CHA)

director Nomvula Twaise left no

question unanswered as she

launched the Men having sex with

Men/Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals,

Transgender and Intersex (MSM/

LGBTI) Programme in front of a

curious crowd eager to learn more

about sexuality.

“In the Higher Education AIDS study

of 2010 HIV prevalence and KABP

survey, it was found that universities

risk a growing population of MSM/

LGBTI which is neglected by HIV

prevention programmes. This finding

made us restless because even

though we would suspect such cases,

we didn’t know to what extent. This is

why this programme is so important,”

said Twaise.

She says the programme is vital in

addressing issues of gender inequality,

discrimination and other inequities

regarding sexual orientation, as

well as providing tailored HIV


Twaise says limited data about MSM/

LGBTI is a huge hindrance to fully

understanding the size of most of

these populations in the country

and the impact HIV has within these




A panel comprising a number of

pundits from government, NGOs and

the University was on hand to interact

with and answer some of the students

about a range of questions.

Eastern Cape LGBTI chairperson

Abongile Matyila said his organisation

was crucial in ensuring that the rights

of individuals to adequate standards

of health care are met.

“We also look at various ways for

reducing stigma and discrimination

by highlighting the treatment of

LGBTI groups with respect, sensitising

people about the using language

that can give rise to stigma, running

awareness programmes aimed

at curbing the negative effects of

stereotypes held by communities,”

said Matyila.

Founder of empowerment feminist

organisation for transgenders, Social,

Health and Empowerment (S.H.E)

Lee-Ann van der Merwe was at pains

in explaining and sensitising students

to issues facing this community within

the African context.

“The lack of vocal African transgender

and intersex people gave birth to

this organisation. Transgender and

intersex women aren’t visible in

African feminist spaces and this is

something that needs to change,” said

Van Der Merwe.

The panellists called on the students

to embrace diversity so as to create

an environment for tolerance of

others no matter their colour, creed or

sexual preference.

The organisations also pledged their

support for the programme, with the

SRC calling on CHA to draft a formal

document to be submitted to the

proper channels so the programme

can get official status as a registered

University initiative.

By Thando Cezula

A NECESSARY INTERVENTION: CHA staffers reveal their new programme to the delight of the audience.




Impassioned discussions and

interrogations about transforming

higher education in South Africa

sparked a huge conversation at the

6th annual WSU Research Conference

which took place at the Mthatha

Health Resource Centre from 5-7


This year’s conference, themed

“Transforming Higher Education

Teaching and Learning in the

21st Century” saw close to 150

researchers, academics, students

and research administrators from

the education fraternity presenting

research materials that speak to this

transformation agenda.

“This year’s theme was indeed a most

appropriate one. The transformation

of higher education for today’s

innovative and rapidly changing

world is an essential component

for producing graduates who will

be appropriately prepared for a

demanding environment,” says WSU’s

Interim Vice Chancellor Prof Khaya


A total of 109 research studies were

presented orally, whilst a further 27

were presented as posters. These

covered a plethora of pertinent

topics, including “Reaching out

across differences to find strengths

in education”, “Professionalization of

teaching in Universities”, “Preserving

mother language in a multilingual

environment”, “Learners attitudes

towards HIV infection”, and “Can

herbal remedies alleviate the adverse

effects of TB”, amongst many others.

WSU Research Development Director

Dr Elphina Cishe said the conference

did well in providing an opportunity

to bring together different schools of

thoughts and various fields in further

exploring and responding to Africa’s


“The conference provided an ideal

forum to stimulate ideas and initiate

discussions about transforming

teaching and learning in higher

education,” she said.

Some of the field’s most respected

experts will also delivered keynote

addresses on a number of aspects

regarding education.

One of those experts was University

of the Free State’s education faculty

dean Prof Dennis Francis. His address,

titled “Teacher education: enacting a

vision for social justice” captured the

attention of all in attendance. Francis

addressed critical issues regarding

social justice education in the African

and South African context.

The second of this dynamic trio

was UKZN’s Prof Kathleen Pithouse-

Morgan, whose topic “Learning

from the Transformative Educational

Studies (TES) project” saw her

sharing her experience about the

TES’s aim to enhance and study

the development of self-reflexive

pedagogic, research and supervision

capacity among participants in the


Rounding of this trio was University

of Colorado’s Associate Professor, Dr

Pamela Hanes, a visiting Professor

currently working at WSU’s Health

Sciences department.

Beginning in 2011, Hanes spent two

months in the Eastern Cape as a

faculty and staff mentor in the WSU

Clinical Associate Training Programme,

which produced the country’s first

ever Clinical Associate graduates in


Since 2011, she has returned to WSU

three times, and was due for another

visit in March 2014 to continue her

mentorship of faculty and staff in


the areas of program evaluation,

principles of population health, and

practice-based research.

Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic

Affairs and Research Prof Sandile

Songca said it’s incumbent upon

tertiary institutions to contribute to

the economic growth of the country

by producing students who possess

in-demand skills.

“The economies that will thrive in the

future are characterised primarily by

their wealth generating intellectual

assets in the high end intellectual

human capital and intellectual

property domains, which together

drive the local intellectual gross

domestic production,” concluded


By Thando Cezula

Dr Pamela Hanes, Associate Professor from University

of Colorado




Final results for the hotly contested WSU SRC elections

were announced on Tuesday 8 April for all the University’s

four campuses.

Elections this year were in line with the divisional

governance and management system as outlined in the

University’s new Statute.

A total of 11,810 votes were cast across all campuses;

5,042 at the Mthatha campus; 3,026 at Buffalo City

Campus; 3,259 at the Butterworth Campus; and 483 at

the Queenstown Campus.

of this year’s election,” said university

spokesperson Angela Church.

Dotwana said an executive will be formed

comprising the four campus presidents.

There will no longer be in overarching

Institutional Student Representative

Council according to the new SRC

Constitution that has been developed and

agreed upon.

The new SRCs were inaugurated at

an Oath-taking Ceremony at Mthatha

Campus on Friday 11 April.

Students were very vocal about what issues they wanted

the incumbent leadership to deal with as a matter of


Issues such as the insufficient residences, inadequate

teaching and learning equipment and material, efficiency

of ICT services, proper and functional support services,

especially regarding students, must be elevated to more

strategic engagements with management,” said third-year

student Amahle Ndlwana.

Three student organisations, namely SASCO, PASMA and

the SCO contested the elections across all four campuses.

The ANCYL, DASO and AZASCO only contested at the

Mthatha Campus.

The results were as follows:

Calls for political in-fighting and factionalism to come to

an end were also sounded by a number of students, some

refusing to vote because of these unsavoury practices.

By Thando Cezula

Mthatha Campus:

Sasco: 4 seats

Pasma: 4 seats

ANCYL: 4 seats

SCO: 2 seats

Butterworth Campus:

Sasco: 3 seats

Pasma: 3 seats

Buffalo City Campus:

Sasco : 4 seats

Pasma: 3 seats

SCO : 1 seat

Queenstown Campus:

Sasco : 3 seats

Pasma : 2 seats

The seats are allocated according to the number of

students per campus; however as Queenstown is a small

campus with under 1,000 students, mandatory seats

are allocated to ensure that student affairs can operate


“The SRC elections this year have run very smoothly

and students have displayed admirable political maturity.

The Department of Student Affairs has been conducting

workshops and roadshows for the past few months

as part of its voter education programme and campus

electoral committees also participated in the planning


IZWE LETHU: PASMA member Luvo Jaza at the WSU summit.



THE Joan Broster Beadwork Collection at Walter Sisulu

University which dates back to 1932 and features

beadwork associated with the AbaThembu people, will

be recognised by the South African Heritage Resources

Agency (Sahra) as a significant feature of the national


Sahra made the proposed declaration public after years of

engaging with the university. The beadwork was collected

between 1952 and 1966 by the late Broster who later sold

it to Unitra. Today WSU is the proud owner of about 3 000

traditional objects.

Sahra’s Regina Isaacs said the collection was of national

significance and a specific declaration by the agency

meant the status of the collection would be enhanced.

“The Broster Beadwork Collection serves as research

material owned by WSU. There was interaction with the

Engcobo community and others who contributed to the

collection. It is up to WSU to build on this relationship and

to use the declaration for the benefit of WSU.”

The collected objects include traditional clothing and

accessories. Isaacs said a service provider had been

appointed and was in the process of developing a

conservation management plan that would stipulate how

the collection would be looked after to ensure it was

accessible to current and future generations.

Being declared by Sahra will mean that: No person may

destroy, damage, disfigure or alter any heritage object, or

disperse any collection without a permit; No person may

carry out any work of restoration or repair on an object,

without a permit; No person may export or attempt to

export from South Africa any object without a permit;

On application by the owner or custodian of an object or

collection, Sahra may at its discretion assist in funding

any restoration or repair work undertaken by an approved


WSU spokeswoman Angela Church said: “WSU is proud

to be the custodian of the significant, rare Joan Broster

Beadwork Collection. As a university which embraces

indigenous knowledge systems, and focuses its research

on this theme, it is fitting that WSU should ensure the

preservation of this cultural gem.”

People have been encouraged to comment or send their

queries about the proposed declaration within 60 days by

e-mail to hweldon@sahra.org.za or fax (021) 462-4509.

PREPARED BY: The Daily Dispatch


EMBRACING CULTURE: A WSU graduate models some of the Joan Broster beadwork


A letter from a graduand…

One of life’s greatest mysteries is how so much can

change, but somehow still remain the same.

Today I stand here a qualified lawyer, an accountant, an

engineer or even a designer, but I still remain a child of

a teacher, a nurse, a taxi driver, the street hawker who

from selling maize could educate a doctor- and that of a

herdsman who sold a goat so I could hold a text book.

Today I stand here, a first generation university graduate

from my family- the pride of the Dlamini’s, Rhadebe,

Mpinga and amaTshawe clans.

I will forget not the long lectures and sleepless nights,

the hunger pains I endured because pay day was just one

day too far. Because hunger keeps no time and knows no

patience, and sometimes mother’s nomtsopi and Sdovela

recipe was just not enough until the end of the month.

But, because I had a stronger hunger for education and

unwavering tenacity- I stand here a better person than

I was yesterday, I stand here a devoted servant to my

community because Walter Sisulu University opened its

doors and paved the way for someone like me.

Walter Sisulu University, the Alma Mater of Terence

Nombembe, Gobodo and Lux Mantambo- an institution

where when I did not have much, gave me its all, an

institution with scant resources, but succeeded to build

my strong character that knows improvising is the cornerstone

of success.

And because Walter Sisulu University has 175 accredited

programmes that respond to the needs of communities

and those of government, I can make a difference in

the remotest village of Gatyana as well as in corporate


Walter Sisulu University my beginning, WSU my

tomorrow. So much has changed, but somehow still

remains the same.

By Sinawo Hermans

A WARM EMBRACE: Prof Van Staden proves to be popular with students as seen here during the Zamukulungisa Graduation.

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