Page 1

Pulse Issue 32 July 2015

WSU art students march against xenophobia


EDITORIAL IN THIS ISSUE My former boss would expect no less of me, so before all else, let me begin by denouncing and condemning unequivocally the recent xenophobic violence and attacks against our fellow Africans.

In a country that prides itself on a constitution founded upon values of tolerance, acceptance and respect for human dignity and life, the recent perpetuation of crude acts of violence against our foreign nationals is unacceptable and bears no right of existence within our society.


Editorial note/Contents


Shot in the arm for students


SRC helps students register


Bundu bashing in China


Transport studies get funding


Students pan social landscape in films


Black youth must lead change


Duo help translate language of Accounting


Educating people about the law

12 Sevens team tough nut to crack 12 Rugby team manager profile 13 Student uses vernac to tell tales in novel

As an institution that promotes diversification and globalisation of thoughts, ideas and practices in her pursuit to help transform our societies for the better, immediate and a yonder, WSU stands steadfast against this prejudicial ideology and resolves to uproot this poisonous dogma within her ranks. Earlier I mentioned something about a former boss… Well the news was that (now) former WSU Marketing, Communication and Advancement Director and Spokesperson Ms Angela Church retired her pen as she bade farewell to the University at the end of March. After almost two decades of selfless service, the “old lady with strikingly blonde hair” as I recall one student’s apt description, answered the country’s call to service and now forms an integral part of the Department of Higher Education and Training. WSU extends its sincerest gratitude for your unwavering loyalty, belief, dedication, compassion and hard work in elevating this University’s status. On 24 April, WSU Council announced its decision to elect Ambassador Sheila M. Sisulu as the new Chancellor. She succeeds another woman of great substance, Dr Brigalia Bam, who has served the University since its merger in 2005.

14 CFO talks finance 15 Weighing in on food security 16 Our leaders say no to Xenophobia 18 France trip withing touching distance

We welcome you ambassador to our corridors and wish you the best in your role. We also extend gratitude to Dr Bam for her invaluable role in leading our University – you have paved the way in our pursuit of greener pastures. The University recently awarded and conferred degrees, diplomas and certificates to over 4 500 graduands during the April/May graduation ceremony. We wish all our graduates the best in their current and future endeavours and implore them to give back to their alma mater as alumni.

Thando Cezula Communication Officer

19 Wear WSU name with pride 10 Partnering to restore dignity to Healthcare 11 Good bill of health for FHS

Pulse is an initiative of the Department of Marketing, Communication and Advancement 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@ 2



Africa’s leading pharmaceuticals company gave ten WSU students a much-needed shot in the arm towards their studies for the 2015 academic year.

follow up because I thought it was some sort of joke. I eventually went to the University’s financial aid office where it was confirmed that I had indeed been chosen for the funding,” she said excitedly.

Aspen Pharmcare, the continent’s largest drug manufacturers and suppliers, recently penned an agreement with the University that will see the company funding second-year students to the tune of approximately R635 000 over the incumbent academic year.

Ngqambuza shook with excitement when speaking about the difference the funding could make towards shaping her future. She said the funding will allow her peace of mind – enabling her to dedicate undivided attention to her studies.

“In our efforts to promote access to higher education for previously disadvantaged students with potential and focusing on the development of skills in specific areas, Aspen has established these bursaries to fund selected students of the University under the scope of this agreement,” says Aspen Pharmcare Group Talent Development Manager Xolisa Boqwana.

Student Affairs executive director Zoleka Dotwana was a picture of elation following the developments the agreement had produced. “This is indeed a most welcome offer that could not have come at a better time. Our students are struggling to fund their studies. This initiative will make a difference to the lives of these particular students,” said Dotwana.

One of those lucky few is electrical engineering student Sibongile Ngqambuza, studying at the Butterworth Campus.

Through various other initiatives, including an agreement worth R18,9 million between the University and the Transport Education and Training Authority, as well as funding worth R900 000 provided by student leadership through the SRC Trust Fund, over 40 students have received bursaries for 2015, whilst a further 200 were afforded an opportunity to register through the trust fund.

A surprised Nqagmbuza said the news came as a total shock given the fact that she had not formally applied for the bursary. “I received text message telling me I had been accepted for the Aspen Pharmcare bursary. I was hesitant to

ALL CHARGED UP: Second-year electrical engineering students Sibusiso Nunge (nearest to camera) and Votiswa Madubela at the University’s Buffalo City Campus at the College Street Site in East London. 3

by Thando Cezula


ACCESS GAINED: Students from the Potsdam campus were excited following the announcement that the SRC would spend R900 000 on registering students. Student leadership at WSU’s Mthatha, Buffalo City and Butterworth campuses joined hands to help students facing financial struggles register for this academic year.

(NSFAS), the move hoped to at least “get students in the door” so they can pursue both their studies and alternative funding for the academic year.

Mthatha, Butterworth and Buffalo City Campus SRCs all turned to their coffers to help over 200 students get their foot in the door by providing a total of R900 000 in funding to pay for the students’ minimum initial payment (MIP) cost at registration.

Mthatha Campus SRC President Zanelizwi Mgontshongo said the fund is earmarked for the poorest of students who show the most academic potential.

“It’s imperative that we help our students at least gain access to the education system, and this is what this small gesture was meant to achieve – access. We can’t have a situation where our fellow students are turned away from the doors of education because of lack of funding,” said Butterworth Campus SRC president Luyanda Tenge.

“The criteria was simple. We requested documentation of all those who applied so we could verify their financial situation. A cohort was be identified through a means test and those who qualified after verification had their MIP paid for,” said Mgontshongo.

He said in light of the welldocumented funding shortages of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme

Student Affairs executive director Zoleka Dotwana

commended the young leaders for their compassion and empathy towards their fellow students. She however did express concern over the students’ academic progress beyond registration. “The fund is aimed at gaining students access to the University but without support in terms of books, tuition fees, food, personal amenities, resulting in some dropping out along the way.”

Get students in the door


“The alternative would be to have the SRCs fund students fully rather than paying just the MIP. The net result would be that fewer students would be funded but better results would be achieved,” said Dotwana. by Thando Cezula



He, together with fellow third-year tourism student Okuhle Tshijila (25), was, as part of the stipulations, required to write an essay on Jinhua. The duo were then shortlisted, called before a panel of judges to do a presentation on the city, and, after

TRANSPORT STUDIES GET FUNDING Over 40 students benefitted from an investment of R18,9 million by the Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) into WSU for the 2015 financial year. The bulk of the funding has gone towards bursaries and scholarships for deserving students in the field of civil engineering and other fields related to transport economics. WSU Acting Spokesman Thando Cezula welcomed this positive development. “It is most encouraging that we can now offer many new bursaries to our students in these important fields. Our developing economy is so short of skills in science and engineering and WSU is well-placed to address this shortage with our appropriate mix of degrees and diplomas. Now that we have TETA on board as a funding partner we can make significant strides towards building the skills required,” he said.

TAKING A VERY SHORT LEFT: Okuhle Tshijila (left)shares a giggle with Sinothando Adonisi at the feet of the Steve Biko statue which stands proudly aloft in front of the East London City Hall. A village on the outskirts of China’s city of Jinhua will play host to two Walter Sisulu University (WSU) students during a three-week visit as part of an intercultural exchange programme. The “homestay” programme, an initiative borne out of a decade long partnership between Jinhua and Buffalo City Metro (BCMM), saw the duo jet off to the eastern Chinese prefectural level city on 22 June to join 48 other youths from all corners of the world. The trip is sponsored by BCMM and the Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs office of Jinhua People’s government. Third-year tourism student Sinothando Adonisi (23) said he received word from his lecturer about the competition, who then proceeded to encourage him to enter. “As students we were always complaining about lack of opportunities from the city regarding youth development. As if by design, this opportunity availed itself, followed by a lambasting by our lecturer about our lack of initiative and proactivity in identifying such opportunities,” said Adonisi.

impressing the judges, got the nod to form part of the trip. “I was so excited to have been chosen to one of the world’s most historic countries. I hope to bring back many lessons which I intend to impart in my academia, as well as in my small village of Cofimvaba,” said Tshijila. Adonisi spoke with great advocacy about the province’s tourism landscape, calling for its goals to be re-aligned and re-strategised to suit the realities and contexts of the province. “We need to look closely at our policies and goals on tourism and ask ourselves how they relate to what we as a province have to offer. Are we taking advantage of our rural setting, because that’s tourism. What are we doing to give people our uniquely Eastern Cape township experience, because within this sphere lies great potential,” said Adonisi.

Apart from the funding allocated to bursaries, other projects that will be funded in this first tranche include transportation for physically challenged students, extension of the student driver training project, a mathematics and science project targeting high schools in the WSU catchment area and management training for staff. Collaborative research will underpin all these projects thereby making this partnership of academic value as well. “A Memorandum of Understanding was signed recently between WSU and TETA and we applaud the quick action and tangible commitment of TETA,” said Cezula. “More partnerships of this nature between WSU and other SETAs could provide a real solution for skills enhancement,” he concluded. by Thando Cezula

He said his goal was to improve and boost the economy of the Eastern Cape through relevant interventions that talk to the realities and uniqueness of the province. By Thando Cezula


DEAL CEMENTED: Second-year Building students are also in line to benefit.



Yanga Ziwele and Avela Luka

WSU’s filmmakers received a nod of validation for Best Director, Best Editor and Best Camera Operator at the institution’s film premiere recently.

Best director, Sibusiso Mrhaji said his passion has always been with film. “I’ve been doing film work for the Steve Biko Foundation for a while now, but I must admit I did not expect to win, looking at the tough competition,” said Mrhaji.

The young and inspired filmmakers captivated audiences with their heartrending documentary productions at the institution’s journalism department.

The documentary premiere is the only one of its kind for young local filmmakers in the Eastern Cape.

Sibusiso Mrhaji, Zethu Mthambeka and Aviwe Mtila walked away with awards for Best Director: Umkhondo, Best Editor: Lucky Number 7 and Best Camera Operator: Abandoned, respectively.

For the selection of the films, the students had to pitch ideas to a panel of expert judges from local organisations and media experts.

WSU broadcasting lecturer, Sharon Cumming said the films produced by the students reflect an array of social and domestic issues with relevance to the Eastern Cape and the international audience.

“I’m very glad and surprised I got to win two awards. It’s always great being recognised for your work. I fell in love with film while I was working on this documentary.

“The criteria used were for the documentaries to be relevant to society. We also looked at the logistics involved with the production as well as television appeal,” she said.

I would love to pursue it one day, but I’m venturing into print media right now as an intern,” said Aviwe. Best Editor, Zethu Mthambeka concluded, saying that she was also surprised at the accolade.

In its 6th year running, the difference this year was that the documentaries ran 24 minutes long as opposed to previous years’ 12 minutes.

“Even though I have been editing for a while, I did find the experience of this project quite challenging and overwhelming,” she said.

“Increasing the film lengths makes them more suitable for television broadcast” said Cumming.

By Sinawo Hermans 6

BLACK YOUTH MUST LEAD CHANGE Nonkululeko Gobodo, chairperson of South Africa’s largest black-owned auditing and accounting firm, SizweNtsalubaGobodo, said South Africa needs to usher in a new socio-economic landscape led by young black African minds.

programme in 2012. WSU Interim Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Khaya Mfenyana said the programme has comfortably established its place as one of the University’s flagship programmes right alongside perennial over-achievers, the health sciences faculty.

Gobodo, a WSU alumnus and the country’s first black female chartered accountant (CA), challenged the University’s accounting students to pursue this transformation agenda through an inspired academic ethos in her address at the University’s annual SAICA reaccreditation/Thuthuka Fund Academic Awards.

“Through the fantastic work being done in this department by all concerned, we envision a day not too far in the distant future where we achieve full reaccreditation from SAICA. The road to that realization has already been laid,” said Mfenyana.

“Our people have danced in the periphery of our own economic landscape long enough – it’s time we took our rightful place as the heartbeat of this country’s economic activities. If we’re to change the face and shade of this country’s predominantly white chartered accountancy sector, we have to start here (at University), with a dream, and lots and lots of hard work,” she said.

Key to its successes has been the programme’s ability to lure young, passion-fuelled and ambitious CA’s from all corners of the country through a rigorous recruitment process, which saw 12 CA’s settling in Mthatha. Ngqamakwe-born Akona Babana, who left a cushy job as a CA to pursue her passion for academia, was one such young professional roped in in December 2013.

WSU’S Zamakulungisa Site in Mthatha was a hub of excitement as about 300 dignitaries, including executive management, staff, high school principals and students came out to witness the presentation of 70 academic awards to students for their outstanding academic endeavours for 2014.

“The last year-and-a-half has been the happiest and most fulfilling period in my professional career. To see the will and drive of these students to realize their dreams of one day becoming CAs, in spite of their socio-economic situations, has validated my decision to come into teaching,” said Babana.

Gobodo heaped praise on SAICA’s transformational wing, the Thuthuka Fund, which has provided 400 bursaries to WSU students from rural and previously disadvantaged backgrounds since the inception of the re-accreditation

By Thando Cezula

ANSWERING THE CALL: Babana shares her tales of overcoming the odds to become a CA (SA).

THE BLANKET APPROACH: Prof Mfenyana ensured the warm relations between WSU and Ms Gobodo are improved and sustained.



ACCOUNTING Zulu and Xhosa-speaking students struggling to grasp the often complex financial terminology of accountancy could benefit from a ground-breaking initiative launched in February. The programme seeks to address this anomaly by providing online video lectures in these two languages, along with English.

praised the concept, labelling it a brilliant initiative that allows students to watch and understand some key concepts in financial accounting, management accounting and financial management. “Students will be able to pause, rewind, stop and fast forward at their leisure depending on how quickly they grasp the concepts at hand. Prospective accounting students will have the opportunity to get a head start in terms of some key concepts,” says Ndlangamandla.

And two of WSU staffers have formed an integral part of an initiative borne out of a desire to deal with this problem. Department of Accounting senior lecturers Akona Babana and Senzo Ndlangamandla have lent their expertise in language and accounting to helping translate key accounting concepts from English to Xhosa and Zulu in the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) on-going Learn Accounting initiative.

The initiative also enjoys resounding endorsements from Babana, who highlights its potential in closing the sometimes huge language gap that becomes all too apparent when students make the transition from high school to University.

“There is a big gap in terms of the The venture, way accounting termed the UCT is taught at FASSET (Finance high schools as and Accounting compared to Services Sector Education and University. You Training Authority) MIND YOUR ACCOUNTING LANGUAGE: Babana (left) together with Ndlangamandla have been instrumental in could find that mother tongue a student who administering the programme within the walls of WSU. intervention project, gets a level 6 in aims to empower mathematics and students by offering free, multilingual video-based learning accounting struggles when they get to the tertiary on key financial and accounting concepts. levels. These videos will assist in bridging that language gap,” says Babana. “I heard about this opportunity through our HOD who’d been approached by UCT looking for accounting lecturers Individuals interested in learning about the project who could assist with the translation of the scripted can visit: lessons. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I volunteered to participate,” says Babana. By Thando Cezula Her counterpart Ndlangamandla, who translates to Zulu,

“There is a big gap in terms of the way accounting is taught at high schools as compared to University.” 8

EDUCATING PEOPLE ABOUT THE LAW A 500-strong student body borne out of a desire to empower communities on legal and constitutional matters could see parity restored in countless melees of people gripped by ignorance on matters of the book. Last year the Mthatha campus bore witness to the launch of the WSU National Association for Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) Student Chapter which consists of current and former WSU students. “The establishment of this organisation serves to aid NADEL in its constitutional development and transformation imperatives. We want to empower the masses by educating them about their rights as etched in the constitution on various issues,” said Student Chapter Secretary Chuma Gqetywa, a second-year law student. She said one of the most critical roles of the chapter is to equip

communities, through street law sessions and public discussions, with the necessary legal knowledge so they can make the right choices in life. The Student Chapter has been working tirelessly since its establishment to build and foster relations with strategically placed organisations that will supplement its efforts to bring the law to the streets. “We’re currently in talks with a local community radio station to look into creating a platform that will allow for such discourse to start taking shape,” said Gqetywa. She says a plethora of topics will be tabled and interrogated during what’s set to be a weekly show that offers the community an opportunity to engage with different topics. “We’re looking at identifying reputable legal experts to weigh in on the issues at hand so we empower

our people with sound knowledge. The community will also be heavily involved in these discussions because these will be discussions about societal issues,” said Gqetywa. Topics on hand will include, among others, criminal law, civil law, consumer law, customary law, environmental law as well as human rights. Gqetywa said the chapter also advocates for constitutional development, judicial transformation and community development. “We also assist students with practical and theoretical legal support through facilitating student workshops that are addressed by practicing attorneys and advocates, as well as developing students through moot court practical and community outreach programmes,” she concluded.

STREET JUSTICE: Members of the NADEL Student Chapter executive.


By Thando Cezula



A HEALTHY UNIT: Dr Chitha (nearest to camera) led the pledge as a room of witnesses looked on.

WSU Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Khaya Mfenyana has led a pledge which aims to salvage some dignity still left in the healthcare profession. The pledges were made by the newly established 18-member Academic Governance Committee (AGC) made up of associates from WSU and the Eastern Cape Department of Health (EDOH).

agreement, a first between the two entities. This momentous occasion cemented the relationship between WSU and ECDOH, an agreement targeted at responding to the progressive development of quality health services in the Eastern Cape.

“We need to reintroduce a culture of caring within the system”

The collective vowed during their unveiling at the Mthatha Health Resource Centre to channel all their efforts towards one day leading the charge in quality healthcare provision in the country. WSU and ECHOD’s launch of the AGC comes six months after the two parties entered into a five-year

Mfenyana said a few key ingredients would be critical if these audacious plans would one day come to fruition.

“We need to reintroduce a culture of caring within the system, where our people are treated with dignity and respect no matter what the circumstance so as to build mutual trust,” said Mfenyana. He said more fervent stakeholder participation “with real meaning and


substance” would have to occur if healthcare was to receive effective, broad-based solutions that would tackle the multitude of challenges. Mfenyana also highlighted the importance of improving infrastructure and ICT services in providing a space and tools for efficient rollout of healthcare in safe, controlled and conducive environments. ECHOD Superintendent-General Dr Thobile Mbengashe was buoyant in mood as he appealed for stakeholders to look at solutions that would offer permanent remedies. “We need our academics, clinicians and researchers together with our administrators to fully participate in this endeavour so as to create a sustainable health system that will one day invest all its efforts in prioritising preventative measures,” said Mbengashe. By Thando Cezula

GOOD BILL OF HEALTH FOR FACULTY OF HEALTH SCIENCES Discussions during WSU’s latest instalment in the Global Health Conversations series saw health sciences faculty dean Dr Wezile Chitha disclosing his department’s current status in his presentation “The State of the Faculty Address” recently. The fourth edition in this evergrowing series, held at the Mthatha Health Resource Centre, saw Chitha duteously unpacking with great detail his faculty’s trials, tribulations and triumphs with industry professionals looking on, wide-eyed with interest and enthusiasm. WSU’s health sciences faculty has long been revered for its boisterous nature in setting industry standards and, by virtue, earning the tag of being trendsetters. Chitha’s address was initially premised upon this notoriety, as he listed, to murmurs, applause and nods of approval, the many instances that the faculty has found itself a solitary figure as leaders and innovators in the healthcare industry.

WSU’s health sciences faculty has established itself as the “Faculty of Firsts”: •

The First Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) in South Africa to introduce Problem-based Learning in medical education;

The First FHS in South Africa to introduce communitybased education in medical education;

The First FHS in South Africa to introduce an undergraduate degree in Health Promotion;

The First FHS in South Africa to offer the Clinical Associates Programme;

The First FHS in South Africa to establish a Centre for Global Health;

The First FHS in South Africa to introduce the placement of all 5th year medical students in district hospitals for a continuous period of 20 weeks.

First health sciences faculty in the country to be a full time member of the organisation called “Towards Unity for Health” – a global network committed to improving the health of the people and their communities.

Interim Vice Chancellor and Principal Prof Khaya Mfenyana challenged the faculty to push the envelope even further by identifying a community in the Mthatha area which it could adopt as a focal point of its community and problem-based medical education. “We need to partner with the community to establish a wellness village – identify its problems, conduct needs analysis and feasibility studies, so we can, through this endeavour, craft a thorough strategy that will seek to address some of the social ills the community faces through the many skills we possess as an academic institute,” said Prof Mfenyana.

NURSING COMMUNITIES BACK TO HEALTH: WSU nursing students will play a huge impact in the University’s aims to grow its footprint in the communities. 11

By Thando Cezula

SEVENS TEAM TOUGH NUT TO CRACK WSU RESULTS Day 1: Lost 46-21 to UCT Lost 24-12 UP to Tuks Beat UFH 37-19 Beat UJ 24-22 Lost 17-12 to NWU-Pukke Day 2: Lost Lost Lost Lost

26-17 to UFS Kovsies 38-5 to NMMU 12-7 to UWC 46-0 to Maties (Stellenbosch)

Day 3: Ninth/10th: WSU 26-32 UFH WSU came out firing and showed their brilliant skills to grab an early try in the match. They would add a further two tries as the half-time hooter approached to stretch their lead to 19-0 with one minute left in the half. UFH got themselves on the board

after regulation time by sneaking in a try to bring themselves back into the contest at the half-time interval. The second half got underway with UFH in possession and taking the game to WSU. Their persistence was rewarded with five minutes remaining in the match when they scored in the corner to reduce the deficit to just nine points. WSU were not going to let UFH run riot and grabbed a scintillating try of their own when they ran the ball from inside their 22 to score under the posts. UFH called for the Powerplay with two minutes remaining in the match and found immediate reward as they grabbed a 10-pointer to bring reduce the deficit to six points with one minute remaining in the match. The game would go down to the wire as UFH probed for another score with the final play of the match and scored another Powerplay try to secure ninth place.

FINAL STANDINGS Champions: University of the Free State 2nd: University of Pretoria 3rd: North West University 4th: University of Johannesburg 5th: University of Cape Town 6th: University of the Western Cape 7th: University of Stellenbosch 8th: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University 9th: University of Forth Hare 10th: Walter Sisulu University



PROFILE: WSU ALL BLACKS RUGBY TEAM MANAGER NAME: Nandi Manjezi AGE: 28 PLACE OF BIRTH: Peddie, Eastern Cape QUALIFICATIONS: BTech Management DESIGNATION: Admin Assistant, WSU Sports Dept CAMPUS: Potsdam Site, Buffalo City Campus ACHIEVEMENTS: Elected SA Students Women’s Rugby Team manager in 2013 MANTRA: There’s no substitute for hard work 12


TALES IN NOVEL “Zemk’iinkomo magwalandini! Cry, the beloved language” would prove quite apt a notion, a sobering shriek charged at summoning those concerned to help save a waning culture and its most vital component – language. To this end, WSU BA General finalyear student Sinoyolo Nokutywa (25), a languages and lexigraphy major, is currently working on a distribution deal for his suspense-driven fictional debut novel “Yho! Bandenzile”, following its publication in February this year.

His thirst for knowledge and passion for indigenous knowledge systems are virtues upon which he’s laid a foundation for the pursuit and realisation of his next project. “I’m working on a long-term project that’ll see the capturing and recording of Xhosa dialects and Izihlonipho zabafazi in the form of a dictionary. These are critical components of our language that need a tangible place to reside for our current and future generations,” he concluded. Sinoyolo Nokutywa

“The book is about the power women possess in overcoming the greatest of obstacles even when the odds are stacked against them. It should hit the shelves by mid- July” says Nokutywa. His passion and resolve are other traits to marvel at, after he was forced to publish the book himself owing to scant resources, and even scanter support from a sceptical publishing industry. It would be a government intervention that would breathe life into Nokutywa’s dream as the Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture extended a helping hand in sponsoring the project. “I’m eternally grateful to the government for helping with the publishing costs of 50 copies – this is a good start. Their commitment to the protection, preservation and promotion of indigenous languages is an important and timeous intervention,” he says. Not one for the written word alone, Nokutywa is also active in tutoring fellow students in junior levels, but also highly committed to the recruitment of high school pupils to pursue academics in African studies and indigenous languages. The book cover 13


FINANCES The phrase “baptism of fire” could possibly be the most apt way to describe the first six months in office for the University’s new Chief Financial Officer Brigid Mosola. With dark clouds everhanging over the state of WSU finances, Marketing and Communication (MCA) staffer Thando Cezula tries to find out which direction will Mosola steer University finances, and will we need our raincoats and umbrellas, or are we in for sunny days…

5) As a student back in the day, how would you characterize your relationship with money? I knew I did not have it - my parent worked hard to provide for us and that I needed to work very hard (achieve academically) in order to afford a comfortable lifestyle. My motto was “I can’t live like the Jones / Radebe’s as I didn’t know what they did or had to do to afford their lifestyles”.

1) Your experience of WSU thus far in three words?

2) Briefly tell me your short, mid and long-term goals as CFO? I’d like to first understand the Finance & Procurement Department team I’m working with. I want to do an in-depth SWOT Analysis and try keep what’s working & let go of what’s not working. Strengthening internal financial controls, building staff capacity (through training where needed) and working towards a selfsustaining WSU are some of the mid to long term goals.

Understanding our student base. Also, we must begin working together towards shifting our mind set from the notion of “previously-disadvantaged” status to “proudly WSU / South African” status. We must stop thinking “I can’t do it” and think “I can do it, against all odds”.  4) If you could wave a magic wand and fix one financial problem about WSU, what would that problem be?  Student debt!!!!

8) The number one mistake people make with money? Spending impulsively…to keep up with the Radebes 9) How best can one make money work for them?  You must save as early as you can. Invest for the future, read up on the subject; and enjoy your money too.

No dull moment!

3) As a Historically Disadvantaged Institution (HDI), what do you think is the key ingredient to running an institution of this nature?

for me SARS (Receiver of Revenue), budgeting, saving (why I should save) and gave me a lot of understanding on these issues.

10) The single biggest blunder you made with money, personally? I lent money to a family member who needed help. Needless to say, I never got it back. I consoled myself by reclassifying it from a debt/loan to a “donation”. 11) What’s the best way to make money, and keep it? 

Brigid Mosola Chief Financial Officer 6) As someone who works with finances, what single advice would you give to students about money? Respect money and it will respect you (Earn money, don’t expect someone to just give it to you) 7) Has working with money changed the way you think about money over the years, and if so, how?  Definitely! Over the years I’ve also worked on overseeing the investment side of pension funds and this opened up a world that, though complicated, affords one the opportunity of understanding why it’s important to save not only for a rainy day but also for the future. My line of study also demystified 14

Working for / earning it rather than have it given to you - you might not appreciate the latter and end up squandering it. 12) If you could be any currency in the world, what currency would you be and why?  Swiss Franc / British Pound (they have more value compared to the rand) 13) If you weren’t finance person, what other field would you most likely be in?  I did science at school (never thought of accounting / what I could do with it) so I would be in some laboratory somewhere involved in “Genetics research”.

WEIGHING IN ON FOOD SECURITY The research that goes into food security will be used to influence government by making the information available to policy makers.

and retailers of food to encourage healthier diets and to look for innovation, new ideas and products that can generate work.

UWC’s applied poverty reduction assessment expert, Professor Julian May described food security as the availability of food, its accessibility, safety and whether it’s the kind of food people want to eat.

“A critical thing that we cannot escape from in South Africa is the issue of land and the ownership of land. But it’s not that you should take away land from commercial farmers because that would mean less food,” May explained.

“The food must be culturally acceptable as well as sustainable going into the future,” he said.

AN APPETITE FOR FOOD SECURITY: Prof May has championed research in food security to ensure its reservation. The Centre for Excellence in Food Security housed at the University of Western Cape has set its sights on collaborating with WSU to influence change in food security policies in the Eastern Cape. The two academic bodies discussed establishing an institutional research flagship section on food security at WSU which will be funded by the National Research Fund.

According to May, the Centre tries to understand how the food system looks in South Africa in terms of the process it goes through from the production of food on the farm to the consumption of it by a family. “In this way the centre can adopt policies that can make the food healthier or to make the food better able to create jobs. We cannot solve the issue of food security in South Africa if we cannot solve the issue of unemployment first. The question is how we can get more jobs in the agricultural sector,” May said. Land and land ownership was among the key focus areas discussed in the issue of food security in the province. Secondary to this was how to persuade producers, consumers

According to WSU deputy vice chancellor for academic affairs and research Professor Sandile Songca, the flagship will look at finding a food security barometer for the province, a way of providing information about food security in the process of policy making. “Unlike other provinces the Eastern Cape has a lot of unproductive land that is not utilised for agricultural purposes. As WSU we want to make an impact on what is called the “green revolution” for the Eastern Cape where every square inch of land will be utilised,” said Songca. Communities can be a part of the conversation by joining the Centre of Excellence in Food Security Facebook page. By Sinawo Hermans

“The food must be culturally acceptable as well as sustainable going into the future,” said Professor Julian May 15


XENOPHOBIA WSU Council chairperson Judge Nambitha Dambuza

WSU Vice– Chancellor Prof Khaya Mfenyana

“Foreign nationals, as an integral part of our South African society, have made a tremendous contribution to the development of our nation. Their contribution in various sectors and fields of the country has served to advance the national development and transformation agenda of the country.

“The Walter Sisulu University supports and commits herself to the creation and promotion of a peaceful and safe environment for all South Africans and foreign nationals within the borders of our country. It is only in such an environment that our institution’s cherished values for academic freedom, transformation and for access and success, amongst others, can be possible in higher education.

The advancement of education, development and transformation in the modern global society is not possible without the investment and infusion of ideas and intellectual capital from the rest of our continent and the world at large.”

We trust that every member of the University community will do his/her part to contribute to the creation of that environment within and beyond all the campuses of our beloved institution.

Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister for Dept of Higher Education and Training

Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA)

“There are over 70 000 foreign students at South African universities. It is essential that these students feel safe and welcome in their institutions. We must safeguard against any form of xenophobia and I urge all universities to take necessary measures to ensure that it does not occur.

“It is clear that despite our common histories and experiences of colonial exploitation and our vast postcolonial challenges, there is a huge chasm between the regional and continental “integration” policies and declarations of political leaders versus civil society’s experiences of democratization, inclusivity, social cohesion and tolerance of others.

These should include both immediate actions to safeguard students where necessary and longer term, more fundamental processes aimed at ensuring that institutional cultures are as hospitable and nurturing of students from outside our country as they are South African students.”

Higher education institutions need to take a visible and robust lead in driving change. As sites of cultural diversity, international exchange, knowledge production and innovation, higher education institutions are well placed to become centres of regional and continental identity formation.”



Students at the Buffalo City campus took to the streets in protest of the recent xenophobic attacks. The campaign saw the students handing over a memorandum to the Dept of Home Affairs.

FRANCE TRIP WITHIN TOUCHING DISTANCE WSU alumnus, Sibusiso Fatman’s “In the distance” print art work was selected at the Ann Bryant Gallery to be amongst the few to be exhibited in Johannesburg at the annual Absa L’Atelier Competition.

“I’m very excited,” said Sibusiso. “If I manage to win this competition it would mean everything to me,” he added.

The competition is South Africa’s most prestigious art competition, offering young emerging artists between the ages of 21 and 35 the opportunity to receive recognition for their work and develop their talents abroad. The top two artists win a range of prizes, including cash, as well as a coveted opportunity to study at the Cité Internationale Des Arts in the heart of Paris, where they can develop their talent surrounded by leading artists from across the globe.

Should Sibusiso’s work make the cut in Johannesburg, he will be afforded a six month opportunity to study and develop his craft in France. “The story behind this art was inspired by the social coercion that exists within our communities. The art gives an impression of a dysfunctional family and this is caused by the disconnect within society,” said Sibusiso.

“I think it is important that we have these kinds of competition to give exposure to young artists on an international level. One of our students has been selected this year but he is not the first or the last by any means,” said Steel. WSU acting spokesperson Thando Cezula said the university always encourages students to have a proactive approach to their work and wishes Sibusiso the best of luck with the competition and his future endeavours.

WSU Fine Art lecturer Dr John Steel commended Absa for giving opportunities to young artists.

MASTERFUL STROKE: Sibusiso Fatman displays some of his pieces.


By Sinawo Hermans



REARING TO GO: Students were upbeat ahead of the new academic year.

University life is an integral part of personal development, as first year students were duly informed during the two day Buffalo City Campus (BCC) orientation earlier this year. As a rule, it is customary for first year students to be orientated and familiarised with the university environment, recreational activities and the responsibilities of adult life. The cohort of first-year students at the Potsdam Site received a warm welcome from the Interim Vice Chancellor & Principal Prof Khaya Mfenyana, BCC Student Representative Council (SRC) president Misheck Mugabe, as well as faculty deans and departmental

directors. “Your being here is a testimony of your ambition and determination to become somebody, and from this day going forth you shall be ambassadors of this university. Wear its name with confidence and say it with pride,” said Mfenyana. Mugabe furnished the attentive audience with a quote from the revolutionary philosopher Franz Fanon, who said: “Each generation must discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it, in relative opacity.” Mugabe was referring to the struggles of student politics to enforce conducive conditions for learning. 19

The support services directors and staff debriefed students on their respective roles as departments and how they can service the needs of students. The festivities were organised and facilitated by the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development (CLTD). CLTD is committed to offering relevant programmes that will equip students with life-long career decision-making, planning and management skills and to promote excellence by integrating technology with learning and teaching. By Sinawo Hermans


Issue #32 july 2015 PULSE  
Issue #32 july 2015 PULSE