UKZN statue defaced: is it time for #KingGeorgeVMustGo?

Protests against tributes to colonialists have spread from Cape Town and Grahamstown now to Durban. On Thursday morning, students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College campus, woke up to find that a statue of King George V had been defaced. Ntokozo Sboh Qwabe posted a picture of the statue on her Facebook wall, and the post was soon flooded with comments – many of them approving. // Whoah! Students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal have joined the Rhodes Will Fall movement in the most fitting way!... Posted by…

“I am losing the only children I have” – Thokoza hostel resident

A photograph safely stashed in her wallet is as close as she gets to her children for most of the year. NOKWANDA MNCWANGO* (46) has been living without her two daughters and son since 2007, and says their mother-child relationship is dwindling. Mncwango opened up to Zimasa Matiwane about how her living conditions and how a no-children policy at Thokoza Hostel in Durban have denied her children a mother. After I separated from my husband we decided that he must take the children because he could give them a stable home,…

Cuba’s not so wide web gets a boost from artist tied to regime

Cubans in the west of Havana can now access international news and social networks using the nation’s first ever free, unrestrictive WiFi hub, created by Cuban artist Kcho. Internet penetration in the communist nation is estimated to be between 5% and 25%. According to the BBC, an hour of internet can cost about as much as a week’s wages, so access is a privilege few can afford. And those who do have access encounter a great degree of censorship once online. Kcho is known to have solid ties to the Castro regime and now some…

#RhodesSoWhite: Rhodent throwdown brings humour to race revolt [video]

// Post by Kuhle Gush Mzamane. Rhodes students have taken their #RhodesSoWhite revolution from placards to a video. A video doing the rounds on Thursday showed wannabe MCs facing off in a Yo-Mamma-style battle but with a #RhodesSoWhite theme. It has been shared on Facebook more than 900 times in less than a day. While enacted with a light touch, the exchange depicts some of the race realities that exist at the institution: “Rhodes so white black guys walk around with comb-overs,” says one student. “Rhodes so white Joe Slovo…

“What must I do now, throw away my child?” – Thokoza Hostel resident

Tensions are still running high at the Thokoza Hostel in the Durban CBD this week after a court ruling permitting the children to live together with their mothers at the hostel. The presence of the children, whose mothers make up a tiny percentage of the women at the hostel, has been a source of friction among residents who say they shouldn’t be there. ZIMASA MATIWANE spoke to residents about this complex issue. Mabongi Ngcobo, 49, municipal worker, Thokoza Children are not allowed to live here; it is the rules of this place…

Pass the parcel: SA Postal Service drowns under mail backlog

A dissatisfied postal services customer has discovered piles of undelivered mail at the South African Post Office's Johannesburg mail hub. Leonard Werner had been waiting for more than two months for a parcel to be delivered when he turned to Facebook to vent his frustration – and share pictures of the delivery backlog. “No wonder no one gets anything! Some people have been waiting since 8AM till 15:00 when I arrived without service. The staff is swearing one another and giving the clients grief telling them they are not…

Teaching the blind: “a blind child is a blessing like any other child”

The Baumann House Early Childhood Development Centre in Durban caters for blind and partially-sighted preschool children. SANDISIWE HLENGWA, a teacher and coordinator at the school, spoke to Zimasa Matiwane about her work as a special-needs teacher. There’s no difference between teaching blind and sighted children. I have been teaching here since 2011. Currently we have 13 leaners: five of them are fully sighted; eight are partially sighted or blind. Early intervention is crucial; we take children from six months to six…

Celebrating black history and ’50s Soweto with Black History March

South African photographer Anthony Bila is once again celebrating history with “Black History March”, this time with a focus on Soweto in the ’50s, an era characterised by distinctive fashion, soulful jazz, red brick, four-roomed houses, shacks and dusty streets. Bila told OkayAfrica he believes black history should be venerated – just as any other significant part of history. “The name of the series is a double entendre. March being the month we are in and march in the sense that we soldier on, as a people moving forward…

Commonwealth Games: “Durban should deal with its own problems before inviting international guests”

Despite stiff opposition to the idea, the city of eThekwini has gone ahead with its bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The only other contender, the city of Edmonton in Canada, withdrew, citing financial constraints. The city remains mum on how much exactly it will cost to host the games. Initial estimates were in the region of R98-billion but this figure may have dropped since Edmonton pulled out. ZIMASA MATIWANE asked Durbanites whether the city should be hosting the games. Kosalay Naidoo, 55, educator, Phoenix I am…

Life with HIV: “I need to take the blood tests, but I also need the job”

HIV can have a devastating effect on people and their families, particularly if they are poor and unemployed. Without treatment you may be too ill to work, but without money you might not get the treatment you need. MBALI JILI* (25) told Zimasa Matiwane about her struggle to get onto treatment and hold down a job at the same time. I have been HIV positive for five years. About two years ago my CD4 count dropped really low and I started taking anti-retroviral treatment (ARVs). But it took two months after the doctor ordered…

Everyone is sorry and no one is a cockroach

When Julius Malema was a young lion and ANC Youth League president, he was prone to making controversial statements. (What’s changed?) Back in 2010, when Malema said DA leader Helen Zille was “a cockroach and must be voted out of power” perhaps Malema hadn’t realised that one day this insult would come back to bite him. Over the weekend at a provincial ANC conference, Speaker Baleka Mbete called Malema an “irritant” and “cockroach” and the EFF “thugs” and “pawns”. The comments made by Mbete did not sit well with South…

The beautiful game displays its ugly underbelly as Chelsea fans are “proudly racist ”

A shocking video of Chelsea fans preventing a black man from boarding a train in Paris on Tuesday has once again raised questions about racism in football. The footage shows the passenger being repeatedly pushed back while trying to board the train, by white man clad in Chelsea gear chanting: “We’re racist and that’s the way we like it.” The incident comes as no surprise. Racism in football happens on and off the pitch. Who can forget that time when Chelsea captain John Terry called Anton Ferdinand a “fucking black cunt,…

Living below the poverty line: “It is painful living from hand to mouth; it is worse when even that money is not enough”

More than a quarter (26.3% to be exact) of South Africans living in extreme poverty are in KwaZulu-Natal, according to a report by Statistics South Africa – even though the province accounts for only 19.8% of the country’s population.  One such household experiencing extreme poverty – defined as less than R26 a day – is the Magubane family. Zimasa Matiwane spoke to NOKWANDA MAGUBANE, 81, in Richmond Farm (KwaMashu) to find out what it takes for a family of three to survive on R1,350 a month. I have lived in this shack for…

If you were harassed on the street, would you film the perpetrator?

An Indian woman who was groped during an IndiGo flight refused to take the harassment. Instead she gave the man a public tongue lashing, and whipped out her phone to record his response. The video was later uploaded to YouTube and viewed by millions online. Could South African women do the same here at home? Thomson Reuters Foundation reports that “the trend to name-and-shame sex offenders comes after the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in Delhi in 2012. The incident sparked public protests and led to a…

Teachers slam policy of promoting learners who’ve failed

Following a call by teachers unions the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) for government to scrap or review the progression policy, ZIMASA MATIWANE asked teachers if promoting learners who have failed to the next grade benefits the children. The progression policy means that a learner can only fail once per phase. (Phases last for three years: grade one to three; grade four to six and so on.) For example, if a learner fails grade one,…

No NSFAS? Don’t despair – here are five other ways to fund your studies

Furthering your education can be an intimidating journey filled with the anxiety of financial burdens. While the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) provides loans and bursaries, not every prospective student qualifies, and not everyone who qualifies will be granted funding. ZIMASA MATIWANE rounded up some alternatives for funding your higher education. 1. Learnerships Learnerships are theory-meets-practical study options that provide students with knowledge, skills and workplace experience. As well as receiving…

NSFAS students left in the lurch when it comes to work-placement accommodation

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) was designed to provide financial aid to needy students for tuition and accommodation. But NONDUMISHO KHOSA* found out the hard way that NSFAS can sometimes leave students in the lurch. She told Zimasa Matiwane her story. I’m from the Eastern Cape, and I’ve been studying for a diploma in journalism at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). I don’t work, and my mother makes a little money as an independent seamstress. She takes care of me and my two siblings; my father is…

Are protests the only way to a gain a university education?

Students around the country have been experiencing frustrations with access to financial aid; some have resorted to protests as a way to highlight their situation. ZIMASA MATIWANE, a self-funding student who had missed out on classes due to violent protests in the past, used to find such actions infuriating. But then she dug a little deeper... I have been a student at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) for three years. Protests, most of them related to student financing, have been a common occurrence here, especially…

“The police are supposed to stop crime, instead they tell people to take our stock”

Fatima Hassan watched her cousin’s shop being looted in Slovoville, Soweto, on Thursday. Hassan said she was asked to travel to Soweto and assist shopkeepers and her cousin with moving the stock out of his shop amid the looting. “When I got there it was a mess: gun shots, people wielding knives and knobkerries taking things from the shop,” she told The Daily Vox. “The police were telling people to take our stock right in front of me – that is when I knew they were not going to help us.” Hassan said she was desperate as she…

First day at big school: Durban teachers excited for a new year

As schools open on Wednesday in the coastal provinces, The Daily Vox visited the important people who lay the foundation for education – grade 1 teachers. They shared the joys and challenges of teaching the little ones with ZIMASA MATIWANE. Sharon Smart, teaching for 30 years, St Augustine’s Primary School, Greyville, Durban Teaching grade 1 requires a lot of time, effort, and dedication. I am here to work with the child according to what they need to progress to the next grade. Grade 1 seems tiring, but for me it’s not…