Take me back to June 2006

June 2006 – I was in grade nine, highly annoyed to be spending a Friday afternoon studying for my mid-year exams. In fact I spent most of my weekends during high school studying, but I was just frustrated on this particular weekend, June 15, the second week into the Fifa World Cup.

A lot had to do with the fact that I was just going through one of my teenage moods that day. I was upset that my peers probably weren’t studying, and normally I would dismiss that but I felt it was really unfair and that the universe sucks because you know- teenager. Plus I was disappointed that despite my best efforts, I didn’t feel better after eating an ice-cream. (That Smarties one in a cone which they don’t make anymore. Why did they discontinue it?)

It’s not that I would rather be spending my team watching soccer. I was not a big fan of soccer- still not. But I watched the major tournaments because my dad watched them. More accurately, the games were on in the background while I studied. They were not distracting- I was not interested in them, remember.

Until, one evening after youth group, I came home to find my dad watching a match between Italy and a team I forget. Italy went on to win the world cup that year. But that evening I sat and watched with my dad. He explained the game. He always explains the game.

But I paid attention this time because my dad was describing the strategy the Italians were using. And I could see it unfolding before my very eyes, and as cheesy as this sounds, it was beautiful.

We ended up having a conversation about the teams my dad was rooting for. He liked the Brazillians, because they play with rhythm. I have seen it, they do. He lauded the Germans too, who were hosting the tournament and ultimately finished third. Naturally, as the patriotic South Africans we are, we had a laugh about Bafana Bafana.

When one of my uncles or my male cousins came over, we would rag on each other about whose team just got knocked out from the tournament. It felt nice to finally be part of their conversations and “get” them.

Eventually the games became a break from the studies. I would reward myself with a game every time I met my targets for the subject I was studying.

One Saturday, my dad was working in the yard. He would come in to get updates of the score, which I had kept tabs on. I would add details about how the players scored the goals, if there was a disagreement with the referee, who was diving into the lawn too much, whatever squabbles there may have been with the players. Like a blow-by-blow on the cool parts my dad was missing.

I watched the final with my dad, a Sunday night after church – I remember because I had a debate with my friends about who would win. Phrases like “France sucks,” and “Italy iYa sucka.”

There are two distinct things I remember from that game. The French supporter in the stadium, holding a chicken. And Zidane head-butting that Italian player. My dad and I gasped in disbelief at the head-butt and we both asked each other if there was really a chicken in the stadium. (Rewind wasn’t available back then so everything we saw remained in question until there was a replay, or whenever the camera panned past the guy with the chicken again.)

That world cup laid the ground work for the 2009 confederations cup and 2010 world cup. I watched two games at the stadium near my home town during the 2009 confederations cup. I watched one with friends, between New Zealand and Spain, the Spaniards floored the All Whites. I watched the other match with my family, it was the losers final between South Africa and Spain, which coincidentally fell on my 18th birthday.

By the time 2010 came around, schools and varsities closed for that entire month. I made an effort to watch nearly every game, once we listened to the game between South Africa and Uruguay on the radio because we were traveling.

On my grandmother’s 80th birthday, we caught the highlights of the game between Spain and Switzerland and used unmentionable words after finding out Spain lost 0-1. Argentinians who were probably in the country for the games, gave my grandmother a replica of Tevez’ soccer jersey, it made us feel better but that’s probably not why they gave it to her.

It’s not that I had grown to love the game in four years, it was just that I was watching it with my dad. Like it was a chance to bond with him and do something he likes. (It’s also why I keep track of Formula 1, some rugby games and dare I say – Noot vir Noot.)

He used a phrase to describe a game which was really good. He called it “kook water”. I roughly translated it and curiously asked him what he meant by saying the game is hot water? He explained that the game was on fire. I have since adopted that phrase to describe anything that warranted enthusiastic praise. I have described movies, music, even Parliament as being “kook water”.

Fast forward to 2014, I was still a student and caught a few games at home. My dad had grown older so we would start off watching the first match in the early evening, but my dad wouldn’t finish the second match with me. He was too tired but he told me that it was too cold to continue sitting in front of the television.

I would finish the game, and before going to bed I would update him on the score, which player made it and the exact minute, how effortless it was, who cried, whether the referee was unfair, if the game was a bust (rarely) and what the commentators said.

When the 2017 confederations cup came by, I only realised within its second week that the tournament was underway. I caught up with the points and I managed to watch one semi-final between Mexico and Germany.

Again, not because I love the game, or was rooting for any of the teams. I watched it because I thought perhaps my dad, 160km away was probably watching it too. So if we were both watching it in real time, we’d somehow be connected even though we weren’t in the same room. (Yes I’m trying to work in some universal physics to justify my reasoning.)

When Germany scored two goals in the first 10 minutes I texted my dad to find out if he saw it too.

He wasn’t watching- but we fell into our old habit again, where I updated him of the goings-on, Mexican player Fabian’s fiery goal and the final score where Germany beat Mexico 4-1.

As I type this, the final between Chile and Germany is on in the background. I am simultaneously chatting with my dad. Checking if he saw how close that goal by the Chileans was and commenting on the counter-attack by Germany.

My dad informs me that he’s been watching a movie with my mother. He switches to the soccer. My brother joins the group chat and asks for the score. “The Chileans are good… but they are the weaker team,” my dad says. I tell him that I hope they don’t give the game away.

He says that the best teams are playing the final. What he really means is: This game is kook water.

Wits Vuvuzela Captured

A selection of photographs that were taken throughout the second semester for articles published in the Wits Vuvuzela print and online editions.

Cool Kid Moshe Mashela

 

Composing music with Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection.

Two Witsies chosen to represent South Africa at the World University Chess Championships in Katowice, Poland.

Soccer star, student leader and proud Muslim, Naeema Hussein wears her hijab when playing soccer to represent her Islamic faith.

Wits Theatre staff feel cheated out of their over-time pay.

 

Wits Women’s soccer team fail to qualify for the USSA National Championships

Wits men’s soccer team have a shot at going through the University Sports South Africa national championships to be held in Durban later this year.

 

Wits masters students work on a project to raise awareness for the Witsie Homeless.

Annual Wits University career’s fair hosted by the Counselling and Careers Development Unit.

A discussion was held and hosted by Rethink Africa to determine if a national minimum wage not enough to reduce inequality in society.

 

The AIESEC Wits chapter returned from the June break after a successful leadership conference held at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where Wits won the Rising Star award.

Women’s Day celebrations at Wits University

 

Identity Through Hair competition winners announcement.

Wits masters students hosted a career day in Soweto for high school students.

 

 

 

 

Wits Soccer shoots for Nationals

HECTIC HEADER: During soccer practice at Diggs fields on Tuesday, Wits team captain Tebogo Digoamaje said he is confident in his team’s performance for their upcoming semi-final match against Tuks in the USSA Gauteng League, where a top three spot will get them to nationals. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

HECTIC HEADER: During soccer practice at Diggs fields on Tuesday, Wits team captain Tebogo Digoamaje said he is confident in his team’s performance for their upcoming semi-final match against Tuks in the USSA Gauteng League, where a top three spot will get them to nationals.
Photo: Lameez Omarjee

If the Wits men’s soccer team beat Tuks, Pretoria University’s log leaders, next week, it will go through to the national finals of the University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament in December.

Through this possible win at next week Tuesday’s match, Wits would attain one of the top three positions in the Gauteng USSA League and would then qualify for the national tournament to be held in Durban, in the first week of December.
Meeting for the second time with their opponents, Wits University football coach Karabo Mogudi said his men were more than prepared for Tuks.

Cruising through competition

“They are good football players; they play high intensity football which is a strong point for them. I’ve prepared the team to play the same as well. They must bring it on because we know we [are] going to bring it too,” said Mogudi.

Wits thrashed Tuks with a 3-1 win the last time there was a face-off between the two in August. Mogudi is confident his team could win against them again, even though the match is in Pretoria, on their rival’s home turf when they duel on Tuesday, September 23.

The rankings so far are as follows: Tuks first, Vaal University of Technology (VUT) second, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) third and Wits, in fourth place.

Attaining a position in the top eight of the USSA national champs will then qualify Wits for the Varsity Football league. They did not qualify last year.

The team should be the star. I don’t want individualism … if the team wins, the players shine. It’s that simple.

Wits team captain Tebogo Digoamaje, 2nd year BSc Property Studies, who joined the team last year felt that their performance this season was better because the squad was bigger. About 25 players are registered for the USSA Gauteng League. Last year the smaller team battled without squad rotations between games.

Digoamaje revealed that past lost matches were due to mistakes they had made, rather than their opponent’s performance.

Unshakable confidence

However, he had “full respect for every opponent” they played against. In preparation for their game against Tuks, he said, “We’ve implemented a number of strategies, various ones, and the coach will decide which will lead us to victory and get us to nationals.”

Left wing Neo Makua, 3rd year BSc Quantity Surveying, felt confident that the team will go through to national championships. “The coach made us become a team, so we put the team before the individual.”

Although there are strong individuals playing, Mogudi emphasised team play rather than individual stars. “The team should be the star. I don’t want individualism … if the team wins, the players shine. It’s that simple,” he said.

Mogudi is confident in the team’s tactics and credits his technical team, which consists: assistant coach Dumisani Thusi, goal-keeper coach Kgabo Ditsebe and team manager, Sanele Nene for developing new ideas and strategies for success.

This article was featured in the Wits Vuvuzela

Women’s football comes up short

GOT THE BLUES: Despite an 11-0 victory over Midrand Graduate Institute the Wits women’s soccer team did not qualify for the USSA National Club Championships. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

GOT THE BLUES: Despite an 11-0 victory over Midrand Graduate Institute the Wits women’s soccer team did not qualify for the USSA National Club Championships. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

A thrashing of 11-0 against Midrand Graduate Institute on Tuesday night was not enough for the Wits women’s soccer team to qualify for this year’s national club championships.

The Wits Women’s soccer team is ranked sixth in the University Sports South Africa (USSA) league. They failed to reach one of the top four positions to qualify for play-offs in October. Last year, they were one of the top three teams and went to the USSA National Club Championships.

“The team lacks upfront when it comes to finishing goals,” said Dennis Tshabalala, the team’s coach for the past two years. Although the team does score a few goals, Tshabalala said, “We need a prolific scorer.”

Declining performance

Compared to previous years, the team’s performance has declined. They are not as competitive as they were in previous years according to team manager, Marcel Kutumela, 4th year Social Work. Kutumela played for the team but took on the role as manager after a knee injury, which required reconstruction surgery.

“The team morale is not on par,” she said.  The team used to compete “rigorously” against their top competitors, University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg and the Vaal University of Technology, but no more.

“This year they lost against those teams, which scored against us. Usually we would play until a goalless draw,” Kutumela said.

Kutumela said the team should “build more character in ourselves, and have good team spirit … [We] need to fight harder and train harder. And people need to be more confident in themselves.”

It would make a difference if more students participated in soccer, because there would be more players to choose from.

She said the season was not good and they could perform better, and suggested support from the university and students would help.

Kutumela also suggested that the university could do more to create platforms for exposure of the women’s team. Last year the team was featured in the Wits Catalogue “but that’s it,” she said.

It would make a difference if more students participated in soccer, because there would be more players to choose from. This year, people didn’t attend practices and games because of studies “which is understandable,” said Kutumela.

Although pleased with the win over Midrand Graduate Institute team captain Linah Maphanga, 3rd year BSc, said the team “lacked discipline and training”.

She was pleased the team won, “it has been so long since we won,” she said. Maphanga agreed this season had been a struggle with the team having to play matches without a full squad.
Tshabalala called the win “okay”.

Women in sport

Tshabala said the challenge the women’s team faced were the same for all women’s sport. “There is low support”. He said the team would perform better if more people came to watch the games and cheer them on.

To help overcome challenges, he said women’s soccer should be developed at schools, so that when players come to university, they can just work on “minor tactical issues”.

If football at school level is improved then at university the performance will be “super”.

Kutumela, who has been a female athlete for 12 years, said that women have “something to prove … especially with the physical aspect”.

She explained that women need to be stronger than their opposition, including males, to be featured and promoted.

This article was featured in the Wits Vuvuzela

Soccer player represents Islam

FAITHFUL IDENTITY: By wearing her hijab whilst playing soccer, Naeema Hussein believes she’s representing her faith at a “higher level”.  Photo: Lameez Omarjee

FAITHFUL IDENTITY: By wearing her hijab whilst playing soccer, Naeema Hussein believes she’s representing her faith at a “higher level”. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

Watching the Wits University women’s soccer team, you may spot a hijab-wearing soccer player at the centre back, defending the goals.

Second-year BSc physiotherapy student Naeema Hussein chooses to play soccer in her hijab (headscarf) to represent her Islamic faith at a “higher level”.
Hussein says: “My faith pushes me to want to achieve more and say you can excel and aspire without needing to compromise your faith or your Islamic identity.”

Soccer career
After matriculating in 2012, she was awarded a university entrance scholarship for her distinctions. Hussein was later awarded the Bidvest Wits Football Club bursary and has been playing for Wits for the past two years.
She takes credit for initiating playing with a hijab at Wits: “They were very open to it, very considerate.” The South African Football Association changed their regulations to allow Muslim women to play in a hijab. This also helped her cause.
Hussein’s passion for soccer comes from her “Egyptian blood”.

It pushed me further because I was forced not to procrastinate.

“I have three brothers … We’ve been soccer crazy ever since I was small,” she says.

ALL IN:  Naeema Hussein gets ready for soccer practice.  She plays for thw Wits Women's soccer team. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

ALL IN: Naeema Hussein gets ready for soccer practice. She plays for thw Wits Women’s soccer team. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

Hussein’s soccer career started in grade eight when she joined the Parktown Girls’ High School soccer team. “I was so excited. So I started on the second team, building myself up.” A year later, she was in the school’s first team and pushed for a ladies’ team at the Marks Park Football Club.
In 2010 the team was one of the youngest invited to compete at the Arsenal International Soccer Festival in London. “I think we came back with experience that was priceless,” says Hussein.
The exposure to higher levels of soccer pushed the team to perform at their best.
In her matric year, Hussein captained the first team at her school. At the time she was playing for three different soccer teams while balancing schoolwork. “It pushed me further because I was forced not to procrastinate. I managed my time way better like that.” The soccer was a stress relief between studies: “I think it’s important to keep a balance.”

Community leader
Hussein was also the recipient of this year’s Golden Key New Member Chapter Award at Wits. It recognises academic excellence, leadership roles, commitment to community work and participation in extracurricular activities.
Hussein is a member of the Wits Muslim Students’ Association and the Muslim Youth Movement. Last year she served on “the core” of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee.

It’s my responsibility to go and facilitate courses to educate others.

Additionally she is part of Awqaf South Africa. Awqaf is an Arabic word for assets donated or purchased for specific charitable causes that are socially beneficial. It focuses on youth and leadership development, immediate poverty relief and long-term community investments.

STUDENT LEADER:  Naeema Hussein says her parents raised her to be conscious of social problems.   Photo: Lameez Omarjee

STUDENT LEADER: Naeema Hussein says her parents raised her to be conscious of social problems.
Photo: Lameez Omarjee

Her Awqaf membership has given her an opportunity to attend an international leadership programme in Jakarta, Indonesia for two weeks in December. “They’ve given me a platform to push myself further,” she says. “When I come back it’s my responsibility to go and facilitate courses to educate others.”
Hussein and a group of girls under the Islamic Careline organisation two weeks ago launched a leadership development programme for young Muslim women between the ages of 18 and 25. Called Hayatoon-Nujoom, (“our star”) which they hope to expand to other demographics.
“The key thing is I empower myself so that I can empower those around me and at the end of the day, it’s the empowerment of the entire society, the global society that we are living in.”

This article was featured in the Wits Vuvuzela.

 

Curious facts about the 2014 FIFA World Cup

wORLD_CUPinfographic

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has arrived and Witsies are bursting with excitement, ahead of the 64 matches.

The infographic shows some interesting facts about this year’s World Cup, which also happens to be the most expensive in FIFA World Cup history.

Some Witsies shared their expectations for the tournament with Wits Vuvuzela.

“I am really excited about the World Cup.  We wait four years to witness the best players competing against each other.  A part of me is sad that South Africa won’t be participating in this World Cup,” said Phelelani Mpanza, Masters Business Sciences, Management.

“I see Spain defending this one.  They play really good football, but as an African, I will be supporting Ghana.  BaGhana BaChana!”, added Mpanza.

“I think this is probably going to be one of the most competitive World Cups ever, which makes it highly unpredictable.  But I think Brazil might take it this time around,” said Lloyd Uta, Masters Business Sciences, Marketing.

 I am expecting home ground advantage to make them go super saiyan.

Some Witsies pledged their allegiance to African teams. “I’m supporting Ghana because it’s the closest one to home and they play good soccer,” said Pretty Makgabo, final year BAccSci.

Makgabo was excited about watching her favorite players, “I am  looking forward to seeing Boateng, Gyan and Essien on the field.”

Makgabo is also looking forward to the opening ceremony, “I love those,” she said.

The European teams have a number of Witsies behind them.  “I’m with Germany.  I think Brazil is a cliche.  I think Germany deserves to take it this time, Brazil has taken it too many times so personally I now have Brazil fatigue,” said Tinashe Chuchu, Masters Business Sciences, Marketing.

Obakeng Motshome, final year BAccSci, is also keen on Germany.  “I like their style of football.  They really play to the whistle, they’ll keep scoring until the referee blows the final whistle.”  Motshome expects an all-European final between Spain and Germany.  “It would also be great to have the first European team to win the World Cup in South America,” he said.

Some Witsies were spoilt for choice.  “I’m supporting Brazil, Germany, Portugal and Netherlands in that order,” said Hitekani Makhubele, final year BCom.

Makhubele holds a soft spot for Brazil as she says, “I got introduced to football in 2002, when I was 11 years old. And Brazil was wearing yellow which is my favourite colour.”  She has been loyal to them since, “through two more World Cups and everything in between. I am expecting home ground advantage to make them go super saiyan… loyalties will be tested but Brazil to the end,” she said.

This article was featured in the Wits Vuvuzela