#FeesMustFall But… What are you doing about it?

We can all make a difference in ensuring the lives of poor students who have university dreams are realised, writes Sihle Mlambo.

THE Higher Education Transformation Summit has come and gone, with one of the key challenges highlighted being that of funding studies particularly for poor South African students.

Rhodes University's Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, in talks with students during #FeesMustFall.

Rhodes University’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, in talks with students during #FeesMustFall.

With more than R6bn owed to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme by graduates and a mere R248m recollection by the aid scheme in the last financial year, it is evident that more needs be done to support funding higher education.

The summit highlighted as a resolution to consider the idea of an additional graduate tax and a corporate tax to assist government with the higher education challenge it faces.

In his closing remarks, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, said: “If we are to build South Africa, we must all take responsibility for its building”.

“To the private sector: come to the party, in many sense the private sector is the major beneficiary (of higher education). We know they will argue they pay tax, but yes you pay tax, but that is not enough, the challenge is bigger than that,” he said.

The mooted taxes if they are too come to effect will take years, ordinary South Africans – particularly those of us who work and have started earning decent salaries should consider, not as a burden, not as a compulsion, the idea of creating a donor pool for the financial aid scheme or any organisation with a mandate to help get deserving poor students in school.

Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Vice-Chancellor at Rhodes University believes the idea of additional taxes will leave many South Africans feeling “irritable”, but is in support of the idea of donor pools.

“The private sector has an important role to play in providing funding for students. It is about time they play a significant role, yes we should consider wealth tax, but the very notion of tax seems to create discomfort in our society, but the reality is government funding is not adequate,” he said.

“We need to find other possible sources of income to fund deserving students”

“If you are patriotic you should contribute to dealing with the problems of this country, you should not just point fingers, each of us have to find ways of making a contribution.”

When Mabizela became deputy vice-chancellor and later principal at Rhodes, he reserved a portion of his salary to a fund that helps financially needy students.

“We all have a role to play, many are playing that role in a way or another, maybe you are assisting your sisters child’s fee, so people do make that contribution. So rebuilding this country is a responsibility for each of us,” he said.

The South African Students Congress and Young Communist League have rejected the idea of a graduate tax, but welcomed proposals for a corporate tax to fund education.

SASCO President Ntuthuko Makhombothi added that a skills levy should also be considered and called for government to re-prioritize education.

So as NSFAS grapples with the real challenge of recouping money, how about as South Africans – particularly middle class South Africa, and yes, you too Corporate South Africa, how about we stand up, put our hands up and consider a noble cause to contribute selflessly to more lives of young South Africans who deserve an opportunity in pursuing higher education in South Africa.
NSFAS chairman Sizwe Nxasana revealed on Thursday that the aid scheme had no donors to speak of, and in response, imagine how much difference a million working South Africans contributing a mere R100 each per month would make in increasing the NSFAS funding pool or any other organisation committed to helping young South Africans get ahead.

And as the financial aid scheme contemplates the idea of funding the “missing middle” – students deemed to be from families that don’t qualify for NSFAS but struggle to pay university fees – the money must come from somewhere.

Yes Corporate South Africa must come to the party, but so too do ordinary South Africans, make an effort if you can afford to and have a desire too. In a few years it seems we will be forced to with the graduate tax if it passes – but consider the positives.

If such an idea was to gain momentum, I would appeal to government to not see this as an excuse to reduce allocation to the aid scheme and to universities, but to only see it as a vehicle to assist and ensure that we reduce the already high number of young and deserving poor students who are being let down by the system currently.

We have all heard stories of deserving students who had to drop out of university because of a lack of funding, in many cases, to never return, but we can help in some way make a difference to the lives of poor young South African students whose only crime was having the desire to be educated and have a chance to break the cycle of poverty they may have grew up in.


Can, I, Still, Blog It?

It’s been forever since I penned my own thoughts, and perhaps there’s a reason why, I, surprisingly – have very little to say these days.

It’s pretty sad really, almost Malema like, but I shall try to unweave this web of laziness on this blog – in which I think may be regarded as my personal space within the coming days and weeks.

The last time I penned anything here was when that bloke Khaya Mthethwa scooped the Idols gong in Sandton sometime last year – was it September?

And some will remember that I had my fair share of 30 seconds in the spotlight when Mzansi Magic aired me on TV asking the talented musician a question. I’m still waiting for my royalty money’s and the release form I signed for M-Net to use me in what was clearly a Khaya promo.

Good times basking on pay-per-view television talking k**k.

I kid.

The more things change, the more they stay the same – so when I do get back in the swing of things around these parts, expect a lot of football content, a lot of football related content, a lot of football opinion, some opinion on music and the some what rehabilitation of the Durban hip-hop scene, and a lot of text about things that don’t really matter.

I’ll reserve the really important things for the paper that feeds me for now.

Khaya the singing Messiah

In Today’s Daily News, the Pastor’s Kid, Khaya Mthethwa did it, he is SA’s Idol!

A DEAFENING roar filled the Umlazi Oasis Fellowship Church last night when Durban’s songstar,Khaya Mthethwa, was crowned this year’s Idol.

Port Elizabeth songbird Melissa Allison took Khaya to the wire, but the army of support the Umlazi-born star had built up since May was too great.
Khaya, who affectionately dubbed himself the “Pastor’s Kid”, becomes the first Black Idol in the SA franchises history since it hit our screens in 2002.

Khaya’s grandmother, Mita, exclaimed that she “cannot believe it”.
“I can’t express how happy I am, God is great. What has happened is His will,” she said.
Khaya’s uncle, Thulani, said all the glory goes to God.
He said SA must prepare to be blown away by the musical talents of his son.
Khaya’s sister, Thabile, 23, was in tears and thanked the Tsunami support of ‘Team Khaya’.
“His hard-work has paid off, and the hard-work of Team Khaya deserves credit. Every Wednesday we held meetings and planned how we would spread the word and gunner support for Khaya, and it’s a great feeling now.”
Thabile advised his big brother to stay humble and stay true to himself as he enters the music industry.
Khaya’s nephew, Siyabonga, 13, sweating and red-eyed with tears, described his uncle as “amazing”.
“I was very nervous and had some fears that it could be Melissa who wins, but I am overjoyed,” he said.
An ardent Khaya fan, Lungile Luthuli, said, “Finally South Africans get what they REALLY want! Thank you Team Khaya for voting! I’m so happy for uNyambose [clan name], no one deserves this more than him! I’m really looking forward to the new path he is taking, Halala!”
The church leader, Nonhle Mbambo, joined hands with the family and said a prayer.
The atmosphere was eletrifying throughout the anxious wait, with some of the thousands arriving before 4pm.
Vuvuzela’s, whistles and chants borrowed from political rally’s were performed in Khaya’s name throughout. The trademark #TeamKhaya blue and red T-shirts were spread in the room in their hundreds.
Load music, dancing and roaring car engines followed as fans left church in rampant mood.
In Joburg, at the Mosaiek Teatro, fallen stars from the Top 10 returned to dazzle the fans with amazing performances.
eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo was seen on TV with posters gunning for Khaya.

And in the bizarre side of last night’s finale, Polokwane’s Sarah Mopele who was ranked fourth in the Wooden Mic for this season transformed.
She was given a vocal and appearance make-over by Idols, and performed a beautiful rendition of R.Kelly’s 90’s hit, ‘I believe I can fly’, receiving a standing ovation from the judges and a huge roar of appreciation from the Khaya faithful in Umlazi.

The Inner isiKhothane In You

Last night 3rd Degree screened a “repeat” of iziKhothane, a materialistic township trend first documented by SABC1’s Cutting Edge last year.

The life of an isiKhothane is not cheap, they swag it up in designer shoes, jeans, floral shirts, belts, gold teeth, chains, alcohol and even brag about their underwear. Ok I kid.

On camera, the young township boys, believed to be high-schoolers boast about their regalia, ‘R500 le shirt, R500 le belt ye-Daniel Hechter, R2 700 le scathulo (shoe),’ they illustrate to cameras.

The point of the trend is to outdress each other, with the most expensive crew reigning supreme. But the unfortunate part of all this is that it is the parents and grandparents who are forced to foot these constant bills, some proudly, like an uncle who said ‘I can afford it, if this is how he wants to make himself feel good, then there’s no problem. Starving neighbours are not our business,’ he said in a nutshell.

But there is an inner Skhothane in all of us. The reason why the trend exists is because many feel part of a community, it’s a swagger for people of those townships, and the iziKhothane are right at the top of that society.

Of course we will condemn the manner they go about their business, wasting tons of money on expensive alcohol, tearing clothes, tearing money – all in the name of fun.

We don’t know if these things get violent, no one has said so, but we do know it hurts bank balances. Hard.

These kids are from homes where a lot could be done to improve their living standards, ie. Build a fence around the house, put some plaster on the walls, put some food in the fridge, or even save up for university – not this.

They are cool in the streets, dancing it up, mocking each other – but back home they still have to boil hot water from a Hart pot before they are clean. How do you bath in a dish when you can easily dress up in a R7 000 outfit all week?

Black Excellence? I’ll let Slikour address this one.

On the other hand, there is an inner Skhothane on the so-called affluent roaming social networks. Of course there are those that genuinely afford their expensive lifestyles, but face it, it’s expensive and we know a lot of people struggle, but they “make a plan”.

People have been wearing expensive brands since they were 10 or 11, some by pushing their parents into serious predicaments. You’re older now, probably in your early 20s, but your parents still not driving, but you rock up at the club with Guess bags, Guess Jeans and all these brands. This is a narrow example, but allow it to hit home. (Girl’s lifestyles could very well be funded by a man behind the scenes, but that’s another story for another day).

Of course we assume that you lot are all from financially stable and grounded homes, but the truth is, that cannot always be the case – so as you roam the streets of whatever city you live, don’t forget what you stand for and where you from.

NOTE: There is an inner isiKhothane in all of us, me too, don’t let it be the death of you.

You Don’t Have To Like The Reps

Nobody really knows how and why they made it onto our television screens, but whatever the reason, to say they have shun on the limelight would be an understatement.

As an avid Season One watcher of their production “Running With The Reps”, I was entertained.

Like many oaks, it is still a mind-boggle why some dancers would be worthy of a reality TV show. Before the launch of the show, the only other time I’d heard about them was in 2007/08 or so, through a Mxit contact. Never again. But maybe I’m not cool enough anyway.

But maybe that’s the thing about it, it’s not a Talk Show, it’s Reality TV – or so we are made to believe.

With so-called reality TV, viewers get to see interesting bits and pieces of the twanging dudes from Soweto and the suburbs or wherever they are from. Of course, they naturally speak okay English, but their lady-like dramatics often contribute to a more entertaining brand of TV viewing. If that’s not enough, add a bit of that drop-your-pants-down-low swagger, and you’re set – you’ve already found a sizeable amount of the market that appeals to Vuzu itching.


As Savannah proved last week.

But anyway.

Which brings me to the point of this little piece of PR for the group, you really don’t have to like them.

These are guys from Jo’burg making theirs. Good for them. They seem to be always on call for one gig or the other, either as individuals or as a group, but the paper keeps coming.

Fellaz will generally Revolt Against The Reps, which is okay, but their support in tuning into Channel 123 – even just to criticise and get pissed off by watching them, only means they are doing something right. *Nudging Generations*.
Furthermore, the amount of groupie love homies are getting is unbelievable.

They say ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’, if you’re consuming it, it’s good.

The Reps should not waste their time trying to be liked, their brand is built on hate – who likes dancers anyway?

PLEASE NOTE: I often try not to criticise the reppies too much in order not to offend their G’s in WAGGS.

PLEASE NOTE AGAIN: The G’s in WAGGS are for both groupies and girlfriends.

The Poster Girls For Racism – They Must Learn!

The country has read of endless apologies between Jessica Leandra dos Santos and Tshidi Thamana, but they still deserve to be punished for their reckless tweets.
Both claim they tweeted-in-anger, whilst many news site subscribers commented in defence or approval. We need to worry about those that approve the other and condemn the other, as it is clear to a sane mind that both tweets were disgusting and out of place.   Continue reading