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Great start to 2017

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Wits University has started the new year on a positive note.

All supplementary exams for 2016 have been successfully completed and student registrations for 2017, which started on 3 January, have proceeded peacefully. More than 25 000 students have registered thus far and Wits has welcomed about 6 000 new first-year students.

The University is addressing the issue of students who cannot afford the registration fee and has released a statement about agreements made to support students financially this year.

The first cohort of insourced workers reported to work as official Wits employees in January. With higher salaries and education benefits, life will improve for about 1500 workers employed in cleaning, catering, security, transport, waste, grounds and landscaping. Florence Mashaba, for example, proudly explains in this video that she can now give her children a brighter future.

Understanding today’s students

Less than a third of African students come from households that own a car. That’s one of the stats in two research vignettes produced recently by the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, a partnership between Wits, UJ and the Gauteng Provincial Government. The GCRO looked at data from its 2015 Quality of Life Survey for insights on student life and the #FeesMustFall protests. 

Several books have been published recently about student and youth protests and related issues. These are two from Wits University Press – remember your 10% alumni discount!

  • Fees Must Fall: Student Revolt, Decolonisation and Governance in South Africa, edited by Susan Booysen (Wits University Press)
  • Students Must Rise: Youth Struggle in South Africa Before and Beyond Soweto ’76, edited by Anne Heffernan and Noor Nieftagodien (Wits University Press)

Year of Fire, Year of Ash: The Soweto Schoolchildren’s Revolt that Shook Apartheid, by the late Baruch Hirson (a political activist and a physics lecturer at Wits in the 1950s and 1960s), has been republished by Zed Books.

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