Aisha Abdool Karim: On September 21st, the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab attacked the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, Kenya. The Westgate Mall hostage siege ended on September 24th when Kenyan security forces intervened and a fire collapsed three floors in the shopping centre. The country went into national mourning following the four day siege to grieve the deaths of approximately 67 people, 170 injured and 39 missing.
Although the exact number of terrorists involved in the attack has yet to be determined, it is believed that five of the attackers were killed when Kenyan security forces intervened. President Uhuru Kenyatta believes that more attackers may be trapped within the rubble of the shopping centre. So far 12 suspects have been arrested.
GABRIELLA FERREIRA: European football’s biggest club competition, the UEFA Champions League, is back and the continent’s greatest clubs are once again coming together to battle for the opportunity to be named the best team in Europe. With the tournament already underway, the question for football fans is which team has the best chance of winning the title?
The question is always tough to answer because of the unpredictable nature of the competition. Each season sees surprising results in all stages of the competition, including the final. A testament to this is the 2011/2012 final, in which a struggling Chelsea side, who had just finished sixth in their domestic league, defeated clear favourites Bayern Munich on penalties to win their first Champions League title.
MELINA MELETAKOS: Downtown Jo’burg came alive on Friday night as 15 000 people crammed into Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown for Vodacom In The City. Undoubtedly bigger and better since its inception last year, the festival boasted a star-studded line-up of both local and international bands.
Local indie rockers Al Bairre kicked things off as the winners of the Vodacom In The City competition, which saw the Cape Town band go head to head with aKing, Beatenberg, Monark and The Aztec Fire for the coveted opening slot. The band performed a number of popular crowd favourites like “Youth De Freitas” and “Right Here In July” as well as a cover of Noah and the Whale’s “5 Years Time”. Frontman Nicholas Preen brought out his loose-limbed shimmy for the band’s cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”, proving that Al Bairre is easily the only band that can pull off a song that is so heavily drenched in 80s cheese.
MOLEBOGENG MANGOALE: The South African Students Congress (Sasco) is planning to boycott the upcoming Student Representative Council (SRC) elections and is encouraging students not to vote. This was revealed by the student organisation in an email distributed to its members.
The email, which was also sent to the Department of Student Affairs, explains that the organisation disregards elections that are based on an “unconstitutional constitution”. Moreover, it has listed a number of issues that it has problems with regarding the upcoming elections.
DANIELLE PETTERSON: AfriForum Youth has handed over a memorandum against racial profiling to Parliament. The Higher Education and Transformation Network (HETN) has spoken out against this.
The memorandum requests that students be given the freedom to choose whether or not they would like to indicate their race on bursary and university application forms. The memorandum contains signatures from students at the University of Pretoria, the University of the Free State, the University of Stellenbosch and the North-West University. According to AfriForum Youth national chairperson Charl Oberholzer, these are the universities where AfriForum has experienced discrimination based on race.
DAN MAFORA: Wapad, the official student newspaper of the North-West University (NWU), has resumed publication after being shut down early in September.
NWU management stopped the publication of the newspaper last month, citing budgetary constraints as the main reason. According to Mail & Guardian, the paper was just under R80 000 in debt and the NWU marketing department was not prepared to settle it. However, some claimed that this was a cover-up for the real reason the newspaper was shut down – media censorship.
BOIPELO BOIKHUTSO: Up and Out, Tuks’s official lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) society, had the second annual gay pride march on campus last Thursday.
According to Nazo Tunzi, the chairperson of the society, the purpose of the march was to celebrate queerness and diversity and to increase the prominence of LGBTI people, hence the chant “We are queer and we are here.”
FUMI SOKO: The Achievers Unlimited (AU) annual event was held last Friday. The event focused on leadership skills and the qualities of a good leader.
Achievers Unlimited is a non-profit organisation run by students at the University of Pretoria. They focus on empowering young people with life and leadership skills and their motto is “Raising a new breed of leadership excellence”.
HUMPHREY MOKOENA: Students parking on Lynnwood Road do not have to worry about losing their parking space just yet.
Last year the City of Tshwane proposed routes for its Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT). The proposed routes were set to run along Lynnwood Road, leaving many students who park on the shoulder of the road without parking space.
MARISSA BRITS: Over the past few months the University of Pretoria has been discussing and implementing changes to the management structures of the university residences.
The changes focused on increasing the success rate of residence students and updating the current placement policy to allow for a greater number of first years to be placed in residence. The changes further focused on emphasising academic performance and empowering first years.