Student news wrap 10/04/19

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Stories from around South Africa and the world.

Blind students graduate with honours at NMU

Avukile Jeke and Ntsikelelo Williams, who are both blind, joined 13 other students to graduate with Bachelor of Arts Honours in IsiXhosa at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) this week. Jeke said he pursued the degree because he wanted to teach the language as a means to preserve it in its purest form.

Jeke was part of a group of students initially not admitted because the university did not have adequate faculties to accommodate completely blind students. NMU spokesperson Zandile Mbabela said the university’s Universal Accessibility and Disability Services (UADS) unit has vastly improved its facilities and has since developed comprehensive support for visually impaired and blind students. Jeke is now pursuing a masters degree, with the aim of ultimately crossing the stage in a red gown as Dr Avukile Jeke. Ntsikelelo Williams who lost his sight after a medical procedure, is following a similar path, having joined NMU last year with three qualifications under his belt and honours in IsiXhosa as his fourth. – Read more on the IOL news site

Homeless people blamed for looting during Cosas march

What was supposed to be a march against violence at schools turned into a violent spree of looting, assault and damage to property. The march took place on Monday (April 8) as members of the Congress of SA Students (Cosas) made their way to Luthuli House in the Johannesburg CBD.

Since then, Cosas provincial secretary Teboho Magafane has said his organisation had nothing to do with it and put the blame on homeless people. “Many people looted in the CBD and pretended to be students. It’s the homeless people who pretended to be students. If the students looted, they would have been arrested by now.” When asked where the homeless would have got the school uniforms, Magafane said: “ Look, I believe that whenever there is a march there are people who will join to cause anarchy and deviate from the original goal. The reality is that the protest was advertised all over the media and anyone could have joined in.” The organisation can legally be held accountable due to a Constitutional Court ruling that organisations can be held responsible for damages when protests degenerate into violence – Read more on this on the IOL news site.

20,000 students unable to attend lectures after Cyclone Idai

Cyclone Idai tore through Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in mid-March, leaving around a 1,000 people dead and devastating infrastructure. Mozambique bore the brunt and its port in the city of Beira was almost completely destroyed. All of the city’s higher education institutions suffered serious damage as authorities have revealed that 20,000 students are unable to resume their studies in the region. While day classes have resumed at most institutions, a lack of electricity is leaving evening students unable to attend lectures. Cyclone Idai also damaged education facilities in the northern Mozambique cities of Dondo and Buzi. – Read more on the University World News site

Student sentenced for blackmailing porn users

Five years after being arrested, a British student has finally been charged for extorting hundreds of thousands of pounds by blackmailing porn users. Investigators found around £700,000 (R12.7 million) of his profits but it could have been as much as £4 million.

Zain Qaiser used his programming skills to scam visitors to pornography sites around the world. He began to make money through “ransomware” attacks when he was only 17 years old. This is a form of attack in which a computer is hijacked and frozen by a small piece of software until the user pays a fee for its release. Qaiser partnered with a Russian controller who in turn forged contacts with online criminals from China and the US to help shift the cash. Qaiser, now 24, was jailed for more than six years at Kingston Crown Court. – Read the full article on the BBC News site.