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THE

TrAvEl

EdiTiOn

Photo: JOSHUA OATES

SRC trees left for dead

see page 2

Rating student governance

see page 4 and 5

Rhodes places second at Intervar

see page 12

The Oppidan Press

Edition 8, 27 August 2013

2

The Oppidan Press

27 August 2013

News Features

Seeds sewn, good intentions soiled

By Jordan du Toit Environment

P lanting a few trees may seem like a good

cause with worthy intention but prob-

lems set in if the long-term upkeep of the

trees is neglected. In all the earthy, do-good excitement, the care the trees need is often forgotten. With no focus on the long term care of the plants, such projects are reduced to an empty gesture. This appears to be the case with most of the tree-planting endeavours of Rhodes University. In light of Arbour Week (1-7 September), the ques- tion about what will happen to this year’s bunch of saplings remains unanswered. At present, trees are planted as part of Arbour Week, as well as for the winners of the annual Green Fund Run. The SRC also planted several trees during Environmental Week this year. These trees were planted on campus, where the Grounds and Gardens division have been able to provide subsequent care. Safety, Health and Environment Officer Nikki Köhly has played a large part in this movement, pushing for the follow-up on the tree-planting projects. “I see a lot of healthy indigenous trees on campus but this is of course thanks mainly to a lot of hard work and aftercare by Grounds and Gardens,” she said. However, past attempts to green up areas such as Joza have been far less successful. “The com- munity are largely disincentivised to maintain the trees and, failing that, the goats normally make a

decent meal out of them. The few surviving trees are alive either out of sheer luck or because they have been adopted by a local resident,” explained SRC Environmental Councillor, Luke Cadden. The trees’ failure to thrive is not based in the projects themselves. The intentions behind the project are solid and the motivations are pure. An example of the many projects running in and around Rhodes, is the Tree for Life project implemented in September 2012, which stated an aim to “promote awareness of the need to plant and maintain indigenous trees in and around the Grahamstown area. Trees play a pivotal role in the health and well‐being of local communities as they are sources of food, shade, medicines and scenic beauty among other benefits”. Along with this is a project called R3G, which does restoration work with spekboom. Allan Webb Hall also prides itself on its commitment to environmentally minded projects, earning them the RU Environmental Award in 2012. The hall teamed up with one local school, Ntsika Second- ary School, in a tree-planting project. This forms part of their broader and ongoing environmental and landscaping project. It is clear that the impetus is there. The follow- through by communities and those running these endeavours, however, is not. “There are normally Rhodes student societies that take initiative, or else we have to entrust the local communities to look after their new trees. We cannot accompany or assist them in everything unfortunately,” said Cadden of the failure of many of the trees to grow. By care, Cadden means watering and

of the trees to grow. By care, Cadden means watering and Some SRC intiatives, such as

Some SRC intiatives, such as planting trees, have been abandoned. Photo: JoShuA oAtES

fertilisation after the fact. With Grahamstown’s chronic water shortages and the levels of poverty in the areas targeted it is unclear how many com- munities could support these endeavours after trees are planted. One of the biggest failures was a project celebrating 101 years of the SRC in 2011, which Nikki Köhly was there to see in all its glory. “I attended one of their tree planting events at the Fingo Public Library grounds in 2011 - about 20 trees were planted. Today, there is not even a dent

in the ground where a tree went in,” said Köhly. “At the time, I recall the organisers had not thought about bringing along a watering can, let alone liaising with the community about ongoing care of the plants. Hence the value of collaborat- ing through RU Community Engagement,” she emphasised. Until the issues regarding follow-through as- sistance and the necessary community awareness are addressed, however, these projects will simply keep failing.

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27 August 2013

The Oppidan Press

3

News Features

Makana’s empty taps surge new communications platform

By Sisipho Skweyiya

A lmost weekly failures of Grahamstown’s

municipal services have led Makana

Municipality, in conjunction with

Rhodes University, to introduce MobiSAM, a website and mobile application. The creation of MobiSAM, due to begin on 2 September, is aimed at increasing citizen partici- pation in local government by opening up the lines of communication between the municipal- ity, town citizens and the Rhodes community. The introduction of the dual communication system requires that Grahamstown residents register either on their computers or on their cell phones. Once they are registered, residents can report any service delivery problems that they may encounter to the trained municipal staff that will be monitoring and responding to reports from the MobiSAM dual communication system. Professor Thinyane, a contributor to the im- plementation of MobiSAM as well as an associate Professor at the University’s Computer Science Department, was adamant that MobiSAM will give the community of Grahamstown the ability to help solve problems such as water outages, by reporting them quickly and easily. Thinyane stated that the MobiSAM project is not a new endeavour: “We have been going for two years doing all the behind-the-scenes stuff such as liaising with Makana Municipality, writing training material, developing the system, training Grocott’s Mail and Makana.” The university has been doing training with the municipality since the beginning of June to make sure they are ready to start monitoring reported outages when the service starts.

“The service will be free to users, but it will ob- viously need internet connection. We have been fortunate enough to have arranged a deal with MTN for them to zero rate traffic our server,” Thinyane said. According to the municipality’s Director of Infrastructure and Engineering Thembinkosi Myalato, most of Grahamstown’s infrastructural problems are due to the fact that the municipal- ity cannot cope with the growing population of Grahamstown. In addition to that, Myalato said the infrastructure in this town is very old and that maintaining it is quite problematic. “As a result of a funding problem, we have then decided to propose a private/public partnership to both the provincial and national government, so that we can have a continuous funding part- nership,” Myalato added. However, the conditions in which Graham- stowns residents live due to the municipality’s inefficiency can at times appear to be beyond the help of an SMS system. According to Mavis Bheja, a housekeeper at The Greens, a block of flats behind Peppergrove Mall, the flat she works in had no water for an entire week. “If they do have water, the water is always dirty and even sour at times,” Bheja said. “We do not even complain anymore, because the municipality ignores us,” she added. Co-owner of Courtlands Bed & Breakfast on New Street, Mike Dacombe has heard about Mo- biSAM and does not believe it will be beneficial to the residents of Grahamstown because the municipality will still ignore the queries. Myalato emphasised that MobiSAM will not be the solution to the infrastructural discrepancies, but will definitely improve communication mech- anisms. “For instance, when there is a damaged

mech- anisms. “For instance, when there is a damaged the water protest has led to Makana

the water protest has led to Makana Municipality introducing MobiSAM to increase communica- tion regarding Grahamstown’s failing services. Photo: JoShuA oAtES

water pipe in an area, we will be able to send bulk SMSes to those residents notifying them of the problem,” he said. The accessibility of this service seems not to be a concern for the municipality, as they are certain that ordinary people in Graham- stown (township residents mainly) have access to a cell phone. Thinyane has been very mindful of accessibility from the start of the project. “We have ensured that the website is designed for a broad spectrum

of mobile phones, and registered users are able to select their language of preference - English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans - for questions to be delivered to them.” As for maintaining MobiSAM, Myalato concluded that the municipality signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Rhodes University and the University will be managing the programme with them.

a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Rhodes University and the University will be managing the programme with

4 The Oppidan Press

27 August 2013

SECrETAry-GEnErAl Mathaabe Thabane As the first Secretary-General the SRC, Thabane has filled the role well.
SECrETAry-GEnErAl
Mathaabe Thabane
As
the
first
Secretary-General
the
SRC,
Thabane
has
filled
the
role
well.
Having
taken
charge
disci-
pline
and
internal
has and at and checks-and-balances
to
keep
councillors
working
she
has
instituted
monthly
of from the on
is reports has
each
councillor
and
been
key
crea-
tion
of
new
policy
relating
Societies,
Communication
the
Student
Dis-
of to done figure new hard, in the
ciplinary
Council.
Another
who
is
always
present
meetings,
ready
to
voice
her
opinion
always
point
with
the
facts,
Thabane
well
as
Secretary-General.
6.3/10

Politics

SrC 2012/13: looking back

By Mitchell Parker and Shannon Frost

Criteria:

For our analysis of the SrC, we had three criteria by which we measured each member:

visibility – this criterion relates to how well the student body sees the Councillor. Are they present in campus debate? Do they participate in SRC discussion online? Are we aware of them at all?

Mandate fulfilment – Each Councillor has a specific mandate that they must fulfil as a member of the SRC. Did they do this? Did they go above and beyond? or were they just position holders and not active agents in the process?

Student Body Awareness – distinct from the “Visibility” criteria in that we assessed how aware each Councillor is of what the student body wants from them as they are our elected representatives. Do they know what the issues are? have they been dealing with them?

Candidates were scored out of 10.

PrESidEnT Badi Sakh’usomeleze doubt a strong in discussion He might be a quiet leader, but
PrESidEnT Badi
Sakh’usomeleze
doubt a strong
in discussion
He might be a quiet leader, but he is no
Having been crucial
one.
about pressing student
issues
like Intellectual Policy, Societies,
financial support and – as of recently
– transport and facilities
problems, he
has cemented himself
into
the Univer-
sity framework
and has refused to
let
their interests be sidelined.
students and
Furthermore, he has
the public sphere as
been visible within
the President of
the SRC and has made sure that when
something of importance happens, there
always an SRC statement regarding
is
it.
5.7/10
viCE-PrESidEnT Bradley Bense Bense has worked tirelessly to promote the SRC this year, being the
viCE-PrESidEnT
Bradley Bense
Bense has worked tirelessly to promote
the SRC this year, being the person
behind
much of what the SRC Media
Team gets up
to. He has
also been the
chair of the Student Forum, which has
platform for the
provided an excellent
to engage with
SRC and student leaders
each other. He
has fulfilled all other
mandated roles, such as advisor for the
President,
internal management
etc. He
is also a visible presence
in the Rhodes
to
sphere and tries more than anything
be as representative as possible.
6.3/10
OPPidAn Sixolile COUnCillOr Timothy Timothy has worked ensure the there is a bond between the
OPPidAn
Sixolile COUnCillOr
Timothy
Timothy
has worked
ensure
the there
is a
bond between
the SRC
to and
Oppidan
Union.
Although not vocal about her
visible, she
views and thus not entirely
has done a good job in creating environ-
ments for discussion regarding
digs life
and has helped
address such issues.
7.2/10

How the scoring was done:

the SRC was rated in a survey of fifty students to reach the scores given. Each student was told to rate their councillors on a scale of 1 to 5, which we then converted to out of ten. Students were also given the option to mark a “No Idea” box, if they did not know who the person was or what they did. Aside from the scoring, The Oppidan Press team compiled a writ- ten evaluation of each councillor to go alongside student feedback and to clarify any discrepancies. having done much investigation into the SRC over this year, there are distinct disparities between the score given by students and the newspaper’s written evalua- tion of councillors.

SOCiETiES COUnCillOr Amanda Green Green’s term of office has been plagued with communication issues. The
SOCiETiES
COUnCillOr
Amanda
Green
Green’s term of office
has been
plagued
with communication issues. The effec-
tive running
of the Societies at
Rhodes
was left, for the most
part, to Societies
in their independent efforts. Visibility
has been a problem,
too. However, she
has been a part
of
the creation
of a new
Societies policy, for which she must be
commended.
5.6/10
MEdiA COUnCillOr lulama Qongqo Unfortunately, due to the resignation of Sarah Price-Jones from the position
MEdiA COUnCillOr
lulama Qongqo
Unfortunately, due to the resignation
of Sarah Price-Jones from the position
early in the year, there was a late transfer
of power into the position to Qongqo.
The SRC page and Twitter account have
been poorly managed and members of
the SRC Media Team have complained
that Qongqo has been unresponsive in
meetings, has wasted SRC funds on an
unnecessary camera – costing a reported
R1500 – and thus the avenue for effective
communication from the SRC has been
overshadowed by inadequate leadership.
Interestingly, students seemed to think
she had done a good job.
7.1/10
victor COUnCillOr ACAdEMiC Mafuku of the sensi- Unfortunately, because work, many students tive nature of
victor COUnCillOr
ACAdEMiC
Mafuku
of the sensi-
Unfortunately, because
work, many students
tive nature of his
remain largely unaware of the work
Mafuku does, hence his low score. He
been involved in
has
discussion with
Accounting 3 regarding their failure rate,
with exclusion issues
assisted students
been instrumental in the forma-
and has
tion of new policy for the SRC.
5.2/10

27 August 2013

The Oppidan Press

TrEASUrEr Ntsikelelo Qoyo Coming into the position of treas- SRC was in hundreds of urer
TrEASUrEr
Ntsikelelo
Qoyo
Coming into
the position of treas-
SRC was in hundreds of
urer when the
thousands
of Rands in debt, Qoyo faced
a tough task
this year.
However, despite
difficulties experienced in previous
the
years, Qoyo managed to pull off a mostly
effective budget and has fought hard to
ensure there is transparency
within the
SRC regarding finances.
5.7/10
EnvirOnMEnTAl COUnCillOr Luke Cadden As possibly the most vocal member of the SRC in the
EnvirOnMEnTAl
COUnCillOr
Luke Cadden
As possibly the most vocal member of
the SRC in the public sphere, Cadden is
well-known to students. He has taken
charge of situations where
his portfolio
needed representation.
when purple balloons
For instance,
were going to
be released, much to the chagrin of
the environmentally conscious, he did
something about it. He has also worked
hard to ensure a greener,
University.
more eco-aware
6.7/10

5

Politics

ACTiviSM And TrAnSFOrMATiOn COUnCillOr Mbongeni Ngwenya Ngwenya went National Collo- quium on transformation
ACTiviSM And
TrAnSFOrMATiOn
COUnCillOr
Mbongeni Ngwenya
Ngwenya
went
National
Collo-
quium
on
transformation
universities
and
was
very
well
a received public
there.
Having
worked
on
LGBTiQA
and
HIV/AIDS
issues
during
his
he
represented
the
student
body
well.
entirely
invisible
from
the
he
has
also
been
involved
in
to helping year,
Not eye, with has in
Purple
Thursday.
7/10
COMMUniTy EnGAGEMEnT COUnCillOr Thabo Seshoka With the instatement of stricter rules regarding Community Engagement
COMMUniTy
EnGAGEMEnT
COUnCillOr
Thabo Seshoka
With the instatement of stricter rules
regarding Community
Engagement
and ensuring an effective Community
Engagement
Week, Seshoka has done
well in his second term
of office. A com-
mon presence on fora like the SRC page
and in Council meetings,
voice heard and represents
he makes his
the needs of
students beyond the area of his portfolio.
6.1/10
PrOJECTS MAnAGEr Carey Frazer Frazer has and worked party the on multiple projects throughout with
PrOJECTS
MAnAGEr
Carey Frazer
Frazer
has
and worked party the
on
multiple
projects
throughout
with
events
like
the
Great
Field
and
the
Purple
Play-off
Charity
Cup
being
stand-out
was examples.
Her
mandate
been
successfully
fulfilled
her
has year visibility
the highest
among
the SRC, in the public poll. How-
really heard from
ever not much was
Frazer during
her term
and students
of
her views.
were often unsure
6.6/10
rESidEnCE COUnCillOr Tendai Mapuranga Representing students his official ca- pacity bodies like the Board of
rESidEnCE
COUnCillOr
Tendai Mapuranga
Representing
students
his
official
ca-
pacity
bodies
like
the
Board
of
Resi-
dences,
Mapuranga
has
of in his been
involved
maintaining
the
high
quality
of
residence
life
the
year
and
recently
helped
to
construct
the
Quality
Life
survey
that
all
students
in
residence
received.
He
is, in
unfortunately,
distinctly
invisible
in
the
public
over on is sphere
and
thus
representative
ability
diminished.
5.5/10
inTErnATiOnAl AFFAirS COUnCillOr Ndana Tendayi Tendayi year organised an enormous project this – the
inTErnATiOnAl
AFFAirS COUnCillOr
Ndana Tendayi
Tendayi
year organised
an enormous project
this
– the Internationalisation
Colloquium – attended by SRCs from
around the country. She
has been vocal
on student issues and makes sure her
voice is heard
within
Council meetings.
7.2/10
STUdEnT BEnEFiTS And SPOnSOrSHiP COUnCillOr Lethabo Sekele Having fought for an emergency fund for students
STUdEnT
BEnEFiTS
And
SPOnSOrSHiP
COUnCillOr
Lethabo
Sekele
Having fought for an emergency fund
for students in need and being key in
who
helping students
find themselves
in
positions anyway, Sekele
these financial
has worked
impact
hard to make her
felt within the
Rhodes community.
Although
her position by its
very nature
is not inherently visible, she has still had
an effect in SRC
discussion.
6.8/10

6

The Oppidan Press

27 August 2013

News Features

A controversial move for the SABC

By Mila Kakaza

A fter a number of years plagued by scan-

dals and rumours of unsustainability, the

South African Broadcasting Corporation

(SABC) surprisingly launched a 24-hour news channel. The news channel’s attempt to expand, however, was not welcomed with open arms by all. The cor- poration has made news for financial mismanage- ment and the new service’s lack of accessibility. The 24-hour news channel can only be viewed on DStv’s channel 404, making it unavailable to a majority of working-class South Africans. How- ever, Minister of Communications Yunus Carrim explained that the channel will soon be available on free-to-air TV once the move from analogue to digital terrestrial television takes place. The benefits of having the news channel exclu- sively on DStv are, however, promising. “It will at- tract advertisers in South Africa who are currently targeting higher income-earning groups,” said Paul Hills, Television lecturer at the School of Journal- ism and Media Studies (JMS). Hills said that this placement will also give the SABC an opportunity to counter the perception that it is a mouthpiece for the government because it will now be compet- ing side-by-side with other news channels on DStv. A great deal of scepticism will prove a challenge for the SABC as many anticipate that it will contin- ue to be used as the state’s platform for government propaganda. Hills explained that in South Africa the fear of propaganda use is particularly worrying

because the state owns the public broadcaster. “The power that the SABC has cannot be disputed,” Hills explained. Firstly, the public broadcaster has political pow- er, which it could use to promote or limit political allegiance and policy. Secondly, it has economic power where it can advance particular sectors and populations in the country. The first guest on the channel, as expected, was President Jacob Zuma, who asserted that journal- ists in South Africa will now have a platform to share stories of success from the last 20 years as well as ways to build the country so that it may prosper. Opinions of the news channel are not all doom and gloom, however. Journalism students, as a part of their vacation work, have been among the reporters for the SABC. “It is a positive step in the right direction and creating jobs for journalists,” said third-year JMS student Kgalaletso Tshabalala. Director of the Centre for Economics Journalism in Africa, Reginald Rumney, who is also a regular columnist in Grocott’s Mail, also sees the SABC’s move in a more positive light. “It is a logical step for the SABC to extend their reach, particularly as their main competitor eTV has a 24-hour channel on DStv,” he said. It also helps prepare the SABC for the arrival of digital terrestrial TV, where the corporation’s news products have to compete with the offerings of many other channels. The success of the channel will be dependent on the viewership figures. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” said Rumney.

proof of the pudding is in the eating,” said Rumney. the SABC have recently launched a

the SABC have recently launched a 24-hour news channel. Photo: SouRCED

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23 April 2013

The Oppidan Press

7

News Features

rU Matric Programme to be dropped

By Mila Kakaza

T he Rhodes University matric

programme, aimed at helping

non-academic staff members

receive their senior certificate, is to be shut down, following the intro- duction of the new national school curriculum in South Africa. The programme will be discontin- ued mid-way through next year due to the changes brought about by this new curriculum. “Matric classes will be continued until June 2014 albeit with a different service provision model,” said Sarah Fischer, Director of Human Resources at Rhodes University. In previous years, the University hired 8 to 12 teachers to assist in the classes. Learners completing their mat- ric between 2013 and mid-2014 will be supported through classes run by Educentre. Thereafter, staff members without a matric will have to return to grade 10 in order to obtain their mat- ric certificate. This is a requirement of the national Department of Education’s new curriculum. The University will assist in funding the education of these staff members. “There are staff development funds that staff can access. For example, there is a Continuing Education Fund

(CEF),” explained Fischer. However, these alternatives are limited. Staff members need to go through an appli- cation process before they can access funding. Member of the RU cleaning staff and student of the matric programme, Zoleka Ndayi, explained that many of the workers want to complete their matric and have pleaded with the University to allow these classes to continue. “We don’t know why we can- not carry on with our studies. We are left in the middle of nowhere with our education,” said Ndayi. Although the University has organ- ised different centres for registration, Ndayi explained that the majority of the workers want to continue with the classes here at the University. Ndayi admitted that the matric classes did prove to be strenuous and that as peo- ple with full time jobs they requested for the number of assignments to be reduced. “We have children and husbands and we have to take care of our homes as well as work for the University,” explained Ndayi. The University will be providing occupational training as an alternative, where a staff member may choose to receive more training in their specific job. If a cook wants to be a caterer they

in their specific job. If a cook wants to be a caterer they Rhodes university will

Rhodes university will cancel their matric programme, previously offered to staff members who have not completed their matric. Photo: JoShuA oAtES

may do training towards a catering qualification. “The goal was to provide those staff members who, due to apartheid circumstances, were unable to acquire their matric with an opportunity to do so,” said Fischer. The optional programme has been running for approximately 15 years and aiding in the University’s goal in investing in the training and development of the staff.

“The matric programme has formed part of this broader training and devel- opment programme,” said Fischer. Fischer mentioned that, increas- ingly, the staff employed had already obtained their matric. Unfortunately, records of the number of staff members who have completed their matric successfully due to these matric classes were not available.

A representative of the Depart- ment of Education, who did not want to disclose her name, referred to a partnership with the University over a community programme with the mat- ric classes run by the institution. The Department failed to elaborate more on the matter and did not disclose whether or not they had taken on any responsibility in the classes no longer occurring.

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27 August 2013

News Features

8 The Oppidan Press 27 August 2013 News Features Choosing a car to purchase as a

Choosing a car to purchase as a student can leave you feeling dizzy, especially with the high maintenance costs. Photo: JoShuA oAtES

Purchasing a new car - The student perspective

By Dumile Sibindana Business

W hile many students may be saving towards their first set of wheels, or

pleading with their parents for the gift of that dream car, the critical question is often not whether you can afford to buy a car while at uni- versity, but rather, if you can afford to maintain it in the long term. There is no doubt that having a car as a student is a privilege, offering one mobility and freedom which cannot otherwise be attained, but due to the hefty investment that comes with owning a vehicle many students just cannot afford to own one. The preferences that students may have in terms of cars they would want to buy are thus not the only thing to take into account. There are a number of consid- erations that a student has to make when they want to purchase a car. These include the size and type of car, where to buy it, maintenance and running costs and, most immediately, the cost of the vehicle. “Due to the large investment required when buying a car, students

ought to ensure that they can cover their tuition and accommodation expenses and other expenses such as textbooks and living expenses before

they consider buying a car,” asserted Management lecturer Lindsay Bailey. Bailey maintains that buying a car

is as much a matter of being able

to afford one as it is a matter of you wanting one. Student Chris White noted:

“There are a number of other ‘little’ things that go into maintaining a car properly such as tyres, oil and general servicing. The main cost to consider though is petrol and trying to get as much distance out of each tank you buy. In fact, the price of petrol went up just the other day.” Thashveen Lutchmun, Teaching Assistant in Honours Management Finance, wstated that before purchas-

ing a vehicle it is important to deter- mine what you will be using the car for, so that you make the appropriate selection. Will you be using it to drive around Grahamstown? Or will you be embarking on regular long journeys (and therefore requiring a more spacious car than, for example,

a Chevrolet Spark)? One must also consider the cost of an insurance premium to cover

the vehicle. It is not mandatory to have insurance, but it comes recom- mended in a country such as ours where car hijackings and thefts are a frequent occurrence. In addition to this, the high rate of accidents on the nation’s roads also results in the need

for insurance. Dean Kent, the owner of Kenrich’s Motors, which operates in both Gra- hamstown and Port Alfred, explained that the market for car sales to stu- dents in Grahamstown is currently quite small. He speculated that this could be due to students purchasing vehicles in their home towns and cit- ies. Student car purchases therefore make up a very small percentage of sales at his general motors dealership. Kent did assert, however, that without Rhodes University most, if not all, Grahamstown car dealerships would be out of business. “Most of the car sales we make are to Rhodes University staff and we are grateful for their continued support,” he said. When buying a car there are clearly many factors to consider. The most important thing is to find a

balance that works for you and your pocket, whilst ensuring you get the best possible deal at the same time.

Biscuits

The future of gaming in the palm of your hand

By Chad Keates SciTech

The gaming market is booming with new games and evolving platforms that are constantly shifting to include new technologies beyond the normal controller or mouse-and-keyboard combo. Months from release, the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One are set to revolu- tionise the market and change the way we see and play games. But do Rhodes University students even need next- gen consoles when they have smart- phones and tablets at their disposal for new-age gaming? Computer Science lecturer Yusuf Motara said that handheld is the future of gaming. Tablet and smartphone capabilities are on the rise and their gaming potential is still untapped when compared to the heavily utilised and linear design of consoles. In a university environment, the console has few pros and many cons. The only attribute, according to Rho- des University Computer User Society (RUCUS) member Usher Parshotam, is the ability of the user to play games with friends in a more social environ- ment. Consoles are big, heavy and require speakers and display outputs such as televisions and monitors, and games for consoles also tend to be expensive and hard to come by in Grahamstown. Motara said desktop sales have dropped, with a majority of their target audience opting for a notebook or ultra-book. Consoles are declining with a huge increase in sales of mobile and tablet devices. Games are easy to utilise on mobile devices with Android and iOS softwares, and are much cheaper with far more free games on offer. Consoles and computers require discs instead. Mobile games are affordable and in most cases, free. These games can be accessed from anywhere on campus due to the large quota of WIFI each student is afforded each week. The Nintendo DS is a good example of a mobile gaming device, according

to Motara. It has a solid graphics pro- cessor and is unrestrained by limitations such as a constant power source and a separate visual input. The gap between consoles and mobile phones is closing fast with new advancements in processing power. The new Galaxy S4 sports a 1.9 GHz quad-core processor that is capable of amazing graphics. Motara said “form factor” can be overcome by game developers because phones can now be linked up to larger display outputs and utilise controllers for games. With an improvement in battery quality over the past several years, phones can now be used for longer without the need for re-charg- ing. This could prove paramount to the emergence of mobile devices as front runners in the game market. Parshotam, on the other hand, still believes mobile games have a long way to go. He sees mobile games as mindless, repetitive and far too linear to take on the console and PC game market. Developer support is the only problem facing the future of mobile gaming. With an increase in publishers and developers, mobile gaming would have the platform to compete with consoles in the gaming community. There is much promise, however, with mainstream upcoming titles like the highly anticipated Watch Dogs and the war epic Battlefield 4, both offering integrated mobile platform modes that enrich the gameplays’ core strategies. The Head of Wargaming at Gamesoc, William Walters, believes that mobile gaming is not going to replace console gaming but will rather become part of a massive and accessible new way of gaming. The only thing that is certain is that mobile devices are a strong bet for most companies. Mobile and tablet devices are selling worldwide and new apps are coming out every day, with Xbox releasing Smartglass and Sony releasing tablet support for console. Nobody knows what the future holds but mobile devices could possi- bly become the consoles of the future.

devices could possi- bly become the consoles of the future. Mobile devices may be the future

Mobile devices may be the future platforms for the gaming market. Photo: JoShuA oAtES

27 August 2013

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9

News Features

Send an email to travel@oppidanpress.com

if you’d like to tell us about your travel experiences

if you’d like to tell us about your travel experiences Nieu-Bethesda is a small picturesque town

Nieu-Bethesda is a small picturesque town in the heart of the Karoo. Photo: JoShuA oAtES

town in the heart of the Karoo. Photo: JoShuA oAtES the NG Kerk in Nieu-Bethesda. Photo:

the NG Kerk in Nieu-Bethesda. Photo: MIChEllE CuNlIFFE

nieu-Bethesda:

A diamond in the rough

Words By Madeleine Chaput

A quaint, picturesque town nestled in the middle of the Karoo, Nieu-Bethesda is an intriguing little corner of the world.

Famously known for its donkey-cart rides and the mysterious Owl House of Miss Helen Martins, this little diamond in the rough lies at the foot of the Sneeuberg Mountains along the banks of the Sundays River. The town is approximately 50 kilometres from Graaff-Reinet and also forms part of the semi-arid Great Karoo. This means that it experiences long, hot, dry summers and moderate winters. Tempera- tures in summer range from about 17°C to 30°C; July is the coldest month with temperatures dropping to an average of 2.5°C at night. Nieu-Bethesda offers a range of comfortable and quirky accom- modation options. Outsiders B&B, Owlhouse Backpackers, The Water Tower and The Nieu-Zebra self-catering are some of the choices available. The two main coffee shops, the Karoo Lamb and The Village Inn, provide tranquil rest stops in the middle of this quiet town. Most places are self-catering, but meals are also available from the various places around town. Prices range between R220 and R470 per night, depending on the location and for how many people you are looking to book. Although Nieu-Bethesda is a small town, devoid of any petrol, bank or credit card facilities, it is a town filled with mystery and wonder. The town prides itself on the historical sites in and around the area. Why not take one of the twenty-minute guided donkey-cart rides to give you a colourful perspective of the town? Or visit Miss Helen Mar- tins’ Owl House, often cited as one of South Africa’s finest examples of outsider art. The Owl House is an extraordinary play of colour and light and it conjures up an array of feelings, from awe to weariness, curiosity and sadness. There are, however, other fascinating features unique to the town of Nieu-Bethesda, such as the old water mill and the working network of water furrows. The 1905 Dutch Reformed Church of Nieu-Bethesda is the town’s grandest piece of architecture. The Kitching Fossil Explora- tion Centre takes you on a journey through the past, to a world filled with unfamiliar plants and animals. Many artists and craftsmen have found their muse in Nieu-Bethesda and have established themselves there. It’s no wonder because Nieu- Bethesda is unique in all its enigma. The town offers everything a curious soul craves.

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28 August 2012

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27 August 2013

Travel

travel

travel

Features

Features

2012 27 August 2013 Travel travel travel Features Features Ashleigh Brown speaks of her experience shark

Ashleigh Brown speaks of her experience shark cage diving in Gansbaai. Photo: GEoFF BRoWN

diving with Jaws

W alking down the road as the sun steadily rises over the flat ocean, my nerves kick in. I dig my cold hands

into my pockets as I walk past boats with long, steel cages attached to the back of them. I hold my breath as Jaws music begins to play in the back of my mind. Gansbaai is one of the best places in South Africa to shark dive, according to the websites of the eight different diving companies there. Ce- lebrities such as Brad Pitt, Blake Lively and both the Princes of Wales have dived there. It was only slightly comforting that I was diving in the same cage as Royalty. Only slightly.

To get to our diving spot it took us about 15 minutes by boat. When we dropped anchor the water was only 10 metres deep. It was said that the sharks had changed their feeding patterns and were now hunting in shallower waters. Then the waiting began. The chum was made and the bait was cast. We all sat on the boat, scanning the water for any movement or sharp fins cutting through the waves. Some playful seals came to see what was going on, frolicking in the water and splashing around, but soon they scattered. The time had come. I can tell you from first-hand experience that trying to get a wetsuit on while on a boat is not the easiest thing. The boat moves and rolls with each swell of the ocean and you learn how

Words by Ashleigh Brown

nimble you are in small spaces. The long cages fit five people at a time. The div- ing experts specifically tell everyone not to hang on the bars, or to stick our hands out of the cage. The cages are therefore fitted with handle bars to hang on to and a bar at the bottom to hook your feet under. How long you stay under de- pends on how long you can hold your breath. Before long I see a shape swim under the cage. “Dive, dive, dive!” the bait-thrower shouts and I push myself under the chilling water, scanning around me for any sign of the shark. Graciously, the mighty muscle-machine makes a turn past the cage, seemingly eyeing us as it swam away. The shark that stayed with us was only a ‘baby’ shark, or so we were told. It measured about two and a half metres and was “quite friendly and outgoing” according to the diving instructor. ac- companying us. Besides conquering one of my fears and diving with Great White sharks, the experience taught me so much more. There are a lot of misconcep- tions about these mighty creatures. Each shark, as we were told time and time again on the boat, has their own personality. They are not the man-eating monsters we are told to look out for in Hollywood films. Don’t get me wrong, I was not planning on sticking my hand out the cage and petting it, but I learnt to respect them for the magnificent creatures they are.

For the love of the karoo

O ver the long weekend people from

near and far made their way to the

Karoo to join a festival that has been

running for four years. The Writer’s Festival has grown in popular- ity and has attracted some of South Africa’s most successful writers. This was a wonderful opportunity for anyone who loves reading and writing, good food and great company. The festival took place on 9 August. The theme this year was ‘The love of Karoo’. With the meeting point at Shreiner House and a small entrance fee of R25, people were invited to learn the basics of writing using the multi- media programme known as ‘Upstart’ from none other than our own Shireen Badat. The Upstart programme was made available to a few schools in Grahamstown before the Writer’s Festival. Following Badat, Sigi Howes talked about the South African War. Howes demonstrated the way in which the diarist Iris Vaughan was able to write in such a compelling way. Participants were then treated to Olive Schreiner unpacking her own writings. The day wandered on with speakers such as Margie Orford adressing crime literature and writing it in a South African context and Barbara Mutch speaking on the writing process of her book The Housemaid’s Daughter.

Words by Bianca Levin

Don’t be fooled: this was not just a festival where people listened to speech after speech. With a walking tour of Cradock and all of its inspirations for writers, participants were able to interact and get a true feel for the Karoo and how it has inspired literature over the years. After a fantastic dinner, Chris and Julie Marais showed off their photo-journalistic work entitled ‘The Beautiful Karoo’. This splen- did day of learning and listening was concluded with delightful music performed by Robert Pearce. Day two of the festival gave participants even more of an opportunity to participate by starting with an open mic session. People were invited to take to the floor and read out their poetry. With poetry being the main focus of the day, Etienne van Heerden and Doreen Atkinson each gave compelling speeches about their writing processes. The final dinner combined poetry readings and discussions by Alfred Scheiffer and Clinton Du Plessis. Festival-goers were able to stay in Die Tuis Huis, a lovely B&B in Cradock. With fireside talks, town walks and various book launches, anyone with a taste for reading and writing would have been treated to a fantastic weekend in the Karoo. For those who did attend this year’s festival, they deemed it a resounding success.

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Features

Features

Travel

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Send an email to travel@oppidanpress.com

if you’d like to tell us about your travel experiences

A wild ride in Coffee Bay

take a trip to the former transkei and treat yourself to a weekend of relaxation, surf and nature.

W ith all the beautiful places that the Wild Coast has to offer, Coffee Bay is per-

haps one of the most charming and rustic destinations to visit. Legend has it that a ship carry- ing coffee beans went under off the coast of this picturesque village in the former Transkei and that the beans washed ashore to sprout coffee trees along the beach. There is no evidence of these trees ever having existed, but the name “Coffee Bay” has stuck, nonetheless. The ‘Hole in the Wall’ is a principal tourist attraction in the Coffee Bay area. It gets its name from a river’s wearing through the middle of a mas- sive rock. The river now runs through the hole, allowing adrenaline junkies the chance to take a wave-assisted jump right into the channel of water that rushes to the shore. Conditions have to be right in order to do this, however, as one’s safety must always come first. Those interested in a different sort of kick will be pleased to note a steady stream of board-bearing student cars carrying surfers to the widely- renowned waves of little Coffee Bay. Mdumbi beach is a last stop for serious surfers due to the large waves it has to offer. This quiet and sheltered beach

is also a lovely place to take a stroll or have a swim for the less courageously inclined. It is surrounded by Milkwood trees however, so those not enam- oured of their distinctive smell should perhaps head for one of the larger beaches. If you are not a surfer there are still plenty of lovely swimming beaches as well as a lagoon near the ‘Hole in the Wall’. Hiking, visiting nature reserves and fishing are further outdoor attrac- tions with regular trips being led by staff of the various backpackers’ hostels in the village. For those who would rather enjoy a tasty, home-cooked meal or refreshing drink, tiny, enchantingly ramshackled bars and cafes are dotted around, making Coffee Bay an enjoy- able place for all visitors. Keep in mind that the roads are mostly not tarred so cars may struggle to get to the destination. Unfortunately, due to its outdoorsy appeal, Coffee Bay is a primarily sum- mer travel destination and winter trips are generally for those die-hards who don’t mind the cold. All hope for the months till spring is not lost, however, as once a year on 13 June the Bomvu Cultural Festival takes place. This 2-day festival is a hippie paradise. With fire dancing, face painting and drum circles, anyone is able to perform and

Words by Bianca Levin

get in for free. There is a bar offering food and alcohol, however, there are no ATMs nearby so come prepared. The Bomvu Cultural Festival en- courages people to lift their spirits and be in harmony. Donations are made to the Coffee Bay recycling centre, education centre and drum centre as a result of this festival. Coffee Bay also hosts an annual New Year’s party, which broadly repeats the cultural festival, though with the addition of various DJs and tattoo artists. Cheap accommodation is available at a range of backpackers’ hostels. The Coffee Shack is one well-known back- packing/camping site which also offers surfing lessons and hikes at affordable rates. In season it is R70 per person to camp and R120 per person for one bed in a shared dormitory. If you love to spend your days and nights at the beach or bar, this laid-back little town is a wonderful place to unwind and get in touch with nature. Coffee Bay offers a wide range of outdoor activities and gives people the chance to get away from city life. Though 413km away from Grahamstown along some less than ideal roads, this Wild Coast gem is truly worth a visit.

Photo: StEPhEN CuNlIFFE

Coast gem is truly worth a visit. Photo: StEPhEN CuNlIFFE For brochures, maps and information on
Coast gem is truly worth a visit. Photo: StEPhEN CuNlIFFE For brochures, maps and information on

For brochures, maps and information on Grahamstown Frontier Country

Experience traditional isiXhosa

Accredited tour guides

hospitality in Grahamstown.

Book a township tour with

Gill Wylie – City, farm and township tours.

Cell 082 832 5839.

Makana Tourism

Email gwylie@vodamail.co.za

Mbuleli Mpokela – Local and regional guide.

63 High Street, Grahamstown 6139

Cell 082 979 5906.

Tel: 046 622 3241

Email m.mpokela@ru.ac.za

Fax: 046 622 3266

Otto Ntshebe – Ottours for city

Web: www.grahamstown.co.za

and township tours.

Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/

Cell 082 214 4242.

MakanaTourismGrahamstown

Email ottours@webmail.co.za.

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travel

27 August 2013

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Arts & Entertainment

August 2013 The Oppidan Press 9 Arts & Entertainment Maude Sandman, Daniel Whitehorn, Jade Manicom and

Maude Sandman, Daniel Whitehorn, Jade Manicom and Simona Mazza are all taking part in the 2013 Young Directors Season. Photo: JASoN CooPER

young directors take to the stage

By Jenna Lillie

A ugust is upon us once more, and brings with it the 2013 Young Directors’ Season. This showcase

of talented directorship will host the work of four Honours directors: Daniel White- horn, Jade Manicom, Maude Sandham and Simona Mazza. Their work was presented from 21 to 24 August in conjunction with Theatre Week. This year, there were striking themes focusing on loss, tragedy, abandonment and relationship dynamics while simultaneously commenting on the beauty in life.

rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play written by David Lind- say-Abaire and adapted by Maude Sandham. The story centres around a middle-aged cou- ple, Becca and Howie, whose son Danny was hit by a car 8 months prior. It was originally set in contemporary America, but Sandham chose to localise it by transporting it into a South African context. “It is a universal story and can therefore transcend these barri- ers,” explained Sandham. The piece explores the chaos of trauma, grief and rebuilding one’s life after such a tragedy. Rabbit Hole explores the different ways each character copes with the loss of Danny. “There is a lot of purging in this play: purging of guilt, of memories and trying to find a way to move on,” explained Sandham. “What is special about this piece is that the characters aren’t melodramatic and shouting at each other but rather there is a hyper-realistic style in the way people talk to each other: they are highly functional and humorous, which is the saving grace of this piece.” Rabbit Hole comments on the nature and inevitability of death despite one’s circumstances. However, you are left with a sense of hope that even in the darkest of times things will get better. “It was a challenge to explore realism. The script is beautiful; it’s a contemporary piece that shows contemporary issues. I felt a deep connection with the sense of vulner- ability and that feeling of being lost like the characters experience,” said Sandham. The cast includes Tristan Jacobs, Geoffrey Smuts, Megan Knowles, Ester Van Der Walt and Jessica Harrison.

debris

Debris, a British play written by Dennis Kelly, has been adapted by Daniel White- horn. “Debris is a poetic piece, it is edgy

and jarring as well as dark and beautifully written,” Whitehorn explained. The story

is about two siblings who are neglected by

their physically present father and absentee mother. To survive their reality, they allow their imaginations to grow wild and turn their lives into a dreamscape, complete with its own rules and physics. “They have got quite dark, twisted imaginations,” explained Whitehorn. “It is sharp, aggressive and urgent.” Debris was inspired by the ‘In-yer- face’ theatre movement, which sought to provoke audiences and comment on con- troversial topics in Britain during the 1990s. “The story is scathing, brave and vicious,” Whitehorn added. The piece comments on the loss of innocence, the need for self-pres- ervation and the darker realities of a broken family. “Often what moves you isn’t logic but rather what you feel and in this piece it is a world projected from characters’ imagina- tions,” continued Whitehorn. “You need to watch and experience it, let it wash over you and once you have seen everything then you can figure it out.” Actors included Ryan Napier and Kelsey Stewart, as the brother and sister duo.

red

Red is a Tony Award winning play written by John Logan and adapted by Jade Mani- com. Predominantly, Red is a story about an established artist Mark Rothko and his young apprentice, Ken. It explores the battle between old and new as well as the chang- ing face of the arts in 1958. The relationship between the Rothko and Ken is mirrored in the tension between abstract expression- ism and pop art, which begins to encroach on Rothko’s work. The two conflicting ideas

display the ability of one art-form to dissolve another and through Rothko’s eyes you see

a man’s fear of becoming irrelevant and his

life’s work overshadowed. “I based it on the text as it works within the realm of realism and therefore it was important that I work within the genre of realism,” said Manicom. The tragic beauty of the story is that every artist desires immortality through their work and Rothko tries at all costs to achieve this

dream so he will never be forgotten. “I re- lated to this and I feel that we all experience this kind of fear; a fear that we may never ac- tualise our dreams. However this story ends with a glimmer of hope in the form of Ken - a hope that will lead to Rothko’s dreams of immortality,” explained Manicom. Actors included Keegan van Zyl and Philip Sulter.

The Curious incident of the dog in the night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a mystery novel written by Mark Haddon and adapted by Simona Mazza. The story follows Christopher, a fif- teen-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. The catalyst of the story is the neighbour’s dog which Christopher finds dead on their front lawn. The boy takes it upon himself to solve the mystery of the dog’s death and, in doing so, begins a journey that will uncover secrets about his parents that lead him to make decisions he wouldn’t normally make. “Through his investigation he gains his independence but also begins to lie, which is something he never did. Slowly he begins to lose his innocence,” stated Mazza. “Because the story is written in the first person, it all takes place in Christopher’s mind, which is an interesting place to be.” Christopher begins to untangle a web of lies created by his parents and neighbours and through these revelations he learns more about himself. “The audience should expect to use their imaginations and not to make literal interpretations. I want them to get into the mind of someone who has Asperger’s and try to understand Christopher,” said Mazza. “I want to show the story of a family who has gone through a tremendous loss and who are dealing with loss in all its different forms. I feel that this is something people can relate to.” Actors included Rachael Clark, Kate Pinchuck, Daniel Whitehorn, Ananda Paver, Sisesakhe Ntlabezo, Darren Moore and George Berry.

For more information about Theatre Week visit the Young Director’s Season page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ events/1392234127664719/ or follow them of Twitter @2013YDS.

Move your electro thing

By Dirk Steynberg

The Flapper era is making a comeback. Classic swing tunes infused with modern electronic and synthesised sounds are all the rage as Electro Swing, a new genre comprising the best of old and new, soars around the globe and lands in sleepy Grahamstown. Contemporary artists of the genre take the renowned

sounds of Jazz and Big-Band musicians such as Benny Goodman or Cab Calloway and deftly mix in loops, melo- dies and styles from the swing era, to create what is now a ‘club-friendly’ sound. The popularity of Electro Swing began its upward curve five years ago, explained Jack Kaminski, a Rhodes Univer- sity student and up-and-coming DJ in the new genre. The Electro Swing hype is popular in Europe, but Kaminski stumbled across the bold new sound in a bar in Cape Town and added the style to his list of great music. “You can hear influences of it in local artists such as The Kiffness and Goldfish, but I guess my first encounter was through Goldfish’s track ‘Wet Welly’” said Kaminski. Over the years, Kaminski became more and more enamoured with the genre, addicted to its up-beat quality and the contemporary-classic originality that it exudes. In the beginning of the year, Electro Swing hit it big in Grahamstown with gigs hosted by Kaminski, such as the one recently held at Champs. Its popularity surged incred- ibly quickly, leaving Kaminski pleasantly surprised. “I think there’s just a big crowd for it in Grahamstown and people wanted something new and fresh,” he said. “So

I began organising these Swing events like ‘Swing Town’

and ‘Swing into Spring’ where people get dressed up Great Gatsby style with fedoras and suspenders and dance to some good electro swing.” Although Kaminski is new to the scene, along with

his audience in Grahamstown, he has started doing his own mixes, injecting influences from artists like Caravan Palace - a chart-topping gypsy jazz band and Parov Stelar

- the supposed founder of electro jazz. Kaminski’s events

and gigs have been a success so far. With another Electro Swing event coming at the end of the month, it seems the era of extravagance is making a comeback - and this time there are no prohibitions.

at the end of the month, it seems the era of extravagance is making a comeback

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opinion

The Oppidan Press

The first article in the Tales of a Divided City series asks the question “To what extent is our ability to imagine a better world thwarted by too much hardship or too much privilege?” This serves as an intro- duction to a series of ten which will appear monthly in the Grocott’s Mail and which we have chosen to duplicate on The Oppidan Press website. The series seeks to have Grahamstown reflect on itself by making visible certain divisions that manifest in the city. Creating discomfort in readers and generating conversation is the aim. Working in conjunction with students and members of the Grahamstown community, Professor Pedro Tabensky of the Philosophy Department plans to use the series space to discuss issues which affect those who live here. He highlights in particular that the experience of being resident in Grahamstown is one still largely divided along spatial lines that reflect the racial boundaries of our segregated past. Tabensky is head of the recently established Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics. Since its inception earlier this year, the Centre has hosted weekly conversations which act as a reflective space for students. They are themed around a broad range of articles and ideas. Many of the students involved in these conversations will be working together with Tabensky on articles within their areas of interest which will ap- pear in the series. The series itself is also part of the broader picture of these conversations as a way to translate their critical reflection beyond the armchairs of the Centre. Tabensky chose to publish with Grocott’s Mail because he hoped to share these ideas with as broad a base of Grahamstown citizens as pos- sible. We have chosen to duplicate the series online because we realise that many students do not read Grocott’s Mail and we definitely think that, if a dialogue is happening reflecting on the town, students should be aware and involved. Institutions of higher education in particular are perhaps where inequalities are most evident in South Africa and ours is a bastion of privilege. As students living on campus or in digs in the wealthier parts of Grahamstown West, it is often possible, and always easier to ignore the fact that our encounter with this space is limited by our position as privileged and protected visitors. Or is it? To think this holds true for all Rhodes students smacks of over-simplicity. That is part of the point of the commentary: to have us questions assumptions such as the above. Perhaps in doing so that we will realise that lines we thought had been erased in fact remain and that divisions we assume are not as clear as imagined. We strongly encourage you to engage with these stories online. We cannot guarantee that you will agree with what is said or that you will respect the opinions expressed, but we are confident that at least a few of the issues and ideas will have personal relevance for you as someone living in this town. Give us your feedback. We are interested in what you have to say.

The Oppidan Press staff and contact details

Editor: Binwe Adebayo. Deputy Editor: Kyla hazell. Managing Editor:

Jamie Bezuidenhout. Advertising Manager: Matthew Barbosa. Marketing Manager: tariro Mhiti. Executive Consultant: Kirsten Makin. Online Editor:

Stuart lewis. Assistant Online Editor: Chelsea haith. Multimedia Man- ager: Charles Mackenzie. Webmaster: thandile Pambuka. News Features Editor: tegan Scales. Assistant News Features Editor: Amanda Xulu. Envi- ronment Editor: Jordan du toit. Politics Editor: tarryn de Kock. Assistant Politics Editor: Emily Corke. Opinion Editor: Andrew tudhope. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Jessica van tonder. Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor: Dirk Steynberg. SciTech Editor: lethabo Ntshudisane. Business Editor: Mudiwa Gavaza Sports Editor: Andrew tombs. Chief Photo Editors: Josh oates, Robynne Peatfield. Assistant Chief Photo Editor:

Michelle Cunliffe. Chief Sub-Editors: Kate-lyn Moore, Matthew de Klerk, lucy holford-Walker. Sub-Editors: Kaitlin Cunningham, Fabio De Domini- cis, Alexa Sedgwick, Amanda Murimba. Chief Designer: Chevawn Blum. Senior Designer: Jehan Ara Khonat. Junior Designers: lucy holford-Walk- er, Madien van der Merwe, hannah McDonald, Amy Davidson. Illustrator:

Amy Slatem. Community Engagement Officer: Mitchell Parker.

Letters to the Editor: editor@oppidanpress.com Advertising details: advertising@oppidanpress.com www.oppidanpress.com www.facebook.com/theoppidanpress www.twitter.com/oppidanpress

The Oppidan Press publishes letter that are bona fide expressions of opinion as long as they are not clearly libellous, defamatory, racist or sexist. We publish anonymous letters, but as an act of good faith in your part, we require your full name. We reserve the right to shorten letters due to space constraints and to edit them for grammatical inaccuracies. letters that do not make it into our print edition will be published on our website.

Bantustan republic keeps South Africans suppressed

Dr Ashley Westaway

A rguably one of the greatest

successes of the apartheid

state in the late 80s and

early 90s was to co-opt the elite leadership of the ANC to agree to a process of transition that left the economic and social structure of South Africa largely intact. The 1994 transition held massive advantages for a minority of black people, but unsurprisingly left the vast majority as poor, exploited and excluded as before. I agree with Mahmood Mamdani’s assertion that what happened in South Africa in 1994 should rather be de- scribed as deracialisation than democ- ratisation. My central argument is that the ANC opted for a modern-day form of segregationism, which can alterna- tively be called ‘paternal welfarism’. In the words of Agamben, all who live in South Africa can be regarded as ‘mem- bers’ but few are generally ‘included’. Although a unitary South Africa was installed constitutionally on 27 April 1994, the new government has main- tained dualism through its own laws and policies. Specifically, the ANC has worked deliberately and consistently to ensure the continuing existence of the Bantustan. On the face of it, this may seem like a preposterous claim, yet there is significant evidence that

underpins it and very little that contra- dicts it. Three sets of evidence are:

1. Different governance arrange-

ments:

The decade after 1994 was character- ized by a contestation between a pro- gressive and a conservative bloc within the ANC. The former preached civil society and democratization; the latter clung onto so-called tradition and custom. Only in 2004 was it clear that the conservative forces had defeated the more progressive interests. The 2004 Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act

(TLGFA) stipulates that traditional councils must be established in former Bantustan areas to operate alongside elected municipalities. Significantly, the TLGFA endorsed Tribal Authorities and drew on the 1951

Bantu Authorities Act ‘as a foundation’ for establishing Traditional Councils. Beall et al are correct in their assertion that “legislation introduced in the 21st century will give perpetual life to a system of ‘indirect rule’ dating back to the colonial era and ossified under apartheid”. Increasingly powerful traditional leadership leads to weaker and ineffective municipalities. Successive Municipal IQ surveys point to the widening disparities between municipalities in former white South Africa and those in the former Bantustans. For example, the weakest District Municipality in the country is the largest, in the former Transkei, namely OR Tambo. Twelve of the local municipalities falling within this area appear on the list of the worst 15% of municipalities in the country.

2. Models of economic growth:

municipalities in the country. 2. Models of economic growth: Ashley Westaway suggests that the ANC opted

Ashley Westaway suggests that the ANC opted for segregationism and dera- cialisation rather than democratisation. Photo: AlEXA SEDGWICK

Economic planning in the post-1994 period has been dominated by the ‘zones’ and ‘nodes’ on a map and, as Helliker points out, this type of discriminatory spatial perspective is reflective of contemporary capitalism, which “thrives on uneven development and social marginalisation”. Consequently, it is hardly surprising that the elected government has not formulated or implemented a rural development strategy since 1994. While government may claim that the new Community Works and Expended Public Works Programmes

(CWP and EPWP) are about work, they are not. When I worked in Keiskammahoek some years ago, I was personally in a meeting with government officials who said that the CWP and EPWP were about ‘job opportunities’ and that if someone worked in either programme for one day, that person would be deemed to be a beneficiary and counted amongst the employed. The CWP and EPWP are merely another form of welfare presented as work but having nothing to do with the real economy and very little to do with actual work. 3. the welfare state:

The core of the welfare state in South Africa is not pensioners and disabled people, but rather the increasingly de-professionalised civil service. In the age of cadre deployment, allegiance trumps skill and factional loyalty out- weighs competence. We live in an era when the role of the state teacher is not to educate but to pretend to teach and then draw a sizable welfare cheque at the end of each month, when the role of the nurse is not to treat or to heal, but rather to pretend to care and then draw a siz- able welfare cheque at the end of each month and so on. Little wonder then that Jonathan Jansen recently referred to public schools as “those buildings called schools”. In fact, the very same Fort Beaufort that in bygone times was the cradle of black education throughout South- ern Africa and home to Lovedale, Healdtown and Fort Hare, is now the worst performing education district

in South Africa. The second and third

worst districts in South Africa are Qumbu and Mount Frere in the former Transkei. The Bantustans are therefore entirely economically dependent on welfare transfers. This applies as much to the people who are barely surviving on pensions, child-support grants and the like, as it does to the burgeoning grouping of bureaucrats who draw their significant welfare cheques at the end of every month. If the transfers ceased tomorrow there would be mass starvation within weeks. Furthermore, because the function of the South African welfare state is not to develop its citizens but rather to sustain them, there is no delivery of meaningful services in these areas. In other words the welfare state simulta- neously enables people to survive and keeps them suppressed. The welfare state is therefore a technique of power:

in the elections of 2014 the ANC will remain the majority party for one primary reason, namely the loyalty of its Bantustan subjects. The labour aristocracy of today depends on the ANC government for its income and an increasing proportion of the card-carrying members of the ANC today are bureaucrats. Whereas the Alliance previously contained checks and balances, it is now essentially one thing – the organisation of those who derive income from the state, in one way or another. We live in shadow of the Land Act because its essence, segregationism, has been retained as a mechanism and technique of power by the ANC government. Whilst the Constitution asserts rights, democracy and develop- ment, the reality is that the govern- ment is implementing a heady mix of custom, tradition and welfare in the former Bantustans. We have given up on democratic values such as accountability, re- sponsibility and empathy and instead descend into a world of arrogance, plunder and individualism. Perhaps it is time that we stopped asking whether South Africa is becoming a banana republic and instead ponder whether it is in fact a Bantustan Republic?

27 August 2013

The Oppidan Press

11

opinion

reflections on a year at Oppi-Press

By Andrew Tudhope

I t is with a mixture of sadness and relief that I sit down to write my last article for The Oppidan Press.

It is the last article I will write for a newspaper for a long time. Report- ing the news in South Africa, even in this small town hidden in the Eastern Cape, is not an easy, particularly happy or encouraging job. Grahamstown’s unique mix of students and educational institutions has led the Opinion Section to focus on ‘education’ this year. This is because the question of impact is always on the mind of any writer: what is the relevance of this story and will our readership find it interesting and informative? The Oppidan Press has reported on any number of stories about school closures, teacher strikes and student unhappiness, especially in the town- ships. Opinion has twice engaged one of the leading experts on education in Grahamstown, Dr Ashley Westaway – the head of the Grahamstown Area Disaster Relief Association – to write pieces for us on the state of education at both a local and country-wide level. What has been the impact of all these stories? Students are unhap- pier than ever and teachers continue to strike. Benjamin Mahlasela has become the latest in a growing list of recent school closures and Rhodes itself has discontinued its initiative to educate all its employees to a matric level. It is not clear whether this has to do with funding, attendance or lack of support or staff and it is not the inten-

tion of this article to speculate which it may be. The point is that we seem to have had very little impact. It is obvious that one cannot expect to have too much impact when working for a fortnightly student publication, but consider the plight of South African journalists in general: every day there are reports of rising crime, unemployment and catastrophic corruption and yet it all

unemployment and catastrophic corruption and yet it all the oppidan Press opinion section has focused on

the oppidan Press opinion section has focused on education and politics this year. Photo: ARChIVE

goes on unabated. You could barely even hope to script a more tragicomic performance for the stage. In keeping with the theatre analogy, the other focus of Opinion has been ‘youth involvement in politics’. Anyone who has read a few of the previous articles will know the stance taken on the nature and extent of youth involve- ment in South African politics – it is, once again, a topic on which much ink has been expended. What has been the impact of all this? Political corruption, greed and power-grabbing go on unchecked, no matter what we and many more eloquent, educated and in-the-know people have to say about it. The rul- ing party and many of its opponents continue to sing sweet nothings while

doing what they please, serving only to widen the cracks that are already so visible in our political landscape. So what is the value of journalism? Must writers just report the news, no matter how much they wish to change it, no matter how much they wish that their reporting it might influence events differently the next time one of the spectres of corruption, racism, greed or privilege rears its ugly head? There is surely some solid journal- istic theory to which one could turn, but that is also not the intention here. The fact is that words have very little practical effect when measured against the many evils of this world. South African journalists know that almost no matter what one says, another school is likely close tomorrow because

of mismanagement or corruption. Malema will garner votes; Zuma will carry on building palaces and blissfully breaking military protocol; next week, at least one miner will almost certainly die in more ‘unrest’. And yet, they still write – just look, there are 607 words before this one. It may well be that writing does not have any impact. It may well be that a writer signs their name on a piece and then discards it into the black void of public opinion, never to see it again. However, I believe in the value of both reading and information. Consequently, I believe in journalism done properly. I believe that, even if just one person stops and thinks about these words then they will have made a big enough impact to justify the hours

spent researching the absurd theatre that is South African news and politics. Belief is the key. Belief that this country can be a better place. Belief that we can be better people. Belief that we can work together, beyond class and race and culture and all the other excuses we find so convenient. Belief that we can make a difference by getting involved, for then everything else follows, from activism to ubuntu. There is no apartheid to unite against and we are reminded, again and again, that “our generation has no Great War and no Great Depression. Our depression is our lives. Our war is spiritual”. The only way to go forward is to believe that we can. And I mean really, truly believe.

How to win followers and influence people

By Matthew de Klerk

So you’ve done it. You’ve decided to run for the prestigious Student Rep- resentative Council (SRC) of Rhodes University. All those hours in your high school Representative Council of Learners and volunteering at soup kitchens are finally going to pay off. Alas, there is one final hurdle stand- ing between you and kind-of total power: those pesky elections. And maybe also re-elections. But don’t worry. With The Oppidan Press Guide to Student Campaigns, you’re sure to be posting celebratory messages all over facebook before you can say “resignation”. Firstly, you need a man- date. Exaggerated promises and

out-of-proportion goals are usu- ally the order of the day. If you have

leadership credentials that are shakier than the Slipstream dancefloor, don’t fret. Promising the Holy Trinity of campaign promises (Better Res Food,

A Full-Day Bus Service, And The

Banning Of Intervisiting Restrictions)

will vastly overshadow your lack of real leadership qualities. Don’t worry about delivering on these promises – since when did governance involve keeping your word? Now that you have a campaign, you need to get the word out there. Many

of you considering running for office

won’t be Design students, but that isn’t necessarily a problem. Just follow our simple guidelines for having an unfor- gettable poster. Slogans. How can you expect anyone

to vote for you if you don’t have an incredibly witty play on words centred loosely around your name? You need a catchy slogan. Bonus points if it has any empty Key Words (Account- ability, Transparency, Transformation,

Change, For You, A New Age, etc) in it. A memorable campaign photo. A picture is worth a thousand words, but add enough pink into your pic and that picture becomes worth a 264-comment streak on the SRC facebook page. You can’t buy that kind of advertising. Bad spelling. And don’t worry about Akountibility for your actions. Matters

of Transparincy and Effectivity come later. You can worry about that once you’re a Counsalor. Design. No campaign poster is complete without its fair share of headache-inducing design flaws. Ask

any Journalism 4 Design student what peeves them the most and then put that in the poster. Uneven kerning, horrific typography, low-res stretched images, MS Word clipart, bad text placement… these are all tried-and- tested key design elements. Try a com- bination of these for maximum effect. Presence. Now that your immaculate campaign poster is ready, you need to

put it where everyone can easily see it.

If you’re worried people will absent-

mindedly walk past your brilliance, try posting multiple posters one after another in row on the same notice- board. Or you can bend election rules and print a collage of your poster and stick it up in the most obnoxious place you can think of. Printing credit. All elections are

a battle of money and the more

endangered forestry that dies for the noble cause of plastering your face all over Rhodes, the better. Go onto ROSS, buy printing credit, and bury your opponents before they can say “Print > Jac Labs Major”. Once campus has been Christmas- wrapped in your design genius, put an electoral nail in your opponents’ coffins by learning one key lesson: a poster is not enough. Be sure to go

around to each Dining Hall to beg for votes. And finally, Spam. Go onto Face- book and Twitter, and spam. Some might say posting five “vote for me guyz” messages on Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, YouTube and the internal Rhodes student news might be too much, but then again, none of those

people ever won an election, did they?

Car ownership: a guide

see page 8

Sports

Mobile gaming take over

see page 8

Young Directors showcase talent

see page 9

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Rhodes university’s first rugby team defeated university of Fort hare (uFh) 28-14 at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan uni- versity (NMMu) on Saturday 17 August 2013. Rhodes fullback tafadzwa Chitokwindo scored two of the tries. the game followed on from Rhodes’ u21 team who lost 13-8 to uFh in the last minute. Photo: AShlEE WIlSoN

Team

Match

result

u21

Ru vs uFh

Ru lost 13-8

u21

NMMu vs WSu

WSu lost 34-5

1sts

Ru vs uFh

Ru won 28-14

1sts

NMMu vs WSu

NMMu won 47-12