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What water means for voting in 2014

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Cosmo: failing fearless females

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Referee payment debacle

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The Oppidan Press

Edition 10, 15 October 2013

Rubbishing the daisies 12

Photo: GABRIELLA FREGONA

debacle Page 15 The Oppidan Press Edition 10, 15 October 2013 Rubbishing the daisies 1 2

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The Oppidan Press

15 October 2013

News Features

Donkeys trot for treatment

By Leila Stein

D onkey carts are a central feature on Grahamstown’s streets. On 28 September

Grahamstown’s annual Donkey Parade took place with the support and involvement of various local NGOs and businesses. Local donkeys and their owners paraded through town, ending at the Albany Sports Club where a car- nival was held. Prizes for best cart and harness as well as best donkeys were also presented. “They [the participants] all want to be the best and win first prize,” said Megan Hope, Manager of the Eastern Cape Horse Care Unit (ECHCU) which assisted the Makana Donkey Association (MDA) with the event. The event was organised by MDA, led by Sheriff Annerie Wolmarans. Each cart was sponsored by local businesses for R300 per cart, with the business’ name appearing on their sponsored cart. “We sponsor every year,” said franchisee of Wimpy Suzette Walcott. “Annerie comes in and asks us for the sponsorship and we’re happy to help.” The parade is part of a bigger programme which seeks to help don- key owners to care for their animals. Donkey Clinics, a combined effort of ECHCU and MDA, are held roughly every month in the Joza Township.

and MDA, are held roughly every month in the Joza Township. The Annual Donkey Parade creates

The Annual Donkey Parade creates awareness about the care of donkeys in Grahamstown. Photo: JOSHUA OATES

According to Hope, many of the cart-owners, or ‘carties’ as they are known, take such pride in their donkeys and carts that, “they invite them [other carties] to the clinics or, if they resist, actually take us to their houses so that their issues can be addressed”. At the clinics the cart owners are taught how to properly treat wounds such as abscesses. However, care isn’t

only provided at the clinics. “If there is anything in the meantime that requires more drastic care, the cart owners all know how to find Annerie and she liaises with me about what is required to be done,” said Hope. All this assistance is necessary as the donkey cart owners have never had the opportunity to have proper carting training. This education drive is also incorporated into the Donkey

Parade day as the cart owners have the opportunity to speak to the members of ECHCU about their needs. Along with the collaboration of these two NGOs, the SPCA is also involved in helping to look after donkeys specifically those who get lost or are brought in because they need special care. Although they do not collaborate with ECHCU and MDA, the animal

welfare society at Rhodes ROAR, supports some of the other local NGOs and their programmes. ROAR has recently set up its own donkey clinic in conjunction with the Farm Animal Centre for Education (F.A.C.E). “We treat donkeys and dogs and provide the community with tips on how to care for their animals properly,” said Chairperson of ROAR Gemma Barkhuizen. “It is very sensitive work – the animals can be badly wounded and the community faces incommunicable hardship,” she added. This project is currently only open to ROAR committee members but they hope to expand it to all students once it has been fully established. F.A.C.E., however, seems unable to begin collaborations with ECHCU and MDA. Despite working closely with the SPCA inspectors and having both a trained animal behaviourist and veterinarian, their help has been overlooked by the other organisations in Grahamstown. “We have offered to work with ECHCU and MDA in the past but we haven’t received any response, we would love to work with them,” said Chairperson of F.A.C.E Jenny Copley-Forster. “There is enough work for ten animal clinics and so we would really like to see the organisations working together,” she added.

Easy access to campus a risk to student safety

By Emma Atkinson and Bulelwa Mthombothi

Rhodes’ campus remains one of the most accessible to its surrounding area in the country, with students and Grahamstown residents being able to cross over without monitoring or interrogation of any kind. However recent crimes have left Rhodes students concerned about their security and the safety of their property. According to the Campus Protection Unit (CPU) theft is the most common crime on campus. This ranges from petty thievery in residences to car break-ins. On 9 September, three cars in the Eden Grove parking lot were broken into and valuables were taken. Another was broken into in August through central-locking signal jammers. While warnings and advice have been posted on the

jammers. While warnings and advice have been posted on the StudentZone page, the increase in vehicle-related

StudentZone page, the increase in vehicle-related burglary contin- ues unabated. The University currently uses CPU and Hi-Tec Security guards to patrol campus. These operate on a shift system – and it was during a change in shifts that student Jessica Steyn’s car was broken into. She arrived to find her passenger window smashed in and the possessions in her car were taken, including her laptop, notes and books.“The CPU were the first people I contacted as the break-in happened on campus,” said Steyn. After contacting CPU, Steyn dialled the 10111 emergency line 15 times before anyone answered. The police arrived on the scene three hours after the phone call at 1am, during which time CPU stayed with Steyn while she waited. According to Steyn, CPU were more efficient than the police. “CPU told me that the person who broke into my car is probably one of the ex-convicts living in the Botanical Gardens,” she explained. CPU representatives stated that the responsibility to prevent crime also lies with students, who must reduce or remove the opportunity for potential criminal activity. Security tips are present on their page and they reiterated them to The Oppidan Press:

“Never leave items on display, like jackets and valuables. Invest in car gear-locks or steering wheel locks and anti-theft wheel-nuts.” Dean of Students Dr Vivian de Klerk, while refraining from commenting on the recent thefts and break-ins, has also suggested measures in the past for students to protect their cars and property. When addressing the problem of central-locking jammers, she said, “When locking your vehicle using a central-locking device, don’t walk away while you are doing so but double-check that your car is actually locked by physically trying to open the door and boot.” De Klerk emphasised caution, as many insurance companies reject insurance claims for stolen items in such cases. Whether the increase in thefts and break-ins is connected to the relative openness of Rhodes campus is unclear. The question should be considered in light of the argument that universities should be open to surrounding communities so they too can benefit from their resources. An open campus can also allow for greater sharing of ideas in the university space. “The intersection of the university and the world outside has been of particular interest to the university. If there is to be an electric shock, it will come out of that engagement,” said Richard Pithouse, lecturer in the Politics Department.

be an electric shock, it will come out of that engagement,” said Richard Pithouse, lecturer in

15 October 2013

The Oppidan Press

3

News Features

Transformation at Rhodes flawed

By Mitchell Shaun Parker Politics

I n light of the recent resignation of Advocate Tshidi Hashatse as the Director of Equity and Insti-

tutional Culture, red flags have been raised over the state of transforma- tion at Rhodes University and how effective some of its policies are. In a report submitted prior to her resignation Hashatse made the com- ment that, “In order for equity and transformation related objectives to be realised, there needs to be a model for governance and implementation that fosters some level of responsibility and accountability.” Importantly, as stated in her report, Rhodes University only began instituting employment equity policies in 2010. This raises questions of commitment to the implementation of these kinds of transformational initiatives and addressing what Hashatse calls “staff profile and representation challenges”. This also

brings distinct problems in terms of legislative compliance to light. Politics Lecturer Dr Sally Matthews, who has done research into Institu- tional Culture, offered an explana- tion as to why policy alone is not the solution. “What it seems, and this is not just at Rhodes, is that they’ve got their policies and their procedures, but institutional culture can’t be achieved with policy. We need other tech- niques,” said Matthews. Using the example of a black aca- demic potentially not feeling comfort- able at Rhodes, Matthews noted that it is not always that clear what needs to be changed. Often it is not a direct expression of discrimination, but rather a general feeling of not being welcome “People put in policies and proce- dures so that if you face explicit racism or explicit sexism, there are procedures that are appropriate that you can fol- low through there. But, actually, most of the time people aren’t facing that,” said Matthews. She also believed that

An ANC voting poster is used to make a school sign in Manley Flats. Photo: GABRIELLA FREGONA

side-lining is not necessarily some- thing that can be easily rectified or even measured. Furthermore, the issue is not only that there is no policy, or even that the policy is being ignored, but that there is a Rhodes culture of independence. Matthews is of the view that an intol- erance of interference into internal affairs is what makes it so difficult to implement any effective change at Rhodes University. “If you are going to transform some- thing, that’s going to mean the people who are going to be in charge of transformation are going to have to be given the power to meddle and if they are not, they are in a difficult position. If there aren’t any accountability struc- tures, then you aren’t going to be able to do that,” Matthews pointed out. However, it is not only race that is important within the Rhodes context. Class should play a huge role in the thinking that goes on behind transfor- mation too. Yet – looking at the report produced by Hashatse – this is not

something that is really noted. “What is striking about Rhodes is just how middle-class it is and we have to be careful not to pat ourselves on the back for transforming in terms of becoming less white if we don’t recognise that it is not enough if some black students feel comfortable,” continued Matthews. Outgoing Activism and Transforma- tion Councillor Mbongeni Ngwenya agreed with this sentiment. “We have transformed racially: more black peo- ple have access to Rhodes. Class is also a concern though, with black middle- class people having greater access than poor black people because they lack resources,” he said. There has been a vast change from a racial perspective in the demographics of Rhodes over the last twenty years. Now, roughly 48% of students are black, compared to the 37% in 2006, according to a study done by Hashatse. There is still room for improvement, however, when it comes to areas of class, gender and sexual orientation.

In Matthews’ view, this raises an

interesting trade-off. In order to create comfort for some, it is possible that others will be forced into discomfort. Even more importantly, who gets to decide who is discomforted and in what ways they will be discomforted?

A white male academic, for example,

would disempower his own position by the very act of engaging with diversity programmes, and this could be a reason as to why transformation has been unsuccessful at white- male-dominated Rhodes. Through transformation, he would, even if he supported it, be less empowered than he was before. Without enforcement and monitor- ing, transformation is something that will, in many cases, not be promoted. Matthews said, “Rhodes is very touchy about managerialism but we also have to not confuse the issues. There is bad managerialism, but transformation is also something that has to be driven and you can’t just leave alone those who don’t want to get involved.”

Will the water crisis influence student voters in 2014?

By Leila Stein Politics

The 2014 national elections are just around the corner and with the current water issues affect- ing Rhodes University students so profoundly, it remains to be seen whether or not they will use the opportunity to vote in a new political body. “My sincere hope would be that the recent water crisis would make any thinking young adult realise that they need to use their voice in the forthcoming election and that they would be enthusiastic to register as a voter and express their views, as is their democratic right,” stated Dean of Students Dr Vivian De Klerk. This is currently only a vague possibility however, as voter registration for the Rhodes ward is low and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has already come to Rhodes earlier this year to register students. “What we must understand is that it [people not voting] is not unique to this campus,” said SRC Liaison Officer Eric Ofei. “It is a national problem. If you look at voter turnout, the older generation’s turnout is around 70 percent and the younger generation’s turnout lies in the 30s.” A study done by the Human

Sciences Research Council in 2011 found that 58 percent of par- ticipants in the study between the ages of 16-24 were either not very interested or not at all interested in politics. This extends to the political or- ganisations on campus. The Demo- cratic Alliance Students Organisa- tion (DASO) has only 32 members. Chairperson of DASO Chelsey Wilkin commented that, “At Rho- des University, there is a culture of de-politicisation – which is inferred in everyday conversations such as ‘we should be grateful our SRC is apolitical’ and in references to the chaos at other universities such as Walter Sisulu University [where crises are explained with reference to] the ineffectiveness of politics.” Although the current presence of DASO is virtually non-existent on campus, Helen Zille has made it clear that the DA would step up to fix the crisis in Grahamstown. She responded to a tweet sent to her posing the question: “Can the DA fix the water problem in Graham- stown?” by stating “Yes, if we are elected to government. People get the government they vote for”. The DA has outlined plans that they would choose to implement if they were to manage the Makana municipality. These include ideas such as upgrading old pumps,

building a reservoir higher up to ensure water can reach the higher regions and introducing rainwater harvesting by-laws. Whether students will take

advantage of their ability to affect

a change remains to be seen. “I

think we need to find relevance in the things that go on around us,” commented Ofei. “Obama used the youth platform in his campaign, things such as Facebook and Twit- ter.” Although South African politi- cians have tried to make use of new media through Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, it appears that it has not had the same effect as the Obama campaign. In what has been dubbed a slightly mis- guided attempt by the IEC to entice

youth voters, the “youth fact sheet”

is an exact replica of its “adult”

counterpart but with a more crea- tive typeface and pictures of young people. It is clear that the intention to engage a younger audience is there but it appears that the execu- tion is somewhat lacking. In spite of poor youth outreach in politics, Ofei commented that

people have been asking when and where they can register. “The IEC will probably come back to register students again next year,” said Ofei. In the meantime you can register at the local IEC office in Grahams- town at 20 High Street.

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The Oppidan Press

15 October 2013

News Features

Proposals to extend undergrad degree

By Emily Corke

R hodes University has recently been involved in discus- sions around the Council of

Higher Education’s (CHE) proposal, which is set to accommodate the low rate of students who graduate from university within three years. Ac- cording to Rhodes University’s Dean of Teaching and Learning Professor Chrissie Boughey, the proposal is to extend the time taken to complete an undergraduate qualification from three to four years. The report is now available for public comment and once responses have been received from universities and students, the CHE will decide whether or not to put a proposal to the Minister of Education. The earliest the plan would be implemented would be

2017/18.

These discussions arose out of studies looking at how students fare in higher education. The outcomes of these studies reveal a worrying situ- ation: in 2006 only 27% of students graduated within three years. At Rhodes the figure is only slightly higher, with 34-36% of students gradu- ating within three years. The studies also show that 40% of those who do not complete their undergraduate degree in three years completely leave the Higher Education system. “Clearly this situation cannot go on,” said Boughey, who led the group which developed the extended four year Bachelor of Social Science degree here at Rhodes. “The report of the CHE task team argues that a carefully constructed cur- riculum spanning four years will allow more students to graduate.” According to Boughey, a four year curriculum at Rhodes would allow space to include a common course for all students on issues related to social justice. “The discussion around the Common Course at Rhodes has mainly centred on an idea similar to the Cemus initiative developed at Uppsala University [Sweden],” said Lowell Scarr, a student who has been involved in the discussions around such a course. “The aim is to create the condi- tions for people to rediscover their

adventurous and sensitive sides which are so often lost in school.” Scarr confirmed that the discussions are still only in the early stages and that those involved in the talks only have a broad idea of what the Com- mon Course could entail. Director of the Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics Professor Pedro Tabensky has also been involved in discussions around the Common Course. He said that he is fully supportive of the proposal being implemented at Rhodes.

The report of the CHE task team argues that a carefully constructed curriculum spanning four years will allow more students to graduate.

- Dean of Teaching and Learning Professor Chrissie Boughey

There are other concerns relating to the implementation of a four year degree. The additional year implies extra costs – a concern in a country where many students cannot afford higher education as it is. Boughey suggested, however, that in practice the additional fourth year would not add any extra costs due to the high number of students who take four years to complete their degrees anyway. “The difference will be that some students will have to face the fact that they are going to have to take four years ‘upfront’ – at the beginning of their time at university – rather than simply adapting to that fact once they begin to fail,” said Boughey. Boughey added that, ideally, funding organisations like the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) of South Africa and student loans are going to have to take into account that students are going to take four years to complete their degree and factor that into what they offer students. There is the additional concern that

the extension of the undergraduate degree will result in students spending one more year without any work experience, while those who have graduated in three years will have started working already. Boughey argued that this could be circumvented by students who take the fast track. “Critical to the CHE Task Team’s argument is that any student who can complete [their degree] in three years should be allowed to complete in that time. In other words, they should be fast tracked through the system.” This would mean that the 36 percent of Rhodes students who do complete their degree in three years can continue to do so. How best to implement such a scheme is still up for discussion.The idea is to decide who could be fast tracked either on admission (based on matriculation scores or on perfor- mance in the National Benchmark Tests) or to move people onto a fast track in the first term of their first year based on test and assignment results. The proposal allows students and parents to come to terms with the po- tential difficulties of university before they fail. The flexible curriculum will address the problem of students being underprepared, which Boughey argues is too common in South Africa. According to Boughey, it has long been acknowledged that students who are underprepared for tertiary study need more time and more tuition if they are to complete their degrees. The four-year proposal aims to bring students into the courses without let- ting them fail. Boughey insisted that “the proposal is only dealing with the status quo – it is addressing what is actually happening already.” As for the prevailing attitude that students who do not complete their degree in three years at Rhodes drink too much and party too hard, Boughey argued that there are even more stu- dents who do not party too much and still fail. “The proposed change will not address the problem of students who seem determined not to do any work whatever the conditions,” said Boughey. “However, it has the poten- tial to help those who start to fail for other reasons.”

• New courses will be developed

but the existing courses will also be improved.

• The amount of students that will

be successful enough to graduate is likely to increase drastically from what it has been in the past.

• The students who would have

never been able to graduate in the current structure but have the potential to will have the opportunity to do so.

• When students fail courses,

their degree curriculum loses ‘coherence’ - they literally start to search for credits all over

the place. The proposal aims at preventing this.

• Not all the problems which may

cause failure will be addressed by the implementation of the new programme.

• There will be a separation

amongst students who can excel in three years and those who take the longer route of four years.

• It will require a lot of work for the University as a whole as they prepare for the implementation of the new programme.

• Huge amounts of funding

will be administered by the Government which has been known to be unreliable in the past.

The flexible programme would produce

28%

more graduates than the current curriculum

The full-time equivalent (FTE) academic staff is currently 10 288 and with the flexible programme it will increase to 11 687

it will i n c r e a s e to 1 1 6 8 7
The staff cost will therefore increase from R4 775 billion to R5 464 billion In
The staff cost will therefore increase from
R4 775 billion to R5 464 billion
In 2000-2010 student
enrolment grew by
While FTE academic
staff stood at
52%
21%
The flexible programme will therefore
be required to improve staffing levels

R716 Million

be required to improve staffing levels R716 Million The amount to which the total average annual

The amount to which the total average annual additional subsidy will increase

the total average annual additional subsidy will increase which is 16% more than the amount in

which is 16% more than the amount in the current curriculum

is 16% more than the amount in the current curriculum In terms of the additional years

In terms of the additional years (1 to 2 years longer) taken by students currently:

44%

53%

35%

graduate in the General Bachelor Degree

graduate in the Diploma Degree

graduate in Profes- sional Bachelor’s Degree

Degree graduate in Profes- sional Bachelor’s Degree In 2006, only 27% of students in SA graduated

In 2006, only 27% of students in SA graduated within the ‘regulation’ three years

compared to

27% of students in SA graduated within the ‘regulation’ three years compared to 34%-36% of students

34%-36% of students from Rhodes

15 October 2013

The Oppidan Press

5

Faculties respond positively to proposed change

By Mila Kakaza

The implementation of the flexible curriculum programme will affect the functioning of faculties within Rhodes Uni- versity. The proposed change is highly supported since the majority of students leave university without graduating. “The problem in South Africa is that very few students graduate within three years,” said Professor Tom Martin, Head of the Philosophy Department. Dean of Science Professor Ric Bernard echoed Martin and stated that “at least 33% of students in the science faculty do not get their degree”. The leap from secondary to tertiary education seems to be at the core of poor performance. “Students do not complete their undergraduate degrees in three years due to poor preparation – the so-called gap between secondary and tertiary education,” said Dean of Commerce Professor Dave Sewry. The flexible programme will place students in either three- or four-year undergraduate degree courses. “The biggest task will be selecting who will be in the accelerated programme,” noted Bernard. Bernard supported Rhodes’ four-year Extended Studies Programme as it has produced many successful graduates. Martin agreed that it is important to understand that the country will also be producing more graduates with the proposed change. There are various reasons as to why students do not complete their degrees in three years. “The biggest disadvantage is that the flexible programme will not solve all problems – not every student who takes four or five years to complete an undergraduate degree does so because of poor schooling or the articulation gap,” Sewry said. “As the faculty we have to think of what is needed to be done with the extra time,” said Martin. The flexible programme will depend upon the amount of work in its implementation. Nevertheless, it will be serving the citizens of South Africa who are a big part of this change.

citizens of South Africa who are a big part of this change. A course to foster
citizens of South Africa who are a big part of this change. A course to foster

A course to foster ideas of intellectual courage

By Mila Kakaza

The implementation of the Common Course, which has so far been received positively, will mostly affect students. The Com- mon Course is essentially going to give students an opportunity to try something outside their comfort zone. Adrian Romeo, who has been involved in the existential con- versations hosted by the Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics, speaks about how the Common Course will allow individuals a chance to grapple with important ideas. “The Common Course should be a guideline which will help students be more than just students,” Romeo said. The issues raised in these conversations around the Common Course are based on the question of whether the University is allowing students to become more than just students of the institution. Romeo argued that there is no noticeable “greater community” in the social life of students. “There is no sharing of ideas and no building of a community within Rhodes. We are basically fitted into the mould of a student,” Romeo said. Romeo believes that the Common Course will also allow students to understand their place in Grahamstown and to not separate themselves from the town. “I think the implementation of the Common Course will help in fostering ideas of intellectual courage,” Romeo explained.

fostering ideas of intellectual courage,” Romeo explained. There is no sharing of ideas and no building

There is no sharing of ideas and no building of a community within Rhodes. We are basically fitted into the mould of a student.

- Adrian Romeo

News Features

How affordable is the flexible programme?

By Mila Kakaza

The funding of the proposed flexible programme is an

important $ point that needs to be made transparent in

order to prove its feasibility to the public. The most

important perspective may be that of the state, as the

change will have a big impact in terms of subsidies and

NSFAS contributions.

A comparison between the status quo of tertiary cur-

ricula and the proposed flexible programme showed that

for a general Bachelor’s Degree the amount would shift

from a total cost of R147 267 to R131 156 per graduate.

For a four year degree the amount would shift from a

total cost of R225 656 to R206 337 per graduate. Diplo-

mas would also decrease from R177 090 to R161 707 per

graduate.

The funds for the flexible programme will be sourced

from various grant schemes. In order for the new cur-

riculum to be introduced, the Teaching Development

Grant – which allocated R576 million for the 2013/14

financial year – could possibly help with staff develop-

ment and a re-structuring of the curriculum.

The Department of Higher Education and Training

foundation grant scheme would possibly be removed as

there might be no need for extended curriculum pro- grammes should the change be made. Although some students may be of the opinion that an additional year of university fees would be an extra finan- cial burden, the reality is actually much less stressful. Not only are decreases in costs expected across the board, but the programme is also set to be flexible. Stu- dents may still be able to graduate within three years, but it has also been noted that many students already take at least one additional year of study anyway.

three years, but it has also been noted that many students already take at least one

6

The Oppidan Press

15 October 2013

News Features

December vac: bad for business, good for locals

By Nyasha Manyumwa Business

R hodes is arguably seen as the

heart of the Grahamstown

community with its students

acting as a vital life-source for local businesses. With the December vaca- tion fast approaching, the question once again arises: just how impor- tant is Rhodes and its students to Grahamstown’s retail sector? Indeed, the more pressing question is: how do local communities react to the students’ absence? According to the 2011 Rhodes Digest of Statistics, 19 percent of the approximately 7200 students were foreign nationals. The majority of the remaining 81 percent resided in other South African provinces. The result is that the absence of students

leaves a dent in Grahamstown’s buying population when they leave the town every December. According to a number of local businessmen, mainstream businesses ranging from retail outlets to night- clubs experience a dramatic slowdown in business and turnover as their regular clientéle goes on vacation. It also particularly affects some of the

businesses which have emerged as a result of the deficiencies in municipal- ity service delivery. One such business is Oasis, which has benefitted from the increased demand for bottled water. “We expect this fall in sales every December as students account for a large number of our sales, therefore business is slower during this period naturally,” said Oasis employee Zama Tambo. “Usually sales recover strongly when the univer- sity re-opens in February.” Some students, however, are local residents of Grahamstown and they too notice the difference when the majority of the student body leaves. Ntokozo Nguba described the atmos- phere during December as resembling that of a “ghost town”, a view echoed by other local residents. This reduction in expenditure is not necessarily a bad thing for the town as a whole, however. While liquor stores and pubs may not relish it, not all are negatively affected by the quiet period. “December signals an opportunity for those households in Grahamstown which enjoy the quieter environment when most students are gone to enjoy this time while it lasts. The Rat and Parrot does not only count students

We expect this fall in sales every December as students account for a large number of our sales.

- Zama Tambo, Oasis employee

as a customer base but includes local residents of Grahamstown too and we serve as a gateway for tourists on their way to neighbouring cities,” explained one of the managers of the Rat and Parrot, Tafadzwa Nyakotyo, when asked about the impact of the holidays. Nevertheless, the general consensus is that Rhodes students are missed by Grahamstown businesses. Whether it is water, liquor or grocery sales, students are a key source of income, stimulating the economy with their expenditure. While certain local residents of Grahamstown who feel the students are loud and disruptive may enjoy a respite for a few weeks, ultimately this presents a potentially dire period for businesses who largely rely on the students for revenue.

for businesses who largely rely on the students for revenue. Many stores around Grahamstown have a
for businesses who largely rely on the students for revenue. Many stores around Grahamstown have a

Many stores around Grahamstown have a large student client base. Photo:

KELLAN BOTHA

rely on the students for revenue. Many stores around Grahamstown have a large student client base.
rely on the students for revenue. Many stores around Grahamstown have a large student client base.

15 October 2013

The Oppidan Press

7

News Features

Is memory a weapon we’ve forgotten?

By Tarryn de Kock Politics

C onversation about public commemora- tion came to the fore recently after Heritage Day and in light of the

continued construction of the Egazini Memo- rial Precinct. South Africa currently has 13 public holidays and numerous memorial sites, an unusually high number in comparison to other African countries, and it is questionable whether the meaning of these has been retained. “If the memories of historical events are for this reason remembered at all, they are partial and particular to the person remembering it,” said Dr Joy Owen of the Anthropology Department. Owen went on to add that the government does not and actually cannot be expected to publically memorialise historical events because it places a responsibility on them to live up to the ideals and values that encapsulate each date – such as Youth Day and Women’s Day.

Public holidays also affect productivity. “It’s bad for the economy to have so many public holi- days,” said BCom student Neesha Bhana. People take days off to have long weekends or entire weeks off. April, which usually includes Easter weekend, Family Day, Freedom Day and school holidays, is notoriously holiday-heavy and work-light. These extra days off, coupled with existing public holidays, can lead to over an extra month of time off in a year for any one South African employee, which is crippling when one considers a South African workforce of about 14 million people. Thought must be given to the social as well as the economic effect of all the memorialising. The construction of the Egazini Memorial in Fingo Village is accompanied by lengthy documenta- tion concerning the implementation, design and aims of the site. One of these aims includes significant empha- sis on shaping the way in which visitors interpret the meaning of the site. This ultimately lends a

subjective nature to the Monument keeping it firmly in line with the Egazini Precinct’s vision. As a matter of broader policy, this means that places such as the South African Museum, for example, exhibit content that is aligned with the national government’s ideas about identity, history and accepted values and leaves out content which does not suit its purposes. While it is understandable that discriminatory content would be held back, it is arguable that the narratives constructed through public accounts of history and what it means to be a South African citizen, are often at odds with the realities that many South Africans experience daily. Youth Day, the commemoration of the 1976 Soweto student uprisings, is a South African holi- day that has received much attention. It is often accompanied by documentaries, monuments and roadshows, but outside of government efforts to preserve and communicate its importance there are few citizen-led initiatives. “Each person is ultimately responsible for remembering and those memories will be

stitched together in particular ways for particular ends. Is there ever space to remember as human beings?” asked Owen. As South African society progresses from its official liberation in 1994, the meaning of public memorials and holidays will inevitably change with new generations being educated and informed about the past. This also means that the meaning behind public holidays will change. On the issue of Heritage Day being unofficially renamed ‘Braai Day’, student Kelly Solomon said, “Braaiing could be considered part of South African culture, but whose culture and heritage is it originally? On the other hand, is it wrong to want to forget painful memories and focus on the present and future?” What Solomon raises is something that is often left out of the major retell- ing of South African history – that those involved in the liberation struggle suffered in many ways. Constant attempts to reinvoke the past for politi- cal or other means can cause significant stress to the very people who brought our country to where it is today.

What do you think of the way we celebrate public holidays in South Africa today?

the way we celebrate public holidays in South Africa today? “Public holidays are not celebrated for

“Public holidays are not celebrated for what they were created to commemorate.” Neesha Bhana, BCom

they were created to commemorate.” Neesha Bhana, BCom “I don’t understand how Heritage Day is Braai

“I don’t understand how Heritage Day is Braai Day. Isn’t it supposed to be a celebration of our culture?” Nonhle Skosana, BJourn

be a celebration of our culture?” Nonhle Skosana, BJourn “Youth Day has all these big festivals

“Youth Day has all these big festivals and parties and you hardly find the actual meaning of the date being commemorated.” Zoe Neocosmos, BA

of the date being commemorated.” Zoe Neocosmos, BA “South Africans see public holidays as free holidays

“South Africans see public holidays as free holidays now.” Jabu Simelane, BA

public holidays as free holidays now.” Jabu Simelane, BA “I’ve never committed to public holi- days

“I’ve never committed to public holi- days at Rhodes because little effort is made to celebrate them. It makes it difficult to get involved in anything – there is a huge lack of recognition.” Robert Stuart-Thompson, BSc

Municipality taking unseen steps to better communication

By Sisipho Skweyiya

The recent failures of the Makana municipality made headlines when Carte Blanche screened a segment on its faults on national television. Having reported on the launch of the MobiSAM initiative in September, this year The Oppidan Press con- ducted a follow up on the initiative’s progress to assess its impact on the municipality’s communication. After being hit by dry water tanks and nine-hour-long power outages, Grahamstown residents, including Rhodes students, are fed up with the failures of the municipality and its in- ability to communicate effectively. The MobiSAM initiative was aimed at improving this so that Grahamstown residents would no longer be left in the lurch. According to municipality spokes- person Mncedisi Boma, MobiSAM has been up and running since its launch. “We accepted the initiative from Rhodes University and have hence allocated a person who will administer the system,” said Boma. In addition to this, the municipality stated that it had trained four staff members as well as community developers to have the skills to

as well as community developers to have the skills to The Makana Municipality is wasting away

The Makana Municipality is wasting away as it relies on a nearly 200-year old infrastructure. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

efficiently manage MobiSAM. Boma said that the only reason why MobiSAM is seemingly ineffective is because the number of people registering for the system is not growing fast enough. “The community has and is being told on a regular basis about MobiSAM and its registering process,” said Boma. “Radio Grahamstown has given us an hour slot on Tuesdays at 11am to talk about the aim of MobiSAM and what the municipality wants to achieve from it.” The municipality has also recruited community development workers to do door-to-door visits in order to spread enough awareness about Mo- biSAM. “We have also been providing

citizens with simplified pamphlets explaining the registering process,” Boma added. Professor Hannah Thinyane, from the Department of Computer Sciences and co-initiator of the programme, said that her team has been working with the Makana Municipality on a daily basis to get the project running. “We are working with them to sim- plify a number of internal processes, such as what happens with reports (whether made by phone or on MobiSAM) and how to speed up response times,” said Thinyane. She echoed Boma by confirming that the software was stable and had been working since its launch. How- ever, Thinyane admits that it was not

used during the water crisis where it was needed most. “Unfortunately it wasn’t used. The outage coincided with a large number of people from Communications at Makana being away for 10 days at an event,” said Thinyane. She went on to say that she hopes that it will be used during the next outage. Boma has also acknowledged that the system is not working effectively because the few people who have registered have not been using the system properly. “If you are a registered member of MobiSAM, you need to lay complaints about water, electricity or pipe break- ages. Then the administrators of the system will respond to the

complaint immediately with the relevant information which will assist the person, or notify them of how the municipality will handle the issue at hand,” he explained. Despite Boma’s assurances that the system is up and running, Babalwa Madikwa, one of the trained staff members for MobiSAM, claimed that MobiSAM is not in effect yet. “The last time we trained was in July for two weeks,” she stated. The ‘trained’ staff were not sure of how the system works and they said that they relied on the University to show them how it is supposed to work. This means that they have to wait on Rhodes to finalise everything. Boma, on the other hand, was adamant that there was no such issue and that Rhodes has done their part in terms of assisting the municipality with training and starting the system. “The people who are meant to administer MobiSAM are trained. All they need to know is the internal system, which is basically knowing who to contact within the municipality when a problem is reported,” said Boma. Nevertheless, the fact remains that this potentially valuable resource has yet to be put to good use.

8

The Oppidan Press

15 October 2013

Opinion

The Oppidan Press

T he month of October has always held strong political sig-

nificance. On 15 October 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte began

his self-imposed exile in Britain after his defeat at Water-

loo and Martin Luther King Jr. received his Nobel Peace Prize in October 1964. This year’s tenth month is no different. The last weeks alone have seen the eruption of state violence against members of Dur- ban’s Abahlali baseMjondolo and, on the other side of the political spectrum, a recent march by the Red October movement against “rampant white genocide”, as it is described by one of the movement’s leaders, the ever-controversial Steve Hofmeyr. The Oppidan Press stands in solidarity with Abahlali baseMjondolo and call for a speedy resolution to the conflict. Conversely, we think that Red October is a divisive movement that uses uncontexualised “facts” and terror tactics to play on the discomfort of the post-apartheid South African space. So what does it mean to have two such opposing fights happening simultaneously? The actions taken by Durban’s police services are not new, nor are they isolated to the eThekwini branch. Like in the case of Marikana, the response of the incumbent government to efforts towards accountability has been to (literally) shoot down those who would actively resist their marginalised position. Not unlike this, the Red October movement, although flimsy in facts and dangerous in nature, also represents a response to the notion that present-day South Africa is a paradise lost. This moment in South African politics should hold great gravitas. For a generation which often complains that we have no struggle, this month’s political events should convince you otherwise. Like the Students for Social Justice, who have supported S’bu Zikode and his compatriots in Durban, we all have a choice to make. Is it the case that this will gloss by us, perhaps only featuring on our Facebook timeline or Twitter pages? Or is it possible that, for whichever move- ment you stand, this is the time to make a full commitment? At The Oppidan Press, we are in the business of reporting the news so that students, staff and residents alike will be equipped with the largest, most comprehensive body of information in order to make informed choices. However, our work only has value if and when it translates into lived reality. This editorial marks our last formal comment for the year. In 2013, we have shaken off apathy, questioned our leadership and when goods and services have not been provided, have taken to the streets to demand a delivery on the promises of our past. This is the moment to act, to make our degrees and our newspapers worth the paper on which they are printed. So whether you resent the position of the ‘white man’ in present day South Africa or you are moved by the death of shack dwellers in Durban, this is the moment to make that opinion count.

The Oppidan Press contact details

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

Sindisa Mfenqe. Advertising Managers: Chiedza Guvava and Tinashe Jani . Marketing Manager: Sarah Taylor. Executive Consultant: Kirsten Makin. Online Editor: Stuart Lewis. Assistant Online Editor: Chelsea Haith. Multimedia Manager: Charles Mackenzie. News Features Editor:

Emily Corke. Assistant News Features Editor: Mila Kakaza. Politics Edi- tor: Tarryn de Kock. Assistant Politics Editor: Mitchell Parker. Opinion Editor: Ben Rule. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Jessica van Tonder. Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor: Jenna Lillie. SciTech Editor:

Tsitsi Mashingaidze. Business Editor: Nyasha Manyumwa Sports Editor:

Douglas Smith. Chief Photo Editor: Gabriella Fregona. Assistant Chief Photo Editor: Kellan Botha. Chief Online Photo Editor: Alexa Sedgwick. Chief Sub-Editor: Kaitlin Cunningham. Content Manager: Amanda Xulu. Sub-Editors: Kate Jennings, Danica Kreusch, Jessica Trappe, Amy Wilkes. Chief Designer: Madien van der Merwe. Assistant Chief Designer: Han- nah McDonald. Advert Designer: Amber-Leigh Davies. Junior Designers:

Amy Davidson, Alex Maggs. Community Engagement Officer: Abigail Butcher.

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 letters which are bona fide expressions of opinion provided that they are not clearly libellous, defamatory, racist or sexist. We publish anonymous letters, but as an act of good faith on 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.

it into our print edition will be published on our website. Wearing gowns to the protest

Wearing gowns to the protest made the Grahamstown water crisis look like a Rhodes issue. Photo: JOSHUA OATES

We get services. They get shot.

By Ben Rule and Simphiwe Gumede

A search for “Grahamstown water crisis” gives about 29 000 results on Google. “Rho-

des water crisis” gets over 270 000 and “Rhodes water protest” – over EIGHT MILLION. This is an apt re- flection of the priority with which the government responded to the issue. The South African government has a history of responding to service- delivery protests with everything ex- cept services. Although access to water is a right in this country (see section 27 of our Constitution), having water appears to be a privilege. a privilege afforded to the privileged. They are privileged because they have water. It is also starting to look like they only have water because they are privileged. From a position of equality (having had the water supply cut out), Rhodes University had water restored after nine days. Some parts of Grahamstown (areas of Joza, in particular) had water restored after two months. This was only because of Rhodes University’s involvement, without which supply would probably have been non-exist- ent for another two months. Our problem is that government apparently responds more quickly to some segments of its society than oth- ers. This can very easily create a culture of entitlement. Our problem with Rhodes is that its behaviour during the water protest was illustrative of both of these things. Disclaimer It is important to understand what we are not saying. This is not a person-

al attack on Dr Badat, Vice-Chancellor. We appreciate his involvement in the protest. We have a deep respect for his contribution to Rhodes University and indeed his contribution to South Africa. We would like to thank him for being pro-active in the aftermath of the protest and through the on-going water supply problems experienced by the campus. We are grateful to the university for organising the protest

and its staff for joining us in solidarity. We also understand that the wearing of academic gowns during protest has been a tradition at Rhodes for a num- ber of decades. Our Problem Our main problem is that the way the protest took place made it look like

a

Rhodes issue. It is not a Rhodes issue.

It

is a Grahamstown issue. Rhodes is

a

part of the broader community

which was and still is affected by mu- nicipal incompetence. The municipality paid attention because it is Rhodes that raised the issue. The Presidency paid attention. Parliament paid attention (the Minis- ter of Water and Environmental Affairs was asked a question about Rhodes in session on 23 August.) The internet pays attention. Carte Blanche payed attention. This is the problem: by writing an open letter and walking into town (some people in gowns) over a lunch- break, Rhodes University gets national attention. The Occupy Grahamstown movement had to physically throw human excrement on to the entrance of the municipality in 2011 to get limited local attention. Not services. Attention. The people of eMacambini in northern KwaZulu-Natal had to block a highway in 2008 for their protest to get close to the attention Rhodes received. Needless to say, Kwazulu-Natal police were soon in attendance and shots were fired. The Rhodes protest served as a bitter reminder that the same problems are treated differently by the government and media, depending on whose problems

they are. This is similar to the bitter reminder we get every time there is a celebrity adoption – that a lot of the western media is more concerned about Madonna or Angelina Jolie than they are about the children of Africa. Our problem with the use of academic gowns in the protest is that

it clearly and visually distinguishes

between ‘us’ - the upper-middle, eco- nomically important class, and ‘them’

We’ll protest when Badat is wearing tekkies and jeans, holding a petrol bomb in one hand and a knobkerrie in the other.

- the people who are more in need of services than we are, who have to use shocking or violent tactics simply to get this fact heard. We have gowns. They don’t. More often than not, we have services. More often than not, they don’t. When we protest, we get services. When they protest (the SAME protests), they get shot. “Second-class citizens” A further emphasis of the divide was the phrase in the open letter: “We feel we are being treated like second-class citizens”. This ‘we’ is distinct from the ‘them’ in the previous paragraph – the other residents in Makana. We are being treated in the same way the government treats its second- class citizens. We feel this because we have no water. Second-class citizens have no water. They have no water. You are treating us like you treat them. We will not stand for this.So why are ‘we’ so important? Some of us will go on to make ground-breaking contribu- tions to our fields of study. Some of us will shape the direction of business in South Africa. Others of us will spend our lives making material differences to the communities of this country. And some of us will continue to waste our parents’ money, our lecturers’ time and our livers’ capacity to regener- ate themselves. The fact is, we do not deserve water any more than anybody

else in this town. Putting on gowns to protest makes it seem like we think we do.

15 October 2013

The Oppidan Press

9

Opinion

Cosmopolitan: serving men’s interests

By Hayley Zambakides

T he popular magazine Cosmo- politan sells itself as a maga- zine designed for women’s

interests. If this is really the case, why is so much of it an instruction manual for how to please men? ‘‘Fun Fearless Female’’ is the slogan for Cosmopolitan magazine, a magazine that is supposed to liber- ate women sexually – or at least it proposes to. However, it appears that to be a “Fun Fearless Female” is to be a woman who

is more concerned about her hair and

clothes than the current situation in Syria, to show off as much cleavage as you can while still remaining ‘classy’ and to know what not to do to your man in bed. Cosmo seems to advocate that sexual

liberation is really just a synonym for sex appeal and a clean and tidy “ho- ho” (Cosmo’s fun and fearless name for

a vagina). If a women’s magazine can’t

even use the word vagina, how liberat- ing can it be? In the October 2013 issue, I came across an article titled “Six Ways To Become a Sex Superstar”. One may not think this is too terrible, but the first

One may not think this is too terrible, but the first Women’s magazines tend to revolve

Women’s magazines tend to revolve around what women should look like or what they should do to be seen as ‘sexy’. PHOTO: GABRIELLA FREGONA

line of this article is “When it comes to sex, why settle for great when you can go for mind-blowing? Even better is when it’s so mind-blowing that the lucky man you’re with puts you at the

top of his best-ever list.” So even though you may have thought you had a terrible night and rated him in your bottom three – if you made it onto his top three then you actually had a great night. And what’s so liberating about “FIRST

If a women’s magazine can’t even use the word vagina, how liberating can it be?

TAKE OFF HIS PANTS: Next, Treat Him to the Sexy Strokes He’s Been Craving All Along…But Won’t Ask For” (November 2010)? To me, that

doesn’t sound too liberating at all. Cosmo seems to be focused on how best to ‘do it’ for your man and not how to look after yourself. “Own His Orgasm (What Men Secretly Want Right Before Blast Off)” (November 2010) is another example of this. But where’s the article about how to own your own orgasm? I find it ridiculous that young women are more worried about how to please their boyfriend (or their one night stand)

than themselves.

Is this to say that sex isn’t good

unless you managed to blow his mind? I’m not saying that women shouldn’t sleep with whomever they please, or that they should be completely nonchalant and indifferent about their partner’s needs – but their needs should be just as important at the very least, surely? The sad reality is that Cosmo tells young women that getting a ‘‘tight

butt’’ and a ‘‘flat tummy’’ is for them, without the young women ever ques- tioning why.

A woman is beautiful in all shapes

and sizes – not just a size 6 with no curves. Being a “Fun Fearless Female” has got sweet nothing to do with cut- ting down a dress size, having your hair look like Beyoncé’s or learning how to be a sex goddess. I think being a “Fun Fearless Fe- male” is about having fun. Worrying about how you look in the dress that doesn’t actually fit is really not all that much fun. It’s uncomfortable and usu- ally really cold outside. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps women’s sexual liberation is really about how to get your guy off. But probably not.

is really about how to get your guy off. But probably not. There are questions as

There are questions as to whether enforcing ‘dry res’ in O-week will help alleviate the drinking culture. PHOTO: JODI VAN VUUREN

Why an alcohol-free O-week makes no sense

By Jeremy Baxter

Editor’s note: Recently the Board of Residences favoured a proposal to make residences alcohol free during O-Week next year. Jeremy Baxter, Hall Warden of Lilian Ngoyi Hall, was one of the few to vote against the proposal. As it stands, the rule prohibits official social functions where alcohol is served during O-Week and the first ten days of term, although excep- tions may be permitted by the Vice-Chancellor. I support this rule and believe that it is appropriate for the residence system during this particular

time of the year. There is no need for alcohol at O-Week residences or hall functions. However, a discussion at the Board of Resi- dences has shown that Rhodes seeks to take this rule further: the proposed change would be a rule against all alcohol on campus during that period. I do not support this proposal. There are many strong and very valid argu- ments for a dry O-Week. The current Rhodes drinking culture encourages some students to take academic orientation far from seriously. With this in mind, I now turn to why I did not support the proposal at the Board of Residences

for dry residences in O-Week. As a Warden, I do not want students scurrying off to their rooms/town/digs the minute an even- ing’s formal residence activity ends. This is what the rule will result in. I do not want some sort of peer pressure for students to leave their residence as soon as possible to go drink, or more specifically binge drink. I firmly believe that during O-Week, primarily due to the relatively low ratio of student lead- ers to first year students, we have a chance to have an impact or direct social change and most importantly to set appropriate boundaries for the

entire year.

If you would like to have a beer while watching

the Champions League Football on a Wednesday

night or rugby on Saturday, I’d prefer you have it in the common room, not alone in your room.

A residence should be a home to all, including

those who drink, though I do not think binge drinking (including excessive pre-drinking) is appropriate.

In essence, I believe that this should be the

message from day one – starting in O-Week. Drinking is easier to control if it takes place within residences.

10

The Oppidan Press

15 October 2013

Opinion

Student Apathy

By Ben Rule

.

Press 15 October 2013 Opinion Student Apathy By Ben Rule . House committees are chosen through
Press 15 October 2013 Opinion Student Apathy By Ben Rule . House committees are chosen through
Press 15 October 2013 Opinion Student Apathy By Ben Rule . House committees are chosen through

House committees are chosen through an election process rather than through a selection process. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Election versus selection in house committees

By Colin Mkhize and Lonwabo Nodada

H ouse committees on campus

are always the subject of

much discussion in terms of

their effectiveness or the willingness of the committee members to actually do their work. The calibre of students in these positions is some- times doubtful, with a lot of people just applying for House Comm in order to be able to come back for O- Week and party. After O-Week, a lot of people on these committees fall under the radar

and do not fulfil their mandate. In the majority of residences on campus, the people on House Comm are elected by their fellow housemates at a house meeting – which could result in a popularity contest. This may not be

a bad thing, but a lot of the time the

people elected are not the best fit for the position. There is a clear alternative to an election process and it may be time for campus to start exploring that.

Election By Lonwabo Nodada

I have been in residence for four years now and the one thing that

indifferent in second year, it was toler- able in third year and now it is just a tedious and visibly flawed process. My issue with the process of voting in House Comm is how unbelievably frivolous it seems. Friends elect friends with little to no experience for the applied position. How, I ask you with tears in my eyes, is a first-year student majoring in Drama and Philosophy supposed to be a Treasurer? More importantly, why on earth do people vote for them? It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the brownies and chocolates she gave away during her motivation speech, could it? The people expecting her to handle their finances couldn’t be that irresponsible, could they? Well, they could. And they usually are. The mentality is often ‘yes, the oth- er girl had incredible motivation with

great examples of previous experience, but you had chocolate so you win’. It makes absolutely no sense to me.We get Community Engagement repre- sentatives who never organise a single event; Entertainment reps who rely on the rest of the Comm to help them with residence parties; Tuck Shop reps who don’t seem to understand the concept of stocking up on goods. It all happens, and we have nobody to

I

have grown to have a love/hate

blame but ourselves.

relationship with is the House Comm election process. Nominating people for House Comm and listening to their (some- times) passionate and inspired speeches was fun in first year. I became

Selection By Colin Mkhize

In Lilian Ngoyi Hall, the possibility of a popularity contest is eliminated by

having people apply for the position which they are most suited for. They submit an application with their moti- vation, ideas and credentials (if any). These applications are then screened by a selection committee which ultimately decides who gets the job. The selection committee is

representative of the entire house. In a house meeting, one person from each year (first year through to Honours) is chosen to sit on the committee along- side the incoming and outgoing senior student and incoming sub-warden(s). The selection committee has the opportunity to choose the best fit of people to be on the House Comm. This

is a very important aspect as positive

group dynamics contribute a lot to the effectiveness of the house committee. In my time as a Sub-Warden of Joe Slovo House, I was involved in the House Comm selection process.

I remember having lengthy discus-

sions about the suitability of candi-

dates for each portfolio and who would be the best fit for the job. Written applications also provide a standard to which candidates can be held to after election.

I really feel that this process should be implemented across campus, as it

eliminates a lot of the risks associated with the popularity election. It is fair, allows for more informed candidates (as they really have to show

a good understanding of the position

in their application) and is a good way of developing a level of professionalism among students.

of the position in their application) and is a good way of developing a level of

15 October 2013

The Oppidan Press

11

Scitech

Science cafés are the future of learning

By Tsitsi Mashingaidze

S cience has often been seen as boring,

difficult and self-regulating. A

revolutionary new learning approach,

called Science Cafés, is now seeking to change that perception and make science relevant and exciting to people internationally. The inaugural Café Scientifiques, or Science Café, was held in the UK in 1998 and the idea has since taken the world by storm. Cafés have popped up everywhere from Europe to Africa, with some thousand or so cafés regularly hosting scientists or science writers who want to discuss their work with diverse audiences. For the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to discuss and share ideas on any scientific subject. These gatherings are usually held in cafés, bookshops, bars, restaurants and movie theatres, but always

outside the traditional academic context of class- rooms and lecture venues. Although Science Cafés seek to introduce a new method for learning rather than a new place, their location is still absolutely critical because it plays a role in how the events are viewed. The café atmosphere is believed to be less daunting than more formal learning settings, allowing participants to talk freely and to enter and leave the meeting as they please. Its ambiance is meant to make science more relatable and accessible to people. Biochemistry Honours student Bernice Monchusi believes that this idea would work well at Rhodes. “Rhodes has a good shot at making it work because good conversation, food and drinks always bring people together,” she said. The main purpose of these cafés is not to replace lectures, but rather to supplement them. They seek to create a space where science and

culture can merge. These cafés act as tools which can bring scientific research by professionals to the general public for free, as the promoters of these events do not set out to make a profit or pay speakers to present their findings. Traditionally, students would expect to be lectured to whilst taking notes, study the given material and eventually sit for exams. However, Bachelor of Science student Mpho Kgwasi feels that although Science Cafés are getting popular, they will never replace actual lectures. “With the lectures system, you get trained in fundamental theory which you need in the industry, as thoroughly as possible, and you have something to prove for it [at the end].” The discussions between speakers and anyone present is based on equality and not necessarily on knowledge. The idea is to encourage the shar- ing thoughts and opinions. ZooSoc Vice-Chairperson and Secretary

Nobantu Ngobe felt that it would be a good way to attract students from different faculties to science societies. “It would be the perfect way to create awareness. The society gets exposure and, best of all, the coffee and treats act as an incentive for people to learn something new,” she said. “It’s a good portal between people who understand science and those that do not, and acts as a good career guide for people who may want to enter the field,” agreed Kgwasi. Café Scientifiques are casual gatherings for the average person who has an interest in what goes on in the scientific world. They are held in the evenings and start with short talks, after which a general discussion session is held. People of all ages can attend, mingle and are encouraged to ask questions, the most welcome being those that start with “This might be a stupid question, but…”.

Grand Theft Auto 5: customisation that comes alive

By Chad Keates

Los Santos, San Andreas is the set- ting for Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTAV) and is it a big home indeed. The game is rich with great graphics and fantastic gameplay and the map is enormous. There is some level of interactivity and if it weren’t for the controller in your hands you would think there was a living, breathing world inside your monitor. Sharks, mountain lions and coyotes now populate the waters and valleys of the game’s expansive landscape, while back at home in the city you can watch a movie, go to a bar, play golf, tennis and even participate in yoga. If that’s too slow for you, you can take to the streets – or the air – in everything from cars and bikes to jets, jumbos and jet skis. This is a game riddled with all- new dangers and all-new challenges. Customisation and choice are an integral part of the game. Even your characters can be customised to suit your unique tastes. You can choose to play as ex-bank robber Michael, who lives with a family that doesn’t like him courtesy of witness protection, or maybe you prefer Franklin, a gangster

searching for respect in a competitive criminal society. Alternatively, Trevor offers you an outlandish character with an addictive personality. He is the last character you meet and a drug-addict, murderer and ex-soldier.You can still put your own personal spin on these characters with all new custom traits, but regardless of which you choose and how you kit them out, these characters are inter- changeable in conflicts. You’ll most likely need to switch between them because you can’t just stand there in the open with any character and expect to come off best. You need to choose who is best, when. The advanced AI system makes this especially important. The days of clunky AI and bad physics are a thing of the past in this game. Cars feel like something out of Need for Speed, police are accurate and pedestrians react ac- cordingly if you irritate them. Other than the freedom that GTAV offers you, it also has a solid and cred- ible plot. Missions range from minor pickups and errands to massive heists carried out while suspended from the rope of a hovering helicopter. Charac- ters even have to come together for the

helicopter. Charac- ters even have to come together for the Students are excited about the new

Students are excited about the new Grand Theft Auto 5 which has expanded the famous Los Santos. Photo: TIFFANY MAJERO

more elaborate missions. Some mis- sions, such as the one where the FBI contracts you to save a hostage from a high rise building, are particularly well thought out. You will come to share your character’s sense of urgency and watch as the relationships between

very different characters slowly pro- gress.This game is all about decisions. From the character you choose to the missions you take on, it’s all about your choices. If you want to invest in property or try your luck on the stock exchange, you can.

The game feels like previous GTA titles had a dinner party and invited the likes of Red Dead Redemption, The Saboteur, The Sims and Need For Speed to all make one meal that culminated in the rich tasty masterpiece that is Grand Theft Auto 5.

and Need For Speed to all make one meal that culminated in the rich tasty masterpiece

12

The Oppidan Press

15 October 2013

Photo Story

12 The Oppidan Press 15 October 2013 Photo Story 1 Rubbish the daisies Gabriella Fregona W

1 Rubbish the daisies

Gabriella Fregona

W hat sets Rocking the Daisies apart from other festivals is its promise to protect the environ- ment in which it is held. Cloof Wine Estate is situated in Darling, Western Cape and is a working vineyard. From 3-6 October it is transformed into a massive campsite brimming with

people, music, food and litter. People chose to simply drop their rubbish less than a metre away from an available rubbish bin. Bins were allocated for recycling and general waste, but it only required a few extra seconds of thought to distinguish where your rubbish needed to go. This is surely a sign that this eco-friendly festival had not so eco-friendly festival goers. The festival provided smokers with portable ashtrays, encouraged festival-goers to hand in their rubbish in return for free stuff and also gave out free beers for every five cans returned to them. But it seems that most of the recycling and environmental initiatives are taken up by festival sponsors and a very efficient cleaning team which has to clear through a minefield of bottles, cups, cigarette butts and the like before anyone wakes up. Environmental projects like Walking the Daisies and Cycling the Daisies were well supported and decora- tions for the festival were made from recycled materials, but the positive effect of these and other projects seemed to be negated by the sheer volume of discarded waste at the end of the festival.

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15 October 2013

The Oppidan Press

13

Photo Story

15 October 2013 The Oppidan Press 13 Photo Story 5 8 6 7 Photo 1: Large
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Photo 1: Large hand decorations were constructed from wooden planks. Photo 2: Pick ‘n Pay provided water stations where people could access water as no bottled water was sold at the festival. Photo 3: Rubbish bins were located close to stages to enable people to recycle their litter. Photo 4: Recycled decorations for the festival included plastic Coca-Cola crates and LED lights. Photo 5: Glass restrictions meant more rubbish was seen outside the entrance. Photo 6: Cars are parked amongst daisies and festival-goers were encouraged to fill their cars to be environmentally conscious. Photo 7: Clean-up teams were seen around stage areas after the last acts had finished before the new line-up resumed. Photo 8: The World Wide Fund had a stand where people could sign up to the organisation and make bracelets to support the initiative.

Photos: GABRIELLA FREGONA

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The Oppidan Press

15 October 2013

Arts & Entertainment

RUTV 4 doccies promise to engage and provoke

By Jenna Lille and Alex Maggs

P romised to be innovative, informative and engaging, the 24 minute documentaries

produced by the fourth-year TV journalism students will be show- cased tomorrow night at the Rhodes Theatre. The pieces grapple with a range of pertinent social issues. Although most of the pieces were based in and around Johannesburg, topics ranging from albinism in South Africa to Congolese refugees led the TV 4 students all over the country in pursuit of their stories. Students Jacek Kaminski and Raphaela Linders focussed on the philosophical aspects of human nature through the ideas of renowned anthropologist and filmmaker Paul

Myburgh (in their project entitled Conversations with Paul Myburgh). The piece explored the knowledge and wisdom Myburgh had gathered during the seven years he spent living with the Gwikwe Bushmen. Amaal Salie, Debbie Potgieter and Palesa Mashigo found themselves dealing with highly emotional mate- rial. I Seek A Safe Place focuses on the problems faced by Congolese refugees in Johannesburg and questions the hu- manity of our society and the reactions of South Africans to asylum seekers. Despite encountering sensitive material and graphic images that could not be used, the three were able to work with some remarkable people. “Everyone was so welcoming and generous with their stories. Despite the atrocities they have seen they display amazing resilience and

humanity,” said Salie. All of the issues explored had socio- political and cultural significance and were emotionally-charged in their own way. Robyn Perros and Tassyn Munro explored an issue close to their hearts in Xakhubasa, which delves into the myths and misconceptions surround- ing albinism in South Africa. More specifically, they looked at the Tanza- nian muti-murders, wherein Tanza- nian albinos are murdered and their bodies used in the making of muti for good luck. the explanation apparently being that their bodies are believed to possess magical qualities. Despite a workshop engaging with ethics in the field, many students felt unprepared for the stories they en- countered. “We did encounter ethical dilemmas such as monetary compen- sation but the team understood that

the most we could offer was to tell their story,” said Mashigo. Minette van der Walt, Katja Schreiber and Kirsten Allnut encoun- tered numerous problems while work- ing on their project, Paper Dragons, which aims to give an alternative perspective on the presence of the Asian community in South Africa. The group was limited, however due to the community’s distrust of the press. The pieces are expected to be thought-provoking and aim to inspire students to ask more questions regard- ing these social issues. Many students may already have an understanding of the topics raised in the documentaries – issues of colour affecting one’s safety, stereotypical views of different cultures or the need to immigrate to seek refuge – but the films aim to put faces to

these problems. “Even educated people who have knowledge and access to information still don’t know much. It is an opportunity to learn something new and walk away with a different mind- set,” explained Perros.

Despite the

atrocities they

have seen

they display

amazing

resilience and

humanity

- Amaal Salie

Celebrating The Oppidan Press at Graham Hotel

Advertorial

As editors, there is no better feeling than taking comfort in your own obsolescence. This is something that we at The Oppidan Press are lucky enough to experience on an almost weekly basis, so committed and capable is the team that we lead. With that in mind, it felt fitting to thank the student journalists who drive this publication in style at the Graham Hotel for our 2013 AGM. Arriving at the venue to find the conference room draped in white and frosted with fairy lights, we were greeted by full service and friendly hotel staff. Large platters of cocktail snacks were laid out on tables in the centre of the room and in the corner a well-stocked bar promised to keep spirits high as the evening progressed. The theme was The Hour, a BBC drama series that follows the action of a newsroom in London during the 1950s. As the team filtered in through the hotel lobby, pencil skirts, tweed blazers and suspenders transformed an already stylish setting and the hustle of ordinary Grahamstown life was left on the street outside. Amidst speeches and awards, our team was able to relax with a glass of punch and enjoy one another’s company without the stress of deadlines and the mania of putting the newspaper together. All agreed that the food was fantastic and were glad that the spacious conference room easily accommo- dated our large team, allowing everyone to move about with their plates and mingle easily. During one of the most stressful times of year for this pub- lication, it was wonderful to see our team able to fully unwind, as everything was taken care of. Helpful and obliging, the Graham Hotel staff made sure everybody was happy for the duration of what ended up being a long evening, with drinks turning to dancing and everyone taking to the floor as music blared from the sound system provided. All in all, the AGM was a great close to a successful year. The last for some and first for others, it was easily one of the best nights the team has been able to share. Our grateful thanks are extended to Graham Hotel and all those who worked to make the evening as enjoyable as it turned out to be.

to make the evening as enjoyable as it turned out to be. The old and new
to make the evening as enjoyable as it turned out to be. The old and new

The old and new Oppidan Press teams gathered for speeches at the 2013 AGM. Photo: ALEXA SEDGWICK

gathered for speeches at the 2013 AGM. Photo: ALEXA SEDGWICK Outgoing Chief Designer Chevawn Blum accepts

Outgoing Chief Designer Chevawn Blum accepts her award from the team. Photo: ALEXA SEDGWICK

15 October 2013

The Oppidan Press

15

15 October 2013 The Oppidan Press 15 Referees of the Internal Soccer League have still not

Referees of the Internal Soccer League have still not been paid as a result of managerial blunders by the Rhodes Sports Administration. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Sport

Internal soccer league management meltdown

By Douglas Smith

A series of managerial blunders by Rhodes Sports Admin- istration have resulted in

chaos within the Rhodes Internal Soccer League. Referees have still not received payment for their work during the season which came to an end last term. Director of Referees for the league Taurai Kativu said that problems were created by a new referee manage- ment system that was implemented this year. In the past, Sports Admin would pay referees R50 in cash for each match they had refereed, making a collec- tive payment at month end. The new system requires Sports Admin to go through the salaries department before paying referees. This means that referees must fill out paperwork recording their work for the league and submit it within the first week of each month. Sports Officer Sanel Sobahle said, “Preferably we would like to pay through monthly, but it’s a Rhodes procedure.” Late submission can result in a month’s delay to the entire process. “Even now, at least five of the referees

have not submitted their paperwork and cannot be paid,” Kativu said. This was the reason for referees not being paid last semester. However, this semester there was confusion as to how much referees were to be paid per match, which caused further delay. “Initially the payment was agreed at R50. The head of refereeing then tried to tell us that the amount had been lowered to R30 per game, after we had finished refereeing. Obviously we all complained,” said Paul Burgess, who refereed 10 games this season. Sobahle said that there had simply been a misunderstanding and that as soon as this was realised the amount was readjusted to R50 per match However, Sports Admin had already adjusted all of the paperwork to reflect the new payment of R30. This meant that they had to redo the paperwork for each referee to ensure that the salaries department did not reject the incorrect figures. Kativu was assured that referees would be paid in September, once this issue had been dealt with. This dead- line was missed, however, and the new official payment date is 25 October – with many referees hoping that this will be honoured.

The delayed payment of referees negatively impacted the league. Referees began to miss fixtures and in some cases spectators were called upon as volunteer referees. “I try to make it a point to confirm with referees on the day to make sure that they are available,” said Kativu, “but without payment they have no motivation to be consistent. I literally cross my fingers every league night.” Kativu had to referee matches him- self at the last minute on several occa- sions. He hasn’t been paid a cent yet. “It is fair and square for us to blame the system, but then what are we doing about it?” he said. Sobahle said that Sports Admin has appointed a single league coordinator for next year in order to avoid com- munication breakdowns. The newly announced league coordinator for 2014, Kudzai Nzombe will have a big responsibility on his shoulders. Sports Admin have also decided that more external, qualified referees will be appointed next year. Each game will be controlled by three referees, two external and one internal. This means that the league will have le- gitimate linesmen for the first time to ensure legitimacy.

and one internal. This means that the league will have le- gitimate linesmen for the first

Open campus concerns

Page 2

The case for a longer undergrad

Page 4

Sports

Customisation is the name of the game

Page 11

Investment needed for greater sporting success

By Brandon Yates

R hodes Sport has suffered a great deal in the past few years due to a lack of invest-

ment from the university. Many teams have struggled due to financial constraints, but more have thrived despite this. “Rhodes Sport has to compete with academic projects for funding. This year we are still operating with last year’s budget allocation,” said Head of Sports Administration Mandla Gagayi. Rhodes rugby has been greatly af- fected by this issue. Despite continued support from passionate fans, a lack of funding from the university has resulted in rugby teams being forced to play under sub-standard floodlights on poorly managed fields. The Rhodes Rugby Club does not even own a functioning scrum- machine, a tool which is vital for match preparation. “Scrum-machines, proper field maintenance and quality floodlights are very expensive,” explained Gagayi. “New floodlights would cost R3.2 million alone.” In spite of the funding problems, many of Rhodes’ sporting sides perform incredibly well on a national scale. Member of the Rhodes Rowing Club Jonas Vijverberg elaborated, “We compete against the top universities

elaborated, “We compete against the top universities Sporting facilities at Rhodes are slowly decaying due to

Sporting facilities at Rhodes are slowly decaying due to a lack of investment in their upkeep. PHOTO: KELLAN BOTHA

in the country on a regular basis. At a recent [SASSU] competition we placed second, with the University of Cape Town winning in the end.” The club also performed well at the 2013 Boatrace Championship, in which they won the Best Novice Crew title and the staff team won their race against the University of

Johannesburg staff crew. The Rhodes First Men’s Hockey side has also been extraordinarily success- ful this year. They have been promoted to compete in the Varsity Cup next year after a highly successful tour to Cape Town in July. “While funding has always been an issue for our club, our team runs smoothly and is well

organised,” said the team’s goalkeeper Wayde Guedes. The achievements of both these teams are extraordinary for a relatively small university with financial strains in the sports department. The commit- ment shown by the teams, as well as the results they produce, is proof that Rhodes University possesses athletes

and teams that can succeed on a national level despite poor funding. Following these positive results, it was announced on 30 September that Rhodes had signed the Varsity Sports Agreement. Sue Smailes signed the agreement on behalf of the University, while Francois Pienaar signed on behalf of Varsity Sports and Advent Sport Entertain- ment and Media (ASEM). This means that Rhodes has now been given the chance to compete against universities from around the country. Men’s hockey will be the first Varsity Sport that Rhodes will participate in. Participation in other sports such as beach volleyball, sevens rugby, soccer and netball is available. However, all of these sports will have to put them- selves through the University Sports South Africa (USSA) qualification process first. The university has now secured a great opportunity to further excel on the sporting scene. But there is still the need for financial investment from the university as well as commitment from athletes to ensure that this opportunity is fully utilised. These two efforts combined can potentially result in Rhodes competing against the top universities in South Africa in a variety of sporting codes in the future.

Turtles clinch third Internal Premier League title

The Turtles saw a victory over The Hedgehogs at the Rhodes Internal Premier League final on Friday night. Photo: NICK DAKIN

By Kimara Singh

The eagerly anticipated final of the Rhodes In- ternal Premier League saw two- time champi- ons The Tops Awkward Turtles face off against The Mighty Hedgehogs at the Great Field on Friday 11 October. The Turtles had a shaky start to their innings, losing one of their opening batsmen with only 15 runs on the scoreboard. Fortunately for them, however, countless misfields by The Hedgehogs

and a partnership of 42 between Craig Dargie and Captain Jonty van der Meulen quickly bol- stered their score. Van der Meulen came to play a pivotal role in the remainder of the Turtles’ innings, scoring 108 runs not out from 61 balls. His 128-run third wicket partnership with Matt Clark (32*) saw them to the end of their 20 over innings and set The Hedgehogs a tough target of 190 runs. The Hedgehogs got off to a bad start with both opening batsmen quickly sent packing by

some clever bowling from the Turtles and more wickets falling soon after. After just five overs, The Hedgehogs were in deep trouble with a score of 34 for 3. A flurry of 4s and a 6 helped to ease the pressure, but in the end their poor shot selection at crucial points in the game cost The Hedgehogs dearly. They were bowled out for just 93 runs with The Turtles bowlers Cameron Braans and Douglas Nupen bagging four and three wickets

respectively, conceding a minimal 30 runs be- tween them. Van der Meulen was ecstatic about The Turtles’ third Internal Premier League victory. “I was happy that we got off to a good start and kicked on from there. “I was also glad with our 190 odd score as the bowlers were allowed to do the rest and finish off the game for us,” he said. Van der Meulen hopes that the Turtles can continue with their winning streak next year.