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Silent Protest open for all

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Poaching in perspective

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Electronic sports on the rise

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The Oppidan Press

Edition 2, 11 March 2014

Rugby fest at Rhodes

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Page 9 Electronic sports on the rise Page 11 The Oppidan Press Edition 2, 11 March

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The Oppidan Press

11 March 2014

News Features

Inclusivity the goal of Silent Protest 2014

Tarryn de Kock Politics The departure of former Student Anti-Harassment Officer and key organiser of
Tarryn de Kock
Politics
The departure of former Student
Anti-Harassment Officer and key organiser
of the Silent Protest Larissa Klazinga, who was argu-
ably one of the most vocal gender activism voices on campus,
has called into question the presence of other visible activism
projects at Rhodes. This year’s organiser of the Silent Protest, Kim Barker,
explained that “one area of concern has been the silence of Gender Action
Project (GAP) on campus this year as a key and consistent student organisation
dealing with these issues.” Students concerned about the avenues available to them
in terms of harassment will not, however, go wanting. Acting Deputy Dean of Students
Colleen Vassiliou will be the go-to person for incidences of gender-related harassment,
and two psychologists at the Counselling Centre have also been contracted to help. A more
concrete plan for harassment management is still in the pipeline. A main fear surrounding
Klazinga’s exit from the university is that the annual Silent Protest will not go forward as usual.
The protest, which deals with issues of rape and sexual violence, has become an important date
on the university calendar in recent years. As the organiser of the first Silent Protest, the event
came to be seen as a key component of Klazinga’s work at the University. “Initially it was a
bit uncertain last year because the University originally placed the event on the calendar for
this year on condition that students organise it,” explained Barker, addressing these fears.
“At the Gender Imbizo the University was lobbied and resolutions were made, particu-
larly that the University would offer its support to the event and have a staff member
dedicated to its organisation.” Barker will head a committee of students, staff
members and interested individuals at Rhodes who will assist in organising the
event as well as in discussing the issues that accompany its organisation. A
significant difference between this year’s protest and those of previous
years is the time of the year at which it takes place. While most
previous protests took place in either March or April,
this year’s has been rescheduled for August.
This was mainly
due to the various holidays falling
in April creating difficulty in securing the
Cathedral as a venue. A positive symbolic result has
been that the protest will take place at the start of National
Women’s Month. However, this does not limit it to women. “We have
taken the step to making all categories of participation open to both men
and women,” Barker stated. “Sexual violence against women takes place on a
massive scale, but we would be creating more silences if we ignore the reality of
sexual violence against men in a forum like this.” The August date would allow for
more time to deliberate on these issues of inclusivity and attracting male voices to an
event that, since its inception, has seen participation from mainly female students. Fur-
ther plans for this year include opening up participation and encouraging input from staff
members, with the official support of the University. “Support staff have often participated
in the past, although in very small numbers,” added Barker. With this year’s event secured
on the calendar, Barker pointed to a new discussion being raised concerning the portfolio
under which the protest falls. Currently under the administration of the Dean of Students
Office, one resolution from the last Gender Imbizo suggested that the Silent Protest should
fall under the Transformation and Institutional Culture Directorate instead. “This would
make it part of effecting change in the institution as a whole,” she explained. Barker
stressed the need for active participation in both the Silent Protest and other gender
activism projects on campus. “We need to start asking ourselves what isn’t okay,”
she said. “Often there are these knee-jerk responses to stories of brutal rapes,
calling for women to protect themselves and to root out the few evil people
committing these crimes. That kind of rhetoric avoids discussing the
real issues that are present.” This year’s emphasis on dialogue and
inclusivity in the organisation of the protest will, Barker
hopes, continue and build on the work Klazinga
did in her time at Rhodes.

NSFAS bursary reductions cause countrywide unrest

Thandi Bombi and Chelsea Haith

The 2014 academic year began in anger as students united to pro- test against a lack of funding. As many marched through the streets chanting their demands, the Rhodes University Student Representative Council (SRC) fought a quieter bat- tle. In collaboration with the Rhodes University Financial Aid Office, the University managed to help more than 100 Rhodes students in need of financial assistance. The South African Students’ Con- gress (SASCO) organized countrywide protests for students who could not be funded by the National Student Financial Aid Services (NSFAS). These protests resulted in student injuries and criminal records. Closer to home, students from lo- cal institution of higher learning the Eastcape Midlands College (EMC) were left homeless after being evicted by landlords after a lack of funding left them unable to pay their rent. The NSFAS reductions in bursary amounts threatened to force landlords to permanently evict the students. This resulted in the College campuses across the Eastern Cape closing and students being sent home after a week of protests against the reductions. According to Colonel Monray Nel of Grahamstown SAPS, the College will reopen on 11 March after a discussion

on 10 March between students, parents, landlords and the College’s management. However, the EMC management was careful to point out that there could be no solutions because there was not enough funding from the government - there could only be compromises. On our campus however, SRC liaison officer Eric Ofei felt that students did not need to resort to striking to have their demands met. This comes after a post on the Rhodes Confessions Facebook page that complained about the SRC’s lack of interest in student affairs. “A lot of students are not aware of what the SRC does and their power,” commented Ofei. He went on to explain that the SRC President Bradley Bense and Vice- President Victor Mafuku arrived in the first week of January and were working hard in the interest of the students in need of financial aid. According to financial aid adminis- trator at Rhodes Luyanda Bheyile R4 million was requested directly from the Director General of Higher Educa- tion on 24 January to help prospective students financially. “Although NSFAS increases its fund- ing annually, the money is not enough because there has been an increase in demand for financial aid,” ex- plained Bheyile. “To date we could not

aid,” ex- plained Bheyile. “To date we could not EMC students protested after a lack of

EMC students protested after a lack of funding resulted in them being unable to pay their rent. Photo: CHELSEA HAITH

accommodate 65 prospective students and 61 already existing students.” Bheyile went on to say that financial aid was not awarded to repeating first- and second-year students from 2013, but was rather reserved for third-years and above. He also pointed out that there are always reasons for why someone is not getting financial aid and that both

sides of the story should be explored. Mutsa Mambo, a PhD student in Environmental Biotechnology, said that while she is happy that more than 100 students could continue their studies, the SRC should not be praised for something that they are meant to be doing anyway. “Rhodes is small enough for the SRC to have more of an impact than they

already have,” she said. Mambo went on to say that the SRC should represent the entire student body, including foreign nationals. “They should be taking financial issues up with the governing body and representing foreign nationals as well as South Africans. Too many people got excluded because of the Minimun Initial Payment clearance deadline.”

11 March 2014

The Oppidan Press

3

News Features Lining up to march for lions in captivity

Mikaela Erskog

Environment

T he opportunity to pet lion

cubs draws large international

crowds, but few tourists real-

ise that these cubs are either products of severe inbreeding or smuggled from neighbouring countries. Even fewer people are aware that most cub petting is just a means to externalise the costs of rearing adult lions for recreational hunting. The Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH) is a South African organisation that is fighting to close down what many regard as an inhu- mane economic practice. Due to the poor awareness surrounding this issue, they will be hosting the Global March for Lions on 15 March, 2014 and Rho- des students are invited to participate. The breeding of lions in captivity for use in tourist and canned hunting industries is a huge problem in South Africa as it is directly contributing to the eradication of natural lions and their genetic integrity. According to informational website cannedlion.org, there are more lions farmed in captiv- ity (8000) than there are left in their natural habitat (fewer than 4000) in South Africa, and there are only 20 000 natural lions left in Africa as a whole. Co-founder of CACH and cann- edlion.org Chris Mercer explains that canned hunting entails the ‘hunting’

of animals that are born and bred in small, confined spaces that barely at- tempt to resemble their natural habitat. Mercer explained how lions develop “captivity depression” - a mental and physical lethargy that is caused by permanent confinement to spaces far too small for any wild animal, let alone the king of the wild. “They aren’t free to express normal behavior in small confined enclosures. They are simply bred to die,” remarked International Animal Rescue Foun- dation (IARF) activist and Rhodes second-year student Emma Thomp- son.The breeding process not only fa- cilitates discomfort for the lion but the means by which they are bred is actu- ally destroying the lion species. “You then get crossbreeding or inbreeding that produces what Americans call ‘junk lions’ – ones with compromised genetics,” Mercer elaborated. The genetic integrity of the animal is lost as inbred animals often have recurring health problems, severe deformities and evident disabilities. This results in the need to re-intro- duce ‘fresh blood’ into the gene pool to counteract the effects of inbreeding - by capturing free lions and smuggling them from other African countries into South Africa to re-invigorate the canned hunting industry. More problems arise because of this: “As the lions in the wild decrease from smuggling operations,” explained

Thompson, “the more we occupy their area and their natural habitat decreas- es. That means then that inbreeding is more likely to occur [in the wild too]. This causes massive physiological and behavioral problems between natural prides and decreases their numbers. Eventually, this may lead to stagnation and sterility.” This Saturday, the Global March for Lions will be happening in over 40 cities in 18 countries in an attempt to challenge the industry and call for a ban on canned hunting in South Africa. Thompson agrees that this will be a necessary step, arguing that if it is legal to breed lions, it allows for a lot of grey areas and illegalities. The event is also aimed at creating enough global awareness to stop the international demands that fuel the farming of lions. “We want to build an international constituency [and] to use that constituency to close the industry down at the other end,” said Mercer. However, Mercer argues that it is not enough to just ban the practice. He believes that the most viable solutions to this problem are to educate tourists so that they do not indulge in cub pet- ting and to educate volunteers not to patronise any facility that rears lions. He also hopes to persuade the Euro- pean Union to ban any imports related to this industry and to get the United States Fish and Wildlife Services to put lions on the endangered species list.

Services to put lions on the endangered species list. Lions that are in captivity often develop

Lions that are in captivity often develop depression and severe lethargy. Photo: WWW.CANNEDLION.ORG

Most importantly, Thompson and fellow IARF activist Kestral Raik both stressed the importance of educating people in a way that promotes critical thinking and engaging with social is- sues. “If you have the capacity to think about it, maybe you should as it’s the only way to sustainably combat these problems,” commented Thompson. “Lion poaching and canned hunting is South Africa’s biggest shame,” Raik continued, stating that the awareness surrounding canned lion hunting is not only low but being actively denied. Thompson described an example of the complete suppression of the cause’s information. “A little while ago, at O. R. Tambo International Airport, they

had advertisements up that had an image of President Zuma, a lion and a gun to its head, and it said ‘Only Zuma can stop this’. These were taken down immediately.” Thompson and Raik both agreed that part of the problem facing the dwindling number of lions in South Africa is the lack of correct informa- tion and awareness available to the public. The Global March for Lions is an attempt to change this. Join the march to raise awareness of this brutal industry and its problematic consequences. If the lion is worthy enough to grace our fifty rand note, it surely deserves to live a healthy and free life.

Eastside & Westside: Grahamstown water woes wage on

Emily Corke

The water crisis at Rhodes University last year cast a national spotlight on Grahamstown’s perpetual water troubles. Unfortunately, what was not brought to the fore was the fact that this has been an unending problem for many people for several years. While ‘Grahamstown West’, which includes the RU campus, has had many of these issues addressed, the water crisis in Grahamstown East continues to affect thousands. At the Grahamstown Residents Association (GRA) Annual General Meeting on 5 March, Grahamstown City Engineer Emmanuel My- alato was invited to report on the current water situation. While he could confidently report that plans have been put in place to fix the crisis, he said that the municipality was far from solving the problem. “Until we have enough storage for water and enough pumps working at 100%, the crisis is not over,” said Myalato. “The time for planning is over, now is the time for implementation.” The planning Myalato mentions is the five- year contract that Makana Municipality has signed with quasi-state body, Amatola Water. This contract was the result of a presidential intervention last year, when the majority of Rhodes University had been without water for 16 days. Despite the fact that most areas in Grahams- town West have felt improvements in the water supply and pressure - which Myalato said was thanks to Amatola Water- the situation in Gra- hamstown East has barely improved. Chairperson of the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) Ayanda Kota said, “If you are well off and you have been living in the town then you will not be hit as hard as if you are liv- ing in the township.” Kota said that because people in

Grahamstown East have been without a consistent water supply for years. They have been forced to improvise to keep their homes hygienic and healthy. Some residents have to get up before dawn just to find water for their families. Kota said that the crisis began when the quality of water in Grahamstown was declared undrinkable. Babies were reported to have died in 2009 because of the quality of water, although no investigation ever took place. Residents were also reported to have died in fires in 2011 because there was no water for the community to use to save them. “If you go to the toilet, it’s not even that you have the flushing system anymore. You have to use the bucket system - that’s how bad it is,” Kota added. Such problems with the quality and availabil- ity of the water supply still persist in most areas in Grahamstown East. Water, when it does come out the taps, had been reported to be a green or white colour. Although the water is no longer green, people are still complaining of getting sick from the water - especially in the Joza area. DA Ward Councillor Les Reynolds said that there has been no improvement in most areas. “There is not enough water to come into town and to service the absolute growth in Graham- stown East. Joza is very poor when it comes to water supply,” said Reynolds. Other than the growth of Grahamstown East, according to B&B manager Sally Price-Smith, a lot of municipal bungling could have been avoided by consistent structural maintenance. The municipality, including Myalato, have often blamed the aging infrastructure as the source of the problem. Ward 12 Councillor Brian Fargher said, “We have said time and time again: it is not aging in- frastructure that is the problem but maintenance and planning.”

Price-Smith reported that when she visited one of the worst-affected water treatment sta- tions - James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works - there were Pick ‘n Pay fans cooling the motors. In other cases, the equipment has been left to gather dirt and sludge. Fargher reported an instance where profes- sional divers were brought in from Port Eliza- beth to clean the equipment. It took them three days to remove the sludge. In some cases, there is a complete lack of know-how. According to doctoral candidate at the Institute for Water Research at Rhodes Uni- versity Jai Clifford-Holmes, the last complete set of plans for the city were drawn up in the 1970s. Consequentially, the current municipal staff are unable to read the maps or fix the valves. Myalato added that the controlling systems that manage water control and supply have been left unmaintained and broken. Additionally, the geography of Grahamstown causes a lot of difficulty when it comes to water distribution to the entire town. In brief, the water flows past the areas in Grahamstown East to service Grahamstown West and then back up to Grahamstown East. By the time the water returns to those areas at the end of the chain, there is not enough pressure for the water to reach Grahamstown East. “Let me be brutally honest, we are lucky that the folk in Grahamstown East have been so tolerant, because they know that their water is going past them into Grahamstown West,” said Reynolds. “When Rhodes had that crisis last year, they virtually switched off all the water to Grahamstown East to try and satisfy the students.” Reynolds went on to say that C.M. Vellem Primary School and a number of others have not had water for two years. “The kids go to the loo on the periphery of the playground because the tanks that should be

filled up on a daily basis by the municipality are not,” said Reynolds, “We don’t know how those people battle for water.” Reynolds continued to state that Makana Municipality is lucky to have avoided a cholera outbreak in Grahamstown East and warned that the municipality has to be careful. There are plans for a new pump to be installed to fix the water supply for Grahamstown East but the poor water quality is arguably due to the fact that the people who operate the water treat- ment works are not doing their jobs properly. The bulk of the funding comes from the Department of Water Affairs and various par- ties, including a R75 million rescue package administered by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation. Fargher said Amatola Water has taken control of almost every aspect thus far as the water supply in Makana Municipality is cur- rently in crisis. Reynolds stated that Makana Municipality has no money, which has serious consequences in terms of the time it takes for the plans Amatola Water and Makana have made to be implement- ed. These plans include: expensive infrastructure replacement, the building of reservoirs in order to accommodate the growth of Grahamstown East and general maintenance control upgrades, using new technology and communications. According to Myalato, Amatola Water has also been contracted to manage water alloca- tion, water treatment, water management and to facilitate training for the operating municipal staff. Peter Ellis from MBB Consultants has been contracted to regulate water pressure and con- servation and to help manage the usage of water. Myalato sounded confident when he reported that Makana Municipality has given a commit- ment to the annual National Arts Festival and Scifest Africa that they can go ahead and host these big events in Grahamstown, despite the unending water crisis.

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The Oppidan Press

11 March 2014

News Features

What the Human Chain meant to you

Emily Corke and Chelsea Haith

T hrough the rain and cold, groups of people from all parts of Grahamstown gathered to form a symbolic Human

Chain on 21 February. The event had been advertised as a day of reflection and revelation, but participants

spoke about a range of additional reasons for their participation.

Rhodes University’s Vice-Chancellor Saleem Badat said that Grahamstown linked hands to reflect on the community as an act of solidarity. “We can’t carry on as we are anymore, an injury to one is an injury to all,” said Badat. “It’s time to reflect on who we are and where we’re going as a city.” In fact, there was no single story of what the day meant. Though organisers had anticipated 5000 links in a chain of singu- lar intention, it appears that in reality 4000 people joined hands in a broken line with a number of purposes in mind. The Oppidan Press joined participants in the rain to find out what the event meant to them personally. These are the stories that came across.

to them personally. These are the stories that came across. St Andrews College pupils were among

St Andrews College pupils were among the participants of the Human Chain in Grahamstown in order to commemo- rate Nelson Mandela. Photo: GABRIELLA FREGONA

Local NGO revamped and renewed

Leila Stein and Gemma Middleton

Grahamstown Area and Distress Relief Association (GADRA) was originally started over five decades ago as a poverty alleviation effort. The organisation has transformed many times over the decades, but be- gins 2014 stronger and more resilient after a few troubling years necessi- tated certain internal reformations. In the wake of the Human Chain event, The Oppidan Press took time to learn more about Grahamstown’s oldest NGO. “GADRA had been hit hard by the recession,” said director of GADRA Roger Domingo. “There was not enough money being brought in [and] it was decided to re-access and review the organisation.” Currently, GA- DRA operates three flagship projects. Masihlume is a food security project where families are helped to grow their own produce in order to become self- sufficient; Sinakho is a project assisting those with disabilities; and Ishishimi promotes and creates entrepreneurship among those in poverty-stricken areas. “Only 20% of Grahamstown lives comfortably,” stated Domingo. “The other 80% are in absolute or relative poverty and that is the context in which GADRA operates.”

Domingo explained that in the Masihlume project, GADRA provides initial training and input. “We make sure the garden is estab- lished and only leave when the families are fed and secure,” he said. “We have had tremendous success.” According to Domingo, GADRA assists smaller numbers of people. “The number of people we can assist is based on our donor funding for that year,” he explained. “Last year we helped 60 people with disabilities through the Sinakho project. ” Alongside these three central projects, GADRA also tries to provide immediate disaster relief for families who need urgent assistance. “We have people coming in who need quick material help and support,” explained Domingo. “These people are part of the families and individuals who are assisted as part of the flagship projects.” Domingo went on to explain that most of GADRA’s funding comes from large corporate and international do- nors, but this does not mean those in Grahamstown do not contribute. “Grahamstown locals donate in kind,” he said. “The Human Chain event was run on zero budget and was pulled off because of the smaller dona- tions of radios, equipment and so on

by the locals.” The Human Chain saw a large col- laboration between various NGOs, the University and the town. Domingo took on the role of director of the Human Chain event after being asked by the Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University Saleem Badat. “The VC wanted a project manager from outside [Rhodes],” said Domingo, “to make sure it was not seen as a Rhodes-only event.” Community Engagement director at Rhodes, Di Hornby, echoed Domingo by saying that Rhodes is very con- science of becoming part of the larger community. “The success of the Human Chain was that it was an event for Grahams- town, run by Grahamstown,” she said. Hornby was confident that the relationships between the Rhodes Community Engagement office and GADRA is well established and will be long lasting. Domingo echoed Hornby’s sentiments, saying that the links between NGOs and the Univer- sity continue to grow and that the VC has been instrumental in strengthen- ing those ties. “I have had student volunteers from Rhodes at not just GADRA but also the youth care centre I previously ran,” confirmed Domingo.

Phiwo Dhlamini from Swaziland; standing on African Street “To put our differences aside, unite, be the melting pot that Africa is all about.”

Thandolwethu Ndimba, Nombulelo Senior Secondary School student; standing at Joza Youth Hub “I just thought I should come by here and see what is happening. It is a spe- cial day because all the people are here to celebrate Mandela and what he did for us. Mandela was great man, he fought for us so that is why we are here. It is for freedom.”

Siyanda Mpehlo from extension 6; standing on African Street “Because we are a rainbow nation, trying for reconciliation. To celebrate diversity.”

Tim Barnard, St Andrews College Community Engagement Officer; standing on Ncame Street “We have been involved in the Human Chain since the get-go and it is a cool thing to do. We are partners with Nombulelo School and our guys work here quite often so it made sense to not only form up at our end but also here.”

Mark Boshoff, Saint Andrews College pupil standing on African Street “It is to remember the life of a great man.”

Siphokazi Silumko, Archie Mbolekwa pupil; standing on Ncame Street “I am here today to see what is happening.”

Reece Daniels, Good Shepherd Primary; standing on African Street “We are celebrating Mandela.”

Maike van der Meer, exchange student from the Netherlands; standing on Ncame Street “It looks nice to us to be together and to experience the Human Chain. We all came through today for this.”

Annelisa Tinga, Good Shepherd Primary; standing on African Street “We are here because everyone in SA is important.”

Keenan Bush, St Andrews College student; standing on Ncame Street “I am here to celebrate Mandela, what he did for South Africa.” [Why did you choose to stand here?] “This is where we got put, we were told to stay. We were bussed here.”

Ayanda Yanda, CM Vellem Primary; standing on African Street “We are here for our father.”

Liz Campbell, DSG music teacher; standing on African Street “It is very moving; I want to weep. There are people from all walks of life, laughing; we’re standing here in the rain waiting for life in our land.”

Siphosethu Helesi, Archie Mbolekwa student; standing on Ncame Street “They didn’t tell us much. They say it is about Tata Mandela. He means a lot.”

Professor Pat Terry from Rhodes University; standing on African Street “It is a chance to get together, because we all belong to the same country.”

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11 March 2014

The Oppidan Press

5

Politics

“Get to know the manifesto” #1

Adam Klass

W ith the South African political parties turning their heads toward the fifth democratic elections on 7 May 2014, the whole country looks towards

the policies, promises and plans encompassed in each party’s manifesto. The current structure of government is built on proportional representation, which means that people vote for a political party, not for individuals. Knowing the policy of each available option is vital. So in the editions leading up to the election, The Oppidan Press, will be looking at the manifestos of some of South Africa’s major parties.

at the manifestos of some of South Africa’s major parties. ANC: In January this year, the

ANC:

In January this year, the African National Congress (ANC) presented its manifesto in Nelspruit to a packed stadium of 60 000 supporters. The ANC has put emphasis on what it has achieved over the last twenty years, but has received open criticism for not addressing its plan to move forward.

The party stressed the importance of its National Develop- ment Plan (NDP), which was implemented in 2011 as the core means to addressing marginalisation. Also known as the ‘people’s plan’, the NDP looks to build an inclusive economy and promote leadership in all sectors of the South African economy. President Jacob Zuma stated that this plan will create six million job op- portunities in the informal sector by 2019, and it is intended to extensively reduce inequality and eradicate poverty by 2030. He also noted the need to increase state mining and its poten- tial benefits towards industrialisation. However, Zuma remained persistent in saying that the ANC’s top priorities remain health, education, rural development, land reform, the creation of more jobs, basic provisions and the pursuit of eliminating poverty. With such a broad manifesto and focus on the past, many remain critical of the ruling party’s plans to move South Africa forward. This criticism is mostly directed from the Western Cape and Gauteng, developing strongholds of opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA). However, on a more local level, the ANC boasts overwhelming support in the Eastern Cape. ACDP:

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), formed in

1993, launched its plans for moving South Africa forward – retaining Christian values as the core theme to its manifesto. The ACDP leadership believes that job creation is a primary concern and the most vital tool for closing the gaps in poverty and

inequality. The Party has committed itself to improving the social and economic life of all South African citizens. Equally, the ACDP puts strong focus on stamping out corrup- tion and wants its fiscal policies to rely on eliminating wasteful and corrupt expenditure. It has blamed the long, rigorous legal system for the continuation of crime in South Africa and thus has placed a high value on its anti-crime status and on creating a safe society for all. Furthermore, it wants to provide an alternative to the controversial Gauteng e-tolls. The leadership of the ACDP has openly said that there will probably be a coalition post-elections and that the party could feature in it. Despite this, the ACDP has struggled to gain support in the Eastern Cape and currently has no seats in the provincial government.

ACDP
ACDP

The politics of the closet: sexual orientation at RU

Mitchell Shaun Parker

Sexual orientation and the discussion thereof is something that while it may not seem so, is based very strongly in individual politics. Many Rho- des University students – and many thousands more across the country – wake up each morning having to try and navigate the complicated path of being a member of the LGBTi com- munity. As a result, places like Rhodes – noted for its high inclusivity and ‘home for all’ reputation – have become safe havens for these individuals. However, even within a pro-inclusivity space such as Rhodes, there are still many dynamics that play a huge role in the way people live their lives. The simple act of saying the words “I am gay” or “I am a lesbian” is, in essence, a defiance of what has been normalised in our society and there is something deeply political about that. It is speaking truth to an estab- lished power of heteronormativity and, despite how there is supposedly an increased acceptance within more liberal cultures, there are still dozens of hoops that need to be jumped through before a place of genuine acceptance can be found. Although Rhodes is a refuge for those who self-identify as queer, there are still countless cases of male students who have boyfriends in Grahamstown, but when they return home, they be- have ‘straight’ because family situations or home lives make it impossible to be honest. Culturally, too, there is something political about sexual orientation. Defying an established cultural or religious norm is, again, political. Students who identify as LGBTi can have a tough time trying to relate their internal sexuality to their belief systems. To live outside already estab- lished boundaries can be a powerful and daunting decision. Societies like OutRhodes help de- velop the support base here at Rhodes. They offer insight, guidance and one- on-one discussion about the LGBTi

lifestyle. This open forum, where even the most homophobic of homophobes is allowed to air their views, can help introduce the idea of non-heterosexual love. This, in turn, makes it easier for future generations. Sometimes all someone needs is a role model to stand up and say “It’s okay to be who you are” to allow an easier transition out of the proverbial closet. In spite of the supposedly safe space at Rhodes, there is still much flinging of micro-aggressions. People using, colloquially or not, the phrases “That’s so gay” or “No homo” are directly un- dermining the person that any LGBTi student inherently is. To make some- thing that is so fundamentally a part of them something that can be used as negative is painful. There are cases of students at Rhodes having to move residences because they found themselves in situations where the taunting became too intense, or where conversations were had openly in common rooms where people ex- plicitly stated that they hate gay people. Thus, again, sexual orientation is political. It is an intricate conversation being had, even on an unspoken level, about how people deal with those who are different to themselves within a given community. However, it is not necessarily the case that there is just pressure coming from the heterosexual community to be straight. There is also pressure from the homosexual community to be loud, proud and rainbow-flag-waving. It can seem like if you are not a part of OutRhodes, you are not doing your ‘people’ the service that you owe them. In fact, I, personally, have felt intimi- dated into joining the society for that very reason. It is a funny thing, in many ways: because when the question is posed “Are you joining OutRhodes?” by an eager member, the underlying subtext of “Surely you are? You are a part of the community. You must be?” is very clear and yet never actually stated for fear of, ironically, putting people into boxes. There is something to be said about the way in which we talk about sexual

orientation as a whole though. Alfred Kinsey, noted sexologist, created a scale that measures where an individual stands in terms of sexuality. The scale, importantly, allows for many shades of different orientations and is not always the standard binary of straight/ gay/bisexual. This hints at the ideal world that we should all be striving towards - one in which, as clichéd as it sounds, this article does not even need to be writ- ten; where the simple act of loving another human being does not need to be qualified. It is a world where we do not have to make bold speeches about boycotting Uganda and their notori- ous anti-gay laws, or make a big fuss when we hear that another country has legalised gay marriage. The issue of sexual orientation should not be political, but it is for that reason we all need to be aware of where we place ourselves in that political space - because it can have dramatic impacts on the lives of those around us.

can have dramatic impacts on the lives of those around us. Some students are scared of

Some students are scared of the repercussions of coming out of the proverbial closet. Photo: GABRIELLA FREGONA

around us. Some students are scared of the repercussions of coming out of the proverbial closet.

6

The Oppidan Press

11 March 2014

Opinion

The Oppidan Press

“T his town is boiling.”

These words appeared in a friend’s message requesting that

The Oppidan Press send a writer to town two weeks ago.

Though the weather was undoubtedly warm that day, it was the fact that Grahamstown had awoken to the third in a series of protests to which he was referring. I found myself in agreement with how he had phrased it. Walking across campus and hearing the singing that floated up from just outside the municipal offices, it struck me that anyone who has been keeping an eye on the news would be hard-pressed to find a word that better describes the state of things at present, both in Grahamstown and further afield. The past few years have seen growing global activism and a rise in protests internationally. Oft-cited examples of this include the student protests in Venezuela, the revolts in the Ukraine, and the Uganda uprisings. Searching for the common thread, these can be said to represent the bubbling over of dissent among the many against practices that radically benefit only the few. South Africa currently stands as international society’s most unequal nation and to match this ranking, unsurprisingly boasts some of the highest protest figures in the world. Grahamstown has seen its fair share of these in recent weeks. If we are not yet boiling, then certainly the bubbles are beginning to show. With that in mind, we think it is important that our readers engage with the content both in this edition and on our website as a micro-reflection of broader trends. In reading about students struggling to reveal their true sexual orientation to parents and friends, take a moment to reflect on the domestic and international reaction to Uganda’s radically homophobic laws. Learning about local filmmaker Mark Wilby’s “Cliptivist” project in opposition to rhino poaching and the upcoming march against canned lion hunting, consider whether you agree that we as broader society contribute to these disturbing practices by playing in to the values that inform them. And when you watch the OppiTV clip showing South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) protestors being disbanded by police with stun grenades on High Street, allow your mind to wander to the anti-government protests that have turned to turmoil in Ukraine. We do not say this in an attempt to be dramatic. Of course the above situations are radical and we gratefully acknowledge that our own have not reached such extremes. That said though, it is not impossible to see what connects our context to others on a continuum of collective action. As Siphokazi Magadla argued in a recent seminar at the Department of Politics and International Relations, “the personal is the international”. That which hits closest to home may also reach furthest afield. Arguably, people do not revolt until they have endured all they can and carefully considered how to respond. Big movements begin with small moments. All we are asking is that you think about these and

contemplate where in the bigger picture you think we fit in: on campus, in Grahamstown, nationally, and abroad.

The Oppidan Press staff and contact details

Editor: Kyla Hazell. Deputy Editor: Amanda Xulu. Executive Consultant:

Binwe Adebayo. Managing Editor: Sindisa Mfenqe. Financial Manager:

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Chelsea Haith. News Features Editor: Emily Corke. Assistant News Features Editor: Mila Kakaza. Politics Editor: Tarryn de Kock. Assistant Politics Editor: Mitchell Parker. Opinion Editor: Ben Rule. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Jenna Lillie. Business Editor: Nyasha Manyumwa. Environment Editor: Mikaela Erskog. Sports Editor: Douglas Smith. Assistant Sports Editor: Kimara Singh. Chief Photo Editor: Gabriella Fregona. Assistant Chief Photo Editor: Kellan Botha. Chief Online Photo Editor: Alexa Sedgwick. Chief Sub-Editor: Kaitlin Cunningham. Chief Online Sub-Editor:

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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. A representation of some of
it into our print edition will be published on our website. A representation of some of
it into our print edition will be published on our website. A representation of some of
it into our print edition will be published on our website. A representation of some of

A representation of some of the religions practiced in Grahamstown; Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism. Photo: GABRIELLA FREGONA & ALEXA SEDGWICK

From the horse’s mouth

The segment where the Opinion Editor sits down with a horse’s mouth and gets a few answers. This week’s horse: Religious Societies. This week’s mouth:

Simphiwe Gumede

Ben Rule

S imphiwe Gumede is a former chairperson of one of Rhodes University’s religious societies, 2014 is his fourth year of involvement.

Opinion Editor: What is the perception of the campus mentality surrounding religion/God? I think being able to capture one complete perception is not possible. It seems to me that the various perceptions include those people who believe that their faith in God is the correct one and that campus as a whole is in dire need of being saved. There are also those who believe that their faith is their own little jewel that cannot be shared with anyone else. There are those who believe that God and religion are inseparable and cannot be questioned. There are people who have questions about God and who are interested in finding out more about Him/Her, as well as a lot of people who strongly reject the idea of both God and religion. It’s a diverse space. It seems to me that campus can be quite a closed space

to religious activity or expression, especially if aimed at the non-religious people on campus. It seems that it is easier on this campus to publicly drink alcohol than it is to publicly express religion. It seems more acceptable for people to be harassed in an attempt to get them to party than for them to be harassed in an attempt to get them to church. Is it worth the fight to have a religious space on campus? Or is this part of the reason that so much of religion is boxed away off campus, quietly out of sight? If we were to consider the number of people who are in the various bars every weekend and compare those numbers with those who are at various places of worship,

I think you would find that those numbers are even, at the

very least. In mentioning this we must also note that in the middle of campus lies a Mosque which is regularly used throughout the week without much notice or concern by students. We should also note the chapel on St Peter’s Cam- pus, and the service held in the General Lecture Theatre on

a Friday night. This makes for a strong argument for an ex- isting religious presence on campus, and perhaps even for

a wider spread of churches on campus. We seem to be in

a situation where there is a religious presence on campus, but it is perhaps overlooked or not recognised. Many of the religious services which take place off

campus are specifically aimed at students, or have aspects which cater for students. If there are already structures in place to support students, does this make religious societies redundant? There is no redundancy, because one of the big roles that societies play in the life of students, especially the new students who come from all parts of the country, is that of creating an on-campus support system. Making the transition to a new place is challenging , and maintaining a strong and well-rooted faith on campus can sometimes be very difficult. Religious societies on campus offer students both the opportunity to come together and worship on/ off campus but also to hopefully have a space on campus to meet and tackle student-related issues. The societies therefore have a very specific role to play because they need to be able to provide engagement with and advice on the issues that face young religious students on campus. Socie- ties also give churches off campus the opportunity to reach students on campus, through the use of campus resources. Because our societies are inside campus, we have the abil- ity to organise and coordinate meetings and events from within the student population. There is a large part of campus which adopts a lifestyle and behaviour which is contrary to some of the doc- trine which governs the practicing of various religions. If one is too open to the stereotypical ‘Rhodes culture’, one risks contradicting those religious principles. At the same time to alienate oneself from campus and the people on it might result in losing the diversity of view- points which is part of the university experience. How can the student leaders of religious communities deal with this dilemma? Perhaps a place to start is that of understanding what it is that our religious doctrine is actually advising us to do or how to live. I think it is understanding, from a student’s perspective, what the doctrine that we follow actually means that will help us in our ability to address the dilemma. Such is the importance of having religious societies on campus because they have the responsibility to address the dilemma that faces a lot of religious students. Perhaps religious societies need to dedicate more time and effort to teaching and understanding the various doctrines that we subscribe to and follow, then spend time trying to understand how we can apply them in a student context.

11 March 2014

The Oppidan Press

7

Opinion

11 March 2014 The Oppidan Press 7 Opinion A number of Rhodes students find the nightclub

A number of Rhodes students find the nightclub scene a worthwhile pastime. Photo: SARAH WARD

Sobriety is just another state of mind

Ben Rule and Alan Kirkaldy

The nightclub experience is simul- taneously maligned and coveted, its

attraction difficult to explain. This is an attempt to do just that.

I saw a documentary once about how Stonehenge was built for the acoustics. The stones are shaped

in such a precise way that the reverb rivals that of a modern lecture theatre. This is essential to understanding the rituals which once took place there – if drums are played at strategic places within the arrangement of stones, the rhythm becomes almost hypnotic. Due to the sound waves bouncing off the stones, any light in the vicin- ity begins to dance in time with the rhythm. Mind-altering substances are ingested to heighten the spiritual experience of the ritual. Rhythm leads to chanting, possibly dancing. This happened in Stonehenge. Essentially, it still happens today. At Prime. And Friars. And Monastery. Society (in all its conservative, mor- alising, self-restrained grandeur) has been known to have a few problems with substance abuse, overly loud music and generally uninhibited be- haviour (basically: all the things which we are not allowed to do in residence).

Throw in periodical uproar about the sexually explicit dancing which pervades pop-culture, add a furrowed brow at the mention of one-night

stands, and it becomes clear that there

is little going on in nightclubs which

society approves of. It needs to be said upfront that most of these are legitimate issues. The

problem is that their collective weight has become almost a single percep- tion which is constantly serving to invalidate the nightclub experience. Many of us are a bit too familiar with

a hangover-propelled, guilt-edged

self-questioning of our previous night’s behaviour. I have heard many com- plaints about Friars being disgusting mostly from people who frequent it. I am constantly shocked by the stories of depravity which follow a night at Mon-

astery. Whenever I visit either, I leave smelling like the industrial revolution.

If these are combined with the above

societal concerns, it’s easy to see how the nightclub experience has come to be thought of as some escapism-based circumvention of conscience some- thing without value. This is a simplistic understanding.

If nightclubs were that objectively un-

pleasant, they wouldn’t be so popular. The combination of rhythm, flashing

lights, dancing and substance abuse

(which I will refer to as the elements)

is something that the various cultures

of the world seem to have in com- mon with each other. Music festivals

are proof of this – tens of thousands of people, sometimes more, descend upon a single place for this exact experience. The resurgence of elec- tronic music has led to festivals such as Tomorrowland becoming almost a global experience. Even Glastonbury, traditionally a rock music festival, is beginning to incorporate more DJs in

its line-up. It seems clear that human- ity has a collective attraction to these elements. It seems that they are deeply embedded in the human psyche. It also seems clear that this is not

a new attraction. The San used the canna plant in their spiritual rituals, which included the other elements.

The Venda people had a dance known as malombo (a spirit possession dance) which was a similarly spiritual experience. The aboriginal cultures in Australia have a related ritual. Peyote was used in the training of shamans (from various cultures) in

South America, and the Stonehenge experience has been described above. All over the world, there are reports of

a similar combining of the elements.

All of these different rituals combined

the elements to achieve some sort of trance state, which was moulded to fit

the specific culture in which the ritual was taking place. Often the trance state was a medium through which spiritual experience was accessed. Sometimes

it was used as a mental or spiritual

cleansing; sometimes a celebration. It seems that the latter is still particularly applicable in our current experiences of the elements. This attraction we have to the ele- ments is more than just escaping our workloads and rebelling against our upbringings. Nightclubs are the mod- ern extension of these ancient rituals. They are not an assault on the senses. They are an exploration of them. With

appetite. With vigour and zest. It should be noted that the rituals were not accessible to the majority of those ancient societies – they were conducted by the shamans or spiritual leaders in controlled circumstances. Anyone in our society is able to partake in the elements freely. This seems to follow a historical trend towards accessibility – there was a time when priests had to be paid to speak with God on your behalf, now many claim to have a personal relationship

The nightclub experience has come to be thought of as some escapism-based circumvention of conscience – something without value.

with Him. So although this may be a relatively new experience for whole societies to be having, the experience itself is older than we can imagine. So don’t get dragged into arguments, trying to justify why you go out. Do not subscribe to the societal binary of sober and drunk. Smokes, drugs and alcohol are more than just depend- ence-inducing reflections of a bored and troubled personality. Your attrac- tion to Friars, Monastery and Prime are legitimate. Your experiences there are valid and valuable. Society over emphasises the value of sobriety – but sobriety is just another state of mind.

Rhodes prejudice against international students

Mikaela Erskog

I recently attempted to renew my study permit using all the documentation proposed by the Rhodes International Office webpage. The official at the South African High Commission would not accept my application. Such an experience among international students is not uncommon. The application form was recently updated, so I had to fill in the new one. I had the incorrect format for my proof of funding. I had to show proof that my parents were indeed my biologi- cal creators, despite that being a requirement for minors. I had signed my name in a pen that was more midnight blue than charcoal black. After consulting local police, I had a receipt for my application for a Police Clearance Certificate. However my study permit application was unacceptable without the Certificate itself, which unbeknownst to me had not begun its postal journey in November 2013 from Grahamstown to the Criminal Records Centre Headquarters in Pretoria. Personal blunders aside, this was a complex and rather unpleas- ant encounter with South African bureaucracy. However, this is not an attack on South African bureaucracy; I accept that foreign- ers should go through all the correct government channels and provide the requested documentation in order to gain the various benefits of being in this country. My issue is more with Rhodes University.

Although a South African institution, Rhodes benefits greatly from the influx of foreign students. If Rhodes is so happy to ac- cept applications and take money, it should at least help students with the ordeal they face to commit to this university. Students are left to wade through a massive bureaucracy without much help, and it would definitely be in Rhodes’ interest to assist with this where it can. According to the 2014 International Student Services docu- ment, one of the services rendered by the Rhodes International Office is “facilitating the study permit application process”. However, the international students at Rhodes do not get enough direct assistance when beginning the process of applying for or renewing their study permits. The information available is not comprehensive enough – there is no mention of the requested copy of one’s birth certificate or country of origin’s population register, for example. Returning international students have given years of academic, financial and physical commitment to the university. Yet when trying to renew study permits, information about how to do so is either incorrect or exceptionally hard to find. This clearly suggests a prejudice against international students. When International Week is on the horizon there are frequent communications between the office and international students. The University sends an email inviting you to wave your flag in pride and celebrate your difference. Yet it seems that it cannot

send out a reminder that the renewal of a study permit requires a police clearance certificate that can take up to three months to process. Even a standardised and updated document, perhaps including an answered list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), would be extremely helpful. If this could be emailed to international students, many problems would potentially be advoided. It would be in all of our interests if the university’s International Office expanded its communication, but it only seems to communicate for its own benefit – at the expense of legitimate student interests. According to the Internationalisation page on the Rhodes web- site, “Internationalisation is the process of integrating an interna- tional dimension into the… service functions of an institution”. This says to me that the University is interested in providing services to international students that help to integrate them into the university. When international students make up approxi- mately 20% of the student body (1 550 international students registered for 2013, according to the International Office), these services are profoundly inadequate. If the increased fee income is not incentive enough, then surely the spirit of inclusion that Rhodes stamps on its ethical banner should motivate the university to streamline its commitment to international students. This account reflects Erskog’s personal experience and not necessarily that of all international students.

8

The Oppidan Press

11 March 2014

Features

8 The Oppidan Press 11 March 2014 Features Luke Cadden makes his own face wash using

Luke Cadden makes his own face wash using coffee, lemon, and cinnamon. Photo: GABRIELLA FREGONA

DIY homemade hygiene products

Luke Cadden

Environment

I n the age of consumerism, buying store products is convenient. The bad news is that this convenience

often comes at the price of unhealthy hair and skin and can also do damage to the environment. Now for the good news: you can make some of the essential products at home, which is not only easy but cost- effective and fun. Some store-bought products may be labelled as ‘natural’ but are often far from it. Many contain highly processed ingredients that make the products less rejuvenating and natural than they claim to be. The most controversial of these in- gredients are parabens (preservatives), which have frequently been called into question. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, parabens in cosmetic products are well below the level considered harmful. However links have been made between breast tumours and the parabens found in their tissue, suggesting the need for further research. Aware of the inorganic contents of mainstream beauty products, Politics Honours student Dani de Klerk warned of their dubious list of

ingredients. “If you cannot pronounce the ingredient, you probably shouldn’t be buying it,” she said. De Klerk knows a thing or two about making some environmentally friendly homemade body products. Her creations vary from products like body wash and make-up remover to more maverick inventions such as eyeliner and deodorant. Apart from being environmentally conscious, de Klerk’s creations are cheaper and more efficient for long term use, in compari- son to supermarket products. Homemade deodorant is a great way to combat the release of harmful chlorofluorocarbons, which con- tributes to ozone depletion, whilst maintaining one’s hygiene standards. Check out the recipe below to see how to make your own. History Honours student Catherine Bower said that she would be open to the idea of making her own products. Explaining her concerns about a num- ber of store-bought products, “They’re overpriced and I am worried about where and what they are tested on”. As consumers, we must be aware of the wider repercussions of our behaviour. These products are not only unhealthy for us but harm animals in the testing process. They also cause

the excessive and wasteful production of materials used in their packaging - materials which often degrade the natural environment when disposed of incorrectly. Apart from these environmental benefits, which are motivation enough, there is a certain peace of mind and self-empowerment that comes from doing it yourself. For more information on environmen- tally- and animal-friendly products, visit www.vegansa.com.

Make your own deodorant:

Ingredients:

¼ cup of baking soda

¼ cup cornstarch (Maizena) ¼ cup coconut oil

¼ cup hemp seed oil

Method:

Mix ingredients together with warm water until a paste is formed. Place into a container and refrigerate for storage purposes. When you want to use it, warm the mixture and apply to body as a thin paste.

use it, warm the mixture and apply to body as a thin paste. Faculties and language

Faculties and language work hand in hand

Mila Kakaza

In a bid to promote cultural diversity and multilingualism, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) declared 21 February the annual International Mother Language Day in 1999. Living in a country which boasts 11 official languages, there is no doubt that language is of great importance in all spheres of South African life. Senior Lecturer in the Law Faculty Liezel Niesing stated that although English is the universal language of law, it must be noted that every indi- vidual has the right to have access to the law in their mother tongue. “It’s important to learn isiXhosa, especially in the Eastern Cape, in order to speak to the interpreter, because a lot can be lost in translation,” she said. South African law requires profes- sionals to be able to read cases in English, Afrikaans and occasionally isiXhosa. However, isiXhosa for Law has not yet been made compulsory for

law students. “It must be a priority for both the student and teaching bodies,” said

Niesing, “[but] it seems that it has not been deemed a requirement at this stage.” One department which has recog- nised the importance of isiXhosa in careers is the Rhodes University Jour- nalism department. The isiXhosa for Journalism course, a requirement for those studying towards a Journalism degree, has caused much controversy. However, Dr Pamela Maseko of the Department of African Language Studies reinforced that the aim of the course was to provide awareness about the linguistic and cultural diversity of the Eastern Cape. Specifically, the course aims to encourage the understanding that South Africa has many languages and cultures which should be reflected in the reporting and gathering of news. To Maseko, isiXhosa is very impor- tant as it is her mother tongue and

Your mother tongue is an integral part of your identity you can’t distance yourself from it.

- Rebecca Domingo Lecturer of German Studies

one of the ways in which she identi- fies herself. “It’s the language which I first conceptualised anything in, the language I think in,” she said. Other Rhodes departments are also getting on board with the idea of teaching isiXhosa. Professor in the De- partment of Education Joseph Michael stated that the Department has begun teaching isiXhosa as a third additional language due to the implementation of the Incremental Introduction of African Languages policy. “It will be the first time having English-speaking teachers teaching an African language,” he explained. Professor Gareth Cornwell of the English Department stated that humanity is enriched by a variety of languages and diversity. “Educational experts agree that children should acquire literacy and numeracy in their mother tongue and be taught in their first language for at the least a few grades,” he said. Cornwell went on to say that whilst a mother tongue is important to one's identity, it is increasingly important to speak several languages as we live in a multicultural world. Lecturer of German Studies Rebecca Domingo explained that as individu- als we are not always aware of the great impact our mother tongue has in our lives. “Your mother tongue is an integral part of your identity,” she said. “You can’t distance yourself from it.” International Mother Language Day may have come and gone but multi- culturalism continues to be worthy of celebration.

International Mother Language Day may have come and gone but multi- culturalism continues to be worthy

11 March 2014

The Oppidan Press

9

Features

Cliptivism: personal journeys against poaching

Jenna Lillie Arts & Entertainment

G rahamstown filmmaker Mark Wilby

is in the process of filming his social

documentary The Cliptivists. The name

originates from Wilby’s personal journey of trying to understand environmental phe- nomena such as rhino poaching as symptoms of greater societal issues. The foundation of

Wilby’s film is his search for an alternative ap- proach to environmental responsibility. “The rhino poaching issue is currently the most focused and glaring example of our inability

- despite phenomenal amounts of concern, effort

and expenditure – to deal effectively with socie- ties’ corrosive effect on the environment,” said

Wilby. “Surely this means that we need to rethink the questions and take harder stock of our own complicity in this state of affairs.” In protest against Rhino horn poaching, Wilby sent his toenail clippings to the Chinese Embassy

in Pretoria. “There was absolutely no reaction but

I understand that the Chinese Embassy has come

under a lot of flack from all corners so something

so informal and subversive didn’t need to be

graced with a response,” Wilby explained. “I didn’t want to point fingers and place blame on the Chinese Embassy or the Chinese people,”

he continued. “It was done purely out of a sense

of helplessness and not knowing who to address.”

Inadvertently, his intentions were achieved when they caught the attention of the public, in- cluding international news organisations. “It was strange that something so small was being picked up on so quickly whereas bigger corporations and organisations can be overlooked, but one small act drew so much attention,” he said. Wilby recognised the need for an ongoing nar- rative and knew that the limelight would quickly

Top environmental films:

for any member of Earth’s society

Top environmental films: for any member of Earth’s society A skype conversation with Quyen Vu of

A skype conversation with Quyen Vu of ENV - a Vietnamese animal rights NGO and the five cliptivists Jafferay, Wilby, Nqelana, Mali and Copteros. Photo: MARK WILBY

fade if he did not act fast to keep the story rel- evant. So he jumped at the opportunity presented to him when mainland China called to discuss his toenail clippings. Several months of conversations and plan- ning led to the project taking shape late last year. Wilby assembled five “ostensibly ordinary individuals” with the purpose of emphasising the notion of the everyday person grappling with bigger social issues. The eclectic cast are made up of a Buddhist, a teenager, a drummer, an actor and a Rastafar- ian - a modern day “Breakfast Club” where five seemingly different perspectives join together to pose hard questions regarding our agency in society. Wilby has crafted a documentary that will follow the journey of self-discovery and societal understanding through the eyes of the Cliptivists. Wilby wanted to avoid the label ‘activist’, believing that it implied a rigid and confronta- tional stance which was not his intention of the project. Wilby emphasises the ordinariness of the five personalities by explaining that it gives them the privilege of being able to ask the difficult

If anything, the conference responses has made all of us involved more determined to make a film that the public wants to see

- Carla Wilby Cliptivist

questions. “They are not constrained by constitu- encies or vested interests or entrenched ideas, and are therefore naturally closer to those who need to be drawn into conversation,” he said. The Cliptivists have engaged in extensive re- search as a group in order to expand their knowl- edge on the issues surrounding this documentary. Charlotte Jafferay, Carla Wilby, Strato Copteros, Push Nqelana and Xola Mali have undergone rig- orous on-set sessions with experts and specialists coupled with fieldwork. Wilby took his footage to the Wild Talk Africa Conference in Durban to showcase his material.

As expected, there was an influx of similar documentaries hoping to deal with the issue of conservation and poaching. International broad- casters such as National Geographic and the Brit- ish Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) attend these conferences to find new material, which meant that the pressure for funding was palpable. Wilby received a rude awakening when the re- sponse to his work was the feeling that the public would not want to see the content because they were more interested in the entertainment value. “I find that tragic,” explained Wilby. Initially he was hoping to make two 60-minute episodes for television and flighted for a certain demographic but after the conference he had to re-evaluate this vision. “If anything, the confer- ence responses has made all of us involved more determined to make a film that the public wants to see,” remarked Wilby. The nature of the film is episodic, so the fram- ing of the story hinges on the five personalities who are embarking on a “David and Goliath mission”. The initial Cliptivist promo utilised the classic Western genre as a mechanism to orient

viewers to the plot. “It just takes a few seconds or

a piece of music to let an audience know the type of film they are watching. Not only do people understand it, we hope it attracts them,” Wilby explained.

Utilising the Arts was the first step in fleshing out this social project, but Wilby is aiming for broader participation too. He hopes to actively draw in more minds so the project can grow into

a more participatory relationship between the

public and the Cliptivists. “The Cliptivists stand for you and me because we identify with them,” said Wilby.

See the next edition of The Oppidan Press for more information on how Grahamstown is getting involved in Cliptivism.

on how Grahamstown is getting involved in Cliptivism. Mikaela Erskog   The Exposé of Corporate Greed

Mikaela Erskog

 

The Exposé of Corporate Greed

they can immediately change them.

and the different values systems that people have – not everyone is profit

Why watch it? “This slow-moving and beautifully made film shows with abso- lute clarity the way in which a localised environmental catastrophe in Tanzania becomes a site of further capitalist ex- ploitation that leaves people struggling on the brink of survival, whilst becom-

Environment

 

2.

The Lost City of Atlantis(Animated)

4.

An Inconvenient Truth and The

orientated.”

Over the years, many films and docu- mentaries concerning the environ- ment have been made. The following works should be on everyone’s ‘must watch’ list, for many good reasons. They have been ordered from least to most disturbing visual imagery.

Chronicles how the naiveté of a young scholar blinds him from seeing the true purpose of the ‘scientific’ mission run by an energy company, and reiter- ates how monetary goals lead to many a civilisation’s demise. Why watch it? It makes one aware of one’s implicit participation in damag- ing commercial ventures and the likely damages of said ventures, i.e. draining the life force of an entire community.

Global Warming Swindle The first predicts that human practices will cause global warming; the second tries to refute the argument of the first. Why watch them? One started a thriv- ing global movement and the other aims to expose it.

George Barrett

Environmental Politics and Ethics Lecturer:

6.

Wasteland

ing a means through which to further exploit the continent and its people.”

The Harsh, True and Gory Reality

Evidence of the severity of the waste produced by humankind and how it affects not only the Earth but human lives also. Why watch it? “This is a beauti- ful and moving documentary that really demonstrates the power of the human spirit and dignity of people

 

The Morally Poignant Adventure

 

Expert’s Choices

 

1. The Lorax (Animated)

Sheona Shackleton Professor and Head of Environmental Science Department:

8. Earthlings A compelling documentary arguing that all living creatures are equal dwell- ers on Earth. It exhibits the problem- atic nature of speciesism (prejudice against non-human life) and exposes the inhumanity of seemingly common animal-human interactions. NOTE: Not for the faint of heart! Why watch it? It makes you re-evalu- ate your role in everyday, environmen-

A

tale of how one young man’s dreams

Also see: Avatar

of

fame and fortune can turn into

corporate cruelty that abuses natural resources and devastates the surround- ing environment. Why watch it? This film spells out a fundamental ethical crisis: a world motivated solely by the capitalist com- mercialism/consumerism dynamic will destroy the environment and we will lose something inherently good and magical. Also see: Freedom Fuels and Blue Gold.

 

The Game Changers

5.

Promised Land

who are marginalised in society. It is both heart-breaking and inspiring as it shows how, in the rubbish dumps of the world and the harsh realities of Catadore life [self-designated recycling pickers], lives hope.”

 

An exposé on the practices of the shale

3. The 11th Hour

gas extraction industry.

A comprehensive overview of all the

environmental problems that are threatening the future existence of the planet. Why watch it? It has many acclaimed

Why watch it? “Similar extraction of shale gas is proposed on our own doorstep [and this evidences] the deviousness of the companies involved in mineral and fossil fuel extraction,

7.

Darwin's Nightmare

tally-problematic practices. Also see: Food Inc. Contact George Barrett at g.barrett@ ru.ac.za for most of these films.

contributors and communicates the

in that they ‘planted’ an environmen- tal activist. [The movie indicates] the

Documents how the introduction of alien species can and will destroy the indigenous species and ecology.

need for all human beings to be aware

of

our detrimental ways of life so that

benefits of collective mobilisation

10

The Oppidan Press

11 March 2014

Arts & Entertainment

The Oppidan Press 11 March 2014 Arts & Entertainment Wimzé is one of the stores in

Wimzé is one of the stores in Grahamstown that offers a large variety of products for crafting. Photo: GABRIELLA FREGONA

Keeping Grahamstown crafters in the loop

Bronte Moeti

E veryone has experienced that day when

they go out and every second person

seems to be wearing the same outfit.

The mass production of clothes similar in style has sparked an arts and crafts revolution, where individualism is taking centre stage and identities are being reclaimed through personal creations. Crafting has always had a very specific set of associations, including your grandmother’s knit- ted scarves or your preschool art projects, and this can often mislead people into thinking that it is just not for them. The craft revival is all about experimentation and it goes beyond the usual knitting and needle- work, branching into woodwork, fabric painting, paper crafts and so much more. Platforms such as Pinterest, Tumblr and

various DIY blogs are becoming so popular that artisan arts and crafts shops are popping up in every city - and Grahamstown is no exception. In the Loop, found below Red Cafe', opened its doors on 10 February. Owner Tasanee Hermans credits the opening of her store to a lack of innovation in this newly expanding market. Although In the Loop is small in scale, it is more flexible when it comes to ordering supplies that one cannot find in the larger stores. Hermans is also perfectly happy for you to sell your own crafts through the stores for a 35% commission. Items of interest include jewellery, clothing and knitted items. For those who are not confident in their craft skills yet, lessons on knitting and crocheting are offered at In the Loop on a weekly basis, with one class aimed at beginners and another for those who are more experienced. Hermans is quick to add that these classes are

not just for older females, but also for young men and women who are looking for a peaceful space. However, online DIY sites may be more ac- cessible to students with tight schedules or who prefer to step away from the typical knitting and sewing route. Third-year student and avid arts and crafter Sarah-Ann Moore uses online resources to sup- plement her knowledge and skills. “Go online and tap into the crafting energy currently circulating the internet,” she advised. Moore also believes that crafting is not only about the sense of accomplishment one gets from starting and finishing a project but that it can also be a tool to learn how to repurpose materials. “I feel less wasteful and [more] engaged with notions of how to live more sustainably on a daily level,” explained Moore. If you’re looking for material to create your arts and crafts, it may at first seem that supplies

within Grahamstown are limited, but it is just a matter of looking in the right places: T.Birch & Co and Jacksons, both located on High Street, can provide an assortment of crafting accessories as well as a selection of wools and fabrics. BUCO Hardware, located on Bathurst Street, can assist with the more heavy-duty craft en- deavours while ABM Office National on New Street provides a wider selection of stationery and art materials. Wimzé on Cuyler Street (off New Street) boasts what is surely the best selection of ribbons in town. If you’re looking for inspiration about what to create, websites such as abeautifulmess.com and ohcrafts.net offer e-courses and step-by-step guides on practically any crafts project. If you still find yourself with something resem- bling a pre-schooler’s art project, then YouTube it. Failing that, simply support the local arts and crafts business and buy ready-made items.

art project, then YouTube it. Failing that, simply support the local arts and crafts business and

11 March 2014

The Oppidan Press

11

Arts & Entertainment

Creative writers to be published in anthology

Jordan Stier

S ome writers share a deep- seated desire to be published. Now, courtesy of the Institute

for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA) Creative Writing Course, Rhodes students and Graham- stown residents will be able to see their name in print when the course’s anthology, Aerial 2013, is launched on Tuesday. The semester-long course, run by ISEA, is now in its fifteenth year, with over 270 people having com- pleted it so far. Every year an anthol- ogy of both prose and verse works produced by course participants is professionally compiled and pub- lished. This year, the anthology also includes a travel writing section. A copy of the work is to be kept by the National English Literary Museum, making the prestige of the publica- tion all the more notable. The main aim of the course, ac- cording to anthology editor Jeannie Mckeown is to “get you unblocked” as a writer. She praised the course’s ability to get aspirant writers, such as third-year Sibella Louw, to put their words on paper. “It’s given me ways to activate my brain when I’m low on inspiration, so that I’ll always be able to write if I try hard enough,”

said Louw. The course encourages the writers to be free and open in their work. “Creative writing will always be personal to an extent, and that’s something writers need to make peace with,” commented Louw, add- ing that she feels very privileged to have her poetry (both English and Afrikaans pieces) published. Mckeown, who took the course previously, acclaimed it for being enjoyable, educational and helpful. “Writers are fantastic people to be around,” she added, speaking of the teachers who present the course. These include noted Grahamstown writers like Megan van der Nest and Graham Conan Reed. Harry Owen, poet and organ- iser of the Reddit poetry evenings, praises the course and the annual anthology it produces. “I have long supported the ISEA Creative Writ- ing course, which does excellent work in promoting and facilitating creative writing of all kinds, and fully expect their usual high stand- ards to be evident this year.” He also wished the book and its contributors every success. The Aerial 2013 book launch will take place at 17h30 on Wednesday 12 March at the Eastern Star Mu- seum on Anglo-African Street.

March at the Eastern Star Mu- seum on Anglo-African Street. The Electronic Sports World Cup 2012

The Electronic Sports World Cup 2012 hosted by Paris Games Week in Paris, France. Photo: WWW.OXENT.NET

The global rise of electronic sport industry

Kylen Plasket-Govender Scitech

As an industry, esports has really taken off in the last year, with the net investments into the industry more than tripling. Even games which are supposedly dying out are still experiencing some degree of growth, but merely failing to keep up with the prosperity that the other games bring forth. In an age where electronic devices largely control how people live their lives, it is no surprise that esports are catching up to real sports in both net worth and popularity. The esports industry is largely made up of two parts: game streamers and professional gamers. Game stream- ers are people who play a game while livestreaming their video, to which the public can then connect via their browser to watch them play live. The most popular website for streaming is twitch.tv, where people stream everything from amateur games of Pokémon to professional Call

of Duty matches. Another big part of the industry is professional gaming. The most popular are DotA 2 and League of Legends. Both are free-to-play multiplayer on- line battle arena games (MOBA). They have become so popular that they are now officially considered a sport in the United States and some of the more successful players are millionaires through sponsorships, endorsement deals and tournament prizes. There are mixed emotions about whether these players should really be treated like athletes, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve the same respect. Like any professionals, gamers put a lot of time and effort into per- fecting their craft - some DotA teams spend up to 10 hours a day practising before major tournaments, and the money involved is on par with many other professional sports. This year’s DotA 2 international championship had a total prize pool of $2.8 million. Of this, $1.6 Million went to the winners of the tournament, with

each player receiving some $320 000. This prize money is over and above their salaries and other performance bonuses from the sponsors. Part of the money in the prize pool was made up from a compendium that was released. The interactive compen- dium allowed amateur players to watch the tournament in the DotA 2 game, make a fantasy team of professional players that would accrue them points, and take friendly bets against their friends that have a compendium on match outcomes and tournament stats. Gaming is clearly a growing indus- try both in terms of popularity and fi- nancing. While it may take a while for esports to be taken seriously by people who are new to the concept, competi- tive gaming is making its way onto the world scene and for now seems to stay. It is definitely the future of gam- ing and will only continue to grow exponentially in the foreseeable future as more sponsors, viewers and gamers become aware of the huge potential this new ‘sport’ has to offer.

Societies: who made the cut?

Jordan Stier

Rhodes University is renowned for its abundance of societies despite the campus’ size. However, all of these societies need to be monitored and a period of probation was called for in 2013. The 2014 Student Repre- sentative Council (SRC) has implemented many changes regarding societies and this has raised questions concerning the criteria that determined which societies would be renewed or rejected. “Some societies were very inactive,” explained SRC Liaison Officer Eric Ofei, referring to the 80-odd societies recognised by the SRC in 2013. “They were still listed as active but were actually not doing anything, so those were removed.” SRC Societies’ Councillor Stace Scallan explained that the societies which have been cut are those which have been inactive for over five years. Societies were also eradicated if they showed non-compliance with the official SRC Societies policy. “Some of the societies didn’t attend training [and] they didn’t hand in semester reports, so they had to be taken off as well,” Ofei said. “Every year this process will be done so as to keep everyone active,” he warned, indicating the massive register that lay on his desk which took note of societies’ committees that did or did not attend the societies’ training last week. Scallan explained that having too many socie- ties became unmanageable. Factors that arise from having too many societies include thinner divisions of budgets, and negative public percep- tions of the SRC’s ability to manage societies efficiently when their performances don’t match their initial promises. “We currently have 76 societies, and constitu- tionally we need to have 65,” Scallan observed. However, Scallan stressed that societies fulfilling

Some of the societies didn’t attend training [and] they didn’t hand in semester reports, so they had to be taken off as well

- Eric Ofei SRC Liaison Officer

their role in the university would not have to worry about being chopped for the sake of adhering to the constitution. “In my opinion, if a society is something that really benefits the university and brings good, rather than bad, then why decline it?” Also worth noting is that the SRC is not only making cuts. Five new societies made the list for 2014, on the premise that they would offer something new and exciting to the existing list of societies. “All five will be on probation for 2014,” said Scallan. “They have a year to prove that they are actually doing what they said they would do. If they’re not at the end of this year, then they don’t continue.” Sihle Magubane, Secretary General of the new Rhodes Model United Nations (RMUN) society, has been pushing for the group’s inclusion since last year. He organised and presented a petition to the SRC, filled with the signatures of students supporting RMUN’s initiation as an SRC-recog- nised society. “There’s a need to raise awareness, as far as students are concerned, of global issues that have quite a huge influence on their lives and even their countries’ policies,” said Ma- gubane, justifying the need for his society. Other new societies include: Ink, a creative writing society; a Christian group called the Dynamic Youth Network; a Community Engage- ment group called the Jehovah Jirah Haven; and Club de Capoeira, a dance and fighting-based martial arts society.

Capoeira, a dance and fighting-based martial arts society. Call for Applications Media Relations Officer The Rhodes

Call for Applications

Media Relations Officer

The Rhodes University Communications & Marketing Division is seeking a Media Relations Officer to implement a media engagement strategy and plan aimed at enhancing media coverage and media image of the University.

The incumbent will work to ensure the media infrastructure and systems make it easy to source information and images internally and assist internal stakeholders in dealing successfully with the media.

Requirements: At least Matric plus a Degree in Journalism and Media Studies, Public Relations or Communications or

Marketing (3 years) or similar (NQF level 6).

Postgraduate students are encouraged to apply.

For more info visit:

www.ru.ac.za/jobs/

currentvacancies/support

Contract: part time, ends 31 Dec 2014 with possibility of renewal.

Applications available at:

www.ru.ac.za/jobs/

currentvacancies/support

Contact:

communicatons@ru.ac.za; 046 603 8570

Closing Date: 28 March 2014

www.ru.ac.za

Marching for Lion Pride

Page 3

Sports

Clubbing through the ages

Page 7

Rhodes University is set to host the USSA rugby tournament . Photo: ASHLEE WILSON

Eco-friendly pampering

Page 8

Rhodes to host USSA rugby tournament

Douglas Smith

R hodes University is set to host the

national rugby tournament from 30

University Sports South Africa (USSA)

June to 4 July. Hosting such a prestigious tournament is set to provide a huge boost for Rhodes rugby. Rhodes was awarded the privilege of hosting this high profile event after hosting a hugely suc- cessful USSA soccer tournament in 2010. Head of Sports Administration, Mandla Gagayi said that USSA called it “the best event in the past 10 years”. Gagayi said that Rhodes raised the bar for subsequent soccer tournaments and that the aim was to do the same for rugby. “They must

be saying ‘we want it back at Rhodes every year’,” Gagayi said. Part of the reason for Rhodes’s success is that it is an ideal tournament location, boast- ing some of the best residences and dining halls in the country. The University will not have to spend money in order to host either, as the event is wholly funded by the South African Rugby Union (SARU). The event will see 24 universities competing across four different sections. The A-section will consist of Varsity Cup rugby sides, while the B- section will be made up of Varsity Shield teams. The teams in the lower sections are ranked according to their previous performance at USSA events. In past years, Rhodes competed in the

C-section of the tournament. Rhodes did not take part in 2013 and as a result was relegated to the D-section. “We did not compete at the TUT tournament last year, because we believed that we would embarrass ourselves,” Gagayi admitted. Gagayi attributes the last year’s slump in the standard of Rhodes rugby team to the narrowly- missed-out promotion to the B-section in 2012. “We lost to NW Vaal by one point and as a result we missed out on a promotion opportunity,” Gagayi explained. “Since then we have been demotivated and the club has taken a hit.” Gagayi hopes that the USSA rugby tourna- ment will motivate players and put Rhodes rugby on the map. “We want rugby to be compared to the likes of hockey at Rhodes. It must not just be a sideshow sport,” Gagayi said.

Despite Rhodes’ relegation to the D-section last year, USSA has offered the team a spot in the B-section for 2014. Rhodes cannot take part in the C-section, due to its relegation last year. However, USSA believes that the Rhodes side must be advanced because it will be too strong for the D-section. “We want to see how the 2014 team looks before we the play Varsity Shield teams and get walloped,” Gagayi said. However, it could be equally useless to play in the D-section and face opposition that will not put up a fight. Gagayi says that one motivation for playing in the D-section is the potential morale boost should the team win the section and earn pro- motion back into the C-section. “Our ultimate goal is to make it into Varsity Shield,” he said.

A well-shaped column: a cyclist’s approach to good health

Douglas Smith

Among Rhodes University’s new first year students, Shane Pheiffer is one of South Africa’s rising track cycling stars. Hail- ing from Port Elizabeth, Pheiffer is a matriculant from Grey High School in 2012, Shane Pheiffer is the son of Wayne Pheiffer, an ex-world champion in the match-sprint discipline of track cycling. Since 2010, Pheiffer has competed at the last four South African Track Cycling Championships, and has collected eight gold medals in various events over the years. However he says that his greatest achievement so far was representing his country at the 2011 Moscow Track Cycling World Championships. During his gap year in 2013 Pheiffer cycled as the team sprinter for Cape Town-based professional cycling team Intellibus. In a slight change of pace, he has put his cycling career on hold. Nowadays, he resides in the comfortable quarters of Cory House.

He has come to Rhodes to earn his law degree – even passing up an opportunity to compete at the next Olympic Games in order to do so. “You could end up training flat-out for three years and then break a leg – and there you sit without a degree,” said Pheiffer, explaining his decisions. Although he is taking a break from competitive cycling, Pheiffer continues to enjoy the sport for leisure and as a means to stay healthy. “Cycling is a great way to keep fit, toning your legs and glute area,” said Pheiffer. “But you need to supplement it with something like weight training to target your upper-body.” He recommends a training routine suitable for both men and women which consists of alternating cycling and upper-body weight ses- sions, with the seventh day being a rest day. However, Pheiffer stresses that cycling achieves a very particular type of fitness suited to the sport. “Something like running will get you fit for hockey or whatever else you do, whereas cycling just gets you fit to cycle, but the plus side is that it’s softer on your

joints,” Pheiffer commented. Cycling develops strong legs, but Pheiffer says that the most important ingredient to enjoying the sport is having a solid core. In professional cycling it ensures that you don’t sway on your bike and lose valuable momentum as a result. “You want everything to go into your bike and onto the track or road,” Pheiffer explained. In order to get your core up to speed, Pheiffer suggests a mixture between weighted and bodyweight core exercises. His favourite exercise is ‘constructive bridging’. “You get into the bridge position, place a weight on your back that allows you to hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat five sets,” Pheiffer instructed. Cycling is certainly a great way to get in shape, but if you are spending a lot of time on the saddle then it is important that you replenish your body’s nutritional supplies too. “You don’t need to take supplements if you are riding socially, but make sure that you eat enough,” said Pheiffer. “I remember burning 3500 calories dur- ing a longer ride once,” he added.