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THE

ELECTION

EDITION

Illustration: KELLAN BOTHA

Homophobia at SANBS

Page 9

Academics work towards greener communities

Page 13

How to optimise your training regime

Page 15

The Oppidan Press

Edition 4, 29 April 2014

greener communities Page 13 How to optimise your training regime Page 15 The Oppidan Press Edition

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The Oppidan Press

29 April 2014

News Features

2 The Oppidan Press 29 April 2014 News Features SHARC President Sanele Ntshingana. Photo: Gabriella Fregona

SHARC President Sanele Ntshingana. Photo: Gabriella Fregona

SHARC reflects on 20 years of HIV policy

Sanele Ntshingana, SHARC President 2014 Column

In May 1994, a month after being sworn in as the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) drew up a National Health Plan calling for the development and implementation of an effective HIV/Aids strategy. After realising the devastating implications of the epidemic in South Africa, the ANC hoped to have a useful system in place by the end of 1995. However, South Africa saw a negative attitude to HIV/ Aids policies when the former President Thabo Mbeki stepped into office in 1999. His disastrous denial of HIV directly causing Aids and the resulting policies is said to have cost the lives of at least 400,000 South Africans. Rhodes University was no exception in dismissing the extreme seriousness of HIV/Aids infection in South Africa. By 2001, the University had no HIV/Aids policies in place and no HIV/Aids officer. The Student HIV/Aids Reistance Campaigne (SHARC) was established as a reac- tion to these negative conditions. SHARC fought for HIV policies to be drawn up by the University and for an institutional HIV officer to be appointed. SHARC won the fight, and HIV/Aids policies were introduced in 2002 and the HIV/Aids officer later on. Meanwhile, after Jacob Zuma stepped in as President, his administration’s policies on HIV/Aids were seen to be more progressive and effective. The University and SHARC now make concerted efforts to provoke discussion, debate and thought around issues such as drug use and sex, by showing first years things such as the STDiesel DVD during O-Week. However, while Rhodes students are aware of these issues, there are still students contracting STIs and falling pregnant due to a lack of proper contraception. In the first term of this year alone, there have already been 14 pregnancies reported at the Rhodes Health Care Centre, and 30 students were tested for STIs – six of whom were first years. This number is worrying and has disturbing connotations, showing that students still engage in unprotected sex due to the mentality that HIV is ‘out there, not at Rhodes’. Furthermore, of the 963 students who were tested dur- ing the 2014 First Things First Campaign, more women than men were tested despite the brunt of the epidemic still being mainly felt by women. The disproportionately high HIV prevalence levels among young women in the country evidently requires a restructuring of conventional approaches to HIV prevention. This will address the un- derlying socio-cultural patriarchal norms. There is also a need to address young men’s complacency when it comes to regular condom use. Over the next few editions of The Oppidan Press, SHARC will discuss an epidemic that is still a crisis in Grahamstown and how we have paid the price for HIV/ Aids denialism. The series will include expert opinions from HIV activists and will give new insights into scien- tific developments related to the disease. It will also tell personal stories of Rhodes students with HIV and explore the current state of the disease at Rhodes.

Rhodes rocked by deaths in residence

Chelsea Haith

R hodes became the focus of national

news after the death of student

Amanda Tweyi and the suspected

suicide of non-student in the early hours of Saturday 26 April at Cullen Bowles House. Police stated that they received a report of the shooting at around 6:00 am and instantly rushed to the scene where they discovered the two deceased. “Police responded immediately and on arrival found the bodies of a woman and a man inside one of the university’s residences. The body of the woman, a 21-year-old Rhodes student, had no visible injuries and a post mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of her death. “The 34-year-old man’s body had a bullet wound to the head and it is suspected that he may have shot himself,” said the press statement released by the Grahamstown SAPS although the statment referred only to the state of the room as it was found by the police. Futher statements given to The Oppidan Press said that Tweyi had been shot, and killed, but whether the shot was the cause of her death is unclear as the autopsy is still under way. “We lost one student from Rosa Parks and one non-Rhodes student,” said Professor James Gambiza, the Hall Warden of Kimber- ley West Hall. Safety concerns have been raised by a number of students on social media. Rhodes student Vanessa Chivhere-Bosman wrote on Facebook in a comment on the article, “They also need to address the issue of how a non- Rhodes student can access our residences.” “Basically there’s no security at the door. We have a fingerprint scanner but it breaks every second day. There is no security and it’s an issue because it’s been like this for the last two years,” said Charles Mackenzie, a Cullen Bowles House resident, who lives on the same floor as the room in which the

who lives on the same floor as the room in which the Cullen Bowles House made

Cullen Bowles House made headlines on Saturday 26 April following the death of two people in the early hours of the morning. Photo: IVAN BLAZIC

incident took place. House Warden Johan Botha said that Cullen Bowles is not like other residences in terms of access: “We have different sections and they all have different entrances and exits. That makes it difficult to secure the safety of the residence. If someone wanted to come in, they would not just have one door, they could try any of the others.” The Vice-Chancellor has asked Director of Special Projects in his Office as well as Doc- tor Colleen Vassiliou of the Dean of Students Office to conduct an investigation into the facts surrounding the deaths. Many have been badly shaken by the

events of Saturday morning and the Univer- sity has made support available. “I am truly distressed by what has hap- pened today. It’s a traumatic moment and we’re doing our best to offer the support we can to everyone involved,” said Dean of Students Dr Vivian de Klerk. “We had house meetings in each house around about eight o’clock, and we had councillors available for anyone who needs it,” she continued. The Oppidan Press extends its deepest con- dolences to the family and friends of the two deceased as well as all who have been affected. More updates at oppidanpress.com.

UHURU studies the Marikana strike

Khanyi Mlaba, Ayanda Gigaba and Kyla Hazell

Over a year and a half ago, South Africa and the rest of the world bore witness to the brutal Marikana Massacre, in which 34 strik- ing mineworkers were killed at the hands of the state. This is the most deaths caused by police brutality in a single incident under democratic South Africa to date. The Marikana Moment reveals a need to expand our concept of democracy and reaffirm our national commitment to dignity and an end to violence. This was the message that emerged on 17 April when the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University (UHURU) hosted a day-long colloquium on the Marikana Massacre. Postgraduate students as- sociated with UHURU, along with academics from outside Rhodes University, presented research papers as part of the programme. All stressed the importance of taking the politics surrounding the strike that precipitated the Massacre extremely seriously, arguing that the opportunity offered something particularly new and unique. “Marikana helps us think about not just what is happening in the country, but whether we are thinking about what’s happening in the country in appropriate ways,” explained Director of UHURU Profes- sor Michael Neocosmos. UHURU is a newly-established research centre which is funded by the Mellon Foundation. It aims to come up with approaches that will bring the Arts, Social Sciences and popular politics together in order to research current and past affairs, with a focus on questions related to human emancipation in the Global South, especially in Africa. “A vital part of the mission of UHURU is to connect up with these struggles [for emancipation] and of course to provide tools to combat the enormous struggles of poverty and inequality that our country faces,” said Dean of Humanities Professor Fred Hendricks in his opening address. The colloquium, which was chaired by Politics and International

Studies lecturer Dr Richard Pithouse, covered the Marikana strike as one such example of a struggle for emancipation. Papers explored the relationship between worker struggles and broader community politics, the interrelation between the rural and the urban in contemporary politics, migrant labour, and political subjectivity as key themes. Masters student Sarah Bruchhausen shed light on the Marikana Massacre by employing the historical lens of the 1958 Mpondo re- volts. These took place in Ngquza Hill – which is near Mthatha in the Eastern Cape – in response to the imposition of Bantu Authorities and the revolts which were an important part of the anti-apartheid struggle. According to Bruchhausen, both the revolts and the Mari- kana strikes embodied a disciplined commitment to democracy by consensus and meaningful engagement beyond the constraints of party politics, nationalism, and class. “If we do not take that seriously, we are completely missing the point,” she said. These key themes also featured prominently in the research pre- sented by UHURU’s Camalita Naicker. In her paper which focused on the role of women in the community struggles that supported the mineworker strike of August 2012, Naicker highlighted the need to view Marikana as more than just an example of class struggle. The paper revealed that in addition to a call for increased wages, the Marikana community sought dignified treatment and greater op- portunities for training and upward mobility in the context of what they strongly feel is a society that remains racist. Neocosmos called the audience to reflect on Marikana in the lead up to the May national election, which always remained at the front of discussions throughout the colloquium. “A strike opens the eyes of the workers to capital, but a strike also opens the eyes of the world to the state,” he said. It remains to be seen whether the reflections of Marikana will have an effect on the elec- tions on May 7.

29 April 2014

The Oppidan Press

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29 April 2014 The Oppidan Press 3 The annual staff and research student photos lining the

The annual staff and research student photos lining the walls of the Pharmacy department serve as reminders of the deracialisation of Rhodes. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Talking Transformation

Director of Transformation and Equity initiates talks about change

Amanda Xulu and Kyla Hazell

R hodes University will examine the state of trans-

formation in higher education institutions during

a one-day seminar to be held on 30 April 2014.

Titled ‘Africanisation and South African Higher Educa- tion Institutions’, the seminar highlights transformation at tertiary level as a central challenge needing to be faced if South Africa is to realise the democratic ideals of equal- ity and freedom. “By convening the seminar, we hope to encourage debate on transformation within the institution and to actively contribute to the broader debate taking place in the coun- try,” said new Director of Equity and Institutional Culture at Rhodes Noluxolo Nhlapo. “We hope that through such seminars a clearer vision of a transformed South African university and indeed a trans- formed Rhodes University will emerge,” she explained. The seminar forms part of the Higher Education South Africa Common Campaign project, which seeks to have all institutions commemorate 20 years of democracy collective- ly. “The main objective of the campaign is to facilitate the

deepening of conversations on transformation. It is easy to talk about the number of black students entering university spaces that they could not enter when speaking about trans- formation. What is more difficult to talk about, and indeed envision, is the transformation of the university space to en- able all students and lecturers to reach and contribute their full potential,” Nhlapo said. The seminar will focus on questions of transformation in institutions of higher education, with papers covering topics such as “Racialised Identities and the Africanisation of South African Universities” and “Africanisation: the basis of self- transformation”. Presenters include Professor Melissa Steyn of Wits University, Professor Pitika Ntuli from Tshwane University of Technology, Professor Lesley Le Grange of Stellenbosch University, and Professor Barney Pityana. Through debates about the merits and demerits of various models for transformation, Nhlapo hopes that a deeper understanding of what transformation should mean will emerge. “It is our [the office of Equity and Transformation] job to open up spaces for such discussion to take place. Such discussion will also enable us to further clarify what we,

By convening the seminar, we hope to encourage debate on transformation.

– Noluxolo Nhlapo, Director of Equity and Institutional Culture

Rhodes, want to transform into.” The colloquium will be one of the first big public projects undertaken by the Office of Equity and Transformation under Nhlapo’s direction. Nhlapo, who arrived at Rhodes at the beginning of the year, has a long history of working with questions of identity construction and inclusion in South Africa, Swaziland and the United Kingdom. A central aim of her work here will be to open up spaces for more discussion among staff and students at the institution. The importance of the seminar has not been missed by those who take matters of transformation personally. Mas- ters student Boipelo Bonokwane urged Rhodes University students to attend and take the one-day seminar seriously. “If we are to challenge hegemonic practices and norms in the institution that marginalise staff members and students, it is important that we encourage conversations that place everyday understandings of knowledge and its production under scrutiny,” she said. Bonokwane further stressed that it was critical for students and academics alike to understand that matters of transformation should not be relegated to seminars and conferences, but that they are matters that one should confront daily. She also argued that Rhodes needs to be more critical of whether transformation is happening at a tangible rate. “Rhodes University needs to encourage more critical conversations regarding the rate at which it is mov- ing towards reaching its transformation goals. Furthermore, it needs to honestly assess whether the Africanisation of its lecture theatres, residential spaces and the like has a role to play in contributing to the realisation of these transforma- tion goals.”

News Features

of these transforma- tion goals.” News Features Activist Sinphiwe Msizi (pictured) has involved himself with

Activist Sinphiwe Msizi (pictured) has involved himself with key Rhodes groups in an effort to memorialise the legacy of Steve Biko. Photo:

GABRIELLA FREGONA

The story of Stephen Bantu Biko

Sinphiwe Msizi

This column is the first in a series to be written by activist Sinphiwe Msizi about the life and work of Steve Biko as it relates to Rhodes University. Msizi has had significant experience in heritage work and has particularly focused on the commemoration of Biko. As the country marks 20 years of democracy, Msizi is working with key groups at Rhodes in order to memorialise Biko’s legacy of leadership. He believes in a critical, student-driven programme to achieve this goal.

Steve Biko was born on 18 December 1946. His birth place is uncertain because his parents frequently moved around. Steve was the third of four children. His father was a policeman, but later resigned and became a clerk in King William’s Town where the family lived in a township called Ginsberg. His father died of a mysterious illness soon after their arrival there, but Steve continued to attend primary and secondary school in Ginsberg. Records state that he was a gifted student and always at the top of his class. In 1963, Biko obtained a scholarship to attend the prestigious Lovedale College just outside of Alice, where his older brother Khaya was enrolled. However, they were both expelled in March 1963, mainly because of Khaya’s political activities. They were also barred from attending any government schools. In 1964, Biko was admitted to St. Francis, an equally prestigious mission- ary school just outside Durban. There, he excelled academically and upon matriculation was admitted to the University of Natal Medical School. The political seed had already been planted when Biko arrived at the university. He found a group of older students who often got together to discuss the place of black students in a predominantly white university, including their specific political role in the predominantly white National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). Biko initially believed in a multiracial student movement, though his colleagues tried to convince him otherwise. However, this inclusive stance changed during the NUSAS conference at Rhodes in 1967. The Rhodes University authorities went along with the apartheid government’s position that black students had to leave the University campus every evening to sleep in the townships. Biko asked the white students to join them in the township. He also proposed a motion that the conference be cancelled until a venue where they could all be accommodated in one place could be found. He lost both arguments. Biko then left to join another conference organised by the newly established and more radical University Christian Movement (UCM). In contextualising Biko’s decision, Dr Saleem Badat states the following in his book, Black Man You are on your Own: “The growing disaffection of some black student activists with NUSAS versus the more representative racial composition as well as the more radical orientation of the UCM gave the latter a greater appeal as a forum for intercampus contact and discussion. Yet, black students with experience of NUSAS politics (Biko included) who attended the conference discovered that, despite the UCM’s political stance and its majority black membership, leadership of the organisation was still concentrated among white members.” Biko and other black students felt that it was time that blacks formed an organisation which would be pro-black, but not anti-white, in order to address their needs in a more drastic manner. Dr Xolela Mangcu states in his book, Biko, a Biography, that Professor Barney Pityana, one of Biko’s closest friends, first opposed the idea as it would appear racially divisive. Pityana was later convinced by Biko that black students at conferences were not strong enough to challenge the whites in full meetings and remained subject to segregationist laws governing access and accommodation. The students decided to call a caucus to discuss these issues. It was decided then to call a national conference of black students in December, which led to the formation of the South African Student Organisation (SASO), launched in 1968 at the University of North (Turfloop). Biko was elected as SASO’s first president.

To be continued…

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The Oppidan Press

29 April 2014

10 of our proudest moments

10 moments that shocked the nation

News Features

Not enough change in 20 years of democracy

Emily Corke

A s we celebrate 20 years of democracy in our country, President Jacob Zuma

insists that South Africa has a good story to tell, even if the years leading here have not been easy. Alternatively, there is a narrative that these years have been turbu- lent and tarnished by disappoint- ment. In Grahamstown, it remains uncertain which narrative prevails. Radio 702 presenter and Rho- des Alumni David O’Sullivan reminisced about Grahamstown during apartheid and the struggle. O’Sullivan and his friends would often venture to Grahamstown East and sit on a hill to watch the unfold- ing struggle in the townships of Grahamstown. “We would go watch what hap- pened; it was especially helpful when the police put a huge spotlight on the township to prevent uprising because then we could see it even clearer,” said O’Sullivan. According to O’Sullivan, what isn’t remembered about Graham- stown is that it was also the site of severe violence in the township. “It was just as bad as in Gauteng. Gra- hamstown East was a huge point of protest. You just didn’t hear about it because it happened in the confines of the township walls.” Grahamstown was the site of struggle and segregation during apartheid, but it can be argued that very little has changed since the advent of democracy. Rhodes University’s Professor Paul Maylam feels that Grahams- town is still a site of segregation after apartheid, although it is no longer a written law as it had been pre-1994. Maylam explained that the segrega- tion between the “lower classes” in Grahamstown East and Grahams- town West remains quite distinct. “Strangely, yes, in many ways, I can still see it as an apartheid town,” said Maylam. “The spatial arrange- ment of the residential areas is the same as it was before.” The shopping areas, according to Maylam, are more integrated but there is still a sense of segregation with the ‘lower class’ shopping centre on Bathurst Street while the more affluent resi- dents shop in Peppergrove Mall. “The main difference between then and now is the local govern- ment, because the ANC is in power,” added Maylam. Head of the History Depart- ment Professor Gary Baines echoed Maylam’s sentiments. “I don’t think

the composition of the town has changed that much in 20 years in terms of racial demographics in town. The town is very much what it was when I first moved here in the 90s,” he said. Professor Paul Walters in the English Department believes that Grahamstown has in fact gotten worse, especially because the leader- ship in the town has, in his opinion,

Strangely, yes, in many ways, I can still see it as an apartheid town. The spatial arrangement of the residential areas is the same as it was before.

- Rhodes University’s Professor Paul Maylam

broken promises and demonstrated

a lack of know-how. “A forensic audit needs to be done of the qualification of the people in power in this town,” said Walters. “Nobody dares do it because they know what the truth is.” With specific reference to the Makana Municipality, he said: “There has just been a total breakdown in all the fundamental functions of civil soci-

ety and a blatant ‘don’t-care’ attitude, plus this wastage of funds.” Baines echoed Walters in saying that the municipality was more effective pre-1994, but with one significant clarification: “That isn’t

a really good comparison though,

because the municipality was only servicing Grahamstown West - they didn’t take responsibility for the other half of the town.” Nomathemba Booi, who works in St Mary’s Dining Hall, has been in Grahamstown for 50 years and has a different story to tell. Booi said that while she still notices “tiny aspects” of discrimination, there has been an immense change for her. Booi pointed to the change in housing through the Reconstruction and De- velopment Programme (RDP) and also noted the important fact that there had been no black students at Rhodes before 1994. “There was very bad segrega- tion between races; we had to act differently around white people,” explained Booi. “Now there has been change - we are all the same.” One aspect that Maylam and Baines both agree on is the dramatic change over the years in the area between New Street and African Street. Before Peppergrove was con- structed, the ground was a residen- tial area of open ground. “The central area around African Street has changed a lot because of the excuse for a mall we have there,” said Baines. “Many businesses have

moved there from High Street because it has become the CBD of the town.” While there has been a lot of change in the area between New Street and African Street, Maylam and Baines said that one constant shared in pre- and post- 1994 is the Rat and Parrot. Baines said that it has been a spot he has frequently gone to since the early 90s.

What do we have to show for our 20 years of democracy?

Emily Corke

The ANC manifesto then and now

• Opening the doors of learning

• Unity in diversity

• Jobs and better incomes and a growing economy

• Ending rural poverty

• Housing and services for all

• Land reforms

• Improving the quality of life

• Improve and expand education

• Build a united nation

• Ensure decent living conditions

• Build an economy that creates jobs

• Transform our rural areas

• Health care for all (services)

• Sustained human settlements

Ten governmental shortcomings in the EC

Housing for all: On 3 April this year, the Minister for Human 1 Settlements Connie September came to Grahamstown to

hand over the new housing plan, said to start in the area by the end of the month. The contract has been signed and the site

has been handed over to begin construction of new houses in the area. However, residents felt that they were tired of waiting

for the municipality to provide them with housing and have used what money they have from their pensions to buy bricks

and build their own homes. These houses have since been demolished by the municipality.

Water for all: The Eastern Cape has

the highest number 2 of households with

no access to piped water, the highest

number of households that rely on riv-

ers and streams for their main source

of water, and the most households without toilets.

Ending rural poverty: Valerie Moller,

Professor of Quality of Life Studies in the Institute of Social and Economic

Research (ISER) 5 at Rhodes University,

says that the rural population of the

former ‘homelands’ who suffered most

Quality education: In 2013, the matric pass rate for the province was 64.9%. While this was a marked improvement

from 2012, the 8 province is still the

worst-performing when it comes to

education in the country. In 2002, in

the Eastern Cape, there were 284,283

learners who entered Grade one but only 48,734 learners successfully com- pleted Grade 12 in 2013.

from underdevelopment in the past

have been hardest hit by the rising cost of living in the new era.

Build an economy that creates jobs

for all: The Democratic Alliance (DA) has pointed to the unemployment rates

since the beginning 3 of Zuma’s term

in presidency: unemployment has

risen from 23.5% to the current levels

of 25.6%. Economic growth has not

Basic service delivery for all: The

Eastern Cape only 6 met 51% of its

target of service delivery in 2011/2012

and South Africa has been dubbed the

protest capital of the world because of

Quality healthcare 9 for all: In 2013, life

expectancy had risen from 53.2 years

in 1998 to 59.2 years. In the Eastern

Cape, HIV/Aids accounted for the

largest proportion of female (34%) and

male (23%) deaths.

fared any better over the same report-

ing period. In Zuma’s fourth year as president, GDP growth dropped to just below 2% since the beginning of his presidency.

the prominence of violent protests in

part sparked by service delivery issues.

End to corruption: According to Crime Stats SA, it has been estimated

that SA has lost 7 R650 billion to cor-

ruption over the last 18 years, with

Nkandla being the most recent public

scandal. South Africa ranked 72 out

Curbing unemployment: In the Eastern Cape, the 2011 census showed

that the official 10 rate of unemployment

is 37.4% and the expanded unemploy-

ment rate is 51.2% (which includes

discouraged work seekers). This is the

End to violence 4 in the country:

According to Crime Stats SA, over

160,000 people have been murdered

in South Africa since 2004 and 5,900

crimes are reported to the SAPS daily.

of 177 countries on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in 2013.

The ups and downs of the last two decades

highest in the country.

1. 1994 National Elections

2. Truth and Reconciliation Commision for a nation in turmoil in 1995

3. South Africa wins the 1995 Rugby World Cup

4. South Africa wins the African Cup of Nations in 1996

5. Mark Shuttleworth went to space in 2002

6. Charlize Theron and Tsotsi bring home Oscars in 2004 and 2005 respectively

7. Legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2006

8. South Africa wins the 2007 Rugby World Cup

9. South Africa hosts the 2010 FIFA World Cup

10. Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project awarded to South Africa in 2012

1. The rapes of Alison Botha in 1994 and Anene Booysen’s in 2013

2. Hansie Cronje guilty of match fixing in

2000

3. South African Arms Deal since 2000

4. Zuma accused of fraud, corruption and

rape since 2005

5. The shooting of Brett Kebble in 2005

6. Thabo Mbeki is recalled in 2008

7. 34 miners killed in Marikana in 2012

8. Oscar Pistorius shoots Reeva Stenkamp in

2013

9. Nkandlagate in 2013

10. Service delivery protests at the beginning of 2014 (with Mothotlung at the forefront)

29 April 2014

The Oppidan Press

5

Politics

Spoiling ballots: what you should know

Afika Jadezweni, Andrea Nevay, Tarryn de Kock and Mitchell Shaun Parker

S outh Africa’s fifth democratic national general elections are only a week away and the decision to vote for a particular party can

no longer be taken lightly. With former Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils’s recently launched ‘Vote No’ campaign being mistaken for an anti- voting initiative, The Oppidan Press looked into the practice of spoilt voting and what its repercussions could be. Kasrils launched the campaign to protest cor- ruption and instability within the ruling African National Congress (ANC), citing growing inequality and poor governance as key areas needing to be rem- edied. The campaign challenges voters to go to the polls to express their dissatisfaction with the last 20 years of ANC rule, encouraging them to actively vote for opposition parties or spoil their ballots. However, Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary candidate Marius Redelinghuys called spoiling votes “a rotten choice”. In a recent article on ThoughtLeader, Redelinghuys said that it would be better to vote for an opposition party than to spoil a ballot, arguing that in the 2009 election the 240 000 people who spoilt ballots could have brought down the ANC’s claim to a two-thirds majority by 1%, or at least five seats in Parliament. “The Vote No campaign has not been very coordinated and so the various groups who oppose or favour spoiling ballots have not managed to come together in a coherent way ,” said Politics lec- turer Dr Sally Matthews. Matthews teaches a course on electoral systems and comparitive politics. South Africa uses a proportional representation system where seats are allocated according to the per- centage of votes won by parties. Spoilt ballots are not counted as legitimate votes and are merely recorded as part of the total number of people who voted, thus not affecting the overall percentage received by in- dividual political parties. Even if there is an increase in spoilt ballots, we may not even know the motiva- tion behind every spoilt ballot. It is because of this that prominent academics, such as Rhodes alumnus

Eusebius McKaiser, have urged voters to vote for the ‘least bad option’ rather than spoiling their votes. McKaiser’s view is that, because voters will inevi- tably have to submit to the government put in place after the election, they should be active in trying to ensure that it is a government that is representative of the needs of the country. He also believes that politi- cal parties should be held accountable by showing them that their support bases are never guaranteed.

Spoiling one’s ballot is an act of protest against the options available and against the government in power.

Spoiling one’s ballot is an act of protest against the options available and against the government in pow- er. While it is a democratic right to express this senti- ment, the general sense has been that it is not what is necessary in these crucial elections, which mark the 20th anniversary of our democracy. With democratic South Africa finally out of its teens, impatience has arisen around the ability of the country to mature fully and realise the promises of independence. “National elections are a huge deal and no matter how much we don’t approve of ‘the system’, it should be respected as such,” said Cory House Sub-Warden Sonwabiso Damana. SRC Activism and Transformation Councillor Lindokuhle Zungu argued that choosing to be silent would not stimulate the change South Africa needs. “We should use the opportunity democracy has af- forded us to critically engage with party manifestos and be that generation that will cast its vote with a well-informed mind,” he said, adding that there are parties with progressive ideas that can speak to the needs of young people. Environmental Science student Josh O’Brien agreed, “I feel that everyone who can vote should, especially the ‘born-frees’. We finally have a chance to make a difference and move this country forward, and it is disturbing that some people choose to let their votes go to waste.”

that some people choose to let their votes go to waste.” Students should be aware of

Students should be aware of all the voting options available to them for the upcoming election. Photo: SHEILA DAVID

Get to know the manifesto #3

Kimberley Nyajeka

The final in our Get to Know the Manifesto series looks at three parties with small but quite specific support bases.

Freedom Front Plus

small but quite specific support bases. Freedom Front Plus The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) was established

The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) was established in 1994 and ran in the country’s first democratic election as the Freedom Front, winning 2.2% of the seats in the National Assembly. This figure dropped to 0.8% in the 1999 general election and since then the party has not seen any major growth in its support base. The party manifesto high- Africa of 1994 has failed and

lights that the “New South

has become an old South Africa. The recipe for nation building in the past 20 years since 1994 has not worked. We dream of a truly New South Africa which is to the advantage of all its people”. Party leader Pieter Mulder, who is also the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, stated that should there be a reduced ANC presence in government, South Africa will be able to transition smoothly into becoming a nation where every indi- vidual is equal. Mulder predicts that the ANC will gain no more than slightly above 60% of the seats in parliament, emphasising the party’s slow decline in influence. The FF+ party advocates for a coalition with the government, whereby all members of the executive, legislative and judicial

branches work together to ensure that the entire population’s political as well as socio-economic rights are protected. The party has been described as pro-Afrikaans in the past and enjoys significant support in Orania, the controversial town formed in 1990 that follows “Afrikaans” values and culture.

Iqela Lentsango: Dagga Party of South Africa

and culture. Iqela Lentsango: Dagga Party of South Africa The Dagga Party of South Africa is

The Dagga Party of South Africa is

a registered Independent Electoral

Commission (IEC) party which advocates for the legalisation of cannabis (marijuana). Founded in 2009, the party’s manifesto

illustrates how it “shall strive for

a carbon neutral, people-centred,

dagga-based community” through- out the country. Although the Dagga Party is not eligible to run in this year’s general election because it didn’t register in time, it has a grow- ing support base despite being seen as a niche party. The party

argues that the legalisation of cannabis would be beneficial to the economy and cites Ukraine as an example, where the legalisation of marijuana in 2013 has resulted in a revenue of R140 million. The party draws on how the plant can be used to treat cancer patients, as well as the fact that legalislation could potentially open doors for further research into the medical benefits of cannabis. The party does not seem to have much else on its agenda, but party leader Jeremy Acton assures sceptics that “dagga legalisation is like a dagga bush: it keeps on growing”.

Equal Rights Party

a dagga bush: it keeps on growing”. Equal Rights Party This party was officially established in

This party was officially established in 2013 and stands for the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and intersex (LGBTi) community in South Africa. President and spokesperson of the Equal Rights Party (ERP) Michael Herbst stated that the party was established “after huge incidents of corrective rapes of lesbians” were reported

in 2012. Herbst also explained in an interview that “we have the most beautiful constitution in the world, but when it comes to imple- menting the Bill of Rights there is very little support”. The party argues that despite the legalisation of homosexual marriage in 2006 and general acceptance of LGBTi culture in the more afflu- ent and metropolitan areas in the country, homosexuality remains a cultural taboo in South Africa. The ERP chooses not to integrate itself within a larger, more influential left-wing political party. Herbst accounts for this by explaining the party’s feeling that larger political parties are more concerned with proportional racial representation in the govern- ment and the economy than with representing the needs of other minorities. The party is registered with the IEC and will contend for seats in parliament in the upcoming elections.

6

The Oppidan Press

29 April 2014

OppiTV Election Debate

The Oppidan Press

T his Wednesday 30 April The Oppidan Press will welcome representa-

tives from a number of political parties who are included on the

Eastern Cape ballot. They will form part of a live debate produced

by OppiTV which seeks to generate critical discussion which is relevant to Grahamstown youth in the run-up to this year’s national elections. Much has been said about this being the election that marks 20 years of de- mocracy. The pre-teen hype with which we celebrated our 10-year anniversary a decade ago has given way to a more sombre segway into adulthood. Many are looking to the so-called “Born Free” generation for the difference that their first vote might make in the trajectory of South African politics. The debate will primarily look at issues of education, unemployment, and gender. Proceedings are set to take place in the Africa Media Matrix television studios and will be chaired by Politics Honours student and Senior Reporter Fezi Mthonti before a small in-studio audience. Research has been guided by the views of students on campus as expressed in vox pops collected by the OppiTV team. Students, staff, and community members have been invited to attend a live-streamed screening of the debate in the Barratt Lecture Theatres on 30 April 2014 at 6pm. The Oppidan Press thanks the Dean of Students office, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela, and the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) for their generous support. The studio audience in the AMM will comprise students drawn from various notable societies and organisations on campus. They attend as representatives of their constituencies more broadly and although their contribution is essential, more widespread engagement is required to drive the debate towards meaning- ful conclusions. For this reason, all will be able to participate in the discussion by sending questions and comments on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #OppiDebate. These will be fed into a Twitter stream to appear along the bot- tom of the screen, so all can see what others have to say, and will be used to question the parties. The following two pages of this edition contain information gathered by our journalists about the representatives, the topics to be discussed, and the prom- ises which have been made during parties’ campaigns thus far. We encourage you to read carefully as an entrance into Wednesday’s discussion. It is our hope that this debate will challenge the idea that the “Born Free” generation is apolitical and apathetic. The work which has been put in by our team as well as all those young people involved in organising and promoting

this debate, in my mind, bears testament to the fact that students most certainly are engaged. The Oppidan Press thanks them for their innovation, inspiration, and effort. We refuse to listen to parties repeating catchy buzzphrases during Wednes- day’s discussion. We do not wish ‘Born Free’ to remain a vacuous term that fails to encompass the political potential of a generation raised to think differently. We invite you to assist us to absorb these representatives in a conversation – comment, criticise, question, and we will attempt to extract answers.

The Oppidan Press staff and contact details

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

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

Lorna Sibanda. Advertising Manager: Chiedza Guvava. Marketing Manager: Sarah Taylor. Community Engagement Officer: Abigail Butcher. Online Editor: Stuart Lewis. Assistant Online Editor: 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. Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor: Matthew Field. Business Editor:

Christopher Fisher. Scitech Editor: Bracken Lee-Rudolph. 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:

Melian Dott. Sub-Editors: Kate Jennings, Danica Kreusch, Leila Stein, Jessica Trappe, Amy Wilkes. Chief Designer: Madien van der Merwe. Assistant Chief Designer: Hannah McDonald. Advert Designers: Amber-Leigh Davies, Amy Davidson. Junior Designers: Alex Maggs, Amy-Jane Harkess, Sihle Mtshiselwa. External Content Advisors: Tope Adebola, Ndapwa Alweendo. Illustrator: Amy Slatem. OppiTV: Chief Editor: Natalie Austin. Content Editor: Vimbai Midzi. Output Editor: Lilian Magari. Webcast Producer: Marc Davies.

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

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

Our focus for the debate

Tarryn de Kock and Mikaela Erskog

Ongoing problems in basic education

O n Friday 29 November 2013, the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga published legally binding “Minimum Norms and Standards for

School Infrastructure”. Minimum Norms and Standards are regulations that define the infrastructural conditions that make a school a school and stipulate the basic level of infrastructure that every South African school must meet in order to be able to function properly. For the first time in post-apartheid South Africa, there exists a law that stipulates that every school must have water, electricity, internet, working toilets, safe classrooms with a maximum of 40 learners, security, and thereafter libraries, laboratories and sports facilities. The Minimum Norms and Standards came into existence due to the efforts of Equal Education (EE), a movement of learners, parents, teachers and community members. EE uses analysis and activism to establish a more equal South African education system by pursuing the better facilitation of quality school infrastructure. However, according to Equal Education, the Minister’s plan has some shortcomings:

• Despite the urgency of schools’ infrastructural crises, it will take 10 years to complete.

• The national sanitation standards do not meet current national or international norms.

• Bigger schools require

modified standards that speak to their contexts. However the Norms did not specifically designate standards for schools that have over 1200 students. The plan for

implementing Norms and Standards also does not include sufficient public ac- countability measures. For example, there is no requirement that implementation plans are made available to communi- ties. Public accountability is critical to ensuring that the sanitation crisis is solved at a low cost and in a time-efficient manner. The issue at hand is accountability. Although it is a triumph to have a standardised point of departure for infra- structure in all South African schools, there is no standard avenue for the implementation of these norms.

is no standard avenue for the implementation of these norms. Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga

Access to tertiary institutions and NSFAS

Angie Motshekga Access to tertiary institutions and NSFAS Earlier this year, thousands of young people protested

Earlier this year, thousands of young people protested the National Student Financial Aid Scheme’s (NSFAS) funds shortage, which saw many left without funding for tertiary educa- tion and accomodation. Because of South Af- rica’s historical structural inequality, there are race and class considerations at play in who can afford to pursue further education, some- thing that the Department of Higher Education (DHE) has been working to resolve. NSFAS (created to ease the financial burden of tertiary studies on needy students) has struggled to cope with the growing number of students needing assis- tance, especially with a 90% increase in enrolment at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges around the country. The contingency plans which have been put in place have given rise to questions by analysts surrounding the DHE’s commitment to a strengthened school curriculum, quality

Matric passes and building more FET colleges even though existing ones are currently finan- cially and, for some, infrastructurally lacking. Discussions around tertiary education inevitably draw on the job market’s instability and the fact that most students entering tertiary studies merely swell the ranks of the unem- ployed three years later than their peers who do not pursue further education. The inability to match both unskilled school leavers and tertiary institution graduates with meaningful work is testament to the gap between the education sector and the market, which seriously impacts the government’s plans to eradicate poverty by 2030. Despite numerous successes in other crucial areas (such as school nutrition), the recent SA Basic Education Conference high- lighted the massive steps needed to realise the goal of quality education for all.

National Youth Wage Subsidy

The implementation of the new Employment Tax Incentive Act (ETI) has been accompanied by fierce debate between actors such as the ANC, DA, and Cosatu. While Cosatu rejects the ETI and calls it exploitative and short-sighted, the ANC, DA and other political parties have come out in support of a national youth wage subsidy. Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene warned the DA not to use the issue as a ‘political football’, drawing attention to the contentious nature of the subsidy and its potential use as a rallying point in the upcoming elections. The subsidy starts at 50% of earnings from R24 000 and tapers down to 0% at the income tax threshold of R60 000. Employers collect the subsidy as part of a tax incentive for employing youth (18-34 years old) and can collect it for

a maximum of two years. Because of this, Cosatu, Equal Education and other actors feel the ETI would encourage employers to privilege young workers over older ones with more experience in order to get the subsidy. They also argue that there is little obligation to offer skills development or training on the job during the two-year period, which should be crucial considering government’s projected investment of R800-million into the subsidy for this year alone. In order to catch up with other developing economies, government found that SA would have to create 9 million new jobs in 10 years, and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said that ‘cost-sharing’ between government and the private sector would be crucial in getting young people to work.

Gender issues and what is/isn’t being said about them in party manifestos

South Africa’s constitution was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, but this agreement was not reached without deep discussion by actors involved in writing the transitional Constitution. While SA is still seen as a country which celebrates the individual’s right to practice their sexuality, our country’s government has been remarkably silent on key issues facing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community. In the same way that the transitional document had to decide whether to include LGBTi rights in the Constitution, LGBTi issues remain uncertain in SA today. There is specific concern about the complexities of negotiating an existing historical idea of the traditional masculine presence across

historical idea of the traditional masculine presence across racial and cultural lines. There has been very

racial and cultural lines. There has been very little meaningful response to the rising number of hate crimes perpetrated against members of the LGBTi community, especially with regard to the corrective rape of lesbians, and the less publi- cised but all-too-common assault and harass- ment of gay men across the country. There is a growing sense that LGBTi issues, despite being enshrined in the Constitution, are only given serious political considera- tion as part of a bid to win more votes. While many parties include mention of women’s rights as part of their manifestos, very few include discussion of the rights of the LGBTi community and some do not even make mention of the community’s presence within the SA landscape. SA has reduced the discussion around minority rights to one that has effectively excluded the physically and mentally challenged, the aged and the LGBTi community.

29 April 2014

The Oppidan Press

7

OppiTV Election Debate

Get to know the Big Five

Mitchell Shaun Parker

T hroughout the year, we have been running a ‘Get to

Know the Manifesto’ series with the aim of canvass-

ing which political parties are saying what. In this

edition, we have put together a recap on five of the parties participating in the Election Debate. Find more informa- tion on the rest of the parties taking part via oppidanpress. com, under the tab ‘Election Debate’.

Agang
Agang

• Aims to eliminate

corruption by making 15 years in prison the minimum sentence for any public official found guilty of corruption, and by preventing any engagement between government members

or their families and business.

• Education is another big priority, with a larger emphasis

being placed on skills training. Agang believes training will boost our economy and sees partnering with big business as a way to get funding for it. They promise to increase the pass mark to 50% and ensure scholarship opportunities for well-performing students.

• In terms of business development, they envision greater

ease of access for investors, removal of red tape and im-

proved infrastructure for all business development, with the aim of increased job creation.

• 50% of the land that the government has will be used to

satisfy the need for residential property, building of facto- ries and other industrial properties.

• Universal access to free healthcare.

• They would demilitarise the police and ensure national

security through improved diplomatic relationships with surrounding coun- tries.

ANC

• Restrictions on

public servants doing business and holding individu-

als accountable for corruption.

• Improved infra-

structure. They envision that a particular focus

on internet as well as a shift to local development of goods and services will help develop business and job creation in South Africa. Strong investment in the Science and Tech- nology sectors, diversify the banking sector and work on strengthening Broadbased Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) are also promised.

• Speeding up land claims and reopening a period of 5 years

needs to be allowed. They also want to enable the Khoi and San people to claim land lost before 1913.

• Eradication of adult illiteracy, expanding and improving

existing educational structures and giving greater support to all students who need it.

• Fight crime through increased police presence with a

focus on crime hotspots and a prioritisation of domestic violence eradication and border control.

• Greater investment in smaller farms, with access for small- scale producers in municipal markets.

Institutionalised long-term planning including improving the engagement of citi- zens with their govern- ment.

COPE
COPE

• Improved public

participation with procedures to allow the public to remove their

elected representatives to improve accountability.

• COPE supports the

National Development Plan (NDP) and would find ways to improve on it. They see small, medium and micro-businesses as the future for eco- nomic growth in South Africa and want to use the economy to help create more tradable goods and support local youth

development programmes. The mines, agriculture and

manufacturing would also be supported, in so far as they support their local communities too.

• Re-open teacher training colleges, integrate Early Child- hood Development programmes into the education system and improve school governing body support. Exclusion of Unions in the education sector.

• Universal free healthcare and improving on the existing

structures. Cheaper medicines, 24-hour clinics and the promotion of natural therapies are also aims.

All safety, security and intelligence services depoliticised and all payment and promotion of officers to be based on their qualifica- tions, skills and performance.

DA
DA

• Institution of

constituency representation to make MPs more

accountable to voters, removal of business-government nepotism

and stopping government MPs from using public money for extravagances.

• Job creation and business development will be promoted

by creating job opportunities so that young job seekers can find work experience, primarily through using the Youth Wage Subsidy.

• Improve BBBEE and make it easier for investors to engage

with the SA economy.

• Invest 10% of the GDP in infrastructure.

• Land reform policy for the DA would see all possible land

owned by the government being released as well as an extra R10 billion being committed to land reform programmes over the next five years.

• 15,000 more teachers per year, ensuring adequate access

to textbooks and an increase to NSFAS in order to improve education in South Africa.

• Affordable healthcare, social grants and improved basic

service delivery plus universal access to fast internet for all

South Africans.

25,000 trained police officers in the country, the reinstate- ment of special crimes units and stricter regulation of the SAPS as a whole, plus the improved use of technology

to reduce crime.

EFF
EFF

• Increasing ef-

ficiency when dealing with corruption: policy changes like stop-

ping the use of consultants and project management when doing basic government service

delivery are proposed as well as a 20 year sentence for those found guilty of corruption.

• R4500 minimum wage and priority being placed on em-

ploying people with disabilities, black people and women.

Youth development is also to be prioritised. Increased use of local resources and an end to excessive importing with improved export rates. Nationalisation of banks and other strategic sectors of the SA economy are also on the table.

• Land distribution without compensation: the state would

manage all land in the country, abolish foreign land owner- ship and have 60% of mines nationalised.

• Free quality education for all plus scholarships for 15,000

students to go overseas and study, a 100% increase in first year acceptance rates and the abolition of mud schools. All corporations would pay an education tax that would cover upgrades and developments of the current education system.

• Universal free healthcare and training in the healthcare

field. Nursing colleges would be reopened, traditional healers would be incorporated into the system and generic

medicines (regardless of intellectual property rights) would be produced in South Africa.

• Increased police visibility, allowed community justice and

the banning of live ammunition at protests to help reduce crime. Special units and courts would also be created to deal

with particular issues such as corruption.

• 50% minimum representation of women in government with gender education being compulsory for all.

government with gender education being compulsory for all. Debate Chair: Fezokuhle Mthonti Mthonti is currently

Debate Chair: Fezokuhle Mthonti Mthonti is currently studying Honours in Political and Interna- tional Studies at Rhodes University. Mthonti is an avid debater. She competed at both high school and university level and in 2012 was a Member of the National Schools Debating Championship Com- mittee. Mthonti was the Media and Branding Coordinator for the Pan-African Youth Dialogue Sum- mit in 2013. Her interests also lie in the dramatic arts where she has had extensive success. In 2012, Fezi performed in the winning produc- tion of the Standard Bank Ovation Award, Wintersweet as well as in the National Arts Festival production of Tender in both 2012 and 2013.

List of speakers ANC: Cde Phumulo Masualle COPE: Nosipho Plaatjie EFF: Unconfirmed UDM: Thando Mpulu PAC: Khwezi Dalisile UCP (UCDP): Roderick Vencencie PAMSA: Lindiwe Liwani / Noma Mlomo AGANG: Philip Machanick DA: Yusuf Cassim / Kevin Mileham UNICO: Nokulunga Sithole ACDP: Cheryllyn Dudley

Refreshments will be served after the screening and attendees will have a chance to speak informally with party representatives.

Unable to make the screening? Watch the stream on our YouTube channel anywhere in the world: http://www.youtube.com/user/OppidanPress. Tweet @OppidanPress with #OppiDebate

OppiTV asks RU voting?

Tweet @OppidanPress with #OppiDebate OppiTV asks RU voting? Uhleli Mdingi I think it’s important to vote

Uhleli Mdingi I think it’s important to vote because in order for a democracy to work prop- erly, its citizens need to participate in it fully and the one best way to do that is through voting. Your vote is your voice and if your don’t vote, you can’t complain!

Simon Brill

I am voting. I signed up last year. You can’t sit back and complain all day. Things aren’t going to change by themselves. Make a difference, cast your vote!

to change by themselves. Make a difference, cast your vote! Tim Abel I will be voting!

Tim Abel I will be voting! Although I have distrust in a lot of the parties, I think it’s still a better option than spoiling your ballot or not voting at all. If you’re not going to vote because you have an issue with the nature of the democractic system in South Africa then you need to do something more because that’s simply too passive. It’s important to take part in the voting process because if you don’t, you don’t really have a say in what happens.

Mohammed Hussein

I will be voting this year, but not for any particular party. I believe in democracy

but I don’t believe that the current political system and its political candidates have the ability to live up to the role. It would be a complete disservice to voting for me to vote for them. The idea is to spoil my vote. This shows the government that the people can stand up for themselves.

the government that the people can stand up for themselves. Erin Joynt I’m not voting! I

Erin Joynt I’m not voting! I really couldn’t be bothered. There is no change that I could really make just as one person. The vote that I place will just be disappointing because I know that the party that I vote for probably won’t be elected.

8

The Oppidan Press

29 April 2014

Opinion

Nkandla is our fault

Ben Rule and Sazi Ntuli

W e are starting to reach a point in national politics where the phrase ‘public

finance’ is embedded with an inter- nal, twisted irony. But the largest voices in the Nkandla uproar should consult with their own leadership culture before distancing themselves from our government’s spending habits. ‘Nkandlagate’ has caused a massive firestorm (although I think it has a pool for that?) and a lot of flapping across the various wings of South African media. The last few months have been a constant stream of open letters and closed-minded tweets, incredulity and outrage. This scandal has become the fat kid who slipped and fell in the school playground, and all of our related and unrelated prob- lems are gleefully sprinting towards the pile-on. If that sounds a bit nasty, then I think I’ve adequately captured the spirit of vitriol with which our population is responding to this issue. This is not to defend the president. He has enough people (and proce- dure-abusing commissions of inquiry) already doing that for him. Nkandla is a scandal. We are justifiably outraged. But the source of our outrage is a bit deeper than a compound in rural KwaZulu-Natal. This scandal is a poster

child for everything that’s wrong with South African leadership. It

is the latest successor in a dynasty

that includes arms deals, travelgate, Shaiks, Guptas and the not-so- occasional burst of love-me-tender. We, the people of Facebook, Twitter and the News24 comments sections (and maybe also the readers of some respectable publications), are fed up. It seems appalling to us that somebody who is entrusted with a position of public power would abuse that power for personal gain. It is especially problematic to the Western, urban, media-engrossed upper classes that the money spent on fire pools and such could have been used to build twenty hospitals, or sixty schools, or two hundred thousand houses. We don’t understand what

makes these politicians think that this type of behaviour is acceptable. What we also do not understand is that the way we teach our leaders affixes them with this mentality of entitlement. Most schools (primary and second- ary) from this segment of society have some type of leadership system in place. Usually prefects. Prefects have many camps or trips to various locations for bonding and train- ing purposes. Prefects also acquire

a set of privileges (along with their

responsibilities) which distinguishes them from the non-prefects. School money is spent on this. Nobody really complains about that; we understand that it is deserved.

Universities follow in the same trend. Rhodes house and hall com-

mittees are familiar with trips out of town for ‘leadership purposes’. Our SRC has ‘re-strategising’ weekends at the beach, among other expenditures. The SRC at NMMU has recently been subject to a bit of publicity for spend- ing many thousands of rands on de- signer shoes for its Executive. It seems quite clear that our leadership culture automatically includes the spending of ‘public’ funds (be they the school’s, the university’s or the country’s) on leadership purposes. We need to train our leaders. We need them to connect with one an- other in order to make them effective. We need them to have the optimum conditions for effective decision- making. For all of this, they need to spend money on themselves. Starting at school, we teach our leaders that certain privileges are attached to leadership; that leadership involves using money (which probably could have been better-spent elsewhere) for investment in the leaders themselves. This is the context in which we must view the behaviour of the current government. Misappropria- tion of public funds is not the wrong side of a binary, it is a slight slip on

a sliding spectrum. Sometimes the slides slip enough to become a fall. We can change the leaders, but until we change the way we teach them to think about leadership, our social media will need a fire pool.

Is Rhodes complicit in the societal repression of female sexuality?

Serena Paver

Throughout their lives, women are constantly taught to censor their own sexuality. As a child, I remember using the word ‘sexy’ as a positive descriptor and being severely told off for it. I had always thought being sexy was this infinite gift bestowed upon women. It gave them this power that they themselves could not understand. Yet there I was being told off by a female teacher - thus beginning the long road of sexual repression that lay ahead of me. Supposedly, Rhodes provides an environment which accepts free love and with it an escape from this repres- sion. But since being here I have found that women are constantly put down for practising free sexuality where, in similar situations, men are praised. I happen to be a resident in one of the most notoriously ‘sexually deviant’ dining halls on campus, but I am still constantly amazed how the men from my hall are hailed as studs for ‘getting it in’, while the women are whispered about behind half-moon hands and branded ‘sluts’ for the same behaviour. For me, an important facet of the re- pression of female sexuality is the way in which we females repress ourselves. This is not commonly acknowledged by those fighting against repression, but by buying into the matchbox op- tions we are given we are sluts, sultry

the matchbox op- tions we are given we are sluts, sultry Society has shaped sexuality to

Society has shaped sexuality to be something for which women are judged more harshly than men. Photo: NICK DAKIN

untouchable goddesses, or (I shudder at the word) prudes. We have been brought up to shy away from sexuality. As a result, any woman trying to make sense of her sexuality works within boundaries she does not even realise are there, categorising herself as either the kinky (see: 50 Shades of Grey), the bi-sexual (see: any 16 year old girl),

the laughable (see Sex in the City) or the bodacious babe in a bikini (see any GQ, Liquifruit advert – the list goes on). Actually, what we as women need to do is accept amongst ourselves that we cannot be defined. Only in this way can we stop making it easy for our patriarchal existence to classify where we belong.

There are many ways in which soci- etal patriarchy fosters this sheltering of women’s sexuality: rape jokes, misogy- nistic jokes about women, the fact that women are programmed to not feel safe walking alone, the fact that in ad- vertising women are used as objects to sell something, or to be sold, or to be won, or to be used. We are always seen

as possessions – not people. The fact that university female residences exact intervisiting rules far more stringently than the male residences is a perfect example of females propagating their own oppression. In my experience, residences just ex- press a looming sense of judgement on

their girls: repeating the word ‘ladies’ a thousand times in each house meeting as if we were dressed in pantyhose and satin bonnets. It is all very well and good to have rules in community living, but to con- stantly put girls down for having male company (sniggers covered by palms) and to survey them with an omnipres- ent eye of disdain is unnecessary. By doing this they are once again making sexuality a taboo, reducing

it to a small dark demon, which just

gives it negative power. When a woman embraces all the

deliciousness that she is, she possesses

a power beyond her mere physicality.

This is the side of ourselves that we should tap into - we should not confine ourselves to the pictures society lays out for us. When we expect ourselves or others to fit into a box we are per- petuating our own subordination. We are not better than men; men are not better than us. This is not about a war of the sexes: this is about admitting that we have internalised the misogy- nistic ideals around despite us trying to overcome them.

29 April 2014

The Oppidan Press

9

Opinion

Tacit homophobia of the SA National Blood Service

Mitchell Shaun Parker

A n archaic and discriminatory policy for donating blood means that gay men, regard-

less of the actual suitability of their blood, are unable to donate at all. It is not clear why this practice persists. The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) needs 3000 units of blood to be donated per day to meet their demand. Without that amount, those who have been in terrible car accidents, people who urgently need transfusions and sufferers of compli- cations in what could be life-saving surgeries will and do die. In their comprehensive donor ques- tionnaire, important questions relating to the quality of your blood are asked. These questions relate to HIV, medica- tion and drug usage – all of the above indicating that your blood should not be used in any transfusions as it may harm the recipient of the blood. This is perfectly justifiable. Question 2.5 in the ‘Self-exclusion Questionnaire’ section is more prob- lematic: ‘Male donors: In the past six months have you had oral or anal sex with another man with or without a condom?’ Regardless of whether or not the other exclusionary questions are all marked with an answer that would im- ply that a donor’s blood is clean, if this question is answered in the affirmative then the blood is seen to be unaccepta- ble and no donation takes place. To contextualise this: the SANBS references the blood crises of the mid-1980s when HIV began emerging

the blood crises of the mid-1980s when HIV began emerging Despite the improvement of blood-testing methods

Despite the improvement of blood-testing methods since the 1980s, SANBS still prevents members of the gay commu- nity from donating. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

When looking at the idea of exclud- ing men who have had anal or oral sex with another man, what is effectively happening is that all sexually-active gay/bisexual men are having their abil- ity to donate blood removed. Sexuality, although not entirely based on the actual act of engaging in sexual activity, is something that strongly correlates with such acts. Thus, by saying that gay sex makes your blood unacceptable, the SANBS are also effectively excluding an entire

as a global threat. At the time, there was no way to test blood donations for the disease and, as a result, many thousands of people contracted HIV because they received infected blood. Because there was a high prevalence of HIV amongst the gay community at the time, the disease was at one time called GRID (Gay Related Immune Defficiency) and the question was added to help prevent the spread of the disease. While unfortunate, there was precedent at the time.

This has, however, changed. The SANBS prides itself in ensuring that all blood that makes it into hospitals is highly tested, despite the short- age of blood being donated, so as to protect those on the receiving end from being infected with diseases like HIV, hepatitis and syphilis, amongst others. They also caution that even if it is your 200th donation, your blood will still undergo the same rigorous tests. Therefore, not allowing a willing donor the chance to donate is nonsensical.

segment of the South African popula- tion, regardless of how badly the donated blood is needed Despite extensive checks being done to determine whether a prospective donor is promiscuous or not, gay men are instantly removed on the sheer premise of their sexuality. If a gay man has had one partner for his whole life and the two of them are entirely safe in their sexual activity, they are still both excluded. Constitutionally this is also prob- lematic. Final year Law student and member of OutRhodes Armand Swart clarified this: “This could definitely be brought as a claim under Section 9 – the right to equality – and the Equality Act, as unfair discrimination based on the listed ground of sexual orienta- tion.” Continuing on the thought of discrimination, the next question that needs to be asked is why this only applies to men. Swart pointed out the inherent contradiction present in the policy: “Loads of straight people have anal sex. Why is it male to male sex only if male to female sex can be just as risky? Furthermore, why is protected sex included if it is the safest and least risky type of sexual activity?” Gay men make up 5% of the popula- tion of South Africa. The SANBS only has roughly two and a half days of blood on hand - a distinct shortage - and with the exclusion of gay men being in principle a discriminatory practice, not allowing those men to donate is a waste of what could be a perfectly viable life-saving resource.

LGBTQIA: a community of alphabet soup and identity crisis?

Stephanie Stretch

The continued expansion of the LGBTQIA acronym is threatening to include the entire alphabet, calling into question whether a group encompassing so many distinct identities can even be referred to as a single community. We could soon reach a point where ‘LGBTQQIP- 2SAA community’ becomes oxymoronic. The LGBTQIA community is becoming an increasingly broad umbrella term which encom- passes a variety of concepts or identity mark- ers. These are (currently): lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex and asexual or allies. The question which follows is whether the ac- ronym is becoming too broad, losing its purpose or otherwise becoming too convoluted. This is the question which many people are inclined to ask with regard to a variety of issues relevant to the queer community and its alphabet soup. A feasible answer is that, when we name something, the point is to help us relate to that idea, person, or thing – to give it significance, tangible struc- ture and a solid form. The next question then is whether the queer community, in naming itself, is making itself more difficult to relate to. The acronym – already two letters longer than the average word in English and still growing – is beginning to stretch across the page like an Afrikaans compound noun with no foreseeable end in sight. The myriad terms available for gender identity also alludes to the problem that the LGBTQIA ac- ronym will never, and can never, be good enough. The alphabet community is not only comprised of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex

and asexual individuals, but also pansexual in- dividuals, skoliosexual individuals, third gender individuals, two-spirit people, and almost every other term for being human. In attempting to be inclusive it invariably excludes some, and the more inclusive it becomes, the more it will exac- erbate the exclusion of the excluded. Therein lies the conundrum. The unfortunate expectation is that minor- ity groups must define themselves in order to be seen as distinct from the majority. But if the acronym continues to expand, it may very well include the entire existing population. This, while leaving us feeling somewhat foolish, may not be an altogether bad thing. I personally quite like ‘the alphabet commu- nity’ as a community name because, at the very least, it doesn’t leave anybody out. The process of definition may be worthwhile on some levels, at least in terms of educating people, but it also cre- ates an ‘other’ and allows the majority to ignore their own specificity and to mistakenly fall into the mentality that what is outside of the acronym is ‘normal’. If we consider the fairly recent rise of toler- ance of homosexuality in the western world, a developing understanding of issues relevant to the transgender community and an ever rising interest in queer theory, one could describe the LGBTQIA movement as a young one. Like most youthful things, it may lose its footing from time to time, get lost, or otherwise struggle to make sense of itself. It is an active, continuous explora- tion of new identities which is in the process of refining itself and requires a little nurturing, time and patience. While some may argue that the LGBTQIA

time and patience. While some may argue that the LGBTQIA The continued extension of the LGBTIQA

The continued extension of the LGBTIQA raises questions as to whether it is in fact a unified community Photo: DELIA RABIE

community is starting to miss the point through its ever-expanding acronym, it is also impor- tant to acknowledge that definitions do serve a purpose. The new list of gender descriptions on Facebook is one such example. These offer a number of people avenues for self-exploration and declarations in terms of identities not previ- ously afforded to them. The queer community is no longer about one’s sexual orientation, but rather about who we are

on a fundamental level. Perhaps one day, when the growing acronym becomes too difficult to sustain, or begins to resemble something out of a Maths exam, we will simply adopt the term ‘alphabet community’ as an expression of com- munal identity. Or perhaps we will simply settle on ‘human’ as a community term when we are all equal - on the other side of the rainbow, in a world without binaries and where such terms no longer matter.

10

The Oppidan Press

29 April 2014

Arts & Entertainment

LARPing-inspired entertainment for Rhodents

Josh White

R hodes University’s Gam-

ing Society (GameSoc) has

attracted numerous people

from Rhodes and the general Gra- hamstown community thanks to the variety of entertainment it has on offer. One such source of entertain- ment is Live Action Role Play Gam- ing, or LARPing. A LARP is usually organised by a Game Master (GM) and at its begin- ning both its story and setting are discussed and agreed upon by the GM and the players. The nature of the LARP is dependent on the preferences of the players, who create suitable characters for the given scenario which they then pretend to be for a specified amount of time. The size of the group involved can change from one scenario to the next, and set-ups can range from the com- bative to the merely social. “The kinds of LARPs that exist at Rhodes are more social events,” said former Vice Chair of GameSoc William Walters. One example is the holding of Malkavian picnics, inspired by the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade. These are primarily social gatherings, but constitute LARPs insofar as each participant must come as a Malkavian - a member of a family of vampires all afflicted by a certain degree of insanity. “The nature of their insanity and the degree to which it

“The nature of their insanity and the degree to which it LARPing allows students to exercise

LARPing allows students to exercise their creativity on an emerging gaming platform. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS

affects their actions is decided entirely by them,” explained GameSoc’s Head of LARPing Cazz Immelman. Samantha Munro, a Masters student in Fine Art, recounted the experience of creating her own character, whom she called Skittles. “I am not usually too outspoken so I chose a character

who was,” she explained. Popular set-ups like war re- enactments or murder mystery dinners are also considered LARPs. “My standard joke is that LARPing is the adult version of ‘make-pretend’ games,” said Immelman. Chairperson of GameSoc JC Bailey also highlighted

the entertainment value of LARPs. “LARPs are unique since they envelop each participant into the world they’ve designed, ranging from fantasy to sci-fi settings,” he said. Although wearing elaborate costumes which suit the set-up is optional, Bailey said:

“The accessories are also a driving

point which is why it’s such a creative activity.” However, other Role Play Gaming forms a substantial part of Game- Soc’s activities, while LARPing is a more irregular activity. “[LARPing] is something of a peripheral department, and is open to everyone who wishes to join. They do not have to be members of GameSoc or even Rhodes students,” said Immelman. Despite how sporadically LARP events might occur, they still attract a substantial amount of participants. “If there is a large demand or initiative from a player or group then organis- ing a LARP is relatively hassle-free,” explained Bailey. “As with all events, we don’t force them on anyone but make it openly available to those who are curious and willing to play.” LARPing serves as an effective platform for many Rhodes students to exercise their creativity. “The only restriction as to what you can do is defined by the nature of the LARP,” said Immelman. A substantial amount of students in- volved in LARPing work in the Faculty of Humanities, with many literature fans and theatre enthusiasts will- ing to participate in the creation of a spellbinding context in which to carry out a certain story. In fact, numerous students who enjoy improvised acting have a great time participating. “It is basically the point where ‘improv’ act- ing and gaming meet,” said Immelman.

Studying Arts subjects: What will you eat?

Drashti Naik and Lili Barras-Hargan

Historically, the Arts have always been per- ceived as secondary to the more ‘professional’ subjects of maths and science. A degree in any school of Humanities is seen by many to be economic suicide, and it is a widely-held belief that Arts students will remain unemployed due to a lack of any business skills. Although the Humanities hold some currency locally, the debate regarding their utility is ever-present. Arts subjects are arguably some of the most rewarding and character-building fields of study; yet a large number of parents are reluctant to let their children take these courses at university. This is not an attitude exclusive to South Africa, but one that is shared by other countries as well, such as Kuwait. According to a Career and University Guid- ance staff member at a school in Kuwait, last year only 5% of students from a top Kuwaiti Inter- national School applying to universities in the United Kingdom (UK) opted for Arts courses. The remaining students applied for subjects such as Medicine, Accounting and Engineering. Sophie Pretorius, a Zimbabwean studying at the Courtauld Institute of Art in the UK, said, “When I was trying to find scholarships, though my results were the best in the country, no one would give a scholarship to an Art student as it ‘would not improve the country’.” Rhodes University is ostensibly a platform for open-minded people to glean further knowledge, but there are still some who hold negative views of the Arts. Some students continue to buy into old-fashioned and restricted views of their peers who study Arts subjects, negatively describ- ing them as ‘feminine’ and closely linked to the overly-clichéd and stereotyped image of drug

Producing art, music and theatre cannot only be about making money and a career. [They] have to feel called, inspired and motivated to do their work

- Professor Kylie Thomas Department of Fine Art

consumption. “I was once asked by an employer if I was gay and I think that is because of the ‘feminine’ connotations of a man playing a flute, for example,” said conductor of the Kingswood College Concert Band Stephen Holder. Despite this negative perception, one of the main real world obstacles that Arts students face is the issue of unemployment. However much we try to sugar-coat the issue, Arts subjects do offer less job opportunities. There are a substantial number of graduates who go out into a working world that seems to have no need for them. According to an article written in City Press, graduates are finding employment to be an in- creasingly elusive goal and this can be attributed to their choice in degree. It was found that the lowest unemployment rate of 0.4% belongs to accountants, lawyers, engineers and medical doc- tors. The article further stated that students who have a BSc or BCom degree have a low unem- ployment rate of 3.1%. In a world plagued with increasing consum- erism, many Arts students are faced with the

consum- erism, many Arts students are faced with the A degree in the Humanities is often

A degree in the Humanities is often perceived as inferior to those in Science or Commerce. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

questions: “What will you eat?” or, “Where will you sleep?” In answer to this, former Art History lecturer at Rhodes University Professor Kylie Thomas commented: “Producing art, music and theatre cannot only be about making money and a career. [They] have to feel called, inspired and motivated to do their work.” On the other hand, we must take into con- sideration the fact that the growing number of graduates with STEM degrees (Science, Technol- ogy, Engineering and Mathematics) will result in jobs in those fields becoming increasingly scarce.

Pretorius said, “Art doesn’t always need a capital A. If we focused entirely on survival, on working, earning money, sleeping, reproducing and eating, what would we be? We’re all about what we do in between these things and I think that merits study.” According to Professor Phindezwa Mnyaka, senior Art History and Visual Culture lecturer, “a contemporary degree in the Arts exposes students to a range of ideas that connect artistic practice to questions of personhood and politics in contemporary South Africa in a dynamic way.”

29 April 2014

The Oppidan Press

11

29 April 2014 The Oppidan Press 11 The Cliptivists (pictured above) held their first public forum

The Cliptivists (pictured above) held their first public forum to discuss revision- ist activism as well as environmental and socioeconomic issues. Photo: SHEILA DAVID

The clipping continues

Ellen Heydenrych

G rahamstown filmmaker Mark Wilby and his team of Clip- tivists held their first public

forum. Addressing both socioeco- nomic and environmental issues, the Cliptivists drew on their personal experiences in order to enlighten their audience. The aim of the public forum, which was held on 23 April in the Environ- mental Learning Research Centre (ELRC), was to introduce the concept of Cliptivism to a wider audience. This team of five is working on building a tier of support for their movement by listening to how the movement is be- ing received by the community. Wilby set the movement in motion last year by filming himself sending his toenail clippings to the Chinese Em- bassy to protest rhino poaching and encouraging others to do the same. He then expanded the project into a social documentary, bringing together the Cliptivists for that purpose. Wilby recognised the need for the public to question societal complicity within existing social activism, with particular reference to the issue of rhi- no poaching. By looking at poaching (something usually viewed as being an exclusively environmental problem) he hoped to invite the public to critique the societal reasons that underpin such issues. He focused on the part society plays in allowing poaching to continue and allowed his audience to comment on the methods in which we try to combat such a large-scale problem. He noted that despite our efforts to raise awareness via social media and bumper stickers, the problem steadily worsens. By drawing on their collective expe- rience since starting this project, The

Cliptivists used the meeting to reflect on an incident that had an emotional impact on every member. The team witnessed Themba, a rhino who was de-horned, struggle to live after the attack and his subsequent death due to his injuries. Wilby said the incident made him feel a “supreme sense of embarrassment for the human race”. Fellow Cliptivist Strato Copteros elaborated on this point, highlighting

that the human species is in a “fun- damental crisis”. The issue of rhino poaching, he said, is not purely an en- vironmental problem, but has its roots in socio-economic issues that we all play some part in, no matter how big or small. Thus, the way in which the issue should be dealt with is through introspection and questioning of why things are the way they are. Wilby re- ferred to this as “revisionist activism”.

Each [of the Cliptivists] in their own way, has an engaging way of responding to the world

- Mark Wilby

Drama Masters candidate Push Nqelana expressed her personal jour- ney of becoming a Cliptivist and how she tackled the issue from an indig- enous standpoint. She repeatedly asked herself what she could do in her capac- ity and at that specific point in time. “Each [of the Cliptivists] in their own way has an engaging way of respond- ing to the world,” said Wilby. The public forum allowed for a vari- ety of voices to be heard on the topic of poaching as well as any critiques of the Cliptivist project. Poet and producer of the anthology Rhino in a Shrinking World, Harry Owen, saw this meeting as an opportunity to spread the word and gain more awareness for the threat posed to rhino. “Anything that helps to do this [spread the message] has to be a good thing,” explained Owen. This project has hopes for more public interaction and co-operation in the future. The Cliptivists are an ever-growing presence in Grahams- town and through public interaction, platforms such as forums and social media, they can begin to help unravel the many aspects of our societal values and ideas around this topic. Through introspection, promotion of thought and word of mouth, Cliptivism may just take the world by storm.

Arts & Entertainment

Innovative event organising collective set to stir the scene

Sam van Heerden

In March this year, two Rhodes University students and a Belgian DJ came together to establish MixLab, a DJ and event organisation collec- tive. With appearances from popular DJs Das Kapital and Veranda Panda already under its belt, MixLab seeks to bring new and exciting events to Grahamstown. The MixLab team is made up of Ross McCreath and Luniko Fut- shane, two Rhodes students from the Grahamstown area, and Yannick Bryssinck, professionally known as “DJ Clinxx”, from Belgium. Bryssinck recalled that the three of them started the collective because they were tired of the poor organisation of events and the lack of quality music in Grahams- town’s nightlife. “We wanted to do what others had done but just better. This eventually led us to do what others had not,” explained McCreath. Futshane, known as “DJ Von Dirty”, added that MixLab is a combination of a DJ collective, business and label which aims to give Rhodes students new and quality entertainment experi- ences. According to McCreath, it was after the success of their first gig at the Monastery that they decided to hold events on a monthly basis. MixLab events have been held at The Monastery and Prime and have included DJ sets by resident DJs as well as national artists. The MixLab DJs play a range of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) genres including deep house,

of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) genres including deep house, Yannick Bryssinck, Luniko Futshane and Ross McCreath

Yannick Bryssinck, Luniko Futshane and Ross McCreath and aim to bring more big names to the Grahamstown nightclub scene after finding that there was a lack thereof. Photo: NICK DAKIN

drum and bass, minimal, hip-hop, electro and dubstep. McCreath says that their events have been well sup- ported and very successful so far. The founders explained that none of them had worked with big names be- fore this year, so it has been a daunting but fulfilling experience. When asked what it was like to work with such well-known DJs, McCreath replied, “It’s been amazing! These are some of the biggest names in South Africa at the moment and we have been fortunate, lucky and stupid enough to attempt to actually get them here.” Yannick explained that in order to bring in the DJs they wanted, they had to meet certain requirements which made their job quite difficult. Without a sponsor to advise and contribute to the financial side of their organisation, they have had to learn to overcome these drawbacks by using the

resources at their disposal. “We always manage to make a plan,” explained Futshane. Despite the difficulties in organising their events, they still carry on producing a fresh range of entertainment for Rhodes students because the artists they collaborate with inspire them to push through. “Working with professionals in the music industry has inspired us to improve the quality of our events and achieve more,” explained McCreath. The MixLab team has a number of events in the pipeline for the rest of the year, including a free party at Grey Dam, a club night at The Union, a Warehouse party and a music festival. They are also holding a Boat Party event which will see 70 Rhodes stu- dents travel to Port Alfred on a ‘party bus’. This event was scheduled for 27 April but had to be postponed to the third term due to logistical issues.

Grahamstown Music Soc ensures top-class performances

Bronwyn Pretorius

As the host of the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown is renowned for its arts scene. The Grahamstown Music Society (GMS) aims to build on this reputation and ensures that creativity remains ever-present in the town by welcoming people of all ages to attend its concerts. This society offers the opportunity to watch a diverse range of performances and listen to a variety of instru- ments. “The Grahamstown Music Society (GMS) forms part of a mélange of culture,” said previous member of the GMS, Tim Huisamen, a sentiment which was confirmed by for- mer Chairperson of the GMS Torquil Paterson. “Members are presented with a wide diversity of instrumentation and repertoire,” Paterson said. The society’s ensemble of musicians includes South African artists as well as prominent performers touring from abroad. “It is a great privilege to be able to hear these world-class performers, right here in Grahamstown for a fraction of the price,” said current Chairperson of the GMS Aiden Smith. Although he believes that listening to music is crucial for aspiring musicians, he made the point that “listening to a CD or watching a performance on TV doesn’t com- pare to live performances”. Paterson put the GMS’s sole purpose in simple terms:

“Our mission statement is to bring concerts of an interna- tional standard to Grahamstown.” There are seven concerts spread throughout the year and tickets are available at the door. Membership tickets can also be purchased, which allow free entrance to two concerts during the course of the year. Members can also

attend the annual general meeting, which gives them a say in the committee’s composition and policies. Another benefit of becoming a member is receiving detailed infor- mation on the musicians and their music. Concerts are held in either the Beethoven Room in Rhodes University’s Music Department or in the Saint Andrew’s College Drill Hall. Paul Richard and Christo Greyling, two former Masters students from Rhodes and previous winners of the Grahamstown Music Competi- tion, will partake in a concert on 18 June 2014.

Upcoming concerts:

23 May 2014: Antonio Pompa-Baldi (Piano Recital) at St

Andrew’s College Drill Hall

18 June 2014: Paul Richard (Saxophone) and Christo

Greyling (Piano), past winners of the Grahamstown Music Competition and former Rhodes Masters Students in the Beethoven Room.

7 August 2014: Flute, Viola and Harp Trio (Liesl Stoltz, Xandi van Dijk, Jacqueline Kerrod) at St Andrew’s Col- lege Drill Hall.

28 August 2014: De Quiros (Piano Recital) at St Andrew’s

College Drill Hall.

11 September 2014: Vienna Brass Virtuosi at St An-

drew’s College Drill Hall.

27 October 2014: Avigail and Ammiel Bushakevitz (Vio-

lin and Piano) in the Beethoven Room.

12

The Oppidan Press

29 April 2014

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Check it out at:

Environment

29 April 2014 oppidanpress.com Check it out at: Environment Marigolds bursting into bloom in front of

Marigolds bursting into bloom in front of the main Administration building. Photo: SHEILA DAVID

The bloom and doom of Rhodes’ gardens

Elisa Edmondson

The flower beds in front of the clock tower were ablaze with fiery mari- golds for Graduation Week, cour- tesy of the meticulous timing of the Grounds and Gardens team. While aesthetically pleasing, the flower beds’ ever-changing state raises questions about sustainability and unnecessary expense. Acting Manager of the Grounds and Gardens Philip Crous explained that the upkeep of the iconic flower beds revolves around three major events of the year: Orientation in early February, Graduation in April, and the National Arts Festival during June and July. At an estimated retail price of R3800 per plantation session, the flower beds cost around R11 000 per year if the beds are changed approximately every 4 months. The flowers are used as a marketing tool for the university as well as a warm welcome for the influx of visitors expected during these times. Once the flowers are removed from the beds, they are considered disturbed and cannot be planted elsewhere. These flowers are composted and be- come part of an organic fertiliser used for the next round of annuals. Head of the Botany Department Susanne Vetter explained that composting the flowers in this way is extremely useful.

Referring to the soil nutrition provided by the decomposing flowers, she said that, “no one should underestimate a good compost.” Apart from the circle of life, the flowers may be removed after experi- encing harsh weather conditions which cause the plants to begin rotting. Other disturbances include theft of the flow- ers and pets running loose through the beds. Due to the scheduled planting, it is nearly impossible to replace the flowers when issues such as these arise.“The whole process takes a lot of planning, faith, and praying,” stated Crous. “Our work changes as the weather changes. It is extremely organic.” Joseph Quduba, who has been a gardener with Grounds and Gardens for 40 years, said: “At the beginning of every day, I walk over to my garden,” said Quduba, referring to the flower beds. “I like my work, and those beds are very important. On days when I am on holiday, I worry about my flowers.” Despite the tremendous amount of pressure, Grounds and Gardens takes great pride in their work and make it a point to provide a rich and sustainable environment. “Our workplace is visual. We are privileged to see the results of our work, and to see students enjoy the environment,” says Crous.

Planting new knowledge of the Grahamstown environment

Mikaela Erskog and Lili Barras-Hargan

In October 2013, there was a protest against the cut- ting down of trees for the building of the new Life Sciences Building. The grove of trees in question had a mixture of exotic and indigenous species, but these were not considered endangered and were subse- quently removed to make way for the new building. Part of the problem when encountering such situ- ations is that little awareness about local endangered plant species exists. Critically endangered plant species are plants whose current scarcity suggests that they are rapidly moving towards extinction. These plants and their habitats should remain undisturbed in order

to facilitate their survival. Although some of these endangered plants have no ‘functional’ purpose, their survival maintains the integrity of biodiversity in their local environment. This means that we should be aware of the local spe- cies that are on the critically endangered list so that we can look out for them. Here are three endangered indig- enous plant species that you can keep an eye out for in Grahamstown. Common terms could not be found due to rarity of the species:

Lobelia zwartkopensis (1) Isoetes wormaldii (2) Lachenalia convallarioides (3)

1. 2. 3. Illustration: Amy Slatem
1.
2.
3.
Illustration: Amy Slatem

Does the Rainbow Nation need more green?

Mikaela Erskog

When one considers the massive environmental problems facing this country the lack of green politics in South African government is worrying. From water scarcity to pollution, South Africa needs a government that takes environmental issues seriously - not only for the sake of nature, but also for the social welfare of the South African citizens. Amidst the political mudslinging that has taken place during the leadup to the 2014 National Elections, few ques- tions have been raised about the proposed environmental obligations of each political party, let alone the lack of envi- ronmental considerations within popular political discourse. The Green Party of South Africa (GPSA) was formed in 1999. Up until this election, it has been registered on the ballot sheet but has sadly been relatively marginal despite being the only official environmental party. With 37 likes on its Facebook page, it seems to have gotten little public sup- port and is slipping into relative obscurity. However, more popular, global discourse on green politics also seems trivial about real structural changes that would ensure better environmental practices. The main green policies being put forward by parties are more about making shallow political repairs, without eliminating the cause of environmental damage (i.e. challenging the capitalist system which is predicated on infinite growth through unsustain- able use of finite natural resources.) Many environmentalists would argue that the green party politics that have become increasingly popular in Europe and the United States only scratch the surface of sustainable environmental practices. However, South African society arguably has more press- ing problems of unemployment, gender inequality and poverty to deal with. So many argue that the fact that South

African political parties scratch the surface of environmen- talism at all is quite impressive. Parties like the United Christian Democratic Party (UCDP) make some environmental promises: of executing international agreements and protocols on the environment and prioritising more efficient water management. But the UCDP’s proposed environmental commitments do not seem to delve into the heart of environmentalism as, for ex- ample, they make no mention of how to sustainably manage resources like water. Surprisingly, the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) presents one of the more detailed environmental proposals, which expresses the need to rely more heavily on green energy and water sustainability. But at the same time, the EFF’s dis- course on nationalisation of the mining industry does not talk about how this industry can exist in accordance with environmentally-friendly practices. There is no challenge to the assumption that capital accumulation trumps environ- mental concerns. The Democratic Alliance (DA) has environmental policies that are aligned with international conservationist agendas. They propose the need to motivate households and busi- nesses to reduce their environmental impact, to strengthen regulations to protect natural resources, and to make fund- ing available for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Yet, this is not a main talking-point in media forums or public discussion and we see little questioning of the societal values that arguably underlie detrimental environmental practices. Political debaters do us all a disservice if no attempt is made to hold parties more accountable to their environmen- tal proposals. One must not forget that social welfare rides on the state of the environment. The way in which political parties approach environmental issues speaks to just how much consideration they have made for their constituencies.

much consideration they have made for their constituencies. >> OppiTV live election debate >> The

>> OppiTV live election debate

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29 April 2014

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13

Features

29 April 2014 The Oppidan Press 13 Features Earth Day provides an opportunity to reflect on

Earth Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the ELRC’s efforts to integrate academic work on environmental sustainability into a broader community framework. Photo: GABRIELLA FREGONA

A common space for a common green cause

Mikaela Erskog

Environment

T he recent celebration of Earth Day on

22 April drew attention to humankind’s

commitment to environmentalism. It

brought to the fore the question of whether or not Rhodes University and its broader community are doing enough in the move- ment towards a healthier, happier Earth. The Environmental Learning and Research Centre (ELRC) is one body which is seeking to address this concern within the University. From an academic standpoint, Rhodes is promoting environmental education and research in order to fulfil its environmental commitments. Safety, Health and Environment Officer Nikki Köhly stated that, “Substantial research is being conducted by committed staff in various depart- ments.” Postgraduate students in these depart- ments are doing important academic and scientif- ic environmental research. This work contributes to the growing scholarship on environmentalism and shows how local infrastructure may or may

not be contributing towards the betterment of the natural environment. In 2013, then Masters in Business Administra- tion student Nondumiso Mfenyana wrote a thesis that explored sustainable paper usage at Rhodes. This made various recommendations towards reducing wasteful paper use. Mfenyana explained in the thesis that other academic work related to environmental sustainability exists with find- ings that promote the implementation of more efficient practices. Yet if this kind of academic work does not translate into societal improvements, it loses its transformative power. Environmental research is rendered ineffectual if no practical work is done as a result of the findings and there is doubt that academia equals action for Rhodes envi- ronmentalism. From an operational point of view, I believe much could be done to strengthen RU’s environmental commitments,” commented Köhly. For the last three years, the ELRC has worked towards providing a space for integrating academic work into the broader community. In

From an operational point of view, I believe much could be done to strengthen RU’s environmental commitments

- Safety, Health and Environment Officer Nikki Köhly

order to promote the transformative potential of environmental education, the ELRC facili- tates ongoing reciprocal collaborations between academic experts, students and members of the Makana community on the matter of environ- mental sustainability. Lecturer and associate at the ELRC Rob O’Donoghue said that the centre aims to facilitate deeper critical thinking about local and global environmental issues. It also aims to encour- age environmentally-aligned dialogues between University affiliates and members of the local communities, who do not often get the chance to

interact on equal, mutually beneficial grounds. O’Donoghue further stated that the kind of trans-disciplinary work done at the ‘sustainability commons’ (the ELRC) is powerful, as a diversity of opinions often generates diverse solutions. Former RU Green Chairperson and Rho- des alumnus Ruth Kruger explained that “the [environmental] cause attracts such varied people, from biologists to lawyers to journalists to engineers. It’s the reason that the ELRC at Rhodes functions as a great meeting place for green- thinking individuals from all disciplines”. “The centre and its members have been a hub of ideas for all kinds of green thoughts that we’ve had through the years and have helped us turn these thoughts into action,” she added. By working with community members and academic experts, O’Donoghue explained that the ELRC is filling the gap between academic work and practical environmentalism. “We look at the key arenas [of society] for positive co-engagement around environmental concerns, where we can learn with and learn from one another,” he said.

Backing up: storage to prevent student stress

Bradley Prior

when buying an external hard drive are

with Google Chrome browsers and

Scitech

Western Digital (WD), Toshiba and

Android devices, and allows editing

Many students find backing up their information to be a nuisance, but few can argue against it being a crucial activity for anyone who wants to keep precious work safe. Any student whose hard disk has ever stopped functioning can attest to the fact that backing up their work saves them a lot of time, money and sanity. The most obvious way to back up is by saving all of your work to physical external storage devices. which include flash drives, CDs and external hard drives. Of the three, external hard drives are generally considered to be the best choice. This is due to their ability to hold large quantities of data, and the fact that they are less likely to be damaged than flash drives and CDs. Some reliable brands to look out for

Seagate. Another way to back up work is through cloud services. Cloud services hold all the data that you want to back up online. This obviously brings the complication of needing an internet connection to access the backed up data, but it also provides confirmation of your data’s safety – you cannot spill juice on a cloud! OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) is a firm favourite as far as cloud services go. This is due to all Windows devices (phones, tablets and PCs) being sold with OneDrive pre- installed. Microsoft Office 2013 offers a dis- tinct advantage to OneDrive users as they can automatically save their work online via the service. Alternatives to OneDrive include Google Drive, which links natively

through Google Docs. This service also offers more options for sharing work or attaching work to emails, as it links very well with Gmail. Finally, for a large amount of storage capacity, Dropbox is always a good alternative. Available online or on the app stores for most smartphone de- vices, the program allows users a base storage capacity of up to 25 gigabytes, with the option for more through sharing perks or premium packages. Although it offers the least in terms of features, its functionality is consistent and effective. The couple of minutes you spend setting up a backup source, or the sec- onds spent uploading data to a cloud service, will seem worthwhile if you ever find that your hard drive has been corrupted. Do not risk not backing up your work–it only leads to disaster.

you ever find that your hard drive has been corrupted. Do not risk not backing up

14

The Oppidan Press

29 April 2014

Features

14 The Oppidan Press 29 April 2014 Features The Rhodes videogaming community is growing steadily as

The Rhodes videogaming community is growing steadily as computer technology develops to encompass more genres. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

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: The video- gaming community This week’s mouth: William Walters

Ben Rule

Opinion

William Walters is the former Vice- Chair of Gamesoc, a society with which he has been involved for over three years. Opinion Editor: From the outside, the pastime or hobby of video gam- ing could be seen as quite an anti- social behaviour – a sort of removal from people. Is this at all the case? Mostly not. From social gaming to competitive gaming there is a strong sense that you are part of a community. There are a lot of single player games, but multiplayer games are progres- sively becoming competitive. There are different types of multiplayer games:

from casual LANs (where people meet up in person and play the same game through a local network), to competi- tive gaming leagues on the internet where people can play with people from everywhere for money, prizes and prestige. The community ranges from casual to competitive players and the term ‘gamer’ implies the belonging to this community. I’ve seen people become passion- ate about playing video games to a point of obsession, especially when a new game comes out. Do you think that video gaming can become an addiction? Is this recognised within the community, that there is a line beyond which it is a problem? It depends on the person; there are people who are naturally prone to addictions and tend to develop an addiction to a certain game. World of Warcraft has the reputation of having a large number of ‘addicts’, but often it depends on the personal appeal that certain games have to people. It is definitely possible to develop an addic- tion and I would say that it is recog- nised within the community. There are cases where people have died while playing games for extended periods of time, but those are the exception to the norms that exist within our community. The obsession that some people have with video games is not that different from that which some people have with the sports teams they support. Video games, in a lot of people’s minds, are something which children or teenagers play. They are associated with immaturity. Presently though,

society seems to be heading towards a place where adults are constantly playing video games. Should this be perceived as a problem?

I would say that it is not so much a

problem really. Sure, you have adults (both men and women) becoming professional gamers who make a living off the games they play and the work they do around the industry. I think the perception that games are linked to immaturity is more based on an outdated perception that most games are like Pacman or Tetris, or at the very least the kinds of casual games that people play on Facebook. Increasingly, games are being designed for mature audiences; people who can appreciate the subtle nuances and social com- mentaries that many games offer. In addition to that, there are a number of games that emerge as artwork, with highly developed, non-clichéd plot- twists and developments.

There are a number of games that emerge as artwork

Often people spend a preposterous number of hours at a time playing games. It’s clear to me that there is no physical benefit to be gained from this, and it seems as though there’s not much of an intellectual benefit

either. So where is the benefit? Or are they all just wasting time?

I would say that there are many

unacknowledged benefits to gaming which need to be recognised. The first is the intellectual benefit: many studies have shown that people who have been gaming have shown increased spatial

perception and 3D problem solving, and that they have highly attuned reflexes and increased capacity to process many levels of data. Most of these skills are developed according to the gamer’s preference to the kinds of games they play. With regard to physical benefits, there has been a rise in certain gaming consoles which have accounted for this problem. Systems like Kinect and the Wii’s Wii-fit, as well as various dance games, are incorporating physical activity into their gameplay. The physical aspect is a problem which is being addressed.

The physical aspect is a problem which is being addressed. The cost of gaming equipment has

The cost of gaming equipment has risen in recent years to the point where gamers have had to search for alternatives. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Gaming on a budget

Bradley Prior

Scitech

G aming is one of the fastest growing and most prominent industries of the 21st century. Video games have morphed from simplistic, pixelated

creations such as Pacman and the earlier Pokémon games into the lifelike virtual worlds of Call of Duty and Bat- tlefield. However, this improvement has come at a cost to gamers – literally. Dedicated gamers can find themselves paying tens of thousands of rands just to acquire a gaming set-up suitable for running modern games at optimal settings. And then they still have to fork out up to R800 per game. However, there are ways to circumnavigate these costs or, at the very least, reduce them. Steam sales are a great way to acquire games at a fraction of the retail price - albeit in digital format as opposed to a boxed copy. Steam is a massive virtual marketplace and the largest centralised PC gaming platform to date. Due to its sheer size and success, Steam can afford to hold incredibly cheap and regular “Steam sales”, where game prices can be reduced by up to 90%. Alternatively, the Humble Bundle is an affordable way to get high quality games. It works on a pay-what-you-want system for a specific set (or ‘bundle’) of games, with the

lowest amount payable being around one US dollar (R10,61 at time of print). Paying more than the average amount of about $5,00 will add extra games into the bundle - all of which are sent as download codes which are redeemable through Steam. Free-to-Play (F2P) gaming is also a booming market, of- fering games that are downloadable and playable for free. There are in-game purchases to enhance the player’s experience – which is how the developers make money – but they are not a requirement to play the game and do not unbalance the gameplay. Some of the more popular F2P games include League of Legends and Dota 2 – which are also well-publicised eSports. Prize pools for international tournaments in these games have exceeded a million dollars each, and over 32 million unique viewers streamed the League of Legends 2013 World Championship on Twitch.tv. These figures make it clear that these games are well made and well worth a gamer’s time, despite the fact that they are free to play. It is easier than many would expect to game on a budget, although it requires a lot of downloading. Many gamers have simply not explored cheaper options and are missing out as a result. Gaming doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg – unless you’re playing a first person shooter.

Big businesses in Little Grahamstown

Christopher Fisher

Business

Active participation in community outreach programmes and eco- friendly initiatives is fast becoming

an important part of running a successful business. Businesses in Grahamstown which acknowledge their corporate social responsibility not only benefit the community, but also often bring in more customers. This is because there is often the expectation that businesses will engage with their corporate social responsibility. “Businesses have to take care of society in some way or another,” agreed penultimate year LLB student Koketso Molope. One business which takes its cor- porate social responsibility seriously is Pick n Pay - which is one of Africa’s largest retailers. With approximately 250 employees, the Grahamstown Pick n Pay is one of the town’s largest businesses in the town.

Manager of the Grahamstown Pick n Pay Werner Pienaar believes that “the immediate benefit created by Pick n Pay for the Grahamstown community is job creation, with over 90% of the employees coming from the town itself ”. Rhodes students also benefit from the presence of businesses like Pick n Pay. “Students gain potential employment opportunities through the businesses operating within the town. This in itself is a major positive of having these businesses here,” said former SRC Community Engage- ment Councilor Thabo Seshoka. Pienaar agreed with this sentiment, stating that “students in the past have made some of the best employees”. He went on to say that many students have a wonderful ability to interact with customers. But mutually beneficial employ- ment is not the only thing that Pick n Pay has to offer in terms of commu- nity engagement.

Through a variety of continuous donations and initiatives run and made by Pick n Pay throughout the year, the food giant supports a large number of local organisations, including Grahamstown Hospice. Pick n Pay also contributes to a variety of Rhodes initiatives and they are the official sponsor of the Give 5 campaign, a student-run fund-raising programme. While Seshoka acknowledged that companies such as Pick n Pay and Steers donate money and sup- port different initiatives within the university, he also pointed out that “it happens in the background”. This is something that Pienaar agreed with as he explained how “we don’t want to be the heroes”. So while the majority of big busi- nesses in the town are positively complying with the requirements of corporate social responsibility, the exact extent of their involvement is sometimes hard to establish.

29 April 2014

The Oppidan Press

15

29 April 2014 The Oppidan Press 15 The Health Suite offers free body assessments to all

The Health Suite offers free body assessments to all members on a termly basis. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS

A guide to healthy living

Joshua Kosterman

O nce a term, all Rhodes

University (RU) Health Suite

members are entitled to a

free body assessment. The assess- ments are conducted by personal trainers and focus on various parts of the body. They provide both a general overview of your health and fitness, along with an in-depth analysis that can pinpoint specific areas where improvements can be made. The tests range from simple height and weight measurements to other more complicated tests that gather quantitative data and determine body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI). The results allow the personal trainer to analyse the subject’s fitness levels and potentially to detect certain health problems. This helps the subject to set realistic fitness goals which

should serve as motivation to improve personal health. Personal Training Manager at the RU Health Suite Dusty Zeisberger spoke about the benefits of doing a body assessment. “Data that we are able to gather from these tests can tell us a lot about how healthy a person is, their risk of heart disease or just give someone a starting measurement of body characteristics which they may be able to improve on.” Alexander van den Bos, who plays for Founders’ rugby side, went for his first body assessment last year. “I did it because I was curious – it’s nice to know where you stand,” he said. “You can target specific body parts from there and know where you’re going. I knew what needed to be improved and what didn’t.” Through undergoing assessments regularly, gym-goers can adapt their

goals according to their progress in assessments. Body assessments are extremely helpful in designing body- specific training programmes, due to the fact that they are thorough and account for so many aspects of the body. Taking a body assessment once per term will allow you to adapt your training regime if it is not achieving the desired results. Without the as- sessment, it may be difficult to identify shortcomings in your routines. So whether you are an athlete who wants to develop a training regime that suits a particular sport or just someone who wants to lead a healthier lifestyle, a body assessment is a good place to start. All you need to do to qualify for this worthwhile service is become a mem- ber of the RU Health Suite for the weights section – memberships range from R500 to R580 per year.

Rhodes Cricket reflects on a successful season

Muhammad Hussain

As the Rhodes cricket season came to a close at the end of last term, there was a distinct sense of satisfaction at the improvements made by the teams. Despite a shaky start, each team managed to shine by the end of their season. Chairman of the Rhodes Cricket Club Shane Murphy described the season as one of the better ones for cricket at Rhodes, with great commitment shown by the players. For the first XI, the new cricketing year started in Decem- ber with the annual Universities Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament in Potchefstroom. Although the team finished sixth out of eight with no stand-out performances, they did manage to retain their place in the A-section of the draw for next season. With the start of term one the first team were back in their whites and representing the University in the PE Premier Cricket League. Brendon Smith stood out as the leading wicket-taker, with eleven scalps to his name, and the team racked up three victories on the trot before sliding to end the season with four wins and four losses. Speaking about the losses, Captain of the First XI Rein- hardt Arp said, “Two were against better teams, while the other two were narrow games which we should have won.” However, unlike the previous season, the team was able to avoid being relegated to the play-offs and managed to

The main quality that marked this season was the sense of camaraderie which the teams developed

- Reinhardt Arp

ensure a spot in the league. The Rhodes teams really shone at Pineapple Week (a local tournament). The Rhodes Second XI (Shrews) finished as runners-up in the B-section, while the Rhodents won the plate final. Fletcher Grafton notched up the most sixes and highest aggregate, top-scoring with 169, while the highest wicket- taker Marc Stone took 14 wickets. According to Arp, the main quality that marked this sea- son was the camaraderie which the teams developed. He be- lieves that this will certainly help in continuing to improve the club. Murphy also highlighted the importance of honing the talent in the first years, especially since the sign-up for cricket in 2014 is the highest it has been in his four years. With the spirit of the senior players and the talent of the new ones, Rhodes’s cricketing future seems to be heading along the path to continued improvement.

Sport

to be heading along the path to continued improvement. Sport Olympic swimmer Zahra Pinto has managed

Olympic swimmer Zahra Pinto has managed to beat the odds and is testa- ment that any goal can be achieved. Photo: SUPPLIED

A well-shaped column:

Zahra Pinto’s journey with professional swimming

Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

Swimming is not a particularly big sport at Rhodes University, and even less so in Malawi – which is where Zahra Pinto hails from. Despite this, the young swimmer and second-year BComm student beat the odds to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics at the tender age of 14. “Coming to South Africa for university was always the second-best alter- native to home,” Pinto said. Leaving home was not easy, but she sacrificed being with her family for a decent tertiary education. “Rhodes was always an option for me; I’ve always wanted to come here.” Pinto started swimming at the age of four. She admits outright that she did not think swimming was competitive until she was scouted by a local swim- ming club during her second year of high school. She also mentioned that her mother was a prominent factor in maintaining her motivation, and was a consistent source of support. “My mom introduced me to swimming in the first place, and was always there when I needed that extra push.” Despite being very young at the time, Pinto “swam in the full-on, Michael Phelps-kind of Olympics”. Even though her Olympic appearance was a few years ago now, Pinto still sticks to the same training and dieting regimes. “I try very hard to adapt my dieting regime from preparing for the Olym- pics to my life as a swimmer now,” she explained. “Initially, I have to cut out carbs to prevent weight-gain, but after a few weeks I re-introduce it into my diet for muscle growth and repair.” Having a sweet tooth is a struggle for Pinto due to the rigours of a high- protein diet that emphasises nutritional balance. “Breakfast and supper are your most important meals. These have to be big, and then snacks through- out the day are just to keep you going.” Pinto emphasised the importance of rest in any professional swimmer’s routine. “As a serious swimmer, your daily life is the pool, the gym, then the pool again. In between that, rest is important to regain the energy that you lose.” She went on to explain what her own body went through when she prepared herself to swim the 50m freestyle at the Olympics, which was only her second international event. Pinto currently trains at the DSG indoor swimming pool. She adapts training programmes to suit the time that she has to spare and waits for confirmation to represent Malawi again at the next major sporting event in the near future.

20 years of democracy

Page 4

Sports

Immersive gaming

gaining

popularity

Page 10

How to not lose your data (and your mind)

Page 13

How to not lose your data (and your mind) P a g e 1 3 Rhodes

Rhodes University’s first team narrowly lost to Fort Hare on Friday 25 April. Photo: NICK DAKIN

Physical Fort Hare grind out result against Rhodes

Keegan Latham

O n Friday 25 April Rhodes University hosted Fort Hare reserves side on an icy Grahamstown night. Fort Hare’s

scored two late tries to down a resilient Rhodes side 15 - 14. The game began with Fort Hare immediately applying the pressure. However, Rhodes showed courage and admirable heart in defence despite Fort Hare having the upper-hand in contact

situations. Rhodes scored first through some

dynamic running which opened up the Fort Hare defence. Fullback Jonty Rawlins made the conver- sion to put Rhodes 7 points up. Fort Hare began to fight back immediately and caused problems for the Rhodes defence, using their powerful runners to good effect. After a period of sustained effort, including four kickable penalties, Fort Hare finally charged across the line. Number 8 Tyatyado scored the try, and with the conversion unsuccessful the score went up to 7 – 5 in favour of Rhodes. The Rhodes team showed flare from the restart

and through determined play and inspired backline work they collected their second try of the night. Rawlins made no mistake from the kicking-tee to give his side a well-deserved 14-5 lead going into the break. The second half paled in comparison to the first, with the game freezing up and both sides making a number of errors. The night would only get colder for Rhodes as they saw two of their players sent off towards the end of the second half. This was just too much for the brave Rhodes

side, who conceded two late tries to Fort Hare’s big number 7 and captain Billy Dutton. The game was played in great spirit and noth- ing can be taken away from the home team’s effort. The Fort Hare coach was full of admiration for the opposition. “My team played well today but you cannot take anything away from Rhodes. We snatched it from them. They have a good coach and they’re doing something right. I have no doubt they can achieve Varsity Cup given the right support,” he said.

RU Rowing Club successful at SA Champs

Douglas Smith

year

and as a result the club has been

Boat Race the average age in the team

However, RURC president Jedrick

Championships (WUC) in France, in

forced to get by on sub-par resources

was 25 or 26.” This year the First XIII

Theron made special mention of the

August this year.

The RU Rowing Club (RURC) en-

and

equipment.

is comprised of seven rowers from last

fact that the club is still willing to ac-

Even more encouraging for Rhodes

joyed a highly successful SA Rowing

“We have had to coach ourselves and

year’s team and just one new recruit.

cept rowers who have not yet signed

rowing is the fact that three of the

Championships, which took place

stay

motivated, but we still managed

Walraven is optimistic that this could

up and would like to take part in Boat

seven RURC members shortlisted for

on 12 and 13 April at the Roodeplaat

to get good results at SA Champs,”

give Rhodes the edge at Boat Race.

Race.

the WUC squad are female rowers.

Dam in Pretoria. The event was the

explained Captain of the RURC First

As the premier university rowing

“Every year I hear people talking

“The ladies in the team are younger

first serious challenge of the season

XIII

Scott Walraven. The club won

event, Boat Race is the highlight of

about how excited they are for Boat

than the guys, but they have lots of po-

as the rowers prepare for Boat Race

gold

medals in the men’s A-coxed-4,

the rowing calendar and this year the

Race season – it’s just a great time,”

tential,” said Josie King, Vice-Captain

in September. Earlier in the year, the RURC was set to receive a newly-built high performance training centre for row- ing, sponsored by a grant from the National Lottery. However, the plans have been delayed until the end of the

B-sculls, B-pair and C-coxed-4 races. They also placed second in the men’s A-sculls and women’s B-coxless-4 races. Walraven credits the club’s success to experience. “Age is a huge factor in rowing,” he said. “The last time we won

RURC believes that they can give the country’s best rowers a run for their money. “We have really positive vibes at the moment, and if we keep going there is no reason why we can’t make an A-final and race against UCT or TUKS,” said Walraven.

Theron encouraged. Theron himself is enjoying an amazing rowing season. Along with six other Rhodes rowers, he has been shortlisted for the South African national rowing squad, which will compete at the World University

of the RURC women’s team. This just shows how far the RURC has come over the past few seasons. Hard work and dedication has been the name of the game for some time and hopefully this is the year that Rho- des reaps the rewards at Boat Race.