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The Oppidan Press

Edition 9, 3 September 2014


Google is
watching you
For the love
of sloths
Intervarsitys
continuity in
question
3 10 11
Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
Boat Race on
the horizon
12
News Features
2 Te Oppidan Press 3 September 2014
Emily Corke
t the start of the new semester, the Dean
of Students (DoS) division became the
Director of Student Afairs ofce. At
the end of last term, allegations were made that
the review into the DoS division did not follow
protocol.
However, Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe
Mabizela said that the review was carried out
within the letter and spirit of the policies of the
University. Good practice dictates that one
should continually review diferent areas of the
organisation and this is exactly what happens at
Rhodes, said Mabizela.
According to Head of Human Resources Sarah
Fischer, another good practice is to continually
update how these reviews take place and what
their purposes are. Te University is exploring
its review processes to try and ensure a more
streamlined and focused process, said Fischer.
Following discussions held in late 2013 about
the possibilities of moving certain transforma-
tion work to the Equity and Institutional Culture
Ofce, it was decided to review the DoS division.
Kyle Prinsloo
A group of frst-year Drama students
took part in a recent survey explor-
ing the possibility of creating a
specifc Drama degree, as opposed to
qualifying with a BA. Tis is not the
frst time that the idea has been pro-
posed but it has yet to be approved by
both the Drama Department and the
University due to questions about
its necessity and consequences.
Te idea was frst introduced
three years ago by Professor Andrew
Buckland, the current second-year
Drama Course Coordinator. In order
for the proposal to be considered,
there needed to be an increase in the
number of Drama students enrolled
in the subject. Buckland proposed the
introduction of the Bachelor of Drama
(BDram), a four-year Drama degree
much like the Bachelor of Journalism,
in order to attract more students.
Te idea surfaced again this year
afer students took the initiative to
run the survey. Afer a meeting held
on 13 August 2014, Buckland and
his colleagues argued that there were
downfalls with the implementation of
a BDram degree at Rhodes. In order
to [give the students practical experi-
ence for the industry], you have to
train them in television, radio and live
performance theatre if youre going to
go into a contract that says, heres a
degree thats preparing you for the in-
dustry, said Buckland. Unfortunately,
the Rhodes Drama Department does
not currently have a platform that will
allow this training.
We dont have television equip-
ment. We dont have any staf with
the expertise to teach the students. So
the University would have to invest
an enormous amount of money [for
lecturers in that feld] if we want
to ofer it as a truly vocational degree,
he explained.
Te results from the survey, pre-
pared by the Drama students, provided
a dismal response from current Drama
students, with only 30 students taking
part. First-year Drama student Jona-
than Georgiades developed the recent
survey for the students to fll out. I
always wondered why such a reputable
institution didnt already have a
specialist degree in the Performing
Arts (other than a Bachelor of Music
degree), said Georgiades. Many other
universities do, and it works in good
stead for them.
Seventy percent of those who took
the survey were willing to raise funds
to contribute to the implementation of
the degree and the majority wanted to
see the specialised degree introduced.
Buckland personally felt that
students need to be able to branch
out from the department. Other
BA subjects can enrich the students
theatre-making abilities. Ideally
the graduates that leave from this
department are thinking critically as
people who are interested in creating
a new theatre, rather than feeding
into the predisposed theatre, said
Buckland.
Te proposal is not expected to be
implemented within the next two to
three years due to the difculty in-
volved in devising a curriculum, which
would have to be passed through the
Eastern Cape Department of Educa-
tion and the South African Qualifca-
tions Authority Board.
However, Buckland believes that
awareness about the proposal can
only be a good thing. If you look at
it carefully, its not totally convincing
that everybody wants to do it, said
Buckland. Nevertheless, its on the
table amongst the staf and the more
its brought up, the greater chance it
has of being implemented.
Drama students petition for new degree
A number of Drama students have called for the implementation of a Bachelor of Drama degree at Rhodes but the lack
of fnances and equipment brings its feasibility into question. PHOTO: CHRIS KEYWOOD
Thandi Bombi and Kyle Prinsloo
T
he fnancial strain on academic departments at
Rhodes Universityhas put pressure on learning
and the maintenance of resources. Te increased
strain has led to various budget cuts and compromises
that have lef many departments within Rhodes strug-
gling to maintain high academic standards.
Te Sociology Department is one of the various depart-
ments that has taken a hit from the Universitys budget
cuts. Tis has not only led to the discontinuing of certain
programmes, but has also afected the pass rate of students
within the Department. Te fnancial cuts afect the
academic project. Anything that happens at the University
that compromises the academic project can be very
problematic, said Professor Kirk Helliker, Head of the
Sociology Department.
Rhodes has had to make cuts to three major budgets
which in part fund the Sociology Department. Tese
budgets include the Main Budget for running costs, the
Temporary Teaching Budget and the Student Assistance
Bursary Fund.
For us the biggest problem has been with the Student As-
sistance budget, said Helliker. Tis budget, used to pay our
tutors, has decreased so much that we cant run an efective
tutorial programme.
Te lack of funds in this department has resulted in a
decrease of tutorials from six to three a term for frst-year
Sociology students. Tese fnancial difculties are afecting
academics because the frst years actually need more time in
tutorials, said Sociology tutor Tshitso Mini. Tree tutorials
a term does not allow them the knowledge to think critically
and this is afecting the pass rate.
However, the Sociology Department is not the only
department in trouble. Te Drama Department is soon to
bid farewell to UBOM!, a project funded by the University.
Although a grant received from the University to main-
tain resources within the Drama Departmentis sufcient,
external projects like UBOM! are no longer viable due to the
fnancial constraints.
Currently, UBOM! has had to close down due to a lack of
funding. Tis is heartbreaking given the diversity and range
of input and work UBOM! has ofered to the teaching and
learning programme of the Drama Department, but also
for associated community exchange project, said Juanita
Finestone-Praeg, Head of the Drama Department.
Te Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media
Studies (JMS), on the other hand, has turned to external
donors to fund its projects.
Te University does not fund any of our projects. Were
not any diferent than any other department when it comes
to grants from the University, explained Administration
Manager Belinda de Lange.
While the JMS School may have found a way to ensure
that its projects keep running, many other departments
within the University continue to struggle with budget cuts
and fnding ways to curb the increasing lack of funds.
For us the biggest
problem has been with
the Student Assistance
budget. This budget,
used to pay our tutors,
has decreased so
much that we cant run
an efective tutorial
programme.

Kirk Helliker
Sociology Department HOD

Rhodes departments give in to fnancial strain


Insufcient funding has forced many academic departments at Rhodes to
downscale this year, such as the Drama department which has had to disband
the popular UBOM! group (pictured). PHOTO: VICKY PATRICK
News Features
3 September 2014 Te Oppidan Press 3
Emily Corke
t the start of the new semester, the Dean
of Students (DoS) division became the
Director of Student Afairs ofce. At
the end of last term, allegations were made that
the review into the DoS division did not follow
protocol.
However, Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe
Mabizela said that the review was carried out
within the letter and spirit of the policies of the
University. Good practice dictates that one
should continually review diferent areas of the
organisation and this is exactly what happens at
Rhodes, said Mabizela.
According to Head of Human Resources Sarah
Fischer, another good practice is to continually
update how these reviews take place and what
their purposes are. Te University is exploring
its review processes to try and ensure a more
streamlined and focused process, said Fischer.
Following discussions held in late 2013 about
the possibilities of moving certain transforma-
tion work to the Equity and Institutional Culture
Ofce, it was decided to review the DoS division.
Te review was also carried out afer the resigna-
tion of both the Deputy Dean and Student Servic-
es Ofcer - two key members of the DoS division.
In line with the decision of Senate taken in 2010,
the recommendation made by the review com-
mittee was that the DoS would be appropriately
renamed as the Director of Student Afairs.
While Mabizela said that this change was long
overdue, Dr Vivian de Klerk raised her concerns
about the change of position while she was still at
Rhodes. De Klerk feared that this would result in
a disjuncture between students and the Univer-
sity if the Director could not sit on Senate and
Council. However, Acting Director of Student Af-
fairs Dr Colleen Vassiliou said that Senate made
a ruling in April this year to allow the Director of
Student Afairs to sit on both Senate and Council.
Mabizela added that all parties and stakehold-
ers were consulted about the review process and
its outcomes, including the former DoS who
submitted her input in writing. Vassiliou also said
that she was consulted in the review and had no
knowledge of any breaches in protocol.
Fischer also believed that protocol had been
followed in the review and the review itself was
approved by Senate and Council. Furthermore,
Fischer said that de Klerks resignation followed
the exit protocol that governs this process, despite
the fact that de Klerk claimed that she did not
receive the usual exit interview for resigning staf
members.
Vassiliou recently attended a South African
Federation Student Afairs and Service (SAFAS)
Conference, which had only a small number of
Deans in attendance. Vassiliou argued that this
was indicative of the current benchmark being
set by other universities and that the subsequent
change in leadership at Rhodes could only be a
positive step.
If you look at the diferences in the jobs, it
is exactly the same. It is just a diference in the
name, said Vassiliou. Te Dean title has the
academic connotations to it, but all the directors
I have
met have been academics.
Mabizela said there was no real diference
to the role because the Director serves on the
Student Services Council and other important
structures just as the DoS did. Te determining
factor will be whether the name change will afect
the infuence of the position, which Vassiliou
believes will depend on the incumbent.
Te new Division is more focused and is
cooperating very well with other structures in
the University. More generally, there is a positive
spirit, said Mabizela. Te new Division, under
its Acting Director Dr Colleen Vassiliou, is per-
forming exceedingly well.
Protocol was followed, says Rhodes
The University
is exploring its
review processes
to try and ensure a
more streamlined
and focused
process.

Sarah Fischer
Head of Human Resources

Leila Stein
Intervarsity began as a way for
Eastern Cape universities to have a
chance to compete with each other on
the sports and cultural felds. It also
created an opportunity for students
of the participating universities to
interact with each other. However, a
series of incidents over the years have
interfered with the smooth running
of the event. Te latest issue the
postponement of this years Intervar-
sity has raised concerns about the
events overall viability.
In 2009 the Rhodes University
Council considered withdrawing
Rhodes from Intervarsity due to mis-
behaviour on the part of the students.
But successful tournaments in 2010,
2011 and 2012, resulted in Rhodes
continued involvement. Now, how-
ever, Rhodes participation in future
Intervarsities has once more been
threatened due to issues of disruptive
student behaviour, with some being
serious enough to threaten the cancel-
lation of the tournament itself.
Last year, the NMMU Intervarsity
afer-party saw serious security con-
cerns arise afer overcrowding resulted
in a stampede. Tis years event has
been postponed due to violent student
protests at the University of Fort Hare
Alice campus, which was meant to
host the event.
Rhodes SRC Liaison Ofcer Eric
Ofei does not believe that these issues
have made Intervarsity an impos-
sibility. Te incidents [of previous
years] are circumstantial and we need
to accommodate for that, Ofei said.
He also stated that the event is a great
opportunity for the students of each
university to meet.
We dont know much about the
people around us and this is the one
occasion we get together. Its a good
unifying thing, he said.
It [Intervarsity] aims to promote,
regulate and encourage university
sport in the Eastern Cape amongst all
students irrespective of race, colour,
creed or gender, agreed Assistant
Manager of Rhodes Sports Adminis-
tration Siyabulela Magopeni.
While these positive views of
Intervarsity are valid, the question of
security is still a major issue that needs
to be addressed soon. Additionally, it
has been noted that the cancellation of
Intervarsity would not necessarily be
detrimental to Rhodes University.
Te efect [of a cancellation] would
be minimal if any. Students will still
be aforded opportunities to play
competitive sport through federations,
said Magopeni.
Despite these other opportunities,
Intervarsity is still one of the key sport-
ing events at Rhodes. Our sportsmen
and women play every weekend but
never get support, said Ofei. Inter-
varsity has full attendance: it is our
mini World Cup.
Along with the support, participants
feel the benefts of competing. Te
whole experience lets you know who
is out there, what is out there, said
Rhodes Dance Society member
Brandon Haschick. You can compare
yourself to others and see what you
can do.
While these are all reasons for
continuing the event in the coming
years, there is concern surrounding the
hosting of this years event.
Te concern arises from the newly
proposed dates (5 to 6 September
2014) for the event.
Rhodes University doesnt have an
appetite for the current dates, said
Ofei. Many of our sportsmen have
already made plans to go home for
the holidays.
Rhodes involvement in future Intervarsities uncertain
Due to a series of violent protests at the University of Fort Hares Alice Campus this year, and security concerns at NMMU in 2013, the feasibility of Rhodes involvement in the Intervarsity tournament as
an annual event has been called into question. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
Rhodes departments give in to fnancial strain
Politics
4 Te Oppidan Press 3 September 2014
Phelokazi Mbude
T
his years SRC elections saw quorum being reached
on the frst day of voting, the frst time in recent
history. Te elections, which took place on 13 20
August, resulted in a total of 2919 votes being cast. Many
hope that this refects a changing attitude amongst the
student body towards the SRC.
Tis is without a doubt the most successful election we
have ever had, said Rhodes University SRC Liaison Ofcer
Eric Ofei.
Ofei noted that these elections broke all kinds of records,
with both the Grazzle and Presidential Debate surpassing
previous attendance records. All of this translated into a
voter turnout of 45.8%. I ofen hear people talk about apa-
thy. At the Grazzle we did not see that apathy, said Ofei.
It was really exciting just to see that students are inter-
ested, are wanting to know what is going on [and] are want-
ing to hear what the candidates have to say, added Grazzle
Chairperson Mathaabe Tabane.
Te increased interest in elections can also be attributed
to the presence of the Independent Electoral Board (IEB),
which was established for the frst time at Rhodes last year.
Impartial Ofcer Dr Gustav Muller said, Te essential
ingredient for a free and fair election is the creation of an
independent institution to manage those elections. Having
an IEB allowed for the voting process to be taken more seri-
ously and to be considered legitimate when voting closed.
Te IEB policy was largely drawn up by 2014 Vice Presi-
dent Victor Mafuku, with the assistance of former President
Sakhe Badi, Tabane and others. Te policy governs how
the IEB conducts the elections and ensures an open plat-
form for communication between IEB members and the
running candidates. Because administratively things are
working much better, it means the marketing of our elec-
tions is working much better as well, Tabane explained.
In addition, Tabane argued that there was greater
fairness in this years elections as each candidate received
a R400 limit for campaigning, which ensured that every can-
didate had the same opportunity to market themselves.
Although Ofei and other SRC alumni were initially
concerned that this years candidates were not campaigning
enough, he did believe that their marketing strategies were
very good and were the biggest contributor to the success of
the elections.
Tabane commented on one marketing strategy of us-
ing megaphones around campus, saying that while some
deemed it noise pollution, it was a very creative tool which
caught students attention. Some students need that loud
reminder, she stated.
Despite the campaigning that was going on, there were a
number of students who questioned why they should vote,
which Ofei found to be worrying. All elections are a popu-
larity contest, said Ofei. It depends on you to go and read
why you are voting for the people you are voting for.
In order to win elections here at Rhodes you need to
get numbers, added Mafuku. It is not about the Presi-
dential Debate or the Grazzle. What gets the numbers is
direct engagement and [to] balance that with the popularity
contest idea.
The most successful election weve ever had
Newly elected SRC Vice President Grace Moyo and President Siyanda Makhubo
at the SRC Inauguration on 22 August. Photo: HLUMELA MKABILE
SRC for 2015: Plans for continuity and change
Siyanda Makhubo President
Afer a tightly-contested election process, former
2014 Academic Councillor Makhubo is the new
SRC President.
I believe the SRC must be the centre of the
students, he said. I want to ensure that the
students run to the SRC before the Director of
Student Afairs and not the other way around
as it has been in the past. Under my leadership
and that of my fellow colleagues, we will ensure
that the SRC moves away from the comfort of
the Union building to the students themselves,
to hear what they want, and assist in what they
require from us. I must, however, commend the
SRC 2014 for being a transformational SRC, in
that they revived many relevant structures. We
thus, as SRC 2015, fnd ourselves in a fortunate
situation where we have these structures and
need to execute and implement them for the best
interests of students.
Grace Moyo Vice President
As the outgoing Secretary General, Moyo had
been inspired to stay on to continue the work she
started with the 2013-2014 SRC.
I found this year that we invested a lot of
time, efort and energy into advancing the work
that previous Councils had done, she said.
Running for President was a decision that I
made because it mattered to me that there was
continuity in the SRC and I wanted to be in a
position to implement some of the ideas we came
up with this year. As a Vice President, whose
mandate is to oversee the internal operations
of the SRC, I will focus on formalising Student
Parliament and the SRC Honorarium Document
so that they are incorporated into our Constitu-
tion, which is the primary document that informs
our work.
Zikisa Maqubela Treasurer
Maqubela applied for treasurer with fve main
goals in mind. Tree of these are to establish a
societal reserve, a fnancial management policy
and an advisory board. In conjunction with these,
he aims to organise a fundraiser to contribute to
resolving the current defcit in the SRC budget
and to put a more transparent fnancial manage-
ment system in place.
I was fascinated with what is best for the
students, he commented. I was hoping I could
contribute and add value [and] I am humbled by
the fact that people think I can add value. I hope
I can be held accountable at the end of my term. I
truly believe we are here to serve you.
Abigail Butcher Secretary General
Butcher is the Secretary of the Rhodes Debating
Society and is the Community Engagement Of-
fcer at Te Oppidan Press. Afer encouragement
from Moyo, Butcher made the decision to run for
the post of Secretary-General.
Im not here to change anything big, but I
aspire to motivate the team and to be account-
able to the student body and the SRC itself, said
Butcher. As someone who works in media, I
would say if we can get the media to understand
what we are capable of we could go a long way
because they have the voice and the means to
reach students.
The Student Representative Council (SRC) for 2015 was inaugurated on 22 August 2014. The Oppidan Press met with the new Executive
members of the SRC to discuss their vision for the year ahead. By Thandi Bombi
Photos: SUPPLIED
Politics
3 September 2014 Te Oppidan Press 5
While the Rhodes community is generally considered to be liberal, several students feel that their peers view them
negatively for their interracial relationships. Photo: SHEILA DAVID
Ashleigh Dean
A
nyone and everyone can
fnd a home at Rhodes
University, declared
former Vice-Chancellor Dr Saleem
Badat, in his address to new students
during Orientation Week in Febru-
ary. Te truth of this statement is evi-
dent around campus, as the diversity
of this small university is displayed
by students wandering between
lectures. However, something that
sometimes still causes social discom-
fort for some is interracial dating,
which is not uncommon at Rhodes.
Rhodes University is widely
renowned for its ostensibly progressive
methodology and is seen as an
academic institution where diferences
are embraced, new ideas are
welcomed, and the weird is seen
as wonderful.
Tis liberal conception of the uni-
versity space very ofen dismisses the
traumatic racialised experiences some
students endure. Tese experiences
ofen centre on where students come
from, what their economic level is and
how they relate to their peers. Are
interracial relationships indicative of a
progressive society? questioned Poli-
tics Honours student Fezi Mthonti.
Surely if we are insistent on tabulat-
ing how diferent people relate to each
other, we [must recognise that we] are
still for the most part race obsessed
and not necessarily critical, she added.
Yasthiel Devraj, an Indian student
dating a white student, said that he has
never experienced negative reactions
at Rhodes. A lot of people say that
were cute together, and that we have a
special energy, he said. Tis was ech-
oed by Boipelo Noko, whose boyfriend
is a white Cuban. Its really difer-
ent here in Grahamstown, she said.
Tere are lots of interracial couples,
and of all kinds. Its nice to see. While
an inherently positive statement, it still
creates something special out of inter-
racial relationships where couples are
arguably fetishised as having some-
thing diferent about them, rather than
just being two people in a romantic
relationship.
History lecturer Dr Vashna Jagar-
nath, who is Indian and is married
to a white academic, said that her
relationship was accepted within the
University but that things were quite
diferent in town, and even more so
in her home city of Durban. When
in town, people ofen do not think
she and her husband are a couple, or
think that she is her childs nanny. She
said that Durban has more interracial
couples than Grahamstown, which
made the response quite diferent.
We have markers that give us a pre-
determined set of assumptions about
people, Jagarnath said, pointing to
experiences that she has had that il-
lustrate the painful manner in which
people exercise these assumptions. She
spoke of an incident where, when she
and her husband were getting a quote
for something and people arrived at
their house, they asked her if the boss
told her that they were coming, as they
spoke to him on the phone beforehand
and deduced that he was white from
his accent.
Aidan OConnor*, a white student,
said that while out in the Graham-
stown public with his coloured
girlfriend, the two received distinct
stares whilst at the BP service station.
However, OConnor has also heard
some prejudicial comments from
fellow Rhodes students. Tey think
its weird that Im with a coloured girl.
Tey said that they wouldnt do it, and
that their families wouldnt approve,
he said. But they also said that even
if their families did approve, they
still wouldnt do it. People shouldnt
be thinking like that. As a foreigner,
I expected more from the Rainbow
Nation. Tis was paralleled by Mlondi
Dubazane, whose girlfriend is white:
It [the discrimination] was difcult to
deal with at the time. Were told that
this is the Rainbow Nation, but thats
just a faade. If you dont accept it, its
fne. Just dont look at us like its a sin.
Although managing discrimina-
tion of this kind can be challenging,
it is clearly possible, though it places
the burden on the couple rather than
society, which is decidedly unfair.
Noko described her typical reaction:
I just walk away and ignore it, or I
look away. I dont want to see it. Its not
something nice to see.
*Names changed at the
request of sources
Rhodents: Colour-blind or conservative?
Neo Koza
Gender inequality is recognised as
one of eight major sociocultural
causes of high HIV infections in
South Africa. Various reports
reveal that the prevalence of HIV/
Aids among young women aged
20-24 is approximately three times
higher than among men of the
same age.
Tis can be attributed to what
Rhodes University Politics lecturer
Siphokazi Magadla refers to as the
problematic gendered assumptions
and power dynamics that exist in
our own sexual relations.
Evidence of such power relations
can be found in last months decision
by the KwaZulu Natal Department
of Health to supposedly force female
recipients of governmental foreign
bursaries to have a contraceptive
implant.
In her Mail & Guardian article,
Magadla questioned how much
choice these young women really
had in the matter and interrogated
the unfair responsibility placed on
womens sexual choices or behav-
iour, with particular reference to
black communities.
Magadlas concern was triggered
by the MECs response to why boys
on the scholarship were not given
the option of contraceptives. Te
answer that boys do not have the
problem of falling pregnant shows
that an obvious burden is placed
on women when it comes to sexual
choices, and the relatively oppressive
and fearful approach that is adopted
when women are introduced to the
subject of sex.
Ofen for women, the introduc-
tion to sex is sex as something that
is dangerous, Magadla said. She
further agrees that the emphasis is
usually placed on the risk of preg-
nancy but never around questions
of consent or the power dynamics
that may exist in our romantic
relationships. While pregnancy is
an emotional experience, it is these
questions and dynamics that leave
people the most vulnerable.
Head Organiser of the Silent Pro-
test, Kim Barker, admits that sex is
never an easy topic of conversation
and that the South African approach
to the matter can be damaging.
Because we dont fnd it easy to talk
about sex, we dont fnd it easy to
negotiate sex, Barker said. Tis has
consequences when we talk about
issues of gender-based violence, she
explained.
Ive grown up in a society where
it was ingrained in our minds at
an early age that men are superior
to women. As a result, most of the
things that men do we learn to
accept. When it comes to sexual
relationships, most women do not
have a say in what happens when it
comes to intimacy, said HIV activist
and public speaker Ntuthu Mxalisa.
Tis, she believes, is a breeding
ground for a very twisted form of
gender-based violence that serves
as an entry point for HIV infection.
Tere are so many complexities
involved in the subject which need
to be brought to the surface. Perhaps
if we were to start talking about
sex openly and hosting SHARC
Pillow Talks for frst years during
O-Week we could make sense of
these complexities. Maybe we could
even begin to empower people of all
gender identities to seek equality in
their sexual relationships.
The politics of gender,
sex and HIV/AIDS
The most successful election weve ever had
Abigail Butcher Secretary General
Butcher is the Secretary of the Rhodes Debating
Society and is the Community Engagement Of-
fcer at Te Oppidan Press. Afer encouragement
from Moyo, Butcher made the decision to run for
the post of Secretary-General.
Im not here to change anything big, but I
aspire to motivate the team and to be account-
able to the student body and the SRC itself, said
Butcher. As someone who works in media, I
would say if we can get the media to understand
what we are capable of we could go a long way
because they have the voice and the means to
reach students.

Because we
dont fnd it easy
to talk about
sex, we dont
fnd it easy to
negotiate sex.
Kim Barker
Opinion
6 Te Oppidan Press 3 September 2014
The Oppidan Press staf and contact details
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Ben Rule
O
pinion editor: What makes people drama kids?
Tere also seems to be a bit of a strange incon-
sistency in the Drama Department there are
a bunch of drama kids, but that doesnt seem to extend
to all the people who are academically registered for the
subject. What is the diference between the two?
Stewart: I think drama kid is an externally-imposed
label, though I suppose there is a bit of an internal division
too. I think that the students who become known as drama
kids tend to be those who become hugely involved in an
extracurricular capacity those kids who audition obses-
sively and are consistently in performances outside of their
coursework. Te amount of time spent sitting outside the
theatre caf smoking might also have something to do with
it. In a nutshell, its probably down to visual presence. Its
an interesting label because, unlike gaming geek or jock,
it links personal behaviour quite strongly to subject choice,
which I do think is refective of the personality type that the
subject attracts.
Drama kids have something of a reputation on campus
for being a bit weird or eclectic in style, taste and habits.
Is this a result of nurture or nature (i.e. is it the a@#$%les
buying the BMWs, or the people buying the BMWs and
becoming a@#$%les)?
I personally think everyone (including BComm kids) is
quite odd in their tastes, styles and habits but drama kids
are drilled to be demonstrative in every way and so express
said eccentricities a lot more loudly. It becomes a lot more
like a family, a safe space where people feel free to be a bit
wacky.
On the fip side, there can be a bizarre air of competi-
tiveness as to who can be quirkier. I guess performance is
essentially about being noticed and people ofen bring that
into their personal demeanour, which may or may not be
healthy. Im unfortunately not a psych kid, so I cant give
you a conclusive diagnosis on that one.
Tis drama kid identity seems to be distinct from the
rest of campus there seems to be a bit of a separation. Is
that separation purely geographical? Or are there ideo-
logical reasons? Why do the drama kids see themselves as
very separate from the rest of the people here also getting
degrees? It seems that this is more of a separation from
campus than a lot of the other identities.
I think the nature of the coursework you do when youre
in the Drama Department is so vastly diferent from that of
other departments that its easy to feel like there is a chasm
between those respective university experiences. In no other
course will you spend 45 minutes humming to warm up
your voice, or learning incomprehensible choreographic
sequences, or writhing around on the foor to loosen your
spine, or learning how to generate feelings from breath
patterns, or fnding 45 diferent ways to say would you like
some tea, Sam?. Nobody else on campus goes through these
types of experiences regularly.
Drama kids tend to come across as rather eccentric and
pretentious to other students are we misunderstanding
you guys or is there something there?
I think that is certainly true, on a level, but I also think
the nature of the course and the industry makes it almost es-
sential. When youre an English or a Politics student almost
all of your assessment takes place privately between you and
the lecturer. But when you take Drama, your performance
is only ever really analysed publically, both for coursework
and extracurricular involvement.
When you audition, its usually in front of 20 plus people;
when you perform, its ofen in front of 70-300 people. It
makes you vulnerable in a very diferent way and forces you
to develop (an illusion of?) confdence. Also I do think we
do just have a lot of naturally exuberant people whose time
in the department merely fosters such exuberance.
From the Horses Mouth
The segment where the Opinion Editor sits down with a horses mouth and gets a
few answers. This weeks horse: Drama kids. This weeks mouth: Kelsey Stewart.
Kelsey Stewart is currently doing an Honours degree in Drama and has been a
Drama kid since she arrived at Rhodes in 2011.
Currently studying towards her Honours degree in Drama, Kelsey Stewart considers the stereotypical drama kid to be
an externally imposed label. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
It has been a harrowing few weeks for national and local ANC leadership.
President Jacob Zuma was heckled in parliament by the EFF; the National
Prosecuting Authority was ordered to hand over the infamous spy tapes
which may incriminate Zuma in corruption charges; and he narrowly
avoided another court case only through the good grace of Public
Protector Tuli Madonsela. Closer to home, Makana Municipality has
ofcially been placed under provincial administration following protests
by Grahamstown residents.
Te continued unruly tactics by the EFF in parliament have exposed a
signifcant problem with one of our highest governing institutions. Afer dis-
rupting a presidential question session where they asked Zuma when exactly
he intended on paying back the money spent on Nkandla and chanting Pay
back our money! when his answer wasnt satisfactory, they were suspended
from Parliament by National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete.
Mbetes actions speak more of a closing of ranks within the ANC around
their embattled leader and less of a genuine attempt to protect the sanctity
of Parliament.
If we reduce our ability to only speak out through acceptable channels, we
also run the risk of silencing a large number of dissenting voices. Accepted
channels of discourse do not always result in any kind of change, especially
since only certain kinds of discourse are allowed within ofcial channels by
the people in power, as demonstrated by Mbete.
Terefore, the EFFs actions, insofar as they have exposed the malaise
within the National Assembly, are commendable. Tis does not, of course,
necessarily mean that we support any of their other actions or policies.
However, there are other times when working through established chan-
nels does yield results. On Wednesday last week, a cross-section of the
Grahamstown population assembled outside the town hall to demand the
dissolution of Makana Municipality under Section 139 of the Constitution.
Te municipal council, led by Mayor Zamuxolo Peter, accepted the
demand and passed it on to provincial structures. Te next day the decision
was rubber stamped by national Minister of Cooperative Governance and
Traditional Afairs Pravin Gordhan.
Whether placing Makana under administration will actually have any ef-
fect on the service delivery in Grahamstown or merely provide an opportu-
nity for looting by provincial politicians remains to be seen, but it proves that
established practices may work. When they do not, we are forced, like the
EFF, to take actions beyond them.
Tis edition includes a wrap-up of the recent SRC elections, a critique
on the alleged privacy that social media platforms aford us, the power of
gender assumptions in infringing on womens sexual rights and a preview of
the upcoming Arbour Week.
Opinion
3 September 2014 Te Oppidan Press 7
Tarryn de Kock
S
wart gevaar. Nelson Mandela mentions
it in his memoir, Long Walk to Freedom,
as a term arising from the existing rooi
gevaar or red threat of Communism. It was
extended and renamed to mean the militant
threat of the black majority that, in the apart-
heid governments view, necessitated measures
such as the State of Emergency and other strict
clamp-downs on black people in South Africa
to avoid violent reprisal.
With this kind of history, the term is incendi-
ary, especially when used in situations where
there are clear racial distinctions and existing
disagreements. I was still extremely surprised
to be accused of having the swart gevaar while
commenting on a post on the Rhodes SRC Face-
book page.
My reactions were, in this order:
Was it something I said? I realised that I had
been harsh, but racist?
Was the comment merited?
Is it because my white digsmate is in the centre
of my profle picture, and were always laughing
about how white people are the fussiest commen-
tators on internet forums, so maybe they thought
she was me?
Te comment set of alarm bells in that, while
the term used was not common for Rhodes, the
narrative behind it was all too common. South
African political debates have a tendency to
quickly dissolve into personal attacks, espe-
cially when questions are asked that people are
unable to answer. Sometimes the inability to
answer those questions gives rise to unnecessar-
ily harsh responses that reveal the cracks in our
democracy. When people dare to disagree, they
are vilifed for it and the quality of their person-
hood is reduced to the merit of their ideas (and
the ideologies behind them).
At the recent protest against the Makana
municipality, Ayanda Kota of the Unemployed
Peoples Movement remarked that we should
not confuse people with ideas, pointing out
particular placards held by crowd members that
were especially disdainful towards the ANC
and President Jacob Zuma. In her Teach-In
discussion earlier this year, academic Sisonke
Msimang mentioned that South African politics
is governed by the performance of particular
identities that people can then relate to, such as
Zuma, who Msimang argued represented the
school of hard knocks.
Tis tradition of personalism, and of the status
and currency aforded to charismatic party lead-
ers, has also collided with the tradition of fear
that has been the norm in South Africa since
racial and political divisions became the founda-
tion on which our society was built. In 1998 the
ANC quipped that [t]he swart gevaar and rooi
gevaar, now devoid of their previous menace,
have mutated into the two-thirds gevaar, point-
ing to the fears of the then-Democratic Party and
National Party that the ANC party might secure
the majority in the 1999 elections. It didnt.
At the most basic level of a university SRC,
this politics of fear and swart gevaar were
deployed to reduce genuine concerns about a
very contentious campaign to an argument about
whether I was afraid of a black person becoming
a member of the SRC. Being accused of racism
is painful when you know what racism feels like.
Being accused of it because you questioned the
validity of a political campaign is a sure sign that
the way we think about our political beliefs is
becoming increasingly reductionist, reactionary
and categorised.
Tere is a serious need to interrogate the dif-
ference between ideas and people, something that
will admittedly take a long time because of our
countrys history of associating particular ideas
with particular kinds of people. Tat, however,
is no excuse for not being critical human beings,
especially in a space where we are constantly con-
fronted by difering political ideas and opinions.
Not everyone who disagrees with you is an
enemy. Tey may have a problem with your
ideas, not with you as a person. Not everyone
who agrees with you is a friend if they dont
understand why you stand for what you do. Te
fact that an innocent question about posters
dissolved into a massive and angry debate is
cause for concern.
Swart gevaar part of new South African politics
Ben Rule
Te SRC is the student government.
Tey are the executive, akin to the
national cabinet. It is fundamentally
important that they are able to func-
tion collectively. If there are com-
munication breakdowns between the
councillors or portfolios, the entire
council will be afected.
Te importance of this collective
responsibility and functioning is the
reason that our Constitution allows the
executive to be selected by the presi-
dent. How the cabinet members will
work together is a crucial considera-
tion in this selection.
Our political system at Rhodes
runs a bit diferently to that of our
national government, however. We
elect our cabinet. We do this on a
position-by-position basis. Given our
elections are framed as Tom vs Dick
vs Harry for the position of Secretary
General and Beavis vs Butthead for
the position of Academic Councillor,
it is an impossibility of our system for
the electorate to consider that although
Tom and Beavis might be best for their
respective positions, they will be un-
able to function alongside each other
in a team. Our voting system leaves
us unable to consider the broader
implications of our decisions about
how the people we elect will represent
us collectively.
Many of us have witnessed
this problem frst-hand with the
microcosms of the SRC on campus:
house committees. Te majority of
house committees on campus are
elected on a position-by-position basis
in the same manner as our SRC. And
a perennial problem is breakdown
in communication between house
committee members, usually for
personal reasons.
Im not proposing a system change
it would be very difcult for an
SRC to have legitimacy without the
popular mandate which is provided
by elections. But we as a student body
do need to understand that the risk of
our SRC having personality clashes to
the point of dysfunction is a systemic
risk, inherent in the way our student
governance is established. While
professionalism is to be expected from
councillors, some combinations of
people just work together better than
others. Whether our SRC is one such
combination will always be a matter of
complete luck.
Systemic Risk of Clashes?
A comment thread on the Rhodes SRC Facebook page dissolved into a racially-charged exchange.
Photo: SUPPLIED
The current SRC electoral system at Rhodes does not account for possible personality clashes between elected individuals. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
Environment
8 Te Oppidan Press 3 September 2014
Has Arbour Week become arbitrary?
Dillon Lutchman
A
rbour Day was started in the
United States of America as a
day of environmental restitu-
tion for mass deforestation. Since its
inception in the 1870s, it has become
a worldwide event with South Africa
celebrating an entire Arbour Week
from 1-7 September.
Arbour Day looks to create aware-
ness about the importance of main-
taining indigenous tree populations
and what they have to ofer their
homelands. South Africas Arbour
Week also places emphasis on the
importance of maintaing indigenous
tree populations.
South Africa frst held an Arbour
Day in 1983. However, the importance
of trees and their benefts not only
to the economy but to the health of
local environments soon prompted
the 1995 Ministry of Water Afairs and
Forestry to extend the event to a week-
long afair.
National Arbour Week has since
blossomed around South Africa,
prompting people from various so-
cioeconomic backgrounds to band
together and plant trees. Communities
are encouraged by the Department
of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries
(DAFF) to plant selected tree species
that have been designated as tree of
the year.
Tree of the year highlights two spe-
cifc trees: one common and the other
rare. Te common tree for 2014 is the
Lavender Tree or Laventelboom (Ge-
nus Heteropyxis) a semi-deciduous
tree known for its adventurous roots.
Te rare tree is the mighty yet beauti-
ful White Ironwood or Witysterhout
(Vepris lanceolata).
While Rhodes policy during
this particular week is to promote
awareness for the need to plant and
maintain indigenous trees throughout
South Africa, especially for the many
disadvantaged communities who ofen
live in barren areas, there seems to
be very little public engagement at the
University.
Te Rhodes University Grounds and
Garden section plants indigenous trees
in honour of retired staf members.
Te section hopes this will promote
a better understanding of indigenous
trees as well as highlighting their
importance in relation to sustainable
development and livelihoods of people
and their enviroments.
As environmental awareness in-
creases in public spaces, moves need
to be made towards insitutionalising
campaigns such as reforestation.
Visit http://www.ru.ac.za/environ-
ment for more information.
Pot plant companions
Lauren Buckle
Indoor plants can be great company. While Head of the Botany Depart-
ment Professor Susanne Vetter considered the main beneft of indoor
plants to be aesthetic, another argument is that the scent generated by
certain plants has a calming and energising efect. Te following plants
have been identifed as having specifc qualities that could improve ones
living space and have been rated according to the level of maintance.
Bonsai Tree
Bonsai trees are believed to have
the ability to help purify the air
and assist in reducing illnesses
such as colds. Te maintenance in-
volved in keeping a Bonsai tree is extremely
high as students will need to monitor the
plants water consumption, pruning
and soil fertility. However, this main-
tenance is popularly seen as therapeu-
tic and the constant amount of care is
believed to increase peoples patience.
African Violet
Te soothing colours of the fowers
encourage the release of endorphins
which can ease stress levels and assist
with creativity. Tese plants need to be
placed in good but indirect lighting and
require constantly damp soil. Te plant
fowers at irregular times throughout the
year and is available in various colours
with diferent leaf shapes.
Peace Lily
Peace Lilies are low maintenance plants that
can grow in poorly lit rooms, although they
are known to thrive in bright, fltered
light. Te plant produces perfumed fow-
ers that create a relaxing ambiance and the
plant assists in purifying the air as it can
absorb airborne pollution. Te Peace Lily
can grow up to over a metre tall.
Snake Plant
Te Snake Plant improves sleep as it
mostly converts carbon dioxide into
oxygen during the night. Tese plants are
extremely tough and can withstand most
conditions, although they thrive in warmer
climates. Te Snake Plant grows best in
bright but fltered light and does not
require much water.
Cacti
Tese plants are extremely low maintenance as
they only require water about once a month.
Cacti grow best when placed in direct sun-
light. Te Christmas Cactus is specifcally
known for its ability to purify about twice as
much air as most other plants. Tis reduces
the amount of air pollution and in turn may
prevent people from getting sick.
In 1995, South Africa began to celebrate Arbour Week in an efort to raise
awareness for the importance of conservation of indigenous, water-saving
trees, though participation at Rhodes remains limited. Photo: BRONWYN
PRETORIUS
Get nurtured by nature walks
Lili Barras-Hargan
Grahamstown is a hub for biodiversity, especially in
terms of its plant and tree life. With summer almost here
and in the spirit of National Arbour Week, we should take
to the trees and appreciate the natural world.
As busy students, we ofen do not have the time to ap-
preciate the simple pleasures of our immediate natural
environment. However, given the levels of stress that arise
from academic pressures, scientifc studies by the Interna-
tional Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO)
encourage people to make more time for outdoor activities.
An IUFRO study stated: Blood pressure, heart rate, muscle
tension and the level of stress hormones all decrease faster
in natural settings. Depression, anger and aggressiveness are
reduced in green environments.
A study featured in the Journal of Afective Disorders
pointed to memory and concentration-related advantages
linked to the outdoors. Participants of a 2012 study that
walked in a natural environment experienced a 16% in-
crease in their working memory in comparison to partici-
pants who underwent the trial in an urban environment.
Here are fve tree hotspots in Grahamstown, as well as
their distinguishing features and various traditional uses.
So the next time you fnd yourself feeling stressed, go take a
walk on the wild side.
1. Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia)
Location: Te Cathedral
Distinguishing features: Tall deciduous tree up to 20m
with mauvish-blue fowers blooming from September to
November.
Uses: Generally used ornamentally and for shade but has
also been used for dyeing and in medicine. Much like the
various legends at Rhodes University, in Pretoria it is said
that if a jacaranda fower lands on a university students
head, they will pass all of their exams.
2. Common Wild-Fig (Ficus burkei)
Location: Between the Clock Tower and Eden Grove.
Distinguishing features: Very large tree up to 40m with
aerial roots and hairy, yellow fgs.
Uses: Figs are one of the largest food sources for a variety of
birds such as hornbills, bulbuls and barbets. Also, the sof
wood and milky latex that characterise the tree were at one
point used in the production of Egyptian mummy caskets.

3. Coast Coral-Tree (Erythrina cafra)
Location: Past the entrance of the Union as well as all
around town and campus
Distinguishing features: Deciduous tree up to 18m tall
with broad, orange-scarlet fowers that bloom between
October and November.
Uses: Although the lucky beans are ofen made into
necklaces, they all contain some form of toxin and in
some species it can result in fatal poisoning. Tese seeds,
as well as the leaves and bark, are used medicinally in
certain cultures and the wood can be used to create fshing
net foats.

4. Mountain Cedar (Mountain Cypress or Cape-Cedar)
Scientifc Name: Widdringtonia nodifora
Location: Surrounding the university fountain
Distinguishing features: Tall deciduous tree reaching
heights of 45m in some cases with column-like growth in
juvenile years. With age, it spreads its branches and pro-
duces 2.5cm spherical cones.
Uses: Te fragrant wood produced by the tree is used to
construct huts and keepsakes and can be grown into a lovely
Christmas tree.
5. Tree Aloe (Aloe barberae)
Location: Behind the Drama department
Distinguishing features: Tall tree up to 22m with dark
green leaves cluttered at the end of branches. Flowers are
pink with green tips blooming in April and July.
Uses: It is usually an ornamental tree due to its unusual
shape and beautiful fowers. Also, when occurring in the
Eastern Cape and KZN, the tree ofen faces east, which is a
useful tool for hikers and other travellers. Illustrations: MADIEN VAN DER MERWE
Environment
3 September 2014 Te Oppidan Press 9
Lili Barras-Hargan
A
lmost everyone has expe-
rienced loneliness to some
degree but now, with between
200 and 2000 extinctions occurring
annually in the plant and animal
kingdom, we are moving towards the
loneliest state we have ever known.
However, Albany Museum
researcher Dr Dez Weeks feels
that there is still some hope. His
photographic series titled On the
cusp of the Eremozoic - Te Age
of Loneliness consists of 26 plant
portraits and is currently being
displayed in the Albany Museum.
Weeks hopes that the exhibition will
inspire viewers in a way that will
translate to a desire to conserve the
natural environment.
In his 2006 book Creation, iconic
biologist E.O. Wilson stated, Te hu-
man hammer having fallen, the sixth
mass extinction has begun.
Tis spasm of permanent loss is
expected, if it is not abated, to reach
the end-of-Mesozoic [dinosaur era]
level by the end of the century. We will
then enter what poets and scientists
alike may choose to call the Eremozoic
Era Te Age of Loneliness.
In previous times, there have been
a great number of mass extinctions,
one of which wiped out 90% of the
planets species.
However, these extinctions were
caused by natural phenomena such as
meteorites colliding with the Earth,
or the increased acidity of the Earths
water supplies.
Tis is the frst time that a mass
extinction may occur as the result of
the detrimental actions of one species:
humankind.
Weeks was intrigued by Wilsons
hypothesis. He argued that any species
able to evolve to the extent that its use
of surrounding resources could lead to
extinction was fascinating.
We are leaving the world now with
future fossil records of glass bottles,
batteries and car tyres: the only mark
of humankind, remarked Weeks.
Lauren Buckle and Dillon Lutchman
Te recent water shortages in Grahamstown have high-
lighted the instability of the water supply in South Africa,
and the need to seek out alternative water sources. One
such alternative supplier is found within the rising indus-
try of desalination.
Tis is a process whereby sodium chloride (salt) in seawa-
ter is removed or separated from hydrogen oxide (water) via
scientifc methods in order to produce clean and drinkable
fresh water. Desalination can take place via thermal distilla-
tion, reverse osmosis or electrodialysis.
One of the biggest seawater desalination plants in South
Africa was created in Mossel Bay as a response to the 2010
drought in the southern Cape. Te R210 million project
supplies up to 10 million litres of uncontaminated water
per day to the Mossel Bay Municipality and 5 million litres
of water per day to PetroSA. Te Bushmans River mouth
next to Kenton-on-Sea also has a desalination plant that is
supposed to supply up to 800000 litres of water per day to
the local municipality.
However, despite the fact that desalination makes use of
the seemingly infnite resource of ocean water, it is not an
entirely sustainable process. Desalination has a negative
impact on the environment as it ofen exacerbates the de-
struction of natural habitats and ecosystems which in turn
eradicates coastal and marine life forms.
Senior Marine Ecologist at Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal
Wildlife Santosh Bachoo expressed concerns about the
disposal of the processs discharge brine. Te brine which is
produced from the desalination process is extremely high in
salt content. If this is pumped into river systems and estuar-
ies (which are partly salt water) it will change the delicate
salinity levels causing negative efects on both [inland] fsh
and plant life, elaborated Bachoo.
Bachoo also pointed to possible problems facing con-
struction of desalination plants. Te amount of upkeep and
money needed for a desalination plant is very high, said
Bachoo. To make up costs for the water being produced,
it will cost a large amount more than the current tap water
that people receive.
Furthermore, Bachoo suggested that the process of
building a plant has risks. Due to the high energy levels
produced by waves on the KZN coastline, the piping which
needs to go far out to sea is a somewhat risky process, he
explained. Tis may also be applicable to the desalination
plant at Kenton-on-Sea, as rough seas and wave activity
have always been a threat to its functioning.
While desalination creates a new and safe source of water
for human and plant consumption, the risks surrounding
the desalination process need to be weighed up against the
social demand. What is more, the frequent pairing of the
terms sustainable and technology requires greater scrutiny
by experts and citizens alike.
Sea minus salt an alternative water resource
Despite drawing on the seemingly endless supply of
ocean water to produce fresh water, the desalination pro-
cess has proven harmful to surrounding ecosystems, such
as coastal waters and estuaries. Photo: SUPPLIED
The age of loneliness
dawns on humankind
On the cusp of the Eremozoic The Age of Loneliness is a series by Dr Dez
Weeks, who seeks to photograph endangered plants like these pictured above
before they vanish . Photos: SUPPLIED
Scitech
10 Te Oppidan Press 3 September 2014
The omniscient online eye
Bradley Prior
S
ocial media has become a standard part
of most students lives. While many users
may be reluctant to share personal details
due to the stranger danger inherent to these
sites, the bigger issue has become the informa-
tion that the sites require users to disclose.
Edward Snowdens exposure of the NSAs wide-
spread public monitoring systems in the United
States has shown that privacy on the internet is
mostly a farce. Te fact that social media giants,
such as Facebook and Google, have been using
public monitoring systems for years lends cre-
dence to this idea.
Te privacy policies of Google and Facebook
require that users allow them to collect infor-
mation about them, including details about the
device on which their services are being used.
Even the contents of the device are not safe: the
Facebook and Facebook Messenger Android apps
both require access to contacts and messages.
While these are arguably necessary details for the
application, it can be quite alarming when you
consider how much information to which the
company has access.
Supposedly, these companies endeavour to pro-
tect your privacy by hiding anything that you do
not want to be visible. However, former Rhodes
lecturer and current Senior Lecturer at the Cape
Peninsula University of Technology in the feld
of New Media Jude Mathurine does not believe
these sites do enough to protect your privacy, and
in many cases can actually do the opposite.
Tere is no absolute online privacy of any
kind - regardless of what kind of permissions
social networks provide, said Mathurine. Te
aggregated data of social network users may be
sold or traded to give organisations - from politi-
cal lobbyists to media companies - a better idea of
the market. South Africa has passed the Protec-
tion of Personal Information Act to regulate local
institutions, Mathurine added. [But] regulating
foreign entities like Google and Facebook is
much more challenging.
Mathurine explained that while ensuring
that your information is not entirely visible to
the public is important, users should also be
mindful of the organisations storing and using
their information. He specifcally referenced the
permissions granted to smartphone applications
and personal details that users put on Facebook.
Closer to home, Rhodes University can also
track your online usage. Everything you do on
the Rhodes network goes through the Rhodes
servers. Te nature of a server is to control the
fow of information, so the University can use this
information to enforce the Acceptable Use Policy
set up as a prerequisite for using the network.
Tese tracking abilities means that your use of
websites such as Te Pirate Bay (a Swedish fle
sharing website) and programs like Torrent for
illegally downloading or sharing flms, can be
detected and traced.
So, next time you consider making an inap-
propriate post on Facebook or accessing a website
of questionable repute, remember that your ano-
nymity is only as secure as the applications that
you have granted permissions to, the details you
have shared on social networks and the server
hosting your connection.

There is no absolute
online privacy of any
kind - regardless of
what kind
of permissions social
networks provide.
- Jude Mathurine , Senior
Lecturer at Cape Peninsula
University of Technology
South Africas Protection of Personal Information Act does not prevent international sites like
Google from tracking your online movements. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Bracken Lee-Rudolph
Smartphones and laptops are
necessities among students in the
21st century. While cell phone calls
home can become quite expensive
and SMSs have become incredibly
outdated, students have turned to the
internet for cheaper, more interactive
communication.
Tese programmes are run through
the use of voice-over-internet protocol
(VoIP) and instant messaging (IM)
services. Tese services allow users
to send and receive audio and video
streams, as well as text-based mes-
sages, over the internet. Tey are
primarily computer-based, but most
are also supported by smartphones and
tablets.
Skype is one such service - a VoIP
client that allows users to send and re-
ceive audio and video calls from users
on their contact list. Skype is a simple-
to-use and undemanding PC applica-
tion, available for free via the ofcial
website or the respective app stores for
mobile operating systems (OS).
From a technical perspective, a web-
cam and microphone (both of which
are included on standard laptops)
are required to make video calls on
PC. If you need an external webcam,
however, webcams with embedded mi-
crophones can be found at most online
retailers and IT shops - such as Insight
and the Rhodes IT Shop.
Te mobile Skype apps are quite
temperamental, however, as they
depend largely on the device used.
Skype Mobile, whether on phone or
tablet, requires the device to be able to
support continuous video streaming
(which many low-end mobile proces-
sors struggle with) and have a front-
facing camera for video chat.
Alternatively, Google has their own
VoIP and text-based messenger called
Google Hangouts. Te service is avail-
able to anyone with an active Google
account (Gmail and Google+), and
across PC, iOS and Android platforms.
On PC, Hangouts runs through a
browser instead of a desktop ap-
plication, and has a larger focus on
text-based messaging. Te mobile app
is very resource-light, especially in
comparison to Skype.
Being a Windows-owned company,
Skype is optimised for Windows
phones and tablets and will run best
on higher-end Windows devices.
However, the Android app also runs
capably on more powerful devices us-
ing the Google-developed OS.
Te iOS apps for Skype and Hang-
outs run well, but if you are using
an Apple device (Mac, iPod, iPad or
iPhone), it would be better to use
FaceTime. FaceTime is Apples original
video calling client, which is opti-
mised for the companys iOS and OSX
devices. It fulflls a similar role to that
of Skype, albeit without the IM service
or group calling.
Tese programs do have their down-
sides, however. Te frst is that video
streaming and broadcasting is heavy
on data usage. As such, using the mo-
bile applications when not connected
to WiFi is inadvisable, especially if
you are on a contract with limited
data. Te second issue is the limited
technical options. Tese programmes
are all very simple to use, but none
come with particularly comprehensive
microphone or camera control - handy
services which would be used to cut
out background noise (especially nec-
essary in residences) and tweak picture
quality.
However, these are only minor
gripes. VoIP clients are excellent for
long-distance communication and
only slightly more difcult to use than
a Telkom phone.
Face-to-face, far away from home

The increasing popularity of smartphones and social-apps means students


today are more connected than ever before. Photo: SHEILA DAVID
These services
[voice-over-
internet protocol
and instant
messaging]
allow users to
send and receive
audio and video
stream, as well
as text-based
messages, over
the internet.
Arts & Entertainment
3 September 2014 Te Oppidan Press 11

Face-to-face, far away from home


Demi Drew
M
any who take a keen interest in arts
and crafs are familiar with Rhodes
University student Lauren Dixon-
Paver, afectionately referred to as LDP. Te
daughter of a miniature porcelain doll maker,
Dixon-Paver grew up in an artistic household
and has always been passionate about making
things particularly her beloved sloths.
Known for her extensive sloth collection,
Dixon-Paver has created unique sloth plush
toys ranging from a ballerina with a pink tutu, a
hipster with a camera and even a hippie wearing
a tie-dye dress. Her ballerina sloth even appeared
on the popular website Buzzfeed in a post about
how to live a sloth life.
Despite the fact that her main focus is on
sloth-related crafs, Dixon-Paver has made many
other things too. She used her love for Pokmon
to make a Bulbasaur clay pot plant - which soon
became a hit on the internet.
Id never posted on Reddit before, so to see my
frst post make it to the front page, as well as the
front page of 9gag, was really exciting, Dixon-
Paver said.
Te popularity of her Bulbasaur clay pot soon
skyrocketed and Dixon-Paver started receiving
crafing requests. While she is intrigued by these
requests, she generally doesnt take them up.
Id rather make something weird which poses a
creative challenge than something boring, she
explained.
Dixon-Pavers love of such creative challenges
began with her making items for her friends. I
tend to get inspired by personal things inside
jokes with friends, or things that I think the peo-
ple I love will like, she said.
Her repertoire has grown since these begin-
nings and Dixon-Paver is now a regular contribu-
tor to an American college website Te Lala,
where she is making her mark by writing craf
tutorials. Dixon-Pavers favourite part of posting
tutorials on the internet is the diversity of her
audience. Te beauty of the internet is that
when you post something, your audience can be
anywhere with internet access, no matter where
youre posting from, she said.
She hopes to continue writing these tutorials
and is considering moving on to video tutorials.
I think its an interesting, informative platform
with loads of diferent opportunities.
Paving the way to original arts & crafts
Pumla Kalipa
Greek philosopher Plato once
described creativity as divine
madness a gif from the gods.
Troughout history, such links have
been made between creativity and
psychological disorders, which gives
rise to the question of whether cor-
relations can and should be made
between the two.
Michelangelo, a painter whose art
mirrored his depression, and Vin-
cent Van Gogh, who sufered from a
chronic mental illness, are examples of
creative minds that were aficted with
psychological disorders.
Te list also includes the musician
Mozart, who was known for doing
somersaults and pirouettes as if in a
hypomanic state during his musical
recitals.
Cape Town-based psychiatrist Dr
Ravi Govender says that depression,
bipolar disorder, and anxiety are more
prominent in creative minds than in
those who are less creatively inclined.
Creativity helps human beings in
general expressing things that cannot
be expressed in ordinary, everyday
language, said Govender.
Creativity is also a language on its
own, Govender added. Most people
who sufer from mental disorders such
as depression fnd communicating
what they feel difcult.
A medium such as art or writ-
ing provides such minds a chance to
express [to the world] the things that
[only] they can feel. Tis in return
allows people to re-establish contact
with the world which brings them an
intense feeling of relief.
If theres anything dangerous about
creativity it is that it can be quite lonely
and that can bring up its own demons,
said Rhodes University Philosophy
lecturer and writer Ward Jones.
Being a creative mind means
spending time looking at yourself and
observing your thoughts. You begin to
look at your shortcomings and focus
on [them].
Rhodes University Drama lecturer
and creative writer Dr Anton Krueger
was careful to point out how this myth
about creativity has been misconstrued
over the past years.
Teres a connection but that does
not mean that it is in every case. In
some cases its about originality. If your
criteria for creativity is originality, peo-
ple who sufer from mental disorders
will give you something original as
they see the world diferently than how
the ordinary thinking person sees it,
he explained.
However, musician and Rhodes Uni-
versity Music Department Administra-
tor Jared Lang still fnds some truth in
this myth.
Te person who sufers from a
mental disorder or sees the world dif-
ferently might have more drive to their
creative process than the ordinary-
thinking person, he said.
It is well known that many creative
minds engage in artistic endeavours
to try and work through, release or
better understand their own demons.
Many of those who view this artistic
work have come to associate certain
behaviour and artistic manifestations
with a particular state of mind, one
that resembles psychological disorders.
While it is difcult to prove whether
there is an inherent link between the
two, many artists agree with Lord By-
ron when he said, We of the craf are
all crazy. Some are afected by gaiety,
others by melancholy, but all are more
or less touched.
The divine madness that drives the creative mind
The increasing popularity of smartphones and social-apps means students
today are more connected than ever before. Photo: SHEILA DAVID
Lauren Dixon-Pavers ever-expanding collection of DIY plush-sloths and other crafts have become
known around the globe due to exposure through websites such as Buzzfeed and Reddit.
Photo: LAUREN DIXON-PAVER
Many creative minds have been
known to use artistic expression
as a way to engage with, work
through, or explore their own
demons. PHOTO: KELLAN BOTHA
Sports
Record-breaking
elections reviewed
Thinking green
for Arbour Week
21st century
Swart Gevaar
4 8 7
Muhammad Hussain
C
ricket season was set to start
this past weekend with the
frst round of the Rhodes
Internal Premier League (RIPL).
Te matches were postponed, but
the fast-paced, action-packed
Twenty20 tournament is in its sixth
year of existence, and RIPL Ofcer
Jared Kruger is confdent that the
correct preparation has gone into
ensuring another successful season
of cricket.
Everything is on track, with all
eight teams as well as their kits and
squads pretty much sorted, said a
satisfed Kruger. He also mentioned
that the grounds and pitches, which
are maintained by Rhodes, are looking
good and should be ft to host the
tournament. One remaining problem,
however, was coming up with the
funding for kits as teams struggled to
fnd sponsors in time.
It was quite disappointing this year
as we werent able to get a sponsor
in time, said Danger Mice Captain
Reinhardt Arp. We might have to use
last years kit. Despite this setback,
Arp was positive in his outlook on the
tournament. We came third last year,
losing to the Awkward Turtles in the
semi-fnals, but this year we want to
make it to the fnals, obviously, or at
least second.
Last year crowds were hard to come
by with only one game standing out in
terms of considerable crowd support.
However, Kruger said the players have
not been deterred by this because there
is always pride at stake, along with the
RIPL trophy. On top of that, a case
of beer for the victors goes a long
way to fostering a competitive at-
mosphere. Cricket at Rhodes is just
growing. With more and more expo-
sure to the tournament, more people
will get involved and hopefully it will
get as big as Internal League Rugby,
Kruger said.
Last year the Awkward Turtles
clinched the coveted title by beating
the then newly-formed Mighty Hedge-
hogs in the fnal. Te Honey Badgers
are this years new team and in light of
the Hedgehogs success last year, they
will be eager to impress.
Te feld is more open this year as
most of the teams have good players.
It will be quite even this year as there
is no clear-cut favourite, said Kruger.
Most of the games will take place dur-
ing the day, in comparison to last years
many night games.
Matches will be played on Great
Field and Prospect Fields with the
fnals expected to be played on the
weekend of 25 September.
Rhodes Cricket returns
Brandon Yates
Standing 1.8 metres tall and weighing in at 106 kilograms, Chris Whiting
is an imposing and intimidating presence. However, his relaxed attitude,
warm smile and engaging personality go a long way towards challenging
the stereotype associated with his herculean physique.
2014 has been a year to remember for Whiting, as it has marked his frst
attempt to juggle his academic and sporting committments at university.
However, he has managed to balance his social life and studies well enough
to continue playing sport.
Earlier this year, Whiting was drafed into the Rhodes University 1st XV
rugby squad a rare achievement for a frst-year student. Troughout the
year, he produced eye-catching performances through his powerful scrum-
maging, rucking, line-out lifing and bone-crunching tackles. Tis resulted
in him being awarded a call-up to the Eastern Province u19 Currie Cup
squad. He is the only Rhodes player to earn a provincial call-up this year.
Whiting admitted that he has been surprised by his own success. I never
planned to play rugby afer high school. I played a bit for Rhodes and knew
the u19 EP coach from a coaching clinic I attended at school. He watched a
game of mine and asked if I would join the squad, explained Whiting.
It all started for Whiting with u9 club rugby in Johannesburg. Following in
the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he then moved to Michaelhouse.
It was there that his sporting prowess was discovered, as he played lock in
the schools A-teams until u16.
By Grade 10, Whiting noticed that he had to make a few changes and work
a little harder in order to break into the Michaelhouse 1st XV the following
year. Tere was plenty of competition at lock. Between Grade 10 and 11,
I worked really hard in the gym to gain size to become a prop. My coaches
also gave me a gym programme and nurtured my change in position, Whit-
ing said.
Te change proved to be a masterstroke, as Whiting played in the
Michaelhouse 1st XV for two years. He heaped praise upon some of the big-
gest supporters and mentors that have guided him over the years. My dad
has always been my biggest supporter and he drove me to achieve. Robbie
Kempson is a guy I have also learned a lot from as he was a world-class prop
in his day, said Whiting.
Tis year has presented the young forward with his frst taste of provincial
rugby, but he is determined to frst attain his degree before pondering the
possibility of a career in the sport.
Whiting earns EP rugby call-up
First-year student Chris Whiting was drafted to the Rhodes University 1st
XV team earlier this year. Photo: VICKY PATRICK
Douglas Smith
As the sprint season comes to a close,
the Rhodes University Rowing Club
(RURC) is now turning its attention
to the most talked-about long-course
event of the year. Boat Race will see
months of efort, planning and emo-
tion pulling rowers through a gruel-
ling 6km race held at Kowie River,
Port Alfred.
Boat Race is a highlight in many
Rhodes students calendars, but
is ofen seen only as one of the most
anticipated parties of the year. Howev-
er, the RURC does not think this is the
only reason Rhodes students should be
excited about the upcoming event.
RURC President Jedrick Teron
believes that every one of the Rhodes
crews has a chance of winning medals
in their respective races. However, he
mentioned that there are a number
of conditions such as currents, wind
and the tide that can infuence a race.
Gold medals are what we want, but
it all depends on what happens on the
day, said Teron. We race as well as
we can, though.
Boat Race usually takes place over
the September vacation, but this years
event is set to take place on the frst
weekend of the fourth term from 18 to
20 September. Mens 1st VIII Captain
Scott Walraven is counting on Rhodes
students to come out in their numbers
to support the club, which is expecting
good results. He emphasised the fact
that the mens 1st VIII includes seven
rowers that took part in last years race
and that this could be a deciding factor
in the outcome of this years race. We
are one of the few varsities that are
walking into Boat Race with that kind
of experience, said Walraven.
Aside from having a good mixture
of experience and energetic new-
comers, the RURC has beneftted
from the introduction of Coach Chris
Holliday. Hailing from the Australian
professional rowing set-up at the
University of Sydney, Holliday has
brought a new style of rowing that has
produced encouraging results so far.
It has been a long campaign, but
very positive, said Holliday. Te
mens 1st VIII has really come along
since sprint season and the long-term
prospects are looking good. However,
he admitted that the long distance
race will be the real challenge. If the
guys hold a good ratio and commit
to every stroke, I believe they can put
themselves into a good position for the
fnals, he said.
Holliday also made mention of the
fact that the ladies crews have made
tremendous progress this season,
despite having started with a fairly
novice group of athletes. Both crews
still need to fnd some speed, but
there is still time to do so, explained
Holliday. Discipline will now be the
key to our success moving forward,
he added.
RURC confdent ahead of Boat Race
RURC coach, Chris Holliday, advises rowers at Settlers Dam in preparation for boat races in the fourth term.
Photo: KELLAN BOTHA