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Rhodes musos making it big


The Oppidan Press

Edition 10, 1 October 2014


Child Welfare looks to the future

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The Oppidan Press

1 October 2014

News Features

Estate agents vs students

Mila Kakaza

R eal estate agents in Graham- stown have come under scru- tiny as student complaints

about maintenance problems and unsatisfactory service increase. Rhodes student and tenant at Somerset Corner Bonnie Kamona stated that promises were made by her estate agent before moving into the flat she is currently occupying. “We were promised our flat would be thoroughly cleaned. It was dirty and had sticky floors,” Kamona said. The flat, Kamona further explained, “had broken doors, curtain rails and shelves to name but a few problems.” Rental manager at Re/Max Mag- gie Redemeyer explained that 90% of their tenants are made up of students. “Whenever there is a complaint it goes through to maintenance. The landlord is contacted and it is then sorted. We do not treat students badly because they pay our salaries at the end of the day,” Redemeyer said. The rental team at Lew Geffen So- theby’s International Realty stated that

their clients are a number one priority and landlords and tenant queries are dealt with efficiently. Director at Pam Golding Properties Daphne Timm stated that although agents are not obliged to fix mainte- nance problems, students have a right and obligation to point out what needs maintenance’s attention. “Once these problems have been pointed out, the agent will go to the landlord with the comments. The landlord will have to get quotes which he/she may accept or reject,” Timm explained. Rental agent from Harcourts Glynis Mather-Pike explained that an incom- ing inspection is conducted for new tenants. “They are given a week to settle down and find any problems,“ Mather-Pike said. Echoing Mather-Pike’s sentiments, Candidate Attorney at the Rhodes Law Clinic James Ekron stated that the Rental Housing Act stipulates that the landlord and the tenant should make an inspection of the property prior to taking occupation. “If something is broken and the landlord is made aware, it is possible for the student to

legally withhold a section of their rent in order to fix an element that they require the landlord to fix,” Ekron explained. Somerset Corner tenant Neo Baepi explained that her bedroom door and shower were broken and it took a month to get them fixed. “They don’t act quickly because they know we are students,” Baepi said. Mather-Pike went on to explain that the future tenant goes through what Harcourts calls a “personality analysis”. “First years for example are required to include their parents’ de- tails so that parents are involved. The students as well as their parents have a copy of the lease,” Mather-Pike said. “In my experience, real estate agents are bullies,” Ekron said. “They will have you sign an agreement you don’t properly understand and scare you with large quantities of money which you aren’t required to pay.” The Legal Aid Board, Rhodes Law Clinic and Legal Resources Centre are some of the places where students can receive legal representa- tion when required.

students can receive legal representa- tion when required. Students feel that real estate agents are treating

Students feel that real estate agents are treating them unfairly and providing poor service with regards to maintenance of flats. Photo: SHEILA DAVID.

Support for donkeys and owners

Phelokazi Mbude and Leila Stein

Donkeys are a common sight for Grahamstown residents. For the owners of these donkeys, they provide a means of transport, income and entertainment. Donkey owners travel throughout Grahamstown doing small jobs for farmers, local businesses and residents. These jobs include transporting alcohol, cement, logs and refuse. However, these jobs are not available every day. Sheriff Annerie Wolmarans, founder of the Makana Donkey Association (MDA), explained that many of the donkey owners transport the wood for an income of R40 to R60 per job, but not much of this income goes towards caring for the donkeys. “These owners are the poorest of the poorest,” she said. Wolmarans esti- mates that only 75% of donkey owners are able to properly look after their animals. At the age of 11, Sithembela Nzwane inherited his 11 donkeys from his older brothers and started working with them. He is usu- ally able to earn R200 per week which he uses to help support his mother, grandmother and two younger brothers. Nzwane makes sure that his donkeys are well cared for. He does not allow them to carry heavy loads and ensures they do not work when it rains. “I don’t hit my donkeys and you would never find a sore on one of my donkeys either,” said Nzwane. Since the donkeys are an important source of income, no matter how sporadic, the health and well-being of the donkeys is impor- tant. Organisations like the MDA and the Rhodes Organisation for Animal Rights (ROAR) assist the donkey owners in improving

Animal Rights (ROAR) assist the donkey owners in improving Many of Grahamstown’s donkey owners rely on

Many of Grahamstown’s donkey owners rely on them for their livelihood, transporting wood or tourists on their carts, but often still struggle to afford proper care for their donkeys. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA.

the care of their donkeys. The MDA trains donkey owners on how to handle, feed and pro- vide healthcare for their animals. ROAR often participates in drives and clinics with the MDA. In addition, they recently donated R2 410 to the MDA for medicine, hoof oil and deworming medicine

These owners are the poorest of the poorest

– Sheriff Annerie Wolmarans, founder of Makana Donkeys Association

for the donkeys. This term, another student initiative, the No Danger Diaries, partnered with the MDA and helped to raise funds for the donkeys and their owners through a Pub Crawl. “We incentivise them [the donkey owners] by raising this money [thereby] ensuring the longevity of the donkeys’ lives,” explained Ben Davies, one of the organisers of the event. However, this specific initiative has raised concerns since the donkeys are being used for recreational purposes. “While we understand that certain events are arranged in order to raise funds for carters or sanctuaries, and we applaud these good intentions, our concerns are about the wellbeing of the donkey,” explained ROAR in a recent statement. Despite these differing views, the initiatives taken on by students and NGOs continue to assist and uplift the welfare of donkeys and the work of their owners. As a result the donkey cart industry can continue to provide for those who need it.

Another let-down with Intervarsity cancellation

Thandi Bombi

Students have been left to assume the worst as the year comes closer to an end. It has been almost five weeks since the postponement of Intervarsity 2014 and there has not been an official cancellation of the event, or an official update to put students and participating sports teams at ease. Intervarsity 2014 was to take place at The Uni- versity of Fort Hare but was postponed because of

student unrest at the University’s Alice campus. “Due to the unrest Intervarsity was postponed to the weekend of the 5th to the 6th September but Rhodes declined because it was during our holiday,” said SRC Liaison Officer Eric Ofei. Ofei added that all sports fixtures are set a year in advance and that there are no free weekends in which to fit Intervarsity. This pending cancellation adds to a series of mishaps related to Intervarsity. “This cancella- tion may give more reason to those against it to

push for its permanent cancellation,” said Rhodes Sports Administrator Mandla Gagayi. Meanwhile, members of sports teams that were supposed to participate in Intervarsity 2014 are unhappy with the way things have turned out. “I am very disappointed,” said Kefentse Mfoloe, Rhodes basketball team player. Intervarsity 2015 is being hosted by Rhodes and many are hopeful that it will bring an end to these failures. “I think that it is very good that Intervarsity is happening at Rhodes University

next year,” said Ofei. “The Rhodes Sports Council is very organised and they will be able to prove the relevance of Intervarsity, as well as be able to satisfy the hunger for it that is a result of the cancellation this year and safety issues in 2013.” “Rhodes’ top brass has full understanding of what happened and cannot use it to cancel in the future,” Gagayi said. Although the cancellation of Intervarsity has been a let down, the SRC and Sports Admin are keen to make the future Inter- varsity events a success.

1 October 2014

The Oppidan Press



1 October 2014 The Oppidan Press 3 Politics With the Islamic State (IS) being one of

With the Islamic State (IS) being one of the wealthiest terrorist organisations in the world, the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) says Africa should be concerned with their influence. Photo: SOURCED

Is IS the new chapter in the ‘War on Terror’?

Nathi Mzileni and Tarryn de Kock

T he decapitation of American journalist James Foley sent Western media into a tailspin.

Facing the challenge of how America is going to deal with the Islamic State (IS) – formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – US President Barack Obama’s call for the aerial bombardment and the destruction of IS strongholds came as a familiar return to the rhetoric of the ‘War on Terror’ that has charac- terised the last decade. Aerial bombardment is a com- mon military strategy used by the US Defense Forces. President Obama

has authorised over 350 drone strikes in the Middle East since 2008. These unmanned machines have killed over 2 400 people. However, more than a decade after declaring war on ‘terror’, the US has yet to see a decrease in the operation of ‘terrorist organisations’. IS is an efficiently organised group. Several organisations have estimated IS funds to be at over R22 billion, making it the wealthiest terrorist organisation in the world. The Institute of Security Studies (ISS) reported that one of the major ways IS secures funds is through the sale of oil. The group controls some oil refineries in northern parts of Iraq such as Baiji, and its oil is sold to cor- porates at a price usually below market

value. “The companies find it much

easier to deal with these organisations than governments with regulations,” said Siphokazi Magadla, an Interna- tional Relations and Security Studies Lecturer in the Politics department. Obama’s strategy has sidelined Iraq,

a country that could potentially play an important role in combating IS – which has already amassed a body count of 5 000 and has displaced over

a million people in its offensive. “It’s

important for the West to have con- versations with the Middle East. They feel the organisations more intimately,” Magadla added. However, what has become more concerning is the reach the

organisation has had beyond the Middle East. Reports have emerged that young South African men are also being recruited as combatants. The ISS believes Africa will feel the threat of IS more closely when African IS fighters return home. “There are genuine con-

cerns that the Islamic State’s thousands of African fighters, with access to the group’s considerable war chest, will return home to inflame existing con-

flicts… Africa should be worried,” the ISS reported. The Weekend Argus recently re- ported the “first possible link between South Africa and the Islamic State,” in a web-video released by IS where a man can be heard saying “I am your

brother Shu-aib from South Africa.” It is necessary to recognise that the porous borders that characterise our globalised and interconnected world are also the points from which dubious elements can emerge. The growth of extremist ideas in recent decades shows the fault-lines in our ideas about belonging, democracy and international politics, and stems directly from the way in which the ‘War on Terror’ has been fought since 9/11. The current global situation highlights the need to avoid conflat- ing terrorist values with cultural and political identities, and to instead focus on finding new, reflexive ways of understanding violent conflict.

Life and death measured by the bucketload

Kim Nyajeka

Since July 2014, social media has been bombarded with thou- sands of video clips of celebrities and ordinary people taking part in the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and money for sufferers of the disease. The challenge has been widely scrutinised, with many people expressing the view that it wastes fresh water, an already scarce resource in many parts of the world. However, an alterna- tive challenge has sprung up to mimic the Ice Bucket Challenge and draw awareness to another life-threatening occurrence. The Rubble Bucket Challenge was adopted by journalists working in the Gaza Strip to raise awareness for the plight of the children who have been affected by the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Unlike the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the Rubble Bucket Challenge does not call for donations, as Maysam Yusef, one of the challenge’s creators, highlights: “Money will not bring the many innocent souls back to life and we cannot begin to rebuild Gaza unless the Israeli attacks stop.” Participants pour rubble from the debris of destroyed homes over their heads as this is the only material available to them for such an activity. To date, ALS has been known to primarily affect Americans, with 5 600 people being diagnosed each year. It is estimated that 2 123 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli Defence Forces’ Opera- tion Protective Edge, launched in July this year. It was hoped that the Rubble Bucket Challenge would receive the same, if not more,

attention than its counterpart as it is also for a worthy cause where one is not being forced to part ways with one’s money. Unfortunate- ly, this is not the case. Since the advent of the challenge in July, very few people outside of the Gaza Strip have participated. In a world where human rights (both political and socioeco- nomic) are held in the highest regard, it is concerning that so few choose to advocate for the realisation of these rights for people caught in the middle of an endless conflict. It becomes necessary to question whether people support causes such as ALS and cancer awareness specifically because these are not seen as politicised causes of death. The prevalence of these diseases in more industrialised societies could point to underlying eco- nomic and environmental causes exacerbating their prominence in some places compared to others. Dr Irene Calis, a post-doctoral fellow in the Politics Department, agreed that the political nature of the Rubble Bucket Challenge makes it less attractive. “It is easy to avert political discussion from the Ice Bucket Chal- lenge as it does not ask for more than a donation, whereas the Rubble Bucket Challenge demands [that] you take a clear political stance which you may have to defend,” she said. Political issues cause people to be more cautious when displaying their concerns for fear of the repercussions and negative responses from others. “There is politics in everything, so we should be rais- ing the tougher questions surrounding not only conflict but disease as well,” said Calis.

not only conflict but disease as well,” said Calis. The Ice Bucket Challenge may have garnered

The Ice Bucket Challenge may have garnered support for ALS, but the question is whether the Rubble Bucket Challenge will raise the same awareness for political issues in Gaza. Photo:



The Oppidan Press

1 October 2014

Photo Story

Big plans ahead for Child


Attending Nompumelelo Preschool, the girls strike a pose while lining up for a bathroom break.

girls strike a pose while lining up for a bathroom break. Boys and girls stand quietly

Boys and girls stand quietly awaiting Teacher Boekie’s instructions. Obedient and confident, these learners are eager to learn.

Obedient and confident, these learners are eager to learn. Preparing breakfast for hungry mouths, Nompumelelo Preschool

Preparing breakfast for hungry mouths, Nompumelelo Preschool provides two meals a day for each child on just R85 a month.

1 October 2014

The Oppidan Press



1 October 2014 The Oppidan Press 5 Welfare Thandi*, aged nine, sits on the jungle gym

Thandi*, aged nine, sits on the jungle gym with broken nets. She has just joined the Ikaya Losizo home after Child Welfare decided that her parents could not provide for her and her home was too unstable.

Emily Corke

T he voices of children in the

playground can be heard from

down the road of Nompume-

lelo Preschool in Joza. The preschool shares a property with the Ikhaya Losizo foster home. Thandi*, aged nine, sits on the jungle gym with broken nets. She has just joined the Ikhaya Losizo home, after Child Welfare declared that her parents could not provide for her and that her home was too unstable. Her face lights up when she sees Director of the Joza Child Welfare Unit Angela Hibbert approach the houses. Unfortunately, Thandi’s story is not a unique case. As it stands, the Ikhaya Losizo Foster homes can only take in six children for each home. The chil- dren are cared for by a trained house mother in each house. “There are not enough facilities for children needing foster care in Gra- hamstown. The current houses are just too small for the issues we have here,” said Grahamstown citizen Walter Eks- teen, who has been very involved with Child Welfare. Child Welfare, along with Eksteen and other community members, have started an initiative to raise funds to

build a community hall on the Nom- pumelelo grounds to complement the Ikhaya Losizo homes. “When we have a community hall we will have a complete safety zone where children are really protected in many ways,” said Child Welfare Direc- tor Woineshet Bischoff. Bischoff hopes the community hall will be the best venue for community engagement and training programmes like maths, reading, parental training, computer and sewing skills and aware- ness programmes. The official plan for the initiative was that the property would have Nompumelelo Preschool, three foster houses, a community hall and a satel- lite office for Child Welfare on it. The two current houses were funded by the National Lottery and the initiative is looking for funding to continue their project. One way of raising the funds will be in the form of a gala dinner which will be hosted on 4 October by the Dioc- esan School for Girls in Grahamstown. The tickets to attend are R200 each and they include a three course meal, drinks and entertainment. *This is not her real name. She has been declared vulnerable by the government and cannot be named or photographed.

Photo Story

government and cannot be named or photographed. Photo Story Thandi* plays on broken jungle gyms and

Thandi* plays on broken jungle gyms and torn nets. The Ikhaya Losizo home needs funding to refurbish and upgrade its grounds.

home needs funding to refurbish and upgrade its grounds. Children line up after song time for

Children line up after song time for a bathroom break. They wash their hands before receiving their long-awaited breakfast. Today there is porridge for breakfast and chicken for lunch.

Today there is porridge for breakfast and chicken for lunch. Two boys linked together throughout the

Two boys linked together throughout the day. Teacher Boekie says they are always up to no good.


The Oppidan Press

1 October 2014


The Oppidan Press

Once again, South Africans find themselves in a peculiar and polarising social space. Two notable events have recently captured the country’s at- tention. In the past week we celebrated our 20th Heritage Day – a day that is meant to acknowledge and appreciate the cultural and social diversity in this country. However, these positive sentiments have been clouded by an incident of blackface at Stellenbosch University, following one at the University of Pretoria not too long ago. This completely unnecessary and ignorant act by seemingly ‘innocent’ and ‘unaware’ white male students has had the usual racially-divided responses in South African social media. Many have questioned our legitimate claim to celebrating our country’s cultural diversity and understanding, when acts that directly undermine the dignity and humanity of many South Africans continue to grab headlines. The Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) continued antics in Parlia- ment have also captured the attention of the country. Julius Malema, Floyd Shivambu and other EFF Members of Parliament continue to taunt and accurately critique the governing ANC’s political, economic and social misdemeanours. The EFF’s reactionary statements (and unflattering middle- fingers) have again polarised the opinions of ordinary South Africans – with many either vehemently against or for the political party’s actions. In international news, actress Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) launched the much-lauded and much-criticised “He for She” campaign. Wat- son has stated that the necessity of such a movement comes from a need for true gender equality, and a need for people to realise the importance of femi- nism, as women continue to find themselves marginalised across the globe. The campaign and Watson’s speech have again produced a divided public – with many either supporting her for speaking up, or others criticising her actions due to the lack of representation for people who do not identify as a “He” or a “She”. In this edition, you’ll find a number of opinions that you might not neces- sarily agree with. We ask questions about the authenticity and intentions of the “new-age” hippies at the recent Greenpop Festival; we contemplate the nature of social activism in contemporary society, with particular reference to the controversial ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which has taken the world by storm. We look at the continued rise of “clicktivism” as crowdfunding and websites like Avaaz carry on characterising this new-era social activism. We also analyse the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East and North Africa, and question the future of international politics as we know it. This edition also serves as an introduction to The Oppidan Press’ new Editorial, Managerial and OppiTv teams for 2015. We are excited to welcome the new teams aboard and are confident that they will carry on being the country’s best student journalists, and providing Grahamstown with news that is critical, thorough and impactful.

The Oppidan Press staff and contact details

Editor: Amanda Xulu. Deputy Editor: Stuart Lewis. Executive Consultants: Binwe Adebayo, Kyla Hazell. Managing Editor: Sindisa Mfenqe. Financial Manager: Lorna Sibanda. Advertising Manager: Tariro Bhunu. Marketing Manager: Sarah Taylor. Community Engagement Officer: Abigail Butcher. Online Editor: Chelsea Haith. Assistant Online Editor: Liam Stout. News Features Editor: Emily Corke. Assistant News Features Editor: Mila Kakaza. Politics Editor: Tarryn de Kock. Opinion Editor: Ben Rule. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Jenna Lillie. Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor: Matthew Field. 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. Assistant Online Photo Editor:

Ivan Blažić. Chief Sub-Editor: Kaitlin Cunningham. Sub-Editors: Kate Jennings, Danica Kreusch, Leila Stein, Jessica Trappe, Amy Wilkes. Chief Designer: Madien van der Merwe. Assistant Chief Designer: Hannah McDonald. Senior Designer: Amy Ebdon. Junior Designers: Alex Maggs, Amy-Jane Harkess, Sihle Mtshiselwa. External Content Advisors: Tope Adebola, Ndapwa Alweendo, Lucy Holford-Walker. OppiTV: Chief Editor:

Natalie Austin. Content Editor: Vimbai Midzi. Output Editor: Lilian Magari. Webcast Producer: Marc Davies. Ombudsperson: Professor Anthea Garman.

Letters to the Editor: Advertising details: @oppidanpress

The Oppidan Press publishes letters which are bona fide expres- sions 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.

The language of black Twitter

Koketso Molope and Ben Rule

T he use of the word “nigger/

nigga” and the arguments

about the difference between

the two (shouts to 2Pac) has long been a discussion point in the black community in the USA. Those using the word argue that by using it they have removed the ownership (and thus the power) of the word from the people who used it to oppress them – thus allowing them to take hold of the word and change its meaning. Although the word still carries much baggage, its use has been a way for various black communities to make sense of the baggage on their own terms. I recently became aware of some- thing called ‘black Twitter’, which I found fascinating both because of what it is and because I was not previously aware of it. For those who, like me, have not heard of it: black Twitter is a subculture on Twitter which is part on- line community, part social commen- tary, lots of ‘spice’, even more ‘shade’ and all memes. What is interesting is that those who use it call it ‘black Twitter’.This makes it different from something like ‘Asian food’, which is not described the same way by Asian people and becomes simply ‘food’ the minute one sets foot in Asia. Black Twitter is a conscious

minute one sets foot in Asia. Black Twitter is a conscious The ever-growing subculture of ‘black

The ever-growing subculture of ‘black Twitter’ is a conscious recognition by black people of their online identity, community, and culture. Image:


recognition of a black online identity. This article is too short a space to properly explain black Twitter or en- gage with all of its interesting aspects. That said, there are certain words which have become commonly used in the language of black Twitter, and which are intriguing. It is common to end a post with the phrase ‘the struggle is real’. More often than not these posts relate to the more mundane aspects of life such as weather patterns, dress codes, methods for studying for tests or being broke. Everybody in this country knows what is meant by the phrase ‘the struggle’. It is a part of our collective

heritage, especially for the children of the generation who were actively involved in it. Those children are now taking to Twitter and using this same phrase to describe things such as people’s inabil- ity to match clothes. Each generation has its own struggles, but the tongue- in-cheek manner in which some of this generation is using the phrase is allowing them to take ownership of their own heritage. Another word that seems to be in fashion at the moment is the word “ungovernable”. It is used to describe people when they are flouting societal norms or generally going against ac- ceptable standards of behaviour. The history of this word is powerful. In a series of speeches in the mid- 1980s, then ANC President Oliver Tambo challenged the people of South Africa to make the country ungov- ernable in order to overthrow the apartheid regime. The word is at the heart of the internal resistance – the people’s resistance – to apartheid. This is another example of using a word with historical and political baggage to describe somebody shooting their mouth off online. Given that Heritage Day has recently passed, black Twitter is a striking current example of how nobody can tell you what your heritage means but yourself.

nobody can tell you what your heritage means but yourself. Marketers often use the healthy connotations

Marketers often use the healthy connotations of flavoured water to sell it, but this distracts from the fact that chemicals and flavourants make it only a little bit healthier than soda. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Sparkling delusion-flavoured lies

Michelle du Toit

Illusions are created by the way in which a product is marketed and this can determine its popularity and set it up for failure or success. Often this branding is done through the use of words and creative naming. Words have certain connotations and these can influence a per- son’s opinion of the product. But enough of the theory, let me illustrate this with some examples. Standard Bank – “Simpler. Better. Faster.” The words aren’t even hidden in sentences. Understandably, “Complicated. Average. Slow.” wouldn’t exactly have the same effect. But often the attempts to influence consumers aren’t just in the marketing of the product, they are in the name itself. “Pampers” nappies. Which mother wouldn’t want to pamper their child? The McDonalds “Happy Meal”. Obviously, a child would want a meal that is happy. The full effect of this crafty trickery is not always so obvious, however. We can be subtly manipulated to believe almost anything. The best example of such a conspiracy

would be flavoured water. The word ‘flavoured’ plays on our senses and this, along with the connotation of sparkling and the essentiality of wa- ter, aims to convince us that it is a necessity. The other con- notation of this genre of products is that they are healthier than other liquids on offer. We have all heard the stories about the chemicals in Coca-Cola, but what could possibly be unhealthy about water? It is natural! What we have been cleverly distracted from is the fact that flavoured water is in fact just juice without colour. It tastes like a fizzy drink. It just looks different. The word- ing has allowed us to believe that it is more than colour- less Cream Soda or Fanta. It is not. Let us stop deluding ourselves that we are being healthy – all juice is essentially flavoured water. And if we’ve been under the impression that we’ve been drinking water all along, how many other things are we misinformed about while consuming them? Until we start to think about these products, we’ll simply be pawns of advertisers who manipulate us for financial gain.

1 October 2014

The Oppidan Press


Check it out at:


Oppidan Press 7 Check it out at: Opinion Julius Malema and the EFF have made

Julius Malema and the EFF have made it their mission to challenge President Jacob Zuma and the ANC’s authority in Parliament. Photo: SOURCED

Malema’s tactics EFFing up ANC votes

Emily Corke

T hings have not been looking good for the ANC

over the past five months in Parliament. While

they have all been too busy managing President

Jacob Zuma’s PR (ahem, Nkandla), they have been un- able to avoid the constant attacks on their party by Julius Malema and his EFF. If Malema’s job is to make Zuma uncomfortable on that R246 million throne, then he is doing it well. I am not here to put Malema on a pedestal; he is no angel. But he is fulfilling an important role in the current political arena against a backdrop of police killing miners in Mari- kana, children being evicted from their homes in Nomzamo and daily scenes of service delivery protests. He is also asking the right questions of the ANC. Last week the High Court ruled that the EFF were allowed to wear their iconic red workers’ uniforms in Parliament. This is embarrassing for the ANC because it contrasts with their expensive suits and lavish gowns worn at other political events. The EFF attire is a clear statement about who they claim to represent. As Malema has built himself up to be the voice of workers, the poor and the disenfranchised, many are starting to walk with him. On a symbolic level, insisting on wearing workers’ attire in Parliament means he stands for those who are left out of these official proceedings. On 1 July, provincial Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe ordered

police to remove the group wearing red overalls bearing the phrase ‘asijiki’ from the Gauteng Legislature. Just last month, National Speaker Baleka Mbete removed the EFF kicking and screaming from Parliament. Even more embar- rassingly, Mbete had riot police called into Parliament to have them removed while they were taunting Zuma with, “Pay back the money!”. While the chanting and theatrics may have been a distrac- tion, it has not gone unnoticed that the questions to Zuma about paying back the Nkandla money went unanswered. Zuma’s laugh echoed in our minds as we watched the EFF demand the answers we all really want. Will the ANC realise that every time they kick out the EFF, they are symbolically kicking out the country’s poor and disenfranchised workers? When will Mbete realise that when she screams, “I am not recognising you!” to one of the EFF’s MPs, she is shouting the same abuse to their supporters? Coming after recent protracted strikes by workers demanding to be recognised, this is dangerous territory for the ANC. Now the ANC are stuck with an even bigger predicament. Not only are they stuck with Malema in Parliament in his red worker’s uniform, but they are stuck with their track record of trying to have him and the people he represents removed from Parliament. Not good to have on your radar five months into your new term of office. The ANC have come head on with Malema, and they have lost. Again and again.

head on with Malema, and they have lost. Again and again. The Ice Bucket Challenge managed

The Ice Bucket Challenge managed to successfuly capture the concept of supporting a cause by taking advantage of people’s desire for social recognition. Photo: ASHLIEGH MEY

Ice bucket exhibitionists

Ben Rule

Many of us are inherently sceptical of people who post videos of them- selves on the internet, claiming to do so “for a cause”. This scepticism arises from incidents such as the whole of Facebook posting selfies of themselves (apparently without make-up) “for cancer”, or simply clicking the ‘share’ button to make the world aware of all the grievous injustice of wars and poverty while we chomp cereal in our pyjamas. When the “ALS ice bucket chal- lenge” started trending, I figured that it was just more of the same – more “neknomination” than anything else. I was wrong. The ice bucket challenge has managed to raise over $100 million in donations for the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). All of this has been as a result of the awareness which was created by the viral ice-bucketing on the internet. This puts this latest trend into a very different category from the ones described above. A splash of internet videos have actually made a differ- ence to a cause. It seems that people have understood that simply pour- ing iced water over yourself is not sufficient to help anybody with ALS – you also have to donate money. This begs the question as to why we were not all donating money in the first place – all of the help which the ALS campaign has received recently has been the direct result of an

activity which does not help ALS. This is rather bizarre. Why do we need to pour water over ourselves on the internet before we realise that this is a cause worth donating to? Or if we were already aware, why was the broadcasting of our own wet faces the most convincing argument for us to actually get involved? I have long thought that the internet is divided into exhibitionists and voyeurs. It is from this basis that we can begin to understand why the ice bucket challenge worked. I am hopeful enough about hu- man nature to think that people want to do some good in the world. But it seems that a simple appeal to conscience is not enough to achieve results, especially on the internet. There is a daily tsunami of these types of appeals and it is quite easy to become desensitised to them. Charities therefore need to find a way to convince people to donate without using any of the conven- tional internet tactics. The ALS Foundation did this by tapping into our existing exhibi- tionist tendencies – we want to do good but we also want to post lots of pictures and videos of ourselves for everyone to see. Imagine the social approval you can get by posting a video of yourself donating to charity. This is what the ice bucket challenge did perfectly. We want to broadcast ourselves to the world more than we want to donate to charity. Now, we can do both.

more than we want to donate to charity. Now, we can do both. >>Unathi Msengana set

>>Unathi Msengana set to rock Rhodes >>Inclusion and exclusion in African education >>50 years of English study in Africa


The Oppidan Press

1 October 2014


8 The Oppidan Press 1 October 2014 Features Nature-lovers participated in practical activities at the Greenpop

Nature-lovers participated in practical activities at the Greenpop Hogsback Reforest Festival to learn about the indigenous fauna and flora. Photo: KATE JANSE VAN RENSBURG

Hogsback forestation rejuvenation

Dillon Lutchman


F rom 12 to 14 September 2014, the Greenpop Hogsback

Reforest Fest invited nature-lovers from all corners to

enjoy an event that combined music and reforestation to

promote collective green action. Hogsback has over 1215 endemic plant species and is consid- ered to have the widest biodiversity ring of Afro-mountain forests in the country. Endangered species like the Amathole toad, Cape parrot and Samango monkey, which dwell in the area, rely heavily on these indigenous plant species for their survival. As such, Hogsback was an ideal space for the intervention facil- itated by Greenpop. A environmentally-based business, Greenpop enabled the planting of 2400 trees during the festival. Journalism student Christina Schild attended the event and was enlightened by the experience. “Going into the festival, I had an

idea of the environmental aspect but I do feel I gained significant knowledge about the process of reforestation and of reintroducing indigenous flora and fauna into an area overrun with alien vegeta- tion,” she explained. While sceptics argued that an emphasis on partying exceeded that of planting, Schild considered the event to have played a variety of functions by disseminating environmental knowledge through various talks, promoting environmental action by plant- ing trees and creating a congenial environment thanks to musical entertainment. Journalism Honours student Melite Vivier agreed that “this was not such a big party fest but rather honed in on the tree-planting process, workshops on sustainable living, our changing environ- ment and the science of nature.” Ticket prices (R520 excluding accommodation and transport) for the fest somewhat deterred student attendance, perhaps ac- counting for the large number of Rhodes students not attending

even though it was during vacation. Schild commented, “If the cost of the ticket was reduced, and therefore the festival made more accessible, then I definitely feel that an event like this would work at Rhodes.” However, Schild continues to support the initiative as a whole. “It is a beautiful idea that truly brings people together in a new way. It shows them alternatives to this growing culture of simply yanking out the aliens and shoving the indigenous trees in the holes,” said Schild. The direct action and environmental education created by this event cannot be undervalued. Vivier added, “I really enjoyed planting things that will last for many years with the added benefit of all of them being indigenous.” With ‘eco-friendly’ festival Rocking the Daisies on the horizon, Greenpop shows that fun can be encouraged without under- mining the fundamental project of generating environmental consciousness and participatory action.

environmental consciousness and participatory action. Where did the genuine hippies go? Sasha Ross Arts and

Where did the genuine hippies go?

Sasha Ross Arts and Entertainment

The Greenpop Reforest Festival took place over the September vacation in Hogsback. While the festival was meant to promote conservation and eco-living, it was hard not to notice the pretentious among the genuine. “It’s a treevolution – we can’t wait to plant and dance with you” was the final line in a Greenpop Reforest Fes- tival email I received. For me, this line set up the ideal Greenpop wished to create – a 60s dream of planting trees, eating well and living an eco-friendly lifestyle. This ideal was enforced by Lauren O’Donnell, one of the Green- pop co-founders announcing, “We love creating festivals of action, in Hogsback we are doing a celebration of our earth”. While documenting the festival, it was difficult not to be critical of the conversations and actions of those par- ticipating; many had strong opinions

on the state of the world, as is expected at such alternative events. Conversations between students featured big ideas and a rejection of traditional structure, as was heard when listening to Charles Mackenzie. “People are so blinded by what society says, they need to open their eyes.” While conversations such as these may have been genuine, it did seem as if some were striving too hard to fit the anti-society ideal in order to blend in. The line between genuine and inauthentic was thin and difficult to distinguish. The conversations heard among the festival-goers, and especially students were on the cusp of being reactionary. For some, the fact that there was no trance music being played was a bigger issue to mull over than the planting of over 2000 trees. It was easy to pinpoint all the differ- ent groups of people that Reforest had attracted. It was the perfect excuse for a new-wave guilt-reduction by spend- ing money to feel like you’re making a

difference. Greenpop allowed people to join a privileged, caring society. They let people fall in love with nature again through a productive mix of volunteer- ing and crowd-funding. The Greenpop team is one which strives to make an obvious difference and through clever marketing they have a particu- lar interest group of wealthy families ready to join the “treevolution”. The clique-driven festival was the real deal. As Christina Schild, a Rhodes University student put it, “Everyone has their groups here, it’s not like you can actually just go make friends with these people.” As well as affording me the oppor- tunity to make a tangible difference to our environment, the Reforest Festival hosted by Greenpop and Terra-Khaya also provided a look into the lives of those privileged enough to pay to feel like they’re making a difference. However, based on the event’s isolation I wondered whether this difference could be tangibly felt.

1 October 2014

The Oppidan Press



Sewage spreads in Grahamstown

Lili Barras-Hargan

Various sewage leaks occurring in Grahamstown East and West are contaminating the Bloukrans River, which runs south of the city. This river goes on to join the Kowie River, which supplies water to surrounding agricultural projects and drinking water for Port Alfred residents. The stream running through the Botanical Gardens is also being contaminated by this sewage, which removes oxygen from the water and oversupplies the stream with unnecessary nutrients. As a result, there is now unwelcome alien flora growing in the area. The sewage leaks are not only a threat to the environment but also to businesses and homes. “People cannot live with dignity in a situation that should not occur in the first place, and that should be rectified swiftly when it does,” commented Kowie Catchment Campaign (KCC) Chairperson Laura Bannatyne. The sewage leaks are spreading

towards surrounding areas that supply food and water to Grahamstown. For example, the headwaters of the Kowie River in the Belmont Valley are becoming contaminated and unless treated, the water could potentially be used during the agricultural process. As a huge supplier to our local food markets, this would mean that the vegetables and fruit we consume could have been grown with dirty water. The KCC is a Grahamstown-based organisation that has become involved in finding solutions to the sewage problem. As well as bringing leaks to the attention of the Makana Local Municipality, the KCC continues to point to useful resources for the prevention of future leaks. The Makana Environmental Department was interested in informing locals on how to avoid sewage problems and the KCC was able to point them in the direction of informational resources and preventative strategies that might help to establish proactive community involvement.

“People can help prevent so many sewage blockages and resultant leaks that are often caused by dirty nappies, rags and newspaper,” explained Safety, Health and Environment Officer at Rhodes University and KCC Secretary Nikki Köhly. In addition, with the help of the public, the KCC are in the process of building a local information guide to effective sewage disposal. The public have been invited to complete a mini survey regarding the situation in their area which will contribute to a ‘hotspot map’. On this map, sewage leaks, litter and environmental threats such as alien species are indicated with accompanying pictures. In this way, organisations like the KCC will become more aware of the whereabouts and severity of sewage leaks. With students and residents in Grahamstown watching out for sewage problems like this, there is hope that leaks can be reduced and possibly eventually eradicated.

leaks can be reduced and possibly eventually eradicated. Motorised transport accounts for approximately 13% of

Motorised transport accounts for approximately 13% of greenhouse gas emissions in South Africa, leading many car dealerships to display their vehicles’ emissions levels for eco-conscious customers. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Dealing with green wheels

Mikaela Erskog

With green technology on the rise and the vehicle manu- facturing industry adapting to environmental issues, South Africans should start considering what forms of transport might alleviate concerns such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to researcher Anthony Dane’s 2013 report, transport consumes 28% of final energy in South Africa, 97% of it being liquid fuels. The University of Cape Town Energy Research Center’s researcher also found that con- tributes 13.1% of South Africa’s GHG emissions. As a response to these issues, the availability of hybrid ve- hicles in South Africa has increased over the last eight years. Sales of hybrid cars have also been on the increase, with the total number of hybrid cars sold increasing from 204 to 627 between 2006 and 2011. Here we consider which vehicles are locally and globally accelerating towards greener pastures. New on the block:

The New Mini Cooper Released earlier this year, this hybrid vehicle has become a favorite with buyers as it combines the classic Mini Cooper look with low fuel consumption (4.6 litres/100 km), which

means it requires less fuel and emits fewer GHGs. Global Leader:

The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy dubbed this the greenest car of 2014. The car was the cheapest electric car produced in the United States this year, and is a top example of the environmental innovation of electric cars in general. The car gets the electric equivalent of 51.8km/l. Dealer’s Pick:

The Nissan Leaf This is the best-selling electric car in the world. Presi- dent of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Bill Destler, explained that the Nissan Leaf can go about 64 km on 11 Kilowatt-hours (KWH) of electricity, the energy equivalent of 1.25 litres of petrol. Local choice:

Toyota Prius The Prius is the most popular environmentally-friendly car in South Africa, mostly because it was the first hybrid car in the country. Its fuel consumption is amongst the low- est in South Africa at about 4.9 liters/100km (the average fuel consumption of normal cars is nearly double this at around 8-9 litres/100km).

cars is nearly double this at around 8-9 litres/100km). Grahamstown’s crumbling infrastructure has resulted in

Grahamstown’s crumbling infrastructure has resulted in several incidents of leaking sewage, threatening local businesses, homes and the environment. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Online campaigning taking the ‘act’ out of ‘activism’?

Is internet-based campaigning enabling environmental change?

Lauren Buckle

The form of environmental campaigning has altered over the years with the rise of the internet. Some of the biggest global environmental and social movements are being headed by internet-based organisations such as Avaaz and GetUp!, which allow a greater number of people to “join” these initiatives instantaneously without much effort or any significant contributions. While mediums such as online petitioning and email blasts have revolutionised the spread of information and globalised many environmental struggles, the shift to clicking “sign petition” has a number of positive and negative aspects. “A petition, to be successful, has to capture the public’s attention and put pressure on decision makers. Online can do both of those effectively,” commented environmental activist and Rhodes Computer Science Professor Philip Machanick. “However, a petition on its own seldom has a major effect.” The creation of online petitioning has decreased the amount of contact between the people signing and the people running the petitions, as the two groups rarely come into physical contact with one another. While this can be problematic in that it does not help campaigns to obtain reliable and committed petitioners, it does allow for more campaigns to gain more signatures more easily.

The Grahamstown Residents’ Association (GRA) is running a petition to save our local railway. This petition is mostly paper-based, but is using an online forum to build numbers and awareness. The GRA expects about 2000 signatures, of which about 300 are collected online. Machanick believed that the campaign needed to utilise the hands-on awareness-building and person-to-person networking that paper signatures facilitates, as it garners better local support. However, he mentioned that online petitioning is useful in gaining valuable support from outside of the community. Environmental rights organisation Avaaz has shown that while online petitioning is key to circulating information, gaining outside support and creating a global network, it needs to translate into practical action as was demonstrated by the global march they initiated on 21 September 2014. The march took place in many countries including Sri Lanka, Kenya, Turkey, India, Australia, France, the United Kingdom and South Africa. Over 675 000 people were involved in the march in an attempt to promote ways of stopping climate change through the use of sustainable energy sources. While electronic campaigns can be far-reaching, there is still a need for people on the ground to organise physical campaigns if activism is to translate into action. Activism should involve more than just a ‘click’.


The Oppidan Press

1 October 2014


10 The Oppidan Press 1 October 2014 Scitech A torrent of misogynistic comments and threats directed

A torrent of misogynistic comments and threats directed at Zoë Quinn, a video-game reviewer have been the hallmarks of the international “discussion“ known as #GamerGate. Photo: SHEILA DAVID

Gaming is srsbznz

#GamerGate: Not a discussion about ethics

Bracken Lee-Rudolph

T he gaming community, especially on Twitter, was set alight by the hashtag ‘#GamerGate’ over the past month. Yet through all the hatred flying

around Twitter under this tag, it’s difficult to see where the trend started and what exactly it is about. #GamerGate started and centred around an independent American game developer, Zoë Quinn. Eron Gjoni, Quinn’s ex-boyfriend, sparked what was known as the ‘Quinnspira- cy’ when he wrote that Quinn had cheated on him with five other men, including Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson and other game developers. By naming Grayson, Gjoni was implying that Quinn had slept with him in order to gain positive coverage for her game, Depression Quest. Incidentally Grayson never wrote about Depression Quest and Kotaku never reviewed it. These facts were not checked before a torrent of harassment and death threats was directed at Quinn’s Twitter account. This escalated to the point where Quinn’s personal details were hacked and posted online, which prompted her to leave her home for fear of the innumerable death threats and sexual violence which she was receiving on a daily basis. #GamerGate, rejecting the notion that it was a misogynistic movement, purported itself to be about ethics in gaming journalism, while simultaneously speaking more about Quinn’s personal life than either ethics or journalism. The movement once again launched waves of abuse and vitriol when Anita Sarkeesian - a feminist pop culture critic - released a new episode in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. Sarkeesian received similar treatment from #GamerGate, more for her views on gaming culture and feminism than her stance on Quinn and gaming journalism. Sarkeesian was also forced to stay with friends the night she released the video, after some of the tweets she received included the details of her address and threats of violence. Quinn and Sarkeesian were not the only two affected. Anyone who supported them was quickly shouted down, and media houses who were in support of them were dubbed as corrupt. Both groups were labelled as ‘social justice warriors’ (SJWs), a term used derogatively to refer to people who prioritise issues such as gender or race represen- tation in video games.

The movement later caused freelance video game writer Jenn Frank to quit writing after she wrote a piece in support of Quinn and Sarkeesian for The Guardian. Claims of cor- ruption and agenda-pushing against Frank popped up in the comments and in emails, and her Twitter feed was bom- barded with abuse. The story was criticised for not disclos- ing Frank’s personal biases - that she had supported Quinn’s work and briefly met Sarkeesian. It was later revealed by The Guardian that she had, in fact, informed them of this. The 193-year old organisation made an editorial decision not to post this information, saying that the connections “did not fulfil the criteria for a ‘significant connection’ in line with The Guardian’s editorial guidelines.” All this may seem very unfocused and irrelevant to ethics in gaming journalism but this is because ethics in gaming journalism have very rarely been discussed. Borderlands 2’s Lead Writer Anthony Burch began dis- cussing situations that could present real ethical dilemmas, such as him being friends with Destructoid writers who reviewed content which he wrote, as well as Polygon Man- aging Editor Justin McElroy hiring his brother. However, these issues were largely shrugged off by #GamerGate and not discussed any further. There are several fundamental flaws with #GamerGate, least of all its ideals, but one of the largest issues seems to be where they are focusing their attention. The segment of the gaming industry that has received the most scrutiny is the independent gaming sector, which is comprised of mostly small, self-reliant studios and individual develop- ers like Quinn making their games from home. No atten- tion has been paid to large publishers, or heavily backed studios such as Ubisoft giving journalists free Nexus 7 tablets - which retail at about R3,000 locally - at a Watch Dogs preview event in April 2014; or, as Anthony Burch suggested, conflicts of interest in writing not related to representation. Certainly, gaming journalism ethics need discussion, even on a local scale where journalists receive PR-funded trips to cover events such as Gamescom and E3, and free gaming consoles are handed out by developers to reporters on launch (which happened both with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One). However, at this rate, #GamerGate is not going to lend debate of ethics any credence.

Downloading your entertainment

Bracken Lee-Rudolph and Duncan Pike

Once upon a time, video shops and cinemas were the only places you could get movies; while TV

series showed once, and only once,

a week. Now, digital distribution

means this content can be just a few clicks away, provided you have

a decent internet connection. One of the most diverse and wide- ly used forms of digital distribution services is the Apple’s iTunes store. The iTunes store offers a massive selection of media including songs, TV series, movies and podcasts. This huge media collection has led to the iTunes Store having a 63% share of all digital music sales world- wide by 2013. Netflix deals primarily in the online streaming of movies and TV shows on a monthly subscrip- tion basis. While the service is used by 50 million people worldwide, it is only available in certain coun- tries, including certain parts of the Americas and Europe. There are a few South African equivalents including DStv’s Box Office and On Demand. The closest true comparison, however, is Times Media Group’s new streaming ser- vice, Vidi. Vidi works similarly to Netflix, albeit with a smaller content pool which Vidi attributes to the initial expense of setting up such a service.

The available TV content is planned to increase by 200 hours monthly,

as is the pool of supported devices, with PlayStation, Xbox and the XBMC range of media players all being considered. Stream quality is an issue with

lacklustre South African internet, as anyone who has ever tried to watch an HD video on a slow line

will know. However Vidi has a solution to this, as the quality of the video being watched scales to the speed of the internet in use to allow for an uninterrupted viewing experience. Gaming is one of the largest proponents of digital distribution, and Steam is the largest and most popular of these platforms. Valve Corporation’s service has over 100 million users globally and 3700 games available as of September


Steam’s leading competitor is Electronic Arts’ Origin service. Ori- gin has a slightly smaller user base and return, catering only to EA’s titles, such as The Sims, Battlefield and FIFA. Steam (for most games) and Origin (EA games) are usually required to register PC games, and provide an online backup should you lose the disc. Digital distribution is a grow- ing field, which caters to all forms of content. Even this newspaper is available online - if you check out our website.

is available online - if you check out our website. The prevalence of media downloads in

The prevalence of media downloads in South Africa has led to new streaming services such as Vidi. Photo: SHEILA DAVID

Investec Rhodes Top 100 Awards: Excellence and success should be recognised and celebrated


With just a week left before the announcement of the 2014 Investec Rhodes Top 100 awards recipients, it might be worth reflecting on why success should be celebrated. In the face of many negative portrayals of our society, it is often easy to forget those hardworking, earnest individuals pursuing excel- lence in their fields. It is necessary to have initiatives such as the Investec Rhodes Top 100 because success and excellence should be acknowl- edged, even if it’s to remind ordinary people of their capacity to be extraordinary. By celebrating people’s achievements we are acknowledging their potential, positive energy and efforts. Investec Rhodes Top 100 is about recognising more of what society undoubtedly would like to see - motivated, inspirational,

undoubtedly would like to see - motivated, inspirational, generous and well-rounded leaders. This is about celebrating

generous and well-rounded leaders. This is about celebrating habits and qualities that should be encouraged at all times. This initiative affords us the opportunity to stop, reflect and cher- ish moments of success. It is about identifying and recognising examples of stand-out performance. Success is, in its essence, celebrating as it builds the confidence of those being celebrated and motivates others to redirect their energies towards unlocking their own potential. Excellence should be celebrated, as it breeds more excellence and success breeds more success.

While looking forward to celebrating this year’s crop of In- vestec Rhodes Top 100 leaders, we also encourage other students to carve their own paths. They too could become recipients of the award, by focussing on building their individual achieve- ments and social contributions. It is important for all to realise and accept the possibility of transcending their own limitations. Celebrating success in this way is not about boasting or ego- stroking, but about building a nation of doers - doing both well and good. We are really proud of the calibre of applications for the 2014 Investec Rhodes Top 100 Awards and are encouraged by how much potential lies within Rhodes, South Africa and indeed the world – the potential for much-needed transformational leader- ship that is going to take us to the next level. Watch this space as the award recipients will be announced soon.

1 October 2014

The Oppidan Press


Arts & Entertainment

From the streets to the stage

Josh Stein

A performer, an Idols win-

ner (Champs’ Idols are still

Idols) and a proud isiXhosa

woman, Sikelelwa Qwazi seems to have been born to be on stage. Whether that is on the streets of Port Elizabeth or the stage in the Rhodes Theatre, Qwazi will always find a way to shine. Most recently Qwazi has been involved in some of the plays put on by Master’s students from the Drama Department. In “Hunger” she acted, danced and sang. She also played the drums for “Blue Moon”, and hosted her own concert on Heritage Day, per- forming with artists from from many different genres. “I collaborated with a variety of musicians, not only from Rhodes but also people beyond Grahamstown who sent in their music and said they wanted to be involved. I sang, played my keyboard and performed a Xhosa dance in the spirit of my heritage,” she said.

Qwazi’s love of music and perfor- mance began at an early age. Coming from a township in Port Elizabeth meant she did not have access to instruments or resources. “We saw things on TV and we would create drums using buckets and our own cos- tumes made out of whatever we could find. We would go and perform at

malls and in front of shops,” she said. As for what to do after she has completed her studies, Qwazi seems to have a pretty clear plan to see the world. “After my degree I want to go to South Korea and teach for about

two years. Then when I come home I

want to buy my mom a house. Whilst

I’m in Korea I’m not just going to be

a teacher – I’m going to be a musician


I’m going to focus on Korean clas-


singing,” she explained.

After Korea, Qwazi plans on pursu- ing acting in either America or the United Kingdom, but Italy remains her

dream final destination. While she is

still studying, Qwazi is using the Gra-

hamstown platform as a springboard for greater things to come.

platform as a springboard for greater things to come. Sikelelwa “Siki” Qwazi has played a role

Sikelelwa “Siki” Qwazi has played a role in several recent drama performances at Rhodes and plans to continue her musical career in Korea after her studies. Photo: SHEILA DAVID

Rhodes law student also Zimbabwean chart-topper

Ellen Heydenrych

At Rhodes, Varaidzo Nyakunika ap-

pears to be a regular student with im- peccable fashion sense and the grace of a supermodel. However, few are aware that she is also a famous singer in her home country, Zimbabwe. Having recently been nominated for Best RnB/Soul Music for the Zim- babwe Music Awards (Zima), she is taking the Zimbabwean music scene by storm. Many of her singles – sung almost exclusively in Shona – have topped the charts on Zimbabwe’s major radio stations: Power FM, Star FM and Zi FM. Nyakunika started recording her music when she was 17. “I always loved singing,” she said, “but when

I was younger, I was quite shy about

singing because my voice was very powerful and I always felt like I was different. My voice was so big, it made me feel out of place.” “I write all my songs,” Nyakunika added. “I write from experience. I feel I get inspired by a lot of things that happen in my life.” She admitted that she is best at writing love songs, even though she prefers to keep her personal life and music career separate. Her Zima-nominated album, Varaidzo

Singles 2013 – 2014, is comprised mainly of love songs but also includes

2014, is comprised mainly of love songs but also includes Seemingly a regular law student, Varaidzo

Seemingly a regular law student, Varaidzo Nyakunika’s Shona RnB singles and best-selling albulms regularly top the charts in Zimbabwe, her home country. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS


dance number.

Nyakunika also spoke of the pres-

singing in multiple genres. “I have to

music industry are very slim.

sures of creating music within the


it up,” she said, “so when I want to

Although her studies come first, her

Zimbawean music industry. “I am un-


a song that’s really personal to me,

music career is booming. With hopes

der pressure not to sing in a typically western style,” she says. The Zimba-

prefer to sing a ballad because I pre- fer to work from my heart.” Nyakunika


of creating music for an audience outside of Zimbabwe, while working

bwean audience is more interested

explains that without conforming at

towards a Law degree, Nyakunika

in a sound dubbed ‘urban groove’,

least a little bit, the chances of some-

is one busy student with a voice she

which she incorporates into her music,


succeeding in the Zimbabwean

hopes to share with the world.

in the Zimbabwean hopes to share with the world. Medicine Boy’s Lucy Kruger performs at Champs

Medicine Boy’s Lucy Kruger performs at Champs Action Bar at the end of the duo’s latest tour. Photo: HLUMELA NKABILE

Medicine Boy brings psych to Champs

Sasha Ross

Medicine Boy, a product of the col- laboration between Lucy Kruger (Lucy Kruger & the Lost Boys) and Andre Leo (Pretty Blue Guns), re- cently wrapped up its launch tour of their More Knives EP at Graham- stown’s Champs Action Bar. The duo are also part of rock group The Very Wicked. More Knives consists of six songs which were engineered and mixed by Jurgen von Wechmar at Sunset Studios in Stellenbosch. Kruger started her music career while studying at Rhodes, and her return to Grahamstown with Medicine Boy showed the transformation her sound has taken. The band showcas- es the extent of both musicians’ tal- ents, with Kruger playing keyboard, snare drums and tambourine while sharing vocals with guitarist Leo. Medicine Boy makes use of haunting guitars, reverberating ech- oes and lingering vocals to form a beautifully crafted live performance and EP.

This psych rock group creates a space to get lost in their music; they possess the rare talent to provide the audience with a way to let loose whether they’re intoxicated or not. Watching Kruger and Leo live provides you with an intimate look into their creative process as they feed off each others’ energy while on stage, which in turn surges through the crowd. From the first song the crowd was notably transfixed. Kruger and Leo’s music is dark and evocative, but certainly not depressing. Their sound can be likened to that of The xx, but still retains its own purity and originality. It is safe to say that Medicine Boy is definitely part of the reawakening of psych rock currently taking place in Cape Town. If you’re lucky enough to be at- tending Rocking the Daisies, you’ll be able to check them out at the Vans campsite stage on Thursday. More Knives is available for free download at

Digs headaches for students



Islamic State goes global


Exploring ‘black Twitter’


RU Rowing Club medals at Boat Race

Douglas Smith

T he Rhodes University Rowing Club (RURC) put

in a gutsy effort to win bronze medals in the

men’s A and B races at this year’s Boat Race, held

at the Kowie River, Port Alfred. The A-crew in particu- lar put in an especially good performance to improve on their 4th place finish last year. Aside from the success of the men’s teams coach Chris Holliday was extremely proud of the way that the women’s crews performed, with both the A and B crews placing fourth. “The potential is there for the club to go back to its old success,” said Holliday. “Rhodes is still the most successful club at Boat Race.” However, Holliday admits that going into the men’s A-crew race for third place. the crew was not sure how they were going to take the medal. Holliday explained that his rowers looked stiff and nervous in the earlier time trial that decided which finals race they would take part in. Aside from their own form before their final race, the crew had to worry about taking on a University of Johan- nesburg (UJ) crew that was more experienced at winning. The Rhodes crew got off to an uncharacteristically messy start, but quickly found a good rhythm that pushed them into an early lead. They maintained the advan- tage throughout the race, but UJ were never out of it

completely. “UJ were relentless, but as we came around that last corner we knew we had it,” said Holliday. With UJ in hot pursuit right until the finish line, the men from Rhodes were forced to give it everything to ensure their victory and were pulled home by the cheers of their fellow RURC members. “Having all the Rhodes crews in that final corner, you could see the purple on the bank and it got them going,” Holliday said. RURC Presi- dent Jedrick Theron put so much effort into the race that he spent half an hour in an ambulance receiving oxygen after collapsing at the end of the race. “The way that they pushed in that final – it was the most intense race I have ever watched,” said Danny Tucker, who rowed for the B-crew on the day. Tucker would likely have rowed for the A-crew had he not stepped on a broken bottle which severed a tendon in his foot just three weeks before the event. He was replaced in the A-crew by Nick Cox. Tucker was gracious in congratulating his team mate, despite having to give up a position that he had been working towards for seven months. “Nick really did a great job,” he said. “He stepped up like a man and I’m extremely proud of him.” Tucker managed to shake off the disappointment of being dropped from the A-crew and helped the B-crew to win a bronze medal of their own.

The Rhodes University Rowing Club (RURC) showed improvement in both men’s and women’s crews this year at Boat Races and secured two bronze medals. Photo: IVAN BLAZIC

Brown sights opportunity in MMA big leagues

Muhammad Hussain

Over the last four years, Rhodes University has seen the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) club grow from non-existent to knocking on the doors of the Extreme Fighting Championships (EFC). Founding member, coach and Cape Fight League (CFL) fighter Aidan Brown has been instrumental in this development. For the last 19 months Brown has been a con- tracted pro-scene extreme fighter, participating in fights all over the country. His record on the amateur scene is nine wins to two losses while his pro record is 2-2. He has achieved all of this while being a full-time student. “I train about 18 hours a week peaking at 22 hours before a fight,” said Brown. “My life is very compartmentalised and largely I had to drop social life. I don’t go to parties like Boat Race and Intervarsity, as that time is very impor- tant to me.”

His stringent routine has, however, paid divi- dends as Brown is in his third and final year of a BA in Law and Politics, with plans to continue with his law degree next year. At the same time he continues his climb to reach the EFC main-stage. “There’s no doubt that’s where I’m going, I’ve geared my life towards that,” commented Brown on his EFC hopes. He is currently training for a CFL fight that is scheduled to take place on 1 November in Cape Town. With his oppo- nent still unclear, Brown is holding thumbs for a shot at the title, either this year or at the begin- ning of 2015. Brown’s fascination with the sport started a long time ago and he attributes this partially to his genes. “My granddad was a professional boxer called Jonny Brown. He was a WBF [World Boxing Federation] titleholder, and although I did not know him very well his legacy was some- thing that fascinated me,” said Brown.

“When I was 10 years old I found some UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship] videos. There were no rules, the rounds were untimed and it was absolute savagery, but I remember thinking to myself: I can do this.” Ten years on and Brown is on the verge of join- ing the ranks of Africa’s premier MMA club. The CFL is one of the biggest feeders to the EFC with many current titleholders starting their careers in the league. When in Johannesburg, Brown trains with Fight Fit Militia, one of the gyms affiliated to the EFC, and although he is not a full-time member he still benefits from the experience of training with some of the biggest names in the sport. “Richard Quan and Norman Wessels from Fight Fit Militia have allowed me to stay inside the nucleus even though I spend most of my time here [in Grahamstown]. And I haven’t spent this much time and this much effort to not test myself at the highest level,” Brown concluded.

to not test myself at the highest level,” Brown concluded. Law student Aidan Brown has been

Law student Aidan Brown has been a pro MMA fighter for near two years and hopes to soon be competing at EFC. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA