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National Parks Week at Addo 6

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The Oppidan Press

8 October 2014

News Features

Medical aid for international students insufficient

Leila Stein

S tudents from foreign countries at Rhodes

University are required by law and the

University to have medical aid coverage

before they can register for a student visa. How- ever, many students have found the medical aids offered to them to be insufficient and have had to pay out more money than they expected. “This medical aid may be in addition to another, internationally-based medical aid that students may have, but the Government simply will not allow us to register non-South African citizens who do not have at least minimal cover with a South African medical aid,” explained International Officer for Rhodes University’s International Office Aidan Prinsloo. Although the University says that it will ac- cept any medical aid scheme listed on the South African Council for Medical Scheme, it encour- ages students to sign with schemes advised by the Absa Health Care consultants as the University is partnered with them for consultations. “The reason the University chose to go through Absa Health Care consultants is because doing so makes it easier when dealing with complaints or issues from a large group of students,” explained Rodney Stein, Financial Advisor at Rodney Stein Financial Services in Cape Town. As a result, the University has two medical aid schemes that stu- dents are directed to choose from for a number of reasons. These two are Momentum’s Ingwe access option, and Compcare Health. “Over the years, these two companies have gone out of their way to assist Rhodes, even agreeing to send consultants through to

assist Rhodes, even agreeing to send consultants through to When International students are applying for medical

When International students are applying for medical aid they are given two main recommenda- tions by Rhodes University. These medical aid options have their own drawbacks – and are not compulsory – though international students remain largely unaware of the alternatives. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Grahamstown during Orientation Week and once every two weeks thereafter for the course of the year,” said Prinsloo. “No medical aid schemes have offices in Grahamstown.” Although this is not a forced requirement and students are free to choose another medical aid

scheme, many international students do not seem aware of this. “I chose Momentum because it is one of the two recognised by Rhodes,” said Jena Meyer, a student from Swaziland. However, there are some serious drawbacks to the coverage offered by these ‘official’ medical aid

schemes. The first of these is that the schemes are only accepted by one doctor in Grahamstown, who is situated at the Colcade complex at the end of High Street. “It is ridiculous to expect all international stu- dents to have access to health care when only one doctor takes the medical aid,” said Tanya Ross, an international student from Zimbabwe. The University does acknowledge that this is

a common complaint from students but it is not something that they are able to change. “Because these minimal coverages are hospital plans, not all the doctors in Grahamstown accept them,” explained Prinsloo. Here the second issue arises: cost over cover- age. The minimal health care coverage costs range from R3450 per year to R3490 per year. As students choose to add benefits, the cost per year goes up in order to pay for these services. “Most students opt for the minimal coverage to save money,” said Prinsloo. This attempt to save money results in them not being covered for certain incidents and ultimately students might end up having to pay for medical treatment they did not foresee or thought that they were covered for. “What is covered or what

is not covered is always problematic,” said Stein.

“People always think that they are covered for things that they are not no matter what the scheme.” Although the University is attempting to make the system as painless and simple as possible for international students, it appears that there is an issue of clarity with regards to which medical aids are allowed and what each choice realistically means for the students.

and what each choice realistically means for the students. The Oppidan common room is a place

The Oppidan common room is a place for Oppidan students to enjoy, but many students are unaware of or choose not to use the facility. Image: SHEILA DAVID

Neglected Oppidan students speak out

Thandi Bombi

As the end of the academic year draws closer, prospective students and those currently attending Rhodes University are carefully considering their accommodation for 2015. The choice to live in residence or in digs raises the question of whether the attention given by the University to residence and Oppidan students varies. The Oppidan common room, dining hall and transportation services have been provided by the University to ensure that Oppi- dan students have the necessary resources to enjoy and be a part of campus life. These facilities however, remain unused by most of the Oppidan students. “Oppidan students are aware of those facilities but some students choose to go home or simply don’t have the time to use them,” said SRC Vice President Victor Mafuku. “I’m absolutely not connected, it is too much admin to keep up with everything,” said Oppidan student Lifalethu Nthenteni. “I don’t really benefit from the Oppidan Union and I would rather

look to my parents who live in town than to anyone from the University.” Moreover, some Oppidan students are simply not aware of the resources at their disposal. “I honestly have never heard of the Oppidan common room and generally never know what is going on with any Oppidan-related things,” said Oppidan student Bongeka Mfeka. Like students in residence, the Oppidan students have a warden as well as a representative in the SRC. Unlike residence, these Oppidan representatives communicate via email – which makes it difficult for some of the students to keep up to date with Oppidan matters because they do not have internet access outside of campus. “I get emails to keep me informed but I have to wait to check them on campus and I find I usually have more pressing ones to deal with,” explained Mfeka. This could be problematic when crises arise – such as the recent water outage that left Grahamstown with no water for nearly two weeks. “When there was no water we really struggled,” said Mfeka.

“We had to collect water in five litre bottles at the Jac lab toilets to use for drinking and cooking.” Mfeka added that she and her digs mate were forced to sneak into their friends’ residences to get a warm shower every night. The inconvenience that some of these students went through was due to the lack of knowledge they have about the assistance available the Oppidan Union. “I did not know about any tanks on campus for us,” said Mfeka. “I also don’t know where to seek as- sistance, so even though I’m sure they do what they can to assist us, our ignorance stops us from actually getting help.” Oppidan students could be afforded the chance to experience a wholesome learning environment and inclusive campus life if they became more involved in the matters of the Oppidan Union. “It would be great if there was a situation where Oppi students attend- ed forums organised by their committee religiously so that they are aware of the wonderful work being done on security, transport, sport and entertainment,” said Mafuku. “This information could be very useful during crisis situations like water outages.”

8 October 2014

The Oppidan Press


News Features

HIV/Aids testing protocol not followed

Leila Stein

R hodes University held its annual HIV/Aids

Awareness Week from 18 to 22 August last term.

Organised in conjunction with the Department

of Health, Foundation for Professional Development and the Raphael Centre, the week is advertised as a way to get tested and “know your status”. While the initiative saw approximately 1500 students and staff get tested this year, the testing stations lacked a major component of knowing your status: knowing what to do about it.

“Knowing your status is helpful but if you haven’t been counselled you may be reckless because you lack knowl- edge,” explained Malibongwe Nqanqase, ex-counsellor at New Start HIV/Aids testing centre in Cape Town. Reckless behaviour is especially problematic with those who have tested positive for HIV. “They [the testers] don’t tell you much if you don’t know anything, and if you were positive I don’t know what you would have done,” explained Georgina Edwards, who was tested at the Union lawns dur- ing this year’s HIV/Aids Awareness Week.

A positive result is concerning enough for any person to

experience, but indifferent or unhelpful responses from a tester could be disastrous. “Counselling is very important. It prepares an individual for a life lived with sexual responsi-

bility,” explained Nqanqase. This lack of information during the testing process is concerning because, despite the increase in access to treat- ment through the governments’ anti-retroviral treatment (ART) programme, the Human Science Research Council reported an increase in infection rates between 2008 and 2014. Although the report showed that more people are get- ting tested, it also found that the knowledge on how HIV is transmitted and prevented has lessened significantly in this time period. “The whole HIV testing process is still an ‘in and out’

procedure,” explained Discovery Health evaluative tester and former New Start tester Michele Stein. “Many facilities such as university campuses claim they just do not have the time to do proper counselling.” Even though this quick procedure has ensured that more people can find out their status in a fast and convenient manner, it is not in line with the recommendations of HIV testing procedures as put down by the Aids Foundation of South Africa. “Every person who takes an HIV test must receive coun- selling when their test results are given, regardless of the test result,” their website stated. “This model sees counsel- ling and testing as both a primary and secondary preven- tion strategy, reducing risk of HIV exposure and onward transmission.” While testing drives can sometimes be problematic, for- mal testing facilities on university campuses follow proper procedure. Information about HIV/Aids, where to get tested and the importance of testing are usually given to first years upon their arrival. HIV/Aids testing at the Rhodes Health Care Centre is much the same as at other South African university centres. “The testing session is 20 minutes long, which includes the pre-counselling, actual testing and post counselling. When testing an individual HIV positive it easily runs over 20 minutes,” explained Natasha Williams, HIV/Aids Counsellor at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU) Missionvale campus. The same procedure is carried out at the Rhodes Health Clinic, with students and staff able to make appointments to be tested. However, Williams confirmed that the same procedure would occur in any setting at NMMU, not just within the health care centre. “Counselling is crucial with all testing procedures. Even during outdoor campaigns we would h ave group counselling sessions before testing,” she said. “No student will have testing done without any prior counselling.”

will have testing done without any prior counselling.” Despite the importance of HIV/Aids testing in South

Despite the importance of HIV/Aids testing in South Africa, many students feel the counselling procedure is inadequate and that they are not treated in ac- cordance with Aid Foundation of South Africa regulations. Image: SOURCED

Rhodes residences handle water crisis

Gemma Middleton

In the aftermath of last year’s water troubles, Rhodes University has implemented a new protocol which seeks to ensure that a relatively normal life can be maintained by students in residence during water outages. However, inconsistencies in the way that this protocol is imple- mented by residences are an increas- ing cause for concern. During the recent outage, the major- ity of upper campus was without water for the entirety of the crisis, while many of the lower campus residences had access to water the whole time. While the upper campus residences made use of the recently-installed water tanks, lower campus residences implemented water restrictions.

“Many students were understanding of the fact that other students did not have water and therefore it was neces- sary for us to use water sparingly,” said Prince Alfred House Warden Cath- erine Deiner. “Obviously, however, there were some unhappy students.” Some lower campus residences did not implement any water restrictions and continued with their regular daily activities. This was in direct violation of a message sent to all residence war- dens which requested that residences lock their laundries to prevent stu- dents from doing any washing.

It was also a direct violation of Uni-

versity protocol. “Water restrictions are not a recommendation, they are part

It affects daily life, and with everyone paying the same fees, they should receive equal use of the facilities

– Kristine Botha, student in residence

of the University water protocol,” said Hall Warden for Desmond Tutu Hall Dr Swantje Zschernack. This discrepancy was not met fa- vourably by the students, as it was seen as unfair that not all residences were following the correct protocol as it left lower campus having to make do with less. “It [water restrictions] affects daily life and with everyone paying the same fees, they should receive equal use of the facilities[which utilise water],” said Milner House resident Kristine Botha. While some students were unhappy with this unequal implementation of restrictions in the lower residences, it has to be understood that the protocol is new. The University is attempting

to address the situation as best it can and so relies on the cooperation of the inhabitants of each hall and residence.

cooperation of the inhabitants of each hall and residence. Ongoing water shortages in Grahamstown have forced

Ongoing water shortages in Grahamstown have forced many residences to implement new water saving measures, but a lack of consistent protocol has left many confused or resentful. Photo: ASHLIEGH MAY


The Oppidan Press

8 October 2014


This is from the politics desk

We take a look at three books covering contemporary political issues

Mikaela Erskog Review: Revolution at Point Zero:

Housework, Reproduction and Feminist Struggles by Silvia Federici (2012)

With feminism becoming increasingly visible in recent popular debates, public discourse and mainstream media, Silvia Federici’s Revolution at Point Zero: House- work, Reproduction and Feminist Struggles (2012) is a text that newly-proclaimed feminist advocates and critics alike would benefit from reading. While the likes of Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Emma Stone might have planted the seed of feminism in the consciousness of a wider global audience and brought the con- versation to previously indifferent groups, their particular conceptions of the ‘feminist’ are often read in isolation from the historical weight of international feminist movements. Revolution at Point Zero provides a much

needed contextual and conceptual frame- work within which feminist struggles can be understood. In this compilation of over 40 years of work, Federici explores old and new feminist thought and action in an attempt to consider what feminism has meant in the past and present and what it could mean in the future. Drawing from a variety of feminist tradi- tions, Federici considers central areas around which feminist struggles were built - such as housework, reproduction and sexuality. Inspired by Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi’s seminal text Women at Point Zero (1975), Federici’s work sees that all feminist struggles emanate from point zero: “The moment in which all illusions are gone… the realisation that there is no justice in the world of the protagonist. Yet at the same time it is also the moment of realisation, of consciousness rising, of becoming aware that in fact the present state of being has to be

radically changed. That there has to [be] a revolutionary transformation.” Federici’s considerations of “point zero” illuminate not only the problematic dimen- sions of women’s existence but also estab- lish the need to conceptualise the feminist struggle in revolutionary terms. Pointing to gendered inequalities that result from the oppressive functioning of the global capital- ist order, Federici’s book describes how the practices of women reflect often implicit and depoliticised power dynamics cultivated by capitalism’s exploitative bottom-line. Federici’s book makes apparent the way in which activities within the depoliticised, marginalised private spaces that women inhabit reflect, build and enforce public (po- litical) conceptions, institutions and relations of patriarchal, capitalist power. A lucid and engaging political document, Revolution at Point Zero should be in any critical thinker’s library.

Point Zero should be in any critical thinker’s library. to problematise and disrupt this concep- tion

to problematise and disrupt this concep- tion of a born free generation. In writing her memoirs, wa Azania is making a critical intervention by foregrounding the story of a black female who has been systematically dispossessed and othered and in so doing is able to stake a claim in the archival process- es of South African historiography. Coloured by contradiction and paradox, Memoirs of a Born Free is intrinsically hu- man. It is a story about how the personal is inadvertently political: born Malaika Mahl- atsi and projecting herself onto the world as wa Azania, this is a story of a woman who has embodied her call for a country that is not yet on the horizon. A country that can and should still be fought for.

horizon. A country that can and should still be fought for. Fezi Mthonti Review: Memoirs of

Fezi Mthonti Review: Memoirs of a Born Free by Malaika wa Azania (2014)

Written as a letter to the African Na- tional Congress, Malaika wa Azania’s book Memoirs of a Born Free underpins the many pitfalls in our national con- sciousness that have been glazed over by South African politicians and have been superficially recast as a “good story to tell” through an intimate and personal biography. Hers is a story that points to the many fissures in the multiracialism rhetoric that is so prominent in the Desmond Tutu-spon- sored ‘Rainbow Nation’ discourse. With her

experiences of racism, classism and sexism being so discordant with the supposedly harmonious post-democratic South Africa, wa Azania lets us into the awkwardness of dancing to the rhythm-less tune of freedom while the songs of an unfinished revolution are echoed in the multiple inequalities in our country. She points to the fact that in the midst of that euphoric moment in which South Africans proclaimed their freedom, the conception of a “land for all who lived in it” was lost in the commotion. In positioning herself as protagonist, wa Azania is able to speak to some of the socio-political problems that afflict this country through an honest and searing reflection of her own life. This enables her

and searing reflection of her own life. This enables her Tarryn de Kock Review: From ‘Foreign

Tarryn de Kock Review: From ‘Foreign Natives’ to ‘Native Foreigners’ by Michael Neocosmos (2010)

Xenophobia is a topic that has remained in the South African psyche following the out- burst of xenophobic violence in the coun- try’s townships and cities in 2008. Often it is reduced to a random event, or a failure of the government to provide for its citizens to the point that they felt threatened and act out against the most obvious threat to their survival – the outsider. Avoiding such a reductionist discussion of South African politics, From ‘Foreign Natives’ to ‘Native Foreigners’ tracks the rise of xeno- phobia in South Africa from the late colonial

period to the apartheid and post-1994 eras. Through a discussion of the history of the South African state and the false dichotomy created between urban and rural spaces, Neocosmos shows how violent political at- titudes have been transmitted, managed and mobilised by the state as well as how these have corresponded with, influenced and legitimised the patterns of thought of people on the ground. One of his most important arguments is that while South Africans would be mis- taken to believe in the exceptionalism of our country’s story, the attitude of exceptionalism deployed at both a state and societal level has contributed to the development and continuation of xenophobic ideas even

after the end of apartheid. Understanding xenophobia is necessary to understanding how South Africa has positioned itself in relation to the rest of the continent, and also how its internal politics have recreated antagonistic ideas about out- siders due to the insecurity of South African citizenship itself. Rather than making xenophobia some- thing only experienced in more economical- ly desperate sectors of society, From ‘Foreign Natives’ provides an exceptional, insightful and comprehensive look at how ‘Fortress South Africa’ has tried to keep outsiders out even while trying to manage the con- tradictions of a racially and economically fractured society.

8 October 2014

The Oppidan Press


8 October 2014 The Oppidan Press 5 Soon-to-be former SRC president, Bradley Bense, gives his exiting

Soon-to-be former SRC president, Bradley Bense, gives his exiting speech at this year’s SRC inauguration. Bense recently travelled to Cape Town to help in drafting the South African Student Rights Charter. Photo: VUYELWA MFEKA

South African Student Rights Charter Reflection

Bradley Bense Office of the Presidency

L ast week Grace Moyo and I travelled to Cape Town as the Rhodes University delegation to take part in the drafting of a final document to be presented to

Higher Education South Africa and Department of High- er Education Training, Parliament and all Post School and Higher Education institutions in South Africa. The document is to be known as the South African Student Rights Charter.

A Charter is a written grant by the sovereign or legisla-

tive power of a country, by which a body such as a borough, company or university is created or its rights and privileges defined. Within the United Nations (UN) enforcement mechanisms on women’s rights, there are different catego- ries including charter-based mechanisms, such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The Freedom Charter – adopted at the Congress of the People in Kliptown on 26 June 1955 within the context of apartheid South Africa – declared that “South Africa belongs to all those who live in it, be it black and white, no government can justify claim on authority unless it is based on the will of all people”. It was further stated that “only a democratic state based on the will of all the people can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief ”.

In light of the above and within the context of South

African Higher Education, having a Student Rights Charter is a positive development. Although it is not legally enforce-

able in the present day, the Freedom Charter’s ideals against racial, sexual or religious discrimination are embedded in the Constitution. It is argued that although the Students Rights Charter may not be directly enforceable against Higher Education Institutions (HEI) or the Department of Higher Education, the document must represent the true aspirations of students in South Africa. The document must make history by recording the voices of students within the context of transformation of higher education through a student lens.

It is further argued that most of the rights mentioned in

the Charter fall within the ambit of socio-economic rights mentioned in the Constitution. To promote the rights to adequate housing, access to water, healthcare, food and security, the Constitution obliges that the state must take

The document must make history by recording the voices of students within the context of transformation of higher education through a student lens.

“reasonable measures” within its available resources to achieve the progressive realisation of these rights. The Students Rights Charter cannot unreasonably expect the HEIs to provide free services where there is unavailability of resources. It must inform the current Higher Education policy framework that there is need for students’ rights to be enforced progressively within reasonable time frames. The draft document was found to be redundant in many cases. Because of this, the Rhodes University SRC redrafted the document to assist in creating a different perspective for critical engagement. In a memorandum sent to the steering committee, it was stated by our institution that: “The Rhodes SRC does not agree with any clauses around deadlocks and voting rights. There must be consensus if there should be any adoption of a document that is representative of all Institutions of High- er Education. This charter should be written and adopted in the spirit of representing students rather than any political agendas. We must assume full consensus. All FET colleges must be given opportunity for fair comment. The Rhodes SRC are advocating that proof be given (minutes of Student Parliament/Institutional Forum/Council/SRC) of the discus- sion of the document to ratify all suggestions. Should there be any evident non-student agendas, the Rhodes SRC will reconsider signing the charter.” The conference was attended by 10 University SRCs, four Further Education and Training Colleges, the South African Union of Students and the South African Further Educa- tion Training Student Association. The Rhodes Document was the only submission received. The final document was mainly adapted from our submission and key points were made against rights to violent protest, fee standardisation, demographic access as well as institutional culture.


‘Check your privilege’:

starting the conversation

Ashleigh Dean

C onversations about race and gender often feature the familiar catchphrase

‘check your privilege’. Although privilege of all forms is glaringly obvious to some, particularly those lacking privileges, many people remain oblivious to how privilege operates in society. This is often because it works in unseen ways. According to Politics lecturer Siphokazi Magadla, it is the privi- leged members of society that often have control over language and monopoly over the constructions used to express ideas about people. In response to incidents such as the recent blackface scandals, Magadla explained that although these events were intended as a joke, they have serious racist implications and it is up to the same white people that can afford to be silent to educate others on the implications of their racism. “When a black person dresses as or similarly to a white person, they are seen as more respectable, due the rewards associated with white- ness,” explained Magadla. “However, a white person dressing as a black person is derogatory due to the representation of centuries of insti- tutionalised racism and systematic dehumanisation.” Because of the trajectory of global history, whiteness is still associated with ‘respectability’, ‘dignity’ and ‘civilisation’, making it necessary for people to assimilate in order to benefit from social and political systems that are organised according to white normativity. This includes things as personal as standards of beauty. As a result of these kinds of pressures, Magadla explained that black people having to educate white people about racism is a kind of vio- lence akin to that of women having to educate men about feminism. Academic Alison Bailey consid- ers privilege to be “unearned assets

Alison Bailey consid- ers privilege to be “unearned assets conferred systematically”. In this light, South Africa’s

conferred systematically”. In this light, South Africa’s history shows that the allocation of privilege has been institutionally biased in favour of white people; meaning that even if people consider themselves to not have very much materially, they still have access to particular social re- sources, including the assumptions that have been made and perpetu- ated about specific race groups and their behaviours. South Africa’s political landscape is such that asking people to interro- gate their positions of privilege often requires a personal reflection on the intersections of race, economic position and spatial location, and how these contribute to perpetuat- ing patterns of privilege and the benefits of belonging to a particular social group. The power of white values has had a marked impact on our history, meaning that we need to accept the existence of privileges relating to be- ing white and assimilating to white culture – such as speaking a certain way – that have continued even after apartheid. It also means that being educated represents belonging to an- other kind of social elite because of the way education has been denied to the majority of the population, meaning that even black academics have to be careful who they try to speak for and for what purpose. “People must understand that there are some things that are just not right, and who is always having to forgive and be understanding says a lot about where privilege is located,” said Magadla.

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The Oppidan Press

8 October 2014

Photo Series

National Parks Week with

Press 8 October 2014 Photo Series National Parks Week with Photos: KELLAN BOTHA The Addo Elephant


The Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth, which usually sees around 120 000 visitors annually, permitted South African citizens to enter on day-trips free of charge last month during SANParks’ ninth annual South African National Parks Week.

SANParks’ ninth annual South African National Parks Week. A Kori Bustard ( Ardeotis kori ) wanders

A Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori) wanders through an open plain in search of insects and small lizards on which to prey. Amongst the heaviest birds able to fly, Kori Bustards move predominantly on foot to save energy and search more effectively for food.

Kellan Botha

I t has been a month since the conclusion of the ninth annual South African National Parks Week during which South Africa’s 19 national parks either lowered

or entirely waived their usual entry fees in an effort to draw South Africa visitors to the parks and promote con- sevation. One of the national parks to permit free entry during the week, which ran from 8 to 12 September, sits virtually on the doorstep of Makana Municipality: Addo Elephant National Park. Founded in 1931 as a means of protecting the last 11 African elephants in the region, Addo has expanded to be the third-largest national park in the country (behind the Kruger and Kalahari National Parks, which themselves form part of the Limpopo and Kgalagadi Transfontier Parks respectively). The park’s creation has seen the local elephant population balloon to well over 600 individuals. Significant populations also exist for a number of other creatures and by the end of a planned further extension of the park to the “Greater Addo Elephant National Park”, it will be the only reserve on the continent to lay claim to “Africa’s Big Seven”:

elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, lion, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark.

Currently, the park receives around 120 000 visitors a year. With more than half of those being foreign tourists,

National Parks Week served to attract more South Africans to view the wildlife so close to their homes, as well as learn about the history and current practices of the park in a local interpretive centre. The centre hosts everything from the mounted head of Hapoor, the deadly bull elephant, to a tank of endemic flightless dung beetles, and a statue of the tiny Nqwebasaurus discovered by palaeontologists in the Eastern Cape’s Kirkwood geological formation. Several tarred and gravel roads branch out from the main camp, allowing visitors to explore the region and search for game, and before long they are usually rewarded with an abundance of birds and smaller animals, as well as the so- called “megafauna” such as elephants and buffalo. Elephants themselves have been shown to cause very par- ticular ecological damage to Addo and other national parks, however, in that their increased population has led to severe overgrazing in areas, forcing park authorities to relocate some of the animals to other reserves or alternatively cull them to reduce numbers. Despite these efforts it is not un- common for visitors to see snapped or uprooted acacia trees beside the road where a herd of elephants has passed by. By increasing South African interest in issues surround- ing conservation through endeavours such as National Parks Week, SANParks hopes to raise funding and aware- ness for issues such as poaching of rhinoceros throughout the country, climate change and overgrazing by elephants in Addo and elsewhere.

Addo Elephant National Park has a population of around 600 African elephants (Loxodonta africana), which have been known to exhibit many characteris- tics of social communication and empathy, communicating predominantly through touch, sound and body-language.

predominantly through touch, sound and body-language. Meerkats ( Suricata suricatta ) are common in Addo Elephant

Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are common in Addo Elephant National Park, and can often be seen striking their iconic upright poses near their colony burrows as they scan the area for both predators and prey.

8 October 2014

The Oppidan Press


Photo Series

Addo on our doorstep

The Oppidan Press 7 Photo Series Addo on our doorstep A female ostrich ( Struthio camelus

A female ostrich (Struthio camelus) preens her underwing amidst some spring blossoms, exposing the naked thigh and flank beneath the flightless bird’s wings.

naked thigh and flank beneath the flightless bird’s wings. One of several antelope species in the

One of several antelope species in the region – and the hornless version of the SANParks official logo – a female kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) peers out of the dense brush before crossing one of the park’s busier roads.

brush before crossing one of the park’s busier roads. One of the smaller species in the

One of the smaller species in the reserve, leopard tortoises (Stigmochelys pardalis) are often at risk of being run over whenever they cross Addo’s roads due to their slow pace and camouflage.

cross Addo’s roads due to their slow pace and camouflage. Territorial and aggressive, a warthog (

Territorial and aggressive, a warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) throws up dirt and grass in its search for roots or anything edible after successfully fending off a rival.

or anything edible after successfully fending off a rival. More fearful of cars and humans than

More fearful of cars and humans than the older zebras (Equus quagga), a foal moves in closer to its parents in search of safety.


The Oppidan Press

8 October 2014


The Oppidan Press

Across the world, the month of October has been a month of strong politi- cal significance. Despite the fact that we are a week into the month, people around the globe have already witnessed the ‘Occupy Hong Kong’ move- ment unfurl as the people of Hong Kong demand their right to self-deter- mination and democracy. The presently non-violent protests have been universally commended as an example of successful non-violent politics, as the people of Hong Kong have engaged with the authorities in an untradi- tionally polite and civil manner. These non-violent interactions in Hong Kong can be seen as a dispersal of the discourse surrounding protest movements where participants are tradi- tionally seen as ‘criminal’ and ‘civically disobedient’. However, China’s reneging on its promise of truly democratic elections for Hong Kong in 2017 can be seen as a politically, socially and economically-charged act that could have unforeseen global consequences. The West African region continues in its struggle against the deadliest Ebola virus epidemic in history. At present, Ebola has spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone, with reported death tolls going up to 3000 in the region. The case of an Ameri- can man getting infected with Ebola spread unprecedented panic across the Western world, with many countries questioning the ‘safety’ and ‘security’ of their citizens in these Ebola-ridden states. This response has once again raised questions about the hypocritical nature of international relations; where the value of life in developing countries is still clearly not considered as important as life in developed countries. There seems to be no realistic solution to the Ebola outbreak, as many states in West Africa simply do not have the adequate resources to tackle the virus fully. The non-committal nature of foreign aid into West Africa continues to delay the treatment process. October also serves as one of the busiest times at The Oppidan Press as we not only welcome our new editorial, managerial and OppiTv teams for 2015, but also take the time to celebrate some of Rhodes University’s hardest workers and brightest students. The Investec Top 100 edition is a moment for The Op- pidan Press to acknowledge the rewarding feeling that comes with hard work and commitment, for some of our best students. We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Investec, the Careers Centre and the Director of Student Affairs office for their support and encouragement of this process. The Top 100 edition features 16-pages of content from our outgoing and incoming teams. One can expect to find work discussing protest art and its rel- evance in 2014, an increase in environmentally-focused student participation, and the Rhodes Soccer Women’s First Team’s struggle to keep their coach from being fired. In addition to this, we take a moment to celebrate some of Rhodes’ best students with the Top 100 insert, where their achievements are more than deserving of this prestigious award.

The Oppidan Press staff and contact details

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it into our print edition will be published on our website. While many student societies seem

While many student societies seem to focus almost exclusively on drinking and parties, there are more intellectual op- portunities available to students. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Do we only think in our classrooms?

Ben Rule

T owards the end of last term I attended a talk hosted by the Rhodes chapter of the Black Man- agement Forum (BMF). They have been hosting

talks with different speakers throughout the year, provid- ing a chance for students to engage on an intimate level with minds such as Advocate Vusi Pikoli and Prof Barney Pityana. I was impressed with Adv Pikoli’s talk, but I was much more impressed by the level of engagement from the audience once the floor was opened for questions. If you take a broader view, it is possible to gauge the in- terests of the student body by considering what the various societies are geared towards. From this overview, students are clearly interested in religion, varieties of outreach or activism, and a number of different hobby-based activities such as debating or model United Nations. But it is also safe to say that many of the biggest and most visible societies on campus are recognised through their ability to throw good quality parties. Greek Soc nights out are something of legend: Zulusoc and Zimsoc have just thrown a party big enough to attract 5fm DJs and Live Mu- sic Society has been responsible for bringing good bands to town so we can all drink to a good soundtrack for a number of years. The AGMs of many societies are more punch than procedure, more canoodling than constitutions. This is the landscape on campus that I walked into in 2011 – many societies distinct in the activities around which they are built, but unified in what seems to be the Rhodes social culture. Societies provide a space for students to ensure that their lives are better-rounded than simply academics and sleep, punctuated by the odd BP run and weekend of series-watching. Societies are spaces where we congregate with our people, who are blessed with the natu- ral similarities which we may not share with our classmates

The AGMs of many societies are more punch than procedure, more canoodling than constitutions.

or neighbours in res. One of the chief reasons I was looking forward to univer- sity before I got here was the attraction to the intellectual community that I was sure Rhodes would have. Having completed a degree here, I can retrospectively say that I was lucky enough to find just that - mostly through my classmates in Law and Philosophy, as well as haphazardly bumping into lovely people in the social whirlwind that is this campus. But there was a lot of luck involved in that. If I had not stumbled across classmates or bumped into people socially, I would definitely have felt like my mind was not being expanded outside of the classroom. Sitting in that talk hosted by BMF, I sensed that I was in the middle of an intellectual community. I was surrounded by hungry minds and a society that makes a point of regu- larly providing food for thought. Inviting a guest speaker to engage with students more resembles the behaviour of an academic department than that of a student society. Why is this? Why are our student societies more focused on drink- ing spaces than thinking spaces? Have we all made a pact to leave our intellectual engagement at the door of our lecture halls?

8 October 2014

The Oppidan Press



Being judged by our meal bookings

Ben Rule

A point was made to me by a good friend some time ago – why do we refer to it as ‘normal’ or ‘ordinary’ tea? Rather the correct term is Ceylon tea. Somehow our language

has made that the normal option, to the point where we consider the types of tea to be normal, rooibos, Earl Grey, chai tea or whatever other strange-flavoured nonsense floats your breakfast. This is an established classification which is so embedded in our normality that we do not think about it. Let us think. Ceylon tea is normal. Rooibos tea is not Ceylon tea. Therefore rooibos tea is not normal. This is rather bizarre, considering that Ceylon tea is from Sri Lanka and rooibos is indigenous to the Western Cape. Why is the South African tea not normal? In addi- tion to this, none of the other types of tea are normal. We are at a point where Ceylon tea has almost achieved a hegemonic domina- tion over the word ‘tea’. Any other type must be specified; otherwise Ceylon will be assumed where the word ‘tea’ is used. This is not a storm in a teacup, it is merely an interesting thought. But it is a thought whose logic applies to another set of names much closer to home. Unless your belief system requires from you a special diet, your meals when you arrive at Rhodes are automatically booked as being the meal option labelled ‘default’. This is the diet assumed of all of us. This is normal. Ordinary. Standard. Regular. Given that the con- tent of this set of meals doesn’t lend itself to an accurate interpreta- tion of what is normal, one can just as easily establish what is not normal by looking at all of the other options. These are as follows:

African: This meal seldom comes with vegetables. Its emphasis is on meat. Why would they call this African? African: meaning peo- ple of the African continent. Considering all of the meal options below, that interpretation can be refined. African, meaning black people. This seems to be who the meal was designed for.

The consequence of the naming: African is not default. African

is not normal. Black is not normal.

Hindu/Halaal: Prepared in the appropriate manner so as to comply with the requirements set out by Hindu and Islamic law.

Not as generalising or controversial as the other names, but simply

a meal designed to cater for any Hindu or Muslim students in the

residence system. The consequence of the naming: Hindu/Halaal is not default. Hindu/Halaal is not normal. Hinduism is not normal. Islam is not normal. Vegetarian: implies that those who, for whatever reason, refuse to eat meat as part of their diet are not normal. The other options’ names carry similar implications with them. Health Platter implies that people who pay attention to their diet and health are not normal; all of the various ‘Fast Food’ options imply that people who do not like vegetables are not normal. All of this has been caused by simply having a meal option which is labelled ‘default’ – if the naming of that meal was different, then the names of the rest of them would no longer be a comment on the deviation of certain groups from this perceived normality. This is probably a storm in a teacup. We are not being racially profiled by our dining hall meal bookings. They are not segregat- ing us. This is simply a system which is designed to deal with the diversity of the student body.

However the point that is raised here is legitimate. There has long been scholarship about the effects of prejudices inherent in our language. As it stands, the English language is subtly racist, sexist, size-ist and ageist, at least. By having our dining hall meal names run a commentary on what is not normal on this campus, we are subtly perpetuating an idea of normal. And we wonder why the still-dominant identity and perception of the Rhodes student

is one of a white, excessively drinking, overall-wearing, politically

apathetic Humanities student.

overall-wearing, politically apathetic Humanities student. The names of meal options highlight the difference and

The names of meal options highlight the difference and “other- ness” of these meals from the default option, represented in some dining halls by a colourful array of meal-tokens. Photo: SHEILA DAVID

The Oppidan Press is hiring… and we want you! We are looking for candidates to
The Oppidan Press
is hiring…
we want you!
We are looking for candidates to fill editorial and managerial
positions on our team for 2015.
The vacancies arise as a result of our normal terms of service
coming to a close and we are looking for talented individuals
from within our team and beyond to apply.
The available positions are as follows:
Business Editor
Chief Sub-Editor (Online)
Community Engagement Officer
Financial Manager
Marketing Manager
Managing Editor
Appicants must submit a CV and a short motivational letter
to before midnight on 12 October
They will then be scheduled for an interview on one of the
evenings the following week between 6pm and 8pm.
Successful candidates will be notified by email and will be
expected a full year term which will include a shadow period
under the current person in their particular position.
We hope to hear from you!


The Oppidan Press

8 October 2014


Synapp: Meaningful online communication

Bracken Lee-Rudolph

T he SRC is an organisation which sometimes struggles to gauge student interest, despite

existing to serve the student body. Some attribute this to a lack of inter- est from the student body itself, but

it may be that the SRC does not have

a proper platform to engage with stu-

dents. The new Synapp project aims to remedy this. Led by Politics Masters student James Danielsen, Synapp is a platform which seeks to encourage students to engage in the online sphere on eve- ryday issues like the transport debate and the now-past SRC elections. The platform will also eventually expand into education in an effort to enhance students’ academic skills. Chief among these skills will be to assist students in improving their academic numeracy and literacy. “In order to do this, it is argued [that] we

first need to create a cycle of sustained dialogue and engagement among

students themselves and

students and the university institution,”

between the

and students and the university institution,” between the explained Danielsen. Synapp’s 2014 aims are simply to

explained Danielsen. Synapp’s 2014 aims are simply to

get feedback on their system and its

approach to issues on campus as well as the site’s functionality. Their 2015 aims are significantly more ambitious, especially with regard to the SRC. “We want a fully functional platform that allows students to discuss, debate, vote, play, argue, share and learn,” said Danielsen. “We want such a platform to generate a large pool of potential [SRC] candidates, long before the of- ficial nominations begin.” “We want to allow students a clear line of communication between themselves and the SRC,” continued Danielsen. “[This will ensure] that the highlighting of issues and the implementation of solutions becomes a student-driven process.” The group’s reason for placing emphasis on student involvement is

to improve the standard of response possible from the SRC. Quorum – the minimum student voting required in SRC elections – sits at 33.3%, a total which Synapp’s developers think is concerning given that it means that two-thirds of students’ needs could potentially go unaddressed. They hope to improve this through

a close link with Rhodes’ systems, specifically RUConnected. Users are required to sign in to Synapp with Rhodes Single Sign-In login, which

allows Synapp to track that the service

is being used exclusively by students.

This will allow for more detailed data interpretation later into development, as developers will be able to analyse the groups using their service and determine which demographics they will need to appeal to. Whether Synapp succeeds or fails will be determined by how successful

it is in achieving its aim of emulating

several existing networks and engaging students. However, it is an ambitious project, the success of which could offer a huge boost to communication between the SRC and the student body.

Something’s fishy near campus

Duncan Pike

The South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) is one of Grahamstown’s lesser-known facilities. Situated on Somerset Street, this institution operates at internationally-recognised standards to provide invalu- able resources to the surrounding scientific community. The SAIAB stacks up well technologically, boasting impressive facilities including the National Fish Collection, the African Coelacanth Ecosystem Programme (ACEP), a marine platform and Acoustic Tracking Array Platform (ATAP), as well as genetics and isotope laboratories. All of this allows it to maintain a high standard of work. “[The high scientific standard] is evidenced by the fact that all SAIAB scientific papers by our researchers and students are published in [Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure] rated journals,” said Manager of Communications & Gov- ernance at the SAIAB Penny Haworth. This high standard is augmented by the multi-disciplinary research, including the ACEP and the institute’s extensive history in southern African ichthyological work which attracts academics from around the world. This is especially useful as the institute works in close collabora- tion with the Rhodes University Department of Icthyology postgraduate programmes. ACEP, the SAIAB’s flagship programme, is operated joint- ly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and the Department of Environmental Affairs. Currently in its third phase, the programme conducts ecosystem-related research in the South-Western Indian Ocean on multiple platforms, one of which is a state-of-the-art DST-funded ACEP Marine Platform. One of the SAIAB’s main attractions is its legacy associ- ated with the 1938 discovery of the living coelacanth by Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer and JLB Smith (whose wife founded the institute). However, the SAIAB is not a display museum and is generally not open to the public. Only students from the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, other science faculty students and the occasional Fine Art student (to view specimens) generally visit the institute. This changes during Scifest Africa, when the staff and interns at the institute set up exhibits and offer workshops and lectures on a wide range of aquatic topics. The institute

lectures on a wide range of aquatic topics. The institute The South African Institute for Aquatic
lectures on a wide range of aquatic topics. The institute The South African Institute for Aquatic
lectures on a wide range of aquatic topics. The institute The South African Institute for Aquatic

The South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) in Grahamstown has a range of aquatic collec- tions, including a coelacanth discovered in 1938 (centre). Photos: KELLAN BOTHA

also provides exhibition space for other organisations of the same nature to create what Haworth refers to as a “focused, themed exhibition space”. The SAIAB attracts the public in during the National Arts Festival by providing exhibition space for artists, provided their work reflects the aquatic environment offered by the institute. Despite not being the most well-known institution in Grahamstown, the SAIAB remains and interesting and unique part of the community of Grahamstown.

interesting and unique part of the community of Grahamstown. Livestreaming is fast becoming a new and

Livestreaming is fast becoming a new and inexpensive method of watching videos as an alternative to You-

Tube and television. Photo: SHEILA DAVID

Beyond YouTube:

Streaming culture

Bracken Lee-Rudolph

Livestreaming refers to the act of capturing a video, be it recorded from a camera or duplicated from

a screen, and broadcasting it live

to viewers over the internet. It

differs from the traditional film- ing of YouTube videos in that it

is broadcast without any editing

immediately after being captured. As the availability of high-speed broadband expands, this online sharing system is rapidly gaining traction in South Africa. This process has become espe- cially popular within the video gaming community, where has allowed users to broadcast their gameplay online. Twitch is usable on any current generation platform, in- cluding PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Additionally, personal computers al- low the use of third-party recording software to capture in-game footage. One of the most novel uses of this service is Twitch Plays Pokémon (TPP). TPP is an interactive stream which allows viewers to issue com- mands in the game chat, which are then picked up by a program and implemented in-game. The project started with Pokémon Red, which took the Twitch com- munity over 16 days of continuous gameplay to complete. The stream received a total of 55 million views throughout the playthrough of Pokémon Red, and 1.16 million of those viewers directly participated in the game. Although gaming has been one of the first industries to embrace the concept, livestreaming is not limited to video games. This is best shown in the broadcasts of sports events. The Superbowl, an interna- tionally broadcast American football event, recently received a viewership

of three million unique viewers via livestream services. Streaming has also allowed

Although gaming has been one of the first

industries to embrace the concept,

livestreaming is not lim- ited to video games.

classical distribution methods to be somewhat augmented by the digital services. Services such as Netflix (an online television and movie distributor) and CrunchyRoll (an online animé service) provide an alternative to traditionally licensed television and YouTube culture. These services allow you to pay a subscription fee to gain access to libraries of licensed series and films which you can download or watch online. These services provide an alternative to services like DSTV and provide content tailored more to your personal choice, since you can choose what you want to watch more easily. While Netflix has not officially been launched in South Africa to date, it is possible to use alternative methods to get it working – after which it will work perfectly well. Streaming is not a perfect concept yet, but it is a largely expense-free form of entertainment once you have the infrastructure set up to use it. With streams increasing drastical- ly in size annually, the live entertain- ment and reality TV industry may one day make way for the live online stream community.

8 October 2014

The Oppidan Press



Getting into game development

Bradley Prior

M any video game enthusiasts would consider game development to be their dream job because they could

help create the very thing that they themselves love to be immersed in. While many may be- lieve that the opportunities afforded by this line of work are limited, especially in South Africa, there are actually many opportunities available in the industry - starting at Rhodes.

For Rhodes students there is GameDev, a sub- set of the Rhodes University Computer Users So- ciety (RUCUS), which is focused purely on game development. It is chaired by David Yates and is designed to allow members to test the boundaries of their game development. They have recently been working on creating a card game similar to those such as Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering. However, instead of fighting fictitious creatures to win, the players aim to win the game by earning their degrees. The developers of GameDev are mostly Com-

puter Science majors and Yates believes that being

a part of this project greatly prepares them for a future in game development. “I think developing

a game like this will give people very valuable

experience in working on a largish-scale software project in a team,” he explained.

And the opportunities for game develop- ment in South Africa are blossoming as the field becomes more popular. According to a study

as the field becomes more popular. According to a study Toxic Bunny HD, created by Johannesburg-based

Toxic Bunny HD, created by Johannesburg-based “Celestial”, is one of several internationally marketed videogames produced in South Africa and follows the exploits of “Toxic” a trigger-happy coffee-loving bunny. Photo: SOURCED

done by Make Games South Africa in 2013, there are nearly 200 full-time and 400 part-time game developers in South Africa. The study also claimed that South African game development studios had a cumulative income of R30 million in 2013. This is a clear

indication that there is already money in develop- ing games in South Africa, and the market looks set to expand in coming years. There will be an opportunity for prospective game developers to speak to some of these stu- dios at rAge Expo, South Africa’s largest gaming

and technology expo. rAge is taking place in Johannesburg from 10 to 12 October and there will be a stand where prospective game develop- ers can discover more about the field. The stand is called the NAG home_coded stand. Those who visit it will be able to talk to developers and try out some of the games that they are developing. Additionally, visitors can find out more about Learn 3D, an institution in Gauteng that allows people to study game development in either full- or part-time courses. For those with a more global taste, Riot Games has opened applications for its 2015 internships. Riot Games is the company that developed and maintains League of Legends, one of the most widely played video games in the world. Among many different options is the oppor- tunity to be an intern in production. To quote Riot Games, interning in production could entail leading “high-powered Riot development teams to create game features, content, tools, and technology.” The downside to the internship is that one would have to obtain a work permit to move to the United States of America, but it is a great opportunity to get a foot in the door of the gaming industry. Game development is a growing market in South Africa. If you are passionate about develop- ing video games, you have found yourself in the right place at the right time. Take the first step and get involved in the opportunities available to you.

Smart Watches: Worth it or worthless?

Bracken Lee-Rudolph

The rise of Android and iOS-powered smartphones has done a lot of good for the mobile industry, especially in terms of application development. In more recent times, this has included the development of peripheral devic- es including armbands and watches which connect to mobile devices. Two of the more prominent brands available on the market currently are the Samsung Gear and Sony Smart- wear ranges of smartbands and watches. These devices connect to

a cellphone or tablet via Near-Field

Communication or Bluetooth connec- tion, and allow either input commands or movement data from the arm-worn peripheral to be transmitted to the mobile device. What you are willing to pay for such devices will depend on what you want:

the Smartband offers basic movement tracking and notification settings, while devices such as the Galaxy Gear V7000 comes with a host of first-party applications, an onboard screen and processor, and even a camera in some cases. The question is whether these devices are worth the grand sums they

go for. The Sony Smartband SWR10

retails at R915 ( and is functionally lacking in that it does very little other than vibrate when you have a message and tell you how many steps you have taken in a day. The only real selling point for the SWR10 is the alarm function, which allows you to set a time period in which you would like to be woken up. The device will then detect when you are sleeping lightly and vibrate to wake you up. This is a handy feature, undoubtedly, but not worth the hefty asking price of the device. The prices of the higher-end Samsung Gear range may also seem

prices of the higher-end Samsung Gear range may also seem Smartbands and similar devices from Sony

Smartbands and similar devices from Sony and other companies seem unnecessarily expensive when considering their inherent lack of features and uses, often performing only a fraction of the same tasks as the cellphones they are linked to, such as measuring footsteps or acting as alarms, but little more. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

excessive when compared to what else is available in that price range. At over R3,000, the price of the watch is drifting into the realm of mid-range smartphones such as the S3 Mini (usually R2,787 on - a reliable Android phone with markedly better technical specifications than the V7000, albeit not in a wearable form. Apple are set to join the smartwatch market with the Apple Watch, which will release in early 2015 according to the company. The watch offers a dif- ferent approach to the wearable device market, as it will be the first device to focus on an exclusive set of products

- the iPhone range, in this instance. The Apple Watch is focused on provid- ing an easily accessible window into your phone, rather than just a simple notification and timekeeping device. Apple may not be able to escape all the limitations which previous smart- watches have had, but if their model is successful, it could spawn a whole new range of wearable devices - ones which will better allow for more competi- tive pricing, useful features and better functional design. For now though, the smartwatch market remains one with lots of potential but very few worthy products.

functional design. For now though, the smartwatch market remains one with lots of potential but very


The Oppidan Press

8 October 2014


Winds of change

Alexa Sedgwick

A s the hills lining the N2 just past Jeffreys Bay rise up be- fore you, several alien-look-

ing machines dominate the skyline. Each blade that spins with the wind lends its strength to creating renew- able energy. The Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm has been in operation since July this year and, with 60 functioning turbines, is the largest operating wind energy plant on the continent at present. Situated between Jeffreys Bay and Humans- dorp, the farm’s location allows it to harness the optimal wind conditions in the area and ideally does not interfere with any possible bird breeding or migration sites. The machines, standing 80 meters from the ground, are higher than a ten storey building and the plant provides enough clean electrical en- ergy to power 100 000 South African households (about 460 000MWh per

year). The wind farm also provides the surrounding community with a stable electrical supply. However, plant manager of the Jef- freys Bay site Hannes Bester explained that it is a common misconception to believe that being closer to the farm gives access to the farm’s energy. The power generated by the turbines is actually fed through to the Eskom national grid, meaning that it may be used elsewhere in the country. While the farm itself may be a new addition to the Eastern Cape, its con- cept is not. According to Bester, it took about six years for plans for the plant to come to fruition. The delay can be attributed to the Environmental Im- pact Assessment (EIA) process, which scrutinised all aspects of the plant including the potential environmental impacts of the farm, influences on the surrounding bird and animal life, and visual design and appeal. Construction of the wind farm began in December 2012 and was

initially met with some opposition from the surrounding communi- ties. Bester said this was mainly due to ignorance and that those who complained at the start of the process have come to accept and even enjoy the wind turbines now. “We try to be as open as we can about what happens on the site and we try to be responsible and that’s an important goal to have [both] safety-wise and environmen- taly,” he explained. The farm currently takes school and local community groups on tours in an effort to educate the public about wind energy and how the turbines work. Plans for an official visitors’ centre are also underway. Bester further explained: “Because we are one of the biggest and first wind farms in the country, it’s our respon- sibility to make sure that the right message about wind energy gets put out there and that there are no miscon- ceptions about what we do and how we generate energy.”

ceptions about what we do and how we generate energy.” The new Jeffreys Bay wind farm

The new Jeffreys Bay wind farm is the largest on the continent and has the capacity to power 100 000 South African homes. However, as the turbines’ energy is fed into Eskom’s national grid, local communities will not necessarily be the main beneficiaries. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Finding the balance between parks and people

Dillon Lutchman

South Africans were recently encouraged to visit South African National Parks (SANParks) during National Parks Week, which ran from 8 to 12 September. This week foregrounded issues sur- rounding the complex relationship between game reserves and their local impoverished communities. The debate surrounding ecotourism is ongoing, especially in the face of increased poaching and the reopening of the land restitu- tion process, whereby people displaced during apartheid are able to reclaim land. The relationship between conservation and land extension is in question as the demand from international tour- ists – who bring in revenue – is influencing the way land in South Africa is constituted. The majority of game reserves in South Africa, both private and those that are part of SANParks, often emphasise the importance of involving local communities. The Protected Area Act of 2003, which enforces this notion, states that, “provision for the People and Parks Programme has made it possible for co-management agreements to be developed between claimants and protected area management authorities.” As game reserves expand, labour is often sourced from local communities. However, these jobs are often seasonal and do not bring in the revenue needed, or promised, by park management. The displaced communities which previously relied on the land for

communities which previously relied on the land for Many South African National Parks - such as

Many South African National Parks - such as the Addo Elephant National Park - pride themselves on their community involve- ment in the conservation process. However, limited access to resources in conservation areas for communities and the reo- pening of the land restitution process has led to several conflicts of interest throughout the country. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

things like firewood, herbs and spiritual acts are often forced to give up their self-sufficiency in favour of a salary-dependent lifestyle. “I have no problem with the conservation of natural resources, so long as the ones enforcing it are also adhering to the laws and contracts they have agreed to,” said leading expert in people-park

relations at Rhodes University’s Environmental Science Depart-

ment Dr Gladman Thondklana. These situations cause conflict among locals and authorities, often resulting in long-term battles which lead to poaching and illegal harvesting of medicinal compo- nents as alternative sources of former income. Strato Copteros, activist and staff member at Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies, agrees that communi- ties in dire straits often turn to poaching as a means of income.

A member of anti-rhino poaching project Cliptivisits, Copteros

argues that the people behind rhino poaching are desperate, im- poverished individuals rather than inhumane monsters. “One of the major issues, at least in South Africa, is balancing

local people with ecological integrity,” stated Thondhlana. However, the Protected Areas Act 31 concerning land reconciliation fails to take into consideration the social hierarchy present in many rural/ traditional villages, often resulting in money not materialising

or being controlled by one higher power (such as chiefs or game

reserve management). Finding a balance between people and parks requires serious dialogue between people’s immediate needs and national, ecologi- cal concerns. However, environmental protection initiatives also need to continually reflect on where eco-tourist parks’ economic bottom-line may be undermining and curtailing the human inhab- itants within that space.

The rise in South African ‘green’ education

Lauren Buckle

Recent research has shown that more students are choosing to study environmental subjects at university. As a result, there will likely be an increase in the number of students moving into environmental careers in years to come and this in turn could increase the environmental sustainability of the South African economy in the future. Research provided by Head of Environmental Science at South African Rhodes Universities Professor Sheona Shackleton revealed that there has been a steady increase in the number of stu- dents studying Environmental Science between

2000 and 2012 at Rhodes University. Possible environmental careers range from energy engineering to environmental law. “More gradu- ates in environmental disciplines will potentially provide greater environmental services, but the increased supply of practitioners would reduce the fees that might be charged,” said lecturer Geoffrey Antrobus. While not all people can afford to study envi- ronmental careers in tertiary education, certain projects are available for potential students hoping to study in the field. One such initiative is the Groen Sebenza Project which aims to employ 800 unemployed graduates and non-graduates in sustainable environmental careers. Someleze

Mgcuwa, a student in the Groen Sebenza Project commented, “The project changed everything for me. I can now put a plate of food on the table for my family. It taught me to appreciate nature, because nature is life.” People can also become involved in projects such as the Marine Research Internship offered by Oceans Research. As stated by the Internship brochure, “[Volunteers] join dedicated scientists and postgraduate students who are conducting ground-breaking marine research projects in some of Africa’s most challenging and beauti- ful environments.” The programme provides people with the opportunities to further their education while engaging with the practical side

of the environment. South African National Parks (SANParks), which is responsible for 22 national parks, made a large contribution towards environmental education in 2007 and 2008. They trained and temporarily employed 2059 people through the funding of the Department of Environmental Af- fairs and the Department of Water Affairs. The increase in interest that people have in the environment is likely to encourage sustain- ability of the environment as well as nature conservation resulting from an increase in knowledge of the environment. This is expected to have a positive effect on the South African economy.

8 October 2014

The Oppidan Press


Arts & Entertainment

2014 The Oppidan Press 13 Arts & Entertainment For many years, artists have used resistance art

For many years, artists have used resistance art to encourage citizens to question issues in contemporary society and change their mindsets on certain topics. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Articulating anger through art

Bronwyn Pretorius

T he 1980s were a turbulent time in world

history and as such gave rise to resist-

ance art that sought to encompass the

revolutionary ideas and shifting mindsets of the era. This platform is still available to today’s artists who wish to express society’s burning frustrations. “Resistance art is fine art that takes on the purpose of having content and a conceptual departure point,” said Head of Fine Art at Rhodes University Dominic Thorburn. “It has to do with social commentary and political resistance.” Such political resistance has been common throughout the decades, but many historical resistance art symbols have since been repur- posed for more commercial purposes. Symbols like the peace sign and Che Guevara’s face can be seen on hundreds of t-shirts, bags and hats today. But many people do not know that the peace sign was originally used in the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, while Guevara organised over 1100 executions and jailed homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses in Bolivia.

“In terms of its marketability, it has been diluted to the point of not having any revolu- tionary potential,” said Eben Lochner, a former Rhodes student who is doing his PhD in Critical African Humanism. “But at the time, those issues were enough of a threat for that symbol to mean something,” he added.

South Africa’s own turbulent history has also caused a number of symbols to be drawn into the resistance art movement. Protest art peaked in South Africa during the pre-1994 strug- gle, despite the strict censorship on freedom of expression. Many artists shaped and represented society’s anger through art forms such as graffiti, paintings, cartoons and posters. “During those years, many visual artists realised it was a means to be able to express their political ideology and resistance,” said Thorburn. “As a student in the ‘80s, you were always on a mission.” Although modern society’s struggles against discrimination are arguably not as turbulent as they were in the past, the present does have its own set of pressing issues. “Protest art always has, and always will be, important,” said Politics lec- turer Dr Richard Pithouse. “Of course, the forms that it takes and the issues it raises do change over time.” The well-known visual columnist, Jonathan ‘Zapiro’ Shapiro, stands out as a controversial protest artist in South Africa. Zapiro said that according to the American-based organisa- tion Cartoonists Rights Network International, cartooning is very influential in South Africa. “Out of all the democracies they looked at, South Africa is the one where cartoons have formed the biggest part of the national debate,” Zapiro said. “[Protest art] is no less relevant than it was in the apartheid era.”

Zapiro’s cartoons focus on political and social topics that he feels should be brought into the public space. “Cartooning is a combination of issues of the public and one’s own ideas and opin- ions,” he said. “What tends to motivate cartoon- ists is outrage. Cartoonists can start debates, join debates and connect different issues in society. All those ways can help people think differently and make up their minds.” Graffiti is another art form that often gener- ates social commentary. Former Rhodes Fine Arts student Dan Nel has experience in graffiti art and has previously painted on the wall behind the library. “Graffiti art can be seen as important because it is a practice which connects the people who do it,” Nel said. “It also constitutes another voice in the conversation of images and text that exists in the public sphere and provides an outlet for feelings of disenchantment towards society.” Rhodes students have shown that not only well-known artists can express their views of mat- ters in society. The plaques on the Drostdy Lawns that display the number of child deaths in Pales- tine is one way in which the Rhodes community has created their own resistance art. According to Thorburn, hearing the number of deaths on a radio is incomparable to the visual representa- tion of the atrocities. “One of the roles of artists is to shift people’s consciousness and make them look at things differently,” he said. “It is not just good subject matter, but real issues for artists to comment on.”

What tends to motivate cartoonists is outrage. Cartoonists can start debates, join debates and connect different issues in society.

– Jonathan ‘Zapiro’ Shapiro, visual columnist

Certain Rhodes students have shown that the Marikana strike is also an issue that deserves visual commentary. A ‘Marikana Fist’ has been graffitied on the wall outside the administration building to support black power and solidarity. “People are using [the Marikana fist] as a symbol for artistic interventions because it carries so much currency in terms of the shock and horror of it,” Lochner said. Thorburn also believes that the Marikana strikes provide a springboard for artists to work with. Resistance art may have burned at its brightest during the 1980s, but with the increase in politi- cal and social awareness, it is going to be around for years to come. Thorburn also does not see protest art as a dying flame. “There will always be resistance art or art that has some type of role as social commentary,” he said.

that has some type of role as social commentary,” he said. Rhodes students have found that
that has some type of role as social commentary,” he said. Rhodes students have found that
that has some type of role as social commentary,” he said. Rhodes students have found that

Rhodes students have found that certain issues deserve social commentary and have also involved themselves in various forms of protest art. Photos: BRONWYN PRETORIUS (LEFT), KELLAN BOTHA


The Oppidan Press

8 October 2014

Arts & Entertainment

The Oppidan Press 8 October 2014 Arts & Entertainment Kamogelo Molobye says that as a black

Kamogelo Molobye says that as a black African performer, he is faced with many racial issues within theatre and that there will only be change once other artists create works that critique the issues. Photo: SHEILA DAVID

I am African

Pumla Kalipa

A cknowledged as a country with a rich and painful history, South Africa has worked hard to over- come the legacy of apartheid. However, twenty

years after democracy, a number of young black South Africans still feel subjected to issues of class and race within the theatrical sphere. Drama Honours student Kamogelo Molobye recalls the challenges that he continues to face as a black performer in contemporary South Africa. Molobye, a choreography and contemporary performance student, has been subjected to racial issues within the theatre space, which have inspired his thesis ‘I Am African’.

“The first time I took drama as a subject in 2011 a tutor of mine said to me, ‘You are a black man in South Africa with

a good body. You will never struggle to find a job in this

industry’,” said Molobye. “This is something that has always haunted me because in

a country that has suffered a deep history of racial segrega-

tion and continues to struggle with issues of class and race, what she said was on the basis of my race and not of my talents or capabilities,” he explained.

Prior to 1994, South African theatre was utilised by black performers as a space in which to comment on issues inherent to the apartheid regime. South African playwrights and directors such as Athol Fugard, John Kani and Barney Simon contributed to devising theatrical works termed ‘Protest Theatre’ that overtly confronted the regime. “South African choreography and performance has

a rich history in protest theatre that aimed to challenge

socio-political issues of the apartheid government. The works were far more edgy and engaged people in politi- cal dialogue that forced them to take the political issues represented on stage and channel those ideas onto active platforms for transformative action,” Molobye said. Yet the issues of class and race are an ongoing strug- gle in South Africa and for Molobye being a black African performer also seems to be stigmatised. “It has been a trend that when producing works people are typecast; so there will always be a person that plays the black maid or the black person from the township who portrays society’s perception of the township dweller. This has become the identity of most artists in the industry due to their race,” Molobye said. In his thesis, Molobye attempts to understand how being an African performer makes him unique in relation to the rest of the world. “As a young black performer and cho- reographer, I am faced with the dilemma of the kinds of questions I should interrogate and engage in, which would contribute toward the reshaping of a South African identity, and whether or not that could be done,” he explained. Molobye believes that the re-shaping of a South African identity can only be achieved once other artists engage themselves in this challenge as well. “Artists need to start, as they have, to create works that are critical of the perceptions that exist and find ways of re-educating audiences in order to correct the perceptions. Artists need to find a way of chal- lenging the existing perceptions without representing them on stage as that has the potential to continue the harmful and existing assumptions that objectify the performing body,” he said.

What our monument means

Lili Barras-Hargan

The Grahamstown skyline is domi- nated by the 1820 Settlers National Monument. Rhodes students throughout the ages have explored its halls and taken advantage of the view that it offers of Grahamstown, but few are aware of the origins of the structure and its meaning to contemporary society. The 1820 Settlers National Monu- ment was erected to commemorate the contribution the British made to South African society, most signifi- cantly their contributions towards cultivating the English language. Now heavily associated with the Na- tional Arts Festival, the Monument’s meaning has been revolutionised. Its current message seems to reflect that of an inclusive society, wherein people of any background can come together to appreciate the creative talents of fellow South Africans. However, South Africa’s turbulent past has led many to question the value of the Monument. After 1994, the thinking of many South Afri- cans shifted and their opinions of national monuments and memorials were altered. As stated by Al Gore, “Any major public efforts to begin transforming [monuments] from within were continually hampered by the restrictions and mindsets imposed by the prevailing system of apartheid.” In the cases of national structures such as Port Elizabeth’s Queen Victoria Statue and the Hans Strydom Monument in Pretoria, they have been subject to public and natural movements. The for- mer was vandalised and the latter ironically collapsed exactly 40 years after South Africa was declared a Republic. Perhaps the liberated public’s lack of disdain for the 1820 Settlers Monument suggests that it has been successfully translated into contemporary South Africa. In 1994, the Monument was ravaged by a devastating fire and extensive rebuilding was required. Shortly thereafter in 1995, Nelson Mandela rededicated the building,

thereafter in 1995, Nelson Mandela rededicated the building, After a fire caused severe damage to the

After a fire caused severe damage to the Settlers Monument, Nelson Mandela commissioned the recon- struction of the former colonial symbol and rededicated it to South Africa’s diverse cultural heritage. Photo: CHRIS KEYWOOD

redefining the Monument’s symbol- ism and moving away from its initial representation of the differences between the privileged settlers and the indigenous people. In his speech, Mandela stated, “The Monument is making a significant contribution to our nation’s cultural life and the education of its people.” “The Monument has become key in terms of its ability to bring together a diverse group of people in appreciation of art and culture,” agreed Bachelor of Fine Arts student Tayla Hoepfl. The Settlers Monument’s contri- butions to art and culture can be seen by the fact that it hosts a variety of events such as the National Arts Festival and National Science Festival. However, due to the eco- nomic and infrastructural scars of apartheid that remain, not everyone benefits from the cultural and edu- cational benefits that it offers and transformation is still required to bring it fully within the scope of the new South Africa. Perhaps, as Senior Professor for the Humanities Department of the University of the Free State Andre Wessels has suggested, South Africa’s national monuments can hope to become “symbols of a chequered past and the basis for a better future”.

Rhodes alumnus Unathi Msengana gives back

Nkosazana Hlalethwa

Rhodes alumnus Unathi Msengana per- formed at Guy Butler Theatre in the 1820 Settlers Monument on 3 October. The cur- rent Metro FM DJ and Idols SA judge held a benefit concert in order to raise money for Rhodes University’s Annual Fund for Bursaries. Msengana began her journey at Rhodes University in 1997 and was part of the first group of girls to live in New House Resi- dence when it was re-designated as a female residence. Msengana was a Sub-Warden for the residence before moving off campus in her final year. She majored in Journalism but also studied Drama, Anthropology and Eng- lish African Literature – a course no longer offered by Rhodes.

Msengana added that she enjoyed her studies so much that she cannot isolate one moment as her most memorable and referred to her university years as some of the best years of her life. Msengana said this was because Rhodes presented her with problems that assisted in her self-discovery as a musician. The radio DJ/songstress cannot choose between working on radio and performing, saying that “Both feed my soul in different ways”. She went on to say that both careers fulfil her love of storytelling as she is able to express her opinions through her work on radio and that she strives to make music with a message. Prior to the benefit concert, Msengana provided students who attend her alma mater, Victoria Girls’ High School, with

financial aid to continue their studies no matter their socio-economic circumstances. “Education is everything to me,” explained Msengana. Since the Annual Fund gave her the opportunity to obtain her degree, she wanted to do the same for current Rhodes students. After receiving the Emerg- ing Rhodian award, Msengana saw the Benefit Concert as an opportunity to not only raise funds but to also pay homage to Rhodes University for making her success possible. Those who attended the concert enjoyed Msengana and her live band performing songs from her previous and upcoming al- bum Alive , which is scheduled for release on 20 October. In addition to this, the audience received complimentary transport to and from the Steve Biko building.

Unathi Msengana held a benefit concert to al- low students the opportunity to complete their degree with the help of the Rhodes Annual Fund for Bursaries. Photo: SOURCED

8 October 2014

The Oppidan Press



8 October 2014 The Oppidan Press 15 Sport The Rhodes women’s soccer team coach, Brynmor Heemro

The Rhodes women’s soccer team coach, Brynmor Heemro (left), has found his position under review after failing to get his team to qualify for USSA. The team remains adamant that he is the best man for the job, however, and plans to fight to keep him on the payroll. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Women’s soccer team fight to keep coach

Kimara Singh

T he ladies of the Rhodes wom-

en’s soccer team have found

themselves fighting to keep

their coach, Brynmor Heemro, as uncertainties surround his continued duties in 2015. Heemro’s position is under review by Sports Administration after he failed to get his team to qualify for USSA - one of the goals he was re- quired to achieve. The team has had to gamble with a lack of interest from the main manager and head coach of Rhodes Soccer and this impacted their game time and

opportunities to qualify for the tourna- ment. This resulted in a disappointing season for the side. Despite having five USSA games scheduled, the team only managed to play three - of which they managed to win just one. Two of their earlier matches were cancelled due to an unregistered opposition team in one case and a scheduling mix-up in the other. Team captain Oshoveli Kukuri, who has been part of Rhodes Soccer for three years, said that very little effort was shown by previous coaches compared to this year. “There has been tremendous growth and the morale

of the team has been high. There is always fairness, equality, and respect between the coach and the team,” Kukuri explained. “I’ve played soccer at a high school level and for a club, but my personal improvement has been far greater and the understanding of the game has grown immensely,” said vice captain Mieke Grobler. Both Kukuri and Grobler feel that Heemro is passionate, accountable, dedicated and organised. “Our plan is to draft individual letters, simply stating why we want to keep the coach and thereafter we are going to have meetings with the Direc- tor of Student Affairs and SRC to have

backing before we finally present to the Sport Admin,” said Kukuri. “Our goal for next year is to win TriVarsity [InterVarsity] and qualify for USSA, as we want to be consistent. Unfortunately, we cannot be consist- ent if we keep changing our coach, especially when with [Heemro] it’s all about the team and improving all the time,” Kukuri said. The team believes that Heemro has given them a really good base for ex- pansion and that they have dedicated team members who want women’s soccer to grow. “He really is a great coach who has inspired and caused us to play better. If it weren’t for external

factors we feel like we could have ac- complished a lot more this year,” said Grobler. Rosie McLean, also a vice captain, added that Heemro and Kukuri have played an important role in helping the team get past their obstacles. “Luckily our players have a passion for the game and support one another so we faced the challenges as a unit,” said McLean. The potential discontinuation of Heemro’s coaching will have a big im- pact on the team, as they have shown enormous progress this year under his tutelage, compared to previous years in which the team has underperformed.

A well-shaped column: Masters study connecting body and brain

Douglas Smith

over a set period of time. Volunteer test subjects, who exercise a minimum of twice per week, cycle on

Stephen explained that while research has been done into the long-term mental benefits of add-

Masters student in Human Kinetics and Ergonom-


stationary bike for a period of 50 minutes. The bike

ing exercise into the lifestyles of specific groups of

ics (HKE) Tendayi Stephen is currently conduct-


set to 60% of the participant’s maximum aerobic

people, his study is focused more on the instantane-

ing a study on how mental performance changes while the body is being physically exerted. Stephen completed a pilot study last year and has been col- lecting data throughout this year to complete what will become his Masters thesis. Stephen believes that while much is known about the physical benefits of exercise, there is still much to be discovered about its mental benefits. “I think that this study will assist in emphasising the benefits of aerobic exercise, especially in that it enhances one’s mental performance,” said Stephen. He hopes to prove that aerobic exercise produces immediate effects on information processing. The data collection process is done by analysing the cognitive performance of people as they exercise

power and the participant is required to maintain a cadence of 80-90 revolutions per minute throughout the experiment. “I chose cycling as the form of aerobic exercise for this study because it is safer and more convenient seeing that the participants will need to multitask with the mental tasks during the exercise,” explained Stephen. Throughout the experiment, participants are required to complete tasks on a touch-screen computer. The tasks test working memory, reaction time and visual perception. Each participant com- pletes the tasks repeatedly and their physical states are monitored by keeping track of their heart rate and rate of perceived exertion (RPE), or how they personally feel.

ous effects of exercise on the brain’s performance. “Little can be seen in the results so far, seeing that I still need a couple more people (males and females) to complete the data collection process,” admitted Stephen. “The data will only make sense once sum- marised in an average of everyone once a proper balance in gender and the permutated conditions have been established.” The results of Stephen’s study could make inroads into understanding the connec- tion between the mind and the body and this kind of information is of interest to those who are already physically active. However, if more evidence is gener- ated to suggest that exercise has instant mental ben- efits, then it might just encourage less active people to lead more active lifestyles.

Honours student Tendayi Stephen is studying the effects of physical exercise on mental capabilities. Photo: SHEILA DAVID

Medical woes for international students



What we’re reading


Dining hall meal prejudice


2 Sports What we’re reading 4 Dining hall meal prejudice 9 Being more of an academic

Being more of an academic than a sporting institution, Rhodes may need to attract more sporting talent and organise greater funding if it is ever to be a real competitor on the professional university sporting stage. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Is Rhodes ready for “serious sport”?

Muhammad Hussain

R hodes University prides itself on being an academic insti-

tution rather than a sporting one. However, this year saw

a slight change in this perspective when the university

signed a contract with Varsity Sports South Africa. This contract provides an opportunity for Rhodes to test its sporting mettle against some of the premier sporting universities in the country. Hockey has been the primary focus of much of the new emphasis on sports, as the Men’s First Team took part in the inaugural Varsity Cup Hockey Tournament in the first semester of this year. It was also the first time in six years that they have played in the A-section of University Sport South Africa’s (USSA) annual tournament. Unfortunately, Rhodes finished last in both tournaments, meaning that they were relegated to the B-section of USSA and that their hopes for taking part in the next Varsity Cup remain slim.

These results seem to indicate that in order for Rhodes to com- pete against more established sporting universities in the future, the

university needs to attract more talent and create a more competi- tive sporting environment. Many sportsmen argue that the fault certainly does not lie with the dedication of the teams. “We had a group of 20 players putting in a lot of effort, gym sessions, practice and even giving up their holidays,” said Chairman of the Hockey Club Dean Johnston. “I don’t think it was just ourselves that let the team down. I think it was the structure; I think it was the mentality - we are just not ready for serious sport.” “The seconds are competing with the firsts which improves the teams and creates more depth in the squad,” said Varsity Squad and Hockey Club member Waide Jacobs. However, he added that something was lacking and attributed this to the management and structure of hockey at Rhodes. The question now is whether or not the current structures in Rhodes sport will be adequate to attract the talent that is necessary. Considering Rhodes only offers three sports bursaries, one specifi- cally for rugby and the others based on performance during the

year, this seems unlikely. “Other universities are offering six or seven bursaries and that’s just for hockey,” said Johnston. He mentioned that there were many talented players who were willing to come to Rhodes, but who were unable to due to a lack of funding. Old Rhodian Sports Bursary recipient and Youth Olympic hockey player Cody van Wyk was therefore the only player who could be brought in by the Rhodes club this year. However, this funding issue extends to more than simply at- tracting promising players. “Competing against them [Varsity Cup universities] is difficult money-wise,” explained Johnston. “They have a lot of training time, bursaries, coaches, facilities, TV-time and recording.” It appears that Rhodes has a long way to go before its talented individuals have a viable platform on which to build their potential. However, Johnston is being patient and says the Hockey Club will still be here when changes start to happen.

Ross runs ahead as Sportswoman of the Year nominations approach

Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

After being nominated for Sports- woman of the Year for her efforts in the Rhodes Athletics Club in 2013, the spotlight is again on Natalie Ross following a multitude of successes in running and Triathlon competitions throughout 2014. Since the age of five, Natalie Ross’ talent and evident devotion to the sport have drawn attention and by the time Ross arrived at Rhodes in 2009 she was already well-travelled in the world of running. While at Kingswood College, Ross was presented with numerous opportunities to showcase her talent, including being selected to represent the Eastern Cape at her first Provincial Championships. Ross, who is currently a Masters student in Human Kinetics and

Ergonomics, has continued to develop as an athlete with the help of the Rho- des Athletics Club. “[The club has] al- ways been fantastic at organising races, training and events,” she explained. The club’s support has allowed Ross to make a name for herself in the inter- national arena where she has competed in Scotland, New Zealand, Canada and Spain, and made the podium numer- ous times. Although running was Ross’ first passion, she was introduced to Tri- athlon by the 2007 President of the Athletics Club Mike Irwin. “From then on, I was hooked on Triathlon and have been competing ever since,” Ross explained. Ross’ multisport interest was expanded even further when Irwin encouraged her to participate in her first duathlon. “[Ross] was already an

exceptional runner and was keen on cycling as a concept,” said Irwin. As one of many coaching influences in Ross’ life, Irwin never once doubted her attitude or dedication. “Her suc- cess is the epitome of the maximising of talent through effort,” said Irwin, who admires Ross for being a self- motivated and passionate athlete. Irwin explained that part of his sup- port was lending Ross a bike for races, but that her talent has since grown immensely due to her own initiative. Irwin observed Ross’ confidence naturally increase as she became fitter and performed at more events. Ross admits that she, like every athlete, has had some disappointments along the way, but has enjoyed the adventure that running has taken her on over the past few years. She is adamant that she will continue with these sports for as

long as she enjoys it, a desire echoed by Irwin who strongly believes that Ross has yet to tap into her full run- ning potential.

Her success is the epitome of the maximising of talent through effort

– Mike Irwin, 2007 President of the Athletics Club

– Mike Irwin, 2007 President of the Athletics Club ” Natalie Ross is an outstanding Rhodes

Natalie Ross is an outstanding Rhodes athlete, taking part in many running events. Photo: SOURCED