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24 October 2014

News Features

Rape-axe an unsuccessful prevention

Phelokazi Mbude

Trigger warning: rape and sexual violence.

I nspired by a rape victim’s bitter wish of “If only I had teeth down there”, retired South African Blood Technician Sonette Ehlers

created an anti-rape female condom-like device lined with sharp plastic blades on the inside and called it Rape-axe. Many people are concerned with the imple- mentation of this device and of health issues, particularly for the user, which question its value. “I don’t think it’s going to be of any value whatsoever,” said Kim Barker, coordinator of this year’s Silent Protest. She added that Rape-axe supports the myth that rape always happens in dark corners where the perpetrator is always male and the victim is always female.

“A lot of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, such as friends, family members and acquaintances, which further complicates using such a device,” said Thandi

Mzizi, HIV/Aids Advocacy Officer for Rhodes University. There have also been concerns about the po- tential health risks that such a device can cause. If the device is not kept clean, there is the possibil- ity of the woman wearing it contracting yeast infections and other bacteria. “[This device] poses serious health threats to both the men [caught by them] and women who use them,” explained Mzizi. There are further concerns about the danger users of Rape-axe might put themselves under. “A rapist might retaliate and assault or murder the victim if they’re caught in this device,” said Mzizi. Barker agreed, saying it will make the perpetrator furious. As a result the device could be putting women at greater risk of further harm. Rape is already a sensitive issue and rape survivors often get blamed for their ordeal. Using or not using this device could contribute to further victim-blaming for survivors. “There might be a stigma around people who use it, that

they are calling rape upon themselves,” explained Thabelo Nkhumeleni, Events Organiser for Peer Education. While the device might instil fear and possibly make a rapist reconsider attempting rape, it could also quickly and violently escalate the situation. Journalism student Ashleigh Erasmus ex- plained that Rape-axe enhances rape culture by making women constantly think that they are going to be raped. “All that this does is focus on the woman; focus on her responsibility for taking measures. And in this case it’s a measure that is not even going to prevent rape. The woman will have to have been raped before the thing works,” explained Barker. Barker also highlighted another major issue of Rape-axe, saying people who are most in danger of rape are children between six and 15. In addi- tion, because it is an extra expense it rules out a huge percentage of South Africans as they would not be able to afford it on top of their already strained budgets.

All that this does is focus on the woman; focus on her responsibility for taking measures. And in this case it’s a measure that is not even going to prevent rape.

– Kim Barker, Coordinator of 2014 Silent Protest

Barker said Rape-axe exists because people are desperate to find ways to stop rape. “It comes from good intentions, it comes from people’s fear, but our fear is misplaced. We need to rethink how we approach rape prevention,” she said.

Religious consideration missing from LOA application

Leila Stein

Leave of Absence (LOA) forms are crucial when it comes to dealing with circumstances beyond a student’s control which hinder their ability to participate in the academic realm of the University. For the School of Journalism & Media Studies, however, the list of acceptable criteria for an LOA does not include any religious events. While many of the departments at the University have a standardised LOA form which allows for a range of reasons for absence from mandatory classes and grants work exten- sions, the School of Journalism has its own unique form. “We brought in our own one as it makes it easier to communicate with the lecturers and has an added section for extension dates,” said Delise Moriarty, secretary for the School of Journalism & Media Studies. This LOA form only allows for medical and sporting con- cessions, with an added section noted as “other” for which documentation has to be provided. In the case of religious ceremonies, an LOA will not be accepted. Instead, the School “notes” absences for religious holi- days. This means that students with good attendance and academic records will not lose their Duly Performed Certifi- cate (DP) but do not get any extensions for their work. The School states that the reason that religious holidays are not accepted is due to the fact that they can extend over long periods of time depending on the celebration and the religion or culture involved. “Having students away for so long if there are practicals or big group [projects] puts pressure on the other students,” explained Moriarty. While it is understandable that there has to be a

significant bureaucratic system in place to monitor and record attendance in the faculty, the handling of some cases has caused offence for the students involved. “I was refused [a] religious LOA last year when I request- ed to go home for Eid,” said Ra-eesah Mohammed, a Mus- lim second year Journalism student. “I would have missed my journalism tutorial in the evening. I had inquired via my tutor beforehand and attempted to make the necessary ar- rangements which included handing the work in earlier.” Subsequently, Mohammed was called into a disciplinary meeting, told that her actions were incorrect and given a DP removal warning. Although Mohammed had not followed proper procedure, she felt slighted by the response from the School. “I was told that the department does not give religious LOAs while trying to explain the significance of the most important religious event [in] the Islamic calendar,” she explained. Since other faculties all use a standardised LOA form, they accept religious LOAs. Most require documentation to back up the claim of a religious event and accept either a letter from a parent or a religious leader. “I think everyone has their own traditions and so we must understand and make provisions,” explained Hannelie Rielly, Office Administrator at the School of Languages. While Moriarty did explain that individual cases can be looked at and considered on their merit, it appears there is a lack of empathy with regards to handling a sensitive subject such as religion. A system to monitor students’ attendance is necessary but the emotional implications of a religious LOA refusal for a student also need to be considered.

LOA refusal for a student also need to be considered. The School of Journalism and Media

The School of Journalism and Media Studies does not grant LOAs for religious reasons, despite many other departments giving students this option. Photo: ASHLIEGH MEY

Rhodes residences ignore house party regulations

Khanyi Mlaba

Over the last few years residences have not been following protocol when organising residence parties, and the number of protocol breaches has increased annually. According to the Stu- dent Bureau, residence parties should not be open to the public and should end at 21h30. One of the worst incidences of inattention to regulations was the “Ultimate Fields Party” hosted by Hilltop and Goldfields, which took place on the weekend of 10 October. Six hours before the start of the party, an email was sent from the Student Bureau to the wardens of both houses. The email brought to their attention the fact that the regulations for social gatherings had not been followed. This led to a waste of money

for both Goldfields and Hilltop House, and con- fusion across campus. Goldfields House not only advertised the party around campus, but were also reluctant to com- municate their plans to their warden, Professor James Gambiza. Gambiza replied to the Student Bureau’s email stating that he had not authorised a house party. This left Hilltop House confused. Student Bureau manager Desiree Wicks explained that more residences are not paying attention to the social function regulations. “You are not allowed to advertise residence parties to the public,” said Wicks. “It doesn’t happen a lot, but it has been escalating over the years.” Nompilo Ngubane, Hilltop House’s entertain- ment representative, explained that they were not informed of Goldfields’ lack of communication

with their house warden, and were ready to take responsibility for any damages caused by Hilltop House unknowingly. “As a new residence, we were hoping for success because Goldfields had thrown a party before, and we haven’t,” said Ngubane. Ngubane further explained that she could do nothing but trust the Goldfields entertainment representative because, as a first-year house com- mittee member in a new house, she did not know any better. However, not all residence parties find them- selves in the same situation as Goldfields. Most house parties succeed, regardless of whether or not they adhere to regulations. Houses includ- ing Cullen Bowles, Beit, Graham, De Beers, Centenary and Adelaide Tambo have all thrown

successful open house parties. Chris Hani House even decided to use their residence house party to raise funds for charity. Entertainment repre- sentative of Victoria Mxenge residence, Snqobile Zungu, explained that the success of a party can be measured by the number of guests from other residences in attendance. Although residence parties are paying less attention to the rules, they continue to happen and there remains no plan to stop them from occurring. The Student Bureau does not actively shut down these parties. Rather they notify the wardens and leave it up to them to deal with the party. “All we do is issue out an email asking the wardens if they are aware of the party. Only the Registrar and CPU can shut down parties,” explained Wicks.

24 October 2014

The Oppidan Press


News Features

24 October 2014 The Oppidan Press 3 News Features The Wellness Centre recently held its annual

The Wellness Centre recently held its annual Wellness Week, providing free HIV testing and counselling while focusing on various aspects of ‘student wellness’ throughout the week. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Wellness Week focuses on balance

Gemma Middleton

T he Wellness Centre recently held its annual Wellness Week. It looked to bring the services of the centre to the

attention of the students, as well as to promote the importance of a balanced lifestyle through various activities. The week was organised so that every day was devoted to a specific area of wellness. Activities such as board games helped promote mental wellness, while expression sheets and the Red Bull Doodle art competition promoted emotional and social wellness. Three-legged races and yoga classes were held to improve the physical

and spiritual well being of students. All of the activities were designed to be enjoyable, as many students are said to be either unaware or uninter- ested in working on their wellbeing. “A lot of students need balance, even if they don’t know they need it,” said Jeremy Ruiters, a counselling psychologist working at the Counsel- ling Centre. Wellness Week was also used as a time to pro- mote the different divisions within the Wellness Centre. The divisions utilised this opportunity to advertise possible career paths available after uni- versity. “It’s really about getting the information out there and making it as accessible as possible,” stated Career Centre Manager Sarah Green.

Additionally, free HIV testing was provided for students. During the testing, the HIV/Aids Prevention Centre helped promote awareness about the accessibility of HIV/Aids testing on campus. “Anyone can make an appointment [for] HIV testing on any day except for the week- ends. HIV testing is done in the afternoons only between 14h00 and 16h00,” explained Thandi Mzizi, HIV/Aids Advocacy Officer for Rhodes University. One of the main driving forces behind Well- ness Week is the Wellness Leader Programme. The programme offers courses to those who are interested in getting involved in student well- ness initiatives such as basic counselling skills,

first aid, and conflict resolution along with stress management. The leaders act as liaisons between the Wellness Centre and the students, and are crucial to the functioning of Wellness Week. “It’s not just for them to help other students, it’s also for them as a Wellness Leader to grow,” stated Ruiters who has worked closely with the Wellness leaders throughout the year. The week saw lots of support from the Univer- sity and the Division of Student Affairs, and was documented by Campus Vibes in order to make a promotional video for O-Week of 2015. “Overall the week was a great success, and I think it has been one of the most well-planned Wellness Weeks,” said Ruiters.

Student body reluctant to deal with mental illness

Khanyi Mlaba and Leila Stein

Although Rhodes University has a Suicide and Suicide Attempt protocol in place, training with regards to such scenarios is not adequately provided. This year there have been four known suicide attempts in residences – a fact that has not been made known to the general student body. Although the privacy of the individuals is of the utmost importance, highlighting the occurrence of mental health issues on campus is crucial. Even though the counselling centre does advertise their as- sistance during specific events and points throughout the year such as Wellness Week, only one day of the week is devoted to mental wellness. This single day is unable to cover all aspects of this highly stigmatised issue. Wardens and sub-wardens who are supposed to be equipped to deal with suicide and suicide attempts do not feel as though they are prepared enough during their training at the beginning of the year. First-time warden Marina Van Zyl has first-hand experience with an attempt in the hall. Although she had studied the protocol, she stresses that the University does not provide adequate training for wardens regarding trauma incidents.

“The University does not prepare a person well: you can read the protocols, but you won’t really know how to respond to it. They just expect us to use our life experience,” said van Zyl. After their own training, wardens are required to train their sub- wardens in line with the protocol in case they are required to deal with such a situation. However, if wardens do not feel adequately prepared themselves, this can be problematic. “We have a counsel- ling session where they teach us basic counselling skills,” explained Sibabalwe Quma, sub-warden for Allan Gray House, “but they also emphasise the fact that we are not psychologists.” Students are often unaware of just how frequent suicide attempts are. This poses a problem as it does not provide an adequate under- standing of the prevalence of mental illness as a whole. “The problem is that we do not make the students aware of all the possible health risks that come from not taking care of yourself. It becomes a ripple effect, where the physical can affect the mental and the other way around,” explained Professor Sunita Srinivas, associate professor in the Pharmacy Department. This lack of information results in a student body that is ill- informed and reluctant to face issues of mental wellbeing head on. The University would do better to address these issues rather than allowing this much needed discussion to be hushed up.

than allowing this much needed discussion to be hushed up. With narrow windows and fixed internal

With narrow windows and fixed internal fittings, Cullen Bowles was purportedly designed as an anti-suicide residence. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA


The Oppidan Press

24 October 2014

Check it out at


New Language Policy set to transform learning

Kim Nyajeka

A revised Language Policy came into ef- fect at Rhodes University on 3 Octo- ber this year. While acknowledging

that English is the primary language used for teaching and learning, the Policy’s declaration highlights that “the University supports the na- tional commitment to ensuring that language should not act as a barrier to equity of access and success”. Professor Chrissie Boughey of the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) explained how the Revised Language Policy serves to encourage students, tutors and lecturers alike to incorporate the indigenous languages alongside English in the teaching process when necessary. “If you have a tutorial group and the majority of the students in that group would better understand a concept if it were explained in an Nguni language, then by

all means conduct the tutorial in that language,” she suggested. The revised Language Policy was presented to the University at the Language Colloquium held on 22 September. Although the event was well attended and had a considerable amount of media coverage, the majority of students remain unaware of it and its implications. When asked about what they thought of the policy, most as- sumed that it simply meant some courses would

most as- sumed that it simply meant some courses would A revised language policy at Rhodes

A revised language policy at Rhodes has been hailed as a step away from the institution’s Anglo- centric past, and should give greater support to students with home languages other than English. Photo: VICKY PATRICK

now be offered in indigenous languages, which is not the case. The Policy does not impose specific standards or a language quota on courses to accommodate students from different backgrounds. Rather, it encourages lecturers to take the initiative to ensure that the use of ‘academic’ language does not create a barrier between students and their higher education.

Boughey explained that CHERTL is conduct- ing a university-wide project to create a glos- sary of terms commonly used in many different courses: “There would be a translation of the term, then an explanation of it given in an indigenous language”. The Philosophy Depart- ment has also implemented the revised policy by offering students additional tutorials given in indigenous languages, explaining the concepts

covered in lectures. Post-graduate student Phillip Garayi stated that the policy “shows that Rhodes is slowly moving away from its colonial predisposition and is now catering for the student body majority whose first language is not English”. It is indeed a common perception that Rhodes is an elitist institution, partly due to the politics of language. Those who

are not comfortable with English may separate themselves and not actively take part in lectures or tutorial groups. This hinders the learning experience, and often as a result the social experi- ence at university. Boughey highlights that although English is

a part of the mainstream learning process, one cannot be forced to immerse oneself in it. Thus the revised Language Policy has the potential to result in a shift from students simply having a mere rudimentary appreciation of indigenous languages, to gaining a deeper understanding and acceptance of the multilingual nature of the student population, and considering indigenous languages as being as capable of expressing aca- demic ideas as English or Latin. The Policy states that it will be revised every three years to ensure that it is what Dr Sam Naidu from the English Department describes as

a “living document”, catering for the constantly

changing and diverse nature of the population of

the University as well as that of South Africa as a whole.

Activists assassinated: democracy denied in death

Tarryn de Kock

Abahlali baseMdonjolo member Thuli Ndlovu was assassinated at her home in KwaNdengezi in KwaZulu- Natal on 30 September, shortly after telling her mother that she expected to be attacked. Ndlovu’s assassina- tion was not the first such attack, and with the level of violence being used against urban activists and members of Abahlali, a prominent shack- dwellers movement, it is unlikely that it will be the last. There has been minimal mainstream media coverage of attacks on grass- roots activists in South Africa. Earlier this year, three shop stewards of the National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa were killed in Isithebe near Durban, and, as with Ndlovu, very little has been done to bring the

perpetrators to justice. The reason for this is as discomfiting as it is disturb- ing: that those acting against the gov- ernment in order to realise a humane standard of living are being targeted by agents of the government itself. “Both the ruling party, and the state, in the form of the police, have been us- ing murder as a form of social control for a long time now. The situation is much worse in some parts of the country, and in particular KwaZulu- Natal,” said Dr Richard Pithouse, a lecturer in the Rhodes Politics Depart- ment who has worked closely with Abahlali. “Until the murder of Andries Tatane and the Marikana Massacre the elite public sphere was largely blind to this reality. It is essential that we take full measure of this reality and that we act accordingly.” Pithouse argued that the South

African media is an elite space where the lives of people who are poor and black count for very little, and as such their attempts to enter the political ter- rain are viewed with paranoia. Because of this silencing, the brutal treatment of activists is often legitimised through claims that the state is working to deliver services to restless, angry mobs of informal settlers, who are criminal- ised or portrayed as illegal squatters and appropriators of state resources in most accounts of their protests and political activities. The problem with these assassina- tions is that they paint a grim picture of the level of respect the South Af- rican state has towards those citizens who speak out against its failures. Violence deployed against poor people has only increased in the last few years, from the Marikana massacre to

countless accounts of police brutality and the growing number of activists being intimidated, attacked and mur- dered by agents of the state. Ndlovu, for example, had faced countless threats from local councillor Mduduzi Ngcobo, who she saw driving by her house an hour before she was killed, prompting her to tell her mother that she was going to be shot. It also says something about those who consider themselves to be removed from the violence being per- petrated against those campaigning for recognition and dignity, because the effects of this violence will not be con- fined to informal settlements forever. “A society in which grassroots activists can be beaten, evicted, tortured and murdered with impunity is a society in which, in time, students and other dis- sident intellectuals will no longer enjoy

and other dis- sident intellectuals will no longer enjoy Grassroots activists such as mem- bers of

Grassroots activists such as mem- bers of the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement are often targets of police brutality and even murder. Image: SOURCED

the freedoms that we currently enjoy in the elite public sphere in South Africa,” said Pithouse.

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24 October 2014

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2015 SRC to improve student governance, decrease debt, set society spending limit

Nathi Mzileni

“R ealising the power and potential of student gov- ernance” will be the basis

of operation for the incoming Stu- dent Representative Council (SRC), which officially starts its term in less than two months. President- Elect Siyanda Makhubo said that the 2014 SRC had laid the foundation and the incoming council will continue to move towards progres- sive change. For a number of years the SRC has struggled to win the confidence of the student body. Poor voter turnout has seen it battle to get the minimum number of votes needed to reach quorum. The 2011 SRC incurred a debt which has been inherited by two subsequent SRCs, and will inevitably be passed down to the 2015 SRC. Amid these challenges, 2015 SRC Vice President-Elect Grace Moyo believed that the 2014 SRC did a commendable job in rebuilding the institution, leading to her decision to run for the 2015 SRC to continue “the work [they] started”. Makhubo and Moyo discussed the fundamental problems with some of the structures in student governance

that undermine the work of the SRC. “The problem with the Student Forum is that it should hold the SRC account- able but it is chaired by a member of the SRC, so you obviously have a problem there,” said Moyo. The Student Forum will be replaced by Student Parliament, which has been in the pipeline since 2011 and was passed in the most recent Student Fo- rum. It will be introduced in February next year. The Parliament will be an independent body outside of the SRC chaired by a student selected by the Parliament. Although the idea is ambitious, the Council plans to reduce its inher- ited deficit by at least R100 000. Less travelling and a R3 000 limit on project spending for each councillor were just one of the strategies employed by the current SRC. In addition, no alcohol went on the tab of the SRC. Makhubo said he was determined to keep the SRC from paying for any alcohol. He said, “The no alcohol policy meant that thousands [of rands] were saved and I am determined to keep to this policy. I am committed in particular to reducing the deficit and making it history, hopefully by the end of 2016.” Each year the SRC is allowed to use

eighty percent of its budget which is normally around the region of R1 mil- lion. The remaining twenty percent is carried over to the following year. The SRC has reported that this year was a financially stable year as no committee or society has spent more than their allocated amount. Incoming Treasurer Zikisa Maqub- ela said he has set plans to pre-empt any overspending by societies. Maqub- ela will propose a voluntary spend- ing limit for societies, encouraging them to spend eighty percent of their budget, as the SRC does. The other twenty percent of the money will be carried forward to the next committee with interest after being put in one of Rhodes University’s investments at the beginning of the year. This year thousands of students decided to take a giant leap of faith and believe in the promises made by Makhubo and the other fourteen elected councillors. Never before, in the history of the SRC, can the phrase “huge expectations” be more appro- priate to describe what the students anticipate from the SRC. Whether the incoming council can make good on its plans is a matter of work, com- mitment and engagement with the student body.

of work, com- mitment and engagement with the student body. SRC President-Elect Siyanda Makhubo says that

SRC President-Elect Siyanda Makhubo says that the SRC has big plans for 2015. Photo: VUYELWA MFEKA

Mabizela maps out his vision for the future

Liam Stout

Recently appointed Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela described his three-part vision of a unified and WiFi-enabled Grahamstown in a recent media briefing. Mabizela also placed strong emphasis on education and the role Rhodes University has to play to promote quality education for all. Mabizela, who was appointed as Vice-Chancellor last week after fulfilling the role of acting Vice-Chancellor since Dr Saleem Badat’s departure, divided his vision into three pillars. The first of these involves a greater contribution toward an effec- tive and efficient municipality. “Rhodes University is not only in Grahamstown. It is of and for Grahamstown. We see ourselves as an integral part of this com- munity and we have a huge responsibility to play our role in this town,” said Mabizela. Mabizela pointed out that Rhodes is heavily dependent on the municipality for its electricity and water. He also highlighted poor

service delivery in Grahamstown East and said that he would like to see a municipality that not only serves Rhodes successfully, but the entire town as a whole. This comes after a recent spate of water outages and service delivery protest by the residents of Zolani in August. “Of course, we contribute more than 60 percent of the GDP of this town, we are an important part of the local community so it is in our own best interest that the local municipality is able to discharge its responsibilities very competently and very ably,” commented Mabizela. He continued on the subject, saying that the University has entered into a dialogue with the municipality and working groups have already been set up to explore and resolve issues faced by Grahamstown. Mabizela’s second pillar revolves around effective education and financial aid for all who wish to attain it. He wants equal op- portunity, unhindered by financial implications, for prospective Rhodes students. Mabizela pointed out that Grahamstown is home to some of the best schools in the country and some of the most

Check out our profile of some of the Rhodes Investec Top 100 winners for 2014!

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dysfunctional schools in the country. According to Mabizela, the local education district is one of the worst performing districts in South Africa. “I would like to see Grahamstown as a centre of aca- demic excellence. We can’t have a situation where so much talent goes to waste.” Mabizela links his third pillar, transforming Grahamstown into

a WiFi city, to his ambitions of quality education in the local com- munity. “Other towns and cities have achieved this, why can’t we be

a wireless city? We will certainly be exploring that – it is very im-

portant for the other two pillars.” Mabizela is right – Johannesburg city centre and many parks and public spaces are already offering free public WiFi. Mabizela believes that implementing a similar system in Grahamstown would not be difficult. Mabizela also insisted that Rhodes is not going to be expanding in the near future, citing the municipality’s limited capacity as a hindrance on growth. “We have no intention of growing Rhodes University into a mega-institution. We will grow in a controlled, responsible manner.”

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24 October 2014


The Oppidan Press

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you have made it to the last week of yet another academic year, hopefully without failing anything or losing your Duly Performed certificate. The only thing left between you and a stress-free holiday is exams. We at The Oppidan Press would like to take this opportunity to wish the entire student body the best of luck for their examinations. As Edition 12 is our last edition of 2014, we would also like to take this op- portunity to reflect on the year that has been. Last week we hosted our AGM at which we thanked the multitude of editors, writers, designers, photographers, video journalists and support staff that give up their time for free to keep this organisation running. We also assisted in hosting the Rhodes Investec Top 100 Awards ceremony, at which we were able to celebrate the cream of the crop at Rhodes University, and congratulate the new Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela on his appointment. Now we would like to thank you, the reader. If you didn’t pick up the new edition every two weeks, visit our website or watch OppiTV’s webcasts, all of our work would be for nothing. We would be left just talking to ourselves. The nature of student media is that you often live hand-to-mouth. As soon as you get money from advertisers or membership fees, you immediately spend it on printing the next edition. Often you find yourself stranded with no money to print and end up postponing an edition or putting it online only. In 2014, we managed to print every single one of our editions and we would like to thank the Rhodes Transformation Office for making this possible by agreeing to partly sponsor this edition. The role they play at this University in ensuring that we address the historical inequalities of our past cannot be underestimated. In this edition, we take a look at some of the hangovers from the global history of colonialism and European domination. In light of the blackface incidents at Stellenbosch and the University of Pretoria, Arts and Entertain- ment examines how this practice has been used and critiqued in cinema over the years. The section also examines how cultural appropriation is articulated at modern music festivals. In our Politics section, we look at the alleged assassination of a prominent activist for Abahlali baseMjondolo and how political criticism from grassroots activists is being continuously met with violence from those in power, a trend which has gained prominence in the wake of the Marikana Massacre. On a lighter note, rAge – the annual South African gaming convention – took place on the weekend of 10 October and our Scitech section has some youth-centric coverage just for you. Finally, our Sports section continues to follow the ongoing story about the Women’s Soccer coach and breaks down the Rhodes Futsal League results.

The Oppidan Press staff and contact details

Editor: Amanda Xulu. Deputy Editor: Stuart Lewis. Executive Consultants: Binwe Adebayo, Kyla Hazell. Managing Editor: Sindisa Mfenqe. Financial Manager: Lorna Sibanda. Advertising Manager:

Smangaliso Simelane. Marketing Manager: Sarah Taylor. Community Engagement Officer: Abigail Butcher. Online Editor: Chelsea Haith. Assistant Online Editor: Liam Stout. News Features Editor: Leila Stein. Assistant News Features Editor: Phelokazi Mbude. Politics Editor: Tarryn de Kock. Assistant Politics Editor: Kim Nyajeka. Opinion Editor: Deane Lindhorst. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Matthew Field. Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor: Nkosazana Hlalethwa. Scitech Editor: Bracken Lee- Rudolph. Environment Editor: Lili Barras-Hargan. Sports Editor: Gabriella Bellairs-Lombard. Assistant Sports Editor: Armand Mukenge. Chief Photo Editor: Kellan Botha. Assistant Chief Photo Editor: Bronwyn Pretorius. Chief Online Photo Editor: Jamie Tucker. Chief Sub-Editor: Kate Jennings. Sub-Editors: Danica Kreusch, Leila Stein, Amy Wilkes. Chief Designer:

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Show me the sex

Deane Lindhorst

L et’s address the scantily clad elephant in the room. We all know porn is degrading, scripted, and great at showing us what real sex doesn’t look like. Yet

it continues to be a multibillion rand industry. Many critics of the porn industry believe that sex performed by professionals and staged in front of the camera is harmful to how young people relate to each other in their fumbling experiences. They argue that mainstream porn shows young boys and men how to relate to young girls and women – as objects to be used for their pleasure, while also showing young girls how to please their significant others. There are, however, those who argue that sexual arousal need not be thrown out with the bath water. Organisations like MakeLoveNotPorn and Come4 are among those argu- ing that the positive effects of porn, such as being a visual part of some people’s sexualities, can still be had without contributing to the problematic and demeaning porn indus- try. These organisations offer a platform where consenting adults can record and upload their intimate love-making sessions. These organisations are not prescriptive, and cou- ples are welcome to engage in whatever sexual acts they like, as long as they are mutually agreed upon. These platforms are not about saying what’s good and what’s bad in the bed- room but about encouraging people who are willing to share their sexual experiences with the world. This seems to be an interesting response to the porn in- dustry. It’s not dismissing the aims and motives of porn, but is rather seeking to do away with the problematic aspects of it. It’s saying that if part of your sexuality is to watch others frolic in the sheets then it’s okay, as long as your viewing habits are not maintaining a controversial industry. MakeLoveNotPorn offers the added benefit of monetary compensation for videos uploaded. The more people who rent your intimate sessions the more money you get. I am unsure how I feel about this aspect of the process because the potential income attached to the act teeters back towards the porn industry. But, on the other hand, if you and your loved one can make money from taking part in an activ- ity that is mutually agreed upon, and that is more fun than being an accountant, then why not? Come4 does not come

than being an accountant, then why not? Come4 does not come Standing in opposition to the

Standing in opposition to the more contentious traditional porn industry, a trend towards “ethical” and “consensual” porn continues to grow globally. Image: KELLAN BOTHA

with the benefits of money but rather offers a non-profit platform where people can upload their videos. Both organisations stress that they are interested in providing an ethical alternative to mainstream porn. There might be contestation around how any kind of porn is ethi- cal but these organisations argue that consent and intent for the world to see your intimate moments is ethical enough for them. While ethical porn might not be everyone’s fancy, it does give alternative viewing options for those who oppose the monolithic and contentious porn industry, yet still enjoy the visual pleasures of it. If porn is going to happen, then I would rather it be ethical porn that shows intimacy and mutual respect for everyone involved.

Courses must transform to meet student needs

Noluxolo Nhlapo Rhodes University Tranformation Office

There is a need for public discus- sions on the transformation of higher education institutions to be broad- ened to include factors other than the racial and gender profile of lecturers and students. The transformation of these institutions is best seen as the transformation of a whole system of exclusion of which the physical exclu- sion, to varying degrees, of different groups of people is but one manifes- tation. Change in the demographics of institutions cannot be seen as divorced from changes in other parts of the system. In a Rhodes study of staff selec- tion processes one of the interviewees argued that the pool of black lecturers suitable to recruit from for a spe- cific discipline is small because black scholars within the discipline tend to study works produced by other black scholars. However the syllabus offered by the institution, does not, in the



tend to

study works

produced by

other black


main, include a study of such texts. The syllabus, the interviewee reflected, is not likely to change soon. They also reported that all postgraduates in that particular department are white. This example clearly illustrates the feedback loop retaliation between staff demographics and the curriculum. It also illustrates the common sense sta- tus of the logic that does not problem- atise the exclusion of texts written by black scholars from the main syllabus. Also not problematised is one of the reasons why, in this discipline, almost all black scholars specialise in studying

texts written by other black scholars. While the most obvious reason would be their identification with the writers of those texts because of racialised experience, the other reason is that in the universities at which black students often do their postgraduate degrees, black and ‘ethnic minority’ students of human sciences are expected to study and write their theses on ‘what they know’. What they know is often defined in racial, ethnic and geographical terms. Thus, while a white student from any part of the world can write their thesis on anything from Chaucer to the black working class on the Rand, few black or ‘ethnic minority’ students have the same freedom. The system therefore constructs them as specialists of that which is local to them while their white counterparts are constructed as specialists. Therefore, a change in staff demo- graphics should be seen as directly linked to changes in the curriculum and changes in the differential posi- tioning of students.

24 October 2014

The Oppidan Press



24 October 2014 The Oppidan Press 7 Opinion Taking away someone’s ‘man card’ not only labels

Taking away someone’s ‘man card’ not only labels them as ‘unmasculine’ but further reinforces social stereotypes regarding gender and sexuality. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

What’s really going on with man cards?

Jordan Stier

S o I had my man card taken away on Friday. I was sitting with some mates at the Rat, as

Friday nights generally go. Noticing my glass was empty, I went to the bar to order another drink. I came back with a Brutal Fruit that just so hap-

pened to be pink (come on, every- body knows that Cheeky Cranberry is the best flavour). Immediately my mates revoked my man card, laughing heartily into their Captain and Cokes.

The question is, what is a man card anyway? And why do I care that it was revoked? My friends were shoving in my face the fact that an invisible membership to hegemonic masculinity had been taken from me. What were my mates really saying about me? Or rather, what were my mates trying to say about men? Drinking a pink drink is something that falls outside of the conventional understanding of masculinity, much like driving a Citroen C2 or watch- ing movies featuring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Doing these kinds

of ‘unmasculine’ things results in the removal of one’s man card by one’s male counterparts which is, in essence, a momentary exclusion from the exclusive boys-only club. A man card is like a DP: it doesn’t exist in reality, but to take it away is to exclude someone from a certain group because they don’t meet certain requirements. This sets up several acts as being exclusive to males, and others as exclusive to females. Which leads me to the thought that classifying one’s gender based on their favourite flavour of drink makes about

as much sense as selecting a president based on the smell of his feet. The thing that concerned me the most is that having my man card removed felt awful. It hurt me to be called ‘unmasculine’. It therefore implies that it is an in- sult to call something feminine. Being feminine is not as good as being mas- culine. Men are better than women. Et cetera, et cetera. (For a more de- tailed synopsis, refer to the history of the world). My mates were implying, by refer- encing man cards, that men are better

than women. It is absurd to think that, to be a part of my friend group, the place from which I gain most of my self esteem, I must change certain things about my individuality and my preferences to suit the rules set by the no-girls- allowed treehouse rulebook of accepted masculinity. So should I order a whiskey (which tastes like James Blunt sounds) next time? No. Because believing one to be exclu- sionary and better than the other is oppressive, offensive, and absurd.

What I learned from GALA

Matthew Field

While most of you were looking forward to your well-earned – if brief – vacation at the end of the third term, I was preparing for a rather different adventure. I had been chosen in August to take part in a Youth Exchange hosted by Gay and Lesbian Memories in Action (GALA) in Johannesburg. The exchange brought together representa- tives from several southern African countries for three weeks (9-29 September) in order to discuss ways of improving LGBT activism across the continent. The issue of LGBT rights is becoming increasingly relevant in South Africa. Countries across the continent are outlawing homosexuality left and right, while South Africa remains one of the few that support full equality for the LGBT community. When I first got the offer to attend the exchange, I was extremely excited. I’ve been involved in various forms of LGBT activism before, but the saying “Rhodes exists in a bubble” is very true. While I try to keep up to date with the latest happenings, I can’t deny that I am sheltered. This was one of the main reasons I chose to offer myself to this cause: I wanted to see just what was going on outside of my own little bubble. And, boy, did I ever. There’s no real way to accurately describe this process. A common phrase that people use is “It really opened my eyes”, but this seems too simple and doesn’t quite capture the weight of the moment. If I may be granted a small degree of intellectual snobbery, it was more like I was one of the subjects in Plato’s allegory of the cave. Here I was, staring at shad- ows and thinking I knew everything about everything, until someone came along, unshackled me and showed me an entire world about which I knew nothing. Of course, all this time I’ve been rambling on about the exchange and yet I haven’t even told you what it was we did. The aim of the event was to bring together a group of LGBT youth activists from different southern African countries in order to improve LGBT activism across the continent. I cannot stress enough just how

…it was more like I was one of the subjects in Plato’s allegory of the cave. Here I was, staring at shadows and thinking I knew everything about everything, until someone came along, unshackled me and showed me an entire world about which I knew nothing

much work was involved in this exchange. Each day was carefully planned by our hosts: when we weren’t taking part in workshops or in-depth debates, we were meeting other activ- ist organisations such as the Coalition of African Lesbians or Iranti (an organisation dedicated to documenting LGBT activism in Africa) and learning about different sides of the equality struggle. It wasn’t all just work, though. One of the biggest draws of the ex- change was the chance to meet and interact with many amazing people. I made many new friends during those three weeks and for that alone I think it was an incredibly successful event. In the end, that is what’s really important. Successful activism is based around companionship, around people pulling together because of – and in spite of – adversity, and banding together to fight injustice. That was the greatest lesson I took from GALA, and it’s one that will stay with me for a long time yet.

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The Oppidan Press

24 October 2014


Young gamers shine at rAge 2014

Bracken Lee-Rudolph

T he home_coded stand at rAge Expo, which is hosted by Make Games SA and NAG

Magazine, is a prominent platform for aspiring local developers to showcase their work. The unassum- ing stand sits amongst the big budget productions, yet still leaves its mark on many a passerby. The expo is often the largest public opportunity South African developers get to help their games gain traction on an international level, and is important in building both hype and support for their upcoming titles. This is quite of- ten doubly true when you are showing off your first real game – an experience local video game developer Kobus van der Walt will be well familiar with after his first expo. Van der Walt has been working alongside Celestial Games, a South African developer known for their work on Toxic Bunny HD, to develop his game, a puzzle platformer called Montez. Surprisingly, van der Walt is only 17 years old.

He originally approached Celestial Games head Travis Bulford with the concept for Montez, a game that has players play as two different characters simultaneously, both of whom need to exit the level they are currently on. Celestial thought the concept was great

are currently on. Celestial thought the concept was great 13-year-old Kyle Nortje participated in the F34R

13-year-old Kyle Nortje participated in the F34R Adept team, pictured above, which won the Xbox 360 Call of Duty:

Ghosts tournament at the Telkom Do Gaming Championships. Photo: ABDUL-GAFFOOR SONDAY

and immediately brought van der Walt on board and commenced develop- ment of his concept. Currently, the game is in the

Greenlight phase on Steam, meaning it is being voted either into or out of digital distribution via Steam based on public opinion.

While van der Walt may be making his way into the industry by develop- ing games, other players are finding success in playing them. F34R_FROST,

or Kyle Nortje, is a Call of Duty:

Ghosts player currently playing for F34R Adept, one of South Africa’s big- gest competitive Call of Duty teams on Xbox 360. Nortje is a 13-year-old player who represented his team at the Do Gam- ing Championships (DGC). Nortje, clearly not perturbed by the big stage he and his team found themselves on, played an important part in his team’s progression to the final, and their victory over fellow finalists Insane Gaming to secure their DGC triumph and a host of prizes. This means that Nortje – who has yet to reach high school – is currently one of South Africa’s top Call of Duty players, and has won at South Africa’s biggest eSports event. This is attributed both to raw, malleable talent, which F34R Adept coach Glenn Alexander has fostered well, and a supportive environment that has allowed him to prosper. Both Nortje and van der Walt are excellent examples of young gamers in action at an advanced level in South Africa: Nortje in eSports, and van der Walt in video game development. Given their ages, we can expect to see them plying their trade at the highest level of South African gaming for quite some time, and perhaps even making their mark on the international gaming industry.

even making their mark on the international gaming industry. MobiSAM is a website that allows one

MobiSAM is a website that allows one to report water, electricity and infrastructure issues in Grahamstown. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS

Crowdsourcing municipal issues

Bracken Lee-Rudolph

Service delivery in Grahamstown is rarely faultless and the work by the Makana Mu- nicipality has often been questioned. Water shortages and electricity outages are not uncommon, and public infrastructure such as roads are often poorly maintained. Thank- fully, there are organisations working to try and keep the municipality in check. MobiSAM is a mobile social accountability and monitoring platform. This means that MobiSAM allows users to report issues in the Makana Municipality, specifically within Grahamstown. MobiSAM has assumed the responsibility of taking these complaints forward – both to the municipality and social media. Social accountability monitoring is a process whereby the state of the town and its ameni- ties - the condition of its water, electricity and roads, for example - is recorded. This informa- tion is then relayed back to the municipality, so that they are aware of any previously unknown issues as well as what the public is actively demanding be fixed. MobiSAM uses the monitoring methodol- ogy developed by Colm Allan of the Public

Service Accountability Monitor in Graham- stown, an organisation which forms part of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University. This means that MobiSAM is focused on the major service delivery sectors of the Makana Municipality, which are water, electricity, infrastructure and sanitation. The service is currently available to use on mobile and PC platforms via MobiSAM’s of- ficial website and allows you to report public service issues within Grahamstown. Registra- tion is done through a fairly short form, which allows you to select whether and how you would like to receive notifications of issues with public service. There is a subsequent email confirmation and a maximum waiting period of 48 hours before users’ accounts are activated. MobiSAM is still in the early stages of devel- opment, and thus its scope is restricted to the Makana Municipality, particularly Grahams- town, where its development is centred. That said, support is planned to roll out nationwide as the service begins to expand. MobiSAM is an ambitious project to keep public amenities functional, and could be a useful tool for both citizens and the govern- ment if it succeeds.

Rhodes students place fourth in the DGC

Bracken Lee-Rudolph

The Telkom Do Gaming Championships (DGC) is South Africa’s best organised and funded eSports tournament, which happens an- nually at rAge Expo. The DGC covers a number of games, from Call of Duty to Gran Turismo, all with substantial prizes for the winners. The headlining event at the DGC is the Defence of the Ancients (DotA) 2 competition because of its sizeable local competitive player pool. The prizes in this division are also the most lucrative, with cash and hardware prizes being offered to teams all the way down to sixth place - as opposed to third in other games - collectively valued at R270,000. Two Rhodes University students, Jethro Thor- burn and Mo James, participated in the com- petition this year under the banner of In-Finity Gaming, specifically their iFG.Gold squad, which James captained. The pair, along with their team- mates, were sponsored by Logitech after their performance in an earlier tournament qualified them for backing from the hardware giant. Both James and Thorburn participated in the DGC tournament, but a technicality forced Thor- burn to preside over the team as manager for the weekend instead of being involved as a player in the tournament. Despite this technical- ity, both James and Thorburn gained the benefits of sponsorship from Logitech - new hardware, free transport to the Telkom DGC and accommo- dation in Johannesburg for the duration of the event. The DotA 2 DGC works off a double elimina- tion system, meaning there are two brackets which eventually form the grand finals. iFG.Gold started their tournament strongly against Black- light Gaming beating them 2-0, and so making their way to the winner’s bracket semi-finals. In that round eventual DotA 2 DGC winners, Bra- vado Blue, beat iFG.Gold, knocking them down

winners, Bra- vado Blue, beat iFG.Gold, knocking them down iFG.Gold placed fourth in the DotA Do

iFG.Gold placed fourth in the DotA Do Gaming Championships at rAge Expo 2014, which took place earlier this month. Photo: BRACKEN LEE-RUDOLPH

to the loser’s bracket. They mounted a comeback, however, beating BUD Hydra to set up a match against GPF Dota in the loser’s semi-finals. Unfortunately, they could not beat GPF Dota, and finished their tour- nament in fourth place - an admirable achieve- ment by any standards. GPF Dota eventually lost out to Energy Gam- ing in the loser’s bracket final, thus claiming third place. Energy Gaming subsequently fell in the grand finals to an incredibly strong Bravado Blue team, who were unbeaten in the 2014 Dota 2 DGC and claimed the grand prize. However, as a result of the tournament, James and Thorburn find themselves ranked among South Africa’s top DotA 2 players. Hopefully they can push forward from this tournament and achieve an even more impressive finish in the DGC at rAge Expo 2015.

24 October 2014

The Oppidan Press


24 October 2014 The Oppidan Press 9 Using glass bottles should be encouraged due to the

Using glass bottles should be encouraged due to the harmful health and environmental effects of using plastic bottles, of which many people are unaware. Photo: ASHLIEGH MEY

Glass bottles trump plastic

Nathi Mzileni and Lili Barras-Hargan

A hot summer’s day in Grahamstown can see temperatures

soaring above 32 degrees Celsius. With little faith in the

quality of the water provided by the Makana municipality,

many turn to bottled water for hydration. But a recent study has cited major health concerns linked to plastic bottles and heat. Professor Lema Ma from the University of Florida researched the detrimental effects of heat on plastic water bottles. The cause of the problem lies in the materials used to make the bottles: polyethylene and terephthalate. When exposed to any type of heat, polyethylene and terephthalate release harmful chemicals like antimony and bisphe- nol A (BPA), a chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic. These are eventually absorbed by the water inside the plastic bottle, Ma’s report stated. BPA is treated as a major concern by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Recently, a group of 37 scientists reported their concern regarding BPA in the Reproductive Toxicology journal. The IARC primary concern was that the chemical has biological properties resembling carcinogens. In addition, BPA has been known to cause problems in foetuses and young children. Although no law has been created to prevent BPA intake, the US Food and Drug Adminis-

tration has promoted the use of BPA-free products among parents.

Furthermore, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences tested 16 plastic water bottles exposed to heat, and only one passed the regu- lations of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Ma said that other plastic beverage containers ought to be studied as well, to investigate the chances of the mixing of these harmful chemi- cals with the beverages inside them. Ma said, “More attention should be given to other drinks packaged with polyethylene terephthalate plastic, such as milk, coffee and acidic juice.” Some plastic water bottles warn consumers to keep the plastic bottles away from sunlight, but do not state the health risks associated with this. The alternative container option, which is healthier and more environmentally friendly, is glass. Glass is 100 percent recyclable and does not emit chemicals that may contaminate the food or beverage inside it. Aside from the millions of gallons of oil used to make plastic bot- tles, the lack of consistency in recycling sees over 80 percent of plastic bottles ending up in landfills or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch where they are eaten by marine species. In a world with limited space and an ever-growing population, plas- tic bottle use is not only affecting our health but also our environment. Perhaps this is the moment to eradicate the need for plastic bottles and instead opt for a more sustainable solution, such as improvement of water quality.

What if all the bees buzzed off?

Lauren Buckle

Between 2012 and 2013 almost half the honeybee colonies in the United States col- lapsed, with a similar decline seen in Euro- pean populations. The global repercussions of honeybee extinction could be devastat- ing, particularly for South Africa. A possible reason for declining honey- bee populations is colony collapse disorder (CCD). First discovered in 2006, CCD involves the departure of worker bees who are vital for the colony’s overall function. Possible causes of CCD are pesticides, pathogens, and electromagnetic radiation from cell phones. Although the extinction of honeybees would affect many environmental processes, their function as pollinators is necessary for plant growth and their loss would have severe repercussions. As well as losing important plant species, food shortages could also be a side effect. “No pollination would be a prob- lem for many key crops,” said Rhodes Univer- sity Professor of Entomology Martin Villet. Honeybees are also important for the development of the seeds and fruits of plants. Mbulelo Mswazi, a member of the South African National Biodiversity Institute, wrote:

“Honeybees are used to pollinate about 50 crops across South Africa, including the

deciduous fruit and vegetable seed found in the Cape region.” The extinction of honeybees would have a negative impact on these plants and the businesses that depend on them. Recognising the agricultural importance of remaining bee colonies, various laws have been implemented to prevent further losses. One such law, created by the European Union, prohibits the production and trade of fruits and vegetables grown with neonicotinoids, one of the most popular pesticides globally. This caused certain South African products to be rejected for export to countries including the USA and England as the products do not meet these countries’ standards. One example of this is the pineapple industry – largely based in the Eastern Cape – which has been limited in its opportunities to trade with other countries. This impacts directly on farmers and farm stalls. Without the funds to invest in more expensive, ‘clean’ pesticides, the situation will worsen. South Africa lacks the resources to combat an environmental disaster, making it unlikely that the country could find solutions to the elevated food costs and possible famine promised by declining honeybee populations. However, education, regulation and con- servation could provide a chance to prevent honeybee extinction.

could provide a chance to prevent honeybee extinction. Honeybees play an essential role in the environment

Honeybees play an essential role in the environment as well as some businesses and their extinction could seriously impact South Africa. Photo: VICKY PATRICK


impact South Africa. Photo: VICKY PATRICK Environment Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, Western Cape. Photo: SOURCED

Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, Western Cape. Photo:


A different type of green energy

Dillon Lutchman

With the world advancing towards sustainable ‘green’ energy, Japan has celebrated its first year of being ‘nuke-free’. In contrast, the promise of employ- ment, high energy revenue and economic security, makes nuclear power an attractive option for the South African government. However, the effects and environmental impacts of this energy source are still in question. Essentially, the sustainable energy systems of hydroelectric dams, wind turbine farms, solar panel fields and geothermal stations are favourable in terms of environmental effects and are rapidly growing in popularity. Even so, high costs in maintaining these environmentally friendly energy sources often result in governments seeking alternative solutions with nuclear power being the next best option. Nuclear power operates like any other means of electrical production: water is heated up to form steam which turns large turbines, thus producing electricity.

However, instead of using coal or gas to generate heat, nuclear power uses the splitting of uranium atoms as

a heat source to power steam-driven turbines. Nuclear reactors have an extremely low environmental impact

in comparison to fossil fuels. Nonetheless, the danger of


reactor exploding and releasing radioactive particles


a major risk.

Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace CEO and South African citizen said, “Greenpeace scientists have highlighted that the devastation wrought on those [Japanese] com- munities, the painful legacy of radioactive contamina- tion that I witnessed, was unnecessary. We do not have to run the risk of nuclear accidents.” Currently, 23 000 household solar power-units are installed in Japan on a monthly basis by locals. Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Japan, Hisayo Takada said, “Japanese people want a

safe, sustainable energy future and are willing to make

it a reality. Now we need government leadership to be

nuclear-free forever.” This comes after the third anniversary of the Fuku- shima nuclear plant disaster – the second largest release of nuclear particles since the meltdown of the reactor in Chernobyl in the former USSR-owned territory of Pripyat, Ukraine. However, due to Japan’s constitutional monarchy government, systems of implementing full scale solar power fields have been hindered, forcing each Japanese household to take matters into its own hands. Although South Africa holds surplus amounts of uranium, many projected plans such as the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor – a form of nuclear reactor – have been cancelled. According to the World Nuclear As- sociation, however, these plans were cancelled due to poor planning which led to budget cuts. This was then followed by ‘improvised’ smaller plants and eventually an entire foreclosure of projects. Existing nuclear power plants in Koeberg will be shut down in 2025 and 2026, due to operating licenses expiring, leaving South Africa relying heavily on coal powered plants. According to Eskom, South Africa generates 95% of its electricity from coal. A R500 billion government investment aims to swap current crumbling electrical infrastructure for ‘greener’ alternatives. With nuclear disasters fresh on our minds and some of the most technologically developed regions moving away from nuclear power, it seems to be the wrong solution to our energy crisis. Furthermore, revenue from international coal exports and concerns of false promises regarding the benefits of nuclear power have South Africans wondering whether the government is concerned with monetarily ‘greener’ solutions instead.


The Oppidan Press

24 October 2014


Cinema usage puts spotlight on blackface

Lili Barras-Hargan Arts & Entertainment

S outh Africa has seen two cases of young people donning blackface in the past three

months. Their behaviour has been heavily criticised and has sparked a national debate questioning the acceptability of such practices in the modern culture. Blackface was a cultural phenom- enon that emerged in America during the mid-19th century and was still popular in the early 20th century. It involved the caricaturing of racial stereotypes in a visual form. By ap- plying burnt cork to their faces, white men were able to represent a clumsy, rampantly sexual and unintelligent character for the amusement of a white audience. This paved the way for min- strel shows, which combined slapstick comedy, innuendo-laden skits and plantation musicals. Minstrel shows – and blackface in general – were used as a way of oppressing the black popula- tions by laughing at them and portray- ing their lifestyles and slave position in society something comedic.

The first use of blackface in cinema was also the first use of 12-reel film in America. The Birth of a Nation was a 1915 silent film directed by D. W. Griffith. African-American characters were portrayed by white men wearing blackface and displaying overtly sexual aggression towards female characters. In addition, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was presented as a heroic force, and the film’s release resulted not only in hostility by white gangs towards black people but was also used as recruit- ment material for the KKK. The Jazz Singer was a 1927 musi- cal that bridged the gap between silent film and “talkies”. Jakie is a young Jewish man who breaks from his family’s traditions and becomes a famous jazz singer. However, the jazz genre was considered a ‘black’ type of music so Jakie donned blackface for his performances. In a film where the only successful jazz singers were black, Jakie needed to wear the mask so that he would be a believable character and appeal to the audience within the movie as well as the film’s viewers. In 2000, Spike Lee directed Bam- boozled, a satirical movie about a

Spike Lee directed Bam- boozled , a satirical movie about a modernised and televised minstrel show.

modernised and televised minstrel show. Unlike previous productions utilising ‘burnt cork masks’, Bam- boozled features black actors wearing blackface. The film touches on issues such as white people justifying their racism and black characters being unable to fit into any role other than the stereotype created by the afore- mentioned white characters. White Chicks (2004) is an example of the reversal of blackface in cinema. The

action/comedy film features two black FBI agents disguised as white socialite women. The two black men are forced to behave like ‘typical’ white surburban women and the ridiculous events that ensue criticise blackface and minstrel shows. Over the past 100 years, blackface in its many forms has appeared in cinema. However, the acceptance of blackface seems to have rightly shifted, as racism and damaging historical events are slowly unpacked. By approaching the issue and actively responding to it through film, cinema

is encouraging people to speak about

blackface and the relevance it has in the culture of our day and age.

and the relevance it has in the culture of our day and age. Blackface is an
and the relevance it has in the culture of our day and age. Blackface is an
and the relevance it has in the culture of our day and age. Blackface is an

Blackface is an issue that has its roots in early American cinema, but can still be seen in its various forms today. Images: SOURCED

Financing content on the internet

Bradley Prior


As we find ourselves entrenched in a technological revolution, people are scrambling to find ways to fund their work via the Internet. Many people have been left feeling disillusioned by the common “I make R100 000 a month without leaving my house” advertisements that are so often displayed on websites. Despite the many scams, however, there are ways to make money online. Firstly there is AdSense, a service from Google that allows advertisers to advertise on the customer’s page. In return, the customer gets paid a set amount per click on that advertisement. AdSense organises which adverts get shown, tracks how much money the customer is owed and pays it to the customer’s specified account. The only thing the customer needs to do is provide an avenue for adverts to be displayed and set up an account. AdSense does not pay large quanti- ties of money each time the advert gets a hit. However, if a site gets enough traffic, earnings start to add up. AdSense caters for a wide variety of possible adver- tisement styles. If you make Youtube videos, you can let AdSense advertise before your video starts. Own a website? Leave space open and AdSense will place display advertise- ments in those spaces. Even mobile sites can use AdSense. Next on the list is Twitch’s partner programme. Twitch is

a service on which gamers can stream themselves playing video-games to an audience. If a streamer can hold consist- ent audiences of at least 500 people three or more times a week, they can apply for a partnership. This allows streamers to get premium subscribers.

Premium subscribers choose to pay a monthly fee, most of which is paid to the streamer. In return, subscribers can use special emoticons when using the chat feature and can still type when subscribers-only mode is turned on in chat. Es- sentially, subscribers make a choice to support the streamer

if they believe the streamer deserves their money.

Patreon is another way in which creators can source funding to sustain their production of content. Patreon was founded in 2013 and allows Patrons (donors) to financially contribute to content creators. Through their donations they can keep financing the production of content that otherwise may not be sustainable for the creator. Creators range from game designers to photographers, animators to musicians, Youtubers to illustrators. The only requirement to be a creator is, well, to create things. Addi- tionally, creators and Patrons can connect through Patreon.

tionally, creators and Patrons can connect through Patreon. Although there are many money-making scams online, there

Although there are many money-making scams online, there are still legitimate ways of earning some extra cash. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS

This allows creators to keep in touch with those who are funding their work, and allows the Patrons to be kept in the loop with regards to how their money is being used. There are more than enough avenues for online creators to earn money for their work. However, all of the avenues have one thing in common: they require hard and consistent work to earn anything substantial. Those looking to make a quick buck will be left disappointed. If you really have a pas- sion to be a creator of regular, high-quality content, though, there are options available to monetise your dream.

24 October 2014

The Oppidan Press


24 October 2014 The Oppidan Press 11 Though many visitors to the annual Rocking the Daisies

Though many visitors to the annual Rocking the Daisies festival are known to don various hats, headdresses and bindis, few are aware of their cultural significance. Photo: EMILY CORKE

Culturally inappropriate at Rocking the Daisies

Abbey Hudson

T he issue of cultural appropria-

tion is, simply put, the bor-

rowing (“appropriation”) of

a part of one culture by another. By itself, it is not necessarily a bad thing:

after all, cultures have been trading practices with each other for centu-

ries. It becomes a problem, however, when the people doing it have no idea what it is they are borrowing or why it is important.

Rocking the Daisies was recently held at Cloof Wine Estate in Darling, hosting more than 26 000 festival goers over the course of three days. The festival showcased local and inter- national music acts, as well as much cultural appropriation. The primary audience at Daisies seemed to be the ‘young cool kids’,

a demographic that appears to be

unaware of the meaning and scope of cultural appropriation. Hundreds of festival goers donned culturally inappropriate garb – Native American headdresses, rice paddy hats, sombre-

ros, and the ultimate festival favourite, bindis. It is clear that few of the people wearing these items knew of their cultural and religious significance. This seemed particularly true in the case of those who donned bindis. When asked whether she knew the cultural significance of the bindi an anonymous festival goer replied, “No. Is it bad?” Others laughed uncomfort- ably when asked, but few were inter- ested in discovering the significance of the bindi to the Hindu community. The appropriation of selected parts of cultures prevalent in South Africa

is problematic, as the history of these

cultural signifiers has been devalued

When asked whether she knew the cultural significance of the bindi, an anonymous festival goer replied, “No. Is that bad?”

by our racist history, both during and after apartheid. A problem lies in young South Afri-

cans taking instances of cultural appro- priation as a joke or as being ‘in good fun’. Even when someone is called out for their behaviour, little support is given to the accuser. Overheard at Dai- sies was this: “You know that second blackface scandal? Ja, those guys are in my res.” It was said proudly and with a tone that implied there was a gross overreaction to the incident, showing just how little the speaker cared about the issue. While several people did remove their culturally insensitive items in an attempt not to offend or disrespect other cultures, most people followed trends without thinking of the possible cultural implications. It seems that the most prevalent trend at Daisies was not the flower crowns or the bindis or onesies or crazy hats, but the well-in-

tentioned yet still problematic actions of festival goers.

Arts & Entertainment

How much a show really costs

Josh Stein

It is easy for an audience to forget about the financing that goes into paying for acts. Bringing in a band like Shortstraw is not cheap and even the lesser known acts can put a strain on budgets. Even theatre, a cultural mainstay in Grahamstown, can put a lot of financial pressure on organis- ers. As it stands, it is often a struggle for the Rhodes Live Music Society (LMS) and the Drama Department to keep entertainment rolling. As LMS is a student society, money is not exactly abundant. Vice Chair- person of LMS Sheila David, explained the price of bringing bands to Gra- hamstown. “We don’t pay local acts. The whole point is to create a platform for local acts; it’s pretty much an exchange.” When it comes to national bands - think Shortstraw or CrashCar- Burn - things become trickier. “A band like Shortstraw are on the market for R20 000 but because we are a student society we can’t pay that so we sign a contract with them that says as a student society we can’t afford that,” said David. Instead, societies have to negotiate in order to secure an agreeable price. Another big expense facing LMS is the cost of equipment. After rigorous use, equipment eventually breaks and has to be replaced. This can run up the bills for the society which sometimes has to rent extra equipment for a show

which sometimes has to rent extra equipment for a show With limited budgets for the Drama

With limited budgets for the Drama Department and Live Music Society, the funding of performances often poses a challenge rarely considered by audi- ences. Photo: ASHLIEGH MEY

in order to provide adequate sound. Live music is not the only per- formance which can cause financial stress. Theatre performances do not come free and budgets can be tricky. Students in the Drama Department have to draw up budgets for their performances. These include the costs of materials for costumes, props that are sourced in town and any other materials needed for the production. The department increases students’ budgets based on how far along in their degrees they are. The department also has to get the word out which means that marketing costs, such as

posters and programmes, must also be considered. Theatre Administrator Prarochna Rama said that students may encoun- ter some financial challenges. “The budget that we give our students is sometimes not enough. Sometimes things can break and we might not have the budget to fix it. If something breaks it is up to the student to pay for it, if it is their fault,” explained Rama. It is clear, then, that for both LMS and the Drama Department limited finances and high overhead costs make organising quality entertainment for students and locals a challenge.

quality entertainment for students and locals a challenge. Having toured in South Africa and abroad on

Having toured in South Africa and abroad on several occasions already, the Rhodes Chamber Choir’s future plans include potential tours to the US and collaborations with the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo:


Chamber Choir celebrates 59 years of choral ensemble

Pumla Kalipa

Acknowledged as one of South Africa’s first university choral ensembles, the 59-year-old Rhodes University Chamber Choir (RUCC) continues to give students from different faculties a platform in which to participate and appreciate choral music. Among several achievements over the past 59 years, the most notable attainment has been performing at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford in England. Along with conductor Dr Andrew-John Bethka, the Chamber Choir looks set to achieve much more. The choir is in good hands: Bethka holds a Masters of Sacred Music degree from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, as well as a Doctorate in Music from the University of Cape Town. “I was appointed as a conductor at the beginning of this year. My job is to train the choir to sing well together while developing each singer’s voice to its full potential,” Bethka

said. “I choose music which will stretch the singers and will be beautiful for the audience to hear,” he added. Each year the RUCC performs in locations outside of Grahamstown. This year, the choir travelled to Limpopo, stopping to perform in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein on the way. “It was an awesome tour and the audiences loved the music we performed for them,” said Bethka. The choir performs songs in six of South Africa’s official languages, something which has garnered an enthusiastic response from their audience. “Almost all of the pieces we perform are pieces by South African artists. This resonates well with the audiences across the country,” Bethka said. The future of the RUCC is looking promising, and with the year coming to an end, Bethka hopes to deliver more dynamic performances next year. “We may collaborate with the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra to sing the Nelson Mass by Haydn. We are also hoping to take the choir on tour to the USA in December next year. It promises to be exciting!” he said.

AbM member assassinated



Mabizela looks ahead

AbM member assassinated 4 Sports Mabizela looks ahead The fourth annual Futsal League concluded on Tuesday

The fourth annual Futsal League concluded on Tuesday 14 October, with The Expendables claiming victory. The league hoping for even more student participation next year. Photo: GABI BELLAIRS-LOMBARD

The Expendables crowned champs

Muhammad Hussain and Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

T he Rhodes University Futsal League is growing at a slow yet steady pace, with 2014

being its fourth year in action. However, this year has seen a decline in participation for the club. This is because many older players have left and residences have been less involved in the league, said Futsal Coordinator Caroline Te Reh. Teams Bossolona and The Expenda- bles faced each other in a heated final which saw The Expendables win the 2014 Futsal League title 4-3. A 3-3 draw pushed the game into extra time, but a goal from Ahmed Ismail led The Expendables to victory. With two goals from Kudzi Nzombe and one from Lesli Mazhura, Bosso- lona were off to a promising start.

However, a red card in the second half put them at a disadvantage during extra time. “There was a lack of discipline today, and guys got carried away by the supporters,” explained Bossolona Captain Mtha Shane Ndlovu. “The Expendables are a good team though, but our lack of coordination killed us today.” The Expendables Captain Ibrahim Patel said that the result was a “great team effort, where we played every one of our players instead of having one set team.” The team added that they came to the tournament to have fun, but their strength as a team enabled them to take the title. The two teams will compete again next year, with Bosso- lona hoping to move up from their spot as second best in the league. This year, only 12 teams participated in the league compared to the 20 that

participated last year. Te Reh added that the lack of proper advertising was also a possible issue. However, even with the decline in the number of league teams this year, there was great enthusiasm from those who did participate. “The league itself has been incred- ibly competitive and exciting. It’s been really tight, but two worthy teams have made the final,” said Te Reh. Unfortunately this year saw no women’s league as there were barely any entrants, but there are plans to include a women’s league. Te Reh is concerned that people find the term ‘league’ deceptively intimidating. “I’d like for girls to also realise that [it] is just for fun and it’s such a social sport as well,” commented Te Reh. The league also hopes to attract more teams and continue the day tour- naments that were hosted this year.

SRC considers calls to keep women’s soccer coach

Kimara Singh

The Student Representative Council (SRC) heard the con- cerns of the women’s soccer team when they met last week regarding the matter of their coach Brynmor Heemro. Although Heemro’s job is not under review by Sport Ad- ministration, he has unfortunately not met one of his job criteria: to qualify for the University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament. The results of the meeting with the SRC were construc- tive. Godfrey Kadzere, the new Sports and Societies council- lor, sat in on the meeting which focused on making the SRC aware of the team’s interest in keeping their coach in 2015. They also spoke about the troubles encountered this year caused by external factors. The team’s recommendation letters, in which they re- quested to keep Heemro as their coach, were handed over and a case will be opened after Kadzere attends the next Sports Council meeting. A meeting with Sports Admin and the soccer leadership may be scheduled after this. “It is in the team’s best interest to keep the coach and it is my job to listen to the students and their wishes obviously come

first,” said Kadzere. Kadzere added that he recognised that the women’s team has not had a proper platform to play their matches due to miscommunication of fixtures from Sports Admin and USSA organisers. This meant that not qualifying for USSA was a result of circumstances beyond the team’s control. However, Kadzere said he has seen the team’s progress and will air the players’ calls to keep Heemro as coach for 2015 at the next Sports Council meeting. “Overall we feel hopeful and heard. They are genuinely concerned about us and are pulling all stops to help us. At the moment we are confident that we will have him [Heemro] next year. If matters are not addressed then we will petition, and this time go to the Dean of Students to have more backing,” said women’s team captain Oshoveli Kukuri. Vice-captain Mieke Grobler added that she be- lieved that if the team were to keep their coach next year it would benefit greatly and continue to grow in leaps and bounds. The passion and dedication of the women’s team is ever present and will hopefully mean that their coach is still there to guide them through the 2015 sporting year.


Lost your man card?


them through the 2015 sporting year. 5 Lost your man card? 7 Sphiwe Radebe, one of

Sphiwe Radebe, one of three students to represent Rhodes and the East- ern Cape, feels reluctant to join the provincial team again next year due to issues of poor administration by the Eastern Cape organisers. Photo: SOURCED

Rhodes students shine for EC basketball

Armand Mukenge

Three Rhodes University students, Nolwazi Khuluse, Sphiwumusa Radebe, and Tebello Khampane, represented the Eastern Cape in the inter-provincial basketball competition from 26 to 28 Septem- ber in Johannesburg. “It was a lot of fun, but always challenging,” said Khuluse who represented the province in 2013 as well. She added that this year’s competition was not as successful as last year’s. “This year is the one year that I actually wish that I had played for my team back home in KwaZulu- Natal,” she said. Khuluse explained that she was not happy with the way everything was arranged by the Eastern Cape administration in charge of the team. Issues included poorly sup- plied equipment and poorly organ- ised transport. Despite these issues, Khuluse still had fun on the court. Khuluse was not the only un- happy player. Radebe said, “The way the team was put together was a problem with the administration of it all.” Radebe also felt it would have been better if she had had the chance to represent KwaZulu-Natal. While the duo do not regret rep- resenting the Eastern Cape, they felt

that organisational issues could have been avoided. The Eastern Cape team placed seventh out of nine teams,winning two of their five games. Although demanding, the tournament was a positive experience overall. “The competition was very challenging compared to the one here at Rhodes University, but I learnt to be a team player – that is what I will try to bring [to] the Rhodes Basketball team,” said Khampane. The trio, who are grateful for the general support from Rhodes, felt that their head coach, Rere Themb- elani, did not show enough support. Radebe said, “Our assistant coach was very supportive, but our head coach was very frustrating.” All three women agreed that Thembelani seemed to have given up on them. In response to these allegations, Thembelani said, “I supported them, but there was only so much I could do as I was not the provincial coach. I could only sup- port from home like anyone else.” Khuluse and Radebe say that after the challenges they faced within the Eastern Cape team, they are hesitant to play for the team again next year. Khampane, on the other hand, is considering a second season at provincial level.