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Ubom! stalwart
Slu remembered

Short story:
The Fight

The Oppidan Press

Edition 4, 29 April 2015

The Eskom dilemma

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The Oppidan Press 29 April 2015

News Features

Cyberbullying hard to prosecute

Nkcubeko Balani

here has been widespread debate and conflict on the
Rhodes SRC Facebook group since student protests
for transformation began and hashtags such as
#RhodesSoWhite started trending. This has resulted in
behaviour on the page which has contravened the groups values
which include human dignity, equality, non-racialism, nonsexism or any other form of discrimination.
SRC President Siyanda Makhubo said that the SRCs initial
response to conflict on the page had been to allow free speech and
open interaction since this was a time when the entire student body
was conscious of its issues. Makhubo explained that this meant
that SRC members who administer the Facebook page would not
regulate discussion on the page as this would go against the page
being a space of open, uninfluenced discussion.
However, in cases where content on the page had been reported
to the page administrator via Facebook, the SRC decided to
collect the post and pass it on to a University body to deal with.
There have been about 30 reports they are with the Secretary
General. We will be documenting them and handing them to the
Harassment Officer, Makhubo said. This action could lead to
disciplinary hearings or mediation between the parties involved.
Despite students reporting discriminatory posts to Facebook,
there have been few reports made directly to the Harassment
Officer by students themselves. [A]t this point there has been
no significant increase in the number of cases reported [to my
office] on racial discrimination, stated Harassment Officer and
Manager of Student Wellness Nomangwane Mrwetyana. She
further encouraged students to feel free to approach her on any
discriminatory behaviour at the University.
Mrwetyana also explained that cyber harassment has not
occurred to a great extent at Rhodes in the past. It has not
happened extensively, however when it gets brought to our
attention the same procedure is followed in dealing with it,
she said.
Cyber harassment does not hold the same clout as physical
or face-to-face verbal harassment as it differs from physical
encounters, Mrwetyana added. Expanding on the issue, she

Some people think

its just social media,
and so dont take it
Nomangwane Mrwetyana,
Harassment Officer and
Manager of Student Wellness

explained, The most often used word is spam, as in This person

is spamming me. Some people think its just social media, and so
dont take it seriously.
Discrimination on cyber platforms like the Rhodes SRC page
is also difficult to follow up on because the perpetrator can
easily remove their discriminatory post. In some instances the
perpetrator may not even be affiliated with the university, meaning
that even if they are reported Rhodes has no jurisdiction over
the issue.
Law lecturer Sarah Driver explained: If someone wishes to
take action against a person who is not associated with Rhodes
[University] then they should approach a court in terms of the
Protection from Harassment Act.
Driver also emphasised the importance of taking screenshots
of discriminatory remarks, before the perpetrator removes them.
Alternatively, evidence could be led from people who saw the
offending remarks before they were deleted. In other words, it will
depend on the factual scenario and the availability of witnesses,
she said. Therefore while the SRC page aims to foster an ongoing
dialogue, this does not mean that people can get away with
discrimination and harassment.
As shown on the Rhodes SRC page, cyber harassment can
occur even on platforms which are considered spaces for fruitful
discussion. While it is sometimes difficult to make a case against a
cyberbully, it is imperative to hold those responsible to account.

Tensions rose on the SRC Facebook page during the height of

the Rhodes must fall campaign, with some students receiving
threatening messages or being harassed for their views.

Confusion regarding implementation of new dining hall rules

Phelokazi Mbude
Female students in the Miriam
Makeba dining hall were recently
asked to dress more modestly when
going for meals. The new rule
implemented at the end of first term
banned the wearing of clothing items
that the hall administration has
allegedly classed as too revealing to
be appropriate for public wear.
Thomas Pringle Senior Student,
Nomaswazi Mthembu, said she was
informed by the hall head student
that revealing shorts were no longer
allowed to be worn in the dining hall
by women. We didnt discuss [the
rule] she just passed on the message,
Mthembu added.
Although the implementation of
the rule appears to have started with
Miriam Makeba Hall Head Student,
Lelona Mxesibe, its origin is unclear.
Mxesibe said the rule regarding dining
hall attire came into effect after a hall
meeting last term. We are elaborating
on the already existing rule in [the]
dining hall code of conduct that states
that a person going to the dining
hall should be appropriately dressed,
she elaborated. Under this code
students are also not allowed to wear
pyjamas, slippers or bikinis to the
dining hall.
Mxesibe added that this rule is a way
of asking people to dress in a manner
that is reasonably modest when in
the dining hall. Theres a difference

Students from the Miriam Makeba dining hall are disgruntled by the new rule to dress more modestly and no longer
wear shorts. Caption. Photo: ASHLIEGH MEY
between shorts and bum shorts,
and that we class it with bikinis and
swimwear, she explained. However,
Mxesibe further stated that she is in
a difficult position because she does
not agree with the rule, but she has to

fully implement it.

After the announcement about the
new rule, Thomas Pringle Warden
Sibongile Matambo said, The first I
heard about it [the shorts rule] was in
the house meeting. Before that I just

heard talk that certain people were

not happy with the way people dress
skimpily, according to them, in the
dining hall.
In stating her own opinion
regarding the rule, Matambo said,

Personally, I think dress code is

subjective. I think there needs to be a
lot of dialogue around it before we say
its a rule. She added that the rule was
never discussed with wardens, adding
that the manner in which the rule was
stated meant that she thought it should
not be taken as a rule.
Thomas Pringle resident
Nontshisekelo Shange expressed her
opinion about the new rule regarding
the wearing of shorts in dining halls:
You really cant tell someone what
to wear. Im from Durban, I live in
those [shorts].
Shange added that after another
student said she was disgusted by
her (Shanges) shorts, she (Shange)
felt discriminated against. Shange
also pointed out the discrepancies
in the new rule, saying that male
students were not reprimanded
for wearing rugby shorts or tightfitting shorts.
What is most interesting about this
rules implementation is that the Hall
Warden, Michael Naidoo, was unaware
of its implementation as well.
Mxesibe has no right to decide
dress code. Shes not hall staff, shes not
university staff. For me what you wear
is a non-issue, provided its within the
bounds of decency. I dont want to
exclude anyone from this hall on the
base of dress, he said.
Naidoo expressed that in situations
like these, he would deal with the issue
if students make him aware of it

29 April 2015 The Oppidan Press

News Features

Despite the discussions surrounding transformation in the university curriculum, the equity of staff
appointments at Rhodes has also come under scrutiny. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

In response to increased calls for transformation in universities around South Africa, Rhodes held a
colloquium on the matter which saw much debate around the future of the Universitys curriculum.

Action and accountability at the

forefront of curriculum colloquium
Aviva Lerer

hile calls for institutional

transformation filled the national
agenda, a recent colloquium
at Rhodes University raised the issue of
curriculum transformation, delving into
conversations which deal with issues that
can impact the rate at which curricula can be
developed or halted.
The discussion revealed that, while the student
body is divided over what form curriculum
transformation should take, there is a clear
consensus among students and lecturers that
discussions alone are no longer sufficient to deal
with such issues.
Rhodes student Kelia Losa Reinoso said that
although curriculum change is essential in
order for universities and their students to move
forward, she did not agree with switching from
a Eurocentric curriculum to an Afrocentric one.
Rather, it should be about utilising the existing
structure and incorporating Afrocentric ideas
and teaching into the ones which already exist,
she explained.
Not everyone agreed with Reinoso, however.
SRC Vice President Zikisa Maqubela argued that
an African curriculum should not take a backseat
to a European one. Maqubela also stated that the
importance of forums like the colloquium could
not be denied, but that the creation of forwardfocused plans are equally important for the
transformation process.
As the SRC, we need to come up with a plan;
a resolution [saying] that we are going to do A,
B, C, D as well as an implementation plan of how
exactly we are going to do these things, he said.
This need for follow up and the eventual implementation of a plan was reiterated by speakers at
the colloquium. Rhodes Politics lecturer Professor Leonard Praeg, who represented the Thinking
Africa Project at the conference, agreed that the
discussions should be put into action.
What happens is that these issues become
associated with pop-up conversations, he explained. People become angry, they sit down to
a discussion where their ideas are put down on

We need to come
up with a plan;
a resolution
that we are
going to do
A, B, C, D
Zikisa Maqubela,
SRC Vice-President

the table and the topic then loses momentum.

Praeg also emphasised the need for curriculum
change to be an on-going process and not just
associated with one conference.
The call for action was followed by a call for
accountability. Dr Nomalanga Mkhize, while
refusing to comment on the colloquium itself,
spoke out on Twitter and stated that curriculum
transformation is the responsibility of the individuals employed in higher levels of management
at the university. She further stressed the need to
hold these individuals accountable on the issue of
curriculum change.
One plan already in place to assist with the
transformation of the lecturer pool at Rhodes is
the Accelerated Development Programme which
aims to advance the academic careers of individuals from marginalised groups. This will hopefully
better equip these individuals for permanent
positions at Rhodes University.
Masixole Booi, a Politics Masters student
whose thesis focuses on curriculum transformation, stressed the importance of programmes like
the Accelerated Development Programme. He
considers this to be one of the many steps which
must be taken into consideration in the process of
implementing curriculum change within university structures.
Although there are differing views about what
steps should be taken to remedy the gaps within
the current curriculum, there can be no resolution unless a potential solution can be debated,
critiqued and reworked.

Rhodes academic staff in

need of transformation
Leila Stein
Transformation is the buzzword on everyones
lips, especially at universities in South Africa. Recent discussions have largely revolved
around transforming the curriculums of
universities and removing monuments of colonists, but the transformation of the academic
staff has also become one of the focus points in
these discussions.
Rhodes University, along with all other universities in South Africa, has an equity policy
that specifically focuses on the equity of staff
appointments. According to the Rhodes Equity
Employment Document, candidates for positions
must be suitably qualified for the post for which
they are applying.
The policy further states: Where candidates
from the preferred demographic group/s are
suitably qualified, they are given preference for
appointment. The preference for candidates is
influenced by the statistics of the Economically
Active Population of South Africa.
When looking at appointments according to
demographic groups, what is made significantly
clear is the difference between equity and equality. Equity refers to fairness while equality relates
to treating everyone the same.
It is recognized that equality of treatment may
result in the further entrenching of disadvantage
of certain groups. This in turn, fails to recognize
the history and context of South Africa, the
Equity Employment Document stated.
Despite this comprehensive policy, it has been
noted that there is a disconnect between the Universitys equity act and the number of academics
who are hired to lecture at the University. The
document includes an acknowledgment that
at the time of the update, diversity was lacking
among the staff.
In the case of academic staff at Rhodes
University, there is a paucity of Black academic
staff (i.e. African, Coloureds and Indians) and
preference will be given to the employment of
suitably qualified staff from these categories,
it said.
During the height of activism around #Rhodesmustfall and #Rhodessowhite one poster placed
on campus, which created heated discussion online, stated: All my lecturers have been white unless teaching black subjects. This again reflected
the issue that while there are extensive documents, little change appears to be happening. The

Although Rhodes
has been lucky
enough to have
two progressive
black ViceChancellors the
academic staff at
the university is so
white that a lot
of power has
remained in
white hands

- Dr Vashna Jagarnath,
Deputy Dean of Humanities

only department that is entirely staffed by black

lecturers is the African languages department.
Rhodes Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela
touched on the need for greater diversity in his
address on transformation. The student body
needs to see transformation in the higher levels of
the university. Further progress must be made in
this regard, he said.
While Rhodes has so far focused on curriculum transformation, it has become evident
that the slow rate of lecturer turnover has left an
inequitable pool of lecturers.
Although Rhodes has been lucky enough to
have two progressive black Vice-Chancellors the
academic staff at the university is so overwhelmingly white that a lot of power has remained in
white hands, wrote Dr Vashna Jagarnath, Deputy
Dean of Humanities (Research), in an article for
The Daily Maverick.
This statement, and others like it, have
highlighted the fact that although there has
been 20 years of progressive action in creating
equitable employment policies for hiring black
lecturers, there has been no substantial change
in lecturer demographics at Rhodes. It is this
discrepancy that students and staff are starting to
question now.

The Oppidan Press 29 April 2015


Dealing with sexual assault in SAA

Kathryn Cleary

pril is internationally
recognised as Sexual Assault
Awareness Month (SAAM).
During April, organisations from
both the public and private sectors
come together in support of sexual
assault awareness.
SAAM originated from Take Back
the Night, a public protest against
gender violence that began in the
United Kingdom in the 1970s. The
protest spread to the United States
in 1978 and continues to generate
international attention. As a result of
Take Back the Nights global success,
the first official SAAM campaign was
launched in 2001.
However, South African president
Jacob Zuma has failed to officially
declare South Africas participation
in this international event. With the
month of April coming to an end,
Zumas silence on the issue calls for a
greater look at what South Africa and
Rhodes University are doing to make
a positive impact.
Although the government has
not officially recognised SAAM,
other organisations in South Africa
are involved in raising awareness
about sexual assault and the need to
participate in SAAM events.
One such organisation is the
Johannesburg-based Transform
Education about Rape and Sexual
Abuse (TEARS) Foundation which
has been actively working to become
the countrys leading non-profit
organisation in survivor advocacy
and research.
Since its inception in 2012, TEARS
has directed a nationwide petition

South Africa has not officially recognised April as International Sexual Assault
Awareness month. Photo: ROBYN BARNES
to President Zuma, calling for his
immediate recognition of SAAM.
However, the petition has been unable
to gain enough signatures to allow it
to progress further.
More locally, Rhodes University
has many on-campus resources that
address the issues associated with
sexual assault and rape. The Gender
Action Project (GAP), for example, is
a Rhodes student society responsible
for hosting the universitys annual
Silent Protest.
The societys chairperson, Gorata
Chengeta, explained that the Silent
Protest is organised against the high
rates of sexual violence in South
Africa. The protest aims to create a
safe space where survivors can speak
about their experiences of sexual

assault, she said.

The prevalence of rape in South
Africa is extremely high, although it
is difficult to provide precise numbers
as not all incidents are reported,
according to Rape Crisis South Africa.
Commenting on the 2012 South
African Police Service crime statistics,
the organisation stated that if all rapes
were reported to the police figures
could be as high as 84 000 cases in
the Western Cape alone, and just over
500 000 cases nationwide. Rape Crisis
added that these numbers translate to
27 cases of rape daily.
Despite not recognising SAAM,
there have been other changes to the
South African legislation regarding
sexual assault and rape. The 2007
Sexual Offenses and Related Matters

Amendment Act created a strong

legal foundation for victims. The
Act worked to redefine consensual
versus non-consensual sexual acts in
a gender neutral way that included all
forms of penetration.
The Act also allowed for certain
free services to victims, including
post-exposure prophylaxis for the
prevention of HIV. However, although
the Act serves as a large stepping
stone in the correct direction, grey
areas still remain.
These shortcomings lie within the
South African legal system itself. It
is still difficult to access information
regarding victims rights and, with
government organisations struggling
to collaborate appropriately, overall
services to rape victims are lacking.
Often the most common complaint
by victims who have pursued legal
proceedings against their attackers is
their dearth of knowledge regarding
the progress of their case. According
to Chengeta these issues can only
be resolved by increasing awareness
about the law and ensuring that
survivors are treated sensitively to
prevent them being re-traumatised by
legal proceedings.
Although it does not look like
SAAM will be recognised anytime
soon due to legal issues that need
sorting out, organisations like
Rape Crisis and TEARS do show a
progressive future for South Africa in
terms of addressing rape and sexual
assault. Initiatives like the 16 Days
of Activism for No Violence Against
Women and Children as well as the
Silent Protest further strengthen
South Africas hope for positive
change in this regard.

Rhodes Resources
Note: All resources can be found
in the RU Sexual Assault Protocol

Psychological support is
available for free through
the Counselling Centre
The Rhodes Health
Care Centre, under the
orders of a GP, can offer
pregnancy testing, STI
testing, or baseline HIV
testing, as well as post
exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
to prevent HIV infection
in the first 72 hours after
exposure without a case
being opened
Student harassment is
to be reported to the
Manager of Student
If the assault occurred on
campus, contact CPU
Female students are
entitled to a female
If the matter has been
reported to the police,
the survivor must go
to the hospital, and an
examination by a district
surgeon is needed for
purposes of gathering

Rhodes students and staff open up on their views of xenophobia

Tessa Ware, SRC International Councillor

People need to face xenophobia and say
no. They need to take a stand and say,
This will NOT happen.

Chido Gezimati,
Zimbabwean student
There are so many people
of different nationalities living in foreign
countries because conditions in their
home countries arent favourable. South
Africans, for example, are welcomed in
countries all around the world, so why are
they the only ones exhibiting violence against
foreigners for being in their country?
Rod Amner, Journalism
& Media Studies lecturer
King Goodwill is a leader and people
with his standing in society give moral
leadership to those they lead. While he
isnt entirely to blame for the xenophobia, he does need to be held accountable
for what he said.

Tyler Nauman,
South African student
South Africans shouldnt be
engaging in discrimination or
hate. We more than anyone else
should know where violence and
discrimination can lead.

Lindokuhle Zungu,
SRC Secretary General
People have been harbouring xenophobic
thoughts for a long time, but have simply
never acted on them. The kings words created a platform to act on them.

Jo Lumka, South African student

I think that xenophobia itself is a silly
concept and fear of the unknown is
nonsense. How can you fear something
that you dont even know? When you
look at the concept of enculturation
when one culture is absorbed into
another in the midst of that process,
you can absorb what you want or you can
let it go. But with xenophobia, you are absorbing
from other cultures and not giving anything back.
Sibusiso Khuzwayo,
South African student
I believe that community leaders are failing their communities:
while these figures are becoming
richer, South Africans are not only
struggling to make ends meet but
also have to watch as illegal foreign
immigrants steal local business away.
The government is doing nothing to
help such communities and is taking no
steps to deal with illegal immigrants, so locals are forced to take
things into their own hands.
Rachel Nyazenga, Zimbabwean student
I dont believe that violence is the correct
way of dealing with issues. After all
we are all African. My brother lives in
Durban and I constantly worry about
him. If I send him a message and he
takes too long to reply, I automatically
start to worry What if


With the recent wave of violent xenophobic attacks being witnessed in parts of KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng, many foreign
nationals around the country have been left displaced and distraught. Here are a few opinions on the situation from Rhodes
University students and staff.

Marina Khoza, South African student

[Immigrants] arrive here and support
themselves by opening up businesses.
We too are struggling to keep up
with the costs of living so it upsets
us when we see large numbers of
foreign nationals living comfortably
while we struggle. We are also upset by
the ever increasing number of foreigners who come here illegally to live in already
overcrowded areas belonging [to us]. While I dont condone
the harming of others, I think that the government should be putting better measures in place to ensure that the number of illegal
immigrants entering South Africa does not continue to increase.


Aviva Lerer

29 April 2015

The Oppidan Press

ANC undeterred on Eskom privatisation
Nathi Mzileni

s the countrys sole power

utility continues rolling
blackouts to prevent a power
supply meltdown, the ability of Eskom to meet the countrys electricity
needs has been questioned yet again
and this time more calls have been
made for the parastatal company to
be privatised.
Amid these calls the power utility
has threatened to pull the plug on
defaulting municipalities. The top 20
defaulters, which includes Makana
Municipality, collectively owe Eskom
R3.68 billion. Makana has struck a
deal with the power supplier to avert
the 8 and 6 hour power shutdown
Eskom said it would implement during
weekdays and weekends respectively,
as of 5 June.
The municipalitys Media Communications Officer Yoliswa Ramakolo
said that Makana has already paid R9
million of the R66 million it initially
owed Eskom. The municipality is not
in any threat of cut-off as long as the
payments are made on time, Ramakolo said.
When it comes to the national
electricity crisis, the Democratic Alliance and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)
have both asked the government to
relinquish control of Eskom. The DA
has been making these calls since 2009,
a year after Eskom declared a massive
power emergency in January 2008. IFP
leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi advised
President Jacob Zuma to follow in
the footsteps of former British Prime

Rolling blackouts have left many of South Africas urban areas in darkness, leading political parties and business groups
to speak in favour of the privatisation of the parastatal organisation. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
Minister Margaret Thatcher who went
on a privatisation spree in an attempt
to revive the British economy.
The Congress of the People has also
weighed in on the matter, with the
partys leader Mosiuoa Lekota saying,
during the partys 2015 congressional
meeting, that it is not worth it for the
government to hold on to Eskom.
When you have a state enterprise
that, instead of producing profits and
contributing to the national fiscus,
consumes money from the state coffers
and is a burden to the taxpayer, then
you know its not worth your while,

he said. We are in full support that

Eskom be broken into sections, so
that the production of electricity can
be much more efficient and easier to
manage, Lekota added.
Economist Thabi Leoka also believes
that the only way to curb Eskoms current R250 billion deficit is to sell the
company. The most logical solution
is to privatise Eskom and list it on the
stock exchange, she told Radio 702.
However, the ruling party has made
it clear that it will not sell Eskom.
When the power supplier first resorted
to rolling blackouts and declared a

power emergency in November 2014,

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the party does not consider
privatising Eskom to be a solution to
the power crisis. He added: Electricity
remains a public good and therefore,
if you totally privatise it, it will have
problems. Privatisation of electricity is
not a panacea.
Minister of Public Enterprises,
Lynne Brown, has presented a third
possible solution to the Eskom crisis:
changing the people governing the
company. In a press conference addressing the Eskom crisis Brown said

the company needs a board with

experience in running a company
like Eskom.
I want a fiduciary responsibility. I
want some technical knowledge. We
still need to appoint two more members, such as a CA. I want...electrical
engineers, Brown stated, adding that
she would be taking steps to stabilise
the companys board. The minister has
already appointed a new acting Chief
Executive for Eskom.
Eskom is not the only parastatal
in crisis as calls have been made to
privatise the state broadcaster, South
African Broadcasting Corporation.
Meanwhile, the countrys national airline, South African Airways, recently
announced that it would be privatising
some of its operations after it reported
liquidity and solvency problems in
October last year.
When it comes to Eskom, however,
the ANC seems determined to maintain state control over the company.
During his State of the Nation Address, Zuma said the parastatal will
be given R23 billion this year to help
it out of its financial difficulties. But
this was apparently not enough as the
power utility also secured a R4 billion
loan from the German development
bank, KfW. The bank has said it loaned
Eskom the money for the coal powered
plant Medupi.
So while the lights might be off, the
spotlight continues to shine on Eskom
and the problems it faces. And with no
privatisation in sight, the only thing
consumers can do is hope the companys new Chief Executive can find a
solution soon.

Another day, another payment

demand for embattled Makana
Nathi Mzileni
The countrys top auditing authority is
suing the embattled Makana Municipality
for millions in unpaid audit fees. Auditor
General Thembekile Kimi Makwetu has
filed court papers suing the municipality
for approximately R10 million after it has
continually failed to pay its invoices.
According to papers filed in court,
Makwetu calculated the total fees owed by
Makana Municipality after consulting with
the National Treasury. Makwetu said he
has been sending monthly statements to
Makana since February 2013 and ending in
December last year, Business Day reported.
The law compels the municipality to pay
the audit fees within a month of receiving
the Auditor Generals invoice. According
to court papers, Makana has not made any
payments to the Auditor General for the
past two years.
Of the R10 million Makana Municipality currently owes to the Auditor General,
more than R9.1 million is overdue by more
than 60 days.
The municipalitys Media Communication Manager, Yoliswa Ramakolo, declined
to comment on the matter when contacted
by The Oppidan Press. Ramakolo said the

matter was still being discussed by the

municipalitys executives.
Meanwhile, the municipalitys Grahamstown lawyer Mark Nettleton has confirmed
with The Oppidan Press that the Makana
Municipality is aware of the Auditor Generals court filings and that they will defend
the case brought against them.
However, Nettleton added that he was
still waiting for further instructions from
the municipality. He also declined to comment on the substance of the matter pending court proceedings.
According to the Auditor Generals
annual report in 2014, the province with
the highest number of municipalities
defaulting on audit fees is the Eastern Cape.
Collectively, these municipalities owe the
Auditor General R78 million in unpaid
audit fees.
For Makana, the court action by the Auditor General has added to the municipalities financial woes as it comes just a week
after Eskom slapped the municipality with
an ultimatum to either cough up millions
in outstanding electricity payments or face
bulk power supply disruptions.
However, the Auditor General said that
Makanas long delay in paying the fees has
left him with no choice but take legal action
against the Makana Municipality.

Rhodes students Jessica Kent, Sasha Taylor and Kristine Botha produce their own music in their production
company, A Minor Production. Photo: KYLE PRINSLOO

A Minor Production making a major impact

Demi Drew
Arts & Entertainment
Rhodes students Jessica Kent, Kristine Botha and
Sasha Taylor have formed A Minor Production
(AMP), a music production company which explores songwriting and music production through
regular blog posts and videos.
According to Kent the group aims to create a community of music lovers, adding that AMP is open
to collaboration with other Grahamstown artists.
Collaboration is an important aspect of AMP as all
three members play an integral role in creating their
web content.
Kent, who is the most experienced of the three in
terms of creating music, acts as Bothas mentor to
Botha,.the groups songwriter, Botha said that this
mentorship helps to lighten their songs as she (Botha)

tends towards producing gloomier lyrics.

The group also works together to produce their
music to ensure it appeals to as many people as possible, focusing on genres like indie, rock and country
AMP derives much of their inspiration from the
Rhodes community which aids them in producing
music for a varied audience. A Minor Production
is a great creative outlet because you are constantly
surrounded by people who aim to motivate you and
inspire your music, explained Botha.
Although A Minor Production is just starting out,
there is no doubt that they will encourage other music lovers at Rhodes and around Grahamstown to join
in their creative community and participate in their
collaborative project.
Visit A Minor Productions official website:

The Oppidan Press 29 April 2015


The Oppidan Press

For the last nine years, we have strived to be the home of the best in South
African student journalism. As such, we can no longer sit by and watch
the extreme violence meted out against immigrants in Durban and
around this country.
This latest spate of violence was encouraged by King Goodwill Zwelithini,
a man who once happily served as a puppet of the apartheid government and
who very timeously switched sides during the ANC/IFP conflict in the early
nineties: As I speak, you find their unsightly goods hanging all over our shops,
they dirty our streets... We ask foreign nationals to pack their belongings and go
back to their countries.
He was not misquoted, nor was his quote taken out of context. Under the
Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, King
Zwelithini is guilty of hate speech.We therefore call for his prosecution in this
regard, a move that has already been taken up by Tim Flack, a member of the
South African National Defence Union.
However, as much as King Zwelithinis remarks were the spark that ignited
this particular fire, we must also acknowledge the severe economic disparity
in this country. Coupled with a long history of South African isolationism and
exceptionalism, there was more than enough tinder to allow foreign migrants
to become the scapegoat for many of the problems in South Africa.
We also cannot ignore how the state has reproduced the logic of exclusion
through its new, harsher border controls, the violence suffered by foreign
nationals at the hands of our police service and its poor provision of services
to even legal immigrants. In order to prevent this violence from ever occurring
again, a massive systemic change is needed; a change that would, by its nature,
take many, many years to effect.
In the meantime, South Africans need to take a stand. It is not enough to
stand in solidarity or hold vigils. While these events are crucial to fostering a
culture of empathy with our extended family of immigrants from Africa and
around the world, we must do more.
Organisations like Gift of the Givers and the South African Red Cross are
currently doing all they can to feed and house people displaced by this violence.
We encourage you to donate towards their efforts via their websites www. and
You will notice a distinct lack of news coverage in this edition on xenophobia. The Eastern Cape has largely been spared the same violence that is gripping
KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng right now. Some locals from East London have
even actively set out to protect their foreign neighbours.
Any news coverage that we do will simply be parroting reporting done by
larger, professional news organisations who can do it better and bigger. So
instead we encourage you to read the coverage by The Sunday Times, Al Jazeera
and The Daily Vox among others who are shining a much needed spotlight on
these stories.
Finally, to our fellow South Africans who are perpetuating this violence and
who have forced immigrants to justifiably take up arms in their own defence,
we have one thing to say: Not in our name.

The Oppidan Press staff and contact details

Editor-in-Chief: Stuart Lewis. Executive Consultant: Amanda Xulu.
Financial Manager: Likho Sithole. Advertising Manager: Smangaliso
Simelane. Marketing Manager: Leila Kidson. Online Editor: Liam Stout.
News Features Editor: Leila Stein. Assistant News Features Editor:
Phelokazi Mbude. Politics Editor: Kim Nyajeka. Assistant Politics Editor:
Kathryn Cleary. Opinion Editor: Deane Lindhorst. Assistant Opinion
Editor: Jordan Stier. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Nkosazana Hlalethwa.
Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor: Ellen Heydenrych. Scitech Editor:
Bracken Lee-Rudolph. Environment Editor: Lili Barras-Hargan. Business
Editor: Nathi Mzileni. Sports Editor: Gabriella Bellairs-Lombard. Assistant
Sports Editor: Leonard Solms. Chief Photo Editor: Kellan Botha. Assistant
Chief Photo Editor: Bronwyn Pretorius. Chief Online Photo Editor: Jamie
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Letters to the Editor:
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The Oppidan Press publishes letters which are bona fide expressions
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Discussions around the question of belonging have become commonplace at Rhodes, but members of the Jewish
community may still feel alienated. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Being Jewish at Rhodes

Leila Stein

ecent events in South Africa

and at many of the countrys
universities have brought to
the fore the question of belonging
and what it means to have a certain
identity in a certain place. For me,
this means being Jewish at Rhodes.
At first, leaving my Jewish bubble
in Cape Town, where all of my friends
were Jewish or at least attended my
Jewish school, was hard. While it was
my chance to escape such a tight-knit,
protective community, it was more difficult than I thought it would be.
I do not consider my family to be
religious. We are Orthodox, and in
the great tradition of South African
orthodoxy, are more traditional than
observant. This means that, while we
may not keep Kosher or go to shul
(synagogue) every Friday, we celebrate and commemorate all the big
holidays. This also means I attended
a school where Jewish Studies was a
subject until matric and Hebrew was a
compulsory language until Grade 10.
When people at Rhodes found out
that I was Jewish the standard response
was that of surprise followed by the
But you dont look Jewish exclamation. (Whatever being Jewish looks
like, I obviously dont match it.) In
most cases this was thankfully the end
of the discussion, but for a few this was
now my identifier and Jew jokes were
suddenly even more hilarious.
In one case, I had to specifically
explain to a friend why using the word
Jew as a blanket insult was deeply
offensive. While it would not be possible to call her an anti-Semite, it was
clear that a severe ignorance coupled
with the odd reference to stingy Jews
had unconsciously made her think

that calling me a Jew in response to

friendly banter was not offensive.
The realisation that my Jewish
background meant that I was seen as
different and that it would often have
to be explained why Jewish stereotypes
were not true was a shock. I needed to
adjust to the reality that many South
Africans know very little about Judaism and would need some explanation.
This is an aspect of having an identity outside of the norm I can accept.
What ultimately disappointed me was
that, after coming from a staunchly
pro-Zionist school where there was
no nuance with regard to discussing
Israel, Rhodes was not the space for
varied opinion and measured discussion I hoped it would be.
It was clear that at Rhodes the voices
of those involved in the Israel Apartheid Week and Palestinian Solidarity
efforts were the dominant and, without
an equally strong opposition, the only
voices heard. While some efforts were
made to redress the imbalance they
were minimal and didnt do much to
equalise the discussion.
For me, being Jewish and Zionist
cannot be separated. I was educated in
a Jewish Zionist school, have been to
Israel to visit relatives and have multiple connections with what I was taught
was my homeland.
I therefore felt alienated from
Rhodes by the continuous bombardment during Israel Apartheid Week of
images of dying children in Gaza,
and articles and posters presenting Israel as a genocidal nation. This
alienation was particularly due to the
fact that Rhodes only response was
support for what was obviously a very
skewed view.
By providing this skewed narrative
to students who know next to nothing

I had to
explain to a
friend why
using the
word Jew
as a blanket
insult was

about Judaism and even less about

Israel, the people involved are acting
By excluding the history of Israel,
explaining why it is defended as a
Jewish state as well as a Palestinian
one, and why it became a state in 1948,
students were left with possibly less
understanding and incredible hate
towards the situation based on unbalanced information and graphic images.
This kind of education is in opposition to a fundamental concept in the
Humanities critical thinking.
As a result of the condemnation
without context, this issue felt like a
personal attack. After hearing students
make blanket generalisations and
reading one stinging comment on Facebook that the Jews should just leave
[Israel], I considered leaving Rhodes and returning to my safe, if also
skewed, bubble where at least I was in
the majority. Ultimately Im glad I did
not, and I do regret not making my
voice heard in opposition to the situation at the time.
What do you think? Tweet your
thoughts to @oppidanpress.

29 April 2015

The Oppidan Press


Liberal thinking in the #RhodesMustFall moment

Deane Lindhorst

he recent #RhodesMustFall movement

has seen critiques of institutional cultures replete with whiteness emerge on
campuses all over South Africa. Instead of generating thoughtful and engaging conversations,
however, these topics have for the most part
been met with fierce resistance and disavowals.
Our SRC Facebook page is an obvious example
of this.
Many commenters on the page have
denounced the aims of the movement, the
surrounding issues and the students involved as
racist, violent and anti-progressive. The obviously
ill-conceived and blatantly racist posts are for the
most part quickly dismissed. But there is another
group of insidious commenters that arent as easy
to ignore. They are those who label themselves as
liberals because of their outward commitment
to a specific kind of individual freedom.
These are the commenters who ostensibly
express their non-racialism and commitment to
a transformed society, yet at the same time hotly

Liberal responses to the #RhodesMustFall movement have been rife with dangerously oppressive
rhetoric, as shown in this word cloud generated from comments on the Rhodes SRC page.
reject the experiential accounts and arguments
of those who say that we are not yet transformed.
Their non-racialism is proven through their
trumpeting of individual rejections of thinking or
acting in racialised ways. A common and laughable tactic of these pseudo-liberals is appealing to

their diverse friendship group as definitive proof

of their non-racialism.
However, what these commenters often refuse
to think about is the systemic nature of race and
the fact that we need to take it very seriously.
Their understanding of themselves as post-race in

Learning outside of
the lecture theatre
Andisiwe Barnabas

The idea that women are more likely than men to be labelled as crazy for overreacting in any situation can be traced
back to ancient times. Photo: ROBYN BARNES

The myth of the crazy woman

Andrea Nevay & Kaylin van

Hours before One Direction

touched down in South Africa it
was announced that Zayn Malik
had left the group. What followed
was a Twitter storm of distressed
fans and an even more disturbing
#CutForZayn hashtag.
While fans going overboard is not a
new phenomenon, one has to seriously
consider the fact that when teenage
girls obsess over their favourite band
breaking up they are mocked and
perceived as pathetic, crazy teenage
girls. In contrast, when (mostly male)
soccer or Top Gear fans react in similar ways to their beloved heroes losing
matches or leaving their show they
are not labeled in the same way. The
difference? One group (almost always
predominantly female) is often called
crazy, while the other (usually largely
male) is not.
Another social phenomenon in
which women are perceived as crazy
is the crazy ex-girlfriend stereotype.
Talk to most men and they will have
stories of these crazy women in their
rlives. What makes her crazy? Calling
.him three times a day? Crying too

the myth of the rainbow nation is enough justification for them to tap out of the conversation and
not take other peoples experiences seriously.
A second tactic often used at Rhodes is
showing how we all belong to a broader purple
culture, as implied in the statement that our
blood is purple. What these commenters fail to
see is that the our spoken about is itself based on
certain practices of belonging, such as the often
used example that we all have gees on a Friday
night. There is a failure to recognise that these
practices of belonging demand an assimilation
into a culture that is alienating for many students
a culture that is itself tailored to whiteness in
many ways.
While being outwardly committed to the
freedom of everyone, these commenters often fail
to recognise that their engagements repeatedly
reinvent the conditions for excluding and
marginalising people. Commitment to freedom
requires listening and taking seriously the
increasingly loud voices of those who are not yet
free. We should all be wary of those who think
left but talk right.

much? Obsessing over not texting

back? Accusing him of cheating?
Straight up trying to murder him?
It does not matter whether her
behaviour borders on the illegal, or is
just seen as slightly annoying: if the
man does not like it, he can dismiss
her as crazy and she, along with the
validity of her claims and feelings, will
melt away like the Wicked Witch of the
West, absolving him of any responsibility. This phenomenon is not new,
nor is it relegated to interpersonal relationships. The long and painful history
of how women have been treated and
perceived in medical and psychiatric
institutions speaks for itself.
Considerations of the word hysteria
reveal a centuries-long patriarchal
witch-hunt which demonised and
othered the female body, alleging
the inherent insanity of women and
dismissing legitimate physical and
mental illnesses. From four B.C. in
Ancient Greece to the 1800s, the
catch-all medical diagnosis given to
crazy women was hysteria, and most
problems were sourced from perpetuated misunderstandings of the uterus
and female biology.
Today, hysteria refers purely to emotional excess the new crazy woman

ailment. Not only is the label dismissive of women who display behaviour
that is annoying and inconvenient to
men, it is also ableist.
Recent studies have shown that the
worry of being perceived as crazy,
a hypochondriac or as over reacting have even been linked to women
not seeking adequate treatment in all
medicinal fields. In other words, worrying that women are overreacting to
all kinds of illnesses is causing more
women to experience these illnesses.
This trivialisation of mental illness
and a culture which tells women they
are overreacting to illness dovetails
into our culture of victim-blaming and
the social trend of absolving abusers
of responsibility by alleging that their
victims are overreacting and dismissing them as crazy.
So does the crazy-ex girlfriend or
crazy fan-girl really exist? It seems
more likely that it is a construct of
patriarchy designed to dismiss women,
victims of abuse, and sufferers of
mental illness. To further show the absurdity of this a question can be posed:
how often do we hear about crazy
ex-boyfriends or the hysterical boys
who cry over their favourite presenters
leaving Top Gear?

My first encounter with anything associated with the notorious #RhodesMustFall campaign was when I was
assigned as a photographer to cover a
student body meeting. The only item
on the agenda: #RhodesMustFall. I
laughed so hard my stomach hurt.
I was sure it was some joke the SRC
had come up with to brighten the
mood on campus. My first thought
was: Is the Vice-Chancellor in
trouble? To me, he is representative
of Rhodes University, and I thought
that this was a bunch of students opposing his appointment.
The following day my friend explained that it was in fact Cecil John
Rhodes who had to fall. I had never
heard of him, but after doing some
research I was able to connect the dots:
he was a coloniser and this university
is named after him.
At the student body meeting, I
was among those who could not
enter Eden Grove Red because it was
too full. I was very surprised by the
turnout because I had not anticipated
that this was such a big issue. I only
really went to learn what happens at a
student body meeting.
After hearing what everyone had
to say about their experiences and
the reasons the name should change,
I was in shock. I never knew such
issues existed at this university. I
have never experienced incidents like
those mentioned. The stories they told
were incredibly upsetting. I understood their anger. I left the meeting
more educated by what I had heard
in those three hours than I had been
in a lecture three hours earlier. I was
also surprised and glad to know that
students have enough power to make
their grievances heard.
The meeting sparked a new interest
in me and so I began following the
story on the SRC Facebook page. I

First-year student Andisiwe Barnabas

was unaware of the significance behind #RhodesMustFall until a friend
explained the historical context.
spoke to a lot of people about their
feelings about the name-change idea.
The issue has divided this institution
right down the middle.
Its been interesting to see the action
unfold. Vandalising random statues
seems to be a new trend: the reason
behind it, no one can explain. The
Black Student Movement seems to
have taken the lead role: where and
when they emerged, even they cannot
seem to explain, but it seems they are
representing the views of the students.
This is a whole new world for me,
the adult world. I have learnt a lot
about Rhodes University in the past
few weeks from the students themselves and I believe I will learn a whole
lot more in the weeks to come.

8 The Oppidan Press 29 April 2015

Arts & Entertainment

Silulami Lwana: Ubom! loses a legend

Ellen Heydenrych

rahamstown-based actor
Silulami Slu Lwana died
unexpectedly on 31 March
2015, aged 41. An integral member
of the Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama
Company, Lwana is remembered as
humble and hilarious. His unique
combination of kindness and
humour made him an actor who demanded the attention of his audience
and a person who fellow actors and
friends loved to love.
He was a natural clown, a softness
that belied his strength, and so so
funny, said Rob Murray, director and
training consultant at Ubom! and one
of Lwanas close friends. Lwana has
been praised for his hilariously clever
performances in many of Ubom!s
theatre productions. During these
productions, Lwana often coaxed gales
of laughter and tears of sadness from

his audience in a single sitting.

Lwana was also much-loved by
his peers in the theatre world, many
of whom fondly remember his contagious laugh and ability to poke fun
at colleagues.
Slu had a lot of conviction and
was just a friendly funny person to be
around, said friend and fellow Ubom!
actor Luvuyo Yanta. He was a talented
performer who didnt have to try hard
when on stage; his presence made him
a joy to watch. Even during a rehearsal
process his uniqueness set him apart
from other performers because he
was not afraid to try what he thought
would work for that particular scene.
He was a pleasure to work with.
Yanta added that Lwana had a good
relationship with his audience. This
was based on Lwanas knack for understanding his audience which in turn
allowed the audience to fully engage
with Lwanas performance, he said.

Murray also commented that Lwana

was generous and giving on stage. He
drew his strength through the presence
that he had and an amazing capacity
for vulnerability and deep deep care
for the performance and the energy,
explained Murray. Not only that, but
he became even more alive in educating young learners and performers.
His workshops became legendary.
According to Murray, Lwana was an
integral part of the Ubom! company.
His importance and dedication to the
Ubom! family, as well as his own, and
his ability to transcend darkness into
light made him absolutely vital to us
and all around him, he said.
A vital part of the Grahamstown
theatre scene, a hilarious friend and
actor and a man who will be missed by
many. In the words of Murray, Rest
in peace Silulami Lwana. Slu-jah. Sludog. Slu. You were an awesome clown
and friend.

Ubom! actor Silulami Lwana will be greatly missed by peers after he unexpectedly passed away earlier this year. Photo: SOURCED

When art educates first years

Emily Stander
Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company in collaboration with The Rhodes
Drama Department recently put on a production of Unzip Your Knowledge. The show aims to highlight important aspects of university life and
help those struggling with the transition to university. The Oppidan Press
asked first year students for their thoughts on the production.
Thabo Gaobuse:
I thought the play showed a very good depiction of who we
are as the youth and what traps we can fall into because of
the nature of being the youth. It was just amazing to watch
and to actually notice my friends and myself in the play.
Issues were tackled with such grace.
Justin Course:
It was very insightful and I thought they delivered some
important messages that we really needed to hear. The whole
Rhodes so white thing is a really big issue at the moment
and is important to be spoken about. The way they handled
that as well, was really well done.
Jack van der Merwe:
I thought the play was very entertaining and I did really
enjoy it. I didnt find it that helpful, because I found that a
lot of the stuff was repeated from other speeches and stuff.

Bachelor of Fine Arts Students incur additional costs at university as they are required to purchase their own art
supplies many of which are imported. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS

Sam van Heerden

Money and art have a complex relationship, particularly
as a lack in funding often limits the kind of work artists
can produce. Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) students at
Rhodes can find their creativity being limited by monetary constraints. These constraints are due to the fact that
BFA students are expected to pay for their art supplies in
addition to tuition fees.
While Head of the Rhodes Arts Department Dominic
Thorburn admitted that there may be a divide between
students who can afford to make costly artworks and those
who cannot, this has not been a big problem at Rhodes.
Any artist will need to tailor their creative ambitions to
what they can afford, he said.
Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that art students do
face an extra financial burden as many of their art materials
are imported. BFA students are faced with additional costs
that range from R3000 in their first year to an average of
R8000 in their fourth year. The extra costs incurred by these
students are also influenced by which medium they choose
to major in.
In light of these extra costs, Thorburn emphasised the
fact that the department is aware of the expenses faced by
its students and does work towards reducing them. The

department buys supplies for their stock room at cheaper

wholesale prices and sells them to students at a slight
markup to cover costs such as transport. The expenses are
charged to the students accounts and the supplies made
available to them.
Dudley Hibbert, a 2013 arts graduate from Rhodes,
explained that there are ways to work around the high costs
of a BFA degree. As a sculpture major, Hibbert repurposed
found objects, cement and metal to create his sculptures
because of financial constraints. Bronze sculptures would
be my first choice, but luckily postmodernism said that
cardboard and gold are worth the same. Its just about convincing the [art] collectors now, Hibbert joked.
Thorburn further suggested that students could reduce
costs by looking for sponsorships or wholesalers who are
willing to donate supplies in exchange for publicity such as a
logo at the exhibition.
Students could buy good quality products that are more
durable. Alternatively, the art department also offers stock
room bursaries to students according to their results and
need. But very few students apply for these bursaries.
Despite the extra costs and possible inequalities BFA
students face, they are still able to pursue their creative
identity outside of the problems concerning their personal
financial situations.

Sam Spiller:
The set design was nice and simple, the
choreography was good, the music was good, very clever
and very witty. I believe the content could have gone
deeper in terms of the main messages. They were able
to touch on some sensitive issues in a very participatory
environment, which I think is good.
Smangaliso Gobane:
The play was really creative. I never got bored and it was
very intriguing. The play really made me want to go to
my tuts, because I dont want to get excluded and I dont
want to go through all of that after paying so much MIP.
You cant put your parents through that.

otos: KYLE

Creating art despite constraints

Phila Ngoqo:
As the play suggested, varsity is a different environment
from high school and we get here thinking we know
much, but we dont. Even with time spent in lecture
rooms, we still plagiarise and still are not sure how to
substantiate what we say in our assignments.
Rosemarie Bergsma:
They chose a really good angle to tell the story. They were
really creative and told it from different perspectives
and dealt with a lot of personal things. They were really
good actors and I really liked it. I was impressed, very

29 April 2015 The Oppidan Press

Short Story

The Fight
The Oppidan Press is pleased to announce its
new partnership with Rhodes Universitys
Ink Society which teaches budding young
writers to produce high-quality short
stories. As a part of this partnership, The
Oppidan Press will publish a short story by
an Ink writer in each of its editions and on
its website. For more information on Ink
Society, visit their Facebook page.
By Tebogo Matshana

I think

I shouldnt
sleep anymore.
Its too much
trouble. I should read instead, read or knit or
sew. Perhaps I could even play cards by myself,
should it come to that. But as much as I dont
like dreaming, being awake can be just as hard.
My mind and I are left to each other and things
often get ugly. When I am awake and all alone,
l remember. When I fall asleep I regret all that
comes to mind. I cannot tell Aunt Louise about
last night or the night before she wont be impressed. She doesnt believe in mourning, crying
or feeling, so Ive got to be strong and keep this
all to myself.
Unfortunately sleep is inevitable and I cannot
escape it. Sometimes it goes well and I dont
dream at all but mostly I am not so lucky. Last
night for example, I fell asleep and saw myself
lying in the hammock that we once had. Then the
hammock became my mums crushed corpse and
I had become a block of iron. I felt myself squash
my mum, I heard her whimper but I couldnt
move. I tried but I was too heavy and then she
was silent. I woke up and cried, then decided
to read.
This morning my Aunt Louise came in to open
the curtains. She placed a Swiss roll before me,
sat on the edge of the bed and stared out the
How did you sleep, Walter? Did you sleep
well? Her gaze was fixed on the outside but on
nothing in particular, just on the distance.
I slept fine, thanks, I replied dishonestly.
You are one of the bravest young men I have
ever known in my entire life, Walter. I think its
important that you know this. I know that you
are going to come out of this much stronger than
youll ever imagine. I think she tried to convince
herself all this was true at the same time. She
gave me a hug, limply though, as if I were
muddy and she was wearing a white
shirt. I think its a little hard for her, to
love. I take it my Aunt Louise probably
doesnt give hugs all that often. She probably doesnt really inspect her emotions
either: it just feels like her gestures are
mechanic, based primarily on custom. It
feels like she is trying really hard to get this
whole comfort your grieving nephew thing
right. I know its cruel to judge but its mostly an
I wasnt actually supposed to be here. My
father was meant to take me home with him after

the funeral but he couldnt make it, he had to

attend a conference in Toronto. This was about
three months ago and we havent heard from him
since then. Its really OK though, I honestly dont
mind his laid-back approach to dealing with me.
Ive never really spent any time with him in any
case. I am more worried about my aunt and all
the trouble she is going through by taking me in.
Id like to think that my mum slipped on a
banana peel and fell to her death from the fourth
floor of our apartment by accident, but that isnt
how it happened. If it was Id have arranged for
hundreds of pillows to cover the pavement before
she came down. But she didnt slip, she jumped.
At 3am on 11 May 2002 she jumped.
She didnt die immediately though: she lived
for about 15 minutes thereafter. She passed away
quietly didnt scream or moan, just lay still in
her mashed up body in the gutter and stared into
the mornings sleeping sky. Almost everyone
woke up, some murmured prayers and others
whispered in confusion.
Those who didnt come downstairs simply
looked down as though they were tuned into a
program. Our next door neighbour, Oupa, called
the ambulance and then my grandmother but she
did not answer. He then tried my father several
times but he didnt answer either. Eventually he
got hold of my Aunt Louise; she flew in the following day.
In all this time I sat sick and frozen beside my
dying mother. I dont like remembering. I also
dont like flats. Id pick a four roomed house on
the ground to a flat on the fourth floor any day.
For the time being I am not attending any
school. Ill go back in August only this time it
wont be to a grey and navy government school.
Aunt Louise has had me enrol at a private school
nearby. It only has 57 pupils all together. She says
it will be good for me.
In the daytime Aunt Louise goes to her
practice so I am alone, one of the worst
things to be. Sitting on the swing the
other day I thought I saw my fingertips
turning green, felt the sun disappearing as a shadow came over me. I
looked up and saw my mum, she
took my hand in hers and rubbed
the green away but I was only
daydreaming. I miss her.
These thoughts
pile weights

my lungs and I cant breathe. If I do I end up crying, so I hold my breath until I feel a little better.
There was green on my fingers, but it was from
picking spinach that morning.
I dislike my thoughts, they remind me of her. I
hear her humming and I think I see her out of the
corner of my eye. When the day is warm, sunny
and languid I notice her absence. Sometimes the
wind blows the little gate into the garden open
and it always feels like shes just walked through
there but then I remember she is absolutely dead.
I see that morning as though it were happening
again and the sunlight and wind are gone, it is
3am and the sky is a pale blue looking down on
a little boy beside his dead mother. This always
happens. I am just about to smile and then I
remember and I am heavy again: at least four
times a day I remember and I become heavy, like
a block of iron.
Early this morning it happened again, only I
couldnt make it stop. Aunt Louise brought me
tea and sat by me but I cried for hours on end, I
couldnt turn it off. She became angry in the end.
She was tired. I understand. Nursing a fourteen
year old cry baby at two in the morning isnt an
ideal way to pass the time.
Shed rather have slept and so would
I, if only I didnt have to watch myself smother my mum in all my
dreams or see her face mashed
and without motion, outlined
by an endless stream
of warm maroon
pouring out
from her

I held my breath. It worked for a while.

Aunt Louise slept beside me so I behaved as
best as I could but when I drifted off to sleep I
saw a wolf moving slowly towards a hen and her
chicks. They were asleep on the ground when the
wolf dug its sharp teeth into a little chicks wing.
The hen woke and chased the wolf. She pecked
at it and tried to beat it but it was no use; the little
chick hung loosely from the wolf s mouth, the red
in its fur dark against the chicks tiny white feathers. I woke up and almost cried but I stopped and
held my breath instead. Aunt Louise was awake
and watching me.

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10 The Oppidan Press 29 April 2015

Which is greener: e-reader vs. hard copy?
Joshua Stein

hich is greener? explores the environmental impact of various modern-day options

through a series of articles that will feature
throughout the year in The Oppidan Press. This weeks edition compares the book and the e-reader.
Forty percent of books are purchased for use on some form
of electronic device. That being said, there are still plenty of
people who hold onto the nostalgia of the page and prefer
traditional paper books. What, then, are the real advantages
and disadvantages of either?
As students, an ever-decreasing budget is something we
have to consider before buying books on any platform. However, one of the best features of the e-book is the cheapness
of the books themselves, particularly in comparison to hard
copy versions. For example, John Steinbecks Of Mice and Men
features on Exclusive Books bestselling e-book list and will
only set you back R94. Paperback editions of the same work
exceed R150.
While this difference may seem attractive now, it must be
remembered that e-readers themselves are not cheap. With
the cheapest Kindle device retailing for over R3500, paying
R150 for a paperback book no longer seems excessive, especially since you can sell it to a secondhand bookshop after you
have finished reading it. However, all those books add up and
in the long run it is clear that an e-reader works out cheaper
for particularly avid readers.

A point often raised with regard to the e-reader versus hard

copy debate is their respective environmental impacts. Hard
copy books consume vast amounts of paper in their production while the e-reader does not. However, paper is recyclable
and while some parts of electronic devices can be salvaged,
large parts of the device will simply be thrown away. Consumers often neglect to consider the vast resources involved in the
production of devices like e-readers. Once the production,
transportation and assembly of these many components
is taken into account, the e-readers impact appears all the
more worrying.
On the other hand, the recycling of books is not as common as one might think as books are more often than not
left to grow dusty on a shelf. And while loaning to a friend or
re-selling are both subtle forms of recycling, they still do not
have the same impact. According to the Green Press initiative,
e-books only become the environmentally friendlier option
once enough books have been downloaded to offset what it
would take to reproduce the same amount in paper. To reach
this point, you would have to buy 70-plus books. Again, it
seems that the e-reader suits the eager reader who will read
enough books in their devices lifetime to make it the more
environmentally viable option.
There is no clear winner in this contest, it seems, as the
hard copy option makes more economic and environmental
sense for the casual reader, while the e-reader is better suited
to devoted readers. Ultimately, then, it seems that the choice
between a book or an e-reader is an entirely personal one.

Most people assume e-readers are more environmentally friendly than

books, but is this the truth? Photo: NITA PALLETT

Shedding light on sustainable energy options

>> Child porn mastermind

>> Julius Malema in
>> Desmond and the Tutus headline Mayday
Festival - Q&A with the band
>> Mongane Wally Serote tribute to struggle
poet James Mathews

Check it out at


Smart metering
Smart metering is a system based on meters
regulating the load of electricity being used at
home, in an office or a factory. By regulating
energy loads, the general efficiency of the
supplier could be improved if peak loads are
reduced. Smart metering is being introduced to a few
suburbs in Johannesburg by Eskom at present and smart meters
could be a short-term solution to the energy crisis.
But does it work?
On the other side of the debate is the fact that renewable energy is
difficult to generate in large amounts. This is because many of these
energy systems rely on certain climatic conditions and thus cannot
generate constant power.
Furthermore, South Africa lacks the technology necessary for
alternative power sources to match the efficiency of coal. Looking
at these considerations, it is clear that converting to renewable
energy would be a lengthy and expensive process which the
country may not be able to afford at present.
However, we should use the current energy crisis to re-think
our energy sources. While renewable energy sources are mainly
long-term solutions, it may be possible to implement short-term
solutions like smart metering until South Africa can afford to
implement alternative energy methods.


South Africa relies almost exclusively on coal-power stations

for its electricity but coal, along with oil and gas, is a limited
resource that cannot be relied on for much longer. This point
has been brought home to South Africans by the current load
shedding crisis and it is clear that we need to start making use of
alternative energy sources soon.
One possible reason for the lack of alternative energy sources
in South Africa could be the myths and uncertainty that surround
them, both on an economic and social front. In fact, there is a vast
array of renewable energy sources available to us that will also
result in fewer greenhouse or carbon emissions and in the long
run be much cheaper.
Windmills have been around for centuries
and now modern wind farms are
emerging all over South Africa. The
blades turn according to the wind
speed, spinning a shaft connected to
a generator and producing electricity.
However, this can be noisy and installing
multiple wind farms requires large tracts
of land.

The sun is one of the most readily available
renewable energy sources in South
Africa. We have a booming industry for
solar-powered geysers and there are also
programmes in place to distribute heaters
to rural areas. However, a lot of these
programmes are not widely recognised
and the initial installation cost of solar equipment is high, so not
many people are making the switch. Nevertheless, a plan has been
proposed for Eskom to build a solar plant near Upington by 2030.
One of the most popular alternative energy
sources is hydro-power as its main
requirement is a body of water. It has proved
to be very cost effective once the high initial
costs are covered. There is the potential for
South Africa to start buying hydro-power
from Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic
Republic of Congo. In terms of national
production, the Eastern Cape and Kwa Zulu-Natal have
the most potential for hydro-power plants, but this could lead to
environmental damage, including flooding, disruption of wildlife
habitats and displaced human settlements.


Andrea Nevay and Nita Pallett

Rhodes students protest

through poetry
Grahamstown celebrates
Workers Day
Load shedding: whats
really going on?

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to our YouTube channel,
Oppidan Press.

29 April 2015 The Oppidan Press



Ten residences to get WiFi coverage upgrade

Bradley Prior

s the year continues, many

students will finally be able
to access eduroam from anywhere in their residence a luxury
that other students do not currently
have access to.
The Information and Technology
(IT) Services Division at Rhodes has
earmarked 10 residences mostly
located at the top of the hill which
they hope to provide with complete
WiFi coverage by the end of the year,
following a weighted lottery which was
conducted on 26 March.
These 10 residences, who were
drawn from a list of 21 residences that
had given the IT Services Division the
opportunity to conduct a site survey,
were selected at a draw conducted by
the Director of Student Affairs, Dr
Colleen Vassiliou.
The order of installation is the order
in which the residences are listed to
the right. However, if it is not possible

to start the installations at a residence

when their turn arrives, they will fall
down the list.
It is possible that we will not be able
to install [WiFi] in all ten [residences]
during this year due to lack of funds or
staff time, said the Senior Systems Administrator of the IT Services Division,
David Siebrger. If thats the case, the
remaining residences on this list will
be done first next year.
Over the past month, preparation
has begun and some infrastructure has
been put in place. The progress reports
for the residences undergoing installations are as follows:
The new postgraduate flats have
WiFi access points installed and are
now just waiting for the cabling to the
campus network to be completed.
The eduroam installation at Thomas
Pringle House is fully functional.
Goldfields House, however, has had
the cables connecting the access points
installed, but the access points themselves have not yet been put in as there

are currently not enough network

switch points available in the residence
to do so.
Ruth First Houses cabling contractor has been briefed, but work has not
yet begun as his team has been working on the postgraduate flats, while
the cabling at Piet Retief House has
already been completed.
Siebrger added that university business may take priority over the lottery
results, however, and this may affect
the order of installation. There is a
small possibility that urgent university
priorities will dictate that deployment
in a residence outside this list occur
ahead of those which are on this list,
he said.
The expansion on existing internet
infrastructure will come as a welcome
boost to residences, as the number of
mobile devices on campus which rely
on WiFi coverage is increasing.
Another lottery will take place next
year to draw more residences for eduroam coverage.

Some residences have been equipped with WiFi that will let students access
eduroam from any point in their building, as part of a university initiative to
expand internet access. Photo: CAMERON SEEGERS

Residences scheduled to receive

full WiFi coverage in 2015:
New postgraduate flats
Thomas Pringle House
Goldfields House
Ruth First House
Piet Retief House

Dingemans House
Botha House
John Kotze House
Hilltop House
De Beers House

A sudden loss in power and an abrupt electrical surge when it returns can both wreak havoc
on electronics. It is recommended that a surge protector be used, or devices be unplugged, to
protect against damage. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA

Dont destroy your devices in the darkness

Bracken Lee-Rudolph
Power outages are not easy on computers:
normal shutdown procedures are replaced
with an abrupt flash of the screen as the flow
of electricity is cut off. This sudden shutdown
can cause component damage and data loss.
Since load shedding occurs according to a
schedule this should not be a common problem, but when it does happen when you are
not aware of what time the power is going out
or neglect to power down your PC the losses
can be horrifying. Thankfully there are ways to
avoid it.
Firstly, be aware of what information Eskom
is currently circulating. Eskom has a tendency
to abruptly change their stages, but keeping track of what stage you are on and when
your power is going out can be beneficial to
your computers health. Keeping track of load
shedding is as simple as downloading an app
to your phone or visiting the official load shedding website regularly.
Switching your computer off five to ten
minutes before load shedding is scheduled
to begin means you will save your computer
from the effects of sudden blackouts. However,
following the load shedding schedule does
not mean you are entirely safe. When the

power returns, it can result in a power surge

which can overload and damage unprotected
items, especially power supply units and
motherboards. Surge protector plugs are
widely available and, as the name suggests, are
designed to
prevent your devices from being harmed by
power surges.While these plugs retail at a
slightly steeper price than
more conventional multiplugs and adapters,
they are certainly worth it for the protection
and peace of mind
they provide.
Lastly, when in doubt: power down and
unplug. It may be inconvenient, but when you
are leaving your home and are not sure when
the power is going out, the safest option is to
power off and unplug your PC.
At worst, it means a couple of extra minutes
disconnecting a plug or two from the mains,
but it can save you a lot of stress (from data
loss) and a lot of money (from damages).
Power outages and load shedding may occur
frequently for the foreseeable future, but they
do not need to affect your technology. As long
as you are careful and plan around the scheduled times, your computer, video game console
and any other home device should remain in
working order.

Mobile phone power banks are useful when batteries are low during load shedding or when away
from a plug, meaning that South Africans can stay connected on long, dark nights.

Bright ideas for load shedding

Bracken Lee-Rudolph
Load shedding is a regular occurrence now,
and a detriment to students struggling to cope
with lost time when there is no power, and lost
work when they are inconveniently cut off.
However, there are some devices which may
aid students in being a little more productive
during power outages.
One of the first items we recommended bringing
to Rhodes earlier this year was a laptop as
being able to work in your room as opposed to
having to trek to the library or one of the labs on
campus is a great bonus.
But when there is no power having a laptop is
doubly useful: you will not lose work because of
inconvenient power outages and you can take it
to the library during load shedding to charge the
battery and use the internet, providing you can
find a spot.
Mobile devices:
It may seem odd, but a mobile phone or tablet
can be really helpful when you have an impending deadline and no electricity.
Work saved on cloud storage services like

Google Drive or OneDrive is accessible on an

iOS or Android smartphone or tablet which
means you can edit documents, albeit on a
smaller screen with only touch controls.
Additionally, investing in a Bluetooth keyboard
may seem a bit pointless for everyday use, but
when the power goes out it will be a huge bonus
to have a device you can use to continue working.
Power Bank:
Most tablets and cellphones charge through USB
cords, either with multi-piece chargers or via
computer ports. Power banks are small devices
which can be connected to the USB cables of
mobile devices to charge them on the move.
Having these devices available on the go is
a big bonus when load shedding hits and your
phone is blaring at you to connect it to a charger.
Larger power banks are available to connect
to laptops, but mobile phone equivalents are
cheaper and more widely available.
Load shedding may be inconvenient, but it
need not be damaging to your academics if you
are properly prepared. Technology is a great aid
in ensuring you do not lose work or waste time
during power outages.

Rhodes tackles

Are e-books
green enough?




WiFi, coming to
a res near you

The Rhodes Rifle Club showed off their marksmanship at the South African National Championships in Bloemfontein
and are aiming high for future tournaments. Photo: SOURCED

Rifle Club sweeps up

medals at Nationals

Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

he Rhodes Rifle Club dominated at the 2015 South

African National Championships in Bloemfontein, winning a total of 20 medals. The team were
successful despite having a newly-appointed coach and six
new members in the club.
The club sent a ten-man team to Bloemfontein to compete
in the B, C, D, F and H shooting classes respectively. Rhodes
competitor Graeme Shmeldt comfortably won class D the
beginner class and was followed by team mates Ndyebo
Nomatye and Gregory Linklater. Akshay Patel also won
medals in this class. In total, the club brought home seven
gold, six silver and seven bronze medals.
According to the Rifle Clubs vice-chairman, Mart-Mari
de Bruyn, the club had only five weeks to prepare for
Nationals, making their success even more remarkable. De
Bruyn added that the clubs new coach, Geoffrey BagshaweSmith, who is an experienced National Benchrest Shooting
Champion, has proved to be a great addition to the team.

De Bruyn further highlighted the fact that the first few

months of 2015 have already proven to be better than the
entire year of 2014. The Rifle Club won the Most Improved
Club award last year and has not stopped improving,
she explained. She added that the clubs membership has
increased in comparison to the previous year.
New coach Bagshawe-Smith stated that We (the club)
are a group of very diverse people from very different
backgrounds, but we blend very well. He added that the
club is now trying to grow the sport further in order to not
see it die out. The clubs plans for the future involve general
growth and even better 2016 Nationals results. Unfortunately, the 2015 Nationals were at the start of the year, but it
is good for goal-setting so that athletes can improve over the
course of the year and do even better at the next Nationals,
said Bagshawe-Smith.
The clubs next challenge is inter-provincials on 9 May,
and Bagshawe-Smith hopes to see an improvement in their
practicing range and equipment in order to obtain the best
possible results.

Siyabulela Magopeni appointed head of Sports Admin

Kimara Singh
Siyabulela Magopeni has been appointed as Rhodes Universitys new
Head of Sports Administration after
being Acting Head of Sport since the
start of 2015. Magopeni, who started
working at Rhodes in 2012 as an Assistant Sports Manager, said he was
delighted about the appointment and
looked forward to the opportunity.
Magopeni takes over from Mandla
Gagayi, who has taken up the position
of Director of Sport at The University
of the Western Cape.
Magopeni explained his big plans
for the sports division, saying, One of
the key roles is to establish a plan for
implementing the Rhodes University
Sport Strategy. I would like to first
focus on recruitment of staff, attract

sponsors and establish a sound high

performance programme for our top
athletes, players and teams.
Magopeni has the backing of both
the Director of Student Affairs and
the Sports and Societies Councillor,
who are both positive about the future
of sport at Rhodes under Magopenis
leadership style.
Director of Student Affairs, Dr
Colleen Vassiliou said, Mr Magopeni
is a well-qualified, experienced Sports
Manager, who is not only passionate
about sports but has the best interest of
Rhodes University at heart.
Vassiliou further added that Magopeni has a specific plan to take Sports
Administration to a competitive level
by implementing the newly drafted
Sports Administration Strategic Plan.
The Strategic Plan aims to establish

Rhodes as one of South Africas top

eight universities in identified sporting
codes by 2020 and to contribute to
the holistic development of students
through participation in sport and
active living.
Newly-appointed Sports and Societies Councillor, Khanyisile Melanie
Mboya, is very happy for Magopeni on
his appointment and fully trusts in his
ability to lead sport at Rhodes. I know
he believes in sports and athletes, and
this new appointment affords students
a holistic experience of the university
through sport, she said.
While progress may be slow at first,
Magopenis appointment should mean
that the university can look forward
to a more competitive and structured
sporting environment in the years
to come.

After giving up his place in the Kaiser Chiefs U/19 team, Tiisetso Maifo
continues to play soccer while studying towards his Bachelor of Commerce degree. Photo: SOURCED

Ex-Kaiser Chiefs star still aiming for the top

Leonard Solms
He may have surrendered his place
in the Kaiser Chiefs U/19 team in
order to pursue a career as an accountant, but first year Bachelor of
Commerce student Tiisetso Maifo
is still aiming for greatness on
the pitch as well as off it.
Maifo, who is from Mapetla in
Soweto, was scouted by Doctor
Khumalo while playing a friendly
match against Kaiser Chiefs U/19
for a Sowetan Select XI team. When
his coach told him that Chiefs were
interested in him, Maifo was surprised but excited.
Maifo spent the 2013/14 season playing at the Kaiser Chief s
academy and helping to take the
U/19 side to 5th place overall in the
national league.
Last year, however, he decided to
put his sporting dream on hold in
order to study accounting. Maifo
admits to feeling sad about leaving
Kaiser Chiefs, but views his decision
as an opportunity to let go of one
dream in favour of another.
Maifo has not given up on soccer entirely, though. He currently
captains the Allan Webb Hall team
at Rhodes from his favoured centreback position. Maifo also plays for
the Castle League side Movers FC
when he is home during the holidays. During this time, he follows
a personalised training routine to
counteract any loss of fitness he may
experience while at Rhodes.
The teams chairperson Patrick
Moronyane is confident that Maifo

has the potential to achieve his

dream of being both a top-level
footballer and a qualified accountant. If he reaches this lofty goal,
Maifo will be part of an elite rank
of footballers who hold degrees and
play professional soccer.
Aside from Moronyane, Maifo
has also earned the respect of his
new team-mates at Rhodes, with
fellow player Neo Tshokudu rating
Maifo as one of the best footballers
he has played with. Gift Mnukwa,
meanwhile, said he admires Maifos
leadership skills.
Maifo explained that, as a captain,
he is very vocal on the pitch. When
its necessary, I shout, but never to
bring spirits down. Just as a wake-up
call or to raise confidence and scare
opponents, he said.
Maifo believes that footballers
require resilience above every other
personality trait. Not all coaches
will treat you nicely and there will
be critics, he said. You just have to
rise above all occasions.
A motivated individual in the
classroom, as well as on the sports
field, Maifo says that he will not be
satisfied with anything less than
distinctions in every course; a target
he is currently reaching in all but
one subject.
He hopes that his drive will help
him to succeed on the sports field
and in the lecture hall. However,
while his ultimate dream is to play
for Bayern Munich, for the moment
he is content to focus on his studies
and on guiding Allan Webb Hall to
the league title.