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Swot week,

vac conundrum

Meet your
Activism councillor

Should sub-wardens
be elected?

The Oppidan Press

Edition 10, 23 September 2015



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The Oppidan Press

23 September 2015

News Features
Will September vac change to swot week?
Thandi Bombi

n Tuesday 15 September
Rhodes University Vice
Chancellor Dr Sizwe
Mabizela addressed the Student
Body Meeting in the Barratt lecture
venue. He announced that after
the University has had to deal with
issues connected to short vacation
accommodation, they have taken up
the Black Student Movements (BSM)
proposal to set up a task team to look
at the issues that arise during the
April and September vacations.
In a statement made as part of this
meeting, Mabizela spoke briefly about
one of the proposals made for September vacation. There was a proposal
among many that it might make sense
to swop the September vacations with
swot week, said Mabizela.
However, I really dont want us
to engage in any discussion on that
because at the moment that task
team is applying its mind [to] various
possibilities. Mabizela went on to add
that he believes it would be a futile
exercise to argue about the merits and
demerits of the proposal because of
the fact that the task team has yet to
engage with it.
SRC Secretary General Lindokuhle
Zungu explained that this proposal

The question surrounding whether swot week should be swapped with the September vacation or not is an issue that
is being addressed. Photo: ROBYN BARNES
means that instead of having the
September vacation that week is used
as a study break, like swot week. So like
swot week you stay in res and [have]
no lectures. In order to maintain the
number of weeks in an academic year,
swot week (usually at the end of term
four) will be taken away, added Zungu.
Although Mabizela went into
very little detail about the proposed

solution, many students in attendance

were unhappy about it. You said that
we should not even discuss the matter
of swot week being swapped with
September vacation and I agree, said
third year student Sfisokuhle Xulu. He
added that this proposal should not
be discussed because it is something
many students would not tolerate.
2016 SRC Academic councillor,

Hope Mashozera agreed. I am deeply

concerned about this idea, he said.
While I commend the University
in that it is a creative way to ensure
there is no loss to you, the University
is taking from the students and once
again placing the onus on them. There
is so much pressure from academic
commitments during and towards
the end of the term. Mashozera went

on to explain that between preparing

for exams and other commitments,
students need a break.
We also need a break between
third term and fourth term because
the focus is different, he added, before
concluding by explaining that he hopes
the task team puts the students first
because they will be the ones writing
the exams.
Allan Gray Warden Tlamelo
Mothudi on the other hand, believes
that this proposal could be very
beneficial to students. A lot of
students dont actually get swot week
due to the fact that they start writing
during that week, said Mothudi.
Swot week is like a vacation because
people have the option of staying at
school and studying or going home to
study, so if they took [vac] and added it
to the already existing swot week so it
becomes two weeks and no September
vacation it would make things better.
Mothudi added that if students had
an extra week for swotting, everything
would not be so compacted because
swot week is the week most students
use to prepare for their exams.
Either decision by the University
on this matter will have its pros and
cons and the various suggestions on
the table need to all be taken seriously
before a decision is made.

The politics surrounding Braai Day

Gemma Middleton
Heritage Day is intended to be a day for South
Africans to get together and celebrate their
histories, cultures and traditions. However, in
recent years this day has been dubbed National
Braai Day by some, a move which has been
labelled as problematic.
Rhodes University International Programmes,
Projects and Events Officer Allan Magubane said
he is not comfortable with Heritage Day being
called Braai Day as he is disturbed about what it
says about South African heritage.
Culture and heritage kind of speak to each
other and thats why Im concerned about it
because heritage is a concept, a deeply profound
one, and a braai is an eventa meal. Its almost
like saying supper day or breakfast day. Its
weird, he explained.
Heritage Day is there to acknowledge [peoples] roots and to take pride in them, added
President of the Rhodes University Zulu Society,
Tshianeo Mamphaga.
While the name National Braai Day is not
necessarily bad in itself, as it may refer to a supposed collective South African braai culture, the
term is exclusive.
There is technically nothing restricting a
person from calling it National Braai Day if it is
part of their heritage. However, the same should
be extended to those who want to call it National
iBeshu Day or National Seshoeshoe Day or any
other title associated with that particular culture
if they feel that way, added Mamphaga.
Others, however, do not believe that changing the days name is politically motivated, but
rather a phrase that has been used often enough
to be assimilated into the South African lexicon.
I dont think that those who began calling Heritage Day Braai Day were intentionally making a
political statement. To be honest, it sounds like
something that started as a joke between friends
and ended up somehow making its way into an
advertisers office, said Rhodes SRC Transformation Councillor Naledi Mashishi.

24 September, National Heritage Day, is

increasingly becoming known as National
Braai Day and some believe that because of
this, the day is at risk of losing its historical
significance. Photo: KYLE PRINSLOO
Advertising is where this name begins to
sound like a political move. By popularising the
name, advertisers are knowingly putting their
focus on middle class South Africans. This in
many ways demeans what Heritage Day is supposed to be about.
While the current debate around the days
name may have dampened the spirits of some,
the Zulu Society remains upbeat. They have
organized Show me your roots, an event which
is to take place on Heritage Day and which aims
to showcase aspects from various cultures.
The event will give guests the opportunity to
sample food from the different cultures while
watching cultural performances. Show me your
roots is a good portrayal of how Heritage Day
should be celebrated because it gives people the
platform to showcase their heritage, dress up
and also get to experience other peoples culture,
stated Mamphaga.


23 September 2015 The Oppidan Press


Whos Who? Naledi Mashishi

Kathryn Cleary

n upcoming editions, The Oppidan Press

is going to sit down with one prominent
person within the Rhodes community
and discuss their feelings regarding local
transformation and activism. This week, we
spoke with Naledi Mashishi, 2016 SRC Activism
and Transformation Councillor.
Oppidan Press: Who inspires you and what
about them inspires you?
Naledi: I think that ideologically speaking
I have been most inspired by the writers like
Stephen Biko and bell hooks. bell hooks has
especially been inspirational to me because
through her I was introduced to intersectional
feminism which allowed me to truly identify
with feminism and understand many of the
experiences I have had throughout my life. I also
find it inspirational that she makes an effort to
make her work accessible for the average person
through her informal and simple writing style,
because Ive always felt that academic language
can often be very inaccessible which in turn
makes academia elitist and insular.
OP: Do you consider yourself a leader, a follower, or something in between?
N: Its interesting because I can switch between
the two. Sometimes I really dont want to be in a
leadership position and I just want someone to
take over and make all the hard decisions for me.
This is particularly because, and I know that this

2016 SRC Activism and Transformation councillor, Naledi Mashishi, sat down with The Oppidan Press
to talk about the continued need for transformation on campus and beyond. Photo: NITA PALLETT
sounds odd, but I consider myself an introvert and
quite shy so if I dont feel strongly about something or feel obligated to say something because
no one else is speaking then I tend to disappear
into the background, especially when Im working with people I either dont know or dont feel
comfortable with. But when Im feeling passionate
about something or I have a strong opinion about

it then I tend to want to take charge.

OP: If a fellow student argued that transformation, in its entirety, was unnecessary, what
would your response be?
N: Quite honestly, my automatic response
would be to be very annoyed because people, such
as the BSM, have been giving many reasons why
transformation is necessary at this university so

if someone still thinks that its unnecessary then

its either because they havent been listening or
they dont care, and I cannot stand apathy towards
OP: What are your thoughts regarding the
recent actions of the Black Student Movement?
N: I fully support the occupation because it
has really held management to account in a way
that they hadnt been before. Over the past couple
of weeks some really important issues have been
raised ranging from vac accommodation, to the
fact that students on NSFAS have been unbooking
meals in res in order to afford printing credit, to
the fact that many support staff are paid less than
sub wardens. And these are not new issues, but
BSM has been able to raise them with an amount
of pressure and energy that has made it very difficult for management to ignore and I believe that
we needed that at Rhodes.
OP: What advice do you have for students and
members of the community in terms of leadership and activism?
N: In terms of leadership, Im still learning a
lot. I think that so far the most valuable lessons
that Ive learned is to always trust your gut and to
not keep quiet. If something feels wrong it usually
is and when something feels wrong keeping quiet
is the worst thing you can do. At the same time,
listen to those who know better than you do; especially those who have been in a similar position to
the one youre in now and can offer insight.
To read Naledis full interview, visit The Oppidan
Press website (

How does the Rands strength affect me?

Esihle Matshaya
The devaluation of Chinas currency, the Yuan, has resulted in a
drop in the value of the currencies of emerging and developing
countries like South Africa as they are highly dependent on trade
relations with China.
The decision by Chinas government to deliberately devalue the
Yuan was the result of the slow economic growth in the global
economy. After the decision was made, China has been met by
numerous setbacks and so cannot afford to buy as many goods as it
usually does.
China is South Africas largest market for commodities, meaning
that economic problems that affect China ultimately affect our
country as well. A weakening outlook for Chinese growth, and a slip
in Chinas currency, have combined to put pressure on developing
countrys economies. Particularly affected are those countries, like
South Africa, whose growth models depend on Chinese demand for
industrial and other commodities.
The South African Rand has decreased in value since the
devaluation of the Chinese currency, and it appears that the mining
sector will be the hardest hit section of the economy.
However, it is important to note that the South African economy is
diversifying and the mining sector is contributing less to the overall
state income than previously, but still generates a large percentage of
South Africas foreign income.
The depreciation of the Rand puts South Africans in an

unfavourable position as pressure mounts for the government to

remedy the situation. However, the prices of goods and services will
need to increase to enable the government to address this issue.
According to Rhodes Economics student Aisha Rassul, What
most people fail to understand when the Rand goes down is that
prices subsequently go up and yet salaries stay the same. Consumers
who have already tightened their belts to be able to afford basic
necessities are now in an even more unfavourable position, with
those unable to afford even the bare necessaries being hit the hardest.
However, the Rands depreciation is positive for some students.
According to Zimbabwean student Denisse Mutembwa, the
weakened Rand, combined with the fact that Zimbabwe uses the
United States dollar, means that her family has to spend less on her
monthly allowance now.
The American dollar did decrease slightly as a result of Chinas
commodity depreciation, but due to the fact that America is not
heavily dependent on China for trade their economy was able to
recover more quickly.
Not all students are as fortunate as Mutembwa, however. In the
face of the falling Rand, South African students who are going on
exchange programmes overseas will now find that the values of their
bursaries have decreased.
While the value of the Rand constantly fluctuates, many feel that
the current depreciation has hit the countrys economy harder than
previous ones. Chinas devalued currency therefore ultimately means
that South Africans are fearful of the effects the current financial
strain will have on their lives.

As the Rand continues to depreciate, prices are set to rise

locally, leaving many South Africans in financial trouble.

The Oppidan Press

23 September 2015


The Oppidan Press

Its fair to say that a lot of students started this term off in denial. Exams
are coming and there are only two and a half months until the end of
the academic year. Studying will have to replace parties and books will
replace hours of procrastination on YouTube. We held our AGM last
Wednesday to postpone this inevitability and to celebrate our outgoing
staff and welcome in our new team.
This year we say goodbye to a few stalwarts and hello to plenty of new
faces as well as some established members moving up the ranks. This strong
team will surely continue the hard work that was put in by our 2015 team
throughout the year and continue to grow what has expanded into a widereaching brand.
This new team will be reporting during a time when university campuses,
with Rhodes very much included, have become more politicised than ever
and students are insisting that their voices are heard. From the protests
regarding the name and transformation to the debate about accommodation
for students during the vacation, learners concerns are being voiced with
persistence on various platforms from artwork to posts on social media.
As these events unfold, we have committed ourselves to covering them to
the best of our abilities and in line with the ethics and integrity expected of
professional journalists. We will protect the rights of our reporters as well as
ensure that the responsibilities of a reporter are upheld by all of our staff.
This is an exciting time for student journalists. Reporting on such events
allows for debate and discussion as well as first-hand experience of navigating what can only be considered difficult terrain for the still-learning media
student. The challenges already faced have tested and expanded the abilities
and understanding of the old team and will surely do the same for the new.
To this new team, we also welcome the addition of a new division of The
Oppidan Press: OppiFM. This will be a fortnightly podcast which will be discussing the most relevant events and issues that are present on our campus.
This will include discussions with invested parties and visiting guests who
can enrich the dialogue and bring new insights to developments covering a
range of topics. It will also be a reflective space which will look at and consider the work of other aspects of the organisation have undertaken.
This new project will be a first for Rhodes student journalism as well as a
first for universities in South Africa. Currently no other student media organisation has endeavoured to produce such a programme and incorporate
it into an already widespread media organisation. This will be a process with
a few learning curves but we are confident our team of dedicated, experienced staff led by Julia Fish will produce work worthy of our audience.
We all look forward to what this new team and new project will produce.

The Oppidan Press staff and contact details

Editor-in-Chief: Stuart Lewis. Deputy Editor: Lelia Stein. Executive
Consultant: Amanda Xulu. Financial Manager: Likho Sithole. Advertising
Manager: Smangaliso Simelane. Marketing Manager: Leila Kidson.
Online Editor: Liam Stout. Assistant Online Editors: Pierre Durandt, Leila
Kidson. Acting News Features Editor: Phelokazi Mbude. Politics Editor:
Kim Nyajeka. Assistant Politics Editor: Kathryn Cleary. Opinion Editor:
Deane Lindhorst. Assistant Opinion Editor: Jordan Stier. Business Editor:
Esihle Matshaya. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Nkosazana Hlalethwa.
Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor: Ellen Heydenrych. Scitech Editor:
Bracken Lee-Rudolph. Environment Editor: Lili Barras-Hargan. 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 Tucker. Chief SubEditor: Kate Jennings. Senior Sub-Editor: Danica Kreusch. Sub-Editors:
Emily Stander, Nokwanda Dlamini, Lebogang Mashego, Andrea Le Goabe,
Janet Clift, Wynona Latham. Chief Designer: Hannah McDonald. Assistant
Chief Designer: Amy-Jane Harkess. Junior Designers: Tiffany Mac Sherry,
Sarah-Jane Davies, Lauren Dixon-Paver. External Content Advisors: Carissa
Govender, Tope Adebola, Mishka Hoosen. OppiTV Chief Editor: Welcome
Lishivha. OppiTV Managing Editor: Sarah Middleton. OppiTV Content
Editor: Carey Moraladi. OppiTV Deputy Content Editor: Khanyi Mlaba.
OppiTV Webcast Producer: Joseph Minde. Ombudsperson: Professor
Anthea Garman.
Letters to the Editor:
Advertising details: @oppidanpress

The Oppidan Press publishes letters which are bona fide expressions of opinion provided that they are not clearly libellous,
defamatory, racist or sexist. We publish anonymous letters, but as
an act of good faith on your part, we require your full name. We
reserve the right to shorten letters due to space constraints and to
edit them for grammatical inaccuracies. Letters that do not make it
into our print edition will be published on our website.

Insert caption here please :)

The selection versus election process of student leadership is an ongoing debate in residences. Image: VICKY PATRICK

The selection vs election debate

Jordan Stier

econd semester at Rhodes

University is a time to vote. Just as
the SRC election posters started
coming down around campus, the
posters for dining hall head student
elections started to pop up. They will
soon be followed by campaigns for
residence head students. House committees will be also be elected in some
residences, like New House, while
others, such as Calata House, will use a
selection process.
While the particulars of process in
selections and elections across campus
vary, the principles are the same with
pros and cons to each. For the purpose
of creating student leaders, selection is
far more preferable to elections, however,
and should even be considered for the
formulation of the SRC in the future.
For a start, selection panels can
consider issues of leadership diversity
in leadership teams, while election
processes often result in the same
kinds of leaders or demographic
groups occupying all the positions
on a leadership team. This makes for
unwholesome leadership teams as
well as leaving many students feeling
disenfranchised because no student

leaders appeal to them. The bias or lack

of diversity of a selection panel can
hamper this, but this is a problem that
can be overcome far more effectively
and simply than the diversity problems
arising from popular vote.
The problem of student apathy is
pronounced in the electoral process,
partly because of the difficulties that
arise for electoral officials in terms of
actually getting voters to participate.
However, student apathy also results
from the lack of importance students
often place on their votes.
It seems to me that a worryingly
large proportion of votes are still placed
from greatly uninformed positions and
no-votes are still widely underutilised.
Because many voters have little to no
knowledge about candidates or their
campaigns, voting decisions are left to
be made by elements as menial as the
likability of candidates names, their
photos, or even their position on
the ballot.
Selection panels, on the other hand,
are formed by a far greater proportion
of truly interested and informed
individuals. These individuals are
involved with the panel for one of two
reasons. On the one hand they may have
experience of the positions on offer and

the qualifications necessary to fill them

adequately. Or they may be on the panel
because they are invested in the results
and so are willing to give their time to
the application and selection process
in order to ensure the best candidate
is chosen.
Candidates also make more
considered decisions in selection
processes. Candidates consider their
decisions to run for positions far more
carefully when they will be interviewed
and selected by a panel than when they
merely run for election.
This being said, however, the selection
process does have some of its own
problems. Bias is the most obvious
of these issues, but not the only one.
Interested candidates may be less likely
to run because they are intimidated by
the selection process, and panels may
allow little room for the radicalisation
of leadership.
These problems can, however,
be effectively mitigated if they are
addressed by the panel itself. I therefore
strongly encourage all those involved
in selection processes this term to
stringently consider these issues and
overcome them as best as they can
to ensure the best leadership for the
University in 2016.

23 September 2015

The Oppidan Press

In an effort to promote eco-friendly
practices, The Oppidan Press has compiled
a list of ways in which we can all reduce our
paper consumption:
Be frugal in your printing activity: Only print what
is necessary. If you only need a couple of pages from a
reading, do not print the whole chapter.
Print on both sides of the sheet: If you are printing
slideshows, try to fit as many slides onto the page as
you can.
Utilise electronic copies where possible: In certain
programs you can highlight and add notes as you read
Invest in an e-reader or tablet: If your course
involves a lot of reading, it could be beneficial to buy
a Kindle or Kobo. Although expensive, they can hold
up to 500 books at a time and allow for a real reading
Read online magazines and newspapers: Most
publications have electronic copies you can sign up
for, or else free content featured online. Not only are
online publications more up-to-date, but they also
cut out the greenhouse gases emitted during the
transportation of the physical copies.

The Universitys printing credit system comes into question when the problem of going green still incorporates the usage of paper in our
digital era. Image: SOURCED

Print less for a sustainable future

Nita Pallett and Lili Barras-Hargan

rbor Week came to a close almost

two weeks ago and saw the South
African government tackling some
of the countrys biggest greening concerns.
The theme of this years Arbor Week revolved
around the relationship between people and
their natural environment. One way in which
students at Rhodes University are able to
invest in a sustainable future is through the
paper-saving printing system in place at
the University.

During the first week of enrollment at the

University, students are introduced to the printing system and how to buy printing credit. However, they are not shown the innovative printing
system on ROSS that allows them to view their
printing activity in an environmental context.
The application equates the number of sheets
of paper printed to the number of trees you
would hypothetically have used. Furthermore,
the energy used in the paper-making process is
measured in hours, by how long it would power
a 60W light bulb.
The system allows for an aesthetically pleasing

visual representation of a students paper and energy consumption while also providing important statistics. A recent study conducted by the
scientists at How Stuff Works: Science website
claim that one pine tree equates to roughly 80
500 sheets of paper.
Although it is nearly impossible for any
student to use such a vast amount of paper during their time at Rhodes University, the student
body as a whole consumes reams of paper every
day. Since 21 October 2014, the University has
used 37.9 trees, 13 725 kg of CO2 and 864 138
lightbulb hours.

Encourage online assignment submissions:

Although many courses utilise RUConnected as a
database for course resources, there are still a vast
number of subjects that require hard copy submissions. Speak to class reps or lecturers directly about
moving towards a more environmentally friendly
approach to distributing readings and assignments.
Although an understanding of the direct environmental impact of our paper consumption is valuable,
this is just the tip of the iceberg. In the USA, the excessive use of non-biodegradable paper cups accounts
for the deforestation of 6.5 million trees every year.
Furthermore, the greenhouse gases released in the
production of paper contribute to global warming.
In order to make sustainable progress towards a
more environmentally friendly university, electronic
copies and internet sharing platforms must be properly
utilised. With the involvement of all students and staff,
the relationship between the university and the planets
finite resources can be improved.

Which is greener? Flying vs bussing

Lili Barras-Hargan and Lauren Buckle

As the end of the academic year approaches, students are
booking their transport home, choosing to go either by
air or by road. However, when this decision is made, the
environmental impact of the choice must be taken into
account as any mode of transport releases greenhouse
gases and contributes to global warming.
The distance between Johannesburg and Grahamstown is
almost 1000km. It can take around 11 hours to travel by car
and 13 hours by bus. However, this distance takes only one
hour and thirty minutes by plane.
The ratio between the number of people in a car and the
amount of fuel consumed is in fact higher than the ratio of
people in a plane to fuel consumption, according to a recent
study by the International Institute for Applied Systems
Analysis. This means that the amount of fuel used by one
person travelling in a full aeroplane is less than the amount
of fuel used by one person travelling by car. However, the
environmental impact of travelling by car can be reduced by
carpooling since a vehicle carrying more than three passengers is likely to be more fuel efficient than an aeroplane.
According to Green Car Reports, flying uses 57 percent
less energy on average than driving. However, some cars are
more fuel efficient than others, a fact which must be kept
in mind when calculating travel costs. According to the
City of Cape Town website, an average car in South Africa

consumes 7 litres per 100 kilometers covered. If a student

were to travel in an eco-friendly car such as the Volkswagen
Polo, they would use less than half the fuel for the same
distance at 3.4 litres/100km.
Bussing back home is the most environmentally friendly
option as it transports a large number of people at a time.
Therefore, the amount of greenhouse gases produced per
person is much lower as the fuel consumption is divided
among more people. However, for national students, bus
journeys take up to 110 percent longer than flying and
so students are more likely to fly home, especially for the
shorter holidays.
This is due to the fact that some bus routes take up to 18
hours either way. This is not a large part of a one month or
three month holiday but in the case of a shorter break, students lose a significant portion of their holiday to travelling.
For international students, however, flying home is sometimes the only option as this saves them time which they
would otherwise have to spend sitting on a bus. Travelling
to Zimbabwe by bus takes approximately 24 hours of travelling where as a flight takes about 6 hours including transit
time. International students who live overseas often stay in
Grahamstown or travel within South Africa during short
holidays as the travelling time can span three or four days in
some cases.
Despite all these variables, it is clear that the most
environmentally friendly travelling option for students is
bussing and the most detrimental choice is driving alone.

The issue of choosing between flying and bussing is addressed and the harm
it brings to the environment as the end of the academic year approaches.

The Oppidan Press

23 September 2015


Can you force change

with your computer?
Bradley Prior

With exams on their way, Olde 65s Ukutya
kwaseKhaya menu promises to keep
students well-fed through the long nights.

African food menu

succeeds at Olde 65
Mihlali Ntsabo
Ukutya kwaseKhaya is an isiXhosa phrase for
homemade food. As exams approach and
the need to snack at night while one studies is
going to increase; Olde 65 Ukutya kwaseKhaya
owner Siya Masinda has taken advantage of
this and now delivers traditional African food
to customers. We talked to one of the kitchen
staff members and bartender, Siyamthanda
Mahlakahlaka to find out more about the place.
This space used to be a fast food pub that sold
your burgers, etc. but in April of this year, the
kitchen closed down and Masinda saw this as
an opportunity to open up his traditional food
restaurant, explained Mahlakahlaka.
The purpose of this restaurant was to provide
Olde 65 customers with homemade food with
their drinks in order to give them a sense of
having a great time in the comfort of their own
home. People like drinking and eating fulfilling
food; it makes them feel like theyre at home, said
Mahlakahlaka. He added that Masinda saw an
opportunity for creating a home-away-from-home
environment at Ukutya kwaseKhaya.
Originally this service was designed for Rhodes
University students, especially those who lived
off campus and had to go through the hassle of
cooking. The reason behind this restaurant was
to accommodate students who couldnt cook at
home because they were tired or they missed
home-made food or if they were just lazy to cook,
Mahlakahlaka explained.
However, the restaurants service is popular with
people beyond the University community too.
Mahlakahlaka attributed this to word-of-mouth
advertisement and said that Ukutya kwaseKhayas
customers include municipal workers and
employees from places like Steers and Debonairs.
The restaurant has received a number of great
reviews from regular customers such as Rhodes
student Sinazo Tshongweni who said that the
food they serve at the restaurant is delicious.
Tshongweni added that she was excited when she
heard that an African dish restaurant was opening
in Grahamstown. Out of ten, Tshongweni said she
would rate their food a seven.
Ukutya kwaseKhaya is open seven days a
week and Mahlakahlaka invited people from all
backgrounds to come in and try their food.

n 20 August 2015, a documentary

titled Luister was posted to
YouTube. It detailed the stories of
various students of colour from Stellenbosch
University, highlighting racism in the
institution. One month and over 300 000
views later, the documentary has gone viral,
receiving coverage by national media and
responses from throughout the country.
Luister garnered attention from the likes
of Stellenbosch University Vice-Chancellor
Wim de Villiers, Minister of Higher Education
Blade Nzimande and various popular news
publications around the country. It also served
to highlight the plight of Open Stellenbosch as
an organisation fighting against the remnants
of apartheid.
Closer to home, social media erupted over
the coverage of the Black Student Movements
(BSM) sit-in of the Rhodes council chambers.
Some rallied to support the BSM, while others
criticised the movement for the manner in
which it went about its protest.
In both of these cases, it was evident that
social media is becoming incredibly influential
in both shaping and enhancing socio-political
movements. Neither protest would have
received nearly as much visibility, and by
extension support, if it was not for the internet.
History lecturer and prominent voice on
social media Dr Nomalanga Mkhize believes
that social media holds a unique role in sociopolitical movements. Social media can do two
things very quickly: draw attention, and give
high profile to an issue that was perhaps not in
the public eye, she explained.
This has been evident in the rise to
prominence of the BSM. The organisation

Caption. Photo: ASHLIEGH MEY

The use of social media escalates in our society in its assistance of bringing masses of people to
join movements and various other platforms that speak to issues raised in our society.
initially attached itself to rigorous debates
regarding instances of institutional racism,
such as the #RhodesMustFall movement.
Through the use of social media most notably
Facebook the BSM has since brought other
topics into focus, such as the steep price of
vacation accommodation.
Mkhize appreciates the ability of social
media to connect users to people with similar
interests. Social media plugged me into a
community of like-minded people, she said.
It has allowed me to meet people who want to
think differently and I value that.
However, she also warned about the

downside to being a social media activist. It

can hype up and exaggerate things, giving
them the sense of having greater traction than
they actually do in real life, she said. They
can make the cause of a few appear to be the
cause of many. People can be outraged and loud
online, but not be willing to back that up with
actual participation offline.
Despite its flaws, it is clear that social media
provides an incredibly dynamic platform for
discussion and that online socio-political
debates are here to stay. And for good reason
too: they have proven to be instrumental in
forging social change.

Since Last Edition: A montage of vac

Bracken Lee-Rudolph
While the university and our publication may have halted for vacation,
science and technology have not stopped progressing since our last edition. A number of discoveries and reveals have been made during this
time, some of which you will find below.
Homo naledi
The biggest discovery that has been made since our last edition is
undoubtedly Homo naledi a human evolutionary ancestor that was discovered by the Rising Star expedition at Maropeng in 2013 and revealed in
recent scientific papers.
The excavated site, which is at the end of a somewhat treacherous cave,
including a crawl through a chute less than 10 inches (25.4cm) high, a
15-metre climb and an 11-metre drop, was the home of 1,554 Homo naledi
bone fragments.
However, according to Professor Cristoph Zollikofer of the University
of Zurich, we cannot conclusively claim Homo naledi as a new human
ancestor just yet. This is due to a lack of dating of the site and specimens
it contained, which means that Homo naledi may turn out to be nothing
more than a variation on one of the existing species of human ancestors
rather than a new species in its own right.
If there is not a serious attempt to date the whole site, it is difficult
to draw any conclusions. It might be an early homo [species] but a
lot of the implications depend on what we think about how old it is,
Zollikofer explained.
Despite this, he was positive about the discovery as a whole. This
Dinaledi [find] adds to the argument that human evolution didnt occur
in a single jump, but that it is something that happens slowly, slowly over

time It is fantastic that [Professor. Lee Berger, the lead researcher on the
project] finds new fossils in these quantities its not easy to do.
Melatonin to treat MS?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a rare disease that causes the bodys immune
cells to attack the brains neurons which are responsible for transmitting
signals from the brain to other parts of the body. This can cause issues
with vision, balance and muscle coordination and causes permanent neural degeneration over time.
A new study has found that melatonin a hormone generated by our
body during sleep and used to treat insomnia can slow the effects of MS
by defending against errant immune cells. While researchers are optimistic this will yield results for sufferers of MS in the long run, they advise
caution in misinterpreting the results of a relatively small study too hastily.
We dont want patients to see the study and misinterpret our results,
said Dr. Mauricio Farez, a neurologist at the Institute of Neurological Research in Buenos Aires. Its a neat study and great data, but we still need
to do a lot of work.
Apple Keynote
Apple is arguably the most popular producer of consumer technology at
the moment, and their keynote presentation on 9 September showed off
their new range of devices.
The tech giant unveiled the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, both of which
use the 3-D Touch feature. This allows the phone to register different levels
of pressure and so provide more detailed contextual actions.
Phones aside, the iPad Pro was also revealed, with a 12.9 inch screen,
four-speaker system and claims of a 10 hour battery life. The iPad Pro
Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil which interacts directly with the
iPads screen to produce better drawing and writing performance - were
revealed as accessories for the device.


23 September 2015

The Oppidan Press

Arts & Entertainment

The Atmosphere Market was started by two

Rhodes students, Buhlebezwe Ndaba and
Sithasolwazi Kentane, to ensure that Sundays in
Grahamstown can be well-spent by all.

Fine Arts student Mosa Anita Kaiser uses Instagram as her personal artwork gallery to showcase her creations and interact with her audience.

Social media redefining art

Nkosazana Hlalethwa

ocial media app Instagram has given

digital fine artists, such as Cape Townbased artist Tony Gum, a quick and easy
way to curate their creations. Not only was
Gums art showcased at the 2015 FNB Joburg
Art Fair, but she was also the official face of
the fair. In addition to this, Gum was named
The coolest kid in Cape Town by Vogue UK.
It was thanks to Instagram that Gum was
given these accolades.
While she is receiving immense traffic, Gum
is not the only artist using the app to promote
her work. Rhodes Bachelor of Fine Arts student
Mosa Anita Kaiser also uses her Instagram account as an online platform to share her work
locally and globally.
While Kaiser currently uses Instagram to
showcase her art, the idea actually began with
Tumblr. Kaiser began curating her art on
Tumblr because the process of creating and

then photographing her creations seemed

incomplete. Ive always been taking photos and
framing things. At least on Tumblr its being
displayed or having some sense of purpose
instead of just sitting there, she explained.
But Kaiser prefers Instagram to Tumblr now
as it is more interactive on a local scale. She
explained that Instagram allowed the Grahamstown community to interact with her artwork,
making it more personal.
Majoring in Politics and Fine Arts, Kaiser
describes herself as an artist whose creations are
influenced by current affairs. She therefore sees
the digital space as best suited for her artwork
because it allows her to exhibit work that is
related to trending issues on social media.
Platforms such as Instagram therefore allow for
greater artistic interaction between Kaiser, her
audience, and her art because they are more
immediate than traditional curation platforms
such as gallery viewings.
Another one of Kaisers major inspirations is

from other artists who use Instagram to curate

their work. One of these artists happens to be
Gum. Kaiser draws from Gums work because
of its simplicity. I mean she uses a point-andshoot, said Kaiser to explain that Gum has
shown her that artistry is about using what you
Kaiser is in her second year at Rhodes and
has yet to specialise in a particular artistic
medium. Currently, Kaisers Instagram page
consists of a mixture of portraits, paintings,
sketches and sculptures she has created. I dont
have an elective yet. I literally do everything,
she said.
Although she is exploring all these different
fields, Kaiser sees herself leaning more towards
anything that allows her to make use of digital
art, especially sculpture and photography. I
kind of like to incorporate all three mediums
in one. Whenever I do sculpting I find myself
translating it into a photograph or video [and]
then I incorporate sound, she explained.

Classics to Comedies: a music lecturers best reads

Holly Allison
In this editions Reading series, The Oppidan
Press asked Jazz Studies lecturer, pianist and
composer Dr Nishlyn Ramanna for his book
recommendations which ranged from comedy
to classics.
Haroun and the Sea of Stories
(Salman Rushdie):
Rushdie is known for writing magic-realism
novels that Ramanna said take a lot of work
to get through. However, Haroun and the
Sea of Stories is an exception. The book was
written for the authors son. In order to get
close to a childrens story, Rushdie makes use of
simplified language. The novel is, in essence, an
interrogation of creative stories and the classic
question of, Where do stories come from? said
Small Moving Parts (Sally-Anne Murray):
Ramanna grew up in Durban and noted that
this book struck a chord close to home. He
said that the book was wonderful as Murray
describes growing up in Durban so aptly that the
city comes to life in quite a special way. Murray

is also a poet and, because of this, her use of

language throughout the novel is pleasantly
lyrical. The book focuses on the life of Halley,
who lives below the breadline and finds that
imagination helps her in holding things together.
The Colour of Magic, The Shepherds Crown
and Hogfather (Terry Pratchett):
Ramanna labelled these books by Pratchett
as whimsical, extraordinarily clever and easy to
read. However, he does not see that this takes
away from the depth of the two books. On the
contrary, Ramanna explained that Pratchett
creates incredibly nuanced and real characters
and situations.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
(Douglas Adams):
Ramanna recommended this book for
all science fiction lovers. The hilarious and
nonsensical novel follows the adventures of a
small town British man, Arthur Dent and his
alien friend, Ford Prefect who manage to escape
Earth on an alien spaceship just before the
planet is destroyed. The story is a trilogy told in
five parts and is very different from other sci-fi
books, most of which are intrinsically American.

Dr Nishlyn Ramanna. Photo: SOURCED

However, Ramanna argues that Adams trilogy is
quirky and more British in tone.
The trilogy is also intensely real, describing
accurately the frustrations of everyday living.
A Midsummer Nights Dream
(William Shakespeare):
The comedy play tells the story of events
surrounding the marriage between the Duke
of Athens and Hippolyta. Although Ramanna
may have enjoyed reading a great deal of
Shakespeares work, he says A Midsummer
Nights Dream has a unique beauty to it because
of Shakespeares particular use of language.

A Sunday well
spent brings a
week of content
Ayanda Gigaba
Situated at 37 on New, Atmosphere Market
regularly entertains Grahamstown locals with
food, drink, and clothing stalls. Established
by Rhodes students, Sithasolwazi Kentane and
Buhlebezwe Ndaba earlier this year, the market
has become a much-loved Sunday tradition.
Atmosphere Market was bred from the need
to have something to do on a Sunday, especially
considering that on this day most places in
Grahamstown are closed. Reflecting on the first
Atmosphere event that took place in May this
year, Kentane admitted that the process was challenging. At some point we thought we were in
over our heads, she said. However, the success of
their first event was evidence enough that their
idea was a good one.
The market has a prominent presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These sites are used
for strategic marketing, a ploy which the founders
say has played a key role in their success. A lot of
the behind the scene stuff of actually organising
the market is not even the hard part. Marketing
is what you really need to focus on because that is
what is going to get people here in the first place,
explained Ndaba.
Ndaba and Kentane are also using photography
as an ongoing market strategy. We want to show
something new that people will look at and get excited about. We want people to feel like they dont
want to miss out on Atmosphere, said Kentane.
One way in which they achieve this is through
Visual Director Tshiamo Tiger Maremelas photographs of each event.
During the National Arts Festival, Atmosphere
hosted a market that proved the success of their
marketing strategies as they reached a national
audience. Drawing in different people that didnt
know anything about our market proved that Atmospheres marketing was on point, said Ndaba.
However, Kentane also defended Atmosphere
Market against claims, from some Grahamstown
critics, that its appeal is not necessarily universal. Were not going to impress everyone. Not
everyone is going to like what we do because it
just might not be what theyre looking for. But
everyone who comes here has a good time.
Every version of the market has a different
theme. The most recent event had a Chisa Nyama
theme. Those who attended had the opportunity
to enjoy the vibe of a braai while jamming to
old-school Kwaito. Although each incarnation creates a different atmosphere, they all live up to the
markets description: A Sunday well spent brings
a week of content.

Get home the

greener way

Social media
and activism


The making of
Atmosphere Market

Wentworth hoping to bring

home international award
Leonard Solms

Prior to the recently-mowed Prospect Fields and King Field, frustrated sports teams faced challenges
with the overgrowth of weeds. Photo: TOM SWIFT

Rhodes struggles to fight

growth on sports fields
Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

oth Prospect Fields and Kings Field

are frequently used for various sports,
whether it be for formal and informal
matches or training sessions. Recently, however, both fields have experienced an enormous
growth of clover weeds due to high winter
rainfall levels.
We have experienced the highest winter
rainfall on record and ground temperatures have
remained cold throughout these rainy spells, said
Rhodes Head of Sport Siya Magopeni. Magopeni
further confirmed that it is perfectly common for
the clover weeds to be excessively prolific at this
time of the year under these conditions.
With the fields left in an unmaintained condition for an extended amount of time despite their
frequent use by students, the overgrowth of weeds
has become a hindrance to sports teams.
As a result of the intermittent rain that we have
experienced in recent weeks, the regular mowing
of the fields could not be performed by Grounds
and Gardens, Magopeni explained. He added:
Mowing the fields in wet conditions will do more
damage to the fields than good.
Grounds and Gardens made efforts to contain
the excessive weed growth by spraying the fields
with a prescribed broadleaf weed killer. However, this method brought about serious health
concerns for staff as well as members of the public

who live to the east of the Prospect Fields and the

spraying was stopped immediately as a result.
Manager of Rhodes Soccer and frequent soccer
player Kudzi Nzombe, said, It is actually sad and
surprising that at a tertiary level we still have field
maintenance problems. This term we only have
one soccer field Kings Field, and we have no
choice but to make do with whats on offer.
Despite the frustrations, Magopeni and the
Grounds and Gardens division have assured
students that they have been working together to
make sure the fields can be used. Great news is
that with last weeks sunny weather conditions,
mowing has commenced on Prospect Fields
and now the team [has also mowed] King Field,
Magopeni said.
Philip Crous from the Ground and Gardens
division added, Because our fields are essentially
outdoor facilities, prevailing weather conditions
do play a role in determining our success in
maintaining fields at an acceptable standard.
While it is important to Crous and his staff to
keep the fields not only ready for fixtures, but
also in terms of aesthetic appeal, unpredictable
weather conditions do come into play.
Keen athletes can look forward to freshly cut
fields if the weather is favourable for maintenance
operations. Magopeni and the Grounds and
Gardens staff said that they are prioritising the
conditions of these fields so that they are available
for use as soon as possible.

He may only have truly

discovered his passion
for rowing during his five
years at Rhodes, but PGCE
student Tristan Wentworth
is now one of six rowers
waiting anxiously for results
after having reached the
final of World Rowings
Parmigiani Spirit Award.
The award aims to
recognise a student who
has made a significant
contribution in his or her
social, academic and sporting
life through embodying
the core values of rowing.
Wentworth, who was
nominated by the Rhodes
University Rowing Club, is
one of two South Africans on
the list of finalists. The other,
Lawrence Brittain, studies at
the University of Pretoria.
Although the winner
stands to gain a hand-crafted
Parmigiani Fleurier watch,
Wentworth is more excited
by the prospect of winning
a custom-made new Filippi
racing eight boat, which
will be used by the womens
rowing team at Rhodes.
Wentworth joined the
Rhodes University Rowing
Club in 2011 after rowing
sporadically at school and
in his first year at university,
which was spent at NMMU.
That was the year that
Wentworths passion for
rowing was ignited, and he
quickly dedicated himself
fully to the sport. Now 24
years old, he has long since
been a key member of his
current club here at Rhodes
and was the 2012 mens
Captain and 2013 Vice
Chair. For the last two years,
he has held the position of
Maintenance and Equipment

Rhodes rower Tristan Wentworth has proven his skills after

being nominated as one of six finalists in the World Rowings
Parmigiani Spirit Award. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS
Wentworth was also one
of four Rhodes rowers who
represented South Africa
at this years World Student
Games in South Korea.
Murray Roodt, his national
and club team-mate, singled
out Wentworths dedication
and work ethic as two of his
most notable character traits.
True to form, Wentworth
had some advice for junior
and aspiring Rhodes rowers
aiming to scale similar
heights to him, or even to
attempt to push further: Our
old president [Sam Vosper]
always said that the more

you put into the club, the

more you get back, and I fully
believe that.
Club President Jed Theron
was ecstatic, but not shocked
at Wentworths inclusion in
the final six. The fact that
one of our own has been
named as a finalist for such
a prestigious international
award bears testament to
the world class atmosphere
that we strive for at the
Rhodes University Rowing
Club, Theron said. Tristan
deserves the nomination fully
and him making the finals
of the award comes as no
surprise to me.