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Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

From the Editor


he first edition of a newspaper is an exciting one for any new team. This time however, Activate has taken on a bigger than ever challenge by simultaneously re-launching our website and newspaper. You can see from this edition, we are taking a different approach to Activate, experimenting with longer, more analytical features. We have expanded the paper from 18 to 24 pages and there is now a photo feature, extended news and politics sections, an environmental page – and we even have our very own horoscopes! At first this editorial was going to be about our plans as the new team and where we plan to take the paper over the next year. However, I’d rather not waste content space in this first special edition and instead let you see and judge for yourself as the year progresses. I would instead like to focus on a recurring topic in the edition, the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM). We recognise their cause and ambition for the deepening of democracy. As a student publication, we should bring to light continuing struggles for true democracy. This is especially relevant in South Africa today where democracy is said to have been firmly consolidated 17 years ago. The UPM represents an often silenced majority that do not reap the fruits of our so-called ‘democracy’. We are using this paper as a platform to bring to your attention problems that should not go unnoticed. As our guest columnist, Benjamin Fogel, said in Pushing My Agenda, university is not, “A 3-year excuse to fuck, do drugs and party with little or no consequence,” but rather a time to critically engage



Page 5: Locals march for their Right2Know ANC document leaked Page 10: Road to Mangaung

Editor-in-chief: Lauren Kate Rawlins Deputy Editor: Isabelle Anne Abraham Content Editor: Kayla Roux Chief Media Supervisor: Megan Ellis Online Editor: Alexander Venturas Chief Sub-Editor: Matthew Kynaston Chief Designer Simone Loxton Assistant Designer: Mignon van Zyl Chief Pics Editor: Anton Scholtz Assistant Pics Editor: Niamh Walsh-Vorster Illustrator: Katja Schreiber News Editor: Sibulele Mabusela Deputy News Editor: Neo Koza Politics Editor: Marc Davies Business Editor: Njabulo Nkosi C&A Editor: Alexa Sedgwick Features Editor: Karlien van der Wielen Features Assistant Editor: Nina McFall Lifestyle Editor: Sarisha Dhaya A & E Editor: Elna Schütz Sports Editor: Bridgette Hall Science & Tech Editor: Eric Kudzanai Chakonda Distribution Manager: Bulali Dyakopu Contributors: Lerusha Reddy Thirusha Raja Editorial Consultant: Craig Wynn Contacts: Editor: activate.editor@gmail.com Deputy Editor: activate.deputy@gmail.com

Page 14: Should we forego employment for higher wages?

Page 15: The (white) elephant in the room Page 18: What’s the plot with Picture Pot? Page 20: Horoscopes: October

with issues and look at different way of solving pertinent problems. I could not agree more: I wonder how many people reading this paper are even aware of the UPM and their struggle. Last week the Right2Know campaign was launched nationally to raise awareness and protest against the Protection of Information Bill. The event held in Grahamstown was attended mainly by members of the community and a small group of students. This illustrates a common apathetic attitude which many students exhibit in their thinking around issues such as the values of freedom, equality and democracy. Ignorance can no longer be an excuse for the lack involvement in our greater community. It seems as though the only voices that are allowed to be heard in South Africa belong to those who are in positions of power. I invite anyone to challenge this, to agree or to comment. Who knows, we may just offer you a spot in the paper, a 500 word column to push your own agenda. And lastly, a huge thank you to those who have contributed to this edition, in particular my team, our advertisers and all those who were available for comments at all hours of the morning. www.activateonline.co.za – go take a look… Lauren Kate Rawlins Editor-in-Chief

Meet the team 2011/2012

Activate falls under a creative commons licence. Printed by Paarlcoldset, Port Elizabeth

Editor-in-Chief Lauren Kate Rawlins

Deputy Editor Isabelle Anne Abraham

Content Editor Kayla Roux

Online Editor Alexander Venturas

Chief Media Supervisor Megan Ellis


Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

Innocent until proven guilty
urder accused Troy Davis was executed on Wednesday in the US state of Georgia. This is despite doubts of his guilt in a 1991 murder conviction. Davis, 42, was convicted in 1991 for the murder of a police officer, despite there being no murder weapon, DNA evidence or video footage linking him to the crime. His death follows an international plea for clemency and a legal battle that lasted over two decades which has resulted in the US death penalty being put in the spotlight. The accused died by lethal injection after the Supreme Court had rejected the appeal to spare his life.


9 September, 2011. The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire view the sculpture ‘Legend’ by Damien Hirst in the gardens of their home, Chatsworth House, in central England. The work is part of the Beyond Limits exhibition of modern and contemporary sculpture displayed in the gardens.

Ukraine Man dies in dumpling eating contest
n Wednesday a 77-year-old Ukrainian man won a jar full of sour cream for coming first in a dumpling eating contest – and then promptly died. Ivan Mendel ate 10 dumplings and a one-litre jar of sour cream in half a minute at the contest held in the town of Tokmak in the south-eastern Zaporizhya region. According to local news websites, Mendel became sick and died shortly afterwards. Dumplings, called ‘vareniki’ in the former Soviet republic, are a staple of Ukrainian cuisine and are often stuffed with a range of fillings from mushrooms to cherries.


Vehicles sit submerged in flood waters in Nagoya, Japan in wake of Typhoon Roke on 20 September 2011.


Malema makes Forbes list

ith categories ranging from ‘The richest people on the planet’ to ‘The highest paid athletes’, Forbes magazine has recently released a list of ‘Africa’s ten most powerful young men’, in which ANC youth league president Julius Malema has secured his own spot. According to the magazine, Malema “remains one of the country’s most divisive and polarising figures, frequently stirring controversy for his inflammatory rhetoric and racial slurs.” The business magazine focuses on and pays tribute to individuals who play a role in both the business sector and society: in this case, Malema would be one of those individuals. Other South Africans who made the top ten list include billionaire Mark Shuttleworth and Standard Bank CEO David Munro.


A tear runs down a boy’s face as he lies on a bench after being treated for his injuries at the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. Gunmen opened fire on a school bus in the Pakistani city killing at least three children and the driver. Fifteen children were wounded.

An anti-government protester holds out his blood-stained hands after clashes with security forces in Sana’a on 18 September 2011. Yemeni government forces opened fire with antiaircraft guns and automatic weapons on tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in the capital, killing several people and wounding dozens.

Under an ominous sky in Tripoli, Eyadea Elspaie visits the gravesite of his son, Tareq Elspaie, who was killed by Gadhafi loyalists last month. Libyan rebels launched attacks on the loyalist holdouts of Bani Walid and Surt, and Interpol issued an arrest warrant for Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

SA Kids in UK Fire


n SA woman and her three children are in a critical condition after the woman’s boyfriend set himself alight in their UK apartment. On Tuesday Tracy Jones (40) and her three children, Zak (4), Shaun (15), and Cailin (18), were being treated for burns and smoke inhalation in a British hospital. Police suspect the man – David Potts – doused himself with petrol and lit a flame after locking all the doors of their house in Altrincham, near Manchester, following an early-morning row on Monday. It is thought that the man had been dumped by Jones at an earlier date, but had returned to her house to carry out the suicide revenge attack.

A salesman displays gold bars in Venezeula after the nationalisation of gold.

Pics: Time Online

05 News

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

Locals march for their Right2Know
By Charmian Africa


rahamstown locals took to the streets on Tuesday, 20 September as part of the Right2Know (R2K) campaign opposing the Protection of Information Bill, more commonly known as the ‘Secrecy Bill’. The campaign is in coalition with more than 400 organisations and an ever-increasing number of people who have already taken to the streets of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town in solidarity against the Bill. The Bill was scheduled to be passed on the same day. The Unemployment People’s Movement (UPM) and Students for Social Justice (SSJ) are two of the organisations working with the R2K campaign. These organisations accounted for the vast majority of those participating in the march alongside Rhodes students and lecturers. The march commenced from Raglan Road and ended at the Cathedral Square with various keynote speakers. “Voetsek, Jacob Zuma, voetsek! Voetsek, Secrecy Bill, voetsek!” exclaimed Ayanda Kota, leader of the UPM, as he opened the platform for speakers. The crowd showed their strong defiance against the ANC’s intentions of passing the bill with a loud cheer. Richard Pithouse, lecturer in the Rhodes

University Politics Department and speaker at the campaign, called the Bill “a disgrace to the struggle”. Amongst other things, the Bill will effectively criminalise whistle-blowing on corrupt government practices, allowing the state to jail informants and journalists for possessing certain types of information. Another speaker was the former ViceChancellor of UNISA Professor Barney Pityana. He shared Pithouse’s sentiments, pointing out that secrecy was archetypal of the apartheid government. “We don’t want to go back there again, because an open society cannot be a secret society,” said Pityana. Kota also made the crowd aware that the passing of this Bill would allow important information, like the spending of state funds, to be withheld from the public. To bring this to full realisation, Kota held up a document containing evidence of large sums of money which the Makana Municipality still has not accounted for. Many citizens followed their lead when they took to the floor, expressing that they have a right to know what is happening in every area of government. The Secrecy Bill was placed on hold at the last minute on the day before it was to be brought before the courts, but government has vowed to finalise the law before the end of the year.

Protestors listen to one of the speakers during the R2K march at Cathedral Square on Tuesday 20 September 2011. Pic: Anton Scholtz

Low-cost taxi airline to hit the skies No more
By Bulali Dyakopu


he South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) launched its low-cost airline earlier this month at Lanseria airport, north of Johannesburg. This marks what many hope will be a new era in affordable air travel for the masses. Like the rest of South Africa, Rhodes students will now be able to make the trip between their home cities and the Eastern Cape a quick and affordable one with the new taxi airline. According to The Sowetan, President Jacob Zuma called the taxi airline ‘the people’s transport”, highlighting the benefits it could hold for the masses as a symbol of economic liberation in making air travel affordable to all. “We applaud the SA National Taxi Council... in giving the country its first fully black-owned airline,” he said. With a staggering 18 million passengers passing through airports around the country every year, the majority of South Africans still do not have access to this mode of transport. The minibus taxi organisation is setting its sights high: it aims to be listed on the JSE within a year of its first take-off, and has expressed plans to enter the shipping sector with trips travelling from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and East London, “because we travel where everybody else is afraid to travel,” said Santaco president Jabulani Mthembu.

ginger sperm!
By Sibulele Mabusela

South Africa’s latest airline offers cost-effective flights for all. Pic: Flickr
Mthembu spoke before the departure of the inaugural flight by Santaco Airlines from Lanseria to Bisho, adding that the airline is part of SANTACO’s ongoing strategy to delimit, reposition and reconstitute the taxi industry so as to broaden its reach beyond the road passenger market. Times Live reported SANTACO spokesman Thabisho Molelekwa as referring to the event as a defining moment in the history of the taxi industry. “It is quite a milestone,” he said. “Our people, who have had no access to air travel, will now be afforded that opportunity”. Details around fare prices, the number of flights and the date of full operation will soon be announced by Mthembu. According to SANTACO, the tickets will be available in retail supermarkets and at major taxi ranks. He said the first phase of flights would travel between Lanseria, Bisho and Cape Town International airports in November. It will be operated by Air Aquarius, which works with SA Express and SA Airlink. Nkululeko Buthelezi, Business Development Officer for Santaco, dismissed the doubts many have expressed in light of the reputation of the taxi industry in South Africa. “I can see some of you rolling your eyes because of how our taxi drivers drive,” he told journalists and potential investors in a Johannesburg press conference. “I can assure you we won’t allow our taxi drivers to drive (the planes)!”

he world’s largest sperm bank, Cryos International, has recently released a report stating that they no longer needed donor semen from redheads. The company’s founding director, Ole Schou, said that this was a result of an excess in donations, with the demand for redhead donor semen being far less than in previous years. “There are too many redheads in relation to demand,” Schou said. This, with the sperm bank currently so overwhelmed with the amount of donations, resulted in their having to be so picky. The company has reached its maximum capacity of 70 litres of semen with 600 people still on the waiting list. This has caused a stir amongst various intellectuals. Dr Manny Alvarez commented on an article in News24 defending the redheaded gene. Alvarez said that sperm and egg donations were intended to help individuals who could not conceive naturally and that “shopping around for perfect hair colour, specific eyes, and tone of skin or height – creating ‘designer babies’ – is just wrong,” he wrote. “There’s no place for discrimination based on appearance in reproductive technology.” Founded in Denmark, Cryos International was initially created in aid of men who were going to have vasectomies as well as for cancer patients who needed to have their semen frozen. With the increase in demand for sperm, however, the company quickly established clinics in both the US and India, eventually becoming the biggest sperm bank in the world.

News Editor Sibulele Mabusela

Deputy News Editor Neo Koza

Business Editor: Njabulo Nkosi

Politics Editor: Marc Davies

Features Assistant Editor: Features Editor: Karlien van der Wielen Nina McFall

C&A Editor: Alexa Sedgwick

Science & Tech Editor: Eric Kudzanai Chakonda

Sports Editor: Bridgette Hall


06 News

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

Third years scoop awards
By Bridgette Hall


hodes University third-year Micro-Biology students recently took part in the SAB Intervarsity Beer Brewing Competition held at SAB’s training institute in Kyalami, Johannesburg. The Rhodes team returned with two first places, having won the speciality beer category with their Tsar Imperial Stout and also the FoodBev SETA Best Label Floating Trophy for their design. Rhodes also placed a very close 2nd to the team representing University of Pretoria, who were the overall winners. They were awarded with a R25 000 bursary for each team member, courtesy of FoodBev Seta to further their studies in any brewing- related field. The team tested their beer making skills against nine South African universities with established microbreweries during a demanding weekend of judging. They were up against teams from UCT, Stellenbosch, Wits, UKZN Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses,

the University of Limpopo, NMMU and UJ. Rhodes University was the only team brewing their beer in the lab, as all the other teams have dedicated microbreweries on their campuses. The Rhodes team members were each awarded R1,000 for their hard work. The Intervarsity Beer Competition started in 2008 as an initiative by SAB Ltd to educate students about the characteristics of beer, the brewing process and the benefits of joining the brewing industry as a career choice. “It was completely unexpected,” said Travis Basson, one of the participants. “We went there with some hope but didn’t think we would stand a chance considering we were up against post-grads, who brewed their beer using microbreweries as opposed to our lab desk method,” he added. “But we were so excited and happy to have been recognised at this competition and it’s and experience we won’t forget in a hurry!”

The proud members of Rhodes’ brewing team. Pic: Supplied

Travelgate minister costs taxpayers
By Yonela Zondani


he South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation cost South African taxpayers more than R200 000 because she refused to scan her handbag at Oslo Airport in Norway. Norway International Network claims that Maite Nkoana-Mashabane had accompanied President Jacob Zuma to Norway for a state visit and booked a regular ticket to Bulgaria for a speech. On Friday, 16 September, when she reported to the Oslo airport for her flight, she allegedly refused to scan her

handbag through security for routine checks, which caused her to miss the commercial flight she had booked. She then had to board a private jet, which, according to FlyAfrica, cost taxpayers more than R200 000. According to reports, her refusal to let airport officials scan her bag cost South Africans a dear R235 343 in tax money. According to Business Day, Nkoana-Mashabane referred to the Vienna Convention which states that “the personal baggage of a diplomatic agent shall be exempt from inspection unless there are serious grounds for

presuming that it contains articles not covered by the exemptions,” when she was asked about her actions. The anonymous writer of the blog Eish, I am a minister, had harsh words for Nkoana-Mashabane; “A good minister would not have minded to scan her bag, a good minister would have realised how much money this private jet is costing,” he wrote. “A good minister would have not hung onto a title and expected the just treatment like some sort of Lord.” Tom Wheeler of the South African Institute of

the International Affairs told Business Day that, “The minister didn’t break the law by refusing to be searched, but she should have made a better judgment call by agreeing to the search.” Many have pointed to the recent bombings in Norway in their calls for greater sensitivity on behalf of the minister, who has no foreign relations experience whatsoever. On Sunday, DA spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko said that her party had no idea what the Vienna Convention is, and has asked Nkoana-Mashabane to pay back the money she owes to the people of South Africa.

AWCA gala an inspiration
By Bulali Dyakopu


he student chapter of the African Woman Chartered Accounts (AWCA) aims to “contribute towards the growing number of black female chartered accountants whilst raising awareness of the chartered accountancy profession”. This vision statement was discussed and celebrated at their second exclusive Gala dinner at the Monument on Friday, 23 September. Although the society was only inaugurated at the beginning of last year, the number of members is growing steadily. Each year they gather to celebrate the increasing number of women in the accountancy profession. “The night was a tremendous success and they are extremely proud of what they have accomplished,” said AWCA President Mokgadi Phiyega. Pitsi Rammutla, AWCA board member and Project Accountant for De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd, was one of the speakers. “I am very

proud of the society, and wish others to learn from it,” she said. Rhodes University Dean of Students, Dr Vivian de Klerk, also spoke at the event. Her speech pointed to public speaking as an important leadership skill. “Public speaking is not the same as public reading,” she joked, pointing out that due to the growth of technology, people are becoming less oral and it is important that people like her and members of AWCA continue to engage in public speaking. Riah Phiyega, Chairperson of the presidential State Owned Enterprises Review Committee, inspired students by addressing them as future leaders and urging them to embrace their uniqueness. “There will never be another you in this world,” she said.“No matter what circumstances, one should always strive to work hard.” The members of the society were very happy with the event, and according to Mohau Malleeme, the PR director for the AWCA student chapter, “the committee goes out of its way to find sponsors to ensure that members get a classy experience, worth far more than what they Members of the ACWA gala dinner organising committee with the paid for membership”. Dean of students, Dr Vivian de Klerk. Pic: Bulali Dyakopu

Zuma re-opens arms deal investigation
By Marc Davies


resident Jacob Zuma announced his appointment of a commission of inquiry into South Africa’s controversial arms deal more than ten years ago to investigate allegations of wrongdoing in the R30 billion transactions. Zuma announced that the matter is set for hearing at the Constitutional Court on 17 November 2011 - this after the initial transactions took place in 2000. Mac Maharaj, Zuma’s spokesperson, confirmed the President would soon announce inquiry specifics such as the composition

of the commission. In response to the Democratic Alliance (DA), who praised Zuma on appointing a commission of inquiry, ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza stressed that the opposition had nothing to do with Zuma’s decision. Arms deal campaigner and anti-governmentcorruption stalwart, Terry Crawford-Brown, has been requesting an independent commission of inquiry into the matter for the past two years. Crawford-Brown said he would only drop the case now “if the terms and conditions indicated that the commission would not be a whitewash”. Retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo is expected to be appointed the

leader of the inquiry, a decision that the DA’s David Maynier praised. “He is a highly respected jurist and his integrity is beyond question,” he said in a statement. “During his time as Chief Justice, he showed he has the steady, intellectual and practical leadership that such a responsibility requires,” he added. He also argued that the commission “must be given real ‘teeth’” to ensure an independent investigation and that recommendations are fully complied with. According to Pretoria News Online, UCT Constitutional Law expert Professor Pierre de Vos said that for a truly valuable commission, it needs to be constituted under the Commissions Act, which provides powers to subpoena

A & E Editor Elna Schütz

Lifestyle Editor Sarisha Dhaya

Illustrator Katja Schreiber

Chief Designer Simone Loxton

Assistant Designer Mignon van Zyl

Chief Pics Editor Anton Scholtz

Assistant Pics Editor Niamh Walsh-Vorster

Chief Sub-Editor Matthew Kynaston

Distribution Manager Bulali Dyakopu

08 Politics

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

Mantashe at Rhodes: “Broaden the nationalisation debate”
By Marc Davies


ddressing Rhodes University staff, students and members of the Grahamstown community, African National Congress (ANC) SecretaryGeneral Gwede Mantashe spoke against the polarisation of the nationalisation debate, instead calling for wider discussion about the role of the state (government) in South Africa’s economy. Mantashe, who is also the chairperson of the South African Communist Party (SACP), participated in the debate organised by Rhodes’ Economics Student Forum, who invited him to engage in debate which took place on Wednesday, 7 September. The prominent leader came out in favour of rigorous discussion about economic policy and implored Rhodes staff and students to engage and add greater value to political and economic discourse on the matter. He also stated that this intense debate needs to be more concerned with “how the state can intervene to ensure South Africans can access the services they need,” as opposed to discussing nationalisation in isolation. Acknowledging the prevalence of unemployment, poverty and growing inequality in the country, he stressed the importance of considering the plurality of views and proposals for change to economic policy in order to make the most appropriate long-term decisions to combat such pervasive issues. “Policies

have long-term implications… we need to move in the right direction step-by-step,” Mantashe said in criticism of the ANC Youth League’s calls for drastic and rapid economic reform through nationalisation of mines, banks and land, emphasising patience and a “rational, not emotional” approach to policy change. He added that the ANC’s conception of nationalisation is generating state ownership and control which does not mean “grabbing from the private sector,” and that it is in this vein that the ANCYL’s radical views differ from those of the senior ANC body. Nevertheless, he praised the Youth League for raising and inducing dialogue on what the ANC considers a “very important issue” but warned that nationalisation “sounds easy… it’s easy to call for this out of anger”, reflecting on the extreme discontent that many South Africans have towards the economic status quo. “The cacophony of noises around nationalisation” must also not be used for political gain or as an election campaigning tool, which Montashe suggested has occurred amongst certain political leaders. He insisted that the policies of the ruling party cannot be hastily determined and implemented for the sake of political persuasion at the ANC’s 2012 National Conference, further commenting that the party “cannot fear threats” from people using the debate as a political tool. With regards to what South Africans can expect in the future, Mantashe reflected on mixed-market

economic policy and how generating robust public and private sectors has always been the ANC’s approach. He nonetheless said that the ruling party had in September 2010 sought out an array of independent researchers to carry out investigations into nationalisation and state ownership in countries such as Chilé, Zambia, Venezeula and Botswana. Observations and recommendations “entrenched in scientificallybased information” are imperative to this inquiry, he said, stating that South Africa can learn from their shortcomings and successes. Mantashe’s support of an academic, scientific and rational approach to policy impressed the University’s Vice-Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat, who praised the leader’s respect for knowledge, university research and the reflective approach to economic policy. The speakers at the forum, which was held at the Eden Grove lecture complex, included David Fryer and Professor Gavin Keeton of the Rhodes Economics Department, whose academic attitudes towards nationalisation varied on several bases. The ANC Secretary-General’s final word was that the decisions to come regarding policy change will be based on what will work for South Africa’s economy and people at large and that some ownership transfers may take place. The official trajectory of the ANC for South Africa’s proposed economic policy changes is expected to be finalised next year.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe listens to one of the speakers during the debate on the proposed nationalisation of the mines held recently at Rhodes University. Pic: Anton Scholtz

Your SRC President answers the hard questions
By Megan Ellis


anifestos, speeches, events. During the election campaigns heard it all – promises, optimism and change. However every year students seem to have less and less faith in their SRC. Activate has decided to ask your SRC President, Matthieu Maralack, the difficult questions which have often gone without answers. For the past two years we’ve been promised provisional budgets but these promises have been empty. Will this SRC allow students to see provisional budgets in an effort to show transparency? Firstly, the virtue of an individual being a Rhodent should certainly entitle him/her to view the financial statements. However, the nature of the financial system that the University makes use of creates problematic, untrue and inaccurate reflections of the books at any particular point in time. A detailed report is planned to be published at the end of our term to give an account of the SRC’s activities. This formal document is not the first port of call when students want to know what we have done. The first port of call is to simply voice your genuine interest with regard to this information at the SRC office. We commit to doing our best in keeping Rhodents informed consistently throughout our tenure. How will this SRC ensure that campaign promises are fulfilled, and not only when it’s time to campaign again? Campaigning by definition is constituted by a candidate’s manifesto. This being a guideline to policies you would like to implement as well as the procedures in achieving them. The promises certainly need to be looked into by the individual candidates

and the proposed decision is to be made by a quorum of council. It is therefore up to the collective decision of council to pass a ‘policy’ motioned by a councillor. The responsibility then lies with the structures that govern, to hold the SRC and individual councillors accountable. Student forum is certainly one of the structures that will be prioritised in doing this. Some have complained that the SRC just throws parties and that members are just there for their CV. How is this SRC going to make itself meaningful to the students? Rhodents won’t stop partying any time soon! However, with regard to the relevance of the SRC beyond the hosting of parties, I do believe that communication is the key. An understanding of the SRC representing students both interested and uninterested, is to be comprehended. We thus need to find a platform that unifies the student body. The only way we can make the SRC’s functions relevant in post-apartheid South Africa and Rhodes University in particular, is to create these platforms for students to voice their opinions. Through the mediums available to us, we will strive to create these platforms and provide the opportunity for students to know that their concerns are heard as well as what the SRC is doing about it. It has been said that the reasons students don’t vote is apathy. However some say they boycott elections and some simply felt that no candidates were suitable. How do you plan to restore faith in the SRC for these students? Student apathy is not just a challenge that Rhodes experiences, but certainly across national tertiary institutions as well. The SRC’s mandate is not just the entity of the individuals elected. Our mandate is decision-making

based on student interest. We will restore the faith in the SRC by reflecting on the decisions we have made and the student involvement thereof. To combat student apathy we will promote a culture of inclusivity where we will incorporate the collective needs of the student body. These elections had a high rate of candidates running uncontested. How will you and the rest of the SRC prove that you are the right ones for the job? Our success does not rely on the elections as a past circumstance but rather, an understanding of codependence as a concept, moving forward. The SRC’s success lies with the collective attempt of the elected council at large and the structures it governs. The current signs from council are that of commitment, uniformity and diligence which certainly overshadows the fact that the majority ran uncontested. We will, through our interactions with the student body and the way in which we represent Rhodes University outside these borders, prove that no mistake was made in electing the current individuals in office. Is this SRC going to make a real effort towards transparency and how would you plan on doing this? The SRC certainly plans on making a substantial effort towards transparency. The main focus is on the accessibility of information. Questions raised on what we discuss and the resolutions found to them are seldom kept secret. For example, few students know that they can in fact sit in on Council meetings apart from the availability of the minutes thereof. We commit to a standard of transparency that will surpass that of our predecessors.

The new SRC President, Matt Maralack. Pic: Anton Scholtz

09 Politics

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

Decade after 9/11: is USA safe?
By Amber Leigh Davies

Political Perspectives
By Megan Ellis


’m not one to indulge in panic. I don’t think that South Africa is becoming the new Zimbabwe. I plan on celebrating New Year’s in 2013. And I’m pretty sure that Justin Bieber will eventually go away. But one thing that is making me nervous is the appointment of Mogoeng Mogoeng as Chief Justice. When I heard there was a candidate whose rulings and personality traits flagrantly go against the values enshrined in our Constitution, I thought that there would be no way he would get the job. He thinks that homosexuality is curable and calling someone gay is defamation. He also thinks that tying your girlfriend up and dragging her behind your car for 50m isn’t so bad if you’ve been ‘provoked’. Not to mention that he thinks rape isn’t as bad if you know the person or if the rapist didn’t injure the person that much during the process. You might as well make Hitler president of Israel. I wish I was exaggerating, but the amount of Mogoeng’s problematic rulings undermine the rights which our Constitution aims to protect. Out of all the Constitutional judges, Mogoeng is the least qualified – he has only been a member of the Constitutional Court since 2009. Other Constitutional judges declined nomination because they felt that Moseneke, Deputy Judge President, was more suited for the job. However Moseneke was overlooked. Mogoeng was elected by Zuma for the job after his bid to extend former Chief Justice Ngcobo’s tenure was challenged by court. In the case of The Citizen and Others v Robert McBride, which favoured The Citizen and stated that media freedom is integral to a democracy, Mogoeng disagreed. Zuma’s appointment comes at a time when the ANC is trying to turn the Information Bill into law. Mogoeng’s appointment couldn’t be any less dodgy if it came with a government tender and receipt of payment from the Ratanang Family Trust. Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, Section 27 and Sonke Gender Justice Network are but some of the civil rights groups which contested Mogoeng’s appointments. A petition was also circulated online. The Constitution has the highest authority in South Africa – above political parties, Parliament and general law. And the man who has been given the highest position in the Constitutional Court is a direct contradiction to everything it stands for.

onday 11 September 2011 marked the decade anniversary of the crippling attacks against the US by Islam militant group al-Qaeda in 2001. Terrorist attacks saw the deaths of over 2 900 people in four locations across the northeast of America. A memorial site built at Ground Zero in New York City alongside the new near-complete World Trade Centre building attracted thousands on its opening day in remembrance of the victims of the attack. The Ground Zero Memorial is now a tranquil setting with rows of white oak trees and two large waterfall ‘voids’, where the former World Trade Centre towers once stood. It aims to become a place of ‘introspection’ and ‘silence’ according to the project architect, Michael Arad. The eve of the day of remembrance additionally saw the new ‘World Trade Centre’ illuminated with red, white and blue lights in a patriotic commemoration of the terrorist attacks. The Pentagon Memorial Fund, furthermore, aided the establishment of a memorial just south of the actual Pentagon as well as a classical concert on 9 September featuring a performance of Brahms’ Requiem at the Washington National Cathedral. Other memorial services included a New Jersey commemoration entitled ‘Empty Sky’, as well as a service in Vancouver, Canada to honour the attack victims and their families. New York City, ten years on, is still a city in distress. After the World Trade Centre attack, security concerns became a top priority in America, causing the government to implement greater airport, aeroplane, building, and public security measures. The US tightened its visa permit policy with the aims of restricting terrorists from entering the country under false pretences. Entrance into the Ground Zero memorial site at the date of its opening required visitors to empty their pockets, walk through metal detectors and have their bags scanned in order to proceed, indicating the severity of security fears in a post-9/11 New York City, reverberating around the US as a whole. Increased security in US airports has been argued to have prevented any terrorist incidents in US airspace or aircraft since 2001. While this improved security may

The Ground Zero Memorial in New York City which is next to the near, new complete World Trade Centre. Pic: Flickr
be attributed to the infamous and highly controversial ‘body searches’ in some US airports, it is largely a result of “…increased passenger vigilance, cock-pit security and visa screening,” says American Economist Timothy Taylor, Managing Editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Taylor expressed in his blog concerns that Transport and Security Administration employees are given full security passes – which could potentially result in unlawful security bypassing in airports. Airports, however, remain only a single security concern amongst an array of issues such as the US defence, the possibility of nuclear warfare and internal attacks. In May this year Barack Obama announced the death of al-Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden by the hands of US forces in Pakistan. US efforts to capture bin Laden and other al-Qaeda stalwarts were largely unsuccessful for close to a decade. “Bin Laden’s death is important for American power as it sent a message that perhaps America’s war on terror has not been a partial or total failure,” said Siphokazi Magadla, a lecturer in the Department of Political and International Studies at Rhodes University, suggesting the necessity for the ‘killing of the terrorist’ in symbolically affirming the strength of the US and the Obama administration. “The death of bin Laden did provide some reassurance in the US military and closure for victims’ families,” he added. “However, this is perhaps progress that was needed by all those affected by 9/11 a long time ago – considering all the action taken, such as war and excessive security, which have largely failed to achieve the original goals.” The names of the victims of the 9/11 attacks have been permanently engraved at the Ground Zero memorial site in New York City.

Politics round-up
• he Protection of Information Bill tabling in parliament is to be delayed, says ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe. The Right2Know Campaign and the Press Club claim increased pressure and public demonstrations against the Bill are “working”. ANC says that there are “still interested parties who need further hearing”. Eighteen African countries vote to give Libya’s new regime in Tripoli a seat in the UN General Assembly, crushing a Southern African bid to block the move. The US Embassy subsequently reopens in Libya. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy which resulted in gay US military personnel being removed from their posts for openly declaring their sexuality, has been removed. Activist groups hail the move as a “massive victory for equal rights in the US”. ANC struggle-song ‘Dubul’ ibhunu’, or ‘Shoot the boer’ is ruled as ‘hate speech’ and banned in public and private by Judge Colin Lamont in the Equality Court. ANC claims ban is an erosion of political heritage and memory and has appealed against the ruling. • • • • Rwanda’s reliance on foreign aid has dropped from 86% to 45% over the last decade. This alerts the international community of the small nation’s growing emancipation from global donations. Palestine President, Mahmoud Abbas receives a standing ovation at the UN General Assembly after calling for recognition of statehood for Palestine. Israel and the United States refute the move, asserting the need for more concrete negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Several US congressmen threaten to halt aid contribution should a Palestinian state be recognised. Zambian elections are marred by violence after the outgoing President Rupiah Banda faced strong contestation from opposition leader Michael Sata. Ahead of elections, Sata accused the electoral commission of planning to rig the outcome using pre-marked ballots. Sata wins election with 43% of the vote to Banda’s 36%, making Zambia one of the few African countries to experience two democratic party transitions since independence. Swaziland’s financial crisis closes most primary and secondary schools this term, after the government failed to settle outstanding education fees for orphans and vulnerable children.

ANC document leaked
By Lauren Rawlins and Kayla Roux


plan to fund a directly opposing group to the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) that would undermine their influence and position in the community has been revealed in a document allegedly belonging to the African National Congress (ANC). “The authenticity of the document has not been confirmed,” said Richard Pithouse of the Rhodes Politics Department. “But there has been independent confirmation that the ANC in the Eastern Cape has had

dicussions along similar lines”. When social organisations and their causes are presented “through the lens of conspiracy,” they are illegitimated and seen as extraneous to the democratic structure. Therefore, they face the real threat of violence – whether from the police or partisan thugs. “The themes in the document echo many of those that emerged in the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal in the run up to the armed attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo in 2009,” said Pithouse. “The ANC has a record of serious and often violent intolerance to popular struggles,” he added.

UPM leader Ayanda Kota responded to the document with confidence. “We are proponents of democracy,” he said. “If the ruling party wishes to fund an opposition social movement to UPM, we would welcome that.” He added that differing views make up an essential part of democracy. “Democracy is the people’s or nothing”. Speculation as to the true origins of the document still exists. However, whether or not the allegation holds any validity, the UPM maintains a strong stance in the face of oppression.

10 Politics Feature

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

Thoughts on Media Freedom
By Marc Davies
South Africa recently celebrated Media Freedom week. Activate decided to dedicate a column to this topic, here four of our executive committee members discuss the topic.

The changing face of the ANC
Concurrently celebrating its centenary in 2012, the ANC is expected to see a number of changes in its leadership once again, following the controversial elimination of former President Thabo Mbeki and his replacement by the incumbent Jacob Zuma at the 52nd National Conference of the ANC in Polokwane in December 2007. Current party dynamics and particularly the growing


outh Africa’s ruling party, the ANC, is set to host its 53rd National Conference in Mangaung in the Free State in December next year, where a new leadership body will be elected and policies will be introduced and changed.

conflict between the ANC Youth League and several senior ANC leaders are projected to shift the balance of power within senior ranks in the race for the presidency. In the run-up to the Mangaung conference next year, Activate has taken a look back at the past few years in the ANC politics, the shifts in alignment and possible outcomes of the ANC election.

Megan Ellis:

What can I say about media freedom in 100 words? I can tell you that without media freedom, you cannot truly participate in a democracy as the things you need to know to make an informed vote would be censored. I can tell you that without it, government and officials will not be held accountable. Is the media in South Africa free? Not completely – commercial interests determine news agendas. The Information Bill, however, will only undermine any progress towards a truly free media. My parents think it’s not a good idea to be a free journalist in SA anymore. Maybe not, but I think it’s more essential now than ever.


President of the Republic Thabo Mbeki loses the ANC presidential election to Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma with 1505 votes to 2329 at the ANC’s 52nd National Conference in Polokwane held in December 2007. Zuma wins outright majority despite being sacked as Deputy President of South Africa by Mbeki in 2005 after his financial adviser, Shabir Shaik, is found guilty of fraud and corruption, implicating Zuma in the scandal. Zuma, in an unrelated case in 2005, is charged with rape but is later acquitted of all charges on the defence that the sex was ‘consensual’. Throughout Zuma’s trial, the infamous ‘Awuleth’ umshini wami’ is heard outside courts and in public spaces, provoking anger from opposition parties. Zuma nevertheless wins the ANC presidency race in 2007 after calling for Mbeki’s removal, signalling change in leadership alignment.

Julius Malema is elected president of ANC Youth League in April. Malema in the same year says, “We are prepared to take up arms and kill for Zuma”, asserting outright support for the senior leader. In September, President of the Republic Thabo Mbeki resigns before the end of his term after increased pressure to step down following allegations of political interference in the Zuma corruption trial. The then-Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is named interim president until the next national presidential election. Finance Minister Trevor Manual and 10 other cabinet ministers in the Mbeki administration resign following Mbeki’s ‘removal’.


Kayla Roux:

I need to ask an important question of the ANC regarding their proposed guidelines to ‘rein in’ the South African media. Look into your past. Consider the role the press has played during your birth, your infancy, your learning to walk, and talk, and fight. Yes, the print media have been abused by all systems of government. In many instances it was used to justify apartheid and the indescribably cruel treatment of the masses at the hands of the government. But did the press not play a significant role in the fulfillment of your goals as a revolutionary party? A free and unhindered press is the most crucial element of any democracy. Don’t strangle yours.

In the run-up to the national elections, ANCYL President Malema further vocalises (often controversially) his support for Zuma. Despite rigorous attempts by the DA and newly-formed breakaway party Congress of the People (COPE) to unseat Zuma and the ANC, the ruling party retains an overwhelming majority win with 65.9% of national votes. The ANC nevertheless loses 33 seats in parliament while the DA gained an additional 20. Jacob Zuma is sworn in as the President of the Republic of South Africa at the Union Buildings. Zuma approval ratings reportedly rise to 57% in August 2009 after reaching a low of 36% in November of the previous year.

Isabelle Anne Abrahams:

Can you imagine a world without media freedom? Well, there are countries on earth that don’t have it, and as evident, censorship is not conducive to a truly secure and peaceful nation. The Protection of Information Bill is unconstitutional – it’s as simple as that. In order to have a real democracy, freedom of the press is crucial. This is not the first time that S.A.’s media freedom is being threatened, and it certainly won’t be the last. It is our responsibility and to our benefit to uphold the right of access to information; without it, there is no chance of social justice.

Xand Venturas:

Media Freedom is one of the fundamental facets of a fully functioning democracy. When media freedom is compromised, as it would be by the Protection of Information Bill, journalists no longer have the ability to fulfil their roles within society as social watchdogs. As a student of journalism, I place increased emphasis on the importance of media freedom as I don’t want to be limited by bureaucratic legislations in my attempts to reveal the truth.

Malema is increasingly vocal about land expropriation without compensation from white farmers and nationalisation of mines and banks, especially leading up to the 2011 municipal elections. He calls whites “criminals” for “stealing” land from black South Africans, adding that they [whites] “must be treated as such”. Zuma is silent on Malema. The ANC again retains a strong majority win in municipal elections, despite facing a slight decline in overall percentage win. After the May elections, Zuma claims Malema’s views are “his own” and that he is on a “learning curve”. The Youth League turns on Zuma, saying the comments were served to “isolate” Malema. In July, Malema praised Mbeki as “the best leader the ANC has produced” in an apparent retaliatory blow to Zuma. City Press in July 2011 accuses Malema of awarding tenders in return for payments into a secret trust fund known as the ‘Ratanang Family Trust’. Malema attempts to gain a court interdict to stop information from being published, but fails. He then claims it is “no secret” and he has “nothing to hide”. Despite this, the Hawks begin an investigation into Malema’s finances. Public Protector Thuli Madonsela also opens an investigation into Malema-linked tender irregularities. The ANC will vote for potential candidates for executive positions at the party’s National Conference in Mangaung in December next year. The ANCYL “Top 5” are served various misconduct charges, including Malema for “sowing divisions within the ANC” and “bringing the party into disrepute” after calls for a regime change in Botswana. Disciplinary hearing begins in August, inciting angry Youth League supporters to mobilise outside Luthuli House where the hearing is taking place.


Malema is convicted of hate speech by the Equality Court after claiming the woman who previously accused Zuma of rape ‘had a nice time’. The South Gauteng High Court also rules the singing of ‘Dubul’ Ibhunu’ or ‘Shoot the Boer’ ‘unlawful and unconstitutional’. A defiant Malema continues to sing struggle song, most notably at a rally on the University of Johannesburg campus, following which the ANC came out in defence of Malema and of ‘struggle history’. After a visit to Zimbabwe, Malema vocalises his initial stance on nationalisation, praising ZANU-PF seizures of white-owned farms and calling for similar processes to take place in South Africa. The youth leader is criticised by BBC journalist Jonah Fisher at a Luthuli House press conference after slating Zimababwe’s Movement for Democratic Change for working from “Sandton offices”. Malema swears at Fisher, calling him a “bastard” and a “bloody agent” and then has him removed from the conference after the journalist commented that “you [Malema] also live in Sandton”. Zuma, for the first time, is highly critical of Malema’s behaviour in both instances, saying his behaviour is “alien to the ANC”. Malema is subsequently charged with bringing the ANC into disrepute. ‘Rioters’ throw rocks at journalists and burn ANC ‘Zuma’ shirts and flags. The ANCYL intensifies calls for economic reform. Supporters in Johannesburg vocalise support for Kgalema Motlanthe for 2012 President and the removal of the incumbent Jacob Zuma and Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe. Political analysts confirm that the outcome of Malema’s disciplinary hearing is likely to determine whether Zuma is re-elected into the presidency or not. An apparently cyclical trend of claiming ‘political conspiracy’ against powerful leaders such as Zuma in 2005 and ironically Malema, supposedly at the hands of Zuma, in 2011 grips politics in the past few years. The ANC, for now, maintains ‘quiet diplomacy’ on the matter of the 2012 leadership race during Malema’s trial.

11 Photo Feature

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

“Revolutions do not spring out of the blue. Revolutions are organised through the united action of men and women, rural and urban, which spring from their needs. Revolutions happen when ordinary men and women begin to discuss their own lives and their own futures and to take action to take control of their own lives.” Ayanda Kota, UPM

Mud huts ablution blocks and rundown RDP houses give shelter to these people. The rain often results in sewage seeping into buildings or houses being damaged Pics: Timothy Gabb

Sekwenele: It’s enough
By Timothy Gabb
outh Africa has seen a surge of localised protests which continue to spread and gain momentum. “The rebellion of the poor” has evolved out of a new generation of discontented youth, who are primarily amongst the unemployed. There are many reasons for the protests: unequal and segregated distribution of land in both rural and urban areas, poor service delivery and housing,government corruption and municipal mismanagement, authoritarian approaches to governance; evictions and forced removals; crime and unemployment, police brutality and provincial border demarcation issues are all concepts they address. These problems have been brought to the forefront in Grahamstown


by the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM). The movement has been active since 2009 under the leadership of Ayanda Kota. The collective strives to place focus on the needs of the poor and unemployed of South Africa. In Grahamstown, the unemployment rate is around 70%, while in South Africa as a whole over 40% of the potential workforce is unemployed. According to Kota, the movement formed largely in reaction to the “oppression at the hands of the African National Congress that has driven [them] into the rebellion of the poor.” The number of dissatisfied, politicised and radicalised poor is increasing, and movements across the country are combining knowledge and strategies to form a unified alternative to what Kota describes as “sectarianism and political intolerance” on the part of the ruling

party.” Movements such as Abahlali baseMjondolo, the Poor Peoples’ Alliance, the Landless Peoples’ Movement, the Anti-Eviction Campaign, Mandela Park Backyarders, Sikhula Sonke, and the UPM are unifying and standing for the same right to direct participatory democracy. “We have a right to organize ourselves and speak for us,” said Kota. “Nothing is for us without us.” They contest what they call the centralised and hierarchical culture of ANC. They support the notion of a living politics – a form of politics which ‘speaks’ in a language that everyone can understand. They aim to build alternative spaces where a participatory, democratic, decentralised, and inclusive form of politics is cultivated; spaces that recognise the humanity of all.

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Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

Protesters gather outside the City Hall demanding to see the Mayor who had avoided them until this point of the year. They were protesting for dignity, service delivery, and security for the areas of the townships which lack electricity; in the darkness of the outskirts of town, women get raped whilst going to the toilet at night. 24 February 2011.

Pics: Timothy Gabb

Grahamstown Mayor Vumile Lwana had to use a police megaphone to address the gathering, which he kept waiting for over an hour. His address was met with jeers and boos from the crowd.

Police watch protesters after having to put out two fires earlier in the day before the municipal elections. 17 May 2011.

The march moves down Bathurst Street toward the City Hall.

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

13 Photo Feature

Ayanda Kota (second from right) stands with fellow community activists outside the Grahamstown Magistrates Court after their third court appearance for inciting public violence during the protests at the beginning of the year. The case was postponed, which was, according to Xola Mali (second from left), an attempt to prevent the UPM from organising protests just ahead of the municipal elections. 29 April 2011.

Over 200 citizens joined in the protests on the day before the municipal elections where they blocked a main traffic intersection in Joza. Burning tyres were extinguished by officials and the crowd swore that they would withhold their votes. Another protest happened in the evening and the event gained national coverage on the SABC news. 17 May 2011.

Ayanda Kota, Chairperson of the Unemployed People’s Movement, stands atop a pile of rubble left behind after the Phaphamani protests in February this year. Kota and three other activists were arrested for being linked to the public violence which characterised these protests. 3 March 2011.

Crowds from eThembeni gather to burn tires and blockade a road the night before the municipal elections in May. They protested not only for service delivery but actively demanded a more inclusive and direct form of politics and democracy which truly accounts for the needs of all its citizens, irrespective of class, race and geographical location. 17 May 2011.

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

14 Business

Forgoing employment for higher wages?
By Njabulo Nkosi


abour legislation, poor working conditions and the increased costs of employing workers are the crux of the recent strikes that solidified South Africa’s status as the ‘striking capital’ of the world. Our country has the highest strike rate in the world, and our wage rates do not even compare to those in other countries. Despite this, the proposed increase in wages may still be too expensive for some firms. In economic terms, increasing the wage rate will result in increasing costs for firms, which may not be able to afford more expensive labour. This will lead to cutbacks in employment rates, and some firms may even be forced to cease their operations. This is not good news for the South African economy which already carries the burden of high unemployment rates. A quarter of job-seekers in the country are unable to find employment. According to COSATU Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi, “six million South Africans want jobs but cannot find them.” He elaborated that most of these individuals are young, without the necessary education or

experience to find the jobs they so desperately need. This problem has led to President Jacob Zuma’s pledge to create five million jobs by 2020, which would require unemployment to be reduced by 15%. Zuma’s pledge may be unrealistic, seeing as the constant demand for higher wages, that are the centre of the protest actions taken by workers and unions, are causing some firms to lay off workers they cannot afford to employ. In addition, some firms that have been paying workers less than the minimum wage are being forced to close their doors, further worsening the problem. Many manufacturing and textile firms are defined by the National Bargaining Council (NBC) as not meeting the minimum wage requirements. This has led to labour authorities such as the NBC clamping down on these firms and limiting the assets supplied to them. Many of these firms have shut their doors because they were simply unable to pay the required wage. The closing down of factories around the country has led to many jobs being lost and placed over 35,000 jobs in danger. The South African Chemical Workers’ Union (SACWU) National Organising Secretary Wayne

van de Reed said such firms are “clearly exploiting labour” and are paying “way below the minimum wage.” The Union is not interested in negotiating lower wage levels, while manufacturers say a reduction of 30% will significantly boost the local industry’s ability to compete with Asian markets. Many labour officials maintain that they can’t expect their members to settle for wage rates that do not afford them a basic standard of living, while many manufacturers close their doors due to operational reasons. This situation leads to a raging debate: should rigid labour legislation be kept in order to ensure proper labour conditions, or should regulations be relaxed in order to retain employment levels? This dilemma has left government and industries at an impasse. Vavi maintains that “no rational person would forego employment” for the sake of keeping restrictive labour laws in place. According to Dr Tsitsi Mutambara, a senior lecturer at Rhodes University Economics Department, equilibrium must be reached. “The country has to strike a balance between employment and the low wage rate: in order for South Africa to compete with Asian manufacturing markets, an attempt to keep

the lowest wages possible must be made,” said Mutambara. “However, as many jobs as possible must be retained. Whatever the outcome in the end profit-maximizing firms will probably be the ones to benefit the most.” Some Eastern Cape manufacturing workers, who earn as little as R220 a week, say that the working conditions they are faced with are less than ideal. They are barely able to cover the costs of basic necessities and are sometimes left with R5 to spend on leisure activities after meeting their most basic needs. Despite this, they feel that, although the pay is minimal, it is “better than nothing.” Their lowpaid manufacturing jobs are their only source of income, as they are classified as ‘unskilled’ workers. This economic dilemma could mean that, in order to meet Zuma’s pledge of creating five million more jobs by 2020, the current labour legislation will have to be relaxed to allow firms to compete and retain and create jobs. However, if the labour legislation is relaxed, this will severely impact the already-unacceptable living conditions of many workers at base level earnings. This is a dilemma with serious implications for the welfare of the country.

Eurozone sweating like PIIGS

The top 5 richest South Africans
By Njabulo Nkosi


he rich keep getting richer, the poor keep getting poorer, and new billionaires are made while others have fallen. The Forbes list this year has increased the number of billionaires and their combined wealth, which totals to $4.5 trillion (R 31.5 trillion). Also, the The face of money: I van Glasenberg. top five South Africans have Pic: Wikicommons been listed, with South Africa having a new richest man. The CEO of Glencore, Ivan Glasenberg, is 15.8% in Glencore which put his net worth a person many have not heard about. The at $9-10 billion. This means that he trumps Swiss-based company he heads is worth an South Africa’s last richest person, Nikki estimated $60 billion (R420 billion) and has Oppenheimer. the prospect of increasing by $15 billion See www.activateonline.co.za for the top 5 (R 105 billion). Glasenberg has a stake of Richest Men in South Africa.

Various European nations are currently facing economic crises. Pic: WikiCommons
By Brendan Ward Instead, the solution should be the end of the Washington Consensus stranglehold. Speculation deals with Goldman Sachs to hide debt levels, and poor regulation have all compounded the eurozone debt crisis. Once again, the failings of a deregulated market economy have shown themselves. The ‘Washington Consensus or bust’-mentality of global financial institutions is clearly not viable. As an article in The Guardian puts it, neoliberalism is a zombie – brainless, but not dead yet. This has led to an increasingly weak West. The US is also suffering with debt woes at the moment and the riots across the UK two months ago show the US is not alone in its worries. The question is what the implication of all this is. Tension is mounting between the West and the rising economic base of China, who does not want to gamble in Europe as it did in the US, as it fears buying eurozone bonds may just fund further mismanagement. As was seen in the UK and in Greece when austerity measures were put in place, civil unrest is on the rise as well. Tensions within states are strained as budget cutbacks compensate for growing deficits. This means less social welfare as well as job cutbacks, worsening the situation for the already-suffering public. What we are seeing, however, is some interesting potential developments. Obama has announced a tax on the wealthy in order to pay back the US deficit, a plan that was not the idea of socialist economists but business and investing giant Warren Buffet. The decline of the West, even if it amounts to a small loss of overall power, provides interesting opportunities for developing nations.


he eurozone is teetering on the brink of economic disaster, as the spectre of the debt crisis returns, causing global shares and markets to globally to fall once again. The overhang of debt in Greece, along with worrying signs in Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain (who together form the PIIGS nations) raise a number of serious concerns for the state of the global economy. The crisis is rooted in structural deficits in Greece during its period of rapid growth up until 2007. The global financial downturn hit the Greek economy hard, as their two biggest industries (tourism and shipping) were severely affected. This, coupled with borrowing and currency devaluations, sowed the seeds for a financial crisis. The collapses have caused a ripple effect across the eurozone, with Irish banks recently requiring a bailout and the other PIIGS nations declaring massive deficits and debts. The domino effect that has taken place in Europe is not dissimilar to the knock-on effects of the recession in the United States in 2007. In fact, that recession was a contributing factor to the current crisis in Europe. Financial crises spread like swine flu in the global age: when free flows of capital and highly interconnected economies mean that if one state behaves irresponsibly, many will suffer for it. Despite this, one cannot simply suggest we revert back to isolation. The global market is the source of great opportunities and may well be the only route to sustainable growth.

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

Pushing my Agenda
By Benjamin Fogel
Youth: Apathy, Whiteness and Juju In the news feeding frenzy on the latest Julius Malema scandal, the collective imagination of our media yet again fails to address the real issues lurking behind his shadow. Firstly, I am frankly unmoved by the figure of Juju, who seems to have built his public personality on the collective “swart gevaar” fantasies of white bourgeois South Africans. Secondly, there is not all that much evidence of his supposed popularity among poor black youth that the media constantly refer to. Even the recent riots at Luthuli House attracted less than 1,000 people (many of whom are rumoured to have been paid). I would also hazard a guess that many who attend Julius rallies either attend because they are offered food or t-shirts or just want to see him say crazy shit. Too often, the liberal media bases much of its coverage on the assumption that an angry black demagogue naturally has thousands of mindless poor black youth following his every word. The issue which is largely off the agenda of the punditry is that there is a whole generation growing up in South Africa facing little or no prospect of securing a decent job in their lifetime. Nobody really wants to talk about it. Helen Zille’s botox-fueled toyi-toying attempts to engage young South Africans are beyond farcical. The fact is that the DA has no clue how to talk to young black South Africans beyond their fetishisation of the neo-liberal entrepreneurial spirit lurking behind questionable “100% service delivery” claims and attempts to spread the protestant work ethic around. The truth is that only one major politician in the country is attempting to engage with this particular demographic, and this politician is widely known as ‘Juju’. This brings me to my final point. Recently, we have seen a debate around the concept of “whiteness” emerge amongst our chattering classes in response to a fairly innocuous paper by Dr Sam Vice of the Rhodes Philosophy Department. This paper led to an orgiastic outbreak of white hysteria. What is evident to me, as much as I disagree with much of Vice’s argument, is that a political ontology of whiteness exists. This is reflected in the endless moans of reverse racism, an attitude of self-entitlement and a widespread belief that merely passing is cause for celebration. Tertiary education has become a 3-year excuse to fuck, do drugs and party with little or no consequence. But university is also an opportunity for real political engagement and political reflection without the burdens of adulthood. While youth from Greece to Cairo rise up and exemplify the power of popular politics, being white in South Africa results in yet another night at Friars. Fuck that. I hope my generation can learn from the mistakes of our parents and start building a serious and exciting new left in this country.

By Alexa Sedgwick


ustralia has introduced a third ‘gender’ on their passports: that of ‘X’. Instead of being formally categorised as ‘male’ or ‘female’, transgender and intersex, individuals now have the opportunity to choose how they would like to be represented on their passports. Transgender individuals, who identify with the opposite sex and reject their own biological make-up, may now choose to be classified as ‘male’ or ‘female’ on their passports without having had sex-change surgery, as long as their decision is supported


15 Comment & Analysis

marks the uncertain
by a doctor. The ‘X’ option is reserved for intersex individuals who are not entirely male or female biologically. The government’s decision to implement these changes was in the hope to remove discrimination against such individuals. Australian Senator Louis Pratt, whose male partner was born female, said that it is an important recognition of human rights. “There are people who are genetically ambiguous and were probably arbitrarily assigned as one sex or the other at birth,” he said. Is Australia indeed taking a leap towards social equality, or are they just confusing ‘sex’ with ‘gender’? Activate sought your views.

Michelle Avenant, BJourn 1 I think it’s amazing that formal administration at such a high level has made provision for gender ambiguity - especially something like ‘X’ that could really mean anything, as opposed to pinpointing people as ‘hermaphrodites’. I think it’s up to culture and the media to make more provisions for gender ambiguity, especially within the education system, to afford these individuals with a greater sense of belonging within society. Jean-Michel Gaud, BSS 2 I think it is a really progressive move by the Australian government and much needed, because the reality of the matter is that sex is not black and white, there is a grey area. Travis Dell, English Honours If one made the decision to change one’s sex, [going through confusion regarding the gender cited on one’s passport] should

not be something that one is afraid of. It could be a very positive stride in social equality, but on the other hand it does seem like confusion between sex and gender. Mbali Sebaeng, BA 3 It is the same with how you have to tick whether you are Black, White, Asian etc. on a piece of paper for someone sitting in a stuffy office collecting data, whose job it is to reduce humans to statistics. There will always be someone who feels left out in any case. We have to get back to the basics: there are fundamentally two sexes, male and female. Whether or not there is a block for intersex people to tick on a sheet of paper is not really what leads to discrimination when travelling. I foresee that in a couple of years, it will suddenly occur to them that the term ‘indeterminate’ or ‘X’ is not politically correct at all.

Dr Diane Thram, Music and Musicology lecturer I have to admit, I hadn’t heard about that but I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. It empowers these people, so that they can have a choice that isn’t even male or female. It must have been quite an important issue in Australia in order for them to pass this, and it sounds like it could start a global trend just like the gay marriage law. Benjamin Timm, BA 1 I am indecisive about the whole thing. On the one hand it is excellent, as people are no longer forced into a box regarding what gender they should be by virtue of their birth. However it opens doors to more discrimination, as people with the ‘X’ will immediately be marked as ‘different’ and in a minority. Tabang Mokgatle, BA 2 I think it’s very tricky to place people

into categories like this. I find the idea of an ‘X’ gender rather weird. People who are transgender or intersex are just born a certain way, and so giving them the option of putting an ‘X’ on their passport instead of ‘male’ or ‘female’ is quite a big step on a sensitive issue. Essentially, we have male and female, so perhaps ‘other’ would be more appropriate than ‘X’ which seems a little discriminatory. Alex Bernatzky, BJourn 2 It is a good step forward in creating a truly progressive society that recognises the rights of intersexed people to assert their identities. This is important because in the past, due to being forced to choose a gender that does not fully represent who they are as a person or is at odds with their identity, intersexed people were marginalised as a group. In recognising intersex as a legitimate gender, it shows a growth in society in its tolerance and acceptance of the diversity of its people.

The (white) elephant in the room
By Joel Pearson


he end of apartheid did not bring with it an immediate and decisive end to white privilege. Despite the rise of a new democratic order and a constitution premised on the equality of all people, white people in this country continue to benefit from and be shaped by the legacy of an unjust system that oppressed the non-white majority. Given their morally compromised position, white people should refrain from taking the lead when it comes to shaping the political landscape of this country. While not withdrawing entirely from political life, whites should nevertheless assume a quieter

political presence and reflect upon their own selves before casting judgment on others. This is the controversial argument recently put forward by Dr Samantha Vice of the Rhodes Philosophy Department in her paper How Do I Live in this Strange Place, attracting a flurry of responses. “I have been characterised as a self-hating attention-seeker, and directed to commit suicide,” Vice writes in a recent article in the Mail & Guardian. “[I] have as a matter of course been labelled stupid, neurotic and blinded by ...‘womanly political views’”. If Vice’s article and the storm that has brewed around it indicate anything, it is that the issue of race in South Africa is far from resolved. Activate asked Rhodes students for their thoughts on

David Benatar, Professor and Head of Philosophy at UCT Samantha Vice seems to think that on account of her being “white” she is not a “basically decent” person. I disagree. First, I don’t think that somebody’s being “white” tells us anything about whether she is basically decent. We should judge people by the “content of their character” rather than by the colour of their skin. Second, I know Dr Vice, and I think that she, as an individual, is a decent person. I think that her views on this matter are significantly and dangerously mistaken, but she does not deserve the abuse that has been heaped on her by some of her critics. Dineo Moeng, BA 3 I completely disagree with those who say everything changed after apartheid. The liberation struggle goes beyond 1994 – freedom must go beyond formal freedom and black minds must still be liberated. Interactions are still constrained by race. Education is essential in shaping the way

forward. BEE doesn’t solve much because it elevates only those whose priority is to make money, rather than those who are concerned with humanity. Let’s move against racism and not against whites. Whites must speak and be open – we need to be less politically correct and more real. Candace Gawler, BA 3 Whites should not remain silent. White guilt is not at all useful, and keeping quiet doesn’t solve anything. It is too clear-cut to say that it is just an issue between black and white – things have changed. Eusebius McKaiser, Political Commentator and associate at Wits Centre for Ethics Feeling shame as a white person is a way of acknowledging that you have been living in a world filled with an injustice rooted in your whiteness. Shame is an acknowledgement that the world you live in is not as it should be – just and nonracial. Regret, too, is appropriate. Vice

regrets her own whiteness, not because she chose it (which she could not have) but because her whiteness is what keeps the unjust system, in which blacks are still socially and economically worse off than whites, going. Neo Masoek, BA 3 Lots of people benefited from apartheidit is not as simple as a pure black/white divide. [Correcting past injustices] should not be just a matter of taxing whites – we must tackle the unresolved elitist problem that has seen elites of the struggle and BEE babies rise to benefit at the expense of the majority. Patrick Awori, BCom 3 Whites shouldn’t feel guilty. We can’t fix the mistakes of the past by looking into the past. In areas where we have tried to move forward, we have succeeded. The way that policies that look into the past have been implemented has not fixed the problems – take BEE for example. We

should instead look at the example of Rwanda after the genocide. There they tried to move beyond the divisions and it has worked. We must try to find a way forward together. Mbali Baduza, BA 3 I am a humanist. I don’t want to box people into race, class or ethnic categories. South Africa belongs to everyone. We shouldn’t exclude people just because they’re white. Although white people did benefit [from apartheid] and still do, they shouldn’t be punished. Excluding people only replicates the same system of oppression. But we must look at the fact that democracy is not working for most people. Most black people do not have access to what white people do. We have this ideal of the “Rainbow Nation” and we want to be blinded to the realities, but instead we need an open space to un-silence what has been silenced. White consciousness of the truth of their white identity should open up this discussion.

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

16 Features

Rhodes Journo honoured
By Mignon van Zyl


naugural recipient of the Carte Blanche scholarship, Producer of 3rd Degree, winner of the CNN African Journalist award for the TV Feature category: these are only a few of the many accomplishments by BJourn graduate and honourable member of Rhodes Alumni, Lindile Mpanza. Mpanza’s most recent success occurred in June this year when she was awarded the CNN African Journalist award for her TV Feature Silence of the Innocents. This harsh depiction of the reality faced by some in South Africa exposes the stories of girls from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape region, who were abducted, raped and forced into marriage through the cultural practice of ‘Ukuthwala’. Ukuthwala is a custom widely practised by Nguni cultures in which the intending bridegroom, together with one or two of his friends, would kidnap the intended bride and forcibly take her to the young man’s home with the

intention of compelling her family to approve of wedding negotiations. Although sexual intercourse with the girl at this stage is against customary law, it is believed that the girls are in fact raped in many cases, a factor that compelled Mpanza’s investigation into the matter. Mpanza discussed her approach to the people of Lusikisiki on the Citizen Online. “My words often were: ‘I’m here in your village, I don’t know about the practice of Ukuthwala, but I know a great deal of what has been said about it and your community, and you are not happy about it. I want to know what makes you angry when outsiders criticise your tradition, so let’s set the record straight,” she wrote. “I was a student at Rhodes when I heard of the practice of Ukuthwala in some areas of the Eastern Cape, but didn’t pursue the story because it seemed impossible with the little resources I had,” said Mpanza. “And then just last year, the story came up again and my managing editor suggested I look into it. I spent a long and tough week in Lusikisiki

uncovering this practice, and I believe years later... with much more experience, I was able to do the story justice,” Mpanza said on Silence of the Innocents. Mpanza felt that the story hit home, as many of the child brides she encountered during the period in which she covered the story were the same age and of the same race as her. “[They] related to me like an older sister, so spending time with them and listening to their horrific stories didn’t just shock me, but also saddened me,” she said. “The overwhelming response to the ‘doccie’ made me realise that as a journalist, my work is never done, that the work we do may just be the only way people will ever hear of the tragic injustices that still plague our country.” Mpanza is just one of the many members of Rhodes Alumni who have taken the education and knowledge they have gained at Rhodes and have made something extraordinary of themselves. To find out more, check out the Rhodes Alumni page at http://www.ru.ac.za/alumni.

Lindile Mpanza, winner of the CNN African Journalist of the Year award for the TV Feature category. Pic: Supplied

To catch a thief
By Carissa Govender ith fingerprint machines at the door, secure windows and entrances, Campus Protection Unit (CPU) patrolling the campus and a warden in every house, one would think living in residence would be the safest option. So, what happens when thieves strike from within the residence, where it is least expected? Theft in res is not a rare occurrence, with students from almost every house knowing what it is like to find their milk half-empty, a missing container of yoghurt from the fridge or even their favourite top snatched from the laundry line. Students are encouraged to label their items and lock food in cooler bags, but this has not deterred some students, who go so far as to break open locks or to cut soft plastic cooler bags to get to the food. Attempts at catching the culprits have varied from residence to residence. Different halls have different constitutions, but raids are the most common procedure for handling theft. However, not even a warden is allowed to enter a room unless given permission, and once in, they may just look around the room, but not search it. With raids only occurring after something has been stolen, this method rarely results in the thief being captured. “I don’t mind raids because I have nothing to hide, but if other people feel it is an invasion of privacy, then they can say no to it,” says Matsepo Motsetse, a BSS Honours student who was the victim of food theft in her first year. Because raids generally fail to identify the thieves, more

By Louisa Feiter

Award-winning chem at Rhodes
in Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) as an alternative to chemotherapy for cancer patients. This involves a dye being injected into the bloodstream, which, once in the tumour cells, is targeted by red laser light. In this way cancer cells are destroyed whilst avoiding the side effects of chemotherapy, such as hair loss and nausea. A great deal of research still remains to be done, especially in the African context, where the harsh sunlight needs to be taken into account because of the effect any amount of sunlight has on the treatment. The “Distinguished Women in Chemistry” award is not Nyokong’s first. Among others, she was given the Bronze Presidential Order of Mapungubwe by former President Thabo Mbeki in 2005, awarded the research chair for Medicinal Chemistry and Nanotechnology by the Department of Science and Technology, and the National Research Foundation in 2007, and won the prestigious L’Oréal-Unesco Award for Women in Science in 2009.This made her the first woman in South Africa to receive this award in the Physical Sciences category. Winning the “Distinguished Women in Chemistry” award, has however particularly been especially significant for Nyokong. “This award is even more special since it is recognition by my peers in Chemistry and it is an acceptance that the Chemistry we do at Rhodes University is of the highest international standard,” she says. “It also shows that the graduate students we produce within my research group are world class.” It has been the aim of RSC/PACN to celebrate women’s contribution to science this year in commemoration of Marie Curie being awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry a century ago. Nyokong hopes that awards like this will encourage more women to move into the largely male-dominated field of physical sciences. “Female scientists act as role models for young women,” she says. “They also create a scientifically literate community since they bring up children and can encourage scientific thinking quite early in life.” This November, Nyokong will be attending PACN’s first Congress on Agricultural Productivity in Ghana, at which she will be honoured for her achievement.


drastic measures are being put in place, such as the installation of security cameras. De Beers has a camera in the foyer and Allan Gray House is in the process of applying for a camera in the common room, where the fridges are kept. “Last year we had an incident where a girl had her cooler bags, full of food in the freezer, stolen. After this happened a fourth time, we masterkeyed the doors, but could not search the cupboards. The drive behind getting a camera is to stop the theft,” said Cassy-Lee van Eeden, Senior Head Student of Allan Gray. “However, it is seen as an invasion of privacy and many people object. Cameras are therefore hard to get because of privacy policies,” she added. While students might be worried about being watched on camera, those in charge of the cameras insist that this will not be abused. “If there’s an incident, we will look at the footage to see who has stolen items from the fridge. Unless there has been a specific incident, the footage may not be looked at,” explained Van Eeden. “The university can get into trouble for invasion of privacy and so has to protect itself.” “I think a camera is a good idea, because it is the only way to see who the culprit is. I really don’t mind a camera in the common room because if a camera is there, people won’t steal and there will be no need to look at the footage,” said Motsetse. With surveillance cameras and privacy becoming a hotly debated topic, it is interesting to see where this will lead, as more and more residences consider acquiring security cameras.

hodes University’s Professor Tebello Nyokong was chosen this year for the award of “Distinguished Women in Chemistry”, she received acknowledgement from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and the Pan Africa Chemistry Network (PACN) in acknowledgement of her achievements. Originally from Lesotho, Nyokong discovered her love for chemistry in Grade 10 when she switched from the arts to science subjects. After studying at the University of Lesotho and obtaining her Masters and PhD overseas, she began lecturing at Rhodes in 1992. She rapidly gained prominence in the science world. She is one of the top three publishing scientists in South Africa. Nyokong is best known for her work


Professor Nyokong- Prestigious L’Oreal - Unesco Award for Women in Science. Pic: Supplied

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

17 Features

Res tuck shops: convenient outlaws or innocent entrepreneurs
By Mignon van Zyl and Nina McFall


t’s 21:00, you’ve have been working on your politics essay for the past two hours and still have about three hours to go, and a smoke or a snack is desperately required. There’s a problem, however: you have almost no money and the idea of walking all the way to Pick n Pay to get a bite to eat is so bad that you would rather scratch the whole idea and work on your essay. Solution? Res tuck shops! They stock cheap food, are only a few steps from your door, and most importantly, they are open at those vital times when you just need something small to satisfy your sweet tooth. The question, however, concerning these small businesses that are easy on your wallet and your legs, is whether or not they are allowed by university policy. In a document handed out by the warden of New Res 2, Sandra Matatu, the rules regarding small businesses and tuck shops within residences are stated clear: “The running of tuck shops shall be the primary responsibility of the house committee,” and

“any person wishing to sell anything in the residence should request permission from the Senior Student of the residence in writing before beginning the business”. However, it seems that sub-wardens of Rhodes may be turning a blind eye to res-run-tuck shops, as the convenience eliminates the expedition to town. Miles Wolfe, a third-year BCom student in Jan Smuts, says he did ask a sub-warden for permission to run his tuck shop, which was granted, provided there was “no trouble”. Sub-wardens have passed Wolfe’s room at the end-of-term inspections, and even purchase goods from him. A first-year student from St. Peter’s Hall who wishes to remain unnamed for fear of being excluded, has made a profit selling cigarettes to his fellow res mates and students from other residences. “I sold from my room. Sometimes I would keep the cigarettes on me and people would ask me wherever I was at the time,” he said. “I even had a complimentary lighter they could use for fast access!” This enterprising young businessman

would buy a packet of cigarettes from Pick ‘n’ Pay and then sell them at R2 a smoke, making a profit of about R25 per box. The first-year claims that he did not ask any formal permission. However, he claimed his dealing was “no secret” either. Wolfe sees his room-based tuck-shop, Milo’s Munchies, as a “pocket money inflator”. Wolfe began his tuck shop at the beginning of this year, identifying a gap in the market after a third-year student who used to run a tuck-shop moved out. Wolfe’s business has been so successful that he now has expanded to making toasted sandwiches. “I can almost double my money if I work really hard,” he said with regards to turnover. This hard work involves doing runs around res, which usually brings in about R100 a run. Ever the entrepreneur, going as far as applying “restrictive pricing” theories from economics to his small business, Wolfe has started a BBM group called Milo’s Munchies. While res tuck-shops seem like an easy way to make a quick buck, it is always better to follow the rules and get formal

Cigarretes being sold cheaply and illegaly by res tuck shops. Pic: Niamb Walsh-Voster permission to run a res tuck-shop. So, if you are planning on starting your own snack store, make sure you run it by your warden or Senior Student first. (Unless, of course, you are a ninja.) Then you are more than welcome to do things the sneaky way.

Mayans redefine apocalypse
beginning of the ‘World of the Fifth Sun’. They also say that we are in a time of transition where there is a confluence of global upheaval – from social chaos to environmental destructio The Mayans had more than one calendar, but it is their ‘Long Count’, which has caused the uproar, as Mayan scholars have calculated that it stops after 5 126 years. As the Mayan calendar began in 3114 BC, 2012 is its final year. The election of 21 December – coinciding with the summer solstice – is the result of further refinement at this theory. Also not without contestation, some researchers say that this date could be out by 60 days. “[We’re] running into big, big problems,” Professor Cobbing, historian and lecturer at Rhodes, says. This remark is aimed at human kind however, and his take on the situation has a slightly different angle, “The solution for the planetary system is to get rid of us.” Overpopulation, unsustainable consumerism and environmental problems might be our downfall, Mayan calendar or not. Humanity has a fascination with the apocalypse from books to films to poetry, doomsday prophecies have been made time and time again. As Dr. David Morrison, Director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute and Senior Scientist in the NASA Astrobiology Institute, once remarked, “It is just the beginning of a new year... calendars exist for keeping track of the passage of time, not for predicting the future.” Whether the end of the Mayan calendar will just be another spoof apocalypse or the harbinger of actual change, as the Mayan elders predict,remains to be seen.

Not so ‘Bugger All’ after all
By Louisa Feiter


According to Mayan elders, calendars such as this do not predict or count down to the end of the world, but rather indicate a coming change. Pic: supplied By Louisa Feiter period for the final destruction of the earth. So far 1109 are attending. Comments range from vehement denials to quippy remarks and philosophical musings about whether the time has come. Like all other apocalypse theories before it, this too is steeped in controversy. It is argued however, that the end of the Mayan calendar only marks the beginning of a new cycle, not an apocalypse. The Mayan elders themselves believe this, saying it only marks a transformation. To the Mayans, 21 December 2012 marks a rebirth – the


he idea of an apocalypse is hardly new. However, there has been a recent surge of debate surrounding the nature of the imminent end of the Mayan calendar in 2012. The Internet is filled with doomsayers predicting that on 21 December 2012 the world will suffer anything from comet and asteroid impacts to a geomagnetic reversal, and thereby come to an end. A Facebook group named “Weltuntergang” – end of the world – has set 12am -3am as the time

e’ve heard it all heard it before: BA stands for ‘Bugger All’. Concerned parents try to nudge their children onto ‘safer’ studying routes with definite job titles that supposedly ‘guarantee employment: “Honey, you need something to fall back onto!” Many feel, however, that a BA degree has as much to offer as any other degree – if not more. “I disagree 100% that [a BA degree] is worthless,” says Mark de Vos, senior English Language and Linguistics lecturer. He feels that such an assessment speaks of a deep ignorance in people at large: a BA certificate may not guarantee you a tailor-made job to slip into, but students are instead able to create their own, as they can use the skills they are taught during their three years in a variety of ways. “Rhodes doesn’t have a graduate unemployment problem,” said Professor Fred Hendricks, the Dean of Humanities. “You can do anything with a BA”. De Vos agrees: “What we’re really doing is creating students that think in open-ended ways.” Students are given general skills and the ability to look at situations critically, evaluate them and react accordingly, which is “crucial to the new information economy,” says De Vos. One is not taught to fold a box in a specific way, but to be able to fold it according to whatever situation comes along. “We [aim] to produce ethical and reflective citizens capable of adapting to change and leading in innovation because they are creative, lateral and critical thinkers,” says Professor Louise Vincent, acting head of the Department of Political and International Studies and acting Deputy Dean of Humanities, in her article ‘Why Study

Humanities?’. Environmental issues, diseases, economy dips and the like can only be understood properly if one understands how society works, Hendricks says. A BA offers this understanding of the interaction between society and the individual. Additionally, a BA degree teaches students to appreciate where knowledge comes from, and according to Hendricks this facilitates the shift from “consumers of knowledge to producers of knowledge”. The Humanities faculty is the largest at Rhodes – it is responsible for 40% of student enrolment – and Rhodes humanities graduates are sought by many employers. Hendricks said that it is not unusual to see Rhodes graduates appearing in the Mail & Guardian’s list of “200 young South Africans you must take to lunch.” It is evident from the success of past BA graduates that De Vos’ is not in the least misguided when he says: “We have every indication that our students do well”. Though there are fewer scholarships for BA students than for post-graduates, De Vos believes that there are several factors involved. “Businesses often have short-term goals and prefer to invest in degrees that they perceive are useful for their short-term needs instead of opting for employing people who can think,” he says. Another factor is that for the amount of BA students, there are simply not enough scholarships to go around. It doesn’t, however, have anything to do with the worth of the degree. As Hendricks says, “it is important to appreciate the aesthetic aspects of life – as well as contribute to them – as they are an essential part of being human.”






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Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

18 Arts & Entertainment

Gig guide:
Life of Riley at SSS, 5 November, 8pm (R10 entrace) Professor Pickles Comedy Lab: a night of stand-up comedy with local and national comedians at Union, 21 October, 8pm Picture Pot 29 September, 5pm – venue to be confirmed Chromium at SSS, 28 September, 10pm Balkan & Bass at the Tunnels farm, 14 October, 8pm Fokofpolisiekar in Port Elizabeth, 14 October, 8pm. Look out for rides from LMS.
Earl Grey and Croquet’s lead singer Laurie Sloan whose audiencen at their gig last Friday night at Slipstream. Pic: Caitlin Stobie

Earl Grey and Croquet: not your average cuppa
By Caitlin Stobie
rom their name, you would think they were pommies with a thing for citrus-flavoured tea and competitive lawn games. Despite their Britishsounding name, Earl Grey and Croquet are as South African as they come – and they just kicked off their national tour in Grahamstown. The band members, hailing from Johannesburg, play what drummer Jonny Smith describes as “feel-good psychedelic rock and roll”. Their musical influences include Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Neil Young. They have been playing together for about 3 years, and have already released an EP entitled From the 21st Century. At their gig at Slipstream on Saturday night, it was clear that each of the band members contributed in their own way to the blend of musical talent. There was always something to keep the crowd interested – whether it was Jonny’s inspired


drumming, Chris Smith’s shredding guitar solos, Dan Millar’s intricate bass riffs or lead singer Laurie Sloan’s grins as he alternated between keyboards and guitars. Having impressed the crowd with their own material, the band ended their set with a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird. Their cover of the 9-minute long classic perhaps epitomises Earl Grey and Croquet’s style: a contemporary take on 70s-style rock that comes out of nowhere and knocks you off your feet. After they have toured the rest of the country, the band plans to record a full-length album in October and possibly shoot a music video. The band made it clear, though, that playing live performances and connecting with an audience is what they really love. “We depend on them,” Jonny said. “We really owe it to them”. To find out more about the band, visit www.earlgreyandcroquet.com or their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ earlgreyandcroquet.

What’s the plot with Picture Pot?
By Michelle Avenant
he next time you’re standing in the Kaif queue, debating whether or not to fork out half a R50 note for a caffeine kick and a snack, think about what else you could do with that money. More specifically, R25 is the cover charge that will get you into the Picture Pot exhibition between 5pm and 8pm on Thursday 29 September and help out those in need as well. Held as a fundraiser for the Masincedane Soup Kitchen, the Picture Pot contemporary art exhibition is an opportunity not only for amateur artists to exhibit their work, but also for anyone attending the exhibition to be provided with affordable artwork of all kinds. To acquire a piece of art from the exhibition, all you need do is pay the R25 entrance fee, walk into the exhibition and take your pick from the works on display. Provided you manage to claim it before anyone else does, whatever artwork strikes your fancy is yours to keep! Starting from 5pm, organisers will let 10 people into the exhibition at a time to choose an artwork they like on the principle of ‘first come, first served’. The artworks available will all have been submitted free of charge by anyone wishing to contribute to the exhibition, and are expected to be in a variety of media, ranging from photography and drawing, to painting and


Rocking the Daisies, 6-10 October, Darling, near Cape Town Coldplay, 5 October (Cape Town), 8 October (Johannesburg Kings of Leon, 26 Oct Cape Town, 29 October Johannesbur Aardklop National Arts Festival, 4-9 October, Potechefstroom

sculpture. All works are to be roughly A5 in size. Masincedane is a Rhodes student society that runs a soup kitchen in Xolani, Grahamstown. “All funds raised by the exhibition will go towards the upkeep of the kitchen,” said Amy Wilson, one of the main co-ordinators behind the event. “The society began in 2005 in an attempt to provide school-going children with a regular afternoon meal.” The soup kitchen now feeds over 100 people every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and is on of the biggest feeding programmes in Grahamstown. Money raised in the exhibition will pay basic but vital expenses of the Soup Kitchen, such as electricity and maintenance of the vegetable garden, in which most of the soup ingredients are grown. “Our garden supplies ingredients for the soup, eventually resulting in a completely self-sustainable project,” said Wilson. “I decided to hold this exhibition as a creative and unusual means to raise funds for the Soup Kitchen,” Wilson said. “I think it’s a positive initiative because it encourages people to donate not simply their money, but also their time, effort, skills and creativity at a level which is unique to each individual”. The venue of the Picture Pot exhibition is yet to be confirmed, but you can stay up to date on the Facebook group.

One of the doodles submitted for the Picture Pot Exhibition. Pic: Cat Pennels

Chromium to slam it LMS celebrates its down at Slipstream 10th birthday
By Megan Ellis
ith the likes of Zebra & Giraffe and Van Coke Kartel gracing the Grahamstown music scene of late, Rhodes students have had the opportunity to see some prominent South African music talent this year. The latest addition to this list is arriving this week and goes by the name of Chromium. This four-man metal band started in 2005 in PE, but quickly established themselves in the Jo’burg music scene. While the band has had various line-up changes over the years, the band’s current members are Jared Gunston, Adrian Basson, Justin Du Preez and Hannes Matthysen. Basson, Chromium’s bassist, said the band was initially “a mere side project,” but the members enjoyed their new material so much that they left the bands they were in to tackle Chromium as a real project. “There have been a few bumps in the road, but I don’t think we have looked back since,” said Basson.


The band has since played at prominent festivals such as Woodstock and Oppikoppi. Du Preez, guitarist and vocalist, says that his first priority as part of the band is to make South African audiences aware of the talent involved in making metal music. “I think that people need to get rid of the cliché that metal or hard rock is just noise,” he says. Chromium expresses their excitement for the upcoming Grahamstown gig. Matthyson, the band’s drummer, has high hopes for the show. “It should be an awesome gig - we’ve only played Grahamstown once, back in 2009, and it was awesome then,” he said. Gunston, the guitarist and vocalist, shares a similar view. He encourages Rhodes students to come see the gig. “Projects, exams, work?” he asked. “Screw it for one night and come party with us where we will throw Jäger in your face all night long!” Chromium will be playing at Slipstream Sports bar on Wednesday, 28 September.

By Megan Ellis
oodoo Child at Slipstream with free entrance for its members – this is how the Rhodes Live Music Society (LMS) will be celebrating its 10th birthday. LMS was started 10 years ago to raise awareness of local music amongst students and provide opportunities for musicians to perform at Rhodes and in Grahamstown. The society has done this through facilitating live music events and it continues to be involved in the majority of them at Rhodes. These events include collaborations in awareness weeks with societies such as ROAR, OutRhodes and also the 1 in 9 protest against sexual violence. Ten years later, LMS continues to work on improving the quality of music at Rhodes. The society also aims to increase opportunities for students to learn music and enter the music industry. Tamryn Dickson, the Chairperson of


LMS, says that this year LMS wants to place “more emphasis on actually getting the bands that form through LMS events to national waters.” She says that this will be done through LMS acquiring its own recording studio and live music venue, which she envisions for the future The society plans on having more casual events with a focus on Grahamstown bands. “LMS offers an opportunity for students to get involved with either playing music, making bands, learning about music and the industry and most importantly providing them with the best live music events,” said Dickson. “LMS has valuable resources to provide other societies and bodies so that their events are more entertaining”. LMS will be having its birthday event at 8pm on Saturday, 8 October at Slipstream. LMS members are assured of free entry, and non-members pay R10 entrance. Voodoo Child and two other local bands perform.

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011
By Sarisha Dhaya
Libra It’s your birthday month! You want nothing more than to find yourself a bad boy or girl who loves bird watching and stealing exam answers and paint your small town the colour of fun: purple. It is also the best time for you to take up a new hobby and on the 10th, there will be a reason for you to put on that low-cut polka-dot dress. The best days for buying fruit include the 17th and the 18th. Your money will be all tied up or finished by the 20th as you have poor budgeting skills and lack self-control. Scorpio Talk about bossy this month! According to you, no one can do anything right. Your tune will hopefully change after the 12th. There is a high possibility of your ex standing near the arch on the 4th, and you will be tempted to push them through the middle, cursing them with bad luck. Restrain yourself! The best way to heal a tainted conscience is by buying drinks for strangers and pathetic, struggling singers on the 14th, 15th, 17th and 22nd. Sagittarius Naughty thoughts enter your mind around the 13th; fraud and corruption will begin to appeal your darker side. To remedy these thoughts, commit to helping animals. You could start by feeding the donkeys around town on the 19th, 20th and 23rd. A sloppy dining hall meal will fall from above onto your head on the 15th, and the girl seated next to you will not laugh. Capricorn This is not a good month for Capricorns. It is best they stay indoors reading their textbooks and watching series until November. Under no circumstances will it benefit their life to venture outside. Should you venture out of your front door, be prepared for angry lovers, jealous friends, birds pooping on you and ginger-attacks. You have been warned, Capricorn. Aquarius Last month, it seemed as if life was looking up for you – no such luck. This month, work will pile up: especially on the 8th and the 17th. You will meet a long-lost friend on an evening stroll to the Library for the Blind on the 20th. You will burn all your allotted slices of toast on the 16th and your sub-warden will steal your cheesecake on the 25th. Do not be tempted to steal the yogurt this month; it will not end well this time. Pisces The little drama queen has been up to no good! Finally all the destruction you have caused will catch up with you. Someone tries to critique the way you handled your last relationship, but being so sensitive you burst out into little kitten tears and then run off to Kenton on the 21st with some random you meet at Friars. You will wind up spending the weekend hitching your way back with the Star Bread truck just in time for breakfast and your dawnie on Monday. Aries Aggression is an everincreasing problem with you. This is the perfect month for you to tone it down. A close friend will introduce you to their famous brownies around the 10th – beware. Business opportunities open up for you on the 14th, 15th and the 21st. Switching to a new shampoo on the 18th will stimulate mullet-growth and put the ‘sexy factor’ back into your relationship… Your partner believes that nothing oozes more sexiness than a clean, sweet-smelling mullet. Taurus This month is all about love, wine and Melrose cheese for you and your two special friends. Your neighbour won’t speak to you on the 16th and 17th, and will change their residence allocation room number for no apparent reason. The next fire drill will leave you locked outside your room: the best time to have spare keys cut is on the 21st. Gemini Forgiveness is the best cure and is the way to freedom. The best days to resell any whipped cream in cans you might have bought include the 12th and 13th. A lover of yours will run off with your friend with a peroxided Mohican. This month is about healing, persevering through trials, troubles and any heartache a Pisces beauty may cause to you. Herbs and cold beverages will help heal your wounds. The best days for fun include the 22nd through to the 31st. Love will bite you again near the end of this month. Money troubles will arise on the 17th, and hair loss is predicted on the 13th. You will find a

19 Life Style
Lindt chocolate ball inside a plastic cupcake container very soon. Cancer Hold onto your wallet this month. The 13th through the 27th will pose a challenge to your budgeting skills. Someone gets placed firmly in the ‘friend’ box on the 18th. Strategies to promote good heath include wearing your T-shirts inside out and always walking with your left leg first on the 28th. To end this month off you will walk into your dining hall door and then drop your tray and fall flat on your face. Boost your self esteem on the 30th by smiling when you pass short people and those without shoes. Leo The mysterious Virgo beauty haunting your dreams will continue to charm your socks off: this means your essay will be late again this month. She will crash your car again on the 15th. Good days for repair jobs include the 20th, 23rd and the 27th. Avoid walking past trees on the 16th to promote wealth. Nearing the end of the month, perseverance in your business ventures will pay off. Virgo This month is all about letting your fears and insecurities go. The best time to go swimsuit shopping will be on the 8th, 12th and 16th. The best time to break a habit is on the 13th. Avoiding older women is advisable this month, especially on Monday evenings. You will find that your toothbrush disappears in the 16th and a friendly cat will take comfort in your bed on the 31st. Be nice to the cat and fortune will smile down upon you.


After doing extensive research based on internationally recognised theories and statistical information, the Activate team has compiled a special horoscope formulated especially for Rhodents. [Come on, writing these can’t be that hard…]

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

20 Life Style

Obesity is a growing problem
By Ben Coullie


merican school diets are in for major upheavals next year as new dietary reform plans are to be implemented to radically reduce the use of starch, sugars and fattyoils in cafeteria meals in the hopes of preventing obesity. According to multiple studies, unhealthy foods cause the body to convert the large amount of carbohydrates (found in glucose) into body fat which effectively serves as ‘energy’ stored by the body for future use. It is a well-known fact that the US holds the world heavyweight title for being the most obese country – but few realise that South Africa isn’t far behind. According to the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) national health survey of 2010, it may find itself in first place in a few years’ time. Currently taking home the bronze, South Africa boasts staggering obesity figures. A third of the male population and more than a half of the female population are classified as clinically

obese: it is clear that the country is facing a serious problem that requires some drastic solutions. In 2008, Health24 released these specifics: for men, the obesity rate was the highest in Whites (18%), followed by Indians and Coloureds (8%) and then by Africans (6%). For women, the differences among the groups were much smaller: the highest rate of obesity was found in Africans (32%), followed by Coloureds (26%), Whites (23%) and then Indians (21%). Taking into account the time that has elapsed since these studies and considering a number of reliable sources, it would appear that obesity in South Africa is rising at an alarming rate. One would hope that the dietary planners at Rhodes University are taking into account this growing problem and will provide healthy substitutes for starch and oil-based meals. If American dietary reform programs are indeed the solution, Rhodes students may find themselves facing many a Saturday without their beloved fast food options to line their grumbling bellies.

The city of London boasts many world-famous tourist attractions. Pics: WikiCommons

London, simply explored
By Vanessa Knight and Bridgette Hall


ith its traditional open-topped, vibrant red tour buses, ever-punctual tube system and invariable general hustle and bustle, the city of London remains a popular tourist destination. A first-time visit to London mesmerises its visitors with worldfamous monuments. From the granduer of Big Ben that keeps residents on their toes, to the impressive beef-eaters that guard the monarchy safely behind the gates of Buckingham Palace, the city pulsates with a life of its own. The London Eye allows visitors an eagle’s view of the comings and goings of the residents, who truly make the visit a dynamic and vibrant experience.

Sight-seeing allows one to get lost in a blend of history, architecture and folklore. To really experience all that this incredible city has to offer, a simple stroll down the road is capable of summing up the magic and charm of one of Europe’s most glorious destinations. Portobello Road, a street where the riches of ages are stowed, is alive with markets and vendors selling everything from dated antiques to typical London souvenirs. The smell of fish in batter and crispy chips wafts through the crowds from the local stand and is irresistible to many. Dotted with vividly coloured houses and cultures from across the globe, London is a definite marker on any tourist’s checklist.

Stretch or pull a muscle
By Kendra Dykman


here are many benefits to stretching, and you should think twice before skipping the “cat-stretch” at the beginning of the class or the roll-down at the end. Stretching can sometimes hurt and always costs a little extra time, and therefore people do not always commit to stretching or simply overlook it. The stretching process is a lot more technical than people may think. You shouldn’t go straight into stretching before you start your training: this can lead to injury and exercise-associated muscle cramps. Before you begin your training, you should do some cardio warm-up in order to increase your muscle temperature before stretching. It is important to focus on stretching the muscles that you plan on working during your training session.

According to Dr. Candice Christie, a senior lecturer in the HKE department at Rhodes, stretching is good for your body – especially when you are training for more than just health reasons, as it can improve your sporting performance by increasing the elasticity of your muscles. Christie recommends maintaining hamstring flexibility, because this is a part of the body that is used in most exercises and also contributes to back flexibility. Therefore, it is exceptionally beneficial if you suffer from back pain. Each stretch should be held for 15-30 seconds, and it is only necessary to perform one stretch per muscle. Stretching should be done both before and after exercise, and benefits overall performance and body flexibility.

Illustrator: Katja Schreiber

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

21 Science & Technology

Pets reborn
By Daniella Favis ats no longer have nine lives, and dogs no longer have one. Since the commercial cloning of domestic animals became a reality in 2004, pets can virtually be brought back from the dead. It all began with Little Nicky. Not Adam Sandler’s version of Beelzebub’s mischievous son, but the first cloned-toorder domestic animal sold in the US to a woman grieving the loss of her seventeenyear-old cat. She hoarded some of the cat’s DNA, which was used by Genetic Savings & Clone Inc. to recreate her old feline friend. But it seems that dogs are more lucrative than cats. The Missyplicity Project emerged as an attempt to clone Missy, a beloved mongrel rescued from a dog pound. This time, BioArts International succeeded in


creating Mira, Missy’s clone, in 2007 – after Missy’s DNA had been banked for 10 years. In 2008, five identical copies of a pit bull terrier named Booger were created by Seoul National University for an owner whose life the dog had saved when she was attacked by another dog. He also served as her helper while she was recovering from reconstructive surgery after the incident. Science fiction depictions of cloning often contradict reality; cloned animals do not emerge from giant machines fully grown, identical to their predecessors and ready to conquer the world. Cloned pets are unique, newborn animals produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer. Cells from the animal to be cloned are transferred to an unfertilised egg in a cell from an animal of the same species that has had its nucleus removed. The resulting hybrid cell is then sparked

with a jolt of electricity before being implanted into a surrogate mother. The word ‘identical’ is also misleading. Animal clones do share the same genes as their donor, but their appearance, behaviour and personality may differ significantly. The environment is hugely influential on how an animal looks and acts. The exact conditions in which the pet was raised cannot be reproduced. While Little Nicky frolics in his new home, and Booger Ra reminds his owner to be thankful for the life she almost lost, these creations have reignited ardent ethical debates about cloning. According to animal rights activists, each cloned pet costs approximately R350,000- an amount that could have provided homes for thousands of strays who faced euthenasia. In addition, since cloning is not an exact science,

Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. Pic: WikiCommons
cloned animals are more likely to suffer from health problems such as obesity, heart defects, liver fibrosis and respiratory failure, rendering the possibility of reaching adulthood less probable. Modern ‘perpetual pets’ have not only become an emotional investment but a financial one, and they are a veritable bundle of ethical uncertainty.

Red, red wine: actually not so fine
By Daniella Favis


t’s a relaxed Saturday evening and you’re recovering from the Friday mare with a scrumptious homemade meal, a bunch of friends to show off your cooking abilities, and a glass of red wine. Because wine is supposed to be good for you, right? Well, it seems you’re mistaken. The Alcohol Policy Coalition (APC) as well as research conducted at the University College London School have provided evidence that disproves this popular myth. Many believe that light drinkers of red wine are at a smaller risk of heart disease than those who abstain

from drinking altogether. Wrong. This deceptively comforting myth is a dangerous one, in light of recent research. Red wine is not going to benefit the condition of your heart and it is also not going to prevent cardiovascular disease. The positive effects of this alcohol have apparently been drastically overestimated. In fact, it seems that every sip of this alluring ruby liquid causes much more damage than it does benefits. The report, released by the APC, whose members consist of the Australian Drug Foundation, the Heart Foundation and the Cancer Council of Victoria, cited the statistic that more than half of all alcohol-related deaths worldwide are caused by cardiovascular diseases,

cancer and liver cirrhosis. The report was an attempt to raise public awareness that the myth is exactly that – a myth. It has spectacular timing too. The release of the report coincides with the United Nations meeting to encourage international efforts to counteract noncommunicable diseases those in which alcohol plays a significant part. The study in London monitored the progress of approximately 8,000 males over a period of 16 years by regularly screening them for heart disease. Results showed that men who began drinking when they reached middle age were no less likely to develop deadly heart and cardiovascular diseases. In addition,

40% of these men were more likely to die of other diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. Red wine is not a remedy. The myth only serves to interfere with the proper interpretation and communication of the dangers of alcohol. It may be a source of antioxidants, but it is only a recommended source as part of a balanced diet and when consumed in moderation. Unfortunately for some students, the best way to grab your daily serving of antioxidants is still to tuck into some rabbit food: vegetables, fruit, legumes, wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts and seeds. Any reduction in alcohol consumption reduces the risk of all alcohol-related harm.

Breaching the blood brain barrier
By Eric K. Chakonda started a company, Adenios Inc., which will be involved or decades, researchers in drug testing and prehave been struggling to clinical trials. The research find ways to safely open and was funded by US National close the blood-brain barrier Institutes of Health. in the hope of delivering In the past, drug delivery medicines into the brain into the brain was done to cure disorders such through drug modification as Alzheimer’s, multiple which allowed drugs to bind sclerosis and even some to receptors in the bloodforms of cancer. In an article brain barrier and get carried published in the Journal of into the brain attached to Neuroscience this month by molecules that can traverse researchers from Cornell the barrier. But this process University, adenosine, negatively affected the a molecule found and efficacy of the drug. Research A graphic representation of the blood produced in the body, was is now focused on utilising brain barrier which functions to ptotect discovered to alter the entry the brain internally. Pic:Flickr the adenosine receptors. of large molecules into the Another way was to inject the brain. The researchers discovered finding a way to deliver drugs into drug by using a concentrated sugar that these adenosine receptors are the brain without damaging this solution. The high osmotic pressure also found on the specialised cells of barrier. of the sugar solution then causes the the blood-brain barrier, and efforts “The biggest hurdle for every endothelial cells of the capillaries to are being made to manipulate these neurological disease is that we shrink, opening the gaps between cells into delivering drugs into the are unable to treat these diseases the tight junctions and making the brain. because we cannot deliver drugs blood-brain barrier permeable. As The blood-brain barrier comprises into the brain,” said Margaret a result the drug enters the brain of specialised cells that selectively Bynoe, associate professor of tissue. and restrictively allow only essential Immunology at Cornell’s College In this regard, treatment of molecules to cross the barrier: of Veterinary Medicine. “Big illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and molecules such as oxygen, amino pharmaceutical companies have cancer might be made possible. acids and glucose are allowed entry been trying for 100 years to find However, unlocking the mystery while waste materials are excreted. out how to traverse the blood-brain behind the physiology of adenosine The barrier is so restrictive that, barrier and still keep patients alive,” receptors modulating the blood for an entire century, medical said Bynoe, who with colleagues brain barrier is the key to drug professionals have been working on has patented their findings and has delivery into the brain.


22 Environment

Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

Contributing to a sustainable society
By Isabelle Anne Abraham


orld-renowned environmental experts and civil society congregated to discuss the implementation of effective strategies to contribute to a greener future. “The more we protect nature, the more she provides for our needs,” said environmental activist and ecofeminist Vandana Shiva, at the opening ceremony of the 64th Annual UN DPI/NGO conference. This recent conference entitled “Sustainable Societies; Responsive Citizens” was held in Bonn, Germany. The aim of the conference was to create an objective, interactive dialogue between the public and global NGO representatives, which highlighted the process of sustainable development. A sustainable society is about more than switching to energy-saving light bulbs, recycling waste, and saving water. Individual action needs to become a collective effort: that’s what will set the course of global sustainability in motion. The conference took place from 3 to 5 September, and included round tables, NGO workshops, exhibits, and youth events in its line-up of events. In attendance were participants from all over the world: grassroots constituencies, the UN system and member states, media representatives, academia, the private sector and other institutions.

Today’s most pressing environmental problems were discussed: climate change, population growth and demand, a growing inequity, and the shrinking of natural resources and energy. Various subsequent conservation strategies were examined, and a range of solutions were considered. Some ideas included changing agriculture practices (by introducing organic farming, among other things), implementing awareness and education initiatives and renewable energy campaigns, promoting recycling, engaging with the media, and for individuals: moving towards a sustainable lifestyle. Several speakers throughout the conference reiterated that change is a necessity at this stage. “Business as usual is not an option,” they said. However, that’s exactly what is taking place in most countries, most of the time. Often, the same outcome arises from conferences like this- it’s all talk and no action. Many great strategies are planned and discussed, but most of them without any real hope of being carried out. The involvement of the youth is vital in the process of sustainable development. This point was emphasised throughout the conference, in addition to the significance of volunteerism. Grace H. Aguiling-Dalisay, a representative from VSO Bahaginan, noted that volunteers are the best-kept secrets of successful environmental institutions. Fortunately, there are several valuable environ-

mental initiatives already in place in Grahamstown. Organisations such as GRASS Rootz, the South East African Climate Consortium Student Forum (SEACC SF), and the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC) all encourage volunteerism as an ecological solution. A continuing problem, however, is the lack of interest and a lack of volunteers. One topic that was discussed at the conference was what it takes to get people motivated. So, what will cultivate enthusiasm in individuals for protecting their environment? The Chair of the conference, Felix Dodds, noted that highlighting personal benefits and seeing immediate results are always encouraging factors. The slogan of the conference, ‘Commit, Encourage, Volunteer’, may seem simple, but it is exactly this that will lead to a sustainable world for future generations. If each of us begins with the small things, such as encouraging friends, reducing one’s own carbon footprint, and supporting environmental projects, it will contribute to the progression of environmental, economical, and social sustainability. In addition, climate change initiatives also have a positive effect on personal health (walking instead of driving and cutting down on meat consumption, for example). The key is to eliminate harmful habits and replace them with practical solutions. As Shiva stated, “For everything toxic in the world, there’s an ecological option.”

From left to right: Bernward Geier (coordinator of the German NGO Focal Group), Kiyo Akasaka, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, and the Mayor of Bonn, Jürgen Nimptsch, presenting the Tree Planting Ceremony at the conference. Pic: Isabelle Anne Abraham

Ban on rhino hunting proposed
By Sibulele Mabusela


uring a recent media briefing in Pretoria, Environmental Minister Edna Molewa confronted the issue she called “the ongoing scourge in rhino poaching”. Molewa introduced the idea that the department was to discuss the implementation of a moratorium which would put an end to rhino hunting. While rhino poaching is definitely illegal in South Africa, it was not until recently that the government had considered putting a complete ban on rhino hunting as a sport. “Hunting and the abuse of the permit system may be the main threat that could impact on the survival of rhino,” said Molewa. The permit system she is referring to allows, as it stands, the hunting of rhinos as a recreational activity. This proposed ban is not without opposition. The Chief Executive of the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA), Adri Kitshoff, disagrees with the ban, saying that the moratorium would only impact private rhino owners, because it is already illegal to kill rhinos in national parks – those most endangered by poaching. The latest figures indicate that 279 rhinos have been killed by poachers this year – 169 of these from the Kruger National Park. Molewa also discussed the plan of de-horning rhinos to stop poachers from killing them for their horns, adding that the matter would have to be researched carefully. “[If there is a] potential for negative behavioural change, we will obviously have to look at that very, very seriously,” she said. Molewa said that her department has issued about 143 permits to trophy hunters to shoot and kill rhino. “It is important to look to rhino hunting that is legal... from a perspective our country uses to attract hunting tourists,” she said. Discussions for the moratorium are to take place with provincial MECs in October.

While rhino poaching is firmly illegal in South Africa, rhino hunting remains legal but the goverment has recently considered banning it as a sport. This is especially due to conservation concerns. Pic: Flickr




Edition 5 . 27 September 2011

23 Sport

The ten million dollar man
By Bridgette Hall
he past seven years have seen men’s tennis dominated by two of the greatest players the open era has ever seen. On one side there is the sophisticated, elegant game of Roger Federer, who has been hailed as the best men’s tennis player of all time and has the records to back it up. These include 16 Grand Slam titles and a record 237 consecutive weeks at number one on the ATP world rankings. Pitted firmly against him is the brash, powerful and dynamic Rafael Nadal, whose sizzling topspin has left many an opponent for dead. Labelled the ‘King of Clay’, he holds 6 titles at Roland Garros and 10 Grand Slam titles in total. The pair never fails to entertain whenever they step onto a tennis court. 2011 saw a young, aggressive Serb blow everyone away – Novak Djokovic quietened all his critics this season by showing everyone in the tennis world he has what it takes to be better than the best. He became the youngest player to have reached the semi-finals of all four Majors and the 7th player in the open era to win 3 Majors in a calendar year. All of this by the age of 24 means the dynamic Serb looks on the fast track to setting a few more records. If the world No.1 ranking doesn’t say enough, and if the 10 tournament titles don’t convince you, then perhaps this might. The story of Novak Djkovic’s current success lies in two numbers: 64 and 2. Out of 64 matches, he has only suffered two losses. While his first Grand Slam came in 2008, it took him exactly three years to bring home his second Grand Slam title with this year’s Australian Open. He won two more 2011  Grand Slam titles, making him the seventh man to win three slams in one year since 1968, when tennis turned professional. Djokovic is thought to have some of the most incredible raw talent the tennis world has ever seen. He made his tennis debut at the Junior Davis cup, representing his country at the age of 14. He made his appearance on tour in 2004 and won his first title at the Dutch Open in Amersfoort, and by 2007 was world number 3. Although his talent and technique were unquestionable, his aggressive temperament often saw him falling short on the court. He frequently found himself in both the quarter and semi-finals of all four majors, but without any silverware. It was his mental game that let him down, leaving fans underwhelmed. It was in 2011 that he made the necessary changes, regarding mental preparation, fitness and even diet. This year, he has shown he is no longer the underdog and is in fact the person to beat. He won a record five Masters titles in one season and compiled a 41-match win streak this year that was ended by Roger Federer in the Roland Garros semi-finals. He took home 3 out of the 4 grand slam trophies, and the season is not over yet. Rafael Nadal said what Djokovic did to the sport of tennis in 2011 “is probably impossible to repeat.”

Andrew Lowndes’ double achievement
By Kendra Dykman ver the holidays, Andrew Lowndes participated in the 2011 Beijing International Triathlon Union (ITU) Aquathlon World Championships and came forth in his age group. He also competed in the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Grand Final in Beijing, placing ninth in his age group. The Aquathlon consisted of a 2.5km run, a 1km swim and another 2.5km run. Lowndes completed this challenge in a time of 34 minutes and 57 seconds, and the winning time for that event in his age group (20-24 years) was 32 minutes and 54 seconds. Lowndes was the only South African participant in his age group. The Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Grand Final included a 1.5km swim, a 40km cycle, and a 10km run, a challenge that Lowndes managed to complete in a time of two hours and 11 minutes, placing him 9th in his age group, which consisted of nearly 30 other participants. He was joined in the top 10 of his age group with one other South African, Bradley Weiss. In order to participate in the triathlon, Lowndes had to qualify for the Eastern Cape



provincial team, which he managed without a hitch. His entry into the team saw him enter the South African Championships that were held in PE. His participation in these championships resulted in Lowndes making it into the South African team. He is one of 127 members in the 2011 SA Triathlon Team. Lowndes is the first Rhodes student to make it into the South African Triathlon Team since 2007, and one of seven South African sports representatives from Rhodes for 2011. Triathlons have a recorded history of 37 years, and began in San Diego in the US. They require a lot of intensive training and participants often have to factor diet changes into their training plans. Lowndes did most of his training separate from the Rhodes University Athletics Club. Lowndes’s accomplishments have meant that it is likely that he will be awarded full colours from Rhodes University, according to Rhodes Athletics Chairman Sean Swanepoel. Swanepoel says that Lowndes “has done very well for himself”. Lowndes holds the Ironman 70.3 record at Rhodes with a time of five hours and 18 minutes to complete a 1.9km swim, a90km RU student Andrew Lowndes competes in a triathlon in PE. cycle, and a 21.1km run. Pic: Supplied

“All Rhodes lead to Rhodes”
By Warwick Austin


tired and sweaty Rhodes Shrews XI cricket team arrived back in Grahamstown on Sunday 18 September after a successful tour of the Western Cape. This tour included two matches against Stellenbosch University and UCT, as well as

a donation of clothing and food to the Out of Africa charity foundation. The Shrews departed on 11 September and spent the night in Plettenberg Bay. Their scheduled match the following day against the Knysna Raggies, however, was cancelled due to the unavailability of a cricket pitch. This was to be the sad story of the

Rhodes Shrews XI cricket team at the Rhodes memorial, Cape Town, 2011. Pic: Andrew Brukman

tour: despite having lined up four games, the Shrews could only play two due to unprepared cricket pitches. This was largely due to timing, as most clubs and schools are still in their winter sport seasons and thus there were few cricket facilities in an operational condition. This meant that they also could not play their proposed match against Rhodes Old Boys XI, which was set to be the highlight of the tour. Nonetheless, the cricket that was played was done so in a jovial and competitive spirit. After suffering a defeat to a Stellenbosch Invitational XI, The Shrews bounced back to a resounding 35-run win over a UCT team. Having been put in to bat, the Shrews totalled a mammoth 201/8 in their 20 overs. Stu Rayner was the star of the show, as he top-scored with 51 runs in an innings that saw him hit seven 4s and three 6s. He was well supported by Charlie Raw and skipper Ross Alford, who made 45 and 34 not out respectively. UCT looked in firm control with the bat at 140/4 after 13 overs. However, Duncan Potts’s nagging medium pacers grabbed two wickets in one over to turn the match around. From there on the UCT side crumbled and were

bowled out as Mark Harrison ripped through the tail to end up with three wickets. UCT were dismissed for 165 and the Shrews claimed a well-earned victory that gave them some much needed match practice ahead of their upcoming domestic season. At the end of the tour the team captain Ross Alford and team photographer Andrew Brukman handed over clothing and food to the Out of Africa charity foundation as part of the Rhodes Shrews Charity Drive. Food was collected in a donation trolley at the entrance of Pick ‘n’ Pay, while old clothes were collected from friends of the players. Apart from the cricket, another highlight of the tour was a train trip along the coast from Kenilworth to Kalk Bay, where the team had lunch at the famous Brass Bell restaurant. There was also a beautiful scenic drive along Chapman’s Peak and the Atlantic seaboard which culminated in a swim in the icy waters of Clifton beach. Perhaps one of the most fulfilling moments of the tour was a visit to the Cecil John Rhodes Memorial nestled in the mountain above UCT’s campus. The Rhodes Memorial was the inspiration to the tour and brought about the tour’s slogan: “All Rhodes lead to Rhodes.”

A sport
RIPL off to a ripping start
By Nico Taljaard

Triathlon African cup
See Page: 23

RUGBY Rugby World Cup 2011 New Zealand     37 - 17  France  England              67 - 3    Romania              Australia             67 - 5     USA       South Africa      87 - 0     Namibia   FOOTBALL Barclays Premier League Stoke               1 - 1        Man Utd West Brom     0 - 0        Fulham Wigan             1 - 2        Tottenham Arsenal           3 - 0        Bolton Chelsea          4 - 1        Swansea Liverpool       2 - 1       Wolverhampton Newcastle      3 - 1        Blackburn Man City       2 - 0        Everton   ABSA Premiership Orlando Pirates  0 - 0   Mamelodi Sundowns     Bloem Celtic       0 - 0      Kaizer Chiefs      Golden Arrows  1 - 3       Santos  Bidvest Wits        3 - 1      AmaZulu              Black Leopards   0 - 0     Maritzburg Utd


he Rhodes Internal Premier League (RIPL), promoted as “The biggest cricketing event this side of the Indian Ocean”, is back for another installment. With eight teams competing for both a cup and a plate, the action should prove to be thrilling. The eight teams involved include the suggestively named Pink Platypuses, the spectacularly named Cunning Stunts and the very, very Awkward Turtles. We also have some names that reference the Indian home of the original IPL, such as The Super Tigers, The Smuts Sultans and The College Knights. These six teams, plus The Belmont Bashers and The Panthers, are divided into two groups with the two top teams from each group going through to the cup semifinal and the other two going into the plate semifinal. So far, a few of the games have been cancelled due to rain, but when play has happened it has been helter-skelter, edge-of-your-seat party cricket. So if you’re wondering what to do on a Wednesday or Friday evening, get yourself down to the great field with some drinks and watch some cricket.

The Stuns play against the The Belmont Bashers on Wednesday 21 September during their first match of the season in the RIPL league. Pic: Anton Scholtz

Boks looking to defend title
By Kenneth Ssekimpi

Wednesday 28th September 16: 00 Awkward Turtles v College Knights 19:00 Super Tigers v Cunning Stunts   Friday 30th September 16:00 Pink Platypus’s v Panthers 19:00 Belmont Bashers v Smuts Sultans   Wednesday 5th October 16:00 Plate Semi No. 1 (3rd G1 vs 4th G2) 19:00 Plate Semi No. 2 (3rd G2 vs 4th G1)   Wednesday 12th October 19:00 Plate Final   Saturday 15th October (SAB Finals Day) 13: 00 Cup Semi No. 1 (WG1 vs RUG2) 16:00 Cup Semi No. 2 (WG2 vs RUG1) 19: 00 Cup Final


espite early hiccoughs, rugby and fellowship grip the attention of a watching world and rugby-mad cluster of islands that unites a nation (and world). The 2011 edition of the Rugby World Cup held in New Zealand has more or less progressed beyond the first round with teams having played most of their matches in the group stage. The second round starts on 8 October. The tournament’s success comes as a relief to rugby chiefs in New Zealand after various concerns were raised with regard to the nation’s readiness to host rugby’s biggest competition doubts were raised over infrastructure, the construction of both the Eden Park and Otago Stadia, and of course the ill-timed Canterbury and Christchurch earthquakes – which occurred 2010 and 2011 respectively that served to quell the rugby-mad nation’s mood somewhat. As for the tournament itself, most of the matches played have gone according to script in that the supposedly stronger sides have beaten their weaker counterparts. The purported “minnows” of the tournament have arguably reached greater strides of late, and big scores of the triple-digit nature have not been recorded. Yet. This

paints a stark contrast to tournaments of yesteryear. Games between the weaker nations had doubtlessly proven to be entertaining, if but for the reduced quality between them. The Springboks and the All Blacks have been the two form sides of the tournament thus far judging by their latest emphatic triumphs. Surely the prospect of facing either will certainly prove daunting. The South Africans, the reigning IRB World Cup champions, will be buoyed by the statistics showing that the Boks have a World Cup winning percentage of 88,5 % - the best of any participant in the tournament - and will look to capitalise on this. The try count has surpassed 100 with a staggering average of about 5 tries per game – all the better for the runningrugby purists among us. Indeed, many of the games have played out to thrilling endings -the South Africa- Wales game springs to mind, or more memorably, the Australia-Ireland game that saw the Irish cause the upset of the tournament so far over the Wallabies. Interestingly, this increases the likelihood that an Australia-South Africa quarter-final may be on the cards if all the remaining group games go according to conjecture.

Even more so, the winner of that tie has the prospect of a semi-final game against the tournament hosts that will at least secure a final berth for the Southern Hemisphere possibly against a Northern Hemisphere side, be it England, France, or otherwise. Again, this is assuming the rest of the group games go according to script. However daunting this seems, Bok fans may further quake at the statistic that suggests that the team that knocks out the defending champions, goes on to win the tournament and that no nation has succeeded in defending its status on the summit of the sport’s elite. This pattern has existed since New Zealand failed to defend their 1987 triumph. Amidst the justified frenzy surrounding the tournament, tales range from the good, (the incredible hospitality of the New Zealanders resulted in one South African family, upon discovering they had booked a hotel they thought was in New Zealand, but to their grief was actually in England, were welcomed into the homes of a neighbourly local family), the bad (England’s off-field shenanigans following a hard-fought win over Argentina), and the ugly (Australia’s loss to Ireland). Regardless, the rugby fan amongst craves for more and hopefully for a jubilant Bok camp come 23 October 2011.

Abu Dhabi FC outshine competition
By Marc Lovatt


t the end of last term the Rhodes Internal Football Competitions came to an end. During the course of the season, Abu Dhabi made the brave step of letting people know that in their opinion, they were the most formidable team the league had ever seen. Some saw this claim as being slightly arrogant, but come the end of the season Abu Dhabi’s critics were choking on their words as the team claimed a perfect season, winning both the league and Knockout Cup. Abu Dhabi’s success was based on a team filled with footballing talent and ingenuity. Bearing witness to an Abu game was an experience worth remembering, with slick passing, a creative midfield and sublime finishing from their talented strikers. Abu finished the group stages as runners up of their group, but they took it in their stride, and

nothing stood in the way of their success. They tore Skova to shreds in both the league and Cup semi-finals, and only Oppie and the Phoenix Knights stood in the way of a well-deserved Abu double. In very tightly contested finals, Abu claimed victory, illustrating that they not only had the ability to tear teams apart, but also to grind out results when they were on the back-foot. Nowhere was this more evident than the Cup Final, where Abu were outplayed by an impressive Phoenix Knights team. Abu stuck it out, illustrating that not only did they have talented, skillful attackers but a rock-solid defense. This year’s Rhodes Internal Football League will be remembered for many things, but one thing that will stick in everyone’s minds for many years to come is the talented Abu Dhabi FC team, who came, saw and conquered the Rhodes University football grounds.

Rhodes Internal League winners: Abu Dhabi FC. Pic: Supplied

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