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The Oppidan Press
The Green Issue, Edition 3, 13 - 22 March 2012



Environmental Week Tutu-mania at naming 4, 5, 7 & 9 ceremony 2012 2&8

No debate for Middle-East conflict
News and opinion 3, 10 & 11

RAMfest fever



The Oppidan Press 13 March 2012

Struggle activists honoured
March 12 to 16 is Environmental Week at Rhodes University, and despite encouraging eco-awareness it appears the institution has been forced to put the red light on some green initiatives. Rhodes University first approved an environmental policy in 1998 and established an Environmental Programmes Committee in 2002. The Committee was re-constituted in 2006 as a Senate sub-committee and deals with environmental management and curriculum planning, among others. But as the Committee battles a lack of funding and institutional support, coupled with poor student engagement, Rhodes has seen some environmental and greening initiatives flounder in recent years. Rhodes University’s state of the art library, opened in 2010, was supposed to be a green initiative, but due to the overhead costs the endeavour was abandoned. In a February press conference Vice-Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat said that the premium to green the library entirely would have cost over 20 percent of the original costs of the R50-million building. “We don’t think anyone is going to give us that money for an extra R30-million to go entirely green,” Badat said. He added that Rhodes was looking to get funding for a new Life Sciences building, but that it was “unlikely” to be an entirely green structure. “Will the Life Sciences building be a green building? To some extent it will be. Will it be entirely a green building? It’s unlikely, because the premium is just too big for us [Rhodes University],” Badat said. RU Green and South East African Climate Change Consortium (SEACC) chair and founder Alex Lenferna problematised this, and said that Rhodes needs be make green initiatives its priority. “We've got to realise that he [Badat]is talking within a very limited frame of expense, which externalises the ecological costs. Not only will the investing in green hopefully recover it's financial costs in the long run, but it will avoid the ecological costs, which would otherwise have to be paid for by future generations,” Lenferna said. “It’s just a question of Rhodes’ priorities,” he added. Rhodes’ proposed Green Fund is supposed to be the answer to the lack of greening funds. Unfortunately the fund has been slow to take off however, as its launch has been postponed while the University attempts to secure corporate sponsorship (see page 7). The appointment of only one full-time employee - as opposed to an entire team - with regards to environmental operations at Rhodes has exacerbated the situation, dealing the green agenda a further knock. The employee has a combined portfolio of health, environment and safety which leaves little room for a focused approach to environmental initiatives. This is compounded by the limited institutional support for environmental concerns at Rhodes and the relatively hamstrung Environmental Programmes Committee (see page 4). Rhodes University’s lack lustre response to the Masihlule Recycling Project ‘two-bag system’ is an example of the institution’s skewed priorities. According to the system, black bags are for organic and perishable waste, while clear or orange bags are for easily recyclable material like plastic, glass or aluminium cans. These bags are sorted by Masihlule. Rhodes uses only clear bags for all its waste however, which is a health hazard to the Masihlule staff that sort the recyclable waste at the Project’s site (page 4). Staffers are forced to sort through biohazards such as used sanitary pads and snotty tissues, as well as toxic and rotting meat products. While it’s a positive step that Rhodes University hosts an annual Environmental Week, their response in the long-term is less so.

University dining hall and residences named after struggle heroes Tutu, Cachalia, Kuzwayo and Calata
By Shandu Mulaudzi student and a speech by the relevant honoured guests. The naming ceremony started at Ellen Kuzwayo House, where guests t was amid great excitement that were welcomed by the house warden dignitaries ascended The Hill for and the commemorative plaque was the official naming ceremony of unveiled by the named guest or her Desmond Tutu Hall on 7 March. family members. Honoured guests included Nobel In his speech, Phetini Kuzwayo Peace prize laureate Archbishop thanked the University for the honour Emeritus Desmond Tutu, apartheid bestowed on his family and for his activist Amina Cachalia, Boitumelo grandmother’s legacy being kept and Phetini Kuzwayo as well as Noalive through this gesture. Phetini’s monde Calata. They were welcomed grandmother Ellen Kuzwayo was a by Rhodes University Vice Chancellor South African women’s rights activist Dr Saleem Badat and Deputy Vice and politician. President of the African Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela. National Congress Youth League in the At each residence, the order of 1960s, her award-winning autobiograevents included a welcoming by phy Call Me Woman was published in the house warden, the unveiling of South Africa in 1985. She passed away commemorative plaques by the famin Soweto in 2006 at the age of 92. ily members, a pledge by the senior Apartheid and women’s rights activist Cachalia established the Women’s Progressive Union is 1948 and was appointed treasurer of the Federation of South African Women in 1954. Cachalia was banned by the apartheid regime in 1963, and remained so for 15 years until 1978. Cachalia said she was “proud” of Rhodes University’s students for honouring apartheid struggle activists. “I am especially proud that it is the students themselves that have chosen to honour me and other stalwarts of the struggle against apartheid,” said Cachalia. Calata House was named in honour of grandfather and son Anglican Reverend Canon James Arthur Calata and Ford Calata. James Arthur Calata served as Secretary-General of the Rhodes University named a dining hall after ANC from 1936 to 1949. His grandson Ford, one of the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. renowned Cradock Four, Picture: HOLLY SNELL was brutally murdered by apartheid Security Branch policemen in 1985. Nomonde Calata, Ford’s surviving wife, unveiled the Calata House plaque in honour of her late husband and father-in-law and expressed her gratitude to Rhodes University recognising her family’s contributions to the struggle against apartheid. She emphasised that grave inequalities still existed in the Eastern Cape, but that this was a way of continuing to move forward as equals. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in his address, encouraged students to believe in themselves. He said that amongst the crowd, there could be a future Nobel Peace Prize recipient as those were not “people who fell from the sky, but ordinary people like ourselves”. “We should honour people who deserve to be honoured. However, we do have to admit that leaders could never operate as solitary individuals. When you stand out in a crowd, it is only because others are carrying you on their shoulders,” he said. Rosa Parks House had their own naming ceremony on 6 March, but unfortunately family member Rea McCauley was unable to attend the event due to travel issues. Amina Cachalia commended Rhodes University for acknowledging the struggles that people have faced internationally. Dr Badat emphasised that it is not a norm for Rhodes to name buildings after living individuals, but that after careful consideration it was decided that Tutu and Cachalia were worthy of the honour. He added that Rhodes firmly believes that they will uphold their values in their remaining years.


The Oppidan Press staff and contact details
Editor: Michelle Solomon. Deputy Editor: Benjamin Katz. Marketing Manager: Siân Rees. Financial Managers: Wandile Nkosi and Kuda Chawira. Distribution Manager: Mlamuli Hlatshwayo. Legal Consultant: Lwandlekazi Gaga. Online Editor: Maricelle Gouws. Webmaster: Thandile Pambuka. News Editor: Kyla Hazell. News Assistant Editor: Joshua Oates. Features Editor: Kate-Lyn Moore. Environmental Editor: Kate Janse van Rensburg. Politics Editors: Sibulele Magini, Lucy Holford-Walker. Arts & Entertainment Editors: Binwe Adebayo, David Williams. SciTech Editor: Sithandwa Ngwetsheni. Sports Editor: Mvuzo Ponono. Pictures Editors: Ananda Paver, Kelly Muller, Kirsten Makin, Madien van der Merwe. Chief Sub-Editor: Wilhelmina Maboja. Deputy Chief Sub-Editor: Matseliso Taka. Sub-Editor: Fabio De Dominicis. Chief Designer: Stephanie Pretorius. Assistant Chief Designer: Chevawn Blum. Marketing and Advertising Designer: Amy Slatem. Junior Designers: Aimee de la Harpe and Jehan-ara Khonat Letters to the Editor: Advertising details: Distribution queries: The Oppidan Press publishes letters that are bona fide expressions of opinion as long as they are not clearly libellous, defamatory, racist or sexist. We publish anonymous letters, but as an act of good faith in your part, we require your full name. We reserve the right to shorten letters due to space constraints and to edit them for grammatical inaccuracies. Any letters that do not make it into our print edition will be published on our website.

Student newspaper apologises for ‘rape apology’
By Kyla Hazell Rhodes University student newspaper Activate published an apology on their website following complaints by the Gender Action Project (GAP) about a story published in the newspaper. The article in question - headlined “Club Etiquette” and published on 28 February - set out guidelines for a night out in Grahamstown. GAP chair Michelle Solomon criticised the newspaper as “perpetuating rape culture” and condoning rape as a result of some statements in the article. GAP cited the following paragraph as problematic: “Don’t take advantage of the drunken person of your dreams. The next morning, when they wake up next to you wondering how they got there, it could make for an awkward breakfast with the digsmates.” The Oppidan Press contacted Activate editor Lauren Rawlins for comment about the allegations, and she referred to Activate’s online apology. In their official statement, Activate stated: “Activate and its staff in no way condone or tolerate any kind of sexual offence or abuse and have no intention to offend or harm any individuals or groups in any way. We sincerely apologise for the oversight and how it may have affected those offended by it.” Solomon wrote and published GAP’s statement on Mail & Guardian Online blog Thoughtleader on 2 March, where she expressed concern that the article condoned an action technically defined as rape under South African law. GAP treasurer and vice-chair Lauren O’Brien said the society’s committee was firmly aligned with the statement published by Solomon. “I consider the section of the article in question rape apologia because the opinion expressed therein aligns itself with the person who has, without consent, taken someone home with them,” O’Brien said. O’Brien said that publishing such alleged “rape apology” could leave rape survivors feeling unable to speak out. “It is necessary to draw attention to the fact that the media must be held accountable for what they publish. It is also necessary to emphasise the fact that rape – as depicted in the article in question – is not acceptable and is illegal,” O’Brien said. GAP administration officer Stuart Lewis added: “Unintentional as it obviously was, [the paragraph] promotes rape culture and specifically rape denialism. In fact, most behaviour that perpetuates rape culture is unintentional and almost ingrained into us”. School of Journalism and Media Studies lecturer Brian Garman said individuals’ world-views were often influenced by factors including culture, upbringing, religion and schooling influence. “Audiences are not passive receivers of meaning; they are active in the construction of meaning,” said Garman. “So in much the same way that media producers are influenced by their context and experiences, so too are audiences and so different people will interpret the same piece of media quite differently,” he added.
Disclaimer: Solomon and Lewis are editor and reporter at The Oppidan Press, respectively.

13 March 2012


The Oppidan Press




No debate for Middle-East conflict
Tensions rise during Israeli-Palestine conflict awareness week at Rhodes University leading to cancelled events and accusations
An annual campaign, Israeli Apartheid Week is observed worldwide and aims “to raise awareness of and display solidarity with the plight of the Palestinian people”, IAW coordinator Hussein Badat said in a statement. The IAW campaign eventually cancelled their ‘Each One Teach One’ session on Thursday 8 March. This was apparently in response to BTD’s call for ‘debate’ about the Israeli-Palestine conflict. In an email to the BTD, the Rhodes IAW committee said they had decided to cancel the event “due to a misconception that it constituted a debate”. They added: “The Rhodes Balance the Debate organisers have disqualified themselves from a debate due to the fact that even though an invite was extended to them to watch the educational material on offer, which would inform a debate, it was not attended”. Israeli-born Rhodes student Ali Karp said Each One Teach One was “the worst” event the IAW committee could cancel. “If they could pick any event to cancel that one was the worst,” she said, and added: “It was the one event where they could’ve really given reasons and justification for their campaign and they cancelled it. It’s the most relevant and stand out event of that week”. The Oppidan Press asked the IAW committee for further comment on the cancelled event and was referred to a statement the committee would release on the matter. At the time of going to print the IAW committee had not issued a press release about the event. The leading cause of the tension between the two campaigns arose from IAW’s description of the Israeli action in the Occupied Territories of Palestine as an ‘apartheid’ system. BTD campaign organiser Nadine Joseph said the Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy Steven Friedman speaks during comparison between apartheid Israeli Apartheid Week. Picture: STEFAN JANSE vAN RENSBURG South Africa and the situation in the Occupied Territories was “manipulative” and inaccurate. “I think it’s highly offensive to compare our political leaders and the ANC to Hamas, which is a terrorist organisation,” Joseph said. Hamas is a Palestinian Islamic political party currently governing the Gaza strip. The European Union, the United States, Canada, Israel and Japan classify Hamas as a terrorist organisation, while nations such as Russia, Turkey, and Switzerland do not. BDT supporter Fran Favero agreed that the use of the ‘apartheid’ epithet was dangerous and misleading, especially in post-apartheid South Africa. “People are all too willing to jump on the bandwagon when they hear the word ‘apartheid’ without doing further research,” she said. On 7 March John Rose presented a lecture for IAW agreed that ‘apartheid’ is a highly emotive word, but disagreed with Favero’s stance. Rose is the authored the book, The Myths of Zionism in 2004. “The word is emotional, but so is the situation in Israel and there’s no way around that,” Rose said, and added: “As students, academics, lecturers and scholars we have a responsibility to lower the emotion so as to deal with the key issues, but this is a key issue”. Rose said the apartheid analogy was no longer just political propaganda. “We have reached the point where it has become accurate,” he said. Badat agreed: “We are not trying to use the word emotively, but as an International Law principle in an intellectual discussion,” he said. “I agree ‘apartheid’ is the wrong term – what’s happening in Israel is far worse. It’s a crime against humanity,” Badat added. Favero said that she felt the reluctance of IAW supporters to consider a definitional challenge narrows the debate and makes it impossible to engage in “the actual issues”. “I don’t think Israel is an angel,” she said. “But this week has polarised the issue without space for nuance”. Favero added that the BTD campaign was organised to call for both sides of the issue to be heard. “I feel it is unfair to have this one-sided campaign without a space for any alternative to be aired,” she said. “IAW offers very compelling arguments in the face of no opposition,” Favero said. Joseph agreed: “IAW supposedly wants dialogue. We’re saying that we’re here and want to talk”. Du Plessis said IAW’s concern was with the protection of human rights and not with religious or cultural arguments. “Whether you call it apartheid or not, this occupation needs to stop,” she said. She added that she felt it good that BTD engaged with the issue. “In my personal capacity I feel it is good because it shows that what we are doing is drawing people who are pro-Israel out to confront the facts as well as their own ideas,” Du Plessis said. Favero said that BTD supporters attending IAW events were received with hostility. “When we spoke out, we were shot down immediately or engaged with in a very dismissive way with comments like ‘we don’t want to lower ourselves or sink to their level’,” she said. Joseph echoed her sentiments and added that BTD supporters were called “apartheid apologists”. “I think the response from IAW has been very reactive,” she said. “There are a lot of assumptions and very loaded ideas about what we are trying to do. I think the response has been negative because people don’t understand our intentions and why we are doing this”. Badat said the term “apartheid denialists” was a more appropriate description of the BTD campaign. “Balance the Debate is sticking their heads in the sand and denying what is happening in Israel,” he added.

theid 1985. ing By Kyla Hazell e plaque and r gratiempers flared during Rhodes University gnising Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), as the e strugformation of counter-campaign Balance hasised the Debate (BTD) lead to antagonism and a ted in lack of engagement between the two groups. was a IAW was hosted at Rhodes University’s campus ward as from 5 March to 11 March.


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- Hussein Badat, Rhodes IAW coordinator

‘Apartheid’ is the wrong term – what’s happening in Israel is far worse


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Marijuana psychosis: student takes a trip home
By Joshua Oates A first year student was sent home this term after he had two drug-induced psychotic episodes as a result of smoking marijuana. The episodes occurred within a few days of each other [DATES]. The student allegedly committed a serious offence, which will attract high-level discipline, according to Dean of Students Dr Vivian de Klerk. “[His] hallucinations persisted for a worryingly long time,” De Klerk said. “The parents have taken the student home for observation and rehabilitation,” she said. No updates were available on on the student’s condition at the time of going to print. According to Pharmacology lecturer and Kimberley East hall warden Michael Naidoo, the marijuana situation at Rhodes is no different from that of any other major city that has a large number of young people living in it. “Pharmacologically, marijuana is not addictive - there is no physiological re-regulation of receptors in the brain that occurs as a direct result of cannabinoid stimulation,” said Naidoo. He suggests that it is probably more psychologically addictive. According to De Klerk, office-bearers of the University may not disregard or cover up any substance abuse problem. “[They] are required to assist in promoting an environment in which use of illicit drugs is actively discouraged,” she said. “The Disciplinary Code (4.7) must be strictly adhered to in cases of substance abuse on campus,” said De Klerk. The Dean of Student’s Office is currently working with wellness manager Dr Colleen Vassilliou in devising a protocol on illicit drugs, which will be presented before the Student Services Council this term. “This should clarify procedures for staff and students,” De Klerk said. Two anonymous sources told The Oppidan Press that neither of them had ever heard of anyone having a bad reaction to smoking marijuana. “Marijuana is all over, it’s at every club. I’ve even seen it at the beer garden at the Rat and Parrot,” said a source. “We only smoke [marijuana] outside of clubs, never inside,” said the other source. According to Naidoo, studies show that regular use of cannabis may lead to lethargy, laziness and a lack of ambition. Both anonymous sources felt that they are no less motivated to work than the average student, however. “I stay on top of my work, and [...] I have it under control,” said one source. Naidoo said he dealt with students’ marijuana use in the past. “I have also counselled students who are using marijuana in my residence,” he said, and added:“The impact varies among students – we have some students who do very well, despite using, and others who fall by the wayside. It is difficult to predict the effect on each and every individual.” The anonymous sources said they smoke weed because they enjoy the social side of it, as well as the relaxing effect if causes. They purchase the marijuana from local residents who work offcampus, or from dealers in Port Elizabeth. “They [Rhodes University]treat it like a harmful drug, but it’s clean unlike cocaine,” said the source. As a result of the student being sent home, Naidoo said that as a scientist, he is concerned when anyone hastens to draw a conclusion about the link between marijuana use and any type of mental illness. “We need more information,” he said. “I think young people are going to experiment with alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and other drugs. To vilify one over another is senseless. We

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need to be alert for the type of person who is more prone to becoming dependant,” he said. “I am not encouraging experimentation,” added Naidoo. He suggested that the best strategy would be to empower people with education, to train more people to be care-givers, to be alert as a society to the signs of addiction, and to develop a national strategy for dealing with health and mental health in particular in a more humane and effective way.

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The Dean of Students’ Office is planning to raise awareness of the effects of marijuana through constant education and information-sharing about the risks. They also suggest that students with substance abuse problems should contact the Counselling Centre ( or the Health Care Centre ( as confidentiality will be maintained.



The Oppidan Press 13 March 2012

Will Rhodes go green?
As Rhodes University expands, environmentalists insist on ‘green’ buildings
By Emily Corke Environment not realistically possible,” said KÖhly . According to the official website of South Africa’s Green Building Council, “a green building is a building which is energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible - it incorporates design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of development on the environment.” The new buildings are very much in the early discussion phase and, at this point, still need funds. But according to the Estates Division acting operations manager / draughtsperson Kevin Wolhuter, the environment will be kept in mind. “From an operational point of view, a system is being put in place to prevent building projects going ahead until all the necessary items on a checklist have been addressed; this includes ‘green building’ features,” he said. According to KÖhly, green building is very much a “missed opportunity” on campus thus far. SRC environmental councillor Ruth Kruger agrees. “You walk into the library to the air conditioner, printing on one sided pages, working on the computers and lights that are always on!” she said. KÖhly felt that “When it (the library) was being upgraded, it should have been a whole lot more sustainable. The excuse for not doing so was cost.” Other campus buildings are, according to Lenferna, commendable for their green features. The Environmental Learning Research Centre, for example, has a floor made out of recycled plastic, solar powered electricity, compost making stations, vegetable gardens, recycling bins, and toilet systems that turns waste into compost. The new Desmond Tutu building is also set to save electricity through a heat exchange system for water heating and some motion sensor lighting in the passages. Dr Badat previously spoke of the need to find a balance between environmental concerns and questions social equity and poverty in our communities. Looking now to the plans of new campus buildings, however, Lenferna asks: “For how much longer can we blame the costs involved to be the chief reason for us not at least trying?”

Give5 campaign “for the students, by the students”
By Shandu Mulaudzi The SRC, in collaboration with the Alumni House, have recently revamped and re-launched the Give 5 Campaign, which aims to raise funds for students by students. The first of the campaign’s two collection weeks was held last week from 5 March to 11 March. Students were encouraged to donate R5 or more towards the Dean of Students’ Pocket Money Fund which enables students with financial problems to have an improved Rhodes University student life. Currently, 160 students are receiving R130 per month. “The money raised from the Give 5 campaign will enable the Pocket Money Fund to help more students, thus enabling them to feel more at home and to have the full Rhodes experience,” said Rhodes alumni relations officer Terryl McCarthy. Dean of Students Dr Vivian de Klerk said the Communications Division, in consultation with the SRC, made the decision to give the funds from Give 5 to the Pocket Money Fund and she was delighted to hear this. She then went on to say the initiative was beneficial and promotes a culture of philanthropy. Last run in 2009, the Give 5 campaign was initially suspended due to lack of success. According to 2011 SRC President Alan Magubane, the University realised that the expenses incurred for the campaign far outweighed the income made and therefore charities ended up receiving very little of the money that was raised. The failures have been assessed and the new campaign has been given a face lift and a new vision. Halls were encouraged to host events that would draw students to participate while giving to others. Founders Hall hosted a FIFA Tournament where male students paid R5 to take part. The prize for the winner was a Steers voucher. Founders Hall head student Thendo Makhuvha said, “The event was a success and we even ended up having a volleyball tournament where the wardens took part and had fun with us”.


lans for new campus buildings have raised questions as to how “green” Rhodes really is, as sceptics wonder whether blue prints will reflect a commitment to environmental concerns. In a recent statement, Vice Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat revealed that the University would be putting in its bid for a large share of the government’s R3 billion university infrastructure budget and using funds in part towards a new Life Sciences building, set to cost roughly R180 million. Alex Lenferna, chairperson of South East African Climate Consortium Student Forum (SEACC SF), is adamant that infrastructural investments such as this need to be planned in line with good environmental practice. Nikki KÖhly, the Rhodes Safety, health and environmental officer, said, however, that green innovations are expensive and sometimes unrealistic. “I would love to wave a magic wand and transform everything into a sustainable heaven... but of course, that’s

Enviro Comm flailing RU trash causes health hazards
By Hlumela Mkabile and Jesame Geldenhuys As environmental concerns take centre stage this week, some wonder whether the Rhodes Environmental Council has the power to get the University and its students a little more “green”. Established to discuss and deal with environmental issues in Rhodes University, the Environmental Council is met with a number of challenges that have hindered its effectiveness. One of these is the fact that members are fulltime staff members and students. “It is difficult for the council to be fully effective because members are busy”, said Alex Lenferna, Chairperson of the South East Africa Climate Consortium Student Forum (SEACC SF). Other challenges making it tricky for the council to put in place environmentally friendly practices are, according to Lenferna, bureaucracy and a lack of proper support. Another issue he raised is that the council does not receive sufficient funding from the university, though he acknowledged attempts by Rhodes to secure corporate funding. However, the council still has people who believe in it. Pharmacy student and the first environmental representative of Matthews House Gnanesh Desai, sees the council as being more united, and compliments how different groups have come together to form RU Green. According to Lenferna, Rhodes is not yet truly “green”. He said that the university has a massive carbon footprint, a waste management system that is not environmentally friendly and syllabi that do not properly incorporate environmental issues. However, he believed the University is slowly getting there, though more environmentally friendly practices need to be implemented. Rhodes Health, safety and environmental officer Nikki KÖhly, also believes more can be done. According to KÖhly, a big difference could be made through initiating rainwater collection off all roofs. This could be stored to use as an alternative source of water or to be filtered for drinking. “Just imagine - no more stupid, polluting disposable plastic bottles. Everyone could refill their personal water bottles from containers all over campus,” KÖhly said. Grey water flushing toilets, solar water heating, the installation of water and electricity meters to ensure responsible usage, insulation in ceilings to reduce heating and cooling costs and motion sensitive lighting are all measures she feels the University can take towards better environmental practice. Through perseverance of current efforts and continuation of on-going projects, KÖhly believes Rhodes will become “part of what is now a great wave of desire for change around the world”. Lenferna agrees, “There are a lot of great people working on the council, it just needs support and more time and energy needs to be invested in environmental issues,” he said. By David Harding The incorrect use of refuse bags by Rhodes University is creating a health risk for workers at the Masihlule Recycling Project. According to the Rhodes University Health, Safety and Environmental officer Nikki KÖhly, a recycling system is in place on campus. KÖhly explained that a two-bag system is in use, where recyclable goods should be placed into clear bags and non-recyclable goods ought to go into blue bags. The idea is that the workers at the dump can separate the disposable items from the recyclable items easily by simply separating the different coloured bags. Unfortunately, the system doesn’t appear to be fully functional. A statement released by RU Green, headed by SEACC SF Chairperson Alex Lenferna said, “It has come to our attention that Rhodes University’s waste management service does not give full support to the two-bag system, and uses clear bags campus-wide. Under the two-bag system, clear bags are meant to be used for recycling only”. The result is that workers at Masihlule have to sometimes sift through hundreds of these clear bags, sorting the recyclable items from whatever else is in them, thus creating a health hazard. “Not only is Rhodes University’s neglect undermining the efforts of those who are consciously recycling, but it is also worsening the unsafe and undignified working conditions of the people of the Masihlule Project, as they lacking around campus. This concern now have to sift through clear bags was expressed by KÖhly who had the which contain not only recyclables but following to say: “I think RU needs to all sorts of other waste, much of which walk its talk, and if a system has been rots, becomes putrid and is highly put in place to support recycling initiaunhygienic,” Lenferna said. tives, then on-campus service providThe hazards are not only from ers should adhere to this system.” rotting food, however. Project anager Rhodes Grounds and Gardens, the at the Masihlule Recycling Project, service provider in charge of refuse Nosipho Manona said that tissues and disposal on campus, was not available sanitary items used by students with for comment at the time of going to the flu or other similar sicknesses print. are causing her staff to fear for their health. KÖhly agreed with the Manona’s complaints. “It is a health and safety risk for the sorters at the Masihlule Project and is also unpleasant and undignified for them to sort through rotting food, tea bags, used tissues etcetera,” she said. “The Masihlule Project and the two bag recycling system play a crucial role and also create employment in Grahamstown. Rhodes University, as an integral component of the Grahamstown society, needs to take a leading role in the development and promotion of responsible waste management and recycling throughout Grahamstown, starting of course at home,” Lenferna said. This all brings into question the effectiveness of the Rhodes garbage disposal and recycling policies, which seem to be somewhat Picture: David Harding

13 March 2012


The Oppidan Press


Poachers versus protectors: It’s war
By Kate Janse van Rensburg Environment


hree rhinos were poached in the early hours of the morning on 2 March at Kariega Game Reserve near Kenton-on-Sea. A rhino was left dead while two remain in a critical condition, but were improving by 11 March. Wildlife veterinarian Dr William Fowlds who has been attending to the animals since the poaching incident took place. Fowlds was recently featured on NBC News where he spoke about the plight of the rhino. He was grealy distressed at the brutality involved in the action of de-horning a rhino. “I cannot explain why someone would do such a thing,” he said in the news feature. By March this year already 81 rhinos were poached and brutally killed for their horns. As a result, conservationists declared war on poachers. Last year a total of 448 rhinos were killed in South Africa. Another 26 poachers lost their lives in skirmishes with conservationists around the country. Fowlds emphasised that various people are affected by the poaching, referring to the latest Kariega incident. “Many of the staff have known these animals from birth and are deeply

moved by their struggle,” he said. While on her way to Kenton-on-Sea on Friday 2 March, Rhodes University student Michelle McCulloch drove past Kariega. “We were all so excited to get to the beach. The whole mood went down when we saw the rhinos,” McMulloch said. She said she was aware of the rhino poaching problem in South Africa, but that “seeing it [the rhino] in pain while it was still physically alive was such a wake-up call”. Until recently, Rhino horn was thought to be used to reduce cold symptoms and to act as an aphrodisiac. In a report by the Guardian UK, a consumer rumour that powdered rhino horn could cure cancer was blamed for the loss of three populations of Vietnamese rhino. The rumour has no basis in science or traditional Chinese medicine, but has led to the commidification of rhino horn. The horn’s value is thought to hover close to R500 000 per kilogram. Currently, a kilogram of gold is valued at just over R426 000. The brutality used by poachers in obtaining rhino horn has caused alarm for South Africans and conservationists. Instead of killing the rhinos, poachers often violently de-horn the animals and leave them to bleed to death. There was evidence that the Kariega rhinos had their horns removed

by tools such as pangas or axes. An investigation is still underway. Fowlds said the two Kariega rhinos’ recovery was threatened by complications and they had to be monitored at all times. Rhino protectors are frantically trying to save the species, and have developed DNA tracking mechanisms in an attempt to protect local rhino. Using a rhino horn DNA profiling test conservationists are able to match the a confiscated horn to its original carcass and original location. This affords investigators the opportunity to identify whether or not the rhino was poached as well as where it was poached. In addition, some conservationists have now resorted to injecting the rhino horns with a toxic chemical. This chemical will eradicate parasites on the rhino but the human that consumes the horn will fall ill. Three Mozambican nationals were sentenced to 25 years in prison after having been found guilty of rhino poaching. Consequences of poaching are therefore being taken more seriously than on previous occasions. Poaching a rhino can now be likened to the 25 year life sentence for the murder of a human. “We must be shocked out of complacency and into action which delivers measurable results. You can help stop the killing. Let’s all get ready to raise our game,” encouraged Fowlds.

Thandi, a female Kariega Game Reserve rhino, after being de-horned. Picture: KARIEGA GAME RESERvE

The ultimate creepy crawly
By Jordan du Toit Environment The cockroach is an insect with a bad reputation. They are the muchfeared addition to any restaurant meal. But these misunderstood bugs apparently have the ability to survive nuclear explosions and are one of the world’s most evolved creatures. But is there any truth to the stigma we’ve attached to them? “I wash any plates I know a cockroach has touched before I use them”, said Mirra Berridge, a student living in a Hill street digs. Berridge complains that “they get into any food that is open” and that she would never accept them in her home. “I always have Doom around for them,” she added. Walker residence support staff member Eshadys Ntshebe echoes Mirra’s sentiments: “We always use Raid as soon as we see any of them to stop them breeding.” Cockroaches are natural scavengers. They feed off of decomposing organic matter and in the process clean up their ecosystem. The problem is when they venture into our homes and eat things that are not meant to be eaten. It is not their feeding that is a problem, although it is a nuisance. Their excretions are highly toxic to humans. Their droppings can cause serious allergies and transmit diseases like diarrhoea and typhoid fever. Despite this, cockroaches are actually fastidiously clean, Creeping crawlies. Picture: KRISTY MAKIN constantly grooming themselves. Their personal hygiene puts them ahead of humans in the cleanliness department. In South Africa we most commonly get the American and German cockroaches. The only real difference between them is their size: Americans are up to 4 cm in lenght, while Germans come in at 1.9 cm. Tasanee Hermans, a waitress at Red Café in High street, said it does not matter what kind of cockroach it is, but she has often encountered them in her line of work. Hermans worst horror story was at a fast-food restaurant in town which has subsequently shut down: “They used to collect in the congealed frying oil. They were everywhere!” She added that Red Café is the cleanest place she has worked at thus far. Hermans is indifferent to cockroaches in her everyday life, however. “I just accept them; they’re fellow creatures of the world,” she said. So whether they are loved or hated, it seems cockroaches are here to stay. Some useful tips to avoid cockroaches: Keep all food sealed and in airtight containers. Clean in and around electrical appliances consistently as they love to hide in the surrounding cracks. Take action as soon as a cockroach is spotted. Seeing one during the day often means there is a serious infestation.

New elephant contraceptive may help curb the booming elephant population. Picture: KATE JANSE vAN RENSBURG

Rotational basis elephant contraception raises hopes
By Ashleigh Brown Environment The numbers of elephants in South Africa’s national parks are reaching a critical level. There is new hope however, as conservationists have found a way to cut back the elephant population by implementing immune-contraception darting operations. In the 1900s extensive poaching threatened to wipe out elephant populations across the country. Conservationists relocated many elephants as a result, but these relocated herds are doing so well that they have caused a whole new problem – there are now too many elephants. Alongside diminishing food resources, many plant and animal species are driven out by the surge in population. The new contraception, which works on rotational basis, is hoped to assist in curbing the the growth of the elephant population. Maura Andrews of the Environmental Sciences Department said this is a welcome alternative to culling. “Technical solutions like this are useful and better than culling, but ultimately we need to start living in a way that is more in harmony with nature,” Andrews said. The contraception used is the porcine zona pellucid (PZP) vaccine. The vaccine gets the body to create antibodies which target the sperm receptors on the surface of the egg cells of the female elephant. The birth rate of elephants will be lowered when this is done on a rotational basis. Female elephants will still be able to reproduce, just not as often as before. There are two main methods of implementing the vaccine. A park ranger may dart a female elephant, which will fall off once the vaccine has been administered. Alternatively, a ranger may tranquillise an elephant and administer the vaccine by hand. “This sounds like a better way, rather than hurting the animals” said Nick Hamer, the Project Manager at the Environmental Sciences Department. This new form of contraception may come with its own problems, however. Depression and abnormal social behaviour may be caused by preventing them from having offspring. Some elephant mothers may resort to ‘adopting’ babies in order to compensate for not reproducing.


By Canny Maphanga

The Oppidan Press 13 March 2012

Finding the safe way home
A night in the life of a Get Home Safe driver
sparking with excitement, as this was a firsttime experience for both me and Moore - this being her first call-out. I immediately notice that we’re driving straight past the Rat & Parrot, Prime and Friars - all the local watering holes. I noticed hints of dust start to rise past my window. It seems as though we were on a dirt road and have entered the location. I wonder at how a Rhodes student had possibly come this far without transport... We finally arrive at a vibrant tavern called Makaya’s Place in Fingo Village, which is a less than savory venue in my eyes. I am in complete awe and shock that a student could be stranded at a place such as this. Pillay repeatedly hoots outside the venue and no one shows up. We drive around and still the caller doesn’t appear. We call her and wait for a response. Our concerns turn into frustration because Pillay and Moore cannot, under any circumstances, put themselves in danger by entering the venue to find the student. In the midst of all this flurry we received a second call-out from a student at Slipstream Sports Bar. Unfortunately, we have to leave without the first unresponsive student and we silently hope that she will call again. The second student is a lot less distressed. She merely needs a lift home and figured she may as well take advantage of the Get Home Safe service. Before I joined Get home Safe that night, I was under the impression that it was specifically for students who are too drunk to put one foot in front of the other, but realise in fact that it is a service that any student can use, merely for their safety and not having to be under the influence of alcohol. The night winds down as the shift ends and we all find ourselves home safely.


t is Saturday night. I find myself embarking on a rather different yet intriguing excursion on a night out in Grahamstown with two enthusiastic and very approachable Get Home Safe drivers: 23 year old Pharmacy student Kovin Pillay and 21 year old Journalism student Nadia Moore. Get Home Safe was founded by the Dean of Students division to help vulnerable or intoxicated Rhodes students anywhere in the Grahamstown area to get home safely, and is free. It is only available on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. When you need to identify a Get Home Safe driver, always remember that they drive in pairs and they wear white jackets with the Get Home Safe logo on the back. In addition to this, there should be a Get Home Safe logo on the car. First on the night’s agenda is a meticulous admin process. We head off to the CPU (Campus Protection Unit) headquarters and pick up a few essentials: a first aid kit (to be prepared for any eventuality), a walkie-talkie and a cellphone complete with charger. We make our way to our white Tazz and prepare for the shift, which runs from 10pm to 3am. While waiting for a call-out I ask Pillay about his experience as a Get Home Safe driver. He described a rather memorable incident where, “[he] had to pick up one student who had had a bit too much to drink and he was ‘mooing’. We took him to the hospital straight away”. Hours passed by and finally at 11:30pm, we had our first call-out. I could hear the voice of a distressed young girl. The car is virtually

Get Home Safe is not only for intoxicated students, it is also a service for those who just need a safe ride home. Picture: HOLLY SNELL

Hung up? Join the Hangover group
By Buyisiwe Joy Dlamini The new generation is young, free and enjoying a life with no hang-ups-just hangovers. Faced once again with a searing throbbing pain just above the brow line and a sour bile-like taste from the blue drink that has stained your tongue. To top that off is the hours spent piecing together a night in which you were the staggering mongrel, hanging on everyone and salivating in every direction. In a July 2011 article, the Mail & Guardian identified Rhodes University as having the highest alcohol consumption out of all South African universities. This pretty much coincides with the routine and inappropriate saying among students that “A Rhodent can out-drink anyone”. However, what is more appropriate than a group of people who meet every Friday at 2pm in the crevices of the Counselling Centre to discuss their over-the-top behaviour? The Hangover Group aims to do just that: delve into problematic areas, be it financially, academically or socially, which may be as a result of an unbalanced lifestyle. The first mention of this new discussion group might result in laughter and simultaneous disbelief. Who calls such a discussion group ‘The Hangover Group’? Why would some even publicly announce that they have an interest in attending a group against our supposed “culture”? After some thought, one realises that this is exactly what Rhodents need: a slap in the face to remind them that they do indeed have a problem. Apart from other repeatedly rehashed risk factors, binge drinking does thin the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, increasing irrational behaviour. The reckless living so many of us partake in may result in our priorities and dignity drowning alongside our livers and self respect. This may be

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Neville Mc Lean and Michael Mc Inerney, facilitators of the Hangover group. Picture: HOLLY SNELL the wake-up call students need to see the error in their binge drinking, because yes – the activities we partake in weekly can no longer be referred to as “social drinking”. Social drinking is having a drink or two with dinner, not a ‘bottlebetween-two’ pre-drink session, followed by drinks on New Street and a 4am post-drinks session. There are many instances where we find an excuse to drink: celebrate the end of exams just as much as we do in preparation for their approach; celebrate the passing of a test or alternatively drown our sorrows upon failure. “There is always a reason to drink,” as one too many students say. If at any time the morning after the night before your memory fails you, or the thought, “I’ll never touch alcohol again” flashes across your mind, then you possibly should spend Friday afternoons occupied by chats of betterment, not sipping a drink to celebrate the end of yet another horrendous week of university.

13 March 2012


The Oppidan Press


SciFest set to rock 2012
Geeks, science freaks and inquisitive minds descend upon Grahamstown
By Abongile Sipondo it’s outreach initiatives.” The festival is open to the public but tickets need to be purchased and start at R10. Surely the festival week will be full of boring lectures and presentations, right? Wrong! The festival is not just about lectures – there are events, music, game rides and even wine tasting – yes, wine tasting. The organisers tried, “to make the event as engaging and interactive as possible,” says Matambo. SciFest Africa works closely with Rhodes University, which has its own section in the festival and they work with scientists from the University. Furthermore, a number of Rhodes students in science affiliated fields are the ones who actually run the events. Students are able to learn from world renowned scientists, while engaging with the public. SciFest is not just a week long festival, explains Matambo. The organisers have also ensured that disadvantaged communities are involved in SciFest week: there is a programme that runs parallel to the week where scientists visit the township and present science to schools that cannot afford transport costs to the festival. The organisers identify a group of such schools every year. Each day of the festival sees scientists and SciFest guests visit different schools with a show, a lecture or an event. Resource packs are also given out. “Not only kids and [the] public from this area, but those who are not exposed to such things, like township and farm schools, are the ones who take away something from SciFest and I think over time this starts to make a difference in people’s lives, that encouragement of seeing science in a different way, because they would not get exposure in any other way,” says Matambo. This year SciFest Africa has also started to provide training in science festival organising and management, to encourage more initiatives like this to happen all over the country. They are paying for eight people to attend the training. In a developing state like ours, there is an obvious need for skills in science. However, South African students have ranked near the bottom in international sciences and maths tests. In order to break away from this poor performance, we need to break all the myths around science and technology. SciFest seeks to achieve this by making science accessible to ordinary people. “People enjoy the competition side, the workshops, and the things that are not very formal. Science does not have to be nerdy. More people, not just learners who are not in the science world, come to the festival. In the past SciFest has attracted people who are not from the science background,” explains Matambo. We hope this year will continue that trend.


he face of Albert Einstein is easily recognisable on the two boards standing on both sides of the main Rhodes University entrance. One cannot help but to stop and look. We have come to know Einstein as a scientific genius, but also as a creator of complicated scientific theory. Could the boards be advertising one such sleep-inducing science lecture, that would go above most heads? Upon closer inspection, one realises that it is the advert for SciFest Africa 2012. Started 16 years ago, SciFest Africa is South Africa’s National Science Festival. It is aimed at promoting public awareness and engagement with Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation (STEMI). It consists of two components: firstly, the annual week-long National Science Festival which is held in Grahamstown in March every year, and secondly, a range of local, regional and national outreach programmes implemented around the country throughout the rest of the year. This year’s main event will take place on 14 - 20 March. This year’s theme is “Science Rocks” – which goes hand in hand with the 2012 theme “the international year of sustainable energy for all”. There are numerous misconceptions about science and SciFest aims to dispel those myths. “The whole point of SciFest is to take science or expose science to people who ordinarily would not be exposed to the different elements of science. It is outreach more than it is anything else,” says Joy Matambo, media officer at SciFest Africa. “That week is like Christmas for SciFest, but throughout the year

Dining hall scraps become a pig’s feast as leftover food is sent to pig farms. Picture: CHELSEA MACLACHLAN

This little piggy had roast beef
By Laura Skippers Ever wondered what happens to the left over food you carefully placed back on the dining hall tray trolley, because your stomach gave you the heads up that it was full? The food you so patiently waited in line for, until you are greeted by a caterer who robotically belts out “veg” as if it were a question? The truth behind the matter is, our waste is making a number of pigs very satisfied at the end of each day. Simon Wright, assistant food services manager, explains the process of how wasted food that is handed back is scraped into large “pigswirl bins”. These bins are collected twice a day by the respective farmer and the accumulated waste is used as pig feed. “Each farmer pays a nominal fee to get a kitchen for a year and collect its dining hall waste,” said Wright. Included in the category of “waste” are meals leftover once students have had the opportunity to have seconds. Although it may seem unethical to discard freshly prepared food when there are many people who would appreciate a decent meal, Wright explains that ultimately Rhodes would be held responsible for the food it donates. “We choose not to donate to charity as we fear that they do not have the correct facilities to warm the food,” said Wright. Wright also highlights the unreliability of the system as they cannot guarantee that they would be able to deliver a set amount of meals to charity each day due to the popularity of certain meals. The University’s campus food management has stringent measures in place to ensure that all food is well maintained at the correct temperature. Thus by moving the food from one environment to another where there are no adequate facilities to reheat it increases the likelihood of the food becoming a potential health risk. Ultimately, it boils down to the student booking system. Meals are prepared according to the quantity required. However, we all know that it is not often the case that each student who books a meal necessarily arrives at the dining hall. Wright confesses that inevitably, the amount of food distributed per day is dependent on the popularity of the meal and of the dining hall. He refers to various marketing initiatives which have been put into place by Oppidan wardens and sub-wardens to increase the Oppidan dining hall’s popularity. This, after it recently came to light that management were considering permanently closing the dining hall due to poor attendance. Despite the concern surrounding the Oppidan dining hall, Wright stated that signs of improvement were beginning to show. “Currently, we have on average 200 meals booked by Oppidan students per day,” said Wright. While the “pigswirl bin” project does not directly seem charitable, it inversely gives back to the community. “All the farmers are previously disadvantaged. Through this system they are able to provide for themselves and earn an income,” said Wright. So next time you go to the dining hall and don’t manage to finish your food, think about the satisfied little piggy’s stomach, for he just had roast beef.

The poster for this year’s SciFest. Picture: SCIFEST AFRICA ONLINE

Green fund coffers short on change
By Genevieve Dickson Environment The Green Fund, which was established in order to fund environmental sustainability initiatives, is struggling to get off the ground because of lack of funds and institutional support Added to the funds growing pains is the general lack of awareness of its role and how it fits into the University’s bid to conserve the environment. “If we don’t do it then who will?” said Professor Fred Ellery, a member of the Green Fund. Around R60 000 is raised annually. The money goes towards “decreasing Rhodes environmental footprint while at the same time developing its positive hand print,” said Alex Lenferna, chairperson of RU Green and the South East African Climate Consortium Student Forum (SEACC SF). A hand print is a measure of the positive environmental impact one has, whereas the footprint is the negative side of that. A vision document is in the making, encouraging a large corporate partner to co-invest in creating a healthier environment. More focus will then be able to be placed on projects like the Rhodes worm farms and similar initiatives. Ruth Kruger, the SRC environmental councillor, admits to being thrilled at the prospect of installing solar panels around campus. The initial cost of such projects will be costly. The overall amount saved on energy, however, would be substantial. Unfortunately, “knowledge does not translate into practice,” said Ellery. Rhodes students have the tools needed to make a change but their practices do not reflect this. Disappointingly the University has been slow in implementing green infrastructure and practices. This is because the cost of greening is higher. Green initiatives take time to yield positive results and financial benefits. The desire for change at the University is urgently needed. This must be done in far more drastic manner than simply placing skylights in the library. In order to begin this change the Green Fund will host events, among other projects, to promote their vision. The image often attached to environmental friendly events is that they are “doom and gloom, and that the people involved convey an uncool image,” says Kruger. Her goal is to remove such beliefs, aiding the Green Fund’s aim to make environmental projects and events more inclusive. As a member of the University and the Grahamstown community, you can take a stand for a great cause by supporting the Green Fund initiatives. The annual Green Fund Run which this year falls under the SciFest Africa programme will take place on Sunday 18 March at the entrance to the Makana Botanical Gardens. “We haven’t quite launched this [The Green Fund] yet, said vice chancellor Dr Saleem Badat, [but] we need to become really sustainable, and we need to become green in everything that we do...where’s the money going to come from? Well, The Green Fund is one response”.


News in Photos
1 2

The Oppidan Press 13 March 2012




Tutu’s in town
1. Desmond Tutu making his way to the naming ceremony on 7 March. Picture: DAvID HARDING 2. Tutu and Nomonde Calata standing in front of the crowds outside the new Desmond Tutu Hall. Picture: HOLLY SNELL 3. Tutu pulls open the curtain of the plaque at the naming ceremony. Picture: HOLLY SNELL 4. Amina Cachalia greets Tutu with a big kiss. Picture: HOLLY SNELL 5. Crowds gathered to see Tutu and take a snapshot with the Arch. Picture: DAvID HARDING

13 March 2012

tow the neo-liberal line, whose privatisation of state assets and revolving door between politics and business makes for a perfectly corrupt relationship. SA is not unique. That’s how the “decolonising” game works,” Copteros continued. Dr Kristina Bentley, a political theorist at the University of Cape Town, disagrees. “People have not lost political consciousness, but rather they have acquired a new, different political consciousness,” she argued. Bentley further argued that South Africa is not static in accepting an unequal property settlement. “We have created the only welfare state on the continent, the debate about land and property distribution is alive and well, and while it may be some time before we see things like universal health care and education, it is hardly the case that the ruling class is inactive on promoting these as rights”, she contended. In agreement with Bentley is Rhodes student Sphelele Dludla. “What I think has happened is that our society has evolved and so too our priorities have changed. During the apartheid regime, our society was concerned with defeating oppression, but now we are more concerned with upward social mobility. However, that must not be confused with political consciousness because politics is still the vein that this movement goes through,” he argues. It is important to note that South Africa is not an isolated case. While all these factors may be internally at play, we are completely immersed in a global market place that, to a large extent, dictates the way South Africa conducts its economy, to the detriment of the poor.

The Oppidan Press


DA - Progress or regress?
A year in office, yet is the DA making a difference in the Rhodes Ward?
By Lucy Holford-Walker Politics

Crisis of political consciousness
By Abongile Sipondo Politics Even after 18 years into democracy, South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world. We see widespread poverty alongside extraordinary opulence. We see some who fought during the struggle against apartheid living plush lives while others that fought beside them fade into the background. Has the wealthy elite neglected the African spirit of ubuntu, or have the masses just accepted the status quo? Are we, as a South African society, accepting ideologies that appear to explain and justify the current distribution of wealth and power? According to Karl Marx’s False Consciousness theory, in societies with unequal allocations of wealth and power, ideologies present inequalities as acceptable. Ideologies consequently have a tendency to lead people to accept the status quo. The marginalised start to believe their subordination is justified. Are we as the South African public accepting this? More importantly, have our leaders lost their political consciousness? According to School of Journalism and Media Studies alumni and marketing officer Strato Copteros, our leaders have lost political consciousness. “It is a trick that has been played across “the south” from Africa to South America, which fosters this “deconscientisation” in new political elites and leaves them at the behest of an economic neo-colonial framework,” Copteros argued. “The ANC was very cleverly manoeuvred into a position where (Chris) Hani, as its credible left was assassinated, and it now had to


ince winning the Rhodes Ward in the local municipal elections almost a year ago, the Democratic Alliance’s actions look promising, but what progress has been made, and is what they are doing being publicised and improving the lives of locals? In an exclusive interview with The Oppidan Press, Rhodes Ward DA councillor Brian Fargher clarifies where the greatest obstacles lie, and where the DA has made progress thus far. Fargher notes that one of the greatest achievements of the DA has been that of civic responsibility on behalf of all those who reside in Grahamstown. “Keeping the administration officials and the ANC politicians on their toes is a major responsibility of the DA and the DA has done so successfully; our councillors attend every meeting, committee and workshop.” Fargher explained that such presence is aimed at monitoring the municipality’s observance or lack of observance of the relevant regulations. “It is increasingly difficult for the ruling party to pass poor decisions, ignore the plethora of statutory requirements and principals of good governance with the DA holding them to account.” Further successes have been encountered as the DA support base is continuously extending. “Steady inroads into traditionally ANC areas are being made,” he said. “As a party we have [furthermore] succeeded in being an influence in all the major spheres of municipal activities and the party has a strong caucus of committed councillors.” Having acknowledged the successes, it is without doubt that the DA still face major obstacles, one of which is the threat of the Protection of Information Bill. Another obstacle Fargher points out is that the ANC routinely excludes the DA from important decisions and processes, such as the selection of senior posts, which in turn excludes those that represent the DA from being heard on a political level. Additionally maddening for the DA, in Fargher’s opinion, is that they are currently facing a “disclaimer” from the Auditor General (AG). This “disclaimer” means that amongst other things, the AG was unable to gather enough evidence to complete the audit and

A DA supporter at a rally in Mitchell’s Plain . Picture: DA WEBSITE that “there were so many things incorrect that the validity of the records is doubted… I have lost count of the number of consecutive years this has happened – possibly the eighth year,” Fargher continued with evident frustration. Aside from working as a councillor, Fargher is currently working under the Bhisho Health Department to oversee the district clinics, with the hope of improving the clinics and service delivery in the most disadvantaged parts of the Grahamstown community. Deanne McKersie, A Third Year Commerce student at the University, whilst not a local, feels that Grahamstown is her home and that if the disadvantaged are cared for, she knows her vote is worthy of being cast. As Fargher puts it: “the DA’s presence is needed to recover from the mess in which we find ourselves as a city and to slowly turn the boat around.” “I am in the first instance responsible to the residents in Ward 12, regardless of whether they support the DA politically or not and I intend to fulfil that responsibility.”

Green Guide

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” -Rachel Carson

12 The Environment and Food 12:00-14:00- Fry’s braai at the Union 12:00-14:00- Organic food cook-off at Eden Grove 17:00-17:45-“HomegrownRevolution”film screening- GLT 19:00-20:00- Skype conference with Mr Bisshop- GLT

13 The Environment and Law 13:10-14:10-GalelaAmanzidemonstrationArts Minor 18:00-19:00-Talkonenvironmentalrightsin a South African and global context- GLT

14 THE Environment and Faith

18:00-22:00- Interfaith service focusingonEnvironmentalresponsibility- Botanical Gardens

15TheEnvironmentandtheEconomy 10:30-11:00-vermicultureWorkshop-ERLC 11:00-12:00- Waste Economy WorkshopELRC 14:30-15:15 Energy Economy WorkshopELRC 13:10-14:10Ecosocialismvs.GreenCapitalismdebate-ArtsMinor18:00-19:30Jonathan Deal Skype talk- GLT

16 The Environment and Action 10:00-11:00 International Youth Group Skype session- Economics B 12:00-13:00 Muneer Tootla talk Botany Major 13:30-14:30Permaculturetheoryworkshop at St Augustines- St Augustine’s, Joza 14:30-15:30TreeplantingandcompostingSt Augustine’s, Joza 15:30-16:00 Q&A - St Augustine’s, Joza 19:00-20:00Anti-FrackingdemonstrationArch 20:00-24:00 Battle-of-the-bands - Union

17 The Environment and Art 14:00-15:00 RU Green intro lecture- Eden Grove 14:00-17:00Tree-wrappingexercisewithlocal school children- Zoology Minor 19:00-21:00 Open mike session Grotto Mojito- Grotto Mojito


The Environment and Sport

13:00-16:00 Botanical gardens concertBotanical Gardens 16:00-18:00 Green Fund Run- All of campus,startingattheentrancetotheBotanical Gardens


From the editor

The Oppidan Press 13 March 2012

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) took place on campuses around the world from 5 to 11 March. And while the event may have passed by unnoticed by many students, it was definitely a

hot bed of contention at Rhodes University. The campaign also brought up interesting challenges for The Oppidan Press staff, as our deputy editor Benjamin Katz assisted in the organisation of a parallel campaign, Balance the Debate (BTD). In the spirit of freedom of expression and freedom of association The Oppidan Press supports Katz’ right to take a stand on

this issue, while at the same time distancing ourselves from both the IAW and BTD campaigns. Maintaining this distance became increasingly difficult in a small community such as Rhodes University however, where members of our team know, work and are friends with supporters of both the IAW and BTD campaigns. After some consideration, The Oppidan

Back Background
The roots of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians living both in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories stretch back to the creation of the Israeli state. Previously part of the British Mandate of Palestine, Israel was created as a Jewish state by the United Nations in 1947, with the date of 1 August 1948 as the deadline for British withdrawal from Palestine. Since Israel formally came into existence, the state has become pathologically concerned with expanding and securing its territory through conventional, asymmetric, and economic warfare directed against the Palestinian population. This state of constant warfare began with the 1948 war during which the majority of the Palestinian population of Israel were forced into exile in Gaza, the West Bank, and the surrounding Arab states. Israel expanded further by occupying Gaza and the West Bank (collectively referred to as the Occupied Palestinian Territories, or OPT) in the 1967 war with Egypt, placing the Palestinian refugee population firmly under their control and establishing exclusively Jewish settlements on Palestinian land. The expansion of these settlements, as well as the daily harassment and brutalization of the Palestinian population, has been condemned by the majority of the international community and continues to this day.

For those who missed the film screenings, please contact the Rhodes IAW organizing committee and we will do our utmost to make them available to you. All statistics courtesy of Welcome to Gaza: An Introduction to Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.
For those who would like to learn more about the situation in the OPT, the IAW campaign, or the international BDS initiative, please contact the organizing committee of the Rhodes IAW at: or


Map sourced from

The Situation on the Ground
Since the occupations began during the 1967 war, the United Nations has declared them to be illegal under international humanitarian law. Gross human rights violations occur in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on a daily basis. These violations include: withholding political rights from Palestinians living in the OPT, loss of freedom of movement, dedicated Jewish settlements breaking up the continuity of Palestinian land, private roads for Israeli settlers to commute to Israel, illegal blockades and lack of basic supplies to the Palestinian people, daily harassment and real risk of physical harm at the hands of young IDF soldiers at the numerous checkpoints designed to limit and control Palestinian movement. The pattern of Israel as a serial human rights violator becomes clear when one considers that about 6,000 Jewish settlers (0.5% of the population) in Gaza are able to effectively dictate every aspect of existence for 1.2 million Palestinians, and control 42% of the land in Gaza. This unequal distribution of power extends to all areas of life in the OPT, including natural resource management and availability. 88% of the renewable water resources in the OPT are diverted for use in Israel itself or by Israeli settlers in the OPT, in clear violation of international law. In the realm of criminal law, Israelis who commit crimes in the OPT are tried under Israeli civil courts (which have no legal jurisdiction in the OPT) while Palestinians are subject to trial under Israeli military courts, which deny Palestinians free and fair trials and regularly undertake torture as an interrogation tactic. Furthermore, the IDF continually engages in “shoot to kill” tactics against demonstrably peaceful attempts by Palestinians to secure the rights that they are entitled to under international law. The IDF regularly engages in unprovoked shelling, aerial bombing, and assassination campaigns in the OPT, even without the presence of Palestinian resistance. Approximately 36% of those killed during these assassination campaigns are innocent bystanders, many children. The actions of the IDF in the OPT are in clear violation of Article 4 of the Geneva Convention and constitute war crimes under international law.

“Israeli Apartheid Week” ?

srae spen to co an apart The u but unfo exploita to the hi struggle The w by IAW. that Isra surface l rent affa leap from state to I regime. The ap term, ho connota Jews and Arab pe vote; tha Arab po of the pa homose fection i tions are If the then nam ism Wee those cla manipul of black, this cou of those South A do not s By all Palestin using m what you ing and a fairly a

Moving Forward F Forwardorward

Why i label

Above: In 2005 well-known activist street artist Banksy painted this piece of a girl rising with balloons on the Israeli West Bank Wall.


Why call it

Below: Another portion of a piece by Banksy depicting a police man pulling back a section of the Israeli West Bank Wall.

t is eminently fair to use the term “Apartheid” when referring to the treatment of Palestinians both in Israel and the OPT by the IDF and Israeli state. The 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines Apartheid as any policy of a character “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” The actions of the Israeli state and military in the

OPT clearly fall under the ICC’s definition of the crime of apartheid. It is imperative that South African students and citizens take this reality to heart and understand the moral necessity of acting in solidarity and support with those undergoing similar challenges to our own nation’s struggle against systemic racial domination by a minority population. By framing the issue in these terms we intend to both illuminate the reality of the situation in the OPT and present it in a language that holds resonance with the population of South Africa.

For the following week, the Rhodes IAW campaign has strived to raise awareness and galvanize the Rhodes student body into action on the issue of the Israeli state’s campaign of domination towards the Palestinian people. We have tried to achieve this by screening the documentary “Roadmap to Apartheid”, which draws strong parallels between Apartheid South Africa and the state of Israel, and the Channel 4 mini-series “The Promise”, a drama focusing on the continuity of oppression from the creation of the Jewish state to today’s reality in the OPT. We feel the screening of these films have had a positive impact and brought

the issue of Palestinian rights to many students who were previously unaware about the important issue. Furthermore, we hosted seminars and talks by scholars with an intimate knowledge of the situation in the OPT, including Professor Steven Friedman and John Rose, both internationally recognized experts on the issue of Israeli human rights abuses and members of a growing community of Jewish activists committed to Palestinian rights. These seminars and discussions have provided a strong intellectual grounding to both the issues at hand and the need for more awareness raising events and direct action on behalf of the Palestinian

A cou cause along the lines of the days bef international Boycott, these ap Divestment, and Sanctions that ther (BDS) campaign. hold diff We hope to continue and paign th enlarge support and solidarity have like for the plight of the Palestin- campaig ian people among the student The IA and academic population of aparthei Rhodes University. We, as the conflict IAW organizing committee that by ‘ of Rhodes University, believe thinks d that the issue of Palestinian heid apo freedom and self determina- be engag tion cannot be fully elucidated At an man crit in one short week. We underMiddlestand the need to engage in an Where R ongoing campaign to inspire cerned, solidarity with and action on BTD had behalf of the victims of Israeli this cam apartheid and are committed that ther On th to doing exactly that.

13 March 2012


The Oppidan Press


Press team decided to afford both campaigns equal and unfettered space in our pages. We extended an invitation to each campaign to submit one page describing their stance on the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Each campaign submitted a page to us, which have not been altered by The Oppidan Press. I decided on this course of action so that The Oppidan

Press may honour its obligations of transparency and honesty towards our readers. I hope that with this decision, our readers would believe that whenever The Oppidan Press is faced with a challenge of this or a similar nature, we will always decide in favour of our readers and with due consideration for their trust. The Oppidan Press endeavours to always be

transparent, honest and fair towards our readers. I believe that by opening up these pages to the IAW and BTD campaigns, we have done so.

Editor, Michelle Solomon

...balance the



Why calling Israel an ‘apartheid’ regime is misleading
Palestinians while similarly Jewish people were forced to leave their homes in the surrounding Arab nations – a fact that is often ignored by Palestinian liberation movements. Fortunately for those Jewish refugees there was a new Jewish state in which they could be integrated.

sraeli Apartheid Week (IAW) spent 5 to 10 March attempting to convince campus that Israel is an apartheid regime. The use of this term is misleading, but unfortunately effective, due to the exploitation of the emotion related to the history of the South African struggle. The word ‘apartheid’ is used loosely by IAW. The campaign has determined that Israel is a racist state based on a surface level investigation of the current affairs and history. They make the leap from claiming Israel to be a ‘racist’ state to Israel being an apartheid regime. The apartheid epithet is not a loose term, however. It has very specific connotations. It implies that in Israel Jews and Arabs can’t get married; that Arab people do not have the right to vote; that within Israel there can be no Arab political parties, Arab members of the parliament or judiciary and that homosexual couples cannot show affection in public - and those assumptions are not true. If the claim against Israel is racism, then name the campaign ‘Israeli Racism Week’ and then let us engage with those claims. The use of ‘apartheid’ manipulates the emotion and suffering of black, coloured and Indian people in this country. It is an affront to the lives of those who fought for democracy in South Africa (even if those still alive do not see that). By all means, garner support for the Palestinian cause, but do not do so using manipulative implications. Say what you mean and what you’re thinking and from there we can discuss it in a fairly and openly.

that Friedman called for does not exist. The ‘apartheid’ label ensures that anyone involved in IAW or supports the Palestinian campaign is unwilling to engage in discussion.

Why is the history of the conflict important?
One of the aims of the Balance the Debate campaign was to illustrate the complexity of the conflict. At another seminar, John Rose said that the foundation of the IAW campaign rests on the history of 1948 when the Israeli state displaced the Palestinian people from their land. But that is a gross oversimplification of the facts. Before 1947 there was an influx of Jewish people into Palestinian territories (then a British mandate). Jewish people fled Eastern Europe in an attempt to flee growing anti-Semitism and violent pogroms. After the collapse of the Nazi regime, there was another influx of Jewish refugees escaping Germany. Holocaust survivors were not expected to remain in Germany, and could not return to Poland where the genocide of Jewish people still continued. The Allies offered those Jewish people legal entrance into Palestine where a major conflict was already underway (the Palestinian Authority at the time was led by Al-Husseini who had aligned himself with Nazis). The British government gave control of the Palestinian land, where both Palestinians and Jews were asking for independence, to the UN. The UN made the resolution for a two-state solution where the Palestinian land would be split into a Jewish state and a Palestinian state. The UN resolved that the Holocaust refugees couldn’t be citizens of a Palestinian state because the anti-Semitism espoused by the Palestinian leaders; and that the Palestinians too should be given their own independence. According to the UN’s resolution the land would have been shared, granting the communities with a Palestinian majority to the Palestinian Authority, and granting the communities with a Jewish majority to an Israeli state. The Palestinians rejected the UN’s offer and with the assistance of the surrounding Arab nations, attacked the newly formed Israeli state causing the War of Independence from 1947-1948. Israel managed to defend itself and by the end of the war had captured areas with large Jewish communities. Both Egypt and Jordan grabbed land from the Palestinians by 1948 with the intentions of expanding their territories, not, like Israel, to ensure the protection of the Jewish people. The end of the war displaced

Why are there still refugees in Palestine?
The international convention for dealing with displaced persons is integration. Integration is the reason why there aren’t a number of Zimbabwean refugee camps on the South African border. Our government chooses to integrate those Zimbabweans into the country, granting them citizenship. To this day the surrounding Arab nations refuse to integrate the Palestinian people into their society. They refuse to grant the displaced Palestinians citizenship. The question then: whose responsibility was/is it to integrate the Palestinians into their state? Is it Israel’s or is it the countries with which the Palestinian government aligned themselves when they refused to accept the Israeli state? If Israel were to grant citizenship to the four million displaced Palestinian people it would severely threaten the state’s existence. The Middle East conflict is incredibly complicated. BTD objects the oversimplification of these issues and the antagonistic response Rhodes IAW has given to those wanting to present this information. The right of return is a contentious, complex issue and as such it needs to be discussed.

democratic country
in the world by The Economist In 2011 Israel was voted the 36th most

...balance the KNOW? KNOW?



If you have an Israeli stamp on your passport you cannot gain access to most Arab countries
If you are Jewish you cannot enter into Saudi Arabia


establishes headquarters near Palestinian schools and civilian homes
...balance the

Hamas purposefully

...balance the



Why is the ‘apartheid’ label dangerous?
A counter-campaign occurred a few days before the start of IAW to oppose these apartheid claims and to show that there are students on campus who hold different views. This is a campaign that the Rhodes IAW organisers have likened to running a pro-rape campaign during the Silent Protest. The IAW campaign is abusing the apartheid term to emotionalise the conflict in a very specific setting so that by ‘logical’ extension, anyone who thinks differently is labelled an “apartheid apologist” and therefore cannot be engaged with. At an IAW seminar, Steven Friedman criticised world coverage of the Middle-East conflict as unbalanced. Where Rhodes University is concerned, was there a 50-50 debate? If BTD hadn’t begun, would anyone on this campus have been made aware that there are opposing arguments? On this campus the 50-50 debate

DID YOU KNOW? Posters from the Balance the Debate campaign. bombers. Israel razes the homes of these suicide bombers in order to de-incentivise the murder of Israeli citizens. Did you know that Israel drops letters before it retaliates with rockets? Did you know that suicide bombings are recognised as human rights violations? Did you know that between September 2000 and January 2004 36.2% of Palestinian deaths were civilian and 77.6% of Israeli deaths were civilian? If you’re standing against human rights abuses, stand against human rights abuses! Let’s protest the mass genital mutilation of young women in Egypt. Let’s protest the burning of Christian libraries in the Palestinian territories. Let’s protest the homophobic murders in Gaza and the West Bank. Let’s protest the blatant systematic oppression of women’s rights across the Arab nations. And in addition to this let’s protest the Israeli settlers throwing stones at Palestinian people in Hebron. Don’t block out issues such as the Palestinian oppression of women and gay rights to tell the world that Israel is an apartheid regime.

Why is there a problem with double standards?
Like with the right of return, there are long and complicated histories precede the other contentious issues in the region: Israeli settlements, checkpoints, the security barrier, and more. We all stand together against human rights abuses, but it becomes frustrating when people misrepresent these abuses. Professor Van Niekerk last week spoke about Israeli tanks that destroy Palestinian civilian homes. However he neglected to explain that Hamas purposefully sets up their headquarters in civilian areas (an internationally-recognised human rights violation) which means that Israeli retaliation to the Palestinian Authority’s violence inevitably affects civilian lives. He also neglected to explain that Hamas grants pensions to suicide

A proposed move towards a solution
Firstly, all sides need to engage. All viewpoints need to supply information and discuss all of the complexities in a non-antagonistic setting. Secondly, use informed protest action that opposes all human rights violations in the region, including those committed by the Palestinian Authority and the surrounding Arab nations, so that knowledge is not skewed. The Middle East conflict is based on history and fact. It is also hugely complex. But if every side can speak and present their information, then we can move closer to a peaceful solution.


Arts & Entertainment

The Oppidan Press 13 March 2012

Triston Smith from volume Conflict (left). Collaboration between Port Elizabeth bands Guns N Lazers and Huis Najaar, from left Hugo Kleinhans, Martin Crouse, Miki San and Ryno du Toit (above). Picture: JONATHAN FERREIRA

RAMfest lovers relish in an awesome line-up
Windy City blown away by star-studded rock festival
By Jess van Tonder main attraction for all the rockers and loyal RAMfesters who came to support. The band drew over 700 people and pumped the atmosphere with energy, anticipation and pure concert adrenaline. They brought the crowd alive with their loud and upbeat performance, keeping them on their toes with stage dives, mosh pits and intense sound. Fokofpolisiekar has never disappointed the PE crowd and was definitely the band to see at RAMfest. Guns ‘n Lazers followed with an unstoppable, jaw-dropping and base-pumping performance that kept the crowd moving. Towards the end of their set Miki – San announced that RAMfest was Guns ‘n Lazers’ last official performance before their threeyear anniversary together, and that sadly they would be laying down the mic and all their base notes indefinitely. Niskerone was an exceptional closing performance as he brought the entire show together, keeping the audience on their feet even after they thought they had reached their peak. His music was definitely a step into a different realm as he mesmerised you with his vocals. He undoubtedly made RAMfest 2012 a festival to remember. Of course in a festival as well known as this, criticism from regular RAMfesters is inevitable, but for its debut in PE support was better than anticipated. Many agreed that they would be willing to pay extra for the international bands, as well as that it should be held outside in a larger location. To all those that went to RAMfest I am sure we will be back, and to all those who missed it - you can always come get wild next year.


s we welcomed the first RAMfest in Port Elizabeth, we bid farewell to the notion that there is limited support for live acts, and welcome a renewed enthusiasm from audiences. Although the evening started off a little slowly with a small crowd, it rapidly became evident which bands were the favorites. The curtain raisers Volume Conflict and Herotide set the tone for the night, letting everyone know what was in store for them. Huis Najaar became a quick favorite within the crowd as they broke away from their usual sound by inviting front man from Guns ‘n Lazers to join them for one of their songs. Fokofpolisekar stole the show as the

we recommend
van Halen – Still got it
After almost fifteen years spent touring and swopping lead singers frenetically, Van Halen has returned with a brand new album that can only be described as homage to old school, Grunge-infused Rock and Roll. The album A Different Kind of Truth is the first to feature legendary Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang as bassist, and signals the return of former lead singer ‘Diamond Dave’ Lee Roth. It is tightly packed and carefully formulated, delivering a mixture of exciting tracks reminiscent of Van Halen’s glory days in the ‘70s and ‘80s, a few good easy listening tracks that you could possibly get away with playing for your mother, and one or two that definitely should not have made it off the cutting room floor. Eddie Van Halen’s guitar genius is what the album rides on for the most part, as the lyrics to songs like “Big River” are not exactly what you would call poetry-textbook material. Roth’s vocals have lost some of their screechy lustre, but the man is edging towards sixty after all, and his vocal range is still second to none. Tracks worth playing several times over are “Outta Space”, “Blood and Fire”, and “Big River”. Fans of Van Halen’s iconic track “Eruption” will enjoy the guitar riffs, while the lyrical composition is not half bad. However, on the whole the album is more of the same.

Making mirrors – Gotye
From using his parents’ barn for studio space to becoming an internationally-known artist, Gotye has come a long way. Making mirrors took two and a half years to record and was released in August last year by this Australian native, otherwise known as Walter De Backer. The songs are a quirky melange of Indie folk, Pop and Rock – each one unique and appealing to a diverse audience. The well known “Somebody that I used to know” featuring Kimbra hit number four on the iTunes top 10 last month and reached 2 million hits on YouTube – it was an instant success. “It would be nice if there was some more material that people were engaging with, rather than what’s happening in the clubs,” said Gotye, when asked about the song and his style of music. The album also features familiar vibes from other bands, which would definitely resonate with most listeners. The upbeat “Eyes wide open” is reminiscent of a Coldplay sound, with “Easy way out” carrying more of a Rock sound. “Making mirrors” and “Bronte” are deserving of a full listen as well. Gotye’s chilled sound serves for a great jam session to start or wind down your day.

WZRD – Self-titled (2012)
Place a sober rapper Kid Cudi in a recording studio with a record producer Dot Da Genius and you get the raw sounds of a rock duo WZRD. Starting off with “The Arrival” an instrumental track, it makes a pointless introduction. “Dream Time Machine” features supporting vocals from musical duo Empire of the Sun, which are hardly heard. The key track though is “High Off Life” - a feel good Rock track with an amped up Cudi, reminiscent of “Cudi Zone”. There’s also a cover of Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” which surprisingly enough is pretty neat. If you want to hear Kid Cudi get close to alternative Rock with no cigar, this is it. By David Williams

By Tarryn De Kock

By Heather Greevelink

Arts & Entertainment
The Oppies and the kiff mare
By Boitumelo Rakuba and Zanele Mukhari The Oppi Day mare proved to be a fun-filled event as on and off-campus students closed the gap and came together at the union lawns. The wellorganised event managed to combine philanthropy and entertainment, as the R5 cover charge went towards the Give 5 campaign run by the Dean of Students. Tyson Ngubeni, the master of ceremonies and a member of the only improvisation comedy group at Rhodes, NatCaf, had the crowd in stitches even before the performances began. Performers included last year’s Battle of the Bands winners Lu Fuki, who showed the crowd why exactly they had won while promoting their new album Bad Body Odour. Other vocalists included Danielle Bowler, Rhodes students Shadley de Lange and Keegan Watkins, Since Sliced Bread, Michaela Walters and Words Untamed. Each performer kept the crowd jamming for hours on end. RMR broadcast the event live to the rest of Grahamstown while their own in house DJ VonDirty spun some of his tracks. “The vibe was cool and the performances were amazing,” said Calvin Price. Other forms of entertainment ranged from a 12-meter water slide, mini pools, mini cricket, beach tennis and – to pump up the crowd, spontaneous throwing of water balloons. “The day was awesome…made some new friends, and for R5 the live entertainment and other activities was way more than I had expected. The day was a jol,” said Mathiev Dasnois. Organising the event was The Oppidan Committee entertainment representative Carey Frazer. Red Bull’s sponsorship made the charitable event possible, and was another success for the revamped and more visible Oppidan 2012 committee. All in all, the event was well catered, entertaining and was an overall clear success according to those who joined in the mare. The Rhodes camaraderie shown on Saturday was greatly appreciated by the Give 5 campaign and a big thank you went out to all the Rodents who came through to show their support.

13 March 2012

The Oppidan Press



Local artists Guy Buttery (left) and Nibs van der Spuy wowed Grahamstown during their Eastern Cape tour for their debut album collaboration In the Shade of the Fig Tree. Picture: GREG LOMAS

Riffs and rich rhythms
By Kate Janse van Rensburg


ith the launch of their first collaborative album ‘In the Shade of the Wild Fig’ well underway, Guy Buttery and Nibs Van Der Spuy headed to Grahamstown on 7 and 8 March for a greatly-anticipated performance at the Lowlander. The artists independently came up with the album’s name In the Shade of the Wild Fig. “That’s telepathy!” said Van der Spuy. The wild fig tree, synonymous with Kwa-Zulu Natal, is just one part of the province’s natural environment which has inspired a large part of their music. “Your surroundings tell a story, they dictate the mood of the music. They act as a canvas backdrop,” said Van der Spuy, “and the colours of the landscape to the ancient river beds all add to the initial visual spark.” Buttery and Van der Spuy have since held concerts dedicated to wildlife protection.

Buttery’s unique guitar style combined with Van der Spuy’s mellow voice make for a sound that is akin to a spiritual experience. Through their music, the duo take their audience on an authentic musical journey. They are influenced by various genres of music and the album includes a rendition of AC/DC’s “Up to my neck in you”. Buttery explains that he tries to “emulate interesting sounds that are not really heard”. An array of instruments will be used during the performance. “The show is pretty unique,” explained Buttery. According to Van der Spuy, he and Buttery connected with each other from the beginning and enjoyed exchanging ideas. Both artists admit that making music with each other is easy. After just over a decade of performing together it is no wonder that they have finally had a meeting of the minds and created a collaboration album. “We both had a gap in our schedules and it felt kind of right,” said Buttery. Van der Spuy admitted that they had “loads of fun together,” while creating

the album, which only took two days to record. Both musicians expressed amazement and surprise at how well the album has been received by its audience. They have been playing on demand as a result of the album’s huge success. Buttery and Van der Spuy felt that the “response has been great” with regards to their concert in Grahamstown. “There is something quite magical about it,” said Van der Spuy. “Grahamstown is a town we both love,” agreed the artists. “We also love the Rhodes campus and could not ask for a better supporter of the arts,” said Buttery. Both musicians have performed at the National Arts Festival over the years and have fond memories of the experience. The artists received a “warm audience”. Van der Spuy and Buttery gave audiences a truly visual and organic experience in an intimate concert environment, allowing for their talent and smooth strums to linger on long after the set was over.

Beauty in the eye of the beholder – Cellardoor
By Vimbai Midzi Review Pushing the boundaries of theatre once again, the First Physical Theatre Company put on their recent production, “Cellardoor”. Combining movement, music and vocals, and grappling with the question of what ‘beauty’ does and does not mean in society, the play was an opportunity for the audience to find out what beauty means, who decides and why they make that decision. The phrase ‘cellar door’ is often described as the most beautiful sounding word in the English language, simply because of the way it sounds, without regarding its meaning. “Beauty has nothing to do with meaning,” said Alan Parker, the creative mind behind the concept of the production. “It’s an instinctive, interpretive feeling that has to do with space and context”. The experimental piece united the efforts of Juanita Finestone-Praeg, Gavin Krastin, Jen Schneeberger and Alan Parker, “four very creative people” who complemented each other wonderfully in this piece. The production is also a critique of the way in which only that which is ‘Western’ and ‘white’ is regarded as the reference point for beauty. It appeals to those that are open to the vast definitions of this since constructed concept, and those that are willing to put aside their preconceived notions on the subject and be moved by theatre. In the 19 years of its existence, First Physical Theatre has managed to encompass the true meaning of performance while simultaneously addressing the slightly uncomfortable issues that are deeply rooted in ideology and that so desperately need to be discussed and rectified. Having performed the piece in Johannesburg in February for Dance Umbrella 2012, the cast’s experience shone through, reflecting the excellence of the Rhodes Drama Department as well. Katharine Holmes, a Second-Year Drama student, said, “The great thing about physical theatre is that it allows you to draw your own meanings from it”. The piece kept the audience watching, with the use of elaborate costumes, lighting and humour. The nature of the First Physical pieces is tentative in the messages it could be portraying, but bold in its execution – making their productions memorable and emotive. Cellardoor was truly a beautiful performance with a beautiful message.


Arts & Entertainment

The Oppidan Press 13 March 2012

RU snapped up
Photography student short-listed for Sony award
By Joni Lindes Rhodes student Nina Lieska Grindlay’s photograph is certainly something remarkable. She has recently been shortlisted for the international Student Focus Awards. This is one of the many Sony World Photography Awards. Her collection was deemed the best in Africa and the Middle East and is among the top ten student photography collections in the world. The general theme for the entries was based on the famous Haiku poem. These aspiring photographers therefore had to visually represent a ‘fleeting’ moment or an instance where a decision is made. Grindlay’s photos perfectly depict the altered state of a brief moment in time in social environments. Her work featured the delicate moments of human vulnerability that occur under flashing lights, through images reminiscent of head-spinning intoxication which she framed through the cramped closeness of nightclubs and parties. “I am interested in looking at human nature and how people work and highlighting those subtle in-between moments that go unnoticed unless pointed out to you,” said Grindlay. The photograph was taken at a digs party. Photojournalism lecturer Jenny Gordon noted that “The Student Focus competition is a great opportunity for young photographers”. The World Photography organisation supports students, amateurs as well as professional photography. The Student Focus Awards hand out one of the world’s most prized and highly regarded photography awards. According to the World Photography Organisation, it is an award which “offers an international platform to support and connect the next generation of photographers”. Hordes of student photographers from over two hundred institutions have sent through their best work for this year’s awards. Grindlay, encouraged by her lecturer, was one of these students. The department of Fine Art at Rhodes University is very proud of their student. Grindlay studies Fine Art and is specialising in photography. Sitting serenely under the shaded greenery of the Drostdy lawns, Grindlay said that she is still “in shock” after accomplishing all this. “It’s a great offer so I am going to make the most of it,” she said. She aims to become a professional photographer one day. Regardless of whether she wins or not, her photographs will still be on display as part of a month long exhibition after the winner of the award is announced. Grindlay will finally know whether her photographs are, indeed, the best of the best at the Sony World Photography Awards Ceremony which will take place in London, England on 26 April 2012. In light of these upcoming events, we wish our star Rhodent photographer the best of luck.

The cover photograph for the book Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography. Picture: ZANELE MUHOLI from

Figures and Fictions
The country’s leading photographers explore post-apartheid South Africa
By Manosa Nthunya Book review committed. The images that emerge are as painful as they are endearing. It is quite clear that all these men, including Blitz Maaneveld, a murderer, and Hennie Gerber, who committed serious atrocities during apartheid, are nothing but products of socialisation. This, of course, does not take away responsibility. What the pictures do instead is remind us - as is the purpose of art - is of our common humanity. I was also intrigued by Jodi Bieber’s intention and success in subverting our notions of beauty. In “Real Beauty”, Bieber shows us old white women and voluptuous young black women in their best underwear. They clearly do not conform to our notions of who should wear a swimsuit and who should not. As Bieber says about her motivations:“I felt a strong need to create a body of work that goes against what the media has depicted as beautiful. Even within a complex society such as South Africa, across all communities, women hold unnecessary perceptions of self-doubt around themselves and their beauty from an early age”. The book also includes notable photographers such as Kudzanai Chiurai, Pieter Hugo and Zwelethu Mthethwa. Muholi’s photograph (above) celebrates and dignifies people’s experiences of post-apartheid South Africa. Figures and Fictions is about the shifting identities and the search for belonging we are all experiencing at the moment. What do race and gender mean in South Africa? What does it mean to be a young Afrikaner and live in post-apartheid South Africa? All these questions and more are raised in this relevant and eye-opening book.

Grindlay’s work featured the delicate moments of human vulnerability that occur under flashing lights


young man looks confidently into the lens of a camera, well aware of the photographer in front of him. In fact, it seems this is a photograph he has long been waiting to take. The peculiarity of this photograph however, is that he is not just any one; he strikes a strong feminine pose, one he seems to embrace. Taken by Zanele Muholi, this picture best represents what Figures and Fictions is about. Figures and Fictions is a book of photographic work that brings together some of the most influential postapartheid photographers. Photographers such as David Goldblatt began their careers during such dark days. He is well known for his portrayal of the devastating nature of apartheid and how that legacy continues to inform how we live our lives. In the book, Goldblatt dares his subjects - who have committed crimes - to revisit their history as he takes their photographs next to the places where their crimes were

Muholi’s photograph (above) celebrates and dignifies people’s experiences of postapartheid South Africa

28 February 2012 The Oppidan Press



Are you up for the challenge?
By Amanda Murimba With only a few days to go until the Green Fund Run, it will be interesting to see if Smuts Hall will live up to their word, or be left with egg on their face. Smuts Hall has dared anyone to beat the size of their team in the Run this weekend: “In numbers they’ll pitch, all members they’ll scavenge. They’ll run for some fun. Thus help get lots done for the Green Fund. These louts have taken the plunge.” The Fund Run is part of the Rhodes University Green Fund which aims to help make the University more environmentally conscious. This year is no different, except for the slight twist that has brought attention to the Smuts Mass, as they call themselves. The winning team will have a tree planted in their honour, and the losing team will pay their entry fees into the Fund. According to SRC Environmental Representative Ruth Kruger, the challenge has so far been met with an enthusiasm. “Lots of people seem to have taken up the challenge issued by Smuts Hall and I guess it will be interesting to see the turnout because of this,” said Kruger. Last year’s run was not as well supported but the hype generated by Smuts Hall looks set to make this year’s event an exciting spectacle. There are prizes to be won but only time will tell who will emerge as the victors of this great green challenge.

Kevin McMenamin takes a careful aim during the Pool Club’s attempt at spending the longest time playing consecutive games. Picture: DAvID HARDING

Sinking the record
By Andrew Tombs


t happened last Sunday, 4 March, when most of you were sound asleep. In the wee hours of the morning Rhodes University Pool Club broke the world record for the longest time spent playing consecutive games of pool. The previous record was 72 hours. Shaun Gordon, the pool club entertainment committee member, and Kevin McMenamin, the pool club chairperson, spent three days playing a total of 554 pool games. They beat the record by reaching 73 hours 34 minutes. The decision to break the world record was in accordance with the club’s tradition of holding annual 24-hour

tournaments. In previous years the club has been unable to challenge the record because there were not enough pool tables. An increase in the size of the committee to ten people resulted in the idea coming to life. Gordon stated that the feeling of breaking the record has not yet set in, as all he has done since the achievement is sleep. He believes that when it does set in and the ache disappears from his legs, he will feel “really proud” of both of himself and the club. According to Gordon, Saturday night was the most difficult time because that is when sleep deprivation took its toll. He admitted that while they enjoyed their ups and suffered their downs during the event, all their woes culminated into a challenging Saturday night.

The record was not just about two people; there were also 24 hour tournaments held for the spectators. There were 190 spot prizes that were handed out - including drinks from the bar, food and salon vouchers, pool gloves and chocolates - as well as a prize for the person who won the most consecutive games. The spectator grand prize of a pool cue and case went to Blekiwe Cwenga for winning 10 games consecutively. The club has high hopes for the 16 year old, who will be attending the U18 Eastern Cape pool trials. For legitimacy during the record breaking attempt, there had to be a pool club affiliated official, as well as another witness for recording purposes. Gordon said that they were aiming for 75 to 80 hours, but “when

we broke the record, our motivation went with it”. Despite being a world record holder, he remains humble as he believes that “the record was definitely not just set by two people”. He extended his many thanks to say to everyone who supported and helped with the event. The purpose of the event was to advertise the Pool Club to the public, and Gordon believes that in this respect, it was very successful. He went on to state that it was the image of the club, not of himself, that mattered. The Pool Club thanked Wallace’s Pharmacy, Red Café, Home Industries, Salon Gavroche, Albany Driving School, Vineyard Liquor Store, Scooters Pizza, Oasis Water, RMR, The Oppidan Press, Grocott’s Mail, Red Bull and Albany Sports for their support and sponsorship

Rifle Club to re-holster
By Andrew Tombs The Rhodes University Rifle Club (RURC), a prestigious and longstanding club, is under threat of closing permanently following its current shut down. This follows a change to the Firearms Act regarding the licensing of .22 calibre rifles. The change to the law requires that the person the rifles are licensed under has to be present whenever the rifles are in use, as well as the rifles having to be stored at that person’s house. The current owner of RURC’s rifles is Stephen Fourie, the Rhodes University registrar. Karen Vercueil, a coach for RURC, stated that “it is unreasonable to expect the registrar to always be present” and as a result the club is facing problems. This is not the first time that the club has been put on hold due to licensing restrictions and changes. A similar occasion occurred in 2009. The club chairperson, Mart-Mari de Bruyn, who holds Proteas colours for .22 rifle shooting, is “still pretty focused on saving the rifle club” and has had a few ideas regarding the current issue. The initial idea was for two of De Bruyn’s fellow members in the South African Target Rifle Association (SATRA) to have the licensing done under their name. However, this fell through when the application was denied. Another idea that De Bruyn is holding is to have the club independent of Rhodes. This would lead to a lack of funding and a myriad of other problems, however. The club only found out about the change to the laws in November 2011 and has been attempting to figure out what to do since then. RURC stated that it has had minimal feedback from Sports Administration and the Rhodes University lawyers - who are investigating the legality of the club - as the meetings keep getting rescheduled. As a result, RURC is unable to practise or shoot its .22 rifles until a solution is found. De Bruyn remains optimistic though as she believes that “somewhere somehow we can figure out a solution”. RURC cannot transfer the licences within the club as the responsibility may be too much strain for a student, as well as it being impractical in terms of paperwork. It can take years for the licensing to be done, and a student’s tenure at university is often not long enough to make the paperwork worth it. The club is still using its air rifles but believes that this is not a feasible area in which to maintain the club as all but two South African universities have shut down their air rifle clubs due to there being a lack of competitions. RURC has had many Proteas emerge out of it, as well as having had members representing Rhodes nationally and internationally, with Marli Vlok competing in China in 2011 winning bronze, and Anneke de Bruyn winning gold in the African Championships in 2007. Gerrit Vlok has offered RURC temporary use of his rifles as they would like to compete in the Nationals that will be held in April in Paarl.

Modern day Robin Hoods
six arrows per end, with three ends per match; at which time, points were tallied and those with the most points declared winners. A selection of It’s hard to argue with anyone holdmedals and other prizes, as well as a ing a bow, armed with arrows in their holsters, that archery is not chance to win a flat screen TV for their sportsman-like. The lack of physical resident, were up for grabs. contact, stick and ball, or commoMathew Kingon was crowned tion does not mean to suggest that champion archer. He and his the modern day archer does band of merry men and not sweat. Try saying so women raised R300 for to one of the Rhodes charity. Taking from [Kingon] and his University Archery the pockets of the band of merry Club members who haves just like the participate in rereal Robin Hoods, men and women gional, national and their participaraised R300 for international (two tion added to the charity. of the Rhodes Archimpressive R7600 ers went to China in generated by the 2011) archery competiGive 5 campaign for tions. the needy. Last week, the Archery Club Fun and games for the hosted a fundraiser for the Give 5 cam- Archery Club don’t stop there. They paign. About 30 interested individuals have exciting year ahead of them. In showed up at the Great Field, in the addition to the many local archery name of charity, to try out archery. competitions that take place at RhoThe entrants competed in two fleets of des, the Club is hosting the National twelve archers each; to see who could Archery competition in August. The hit the most ‘bulls-eyes.’ event expects the likes of London 2012 The target was laid out in a set of Olympian Archers to be a drawing consecutive coloured rings, yellow at point for community members and the centre, and red, blue, black and students, making a wider audience white moving outward. Archers shot understand archery. By Tia Egglestone

RURC cannot transfer the licences within the club as the responsibility may be too much strain for a student

RU trashed?



Creepy crawlies


Green guide to enviro week


Umzowoxolo Ndwayana (left) and vusi Dladla exchange punches at a Welterweight boxing match held at Noluthando Hall , Grahamstown, on 3 March 2011. Ndwayana beat Dladla in the 8-round fight. Picture: JONATHAN JONES

‘Bokoroshe‘ thumps Dladla
By Jonathan Jones ne of a kind and a boxer of rare breed is the way executive mayor of Makana Zamuxolo Peter described the boxing talents of Eastern Cape Welterweight Boxing Champion Mziwoxolo ‘Bokoroshe’ Ndwayana. Ndwayana was honoured alongside other Makana sporting talents at the Opening of Council last Friday in Reibeeck East. The words of praise come after Ndwayana beat Gauteng bwoxer Vusi Dladla in a much-anticipated and fiercely contested bout that took place on 3 March at Noluthando Hall. Ndwayana, weighing in at 65.5kg, was confident before the fight stating that, “I have prepared for this match since December and I’m in a good mental and physical condition.” Dladla was the more experienced of the two with 6 wins, 6 losses and 2 knock outs in his 14 year career. “I am going to teach him some skills,” Dladla affirmed before the fight. The first two rounds displayed the tactics of each boxer. Dladla moved quickly, catching Ndwayana with four strong right hooks. Mbulelo Mfama, the promoter of the fight from NYUSA Boxing Promotion said, “The first two rounds were quiet compared to the rest of the fight where Ndwayana fought like a true professional.” Ndwayana, with a huge backing from the home crowd, exposed Dladla with his strategic jabs. “I use the jab to rattle my opponent.” In the ensuing rounds Ndwayana dominated, opening Dladla’s defence to unleash a burst of punches. The expectations of a good fight were surpassed as the battered Dladla fought back in the fifth round. Landing a heavy right hook, Dladla shook Nwayana’s guard displaying his experience. After that, Ndayana threw wild punches towards the end of the round, confirming that he needed to consolidate. With stern words from his trainer and father Bullelani Ndwayana, Ndwayana tightened his defence and strengthened his jab. Ndwayana dominated the sixth and seventh rounds. Spurred on by the crowd screaming ‘Bokoroshe’, Ndwayana looked stronger, patiently waiting


for an opening to unleash body blows which forced Dladla to grapple. It was clear in the last round that Ndwayana was going for the knock out. “Bokoroshe managed to change in the 6th and 7th round and he really went in for the kill in the 8th, “said Mfama at the end of the match. Dladla held out to finish the eight rounds. The judge gave a unanimous victory to Ndwayana who later spoke of his aspirations, stating, “I am going for the top, I want to be the South African champ and I have the team, the support and the will to do it.”

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