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The Oppidan Press
Disability accessibility fails at Rhodes
Picture: HOLLY SNELL
Edition 8, 9 October 2012
2 6 13 15
Picture: ROBYNNE PIETFIELD
Picture: HOLLY SNELL
Picture: KYLA HAZELL
3 & 10
Picture: HOLLY SNELL
The Oppidan Press 9 October 2012
Campus safety prevails
While caution is encouraged, crime statistics reveal that campus is safe
By Canny Maphanga attacks occur with students, for example, stealing each other’s laptops. We are not only subject to crime off campus, we become victims of crime on campus as well,” Vilakazi said. Grahamstown security units held a different opinion. Wille stated that attacks are more widespread beyond the Rhodes boundary. “Unfortunately, digs students are an easy target. That is always the case,” Wille said. David Brown of the Campus Protection Unit (CPU) echoed this statement. “Attacks on campus are not that prevalent, they occur more off-campus. The police are satisfied with CPU. They say the campus is the safest place in Grahamstown,” said Brown. Brown’s words correspond with Govender’s message. According to Dean of Students Dr Vivian de Klerk, there have been minimal crime reports from students in the last six weeks. De Klerk was set to release a monthly crime report, but believes that too few crimes have been reported for this to be necessary. “There were so few incidents reported by students in the past six weeks that, in my view, it was not worth issuing a report at all. If there were many incidents, or anything serious, the report would help to alert students to the fact that they need to be more careful,” De Klerk said. The Dean of Students went on to say that Rhodes University has its students’ best interests at heart and has formed excellent ties with the Grahamstown Police. A representative from the university attends the monthly police forum to ensure student safety. “We plan to strengthen these ties, share information when we get it, and work together with stakeholders from the greater Grahamstown community,” de Klerk added. Govender thinks that greater awareness and caution will reduce students’ chances of being attacked. “I cannot tell you to be afraid, but I can tell you that, across the board, the Grahamstown community does need to be more cautious,” Govender said.
espite a rise in violence in the Eastern Cape, as reported in the national crime statistics which were released in late September, local police have assured Rhodes University students that they need not be alarmed. The findings of the report revealed that nationally, the crime rate has decreased by just under 2%. Provincially, however, the Eastern Cape has seen a rise in violent crimes such as kidnapping, hijacking and robbery. The statistics also show that the Eastern Cape has the highest murder rate in the country, with 48 reported murders every 100 000 people provincially. Media spokesperson for the Grahamstown South African Police Service (SAPS) Captain Mali Govender emphasised that these statistics should not cause panic within the Rhodes community. “Statistics fluctuate over periods of time,” Govender said. “The Rhodes community and students should not worry about the stats, as the crimes [students] are subject to are crimes which can be prevented if [they] are careful.” Andre Wille, general manager of local private security company Hi-Tec, agreed with Govender’s assessment. “The murder rate released in the crime statistics is not something I think will directly impact us, but it is something we should be aware of,” Wille said. Oppidan student Pius Mandudzo said that he generally feels safe in Grahamstown. “I have not experienced any attacks or muggings in my year in digs. I feel safer here compared to the stories I have heard from other universities,” Mandudzo said. Grahamstown was rated number 19 in South Africa for household burglaries, but BA student and Atherstone House resident Thabile Vilakazi said that she thinks attacks or incidents of theft are more common on campus than in digs. “More
Ellen Kuzwayo house is one of the newest residences at Rhodes. If the growth plans move forward, more residences will be built behind it. Picture: HANNAH MCDONALD
Campus expansion taking shape
By Jenna Lillie and Alex Maggs Long-awaited plans to develop Rhodes University campus to accommodate a future 2% growth in student numbers have been initiated. This is according to executive director of Infrastructure, Operations and Finance Dr Iain L’Ange. The plans, however, remain uncertain and much consultation is still needed. “We have a draft of the campus spatial development plan, but it was done in relative isolation from the community,” said L’Ange. An invitation to staff and students was sent out to gain input from the community on the principles that they would have the development committee adhere to. According to L’Ange these principles are guidelines for the project. “We will sift through them and be selective,” he said. In terms of accommodating the 2% growth of students, there has been discussion of plans for new student accommodation, with three potential residences set to be built behind Calata House. These residences will make use of dining facilities adjoining Kimberley Hall. The Post-Graduate village is likely to be converted into a comprehensive Continuing Education Facility, while a new post-graduate residence will be built closer to campus. Development of faculties will also be taken into consideration. “The spatial development plan intends to consolidate research areas, as well as cognate disciplines whereby faculties will be grouped to create a more cohesive campus,” explained Dr L’Ange. This spatial development project will be undertaken in consultation with the Makana Municipality, as well as the University Senate and various sub-committees within Rhodes who will be responsible for all future decisions. Though nothing is presently confirmed, Vice Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat said that a significant announcement regarding this matter will take place later this month.
Alcohol consumption survey disproves Rhodes’ drinking image
By Bulelwa Mthombothi The results of this year’s Alcohol Usage Survey, released on 26 September, suggest that students do not in fact drink as heavily as some might think. This was asserted by Dean of Students Dr Vivian de Klerk. According to the survey, 35% of students drink alcohol 2 to 4 times per month while 19% of students drink that often in a week and 14% never drink at all. “The results show that the stereotyped view of Rhodes as a big drinking university is inaccurate and should be challenged,” said De Klerk. She added that this stereotype harms individuals’ chances of employment after university because prospective employers tend to pre-judge Rhodes students and assume they have drinking problems. “It is in everyone’s interests, therefore, to challenge this assumption. Surveys like this one help us do so,” she said. While only 1513 students completed the Alcohol Usage Survey. This figure amounts to only 25.21% of the total student body. De Klerk believes 1513 students to be a good response rate and said that the survey helped to get a pretty good idea of drinking trends. Despite these concerns, the survey does reveal that the overwhelming majority of Rhodes students have experienced few negative consequences of the drinking that they or their peers do engage in. Answering questions in relation to the past year, 71% of students said that they had never failed to do what was expected of them as a result of drinking and 92% deny ever having needed a drink to get them going in the morning after a night out. Students do, however, report that drinking affects them in a variety of ways, with 23% saying it interrupts their sleep and 18% saying it interrupts their studying. Sussie Atuah, a Pharmacy student felt that, overall, the Alcohol Usage Survey gives an accurate indication of alcohol consumption habits at Rhodes but that it was a good survey because the questions asked were clear, to the point and left no room for answers to be read incorrectly. The Dean of Students’ office hopes that next year’s survey will be completed by more students and welcomes suggestions to ensure that happens. The results for the survey can be found on StudentZone.
>> Uhambo Matsuri
Drama Masters showcases forthcoming theatre production
>> RUCE Awards
RUCE annual awards evening
>> Honouring academics
Rhodes honours published academics
Check it out at: oppidanpress.com
9 October 2012
The Oppidan Press
Disability challenge widens eyes to campus accessibility failings
Students and lecturers take on disabilities for a day revealing shortcomings in Rhodes’s accesibility
By Kyla Hazell
n an attempt to understand the experiences of people with disabilities at Rhodes University, a number of students and staff gave up full mobility, hearing or sight for a day during the institution’s annual Diversity Week. Challenging the university’s current level of accessibility, participants were left in agreement that Rhodes is not fit to educate and provide for persons with disabilities. Those participating in the ‘disability challenge’ found navigating campus, entering venues and engaging in lectures to be highly arduous. Charlene Donald, who initiated the challenge, explained how she first conceived of the idea while considering what her experience of campus life would be if her movement, sight or hearing were impaired. She contacted Thembi Ngcai, a first-year student who has muscular dystrophy and who has had to learn to navigate campus in an automatic wheelchair that she refers to as her “scooter”. “When Charlene called me to ask if I wanted to help organise this, my answer was ‘absolutely’. We needed an awareness campaign,” Ngcai said. A few weeks after her first contact with Donald, Ngcai would be the first to address the group of participants who through the course of the day would either take to wheelchairs with their legs bound, have their eyes blindfolded, or wear sound-cancelling earmuffs. “We cannot demand change,” she explained, “we can only inspire it.” Donald and Ngcai wanted the day’s efforts to help push the university towards prioritising accessibility. “My view is that a person with a disability is fully able, but that it is accessibility that disables them,” Donald said. Tim Stones, a disability advisor employed by Rhodes University and who is hearing impaired, echoed this sentiment during the project’s debriefing session. “I am not disabled; it is my environment that disables me. One of my visions here is that Rhodes becomes the university of choice for all people with disabilities.” One of the guests invited to speak during the day’s unfolding was Adrian Hubbard, the manager of a wheelchair supply company in Port Elizabeth called CE Mobility. Hubbard was paralyzed from the chest down at 20-years-old following a severe motorbike collision. He spoke at a lunchtime seminar entitled, ‘Adversity: the mother of invention’. While he understood funding to be a significant hindrance in developing the accessibility of an institution like Rhodes, he stressed that the ability of the university to cater for all students should become a primary focus. “In terms of accessibility there is a lot more the university can do,” Hubbard said. Hubbard spent the morning with the participants of the disability challenge. “It is important that [able-bodied people] can experience [being in a wheelchair], then get out of it at the end of the day and reflect,” he said, “People need a point of reference and it also teaches humility.” Despite the enthusiasm Donald encountered from students wishing to take part in the challenge, she was disappointed by a lack of participation from both the university’s senior management and its Student Representative Council (SRC). “The SRC committed themselves during their training to be part of the event, but except for Mbongeni (incoming transformation and activism councillor) none of them bothered to send an apology, and the ones that were at the event in the morning suggested that they were too busy to take on an impairment,” Donald said. SRC media councillor Bradley Bense said that academic and SRC commitments needed to be prioritised. “It is very
I am not disabled; it is my environment that disables me
— Disability advisor Tim Stones
Charlene Donald and John Vries blindfold themselves as part of the disability challenge to see what difficulties a blind student would face. Rhodes has been criticised as being inaccessible for disabled people. Picture: LARISSA KLAZINGA
difficult to commit the entire council’s attendance to one event,” Bense explained. “Unfortunately, priorities need to be decided according to a very limited time schedule.” The Dean of Students (DoS) office was involved and provided funds for participants’ T-shirts. “It is part of our aim to facilitate better awareness and steer towards some strategic approach in dealing with these issues,” said Deputy Dean of Students Roger Adams. Larissa Klazinga from the DoS office spent the day in a wheelchair. “In order to live your life with a disability, you have to have incredible strength,” she said. Klazinga believed that proper signage could significantly improve accessibility. She described that while there are seats available for students with disabilities at the front of lecture venues, these are not marked. “All it takes is a stencil and some spray paint,” she said. John Vries, a student who spent half the day in a wheelchair and the remainder blindfolded, described how difficult he had found the challenge. “I don’t think Grahamstown itself is equipped for visually impaired people. If I had to go blind tomorrow I would probably leave university that very same day because I would not want to come back,” he said. Another participant, Keba Thloaele, who also navigated campus blindfolded, said she realised the extent to which she is visually-dependent. “Everything is Facebook or BBM or posters. It is how we communicate. There’s no braille on the walls,” she observed. Klazinga highlighted that the library does have some powerful technologies to aid the visually impaired, but Vries argued that these are not made visible. “We should know that these things are available as much as we know that RUConnected is available,” he said. “The Library should be the most accessible place – if it is not, you are left with Google and Wikipedia and you are doomed,” Vries added. According to Hubbard, the measures put in place at Rhodes to aid students with disabilities are insufficient. “It has to be done on a consultative basis. There needs to be discussion and a complete overhaul,” he said, adding that the ramps that do exist at Rhodes seem to have been constructed as an afterthought. Stones agreed, stating that the ramps on campus have incorrect gradients, making them wholly unsuitable. He said that information is available to help guide the construction of improved facilities, stressing that all of the university’s ramps would need to be rebuilt. Stones was pleased with the success of the disability challenge. “People are people. We need to find ways of overcoming stereotypes as much as overcoming barriers,” he said, “because those stereotypes are actually the biggest barriers. Given the opportunity, people with any disability, even the most serious disability, may surprise you with how capable we are. We just need an accessible environment.”
What can Rhodes do to improve accessibility on campus?
According to Tim Stones, contracted disability advisor for the university, Rhodes has an ethical and legal responsibility to be accessible to all of its students. “There are practical things which can be done and they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg,” he said. “No one is telling Rhodes that they have to have the Rolls Royce, but they do have a responsibility to provide the VW Golf,” he continued. Below are a few of the practical measures Stones believes Rhodes can put in place to improve accessibility. Accessibility for students who are deaf or hard of hearing Provide access to lecture and tutorial notes Keep information on slides concise Earmark and signpost seating at the front of lecture venues Encourage lecturers to face students when they speak Make available the loop system which helps with hearing loss by reducing background noise Provide ‘Shake Awakes’ or flashing lights in residences to assist with fire drills Accessibility for students who are visually impaired Keep hallways clear of clutter Ensure layout in dining halls and residence rooms stays the same Collaborate with the South African Institute for the Blind Provide audio facilities to record textbooks and invest in available assistive software Slowly introduce Braille on doors Accessibility for students who have mobility impairments Ensure ramps are the correct gradient and length Make on-campus residences accessible (According to Stones, residences on the hill are fully accessible, but impossible for disabled students to get to) Ensure disabled parking bays are of the correct width Make paths more even Arrange for a published accessibility map showing suggested routes and signposting them Adjust tables, door handles, fire alarms and light switches Stones said there needs to be a working relationship between students and the university. The first step is sensitisation and creating awareness. “If you understand disability you are going to want to do something about it because you’ll realise that we are all people who have the same dreams and rights,” he said.
The Oppidan Press 9 October 2012
Bhisho Massacre remembered
By Stuart Thembisile Lewis Politics Cyril Ramaphosa, Steve Tshwete and Ronnie Kasrils, were fired upon by soldiers of the Ciskei Defence Force (CDF). This protest demanded the reincorporation of the Ciskei Bantusan into South Africa, and the replacement of Brigadier Oupa Gqoza (then leader of Ciskei) with an interim administration. Over 200 were wounded and 29 died, including one soldier killed by friendly fire. Despite the massacre, Gqoza remained in power until he resigned just before the April 1994 elections. The march was also in reaction to the recent bloody events that rocked South Africa at the Lonmin mines in Marikana, North West province. The Marikana shootings left 34 dead and 78 wounded, and was the single most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since 1960. Before the march even happened, it was allegedly met with an illegal ban from the Bhisho legislature. In a statement published on the Abahlali baseMjondolo (ABM) website, the UPM reported that Kota had been contacted by the Bhisho traffic police, who informed him “that ‘due to pressure from the legislature’ [the] march cannot go ahead”, as well as the South African Police Service (SAPS), who said that the march would not go ahead as Kota was too “arrogant”. Under the Regulation of Gatherings Act of 1993 (RGA), the reasons given for the ban were not sufficient, thereby making the ban unlawful. The UPM had met the requirements for a public protest permit under the RGA and their statement pointed out that no challenge had been made as to the legal validity of the permit authorising the march. Therefore, the statement continued, the ban had to have been a political one, and so they decided to continue with the march in defiance of the Eastern Cape legislature which could not respond going to print. Earlier last month, on the day of the 20th anniversary of the Bhisho Massacre, the Eastern Cape capital played host to several events to commemorate the victims. Former Intelligence
n light of the recent Marikana massacre and in commemoration of the 1992 Bhisho Massacre, around 800 people marched from King William’s Town to Bhisho to deliver a set of demands to the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, which is currently headquartered in Bhisho. The march was organised by the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM), together with Ilizwi Lamafama (IL) and the Rural People’s Movement (RPM). It took place on 20 September. “Our key demands are for radical urban and rural land reform, a guaranteed income for the unemployed and an immediate end to state repression in Marikana and elsewhere across the country,” said an official statement released by UPM founder and spokesperson Ayanda Kota. The march marked just over 20 years since the Bhisho Massacre, in which 80 000 protestors, led by Chris Hani,
According to the 1993 Regulation of Gatherings Act (RGA), the Bhisho legislature’s ban on a march by a number of organisations, including the Unemployed People’s Movement, was illegal, as the reasons given for the ban were not sufficient. Picture: MADIEN VAN DER MERWE Minister Ronnie Kasrils, who led the group of protesters who had tried to break through CDF lines and been fired upon, as well as former Arts and Culture minister Pallo Jordan, unveiled a memorial children’s park and amphitheatre. Eastern Cape Roads and Public Works head Bongani Gxilishe also showcased several multi-billion Rand projects set to revitalise Bhisho. These included R5.4 million for the Bhisho Massacre monument and R10 million to upgrade the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.
Rape culture debate sparks awareness
By Tegan Scales A controversial debate, entitled ‘Is South African culture a rape culture?’ organised by the Gender Action Project (GAP), in collaboration with the University’s Community Engagement Division, sparked some critical discussion at Eden Grove on Thursday 27 September. Chaired by Julie Nxadi, a personal assistant of the Director of Equity and Institutional Culture at Rhodes University, debaters Dylan Smith and Kabwela Chisaka argued in opposition to each other on the question of South Africa’s possible rape culture. Elements of both Smith’s and Chisaka’s arguments were found to be valuable, with an agreement between the two resulting in a tie. Both Smith and Chisaka are part of the University’s Debating Society. They argued in the context of Scarlet Letter Week, a GAP initiative that took the place of Slutwalk this year. According to GAP vice-chairperson Lauren O’ Brien, the introduction of such debates serves the purpose of spreading awareness and inducing critical discussion on important matters. “Especially in a country in which sexual violence is prevalent, it is of utmost importance to have discussions of this kind in order to draw attention to the problematic nature of something like sexual violence, which can otherwise become commonplace as it happens so frequently,” O’ Brien said. “Ideally, this kind of discussion will have the effect that the next generation is either more aware of the prevalence of sexual violence, or preferably that sexual violence has been eradicated entirely rendering these debates unnecessary,” she continued. Attending the debate was GAP’s administration manager Stuart Lewis, who held a similar opinion. “The debate hoped to achieve a greater awareness of the failings within South African social structures that have produced such a prevalence of sexual violence in our country,” said Lewis . Associate Professor of the University’s History Department Julia Wells, affirmed South Africa’s rape culture with reference to the country’s rape and assault statistics. “The rape and assault stats are appalling and according to my knowledge, some of the worst stats in the world,” Wells said. “As a lecturer, the level of rape and assault points to how deeply-rooted gender identities go. Where there is anxiety about identity, we often find gender violence,” she continued. Wells said that South Africa’s rape culture is really about male identity anxiety. “Men live in a society that trains them to think they must be in control, which leads to widespread assumptions that they can act out for their sexual needs,” said Wells. Lewis felt that holding such debates in a university context was vital to their success. “In a university environment, we have not only the opportunity to become aware of the issue but also to theorise it and so begin to dismantle it,” he said. Lewis also believes that universities are crucial to liberating people of prejudices, such as sexism, through academic literature. Emily Corke, who attended the debate, felt that Smith’s radical approach and Chisaka’s argument that “change begins with the individual” meshed into a well-structured solution to the problem at hand. Wells added that the debate needs to be taken further. “The real challenge,” Wells said, “is taking debates such as this one to the outside community. Discussions like these should be done with the police services.” Julie Nxadi (pictured), personal assistant of the Director of Equity and Institutional Culture at Rhodes University, chaired the debate. Picture: IVAN BLAZIC
9 October 2012
The Oppidan Press
Badi proposes commission for SRC
By Lucy Holford-Walker and Emily Corke Politics Picture: IVAN BLAZIC
tudent Representative Council (SRC) president Sakhe Badi has presented a new proposal under the name of the Student Institutional Planning Commission (SIPC). This took place at the first student forum held by the newly elected SRC councillors for 2013 on 28 September. Once implemented, Badi hopes that the proposal, among other things, will “afford the SRC the chance to develop its own goals”. The SIPC is ultimately chosen by the incumbent president at the end of a 30-day appointment process. The commission will be comprised of nine senior students, the secretary general of the SRC as well as the president of the SRC, who will act as chair. Any other member of the SRC or student forum may attend as student body representatives. In light of the administrative criticism that the SRC body has faced over the past year, Badi feels that it is necessary for such a commission to be
implemented. The vision of the SIPC is “to be the future of student governance at Rhodes University, that through unique expertise, be integral partners in planning the growth and development of student governance”. It would appear that Badi and his team of councillors want to challenge prevailing views that label the SRC as ineffective and invisible, especially after the recent spats on the Rhodes SRC Facebook page. The president’s control of the proposal and Badi’s apparent excitement about it in his address at the student forum makes it quite clear that this commission is their main solution to what the proposal calls a “lack of direction”. It is commendable that Badi and the SRC are taking an immediate step in making administrative changes, but nevertheless questions have surfaced regarding whether or not the SIPC is in fact the way forward. However, the proposal makes little attempt to acknowledge the contradictions it places surrounding the SRC and the administrative tasks of student governance. According to the proposal, the “onerous task of full
involvement within administration” prevents “greater developmental goals that the SRC as an institution aspires” to. The proposal essentially removes the role of the SRC from administrative management and places greater emphasis on the SIPC to take on these tasks. In the proposal for the SIPC, it is unclear whether the SRC is the SIPC or whether they want to remove themselves from the task of administrative management by placing the responsibility on the SIPC. Furthermore, after the criticism that the SRC undertook this year with the lack of a budget for student societies, which is an administrative duty, the distance that the SRC is putting between themselves and administration essentially absolves them from any similar duties or issues that may appear. Strategically, the proposal states a mission for the SIPC, but fails to put forward a comprehensive implementation plan. The proposal refers to the undertaking of ambiguous tasks such as “research” and “quality planning”. One of the aims of the SIPC is to create a “yearly student profile”. This profile intends to
explore “students’ socio-economic backgrounds, who they are and unds, their interests…for the SRC to terests…for know who they are serving”. ho Logistically speaking, the ally proposal does not explain how al the SRC intends on gathering C this information and whether ormation students will respond to s revealing such information. g Another matter of controversy her is the budget allocation of R10 000 udget set aside to conduct “meetings” and e “research”. h”. How exactly this money will be spent is not specified in the t proposal, which is cause for al, concern. n. Nevertheless, one rtheless, can only hope that the y enthusiasm that Badi has asm shown for the proposal nslate will translate into working action and g he negate the apparent controversy. ersy.
The Oppidan Press 9 October 2012
Safety on the cards for Grahamstown donkeys
By Jenna Lillie Environment inspector Jenny Copley-Forster. She elaborated that the donkey carts used in Grahamstown are modeled on an ox-cart design and are therefore anatomically incorrect for donkeys. Poor management, over-loading and disputes between carters result in severe injuries on Grahamstown donkeys. However, some abuse is more deliberate.“We have treated donkeys with stab wounds, third degree burns and even one that had been stabbed in the rectum with a broken bottle. Some are beyond saving,” said CopleyForster. Copley-Forster and Michelle Griffith, fellow co-director, are both unhappy with the regulations regarding donkey ownership and maltreatment. “This is an enormous problem and needs to be addressed by the municipality, SAPS, the traffic department and donkey owners themselves. There has been no effective consultation on this issue to date and we hope to address this,” explained Griffith. As yet, no effective methods to counteract the abuse of donkeys have been implemented. FACE has therefore appealed to the public who they say can play an important role in reporting maltreatment. “Currently, there are no restrictions on the ownership of farm animals other than game in South Africa. This needs to be reviewed, in our opinion,” said Griffith. Despite the lack of restrictions, animal protection legislation does give a court-appointed animal welfare inspector the authority to confiscate abused donkeys. The Rhodes University Animal Rights society (ROAR) aims to raise awareness about the rights of animals both locally and internationally through talks, debates and informative events. “ROAR has just established relations with FACE and will be assisting with periodic donkey clinics next year,” explained ROAR ViceChairperson Michael Glover. Another activist for the donkey cause, Annerie Wolmarans, the sheriff of the High Court and the Magistrate’s Court in Grahamstown, started the Makana Donkey Association over 25 years ago. The aim of this association is to improve the lives of both the donkeys and their owners. “People must understand that donkey owners are the poorest of the poor and they need help in understanding animal treatment,” explained Wolmarans. “Without law and order from the municipality it will always be a problem,” she said. The SPCA asks the public to inform them immediately of any cruelty toward animals, where intervention in such cases is encouraged one must only do so if it will not endanger anyone involved. The SPCA instead encourages the public to take photographs of abuse and cruelty.
ccording to the SPCA website, animal abuse can come in various forms, from insufficient nourishment to abandonment. However, overloaded carts and inappropriate holding pens are the main problems associated with the maltreatment of donkeys in Grahamstown. Pens are often not sturdy enough to keep the animals in, resulting in stray donkeys roaming the streets. Two major collisions and various cases of abuse have occurred because of this. The Farm Animals Centre for Education (FACE) is a relatively new, non-profit organisation still in its registration phase. They plan to be up and running properly by January 2013. FACE aims to educate school students from disadvantaged communities and tertiary institutes about correct farming techniques. They also provide resources where possible. The organisation is welfare-qualified and able to intervene in welfare situations if necessary. “Abuse of working donkeys is widespread, but not all of it is deliberate. Some of this is due to lack of information and incorrect harnessing,” explained FACE codirector and court-appointed
While Grahamstown residents may enjoy the casual sighting of donkeys roaming the streets, many of these animals are often abused or injured because of incorrect harnessing. Picture: ROBYNNE PEATFIELD Such photographic evidence provides an inspector with grounds to issue a warning and take corrective action, which may include taking the animal into the custody of the Animal Care Centre. In severe cases, the inspector may even adopt the animal to ensure an end to its suffering. The inspector can also lay criminal charges against the owner. To raise money for these clinics and treatments, a donkey carnival will be held on 29 October.
Summer snake additions cause a rattle
By Alexandra Maggs Environment With the arrival of warmer weather, Rhodes students aren’t the only ones enjoying the sun. Students on campus, particularly in Hilltop residencies, have been warned to watch out for snakes on paths and around residences. Posters were put up in Hilltop residences, cautioning students to watch their step at the beginning of the fourth term. “I asked the message to be sent out after a visitor saw a large snake in the parking lot next to Calata House,” said Swantje Zschernack, warden of Desmond Tutu Hall. Snakes have also been spotted near Chris Hani and the Fine Arts Department. A puff adder was found on the steps of Calata House on Wednesday 26 September. The snake did not harm anyone and snake handlers were called in to remove it. “The snake was put into a plastic container and the snake handlers let me hold the container,” said Theo Ledwaba, a first-year resident of Calata House. As summer approaches more snakes are likely to be spotted on campus. This is according to Dr Sirion Robertson, a snake handler on campus. “I get called out perhaps five to six times during summer, but I’m not the only one ‘on call’,” said Robertson. “These incidents occur most frequently during late afternoon around the residences,” he added. “What do we do with the snakes we catch? I don’t know what the other snake handlers do, but I have, for thirty plus years, released them in Thomas Baines Nature Reserve,” said Robertson. Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles that need the sun to maintain their body temperature, which explains why they are seen more often in warmer weather. According to Robertson, the most common snakes found on campus are night adders, house snakes, rinkhals, and puff adders. The first two are relatively harmless and help to keep the rat population in check. Rinkhals and puff adders, however, are highly venomous. The puff adder is a thick brownish snake with a flat, triangular head. The venom of this snake is cytotoxic, meaning it attacks the cells. Puff adder bites are generally not fatal if the victim seeks medical attention immediately. However, they can cause painful swelling and nausea. Puff adders are generally quite lazy, but are incredibly fast when they attack and tend to strike rather than retreat when threatened. A rinkhals is usually dark brown and black. White horizontal bars are often visible across the front side of the neck and it usually resembles a cobra in appearance. The rinkhals’s venom is neurotoxic, meaning it attacks the nerves. However, apart from the pain, it has equally unpleasant side-effects including vomiting, drowsiness and abdominal pain. These snakes are also known for spitting venom. Venom in the eyes is extremely painful and should be washed out with water or milk. In the event of a snake bite, it is important that the victim remains calm so that the venom does not spread quickly throughout the body, and seeks medical attention immediately. The procedure for dealing with a snake sighting is relatively straightforward. Trying to kill or remove the snake yourself will only make it more aggressive and increase your chances of being bitten. Stay calm and quietly move away, making sure to keep an eye on the snake and call a snake handler immediately.
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Terms & Conditions apply. This offer is subject to the purchase of an eye test, a colour coded frame and clear prescription lenses. The R500 OFF applies to prescription frames or lens add-ons. c The R500 OFF may not be exchanged for CASH. This offer excludes the Free 80% Spectacle Replacement Warranty on colour coded frames. Spectacle Insurance may be purchased for R114. Fre MyOwn, Clicks Clubcard Points, Voyager Miles OR eBucks may be earned on Medical Aid, Cash, Edcon and RCS purchases. MyOwn and eBucks may be redeemed against all transactions. September until 31 October 2012 OR while stocks last and may not be used in conjunction with any other Spec-Savers offer. E&OE. This offer is valid from 15 Sept
9 October 2012
The Oppidan Press
Are our tutors earning a decent wage?
By Raymond Ndhlovu Business Am I earning enough money? This is a question we all tend to ask ourselves, especially when we are in search of a new job. Some students may just be considering becoming tutors to earn a little extra, or just to gain experience. Undergraduate tutors at Rhodes University earn an average of R500 per month, though this figure may vary slightly across departments, or whether or not the tutor is full-time (approximately 12 hours a week) or stand-by (a minimum of 10 hours a month). When asked how they feel about their salary, a stand-by tutor in the Management department said, “I am content with my salary, even though as a student, I wouldn’t mind slightly more.” This seemed to be the general feeling amongst all the tutors who were interviewed. The Management tutor also added, “It’s more the experience and goodwill, which can’t be measured in monetary value. There is a certain prestige that comes with adding this to your CV.” Postgraduate tutors earn an average of R4000 per term, a figure which also varies slightly across departments. These figures, however, cannot be looked at in isolation. In comparison to these salaries, undergraduate tutors at the University of Pretoria earn about R13 more per hour than the Rhodes University tutors, while postgraduate tutors at the University of Pretoria earn R2000 more per term. One should remember that Rhodes University is the smallest private university in the country, with about 7500 students, while the University of Pretoria boasts about 35 000 students, almost 5 times more than the Rhodes population. Also, tutorial groups consist of between 5-20 people, while the same tutorial at the University of Pretoria will have a minimum of 70 “tutlings”. Another reason tutors seemed quite content with their salaries was that “Grahamstown is made to cater for student budgets, from the food [and] the snacks,” according to a tutor in the Department of English Language and Linguistics. Compared to other cities, Grahamstown’s prices are fairly reasonable, as long as one can manage their budget well. Other jobs in Grahamstown also offer higher salaries to students. Bouncers, for example, earn about R120 per hour (about 3 times more than the rate for an undergraduate tutor) during big events and functions such as InterVarsity or Boat Race. Even though salaries sit well below the minimum wage rates, they are certainly appreciated by most tutors. Income tax is also not levied on their salaries, as they are below the tax threshold. The tutor’s salary, although low, seems sufficient, and students obviously don’t mind a few extra rand if the opportunity comes up. Regardless of the pay, tutoring can be a beneficial avenue, whether you are looking to enhance your CV, practice heading a class for possible entry into the education field, or in urgent need of a job.
Qbsta offers great deals from many different businesses around town, and can easily be accessed from a mobile phone in the store where the deal can be claimed. Picture: MADIEN VAN DER MERWE
Student deals at your finger tips
own servers in a data centre to ensure data security. It remains to be seen what the full impact of this service will be on the Grahamstown community. Budget savvy students who recognise the full worth of food, drinks or any other items offered more cheaply than usual, may very well venerate Qbsta’s extensive collection of deals. “We aim to become the most relevant provider of contextually and location based deals, exclusively for students,” says co-founder of Qbsta Elias Sikazwe. “If a brand isn’t relevant for our users, we will not work with them. In this sense we have fortunately had much success, with very few of Grahamstown’s local businesses not being willing to support the student population.” Whilst browsing for these deals on your phone, one can simply save those that they like for later use at one of the listed stores into their cyber wallet. Surely there’s a catch? None so far, it seems. The registration is absolutely free, including usage of the site which will “always remain free” according to Qbsta’s energetic and enthusiastic marketing team. One is able to acknowledge that Qbsta may certainly go a long way in saving a lot of money for many students. On an international level, it is easy to see that the business model and structure that Qbsta uses can be compared to that of Groupon. Groupon, which is derived from ‘group coupon’, is a deal-of-the-day website that features discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies. Since its launch in November 2008, Groupon has grown from operating in North America to an international presence in Europe, Asia and South America. To date, the company boasts 33 million active customers and 250 000 merchants in 48 countries. Unlike Qbsta, Groupon negotiates some of the deals offered with brands, retailers and suppliers. The other factor is the target market: Groupon is available to the general public, while Qbsta requires that a person be a registered student. It remains to be seen how well the Qbsta business model will perform in the long run. The Groupon model has already proven to be shaky, with its poor financial performance since registering as a public company in 2011. Qbsta went live in Grahamstown on 27 September. Georgia Humphrey, a BA student, praised the site: “It’s ridiculously cool and easy to use. I claimed such a delectable full-portion chicken salad from Revelations Café the other day for a whopping thirty bucks and couldn’t believe the amount of money I saved with Qbsta.” BJourn student Amanda Murimba hails Qbsta as being, “awesome, easy to use and so convenient.” “The service is responsive, the website is simple to navigate and it’s so easy to register, everyone should be on it. If a Qbsta app comes out, I’ll definitely get it,” she said. Qbsta looks poised to provide genuinely awesome deals with great care and effort for students, and is recommended for those looking out for radical deals around town. “Qbsta is a way of living - the means to access great deals, just because we are students, just because we are in that phase of our lives where we need to be hooked up - and because of how hard we work, sometimes we deserve to be hooked up,” said Elias. Whip out your cell phone and log onto www.qbsta.com to register. It may take a few minutes to complete, given that the Grahamstown cellphone network gods are not always kind.
New business model launches in Grahamstown offering discounts for students at local hangouts and other businesses
By Timothy Rangongo Business
eet Qbsta, pronounced as “Cube-stuh”, a new mobile site that promises to bring a thorough change to the wallets and bank accounts of many students. Qbsta is a newly launched and longawaited mobisite that offers students an abundance of in-store discounts from various local stores on New, High and African Streets, including Peppergrove Mall. One can simply log on to their Qbsta account from their cellphone and browse the wide variety of deals offered by local stores, ranging from Steers’ “Buy a King Steer Burger and receive a free Get Real Burger and free chips” deal to a Castle draught for only R12 at Champs Action Bar. Founded on 10 January this year, the company has a Facebook page that students are able to register through. If you register on the site using the Facebook option, you can view deals or events within Qbsta, as well as see who of your friends have also taken up that deal, or will be at a particular event. It also allows you to share deals with friends. It seems that the concept of ‘sharing is caring’ has proved to be a very strong marketing tool. Incorporating social networking functionality into the user experience is part of Qbsta’s philosophy of staying relevant. User data collected over time is used to ensure that the deals you see are the ones you want. This adds a personal touch to the service that Qbsta delivers, as different users are sometimes able to see different deals. From a more technical point of view, the company assures customers that its data usage policy guarantees that personal data collected will remain safe. Qbsta prides itself on having its
8 The Oppidan Press 9 October 2012
Youth issues take centre stage
Third-year television students team up with Upstarters to address social problems
By Emily Corke
iyamthanda Dyantyi tells the story of a girl who is beaten and subordinated by men. Covered in war paint, she protests against gender inequality in South Africa and the lack of government protection for pregnant girls. Siphosethu Ndyawo takes us through a busy day, during which a young girl has to walk for two hours to and from school, fetch water and clean the house when she gets home, and still make time for her education before falling asleep. Alone at the kitchen table, she dreams of having more time to herself. One might think that these names belongs to university students or activists, but they belong to Upstart learners. The Upstarters, together with their peers, recently took on some of Grahamstown’s biggest issues in collaboration with the third-year television students at the School of Journalism and Media Studies (JMS). The scenarios described above are but a few of those represented in the 24 short participatory films that emerged from this unique partnership. Luthando Ncokothwane speaks to the hearts and minds of all who have AIDS, urging them not to be afraid and encouraging the world to end discrimination. Seated upright at a desk, he says: “[AIDS] does not discriminate, so why should we?” Upstart Youth Development is a local project which works with a number of Grahamstown schools to impart skills by helping learners to produce a full-colour newspaper eight times a year. Shireen Badat, initiator of Upstart, saw the participatory film project as an opportunity for the Upstarters to get a valuable look into the realities of TV and journalism and recognise the potential to make a difference through the films. The film project, entitled ‘Speaking Our Minds’, formed part of the thirdyear students’ Journalism, Democracy and Development (JDD) course. This course focuses on how journalists can immerse themselves in an environment for the creation of participatory journalism. The Upstarters were encouraged to take a stand against various issues when briefed to make a film about what “ticks them off ”. “In this project, the students partner with the Upstarters and use their technical and journalistic skills to tell the Upstarter’s story,” said TV lecturer Dinah Arnott. “The story is the Upstarter’s choice.” The project, which is currently in its second year after being pioneered in 2011 by TV lecturer Alette Schoon, places journalism students in the position of having to surrender control. Despite the unfamiliarity of the experience, third-year student Brett de Groot felt it to be fulfilling. “It is quite
I won’t give up, I know education will get me success and so I must work hard
— Upstarter Siphosethu Ndyawo
difficult when you have no control over the content, but Siya had some really fantastic ideas,” de Groot said, speaking of his partner Siyamthanda Dyantyi. Together, Dyantyi and de Groot tackled gender inequality in Grahamstown schools as this is something that has affected Dyantyi personally. Their dramatic film starts off with a scene of a girl being beaten by a boy in a bathroom. According to Dyantyi’s narration, girls who fall pregnant in Grahamstown schools are forced to answer to the father of their first born, even when they are dating someone else. The girls feel the pressure of patriarchy and are sometimes beaten if their male counterpart does not like their behaviour. “They are so young and the boys control the girls and that is wrong,” said Dyantyi. De Groot felt that he had it lucky in his partnership with Dyantyi. The combination of Dyantyi’s strong message and de Groot’s creative filming earned the pair the highest mark out of the 24 participatory videos screened. De Groot has organised further screenings of his film and other projects that deal with similar issues, the aim is to make Dyantyi’s message
TOP An Upstarter Luthando Ncokothwane and Journalism student Robyn Perros after the showing of their collaborative video. The Television 3 students worked with Upstart as part of their Journalism, Development and Democracy course. ABOVE The Upstarters and Television 3 students at the showing of their collaborative works at the Rhodes Theatre. Pictures: HOLLY SNELL known to the community so that it can hopefully have an impact. Gender inequality is not the only subject that will be addressed through screenings in the weeks to come. Following the initial screening of all 24 films, the works are to be categorised to target particular interest groups in the community. The vision of project initiator, Schoon, was for the films to be shown to people in authority in order to continue the discussion. Last year, the films were shown to prominent members of the Grahamstown comminuty, including the mayor. Other important issues taken on by the Upstarters this year were race, bullying, crime and homosexuality. Their heartfelt engagement with these issues was met with cheers by audience members at the premier screening, many of whom were Upstarters themselves and who enjoyed seeing young people speaking their minds. Onelo Mqakamba received support as he dealt with being homosexual in Grahamstown. “I am different and people won’t accept it,” he shouted from the screen, “I hear stories about corrective rape and it makes me angry. I just want to see a bright smile!” Nosifundo Faaltein spoke of how she has to deal with gossip every day from people in her school, while Athi Nkosi dealt with how race affects his life and his pride in being black. What was evident in all the films was the Upstarters’ perseverance and commitment to education. “I won’t give up. I know education will get me success and so I must work hard,” said Upstarter Siphosethu Ndyawo. The project is believed to educate journalism students by forcing them out of their comfort zones and requiring them to deal with an unfamiliar environment and difficulties such as communication and language barriers. At the same time, it empowers Upstarters by exposing them to the realities of TV journalism and giving them a platform to express their views. For Arnott, the exchange is invaluable.
9 October 2012
The Oppidan Press
Media councillor makes a stand for student press
By Sihle Magubane The lines of communication between student media on campus are set to evolve with the proposed formation of a media council by outgoing SRC media councillor Bradley Bense. “The media council will be an advisory and support body that will ensure streamlined communication with student media on campus,” said Bense. The council will have representatives from campus media groups who will be able to engage with campus-related media issues. The media council will offer legal advice, mediation and structural support where necessary. The proposal was presented at the student body meeting which took place on Wednesday 3 October. Although poorly attended, the proposal received positive feedback from those who were in attendance. It is due to be forwarded to Student Services later this year in order to be approved and officially legitimised. Representatives from The Oppidan Press, Activate and Rhodes Music Radio (RMR) along with the SRC’s media team will sit on the council. The ombudsperson from both student newspapers and members of the Student Defence Body (made up of Rhodes Law students) will also hold positions. Observers may attend the council but will not have any voting power. This is to ensure that the council retains transparency and maintains accountability, while protecting the media and their right to freedom of expression. Editor of The Oppidan Press Benjamin Katz said, “Such a body is one of comprehensible significance for the university, and its formation is long overdue.” Katz asserted that the creation of such a council will offer grounds for the legitimisation of student media. The student press are currently registered as societies underneath the SRC society councillor, which Katz said meant that media-related issues too often get dissolved into the system. He noted that the council presents the opportunity to better handle issues unique to the student press. Acting station manager at Rhodes Music Radio (RMR) Rungani Zendera said the council would be instrumental in presenting a united student media. “The Rhodes University student media council proposed by the SRC is a great idea and we hope it will receive sufficient support from student media bodies and the Rhodes University administration. It would be very helpful in areas of legal advice and structural support for student media,” he said. Strato Copteros, Media Law and Ethics lecturer at the School of Journalism and Media Studies, said that any forum where media related ethical issues are considered is important. “Just as South Africa has a press council, it is a great idea that Rhodes has a media council, where there will be a lot of engagement and debate. It will be interesting to see how it works out practically,” he said. In order to alleviate concerns of possible censorship, the council asserted that it will follow Chapter 16 of the South African Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of expression to the media. Bense ensured that the council will strictly occupy an advisory role, with no control or censorship rights. Voicing her support of the proposal, incoming SRC media councillor Sarah Jones plans to continue the project during her term as media councillor.
News Feature EWN chief asserts necessity of multimedia
Eyewitness News editor-in-chief Katy Katapodis explains the importance of being a multi-skilled journalist during a recent visit to Rhodes
By Tegan Scales newsroom in South Africa, from broadcast to print.” “When I started out, all I had was a pager on my desk for news alerts. I will never forget the day I got up from my desk and missed the message that Tokyo Sexwale had resigned as Gauteng’s Premier. The news desk does not rely solely on one source anymore,” Katopodis said, noting how much the journalism industry has changed in the 21st century in terms of production and distribution. Missing scoops is now an issue of the past. Katopodis proudly shared how various forms of news dissemination have been successfully integrated into EWN. “We have a Twitter page that we follow minute by minute, as well as a mobile site and an iPhone App which we are currently constructing,” she said. Radio was the only concern in Katopodis’ early years with Primedia Broadcasting. Katopodis now believes that having a radio presence is simply no longer enough. She argued that using multimedia platforms and multiskilled journalism is the only way journalism will survive and prosper. Radio lecturer at the JMS department Danika Marquis, echoed Katopodis’ sentiments. “While we [the JMS department] understand that we cannot teach all media components in depth, we believe it is important to give the students the foundations to build on,” she explained. Marquis went on to say that the urgent need for multi-skilled journalists has been recognised and discussed by the JMS department. Lecturers have therefore attempted to integrate multimedia into their courses in order to produce well-rounded journalists capable of meeting and exceeding the industry’s needs. Marquis noted that radio students are exposed to blogging, podcasting and website development and have also undertaken audio-visual projects together with the photography students. She believes that this all contributes to their becoming multi-skilled. Strato Copteros, Media Law and Ethics lecturer at the JMS department, stated that the importance of young journalists equipping themselves with multimedia skills could not be overemphasised. “One should, of course, have their core strength and speciality, but with ‘developable’ proficiency in other disciplines. The more you do, the better you become,” Copteros said. Third-year Journalism student Lauren Flynn noted the necessity of making use of various multimedia technologies. “I love writing but I understand the limitations of having just one skill. That is why I branched out to radio,” said Flynn, who is also one of the anchors of Rhodes Music Radio’s (RMR) Breakfast Show, as well as the anchor of a lifestyle show entitled ‘Lipstick Diaries’. “As a journalist or even as an individual with a voice, it is our obligation and responsibility to bring issues to light. Being able to express my voice over different mediums makes the message stronger and gives it the capacity to make a difference,” Flynn continued. Picture: SOURCED FROM TWITTER
he growing necessity of being multimedia proficient in the emerging world of online journalism was affirmed in a lecture by the editor-in-chief of Eyewitness News (EWN) Katy Katopodis. In her address, Katopodis stressed that journalists can no longer afford to have only one skill. Speaking to an audience of journalism students, lecturers of the School of Journalism and Media Studies (JMS) and members of the Grahamstown public, Katopodis spoke about the variety of new methods for providing content online. “We don’t just consider EWN a radio newsroom,” Katopodis said, “We compare ourselves to every
Students opting for safer church services on campus
By Canny Maphanga evening services with the relevant church they have chosen to become a member of,” says Lorretta Ntila, former prayer and intercession leader for the Student Christian Organisation (SCO). Undesirable routes that lead to churches such as River of Life Church have become a breeding ground for muggings. To avoid being victims of crime, students are encouraged to attend services closer to campus or that are offered in the Rhodes University lecture and seminar venues, such as the Methodist church, as well as bible study groups created independently within residences. First-year student Oriolle Friedemann recommends His People church as a safer option for students: “I attend the Sunday evening services at 6pm and I have never been attacked or mugged, it is closer to campus and it is a safer route when walking in groups.” First-year Tamani Chitambo, who had stopped attending offcampus church services added, “My residence (Phelps House) hosts a bible study group every Monday, it is convenient and much safer.” For students like Chitambo who prefer alternatives to off campus church services, the SCO hosts a bible study group every Monday at the Steve Biko Union Building from 6-7pm. Ntila has been an active member of SCO for three years now and believes that students can still safely enjoy the opportunity of attending church off campus. “River of Life church offers students three services, two morning services at 8:30am as well as 10:30am and the usual evening service 6:30pm. Students should rather attend a morning service to ensure their safety,” she said. In addition, SCO holds their main church services at the General Lecture Theatre every Friday at 6:30pm. The Dean of Students office have said they will continue to work extensively with the police in order to ensure a safer environment for churchgoing students.
Following recent attacks on vulnerable students attending evening church services, Rhodes University’s church-going students are being encouraged to opt for services that are offered on campus; or to attend earlier time slots to avoid becoming easy targets for criminals. Some attackers have been posing as car guards in an attempt to blindside students making their way to and from local churches in Grahamstown. Dean of Students Dr Vivian de Klerk stressed that they have few security resources to assist students opting for services off campus as the expense would have to reflect on student fees. As a result students are bringing the church to campus. “I am not aware of the financial status of various churches, but students can take initiative and propose plans to discuss means of transport for
10 The Oppidan Press 9 October 2012
A press council for Rhodes University’s student media groups is currently on the cards, looking to be legitimised by the beginning of next year. The discussion surrounding the introduction of such a council is credited to the emphasis that has been placed on media freedom and media legitimacy since the proposal of and debate around the Media Appeals Tribunal. Amidst the hysteria that accompanied the prospect of government holding accountable the bodies that hold government accountable, the focal concern raised in the proposal was swept over. The ANC’s proposal to re-evaluate and to form what they assert will be a more effective system of media regulation has succeeded in putting the media on the offence. The media’s readiness to fiercely guard their independence diluted the central claim that inspired the misguided efforts by South Africa’s leaders; that in a growing age of communication those holding others accountable themselves must be the most scrutinised. While it should go without saying that no state should be involved in press regulation, that does not mean that no regulation must exist. Whether the criticism that the national press do no face strict enough accountability measures is accurate or not, on Rhodes campus there are no structures that could even enable this debate. The relationship of the student media and the university under which they are registered makes a body such as the proposed press council fundamental to our legitimacy as news organisations. Stories of past influences, intimidation and investigation are swapped between the university’s aspiring journalists, yet no official body has formed to protect campus media from internal influence. A local press council will provide the necessary protection for campus organisations that function as training grounds for student journalists. Yet, as there is no body to protect student media in Grahamstown, there needs to be a body that can work with official complaints. The formation of the press council, which will adhere strictly to the principles of the South African constitution that ensure a free and independent press, will hopefully progress in the next year to the development of a strict document detailing the rights and wrongs for both the media’s governing bodies, and how the media can set a standard for self-regulation. The Rhodes community accentuates what has been repeatedly rehashed in the national public sphere: government and media must simply remain independent entities. To do otherwise would be to compromise the integrity of both. The Rhodes press council will work to formalise that professional relationship. The proposed council will also prevent issues and concerns raised by campus media from failing to be recognised and addressed. The current system registers these groups under the Student Representative Council societies banner, an ill-suited platform for the discussion and growth that is necessary in the efforts to formalise what campus press has mandated itself to achieve. The Oppidan Press welcomes such an initiative and continues to strive to further legitimise itself in terms of internal – and now external – structures. A free and functioning media is absolutely essential to the functioning of a vibrant democracy. This is as true in the university structure as in the national sphere.
Illustration: TEGAN PHILLIPS
When you can’t take the stairs
The Oppidan Press staff and contact details
Editor: Benjamin Katz. Deputy Editor: Kate-Lyn Moore. Managing Editors: Camagu Mona and Khanyisa Mapipa. Financial Managers: Kuda Chawira and Wandile Nkosi. Marketing Manager: Siân Rees. Webmaster: Thandile Pambuka. Online Editors: Maricelle Gouws and Tyson Ngubeni. News Editor: Kyla Hazell. Assistant News Editor: Joshua Oates. Feature and Travel Editor: Ashleigh Brown. Environment Editor: Kate Janse van Rensburg. Politics Editor: Lucy Holford-Walker. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Binwe Adebayo. Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor: Vimbai Midzi. Sports Editor: Denzil de Klerk. Pictures Editors: Kelly Muller, Kirsten Makin and Madien van der Merwe. Chief Sub-Editor: Wilhelmina Maboja. Sub-Editors: Fabio De Dominicis, Kaitlin Cunningham, Amanda Murimba, Matthew de Klerk. Chief Designer: Stephanie Pretorius. Assistant Chief Designer: Chevawn Blum. Marketing and Advertising Designer: Amy Slatem. Junior Designers: Jehan-ara Khonat and Aimee de la Harpe.
Letters to the Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising details: email@example.com Distribution queries: firstname.lastname@example.org www.oppidanpress.com www.facebook.com/theoppidanpress www.twitter.com/oppidanpress 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 on your part, we require your full name. We reserve the right to shorten letters due to space constraints and to edit them for grammatical inaccuracies. Any letters that do not make it into our print edition will be published on our website.
he first question that most people ask me with regards to Disability Awareness Week is “Why are you doing this?” It’s an impossible question for me to answer, because my view is: “Why shouldn’t I be doing it?” Just because it isn’t directly my problem, that doesn’t make it not my problem at all. As human beings, it is our responsibility to go through life actively finding ways and areas in which we can make a difference. Too many people go about their daily activities not worrying about anybody but themselves. When life suddenly decides to put a pothole in the route they’re travelling, these same people find themselves looking up from the bottom, hoping that there will be a hand to pull them out. That’s when they begin to care about every possible course there might be. We shouldn’t live our lives with blinkers on, avoiding everything that isn’t directly on our path. For example, even if you’ve never seen a rhino, you should still be horrified at the brutal poaching and threat of their extinction during our lifetimes. This is my motivation for organising an event that raises awareness for people living with disabilities. I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to not have use of my legs or what life without sound might be like. Having perfect vision myself, I could also never imagine a world unlike the one I’ve become accustomed to seeing. I was certain that I wasn’t the only one who wanted such questions answered,
so I made it my priority to make it possible for people to share in that experience and find their own answers. The more the idea grew in my mind, the more frustrated I became with the world around me. Why don’t we have universal designs? Why isn’t braille on a sign a normality? Why do we have steps and not ramps? Why aren’t all bathrooms accessible? Why aren’t flashing lights a norm when an alarm goes off? But more importantly: why do we still use words like “cripple” or describe people as “gimpy”? When organising the week, I had too many negative responses from people to even begin to list them. “I’m busy”, “My schedule is tight” and “How will I get to my office?” Our own SRC student benefits councillor for 2013 explained that she had too much to do. Unfortunately, disability is one of those things that tend to catch you by surprise. There will never be time to prepare for it or take a break from your commitments to adjust to it. As “able-bodied” people, we tend to go about thinking that we are fully capable and have the perception that “we” can help “them”. The goal of the awareness event was to have such ablebodied people experience the feeling of being “helped”. I spent the day in a wheelchair. With a sore back, chafed hands and a numb bum, I can comfortably say that being in a wheelchair is incredibly tough! Struggling up a hill when wheelchair-bound was difficult, but it annoyed me that people walked past me and offered me a push. It was as if
they were implying that they were fully capable of helping themselves and me, whereas I couldn’t even help myself. We don’t go around offering to carry people who are struggling up a steep slope, so why do we feel the need to offer help to wheelchair users? Why is it that we don’t see all people in the same light? It is certainly frustrating that the campus isn’t designed in a way that allowed me to help myself. I was forced to constantly rely on someone else to do the basics like getting to lectures. It annoyed me that there were stairs everywhere, forcing me to take longer routes and that I had to search different buildings for a bathroom that was accessible. I hated that people didn’t look me in the eye. Most importantly, it made me more aware of the challenges wheelchair users face daily. As suggested by Deaf United Kingdom Athletics (DUKA) athlete Tim Stones in his talk, there is a difference between “nice to have” and “must have” and Rhodes needs to realise this difference. If an environment is fully accessible, people living with disabilities can achieve the same degree of independence as anyone else. It is my hope that an effort will be made to implement some of the short term solutions suggested above, to ensure that everyone who took part will have made a lasting difference to the lives of people living with disabilities. Charlene Donald is the organiser of the disability challenge, an event which fights for access and reasonable accomodation for people living with disabilities
9 October 2012
The Oppidan Press
Contemplating the Israel-Palestine conflict as a Christian
As a Christian, I take a great interest in ‘The Holy Land’. In the Bible, the Jews are given the title of ‘God’s chosen people’; it is only natural that Christianity, coming out of a Judaic tradition, has built-in sympathies towards Jewish people in spite of the theological departure between the two religions. Millennia ago, the Israelis conquered the land of Canaan under the directive of their God, claiming it as their divine right. But then this land, “flowing with milk and honey”, was taken from them. After the sacking of Jerusalem and the diaspora in the first and second centuries AD, the Jews became a nation of vagrants who, for centuries, settled in lands not their own. Then, in 1948, they took back ‘the promised land’. After the Holocaust, few begrudged or opposed the Zionists’ reclamation of Judea – or ‘Palestine’ as the Romans had renamed it. I say few opposed - except for the people who had settled there in their 2000 year absence, peoples with which Jewish people had little to no kinship. Centuries after fleeing from their homeland as refugees, the nation of Israel was re-born, and great were the birthing pains. Fast forward to the present: Israel has become a threatened and threatening state, a lone-wolf, surrounded by a pack of coyotes. Modern Israel has fought wars with all of its neighbouring states, and was victorious every time, but with increasingly more controversy. The Golan Heights, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are now the backgrounds of apparent human rights abuses and accusations that the Israeli government is perpetrating a form of ‘apartheid’ upon the Palestinian people. I can see why some have made the comparison. Behold the Palestinians, confined to areas which they may never own, walled in by the Israelis and prevented from returning to their original homesteads, lands which they had possessed for generation upon generation. The fundamental differences of religion and ethnicity separate them, just as the black/white dichotomy separated us in the past. Displaced, unable to travel free, mistrusted and deemed dangerous – little wonder the Palestinians are angry. They are oppressed, because Palestine never had a David to oppose the brutal Goliath, a brutality that Israel would later personify. One can also characterise the situation in another way. Behold the Israelis: a people restless and wandering, mistrusted wherever they go, massacred and broken, who finally stand up to create for themselves a place in the world. Only discipline and decisions, hard and harsh, will keep them safe from another Holocaust. They cannot give even an inch; their hold on life is too precarious. They do not kill their enemies willingly, but no longer will they let themselves be killed. Inherent in their very existence is a fight for survival, and no-one will take back what was originally Israel’s to begin with. It is no wonder then, their ‘explosive’ response to Hamas’s ineffectual rockets, and their refusal to grant land to the Palestinians, who are fundamentally opposed to Israel’s very existence as a nation. I hear both perspectives and I will be honest: I am sympathetic with Israel. However, I cannot ignore the cries of the Palestinian women who have lost their fathers, husbands, brothers and children. The situation is a terrible one, needing an answer. History shows the ebb and flow of the nations. Babylon was great, but then she fell. The Greeks under Alexander were mighty but they too were defeated. The Khoisan were displaced both by the Nguni and then the European settlers. The Arab people of Palestine - they too were defeated and evicted. This seems to be the way of the world. In each case, the question is raised: “Who owns the land?” If we are to be honest, I think we must arrive at the conclusion that no-one really does. In this case the Israelis are simply making the older claim to something which was never wholly theirs to begin with. From a Christian perspective then, the land ultimately belongs to its creator, God. With this in mind, and the fact that with Christ’s coming, God showed a radically new and unwarranted approach to his wayward creations (grace as opposed to justice), it seems that an appropriate Christian response to the situation would be for Israel, Palestine, and neighbouring countries to treat each other according to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31, NIV). This requires a radical shift in attitude, which a secularised world could, and would, never fully understand. Mine is probably not a useful answer for a world whose historical viewpoint refuses to expand beyond a few centuries, a world which sees certain groups as ‘natives’ and others as ‘invaders’. Until we move past that, and employ a Christ-like attitude towards one another, there will be no conflict resolution. War and apartheid exist only when we think we have rights. In fact, we have only responsibilities. If we viewed the world in this way, there wouldn’t even be an IsraelPalestine debate to begin with. Mike James is a final year Humanities undergraduate and a member of the Student Christian Fellowship society. This article was submitted following discussions hosted by Christians @ Rhodes’ event entitled: ‘What’s a Christian to do about Israel and Palestine?’
Green stereotypes are doing us no good
A photograph taken in the late 1970s at Florida Park in Johannesburg. Picture: SUPPLIED
t Rhodes University, environmentalism has been painted with a very particular image leading to the alienation of a large group of students. This image consequently has a negative impact on environmental movements that are driven by the ‘hippie crowd’. “Those tree-loving bunny huggers” is the kind of comment often used to negatively brand people who make an effort to protect and care for the environment. How did hugging rabbits and embracing trees become idioms for insults and stereotypical labels? What impact does this have on the image of environmental protection drives and how is this image perpetuated? Umbrella labels like ‘hippy’, ‘bunny hugger’ or ‘greenie’ may be associated with environmental care, but so are images of marijuana, psychedelic colours, trance parties, and rainbow attire that flays about bare feet. These ideas are based on the basic perception of hippies as peace and Earthloving beings that began in the 60s. However, these associations are founded upon deeper principles. The way that you ‘see’ the world, and interact with the natural environment, is called your ecocosmology. Ecocosmologies reveal the relationship between people’s identity and how they manage their resources. Dualism (a concept coined by Descartes, often explored in social science and philosophy) refers to the belief that culture and nature are separate and opposite entities. This leads on to schools of thought (often rooted in Christianity) that believe that humans are stewards of the Earth, and that the resources here are at our disposal. In contrast, New Age religions such as paganism and animism (a belief that attributes soul to the natural environment) see humans and earth as equals that need to work together. These New Age religions were spurred on by the advent of Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis that was proposed in 1979, which used the powerful image of earth as mother and goddess and embedded animist and spiritual notions within a scientific framework. A few years ago, the leading environmental society at Rhodes was called GAIA (Green Awareness in Action. By the time I started studying here the society had transformed its name to GRASS (Gaian Revolutions And Social Solutions). Naively not understanding the metaphor in the name, I signed up. The society’s original name draws on a hypothesis that has become a neo-religion, with many associated ideas surrounding feminism and animism. The society’s new name implies the use of marijuana. Smoking grass is not something I protest to by default, but I do protest that signing up for GRASS implies you signed up for involvement in both plant forms. The first and only GRASS meeting that I attended was in the Botanical Gardens and a joint was passed around afterwards. No one explained to me what ‘Gaian revolutions’ implied and I never saw any social solutions put in motion. In 2011, something quite different started happening at Rhodes: a group of mature students, who were not associated with the ‘hippie crowd’, started a society called SEACCSF, the South East African Climate Consortium Student
Forum. This society, mostly headed by ambitious youngsters wearing suits at conferences, addressing larger organisations and gaining sponsorship and support from powerful local and international business, tackled the aspects laid out in their challenging name. This year, SEACC-SF and GRASS formed a new society called RU GREEN, which can at least be heralded for not making any far-flung promises about its purpose in its title. However, the Environmental Week proceedings that took place in first term where disorganised, badly marketed, and driven by a notion that wearing a green hat would make a difference to environmental causes. Besides the practical problem of obtaining green hats (I, for one, have never seen one for sale), I took one look at an email about yet another “green gremlin” that had snuck into the Week’s proceedings and decided — without a shred of guilt — that I would not be taking part in any of the week’s proceedings. This epitomises my problem with bare feet, symbolic hatwear, and the environment. The image of hippie and environment as married has been sealed; and I have not seen a hint at a revolution. The irony is that I truly support the ideology behind the Gaia hypothesis, and sympathise with animist perspectives and the concept of anti-dualism. I want to be involved in a communal effort at protecting the environment, but it irks me that to do so I have to associate myself with tags that I do not agree with. I don’t want an email signed “peace, love and spekboom” from environmental representatives. It makes me cringe, stay at home, and boycott the antifracking march. I want your regards, and I want to hear how I can really help. I want to hear about policy change and stimulating debate. You cannot charm me with a green cape or a statue made of plastic bottles. The reality is that sustainable development refers to both economic and ecological aspects, meaning that we can’t shut out economic sectors from the all-important drive for environmental protection. By allowing for the implicit association of the environmental movement with a small group of people who like to hang around in the Botanical Gardens, we alienate a very large group of people whose choices and actions influence our joint future. I wish that whether or not you wear shoes wasn’t part of the criteria for anything. I wish that everyone — hippies, jocks and princesses — would be equally driven to take action on behalf of our natural world. These dividing trenches were dug a long time ago and have eroded to form a sea of divides: of different groups of people, with different ecocosmologies, different dress codes and different ways of doing things. I wish that all of us would explore these various clusters and overlaps, and seek to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable in the crucial environmental movement. I wish I could be part of the environmental movement wearing any colour hat that I choose. Last year Carina Truyts was the environmental editor for The Oppidan Press. She is currently in her third year as an Anthropology and Journalism and Media Studies major
The Oppidan Press 9 October 2012
Arts & Entertainment
So here’s what you missed on —
By Vimbai Midzi
udging from the number of responses to the idea of a Rhodes University Glee Club posted on the SRC Facebook page, the formation of a Glee Club at Rhodes seems to be a welcome idea on campus. The idea of starting the club can be attributed to BCom student Bill Masuku. “I feel Rhodents need the opportunity to sing. Just sing, without any restrictions,” Masuku explained. A lead tenor at his high school, Masuku has always enjoyed singing and decided to bring his talent to Rhodes. A fairly new initiative, a group of interested students met in September to discuss any plans they had come up with. Although only eight people showed for the practice, each one displayed enthusiasm and a desire to commit to the first Rhodes show choir. “The talent rose without question and we sang songs from pop culture,” said Masuku. By definition, a show choir is said to be a combination of both song and dance – an opportunity for allround artists to stretch themselves and hone their performance skills. As opposed to other Rhodes musical groups such as the Rhodes Chamber Choir and the Voice of Glory Gospel Choir, the RU Glee Club seeks to put on a performance that is a mélange of glamour, style,
musicality and pure enjoyment. Glee Clubs’ show choir origins lie in 1960s America. They have since evolved tremendously, with the recent television series Glee receiving impressive ratings. Although there was a fairly good response, Masuku was aware that the club might not be taken as seriously as it should be. “We have to face the fact that with things like this there will always be opposition. But this only makes you stronger and better as a performer,” he said. “My main concern is that it could be lacking male voices.” His future plans include registering the society and luring in first years during Orientation Week next year, as well as collaborating with musicians on campus that could form a band to accompany the singers. “Since it’s a live performance, I would like to have a live band there as part of the performance,” said Masuku. Masuku has created a Facebook page for any students who might be interested in being part of the group. Good news for Gleeks as Bill Masuku expresses his idea to start a Rhodes Glee club. Picture: MADIEN VAN DER MERWE
Flamenco flames up the Grahamstown music scene
By Dirk Steynberg Grahamstown is known to have groomed music groups that are as different, unique and diverse as its people. Just when we thought all the genres of bands have come and gone, a new genre has appeared on the scene, embodied by El Toro. The flamenco acoustic band wooed the crowd and strummed their distinctly cultured strings both at the Hindu Society Cultural show and more recently at Champs Action Bar. El Toro consists of Matthew de Klerk, a third year student, and George Karamitsos, an Honours student. Their performances display their incredible synchronisation and dexterity on their acoustic instruments. The two enjoy showing variety in the music that they play. From Latin music to contemporary covers such as their rendition of ‘Seven Nation Army’ by American rock band The White Stripes, to some of their own compositions - the band is not confined to a specific genre of music. “‘El Toro’ means ‘the bull’, so we go with that fast-paced unstoppable music,” explained Karamitsos. The name came to them as they searched for something distinctly Spanish and captivating. Steering away from the other well-known music acts at Rhodes, they focus on playing entirely acoustic covers. The two members first met at a Guitar Society meeting. De Klerk was playing his familiar rhythmic Spanish tapping and strumming, Karamitsos joined in on the lead, and the crowd found it extremely entertaining. In April this year the two decided to collaborate and the musical duo was formed. Although De Klerk taught himself how to play guitar, while Karamitsos took formal lessons since Grade 8, they both draw their inspiration from the experience they have had as solo artists. Both put together their own styles of composing to create pieces that make the sound of El Toro. “We mostly play around, sometimes it’s completely spontaneous,” said Karamitsos. With regards to the band’s future, De Klerk said, “We will be living on a gig to gig basis.” The band shows no signs of slowing down, and they have received good responses from the Rhodes community.
El Toro duo George Karamitsos and Matthew de Klerk in action at Champs Bar. Picture: HOLLY SNELL
9 October 2012
The Oppidan Press
Arts & Entertainment
This battle may be won but the war is still to come
Tensions rise as groups compete in Battle of the Bands for a spot in the finals
By Dirk Steynberg
ive Music Society’s Battle of the Bands has been an epic two-night concert that will culminate in the much anticipated third and final round. Featuring local Grahamstown bands, the two events showcased the various genres that the musicians had to offer, under the intense scrutiny of a panel of judges. The judges included Rhodes head of Sound Technology Corinne Cooper, Rolling Stone South Africa intern and journalism student David Williams and St. Andrew’s music teacher Kingsley Buitendag. The bands were judged on their energy, musicality, group cohesion and stage presence. After the initial rounds, the finalists are set to perform on Saturday 13 October at the Union. Four bands will be ready to fight for the top three spots and there will be prizes for all the competitors. The bands which will be performing are The Devil Sent Me Back, Shackles and Bones, Gentlemen Callers and Counting Backwards. Although the audiences of the events were small, the bands and judges seemed to enjoy both evenings. While it was clear that the bands who were the most appealing to the discerning rock crowd were the Gentlemen Callers, Heat Niner and The Devil Sent Me Back, the other performers did not without hearty cheers. The panel of judges found that there were as many good performances as there were ones that still required some polishing. Their view was that the standards were lower than expected, due to the fact that several of the bands were not regular, long-standing groups and had only come together under the possibility of winning a competition. The Battle of the Bands, however, hopes to be at its best in the finals, after the improvement of the band’s performances over the last three weeks. They will have a tough act to beat with last year’s winners LuFuki, who went on to conduct a nationwide tour. With the final four contenders on the stage, expectations are high and spectators are eagerly awaiting the ultimate gig which will determine the Battle’s best band. The second round of Battle of the Bands will see The Devil Sent Me Back, Shackles & Bones, Gentlemen Callers and Counting Backwards going into the third and final round on Saturday 13 October. Picture: HOLLY SNELL
House-lovers party until sunrise
By Tee Mesani Urban Blaq Entertainment ended off Heritage and Diversity Week with the Dusk to Dawn deep house party held at the Settlers National Monument on 29 September. Starting at 7pm, the event ran through the night until the crack of dawn - the last song being played just as the sun was rising. One of the organisers for the gig, Tubz Ndaba, said the event was to get everyone out of their comfort zones. “People need to realise that there are a lot of alternative venues for one to throw a party. It doesn’t always have to be in New Street or your mate’s digs”, said Ndaba. Although not particularly well attended, those who were there thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Katlego Ramagaga, one of the students in attendance, said that she enjoyed the different environment. “It felt like I was out of town. It was definitely a good break from the usual hangout spots,” said Ramagaga. The first 30 people to arrive at the party received complimentary drinks, and the event was open to members of the Grahamstown community as well. Ziyanda Songongo, a local resident, said that after attending her first party at the Monument, she would gladly attend another party there without hesitation.
Grahamstown’s dutiful disc jockeys
By Jamie Tucker No Grahamstown night out can be complete without the thumping beats of our clubs’ most devoted DJs. We’ve compiled a snapshot view of some of Rhodes’ finest and favourite DJs. Ryan ‘Nemisis’ King is a Rhodes student who is frequently seen and heard at popular Grahamstown clubs and bars including Friar Tucks, Union, the Rat and Parrot, Prime, and Pirates. He first got into DJing while bartending at Friars when he and a friend filled in for the DJ that failed to show. Ryan plays a large range of genres, from ‘oldies’ to electro, but he most enjoys playing “progressive and funky house”. If you frequent Monastery and Tunnels you may recognise DJ Massimo Meneghetti. He first got hooked on playing after attending a party where several DJs showed him the ropes and allowed him to play. Massimo enjoys knowing that he is in control of the mood of the crowd and of the party. He plays an upbeat genre of music called high-tech psy-trance, as well as some “minimal psychedelic music”. DJs@Play is a well-known DJ group in the Grahamstown club and music scene. Friends, Dean ‘Spoon’ Coles, Nkuli ‘Beatlejuice’ Nhlabathi and Michael ‘Mikus’ Mokobi make up the DJing trio who first met in 2009 in Cullen Bowles residence here at Rhodes. Bound by similar tastes in music and the idea of changing the Grahamstown music scene, they began experimenting with the DJ simulation program Virtual DJ. At first they played at house parties but now appear at most Grahamstown clubs and events such as OWeek and Inter-Varsity field parties. The DJs@Play enjoy DJing because it brings people together to have a good time. They play a number of music genres including Electro-house, fidget, progressive, funky, tech and liquid drum ‘n bass. They get a unique sound from the meshing together of their three styles when playing together.
14 The Oppidan Press 9 October 2012
Arts & Entertainment
RU Chamber Choir bids farewell
By Vimbai Midzi
fter a year of successful concerts and a tour of the Western Cape, the Rhodes Chamber Choir held their last performance of 2012 at the Rhodes Chapel on 4 October. The choir has grown and flourished both musically and as a team under the instruction of conductor Peter Breetzke. From upbeat traditional Zulu gospel songs, to classical compositions and Negro Spiritual pieces, the choir sung each song with passion and skill. Despite a small audience, the choir was not short of precision and star quality. A strong choral group of 27, the choir that performed ‘ChampsElysées’ was definitely different from the choir of last year. Adding to the talent was Paul Richard, a well-known French saxophonist who accompanied the choir on their annual tour and who also added to their development. “I have been singing in the choir for about four years, and this year I was blown away by the extraordinary confidence exhibited by our firstyears from the very first rehearsal,” said the choir’s public relations manager Elethu Pambo. Pambo also conducted the Soweto Gospel Choir piece entitled ‘Umoya Wenkosi’. Among the audience favourites were ‘Thina Sonk’Abantu Bakho’ by Mokale Koapeng, and the well-known American composition ‘Shenandoah’. The sounds of their voices seemed to engulf the entire building. Each piece seemed more beautiful than the last. As part of the choir’s growth, members such as tenor Glyn Lloyd-Jones and bass Ben Ryan have both composed songs that have been sung by the choir in concert. Surprisingly, the choir only has four members that are full-time music students, while the rest joined out of love of music and singing. Keeping in step with their commitment to making a difference with their music, a percentage of the choir’s proceeds from the shows have been going to Ikhaya Lethu, an orphanage under a Grahamstown Anglican Church. “This orphanage provides care to the most vulnerable among us, and I can’t think of a better reason to sing,” said Pambo. The Chapel exists as the legacy of the Anglican Sisters’ contribution to the university and has been a place for the choir to extend their talents beyond simple entertainment. The choir looks forward to celebrating its 60th anniversary next year and are currently planning a tour to France – their first tour to Europe since 1960. “My husband and I love hearing the choir sing. Their music really hits home for us and we will definitely be back to watch them next year,” said Grahamstown resident Susan de Klerk. The concert was a wonderful way for the choir to bid their audience farewell for the year.
The Rhodes University Chamber Choir presented their performance entitled ‘Champs-Élysées’, for their final event of 2012, on Thursday night after a successful week-long tour of the Western Cape. The evening included a variety of music, from traditional South African songs to negro spiritual arrangements and a number of contemporary hits. Picture: HANNAH MCDONALD
Beauty for ashes – seeing Grahamstown in a new light
By Vimbai Midzi Once again the Drama department outdid itself with yet another interdisciplinary event, combining film, music and sport. The department hosted Synaesthesia on 28 September, a product of the Drama, Fine Art, Music and Philosophy departments and which was based on a film by artist and director Mark Wilby. Wilby’s film featured in the production Polis at this year’s National Arts Festival. In an attempt to emphasise the beauty of Grahamstown rather than focus only on its vices, the film explored narratives that often crumble under the weight of stories of lack, unemployment and dissatisfaction. “I had to look for majesty in the ordinary context of Grahamstown,” said Wilby. During the screening, sports psychologist and runner Greg Wilmot was running on a treadmill, the sound of his breathing and of the machine keeping in rhythm and in key with the singing in the background. The fusion of music and sport was possibly the most innovative part of the performance as the two seemingly unrelated disciplines complemented each other. “I was undoubtedly the oddest part of the performance, but somehow I found my place within the music,” said Wilmot. “The heart is an internal regulator and regulates the capacity of the runner. In this way, as a performer, I had limitations,” he added. Adding to the majesty of the performance was the voice of Yemurai Matibe, a Rhodes BMus student and member of the East Cape Opera company. Classical music, a normally rigid and fixed discipline, had to be adapted to fit the performance, as well as be mixed with Hip Hop. “We had to be totally creative – and as classical musicians, we find that notion a little controversial. The greatest thing about collaborating was that I was singing in the background and the spotlight was off me for the first time,” Matibe explained. Associate Professor Ward Jones from the Philosophy department believed the event was crucial in understanding how important it is to appreciate the good in society, rather than assume an ever-pessimistic stance to keep within the status quo. “When you are presented with beauty, you’re presented with something of value. The importance of this performance is that it showed wonder as opposed to tragedy,” he said. Although attended by a small audience, the show’s intimacy added to the atmosphere. Under the creative and unorthodox instruction of Athina Vahla, the Drama department’s Interdisciplinary series has so far created eight collaborations with Rhodes departments and societies from across the board. “Theatre-making is absolutely and inevitably a collaborative art,” said Andrew Buckland, Head of the Drama Department. The event presented a show that was aurally, physically and visually pleasing, and proved the compatibility and overlapping nature of the arts.
9 October 2012
The Oppidan Press
Traditional clash ends in stalemate
By Andrew Tombs The Rhodes Rugby Internal League was preceded by the annual Hammer Cup, contested between Cullen Bowles and Goldfields residences. The Hammer Cup is an annual traditional game of rugby between the two residences. It was started shortly after the residences were built and has been ongoing for over twenty years. This year saw Cullen Bowles having the starting advantage with the wind in their favour. They quickly capitalised on this and ran in two tries and a conversion to lead 12-0. However, before the halftime whistle blew, Goldfields captain Chad Sharrock scored a try. It was converted, bringing the first half to an end with the score at 12-7 to Cullen Bowles. The second half gave the wind advantage to Goldfields. Despite a challenging half, only one try was scored by Goldfields, leading to the endgame score of 12-12. The teams are usually comprised entirely of current Goldfields and Cullen Bowles members. However, this year saw some controversy regarding this tradition, through the inclusion of one non-current Goldfields member and six non-current Cullen Bowles members – five Cullen Bowles old boys and one other from De Beers House. Zukisa Pityana of De Beers stated that “Cullen Bowles was unable to field a full side” and that this was the reason for the inclusion of himself and the noncurrent Cullen Bowles members. Sharrock said the game was hard-fought with both teams playing their best and that by sticking to their basics, Goldfields was able to hold their own. Despite the match ending in a draw, Goldfields retain the Hammer Cup because they were the defending champions prior to Friday’s fixture.
Epic finale to Internal League
Heathens ended the Rhodes Internal Rugby League season for the second time in two years on top, beating Dream Team 7-5 in the dramatic final clash, which took place on Friday 28 September. Picture: HOLLY SNELL By Denzil de Klerk him taken out near the Heathens’ try-line. The Heathens’ first successful attack came halfway through the first half when, with superb vision, the Heathens’ fly-half dabbed the ball forward behind Dream Team defence. It required only one pass on the inside for the Heathens’ right wing, Hloni Mpobole, to be in the clear for an excellent try. After a successful conversion attempt, the Heathens took a 7-5 lead. For the remainder of the first half Heathens were the clear aggressors, putting Dream Team on the back foot. Their continued pressure saw Heathens awarded with a penalty at the end of the half, about 15 meters out. They opted for a scrum, but were unable to construct an efficient attacking move to breach Dream Team defence, ending the first half 7-5 to Heathens. Both teams’ play improved vastly in the second half, making for a more entertaining game. Heathens dominated from the outset, with their number 4 slipping through a gap and giving them a good tryscoring opportunity. Though Dream Team defence kept them from crossing the line, they could not do so without conceding a penalty. This was a great opening for Heathens to extend their lead by another three points, but the attempt struck the left upright, much to the dismay of the crowd. With yet another attacking move by Heathens, their backs spread the ball and carried it up the left side of the field. With a one-man overlap, one more pass was required to put Heathens’ left wing into an ideal try-scoring position. The pass was too high and sailed into touch. The last two scoring opportunities of the match both came for Dream Team, who finished the match resiliently. They narrowly missed taking the lead on both occasions. First, they were awarded a penalty in a kickable position which was not converted. Then, in the dying minutes Dream Team attacked up the left side and crossed the Heathens try-line in what appeared to be the winning try. The assistant referee adjudged the Dream Team player to have been in touch before crossing the line, however, and all Dream Team’s hopes were smothered. Upon the final whistle the Heathens players jumped and celebrated, while some Dream Team players were seen lying on the ground in despair, ultimately exhausted. Dream Team player, Graham Harrison, believes his team was the better team on the night. “There was a suspicious lineout called in the dying minutes which disallowed Dream a try,” he said. Jimmy Hitchcock, also from Dream Team, believes the match was extremely close. “It was just a matter of making the kicks. Both teams defended like machines,” he said. Heathens’ victory was their second in two years.
he Rhodes Rugby Internal League came to a close on Friday 28 September in a dramatic final between Heathens and Dream Team. It was a hard-fought match between the top two sides in this year’s competition, but the Heathens eventually emerged as victors with a final score of 7-5. Heathens kicked the match off and immediately applied pressure on Dream Team’s defence after they were unable to secure the high ball. However, the early phases of the match were plagued by unconvincing handling on the part of both teams. A knock-on by Heathens on their own 22-meter line gave Dream Team a good scoring opportunity early in the first half, but they were unable to capitalise and knocked the ball on themselves. The deadlock was eventually broken when an excellently executed blindside move by Dream Team saw their centre, Matthew Clark, slide past the Heathens defenders to score near the corner flag. They were unable to convert the try, however, leaving the score at 0-5 to Dream Team. They continued to dominate proceedings, while Heathens made a number of handling errors. One of their knock-ons was gathered by Dream Team’s right wing, who surged up the right touchline in search of the team’s second try. A valiant defensive tackle saw
Rhodes players pocket excellent results at pool championships
By Denzil de Klerk Rhodes University Pool Club (RUPC) is having an exceptional year with some outstanding results and performances by some of its key members. If their achievements at the Eastern Province (EP) Championships two weeks ago are anything to go by, only excellent results from the national tournament played over the past weekend can be expected from the respective Rhodes representatives. At the Eastern Cape Championships, Rhodes was represented in the u/18 and u/23 singles and doubles competitions. Cwenga Blekiwe won the u/18 singles competition, while first, second and third places in the u/23 singles competition were all claimed by Rhodes players. The latter three, in order, were Marc Jacobs, Manqoba Hlatshwayo and Shaun Gordon. Two Rhodes pairs claimed first and second place in the u/23 doubles competition with Hlatshwayo and his brother, Zweli, claiming first, and club chairperson Kevin McMenamin and Jacobs taking second place. These results reflect a total Rhodes domination in the Eastern Cape province. “This was an outstanding achievement against fiercely competitive competition for our club and our players, that on our first appearance at this annual event, we walked away with confirmation that RUPC is producing the best talent in the province,” said McMenamin. He also made special mention of Jacobs, whose win in the singles and second place in the doubles were impressive feats. Jacobs managed to make the men’s u/23 provincial 8-ball team, the first time anyone has done so without playing a set of trials, along with four other Rhodes students. These include the two Hlatshwayo brothers, Gordon, and McMenamin. Blekiwe was chosen for the men’s u/18 8-ball team. RUPC also boasted the qualification of three of its female members for the provincial team. Milena Wolmerans, Candice Gardner and Caitlin Gibson all qualified for the Eastern Province Women’s 8-ball team. Secretary of the EP 8-ball Association Elsabé Rademeyer, who is a relative of Pieter Rademeyer, the 2009 World Over 50s Champion, praised RUPC for the excellent achievements of its pool players in the tournament. “Congratulations to RUPC, you almost took everything,” she said. “With spirit and talent like that, Eastern Province will come back from Nationals with the trophies.” Keep an eye open for the results from nationals on www.oppidanpress.com
These results reflect a total Rhodes domination in the Eastern Cape
President’s proposal Upstart: speaking interrogated our minds
see page 5 see page 8
Rhodes gleeks band together
see page 12
Sports Admin dominates Rhodeslympics
By Denzil de Klerk
n support of Wellness Week and in the spirit of the Olympic year, the staff of Sports Admin challenged the other departments at Rhodes to see who was superior in the fields of volleyball, netball, 5-a-side soccer and basketball. The event was called Rhodeslympics, and took place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week. There were a total of five departments who accepted the challenge put out by Sports Admin, namely Information Technology (IT), Housekeeping, Human Resources (HR), Chemistry and Electrical Maintenance. Due to the confident nature in which Sports Admin put out the challenge, all the other departments were well supported by one another in the hope that Sports Admin would be knocked off of their pedestal. Despite their efforts, Sports Admin managed to claim victories in all of their matches, some emphatic, but others for which a lot of sweat and determination were required. Sports Admin kicked their Rhodeslympics campaign off on Tuesday with a match of 5-a-side soccer, commonly known as futsal, against IT. Sports Admin won 4-2. Wednesday played host to the next fixture, again against IT, but this time on the basketball court. A total annihilation was on the cards here, with Sports Admin massacring IT 46-5. Later that afternoon was HR’s turn to face the wrath of Sports Admin in a game of volleyball. HR narrowly went down 1-2 in sets, a score which was mirrored in the next volleyball match between Sports Admin and IT. Both HR and IT were resilient in their efforts, but could just not find the edge over their opponents. Sport Admin’s final fixture was a netball match against Housekeeping. The arriving Sports Admin team was cheered with much enthusiasm by the Housekeeping players who had been waiting on the tennis courts for some time. This match was another of Sport Admin’s merciless displays, as they thumped Housekeeping 15-0. Head of Sports Admin Andrew Matatu emphasised that his team could not afford to lose any of their matches. Being Sports Admin meant they had to show the others that they were the true experts in the field. In discussing their victories, he said, “We victimised our opponents.” To give some others the taste of victory, matches were also played between the other departments, with Sports Admin taking the side-line. Chemistry played a netball match against IT in which they won 4-3, a soccer match between Electrical Maintenance and Chemistry saw the former claim a 7-5 victory, and Chemistry took to the soccer pitch again, beating HR 8-4. Rhodeslympics allowed those who do not find much time and opportunity to take part in recreational activities to put their takkies on and bring the youth out of their bones. This initiative was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The Inter-res ‘round the block’ was held on Saturday 6 October. Though a poor turnout, the four teams of four participants each enthusiastically competed. The winning team (pictured) was the De Beers residence, which comprised of Yondela Norman, Murray Coumbis, Richard Maradze and Fabio De Dominicis. Picture: JOSHUA OATES
Sports Admin managed to claim victories in all of their matches, some emphatic, but others for which a lot of sweat and determination were required.
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