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The Oppidan Press
Edition 2, 1 March 2013
The line between art and vandalism 4
SRC by-elections rundown SRC resignations deemed unproblematic
Crowds gather at athletics event
Photo: Ivan Blazic
Photo: Ivan Blazic
The Oppidan Press 1 March 2013
RU students amidst name-change debacle
By Ndileka Lujabe he debate on whether to alter Grahamstown’s name continued when representative councillors of the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Makana Municipality went head to head concerning the validity of Rhodes University’s vote in the name-change debacle. Recent comments made by ANC councillor Nomhle Gaga, have sparked tension with DA councillor Brian Fargher, whose Ward 12 council includes the university. Gaga remarked that Rhodes students have no say in the matter as they do not belong in Grahamstown, . She insisted that Ward 12 is a “mobile ward” because of its students who are temporary residents and not part of the history of Grahamstown. Leslie Reynolds, a DA councillor, disagreed with this view, stating members of Ward 12 should have a say in this matter seeing that they are registered to vote in this city. The inability of Gaga to agree to include Ward 12 in the name-changing decision has left Rhodes caught in the middle, possibly on account of the fact that it is under the DA’s jurisdiction. Dr Sally Matthews, a senior lecturer in the Politics and International Relations Department, agreed with this, stating that because Rhodes is under DA council, the ANC council assumes that they are likely to object to the changing of the name. Matthews, who does not oppose either of the views, thinks the ANC council won’t be as enthusiastic in hearing students’ opinions because they aren’t invested in the Grahamstown community, seeing as they leave after obtaining their degrees. Due to this belief, previous Politics Honours and current LLB student, Mbali Baduza, thinks that students shouldn’t have more say than the local residents. “The students don’t live in Grahamstown, they live in Rhodes,” she said. She does, however, agree that students must be allowed some sort of involvement. She adds that changing the name is important and that she wants it to change because of the history of the place. “Grahamstown just sounds like someone else’s town,” she stated. Chantelle Malan, a Masters student, stated that, “changing the name won’t change people’s attitudes.” She agreed, however, that a conversation needs to happen where townsfolk are engaged in the decision-making of their municipality. “It has to be transparent,” she went on to say, “so that the people are informed as to why the name is being changed and how much money it is going to cost. “Transparency is important, whether or not the name is changed.” Reynolds explained, “They [the students] are not against the name change, but are for the proper process. We are supposed to be living in a democratic world.” Both Gaga and Fargher were unavailable for comment at the time of print. Journalism students will now have to take up isiXhosa as part of their course. Photo: HOLLY SNELL
isiXhosa a contested addition
By Tegan Scales and Lauren Flynn The decision of the School of Journalism and Media Studies (JMS) to implement isiXhosa as a prerequisite subject in obtaining either a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Journalism and Media Studies, or a Bachelor of Journalism has stirred mixed feelings amongst its students. The JMS Curriculum Chair Jeanne du Toit confirmed that from 2013, the subject is compulsory for students who intend on pursuing a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Students who make the notorious ‘cut’ from first year to second year are required to enrol in isiXhosa from their second year and upwards. “We [the JMS School] were open to the idea of incorporating an African language due to its success in other courses,” said du Toit. “Students need to be multilingual in order to be good journalists.” “We understand that it is a massive change to go through. However, we encourage the students to take it sooner rather than later,” du Toit added. The 2013 second year JMS students who have successfully made it through have the decision of when to take up this compulsory language. Second-year student Stuart Lewis chose to enrol in isiXhosa this year, and has approached the subject with positivity and enthusiasm as an aspiring journalist.
LLB student Mbali Baduza [left] and Masters student Chantelle Malan discuss the debates surrounding students’ involvement in Grahamstown. Photo: NDILEKA LUJABE
“I think it’s a fantastic and necessary step for the development of young journalists,” Lewis explained. “It forces you out of your comfort zone and ties you to the area in which you will spend your whole degree operating.” Lewis noted that learning a new language not only broadens a student’s ability to converse with mother-tongue speakers of isiXhosa, but goes beyond linguistic exchange. “You are also exposing them to cultures beyond their own, thus making them far more effective journalists,” said Lewis. “They can appeal to multiple demographics and source stories from a far wider pool.” Not so-optimistic opinions concerning the new addition are, however, still evident. Chelsea Sanford, a first-year newcomer to the JMS School, was not as enthusiastic as the second year students about the newly introduced requirement needed to accomplish her journalistic ambitions. “I do believe it should be an optional course and not compulsory and we, the students, should be able to decide whether it will benefit our future or not,” said Sanford. “The prospect of learning an African language as a compulsory subject really scares me. Languages are not my forte but if I need to study it in order to achieve my goal of being an outstanding journalist, then I will give it my best,” she added. “I understand that journalists in South Africa should learn a language closer to home and I do see those benefits of learning isiXhosa; however it only caters to a certain group in society,” said Sanford. “We are conscious of the talk among students,” du Toit concluded. “Nevertheless, no formal complaints have been made.”
We [the JMS School] were open to the idea of incorporating an African language due to its success in other courses. Students need to be multilingual in order to be good journalists.
-Jeanne du Toit JMS Curriculum Chair
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Non-compulsory events a change for the better
By Matthew de Klerk and Lonwabo Nodada espite some student scepticism concerning the 2013 changes to Orientation Week’s activities, namely that they are now officially non-compulsory, the Dean of Students (DoS) Dr Vivian de Klerk is adamant that they have been for the better. De Klerk stressed that the O-Week events should never have been forced. “They have never been ‘compulsory’, but there were complaints that they had developed into something verging on initiation in some residences,” she said. According to de Klerk, some students were forced to get up at 5am to practice for the serenades, culminating in one incident where 16 doors were smashed open in a residence last year when its first-year students did not emerge on time. De Klerk also noted that the presentation of serenades forced participants to dress in ways that made them feel very uncomfortable and to engage in extremely awkward encounters. “Certain religions forbid singing and dancing,” she said. “We need to be sensitive to the diverse backgrounds of all of our students.” Although complaints concerning serenades had been in abundance among students in the past, a formal complaint in the form of a letter was made to the DoS office last year. Sent by a new student at Rhodes University, the letter expressed complaints of sexual objectification and concerns about the mounting pressure on firstyear students to participate despite the ‘non-compulsory’ nature of the event. More importantly, their personal unwillingness to take part based on religious beliefs or personal principles were also addressed. These complaints were echoed by other students, even appearing in the Residence Quality of Life survey that is run annually. In a move to deal with these claims and complaints, de Klerk worked with Hall Committees, who were required to discuss the matter in their respective halls and residences. Negotiations took place between elected representatives of each hall, hall wardens, the Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellors, the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and the DoS. Despite the controversy surrounding these implementations, de Klerk believes the serenades have been received in a much more positive light this year. “I was a judge at the RU Jamming event, and was impressed with all the performances, which were not offensive or highly sexualised as they have been in past years,” she said. However, the option to ignore the wake-up calls and not take part in the residences’ activities during O-Week has been met with divided opinion, with some feeling that newcomers are unwittingly opting out of one of the best traditional experiences of residence life. “[Having serenades] not being compulsory is kind of sad,” said secondyear student Anthony Hodgson. “I really enjoyed doing the serenades and getting to know my fellow res mates without having to go out and party, seeing as that might not be some people’s vibe. The house as a whole, in my opinion, came together and made a very new, intimidating experience very comfortable and welcoming. You also get to know a lot of the girls’ reses, which is social and relieving for those who are possibly shy and timid,” said Hodgson. Second year student and member of the Olive Schreiner House Committee, Anelisiwe Tsotsi, expressed similar feelings towards the way in which the serenades took place this year. “Of course it was more appropriate because everything had to be done in a very restricted, civil way. The experience that I had last year when you wake up at 5am and you haven’t brushed your teeth and you still have to sing to these guys and have an awesome time was more fun for me. I feel this year was quite dry,” said Tsotsi. Some feel the voluntary nature of the serenades is a good change. “I believe that it being voluntary is not necessarily a bad thing,” said Lucy Holford-Walker, who served on the Victoria Mxenge House Committee last year. “Serenades most certainly make for a bond among new students, due to their being thrown in the deep end and having to sing a song and learn a dance with their counterparts, but now there is excess pressure on House Committees. It is now up to them to ensure that the other activities on offer in no way give cause for discomfort for anyone - teas or picnics with other residences, for example.” De Klerk does, however, believe that the changes are for the better and has evidence to prove it. Showing emails sent to her by members of various House Committees at the University, she said that there was much praise for the new system. “Giving our first-year students a choice when it came to serenading actually made them more excited for it,” said a student in one email. “All of our new students wanted to be involved in the process, and girls who were shy were quite happy to stand in the back row and sing along.” The email, which de Klerk shared on Facebook, went on to say that upon consulting the first years about whether they were happy to be woken up at 6:30am for serenades, they readily agreed and all seemed to be excited about the serenades, as opposed to the previous year when girls were grumpy and unhappy at the rude awakening. Another email agreed, saying the changes were much needed even if they were unpopular at first. “When we made it clear that everything was voluntary it really seemed to help the first years to understand that we were not superior to them in any way and they seemed more comfortable when interacting with us.” It remains to be seen whether House Committees will rise to the challenge and whether or not 2013’s first years will be exposed to all the usual traditions as the year progresses.
1 March 2013 The Oppidan Press
‘Guide to Social Activities During Orientation’:
-No social activities may commence before 7am -Students should be sober, and should not wear revealing clothing on such occasions (jeans/ t-shirts/ tracksuits are appropriate) -House Committees must base strategies to set up conversation on a random numerical card system (i.e not keys, shoes, etc.), and must encourage interaction in threesomes or larger groups (no pairings) -The conversations that take place should be culturally neutral and ‘above-board’, avoiding topics with deliberate sexual connotations.
Helen Joseph first years being serenaded by Guy Butler first year residence during this year’s O-Week. Photo: MATTHEW de KLERK
The Oppidan Press 1 March 2013
A e 2 C r t
Will students benefit from SRC by-elections?
By Kyla Hazell ollowing the resignation of three SRC councillors earlier this year, Rhodes is on standby for the results of a by-election held to determine who will fill the position of Student Benefits and Sponsorship Councillor and many are concerned about candidates’ commitment to the position. The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) took a knock earlier this year when the consecutive resignations of three key councillors left them with positions to fill. Following the appointment of last year’s runners up to the positions of Media Councillor and Residence Councillor, Rhodes students were asked to vote this week in a byelection to fill the position of Student Benefits and Sponsorship Councillor. In a statement released by the Office of the SRC Presidency at the beginning of term, students were informed that Khanyisile Phiri had resigned from the position of Residence Councillor due to a Constitutional conflict caused by her no longer being a student in residence for the year 2013. In accordance with the SRC Constitution, runner-up Tendai Mapuranga was appointed to replace her. Having obtained her undergraduate degree, Naledi Pholo, SRC elected Student Benefits and Sponsorship Councillor for 2013, also handed in her resignation following a decision to begin working this year rather than continue with her studies at Rhodes. There was no runner up for her position, consequently necessitating the by-election. In an interesting turn, elected SRC Media Councillor Sarah Price-Jones decided to step down from her position and run instead for Pholo’s former portfolio in the by-election, contested by candidate Lethabo Sekele. PriceJones has been replaced as media councillor by runner-up Lulama Qongqo. The issue of councillors’ commitment to their portfolios was raised several times at the by-election “ReGrazzle” held on Monday 25 February. Candidates were given the opportunity to address students on their plans should they be elected and to answer questions posed by the sizeable audience. First to speak, Price-Jones began by offering an explanation for her decision to resign from the media portfolio, saying that, while she loves being a part of the SRC, she has found herself unable to reconcile her own personality and capabilities with the expectations of the portfolio, particularly in the field of computer skills. Following on from a campaign in which she assured students that she has not forgotten them, Price-Jones apologised to any students who feel betrayed by her resignation and emphasised her belief that new media councillor, Qongqo, is better qualified for the role. “All too often, councillors who aren’t qualified remain in their positions and do not deliver on the promises in their manifestos,” Price-Jones said. “Your new councillor is more competent than me for the position and this will be to the benefit of students.” Price-Jones stressed that her true talents – communicating with and assisting students – are better aligned with the position of Student Benefits and Sponsorship Councillor and, when questioned, assured those present that she would not resign again. Though this declaration was greeted with laughter from the audience, PriceJones continued to say, “I have weaknesses, but engaging with students is not one of them. Helping students is not one of them. Computer design – that is one of them.” Price-Jones said that her primary goals, aside from continuing services such as exam treats and the Oppidan bus, will be making students more aware of available funding, scholarship, and bursary opportunities through moveable notice-boards and addressing, together with the rest of the council, the issue of unequal National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding received by residence and Oppidan students. Her main emphasis was on the need to communicate and engage with those she represents. Communication with students was also a key point in opposing candidate Lethabo Sekele’s address, as was the issue of the NSFAS funding discrepancies. Citing prior experience in Rhodes University leadership positions including sub-wardenship, having been a wellness leader, and having served as the vice-president of Golden Key Honour Society, Sekele said, “I believe I have the empathy, courage, and persistence required for this portfolio.” Sekele said that one of her goals for the year would be to secure sponsorship to assist SRC councillors in carrying out their duties and to free up money so the Bail Out Fund (for students who are financially excluded) can be increased. She aims also to develop the relationship between the SRC and Financial Aid office, to do what she can to deal with the national issue of NSFAS funding, and to get involved with the Universities plans to improve facilities for disabled students on campus. In a break with recent tradition, audience participation at the re-Grazzle remained calm throughout the evening and SRC Liason Officer, Eric Ofei, expressed his satisfaction with the turn out. “The attendance was amazing and the best turn-out we have had for a byelection. There was also little drama so some may have been disappointed, but we could not have asked for a better turnout,” he said. Mohammad Shabangu, who chaired Monday’s re-Grazzle, said that while he could not comment on the adequacy of candidates’ responses under questioning, he could say that every year seems to present the problem of candidates’ needing to do more thorough research into the expectations of their prospective portfolios. “Had this
Photo: IVAN BLAZIC
R a s o o Photo: IVAN BLAZIC‘
F a M been done in the beginning, we might w not be in the situation of having a by- J S election.,” he said. Voting took place on Tuesday the n a 26th and Wednesday the 27th of February. Ballot stations were situateds in dining halls as well as at the library r for off-campus students. According 2 to Ofei, participation at the end of the w first day was very promising with voter j numbers looking better than last year’s general election and certain of the voting stations running out of ballot c w papers. The election results are due to be released at the first student forum meeting of 2013 on Thursday 28th of February. Regardless of the result, it is almost certain that the new councillors will be under close scrutiny by the student body. Check online at www.oppidanpress. com for the results of the by-election and interviews with your new SRC councillors.
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be a disservice to you, the students,” said Jones. ‘“My strength and passion lies in interacting with students on a personal basis, not virtually via Facebook, Twitter, etc.” Jones went on to say that the runner up to the portfolio in the 2012 elections, Luluma Qongqo, was more qualified to do the job than she was, and subsequently felt she was doing the SRC a disservice by holding onto a portfolio she did not feel capable of fulfilling. She ended off her statement on the SRC Facebook page with her signature pink slogan, “PINK signified never forgetting; I will never forget you… ever.” Similar to last year, the controversial slogan seemed to attract the heat of some student commentators. In the press statement from the SRC, the council supported her decision and added that they admired the “honesty and courage exhibited by her in the latter statement.” Although the comments on the SRC Facebook page were also supportive, generally thanking Jones for her honesty, students expressed their concerns that Rhodes begins yet another year with a string of resignations. Subsequently, a stir was caused among students, with comments such as ‘another Councillor resigns!’ SRC Liaison Officer, Eric Ofei was confident that the resignations had not affected the SRC this year as it had last year. “Last year, I think the trouble with the resignations had to do with the handover,” said Ofei. “This year, the outgoing Media Councillor [Jones] had a good relationship with the runner-up [Qongqo] and also, the new Residence Councillor shadowed the outgoing councillor during O-Week so that there wasn’t a huge void left.” Ofei went on to say that last year a crucial portfolio was vacated, that of Societies, and that this year the only by-election is for that of Student Benefits Councillor. Qongqo, as the runner-up, automatically replaced Jones under the terms of the SRC’s constitution, and in Jones’ opinion she was far more deserving of the position than herself. According to the students’ constitution, “if the runner-up in the vacated constituency is available and willing to take the forfeited place, the SRC shall co-opt the runner-up according to the results of the previous election.” Although SRC Environmental Councillor, Luke Cadden, had assured worried students that this was only the first actual resignation due to the other two resignations based on technicalities, the fact of the matter is that there were still gaping holes left by the other two councillors’ resignations. According to the press statement released by the SRC, Phiri resigned due to a constitutional conflict. As she no longer lives in residence, Phiri is no longer eligible for the position of Residence Councillor. Luckily enough for the SRC, the Residence Councillor position also had a runner-up and so Tendai Mapuranga was instated. The SRC encountered their third stroke of bad luck when Pholo indicated that she would no longer be a student at Rhodes University, having finished her undergraduate degree and unexpectedly “stepped into the working world”, as the SRC had called it. The uncontested position left no easy replacement for the council. Just three days after this, Jones announced her decision to run for Pholo’s old position. “I have learned where my strengths, my weaknesses and most importantly, where my passions lie: with serving and helping students in a more holistic, personal and compassionate manner,” she explained. The scene is now similar to last year’s with Jones’s controversial Pink campaign set to line the walls of the university. Last year, her Pink campaign picked up a fair amount of
1 March 2013 The Oppidan Press
SRC: Off to another rocky start?
My strength and passion lies in interacting with students on a personal basis, not virtually via Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Sarah Price-Jones SRC Candidate heat from students on the SRC Facebook page and the Grazzle, becoming a breeding ground for personal attacks and daily dramas. However, Ofei is confident that the by-elections are going to go well. “We speculate it will go very smoothly,” said Ofei. “Personally I am looking forward to the controversial comments on the Rhodes SRC Facebook page.” If last year’s election spats are anything to go by, this election campaign will not leave Ofei or students disappointed.
By Emily Corke Politics
After a lengthy and complicated election process at the end of 2012, the Student Representative Council (SRC) has been hit by three resignations in the first two weeks of the academic year. The initial resignations of both Residence Councillor, Khanyisile Phiri, and Student Benefits and Sponsorship Councillor, Naledi Pholo, were overshadowed by the later resignation of Media Councillor and controversial ‘Pink Lady’, Sarah Price-Jones. In a press release on Tuesday 12 February, the office of the presidency announced that the elected SRC Media Councillor for the year 2013 was stepping down. This was after Jones released a statement on the SRC Facebook page where she felt she needed to “properly and informally address… the students (whom I owe so much to)… with regards to my resignation as SRC Media Councillor 2012/2013.” Jones’ reasoning for stepping down r was related to a misunderstanding of s job titles and her own capabilities. “I discovered that I neither have the capabilities nor the passion to continue with this portfolio as doing so would
Students from local Grahamstown schools protest outside the Department of Education on Constitution Street on Thursday, 21 March. The children, alongside parents and teachers, gathered to see Mayor Zamuxolo Peter to whom they wanted to deliver a memorandum demanding three things: the participation of educators in schools, safety in schools and the promise that these demands will be met within seven days. Photo: KIRSTEN MAKIN
Do pets dig digs?
student has to have sufficient knowledge of how to look after the pet and must have long-term plans for the pet, including care during the holidays. Finding someone responsible to care for your pets while you are away, or alternatively, taking them on holiday with you often proves to be a challenge. According to Karen Kouari, the Vice Chairperson on the local SPCA, there are cases where students buy pets and then abandon them over the December holidays. Often the neighbours then take responsibility for them either by adopting them or taking them to the SPCA. Dogs are especially vulnerable, because they cannot fend for themselves like cats can. Pets add a lot of fun, love and humour, and can be a wonderful addition to a house, provided they are well-trained. Untrained dogs can cause quite a mess in a house, and it is important to consider the other residents in a digs before getting a pet. Tegan Scales, a third-year student who lives in digs with three dogs, has experienced the hassles of badlytrained dogs: “The owner of the bull terrier mix didn't train his dog so it always rips up rubbish. She chews a lot of things as well.” She also advises not getting too many pets. “It was a lot of work at times,” said Scales. Despite this, though, her account of pets is a very positive one and she recommends getting pets, saying that “they add character to a digs.” Pets cost money not only to buy, but also to take care of. There are many ongoing costs involved after buying a pet. Cats and dogs need to be dewormed three times a year and given their general shots every two years. Veterinary costs in the case of pets getting sick or hurt should also be accounted for. Pedigree animals are more likely to get
The Oppidan Press 1 March 2013
By Sibella Louw Environment
ne of the perks of moving out of residence is being able to get a pet or two. Many people are heard saying that they miss their pets back home and are quite excited to move out of res and get themselves a fluffy companion. Unfortunately, pet-keeping has a bite to it as well. Pets become problematic when students start running low on budget or when they need to leave the digs for a long period of time during the holidays. They can be quite pricy to look after and some species require much attention and affection, which may be taxing on stres students stressed by exams. First and foremost it should be noted that, because of the abundance of homeless animals and the often questionable conditions of breeding facilities, it is always better to adopt pets from the SPCA, rather than buying them from breeders. There are plenty of cats and dogs of all ages who would love a warm and comfortable home. The SPCA is in the industrial area off the N2, not far from campus, and easily visible from the N2. ROAR (Rhodes Organisation for Animal Rights) has a shuttle going there every other weekend to visit the animals, so transport should not be a problem. Dogs generally cost from R455 to R565, and cats from R295 to R395. This includes deworming, spaying, vaccination and an ID tag (for dogs), and is a very reasonable price. When adopting a pet, a student needs to take their student card and ID along, and the SPCA will make sure the property is suitable for the pet (it is important to have a garden and enough space for certain pets). The
There are a number of factors to consider when adopting a pet into your home or digs. Photo: JOSHUA OATES sick than mixed-breed animals. Food, blankets, toys and miscellaneous equipment for pets should also be taken into consideration. Cats and dogs are the more expensive pets to keep, whereas birds and small rodents are cheaper, and fish generally the cheapest. According to the manager of the Hoof & Hound pet store in Pepper Grove Mall, the pets most commonly bought by students are goldfish and rodents. This is undoubtedly because they cost less and are more practical when travelling. Before buying a pet it is important to check at the local shops and pet stores how much it will cost every month. The average price for a one-meal packet of cat or dog food is R5, where a can of 400g, which serves approximately four meals, is around R14. A pack of cat litter usually costs approximately R40 and a kilogram of kibble for cats or dogs ranges from R33 to R46. Then there are also treats, like dog biscuits, which can average at R38 per kilogram. As for the more budget-friendly pets, fish at the Hoof & Hound cost from R7.50 to R29, depending on the species. A bowl is a low R90, but a tank is more advisable, as it gives the fish more space. It costs R329. All the other miscellaneous things, like food, plastic plants, and pebbles could amount to around R120. The food, will of course be a continual expense. Monthly expenses for birds, including food, a beak sharpener and snacks come to more or less R40, but birds themselves tend to cost more than fish, and they have more expensive maintenance costs. Apart from money, pets also cost time and affection. A pet left at home alone for too long is likely to get very lonely, and the busy life of a student often requires being on campus for long periods at a time. A pet is a wonderful companion to have, but students are advised to be very careful about getting them, as they are costly and require much effort, time, attention, and above all, love to care for. Students need to be well dedicated to look after a pet, and those who are likely to have commitment issues should think twice before adopting or buying on a whim and thereby seriously affecting an animal’s life.
Copyright law: what you don’t know could hurt you
By Tsitsi Mashingaidze SciTech Copyright law is something that goes unnoticed by many students. As society becomes more digitalised, the potential for copyright infringement increases. It is important that students understand how copyright affects them, and to note that copyright law applies equally to everyone. Although copyright law is limiting to students’ use of materials, it can also be advantageous in protecting their own creative work. South African law protects all creative work as long as it is in a tangible form. The Copyright law keeps people’s work from being copied without their permission and allows the creator to have control of how their work can be used. This measure is not only fair but also necessary for writers, artists and musicians so that they can make a living from their work. In most cases individuals are not allowed to make copies, re-publish or re-sell material, which means that they are required by the law to check before they reproduce or modify copyrighted material in any way. Student Charles Anam shared his thoughts on the issue. “I think it’s an indispensable law because most of the time people do not realise the kind of impact they are making on the media industry just by choosing to duplicate someone’s hard earned work,” he said. Admittedly, there an abundance of copyrighted works out there that can help lecturers and students during the course of their education, but it does not always make sense for academics to buy licenses for each and every work they use to demonstrate an idea or back up an assertion on an assignment. The good news for students is that the law does permit them to make a limited number of copies without copyright permission for research, the purpose of study, or personal or private use. Borrowing a book from the library, listening to a CD you have purchased, or watching a DVD you have rented: these are all legitimate personal uses of copyrighted works. However, the reproduction and distribution for commercial advantage or private gain could land offenders on the wrong side of the law. Rhodes University head librarian Vivian Botha stated that “Rhodes University does not have a formal copyright policy but does keep within the law to alert students to what may or may not be allowed to be reproduced.” By posting copyright warnings by all public scanners and copiers, they ensure that students are informed of the copyright regulations to which the University adheres. The library allows certain material to be copied or scanned, in accordance to Section 12 of the Copyright Act No 98 of 1978 as amended, which is referred to as “fair dealing” and dictates that copies for others may not be made. Botha went on to add that “although not specified in the copyright legislation, publishers generally permit 10% or one chapter, whichever is lesser to be copied for study or research.” To fully utilise printed works, universities in South Africa are generally required to obtain permission to make photocopies for library short-loan reserves, electronic reserved copies, course packs and single item handouts. They must also obtain permission to digitise, display, perform or distribute print works. If an alleged infringement is severe enough - that is, the media is used for unauthorised distribution of multiple copyrighted works - the guilty party could face criminal charges. They could end up with a fine of R5000 and 5 years imprisonment per infringement, with the penalty for a second conviction being R10 000. “It’s definitely something you take for granted,” said student Chemutai Ngok. “It’s not something I ever think about until I’m in violation of it and find myself in trouble,” she said.
Rhodes University does not have a formal copyright policy but does keep within the law to alert students to what may or may not be allowed to be reproduced
- Rhodes University head librarian Vivian Botha
Societies battle to beat the budget
By Timothy Rangongo and Raymond Ndhlovu art and parcel of coming to university is the prospect of finally getting to join unique societies that cater to one’s personal and professional needs. Whatever the need may be, Rhodes University is more than likely to have an already-established, if not new, society to cater for your every aspiration. Societies and clubs are student-run organisations that are mainly formed for developmental, leisure, sporting or charity purposes, with a focus on personal development. This is the reason why signing up takes place during the Live Smart Week: in order to enhance the idea of a wellrounded and balanced student lifestyle. Joining a society also tends to have a positive impact on one’s social life as it is one of the places where students will be able to meet fellow students who share common interests, such as photography, anime or the same country of birth, to name a few. The students’ social networks are therefore enriched in these societies. Societies Sign-up is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated days in the first term. First-year students are usually the most enthusiastic about the event. Arriving students are like a large school of fish, with the shark-esque societies drooling at the prospect of fresh meat. Freebies are the bait of choice, ranging from stationery, cupcakes and sweets to storage media. Everything comes at a price though: when signing up, the student’s account is debited with anywhere between R70 and R350 in subscription fees, for which the student is held liable. Sometimes, these freebies are all the student will get. Students should always be aware that their subscription fees can only provide for so much during the year. Given that the average subscription is at around R200 and R80 is frequently spent on a member t-shirt, the remainder is often spread thinly. The average society member at Rhodes has about R30 per term allocated for society activity. This is not a significant amount. Some students join societies with the anticipation of gaining certain qualities and skills that will supplement their academic qualifications, and increase their employability. A good example would be Legal Activism or Toastmasters. One society that offers a chance to help with your career path is African Women Chartered Accountants (AWCA). The president, Karen Nhari says that due to monetary constraints, running a society is made more difficult. “We charge R300 at sign up and offer at least one well-catered and progressive event per term,” said Nhari. Despite this, events offered by this society often have an educational theme and high profile speakers. “There is only so much we can do with subscriptions,” Nhari said. “We use our position nationally with the mother body to leverage corporate sponsorship and provide the best service for our members.” The Association of Catholic Tertiary Students
1 March 2013 The Oppidan Press
Wine Tasting Society Committee members at this year’s Society Sign Up. Photo: MATTHEW DE KLERK (ACTS) charges approximately R120 subscription for the entire year, with members receiving more than just spiritual guidance for their money. Former ACTS Chairperson Colin Mkhize, who served the society for two years, said, “It allows students to travel to our two annual provincial events, gets them a t-shirt, pays for the weekly social functions hosted by ACTS, pays for the national branch affiliation fee with the national body of ACTS, contributes to gifts for the priests at the end of the year, community engagement budget and exam mass cakes.” For the most part, societies are working to the best of their abilities given constraints on budget, manpower and time. It’s up to the students to choose wisely.
COME DINE WITH ME
METHOD INGREDIENTS 1. Cook noodles and set - 500g beef/chicken aside in a dish. - 2 minute noodles 2. Dice onion, fry in a - 1 cup mixed veg* little oil until - 1 punnet of mushrooms golden (2-3 minutes). - 1 onion 3. Throw in beef and - 1/3 cup soya sauce season to taste. - 20ml brown sugar 4. Take out of the pan, - salt & pepper place in dish on side - crushed pineapple in pan pour oil and fry mushrooms and mixed veg/sprouts, add soy sauce, sugar and * Folks in town? Spruce up the meal and replace mixed veg with bean season to taste. sprouts and bamboo shoots. 5. Toss around in pan for 2 min. 6. Add meat and onion to veg, stir through and heat. 7. Serve on noodles 8. Enjoy.
*Folks in town? Spruce up the meal by replacing the mixed veg with bamboo shoots and bean sprouts. All ingredients available at Pick‘n Pay.
Monday-Sunday 6:30 to 23:00
More recipes available at www.picknpay.co.za
A New South Africa built by Agang?
By Alex Maggs Politics In a move that looks set to change South Africa’s political landscape, former political activist and prominent South African academic Dr Mamphela Ramphele launched the political party Agang, during an address at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on 18 February. Agang (which means “to build” in Sesotho) will run in the upcoming 2014 national elections. The party aims to take a stand against prevalent problems in South African government. These, according to Ramphele, include corruption, nepotism and poor governance. In her address Ramphele stated that passive citizenry is the cause of the unfavourable political state of the country and that consultation with those in villages, townships and suburbs, would aid in the creation of her party’s policies. “Today I announce that I am working with a group of fellow South Africans to form a party political platform that will focus on rekindling hope that building the country of our dreams is possible in our lifetime,” she said. Senior lecturer in the Politics department, Dr Sally Matthews was at first ambivalent toward the rumours of Ramphele’s political undertaking. “While she has many admirable qualities, I am not sure that participation in party politics is the best way to address some of our most pressing national problems,” said Matthews. Matthews criticised Ramphele’s speech, saying that it was, “Strong on emotive content and thin on clear political strategy.” “Of course this is her opening statement and she probably had to keep it quite vague and inclusive so that she can iron out strategy once she’s built up a support base,” she added. Third-year Politics student Kamogelo Molobye expressed his doubt in the party’s future prospects. “I feel like there are far too many parties trying to oppose the ANC without strong coalition with the other minor parties,” he said. “It would be better to form one strong opposition party. Ultimately, I feel that this won’t work.” Postgraduate Politics student and teaching assistant Yvonne Phyllis also doubted the party’s potential for success. “I think it’s good that we have female leaders of the calibre of Dr Ramphele who are trying to take a stand by branching out and doing something new, although in South African politics we have yet to see a party whose basis is not to criticise the ANC but to offer something new to our country,” she said.
The Oppidan Press 1 March 2013
e F h B s
A new face for social justice
Students for Social Justice (SSJ) to reinvent and restrategise
By Tarryn de Kock Politics hodes University has various opportunities for students to get involved in social justice and development initiatives, many of which include outreach to local communities. However, students have expressed concern that there is not enough political involvement on campus. Students for Social Justice (SSJ) is one campus-based organisation that aims to create political consciousness among its members and others on campus. It also extends beyond Rhodes campus and is involved in programs in Grahamstown and the greater Eastern Cape region. It is currently run by a small collection of students. Concerns have arisen about the future of the organisation now that most of its founding members have left. “There are different ideas about the future of SSJ,” said member Chris Morris. “We’re busy planning the direction in which we want to go this year to get students more actively involved and broaden our reach beyond the Rhodes campus.” Speaking in his personal capacity, Morris referred to an initiative proposed by prominent Grahamstown activists, such as Ayanda Kota of the Unemployed Peoples’ Movement, to start a political school in several locales in the province. These schools will endeavour to find ways for people in the Eastern Cape to work through the political, social and economic issues they face in their particular locales. Morris hopes that SSJ will be among the committed activists involved in facilitating these schools. “It is not an initiative aimed at talking,” Morris asserted. “We want to find out what these issues are so that we actually do things to alleviate them.” Issues such as poverty, corruption, low development and the migrant labour system will all have to be considered. Speaking of the SSJ’s goals for this year Morris stated, “The main focus, I hope, is that SSJ will have a more visible presence on campus this year, and that students will be able to find ways to get involved.” Founding member of SSJ Benjamin Fogel agrees that a greater SSJ presence on campus is needed. “One of its weaknesses was that there was not enough focus on campus issues, in order to build up more of a base at Rhodes,” he said. “My hope is that Rhodes will become more politicised in the future.” SSJ has been involved in initiatives which have had significant impact. They worked alongside the community-based organisation Ntinga Ntaba ka Ndoda, Rhodes University and Telkom, in order to set up an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) network among local schools. These organisations also worked to sponsor 50 computers for a Grahamstown school, so that they would be able to enter the ICT network. “My hope is that SSJ will become embedded in Grahamstown life; that we as students will be able to use the resources we have access to in order to assist the community that we live in,” Morris said. “Ultimately, we want to go beyond outreach work to include political involvement and to participate properly in our growing democracy.”
Christopher Morris is a member of Students for Social Justice. Photo: CHARLES MACKENZIE
i a o Th m y f o o
We’re busy planning the direction in which we want to go this year to get students more actively involved and broaden our reach beyond the Rhodes campus
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1. The running and managing of the Oppidan bus - transport to student digs at night 2. Funding of salaries of six sub-wardens who attend to: Noise issues Neighbour and Landlordrelated complaints Student Crisises Legal Advice 3. Oppidan Common Room Tea & Coffee provided twice daily TV/DSTV Carpet & Furniture Cleaning 4. Promoting Team Oppi Sport 5. Promoting Oppidan Community Engagement 6. O-Week activities including lunch and dinner for all firstyear Oppies 7. Social activities incl. workshops/events eg. safety & security workshops/digs olympic/digs quiz 8. Flyers/Posters used in advertising of workshops/ events 9. Mentoring Programme 10. Telephone calls concerning the accommodation list and other Oppi-related issues 11. Telephone calls to firstyear Oppies living far from campus (Grahamstown East) to establish their welfare (subwarden telephone calls) 12. A portion of the levy is donated to the Dean of Students pocket money fund for Oppidan Students.
1 March 2013 The Oppidan Press
#Stoprape trend too little, too late?
“Meaningless outrage” at another brutal rape
By Emily Corke he news that 17-year-old Anene Booysen had been gang-raped and disembowelled sparked countrywide horror. Following her attack in the early hours of the morning on 2 February, Booysen died from the injuries she sustained. The news of Booysen’s attack came in the wake of a worldwide outcry against the repeated rape and beating of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey. This attack was perpetrated by six men in New Delhi in December of last year. The stories revived this country from its numbness towards the crime of rape, uniting South Africans in outrage. The reaction of the South African and Indian publics was one of nationwide outcry. The chilling details of Booysen’s rape, made public through the media, emphasised the reality of such violence in South Africa and sparked the need for action. In the days following the attack there was a countrywide condemnation of rape in South Africa. Statistics and commentary plastered the walls of social media platforms, the message spread being ‘Stop Rape’. It did not take long for politicians to jump on the bandwagon. The Presidency, ANC Women’s League, COSATU and a number of opposition parties made strong statements condemning the rape and joined the country in mourning the death of this one girl. It was as if the country had only realised the extent of the South African rape problem thanks to the story of this rape alone. However, only rape, not genderbased violence, made it into the State of the Nation Address, in which President Jacob Zuma made strong statements condemning the rape of Booysen. “The brutal gang-rape and murder of Anene Booysen and other women and girls in recent times has brought into sharp focus the need for unity in action to eradicate this scourge,” he said. Talk Radio 702 and Lead SA started an initiative that took place on 8 February. The Stop Rape Campaign began on John Robbie’s show with the ‘rape beep’ attracting the attention of many including rape survivors, activists and politicians. “Every time you hear the beep on @ radio702, someone is being raped in SA. Turn your anger into action and #StopRape @lead_sa,” tweeted Robbie throughout the day. Twitter arguments ensued with particularly ignorant comments and assaults being made on activists who were calling for action and conveying their condemnation of rape. The idea of a rape culture and victim-blaming became common misunderstandings in the endless Twitter arguments. Most of these involved destructive, deliberately offensive and provoking statements and were sometimes directed at survivors speaking out. Rape myths and incorrect statistics sprawled across the internet. On 8 February, the hashtag #stoprape trended nationally and is still updating every hour from the various campaigns that have sprung up. Student Services Officer and gender activist at Rhodes University, Larissa Klazinga, tweeted that “#genderbasedviolence only makes news when it's super-grizzly or if someone famous is involved, 'Ordinary' rapes are not news - just normal.” Like Klazinga, many activists against rape felt that this entire outcry was too little, too late, and without definitive action. Frustrated activists called for more than just attention, shock and horror. Paul Berkowitz, writer for the Daily Maverick, said that, “Our outrage and blame is making us stupid and keeping us from finding solutions. [Although] the violent rape and murder of a young woman has united the entire country, [it was] an easy touchstone for our anger and our judgement.” Following Booysen’s story the pressure seemed to be on politicians to change the brutal reality of women in South Africa. Less-than-helpful advice from government included commentary by Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz, who said, “[Men and women must] please ensure they don’t get into situations at 3am in the morning, where they place themselves in danger.” Politicians felt the need to hijack the mourning in the wake of the gangrape, where they very publicly attended the funeral of Booysen. Among the speakers at the event was the ANC and the ANC Women’s League, but no representative from Booysen’s family. It didn’t take long for politics to interrupt the mourning for the 17-year-old, where the Western Cape COSATU representative managed to slip in a complaint about the DA. The multiple outcries and campaigns did little to provide more than the politicians in government had, other than once again placing the responsibility on women to act in a way that won’t cause them to be raped. Rhodes graduate, chair of the Gender Action Project and gender activist Michelle Solomon said, “Let me try condense this issue: if your first port of call is to tell women how to prevent rape, you are doing something seriously wrong.” Solomon went on to say that in her experience of the #stoprape campaign she had serious doubts about the campaign if its advocates were going to police women rather than demand better policing. The attention that Booysen’s rape attracted seemed set to fall to useless judgement because the majority of the country had no idea how to fight something they had been desensitised to for so long. “Again we have outrage at the rape and brutal murder of another South African girl,” said Solomon. “And while I’m tired of meaningless outrage, I understand many people just don’t know what they can do to help fight rape.” What follows now after the outrage and judgements have ceased is the question: Will this nationwide outcry turn into action?
www.ru.ac.za/oppidan Emergency Number: 078 804 6328
Oppidan Bus times: Pick up from outside main library 5pm - 11pm [Mon-Thurs] 5pm - 9pm [Friday] Oppidan events - First term Oppidan Olympics 9/3/2013 : 12 - 4pm Great Field Games evening 16/3/2013: 6pm Steve Biko Union
www.ru.ac.za/oppidan emergency number: 078 804 6328
Rape Crisis Contacts:
Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust is a non-governmental organisation which works tirelessly to stop rape. A sanctuary to survivors, they work towards legal reforms that will ensure perpetrators are brought to justice. Services include counselling, court preparation and support groups. Important contact numbers: Counselling lines: 021 447-9762 (Observatory) Website: www.rapecrisis.org.za Grahamstown: 046 603 7070 082 803 0177 (after hours)
Students make their voice heard at Rhodes Rising. Photo: Robynne Peatfield
The Oppidan Press 1 March 2013
The academic year has only been underway for 3 weeks and yet, 2013 seems to be full of promise. While sectors of Rhodes society seem committed to a clean slate, others seem to have dragged their dirty laundry from last year into this one. However, it would seem, both at The Oppidan Press and among the student body, that there is a greater commitment to analysis as opposed to apathy, paired with the enthusiasm which inevitably comes with a new year. On a macro level, issues of local government politics have spilled over onto the Rhodes agenda. Disagreements regarding the rights of Rhodes University, which comprises Ward 12, have forced a generally passive constituency to become more involved. On issues of water and a possible name change, it is incredibly important that students assert their place in Grahamstown, despite claims that they do not form part. Considering that 2014 will give the nation the opportunity to vote for provincial and local governments (with the addition of Agang), it is important, in all spheres of politics, for students to ascertain which entities show promise, and which are simply full of unlikely promises. On a micro level, the same discretion will be essential when looking at the Student Representative Council (SRC), especially considering the spate of resignations seen so early in the year and the fact that quorum was not necessary for the new councillors to be elected. However, an optimistic and more collaborative approach with the SRC this year could possibly yield more results than the unrelenting adversarial tone which underpins its Facebook page. The end of last year already suggested that students were more aware of what they expected to receive, not only from their government and their SRC, but from Rhodes University itself. The nature of serenades and other Orientation Week activities have been completely altered by the sentiments of students, whose complaints to the Dean of Students resulted in significant changes. However, it would seem that this particular issue is still fairly contentious, considering the non-compliance of certain members of the house committee structure. Also, one wonders what type of events did and will continue to bond first year residents, considering the separation between those who participated in serenades and those who did not. It seems that 2013 closed one compulsory door but opened another. Journalism students will be compelled to study isiXhosa as part of their degree. While the value of a local, African language cannot be ignored, there are significant consequences in so far as cost- where a student pays for a subject they would not have chosen and perhaps more pressingly, the way in which with which the Humanities policy of an “autonomous” subject combination is compromised. However, it is hoped that the benefits will be all those which have been promised. The Oppidan Press is committed to ensuring that the promise and promises of this year come to fruition. 2013 is the year for real results, in all forms and on all fronts.
Illustration: Amy Slatem
Extended studies needs support
By Kate-Lyn Moore
The Oppidan Press staff and contact details
Editor: Kirsten Makin. Deputy Editor: Binwe Adebayo. Managing Editor: Jamie Bezuidenhout. Assistant Managing Editor: Matthew Barbosa. Online Editor: Tyson Ngubeni. Assistant Online Editor: Stuart Lewis. Webmaster: Thandile Pambuka. News Features Editor: Tegan Scales. Environment Editor: Jordan du Toit. Politics Editor: Tarryn de Kock. Assistant Politics Editor: Emily Corke. Arts & Entertainment Editor: Thobani Mesani. Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editors: Jessica van Tonder, Dirk Steynberg. SciTech Editor: Lethabo Ntshudisane. Business Editor: Mudiwa Gavaza. Travel Editor: Ashleigh Brown. Assistant Travel Editor: Kyla Hazell. Sports Editor: Andrew Tombs. Chief Photo Editors: Josh Oates, Robynne Peatfield. Assistant Chief Photo Editor: Michelle Cunliffe. Chief Sub-Editors: KateLyn Moore, Matthew de Klerk, Lucy Holford-Walker. Sub-Editors: Kaitlin Cunningham, Amanda Murimba, Fabio De Dominics, Alexa Sedgwick. Chief Designer: Chevawn Blum. Senior Designers: Aimee de la Harpe, Jehan Ara Khonat, Dale Scogings. Illustrator: Amy Slatem. Advertising Representatives: Alexia Faris, Aimee Fanton. Community Engagement Representatives: Kyla Hazell, Nica Cornell. Letters to the Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising details: email@example.com www.oppidanpress.com www.facebook.com/theoppidanpress www.twitter.com/oppidanpress
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ffirmative action is a matter of fierce contention among South Africans. Black Economic Empowerment initiatives, seeking to redress the deeply institutionalised and racialised imbalances in the South African working world are dismissed by conservatives as being useless, unfair, as entrenching racist discourses and stereotypes and most ludicrously, as being “reverse racism,” or even more astoundingly “reverse apartheid”. It is a sad testament to the indifference of South Africans, particularly of the post-apartheid generation, that they so easily absolve themselves of any kind of responsibility in the matter of redressing the gross inequalities that the machine of apartheid cemented into a country already victim to centuries of racialised inequality and discriminatory practices. It is saddening that after the first South African democratic elections potentially exceptional students are either denied access to tertiary institutions or, due to a defective school education, are unable to perform at the level required at University. The solution to these issues lies in the increased support of bridging programmes such as the Extended Studies Units. Through the Extended Studies programme, entrance is extended to students who generally don’t meet the requirements. There is a range of factors that determine entrance. Entrance can also be based on the school attended, writing ability, background of the student as well as the profession of one’s parents. A level of preference is given to students from the Eastern Cape, although there is only one Grahamstown resident in the programme this year. The programme is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training. This is their way of broadening access. Sceptics of such bridging programmes often assert that interventionist educational programs must be directed at younger school-goers. It is argued that it is not plausible to make up for 12 years of sub-standard schooling in a single year. As true as this may be, it is still not an excuse to do nothing. This excuse has been accepted for far too long.
Ideally, there would have been some kind of progress in the standard of South African schooling since the inception of our democracy. It is a matter of great concern that nearly two decades later, we are debating how appropriate or feasible programmes such as the Extended Studies Unit are. Notwithstanding the plague of articles about the abysmal state of South African education that have been published within the last year, the Limpopo textbook debacle being but the most obvious example, it is clear that the education imparted upon willing minds in South Africa leaves much to be desired. The kind of changes that need to take place will take a significant period of time. In the far from ideal situation in which we currently reside, these setbacks are further magnified. “You can’t redress 12 years or poor schooling in one year,” said programme co-ordinator and lecturer in the Extended Studies (ES) Science unit Karen Ellery. As true as this may be, it is not an acceptable excuse for institutions to do nothing, or to do just what is required of them. “For a long time universities have blamed schools,” said Ellery. “We will still get those kids for a very long time to come. We need to discover what we need to do to accommodate a wide range of students. We are not doing that well enough.” In the interim, potentially successful students can no longer be allowed to fall through the cracks in the system of higher education. Since South Africa has a great deal of territory to cover before students can approach the application process with even a semblance of equality, foundation programmes must be made a priority. Emphasis must be placed on establishing a stable foundation on which students can develop. Currently, these programmes exist quite as an aside. There are currently two staff members in charge of facilitating the Sciences Extended Studies Unit at Rhodes University: Ellery and fellow lecturer Ms Leela Pienaar. Although guest lecturers are frequently brought in, this structure is not sufficient to support the full 50 students the programme can officially sustain. The programme generally has around 35 or so students a year, which fortunately, is just about all it can handle. According to Ellery, the Extended
Studies programmes are quite well supported at Rhodes University. Encouraging as this is, these units should not be regarded as a mere means to satisfy the criteria of affirmative action at the university. These programmes need to be taken seriously and the institutional backing of them needs to be more apparent, particularly since they can be seen to be effective. During this year of concentrated support, ES students are prepared so that they will be successful in the mainstream courses. Students take three year-long courses: Mathematics, Computer Literacy (including basic programming) and Introduction to Science Concepts and Methods as well as courses in Physics, Chemistry, Geology and Human Kinetics and Ergonomics. There is also a peer-mentoring programme that provides support to students during their first semester. In order to proceed into mainstream courses, students have to pass all three courses and obtain a minimum average mark of 60%. There are 31 students in the 2013 Science programme. In the last review of the programme, done in 2011, it is clear that although results are often without a clear trend and students are more successful in some subjects than others, students from the extended studies programme do fare well when they move into mainstream programmes. Indeed, in a comparison of the average marks received by ES and mainstream students in between 2006 and 2010, the ES students can be seen to fare as well as and in some cases, better than other mainstream Science students. Although this is a not always so, ES student can be seen to triumph in subjects such as Mathematics, Chemistry and Statistics. A number of ES students have also gone on to do postgraduate degrees. The programme shows evidence of success in allowing students to flourish and make a success of themselves. Indeed, Ellory noted that many courses in the mainstream science programme need better support structures, as it is not only students in the ES programme who’s background has not adequately prepared them for university. When faced with this knowledge, one cannot fathom what excuse will be imagined up next by educational authorities. Intervention needs to be made and most of all, it needs to be made now.
1 March 2013 The Oppidan Press
Mamphele acknowledges that a large number of South Africans feel excluded and systematically shut off by the bureaucratic structures in government.
Photo: Sourced from The Phuket News (www.thephuketnews.com) AFP
Conversations in the Agora
By Fezokuhle Mthonti ome time ago, I had the great honour of listening to Dr Barney Pityana speak at the National Schools’ Debating Championships in Grahamstown, where he spoke about the type of leaders which the spirit of debating cultivates. Pityana enthralled his young audience with images of Platonic Philosopher Kings, who were guardians of a utopian state of governance; an order called the Callipolis (also referred to as Kallipolis, Greek for “beautiful city”). The learned doctor challenged young debaters in the room to become philosopher kings in their own right as carriers of knowledge. He inspired them to exercise that knowledge meaningfully in the South African socio-political and socio-economic landscape. The speech itself was truly exceptional. Having thought about these philosopher kings, I wondered whether he was able to marry his idealism with pragmatism when creating his perfect state. Did his Callipsolis exist in the subdued corners of academic institutions or did it reside in the flowery rhetoric of philosophical debate? Was the reimagining of a new state of governance and political order possible without contributions from a cross-section of political players and ordinary citizens? Could an acclaimed academic and steadfast activist like Mamphela Ramphele transform and guard the South African political landscape in the same way that Plato’s Philosopher Kings would guard and idealise their version of the Callipsolis? Can South Africa be transformed into a new type of democratic Callipsolis? I was rather skeptical of this idea, especially when rumors around Ramphele’s entry into politics started to circulate and eventually built up on the eve of her mysterious launch. However, my cynicism was confirmed as I mindlessly scrolled down my Twitter feed recently and was mildly shocked by one of political analyst Eusebius Mckaiser’s live tweets from Dr Mamphele Ramphele’s launch of the Agang ‘political platform.’ It read, “People in Soweto don’t know you. How will you reach out? Ramphele: ‘I cannot help that we live in an unequal society.’” It seems that this philosopher king, or queen rather, is out of touch with the needs of her subjects.” When Ramphele makes a fleeting comment like the above in response to a question about how she will reach out to people in Soweto, apart from simply not answering the question at hand, we see that she appears to regard herself as being above some of the very members of holistic South African society that she hopes to represent. It also seems that she cannot inspire any meaningful change in the livelihoods of those individuals. In so doing, Ramphele is already expelling those individuals from building the proposed country of their dreams and continues to further displace individuals who might not have found ‘an appropriate political home’ in the South African political arena, by saying to them that this is a gang of which you do not form a part. It is also ironic that Ramphele acknowledges that a large number of South Africans feel excluded and systematically shut off by the bureaucratic structures in government, given her above-mentioned comment at the launch. The comment itself, while its sentiments might not have permeated her descriptions of her political platform, may have been truly reflective of the underlying attitude and biases she harbours, quite subconsciously, towards various constituencies. This is particularly problematic when we contrast this offhand comment with her preceding well crafted speech at the launch of her party. “We should be able to vote for the person in our own area we want to represent us in Parliament, so we can hold them accountable for the electoral promises they make. We want an MP for Marikana, an MP for De Doorns, and an MP for Sasolburg, so if the people are unhappy and the MP is not responsive enough, they will be voted out at the next election,” said Ramphele. Whilst it is perfectly legitimate to aspire to an electoral system of this nature, the problem here is that a proposition of this kind is advocated by a seemingly exclusive Ramphele. The very idea of electoral reform loses some credence and legitimacy to different variations of people, ‘like the people of Soweto’. When the self-appointed advocate of electoral reform and effective proportional representation seems unwilling to negotiate this idea with a specific demographic within this country, then the subject not only renders herself irrelevant to the political landscape, but is also unlikely to administer any meaningful change to those who would join her party in an attempt to create their own Callipsolis. So far her campaign strategy has seemed to rely heavily on discussions with various South Africans on how to take the political party further in light of their particular grievances with the country or how to innovatively transform both her party and the country. On the whole that seems to be quite admirable, given the fact that she seems to be listening to a plethora of different voices to then represent them meaningfully in parliament. However, there is a sense that there are a number of privileged voices in this discussion. Some individuals seem to be rendered invisible on a very subconscious level. Whether certain groups enjoy visibility within the new party and effectively in the reconstruction of a new South African Callipsolis is yet to be seen. A large part of being the face of a political party is selling yourself to a uniquely diverse and dynamic electorate and, given that Ramphele is insistent on selling a new set of political mechanisms through advocating for electoral reform, we see that Ramphele will very soon need to make the proverbial circle bigger in an attempt to petition for a reasonable number of voters who will firmly frame her place in opposition politics in this county.
Arts and Entertainment
In the eye of the beholder
walls have to be repainted and in the worst cases, graffiti damage on brickfaced walls can be permanent.“We are very busy and it ends up being ill use of our time,” said Jordaan. Even among artists there are different interpretations of what constitutes graffiti and vandalism. Tiffany Jones, studying a Bachelor of Fine Art, believes that graffiti is no less valuable than painting or sculpting but she feels that certain limitations would be helpful in correcting misconceptions. “Graffiti is a multifaceted art form that speaks to a variety of people within many cultures. However, artists should seek permission before they graffiti personal property,” explained Jones. Justin Share, a graffiti artist, said that people often misinterpret graffiti because they lack understanding of the culture, but he encourages people to give it a chance. Share understands that some artists can ruin it for the rest by enhancing the illegal aspect. “If graffiti creates problems for people that need to efficiently make use of the environment that you have created something on, that could be considered vandalism, but when that work has meaning and puts across something that provokes thought, it becomes art,” said Share. Daniel Nel, also studying a Bachelor of Fine Art, agrees that Rhodes property should be off-limits but is nonetheless passionate about street art. “Art is expression - no matter its structure, aesthetic value, or the amount of people who are able to understand it. I find graffiti perfectly justified - whether it has a distinct meaning or not,” said Nel. “It stands for another voice in the dialogue which goes on amongst images, symbols, text and markings that we see in the public realm,” he said. Pierre Pienaar, who owns Fishaways and Steers, approached Nel in order to change rude markings and tags into a mural. “I would prefer artists to ask permission instead of taking it upon themselves to change a shop’s exterior,” said Pienaar, “because then they are crossing into vandalism.” Graffiti remains a controversial issue and will continue to be banned from Rhodes property. However, throughout the streets of Grahamstown it is evident that graffiti culture is becoming an increasingly accepted form of art. Partly due to the artistic culture of Rhodes, graffiti is garnering a more positive reputation which gives it the chance to make a difference.
The Oppidan Press 1 March 2013
By Jenna Lillie
raffiti. The word conjures up images of gangs tagging buildings, rebellious teenagers expressing angst against the world or an artist sneaking around in the dead of night to create a thoughtprovoking masterpiece. Most of these connotations derive from generic representations in the media and the widespread superficial understanding of graffiti culture. The question most people try to address is whether or not graffiti is considered art. With this comes the important question regarding boundaries which seems to plague the reputation of graffiti. When does graffiti cross the thin line between art and vandalism? Due to the illegal nature of graffiti, it will automatically be deemed vandalism or defacement by any institution. Patrick Jordaan of the Rhodes Building Maintenance Department believes that graffiti on Rhodes property is vandalism. The process of removal is not only time-consuming but also expensive, the cost of which is taken from the Maintenance Fund. Sometimes whole
‘Under the Arch’ is becoming an arts and crafts zone, with local residents such as Nothemba Makinana pictured above, selling beaded and handcrafted products.Photo: IVAN BLAZIC.
S a t a
Drostdy Arch treasures
Photo: IVAN BLAZIC By Nandi Majola Legend has it that a stroll under the Drostdy Arch will add a few more years to your studies. This, however, should not stop you from enjoying what the shops under the arch have to offer. On your next trip along High Street, be sure to take time to view the Xhosa beads on display. Here you can find anything from earrings, necklaces and other jewellery to traditional foot and head pieces. The women responsible for creating the beaded products are part of the group Masithandane (isiXhosa for “Let us love one another”) which began in 1996. They are passionate about creating affordable items which are representative of the Xhosa culture. If you need a last-minute gift for a friend and don’t want to venture into town, there is another shop nearby that caters for students. ‘Under the Arch’ is a curio and gift shop which Photo: IVAN BLAZIC
stocks items such as jewellery, loose beads, artwork, airtime and snacks. Owner Janet Flynn started the business in 1998 out of a desire to help people through her creative talents.The shop, managed by Nadine Stein, also receives some of its products from senior citizens and people from town who need a platform to sell their artworks. Located right opposite Under the Arch is another gift shop called Transfusion. Here you can find handmade clothes, colourful scarves and beautiful bags. They also sell beaded bracelets and other accessories at studentfriendly prices. When looking for any arts and crafts items, be it a piece of clothing or a special gift, you need not leave campus. Just visit one of the shops under the Arch or the ladies sitting at the entrance with their beadwork for unique and affordable items.
Arts & Entertainment
1 March 2013 The Oppidan Press
Last hope against frivolous music
Members of the local band, Gentlemen Callers, include: Grant Mears, Robert Cairns, Wietsa Marais and Craig Albers. Photo: PHILIP GORDON WILSON By Davy Williams they still kick out the jams with raw power. They are resident performers at Champs Action Bar and their live malevolent shows contain varying set lists which always manage to surprise the crowd. The band also came in third place at last year’s live music competition, Battle of the Bands. The band is comprised of Robert Cairns on vocals, Craig Albers on bass, Wietsa Marais on guitar and Grant Mears on drums. They were established in March 2012. The music of Gentlemen Callers is influenced by metaphysics, reincarnation, failure, addiction and punk rock.
ome will know the title, ‘The Gentleman Caller’ from Tennessee Williams’s play ‘The Glass Menagerie’. The expression is also reminiscent of a suitor in the American South, a buttoned up and claustrophobic world of sexual anxiety. Now meet Gentlemen Callers, a band that describes themselves as neurotic astronauts, masters of the dark, arcane arts and high society rakes. Whether you classify them as punk, punk rock or post punk,
Whether you classify them as punk, punk rock or post punk, they still kick out the jams with raw power
Photo: PHILIP GORDON WILSON
Photo: PHILIP GORDON WILSON
Responding to such diverse themes, they have managed to collect an abundance of material. Their repertoire includes the 30 second song of pure blood and adrenaline, ‘The Shit Song’. Another fan favourite of theirs is ‘Road to Damascus’. Gentlemen Callers is the brainchild of frontman Robert Cairns and previous bassist, Scott Chapman. Speaking about how they got started, Cairns explained that it is something they thought up because they were so utterly disappointed with their lives in general. “We were always talking about starting a band and doing something creative. Then at one stage we just decided to go for it, even though we were musically inexperienced. We just decided to take the plunge,” said Cairns. Drawing a laugh from his fellow bandmembers, drummer Mears said that they are “in technical terms, awful.” However, Cairns asserted that the band just has a different approach to thinking about music. So where do these outsiders see themselves in the scene of what frontman Robert Cairns sees as the imperialist approach to music? “It’s becoming more difficult for me to genrify what we’re doing. I’d say a conflation of hardcore punk and post punk, somewhere in the middle ground there,” said Cairns. However, he noted a wariness when using the term punk, loaded with connotations as it is for certain people. Gentlemen Callers are currently in studio, working on the production of their first album, entitled “I’m Feeling Old Testament”.
The Oppidan Press 1 March 2013
To read or not to read: Food for thought
By Mudiwa Gavaza Business
s young business people, it’s true that we often look to those who have succeeded for guidance, inspiration and motivation. Given that most people are not personal acquaintances with Mark Zuckerberg or Mark Shuttleworth, this mentorship usually happens vicariously through books and other similar channels. A craze seems to be spreading, fuelled by a global economic crisis, rising costs of living, a shaky international job market and man’s insatiable appetite for wealth. The revolution has had many proponents and leaders, but none has had the impact or been able to capture the imagination of people quite like Robert Kiyosaki and his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The April 2000 release has since fuelled an industry based on motivational speaking, books on how to be successful and a seeming attack on the formal education system.
In this book, two of the most successful authors on business and entrepreneurship come together to give insight on why they feel that the world could use more rich people. Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad teams up with best-selling business author and real estate tycoon, Donald J. Trump, to bring you this fascinating exploration into what makes people succeed in business and in life. The two authors offer readers the opportunity to think big and not be limited by circumstance, financial standing, social class or any other influence. The essence is that people are often limited in what they can achieve because of the way they think. A person cannot be expected to achieve greatness if they are not even aware that such greatness exists. The book makes for an interesting read, offering two distinct lines of thought that culminate in a unified message, offering the typical style that has made both these authors such a success.
Why we want you to be rich
Motivational speaker, author and preacher, John C. Maxwell brings together years of research to explore an area which makes people who they are but which is hardly ever focused on in literature. Maxwell proposes that success very rarely ever endures through talent alone: that it takes a solid character and a number of other factors such as passion, belief, the right decisions, focus, practice, perseverance, courage and the ability to teach to truly make a person successful. The major selling point of this particular book is in the way that Maxwell highlights that. Unlike other authors, the focus is not on building talent or improving what a person is good at. Taking the case of a business person for example, the book shows that good business acumen alone will not guarantee a long and successful career. The businessman has to be able to be communicate effectively, get good deals, network properly, be patient even in tough times and have enough dignity and honesty not to be tempted by corruption.
Talent is never enough
Lecturer’s choice: At the core of these books is the idea that successful people think in a certain way, that a change in mindset is a step in the right direction to attaining great wealth. To get an expert opinion on the psychology of advice books, we spoke to Gary Steele, a lecturer and a research psychologist in the Psychology Department at Rhodes. He is also the Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Social Research and Action (CASRA). Of motivational writings and advice, Steele feels that many of the books on offer have the problem of prescribing a ‘one size fits all’ solution to being successful or making it in life. “These authors usually entice people by promising immense riches and success if people follow their methods or use their product,” he said. “People have different circumstances and situations to deal with, so it makes no sense that what works for one person will work for everyone else”. Despite all this though, he did concede that some of the authors’
writing advice books actually have some substance. To this he offers his own recommendation of one such author: Tal Ben-Shahar is a Harvard University psychology lecturer who has used many years of research and observation to write his book, Happier. The book wins favour from Steele because it is an academic work that has been simplified and made applicable to everyday life and for the ordinary person. The book’s aim is for people to learn how to be happy, the logic being that this will trickle down to the other aspects of a person’s life with the result that they have a greater potential to excel when in that state of mind. It is a very different take on motivational thinking, and is generally known as ‘positive psychology’. It remains to be seen if the secrets offered by authors will truly lead people on the road to success. In the meantime, for those that read such books, look to each as one person’s take on life and that we are all ultimately the authors of our own lives.
1 March 2013 The Oppidan Press
Smashing successes abound at Sports Sign-up
By Matthew de Klerk Wackily dressed and pamphlet-waving members of the 38 various sporting codes roamed Alec Mullins Hall at the annual Rhodes University Sports Sign-up last week in an attempt to coax first-years and returners alike to join their ranks. 38 sporting codes went the extra mile to get new members, such as Vice-Chairperson of the Underwater club, Chris Gornall, who donned full scuba gear and the four martial arts clubs (Hayabusa, Aikido, Karate and Taekwondo), which shattered wooden planks and gave fierce fighting demonstrations to students roaming the hall. Taking place on Tuesday 19 February, the event was a great success, with some clubs reporting their highest numbers of new sign-ups in years. One such club was the Rhodes University Rowing Club, which had garnered over 60 new members within the first hour. Similar boosts were seen in the Rifle Club, which got 28 new signatures - a massive increase from last year’s mere three members. Rifle Club chairperson Mart-Mari de Bruyn said that the club had legal issues last year that threatened the future of the club by disallowing new members from joining. This
Who has the fastest feet?
By Andrew Tombs irst-year students from across campus went head to head in a battle of speed and stamina at the First Year Athletics event organised by Rhodes University Sports Administration. Held in conjunction with Live Smart Week, on the evening of Friday 22 February, the event pitted first years from different halls against one another in a contest of agility and endurance. The event, which lasted two hours, consisted of four categories, namely the 100m, 200m, 800m and 4X100m relay split events. The races were held in both men’s and women’s divisions.
The athletics competition, on Friday 22 February, saw all first years racing either for fun or to show off their athletic capabilities. Photo: Ivan Blazic
While the event was marred by a number of false starts, poor officiating and the starting gun repeatedly failing to work, participant Denzil de Klerk believes that the informal nature of the event did not allowed these mishaps to warrant any serious concern or complaint. Mandla Gagayi of Sports Admin said that this year the event was better organised as they used an entry system. Halls were asked to submit an entry forms listing the participants. This helped speed up the process of starting races. In addition, the event was advertised quite early on resulting in a greater number of spectators and participants. Gagayi said that he hopes that the event will in the future be used by the Athletics Club as a recruiting platform and that it will continue to improve with each coming year.
change holds much promise for the club, which won three gold medals and four bronze medals in various competitions last year, despite its low numbers. While not all clubs reported record numbers of new members, many of them comfortably broke even, with expectations of increased numbers. Pool Club secretary Manqoba Hlatshwayo said that even though they only got 90 signatures, they are expecting this figure to rise to the same number (129) as last year before they submit their final member list. According to Table Tennis Club chairperson Cyril Makwembere, the Table Tennis Club got 22 signatures on the day, compared to their total of 23 members last year. This club is expecting their ranks to fill even more as they have opened up their membership to the Grahamstown community. This exciting aspect - that a club has both students and non-students alike as members - was also seen in the Grahamstown Cycling Club. Other clubs that are relying on this extended 8 March date for increased numbers are Basketball (55 signatures, as opposed to 2012’s 72), Chess and Archery. These latter clubs both equalled their 2012 membership numbers. Students still interested in joining one of the many sporting codes on offer at still have until 8 March to email the various committee members of their desired club to submit their membership.
100m race Nicole Milne, Kimberly East Hall - 14:8 seconds Denzil de Klerk, Founders Hall - 12:03 200m race Geanette Ngorima, Jan Smuts Hall - 32:25
Miles Lamensky, Founders Hall - 26:56 800m race Katherine James, Courtenay Latimer Hall 2:50:19 Mthabisile Sthole, Kimberley West Hall 2:12:29
Men’s 4x100m relay Lilian Ngoyi Hall - 50:66:63 Kimberley West Hall (2nd) and Drostdy Hall (3rd). Women’s 4x100m Allan Webb Hall - 1:03:99 Kimberley East Hall (2nd) and Nelson Mandela Hall.
Photo: Madien van der Merwe
Photo: Madien van der Merwe
Photo: Madien van der Merwe
isiXhosa met with mixed responses
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Sports Day tugs in great support
By Andrew Tombs ports enthusiasts were given the opportunity to participate in a new tradition at Rhodes University with the arrival of the very first Sports Day, an event that will, according to the Head of Sports Admin Mandla Gagayi, become a semester event. The event, which was set to take place on the morning of 23 February, was moved to the evening of the 20 February due to schedule constraints. All sports were held on the Great Field and the event was organised by Sports Admin in conjunction with Live Smart Week. The evening’s sporting festivities ranged from five-a-side touch rugby, soccer, netball and volleyball to the less conventional sports such as tug-of-war, egg races, sack races and ergo rowing. Each team that participated were instructed to register for multiple events and from there completed them one by one. The soccer proved to be one of the more popular events with 30 out of the 51 registered teams participating. The least attended was Ergo rowing with only 3 teams registered. The most popular event of the evening proved to be the tug-of-war which was met with both cheers and groans as the participants fought for victory. Kendall Sidey, a sub-warden of Atherstone House, enjoyed the event, stating, “It was awesome, fun and hilarious as people were getting dragged along the floor”. While Kendall said that she would participate again in the future, she felt that the organisation was lacking as the referees did not seem to have enough control of the events. Thorburn Cattermole, a first year in De Beers House, echoed these grievances but enjoyed the evening overall, stating that he would “definitely do it again as it is not serious and just good fun.” At the end of the evening prizes were handed out to both spectators and participants. The awards were based on a wide criteria, ranging from the quickest time on the ergo machine to being the most enthusiastic supporter. The prizes, which ranged from energy drinks to fruit and water, formed part of the Live Smart initiative. “These are things that people can enjoy without having to resort to unhealthy practices and are in line with Live Smart Week.” said Gagayi The Sports Day is set to return in the third term in the lead-up to Intervarsity. Whether the event occurs in the day or in the evening Gagayi hopes it will become the momentum which carries and builds spirit among the student body.
Enter the rookies
By Andrew Tombs The Rhodes University Basketball Club held its annual Rookie Challenge at Alec Mullins Hall. The event, which took place on Thursday 21 February, pitted the Rhodes men’s and women’s first-team players against newcomers. It proved to be a vibrant battle between new and old blood. According to club team manager, Richard “Springz” Maradze, the challenge was held as an opportunity for new players to showcase their talent and develop the Rhodes side at the same time. He added that the evening was also used for
initial team selection as it allowed for the older members to see where the newcomers could fit in and what development would be needed. “I felt really short,” joked spectator Nikki Carruthers. The evening had, in her opinion, a great sense of community, but said the lack of a refreshment stall was a disappointment. With blasting music and a cheering crowd, the two challenging teams eagerly went up against their first teams. With such a successful start to the year, only great things can await the club.
Men’s Team: 38-10 Women’s Team: 58-16
First team won in both cases
The basketball rookie competition took place on Thursday 21 February. Photo: THABILE VILAKAZI
Photo: CHARLES MACKENZIE
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