Edition 2, 3 March 2011

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Benjamin Katz

>> Baby, light my fire
How fire-proof is your jol?

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>> Love and apathy

IEC encourages youth to vote

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>> Cloud computing
The hard-drive of the future

VC dispels rumours over student growth
Badat says increased student numbers will be at postgraduate level
t a lunch hosted for local media on the future plans for Rhodes University, Vice-Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat criticised rumour-mongers for their inaccuracy over future student numbers. “I want to dispel any rumours of there being 10 000 (registered) students in 2011,” he said. Dr Badat said claims that the university was planning on accommodating thousands more students over the next few years were false, and announced that the new Hilltop residences would be the last residences built for undergraduate students for “a long while.” According to his statistics, the growth of Rhodes University over the next three years will focus on postgraduate students and research development. Plans are to enrol an additional 430 postgraduates over the next three years at a growth rate of 8.2%. To clear the air over the growth in student numbers, Dr Badat indicated the previous student numbers as well as the planned increases: • In 2010 the university registered 7192 students. • In 2011 the university had registered 7390 students. • In 2012 the university will aim at registering 7576 students, • And in 2013 the university’s goal will be to register 7645 students. “Although, this is not an exact science, all kinds of variables come up,” Dr Badat said about the projections. By 2013 the university aims to have postgraduate students form 30% of its student base. “There aren’t many universities that have more than 25% of their students at postgraduate level – perhaps UCT, Stellenbosch and Wits. For South Africa’s economic development we (SA universities) are below the postgraduate numbers we should be producing,” he said. He said he thinks Rhodes is wellequipped to contribute to national postgraduate numbers. Currently 50% of Rhodes academic staff have PhDs, a key factor in graduating new Masters and PhD students. Dr Badat was also quick to dispel rumours that the decision to focus on postgraduate expansion was for monetary gain. Universities in South Africa receive a R350 000 subsidy from government for every PhD

Thieves start year on a high note
Two cars and a house break-in reported during O-Week
Shannon Dell and Relebone Myambo Traditionally O-Week is a time for first-year students to become acquainted with Grahamstown’s ins and outs, but some thieves have used it to better acquaint themselves with students’ belongings. According to Roxanne Fietze, an Oppidan sub-warden, O-Week has also been known to be a week in which a high number of rape cases, thefts and drunk driving cases are reported to authorities. Jacyn Mitchley, another Oppidan sub-warden, said there had been at least two cars stolen during O-Week this year as well as a house break-in. The intruder in the house break-in was apprehended. However, on the Friday of O-Week, Joshua Rorke, a second year BA student, and his digsmates were not so fortunate. Rorke and his friends were out when their house was broken into, only to find on their return that a laptop, iPod and cell phones were stolen from their house. “The police came but they couldn’t find any fingerprints,” Rorke said, “I guess they were clever thieves.” Rorke also mentioned that the Grahamstown police had not been able to recover anything so far. Mitchley stated that if a crime occurs, Oppidan sub-wardens are able to provide initial help with emotional shock or advise on the procedure that needs to be followed. However, when told about Mitchley’s offer, Rorke said, “We didn’t even know that they [Oppidan wardens and sub-wardens] actually existed”. According to Rorke, he and his four digsmates only found out by chance that these wardens exist, and were surprised to learn that they happened to live next door to their house. He said he and his digsmates did not request any support from the wardens, but that they had, since the incident, taken extra security measures. David Smedley, also an Oppidan sub-warden, warned: “Any Friday night and at the end of term is primetime (sic) for thieves around town, so be on guard.” He went on to urge all Oppidans who have experienced theft to insist on opening an official investigation with the police. “Sometimes the police try and convince you otherwise, simply to make their statistics look better,” Smedley accused. Smedley stated that usually sub-wardens are able to help when they are informed of cases such as Rorke’s. “We will also help out in any other regard, whether it be advice about claiming insurance or getting your land lord to increase security around the house,” he said. Oppidan sub-wardens, who are six in total, also urged all Oppidans to take security measures in their digs and to visit the Oppidan Union’s website for further details on how to be more careful.

Stephen Mina Rhodes University Vice Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat says foreign donations help fund the university. student they graduate. “But most universities must realise that they need to put the money in first, in terms of scholarships, equipment and facilities. It’s a very expensive investment,” said Dr Badat. He further went on to assure that He said that with the Library renovations coming in 13% below budget, he hoped that donors would be encouraged to continue investing. The initial costing of the library was at R97 million, the contract price was R86 million and the final cost was R73 million. This resulted in R13 million in savings that Dr Badat attributes to “disciplined project management.” The university’s first construction will be a new building for teacher education at a cost of between R18 20 million. The building will be designed so that future additional expansion will also be possible. Rhodes has also received a $100 000 grant to develop jazz heritage studies. There has also been discussion about turning the botanical gardens into a jazz heritage site. Plans are to include a walkway leading visitors to various sections of the gardens, each dedicated to various acclaimed jazz artists.

Other projects that the university is currently considering include:
• A new Life Sciences building. Dr Badat has already visited the University of Western Cape (UWC) where a new R500 million building has just been completed. “We are looking at something more modest though,” he said. • Joining the Pharmacy and Zoo buildings with labs and office suspended above the road that separates the two departments. • A dedicated Postgraduate centre, in line with the university’s plans to cater for expanding postgraduate studies and research. • Expanding Alec Mullins (the indoor sports centre) or funding the construction of a new sports centre. The University has also been lobbying the Chinese government to build a new ‘Confucius’ Centre and School of Languages building costing approximately R80 million.

New construction options on campus
undergraduate students would not get lost in the shift of focus. “As we become more research orientated we must do nothing to compromise the quality and experience (of undergraduate studies),” he said. He said he felt confident the university would achieve this. Dr Badat continued to outline possible changes to the university’s infrastructure and the building projects that the university is considering. “We walked the streets of New York, London, Cape Town and Joburg to get donations for the university,” Dr Badat said.

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News

The Oppidan Press 03.03.11

The Oppidan Press 03.03.11

News

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SA Campus News
Compiled by Khangelani Dziba

End of an era as Café Blanca closes down
Students reminisce and wait anxiously as Café Blanca prepares for new ownership
refuge for the alternative crowd”. Café Blanca has been open for two and a half years, after opening simultaneously with The House of Pirates. The previous owners believe that they have established themselves well over the last two years and are doing relatively better than their competition. Dan Hocutt, one of the owners of House of Pirates, said he feels that there are many “pros to competition”, and enough of a market in Grahamstown for everyone. “A new business coming in is not going to hurt the rest of us,” he said. According to Maxwell, the new Café Blanca will be more like a sports bar with an indoor environment, which might upset some of their clientele. Jaletta de Jager, a regular at Café Blanca, suspects that the bar and restaurant “has a cult following” and with huge changes it might fail to keep some of its old customers. Rhodes Drama Student, Dave Knowles reckons that the change will be “awesome” and hopes that the old staff will have an input in the plans for the new Café in order to keep its original atmosphere alive. Café Blanca held its official closing party on Friday 25th February where DJ Chris Jack from Cape Town performed alongside various other local DJs.

Storme Sydow

Bike theft becomes a problem on Tuks campus
The University of Pretoria campus has recently seen an increase in bicycle thefts. Reports confirmed that a large number of bicycles have been stolen from the men’s residences. In a recent incident, plainlyclothed men, who identified themselves as security, were seen to be removing bicycles from campus. When questioned, they told Perdeby’s (University of Pretoria’s campus newspaper) that they were removing them to the security offices. However, no notice was left to the owners of the bicycles nor is this a recognised practise on campus. While the university is unwilling to release the specific numbers of theft reports from the last year, they do admit that they are in the planning stages of a new preventative strategy to solve the problem. A representative of the Student Representative Council also said that it is part of their plan of action to address this problem.

New media platform connects Rhodents and societies
Relebone Myambo A new communication platform has been introduced to Rhodes University’s student body on Facebook. The platform, named SocietyFollow, is geared at improving communications between the Grahamstown community, their membership base, and student societies at RU. According to the online RU Facebook page, The Rhodent, students at RU and Grahamstown residents will be able to “follow blogs and view events from all the societies Pic: Ananda Paver at Rhodes University, [as well as] get notified when something new happens”. The Rhodent also mentions that users of SocietyFollow will be able to “communicate, collaborate and engage with one another.” Users need to go to the SocietyFollow website at www. societyfollow.com and then log in using their Facebook account to follow a society. Any number of societies can be followed and the individual society pages include a blog page and a calendar of the societiy’s events for that week.

The new room underneath the Library will become a learning cafe, but might be restricted to postgraduate access.

Chelsea Nelson Abby van Nierop (right) and Farrah Hayes (left) pay one last visit to the original Cafe Blanca. Camilla Wigmore bought over by new owners who will soon be taking over the property. Christopher Maxwell, the previous owner of Café Blanca, a third-year BSc student at Rhodes, said that he intended to focus more on his studies. No one seems entirely certain as to how the changes to Café Blanca are going to pan out. Rhodes student and bartender at Café Blanca, Sebastion Tuinder, said he was “apprehensive about the change of management”. However, Tuinder is pleased that the new owners have promised all current workers their same positions. He added that after the Old Gaol (a bar and backpackers lodge) closed down last year, Café Blanca “became a

Drink Smart Week about On-going talks about library space ‘getting the balance right’
Benjamin Katz Talks over the use of the room beneath the library, which is currently empty, are ongoing. This is according to the Dean of Students, Dr De Klerk. Dubbed ‘Ground Zero’, the current plans are to turn the empty space into a learning café with a “slightly academic tone”. Computers will be placed inside for student use and sections will be demarcated for students to work “in groups or singularly”. Despite speculation about the building, the room will not be used as a place to buy food or drinks. However, Dr De Klerk said that unlike the library, students would be allowed to bring food inside. In connection with this, talks are being held with the Kaif regarding the café’s current opening hours. The parties involved in the decision-making for ‘Ground Zero’ - including the SRC, the Library and the Dean of Students’s Office - are hoping to get the café to extend their hours later into the evening for the benefit of students using the room. Those involved are now discussing a counter-proposal that was brought forward recommending that the area be reserved for postgraduate students and be off-limits to undergraduates. However, a final decision regarding who will be allowed access has yet to be taken. To help finance furnishing the area, the SRC has managed to collect additional funds through the excess printing charges that have remained unused by the university’s academic departments. Printing costs are charged to registered students by every academic department to pay for photocopies and course readers throughout the academic year. When asked whether the excess printing charges should rather be returned to the paying students, Dr De Klerk said, “The students the money belonged to are gone. The money has accumulated over 10 years.”She suggested that this way the money could go towards benefiting all students, as well as those in the future. Benjamin Katz The Dean of Students Office’s (DoS) ‘Drink Smart Week’ was kicked off Monday 21 February with the annual ‘Rhodes’ Got Talent’ contest. According to Dr de Klerk, the talent show was “fantastic – we even had to turn away students”. The winners of the contest were then hosted at Viv’s Variety Show on Friday. De Klerk said the aim behind Drink Smart Week was to get students to find “something ‘lekker’ to do on campus to create memories that are not linked to hangovers or about comparing the total number of drinks consumed that night”. She said that later on in the year the DoS Office would be launching the DoS Challenge in residences, finer details for which were still under discussion. According to Dr De Klerk, the challenge would entail residences hosting ‘Drink Smart’ events, with prizes to be awarded to the residences who entertained the best. “I’d like (the DoS Challenge) to not be alcohol free – I’d rather a drink smart (event) than an all or nothing affair. It’s about getting the balance right,” she said.

Postgraduate Maties receive awards for outstanding work
Recent O-week festivities at WITS were a welcome gift to its new ‘recruits’ and came to an end as the academic year commenced on Monday 21 February. WITS University, which is ranked 5th in Sub-Saharan Africa, welcomed up to 6000 students, parents and academics. Proceedings were facilitated at the Library Lawns with activities designed to familiarise the students with their new surroundings. Mukovhe Masutha, President of the Student Representative Council, cautioned the students saying, “This is the beginning of a very long road. As part of an unjustifiably small group of South African youth who actually make it into the university system and higher education in general, it is important for all of you to honour this life-changing opportunity.”

hodents and other locals will have to adjust to the changes that will soon be made to Café Blanca as it takes on a new name and new ownership. Café Blanca announced their closure two weeks ago after the lease was

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Man spending week in freezer stops in Grahamstown
Benjamin Katz A man sleeping, eating, toileting and living in a freezer, spent a day camped out on the St Andrews Prep School lawns last week on Tuesday 22 February. Riaan Manser, a Solo Adventurer who famously travelled around Africa on a bicycle, decided his next escapade would be to spend a week travelling down the South African coast in a freezer, raising money to buy sports equipment for underprivileged schools. “It’s tough in the freezer, Riaan is starting to suffer a bit. He’s already feeling the effects of the extreme conditions. He’s had flu and a fever,” said Manser’s PA, Shea van Tonder. The freezer, situated on the back of a truck, started in Durban and ended in Cape Town while making stops in various cities and towns promoting ‘No Food For Lazy Man’ – Manser’s charity organisation. According to van Tonder, “He got in [the freezer] straight after the Sharks/ Cheetahs game in Durban (on Saturday 19 February) and he’s coming out after the Stormers/Lions game at Newlands (Saturday 26 February).” When The Oppidan Press spoke to his team they were setting up in Port Elizabeth where crowds had already started to form. “There has been a lot of support from public. In Grahamstown kids were giving their lunch money and others were buying t-shirts for R200 (which goes straight to Manser’s organisation),” Van Tonder said. According to her, there were two reasons behind Manser’s decision to take a trip down the coast in his freezer. Primarily, Manser saw it as an opportunity to warm up for his next great adventure in March, when he and Dan Skinstad (brother of the former Springboks Captain, Bobby Skinstad) will hopefully become the first South Africans to travel around Iceland on a kayak. Skinstad, who was diagnosed with mild Cerebral Palsy, approached Manser about going on an adventure together. “This [spell] in the freezer is preparation for that adventure. But it’s just Riaan in the fridge,” Van Tonder said. Seeing an opportunity, Manser then decided to publicise his trip-in-a-truck, to try raise money to buy sports equipment for underprivileged schools. Van Tonder said, “He believes the reason he’s been so successful in life is because he had sports to keep him away from other influences.” Amid the pledges from corporations and contributions from the crowds that Manser’s freezer attracted, his organisation has also set up an SMS line for donations. “People can SMS the word ‘donate’ to 42220 to give R30 to his trust,” Van Tonder said. “One SMS is a new cricket ball, or two can buy a netball for a school to make a team.” The SMS line is still open. When asked why he had chosen to visit Grahamstown, Manser’s team said, “Grahamstown is great in that it’s driven by youth. The aim is to not only raise Pic supplied

What do you think was the best event during O-Week?
Compilation and pictures: Emma Van Braningen

JMS school founder retires after 40 years
Relebone Myambo The man responsible for founding Rhodes University’s Journalism and Media Studies (JMS) department has retired after forty years. Dr Anthony Giffard received his PhD from the University of Washington (UW) in 1968. He used his time and talents to make journalism and communications subjects worth considering in areas like North America, London and South Africa. Dr Giffard spent ten of the forty years he spent working in media dedicated to journalism and communications in Grahamstown, establishing Rhodes University’s internationallyrecognised JMS department. Dr Giffard’s extensive experience includes copy editing, editing and reporting for newspapers and media establishments such as the London Times, as well as his attaining a professorship at UW. He was also responsible for rallying support to save UW’s communications department from closure. According to the UW website, “Dr Giffard will surely be able to (take time to hike, travel and drink beer).”

WITS welcomes 6000 students and parents during O-Week
Congratulations are in order to two of Stellenbsch’s postgraduate students, MSc student Hugo van Wyk and Doctoral student James Odendal. They recently won two of the five poster prizes awarded to students at the 40th South Africa Chemistry Institute Convention (SACI2011) and the 3rd Federation of African Chemical Societies (FACS) meeting held at the Witwatersrand University. The proceedings which took place at WITS were panelled by local and international judges and students who were attending the event. Commenting on the outstanding achievements of the two candidates Prof Klaus Koch, leader of the Platinum Group Metals Chemistry Research Group and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science said, “It’s pleasing to see that the research efforts and training of our postgraduate students is recognized.”

Riaan Manser has spent a week travelling down the coast in a freezer to raise money for sports equipment for underprivileged schools. funds for those who don’t have, but also spark an interest in the wealthy and get them to understand that there are those who aren’t so fortunate.” When the Oppidan Press had spoken to Manser no official tally of the donations collected had been calculated. However, ‘No Food For Lazy Man’ had already received a donation of R15 000 from a corporate sponsor and another R5000 had been promised to them onarrival from the Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato. Van Tonder said the team was trying to encourage corporations to come onboard. With regard to choosing which schools to donate to, Manser said he intends to investigate each school before equipment is given in an attempt to prevent the money from being wasted and to ensure it Pic Supplied is used properly. After Grahamstown and PE, Manser and his freezer moved on to Plett, George and Caledon before finally ending up in Cape Town. SMS ‘donate’ to 42220 to donate R30 to the trust.

Wandile Zulu, BBS “Societies’ presentations, in particular the Astrology Society, because they brought everything to demonstrate what the society was about.”

Sean Black, BA “The Amazing Other Show. It made people think about issues that people don’t talk about, in a very fresh, clever way. It used laughter to bring issues to light.”

Amy Davidson, BJourn1 “Hush, because it was done in a very creative way. It was interesting and constructive.”

Alex Fraser, BBS. “The Amazing Other Show, because it was entertaining and relevant. A good introduction to varsity.”

Megan Wright, BA “The Jazz Evening. The acoustic performances were really inspiring and beautiful – students’ own compositions. The marquees were stunning.”

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Features Gtown hotspots: fire burning on the dancefloor
ver wondered what might happen if your favourite Grahamstown nightspot went up in flames while you were busting a move? Would you know where the emergency exit is or would it be all the right moves in all the wrong places? For your benefit, The Oppidan Press did a little digging into fire safety precautions taken by local nightclubs and student drinking hubs. Friar Tuck: Friar’s is the staple weekend diet for many students, and those familiar with the crowded dancefloor can imagine the pandemonium of an evacuation. Manager Katie Vos is confident however, as she points out the multiple exit points: the main door, double doors opening from the pool room to the street and an emergency exit out the kitchen. There are fire extinguishers at each bar, but no direct exit from the upstairs area, so anyone seated in the smoking area is expected to first come down the stairs then find their way out through the kitchen. The doormen will help show you the way out, but the crowd in Friars can be pushy at the best of times – if you would like to end up with the rather metaphorical meaning of “your sex is on fire”, please familiarise yourself with the exits! Olde ‘65: After a fire last year scorched the ceiling of Oldies, safety measures have been hiked up in this popular hangout. There are fire extinguishers in the kitchen, main bar and outside bar, and manager Allan Nyako-

The Oppidan Press 03.03.11

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Chelsea Geach

tyo has a stack of certificates to prove compliance with all fire safety regulations. However, one serious danger is that the long, narrow pub has only one exit onto the street, which may be very difficult to access in an emergency. The only alternative is a door which leads straight into the adjacent club, EQ. Equilibrium: Known for its music and dancing, EQ guarantees a good party – but if you plan to light it up like it’s dynamite, proceed with caution! There are fire extinguishers behind the bar and in the DJ box, but the way in is also the way out. The beer garden does not offer an escape route onto the road, and although there is another exit by the bathrooms, this is kept locked. The key hangs in the bar, so the availability of that exit depends on the reaction time of the staff on duty. Rat and Parrot: This pub-and-grub is a favourite among students and Grahamstown residents alike, whether for dinner, drinks or a dance. If it’s the Rat that lights your fire, then you will be glad to know they are well prepared for emergencies. There is the main exit, as well as the door leading from the Mouse and Budgie onto the street. Less visibly, there is also a keg delivery entrance at the back of the Mouse and Budgie, and an exit through the main kitchen. In case you find yourself upstairs in a fire, especially on the balcony, there is a staircase leading down onto the road that should be opened in the event of a fire. Fire extinguishers are at the ready to deal with any fires arising from gas and fire

Pic Supplied

The year of the Dub
Bakhulule Maluleka

Features
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The Oppidan Press 03.03.11

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A fireman rushes into an empty Olde 65 to extinguish a fire that ravaged half the pub - a relatively easy task during the day but what about a packed Friday night? cooking. Dudu Nyakotyo, the manager on duty, admits that in order to improve fire safety at the Rat there should be training and drills to prepare the staff for emergencies. Slipstream: If this is your top spot to get grooving, please do not literally burn up the dancefloor! With only one exit down a narrow staircase, evacuation will be slow and potentially dangerous. There are fire extinguishers available, and the large balcony will provide relief from smoke inhalation, but you may be trapped in one area unable to escape – or simply trapped in the queue for the stairs. Proceed with caution. Pirates: With the pizza ovens burning, the rum flowing and the stripper poles smoking hot, one might expect Pirates to be a fire hazard…. but this party place is, in fact, one of the safest in town. It has a large outdoor area, plenty of fire extinguishers and a clearly marked emergency exit to the back courtyard, making it unlikely that anyone would be trapped inside in an emergency. Manager, Nicole Bentley, assures us that all fire safety certificates are up to scratch and in compliance with national regulations. So if you feel like a firework, go ahead and let your colours burst – Pirates has it covered!

IsiXhosa for journalism students- what’s the deal?
Khutso Tsikana First-year students thinking about taking Journalism and Media Studies 1 this year were alarmed to find out that they had to enrol in isiXhosa as a subject in order to graduate with a Bachelor of Journalism degree (BJourn). This revelation, announced at the introductory lecture held at the Barret lecture theatre left many feeling perplexed. The necessity of taking on isiXhosa was explained, however the problem lay in poor communication and a lack of notification of this requirement when first-years applied to get into Rhodes University. Students usually come to university with a basic idea of what subjects to take and which degrees have prerequisites. Thus many students were taken aback by the new requirements, many believe the department should have ensured that the information was properly set in the official calendar and easily available. The first-year course coordinator for Journalism, Priscilla Boshoff commented, “A lot of new courses always encounter hiccups.” As a result of this late addition to the list of prerequisite subjects, by the rules of the university, the department cannot legally enforce its decision and hence has decided to make it voluntary to do isiXhosa. The semester course can be completed at any stage of the student’s degree, at the student’s discretion. But completed it must be. Boshoff is adamant that the department took great pains in making it clear to new students enrolled into the BJourn degree that the credit is not necessarily being enforced in first year. However, this does not exclude the option that the department may institute the new course as requisite at a later stage. Some students indicated they were not planning on practising Journalism in South Africa and didn’t find isiXhosa to be a necessity. By making the subject prerequisite, students are limited as to their choice of first year subjects: whereas before, reading for a degree in Journalism was comprised of a single credit-bearing subject, it will now be comprised of two. However this being said, the department told the firstyears that they are training journalists for the South African media. In addition, a lot of the practical work that takes place in Journalism and Media Studies 3 and 4 requires the students to consult the wider Grahamstown constituency, and here isiXhosa is viewed as a necessary bridge to communication. This change to the curriculum is also Pic Supplied seen to be in line with policy transformation concerns central to Rhodes University. The Journalism Department has been working in conjunction with the African Language Department to ensure that the transition to the new requirements takes place quickly and smoothly. However, this is still all largely on paper and has yet to be instated. This practical factor is the cause for real debate.

First year tales from the mouth of a g11
Nina McFall The resilient first years. Arriving at university a week early for O-Week; waking up for serenades at six in the morning after partying until three (we’ve been told this may be the only chance we’re going to get); walking more kilometers than necessary in our inappropriate footwear as we familiarise ourselves with campus. We’re tough and we can take being laughed at – at least for the first semester. Although we are quick learners and we will always try our best to blend in, there are a few things that are too obvious and give us away every time. You know you’re a first year when... • You have no note paper for lectures because you locked yourself out of your room... again. • You believe you can win a car at the HIV drive. • You receive a lot of parcels from home containing things you forgot. • You think the weather will get better. • You ask the lecturer a question about something he already said. • You still wear heels to town. • You brag about doing your own washing for the first time. • You see students in your class as competition. • You get yelled at by the dining hall kitchen staff for trying to take chips when you haven’t booked that meal. • You still iron your clothes. • You still ask for directions to the bestknown areas on campus • You think everyone else is a first-year if you haven’t seen them before. • You introduce yourself by saying what you’re studying. • You try to greet all the people you met in O-Week. • You think you’ll wake up casually after drinking crackling. • You think people are wrong when they say “the Kaif ” instead of “the café”. • You struggle with Rhodes slang because it’s heavily-abbreviated. • Your mum or dad calls you at least three times a week. • You are a member of two or more societies. • You still dress up for societies’ cheese and wines. In due time, we know that these signs will disappear and we’ll become a fully-fledged part of the Rhodes community. Well, we hope so.

e all know the bass. We’ve all felt that wobble – at Slipstream, at the Union, at Tunnels. Dubstep is the genre of electronic dance music that is fast moving from its counterculture roots into the welcoming embrace of the masses. Originating in South London, with the earliest Dubstep track dating back to 1998, it is swiftly following in the footsteps of its forebears that saw them take the world by storm. How would the world be had William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge not been firm supporters of a little known (at the time) movement called Romanticism? Or how would students and their lives be had the Beat generation and the Hippies not paved the way? In fact, some of the coolest movements of yesteryear have their routes in counterculture – the Rastafarian movement, the Dandy, the Bohemians – you name it. These movements were characterised by people choosing to be free from any norms and values that were agreed upon by the masses. This is not to say the movements had no norms or values themselves, rather they were purposefully against the set order. Some, of course, still exist; while others have faded with time. Dubstep, with its roots in Jamaican dub music, London garage and grime seems to be the new port of call for all those who see themselves as anti-mainstream. The movement has moved light years beyond its original inception as darker, more experimental dub remixes of 2-step garage tracks. Now Dubstep artists such as Rusko and Magnetic Man are verified presences on the pop

charts, with Rusko even rumoured to be the new producer for Britney Spears’s latest album. His influence can already be heard on the first single off the album, “Hold it against me”. Rusko and Magnetic Man are the current ambassadors of the genre but they are not the only ones. There is a virtual army growing in number each day as people discover the sheer insanity of bass-drops and bass-wobbles. Overseas, Dubstep has dedicated blogs, websites, radio stations and nightclubs. With Rhodes being a university with one of the most openminded student bodies, is it any wonder that most jumped on the Dubstep bandwagon in 2010? We weren’t forced. Not at all, unless you call feeling the overwhelming throb of the floorboards, as the four to the floor bass count weaves itself seamlessly into the slower sub-bass ‘forcing’. Most of the Dubstep-heads couldn’t help themselves. The genre is growing at such a rate that artists even have subgenres named after them, meaning there is virtually a type of dubstep for everybody. Be it Gorestep, produced by club-hopping Iranian DJ Borgore or Skrillstep, produced by LA aficionado and überpunk Skrillex, the ‘alternative’ minds of Rhodes have been captured. Scarily for Dupstep enthusiasts, the more people like it, the less it can be said to be a fully-fledged counterculture movement. In all likelihood, it will eventually be subsumed into mainstream pop culture. I doubt many of the true fans care. In future, there may just be a clean division between the two: popular and underground – much like hip-hop. But for now, as long as the bass still beckons, our feet will follow.

Skrillex, Dubstep DJ and contributor to the “Skrillstep” genre, has a huge following worldwide.

sa IsiXho 1 + lism n Degree na Jour BJour =

Rhodes LLB graduate now a local hero
Ananda Paver Local lawyer and Rhodes graduate Cameron McConnachie recently secured what amounts to an R8.2 billion settlement toward the replacement of inadequate infrastructures and provision of basic services for seven schools in the Eastern Cape. This outcome is a stroke of luck for the schools that were selected for this case because they are the worst, according to research done by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), where McConnachie works. The schools lack suitable drinking water, school desks, textbooks and many of them rely on mud structures and tents as classrooms. Originally a primary school teacher, it was McConnachie’s experience at institutions both in South Africa and overseas that ignited his passion for the right to basic education. “It was primarily the vast inequality between schools... in terms of the infrastructure available and the standard of education... that sparked my concern,” he says. He first looked into the issue of basic education during his final year at Rhodes with his research paper, where he examined what the constitution says on the matter and whether these standards have indeed been met. He concluded that if a lawyer were to challenge the state in this regard that a court would find it “in breach of its constitutional duties” and award remuneration to schools in need. In 2009, McConnachie joined the Legal Resources Centre, a non-profit firm specialising in impact litigation (precedent-setting cases designed to affect large numbers of people and bring about meaningful social change) and it was here that he began the planning necessary to turn his theory into a reality. Finally, with the assistance of Sarah Sephton, Rufus Poswa, Mzukisi Loliwe and various interns, the legal action taken against the state resulted in an out-of-court settlement. This settlement includes immediate temporary relief for the schools in terms of mobile classrooms, classroom furniture, and suitable drinkable water, as well as longterm relief in the form of permanent classrooms that have to be completed by 31 May 2012. McConnachie is pleased with the result which he says was infinitely better than he hoped and believes that if the state follows through with its promise, it will benefit the seven schools that they acted for as well as hundreds of other schools that weren’t part of the litigation. The question to be asked is whether this success will set a precedent as to what constitutes basic education. McConnachie isn’t so sure: “I’m disappointed that we didn’t actually get a judgment from a court, which would have helped define what the right to basic education entails and which would have been useful to potential litigants in the future.” It appears that McConnachie and his colleagues will have to be content in the knowledge that theyhave drastically improved the educational experience of the many students and teachers alike. However the zLRC is not stopping there, they are also closely watching the school nutrition program and the issue of suspended temporary teachers. It is their ultimate goal to represent the schools in the Grahamstown area and they encourage these institutions to approach the LRC for legal advice in future. As much as it is not their goal to be praised, their positive actions are being duly noted by the Grahamstown community and the Eastern Cape at large.

6

Politics
Leigh Hermon

The Oppidan Press 03.03.11

Show your country some love
Pic Supplied

he 2011 municipal elections are around the corner and it’s all about loving your South Africa this year, according to the Independent Electoral Commission. The IEC’s campaign to discourage voter apathy amongst the youth is hoped to have a huge impact on the number of registered voters this year. The organisation is aware of the influence and power that the South African youth could have in the elections, but only if they register. This year’s voter registration campaign has seen the inclusion of Youth Ambassadors. These ambassadors are being used to promote voter activities in their communities. Such activities include the checking of one’s voting details, registering and re-registering in the correct voting district. These ambassadors have been selected on the basis that they maintain a great deal of influence within their fields as well as their communities. Some of South Africa’s local celebrities have been included in the mix such as swimming champion Natalie du Toit, actor and presenter Lungile Radu and singer Refiloe Tsotetsi. However, with the previous registration weekend that was held on the 5 & 6 February 2011, how effective have the IEC been? According to the organisation, as of 8 February 2011 there are currently 23

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The long warp to freedom?
Lucy Holford-Walker The year is 2011. Seventeen years ago the nation stood still, partially out of anticipation, but mostly out of fear. South Africa was in a political predicament with uncertain expectation for an outcome that would provide an assurance of the direction in which South Africa would proceed. Democracy was to be the awaited outcome – but this we all know. As South Africans, we are aware that we live in a ‘free’ society. One that is home to one of the most admired and acclaimed constitutions in the world. At Rhodes, we are surrounded by students who, in the separation from parents and home, indulge in ‘freedom’ in every sense of the word. So, what does it really mean to be ‘free’? Freedom means different things to different people. Therefore, whilst freedom obviously exists, it is still limited for some. Many students on campus for example, are too young to remember the atrocities of Apartheid and hence a comparison between then and now is difficult to observe. Even so, the answers to questions regarding the concept of freedom in today’s society are evidently mottled. I am sure that if Nelson Mandela could have looked into his crystal ball all those years whilst on Robben Island, he would have been grossly disappointed at the thought that not all young South Africans, almost two decades after democracy, feel “free” in South Africa. Freedom is felt less by some due to their area of interest. Some people pointed out that the quota system in disciplines such as sport prevents freedom, whilst others feel it epitomizes freedom as it is correcting the wrongs of the past. Black Economic Empowerment is another subject matter that questions the freedom of youths in South Africa today. To a Rhodent, it seems outlandish to imagine a residence or lecture full of only one race of people. However, the very issue of race and Apartheid occurs in conversation, the eye-rolling and the obvious sighing is evidence that young people of all races are tired of hearing about the past. But if we are to feel the freedom, or equality we so desperately seek, we need to confront history. Freedom to a young South African is apparently an obscure and ambiguous concept - some feel it and others do not. But democracy is all about the ‘some’ and ‘the others.’ Whilst ‘some’ get to be led by the party of their choice, ‘the others’ do not. While ‘some’ benefit from this country’s wealth, the ‘others’ do not. Our reality in terms of freedom is undeniably one of opposing opinions and varied judgments, but that is what makes our country so politically diverse. As the youth of South Africa, our duty is to question concepts like ‘freedom,’ or lack thereof. Perhaps, in future, our understanding of freedom will become clearer; illustrating further evidence of Mandela’s long, hard and tireless walk to freedom. Until then, we exist in a multifaceted, warped version of ‘freedom’.

Intrepid student entrepreneurs
Neo Khanyile

Business

The Oppidan Press 03.03.11

7

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The recent IEC campaign used advertising and celebrities as a ploy to get the South African youth voting. 161 975 verified voters in and around South Africa. This number shows a 2.07% increase before the recent voter registration weekend. But this growth has not yet achieved the aim of the IEC to acquire 1.5 million new voters. However, the IEC remain satisfied with these results especially since of those who registered for the first time during the weekend, 57 569 were 16 to 17 year olds. This result indicates that within this age group that are unable to cast their vote in this year’s elections, teenagers are fully aware of their democratic right to vote. But what about the rest of us who can vote? More specifically, what about us students? Well, the IEC have reported that South Africans under the age of 30 were out in full force during registration weekend. A grand total of 653 498 people participated during the registration weekend and more than 2/3 of this number were new registrations. The IEC have announced that there will be a final registration weekend taking place on the 5 and 6 March 2011. Be sure to check your registration details on this weekend or at your local Municipal Electoral Office. Registration for voting will close once the government have announced an election date. All you will need to register is a valid South African, green, bar-coded ID book. Now it’s up to you to have your say! It’s one thing to complain about the problems that our country may have, but it’s another to complain and never do anything about it. Casting your vote is the easiest, most important thing you could ever do within a democracy. So show your country some love and vote!

any of us come to university in the hopes of getting a degree and going to the working world with the knowledge we’ve gained in our three or four years here. Some, however, skip tertiary education and head straight into the business arena either as entrepreneurs or as employees. Then there are those who, while at university, embark on an exciting, risky enterprise. These are the kids who start a business, either as a way to make extra pocket money, or they see a “gap” in the market and decide to make this idea one which they can profit upon. The idea of starting a business while in university is not a new one. As we know, our treasured social networking site, Facebook, was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow classmates Dustin Muskowitz, Eduardo Saverin and Chris Hughes during their student days at Harvard. It was only meant to be a means of student networking within the university. Zuckerberg is now a multi-billionaire. Another student entrepreneur we may not be familiar with is Allen Kim,

an undergraduate student in the United States of America who co-founded Bebaroo.com. This is an online rental service for high-end, special occasion baby clothes. Parents of infants can hire clothes for their babies to wear once or twice and then return them. Kim is one of 5 finalists in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2010 College Entrepreneur of the Year. Our very own campus has some enterprising students who have started their own businesses. The well-known Pirates started with a group of students who saw the need for a late-night pizza place. Geoffrey Waugh, Daniel Hocutt, Chris Marshall and Karim Dhanani started in a res room on campus until they were shut down as the university does not allow for students to run businesses on campus. The boys were not about to give up just then and moved down to Somerset where their business and its popularity continues to grow. Since the move to African street, the famed pizza place added the options of grabbing a beer (or two) and having a good jam on to their already eccentric menu and now the place is more popular than ever. Speaking to Chris “Big-Bird” Marshall, one of the co-founders of Pirates,

it is clear that starting a business as a student does pose some challenges. Among others, finding funding for an enterprise, the lack of support from the university and the inherent risk that comes with a start-up business were some challenges that they faced. Another major challenge was the juggling of both academics and the business. Other student initiatives from Rhodes campus include the Rhode Trip Shuttle Services that enables many students to get around Grahamstown. This initiative has been running since 2005. There is also Kink, a business started by a student selling vintage clothes at cheap prices. This business began as a means of earning extra income and operated from the student’s digs once a month. She has since opened a shop at the back of Reddits coffee shop, on New Street. It may seem a daunting task to start up one’s own business while juggling academics and a social life, but, as it happens, there’s help at hand. Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their

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Student entreprenreurship is not as glamourous as it may make it seem. communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. The organisation serves to provide guidance for students who have enterprising business ideas and the skills and ability to see them into fruition. SIFE has a branch at Rhodes University.

The Beginners Guide to:
Exchange rate systems and the rand stability
Brydon Graham In finance, the exchange rate between two currencies specifies how much one currency is worth in terms of the other. The exchange rate system employed by the South Africa Reserve Bank allows for scepticism as South Africa is an emerging economy that can be prone to economic shocks. There are three basic types of exchange rate systems. Firstly, a fixed exchange rate is a type of exchange rate regime wherein a currency's value is matched to the value of another single currency or to another measure of value, such as gold. A fixed exchange rate is usually used to stabilize the value of a currency against the currency it is pegged to. This makes trade and investments between the two countries easier and more predictable, and is especially useful for small economies where external trade forms a large part of their GDP (Gross Domestic Product). In terms of South Africa, this type of system would provide the economy with a stable value of money; something that the Zimbabwean government has learnt recently with the adoption of the US dollar. Secondly, a linked exchange rate system is a type of exchange rate regime that links the exchange rate of a currency to another; such as the Namibian Dollar to the South African Rand. The final system is the one currently used by the South African economy. A floating exchange rate is a system whereby a currency's value is allowed to fluctuate according to the foreign exchange market. There are economists who think that floating exchange rates are preferable to fixed exchange rates as floating exchange rates automatically adjust to dampen the impact of shocks and foreign business cycles, and to preempt the possibility of having a balance of payments crisis. However, in certain situations, fixed exchange rates may be preferable for their greater stability and certainty, as in the Zimbabwe situation. In the last 16 years since SA transformed into a democracy, the Rand has seen an increase in volatility of its real exchange rate. These fluctuations in the Rand’s exchange rate have raised questions as to whether currency is undermining the competitiveness of South Africa’s economy. Efforts to address the current high levels of unemployment and widespread poverty among the majority of the population have increased the importance of the South African economy to perform at its optimum level. The Rand over the past sixteen years has been over and undervalued on numerous occasions - this means that since 1994 the South African Rand has hampered the economy in one way or another. The recent performance of the Rand has seen it appreciating against all major currencies, again raising questions of whether a Floating system is in fact the best option. On the positive side, the Rand during the recent financial crises proved to be highly more stable than most developed countries, possibly vindicating the use of a floating exchange rate system.

Heavy costs outweigh probability of mine nationalization
Exploring, developing and running the mines and implementing the policy would also add on to the debt. The need would arise to cut costs in one of the major budgets.
Zinathi Gquma The ANCYL proposes that nationalization of mines would increase the wealth of the people of South Africa, specifically the poor, and that the fiscal capacity (the ability to generate revenue) of the state would improve. However, there are no substantial facts to support the ANCYL’s “hope” for the economic success of South Africa that would result from the nationalization of mines. There is provision that is made in Section 25 of the constitution for the state to nationalize property. This is on condition that owners of the property would have to receive appropriate compensation, which is equivalent to the market value of the property. From the market price of the mining companies listed on the JSE, an estimate of approximately R850 billion is the value of such property that the owners would have to receive as compensation. Borrowing this amount at current interest rates would result in a R72 billion annual increase in the interest bill. This sum amounts to 40% of the current education budget and 8% of total government consumption. Only R20 billion would offset such costs, and it would be from the profit after tax generated by these companies. Due to the high cost that the state would incur if it was to compensate the owners, the ANCYL proposed a change to Section 25, namely: the removal of the obligation put on the state to compensate the owners of the property. However, even a change to Section 25 would not provide a significant reduction in the large costs. Rhodes University Economics lecturers Keeton and White stated that a change would not remove the obligation to compensate foreign investors enshrined in SA’s bilateral investment treaties with countries such as UK, Germany, France and Switzerland. This would result in foreign shareholders being compensated and local shareholders being uncompensated. This would be ironic, since a large amount of local shareholders are pension funds whose members’ assets would decrease accordingly. Several of South Africa’s largest mining companies are held by foreign investors. This means compensation of foreign shareholders would result in not reason enough for South Africa to follow suit. The South African state is facing major fiscal debt, and the only way that nationalization would be funded would be to borrow from other countries and this would only exacerbate the fiscal deficit. South Africa also has a poor performance record of failed state-owned companies, such as Eskom and Alexkor (a state-owned diamond mining company). Within five consecutive years Alexkor has shed 586 full-time jobs and has accumulated losses amounting to R275 million. The ANCYL needs to understand that South Africa cannot necessarily use the same methods used by other countries to generate economic wealth due to the history of huge inequality and unemployment. For most countries there is a trade-off between efficiency and equality: as a developing country, South Africa needs to focus on economic and financial efficiency or else even the slightest hope of social equality will be unattainable. In addition to compensation costs, there are large legal costs that would be incurred. Exploring, developing and running the mines and implementing the policy would also add on to the debt. It takes a long period of time before profits can be reaped in new mines and investor confidence would plummet because of the unsuccessful state-owned enterprises. The state would need to cut costs in one of the major budgets (i.e. education or healthcare services) and this would defeat the purpose of the policy. It is impossible for the South African government to run a complex sector such as mining because the costs would outweigh the benefits significantly.

The message of the revolution
Johnmark Kajese The recent events in the Middle East, particularly Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya, have been articulated with much interest from the Western media although certain crucial questions are not being tackled. Looking with a politically inclined eye, one can note that democracy, merely reduced to a change-in-face-of-leadership is now the desirable ‘in-thing’ for Africa. This is the predominant image that can be derived from the reports on the aforementioned countries. As a matter of fact, this article does not suggest in any way that the people should not act with regard to determining their own destiny. The crucial point of departure surrounds the vested interests of the West in the Middle East region, with particular focus on the United States of America. The calls for former President Hosni Mubarak to leave office were said to be based on the decline in the quality of life as indicated by poor living conditions, this is among other issues of human rights and the lack of a broadbased participatory democratic society. This should serve as a wake-up call for African leaders on the social, economic and political front. The recent events also highlight a critical concept about global politics: states are essentially self-interested, despite rhetoric to the contrary. The perfect illustration of this

“The fact that Botswana was successful in nationalizing its mines is not reason enough for SA to follow suit.”
significantly high capital outflows from SA, with negative implications for the balance of payments and SA’s future economic performance. Capital inflows fund the gap between investment and savings and these inflows amount to R414 billion in the form of South African equities - most of which are mining - purchased by foreign countries. It is quite safe to say that if the property clause were changed and local shareholders were not compensated, foreigners would not continue to invest in South African shares. The fact that Botswana was successful in nationalizing its mines is

Recent events in Egypt are a part of a wave of revolutions in the Middle East is the United States. In politics, there are no permanent friends, but permanent interests. The United States government has a vested interest in the Middle East region, based on the need to control resources that include oil, in addition to curtailing terrorism- which, ironically, can be argued to be as a result of the hegemonic foreign policy of domination of the United Nations. The US foreign policy towards the Middle East is unlikely to be contrary to these interests. The government of the United States is known to fund the Egyptian army to the tune of billions in US dollar terms. Now, in retrospect, why is it that there are no such funds being channelled to social services that include schools, health-care, employment creation that would have lead to a better standard of living for the Egyptians? Had this been in place, perhaps people would have marched, not in protest, but in celebration of a greater quality of life. The case of the Middle East should serve as a wake up call for the African people to realise that the West is often plagued by double standards. On the one side, you have the West engaging and funding undemocratic regimes like the one that was headed by the deposed Egyptian leader. On the other, democratic governments with the support of the people are chastised. Cuba is under American sanctions for being undemocratic, so what made Egypt any better? What the Middle East revolutions have illustrated, among other points, is that people cannot count on anyone but themselves to establish democracy and freedom.

Opinion

8

The Oppidan Press 03.03.11

The culture of stagnation
has a screen collage of graphic sexual Matthew de Klerk encounters in a five minute scene- can get away with a 16. I would hate to Flicking through the channels of television, or scrolling down my Facebook imagine what my children will see on television someday. Perhaps Rambo newsfeed, I can’t help but feel that 8 will replace Dora the Explorer as society has become...well...dumber. edutainment? Let us consider Facebook, or Other great examples include even any form of communication Jerseylicious, with its parking lot fights, in general. We have been handed and Jersey Shore, with its notorious the ultimate convenience on a silver GLT (that’s gym, laundry and tanning platter: free, quick and easy methods to to the uninitiated), or, in fact, any of communicate with almost any human the poorly-scripted and brain-numbing being on the planet. so-called “reality” shows. Text-style spelling used to make Even books seem to be prey to sense when people wanted to stick within the character limits of a message, this trend. At only 16 years old, Justin Bieber is releasing an autobiography but now with Facebook, SMSes that (obviously cataloguing cost barely anything, “The Internet is his lifetime of and free instantexperience and messaging services unfortunately doubt), such as Blackberry rewiring our brains wisdom, noall look and we can Messenger, it doesn’t to be Attention forward to the near add up. If you have a release of Snooki’s (of free, limitless canvas Deficit: if a news Jersey Shore fame) on which to write upcoming book, A something, then why article exceeds 400 Shore Thing. Hell, I is it still necessary words, we quickly didn’t even know she to cut out every lose interest and could read. vowel in a sentence, click ‘next’.” Stupidity has even use innumerable become so pervasive abbreviations, that it is even considered fashionable. forget necessities like grammar and One such example is the “Be Stupid” punctuation and shorten whatever advertisement by the Diesel clothing you can to as unrecognisable a form as company, where their motto of “be possible? The internet is unfortunately stupid” promises outcomes like “Make rewiring our brains to be Attention more friends”. Deficit: if a news article exceeds 400 Even a recent study in the UK shows words, we quickly lose interest and click that middle-class teenagers are less ‘next’. intelligent than a generation ago due to Television isn’t much of an the dumbing down of youth culture and improvement either. Flick onto nearly school tests. Research shows an average any channel and within two minutes IQ scores 6 points below that of their you will see either a horrific act of parents’ generation. The study blamed violence, graphic sex, or any other the decline on television, calling today’s similar tribute to the ever-increasing culture a “culture of stagnation”. normalisation of stupidity: crassness, So, everyone (if you have made it Ebonics and ignorance, not to mention this far in this article): read a book; sexism. When I was young, if a movie have a meaningful discussion with your had blood in it, or (God forbid) sex, friends; visit a museum - something, it immediately got slapped with an anything. And for Pete’s sakes never say R 18 sticker. Now, movies like Good anything with an “izzle” in it. Luck Chuck- where the protagonist

Opinion
Pic Supplied

The Oppidan Press 03.03.11

9

Drinking at Rhodes
Ananda Paver & Khutso Tsikane When I told people I was going to study at Rhodes University, I came to expect somewhat of a uniform response: the initial “Oh!” of interest, followed closely by a pause and then, depending on the type of person I was talking to, either a frown or a slow, knowing smile. “Well,” they would say, “I hear they do rather a lot of drinking there.” Another pause. “In fact,” they would add, foreheads creasing in thought, “I’ve heard they consume the largest amount of alcohol per student in South Africa.” Not much of a drinker myself, I laughed off these allegations, as well as the unpleasant suggestions that followed. Now, however, I find myself wondering just how accurate these so-called rumours may be. A mere week-and-a-half into my Grahamstown experience and I’ve already had ample encounters with hoards of incredibly drunk people (generally in dark, confined spaces). In addition to the gregarious drinking, there seems to be a peculiar tradition among students to simply drop their drinks wherever they happen to be standing, regardless of whether the drink in question is emptier than a dawnie lecture theatre, or full to the brim. While I’m hardly a party animal, I’ve been to my fair share of clubs and this has got to be the strangest custom I have ever encountered. Upon asking anyone who would listen why on earth a person would waste a perfectly good drink, I was greeted with shrugs and the occasional chuckle: a reaction which leaves me unsure whether this habit is a result of sheer drunkenness or, perhaps, a premeditated feat performed by people who have taken a liking to the poetic chime of broken glass spraying in all directions of the dance floor. Judging, perhaps unfairly, from the O-week spectacle, I don’t think it would be wrong to agree with some of the wilder reports. Free from the watchful eye of their parents and surrounded by intoxicated classmates, many students seem unable to judge when they’ve had ‘enough’. Some may argue that this level of drinking (one surely extraordinary enough to impress even the most jaded of debauchees) will last only as long as O-week; I’m not so sure. I believe that no mere lectures could possibly discourage such dedicated drinkers to surrender their new-found and cherished freedom. The only thing powerful enough to do this, I believe, is severe bankruptcy.

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Struggle song furore
Matthew de Klerk 2 frontman Bono’s recent comments concerning the notorious South African struggle song “Kill the Boer” have raised a furore across South Africa. In an interview with the Sunday Times, he apparently likened the song to Ireland Republican Army rebel songs. "I was a kid and I'd sing songs I remember my uncles singing... rebel songs about the early days of the Irish Republican Army," he said. Bono proceeding to sing a song whose lyrics spoke of carrying guns and readying them for action. "We sang this and it's fair to say it's folk music... as this was the struggle of some people that sang it over some time," he told the newspaper. However, he went on to say that such songs should not be sung in the wrong context. "Would you want to sing that in a certain community? It's pretty dumb. It's about where and when you sing those songs.

Steve Hoffmeyr recently expressed anger at apparent comments by U2 frontman Bono about ‘Kill the Boer’

RICA hurting cell users
Matthew de Klerk odacom has recently reported that it expects to cut some nine million of its cellphone users unless it gets an extension on the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act (RICA) registration cut-off date. Vodacom has so far registered 15 million of its 23 million customers. If an extension is not granted past this coming June, millions of pre-paid customers could be disconnected. MTN has reported similar troubles, having only registered about half of its 13 million users. Even Cell C has stated that about 40% of its users “could, but have yet to” provide registration details. There has been much debate concerning RICA since its inception in July of 2009. For those of you still unsure of what RICA is all about, it is basically a process where you jump through more loops than a

Negatives

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There's a rule for that kind of music." Some argue that the song made notorious by Julius Malema is an expression of revolutionary history and a symbol of liberation, whilst others (including the AfriForum actvists who are trying to get the song banned outright) believe that “Boere” is a derogatory slur against all white Afrikaaners. Similar lyrics in deceased Youth League leader Peter Mokaba’s struggle songs in the early 1990’s "Kill the Boer” had been previously defined as hate speech by the South African Human Rights Commission. Activists for South Africa’s white Afrikaner people have gone to court to argue that the lyrics should be classified as hate speech and banned from public broadcast. A spokesman for Bono and the band insisted the singer’s comments were quoted out of context. “If you read the actual transcript, it is clear that Bono’s intention was not as has been reported,” she said.

One of the many to jump on the overreaction band wagon is Afrikaans musician Steve Hoffmeyr. In a move that can be seen as a publicity stunt to win popularity with his majority audience (white Afrikaaners), Hoffmeyr tweeted in protest of Bono’s alleged support of hate songs. “I have just dumped my R5000 worth of U2 tickets in the Jukskei. I'm going home. I can find no context for that song. Sorry & goodbye," he posted on the social networking site. Hoffmeyr later admitted that it had been a publicity stunt. Bono’s words were clearly taken out of context, and it is exactly that sort of breathless, misleading journalism that justifies extremist media control legislature such as the Protection of Information Bill. The whole saga, in fact, reveals a disturbing tendency for angst and paranoia amongst white conservatives a hangover from a bygone era, and one that causes as much concern as the hateful songs themselves.

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trained circus animal to link your SIM card to your ID number and confirmed place of residence. The concept of RICA is that before the Act anyone could buy as many SIM cards as they wished, without even needing to produce an ID. The police have had problems where criminals could change SIM cards at will, meaning that their cellphone numbers were basically untraceable, making them nigh untouchable. However, there are two major problems with RICA’s process of registration: one, you need an ID booklet, and two, you need a proper place of residence. Some half a million South Africans are still without their official green bar-coded ID books after failing to collect them at the Home Affairs Offices this year, and there are still thousands of South Africans not even registered on the population register (a number that not even Home Affairs Office knows yet). The second problem is that

most pre-paid customers have no fixed abode, and without a way to prove where you live (many informal settlements do not receive letters), you cannot register, and unfortunately, formal letters from local leaders and churches aren’t much of a great alternative to prove where you live. Frost & Sullivan ICT industry analyst Spiwe Chireka says that people struggling with either of these problems would probably find a way to get past the legislation, for example by having their friends or family members registering their numbers on their behalf. This would obviously defeat the entire process of RICA: who is to say that the criminals the Act is supposed to be stopping won’t do the same? In this case, the government would probably start looking for ways to limit the number of SIM cards a person can own- a problem in its own right.

Homeward bound from G’town
Matthew de Klerk With Grahamstown situated an odd-thousand kilometres from any of South Africa’s major cities, every Rhodent (except those lucky few who live locally) must eventually brave the long and arduous trip home, from point A to a usually very distant point B. Luckily, there are a number of ways to get home but all of these have their ups and downs. The first and foremost symbol of a student’s freedom is the car. Quick, easy and safe, you have almost complete control over your journey, from how many times you stop for fastfood or petrol, or just plain sightseeing, to where you want to go. The music is great (it’s yours, isn’t it?) and you can share the trip with your fellow Rhodents-in-need. Unfortunately, a car comes with costs of all sorts, from repairs and check-ups to parts replacement and insurance, not to mention the everincreasing price of fuel. Then there is the bus. For just a couple of hundred bucks you can get a ticket to nearly any conceivable location in South Africa- or even outside the country. The bad thing about buses though, is perhaps everything about buses. The air-con is either on too high or off altogether, leaving you to sweat in discomfort for the several hours’ trip. The attendants are usually kind enough to play you music or a movie to while the hours away, but unfortunately they are the kind of terrible, straight-to-DVD romcoms starring Jennifer Aniston that you usually make the point of avoiding like a poorly-acted plague. Another terrible thing about buses is the usual passengers you get: they are either fifty kilograms overweight, or are cradling a screaming, puking infant in either arm. In fact, everything about bus travel has seemingly been engineered so as to cause the most painful amount of discomfort possible. Then, for those of you with the cash, there is the airport in Port Elizabeth. Being a frequent flyer, I am all too familiar and nauseated by the airlines. Each seems to care less about you than the last, and the service- from the indifferent checkin counter; the tasteless uninspired food; the bothersome custom officials; the baggage that never follows you on to the plane, to unavoidable and inevitable delays - is more befitting of a prison than an airport. If you are flying with a reputable airline (i.e. one that cares if you get to your destination alive) you are usually (after handing over yours or your parents hard-earned cash) treated with a fair amount of hospitality and kindness. Oh, and free alcohol. Never forget the free alcohol.

The normalisation of tyranny
Matthew de Klerk Democracy is something all of us take a little for granted. As history has so clearly demonstrated across the ages, democracy is a wonderful thing that unfortunately not many in the world get to experience. Instead of freedom, they have oppression.; instead of rights, they have poverty and discrimination, and instead of figureheads of liberty and justice such as Barack Obama, they have Machiavellian dictators such as Idi Amin, Robert Mugabe and the nefarious Adolf Hitler. But how does this happen? Where do these leaders come from, and how does everything good about a country suddenly go down the toilet? Well, that is the first thing: it is anything but sudden. The gross and unbelievable dilapidation of Zimbabwe was 26 years in the making, and even when the downward spiral began in early 2000, it still took eight years for it to get to the all-time low of horrific electoral violence, devastating shortages and a currency that wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. This is the normalisation of tyranny: it isn’t merely a sudden and quick process, but rather one of baby steps, starting with rights sacrificed one by one, or slowly worsening shortages and violence that eventually get uncontrollable. Finally, the normalisation of what would otherwise be considered strange and stupid. Take for example the political gaffes and politics of South Africa and Zimbabwe. President Mugabe’s early talk of “Little England and the agents of Blair” was considered downright hilarious, until eventually it was unsurprising that he blamed (and to this day still blames) every flaw on the unseen English forces. It is always a haunting moment when I see the ensuing disbelieving laughter following one of Julius Malema’s ridiculous or racist gaffes. I can never warn people, partly for fear of being regarded left-wing, paranoid, and cynical, but mostly because no one would even consider my words of warning. I suppose that the point of all this is to deliver a message of warning: take care of your rights. Even if it seems like a daunting or annoying, time-consuming task to go and register to vote, or to protect your basic rights such as the Freedom of Speech (currently threatened by the Proposed Protection of Information Bill) you should. You must. After all, it’s your future too.

Hundreds of first-years (also known as G11s) started their University careers in the second week of February with the hopes of attaining a world-class education and a Rhodes degree. So, with the reputation of Rhodes being notorious for drinking and being a place where the weekend apparently starts on Wednesday, firstyears were faced with the daunting prospect of Orientation week. The question on everyone’s minds was: “How true are the rumours?” The general consensus on campus this year seemed to be that the new-comers knew how to have a great (and yet also responsible) time. “Actually, the students here know how to handle their alcohol,” said Ross Soller, a second-year from Guy Butler residence. “Rhodents know how to have a good time, and still excel academically. When it’s crunch time everybody has their priorities straight: we party hard, we work harder, and we get the job done. We earn our reputation, but not in the way that everyone seems to think,” he said. For many, it wasn’t as bad as the rumours had previously claimed. “I thought I would feel pressured to drink during O-week, but the experience I had was that not everyone was getting drunk. I didn't feel left out because I don't drink,” said Nompumelelo Banda, a first-

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year studying Pharmacy. Another first-year, Robyn Thompson, agreed. “My friends and I never once saw anyone passed-out or walking alone drunk and [you’d] best believe we were out having fun every night, so we would have seen something,” she said. Many G11s said that they had an amazing O-week experience and put the rumours down to ‘O-week madness’. “We're only drinking a lot now because it’s O-week: this is the only time we can have as much fun as we like,” said Tumi Boikanyo, a first-year studying a BComm in Economics. Boikanyo is right: you don't get another chance to be a first-year. Sure, you might do first-year again academically speaking, but it is never the same as your first O-week, and once it’s gone, O-week will be gone forever. The atmosphere on campus this year was all about having fun and creating memories that will last forever, not so much about getting utterly hammered. The class of 2011 had heard so much about Rhodes and its infamous reputation for drinking that it seems they arrived here with the sole desire of not becoming a mere drinking statistic.

Show times: 12h30, 15h00, 17h30 and 20h30 daily

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Arts & Entertainment

SRC: sensational Rhodes carnival
David Williams The prominent Black Label sponsored stage on one end of the Great Field was surrounded by lively students, while others hurried off to the long beer tent pushed up against the Steve Biko building. The Student Representative Council Carnival on February 19 belied sporadic spits of rain and a shocking three hour late start by drawing a crowd of hundreds. Booze-infused and pumped with music, students’ spirits remained high throughout a smashing and longawaited O-Week finale. Those with tickets were treated to a unique and fantastic line-up of artists from all over the country. Local bands 13th Floor and Shackles & Bones opened the evening and got the crowd pumped for the leading acts. DJ Lulo Café and Liquideep carried on the rhythm and were joined by local bands Southern Gypsy Queen and Crashcarburn. The acts and sounds of the carnival were kept together by DJ’s Ernest, Epic and R.S., and credit must be given to South African DJ and mistress of ceremonies for the night, Anele Mdoda, for introducing the acts and keeping the crowd at bay. The members of Shackles and Bones seemed particularly enthusiastic to be getting the kind of stage presence offered by the carnival. “It’s pretty cool to be performing with these big artists... We met Southern Gypsy Queen last year and now we’re stoked that we are playing with them,” said Dave Glover, guitarist and vocalist of the band. Shackles & Bones just released their first unsigned album and took the opportunity to throw copies of their albums into

Arts & Entertainment
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Storme Sydow

the hands of a roaring crowd. It was Johannesburg-based CrashCarBurn’s first time playing in Grahamstown, and they took little time settling in. “65% of women here drink once a week, so things might get a bit unexpected,” quipped drummer Brendan “Bugsy” Barnes, referring to one of the Dean of Students posters. Vocalist and guitarist Garth Barnes commented on the Carnival, saying: “The event started a bit late but it turned out well. There was also big beefy security for us, which was pretty unnecessary.” Lead guitarist Fabian Sing had little to say of his first experience in the student town, noting “Grahamstown is a very strange yet beautiful place.” Ziyon, vocalist of Liquideep, echoed Sing’s views: “Grahamstown is a very beautiful place. I wish that I could be here longer.” Ryzor, the DJ and producer of Liquideep, shared his view of the event in general by saying, “We want to see more events like these, but backing from corporations is needed.” He also wished to give a word of advice to Rhodent fans, telling them that going to university “[is] not for the workforce but for the ambition”. The lively MC for the night, Anele Mdoda, was impressed by the diverse range of music at the Carnival, saying: “It was done so well with every music genre. It’s kind of like Glastonbury when they started off with rock but now acts such as Beyonce are being involved”. Anele also added a word of praise for Rhodents: “There’s a vibe here. I feel like a student again. You guys jam a lot and I like it,” adding jokingly, “I want a shirt from you guys so that I can say ‘I’ve been there’”.

Plucking strings with Dave Knowles
Ben Greaves We sat down with Rhodes student David Knowles, who is doing his Honours in History, to get some insight into his musical talents. Ben Greaves: So Dave, where are you from? David Knowles: I’m from P.E., but I was living and playing music in London before settling here to do my degree. BG: What instruments do you play? DK: I play guitar, piano, and I’m learning the cello. BG: How do you like the cello? DK: It’s beautiful, it’s a very mournful instrument. But I really like making sounds out of everything. I’ve started seeing my voice as an instrument too. BG: How so? DK: Well I’ve started beatboxing, interjecting lyrical aspects with bits of beats, altering the sound of my voice to create different effects rather than just singing. BG: So are you trying to use your voice less to deliver meaning directly and more as a part of an ensemble? DK: Well I’m a solo artist. I see myself as collaborating with other people but not really being a part of a band. So the voice takes on a new dynamic when you’re performing alone. BG: What about your guitar playing? DK: I play mostly fingerstyle guitar, but I don’t think it’s a very good name for it because it doesn’t really capture the percussive elements. I mean, as far as guitar-playing goes, I try to stick to a more conventional guitar style, but I try to include percussive aspects like beats, harmonic slaps and taps into my songwriting. But I see myself primarily as a vocalist; the guitar is really my second instrument. BG: How would you describe your song-writing process? DK: It alters, it changes. I usually play a song until I’ve completed it. If I play it for someone before it’s finished then it solidifies the song as an external expression. It becomes fixed. So I’ll tend to sit and write a song in a few hours or a day.

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RJ Benjamin sings his swan song
Andiswa Leve

Dave Knowles proves to be a popular feature at local gigs with his solo act For me, the beautiful thing is creating, playing around. I very rarely play my old songs or traditional covers. BG: Any last words? DK: In all art forms you have to get through certain barriers, so if you’re simply playing covers, then you should try writing music, or if you’re quite focused on one style of music then you should try to broaden your playing skills. BG: Thanks very much for your time. David plays locally and in P.E., as well as in other venues across South Africa. You can get a taste of his performances by searching YouTube for “Dave Knowles Zula Cape Town.”

“I don’t really understand the SA music industry and I probably never will.”
He is known to many as “South Africa’s soulful white boy,” writing heartfelt lyrics and expressive melodies, while also keeping us dancing to house grooves such as the smash hit “Change the World”. However, after much thought, R.J Benjamin has decided to end his work as an artist within the South African music industry. “I don’t want people to think I stopped because I simply died off or had no more music left in me,” says Benjamin. Explaining that he would rather be involved in the creative process of music production and songwriting, he added,“What has always driven me has been the music. I love the creative process, [because] I love making something out of nothing.” Benjamin will also continue serving as a trained vocal coach, as he has since 2000. R.J Benjamin has always been quite vocal about his negative feelings towards the South African music scene, even going so far as to boycott the South African Music Awards indefinitely. “I don’t really understand the SA music industry and I probably never will,” he commented. A Metro FM Award winning singer, Benjamin has worked alongside, written for, and produced for the likes of Danny K, Lira, Tamara Dey, Karen Kortje, and Unathi Nkayi.. He has released a total of three CDs, “Who I Am”, “Swimming in the Soul of Music”, and “House Bound”. His final planned release will be “Inside”, which is currently going through post-production. “I’d like to thank the die-hard fans for joining me for the ride, a big thank you to all those that believed I had something to offer”.

The Eminem and Bieber snub
Ben Greaves Have the Grammy Awards “clearly lost touch with contemporary popular culture”, as music executive Steve Stoute believes? Stoute recently placed a full-page open letter in the New York Times condemning the 53rd annual Grammys hosted by the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). In it, he claims Pic Supplied that the awards have deviated from their original purpose and instead display “a series of hypocrisies and contradictions”. The Grammys have been around since 1959, when the ceremony was initiated by NARAS (The National Academy of Recording and Sciences) to award excellence in the music industry. Across 50-odd years and a current tally of 109 different categories, controversy has understandably been ever-present. Renowned artists like Jimi Hendrix never won a single award; A Taste of Honey, on the other hand, managed to snag Best New Artist in 1979 before disappearing from the public and critical eye. In this tradition, Stoute seems incensed by the recent 53rd Grammy Award ceremony which invited popular artists like Justin Bieber and Eminem to perform for the telecast and then blatantly snubbed them by giving awards to less-known artists. These and other artists have shaped the face of modern culture – how, then, could they be ignored? Isn’t mass popularity some kind of barometer of noteworthy trends in music? At the core of his argument, then, is the debate over the correct role of award ceremonies of this type. Do the Grammys exist to reward popularity or excellence, and how can the latter be determined? Surely we must discover a system of award selection that includes elements of both. The current list of voters in NARAS is so small that a concentrated PR campaign can easily swing awards and nominations in favour of otherwise obscure and possibly undeserving artists. It is inconceivable that Best New Artist winner Esperanza Spalding, in spite of her numerous talents, has had as great a critical and popular impact on music as Justin Bieber. On the other hand, the Grammy’s unscrupulous pursuit of ratings and revenues, evidenced by their hunt for pop-oriented telecast performers, undermines the message of inclusiveness and quality.

One thousand cranes
Ben Greaves The Rhodes Drama Department’s main theatre has played host to a multitude of solemn, dark, or just downright angsty performances, recent subject matter has included suicide, family loss, and even the Holocaust. It was vaguely bewildering, then, to witness young schoolchildren swarm into the venue and take their seats in quiet anticipation. Their reward was the charming “Land of the Cranes”, presented by Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company. This simple tale of kindness and forgiveness proved to be artistically balanced and cleverly funny. The premise of the performance was understandably straightforward (though strangely Biblical). In storybook form, a father tells his daughter of a magical land which is protected by the wise Lady of the Cranes. Humans wilfully abuse animals until, finally, the Lady makes all the animals in the land disappear. On the verge of starvation, humans have just three chances to prove their innate kindness. A young

Shacjles and Bones bassist Neil van Zaydam delivers a high octave performance at the 2011 SRC Carnival.

“Do the Grammys exist to reward popularity or excellence, and how can the latter be determined?”
Perhaps the Grammys have outlived their usefulness entirely. After all, forms of music have evolved so much in the last century that there’s really no way to compare a dubstep track with Rachmaninov’s piano concertos - there exists no universal criteria for excellence. Under the current restricted selection process, it’s no wonder that modern or less popular forms of music such as hip-hop, jazz, and house continually get passed over for top Grammys. That’s the real snub.

girl with a gift for folding origami cranes saves the day by presenting her most cherished crane to the Lady, who mercifully returns the animals to the jubilant people. The performers should be applauded for displaying striking diversity. Solid acting was buttressed by puppeteering, physical theatre, chorus, and even bokken sparring. Precise language ensured an easy-to-follow story, while a heavy dose of slapstick comedy “kept the stage alive”, so to speak. Japanese lore and culture was a major influence, lending the stage a magical spark. Ubom!’s efforts lagged in other regards. Certain segments lacked cohesiveness or included ambiguous action, an almost unforgivable slip-up in a children-oriented performance. The stage couldn’t seem to decide whether it was fundamentally Japanese or African, as Ubom!’s attempt to produce an Asian-themed show displayed superficiality and came across as unintentionally patronising. Nevertheless, audience members young and old alike were unanimously delighted by “The Land of the Cranes”. Laughter was a constant accompani-

Pic: Supplied

Seen here descending onto stage in an egg, Lady Gaga was one of the only popular artists to win multiple awards at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards.

Letters
Pic courtesy of Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company Excited children line up outside the Rhodes Main Theatre to watch Ubom!’s “Land of the Cranes” ment, yet the story included its fair share of tear-jerking moments. And of course the message – the importance of kindness to others and respect for all forms of life – was well-received and timely. Minor technical details aside, it should be stated unequivocally that “The Land of the Cranes” is evidence that this country’s theatrical performers are more than capable of producing relevant and necessary art. This sort of performance is hard to find in many communities, and Ubom!’s mission of bringing professional theatre to young or underprivileged audiences is sure to have lasting implications. More than anything, this is theatre designed for all audiences, relevant to South Africans from many walks of life.
Editor: Lauren Granger Deputy Editor: Mikaila Thurgood Managing Editor: Lwandlekazi Gaga Marketing Managers: Jamie Bezuidenhout and Siân Rees Financial Manager: Munyaradzi Chapereka Distribution Managers: Ntombifuthi Phakathi and Mildred Chanhuwa Community Engagement Managers: Enathi Mqokeli Chief Designer: Tselane Moiloa Assistant Chief Designers: Stephanie Pretorius and Motlagae Konyana Marketing and Advertising Designer: Amy Slatem Designers: Shavaughn Haack, Gabi Zietsman and Chevawn Blum Cheif Sub-Editor: Nadia Moore Sub-Editors: Sarita Pillay, and Wilhelmina Maboja Online Editors: Katherine Kirk and Maricelle Gouws Arts and Entertainment Editor: Benjamin Greaves Environment Editor: Carina Truyts Features Editor: Bakhulule Maluleka News Editor: Benjamin Katz Assistant News Editor: Relebone Myambo Business Editor: Neo Khanyile Sci-Tech Editor: Muhammed Bemath Opinion Editor: Matthew de Klerk Pictures Editors: Chelsea Nelson,Storme Sydow and Binwe Adebayo Politics Editor: Leigh Hermon Politics Assistant Editor: Tanaka Johnmark Kajese Sports Editor: Fabio De Dominicis Printers: Dupli-Print

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Sci-tech Stick it in the cloud Thought you knew about SA?
Craig Adamson echnology is a wonderful thing! In my lifetime I have witnessed some of the technological leaps and bounds of the IT industry and it still manages to continuously amaze me. I remember owning my first graphics card, an nVidia TNT 2 and a Coppermine processor that was still made by Cyrix (never heard of them? I know, right?). It ran at a clock speed of 300 MHz and a 16mb Memory Module and a rocking 8 gigabyte hard drive. I thought it was the coolest thing that could ever have happened to me, until I got DialUp and “pimped” my computer with a 56kb line. Ten years later, numerous Microsoft Operating Systems had been launched, nVidia had their GeForce line out and were on their fourth generation, whilst Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) brought new dimensions to the game with Hyper Threading and the experimentation of dual-core processors. It was at this time that the ADSL lines started becoming popular with consumers in South Africa. All of a sudden we were experiencing faster Internet, broader access and a sense of communication that was unrivalled before. Today I sit and look at the industry and contemplate as to where it is going and develop intricate philosophies to the pros and cons of these developments. My latest obsession has been that of cloud computing and the removal of the physical aspect of a personal computer. Cloud computing is the next generation of computing and will eventually hit main consumers, regardless of whether we want it to or not. In this day and age of global intervention, social-networking and a general dismay towards the many problems that globalization offers, we have to consider the positives of this. Cloud computing can be defined as the removal of the physical with the replacement of the virtual. There is already a trend with Remote Computing which allows a user to access his/her computer anywhere in the world via a recognised server but soon, it would seem, that computers will become standardised in terms of

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The Oppidan Press 03.03.11

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practicality. This means that anyone with an Internet connection will be able to access his or her own Personal Computer from anywhere. Instead of having a localised hard drive installed into your rig, the domain of your work will be put into a ‘cloud’, a global network of users that can operate independently from one another whilst still using and sharing resources. There are many benefits that cloud computing offers: reliability of storage, and a recognised network that will result in the safeguarding of one’s affairs whilst software availability will be more user-friendly. Software will no longer be needed to be installed on each user’s computer independently. The main reason for worrying about cloud computing lies in the potential that it breeds a generation of users that will not need to know about the “technicalities” of computers, levels of “knowledge” will drop with regards to the end-user. The idea that users won’t need to know the details does encourage more computer users. This relation does need to be observed and computer users need to have more knowledge of how their computer works as opposed to being able to work a computer. As much as there are benefits, there are also potentially conservative fears of cloud computing. Software is no longer individually owned. Instead it is licensed and with cloud computing, it removes the user from having a lot of experience with working behind-the-scenes of the computers. When corporatisation is the gospel of the neo-liberal and the consumers just consumes, which “cloud” will the consumer consume? Microsoft and Oracle already have a large stake in attempting to fine-tune their clouds and, undoubtedly, Microsoft may be the cloud that most of us will be placed under. Embrace technology but instead of becoming a consumer, consider the alternative - become a solutions provider; don’t be lured into the ease-of-access speech. Consider what you want technology to do and how you want to do it. “Embrace it. Remake it” should be the ethos for every person who will go into the world of computers.

Sithandwa Ngwetsheni & John Smith

Meteors
South Africa has the oldest meteor scar in the world, just across the Vaal River near Parys, called the Vredefort Dome. The meteor plummeted to Earth nearly two billion years ago (Earth is said to be 4.5 billion years old), pre-dating the days of multicelled life.

Gold & Diamond Mining
South Africa ranks amongst the world’s top 25 trading nations and largest producers of gold, diamonds and other minerals. The rich diamond mines of Kimberley and gold discoveries of the Witwatersrand changed South Africa virtually overnight, from a unknown area into one of the world’s richest countries in terms of natural resources. The world’s largest uncut diamond was the Cullinan, found in Kimberly in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa weighing 530.2 carats, the Lesser Star of Africa which weighs 317.40 carats, and 104 other diamonds of nearly flawless colour and clarity. They now form part of the British crown jewels. On the other hand, the largest diamond known to man is Lucy, a fragment of a dead star which once shone as bright as our sun. She is 2,500 miles across and weighs five million trillion trillion pounds. Translating this to carats would mean an approximation of 10 billion trillion trillion carats. That’s a one followed by 34 zeros. At today’s rate, not even the world’s richest people combined could afford to purchase Lucy.

Speed Gun
Did you know that the Speed Gun (used in cricket ovals throughout the world) was invented by a South African of Somerset West named Henri Johnson? Johnson developed the Speed Gun and it became formally used in England during the 1999 World Cup. The Speed Gun in cricket is used to accurately measure the speed and angle of the fast-moving cricket ball. The gun is manufactured by a South African electronic firm. It is now being sold in the United States of America and in Europe.

Pic Supplied

Sasol – Coal to oil
Did you know that Sasol is the world’s first and largest coal refinery to oil company? Situated in the country, it began in 1927 after an investigation for the establishment of the South African oil-from-coal refinery. After many years of research and negotiations, the South African Oil and Gas Corporation was then formed in 1950. Sasol provides 40 % of South Africa’s fuel. In 1990 Sasol established its first international marketing company known as Sasol Chemicals Europe. Sasol has also developed world leading technologies for the conversion of low grade coal into synfuels and chemicals.

Tea
Scientific studies from South Africa and Japan corroborate findings of potent antioxidants in an indigenous herb tea from the Southwestern Cape region of South Africa. Called Rooibos (pronounced ‘roy-boss’), this red tea is the only other tea in the world which undergoes a fermentation process like black tea. Fermentation turns the leaves of Rooibos from green to a deep red colour and gives it a slightly sweet note with a deep body. Rooibos, unlike black and green tea, is completely caffeinefree.

SE Xperia X10 mini Pro
Sithandwa Ngwetsheni Sony Ericsson has a new invention on their coffee table. With this new baby, one touch can get to everything from social-networking sites to the business world. This trend-setting phone follows the SE Xperia X10 Mini Pro. Small and boxy, this device is not just any phone. It’s small, likeable, and towers over its competition. The X10 Mini Pro phone hides a keyboard that, even from a couple of steps away, no one could ever guess of such a feature. This phone might be small but it was made both for the business as well as the social world. This is all made possible by its show-stopping features. The first attractive feature is that it is lightweight and this because of its ultracompact body. The Smartphone has a QWERTY keyboard, which makes it easy for those who want type something out as if they’re in the Jac Labs. As opposed to the X10 Mini, this phone has a user-replaceable battery. Experience everything the Mini Pro way: it caters for all occasions, from catering to your entertainment fix with the latest video clips to the bigger and Pic Supplied

Come and display your talent, increase your skills and knowledge and get a taste of what the working world is about. Be part of The Oppidan Press, a hard-working and dedicated team.
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Advertising Manager

Community Engagement Manager

Are you responsible, organised and a born sales person? An advertising representative meets with businesses and sells ad space in the newspaper to gain experience and commission.
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Advertising Representative

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14 The Oppidan Press 03.03.11

Environment
Green Eggs and Ham
Kate Janse van Rensburg Bruce Haynes

The Oppidan Press 03.03.11

Biochar: burning to save the soil
W
ith all the talk of global warming, you wouldn’t think that burning things would be a partial solution to the ecological challenges we are facing. According to eminent soil scientist Johanness Leymann from Cornell University’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, this may be the case. However, it depends on what you burn, how you burn it and what you use it for afterwards. If you slowly burn organic matter - such as mielie husks – in a sealed charcoal burner, you’ll end up with a fine charcoal dust called biochar. Spreading that charcoal powder on your farm land or garden, will improve the health of the soil and you are likely to get a better harvest next time round. Biochar is being promoted by Leymann and other soil scientists as a long-term solution to agricultural degradation of the soil. Spreading biochar on the soil will allow it to hold more water. Biochar also prevents nutrients leaching out of your soil. Because biochar is porous like a charcoal sponge, it will increase accommodation space for friendly soil microbes to live in. Preparing biochar is more complicated than simply throwing burnt charcoal into your garden after a braai. The materials required to construct a sealed biochar burner are, however, easy to get hold of. Making a biochar burner is relatively easy as well. So easy that certain cultures in the Amazon were intentionally or unintentionally using biochar to improve their soil fertility at the same time that writing was being discovered in other parts of the world. In a lecture at Stanford University, Johannes Leymann speaks about early European explorers in the Amazon reporting “fantastically rich soils... in a place where there shouldn’t be rich soils”. The explorers were talking about a mysterious ‘black soil’ found in that region. It was only when researchers like Leymann realized that cultures in the area had been making biochar for 8000 years that scientists began to see biochar as a high-potential idea for sustainable agriculture. Making biochar also traps atmospheric C02 as the carbon in charcoal. Unless you figure out how to make diamonds, scientists say you won’t find a better material than buried charcoal to permanently store fixed atmospheric carbon underground. So, besides rebuilding fertility in degraded soils, biochar could also play a role in helping counteract climate change. Evidently, biochar is a simple idea with the potential to help solve some of society’s environmental challenges.

Health Suite...
Join the movement and make fitness a lifestyle
or the people who want to stay on top of their game, remain in peak physical form or for those who just want to have a chilled workout to keep healthy: the Rhodes Health Suite is the place to be. The Health Suite caters not only for the ‘energizer bunnies’ of campus, but also for those who are just starting out. The Suite offers weight, group and personal training, as well as indoor cycling facilities for all members to use. Along with these are new improved programs which ensure that after every spin, kick, jog, jump and kick taken, your fitness goals will always find the back of the net. The group-training classes are a perfect social networking tool (after Facebook of course) for those looking to workout with other out-of-breath companions and have a good laugh in the process. For the more serious gym-goers who want a more specialised workout program, the personal trainers are at your beck-and-call at all times. The facilities at the Health Suite include a range of machines that ensure a full-

Sport
Ananda Paver

15

Carina Truyts

Sunrise Toffees
I’m not really into religion but I quite like it when my mother says Grace. It makes sense to me, to thank for the blessing of food - irrespective of whether you’re thanking God, Allah, mother earth or your mate whose turn it was to cook dinner. So many aspects of our lives are centred around food. There is clearly more to eating than plain nourishment. We laugh as we lick our fingers. We turn the radio on and jam in the kitchen. We get involved in making meals together. “I cook, you clean?” We associate food with different times and activities in our lives. The ritual of eating helps us to deal with trying events and day to day activities. The constant comfort that food offers is second to none: from pancakes on a rainy day to fresh popcorn at the movies. My friends believe in chocolate and Romany Creams for those with broken hearts.When we see tears, our first impulse is to offer comfort through nourishment. “Cup of tea?” we ask or (depending on the circumstances),“beers at the Rat?” Food also triggers a certain kind of nostalgia: I can’t look at Sunrise Toffees without thinking of bygone road trips with my family. I remember pink ice- cream when I got my tonsils out and poking my fingers into my grannies’ big jar of forbidden prunes (I finally get it, by the way). The point of my wistful take on calorie consumption is that food is one of the most precious commodities we have. From Mama Pam’s boerie rolls (Where is she, on that note? I miss her) to Steers R1 ice creams. Don’t waste. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and geography professor Per Assmo, Africa produces more than enough food to feed itself and have a surplus, but billions of people are starving. The United States Department ofAgriculture (USDA) statistics prove that North America wastes 27% of all food that is produced. That third could certainly feed a whole lot of impoverished people. I’m not saying we need to start shipping our leftovers to Ethiopia. We need to be more responsible about what we eat, and mindful about what we waste. Cherish your sense of taste, as well as the opportunity you have to be nourished. There is a simple well-known line that reminds me how lucky I am: “For what we are about to receive”.

F

Sean Black

body workout. For the week following O-week, the Suite had remained open for all, yet as of Sports Sign-up Day, students need to have signed up as a member to use the facilities. For those who missed sign-up, the Health Suite offices are open during the week to assist you in this regard. The class times of the Health Suite are as follows: Aerobics – daily at 06:15, 16h15, 17h15 and 18:15 Spinning – daily at 16h00 and 17h00 Weight training – Open daily 06h00-09h00; 12h00-21h00 Weekends: 14h00-17h00 For more information contact the Health Suite Manager: Felix Munyai Email: f.munyai@ru.ac.za Tel: 046 603 8367 Cell: 083 627 9536 Fax: 046 622 9704 So before first year spread takes hold of your love handles, grab your water bottle, sweatpants and towel and get going to the Rhodes Health Suite!

Pic supplied

‘Green drinks’ to increase communication
Bruce Haynes Besides making plans to socialise and encourage students to get partially naked, the different environmental societies on Rhodes University campus discussed ways to work together at a recent environmental societies meeting. Held at the new Environmental Research and Learning Centre next to Eden Grove, the meeting was well-attended. Representatives from environmentally-interested student groups, including Chem-soc and Anime-soc, discussed ways in which to work together to achieve common goals. “This is the first time in four years that I’ve seen environmental societies sitting together talking,” commented one enthusiastic participant, “it’s so good to see that we are moving forward”. 2011 seems set to be a year for collaboration among Rhodes environmental community members, judging by the hearty response to the proposal of a monthly ‘Green Drinks’ social event. Another event on the environmental agenda is a ‘climate concert’ on the Friday 11th March. This concert will raise awareness on climate change and advertise projects run by the different environmental societies. Zebra and Giraffe have agreed to perform. Because climate change is a hot topic, in the words of the main organiser from SEACC, the concert theme will involve “wearing as little as possible”. On a serious note, it was acknowledged that there has been a tendency for Rhodes environmentalists to interact mainly with others from within the existing environmental community. A previous committee member for Galela Amanzi emphasised the need to, “reach out to the rest of the student body and make them care”. The 2011 SRC environmental councillor, Kiarin Gillies, intends to continue with the projects started by her predecessor, Dave Knowles. She is committed to helping facilitate communication among the different Rhodes environmental groups. SEACC’s idea of informally co-ordinating a monthly ‘Green Drinks’ get-together for environmentallyconscious students was embraced as one fun but effective way of achieving this aim.

Eager students sign up for the various work-out options at the Rhodes University Health Suite.

Rhodes media sports group: Old Eds polish off Buffalo Grand Challenge
New journos on the block
Sean Black A new club has taken formation at Rhodes this year : The Rhodes Media Sports Group. The club is for all the budding sports journalists looking for some early exposure and priceless experience in the particular field. The group is calling upon all writers and photographers with an undying passion for any sport to sign up. However, all journalism students interested in the field of television and radio are encouraged to join in this new initiative. The club is being hosted by the Student Sports Council and the University Sports Media Group (USMG). It is one of its kind at Rhodes – being the only official media representation for the Rhodes Sports Club. For first year journalism students looking to get past the dreaded cut-off gate into 2nd year, joining the club would most certainly look impressive on one’s portfolio, and may even be the deciding factor into furthering a journalism career at Rhodes University. Membership into this group coincided with sign-up day, yet for those still wishing to become an official sport journalist of Rhodes Sports Club, you can contact Ettione Ferreira. Her email address is etto07@gmail. com. Lindsey May half a minute behind, with local East London club, Leander, clenching a credible third place stroked by Jonathan Taylor. the University of Johannesburg were close on Leander’s tails Rowers, their support crew, and locals alike, made settling for fourth place, followed by another Tuks team, with themselves comfortable on the Buffalo River and its banks Rhodes University bringing up the rear in a time of 6 minutes this past weekend to participate in the 124th Buffalo 43 seconds. Regatta held in East London. The junior eightman event provided the most excitement This Premier Rowing event is not only known for holding for the day, with an extremely close finish for the first three the title of the oldest annual sporting event in the country, places. Tightly won by St Benedict’s of Johannesburg in a time but is also famed for its priceless, pure silver trophies - the of 5 minutes 50 seconds, St Andrews College only just took 1.2 metres tall Grand Challenge trophy and the Silver Sculls second, with Bishops of Cape Town taking trophy, both dating back to 1881. third, only a second off the leaders time. The renowned Buffalo Grand “I’m really happy with The junior women’s quad event was Challenge, a coxless fours event, the results and proud of won by DSG in a time of 06:54, with St culminated proceedings on Saturday with Rhodes Rowing on the Andrew’s School for Girls taking second six senior A men’s teams participating. and St Stithians taking third in a time of Old Ed’s, a Johannesburg-based boat whole” 07:02. club, were first to finish the 2000 metre Stephen Green of Rhodes University, sprint with an impressive lead in a time who only narrowly took second in the senior men’s sculling of 5 minutes 59 seconds. Stroked by three time Olympian event, says that he was happy with the Club’s performance as and bronze medal winner, Ramon di Clemente, the all they exceeded the expectations they had set beforehand. “I’m heavyweight crew of Old Ed’s managed to regain the title that really happy with the results and proud of Rhodes Rowing on they narrowly lost to Tuks (University of Pretoria) last year. the whole” Green said. Left in their wake were last year’s winners who followed

Jumping the climate gun
Abigail McDougall Recent flooding in South Africa and Australia has devastated crops, property and human life. The go-to response of commentators everywhere is to raise the cry of climate change, human destruction, and planetary crisis. However, complicated scientific phenomena such as global warming and natural disasters rarely have easy answers. Mono-causal explanations abound in the media but they often present a one-sided view. Northeastern Australia was hit by torrential rains in November of 2010. By late January the floods had moved towards the southeastern state of Victoria, in what BBC News described as the worst flooding the region has seen in 130 years. The South African floods began on the 12th of January in the Northern Cape and spread across the country. By the 15th of February Eyewitness News reported the death toll at over 100, and the estimated cost of the damage at R4 billion. Whether or not the South African and Australian disasters are both linked to human-induced climate change is a question that divides responses in the media. An American aggregator Newsplurk collected 20 articles linking human activity directly to recent flooding from some of the world’s top news outlets like Time, Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times and Independent Online. Other sources such as the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) and the BBC linked the flooding to a meteorological phenomenon called El Niño and did not mention climate change. According to a South African water monitor Watersense, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research predicted a wet summer due to the La Niña phase of the same phenomenon. The media coverage makes it seem like either human activity is to blame, or this is just part of a natural cycle and everything is completely fine. The South African Weather Service defines El Niño as “the warming of sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean which influences atmospheric circulation, and consequently rainfall and temperature in specific areas around the world”. La Niña, the opposite cycle, brings cooler temperatures and higher rainfall. Together these make up the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which can occur every three to seven years. According to Earth Sciences lecturer Professor Ian Meiklejohn, the recent flooding in SA and Australia are typical effects of the La Niña phase. Gauteng experienced similar flooding during the La Niña of the1990s. However, the recent ENSO cycle appears to have have been more intense than previously, and Professor Meiklejohn suggests that changes in the earth’s climate may worsen the effects of El Niño. “The impact of climate change is uncertain, but what is predicted is that the meteorological extremes are likely to become more severe.” Many attribute this to climate change or so called (human induced) Global Warming. Perhaps it does not have to be an either/or argument: “There is no doubt that the climate is changing and it will always change. However, the role of humans in potentially accelerating change is uncertain. It would be naïve to think that humans do not have an impact”.

Flooded homes in Queenland Australia are cause for much concern over climate change however claim is uncertain

Cartoonist: Stephen Mina

Sports
ucked beneath the green slopes of upper-campus lies a serene, yet largely undiscovered sporting facility, bound to attract hundreds and become the hub of Rhodes sports within the following months: the newly-laid Rhodes Hockey Astro. The process of re-laying the astro pitch began towards the end of 2010 and was completed during the January vacation. A total of R3.26 million was spent on this venture, thanks to a largely substantial donation made by the National Lottery Board. The outcome is a top-notch surface which has Rhodes’ hockey players itching for the season to start. However, hockey is not the only sport to benefit from this project. Alongside the main astro is an additional 15m by 36m netted area, which serves as both a hockey warm-up area as well as an ‘indoor’ futsal court. This netted area will also be able to host

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No ‘short corners’ on new Rhodes Astro
T
Fabio De Dominicis ‘indoor’ hockey games, played in this smaller area at a faster pace where players may play off the side-nettings. There are also plans to use this arena as a venue for action cricket games as well. All of these are entirely new sports available to Rhodes students, and are set to take off and generate heaps of excitement and entertainment. Other sporting facilities have also profited from this endeavour. The athletics track surrounding the astro pitch has also been revamped, yet will only be fully completed by the end of the year. However, ground staff are using the summer conditions to maximise growth opportunity for the grass so that the track can still be used during 2011. Additionally, the tennis courts have all been resurfaced, including the single court on St Peter’s campus. The Sports Department will also be erecting new rugby poles on the Great Field. Great care has also been taken with regards to the fertilization and irrigation of King’s Field, which is sporting a softer and much-improved surface. Mr Roger Adams, head of Sports Administration at Rhodes University, is thrilled with the facilities that have been upgraded and made available to the students. He expressed his delight with revamping of the Rhodes Astro which he now hopes will make for “quality matches on a top-class surface”. Although practices have already started, the first matches on the new pitch will only commence as of March. The futsal arena will only become operational from the second term, and users will have to make use of a booking system which will be centralised at Sport Administration in order to use the facility. The arena will be available to student organisations, and thereafter, a fee of R150 per half hour will be charged for external parties who wish to use the venue. Be it hockey, indoor soccer or action cricket, the new Rhodes Astro is sure to attract large crowds who will undoubtedly be treated to action-packed encounters and sensational spectacles. Binwe Adebayo

The new astro-turf at Rhodes is good news to all sport enthusiasts.

Proteas chances played down An Amazing Rhode Race
Zintle Ngubeni For the first time in recent memory, the Proteas embark on a World Cup campaign with a somewhat lighter weight of expectation. Boasting a squad considerably less experienced than previous years, there is cautious optimism when mulling over the national team’s chances. In tournaments gone by, the stellar performances of South Africa’s finest cricketers would serve to inflate prospects of the country’s maiden major ICC trophy. The 2011 Cricket World Cup underway in India and Bangladesh is the latest spectacle pitting the globe’s nations against each other. The Proteas can point to just four players who have tested their mettle at this level - Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, A.B De Villiers and Robin Petersen. Statistically, South Africa’s 2011 World Cup squad is slightly younger than it was at the previous instalment. Nine of the players are within the age group of 25 – 29. Four fall within the 30 – 34 range. Only Jacques Kallis slots into the “35 years and above” category and, as on numerous occasions, a great deal will be expected on his part. The youngest player, at 21, is Wayne Parnell. The latter has a point to prove after an indifferent series against India recently. Plenty focus will also be on cohosting India, whose versatile squad is buffed by the presence of the evergreen Sachin Tendulkar. The talismanic batsman will once again play a central role in his country’s title ambitions as he seeks to add to his glittering array of records. The other regular major nations to look out for are England, although their erratic form is likely to be of concern. Australia are another side capable of springing a surprise, which is not normally said of a side usually bearing the “favourites” tag at each tournament. The typically distinctive subcontinent conditions have been subject to much discussion in the build-up to this tournament. The final squad tasked with delivering optimum performances is testament to the selectors’ hope of executing tactics without stifling the team’s strengths. Of the 15 players, three spinners have been included to complement the traditionally potent seam attack. Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and the ascending Lonwabo Tsotsobe will have their work cut out on some of the most spin-friendly pitches in world cricket. On the spin side of bowling, J.P Duminy, Robin Petersen and Imran Tahir will hope to find swift momentum and provide much-needed variety to the bowling charge. Tahir’s inclusion has been touted as the Proteas’ surprise element and his latest showings suggest a decent spell on the horizon. The Pakistan-born leg-spinner bagged three wickets in one of the warm-up matches and four wickets on debut in the Proteas first World Cup game against West Indies. Rhodents are among the billions anticipating a memorable installment of the showpiece. Optimism is high among many supporters with Nicholas Schmidt, a second year BSc student expecting the Proteas to “do pretty well”. Since it’s a relatively younger squad, Schmidt expects “more ambition”. Siobhan Sanan, a second-year Bachelor of Social Sciences student is not changing her stance. “I’m expecting us to win – nothing less,” she said. Oliver Evans Teams of varying colours, styles and fitness levels were seen dashing and darting across the Rhodes campus as the first year students took part in a test of both mind and body. The Amazing Race took place on 12 February 2011, commencing at 10:00 at the Union Lawns. Teams of four were formed from each of the residences, and given a booklet with tasks they were required to complete. These tasks consisted of puzzles, questions and challenges. Racers were tested with an array of obstacles, including listening to animal noises and figuring out what they were, or simply playing table tennis. After completion of a task, team members were required to obtain a signature from that specific station. The list could be completed in any order, but speed was the name of the game as teams navigated their way from Pirates to the Africa Media Matrix and even the Rhodes Health Suite. The more competitive teams finished in less than an hour, while the

rest trickled in over the following 45 minutes. The day concluded with Piet Retief emerging victorious for the male residences, clocking in at around forty minutes. New House emerged as victors for the female teams. Both winners were amply rewarded for their efforts – the Piet Retief participants received a massage treatment courtesy of Prissy Lane Day Spa, as well as vouchers for Pick ‘n Pay. The New House girls walked away with vouchers for pizza at Pirates. The race was a fun yet informative way for first year students to become more accustomed to the Rhodes campus and its many facilities. Gush Gushman of Joe Slovo commented, “There was way too much running but it helped me get to know the school better, so that was good.” Yondela Norman of De Beers said the race was fun, yet the riddle at the IT Department was to his team’s undoing, hampering their efforts to record the quickest time. An enjoyable day was experienced by all participants who now have no excuse to be lost on campus!

International Sports News

United Held, Bayern victorious
Manchester United ground out a tame 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Round of 16 clash against Olympique Marseille in France. United, missing a total of six players due to injury, were made to work against the Ligue 1 outfit, who looked better in possession, yet both teams were inefficient in front of goal. However, having kept a clean sheet at the Stade Velodrome, the Red Devils will be favourites to go through when the sides meet again at Old Trafford on March 15. In a repeat of last year’s final, a 90th minute tap-in from striker Mario Gomez gave Bayern Munich a crucial 1-0 away win against defending champions Inter Milan. The Italian side now face an uphill battle to progress to the next stage when they face the Bavarians at the Allianz Arena in Germany.

F1 opener called off
The season opening Formula One Grand Prix, scheduled to take place on March 13 in Bahrain, has been called off due to aggressive antigovernment street protests in the Asian country. Teams have welcomed this decision, giving them more time to test and tweak their new cars. Australia will now have the honour of hosting the 2011 opening race, which will take place in Melbourne on March 27.

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