EDITION 5 • 29 MAY 2012 • SINCE 1947

65 th rt Bi hd ay i Ed n tio


EDITION 4 • 08 MAY 2012 • SINCE 1947



w.a ct

GE CO T YO P U iva Y te AT R on
lin e.c o.z a


A threat or a tool?
SA Men’s hockey to go to London

Grahamstown’s fight against TB New Media:

Skype Sexy Time

Edition 5 . 29 May 2012


Page 8:
Editor-in-chief: Lauren Kate Rawlins Deputy Editor: Isabelle Anne Abraham Content Editor: Kayla Roux Managing Editor Palesa Mashigo Online Editor: Alexander Venturas Chief Media Supervisor: Megan Ellis Chief Sub-Editor: Matthew Kynaston Chief Designer Simone Loxton Assistant Designer: Mignon van Zyl Chief Pics Editor: Anton Scholtz Assistant Pics Editor: Niamh Walsh-Vorster Illustrator: Katja Schreiber News Editor: Sibulele Mabusela Deputy News Editor: Christopher Morris Politics Editor: Marc Davies Deputy Politics Editor: Deane Lindhorst Business Editor: Njabulo Nkosi C&A Editor: Alexa Sedgwick Features Editor: Karlien van der Wielen Features Assistant Editor: Nina McFall Lifestyle Editor: Sarisha Dhaya A & E Editor: Elna Schütz Sports Editor: Bridgette Hall Science & Tech Editor: Brad de Klerk Environment Editor Shirley Erasmus Advertising Manager Lethukuthula Tembe Advertising Assistants Justine Pearce Adrienne Weidner Advertisement Designer: Alex Bernatzky Distribution Manager: Bulali Dyakopu Community Engagement: Victoria Hlubi because they did not want to be associated with Cecil John Rhodes who has been a controversial namesake in this university’s history as a known racist, among other accusations. In the editorial of the first Activate, they say that, “This newspaper has always been proactive and progressive and the new name, Activate, embodies our principles of democracy, non-racism, non-sexism and non-homophobia.” This edition is filled with excerpts and short snippets from years gone by. On page 22 and 23 you can read for yourself the history of the paper. Our photo feature has a selection of photos from over the years. I am sure you will find some of them quite amusing. We have gathered content from our archives in the office and from Cory Library. Some photos and stories did not come with dates or authors, if you know whose work it is or if it is yours, please let us know and we will amend it online, contact me at activate.editor@gmail.com. Lauren Kate Rawlins Editor-in-Chief Editorial Consultant: Craig Wynn Contacts: Editor: activate.editor@gmail. com Deputy Editor: activate.deputy@gmail. com

SA’s racist underbelly exposed

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Gay rights in Africa – an overview

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Professor David Fryer on the wage debate From Rhodeo to Activate: A history Journey to rock bottom

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Tutus and tiaras: Beginner’s ballet at Rhodes

An old desk in the Activate office which is inscribed with the words “Fuck reform - smash apartheid”. It is unknown when this was written or by which memeber of Rhodeo/Activate staff. Pic: Anton Scholtz

From the Editor
elcome to Activate’s 65th Birthday edition. Between these covers we will be taking you on a journey back through time. The history of this paper documents the history of the student body at the time. It reflects the attitudes and causes of the students and shows that history really does repeat itself. Going through the archives from the early 40s to today, you pick up common stresses that we are still reporting on today such as complaints about res food, issues of censorship and SRC controversy. Preparing for this edition has been very nostalgic; I have only been a part of Activate for the last four years but the paper has been going strong for more than three times my lifetime. Looking through old pages makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger, as clichéd as that sounds. Activate (then Rhodeo) has always been a platform through which the students can be heard, and a place for student journalists to hone their craft and experiment. This is evident through the ever-changing design through the decades. I encourage anyone who is interested in what Rhodes used to be like from a student’s perspective to go explore the archives at the Cory Library. Activate was originally called Rhodeo and changed its name to Activate in early 1995 after heavy debate in 1994 about whether or not to change the name and what to change it to. The team at the time had decided to change the name


Printed by Paarlcoldset, Port Elizabeth

04 News in Brief[s]

Edition 5

News in brief[s]
SA celebrates momentous co-win of SKA bid
By Marc Davies
Bubbles and confetti strew the streets as demonstrators rally outside the Boeing building whilst leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) came to agreement that the Afghan security forces should take control of Afghanistan once again. May 21, 2012. Pic: Reuters

South Africa has been co-selected with Australia as a host site for the pioneer Square Kilometre Array project. This multimillion euro investment in constructing telescopic technology is expected to make a significant contribution to local scientific research, as well as inject direct foreign investment into the country. On Friday, Rhodes proudly announced the appointment of Professor Oleg Smirnov as the SKA Chair in Radio Astronomy and Techniques – a position described as “prestigious” and significant achievement for the university. Smirnov will contribute simultaneously to the SKA Office in Cape Town and Rhodes’ Department of Physics and Electronics. The SKA, on which construction is expected to begin in 2016 and reach completion in 2024, will be the largest and most advanced radio telescope in the southern hemisphere.

Rhodes pledges to fight corruption
By Marc Davies On Thursday, Rhodes became the first South African education institution to sign the pledge against corruption. Hosted by the office of the vice-chancellor, Dr Saleem Badat said pervasive corruption in South Africa has resulted in the looting of public coffers which thwarts democracy, according to civil society organisation Corruption Watch. According to Badat, Rhodes pledged to lead by example in creating ethical leadership. Executive director David Lewis stressed the important role of youth in curbing corruption in South Africa, saying that there are indicators that “young people are falling into the trap of believing that corruption provides an easy way out of difficult situations.” The vice and deputy vice-chancellors, SRC President Matthieu Maralack and a number of other faculty members and students were there to sign the pledge.

A student is removed by the military police during a protest in front of asking for a presidential veto to the new Forest Code passed by Brazil’s Congress in Brasilia May 22, 2012. A Brazilian student is arrested for protesting in front of the Planalto Palace after requesting that the new Forest Code, which has been cause for concern for many environmentalists over the years, be rejected. May 22, 2012. Pic: Reuters.

Microsoft to go carbon neutral
By Megan Ellis Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that they are committing to achieving carbon neutrality. This policy will be implemented as of 1 July – the start of the company’s new fiscal year. According to Green Biz, the software and technology giant will aim for carbon neutrality for its energy use by improving energy efficiency, a reduction in carbon neutrality and increasing its use of renewable energy. This initiative will be implemented companywide, in over 100 countries where Microsoft offices are located. According to The Guardian, policies will be aimed at making Microsoft’s data centers, software labs, air travel and office building carbon neutral. This promise comes in light of the expiration of Microsoft’s 2009 goal of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The software giant has met its goal and is now aiming for more ambitious efforts. In a blog post on Microsoft’s website, Kevin Turner, the company’s chief operating officer wrote: “Working on the issues of energy use and environmental change provides another opportunity to make a difference in the world. It's the right thing to do. And it's also an opportunity to promote positive change.” While Microsoft is not the first tech company to make a pledge to carbon neutrality, its decision has created hopes that other large corporations will join efforts to help the environment.

The highly successful campus group, the Sheridons, who are in great demand at Grahamstown’s more memorable social events. The members are, from left to right, Mike Fuller, John Fryer, Rob Jupp and Vic Butler. In the middle is Gerry Paul. 19 May 1966. Excerpt from Activate Archives

29 May 2012

05 News in Brief[s]

An explosion in Cairo left five people injured after an alleged short circuit at an electricity plant in the Al Hussien district. People flee the scene in for safety. May 22, 2012. Pic: Reuturs

Zombies and obstacles are a part of the game in the Massachusetts “run for your lives” obstacle course. 5 May, 2012. obstacle Pic: Reuters

As the Chilean President delivers a speech, the people of Chile demonstrate outside the national Congress in the city of Valpariso May 21, 2012 Pic: Reuters

The latest street art to make news has been painted on a wall in Cairo, Egypt,. Caricatured portraits of the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, military ruler Hussein Tantawi and presidential candidates Amr Mussa and Ahmed Shafiq faces are morphed in paint for all to see. Pic: REUTERS

06 News

Edition 5

Egyptians vote in historic election
By Christopher Morris


gyptians took to the polls in the country’s first ever presidential election on Wednesday 23 May. Fifteen months after the toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s military regime, the election is the latest development in the mass revolution against authoritarian rule, known as the Arab Spring, in North African and Middle Eastern states. After decades of dictatorship, the country now has to decide which of 13 possible candidates it prefers to run the most populous Arab nation in the world. Although there is optimism among voters, many are wary of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). The group of military leaders, who formally took over the reins of power after Mubarak’s fall and then promised to hand over the country to civilian rule by 1 June, still control vast sectors of the country’s economy and are expected to retain considerable political power after the elections. Egyptians are going to the polls without a formal constitution having been drawn and ratified. This means that there is uncertainty about the president’s powers, something numerous critics have said military leaders are not too concerned

about as they can still manoeuvre to consolidate their position. Although SCAF has not formally backed any candidate, it is widely believed that they support Ahmed Shafiq, Egypt’s last prime minister before Mubarak’s fall. Shafiq, also the Former Minister of Aviation, is one of a handful of candidates with links to the Mubarak regime. Others candidates from the fallen President’s administration include Amr Moussa, Husam Khayrallah and Abdallah al-Ashal. A second group of candidates is said to have strong Islamist tendencies, with the Muslim Brotherhood’s preferred candidate Mohammad Mursi leading the conservative charge. Young lawyer Khalid Ali has managed to excite younger voters with his alternative brand of politics and is seen as an outside favourite to win the election. Whoever does win the elections faces many challenges, chief among them the ailing economy. Complicating matters in this regard is the military’s extensive role in the country’s economy. The military leadership is responsible for managing approximately 25% of the country’s GDP. With the ever-present and powerful military in the shadows, it remains to be seen whether Egypt’s new president A man stands by graffiti depicting Hosni Mubarak and several of the presidential candidates in Tahrir Square, Cairo. Pic: Reuters will manage to establish himself.

RU informed?
By Anna Rwelamina he Oppidan Committee held a forum last Wednesday, 23 May, for its student body to hear concerns and discuss changes. Held in the Zoology Major lecture theatre, the panel included Dean of Students Dr Vivian de Klerk, Oppidan Warden Janine Harris, Advocate John McChonachie, a representative from Hi-Tech Security and SRC president Matthieu Maralack. The central issue of discussion was crime


and its prevention. Dr De Klerk said that Rhodes was organising a task team to deal pro-actively with crime. Petty crime has been on the rise in various areas in town. Dr De Klerk and the Vice Chancellor announced that they were going to approach the Police High Commissioner for a way to tackle this issue. The Hi-Tech representative pointed out that residents in digs were largely unaware they had the use of accessible panic buttons in their digs, and that very few people used them. Janine Harris responded by saying that

students could purchase pepper spray at their offices for R25 for their own protection. At forum the R145 Oppidan levy was accounted for with a detailed breakdown of where it goes and whose salary it pays, as some students have been asking why they should pay it. The Oppidan lounge is to be refurbished with new couches, because a number of first-year students do make use of the area for recreational and study purposes. Third-year Oppidan Committee member

Sixolile Timothy said that forums like these helped students to engage with their Committee heads about relevant issues that they are dealing with, and also address important complaints that they have been dealing with. Postgraduate Financial Markets student Vuyolwethu Ngqibisa agreed, saying that the forum allowed students to discuss matters that affect Oppidan students, and added that “since we do not have house committee whom we can approach everyday these forums give us the platform to do so”.

Struggling in silence: male rape survivors
By Megan Ellis he country’s horror at the gang rape video which went viral last month has brought the severity of South Africa’s rape crisis back into focus. South Africa has often been called the rape capital of the world, and there are many myths about rape and ignorance about issues around sexual assault. However, one of the myths about rape continues to have a particularly strong foothold in the minds of many: the idea that men cannot be raped. Aidan Prinsloo, creator of the Masithetheni project, says that the issue of male rape in South Africa is not being handled at all. He launched the project to raise awareness about the problem. “Most don’t even acknowledge male rape as an issue,” he says. “Many people believe ‘real’ men don’t get raped, and/or rape only happens to gay guys or to guys in prison.” He went on to say that in the global community, the situation is not much better. “Aid organisations such as the UN and WHO think that dealing with it actually detracts from their primary battle against [female-orientated] sexual violence,” says Prinsloo. “This is farcical because people do not seem to realise that sexual violence is a complete package – it needs to be combated as a whole.” Prinsloo adds that male rape is more prevalent that most


would think. “At least one study showed that two in five boys have experienced sexual violence and/or rape. These figures were based on a report entitled “13,915 reasons for equity in sexual offences legislation: A national schoolbased survey in South Africa” by Neil Andersson and Ari Ho-Foster. Furthermore, the report indicated that 40% of the sexual abuse cases involved rape by women. In recent weeks, male rape has made headlines due to several incidents. In the first three weeks of May, a serial rapist was arrested after a series of incidents. Several young boys reported having been raped; a mentallyhandicapped teenage boy was raped by two women; a man was arrested for the rape of a 15-year-old boy; and a schoolboy was sodomised with a broomstick on a rugby tour as part his ‘initiation’. Prinsloo says that much of the ignorance and stigma surrounding male rape is due to a misunderstanding of the male body. According to MailSurvivor.org, a website offering support to male rape survivors, “males can respond physically to stimulation (get an erection) even in traumatic or painful sexual situations”. This has been likened to a ‘betrayal’ by one’s body, which is also experienced by some female rape survivors who experience orgasm during their rape.

This adds to the shame of the experience, with many survivors blaming themselves. Despite this, it is emphasised that if anyone if forced into sexual intercourse, it is rape, regardless of how their body responds. MaleSurvivor.org highlights the fact that “premature or coerced sex” and to be “used as a sexual object” (as a male or a female) is abusive and damaging. However, many males do not come forward with their experiences of sexual abuse due to society’s perception of masculinity. This creates the perception that they are not ‘real men’ if they have been raped or sexually abused. “From anecdotal evidence, I can tell you most guys refuse to admit that it even happened until years after the fact – if ever,” says Prinsloo. “They are disbelieved by police and health professionals, and by their families and loved ones.” But those wishing to address the issue of male rape emphasise that they do not aim to detract from the issue of female rape. Prinsloo says, “It’s important for me to state that the aim of Masithetheni is not to undermine or react to the Silent Protest – they are doing a heroic job and should be praised for that.” “Masithetheni only aims to shed light on yet another shadowy aspect of the society in which we live. As it stands now, Masithetheni’s aim is reached simply by people talking about male rape earnestly.”

29 May 2012

07 News

When does art go too far?
By Sibulele Mabusela


he recent defacing of a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma (and more notably his penis), more commonly known as ‘The Spear’, has caused a major uproar from the ANC and the rest of the country. From social networks to top-end newspapers, many have commented and voiced opinions on the matter. As controversial as the defacing may have been, it definitely did raise certain issues, questioning yet again whether or not freedom of expression in South Africa is a myth. That this painting by artist Brett Murray has attracted so much controversy is not surprising, as art often does the world over. One such example would be Makode Linde‘s cake art: a cake sculpted in the shape of a naked black woman supposedly modeled after Sarah Baartman. Initially, the piece was created to highlight female genital mutilation, but it attracted rather negative publicity after the exhibition. Dialogue arose about the piece being racist and many questioned its rationality.

Lisa van Wyk, of the Mail&Guardian, recently reviewed alternate disputes of art pieces in South Africa in her article entitled “Fine art and fragile egos”. Van Wyk revisited other pieces that were heavily scrutinised, disapproved of by politicians, and in some cases removed from public view by those in power. These pieces included a depiction of Mandela’s autopsy by Yiull Damaso in the style of a classic Rembrandt piece, photographer Zanele Muholi’s work on black lesbians, and Andries Botha’s painting of King Shaka – the herdboy. All of the above-mentioned art pieces raised controversy in their own right. In each case however, it became evident that it was about more than the piece itself but rather about the freedom of expression (or in this case, the lack thereof) that our constitution promises – it brings into question whether this freedom is reality or myth, and just how conditional it can be. Ironically, in each of these cases the uproar authorities raised about the artworks only served to tickle the public’s interest even further – the

South African artist Brett Murray’s depiction of President Jacob Zuma in his painting ‘The Spear’ has caused a highly controversial reaction from the public. Pic: News24 pieces would probably have gone unnoticed by the wider public if people had simply let them be. It is at this point that the painting and other works of art become dangerous: when freedom of expression is questioned in a democratic society which claims this freedom as enshrined in its Constitution.

Back to Africa Minister to transform access
By Christopher Morris he Department of International Relations and Cooperation, together with the African Union, hosted the first Global African Diaspora Summit on 25 May. The aim was to change global perceptions about Africa through building and maintaining strong democracies, good governance and unity of purpose. The meeting was held at the Sandton Convention Centre and coincided with Africa Day. It was attended by representatives of 60 nations, including leaders from the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States. On the eve of the conference the Minister of International Relations, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said the conference was “Africa’s effort to reach out to its sons and daughters out there in other parts of the world, to affirm our collective identity and marshal our forces for a better Africa and a better world”. The Minister called on all those who have left the continent to “look back to Africa”. This high-level meeting of leaders saw the adoption of a set of ‘legacy projects’ which will allow people “of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union” to contribute in concrete ways to the continent’s development. The Minister said that she hoped all efforts would allow for us to give meaning to the concept of an “African family”.


to higher education

By Christopher Morris


t’s been one month since Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande presented the department’s budget speech at Parliament. In charge of what is seen by many to be one of cabinet’s most important portfolios, the Minister announced several initiatives that he believes will help improve skills development. Importantly for universities, Nzimande announced his intention to transform admission policy, including the introduction of a central bureau for university and funding applications. The bureau would be responsible for processing all applications and would alleviate the burden of application fees, something many students feel are too high. Hoping to carry out his plans for fee-free universities, Nzimande has also tasked a departmental committee with investigating the costs involved with such a move. The minister also highlighted the lack of adequate student accommodation, particularly at historically black institutes, and earmarked R850 million for the improvement and

development of residences. Over the next two years the state has allocated R3.8 billion for universities’ infrastructure development, with nearly half this amount – R1.6 billion – set aside for previously disadvantaged institutions. Nzimande also unveiled plans to build two completely new universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga, which are the only provinces without universities. Although his proposals have courted controversy, the Minister is adamant that they are necessary if government is to transform the education system in line with the country’s developmental goals. Citing the ambitious nature of the Minister’s targets coupled with the minimal resources at his disposal, critics have questioned the viability of building two new universities by 2014 and improving both Science and Humanities graduate levels, amongst other pledges. With the uncertainty of Nzimande retaining his portfolio at the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung this year, many are hoping that the ambition is not too much.

08 Politics

Edition 5

Political perspectives
By Megan Ellis Once again Jacob Zuma’s penis was the subject of headlines across the country – except this time, instead of siring another child out of wedlock, it was the central image in an artwork. Zuma said that the painting infringed on his right to dignity. He’s probably right – but who is he to talk about denying people their dignity? Thousands sacrifice their dignity when crapping in a bucket, which is considered a legitimate system of waste management. Those who resort to begging sacrifice their dignity because their situation feels so hopeless. As a nation, we have lost our dignity because our leaders mock us with empty promises and insult us with their flagrant disregard for everything the struggle stood for – changing South Africa for the better and giving freedom to everyone. Instead, our country is being looted by corrupt leaders who seem to think that their theft from the public doesn’t come with a body count. The political discourse between our politicians is descending into nothing more than name-calling and finger-pointing, while we are expected to look to them to lead SA to prosperity. Then again, now that Malema has been tossed aside, the government needs to find some other sensation to distract us from the real issues – corruption, poverty, crime and their inability to fulfil the promises which won them the election. Maybe the entire hubbub over this painting is meant to distract the media from the fact that the investigation into corruption charges against Zuma may be re-launched, while at the same time Zuma is interfering with court appointments. He also has the sheer arrogance to suggest that the Constitutional Court’s powers should be revised – insulting our intelligence with claims that it is anything but attempting to protect his own interests. Then again, the only things the government ever seems to do with any efficiency of late is to protect Zuma’s interests. Malema could spread hate and lies all he wanted, but the moment he slandered our dear president he was expelled from the party with the same speed at which Mbeki was ousted. Zuma can charge a man with assault for spilling a drink on him and have a speedy trial, but a rapist recently got off scot free because our legislation regarding charges for various types of sexual assault is so flawed. I’m sure Zuma’s dignity will soon be restored – but he will never restore the respect so many South Africans have lost for him. He conned a nation into believing he would bring change to the party and to our economy. Instead he brought threats to media freedom and disgrace to a country which fought so hard for the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

A youthful continent’s big ambitions
By Deane Lindhorst


n celebration of ten years of the African Union, a panel of experts recently met at Rhodes to reflect on the milestones reached by the organisation and discuss its future endeavors. The panelists at the PanAfrican Youth Dialogue Deputy Minister of International Relations, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim, former Minister of Local Government, Dr. Sydney included Ebrahim Mufamadi and Rhodes Univerity Politics lecturer, Ms Siphokazi Magadla addressing Rhodes students and lecturers on the current challenges that the African Union are faced with. May 17, 2012. Pics: Niamh Walsh-Vorster Ebrahim, Deputy Minister of International to act as major deterrents to continental goals challenges that the African Union faces. Relations and Co-operation; former Minister of sustainability and development. Resource The success of the African Renaissance, a of Provincial and Local Government Dr management and the task of nation-building concept for continental renewal developed by Sydney Mufamadi; and Rhodes Politics lecturer were vigorously debated alongside the highlyformer president Thabo Mbeki, was argued Siphokazi Magadla, who highlighted the role of contested issue of foreign intervention in African to lie in the hands of African youths. These the youth in Africa’s future success. politics and security – a point driven home by sentiments were expressed by the panelists, The discussions saw panelists argue that a the recent invasion of NATO forces in Libya and who spoke confidently of the trend of economic future in which Africa is to, “claim its place in the international arena” should start with a move development and the spread of democracy across the killing of Muammar Gaddafi which followed. Despite an array of challenges for the to empower the youth. Africa is the world’s most the continent. continent, the panelists expressed a sense of According to the panelists, some major youthful continent, with more than half of its growing optimism for Africa, arguing that the challenges that threaten the vision of the inhabitants under the age of 25. The growth of potential successes in Africa’s future will depend African Union include limited infrastructure an intellectual movement amongst this diverse on the youth across the continent. and energetic group of people is one of the many and widespread corruption, which continue

SA’s ‘racist underbelly’ exposed
By Gabriella Fregona
he ‘born-free’ generation have failed to grasp the sensitivities of some terms that were used during apartheid, says Lucy Holborn, the head researcher of the SA Institute of Race Relations. She was commenting on the social networking uproar caused by a series of ‘racist’ tweets, beginning with those of former FHM model Jessica Leandra about “[taking] on an arrogant and disrespectful k****r” in a retail store. Holborn said a younger generation of South Africans have become more “flippant” in their use of derogatory terms. Prominent local columnist Mabine Seabe, however, took much greater objection to Leandra’s comments. Seabe laid a complaint to the Human Rights Commission over the model’s racist Twitter rant, and Leandra was also quickly stripped of her FHM 2011 title for model of the year. Despite a hastily published apology on her personal blog, another local model, Tshidi Thamana, tweeted,


“Dear Mr Peter Mokaba… I wish All White People were killed when you sang ‘Kill the Boer’ we wouldn’t be experiencing @JessicaLeandra’s racism right now” [sic]. These incidents are not as rare as some may think: an unrelated Facebook post from a Cape Peninsula University of Technology student, Ken Sinclair, resulted in the student’s suspension and a pending investigation. He posted that black people are “brain-dead monkeys [who] always skinner in their retarded language”. Khaya Dlanga, a prominent columnist who is published by several media organisations, blogged that an ‘underbelly’ of racism in South Africa has been surfacing. Dlanga said that racism is ‘justified’ by many South Africans. “Large sections of South Africans still hold racial biases hidden behind concerns of crime, when the real issue is racism,” he said. Anita Hollis, Director of Take 10 Casting, stated that racist attitudes amongst youth could be a result of social and economic conditions or ‘radical’ viewpoints

such as those represented in the media by the likes of Julius Malema, whilst older generations “who saw Mandela come to power have worked things out and settled down”. Sociology Professor Monty J. Roodt suggests an alternative, saying that children generally learn to be racist from their parents, immediate family and their friends. SA’s experience of hundreds of years of colonialism and segregation “cannot be wiped out in one generation,” he says. “Religious, cultural and educational institutions need to play a more active role in… overcoming ethnocentrism and promoting a deeper understanding of different cultures.” Roodt believes that building a stronger identity as South Africans and creating a collective sense of belonging is also an integral factor in inducing greater social cohesion. “Until we eliminate the socio-economic inequality in South Africa, it is going to be very difficult to achieve any of the above as it contributes hugely to the alienation of South Africans from each other.”

‘Writing’ the wrongs of SA print media
By Marc Davies
he year-old Press Freedom Commission recently released recommendations on the regulatory framework of the South African print press, aimed at, “strengthening its independence, enhancing its accessibility, and deepening its credibility”. The changes were proposed following suggestions from the ANC that a Media Appeals Tribunal be instated as a statutory body to regulate the print press. Various media houses and civil society groups have reacted negatively to the proposal, which was laid out in the party’s 2010 discussion paper. They have instead presented a proposal that maintains the total independence of media from government. A shift from the system of “independent regulation” to independent co-regulation between the press and public would see significant changes in the way the media is brought to task. These changes include the


discontinuation of the rule that complainants waive their right of access to the court, the imposition of ‘space fines’ which would oblige newspapers to set aside print space for apology notices, monetary fines for non-compliance with the rulings of the Press Ombudsman, and increased protection for children. The South African National Editors Forum subsequently welcomed the submissions, saying it believe the proposed changes will strengthen South African journalism and “consolidate the role of a free press in our constitutional democracy”. Secretary General of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe said that there is a “general appreciation and acceptance of the [PFC] outcome within the ANC”. However, he warned against blatantly offensive, lazy or inaccurate journalism, according to The Daily News. Professor Herman Wasserman of the School of Journalism and Media Studies said that the PFC’s recommendations “do go a long way to improve the

press’ accountability to the public – for instance by giving more seats to citizen representatives on the Press Council and recommending stronger sanctions for offending publications, which will hopefully ensure that ‘justice is seen to be done’”. Wasserman also argued that the press, in moving forward, could listen more to the public, determine their concerns and decide on how the media could help them practise their citizenship. “The model of ‘we know what the public needs and we will give it to them’ is patronising and elitist. Especially in a fragmented and unequal country such as South Africa, the imperative is on the media to nurture close relations with citizens across our various divides so as to serve them better.” According to Mantashe, the next step in instituting the changes is to recommend that the matter be taken to Parliament where it would be reviewed and deliberated on.

29 May 2012

09 Politics

Xenophobic ‘neo-Nazis’ in Greek parliament
By Nokukhanya Bonani
wenty-one members of Europe’s most far-right nationalist party, Chrysi Avgi (or ‘Golden Dawn’), have been elected into Greek parliament after winning close to half a million votes in recent elections. They have been called a neo-Nazi party by the media and rose to prominence with a strongly nationalist, anti-immigrant agenda, amidst debilitating economic turmoil in Greece. The Golden Dawn Party had promised supporters during the parliamentary elections that their stance on immigrants would be intensified, and that stricter laws would be put into place to repel immigrants from the country if they gained sufficient parliamentary


By Tegan Phillips

strength. Immigrants have been labelled by the party as one of the central causes for increased job losses and diminished social benefits. The party has advocated planting landmines along Greece’s borders and driving immigrants into ‘work camps’. The party’s slogan, “Greece belongs to Greeks,” reflects the seemingly xenophobic agenda touted by at least 21 parliamentarians in that country. Dr Stella Ladi, a lecturer in Political Sciences at Panteion University in Athens, says that the party’s growth in Greece has come as a surprise to some political analysts, seeing as it was initially a small fringe organisation that later became a party. TimesLive has reported a spread of Nazi graffiti and active hostility towards Muslims and other foreigners in some Athens neighbourhoods

like Agios Panteleimon. A local aid group leader, Nikitas Kanakis, has reported a worsening situation for immigrants, adding that members of Golden Dawn “feel more powerful and more accepted by the population”. Greek authorities have said that a recent anti-immigration protest led by supporters of the ultra-right party on 23 May resulted in clashes with law enforcement officials, after Golden Dawn supporters threw stones at the police outside an old factory inhabited by immigrants hoping to board ferries bound for Italy. The clashes arose following the fatal stabbing of a Patras resident, allegedly by illegal Afghan immigrants. A new round of elections in Greece, set for 17 June, is expected to see Golden Dawn remain in parliament, albeit in a position of significantly less power.

his month marks the first anniversary of the 2011 indignado protests in Spain, or, as they have come to be known across the world, the #spanishrevolution. The protests, organised almost entirely via social media networking sites and led mainly by the Spanish youth, reached their peak just before the Spanish elections at the end of 2011. They have continued into 2012 as the protesters’ demands for economic reform have yet to be met. Retired Spanish economist Jose Lledó Muñoz suggested that this is because the protesters have placed unreasonable demands on the government. “A third of our youth is unemployed, and with new measures being put in place to stabilise the economy, unemployment is likely to increase for the next year,” he said. “But the government has no other option: they cannot create jobs out of thin air.” Muñoz also criticised the decision of the protesters not to vote, stating that voicing their dissatisfaction is not enough on its own. “People need to be coming up with solutions and alternatives,” he said. He believes that the protests, which are currently directed at criticising the government for new health and education budget cuts, should take the form of putting pressure on the European Union to lower interest rates for international loans to Spain. The #spanishrevolution movement was largely influenced by the protests that constituted the Arab Spring, in which massive uprisings two years ago resulted in dramatic changes in government in Middle Eastern and North African countries. In 2010, students also protested against proposed government policy on studying expenses in London, and in 2011 dissatisfaction with global economic equality came to the fore in the Occupy movement. These recent protests have all used social media as a means not only to organise gatherings but also to gain international attention, initiating a trend of the use of social media as today’s most popular platform for protest. While the effectiveness of social media to raise instant and widespread awareness cannot be debated, many critics of the medium have expressed concern that it encourages a superficial, fleeting engagement with serious issues, because it often involves nothing more than a simple


click from the comfort of your own computer. “Social media has changed the entire nature of activism,” says former The Times reporter Julia Fish. “Take, for example, the KONY 2012 movement: it disappeared into obscurity as instantly as it rose to fame. Their ‘Cover the Night’ plan was a disaster, because it required effort that extended beyond ‘sharing’ or ‘liking’ online. A complex, political situation was oversimplified, went viral, and in the end relatively little was changed.” Rhodes, in a similar fashion, embraced the integration of social media into its signature protest movement. The annual Silent Protest, using the ‘#RUSilent’ hash-tag, was the number one trending topic on Twitter in South Africa when it happened. Protest culture at Rhodes has also recently come under scrutiny as it increasingly becomes the first and only course of action taken by students in cases of conflict or perceived injustice. In the past term alone, a multitude of protests have been held at Rhodes: ranging from protesting the wearing of fur, to a ‘naked run’ to a bar, to protests outside a Grahamstown school where a teacher accused of raping a student was still working. Students joined a ‘Kiss-in’ protest against homophobia, and various forms of ‘protest’ against the possible removal of swot week could be found on the Internet carrying the #RUBlackThursday-badge on Twitter and encouraging mass participation in a demonstration at Eden Grove. While some people protest for just causes because no other solution could be found, the relevance of other movements has been questioned. Stuart Lewis, Administration Manager at the Gender Action Project at Rhodes and one of the organisers of the recent ‘Kissin’ protest, stated that he sees protesting as a final measure to be taken only “once you have exhausted all the official channels and there are absolutely no other options available.” He issued caution against the increasing popularity of ‘slacktivism’, criticising students who support causes for protests without being prepared to supplement this with follow-up measures. Despite this, Lewis pointed to the successes of some of the recent international protests as proof that slacktivism should not become the norm. “Luckily there are still plenty of students who are willing to actually get down in the trenches and do some real work,” he said. “It’s those students who really make a difference.”

Excerpt from archives. 18 August 1951

123 high street Graham Hotel ~ 046 622 2324

at the

29 May 2012

09 Politics

Xenophobic ‘neo-Nazis’ in Greek parliament
By Nokukhanya Bonani
wenty-one members of Europe’s most far-right nationalist party, Chrysi Avgi (or ‘Golden Dawn’), have been elected into Greek parliament after winning close to half a million votes in recent elections. They have been called a neo-Nazi party by the media and rose to prominence with a strongly nationalist, anti-immigrant agenda, amidst debilitating economic turmoil in Greece. The Golden Dawn Party had promised supporters during the parliamentary elections that their stance on immigrants would be intensified, and that stricter laws would be put into place to repel immigrants from the country if they gained sufficient parliamentary


By Tegan Phillips

strength. Immigrants have been labelled by the party as one of the central causes for increased job losses and diminished social benefits. The party has advocated planting landmines along Greece’s borders and driving immigrants into ‘work camps’. The party’s slogan, “Greece belongs to Greeks,” reflects the seemingly xenophobic agenda touted by at least 21 parliamentarians in that country. Dr Stella Ladi, a lecturer in Political Sciences at Panteion University in Athens, says that the party’s growth in Greece has come as a surprise to some political analysts, seeing as it was initially a small fringe organisation that later became a party. TimesLive has reported a spread of Nazi graffiti and active hostility towards Muslims and other foreigners in some Athens neighbourhoods

like Agios Panteleimon. A local aid group leader, Nikitas Kanakis, has reported a worsening situation for immigrants, adding that members of Golden Dawn “feel more powerful and more accepted by the population”. Greek authorities have said that a recent anti-immigration protest led by supporters of the ultra-right party on 23 May resulted in clashes with law enforcement officials, after Golden Dawn supporters threw stones at the police outside an old factory inhabited by immigrants hoping to board ferries bound for Italy. The clashes arose following the fatal stabbing of a Patras resident, allegedly by illegal Afghan immigrants. A new round of elections in Greece, set for 17 June, is expected to see Golden Dawn remain in parliament, albeit in a position of significantly less power.

his month marks the first anniversary of the 2011 indignado protests in Spain, or, as they have come to be known across the world, the #spanishrevolution. The protests, organised almost entirely via social media networking sites and led mainly by the Spanish youth, reached their peak just before the Spanish elections at the end of 2011. They have continued into 2012 as the protesters’ demands for economic reform have yet to be met. Retired Spanish economist Jose Lledó Muñoz suggested that this is because the protesters have placed unreasonable demands on the government. “A third of our youth is unemployed, and with new measures being put in place to stabilise the economy, unemployment is likely to increase for the next year,” he said. “But the government has no other option: they cannot create jobs out of thin air.” Muñoz also criticised the decision of the protesters not to vote, stating that voicing their dissatisfaction is not enough on its own. “People need to be coming up with solutions and alternatives,” he said. He believes that the protests, which are currently directed at criticising the government for new health and education budget cuts, should take the form of putting pressure on the European Union to lower interest rates for international loans to Spain. The #spanishrevolution movement was largely influenced by the protests that constituted the Arab Spring, in which massive uprisings two years ago resulted in dramatic changes in government in Middle Eastern and North African countries. In 2010, students also protested against proposed government policy on studying expenses in London, and in 2011 dissatisfaction with global economic equality came to the fore in the Occupy movement. These recent protests have all used social media as a means not only to organise gatherings but also to gain international attention, initiating a trend of the use of social media as today’s most popular platform for protest. While the effectiveness of social media to raise instant and widespread awareness cannot be debated, many critics of the medium have expressed concern that it encourages a superficial, fleeting engagement with serious issues, because it often involves nothing more than a simple


click from the comfort of your own computer. “Social media has changed the entire nature of activism,” says former The Times reporter Julia Fish. “Take, for example, the KONY 2012 movement: it disappeared into obscurity as instantly as it rose to fame. Their ‘Cover the Night’ plan was a disaster, because it required effort that extended beyond ‘sharing’ or ‘liking’ online. A complex, political situation was oversimplified, went viral, and in the end relatively little was changed.” Rhodes, in a similar fashion, embraced the integration of social media into its signature protest movement. The annual Silent Protest, using the ‘#RUSilent’ hash-tag, was the number one trending topic on Twitter in South Africa when it happened. Protest culture at Rhodes has also recently come under scrutiny as it increasingly becomes the first and only course of action taken by students in cases of conflict or perceived injustice. In the past term alone, a multitude of protests have been held at Rhodes: ranging from protesting the wearing of fur, to a ‘naked run’ to a bar, to protests outside a Grahamstown school where a teacher accused of raping a student was still working. Students joined a ‘Kiss-in’ protest against homophobia, and various forms of ‘protest’ against the possible removal of swot week could be found on the Internet carrying the #RUBlackThursday-badge on Twitter and encouraging mass participation in a demonstration at Eden Grove. While some people protest for just causes because no other solution could be found, the relevance of other movements has been questioned. Stuart Lewis, Administration Manager at the Gender Action Project at Rhodes and one of the organisers of the recent ‘Kissin’ protest, stated that he sees protesting as a final measure to be taken only “once you have exhausted all the official channels and there are absolutely no other options available.” He issued caution against the increasing popularity of ‘slacktivism’, criticising students who support causes for protests without being prepared to supplement this with follow-up measures. Despite this, Lewis pointed to the successes of some of the recent international protests as proof that slacktivism should not become the norm. “Luckily there are still plenty of students who are willing to actually get down in the trenches and do some real work,” he said. “It’s those students who really make a difference.”

Excerpt from archives. 18 August 1951

123 high street Graham Hotel ~ 046 622 2324

at the

10 Politics

Edition 5

Behind The Rainbow Mask:
By Marc Davies and Deane Lindhorst he acceptance of different sexualities is a “private choice, not a cultural, political or legal issue”, according to Atabong Tamo, a Cameroonian PhD Research Fellow at the Centre for Law and Cosmopolitan Values at the University of Antwerp. Social acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and intersex (LGBTI) Uganda Female and male homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and is currently punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment. Uganda is notorious for its widespread hostility towards LGBTI individuals, a situation exacerbated by the proposition of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2009 which would ultimately impose the death penalty upon repeat same-sex ‘offenders’. Nevertheless, according to BBC, almost half a million people in Uganda are gay or lesbian. A local newspaper made international headlines in 2010 after publishing a list of Uganda’s “top homos”, accompanied with photos and a banner that read “hang them”.

Sexuality, identity and equal rights in Africa


individuals in Africa nevertheless remains a contentious issue. Several African political leaders and large sectors of the continental populace vehemently denounce ‘non-heterosexual’ people and lifestyles, often resulting in the exclusion, imprisonment, torture or death of those thought to be ‘guilty’ of homosexual ‘crimes’. Many of these leaders and members of civil society have spoken against the ‘condition’ of homosexuality based mostly

on moral, religious and African traditionalist perspectives. Amidst this widespread non-acceptance of LGBTI individuals and communities across the continent, numerous civil rights groups – some of which operate from outside the continent – continue to lobby for the decriminalisation of homosexuality and an end to violence, as well as for the recognition of samesex marriage as an ‘ultimate goal’ for equal rights.

North Africa In most countries across the north of Africa and the nearby Middle East, homosexuality is a criminal offence and is reinforced as a moral or religious ‘crime’ by Islamic (Sharia) law. It is punishable by death in Nigeria and Somalia. Sodomy laws in countries such as Tunisia criminalise same-sex acts, which are punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment. In some cases, it can be as many as ten years. Malawi Homosexual sex is illegal in Malawi and is a highly contentious issue for the chiefly conservative, Christian nation. Societal violence and discrimination persists in parts of the country. Debate on the issue has been started by events such as the incarceration of two men on charges of ‘public indecency’ for getting engaged, as well as the incarceration of Peter Sawali in 2012 for holding up a poster in the capital, Blantyre, which read “Gay rights are human rights”. Malawi’s president, Joyce Banda caused controversy after announcing that she will work to overturn that country’s laws that ban homosexual acts. The historic statements, although warmly received by civil rights groups, have been suggested as an attempt by Banda to ensure a high inflow of international aid by creating a ‘guise’ of protection of homosexuals to ‘satisfy’ the West.

South Africa Same-sex marriage was made legal in South Africa in 2006, and the country has been deemed the leader in championing LGBTI rights in Africa. Full marital rights and protection from legal discrimination are afforded to all South Africans through the Constitution. South Africa led a debate on LGBTI rights at the United Nations in March, calling for an end to discriminatory laws and violence against homosexuals. Discrimination directed at LGBTIs is nevertheless still somewhat prominent in South Africa. ‘Corrective rape’ of lesbian women in a number of South Africa’s informal settlements has increased amidst growing hostility towards the ‘un-African’ nation of homosexuality. In May this

year, South Africa’s House of Traditional Leaders requested that parliament remove the Constitutional clause that guarantees equal rights of homosexuals. ANC lawmaker and traditional leader, Patekile Holomisa, said that the “great majority does not want to give promotion and protection to these things,” and that homosexuality is a “condition that occurred when certain rituals have not been performed”. Rhodes University has adopted the philosophy of the South African Constitution and asserted that no staff member or student is to be subject to intimidation, discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation, as well as other factors such as race, gender and religious beliefs among others.

Zimbabwe Spurred by the decades-old anti-gay stance and actions of President Robert Mugabe, hostility towards LGBTI individuals and groups is prevalent in Zimbabwe where same-sex sexual activity is illegal under sodomy laws, which define these activities as an “unnatural offence”. Mugabe has repeatedly used religious rhetoric to justify the “views of Zimbabwe” which define gay and lesbian activities as ‘un-African’ and ‘unnatural’, at one point describing homosexual people as “worse than pigs and dogs”. A Zimbabwean constitutional draft on the issue is currently being debated, with top lawyers attempting to ensure that protection and decriminalisation of homosexuals is withheld from the final document.

America in deadlock over gay marriage
By Luke Cadden


S President Barack Obama has made history by becoming the first incumbent American president to publically express his support for gay marriage and equal marital rights for all citizens. Obama has come under scrutiny as well as praise from various political opponents and religious and civil rights groups at home and abroad. However, it has been seen as an act of ‘political suicide’ in terms of his efforts to shift support from Republican voters by several US analysts. Some publically homophobic politicians in the United States have, both before and after Obama’s comments, expressed ‘disgust’ at the promotion of equal marital rights. Texan governor Rick Perry had incited passionate responses by comparing homosexuality to alcoholism. Following his statements on gay marital rights, Obama’s re-election campaign

may suffer a significant blow against conservative Republican opponent Mitt Romney, who advocates ‘traditional American family values’ – which only includes marriage for heterosexual couples. Romney recently spoke at Liberty University in Virginia where he reassured voters that marriage is “only between one man and one woman”. Politics Honours student Benjamin Fogel, however, denounced the integrity of Obama’s statements, saying they may be an attempt to “massage his support base, including some of his biggest donors who are gay, with some feel-good empty statements to make up for four years… of imperial excursions”. Fogel argued that Obama’s statements are essentially meaningless and that his stance has only changed because “Jesus changed his mind,” following Obama’s comments that his faith led him to a change of heart on the matter.

Fogel went on to say that gay marriage is “one of those illusionary issues which divert so-called ‘progressives’ from registering any opposition to a war-mongering imperial tool of finance capital, who has done more to destroy civil rights than Bush”. As such, Fogel suspects most of the mild ‘euphoria’ emanating from Rhodes’ gay community about Obama’s statements has more to do with a “marked ignorance of world politics and tendency to view gay rights in isolation from political context, instead of as a central part of radical change”. Same-sex marriage in the US is nevertheless legal in only a few states and banned in the vast majority. The US Presidential elections are to be held on 6 November this year, in which the president’s perspectives on the matter are expected to sway some voters away from voting for him. Whether this happens or not cannot be fully predicted, however, and the issue will certainly develop further as the elections draw closer.

29 May 2012

11 Politics

Former president’s comments cause a furore
By Cindy Archillies ormer South African president FW de Klerk has come under fire for making controversial statements in which he appeared to condone certain elements of the apartheid regime. De Klerk’s comments came during an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour at a summit of Nobel Prize winners in Chicago. When questioned about the system of apartheid, de Klerk asserted that it was morally unacceptable. “Inasmuch as it trampled human rights it was, and remains, morally indefensible,” he said. However, he then went on to defend the ‘bantustan’ or ‘homeland’ system and initially denied that creating “separate but equal nation states,” defined along racial lines, was disenfranchising. “They [black people] were not disenfranchised; they voted,” he said. “They were not put in homelands; the homelands were historically there. If only the developed world would put so much money into Africa, which is struggling with poverty, as we poured into those homelands. How many universities were built? How many schools?” Following expansive criticism, de Klerk said that his comments had been taken out of context and that he has “no residual belief in, or attachment to, separate development”. The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution has condemned his comments and demanded he retract them. The National Health and Allied Workers’ Union took a more drastic stance, saying that de Klerk’s Nobel Peace Prize be withdrawn. Politics Honours student Yolandé Botha believes that removing de Klerk’s Peace Prize would be immaterial. “I think that we need to look at de Klerk’s comments in the context of the contemporary


human rights paradigm,” she said. “In many ways the South African Constitution has brought the issue of human rights in this country under the spotlight. Therefore, I think that even if de Klerk’s Nobel Peace prize is taken away, it would be of little consequence to us as a nation because we have laid the foundation for human rights to be respected already.” More disconcerting to Botha are the implications for the situation in Israel and Palestine, which she believes is very similar to apartheid. “I am disappointed by de Klerk’s statements because they undermine the Palestinian cause for true national sovereignty,” she said. “Our fight in this country, at least legally, is over, but the Palestinians are still fighting every day for a viable nation state and they need all the support they can get especially from those who have been part of the process of reconciliation – such as de Klerk.” Dr Joy Owen, a senior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, said that one could argue that de Klerk’s statement is “inconsiderate of the huge loss of life and the impact of the political struggle on black men, women and children’s social and economic quality of life”. Dr Owen suggested that given his social context in the 1980s and position in the National Party, his comments may not necessarily have come as a surprise. De Klerk’s comments and the resulting outcry therefore should, according to Dr Owen, be seen as a “wakeup call to all South Africans, irrespective of race, class, gender, age, or sexual orientation that the honeymoon period of the new democracy is long over, and that we need to some serious work as individuals to guard against exclusionary politics”. If de Klerk’s logic is considered questionable, then South Africans need to ensure that “our practical politics, as expressed in our daily lives, do not encourage exclusion”.

Illustrator: Katja Schreiber Far Left: Thabo Mbeki during a speech at Rhodes in 1995. Left: Desmond Tutu. Exceprt from Activate Archives


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12 Comment & Analysis

Edition 5

Memory lane – Past editors share their stories
the results. We had to get the Vice-Chancellor to come out and publically defend us, and that edition – with a simple cover featuring just the Zimbabwean flag – was all you saw on campus s Activate marks its 65th birthday, we look back for days afterwards, being read and passed around. We even got to some of the past editors who kept it going over coverage in the provincial papers! Very scary at the time, but the years through its transformation from a little newsletter to a fully-fledged 24-page colour newspaper. Though exciting to think that people were paying attention to a little printing techniques, management styles, size, content and even student newspaper in a small town.  I’m currently news editor at City Press, a position I took up our name has changed drastically, the fact remains that Activate three or four months ago. Before that, I was the news editor has left an apparently lasting impression on those ex-students at the Cape Argus. Activate absolutely helped me get to this who worked to put it all together during their time at Rhodes. point in my professional life – it was the most hands-on, While some previous editors have come back to the university practical, incredible environment in which to learn more about as lecturers, others have gone on to become editors of other newspapers, to make very stupid mistakes and to fall even newspapers or books (like Ray Hartley of the Sunday Times in Cape Town), and specialists in different types of communicative further in love with journalism. Best thing I ever did, even if it meant living on chip rolls from the now-defunct Day Kaif in the media (like Karen Thorne, a community TV activist; Steyn Student Union building and spending hours in that office when Speed, an ANC communication director; and Graham Welsh, I should have been working harder at my degree! an SABC executive). We have put together some stories from past editors who have shared their favourite memories from the time that they worked on the student newspaper, as well as how Kate Douglas, Editor 2008-2009 I cannot point out one best time at Activate. I’d say that every their experiences helped to shape their futures. learning curb, every political debate and all the times I got to exercise – and push – my understanding of journalism ethics Paul Maylam, Editor 1969 were significant. Those were great moments for me. I currently I was editor of what was then called Rhodeo in 1969 – in that work as a freelance medical and health journalist. year we produced 19 eight-page issues. I remember working through most of Sunday night with a small team, putting the paper together, literally cutting and pasting with scissors and Laura Maggs, Editor 2009-2010 glue. My main memory is that of producing a special two-page I have quite a few great memories issue devoted to the case of a Theology lecturer Basil Moore, of my time with Activate. I remember who received an honorary doctorate here in 2011. In the late the evening I was told that I’d been 1960s the Black Consciousness Movement, headed by Steve chosen as editor – I was sick with Biko, was becoming prominent. Basil Moore was sympathetic flu and almost didn’t make it to the to the movement and to black theology. He was recommended meeting. When they told me, I was by a selection committee for a permanent post in the Theology so overwhelmed and excited and all Department, but this recommendation was twice overturned I wanted to do was go to the Rat for by the University’s very conservative council. This gave rise to a beer, but I ended up going back a student protest which culminated in a number of students to bed instead (lame). I remember holding a sit-in in the council chamber – these students were my first meeting with the executive subsequently rusticated for eight weeks. This was the main team – I like to think I had the best team ever (they really were event during my tenure as editor. incredible) and I was so nervous speaking to all of them for the Serving as editor gave me good experience, but it is difficult first time. I think anyone who has worked for Activate has fond to say how much it helped my career. I went on to become a memories, particularly of crazy paste-up weekends and the office historian, teaching for 17 years at what was the University of printer running out of ink at the last minute, but for me it’s the Natal, Durban, and then here at Rhodes since 1991. My own inspiring people with whom I was lucky enough to work who form political awareness had taken off in the previous, momentous year – 1968 – when there were student revolts across the world, the most important part of those memories. At the moment I’m working in Jo’burg for an agency called especially in France, Germany and the US. Working as editor of Flow Communications. We specialise in journalism, design, web Rhodeo enhanced this awareness. development, e-marketing and media training. Activate definitely shaped who I am today and taught me so much. Most of all, it Natasha Joseph, Editor 2001-2002 made me more confident and has helped me to remember to My favourite memory – not a happy one, but significant always see the bigger picture. was taking on political bullies who tried to stop Activate from publishing a feature about the 2002 Zimbabwean elections. Staff members were followed and threatened after people got wind of Tessa Trafford, Editor 2010-2011 Probably my favourite part of Activate was seeing the paper come the fact that we were doing a piece on the elections, focusing on out. It was a feeling of accomplishment and pride every how Zimbabwean Rhodents from all political parties felt about By Alexa Sedgwick

Rhodeo office 1987


Top: The Activate office during paste-up weekend. Middle: Pampilon and Sheila Hanley (co-editors) are sleeping in the office on a Monday morning after a “paste-up” weekend. They would routinely work for 48 hours non-stop, but then need to hang around the office on Monday in case there were any problems at the printers. Bottom: Simon Pampilon, the editor of Activate in 1987, holds onto a drawer of the filing cabinets where the sheets of Letraset (rub-down transfer lettering which were used for headlines) were kept. Pics: Nicky Newman time I saw someone reading the paper or I saw that big blue ‘A’ anywhere across campus. Currently, I am teaching English at a high school in South Korea and you could say that being a part of Activate has helped me as I edit the school’s English newspaper – not an easy task as all the kids are writing in their second or third language.

Rod Amner, Editor 1989 In 1989, the country was still shrouded in a state of emergency. We had no idea that the end of apartheid was nigh. In 1989, I drove my battered Golf to Idutywa in the Transkei with a couple of Rhodeo reporters and Carol Paton, then president of the South African Students’ Press Union. We were looking for Epainette Mbeki, whose husband Govan had recently been released from Robben Island, and whose son, Thabo, was negotiating apartheid’s endgame at a discreet location in the UK. We tracked Ma Mbeki down and secured a delightful interview which was published in Rhodeo and syndicated in the student press Ex-Rhodeo editor Rom Amner is fined R500 by traffic police outside Komga in around the country. the Transkei after interviewing Thabo Mbeki’s mother. 1989. (Photographer unknown)

However, on the way home I was fined R500 by some overzealous traffic cops outside Komga. R500 was an absolute fortune to a ‘bungie’ in those days, so I failed to pay and three months later was stopped, arrested and locked up in the Grahamstown prison! My mum and dad bailed me out. Since I currently teach Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes, it would be irresponsible and self-defeating to admit that as a student I bunked quite a few lectures and that Activate (née Rhodeo) taught me quite a bit more about reporting and writing in the later 1980s than my journalism lecturers. But, it would also be true.

29 May 2012

13 Comment & Analysis
By Wynona Latham

Risk your portfolio
By Benjamin Fogel Student media is the platform for the future generations which go on to comprise the fourth estate to cultivate their talents, or lack thereof. Rhodes, an institution widely recognized for its department of Journalism, attracts many who dream about going on to a career in the media. Depending on their particular inclination and talents, the place they start is usually is in the student press, which is comprised of The Oppidan Press and Activate. Now maybe I’m deluded and guilty of cynicism, but as far as I can see South Africa’s print media is in a seemingly eternal journalistic crisis. Laziness, conformity, outright racism, stenography and mostly utter banality seem to be hegemonic features. The country suffers from a severe lack of critical commentary and reporting on a wide variety of issues, ranging from private sector skullduggery and corruption to reasons why the majority of South Africans don’t embrace Helen Zille as their savior in a country still beset by structural inequality, unemployment and poverty. Most of the media remains tripped up in clichéd hostility against the labour movement, resulting in an open hostility towards organized labour. Finally, because I could go on all day about how messed up the SA media is, there is the general unwillingness of the media to challenge any of the power brokers in South Africa who are not aligned to or part of the African National Congress. When was the last time you saw our world class (in terms of exploitative practices) banks get the same sort of hostile treatment reserved for the ruling party? I think some of the blame for this starts at the beginning, in the student media, in which the overwhelming concern seems to be future employment with one of the various awful papers which form the vast majority of the print media in this country. This results in a marked desire not to take risks, instead deciding to cultivate a portfolio of ‘objective reporting’ on whatever safe issues can be found to make up space. Student media has the potential for risk-taking journalism, for a proper ‘screw you’-attitude to the powers that be and a chance to experiment with prose and politics. Now, instead of attempting to emulate what you read or don’t read in the media, it’s a chance to form your own style and voice. Enough of the banality, we need more risk and scandal! There are enough people in this town to target. Cause a stir rather than retreat into the safe zones of conformity and regurgitation – it’s vital if we’re going to escape from yet another media cycle of dull prose on Zuma’s dick or a racist imbecile’s tweets.


t is a time-honoured and somewhat clichéd tradition that when one reaches a certain age, some sort of self-evaluation takes place. So, at the age of 65, it’s time to see how far Activate as a newspaper has come and perhaps how far we have to go. We combed campus and town, asking students, lecturers and Grahamstown residents what they really think of the oldest student newspaper at Rhodes. We received a variety of answers! Above all, it was enlightening to hear some very honest comments. We give you: the good, the bad and the ugly. Jenara Chaura, History Honours I think that Activate needs to have more interesting articles. It needs to focus more on student life and less on the administration. I think maybe there should be more celebrity gossip that could possibly make it more interesting. Kendal Devey, BSC 2 I really enjoy reading it. It has a good variety of articles and topics which I think is very interesting.

Activate: the review
But there are grammatical errors and typos which can irritate people. I must say that I always grab an Activate when I see one. Natasha van Blerk, BSS 2 I have only read Activate when my friend has written an article. Otherwise, I don’t read it – what’s the point? Debra Stein, Grahamstown resident I have not really been able to get a hold of it. I haven’t seen it in a while but I do love reading the newspaper. I like reading about issues from the Grahamstown point of view and it is really interesting to see how people think and communicate.

Dr Samantha Naidu, English lecturer I don’t read Activate because I perceive it as a student publication, targeted at mainly a student readership and also because I do not have the time. Sara Garrun, BJourn 4 What I like about Activate is that as a photojournalism student it gives me a platform to show my work, which is kiff. Also, they will use pictures of things we have that don’t just pertain to Rhodes and G-town, for example Splashy Fen. It also covers world events, which is nice. It is an example of brilliant student collaboration and training for the real world. It covers all we find relevant, from world events to the potholes on our roads. It gives us a place to voice opinions, share info, show photos, and all in all reinforces that sense of community we all love so much about this God-awful but also glorious town. Sandile Mangeanyela, Bjourn 1 It’s quite a good newspaper but there is one thing a wish it had more of – and that is sport. I don’t like the way the sports section is laid out, I think it needs to be expanded.

By Kate Sedgwick and Kelly Killian ocial networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are often used as an easy medium to express personal thoughts. But these may end up being offensive to the beliefs of another social networker, who just happened to be browsing by. Earlier this month, model Jessica Leandra dos Santos was attacked on Twitter for posting a racial slur on her page, and the incident subsequently resulted in her dismissal from FHM, loss of external sponsoring, and general ostracising from the modelling community. It would seem that companies, especially those which are media-orientated, are taking social networking into account when making decisions about their current or future employees: the Internet is becoming a real decision-maker in the hiring and firing process. It is not uncommon to have one’s Facebook page scoured by prospective employers, or to be required to have a certain number of Twitter followers, before one’s job applications are considered. The public can even be taken to court or at the very least risk the wrath of the online community (which is made up of real people with whom they interact every day, too) if they step out of line on social networking sites. Is it right to be held so accountable for one’s personal comments online, or are they to be treated as public? Do people who are better-known risk greater punishment than those who are not in the public eye? Activate sought your views. Mark De Vos, Language and Linguistics lecturer Twitter is a public forum like any other, and people should be careful about what they say. However, Twitter is slightly different to a public forum in some interesting ways: firstly, it is accessed from your cellphone – SMSs often use intimate, informal registers, lack politeness markers, etc. In short, SMSs are a bit like chatting to your BFF, and there are things that one would say that you wouldn’t ever dream of saying to your mother, your lecturer or your boss. Moreover, for many people, what they write on Twitter is fairly personal and sometimes emotional information. It is well-known that when doing research, observer effects can be obviated when subjects become emotional. Basically, one forgets to monitor what one is saying and one might be a bit more direct, blunt, or politically incorrect than one might be when one is watching one’s Ps and Qs. What Twitter


Feeling mis-tweeted?
does is to take this informal conversation between close friends and broadcasts it to the whole world. So on the one hand, you are speaking intimately to your friends... and on the other hand, the whole world is listening. In that context, it is quite easy to blurt out things that one might later regret. The sad thing is that the results of this are incredibly hurtful, insulting and divisive. I guess technology can be used to bring people together; it can also drive us apart. I think some good can come of the recent situation, if people can use the incident as a trigger to confront, discuss and hopefully adjust our attitudes. Nina Butler, BA Honours There is a distinction between holding someone accountable or responsible for an action, and claiming the right to punish someone for an action. Yes, I feel that we as fully-functioning adults are all accountable and responsible for everything we say and do, in whatever forum. When we sign on to social-networking sites and create a profile through which to mediate our comments and opinions, we are making a conscious projection of identity. We are actively choosing to represent ourselves in a particular way through images, words, groups, ‘likes’, and so on. Therefore, we are fully responsible for what we say, and this should not be treated as something separate from other forms of social communication. However, that we are responsible does not mean we should be punished. Allowing punishment to be doled out means that some or other source of power (most likely state) can observe and regulate such sites, and then have the means to reach us all directly through the site in order to exert ‘order’. Moreover, it entails value judgements over what is a just projection of identity through opinion or comment, and what is an unjust projection of identity. This would be very difficult to establish and its implementation would most likely violate other human rights and freedoms. Celebrities, as far as I know, are not another species of Homo sapiens. Why should they be treated differently? They may hold greater responsibility over what they say and

do because of their appeal and media impact, but should not be treated differently for that. Chris Ward, Linguistics 5 People should be held accountable for what they say in any public space, even cyber space. We all have freedom of speech but at the same time we must take responsibility for how we use that freedom. When it comes to celebrities, I don’t see why they should be treated differently. Their status shouldn’t make them untouchable. David Williams, BJourn 3 Yes, they should be held accountable. Anyone can post anything on a social network but it must be responsible and the online user needs to be aware of the consequences of posting content online. I don’t think celebrities should be able to avoid punishment because they are still humans. Mitchell Haefele, BA English I don’t think people should be punished, as they are simply expressing their opinions – but people should limit what they say on social networking sites as certain posts may offend others. Shelby Moyes, Bcom 1 If one voices something on a social networking site, it means it is an opinion which they have made public. Having social networking sites on the Internet means that the opinions which you post on these sites are for all to see. One cannot expect to publicly make discriminatory remarks and not be held liable. Punishment for these actions should be equal for all people, from politicians and celebrities to the average person like you and I. Alexis de Coning, English lecturer You should be held accountable. The problem is that on the Internet you become anonymous, which is not right: you are not anonymous; you are still a human being. It is very easy to represent yourself as someone else or to become very comfortable with making a statement which you wouldn’t make in public, and people need to realise that what they say does matter and they should be aware of other people’s feelings. I don’t know how you go about punishing or rectifying that kind of behaviour, but when you write something on Facebook, for example, no-one knows exactly what your tone is. When you have a conversation with someone you can pick up if they are being sarcastic or flippant but over the Internet it’s very difficult to read into someone’s comments.

29 May 2012

15 Photo Feature

History in focus

1. Matthew Goniwe addressing a rally in Grahamstown’s Joza township, 48 days before his death in June 1985. August 1990. 2. First years beware- if you look like this you’re trying too hard. February 1989 3. The new SRC executive: Mike Carklin, Darryl Lee, Leanne Billett, Emma Durden and SRC president Rod Amner (now a lecturer in Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes). October 1990. 4. Unknown. All are excerpts from Activate Archives

16 Photo Feature

Edition 5
1. What is “in” with the girls these days is “pop gear”- miniskirts, patterned stockings and boots. These Rhodes girls prove campus dress is in step with the times. From left, they are: Penny Thomas, Colleen Raach, Anne Margolis and Anne Bostock. They are all in Milner. 3 March 1966. 2. Rhodes’ waterpolo team showing that they are just as good under the water as they are above it. The somewhat inflated team in the picture came joint fourth at SAU’s summer tournament in December and also deserves a medal for their underwater photography. October 1990. 3. Bite my sausage. Pic: Nicky Newman 4. Mark, lead vocals and bassist of the band Manhole at the Power Station gig. 5. Unknown. 6. Rhodeo front page. May 1991. 7. 1989. 8. 1960’s. 9. Pigs in digs. Is Rhodes going agrarian with pigs in digs and rats in res? August 1991. 10. Unknown. All are excerpts from Activate Archives




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29 May 2012

17 Photo Feature




10 8


18 Business

Edition 5

Exchange rates:

The wage debate
By David Fryer David Fryer is a senior lecturer at the Department of Economics and Economic History. ‘Labour issues’ are increasingly in the news every day. There has been more and more contention about a wide range of issues in this sector, including whether public sector unions are too powerful, what to do about labour broking, whether unskilled workers are paid too much and whether labour legislation is too restrictive. This came to a head with the recent DA march to COSATU house over the issue of youth wage subsidies. These debates always involve the same protagonists (the DA and business interests versus COSATU and left-leaning academics). This article briefly highlights three questions: what is the substance of these debates, which side is right, and why are these issues suddenly so newsworthy? At the core of the debate is the socalled ‘distortionist’ argument (the DA and business, contested by COSATU). The argument is that firstly, the labour market is ‘distorted’ by the interference of government and overly-powerful trade unions, and secondly, that these distortions are a major cause of unemployment. Notice that distortionists claim the moral high ground here: COSATU is presented as taking care of a ‘labour aristocracy’ and as being directly responsible for unemployment.What are the merits of this argument? Although there are problems with the statistics, most economists would not dispute the main points: South Africa has high unemployment and its wages are high compared to countries like China. However, left-oriented economists have long argued that unemployment is a ‘structural’ problem with deep historical roots, and that the extremely high living costs faced by the South African poor explain why wages are high. Although business-oriented economists have been blaming unions for unemployment and ignoring counter-arguments since before 1994, they have presented no evidence either that trade unions and government wage minima are the main cause of high unskilled labour or that high wages are a major cause of unemployment. This is not to say that trade unions are blameless or labour market policy is as effective as it could be, but it is a start to unpacking the problem. Unsurprisingly, the reason for the recent prominence of these debates has nothing to do with new evidence or arguments coming to light. Rather, two opposed interest groups sense that policy is ‘up for grabs’. The state has signalled that it is willing to move towards a ‘developmental state’, but there are also strong indications of ‘business as usual’. There are various reasons for this uncertainty (stresses within the ruling elite, the ambiguous ideological legacy of the crises in Europe and the US: on the one hand, the weakening of neoliberalism; on the other, the dismantling of welfare states). There is plenty of good economic analysis about these issues. Unfortunately it is not making the news.

GBP 13.1821 USD 8.4077 EUR 10.5560

CPI Inflation



"Right now, Africa should be very concerned because its economies are now more sensitive to any developments in China. China has become the biggest investor in Africa and the continent's most significant trading partner, so whatever happens in China matters a lot to Africa."

- Jeremy Steven, Standard Bank Economist

Inflation: a true reflection of costs?
By Njabulo Nkosi s of January 2013, South Africa will have a consumer price index (CPI) that more accurately reflects the burden on households that result from the rising food, electricity, fuel and other costs over the last few years. A greater weighting will be placed on those expenditures which will drive inflation upwards. Many consumers are aware of the soaring electricity, fuel, food, education and medical insurance costs, and the CPI aims to reflect that with greater precision. The CPI is an index of the variation in prices paid by typical consumers for retail goods and other items, and is used to mark periods of inflation or deflation using a ‘basket’ of commonly bought goods. Items included in the CPI basket reflect a significant portion of total household expenditure, commonly purchased and available to the consumer. Goods like cars and washing machines are included, but luxury items like jewellery and smart phones are excluded. All goods are weighted according to their importance. The current CPI is 6%, which many people feel is not a true reflection of their expenditures. The reason for this is the undervaluing of some very common items in the CPI basket. In 2009 electricity had an average weighting of 1.68%, petrol 3.93%, medical insurance 3.68% and education 2.19%. Since then, the administered prices (the actual price of a product when bought) of certain goods and services for which consumers are forced to pay – electricity and municipal services, for example – have been above the rate of inflation. In March 2012 the administered prices CPI


Inflation and hyperinflation are currency crises, the photo above shows a Zimbabwe One Hundred Dollar note and small gold bars. Pic: Flickr was 11.2%, almost double the overall CPI of 6%. Electricity and other fuels increased by 17.2% and fuel by 9.2%. Yearly educational costs increased ahead of the CPI by about 9%, with tertiary education coming in at 9.7%. Solidarity Research Institute senior researcher Paul Joubert reported that consumers are forced to pay out a bulk of their income on “electricity, property rates and fuel”. He added that “the weights in the inflation basket have remained static for years and so do not take this shift of spending patterns into account”. The revised CPI weights will aim to address this problem, and will be revealed in January 2013. The new weights will be based mainly on Stats SA’s 2010/2011 income and expenditure survey. This proposes more weighting for food, electricity, petrol and housing utilities, which would be a fairer reflection of consumers’ expenditure. Some adjustments need to be made before the new introduction of the weighting. “If these new weights had to be introduced bluntly into the CPI right now... it would probably rise to 7-8% over the next couple of months,” says Danalee Masia, an economist at Deutsche Bank. However, this may still not be a precise reflection of living costs of blue collar workers, because they have even higher food and transport weightings in their ‘baskets’. The real improvement resulting from this revision is that from 2013, the CPI basket will be reweighted every three years to take into account people’s changing spending patterns. This revised economic measure can better enable consumers to make sound financial decisions regarding saving, investments and budgeting.

Franchising can work for the SA economy
By Njabulo Nkosi ranchising is said to have great potential for growth in South Africa. It is also a major employment creator: the franchising industry is far larger than most people realise, with an estimated 30 000 branches countrywide which employ close to 480 000 people. A franchise is a type of licence that a party – a franchisee – acquires to allow them to have access to the franchiser’s proprietary knowledge, technological processes and known trademarks in order for them to sell a product or provide a service under the business’s name. In exchange for the profits of the franchise, the franchisee usually pays the franchisor initial start-up and annual licensing fees. Franchises are a very popular method for people to start their business careers, especially for those who wish to operate in a highly


competitive industry like fast food. One of the biggest advantages of purchasing a franchise is that you have access to an established company’s brand name, meaning that you do not need to spend further resources to get your name and product out to customers – they already support it. The total annual turnover of franchise businesses is in the region of R300 billion, which includes fuel sold through franchised filling stations. At current prices, fuel sales are R40 billion a year. Despite these numbers, franchises have not reached their true potential, according to market participants. “As a route to becoming an entrepreneur, [franchising] has a long way to go in SA,” says Famous Brands CEO Kevin Hedderwick. This is unfortunate, considering that franchises can be a good starting base for training and support for South Africans with an entrepreneurial flair.

Grahamstown has its own fair share of franchises. Dulcé on High Street was owned by -Tinus and Stella Swanepoel. However they ended their franchise agreement and opened Cafe Delizzia. They feel that the advantages of a franchise are the training, support, strong marketing and business methodology transferred with the franchise. The Swanepoels were able to run the franchise as their own business and used their business experience to great effect. Tinus says that while there are many positives to franchises, there are often many struggles as well. One of these is startup funds and sustained financing, which can be obtained from banks – if you are fortunate enough to be in the right position. “It is not ideal to approach a bank for financing unless you have three-quarters of the capital,” says Tinus. But there are drawbacks to franchising too: there is a lack of

flexibility in technological processes, branding and advertising, and many owners cite a declining growth potential after five years. Meeting the expectations of the franchiser can often be difficult and expensive. Despite these, franchises can greatly benefit the economy. While around 80% of non-franchise small businesses run into critical problems, only 20% of franchises experience them in their lifetime, says Morne Cronje, FNB head of franchising. “We achieve a success rate of about 95% with our franchisees,” says Nando’s Marketing Director Quinton Cronje. Consumers want reliability and consistency, and with a strong franchise brand they know what to expect. With a bulk of the retail, food, fuel and health services industry being franchises, franchising can greatly increase employment, entrepreneurial prospects and the economic wellbeing of the country.

29 May 2012

19 Features

Volunteer tutoring help learners succeed
By Nina McFall


Geography. Sally Grinham, a second-year BComm student, tutors three to four Victoria Girls students who are in eneration Active (GenX) is a communityGrade 11. “I tutor Accounting, as it is the subject I am based youth organisation for “vulnerable passionate about, and also on the odd occasion Maths youth in the most under-serviced areas of Literacy when there are not enough tutors for the our community.” Veronica Moodley, GenX founder subjects or students present.” Learners bring their own and Courtenay-Latimer Hall Warden, explains that material to go through during the tutoring sessions, since mid-March this year, the programme has and have been bringing old exam papers in the leadexpanded to include tutoring for local high school up to their own examinations. learners by Rhodes students. “I have found it truly rewarding,” Grinham said. At the start of this year there were three Matric “There is nothing better than witnessing visible students in the GenX programme. GenX wanted to improvement in all your students. You know that you help the students improve their marks in preparation are a contributing factor to the improvement. I would for their major end-of-year exams. Moodley recommend tutoring any student at Rhodes who has approached the Courtenay-Latimer Hall students, a passion for a certain subject... There are so many asking them to volunteer to teach literacy, Maths, students out there who would love the subject if they computer skills and swimming. had more help. A Rhodent could be that help.” The project began in 2009, initially offering Matric students of Mary Waters High are tutored by second-year student, Elri Moodley appealed to Afrikaans students (especially life-skills, leadership and personal development Steenkamp. She goes over English poetry and general history with the boys. Sibusiso those studying science or BComm) to assist with programmes to the underprivileged youth in Matiwana, Hlonelikhaya Klaas and Luntu Mbonda are a part of a tutorial group that is tutoring. “The learners need help in Maths, Maths Grahamstown. assisted every Tuesday and Thursday. Pic: Niamh Walsh-Vorster Literacy, Accounting and Life-Sciences mainly,” she “Our vision is to make leaders and role-models of explained. “We are in desperate need of Afrikaans our youth from which their family and the rest of the speaking volunteers to help Matrics at Mary Waters other school students in Grahamstown and now has a total of community can benefit,” Moodley said. “Our mission who are struggling.” 23 learners who are tutored by eight volunteers on Tuesdays is to bring about transformation in the hearts and minds of our Tutoring takes place on Tuesday (15h00-16h00) and Thursdays and Thursdays for one hour. The students come from local youth by running life-skills, leadership and personal development (15h30-16h30) at Courtenay-Latimer Hall in Beit House and Oriel high schools such as Victoria Girls, Nombulelo High School, [and tutoring] programmes in order to prepare them for a House. If you are interested in volunteering for this programme, Mary Waters and Graeme College. Subjects tutored include prosperous future,” she said. you can email Veronica Moodley at v.moodley.ru.ac.za. Maths, Maths Literacy, Accounting, Life Sciences, English and The GenX programme extended the tutoring invitation to

Friendzoning – what’s the big deal?
By Kerstin Hall nce you are in the infamous ‘friendzone’, there is no escape – you can buy flowers, chocolates, engagement rings, but at the end of the day, the girl or guy you are after will simply refuse to see you romantically. For readers unfamiliar with the term, friendzoning refers to the situation where, upon being asked out romantically, a person rejects the asker because they see them more as a friend than a love interest. Friendzoning is not unusual but, perhaps understandably, not necessarily something that people are comfortable sharing. After all, it is just another form of rejection. Perhaps this is the reason why the Rhodes Counselling Centre has never encountered the problem. “We deal with relationship issues at the Counselling Centre, but no client has specifically labelled any social phenomenon like this,” explains Dr Colleen Vassiliou, the manager of Student Wellness. This may suggest that there is a certain amount of shame associated with being friendzoned, despite a sizable number of students claiming to have experienced it when asked. So why does this stigma exist? Mary Olden, a first-year Rhodes student, admits to having friendzoned someone in the past. She does not feel guilty about having done so. “People must just understand that if someone doesn’t like them, they don’t like them. I think girls sometimes feel that they have to reciprocate a guy’s feelings even if they aren’t really into him.” “Typically, I don’t make friends with single guys, in case they see it in a romantic light,” says Hazel Mitchley, a Linguistics Honours student. “I think the guys who get friendzoned are the ones who make subtler moves, where girls think he is just being friendly.”


Youlendree Appasamy, a Journalism student, has experience with being friendzoned, and worse: being completely brushed off. “I had a little crush on him for three years. But after I approached him about it, he just ignored me point blank and that was the end of our friendship.” She explains the difficulty in forming friendships across genders. “In any friendship, there is an element of attraction. But sometimes it really doesn’t have to go further than that.” In books, movies and television shows, there is a general trend where a masculine protagonist, having behaved in a heroic manner, is coupled with the woman he desires at the end of the story. It is, in fact, quite difficult to think of a superhero story where this does not occur. Spiderman, Superman, Batman, even the Hulk: all find women who are amazingly devoted to them. It begs the question: what kind of precedent does this set for men in the real world? Various articles online and in magazines offer advice on escaping the friendzone. Most of them recommend breaking the “nice guy” or “sweet girl” stereotype by asserting your own feelings. These articles range from humorously pedagogic to worryingly chauvinistic. An article on AskMen.com, for instance, suggests: “When a man likes a woman, he naturally wants to express his feelings between the sheets. This is natural.” It goes on to state that men are used by their female friends without the “fringe benefit of getting laid”. This concept of being nice to receive a sexual reward is subject to both support and vehement disagreement in the online community. However, not all men think this way. A first-year male student, Ricki Gonsalves, does

Pic: Flickr not share this sentiment. “Friendzoning really sucks, but it’s a part of life. I asked her out, she said she wasn't ready for a relationship, but didn't want to lose me as a friend.” He says carpe diem and moves on with his life. “I think it is nicer to friendzone rather than to be rude when rejecting a person. If both parties are mature, I think that they can be friends afterwards.” It would seem that most guys agree with this mentality. The individual who asked Olden out accepted her decision and the pair of them became friends. Provided that there is no sense of entitlement on the part of the rejected party, friendzoning could be seen as a far more pleasant alternative than being laughed at or openly rejected with a blunt “No”. Perhaps the truly “nice guys” and “sweet girls” are those who respect the decision of the one who rejected them.

20 Features

Edition 5

Little shop, big heart
By Tristan de Robillard t’s a small building at the bottom of Bathurst Street – you might miss it if it weren’t for the ornate colonial architecture and the sign above the door reading “Sunflower Hospice Shop”. At this shop you can buy and donate, and, with a bit of spare change, make someone’s life a little easier. The director of the hospice, David Barker, is a friendly, soft-spoken man. Barker has been director of the Hospice for around five years. He explains that the Sunflower Hospice Shop is part of the Grahamstown Hospice, which was started 27 years ago. These services are given regardless of the patient’s ability to pay, making it an organisation that relies on many types of alternative funding to operate. “We as an organisation have a budget of around R4 million a year,” Barker says. “Most of this comes from funds supplied by the Department of Health, the National Lottery and large corporations, but it has to be used for specific expenses, and not all of them are directly useful to us.” The shop, in contrast, is incredibly important


to the hospice’s operation. It is a collection of odds and ends. Donated clothes hang from various racks across the shop. Some brightly-coloured sundresses and a couple of nightgowns are displayed on their own, while others are grouped together as a collection for the shopper’s perusal. Along the walls, wooden shelves hold collections of books, with titles ranging from Sleepy Head by Tom Thorne to Shakespearean classics like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Most have the familiar crinkle down the spine which shows that they were treasured by their previous owners. There are CDs and DVDs, paintings, board games and even a computer screen available for purchase. What’s more, because most of these goods are donated, they can be sold much more cheaply than anything one would find at a regular store. The staff is involved in what they do and is eager to help. Whatever your reason, the Sunflower Hospice Shop is a place worth visiting. It supports a worthy cause and there’s always the incentive of finally owning that one dress, blazer, set of coasters or John Grisham novel which always seemed too expensive at other shops.

An array of images of Sunflower Hospice Shop, Bathurst Street, Grahamstown. Pic: grahamstownhospice.org.za Another unique aspect of the store is its charitable cause. All it wants is to make a difference in the lives of others, and that is something worth investing in. If you would like to know more about Grahamstown Hospice or the shop, visit grahamstownhospice.org.za.

Increasing opportunities with Sandisa Imbewu
By Wynona Latham


s an academic institute, Rhodes is a place that strives to promote an environment ‘where leaders learn’. The opportunities available at Rhodes have now been expanded to include the Sandisa Imbewu Fund, which is endorsed by the Board of Governors. Sandisa Imbewu means “we are growing our seeds”. With R12.5 million in the form of a public subsidy pledged for the next five years, the fund aims to chase after new strategic initiatives that are academic in nature. This fund is a result of a motion put forward by ViceChancellor Dr Saleem Badat. “Rhodes does not receive the level of public subsidies that other ‘research’ universities

tend to enjoy, due to its small size and academic programme offerings,” he said. “Compared to other ‘research’ universities, Rhodes has extremely modest free and earmarked reserves, and its operational income from these reserves is modest.” The Rhodes council accepted his recommendation on 9 September 2010, and on 21 May the Sandisa Imbewu Fund was launched. This went hand-in-hand with the promise to further enhance areas of academic excellence at Rhodes, explore other fields (especially at a postgraduate level) and take advantage of new opportunities that can help increase knowledge production and quality. “Thirty proposals were received for consideration,” said Zamuxolo Matiwana, Rhodes’ Internal Communication Officer. However, of these 30 proposals, only nine projects

have been chosen. The Fund will be managed by the Vice-Chancellor’s budget committee. The committee will be guided in making grants by the Rhodes Institutional Development Plan. With further decisions to be made by the Institutional Planning Committee and the University’s senate. After it is launched, it will report annually to the Board of Governors and University council. “Out of these nine projects, seven are headed by women,” said Director of the Research Office Jaine Roberts in her closing speech at the launch. Sandiswa Imbewu is a move towards achieving one of the major aims of the University. “It is our intention to focus on growing the proportion of postgraduate students from 27% to 30% in the coming years,” said Matiwana.

Pic: Jackie Murray

Pic: Nicky Newman

29 May 2012

21 Features

Journey to rock bottom
By Rhea MacDonald A shocking glimpse into one first-year’s love affair with crystal meth. Names have been changed.


t was a sickeningly warm feeling – the blood. It gushed from her flaming nostril down her face onto her battered lips. The metallic flavour invaded her mouth, but still her need overcame her. With a forced sniff she sucked as much blood back into her throat as she could to not waste the precious crystal in her nose. She gripped the rolled-up bill in her hand, and with a familiar thrust shoved it up her nostril. Swift inhale, sharp burn, and sweet satisfaction. The beginning One instant was all it had taken. “I did the line, and the burn was unbelievable, it made my eyes water,” says Jane*, describing her first time using crystal meth. But to her, it was a small price to pay for what she would experience next. “It was like falling in love, everything was just better,” she explains. “I had never played such good pool in my life; I had never met so many people – I literally made friends with everyone in the bar that night. Then I didn’t want to stop.” For an entire week, Jane and her friends stayed holed-up in an apartment, doing more and more of the drug. Out from under the watchful eyes of her over-protective mother, there was nothing to hold her back. When her friends would not give her as much as she wanted, she contacted the dealer herself, hurling herself headfirst into the lifestyle. At the tender age of 19, Jane became a meth addict. The next month was a blur of constant buying and using. “It was still fun at that point,” Jane remembers. But it didn’t take long for things to get out of control. What Jane went through is a rising trend in South Africa, and especially in Cape Town, where use of the drug runs rampant. The Medical Research Council has estimated that the number of people using crystal meth in Cape Town could be as high as 200 000. Among patients receiving treatment at drug rehabilitation facilities in the city, 46 % say crystal meth is their primary or secondary drug of choice. Even more alarmingly, according to the South African Community Epidemiology Network, 70 % of those in treatment who are under the age of 20 cite crystal meth as their drug of choice. Hooked Jane realized she was addicted to the drug when she ran out of money to buy more. “All I wanted to do was get it.” She had been snorting crystal meth at all hours of the day and resorting to using sleeping pills at night to calm her down. The realisation that she

didn’t have access to more completely devastated her. “I actually could not get up out of bed at the thought of not having anything.” She spent the entire weekend in a fitful sleep. Feelings of anger and frustration took over her mind. Finally she mustered up enough motivation to get up and get a job – a job to support her habit. A job so this would never happen again. When she was in between paychecks, Jane resorted to selling anything of value she possessed. Her drum kit, three guitars, clothes, phones, DVD players: nothing was off-limits to support her habit. At one point, when she had run out of things to sell, Jane spent hours stripping the rubber off wires to sell the copper to a scrap yard for cash. She resorted to any means she could to get the precious crystal. “You’re always chasing that initial high, but you never actually find it again.” Spiralling out of control Drifting in and out of consciousness, waves of hot and cold Pipe used for smoking methamphetamine with crystal meth melted inside. Pic: Wikicommons invading her shivering body, Jane writhed in pain as she slid down the problem. “I can’t keep doing this to them,” she thought. wall of the bathroom floor. The credit card she had been using to crush the crystals fell from her fingers onto the cold tiles. Her New beginnings clothing sticking to her feverish body, unable to hold her head up, Now a first year student at Rhodes, Jane is making progress. She she wondered if she was going to die. It had seemed like a good admits that her last line of crystal meth was in the car on the way idea – “We were dancing, so I was sweating, and if you keep crystal to Grahamstown, but she had made up her mind that there would on you skin it clumps and you can’t really do it. So I remember be no more thereafter. New life, new friends, new Jane. She started thinking that I would do it all so that I wouldn’t waste any.” She afresh, free from the tyranny of the drug. The first few weeks were snorted about a gram of crystal at once. hard, and she confesses that whenever things got tough she ached Waking up all alone in a hospital bed with an IV tube connected for it, but she resisted. Presently, Jane has been clean for over three to her forearm and the beep of the heart monitor ringing in her months. ears, Jane wondered how she had ended up there. Memories of the The National Centre on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare in party she had been at the night before slowly came back into her the US says that 50 % of meth addicts will relapse, 36 % within the consciousness. All she remembered after being in the bathroom first six months. A grim outlook for addicts of crystal meth, and a was being carried down the stairs by bouncers, not able to even lift grim outlook for Jane – but what must be remembered is that for her feet as they dragged beneath her. the half who relapse, half do not. Lying on the hard hospital bed, Jane realised that something had to change. She thought of her boyfriend, her mother – they * Name has been changed had their suspicions but neither of them knew the extent of her

Putting insomnia to rest
By Isabelle Anne Abraham


or those who think they have insomnia, it might be time for a re-diagnosis. Charlie Morley, a UK-based lucid dreaming teacher and Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, says that waking up as many as eight times a night is perfectly normal, as is struggling to fall asleep and remaining awake for two or three hours. On 25 May in the Department of Psychology, Morley held a discussion on insomnia, the history of human sleep and the reality behind ‘normal’ sleeping patterns. Transient and short-term insomnia is common, but chronic insomnia (lasting longer than a month) is more serious. Morley says you’ll have daytime hallucinations, diet and weight fluctuations, and poor memory. There’s also subjective insomnia, where people feel as though they have been lying awake all night even though they’ve had enough sleep. Leading sleep and dream specialist, Dr Rubin Naiman, attributes five causes to sleeplessness: • Overexposure to light • Excessive energy (exercise can solve this) • High body temperature

Say goodbye to sleepless nights. Pic: WikiCommons • An agitated mind • Inadequate sleep settings “The bed should be for two things: sleeping and having sex,” Morley jokes. In other words, don’t work in your bed, and don’t have electronic devices near you when asleep. Also, since we

spend a third of our lives in bed, we should invest in ones that give us the best rest. Six to eight hours of sleep within 24 hours is necessary, but surprisingly Morley says you don’t have to do this in one go. Before the 1800s, people slept in two separate cycles – they would go to bed when the sun set and wake up in the early hours of the morning to visit friends, have sex, and even milk the cow. Later, they would have another short period of sleep. When the Industrial Revolution arrived, it brought with it longer working hours, coffee houses, books and light bulbs. This is how the monophasic sleep cycle began, which spread to the rest of the world. Therefore this eight-hour sleep rule is questionable and experimental. In many Mediterranean countries people sleep biphasically, and Morley says this is preferable. He adds that it’s not necessary to ‘sleep like a log’, as the old saying goes. Dead wood is not your goal; sleep like a tree instead, with growth and awareness. Mindfulness during the night improves your sleep quality and is also important for lucid dreaming. Most importantly, he states, don’t let anyone determine your sleep pattern – only you know how much sleep you need. It’s time to put insomnia to bed and start waking up with a smile.

22 Features

Edition 5

From Rhodeo to Activate: a history
By Karlien van der Wielen During the 1970s, Rhodeo became decidedly less proper and conventional in its expression. hen you open the Activate archives The language and sections in the paper and glance at stories from 1939, it’s represented a more radicalised and emotively almost as though they were written expressive student body, with sections like in a different language. A section of “We heard it “BITCH” – a column for “anybody to bitch said” in the 1939 newsletter boasts: “D-gg- is in about anything they want”. Politics was still at the news again by virtue of his magic towel. Out the forefront, but things like environmentalism of this towel he produces one baby every night.” and gender issues were increasingly featured. I have no idea who ‘D-gg-’ is, or what kind of Complaints arose that the paper had been magical fibre his towel consisted of, but what I highjacked by ‘the left’. can say is that Activate has come a long way. The 80s continued on this track. Cartoons The paper, originally called Rhodeo, is dated were often featured amid a whacky, truly 80s as officially beginning in 1947, but its history design with bright splashes of neon. Features stretches back to the pre-World War II era. were on the shifts in the country’s politics and Even at that point in time, Rhodeo was an more often than not expressed a liberal view. independent paper. One editorial states, “We wish to make it clear to everybody that Rhodeo is Articles were both informative and challenging. run solely on student capital and enthusiasm: it is One editorial read: “Don’t look now – here not the mouthpiece of the SRC or the council, it come the spikies. We’ve tried to be nice, to print is the paper of every Rhodian irrespective of age, nice news and stuff, but living in this country language or year status.” good news is hard to find. In this issue we once In this incarnation, Activate was a sort of again have to carry a story on another death newsletter consisting of an editorial, letters to the A South African Students’ Congress (SASCO) demonstration in the Fountain Quad (behind the main admin in detention, another feature on the dreaded editor and assorted knickknack features like “We building). Date unknown. The original caption reads: This photograph demonstrates the predominantly non- poverty here in the Eastern Cape, a hair-raising heard it said”, “Man about Kaif ” and “Imaginary white component of the demonstrators. Pic: Justine Provesan journal of the police brutality and political puppet conversations between the siren of learning and a paranoia (no strings attached) and another sad student”. Sports results and features also frequently filled its limited without making reference to the European predicament. Debates tale of the development of underdevelopment.” pages, as well as reports from the various societies at Rhodes. over the different genders’ contribution to war efforts raged (women These earlier forms of Rhodeo can only be described as having At this point the paper did not take itself incredibly seriously. While defending their work in various societies as important to the war teeth. In the climate of the country at that time – mass division, some articles featured important issues like what was happening in too), and such figures as “intelligence agents” were introduced for high racial tensions, dangerous circumstances – the writers and the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) and whether humour. editors of Rhodeo weren’t afraid to push the envelope. No-one was or not male visitors should be allowed up to female bedrooms, the In 1945 Rhodeo transformed from a newsletter into a four page above a witty reproach or serious accusation, backed up with a majority of the newsletters consisted of witty pieces, passionate broadsheet in the popular style of the time (text and ad heavy) well-researched story. Racist practices in the administration were letters, some poetry and reports from societies. under the new editor, Herman Kretzmer. The ‘death’ of “The Man called into question. Accounts of police brutality were unflinchingly about Kaif ” – a gossipmonger that featured in the newsletter – was published. celebrated with an obituary, and the paper promised to steer clear of Contributors to Rhodeo include a number of lecturers still with “pettiness and individual prejudice”. us today. In 1987, now Professor Julian Cobbing wrote an article From there Rhodeo would slowly develop into an increasingly entitled “AIDS is deadly serious”. Guy Berger wrote letters to the An article entitled “He-man-cipation of Rhodes”, written about politically-inclined publication. A 1950 edition leads with the editor. Simon Pamphilon was a features editor and then editor. a debate between the women and men’s debating societies on the headline “Rhodes remains liberal: no racial discrimination”. The emancipation of women, carries a certain bias sting. “Miss M. Among the former editors were the above-mentioned Paul Maylam, article celebrates the decision of Rhodes students and the SRC to Downing broke the ice, but she was horribly logical,” the then-editor but also Rod Amner, Activate’s current Ombusdman. pass resolutions against proposed segregation at the university. It states (it seems his identity was either commonly known or a secret, states, “Once again the student body of Rhodes has shown its ability since the names of the editorial staff do not appear anywhere in the to act when necessary by making clear to everyone that no form of newsletter). Despite the degree of sexism often expressed by the writers, women suppression will be tolerated. The democratic right of every human Come the end of apartheid, transformation quickly stepped onto being, no matter what his race, to equal education and unrestricted featured strongly in the first editions of student news at Rhodes. the Rhodes scene. In 1994, the editorial team of Rhodeo entered into representation has been adequately defended.” Many of the letters written to the editor were from female students debates about changing its name. Dr Vivien de Klerk, then Head of and a great deal of the reporting focused on the women’s issues and the English Language and Linguistics Department, was quoted as actions. saying “The only people who have the right to change names are the This did not mean, however, that they escaped the common majority.” conventions of the day. An article entitled “How to catch your man” Rhodeo began to experience some difficulty in the early 1950s. The name change arose mainly from concerns that “Rhodeo” appears in 1941. Many of the issues dealt with by writers revolve Printing costs were going up and advertisers were thin on the was too closely associated to John Cecil Rhodes and his legacy of around interaction between the sexes. Outrage was expressed at the ground. Up to this point, the paper had been run and funded solely colonialism. “Cecil John Rhodes was clearly a racist and a colonialist,” mere notion of allowing male visitors to go beyond the common by the editorial staff and through the support of advertisers. However, one editorial reads. “We feel the need to provide direction, and in room on Sunday evenings. during this period the paper started floundering financially, and the keeping with our principles of non-racialism, non-sexism, nonReading through these archives makes me think we are much then-SRC had to be approached for help. It was at this point that homophobia and democracy have decided to reject racist and too nice. Between these early pages you will find acerbic wit and Rhodeo became the official paper of Rhodes University. colonial symbols.” a robust sense of righteousness which results in a mix of hilarious and distinguished writing. No-one was above reproach – as seen in the “Editorial Laurel” section, which awarded palms to lecturers for their silly or scandalous moments. Fun is constantly poked at gender In the middle of the 1950s, apartheid became an increasingly hot By the next year the editorial team had come to a decision. “This relations, student apathy, the doom of examinations and the fairly topic, with editors and writers speaking out against racial legislation. newspaper has always been proactive and progressive and the new considerate attitudes of the paper’s censors. Discussions around race and education became a recurring feature name, Activate, embodies our principles of democracy.” However, between the fun and sarcasm there is a fair deal of racism in the paper. The history of this paper is long and complex. If one traces its and, as mentioned above, sexism. There are no articles which reflect Rhodeo has been ruffling feathers since 1957, when it was briefly development, one can see the move from the old South Africa into the diversity of the country, and some appeal to “the betterment of banned after an editor failed to submit a copy for censorship. During the new. Activate is, and has been, a paper unafraid to cause a stir. the race” in their arguments. this time any mention of staff in a student publication had to be Although we definitely have many more considerations in terms approved by the staff-members concerned, and a yearly-appointed of political correctness than ever crossed the minds of those early council censored every edition of Rhodeo. editors, Activate content may not have changed as much over the By the time Professor Paul Maylam became the editor in 1969, years as one may think. From the 1930s up to the present, students have had the same Nearing the 40s, the paper started getting serious. One editorial censorship had been lifted. Rhodeo had become fully politicised. For concerns, worries, aspirations and issues. Student apathy, res food, proclaimed: “It is the hope that this paper will grow to be an the most part, Maylam’s editorials were concerned with protests, gender, race and res rules are merely some of the recurring themes indispensable part of College life.” racialism and the politicisation of the student body. The paper saw that dominate the decades of Activate’s existence. The 1941 editor decided to dispense of (most of) the fluff and longer and more frequent political features, while still balancing promised to cover serious issues that affected the students. During the hard-hitting stories with more frivolous sections like “I was so It’s good to know that the important things have changed, and yet this time World War II was a hot topic, and barely an edition passed embarrassed!” we still stayed the same.


Increasing liberalisation

Politically incorrect

The end of apartheid

Difficulties arise

The apartheid years

From Rhodeo to Activate

The journalistic turn

29 May 2012

23 Features

The things they used to say
s a part of our birthday edtion, we sat looking through the old archives kept safe in the Cory Library. Here are a few excerpts that we found that you may enjoy as well. that Victoria Cross was the Queen who was not amused.” Statement from the Master (equivalent to today’s VC) to Rhodeo when they tried to investigate the cost of food in res: “The students at Rhodes are in the same position as people living in hotels. They are not allowed to enquire into how much the Management is spending on the food, and nor are you.” “We die for the ink who thought that a quick romance was a blisskrieg” “The war has brought no appreciable or lasting change in the lives and outlooks of the average Rhodian” 1950: “Astonished inkettes, unused as yet to the sensations of Rhodes’ night life, were surprised one morning last week to see a Fiat car standing in the centre of the Arts block quad., as if it had been driven down the steps and through the archway by somebody with an individual sense of direction.” 1956: “Each student, during his or her sojourn here, is cast like a toy soldier into a single mould/ After a number of years during which the molten lead cools down considerably, the cast is broken off and the product becomes the world’s plaything.” 1958: “Check your crime by the Stekel chime. It is now five hops passed the Inkettes’ innocence and Stekel sweats with Inkettes’ laments.” 1960: “Following up alarmed reports that a Beatnik group is about to rear its amoral head within the sacred and Victorian precincts of Rhodes University, a Rhodeo reporter arranged an interview with a few of the alleged ‘Beatnicks on the campus’.” 1967: “Interhall dining, described by some students as “disastrous” “immoral” and “sex with soup” will be reviewed by the Senior Students Committee this week”. 1938 - 1939: “We have censors to contend with,” the 1939 editor announces, after asserting that Rhodeo has the right to sub-edit all submissions by societies. Complaints about apathy was rife then too: “We regret to announce that in the recent SRC election, only 1/3 of Men Students voted. In the election of the House Committee we are gratified to record that 2/3 of the Men Students actually took the trouble to vote” – 1938, Vol 1 Nr. 1. “I was about halfway down High Street when I happened to gaze across the street. Imagine my horror when I saw none other than, well er – a House Committee member, and a super senior and neither was wearing a hat!” an anonymous student said in a letter of complaint about house comm double standards. “Let us imagine Europe in the moon, and Musolini and Hitler very properly exiled to Mars,” the 1941 editor assured his readership. “Support our advertisers. And when you do, mention Rhodeo. It distinguishes you!” Situation vacant: “Expert Navigator. Needed to instruct inhabitants of Graham House how to find their way home at night by way of starts. Must be patient and persevering. Liquid remuneration. Apply Graham. Room 8 or 9.” Found: “Between Great Hall and Bots’ Gate: one bath chair, pink shawl, parasol, and small lace gloves. We suspect owner to be a super senior. Kindly claim at once, as editor’s study is small. No stigma attached.” “This is a Student venture... Deny that Rhodeo is essential, and you deny that freedom of expression and opinion are essential to the best and most promising University in South Africa.”

Rhodeo, 1966 1940 – 1943: “Will Mr. N.A.B. Smith and his fellow porters please set our doubts at rest: does LLB signify Loveable Likeable Bachelors, or Local Luggage Bearers?” “Rhodeo has passed out of the stage of infancy, it has survived the disturbances of adolescence and the seal was set on its manhood last year, when the student body decreed that its representative should attend meetings of the Students’ Representative Council. It is high time, then, that it spoke with the voice of maturity.” “Why contemplate suicide when you can write to Cassandra?” - and advertisement for the new agony aunt. 1945: “We die for the ink (first years were referred to as inks) who thought

Excerpt from archives. Date unknown.

A picture of Professor Paul Maylam as a lecturer for the Rhodes History Department. Maylam was also the editor of Rhodeo in 1969.

Excerpt from archives. Date unknown.

Edition 5

Music never looked this good
Leah Solomon hey’re cool, they’re crazy and they’re pure Durban. City Bowl Mizers say they are just “regular dudes making noise,” but after eight years of dominating the KwaZulu Natal music scene and beyond, they’re still just as awesome. Like most of the great bands in music history, the story of the City Bowl Mizers started in a pit of adolescence and raging hormones – in high school in the back room of a family member’s house. And what goes hand in hand with surviving


high school, or at least making it bearable? Gigs and drinking. A lot of gigs and drinking. “We were all very much into punk and hardcore music, so the thing that kind of brought us all together was hanging out together, watching live bands and underage drinking,” says frontman Marty Barrios. Before the birth of City Bowl Mizers, some of the band members were involved in other musical exploits: some played in Filthy Friend, and Matt Reardon (on guitar) and Kurt Peinke (on guitar, keys, and vocals) ventured off to start Mr Smug in 2003. The Durban music scene back then was flourishing into

Marty, lead singer of the City Bowl Mizers performs at Splashy Fen Music Fesitval, 5 April 2012. Pic Lauren Rawlins

something beautiful; something that is now monumental. “We all had a vested interest in the DIY music scene,” says Barrios. “It was during the Mr Smug years that Kurt, Matt, Alistair and I were hanging out a lot, so we started messing around and jamming something different. They asked me to join after hearing that I could somewhat put a melody together.” The Mizers took the music scene by storm, playing “kick ass” gigs, as Barrios likes to call them. “The people weren’t leaving; they would stay till the end,” he says. “We were so grateful that we could do this and be a part of a scene and a community of like-minded people who were also playing music and just having fun.” The fun didn’t stop there, however. After touring big cities and doing gigs in small towns, from festivals to club shows, they released their first album Lights Out in 2006. Speaking of all the touring they did, Barrios says “It’s the feeling you get when you’re on tour with your friends that makes it all worthwhile, and nothing pumps us up more than going on an adventure with our instruments.” From then on it was a whirlwind of madness. The touring, the gigs, the festivals, the album launches – sheer, fantastic insanity. The Mizers were not alone though. The support their families and friends gave them was and still is instrumental in what they do, and they also support each other wholeheartedly. No silly band politics and rivalry. “Friendship is the cornerstone of our band and our ethos,” explains Barrios. “Friendship always comes first in this band, otherwise there’s no point to being in a band at all.” This year has been just as successful, with the release of their newest album No Big Deal, an amazing follow up to their previous album City Bowl Mizers. They rocked Splashy Fen out of its socks, giving the crowd glimpses of their new album and solidifying the knowledge that 2012 will be another memorable year for the Mizers archive. What else can be said? The Mizers are an influential and crucial role model for up and coming bands in South Africa. Not only are they the epitome of cool, but their humility is impressive. The band and fans say their previous gigs in Grahamstown were amazing: “We’ve been so keen to come back for so long now, so we’ll definitely be making plans to get there soon!”

What’s the story behind the name? I think Kurt and Matt came up with the name. They were surfing with a friend named Wes Kruger, whose nickname was ‘The Hog’; he had a reputation of hogging everything, including Matt and Kurt’s waves when they went surfing. He hogged too many waves in the Bowl and the name The City Bowl Misers came in with them to the practice room smelling of sea water and pissed board shorts. We didn’t know how to spell Misers and we spelt it with a ‘Z’ instead. These were the days before ‘SmartPhone text correction’ so it stuck for months before we knew it was wrong. We tried to play it off like we did it on purpose to be gangster (Led Zeppelin, Limp Bizkit, Zlayer etc.).

What do you all love about the band and making music together? We are all really good mates, so music also gives us another reason to hang out. Does being good friends affect your music? Most definitely! Just think about all the bands that have come and gone in the past five years and you’ll see what we mean. They definitely didn’t share socks and underwear when the going got tough. What was it like breaking into the music scene? It gave us this metaphorical boner that still hasn’t gone down! It’s like a permanent road boner.

How would you describe your new album? Rock music with a funk groove. Have you played in Grahamstown before? If so, will you come back? We’ve played there like three times, and all of them have been really cool shows. One of them was at The Old Gaol and this girl pulled into Matt while we were playing our last song. After we jammed everyone was running after this dude who stole a whole lot of shit. They closed the doors so he had nowhere to run. It was pretty funny because it felt like we were in some Game of Thrones episode. I’m pretty sure we heard someone yell the ‘Stop, thief!’ line too. We’ve been so keen to come back for so long now, so we’ll definitely be making plans to get there soon!

Freedom of thought and expression with Mahala
By David Mann


ahala, the South African music, culture and reality magazine, aims to provide its readers with social and political commentary, as well as strong opinions on topics and issues which are common in the country. Speaking with Andy Davis, the editor of Mahala, I set off to find out what this famously controversial alternative magazine was all about. Since launching its website in April 2009 and its print edition in August 2010, Mahala has rapidly become one of the icons for South African youth culture. “A lot of the stories I was interested in didn’t have a natural home in the established media in South Africa,” said Davis. “I have always wanted to start a magazine. Add a financial and creative crisis and a distinct lack of foresight, and Mahala was born.” With popular titles such as “Unprofessional Humans”, “Jack Parow and The Nature of Inbreeding”, “Air Borne Aids” and

a personal favourite, “Salt of the Middle Class,” Mahala truly covers a wide variety of important and challenging matters that many are not willing to talk about. There’s always something new, with daily updates ranging from photo galleries and crude yet hilarious comic strips to the well-known ‘kif or kak’ section. “Apart from our own fulltime staff, we’ve got a huge network of writers, photographers and illustrators around SA who contribute regularly,” says Davis. Mahala welcomes articles, stories, reviews and photographs from witty and incisive writers, artists and photographers. They provide a brilliant platform for experience as well as exposure for aspiring workers in the field. “Beyond publishing them, we actively work with all our contributors and provide substantive support and feedback on their work,” says Davis. If you look at the heated debates and sometimes full-blown wars between commenters on the website, you’ll see just how controversial and interrogative Mahala’s stories really are. They show that an increasing number of South Africans are

becoming aware of, and thinking about, those unspoken issues that make up a big part of our lives. “If you strive for relevance and don’t hold back or water down your opinions, you’re invariably going to upset some people,” says Davis. “Vociferous debate in the comments is probably a good sign that we’re doing our job correctly.” Constantly envisioning and innovating new ideas, Mahala has recently branched out into hosting events at music venues in Cape Town, such as The Assembly, where relatively unknown but upcoming artists as well as big names in SA music can showcase their skills. “Events are great; we love music and it’s cool to curate evenings and offer something different and tangible to our audience. Our aim is to do a lot more of these, build some momentum and start putting on bigger gigs with international acts,” says Davis. As the name implies, Mahala is free to the public, so do yourself a favour and check them out if you want a raw and accurate look at real South African culture.

29 May 2012

25 Arts & Entertainment

To hell and back again. Again.
By Campbell Easton iablo III is finally here. After 11 years of development, Blizzard Entertainment released the much awaited game on 15 May – but it was met with outrage from fans and critics alike. Initial demand for Diablo III was colossal, setting the record for the most pre-ordered PC game of all time. Even in Grahamstown fans were eagerly awaiting its arrival, causing local retailer Musica to sell out of the game within the first day. Unfortunately, many of these fans would soon be disappointed. Diablo III is the first ever single-player PC game to require a constant


Internet connection for gameplay; this means that if the connection is disrupted even for a second, players will be disconnected from their game. Initially South African players were worried that our country’s notoriously slow Internet would interfere with their playtime, but no one anticipated that problems would come from the other end. Despite the game’s record-breaking demand, Blizzard did not anticipate the sheer number of players attempting to log in on the first day. Blizzard servers were unable to cope and had to enact periodic shut downs. This meant that for the first few days after the release, dedicated fans who had just spent over

R500 on the game were unable to play it. These outages have caused the game to be poorly received by some critics, but despite the various technical difficulties, the Diablo franchise appears to be as strong as ever. The game is as action-packed as fans have come to expect from the franchise, and writing and animation are as good as anything that Blizzard produced during its golden years. The point of Diablo has always been to develop your character through repetitive combat, during which you acquire new items and abilities, and Diablo III sticks to that formula with an admirable devotion. The game certainly is fun to play – and a great way to release some stress – but one can’t help

feeling that the latest instalment is just a bit bland. By about halfway through the game the continual grind of running from room to room (or occasionally cave to cave) and killing things which die from one hit starts to wear a bit thin. Sure, this is what the Diablo series is all about, but one can’t help but feel that over the space of 11 years they could have tried something a little different. All criticism aside, Diablo III is an incredibly solid game. If you like playing hack-and-slash dungeon crawlers then you will love it, and should go out and buy it at once. Right now. If, however, it doesn’t sound all that interesting to you, then save your money. You’ll need it for the new Call of Duty.

By Bronwyn Slater

Video killed the radio star: YouTube’s finest
than a content viewer.” Having only been posting for a little over 6 months, his subscription, which currently stands at over 7 000, is growing fast – as is his video viewership. Caspar’s goal is to make a living off of social media, which is slowly becoming a reality through his growing Twitter and Facebook followings. His advice to anyone who wants to do what he is managing to do? “Don’t upload anything you wouldn’t want your mom to see!” Caspar Lee, South African YouTuber, is on his way to playing the fame game on YouTube. Extremely hard work and support are what he deems “communitychannel”, is the most subscribed-to Australian the ingredients to success. Being famous is not what he is YouTuber. concerned about, as he would rather be successful. Her videos involve monologues about almost anything, and Caspar clarifies: “I see myself as a brand and when I do well, she illustrates these with skits she acts out herself. my brand is doing well and I can be proud.” After posting her first video in 2006, her channel has grown Philip Franchina, the entertainer we know as Philip DeFranco, to over 1 million subscribers. started posting videos on YouTube in 2006. Keeping the viewers feeling connected to her videos is a His main claim to fame is the Philip DeFranco Show on the skill Natalie has mastered: by including some of her favourite channel “sxephil”, which gives a funny and opinionated spin on comments from subscribers at the end of each video, she current events and pop culture. ensures a constant viewership. Philip also has a video blog and several other shows. He has She also replies to or comments on them in writing. built a whole enterprise and business through YouTube, with We all know that regardless of where you are, YouTube can fans around the globe checking in daily to see what he has to make you famous if you have some talent – or none at all! But it say. seems that for the die-hards, it can also be their livelihood. Natalie Tran, also known as her channel name Larry Strelitz the blues master. (This picture appeared with an article entitled ‘The road to dark city-what is this lecturer up to?’, in which Strelitz, now head of Rhodes Journalism, is referred to as a “musical recluse in Grahamstown” after not having performed in the town for a period of four years. ‘Dark City’ refers to the musical project that Strelitz was working on at the time). October 1990. Photographer unknown.

ne of Rhodes’ favourite procrastination stations: YouTube. From watching cats do hilarious things to grooving out to music videos, YouTube can eat up hours of your day. The people who make money from you watching their videos certainly aren’t complaining. Making money from YouTube is surprisingly easy, if you know what you are doing. You need to be smart about marketing your videos on other websites and through social media. With enough views, subscribers to your channel and plenty videos uploaded you can apply for a partnership on YouTube’s Partner Program page. If they accept you as a YouTube partner, you’re in the money. If not, then you had better pick up your video camera again. Jenna Mourey is one of these YouTube celebrities, who makes her money off our fits of hysterical laughter. The blonde 20-something-year-old whom we know as Jenna Marbles found fame on YouTube after her video “How to Trick People Into Thinking you’re Good Looking” received over 5 million views within its first week. Her videos, posted every Wednesday, range from crazy things her dogs do and what she thinks about guys in clubs to hilarious imitations of celebrities. Her in-your-face, take-me-or-leave-me attitude has gained her close to 3 million subscribers and tons of video views. South Africa also has emerging YouTube celebrities, such as Caspar Lee. The 18-year-old who goes by the channel name of “dicasp” has been posting videos on YouTube since 2011. “The very first video I uploaded was a video response to one of the guys I was watching,” says Caspar. “He saw it and commented, which was amazing to me and I was instantly hooked to the website as a content creator rather


Phone: (27)46 6223115

Address: 70 High Street Grahamstown 6139

26 Lifestyle

Edition 5

By Rhea MacDonald

Soaking in Songkran
on tables, holding hoses, spraying water into the crowd, little kids drenching anyone in sight, and people of every age dumping whole buckets of water on everyone within reach. It was pure, unrestricted, unimaginable fun. The entire day, as the sun’s rays bounced off the dark asphalt of the streets, drinks and hugs were given as freely as smiles – a characteristic Thai people are well-known for. Families gathered together, painting their faces and bodies with white chalk, which is believed to bring good luck and protection from evil spirits. An elderly woman dressed in a bright-yellow flower lei was hunched over a group of young Thai boys, tying simple white strings around each of their wrists. One of the many celebrations which happen in Thailand to celebrate Thai New Years. Pic: She was murmuring, her smiling Flickr eyes showing her genuine care for the time of their lives, building on each other’s energy: letting go the children. The strings are offered with a short prayer for the of their worries and celebrating the coming year. months to come. They are often used to bring good fortune to As the sun sank beneath the horizon and glazed the sky with a person in times of transition such as travel, or in this case, the crimson and yellow, the smiling sliver of a moon arose. The new year. shopkeepers packed up their tables and mothers rounded up With a steady influx of water coming from all directions, their children, all tuckered out from the days festivities. The I began to forget what it felt like to be dry. My clothes were streets went back to being just streets, and the rivers of water drenched and stuck to my body; my hair was dripping wet; my poured into the gutters. Songkran came to an end that night, but makeup long gone – but I didn’t care. It was the most carefree the new year was only just beginning in Thailand. feeling in the world. In every direction, I could see people having

unning through the blisteringly hot streets of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, wielding a massive water gun and drenched from head to toe, I couldn’t help but laugh in delight at the seemingly unbelievable situation I had found myself in. As I spun around in a rush of exhilaration, arms reaching to the sky, another spray of water engulfed me. A small Thai boy ran off, turning long enough for me to see a look of accomplishment on his face at having hit his target. Adrenaline and Thai rum surged through my body. I had never felt so alive – this was Songkran. Songkran is the traditional Thai New Year which takes place every April. The throwing, squirting and spraying of water onto each other is how the Thai people give blessings for the year to come. This practice is routed in the Buddhist belief that water brings purity; cleansing the body, mind and spirit and washing away bad luck. So essentially, for a few days Thailand becomes one huge water fight. In the early morning, dressed in a colourful Hawaiian-style flowered shirt that follows the Thai tradition, my friends and I crowded into a three-wheeled tuk-tuk. As we approached our destination, the sounds of five-year-old pop songs blasting in the humid air and screams of happiness fluttered to our ears. Little did I know that this would be one of the most amazing days I would ever experience. It was the biggest street party on earth: music blasting from eight-foot speakers, a foam machine spewing bubbles into the dancing crowd, and whole tables lined with shots and beer. But the most amazing part of all was the water! Everywhere the eye could see, people were soaking wet. The street was like a river, alive with gushing streams of water. There were women dancing


Stop telephonin’ me
By Inga Sibiya ool” written with a smiley face suggests excitement, but coupled with a thumbs up insinuates sarcasm. Paired with a sad face it even shows a sort of dejected tone. According to a number of Rhodes students, “cool”, typed, texted or tweeted without a single emoticon is a cold and naked word. Emoticons were initially introduced to communicate a certain demeanour – essentially enlightening the reader as to the attitude with which the message was sent. It seems, however, that the misinterpretations and miscommunications that are avoided by using the appropriate emoticon aren’t as important as adding the emoticon itself. “I’ll type something, read it over and if it doesn’t have like a smiley or whatever I’ll add one because then I just sound mean,” Journalim student Niamh Walsh-Voster admitted. “I get so touched,” agrees Thato Ratune. For her, carefully choosing a face to send during her cyber chats is important, as it represents a form of endearment. For many people, emoticons are the closest thing to emotion via text that we have. Recently, emoticon characters have found their way into verbal conversation, to the dismay of many. “It’s about as dumb as a hash tag on Facebook,” second-year Drama student Tarryn Gabi laments. “Saying ‘dancing face’ in actual conversation is silly. Just frikkin’ get up and dance!”


The Journey of Discovery convoy, which celebrates the production of the 100 000th Land Rover Discovery, saw a team drive from Solihull in England to Beijing in 50 days. Pic: AutoMotor und Sport

Are emoticons a sign of the evolution of human language or do they point to its deconstructionism? Pic: Supplied

By Ruan Scheepers It hasn’t always been this way. Since the introduction of social media, society – especially the youth – has decided that it is not only acceptable to speak in a fragmented manner, but in some instances it is actively encouraged. “Before Twitter and Facebook, no-one really said FML but it’s somehow weaved its way into our lingo and it’s kinda cool,” says Lillian Magari. It is apparent that this form of jargon is popular and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Has our freedom of subversion resulted in the deconstruction of our language? Has embracing artistic licence resulted in a colourful language devoid of any intellectual substance? Or is blurring the boundaries between text talk and conversation society’s way forward? IDK. G2G. K Chat l8er!

A one-in-a-million journey

ith project ambassadors Bear Grylls and Ray Mears on board, the Journey of Discovery convoy made its official departure from the Geneva Motor show on 29 February. This epic odyssey across the globe saw the 1 000 000th Land Rover Discovery, and another three support vehicles, drive from the Land Rover Factory at Solihull, England to Beijing, the Chinese capital, in 50 days. For 23 years the Land Rover Discovery has been at the forefront of the off-road segment. From humble beginnings in 1989, the Discovery has evolved into what can only be described as the benchmark for all-terrain vehicles today. Featuring leading technology and versatile design elements, the Discovery has more than 200 awards to its name. The 1 000 000th Discovery rolled out of the Solihull factory earlier this year. This very vehicle would embark on a 13 000km cross-continental


expedition from its birthplace at Solihull to Beijing, following the route driven by a Land Rover expedition team in 1956. This expedition was undertaken in two Series I Land Rovers, as a combined research effort between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The aim of this expedition is to help raise £1 000 000 for the Federation of Red Cross, which will use the funds generated for a critical water sanitation scheme in Uganda. In doing so, Land Rover also showcases the outstanding capabilities of the Discovery by subjecting the vehicles to the world’s toughest elements during the Journey. From the ice and snow of Russia, through the deserts of the Middle East and China, the Landys transported their crews and cargo without any hassles across 13 countries to arrive on time in Beijing on the 24th of April. Although the expedition has reached its end, the fund-raising continues. For more information on the expedition and how you could make a contribution visit www.landrover.com/million.

29 May 2012

27 Lifestyle

Heartbreakers: student car icons over the decades
By Ruan Scheepers


ars are strange entities. Inanimate as they are, some evoke feelings of desire and delight unparallelled by anything else in those who aspire to drive the best. Starting it all off in the 60s was of course the little Hitler mobile – the Volkswagen Beetle. There is not a single university campus in South Africa that exists without the faint background clatter of a Beetle engine. The iconic car has a cultural background which will never be forgotten: in the age of flower power and free love, the handpainted Beetle wrote itself into the hearts and souls of millions. Few cars will ever provide the kind of smiles that the Beetle could – you just can’t hate it. It was noisy and cramped, but this was only an invitation for students to see how many people they could fit into it, or what they could do to make it noisier.

When the 1960s receded into a hazy memory, the South African-built Alfa Romeo Alfasud welcomed the 70s. Later in the decade, the Alfasud established itself alongside the MkI Golf Gti as one of the hottest hatches for those slightly more fortunate bean counters and civil engineers. And while the German rival screamed build quality, the little Alfa did nothing of the sort. The body panels were made from old olive cans and the only interior trim that fitted properly was the key in the ignition slot. Underneath this disappointing lack of quality there was, however, a heart of gold. Boasting a flat-four (similar in design to Subaru engines) and features like a five-speed gearbox and inboard disc brakes, the Alfasud was way ahead of its time and stole the hearts of young men and women alike. Most of all, it romanced with the fiery soul in a way only an Alfa Romeo can.

The 80s saw the age of motorsport evolve in South Africa. While most had joined the Citi Golf revolution, young car enthusiasts were presented with a wide variety of baseline models of more expensive cars. These were frankly a waste of time to those who could afford better. Towards the end of the 1980s, Opel launched the Kadett GSi, also known as the Big Boss. The Boss was revolutionary in its road-holding abilities and quickly earned its legendary name on the race tracks. Opel’s German origins ensured unsurpassed quality and performance. Young spirits, inspired by its racing pedigree, longed after these machines, and owners were envied beyond comprehension. The Boss was an affordable, practical car which could outrun most BMWs of the time. It would also spawn what is still regarded as the ultimate hot hatch of the era: the Kadett GSi 16v – the Super Boss.

When the 90s arrived and the Italians were still in the game, Sergio had a rant about quality issues in the Fiat factory one morning and then went to have coffee. In his absence, Giovanni and Valentino attempted a quality makeover, but were soon bored and turned their attention to the Uno. They found a turbo and bolted it onto the 1.4l engine, and the Uno Turbo was born. The engine compartment was now so full of modifications that there was no room for an airconditioning system – but the driver wasn’t the only one made to sweat. It would make an M3 work like a slave between the traffic lights. It was easy to prejudge this definitive pocket rocket as a puppy until it ripped you to pieces as the lights turned green.

After the turn of the millennium, the old players are still at it. VW now has the brilliant Polo Gti, Opel the spectacular Corsa OPC, Alfa the gorgeous Mito and Fiat the ballistic 500 Abarth. These are all cars with evident heritage. There is, however, one name which has not been mentioned: Ford. Ford has been in it for decades, and the Escort and Capri were icons of their time. The legend lives on in the ST performance version of the Fiesta. Huge spoked wheels, an engine begging abuse and a “try me” attitude makes the Fiesta ST a worthy representative of the heartbreakers. And if the Polo Gti-killing performance wasn’t good enough, you always had the racing stripes.

Hair, long beautiful hair
By Sarisha Dhaya


rahamstown is a second home to many students and each one has their own hair and dress sense. Hairstyles and cuts range from natural styling to extremes in the form of neon shades, some of which are synonymous with Katy Perry and others that borrow from the crazy styles of Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga. Elron Fouten, a Psychology lecturer, says that the link between one’s self-confidence and one’s hair, “depends on the value one places on one’s hair.” He thinks that clothes are an extension of one’s selfimage, and that one can then say that as people ‘wear’ their hair, this too can be seen as part of a person’s dress. A few students explain some of their hair choices: Schoolboy goes rogue Mitchell Slabbert, a student, explains that he decided to stop cutting his hair to see what it would look like – now he says that his family is used to his long hair. “I have made it a routine after I shower to brush my hair and keep it in good condition. It’s no longer a hassle but part of what I do,” says Slabbert. He shampoos and conditions three times a week. Slabbert says that the image his hair creates is more ‘laid-back surfer’ than before, but that it hasn’t changed the way he sees himself. Beating balding Hair is important to Noah*, 19, who explains that he felt it was neccessary to undergo an operation as his balding affected his selfconfidence. “It was never a case of a ‘bad hair day’, it has always been a case of ‘I’m embarrassed most of the time because I look like an old man’,” he confides. Noah says one day when he has children, he will be able to tell them it’s a non-issue for him now. “The same way a guy may want to grow his hair or get a specific haircut, is the same way I have just tried to grow some to begin with,” he says. While there was support from his family, he has not told many friends, because he still feels self-conscious. The operation was a process that transplanted his own hair from the back of his head to the front. *Not his real name. Michelle Avenant maintains her pink and vibrant hair with the help of her mom and hair products. Pic: Michelle Avenant Colour me pretty Michelle Sabina Avenant has been asked about her bright pink hair more times than she can remember. She explains the cheerful feeling she got when she saw someone trying out a different look that works on them, so she decided to do something too, “mainly because I thought it would look cool,” she said. Avanant started dying her hair pink in Grade 8 when she read a book about a girl with pink hair and imagined what it would look like. Avenant describes the process as a mission. She had to peroxide all her hair the first time, and brightly-coloured hair dye is never permanent. Her mom re-bleaches her roots for her every two months, which can be quite damaging. Avenant dyes her hair every two weeks. “It’s actually a process finding dyes that are going to last the longest and give you the best results.” She has to wash her hair in cold water, which is the painful part - especially in Grahamstown winters. Avenant says that she is not sure how long she will keep her hair brightly dyed. “Perhaps when I’ve gone through all the colours of the rainbow, I’ll shave it off and grow out my natural colour.” She says her hair might still be bright when she has children and excitedly adds: “I’ll show them pictures and tell them about it! I’d even be stoked if they wanted to do the same.”

Choosing to wear the hijab
By Samira Suleman recently made the decision to start wearing a hijab, the traditional Muslim head covering. I realised the blessings it held and the meaning it adds to my identity and my life. It serves as a constant reminder to me of how I should conduct myself as a Muslim. As I get dressed for lectures each morning, I do what any ordinary person does: I stare into my closet, wondering what to wear. I still wear my jeans, dressy tops and accessories, and then I look for a scarf to match my outfit. I still dress up like I used to, but I now try and wear tops that have long sleeves and cover my bum. Other than that, it’s just one more accessory to my wardrobe with the added advantage that now every hair day is a good hair day as far as I am concerned! As I walk to lectures, I notice some people staring, while others don’t seem to care much. I haven’t felt concerned about being judged, although I have been asked about my headscarf. I don’t consider myself to be any different. I still do the same things I did before, and I still harbour the same dreams and desires any other young woman has. The hijab hasn’t really changed the way my friends behave towards me. It hasn’t got in the way of how they see me because I am still the same person, and they see this. Many of them have been very encouraging, which has been great! I also feel that now, people think of me beyond my appearance and see what’s truly inside. People seem to have the misconception that women who wear headscarves are oppressed. This generalised notion has become a huge controversy, but look at it from my perspective. At Rhodes, I am away from home in a modern, liberal society free from parental supervision. Yet, I have still decided to wear a scarf out of my own free will. There is no oppression involved here. Everyone has the freedom to be themselves and wear what they like, so why question the headscarf?


28 Science & Technology

Edition 5

Samsung Galaxy S III unveiled
By Brad de Klerk amsung’s eagerly-awaited Galaxy S III was recently unveiled at an international launch event at London’s Earls Court arena. This unveiling came as a further boost to the Android OS which, according to The Telegraph, already accounts for more than half of the world’s smartphones. Samsung reported that nearly nine million Galaxy S IIIs had been preordered around the world. The smartphone features a 4.8inch display – one of the largest on the market – and also offers a variety of other innovations. Samsung has added voice control similar to Apple’s ‘personal assistant’ Siri, and will offer 50GB of online storage via a partnership with Dropbox.com. The Galaxy S III also boasts an innovative feature called eye-tracking, which monitors


when the user is looking at the screen and switches the screen off when the user looks away. The device will be the official phone of the London Olympics, with Samsung announcing that there will be “a limited edition showcase device enabled with Visa’s mobile payment application, Visa PayWave, and will be available for Samsung and Visa sponsored athletes and trialists”. According to The Korean Economic Daily, Samsung’s factory is operating at full capacity and producing five million S III units per month. The smartphone goes on sale 29 May and Samsung is expecting the sales to make a substantial contribution to its second-quarter earnings. They are hoping that this new device will surpass the success of its predecessor, the SII, which sold 20 million units.

The Samsung Glaxy S III Pic: Flickr

Anti-HIV pill awaits approval from FDA
By Megan Ellis


S federal advisors have given the go-ahead to a drug which has been said to be able to protect healthy individuals from becoming infected with HIV. Truvada, which is now awaiting final approval from the Food and Drug Association (FDA), has been marketed since 2004 as a treatment for HIV-positive individuals. It began to make headlines in 2010 when a study showed that

it decreased the risk of infection for gay and bisexual men by 42% when used along with condoms and counselling. More recent findings of a three-year study show that Truvada reduced HIV infection in monogamous heterosexual couples (with one partner being HIV-positive) by 75%. However, according to IOL News, the drug will not be a viable solution for many HIVpositive South Africans due to its cost. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has

opposed Truvada’s approval, saying that 20 HIV-positive patients could be treated for the same cost as a single person using the drug as prevention. Truvada is said to cost up to R11 200 a year. It has also been criticised as possibly creating a false sense of security which may spur people to engage in unprotected sex. According to IOL News, HIV clinicians in South Africa have already started creating guidelines for Truvada as part of HIV

prevention packages. The drug is available in South Africa for R599 per month. But experts have questioned Truvada’s effectiveness in women, as they showed significantly lower rates of protection in studies. It has been emphasised that Truvada does not act as a cure, and can only be taken as a preventative measure when taken every day without missing a dosage. The FDA’s final decision regarding the drug will have been made by 15 June.

International roaming breaks the bank
By Brad de Klerk t is no secret that international roaming is expensive, but many people are still surprised when they return from their holiday or business trip and see that they have run up cellphone bills of thousands of Rands. Many people take their 3G-enabled cell phones and 3G dongles when they travel internationally to stay in touch and receive regular emails. Unfortunately, they do not realise how costly it can be. Below are some prices from our local service providers: Vodacom’s standard ‘Rest of World’ roaming rate (R128 per MB) works out to a total of R131 000 per GB.


MTN’s roaming rate for North America (R140 per MB) costs the subscriber R143 360 per GB. MTN’s Oceania data roaming rate is even higher: at R160 per MB, it works out to R163 840 per GB. Cell C’s roaming rates in Australia come in at R271.92 per MB when using the Telstra network. This leads to a figure of R278 446 per GB. These exponentially high data rates are out of the control of our local service providers, as the customer’s bills are simply passed to our service providers from their international roaming partners. Customers may often be aware of the exponential charges for using international roaming, but may not be aware of just how

much data their phone or laptop’s Internet connection may be using. Phone applications and laptops often update regularly, and many users are unaware of just how much data is sent and received during this update. Therefore if someone’s laptop’s OS decided that it needed to update an 800 MB file using the Cell C network, this would cost nearly a quarter of a million Rand. Thankfully, there are other options when travelling abroad such as purchasing a prepaid SIM card from a local service provider in that country or using free/paid Wi-Fi connections. You would be wise to take advantage of these if you do not want to receive one of the more expensive bills in your life.

SciTech round-up

By Megan Ellis

A pair of technology developers has taken their cue from the movie Inception, creating a sleeping mask which aims to allow people to have controllable lucid dreams. The Remee, as it is called, looks like a regular sleeping mask but has been described as a special REM sleep-enhancing device. It aims to help sleepers have lucid dreams by making the brain aware that it is dreaming, allowing customers to have the dream of their choice.

According to Tech Central, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has promised to increase the marketing and distribution of their products in SA. It is placing special focus on the HTC One-series range. Jon French, HTC’s vice-president for sales operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said that “We felt it was time to establish our own presence in SA – it’s clear we have put a lot of effort into the One X, the One S and the One V, and we are bringing all of those products to SA in the next few weeks.”

European scientists have developed a new device to improve efforts against water pollution - a robot ‘fish’ which monitors water quality and hunts down contaminants. According to TimesLive, developers hope that the device will decrease the time taken to spot pollutants from weeks to seconds. The robot will warn authorities, aquariums and other interested parties when water quality is jeopardised without the lengthy process of gathering and testing water samples.

Italian doctors saved the life of a 16-month-old boy by implanting the world’s smallest artificial heart in the baby. According to The Guardian, the artificial heart was used to keep the baby alive while doctors waited for a donor transplant organ. The pump was made of titanium and only weighed 11 grams, but can pump 1.5ℓ of blood per minute. The baby, who has a heart muscle disease called diluted myocardiopathy, and has been in intensive care since the age of one month.

Studies have shown that chimpanzees and orangutans have personalities which are similar to those of humans. According to BBC, scientists used a statistical technique to remove human bias which would anthropomorphise the primates rather than prove they have personalities. While common chimpanzees share 98% of human genes, there have been no definitive studies regarding their emotional and mental similarity to humans. However, this showed that chimpanzees’ personalities are more similar to humans’ than orangutans’ personalities are.

29 May 2012

29 Environment

RU recycling?
By Shirley Erasmus The lack of recycling stations in and around campus is a problem that has concerned me since I arrived at Rhodes. Although the topic of recycling is one many feel has been discussed ad nauseum, all it actually requires is that you take the debris left over from your Kaif lunch and sort it into three separate bins. At a university whose motto is ‘Where Leaders Learn,’ one would hope that these future leaders will go into the world enforcing necessary habits such as recycling… but this practice seems to have been abandoned at Rhodes. Upon investigation into this matter, I discovered that the systems already in place for recycling and waste management on campus are largely ineffective due to various factors. Rafeeq Sait, Supervisor of Refuse and Recycling, explained the confusing refuse bag situation, stating that although students may have been informed that the blue bags on campus are for domestic non-recyclable items and the clear bags for recyclable items, the clear bags are made of a stronger micron - so the clear bags are used all around campus, and not the blue ones. “Communication is not as it should be,” explained Sait. Many departments do not adhere to the proper procedural guidelines when disposing of their refuse, and they do not bother to find out what the applicable recycling system for their waste may be. For example, electronic equipment cannot be disposed of in regular refuse, but should rather be kept aside until a skip can be requested from Sait. This is an issue which is partly due to ignorance and partly an apathetic attitude towards the environment, each other, and the various bodies that have to deal with our waste, such as the Masihlule Recycling Project. I was encouraged, however, when I saw a structure which will hold three bins and effectively create a ‘recycling station’. It is intended for use at the Kiaf, despite protests from the owner of that the new recycling station does not have ‘aesthetic appeal’. Although the system seems to be going ahead, there are many hurdles to be overcome before this will be implemented. The university has yet to encourage a student body that will lead our world into a truly sustainable future where recycling is no longer a shallow question of aesthetic appeal, but rather a practice of vital importance for our future.

Spring warrior
By Jane Berg


Solar energy conference a success
By Gorata Chengeta fter months of anticipation, the first Southern African Solar Energy Conference (SASEC) was held last week in Stellenbosch. The event took place from 21 to 23 May and was attended by a collection of engineers, academics and postgraduate students. The aim of the event was to discuss the research that has been gathered in the field of solar energy over the last five years. The conference was initiated by Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies in collaboration with sponsors such as Eskom and the Solar Thermal Energy Research Group. The director of the

ater is our most basic need, but in Grahamstown, water problems are rife and locals are cautious of drinking from taps. This comes after reports of high levels of aluminium and arsenic have been found in the water. One outlet, however, where water is guaranteed to be not only clean but wholesome as well, is the Fairview Spring bordering Coldstream Farm. It is open to the public at all hours, and has been frequented so often that over the years members of the Kowie Catchment Campaign have been struggling to protect it against erosion and pollution. Last year, after years of waiting, the

municipality finally made good on its promise to develop the spring into a sustainable facility. However, in September last year work by Africoast Engineers was left incomplete for several months. Progress has recently recommenced with the building of a car park on the north side of the road, as well as a new pathway and garden created around the spring. The pioneer for the spring’s preservation is Angela Barberton, who has kept the site clear of pollution for over a decade. However, she sees some of the changes by the Makana Greening Project as unnecessary. “I think that a lot of money was wasted,” she says. “It looks beautiful but I’m not sure it’s feasible. Who is going to maintain it?” She went on to suggest that the municipality’s interest in the spring may not be permanent.

The spring system incorporates a drainage pipe for waste water. Barberton is concerned about the fact that she often finds people filling up their containers with this contaminated water, because there is no signage indicating that it is not drinkable. Moreover the area is a constant repository for litter and defecation – an issue which she thinks is even more problematic than the erosion of the ground. She went to say that there is no reason why the area surrounding the spring should be so dirty. According to Africoast Engineers, development of the spring should be completed by June. Nikki Köhly, chairperson of the Kowie Catchment Campaign, said that they are satisfied with the developments so far. “Hopefully this will ensure that no road or pedestrian accidents occur,” she said.


Greening it up in Rio
By Isabelle Anne Abraham

Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy at Stellenbosch, as well as the chair of the SASEC organising committee, Professor Johannes Van Niekerk, said they started organising the conference in April last year. Two guest speakers were invited to the event: Professor Jürgen Verner, Director of the Institute for Photovoltaics at Stuttgart University, and the project manager of solar research at the DLR German Aerospace Centre. Of the 140 guests, a significant number came from countries outside South Africa. There were attendees from places as far afield as Cameroon, France, the United States, the Slovak Republic and Kenya. Professor Van Niekerk was pleased with the

successful outcome of the conference, saying that some of the corporate attendees found more value in this research-based conference than in other solar energy conferences that had previously been held. He was also pleased to report a positive contribution from experts from the Southern African region, and said that the positive outcome of this conference showed that there was a need for more events of this kind. According to Professor Van Niekerk, there are already talks of hosting another conference of this type in 2014. He said that he hoped that last week’s conference would serve as a platform to finally bring solar energy to the collective consciousness.


ess than a month away, the Rio+20 Earth Summit is sure to mark the beginning of a green era. This United Nations Conference marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 UN conference on Environment and Development. Present at the conference (20-22 June) will be participants from governments, private sectors, NGOs and several other groups. According to climate-connections.org, up to 50 000 people are expected to attend the

hundreds of conference events that occur in mid-June. More than 130 world leaders will be there, including Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, and China’s premier, Wen Jiabao. President Obama has not yet confirmed his attendance. The conference aims to strategize on ‘reducing poverty, advancing social equity, and ensuring environmental protection’. Two main themes will override: a green economy

in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development. Heated discussions and negotiations are likely to arise, especially concerning the issue of promoting sustainability without hindering economic growth. Another debate is differences in ecological policies between developed and developing nations. Nonetheless, this event is crucial. With any luck, the conference will pave the way for an environmentally-friendly future.

30 Sport

Edition 5

On the ball
By Bridgette Hall Manchester City may have won the English Premier league for the first time in over forty years, but the real fairy tale of the season belongs to Chelsea and former midfielder Roberto Di Matteo, who turned Chelsea’s slump in form into two trophies for the West London club. What does it take to secure the top job at this London club? José Mourinho, the most successful manager in Chelsea’s history, got the axe after winning six trophies in three years. Carlo Ancelotti took over in 2009 and became the club’s fourth permanent manager in 21 months. Despite winning Chelsea’s first domestic double, he only lasted a season and a half before he was sacked. Later, André Villas-Boas was fired after only eight months in charge and Di Matteo was named the interim coach. Even after winning the UEFA Champions League, a permanent contract has not been offered to the 41-year-old. Is this constant chopping and changing the problem at Chelsea? How is any manager meant to build and develop a team, when he is under such overwhelming pressure that one wrong move means he will be left out in the cold by ‘Abramovich the terrible’? Add to that a changeroom worth over £300 million, the older players having quite a say at the club and an owner constantly undermining your decisions, and this makes the manager’s task at Chelsea near impossible. What Chelsea need is some stability for the manager, and the players’ and Roman’s love of ‘retail therapy’ is no help. This is a lesson other teams would be wise to learn before they meet a similar fate. Roy Hodgson was fired at Liverpool after only half a season, and club legend Kenny Dalglish was brought in to save the team from relegation. He was also dismissed after only a season and a half after bringing home the club’s first trophy since 2006 and making the FA cup final. The team is now looking for a new manager – but whoever this turns out to be needs to be given the scope and time to develop the team if there is any hope of returning to the top of the log. In light of this, taking a page out of Manchester United’s book regarding the treatment of managers and players would be worthwhile. Sir Alex Ferguson has been their manager for the past 26 years, and had he been given the axe shortly after his appointment, I doubt Manchester United would hold the records they do today. Additionally, his policy that ‘no player is bigger than the club’ has meant an iron fist in the dressing room. One has to respect their performance on the pitch – throwing large sums of money around is not the key to a successful club, but backing and supporting your manager, as United does, has proved to be successful.

Not the men in tights
By Morgan Collins rchery: made famous by Robin Hood and his merry men as they paraded around a forest in tights and thieved their way to justice and glory. In the real world, however, there is far less trickery, and tights don’t feature as often as in the old tale. Rhodes Archery is here to dispel some myths about archery. “It sounds like you should have prior knowledge of the sport,” says Rhodes Archery Media Representative Ettione Ferreira. “What people don’t realise is that about three of us have done the sport before university.” This is surprising, considering the club’s achievements. These include a Guinness world record for shooting arrows for more than 36 consecutive


hours. They plan to break this record again this August. Proving themselves as a sport worthy of being noticed goes further than a world record, however. It involves proving that they can contend with the very best. Two archers in particular stand out in this regard: students Simon Naude and Lance Ho both went to the Summer Universaide in Shenzhen, China last year and shot against top university archers from around the world. The club also hosted a highly rated Nationals event and dominated in very windy conditions at the recent Championships, which saw Naude and Ho shoot their personal bests and Naude breaking the Rhodes record. “Every person should try archery at least once in their lives,” said Ferreira. “It really is an awesome

Rhodes Archery- holders of a Guiness World Record but no men in tights. Pic: Ettione Ferreira experience that teaches you patience and grace.” Rhodes’ Archery Club seems intent on shaking off the stereotypes surrounding archery: Robin Hood and his gang have been warned! The Rhodes archers are taking the forest back with less theft and more glory.

Tutus and tiaras
By Morgan Collins ead down to the Health Suite on a Saturday afternoon and you’ll find gym members eager to point, pirouette and plié their afternoon away. There are no proud moms gazing over their precious darlings in pink tutus at this ballet class, however: it’s a beginner’s class exclusively for adults, and forms the newest addition, along with Pilates and Yoga, to the expanding variety of classes that the Health Suite has added to their Group Fitness repertoire.


In the deep end with the pros
By Kendra Dykman

For teacher and founder of the classes Leigh Raymond, pirouetting and twirling began at the age of three and has grown to become her biggest passion. “[It] has always given me something to love and look forward to,” she says. So the idea behind her classes – to “spread the love,” as she puts it – is not surprising at all. After having danced with the Royal Academy of Dance and continuing training to expand her expertise, she approached the Health Suite with the idea of adding to their already-growing number of group classes. After deciding on a trial period, Group Fitness Manager Ruth Vorster found that the first few

classes were a huge success, with each class being filled to capacity. She has since decided to add it as an additional class to the timetable. Raymond is delighted at the thought of adults taking the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and learn a new skill. “I love seeing everyone coming into the class, looking so excited and eager to dance!” she says. Health Suite members are now not only getting exercise, learning some rhythm and improving their posture, but are being allowed an opportunity to indulge in their forgotten childhood dreams of tutus and tiaras.

training techniques and programmes to make sure they never fall behind. In the coming weeks they will also be wo of Rhodes’ top swimmers, attending a clinic hosted by Olympic Calvin Price and Simon Pheasant, gold medalist Penny Heyns. embody the culture of athletics that Swimming takes up a lot of time, is developing on campus. The two and the two spend three to four hours swimmers joined numerous other training every day. This involves two hopefuls in Durban earlier this hours of training in the morning and term for the South African Senior two in the evening, allowing them Nationals gala. The gala served as the to take Sundays off. “If you’re not SA Olympic qualifying trials, and for training optimally all the time, there’s those swimmers wanting to compete no point,” they say. While this can in the international event, this was have an impact on their university their chance. Calvin Price competes at the South African Senior Nationals Gala in work, they feel that it is a sacrifice While Price and Pheasant didn’t Durban. Pic: Supplied that needs to be made “when you are qualify this time, it has brought them swimming at this level”. Academia also another step closer to their goal of has seasons, however: the two are more focused competitively in Matric. Before, he had been a qualifying for the next Olympics in four years’ on work now that exams are near. water-polo player. “I didn’t have a swimming time. They competed in this gala after making Price and Pheasant are looking forward to coach, and I didn’t realise how fast I could the qualifying times at the Eastern Province the Olympics and are certain they’ll see some go,” says Pheasant. He says that his best times men’s, where they competed against many of impressive swimming, particularly from the were made at the nationals this year, where he South Africa’s best. “The surprising thing for likes of Chad de Clos, world-record-holder clocked a time of 23.6s in the 50m freestyle. He me is that the guys who used to be my role Cameron van der Burgh and Heerden Herman. also placed 29th and 30th in the 100m butterfly models – we are swimming with now!” says The funding and support they’ve received and 100m freestyle respectively. Price. The two are coached by Price’s mother, Sheena from Rhodes Sports Admin has made their Calvin Price, a first-year student, has been dream possible. The two have a lot of potential Price, whom they say is the most experienced swimming since he was 10. His forte is breast and are set to excel as professional swimmers. “I coach in Grahamstown. While this can be stroke: he placed in the top 25 twice for this want to rank in the top 10 at the next nationals,” quite challenging, as their competitors often event at the nationals. He also placed in the top says Pheasant. “So long as I keep improving, I’ll come from academies and high performance 25 in the 50m freestyle. be happy with my performance.” centers, Sheena keeps up to date with new Simon Pheasant only started swimming


29 May 2012

31 Sport

Laurie Halifax, deputising for Nash, receives the cup for Rhodes at the Intervarsity REgatta Ball given for visiting teams at the Windsor Hotel, East London. Matt Basson, O. Robertson and A Morisby look on. Rhodeo, July 30 1948.

EP academy dominates Rhodes Rugby
By Siyavuya Makubalo


Roland Garros - where to put your money
By Matthew Hirsch and Bridgette Hall oland Garros, the premier clay court tournament of the world and second Grand Slam trophy in the tennis calendar, begins this week. With one of the widest viewerships in the world, the tournament may not have the same prestige as Wimbledon – but it is unique in the kind of tennis played. The preceding clay court season is an indicator of where to put your money and who to keep your eye on for the tournament. The favorite for many is ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal, who is on a mission to claim a record seventh Roland Garros title. Nadal has landed in Paris as the man to beat, after yet another incredible clay court season which has yielded three titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. He has 16 wins from 17 matches, with his only loss coming in Madrid to fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. They played on the controversial blue clay, which many players did not like – Nadal threatened not to play there again if they did not return to traditional red clay next year. The blue clay proved to be problematic for world No.1 Novak Djokovic as well. He declared he would not be returning to the tournament after he lost in the quarter final to fellow Serbian, Janko Tipsarevic. Djokovic acknowledged that Nadal “is always the favourite” on clay. He has the rare opportunity to hold all four Grand Slams at the same time – something which has not been done since Rod Laver in 1969.

xcitement and anticipation was in the air when Rhodes students went in numbers to support the Rhodes 1st team when they played against EP Kings 1st team last Wednesday. It was an important match for the Rhodes team to analyse how their preparations were coming along, ahead of the annual University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament to be held at Wits University from 2 to 6 July. Rhodes faces the daunting task of competing for a spot in

the Varsity Shield in 2013 at USSA. They will need to win the tournament to be promoted to the Varsity Shield competition next year. The Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield aim to showcase rugby talent across the country, and have produced stars such Juan de Jongh, who played for Maties. When the two teams met at the Great Field, Rhodes unfortunately came off second-best. EP Kings capitalised on Rhodes taking a while to settle into the game by retaining most of the possession and constantly breaking the advantage line. At the end of the first half, EP had a half-time lead of 18-0.

The second half was more promising for Rhodes, but they struggled to turn possession into points. They played with more urgency but handling errors and turnovers at the breakdown saw opportunities amount to nothing. The full time score was 39-0 to the EP academy side. This was the last match for this term and Rhodes Rugby now looks forward to the USSA tournament in July. Head coach of Rhodes Rugby Qondakele Sompondo emphasised that their goal for this year is to “position Rhodes rugby to its rightful place”. At the top of their objectives is qualifying for next year’s Varsity Shield.


Yet it was Federer who prevailed on the tricky surface, which Nadal said was only fit for “Smurfs”. Federer went on to win the Madrid Masters, beating Tomas Berdych in the final, and claimed the world number 2 ranking for the first time since 2010. Nadal has since won the position back, making the coming battles at the French Open all the more intriguing. The top three men are definitely the ones to watch – but there may be an upset on the cards from the likes of Berdych or Tipsarevic, who have been in fine form all season. The home crowd will be backing countrymen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils, ranked 5th and 13th respectively. The women’s draw has seen Serena Williams on top of her game this season, dispelling the myth that clay is her least-favourite surface. World no. 2 Maria Sharapova has also been in superb form of late, winning in Rome against China’s Li Na. Williams and Sharapova have together won the four main lead-up events, putting them amongst the favourites for this year’s French title. However, world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka will hope to cement her place at the top with a win, and Li Na will want to retain her title as French Open champion. Marion Bartoli remains the French crowd’s best hope for a local champion since Mary Pierce took home the trophy in 2000. Roland Garros leaves you with two weeks of whizzing top spin, enthralling rallies, an electrifying atmosphere and some of the most creative and entertaining tennis you will see this season.

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