here to stay
The Oppidan Press
Edition 2, 11 March 2015
Photo: NITA PALLETT
The Oppidan Press 11 March 2015
International students struggle to return
his year many international students
struggled to obtain their study and work
visas before the start of the academic
term at Rhodes. For those who were unsuccessful, extra fees and a mountain of paperwork
had to be dealt with when they eventually managed to return.
One of the reasons for this chaos was changes
to visa laws, which created panic among international students. Currently, international students
have to complete the BI-1738 application form
at their regional office of the Department of
Home Affairs. These study permits are valid
for either the length of the course being studied
or for 24 months.
Often, however, students face difficulties in
the application process for their study and work
permits because of time constraints.
“The closest place to Grahamstown that I could
renew my permit is Port Elizabeth,” said Andile
Moyo, an international student. “If that wasn’t
bad enough, there is such a backlog of applicants,
that the delay means a person has to wait three
months before they can schedule their appointment,” he added.
Delays aside, this setup means that students
need access to transport and free time during the
A change in visa laws and various delays have caused problems for many international students,
who are faced with additional paperwork and financial charges. Photo: BRONWYN PRETORIUS
year to schedule their appointment.
Rhodes University’s International Office has
been working overtime to help as many students
as possible. “The International Office has assisted
with applications as well as [the] courier of documentation such as police clearances, that need to
be collected in Pretoria,” said Moyo. “They allow
provisional registration so that the study permit
application delay does not affect the students’
standing to learn.”
Those students who were unable to get their
study permits over the festive season, have been
given allowances that ensure they do not miss out
on too much academic work. “There are some
students who came here using just their passports,” said Tatenda Goredema, a post-graduate
accounting student from Zimbabwe. “They are
allowed to study for three months, then during
[the] April vac they have to return and get study
and work permits.”
Rhodes University went a step further by
extending the registration deadline this year.
“Luckily the deadline for registration was extended [to] the 27th of February 2015,” Goredema explained. “The SRC said they would help the
other students get out of paying [late registration
fees] as it was out of our control.”
While this will be of great assistance to those
students who had little or no control over their
late arrival, the process will not be an easy one.
Each student would have to go to the administration to present their case.
“The Registrar is going to deal with late registration fees on a case by case basis,” said SRC
International Councillor Tessa Ware. “In the
meantime, I have been emailing faculty deans to
assist in catching people up and advising students
on who to talk to.”
Ware went on to explain that those students
who have not come back should stay proactive
and email her at email@example.com as well
as liaise further with the International Office.
“The best way to avoid these situations is to renew permits before they expire because we never
know what will change,” said Ware.
Donate towards the
Pocket Money Fund
and help a needy
Rhodes dining halls have been adding sugar and salt to meals in order to better flavour the food, even though there are
claims that this practice is detrimental to student health. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
Sweet and salty: res food and its problems
Leila Stein and Gemma Middleton
Rhodes Food Services, in charge of
the meals made in the respective
dining halls, states that they provide
a variety of meals for students to
enjoy. However, according to second
year student and trained cardiovascular nurse Colleen Wagner, the
high salt and sugar content in most
meals could be detrimental to students’ health.
“Most of the Rhodes students are
young but after spending three, four
or more years at Rhodes, eating the
food in the dining hall can have a significant impact on their future health
and food choices,” explained Wagner.
She has particular issues with the
vegetables, which contain added
sugar, as well as the oatmeal which
has salt added to it. In addition,
the availability of salt and sugar
for students to add to their meals
themselves allows for a serious – and
unwitting – abuse of these known
contributors to heart disease.
In accounting for the addition of
salt and sugar to food, Food Services
and dining hall staff said that it was
necessary to add these condiments
in order to add flavour to the dishes.
Rhodes Food Service Manager, Simon
Wright, explained that the amount
of salt and sugar added is carefully
measured and observed.
“Everybody needs salt in their
diet,” explained Wright. “We haven’t
received any complaints from other
halls about this [issue].”
While adding these condiments
is considered unhealthy, a dietician’s report commissioned in 2014
stated that the Rhodes meals meet the
minimum nutritional requirements
of a moderately active 18-25 year old.
These calculations were said to be
representative of at least 75% of the
student’s nutritional requirements.
“It has been acknowledged for
many years by the world medical
community, that foods naturally
contain enough salt to meet the daily
requirements,” said Wagner. “There
are many other ways to flavour [food]
without salt and sugar.”
Sugar is also added to residence
meals by cooking staff in an effort
to stop students from adding their
own significant amounts of sugar to
food. Salt, however, is readily available to the students.
“I add extra salt to my food most
of the time,” said Michaela Bowker, a
second-year student in Hobson Hall.
“I mostly do it out of habit now, but I
started off doing it because salt makes
the food taste better and brings out
11 March 2015 The Oppidan Press
Rhodes Student Defence
Council: here for you
Increased reinforcement of pre-existing by-laws pertaining to the sale of alcohol has been met with opposition by
many in and around Rhodes, despite the actions of authorities already showing a drop in late-night crimes towards
students. Photo: LIAM VAN ROOYEN
Makana liquor by-laws explained
ince the beginning of 2015, the
liquor by-law set down by the
Makana Municipality has been
fully implemented. The law, which
covers the conditions under which
alcohol may be sold, has upset and
confused many students.
This specific by-law is not a new one,
and has, in fact, been in effect since
2009 under the larger Eastern Cape
Liquor Act of 2003. The by-law stipulates that trading hours allowed for
the sale of liquor consumed on premises are as follows: 11:00–24:00 (Monday – Thursday), 11:00–02:00 (Friday
– Saturday) and 11:00–22:00
These laws have always been in
place, but have not been enforced,
which has left many Rhodes students
annoyed and outraged by the by-law’s
“In the beginning I thought these
laws were very irritating and not
needed,” explained Rhodes student
Rory Boon. “After being told [the
law’s purpose] I think that the laws
do curb violence and late night
drinking incidents among students
because they are no longer drinking
until the early hours of the morning
at a bar.”
The reasoning behind the introduction of the law is the claim that earlier
closing times reduce the number of
alcohol aggravated crimes in the CBD.
“Very generally it is proven that it
(alcohol) is connected to crime,” said
Mynhardt Van Dyk, owner of the Rat
and Parrot. “What the police are trying
to do is shut down pubs early so students aren’t walking on the streets and
in theory that makes sense.”
It appears, then, that rather than trying to police the streets, law enforcement officials are encouraging students
and locals to monitor their own
behaviour, thus reducing the necessity
of police street patrols.
Not everyone agrees with this tactic.
“As citizens we have a right to expect
them to keep our streets safe,” said Van
Dyk. “They are turning it around and
saying we must look at our behaviour.”
It does, however, appear that the
implementation of these by-laws may
have had an effect on the crime rate.
There have so far been fewer incidents
involving students this year from the
beginning of O-week to the second
week of the academic year.
“This year it has been a minimum, a
minor collision, but one of the students
was allegedly under the influence of
alcohol,” said the Manager of Campus
Protection Unit, Towers Naidu.
While the by-laws have enabled
police to manage the stores that sell
liquor in the CBD area, administrating
the shebeens which can sell liquor outside the stipulated pub trading hours is
As a result, these establishments
still contribute to what is perceived as
aggravated crime in Grahamstown,
which causes more work for the police.
This puts the police’s argument that the
by-law helps lower crime in Grahamstown on shaky ground.
hodes University offers
students legal expertise
in the form of the Student
Defence Council (SDC). Although
the SDC was established eight
years ago, many students remain
unaware of its existence. The SDC’s
purpose is to ensure a fair trial and
increase students’ understanding
of their constitutional rights by
providing legal representation to
students facing internal hearings.
The SDC is comprised of the
defence board and five members
drawn from the student body.
While these representatives are
usually all LLB students, this year
the fifth member is a fourth-year
law student. This year has also seen
the SDC draw its highest number of
members, prompting it to provide
more in-depth training for members
Prosecutor in student disciplinary
affairs, Professor Gordon Barker, is
involved in training SDC representatives. He emphasised that although
it is called a ‘council’ the members
reach decisions as individuals and
not as a committee.
The SDC complies with the
Rhodes University Student Disciplinary Code which recognizes lower
and higher disciplinary authorities.
According to the Disciplinary Code,
the lower disciplinary authority has
power over minor offences which
are handled by the Disciplinary
Board. The higher disciplinary
authority has jurisdiction over all
offences which violate the rules set
out in the Code and are handled by
S’fisokuhle Xulu, a third year
student, experienced discrimination
put in place
to fight for
our rights [...]
only if we
– S’fisokuhle Xulu,
third year student
and was verbally and physically
assaulted late last year. Xulu’s case
falls under the higher disciplinary
authority in the student disciplinary
code and as such it was handled by
Xulu said that his main hope was
for the perpetrator to acknowledge
his wrongdoing rather than for him
to be punished. He did, however,
encourage students to speak out and
not bottle up their issues.
“There are structures which are
put in place to fight for our rights.
We have effective structures which
work only if we utilise them,” Xulu
SRC Secretary General, Abigail
Butcher, said that should a student
feel they need representation they
can email the SRC Vice President
or the Secretary General, and they
will be put in contact with the
representatives. Contact details are
also provided on every charge sheet
and students should contact a SDC
member of their choice.
Alternative venues set up for study in case of load shedding
Eskom has sent out several warnings that have
made it clear to South Africans that load shedding, often without warning, will be a constant
feature for the foreseeable future. This lack of
electricity could negatively affect Rhodes students, as no light in the evenings can hamper
their academic studies.
In order to mitigate the effects of load
shedding the University has set up generators
at more than 15 locations on campus for
emergency use during power cuts. Ten of these
venues, which include both Eden Grove lecture
theatres as well as the Eden Grove Seminar
rooms and Alec Mullins Hall, will be available
to students as study venues in the event of
extended power outages between 19:00 and
23:00 at night.
At present the best known and most widely
used space with a generator is the main Rhodes
Library. In the past, the venue has often been
used by students as an alternative place to work
during power cuts. However, while the library
may have 1 200 workstations to accommodate
enough students, the frequency of the power
Although the University has installed several generators around campus, the constant threat of
load-shedding remains a severe hindrance to students who need to study outside of class-times,
often at night. Photo: VICKY PATRICK
outages presents a cost problem with regard to
the diesel that is used to run the generator.
“We allocate a certain amount on a per annum basis, but if [the load shedding] is going
to become as regular as it is now becoming, the
budget allocation will fast run out,” explained
Rhodes University Library Services Director,
While students may be affected when trying
to do work in the evenings, the load shedding
schedule also stipulates power cuts during
the day when lectures are taking place. Simon
Pamphilon, lecturer at the School of Journalism and Media Studies, maintains that while
load shedding might affect preparations for
lectures as well as those lectures that take place
in venues without backup power, the situation is
a tolerable one. “From a teaching perspective, it’s
manageable,” he said.
Pamphilon explained that for him the issue
really lies with students working outside of
lecture times. “It has a major impact on students
who are required to do a lot of their own work
in the labs,” he said. “In third year, [Journalism
students’] contact time is about five hours and
students are expected to do another ten hours on
their own. And they are working in times when
load shedding happens,” he explained.
While the University has adequately planned
for load shedding at the current time, the
implementation of Stage 3 load shedding or
unexpected power cuts could seriously jeopardise these preparations as well as those made
independently by students.
The Oppidan Press 11 March 2015
Businesses struggling to turn a
profit when Eskom switches off
nother bout of load shedding
is looming, according
to the latest announcement
by Eskom’s spokesman Khulu
Phasiwe. While the state parastatal
is trying to prevent a power
supply meltdown, businesses are
not impressed as further rolling
blackouts could cause substantial loss
Manager of Grahamstown’s Redwood Spur, Wendy Brand, explained
that when a blackout hits during the
evening rush, usually from 18:00
onwards, the restaurant can lose as
much as R10 000. This loss sometimes
constitues up to a third of Spur’s average daily turnover, she added.
During load shedding, the restaurant is powered by a generator
provided by the Graham Hotel which
owns the property that Spur rents.
However, Brand explained that the
generator cannot power the entire
hotel as well as Spur. This leaves the
restaurant’s front section in darkness
which results in problems for customers and staff alike.
“We have to get candles… usually
people think we are closed because it’s
so dark in the front,” Brand said. She
added that the restaurant has to place
signs outside to let customers know
that it is open for business. Even with
candles, however, some customers
choose not to eat at Spur, saying that it
is “too dark”.
In addition to losing money, power
cuts mean that the steakhouse’s staff
are left trying to collect orders from
40 tables with only one functioning
computer. Furthermore, the computer takes 20 minutes to boot after
a blackout which means that it takes
longer to process the backlog of orders.
Adding to these complications is
the possibility of the generator failing,
something which occurred during the
last power outage that Grahamstown
experienced. Food items such as chips
and onion rings could not be prepared,
leading to orders having to be adjusted
or even cancelled, and leaving many
While Spur and other businesses are
struggling to turn a profit during load
shedding, Eskom said the power
system remains strained. “One could
say there is a 50/50 chance of implementing load shedding,” said Phasiwe.
Even a 50 percent chance of keeping
their lights on will do little to allay the
concerns of businesses across South
Africa as they have to deal with a
reduction in profits as customers walk
out of their establishments.
UK electricity producers paid millions to switch off
While South Africa’s load
shedding continues, wind
farms across the United
Kingdom (UK) are paid
to temporarily halt their
Last year, wind farms
were paid the equivalent
of R957 million to turn
off their wind turbines as
they are producing more
electricity than the country’s
electricity grid can manage.
Market data shows that
payments made to wind
farms to temporarily stop
production have increased
significantly in recent years
- from R3.1 million in 2010
to R108 million in 2012.
Farms are made to reduce
because their wind turbines
can cause unpredictable
spikes in electrical output.
This places strain on the
country’s electrical infrastructure and can result in
damage to power cables and
To date, the UK has
poured more than R559
billion into its renewable
As Eskom fails to keep the
lights on, perhaps the South
African power utility can
learn something from the
UK and expand its methods
of generating electricity.
Changing the perspective on Africa
Kim Nyajeka and Kathryn Cleary
Africa has constantly been depicted
as a ‘work-in-progress’, its potential
stifled by corrupt governments and
poor judicial administration. This
illustration is troublesome as it creates the notion that Africa is a single
entity in a stagnant position, unable
to realise its potential.
Dr Robert Oprisko, from the School
of Global and International Studies at
Indiana University, commented on the
fact that Africa is not well understood
in the United States. “It is unfairly dismissed by most of the world because
it hasn’t posed a significant military
threat or economic equal,” he stated.
Senior lecturer in the Rhodes University’s Politics department, Dr Sally
Matthews, noted that reports of the
events at South Africa’s recent State of
the Nation Address could bring about
a shift in global African perspective,
particularly for South Africa. “South
Africa’s international image could
move beyond the idealised portrait of
post-apartheid reconciliation led by a
smiling Nelson Mandela,” she said.
This could occur as a result of the
global audience’s exposure to a version
of democracy that is different to that
which exists in the West. Matthews
said that we should move away from
constructing a Western-style democracy in Africa and instead try to find a
space in which ordinary Africans are
African politics in 2015 has been
a cause for international concern,
despite much of the continent being
both stable and democratic.
able to actively and meaningfully participate in various political processes.
She added that this should be done in
a way that will bring about a system of
governance that empowers all citizens.
Comparatively, Oprisko stated that
“To move forward, Africa needs peace,
both in the negation of violent conflict
and in positive steps forward against
exploitation by outside interests.”
Both Matthews and Oprisko provided perspectives that take the focus
off of Africa as a political puzzle, and
instead acknowledge each individual
African leaders tend to be incorrectly placed at the root of all African
problems, usually being depicted as
flamboyant, power-hungry caricatures.
Matthews stated that the response to
the ‘Mugabe Falls’ episode forms part
of the stereotype that portrays most
African leaders as “ridiculous, stupid
Matthews further added, “We
need to recognise that some leaders who manage to stay in power for
great lengths [of time] are wily, astute
political players rather than ridiculous
baboons”. Oprisko, however, cautioned
that “[Africa is] still suffering from
the arbitrary division of sovereign
territory irrespective of nationalist
geolocation.” This highlights the fact
that the outside perspective of African
politics is not solely based on political
The economic and social potential
perceived to exist in Africa cannot
simply be realised by the removal of
corrupt leadership and the implementation of a ‘functioning’ democracy.
Each country is at a different phase
in progress and must be recognised
accordingly; the probability of a
continental economic breakthrough is
not certain, nor will every state benefit
from the prosperity of one.
The United Kingdom’s electrical grid is experiencing the opposite issue to
South Africa’s – too much wind electricity is being produced which is placing
a strain on the electrical infrastucture, resulting in Scottish wind farms being
shut down. Photo: GINA BEZUIDENHOUT
Millions pumped into our pipes
It is not something you will find in
the Rhodes prospectus or on the
municipality’s website as a welcome message, but Grahamstown
has a water crisis that has grown
worse over the years.
The municipality’s long-neglected
water infrastructure has been showing its age since 2013 when major
water outages led students and
townspeople alike to stage a protest
outside the town’s municipal offices.
After last year’s nine-day water
outage, Makana Municipality announced it was to spend some R100
million on upgrading its outdated
Rhodes University, a major
stakeholder in the municipality’s
business, pays about R30 million in
rates a year. The University has been
providing the municipality with
expert knowledge in an effort to deal
with the water crisis. Rhodes has
also been working in collaboration
with the municipality’s contracted
companies to find solutions to the
Amatola Water is the latest
company that has been brought in to
alleviate the crisis. The state-owned
business, which operates eleven
water plants across the country, has
been tasked with the upgrading of
the bulk water supply system, according to the University’s Communication and Marketing division.
Grahamstown was also given a
R75 million grant by the Eastern
Cape government in January 2014
in response to the unsteady water
supply, according to a Grocott’s
Mail report last year. While the
water crisis is obviously disastrous
for businesses, it also causes many
potential students to decide against
coming to Rhodes.
Faced with this decrease in
student numbers, the University’s
Communication and Marketing
division said in a statement: “Since
the water outages during 2013 and
earlier [last] year, a great deal has
been done to ensure that Grahamstown and the University has a reliable supply of municipal water”
Makana’s new administrator Pam
Yako was appointed to fix the town’s
water crisis by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affair Pravin Gordin. Yako’s challenge
is to ensure constant water supplies
to both Rhodes and its surroundings, but also to places such as Joza,
where the lack of water has often
not been remarked upon. It remains
to be seen whether or not Yako can
bring an end to Grahamstown’s
water crisis, however.
11 March 2015
The Oppidan Press
“He said, she said”: multilingualism at Rhodes
r Nomalanga Mkhize, a
lecturer in the Rhodes
University History Department, has been the subject of much
debate, after a picture detailing her
actions in a History 101 lecture was
posted on the Rhodes SRC Facebook
group. Mkhize had been describing
an African historical event when she
switched to the isiXhosa vernacular
in an attempt to fully explain the
event’s greater meaning.
Several students took issue with this,
prompting Mkhize to scold them for
wanting to learn the history of this
province, but not the languages it was
recorded in. The picture, which details
a second-hand account of these events,
subsequently catalysed a flurry of comments centered around the concept of
multilingualism, as well as the Rhodes
language policy. However, the full
discussion of multilingualism and
language preservation at Rhodes goes
much deeper than a single History
In the Eastern Cape, approximately
80 percent of the population use isiXhosa as their home language. While
the language environment surrounding most academic spaces of Rhodes
is predominantly English, second-year
BA student Sanelisiwe Jantjies says this
is not true of the majority of Grahamstown. “This is the Eastern Cape, [isiXhosa] is what people speak here,” she
said. She further explained that while
her home language is isiXhosa, she is
one of many South Africans who has
always done her academics in English.
In March this year, Mkhize published a personal response article to
the initial incident on The Con Mag
titled “On Language and Disruptive
Pedagogy”. In the article, Mkhize
discussed the concept of “disruptive pedagogy”, or in other words,
The aim was
to make the
of how tricky
it is to write
one has no
sense or feel for
– Dr Nomalanga
alternative teaching methods. Mkhize’s
use of isiXhosa in her lectures was part
of this concept.
“It is not unusual for lecturers to go
off in a bit of Latin, Greek, French or
German. Mostly, we launch into other
languages with a hint of mischievousness, to shake undergraduates up a
bit, to make them squirm a little so
that after the lecture, they head for
the library or to the nearest third year
student to find out how much they
need to do, or what they need to know.
This is how independent learning is
provoked,” Mkhize explained.
Mkhize further commented, “Not
being a first-language isiXhosa speaker
myself, the aim was to make the students aware of how tricky it is to write
history when one has no sense or feel
for a language.”
Dr Russell Kaschula, head of the
Rhodes Language Committee, has an
approach to teaching isiXhosa 1 that
differs from that of other lecturers.
Kaschula creates a learning environment where he allows for both
isiXhosa and non-isiXhosa speakers
to ask questions, and academically engage in their home languages, further
creating a welcoming space and a multilingual environment. Kaschula noted
that using this teaching technique has
motivated students who would not
normally participate to thoroughly
engage with the coursework.
“You think best in a language you
understand best, and ordinarily that’s
your home language,” he said. Furthermore, he believes that multilingualism
needs to be seen as a “resource rather
than a problem”. Kaschula believes
that we should let students engage in
whatever language they wish to engage
in. That being said, however, language
cannot be used to exclude students.
“It needs to be a multilingual inclusive
environment,” Kaschula explained.
Dr Jeanne du Toit of the School of
Journalism and Media Studies argued
that language is not only an instrument of power in South Africa, it is
something that should be celebrated,
rather than serving as a source of
conflict. With regards to the use of
multilingualism in an academic setting
she explained that “part of the trick is
how do [we] do that in a way that students can engage with.” Relating more
directly to Mkhize, du Toit stated:
“[We] think of pedagogical strategies
that allow for that transformation of
communication to happen.”
Although officially an Englishspeaking institution, Rhodes has
recently reviewed its language policy
with an eye on seeking linguistic
transformation. Kaschula points out
that the new language policy has a
trilingual feel to it, in that it promotes
isiXhosa and Afrikaans, the other two
most widely spoken languages in the
While lecturers like Mkhize continue to push the envelope with multiple
language use in their curriculum, it is
unlikely that the University will move
away from English as the dominant
language of academics altogether.
History lecturer Dr Nomalanga Mkhize sparked a debate on multilingualism
at Rhodes after it was posted on the SRC Facebook page that she had insisted
on using isiXhosa phrases which would not translate accurately into English as
part of her course on the history of the Eastern Cape. Photo: SOURCED
Islam’s contribution to the development of Africa
Since the 2012 “Arab Spring” erupted, the
world has witnessed Islamic fundamentalist
groups replace seemingly democratic
governments in several African countries.
Dictatorships were replaced with systems
of Shar’ia law – the legislative code derived
from an interpretation of the Qur’an and
the teachings of Mohammed. This increase
in radical political activity and the resultant
growth of Islamic fundamentalist movements
in Africa has increased discussions around
Islam’s role within the continent.
Islam is often othered by Western media,
with the ‘strict’ nature of Islamic systems being
contrasted with the ‘liberal’ nature of democracy.
Islamic fundamentalists are viewed as the enemy
of Western notions of freedom and equality, a
role formerly occupied by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Just as being Russian in the late 20th century
was viewed as synonymous with being a Communist, being Muslim has come to be perceived
as synonymous with being a fundamentalist.
However, there are differences between a follower
of the Islamic faith and an Islamic fundamentalist. The latter is an individual who opposes the infiltration of secular and Westernizing influences
Due to the stereotyping of Muslims as fundamentalists, the positive impacts that the Islamic community has had on Africa has generally gone unnoticed. Photo: NITA PALLETT
whilst seeking to institute strict Islamic law.
Although the heinous acts of fundamentalist
groups like Boko Haram and the Islamic State
of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) perpetrated in parts of
Africa cannot be ignored, the positive influence
Islam has had on the African continent must also
Political analyst Abubakr Ben Ishmael Salahuddin has described the impact of the Islamic
faith on Africa during the Arabic world’s 15th
century ‘voyages of discovery’. During this time,
Muslim traders brought advice on health, diet,
and community building.“The Islamic faith became a part of Africa because of the tremendous
trade relations built with the Africans,” Salahuddin said. To date, roughly 45 percent of the
African population is Muslim, with 1.5 percent of
South Africans practising Islam.
The positive role Islamic groups have played in
South Africa is largely underrated. Political
parties such as the African Muslim Party and
the Islamic Party actively supported the antiapartheid movement and even contested the
first democratic elections. While neither party
was able to secure a seat in the national legislature, their acceptance and support of a democratic state had defied misguided stereotypes of
Rhodes University has always encouraged
interactions between students with different
religious backgrounds. In her online opinion
piece “Me and my Islamic ID”, published in Voice
of Cape Town, former journalism student Raeesa Mohamed highlighted how the University
had become her platform to prove that a balance
between Islam and the West is possible.
“I found myself in social circles where discussing Islam became the most popular topic, because
non-Muslims found nothing but beauty within
the religion,” she said. “It puzzled me that I had
to see the purity and sincerity of my own religion
through the eyes of others.”
While the effects of Islam on continental Africa
will continue to be debated, engaging with both
the positive and negative aspects of Islam in Africa will hopefully lead to a more tolerant future
for the African continent.
The Oppidan Press 11 March 2015
The Oppidan Press
The inauguration of a new Vice-Chancellor is always a momentous event
for any university. The VC must act as both the public face of the institution
and must oversee its daily running. Essentially, the office of the VC is where
the proverbial buck stops.
Dr Sizwe Mabizela’s inauguration as the first black African VC of Rhodes
was one of the most prestigious events students are likely to ever go to during
their university career. Attended by members of provincial government, the
families of struggle veterans and hundreds of students and staff, it was Mabizela’s opportunity to state his vision for the future of Rhodes.
And he did just that. Over the course of his speech, he highlighted the multiple challenges facing Rhodes and the Makana municipality. Mabizela pulled
no punches, laying the troubles Makana finds itself in at the feet of “poor management and poor leadership” even with Makana’s Executive Mayor Zamuxolo
Peter seated directly behind him.
Mabizela also set out an ambitious vision of the future of Rhodes within
Makana, including making the entire city of Grahamstown WiFi-enabled for
the use of all its citizens. Mabizela also promised a significant portion of his
salary towards helping financially needy students at Rhodes, an action that he
also took in his previous position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
You can find a list of the 12 most important points to take away from Mabizela’s speech on oppidanpress.com along with the full text of the speech itself.
We also have a photo story in this edition on Mabizela’s inauguration. Look
out for it on page nine.
With all the fanfare surrounding his speech and inauguration, it is easy to
think that Mabizela is a nigh saint-like figure. However, if you were present at
his Welcome Address to the first-years and their parents during O-Week, you
would see this is not true.
Among the list of seven important messages he wanted to give to the firstyears was a reminder that Rhodes does not “tolerate racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic or … chauvinistic behaviour”. Two points later, Mabizela
reminds students to avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as it “will make you
vulnerable to crime including rape”.
This kind of victim-shaming rhetoric is dangerous. It holds that the behaviour of the victim is to blame for the rape, as opposed to the actions and intentions of their rapists. It informs the societal instruction of victims to avoid
being raped, rather than teaching rapists not to rape. According to studies by
the United States Bureau of Justice, there is a correlation between alcohol and
drug use, and rape. However, alcohol is not a cause of rape: rapists are.
Confusing correlation and causation in statistics is the same logical fallacy
that allows people to claim that the rise of vaccinations caused the rise in the
diagnosis of autism as opposed to the rise in our ability to diagnose autism.
Rhetoric of this kind is simply not acceptable from leaders of Mabizela’s
capacity, especially at an institution like Rhodes, and we at The Oppidan Press
will strive to continue holding leaders like him to account at this university.
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This edition’s ‘buzzword’ considers the word ‘Warden’ and how the association with being an authoritarian may not
necessarily reflect reality. Photo: KAYLIN VAN ASWEGEN
The Lingo Review: Warden
n view of the fact that we live in a
country where name-changes to
anything from roads to whole cities are more regular than a costume
change at a Lady Gaga concert, The
Oppidan Press will feature a ‘Buzzword’ series in each edition. This
series will debate a potential change
to a name or term in university, local,
national or international lingo.
This edition’s Buzzword: “Warden”.
I was not really one of those
overeager first-years. I did not join
any Rhodes Facebook groups before
arriving. I didn’t check out my
residence and academic departments
in the days before O-Week. In fact, I
hadn’t even seen the campus before
arriving from Johannesburg.
However, there was one thing that
scared me enough to look it up before
getting here: my warden. Using the
name I had been given, I found a photograph of him online. He was smiling
in a very relaxed, approachable way,
and I remember thinking to myself,
“That photo is a lie. There is no way a
warden could ever be so nice.”
Upon meeting the man, I realised
that I could not have been further
from the truth. The warden’s role
was not that which the term had immediately suggested to me – that of
a hard-arsed disciplinarian, a baton
wielding patrol officer with a large
bunch of keys strapped to his belt, or
a terrifying ogre who ground bones
for jelly. Rather, the warden of my
residence was a facilitator, a counsellor,
an invaluable guidance-giver and an
Having been appointed as a subwarden this year, though, I have
experienced the problem with the term
from the opposite perspective. The title
carries such a strong disciplinary connotation that it seriously diminishes
the opportunity for being a guidancegiver and helping hand, and can
sometimes make building important
relationships with residents a
challenging process. In short, the
words “warden” and “sub-warden”
imply residence leaders are the bad
cops, which is definitely not the idea of
As a university, we have been allowing our titles to play bad cop for far too
long. It is time for them to start playing
good cop. “Dean of Students”, which
has become a historical term for similar reasons, has recently become “Director of Student Affairs”. This shows
that Rhodes is continuing a tradition
of engaging with names that carry
specific meanings and have histories
attached to them. I think “warden” and
“sub-warden” should face the same
What do you think?
Tweet your thoughts
Who really needs another transformation talk?
O-Week has always been a manic time for first years.
The list of compulsory presentations seems endless: the
warden’s welcome, sex and drugs talks, academic talks,
disciplinary talks, the Vice-Chancellor’s address, faculty
addresses, The Amazing Other Show, and the introductory lectures for various subjects, not to mention the fire
and safety talk that happens in the following weeks.
This year Rhodes somehow managed to squeeze in yet
another event: the transformation talk. While appreciating
the value of the aforementioned presentations, the first-years
I have spoken to all showed a serious disdain for the latest
addition (the adjective “pointless” was used more times than
I’d like to admit).
When I attended the talk, the reason for this reaction
was immediately clear. The first-years had no idea what the
presenters from the University’s transformation office were
talking about. After being asked repeatedly what the difference is between Rhodes University now and Rhodes University 20 years ago, the responses from the approximately 150
assembled first-years varied from changes in technology and
infrastructure, to the increasing number of students and the
cost of tertiary education. However, not one member of the
audience could give the desired answer after fifteen minutes
of fishing by the presenters – that the University is more
racially diverse than ever before.
What does this say about Rhodes’ newest students? That
they are so socially ignorant that they have not recognised
the considerable changes in South Africa over the last 20
years? Not necessarily. Despite the majority of the g15s having been born after 1994, it would be ridiculous to say that
they do not recognise the changes that have occurred in the
country in that space of time.
Rather, I would suggest that the born frees do not see any
reason for a compulsory lecture to be given on the subject.
By this logic, it is understandable that the thought that this
transformation is what the presenters were driving at did
not cross their minds.
Of course, I am speaking generally. Many of those in
attendance who were not active participants may have been
thinking precisely what the presenters wanted them to
think. This speaks volumes for the mindset of the g15s as
a group, showing that transformation and diversity are not
new ideas to them, meaning that I disagree with the necessity of this talk. For Rhodes’ new students, transformation
is not something that they need to be told about. Rather, it
is an essential part of the world in which they have grown
up, precisely because it has been a world grappling with
transformation at all levels.
11 March 2015
The Oppidan Press
Inequality, sexism and sexual harassment are only a few issues that Rhodes faces and are made worse by the fact that many of the perpetrators hold notable leadership positions within the institution.
Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
Where leaders learn what, exactly?
n her first year in 2012, a girl I know was
pushed against a wall by a then Centenary
House Committee member as he tried to
come onto her even as she said “no”. In 2013,
she was sexually assaulted in Jan Smuts House.
In 2014, a then Graham House sub-warden
told her she should have texted him when she
was drunk because he would have “loved to
take advantage of a girl like [her]”. And in 2015,
the first person she spoke to about it, a former
SRC member, over-stepped her personal space
boundaries and made her feel physically uncomfortable and vulnerable. Four incidents of
harassment and assault. Four strokes of pure
bad luck. Four different leaders.
During my time at Rhodes, and more particularly, my time in various leadership structures at
this institution, I have been appalled by some of
the things I have borne witness to. From head
students, to sub-wardens, to society chairs, to
members of the SRC – there are sexist statements
callously being thrown around and incorrigible
behaviour being displayed.
This is supposed to be the institution “where
leaders learn” and yet these are some of the leaders coming through the system. We are getting
something very wrong. I use the word ‘we’ very
inclusively because, despite the fact that there are
many commendable students in leadership positions, it is our collective responsibility to reshape
the ideals of the bad ones. When we fail to do
this, we fail each other and we fail this community that we lead.
There is something very wrong with the fact
that the scenarios described above are neither
uncommon nor isolated. What is even worse is
the fact that many of these students never face
any kind of consequence for their actions, be it
through peer reprimanding or through a formal
There is something wrong with the fact that a
university-appointed sub-warden can poke fun at
the Bring Back Our Girls campaign on Facebook,
asking, “What if the girls don’t want to come
back?” There is something wrong with the fact
that a peer-elected head student can publicly
state that “women cannot handle the equality
they ask for”. Somehow both of these people are
still allowed to retain their leadership positions.
There is something wrong with the fact that
when I, and countless others, call this behaviour
out, we are dismissed as “angry feminists”. Yes,
maybe I am an angry feminist, but I am not angry
I am angry at the fact that I have come across
so-called student ‘leaders’, inside and outside this
university, that speak of and treat women in the
most abominable ways. I am angry at the fact that
there are men that will look at women’s bodies
longer than they look at their faces, that my intelligence is sometimes questioned because I am
female, and that every person I have told this to
does not believe that being female has anything
to do with it.
I am angry at the fact that I, and countless
other women, are objectified and harassed so frequently. I am angry at the fact that I have people
roll their eyes at me when I call a man out for
saying something sexist. I am angry at inequality.
I am angry at injustice. But perhaps I am most
angry about the fact that there are people that refuse to even acknowledge that these things exist.
This behaviour is deplorable in general, but
even more so when it is being exhibited by people
who are selected and elected to lead this institution. When you consider that power dynamics, first year impressionability and a culture of
apathy are also active factors, you have a toxic
environment that is detrimental to us all.
At some point we need to call our leaders to
task. We need to stop shying away from the difficult conversations and unpopular statements.
We need to find our agency and put an end to
the pervasive behaviour and way of thinking
that is destroying the lives of far too many young
women in our immediate environment.
We need to do all this because, until we
proactively seek to eliminate the bad fruit, we
are allowing mediocrity to be our standard and
chauvinistic bigotry to lead us.
Impressions: arriving at a new home
Ashton du Toit
This article is the first in the Impressions series
that will be published in a number of editions
throughout the year. The series will focus on
keeping in touch with first year students, and
understanding how their perceptions of Rhodes
might have changed as they have settled in to
Grahamstown and Rhodes living.
The weather was warm and clear that morning
as I conducted my usual human-thermometer
check, which essentially entails a quick stretch out
of the nearest window, followed by the briefest of
glances at the sky’s general colour.
Then, without warning, midway through my
lonesome trucker-like drive from Port Elizabeth to
Grahamstown, the heavens were suddenly covered
with apocalyptic-type storm clouds. The race
between the elements eager to soak my car seats
and my ability to wind up the manual windows
was on. Spinning the winder to the point of
blurriness, I managed to save my upholstery from
a thorough drenching.
That was when it came up on the horizon.
The picturesque town which would become the
backdrop of many memorable life experiences. The
weather, seemingly realising the sense of occasion,
cleared giving this jewel of the Eastern Cape the
glow of a biblical promised land.
Upon arriving outside my res, which also happens to be at the summit of the Rhodes campus
and thus ideally situated for a Sherpa training
camp, I proceeded to park my car and gather my
thoughts. After giving myself a pep talk that Coach
Carter would have been proud of, I exited the
vehicle ready to make my mark. As I gazed into my
now open boot admiring my masterful Tetris-like
packing skills, two people approached from the
house’s main entrance.
No sooner had I said hello than they began
grabbing my bags and welcoming me to Calata
House. I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a Hilton
bellhop demonstration video: every aspect of the
welcome, from the polite greeting to the luggage
handling and guided tour were of five star quality.
I was soon bewildered, however, for in the
first house meeting these assumed lackeys were
introduced to me as sub-wardens, a title which
I soon came to understand carries great weight
As I lay in bed that first night, I couldn’t help
but think back on the selfless actions of my
house seniors, particularly the way in which they
ensured that I, a perfect stranger, immediately felt
welcomed and part of the residence. This I would
learn after a few weeks at Rhodes was not a unique
residence attitude, but a common denominator
found in the majority of the staff and students at
As far as first impressions go, Rhodes certainly
put its best foot forward, leaving an imprint on
me that I will hopefully leave on others during my
Ashton du Toit starts the Impressions
series by describing his expectations of
coming to Rhodes as a 2015 first year
student. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
8 The Oppidan Press 11 March 2015
Piracy: How Rhodes University is clamping down
iracy in the form of downloaded movies,
music and other content is incredibly
widespread, especially among internetcompetent demographics. In recent years,
Rhodes University has had its own problems
with student piracy, but it now seems that the
University is clamping down on these issues.
According to Rhodes University’s Systems
Manager, Guy Halse, this has only led to a change
in how the rules are implemented and not a
change in the rules themselves. Halse explained
that, “[The] law and policy framework under
which the University operates has not changed
for many years. The only changes within the last
year are operational; there was clarification of
which disciplinary authority holds jurisdiction
and some formal sentencing guidelines were
introduced by the Disciplinary Committee.”
Effectively this will not affect the students
adhering to the University’s Acceptable Use
Policy (AUP), but it will mean the University will
be more rigorous in dealing with piracy on the
University’s internet connection.
“These two changes were primarily to more
While none of Rhodes’ anti-piracy rules have been altered in recent years, changes in the ways
those regulations are enforced means students can expect a stricter response to the download of
copyrighted material via the University’s internet network. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
efficiently deal with the growing number of
notices we receive. They don’t really reflect a substantive change in the underlying “restrictions”,
which are, quite simply, that you comply with
South African law,” explained Halse.
These restrictions fall in line with The Copyright Act No 98 of 1978, and the more recent
updating of legislation, preventing the download
of copyrighted content via peer-to-peer file sharing or torrenting.
Craig Marais, a PhD Computer Science student
discussed the implications of piracy and Rhodes’
approach to it: “These strategies of being strict on
piracy will inevitably lead to less students using
torrents (or similar means) to download series
and movies, but this will, in my opinion, have
almost no effect on the will of students to commit
acts of piracy,” Marais said. ”Piracy is illegal. A lot
of people seem to neglect that entirely.”
Marais went on to explain that there are
preventative measures students can take, but
that they would need to consider their priorities
before doing so.
“I am knowledgeable enough to know how
to circumvent detection, but as a student my
education is far too important to me,” Marais
explained. “I personally do not [and would not]
do any torrenting (or similar) on campus/resnet.”
The absence of conventional content distribution methods may cause you to miss some
content for a few weeks or have to find alternate
methods of getting it, but piracy is certainly not
the route to take. A movie or album is not worth
disconnection from the network or exclusion.
Although students may become frustrated at having their passwords
reset every year, it is simply a security precaution designed to protect the
privacy of their online accounts. Image: HANNAH MCDONALD
After two executive committee members left the Rhodes University Computer Users’ Society (RUCUS), the society has
ceased to exist and been subsumed into GameSoc. Photo: CAMERON SEEGERS
Game over for RUCUS
Everyone who has joined GameSoc
or the Rhodes University Computer
Users’ Society (RUCUS) and has
been an active member, might have
noticed the spillover of members
between the two societies.
Although close-knit, they have
always been separate societies until
they merged this year, following the
departure of two of RUCUS’ executive
Gregory Linklater, former RUCUS
Chairman, and new GameSoc Head
of Technology discussed the motives
for this: “The suggestion [for RUCUS
to become a part of GameSoc] from
a number of sources has always been
present. However, after the loss of two
members of our executive committee,
the remaining committee put forward
the idea to me, once again, which I
accepted as a last resort”.
While this move will definitely
bring changes in the way RUCUS operates, Linklater insists that GameSoc’s
new Technology division would not
operate all that differently from the
now-defunct computer society.
Linklater explained that the previously collapsed game development
team was to be revived, and that
RUCUS was looking to expand into
mobile development and web development. He added that, since RUCUS’
operations were already closely tied to
gaming, the former society would still
retain its operational independence
after its merge with GameSoc.
Linklater appears to be content with
the move, although he admits that it
has its drawbacks. However, he believes the positives outweigh the negatives for both RUCUS and GameSoc.
“GameSoc gains the benefits
that they have always enjoyed from
RUCUS, including, but not limited
to, technical expertise and equipment
and RUCUS gains the benefit of being able to act largely independently
while not having to constantly worry
about meeting membership quotas or
GameSoc chairperson Graeme Faul
explained how the introduction of
the Technology portfolio will affect
the society: “All RUCUS assets have
been transferred under GameSoc’s
jurisdiction. For transparency’s sake,
this is currently a server within the
Rhodes IT division and sundry pieces
The society as a whole will now have
more to offer in terms of computerrelated gaming like game servers,
TeamSpeak servers and hosting of
some online services,” he said.
In terms of how this would affect
the society’s hierarchy, Faul said that
the RUCUS administrative committee members were no longer afforded
positions within GameSoc, but that
the former system administrators
would retain their roles, albeit under
the Technology sub-hierarchy.
So while RUCUS as a society has
gone under and will not be re-establishing itself anytime soon, its practical hierarchy and function still exist
under a new name. If nothing else,
the merging of these two societies will
lead to the more coherent operation
Why has my password changed?
When you register for your
respective year of study, you are
given a sheet of paper stating your
new credentials for logging onto
important student account services
like RUConnected and Rhodes
Online Student Services.
While your student number remains the same, your password will
change, even if you have left it as the
generic one provided to you in the
previous year. Craig Marais, a PhD
student in Computer Science, said
that while changing your password
may be frustrating, it is simply
standard security practice.
“Most big businesses would
require employees to change
passwords once a month,” Marais
explained. “Once a year is really
not that often; it’s really the bare
minimum that the university can do
in this regard.” What Marais referred
to as “standard operating procedure
for large networks” is found in many
corporations whose IT departments
require their employees to change
passwords sometimes as regularly as
once a month, so maybe once a year
is not as tedious as it seems.
The University, however, would
clearly prefer students to change
their passwords more frequently.
Rhodes University’s Acceptable
Use Policy states that users should,
to a reasonable effort, ensure that
their passwords remain secure. The
frequently asked questions (FAQ)
section states that passwords should
preferably be changed if they have
been the same for six months.
The FAQ also states that users
should preferably not keep
their assigned passwords from
registration, but should change them
as soon as possible. Students should
try to set passwords that would in
no way link to them i.e. use their
name or surname.
Security is difficult to ensure,
especially in an environment
which is accessible to anyone with
a computer and internet connection. While the university deals with
bigger threats like large-scale hacks
and data leaks, students should also
take responsibility for their online
security. Being proactive about the
security of your personal accounts
reduces some of the burden on the
university to ensure that students are
not subjected to online attacks.
11 March 2015 The Oppidan Press
Mabizela inaugurated as new VC
Guests file into the 1820 Settlers Monument before the Vice-Chancellor’s
inauguration ceremony at the Grahamstown landmark.
Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
hodes University welcomed its new Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela with open arms on Friday 27 February. Mabizela’s inauguration followed an unanimous vote to install him as the successor to
the previous VC Dr Saleem Badat.
Mabizela is an experienced administrator and mathematician, having
received his Masters in Mathematics in 1985. In 1986, he lectured briefly at
the University of Zululand before pursuing his doctoral studies in Applied
Mathematics at Pennsylvania State University.
After spending time as an educator at the University of Cape Town, Mabizela was offered the Chair and Headship of the Department of Mathematics
at Rhodes University in 2004, and rose through the ranks of the institution to
Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs until the resignation of Badat last year.
His inauguration ceremony was well attended, with the family of the late
Steve Biko among the honoured guests. Mabizela is the first black African Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University, and thanked the leaders of the
anti-apartheid struggle for their sacrifices, dedicating his inaugural speech
to them. During the speech he highlighted the many challenges still facing
post-apartheid Rhodes, outlining his plans and hopes for the University and
Mabizela spoke at length of the challenges currently facing the University
and country, highlighting issues around transformation within Rhodes,
academic output, and the development of Grahamstown.
Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
Traditional singing and dancing outside the 1820 Settlers Monument precedes the inauguration, livening the atmosphere
as invited guests, journalists and ticket holders file in. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
Academics sit on stage behind invited speakers, displaying their varied and colourful robes at the auspicious occasion.
Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
Distinguished Professor Tebello Nyokong embraces Mabizela after her impassioned speech in which she declared him not
the first black Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes, but the “first best” instead. Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
10 The Oppidan Press 11 March 2015
Arts & Entertainment
What you should be reading
Sam van Heerden
s most Rhodes students have no doubt
been told time and again, reading is an
integral part of the university experience. Because of this, The Oppidan Press will
feature a series of articles throughout the year
in which we ask lecturers for their recommendations on what students should be reading.
Featured in this edition is History lecturer Dr
Nomalanga Mkhize, whose recommendations
centre around the search for African identity and
history in the 21st century. Her list includes:
A Life’s Mosaic: The Autobiography of Phyllis
Ntantala (Phyllis Ntantala):
A political and feminist narrative, Ntantala’s book
focuses on the author’s life in both early 20th
century Transkei and 1960s America. In doing
so, Ntantala examines her search for identity as a
privileged black South African woman.
“This book changed my undergraduate outlook,” Dr Mkhize said. “I realised there and then
that I wanted to be a scholar because of the way
Ntantala engaged [with] ideas and her place
in the world.”
In a featured series, The Oppidan Press will reveal book recommendations from lecturers throughout the year. Dr Nomalanga Mkhize gives her suggestions this edition. Photo: ASHLIEGH MEY
Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (Ngugi wa Thiong’o):
In this collection of non-fiction essays, Ngugi
wa Thiong’o investigates the use of language in
a post-colonial setting. The collection examines
the use of language in constructing histories,
identities and cultures. He addresses the question
of whether African writers should write in the
vernacular or in languages like English or French.
Mkhize described the novel as a “Must read for
Rhodes students from all backgrounds.”
Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe):
Set against the backdrop of British colonialism
in the 1890s, Achebe’s post-colonial narrative
chronicles the life of Okonkwo as he helps lead a
Nigerian village. The novel examines the cultural
clash between the indigenous Igbo people and
Nigeria’s white colonisers.
Diamonds, Gold and War: The British, The
Boers and the Making of South Africa (Martin
A humorous and engaging take on how Cecil
John Rhodes built up his fortunes, Meredith’s
book explains how the discovery of gold and
diamonds shifted the dynamics of colonial South
Africa between 1871 and 1910. “I love how Martin Meredith writes popular African history. It’s
unputdownable,” Mkhize said.
Olive Schreiner Diaries – 1871-1899 (Olive
This is a collection of diary entries by the
renowned Eastern Cape writer. “She writes in a
powerful feminist, anti-racist and anti-capitalist
perspective that just resonates with me. She was
so ahead of her time,” commented Mkhize.
Visual art in Grahamstown
In a country with a difficult history
of colonialism and apartheid, art has
become a medium through which
people can fight battles and capture
beauty in hostility. With exhibitions
that include the mingling of rock art
and local and global art forms, Grahamstown’s vibrant art scene continues to play an important role in the
use of art as social commentary.
Although the town boasts many
art centres, the galleries featured here
best represent the evolution of artistic
innovation and exemplify Grahamstown’s contribution to South Africa’s
Albany History Museum:
Part of the Albany Museum Complex on Somerset Street, the History
Museum is home to a collection that
showcases the evolution of art in
Grahamstown. Not solely focused on
visual art, the museum’s exhibitions
make use of various artifacts and a diverse array of art forms to illustrate the
evolution of art, clothing, civilisation,
language and religion in the Grahamstown area.
The art collections boast a multitude
of different art forms ranging from
copies of cave drawings, to ancient
African beadwork and calabashes and
19th century oil paintings and contemporary artworks. Students are charged
a modest entrance fee of R5 to view
the art works on display.
The Johan Carinus Art Centre:
The Johan Carinus Art Centre is an art
school that provides Visual Art and
Design education to scholars from
grades 10 to 12. The centre was established in 1948 at a time when none of
the government schools in Grahamstown had qualified art teachers. The
centre filled a gap in the education of
Grahamstown’s youth by setting up art
classes for students.
The centre has since grown and now
Rap duo Sonz of Law use their conscious rap music to raise awareness of the
hardships in society. Photo: XOLILE MADINDA/SOURCED
Conscious vs mainstream
Grahamstown is well known for its artistic community, with a wide variety of
artists and galleries displaying work of every artistic medium to be found all
over town. Photo: ELLEN HEYDENRYCH
teaches Visual Art and Design education on a National Senior Certificate
level to students at Victoria Girls High
School, Graeme College and PJ Olivier
Hoërskool. The Johan Carinus Centre
exhibits the work of its students two
or three times a year, including a large
exhibition that takes place annually
The centre also hosts various artists
during the National Arts Festival in
July. Those interested in viewing the
art on display can visit the centre’s
two buildings in Beaufort Street and
The Grahamstown Arts Studio:
The Grahamstown Arts Studio is
home to approximately 800 artworks.
The set exhibition comprises multiple
mediums such as sculpting, painting,
printmaking, photography and ceramics. The artworks exhibited by the
Studio vary from African art forms to
more Western-inspired arts.
The Grahamstown Arts Studio is
situated at 49 Market Street and is settled between old historical houses. The
studio’s exhibitions can only be viewed
by appointment. To book an appointment call (046) 622-3712.
Visual art in Grahamstown and
Rhodes University is ever-present
and ever-evolving. The town’s many
art galleries play an important role in
recording the country’s history as well
as uniting a formerly divided society.
Around Hip Hop is a company that
aims to dismantle the stereotypes
surrounding hip hop in local Grahamstown communities. Company
representative Xolile Madinda described the initiative as a collaboration that seeks to create dialogue
around hip hop.
One way in which the company
does this is by hosting discussions for
the general public. One such discussion, focusing on the state of rap music
in the Eastern Cape, with regards to
lyrical content and the general public’s
sentiments towards the genre, was
hosted at Rhodes University and led by
the conscious rap duo Sonz of Law.
Conscious rap seeks to raise awareness around social ills by challenging
cultural, political and economic norms
through its lyrical content. Sonz of
Law is a Port Elizabeth-based rap duo
that belongs to the African Hebrew
Israelites Community. The duo - who
refer to their music as “truth music”
– believe that music influences the
mood, visions and aspirations of those
listening to it.
This belief has led the duo’s
members, Yahav Ben Sar Ahmadiel
and Adon Geel, to use conscious rap as
a tool to challenge the problems they
believe are harming society. “Some
of the social ills have not always been
there,” said the duo’s lyricist Ahmadiel.
“Until we do something about it, nothing will change.”
While conscious rap is widely available and considered a part of the mainstream music scene abroad thanks to
artists like Common, KRS-One and
Mos Def, most of South Africa’s artists
remain underground due to poor marketing of their work. Nonetheless, Sonz
of Law see South African conscious
rap becoming a mainstream sub-genre
of rap music in the future. “If music is
sellable, it’s because the artist stood for
its music,” said Ahmadiel. “We have
absolute confidence in our music.”
While Sonz of Law would like to
distribute their music freely, producer
Geel acknowledges that they need
money for recording equipment,
packaging and marketing their album.
However their main intent is not to
make a profit off of their music, but
rather to instigate thoughts and conversations that challenge South Africa’s
11 March 2015 The Oppidan Press
What do students think
about the ‘veg craze’?
n recent years, vegetarianism has gained popularity on a global scale. Whether for health reasons or
simply to challenge animal cruelty, there is a vast
number of vegetarians at Rhodes University. However,
it can prove to be quite a difficult adjustment when the
stress of campus living and dining hall food come into
play. Generally speaking, the choice is more often than
not a personal one. Choosing the food you eat should be
at your own discretion, whatever your reason and decision may be.
Having survived a brutal attack by poachers, Thandi the white rhinoceros
(Ceratotherium simum) stands beside her newborn calf, Thembi, in one of
South African conservation’s success stories. Photo: SOURCED
Baby ‘Hope’ survives after
rhino poaching tragedy
Three years ago, on 2 March 2012,
a brutal incident of rhino poaching left three rhinos in critical
condition. Two of them, both
male, ultimately passed away. The
third rhino – a female – embodies
a story of perseverance. She recovered and gave birth to a healthy
calf, Thembi (meaning “hope” in
isiXhosa). Enduring the perpetual
threat of rhino poaching, Thembi
represents all that we have to fight
for and shines a light on the issues
Following the incident, blood
tests showed that Thembi’s mother,
Thandi, was pregnant. Thandi’s
recovery process has touched many
people around the world, driving
an extremely successful awareness
campaign and touching many lives.
One of these people is Dr William Fowlds, the lead veterinarian
on Thandi’s case. When naming
Thandi’s calf, the BBC quoted Dr
Fowlds as saying “‘Thembi’ seemed
to fit best, given that this little calf
has brought fresh hope and energy
to those who struggle to secure the
future of our rhino”.
For Rhino in a Shrinking World
is an anthology of rhino-inspired
poetry, driven largely by Harry
Owen. Owen is specifically outspoken against rhino poaching, but also
concerned about general animal
abuse.“Rhino poaching (and the
indiscriminate slaughter of whole
species of our wildlife, including elephant, lion and pangolin) is a matter
for anyone with a social conscience
to be concerned with. It affects each
one of us and will affect our children
even more,” he said.
Besides being an ecological issue,
rhino poaching has a deep social
and cultural impact. Explaining the
economic effects of rhino poaching,
Owen said, “It is not true that rhino
is a matter
with a social
– Harry Owen,
editor of For Rhino in
a Shrinking World
poaching is somehow less pressing
a problem than other social ills.
Without this country’s magnificent
wildlife and the landscape that supports it, there can be no future for
commerce, no reason for visitors to
come here and spend their pounds,
dollars or euros. No jobs in socially
sustainable practices. No culture. No
wealth”. He added that this loss of
wealth is a threat to everyone united
by rhinos, from local communities
Owen also emphasised the importance of academic research and
interest in the rhino poaching crisis:
“If more Rhodes students could be
persuaded that poaching is a fundamental social evil, self-destructive in
the worst way, perhaps more would
involve themselves in, for example,
researching its social and societal
ramifications or in educating those
most at risk of losing all they have often the poachers themselves.”
A problem with both environmental and social consequences,
Thandi and Thembi’s survival is
a powerful story of perseverance
against grave odds. Just south of
Grahamstown both rhinos roam Kariega Private Game Reserve, the site
of the incident, as healthy survivors
of a brutal ordeal.
Pierre Durandt, Vegetarian
“My decision to be a
vegetarian is partly healthrelated and largely for
ethical reasons. I’ve had
experience working with
animals and don’t like
most farming techniques.
I also feel that the quantity
of meat consumed today is
completely unnatural given the
way we’ve evolved. If I’m not comfortable [enough] to kill the animal myself I’d rather not eat it.”
“It’s okay for people to choose
what they eat. I went vegetarian once to lose weight
because of the unhealthy
fats in meat. People who are
vegetarian – I don’t want to
say they are missing out – but
I feel we need those proteins. As
much as soya and the other choices
have specific proteins that are needed.”
Jo Paredis, Meat-eater
“I am not a vegetarian. I
understand it as a lifestyle
choice, but personally am
not going for it myself,
especially since I live in
res. I tried it here, but the
vegetarian meals in the
dining hall aren’t that great.”
Asande Majola, Pescatarian
“It all started when I
wanted to lose weight.
I lost the weight and it
just carried on. Now my
reason is I want to save
animals. I do not think eating animals is wrong, it’s just
not in me anymore.”
Thato Dlamini, Meat-eater
“I am not a vegetarian, but feel
it is a good lifestyle generally
because the human body needs
good nutrients and it is in the
interest of your health. Needing
meat as a staple food depends on
the person. An athlete needs bulk,
so then meat will be a huge part of
Nosipho Dlamini, Meat-eater
“I respect vegetarians –
they are doing a good thing.
They inspire me, and I
sometimes feel I want to
be one myself. I feel they’re
really doing their part
to change their lifestyles.
Animals also have a life and
are obliged to live it – so why
murder them? Why kill them in the
quantities we do just for our own selfish needs?”
Donna de Jongh, Vegetarian
“Animals are being treated inhumanely
for mass consumption – they are
force-fed food with hormones, all
to be ‘bigger and better’ and with
no consideration for them. I saw
a YouTube video of chickens on
a farm, a battery. The cages were
so tiny and there were so many of
them in each cage, and they were
only fed the whole time… it was really heart wrenching. It made me think
of humanity and how we treat the earth and
its other inhabitants, and I decided I was not going to support [mass production of meat for human consumption].”
rules for Rhodes
Mkhize’s book list
for top students
Many students have formed their own informal
soccer leagues as a way to socialise with other residences and build spirit. Photo: CAMERON SEEGERS
The Rhodes rugby team have big plans to improve this year in hope that they will become eligible to participate in the 2016 Varsity Shield.
Photo: KELLAN BOTHA
The formalities of
Rhodes rugby hope for stronger season informal leagues
fter a disappointing season last year, students interested in
playing rugby for Rhodes should be assured that there is still
hope for the game at the University. Acting head of Rhodes
Sport, Siya Magopeni, stated that the University Sport South Africa
tournament should be a good run for Rhodes Rugby as plans to
improve the sport are under way.
Head coach of Rhodes Rugby, Qondakele Sompondo, who joined the
managerial team in 2012, said: “The rugby team is on a five year plan
which started in 2012 – the idea is that by 2016 we would qualify for the
Sompondo, who is very pleased with the team’s results in 2014, said
that the way to achieve their goal is to incorporate 2015 intakes with
players from last year to create a stronger side. However, Sompondo
explained that first-years would not be given the opportunity to play
immediately for the University’s first team. According to the Rhodes
Sports Code u/19 players are not allowed to compete at university rugby
level yet as they are underage.
Sompondo appears to be supported in his plans by Magopeni, who
has ensured that last year’s administrative issues were dealt with at the
annual strategic planning workshop.
Magopeni further stated that the emphasis of this year is to improve
the service within rugby and other sports at Rhodes by ensuring that
the systems in place are more user-friendly. Despite showing his full
support, Magopeni has also put pressure on the rugby committee by
voicing his hopes to see an increase in both sign-ups and consistency in
Therefore plans to reach a new level of competition have already
started being implemented. With Intervarsity scheduled to take place
at Rhodes University this year, it will provide the University’s sports
department as well as the rugby team with an opportunity to assess
whether or not their strategic planning has begun to yield results.
Rhodes is expected to face Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University,
Walter Sisulu University and the University of Fort Hare at the annual
Former Springbok champions athletic supplements
According to SuperSport presenter and
former Springbok rugby player Warren
Brosnihan, natural-based supplements and
omega-3 vitamins are important tools for
athletes seeking to maintain their physical
health. Speaking at Rhodes University last
month, Brosnihan also warned against the
younger generation’s tendency to take shortcuts in their search for quick fixes.
While Brosnihan used his speech as a
platform to promote the products distributed
by the nutritional supplement company that
he works for, he also took the opportunity to
encourage athletes to face challenges in life
and sport with a positive attitude.
Brosnihan has enjoyed a successful career
in professional rugby that included playing
for the Sharks and the Blue Bulls as well as
earning six Springbok test caps. However, he
is now using his extensive knowledge of nutrition to educate fellow athletes on the best ways
to sustain a healthy sporting lifestyle.
While Brosnihan did not condemn the
use of supplements in sports, he came out
strongly against the modern culture of
loading supplements with chemicals. Instead,
Brosnihan urged athletes to use products
that are “based in nature and backed
Brosnihan also cited omega-3 as the most
important and underrated nutrient for
athletes. Personal trainer at the Rhodes gym,
Dusty Zeisberger, concurred with Brosnihan’s
claim, saying that omega-3 is essential for the
body’s recovery from inflammation.
However, while Brosnihan emphasised
the importance of omega-3 for young sports
stars, there are alternative aspects to a healthy
athletic career. Rhodes student Litha Nqolo,
who represented the South-Western Districts
in u/18 hockey last year, claimed that his
coaches instead emphasised energy drinks and
a healthy sleep routine.
Brosnihan also came out strongly against
the use of steroids by athletes, saying: “If the
road you are taking is a shortcut, then there
are going to be potholes in it.”
Clearly not one to sympathise with laziness, Brosnihan also slammed the impact of
modern technology on South African youth.
“We’re living in a world where the younger
generation wants instantaneous results. It’s
almost ‘Push a button; get a result’. We’ve got
so much social media that when a kid dresses
up to play soccer, he ends up in front of the
television,” he said.
He did add, however, that athletes need not
avoid all modern habits. He said, for example,
that occasionally indulging in junk food is not
entirely bad for one’s health, adding that players’ fitness depends on routine habits, rather
than what they do every once in a while.
Brosnihan generally emphasised the
importance of healthy living supported by a
sufficient nutrient intake, condemning the use
of steroids as a shortcut.
The former Springbok flank also strongly
asserted that hard work and positivity are also
important elements in the lifestyle of any serious athlete.
Ntuthuko Mlondo and Gabi Bellairs-Lombard
While Rhodes offers an existing soccer league,
more and more players are forming their own
informal leagues on campus, particularly between
residences. Since the start of term, residences have
already played several games against each other
that they have organised themselves.
Sergio De Souza and Jackey Molaba, two players from Cory House taking part in these informal
matches, said that these games are not being set up to
rebel against any existing regulations, but are simply
a means of gathering together a group of players and
enjoying the game they love. They added that the
games were a way for players to bond socially. De
Souza and Molaba further explained that these games
serve as warm-ups prior to the new season.
According to Molaba, there has been a recent
change in the management of the residence team, including the acquisition of a new coach who has connections to the local soccer scene. These connections
have resulted in the coach setting up games between
local teams and various Rhodes residence teams.
Molaba also explained that games organised
outside of the Rhodes structure are usually booked
by the captains of the respective teams and that they
have reached an agreement to book the field well in
advance so as to avoid any interferences with games
that operate within the existing structure.
Manager of the Rhodes First XI soccer team, Kudzi
Nzombe, further added that it is good for Rhodes
residences to socialize and form a sense of unity.
However, he said that it is hard to prepare games due
to a lack of fields and their availability, especially
since there are other sporting activities happening
all the time.
Nzombe said that the organisation of these informal soccer games “is a double-edged sword”: while
they are good for bonding, there is a chance that they
could deviate from the set structure as they do not
necessarily follow protocol.
Overall, the informal soccer matches organised by
campus residences will see Internal League participants benefiting from team-bonding prior to official
games, providing the sense of strength and unity that
is always necessary on the field.