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Humans vs. Zombies set for campus


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Pop culture mags down and out


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Revamp planned for Mandela capture site

Edition 8, 25 August 2011

Arch traders served with eviction notice
After more than a decade of peaceful trading in front of the Drostdy Arch, entrepreneurs have been ordered to vacate the heritage site
Tarryn de Kock

“Farewell boet Fazzie”

Roxanne Henderson


here are many things that Rhodes students know about the Drostdy Arch. One is the myth that if you pass between the twin wooden poles at the Arch, you will fail your first year. Another is the nearpermanent presence of the traders outside the Arch who often sit and sell their wares in the sun, cold and wind. Many can appreciate the beauty and skill present in their work: jewellery, hats, handmade leather bags, shoes and other items crafted every day and sold to a market comprised largely of students and tourists. Many Rhodes students believe that the area outside the Drostdy Arch is the property of Rhodes University, when in fact it belongs to the Albany Museum. Over recent weeks this short stretch of land has become the focus of a conflict between traders, the municipality and the museum. These traders have been served an eviction notice by the Albany Museum and ordered to vacate the property on the grounds that where they are currently situated is not a trading site. There is a municipal by-law, applicable to the whole of Grahamstown, stating that no trading may take place at a heritage site such as Drostdy Arch. The manager of the Albany Museum, Bongani Mgijima, said that he had nothing personal against the traders. Mgijima understands they were there trying to eke out an honest living. “However, they are in violation of two laws, and aside from that, there is no way to regulate the presence of the traders because of the fact that their presence at the Arch is not legal,” Mgijima said. “This is out of my hands.” The second law also has to do with location: the Arch is located at a traffic

intersection. Informal trading (such as hawking) is forbidden within five kilometres of an intersection. It poses a danger to traders, pedestrians and motorists. Mgijima says he is unable to allow the trading to continue, because hawkers gathered there to sell without requesting the permission of the museum. They can’t be protected as they are not trading in a legal spot. Mgijima said that he had met several times with the traders and twice before the National Arts Festival (NAF). He agreed to allow them a grace period during the NAF because of the money that stood to be made by the traders at the Festival. After this they met again, at which point the traders were offered endorsement letters by the museum to back their application to the municipality for a new trading spot. Mgijima also stated that the museum was willing to assist the traders in putting together a marketing plan to ensure they did not lose valuable clientele. However, Nothemba Makinana, one of the traders, is upset because they have been selling at the Arch for more than a decade. She herself has been trading there since 1992. She refers to the words of former President Thabo Mbeki: “Vuk’uzenzele”, which means, ‘Get up and do it for yourself ’. “We have been here for so long and we are doing an honest thing by working here every day,” she said. “Why should this change now?” One of the traders, Qondiswa Ndwayana, has been working there to support her daughter, who is now finishing high school. She said she was deeply saddened by the letter because the traders had no other place to trade where they were as visible and had as much potential to sell their wares.

Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel, attended the funeral of Henry Fazzie on Saturday in Alexandria. Fazzie was a founding member of the Umkhonto Wesizwe and a celebrated ANC stalwart. He passed away in hospital in Port Alfred on Sunday 14 August after a short illness. Manuel presented the poem “So is my life” by Pablo Neruda in his honour to a large congregation

New residence names await approval
Athina May The three new Hilltop residences, as well as New Res 2 (NR2), have returned to the drawing board and are continuing the process of name selection for their residences. The renaming process was approved on 8 August, following a procedure created by the Rhodes Naming Committee. Previously there was a delay in the renaming of NR2 due to a disagreement of names by the residence and the Naming Committee. “The University is sensitive about names because they want to embrace diversity and create an institute of culture,” said Kimberly Hall Warden Dr James Gambiza. “Chris Hani and Piet Retief alongside each other is the epitome of diversity,” he said. The Naming Committee states on the Rhodes website that, “Names proposed by members of a particular residence have been questioned at higher levels of authority. This has led to delays and frustration.” This contributed to the prolonging of the renaming. “Students were initially upset about the decline of our first choice in residence name and the delay in re-naming [NR2] as we already went through the whole process of voting,” said NR2 Senior Student Vuyokazi Burwana. “The Vice Chancellor and Deputy Chancellor came to our residence and spoke to us about the delay. We then understood what they want to achieve,” she said. Names were submitted by staff and students to the Naming Committee, and names which met all the stipulated requirements were then listed and given to the respective residences to choose between. “Each residence was given a list of 30 senate approved names to choose from,” said Gambiza. The residences then followed a democratic process allowing each student to vote for their preferred name. NR2 allocated two nights in which the voting process could take place and each person was permitted to choose two names they preferred from the given list. The residence then submitted two names as their first and second choice to the naming committee. “[The] top three name choices were Rosa Parks, Miriam Makeba and Fatima Meer,” said Burwana. “New Res 1 and Hilltop were given the same set of Senate approved names,” said Registrar Dr. Stephen Fourie. “The two houses recommended the same name but fortunately both had alternate recommendations,” Fourie said. No names have been finalised yet. The naming of the houses will go ahead after the senate has approved the names on 2 September.


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SA Campus News
Compiled by Senior Reporter Khangelani Dziba

TUT placed under administration
The Tshwane University of Technology has been placed under administration after recent controversy surrounding newly appointed Vice Chancellor Professor Johnny Molefe. The decision was supported by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the South African Union of Students. This comes after DA Education Spokesperson Junita KloppersLourens requested that Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, prevent the then acting VC, Molefe, from being employed full-time. It is alleged that Molefe contravened the Higher Education Act when he presented an unrecognised doctorate when he initially applied for the position. Acting Director General Gwebinkundla Qonde said the controversy surrounding Molefe had compromised the university’s academic integrity and reputation.

Undead expected to rise in Grahamstown: Humans vs. Zombies comes to Rhodes
Kyla Hazell Rhodents have been urged to “Join the Resistance” in light of a Zombie Attack Warning released on Facebook earlier this month. It is feared that Grahamstown is soon to be overrun by the undead and students are advised to mark their socks. Humans vs. Zombies is coming to campus. Essentially an extended game of tag scheduled for the final week of term, Humans vs Zombies will see classmates turned enemies as the University is divided into two opposing teams. During the game, zombies will try to take as many humans into their ranks as possible by ‘eating’ or tagging a nonzombie player. As the week progresses, the odds against mankind increase and humans will have to band together and take part in missions to survive. “The game started in America and was initially designed for Nerf guns which shoot small rubber missiles,” explained William Walters, one of the event organisers. “It’s since been played in army barracks, in schools and on campuses all over the world. We thought it looked cool so decided to run with it.” Precautions are being taken to make the week as safe as possible. Humans will be armed only with Anti Undead Projectiles – clean, rolled-up, un-modified socks that stun the zombies upon a direct hit. “We’re going to have a sock trading store in the English department and probably also a Lost and Found. I’d recommend that people label theirs!” Walters said. In keeping with University regulations, although this is not an official University event, it has been given the go ahead by the Dean of Students Office. Steve Ringman, Seattle Times

Nine Rhodes students are this year’s Brightest Young Mind(s)
Athina May

Pic sourced


ine students out of 85 nationally picked candidates, chosen to participate at this year’s annual Brightest Young Mind Summit, were students at Rhodes University. The summit, that took place in Johannesburg from 4 to 9 July, brings together “the country’s brightest minds” for a week-long conference that works towards innovative solutions to problems facing South Africa. According to the summit’s website, “Delegates must all be between the ages of 20 and 30 years and are selected based on criteria of innovation, leadership and academic accomplishment.” The aim of the summit, of which this year’s theme was Climate for Change,

is to get young academics from various fields of study to brainstorm ideas based on a certain theme through a week long course, to bring about sustainable change. Amongst the ideas required to be submitted by candidate groups during the summit, eight are chosen by a panel of judges to be presented to the summit’s sponsoring companies, such as BMW, Vodacom, Media24 and Dimesion Data. Anesu Chingono, a Postgraduate Diploma in Media Management (PDMM) student, presented an idea that was chosen as one of these eight. Other Rhodes candidates who attended this year’s BYM summit are Patrick Curran, Bruce Haynes, Christie Morford, Olek Kaminsky, Liza Smith, Gcobani Qambela, John Rob Pool and Alexandre Lenferna.

“Through BYM you can get a broader perspective on the corporate world and create good connections,” said Lenferna, Second Year Masters Philosophy student. “I also found a developed company called T-Systems eager to take on my idea.” “It is a privilege to be a part of the BYM summit,” said Chingono. “BYM is a melting pot of diverse thinking people from different backgrounds. It provides people with a platform to tackle issues [in our country].” “BYM teaches you that you are a positive change agents,” said Pool, a Biodiversity and Conservation Honours student. He said that through BYM one can develop a responsibility for one’s country.

This year’s Bright Young Mind summit was held in Johannesburg. Students from across the country were invited to brainstorm ideas for social change Pic sourced

Durban University of Technology recently hosted the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) at their Steve Biko campus where students were offered opportunities to further their careers in the nation’s army. Marketing and Recruiting Officer Colonel N.P. Mkutuka said the aim was to inform the youth of the opportunities available in the SANDF and to deconstruct false perceptions about the army. “The SANDF is not about shooting only, there are other avenues to be explored here,” said Mkutuka. Other speakers included representatives from the SA Army, the SA Air Force and the SA Navy. Their message was aimed at exposing the opportunities available in departments such as engineering, human resources, health and catering amongst other careers. They also offered a two-year programme which offers students study bursaries with the assurance of a permanent job in the SANDF.

The Seattle campus of the University of Washington is just one of many universities around the world that have participated in the thrill of Humans vs Zombies “The organizing committee have taken great pains to ensure that we are not disruptive,” said Zombie Apocalypse Consultant Amy Goodenough. “Larissa [Klazinga] was happy with the measures the committee have taken, and promised to inform Viv[ian de Klerk], so that everyone who needs to know what's going on does,” she said. Moderators in orange bandanas will be visible on campus and available to resolve any disputes that may arise during the course of play. The Campus Protection Unit (CPU) will also be informed of what is taking place. “We don't want CPU getting worried when there are twenty students screaming “Brains!” and running after one terrified survivor,” Goodenough said. “It’s really just about having fun and making friends,” Walters said. “We don’t want anybody to panic.” Registration figures continue to rise as Zombie fever takes hold. “We were originally aiming to have about 50 people playing, but are already looking at over 200 who want to take part! It’s creating quite a buzz,” Walters said. At the time of going to print 342 people had registered on the website. “It’s going to be so epic. Sort of like one major adult game of tag,” said Melanie Herholdt, a First Year BA student who has registered to play. “We hope it will be a safe, fun, hilarious apocalypse,” said Goodenough. Walters hinted that an End of the World party can be expected to mark the close of third term and mourn the fall of mankind. Walters added that it is vital for players to attend Safety Meetings where important information will be given. To get involved, players register on the site http://rhodes.hvzsource.com/ register.php which can be accessed directly or via the “They are Coming…” Facebook event. Rules and further details of play can be found on the website.

Rhodes hosts annual HIV/AIDS Awareness Week
Fundi Ndlovu This year’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Week is aimed at promoting prevention, testing and treatment amongst students in an effort to ‘spread the word and not the virus’. Student Services Officer Larissa Klazinga said, “HIV awareness is an area that is poorly addressed in Rhodes University.” “You may find this hard to believe but a lot of students hate condoms, they hate touching them and they feel ashamed whenever they look at them,” explained the Student HIV/AIDS Resistance Campaign (SHARC) Health Monitor, Mbongeni Ngwenya. The week began with the ‘Lover and Another’ poetry slam which took place on Sunday, followed by other events such as a sexpo, a candle light vigil, a same-sex safe sex talk hosted by OutRhodes, and a ‘wear red day’. Furthermore, a ‘go red wall and carpet’ has been placed in the library quad where students are encrouaged to write messages or place hand prints on the wall. SHARC President Tamarin Perks, said, “all we ask of students is to spread the word not the virus, to be aware of what we are doing and help out wherever they can. It is also their responsibility to get tested during the week.” Diana Hornby, the Director of Commu-

That’s RUDE: new student publication to be launched online
Lebogang Tlou The world of digital media in Grahamstown is set for a very ‘rude’ awakening with the launch of a new online news publication, Rude Magazine on the web. According to Alex Gaillard, one of the people behind the concept of Rude Magazine, the focus of the online publication will be on producing content that is entertaining and “off the wall” with stories submitted by students. “The hope is that the magazine will provide a platform for many journalism students to flex their creative muscles in terms of content - as our rules and ideals for the kind of content we will allow is quite flexible,” Gaillard said. “The official launch is not yet set in stone, but we hope to have the site launched by the end of next week,” he continued. The website, open to anyone to visit, will also incorporate diverse content in different forms of media, including writing, videos and photography. The site is managed by a group of Rhodes University Post-Graduate Enterprise Management students, but is open to input from students across the country.

BA vs. BJourn pricing myth debunked
Joshua Oates Rumours that students registered for a BA degree (with Journalism as a major) pay less than those studying towards a BJourn degree, have been discredited by the Rhodes Journalism and Media Studies (JMS) Department. “The price for the use of equipment is added to the BA so that it equals the BJourn fees,” said Belinda De Lange, Administration Manager at the JMS Department. The Tuition Fees document available on the Rhodes website states that “a student not registered for a BJourn degree who takes the Journalism 2, 3 or 4 course will be charged the tuition fee for the Journalism 2, 3 or 4 degree.” In addition, the price a student pays for their third and fourth year of the JMS course is equal regardless of their chosen specialisation. JMS students are required to choose between specialising in Radio, TV, Communication Design, Photo Journalism and Writing and Editing in their third year. Rumours that Writing and Editing students can claim a rebate from the Department because they do not hire specialised equipment were also debunked. “Writing students have 24 hour access to the Department’s computer labs,” said De Lange, adding that the computer equipment is “state of the art” with 24-hour access to fast internet and online resources that make up for the ‘extra’ fees paid by those students. The Department works on a ‘rollover’ system whereby new equipment is replaced every four years. “Video equipment is expensive but it needs to be paid off,” said De Lange. The University does not aid the Department when it comes to repaying the loans that it lends to them.

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nity Engagement said, “those working and studying at Rhodes are privileged and have the agency to shape a gentler, more equitable society.” “We hope the events, talks, activities, publications and posters will motivate individuals and groups to use their power, capacities and networks to make a difference and become agents of change,” she said. According to Perks, SHARC seeks to stop the spread of HIV, aid those already infected, and work to de-stigmatise the virus. “We just want there to be awareness all over campus and have an awesome HIV/ AIDS awareness week,” she said prior to the week’s launch.

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UCT student entrepreneur breaks record
A recent project initiated by students studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship (PDE) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) has seen a loan of R50 make a record turnover of R200 000. The course, offered to a diverse group of students, some of whom have no prior business knowledge, aims to teach students how to build a successful business in the space of a year. “What I like about this programme is its ability to take young people and, in a short time and accelerated manner, turn them into successful entrepreneurs,” said lecturer and course convenor Stuart Hendry. “The underlying problem in this country is unemployment, and entrepreneurship is the way to go,” he said.

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Muslim students on campus have been using the Oppidan Dining Hall to break their fast during the month of Ramadan. During this time, Muslim students fast during the day and come together after sunset for the evening meal. The main objective of the fast is to bring Muslims closer to God, and to remind themselves of His omnipotence. The fast ends with the celebration of Eid, which, because the faith runs according to a lunar calendar, will fall either on 30 or 31 August (after the sighting of the moon). The Muslim Students Society (MSA) is organising a lunch on Eid day where Muslim students will gather to celebrate the end of the fast.

Smoke from a wildfire envelopes a vehicle just outside Grahamstown along the N2. This blocked the visibility on the road before the Grahamstown Fire Department had successfully managed to control the blaze.

4 The Oppidan Press 25.08.11


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A home away from home
Michelle Cunliffe


The Oppidan Press 25.08.11 5

Binwe Adebayo

A global network that is truly global
Ashley Brown


Kirsten Makin

magine going to a new country, or even a new continent to study, leaving behind your parents, friends, home and culture as well as a language that you are accustomed to. Well, that’s what 20% of students at Rhodes have done. They have left all that they are familiar with to come and study here. What better way to experience life in another country than by studying with a number of people from diverse countries? The majority of international students come from Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries. Other international students come from places like Russia, China, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, Pakistan and several countries in Europe. So, why is there such a large number of international students? According to Orla Quinlan, the Director of Rhodes University’s International Office, there is a general recognition that internationalisation is a key component of education quality in a higher education institution. She also went on to say that,“challenges facing our world today do not recognise national boundaries. Poverty, climate change, security, malaria, HIV/AIDs and many other aspects of our lives are global in nature. Solutions will require working collaboratively across boundaries. Many networks are formed when students from different countries study together. These can be very beneficial in later life for example, when professionals want to engage in collaborative programmes or research.” Having international students is an

The Rhodes International office is located in Eden Grove. asset, as students adopt different perspectives from each other and everyone benefits. So clearly, having so many international students is a great thing for Rhodes, but the question is why do students choose to come to South Africa, and why Rhodes specifically? As an international student I have been asked those two questions several times, and I posed the same questions to Vimbai Midzi from Zimbabwe. Midzi said that not only is Rhodes affordable but it is also close to home. She also said that Rhodes has an amazing reputation for Journalism and Media Studies which was an added incentive for her. Midzi finished off by saying “at Rhodes, no matter who you are –you will find a place to fit in, there is always someone to relate to”. Rhodes is very welcoming to international students, I know this from experience: international students are offered the same range of services as all South African students, making them feel more at home. The International Office also organises advice on medical aid schemes, through independent consultants, and support on visas, as well as a range of activities that highlight the amazing diversity that Rhodes benefits from, for example the International Day parade. What if an international student isn’t coping well or needs support? An International Student’s Support Group has been initiated by the RU Counselling Centre especially for the group meets at 11:00 on Fridays at the Health Care Centre. Another interesting aspect about Rhodes is that there is an exchange programme that allows students from a number of different countries to come and study at Rhodes. Taylor Shaw, from Kentucky in the US, is here on an exchange programme. When asked why she chose South Africa she said that Rhodes offers a good volunteer programme, which appealed to her. She was also happy that no additional costs were incurred in terms of tuition fees. Shaw also said that she immediately felt very welcome as everyone at the International Office was extremely helpful. In terms of culture, Shaw felt that Rhodes is much more diverse than the university she is from. She also believes that there is a stark difference between what is portrayed in the media and the actual reality in South Africa. She said that had she not done her research on South Africa she would have had very different expectations. Although there are well-off students on campus, this does not apply to the whole country. She believes poverty seems to be more recognised in SA as a whole. “Back home there is poverty but people choose to ignore it, but here the townships are so close that poverty is much more acknowledged,” said Shaw. She gets to see both sides of Africa and not what is simply portrayed in the media. The International Office also encourages and supports outgoing student exchange programmes, and the options in the International Office in Eden Grove will remain on display. Rhodes seems to be building up a stable, sure and impressive reputation when it comes to international students.

“...at Rhodes, no matter who you are –you will find a place to fit in, there is always someone to relate to”.

Should we all be freegin’ Freegans?
Bakhulule Maluleka Picked up any litter recently? Picked up a chair, or a nice mattress or a loaf of bread? Probably not... You’re probably the one who threw them away. Most of us don’t even recycle. It’s things like this (and, perhaps, people like you) that have driven some to the point that many see as being “of no return”. Ask the Freegans. Through the eyes of conventional society, Freeganism is an anti-establishment, hippy form of being a hobo: voluntary hobo-ism. But it’s more than that. Freegans have an ethos and a sense of justice that far surpasses most of the masses. “After years of trying to boycott products from unethical corporations responsible for human rights and other violations... We came to realise that the problem isn’t just a few bad corporations but the entire system itself,” reads part of the manifesto on their website (http://freeganism.info). Freeganism, according to the same manifesto, is a total boycott of an economic system where profit has eclipsed ethical considerations and where most production processes are so complex, that something wrong is being done. At any point in time, any component of a product created with the purest economic intent can have an unethical or illicit means of production. Freegans employ a range of strategies for practical living based on their principles. Waste reclamation is founded on the notion that affluent societies have so much waste that people can be fed and supported simply on its trash. Freegans forage instead of buying, and regular ‘dumpster dives’ and similar activities are organised to collect food that would have gone to waste. According to Freegans, despite our society’s taboos about garbage, the goods they recover are safe, useable, clean and in perfect or near-perfect condition. Freegans also use eco-friendly forms of transportation and support rent-free housing. Is this dope? I don’t think I can answer that conclusively this time around. I admire the spirit in which the Freegans are going about their business - it is the epitome of a return to a more natural life. But is there really space for most of us to do this? Could we all abandon Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nestle and Kraft Foods on a whim?

he United Nations (UN) has issued a new basic human right: access to the internet. As most of the developed world is already connected to the web, the UN is hoping to extend this “right” to the rest and form a virtual global community. They have also asked all members of the UN assembly not to pass any laws that have the power to cut people off from the internet – especially singling out England and France due to the recent strikes. The report issued by the UN comes from the hands of Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. In it, La Rue expresses his concerns over several recent internet misdemeanours. These include the uninformed blocking and filtering of internet traffic, restrictive laws during strikes and riots in England and France, and complete internet blackouts during political unrest in countries such as Syria and Egypt. However, the passing of this right

comes with its own problems. As other basic human rights to water, shelter, food, education, etc. are barely met - it can hardly be expected of the UN to try and focus more efforts on connecting the world to the internet. Recent figures show that 30.2% of the world has access to the internet; whereas 40% of the population is left without safe drinking water. Water is essential to survival, with over 3 million people dying each year due to lack of clean water. More people have access to cellular phones in the world than access to basic sanitation. Even in South Africa, we are affected yearly with water shortage problems, less than lack of internet. “It’s not practical...most people in non-developed countries don’t even have electricity, how will they connect to the internet?” said Jessica Greaves, a joint Honours student in Information Systems and Environmental Sciences. Though the internet is a wonderful resource to have, it is more of a want than a need. The internet cannot give you safe drinking water, nor a roof over your head. Perhaps the UN should first try to

Recent statistics from Internet World Stats show that Africa is behind the rest of world in terms of internet penetration - a problem if an internet connection is now a human right. solve some of the other global problems, before trying to get us all connected to the World Wide Web.

Obituary: the SA pop culture magazine
Wilhelmina Maboja boy Paul, Brenda Fassie and TKZee to launch themselves into the bubbling South African music scene. For more than five years, Student When looking at Ymag’s postLife Magazine, also known as SL mortem results today, it is clear that the Magazine, has been keeping the same malignant cancer that suddenly glossy magazines stiff-lipped as it wiped it clean off the map, has wriggled jabbed shoulders with them on retail its way into similar publications. It shelves. Of all the things you could started them off with cold sweats of have in your shopping trolley, having dwindling distribution figures before fia copy of SL Magazine next to your nally striking them down. The remnants can of meatballs instantly made you of these magazines now only exist in the uber-cool. The magazine’s content collective memory of its readers who was smart, with ballsy features could identify with their ideas. about youth culture and dramatic Online magazines shared the same photo spreads. Because of the free fate. There was mass mourning for the compilation CD that each monthly much-loved Hayibo.com, which decidissue came with, you could recite ed to close shop in September 2010 after the names of SA bands just like your years of sharp mud-slinging and satire English teacher on current affairs. could recite Luckily, its punchy SL’s demise was the soliloquies from return prevented indication of a dark Shakespeare. pools of blood on SL Magazine computer keytrend following these took you to the boards nationwide. showerless tentSimilarly, Laugh publications: SA pop lifestyle in the culture magazines have It Off ’s online to bushveld during website seemed the Oppikoppi become a dying breed. be filled with more festival to standing cobwebs and dust in the queue at the Chris Hani Baragbunnies ever since its infamous case, in wanath Hospital, next to a man with a which the T-shirt maker was accused dripping stab wound after a Chiefs vs. of defamation for its whimsical “Black Pirates soccer match. Labour, White Guilt” t-shirt by beer It was a shock, then, when SL brewer SABMiller. The annual release of Magazine burnt into embers and died their book is not enough to capture the in 2009, and left magazine shelves coun- nub of a constantly changing SA youth trywide void of any wit and creative grit culture. Compared to others, indepenthat summed up South African youth dent powerhouse One Small Seed’s price culture. And it wasn’t the only one that tag for each quarterly magazine is too had somehow gone under. SL’s demise steep for the student budget to exemwas the indication of a dark trend plify SA pop culture. following these publications: SA pop A generation without its own magaculture magazines have become a dying zine is like a finger without its unique breed. print. The purpose of the magazine is to It was not so long ago that Ymag, the represent and house that very generawell-known magazine component of tion’s ideas. They aren’t just periodicals black youth-targeted radio station Yfm, with illustration and text. Their uniqueused to define “Kasi Kulture” to a tee. It ness comes in the fact that they can was the platform for the likes of Rudehave a feature story on the dangers of

Kirsten Makin The international office goes a long way in encouraging ‘internationalisation’ at Rhodes

The ghost in the machine
Athina May Watching Tim Chey’s movie The Genius Club, I waited expectantly to hear the seven geniuses’ answer to a question which would decide whether or not they’d face a nuclear explosion. The question posed was, “Why does printer oil cost so much?” And the answer given was that companies produce machinery that fails so that consumers have to come back and replace their faulty products. r Bake I thought: surely the David nuclear bomb would blow up the US. But to my (disheartening) surprise, the geniuses gained 15 points. That made me ponder on the subject and it came to my realisation that the group was right. During first semester alone my hair iron had been repaired twice and I had already bought my seven month old phone a new battery. Ever heard the saying “They just don’t make ‘em like they use to?” Well, that’s true about most products we use today. “Everyone is competitive and they try to produce products as cheaply as possible,” says Rhodes University Electrical Manager Wally Bufe. “This makes for lots of disposable products nowadays.” MP3 players, cell phones, computers and cartridge ink jets are some examples of ‘built to fail’ machinery. This machinery is either built to stop working after a pre-determined period of time or it’s built with poor components (such as lithium cell phone batteries) which will ensure that the producer will always have a consumer market. This is called ‘planned obsolescence’. “Most cell phone problems occur within the first two years the cell phone is bought,” says MTN franchise store manager Leachima Olifant. “We receive 13-14 cell phones in for repairs daily.” “Laptops with factory flaws are quite eminent. Some would come back for repairs after a couple of months or even weeks,” says Mark Sunners, a sales assistant at The Insight Store. The second biggest computer company in the world, Dell Computers had a 97% chance of failing due to bad capacitors in 2005. Dell sales staff were told to mislead customers about failures, according to released documents stated in the article Built to Fail on the Daily Tech website. The University of Texas purchased a large amount of computers from the computer company and every single one went bad at the same time. Dell blamed the University for “overtaxing the machines”, but evidence shows that the failures were caused by faulty electrical parts that leaked chemicals. ‘Planned obsolescence’ does not only negatively affect our pockets but it also negatively affects our environment. Ink cartridges, for example, do not only cost almost as much as an actual printer but it also takes “three quarts of oil and 2.5 pounds of plastic to make,” states the Daily Green website. By printing less, greyscaling pictures when printing, as well as buying ink refill packs, you can save both ink and money. For faulty cell phone batteries, offthe-market batteries could work (just because it’s not original does not mean it will not work just as well). A sign of ‘planned obsolescence’ is a short warranty, so take caution to check your warranty as a ‘bargain’ may end up causing you plenty of headaches in the future.

Ain’t nothing like good weather
Bakhulule Maluleka Grahamstown has been known as the locus of more than a few droughts in its day, but recently we’ve been blessed with a slew of good weather, leaving our dams full and our rivers bursting. How is the recent change in weather impacting on those who rely on rain and good soil? We spoke to Jocelyn Coldrey, the head of Masincedane student society which assists in the upkeep of a community-based soup kitchen and its garden. Apart from children’s workshops and bread-making initiatives, the society is heavily involved with gardening. The society is linked with Common Ground, another community-based society, through their mutual interest in creating sustainable community cooperatives. According to Coldrey, the current rainstorms have flooded many houses in the area even though they have left the soil softer and easier to manipulate. “Because Grahamstown has been prone to drought over the last decade or so, the drainage systems can’t cope with this much water, making everything rather soggy,” she says. While the drought lasted, the soup kitchen was lucky enough to have a rain tank full of water, which was routinely topped-up with water collected through several condensation flasks. Coldrey says that there are no measures currently in place in case the weather turns bad again, but they are working with Common Ground and their community partners to set up a system. It seems that the good weather came as a surprise to many and preparations for the rain were underway while the weather itself was persisting. Apart from the few flooded houses, let’s hope the municipality has made further plans just in case things turn sour. Jonathan Jones

Pic sourced Ymag and SL are two of the magazines that left a dent in SA’s pop culture scene. Below: Laugh It Off got into trouble with SABMiller over their ‘Black labour, white guilt’ t-shirt t-shirt

Pic sourced fast food and have a McDonald’s advert on the adjacent page. No other periodical can master such skillful subtleties quite like a magazine can. Having no magazine to represent our generation’s popular culture should be enough to have us down tools and streak magazine shelves of retailers with toilet paper until they are replaced. Until then, we’ll keep our handkerchiefs

Bruce Haynes, founder and chairperson of Common Ground, working in the Masincedane Soup Kitchen’s vegetable garden

Pic sourced neatly pressed and await the next magazine to kick the bucket.

6 The Oppidan Press 25.08.11


Do you have something to add? Email politics@theoppidanpress.com
Lauren Granger

Do you have something to add? Email politics@theoppidanpress.com

of us and should be given right of way. Their jobs are so much more significant. Every day they are responsible for the lives of many South Africans. Of course, her job and every other minister’s job has been hindered by ordinary South Africans travelling to work every day. Many people have not taken too kindly to Pokolo’s status. Melissa Anderson, a Rhodes graduate living in Johannesburg, was not too impressed with the deputy minister’s status. “So we must be ayoba and use public transport? How can she be so pretentious? It’s alright for her to drive her brand new Mercedes SLK while everyone else must buy bikes and use public transport. She should be the one to set an example and use the Gautrain.” Michael Mokobi, a Fourth Year Rhodes student, also from Johannesburg, said he had nothing against our public transport system, but that it should be more reliable. When asked whether the deputy minister should have right of way, he said, “No not at all. Her job is to be on time just like the rest of us. That means calculating when to wake up and what route to take like everyone else. She cannot be an exception.” In the future, Pokolo should be a little more wary when updating her Facebook status. As a public figure she is vulnerable to constant scrutiny by fellow South Africans. And as many of us know all too well, our Facebook page is not private. However, I would like to offer a solution to Pokolo’s problem. In fact she has clearly outlined the solution herself and I wouldn’t like to take credit for her work. But maybe Pokolo could use the Gautrain. Show South Africans the faith you have in our multi-million Rand public transport system and set an example. Then tell us about your speedy trip to work with a Facebook status update.

The Oppidan Press 25.08.11 7

Who’s the winner after all?
Catherine Baytopp

Think before you hit that “share” button
Leigh Hermon


hree months have past since the 18 May local government elections. After all the hype that surrounded the political parties in the weeks leading up to the elections it would seem that Rhodes students have lost interest in knowing who their new ward councillor is. When asked if they knew who won the election for Ward 12, students either met me with a blank stare, or replied “I have no idea” and some said “I presume the ANC.” Few knew the real answer. After the late start at polling stations and some counting troubles, the Democratic Alliance representative Brian Fargher was elected as councillor for Ward 12, the Rhodes University ward, with 68% of votes. The DA now has four wards and six councillors in the Makana Municipality. The African National Congress still holds the majority of the power in the Makana District. So what does this mean for Ward 12 and the Makana District? Students at Rhodes University stated that they had not seen any major changes in and around campus since the election. However, it was suggested by some that the DA winning Ward 12 didn’t translate into having enough power to make any major changes in the town. Others said they were not aware of any changes, but were hopeful

that things were happening behind the scenes. The question has to be asked: should we not be made aware of any changes? Perhaps students need to become less ignorant about what is happening in the political world so as to be able to make a meaningful contribution instead of simply living in hope.

When asked if they knew who won the election for Ward 12 students either met me with a blank stare, or replied “I have no idea” while others said “I presume the ANC.” Few knew the real answer.
Fargher serves on the Social Development Standing Committee as well as the Finance & Administration Committee but assures that his first responsibility is to Ward 12. In a statement to The Oppidan Press, Fargher said, “As your elected councillor, I have given myself to making sure your city council delivers on its constitutional responsibility to provide a clean, safe, well administered home to its citizens.” Currently, Fargher and his team have been involved in committee meetings and working through policies and legislation

documents. They hope to gradually expose and remove any faults and lack of professionalism in the system, but hopes the new council will begin to make real changes. The six DA representatives, including three that have had no previous political experience, have been undergoing training by “legal experts” which they hope will help them with the challenges that lie ahead. The long-term goals of the newly elected council include drastically improving the infrastructure in Makana and around campus, especially water, roads and electricity. They are also working on bettering the financial situation of Makana and are hoping for the first “clean audit in eight years.” Fargher states that these two goals are no doubt going to prove quite challenging for him and the municipality. If you would like to contact Many students are unaware that Brian Fargher of the Fargher he is available at farDemocratic Alliance became Ward 12 councillor after the gher@imaginet.co.za or municipal elections in May this year 082 657 4447.


dmit it. The first thing you do when you reach a computer is fire up Firefox, Internet Explorer or Google Chrome and log into Facebook. Unless you’re in the library and one of the purple monitors chases you back to the RUconnected page. How many times have you had a stirring thought about something that’s happened and felt the need to express your feelings on Facebook or Twitter? Our deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Thandi Tobias-Pokolo, recently had a profound thought about the traffic she was sitting in and shared it with everyone: “South Africans, please! Stop contributing to traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emission! Use public transport! U making us late! We are running the country! Buy

“South Africans, please! Stop contributing to traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emission! Use public transport! U making us late! We are running the country!”
bicycles, motorbikes, use the Gautrain! Please, I really beg for your indulgence! Stop being uptight, it’s not ayoba! Amandla!” The use of nine exclamation marks, one at the end of every sentence, obviously emphasises her point and makes her argument much more effective. I especially liked the use of the words ‘u’ and ‘we’ in “U making us late! We are running the country!” Ministers are clearly above the rest Pic sourced

What went wrong in Somalia?
A look at the root causes of the crisis: aid is not the answer
Leigh Hermon Johnmark Kajese The East African region is experiencing severe famine, with Somalia being the worst affected. The international community, at the behest of a United Nations led aid campaign, is seeking ways to ease the plight of those affected. Needless to say, these measures are short term. One ought to analytically and critically engage the reports made on Somalia by the dominant media houses to avoid a myopic understanding. This is crucial if African countries aim to reach at least a platform of self-sufficiency premised on long term solutions. While the provision and distribution of relief aid is crucial in cases of this magnitude, the root-causes of the famine in Somalia often go unmentioned. In pursuit of this ‘awakening’, it is crucial to point out that no amount of aid or relief efforts will permanently catapult Somalia out of the quagmire it is ensnared in. It boggles the mind that the international community is fixated on relief aid, while not addressing the real causes, some of which originate from the policies implemented by the very same people calling for aid provision. According to the Namibian based Southern Times, “The structural adjustment programmes implemented in Somalia reinforce dependency on imported grain.” Furthermore, the Southern Times points out that, “From the mid-1970’s to the mid-1980’s, food aid increased 15 fold, at the rate of 31 percent per annum. Combined with increased commercial imports, the influx of cheap surplus wheat and rice sold in the domestic market led to the displacement of local producers, as well as to a major shift in food consumption patterns to the detriment of traditional crops- maize and sorghum.” This indicates that the famine in Somalia, to some extent, is also attributable to external man-made factors such as over-harvesting. The international community led by organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF)and the World Bank have played a significant role which has contributed significantly to the famine’s effect in Somalia, but this is not mentioned or acknowledged and one has to inquire as to why this is the case. As an illustration, the Southern Times points out that, “the devaluation of the Somali shilling, imposed by the IMF in June 1981, was followed by periodic devaluations, leading to hikes in the prices of fuel, fertilizer and farm inputs. The impact on agricultural producers was immediate particularly in rain-fed agriculture, as well as in the areas of irrigated farming. In 1989 alone, debt-servicing obligations represented 194.6 percent of export earnings.” Therefore, calling for humanitarian assistance is not going to do any good in the long term for the people of Somalia. The IMF and World Bank should take responsibility and be accountable for their role in this mess. The lessons for Southern Africa from Somalia are vast, but the most crucial lesson is that dependence on anyone be it the West or Chinese - is inimical to sustainable development and consolidating democracy. Pic sourced

The ANC Youth League celebrates women

Will Obama be able to fulfill all the promises he has made before his term is over?

Obama: promises broken and kept
Matthew Kynaston US President Barack Obama recently announced his intention to stand in the next United States election in November 2012. Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States in 2008. Part of his campaign said to the public, “I want you to hold me accountable”. A very interesting website – politifact .com – has a system of measuring all the campaign promises made by Obama and seeing which of these he has kept, which he has broken, and which are still “in the pipeline” or have stagnated. Obama made more than 500 promises to the public he hoped would vote him in – more than any other presidential candidate in history. Some of these were central to his campaign policies, such as setting “strict budget caps to limit federal spending on an annual basis”. Others may not seem to be as mainstream, such as his idea for a fund to cover autism treatment, but they were promises nonetheless. Some of Obama’s pledges are in the process of being worked out, such as fully funding the debt cancellation of heavily indebted poor countries. Obama is meeting with religious and human rights activists to try and meet this promise. All in all there are 207 promises that are being worked on. There are, however, some important ones that have not been kept. Obama pledged to work with Russia to move away from keeping nuclear warheads on high alert – a stance similar to that seen during the Cold War. A chance presented itself to do so in April 2010 which was not taken. However, it is worth noting that many other promises to do with nuclear materials have been kept, such as the promise to discontinue the production of American nuclear warheads. In total Obama has broken 43 promises, kept 142 and compromised or stalled on over 100. The rest – 207 of them – are still being seen to. With little more than a year left in his presidency, Obama may have a chance to work on his public image by fulfilling some of the more important ones, such as establishing environmental and labour standards in trade agreements. This is a particularly poignant issue, with many seeing America as being representative of these values, whereas countries like China do not espouse labour standards to the same degree. Other important promises include working with schools to create healthier environments for children, doubling federal funding for cancer research, and increasing the amount of sick leave for all workers. However, many have questioned whether the US government can afford all of the things Obama has promised. After all, they recently came very close to defaulting on their debt, which would have been disastrous not only for them but also for global markets.

Siphokazi Magadla spoke at the ANCYL Women’s Month celebrations Leigh Hermon The ANC Youth League of Rhodes University hosted a gathering on Saturday 20 August, as part of their Women’s Month Programme. The meeting aimed to commemorate the march of 20 000 women to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956. The march voiced the frustrations of black women under pass laws during apartheid. Siphokazi Magadla, a junior lecturer from the Politics Department was invited to present a discussion about the role of women in society. She first screened a documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, about the protest action of Liberian women during the civil war. These female activists were a key element in bringing about peace talks in 2003 and a democratic election in 2005, which saw the inauguration of Africa’s first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia Magadla headed a discussion with the audience about women and how they can be successful agents for change. Women play a fundamental role in society that they are unaware of. In the case of Liberia, it is clearly evident that women are significant to development and change. The meeting ended with a few light snacks and a meet and greet.

Somalia is experiencing severe famine, drought and political unrest

8 The Oppidan Press 25.08.11

Arts & Entertainment
Drama students’ funding in the red?
Tarryn de Kock Many students can testify that the Rhodes Drama Department is a hub of activity, putting on at least three productions each term. Behind these productions are dedicated directing and choreography students ranging from Third Year to Masters level. However, it has become increasingly apparent that securing funding for student productions in the Department has become difficult. This is a sore spot for enthusiastic students wanting to develop exciting new works and explore their craft. The National Arts Festival, for instance, is a common platform for senior students, such as those doing their Honours and Masters, to showcase their work and build up contacts and a reputation. But even student performances on the ‘Fringe’, an open category where performers cover their own costs and receive 85% of ticket sales, has become too costly for young innovators. “Many performers are deterred from putting up productions on ‘Fringe’ because of the costs,” says Amy Wilson. Wilson and her partner, Buhle Ngaba, two Third Year students funded their production The Petticoat Chronicle between themselves, and enlisted the help of a professional director willing to work with them for free. It seems that the Drama Department itself is in a tricky position because of the limited funding it receives from the University. Budget constraints limit funding to very few student productions a year and many Drama students have to look to outside sources for funding. Madele Vermaak, a Masters student, says that the budget for Honours and Masters students’ productions is released at the start of the year, these are the productions that

Do you have something to add? Email artsandentertainment@theoppidanpress.com

Do you have something to add? Email artsandentertainment@theoppidanpress.com

“I absolutely think funding is the biggest obstacle in the way of young artists in South Africa at the moment.”
form part of the coursework. Outside funding can be sourced from the National Arts Council to cover actual degree costs. This can prove problematic because sometimes funding reaches students late in the year, when fees are expected to be fully paid up. Third Year student Sifiso Sikhakhanesays that he hasn’t experienced problems with funding, mainly because of his relationships with established theatre organisations, which have funded his work because of his volunteering past. Sikhakhane believes, however, that it isn’t an easy approach to funding because, “you need to prove yourself first.” Because funding for the arts is limited in general, there is serious competition among students to secure the funds to produce their work. In a world where appreciation of the arts is seen as the pastime of the wealthy or the quirky, the predicament faced by students poses a challenge to their ability to generate and appreciate theatre. “I absolutely think funding is the biggest obstacle in the way of young artists in South Africa at the moment,” stated Wilson unreservedly. In order to make theatre more accessible and relevant, students need some measure of financial support to explore and build on what the Drama Department equips them with in their degrees. The question is: Can we really believe that the Arts will be considered equal to the Sciences in the world of academic funding?

“If my vagina could talk it would say...”
Madien van der Merwe

Behind the Haal Asem Kwagga Tour
David Williams

Arts & Entertainment

The Oppidan Press 25.08.11 9


mong the grey stone bricks of the Nun’s Chapel walls, beneath the faces and forms of women proud to show their bodies, the voices of liberated women rang out. This year’s production of Eve Ensler’s award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues, had the audience riveted on the nights of 11 and 12 August. Performed as part of the University’s Women’s Week, the play consists of 12 monologues based on Ensler’s interviews with over 200 women (the vagina interviews) where they were finally asked questions no one thought to ask them before about their vaginas. The monologues evoked a range of responses from the audience, from shock and surprise to nervous chuckles and roaring laughter. “It challenges the old mentality that women are socially conditioned to stay at home with the children,” comments Chanel Katz, an audience member. “It has a strong message which is the most important thing.” Likewise, the cast members themselves seemed to have been deeply affected by the stories they were telling. Bea Hubbard, whose monologue was of a more sombre tone than some of the more comedic pieces, felt that the production was a very personal thing to be a part of. “It is part of my protest against the subordination of women,” she commented. The play takes place annually as a benefit performance by VDAY, an international activist organisation aiming to stop violence against women and


girls. Events such as this aim to raise money for anti-violence organisations and increase awareness about abuse, rape, incest and sex slavery. “It's hard not to be drawn into [the play’s] bold descriptions and raw honesty around a subject that many people avoid talking about,” commented Jill Moeller, director and a member of the organising committee. Over 100 seats were filled both nights, raising more than R4000 from ticket sales. This will be donated to the Raphael Centre, a local organisation which has support groups for women who have suffered from domestic abuse. A witty and thought-provoking show, The Vagina Monologues tackles gender issues head on and with a vigour that is deeply moving. As an icon of the ongoing struggle to address issues of gender equality, this production remains as relevant to modern South Africa, and the globe, as it was on its debut performance in New York nearly 15 years ago.

an Coke Kartel and Zebra & Giraffe, two of SA’s acclaimed rock acts, jammed their way to the Union as part of the Eastern Cape leg of the Haal Asem Kwagga Tour on 17 August. Before the performance, The Oppidan Press sat down with the bands in the smoke-filled Beach Bar, where Afrikaans rockers Van Coke Kartel vented the highs and lows of promoting their upcoming album between sound checks. Their fourth release seeks to have a wide variety of collaborations, inculding one with Jack Parow. When asked about how they felt about performing in Grahamstown, bassist Wynand Myburgh commented, “We played here back in 2008 at Die Taphuis which was a fairly small gig. But now I’m sure people know us from Facebook and all that other k*k, so it’s gonna be exciting.” After Zebra & Giraffe, who played at Union last year after the release of their album The Inside, finished their own sound check, the bands headed back to the tour bus, which Zebra & Giraffe drummer, Darren Leader said had “the smell of cigarettes and men”. “We’re doing a series of eight shows with the Grahamstown gig being the fifth. We love playing in Grahamstown,

it’s where we’ve had the most exciting crowd,” said front man Greg Carlin. As assorted band members grabbed a few bites of dinner, Carlin described what it was like touring with the Afrikaans rockers: “We’ve played on a lot of tours with Van Coke and it’s pretty crazy having them, as you can see.” Prepping complete, the bands made their way back to the Union. Zebra & Giraffe opened the night with an enticing instrumental that would lead to their song, “In My Eyes”, which sounded every bit as professional as on the album version. Their performance got the crowd amped, particularly favorites such as ‘Terrified’. The scene set and the crowd cheering, Van Coke Kartel stepped on stage to carry the rest of the show. The rockers kicked off with new release single, “Vir Almal” getting crowds in a mosh pit. Guitarist Jedd Kossew shredded guitar licks only to leave the audience mesmerised with his wolverine and ‘Halenesque’ style. Michael Campher, who is studying aviation at Port Alfred, shared his thoughts on the gig: “We heard of this gig through friends and I think it’s brilliant having big acts such as these guys. It’s a break away to get here to Grahamstown and to see such an awesome show,” said Campher. Second Year journalism student, Mignon Van Zyl shared her thoughts, “I think both of the bands

Binwe Adebayo

Van Coke Kartel’s Jedd Kossew (centre) jams with Zebra & Giraffe’s Greg Carlin, Alan Shenton and Andrew Maskell were brilliant but they shouldn’t have charged R50 entrance, especially in a student town.” Overall, it’s exciting for Grahamstown to become a live music playground for big acts such as these, as well as a great opportunity for Rhodents to get to enjoy South Africa’s best contemporary bands.

we recommend...
…grooving along with U.K. soul singer Joss Stone’s vivacious new album LP1. Produced by Stone’s own recently established label, Stone’d Records, LP1 comes with full on creative freedom. If you are a soul fan or enjoyed Adele’s 21, then this album will certainly soothe the post-Winehouse blues. For seriously solid musical dynamics, check out “Drive All Night,” one of the best of the many songs that have gone by that title. Stone’s proficient performance showcases a vocal range and tonal dexterity that few of her peers possess. - David Williams

A musical duel
Madien van der Merwe This year’s Live Music Society Battle of the Bands has started off with great attendance and a remarkable amount of musical talent. The annual competition has already passed through three rounds and convinced masses of students to make their way down to Slipstream Sports Bar on their Saturday nights for a variety of good tunes. “Each night the dance floor is packed with supporters and groupies,” commented Tammy Dickson, one of the organisers from LMS. Round one took place on 6 August when Frans Mothubi, Folklore and Shackles & Bones kicked off the competition, the latter of the two bands having battled it out in last year’s competition as well. Round two attracted a more intense crowd when The Devil Sent Me Back, a metal-core band, and grunge

Tall tales from the doghouse
Ben Greaves class of second-year students for poor referencing, minimal class attendance, and questionable academic practices. Prolific writer and lecturer in the “Danielle, or Danii as you now Rhodes Drama Department Dr Anton wish to be known… your Feminist Krueger, in collaboration with the reading of the discovery of gold in the poet Pravasan Pillay, has released a Witwatersrand really shook me to the comedic foray into South African core. Indeed, what if, as you pose it, culture in the form of the slick literary gold had been discovered by a woman compilation Shaggy: 14 Rather Amusing rather than a man?” he asks a student Rambles. Satirical, wacky, and at times endearingly. But the sarcasm is only outright absurd, the stories within implied. Krueger and Pillay’s characters are both titillating and, dare I say, are genuine and (perhaps too) honest, cathartic, in a country that finds it so though not always well-intentioned. The difficult to laugh at itself. university professor’s speech ends with a The 14 monologues in the book are quiet request that his students evaluate re-envisioned ‘shaggy dog stories’, a his own performance to the external format that typically features a longexaminer as ‘fairly’ as he has evaluated winded and irrelevant joke set-up theirs. In little twists of irony, “Quite followed by often these monologues a tongueturn on themselves in a “Krueger and Pillay in-cheek way,” noted Krueger. don’t so much skewer anti-climax. Durban-born poet Though a Pravasan Pillay met South African culture traditional Krueger several years shaggy ago, and so began as they gently yet dog story a partnership that doggedly needle generates has so far yielded humour by several shared works. our politically overannoying its According to Krueger, sensitive psyche.” audience, “the collaborative thing the best [is] really good” as it speeches in Shaggy deliver nothing allows them to critically evaluate each but cringe. Krueger and Pillay don’t so other's humour. Krueger, reproducing much skewer South African culture an all-too-familiar refrain among as they gently yet doggedly needle our writers, found that, while the stories politically over-sensitive psyche. In were written “in a few long days over “The Dishwasher Woman”, a pampered three months or so… they took a long woman relates her bizarre addiction to time to edit… [Pillay] said that I kept washing dishes: “Me, the Cambodian taking out all the jokes,” he added with cosmetics heiress, who never did a a laugh. The original bill included 24 stitch of work, became addicted to that stories that were carefully cut back to most base of domestic chores. Many is 14, but nothing feels missing or out of the time I would stoop to bribing the place. And the overly-academic tone, maids to let me wash the dishes!” though monotonous at times, creates a In “The Assessment”, a nameless consistent authorial voice throughout university professor congratulates a the book, so that any one piece never strays far from the sardonic intentions of the authors. Rarely do you find such a thoughtprovoking and frankly cheeky book so close to home (both literally and culturally). The pages are positively varnished in a delicious sarcasm that can only delight the truly mischievous among us. Shaggy can be purchased at Van Schaik Bookstores on High Street or online at www.redpepperbooks.co.za.

…watching The Bang Bang Club, which tells the remarkable story of four white photojournalists who head into the townships to capture the violence of a community in the last days of apartheid rule. Filmed in and around Johannesburg, the film authentically blends documentary and fictional film styles to create an intriguing and raw film that’s a must-see for all South Africans. Issues of political violence, apartheid, and social upheaval are addressed in this compelling search for the truth behind the South African psyche. - Tarryn de Kock

rockers Counting Backwards took the stage. For an entrancing contrast, One Shushu Day provided the audience with some cool jazz. Lu-Fuki made their debut performance at Round 3 and were followed by Grahamstown favourites The Modern age and the hardcore group Kill the Witness. Each band performs a 20 minute set and is judged on five categories: stage presence, technicality, unity, professionalism and song composition. This gives them a total mark out of 50. The top bands from each of the first three rounds will be announced this week , after which they will proceed to the final round at Slipstream on 3 September, where the CD from last year’s competition will be released as well. The winning band receives the opportunity to record at Sonic Art Studio, as well as produce a music video. Entrance is free for LMS members and R10 for non-members. Kate Janse van Rensburg

…reading China Mieville’s latest science fiction masterpiece Embassytown. Humans and Hosts have lived together with relative ease on the planet Arieka, although the Hosts speak an obscure language in which they only tell the truth. The few who can translate are known as Ambassadors. But the arrival of a new Ambassador sparks a crisis when the Hosts discover how to lie. The book is a must-have for anyone seeking the perfect balance of sci-fi and drama. While it isn’t easy reading, Embassytown is riveting and entertaining, providing social commentary without preaching and demonstrating the power of a well-constructed lie in the face of reality. - Khutso Tsikene Live Music Society’s Battle of the Bands is in full swing once again.

Lauren Granger WIN! The first person to email artsandentertainment@theoppidanpress. com will receive a promotional copy of Shaggy free of charge.

10 The Oppidan Press 25.08.11

Matthew de Klerk Pic: sourced

Do you have something to add? Email opinion@theoppidanpress.com

Do you have something to add? Email opinion@theoppidanpress.com

Matthew de Klerk

The Oppidan Press 25.08.11 11

Why Somalia is still starving Editorial
very day, the Somalian tragedy dominates headlines. The nation has been rocked by civil war, Africa’s worst drought in 60 years, severe famine and a cholera epidemic. UN estimates state that 29 000 children under the age of five have died in the last 90 days in southern Somalia alone, with another 640 000 Somali children acutely malnourished. Approximately 12 million need food aid urgently, and worst of all, the UN warns that famine conditions are likely to spread beyond southern Somalia in the next four to eight weeks. We must ask what is being done to help the neediest in Somalia. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked donors for 1.6 billion in aid for Somalia and the World Bank has already pledged more than $500 million towards the relief efforts. So with so much aid, why is the country still suffering? Unfortunately, it isn’t a simple case of ‘send aid’. The process is extremely difficult and fraught with challenges and obstacles. The logistics of transporting aid to famine-stricken Somalia are daunting. Meticulous planning and funding are needed for such a massive effort. Kenya is currently serving as a transit point for the emergency and longer-term supplies being brought into Somalia, with the past month seeing a stream of shipments by air, road, and sea. Much of the food and other aid destined for Somalia enters Kenya through airports in Nairobi or the port city of Mombasa, over 1000 km from the Somalian border. Airlifts are the fastest but by the most expensive option. However, the huge planes that are used to transport the supplies are often too large for Somalia’s infrastructure. World Food Program spokesperson Posters are printed and affixed to every static surface on campus. Facebook groups are appearing overnight and there are ‘Vote for me!’ posts flooding your newsfeed. The more enthusiastic students have created their own Twitter hashtag and are producing songs and online videos as part of their campaign. It’s SRC election time again. Older students may notice familiar recycled promises and broad generalisations about what the candidate would do if elected for the position. They may remember how last year, the first round of the SRC elections failed to reach quorum as most students either did not take the time to vote or abstained on principle. Some students arrived at the conclusion that they were not choosing their preferred candidate based on their credentials and ideas, but rather on whose posters were the most plentiful and attractive. They abstained from voting to avoid electing someone based on their printing credit balance and access to a designer or talented photographer. This year, there have probably been more complaints about the spamming on Facebook than actual discussions about the candidate’s ideas and manifestos (new group pages allow users to add you to a group without your permission. Thanks for that, Mr Zuckerberg). The posters may be easier for some to ignore than a Facebook notification, but still warrant evaluation. Many posters only include a photo of the candidate and a sentence that is a variation on “Vote <name> for <portfolio> councillor”. So, why should we vote for you? Nothing on your poster tells your voters anything besides the fact that you have a face. Yes, you have a few good ideas in your manifesto (for those students who are interested in hunting down the pdf on StudentZone), but many candidates have failed to elaborate on exactly how they plan to achieve these goals if elected. The students who align themselves with political organisations pose another question: who are we voting for? The candidate or the political party? While it hasn’t escaped anybody’s attention that students are apathetic when it comes to voting, and that the few who have taken an interest in student governance deserve to be commended, the disinterest is quite as saddening as it is obvious. Some portfolios are still uncontested or vacant as no one is interested in the position or the candidates have withdrawn. In terms of the student constitution, if only one person is nominated for a position and no one objects (i.e. nominates someone else) within 24 hours, the candidate is elected by default. When students want to complain about ineffective councillors, they should remember that the councillor may not even have been actively ‘elected’ by their constituents. Is this really how we want these councillors to be appointed to their very important posts? Deny it if you will, but the SRC does more than throw an O-week party once a year – their decisions do affect us. So when you elect someone to serve the needs of the students, please take a moment to consider exactly who or what you’re voting for before you make that metaphorical ‘x’.

A bust, or an arresting development?


lans for a R100-million upgrade of the famous Nelson Mandela Capture site, near Howick, have been unveiled. The multi-million rand project will see the spot on the R103 preserved as a national heritage site. It will consist of an eight-metre high sculpture of Madiba, a museum portraying his history and life’s achievements, and a tourism centre. Some believe that such a project will reap huge benefits for the area. Nomusa Dube, the Cooperative Governance MEC, says that the site will have the two-folded effect of both paying tribute to Mandela and holding immense tourism potential. “We’ve seen that we’ve lost a lot of tourism opportunities by not having this capture site as part of our tourism product - and we thought that if we add, in the Midlands, this capture site, we are going to create jobs but also we will help the municipality grow its economy through the visitors that are going to be coming,” he said. But considering Mandela’s legacy of selflessness and mod-

esty, is this really money well-spent? Would Mandela like a garish eight-metre high statue constructed in his likeness, with a museum in tow, or would he prefer the millions be spent helping those who need it most? Speaking on behalf of his famous grandfather, Mandla Mandela said that his grandfather did not want to take the spotlight above all the other people who fought for liberation in one way or another. “I spoke to him … and he said you must insist and ensure that not only [his] name is elevated, because there are ordinary men and women who were with [him] through this journey, who sacrificed more than [he did] in the struggle,” he said. Some see the point in such an endeavour, but still question the costly project. “I think Mandela is probably honoured at all the monuments, buildings, street names and centres built in his name,” said Robynne Peatfield, a Second Year Journalism student. “But I think if we all know what a humble man he is, he probably would want that money to rather go to the ones who need it most… I think the money is a bit excessive, and could be put to better use,” she said.

The UN reports one of the worst droughts in Somalian history, but aid efforts are facing many obstacles Challis McDonough explained that some Somali sea ports are also not designed to accommodate large ships, either because they’re too shallow or lacking the necessary facilities. She says her agency sometimes has to use smaller ships when transporting food. While ships are the cheapest and can hold the most cargo, they take a long time to reach their destination. Some of these can take up to 40 days to reach the country. This cargo still has to be unloaded and transported to the various villages that need it most, which adds more time on an already deadly ticking clock. A naval escort (another costly but necessary expense) always accompanies World Food Program ships to protect them from attacks by pirates. Somali waters are among the most dangerous in the world because of pirate hijackings. Unfortunately, once the food reaches the ports, it has to travel across land to reach the worst-struck southern areas. Smaller private planes are an option, but an expensive one while the overland transport is fraught with difficulties, with aid trucks being prime targets for looters and militant clans. Managing director of Mokatu Shipping Agency in Mombasa, Karim Kudrati, agrees that land transport is also a huge problem. “The roads are not good, plus there are quite a lot of problems going through the borders and you have these clans always wanting to loot the vehicles,” he said. Islamic militants also prevent aid from reaching the needy. Militant group al-Shabaab, which has ties to al-Qaeda, felt the need to stop assistance to those desperately in need. Al-Shabaab, which controls much of southern Somalia, insists there is no famine and has banned all aid groups but the International Committee of the Red Cross. Worst of all is the prospect of funding drying up: United Nations is having trouble collecting the $2 billion it says the region needs. The economic climate have made pledges woefully short. Even America is set to cut funding to Aid programs to the tune of some $700 million below what the Obama administration originally planned.

Pic sourced

Striking season could be SA’s downfall
Matthew de Klerk It is that time of the year again. Like clockwork, strikes have started to rear their ugly head. Just recently, the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has given the local government association 10 days to meet workers’ demands or face “a total shutdown of all municipal services”. The union has demanded an 18% hike in wages across the board, or else its more than 145 000 members will go on indefinite strike: a mass action that is set to cripple 262 municipalities countrywide, disrupting rubbish removal, water supply, accounts and other municipal service delivery. The season always follows the same general formula: Unions demand more money; companies and governments cannot meet these demands; strikes ensue. Though the unions are adamant that there is an imbalance of wages between companies and workers, and that this action is the only way to even the odds, it is clear to see that this has a far more debilitating than beneficial effect. Gold-mining companies have already seen a more than a billion rand loss of revenue. The June-August period of the year is fast becoming an annual “strike season” which this time saw gold, coal and diamond miners, and fuel, paper and pharmaceutical workers, as well as bus operators and other transport service workers in Johannesburg, all downing tools for higher wages. Government data has shown that despite record high precious metals prices, the mining sector in South Africa (the world's largest platinum producer and fourth-largest gold producer) lost 31,000 jobs in the second quarter. Recruitment group Adcorp said losses due to strikes in 2011 could jump over 20 % to nearly R18 million from R14.6 million last year.

The great nationalisation debate
Pic: sourced Matthew de Klerk Nationalisation has been a topic that has been on the political table ever since 1994. In recent months, Julius Malema has posed as the reform’s major flagbearer. Malema believes that there are “two economies” in South Africa, and a great divide between rich and poor that can only be overcome by nationalisation and sharing the wealth. Malema’s calls for nationalisation have recently come under fire from government ministers themselves. It is a debate in which President Jacob Zuma and other government officials have remained silent. However, a change is in the air, with many top-level ministers, such as Susan Shabangu (Mining), Malusi Gigaba (Public Enterprises), Trevor Manuel (Planning), and Rob Davies (Trade and Industry), voicing their concerns. Shabangu called the debate “reckless”, saying that nationalisation would not rid South Africa of its “evil triplets”, poverty, unemployment and inequality, and that the issue was scaring away potential investors. She has also questioned how this process would even work, and has asked how the wealth would be distributed, and to whom. Roger Baxter, an economist at the Chamber of Mines, has made it clear that nationalisation is not the panacea that Malema is looking for. “Nationalisation is not going to solve the problem, but will end up killing the patient. It will actually set South Africa back in its efforts to try and solve the problem,” he said. I believe that nationalisation is a one-sided fairy tale with a hidden, selfish agenda. The call to seize private-owned assets (mines, banks and white-owned farms included) without compensation and make it available to the public is a hard debate to settle: which public? Do you just hand it out? Who really benefits? I might be biased in this regard (being a victim of Zimbabwean land-reform and having witnessed first-hand the devastating dark-side of such a plan). We must also consider that mines in South Africa employ one million people and account for almost 20 % of the economy. Do we risk this long-term job and economic security for a once-off paycheque? Also, heeding this two-year call from a figure that has been shown time and time and again to be a source of embarrassment to both his parent political party and his country is quite silly. Recent reports have shown that his Ratanang Family Trust has benefited from multimillion rand government tenders in this province- a privatisation of public service that shows a strong contradiction to his public calls to nationalise state assets. Nationalisation is a great idea on paper, but it needs to be set about rationally. If we are to have a system of reform, we cannot have the drive headed up by a loud-mouthed hot-headed politician out for himself.

The June-August period of the year is fast becoming an annual "strike season" which this time saw gold, coal and diamond miners, and fuel, paper and pharmaceutical workers, as well as bus operators and other transport service workers in Johannesburg, all downing tools for higher wages.
“The strikes in 2011 represents a worrying trend for businesses and investors as the “strike season” now seems to have become an annual event with strikes also taking place in a number of sectors in both 2009 and 2010,” said Mike Davies, associate director at London-based risk analysis group Maplecroft. Peter Attard Montalto, a highprofile South African economist, wrote recently that wage growth should be kept down to encourage job growth

Chelsea Nelson Strikers on High Street, Grahamstown illiustrate the ongoings during “strike season” at this stage of the economic cycle. “This is the fundamental issue- unions in South Africa do not care about the unemployed and do not care about the fact that they negotiate wages above the market clearing rates. Restrictive labour laws allow them to get away with this and government is happy to let this happen,” he wrote. President Jacob Zuma's government has little political will to keep union demands under control as the ruling African National Congress is in an alliance with the country's biggest labour federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which has delivered millions of votes for the party. This so-called ‘strike season’ is hugely problematic for South Africa. Not only is striking becoming steadily normalised and expected every year, but the effect of these strikes vastly outweigh the benefits. The story is always the same: unions demand huge, above-market wage increases, companies cannot meet these figures for fear of economic loss, and so a strike ensues, thereby leaving the public sector at a standstill. Rubbish lies uncollected for days, refuelling one’s car is impossible, and all the daily services that arise from people simply doing their jobs come to a grinding halt. The government’s decision to not take a stand on this annually-worsening situation just shows where the real power lies: because the ANC receive so much support from unions like COSATU, and because these unions have no problem using the power of labour laws, these unions hold the real sway in deciding the day-to-day

Julius Malema has once again added his voice to the nationalisation debate

12 The Oppidan Press 25.08.11

Environment Green Eggs and Ham Facing the elephant culling controversy
Binwe Adebayo Kate Janse van Rensburg

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The Oppidan Press 25.08.11 13

Kate Janse van Rensburg

Carina Truyts

Pointing the green finger
I have a friend who seriously resents History 102 lecturer Professor Cobbing. He says Cobbing ‘preaches’ about sustainability and the world’s deep environmental crisis and yet drives around in a great big petrol- guzzling vehicle. Before you freak out, never fear - this column is not about Prof. Cobbing and his vehicle. Cobbing is apparently a very conscientious man. This column is about pointing fingers, and the dangers of tangling yourself up in a web of blame and hypocrisy. At this point, I should explain that this self-proclaimed earthlover recently flew halfway around the world to the UK, leaving a big fat 1.72 metric ton CO2 footprint (according to carbonfootprint.com). When I was there I cooked with beans imported from Kenya. I left rusks in the oven overnight. I drove around all by myself in a ship-sized station wagon. “Total b*@ch,” you might be thinking. I was thinking the same. These guilty feelings sparked off much pondering on the sad environmental state of affairs and the actions we choose to take. About how I write this column, trying to sneak in green morals, but sometimes take tenminute showers for cold relief. I began to walk and cycle everywhere instead of driving, picturing the little carbon units I was saving and the trees that would be smiling. But I got sick from the cold, and I was late for my lecture. Then my bicycle chain tore my favourite pants. Was the universe telling me to stop being a martyr and be practical about the realities of life? I found my answer at a snoek braai where one friend was braaing lamb chops instead of fish. He pointed a finger at a pescatarian and said: “You should know that eating fish is actually worse for the planet than eating meat.” He reeled off a load of impressive statistics to prove that decimating the sea is worse than eating red meat. He might have a point there. But we’re all trying to do our bit. Cobbing’s greatest contribution must be his course and the students he converts to environmental appreciation. Perhaps mine is in my compost heap. No carbon footprint site can fairly measure your impact. You are free to justify your lifestyle as you will. Every bit helps. The danger simply lies in preaching. Please encourage, but do not judge. I’m reminded of my grade one teacher’s words: “Point one finger at someone else, children, and three more are pointing back at you.”

n Saturday 13 August, Rhodes University Zoology Society students took a day trip to Kwantu Elephant Sanctuary in Sidbury just outside Grahamstown. For a fee of R80, the students got up close and personal with the four trained female elephants. Head elephant trainer, Tendai Mapfuma, explained that the elephants had been living in captivity at the sanctuary for the past four years, after having been rescued from a culling operation on a game farm in the Limpopo Province. Controversy surrounding the culling of elephants as an acceptable management practice has placed South Africa under much scrutiny both locally and internationally. “The subject of keeping any wild animal in captivity is a contentious one, and even more contentious is the concept of culling,” commented Zoosoc committee member Chris Gornall. Because the ivory trade was banned in 1989 and a temporary moratorium being placed on elephant culling in 1995, elephant numbers have reached the environmental carrying capacity in various regions. Ethics and morality are in question as the consequences of culling have both environmental, and scientific and political impacts. From an environmental perspective, culling is biologically necessary. Contradictory to this are the pressures enforced by various animal rights and activist organisations, such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare, who threatened to boycott advertising South Africa as a tourist destination. Elephants are extremely large animals that require a lot of space and food in order to survive. This means there are various implications affecting the biodiversity of the areas they inhabit. Through uprooting landscape vegeta-

The consumer is The economics of the weave always right
A human hair processing facility, where the hair undergoes dying, bleaching and conditioning Zinathi Gquma

Above is the final product. On the left is one kilogram of hair that one would find in a packet of remy hair. On the right, the hair has been sewn in or applied strand by strand on the woman’s natural hair

Three female elephants with their trainers at Kwantu Elephant Sanctuary tion, their large population threatens the survival of other endangered species’ habitats such as the black rhino. Culling takes place in the most humane way possible. Entire herds of elephants are culled together, as these close-knit intelligent hierarchical families would consequently otherwise mourn their dead. Alternatives to culling do exist but are long-term expensive substitutes and do not deal with the situation instantaneously. The existing female contraceptive vaccine has to be administered twice with a two week gap, making it difficult to locate the elephant the second time round. Translocation is possible, but due to elephants being territorial they are more than likely to migrate back to their original habitat. Migration will be more probable if game parks are built with borders stretching over countries so that elephants are not densely concentrated within one area. Getting rid of artificial watering holes would also decrease the elephant population naturally without direct human intervention. “If there were more sanctuaries like Kwantu, there would also be less culling” advised Gornall, “and it provides a means for the public to be educated in a hands-on manner.”

What’s klapping with COP, hey? Climate Conference on South African soil
Senior Reporter Abigail McDougall This year, the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) will be held in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November to 9 December. For many people, the UNFCCC, COPs, the Kyoto Protocol and CMPs mean an endless number of confusing acronyms, TV footage of guys in suits shaking hands, and some hippies dressed up as earth’s children doing something obscure in the parking lot. However, COPs actually represent pivotal moments in global politics. Once you can navigate the media circus, official waffle and civil society hullabaloo, COP 17 emerges as a crucial indicator of not only the future of global environmental action, but also of the current balance of power between the world’s countries. This article and the follow-ups over the coming weeks will act as a roadmap to COP 17, its importance for South Africa and Africa, the negotiators to watch, and the key issues that will come up. What exactly is COP 17? In 1992 the UN Conference on Environment and Development met and produced a document called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). This was a treaty that aimed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change. Today the UNFCC has 194 signatories. The meeting where this treaty is updated is the annual Conference of the Parties. The UNFCC calls for protocols to create legally binding frameworks for signatories to cut down their emissions. The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997 and ratified in 2005, as a legally binding commitment to reduce their carbon emissions through national measures. The 37 developed countries (called Annexe 1 countries) have to reduce their emissions by 5.2% from 1990 levels, from 2008-2012. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is going to end in 2012. This makes the Durban COP crucial because it will either produce a new commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol or come up with a new legally binding treaty altogether. The other option is that no legally binding agreement is reached, and the outcome of COP 17 is simply an unenforceable agreement. COP 15 in Copenhagen was intended to produce a new and ambitious commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol. The negotiations fell apart and the only outcome was a political commitment by 25 out of 192 countries, which was ultimately not recognised by the UNFCC. COP 16 in Cancun succeeded in getting negotiations back on track, and is seen to have created the space in which something structured and legally binding can be agreed on in Durban this year. So: our COP is a big one and South Africa has a key role to play as the host country. We all need to know what exactly is klapping.

efore Chris Rock’s Good Hair documentary, most of us never imagined that international trade could extend to the hair extensions industry. In fact, I have to confess that I grew up thinking that the hair that made me look pretty was made from horses’ hair. Little did I know that it is real human hair, often from India, that has been sewn into my hair. Here is the story for all those who missed Chris Rock’s Good Hair. Once every year, Hindu pilgrims travel from all over the world and gather at the Sri Venkateswara Temple, which is situated in Tirumala - a town nestled in the Sescachalam Hills in South India. One of the main purposes of this gathering is worship, and the shaving of hair is an act of devotion called Tonsure, where the people see their hair as a gift to God. Hair in India is considered “precious and one that frames your face giving you a beauty and an identity.” Therefore, getting your hair tonsured symbolises repentance and total submission of the ego. 600 barbers are employed at the temple, 20 000 heads are shaved per day, and approximately 500 tons of hair is collected every year. Naturally, barbers and entrepreneurs discovered a gap in the market for hair extensions and have been happily cashing in on Indian women’s locks. Only women’s hair is collected for

the business of hair extensions. Unfortunately the hair donors do not receive financial compensation, but each barber earns about $68 (R480) a month. Hair exporters distribute plastic bags to women so that they can collect hair that falls out when combing and they can just dump them into these plastic bags. Every week a broker collects these plastic bags and pays the women for their hair. Swapna Majumdar, a WeNews correspondent, states that in the village of Bhagyanagar, Karnataka, about 2000 families depend on the money that is paid for the hair they collect from garbage dumps.

The business is estimated to be worth $200 million (almost R1.5 billion) a year
India is the largest exporter of hair in the world. They supply hair worth approximately $136 million (R962 million) to China, and between 2004 and 2005 hair worth $82 million (R580 million) was sold to the USA. Chinese factories mix this Indian hair with Chinese hair in the production of hair extensions and wigs. This refined hair is then sold to Western markets. According to Julia Angwin’s report in The Wall Street Journal, “while China supplies the most real hair to the extension market, Indian hair is considered more valuable because Indian hair is naturally

silkier and has never been treated with artificial dyes”. This explains why processed IndianChinese hair costs as much as ± R1150 per kilogram and pure “remy” or “black gold” Indian hair costs ± R1700 per kilogram on average. Remy hair is highly sought after hair that is shaved directly from the scalp and non-remy hair is collected from combs. Remy hair accounts for 25% of this market and the rest is non-remy hair. Sadly, Joedir, which I currently have on my head, is not pure Indian hair, even though it is 100% human hair. In the USA, each strand of pure Indian hair is bought for $1,50 (about R10,80) from Indian exporters and is sold to consumers for between R10 000 and R20 000 for “weaving a full head’s worth of strands into a clients hair”. Some people don’t agree with the practices of the weave industry, but it is making a huge contribution to the economy, especially that of India. The business is estimated to be worth up to $200 million (8.5 billion rupees) a year. The temples often use the money raised from tonsuring to support charitable activities. A few beauty suppliers, like Radiance Weaves in the USA that sell Indian hair, also “make a monetary offering to the hair donors”, according to the Wall Street Journal. The world economy benefits greatly from this industry. And I hope that my love for “good hair” and beauty is supporting at least one family in India.

Lee Crisp In any market situation, there is great emphasis put on bargaining power – whether it be equal, or in the hands of only one party. However, in the majority of commercial transactions between consumers and large firms, equality of bargaining power is the most unattainable for a number of reasons. On 31 March 2011, the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 came into force to bridge this gap as much as possible. This piece of legislation is revolutionary in terms of the potential shifting of power as a result of its promulgation. Chapter 2 of the Act is modelled with the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution in mind. It creates a number of rights which consumers may now exercise. Included in these are the right to equality in consumer markets, the consumer’s right to choose, and the right to fair and responsible marketing. This protects the consumer from certain guerilla marketing techniques. What this Act effectively does is grant consumers the right to demand quality of service and full disclosure of the

price of goods and services, as well as protecting them against false, misleading or deceptive representations by suppliers. The telecommunications industry, specifically the cell phone networks and Telkom, has been in the spotlight recently for possible contravention of the Act in terms of the fees which they were charging their users. Cell phone networks have recently come under fire with regards to the terms and conditions of their contracts. Another area that has resulted in much concern by larger firms is the heavy burden that the Act places on firms, such as banks and other credit providers, who are responsible for imposing potentially grievous liabilities on consumers. Before the parties enter into any agreement with such potential, firms have to ensure that the consequences thereof are well explained to the other party. It has become apparent that this David and Goliath situation, which has been the norm in the market place, could change in good time. Will the consumer always be right? Perhaps not, but what is more likely is the beginning of a consumer revolution supported by law.

A double dipping recession
Sisa Matabiswana On 2 August 2011, the world waited in anticipation to see whether the global super power, that is the United States, would manage to raise enough money to avoid defaulting on their debts. At the 11th hour, a bill was passed and the perceived crisis of a credit rating downgrade was believed to have passed. The debt ceiling was raised, and Moody, a leading global ratings company, kept the AAA+ rating, as determined by the company. Weeks have passed since then, and all has not gone well for the US. Other leading rating companies such as S&P as well as Fitch, have downgraded the US to a AAA-rating. The significance of this rating downgrade has already had a negative impact on the embattled US economy. The Monday following the downgrade was dubbed “Black Monday”, as the stock market fell by more than 5%, raising the question “is there going to be a double dipping recession?” S&P has said that another downgrading is possible within the next 12 and 18 months, which is another indication of America’s slowly deteriorating economy. As the world watches the America and Eurozone crisis unfold (the 3rd and 4th largest countries in the EU, Italy and Spain, are facing similar debt management issues), other safe havens, other than the US dollar are being looked to as stores of wealth. Since the global financial crisis began in 2008, the price of gold has been steadily rising and since the fall in the US stock markets, this has meant a scramble for gold which has put the price at a high of $1800/oz (about R13 000). The effects of this potential “double dipping” are as yet not quite clear in South Africa. There will definitely be some sort of slowdown, but how this will affect the way in which the government functions is still to be seen. Economic growth was forecast to be 3.3% and already the economy is doing better than expected as it sits with a growth rate of 4%. This has meant that the overall budget deficit (how much the government spends as a portion of what is actually earned in the economy through production) is likely to be less than 40% or R140 billion. This is commendable when compared to some European governments, where the budget deficit is 100%.

The beginner’s guide to: Eskom and the energy crisis
Neo Khanyile Eskom is said to be getting back on its feet after the 2008 energy supply crisis, which led to crippling countrywide blackouts. There is, however, still cause for concern, as Eskom admits to being on power alert for at least the next five years. Eskom’s financial results for the second quarter have shown a positive growth in revenue. Eskom said the growth was driven by increased electricity tariffs. Eskom was granted a 24, 8% annual tariff increase by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) last year. Eskom indicated that it may apply for further tariff hikes, set to come into effect from 2013 to 2016. A little history lesson helps us establish how South Africa landed in its current predicament. Back in the 1980’s, SA had invested in plentiful capacity - demand was low and supply was high. Government made a decision not to invest in further capacity. It was the heyday of electricity — cheap electricity was driving SA’s industrial development at the time. The oversupply meant that profits could be plunged into electrification rather than capacity expansion: in the early 1990s, only 30% of South Africans had access to electricity, today it’s over 75%. It also meant that SA’s economy grew complacent around energy efficiency because costs have never (until recently) reflected the economic cost of production. Then came the economic growth of the 1990s. By 1998 it was clear to some that investment in new capacity would be needed. It was then that Eskom should have started negotiating with Independent Power Producers and building its own new capacity. But this was also the time when the power utility was changing shape in a wave of privatisation. The situation has continued to worsen, with many oppidan students complaining about the ridiculous price of electricity which seems to drastically increase in the winter months. The problem is said to be both on the supply and demand side. The only thing consumers can help with is to be thrifty in their electricity usage. The high alert mode needs to be adopted across all households and industries, to tackle a shared problem of national priority and prevent mass blackouts.

14 The Oppidan Press 25.08.11


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Graham Adie

Table tennis tournament a blast
Sean Black Over the weekend of 6 August, Rhodes University and the greater Grahamstown community were invited to take part in the third of four table tennis tournaments hosted by the Table Tennis Society. The tournament took place in The Hangar, behind the Africa Media Matrix building of Rhodes University. To say that Rhodes did well would be an understatement, seeing as it was only Rhodents who competed - there was no room to disappoint and also, as a result, the atmosphere of the tournament was a friendly one. Although as Andre Ah Chow delicately puts it: “One could see the competitive streaks creeping in whenever a match was played.” This was probably due to the fact that the winner of the tournament received a 2.1 channel, 840 Watt surround sound speakers. The gentleman who took this home was Riaan May, who “played some excellent games” as Chow stated, and came out on top. Luke Ross, another mentionable competitor, and underdog, surprised competitors by placing second. Also, later on this year, the annual Rhodes Open Table Tennis Tournament, which involves all table tennis clubs from the Eastern Cape, will be hosted by Rhodes on 1 October. Whether you just want a fun time (and free pizza) or if you’re looking for serious table tennis training (still free pizza) - don’t hesitate to attend practices which are in The Hangar on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 19:00-21:00.

The Oppidan Press 25.08.11 15

Former NASA astronaut visits Grahamstown
Gavin Ross


cifest Africa was proud to host former NASA astronaut Dr Don Thomas, in its National Science Week 2011 programme in Grahamstown during the first week of August. Thomas’s visit kicked off with keynote address at the combined official opening of National Mathematics Week 2011 and the provincial National Science Week programme at the Guy Butler Theatre at the 1820 Settlers National Monument. His address was attended by school learners, educators and the general public. On day two of his week-long visit, Thomas was well received by a sea of school pupils at Port Alfred High School, delivering his message to youngsters to reach for the stars. Thomas spoke about himself coming from a poor household where his father left him when he was still a young boy. Yet this didn’t hinder him from achieving his dream. “I had a dream I wanted to achieve, I failed many times and spent about 10 years at university but nothing was going to stand in my way. It never hurts to make an effort and work hard,” he said. PIic sourced

Thomas had also spent the next few days visiting other schools in the Grahamstown area. The purpose of his visit was to inspire pupils to follow careers in mathematics and science, as part of the National Science Week programme. Thomas was selected as one of NASA’s 12 group of astronauts in 1990 and flew as a mission specialist on four different Space Shuttle missions, completing nearly 650 orbits of the Earth and travelling some 16 million miles. He was the International Space Station (ISS) Programme Scientist from 2003-2006, during which time he was responsible for the planning and scheduling of science activities aboard the ISS. He joined Towson University, USA in 2007 where he is currently Director of the Hackerman Academy Programme, an outreach programme targeting both primary school and high school learners to promote the awareness of mathematics and science and careers in these fields of study. Scifest Africa Director, Anja Fourie, reported her excitement and honour of hosting Dr Don Thomas in the small town of Grahamstown. Fourie further says that she hopes that pupils use this opportunity to “learn more about life and work in space and the different

“I had a dream I wanted to achieve, I failed many times and spent about 10 years at university but nothing was going to stand in my way. It never hurt to make an effort and work hard.”
careers available in space sciences.” National Science Week is a countrywide celebration of science initiated in 2000 by the Department of Science and Technology, and involves numerous stakeholders conducting science activities at various sites simultaneously in all nine provinces from 1-6 August 2011. Thomas’s visit to Grahamstown and Port Alfred was sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, the SA Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, The Systemic Education and Extra-Mural Development and Support (SEEDS), as well as Scifest Africa.

New touch screen that will poke back
Sithandwa Ngwetsheni Majority of smartphones have screens that vibrate when they have just been touched. This type of technology is known as ‘haptic technology’- a technology that stimulates the user’s sense of touch to communicate. Touch screens have become basic systems in cellphones, it’s become usual for the screen to vibrate when it is being touched. There is a new type of screen that is being invented that will touch you back. It is the brain child of Professor Edward Colgate. Colgate is a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the North-Western University in Chicago. Professor Colgate was the mastermind behind the technological systems of the poking screen. His idea depends on changing the direction of the screen’s vibration. The touch screen uses vertical oscillation which will make the screen vibrate in and out. Vincent Hayward, from the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics, tried out Colgate’s idea and says feels “like the surface is coming to life under your fingers” In the meantime, the effect of the touch screen has only been used on a piece of glass, vibrating it at 22 kilohertz and with an amplitude that is less than a micrometre. Hayward said “there’s no reason why we can't make it work in a touch screen.” The currently used vibrating screens use a lateral system. The vertical oscillations that have been introduced will change the amount of conduct that there is between the finger and the screen. The finger will be fooled by the oscillation into believing that it is actually touching a surface. The lateral oscillations combined with the vertical oscillations would stretch the finger’s receptors the same way touching something with more depth will. Hafeni Mthoko, Fourth Year Information Systems student at Rhodes University feels that there is a lot to be researched in terms of the benefits that the user will get from this invention. Although Mthoko has questions concerning the ‘poke-back’ touchscreen, she thinks the invention is quite interesting; “It would be interesting to find how it will improve realism in the task of using a phone for various activities.” Members of the Rhodes University Canoe Club (RUCC) who took part in the annual Tugela Marathon in Kwa-Zulu Natal in early August

Rhodes canoeists tackle the Tugela
Fabio De Dominicis


he Rhodes University Canoe Club (RUCC) kicked off their season at the annual Tugela Marathon, held in Kwa-Zulu Natal over the first weekend of August. Braving the plummeting temperatures and icy waters, the 10-strong team were enthusiastic after their 11 hour bus ride, eager to take on the challenging river in the first event of the canoeing season. The marathon took place over a twoday period, with each day being a race

on its own, including a separate prizegiving. The first day covered a gruelling 25km, with the second day covering a distance of 17km. However, conditions were less than ideal, with the race coinciding with the cold snap that the entire country faced over that weekend. With the water temperature reading a chilly three degrees Celsius and an icy blanket of air covering the river, credit must be given to all paddlers for enduring the tough paddling conditions and completing the race. With a backdrop of the Drakensburg covered in snow, Alex Adie, the RUCC

chairman, and her paddling partner from KZN, Kelly Howe, put in a great performance, winning the second day. Special mention must be made of Mike Patrick and JP Thorne, as well as Dave Goble and Donovan Kennedy for their solid performances. “The race was really tough mentally. It is hard to give your best in such cold conditions,” said Third Year canoeist Kennedy. A number of novices were also part of the team who participated in the event. George Purbrick, the only First Year canoeist in the RUCC, mentioned that it was “very very very cold”. He

added that, as a First Year, it was great to be in a club with “such gees”. “All in all, it was a great race, and a great experience. I really enjoyed it,” said Purbrick. The Tugela Marathon is the first race in which canoeists can begin earning points necessary to qualify for the annual Fish River Canoe Marathon. This event, which takes place on 7 and 8 October this year, is the highlight of RUCC’s racing calendar. “Despite the cold, it was a great race for the novice paddlers to get some river experience and for the more experienced to start off the season’s training towards Fish,” said Adie.

Goodbye to liquid restrictions on airplanes?
Nomfusi Ncube There may soon be a time when air travellers won't have to put their shampoos and make-up in a plastic bag. A professor in California has developed a scanner that can detect explosive liquids. His invention started with a bottle of wine but his development of a way to scan the chemical content of unopened wine bottles could see millions of air travellers benefit. University of California-Davis chemist Matthew Augustine says of the development, “This can look inside of liquids without harming the bottle and see what's inside of the container.” The ban on liquids, aerosols and gels was implemented on 10 August, 2006 after a terrorist plot in the UK was foiled, consisting of liquid explosives which appear similar to regular liquids on current x-ray scanners. Since then, the carrying of liquids in quantities larger than 100 millilitres on board international flights has been prohibited in 67 countries. This was also the first time where the majority of the world’s air travellers were under a common set of security rules. Augustine is working with the US

Did you know?
Shuaib Akoojee • Our galaxy, the Milky Way, has approximately 250 billion stars and it is estimated by astronomers that there are a 100 billion other galaxies in the universe. This means there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on earth. • Our galaxy is constantly spinning at a rate of 225 kms per second and travelling through space at 305 kms per second, meaning we are constantly moving through space at the speed of 530 kms per second. • The star, Alpha Herculis, is 25 times larger than the distance it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun. This means that 25 diameters of our solar orbit would have to be placed end to end to equal the diameter of this star. • The 12th brightest star in the night sky, Antares, is about 420 million kms in diameter and 300 times the width of the sun. • More than 75 million meteors enter the earth's atmosphere every day, but they disintegrate before hitting the ground. • A person who weighs 60 kgs on earth will weigh a mere 10 kgs on the moon; however, that same person will weigh an astounding 1680 kgs on the sun. • The gravitational fields inside a black hole are so strong that it can swallow anything in the universe, including a passing star and its light. If an object weighing 1 kg is brought within 6 meters of a black hole, it would weigh a billion tonnes. • The largest volcano and the largest mountain in our Solar system is located on Mars and called Olympus Mons. It is 600 kms wide and 24000 metres high and is nearly three times the size of Mt. Everest.

homeland security and he's already demonstrated that dangerous or explosive liquids can be detected. According to the professor the secret to identifying the contents inside of a container is low field radio waves, very similar to an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).

Water polo makes waves at Rhodes
Fiona Christensen Rhodes Aquatics, one of Rhodes’ biggest sporting societies, includes some of the top Rhodes sports such as swimming and water polo. Rhodes water polo, chaired by Cari-Lee Haakonsen, has been an ever-present club in Rhodes Sports, where both the men and women’s water polo teams are affiliated to the Eastern Province Aquatics Association. Both teams participate in the A Section in the first and fourth term of the year in the Port Elizabeth Water Polo league. Innes Falconer, the polo keeper of the Rhodes A team, is in his second year of defending the goals for Rhodes and has been playing since he was 12. “I enjoy playing water polo and I’m good at swimming, so it’s a great way for me to stay fit”. He also represents the Eastern Province Water Polo team. The Rhodes team currently trains three times a week, putting in extra training sessions in the lead up to their games. The men’s team is currently sixth in the South African Universities ranking after placing sixth last year at the University Sport of South Africa (USSA) games. The women’s team is currently ranked fourth. Cari-Lee Haakonsen has been playing water polo at Rhodes for five years. After captaining the women’s team for two years, she became the chairperson of the club as well as the coach for the women’s team. Haakonsen has been playing polo from a young age, reaching both provincial and then nationa level after representing the South African Women’s Water Polo team for both U/18 and U/21. “I enjoy polo at university level. It’s a lot more chilled and not as competitive as the school level but we still compete in league and USSA”. After this year she will be retiring from Rhodes Water Polo. The teams participated at the recent Inter-Varsity on Saturday 13 August against Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). The matches were tough for the two teams and they played as best they could against strong opposition. The men endured a very evenly matched game which ended in an entertaining 5-5 draw. The women had a very tough match, and although they played their best, NMMU got the upper-hand and won the match 5-1. The teams both hope to improve their tactics and fitness before the annual USSA Aquatics National Institutional Tournament at the end of the year.

“This can look inside of liquids without harming the bottle and see what’s inside of the container.”

Augustine says, “Different compounds absorb different radio frequencies, and if you can track that with high resolution you can determine the chemical compounds.” Transportation Security Administration USA has already made requests for a small scanner, meaning that this equipment must be miniaturized. Augustine says, “What we envision is essentially a 2 foot by 2 foot by 2 foot box that's connected to a laptop computer.”(about 0.6 meters) The professor says a scanner could be ready for testing in about a year. Augustine says he'll keep working on the project until the final commercial scanner is built.

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Kevin McMenamin Denzil de Klerk The captain of Team Oppi, Sembene Hamilton, is confident that his soccer team has what it takes to defend its title in this year’s Internal Knock-Out Competition. As current title holders, Team Oppi has been given byes until the quarterfinal stage of the competition. Although the team currently has the honourable status of 2010 Winners next to their name, Team Oppi is far from expecting the cup to fall into their laps this year. Hamilton, who is also the Vice Sports Representative of the Oppidan Committee, said he is aware of the threat posed by some of the other teams. He made special mention of the likes of Abu Dhabi, who have a formidable attack, as well as Oppi’s rivals, Skova FC. So far in the regular league, certain Oppi players have stood out according to Hamilton. “Our best player is Tshegofatso Masoba,” he said. “He pulls the strings in our midfield and plays with a Zidane-esque grace - always calm on the ball, with the ability to go past players and to pick out killer passes.” Other prominent players Hamilton made mention of include left-side player Mandla Nkondo, midfielder Mzokuthula Mbuyisa, and the pacey Zimbabwean sevens specialist, Tafadzwa Chitokwindo. Hamilton believes the strength of the side lies not in the individual stars, but rather in the unity of the team, and their ability to gel on the field, as well as off of it. “There are easily teams in the league with players capable of better individual brilliance than most of the Oppi Team,” said Hamilton. “No player is greater than the team, and no team is greater than the sum of its parts.” Hamilton says he knows he carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders,

The ghost in the machine

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Team Oppi looking to defend title
“There are easily teams in the league with players capable of better individual brilliance than most of the Oppi Team. No player is greater than the team, and no team is greater than the sum of its parts.”
as captain of a cup-winning team, but feels comforted by the vast experience of players the team has at its disposal. The fact that many of the players have played together before also adds great stability to the team unit. The success of Team Oppi will lie also in the hands of their enthusiastic and determined, as well as extremely meticulous, coach, who according to Hamilton, “runs a tight ship,” while getting “the best out of his players.” As the representatives of the Oppidan Union, Team Oppi knows that it’s playing for the largest body of supporters in the soccer competition. The team therefore urges supporters to get down to the fields to cheer on the men in orange.

First Year student Megan Burton competes in inter-res pool while team member Caitlin Gibson looks on

Ladies night at the pool table
Morgan Collins


f you have ever ventured further than the oppidan dining hall, you might have noticed a small room with pool tables, nestled at the edge of the Steven Bantu Biko building – this is known as the Purple Horse, and it was overrun by swarms of female Rhodents on 6 August. Maybe ‘swarms’ is an exaggeration, but in keeping with the women’s month vibe, the men were outnumbered at this year’s inter-res pool, which saw a turnout of 50% more women than last year. New Res came out tops, with the Oppidan team taking second place in matches that Shaun Gordon, club president, described as “one-sided

towards the provincial players.” Gordon added that it is the men’s games that tend to be more tightly contested with a “number of teams in with a good chance to win it.” This year that team was from Cullen Bowles, who conquered the men’s leg of the tournament on Sunday in a not so tightly contested match when compared to some of the preceding matches. Gordon believes that the 45 women’s teams that entered, was the highlight of the entire tournament and “far exceeded our expectations.” The men had a slightly lower turnout than normal with only 25 teams entering. In relation to the tournament as a whole, the ratio of men to women does not make any significant difference, but much of the delight (in the overwhelming response from women’s

teams) stems from the Pool Clubs 2011 mission to “develop ladies pool within the University,” according to Gordon. Despite having a few late registration glitches, the tournament went off with a “very light hearted and social atmosphere,” enthused Gordon, with people putting good times above competitiveness. Inter-res may not be the crux of events for the pool tournament, who are a large club and have leagues to worry about, but it does provide a great chance to fill the Horse with rapturous people and music, ranking it as one of their most anticipated events. In typical Rhodes style, inter-res pool seems to mark the opportunity for a weekend of good times and fun people with women outnumbering the men.

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Rhodes Rowing’s countdown to boat races begins
Fiona Christensen As almost every Rhodent knows, one of our biggest highlights of the year is the annual Boat Races. For some, it is their chance to have a mare, but for the Rhodes Rowing crew it means the culmination of months of training. Currently, the crew has been training since mid-April after a short two week break. Since then, the rowers have been doing Pilates, running, gyming, cycling and having sessions on the rowing machines, varying per session, all as part of their training to attain overall fitness. As any rower will tell you, rowing becomes a way of life, especially after training two to three times a day, six days a week. As well as fitness sessions, the crew also goes through to Port Alfred every weekend. This is very important to their training; as Graydon Theron, a Second Year rower, says: “Being really fit does not always constitute being able to move a boat very well; this is due to things such as the style of rowing and whether you have sufficient blade-work to move the boat properly”. If the style is perfected, their chances of winning are further heightened. If the training wasn’t tough enough, the rowers also attended a camp at the beginning of July. The camp this year lasted three weeks, where the team was put through their paces, rowing and getting into the mind-set of the entire training programme, while being instructed on what was to follow for them during the term. Rowers who attend this camp generally have a better chance of making the A-crew due to the fact that the training is so intense and focused; as there are no worries about academics or social obligations during the camp to distract from training. People may question whether all of this intensive training is necessary. The answer is, it is. During the race, says Theron, the difference between a few seconds (winning or losing) boils down to four months of solid training. So therefore every session will make a noticeable contribution to fitness and technique of the individual. This year the crew is looking good,

“Being really fit does not always constitute being able to move a boat very well; this is due to things such as the style of rowing and whether you have sufficient blade-work to move the boat properly”
and they hope to return the trophy back to Rhodes, who had an almost unbeaten record between the years 1992 – 2005. The team will compete against the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, University of Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of Fort Hare, University of Pretoria and the University of KwaZulu Natal. The races this year take place from 8 – 11 September in Port Alfred.

Fiona Christensen

Rowing team members train hard for the upcoming boat races which are set to take place in Port Alfred from 8-11 September