-Because everyone deserves an education-
Illustration showing how many people feel silenced and unable to speak out about their situation. [Artist: E Latt]
Meet the Team
Listeriosis and hygiene at RU
Our local tap water
Private school vs public school
Social upbringing and educational experience
Revealing the body behind Skinned
Violated, but I do not need validation
Cry for help, not attention
VAT increase effect on student life
Are fees falling?
The Stephen Hawking of coding
Writing over typing
Why we should decolonise
Offer help, not judgement
Meet the team A CRITICAL BLEND OF SOCIAL CREATIVITY AND EDUCATIONAL AWARENESS IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
“A young and overly ambitious lady from the streets of CapeTown, hopeful to becoming an acredited journalist.”
“I do journalism to bring people the truth and not only tell a compelling story but to help them learn something new.”
“Driven by passion for media and working towards becoming a communications guru.”
KUDZAI MATSIKA “I am determined to make my videography and systems development dream come true.”
“As a soccer fan and star, my goal is to become the next Thomas Mlambo.”
Letter from the editor Emily Latt
ecently during his inaugural state of the nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa touched briefly on the concepts of inclusive education by announcing that the first National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination on South African Sign Language (SASL) will take place at the end of this year. This is a small step in the right direction, offering a start to a problem South Africa is facing in terms of education.
“Inclusive education refers to an educartion system where all needs are met in the classroom” Inclusive education refers to an education system where all needs are met in the classroom. And children are not disadvantaged due to factors which may hinder their learning. These factors could be aspects such as not speaking the language they are being taught in, a mental or physical disability or even just learning at a slower pace than the rest of the class, resulting in them being left behind. Every child has a right to education, and if over one million children are starting school at age six but only thirty percent of them get to matric, that means that along the way two in every three children are either forced out or had to drop out of school. This publication supports an inclusive education system and within its pages,
Nwabisa Bungane showing the American Sign Language (ASL) sign for ‘I love you’. [Photo: E Latt] you will find articles and pieces which help shape your understanding of why this system is important. It is not simply to be able to empower that one individual who may have struggled or been lost without it, but it also empowers our larger community by promoting more of an understanding and acceptance of people who are different from ourselves. If a child grows up in a class with other children of different backgrounds or abilities to them, then we are creating a
space which can become understanding not only of their differences but what makes them similar as well. The president’s announcement is the step in the right direction but it is not enough and is up to the general communities to learn, understand and promote this educational system. For a better future, society and community we need inclusive education.
Listeriosis and hygiene at RU
Sifiso Mthethwa, (first year student at RU) expresses his view on the current state of hygiene at Chris Hani res. [Photo: L Mpofu]
ersonal hygiene is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in an environment such as Rhodes University. In light of the current outbreak of the listeriosis disease, it is clear that hygiene is one of the leading concerns in an institution like Rhodes where students are co-existing with each other, hygiene can become a big problem whether it is at res or on campus. Diseases are contracted through unsafe social engagement and contact with unhygienic environments and the latter is my point of study. During an interview with two first years students, they said that hygiene seems to be better than they had expected and in an environment like res and campus where there are different people accessing the facilities , they say that they are not concerned much with the hygiene, as everyone has the responsibility of keeping the space clean. This brings me to the point that hygiene is a collective effort of every student sharing a
common space to be responsible in cleaning up after themselves.
“This is a serious issue becauseunhygienic environments become homes for the growth of bacteria and we end up becoming sick”. Since this is a sharing space there is a responsibility for both the students and the institution to keep the space as clean and hygienic as possible however, failure to do so from any of these parties means that hygiene is compromised. Our residence system provides us with people who clean the res and ensure that we are living in a
hygienic environment, although if students don’t sustain this then there is a problem. These are the same sentiments shared by Sifiso Mthethwa who resides at Chris Hani house. Mthethwa says, “Sis B, our mother in the res that cleans up, does her part of ensuring that the res is clean. However, sometimes people urinate on the toilet seats and on the floor and cannot maintain cleanliness as a result making it hard for Sis B and all the other residents in the res. This is a serious issue because unhygienic environments become homes for the growth of bacteria and we end up becoming sick with dieseases like TB, cholera and listeriosis. The director of residential operations, Dr Iain L’Ange says that Rhodes has stringent measures to ensure quality assurance and hygiene. It is therefore important that as a collective members of this environment all prioritise health and hygiene.
Our local tap water Kudzai Matsika
ne would think a 5 litre bottle of Tsitsikama water is a school requirement. It is a common thing for Rhodes students to walk around with these bottles going to buy water. For years it has been said the local tap water is not safe for drinking. This piece aims at clarifying why it is not safe. Moreover, it gives measures to falling a victim of our local tap water. As the day comes to an end, Pick and Pay till ques suddenly lengthen with students and some residents paying for water. A 5 litre refill costs R6. Residents are now used to the hassle of dragging their feet uphill while carrying these bottles. All this is so because Grahamstown water is not safe for human consumption. Certain business people have taken advantage of this situation and decided to open water delivering businesses. Just like people call when ordering a pizza, A clear difference can be noted between these two glasses. The first glass contains our local tap water while the second contains the purchased purified water. [ Photo: K Matsika] Grahamstown citizens also call for water. trusted. can attest that it is brownish in colour. According to the Makana However, one can still drink the local This colour is a mixture of mud and the Municipality, Grahamstown water contains tap water if they treat it. There are several zinc minerals. Practically, one can take an excess of a mineral called zinc. In easy methods of water treatment which include terms, zinc is a metal that is used for roofing. two classes of water. Add our tap water to fractional distillation. According to the one glass and add the purchased water in Imagine that in micro size particles, that Business Dictionary, fractional distillation another. Cover the two glasses and leave the is what is in Grahamstown local water. refers to a separation process in which two glasses for at least two hours. You will This is a natural phenomenon due to the the volatile components of a mixture are notice that at the end of this experiment, town’s geographical location. split from one another by heating the the glass holding the local tap mixture in a column and collecting the water will have a brown layer “Just like people call when condensing vapours from different levels at the bottom showing settled ordering pizza, Grahamstown insoluble substances which are of the column. The vapours are safer for human consumption. However, this process zinc. The other glass should citizens also call for water” takes a lot of effort and is time consuming. remain unchanged to show Chemically, Valentine Mthembu, a microthat it does not contain any biology third year student suggested that impurities or substances. Grahamstown is situated in a valley one can use water purification tablets A local resident and student Lesley like landscape. Therefore, the normal such as Chlorella and Flora Force Buchu. Msekiwa speaks of some of the ways one table water is very lower or say lower than These can be purchased from the nearest can manage to use the tap water if in expected. This then results in us having pharmacies or from online stores such as desperation. Msekiwa suggested to the bottom water of the normal level Takealot. use the tap water early in the morning. water table. This is where all the insoluble The local tap water is not safe for human During the night, the reservoir pumps aren’t minerals settle while clean water surfaces consumption. Long term diseases such pumping at a high pressure therefore there at the middle and top of the water table. as kidney failure and stomach ulcers can is less disturbance of water in the reservoir. According to Phiwokunhle Hadebe a be groomed by drinking the local tap This gives some time for impurities to third-year student in pharmacy, excess water. For Grahamstown citizens, it is well settle at the bottom leaving the top water consumption of zinc as a nutrient results advised to buy water or treat the local water partially clean however still not safe for in gastrointestinal stones which may lead thoroughly before drinking it. consumption. This top water is less likely to to kidney failure in the long run. Those get someone sick however this is not 100% who know the colour of the local tap water
Inequalities in our schooling system Anita Dywaba
nequality in schools is a familiar theme in South Africaâ€™s educational system, and is a continuous issue which has not been fully addressed. These inequalities directly influence the achievement of the learners at the schools. There are inequalities in schools in forms of infrastructure, classroom settings, technological advancements and how they get to and from school. In the photo essay two learners from different schools have been contrasted, one of the learners attends a public school and the other learner attends a private school. The learners are captured in the same contexts, to highlight the inequalities between the two schools.
Illustration of scales weighted to one side. [Artist: E LATT] Above: Liyema Dywaba, a grade 4 learner at Kingsway Christian School a private school in Elgin-Grabouw, being driven to school. It only takes a minimum of five minutes. Left: Sesethu Mgwayi, a grade 3 learner at Umyezo Wama Apile Primary School, a government school in Elgin-Grabouw, as he walks to school. It takes him a minimum of 20 minutes to walk to school.
Liyema working in his â€˜officeâ€™, where he creates his goals for the day and works on those goals and paces. Each desk is separated by partition, to avoid distractions.
During his mathematics period, Liyema practices mathematics in the schoolâ€™s computer lab. Every learner in his class has access to a computer.
Sesethu reading a textbook, which he shares with classmates. The school owns all of the textbooks and they are usually not enough to accommodate everyone in the class.
Sesethu practising mathematics using the textbook and on paper, which he shares with his classmates. His school does not have a computer lab therefore he does not have access to computers.
The playground at Liyema’s school is fully equipped with a jungle gym, which he and most of his school mates play in. The playground is always kept clean by the school’s cleaning staff.
Sesethu and his friends play on their playground which is polluted by rubbish from a communal rubbish dump near the school. They are not equipped with a jungle gym; therefore, they use an open field behind the school as their playground.
Sesethu’s school consists of mobile classrooms which carries roughly 40-45 learners per classroom. The classrooms are raised and the floors are uneven, therefore not wheelchair friendly.
Liyema’s school’s yard which caters for learners both able and disabled. The school which starts from crèche to high school consists of a total of 56 pupils. The school is also eco-friendly as it is surrounded by tress.
Social upbringing educational experi Lesley Mpofu very situation is a student coming from a privileged background who started having subjects like Computer Application Technology (CAT) since Grade 5. This student has probably been using a laptop and iPad since the beginning of their high school. It might seem unfair to put both of these students in one space and expect them to yield the same results, however; this is the reality of most Rhodes students. According to James Coleman’s report on equality of educational opportunity, one of the variables that he studies in order to understand how background influences educational performance, is family income. Parents that are highly resourced, can get their children into the good private schools in the community which exposes them to a number of variations in terms of opportunity, this both with extra “This is the first time they iscurriculum activities and academics. might be encountering In an article by something like a laptop” Fin24, it is suggested that these parents are corporate executives and Liyabona Mdlalo, a third year psychology entrepreneurs. Sometimes they work student at Rhodes University, commented from home so they can check school on how students that are given a chance homework and plan trips to the to attend school via the NSFAS programme museum. The disadvantaged parents sometimes suffer when they get here, however simply struggle to make ends because this is the first time they might be meet and by being able to just pay tuition encountering something like a laptop for they have done the best they can. These example. Furthermore to do assignments, parents work overtime and by the time they that student needs to learn how to research accurately and make use of software such as get home they are tired and don’t get the chance to check their children’s homework. Microsoft word and excel. In contrast to this It is an undoubted factor that we have to face that our social upbringing has a direct or an indirect effect on our lives. From when we are still developing in our childhood years, the way we have been brought up tends to influence how we encounter our educational journeys. This feature basically considers socio-economic influences on individual experiences in an educational institution such as Rhodes University. University is generally a diverse and dynamic space where students from different backgrounds both socially and economically, co-exist and engage. Whether you are coming from the rural villages or the affluent suburbs, you are bound to lend up in a tertiary institution such as Rhodes University. Access to opportunities tend to favour those that can afford economically, but what really happens when both these students in these polarized circumstances come into the same learning institutions? In 1999 there was an introduction of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and since its introduction, academically deserving students from disadvantaged and low-income homes are given an opportunity to pursue a Higher Education.
Viwe Anna and Liyabona Mdlalo smiling after an insightful conversation on social upbringing.[Photo:L Mpofu]
Illustration depicting Liyabona Mdlalo and Viwe Anna laughing together. [Artist: E Latt]
Socially, there is an effect as well. Growing up in a black home, Viwe Anna, a second year Bcom student at Rhodes University, explains how his parents always told him to get a good education, not get anyone pregnant and not to drink alcohol. These were all limitations he had when he was at home and once he came to Rhodes these teachings were tested because there is so much freedom. Anna said, “One’s parental support is one of the most important benefits any parent can give their child because that’s what gets the child going, the mere fact that even though things may fall apart, my parents still got my back”. University is a whole new ball game and the dynamics are different from high school. Rhulani Matsimbi, an LLB student at Rhodes University, narrates a story of his first few classes here at Rhodes, he says that there were people who had 7 distinctions back in matric. As time went he realized that he was actually doing way better than those very people and this revealed to him that your high school marks do not determine how well you do in university. In high school there is more attention given to students, however,
what Matsimbi is grateful for is the fact that he was taught discipline and good work ethics from a young age. This has helped him achieve as there is less attention given to students at University as compared to high school. If students are not taught to be disciplined and good work ethics the pressure can overwhelm them because no one checks up on you in university. There are certain values that you are taught coming from home and they also have an effect on ones success in their educational experience. This is because it ensures that they find friends that are likeminded and create healthy relationships that harbour the support and motivation to flourish. It is clear that social upbringing affects the lives of students in any learning space and it is therefore mandatory to hone a culture discipline from a young age.
“Parental support is one of the most important benefits any parent can give their child”
Revealing the body behind ‘Skinned’
Siph’esihle Ndaba, third year Rhodes University student, will have the production she wrote and directed ‘Skinned’ performed at the National Arts Festival 2018. [Photo: E Latt]
means she is able to guide Mavuso in moral #FeesMustFall but they definitely did decisions. Going through hardships and something in the department. They challenges together they have grown closer. definitely staged a production that spoke about rape and domestic violence… You see While for Siphosethu Balakisi, she met Ndaba in her second year, but Ndaba’s first, how through channels like that you reach another audience that isn’t able to stand in a the reason they became close at first was due to similar subjects. She describes Ndaba crowd and sing and put their bodies on the as being a series of contradictions: very line in protests.” talented but humble, hardworking but can Ndaba found her passion in her first year overwork herself to the point of stress. at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy “I don’t want to stop doing productions for Girls where all arts were compulsory for because I feel like they are my coping grade eight students. As she progressed mechanism,” Ndaba says hurriedly, “like she was able to drop the subjects she did when school and academics are stressing not enjoy before settling with drama and me out, going to rehearsals, even when I music. With a complete hatred of music theory, she instead chose to continue drama get annoyed at rehearsals, it is really like my outlet. It regulates me.” once arriving at Rhodes University. The ambitious director plans on Although degrees which major in “Although degrees arts are usually frowned upon, Ndaba continuing her psychology major through which major in arts are believes you should follow what Honours, Masters and PhD through the next few years. With a gap year of experience is your passion. She explains the usually frowned upon, thrown into the mix as well. Ndaba mixes misperception of drama being only Ndaba believes you her drama passion into every aspect of for people who want to be on stage should follow what is her life by aspiring to work in the field of and yet there are many possibilities drama therapy. Smiling she explains drama on what you can do with it. Art your passion.” therapy as a form of therapy where people majors can be combined and used in many ways, Ndaba describes her own actually engage with the exercises rather than just talking. This use of having an path of mixing her passion for drama arts degree which is combined with other in with her psychology degree. Later she will recall these moments as subjects seen as being more conventional, Self-described as being compassionate part of the reason she went on to pursue such as psychology, is becoming more and humorous, Ndaba speaks about how applied theatre. She explains that Vuk’ucave common. The mix allows for far more she was thrust into leadership within her fits into one of the branches of applied diverse opportunities for careers as well as residence when the elected academic theatre. It is educational in the sense that allowing for someone to pursue a passion representative for that year resigned. Her they are able to participate as well, not into university. residence warden had requested Ndaba last simply being lectured about it. The young minute to fill the vacancy third-year student is on the rise and set to even though she had not direct a full cast production she wrote for “When school and academics applied for the position in the National Arts Festival this year. Skinned the first place. She admits is an exploration of finding and creating are stressing me out, going to black female joy, living in a marginalised and to surprise but has said rehearsals, even when I get the position has helped public body in the South African context her learn a lot about the as well as confronting the spaces in which annoyed at rehearsals, it is academic procedures at joy, harassment, wonder, pain and freedom really like my outlet.” Rhodes. intersect. The play made its debut at the Journalism student Rhodes Drama Department’s Rising Artists Karabo Mavuso recalls Project last year and was so well received “Things like that are really important meeting Ndaba in the first week of their that it’s making a comeback at the National because I know [for] myself that sometimes first year, “It was mostly because we were Arts Festival 2018. I’m feeling some type of way but I can never the ones who got the dance moves right “Theatre is very important… because you express how I am feeling. I can never say so it was a thing of we were always told to reach a larger audience, [and] because you this is it. It is important for people who can’t come and demonstrate for the people who don’t put people on the spot,” moving her necessarily express how they are feeling but couldn’t get the dance moves right.” hands as she speaks, Ndaba passionately they need to get it out.” Mavuso speaks about how every friend explains the nature of theatre as a form she has is different and Ndaba’s role in of protest. “A lot of drama students didn’t that is being truthful and assertive. This physically be in #RUReferenceList or n the set of the O-Week production Siph’esihle Ndaba, better known by all her friends as Cee Cee, performed scenes and monologues about the challenges, sacrifices and real issues students might face in a satirical way. The rehearsals had been emotionally draining for her and the cast. Every story the play told had a real story with it, someone had gone through or knew someone else who had been through that situation. But this moment on stage the cast was giving a voice to the thoughts of so many people who are usually silenced. “As much as the play is a fiction, the stories are real,” Ndaba explains.
Illustration showing how many people feel silenced and unable to speak out about their situation. [Artist: E Latt]
“I am a survivor, not a victim” Anita Dywaba *Trigger warning, sexual assault*
riday, the 16th September 2017, the busy streets of Grahamstown were dying down and after a night of heavy drinking and dirty dancing. A group of acquaintances helped *Mark Peter make his way back on campus. The destination of what seemed like a long journey in the intoxicated mind of Peter was his residence. Upon arrival to his residential suite Peter collapsed on his hard metallic-framed bed. The next thing Peter could recollect of this night was when he had awoken to a sharp shooting uncomfortable pain from his behind, reacting to this pain Peter tried to raise his body to see what could be causing this uncomfortable pain. Unable to lift his body, both being because of the 12 beers he had earlier that night and the fact that an object was pressing on his body. After a few moments Peter noticed a relief from the unknown pressure that was being exerted on his body. As Peter raised his diamond shaped head to peep at what could have been happening to him, much to his dismay, he sees a half-naked figure standing not far from his old noisy bed. It was then when he realised what had happened to him. He had been violated. Seated across me his blush pink lips dance in a perfect melody as they tell this traumatic event that has changed his life forever. His hazel brown hooded eyes, filled with emotions, glisten up as he sways his diamond shaped head to and from the light that hovered on top of us.
“How does a man of colour begin to report a rape?”, he asks as the light illuminates his mahogany-mocha brown skin. “I could not even tell my own parents because of how shameful I was that this happened to me. I could not even report it to the university’s management”, he explains. Peter’s ordeal is nothing less than a horror story. He has to deal with seeing his perpetrator and the perpetrator’s accomplice every day on campus but says that even though this horror story has changed his life, it does not define who he is.
“With everything that he has been through he still maintains a genuine and peaceful smile”, said Simnikiwe Lose. Lose is one of Peter’s closest friends and have known each other since High School. The smile that cracked her graceful face, as she spoke faster and faster with her heartbeat almost audible from where I was standing. Lose can barely hide her genuine excitement when speaking of her dear friend. “He has never been a quiet one, so I had noticed a change in his demeanour after the incident”, said Pamela Jack. Jack is Peter’s cousin and they had grown up together in the same household. Jack described Peter as a very high spirited being that is very outgoing and loud. Peter’s big humanitarian heart is evident as he mentors youths from Joza township and teaches them the art of poetry, as he is also an aspiring poet. He fell in love with poetry when he was in High School and described it as an escape for him. With many describing him as loud, Peter says that sometimes he fails to express himself orally and he uses poetry as a method of expressing himself. “Poetry? Well it is therapeutic, as this is sometimes the only place I can escape to and relax” added Peter as his dehydrated skin almost looked like it was glittering for a second. Peter’s story is nothing short of an inspiration to many as he chooses to live life not as a ‘victim’ but as a survivor.
“With everything that he has been through he still maintains a genuine and peaceful smile.” This stocky built, bullnecked man with his determined character will not let anything bring him down. Despite him knowing that he will be ridiculed for his story, he is a social media activist for rape, not just against women but against men too. When being described by those close to him, they never fail to mention his extremely protruding ears and sharply shaped nose. Despite his elaborate ears and oddly shaped nose, his fierce nature and courageous spirit are only a few traits that he is praised for by those around him.
* Not his real name
Cry for Help
and even though it is not a good thing it makes them feel better, even if it is just for a few hours or days. “I lived in a dark place, frequently had dark thoughts and I always had to hide my scars with bandages and sometimes writing on top of them with This picture show her wearing bandages written “need help” which a marker”. Nene says emphasizes what she said about how people usually do not pay she would lock herself attention because they think people who self-harm are looking for in her room and sit in attention when they just need help. [Photo: L Daza] the dark because she was tired of she explained to me why she hurts herself “Self-harm is mostly people always asking her about her was, carry on if it makes you feel better sis. common in homes where scars and bandages. It all started in I feel so bad for saying that because I feel Highschool and it is the reason why she negative emotions are like instead of helping her I encouraged never got good marks when she was her to keep hurting herself”. Self-harm can concealed, and feelings coming to University because she never affect one’s studies negatively. Like Nene paid much attention to her books, are not discussed.” had mentioned, she would lock herself and the fact that here they placed her in her room because she did not want to in the extended program killed her see anyone and was avoiding questions confidence. She says she never wanted to Nene who is now a wellness leader at concerning her scars. When you barely care talk to anyone about it because her family Rhodes University says that her father about yourself it is rare for you to think was already thinking she is looking for abandoned her when she was still a baby, of books and classes which is why it is attention and the only things that helped but growing up with people who had advisable that one gets help before things were writing about it and cutting herself. fathers reminded her why her father left get to that, somethings cannot be reversed. She only briefly spoke to her older sister her. She hated herself for thinking about Bleeding away the pain may work for a about it and even though she listened someone who does not care about her and few days, but the scars can be permanent. she never took it seriously. “Just like most, the only thing that made her feel better We need schools to teach about these I thought I would heal myself”. Her life was deliberately cutting herself. According underestimated disorders, to educate and changed when she finally had the courage to SACAP, self-harm is mostly common raise awareness about them. Most people to go to the Rhodes University counselling in homes where negative emotions are who self-harm know they have a problem centre and after she started feeling better always concealed and where feelings are and know that they need to get help but was advised to become a wellness leader never discussed. Nene says her aunt once will not. They just need someone to notice because she is good at expressing herself, is saw her scars when they were still new and and let them know that they care, for that a good listener and cares about people. visible and the only thing she said was that someone to tell they will always be there Her sister Siphosethu Nene says the she was looking for attention because she every step of the way. People who self-harm fact that she did nothing to help does not had everything she needed. Most times feel like no one cares so, if someone shows mean she did not care but it is because she self-harm is associated with suicide. People that they do care that can encourage them did not know what she could do to help think that those who self-harm want to take to get help. because she was completely clueless about their lives but do not have the guts to, but this disorder. “The only thing I said when no. To them self-harm is a way of surviving here are many disorders that exist and some of them are always seen as less serious than others and people who have them are often said to be looking for attention. According to the South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP), out of all the disorders affecting the youth the most puzzling yet serious one is self-harm and its occurrence keeps increasing. Bennia Nene who is a self-harm survivor says that when she used to self-harm people around her would say she was looking for attention. “The society and even our families silence us before we even ask for help”, she says. If people were looking for attention would they go through so much trouble of trying to hide their scars until they are less visible?
VAT increase effect
on student life
he most contentious change in the 2018 budget was announced by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba in Parliament on Wednesday 21 February: an increase in the Value Added Tax rate from 14% to 15% which came into effect from the 1 April, raising an extra R22.9 billion to the state. This increase raises VAT’s overall contribution to total revenue to 25.9% from the 24.7% of 2017. This historic change is perhaps a sign of the tough reality facing South Africa, is the first increase to VAT in the country since its introduction in 1993. During his budget speech, Minister Gigaba said the VAT rate of 15% “is low compared to some of our peers. He also added that they therefore decided that increasing VAT was unavoidable if they are to maintain the integrity of the public finances. However, the impact of the VAT increase has been concerning as it has decreased the retail spending in the economy; to South Africa, a market which relies heavily on consumer spending to drive economic growth, the concern then remains that many people living on the bare minimum will struggle even more as a result of this increase.
This is what most student’s wallets looked like after the 1st April, following the historic Value Added Tax increment. [Photo: A Dywaba]
Student Financial Aid Scheme, as they come from households that receive less than R350 000 annually. Students on NSFAS living off campus receive R3650 monthly allowance, where they have to pay rent, food and electricity. “My rent is R3200 per month so I am only left with R460 to pay for electricity, water and food” said Mluleki Nyathi an oppidan student. “If I buy electricity for R150 I only get 84.10 units, which can only last up to two weeks as the appliances where I “Although the University live are a bit old and use a lot of electricity. I saw on my receipt that has not confirmed any R20 of that money went to VAT, increases, students are in and to be honest that R20 could have gone a long way”, Nyathi fear of fee increases.” also added. Students like Nyathi that come from disadvantaged backgrounds are most affected by this increase. Particularly focusing on students in “The only parent I have is my University spaces, this increase came as grandmother and she lives off inkumkum, an unpleasant surprise to most of them. so I can’t ask for help from her when I Many students at Rhodes University do not need extra money” says Khethiwe Njokazi, live in residences and are what they call an oppidan student. She also says that oppidans, which is a term given to students she is reliant on the alumni office toiletry that live off campus. Some of them are on drive for her monthly sanitary towels. She the government grant called the National
further adds that she is concerned that people might stop donating toiletries to the alumni office because of this increase, which many had not anticipated for. The VAT increase is not the only increase which was introduced, sin tax also saw an increase and on Wednesday 28 March, a fuel and Road Accident Fund levy of at least 55c a litre also came into effect. This also negatively influenced the students that drive to campus every day. Although the University has not confirmed any future increases to the tuition or residence fees, students are in fear of fee increases. Tinotenda Chizanga, a fifth year student from Zimbabwe says that she fears of any increases to the fees as she pays more for tuition fees. “I had already struggled with paying this year’s initial fee payment at the beginning of the year so any increases to the fees will be ‘hectic’”. Many of these students, like most South Africans will have to swallow this bitter economic pill of multiple increases, as ratings of the South African economy is said to have improved since the introduction of the tax increases.
Are Fees Falling?
he #FeesMustFall protests began in October of 2015 with the University of Witwatersrand following an announcement that the fee increase would be 10.5% for the next year. This sparked outraged due to the fact that the increase the year before had only been 6%. The students of the University of Witwatersrand started protesting on the 14 October 2015 which led to a three day lock down of the university. The university would try to negotiate but it would never be enough, this was simply the beginning of the struggle with students bringing this issue to the nation’s attention.
“Why is something as little as money [getting] in the way of that happening?”
Monday, 19 October 2015, other universities begin to join the protest movement. Rhodes students created barricades using benches, rocks, pin boards and burning tyres along the university’s Prince Alfred Street entrance below the drama department. One of the students was Mantsane Ntsane, now a Rhodes University graduate, who speaks about the comradery of that time, all the students coming together for one cause. Students helping one another in order to make sure the students who were disadvantaged due to fees would be given a way into university. “It’s not their fault they can’t afford it,” Ntsane talks about students excluded because of not being able to afford fees, “They have the capabilities to get into university, to go further and achieve their dreams… then why is something as little as money [getting] in the way of that happening?”
The hashtag #FeesMustFall begins trending around the world as protesting intensifies. University of Witwatersrand suggests a compromise of a 6% increase cap on the 2016 fees but this is rejected by the students who demand that there be no increase for the next year. On Wednesday 21 October students in the Cape Town area marched on the South African Parliament while both Nzimande and former President Jacob Zuma were in attendance. Zuma refused to address the students. Protests would continue on campuses across South Africa until Friday 23 October when Zuma met with student representatives and university vice chancellors. Zuma would later announce the agreement which had been reached, there would be no fee increase for 2016. Following this a Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training is set up in order to look into whether the country would be able to support free education. Almost one year later a revival of the #FeesMustFall movement began in August 2016. On 10 August 2016 the Fees Commission led by Justice Jonathan Arthur Heher began hearing which allowed submissions and testimony from student representatives and unions. The Fees Commission would then conclude that a 0% fee increase would not able to be sustained due to inflation increases. Protests would break out at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Mangosuthu University of Technology over fee increases while police were present on other campuses of other universities in anticipation of protests. As more protests break out Zuma would instruct then Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to ‘find the money’ for a 0% increase in 2017. At the same time an independent student study releases a report which states free education would cost around R45 billion each year and that R60 billion is lost every year to corruption. Due to the protests Nzimande announced
on the 19 September 2016 that the fee increase would be capped at 8%. However the individual universities would still make the decision on what the increase would be. The response to these statements were that not enough was being done and the protests continued.
Illustration of one of the protesting students during the #FeesMustFall campaign in 2015. [Artist: E Latt]
Rhodes was faced with multiple demonstrations and marches during September. The protests are peaceful however there are tensions between the students and the university management.
These tensions have led to having a heavy police presence on campus which created terrifying experiences for students on the 28 September when there were cases of police brutality against the students. “I was angry,” Nana Mkhosana, a third year Rhodes University student, says, “There were moments where I felt like why are we not being heard? Why is management not hearing us?” Mkhosana goes on to speak about a breakdown in communication where their demands were being twisted and changed. She says the students were being portrayed as being something they were not. Ben Kirkaldy, a Masters student at Rhodes, agrees with this speaking about how proper communication channels need to be put in place. He mentions the fact that a lot of the student leaders and those who are outspoken are not always the students who cannot afford education yet they speak for them. “There are too many voices all shouting for different things,” Kirkaldy says, “But there needs to really only be one.” After the protesting died down
This is the view of the main administration building of Rhodes University. Students would gather on the lawns in sit-ins in attempt to have management listen to them.” [Photo: E LATT] across South Africa there was not another extension of the NSFAS. This announcement reassurance of the #FeesMustFall protests also disregarded the recommendations of although the topic of free education is the Commission of Inquiry Zuma himself still a hotly debated topic. One of the set up and has been criticised by students outcomes of the #FeesMustFall movement nationally. was the ‘missing middle’ funding schemes. While the issue is not fought for in the The missing middle was a term coined ways it was before the issue and need for for students who were not considered free education is not leaving the minds of ‘poor enough’ to qualify for funding from many students. They believe it is something National Student Financial Aid Scheme which needs to happen and that there is still (NSFAS) yet also not wealthy enough to a long battle ahead but it is a cause which afford university. Students qualify for the they are prepared to fight for. missing middle if their household earns less than R600 000 a year. Before the missing middle funding, universities themselves created ways to try help this problem. “There are too many Rhodes would charge higher voices all shouting for tuition fees so that students who could afford it would different things, but provide extra funding for there needs to really poorer students. Government funding is also now being only be one.” allocated to universities and missing middle students are being protected from the university fee increase as one example. In December 2017 Zuma brought the issue back into the forefront of conversation by announcing a plan to provide free education to first year students. The system is not entirely free fees as it is instead an
The talented programmer, Valentine Mthembu. [Photo: K Matsika]
A coding genius Kudzai Matsika
any of the students and staff members who use the Hamilton Labs have heard of a student programmer, Valentine Mtembu before. Valentine is not an average student but rather deserves the title Sir Valentine. Just to show a little respect. Valentine, a former Bcom student is a 23-year-old student living his dream. The young man spends hours concentrating on two computer monitors simultaneously. Is he part of the traffic control team? No. He spends the night on a quite complex screen that displays both numbers and words in the same sentence. One wouldn’t understand the joy and fulfilment that Valentine has in doing all this. Computer science has become a great part of his life. Coding his imaginations into reality has now become his hobby. Computer programming is all about creating and designing software that we use on our devices on daily basis. Facebook is an example of this. It is an application that enables us to communicate, share and receive information from different areas and people around the globe. In the beginning, Facebook was a conceptual idea that someone had in mind, they managed to turn it into reality through coding. “I really love what l do man, I don’t want to lie,” he said. The motivation of coding came to Valentine after he managed to fix his mother’s phone when it had a network problem. “To be honest l really don’t know where l pressed but the phone started working bro,” he said with a loud laugh while holding his mouth. “Ngathatha ama chance njayami, ” he added. From that day, the want to know more
about what lies behind the hardware of every electronic device has grown bigger and bigger each day. Besides being one of the top students, Valentine has achieved several goals over the past few years. BlurTech a student company that deals in computer systems analysis is chaired by Valentine. This company has managed to install and maintain one of the most secure Wi-Fi connections around Grahamstown at the Grand Res. Sad to say, this connection is stronger than our own famous ‘eduroam’.
“It takes dedication, commitment and a lot of practice to be as good as he is.” Local banks such Absa and FNB host hacking contests where they give away price money to the first three winners. Valentine has managed to pay part of his tuition fees with this money. “It always feels good man to spend what you have worked for,” he said while plugging his earphones in one of the computers he uses. Valentine’s success is no surprise to friends and fellow programmers Netsai Chitsine and John Karl. There have been in the same class since first year. “He is one of the two best student programmers here at Rhodes, and without question the best designer in our practical group” Netsai said, citing Valentine’s top ranking on the student performance list. “It takes dedication, commitment and a lot of practice to be as good as he is,” added John.
Besides coding, music plays an important role in valentine’s life. The proud owner of three sets of headsets is a fan of hip hop and gqom music. He shared with me one beat that he had produced and uploaded on Sound cloud. “I am glad that you chose computer science as your career because you was not going to last in the music industry,” l said as he wiped half of his breakfast from his shirt while busting in a loud laughter. “Why you do me like this,” he said. We both chuckled as he logged off the systems to go for lunch. Valentine defies the stereotype of all computer scientists being anti-social and unapproachable. I would say he is one of the best people you would hang around with and literally talk about anything no matter how sensitive the issue is. This aspiring computer programmer comes from a humble home were him and his two siblings are raised by a singlemother. One day he aims to take care of his family and truly thank them for their support. Not only does he want to see his family do better but the community as well. In so doing, he is currently working on a programme that offers free texts books online and reading material for primary school children. However, this programme needs funding for its launch. “Thank you Kudzy, please come back and take more pictures of me, I also have Instagram hau !!” he said with his horsy voice and a bright smile as we firmly shock hands and separated ways. He quickly walked down the road on his way to the dining hall as l walked back to the Journalism department building. It was quiet a motivating experience being with Valentine.
Hand writing your notes has been proven to help increase memory. [Photo: E Latt]
Writing over typing Likhona Daza
they cannot write what the lecturer is saying word by word. This forces them to listen attentively and to summarize what is said in their own words. On her research article Pam Mueller says that even though laptops are smaller and more ubiquitous they serve as a distraction to students. For example, when I did not have a laptop and wrote my notes down I would remember things. Now that I own one I find that I chose to go on Facebook instead of listening in class. People who use laptops to type out their notes are obviously faster than those who write them down however Mueller said that it is because they write exactly what the lecturer is saying, and no learning is â€œEven though typing is done there. Writing what is said word for word does not help one to remember faster than writing it what was said, instead putting what makes students lazy.â€? is said in your own words helps. You remember what you said more than you remember what someone else said. According to an article written on Study We take more notes and quickly when Skills.com, students who write down their using electronics, but do not put as much notes are slower in pace compared to those thinking into them as we do when writing that are typing them, so they know that aking notes in class is very important and how you use them plays a big role in you remembering them. Taking notes help students to know what they must study, they get to know what they did in class and get to know which topics to skip when preparing for an exam. However, the most important thing in note taking is how you do it. Nowadays people use their laptops and tablets to type their notes in class instead of writing them down in a book. Laptops may be good and important in a studentâ€™s life, but it is not good for taking note.
by hand. Writing notes down awakens your mind and forces one to stay focused in class, because to keep up with what is being said in class one has to put it in their own words and shorten it. People who use laptops for taking their notes mostly do not focus in note taking, you would find them on different applications while taking down notes. Their aim is mostly just to write what is being said than learning while taking their notes. In a nutshell, students who write down their notes are more likely to remember things more than those who type out their notes. Even though typing is faster than writing it makes students lazy, they type exactly what is said but because the ones who write them are slower in taking notes they must shorten everything that is said and put it in their own words. Even though technology helps us do more in less time, it does not always foster learning. Sometimes it serves as a distraction.
Why we should decolonise Emily Latt
uring the #FeesMustFall movement, which captured national attention, students added a call for decolonised education in their campaign. The necessary change of decolonising education was brought forward in order to create a space for African students who feel alienated on campuses. Decolonisation in education makes the space for African ideas. The fact that academic spaces focus on Eurocentric ideas and norms for curriculum and assessment, means that Afrocentric ideas are always seen as second best. This is why the students are fighting for the need to have a decolonised space where all ideas are treated equally. But even after a year since the debate began many still do not fully understand this concept of a decolonised educational system and why the students are demanding it. In order to understand the student’s cries for decolonisation in education, you must understand the history of the education system in South Africa.
“A space for African ideas and theories not to be seen as second best to the Eurocentric During the Apartheid era, all education was separated by the colour of your skin. This system was created with the Bantu Education Act of 1958 which saw white education focusing on the high skilled and high paying jobs. Meanwhile education for black South Africans was focused on technical fields. After the Soweto uprising in 1976, the Apartheid government tried to appease people with basic changes to the education system. Yet universities remained segregated and education for non-whites was still at a lower level to that of the white population. After the end of the Apartheid era, the new African National Congress (ANC) government passed many
In order to decolonise education the Eurocentric curriculum needs to change. [Photo: E Latt] different acts in order to equalise education. They wanted to allow any academically deserving person the chance to study, no matter their race. These changes, however, were cosmetic as although universities are now desegregated they are still in many cases a ‘white space’. The majority of university academics are white men and at almost all of the universities in South Africa, English is still the language of education. This is despite the fact that, according to the census of 2011, English is only the fourth most widely spoken language. Although it is not their home language, many students are made to present all academic work in English. This means that the curriculum is not allowing for creativity or expression in African languages and puts students who are not first language English speakers at a disadvantage. All the knowledge which is taught has been chosen and deemed important as is the language it is being taught in.
A decolonised education system is a necessary change in our country. It is not, as some believe, to reduce or remove all Western ideas. If it was to remove the ideas which are Eurocentric completely, then what would happen, it is a continuation of the cycle. What it truly means to decolonise education is destroy the prejudices against African content. Eurocentric curriculum choices and assessment mean that the educational sphere is defined by European norms. The call of decolonisation of education makes way for the acknowledgement and destruction of these ideas. It is creating a space for African ideas and theories not to be seen as second best to the Eurocentric standard. The decolonisation of education is important and necessary to understand in the way the current educational system affects the students. In essence decolonisation of education offers a new system which encourages critical thinking as it offers all sides of the same argument, whether Euro or Afrocentric.
Offer help, not judgement Kudzai Matsika
epression affects everyone’s life at some point or another. It is not a choice. Victims of depression often feel isolated and frustrated by what they’re experiencing, and that can be intensified by how some inquire about it. This short piece is my opinion on how to approach people with this mental state and what to avoid saying to them. Markus MacGill in MedicalNewsToday defines depression as a state of mental disorder characterized by a persistently low mood and a feeling of sadness and loss of interest. We all have encountered people with this state of mind. It might have been a friends or relative or class mate. In some instances we have tried to reach out to them. We often have common phrases that we say. For instance, “just cheer up”. Well l think, if cheering up was easy than being depressed, well they could have tried it way back. Remember, depression is not a choice. Imagine if someone cut off your foot and then suggested that you just try growing it back. Have fun with that.
People suffering from depression often feel alone and unable to get help. [Photo: E Latt]
antidepressants do not cure depression but manage and control the mood affected. Since depression has its highs and lows, even on medication, the victim’s mental state is variable over time. In a way saying I thought you were on meds kind of discourages them “Company removes that makes them loose hope loneliness feeling and creates and in themselves more than they already have. Imagine a different mood and helps saying “I thought you would regain confidence” be fine by now’ to someone on ARVs.” Instead of us saying Depression can be likened to HIV but, such unthoughtful statements as ways of of the brain. According to HelpGuide encouraging our friends there are other an online consulting clinic, depression ways of getting them to cheer up or even has no cure but can be well managed. help when affected. Remember, depression However, HealthyCore suggests that 85% is a mental illness. Sometimes, support of depression patients do not receive takes the form of friends just being around treatment for their mental illness. Many and not giving up on the victim. Maybe a times when someone says they are on consistently inviting them to events even antidepressants we think they will be cured. if they often refuse or give excuses. That No! We often say “I thought you were fine sense of them being remembered by now that you were on meds”. Remember,
someone helps and really has an effect to their condition. Moreover, being involved in physical activities can redirect their minds to something mood changing. Offering to bring food, help around with house chores or school work or even pick up meds also has a great impact to their condition. I would take it as walking in the dark, alone it is scary. With someone besides you, you have a bit of confidence and hope that you will get where you are going. Company removes that loneliness feeling and creates a different mood and helps regain confidence. In conclusion, depression is a mental illness that cannot be treated with medication. Also it varies with people and affects them differently. I would suggest physical therapy to it such as being involved in many activities such as exercise/gym. The needs of individuals are hugely variable, so this isn’t a prescription for “how to support your depressed friends and family”. It’s a start.
Anita Dywaba, Emily Latt and Likhona Daza linking hands in show of all working toghter. [Photo: L Mpofu]
Takes us all 25
â€œEducation is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.â€? - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918-2013)
Include Me African Media Matrix Price Alfred St Grahamstownn 6139
Inclusive education refers to an education system where all needs are met in the classroom. And children are not disadvantaged due to factor...
Published on May 18, 2018
Inclusive education refers to an education system where all needs are met in the classroom. And children are not disadvantaged due to factor...