PDBY 7 June 2021
Year 83 | Issue 6
Photo: Christiaan Kotze and Catherine Kotze
UP Rembrandt P4 a fake
Students and side-hustles
Featured Artist: Zen Garden
7 June 2021
2 | From the Editor
A quick catch up
n case you missed it, the First Quarter Student Forum was held on 27 May, and was the SRC’s opportunity to respond to submitted questions and live follow up questions. PDBY will be sharing their responses in an upcoming edition, but on a personal level, I found the forum exceptionally productive. It was a great way to hear from each SRC member and to ask portfolios about their work directly. It really made the lack of student forum in 2020 even sadder, as this quarter’s forum offered some substance and interaction with the SRC in a way the average student isn’t usually afforded. It is important to be able to speak to our student leaders and be met with openness, accountability and transparency, and I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. The Constitutional Tribunal ran the forum and should be commended on the efficiency of the forum, especially as this was the first ever virtual version. Overall, student forum was a positive experience, and I cautiously hope it is a sign of the rest of the year’s success. In other news, this week PDBY received a letter from a student all the way in Norway, who shared his message on men’s mental health in a Norwegian university newspaper, but is also sharing it to students
Letter to the Editor:
worldwide. Toxic masculinity and the patriarchy is something feminists across society oppose and challenge for their effects on women, but men are also adversely impacted by these established systems. The letter shared by Mikkel highlights this important fact, and reminds us that feminism is for everyone. If you would like to share your own experiences or your opinion, write us a letter and send it to email@example.com to be published. Have your voice heard - important topics like these should be spoken about openly and frequently. On a final note, PDBY’s annual literature edition is coming up on 26 June. Poetry Corner is always open to our readers, but this edition will feature a special extended version. To be featured, email your poetry or writing to editor@ pdby.co.za - 400 words maximum. Look out for the special edition of PDBY later this month, it’s always an exciting themed edition and we can’t wait to share it with you. Until then,
Literature edition coming 26 June: submit your writing to PDBY for a chance to be featured! Max. 400 words
We need to talk about men’s mental health
Originally published in the Norwegian student newspaper Universitas. Only edited to be more general Not for everyone, but for many men it is difficult to know how to express emotions. It has become a matter of principle that men should be strong and masculine, that showing emotion is a sign of weakness. This is something that has to be adressed. As a man myself, I recognize the challenges and how hard it can be to press the alarm button. ‘’ If I say something, am I really man enough?’’, is a thought that can come to mind. ‘’ What are others going to think?’’ is another. The feeling of shame, the feeling of weakness and the feeling that getting help breaks with masculinity. It is time to deal with the stigma sorrounding men’s mental health. Similarly, expectations are high; the right clothes, the right body shape and the right self-image. But what really happens if you do not want to, or is unable to live up the male ideal? Not all men get good grades in physical education, and not all men can look like superman. The ideal however, is still there. In this day and age, we are also bombarded by advertising posters. This is both for the good looking body, but also for the happy man. Everything seems fine, good and great. However, that’s not always the truth. Is it any wonder that many men are struggling with mental health, but few get the help neccessary? Nor should it be overlooked that there may be several reasons why men don’t seek help. From underlying problems that may have followed one from childhood onwards, or that one has thoughts about the importance of looking strong. Fellas, it’s time to give each other a shoulder to cry on! Maybe we can also learn something from kindergarden-children? To them, one can cry if it feels right. To them, a man can wear a dress if one wishes. One can draw princesses, or drive small cars if one wants to. All they ask is that you come along and play. There is no shame in being yourself. No matter who you are, you’ll be able to get a hug. In today’s society, there is an ideal on how to be a man. You have to get good grades, you have to smile broadly and be comfortable in every single situation. You hear that you have to be good looking and muscular, from TV shows like firefighter Sam to advertising posters. Maybe it’s time to be honest; that men can cry too? The principle of constant masculinity must be built down, and the principle that men too can suffer has to be built up. Fellas, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to need help. We all do sometimes! - Mikkel Sibe
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7 June 2021
UP veterinary specialist performs lifesaving surgery on a horse Thabang Moloi
n what is believed to be a first for South Africa, UP’s Veterinary Specialist, Dr Juan Muñoz, used a groundbreaking new technique to save a racing filly. This surgery was performed alongside Dr Felipe Corrêa, an equine surgery resident. This operation is usually done on animals that suffer from laryngeal hemiplegia, a paralysis of the larynx on one side. What makes this a special procedure is that it is a combination of surgical techniques (a “dynamic neuroprosthesis technique”) performed on animals that suffer from this condition. According to a statement released by the university, this new technique was first described in 2020 by American and French veterinarians. The specialists’ patient was a two-year-old racing filly that made a strange roaring sound when running and could not exercise for long without tiring. The patient was received by the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital to treat the strange sound and underwent a diagnostic procedure. This procedure is described as a gold standard imaging technique, called overground dynamic endoscopy. Dr Muñoz described the procedure in the statement: “It is performed by inserting an endoscope into the horse’s nasal cavity to visualise the pharynx and larynx area. The horse is then exercised and the data is recorded in a computer located underneath the saddle. Playing the video back in slow motion allows visualisation and assessment of the functioning of the pharynx and larynx”. Dr Muñoz added that “this filly was not able to participate in horse racing due to the presence of a laryngeal hemiplegia in an early stage of the disease. In more severe cases or when the pathology is bilateral, patients are unable to exercise or can even die because of asphyxia”. Horses with this condition are usually treated by “laryngoplasty and ventriculocordectomy” while under local anaesthesia. Dr Muñoz explains the procedure used before the new dynamic technique: “With the ventriculocordectomy, the ventricle and the vocal cord of the larynx are removed to widen the airway and reduce or eliminate the respiratory noise. The laryngoplasty is a nonphysiologic procedure and is associated with complications such as chronic coughing or dysphagia”. The new dynamic neuroprosthesis technique the filly underwent is a modification of the laryngoplasty (paralysed cartilage is tied back with a suture). By anchoring a prosthesis with a “screw and metallic button”, the horse is able to breathe more easily again. Dr Muñoz and his team also reinnervated (restored nerve function) to
“ ...our academics have world-class expertise and are comparable with the world’s best veterinary scientists.
the cricoarytenoid dorsalis muscle (the muscle that controls the throat). This was done by supplying it with nerves from other parts of the horse’s body. All of this was done while the horse was standing, not lying down, using sedation and local anaesthesia (only numbing the area they worked on). By doing this rather than using general anaesthesia, the surgeons avoided the risk and cost associated with general anaesthesia, such as prolonged recovery, orthopaedic injuries, myopathy (muscle disease) or neuropathy (nerve disfunction). The new dynamic approach is said to have less risks when compared to the classic laryngoplasty procedure. To the best of his knowledge, Dr Muñoz claims that this is the first case where a patient is treated with the new technique in South Africa, and that “The procedure went well, and the recovery time will be around three months before the filly returns to racing”. This is not South Africa’s first breakthrough to come out of the University’s Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies. A life-saving heart surgery on two dogs was performed by the department’s Dr Adriaan Kitshoff and Dr Ross Elliott, and Dr Elge Bester and Dr Kitshoff recently conducted South Africa’s first partial knee replacement on a cat. The Head of Department, Professor Amelia Goddard, says “this shows that our academics have world-class expertise and are comparable with the world’s best veterinary scientists”.
Student voices in the pandemic
3 | News
n March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic reached South Africa and the country went into a strict lockdown to try and contain the situation. In the following months, a group of University of Pretoria development studies students - themselves forced to leave campus and student residences and try to learn online – wrote about this unprecedented situation. In this short collection we share some of these experiences; some reveal what the students themselves were going through, some capture the stories of others around them. No-one, at the time of writing these, really imagined that a year later we would still be so severely affected by this pandemic. But here we are, all still grappling with many of the same challenges. We hope you find these glimpses of how others have been affected in some way illuminating and perhaps encouraging. Editors: Marc Wegerif and Bontle Modubu – March 2021 University of Pretoria, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology. Learning In The Time Of Covid-19 South Africa has some of the highest data costs in Africa. This makes it difficult for students from poor backgrounds and those considered as the ‘missing middle’ to afford data or Wi-Fi to access the internet. An online survey I conducted involved 25 respondents, 18 of them (72%) university students. They were asked if the money spent monthly on accessing online platforms increased, decreased or remained the same? The results revealed that 64% of the respondents have experienced an increase in the amount of money spent for online learning activities, while only 36% said their data or Wi-Fi costs have remained the same. None of the respondents have observed a decrease in those cost. Another question required respondents to disclose how much money they spend to be able to access internet on a monthly basis. The data revealed that 20 of the respondents (80%) spend R300 or more per month, to be able to access online platforms for learning. Within those 20 respondents, 15 spend R500 or more to access the internet, and 4 within those 15 respondents spend up to R1,000 and more. The other 20% either spend less than R300 per month or do not spend money at all to be able to access the internet. Spending R300 or more on data or Wi-Fi could very well be impossible for some students in South Africa, even though some educational institutions have made an attempt to close this gap by providing students with free mobile data and others allowed their platforms to be zero-rated. The following question in the survey: “Have you received any assistance with these costs from any institution? If so elaborate”, resulted in some respondents revealing that access to platforms such as Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate (an online academic teaching platform) still requires them to buy mobile data or pay for Wi-Fi, as these platforms are not zero-rated and they are the primary platforms used for online lectures. Author: Bontle Modubu Read the collection in PDBY: next installment 21/06
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“The government has made its priorities clear, for over five years students have taken to the streets to demand free tertiary education, while the government continues to dedicate tax-payer rands to Sasol through R1.55 billion in fuel subsidies and a further R6.5 billion in carbon tax exemptions, which actively erode the future of our youth. The South African government is fueling the climate crisis. Instead, it needs to redirect the funding from the destructive fossil fuel industry towards free tertiary education, and break the cycle of poverty and achieve social justice. We call on the government to divest from fossil fuels and invest in education.” - Greenpeace Africa’s Climate and Energy Campaigner, Thandile Chinyavanhu
News | 4
7 June 2021
A believed self-portrait by Rembrant sold for R258,3 million in July 2020
The newly estimated creation date according to UP art historians.
After the death of Rembrant.
University of Pretoria’s ‘Portrait of a Rabbi’, author unkown, previously thought to be painted by the Dutch master Rembrant.
UP Rembrant a fake
How sci-fi-like technology helped prove a UP-owned Rembrandt painting fake Kendall Behr
erard De Kamper, Chief Curator of the UP Art Collection, and Isabelle McGinn, Museum Conservator at the UP Museums, Department of UP Arts, work in an academic unit called the Tangible Heritage Conservation. It is the only one of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, and they also developed it as a master’s course in 2018. One of the things that makes their unit unique is that they apply a blend of provenance research and technical art analysis techniques, including UV light examination, X-radiography, and X-ray fluorescence that was not available in South Africa until they brought it in. This type of technology allowed them to analyse the types of paints used on “Portrait of a Rabbi” to determine its age, rather than relying on the history of who owned it. “Technical art analysis is not widely available in South Africa and there were challenges in taking the painting to Europe to be authenticated. The solution was to start developing local expertise”, said Kamper and McGinn. “Portrait of a Rabbi” came to South Africa with Dutch businessman, J.A. Tilburg, in the 1950s. It is a small oil painting of an old man in profile, wearing a dark, fluffy hat and cloak, and certainly looks like a Rembrandt. It was donated to UP in 1976, and has taken a place of pride ever since. As Kamper and McGinn said, “an authentic Rembrandt in a small university museum in Africa would indeed cause a stir in the art world. To prove it a work by the artist was something the UP Museums have been unable to do in the past due to limited resources”. Kamper and McGinn explain that “Portrait of a Rabbi” had good provenance to prove that it was a Rembrandt, which is why it was attributed to him. Provenance is the study of the history of an object after its creation, and in the case of a painting, its history of ownership. According to Kamper and McGinn, “the painting was documented as being part of the Warneck Collection, an important private art collection in Paris, as described in the book by Cornelis Hofstede de Groot. But provenance research carried out in the Netherlands in 2015-2016 showed that the painting’s provenance to the Warneck Collection, was in fact, incorrect”. There were other provenance markers, such as mention of an invoice with Rembrandt’s signature at an auction in 1889, and distinctive marks at the back of the frame. Rembrandt focused on portraits of men and women in the 1650s, and when the wood
“Technical art analysis
is not widely available in South Africa ... The solution was to start developing local expertise. Gerard De Kamper, Chief Curator of the UP Art Collection, and Isabelle McGinn, Museum Conservator at the UP Museums, Department of UP Arts
panel was examined using a method called dendrochronology, it showed that the tree it came from was cut down in 1640. But then the opportunity to bring in a X-ray fluorescence scanner, which combines X-ray fluorescence sampling with scanning technology, presented itself. This scanner allows art historians to scan an entire painting at once, rather than using a hand-held scanner to scan small areas. It also presents data in layers that can be selected or removed from a digital map, like in a sci-fi movie, to be analysed. The scanner showed that a type of paint, called zinc white, which was only created as a pigment in 1834, was present on the painting. They also found large quantities of barium sulphate, which was only mined in the 1850s. This means that “Portrait of a Rabbi” is 200 years younger than we thought and is not by Rembrandt. Kamper and McGinn say that “several collections in SA contain old master paintings like this one. The attribution and age of these works when donated or purchased are simply believed, due to the lack of expertise in art authentication and the cost of sending them to Europe to be authenticated.” One such painting has been proven to be fake, and perhaps now, the rest will quickly follow.
Compiled by Katherine Weber, Susanna Anbu, Amukelani Makamu
UP partners with the African Genius Awards
The University of Pretoria has partnered with and will host the African Genius Awards at UP’s Future Africa Campus. The awards honour African individuals who embody the values needed to take Africa into the future. Amongst a list of 24 nominees, those nominated include: Steve Biko, a well-known political activist during Apartheid and founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, Chimamanda Adichie, a prominent Nigerian writer and feminist activist, and Thobekile Mkhize, a Durban entrepreneur who founded a fashion brand that tells the story of Africa.
Two UP History graduates receive prestigious doctoral scholarships Nicole Sithole and Reatile Moncho received two scholarships to pursue doctoral studies after obtaining their masters degrees from the university’s Department of Historical and Heritage Studies. Sithole received the PhD scholarship by the Cambridge Trust to do her doctoral studies at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University. Moncho received a doctoral scholarship in a research project based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The research project, titled, “The Histories of Universities in South Africa”, aims to improve and develop the critical histories of South African universities to assist in the efforts of transforming these institutions.
UP hosts first Nobel Prize Dialogue On 18 May, the University of Pretoria hosted a Nobel Prize Dialogue that sought to address challenges associated with the future world of work. The dialogue was split into three “breakout tracks”, which focused on the future of education, the future of employment, and the social and environmental impact of work. The Nobel Prize Dialogue was mainly about the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This topic raised questions about how dynamic the workplace has to be due to the pandemic. Questions such as, ‘What is the new normal for working life?’ and ‘How is the COVID-19 pandemic changing the dynamics of work?’ were asked and discussed. Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, said, “COVID-19 has meant a change in the way we work, with mental health issues on the rise. The workplace is also changing in the face of the fourth industrial revolution.
‘Discovery’ by Alexis Preller (1959) Image: Javett-UP
3 decades later
‘Discovery’ to be displayed on Hatfield campus
iscovery” is a striking oil painting by Alexis Preller (19111975). It took the Pretoria born artist four years to complete the painting, with the painting itself spanning 13 metres. The painting, heralded as an iconic artwork in the academic community for its depiction of the discovery of South Africa, is now on display at the Sculpture Museum on Hatfield Campus following relocation from the Javett Art Centre. The impetus for the painting arose when Preller was commissioned by the Transvaal Provincial Administration. The painting took 4 years to finish, with its immense size requiring a dedicated gallery to be built for Preller to work on it. Following three decades of being stored behind locked doors, the painting is now on full display. The painting was on display at the Javett Art Centre from 2019-2021, but has now been relocated to the sculpture museum. Head of UP Museums, Dr Sian Tiley-Nel, confirmed with PDBY that “UP Museums are still planning its public mounting”. Owing to the age of the painting, the artwork poses unique challenges for curators due to its holes, paint loss and flaking, that when handled poorly, could exacerbate the deteriorating condition of the painting. The artwork will hence undergo a rigorous round of art conservation before being displayed for public viewing in a controlled museum environment. UP art conservator, Sandra Markgraaf, is tasked with monitoring the art conservation process.
7 June 2021
5 | News
UP graduates and employability: Intervarsity News more graduates, less jobs University of the Witwatersrand Compiled by Tshepang Moji, Nondumiso Mtambo and Nokwanda Kubheka
he main reason people go to university is to arrive at a point where they can apply for and get a good job that is aligned with what they studied for. However, with about 500 000 people graduating in South Africa at the end of each academic year, the job market continues to prove to be extremely competitive, more so now with the negative effects the global economy has suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Pretoria prides itself in its ability to offer degrees that provide individuals with skills that employers are looking for, and aims to develops its students beyond just academic success. The pandemic has shifted the world economy and ultimately affected the rates of employment in South Africa. However, even before the pandemic, there was an unemployment issue amongst graduates in the country. The University of Pretoria as an institution is ranked amongst the top 600 universities in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Ranking (THE), ranked 4th in the QS world university ranks and ranked 480th in the world universities ranking. When one makes a choice of course to study, there are many things that have to be considered, the root question being “Will I find employment after completing this degree?”. Therefore, students end up going for what is considered a ‘sought after degree’ so that they are able to compete in the job market. Ignitious Dire, the coordinator of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, indicated that potential employers look beyond just the degree qualifications that students complete. There are other factors like soft skills, such as leadership, time management and communication, to build when considering potential employees. On the one hand, there are students who find it difficult to find employment and yet they have completed the so-called sought after degrees. On the other hand, you get students who are employed even though they have completed degrees that are considered less employable, and in most cases it all depends on what employers are looking for. The issue of unemployed graduates is a serious one. For example, it can seem that those who are affected the most are commerce students, because of the struggles in corporate South Africa, especially now, during the pandemic. However, it is not all bad and Dire says that the decrease in employment opportunities does not necessarily affect commerce graduates disproportionately. “I personally get requests from companies that are looking to employ students from the Economic and Management Sciences faculty”, Dire said. Dire stated there are many cases of students who are in their final year of studies and are already gainfully employed. The danger of seeing many young people graduate university and then struggle to find work for years, is that it sends a message to others, especially the youth, that university degrees are useless, Dire also explained. The difference between the educated and those that are not becomes less visible. Dire went on to elaborate that because of the outcomes of the pandemic, there is a large chance of a new wave of graduates joining the unemployed masses. While the number of students starting at UP continues to increase, employment opportunities remain highly
competitive and in high demand.“If we are going to look at the purpose of getting a tertiary education as solely getting employed then yes, if this year’s intake is anything to go by, I would say one can expect more or less the same number of graduates”, Dire said. This, paired with the economic set backs of the pandemic, could result in further difficulties finding employment as a new graduate. Dire encourages that if one is to consider what getting a tertiary education in broad terms is all about, which is to produce critical thinkers, one can never regret having more graduates. “Yes initially they might struggle to find employment but once the economic situation turns around, the situation will change”, motivated Dire. In a media briefing in February 2021, Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, mentioned that courses such as HR, office administration and many others that mostly fall under economic and management sciences will not be funded by NSFAS any longer. The Minister explained that because of the drop in demand for these disciplines in the job market, there is a surplus of qualified people. According to Dire, this move by the ministry does not affect the University of Pretoria. “The BCom Human Resource Management degree is among one of the degrees in the faculty that has more students completed in record time”, stated Dire. He also elaborated that in most cases students who pursue this degree know exactly that it is the degree they want, and as such they go on to do well. They usually do not struggle as much as the other students from other degrees to find employment opportunities, he says. Dire went on to indicate that in the Economic and Management Sciences Faculty, the following degrees are currently in high demand from employers: BCom Accounting Sciences, BCom Financial Sciences, BCom Investment Management, BCom Business and Marketing Management, and BCom Human Resource Management. It is also important to caution prospective and current students about fields that are no longer in demand in the job market. Dire stated that in the Economic and Management Sciences faculty, once a degree no longer has demand, it gets reviewed and revised in some instances with the view to offer a programme that would better respond to the industry needs it is designed for. “This is usually done on consultation with the industry stakeholders. Otherwise such degrees get discontinued”, he said.
The danger of seeing many young people graduate university and then struggle to find work for years, [is that it] sends a message to others, especially the youth... that university degrees are useless.
Ignatious Dire, Co-ordinator of Undergraduate and Postgradaute Programms for the Faculty of Economic and Managment Studies
The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) has recently launched a new initiative to empower black and coloured women in the field of academia. The Female Academic Leaders Fellowship (FALF) is an initiative developed by Wits Chancellor and businesswoman, Dr Judy Dlamini. The program seeks to transform the gender and racial disparities in the field of academia, and to uplift black and coloured women who are not adequately represented in the knowledge, production and leadership fields of academia. While recognising the increase in women who have graduated, with a large increase in masters and doctoral level enrollment, Dr Dlamini noted the lack of black and coloured women in leadership. Dr Dlamini said, “our research showed that it is not all women that are missing from leadership positions. White and Indian women are doing better than their national demographic proportion. However, South African African and coloured women do not have a seat at the table yet. That is the area that FALF seeks to address, assisted by the Wits executive”.
University of the Western Cape Two University of Western Cape (UWC) students, Motlalepule Moeleso and Moeketsi Moiketso, shone at the Covenant University Intervarsity Debating Championships. Moeleso and Moiketso, who both hail from the Free State and are in their first year of study at the University of the Western Cape, represented the UWC Debate Union at the championships hosted by Nigeria’s Covenant University, where the duo came second amongst a host of other debating teams from universities all across the African continent. The debate took place in the British Parliamentary format, consisting of four teams of two speakers each. Overall, both speakers placed in the top 20 speakers of the competition individually, with Moeleso, a BCom student, in 19th place, and Moiketsi, an LLB student, walking away as the 14th best speaker at the competition.
Rhodes University Rhodes University (RU), in collaboration with the International Library of African Music, is launching a new podcast series that is centered around showcasing the best of Africa’s most influential and dedicated musicians and music activists. The podcast, titled “African Music Activists”, will be hosted by RU Music Lecturer, Boudina McConnachie. McConnachie said that the idea to start the podcast came from her time studying African music at the University of Cape Town. After falling in love with this genre, McConnachie felt strongly that music students at South African universities should have the chance to also learn about African music. McConnachie remarks that “the podcasts are a thank you to all those who have been such an important part of the journey to preserving African music”. McConnachie hopes people who listen to the podcast will be inspired to listen to the music and share it with those around them. She also believes that all Southern Africans should know more about these music activists and the efforts they made, to ensure we still have indigenous and traditional African music in the modern age, amplifying these African stories for the whole world to hear.
University of KwaZulu Natal The University of KwaZulu Natal recently awarded a first class (above 75%) Bachelor of Physiotherapy degree, posthumously, to Ms Charlotte Dube during their Autumn graduation proceedings. The degree was awarded after Dube’s tragic death in a violent taxi incident on 10 April. Dube was scheduled to have her qualification conferred during the university’s College of Health Science virtual graduation ceremony on 26 May. Dube was one of 7339 Health Science undergraduate students who were awarded their degrees on the day. Dube also left a lasting impression on staff in her discipline who described her passing as huge loss to their profession. They also expressed that they thought she would have gone on to be ‘an inspirational leader and mentor in the field of South African physiotherapy’. The discipline of physiotherapy has since introduced a “Charlotte Dube award” in Dube’s honour. The award is reserved for a student in the discipline who exemplifies the physiotherapy profession.
Tswane University of Technology Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the Kingdom of Bapedi in Sekhukhune, Limpopo, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding and announced plans to set up a campus in the Sekhukhune District. According to the TUT website, Professor Stanley Mukhola, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching, Learning and Technology, expressed gratitude for the warm welcome they received in the Sekhune area. He emphasised that the establishment will not be a satellite but rather a distant campus that will focus mainly on mining and agriculture. The signing ceremony took place at Mohlaletsi village. Illustration: Cassandra Eardley
6 | News
MRI to research on the “vulnerable” Bryde’s whale Manelisi Magoro
ccording to the IUCN (World Conservation Union) criteria, the South African Bryde’s Whale is classified as “vulnerable” which precedes classification as “endangered”. The best available evidence and their small population size suggests that they face a risk of extinction in the wild. A conservation assessment of Balaenoptera in December 2016 revealed that a mark recapture study of inshore (local) stock conducted in Plettenberg Bay produced an abundance estimate between 150 and 250 individuals, between the years 2005 and 2008. However, it is unknown how this relates to the total population of South African Bryde’s whale. There are currently no assessments available on offshore (deep water) stock, which was exploited by land-based whalers from around 1911 to 1967 and more extensively between 1969 and 1976 by illegal unregulated pelagic whaling. The offshore stock is “data deficient”. Population estimates of Bryde’s whales in the Southern Hemisphere are in urgent need of reassessment. The South African inshore population is dependent on yearround prey availability as they feed predominantly on small pelagic fish (small to medium costal fish) like anchovy and pilchard. The conservation assessment indicates that the inshore form shows a
seasonal shift in distribution with the majority of sightings on the south-east coast of South Africa between Cape Agulhas and East London in summer. “They were previously shown to migrate up the west coast in observations from the late 1990s appear lower than those captured during commercial whaling in 1960s when higher numbers were observed further north in autumn and winter. This shift may reflect changes in availability of pelagic fish with a general south and eastward shift of pilchard and anchovy in summer. Individuals also follow the annual migration of sardine up the east coast of South Africa, known as the Sardine Run that takes place in winter and is currently occuring, but the number of individuals involved and how far they follow the sardine schools is unclear.” The unit also did research on the effects of overfishing on the population of Bryde’s whale. The type of fish that Bryde’s whales rely on, like anchovy and pilchards, are popular and relatively cheap, mass sold fish and the demand for these fish means less availability for the whales. The lack of sufficient pelagic fish can negatively impact the population of Bryde’s whales. Just how the whale population is effected is unclear and calls for further research. “In general, very little is known about this species in South African waters, hence our mission to start in-depth research on the species” says Els Vermeulen, Research Manager at the Mammal Research Institute (MRI Whale- unit).
Image: Masehle Mailula
Indian Variant in SA
COVID-19 strike 3
n 8 May, Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, announced South Africa had four confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant first discovered in India. This new variant has been highlighted as a cause of concern due to its high community transmission rates. India has been greatly affected by the new variant, with daily cases exceeding four hundred thousand during its second wave, and daily deaths estimated at over four thousand. These growing numbers have led to a collapse in India’s health system, with insufficient oxygen tanks and emergency beds to contend with the cases. The dire situation in India has led the international community to extend its support, with many countries sending oxygen tanks and doctors as aid. A campaign on social media called #HelpIndiaBreathe gained traction in response to the crisis in India. With the discovery of the Indian variant, Dr Mkhize stated during his speech that it was necessary to avoid panic and adhere to prevention measures. This speech came prior to the beginning of the third wave which South Africa is currently grappling with, with Gauteng and the Free State identified as hotspots. SA has recorded 12 cases of the Indian variant, with numbers expected to climb as relaxed lockdown rules and regulations are maintained. In light of this, the Department of Health has appealed for tighter lockdown rules, particularly limiting large gatherings, as this coupled with the winter period makes it difficult to contain the virus. South Africa has, in its fight against COVID-19, entered its second phase of vaccinations on Monday 24 May. Government and medical schemes (excluding Profmed) have agreed to pay the vaccination fee at no additional cost to the consumer. This is in hopes of increasing the number of people receiving vaccinations. SA’s fully vaccinated total is just over one million, with each recipient needing two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, or one of the J&J one, before they can meet the criteria to be fully vaccinated.
UP and the oncoming third wave Nkosinam Nene
n 14 May, the Gauteng Premier announced that the third wave has hit Gauteng, following a notable rise in the number of cases. PDBY spoke to Director of Institutional Advancement at UP, Rikus Delport, to find out how the university plans to handle the situation going forward. As of 20 May, more than 280 student coronavirus cases were recorded across all of UP’s campuses: Hatfield campus accounting for more than 45%. The university says the situation is being carefully monitored and each case is treated with great urgency. In the event of an identified case, students are immediately isolated, the relevant authorities are notified and where applicable, communal areas in residences and lecture halls are decontaminated. Furthermore, the university emphasises that more stringent preventative measures, such as the temporary suspension of contact sessions and closure of specific facilities, may be introduced in the event of cluster infections. A dedicated web page (www.up.ac.za/coronavirus-updates) was created by the university to provide students and staff with useful information and regular updates on COVID-19 cases at the university. The implementation of a social compact by UP requires students and staff to adhere to all COVID-19 regulations, including participating in testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine protocols where required. The UP SRC urges students to remain vigilant and mindful going into the winter season. Free COVID-19 screening and testing is offered to students on various campuses. Delport urges students and staff to report the sudden onset of symptoms while on any UP campus or facility to the Control Centre. The emergency numbers appear at the back of all student and staff cards. Regard for the UP community is expected of all students and Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tawana Kupe, warns that irresponsible behaviour could lead to disciplinary action.
Image: Masehle Mailula
Visit www.up.ac.za/coronavirus-updates for more official COVID-19 updates from the University of Pretoria
7 June 2021
The decolonisation of education at UP Nokwanda Kubheka
une is National Youth month, where we commemorate the youth of 1976 who were killed fighting for freedom and equal education. While governmental agencies will be hosting several engagements to showcase opportunities available to young people, the University of Pretoria Director of Institutional Advancement, Rikus Delport, spoke on the institution’s efforts towards decolonising education. The #AfrikaansMustFall campaign led to UP phasing out Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, and Delport said that the language policy at UP seeks to promote inclusiveness and social cohesion, while guarding against exclusivity and marginalisation, with the goal to create an environment where all students and staff can enjoy a sense of belonging. He said that “although English is the language of official communication and administration, on all campuses and in residences, services are provided in other South African languages where requested and feasible”. With regard to the Department of African Languages catering for languages like Tshivenda and Xitsonga at undergraduate level in the future, Delport said that “UP provides tuition in four African languages (Sepedi, isiZulu, Setswana and isiNdebele) from first year up to PhD level”. He emphasised that the decisions as to which languages are included in a university’s offering are not up to the university, but that rather the Department of Higher Education (DHET) is the final decision making authority. In 2003 the DHET published a report where specific languages were allocated to certain universities for development of these languages in education to ensure equitable treatment of all languages and to prevent the “over- and/or under representations of specific languages for teaching and research purposes in a university”. Tshivenda and Xitsonga were not assigned to UP. Regarding the decolonisation of the curriculum, Delport said that the university recently relaunched the Curriculum Transformation Drive in Future Africa, which sets the tone of the planned activities for this year, where faculties will take stock of their Curriculum Transformation efforts and what their future plans are in relation to this drive. “The theme for the relaunch was ‘Curriculum Transformation is not a future event but a present activity’. The students will also be afforded an opportunity to engage on this matter because you cannot speak about Curriculum Transformation without involving students as an important stakeholder [...] The aim is to ensure that Curriculum Transformation is inclusive, transparent, robust, [and] intellectual[ly] stimulating in the interests of our students and society at large”, said Delport. For Youth Day 2020, UP Vice Chancellor, Professor Tawana Kupe, expressed that he viewed education without digital skills or digital access as the new ‘Bantu education’ and said “the University of Pretoria decided we would not resume the academic term online during lockdown until we had addressed this inequality and lack of access by loaning laptops to students who had no access”. Pertaining to the success of this initiative, Delport said that the university has provided laptops to approximately 3000 students who could not afford to buy one themselves. He explained that this included “providing students who had no access to connectivity with telephone tutoring, delivering study material to their homes and allowing some back on campus. Students were also given free access to data and the UP Solidarity Fund was launched to support those in financial need.” Sithembiso Nkosi, EFFSC UP chairperson, said that UP should be shifting the focus from Eurocentric Western education methods, systems and content to a more Afrocentric and indigenous pedagogy, and should foster an education system that is relatable and speaks to the reality of black people as institutions which cater to the majority of South Africans. “Some of the practical examples would be to conscientise the masses by inviting progressive Pan-Africanist scholars to programs so that the mindset and culture of UP students at large is changed and we become more ‘Afrikan’ rather than conforming to Western Eurocentric standards [sic]. Transformation must be real and be tangible on the ground. A mere changing of names is not an entire act of transformation, transformation and bringing about decoloniality is an act which is whole and requires all of us to do our bit to assist.”
Campus Nostalgia 31 August 1973 Men and women apart
his edition’s Campus Nostalgia revisits a 1973 PDBY (then Die Perdeby) article when the University of Cape Town rejected plans to set up a hostel that would house both men and women. Prof. B. Beinart, the Assistant Principal (student matters) of the time, confirmed that the university council rejected the plan. This decision was based on a point made by the Minister of Education at the time, Johan van der Spuy. The Minister said that the past arrangement, that men and women stay separately, must be maintained. Van der Spuy urged the university council to oppose students who were in favour of living together in what he considered “sex-hostels”. 48 years later, UCT offers mixed gender residences where men and women are accommodated on separate floors or in single-gender flats in some residences.
7 June 2021
Features | 7
Thrifting can be problematic Lauren Harries
ecently, more attention has been drawn to the fast fashion industry and its lack of respect for basic human rights and the environment. This has led to many people, including students, turning to thrifting as a more environmentally friendly alternative, as well as a form of activism against the brands that partake in fast fashion. However, due to an increase in thrift stores and Instagram pages throughout South Africa, thrifting has also created a completely new issue within the fashion industry. The fast fashion industry is characterised by cost-effective clothing with an unethical production line. According to Insider, the fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions. In addition to this, the fast fashion industry is known for using cheap labour, which involves child labour, and in extreme cases, slavery. Ultimately, the main focus of the fast fashion industry is capitalistic gain. It therefore stands to reason that people have turned to thrifting as a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to purchase clothing. This aside, the thrifting “industry” does not come without its baggage. Many people avoid thrifting due to the perceived inferiority associated with second-hand goods, as well as the time-consuming nature of thrifting. The convenience of buying retail, as it is less time-consuming and in some instances more cost-effective, has resulted in thrifting becoming a luxury that many cannot afford. In addition to this, the overconsumption of thrifted pieces has also caused an issue. An article on Vox titled, ‘How Thrifting Became
Problematic’, partly attributes the rise in the popularity of thrifting to the “popularity and proliferation of thrift haul videos on YouTube and TikTok”. PlanetAid.org also lists a stigma shift and heightened consumer responsibility as reasons for this rise.Therefore, the many people, usually part of the upper or middle class, who purchase huge quantities of thrift items for resale purposes (‘flipping’) and personal wear, have contributed to the gentrification of thrift stores. This overconsumption results in raised prices. As thrifting became a trend, largely due to social media platforms and influencers, it has resulted in the raised prices of thrift items, as a large population of people resell thrifted items to accumulate profit. Increased prices and overconsumption have resulted in difficulties for low-income and plus-sized shoppers. Low-income shoppers are being out-priced from thrift stores they previously relied on. An article entitled “Rise of Thrifting: Solution to Fast Fashion or Stealing from the Poor?”, by Berkeley Economic Review, describes how thrifting’s rise in popularity among wealthier consumers “reduces the already limited options available to low-income communities when it comes to clothing”. This is in addition to its effect on plus-sized consumers, who already struggle to find clothing, and who are now left with even fewer options, as re-sellers are buying larger sized clothing items to ‘flip’ into new clothing items. The increase in the number of physical and online thrift stores and the ‘flipping’ of thrifted items to create new ones has resulted in clothing items that one previously would have been able to thrift for a reasonable price, now being sold on an Instagram page for more than twice the
price. The Spartan Shield describes this “conundrum of fashion” by explaining how the cheap prices offered by thrift stores enable thrifters to “dig through clothes for hours and buy many items”. These thrifters will then advertise these items on their accounts and sell them to customers, often for far more than the original price they paid.With this in mind, it begs the question of whether thrifting is really the most environmentally friendly way to combat fast fashion or if it is merely becoming an industry designed for capitalistic gain, similar to the fast fashion industry, or, as Popular Science describes it, “an environmental and ethical trap”. Despite the baggage that comes with thrifting and the gentrification associated with it, thrifting still remains one of the most environmentally friendly ways to combat the fast fashion industry. However, many people argue that consumers need to be doing more, like holding governments and clothing brands accountable for their unethical behaviour in order to make a dent in the fast fashion industry.
Image: Cletus Mulaudi
One partner or three? Polyamorous marriages in South Africa Andiswa Kibi
ver the past decades, polyandry has not enjoyed the legal recognition assigned to the custom of polygamy in the South African context. This is despite the country’s rich history of embracing customary polygamous practices, which permit men to marry more than one wife. In a push to promote the constitutional mandate of equality, the Department of Home Affairs has proposed a policy document advocating for polyandry to be legally recognised as a form of marriage. Conventionally, “two’s company, three’s a crowd”, however, this saying does not apply in situations where people are happy to have romantic, emotional, and/or intimate relationships with two (or more) partners. This shift is in light of the growing advocacy for gender diversification, the furtherance of gender equality, and the necessitated legal protection thereof. In a country formerly led by a polygamous president, it comes as no surprise that there is a call to level the playing field. A Green Paper was submitted by the Department of Home Affairs in May 2021 to allow the national recognition of polyandry. The semantic origin of the term “polyamory” derives from Greek and Latin roots, poly (several/many) and amory (love). It is necessary to draw the distinction between “polyamory” and “polyandry” as the terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably. The former is used to describe a rare social form of polygamy premised on ethical non-monogamy that enables women to take part in intimate and/or non-sexual relationships with several partners concurrently. Opposingly, polygamy is a historically perceived phenomenon exclusive to men in which they are allowed to marry multiple women. Remarkably, polygamy can be traced to various religious belief systems, namely, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. Dr Elisabeth Sheff, author of The Polyamorists Next Door explains to Psychology Today that polygamy (otherwise referred to as polygyny) is universally heterosexual, while polyamory does not necessitate heterosexual or same-sex relations, thus promoting gender variance. Proving itself to be a controversial topic of discussion, polyamory has received vast debate in parliament and criticism on social media, giving room to splitting opinions from
Image: Cletus Mulaudi
the general public. In a report published by IOL News, the leader of the Al Jama-ah political party, Ganief Ebrahim Hendricks, expressed his concern about the polyandrous marriage proposal in the Green Paper. The politician said, “You can imagine when a child is born, more DNA tests will be needed to discover who the father is. The problem is only going to get worse”. Similarly, during an interview with eNCA, famous polygamist, Musa Mseleku, condemned polyandry, remarking that there are unconsidered reasons why men have many wives, to such an effect that the promulgation of laws supporting polyandry would destroy the ethos of marriage. However, multiple-partner relationships have become normalised in some communities, with the coining of terms such as “side chicks”, “main chicks”, and “open relationships” that allude to the informal practice of polyamory. By implication, Dr Sheff suggests that the contention surrounding the concept of polyamory can be attributed to its gender-neutral characteristic, which is representative of women, but also challenges a culture of patriarchy. According to African Christian Democratic Party leader, Kenneth Meshoe, polyamory is inconceivable because men tend to be jealous. Meshoe goes further to refute the Green Paper proposing for the legalisation of polyandry by stating that no African cultures practice polyandry. The conversation has generated public outcry with many criticising polyandry as an insult to the institution of marriage. Opposing opinions believe polygamists to be hypocritical for rejecting and dismissing the proposal because it challenges their misogynist double standard. In her research on polyamory, author Rachel Hope documents common misconceptions about polyamory to include generalised fear of commitment and rejection of monogamy, immunity from feelings, and polyamory as being part of a trend. Commonly, as is the case with polyamory, there are misconceptions about the latest buzzword. Hope says polyamory is often misconstrued to be sexual in nature when in fact it can be non-sexual in nature. Moreover, polyamory is typically regarded as a glorification of cheating, however, Dr Sheff rebuts this assumption by identifying the key component of polyamory as the requirement of consent. Therefore, polyamory
is “consensual non-monogamy (CNM)”. Polyandry carries the stigmatisation of being immoral and an act where the female’s behavioural preferences are regarded as sinful and shameful. Accordingly, the Mail & Guardian submits that polyamory should not be confused with “swinging” (open relationships). To debunk these erred perspectives, both males and females have recently assumed active roles to organise against the belief that monogamous relationships are the only types of acceptable relationships, to the effect that other unconventional relationships are shunned. Becky Burgum, in an article entitled “Polyamorous Relationships: A Definition of Polyamory, How It Works and Why It’s Not All About Sex”, ascertains that even though polyamory has sparked conversation in recent years, it has existed for centuries with a “poly pride flag” of its own. This is as a result of gender diversification, feminist movements, and media platforms such as Red Table Talk and Altered States: Love Without Limits, where celebrity influence has assisted in advocating for the creation of social awareness, establishment, and acceptance of polyamory. Polyamorous relationships do not enjoy legal recognition under South African law. Managing Director at Law for All, Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, points out that marriage for polyamorous couples is unlawful. Polyamorous marriages do not derive categorisation under civil marriage, civil union, or customary marriage, since the law strictly reserves these options for monogamous partners. In a recent interview with IOL News, Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, mapped out the lengthy legal process involved to ascribe legal status to the envisaged marriage statute where the policy would undergo Cabinet review by 31 March 2022. Subject to approval, the Marriage Bill would then be handed in to Cabinet by the end of March 2023, followed by a final submission to Parliament for approval by 31 March 2024. Despite the discernable public outrage, the draft marriage policy would still be subject to due legal processes prescribed by South African legislation. Owing to the evolution of society and the forming of new social constructs, perhaps with time the current legal position on polyamorous marriages and non-traditional relationships may change. According to a poll that was run by TimesLIVE, results depict that the current public disapproval for the implementation of the proposed legal recognition of polyamorous marriage outweighs its approval, with 43.67% of voters voting against the proposition, and 39.32% voting for it. Mostoaledi condones the publication of the Green Paper as a culmination of a progressive discourse in the South African marriage system, and the future of polyamorous marriages in the South African legal context remains uncertain.
8 | Features
The importance of a sidehustle Kirsten Minnaar and Asanda Made
ith the recent changes in the economy, increase in unemployment, and decrease in job opportunities, the concept of having a “side hustle” has become more popular and necessary. Having an additional stream of income has become a necessity for many, with some people even becoming dependent on their additional income. The benefits of having an additional income vary, and include both short-term and long-term benefits. As a student, having an additional income could provide many long-term benefits, particularly if the income is established early on. The obvious benefit of having a side hustle is financial gain: some extra money to spend on entertainment, daily expenses, and any other miscellaneous expenses one may have. According to Ryan Robinson’s Forbes article, “The 4 Unexpected Benefits of Starting a Side Hustle Today”, financial gain is not the only benefit of having a sidehustle. Some of the other benefits include an increase in networking opportunities through interacting with different people and establishing new relationships, which can later play an important role when looking for job opportunities as a graduate. Another potential benefit is decreasing the risks of being an entrepreneur, specifically if the side hustle is established while one is still a student and not financially dependent on an additional income. Another benefit of trying out different part-time jobs as a student, is that one will be exposed to a
Visual: Madeeha Hazarvi
variety of jobs, which could assist in finding the appropriate career path. The flexibility to curate a lifestyle that one wants through financial independence and the opportunity to explore different jobs and industries are also beneficial. As a student, balancing a side-hustle and academics can be difficult, however, establishing a schedule that is free of any academic clashes frees up time that students can use for their side-hustle. Dr EskellBlokland, the head of department at the Student Counselling Unit, along with the Faculty Student Advisors at the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment & IT(EBIT) and Natural Sciences have identified the importance of establishing a schedule to ensure that students “use their time wisely and get organised”. The incorporation of a side-hustle into one’s schedule can also ensure that a student’s schedule remains balanced and does not entirely revolve around academics. There are various types of side-hustles that students can engage in while they are completing their studies. Some examples of these include: Tutoring Students who would like to help struggling students improve their academic performance, while making some extra money in the process, should try their hand at tutoring. There are many tutoring companies that students can get involved in. PDBY spoke to James Langer, the Founder and CEO of SmartPrep, a student-employed tutoring company. According to him, tutoring is an extremely flexible way for students to earn some extra money. “Tutoring enables you to deepen your understanding of course materials, since there is no better way to learn something than to teach it to someone else”. Tutoring can also help students develop soft skills, “such as communication, time management, problem-solving, leadership, and adaptability”. While students can start tutoring on their own, companies like SmartPrep “offer free training for new tutors, where they teach them about the tutoring fundamentals and what is required to be an effective tutor”. According to Langer, these companies “also give tutors access to useful resources and a large network of experienced tutors”,while also minimising administration and giving tutors opportunities to grow”. House and pet sitting House and pet sitting can be a great way to earn money for students who love animals, or who do not have a lot of time on their hands. Chris Cloete, a third year BA Law student who works with a house and pet sitting company, Pets & Friends, said that he has had a good experience as a house and pet sitter. He explains that “house and pet sitting is a flexible means of income”. It is also “not a stressful means of income at all”. According to him, people looking for house-sitters are also usually very willing to work with students, which makes this a great source of income for university students. Selling summaries Selling summaries can be an excellent way for students to not only earn some extra money, but also improve their academic performance. Michellee Mukome, a third-year student studying social work, has been selling summaries for a year. She said that she started selling summaries to earn money, but it also helped her to stop procrastinating, which has improved her marks in the process. There are many more side-hustles that students can get involved in. Finding the most suitable side-hustle that fits into one’s schedule and matches one’s personality may take some time, but it may be a worthwhile journey that each student will need to take if they are interested in establishing a side-hustle and having an additional income.
The puppy pandemic: a global boom Vasalya Moodley
ith the world being in an uncertain state over the past year, pet shelters, homes with pets, and the animals they house were not exempted from the hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pets are being adopted as quickly as they are being returned, due to the financial implications of the pandemic on working individuals. Lockdown protocols and pet owners being diagnosed with COVID-19 also pose a problem in caring properly for pets. Shelters in South Africa suffered dire losses during the pandemic. The nation-wide lockdown caused the rate of adoptions and donations to decline. Without donations, there are no financial means for shelters to care for the animals. To make matters worse, those experiencing financial hardships during the lockdown were sometimes forced to abandon their pets, as they could not afford to care for them. In March 2021, the SPCA International stated that, in countries more heavily affected by the pandemic, adoption rates took a devastating blow, shelters suffered a deficit of food, and the number of abandoned pets rose. The South African SPCA implored South Africans to please return pets they can no longer care for to shelters, rather than casting them into homelessness. South Africa is not the only country with pets facing difficulties during this time. In the UK, two million more dogs have been bought due to the prolonged time at home. With this comes a harsh aftermath in behaviour, in humans and animals alike. It was reported that, because these newly-adopted dogs have not been exposed to visitors or other dogs, they exhibit fear and sometimes use aggression to cope. This aggression is particularly problematic for children in the adoptive home. Dog thefts have also increased in the UK, and many put their pets at the bottom of the priorities list due to the constant lockdown protocol changes.
With India’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases, families that have tested positive for the virus are not able to implement basic pet-care such as walking their dogs or buying pet food. Many dogs have also been left without care as their owners have passed away from the virus. Without the right care and simply no one to care for them, dogs have been orphaned or are not treated as priorities in grieving homes. Pets are not just fun furry friends to have around the house, their presence and relationship with their owners also provide health benefits. The Four Paws organisation set out that animal interaction “lowers stress levels, which leads to a strengthened immune system, and ultimately to a higher resistance to diseases. Taking better care of pets benefits both the owner and the beloved animal, therefore it is best not to neglect animals and thereby prevent a new pandemic of animal mistreatment from emerging alongside Visual: Cassandra Eardley the current one.
7 June 2021
Gen Z and the crisis of digital education
Image: Masehle Matome Mailula
eneration Z, or the digital generation, is more digitally savvy than any generation that has come before it. There have been many discussions in recent years about how education has developed, especially digitally, in order to accommodate the needs of this generation. The trend in changing education, however, tends to be very exclusionary. While digitalising education may seem like a very good idea, many South African students simply cannot keep up with this modernisation. The Pew Research Center defines Gen Z as those who were born between 1997 and 2012, and who have grown up in an environment where technology has always been a part of their lives. Since Gen Z has grown up with the internet, technology and social media, they are sometimes stereotyped as “tech-addicted”, “anti-social”, or “social justice warriors”, reports Business Insider. According to Forbes, Gen Z expects digital learning tools “to be deeply integrated into their education”. Platforms such as Faculty Focus have also suggested that tools such as Facebook Live, Youtube and short online quizzes should be implemented into teaching curriculums to accommodate Gen Z. As a result of online learning initiatives implemented in 2020, many of these or similar teaching strategies have become a part of South African universities’ education systems. The University of Pretoria has also implemented a variety of online learning tools, such as discussions forums, live chats and online video communication tools. Implementing technology into education is, however, not that simple. According to Medill Reports, in April 2020, only about 10% of South Africans had computers in their homes, 16% did not have electricity in their homes, and capped data plans were unaffordable for most South Africans. Data from the National Education Infrastructure Management System also showed that over 100 schools in the Gauteng province did not have internet access. Richard Klein, a computer science lecturer at Wits University, expressed that he faces many challenges when it comes to teaching his first-year computer science courses. “You’re teaching first year computer science to students that have never used computers, and they’re coming from rural areas and haven’t had the resources”, Klein said. The issue of technological illiteracy in South Africa is also amplified by high data prices, explained Medill Reports. According to statistics from the Alliance for Affordable Internet, “affordable data” means that customers spend less than 2% of their monthly income on data, per gigabyte. As of April 2020, however, South Africans were spending 2.3% of their income on a gigabyte. Brian Armstrong, the digital business chair at University of Witwatersrand and former secretary of the 4IR South Africa Commission, explained that in a country where so many people are living under the “living wage standard”, these data prices are “ridiculously expensive … for the vulnerable, exposed parts of our society”. Between being completely computer illiterate, to having no access to technological devices, data or possibly even electricity, many students simply cannot keep up with the trend of digitalisation in education. In a study on COVID-19 and the digital transformation of education, David Mhlanga and Tankiso Moloi found that many online learning initiatives introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic are still in place, and “it will be difficult for the education sector to go back to the old ways of teaching”. This continuous modernisation and digitalisation within education means that many South African students are being left behind for the sake of progress. Progress and digitalisation within the educational landscape is inevitable. This does, however, mean that many South African students who do not have access to technological devices are being left behind. While the desire to advance education might be natural, it is also worth wondering whether it should be happening at the expense of vulnerable students.
7 June 2021
Advertisement | 9
The engineer has been, and is, a maker of history. James Kip Finch
It is within your grasp to make history with a postgraduate qualification in engineering, technology and innovation or project management. The Graduate School of Technology Management (GSTM) at the University of Pretoria commemorated 30 years of excellence in engineering, technology and innovation as well as project management in 2017. The GSTM is not just the first graduate school of its kind in South Africa, but also the largest in Africa. The GSTM offers internationally recognised postgraduate programmes for practising engineers and scientists at honours, masters and doctoral level. The degree programmes address specific industry needs. A strong focus on research in the project management, engineering management, energy systems analysis as well as in the technology and innovation groups, ensures local and international relevance.
Degree programmes (www.up.ac.za/gstm): • Masters in Engineering Management (MEM) • Masters in Project Management (MPM) • Masters in Technology and Innovation Management (MTIM) • Honours in Engineering and Technology Management (ETM)
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2020/06/08 12:10 PM
7 June 2021
10 | Entertainment
PDBY Featured Artist: Zen Garden
DBY had the opportunity to catch up with Pretoria-based band, Zen Garden. The band is composed of: Inus Prinsloo, who hails from “the east coast of Nelspruit, Witrivier”; twins Rudolph and Christiaan Hartman, who grew up on a farm in Limpopo; and Jan Hendrik “Jannie” Labuschagne from “the beautiful Randburg”. Rudolph plays bass and has a key role in the foundations of each song and in “adding melodic riffs to chordal progressions”. Jan Hendrik plays the drums and “the grooves he creates definitely creates the overall vibe to each song”. Christiaan does backup vocals and guitar and “apart from creating the guitar parts to each song he also helps out with editing lyrics and catchy one liners”. Inus is the lead vocalist “who also writes most of the lyrics and has a good understanding of creating a structure to the riffs produced by the band to form a song”. The band was founded at Sonop during the members’ days at UP, when the residence needed a band to play at the TuksRes Battle of the Bands competition. Before the competition, they had “played together in Serrie and sang Serenade together but never took it further”. The band describes their sound as “a mixture between alternative, rock, funk, and jazz” but elaborates that it is “actually just whatever suits the listener best” as they prefer not to focus too much on genre as this means “[missing] out on letting the creativity do the thinking”. Find Barry is your most recent single. What was the meaning behind this song? The story behind this song involves the friend of Chris and Rudolph, named Barend Leonard who got lost in Hermanus (circa 2016) on the evening of his 21st birthday. The idea behind the song is to tell
his story. The “movie scene scenario” would be that he hears the song wherever he may be and decide[s] to come back. Till this day they have not yet found his body, so the story lives on. Who would you say is the band’s biggest influence in terms of sound? Hard to say, we all have very different tastes in music, like really different. So, it would be the case of naming about ten different artists or bands. Mostly in regard to the sound influence we take a lot from Red Hot Chili Peppers, mainly because their band layout is the same as us as well as the vibe they create. Out of the five albums that have been released, which album would you collectively classify as your favourite? So, we have 2 EP’s (Send Nudes and Rolling) and 3 singles (Smokey Eyes, Alone and Find Barry) which can cause confusion because Spotify labels it all as an album, lol. Anyway, it’s quite hard to say. Both EPs mean a lot to us and the singles were recorded at the same time as the Rolling EP. We would say that Rolling means a lot to us. It really made us go in the right direction as musicians and as a group. Would you say that your sound has progressed since your 2019 EP, Send Nudes? We were still rookies during the time of Send Nudes. Apart from establishing ourselves as a band in the Pretoria music scene we knew little to nothing about the recording process, mixing and mastering so we sort of winged all of it with the help of the guys from KVD Studios. It was only after that when we realised the importance of making every new song the best song we have and also planning out releases, mixing and mastering having a pre-production etc. The music also grew with all of the knowledge we gained about these certain aspects. Send Nudes is a raw take of who we are but from there on we refined that rawness into what we are now. Which song took the absolute most time to produce? “Find Barry”, we kept the original lyrics, but it was about three years of trying different progressions and rhythms before we were satisfied. Is the group currently working on anything that you can give us a hint about? We are in the process of recording a new EP and there has been talks about starting the creative process for a full-length LP. When and where is your next performance? We will be playing at Apollo TV’s Pre-Launch Party at Railways Cafe on the 6th of June.
Society catch-up: Ashleigh Pascoe
EDx is a worldwide initiative, and TedxUniversityofPretoria is a worldwide initiative, made local. TEDx is a society that promotes intuition, creativity and innovation, especially in the minds of the youth. TedxUniversityofPretoria was created by students, for students, and thrives on student involvement. If this piques your interest, you can find out more about how to engage with TedxUniversityofPretoria below. What exactly is TEDx and when did it begin at the University of Pretoria? TEDx is a grassroots initiative, created in the spirit of TED’s overall mission to research and discover “ideas worth spreading”. TEDx brings the spirit of TED to local communities around the globe through TEDx events. These events are organised by passionate individuals who seek to uncover new ideas, and to share the latest research in their local areas that spark conversations in their communities. TEDx events include live speakers, recorded TED Talks, and are organised independently. TEDxUniversityofPretoria is a university event founded in 2018 by students, for students. We seek to provide a platform for creative and innovative minds of our time to share their ideas worth spreading. With support from one of Africa’s leading universities, the University of Pretoria, we have successfully hosted inspiring events that spark creativity in students, and created a meaningful impact in our communities, locally, and nationwide. We hope to increase student involvement in spaces beyond their academics by sharing our platform for the melting pot of ideas within our community-not only for personal growth, but to highlight and advance our authentically African culture within the global community. What are the core ideals and goals of TEDx specifically in relation to the University of Pretoria? In line with TED’s strong ethical background, the
TEDxUniversityofPretoria society, in all its operations, strives to uphold the highest standard of ethics based on the values of respect, integrity, Ubuntu, professionalism, and accountability. Our goal is to provide a space and platform for all individuals, UP-affiliated or otherwise, to express and share ideas that will create a meaningful impact in communities, locally and nationwide. We also aim to create opportunities for personal development and growth to assist members in becoming holistic, well-rounded individuals. What type of content does TEDx promote? Imagine a day filled with brilliant speakers, thought-provoking video, and mind-blowing conversation. TEDxUniversityofPretoria seeks to create a platform to unleash new ideas, inspire, inform, and bring our community together. All content in our event is free from any commercial, religious or political agenda. The goal is to spark conversation, connection and community. How does TEDx decide on a speaker, and what is the process thereafter? Local speakers are the inspiration centers of our TEDx event. On 30 May 2021, we conducted an Idea Search – we opened up applications to all individuals at the University of Pretoria, and the surrounding communities, to submit their ideas to speak at our annual main event. Every potential TEDx speaker goes through a vetting process. The vetting criteria is based on, to name a few, how well an idea aligns with the 2021 year theme, whether the speaker’s idea presents a field in a new light, whether it is a local voice/idea that few people have heard before, and whether the speaker/idea provides a perspective to which the global TED community may not have access to. More information is to follow about the Idea Search Applications and the 2021 year theme – keep an eye on our social media platforms to find out more!
PDBY’s artists to watch
From London to Tokyo, this is “Everything in Between” Dani van der Horst
verything in Between is a documentary that follows Ron Rutland and James Owens on their epic 20 000 km bicycle trip from London to Japan. The goal of the trip was to transport the match whistle, by bicycle, to the opening game of the 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC). The first ten minutes of the film show Owens and Rutland crossing over a few Western-European countries, edging closer to their seven-month goal. At 120 days in, the duo had successfully made it more than halfway through their quest with few issues and had travelled through 17 countries. The trip is defined by its beautiful scenery – set against the backdrop of Eastern European and West Asian rivers, bridges, villages and high mountain ranges. But this journey was more than just a crosscontinent delivery. The duo’s trip, dubbed “The Race to the Rugby World Cup”, fundraised a total of R2 million towards ChildFund, the official RWC charity. One will easily fall back in love with the game of rugby while watching this documentary. The way in which Rutland, Owens, and the people of the various countries interact with one another truly restores one’s faith in humanity. It reminds viewers that rugby is more than just a game: it is the coming together of people, cultures, and countries. Everything in Between reminds people that every piece of the game is important - from the stadium to the teams and the fans, and even all the way down to the official whistle of the opening match. The documentary is available on Showmax and will also be showing on SuperSport.
Fall from Grace – Steve Umculo Nothando Mafu
oburg native, Steve Umculo, released his latest EP, Fall from Grace on 14 May 2021, with sweet catchy tunes about past and present love. With only four songs, it is a quick listen that will leave you aching for a kind of nostalgic love - the kind of love seen in music videos with lovers frolicking under the stars, going on adventures, or just exploring what the world has to offer. The EP opens up with “Your Eyes Through Mine” accompanied by a music video that visually illustrates a story about letting go of a past relationship, and the journey of self-discovery. For sokkie lovers, the song “Fall from Grace” is an upbeat country-like song, and is the perfect choice for an opening beat at sokkie night to get the crowd excited. My personal favourite from the EP is “Hold On”. It is sweet, soft, and the additional piano and violin melodies finish the track off like a velvet ribbon on your Christmas present that you did not know you needed. The final track on the EP, “Belonging”, is a modern-day acoustic lullaby, soothing and a soft bow, fitting for a final track. One could say that Fall from Grace is a long love-letter accompanied by a beautiful voice and what I would like to term – ‘country-groovy-tunes’. In the spirit of supporting locals, if folk music is your cup of tea, go give Steve’s latest project a listen.
Hersh Synders, known professionally as Hersh, is a singer, songwriter, and producer from Cape Town. His latest release “Enough” is available on Spotify, and is available for pre-save and pre-order on Apple Music and the iTunes store. Hersh recently signed a record deal with Sony and is looking to define the future of R&B in South Africa.
Stanley Sibande is a South African based, Zambian born singer/ songwriter. His style is described as “an amalgamation of the melancholic soundscapes of indie and rock coupled with the simplistic yet catchy melodic compositions of modern alternative pop”. His music is available on most major streaming platforms and he is set to release a new album in July. If you enjoy the likes of Ed Sheeran, SYML and Cinematic Orchestra then Sibande is for you.
Reets is an alt-folk singer from South Africa. Her sound can best be described as a hybrid of Nora Jones, Jeff Buckley, Janis Joplin, and Bjork. Her love for rock, blues, and jazz often finds its way into her unique sound. If you enjoy moody folksy tunes, then Reets is for you. Her music is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, and YouTube. She also performs in and around Pretoria regularly so keep an eye on her social media to catch her live.
7 June 2021
Sport | 11
Varsity Cup 2021 Final Varsity Cup 2021
Photos: Christiaan Kotze and Catherine Kotze
Sport PDBY Featured Athlete: Casandra Hall
you have a team. Other sports [consist] of teams. The second [reason] is that golf is also not as physical as other sports. And it is not necessary to be physically fit as in other sports. Sports such as rugby or soccer. Golf is also more mental than it is [physical]. And it’s also not a sport which you train for and be good at afterwards. With golf you can train hard but that does not guarantee an [excellent] performance. That’s the reason why not one person wins every single week.
he difference in golf from other sports is seen in how it is played, its rules and the time in which it is played. PDBY recently interviewed TuksGolf player Cassandra Halls where she spoke about her golfing career, including how it emerged and the major highlights she has experienced.
How would you describe Casandra Hall to someone hearing about you for the first time? I’m a professional golfer who plays in Europe and South Africa. And I consider golf to be my full-time job. How did your golfing career emerge? And what have been some of the major highlights in your career? I started playing golf when I was 12 years old. Before [that] I played other sports which include hockey, athletics and netball. This continued even when I was in high school. However, I enjoyed golf even after high school and I decided to allow it to be the only sport I am left with. The other reason being the career potential which you have [as] a golfer in South Africa. My career highlights have been winning the Joburg Ladies Opening, SA Stroke Players Amateur and the Investec Royal Swazi. In April you won the Joburg Ladies Opening, what would you say motivated you to win the competition? Because of the desire to win every competition and I also put myself in contention from the first day of the competition.
What golf tournament type do you play and how has it allowed you to grow as a golfer? I play on the Sunshine Ladies Tour which is the local tour in South Africa. From there [I] learned the fundamentals of being a professional. And before you become a professional you play on the amateur circuit. At the amateur circuit that is when you grow as a golfer. [Because] it teaches you to travel when you become a professional at a national and international [level] later on. And my growing period was during those times. Afterwards you move to the Sunshine Ladies Tour. After the Sunshine Ladies Tour you progress to the Ladies European Tour which is travelling the world. And the final step is being part of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). Why would you motivate someone to be a golfer considering your experience? I would motivate a lot of women and girls to play golf. As we have a different approach to [men] in certain aspects [...]. I would also [encourage] men as well because golf is a great sport. Golf teaches you to be mature and [instils] humility and a great respect for life. It also teaches you sport etiquette and it’s a great game which can be played for many years and you can meet great people through it. What goals do you have for your career in 2021? My [goal] would be to finish in the top 40 order of merits in the Ladies European Tour. I would also want to win a Sunshine Tour event and to qualify for my first major . I [want] to win as much as possible and also travel as much.
What would you say are the challenges facing emerging golfers in South Africa? The first challenge would be [the] lack of sponsorship. There is not much [financial] backing as such. This might be due to the current South African [economic] state. It would also be a lack of government support and not many people getting involved in the sport as it would be. To you what differentiates golf from other sports? Golf is an individual sport [because] you are the only person on the golf course even if
Rafael Nadal Wins Italian Open Mfundo Masiya
he Italian Open is one of the eight ATP 1000 tennis tournaments, which, outside of the four Grand Slams, are the most important tennis tournaments on the tour. The 2021 edition of the event was played in Rome, Italy from 8 May to 16 May 2021. The event was played on the outdoor clay courts at the Foro Italico. The only notable absence from the men’s singles event was one of the big three, Roger Federer. The other two members of the big three, defending champion Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were in attendance and were clear favourites, Djokovic having won the tournament five times before and Nadal having won it a record nine times. Between them, they have won 15 of the past 17 editions of the event, meeting in five past finals with Nadal leading 3 to 2. This tournament saw a sixth Italian Open final meeting between the two tennis giants. In a contested match Nadal, nicknamed the ‘King of Clay’, won his record 10th Italian Open title. With this win, Nadal equals the record 36 ATP 1000 titles held by Djokovic. With the 2nd Grand Slam of the year, the French Open (also called Roland Garros) is starting on 30 May 2021. Nadal will be feeling ready and confident to continue his dominance on clay. He’ll also be looking to take the sole lead as the player with the most Grand Slam titles of all time, a big bid towards the greatest of all time debate. Image:Todd Trapani
7 June 2021 Issue 6 Year 83