South Africa makes strides in science
There's no "away" for e-waste
Donating blood at UCKAR
The Oppidan Press Edition 2, 14 March 2018
Black Panther's empowering representation of womxn
Illustration: JOMIRO EMING
The Oppidan Press 14 March 2018
News Features Land Expropriation without Compensation Kate Matooane
Womxn can improve their status through collective action, according to Nimi Hoffman. Photo: SOURCED.
Improving the status of female academics Xiletelo Mabasa
mproving the status of female academics in their respective fields will need team work, a researcher told students at a seminar held at Eden Grove on Wednesday 7 March. “The first step is to begin collective action,” said Nimi Hoffman, a postdoctoral fellow at the UCKAR institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER). “As a single person you can’t do that much,” she added. “Find other people, other womxn and possibly other men, who share your thoughts and then try to figure out how to go about strategizing.” Hoffman was presenting an academic paper on the rise of African feminism within the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). CODESRIA is a Pan-African research organisation founded in 1973. The organisation was established with the aim of facilitating “research and knowledge production in Africa,” according to the organisations website. However, not even a seemingly progressive organisation is immune to social injustice. “Womxn continue to be extremely marginalized in CODESRIA,” Hoffman said. “If CODESRIA is a response to regional inequalities in scholarship, then it is also true that it is a site of inequality within itself.” “The idea of a knowledge commons emerged in the 2000s with the rise of Wikipedia and Google”, she said. “But
importantly CODESRIA predates this…and I think this is a very important example of innovation on the continent. It’s a very interesting innovation [that is]well ahead of its time.” About twenty years ago CODESRIA launched its annual Gender Institute, through which “new generations of young African feminists” are trained. “It is really important because it is institutionalized. Every year they must have training on what they call gender studies but it’s actually feminist scholarship,” Hoffman explained. One student praised Hoffman’s presentation. “She talked about African ideas which are suppressed [and] which involve womxn,” said Phillip Nyalungu, an Honours student. “In most cases organisations…which are male dominated don’t question those things.” Hoffman’s presentation was part of a Seminar Series hosted by the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU). “The seminar series is all about engaging and exposing ourselves to a range of approaches around particularly labour studies but we’ve thought of labour studies quite widely,” said Dr John Reynolds who organised the event as a member of NALSU. Reynolds said the seminars initially had a narrow focus on Labour Studies but the organising committee decided to broaden the scope of discussion. NALSU hosts the Seminar Series in conjunction with the departments of Sociology, History and Economics The discussions will run until17 October with various speakers being invited to present their papers and launch new books.
There has been much debate surrounding land expropriation without compensation. The issue was put to a vote in late February, with 241 members of parliament voting in favour of amending property clauses in the Constitution, and 83 voting against it. The South African government has subsequently given the go ahead for developing a policy of expropriating land without compensation. It is undeniable that without the catalyst of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) placing pressure on the ruling party, this discussion may not have begun. When asked how best to navigate the conversation on land expropriation without compensation, Mr Tselapedi said “any answer to that question would be speculative.” The task is vast, complex and momentous – especially when working through the modalities of land reform. In different areas there are different land politics. Consider the difference between an agriculturally rich province like the Eastern Cape compared to that of the financial capital of Gauteng. Both require the flexibility of the legislative and parliamentary committees in respect to their intervention. As well as keeping food security at the forefront while simultaneously, capturing the social dynamics and internal operations during and after land expropriation. While the expropriation of land without compensation is a controversial subject, the motivation is not difficult to understand. It is unsustainable for government to settle all land
claims. In 2012, R1.6 billion was used nationally to buy land to settle 549 claims, and the previous year just R1 billion was spent on 252 claims. Not to mention the Mala Mala Lodge debacle, where government spent R1 billion on a single land claim. It is presumed, that if then Land Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, allowed the go ahead, the Constitutional Court case would have set an important precedent by providing legal clarity on compensating expropriated land owners at below market value. There is cause to believe that land expropriation without compensation could become chaotic. However, books such as The Land Belongs to Us by Peter Delius, The House of Phalo by Jeffery Peires, and The Atlas of Apartheid by A. J. Christopher document the land dispossession of indigenous South Africans before and during apartheid. This makes it difficult to reduce land expropriation to a mere free for all. Additional complex issue remain such as the Bakgalaka people who call present day Sandton their home. Today, Sandton is one of the most affluent areas in Johannesburg and is the most important business and financial district in South Africa; how do could one give it back to the Bakgalaka people without hurting the economy? Until the amendment of Section 25 of the constitution this all remains speculative, but there is value in openly addressing it once and for all. Perhaps this will be a step in the right direction to reconcile the nation to begin an era where all South Africans feel like citizens in their country.
After years of pushing for more comprehensive land reform, the ANC and EFF have finally realised their goal. Photo: SOURCED.
South Africa makes strides in scientific discovery Shannon Lorimer This year marked the 22nd anniversary of South Africa’s annual Science Festival. The Scifest programme, hosted at the 1920 Settlers Monument in Grahamstown, ran from 7 to 13 March with the theme of “Innovation 4.0”. The programme covered a range of ways in which science has progressed in South Africa, including the innovative methods used by a South African doctor to practice HIV to HIV kidney transplants. The festival aims to promote awareness and an appreciation of scientific
discovery. This year’s programme invited participants to engage with on a variety of subjects like artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing and 3D printing. While a subject like 3D printing is most commonly associated with technological breakthroughs, a talk by epidemiologist from John Hopkins University, Komal Kumar, revealed that innovation within this field could have huge benefits for the medical world too. According to Kumar, the number of people needing a kidney transplant grows astronomically every 10 minutes, and both deceased and live donations
are unable to meet this demand and do not balance with the need for kidneys. If 3D printers could construct fully functioning organs, like kidneys, with all the correct valves and tubes, the deficit availability of organs to be donated could be reduced significantly. South Africa has made a breakthrough of a slightly different nature, with Dr Elmi Muller at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town performing the first HIV to HIV kidney transplant in 2008. This is something she is especially lauded for now, as her work was extremely controversial under the presidency of Thabo Mbeki where
the severity of the AIDS epidemic was denied and the disease was strongly stigmatised. Muller’s inspiration to begin HIV to HIV kidney transplants came after she observed the large portion of people that developed kidney failures as a result of the virus. Because the virus attacks the kidneys, numerous HIV positive people were restricted from obtaining a dialysis and were often turned away from medical assistance, this caused Muller to explore this new concept of giving HIV positive patients kidneys from other infected people, especially as these kidneys were otherwise
not able to be used. While this was a deviation from the norm in 2008, Muller felt compelled to rebel against her superiors who had declined to permit her transplants. According to Muller, “In a field where there were no clear guidelines, sometimes decisions are made on intuition. Soon after South Africa began HIV to HIV kidney transplants, the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland followed suit. This makes a powerful statement about our ability as a country to make world-class strides in scientific discovery, and should be an inspiration to all those attending Scifest.
14 March 2018 The Oppidan Press
Environment Backstage at the Theatre Café is very reasonably priced. “There’s no point wasting money on bad coffee,” said Mcleod. The Theatre Café started three She is trying to run the café in years ago, when Sharon Mcleod as sustainably Mcleod thus shies got the tender advertised in Groaway from polystyrene, her own cott’s Mail. paper boxes and cups for takeaways. Sharon recalls having to transAnother clever initiative came from form the dark, unused cavern into one of Mcleod’s regular customers, something beautiful. Using her who suggested a “Mug Hanger”. creative mind and some patience, Regulars are invited to bring their the café has flourished, and is now own mugs and a popular spot for leave them on the university students Mcleod thus wooden hanger to and lecturers. Having lived most shies away use for each visit. Furthermore, of her life in the Eastfrom polystyrene, Mcleod is passionern Cape, Mcleod put and instead uses ate about using a personal touch into the café. She aims to her own paper local produce only. create an environboxes and cups for She routinely buys vegetables and ment in which custakeaways meats in Grahamtomers feel accepted stown, and has and relaxed. never supported Rainbow Chickens, For many students, it certainly is which clears the café of any health such a place – it is filled with natuscares. ral light and boasts many comfortThus, most of her stock is orable seats. Mcleod soon hopes to ganic, and always fresh as she does open in the evenings, for candle-lit not bulk-buy. Having studied nutrisocial gatherings with a “bring your tion, Mcleod ensures that her food own bottle” policy. The café is inis good quality, healthy, and often credibly considerate of the student vegan-friendly. struggle. Prices are fair, especially The Theatre Café is a forwardtheir Saturday Special; a delicious thinking space with sustainable muffin and coffee cost only R25. methods and a great atmosphere; The coffee at the Theatre Café is Mcleod and her team deserve an excellent way to perk oneself up between lectures and is sourced and credit for creating such a conducive environment. roasted in East London. The coffee Laura Du Toit
The Environment and Learning Research Centre’s (ELRC) E-Waste funeral aimed to bring attention to the growing issue of electronic pollution. Photo: PROVIDED.
There is no “away” for e-waste Dylan McGarry and Shannon Herd-Hoare
he device you are using to read this article will eventually break, catch a virus, or be replaced by a newer and more advanced model. While the life of an electronic device is finite, its impact on the environment can be infinite. When electronic devices fall into disuse, they become e-waste – which often contains toxic pollutants, and has an everlasting impact on the environment and human health. 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste was generated in 2016 alone, the equivalent height of 4 500 Eiffel Towers. Spurred on by a growing middle class with disposable incomes, decreasing lifespans of devices and falling prices that have made electronic devices widely affordable, this trend is set to continue, with volumes set to rise to 52.2 million metric tonnes by 2021. Asia is a major culprit, accounting for more than 40 percent of the e-waste generated globally, and 4.2 kg per capita annually. The African continent is not far behind, generating 1.9 kg of e-waste per person annually. Across the developed and developing worlds, e-waste has become the fastestgrowing waste stream, and poor, developing countries act as the burial grounds for the global e-waste output, the residents of whom are forced to face the widespread effects of leaching hazardous materials. The Rhodes University Environmental Learning and Research Centre (ELRC), tackled questions surrounding the global output of e-waste in a week-long social sculpture project. This formed part of a growing practice-based research initiative incubating at the ELRC and Sustainability Commons called “The Institute of Uncanny Justness: Re-imagining Learning Through Suitably Strange Creative Practice in the Era of Climate Change”. During the week, students, staff and visitors may have come across people carrying dead e-waste on and around the Rhodes University campus. Day in and day out, they shouldered the burden of other people's waste. Participants were able to share their experiences at an e-waste funeral, held on Drostdy Lawns on 16 Feb 2018, which saw an end to the social sculpture project. The funeral was a morbid scene, with a gathering of mourners, hats and sunglasses to hide the tears, a circle of chairs, flowers, an altar with dead e-waste resting quietly on the altar. Dr Dylan McGarry, a post-doc fellow from the ELRC, began his eulogy: “This is a funeral, a funeral for the electronic extensions of our humanity. We are here today to stay with the troubling reality of the mass-grave-mountain of discarded electronic technology, that grows here on campus, and around the world. Those laptops, those PCs, those Casio calculators that stayed up late with us before every deadline, our confidants and coaches for so many years of our lives. Those decoders, televisions and VCR recorders that stole our imaginations and our breath. Those HIFIs and tape decks that shared our playlists on their black ribbon. The landlines, cell phones, answering machines like the one that let me speak to my grandfather when he was dying in his hospital bed far away. The fax-machines that received copies of our birth certificates when we applied for an identity. Those hard drives and memory sticks that remembered our family photographs and our favourite films, and kept vigil over our assignments.
Those kettles, toasters, heaters and microwaves, those electronic hearths to our homes. The hair dryers that dried us, the fans that cooled us and the kilometres of extension cords that connected us to this global electrical rhizome. Today we honour their role in shaping our society and our culture.” McGarry went on to highlight how when throwing away our waste, we should realise that this “away” does not exist. He shared the story of a womxn called Chien Lee, who lives in Guiyu, China – a place that has been the “away” for many years now. She lives in a recycling hub where her and many others heat circuit boards over coal fires to recover lead. Some days she uses acid to burn off bits of gold. She has had seven miscarriages in the last six years. In fact, her town has the highest level of cancer-causing dioxins in the world and fastest-growing epidemic of miscarriages. Another “away” that McGarry discussed is in Accra, Ghana, where a man aged 22 died of liver cancer from exposure to recycling discarded laptops with his bare hands, and with no protection from the fumes simmering off the burning mounds of motherboards. “The levels of lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and chromium in the rivers here is only matched by the levels found in the citizens' bloodstreams,” said McGarry. Recently, China has developed policy to protect their citizens from being dumped with the world’s e-waste. Sadly, Africa is set to be the next dumping ground for the world’s e-waste. It seems the future of Africa has a lot to do with the future of how we decide to bury our electronic artefacts. In order to deal with how UCKAR deals with e-waste, McGarry invited people who are at the frontlines of UCKAR’s e-waste response, like Stores Administrator Anton Kivitts, to attend the funeral. Kivitts is not unlike a mortician, managing and safeguarding the University's e-waste morgue. He does this over and above his job description in order to ensure ewaste does not get dumped. Kivitts explained: “When we first made the shift from typewriters to computers, there was a mountain of electronic typewriters scheduled to be dumped, and this did not feel right, so I created a space to store them, protect them from being thrown away until we could find a place to recycle them.” This action did not come without its challenges; Kivitts and his team at Furniture and Asset Stores have to catalogue and record each item before they store it for recycling, which is over and above their job description. Currently the University is finalising a contract with an e-waste recycling firm, that will ensure the towers of DSTV decoders from residences, the defunct heaters, fans, toasters, microwaves, computers, fax machines, and other e-corpses might be reincarnated in a new form. While navigating through a digital world, one needs to be consignant of one’s haphazard purchases or avoidable ewaste outputs which continues to grow and affect the lives of others, perhaps not so far away, who are forced to deal with our e-waste carcasses. Before purchasing something new, one should reflect on other options such as repairing or going without, and perhaps using the question “where will it end up” to guide our consumer behaviour. This questions should perhaps also act as motivation to question retailers who create hundreds of thousands of electronic devices but are not forced to construct plans to lay their creations to rest at the end of their lives.
The Environment and Learning Research Centre aims to foster more sustainable food sources in the community Photo: SOURCED.
Is a Vegetable Garden a Solution? Kate Matoone The Environmental Learning and Research Centre (ELRC), opposite Eden Grove, features a sustainability commons that equips and facilitates the learning of how to achieve a more sustainable future. The ELRC has four running and up-and-coming projects. One of the ELRC projects includes the sustainability garden. The project is headed by Dr Lausanne Olvitt and PhD student Tichaona Pesanayi, and a team of volunteer postgrad Environmental Education students and staff. The intention of this project is to give students from neighbouring countries a sense of belonging; a feeling of home. The ELRC has done this by planting heirloom seeds that produce ‘heritage plants’ or ‘traditional plants’ – these are plants used for food that are grown and maintained by gardeners and farmers, particularly in isolated or ethnic minority communities. The sustainability commons – as the name suggests – is open to the public. Students and the general
public are encouraged to pick from the sustainability garden – responsibly, of course. The desired outcome is that the public would be motivated to start their own mini gardens in their homes, digs and residences. The task may seem daunting, especially to those whom have never done gardening. However, the ELRC is a learning centre, and as Dr Olvitt explained .“Our main business is to find ways of working with knowledge and sharing knowledge towards a more sustainable future.” Therefore, it is only natural that the centre would be excited to engage with students, giving them practical and sound advice on how to start and maintain their own gardening projects. There is a wide variety of vegetables to plant; you could plant your own purple carrots and lilac cauliflower! If that isn’t incentive enough imagine how much money you could save if you planted your own fresh produce instead of buying your produce weekly from a supermarket chain.
The Oppidan Press
14 March 2018
The Oppidan Press After a short but busy term, The Oppidan Press wishes all students luck as we enter the throes of hell week.Just six weeks long, the first term can feel like a blur for both new and returning students. Just as one begins to settle into a new home, whether it be in residence or digs, the academic term draws to a close. In this exciting but busy time as the workload increases and societies kick off their programmes for the year, we encourage all students to consider their mental and physical health. One of the best ways to do this is through Kanga Yoga. This works and relaxes both body and mind, according to Natasha Dom, a yoga instructor at the Rhodes Health Suite. In this edition, we looked at the yoga classes available to anyone with gym membership. Dom has extensive training in yoga, and offers classes that challenge beginners as well as more advanced yogees. Looking after oneself is essential, but we also explore sustainable living in a variety of forms in our environmental section. Our reporters followed the moves made by the Theatre Café to ensure environmentally-friendly practices are in place. We also looked at the recent E-waste funeral, which discussed the issue of non-disposable electronic devices which are so frequently replaced with new ones, creating a mass of electronic pollution. While much of our content in this edition explores self-care and environmentally-friendly policies, we think it is crucial that as a student press organisation, we engage in topical political and social issues. In this edition, we honed in specifically on issues related to the African continent. This includes the recent vote by the South African parliament supporting land expropriation. While this vote has been extremely controversial, the historical issues around land in South Africa coupled with the remaining pervasive inequality in the country makes it a subject over which robust debate should take place. In the wake of International Women’s day on 8 March, we look at the rise of African feminism. This was recently discussed in a seminar which took place at Eden Grove on Wednesday 7 March, bringing into focus the value of supporting and advocating for African feminist scholars and the current strides they are making in both the academic and political world. By engaging with this discourse, we hope to be a part of the movement bringing female empowerment and scholarship to the fore. We also explored the way that the recent Marvel movie, Black Panther, encouraged th empowerment of womxn by portraying powerful female characters with a strong sense of self-awareness. This film broke numerous records in the box office, especially as it contained a predominantly black cast, deviating from the often white-washed productions created by Hollywood. In lieu of this move from eurocentrism, this edition also followed the strides made by South African doctors in introducing HIV to HIV kidney transplants in South Africa. This was just one of the discussions at Scifest, South Africa’s National Science Festival, which celebrated its 22nd anniversary this year. The festival ran from 7 to 13 March in Grahamstown at the 1820 Settlers National Monument.
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The universe is filled with spectacular sights and stories. Photo: SOURCED.
Remember to look up
n 12 September 1962 at a university in Houston, Texas, the president of the United States stood up to give a speech. This is not uncommon, but when John F. Kennedy stepped off of the podium 18 minutes later, he had changed the course of human history on a scale unlikely ever to be repeated. The words uttered in that speech 56 years ago are still echoed across the world today, “We shall send to the moon, a giant rocket, more than 300 feet tall, on an untried mission… To an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to Earth.” Man had intended to go to space long before this speech, with the famous Sputnik satellite reaching orbit five years earlier. But all previous attempts to reach space had been a part of the cold war space race, and while the mission to the moon was part of this space race, it was also something more. The Apollo missions were not spy satellites or missile launchers, we went to the moon to see if we could. Getting to the moon was a momentous moment – classes across the country were halted, men and womxn put their jobs on hold and people across the world tuned in to see a member of their own species step foot on another celestial body for the very first time. Nowadays however, the massive public desire to explore the final frontier seems to have dissipated. Massive events in mankind’s exploration of the cosmos are now just rarely read headlines at the bottom of our Facebook news feeds. Recent events have pushed the boundaries of human knowledge further than ever before, yet this often flies under the public radar. Voyager 1 has travelled twenty billion kilometres from Planet Earth. The Cassini probe flew in between the rings of Saturn and took a photo of one its moons shooting jets of ice cold water into the
depths of space, before plunging into the planet’s atmosphere. Two laser beams in the United States were stretched by 1/10000th the width of a particle that makes up the nucleus of an atom, to prove that we can travel through time by riding waves of gravity like a galactic surfer. But these studies seem to take a backseat in the wake of everyday life and more immediately pressing issues. However, Kennedy explains why we should be paying more attention: “But why some say the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? We choose to go the Moon! We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard! Because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills… Because that challenge is one that we’re willing to accept! Regardless of how distant and irrelevant these technologies and discoveries may seem, they have changed all of our lives. Have you ever used a non-stick frying pan? Google Maps? A laptop? From using lights to kill cancer to cordless drills, space exploration and technology have shaped our lives in ways difficult to fully comprehend. Kennedy’s speech may be old, but he understood that space travel simply wasn’t a priority for everyone, many of whom had much more pressing issues to deal with; “We meet in an hour of change, and challenge… In a decade of hope, and fear… in an age of both knowledge, and ignorance… The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.” So here begins a regular column we’re calling Remember to look up (Working Title) where I get far too excited about the latest advances in astrophysics and space exploration technology, and explain just why we should care about it all.
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14 March 2018 The Oppidan Press
Female representation in Marvel’s Black Panther Marvel’s Fantastic Four No. 52 in 1966, created by Stan Lee and Jack Cirby. What distinguishes Black Panther from most Marvel movies is that arvel’s Black Panther was set to the hero and his antagonist are dueling responses succeed with the combination of an to five centuries of African exploitation at the auteur African American director, hands of Western civilization. Ryan Coogler, a Kendrick Lamar co-produced The movie explores Wakanda, a wealthy soundtrack and a stellar cast. fictional African nation set up as a place of The female cast included Angela Bassett, who Afro-futurism, of what African nations can be or plays Queen Mother Ramonda, Black Panther's what they could have been, had colonialism not mother. Academy award winner Lupita Nyong’o taken place. Womxn are not type-casted as the plays the role of Nakia, a spy and newcomer. stereotypical damsel in distress. Letitia Wright is Shuri, the second in line to the While there is little screen time devoted throne and the top scientist in Wakanda. Costume designer, Ruth E Carter, ensured that to romance, couple Okoye and W’kabi reach an impasse when he aligns himself with the the physical representation of outsider threatening to the cast continued the porusurp the King. trayal of strong womxn with As they confront each maintained aspects of some Each womxn possesses a other on the battlefield, African cultures. fully actualized narrative W’Kabi in a manipulative On her unparalleled use of contrary to the normality manner, doubts Okoye’s Afrocentric attire, she notes that, “[Her] aesthetic was to of the representation of threat to kill him, the man she loves. He quickly always bring about posifemales as subservient to surrenders after Okoye retive visuals to the African diaspora in this country [the their male counterparts. fuses to drop her weapon, making it clear her loyalty United States of America]. To dispel the stereotypical perception of Africans lies with her country. A staunch defender of the throne, she is unwilling to abandon her responsias a people who only wear loin skins with bones bilities at the whims of a man. piercing through their noses.” The version of Wakanda and its inhabitants is Danai Gurira, plays Okoye, the head of the a rebellion against the colonial ideals of Africans, Dora Milaje, the all-female military force of it acts as a place to elevate not only what it means Wakanda who serve as the Black Panther’s bodyto be black but a black female. guards. The Dora Milaje can be recognised by For Deirdre Hollman, founder of the antheir distinctly shaven and tattooed heads. nual Black Comic Book Festival, “To the black For Gurira, this was a “subservient take on imagination, that means everything. In a comic conventional beauty”, as these female characters book, it is a reality, and through a major motion embrace their bald heads, short kinky hair and picture, it’s even more tangibly and artistically a dark skin as a symbol of power. Each womxn reality that we can explore for ourselves. possesses a fully actualized narrative contrary to There’s so much power that’s drawn from the normality of the representation of females as the notion that there was a community, a nasubservient to their male counterparts. tion that resisted colonization and infiltration Black Panther was the first black superhero Black Panther has been praised for its representation of people of colour, its representation of womxn and subjugation.” in mainstream comics, making his debut in is also making waves. Photo: SOURCED. Bulelwa Mbangeni
Owning a pet as a UCKAR student: the pros and cons Andrea Green-Thompson Making the decision to move into digs is a process of careful consideration. It becomes even more complicated when you think about getting a pet. The Oppidan Press spoke UCKAR students about ther experience with having pets in their homes. According to Lerato Ratshefola, the first step is to decide what kind of animal you would like. She describes cats as pets that do not need as much attention as dogs do, so if you are a busy student, it would be better to get a cat. Both students emphasised that the discussion must be thought through thoroughly. You need to be sure you are financially stable enough to provide for the animal’s needs. There are more factors than just food, vaccinations, vet consultations and sterilisation are other costs to consider. Ratshefola says she is not keen to have her cat give
Make sure that you have the finances and the time for it
birth “to a bunch of mini-cats”. Beugene Green, third year, includes another factor as she says to “make sure you have the finances and the time for it.” Green says that if you decide to get a pet, you cannot neglect it in any way. “The most important challenge is during the holidays. What will you do with your cat?” says Ratshefola. She was lucky enough to have friends in Grahamstown who could look after her cat Noxolo while she was away, but this is definitely something to think about. As much as there are challenges, there are benefits to having a pet. Green enjoys coming home to her dog Duke, to give love to and to receive love in return. Ratshefola says that Noxolo can sense when one is not in a good space physically or mentally and that she has a knack for calming people down and making them feel better. Pets are known to help with anxiety and depression. In the stressful environment of university, anxiety and depression are very common in students. Adopting a pet can be worth all the challenges because of the benefits they bring. As fun as it sounds to have a pet in the house, I advise much contemplation before adopting or buying a pet. These are, after all, living beings that have needs as well. As a student, deciding whether to own a pet requires careful consideration. Illustration: JANAIS VAN ECK.
The Oppidan Press
14 March 2018
Arts and Entertainment The importance of self care for UCKAR students Sboniso Thombeni Many UCKAR students live by the motto, “get the degree and get out”. This shows that being in this space is not always easy or fun. However, we are all working towards the pursuit of our dreams. But, what happens when you find yourself running out of steam? The Oppidan Press spoke to a five UCKAR students to find out how they practice self care.
The SupUrban Market occurs monthly and offers a wide range of local produce, food stalls, and much more. Photo: SOURCED.
Grahamstown SupUrban Market: an alternative form of entertainment Esihle Faltein
hen it comes to having a good time in a town like Grahamstown, going out to drink often seems like the only option. The town is known for its wild nightlife and notorious drinking culture. However, for those who do not enjoy the club scene, things may be looking up for you. The SupUrban Market has arrived and offers a great alternative to a night out. The SupUrban Market is a monthly event that showcases local businesses and talent, and is a great place to network with others. The pop-up market takes place at different venues within Grahamstown each month, with food stalls that cater for different diets, others that sell drinks and confectioneries, and some that sell clothes. The Oppidan Press asked various stall owners why they take part in the SupUrban Market. Besides the obvious reason of making a profit, owner of “Heat pop-up Kitchen,” Morne Teblanche said, “I love food, and if there’s anything that I hate about the day it’s the cooking, preparing, and the hard work that goes into it.” “But when I get here and people eat the food, and I see how much they enjoy it then that is what makes it worthwhile,” he added.
The owner of Tasty Treats, Cherly Craig, who has been an entrepreneur at the SupUrban Market for 6 years, said, “I actually enjoy the vibe of the market, I enjoy the people. I have made quite a few friends.” The market does not only serve those who have a sweet tooth. Those who prefer savory food and fresh produce are catered for by The Wrap Queens, Mary Anne and Zandile Kila. According to the Wrap Queens, “It is something Grahamstown needs, because there are so many local traders who do their own stuff and make their own stuff and you don’t get that around. It takes you around Grahamstown.” Mark Riley, who was representing Featherstone brewery, had said, “It is fantastic event to get our name out there as well as to sell beer, and people really enjoy having the product there.” This market is an opportunity for the people of Grahamstown to interact socially in a space that does not have to involve drinking. The SupUrban Market is one of the few markets that enable the integration and exchange of ideas among entrepreneurs, and is a great way for businesses to advertise themselves. Markets like these provide fun for the whole family, and will hopefully continue.
Is Cooking in Digs Challenging? Aaliyah Aboobaker Digs life can be challenging. Oppidans have to juggle the responsibility of academics and running a home. For many, cooking is at the top of their worry list; after a while, even instant noodles loses their charm. Although the task may initially seem daunting, students are given the opportunity to further explore their dietary preferences. Second year student, Erin Alexander explains why she chose to live off-campus. “Having taken a gap year, the idea of going back to other people dictating the rules didn’t appeal to me,” she said. Since Oppidan students are not limited to certain meals,
their options are broadened in terms of variety and they can get as creative as they like. Being able to be creative with your meals is also a big plus if you have certain dietary requirements. “I enjoy having the freedom to plan when I eat and what I eat, especially as a vegetarian,” Alexander noted. While residences do cater for different diets, students in digs are able to experiment with the dishes that they enjoy. Since cooking can be time-consuming, it does help to have digsmates with similar dietary preferences who can take the pressure off cooking every day. “My current digsmate and I take turns cooking depending on who feels
motivated to cook,” she said. When having friends over for a meal, there are ways to keep costs to a minimum. Alexander said that the host can assume all responsibilities for the meal, with the understanding that the guests will do the same when it is their turn to host. “If there are lots of people invited you can ask the guests to chip in for the food by either buying ingredients or adding in some money,” Erin explained. The prospect of cooking for yourself or your digs might sound intimidating, but with careful planning it can become enjoyable. Whether you’re hosting or enjoying a quiet night in, embrace the freedom to get as ‘kooky’ as you like!
“Mostly, I vented to my friends [but] I think having just a support system was important, back home and around here. And just...taking it easy on yourself sometimes, I’m not saying bunk all your lectures but if you’re really feeling shit, like, you could just not go to a lecture and not see people.” - Simamkele Gaika, former student. “Sometimes I call my mom but sometimes I sit down and I just remind myself why did I come here. I do MMA, I go to the gym and I get beat up sometimes.” -Gift Muleya, first-year.
“Dealing with the stress of this university is a lot of work but I know that exercise release stress and not attending the parties a lot reduces stress. I did not attend a lot of parties, I did not attend a party at all to distance myself so I can focus on my books. If I feel so stressed, we have oppidan mentors so there is someone I can talk to and I live with my relatives so if something happens at school I can go home and tell them everything that happen.” -Aviwe, first-year.
“I was a student before and then I left and now I’m back. I call my family, call my mom and they always make me feel better. And just remind me that you there for a reason,you deserve to be there, they picked you for a reason and you gonna make it.” -Sinoxolo Banda, third-year.
“Knowing your current situation, where you come from and what is the most important thing in your life, I think, makes you unwind [and] makes you happy. Listening to music and finding a person to talk to when you are going through the most.” -Sisipho Mlomo, third-year.
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Kanga Yoga at UCKAR Joseph Baker
Temporary donor centres are often set up in Eden Grove by the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) Photo: SOURCED.
The practice of yoga works both body and mind – which can be particularly useful for the busy student. The Oppidan Press spoke to yoga instructor and fourthyear UCKAR student, Natasha Dom, who offers classes at the Rhodes University Health Suite. Dom offers a strain of yoga called Kanga Yoga, which focuses both on the mental and physical. Kanga Yoga does this by placing importance on breathing in order to achieve meditational balance and reduce stress levels. Yoga at UCKAR is taught at a beginner level. However, Dom has the experience and capability to teach students of all levels. Dom became a yogi when she was in her first year, after attending a formal course in the discipline of Kanga Yoga. This will be her second year as a yoga instructor at the Rhodes University Health Suite. According to Dom, yoga at UCKAR is not about “if you can get into a headstand” or
do complicated yoga positions. Instead, she says that yoga at UCKAR is about feeling calm and serene during and after her classes. She aims to achieve this by encouraging her students to focus on breathing deeply. Kanga yoga offers students a chance to work on their mental health, and work towards a stress-free lifestyle. Dom said this takes plenty of “discipline and self-focus” to achieve. Outside of the yoga studio, Dom said that she makes use of what she has learned from practicing yoga to aid her in “decision making and to control stress levels.” Dom believes that the practice of yoga creates a safe environment for “positive energy and selfgrowth,” and said that within her classes “malicious intent or bad vibes are not welcome.” To join Dom’s classes, UCKAR students can sign up for group fitness at the Rhodes University Health Suite. Dom offers weekly classes on Sundays at 17h15 and on Tuesdays at 07h15.
Blood donation at UCKAR Asavela Mhlanga
n 27 and 28 February, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) set up a temporary donor centre in Eden Grove, giving UCKAR students the opportunity to donate blood. According to the SANBS website, a single donation has the potential to save the lives of three people. The SANBS aims to collect at least 3 000 units of blood per day to ensure sufficient blood supply to the health care sector. The organisation supplies blood to patients and health centres in need all over South Africa. Currently, the SANBS has 491 000 registered donors. According to the SANBS, eight out of every ten South Africans will need blood or components of blood (red blood cells, platelets, and plasma) in their lifetime. The Oppidan Press interviewed Heather Dixon, an honours student at UCKAR who donates blood regularly. When asked why she donates blood, Dixon said, “I’m O+, which is the universal donor – so any blood type
can take my blood.” She added, “I try to live my life by the rule of doing things or treating people how I would want to be treated, and I like to think that if I were to ever need blood, someone else would have thought of ‘me’ and donated for me.” There are many misconceptions regarding blood donation. While blood donation can cause nausea, lightheadedness, or fainting, the SANBS website states that fewer than two percent of donors experience side-effects after donating blood. “I usually feel fine,” said Dixon, adding, “Sometimes if I haven’t eaten, I’ll feel a bit dizzy – but you’re also not supposed to do this.” The staff is trained to help donors avoid dizziness. “You always get a juice and a biscuit after donating and that brings your sugars up. If you’re dizzy, the nurses notice immediately and get you to lie on the bed until you’re fine.” Dixon said that she has always found the nursing staff to be kind, and concerned about their patients’ comfort. The Oppidan Press encourages UCKAR students to donate blood. Blood donation saves lives.
Kanga yoga benefits mental and physcial health. Photo: SOURCED