SRC Report Card page 2 and 3
Olympic Games Special
Pole Dancing in the Mother City page 9
26 August 2008 · Volume 67, Number 10 · 021 650 3543 · email@example.com
Bittersweet win for religious initiative Philippa Levenberg AN appeal for the revision of the exam timetable to accommodate religious groups on campus was conditionally granted on Wednesday 13 August by UCT Senate. It will be finalised by the Senate Executive Committee (SEC) on 8 September for the upcoming November examination period if it is achievable without unnecessary disruption. This request formed part of a larger proposal concerning religious tolerance at UCT, which was not accepted in its entirety by Senate. The motion was submitted by the South African Students’ Congress (SASCO) UCT, the Muslim Students Association (MSA), the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS), the Hindu Students’ Society (HSS), the Seventh Day Adventist Student Movement, and was supported by the SRC. ‘No adjustment will be made to the overall number of consolidation or exam days,’ explains Deputy Registrar in charge of academic administration, Karen van Heerden. There will still be 11 exam days and retention of all the consolidation days, but they will be interspersed with each other. She says that this will mean ‘…A better balance between ‘swot days’ and writing days.’ This decision was based on the consideration of students who have unevenly spread exam timetables, who have religious objections to certain slots and the academics who mark papers. No undergraduate exams will be written on Fridays, and there are thus no more than four consecu-
tive exams days for undergraduate students. Postgraduate exams may be scheduled on Fridays, but only for the 8 am and 2:30 pm sessions. The proposal requested that no examinations be written between noon and 2 pm and after sunset on Fridays. This is for the occasions of Jumu’ah (Muslim prayers) and the Sabbath, observed by Jewish Seventh Day Adventist students. These adjustments will also apply to the June examination period. Pivotal religious occasions that do not fall within either the June or November examination periods, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Eid-ulFitr, and Eid-ul-Adha are listed on the University calendar so that Heads of Department may make appropriate arrangements for tests, according to van Heerden. She says that UCT Senate is required to provide ‘reasonable accommodation’ for students who have religious grounds for not taking an exam on a particular day. This is to be decided by the context of each case. Chairperson of SASCO UCT, Tende Makofane, said that although the organisation ‘welcomed the victory’, they were disappointed that Senate has not conceded to other requests outlined in the original proposal. He explained that initially, UCT had rejected the proposal altogether, but fear of legal implications prompted them to take the matter further. According to Makofane, students can technically sue the University for not being allowed to practise their religion as a result of academic commitments. Continued on page 6...
SRC 2009 ELECTION RESULTS* *provisional
Sara Reith Anton Taylor Amanda Ngwenya Chris Ryall Michelle Davy Dylan van Vuuren Portia Gama Nevena Kostic
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final results will be announced today at 12 pm. If no objections are raised, the current SRC President has ten days to call the constituting meeting of the new SRC. The meeting will be presided over by the SRC President and it is then that the 15 new SRC members will decide upon their respective portfolios. This is achieved through a process of nomination, consideration by all members and then anonymous voting on who will hold the respective portfolios. Voting closed on Friday and the counting commenced on Saturday morning at 9 am. The bulk of the ballots were counted by 6 pm. Thereafter, 12 UCT student volunteers continued
THE SRC provisional results were released yesterday at 12 pm. To ensure free and fair elections, the ballots were counted by Grade 12 learners who were specifically trained for the task. The counting was overseen by the Elections Committee and six observers from the political parties and independent candidates. This year marked the highest SRC voter turnout at UCT in four years. There is a 24-hour window period in which any objections to the provisional results can be raised. All objections should be forwarded to Jerome September of the Elections Committee. The
Ahmad O-Bana 1786 Babongile Mandela 1741 Trevor Mcarthur 1689 Sabelo Mcinzibe 1681 Shannon Bernhardt 1663 Mzwa Kweyama 1543 Charl Linde 1535
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the counting. All those involved in the counting process were obliged to sign confidentiality agreements. UCT defines Undergraduates, Honours and Diploma students as ‘full-time’ students. The ballot is decided by the full-time student votes. Out of the 16,693 Undergraduates registered at UCT, 7,073 voted, constituting the 42.371% voter turnout Postgraduates may also vote, but are classified as ‘part-time’ students. A significantly smaller percentage of Postgraduates voted: 235 out of 6,014, which marks a 3.908% Postgraduate voter turnout. A total of 84 ballots were spoiled.
The paramount duty of the president of an organisation is to lead by example and to take the initiative by pushing the body and its members to excel in all areas. As such, the president can be judged primarily on how he interacted with those that served with him and how the SRC body established itself in 2008. Unfortunately, most of the members of the SRC declined to comment on their president and the one member willing to voice their opinion, described him as being more of a manager than somebody that was doing his utmost for the student cause. During his tenure, Thulani was found guilty on a charge of negligence after a SRC laptop had been stolen whilst in his possession. An internal disciplinary committee resolved the matter, but it undoubtedly affected his capacity to lead by example. Although such an incident would more than likely not have a lasting effect on an ordinary student, as president of the SRC, the matter is subject to increased consideration. In terms of the performance of his team on an individual level, other
SRC members overshadowed Thulani. It is for this reason that VA R S I T Y cannot grant him a grade higher than a C-. That is not to say that he did his job badly, but if you are to score highly as a president, it is imperative that you be at the forefront in most, if not all, areas of student governance. Under the guidance of Thulani, the SRC has achieved a great deal over the year. The body attained success in areas ranging from academic and financial exclusions to protests organised over the incidents at the University of the Free State. For this, the president deserves some of the credit. He should be given further credit for keeping the SRC on track in the face of individual controversies that under another leader may have undercut the efforts of the SRC.
Jen van Heerden, Communications Co-coordinator for Ubunye, said that although development agencies had been on the SRC radar for a few years, Garreth had really committed himself to ensuring that the process would be completed during his term in office, and stated that he had worked tirelessly to accomplish this. With regards to internal discipline, the two instances of negligence were dealt with effectively and reports were submitted on time. Whilst it is not mandated to him, attaching a code of honour and excellence to the name of the SRC is something that goes hand in hand with discipline and this particular aspect of the Council could be improved upon. His own recognition of the fact that this had not been done, and his desire to enforce such a code of honour, should he have stood for another term, is testament to his drive.
Sam’s major success of the year was the implementation of the Early Warning System (EWS). The EWS will allow for students who are in danger of being excluded after the June exams to be earmarked and notified by the faculty. It is hoped that this system will curb the high numbers of exclusions and ensure that students are aware constantly of the nature of their academic standing. The Religious Transformation Proposal and exam timetable alterations came under Sam’s portfolio. The aim of the initiative was for UCT to make allowances for students who wished to observe their religious commitments on Fridays. The final decision on this will be made by the SEC on 8 September. In addition to this, after-hours study venues in Kramer and NSLT are now available through each semester, including the consolidation and the examination period. The mediation effort this semester between UCT, Atlas Books and the student-run Pimp My Book was overseen by Sam. The main purpose of this was to discuss and promote student entrepreneurship without conflicting with UCT contracts as well as providing alternative, cheaper text books to the student body. Sam was able to secure the
A SRC a position on the Summer and Winter Term Review Board and ensured that Summer Term remained for 2008. Further discussions will address the future of Winter and Summer Term. She was involved with the Disabilities Unit and secured them a seat within the Academic Sub-Council. She assisted the Humanities faculty in setting up a PGSA and participated with the Academic’s Union to review the payment structure of tutors. According to a member of the Academic Sub-council, ‘Sam has set an excellent standard this year, and next year’s Academic Chair has a hard act to follow.’ Some senior members of the SRC criticised her as they felt that her SRC duties had taken a back seat when she got onto RAG.
Being the only member of the SRC to be in office for two years, Thami started the 2008/9 year with a good grounding as VPE. Although he had presidential aspirations, these were thwarted by ANCYL/SASCO politicking when it came to deciding on portfolios. Nevertheless Thami remained as VPE for another year and sought to develop what he started during his 2007/8 term. Thami’s main achievements for the year include the Zimbabwean Students Fee Concession Policy, which allowed Zimbabwean students to register with a reduced initial-fee payment. He also established the International Students Council as a body which will cater to the 3,500 international students at UCT. The VPE sits on the Readmission Review Committee (RRC) and the Senate Readmission Review Committee (SRRC). Thami worked in conjunction with the Academic chair of SRC to implement the Early Warning System in all faculties. Projects Thami participated in above and beyond his portfolio include the SRC Development Fund which will assist some
Garreth received his grade because he has been deemed to have performed with excellence not only in the duties assigned to him by his office, but because he went above and beyond his mandate. His portfolio states that his duties should centre on development agencies, liaising with the Department of Student Affairs, convening Student Assembly and acting as head of Internal Discipline for the SRC. However, he did not stop his participation with what was outlined in his portfolio, but got heavily involved in other areas, including: playing an active role in the Green Week initiative; standing in as President during the June/July vacation, deputising for the VicePresident External; serving as the SRC sports Co-ordinater during the January 2008 vacation; as a member of the Crisis Steering Committee following the xenophobic attacks and helping to establish a chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) on campus. He played a pivotal role in the creation of a policy for the admission of new development agencies, which is currently in the consultation phase. Ubunye is set to become the first society to be granted development agency status in 30 years.
of the outreach initiatives and programmes of some student-led societies. He was also involved in efforts with the Religious Tr a n s f o r m a t i o n Initiative. These initiatives were in an attempt to curb academic exclusions. ‘I have fulfilled many of my portfolio requirements and have really been involved in keeping our team together as this has been a rough year for us, politically speaking. I have played a key role in seeing that the political pressures have not hampered our strong points and caused us to collapse as a team.’ Sam Ball commented that Thami ‘was a fantastic leader and dealt very well with not being President as he had wanted at the start of the year. I really look up to him.’
Nicole Jonklass, Tatenda Goredema, Philippa Levenberg, Zerene Haddad. Seamus Duggan, Nabeelah Martin
Yusuf Mowlana The SRC Treasurer holds one of the most important positions on the Executive. His duties include handling the SRC budget, the smallest in student leadership across all South African Universities, managing SRC finances and handling SRC contracts with vendors. Amongst his greater achievements, he lists the initiation of the proposal regarding religious tolerance on campus. Another achievement was the full implementation and roll out of the SRC Assistance Fund which was able to assist six students, who would otherwise have been financially excluded,. Individuals who worked with Yusuf in various societ-
Thando Vilakazi The Secretary General’s job is one of the most difficult SRC portfolios. The job entails internal coordination and working with the various committees at the University. The Secretary General position is described as the engine that is supposed to keep the ship running. Thando Vilakazi has had the mammoth task of taking over a portfolio that the former Secretary General, Dave Watson made his own and transformed. The general consensus amongst people we spoke to was that Thando did a reasonable job and handled the task of coordinating relatively well. The chair of the Humanities Students Council, Shannon Bernhardt stated that he found Thando to be ‘efficient and generally a great guy’. Shingi Masanzu, the head of the Law Council, said of Thando, ‘he talks
The fusion of politically-charged individuals that comprised UCT’s 2008 Student Representative Council have had their fair share of success and controversy. With only two months left of their term, we at VARSITY have evaluated their performances comparatively to one another and assigned grades based on these assessments.
Treasurer ies found him to be professional and vigorous in the pursuit of his goals. The chair of SAUJS, Dean Horwitz, described having a ‘good working relationship’ with Yusuf on the Religious initiative and stated that no matter what obstacle was placed in the initiative’s way, Yusuf ‘was not willing to give up on the initiative’. Itai Pasi, the chair of the Zimbabwean Students Society said of Yusuf, ‘whatever you needed he got it done’. An unnamed member of the SRC said the Yusuf managed the budget successfully. All the people we spoke to about Yusuf had only good things to say. It is obvious from his
A achievements and the feedback that he carried out his duties with aplomb and did a good job under pressure. He was one of the more respected SRC members and admist the scandals that have rocked the leadership, his performance is commendable.
Secretary-General a lot of sense and holds his own’. An unnamed SRC member said that Thando ‘did well in his portfolio and dealt with the admin well’. If the position of Secretary General could be judged on charm, Thando would get an A+; he has handled liaisons with the media well, when he has taken time to do so. In terms of personal shortcomings, Thando said that ‘as an SRC, and partly as part of my role as SG, we have struggled to truly communicate the good work we have done to the students. Aside from Student Assembly and the satellite campus tours, it has been a challenge to reach the broader student mass which means people start to lose faith in SRC as an institution.’ Thando has faithfully worked to portray the SRC as a picture of unity and has toed the line in terms
b of running of the SRC. He has done well in juggling his SRC duties with his studies, but even by his own admission, he has carried out his mandated duties ‘in most aspects but with many faults, loopholes and tough learning curves, definitely not without mistakes.’
As Deputy Secretary-General (DSG), Gideon’s main duties involved managing SRC resources, securing SRC attire and helping with basic office communication. With regards to this mandate, he was able to secure new office furniture and soon-to-be-installed computers for SRC members – all free of charge. Given these minimal duties, one of Gideon’s key objectives, as outlined in the SRC’s Strategic Plan, was to redefine the role of the DSG. During the UFS Race Row, Gideon played a key role in organising the SRC’s Red Ribbon Campaign, one of the SRC’s most successful initiatives this year. Gideon sat on the Humanities, Science and Health Sciences Readmission Review Committees (RRCs). Sources praised his work on the Committees and when interviewed by VARSITY, Gideon was proud of his efforts to prevent the Academic Exclusions of 158 students from the University (VARSITY was unable to verify this figure). He however said he ‘didn’t improve that much’ on the Health Sciences RRC, a problem he attributed to ‘teething problems’ and that ‘in Health Sciences everyone is given a fair chance, so if someone does fail in Health
Sciences, they have really failed’. According to the SRC’s Strategic Plan, addressing ‘entrepreneurship’ formed part of Gideon’s mandate. He told VARSITY that ‘instead of just being a politician, …[he is] more of an entrepreneur then anything…[and he] believe[s] in free enterprise.’ By his own admission, one of Gideon’s weaknesses was that his personal affairs sometimes interfered with his work on the SRC. He also described himself as being ‘highly impatient’ and said that he could have communicated better with his fellow SRC members regarding the progress on his projects. Gideon also told VARSITY that he is no longer receiving his monthly stipend from the Department of Student Affairs.
James ‘Larry Lakeshore’ Robertson Societies Co-ordinator
Many people underestimated James when he came into office. Yet, he has exceeded most people’s expectations. The litmus test for anyone taking on the Societies portfolio is O-Week. Dean Horwitz, of SAUJS, praised Robertson’s O-Week performance: ‘He had a vision for o-week which he put into place through the design and building of the stage himself, which then gave an excellent platform to students and earned money from corporates.’ Not all the feedback was positive. Tara Weinberg, chairperson of HCA, said, ‘I think OWeek was quite poorly managed. We were given details of O-week and instructions of where our stall should be set up only on the actual day.’ Weinberg criticised the formation of the Societies Council, saying: ‘The meeting to actually elect the society’s council was poorly advertised
C Responsible for coordinating all activities on Jammie Plaza, Nonala has been caught in a strenuous juggling act. The drop of a ball may incur the wrath of corporates, benefactors of the SRC bail-out fund, or worse still, the vigilantism of student societies. With only a single one-hour slot per week allocated for entertainment on Plaza, competition can get brutal. Recurring criticism regarding UCT’s propensity towards placing profit above the needs of students only presents added pressure. A recent double-booking concerning a student initiative and Checkers, resulted in the corporate threatening legal action against the SRC. This miscommunication arose when she went away for a funeral in March and another SRC member temporarily inherited her duties. Despite the wobble, all balls are still suspended in air: The student initiative was given priority over the corporate and tensions were soothed
and therefore poorly attended, so I still feel that we didn’t have much accountability to societies or much of a mandate from them.’ Yet, Weinberg also had praise: ‘He is quite innovative when it comes to working out solutions.’ She mentioned the installation of the new Societies’ Computer Room. It has 10 PCs, five of which have nifty design software. Another innovation Robertson has introduced is streamlining the sign-up process next year. James has also continued with his predecessor’s plan to build a societies’ hub on the fifth floor balcony of Steve Biko. Architecture students have submitted designs for the expansion, and hopefully his successor will roll the ball further.
Entertainment & Fundraising Co-ordinator
between the company and the SRC. A SRC member said of Nonala: ‘She managed to keep things together despite personal issues like deaths in the family. She raised R120,000 while serving on the SRC and was successful in balancing students and corporates.’ Yet, this is still R100,000 less than her predecessor raised. Nonala has shown initiative, working towards the creation of an official entrepreneurship day once a week on campus for students to showcase their companies. She has, however, received glowing reports from those she has worked with. Both Natasha Brain, Curator for Centre for African Studies, who coordinated the Africa Day celebrations with Nonala in May and the Marketing Manager of UCT Radio, Sanele Seroke, who worked with her on this year’s Freshers’ Braai, mentioned the fact that she had substantially upstaged her predecessors. Nonala has been venerated by her colleagues, was able to revive a fairly dormant portfolio without much direction, and has put students first. However, she did not have one of the most demanding portfolios and could probably have done a lot more with it.
Residences Co-ordinator According to the SRC’s Strategic Plan, scoring an A+ in VARSITY’s Report Card like last year’s Residence Co-ordinator, Nadia Oshry, has been one of Sili’s objectives for this year. How did Sili fare? He was involved earlier this year in ensuring free shuttle transport for over 350 new and returning Res students from bus and train terminals to Lower Campus, helping Freshers find their way to their new ‘homes’. As well as being involved in managing the transition of students from waiting lists to Residences during this year’s over-allocation crisis, Sili helped to ensure extended vacation accommodation for 2nd Block Summer School students who lost their place in Res due to a Fees Office policy. The infamous PenTour Disaster remains a dark cloud hanging over Sili’s head, although it’s debatable whether he or Royal Sechaba (RS) should take the flack for the ‘delayed’ catering. Sili’s response to the delayed installation for hundreds of Res students was also
The only way to evaluate whether SRC’s Nic Rosslee has been successful is to go to the ground and find out what people actually know. This is where things fall apart. There is an appalling amount of ignorance as to what the SRC can do for students. ‘There’s an SRC?’ was the response we got from Max Milne, BA student, when we enquired about his perceptions of the SRC. ‘I really don’t know what the SRC has done this year,’ said Faluta Zima, a BSc student. Yet there is only so much you can do. Rosslee has exploited most of the forums available to him to create awareness. The SRC has advertised in VARSITY, and UCT Radio. Rosslee said, ‘We had a chat show with DJ Pholile and rotated the members going on there, obviously prioritising key portfolios at different times.’ Rosslee had a budget of R2, 000, and overspent by R4,285. He justified this, since he felt that the advertising revenue he brought in with the Freshers’
D+ Mzo is a liaison between the SRC, Sports Centre Administration and the Sports Sub-Council. The odds were not in his favour from the get go: The 2007 SRC Sports and Recreation Coordinator was academically excluded and thus, Mzo did not inherit a handover. The Sports Sub-Council, which addresses sports-related issues affecting the residence sector of the University, was his brainchild. Luthando Lami Malgas, in charge of Transformation on the Sub-
somewhat delayed. According to Sili, he failed to recognise that ResNet – a system administered by Student Housing and ICTS – was related to his portfolio. By his own admission, Sili has shown weakness in key areas of his portfolio. He devoted virtually none of his personal attention to students in 3rd-tier residences. According to Sili, he did not challenge UCT Management enough regarding student grievances due to a ‘lack of knowledge’ and poor preparation. Although Sili scores ‘Accountability Brownie Points’ for his frank admission of his weaknesses, the nature of his failures and his shortage of exceptional achievements, means that this likeable SRC member only scores a C.
Guide counterbalanced his spending. This might be true, but it is good to be economical, and balance practical and aesthetic considerations. These funds could have been better used for other core functions. Rosslee conceded that it took a while for him to realise that internal communication was a crucial part of his portfolio. ‘Not everything comes up in meetings and you need to be the first person anyone in your team thinks of before embarking on any project,’ he said. It would seem obvious that in order to market the SRC, Rosslee would have had to be aware of upcoming events himself. Rosslee could have been more proactive in this regard.
Council describes him as ‘a good team leader’ who has ‘managed to inspire everyone in whatever they had to do.’ Peter Buckton, Sports Coordinator at DSA, commented that Mzo ‘is a very unreliable person’ who arranges meetings and fails to attend. He added that he has a ‘time management problem’, requesting assistance for venues and equipment at the last minute. Mzo can claim credit for monitoring the implementation and launches of the new gym and artificial soccer pitch, the negotiation of a more reasonable UCT gym membership fee for students, and for securing leaves of absence from UCT faculty for students involved in UCT-related sporting activities.
room. In conjunction with the Sports coordinator, Tarryn intends to use sport to further integrate able and disabled students. Investigations into the use of how funds for disabled students are being used are under way. ‘My main objective for transformation this year was to attempt to transform the mindsets of students on campus. I have not been successful in this regard... Another area in which I have underperformed is in my communication. I have only just improved that, but it is unfortunate that it happened so late in the year.’ Transformation is a dynamic issue and has the potential to amount to more than just poster campaigns.
Media & Communications
Tarryn was involved with the ‘Rapping Up Race’ competition and ‘Rolling Eyes’ which dealt with racism on campus and UCT’s racial discrimination policies as well as hosting debates. She launched a poster campaign to promote awareness on various transformation matters, such as homophobia, disabilities and gender equality. With assistance from the DSA, a gender policy has been drafted for the SRC, modelled on that of the South African Students Union (SAUS). The Language Committee is steering a pilot project in the residences where students will be teaching other students African languages. This ties up with the new multi-lingual logos across the institution. Cooperation with the Disabled Students Movement resulted in assistance of disabled students in the class-
Siliziwe Mbulelo Ncanywa
Faith Chirinda was unlucky in that she inherited a defunct portfolio which didn’t have a defined profile. ‘I didn’t have a proper handover. I didn’t know where to start,’ she says. Chirinda set about creating awareness about crime on campus through the implementation of a working group. The working group is comprised of wardens, sub-wardens and house comm safety and security reps. Noel Adam, the Senior Coordinator of Residence Facilities at Student Housing took part in the working group. He praised Chirinda’s initiative, and said: ‘The working groups have been very effective, and she (Chirinda) really kept us informed. Some issues that were spoken about included raising awareness about the Student Escort Service.’
Mzo is working towards creating a free emergency service to transport UCT students who have been injured to the sports clinic. Unfortunately, these successes have been somewhat tainted by an incident he was involved in earlier this year. Although it cannot be discussed in detail, Mzo says it was a result of an ‘emotional disorder’. He sought counseling and insists that his personal life did not affect his performance on the SRC. Given the nature and circumstances surrounding this matter, and questionable commitment to the portfolio, VARSITY cannot award Mzo a higher grade than a D+.
Health, Safety and Security A criticism that the TAC has previously levelled against the portfolio, namely that there are not enough psychologists catering for UCT students, has been addressed. Student Wellness has increased the number of psychologists from one to five. Chirinda has also advocated for a mobile HIV-testing clinic, and has worked closely with HAICU, UCT’s HIV-AIDS coordinator. Sean Brown of HAICU commended Chirinda’s involvement in the Anti-Stigma campaign last week. He said: ‘She assisted in the promotion of the event, placing our posters both up on campus and in the Jammie Shuttles. She also encouraged student societies to attend with their banners and was there in person drumming up support and showing that this campus has no place for
B stigma or discrimination.’ On the transport side, she has encouraged students to report Jammie drivers who speed or overload, and take down bus numbers. She said that a driver has been fired just last week on the basis of complaints she received from students. This supports the assertion that complaints are not taken seriously.
Volume 67 Number 10
Perspective in privilege? SOME weeks back, an unfortunate incident occurred in which a student referred to fellow students, protesting the lack of Jamie Shuttle stops, as ‘dancing around like fucking monkeys’. The actual incident apparently was dealt with appropriately by DISCHO and both parties were able to talk and understand the other’s perspective. The VARSITY collective felt this was a non-story and took a decision not to report the issue. The worrying thing is that the VARSITY perhaps cannot see the real story, which is about the complexities of our generation and our relationships. The real underlying questions of race and class and smugness and the inability to understand that this comment could be offensive… It is disappointing, but perhaps the collective felt awkward about the issue. I sincerely hope it was not because they condone the remark. I also hope this does not reflect a general
intention on the part of the VARSITY collective to pursue an editorial policy grounded in the perspective of the already privileged. Ben Cronin VARSITY decided as a collective, after investigating the matter, that it was a misunderstanding and a personal issue between the two students concerned. Because the comment was not made with any racist intention or by a publicly-elected figure, VARSITY did not deem it newsworthy. The quote in question was overheard and taken out of context. It is worth noting that the conversation occurred between two people of different races. VARSITY does not condone intentionally racist remarks. VARSITY also believes its editorial policy does not favour the already privileged.
Astonishing and disappointing READING the front page of VARSITY this afternoon was akin to watching an episode of the Jerry Springer Show. I sat down to enjoy my soggy cream cheese sandwich and thought I would take the time to catch up on some campus news. I almost choked on my mouthful two lines into the main article. Drug use, allegations of infidelity and women abuse… All very familiar topics for those of us who enjoy delving into the sordid life of the average middle-American. However, one vital detail made this issue far more familiar and brought it significantly closer to home: this scandal involved a South African leader. An unidentified member of our Students’ Representative Council allegedly hit his girlfriend ‘in the stomach’ and ‘pushed her around’. Friends of this man, who are also SRC representatives, knew about the allegations did nothing. Merely writing those two sentences makes me ill. It is astonishing and disappointing all at the same time. While I am grateful to the paper for exposing the truth. I wish that the member’s name had been released. It seems that our fear of the ominous ‘defamation of character’ is to blame. I query that one has to fundamentally have a character in order to earn the right to it not being defamed by another. The question I have been asking myself between
sitting down to read at lunch and sitting now to write this; is whether the men involved who represent the student body, have political aspirations and will one day be our generation’s best offering of leaders. If so, then we cannot look forward to increased transparency, accountability and dignity. I dream of the day when South Africa will have a majority party that understands that what each member does in his/her private life, they must be accountable for to the public they are required to serve. An indiscretion by one needs to be ousted by the others. I call for the SRC members who knew of these allegations and did not report it to publicly and formally apologise to the student body who elected them to be their mouths and ears and eyes. To the lady who was allegedly assaulted; I urge you, to report this matter again and pursue it. I have recently booked my ticket overseas. I am a Finance Honours Graduate who will soon be partly responsible for the impending disaster that is the ‘brain drain’. The article today made it so much easier on my heavy heart to leave. I would rather be a foreigner, alone, somewhere else than anywhere next to you, Mr SRC. You disgust me.
THIS letter is in response to Karl Thomson’s Column in the Corner article about smoking. Sitting next to someone smoking and complaining about the smoke is stupid. We all agree there. However, smokers congregate at the entrances of most buildings, and I either have to hold my breath or cough and splutter my way to the door. I cannot set foot anywhere outside on upper campus without smoke wafting into my face. What kind of world do we live in where we have to go inside for fresh air? There is nothing more unpleasant than trying to eat and someone is smoking near you; it burns your eyes and lungs and is hugely detrimental to your health. That is the reason for those ‘silly’ anti-tobacco laws. Non-smokers are not merely ‘annoyed’ by the smoke – our choice not to smoke is being totally disregarded by smokers, and our health is being put at risk for their stupid, self-inflicted addiction. Why should my health have to suffer because YOU went and got yourself addicted? This is why you are ‘herded’ into a box at restaurants and treated like ‘lepers’ (I have more sympathy for lepers because they didn’t choose to have
leprosy.): You say that everyone has ‘an equal right to smoke or not to smoke.’ This is completely false. In a restaurant, there is no choice not to smoke if smoking is allowed. When someone drinks, it only affects them – I don’t get drunk in the process – but by even one smoker smoking, everyone inhales the smoke, infringing on the non-smoker’s supposedly ‘equal’ right not to smoke. Clean air has a higher priority than people’s poisonous addictions, so smokers are given somewhere where they can smoke and not affect anyone else. Your choice no longer inflicts itself on everyone else, who has also made a choice. Tobacco companies purport the idea that smokers have the ‘right’ to smoke. Yes, you are free to smoke and ruin your own health, but your freedom is limited when it negatively affects other people. Non-smokers are paying customers too, and I am not paying for you to poison my air with second-hand smoke, which is more toxic than what you suck into your lungs.
Response to smoking column
Samantha de Melo
Response to Anton Taylor I HAVE great objections to the articles written by Anton Taylor over the past two editions. Yes, he is a talented writer, but I cannot bear to agree with the contents of his articles: His use of unacceptable language and his referral to woman as if they are simply material possessions. VARSITY is distributed all over and is freely available, so the outside world gets to read it. You cannot but agree that Anton’s articles are not conveying a good, wholesome image of the University in general. I am very concerned that people begin to think that if Anton can talk with so little respect (self respect and that for woman) that this is acceptable. His lack of dignity and use of blasphemy and disgusting words are completely inappropriate for a varsity newspaper and I believe that you need to reassess and perhaps edit his work prior to it being placed in the paper. I may sound like a ridiculous, old-school girl, but honestly if a boy freely expresses his lack of respect for girls, how can you expect a girl to have self respect? He then complains about girls with eating disorders. Well, if he speaks about girls like he did
in the ‘What’s your girl doing on a Saturday night’ article, its no wonder girls are insecure and searching for attention and validation through a ‘better’ skinny physical appearance. In essence, if men simply had sufficient respect for girls then girls too would have increased respect for themselves. Let’s not fail to understand that anorexia is a disease. Would he write an article about students with cancer or AIDS? No, surely he has slightly more social etiquette than that? Anorexia occurs when a girl has absolutely no self respect for her body. This is very difficult to cure if boys, like Anton continue to throw harsh words and phrases. They need to receive affirmation, so have some heart guys. Let’s be sensible. Students are at such a malleable stage of their lives and we need to develop students in the most beneficial way so as to make them into more rounded people, who can one day make an impact on our country. Do we want chauvinistic men, men with little respect for women and women with no self respect? Jenna Brown
Editorial The provisional SRC results for this year have been released, and they signal the ascendancy of DASO as a serious political contender. Seven members of DASO have made it onto the 2009 SRC, which means that they only need to secure one independent vote to steamroll their way into executive positions. The shift in support is a turning point for politics at UCT. SASCO, already weakened this year by the rift in the Progressive Youth Alliance, is in decline, whilst the ANCYL could not even put forward a candidate to contest these elections. Portfolio allocations should occur later on this week, during the infamous constituting meeting. The horse-trading which usually takes place before the constituting meeting has already begun in earnest. Both SASCO (which gained four seats) and DASO will have approached the four independents who made it on in order to tempt them with sought after portfolios. This year, the candidates who got the highest number of votes were both independent. Sara Reith received 2,913 votes, followed closely by Anton Taylor’s 2,855 votes. These two beat the closest competition by 500 votes. The popularity of independent candidates indicates what many students have articulated to VARSITY, namely that they will not vote based on political affiliations. It is common knowledge that DASO’s presidential candidate is Christopher Ryall. DASO will not be willing to compromise on the Presidency, so it will be interesting to see whether Reith can rally the independents to her cause, along with the SASCO voting bloc. This is based on the assumption that Reith will not be satisfied with anything less than the Presidency. But who knows which position DASO could dangle in order to appease Reith’s presidential aspirations. It will be interesting to see the new SRC position on transformation policies. This has always been a bone of contention between SASCO and DASO. DASO has favoured David Benatar’s approach, and argued that transformation in its current guise does not benefit those who need it most, and that race cannot be used as a proxy for disadvantage. DASO has also criticised UCT Admissions policy in the preceding years. At least DASO concedes that transformation should be an end in itself. Where they disagree is on how to achieve it. VARSITY has also elected new leadership. Congratulations to Seamus Duggan, the new Editor, Zerene Haddad, the new Deputy Editor, and Maciek Dubla, the new Chief-Sub Editor. I am confident that we leave the paper in capable hands. To anybody who wishes to join the Collective for 2009, applications are still open, and we will be holding interviews on Thursday and Friday this week. Enjoy the edition, Nabeelah
news gathering next newsgathering 14 August, during Meridian in LS2C
2008 collective editor Nabeelah Martin, deputy editor Kieran Duggan, chief sub editor Philippa Levenberg sub editors Jade Cooke, Maciek Dubla, Louise Ferreira, Dianne Shelton operations manager Melissa Rassie images Justin Andrews & Martin Wilson news Zerene Haddad & Tatenda Goredema, focus Seamus Duggan & Nicole Jonklass business & technology Karl Thomson, opinions Tara Leverton, features Jade Taylor Cooke arts & entertainment Lara Potgieter, humour Anton Taylor, sports Rory Holmes & Lindi Brownell finance & advertising team Philip Voget & Kimberly Urbaniak, marketing & brand manager Lauren Haller, marketing team Danielle Gordon IT manager Timothy Nchabaleng, website editor Emma Nherera, media school director Joy Waddel staff writers David Brits, Megan Lyons, Bianca Meyjes, Rémy Ngamije, Alessandro Rossi external contributors Tim Hodgson, Sheila Afari, Steve Kenyon, Louise Ferreira, Jaydene Swartz, Daniel Freund, Andre Teagle, Brendan Solik tel 021 650 3543 fax 021 650 2904 email firstname.lastname@example.org location 5th Floor, Steve Biko Student Union Building, Upper Campus advertising email Phil Voget on email@example.com or fax him on 021 650 2904. Rates and other information available upon request.
disclaimer The Varsity Opinions section is a vehicle for expression on any topic by members of the University or other interested parties. The opinions within this section are not necessarily those of the Varsity Collective. The Opinions Editor reserves the right to edit or shorten letters. Letters should include the name and telephone number of the writer, and must be received by 5 pm on the Wednesday before publication. They should not exceed 350 words, and will not be published under a pseudonym, or anonymously.
THE first I heard of the Large Hadron was that is was planning to recreate the Big Bang and that the world was going to end in a few weeks. Although my friends are calm, rational individuals, I assumed that physicists were not potentially suicidal and decided to investigate the LHC myself. In an attempt to use a more reliable source (no, not Wikipedia!), I asked a physics major. This, dear readers, was a mistake. Physics majors do not tolerate ignorance, especially when you keep throwing ‘black hole’ into the conversation. The Large Hadron Collider is a particle accelerator. A very large one. It intends to move particles at the speed of light, creating collisions in the process. Found on the border of Switzerland and France deep underground, and hosted by the research institute, CERN, the Large Hadron Collider is one of the world’s most expensive toys (US$9 billion). Two beams of really small par-
ticles pass each other inside the LHC, gaining energy and getting faster much quicker. Although the Collider commenced its preparation on 10 September, the big collisions (the Big-Bang-inducing ones) will only take place a couple of months later. The purpose – yes, there’s a purpose – is to recreate the Big Bang, and the first few millionths of a millionth of a second thereafter in order to test theories regarding the particles that created the Big Bang itself and how mass came into being. You know; the stuff that keeps one awake at night. Unfortunately, while some are eagerly anticipating the scientific revelation, others are holding allnight vigils in their local place of worship expecting Armageddon. But don’t be afraid, although the chances of creating a black hole are small, any black hole that is created would likely be too small and disappear (at least according to Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith of CERN). Phew, that’s a relief.
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Media SMASH! JACOB ZUMA’S supporters had the chance to get a bit of righteous indignation almost two weeks ago. Over a cartoon. Let us leave aside all possible comments regarding Zuma’s character. There remains the point: do people actually want the media only to offer criticism of the government within the bounds the government deems to be acceptable? Perhaps if Jacob hadn’t made a song and dance every time Jonathan Shapiro published another cartoon that cast aspersions on his character – threatening him with lawsuits multiple times – it would be easier to sympathise with him now. ‘Shock and horror! The cartoon was in bad taste!’ Bluntly, who the fuck cares? To draw a picture of a woman being raped is in bad taste? Yes, we should react to rape by not mentioning it in a public forum ever. All pictures in which a person gets raped should be shielded from the public gaze. That way, we can go back to ignoring the problem completely. We are so good at that. Sarcasm aside, rape isn’t something we can afford to be teensy about anymore. It is an epidemic. Zapiro has portrayed HIV positive men and women countless times before without the backlash.
‘Shock and horror! He shouldn’t have drawn Zuma raping someone because Zuma wasn’t ever convicted of rape!’ Who the fuck cares? It’s a metaphor. He’s used the same metaphor on Mbeki, who was never charged with rape. He’s drawn people who have never been convicted of genocide sitting on top of a throne of skulls. The shower cap does not imply an actual shower cap. ‘Shock and horror! It’s demeaning to women!’ Again; metaphor. A striking, uncomfortable metaphor. But just a metaphor. Who the fuck cares? Zuma’s supporters among the youth have been crying out that the drawing uses women’s suffering inappropriately. Let’s cast our minds back for a moment, shall we, to that golden day outside a courthouse in which Zuma was accused of raping a woman. His supporters frolicked and danced outside, and chanted such slogans as ‘Burn the bitch.’ Let’s stop thinking about that quickly, lest our brains explode from rage. ‘Shock! And horror! Zapiro’s just furthering his own political agenda!’ Yes? He’s a cartoonist? Conveying his opinion of a particular politician is his job. You sad moron. Should we gag
Malema for his fear-mongering claptrap? Alas, we should not. There is the argument that people who have been raped will be offended. However; Zapiro is portraying a horrific incident as a horrific incident. He is not making fun of rape; he is, if anything, emphasising its innate horror to convey his feelings about Zuma. Was it graphic beyond all moderation? Quite possibly. Should it have been censored on these grounds? No, no, no. We do not want to live in that kind of country. Except, apparently, some of us do. ‘Let’s give our governing body the powers of an all-knowing, all-seeing god. Let’s hand over all responsibility to him. Let’s have him take care of us, and think for us, because we’re too frightened and wilfully ignorant to do it on our own.’ ‘Shock and horror! Our incumbent president is a homophobic, misogynist liar who wants to pervert the justice system and has repeatedly tried to gag his critics in the media!’ Yup. If only more people fucking cared. ‘I can only hope that, when my enemy reads the list of my allies, he trembles as I do.’ Wellington said something like that.
The end of an era Tatenda Goredema THERE is an old Chinese curse that says, ‘may you live in interesting times’, and today we live in interesting times. The ANC National Executive Council’s (NEC) decision to ‘recall’ President Thabo Mbeki this past weekend and his subsequent resignation was surprising, but inevitable. The ANC, to which Mbeki dedicated his life and gave his best years, has callously tossed him aside. The way in which he was ‘recalled’ was shocking in itself, but the antics and rhetoric of people like Malema leading up to the NEC meeting held over the weekend was appalling. The indignity with which the President was treated was disrespectful and provided an insight into what kind of party the ANC has now become. The ruling made by Judge Chris Nicholson in the matter of the NPA versus Zuma, in which he inferred that, the office of the President may have been involved in influencing the investigation and subsequent attempts to prosecute Mr Zuma, provided the pretext for what happened over the weekend. Clearly what has happened to Mbeki is revenge for the perceived meddling which he has been accused of for years. Thus, Judge Nicholson’s ruling was a wonderful cover for doing what they ultimately would have done anyway. Mbeki has lost favour in his party and the people who are now in charge of running it are opposed to him and what he stands for. Since Polokwane, the party has been divided into camps of pro-Zuma and pro-Mbeki supporters; it just so happens that the proZuma supporters are now in decision-making posts. The NEC now
Photo courtesy of kuwaittimes.net
Photo courtesy of gridpp.ac.uk
Things go boom in Swiss lab
Full Circle- Zuma, the vanquished, became the victor over Mbeki mostly consists of ardent Zuma supporters who see no problem in carrying out what is clearly revenge, not only for Zuma’s firing from the Deputy Presidency, but also for his alleged cronyism and aloof intellectual nature which distanced him from the electorate and the grassroots members of the party. The man who proudly proclaimed in 1998 that he ‘was an African’ has much to be proud of in terms of achievements in office. Under the steady hand of his leadership, the country has enjoyed economic success and international recognition as a model for other developing countries to follow in terms of democratic governance. Although the successes have been many, he was the first to admit that South Africa is indeed a country that is divided along socio-economic lines and told the tale in his speech in 1998 as Deputy President of the ‘two South Africa’s’: one rich and white, whilst the other
poor and black. He spoke forthrightly and candidly about the need to turn South Africa into a developmental state that did not create a system of dependency for its poorer people. He led peace negotiations in Burundi, Zimbabwe the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. He epitomised the term, ‘African leader’, as he refused to accept the ‘every country for itself’ mentality that prevails on the continent. He fathered the concept of an African Renaissance and refused to define himself along tribal or ethnic grounds, acknowledging in his ‘I am an African’ speech that he was a part of all aspects of the country. So now we bid farewell to one of the greatest leaders Africa has ever produced. He was not without his faults, but I acknowledge the positive aspects of his Presidency. As Mbeki said, certain people should not become triumphalist because the sun shines today.
Volume 67 Number 11
Think again, Role of the educated citizen McCain tatenda Goredema
THE US Presidential race has been thrown wide open by the GOP candidate, John McCain, choosing to field a little-known governor from one of the smaller states in the US, Alaska. Governor Sarah Palin was a relatively unknown political figure in the US and certainly in the world up until her surprise nomination to the second spot on the GOP ticket. In selecting Governor Palin as his VP, Senator McCain has made both a brave and possibly dangerous move. The choice of Governor Sarah Palin is believed to have been sparked by the fact that Democratic Party’s candidate, Senator Barack Obama, chose Senator Joe Bidden from Delaware for his VP over Senator Hillary Clinton, with whom he competed fiercely for the Democratic nomination. In choosing Palin, McCain seeks to accomplish two things: Get the support of ultra conservatives who believed he was too moderate and to get some of the women votes that potentially would have gone for an Obama/Clinton ticket. It appears from the polls that McCain has achieved his first goal, as the Republican Party seems to be wholly united behind the McCain/ Palin ticket. The second goal, the Presidency, may be a tough sell due to Palin’s conservative beliefs and practices. Hillary Clinton she certainly is not, Palin is an anti-abortion, bible-bashing conservative who is firmly behind liberal gun laws and a small government with minimal influence on the economy. She is particularly appealing to evangelical Christians and conservative independents, who see the selection of Palin as a sign of positive intent by McCain and the GOP. She is, however, not likely to draw Clinton supporters because Palin’s views on the economy, foreign policy issues and healthcare are scant to say the least. Palin seems to have been briefed by McCain to regurgitate things he has said on the campaign trail since the early part of the year with a little personalisation to fool the masses. During the Republican National Convention, when Governor Palin was unveiled as the GOP’s number two, she used her first major national speech to attack Senator Obama and to talk of her trials and tribulations as a ‘hockey mom’, and small-town girl who ran for mayor in Wasilla and went on to secure the Governor’s position. She spoke of her impressive, but short record as Governor, and made that crazy comment about
lipstick being the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull. For some reason, people thought that was good. She hardly delved into any of the key issues facing the US, and spoke in generalities about what the country would need and how her record would help achieve that. She is definitely a better speaker than John McCain, and got applause regularly throughout her speech. All this, however, cannot detract from the fact that Palin has very little to stand on in terms of experience. Compared to Senator Joe Biden, she is in the minor league. Biden, who is the current Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (one of the most important Committees in the Senate) has a wealth of experience and has sponsored and co-sponsored many laws in the Senate in his long stay in the upper tier of the bicameral Congress. More importantly, Biden is well known and well liked by Republicans and Democrats alike. Compared to Obama, Palin once again comes up short, for the experience of a Governor in a state with a population of a mere six hundred thousand cannot compare to those of a Senator who has sponsored national legislation and has assisted in the overseeing of foreign policy as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Palin’s selection is purely political strategy, and so far it has worked: More attention was given to the Republican National Convention than the Democratic National Convention. The polls now reflect a closer race between Obama and McCain. However, a lot of political commentators have attributed McCain’s gain to a ‘bump’ gained through the buzz around his unusual choice, which is expected to be temporary. In a climate where the US economy is suffering, major corporations are declaring bankruptcy or seeking federal assistance, and foreign relations have deteriorated extensively to the point where America’s image is poor in the eyes of the rest of the world. It would be a misjudgment to elect someone with so thin a portfolio, clearly picked to ride on the coattails of the ‘change’ theme that has been the key for the Democrats’ bid for the White House. Should McCain, who is 72 and has suffered health problems in recent years, be elected in November, Palin will be a ‘heartbeat’ away from the Presidency. In my opinion, that thought alone, is worse than another four years of George W. Bush.
WITH the recent 31st anniversary of the death of the founder of the Black Consciousness movement, Steve Biko, it is important to assert the importance of ‘consciousness’ and the level at which it has been exhibited at this institution. Robert Kennedy once noted that one of the dangers that assuaged the world and posed a great challenge to people speaking out was timidity. In a speech made at UCT, he said ‘few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, and the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence.’ This appears to be as relevant today as it was in 1966 when Kennedy delivered it. It appears that a vast majority of the students at the university have opinions that are valid and carefully considered, yet are afraid to voice those opinions for fear of reprisal or derision. I have heard certain people voice their concerns about the quality of VARSITY Newspaper for instance, yet few of them are willing to provide the welcome and necessary construc-
you, consider then that her beauty was purchased by men of valour who knew their duty’. In short, an educated citizen has a responsibility and duty, by virtue of his/her greater knowledge, to uphold the values and principles that were fought for by people such as Steve Biko. This is to further develop his/her immediate environment and ultimately honour the memory of people like Comrade Biko who died in the cause of that noble effort. The Vice-Chancellor in his remarks at the Steve Biko Annual Lecture noted that the youth had a greater role to play in society and should not become complacent simply because the task of obtaining freedom had been accomplished. In the final analysis part of an educated citizen’s duty is to participate actively in the society he inhabits thus the responsibility falls to you the student to join societies and organizations that contribute to eclectic good of society. Jack Kerouac once said ‘if moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.’ Consider the crime you are committing on a daily basis.
Don’t blame it on the music Louise Ferreira ON A Monday morning, a quiet, well-behaved Matric student walks into his school and kills a fellow pupil with a sword. He goes on a rampage, injuring three other people. In the search for the reasons behind this horrific incident, it is decided that part of the cause must be…his favourite music. Morné Harmse, 18, is being charged with the murder of 16year-old Jacques Pretorius and three counts of attempted murder. The media and others immediately latched onto the fact that Harmse was wearing a homemade mask similar to those worn by heavymetal group Slipknot. In addition, the boy afterwards claimed that Satan told him to kill the children, prompting community leader, Pierre Eksteen, to deduce that the attack was caused by ‘satanic music’. This has led to widespread panic about the supposed connection between Satanism and heavy metal. All of this seems a little unfair. After all, Slipknot is not in fact a satanic band, and most of their fans would be outraged at being called devil-worshippers. It is also difficult to believe that any music, no matter how ‘dark’, would incite an otherwise stable teenager to murder. Shortly after the attack, a radio DJ quoted comedian, Chris Rock, asking why, after school killings, cultural influences like music are so often blamed for the perpetrators’ behaviour? ‘Why can’t they just be crazy?’ He has a point. Music is often named, not necessarily by experts, as a contributing factor when kids go berserk – and heavy metal groups like Slipknot are particularly targeted. But it is also true that of the genre’s millions of fans,
Photo courtesy of i.a.cnn.net
tive criticism required to maintain the objectivity and relevancy of the paper. President John Kennedy once proclaimed that ‘a university has a special obligation to holdfast to the best of the past and move fast with the best of the future.’ Looking back on past editions of this paper, the values and principles apparent in the views of the students then have helped shape the thinking at this university today. These values and principles were not established by words on paper, but by the people who took it upon themselves to comment and act on the things they felt strongly about. Part of a scripture taken from an Egyptian pyramid reads ‘…and no one was angry enough to speak out.’ This may be the most honest assessment of this generation of young people, who feel more obligated to sit and comment from the sidelines, becoming part of a growing peanut gallery of those satisfied by mediocrity and silence, rather than participate in necessary debate to improve our future. A great Greek general by the name of Pericles once proclaimed that ‘if Athens shall appear great to
Hideous faces - Slipknot in their usual ghastly garb only a handful ever go this far. Why are they suddenly considered the rule when they are so clearly an anomaly? It is certainly likely that they were particularly drawn to metal because of pre-existing emotional problems (although this of course does not apply to all listeners of the genre) that caused them to identify with aspects such as the loud volume and dark lyrics. In this case, the music would have been a symptom rather than a cause of their troubles. We should also ask why people are concentrating on the mask and not looking at other symbols. Why did Harmse choose a samuraisword, for example? It was apparently his favourite sword and he spent a lot of time sharpening the blade. Does this mean there should be a backlash against Japanese warrior culture? One of his friends said that on the morning of the attack, Harmse had spoken in a strange voice, ‘like the Joker in Batman’. No-one has blamed the popularity of The Dark Knight. The ridiculousness of the charge against heavy metal is further illustrated by substituting another disguise for the mask: If Harmse had gone to school dressed as a pirate and saying that Captain Jack Sparrow had told him to kill
everyone, would there be an outcry against Pirates of the Caribbean? Surely not. The boy would simply be called delusional. It has since come to light that Harmse’s teachers had been worried about him for some time. He appeared to have no vision for his future and it was decided that the issue should be followed up, but obviously this did not happen in time. Were the teachers at fault then? Should his parents have known something was wrong? Even if they did, can parents really be blamed if their child commits a murder? After the Columbine shooting in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999, there was a huge backlash against video games, heavy metal and goth culture. The music of metal singer, Marilyn Manson, was blamed for the actions of the shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and he cancelled one of his concerts as a result. When he was asked in an interview what he would say to the killers, Manson replied, ‘Nothing. I would have listened, because no one else did.’ School violence in South Africa is widespread. Perhaps we should start asking young people what is going wrong, rather than playing a dangerous game of pass-the-buck.
The Green Week. Muhammad Daniels, BSc (Eng) Electrical, 3rd year
Anton Taylor’s campaign.
What was the highlight of your year at UCT ?
The highlight the year was basically seeing a whole lot of friends that I hadn’t seen in years. I never thought I’d see them again. Running in to them randomly on Campus was just awesome.
The Steve Biko Memorial Lecture was quite good. Mpodumo Doubada, B.Com. (Accounting), 4th year
Michelle van Niekerk, B.Sc. (Marine Biology), 1st year
The best part of my year was meeting all my great, great friends and becoming a part of the UCT Underwater Club. We go diving nearly every weekend. It’s so great! Danielle Conry, B.Sc. (Marine Biology), 1st year
398OND004_ondernemings_ADVERTS.FH11 Tue Sep 09 08:19:32 2008
The SRC elections. I think we’ve come to a point where we’ve proved something. Student politics should be about student governance more than the political parties or political affiliations. And students have shown that. SASCO managed to completely alienate the majority of students that are supposed to support them. It sends a message to them to say ‘Guys, it’s not about the umbrella or the banner that you’re running under. It’s about, can you represent the interest of the students?’
It’s been the [RAG] Fashion Show. The Fashion Show was really, really awesome. But the afterparty obviously rocked. Had a great time...got the chance to meet lots of cool people. So yah, RAG throws awesome parties. Page 3
Kavita Koverjee, B.A., 4th year
Sizi Myeni, MB ChB, 1st year C
Seithati Mofokeng, B.Bus.Sci. Finance (CA Option)
Arts &Entertainment 8 Art in struggle Moss Matheolane UCT recently played host to an interesting exhibition entitled Imaging the Struggles: An Exhibition of Southern African Struggle Posters, presented and displayed in the African Studies Library. What makes this particular exhibition noteworthy is its subject matter, content and context. As the title implies, the exhibition presents ‘a visual representation of struggle involving countries in the southern region of the continent’. These include Mozambique, South Africa, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, all of which share not just a history of struggle for freedom, but relationships forged during those dark days of the struggle. If one considers the old adage that a picture speaks a thousand words, then this exhibition definitely had plenty to tell. The history of the use of posters in conjunction with political and economic struggle is one that can be traced to almost every country in the world. Over the years, posters have been used as platforms for public education announcements, instruments of propaganda, and pure works of art, as well as vehicles for commercial advertising. Their use of dramatic and colourful imagery is conducive to the successful conveyance of messages of syndicalism, an effective means for the call to arms and civil mobilisation. Even developed countries have made good use of posters during testing times; think USA’s Uncle Sam ‘I want you’ or the Spanish Civil War where they used posters for building up morale amongst the working class in their fight against an organised military. The exhibition was a snapshot of the past captured on large sheets through techniques of bold symbolism, stylised compositions of paintings and photomontage and headlines. In Namibia, the working class was rallied into activism, while the liberation movement of
23 Sep: Schock Foundation Prize for Chamber Music A chamber music spectacular presented by the South African College of Music. 23 – 27 Sep: Salaam @ Baxter Theatre A one-man show by Ashraf Johaardien that incorporates comedy, pathos and politics in ingenious storytelling. 23 – 30 Sep: Tim Rolston Photographic Exhibition @ Olympia Café (Kalk Bay) Tim Rolston’s photography showcases a variety of people, places and nature from around the Cape Peninsula. Mozambique, Frelimo, called ordinary people to arms for the effective struggle against Portuguese colonialism. South Africa’s apartheid policies and their effects were laid bare for all to see. What is perhaps significant about the content of some of these posters is the manner in which they portray women. Contrary to the popular belief that women stayed at home while men waged war, the women in these images were equally as active and militant as their male counterparts. A striking portrayal of this is a poster that has a woman holding an AK-47 on one hand and a child sitting on her hip in the other. Such imagery speaks directly to the heart and hides nothing from the observer, which is what you would have found at this exhibition. Apart from being a visual representation of the past, the exhibition gave a glimpse of the power of the people, and the effective way in which this power can be shaped, directed and used to not only challenge existing establishments, but dare to invent new ones.
23 Sep – 11 Oct: Where The Boys Are @ On Broadway Award-winning performers Alistair Izobell, Loukmaan Adams and Mono Dullisearof present a lively new show of music and comedy that proves that women certainly are from Venus. 24 Sep: Katie Melua @ Grandwest One of the UK’s current favourite songstresses will be delighting SA audiences in the month of her 24th birthday. 24 Sep: Cultural Delight @ Café Sofia
Volume 67 Number 11
Celebrate Heritage Day with a variety of performers such as French singers, Arabic poets, Rwandan dancers and many others. 24 – 27 Sep: UCT Idols The Cape Dance Company presents a brand new performance featuring Michael Thomas of the ex Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. 24 – 27 Sep: Of Madams and Maids Part of the Heritage Day celebrations, this show gives audiences a view of life through the eyes of a servant, Miss Nothing. 24 Sep – 4 Oct: Venom @ Intimate Theatre A multi-faceted play by Juliet Jenkins that explores politics, horror and love. 24 Sep – 18 Oct: Frogs @ Kalk Bay Theatre The highly-acclaimed play by Taryn Bennett and Ashley Waterman. 26 Sep: The Plastics & The Beams @ Roots The Plastics want you to ‘dance like you feel it…ease in the sleaze…and try not to touch yourself’. Sold?
Assembly Cape Town’s gift to Pascha returns after their European tour. 26 – 27 Sep: Crazy Diamond – A Tribute to Pink Floyd @ Theatre @ the Pavilion A tribute to one of the greatest rock bands of all time. 27 Sep: Fokofpolisiekar Album Launch @ Klein Libertas Fok…hulle is terug! En met ‘n splinternuwe album! 1 – 4 Oct: Ballet Mosaic @ Baxter Theatre Cape Town City Ballet presents an exotic two-act programme that unfolds in a sultan’s palace. 2 Oct: Miss UCT Come see if you have what it takes. Entry forms are available at the Societies Help Desk from Trevor on the 5th floor, Steve Biko Building. 3 – 5 Oct: Rocking the Daisies @ Kloof Wine Estate Run hippies, run! The daisies are calling…can you hear them?! 5 October: Louise Carver @ Kirstenbosch Cape Town’s ‘soul diva’ will be performing at Kirstenbosch’s Silvertree restaurant
26 Sep: Goldfish & Guests @
‘UCT Music Stars’ show Staff Writer
IN keeping with UCT’s strong background of producing proudly South African musicians and artists, the Arts and Culture Society are hosting ‘UCT Music Stars’ on Wednesday, 24 September in Jammie Hall. The focus in the selection criteria was not only on students who are studying music, but also students from various faculties on campus. Students were able to sign up during meridian last week, whilst others sent their applications via email. The show promises performances from some of UCT’s finest musicians. So, if you are looking for a way to celebrate Heritage Day, make sure you get your ticket from the Societies Cashier, Level 5, Steve Biko Building for R30. VIP tickets are R50 and include champagne and snacks. For more info contact Geraldine on 0792970733.
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Giant metal Early Friday madness squid invasion Refilwe Modisi
AFTER narrowly escaping the ravenous vultures circling overhead, we made our way into the questionable safety of the Arts Block. The search for an empty venue uncovered room after room of studiously working Humanities students (on a sunny day during meridian – a definite conspiracy). Deeply puzzled, we later stumbled upon an empty lecture theatre and it was here that I settled down with three members of The New Black, finally safe from those damn vultures. I asked the guys whether there was any meaning behind The New Black as a band name. They pointed out that it bears no hidden political message; the guys simply aim to deliver a fresh sound and easy entry into the SA metal scene. With broad grins, they described their sound as ‘post-apartheid, pregiant squid invasion metal’. Their sound is innovative and energetic, combining elements of punk and metal. They have been influenced by the likes of Thrice, Trivium and Alexisonfire. This is evident in lead guitarist Tyrone’s scorching solos and harmonies. When not tearing up the night,
the guys enjoy poker, messing around on dating sites and admiring Tyrone’s mastery of Guitar Hero. Singer Geoff mentioned that it’s a shame that The New Black wasn’t invited to the Olympics, as the guys promised to bring home gold in underwater basket-weaving: They claim to be able to complete the daunting triple weave in less than 30 seconds.
‘...they describe their sound as post-apartheid, pre-giant squid invasion metal...’ What better way to add some scuff to your All Stars than a nice little mosh? Drummer Kyle has promised a free viewing of his buttocks for anyone who performs a handstand at their gigs. If past performances are anything to go by, bassist Brett would be keen to follow suit.
really make a person look stupid. One states that they are comfortable, while the others say that people who wear Crocs look stupid; then the conversation jumps to men who wear pink shirts. Others meeting for the first time are brought together by common ground which they have just come to realise they share. No one holds back. At Early Friday it’s a noholds-barred, open floor where anything goes. The combination of Early
Friday and The Waiting Room produces the ultimate relaxed early Friday night out. It is open to everyone to come and enjoy. It serves as a starter pack of sorts: A starter pack to your Friday and to your whole weekend. It’s an opportunity to become acquainted with many people and perhaps making friends for life. If you want a chilled evening with a close group of friends, Early Friday is the place to have it.
Worth the hype? Calvin Scholtz
‘I WILL not watch the Hansie movie,’ says former Protea fastbowler, Fanie de Villiers. ‘It opens up too many old wounds.’ Tomorrow sees the release of possibly the next big South African movie, from the same group of filmmakers who produced Faith Like Potatoes. That film had a strong religious theme, and despite Hansie being about a star cricketer who cheated at the game he loved so much, it’s clear that the plot focuses more on his ‘journey to redemption’ than his fall from grace. The events surrounding Hansie Cronjé’s premature exit from international cricket, as well as his very public humiliation are well known to most South Africans. What we do not know is what happened afterwards, inside the Cronjé family, and who better to tell us the story than Hansie’s brother, Frans, who is an executive producer. Actor Frank Rautenbach, who played the farmer Angus Buchan in Faith Like Potatoes, takes up the mammoth task of portraying one of South Africa’s favourite sons who became, almost overnight, a national disgrace. While the facial resemblance is not all that great, Rautenbach appears to have made up for it in his mannerisms and the charisma that made Hansie charming enough to convince at least a small number of his teammates to trade patriotism for greed. However, whether people will
Photo courtesy of tvscoop.tv
Matthew Milne witnesses The New Black brave vultures and swordfights
EARLY Friday is the name synonymous with UCT students and the way in which they spend their Friday evenings. As the name suggests, it all goes down on Friday evenings between 5 pm and 9 pm. The occasion that is Early Friday serves a two-fold purpose. It acts as a fundraiser for fourth-year Fine Art students from UCT’s Michaelis School of Fine Arts. Between 10 and 15% of the evening’s bar revenue is used to publish a catalogue of artworks which accompanies the fourthyear graduate exhibition held in December of every year. It also serves as a forum for people from all sectors of the art community to come together and interact. The venue is hosted by The Waiting Room, a secret gardenesque place of sorts, which can be found right next to Royale Eatery, smack in the middle of the excitement and buzz that is Long Street. The comparison to the secret garden is not as far-fetched as one might think: The Waiting Room has an unmarked door which blends in with the wall of the building in which it is situated. Upon discovering the entrance, a visitor is greeted by a long narrow passage with a staircase leading up to the venue. And it is here that one can get a feel for the place based on the blaring music coming from upstairs. Take notice of the retro, loungy décor of the place. It is littered with chairs and cushions for comfort. From the balcony one can witness the transition from day to night over Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. One patron was overheard declaring, ‘I want to live here.’ The atmosphere is a relaxed one, with conversation flowing freely. One group is arguing about Crocs and whether or not they
Hansie - ‘The Devil made me do it’ want to sit through what even the blurbs describe as a ‘cathartic’ experience, remains to be seen. Or perhaps, as old ‘Vinnige Fanie’ has implied, we’re still much too close to this issue to view it with any objectivity. Hansie opens on Wednesday 24 September. On the international front, there is once again a rumble coming from a galaxy far, far away. Legions of Jedi knights wielding light sabers are once again set to burst into theatres everywhere, but in a way that you’ve never seen before. Star Wars - The Clone Wars is the first fully-animated film in the franchise, and is actually a spin-off of a TV series set to air on Cartoon Network at some stage. While it will possibly appeal to kids more than Star Wars purists, the animation doesn’t look
half-bad, and the plot does cover a largely unexplored period of the saga’s history. The film will pick up where Episode II - Attack of the Clones ended, and follows the heroes in their various battles with the evil Separatists, led by Count Dooku and General Grievous. However, be warned that only a couple of the original actors return to lend their voices to this film, among them Samuel L Jackson (Mace Windu). No doubt the film will find an audience, but the question will be whether fans leave the cinema feeling like they’ve revisited a universe which has enchanted so many people over time, or like they’ve been duped by good old commercialism. Star Wars - The Clone Wars opens on Friday 26 September.
Volume 67 Number 11
Baxter tempts you to touch Rémy Ngamije
THERE are only two instances in my life when I have had sweaty palms. The first time was my first kiss. It was a tense and nervous affair. I can admit that I had no technical experience whatsoever, other than what I had seen in films, and that was sadly not as educational as I hoped it would be. Which is why, between practising on my teddy bear and my imaginary girlfriend, one can understand why my palms were bleeding sweat. The other time was just before I had to attend this year’s Baxter Hall formal. I had to put on a suit. I had to be presentable. I had to do something that would make me appear to be human. Most of all, what had my palms perspiring, was the thought of being in the presence of 100 beautiful ladies dressed to the nines. The odds were enough to cripple a man. But suit up I did, presentable I tried to be and human I barely managed to look as I strolled towards Baxter Hall, waiting to see why the formal season is such an important time in the life of UCT’s residence students. On arrival at the pre-drinks function, my heart skipped enough beats to make any qualified doctor pronounce me clinically dead. The ladies were not dressed to kill but dressed to thrill. And thrill they did. Amid a bedazzling mixture of colours and dress designs, I was astounded at the time and preparation that was dedicated to this one evening. Whether long and flowing, or short and sexy, each dress seemed to impress me more than the next, the only thing more captivating than the attire itself being the welcoming smiles on the women of Baxter Hall. After building up some courage and picking my jaw up off the floor, I managed to discover why formals are events anticipated from the
beginning of the year and meticulously prepared for. ‘It is a time for all of us to be together and celebrate each other’s company,’ said Naledi, a member of the outgoing House Committee. ‘We can all relax, dress like there is no tomorrow, and have a good time.’ With the uttering of that statement, the stage was set for the rest of the evening, a night that I would not easily forget. After a short drive to the Kenilworth Race Course, where the main event would be held, I was seated in a sumptuous suite, with a commanding view of the race track and the nightlights of the Southern Suburbs, basking in the warmth and excitement that only such an event could generate. It is perhaps at this time that I realised that the best events for any member of The Press are those in which one does not feel like a journalist. From seating to eating, drinking and dancing, I was wholly welcomed into the camaraderie that never ebbed. The elegantly-decorated room was a plausible reason for calling the evening, ‘The Golden Affair’, completing what was a night worthy of such a title. The social significance of the evening was perhaps one of the most noticeable aspects, providing each student with the opportunity to engage on a public stage where the skills of social conversation and entertainment could be learned. The managing of the evening – from arranging the catering, the renting of the venue, as well as the smooth execution of the event – were all facets of the evening which can be attributed to the competence House Comm. With the organising of an event of such a grand scale, the Baxter formal highlighted the managerial, communication and public relation skills that were required to make the evening a success.
Photos by Remy Ngamije
Sizzling - The ladies of Baxter Hall, bedazzling at their formal at the Kenilworth Race Course. Glitz and glam was in the air as they celebrated their 50th Anniversary Formal. ‘It is a time to celebrate living, not existence,’ was the theme of the toast which was eagerly taken up by the invitees of the evening. The hard work and creativity of the outgoing House Comm. culminated in the hosting of an event worthy of praise. As the evening wound to a close, it was time to pop bottles and drop models, the music pulled all its attendants to the dance floor, memories of other formal events were forgotten as I was shown why, for 50 years, Baxter hall has been ‘setting the standard’.
Volume 67 Number 10
Harder, better, faster, stronger THOSE are just some of the adjectives that would be used to describe me if one were to turn off the lights. Imagine Will Smith topless and squint very hard at my gangly frame. Depending on the degree of inebriation, lowering (or complete lack) of standards from my legions of female, I hover between looking like the reincarnation of a Greek god and a cross between 50 Cent and a 300 Spartan warrior. However, without the aforementioned circumstances, I am tall, dark...and that is where that ageold mantra ends. The best way to describe the rippling, chiselled muscle on my abdominal area is to call it a ‘one-pack’, but even that would be an extremely kind euphemism. The desire to obtain perfectly-sculpted figures, masculine or feminine, is perhaps the main reason why many students at UCT religiously subscribe to gruelling physical exercise routines in the campus gym. The desire to possess an aesthetically and sexually-pleasing physique has long been omnipresent in human society. The human physique has been identified as a key factor in the formation of social identity, capable of influencing one’s health, self-esteem and the manner in which other members of society are treated. Displayed in socially-penetrative mainstream media such as magazines, music and film, the interest shown in the human figure is simultaneously fascinating and discomforting. Obtaining the ideal figure is often achieved through the expo-
Photo courtesy of photobucket.com
sure of the body to intense physical exertion, forcing it to lose body fat while concurrently building or toning muscle mass to the desired aesthetic degree. Known as bodybuilding, or more commonly, ‘gyming’, this method of exercise, once the domain of athletes seeking to improve their physical prowess, is now dominated by
ordinary people – even students – motivated by social, personal or medical reasons. Interviewing some members of the UCT Gym revealed many members not to be active sportsmen or women, but simply people in search of a quicker method to their improve health, fitness and physique. Providing a facility for numer-
ous forms of exercise, from swimming to boxing to aerobics, gymnasiums are institutions in which a highly mobile, albeit less active, generation can take part in physical exercise. Despite the wellknown reasons for gyming, there exists a less savoury aspect of the activity that few, if any, participating students know about. With frenetic academic and social lives, and the participation in unhealthy practices such as smoking and alcohol consumption, students are often seduced into seeking alternative methods of speeding up the body-sculpting process. The use of supplementary dietary drugs that either increase or reduce body mass is an all-toocommon confession from students who turn to ‘miracle drugs’ without ample knowledge of the consequences of their consumption. Excessive weight gain or loss and abnormal hormone production are some side-effects of these supplements that are often ignored by students – with disastrous results. One student claimed the consistent loss of appetite and weight that came with the taking of performance additives led to his hospitalisation for eating disorders. Probably the least understood and often underestimated aspect of bodybuilding is the subtle psychological effect it has on its participants. Chasing the perfect figure, and being constrained by genetic predisposition, diet and exercise routine, students often push themselves beyond their physical limits. Over-exertion is a common result of the obsessive-compulsive nature with which some students pursue gymming. Injury from the
lifting of heavy weights is another, as they seek to reach personal goals or surpass other members of the gym. However, as Vusumuzi Nyandeni, a UCT Gym member, says, ‘It is all about balance and choosing realistic goals, exercise routines and methods considering one’s diet and physical build. It is okay to aspire to be the Incredible Hulk, but when you are the Incredible Bulk, you have to shift your priorities.’ An avid tennis player, Nyandeni supplements his weight-lifting sessions with light cardiovascular exercise that keeps him slick of foot, healthy of heart and Spartan in build; a bodybuilding nirvana that eludes many students. Another overlooked result of gymming is the change in social identity some students undergo. The attention paid to bodybuilding, bordering on narcissism in some cases, and the presence of inflated machismos, are traits observed in some gym members – a characteristic that can adversely affect one’s identity as well as social interactions with people. From controlling what we wear, what we eat and who we date, the physique of many a person has, at one point or another, become prey to personal and social evaluation. With gyms becoming a fixture in society, the role of the ‘six-pack abs’, toned tummies and three-dimensional pecks seems set to continue to play an integral role in society. I, however, being allergic to pain, glance over Men’s Health covers, comforting myself with the thought that where gym is concerned, I have considered starting.
School, university, work First female Bianca Meyjes investigates just how much each step helps you climb further up your ladder BACK at school, a pupil asked our maths teacher whether anything we learnt at school would be applicable at university. The teacher smiled wryly and replied: ‘The only thing school taught me was to put the date at the top of my lecture notes.’ It was a shock that the 12 years spent slaving away at algebra, Shakespeare and that blimmin’ periodic table all boiled down to putting a date on your pages. In retrospect, however, that was probably the most useful advice ever dished out at school. Having been at UCT for a few years now, a similar curiosity has returned: What has this place taught me that can be taken forth into the workplace? Well, we all now know that plagiarism is bad, but that is not much help. Yet again, a tutor sat down a few of us BA students and shared her pearls of wisdom. Bright-eyed and barefooted, we hung on her every word: ‘If all else fails, remember that UCT taught you how to substantiate.’ Now, if you are anything like me, you have never really bothered to research the true meaning of that word. It means ‘to verify, authenticate and demonstrate.’ So, in an attempt to verify, authenticate and demonstrate the professional skills learnt at this campus, I spoke to a few graduates from the Humanities, Commerce and Medical faculties. It was unmistakable that the skills brought forth into the work-
place were practical rather than theoretical ones. In other words, textbooks grew moss upon graduation. One of the graduates I spoke to ended up in Business after doing his Master’s degree in Audiology. He noted that UCT taught him how to network and cope with ever-changing situations, rather than peer into people’s ears. On a more social level, the graduates spoke of how the University had helped them to open up and strive for a balanced work ethic in the professional world. Out of the four graduates, three had experienced residence life, all of whom made note of the fond memories they had made in res. One graduate, now living in London, boasted of how he still keeps in contact with the friends he made in O-Week. Another one claimed that he made ‘lifelong friends’ in residence. There was also some mention of learning to live in the close confines of others and being exposed to people from different walks of life. It was interesting to note that all the graduates had been part of societies that further enriched their chosen career paths. The Business Science graduate had been a member of InvestSoc, the two BA graduates had been members of UCT Radio and the Film Society respectively, while the final graduate had mucked about at WineSoc. When asked whether joining a society had helped in their working life, one said that he had learnt that it is what you do outside of
academics that counts; be it sport, societies or socialising. So how do UCT graduates compare with graduates from other universities? ‘UCT is superior,’ answered one, adding, ‘Better lectures and the best location.’ The graduate now working in radio said that he had come into contact with graduates from Rhodes, UZim, UNam, UPE, Tuks and Maties. For him, UCT graduates were the proudest of where they had come from. When asked how UCT did not prepare its graduates, the interviewees lay blame on their own slackness. One said that, ‘he never took park in Graduate Recruitment Programmes or Interview Trainings. I can’t blame UCT for being ill-equipped.’ One of the Humanities graduates lay testament to the general BA stream by saying that his three-year degree was, ‘Very samey, with courses being similar year on year.’ Hearing these graduates reflect on their experiences at UCT helped me conclude that university might just be about substantiation after all. This could come as a disappointment to many, but how better to show the workplace your knowledge of theory when one is taught how to back it up practically? One of the graduates said it best when he reflected: ‘The world is an awesome place, especially when watched from Jammie Steps.’
law Dean SheilA Afari
ON entering Professor Schwikkard’s office for the first time, I had to ask if the woman that appeared in front of me was Pamela Schwikkard. I was expecting a stern-looking woman with grey hair. I was met instead with a rather young-looking woman with a warm smile. Schwikkard graduated from Wits University with a BA in Psychology, English and Economic History. After travelling, Schwikkard decided to pursue a career in Law and graduated with an LLB summa cum laude and LLM cum laude from the University of Natal. She later obtained her LLD from the University of Stellenbosch. Schwikkard was admitted as an Attorney of the Supreme Court of South Africa, registered as an arbitrator (ADRASA) and appointed Additional Member of the Industrial Court. She has worked as a senior lecturer at the University of Natal, a Professor in the Law Faculty at Rhodes University, and is currently the Head of the Public Law Department and Deputy Dean of the Law Faculty at UCT. To add to her already impressive résumé, Schwikkard has received various prizes and awards for her excellence as a scholar, authored four books and edited three. Schwikkard will formally take up her position as Dean of the Law Faculty as of 1 January 2009.
Varsity: What is your personal opinion about your new appointment? Prof Schwikkard: It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to have the challenge to lead the Law Faculty What does your appointment mean for women? I’m the fifth female dean on campus. If you look at the female deans across campus it provides a strong message that women can get anywhere a man can. My appointment just shows the progress over the past few years. When I came to UCT in 2001 there were no female deans! What does your appointment indicate in the broader spectrum of Law in South Africa? In the past century, women weren’t allowed to practise law because they weren’t regarded as people! There have been huge advances in Law particularly in the last 15 years. About half our staff at the Law Faculty are women, most of the students are women, and the majority of our best students are also women. Historically, women were paid less than men, but with the current transparencies in salaries it has been very useful in the university as it is a greater incentive to follow the constitutional law and pay men and women the same. Several women could have been appointed the Dean of the Law Faculty as there has been an increase in seniority in women which wasn’t common in the last decade
Volume 67 Number 10
China’s dominance: Why should At what cost? we care? I WAITED in anticipation for the biggest sporting event of the year; the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. I watched with astonishment as the host nation delivered an amazing opening ceremony which was a spectacle like no other. Thanks to Supersport and DSTV, I was able to watch no less than five dedicated channels, all showing unprecedented viewing of athletes vying for Olympic glory. Not moving from the couch for the first few days, I was struck by a common sight; every time I turned on the TV, and no matter how many times I changed the channel, there was an athlete in red and yellow on the screen, an athlete from China. They were everywhere, and in what seemed to be every Olympic discipline. In truth, China competed in 26 out of the 38 Olympic codes, amassing a team of 632 memebers. In comparison, South Africa participated in a mere 11. But if you thought China was there to make up the numbers, you’d be massively mistaken. By day 11 of the Olympics, China was leading the Gold medal tally with a staggering 43 medals, followed, not closely, by the USA with 25, eight of which were claimed by Michael Phelps. In order to properly understand this meteoric rise, we need to look at the facts of the gold medal tally of previous years. In 1988 at Seoul, China won five golds. Fast forward to Sydney in 2000, China has 28 golds. Athens, 2004, and 32 golds. China have revolutionised their Olympic team in just two decades. How has China been able to achieve this seemingly colossal feat? The short and simple answer lies in its sports schools programme, which it has intensified since winning the bid to host the Games, in 2001. It’s a simple concept; children, as young as five through to 18, are sent to boarding schools in which they train to become athletes – and nothing else. While it is reported that the children are given an all-round education, critics are skeptical. One such critic is Hannah Beech, who interviewed a principal of a sports school and visited its
Photo courtesy of time.com
Deafening - Students at one of China’s sports schools eat, sleep and breathe ping pong
‘Young athletes are often coerced into training, ultimately being manufactured into athletes.’ campus while on assignment for Time. She reported that none of the dorms have textbooks and that one 15-year-old athlete who was asked what she did in her spare time replied, ‘I run, and I sleep, that’s my day.’ Young athletes are often coerced into training, ultimately being manufactured into athletes. Children do not attend trials, or even choose what sport they participate in. Instead, sports directors scout the country’s schools for athletes, based not on talent, but rather on physical characteristics. Children are measured and perform basic hand-eye coordination tests to determine what sport they might be prolific in. If a child has a certain body type, he or she is sent to an appropriate sporting school with little choice but to become a super athlete. All this is done in the name of their country and Olympic glory. China has pumped US$20 million into their sporting programme, and they are definitely reaping the rewards as they dominate this year’s Games. But at what other cost? Pressure to perform is immense, and failure to suc-
ceed often results in isolation. And what happens to the some 400,000 not properly-educated students who don’t make it to Olympic Gold? Or in ten years’ time, after the Games, when even succesful athletes have reached their sell-by date? According to Beech, ‘The China Sports Daily estimates that about 80% of the country’s retired athletes are plagued by unemployment, poverty or chronic health problems resulting from overtraining.’ Another worry is the restriction in individualism on these athletes, who are told to succeed for Gold and Country. The Chinese seem to have been brainwashed into putting the state before themselves at all costs, which has a tremendous impact on young people who have failed in sport but now know nothing else. China’s excuse is that they want to be a world leader in as many aspects of global interest as they can be, most particularly the economy and, now, sport. But should it be achieving these goals at the expense of its people’s happiness?
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EVEN the most politically ignorant of us must have deduced from the black-and-white posters and vote-for-me catch phrases that have appeared around campus that SRC election time has come around again. I find it difficult to see how one is expected to ascertain the relevant qualities of potential leaders from these superficial advertisements, but I suppose campaigners have to get students’ attention somehow (no mean feat when the greater part of students’ attention revolves around socialising and copying tuts before deadlines). The sad truth of it is that the success of advertising potential leaders is, in effect, the same as for any product: the ad that captures the target-market’s attention for long enough, without being irritating, gets the business; in this case, the vote. SRC election time is met with mixed feelings from UCT students. On the one hand, the campaigns and the personal involvement of campaigners (marketing themselves on jammie stairs), causes a lot of hype amongst the small number of us who happen to be politically inclined. On the other hand, student politics are all too often met by a passing, surface-level interest, if not complete indifference. How many of us actually take the time to research the various student parties or their individual representatives? ‘I think the whole thing is stupid, quite frankly,’ says Caitlin McMahon, a second-year Accounting student, when asked to comment on UCT political activities. ‘Either the SRC must get its act together or they must just drop the whole thing entirely.’ This is a view shared by many UCT students, but it is worth pointing out that if we make no
effort to vote, we don’t have much justification for complaining about our leaders. Many of us would like to think that, had we been around 20 years ago, we would have been the students who organised anti-apartheid campaigns. In hindsight, we assume we would have been politically active, rather than the passive acceptors of an unjust political and social system. Looking at my own undeniable lack of interest in current political affairs, I have to question if this is really the case. When asked about his views on the subject, Warren Smith, a second-year medical student, commented, ‘Had we been students during the Apartheid era, we probably would have been more politically involved than we are now, because South Africa was in such obvious crisis. Everyone was politically involved.’ Indeed, it is an unfortunate characteristic of mankind that all too often people only respond to a crisis when it affects them directly. Whilst, theoretically, we are in a much better position than we were 20 years ago, practically we have a long way to go before South Africa affords the opportunity to each individual to reach their potential. Meanwhile we should be ensuring that we do not slide into an undesirable political situation through pure complacency. As youth privileged enough to attend a tertiary institution we owe it to the people of South Africa to step out of the little bubbles that most of us live in and take an active interest in our country’s political state. Paying a little attention to our own leaders (beyond who has the nicest smile or biggest biceps) would be a good place to start.
Sports stars, money in the bank
The failed art of war
Rémy Ngamije discusses the lucrative world of sponsorships in light of the current Olympic Games
Matthew Milne lists some of the poorest ideas to conduct warfare in the history of our species.
THE Olympic Games, a sporting extravaganza, hosted every four years represents the pinnacle of athletic excellence. Unlike many other sporting events that offer financial incentives for athletes to compete in them, the Olympic Games offer the chance to perform on a global stage against other extraordinary talents, and if possible, a priceless page in the history books. However, the lack of a direct cash payment for success does not mean that athletes return home without some form of financial reward, for the only people that watch sporting events as large as the Olympic Games more than sports enthusiasts are the companies that endorse the superstar athletes. When the curtain closes on the most televised sporting event hosted by Beijing this year, it spells the start of cashing in on lucrative endorsement deals for the athletes as they sign some of the biggest cheques in sport and financial history. The endorsement industry, chiefly concerned with the advertising of a company’s product or brand at sports events, is currently estimated to be in excess of U$5 billion and seems to show no sign of slowing down, despite the credit-crunch that has adversely affected every other industry thus far. This is perhaps because every time a sports star achieves an extraordinary feat, the company endorsing him or her records an exponential increase in share prices and revenues. And with the Olympic Games churning out champions every day, athletic apparel manufacturers such as Reebok, Nike and Adidas; banks and credit houses like Visa, MasterCard and American Express
or motoring giants like MercedesBenz and Audi are all too eager to snatch up every inch of available advertising space on athletes who have podium finishes. The motto of athletes, that ‘chances make champions’ has taken on a more financial alteration as investors realise that at a global event such as the Olympic Games, champions make chances, and that the right champion, means money in the bank. Olympic gold medallists such as Michael Phelps are set to climb into the U$30-40 million a year endorsement bracket, as companies shower them with cash rewards to keep them adequately supplied with training facilities and technology not available on the mainstream consumer market. The signing of bigger cheques is done to keep athletes under contract and as many marketing experts will reveal, happy. Michael Lynch, Head of Global Sponsorship Management at Visa, reveals that Michael Phelps, sponsored by the credit card giant, could be paid as much as U$5 million a year by Visa after his recent gold sweep in Beijing. ‘It’s because he represents success’, says Lynch, ‘and because he did the impossible, any brand associated with him will be perceived as having helped him achieve his goals’. Usain Bolt, the fastest man on the planet sped not only to a new 100m track record but also to a lucrative Puma deal, making him the hottest property on the market, his image and portrait bound to appear on products unrelated to sport quicker than his world record. The endorsement industry is however, not new to spending big
when it comes to sports stars. Treated like royalty, stars such as David Beckham and Tiger Woods, the two most lucratively endorsed players, can rake in U$87 million a year from endorsing products ranging from clothing to coffee. ‘It is purely psychological. People see sports stara and instantly want whatever she is wearing, what he is driving or what they are drinking’, says Lynch. It is the psychological urge to emulate sports stars that drives the billion-dollar industry, willingly forking over large cash grants to stars, safely knowing that they will recuperate their investments tenfold. With an audience exceeding 1.3 billion people, the Olympic Games provide an advertising arena that only exists in the happiest dreams of marketing executives. Every aspect of sports stars’ apparel endorses a certain brand, Nike shoes, Adidas sweatbands, Reebok shorts or a MasterCard credit card. These brands are displayed to an extent that they attract more attention than the athlete’s national colours. The power of brands is best displayed at such events, where consumers subconsciously fall into the advertising trap. With the end of the Olympic Games however, the signing of multi-million dollar endorsement deals will not ease up. The soccer season, led by the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga heralds the chance to canvass brand loyalty, with teams such as Manchester United and Juventus, currently under U$400 million contract deals, continuing to push the costs and benefits of using sport as an advertising medium.
MANKIND has always found the need to kill each other in new and interesting ways. Below follows a list of some of the more bizarre displays of human inventiveness. #10. The ‘Sweat Bomb’– as if being stuck in a desert with bullets whizzing past one’s head didn’t cause one to sweat anyway. #9. The ‘Stargate’ Project – one of several US government funded projects that made use of would-be psychics in an attempt to divine enemy intelligence. Predictably, this project was shut down in 1995. #8. The ‘Flatulence Bomb’ – every soldier’s worst nightmare. #7. The ‘Dog Mine’ – During WWII, the Russian forces trained starving dogs to associate food with tanks. They then harnessed the dogs with explosives and released them on the battlefield. The problem, however, was that the dogs were trained using Russian tanks. Boom, boom. #6. ‘Mobility Denial System’– pretty much just cartoon-style goo that makes grown men fall on their bottoms. Apparently, more slippery than ice. #5. ‘Calmatives’ – the politically correct term for injecting copious amounts of opiates into the enemy in the hope of quelling their infidel bloodlust. #4. ‘Modular Disc-Wing Urban Cruise Munition’ – a robotic frisbee of death. Nice one. #3. Cyborg ‘Spy Moths’ – this one is rather twisted…a chip is implanted in the moths during their infancy which later allows the adult insect to be remotely ‘flown’. This super-spy can then send back live video feeds of enemy territory. #2. ‘Project X-Ray’ – combustible devices would be attached to bats which would then be released in their thousands over Japanese
sion into Africa and other emerging markets. Its budding merger with India’s Reliance Communications recently fell through due to ‘certain legal and regulatory issues…’, however, the interest shown in it by international entities only further highlights the solid underlying value of the company. Looking at Vodacom, it would appear that the company leaves
them. Efficacy in communication, however, seems to be the insurmountable obstacle laid in the path by the statute. The Companies Act attempts to protect investors by ensuring that communication with potential public investors is done only via the company prospectus. This is done in order to waylay any biased advertising by the company and rather promote a fair view of all the risks and benefits associated with the investment. However, with regard to BEE deals, it would appear that it disadvantages the targeted average black candidate as all the complex investment banking jargon contained in the prospectus hampers them from fully understanding the core fundamentals of the business in question; and hence the consequences of their investment. Without effective communication, there cannot be complete understanding. If participants in BEE transactions do not understand the terms of their purchase, or the bargaining power – or lack thereof – that their shares afford them, how can we truly imply that they are empowered? Whether or not Yebo Yethu is a good deal is relative to investors’ analysis and their appetite for risk. The question is whether in these cash-strapped times, potential investors can really afford to purchase a claim in this telecommunications giant (the minimum amount of shares that can be purchased is a R2,500 bundle of shares) when most are struggling to put food on the table.
NO, that is not the question; but it is the flavour of the week amongst South Africa’s biggest companies. Transformation has been the buzzword of the decade and a favourite amongst government officials as a way of eradicating the social and economic injustices brought about by the legacy of the past. It would appear that the private sector is slowly, but surely, heeding the calls by government to empower previously disadvantaged South Africans. This is proven by the recent announcement by Vodacom, where they undertook to empower qualifying black South Africans through their ZAR7.5 billion Yebo Yethu broad-based BEE deal. The shares in Yebo Yethu will be bought at a 10% discount and will comprise of a total of 14,4 million shares – which translates into an effective holding of 6.25% in Vodacom Limited. The Vodacom deal comes in the wake of broadbased BEE deals from rival MTN, as well as the SASOL Inzalo deal – reportedly four times oversubscribed. Comparing them in terms of investment prospects, a holding in a defensive stock such as SASOL should prove fruitful for most participants. The advantage of the import price parity system, which SASOL employs and enjoys, as well as their monopoly status in South Africa, ensures favourable future returns for shareholders. MTN investors are enjoying the stock’s success – apparent in its long-term capital appreciation due to MTN’s aggressive expan-
Image courtesy of : www.netcontactsng.com
To BEE or not to BEE
much to be desired in comparison. The recurring fighting between the main shareholders, Vodafone and Telkom, coupled with their lack of sustainable growth prospects outside South Africa as well as their status as an unlisted company, puts any potential shareholder in a precarious position. Looking at BEE transactions as a whole, their efficacy as a form of transformation is questionable. Most company press releases regarding their BEE initiatives highlight their commitment to ensuring sustainable ownership for all black South Africans; they highlight the efficacy of their product and their long-term prospects – most participants have to wait a minimum of 10 years before the shares are owned and tradable by
Yebo Yethu offer closes on 11 September 2008
Image courtesy of : www.u.arizona.edu
cities. In the quiet darkness, the bats could glide down onto the roofs of the traditional wood and paper houses. As dawn broke, the devices would be detonated and entire cities set ablaze. This project was, however, shut down as the bats wouldn’t be ready in time. The alternative – the atomic bomb. #1. The ‘Gay Bomb’ – The King (or Queen?) of the lot. The bomb would, hypothetically, cover the enemy in an intoxicating aphrodisiac and turn them, quite literally, gay. This would cause the soldiers to become ‘irresistibly attracted to one another” and, well, lead to a new definition of the term ‘fox-hole’. Hopefully this collection of travesties was entertaining. But now take a moment to reflect on what could have been done with all that time and money had we as humans not been so concerned with killing each other off.
Simple - Much less complicated, far more effective.
Thomson on : The Prius Karl ‘Call me Jennifer’ Thomson A FEW days ago, I happened to be driving down Main Road on one of my late night food runs to the local petrol station. While driving, I saw a Toyota Prius, the first mass-produced car to have both an electric and combustion motor powering its bulbous body along. Behind the wheel was a person with ‘that look’ on their face. That self-satisfied ‘I drive a Prius’ look. Im sorry, but anyone who drives a Toyota Prius sprouting how good it is for the enviroment deserves not one, not five, but seventeen kicks in the face. Yes, I am no doubt the antichrist for saying the halo car of climate change is a farce. Anybody who has any interest in cars knows to always do some background research before committing to buying anything from anyone. Now, the primary reason for buying a Prius is not its dashing good looks or ferocious power. No, it gets good economy by having an electric motor that operates it at low speeds. Hardly the most exciting thing to gloat about to your friends at a braai now is it? Anyway, a low fuel economy means a low carbon emissions figure. Carbon emissions is how much filthy carbon comes out your exhaust pipe from driving. With the EU calling the dogs of war on car manufacturers to be more clean with their cars, the Prius was the golden boy when it first came out for it being ahead of
the demands by being greener. Lets assume person X buys a brand new Prius for that very reason, its green and wont result in the genocide of penguins and limas. It has a small carbon footprint, compared to a Land Rover. Or does it? Yes it has great city economy, but if we take the process a few steps back we come across some startling infomation. The nickel used in the batteries is mined from Ontario Canada where the pollution is so bad the plant is nicknamed ‘The Superstack’ and NASA conducts tests there as the area is similar to that of Mars. This nickel is then sent to Europe to be refined, then sent to China where its turned into a form of ‘Nickel foam.’ This is then sent to Japan where all the other bits and pieces of crap have come from around the world so that they can assemble the car. It is then shipped back out worldwide to all the respective markets. While everyone is raving about its fuel economy, no one realises how much fuel is burnt just to put the thing together. Every step of the process is laden with container ships burning up thousands upon thousands of litres of fuel to create a car that saves you about 2-3 litres per tank. Am I the only person who sees a problem with this? Well, obviously not, but surely the consumers who buy it should stop smelling their own flatulence and see the wood for the trees. Ignore the PR speak, and find out for yourself.
Clubbing seals Rob Scher ANY guy reading this is surely familiar with the phrase ‘bat’. For those unlikely few who have never experienced or come across this term it refers to the demeaning action taken by a girl after your attempts to ‘proposition’ her. Now ‘bat’ can range from a kind smile and turn of the shoulder, to the heel of a stiletto and a right hook from pony-tailed bouncers, depending, of course, on the degree of ‘proposition’. If this is a description of your regular night out, perhaps it’s time to start rethinking your strategy. So you’ve just broken the ice with a casual, ‘Oh sorry was that your foot?’ and you have her attention. Now comes the crucial part of the spading attempt. ‘Hi. I’m Shamus,’ you suavely stutter. ‘Oh, hi. I’m Jane,’ replies the cute and slightly drunk blonde at the bar. Conversation awkwardly continues for a bit and then the question most commonly heard by any university student comes up: ‘So what do you study?’ Now Shamus’s almost rhetorical response would
be ‘B.Com Accounting’, probably marking the fourth B.Com accountant drunken Jane has met that night. Around this time she suddenly has to go to the bathroom. Damn, bat again for poor Shamus. But there appears to be a slightly more drunk girl further down the bar, and now it’s his chance to try a different approach. As conversation reaches that familiar point he instead replies, ‘Oh, I’m actually studying criminology.’ Now this is something drunker-girl has not heard before. ‘Wow, what’s that?’ He replies, ‘Well, you know CSI – that’s pretty much what I do.’ And in an instant Shamus has turned from regular accountant into Horatio – without the cheesy one-liners, trade mark aviators and background music from The Who. This is sure to work magic in dimly-lit clubs and if you get bored of using that line other great ones include ‘dolphin trainer’ or ‘the guy who invented Facebook’.
The VARSITY Humour page is a vehicle for expression. The views expressed in the Humour section are not necessarily those of the advertisers or staff of VARSITY newspaper, or the University of Cape Town. And so, before anybody complains, the article about the SRC is meant to be taken in jest. Now that I have been democraticaly elected, I will turn my back on my sinful ways, and endeavour to lead the students of this fine university as best I can. And I definitely will not build a statue of myself and exclude people I don’t like. Well probably not. Maybe not. Actually, yes I will. At least I’m being honest.
Volume 67 Number 10
The People have spoken Anton Taylor bathes Himself in power ON Sunday morning, the almighty smell of victory hung around Jammie steps, and as the glorious rising son shone through majestic silver clouds, the SRC election results revealed that I, Anton Taylor, had been elected Supreme & Extreme Heavenly Leader of the University of Cape Town. Strictly speaking, I did actually come second, but only by 48 votes, and when you consider that we’re dealing with about 3,000 votes, and that I beat off third place by over 500, I think calling a tied first place is acceptable. Now that I am in power, I intend to address and adjust issues such as exclusions, student services, funding, and transformation. This is my dream for our university: • Exclusions: It is no secret that many students are unhappy with UCT’s high exclusion rate. In addressing this, I intend to take over exclusions, providing a more lenient stance on the academic side of things. Instead, students will be excluded or included on the basis of how they please me. Girls who fail to provide me with satisfactory pleasuring can pack their bags, as can male students who make eye contact with me. It also goes without saying that this whole ‘freedom of speech’ nonsense will once and for all be removed from UCT. Dissent is clearly not party to a fuctioning society, and I will not have my kingdom ruined by whinging liberal pansies. If you have any complaints, you will be able to address them to the Department of Gender Studies. (Note: There will be no Department of Gender Studies) • Student Services: From hence forth, all students wanting to remain at UCT will refer to me as ‘Lord Pimpi Dog’. I will wear a silk cape and platinum crown, and have a diamond encrusted scepter. There will be a red carpet spread down Jammie Steps, which is exclusively for my use. I will employ the use of ex-SAS bodyguards, complete with hyenas on chains and machetes. There will also be a jester with a scroll and
Welcome to Hell, bitches- I don’t know which is worse; the fact that people voted for me, or that I paid R150 to rent out the robe and crown just for the picture. PS: Note how hairy I am. It’s because I have lots of testosterone. PPS: Yes, I do work out. purple tights who will announce my entry before I arrive at the various venues on campus. I will drive around campus in a golf cart (painted blue and white of course), conducting on-campus inspections of important sites such as the UCT pub, rugby field, and women’s swimming pool. • Funding: In order to finance and facilitate change, we need to increase the money coming into UCT. Therefore, all chemical engineering students will have to put their efforts into the maintenance and improvement of a massive tik factory which will be installed in the journals section of the library. All botany students will be redirected to the cultivation of a large field of poppy plants, which will be then processed into heroine. First-year marketing students will be deployed to sell these drugs to school children, as well as the special-needs kids from Varsity College. • Transformation: The UCT campus is in urgent need of a transformation. In light of this, I intend to install framed portraits of myself above all building entrances, as well as a massive gold-plated statue of me on Rugby Road, standing on Cecil John Rhodes’s head, gently reaching towards the heavens. Coincidentally, and on a completely unrelated note, the Art Campus will have no budget for 2009. Thursday meridian period will feature to-the-death cage
fights, and Hunt the Grunt will be confirmed as an official UCT sport. Savage pigeon massacres will be passionately encouraged. I also intend to replace the water in the pond on Jammie plaza with cane spirits. But Really… It’s become clear to me that there are some people out there who hate me. And that’s fine. In fact, that’s great. It’s your democratic right, and more importantly, all these complaints and general hate vibes make me seem much more dangerous and exciting than I really am. But I do have one request, directed towards the courageous legends, who while nobody was watching, pulled down literally all my posters, and defaced them with penises and swearwords and so on. I would really like it if you would go and sit in a dark room, by yourself, and take some time to think. Think about life. Think about what kind of terrible, twisted world it is which you live in that allows a tactless, offensive, moustachesporting, vest-wearing, bastard like myself to basically win the SRC. Sit, and think, and feel this evil universe which so completely disregards your opinions closing in on you. Think about that, and then look at the photo. That dickhead with the crown is who the people voted for. God help you.
The business end
15 De Villiers under fire
FOR many a UCT student, the final weeks of term herald a busy time when all of your course conveners decide that it would be best for you to have all your tests right after each other. For those students lucky enough to be involved in internal league sports however, it’s time to put the game face on as this is where things start to get tough. Internal League rugby was always going to step up a level after Steinhoff stepped into varsity rugby by sponsoring both the Varsity Cup and university koshuis competitions. This year saw a very organised and hotly-contested league thus far. The semi-finals are just around the corner and it is the old firm who contest them once again along with a surprise dark horse. After a strong campaign, eighttime champions, the Tornadoes (Nadoes) were the first side to make it into the semi-finals. With only one loss to their name all season, they finished top of their group and downed a strong Panthers’ side 10-0 in the quarters showing that they are the side to beat. The old boys from Rondebosch will take on the Barbarians (Baa Baa’s) in what should be a cracker of a game. Baa Baa’s finished second in their group to meet a strong
Ubumbo side in the quarters who they downed 6-0. These two sides have met last year in the Quarter final with Nadoes taking the honours 10-6 in a very close affair and in the 2006 final where Nadoes crossed the line in the last movement to record a one point victory. With so much history between them, there is no doubt that both sides will want to up their game. The other semi final will include Nadoe slayers, the Purple Cobra’s, going up against the dark horse of the year, the EBE Spanners. The engineering boys were never tipped to make it far going on past results, however, they have proved all their critcs wrong after defeating the Wildboys in their quarter final match to earn a place in the semis. Cobras, however, will be very keen to down the minnows. This being only their third year in the competition, they are desperate to win it after losing out to the Baa Baa’s in the semi finals of their first year and then to Nadoes in the finals last year. After their victory over the Nadoes two weeks ago, this does not seem an impossible task. The semi-finals will be contested on 17 September on UCT’s ‘Green Mile’. If the standard of rugby thus far has been any indication spectators should be treated to a fine display of running rugby and all sides going all out to win
Pieter de Villiers will no doubt be wondering where it all went wrong this week as he takes stock of what has happened since the Boks historic win in Dunedin. From the strongest position of any team in the competition the boys in green and gold have slipped to certain wooden spooners. Not the type of competition the country hoped for and expected after the World Cup victory last year. South Africa were made to look distinctly ordinary over the weekend as Australia recorded its first victory in South Africa for eight years. The Boks were dismal in all areas of the game except for flashes of individual brilliance and they never really challenged the Australians for the win. If one were to compare their performance to the norm under Jake White’s tenure, they would most certainly be found wanting. White’s team was characterised by a strong lineout, a set scrum and a loose trio that competed effectively on the ground. His game plan was structured and whilst it didn’t always result in flashy rugby and heaps of tries, it was this approach that won the Boks the World Cup . The Boks under de Villiers, however, were made to look frail in the line-out and ineffective at the break-down. The final turn-
over’s conceded was 17 for the Boks as opposed to eight from the Wallabies, disturbing statistics from any viewpoint. Furthermore, there seems to be no clear gameplan and structure in place to deal with the likes of Matt Giteau, Lote Tuquiri and Stirling Mortlock. Whilst much was made by de Villiers of the Australians supposed lack of kicking ability and that we would dominate them there, we were actually kicked out of the game.
‘SA were made to look distinctly ordinary as Australia recorded its first victory in SA in eight years’ It is perhaps this lack of knowledge of the opposition that is most disturbing of all that we have seen. There is no doubt that de Villiers has given some very good players a chance and unearthed some fresh talent, but the coaching staff definitely need to ask themselves if restructuring and re-organising a World Cup winning unit that wasn’t broken in the first place is
really the correct decision. His chop and change system of selection has been damaging to the form of many players and the chance of them building up any continuity. His substitutions often seem erratic and ill planned such as the substitution of Schalk Burger against the All Blacks and he makes them en masse as if he can’t decide who the game breaker will be and so he’ll just shove the entire bench on. The problem is that going back to Whites combinations would damage his already struggling credibility with the South African rugby public as, whilst it may be true or not, de Villiers is giving off the impression of a man drowning in the job. Whilst it may appear that I am overly critical of de Villiers so early in the job, I do not mean to be. It is simply that if he carries on the way things are going, it could be extremely damaging to South African rugby. South Africans have always played a more structured game of rugby than other Southern Hemisphere teams and it has worked to our advantage, moving away from a working system just seems like folly. I would like to see the players playing flashy rugby as much as the next person, but how about a little more structure to work from first.
Photos courtesy of totallycrap.com
WHEN the time finally arrives for the Olympic Games to begin, it’s always an exciting time for the world. However, for some, the 2008 Olympics have brought not excitement, but accusations and animosity. South Africa is amongst those countries left with a bitter taste in their mouth. The greatest scandal to hit the Beijing camp regards the ages of some of China’s young gymnasts. Olympic law states that gymnasts must be over the age of 16 in order to compete; however, it has been alleged that three of the Chinese competitors are in fact only 14 years old. Only a year ago, a Chinese newspaper reported that gymnast, He Kexin was a mere 13 years old. While her passport ‘confirms’ that she is old enough to compete, there are many who don’t believe that these young girls are above the obligatory age. Team USA was naturally the first to complain, as it was none other than China who beat them to the top of the podium on 13 August during the women’s team final. Once American gymnastics coach and now controversial NBC commentator, Bela Karolyi, has lashed out on the subject, stating, ‘What kind of a slap in the face is
this? They are 12, 14 years old, max. And they line them up for the world…and have the government back them.’ Gymnastics is not the only area plagued by scandal. Gold-medal-winning shooter, Abhinav Bindra, believed that his rifle was tampered with prior to competing in the men’s 10m Air Rifle final. On the home front, the South African teams have performed dismally. People are calling it ‘SA’s Olympic Shames’, as event after event leaves our athletes watching from the sidelines as others hoist the medals. Some blame the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc). Others have cited a lack of funding and corporate sponsorship as the reason. Previous sponsors, such as Mercedes-Benz, SAA and Pick ‘n Pay have decided to support the Paralympians instead, stating that this team is a safer bet to back. According to Professor Tim Noakes of the Sports Science Institute, ‘Olympic sport is so badly managed in our country that there’s very little return on investment,’ thereby scaring away potential patrons. While we may have clinched a silver, it certainly doesn’t look as though we will be bringing back the gold any time soon. Photos courtesy of totallycrap.com
MICHAEL Phelps has become the most decorated Olympian in the history of the Games, following a simply stunning set of performances which saw him collect eight gold medals in as many races. These successes, coupled with his triumphs in Athens in 2004, lift his overall tally to 14 gold medals – the most by any single athlete in Olympic history. Phelps has simply been an unstoppable force throughout these Games. He broke an astonishing seven World Records and an Olympic record en route to this unprecedented achievement. The 23-year-old American now also holds the record for the most gold medals at a single Games, eclipsing Mark Spitz’s seven in Munich in 1972. A quiet and understated character, Phelps refuses to be drawn into any bold statements concerning the significance of his accomplishment. He has, however, reiterated his desire to compete in London in 2012, and this, more than anything, suggests his dominance of the sport is set to continue. This has been a supreme performance from an athlete who has combined phenomenal physical ability and talent with an unwavering determination to win. The extent of what he has achieved is difficult to critically asses given its immediacy. Undoubtedly, it was the standout performance of these Games, and looking at it simply from the perspective of medals, Phelps has no peer. Many will now deem him the finest swimmer of all time. Indeed, many learned commentators have pointed to his versatility in the pool and his flawless technique as evidence of his superiority over both Spitz and Thorpe. A trickier question is whether Phelps has become the greatest Olympian of all time. This depends on what would categorise an athlete as the greatest. Plainly, a dominance of the athlete’s discipline would be a factor. Another would be the length of time the athlete in question was able to monopolise the sport. Some people feel that the greatest Olympian would have had to trigger some sort of revolution and change the public’s perception of the sport forever. Others feel that the person would have had to be seen to fully embrace the traditional spirit of the Olympic Games. All of these are reasonable considerations and none of them irreparably damage the case of Michael Phelps. There have, however, been many other remarkable performances throughout the history of the Games. Carl Lewis, an American track and field athlete who won nine gold medals, is a possible contender. He won medals at four consecutive Games and is recognised as playing an important role in assisting track and field athletes in their attempt to be acknowledged as professionals. Athletes such as Paavo Nurmi and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, were also tremendous Olympians and easily merit consideration. There have unquestionably been many more outstanding feats completed during the rich history of the Games, and everyone will cling to their personal favourite,
Photo courtesy of swimcity.com
Grey areas and Phenomenal Phelps gold medals
while advancing their heroes’ positions. What is for certain is that this debate will never be unequivocally solved and will continue to rage back and forth on the sports pages for days to come. Returning to the particular achievements of Michael Phelps, from my perspective, his antics over the past fortnight have elevated him to a position on par with all-time greats such as Lewis and Nurmi. For him to surpass these iconic men and assume the title of the greatest Olympian ever, he must continue
until London in 2012 and produce another performance which can reasonably be compared to the one he has just concluded in Beijing. Surely then, this man will have no obvious peer. Given his capacity for hard work and his seemingly insatiable desire for success, it would be a brave or foolish man who bet against him doing just that, and once and for all establishing himself firmly as the greatest Olympian ever.