Page 1

Woolsack fire page 2

Letters to the Editor

page 5

Death of the newspaper page 8

Fleur du Cap Awards page 12

17 March 2009 · Volume 68, Number 3 · 021 650 3543 · Photos by Ghia Erica du Plessis


The gutted rooms at Woolsack res were a sorry UKIJVCHVGTCſTG spread through a number of rooms QPVJGVQRƀQQT of Court 3. No students or staff were injured. The ECWUGQHVJGſTG is the focus of an ongoing investigation. See page 2 for the full story.

Row over Admissions Policy BRIAN MULLER IN A JOINT statement issued last week by the South African Students Congress (SASCO) and the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), ViceChancellor Dr. Max Price, “a cabal of academic staff members”, Student Representative Council (SRC) President Chris Ryall and Secretary-General Portia Gama have been accused of forming an “Admissions Review Task Team” with the explicit intent of removing race as a proxy for disadvantage and reinstating “proApartheid” admissions policies at the University. The SRC later released a response declaring that the allegations are unfounded, “inaccurate and full of lies” as they were instructed to join the task team

by the Senate, intended to bring the debate to the attention of the student body in April and that it is their “belief that race should not be discarded as a proxy for need.” In an interview with VARSITY, Aphiwe Bewana, SASCO’s Provincial Chairperson, indicated that the task team was created in November 2008 and as of yet nothing has been done to bring the debate to the entire campus. This was “not surprising” as by April data would already have been drafted for submission by the task team. Bewana said, “[he believes] race is still the best way of showing redress” as in accordance with the Higher Educational Act 101 of 1997 (4.37) which states that all institutions should make “appropriate measures for the redress of past inequalities.” Contrary to Bewana’s view that April is too late, Carl Herman,

Admissions Director, believes that “the task team will be enabling the entire UCT community to have a say in the 2011 policy.” Herman’s statement further enforced that the University’s admissions policies are annually approved by Council after “submission to and debate within various structures, including Faculty boards and Senate.” In response to an inquiry from VARSITY, Chris Ryall settled any confusion by reporting that even though the task team had been created in November “the actual task team was only set up two weeks ago when it met for the first time.” Ryall continued to say that it is the SRC’s job to “ensure that [the UCT community’s] voices are heard.” Moonira Khan, Executive Director of Student Affairs, reiterated Herman’s words by asserting that “this particular issue [of

using race or another indicator as a proxy for disadvantage in the South African context as it relates to the admissions policy] has been addressed on several occasions over the past few years” but assures us that “the admission policy of UCT uses race as an indicator and this is still the case.” Most recently the topic of race as a proxy for need fell part of Head of Philosophy, Professor David Benater’s inaugural lecture on Justice, Diversity and Affirmative Action in April 2007 which led to Benatar and the then Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Martin Hall, openly debating the role of race in admissions policies. In response to VARSITY Benatar discloses that he is “not on the task team undertaking the review” but that he has been invited by Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor

Varsity, the official student newspaper since 1942, is committed to the principles of equality and democracy

Crain Soudien, to contribute to the debate but has declined the invitation and rather sent a copy of his academic paper Justice, Diversity and Racial Preference: A Critique Of Affirmative Action which has been recently published in the South African Law Journal. In a statement issued to VARSITY on Friday 13 March, the Vice-Chancellor assured everyone that “UCT is committed to finding ways of moving towards non-racialism. It is within this context that the Senate’s Admissions Policy Review Task Team has been constituted. They will review the merits of race as a proxy and of introducing additional indicators of disadvantage. The task team is not working from the premise that UCT should get rid of race as a proxy.”




Burning up the ‘Sack


• ensuring the building was evacuated • communicating with affected students directly • communicating with their parents to advise them of the fire and of the support given to their son or daughter • a debriefing session was arranged and clinical counseling was offered for take up as needed • students were rehoused to other residences on campus and were given meal vouchers to obtain meals at any of the dining halls • transport to and from Woolsack to facilitate settling in at the new residence • the wardening team availed themselves to support the students and to assist with any other related matters.

the fire was caused by an iron that was left on in one of the subwardens rooms, Critien says that “the sub-wardens’ rooms were not directly affected by the fire.” He goes on to say that “there is no indication at this stage that there was any malice, but the forensic investigation would establish this.” An eyewitness, who prefers to remain anonymous, told VARSITY that the sub-warden lost everything in his room, including his thesis. VARSITY could not reach the sub-warden for comment. When asked who is responsible for replacing the personal property, such as textbooks and computers that students lost in the fire, Critien replied that “insurance covers the buildings, but not personal property.” The eyewitness, who tried to assist in the putting out the fire, said that “the fire extinguishers they used in the rooms seemed empty,” and another backfired on one of the users. He says “the fire alarms [in Woolsack] go off sporadically, due to people burning their food in the residence, and there is a general mistrust of the [detectors] in UCT residences.” Critien says that to ensure students are aware of the dangers of fires, residences hold health and safety awareness campaigns throughout the year.

In response to the rumour that 2JQVQUD[)JKC'TKECFW2NGUUKU

AN INVESTIGATION is being conducted into the cause of the fire in Woolsack Residence on Friday, 6 March. Officials are yet to determine the cause of the blaze, which started in Court 3 and affected 17 rooms. No injuries were sustained, as nobody was in the immediate vicinity. The fire occurred at 14:05. The fire alarm went off and CPS at Bernage House was alerted. They immediately contacted both the Fire Department and SAPS. CPS officers were dispatched to Woolsack. Both the Fire Department and the SAPS were on the scene at 14:15, according to John Critien of UCT Property and Services. A student who witnessed the fire describes it as “a lot of small flames spreading quickly.” The whole corridor was full of smoke he says, and people were “unable to see or breathe.” In the room they first went to, he said the fire “had burnt its way up the curtain and was beginning to burn the roof.” Three rooms were severely burned, causing the roofs to cave in. The other 14 rooms were affected to varying degrees by smoke damage, Critien stated. Further damage was caused as a result of the water used to extinguish the fire, which “seeped down into lower levels and entered into the distribution board”. Power to the residence was shut down till

midnight. Woolsack Warden, John Akokpari, told VARSITY, “the damage of the fire is more extensive than feared, and reoccupation would take longer than originally thought.” He went on to say that students affected by the fire “have been temporarily placed in firsttier accommodation, sharing a room.” Moonira Khan of the Department of Student Affairs told VARSITY that a contingency plan was immediately put into place which addressed the following:

Student Assembly


Richard Sagan speaks out THE MEDIA attention around SAX Appeal culminated in Mnet’s Carte Blanche covering it in their line-up on Sunday, 15 March. The author of the article, Richard Sagan, a UCT student declined to speak to the media, preferring to issue an official response. Excerpts from Sagan’s statement were shown during the show. VARSITY obtained a full copy of the response, which is published below: I have found it particularly interesting to watch the frenzy over the article that I penned. It has further been interesting to read the many criticisms and praises that have been made towards the article, some of the former being fair and reasonable while some of the latter being unbalanced and misguided. For the record, it must be known that the article was never intended to be intellectually rigorous or consistent. While I am an atheist, I do not actually hold the aggressive anti-religious views that were expressed in certain aspects of the article, as was stated in the magazine’s disclaimer, although ignored. Unlike Dawkins or other militant atheists, I do not believe that religion is an overall force for evil. As long as it remains within its bounds, away from science, amongst others, religion does do a lot of good for the needy and

provides meaning to many lives, even if this is a hollow one. Extreme religions do not fly planes into buildings nor shoot abortion doctors, extreme ideas do -and atheists, and others, must recognise the difference. I will teach my children about, inter alia, Jesus and Muhammad, they were great men without a doubt -but not divine. I will admit that I did deliberately sensationalise. I certainly could have toned it down, but had I; I doubt I would have been given this platform. I have been disappointed though, at some of the misinterpretations the article has received, significantly beyond its intention. I did not call Jesus a tool, I suggested that he might feel like one. Had I died for the sins of humanity, only to see the world today, I would be extremely disappointed. I also attempted to highlight the fact that atheists are in fact happy people, and who are capable of having a God-independent moral code, as well as dispel the many the bad arguments that are put forward to prove God’s existence. I somehow feel though, that discussion around the article has evolved to more serious underlying issues -freedom of expression and whether our green grocer should enforce it, whether religion is removed from public ridicule,

whether citizens have the right not to be offended and the atheist theist interface. The latter being one that should be more conciliatory and advancing of open, honest discussion, from both sides, and something that I regrettable have done a disservice. However, these issues are better left for debate amongst people who are more erudite than some pimply, scrawny undergraduate student. I do not apologise for the article, I don’t believe that I should. I will admit that some points were expressed tactlessly and detracted from any points I attempted to make. I do apologise to Vice Chancellor Dr Max Price, Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo and Mr Jonathan Ackerman, as well as to their inboxes, for greatly increasing their workload over the last few weeks. Please note that none of this was their, or their respective institutions doing. In closing though, I must further confess my surprise that an article that took me 15 minutes to write, for a satirical and nonsensical student magazine, has generated such publicity and strong, sometimes obscene, opinions. Richard Sagan

ZERENE HADDAD THE first sitting of Student Assembly 2009 was held last Wednesday amid a charged atmosphere. The main issues raised were the three vacancies within the SRC and the Task Team established to review UCT’s admissions policy. Quorum was achieved with forty-eight out of the sixty-two members in attendance. Members and observers of Student Assembly felt that it was necessary to address the reasons why the SRC was opting to remain as 12 rather than attempting to coopt new members. The SRC currently comprises a DASO majority of seven, three independents and two SASCO members. If the SRC were to co-opt, the candidates would be those who are next on the list from last year’s elections, namely SASCO members. Debate around this issue was heated, with observers from SASCO offering the greatest objection to the SRC’s decision not to co-opt. Accusations were leveled at the SRC of undermining the vacant portfolios by dividing up the responsibilities among the remaining members. Shingi Masanzu, former head of the Law Students Council and current Deputy Chair of the SRC constitutional committee, clearly explained to Student Assembly the procedure that the SRC are obliged to follow. Constitutionally, the SRC has the right to decide on their own whether to co-opt new members or to remain as 12 members for the duration of the year. Once they have made their decision, it falls to the Student Assembly to either accept the SRC’s decision or to force them to co-opt. After most members had been allowed to raise concerns and the SRC had been afforded the opportunity to respond to questions and criticisms, it went to a vote. The result was twenty-eight votes for the SRC to remain as it is, and nineteen for it to co-opt. One member abstained from voting.

The second issue that sparked debate was that of the UCT Task Team which has been established by Senate to review UCT’s admissions policy for 2011. The role of the two SRC members- Chris Ryall and Portia Gama- on the Task Team is to ensure that the team consults the student body before making any changes to the policy. However, some members felt that Ryall and Gama were withholding information from Student Assembly. A document was produced by a SASCO observer to substantiate the claim that Gama was “lying” when she reported that “no work” had yet been started by the Task Team. The document was alleged to be the minutes of a recent meeting held by the Task Team, at which the Vice-Chancellor was present, among others. The document was passed down to Yusuf Mowlana, the Chairperson of Student Assembly for him to look at. He confirmed that it appeared to be a legitimate document. Gama and Ryall insisted that they had not misrepresented their activities on the Task Team, and they vehemently denied having adopted the aforementioned minutes. They ensured Student Assembly that they would take the issue up with the Task Team. Only half the agenda was covered in a sitting that lasted from 6pm until 10.30pm. It was decided upon by Mowlana that an extraordinary meeting would be held on 25 March 2009 to address the adoption of the SRC organisational report. The organisational report, presented by Portia Gama, Secretary-General of the SRC, was not adopted by Student Assembly, as there were members who felt that there were discrepancies within the report that needed to be examined more closely and accounted for. Due to the late hour, the appointment of a task team to amend the standing rules of Student Assembly and the presentation of the Social Responsiveness Policy by Jon Hodgson, President of SHAWCO, were postponed.





Clever cat wins some cash

Response to boycott KERRYN WARREN

SHOW ME THE MONEY- From left to right: Paul Hanratty (MD of Old Mutual), Jonathan Argent, a UCT postgraduate student, Trevor Manuel and Tom Boardman (CEO of Nedbank). STAFF WRITER A UCT postgraduate student is this year’s winner of the 36th Nedbank & Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition. Jonathan Argent won prize money of R150 000. The winners in the undergraduate and postgraduate categories were announced by the Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, from a total of 20 finalists at a Cape Town gala function hosted last night by co-sponsors, Old Mutual and Nedbank. Tom Boardman, Nedbank Chief Executive congratulated the

winners and praised the finalists who he believes are on the path of becoming the new leaders in the country’s economy. He said that the competition aims to make young South Africans excited about economics and about the future of our Country. “Through the Nedbank and Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition we are able to make a tangible difference in the lives of deserving young students. The winners deserve congratulations for their efforts, we will be following their progress closely,” he said. Paul Hanratty, Managing

Director of Old Mutual South Africa, said at the function that Old Mutual is proud to be a part of an initiative to promote socioeconomic thinking and to motivate students in economics and finance to apply their minds to constructive solutions. Students wishing to participate in this year’s competition, can contact the Budget Speech Competition administration offices on 021-858-1739, or send an email to or visit the website www.budgetspeechcompetition.

Zille on the campus campaign trail CALVIN SCHOLTZ “THE ANC is in decline,” current mayor of Cape Town and Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille told UCT students. She spoke to a packed Beattie Lecture Theatre on Thursday 5 March. Zille explains that this is because the ANC no longer has a founding philosophy, and has become a party of competing factions fighting over wealth and resources. She suggests that the breaking away and the founding of South Africa’s newest political party, COPE is merely an externalization of the internal power struggle taking place within the ANC. “There is a buzz, an excitement,” Zille said, “about the upcoming elections on 22 April that I have not felt since 1994.” However, she was quick to stress that while COPE is an important and useful tool in South Africa’s current political climate, the DA is the only real alternative to the

ANC, and the only truly non-racial political party in South Africa. Furthermore the DA, unlike the ANC, still has service delivery at the top of its agenda, reported Zille. Crime in Cape Town’s CBD has been reduced by 90% over the past four years and the number of houses provided to disadvantaged families has been doubled. She also believes that the DA will be able to win most of the cities in South Africa come 2014. Zille went on to offer the alternative: in other words, what would happen if the ANC were to remain in power. She cited a book, The Criminalization of States in Africa, as authority for her proposition that South Africa is headed the same way as Zimbabwe, the way of a “failed state”, which results when liberation movements take over to govern. There are four stages to look out for, she warned: first, there is a centralization of power; this is followed by cronyism, or cadredeployment, a term used repeat-

edly by Zille when referring to the ANC and its style of governance; then comes corruption; and finally, criminalization and the progression into a full-blown failed state is complete. This, she claims, is what is happening even now to South Africa, and the evidence of it is everywhere: one needs only to go into the rural areas and see the situation on the ground to know that it is true. “The poor are getting a bad deal under the ANC’s rule,” Zille said, and cited several examples from her own experiences to illustrate her point in this regard. She concluded by saying that each voter will have a simple choice to make on Election Day: that is, whether they want a government that rules through the Constitution and the law, or one that rules according to the power that it wields: die regstaat of die magstaat. The DA, Zille promises, is the party to vote for if you prefer the former to the latter.

Sticky situation temporarily resolved SEAMUS DUGGAN FOLLOWING student complaints about the unavailability of 2009 stickers for student cards during registration, UCT has now allowed students to obtain the stickers from CPS Access Control. The complaint was raised over the fact that during registration faculties refused to give out 2009 stickers - as has been the practice in previous years- to students who have 2008 cards. This was done due to an increase in the number of stickers being passed on to nonregistered students. The stickers are not proof of registration and are open to misuse. In an attempt to halt this misuse, the University suspended the issuing of stickers and as of this year, no longer prints the year of issue on the student card. Dylan

van Vuuren, the SRC Academic Chair, who brought this issue to the attention of UCT Management, told VARSITY, “for the interim period, where some students still have the old cards, they will continue issuing the stickers until the transition is complete to make it easier for everyone.” Earlier this semester, a UCT student approached van Vuuren, stating that because they did not have the 2009 sticker on their student card they were “denied student tickets to Coke Fest. I have been denied getting the student discount at Musica, and I have been denied the student discount at Greyhound. I have lost a fair amount of money for things I should have had a right to.” Students were told that the solution was to keep their proof of registration letter on them at all

times. The letter is available to every registered student on their People Soft account. VARSITY spoke to Keith Benjamin from the Deputy Registrar’s Office who explained that “The stickers do not serve a purpose for accessing services on campus - the card itself is active as soon as a student is enrolled for courses. The card gives appropriate access to computer labs, the library, etc. Consequently faculty offices would no longer issue these stickers during registration.” Work is in progress by ICTS to develop a URL from which it could be established whether a student, member of staff or third party is associated with UCT. Benjamin assured VARSITY that the site “should be available for use by next week.” The URL will also be accessible by cell phone.

THERE have been “mixed results and reactions” from students to the SRC-led boycott of Atlas Campus Bookstore which started on 3 March. The boycott was in reaction to the lack of second-hand or affordable textbooks and the University’s willingness to sign a contract that gives Atlas sole right to sell these books on campus. Portia Gama, the SRC secretary-general, told VARSITY that “A lot of students have signed the petition. Hundreds of students are affected. People tell me, “‘I just cannot afford those books’”. She further added however, that the students who are not affected by the high prices still buy the books. “These, unfortunately, are the students that can make the dent. It is important to show solidarity on this issue and help those that cannot afford to buy these books.” She suggests that perhaps these students were unaware of the boycott or did not understand what was going on. “They either do not care or are unaware of how their staying away could affect others.” “People want second-hand books,” Gama explains. “Student enterprises like Pimp My Book could provide this. The University should not make contracts that disadvantage student enterprises.” Although there are students who can afford to shop at Atlas, they have also encountered prob-

lems. “They never have the books there,” says William Adams. “You either have to order it or find it somewhere else. They told me they get books for the bigger courses because those books sell the best and they can get a bigger profit.” Yet, VARSITY found that for larger courses, such as MAM1000W, the calculus textbook by Stewart was sold out and more had to be ordered, although the price was cheaper than at Van Schaik’s. “There are no price tags,” complains Bridgette Mnyulwa. “But when you get to the front and have to pay, it’s so expensive.” Gama emphasises the amount of awareness that has been raised, “More people are coming forward and perhaps hopefully there will be resolution to withdraw the clause. We will only call [the boycott] off when our demands have been met.” The SRC has entered into negotiations with other bookstores, offering them advertisement and putting up posters informing students where they are. JUTA gives 10% discounts for all UCT students. See page 4 for Atlas’ Official response to VARSITY




Human dignity must prevail over profit THE HARDSHIPS of workers on the UCT campus are often invisible to students. For this reason, it is significant that their working conditions were written about in the last edition of VARSITY (Students and workers join forces, 3 March 2009). The issues around outsourcing and workers’ rights are complex and cannot be done justice in a short letter. However, I will try to clarify some points. Prior to outsourcing, the minimum wage for workers was set at R1200.00 per month. Many workers earned more than double this figure though, and even those who earned the minimum had access to benefits such as subsidised UCT entrance fees for their children and medical aid. After outsourcing, the minimum wage remained at R1200.00 but without benefits.

In 2005, after immense student pressure, UCT agreed to a “Code of Conduct” for outsourced workers. This included a clause about wages, which required workers to be paid according to the Supplemented Living Level, a minimum wage figure set by a UNISA bureau. However, this figure is still short of a dignified wage, and workers continue to struggle. Wages at the moment vary between R2500.00 and R3300.00 after deductions, but few workers understand how this figure is calculated, and it is rarely explained to them. Furthermore, many of the terms of the Code are not being adhered to, and intimidation is a common feature of working life. We, the UCT Student Worker Alliance, are a group of students trying to create a university that actualises its mission statement

of “actively promot[ing] social justice and equity” and that it “achieves social transformation.” We believe that an improved wage of R4500.00, re-employment and entitlement to benefits, humane working conditions and job security are some of the conditions required to achieve this goal. We are launching a petition calling for these demands on 18 March, which we will then deliver to UCT management. We urge all students to sign the petition to help create a university community that is equal for all! Email UCTSWA - UCT Student Workers Alliance

Atlas responds to student boycott I STARTED selling discounted academic textbooks outside UCT’s lecture theatre LS2A in July 1995. The reasoning behind it was simple – books were expensive, service from the traditional academic bookstores in Rondebosch needed drastic improvement and I thought I could do a much better job at it. So, like any entrepreneur, I took a chance. At the time, the on-campus university textbook market was serviced by the UCT Bookshop that was run by the university and had primarily two textbook suppliers, Technical Books and Juta. I gained market share with my textbook discounting tactics, informed service to students and aggressive marketing. I was notified that I was operating illegally on campus— something that I was completely unaware of—as I was in contravention of the exclusive oncampus distribution rights that the UCT Bookshop had. I respected this agreement, and through a series of events in 2005 set up Atlas Books in Rondebosch. In May 2007, the ailing BrainBooks chain approached me to purchase their BrainBooks UCT branch. After nearly 12 years of retailing textbooks in the Rondebosch area, this purchase gave me the legal right to sell textbooks and other studentrelated merchandise to the UCT

community via our on-campus academic store. Since then, BrainBooks (UCT) has been renamed to the UCT Campus Store. It has been renovated and transformed into a one-stop-store for the UCT community’s needs. It is a place that I am proud of. My aim is to turn it into a world-class on-campus experience. There is still some work to be done! At the moment we stock new and used textbooks (Yes, that is correct! We offer a 0% commission service on the sale of used textbooks – please enquire at our store’s new textbook counter for more details), stationery, UCT clothing & gifts and many other products. The UCT Campus Store’s primary aim is to constantly improve our levels of service to our customers, ensure that we maintain professionalism in everything that we do and ensure that we offer to the market reasonably priced products that cater to daily needs. Concurrently, we ensure that we maintain a well-stocked store, informed and helpful staff and a constant upgrading of our infrastructure. Last but not least, I am a proud UCT alumnus and have taken to heart the honour that UCT has bestowed on my company to offer these on-campus services. Many companies and individuals over the past 15 years have tried to do what the UCT

Campus Store has achieved in two. The Rondebosch academic retailing mine field is littered with unsuccessful and unsustainable ventures to service the UCT community, namely the UCT Bookshop, GAL Books, Student Enterprises, Technical Books, Juta (Rondebosch) and BrainBooks (UCT). Atlas Books and UCT Campus Store is committing to offering a world-class service to the UCT Community. I have paid a price for the right and privilege to serve the UCT community. I have invested time and money to be able to walk into the UCT Campus Store and feel proud of what we have created. In summary, nothing comes without sacrifice. With a lot of hard and smart work, we will eventually reach our destiny, respect agreements and honour your word. If you lose everything ensure that you keep your reputation intact. With this opportunity I would like to thank all our customers since we first opened our doors in May 2007. 2009 has been a great year so far, and we look forward to unveiling many new products and services during the course of this year. Spiros Mavraganis, owner/ founder of Atlas books.

What gives Christians the right? HAVING followed the fierce debate in VARSITY surrounding those innocuous little cartoons in the SAX Appeal, I feel obliged to comment. Firstly, as an Atheist, I am deeply offended by the “blasphemous” letter under the heading of Christian Retorts in the last issue of VARSITY. Not only do I find this letter insulting to my personal beliefs—labeling me as “sexually immoral” and “drunken” merely because of my lack of belief in God—but I also feel that it lacks substance. It is the rantings of an overzealous, misguided and indoctrinated lunatic. As students in a tertiary institution, we are taught to question, argue and debate, instead of just accepting what we are told by our parents or lecturers. Imagine how this country would have ended up if that weren’t the case. This ideology is guided by logic and evidence, not by wild claims and leaps of faith. The “beauty and order of nature” are not evidence of intelligent design, and neither are DVDs made by some crackpot historian in the vein of Graham Hancock. Religion, among other things,

provides a doctrine, moral code, or method of living life—essentially a choice. There are plenty of other choices out there; people can believe in Buddha, in HariKrishna or even in a Hobgoblin called Bert who lives in the forest behind the tennis courts and gives spiritual guidance and advice after one too many at the tennis club. Christians will often argue the fact that their religion is not a social construct but actually based on so-called evidence. The Bible? The Bible is no more believable then the Da Vinci code. Where is the proof? Where is the scientific evidence? Oh, wait, Christians will invariably negate all that “evidence stuff” by calling on faith. Faith is the magic, getout-of-jail-free card that allows evidence to be thrown out the window or, at the least, severely distort it (look at the intelligent design hypothesis). Believe me, this is a dangerous bunch; look at the response to those harmless cartoons, the furore over how offensive they were. What if they had been renamed “Ten common retorts to Satanists?” Would there have been such an outcry? This

is because, if enough people believe in something, it invariably gains power, and that power is transferred from generation to generation. It’s like a festering disease, indoctrinating innocent children who grow up and stop you on Jammie steps to ask, “Have you ever heard of Jesus” (If this happens look them in the eye and growl in your deepest voice, “I ate my dog for Satan”). In conclusion, I feel that, as an Atheist, it is my right to submit this letter. Is my offense at the ridiculous and insulting letter published in the last VARSITY any less credible? Do I not have a right to express my indignation at the views aired in this letter? If not, then a hierarchy exists that privileges some forms of knowledge over others. I challenge VARSITY to publish this letter, not because I wish to stir controversy—that has already occurred—but because I wish to stand up for logic, rationale thought and reason—the pillars on which our fine institution are based. Dr. Stanley Magafta

Editorial Accusations of bias and spreading propaganda, unhappiness at the lack of respect shown to student leaders at Student Assembly, a defence of ZIMSOC’s apolitical stance, Atheist retorts to Christian retorts to Atheist retorts (this is getting ridiculous now), Atlas’s response to the boycott, an unhappy author and political feuding. These are some of the issues that students decided to raise with the paper through letters to the editor in the past two weeks. If you cast your eyes over the two pages currently open, you will see that this editorial is nestled snuggly in the middle of all of these weird and wonderful letters. Never in my time at the newspaper have we received so many letters, it was truly overwhelming and a shame that we could not print all of the submissions. Who says UCT students are apathetic? The healthy turnout at last week’s sitting of Student Assembly provides further evidence that members of the UCT community are taking an interest in the events afflicting their campus. Although, I must admit, the opinion voiced by one or two observers at the assembly did disappoint me. For instance, one observer had the audacity to stand up and tell those present that the “students” had voted for seven DASO members and five SASCO members to represent them on the SRC. After the withdrawal of three of the members, the observer said that the SRC owed it to the “student body” to restore this allocation by replacing the three members that had left with the next three members on the voting list, who just happened to be from the same party. There is a severe logical flaw in this argument, but I will let you work that out for yourselves. Let me state this as clearly as I can, when I placed my tick next to the names on last years SRC election ballot, I did not vote for five SASCO members, and I most certainly did not vote for seven DASO members. I voted for a group of individuals that I thought would best represent my interests. I find it deeply offensive that individuals from either of these organisations seek to reduce my vote to their narrow party objectives. I couldn’t care less about the party percentages that make up the SRC. As a student, all I care about is that rational, intelligent and proactive people are looking after my interests. What does this have to do with party politics? Why is it that when we vote for our SRC, this vote is apparently being counted as a vote for one party or the other? Don’t get me wrong, the youth organisations at UCT are overflowing with talented students who can make a difference and as organisations they have a key role to play in activism, but this role should not extend to the SRC and other student governance structures. We don’t need SASCO or DASO to represent us on the SRC; we need committed students who are not limited by any party ideology. Enjoy the edition, Seamus

newsgathering next newsgathering Thursday meridian, 19 March 2009 in LS2C

2009 collective editor Seamus Duggan deputy editor Zerene Haddad chief sub editor Maciek Dubla sub editors Cayleigh Bright, Jackie Zvoutete, Jonas Kane, Louise Ferreira dtp editor Wei Mao dtp assistant Tiisetso Mngomezulu operations manager Tina Swigelaar images Simone Millward photographers Ghia Erica du Plessis news opinions Tatenda Goredema features Remy Ngamije & Tara Leverton sport Daniel Freund finance & advertising team Megan Lyons & Desmond Manyatshe marketing & brand manager John-Ross Hugo IT managers Irfaan M Imamdin staff writers Olivia Walton, Tonbara Ekiyor, Kerryn Warren, Brian Muller, Moss Matheolane, Calvin Scholtz, Sarah Jackson, Rob Scher, Che Mauritz, Tiffany Mugo, Nyasha Kadandara, Kristen Duff, Simon Page external contributors Taruziwa Madangombe, Liam Kruger, Mathew Milne tel 021 650 3543 fax 021 650 2904 email website location 5th Floor, Steve Biko Student Union Building, Upper Campus advertising email Megan Lyons on or fax her 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 5pm on the Wednesday before publication. They should not exceed 350 words, and will not be published under a pseudonym, or anonymously.


Political mud-slinging Students call for respect IT’S THAT time again: elections are just around the corner and campaigning is in full swing. With less than two months to go before the big day, you would expect our wise and fearless leaders to be offering us at least the pretence of a sound and coherent manifesto promoting job creation, housing for all and, of course, world peace. In the past few months however, the usual agenda has been sidelined and, instead, has been replaced by the ultimate political sport: mud-slinging. In our democratic society, I should feel a sense of pride knowing that I am a part of the all important electorate: the body of people in whose hands the power lies. With current electioneering trends, however, I cannot help but feel forgotten. The emphasis is no longer on why we should vote for a certain political party, but, rather, why we shouldn’t vote for any other. Recent political rhetoric also implies that parties intrinsically have nothing good to offer, and instead rely on the faults of others to elevate their own positions. The proverbial mud slingers of parliament appear to spend large amounts of time and energy on formulating carefully crafted,

inflammatory and personal insults. From “garden boys” and “garden gnomes” to “snakes and cockroaches” and “racist, colonialist imperialists,” it is not unreasonable to wonder whether any thought is given to constructing vital policies on poverty alleviation, the current economic crisis and HIV/AIDS to name a few. The South African public, who is subjected to these offensive and immature remarks, would be entirely justified in asking the question, “Where did all the intelligent politicians go?” South African politics seems to have taken a bizarre turn somewhere down the line and is now on a slippery slope travelling rapidly towards the land of harlequins and jesters. Contrary to popular belief, name-calling is not impressive and in no way addresses the pressing issues of our society. Perhaps if these politicians washed the mud off their hands and focused more on structures to improve the lives of the South African people, our political, social and economic environments would vastly improve. Marché Arends

From the author THANK you for reviewing my novel Pop-splat (3 March 2009), even though the opinion expressed was extremely unfavourable. I accept that the reviewer has the right to rip a book to pieces and denounce it as an offensive load of dreck – that’s her opinion. However, to merely say that it’s rubbish tells the reader only that – she thinks it’s rubbish, and you don’t need to know what the story’s about. I feel this approach is unfair to both the author and the reader, for it denies the possibility of another opinion. (I have in fact had several favourable reviews which can be

read on At the very least the reader should have been told that Pop-splat is about a student – an ex-Bishops boy who lives in Constantia (not Johannesburg) --and that most of the action takes place in and around Cape Town. I am pretty sure there are more than a few UCT students who would enjoy reading about my over-thetop, revolting anti-hero – if only they knew about him. Ian Martin

VARSITY propaganda? I AM writing this letter in response to a number of opinions pieces published on pages 6 and 7 of the last edition of VARSITY (3 March 2009). One would expect that in any election year, opinion articles regarding political parties would be balanced and that each political party would receive equal coverage through critical analysis of its policies and internal affairs. I was left disappointed after reading in the last edition of VARSITY that the opinions section contained three articles, all highly critical of the ANC and its alliance partners, without any mention of any other parties whatsoever. While I respect the rights of individuals to voice their opinions, it is a failure on behalf of the editorial team to ensure that what they publish adheres to the principles of “equality and democracy,” which is what they purport to uphold at the bottom of the front and back page of each edition. The articles themselves were largely the product of personal prejudices against the ruling party. Tiffany Mugo, unable to separate political analysis from prejudice, deems it appropriate to insult the ‘masses’ who support the ANC by declaring them “unwashed.” She goes on to say that “(the unwashed masses) follow suit and shut up” implying that the many ANC

supporters who live in poverty as a direct result of a cruel system are not capable of intellectual debate and that such important things are best left to the elite. Tatenda Goredema’s ‘Reasonable Doubt’ column jumps on the bandwagon of fashionable political analysis which has largely taken the form of propaganda. He attempts to cast doubt over an election process which was completely free and fair. I had personally overseen the election of the Branch Executive Committee (BEC) and voting was conducted by show of hands and was therefore transparent. No objections were received from any members; yet, Mr Goredema wishes to assume the title of self-proclaimed IEC Official by making unproven statements of the elections being undemocratic in some way. To make matters worse, in interviewing the newly elected Chairperson of the ANCYL at UCT, Mr Goredema had allegedly told him that he could “end this thing before it even began.” This statement will no doubt go unreported in the news and be denied at the end of this letter, but I want students to be aware that the purveyors of opinions in this newspaper are not free from embarrassingly severe bias. Yusuf Mowlana


I HAD the pleasure of attending the first Student Assembly sitting of 2009 last week. For those of you that are not familiar with this gathering, it is a close resemblance of a parliament – made up of the Student Representative Council and representatives of Sub-councils and Development Agencies. It is here where our leaders try to account for the work that they have or in some cases have not done. It was rather disappointing to note the factionalism that was evident throughout the meeting. A method that I’d like to refer to as ‘politics of frustration’ was used throughout the meeting to demoralise fellow students. A gathering that is supposed to serve as an example of unity and maturity to the rest of the institution ought not to proceed in the way in which it did last week. From my observation, personal agendas and sabotage in the guise of politics were forwarded at the expense of the larger student body. I think we owe it to the current officers to respect the work which they have done and offer our support for a promising 2009. At the end of the day, frustrating our SRC will only affect us the students. This is not to say that the meeting was nonsensical, only that there is

need for us to advise each other in order to groom a strong governing body for the sake of UCT and the nation at large; after all it is here where leaders learn. Disagreements are very mature; they simply have to be aired in a mature way. Strong points such as the relevance in revisiting the Admissions Policy were raised; however, I feel that some points were not put across in the best possible manner. Even the vagabond on the street knows that if he shouts at you while asking for loose change he will not achieve his goal. Similarly, if you unfairly or inadequately present your concerns you risk being misunderstood or not being taken seriously at all! Though it is imperative to hold our SRC accountable to every single detail, it is also wise to advise them in a respectful manner. One observer, before “retrieving” his words, suggested that there was a lack of respect for the SRC President. Another blatantly referred to the Secretary General as a liar. Instead of awaiting collaborative responses, speakers are forced to take a defensive stance during the assembly. It was reminiscent of the Idols television series were each participant stages a performance and awaits harsh criticism if they are

lucky enough to make it to the end of their piece! Debate is encouraged, but there is etiquette that we must use to address any issues, especially at a gathering of well-learned academics. Whistling at a woman as she goes onto the podium is not one of them! Last week painted out a notso-rosy picture of UCT politics. Perhaps you may not be happy about the composition of the Student Representative Council or the militancy of opposition political organisations, but it is mine and your responsibility, no matter who you are, to foster an environment that enables the SRC to govern in the best possible way. Let us put aside yesteryear politics which sought to frustrate the lives and work of ‘’the competition’’ and together hold our SRC accountable in the light of unity and progressiveness.

SASCO’s display of ineptitude, underhandedness and vindictiveness surrounding the vacancies on the SRC and the admissions policy review task team is astonishing. The first edition of VARSITY this year carried the front-page article “New SRC starts year without two members.” It was apparent that two members of SASCO elected to the SRC had vacated their positions after failing to return to UCT due to academic reasons. A third SASCO member subsequently received the same fate. These events raise serious questions about the nomination process within SASCO leading up to the SRC elections. One would expect any political organisation nominating a candidate to ensure he or she can occupy the position. It’s not too much to expect nominated candidates to be able to fulfil their positions. The remaining SRC has been functioning efficiently despite the fact that the body now consists of only 12 members. Having been informed that the SRC is mandated by its constitution to choose whether vacancies that arise during a term in of-

fice would be filled, the matter was taken to the student assembly (SA); despite vehement opposition from SASCO members present, the SA voted overwhelmingly to allow the SRC to continue as a 12 member body. The agenda included the issue of the admissions policy review task team set up by the Senate. This is the same task team that SASCO labelled “Pro-Apartheid” on its posters, which depicted the SRC, Chris Ryall and the Vice Chancellor as preventing transformation from taking place at UCT. This is false. A task team is reviewing the admissions policy at UCT to investigate whether or not race is the ONLY proxy that should be used to determine need. Such an investigation is completely warranted and justified. How can we exclude measures such as educational or socio-economic backgrounds and replace them with the simplistic criterion of race alone? When SASCO realised they had disappointed their supporters and that the SRC seemed to be running better than ever with limited SASCO

presence, the organisation decided something had to be done. An old tactic came into play. I believe the mantra that the leaders in these organisations are taught from a young age goes something like: “If all else fails simply frame your opponents as counter-revolutionary, Pro-Apartheid racists!” SASCO has shown that they have mastered these tactics through various actions, with one SASCO observer at the SA even saying “If you don’t want to listen to us we will render this institution ungovernable!” It is imperative that the student body send out a clear message to SASCO and its allies that the students of this university are informed enough to make opinions based on facts. We will not be intimidated by rhetoric, nor will we support people that believe in power through entitlement. The SRC, along with all students, will look back on 2009 as the turning point towards unparalleled quality of the student experience and all it encompasses here at UCT.

Tinashe Makwande Tinashe Makwande hosts ‘The Agenda’; a current affairs and politics programme every Friday at 11am on UCT Radio 104.5fm, he writes in his personal capacity.

Ryno Geldenhuys Chairperson: DASO-UCT

Another take on ZIMSOC THE ARTICLE in question is “Whose job is it anyway?” where the author highlights the perceived weaknesses within the Zimbabwe Society (ZIMSOC). Firstly, “apolitical,” in the context of ZIMSOC, means ZIMSOC does not want to be directly involved in politics. Of course, that in itself is a contradiction on their part, as they are politically involved by collecting clothes, money, medicines and other forms of aid for the less fortunate. These humanitarian acts symbolise a failed government. Secondly, who can blame them? If you believe half the things you read and hear about Zanu PF, then that should serve as an indication: rant and rave all you want about them, but they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. In life you need to choose your battles very wisely. What would they achieve by organising marches and protests against the very hand that purports to feed them? Year in and year out ZIMSOC committee members are accused of being nonchalant as they are “children of Zanu PF officials.” None have ever been pointed out as the son or daughter of any particular politician or prominent civil servant. Yes, we

can all make wild assumptions about the source of their parent’s income, but you’ll find your assumptions are unsubstantiated. Thirdly, before you attempt to understand ZIMSOC’s lack of interest in criticising the powers that be, kindly page through the many books of history that will inform you of what could be your destiny if you decide to take such a path. Zimbabweans live in fear. Here is an illustration: where in the world have you seen a country that conducts an election, results for the presidential candidates are withheld for 5 weeks, a rerun is declared, violence erupts against the opposition candidate, his supporters disappear, a further 7 months ensues before a unity government is formed and through all this not a single riot from members of the public to disturb the political order. Members of ZIMSOC are no different from the masses who are in Zimbabwe now. Why would one want to find themselves on a possible waiting list for that unenviable phone call “we’re watching you?” Live and let live. That’s the reality of Zimbabwe. I would rather criticise ZIMSOC for their lack of variety in

terms of activities beyond parties, and at times their questionably-designed t-shirts. But then again, one would argue that is what Zimbabwe is all about: in the midst of problems, the alcohol flows. There are remarkable differences between upholding the obligations of the Zimbabwean constitution and that of South Africa. In South Africa, freedom of speech is upheld and even taken over-board at times. In Zimbabwe, however, yes, there is freedom of speech, but there may not be freedom AFTER your speech. That right has been compromised by many laws that have been introduced since 2000, and that is the context one must have in mind. Besides, what mandate does ZIMSOC have anyway to take people to the streets? They are a student society representing the wishes of Zimbabwean students on campus. The bigger picture is that the students they represent are just not interested due to that ‘fear factor’. I do agree, we should use our hard-earned rights to prevent hunger and suffering in Zimbabwe. But let’s be practical in doing so. Tongai Zvenyu




Global Economic Recession


HUMANS respond strangely to crises. Unless they are happening right in front us, we seem to be slow to react. Case in point: global warming. Yes, it is happening. Yes, there is scientific evidence that it is happening. No, it is not just mad tree huggers trying to destabilise society. The global economic recession seems to be having a similar response. The Mail and Guardian Online (SA is not in a recession, says Manuel, Feb 25, 2009) quoted Trevor Manuel as saying that there is “an argument that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck, it probably is a recession, but in technical terms, we’re not in a recession.” So, what looks like a recession is not actually a recession, at least not technically. That’s rather nice. But there is some disagreement. Economist Mike Schussler, also quoted in the M&G (Economist: SA is in a recession, Feb 25 2009), stated that “we have been hit by the global situation and anyone who thinks we are not in a recession is wrong. We are in one now.” That’s not so nice. According to Statistics South Africa, our economy has shrunk for the first time since 1998. Manuel expressed this in his 2009 Budget Speech, stating that South Africa’s growth this year is predicted to be 1.2 percent, “the lowest since 1998.” Sectors such as agriculture are growing, but our motor industry has applied for a R100 billion bailout package. Manuel’s duck that is technically not a duck is looking extremely duckish. But he seems to be fairly optimistic about it, particularly about the positive effects the World Cup will have on our economy. So, are we or aren’t we? Depressing as it seems, I have to agree with Schussler. And we are feeling the effects already, whether we like to admit it or not. According to the Guardian UK,

Photo courtesy of

Olivia Walton looks at the extent of the recession

TOUGH TIMES - at a time when top economies around the world begin to tumble, no one is exempt from the effects of the recession unemployment in the US has hit 8.1%, the worst rate since 1983 (Guardian UK online, 6 March 2009). Bailouts for the UK’s banks have taken up one-fifth of the country’s GDP in Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling’s attempt to restore the foundering banking system (Guardian UK online, 6 March 2009). I am not an economist and have never taken an economics course, but I can’t see how a recession that has hit two of the world’s most influential economies can fail to hit us. And as with all such occurrences, it is the people at the bottom of the pile who are hit first. Those of us who can afford to have paid off home loans, cars, credit cards and debts, we are buffering ourselves for an economic downturn which will likely deepen. But what about those who can’t afford to do that? People who are already struggling with bad debt, bank loans, mortgages and other monthly payments are going to feel the impact of a dipping economy more sharply than anyone else. And our first instinct is to protect ourselves. So what happens to charities, to

foreign aid, to donations? They are already shrinking, and some might dry up entirely, in which case life for those supported by foreign or local aid will not get better. Perhaps most severely hit will be the environment. Governments struggling with rising unemployment and shrinking economies, as well as the social unrest these breed, are unlikely to pay much attention to conservation. And still some people react with absolute indifference. The recession seems to them to be something distant and unrelated to South Africa, something for the powers of the world – or just Barack Obama – to deal with. It’s as if some weird survival instinct kicks in: deal with the here and the now, ignore what doesn’t affect you directly and just get on with things. On the other hand, maybe I’m just being ridiculously pessimistic and there really isn’t so much to worry about at all. Maybe this thing that appears to be walking like a duck and quacking like a duck is really just a parrot. Or maybe not.

IT SEEMS that, even 15 years after the birth of the New South Africa, some people still do not understand what freedom and democracy really mean. Last week I was shocked to read a publication called “Siyagobhoza” that had been handed out in some UCT residences. It claimed to be a “reliable” source of news and focused on the activities of the SRC. This publication was anything but reliable, and instead of focussing on the actual activities and policies of the SRC, it launched personal attacks on your SRC representatives. In an apparent attempt to score cheap political points, the authors undermined some core freedoms that we in South Africa are all entitled to under the Constitution. The freedom of political association and the right to dignity are freedoms that I believe go hand in hand with democracy. Democracy isn’t simply about participating in elections; it’s about building a caring, tolerant, free and prosperous society for all. This is the type of society that UCT students should want to be a part of. As such, I hope that we will never be subjected to a publication like Siyagobhoza again. However, we mustn’t dwell on the negative, because this year’s SRC is all about positive politics and positive actions. We are not here to engage in petty politics, but rather just want to get things done and make sure that your student experience is the best it possibly can be! Crime on and off campus has always been a problem. Sara (who is now also responsible for safety and security issues on the SRC) and Nevena have been working hard on a crime awareness campaign that the SRC will be launching in collaboration with CPS this week. We will be drawing up and distributing “crime hotspot” maps that will help UCT students avoid areas where crime is a problem. In addition, we will be encouraging students to carry pepper sprays on them at all times, particularly after dark. We are hoping to be able to sell pepper sprays on campus during the course of the week. We will also continue to have weekly briefings with CPS to ensure that crime prevention strategies are as effective as possible. Thankfully the fire that broke out in Woolsack residence two weeks ago did not leave any students injured. However, many students have been left without textbooks and other personal belongings. In response to this crisis, the SRC has launched a Restitution Initiative in an attempt to raise the funds and resources to replace, in particular, the textbooks that may have been lost in the fire. We will also be investigating the cause of the fire to make sure that such an incident does not happen again at UCT. I’m sure most of you will agree with me when I say that the class rep system at UCT needs to be improved. This year’s SRC Academic Chairperson, Dylan, has been hard at work in this regard. The class rep workshop which he ran on Saturday was the start of the improvement process. I would encourage all of you to get to know who your class reps are, and to take any concerns that you may have regarding your lecturers or your course work to them. By now most of you will be heading into your first round of tests and assignment deadlines. One of the benefits of taking the year off to serve on the SRC full-time is that I no longer have that pressure; however I still feel your pain. Remember that the first holiday of the year is just around the corner, so try to remain calm and enjoy the last few weeks of summer! Chris Ryall SRC President

Rights are sacred, ideas are not

THE UCT Atheist & Agnostic Society could not have chosen a better time to come into fruition. We have Errol Naidoo to thank for reason’s proliferation in UCT. Naidoo and his army - who claim to know the mind of an ineffable deity - raised a cloud of anger, hatred and vitriol, aimed at SAX Appeal and UCT because of a recent “offensive” article. It seems ironic that Naidoo positioned himself on the periphery to an Islamic response: Christians, he says, unlike Islamists, would not resort to violence. Strange, then, that Max Price reports that staff at UCT did, in fact, receive deaththreats. The AAS was not fond of the SAX Appeal article, but we certainly will defend the editors’ right to publish whatever they like. This is the basis for freedom of speech: I have the right to say and mock whatever I like (as long as there is no incitement to violence or squandering of liberty), and you have the same right to mock my view. We do not choose to hurt

or threaten each other. Reason dictates that on the strength of the idea alone, it is able to stand up to counter-arguments: It is a sign of weakness, not strength, when adherents to a particular idea or belief raise voices against counter-arguments, demanding we “respect” their idea on the basis of “feelings” alone. And if the religious are going to claim freedom of speech, which is underpinned by reciprocity, they should surely be aware of the offense to atheists. Imagine if nonbelievers used offence as a legitimate means of argument. After going through rehashed Atheistic arguments, Taryn Hodgon, in the last VARSITY, says: “[Atheists] continue in their blasphemy, sexual immorality and drunkenness.” She then, helpfully, informs us that we must abandon sin. That is very offensive to atheists. I know many atheists who don’t care about religion, aren’t “getting any” and hate alcohol. This generalisation is unhelpful since, by “immoral,” she means

“goes against her particular brand of Christianity.” Presumably, she eats pork or drinks wine - which, by Islam’s model, is immoral. But would this make her change her stance to make another group feel happy? HL Mencken correctly defined Puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” Such is the case here. Someone called Lugisani Nefale says “those loose Atheist believers” (which translates as “those loose non-believing believers” - an oxymoron) “are running wild on campus.” What on earth does this mean? Nefalalso says “Atheism is a form of faith.” Presumably this is meant to be an insult, but that means he is insulting himself twice: 1. “Faith,” used as an insult, shows he views it just as we do— namely as something silly. 2. He means those of us who do not believe in his God have a faith. Fine, but that means that his nonbelief in Tezcatlipoca, Quetzquoatl, and Thor are 3 faiths.

Photo courtesy of

Tauriq Moosa refutes Christian arguments against Atheists

But this is madness. If the very disbelief in faith is a faith, the dialogue stops. Instead, let it begin: let those religious societies explain to us

why their amazing deity cannot handle insults from a talking ape (it can’t be because he is sensitive, since in Deuteronomy he demands we kill a woman on her wedding night if she is not a virgin). The AAS will defend blasphemy—a human right—and those who speak against religion. That does not mean we disrespect people. Respecting people repudiates respecting their ideas, as my friend Johann Hari says, “I respect you too much as a humanbeing to respect your stupid ideas.” Ideas and people are not the same, and it is the religious failing to understand this that results in so much hatred. Let us sit openly, in a friendly manner, and discuss IDEAS critically and freely. We urge all societies to help us arrange forthcoming discussions that highlight key areas and emphasise why freedom of speech matters to everyone regardless of beliefs. Remember, humans have rights - NOT their ideas.



Leaders wanted, morals optional JAMES STENT THERE’S a piece in Bertrand Russel’s History of Western Philosophy where he discusses a synthesis regarding the moral relationship between the leaders of a state and its citizens. He puts it like this: “Politicians will behave better when they depend upon a virtuous population than when they depend one which is indifferent to moral considerations; they will also behave better in a community in which their crimes, if any, can be made widely known, than in one in which there is a strict censorship under their control.” It doesn’t take much thought to be able to acknowledge the truth of Russel’s statement. In sophisticated democracies, with a concerned populous and free press, there is an obvious trend for politicians to be held accountable for their misdemeanours. Nixon learned democracy’s harsh reality; every second week one hears of a British MP resigning over the most middling misconduct; and on a smaller scale, certain members of this institution’s SRC were taken to task last year over a number of irregularities. It is democracy’s wonderful vetting system that keeps those in charge from becoming too comfortable in their power. Similarly, in tyrannies and “Chinese Democracies” (thanks Axl Rose), politicians are more able to get away with corrupt dealings. There exists the other combination in which there is a freedom of press and democracy, but the majority of the citizenry is relatively unconcerned about the moral stature of their leaders. This is the situation in South Africa. It isn’t that South Africans don’t care who leads them; rather, it’s that they demand leadership qualities other than moral transparency. Take the man that the ANC

wants to lead the nation. While he hasn’t yet been convicted of any wrongdoing, a serious cloud of corruption hangs over him, which can only be resolved when due legal process have been completed. Anyone with an inkling of common sense must concede that he has at some point taken part in some form of unsavoury behaviour. And while it is not the South African people but the ANC that chooses who will lead their organisation, the massive shows of support across South Africa for Big Z should give us an indication that he is not a contained phenomenon. The new guy’s morality will be a secondary concern to those who vote for him. Perhaps we were spoilt by having a leader like Mandela so early on in our nation’s history; no-one in the conceivable future will live up to his all-round good-guy status. Those with sophisticated views on what a leader should be like will likely moan and mutter that the electorate was conned by propaganda, sing-alongs and sweet dance moves. But those won’t be the reasons that get Jacob into the hot seat. If JZ escapes the clutches of the courts, gets the ANC the majority share of parliament and is inducted as the fourth president of the Republic of South Africa, then it will be because the people wanted it so. He will be there because he, like Mandela, leads the party that led South Africa out of a vile regime only a decade and a bit ago. He will be there because the electorate feels that they can trust him to act on the issues that are the most crucial to them, like poverty alleviation, tunefulness and housing. And those that do care about moral quality in a leader will find a party that satisfies their needs; if enough people care, a viable opposition should emerge.

Reasonable Doubt


White politics of hope and change TATENDA GOREDEMA WHEN a political leader comes to campus, you don’t expect too great an attendance or hype, because let’s face it, apathy is a disease that has infected a large part of the student body at UCT. When Helen Zille came here two weeks ago, the Beattie lecture theatre was surprisingly packed to capacity. This is an impressive feat, and as I walked into the venue slightly late, I was amazed at the turn out. I immediately noted, however, that I was surrounded by mostly white faces. This is not a bad thing at all, considering that white people are perceived to be the most apathetic people in the electorate. But for a party that has been trying to promote itself as multiracial and multicultural and that has been trying to get rid of the “just a white party” tag, this was not a good start to proceedings. Chris Ryall, a member of DASO and President of the SRC, did the introductory remarks and spoke briefly about the DA showing capacity to lead on a national level before Helen took the podium. Once she got past the chanting and the language of platitude that is inherent in every politician in the world, the essence of the DA message became clear: the ANC is filled with cronyism and corruption, and in order to progress South Africans must vote DA.

The entire talk Helen gave seemed like déjà vu to me as it echoed what the DA has been talking about for the past few years, no matter their showing in the polls. She went on and on about corruption here and corruption there and even showed her academic skills by using a case study of the Durban public transport system, which was apparently afflicted by corruption recently. All the while she was talking, I wondered when I’d hear about what the people who voted for the DA would win, or, at the very least, a substantive discussion of DA policies. Every accusation against the ANC only further diminished the message Helen delivered and what the party was running for in 2009. Helen seemed in particular to enjoy using “cadre-deployment” and “cronyism” in her description of the ANC’s term of governance. While it is important to hold those in power accountable and ask pertinent questions with regards to taxpayer’s money and where it’s going, I think that, as a party trying to win an election, there should be more to your message than simply railing against the supposed or real abuses of the ruling party. The DA has been the official opposition for years and should by now have learnt that constantly attacking the ANC, especially when it’s needless, only serves to alienate black voters, which they desperately need if they

are to get anything substantive outside the Western Cape. There is a strong perception that the DA is just a white party representing white interests in this country. Building a campaign solely on the ANC’s perceived or real failures only serves to strengthen that belief in black communities. There is a reason why when COPE was established, the ANC took pleasure in branding it a black version of the DA. This is because, in most black circles, to be associated with the DA is tantamount to being sick with a terminal disease. In order to overcome this, the DA must drastically rethink its strategy. For, although the DA policy and manifesto look good on paper and the website is dazzling and the new logo, oddly resembling Obama’s, is pretty, no party has ever won anything in the world by merely achieving aesthetic beauty. In other words, policy promises must be backed by realistic policy implementation plans, and the DA must shift from being a party of comparisons to being a party that at least shows some realistic potential to lead the country. Thus. no matter how much Xhosa Helen speaks on the trail, no matter how many townships she visits and dances at, her message and campaign will fall on deaf ears as long as the DA continues to work and campaign as a party in opposition rather than a party ready to lead.

Are COPE and DA viable alternatives? LET’S start with two obvious statements: Neither the DA nor COPE (or a coalition of the two) is going to win the election this year. And if either of them does win, they’ll be employing the same sort of populist governance we see in the ANC today. Whether the parties are suitable to rule or not doesn’t matter. People seem to forget that we’re a young democracy. For the past decade we’ve been stagnating under what, for all accounts, may have been the rule of a singleparty state. Sometime down the line, we might see an incumbent COPE, but the DA as it is right now has far too much cultural and ideological baggage to be considered on a national level. What COPE represents is a chance for the enhancement of democracy in South Africa: a force to rival the monolithic ANC and hold it accountable for the false promises, nepotistic practices and arrogance that its been permitted to slide into for the past eight years. It used to be the case

African politics. More and more, we find the ANC characterised as Zulu, COPE as Xhosa, and the DA as “the white party,” to quote January’s SAX Appeal magazine. Of course, this suits the incumbent party just fine, as the Zulu demographic makes up a majority of the RSA, and “majority rules.” The intrinsic problem is that, while we can’t blame anyone for voting for a party that seems to have the interests of his or her ethnic or tribal group in mind, it’s nonetheless an inherently lazy choice. You needn’t look into the oh-so-dull policies of the candidates when your vote is a knee-jerk, uninformed, ethnically motivated decision. But of course, OPPOSITION? - These are the two parties tasked with challenging the democracy offers voters the chance to be intellectually indolent ANC juggernaut. The question remains, how viable are they? – and further, with the masses of uneducated lower classes in the that, outside of the Western Cape, Mbeki administration. a vote for anyone but the ANC What a new and more viable party RSA, we can expect hoards of was almost a waste of a vote. The represents is higher accountability uninformed votes come April. general assumption was that the across the board—especially with If the “Xhosa” stigma can’t be country’s ethnic majority—those the ANC. The risk now, though, is shaken off by COPE in the next of the Zulu tribes—would vote for falling into the trap of tribalism, few weeks, then we find ourselves the ANC, which would pretty much which COPE isn’t necessarily in a potentially delicate situation. If the ANC wins a total majority seal the deal. The lack of viable doing much to discourage. Tribalism is a major (60% or higher), they acquire the competition allowed complacency to set in, as we’ve seen in the less- issue in African politics, no less power to change the constitution; than-stellar eight years of the so in the “more advanced” South and the South African constitution, Photo courtesy of;


bless it, has this tricky clause that says the President can be taken to court for corruption charges. I think it’s fair to say that it’s in the country’s best interests to keep the constitution as it is. In many ways, COPE and the DA will be footnotes in the history of South Africa; however, at this moment, they’re absolutely vital for pulling votes away from the massive machine that is the ANC. A wider distribution – distillation – of power ensures and enforces democratic rule and would do much to prevent the kind of stagnation we’ve seen over the past decade. Democracy requires – nay, demands - that other voices be heard, lest South Africa crumble into a quasi-fascist one-party state, democratic only in name. The thing you have to consider is that democracy isn’t about the rule of the majority; it’s about equal representation of the people.




Focus: The publishing world


WHAT do you think when you see this header? Do you think it’s accurate, or just plain outlandish? I would posit that the answer to this rather daunting question lies somewhere between the two. To explain what I mean by this, I will paint you what will seem like a very detailed image, however, I should emphasise that it is only half of the whole picture if not less. Newspapers represent what, in the media industry, is often referred to as traditional media. This not only means that they are an old form of media but more specifically, they are a print medium. Broadcasting (radio and television) on the other hand only came into the picture in the early 1920s and 40s respectively, with the internet following in the late 20th century. Logically speaking, the death of something will usually be preceded by a threat or danger to that particular thing. In the case of newspapers, that threat is manifold. Two aspects of the threat are technology and the lack of content quality. This, of course, does not take away any importance from other threats such as politics, although politics, it must be noted, represents a threat to the freedom of media in general. Technology gave us the information revolution and that in turn gave us the Internet. In contemporary terms this technological phenomenon, or rather its use, has given rise to what we now call digital media. Nicholas Negroponte, who wrote ‘Being Digital’ way back in the Eighties, spoke about this very reality and many others that only summon up memories of Isaac Asimov’s’ science fiction novels. If we are what the Eighties thought of the future, you can only imagine

how scary we must have seemed. Back to the point, and to be blunt, no traditional media can exist in this day and age without dabbling in digital media. Apart from this being an echo of the words of Arie Rossouw of speaking at the annual Highway Africa Media Conference at Rhodes University in 2007, this is the view of many other media practitioners and academics. Note that Mr Rossouw was speaking on behalf of Media24, a subsidiary of Naspers, which owns about 60 percent of the print media (newspapers and magazines) in South Africa. Conveniently, one of the topics at the abovementioned conference was ‘Digital media: Its effect on traditional media and how to deal with it’. Seeing some of South Africa’s leading newspaper journalists and editors grappling with this issue was somewhat entertaining yet tearjerking, for it seemed at times that they had no idea what they were saying. They did, however, talk about how good and relevant content places the news media in better stead with its audience. At the same conference, Sunday Times columnist and author, Fred Khumalo, had a debate about whether or not bloggers can be referred to as journalists. Needless to say, Fred admitted to posting a few blogs himself, describing the experience as “interesting and strange.” So why is technology a threat? With the growth of the internet we have seen all kinds of information being shared and distributed. In some instances this information has been flying too close to the wings of the news media, with instances of ordinary people being able to capture a newsworthy event and distribute it themselves prior to either print or broadcast news

Image courstesy of

The death of newspapers

STACKS AND STACKS - Where do you get your news from? media getting a whiff of it. The London Bombings are one such event. It was an ordinary citizen with a video camera in hand who captured the whole incident and subsequently uploaded it to the internet. One of the reactions to the economic crisis from first world countries has been the commitment to boost the use of technology and

broadband. This tells you just how important this phenomenon is. Resistance is futile, convergence is the only path. It is worth noting that many of South Africa’s commercial newspapers have embraced the internet, although reluctantly, and now have their own online sites. This has in turn created a new breed of journalist and allowed the media to be an

interactive medium. So where does content or the lack thereof come in? Let’s just say bad journalism equals bad news for the news media. Think journalist, think content. Professor Guy Berger, in the Mail & Guardian of 7 March 2009, gave a scathing criticism of irresponsible journalism and the impact that it has on the news media as a whole. This brings to mind a model highly thought of in the newspaper industry, namely, Meyer’s Influence Model for Newspaper Industries. This model gives a simple, but effective flow chart of how newspapers can ensure that they stay relevant in the eyes of the very society that they claim to cater for. According to it, content quality leads to credibility, which in turn leads to societal influence and circulation, the existence of these two elements leading further to profitability which ultimately leads to better content quality through investment in the newsroom. I suppose as a positive amendment we can add the use of technology to the list. As I stated before, this is but an inkling of what makes up traditional media, its threats and assumed death. Newspapers are, however, not dead and I personally doubt that they ever will be. In some way or another they will live on, albeit in a manner not so traditional any more. They represent more than just a sentimental idea. It is without doubt that in developing nations, the use of newspapers is still crucial to an educationally developing people. Despite the doom and gloom reports, decreasing Audit Bureau of Circulations figures, there remains much optimism. Inevitably, dear reader, to get an answer to the questions above, you need only ask yourself why you are reading this article right now.


THE SHORT answer is “no”, it’s quite clearly not. You need look no further than a crowded train carriage on any day of the week to see that: many passengers choose to while away their commute to school or to work by reading – everything from Harry Potter to Paulo Coelho, from romance novels to biographies of historical figures such as Che Guevara. Even university students, who we all know have more things to read than anyone else, will take the time to delve into something that hasn’t been prescribed by their lecturers. Also, if we can equate book sales to books actually being read, then we have a very healthy reading public indeed. I know this because I work at a bookshop part-time. Despite people having to cut back on spending in all areas of their lives, we booksellers really expected books to be one of the first luxuries to get the chop. After all, book prices have risen phenomenally over the two years: for example, the latest John Grisham novel costs around R300, whereas it was only R150 not that long ago. The festive season, however, proved us wrong. Whatever else people were not spending their

hard-earned money on, books were still high on the list of priorities. One customer gave us her viewpoint: “If you’re going to get someone a present, a book’s the best choice, because a book is timeless.” Sales in our shop were only down 4% from 2007. This all begs the question: who’s doing all the book-buying and what are they buying? Well, ever since Harry Potter, the key target market for booksellers has been the teenage and young adult age-range: they’ve got little else to spend their money on, or they just nag their parents for the money, who are only too glad that they’re buying books and not Tik. And nothing has set the publishing world aflame of late more than Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga. The series, about a girl who falls in love with a vampire, which has sold millions of copies worldwide, and like J.K. Rowling before her, Meyer has also garnered a large adult audience with books that were originally written with teenagers in mind. Another big customer base for bookstores are book clubs: who meet once every fortnight to discuss the books they’ve read, usually ones recommended by Oprah (the modern fountain of all

womanly-wisdom), like Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and Eat Pray Love, the inspirational story of Elizabeth Gilbert. Another thing recently advocated by Oprah are E-books, which are basically books that you can buy in an electronic format and read off a device similar to a PDA or an iPod: the advantage is that you can store the texts of thousands of books on your “reader”. I don’t doubt that this is possible, technology being what it is. But the question is: would you really want to? Maybe I’m being naïve, but as much as I love technology, I don’t believe that anything will replace having a physical book in one’s hands for a good while. Staring at a computer screen for prolonged periods of time has already been shown to be detrimental to one’s optical health: imagine if you had to read your favourite novels off a screen, too. I’m relieved to be able to say that, for now at least, reading is not dead: in fact, it’s very much alive. Parents still read picture storybooks and fairy tales to their children; teenagers are reading books without being forced to do so; and most adults still prefer to get lost in a good novel than to COVER TO COVER - Despite the credit crunch, reading is still sit around watching sports or a flourishing. It is a fierce battle between hardcovers and electronic media, but books are still slugging it out with the best of them. movie on their cell phone.

Image courstesy of teachers and

Is reading a dying trend?



7KHORUGRIFKDRV%HQ:LQÀHOG VARSITY bravely interviewed the legendary “Lord of Chaos”, Ben Winfield, the pierced sculpting and line art student from Hiddingh Campus known for his bad boy antics and his Tri-Circle padlock earrings. Displayed in all his primal glory, we present Mr Winfield. VARSITY: So, let’s begin….Give us a little taste of Ben - something interesting or quirky. Ben: Well, when I was a wee lad I was attacked by a walrus. I even have the scars to prove it! V: And all the piercings…do they have significance? Do they hurt? But most importantly - do chicks dig them? B: Well it’s a long story. Let’s just say I woke up one morning and my mom had padlocked me to the bed. I won’t lie; the ladies go crazy for them. V: Hmm…so what exactly are you studying? B: BA Fine Art, majoring in Sculpture. V: And what does studying art entail? What makes an artist? B: Two words: Free snacks. But seriously, it isn’t as easy as it

When all else fails…buy art! MOSS MATHEOLANE

which they emit to criminals, daring them to try their luck. And trust me, they do. Did you know that the USA’s FBI and the famous Scotland Yard have an Art Theft Unit? That tells you something. In the world of international illicit trade, art crime comes in at an astounding number three trailing only drugs and illegal firearms. More shocking, at least for any proud curator, is the fact that out of those paintings that are stolen just over 80% disappear forever. Art criminals have to be the most uncomplicated and suavest criminals alive. The stealing of Edvard Munch’s The Scream, in the early nineties, is unbelievable. All it took was a ladder, two thieves, wire cutters and a postcard left behind which read, ‘thanks for the poor security’. I can tell you one thing, though: if I had no financial constraints such as fees, I would shop for a sweet little number and put it up against my wall with vainglorious enthusiasm.

ART - Ignore what the economic pundits are saying. Invest in art. It’s the “smART” thing to do. “Accented living” (above left) and “Nigeria” (above right).

V: That’s a pretty deep response. What made you choose to study art? What inspires you and motivates your work? B: I have always been interested in drawing comics and doing illustrations and chose to study art because it was the only thing I really enjoyed at school and I couldn’t imagine studying anything else, except maybe animation. I therefore, chose to come to university to broaden my artistic horizons so to speak. The kind of art that inspires me are those that are well executed, and generally that I can relate to on a personal or creative level. V: What interests/excites you? Specific genres or a bit of everything? B: I really enjoy watching movies (The Watchmen, go check it out!), listening to music (that siff heavy stuff), comics and all things geeky too.

V: What are you currently working on? Any big projects or upcoming exhibitions? B: At the moment I’m busy with a sculpture project - we are learning the art of casting in bronze. So that involves a lot of mould making, playing with silicone and a lot of swiping of debit cards. In terms of exhibitions, we generally exhibit twice a year, once at the end of each semester where our work gets marked. You should come check it out. V: Who is the god of art? B: I am a really big fan of H.R. Giger. V: Yeah! Alright, so assuming you don’t get gobbled up by aliens, what is the dream? B: To make a diamond-encrusted dragon skull and hopefully auction it off for millions. Or if that doesn’t work out, sell sculptures out the back of my car in Camps Bay. V: Finally, on a more serious note: what is your favourite type of cupcake? B: The evil kind. So there you have it, folks. For more in depth look at this master of disaster, check out his Facebook group, Arteechoke Artwork, or his blog at http://benwinfieldart.

Richard Hart’s ‘Kind Pockets’

Images courtesy of

SERIOUSLY, buy art! I can never give you a convincing enough argument about the meaning and worth that is placed on art, but I can tell you that it is pretty high and extensive. When one takes a historical tour of the arts we discover the relationship between art and wealth. This relationship was and is more about the display of economic power rather than the aesthetic qualities that one would expect from the creation of many an artwork. Consider this: when the ‘R’ word took on a life of its own last year as was evidenced by collapsing banks, superstar artist Damien Hurst sold about $200 million worth of art a day in a solo exhibition. I kid you not, dear reader - the shock you are experiencing right now is the same one I felt. Artists like Hurst are not waiting for the grave before they make their killing. Having seen some of his work, I can’t help but wonder if it is really worth that

much but than again, ordinary critics like me do not determine the working of the art world. It turns out that art is in fact more lucrative than many a cultural philistine would believe. In a recent entertaining Cape Times article, a Chinese art dealer who backed out of an Yves Saint Laurent auction of Qing Dynasty artworks worth U$44 million lamented how his career was over because of his indecision. Idiot! That’s what I say, and I have his contemporaries to back me up. The Chinese government’s reaction, ironically, was anything but disappointed. What made the article worth reading, however, was its proposition that global art sale transactions make up about $4.3 billion dollars annually. Other sources have propounded figures around this region, except the local Art Times, which set the figure at $25 billion including a 19% increase last year. Of course the age of the artworks adds to their hefty price tag. It also adds to the temptation

sounds, okay granted it’s not a medicine degree, but there is a lot of research that goes into making artwork if you want it to be relevant to your audience. As for what makes an artist, well, from what I have seen pretty much anything can make you an artist. You don’t even have to be able to draw or own a paintbrush; all you need is your body and a good idea.

Photo by Kristen Duff

Image courtesy of Ben Winfielfd


KRISTEN DUFF IF ARTIST Richard Hart has ‘kind pockets’ now, they’re likely to become deep pockets in the very near future. Kind Pockets is the vibrant debut exhibition of Durban-based graphic designer Richard Hart; collaborating with celebrated South African fashion designer, Amanda Laird Cherry and photographer, Roger Jardine to bring us a collection of works which simply pop with appeal. The exhibition, themed loosely around the imaginary archetype of the ‘marsupial girl’ (meaning carrying one’s young in a pouch), consists of a staggering number of paintings as well as lithographs, prints, sculptures, photographs and dresses. In Hart’s paintings, he draws on popular youth culture, fashion and design elements to create works which are refreshingly young and edgy. At a glance, the paintings of these girls and their animal companions are sexy, slick, and deliciously rich. Yet under the layers of scene-kid shirts and expensive haircuts they display vulnerability and fragile sexuality. According to gallery curator, Ashleigh McLean, the works say a lot about loss and longing, and express a more ephemeral language using design and other elements. They speak

of relationships with things which are close to us - and when these things are destructive. The interactions between the young mothers and their adopted keep speak volumes about the transition between motherhood and girlish innocence. Supporting Richard Hart is Amanda Laird Cherry who has created five different dresses to correspond with a few of the most prominent characters in Hart’s paintings. The dresses are works of art in themselves: for example, in one, a delicate white sculpture of a duiker peeps out from a blue dress with a red hood, corresponding with Hart’s oil painting. This will teach you to lie. Additionally, Roger Jardine’s photographs of the dresses against black backdrops come to life in their own way. The collection of works is an incredible testament to Hart’s technical talent, especially considering that he has only been creating this series for roughly a year and a half. Young viewers will appreciate the candy-coloured aesthetics of these works, as well as their multiple layers of meaning. Kind Pockets is currently showing at the Whatiftheworld Gallery at 208 Albert Rd, Woodstock. The exhibition closes 21 March.

FEATURES 10 The real Stellenbosch - true story



THERE will be times when you will feel it necessary, nay, pleasant even, to plunge into the decaying pit of human flesh that is Stellenbosch. The bus will rumble on through highways, slowly turning into backwater streets. And you will be drunk. Very drunk. The air will be filled with smoke as the surrounding land burns itself, as if in self-hate. For a second your thoughts will become stagnant, and you will gaze out through the window, upon a sun setting on the murky remains of the landscape. It means that blood will be spilled this eve: it is the night of Intervarsity.

Be it rugby or water polo, you will not get to watch a single minute of the sport. Inevitably, a large jock will try to wedge his ogre fists into your face. This will happen due to his insecurity of his kind surviving the next decade. Also, he probably didn’t get into UCT - true story. This aside, you will begin the drunken stumble to a place where the souls of men and women alike become stained by a mixture of vomit and urine. It’s a place called Terrace. Once you enter its heathen doors, you become a marked man for life. The “Terrace Twang”, some call it. In people’s eyes, you can see that some part of their being has been tarnished, and this results in sudden, violent

twitches, much like those seen in Vietnam veterans. Inside, you will come across more rugby jocks and ogres. Try to avoid them. Unless you find yourself face to sweaty chest with one of them on the dance floor, in which case it is better to remain where you are, and play dead. Their brains, you see, are no more developed than those of small circus bears. It will get to that time of night when you will see people relieving themselves against the bar, while ordering a drink, very politely. Under normal circumstances this would offend your morality. But now you are drunk. It seems fun. You will try it too. When the morning begins to raise its ugly head, McDonald’s

will begin to call to you with the allure of Giselle Bundchen, lying naked in your bed, licking a lollipop. Your feast will be excruciatingly good, but the till ladies WILL steal your money (There is no doubt in my mind that this happens). At least they help McDonald’s fulfil its stereotype of being a money-hungry, global corporation with no concern for the welfare of their consumers and the planet in which they grow their mutant meat. Waking up on the floor of some unknown place, you will gradually become aware of the fact that it is now late afternoon. You have missed all your lectures. “Damn”, you think, and try to find out how to get home. All

the other leftover UCT students who missed the bus now begin to congregate by McDonald’s in an awkward atmosphere of boozebreath and regret. Finally you find a taxi that will take you, the dregs of humanity, back to Cape Town for a minimal price. You have no memory of the night before, and you won’t even realise that your name, at this very moment, is being swept up on the floor of Terrace, along with all the other sullied and abandoned items. You turn your back on the filth-hole in which you find yourself and swear that you’ll never drink again. But inside you’re smiling, as you realise that you don’t have to stay here any longer.

VARSITY Guide to mixing and matching Remy Ngamije follows the colours and finds out how his night is going to end. How about you? THE VIBRATOR

THE WOMAN IN THE RED DRESS In every group of girls, there is a leader; The Woman in The Red Dress. She is the lady that every girl wants to be and the one that every guy wants to be in. She is so hot that she has no race. She radiates so much sex appeal that you decide there is no way that she does human things like fart or go to the bathroom. You have profile searched (stalked) her on Facebook, but did not have the guts to send her a friend request. Chances are that you have also searched for her on Vula and Peoplesoft, with varying amounts of success. You know her student number, you sit three seats behind her in every lecture, you know that three years ago, she had a cat called Mr Waffles that was run over by a car and since then, she helps out at animal shelters. And every night, you burn incense at an altar dedicated to her. But she doesn’t know you.You’re just a teenage dirtbag baby...

She goes home to a vibrator. It is always there, always dependable and the batteries never run out - ever! There is just no man perfect enough... SO QUIT TRYING!



Second in command of the clique is the Woman in The Black Dress. She is smart, pretty, not as extravagant as the Woman in the Red Dress, but nonetheless quite a charmer. She keeps the group stable and makes sure that none of her girlfriends get harassed on the dance floor. If anyone could look past the Woman in The Red Dress, they would realise what a gem she is.

To have a successful night, assign The Clown of the crew to this girl. The Clown is funny, he keeps her entertained and he does not mind whether he gets some or not, he just wants to have fun. The Clown is loaded with weak jokes, can hardly dance, but for some strange reason, the chicks dig it!

THE WOMAN IN THE YELLOW DRESS To achieve balance and harmony in the universe, no group of girls is complete without one of them having a boyfriend. It is a sign that all is well with the world, that women do occasionally take pity on men and date them. It is inevitable that at some point, you will be hitting on a group of girls and one of them will have a boyfriend. This girl is often found to be sociable, chatty and just generally gives the impression that tonight is the night. That is until you lean in to kiss her and you see her boyfriend walking up to you, all seven feet, 120 kilograms of ass whooping. When you see him walking up to you, it is time to start practising picking your teeth up - it is too late for you!

THE WHORE (THE WOMAN IN THE WHITE DRESS) She is as deceiving as she looks innocent – PERCEPTION IS DECEPTION. You can always tell the loose girl by the colour of her drink. Clear drinks mean that she is warming up; coloured drinks mean someone is getting deflowered tonight (not her, you!) Black Label means it is just a matter of where, not if or when. All you have to do is be at the right place, at the right time - Tin Roof. When the clock hits half-past sober, it is on!

THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE DRESS There is always a quiet girl sitting by herself somewhere, regretting leaving all the work that she could have completed before she came to the club. And now she is slightly tipsy. And she realises that it really has been a while. In fact, it has been ages! And tonight is as good as any other night...

Enter THE BAD BOY. Enough said.

THE ROOKIE Even though your crew has been together since seventh grade, there is that one homie that never seems to catch on. Through no fault of his own, he just has no game. He fumbles, he stumbles, and he chokes at the opportune moment and just generally cannot seem to keep up with the pack. Often looking misplaced in the crew, The Rookie fills a valuable role; he is the one that will drive everyone home, the one that always has a condom even though he will not use it and the one that has all the notes before a test. Introduce him to The Whore - he earned it.


The best way to get over this very small problem is to have a Church Boy. This logic is often misunderstood, after all, what the hell is a churchgoing boy doing in a club? Well, it is quite simple; Church Boys are snakes in the grass! They are not as good as they look. They have some divine power that just makes girls go for them – remember that PERCEPTION IS DECEPTION. The scene always plays out the same way; Church Boy hits on girl. Boyfriend gets mad. Boyfriend threatens Church Boy. Girlfriend says “No! Leave him alone, he’s just a Church Boy!” Boyfriend hits Church Boy. Church Boy WIPES floor with Boyfriend. Boyfriend looks stupid. Church Boy heals and prays for Boyfriend. Church Boy gets the girl. Do not play around with Church Boys.

The universe exists only because of balance. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” So just as there are five pretty girls in the club all hooked up with your homies at varying times of the night, there is the arch-nemesis of all guys who are about to have a legendary night, the “We-Gotta-Go-HomeGirl”. This is the girl that failed a MAM2080 or ECO2004 test and wants the world to know it. She is just not having fun. Every five minutes she says, “We gotta go home”. Ladies, look around your crew and find the We-Gotta-GoHome-Girl, then leave her at home the next time you head out. Chances are that if you cannot find her, YOU are the We-Gotta-Go-Home-Girl. Get your “daddy issues” treated in places other than the club. THE MAN-WHORE In situations as dire as this, there is no choice but for the leader of the crew to knock back a few double Jack and limes and take one for the team. He is the fearless leader. He sweats honey. He is so loose that he lost his virginity before his father did. He has swag for sale and knows when it is time for him to make sure that his boys have a good night. Which is why when the hour cometh, he swallows his ego and a whole lot of beer and goes toe to toe with the We-GottaGo-Home-Girl. The only reason why he is assigned to the We-Gotta-Go-Home girl is because he is the only person to have been to hell and back.

THE ASSHOLE (THE COCK BLOCKER) This guy bitches about everything; how expensive it was to get into a club, how much it cost for a drink – just always bitching! He is the umhamba yedwa – the one that goes home alone. He attended the School of Cock Block and graduated Magna Cum Laude in Ruining A Perfect Night and Beating Women. His favourite day of the week is Wifebeater Wednesday (literally). The Asshole can be recognised by his fear of dancing and opts to sit or stand near a wall holding the same drink the whole night thinking that he looks cool! The Asshole goes home with Vaseline and has a good, albeit slippery time with Pa(l)mela (H)Anderson. Did we mention the tiny fact that he likes to beat women?

Images courtesy of,,,


The VARSITY humour section 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.



Imago - poetry and prose at UCT

RHYMING WORDS - Writers and poets on the “fringe of creativity and language� can be found in the Imago publication. of editors like Merrington and Kozain, the journal struggled to survive and “seeped through the cracks.� Kohler hopes to revive it, and perhaps, with it, the sort

of literary society that’s faded at UCT in recent years. The first edition, still available at Arts 212 (Peter Anderson’s office), features published authors,

2 fast - 2 serious TIFFANY MUGO

passengers are told to remain in the back seat. But alas, everyone knows that drinking slows down your reaction time and diminishes you ability to drive. I have heard many tell the tale of people who have stopped sipping from the flask and began taken bigger gulps, or who allowed passengers to move from the back to the front seat. They are those who we (friends and I) term “lost to the struggle.� The battle was short, bloody, but sweet. They ride hard and fast. Their cars lights are high, their alcohol levels even higher. “Shotgun!� you will hear someone screaming with glee, waving a bottle of tequila in one hand and a joint in the other. These are the wrecks I previously mentioned. The ride is a fast one, but they unfortunately encounter the speed bumps called second year - or even second semester for the true die-hards. I have a prime example of losing an acquaintance to just such a joy ride; he is currently in Johannesburg after a hasty departure from his upper campus res and night stalker lifestyle. A series of unfortunate events will leave this boy infamous in all our eyes. My fellow drivers: know where you fit in. Try not to crash, but sometimes - just sometimes - turn up the music, shut up, and just drive!

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IN LIFE there are many paths one can follow. For example, one can choose to be married young and rear children. Another option is to bum around Europe, experimenting with drugs, sex and alternative music from an artist called Sven the Disco Man. But one option (that is available to us now more than ever) is to go to university. I simplify the notion of “university� by terming it a path. It’s more of a highway that people take on their journey to what’s bigger and better out there: jobs, stress and mortgages. On this superhighway, there are many lanes and many ways to drive. Some will get you there slower, some will see you getting there with dents in your car, and some rides will see you crashing and burning, never to be heard from in academic circles again. These different ways of cruising are what I am here to explore with the use of very bad car analogies. My first specimen is the driver who knows why he or she is on this highway and strives to not forget it. They keep their mind on the road and their eyes on the horizon. They come here to study and do not forget it. I have heard many phrases such as “I don’t pay school fees to sleep in lectures�

or “I paid full price for that 25 minute summary of the notes.� One student said to me personally that he did not pay for this course to hear me whisper through it. My head was bowed in shame. These people have fuelled up their cars for the long haul and would rather not pull over to pick up passengers (boyfriends and girlfriends), or stop for refreshments (drinks at Starlight or Cubana) or spend the night in a motel (let your mind wander with that one). These people know why they are driving through the night, past the burning wrecks, tuned into the easy listening station on the radio. They have a destination to reach: Graduation Town at the corner of Degree Street and Employment Road. There are also those who claim to have balance, as well as those that truly do. I am living testimony that one can, in fact, drive just above the speed limit but still learn to manoeuvre the road. The music can sometimes be loud, but it will be turned down in times of crisis such as exam times. These drivers must be on the ball, watching for curves in the road and wildlife crossing at unexpected moments. We are a cautious bunch, aiming to both drive and sip tentatively from a UCT Libraries bottle filled with a harsh mixture of Vodka, Namaqua and Apple Sours. All


like Peter Merrington and Diane Awerbuck, as well as a host of current UCT students; Masande Ntshanga’s Nosebleeds alone makes the collection well worth the modest R20 price tag. In an effort to keep the journal green, the issue is printed entirely on recycled paper – appropriate, for a “reborn� publication. Further, Imago is hosting a poetry competition with a mystery book prize – details of which can be found at There are, of course, considerable obstacles to overcome. The new edition was largely compiled – and, incredibly, paid for - by Kohler. While some of the money has been made back in sales, that sort of burden can’t sustain itself. As Kohler puts it, “it’s a sort of hand-to-mouth thing.� For the journal to survive, it’s in need of financial assistance (presumably provided by advertising) and personnel to handle publicity, as well as the numerous submissions – unsurprisingly, rather more submissions have been received than copies have been sold. There is, of course, another issue: that the earlier incarnation of Imago was born in a time of considerable political unease. If one were to look for the single archived copy in the African Studies Library, the distinctly

political nature of the poetry would be unmissable. At the time, the anti-apartheid movement permeated most aspects of the university population. As a result, creative writing and poetry were charged with a spirit of progress, if not outright revolution. The closest equivalent at UCT today is some protest about a monopoly on textbooks. This might be why the selected short stories and poetry in the first issue of Imago, while mostly lovely, feel somewhat watered-down in comparison to older issues. On a larger scale, this may explain the general apathy in the student community – and why things like literature and poetry are being allowed to once again slip through the cracks. It would be a terrible shame if, so soon after rebirth, Imago fell through, as contributor Simon Abbot puts it, because of “the steady indifference of reality before which we are stupid, mute.� The next edition of Imago is expected, tentatively, in mid2009. All UCT students and staff, past and present, are welcome to submit their poetry and prose, be it fiction or non-fiction. Those hoping to apply for the positions of Sub-Editor or Publicist, or offering support or sponsorship, may contact Sophy Kohler at

Just a spoonful of talent LOUISE FERREIRA WHAT does it mean to be talented? Essentially, it means that there is something at which you are more skilled, or for which you show more aptitude, than other people. This is where things get tricky. Does everyone have at least one talent, or do some people have none? Is it possible to be a little bit talented, and if so, where lies the line between talent and mediocrity, or talent and genius? Is your talent necessarily your vocation? And, most importantly, does being talented automatically mean that you will be successful? In the context of UCT, and universities in general, “talent� most often refers to being smart. We are here to study, after all.

and Accounting, but I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life. So if you’re studying engineering or computer science or molecular biology and you love what you’re doing, that’s fantastic. It’s just that in my experience, talent does not necessarily equal vocation. Does being highly talented mean, then, that you can achieve success without really having to work? Sadly, no. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, makes a study of our perceptions of success and the truth behind it. In one chapter, looking at famously successful figures, like the Beatles and Bill Gates, Gladwell explains what he calls “the 10 000-hour rule.� All of these people had, by the time they

Being intelligent enough to go to university would indicate that all of us are talented to a certain extent. This is where aptitude comes in. An accounting student would probably feel a little out of place in a drama class - of course, there might be some theatricallyminded accountants out there; don’t let me put you in a box. I’m a BA student, majoring in English and Spanish. Before you start sniggering and making pizza jokes, let me point out that I chose Humanities because this is what I enjoy. I had six As in Matric, including Maths and Accounting – higher grade. I should add that I know several people in Humanities for whom the same is true. I enjoyed Maths

really became successful, spent 10 000 hours or more perfecting their craft. This is a heck of a long time. A year has 8 760 hours. On average, if you’re working really hard and putting in a lot of time, those 10 000 hours will take you about ten years. This does not mean that you have to spend a decade at the dissecting table before you can become a doctor, but it does indicate that if you want to be successful, you won’t be able to get away with slacking. Mere talent is not enough; you have to make an effort. Life coach and author Martha Beck points out that in the phrase “work miracles,� there are two words. The second is miracles. The first is work.


IT’S AN over-quoted axiom that, for every one modern reader of poetry, there are nine writers, known and unknown. Overquotation doesn’t make this any less true – or troubling. Among other things, this makes the business of poetry difficult: if you aren’t dead and famous, it’s unlikely that your work will sell. In South Africa, this is particularly evident. For a poetry anthology, a print run of about 500 copies is considered fairly successful. Compare this to the 6000 copies that VARSITY, a non-profit newspaper, puts out fortnightly. The statistic holds true at UCT too. While the amount of blogs and English and Media majors imply that there must be a large student writer population, there are next to no literary societies or journals within the university – because there doesn’t seem to be much of student reader population. One third-year student trying to reverse this trend is Sophy Kohler, editor of the recently resurrected Imago literary journal. Initiated in 1981 by then-junior lecturer Peter Merrington, the magazine surged under his editorial leadership, followed after his departure by such editors as Rustum Kozain. Unfortunately, without the momentum and input

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Short story on Long Street impressive performance of street dancers catching your eye. Eventually, you find yourself back on track, making your way toward the city centre where development seems to be the norm. Renovation and construction is a constant within Long Street as it maintains its legacy. The buildings house the culture and experiences that bring Long Street to life. It is not so much the physical walls that must be admired but rather the people working within them. Store owners take great pleasure in refining their occupation, and it is shown in their service. Whether it is providing correct travel information, prompt waiting or aesthetic gratification, these individuals complete the experience and offer some genuine Cape Town culture. Tourists blend in unnoticeably, and it is only their foreign accents that give their travel ambitions away. Many store owners agreed that, on average, more tourists visit Long Street than locals do. These travellers cross oceans to feel the Cape Town vibe that is world renown. We should be our cities biggest fans. So make sure you catch a Jammie to Hiddingh campus and have a Long Street stroll to satisfy your soul.

MATHEW MILNE MY EYES were glued to the stage. I nestled excitedly in my chair. It had just begun – the second night of Macbeki at Hiddingh Campus’ Little Theatre. Through dim lights and profuse amounts of smoke, I saw the three witches stride across the stage. But these were no mere witches. These were three journalists of the female variety – and thus infinitely more scary. Sometime later, I emerged from the theatre, struggling with a whir of mixed sentiments. Written by the infamous PieterDirk Uys, Macbeki is absolute genius. It’s a daring, breathtaking satire that replaces the key figures of Shakespeare’s masterpiece with familiar faces from our very own parliamentary melting pot. They’re all there: “Macbeki”, “Maduba” as the old king and the notorious Lady Macbeth re-imagined as “Lady Manta”. The real chills, however, begin to run down one’s spine at the appearance of “MacTrev” and “MacZum”. Lerato Motshwarakgole’s performance as an overzealous, drunken Lady Manta is mesmerizing and deeply scary in equal measure. Also worth mentioning is the

excellent role portrayal of the white porter by Gabriel Marchand. It’s a subtle, thought-provoking role reversal. His classic “Is it because I’m white?” line will leave you in stitches of laughter and then immediately stop you in your tracks and get you thinking, “Hold on…” However, these are the only two performances that allow Macbeki’s true brilliance to shine through. Don’t get me wrong--there are no bad performances. I just feel that the student cast simply weren’t able to pull off the immense levels of irony needed to fully bring their characters to life. Perhaps it’s too big a task for a student production? Other downers are the bizarre Celine Dion tangent as well as the “Is this an iPod I see before me?” line, which will leave Shakespeare fans cringing. Macbeki is running until 21 March at the Little Theatre. Watch it, support UCT drama, and make up your own mind about this incredibly interesting play. And be sure to look out for the very worrying representations of Macbeki and MacZum at the end of the production. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Just what is PieterDirk Uys trying to say, exactly?”

Images courtesy of capetown

LONG Street is a place where spirits are set free, the inner being that is, not the liquor. The many clubs, bars and restaurants situated along this lively road have established it as the main vein of the city’s night life. Anyone who has “popped, locked and dropped it” in and around Long Street will know that it stands true to its name stretching for 3.8 kilometres. Even lengthier, though, is the time needed to find parking because Long Street is packed, period. A road seen as the nocturnal hub of Cape Town should probably spend its days preparing for the reputable nights it has to offer - not this one though! Long Street is the road that never sleeps in the city that always does. This street is in perfect harmony as the ying of the business district on its one end balances with the yang of the cultural zone on the other. It was my mission to discover what Long Street is like “the morning after.” Instantly, you are welcomed by the towering buildings that stand unified alongside this epic road. Travel stores put Cape Town on show from the get-go. Trail hikes, snorkelling lessons, sky diving trips, safari tours and everything

that is on offer simply leaves you craving adventure. Freshly made designs flaunt themselves in the window displays of the many clothing stores. Restaurants and cafés are rich with smells of warm, percolating coffee, and perfectly crispy croissants covered with cheese that beckons you to have a seat. Upon entering these stores, it is evident how well-preserved the Victorian buildings are, and the extent of their modernity-such as the WiFi hotspots, plasma screens, surround sound systems and greatly appreciated air conditioning- is apparent. Even so, the used book and antiquity stores prove Long Street’s longevity and appreciation for the past. Everyone fits into Long Street’s scene because diversity is exemplified here. From soulful African melodies to the crisp crank of metal music, all tastes promise satisfaction. Its culture and presence spill into the side alleys, tempting you to wander down them as well. One such tempting offer is the Long Street Market, which leads you to the festivity of Greenmarket Square. The experience of weaving between the numerous stalls set up in the market as you soak up the creativity is awe inspiring. Attempting to leave the market is difficult enough without the

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Theatre Review - Macbeki

PIETER-DIRK UYS - The man behind Macbeki. With mixed reviews, it is advisable to go and see Macbeki for yourself.

Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards

BLACK AND WHITE - After a black and white evening, wake up just a little bit earlier on Saturday and go see the vibrant colours of Long Street during the day.

Viva la universidad occasionally in a tasteful manner, but for the most part, recklessly and sometimes quite obscenely. Just say, “Drinks specials! Free transport! Free before 11! I’m there!” Alcohol has a nasty way of letting you know who’s boss, but we still think we’re all such chums. It had one student thinking he was Superman and trying to fly, by which I mean he jumped out of the first floor of his residence balcony. This stint left this guy with a few broken bones, needless to say; he has no regrets and said it was a “jol.” I never thought pizza or KFC would become the more balanced meals of my diet. Eggs and noodles as a snack, cereal for dinner, beer for breakfast, toppers biscuits for lunch. All very budget meals, and very dodgy ones too. That’s just about the only reason why anyone misses home: the food. It’s weird how, not so long ago, we would start school at 7.30am sharp, knowing we would only go home at 6pm. We wouldn’t mind it a bit. Now you’re either a hero or a nerd if you manage to attend all your lectures in a week. Instead, all we ever do is sleep: sleep in lectures, sleep on the shuttle, sleep in the library (especially on the Humanities level where they have

really cosy chairs) and sometimes sleep in someone else’s bed. Ah, the sleepovers, first symptoms - you’ll visit a couple of times; then you’ll be too tired to go back home; then you’ll pack an overnight bag, just in case (the walk of shame in heels can be rough); then you’re both trying to help each study during swat week, and it’s convenient. Next thing you know, you’re living together, except you just can’t co-sign a lease because your parents would kill you. There are so many things you can experiment with while you have still the excuse “I was young.” So keep living it up. And as you dodge cars, boys, and DPR, hopefully you’ll get a better sense of yourself that will carry you through life, accompanied by your memories of madness past. Image courtesy of

NYASHA KADANDARA IN THE beginning, university is all about starting over on a clean slate, but then we start to experiment, do the abnormal and think the impossible… And what pans out? We all set out to re-define ourselves in some way or the other – to give ourselves an image that 20 years from now we can look back at and say, “I was so cool.” There are the piercings: nose rings giving the whole rebel with class stint, tongue rings for those of you that are trying to lure another tongue down your throat and lower or upper lip rings for those of you who were told your tongue was too short at the piercing parlour. If you feel you’re running out of time, i.e. graduating soon, you get a tattoo. If you want to look deep, you get some oriental symbol. If you’re clever, you’ll get one where your future boss won’t be able to see it; if you’re a coward, you’ll get one where neither you nor your boss can see it. And when it comes to hair, everyone gets a Mohawk or a variation of it. Long live the party (Viva la fiesta)! Now that we’re all far from home (condolences to those that still live with their parents), we constantly party and drink,


VIVA VIVA - Long university life



IT WAS late evening on Saturday 8 March when one of my friends gave me a call. She had tickets to the Fleur du Caps. Did I want to go? Well, sure, I said. When is it? The next evening, as it turned out, which somehow resulted in my doing only one of the things on my very urgent to do-list. Ah, well. The Fleur du Cap Awards, for those who don’t know, are the Oscars of the South African theatre world. I enjoy theatre, although I don’t go nearly as often as I would like, and I’m rather embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t seen any of the nominated productions. However, I did recognise a good many of the famous faces, and I was excited to see the likes of Lizz Meiring, Shaleen Surtie-Richards and David Kramer. If these names don’t impress you, keep in mind that I’m an Afrikaans girl. The ceremony itself was engaging enough and went surprisingly smoothly, although MC Nik Rabinowitz skipped an award – he realised his mistake in time – and Thoko Ntshinga, who handed over the awards, left out Marc Lottering’s name when she read the nominees for Best Performance in a Revue or Cabaret. Rabinowitz impressively managed to host the event in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa, and the entertainment was top-

class. I particularly enjoyed Zanne Stapelberg’s rendition of “Summertime”. She was accompanied by jazz trio Mark Fransman, Kesivan Naidoo and Concord Nkabinde. My biggest complaint was that some of the speeches dragged on for a bit, but I suppose this was inevitable. Some of the big winners were: Jeremy Crutchley as Best Actor for Merchant of Venice, Mwenya Kabwe as Best Actress for Yellowman, and Jaco Bouwer as Best Director for Smag. Of course, the real reason many people were there was the free food and wine after the ceremony (not to mention the champagne and canapés beforehand). These did not disappoint and included the best chicken kebabs and caramel sauce – not in combination, though that would have been interesting – that I’ve ever had. There were also mounds of chocolate from Lindt, one of the sponsors. I suspect that a rather large number of these ended up in people’s handbags. My companions for the event are all involved in theatre, which meant that just by tagging along I spent the evening hobnobbing with people I had previously only seen on stage. Let me just add that there are few things as entertaining as people-watching at a theatrical event. Screw rooftop parties. If you wanted to see the interesting people, this was the place to be.


FEATURES Daniel Fox and the Jester’s Legacy by Andy Peterson DANIEL Fox is on a school outing to a museum in New York when he and a couple of friends are kidnapped and forced to take part in a burglary that goes wrong. While fleeing the scene, Daniel is hit by a truck and dies: he wakes up and finds himself in the underworld, a parallel dimension that’s not heaven, but not quite hell either. In this world, the people are segregated by randomly assigned numbers and are ruled, mostly through fear, by the king and his followers. Daniel soon realises that an uprising is coming, and that he’s going to play an important part in it. An original mix of science fiction and fantasy from an exciting new South African author. REVIEW BY CALVIN SCHOLTZ

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett.

REVIEW BY CALVIN SCHOLTZ A child is born seemingly deformed, and abandoned on the doorstep of an old-age home. The baby is rescued by one of the servants, who names him Benjamin and swears to care for him. But while the local doctor claims that the child is dying of old age, over time it becomes apparent that not only is Benjamin not dying, he’s actually getting younger. Benjamin meets a young girl, Daisy, and immediately knows that she’s the love of his life. But with so many obstacles to overcome - his curious condition, World War II and the lure of other romances - can they ever be happy together? This is an impressive story about life and death that shows how temporal life can be, but also how one should live it to the full.

WATCHMEN - Patrick Wilson


ADAPTED from the original Watchmen graphic novel, this film is violent – very violent. It is also incredibly graphic. How it managed to escape with a rating of 16 is unimaginable. The film is just like the graphic novel; strange, at times, difficult to navigate and long. Despite that, this is not your average superhero film. It challenges everything you know about costume vigilantes and then some. For a bum-numbing two and a half hours, there is currently no better way to spend R45 at a cinema near you. How much coffee you need to get through these ordeals...

Images courtesy of, Baxter.


Atloss Books

Email reviews to varsitynewspaper@gmail. com

Hold the coffee! This is some good shit! Two for the road Can you make it a little stronger? How much longer?

Frost/Nixon - Frank Langella, Michael Sheen. Richard Nixon is the only president in American history to have resigned from office, and at the time his actions caused much unrest among the country’s citizens as he left without any explanations, and with his alleged involvement in the Watergate scandal hanging over his head. Then he agreed to a series of interviews with David Frost, a British talk-show host. This film chronicles the story behind those interviews, which were a battle of wits between Nixon, desperate to rebuild his public image, and Frost, trying to force Nixon to admit what everyone had been waiting to hear: that he was wrong. A taut political drama with excellent acting as Langella and Sheen play the two famous figures to perfection. REVIEW BY CALVIN SCHOLTZ

Zzzzzz! Any eager cartoonists can apply to VARSITY Newspaper. Submit your cartoon to varsitynewspaper@


The VARSITY humour section is a vehicle for expression. The views expressed in the Humour section are not necessarily those of the advertisers or staff of VA R S I T Y Newspaper, or the University of Cape Town.

FEATURES 14 A dummies’ guide to UCT commuting


THERE are three types of UCT students: people who live in res, people who live at home, and the leftovers, who live in a digs. Res life is a whirlwind experience that you will remember for the rest of your life, and living at home is relaxed because mommy does the laundry. But the best of both worlds is captured by digs life. Freedom tastes great when you are living in digs - the only comparison is the first trip you took by yourself after getting your drivers licence. In digs, there are no annoying roommates, no Fedics, no fire drills or intercom announcements, and, for some fortunate students, no Jammie Shuttles. Or are they fortunate?

students, however, have hell to go through if they follow Main Road - I suggest taking the M3 until the Woolsack turnoff. On the other end of the world are the students who live in town. They have the luxury of driving against the traffic all the way - beautiful. The sad truth is you will not get parking on Upper Campus if you arrive later than 7:30, in which case parking on Middle Campus is a good runner-up prize. Note, that unless you’re headed for NSLT, the walk up all those stairs is quicker and more pleasant than the walk from Sports Centre parking. Sitting in traffic is unavoidable unless you leave earlier than everyone else--meaning that you sit on Jammie Stairs for at least

For many students residing in digs, when the words “Belmont Bridge”, “Main Road” and “8:00am” are put in the same sentence we tremble with fear and dread of the terrible monster that is traffic. It’s there, it’s unfair and it’s not budging. But what can you do except sit there and listen to Gareth blabbing on about “days of our mornings?” The varying degrees of misfortune depend on where you’re from. For a little Durbanite like myself, the traffic here is murder, but for the Vaalies it’s not so bad. Capetonians, on the other hand, are far too chilled to care really. But politics aside, I decided this was not on, and had to find the quickest way to campus. This is how it went: Day 1: Naïvely left at 7:20.

Bad move. The 1km strip that is Park Road and Belmont Bridge took 40 minutes and then some when it got to Main Road. Four lanes converging to one is something else. First Lecture out the window. Day 2: 7:04, Sandown Road (no stop streets) joining at the Belmont Bridge. 15 minutes to UCT and parking found on Upper Campus. Score! But who wants to get up that early? Day 3: Left at 7:16, decided to try the much talked about “Liesbeek Parkway,” which is longer, but surprisingly quick! Arrived at 7:44. These are the experiments of a Rondebosch resident who happens to live on the wrong side of the Belmont Bridge. Claremont

of HCA (right) aims to be an intellectual arena for debate and discourse about current events happening around the world. With an apolitical agenda, HCA encourages students to consider and debate issues currently holding sway on the world stage. This largely involves holding regular talks and seminars, in which HCA invites guest speakers to come and converse with students about a certain topic that has been raised – the most recent being “Obama: Continuity or Change.” As a movement of students actively participating in issues

that affect the global spectrum, HCA is one of few societies that challenge the apathetic nature of UCT students. With a growing membership, the History and Current Affairs Society can claim to be making a dent in this population. Intense and focused on its goals, HCA consists of a well-spoken group of students who speak openly about the issues that affect not only their world, but most importantly, “our world.” Free talks are held around the UCT campus on a regular basis just look out for their posters.

History and current affairs society REMY NGAMIJE

IT IS common in an environment as academically demanding as UCT to become indifferent to political, economic and cultural events happening around the world. After all, when you have tutorials piled up higher than three weeks of dirty laundry, you tend to remove yourself from the outside world. This is perhaps why the History and Current Affairs Society (HCA) is something worth looking into. As one of the most active societies at UCT, with 230 members, the steering committee

differentiates arty photography from everyday photography… well, there are as many answers as there are photographers, but art seems to imply a certain amount of skill, thoughtfulness and technical ease. Perhaps the difference is better expressed by pictures and not words. Go to the Iziko Museum and see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, which displays 83 of the best images. See for yourself just what art is. For those who wish to graduate from drunken Facebook photos to more sophisticated photography, PhotoSoc accepts all skill levels. Contact Michelle Ireland ( for more information. CLICK CLICK, SNAP SNAP - Photosoc, captures the tiny moments of life. Living life through the lens is a complex skill that Photosoc tries to hone in each and every member. Image by Remy Ngamije

AN OFT-HEARD cliché is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But after seeing some of the photography at the Iziko Museum, the saying should surely be that “beauty is in the lens of the camera holder.” For beginners (i.e. one who takes photos with the lens cap still on), learning the art of composing good pictures can seem challenging, but understanding a few simple principles - and joining PhotoSoc - can improve the pictures you take. Briefly, photography hinges on three key concepts: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. To plagiarise a well-worn analogy, think of a camera lens as a window. How big the window is would be analogous to aperture (measured in f-numbers e.g. f28). How long the window is open for would be shutter speed (measured in fractions of a second e.g. 1/500) and how tinted the window is would be ISO (usually from ISO

100 upwards). Finding the correct amount of exposure requires the negotiation of these three factors. What you chose to take pictures of is really up to the photographer’s discretion, but finding unusual perspectives and telling a story is always a good place to start. The good people at PhotoSoc organise outings to photogenic places like Langebaan, Kalk Bay and Montague Mountains that give ample opportunity to practice and to get assistance from the more experienced members. In addition to this, there’s a themebased biannual competition for the brave and competitive. For the extremely brave there is always the challenge of film (as opposed to digital), which seems to hold a special allure for the professionals. Michelle Ireland, who runs the society, puts it down to the fact that film forces the photographer to develop basic skills that a digital camera automatically takes care of for you, and that film has a better look and feel to it. As to what

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Photosoc - Life through a lens GUGULETHU HLEKWYA

half an hour before your 8am, which, when you think about it, isn’t such a bad thing on these sunny days. But if you do choose to sit in traffic for just the right amount of time, chill out. Your road rage will not move things along. Turn off Gareth’s chattering and maybe give UCT Radio (104.5) a listen. Why not smile at that hottie in the car next to you until he or she gives you a funny look? Laugh, make friends, do your makeup in the rear-view mirror, make the most of it. Car-owners, watch this space for the UCT We-Don’t-Sit-In-Traffic Society, meeting on Jammie Stairs every day at 7:20am.

Photo by Remy Ngamije


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DOMINIC VERWEY THE attacks on the travelling Sri Lankan cricketers on 3 March 2009 by Pakistani terrorists shocked the cricketing world. Pakistani gunmen with a variety of sophisticated weaponry ambushed vehicles, holding up cricket officials and the Sri Lankan cricket side on their way to a cricket match set to take place in Lahore, Pakistan. The most devastating effect of the attacks was the death of six Pakistani police officers and the driver of a van carrying cricket officials. The bus containing the Sri Lankan cricket team was subject to gunfire, but the occupants were mostly unharmed. The prolific Sri Lankan batsman, Thilan Samaraweera, was the most seriously injured of the players. Samaraweera was shot in the thigh, and after a gruelling two and a half-hour operation, the bullet was dislodged from just above his kneecap. Talks of an early retirement were thankfully dismissed. The International Cricket Council (ICC) quoted Samaraweera as saying, “The surgeon told us that it must have been a ‘lucky bullet’ because somehow it missed all the important bits of nerve tissue, tendons and ligaments.” There will be major ramifications for further cricketing competitions in Pakistan, especially as the ICC Cricket World Cup is scheduled to be played in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2011. For world cricket administrators, the first line of thought may be towards match fixtures - and the safety of players and officials – in that part of the world. However, it would be inhumane to think of this alone. We must not forget

the victims and their families, or let the human cost of the attacks overshadow their effect on world cricket. Though the Pakistani cricket board and the government would do well to inhibit further terrorist attacks in an attempt to convince the ICC of their worth, the ICC must not forget that Pakistan is a cricket loving nation. Withdrawing all cricket events from Pakistan would be making the people suffer for the terrorists’ actions. Although Pakistan’s cohosting of the World Cup has been confirmed, the current state of cricketing affairs begs to differ. The ICC said it would put on hold any further discussions on whether Pakistan could remain one of the hosts of the 2011 World Cup until mid-April this year. However, chief executive of the ICC, Haroon Lorgat, was quoted as admitting that it would be “very challenging for us to be convinced that Pakistan could be a safe venue.” The attacks have not helped the Pakistan zone in their bid to hold the World Cup in 2011. The attacks in Lahore have already had a serious ripple effect. Cricket Australia has confirmed that discussions are underway to decide whether it would be better to play its postponed Test tour of Pakistan in England next July. In addition, New Zealand has cancelled their tour to Pakistan scheduled for November this year. Sri Lankan batsman, Kumar Sangakkara, agreeing with the SPORT TERROR - A Pakistani policemen who died in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team on their words of England cricket captain Andrew Strauss, has admitted way to a test match to be played in Lahore, Pakistan. that cricketers and sportsmen in general are not immune to always felt pretty safe in Pakistan, that even sports players, with to harm by extremists. It would attack. The Guardian UK quoted to be honest. It shows how naive their high public profiles and tight be wise for the sporting world and Sangakkara as saying, “we had we were.” These attacks are proof security measures, are vulnerable the public to take caution.

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Uncertainty over Cricket World Cup venue

VARSITY interviews “the Goose” MARK “the Goose” Goosen sat down with VARSITY to talk about the season so far. “the Goose” is a hooker for the UCT Ikey Tigers, an ex-Kearsney/ Kopano boy, as well as a thirdyear BCom Accounting student. VARSITY - So Goose, when did the team start training for this season? GOOSE - October. Well, this year started on the third of January. V - Do you think the team this season is a strong one? G - We lost a couple of good players last year, but this year the new players have been putting their hands up and we are proving to be quite a force in the competition. Its also nice to have the coaching staff; it’s Jake White, Robbie Fleck and Dobbo - John Dobson. Bob Skinstad also has been helping out. They’re probably the best coaches we’ve ever been coached by at UCT. They don’t get paid, you know, they just do it out of their own good will for the club. It’s awesome. V - So would you say that if Maties are Australia, then we are South Africa? Because really, undercover, we are actually the best... G - I’d more say New Zealand, just for the rivalry I suppose. I wouldn’t say they are as invincible as New Zealand, but in the

“...I’d more say New Zealand, just for the rivalry I suppose. I wouldn’t say they are as invincible as New Zealand, but in the past they used to be...” past they used to be. I heard that, before I got here, they were quite difficult to beat. I think we only beat them in 2004, in Intervarsity, which is quite a big thing for the club, they have pictures of it all over the actual club itself. I’ve personally beaten them in the under 20s, and then we won once last year, as well, so I’d say more so South Africa and New Zealand, but I’d definitely say its changed. They probably have had a huge win ratio over us in the past couple of years, but as of late, its really changed around in that they’re very close games. I enjoy playing against them, considering that for every four players they have we’ve probably got about one. So it’s pretty intense. V - Very intense. Now what do you think of the support for the Ikeys from UCT students? G – I’m very impressed with it actually. For our small stadium we get quite a good turn out I think. The branding this year really has

helped. You know this whole Ikey brand, the tiger thing, the posters, selling shirts on campus and the advertising around Varsity Cup. I think the support is good at UCT, a lot more people are talking about it and we actually had support. A couple of old Kearsney guys were up at Tukkies when we played there, that was pretty cool. V - At the away games, is it daunting to see big support for the opposition? G - No, we actually travel pretty well. Last year as well as this year we actually won most of our away games. And I haven’t yet been to a crowd as big as that UCT / Maties game. The support hasn’t actually been that great, even at Tukkies. But it was raining that time, which helped us. I’d say we have one of the best support groups at UCT. We get on so well with all the players and coaching

staff that we enjoy touring so it’s great.

half season finishes right before exams so it’s fine.

V - Lets talk about you. How long have you been an Ikey Tiger? G – It’s my fourth year. V- What? G - Well I was U20 for two years and then last year started playing for Ikey Tigers.

V - Tests and things? G - If you have a test, you miss training, they are pretty lenient that way and so it doesn’t interfere too much. With the traveling, I know some of the engineers and others battle, but you make that plan. We all love the sport so it’s not too difficult.

V - How do you manage rugby life versus academic life? G – Personally, I don’t find it too difficult; I find it’s a good balance. When you don’t want to study, you train and I was fortunate that I didn’t stop after school. I think if you stop then it’s quite hard to get back into it, but I was pretty used to it. If you have a full day of university, it’s great to go train with mates, talk some smack, it’s pretty fun. I enjoy it. Usually

V - What’s the best part of it all? G - Of the rugby thing? [Laughs] I’d say, obviously the rugby’s real good, but I’d say the social aspect, all the friends, the friendships we make and the people skills we learn. It’s great; we meet so many people, opposition teams and you learn so much. The rugby culture at UCT is awesome. It’s fun on the field, but it’s also so much fun off the field.

Ikeys do it for Monte A HEARTFELT and spirited performance by the 14-man Ikey Tigers earned them a resounding 36-17 victory over the strong-willed Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) outfit to claim the Monte Taljaard Trophy in Port Elizabeth on 2 March. This was a fitting tribute to the late Monte Taljaard, the likeable and charismatic Ikeys player who passed on tragically in a road accident last September. He was the former U20A1 Captain and member of the 2008 Varsity Cup side. This five-try victory earned the Ikeys an important bonus point to allow them to leap into second place on the log, only two points behind leaders and perennial rivals, Maties. Coach Dobbo made a couple of rotational changes in his run-on side, giving Goose, Ashley Wells, the hard-hitting Kuselo Moyake, the resurgent Sean Van Tonder and the eventual Man of the Match, JP Roberts, who was a constant menace to the NMMU defence. This decision paid dividends, with the team putting up a sterling performance, attesting to the depth the coach has in his side ahead of the crunch play-offs, which the Ikeys look set to be involved in. Once again, the UCT backline proved to be troublesome for the

Photo courtesy of the Monday Paper

Taruziwa Madangombe takes a look at what has been happening in rugby in the last two weeks

MONTE TALJAARD - The late Monte, who passed away in a tragic car accident last year, was remembered when the Ikeys claimed the Monte Taljaard Trophy. NMMU side as they relentlessly broke through their defence, with the evergreen Van Tonder and the powerful Pieter Engelbrecht being the chief perpetrators. That fine showcase by the new-look side (it’s not a B-side by the way) has actually given Dobbo a selection headache, the one any coach would love to have ahead of the

play-offs. Week six saw the Ikeys take on the Shimlas (UFS) at the Green Mile. This match was billed as a thriller, with the Shimlas having dented Tukkies’ play-off hopes with a booming 39-22 victory in week five. UCT looked dangerous on attack and they defended very well. However, a series of

handling errors from both sides robbed us of witnessing a high try-scoring game. UCT ultimately won the game 23-20, having scored excellent tries through hooker Dayne “Danger” Jans, who made a frenzied run on the right touchline, reminiscent of Stormers’ reserve hooker Deon Fourie’s bravura try against the Bulls. Flyhalf Matthew Rosslee scored the team’s second try as he broke the Shimlas defence in their 22m before Therlow Petierson capped off with a late try after a neat exchange of passes with Marcello Simpson to increase his lead on the Varsity Cup try-scoring chart to five, thanks to a Kuselo Moyake’s crucial turnover that instigated the move. The Ikeys play their last game away to Pukke in week seven. Meanwhile, the Stormers seem to be finding the going a bit tough in the Super 14 after they were once again flattened by the Bulls 14-10 at Loftus. They now have lost three of their opening four matches, further blowing their very slim hopes of making the Super 14 play-offs. Once again, Luke Watson proved that the abysmal booing behaviour of the Loftus horde actually fuelled him to play better with a virtuoso performance for the Stormers, thereby subject-

ing those verbal bullies to further embarrassment. Maybe it’s high time those booing imbeciles stop this disheartening behaviour and get on with their lives. The Sharks and Bulls maintain their unbeaten run in competition and they look set to make the play-offs, but maybe I shouldn’t be counting the eggs before they hatch, as a lot can happen in the next nine games. The Stormers face the defiant Lions in their next game, and it’s a must-win for them if they still want to remain in contention for the semis. In other rugby circles, the star-studded Western Province Vodacom cup team kicked off their 2009 campaign with a 363 victory over the EP Mighty Elephants at the empty Newlands stadium. The Ikeys flag was kept flying, with Ikeys Jody Burch and Martin Miller turning out for the local side. Meanwhile, poor defence cost the led Bok 7s side’s chances of lifting the World Cup in Dubai over the weekend. The Mpho Mbiyozo’s men led 12-0 at half time, but a couple of missed tackles and loss of concentration allowed the Argentines to come back and eventually steal the game 14-12. Wales eventually went on to win the Cup with a close 19-12 victory over Argentina.

The Castle Lager let-down LAST weekend ended in partial depression for all South African cricket fans, as we had to watch the “surprisingly” irritating Australians hand the Proteas a royal beating for the second test in a row. Our sheep-loving rivals bounced back from their home series defeat in December to take the away series 2-0 with one game still to play. After scoring 352, a clinical Aussie bowling performance left the Proteas in tatters, as they bowled us out for a measly 138 in our first innings. This included a devastating delivery from Mitchell Johnson, breaking Captain Graeme Smith’s hand in two places, rendering him useless for the rest of the game. Australia’s second innings of 331/5 declared meant the South Africans would need a massive 545 runs to win. A good start to the run-chase was quickly smothered by three disgustingly good deliveries, dismissing Kallis, de Villiers and Duminy and turning the match into a game of survival for the home-side. This was not to be, as South Africa col-

lapsed to a dismal 370, losing the game by 175 runs. The disappointment comes after maybe the largest amount of smack talk in Supersport history, with reference to their “harden the fuck up” and “bring it on” campaign. Although it hurts to admit, and despite the inherited hatred we have for the Australians, we have to admit that, in terms of their performance, they certainly brought the heat. Supersport arrogance, shared by the Proteas themselves, backfired, making the entire nation look like fools. It is now up to our team to perform in Cape Town and hopefully save our nation some pride. The loss meant that the selectors were faced with some tough decisions, leading to three changes. Neil McKenzie has been dropped for Dolphin’s left-handed opening batsman Imraan Khan, who is the leading run scorer in the Supersport series, being the only player to score over 600 runs. Morne Morkel is out for the Warrior’s left-hand seamer Wayne Parnell. The injured Graeme

Smith will be replaced by the experienced Ashwell Prince, who will open the batting. “We felt that it was best just to make one change than to change the top order which would have involved moving several players around,” said Mike Procter, the convenor of selectors. Veteran all-rounder, Jacques Kallis will captain the side in Smith’s absence. The remaining game is at Sahara Park Newlands. Although the series is over, South Africans will be hoping the replacements add to the average performance of our team. The match is still important in our race to the top of the ICC rankings. So let’s get down to Newlands this week, have some beers and support our team, whether it be with positive cheers or the chanting of “Siddle’s a Wanker.” RIGHT: Mitchell Johnson celebrates after taking the wicket of Graeme Smith

Varsity, the official student newspaper since 1942, is committed to the principles of equality and democracy

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Andrew Ehmke follows the Proteas as they look to regroup following a tough loss to the Australians

Edition 3: 2009  

Varsity is the official student newspaper of the University of Cape Town.

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