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70 celebrating


The official student newspaper of the university of cape town

18 September 2012

Volume 71: Edition 10



Okri calls for consciousness Cai Nebe


Image: Elelwani Netshifhire CRITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS – Renowned author Ben Okri, OBE, delivers his talk at the 13th Annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture urging South Africans to embrace the ideals of the former Black Consciousness leader. fundamental questions about society. Okri invoked the Marikana shootings, and suggested Biko would have been “concerned” with the current state of the nation. “Have the things Biko fought against simply mutated, like cancerous cells?” Okri asked the audience, adding that great struggles threw up great spirits, and the flame of Biko’s death “multiplied his voice by a thousand.” “From South Africa, we learnt the spirit is unconquerable; there was a time when we thought Apartheid would be there for decades to come ... Only those who suffered could show us the value of suffering.” Okri warned that achieving freedom was just the overture. He likened Africa’s journey from

colonialism into freedom as if “it began in dreams; then we woke up to reality; and then stumbled into a nightmare.”

“Have the things Biko fought against simply mutated – like cancerous cells?” He reminded the audience of the importance of understanding history. After the talk, Okri added that youth have to understand the past to carry Biko’s ideals of consciousness into the future. Okri said: “Everyone carries the burden of leadership. We have enabled our leaders to become what

they have become ... people are complicit in the running of their lives ... continued wakefulness is the burden of Black Consciousness.” “It’s about awakening a spirit and who the people are and what they want to be,” he continued. Okri added that, “Pass the word along that there are three Africas: the one we see every day, the one they [Western society] write about and the real Africa that we do not see – one which is unfolding through all the difficulties of our time.” Fittingly, he concluded with his words from his book Mental Fights, to a standing ovation that rang around Jammie Hall: “Our future is greater than our past.” Emily Bristow, a first-year PPE student, said: “The beautiful diction

of his speech really symbolised the magic of Africa. His enthusiasm and vision really inspired me.” She added: “The idea of Black Consciousness must continue, and this ideal must not exclude anyone... I feel there is still an underlying psychological oppression in many people.” Second-year film student Munashe Makado said: “I feel Black Consciousness limits Biko’s ideals to black students... I think we need to pick consciousness up from a whole new level.” Okri’s speech made me reflect more on my responsibilities as an African. We are not concerned enough about Black Consciousness... It feels like something that, in time, is going to subside,” he added.

in this issue

igerian author Ben Okri, OBE, speaking at the 13th Annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture, said that South Africa needs the spirit of the slain Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko “now more than ever before”. Okri’s speech emphasised that the youth of today are the future, and will play a central role in keeping Biko’s ideals alive. Okri was speaking to a packed Jameson Hall at the lecture on Wednesday September 12th, where Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price explained that the talk provides a platform for speakers to explore the contemporary relevance of the life and legacy of Biko. Price said that the annual lecture honoured Biko’s life and was a flagship event for UCT and the Steve Biko Foundation, represented by CEO Nkosinathi Biko. Past speakers have included African political and literary luminaries Nelson Mandela, Chinua Achebe, Desmond Tutu and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. Okri won the Man Booker Prize in 1991 for The Famished Road, and is regarded as one of Africa’s foremost writers in the post-modern and post-colonial traditions. He titled his speech “Biko and the Tough Alchemy of Africa”. He defined Biko’s brand of Black Conciousness as being about “self realisation,” “an injunction to greatness” and “a better way of being human.” He said: “South Africa’s history and struggle was the nagging background music to our lives as Africans. You [South Africans] have no idea of the role you played in the historical consciousness of the world.” Okri captivated the audience with eloquent storytelling and articulate use of mysticism in his descriptions of Biko. “Biko’s voice pierced us,” he said. Okri said Biko’s rigour and high expectations of humans asked

SRC Q&A week

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Paralympics anger

Page 5

UCT: the best

pages 8 & 9

Summer fashion

page 10


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

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v71 e10 – 18 september 2012

News Bites Woolworths responds: We do employ whites Johannesburg – Woolworths responded to allegations regarding its employment policies last week through an advertisement in large newspapers. “Woolworths does employ white people. We employ women and men of all races as well as people with disabilities, and we will continue to do so,” read the advert. A campaign was initiated by trade union Solidarity against the retail giant because it believes discriminated against whites. —News24

Family slain in French Alps Annecy – The investigation into the murder of four people in the French Alps continues. British national Saad al-Hilli, his wife, her mother and a passing French cyclist were shot twice in the head with a pistol, suggesting a contract killing. The family’s two children were found alive at the scene. —the Guardian

US Ambassador killed Benghazi – The US Ambassador for Libya and three colleagues were killed in attacks on Tuesday, September 11th. The attacks were launched after a controversial American anti-Islamic film sparked anger across Libya and Egypt. The American government has said they will work with Libyan authorities to find and arrest the killers. On Thursday, September 13th, protesters attempted to attack the US Embassy in Yemen. ­—the Guardian

Volcano alert Guatamala – Alarms were raised on Friday, September 14th, as the Fuego volcano began to erupt. Thousands of residents were evacuated from the area. The volcano, which lies 50 kilometres from Guatamala City, is almost constantly active at a low level. On the day of the eruption, President Otto Perez Molina said, “We will do the best we can to avoid people being harmed.” —

Lonmin offer too low Johannesburg – Negotiations continue between mining company Lonmin and its workers. Workers were offered a pay rise of R900 a month last Friday, much lower than their original demands of a R7 900 raise. Frans Beleni, the National Union of Mineworkers General Secretary, said, “We will hear how workers are responding to the offer, given that negotiation is give and take.” —News24

Tina Hsu & Olivia Wainwright

Students dread possible fee increase Chris van der Westhuyzen


he possibility of another increase in student fees has caused apprehension among students who are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of university education. On Friday, August 30th, Student Assembly hosted a debate at Liesbeeck Gardens, where members of the Student Representative Council (SRC) and UCT management officials met with students to negotiate the fees structure for 2013. UCT Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price explained that the university’s R2.7 billion operational budget was financed through government subsidies of R1.1 billion, student fees of R900 million, and a remaining R700 million that came from investment interest and other donations. “Our operational costs include staff salaries, outsourced services like CPS and Supercare, books, general maintenance of equipment, Jammie services, etc. These costs are subject to inflation, so in order to maintain and even improve on the level of quality of services, we have to increase fees by more than the annual inflation rate,” said Price. Jeremy Rose, SRC Treasurer, accused management of continually underestimating the University’s income, which resulted in annual surpluses of up to R57 million. “If management was less


BREAKING THE BANK – Rising UCT fees were under the spotlight at a recent discussion. conservative in predicting its annual income, there wouldn’t be such an urgent need to increase student fees,” said Rose. Tinyiko Ngwenya, a postgraduate Accounting student, said that by increasing fees, management would be contradicting UCT’s mission to “promote inclusivity ... by attracting a culturally diverse community of students.” Furthermore, she warned that a hike in fees would drive away prospective students by forcing them to seek cheaper alternatives elsewhere. Price said that UCT’s Financial Aid Package was designed to accommodate students who lack the resources to pay for their studies.

The package allowed students to pursue a degree and only worry about repayment once they gain fulltime employment. One student, disgusted at the exorbitantly high student fees, said that he failed to see value for his money. Referring to poor residence facilities, he said an increase in fees should reflect an improvement in the conditions on and around campus. Price urged students to become more vocal and to make use of SRC structures to voice their concerns. Alex Spoor, SRC Deputy Secretary-General, suggested that

What’s the fuss about the Higgs Boson?

Supercare tug of war rages on

Mu’Attham Carlie

Michelle October

The Higgs Boson lecture hosted by UCT’s Faculty of Science proved to be a major hit at UCT in recent weeks, with the initial one talk being extended to two at popular demand. The talks were attended by UCT students and staff, as well as interested parties external to the university. The first talk was held on Thursday, September 6th, and the second on Monday, September 10th, with Kramer Lecture Theatre 1 was filled to capacity both times. Renowned scientist and UCT lecturer Dr Andrew Hamilton spoke at the event and discussed the potential scientific breakthrough that cost several billion euros in research with the excited audience. The talk centred around the slogan, “What’s all the fuss about?”. However, the informalities stopped there, as Hamilton had to do his best to explain the academically challenging content in simpler terms. Hamilton elaborated by explaining that the goal of finding the Higgs Boson was to deepen

A meeting was held on Friday September 14th by the Supercare Workers Forum, attended by UCT officials Supercare workers. The meeting was called by Supercare to receive a response from UCT with regards to a wage dispute that has taken six years to be resolved. The main issue discussed was an increase in Supercare staff hours, which went from 40 hours in 2006 to 45 hours in 2008. As acknowledged by Supercare management and staff and UCT management, the workers are yet to receive payment for the extra five hours worked over the three-year period. UCT Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof. Thandabantu Nhlapo addressed the workers, reading from a legal opinion regarding the wage dispute. Nhlapo, quoting the document, said that “the workers are entitled to claim an amount … for hours worked more than 40 hours.” Furthermore, the document states that the Supercare workers are entitled to the pay at overtime rates. However, according to the Prescription Act, the amount of time during which the workers could claim for the money has passed, so the claim has died. Nhlapo emphasised that this does not mean that the workers could no longer claim for the money, saying that “even if the claim has died, the rights of the workers to claim has not died”. Nhlapo also added that this matter could be pursued through

industrial action, in addition to alternative avenues. Following the UCT response, questions were opened to the floor. Questions raised were not just from Supercare workers, but from interested parties such as the Student Workers Forum and the National Education Health & Allied Workers Forum (NEHAWU). A NEHAWU member proposed the application of a strike certificate, allowing workers to down tools unexpectedly. He also pointed out to the workers that, should the Supercare workers seek further legal action, they would lack the financial backing of such a venture. Prof. Jonathan Grosman of the Workers Forum pegged the blame of the wage dispute to both UCT and Supercare management for the lack of accountability in paying their workers, saying, “In 2006, Council knew about the 5-hour increase, and they did nothing … UCT hides behind Supercare, just as Supercare hides behind UCT”. A list tallying no less than 28 problems, from the wage dispute, to maternity leave problems, to racism in the workplace, has been drawn up.

management follow a longer-term approach when structuring fees. Critiquing the price of university education, he argued that all qualifying students should be exempt from paying fees. Price responded that free education would ultimately be to the detriment of the poor, as government would have to increase VAT in order to afford higher subsidies. He said the current fees system, which charges more for the wealthy and less for the poor, was an effective mechanism for redistributing the burden of financing.

our understanding of what nature is, essentially trying to answer the question “what are we made of?” Scientists have been speculating the existence of this elusive particle for 50 years. Proof of the Higgs Boson particle is what is needed to complete that pivotal standard model equation that explains almost all of the workings of the universe by means of the forces of nature. Sheridan Grobler, a secondyear BSocSc student, said the lecture “shed some particularly interesting light on a topic that is extremely relevant, and one that I found to be rather confusing ... up until this point. A fundamental understanding of the forces of nature was provided”. One of the biggest challenges for physics, noted Hamilton, is how to unify gravity with the forces of nature. Thus, the Higgs Boson can provide a basic understanding, but not a complete one. When asked to summarise “the fuss” in layman terms, Dr Hamilton said: “It [the Higgs Boson] confirms our understanding of the standard model, which confirms our understanding of nature excluding gravity”.

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v71 e10 - 18 September 2012


SRC Interrogations continue on Upper Campus Pasqua Heard


ore than 50 students attended the Question and Answer forum for the SRC candidates last Thursday. The key issues addressed by many of the candidates included solving the security issues on campus as well as the bettering of basic services, residences (including the new Obz Square residence), transportation and UCT’s admission policy. Michael Moss, chair of the forum, announced changes to the SRC Campaign Week Programme, after the withdrawal of Zaakiyah Abrahams from the SRC elections. Approximately 14 students were given the opportunity to ask questions. Like most other SRC Question and Answer forums which took place during meridian from September 10th–14th, each candidate had 30 seconds to present themselves to the floor and 30 seconds to answer

Image: questions. Only UCT students were allowed to ask questions and they too had only 30 seconds to question parties or particular candidates. One question posed to a DASO candidate was how the SRC candidates would be able to deal with issues in residences if they were day students. To this, the member

Current Residences Co-ordinator, claims that he found the forum “malicious, interrogatory and hostile”

replied, “We do not need to be in residence to have the students’ best interests at heart.” Another question was why SASCO seems to feel animosity to working with UCT management, as it is sometimes necessary to work with management for funding and for the resolution of some issues.

To this, a SASCO candidate replied that he is not against working with management, as long as the affiliation with management does not lead to compromising students’ needs. A student present expressed her grievances regarding the chairing of the forum and a claim made by DASO. Khanya Funde, a secondyear BSocSci student said, “The chair was not able to chair properly. Also, DASO lied about attaining the meal voucher increase last year. I am on the Food Council and I know that it was the Food Rep who attained the meal voucher increase. It is unfair for us who have been working hard for it.” James Laird-Smith, the current SRC Residences Co-ordinator, claims that he found the forum “malicious, interrogatory and hostile.” “In general the election process can be valuable for candidates and students, but when people use it to attack each other then it loses its efficacy,” said Laird-Smith.

Poverty: how do we deal with it? Sandile Lawrence Tshabalala & Sajjad Karamsi


pproximately 500 delegates from around the world gathered for the closing plenary session of the Strategies to Overcome Poverty and Inequality Conference. Dubbed “Towards Carnegie III”, the conference proceedings were held at the Leslie Social Science buiding from September 3rd to 7th. The conference’s closing session featured Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Professor Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, and Conference Co-ordinator Professor Francis Wilson from UCT. The conference was aimed at finding new ways of considering poverty and inequality, focusing less on describing the problems, and more on practical strategies to overcome these issues. Initiated by the Ministry of National Planning in line with the

National Development Plan and Vision 2030, the conference featured academics, NGOs and bureaucrats from a variety of disciplines.

“As South Africans, we need to learn from our successes, the simple things must be done well” In his speech at the closing session Professor Jonathan Jansen said “As South Africans, we need to learn from our successes; the simple things must be done well,” referring to our deteriorating education system. He laid emphasis on the point that education is the best possible response to South Africa’s underdevelopment, poverty and inequity. Research in higher education institutions must be closer to the challenges of today’s society. In

relation to the burning issue of accountability, Jansen stressed the importance of ordinary citizens also being accountable for their actions rather than constantly pointing fingers at the accountability of government officials. Deputy President Motlanthe delivered an informative speech addressing the empowerment of citizens through new forms of knowledge and building trust between leaders and constituencies. He also touched on the vital role of higher education institutions in shaping South Africa’s growth and development; he emphasised the need for civil society to engage in restructuring and reconstructing poverty- and inequality policies for the betterment of all. Also present at the closing session, Minister for National Planning Trevor Manuel participated during the informal dialogue session, making the statement, “we know about it, we face it, but what we need now is to know how to deal with it,”

Image: regarding the matter of poverty. Manuel pointed out that South Africans need to be involved as active citizens in social cohesion networks. He explained that South Africans need to redesign the framework for accountability between the government and the people. The session was concluded by Professor Wilson. In asking the question, “where do we go from here?”, he called upon the

representatives from the 19 national universities present to strengthen partnerships and collaborations in research and innovation in the areas of poverty, sustainable development and addressing inequality. Wilson was overwhelmed that, for the first time, it was possible for academic institutions to work in conjuction with the government in addressing these challenging issues.



v71 e10 – 18 September 2012


Stephanie Venter

En Pointe

Lyndall Thwaits, Deputy Editor

How does that make you feel?


To lead, or not to lead...

n a recent interview, I was asked which South African leaders I admired the most. My answer, sadly, did not come from the elected leaders of the country, the people representing sunny South Africa overseas – those tasked with little other than leading the country. How great it would have been to declare the President of South Africa, or another such highup public figure my hero, but to have done so would have been a blatant lie. South Africa has a lack of effective, admirable, strategic leadership from its elected leaders, and there is little future hope for such on the horizon. Enter Julius Malema, stage right (potentially brandishing a high court injunction). Though not elected to national office, the firebrand youth leader’s politics appear to be gaining traction nationally – in part, I believe, because he has made his politics clear. Say what you would about Malema, his lifestyle, his beliefs and his politics – no other leader at present is doing as good a job telling the country what he(/ she) stands for. Julius Malema: economic freedom in this lifetime. Not only are Malema’s aims crystal clear, his goals for achieving this (arguments about whether they will work aside) have never been more obvious: step 1, nationalise the mines;

Caterina Aldera Managing Editor

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” —Christopher robin


Tuesday, September 18th, 1pm, LS1C

Telephone: 021-650 3543

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Then there’s the element of surprise when fellow editors hand me their special neurological disorder on a platter to admire (synaesthesia is the latest of these). Somehow I’ve found myself in the midst of an abundant site of learning and imparting knowledge, I am indebted to the VARSITY team for the laughs and the tears. Even though every good resident psychologist knows that analysing the people around you is a big nono (unless you’re aiming to drive yourself crazy), sorry guys, couldn’t help myself.

Rhynhardt Krynauw, Copy Editor

Old dogs, new tricks So this weekend, I officially became old. But like proper old. Well, not on a cosmic scale, of course, but certainly in a still-studying-whileyour-friends-own-homes-and-havekids kind of way. The big three-oh. Now, I’m not complaining. Constantly being surrounded by significantly younger people does afford one certain insights that would otherwise have been unavailable. Another upside, and often downfall, is the social aspect. A:


girls look fantastic. B: dates are cheap. C: economically impossible drinks specials. The best thing, in my opinion, about everyone around me being ‘kids,’ is that every day, in some little way, I am surprised and impressed. If I had been as mature, smart and responsible as a lot of you guys and girls when I was your age (or even now), I would have been very, very proud of myself. Good work.

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Letters to the editor

A Model for Sustainable Student Governance The excitement, panic and chaos that accompany the annual SRC elections at UCT prompt the student body to engage with their hopes and expectations for their newly elected representatives. The same issues seem to rehash themselves year after year. This is not always the fault of the previous SRC, although it can be. It may be, in part, a systemic shortcoming. As many students will be aware, the procedure that determines the portfolios held by the representatives we elect is entirely out of our hands. It is the outcome of behind-the-scenes lobbying and backstabbing. Non-executive positions (i.e. not the president, secretary general, etc.) are treated as undesirable; with the ‘losers’ relegated to occupy them. This often results in SRC portfolios being filled by students who are

2012 Collective


step 2, nationalise something else (most likely). If only “nationalise, baby, nationalise” were as catchy as “drill, baby, drill”, Malema’s path to power would be smooth. Okay, Malema’s plan is not perfect. Naturally, many are sceptical of the government’s ability to run a successful mining industry alone (think of Eskom; the SABC), but this fact does not change the inordinate amount of support Malema garners wherever he goes. What does President Jacob Zuma stand for, in contrast? The President is often described as a man true to his cultural roots. But, apart from culture (which has its own definition problems), what else does the average South African know abut their president? The last thing I can recall the President taking a firm stance on was Brett Murray’s controversial painting, The Spear, and this stance was becuase of the personal insult the President perceived. Never has the lack of leadership been more obvious than in the Marikana shootings and its aftermath. While Malema rallies supporters, the President has sent the army into the area to “keep the peace”. On the whole, the entire situation is spinning out of control. In the absence of solid leadership from our elected officeholders, we can, of course, look elsewhere. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, is one of the most outspoken advocates of improving the SA education system. Desmond Tutu represents a higher moral ground, missing since the retirement of Nelson Mandela. A personal favourite, Ferial Haffajee, argues tirelessly for both fearless journalism and freedom of expression. So step up, leaders of South Africa. Until you do, Malema’s calls for nationalisation will drown out any other potential leadership in the country. Enjoy the sunshine. S

There are advantages to studying neuropsychology in the VARSITY office. As the resident ‘psychologist’, I’m in charge of the sanity of my fellow editors. Ensuring that the psychopathic tendencies exposed by online personality tests are quickly dismissed before an unsettling feeling sets in. Then there’s the fun part where I get to explain why adolescents make stupid decisions (blame the not-yetfully-functional prefrontal cortex), why phantom limbs exist and how the world is actually upside down in ‘real’ life.

uninterested and unfamiliar with their duties. For example, at present there is no dedicated environmental portfolio. The responsibility for this treated as an afterthought, decided upon annually amongst the SRC members. As a result there is limited capacity for UCT’s sustainability commitments to be furthered at an institutional level because the individual often is unequipped and there is a lack of continuity. The potential progress that nonexecutive portfolios could make is ultimately hindered. It is in an effort to ensure improved institutional performance that we believe the election process for the coordinators for Societies, Residences, Day Students, and Sports should be constituency-based. This means that the representatives of these portfolios would be elected within the relevant sectors, based on

their experience and skills. This would assist in ensuring more efficacy in these positions since representatives would achieve their post by volunteering their services and would be qualified for the position. In an effort to encourage sustainable leadership and institutional development we encourage the incoming SRC to consider our proposal or alternative ways to ensure meritbased portfolio allocations. This is a long process which relies on support from the top-decision makers. We further encourage the student body to make submissions which may encourage sustainable and progressive governance. It is only through an engaged process that we can effect change. The Green Campus Initiative (GCI), UCT

editor-in-chief Stephanie Venter deputy editor Lyndall Thwaits Copy Editor Rhynhardt Krynauw Managing Editor Caterina Aldera news Olivia Wainwright & Mu’Attham Carlie opinions Berndt Hannweg & Nick Corbett features Anade Situma sportS Sajjad Karamsi & Nicole Beale images Uwais Razack & Thabang Serumola Design Nic Botha web Chris Linegar & Alex Nagel advertising Kaede Wildschut Finance Andrew Montandon OPERATIONS Jodi Edmunds marketing Andrzej Ogonowski human resources Tanyaradzwa Dzumbunu & Lydia Shilla I.T. Mfundo Mbambo sub-editors Shannon Holcroft, Jessica Sapsford, Laurie Scarborough & Theresa Scott Centrespread assistant Zarmeen Ghoor Design Assistant Julien Speyer HEAD PHOTOGRAPHER Michael Currin Cartoonist Julian Nkuna photographer Elelwani Netshifhire


v71 e10 – 18 September 2012

Burnt Toast


Berndt Hannweg

Opinions Editor

A Nation of Accountants



Dangerous games Uthman Quick


fter the controversy surrounding Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the London Olympics, it appears that the organisers have gone further. In what seems like some sort of sick joke, one of the main sponsors of the Paralympics is the French company Atos, a company despised by thousands of disabled people in the UK. The issue is no laughing matter, of course. Atos, the second-largest IT services company in Europe, is paid over R1 billion per annum to assess whether disabled people in the UK should continue receiving grants or are deemed fit to work. Assessments are carried out by a team of doctors and physiotherapists using surveys – with questions like “do you look after your own pets?” – instead of looking at a person’s medical history as a judge of whether they can work or not, an idea which

is absurd to say the least. How would one judge whether the Paralympians themselves are disabled or not? “Can you swim?” “Yes.” “Well, then you can apply for a job as a life guard.”

Assessments are carried out by a team of doctors and physiotherapists using surveys The London Organising Committee (LOCOG) does not seem to see a contradiction. They defended the controversial sponsorship deal, based on the technicality that Atos had already sponsored the Olympic Games and therefore automatically sponsors the Paralympics and because, well, they need the money. Asked by journalists why a company despised by so many disabled people had been allowed

to associate with the Games, Jackie Brock-Doyle of LOGSOC said, “Without the sponsors, there would be no Games”. However, many disabled people reject the notion that they need Atos’ funding to hold successful games. The controversy does give activists who have been protesting against Atos for years the opportunity to draw attention to the issue. Atos might be a sponsor of the games, but this issue is drawing mostly negative press. The athletes, on the other hand, have been put in a difficult position. Do they join the protest against Atos while participating in Games made possible in part by the very same company? In the end, it would seem counterproductive to allow this controversy to ruin what is a very special and exceptional opportunity for disabled people to gain recognition.

ONLINE POLL This week’s poll The anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims” is: • legitimate free speech, • hateful bigotry, or • designed to cause a sensation

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The trade unions need to work out their differences


31% 34% The government should have intervened sooner

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his September vac, I was fortunate enough to get a job as a media intern at the snappilytitled Conference on Strategies to Overcome Poverty and Inequality. Fortunately, saner heads at the conference prevailed, and it was billed as “Towards Carnegie III.” The various Carnegie initiatives in South Africa began in 1928 with a commission to investigate what might be done to solve the “poor white” problem. It returned in the early 1980’s to solve the much more pressing“poor black” problem. And now, South Africa faces its own massive crises: massive unemployment, a failing infrastructure and a growing chasm (far too large to be called a gap) between the haves and the have-nots on either side of the racial divide. To deal with these and other issues, President Zuma created the National Planning Commission, to be headed up by former Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel. The NPC in turn came up with the National Development Plan, a road map of sorts, highlighting key areas that the country needed to focus on to improve the situation. In order to save you the time of having to sit through the five days of scientific papers, multidisciplinary panels and case studies, allow me to summarise for you. We know an awful lot about poverty. South Africa, as a result of its almost schizoid class structure, has a vast number of different poverty situations for scientists to study, and a large sea of educated scientists to study said situations. But if we know so much about

it, why is so little being done? Or more accurately, why is so little working? There were two main themes I took away from the conference. The first was that while there are countless laws, initiatives, drives, NGOs, NPOs and the like, some appear to be working at a remove from reality, and almost all appear to be working alone, instead of in concert. So we have situations where government attempts to encourage informal trading in informal settlements by applying harsh, bureaucratic law no spaza-owning gogo will understand, or where two like-minded charities do the same work in the same types of communities, but never think to work together more efficiently. The second theme, and perhaps the strongest, was accountability. And no, it’s not quite what you thought it would be. I am referring to the accountability of citizens. You and I. And our responsibility to hold not just our government accountable, but everyone from ministers through corporations, teachers and policemen. Trevor Manuel gave the example of the Limpopo textbooks. Yes, the Education Department and all its drones screwed up massively. But why did no teachers, no parents raise the alarm, and once raised, carry on beating their councillors over the head until the problem was sorted? Why did it take Section 27, a court order and a wave of negative publicity to accomplish such a simple task? So become an accountant. Harry those in charge to fix all the things they said they would and to perform their duties. From your landlord to that useless cashier at Checkers, from your SRC to your Parliament, and even your student paper, make sure that those in positions of power are aware that you are watching them closely, and that you will hold them accountable for their action or, indeed, inaction. Or else all we may be left with is a nation bankrupt in every way.



v71 e10 – 18 september 2012

Africanising UCT Beverly Ochieng’ Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s statement suggesting that university students take up an African language as a graduation requirement has stirred some up controversy. In isiZulu, Nzimande states that “We can’t be expected to learn English and Afrikaans, yet they don’t learn our languages”. Nevertheless, an appreciation of the way in which South Africa’s recent history has played a significant role in the development of the English language within its various communities is necessary. The problem he seeks to solve is essentially at a grassroots level. While it is essential that we have an appreciation of our languages, bridging the gap would take more than compelling university students to take up an African language; it would require a restructuring of the education system from the bottom up. Perhaps the approach Nzimande should take is to place these stipulations in the education system. Curriculums may be designed in local dialects to bridge the gap between concept and understanding. Countries such as Germany, China and Tanzania teach school subjects in their indigenous languages while managing to

maintain good levels of literacy. Similarly, those in the teaching profession should possess a similar qualification, as they interact directly with pupils and should be able to communicate better in both basic and complex concepts with such knowledge. English could be taught as a second language to focus on an increase in critical language awareness, literacy and cognition. Furthermore, acquiring knowledge of English in this manner makes the transition to a higher learning institution where English is the medium of instruction much easier on students, while simultaneously giving them a sense of global belonging. The University of Limpopo has taken great strides in introducing a BA in Contemporary English and Multi-Lingual Language Studies, the latter of which is taught and assessed in Sepedi, to increase an appreciation of both languages and illustrate that local languages are not inferior. Considering how French, Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese and Afrikaans are taught as second languages in primary or high school to provide pupils with enough proficiency to make them nationalised or global citizens, it is only logical for the same approach to be taken with English in rural schools.

Disclaimer The VARSITY Opinions section is a vehicle for expression on any topic by members of the university community or other interested parties. The opinions within this section are not necessarily those of the VARSITY Collective or its advertisers. Letters to the Editor need to be kept to a maximum of 300 words and can be sent to:

Cheaters, catalysts and concerns Quentin Coetzee


sn’t the world of sports and competitive events great? You get to play or watch something you really enjoy and compete against others who share your passion. Best of all, if you really want to win, you can bend or break the rules like Neo from the Matrix. It isn’t even restricted to sports; it can be in business, politics or even education. One latest rule breaker is someone in America who was caught cheating in a professional Scrabble tournament. The cheater in the Scrabble tournament reportedly concealed a pair of blank tiles on the floor. But why do people cheat? Yes, there is always the risk of discovery and disqualification, which by extension cuts you off from the very prize you are attempting to acquire, but for some reason, that fails to dissuade people. Yes, there is the monetary gain if people get away with cheating, but why else do people take the risk? Well, for one thing, cheating can give you an advantage – maybe even “break” the game. However, if you are new to what seems like a very complicated game to you, one or two little slip-ups could possibly be forgiven. But the American Scrabble player was competing in a professional

tournament. Therefore he should have known exactly how to play. Unless he was suddenly suffering from amnesia, of course.

if you really want to win, you can risk bending or breaking the rules Otherwise, the only other motivation to cheat aside from monetary gain is by having a good feeling about it, according to an article on Forbes. Some studies showed that many people who cheat don’t feel particularly guilty about it. They actually take away a sense of accomplishment for successfully pulling off the cheat/scam, like some of our local politicians. I hope these people don’t get away with cheating, but nowadays it just feels like too much to ask. Cheating is nowhere near a recent problem. It has been going on for

years and years. The 1919 World Series was purposely lost by the Chicago White Sox for $100 000. Fred Lorz won the 1904 Olympic marathon by spending 18km of it as a passenger in a car. Mostly, though, it involves banned performance-enhancing substances. In a recent high-profile case, Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong was stripped of his titles stretching back to 1998 and banned from competitive cycling for the rest of his life. This was a result of his decision to seize his fight against allegations of taking banned substances So, cheating is quite prevalent in society. People like feeling good about getting what they want, apparently not caring about how they get it and having no problem about taking the easy way out. We could be looking at a dystopian future involving woefully inexperienced failures occupying important positions. Yes, the “right” path of working to succeed is harder, but easier doesn’t always mean better.

A protest for sanity Rushin Jansen


urnt tyres. Charred houses and schools. Trashed and vandalised streets. Scenes reminiscent of a battlefield that makes the riots in Greece look like child’s play. Cape Town, in case you’ve missed it, has been ravaged over the past few weeks by a spate of intense service delivery protests. Among the carnage seen, and what is perhaps most disturbing, is the violence accompanying these protests, with 32 dead in the Marikana shootings, and many more injured (not to mention the widows and orphans left behind in the wake of the senseless and primordial “dispute resolutions”), one cannot help but ponder whether South Africans have regressed. Though it’s a far cry from Apartheid, it is echoed by images of the streets stained with black soot and blood. Protests in their entirety are violent affairs in South Africa, and satirists would go as far as to say that it would not classify as a demonstration in good old SA if some sort of scandal or violence did not ensue. It can be said that the mass systems of egoism, ossification and oppression which once stood so strong in the face of the mightiest winds were overthrown by the resolute efforts of masses of oppressed men, yes, but they were overtly replaced by individualistic


systems of egoism, ossification and oppression, in the minds and souls of those same oppressed men. Has the dawn of a newfound democracy in the wake of oppression caused within many South Africans a sense of entitlement?

Scenes reminiscent of a battlefield, making the riots in Greece look like child’s play I cannot help but think that, although those who embark on protests are well within their rights to do so, something must be fundamentally unhinged in the mindset of South Africans to be able justify the destruction of community and government property as a means of obtaining better service. Such a line of thought is simply counter-productive, and they must agree it is

somewhat contradictory to their desired outcomes. Similarly, school children have been banned by communities from attending class in an attempt to force local government to provide better education. Whether or not the education provided is below par, it is unreservedly inconsequential in the face of the conscious decision to deprive many learners the right to education for a matter of months. In addition, the role of a government, which is to govern, and is by no means a Sherlock-worthy deduction – is defined by The Oxford English Dictionary as, “to influence, determine, or guide something” – it is not, however, to cater to every waking whim of its people. That being said – and to steer clear of generalisation – there are those who try everything within their power to better their own situation. To those people, I salute you. We can only hope that eventually South Africans will see that their means will never justify their ends.


v71 e10 – 18 september 2012


Why bother with lectures? Katy Scott

vital hints about exams, assignments and tests. This could be a direct result of students becoming less drawn to the ‘human element’ of lectures. Perhaps this is symptomatic of our generation of socially-inept, squareeyed beings. It has been established that a student’s performance is influenced by engagement rather than attendance per se, and if this ‘engagement’ is of equal standard online as it is offline, then it seems completely logical for students to employ whichever tools work for them. However, the lecture experience is more interpersonal and ‘alive’ than any experience offered by a web resource. Lecture slides, over and above predisposing students to procrastination, do not fully capture lecture content, can be misleading and are often unreliable. Live lectures provide students with nonverbal cues which enable deeper understanding. After all, a ‘you-had-to-bethere’ moment where a professor is jumping wildly about to expand on a point will serve as a humorously helpful memory aid for exams. If you are there, that is.


n today’s borderless, technologically advanced world, obtaining a degree is possible without ever setting foot in a lecture theatre. Scrolling through electronic resources, downloading lecture slides and utilising other online aids are the only instances where one needs to lift a finger. It has become increasingly evident at UCT that, with lecture slides available online, students do not feel the need to attend lectures. At one stage, a lecturer in UCT’s Centre for Film and Media Studies limited access to a lecture’s notes by giving students who attended a password for downloading the slides. A lecturer in Anthropology asked all students to write their student numbers down at the end of lectures, and personally emailed each lecture’s slides to students who had attended. Some course convenors have gone as far as sending a class register around each lecture, despite class attendance not being a DP requirement for their course. Although well-intended, it does little to curb the problem of underattended lectures. Across departments, professors

Image: have chosen to not upload certain lecture notes as a result of low lecture attendance. However, the students present protested that they wanted to use their notes in conjunction with the slides, and that such deprivation was unjust. Evidently, it is a lose-lose situation. Perhaps this phenomenon pervades our generation because of our increased reliance on the internet, a desire to be babied, and an arrogant sense of entitlement.

if one has enrolled in ‘Jammie 101’ ... concerns about getting one’s money’s worth are ill-founded Quite frankly, if you could not be bothered to attend the lecture, you should not be able to access the lecture notes online.

Alternatively, with fees as steep as those of UCT’s, it can be argued that all resources should be at students’ disposal, regardless of whether they attend or not. This being said, if one has enrolled in ‘Jammie 101’ as an alternative to coming to class, concerns about getting one’s money’s worth are ill-founded. It is highly surprising that with today’s FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) culture, students are not panicked by the thought of missing

YOUR CAREER as an NGO consultant

VARSITY speaks to tanya charles, Consultant at Sonke Gender Justice. Describe your current role at Sonke. My role at Sonke centres on research, policy analysis and writing for a variety of projects in the International Programmes Unit. What are your qualifications? MPhil. Justice and Transformation majoring in Human Rights Law. BSocSci (Honours) Social Anthropology. BA (Writing and Editing in the Media and Social Anthropology). Describe a typical working day. A typical day usually involves catching up on burning issues and concerns that have emerged in the field of gender justice and devising strategies that Sonke can use to address these. I contribute to or write press releases or articles (often needed on the same day!); attend community marches or protests or even attend Parliament to address policy makers on key issues. On quieter days, I would do desk based research and policy analysis. What student activities did you participate in during your time at UCT? Extra-curricular activities present opportunities for learning, self development and improves future work prospects. I worked as a Conference Assistant at UCT. I interacted with powerful and knowledgeable people from across the globe. A few months later, two of the people I interacted with offered me a job as a Course Leader/Supervisor for exchange students coming to SA from Old

Careers Calendar september

Dominion University in the US. I continue to provide support in this capacity, and have transformed my own network from a local to a global one, simply from volunteering at this conference. Which skills and personal qualities contribute to your success? Good communication skills are vital to the development of a successful career. No matter how many degrees you have, if you are unable to talk to people with clarity, respect and patience, your work will be challenging. Being able to write well has allowed me to serve a number of functions at Sonke which includes writing news articles for our website; generating reports for internal use or designing toolkits to provide skills to some of our colleagues in the field. It is not enough to know theory or have bright ideas if you cannot communicate them articulately. Your most significant projects? I assisted in designing a poster which was presented at the AIDS 2012 conference in Washington D.C., showcasing Sonke’s findings on the engagement of men in the prevention of HIV/AIDS across 11 African countries. This presented an opportunity for me to use the writing and research skills and apply them in a totally new and different format.

What challenges have you encountered? I am probably the worst time keeper in the world. In a professional setting, keeping clients and collegues waiting reflects badly on the whole organization, let alone your own reputation. I have learnt that time management is crucial. What advice would you give to current students? While studying can be quite taxing, you have to develop these transferable skills: writing, facilitation, interpersonal communication, presenting, monitoring and evaluation. The working world is hungry for people who possess these skills. Employers do not look favourably upon candidates who have wonderful degrees but no work experience, even if the experience is not in your chosen field.

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Jammie Steps The unofficial UCT symbol, the steps provide a striking view of Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs and beyond. On a sunny day it’s definitely the most happening place to be on campus.

It’s the top University in Africa Even if you’re on the brink of exclusion, you can always use the fact that you’re studying at the continent’s most esteemed university as an ego boost.

We’re co and we

In June, UCT was voted t university/college brand fourth year running. Du recent week-long excuse this info prompted some about what makes UCT s See if you agree.

The super long holidays With our 6-week June vac and almost 3-month end-of-year holiday, we have the longest vacations across the board. That earns those of us with friends at other universities major bragging points.

The diversity T is There’s no doubt that UCe one of the most divers y, tr universities in the coun l more because of socia e dynamics here than mer pus m demographics. Upper Cateralso brims with semes abroad students.

Jammie Shuttles

Which other university has free bus rid from a mall? Exactly.

Century-old Medical School Our Med school celebrated its centenary this year, and with it we were reminded of its many achievements: the world’s first successful heart transplant, research that led to the creation of the CAT scanner and the first ECG machine in Africa was built in the faculty.

The Dam

ool know it

Along with the trees and many grassy spots on Upper, the dam tucked away below a huge grass hill opposite the Sports Centre just adds to UCT’s natural feel. Great place to picnic when the weather’s good – who needs Kirstenbosch?

the ‘‘coolest’’ d by SA youth – for the uring our e for a vac, e deep introspection so darn awesome.

It’s the oldest university in South Africa

Third most beautiful university in the world

UCT started out as the South African College in 1829, a school for boys. It was elevated to full university status in 1918 and renamed as the University of Cape Town.

British publication The Telegraph named UCT as the third most beautiful in the world, citing our mountainous setting as “undeniably spectacular”.

des to and

Jammie Thursdays Giving you your weekly dose of excitement, Jammie Thursdays are there to entertain, give us free stuff and even showcase UCT talent.

The old buildings & vine leaves UCT has always felt like an age-old historical institution. University Avenue, with its distinct architecture and buildings swathed in vine leaves, feels like it should be the set of an epic movie.

Content: Zarmeen Ghoor Design: Zarmeen Ghoor & Nic Botha Images:, & web


v71 e10 – 18 september 2012


A neutral colour palate – chinos for him, pastels for her – will fit any dress code. A bold neon accessory will turn heads, too. All this and more at Mr & Mrs. It’s all in the accessories: give your laid-back style a punch of individuality with a bold printed cap or nerdy glasses – The Lot makes sure you won’t go unnoticed.

BlueCollarWhiteCollar makes a mid-century modern statement with blue and green checks. This could go formal or informal, it’s your choice.

It’s all about contrast: she adds a relaxed windbreaker to a body-con dress and he a printed tee to his running shorts. Supremebeing knows style in the fast lane.

Pretty bows on summer dresses in sorbet hues are just what the doctor ordered – help yourself to a strong dose of optimism from Stefania Morland. She’s rocking bold print in a matching blouse and short shorts, adding a punch of neon with a sharp necklace. He finds a fine balance by pairing a loud shirt with soft pastel shorts. This is how we roll in the Metropolis. @MetropolisKloof


v71 e10 - 18 September 2012


Green smudges on the Star-Spangled Banner? Kagiso Zwane


his year’s American presidential election has brought along a new and somewhat questionable funding strategy, which, considering the USA’s international influence, could become a regular feature of elections around the world in a matter of years. Four years ago when President Barack Obama ran for office, his campaign raised a record $750 million through direct campaign contributions. Direct contributions to presidential candidates were and still are subject to a cap of $2 500 for each round of voting. An obvious consequence of this is that many wealthy individuals who would have liked to put more money into supporting their candidate could not do so. This year, the rules are slightly different, and the impact could be extensive. This election round has seen the advent of the “Super PAC” (Political Action Committee). Super PACs, officially known as independent-expenditure-only committees, have the power to raise an unlimited amount of money for use in supporting their preferred candidate. But there’s a catch. Super PACs may not make direct campaign contributions and cannot co-ordinate with the campaign on any activities; they must be totally


independent. However, they are required to report their donors to the Federal Exchange Commission. Because of this clause we know that financial guru George Soros made a $1 million contribution to a liberal Super PAC, and that casino magnate Sheldon Anderson made a $10 million contribution to a conservative Super PAC. The Super PACs that have raised the most money are Restore our Future (pro-Romney) and Priorities USA Action (pro-Obama). To date they have raised $89 654 176 and $25 502 719 respectively. This money has

This money ($89 654 176) has been spent on flooding the airwaves with negative ads been spent on flooding the airwaves with negative ads – some of which have taken liberties with the truth – against the opposition, but that’s just the nature of the game. The most questionable characteristic of these groups is their independence from their preferred

candidate. Strictly speaking, they are independent from the people using the official logos of the candidates. Their management, fundraising and expenditure are separate from that of the people working under the official logo, but they are still a part of the campaign. The message put out by all the parties supporting person X must be consistent or they risk disaster. So, logic dictates that there has to be some sort of co-ordination. There is an easy way to get around this, though; it’s all about who actually makes the decisions. For

example, the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action is run by former White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton. Burton has worked in the White House, making it likely that he knows how the President and those around him operate and what they feel is worth fighting for. Lest we forget that co-ordination needn’t be in the shape of covert meetings and coded memos; it could simply be an official spokesperson distancing the official campaign from a Super PAC ad. Just like that, Burton gets the message, and it’s off the air. Full public disclosure and independence are integral to democracy. However, how can we discern whether the disclosure of multi-million-dollar donations can lead to conflicts of interest or to office bearers favouring the needs of the wealthy over those of the rest in an effort to get funding? The USA has experienced political scandal relating to elections before with Nixon and Watergate. Now that there are groups that are able to do anything they see fit to get their candidate into power, the question we should be asking is this: do these groups advance the right to free speech, or is it just a matter of time before another scandal threatens to erode the value of the democratic process?



v71 e10 – 18 September 2012

The think behind ink

The comeback of sneakers Tebesutfu Nkambule


Rebecca Lenahan


hree years ago, Brian (a television director from Johannesburg), then 24, had a grinning skull tattooed onto his forearm. The seemingly self-satisfied skull is upside-down so that it grins at Brian, not the world. My mum couldn’t understand why he’d done it. “What about when you’re a grandfather with a saggy, smug, upside-down face on your arm?” Brian’s response was simple: he doesn’t want to be the only man of his generation whose grandchildren have a lame grandpa without any tattoos. Brian’s skull and his attitude towards it are interesting, but do they represent a larger view towards tattoos in society today? I went in search of the heart of tattoo culture in Cape Town and I found that it was not, as I had expected, stereotypically stamped and wreathed in thorns on the aging arm of a land-lord biker in a mesh vest, nor is it a heart to be worn on your sleeve as a nostalgic emblem of a bygone moment. The heart of the Mother City’s Inkers and Inked lies in fun, in spontaneity and in Gardens (of all places).

I set out with a plan to talk to several of Cape Town’s finest artists. I quickly discovered two things about tattoo culture: one, it is mighty popular and two, tattoo artists are – on the whole – knobs. I was placed on waiting lists for appointments and in waiting rooms to see the receptionist. Sins of Style is different from the outset. Everything about it is unexpected in the most charming way. Despite the rain and despite (perhaps to spite) the quiet, suburban-feel of Hope Street, the shop is warm and alive. The shop itself is finished impeccably – not unlike the tattoos that customers leave it with. I spoke with the founder and owner, Tyler B. Murphy. To Tyler, “Tattoos are a wish to be stronger... they are a way of latching onto something permanent, a way of everlastingly redefining yourself.” When I asked how important this concept is to our generation in particular, Tyler said, “[Tattoos] represent the magic, and as you change, the magic fades and you don’t need it anymore.” Tyler holds that the permanence of tattoos allows them to act as a reminder of the magic that was – a symbol of a moment.

What about where tattoos are headed? Where is the art-form going? This question required surprisingly little thought from Mr Murphy. “Hand poke” was his answer. Handpoked tattoos originated in prisons and among sailors. They are tattoos done by hand, using a single needle and, traditionally, black or blue ink. According to Tyler, tattoos are taking a turn from the serious, symbolic nature that they have gained through television shows to the fun and spontaneous light in which – for Tyler at least – they belong. Sins of Style is one of very few tattoo parlours that offers professionally done hand-poked tattoos. Tyler believes that handpoked tattoos are at the heart of where the art form is going “We are the software developers and hand-pokers are the hackers.” It is with a grin and a nod of the head that Tyler acknowledges the selfmade style that is taking off in resrooms and parlours alike. Hand poke is a return to the origins of tattoos, a natural cycle that is completing itself with Sins of Style at the centre.

When walking past displays in sports apparel stores nowadays, one needs to brace one’s nervous system for the shock of stimuli about to be received. Blinding bright neon sneakers dancing in the air, and bold letters alerting you to the latest “footwear technology” advocated by your sports idol with a larger-thanlife grin. Indeed, the sneaker industry is so ablaze with irresistibly exciting variations and styles of footwear that the last thing the urban consumer expects to see in Sportscene is a pair of unassuming Converse Chuck Taylors. Yet they are flying off the shelves and overwhelming the uneven pavements of our campus – the statement being to pay homage to the rebirth of a classic. Converse rubber-soled shoes have been in production since the early 20th century. The revolutionary high-top style was first introduced in 1917, but the involvement of basketball player Charles H. “Chuck” Taylor, the man whose signature is immortalised on the All Star patch, did not occur until 1921. However rich the history, the brand fell into oblivion in the digital age with the vicious modernity of the likes of Nike and Adidas. Despite the company’s financial difficulties, the Converse culture – that All-American preppy look – has stood the test

5 movies better than the books Zarmeen Ghoor

all the elements present in the books and moulded them to tell an epic, multi-faceted story that is already considered a classic.

A CHild’S EduCATiOn


The TEACH Ambassador Programme places outstanding graduates in under-resourced schools to improve learner achievement in Maths, Science, English and Technology, for a minimum of two years.

Our requirements are:

• A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree • The successful completion of a full year or more of Maths, Science, English or Technology during the course of your degree

The Godfather Trilogy (1972) Based on The Godfather by Mario Puzo (1969) “One of the greatest films ever made” is a phrase often tossed around, but seldom as aptly as when referring to a Godfather movie. Francis Ford Coppola took a novel written purely as a commercial venture and transformed it into a cinematic masterpiece. The book is decent – gripping and believable – but the superb directing and fine acting bring the story to life in a way Puzo’s writing can’t compete with. The movie immortalized Vito Corleone's line “I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse”, which in the book was flat and unintimidating. And then of course, there’s the infamous Al Pacino.

Jaws (1975) Based on Jaws by Peter Benchley 2012, or must have graduated with a degree in the last five years (1974) Besides raising the bar for We are accepting non-education majors only. mainstream horror movies, Jaws also To apply please complete the online application – we do not accept CV’s made history by becoming the first Applications close on 20 September 2012 ever film to gross more than $100 million. It probably owes part of its success to the fact that it was released just a year after the book’s own FOr MOrE inFOrMATiOn, Or TO APPly FOr THE PrOgrAMME, viSiT wildly popular release. The author’s WWW.TEACHSOuTHAFriCA.Org script graciously sidestepped the novel’s Mafia- and infidelity-related

• Applicants must have successfully completed a degree by December

of time. Here in South Africa, the persevering relevance of Converse Chuck Taylors lies rather in their quality to withstand the toughest of our teenage years. “I’ve had mine since grade 10; they’re comfortable and it’s so convenient that they’re back in fashion now!”, comments Tayla, a BA student. What is the best way to wear them? General consensus is old and battered – celebrating their durability. Unfortunately, the comeback caught a lot of people unaware. The stark white pairs, which make up the ironic majority, expose the reality of the regret of previously discarded or outgrown pairs and bad investments in funkier sneakers. “The dirtier they are, the more personality [they have]. I actually feel bad that mine are brand new now, even though I used to have a pair way-back-when,” admits BA Law student Noxy. Only now is the monopoly on design which Converse Chuck Taylors have always had realised. Sneakers may be aerodynamic nowadays, but do not bear any resemblance to the minimalism of high-top canvas in original white. It seems that most UCT students express a pleasant consumer experience and memory of Converse, evidencing that it is not only a trend, but a nostalgic lament of how simple and carefree life used to be. It seems that the Converse trend cannot be labelled as jumping on the bandwagon, but rather as jumping on to the bus back home.

Image: barbieri

subplots, allowing Steven Spielberg to create a ride rife with suspense and terror (the shark didn’t look that fake in the 70s, okay). The original, definitive man-versus-monster flick. The Lords of the Rings Trilogy (2001–2003) Based on The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954–1955) Tolkien’s magnum opus and most acclaimed work inspired a flock of devotees across generations – but it isn’t actually a novel, it’s a blueprint for another world. And Peter Jackson made that world real. Everything from the sets and costumes to the music and scenery were breathtakingly fitting. More importantly, the movies opened up Middle Earth to us average folk who gave up on the books after either getting lost in the detail or language, or simply bored to death. He took

Blade Runner (1982) Based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (1968) Blade Runner is not simply better than Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It just gives life to Dick’s deserted, futuristic world with such brilliance that any sci-fi fan can’t help going weak at the knees. It also has a way cooler title. Ridley Scott created what has been termed a twohour-long “eyegasm” packed with flying cars (a novel idea in the 60s), emotionless human replicants and a neon-lit cityscape. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Based on The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (1988) The novel is considered to be Thomas Harris’ finest work, but it has undoubtedly been overshadowed by the film version. Anthony Hopkins made Hannibal Lecter his own, his quietly harrowing performance making Lecter far more daunting than he could ever be on paper. As skillful as director Jonathan Demme was, who deftly blended wit, suspense and grisliness to make The Silence of the Lambs gruesome, but not a gore-fest.


v71 e10 – 18 september 2012


Cape Town: city by city Mitch Prinsloo


e all love this city, this gleaming beacon of all that is right in the world, situated here on the very southern tip of Africa. We love its personality, its style and, above all (if I may be so presumptuous), its nightlife. A good night out needs a classical sort of meal to kick it off – hearty, warming and spiced with a great atmosphere. It needs that certain X-factor; that certain feel of the archetypal, citythat-never-sleeps attitude. It needs that New York touch. How is this accomplished, you ask? Well, do as the Manhattan crowd does: take to the city and craft something simple with enough care to make it sublimely elegant. In this case, the craft could be no more Big Apple than gourmet burgers and beer. Hudsons – The Burger Joint Hudsons is the ultimate burger eatery – branched, sumptuous and in all the right areas of town. From classic snack plate starters, to a long list of burgers, to their fine selection of local craft brews, to their milkshakes with a sting in the tail, Hudsons serves nothing but the finest local cuts and capers. Expect to enter a warm, dusky, wooded atmosphere with a welcoming gleam of a bar, and leather-clad booths that will make the experience feel like something you walk into off 5th Avenue. Queen, Hendrix, Cash, Metallica and Idol are but a few names you can expect to hear on their customer-driven soundtrack. Not bad. Not bad at all. Where? Branches are located in Claremont, Kloof Street (near Hiddingh Campus) and Green Point. Hours? 11am–midnight Expect to pay: R40–100+ This reporter’s Consumption Advice: ‘The Original Royale’ with a side of Hudsons Pale Ale, and possibly a sneaky roasted banana milkshake. Royale Eatery If Hudsons was the classic, then this is the upstart. It has sensibilities based in old-world charm, but these

are buried so far beneath fresh ideas and a touch of indie sensibility that you may be forgiven for not even noticing. The venue itself is the perfect blend of comfort, kitsch and bundles of style. It is also in possession of what must be the most efficient and talented burger chef(s) working in the industry today. The burgers are scrumptious, the milkshakes come in litre-large metal canisters, and the beer flows like, well, wine. Also, the storybook menu is one of the best paper concepts I have encountered. It oozes good vibes and boasts one of Cape Town’s best night spots right above its head in the shape of The Waiting Room. What’s not to like? Where? Single venue located at the top of Long Street (273). Hours? Noon–11.30pm, Monday to Saturday. Expect to pay: R80–150 This reporter’s Consumption Advice: The ‘Uncle Morris’ (250g beef patty with bacon, cheddar, tomato sauce and iceberg lettuce – the classic NY burger), a pint of Citizen Alliance, then a classic shake or a custom-built sundae. &Union &Union is the tangible base of the legendary craft beer company Brewers & Union. It is an enthralling mashup of beer garden and restaurant that manages to instantly put a smile on your face. Its selection of food may be limited, but it is created in an oh-so-delicious manner and with as much care as goes into the beer. From lamb on the spit to sourdough cheeseburgers, this establishment injects dollops of local flair into a very international setup. Their nocover live music throw-downs are always utterly magical, and have seen names like Gangs of Ballet, Wild Eastern Arches and Tailor pass through recently. Welcoming and serving some of Cape Town’s best brews, this location is a must see. Where? 110 Bree Street. Hours? 3pm–midnight, Tuesday to Saturday. Expect to Pay: R60–100+ This reporter’s Consumption Advice: ‘Bucket ‘O Love’; 3×500ml or 4×330ml of the finest beer available. Food (somewhat) optional.



FOODIES OF NOTE – &Union (above); Hudsons (top right); Royale (bottom right, bottom left)


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Best in class. And outside of class.

sport Sports Shorts Robert Byrne & Kabelo Mafiri Rugby

UCT’s Rugby side was unable to get one over the old enemy, going down 36–21 in front of a lively crowd on the Green Mile. The return of Intervarsity saw an opportunity for the Ikeys to wrestle back some pride in a season that has failed to reach the heights of 2011. Despite an early try from Mark Winter and two penalties converted by flyhalf Ross Jones Davies, the Ikeys’ early lead quickly subsided as a Gary van Aswegen-inspired Stellenbosch pulled two tries back, taking a 15–13 lead at the half time. With the score balanced at 21–22, it was Stellenbosch who dug deep towards the latter stages, with lock Reniel Hugo going over to extend their lead. This was followed by a late try from Morgan Newman, sealing a 36–21 victory for Maties. UCT captain Nic Rosslee praised Stellenbosch’s performance, adding, “It was a game of rugby played how it ought to be played, a fierce match with a lot of passion and hunger on display, which the world’s most capped international referee, Jonathan Kaplan, was well equipped to handle.”

Water Polo

Intervarsity water polo made a return at SACS’ “Bull Ring” after a year-long absence. It was the first time in five years that UCT hosted


VARSITY’s round-up of the Intervarsity Weekend the event, and they got off to a blistering start, with the third team winning 15–5. The Maties second team dominated in their pool while the women’s clash proved to be full of drama. UCT clawed their way back to 5–5 before conceding a longrange goal in the dying seconds to hand the visitors a 6–5 victory. The growing crowd then witnessed a tense encounter between the men’s first sides. A tightly contested first half left the scoreboard reading 8–8, with UCT nudging their way to a 11–9 lead early into the second half. Despite the Maties’ best efforts, UCT managed to hold off waves of attacks resulting in a high-scoring 14–12 win. Doubling up as a league game, UCT’s victory places them in second place in the Men’s 1st Division.


UCT Cycling Club had the numerical advantage over Stellenbosch during their hill climb time trial from Rawson Property on Main Road to Rhodes Memorial. 11 UCT riders competed against an all-male Stellenbosch trio, travailing the steep course and coming out as 27–25 winners. The visitors, however, managed to record the fastest individual time.


While inclement weather kept the Maties away, UCT Athletics Club decided to brave the soggy fields and continue with the road-race relay Intervarsity event. This reaped dividends, as they managed two

new records in the 4x1.25km event. The men’s team of Edwin Mooney, Tom Niven, Michael Mclaggen and Shabalala Phumlani clocked an impressive 16:31, while the fastest female time was a combined 22:05. Several athletes, including fastest woman Kelly Hess, completed a duathlon on the day, being part of UCT’s successful cycling team and competing in the athletics race.


The UCT Women’s Soccer team were comprehensively beaten 6–1 by their Stellenbosch counterparts, despite defeating their rivals 3–2 earlier in the week to qualify for the National Championships. Julia Casar got the solitary goal for UCT with a close range effort. In the men’s game, a high-tempo encounter ended in a 0–0 draw. The sparse and dampened spectators didn’t have a great amount to cheer for, with UCT’s best chance falling to lone striker Wisey Namaseb, who fired wide after he was put clear through on goal. While Maties managed to force two good saves from UCT’s Seth Thompson, the UCT backline looked solid with centre-backs Anthony Cawood and Dustin Holohan dominating in the air. Both sides were unable to capitalise on the few chances created.

Image: michael. INTERVARSITY RETURNS – The Intervarsity Weekend saw most UCT sports clubs face off against their Maties counterparts, including rugby and athletics. The winning team in the athletics men’s event is shown below.

With contributions from Nicholas Walker, Nic Rosslee, Matthew Henshall, Will Tipping-Woods & Brendon van Niekerk

UCT Maverick impresses at Lipton Cup Neil Malan & Sajjad Karamsi

Image: Matthew Henshall

Driven past Point

Sajjad Karamsi Sports Editor

XX Sports


CT finished in third place overall at the annual Lipton Cup Challenge, only behind Royal Natal and Royal Cape Yacht Clubs. This is the best result ever achieved in the Lipton Cup by an all-student team. The UCT team, comprising Brevan Thompson, Neil Malan, Chris Gough, Ryan Black, Angie Haig and Oliver Hobson, share four top-ten finishes at the World Youth Championships, and numerous national titles. Hobson, the UCT bowman, has sailed in the last 8 Lipton Cup Challenges for UCT. The team spent much of winter preparing UCT Maverick, the team’s yacht, and training near Simon’s Town. This, coupled with a fresh suit of sails courtesy of new sponsor, Southern Charter Investment Management, saw the team stand out at the Western Province

v71 e10 – 18 september 2012

Image: Sebastian Thompson

AHOY – The UCT Yacht Club (above) finished 3rd in the annual Lipton Cup Challenge, the most prestigious sailing event in South Africa. championships as one of the fastest teams to watch. A poor start and early jitters at the Lipton Cup resulted in a horrible first race for the team, with UCT finishing in 11th place on Day 1. The next day, however, saw the beginning of a remarkable comeback as UCT won the square course. With UCT ranked 4th, 2nd, and 5th over the next three days, they were ranked 3rd overall, but had the potential to finish as winners of the event. Going into the last day of the event, all top 5 teams had a chance to walk away with the wind and win the competition. Light conditions greeted the fleet and they

were kept off Simon’s Town for hours waiting for a breath of wind. Eventually, a race was started in the early afternoon, and UCT found a great streak of wind up the left hand side of the course to lead the fleet approaching the top mark. At this stage, with event leaders Royal Natal Yacht Club and Royal Cape Yacht Club coming way down the fleet, UCT was in the overall lead of the event. Nonetheless, luck was not on their side, and the race was abandoned. A few boats had gone inshore, drifting into no wind, resulting in the race being called off due to poor wind conditions.

The recent launch of a women’s cricket team at UCT got me thinking: why don’t we see more women play sport at UCT? Why do we only see a sprinkling of women playing social sport on the weekend? Why do female residences participate mainly in netball leagues only? (Often with a less-than-satisfactory turnout.) The infrastructure exists. Many sportswomen at UCT participate at a provincial or national level. A few have even played at international level. Besides keeping you fit and healthy, sport builds lasting fraternal (in this case sororal) bonds. It creates a sense of unity and helps in breaking down cultural, class and racial barriers, which might be pretty useful at UCT. (Also, playing competitive sport looks great on a CV.) Ladies – start gradually! Go for a short run once or twice a week around the Woolsack or Rhodes Recreation Fields. Join one of the many clubs at UCT and attend their weekly training or social sport sessions. Convince your friends and roommates to come along. And don’t say that it’s not in your culture to play sport. That’s insulting to both your culture and our intelligence. Women at UCT face the same

academic and time constraints men do. They live in similar residences, and do the same courses. They have the same access to sports resources. Play sport, ladies – you’ll love it. *** It’s residence formal season again, that time of year when residences at UCT compete in who can present the most ostentatious and hedonistic event. With ticket prices often costing up to R400, the formals are often priced out of the reach of a lot of students. (The costs often go much higher, with students having to dress up for the occasion.) These formals represent the class disparities that are invading UCT. They exclude those who cannot afford them, and those who feel uncomfortable in such social settings – often a sizeable proportion of residence students. Quo vadis, UCT?


For Intervarsity results, check the VARSITY website:

Boat Race success in Port Alfred ROWED TO VICTORY: The UCT Rowing Club competed in the Mutual & Federal Universities Boat Race from September 13th to 15th held on the Kowie River in Port Alfred. The club returned with stunning results and every crew that entered managing a podium finish. The Men’s B- and C-crews both topped their divisions while the A-crew finished a close second behind Tuks. Both Women’s A & B crews beat UJ in the bronze medal race to finish third in their respective divisions. These results saw the UCT Rowing Club win the season trophy for being the Best Overall Rowing Club in 2011/12. RiIGHT: The UCT Men’s Eights row to a respectable second place, behind the University of Pretoria. The Tuks crew included John Smith, a gold medallist at this year’s London Olympics.

Image: Jonathan van Rensburg

New innings for women’s cricket Saadiq Samodien The new cricket season promises to be one of the most exciting yet for UCT. The club is filled with staff highly motivated to push to the top, a great sense of optimism, and, for the first time ever, women! According to chairperson of the UCT Cricket Club, Nicholas Laasen, this initiative could prove to be vital in the development of women’s cricket in the Western Province. “With the student base at UCT, we have the potential to have a lot of great women cricketers that could go on to make the Western Province and South Africa side.” The UCT women’s cricket team will enter into the Senior Club League in the Western Cape. The relatively young nature of women’s cricket in the province means that there are no separate divisions or leagues. UCT will therefore be competing against all other current women’s cricket teams in the Western Cape. The team will be coached by a former professional and Rustenberg Girls’ High School female coach. With her experience and understanding of the game, she hopes to lay a foundation of basic skills training in the initial stages of the practice. She will also be

assisted every week by a member of the current men’s coaching staff, as part of their cricket bursary obligations. The response that has been received from the advertisements placed by the Cricket Club has been tremendous. Interest has ranged from women that have some experience in playing cricket to some that have never picked up a cricket ball in their life. Laasen added, “While there are women that have played the game before, there are some that have never played. It is encouraging to see this type of enthusiasm and response, and we hope to build on from here.” The team is expected to participate in about 12 fixtures in the season (although this has not yet been officially confirmed) with games expected to take place on Sunday. Hatrick and Gunn & Moore will sponsor the team with the initial equipment and basic kit required. Laasen hopes that this initiative leads to UCT becoming a powerhouse in women’s cricket, adding, “Hopefully it can spiral out, and become a [force of] nature whereby all cricket clubs in Western Province can have a ladies cricket club.”

Intervarsity Postmortem: Lessons for 2013 Robert Byrne


n previewing this year’s Intervarsity, SRC Sports Coordinator Lorne Hallendorff hoped that “Sport would be the winner in 2012.” Now that the dust has settled following a weekend of intervarsity action, it seems some tweaking needs to be done for the ‘official’ 2013 edition. Despite being beaten in three out of four rugby encounters, UCT can still consider themselves the overall winner of the event. While Stellenbosch excelled in golf, men’s swimming and women’s soccer, the rest of the events were dominated by the Ikeys. When it comes to depth of talent across the sporting codes, it would seem UCT are miles ahead. Appreciation of this in the form of a trophy is integral to the success of the event - with each code contributing towards an overall score for their university. Although I can understand why organisers did not implement a scoring system and corresponding trophy given their organisational constraints, its absence was definitely felt. One would also assume that our victorious sportsmen and women were raucously cheered by friends, family and alumni. Attendances

were, however, pretty patchy. The best support could be found for the rugby and water polo teams, while there was sparse support for the soccer and Ultimate (Frisbee) sides. The atmosphere in the Sports Centre on the Friday evening, said Hallendorff, was a highlight. Of the 35 sports clubs present at UCT the weekend saw less than half – 16 – in action. There was also a sparse Maties showing in cycling, and even an athletics no-show. The weather did play a part, and a further three events – tennis, cricket and canoeing are expected to be contested in the weeks to come.

When it comes to depth of talent across the sporting codes, it would seem UCT are miles ahead Next year’s edition, being thrashed out by UCT Sports and their Stellenbosch counterparts in the coming weeks, looks set for the first week in May to coincide with an already planned rugby fixture. It would seem a more sensible option – surely then UCT’s cricket, yachting, and tennis fixtures will stand a better chance of going ahead.

Proximity to the mid-term vacation also proved to be an issue. UCT’s soccer sides were much weakened with a number of top players being absent. As Hallendorff explained, the organisers were aware of the problem but with the first team rugby fixture already set in stone they were unwilling to scrap that event for the benefit of greater availability in other sports. Planners will need to consider if, or how many, non-students can participate, something the water polo fixture drew to the organisers’ attention. “That needs to be discussed by UCT and Stellies and some common ground found. We do want it to be a student event,” said Hallendorff. In the case of a draw or tie, as occurred in the men’s soccer, players and staff also need to be clear how the result will be determined in the future. For the sake of the overall competition, a winner needs to be decided and rules need to be clarified for each code. With a bit of tweaking, Hallendorff was hopeful for the future of the event. “The most obvious thing is that we want to grow – we want more teams, spectators and exposure,” he said. Let’s hope the 2013 edition is bigger, better and organisers learn from the 2012 experience.

2012: Edition 10  

VARSITY is the official student newspaper of the university of Cape Town, since 1942

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