13 March 2018 | Volume 77 | Edition 1
Big Chef workers await re-hiring
Workers momentarily displaced by the closing of shops owned by Big Chef hope to be insourced by UCT.
By Briana Trujillo s of January 1, UCT chose not to renew a lease with eleven food outlets owned by Big Chef, following allegations of victimisation of workers and boycotts on behalf of the union and student groups. More than 30 workers formerly employed at locations such as Java Junction and Quencha are now out of work, hoping to be insourced under the university’s own UCT Food Services PTY (LTD) and be back at work by the first week of April, according to the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU) UCT Chairperson Mzomhle Bixa. But in the meantime, they struggle to get by. “I’m actually struggling on a daily basis. Especially in the environment that we’re living in, poverty, gangsterism and violence, for me it’s too much,” says Ameerah Penshaw, a worker previously employed at Ideas Cafe. Penshaw, a Big Chef employee for six years and a resident of Tafelsig in Mitchells Plain, says she does not remember the last time she went grocery shopping. After UCT decided to end their contract with Big Chef, employees had the option of working for Big Chef owned outlets on campuses in Stellenbosch and the Western
Confusion was visible in some of the seated students who were not aware of the workers’ protest
Cape until further notice. Due to the victimisation, Penshaw refused to work under Big Chef’s owner, Wayne Tzemis. Another worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said she could not accept work in the other locations because no transportation option suited her. Though both women remain hopeful, they worry that the decision to decline alternative employment will work against them during the re-hiring process. Bixa says that other workers have complained that there is no space at these other campuses, and that their employment in these new locations is basically meaningless. Some members of the Big Chef team deny reports of victimisation, further blaming UCT for intimidation and disputes over wages. “We as the Big Chef management tried to negotiate with the University on various occasions so that we could provide better services to our staff, give them some kinds of benefits. But the University never wanted to help us in that stance,” said Sadieka Salie, one of the immediate managers for the now-closed locations. Salie was also a 10 percent shareholder in the central
Image by Aaliyah Ahmed
kitchen on campus through Big Chef’s BBBEE programme. Though employed permanently in Stellenbosch since 2015, following anxiety attacks after the boycotts, she says the loss of her shares meant that one of her five daughters had to switch schools because she could not afford to pay the fees. On the subject of the future of the workers’ employment, Salie says she hopes the university will successfully
“We have to force ourselves to come to work on weekends even though we are not getting paid as feeding our families is more important than our dignities.”
insource them. “It’s not a nice feeling if you also work at the university and give your best every time, but at the end of the day you go home with so little. You can’t even really feed your family with that little,” she says. But for now, until March 7, the workers are playing a waiting game, hoping their victory in organising against their employers won’t leave them permanently jobless. “I always used to say that
I’m going to fight this thing until the end. I knew what the consequences were going to be, we are not going to be able to work,” Penshaw says. But still she persisted. Furthermore, on the issue of Tzemis, she comments, “I was going to make sure that he is not going to be able to have a company at UCT anymore for all the victimisation that was going on. He didn’t deserve to stay on at UCT.”
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BAC fights for equal representation Image by Diaan Mynhardt
UCT civil engineering student defies Day Zero
Tinashe Chipako, wins top national award for research project on waterless urinals, writes Phophi Tshikovhi
inashe Chipako is a Civil Engineering graduate who recently won the 2018 South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) National Investigative Project Showdown for his research project on waterless urinals. Tinashe and the rest of the country’s Civil Engineering finalists had to present their research project to assembled spectators and a panel of judges. His project explored the workability of implementing waterless urinals that will reduce water consumption on the university’s upper campus and demonstrated the ability of waterless urinals to save many litres of water, whilst also recovering valuable sustainable resources. According to UCT news, Chipako’s research made five key findings. Firstly, that UCT uses enough water to fill about eight Olympic-sized swimming pools to flush urinals each year. Secondly, that UCT purchases four tons of fertilizer each year but seven tons of fertilizer could be made from urine collected on campus. The third and fourth findings were that 79% of the 500 survey respondents said they would support food grown using urine-derived fertilizer, and
96% of the respondents said they would support waterless urinals because of their ability to conserve water. Lastly, that the cheapest option for saving water in urinals would be to simply reduce the number of flushes. However, the last finding has already been achieved through the placement of signs in several bathrooms asking users to flush only when necessary. When asked what winning this award meant to him, the cum laude graduate said: “Witnessing the research I conducted gain tangible recognition was an incredible honour that I will not forget anytime soon. It was really an award for the support structure around me, rather than an individual award and I owe a large part to the UCT community for providing me with a fantastic platform to express myself on.” He further added that the advice he would give students beginning their studies was that they should recognize and fully utilize the support structures around them. “This largely pertains to your classmates and lecturers. You all have the same goal at the end of the day and it makes it easier when you work together to achieve it.” Lastly, he mentioned that one must remember to maintain a good balance of work and play. “It will keep you sane!” he said.
Free education for first years at UCT
n December 2017, Former President Jacob Zuma announced the roll-out for free education, shocking South Africans as many doubted whether the economy was stable enough to support the decision. The 2018 Budget Speech was given on the 21 st of February by former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, who stated that an additional R56 billion would be allocated towards free education. In total R324 billion has been budgeted for free education for the five-year period. Cuts in certain government sectors have been made, these sectors being the Special Defence account, Air Defence, Trade and Industry. Gigaba added that he believed free education would be an important step forward in breaking the cycle of poverty and confronting youth unemployment, as labour statistics revealed that unemployment is lowest for tertiary graduates. This year, first year students across the country are the first to be allocated grants through NSFAS (The National Student Financial Aid Scheme). UCT first year students registered for NSFAS are among the 82 000 first years across the
n the 28 th of February, the Black Academic Caucus (BAC) held a picket outside Bremner Building on Middle Campus. The picket was to make the wider UCT community aware of the fact that the BAC did not support the appointment of Associate Professor Lis Lange as the new Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning. There were various points that were raised by the group who picketed, along with allies from the Student Representative Council (SRC) and some student organisations such as the EFF Student Command (EFFSC), amongst others. The BAC relayed their disagreement with the appointment, stating that Associate Professor Lis Lange did not meet some of the criteria for the position. They pointed out that the candidate did not meet equity requirements and that the selection committee did not do enough to demonstrate the gap between equity and non-equity candidates to legitimise the appointment of this candidate. Equity, in this context,
refers to the fair treatment of employees and that each employee receives equal opportunity in the workplace. Procedural concerns, such as a lack of live streaming, as well as changes to the selection committee were also raised. According to the BAC, there needs to be a two thirds majority in voting for a candidate put forward by the selection committee. However, since Prof. Lange did not receive that majority from senate, the council was therefore against her appointment. The group called for the appointment of the second candidate, Professor Elelweni Ramugondo, instead. They argued that she met most of the criteria of the position. However, Professor Ramugondo was said to have not met the necessary criteria by the selection committee. Vice Chancellor Dr Max Price responded to these claims by the BAC in an email to the wider university community. He refuted allegations by the BAC that racism operates at the highest level at the insttution and went on to present what he stated were the facts
of the matter. He wrote that senate did not vote on any other candidate aside from Associate Professor Lange, and that there was no vote on any other candidate as she was the only one who was put forward. According to Dr Price, four key issues were considered in the appointment of any candidate, namely: rigour, transparency, fairness, and transformation. The Vice Chancellor then highlighted that Associate Professor Lange was the only candidate who was deemed to have met the sufficient criteria to be appointed.
Processes need to be more systematic and fair Shose Kessi, a member of the BAC, explained that the main aim of the picket had been to see that the decision of the appointment of the candidate, be reversed. She said, “I think that there needs to be a much more rigorous process. Management needs to keep to standards so that when commitments such as the live streaming of candidate presentations are made, they are honoured. Processes need to be more systematic and fair.” She further stated that the hope is that action such as the picket, would hopefully influence management and prevent this type of issue from arising again.
Image by Thapelo Masebe
country to be given free education. In addition, prescribed study material, meals, accommodation and transport allowance will be included in the funding. According to the budget speech, the government has allocated R4.6 Billion for funding of first year students. Next year, the program will cover first year and second year students. According to The South African, existing students on NSFAS will have their loans converted to grants even if they are in second, third or fourth year.
In total R324 Billion has been budgeted for free education for the five-year period. UCT will divide the funding for free education into two categories: the first being NSFAS funding for first-time- entering students from households earning up to R350 000 and for pre-existing students up to R122 000. The second
category being GAP funding for households above the NSFAS threshold (R350 001 to R600 000) for first-time- entering students and above the R122 000 threshold for pre-existing students (in the GAP from R122001 to R600 000). The GAP funding is exclusively funded by UCT. According to UCT Media Liaison, Elijah Moholola, the University’s NSFAS allocation for 2018 has not been confirmed but has received an initial payment to assist students with allowances and books. In 2017, R227 million was received and funds are expected to be around the same amount in 2018. In addition the university’s financial aid system which, with the new support from the Department of Higher Educa-
tion and Training (DHET) and NSFAS for 2018 financial aid, are dealing with historic debt, which should considerably ease the financial pressures on poor and working class families. Elijah added that the government, through the DHET, will also subsidise the 2018 fee increase, which was capped at 8%, for all qualifying registered students with gross family income up to R600 000 per annum. According to him, both undergraduate and postgraduate South African students are eligible for this government grant. According to the UCT news website, this grant will reflect as a credit note on student accounts once eligibility has been confirmed.
The Spectre of Respect SAUJS anti-discrimination campaign altered by pro-Palestinian society. Tessa Knight
n Monday 5th March, the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) erected a large installation in the Leslie Social Sciences Building supposedly aimed at raising awareness about discrimination against minority groups. The installation comprised of the word #RESPECT in large plastic letters, as well as posters describing different forms of discrimination. Although the information about discrimination mentioned things such as homophobia and Islamaphobia, certain students found the mention of anti-Zionism as a form of discrimination to be incorrect. A spokesperson from the Palestinian
Solidarity Forum (PSF) who identifies as Jewish, argued that the definition of anti-Zionism used by SAUJS is, in fact, anti-Jewish. Throughout the week, the #RESPECT installation was altered by PSF. Initially, the installation was covered in information about life in Palestine, news about Israeli-led raids in the West Bank and human rights violations committed by the state of Israel. PSF also included definitions of Zionism, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, claiming that the group was against Israel and not against the Jewish community at large. Halfway through the week the #RESPECT Campaign
was changed to read #SPECTRE, supposedly by PSF. SAUJS Chairperson, Jesse Soicher, believes the vandalism of the #RESPECT Campaign amounts to religious discrimination and impinges on the Jewish society’s freedom of expression. UCT has yet to respond. This poster war comes just a week before the start of Israeli-Apartheid Week (IAW) from 12-18 March. During IAW, both PSF and SAUJS hold talks and provide students on campus with information about their respective groups. Every year, PSF also builds a physical wall, supposedly to represent the divide between Palestine and Israel. Image by Aleya Banwari
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UCT Comes Together To Defeat Day Zero
ape Town is experiencing the worst drought in its history. Although Day Zero – the day Cape Town’s taps will run dry – has officially been moved to next year, residents have been told to remain water-wise. In a recent communication, Vice Chancellor Dr Max Price stated that UCT is committed to decreasing its water consumption by 50%, a feat that he believes is both necessary and achievable. In the same communication, Price cited the ways UCT is saving water and preparing for Day Zero. These include collecting seepage from Lower Campus and creating a Water Task Team that is responsible for ensuring that UCT continues to meet its water saving goals and that the UCT community at large is committed to saving water. According to the chairman of the Water Task Team, Dr Kevin Winter, UCT campuses (excluding residences) use approximately 300 kilolitres of water per day. With an estimated 30 000 people on campus every day, this translates to 10l of water per person per day. This is a big decrease from 2017, where the average person on campus used 17l of water per day. “We are doing well and operating within expectations,” Winter said. “The urgent challenge is to reduce water in the residences.” UCT residences seem committed to raising awareness about the water crisis, with students from various residences reporting that posters and signs have been put up in kitchens and bathrooms urging students to save water. Tugwell is reportedly bringing in washing machines that save 100l of water per wash, and other residences have provided their students with buckets to collect grey water from the showers, to be used to flush toilets. UCT is also investing in water saving shower heads in the residences. According to Winter, it is difficult to monitor water usage in residences and to ensure that students are saving water when they can. Therefore, the importance of the residences raising awareness is paramount. Each department at UCT has also nominated a water champion, whose role is threefold: Firstly, to raise awareness and encourage discussion in their department about water saving measures and what more can be done. Secondly, the water champion is the contact person for leaks or failures in the water system in their
UCT implements water safety measures on campus and in residences to decrease water consumption by 50%. Catherine Torrington
department, and finally, they are responsible for reporting stories, good or bad, to UCT’s water desk, which then reports the stories to the UCT community, in a continued effort to raise awareness. When asked about the effectiveness of the water champions, Dr Winter cited an example of the staff in the Masingene building, who audited their water usage, found it to be too high, and consequently put in further measures to decrease their water consumption. They plan to repeat the audit, and hopefully see a decrease in their water consumption. “The crucial principle here, is that they want to ‘know their numbers’ and to use this information to intervene based on evidence,” Winter said. However, if the winter rains are delayed or Capetonians fail to continue to save water, Day Zero will occur, and UCT must be prepared for that. In order to stay open, large institutions such as UCT must have water provisions – or adequate alternatives – for hydration, ablutions and fire safety. Properties and Services have drafted a water management plan which deals with how UCT plans to ensure the health and safety of its students should Day Zero occur. On the Property and Services website, UCT states that it is also looking to provide water from alternative sources, such as groundwater, desalination and treated effluent, which will be crucial should Day Zero arrive. The vegetation around the Upper Campus dam has been cleared away to allow storm water to flow into the dam. The dam is one of the ways UCT aims to provide water for firefighters, should a fire start on campus. A borehole on campus has been repaired, with a second one being tested for its efficiency, with plans to use the water from the boreholes for emergencies as well. Banners about the drought have been put up around campus that say: “In it for the long haul. Together.” And that largely appears to be the case with the UCT community. Although there is certainly more that could be done, it appears as if the UCT community is committed to working towards decreasing its water consumption. UCT is a major user of municipal water and so the continued effort of the UCT community to save water is vital if Cape Town is to avoid Day Zero. Have you noticed water being wasted, or want to report a leak? Contact Property and Services on 021 650 4321/2. Image by Thapelo Masebe
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Time for change?
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jarita Kassen firstname.lastname@example.org DEPUTY EDITOR Tamutswa Mahari email@example.com MANAGING EDITOR Michaela Pillay firstname.lastname@example.org
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our weeks in and I feel like I need a holiday! UCT continues to show us flames but if we are in it together, we will get through it together.
2018, sees two important changes in leadership for the UCT community, firstly on a national level, Cyril Ramaphosa has replaced Jacob Zuma as President. A transition many saw as predictable but necessary. The second being a new VC, who subject to a further bureaucratic processes, will be Dr Phakeng. new leaders will give us insight into whether their predecessor or the internal structure is the real problem These transitions are particularly interesting as the new leaders will give us insight into whether their predecessor or the internal structure is the real problem. Is Dr Price the reason for the systemic problems
present at UCT or is it rather the structure that he forms part of? Time will tell. The one thing we know for certain is that 2018 will show us what it happens when a PoC womxn is put in charge of an institution which is known for being predominantly white. We hope you enjoy our first edition of 2018. My team has worked tirelessly to bring you informative, entertaining content that will, hopefully, spark some critical thinking in our community. Stay updated by following us on Twitter @VarsityNews and Facebook @VarsityNewspaper, donâ€™t forget to visit our website varsitynewspaper.co.za.
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1. Mpho Sephelane - Film Winner 2. Thapelo Masebe - BNW Winner 3. Benson Joubert- Landscape Winner 4. David MesarÄ?Ăk- Landscape 5. Georgia Satchwell - Portrait Winner 6. Benson Joubert - Landscape
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@VarsityNews | 13 March 2018 | V77 E1 |Page 6
The prodigal son returns
A conversation with Budget Speech Essay finalist. Gosiame Tsotetsi Sumona Bose and Parusha Chetty What is the Budget Speech Essay Competition and why did you enter? The Annual National Economics Essay competition is a categorical competition held for Economics students in South Africa. It is held at both undergraduate and Postgraduate level, and tackles issues on national economy and its diffusion effect on society, through the lens of university students. The selected competitors from each university are sent for a short training camp where we meet with media people and people from the commerce industry. The top winners received large cash prizes and recognition from the Minister of Finance and the Reserve Bank. It’s helmed to be a prestigious competition around the working world, especially for Commerce students, and I wanted to take part to experience the prestige of the whole occasion.
What are you studying? I’m in 4th year; Bachelor of Business Science; majoring in Finance.
What is the purpose of the budget speech and is it important for students to be aware of what is said in it, why? The yearly Budget Speech is given by the finance minister who checks in on the country’s expenditure and income. It should be monitored by Commerce students. There’s always a summary that’s circulated regarding the most salient points raised, such as health care and education; which affects us all.
What are your key outtakes parts from the budget speech? South Africa is in poor financial prospects and the government’s decision to raise taxes is a way to squeeze out from consumers, in order to adjust the poor financial status of the country. I’m deeply concerned
Image courtesy of Goisiame Tsotetsi
by the rise in tax, but more specifically by the fact that free education is not economically feasible due to our country’s financial state.
What is the likely effect of the increase in VAT? Since VAT is a regressive tax route, the effects of the increase, in my opinion, are that the consumer will continue to be squeezed. VAT hasn’t been raised in about 25 years, so I guess it was an easy target. However, the reason why taxes are increasing is due to our government’s irresponsible expenditure. And now, we all have to foot the bill. I don’t predict social revolution or anything like that, I think people are just going to carry on carrying on. Does the change in the Minister of Finance affect the budget? No, as the budget was already set. It was drafted by a team of employees who are still at treasury. It was also done in consultation with the president, who is also still very much there. To be honest, in this rarely stagnant political atmosphere, I don’t see anything too revolutionary happening - other than ministers under-spending because they don’t know what they’re doing. Any other comments budget speech or the competition?
I think it’s something that all students who have a stake in this country should keep track of. It’s an important speech for anyone interested in the political sphere. I really encourage all students in the economic sphere at UCT to consider entering. It’s an insane experience, you get to meet the Minister, network and get to meet some very interesting and weird people from around the country.
aving been preempted by Jacob Zuma’s resignation, the media stream across the world whirred with relief as the executive reigns were passed on to trade union leader and business man, Cyril Ramaphosa. With the majority of the country still flushed with ‘Ramaphoria’ and the liberating aftershock of Zuma’s departure, we seem to have let our post-Zuma jubilation cloud our sense of the political reality that lies before us. As a result, the question that is being avoided is whether Ramaphosa will truthfully deliver on his promises and transform the country through his leadership. Ramaphosa, elected as
It is no secret that Ramaphosa brings with him the skills and mindset of a successful businessman ANC president in December 2017, adds a new cover to the same book, with the same ANC party members under Zuma’s reign maintaining their positions of power and influence – along with their alleged predisposition for corruption. It is no secret that Ramaphosa brings with him the skills and mind-set of a successful businessman. There does exist a distinct
relationship between economics and politics.
Investor confidence has little to do with the recent strengthening of the Rand, it is simply the result of the actions within the US market
Ramaposahas been implicated in a number of controversial dealings ranging from the MTN Irancell scandal, involving the bribing of Iranian officials, to illegally benefiting from coal deals between Eskom and his joint venture with Anglo-Swiss Company, Glencore. However, the most questionable of these dealings rests on his role as a non-executive director of Lonmin, and thereby his involvement in the Marikana Massacre. The executive called for “concomitant action” from the police force to be taken against striking Marikana miners, which led to the death of 34 miners. Alas, the ANC and Ramaphosa are not mutually exclusive and do inevitably act as one, as his decisions are harnessed by his party’s ‘oversight’. Since its seminal years, the ANC’s reputation as an elitistparty has operated under the guise of ‘preaching for the people’, yet ultimately acting within the interest of the private sector. It had always been the case, as Fanon theorized,
that the national elite replaces the colonial elite in transitional African democracies. Therefore, the fact of the matter is that the overall structure of government and the country’s efficiency will not see a drastic change post-Zuma. The only transformation that has occurred is that now Cyril has a larger minority support over Zuma. The pro-Ramaphosa supporters look at the recent strengthening of the South African Rand against the US Dollar as signs of a bright economic future since Ramaphosa’s election, without considering the very real fact that over the past month, the US dollar has lost value across most foreign currencies (barring the GB Pound which contiues its steady decline.
The ANC and Ramaphosa are not mutually exclusive and do inevitably act as one Investor confidence has little to do with the recent strengthening of the Rand, it is simply the result of the actions within the US market. To sum up, South Africa’s socio-economic situation will not see drastic change from Zuma to Ramaphosa’s political dispensation. The party’s decisions will still primarily focus on its own interests, as they always have.
Image from: flickr.com
Cyril Ramaphosa, the poster boy for the South African renaissance’? Stephanie Wild
resident Cyril Ramaphosa painted an optimistic picture of South Africa’s future during his State of the Nation Address (SONA); even harkening back to the honeymoon phase of the Mandela years. As expressed by the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, Cyril Ramaphosa must restore confidence in South Africa in order for the South African economy to strengthen.
It appears that the simple act of electing Ramaphosa as the president of the ANC was enough to restore such confidence, as reflected by the rand strengthening by 4% against the American Dollar. Further, Ramaphosa was already seen to be making attempts at attracting foreign investors upon his presidential appointment in December 2017. Moreover, Ramaphosa’s success as a businessman has restored faith in the prospect of expanding the mining industry with the Chamber of Mines, by referring to Ramaphosa’s debut SONA as
“visionary”. Additionally, Ramaphosa’s pledge to fight corruption within the South African government has the ability to resonate with many South Africans in light of the deep resentment for corruption throughout the country sparked by Former-President Jacob Zuma’s involvement in the Guptastate- capture scandal. Ramaphosa appears to be re- establishing a sense of confidence in the South African government. It would therefore appear that South Africa has indeed found its poster boy in Cyril Ramaphosa.
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Womxn in Power
Image from windsofchangemedia.com
Image from flickr.com
Menstruation and the water crisis: Bleeding in the drought
he depletion of water, arguably the most essential human need, has positioned itself at the forefront of every Capetonian’s mind. However, an equally important concern, yet often ignored or less sensationalized, is the adverse effects that water restrictions impose upon womxn’s health and hygiene. As it stands, households are restricted to 50 litres a day (level 6B),which accommodates one flush per day, two showers a week, as well as cooking and cleaning. Thus, under these circumstances, the monumental task of tackling menstruation has been intensified in every womxn’s life in Cape Town. Menstruation, a weeklong period that occurs every month in a womxn’s life, is filled with cramps, pain and energy drainage. Regular sustainability is difficult when there is a limited level of water allocation, so imagine a menstruating womxn who has to go through nature’s process while being deprived of the water she needs. Conserving water by using paper utensils, buying bottled water and taking two-minute showers all seem reasonable and well-advised, but for a menstruating womxn the same preservative methods are simply not enough. While menstruating, it is imperative for womxn’s mental and physical wellbe-
ing that we are in the most hygienic of environments, but with restrictive water limits, womxn’s hygiene during this trying time is the least of society’s concerns. It is not at all advisable for a womxn to uphold the restrictive 6B water limits during the seven days we spend bleeding. Two minute showers may rinse off the germs, but cannot erode the sticky stains; the soapy lather may be enough, yet it’s guaranteed that not all is washed away.
As it is, womxn’s health is neglected, and with a crisis as crucial as water scarcity, it becomes more evident how little has been done for us. The mental state of a menstruating womxn is enduring and disturbed, tired and helpless, and the last thing we need is to come home to no prospect of a long, clean shower and nothing to scrub away the drainage, stress and anxiety that we have accumulated during the day. In situations of dire abdominal cramps, where hot water bottles are strongly recommended, we cannot afford to ignore the urgent calls of menstrual side-effects – as truthfully, these things cannot be compromised. Soaked in the blood of our crying wombs, pads and
tampons need to be safely disposed of. With a drought lurking above us, the disposal and removal of these things may become just as much of a problem as two minute showers. This p oses fur ther questions as to how many of us are even able to afford pads and tampons, as they are often limited to the upper-middle class. Rural and poor working class womxn do not have the opportunity of purchasing these products, and now with the water crisis they must bear the additional brunt of collecting the very little water they can and using even less to dedicate to their periods. Standing under the scorching sun at Newlands Brewery while bleeding her guts out, with a torn piece of paper stuck on to her genitals while queuing for a few bottles of water - that she then has to carry home - is what the present day has in store for an underprivileged lady who happens to be on her period. As it is, womxn’s health is neglected, and with a crisis as crucial as water scarcity, it becomes more evident how little has been done for us. Droughts and water crises cannot be blamed or avoided when they strike, but we, as womxn, do advocate that–at bare minimum – exceptions and waivers are to be made when we are on our periods.
New Year, Same Shit-hole Emma Bracher Trevor Noah was right: our news-donkeys have finally arrived with word that Trump called African countries shit holes, and we are furious. Turns out we have been enjoying an annual average of three hundred days of sunshine in vain all this time, and Cape Town being voted as the world’s
Image retrieved from flickr.com
most beautiful city? It’s a hoax. An Afrocentric shithole, Wakanda surely can’t be the place we all fantasize about living in? In January of this year Trump asked why “all these people from shit-hole countries” are immigrating to America. He then went on to list Africa as a country - but that’s beside
the point. The point is that this comment is a living example of Trump’s ignorance of colonialism, to such a great extent that it was made in a building that was built by slaves - slaves most likely from shit-hole countries. However, before we get offended, it may help to try and understand what makes Africa such a shit-hole. As a continent that holds countless cultures and 2000 spoken languages, and where Uganda was voted the second friendliest country in the world, the rest of the world clearly disagrees with Trump. Further, an estimated 16,2 million tourists visited South Africa in 2017 - which was voted the 5th most beautiful country in the world. None of this screams shit-hole. And if Trump had done his research, he would have known that Africa is
rofessor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Internationalization, is the first black womxn to obtain a PhD in Mathematics in South Africa. She is a pioneer and currently the most qualified candidate for VC. However, is UCT ready for a womxn of colour as Vice Chancellor? The racially divided, patriarchal power structure of the university is notorious for circulating authority inwards to the bureaucracy. In that accord, Professor Phakeng is the ray of realistic hope that Black excellence is existent and inspires all womxn of colour to pursue their goals and ambitions. Professor Phakeng not only stands tall in academia but has proven to be a leader, and offers reassurance of negotiation and support to student movements. How prepared are the white patriarchal individuals for this imperative transition? Phakeng said “If you say they have to be ready, then you are directly saying that whatever they have against that person is justifiable. If she is rejected when brought in then it shows that even if people were given time to change their minds, they still wouldn’t be ready.” It appears as though appointing her is a method to mollify the student movements. Professor Phakeng is already being likened to Mmusi Maimane, and sometimes being portrayed to be an apologist. However, the student movement was never against Dr ranked as having the highest proportion of entrepreneurs in the world. He then went on to suggest that people from Norway should immigrate to America instead. It seems odd that amongst all of his political-incorrectness he didn’t just say that he wants white immigrants in America - which is seemingly consistent with all his wall-building sentiments. Honestly, the guy is box office. But then again, so was Hitler.
Max Price, it was against the system itself. As such, Professor Phakeng is sure to realise that our student struggle is not an individual vendetta but a generation’s motive for equality, justice and accessible education. If the system remains untransformed, student movements will proceed regardless of the Vice Chancellor. Transformation is a slow process. Professor Phakeng, alone, in a white male dominated environment, cannot transform such a system. However, her reign will force the process to speed up. The students and the senate have been antagonists for some time, this could unify this university. Bringing in Professor Phakeng as Vice Chancellor is revolutionary. She is our hope of decolonizing this institution and transforming this system. Being raised by a domestic worker must mean that she suffered from the same system during her time as a current student would, wanting transformation to get underway. The black students will no longer be limited to ground workers and cleaners for parental figures, but will be able to relate to someone deeply revered. The Selection Process is in progress and it seems like the odds are in Professor Phakeng’s favour. What we can be sure of is that Professor Phakeng is the change we deserve, the Black excellence we have been waiting for.
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A letter to my first-year self, writes Phophi Tshikovhi
t’s a new year and you have just begun a new journey. Everything seems daunting and you have
no idea what the future holds for you at this institution. Regardless, these are exciting times! You are enrolled in the best university on the continent and to add the cherry on top, the university is in the Mother City! High school became a part of you; it was comfortable and the responsibilities were few. You were far from becoming a professional and that was comforting. Your family is thousands of kilometres away and yes, this is what independence feels like, but also loneliness and depression. I know you hate the thought of growing up, but I am going to need you to hold on tightly because you are in for a roller coaster ride.
Do not compare yourself to anyone! Do not compare yourself to anyone! Forget the girl who has many flags in between her textbooks and has inundated her books with colourful highlighters as that does not, in any way, represent a colourful academic journey. Forget the guy who has attractive and flexible muscles, ready to raise his hand and answer something you have no idea about. That does not in any way represent a strong academic journey.
Darling, just as Will Smith said, “be ready to fail and when you fail, fail forward”. You will fail not only the first test, but the second too and eventually the course itself. That is when you will have to regain strength to continue. Our failures do not define us, but our ability to get up does. The system will have you doubting yourself, questioning your capabilities and determining your abilities by how well you progress to the next course. If you can look up, then you can get up.
If you can look up, then you can get up. This university is a very political space and we are in a generation that has found the courage to question everything that used to be a “norm”. With that being said, you will find yourself in many spaces where you will have to voice your opinion. Do not conform, it is not wrong to be silent and not voice your opinion. Too often we get excited when given the platform to let out what is on the inside; let it not be a platform for you to be irrelevant. Be careful of who you allow to feed your mind and take caution to who you spend your time with. Your squad will either break you or make you. Additionally, do not be in such a rush to make friends that you end up settling for something that is not you, for fear of being lonely. Real and genuine friendships are not forced.
Image by Thapelo Masebe
This university has numerous resources at your disposal and you should use them to aid in your learning. However, do not aim to be book smart, there are some things that your textbook will never be able teach you, but societies, people from different backgrounds and any other interactions, will. See that guy in your tutorial group who will only continue to help you if you go out with him? It’s a trap. Do not ignore the red flags, you can find someone else. There are genuine people out there who will help you out of the goodness of their heart.
Lastly, stay in your lane, there is no traffic there. Eventually, you will meet people that you will click with naturally. You will eventually embrace the silent times you spend on your own and that is when you will find yourself. Through these silent times you will remember why you came to UCT and what purpose you still need to serve. You will learn to put on the answer “no” like a sleeve and trust me, you will do it with a smile. For now, relax and focus on going to all your lectures,consistently. The view sure is great from where I am standing.
Lastly, stay in your lane, there is no traffic there.
Navigating Career Services for a graduating student Nwabisa Mazana
CT has a Career Service that has been open and functioning for the past 50 years. In 2017, The South African Graduate Employers Association (SAGEA) awarded them for having the Best Employability / Work Readiness Initiative, as well as the Best Career Fair and the Best Career Service. It boasts an array of services; from CV workshops, consulting boot camps, career festivals (expos) and mock interviewing programs. However, it is no secret that many students, especially those expected to graduate soon, do not know how to utilise this free service offered by UCT.
There is an option for specific career advice for every degree offered at UCT. I sat down with Germaine Grammer, the head of Digital Development and Engagement, in order to find out how one can navigate all the resources offered by Career Services, especially those offered to students that are about to transition into the workplace.
“A good place to start is our website, careers.uct.ac.za .It offers you an overview of everything that we offer, this includes a designated option just for students , aimed towards getting them ready for employment”, says Germaine. The site is easily
accessible and easy to navigate. There is an option for specific career advice for every degree offered at UCT. This is a great option for students that are soon to graduate, but are not yet sure of their post graduate career paths. If using the site is not enough for what you need, you can also book an appointment for career guidance via the careers. uct.ac.za website. By doing this, you will be linked to one of their highly experienced staff members who are able to offer you great advice. If employment into the public or private sector is not what you are looking for, the Career Services also offers a lot of support and resources for student entrepreneurship. In 2017, they had the #SEW (Student Entrepreneurship Week). It was a hub designed to further assist student entrepreneurs cultivate their skills and craft. There is also much to look forward to
this year. The UCT Career Festival will be taking place on the 8th of August - which Germaine said is going to be one of their biggest events. #SEW will also be taking
“Come for advice early in the year, so you can be able to get as much support as you need. We are always here to offer a helping hand”. place in the second semester. For now, Germaine urges all students, especially those that are graduating to “come for advice early in the year, so you are able to receive as much support needed and also to avoid stressing yourself out, because time has run out. We are always here to offer a helping hand”.
VARSITY is the official student newspaper of the University of Cape Town,since 1942