2019 Edition 7 (Wrap Edition)

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Trailblazing Womxn

Trailblazing Womxn Who Made Their Mark In 2019

In honour of National Womxn’s Day, these remarkable womxn deserve recognition for the serious impacts they have made both locally and abroad. By Julia Rowley

Tomi Adeyemi

Ilhan Omar

Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American novelist whose young adult fantasy, Children of Blood and Bone, reached number one on the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List in 2018. Her novel Children of Blood and Bone follows Zélie Adebola, a young womxn who has to fight to recapture magic from a monarchy in an alternative West Africa. Growing up as a child that ignored her Nigerian heritage, Adeyemi wanted “a little Black girl [to] pick up my book one day and see herself as the star...I want her to know that she’s beautiful, she matters and she can have a crazy, magical adventure.” Her novel is one of the first young adult fantasy novels to be set in a African country and feature a protagonist that can evoke West African-specific magic. Children of Blood and Bone has grown immensely in popularity and has inspired growing womxn of colour all over the world.

Ilhan Omar is a politician who broke records as the first Somalian-American and the second Muslim womxn to serve in the American Congress. Born in Somalia, she and her family spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before she became a US citizen at the age of 17. Omar has radical left-wing political views. She advocates for the clearance of student debt, and the abolishment of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Because of this, Omar has often faced severe backlash for her actions in Congress, including a planned assassination attempt. She has also been mocked by Donald Trump; in a public rally he said that she should “go back to [her] own country.” Despite this harassment, Omar has firmly continued to be a voice for some of America’s most marginalised inhabitants - immigrants of colour.

Simona Halep Simona Halep is a professional tennis player from Romania. She entered the Wimbledon finals as an underdog - she had only won two out of her ten matches thus far. However, within an hour she had beaten opponent Serena Williams in order to become the first Romanian to win a Wimbledon singles title. She is known for her intelligent playing style and good court coverage, as well as someone who plays well both defensively and aggressively. When searching Halep on the internet, many articles titled something like “20 Hottest Photos of Simona Halep” show up just on the first page. In a society where female athletes’ bodies are still seen as sites of objectification, exceptional players like Simona Halep deserve all the recognition for their playing style they can get.

Greta Thunberg Greta Thunberg is a Swedish activist who, at the age of fifteen, held a school strike to raise awareness for climate change that spread globally - in March 2019, over one million students joined her in school boycotts. During the protest, she asked for Sweden to adhere to the greenhouse emissions limit outlined in the Paris agreement, despite having selective mutism and Asperger Syndrome. Now, she gives public speeches, TedxTalks, and participates in demonstrations and UN climate change summits (only in Sweden, as she refuses to fly because of the fuel that planes use). She recently collaborated with popular alternative band The 1975 in order to spread her message further and target more young people.

Musician? African? Womxn? Success!

Without examining the excellence that is womxn musicians, we would be doing a disservice to the evaluation of womxn’s success. We’ve gone one step further and narrowed it down to African womxn. Included below are some backstories of some of the most prominent and popping females who have incredible vocals, aesthetics, and talent that they have shared with all of Africa and internationally.

Sho Madjozi

Moonchild Sanelly

The 27 year-old African musician is truly a culmination of African culture as she was born in Limpopo, but grew up in Tanzania. After attending an American university in Massachusetts on scholarship, she took up a writing fellowship at the University of Johannesburg. The start of her career was made by rapping with Okmalumkoolkat, where she featured in the tracks ‘Gqi’ and ‘Ngiyashisa Bhe’. It was only last year December that she released her first album, with the original title “Limpopo Champions League’. It was also December last year that she performed ‘Wakanda Forever’ with rapper YCEE at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg. The exposure at this particular event was great enough to gain international attention, and her career has skyrocketed since.

A South African musician and dancer, she is known for her iconic blue hair and for coining a new genre of music called ‘Ghetto Funk’ , which she calls a mix of ‘music, fashion and dance’. She grew up in Port Elizabeth, but spent a lot of time sussing out the music and poetry scene in Durban, where she studied fashion. The Durban culture also influenced her music style which incorporates a lot of jazz, hip hop and Kwaito. She currently lives in Johannesburg, and continues to share her music. Internationally, she has played at music festivals in Houston, Texas and Barcelona.

Tiwa Savage Somewhat older than Madjozi, Savage has had a much longer life in the spotlight, illuminating an illustrious career for the past two decades. She was born in Nigeria but moved to London when she was 11. From playing the trombone in high school, she’s now a well known singer, song writer and actress. At the age of 16, she was a backup vocalist to prominent artists such as George Michael and Mary J Blige. However, most of her recognition came in 2006 from her participation in the UK version of the X Factor. Although she didn’t advance to win the show, she did manage to sign a deal with Sony/ATV Music in 2009. Her song writing talent is huge and has been acknowledged at the Grammy awards in 2010. It was here where she received a nomination for writing ‘Collard greens and Corn Bread’, a collaborative piece with Fantasia. Moreover, she co-hosted the second season of Nigerian Idols, and also made her film debut in “For Coloured Girls”.

Alice Phoebe Lou Born right here in Cape Town, in 1993, Lou attended a local school where she had a knack for drama and music. Her travels to Europe when she was 16 led her to become fascinated with the culture and years later she found herself performing on the streets of Berlin, Germany. This is where she made a name for herself as more and more street patrons wanted access to her voice. She writes her own songs and has been internationally recognised for a song she wrote for the film “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story’ called ‘She’. This song was shortlisted at the Oscars in 2017 for Best Original Song. What Alice Phoebe Lou is perhaps best known for, is her refusal to sign with a label. She maintains that, in order to continue to have freedom in what she writes and produces, she chooses to avoid mainstream labels and being signed to a producer. After reading this, one thing is for sure: Africa is definitely not shy of womxn talent in the music industry and the hits are only getting bigger.

14 August 2019| Volume 78 | Edition 7

Kramer Cafeteria lease agreement termination gets extended till December 2020 By Mantwa Mehlape

Following much speculation, VARSITY learnt that the University of Cape Town has decided to extend the lease agreement of the cafeteria found in the Kramer building on Middle Campus. On the 23rd of July 2019 Kramer Cafeteria at middle campus was issued with an extension on their lease agreement that was supposed to be terminated at the end of November 2019. Speculation rose amongst food vendors about the involvement of Food and Connect and the termination of their lease agreement . The Kramer Cafeteria has been working with UCT for twenty years.The original termination of the lease agreement was to be in November 2019 . As of now, the agreement has been extended till the end of December 2020. The extension put the cafeteria staff members at ease for this year, although the concern of their lease terminating remains for the next year. One of the managers at Kramer cafeteria stated “The extension is a step forward but of course at the same time it still means come this time next year you got a few months to go and the ladies are out of a job”.

“Unfortunately there are no commercial spaces for these vendors on campus”. Certain food vendors on campus believe that Food and Connect will be monopolizing certain cafeteria spaces within UCT campuses . The manager of the UCT Commercial Development, Marco Swartz reassures these food vendors by stating “Food & Connect will not become the sole food provider on campus.UCT appreciates the diversity that the food vendors brings to its food economy”. The manager and staff members at the Kramer cafeteria and the food vendors at upper campus wanted clarification on whether or not UCT and Food and Connect were one entity . Mr Swartz states “Food & Connect is a separate entity from UCT and has no influence on the termination of leases at UCT. The management of commercial leases resides within the Commercial Development Department (UCT Department).” The solution of relocation for the food vendors is not possible as Mr Swartz informed VARSITY news that “unfortunately there are no alternative commercial space for these vendors on campus as it was established through the UCT Space allocation committee.”

“Retrenchment procedures have been put forward.”

Retrenchment procedures are put forward due to the fact that certain staff members are not insourced by UCT. Most of the staff members have been working in that cafeteria for more than ten years and for them to face retrenchment brings a risk to the business and their lives. A staff member at the cafeteria states within her interview with VARSITY news : “We don’t know anything about it, we are just hearing rumours about the cafeteria changing to Food and Connect. I don’t know if it is going to be a big change or a small change.” With regards to the Food vendors, Mr Swartz’ states that they have offered them a mobile solution that would enable the traders to continue servicing the UCT community. They await their response in this regard.

Source: Julia Lamprecht

@VarsityNews | 14 August 2019|V78 E7|Page 2


Gabriel Vieira news@varsitynewspaper.co.za

professor - presented what he

By Sara Lagardien Abdullah referred to as a broad remix of On Wednesday the 31st of July 2019, Professor Adam Haupt - from the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Film and Media Studies - presented a lecture on Remixing Scholarship: Hip Hop, The Humanities and Knowledge Production.


he lecture formed part of the Vice-Chancellor’s Inaugural Lecture Series - a series of lectures that take place throughout the year; a salient feature of the University’s academic life and an opportunity to commemorate the inaugural lecturer’s appointment to full professorship. The platform enables academics to present the expanse of research that they have been focusing on throughout their academic career in an accessible manner inviting members of the public to engage with the research.

his already existing work with a particular focus on Chapter 30 of a recent collaborative project edited by himself, Quentin Williams, H. Moreover, Prof. Haupt drew parallels between issues in music and hip hop and in scholarly publishing, using the example of digital sampling - voicing his objections about the commodification of knowledge in the age of corporate globalisation and offering a succinct critique of the gatekeepers of academia and knowledge production. He affirmed the need to decentre scholarship - acknowledging that its production is premised on bureaucratic grounds where notions of authorship are protected by the law in an attempt to uphold the canon and bar access to contesting knowledge.

Source: UCT News

Vice-Chancellor’s Inaugural Lecture: Professor Adam Haupt

“There is the need to decentre scholarship.” “push against disciplinary boundaries”.

“How will the Humanities contribute towards the country’s development objectives?”-Professor Haupt

Samy Alim and Emile Jansen titled Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism and Education in PostApartheid South Africa. Haupt introduced his lecture by observing the importance of black scholars looking into academia and Professor Adam Haupt - linking it to hip hop and, the first South African hip hop consequently, the need to

By Gabriel Vieira

A sizeable part of his lecture was dedicated to addressing the question of, “How will the Humanities contribute towards the country’s development objectives?” - speaking to reworking the canon by contesting archic notions of knowledge production and broadening our conception of what constitutes knowledge.

by asserting that in order to decolonize knowledge, we need to decommodify it.

Professor Adam Haupt - true to hip hop in its core of contesting the status quo - revealed through his lecture the role that academia can have in changing the often-alienating landscape that is academia. He concluded

Towards Bluer Waters: UCT Researchers take part in Ocean Hub Programme


CT Researchers from the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences (EGS), Biological Sciences and Commercial Law, have been involved in the work of One Ocean Hub, an international, interdisciplinary and collaborative programme focused on linking natural and social sciences for equitable and inclusive sustainability in ocean governance. So what exactly is Ocean Hub? It is a programme funded by the United Kingdom Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund whose three stated objectives are as follows: “...to achieve the coherent and inclusive implementation of international law for sustainable ocean governance, an effective and respectful integration of communities with a focus on improving knowledge and opinion in ocean science, management and innovation and lastly, multiactor contributions to a circular blue economy that enhances the livelihoods of vulnerable people.”

“What makes the programme unique is the transdisciplinary approach.” Led and hosted by the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, the One Ocean Hub Programme brings together researchers from the South Pacific, South

Africa, Ghana, Namibia, Kenya and the Caribbean. Head of UCT’s EGS Department and a researcher involved in the programme, Associate Professor Merle Sowman, wished to stress that, “what makes the programme unique is the transdisciplinary approach.” The programme aims to bring together researchers in various fields, alongside concerned governments and civil society to both identify the major issues that need to be addressed and make sustainable and ethical plans to address these challenges. “We recognise that these issues are very complex and so addressing them requires input from many different actors and disciplines,” she explains. Ocean Hub is organised into five research programmes: Global Law and Governance for Equity and Sustainability, Emotional Connection with the Ocean through the Arts, Connecting and Climateproofing, Fisheries for Equity and Sustainability, Discovering Hidden Trade-offs in the Deep-Sea, and taking a critical look at the Blue Economy Initiative.

“Governments are recognising the potential of utilising the resources in the ocean.” The ‘Emotional Connection with the Ocean’ programme is unique as it makes extensive use of the arts; the programme is focused on using theatre as a means to bring awareness to, and spark debate around critical issues in the ocean. ‘The Blue Economy Initiative’ programme provides “a

critical analysis of the blue economy, particularly in relation to how ‘blue growth’ impacts local communities and the environment,” Sowman said. “In the past, most economic growth was focused on resources on land but now governments are recognizing the potential of utilizing the resources in the ocean.” Additionally, also hinting that the unfettered exploitation of the ocean’s resources can easily become unsustainable and detrimental to many vulnerable coastal communities. Source: Culture Trip

@VarsityNews | 14 August 2019 | V78 E7 | Page 3

TB Davie memorial lecture: The “Myth” of Academic Freedom By Brad Brinkley On Wednesday the 7th from investors and the government of August, UCT’s Academic Freedom Committee (AFC) who are sensitive to anti-Zionist hosted the 53rd annual TB movements. Davie memorial lecture. Salaita further elaborated that academic freedom is a “limited he speaker of the TB Davie commodity for the privileged”- it is Memorial Lecture this year not useful in altering the inequality – Palestinian-American aca- the Palestinians face and serves only demic Dr Steven Salaita – addressed to benefit oppression. Salaita drew the crowd on The Inhumanity of a parallel to South Africa when Academic Freedom. Salaita, a he said that many people who are comfortably employed in academia well-known supporter of the Israeli are quick to defend Academic academic boycott, began his lecture Freedom, as the privileged are always by explaining his current occupation quick to defend their own. Ultimately, as a bus driver, which he attributes he conveyed that civil liberties such to being put on a “rigorous black- as academic freedom should not be used in defence of the oppression list” after the University of Illinois faced by the Palestinians. withdrew his job offer in 2014 over his “anti-Semitic” tweets. “Civil liberties such as academic Salaita believes that this blacklist is freedom should not be used in hindering academic freedom as it is defence of the oppression faced influenced by university funding by the Palestinians.”- Dr Salaita


By Phophi Tshikovhi slam Week, which takes place at the beginning of the second semester every year, is centred on ‘spreading the message of Islam’ and clearing any misunderstandings regarding it. “We think about the social issues that are globally prominent and that seem to falsely portray what Islam is all about and the code of ethics that guide how Muslims must live,” said Ilyaas Toefy, Chair of MSA.


“Discussions were centred on being a Muslim before you are a student on campus.” All events were held in the evening with majority of them starting at 18.30pm. Topics covered included Mental Health in Islam, Decolonizing the South African Experience in Islam and Secularism. Some of the speakers included, but were not limited to, Sheikh

Cary Nelson, an English professor at the University of Illinois and chairperson of the Alliance or Academic Freedom, strongly supported the movement to block the appointment of Salaita from taking up a tenured position there in 2014. Nelson recently wrote an open letter to UCT explaining his concern over the views expressed in the lecture which would go unchallenged by the AFC- especially during a time where UCT is considering a proposal to support the Israeli academic boycott.

South Africa’s tumultuous past. Demonstrating their lack of confidence in the current AFC, Progress have decided to form a new AFC, which they believe will uphold the values of Academic Freedom within UCT. When Salaita was asked what social function UCT can have in uplifting society, he encouraged students to communicate with campus leaders and lecturers to help democratise campus spaces and play their part in nation building.

“Students are encouraged to to democraticise campus spaces and play their part in nation building.” Scott Roberts, of Progress SA, also wrote an open letter to Salaita. He expressed his disapproval over Salaita’s anticipated “trashing” of Academic Freedom on a platform reserved to commemorate TB Davie, who was a strong advocate of academic freedom during

Source: My Chicago Tribune

An Opportunity to Share: UCT Islam Week During the week of the 29th of July, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) held its annual Islam Week at UCT. Zaid Facaar, Yusuf Nono and Yaseen Kippie. Islam Week is just one of the events the society runs throughout the year. Other projects include visiting orphanages on a weekly basis and bringing seasoned speakers from the United Kingdom to speak on issues such as segregation and oppression. “It is your duty as a Muslim to speak out against racism and oppression in any form. Discussions were centred on being a Muslim before you are a student on campus and how one lives in this context,” continued Toefy, describing the relevance for

Islam week for Muslims on campus. “The events also covered everything that Islam fundamentally comprises of as it relates to a university environment on both a spiritual and intellectual level. We spoke of our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and the belief in God as it relates to logic and the Islamic experience with a focus on the South African experience”, said the Chair. “Main aim is to spread acccurate information about Islam to UCT.”

Source: Thaafirah Van Der Schyff

The week-long events were rounded off with a supper and a panel discussion titled Journey through Islam. “The supper was to draw Muslims together in order for them to grow and to also bring non-Muslims to understand the process of converting and the transition into the Muslim world”, added Toefy. When asked on the transformation that the committee would like to see in the coming years, he added that

they would like to see an efficiency regarding their reach as the MSA. He hopes in the future that the MSA is able to bring more people to events and spread accurate information about Islam to the UCT community. Toefy goes on to conclude that the week turned out to be a beautiful success and that the most important aspect of the week was the message they tried to spread will have touched a few seeking hearts.

@VarsityNews | 14 August 2019 | V78 E7 | Page 4

The Collective


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Soligah Solomons editorial@varsitynewspaper.co.za

Notes from the Creative Director

MANAGING EDITOR Teboho George managingeditor@varsitynewspaper.co.za

DEPUTY EDITOR Akhona Matshoba editorial@varsitynewspaper.co.za

COPY EDITOR Ntombi Khulu copyed@varsitynewspaper. co.za

Soligah Solomons Editor-in-Chief

ONLINE EDITOR Arin Barry online@varsitynewspaper.co.za CREATIVE DIRECTOR Tasneem Jacobs creativedirector@ varsitynewspaper.co.za CONTRIBUTORS Nicole Stuurman, Ehber Burger, Kaluba Chikonde and Louise van den Bergh PRINT NEWS Gabriel Vieira news@varsitynewspaper.co.za

Tasneem Jacobs Happy Womxn’s Month! It brings me so much pleasure to be able to once again deliver this Wrap Edition to you, members of the UCT community. For several years now, VARSITY has upheld a tradition of putting out the second semester Wrap Edition in August to spotlight all that womxn do and all that we are. This year is no different. What is different however, is that this year Womxn’s Month takes place alongside the 65th anniversary of the adoption of the Womxn’s Charter. The Federation of South African Women (FSAW) came together in 1954 under the dire circumstances to focus all of their efforts on advocating for the dignity and equality of all womxn (To read the full backstory, check out our online Wrap Edition). Their improbable alliance which superseded race and class was, during its time, a trailblazing act; one which succeeded in ultimately advancing our collective rights. When we think about Womxn’s Month, we must always acknowledge the ones who paved the way for our accomplishments in the present. In the spirit of the FSAW, this Wrap Edition is titled Trailblazing Womxn. What does it mean to be a ‘trailblazer’? To me, it encompasses those who have vision, whose determination is limitless and whose zest to enact change outweighs their fear of failure. To be a

trailblazing womxn means to do all of this while existing in a world that still seeks to silence our success as womxn. In this Wrap Edition, you’ll find a list of womxn who encompass these trailblazing qualities in their own work, and who are using their platform to showcase their passion in inventive ways. From climate change to competitive sport, there’s no shortage of womxn to look up to. This edition’s centrespread profiles some super inspiring womxn lecturers in the field of STEM at UCT; they’re sharing how they have nurtured their passion for science while contending with prevalent gender disparities in their workplace. We are also lucky enough to be featuring some phenomenal photography from Phumzile Konile in this edition. She is an Architecture student at UCT and has captured her subjects within an empowered yet artistic gaze. Also, our gorgeous illustrated cover was done by Varsity’s very own Images Editor, Tao Varty. A special thank you goes out to everyone who contributed their original content to make this edition come together so seamlessly. VARSITY wishes all womxn in our collective, our community and our country a happy Womxn’s Month. May it be as joyous and inspiring as your very existence is, as a womxn.

PRINT OPINIONS Kelsey Maggott & Zahirah Benjamin opinions@varsitynewspaper.co.za PRINT FEATURES Sebastian Moronell & Amber Williams features@varsitynewspaper. co.za

Akhona Matshoba

PRINT LIFESTYLE & FITNESS sports@varsitynewspaper.co.za

Deputy Editor-in-Chief

NEWS REPORTERS Mantwa Mehlape, Sinothando Siyolo & Phophi Tshikovi IMAGES Tao Varty & Lebo Notoane images@varsitynewspaper.co.za ONLINE NEWS Jasmine Jacobs onlinenews@varsitynewspaper.co.za ONLINE LIFESTYLE & FITNESS Tiyani Rikhotso onlinesports@varsitynewspaper.co.za


STAFF WRITERS Julia Rowley, Shameeka Voyiya, Chandré Cupido, Sara Largardien Abdullah, Stephanie Wild, Brad Brinkley, Anouschka Tollig

Ntombi Khulu Copy Editor

ONLINE OPINIONS Ruhi Ghaza & Salma Noor Mahomed onlineopinions@varsitynewspaper.co.za WEB EDITOR Mukhetwa Ravele web@varsitynewspaper.co.za

FINANCE MANAGER Aidan Croy finance@varsitynewspaper. co.za

MARKETING & BRANDING Tshepiso Mokabu marketing@varsitynewspaperco.za

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VIDEOGRAPHY Siyambonga Jubeju videographers@ varsitynewspaper.co.za

Arin Barry

Online Editor ONLINE FEATURES Refentse Malatji & Anna Cocks onlinefeatures@varsitynewspaper.co.za

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Malusi Ngidi socialmedia@varsitynewspaper.co.za

Positions available in VARSITY Collective:

Teboho George Managing Editor

Lifestyle & Fitness Editor and Deputy Editor Online News Editor Deputy News Editor HR and Operations Manager Deputy Finance Manager Social Media Correspondents News reporters Staff Writers

This Week In Images Lebogang Khotso Notoane

Leila Salie; Ushna Garach; Darshana Garach


Shireen Abbas


Aaqilah Alexander

Nawahl Razak

@VarsityNews | 14 August 2019 | V78 E7 |Page 6

FEATURES Decolonising Islam?

By Sebastian Moronell


n Wednesday 31st July, the UCT Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) held a panel discussion entitled ‘Decolonising Islam in the South African Experience’. There were five speakers on the panel: two imams from across Cape Town - Fudhail Jones and Yaseen Katona; Professor Shahied Vawda, Archie Mafeje Chair in Critical and Decolonial Humanities at UCT; Neliswe Shahida Naomi, journalist and author; and finally Insaaf Isaacs, selfproclaimed Marxist and former leader of SASCO and the SRC at UCT. The panel discussion was facilitated by Yaseen Kippie, a UCT student and journalist.

Sporting a cast of local superMuslims, I was surprised to see that at most there were forty students in the crowd (including myself – and I came mostly for the allure of the word ‘decolonising’). The event began with an overhead projection of pie-charts representing the findings of a survey about what racial and class ‘biases’ students at UCT have experienced. Before we heard the discussants dig deep into their brains, we were duly informed that Islam is a perfect religion and that this discussion will not pertain to the laws and practices of Islam itself, only to the error that Muslims engage in. By this stage, a litany of church bells were ringing in my head - talk of experience and bias instead of structures of dominance, and disallow an interpretive model for the reworking of Islam to fight those very structures?

“Sporting a cast of local superMuslims, I was surprised to see that at most there were forty students in the crowd” The panel discussion began, quite literally, with the beginning – the imams told us that God created humanity in different tribes and skins, and we should not discriminate based on race because God says we shouldn’t. The conclusion

Source: Voice of the Cape

drawn from the hour-long discussion involving all the panellists was all too predictable – it is up to the individual to change his/her behaviour and attempt to change racism and classism in their communities. At one point, my black friend next to me whispered, “I’ve heard all of this before” and all I could do was agree – this was the age-old rhetoric of the pulpit. I was disappointed – here was a group of seemingly educated students and panellists and the best response to the racial and class bias was to advocate for liberal notions of self-improvement.

“At one point, my black friend next to me whispered, “I’ve heard all this before” and all I could do was agree” Throughout the discussion, at times raising an eyebrow or two of mine (as when, for example, Isaacs, in what seemed to be a parody of Marx, suggested that Islam is targeted because its community spirit somehow defies capitalism), there were two questions I kept on asking myself: firstly, what becomes of decoloniality when we reduce it to a question of bias; and secondly, what will become of Muslims when they are forced to confront a decolonial movement that insists on analysing the very foundations of Islamic discourse and practice, not only on racism and classism present within Muslim communities.

Sebastian Monorell Amber Williams Features@varsitynewspaper.co.za

Femme Renegades of UCT:

Image by Badroenisa Van Rensburg

Badroenisa Van Rensburg By Amber Williams


adroenisa Van Rensburg, known to friends and family as Buddy, is a 39-year-old mother, part-time student and employee at the University of Cape Town. Buddy has been employed as a campus cleaner at the university since 2007 and says that her time at the school has been one with a lot of growth, challenges and learning curves over the past few years.

“I still knew there was a lot to know and I wanted to learn as much as I can” Her story is one of true inspiration, growing up in Retreat she completed her matric through night school when she started working at UCT. “I couldn’t just work and then go home; I still knew there was a lot to know and I wanted to learn as much as I can. I still do.” Life has had its fair share of ups and downs, particularly as she now finds herself juggling her time between work, home and obtaining her BA in Human and Social Studies through UNISA (majoring in Public Administration and Communications). In our conversation her spirit is what makes her shine despite all else; her love for life, her family, her coworkers and most of all herself is all too evident and what makes her an indomitable force and womxn and indeed, an inspiration to us all.

“I have a dream for myself and my family”

Her own life and experiences growing up has contributed to her furthering her dreams and realising that no one is ever too old to stop learning. “I have a dream for myself and my family. There’s a lot to see and experience in life and I want my children to grow up realising all the opportunities that life holds for them.” Just this weekend it was her daughter’s birthday and she made the time to make the day special- while still having an assignment due on Monday. That should be enough to get most of us on our feet and want to do the things that push us forward. We all pass each other on these streets every day, students and staff alike, but we tend to think little of our common shared experiences -our joys and our struggles not only as womxn, but as people too.

“Life is learning, and learning is life and learning never stops” As Buddy herself says (and what could be a personal mantra for many of us): “Life is learning, and learning is life and learning never stops, you are never too old to follow your dreams. So, follow them down that path, and you never know where you might just end up. For now, you are alive, so make the most of it while you’re still here.”

@VarsityNews | 14 August 2019 | V78 E7 | Page 7

Fantastic Agency: Carving a New Niche in the Industry By Amber Williams


new zeitgeist has taken over Cape Town- in case you aren’t in the know. Doors of possibility have been opened for many young creative souls within Cape Town and the Fantastic Agency is playing its part in developing just that. As their mission statement goes: “We represent full packages, the people you stalk online, the muses, the ambassadors, the visionaries who bring life to brands. no boxes, no labels.”

“My aim is to represent models that break the mould of what is ‘normal’ ” Fantastic Agency, a talent and model agency based in Cape Town, is the brainchild of Fani Segerman. Having over 10 years of experience in the industry as a casting director and stylist, Fani saw an urgent need for change in the industry, especially with representation and inclusivity. “My aim is to represent models that break the mould of what is ‘normal’ or accepted, to encourage brands to use faces that defy stereotypes, and to keep growing alongside the new wave of modelling.”

This focus on diversity aims at creating a platform where all men and womxn can see themselves reflected in the industry; misrepresentation is a thing of the past. Having opened its doors at the start of 2018, Fantastic saw itself blowing up in a record amount of time, testament to the need for some much-wanted change in the industry and that’s just what they got. Scrolling through the agency’s website, the breaking of gender, race and beauty norms is all too evident; models of the agency are representative of the beautiful people you’d find yourself admiring on the streets. They come in all sizes and skin tones and what’s more, they’re quirky and interesting.

“Models are more than just faces and bodies,”

Source: Fantastic Agency homepage

Models are more than just faces and bodies: they are writers, singers, artists, skaters, performers, heartbreakers and all else in between. Fantastic has truly paved a new way for many of these beautiful personalities: it’s more than just a modeling agency, it’s a space where young creatives of the city can network and collaborate with their fellow models and other prominent names in the industry, all while having the most amazing fun.

One model from the agency commented: “...in many ways we’re a family. I’ve met some of the most amazing people and creators through Fantastic... and it’s a bonus that Fani is such a mom to us. Fantastic really cares about us in an industry where it’s all too easy to get exploited.”

Come and join as UCT competes in a dance-off!

By Ehber Burger

Ever wanted to watch something similar to Strictly Come Dancing live? Now is your chance! UCT will be hosting the South African National Student Ballroom and LatinAmerican Social Dance Competition - IV for short.


or UCT Ballroom, as well as the dancing societies of fellow competing universities, Intervarsity is the biggest event in our annual calendars. Students from Maties, NMU, TUKS and UCT will all be traveling to Cape Town on the 17th of August to compete in a full day of dancing. From cheeky Cha-Chas, to elegant Waltzes, Intervarsity is filled with a diverse range in dances to watch, with each consecutive dance level adding even more spice to each dance. Dancers will be judged in heats by qualified adjudicators from dance studios all around the country. Intervarsity starts off with Boogies and Sokkies, fun dances that all levels compete in together. Level syllabus dances follow, with a mix of open Viennese, Paso Doble and Mambo thrown in there. Just as the day draws to a close, we finish with a bang: Team Dances allow each university to assemble a team of couples to best represent them in each of the dances and then compete.

Lastly, and often most exciting, is the performance of each university’s Formation, a choreographed dance that has been rehearsed for months to be flawless, with fancy outfits and snazzy moves. Spectators can expect hours of entertainment watching fellow students or friends dance their hearts out. You are guaranteed to enjoy those sassy couples who pose for you mid-dance, or stare in amazement at the endless spinning of high level Viennese dances. Tickets are available at the door, and all members of the public are welcome to purchase tickets in support of our societies. The competition is taking place in UCT Sports Centre on the 17th of August, from 08:00 until 20:00 and we would love for to you watch our dancing. There will be food, music (obviously) and some great dance moves you will wish you could do, so please come support your fellow students.

Source: Ballroom Dancing UCT

UCT Womxn In STEM Lead The Way These four womxn are making great strides as researchers and teachers in their scientific fields. Kelsey Maggott, Louise van den Bergh and Tasneem Jacobs spoke to them about their shining careers.


Dr Ramona Hurdayal completed her PhD and post-doctorate in Immunology at the University of Cape Town. She is a lecturer and team leader of the Leishmaniasis Research Group in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at UCT. What encouraged you to pursue a PhD degree in Science? Growing up, I was a bit of an introvert, but I still knew that I wanted to do something different. So while I applied for engineering, I also applied to science. When I got my acceptance for science; the concept of the lab bench, the scientist, and there’s just me and the science, that is what appealed to me. While I knew about engineers then I didn’t know about female scientists - that was the different aspect that I was looking for - so I went towards that. Did you experience any setbacks or barriers to your entry into this field? In undergrad, I think the first one was the lack of information. I came from a family where no one had studied before; no one had been to university. So I had to then go out and get all that information because I knew this is what I wanted to do. In this department at UCT, I would say not really because here, there is actually quite a strong influx of female scientists and female lecturers. Do you believe there is still a gender disparity in the Science discipline? Globally I think for sure that there is still a gender disparity. But I think that UCT is moving forward - our executive leadership is all female - so that sets an example that you can aspire to. What advice would you give to womxn wanting to pursue a career in Science? I’d say start early and pursue it relentlessly. What is most rewarding about being an educator? Before teaching I was a pure researcher, so now one of the greatest things is being able to share science - not just the textbook knowledge, but the real life experiments that actually happen - and another highlight is the lightbulb moments when they understand how certain concepts actually work.




Michelle Kuttel received her PhD in Computational Chemistry from the University of Cape Town in 2003. In 2012, she became an Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science at UCT.

Professor Genevieve Langdon completed her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Liverpool in 2003. She currently holds a Professorship and is the Deputy Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at UCT.

Professor Mamokhethi Phakeng received her PhD in Mathematics Education from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2002. She holds a Mathematics Professorship at UCT and has served as Vice Chancellor as of 2018.

What encouraged you to pursue a PhD in Technology? I’ve always been interested in computers. When I was young, my father bought one of the early Commodore 64s and I got obsessed with programming it. When I got to university, I dropped Computer Science in second year, but then realised that I dropped it for the wrong reasons. I needed to stop questioning my abilities. I was letting other people dictate to me what a Computer Scientist looked like. I know I’m a coder, always have been, but I have had people say to me that girls don’t code.

What encouraged you to pursue a PhD degree in Engineering? I was fascinated by the damage inflicted on structures and materials due to explosions and I wanted to learn more about it. When the opportunity to study for a PhD involving the response of blast walls on offshore platforms to gas explosions came along, I jumped at the chance.

Why encouraged you to pursue a PhD in Mathematics? I majored in Mathematics because, frankly speaking, I couldn’t do anything else [laughs]. When I got to university I went for the things I felt comfortable with. In my first semester I failed Chemistry and Biology and I thought ‘Well what do I need this for? I’m here for Maths.’ Education was a compulsory major and I also took Setswana. I wanted to write maths textbooks in Setswana.

Did you experience any setbacks and barriers to your entry into this field? The main setback I experienced was the attitude I had towards the field. Ultimately, it’s about your mindset. Do you believe there is still a gender disparity in the Technology discipline? I don’t think that it’s a matter of belief, but rather a matter of fact. When women only represent about 10% of a Computer Science class, I think it can be difficult for them. It becomes hard for them to find an identity. If we had more womxn, it would be more normalised and every girl in the class wouldn’t feel as if they have to justify their presence. What advice would you give to womxn wanting to pursue a career in Technology? Assess what you love and do it for the right reasons. Don’t drop a career because you feel that you don’t fit the profile. Trust yourself and develop an internal reward system where you don’t look for affirmations from people. I think that for a lot of womxn working in STEM we almost want that affirmation of someone saying that we did a good job. I still have to talk myself out of that.

Did you experience any setbacks or barriers to your entry into this field? When I was an undergraduate doing workshop training where the workshops were not set up for womxn to be training. For example, I was unable to learn to weld because the welding gloves were so large they would slip off my hands whenever I tried to hold the equipment. Do you believe there is still a gender disparity in the Engineering discipline? Women are still underrepresented in Engineering. I think that there are times when bias still exists, although I think it is not as intentional as it was 20 or 30 years ago. What advice would you give to womxn wanting to pursue a career in Engineering? Be excellent. Choose a life partner that understands and supports your life goals. It is okay to also want to have a family. Do not let anyone tell you that being a womxn means you can’t do it. What is most rewarding about being an educator? I love opening up the mystifying world of Engineering to students and showing them how the theory lands in real-life applications. I love seeing them experience the world in a new way, and being a part of shaping how they think about engineering and the challenges facing our world.

Do you believe there is still a gender disparity in the Mathematics discipline? Oh, absolutely. Oftentimes we talk about the gender disparity in terms of numbers. Numbers are just one thing. Men can get away with losing their temper in a meeting. Nobody is going to call them ‘bitchy’. Womxn can’t. The power of masculinity lies in the privileges that are given to men. How can we empower young womxn to enter the field of Mathematics through education? We should not be talking about how difficult Maths is. As womxn, we should talk about how capable we can be in Mathematics. If we give them a sense that actually, it can be done, and I worked hard at it, always stayed on top of my schoolwork, then girls will realise ‘Oh, I can also do what she has done’. I don’t think we share that enough. What advice would you give to womxn wanting to pursue a degree in Maths? I would say go for it, and don’t be scared of environments that are overpopulated by men. Make your voice heard. If you are in a research group, sometimes you can be ignored. So if you make a suggestion and it doesn’t get picked up, but you hear a man repeating it and getting recognition, make them aware. Don’t let the credit go elsewhere.

@VarsityNews |14 August 2019 | V78 E7| Page 10


What The Pigeon Heard

By The Anonymous Pigeon columnist@varsitynewspaper.co.za Source: Erbs Technology Solutions

Womxn’s outlook on the workplace


read an interesting article by Rebecca Davis in the Daily Maverick commenting on how outrageous Helen Zille’s comments were regarding her identity as a womxn: “I happen to be a womxn that says being a womxn is irrelevant. It makes absolutely no difference to me…I don’t see myself as being disadvantaged by that in any way”. With pigeons you can tell our age by the shininess of our feathers, and with humans by the sinking of their skin. Both Rebecca Davis and Helen Zille have quite a few wrinkles and years on the students at UCT, and I do believe it is more advantageous and relevant to investigate how students feel about being a womxn; specifically, if they feel that being a womxn affects their upcoming opportunities entering the workplace.

“men try to speak over you more than womxn do...”

DISCLAIMER This section of the VARSITY is a vehicle for expression on any topic by the columnist. The opinions within this section are not necessarily those of the VARSITY collective or its advertisers.

This week I’ve had bird flu and been unable to leave the nest, but I asked my neighbours to do some thorough eavesdropping around UCT and report back to me. It worked out quite nicely as I have multiple sources of information, with a broad spectrum of race, wealth and fields of study. I could compete with you honours students to write a dissertation, but since UCT won’t register avian species I’ll have to make my findings short and sweet. Firstly, from the sample of 10 womxn investigated, it seems that many feel relatively confident in terms of entering the workspace, largely due to the type of fields into which they are going. These fields include psychology, fashion and other female-dominated industries. However, two of the ten expressed fear at interacting with men as there has known to be sexual assault in their industries. With regard to a male-dominated industry, an Economics honours student states she doesn’t feel threatened by men in terms of workplace opportunities. She does, however, describe her agitation of the habit of men to interrupt and speak over her: “I’ve spoken a lot to my friends about it and they’ve also noticed that men try to speak over you more than womxn do… it could impact my confidence and thus, my performance and initiative”. Race seems to be a less black and white issue, with a recent graduate turned fashion intern saying, “I got the internship because I had a car, and because I’m still living off my parents. I was the first black intern that this fashion magazine had. A lot of young, black womxn cannot afford to not be paid’. Growing your career is only an option if you can work for free for a couple of months or years and, given the wealth imbalance in South Africa, is directly correlated to race. This means that as a black womxn, it is harder to get that initial experience. Whether black womxn are more likely than men to be asked to work for free is another mini dissertation entirely. Another female who has grown up in a very patriarchal society, states that her being female has definitely changed the way she is treated, “My close relatives are always trying to frustrate my mother and I for the same reasons”. She emphasizes that she was blessed with an outstanding feminist as a mother and as a result of a ‘privileged family setup’ has gone on to achieve highly. She is not intimidated by the workspace and does not believe her identity as a womxn will affect her opportunities, but does state that she believes ill-treatment of womxn will not cease anytime soon. She’s also had many (male and female) express shock and bitterness at her success; “They say I’m a tad too empowered or had too many opportunities as a womxn”.

As Rebecca Davis states, “Zille’s experience of utopian gender equality in her own life is not matched by empirical facts”. But there is a direct clash with this sentence— her own experiences are her own and shouldn’t necessarily match empirical evidence of the majority (she could perhaps have added this clause in and been more tactful as a public figure). Most of the wealthy females in this study, both white and black, said that they hadn’t felt their sex disadvantaged them at all in their lives, but acknowledged that this was largely due to money and privilege. The main thing these womxn fear is sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace— which makes the space uncomfortable but doesn’t necessarily inhibit them from being promoted or accepted into a position in the first place. This news, albeit collected from a small sample, is mostly positive from a work opportunity perspective, but also shows that men’s behavior and societal views around womxn in the workplace and womxn’s successes leave much to be desired. One thing is for sure, it is still far easier to avoid feeling disadvantaged as a womxn if you have a green dollar to back your name.

@VarsityNews | 14 August 2019| V78 E7|Page 11


Kelsey Maggott & Zahirah Benjamin opinions@varsitynewspaper.co.za


Being unapologetically Candashian By Soligah Solomons

Now, if you think that the place you grew up in, size of your jeans, gender, or race will determine where you’re heading, think again! In honouring womxn from all walks of life this month, VARSITY News’ Editor-in-Chief sat down with the inspiring body positive model, Candice “Candashian” Manuel for a Q and A session. During your presentation at our annual media conference, you noted that you grew up in Mitchell’s Plain. Do you mind sharing a fond childhood memory? A fond memory of my childhood growing up in Mitchell’s Plain was walking from our house to the beach. It’s only in our adult life that we actually sit back and appreciate having a beach so close to home, and a time when it was safe enough to walk to. At what age did you discover your passion for modelling and how has that journey been up until now? I’ve never been an adrenalin junkie, so at the age of fourteen when I entered my first beauty pageant, I realized the thrill I got from being on stage. The journey had lots of doors closed in my face but has added so much more happy milestones later in my career. Now, it goes without saying, you’re an exemplar of breaking down the barriers and setting your eyes on achieving success and nothing less. How do you overcome challenges that come in the way of achieving your goals? I guess that with the challenges, it took a very long time for me to realize how the opinion of others actually has nothing to do with the woman I am today. The only regret with this is realizing it much later in life, which is why it’s become my mission to encourage young womxn. In hopes of eliminating some of the struggles I faced with my own insecurities growing up. I’m sure that this journey could not have been possible without the support of your family- especially parents. Do you mind providing insight as to how your family played a role in your career as a professional model? Wow, my parents are just the best! My mom would travel with me by taxi every single week to take me to pageants. We even hitchhiked home once when there were no taxis. My father is very artsy and creative and having a dad like him has always inspired me to be liberal and embrace the arts within. Do you mind sharing some highlights of your career that in your personal opinion, really took your career to the next level? My top 3: -Walking in African International Fashion week -Wining the face of Milady’s 2018 -Being featured in Women’s Health SA with the most powerful fitness statement “STRONG is the new SKINNY”. In lieu of womxn’s month, we’re celebrating females who are trailblazing and hearing your presentation resonated so much with me as a female coming from Mitchell’s Plain too. In your personal opinion, what does being a womxn mean to you as well as womxn’s month? Being a womxn means I am equal! I am powerful yet loving, I am strong yet weak and I am more than what I think I am capable of. I only understood the true potential of womxn upliftment and empowerment, when I was at my lowest and realized that someone would be inspired by my journey. I then acknowledged of the power of a simple thing such as sharing one’s journey with another, as we never know what anyone is going through in life. Womxn are like therapy to one another. What advice would you give to womxn? Learn to love yourself !

Source: Instagram (candashian_cpt)

As humans, we sometimes get sidetracked and lose focus. What is your biggest motivator and why? To be honest, nay sayers! I strive on breaking boundaries and being unapologetically me. I love taking on a challenge especially when it’s based on “society norms”. We know that walking runways is an integral part of the job. Do you mind sharing insight on one of the runways you’re most proud of doing and why? It’s such a thrill walking a runway and feeling like you own the stage. Last year I walked AFI Fashion Week in Johannesburg and that was a super long runway. It felt like it would never end, but I loved every second of it. The highlight of that show was being stopped by Nobuhle Mimi Mahlasela- also known as “Aggie” from 7de Laanand being told how inspired she was by seeing a plus size on the runway. Let’s take it a bit back to the neighbourhood. I know that YOH Radio is relatively new and I’m so happy that we finally have a community radio back at it. You host the show Keeping up with Candashian. What inspired the name and inspired you to be part of this radio station? The show is aimed at having “girl talk” we focus on true womxn issues and celebrating who we are. I also interview men striving in their own industries with our #MCM Man Crush Monday segments.

@VarsityNews | 14 August 2019 | V78 E7 | Page 12

UCT’s Gender-Based Violence Silent Protest: A deafening silence Photo by Sandisiwe Shoba

By Phophi Tshikovhi


riday the 2nd of August witnessed the third annual Gender-Based Violence silent protest on Upper campus. The protest started with people putting their names down in order to get one of the two T-shirts available. You could choose between either a ‘Survivor’ or a ‘Believe survivors’ shirt. At this point, I knew exactly what this would mean for a survivor. This would serve as a remembrance of a time where their rights were violated. This cause was bigger than me, but I had to take part. Everyone then proceeded to Sarah Baartman Hall for a short briefing session by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and the ViceChancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng.

“In whichever way we could relate, we were all there for a common cause; to highlight gender-based violence”

Amongst the hustle and bustle of trying to get a t-shirt, I met a lady who was wearing a t-shirt with ‘Survivor’ written on it. In passing, she told me about her sexual assault and subsequent pregnancy, after which we continued speaking about something else. I felt numb, with an overbearing lump in my throat. This protest ran deep into the hearts of many - this cause was bigger than me. The hall was filled with many people, young and old, with the colour purple being the order of the day. In that space, there were people from various walks of life; those who were survivors of gender-based violence, and those who knew a survivor - be it a family member, a friend, a colleague or even someone who had turned into a statistic on prime time news. In whichever way we could relate, we were all there for a common cause: to highlight gender-based violence and the plight of many survivors. As the representative from the AHF said, this was not a once-off action. This was UCT joining a broader global movement. Think of Kenya,

New Delhi, and Guatemala. We were the tape from each other’s mouths and all coming together to disrupt rape shouted hard and loud. culture, to stand in solidarity with those who had walked a terrifying mile that no one ever should have to walk. “I am not going to wait until I have After a short session in the hall, protestors had their mouths covered with black tape and were moved from the hall to South Stop, to North Stop, and then back to the hall in total silence. There was something about that silence: it was the kind of silence accompanied by trauma and devastation.

been in someone’s shoes in order to know how it feels.”

For me, that shout meant something. It reminded me of how after every traumatic experience we eventually take back our power. We get back up again, shouting at the top of our lungs and remind ourselves that there’s more to us than what we have gone through. I walked away with my “after every traumatic experience heart full that day. I am not going to wait we eventually take back our until I have been in someone’s shoes in order to know how it feels. I will not wait power.” until my aunt, my sister, my friend, or my brother have come face to face with After going back, protestors a perpetrator in order for me to be the laid down on the floor, with tape voice of those who aren’t ready to speak still covering their mouths. For a for themselves yet. few minutes, we were in a state of reflection, thinking about survivors’ lived experiences and what this protest meant for every single one of us. A siren rang, protestors got up, removed

Miss South Africa Breaks Barriers By Stephanie Wild


he 9th of August marked the crowning of the next Miss South Africa with Zozibinzi Tunzi taking the crown. This year’s list of 16 finalists even features our very own fellow student, Chuma Matsaluka, who made us proud by placing top 10 in the competition. In the spirit of Womxn’s Day, the theme of the 2019 pageant is Dreamwalkers and is aimed at breaking barriers in the beauty industry.

“The Miss South Africa pageant seems to be finally catching up to calls... to alter perceptions of beauty in such a way that reflects the country.”

Taking a look at this year’s candidates, there is a surprising tonal shift in how beauty is being defined. Not only is there significant racial diversity within the line-up, but there is also a celebration of the natural hair movement. The Miss South Africa pageant seems to be finally catching up to calls from South African society to alter perceptions of beauty in such a way that reflects the country.

Source: Miss South Africa

The breaking of beauty barriers does not, however, only extend to the racial sphere. With the inclusion of two plus-size models, namely SashaLee Olivier and Beulah Baduza, there has been a concerted effort to expand our definition of beauty. Additionally, Kgothatso Dithebe’s success in the competition also shows a rejection of how we view and define imperfections. The realisation that there is beauty in her unique facial birthmark shows a pivotal shift in society.

“we are no longer celebrating homogeneity, but rather find beauty in the uniqueness of difference.” This year’s Miss South Africa shows that we are no longer concerned with restricting the concept of beauty to a Barbie-like image of skinniness, absent of all blemishes. In other words, we are no longer celebrating homogeneity, but rather find beauty in the uniqueness of difference.

@VarsityNews | 14 August 2019 | V78 E7 | Page 13

Our Very Own Trailblazer By Stephanie Wild


uring this womxn’s month it is important to take the celebration and recognition home to our very own Vice-Chancellor, Professor Phakeng. Her recent reception of an honorary degree from the University of Bristol is not only a feather in her cap, but an international recognition of the South African tertiary education system.

afford the same opportunity to future academics. Her image for the university’s future is one where there is “comfort in our diversity”. After all the years of division within UCT in the aftermath of protests, such a pioneering womxn is exactly what we need to bring us all together. This aim of making everyone comfortable with who they are is an admirable goal.

“[Professor Phakeng] is also making a concerted effort to afford the same opportunity to future academics.”

“It is clear that our VC comes from a family of strong and powerful womxn.”

Professor Phakeng’s work with the UK university did not simply end with her accepting an award, but she also launched a joint PhD programme which will allow UCT students the opportunity to study abroad. Not only has she reached the top of her field with a B1 rating as a scientist, but she is also making a concerted effort to

In a recent interview with Tasneem Jacobs published in edition 6 of VARSITY, Prof Phakeng spoke about the resilience of her mother in getting her first degree at the age of 58. It is clear that our VC comes from a family of strong and powerful womxn. We are so lucky to have such a role model leading our university.

The Power of Womxn in STEM By Zahirah Benjamin


he Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industry is known to be intimidating, exclusive and impenetrable. However, it is clear that womxn all around the world have not allowed these elements to stop them from making strides within the industry. UCT’s own top achievers in Civil Engineering: Chloë Bolton, Jemma Richmond, Juliana Diniz, Waseefa Ebrahim, Lansea Loubser and Dilys Mneney, are womxn that are worthy of the title ‘womxn trailblazers’, as they not only took the top six places in their Civil Engineering Honours class in April this year but they also successfully contested the gender inequalities and sexist ideals within the STEM industry.

“what I wanted was to show that of this small percentage of womxn, we are already outperforming our male counterparts”

Source: Saray Khumalo

Conquer the highest mountain with your resilience

By Chandré Cupido


here are many womxn doing extraordinary work in our country and communities who should be celebrated every day and not just once a year. Womxn’s month has begun and it allows us to think about the remarkable womxn who marched to the Union Building on the 9th of August in 1956. We commemorate not only the womxn who marched against the extension of pass laws but every womxn who has impacted our lives, communities and country. One




I had the pleasure of speaking to Chloë, who stated that her ambition was driven mostly by an inner desire to not only complete her degree but to complete it in the top percentage of her class. She continued by saying, “It felt to me as though it was not good enough to simply contribute to the rising percentage

should be celebrated is award-winning mountaineer, a Mandela libraries ambassador and mother of two boys Saray Khumalo. She has demonstrated her perseverance and strength as a black womxn in making a change in her environment through climbing several mountains in the world.

“her perseverance and strength awarded her the first black African womxn to summit Everest” In celebrating the many womxn in our country, we applaud Khumalo who has summited

Mount Everest on the 16th of May this year. Despite the difficulty, her perseverance and strength awarded her the first black African womxn to summit Everest and she has thus gained 6 years of mountaineering experience. She has shown that it takes stamina and determination to climb many incredible and challenging mountains, however her resilience and dedication does not end there.

“ordinary people like us can achieve extraordinary heights” Saray Khumalo uses climbing to raise funds to build up to five libraries for underprivileged schools in South Africa, which is part of her ‘climbing with a purpose initiative’. Khumalo says on her website, “My dream is to go higher and go further for as long as I breathe. To pave a way

Source: UCT News

of womxn that are choosing to pursue engineering at university, but what I wanted was to show that of this small percentage of womxn, we are already outperforming our male counterparts”.

“The number of womxn in the STEM industry has been growing over the past years” It’s clear that womxn in the field are passionate about what they do. Chloë stated, “I have chosen to dedicate my life to contribute to correcting the stats regarding womxn in STEM fields that have been based on a society that has neglected our narrative.” The number of womxn in the STEM industry has been growing over the past years, with more females successfully graduating with STEM degrees globally however, womxn remain dramatically underrepresented across all STEM faculties and careers. Chloë seconds this, by stating that as a womxn it’s not that we can’t or that our biology is somehow unsuited to excelling in the field, it’s simply that we were never given the chance.” These are just a few 21st century female trailblazers who are showing South Africans and the world that womxn’s contributions to the field of STEM are greatly significant and absolutely necessary. for my children and other ordinary people, so we may realise and accept that ordinary people like us can achieve extraordinary heights”. Her tenacity is shown through climbing and helping womxn, girls and daughters of Africa to dream big and conquer the world. Climbing mountains and conquering them is a wonderful symbol and inspiration for children and youths to persevere through every difficult situation in their lives, and importantly to ‘summit’ through the peaks of education.


This section of the VARSITY is a vehicle for expression, on any topic by members of the UCT community. The opinions within this section are not necessarily those of the VARSITY collective or its advertisers. Letters to the Editor need to be kept at a maximum of 300 words and can be sent to: editorial@varsitynewspaper. co.za

@VarsityNews | 14 August 2019 |V78 E7 | Page 14

Nambitha Ben-Mazwi: A celebration of Black Girl Magic By Nicole Stuurman


his Womxn’s month, I want to celebrate one womxn who is an icon within the South African entertainment industry. She defines success and works hard for it. Born in Port Elizabeth, Nambitha Ben-Mazwi is a huge inspiration through the work she does in order to give back to the community. In 2011, Nambitha graduated with Honours in Business Science Management from UCT, and from then on, has grown her platform to further influence and better the dark-skinned, black community. In light of this, Nambitha started a campaign called #SheSpeaks by Lady Nam, to empower young womxn and teach them that with hard work you can do anything, even though some have to fight harder than others. The #SheSpeaks campaign is a number of talks with womxn about matters that affect them. Nambitha started the campaign to create a movement that represents everything she stands for.

“She has, however, taken her hardships and transformed it into a necessary message we all need to hear.”

Nambitha is no stranger to colourism within the South African entertainment industry. She has, however, taken her hardships and transformed it into a necessary message we all need to hear. She explained in various newspaper interviews about how she wants to leave a positive impact in the lives of dark-skinned girls through inspiring them and teaching them to have confidence. Nambitha herself has been mocked for being a her complexion, but she has used this to make her stronger and better. Through her late grandmother, Nanziwe Ben-Mazwi, Nambitha has been taught to love and value her dark skin from a youthful age.

“We should all take time to applaud the womxn in our lives who make sacrifices in order to make sure that we live our best lives. “ More recently, Nambitha has been nominated for the Accenture Rising Star award in the entrepreneur category. According to their website, this award aims to recognise young and talented individuals who make it their mission to give back to

Image by: Madimetja. Instagram - @allyfathana

the community, while excelling at what they do. Nambitha deserves to be celebrated this month along with all womxn. We should take time to applaud the womxn in our lives who make sacrifices in order to make sure that we live our best lives.


This section of the VARSITY is a vehicle for expression, on any topic by members of the UCT community. The opinions within this section are not necessarily those of the VARSITY collective or its advertisers. Letters to the Editor need to be kept at a maximum of 300 words and can be sent to: editorial@ varsitynewspaper.co.za

@VarsityNews | 14 August 2019 | V78 E7 |Page 15



Hiking with a purpose: the Siyenyuka programme By Phophi Tshikovhi


hen Charles W. Chestnutt said that we sometimes underestimate the influence of little things, he had no idea about the profoundness of his statement. Mountain and Ski Club (MSC) is one society that can be said to be making an impact with the smallest of things, ie. hiking.

The pupils get to acquire information about the different programmes the university offers, the requirements to get into these mentioned programs, and to get a better sense of the university experience from people who have gone before them.

The MSC is a sports club at UCT that focuses on activities such as rock climbing, trail runs, orienteering and many more. The club has a programme called The Siyenyuka Program and has been running for 8 years now and is in collaboration with Project90, a non-profit organization. The program conducts hikes for pupils from various high schools in the Western Cape. This program is not only aimed at exposing them to hiking and getting them to reach a certain distance, but to also build relationships between UCT students and these pupils.

“These hikes also assists the learners in getting their President’s Award.” It cannot be disputed that the hand of the MSC extends further than what it seems when it comes to this programme. These hikes also assist the learners in getting their President’s Award. This is an award that was founded in the United Kingdom and has spread its wings into South African schools. The award is separated into 3 categories, namely Bronze, Silver and Gold, and serves the purpose of encouraging pupils to spend more time outdoors and, thus, get an award for doing just that.

Image by Musawenkosi Mkhize

“Project90 has pupils from Khayelitsha and we mainly work with them,”

Speaking to Rudorwashe Rushwaya, the Siyenyuka convenor, she said “Project90 has pupils from Khayelitsha and we mainly work with them. However on our last hike we went with pupils from Langa Township Mountaineers. Interestingly, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Phakeng joined the club on its most recent hike with the pupils. “It was an honour and very humbling to have someone of such significance in the UCT community joining the hike for both the club and the pupils. It is great to see all that she has achieved but to hold a conversation with her was so special,” added Rushwaya.

Our Womxn in Sport are Front and Centre A

By Ntombi Khulu

trailblazing womxn survives and thrives through all the trials and tribulations that the world throws at her; these traits are most definitely seen through the accolades and achievements scored by the three young womxn who were present as speakers at the third annual Womxn in Sport Talk. The Womxn in Sport Talk took place on Tuesday the 6th of August at the UCT Club. This event hosted three female athletes, namely Rinette von Mollendorf, Sikhumbuzo Muchenje and Zanele Situ. It provided a platform for them to share their stories of inspiration to the UCT community.

“There’s more to life than what people tell you. The only person in your way is you.”

Sikhumbuzo Muchenje (Left), Zanele Situ (middle), Rinette von Mollendorf (right)- Image by Lebo Notoane

Rinette von Mollendorf captured the audience first with her tales as a visually impaired goalball player. For those unfamiliar with the sport, goalball is a sport that was primarily designed for athletes with visual impairments where players compete in teams of three and try to throw the ball into the opponent’s goal post. The ball has bells embedded inside it for the players to hear where the ball has been thrown. Rinette von Mollendorf ’s impressive resumé begins from when she started playing goalball in 2011 and, very swiftly, moved on to play in the national championships in Durban in 2012. Further, she is the current chairperson of the Maties Parasport at Stellenbosch University and has been the Western Province goalball convener since 2014.

“Muchenje came to the university in 2017 and created UCT’s first official all-female rugby team in 2018”

“There’s more to life than what people tell you. The only person in your way is you.” These words are from UCT’s female rugby team: The Swifts’. Captain, Sikhumbuzo Muchenje, a third-year student studying towards a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Law and Industrial Sociology, provides a light-hearted and motivational account of her first experience at playing womxn’s rugby. Not one to enjoy after-school punishments (but then again, who is?), Muchenje started playing womxn’s rugby in high school to avoid detention. This decision sparked her passion to join the UCT Rugby Club when Muchenje came to the university in 2017 and created UCT’s first official all-female rugby team in 2018, something the university had been lacking. Over the seven years she’s played the sport, Muchenje has already built a legacy at UCT and strives for even more. Last to the stage came Zanele Situ. With a calm yet powerful demeanour, Situ relayed her thought-provoking story of nearly succumbing to an illness that left her wheelchair-bound, to winning gold and silver in discus in the 2000 Paralympics. Situ kept the room in awe of her talents as she humbly proclaimed her personal best throw of 17.9 meters in javelin, securing a bronze medal for South Africa in the 2016 Rio Paralympics. These three womxn shared in their own way that perseverance and commitment are the greatest qualities one can strive to maintain to reach their goals.


@VarsityNews |14 August 2019 | V78 E6 | Page 16

A Protea Post-Mortem: Where to go now?

In this Issue Vice-Chancellor’s


By Gabriel Vieira

An Oppurtunity Inaugural to Share; UCT Lecture: Professor Islam Week Adam Haupt


Femme Renegades of UCT: Badroenisa Van Rensburg


UCT Women in STEM Lead the Way

8-9 Womxn’s outlook on the workplace 10


Conquer the highest mountain with your resilience


Nambitha Ben-Mazwi: A celebration of black Black Girl Magic.


t was only a few months ago that the Proteas held their own against a previously alldestroying Indian side; proceeding then to drive another touring Australian side to a point of hopelessness so desperate that they put all of Australian Cricket in disrepute. There were then reasons to be hopeful for this World Cup- much talent and self-belief were enough to make fans, all of whom were nervous due to recollections of previous World Cup disappointments, hopeful.

him. He needs to be number three, unless another batsman was to step up and show he has what it takes to be one-drop. One other bright spot was Rassie Van der Dussen. He showed a lot of fight and not any small share of ability in his outings and he will be a fantastic middle order addition to team.

“The decidedly poor performance of the team once they reached England did not come completely without warning.”

The bowling side was probably the more disappointing aspect to the game. Even when fighting scores were posted, the bowling attack showed little ability to defend them. The injury to Dale Steyn did cause plans to be made on the fly, but now that he is ever closer to retirement, it may be time to re-evaluate the dependence on pace that the team has been building towards. It probably shouldn’t be abandoned, but the establishment will be hoping that either Lungi Ngidi or Andile Phehlukwayo - both of whom made useful cameos throughout- or Anrich Nortje- who was injuredevolve into express pacemen like Kagiso Rabada, who had a fairly disappointing campaign.

But all was not well. The decidedly poor performance of the team once they reached England did not come completely without warning. The talismanic AB De Villiers retiring from international cricket only months before the tournament was never going to help and, in his absence, an unexpected frailty was exposed in the batting line-up, which was seen during the latest test series against Sri Lanka. This batting frailty showed up often in England with the Proteas struggling to post challenging totals. The openers failed to fire continuously. Hashim Amla looked a shadow of his former self and after such a long period of poor results, there is no option, but to drop him and search for a replacement. The other opener is also an interesting case. Quinton De Kock is a young player with just as much class as the stalwart of Du Plessis and it is around him that the batting line-up must be built in the next few years. He was tried as an opener, first-drop and even a number five during the tournament. This instability in his position shows an uncertainty as to how to use

“the Proteas have reassessment to do but there is much talent and youth at hand.”

All in all, the Proteas have some reassessment to do, but there is a lot of talent and youth at hand. The flame is not nearly extinguished.

The Ashes are upon us

By Sebastian Moronell

“Burns and Wade both made debut Ashes hundreds”

Source: The Independent


nce again, The Ashes are upon us. I say ‘us’ hesitantly; after all, what do we have to do with a banal test series between England and Australia? In one sense, nothing; in another everything – cricket consumes all. I seem to care less about Boris Johnson than I care about whether or not Smith can score another century against England. I wonder how many people share my sentiment.

The first test was an absolute blunder – Australia bounced back from 122 for 8 on the first day to beating England by 251 runs on day five. The cricketing world squirmed in delight as Smith marked his return to test cricket after his year-long ban with a century in each of the Australian innings. There were other heroes of the game too: Burns and Wade both made debut Ashes hundreds, and Nathan Lyon took 6 for 49 on the final day to wrap up the English second innings and win the match. There are four more tests to be played in England this summer – at Lord’s from the 14th - 18th August, at Headingly from the 22nd – 26th August, at Old Trafford from 4th – 8th September and at The Oval from the 12th – 16th September. For many English fans, winning back the Ashes from the Australians after the World Cup

win would be a multi-formatted dream. And while many commentators have remarked how unlikely that will be after the dominating performance by Australia in the first test, cricket has a penchant to be particularly surprising. And that surprise is exacerbated by the format of the test match. Five days of contest, requiring hour after hour of concentration mixed with a variety of emotions –fear, frustration, joy – thrown in with the temperaments of the pitch and weather brings out the best and worst of cricket. So whilst we may only have time to check the score now and then on Cricinfo, take the time to watch or listen to the game. I for one, look forward to the seamless thoughts that float through my mind as I watch each ball. The faint aristocratic melody of Nasser Hussain’s voice – so reminiscent of a bygone era of the Test Match Special – underlying my consciousness with ball-by-ball commentary, interspersed with statistics and tales of yesteryear.

Hello Reader, allow me to introduce myself. I am Phumzile Konile, otherwise known as Hilda the Qing. I was raised in Mafikeng and now reside in Cape Town, more descriptively called ‘The Colony’. Education is what brought me here and during my journey I have found that I enjoy the expressions that art and artists have to offer. It was through schooling and now largely through self-teaching that I have developed a great passion for art, particularly visual arts.

I finally bring you to my main point of this monologue. I have here, in this newspaper, presented a compilation of some of my works, most of which are photographs.

Photographs of friends, peers and comrades as well as a collage that is part of larger collaborative project. For more of my content you can follow @hildatheqing and @hildatheqing_ imagery for the content.