2 October 2019| Volume 78 | Edition 9
Naledi: an African solution to an African problem By Akhona Matshoba
UCT students develop financial management and banking assistant Naledi with hopes to solve the problem of financial exclusion and illiteracy.
Source: Thapelo Nthite
esigned and developed by Thapelo Nthite along with his peers Xolisani Nkwentsha, Sange Maxaku and Bonolo Malebo, Naledi uses WhatsApp to interact with its users, helping them with transactions and with managing their finances responsibly. “Naledi will give users insight on their spending habits helping them make better financial decisions,” said Nthite, a fourth-year Mechatronics student. “For people who would like to learn and improve their financial literacy.” Competent in four South African languages, Naledi can interact with users in Setswana, isiXhosa, isiZulu, and English. By speaking the language people understand, Naledi allows users access to resources that were otherwise unavailable to them. “A lot of people are being left behind because they are not comfortable. They do not trust the language because they do not understand it,” Nthite says.
“We want to lead Africa in joining that conversation.” For Sange Maxaku, an Electrical Engineering master’s student, Naledi is for people who not only have WhatsApp and a bank account but “for someone who would like to interact with their banks in their language.” Nthite adds that the assistant is “for people who would like to learn and improve their financial literacy.”
“We want to enable developers and innovators to use our languages and models to build systems.”
After claiming victory at the African DataHack4FI innovation competition held in Rwanda earlier this year, the team saw the win as validation, motivating them to continue with their work. In the future, Nthite envisions himself and his peers leading the conversation of AI in Africa. “We want to enable developers and innovators to use our languages and When asked about the motivation behind models to build systems.” Now, according to this ground-breaking financial management and these innovative students, the next milestone is banking assistant, Nkwentsha, also an Electrical launching Naledi to the public. Engineering master’s student, noted the need for Africa to partake in conversations around Artificial Intelligence (AI). “AI is the biggest thing happening globally, but Africa is not part of that conversation… We want to lead Africa in joining that conversation.”
@VarsityNews | 2 October 2019 | V78 E9| Page 2
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By Anna van Renen
UCT’s contentious academic boycott against Israel seems to be moving forward after months of delay.
Hope increases for boycott implementation
Source: The Jewschool
n March of this year, the UCT Senate oﬃcially proposed an academic boycott of Israel’s universities and institutions that enables or contributes to human rights violations in Palestine. Thus far, the implementation of the boycott has been delayed multiple times.
are discriminatory and do not promote academic freedom, and believe UCT “is under an obligation to refuse ties with those institutions.”
“The university community is highly divided over the issue.”
In addition, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) also supports the boycott. They accepted that the aim of the boycott is not to target individual people based on the religious identities but rather to target the actions of the Israeli institutions. The MSA also said, “this boycott is the strongest form of academic activism that the leading university in Africa can undertake against the gross human rights violations in occupied Palestine.” The MSA remains positive that the boycott will be implemented soon, and that the delays are simply a bureaucratic process that an institution such as UCT must undertake.
After the Senate meeting in May yielded no results, UCT council decided to open the decision to their stakeholders. This included students, staﬀ, alumni, and donors who were allowed to submit their views on the matter via an online survey. The results of this consultation, along with the results of the sustainability assessment, were set to be discussed at the Senate meeting on September 13th. The results of the sustainability assessment and stakeholder consultations are not yet easily accessible to the UCT public. However, it is evident that the university community is highly divided over the issue. “This boycott is the strongest form of academic activism.”
UCT’s chapter of the South African Union of Jewish Students remains ﬁrmly opposed to the boycott, stating that they believe in free speech and in Israel’s right to exist with peace and security. On the other hand, a group of over 60 Jewish students released an open letter showing their support for it. Their letter states that institutions that would be boycotted
“Currently and ofﬁcially, no one on the UCT Council is opposed to the implementation of the boycott.”
Whilst some students do not share the MSA’s faith that such a boycott will be implemented, in the most recent Senate meeting, the motion to rescind the call for an academic boycott was withdrawn. This means that currently and oﬃcially, no one on the UCT council is opposed to the boycott and its implementation. Amidst the all-too-common cynicism of bureaucracies and their incompetence, it appears those who had faith in UCT’s Senate and Council were correct. So far, it seems as though the boycott will be implemented. Now, the only question is when.
@VarsityNews | 2 October 2019 | V78 E9 | Page 3
SRC 2019/2020 Big Debate By Sinothando Siyolo
Source: UCT News
The 2019/2020 SRC election candidates met students to discuss issues on campus such as the workers strike, xenophobia anxiety and their political affiliations.
n the 18th of September the Student Representative Council (SRC) had a Great Debate where students were invited to engage the SRC 2019/2020 election candidates about issues on campus and their respective stances. Although called ‘The Great Debate,’ what followed was a question and answer session between students and candidates. Questions touched on topics ranging from the workers’ strike at UCT, xenophobic attacks and questions on accountability and functionality of the SRC.
emphasized the need to engage student housing on the matter and work towards reviewing the current housing policy. However, the candidates suggested that whilst it is important to provide mixedsex residences, space should be allowed for those who prefer singlesex residences. Candidates were also asked why they were not visible in the workers’ strike currently taking place on campus (and which has been served an interdict, at the time of writing). Some candidates mentioned that the workers have the University and Allied Workers’ Union (UAWU) to represent them, whilst others blamed the current SRC for communique that was often confusing. Most of them agreed that the workers’ struggles are students’ struggles and that many of the candidates were engaging management in the boardroom.
When asked about how the candidates would ensure that the SRC works to its full capacity given that it will be comprised of elected candidates representing various political parties and positions (including independent), the crowd was informed that the candidates are students first, and as such they have to sweep aside their political affiliations and focus on students’ needs. Some acknowledged the dangers of being affiliated with a party whilst serving on the SRC, Sikumbuzo Muchenje, a student who attended the great suggesting that parties will push their own agendas and mandates, debate, feels like the university community should do more forgetting the students they claim to represent. towards promoting and engaging in such events, because there were only around thirty students that attended. “We can do more as a university community to engage in such activities as they “We can do more as a university community to engage in such contribute to our leadership structure,” Sikhumbuzo added.
activities as they contribute to our leadership structure.”
The candidates were asked how they were going to ensure that UCT residences become gender neutral and that first years are not placed on off-campus residences. The candidates
@VarsityNews | 2 October 2019 | V78 E9 | Page 4
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Soligah Solomons firstname.lastname@example.org
365 days in 365 words
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his time last year, I commenced my term of oﬃce as Editor-in-Chief with a new team. For many of them it was their ﬁrst time at the Collective and the learning curve was steep. Setbacks were plentiful (load-shedding is an unforgettable one). However, as I look back, I am grateful for the challenges through which we grew as a team. They paved the way for us to reassess our structure and we expanded the online team to better reﬂect the growth in the online media space, ideally positioning our publication to slowly evolve with the times. “It is in such moments of crises that the role of student leaders becomes imperative.” This year’s iteration of the Media Conferencean annual hallmark event for our publication- moved to the ﬁrst week of the second semester to better accommodate the academic calendar. This saw an improvement in attendance and engagement from various student societies. We formed working relationships with mainstream media outlets, namely the Mail & Guardian and the Daily Maverick, and were delighted by the success of the conference and the legacy it left, which we now leave in the capable hands of the new team.
In line with our duty to report on activities and the atmosphere around our campuses, there were moments that called for speciﬁc attention to be brought to particularly pressing matters. Recently, we produced an edition on Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the memory of loved ones who have fallen victim to this very inhumane femicide. It is in such moments of crises that the role of student leaders become imperative. “As an institution, as students, as workers and as staff we need healing.” This then brings me to Student Governance. At the time of writing, provisional results were released and I would like to congratulate the student community on a successful election season and to the newly-elected Student Representative Council (SRC), I wish you well on your upcoming term. Thank you all for walking with VARSITY Newspaper on this past year’s journey, for your readership and engagement. I wish the incoming Editor-in-Chief and her team well. To the student body, I wish you all a good semester and may the exam season bring success. As an institution, as students, as workers and as staﬀ we need healing. May the upcoming holidays be rejuvenating.
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Cape Flats (Still) Under Siege: Internal intervention is the only weapon By Amber Williams Source: IOL
The continuing violence and poverty in the Cape Flats brings into question the usefulness of the youth’s digital activism.
e have once again witnessed the plight of the Cape Flats being swept under the rug. Nothing has been done to combat the high levels of crime, poverty, drug abuse and gangsterism that still has its grasp over the lives of its people and, most of all, its children. This year has seen young South African social media users take up causes from Sudan to the Cape Flats. Their profile pictures have turned from blue to yellow to purple, aligning themselves with the latest trends in world crises. But this begs the question: what is the meaning behind our claims to digital activism?
are far from view in this struggling community. It has a population of 100,000 people, including five informal settlements that contain high levels of drug abuse, violence, gangs, and crime. This is a part of a broader picture of the Cape Peninsula, where 137 gangs currently operate. Between 40% and 60% of all violent crime on the Cape Peninsula is gang-related. This is likely related to the current unemployment rate in Lavender Hill of 60%, which is largely a ramification of the systematic oppression of Apartheid laws.
“while much of the violence takes place in the Cape Flats, it is continually reinforced by an exploitative system which operates at the city-level.”
True and meaningful activism often comes from those who find themselves privy to the experience and trauma of a specific cause. However, we often act as if external intervention is the only way to combat the issues that plague the lives of those who call the Cape Flats home. Much like the idea of Africa having to rely on Western aid to develop themselves further, those in the Cape Flats are regarded as incapable of dealing with the crime, drug abuse and gang activity that lurks within the confines of their communities. They find themselves victims of their environments, convincing themselves that there is little to be done to rise from the pervading atmosphere of spiritlessness and distrust.
Lucinda Evans, an activist in the community and director of Philisa Abafazi Bethu (Heal Our Women), a local NGO that aids women and children in these affected areas, has been a long-standing example of the ways in which internal support and interventions can be most effective. “We are a community that is traumatised. We wake up to gunshots and fall asleep listening to them and know an event of such a nature is taking place at our doorsteps,” she said.
The crime in the Cape Flats is terrible, and the numbers do well to underscore the breadth of the problem. Take for example Lavender Hill, where fields of blossoming flowers
The deployment of armed forces only contributes to the trauma and fear faced by the inhabitants of these areas who already find themselves daily witnesses to gang violence and the
killings of their children. The youth of these areas are especially at risk. They find themselves in environments that provide little in the way of positive leadership, both at home and in their communities. Family structures play a determining role in how these youths live out their lives and the choices they make to ensure a sense of wellbeing and belonging. All too often lack of support means they turn to the streets, to friends, and crime to gain a sense of belonging and security. Gangsters become role models and provide a way out of poverty and the dire environments in which these youths find themselves. Education and community initiatives seem to be the only ways to break the vicious cycle - but one needs to go beyond this. Here we need to begin questioning the continuing legacy of the Cape Flats and its relationship to broader Cape Town. For while much of the violence takes place in the Cape Flats, it is continually reinforced by an exploitative system which operates at the city-level. The question then becomes: can Cape Town only function the way it does because of the continuing poverty and crime of the Cape Flats?
“It is time that the narrative of the Cape Flats be questioned and challenged at last.” Local NGOs, such as the one set
up by Evans, offer a sense of social security. This, combined with an intimate knowledge of gang-ridden communities, can be seen as one of the most effective tools to combat this issue and prevent the cycle from continuing into future generations. It is time that the narrative of the Cape Flats be questioned and challenged at last. The momentary rise in media attention proved itself a failure and we cannot fight a cause sitting behind our phones and hoping that our likes, comments, reposts and retweets will put an end to it once and for all. An appeal to our generation: if you find yourself so touched by a pervading issue why not go out and put yourself on the line? Volunteering through these NGOs and locally set up initiatives helps. It has become the norm to follow clout culture but it is high time we learned how to use our actions as indicative of the causes we claim to care about.
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Climate Change - a Colonial Cause By Alfredo Guillermo
Some people are more responsible for the state of our world than others
reta Thunberg - the name on everyone’s lips at the moment - is backed by over a thousand climate change protests around the world, and with it, a thousand insecurities and accusations. “What are you doing, young fella’, to stop climate change?” And so we all start reposting pictures of Greta - because if we’re not willing to protest we might as well visualise it, or believe in its power to make us act. But the social media posts at once seem accusatory as well, because in all honesty, there’s nothing I can do. Set on the world stage, there’s a strange separation between me and this sixteen year old and what she fights for.
“But the discourse of climate change... actively negates any account of the world that is based on inequality.” Perhaps it is that age-old suspicion of the child of the colony – why do you make your problems ours? After all, isn’t it that many of the problems associated with climate change like high carbon emissions, and deforestation are either directly or indirectly
caused by the developed nations and their thirst for material welfare? Whilst we are directly implicated in this process – we cut down our trees and aspire to development that imagines a horizon of bellowing chimneys – it seems that at times we have little choice in these matters. Perhaps then my concern is this: climate change is imagined as a global issue, requiring the efforts of all. But the discourse of climate change – replete with Judgement Day imaginations of a world coming to an end – actively negates any account of the world that is based on inequality. We are imagined as all equally culpable, and hence responsible for climate change. The only solution aired has therefore been a comingtogether of all parties on equal footing. ‘We all have to do something’ is a phrase the world keeps chanting. But in the process of doing, we are once again tasked to forget – tasked to forget that in many ways climate change is the result of a colonial imagining of the world, where nature is subdued for the benefit of the metropolitan power- whether it be the UK, France or the USA.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: a tribute to US counter-culture Set in the backdrop of a nostalgia-filled Hollywood (or is it a Hollywood-filled nostalgia?), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is an ode to a 60s Los Angeles replete with Westerns, hippies and of course, violence. By Sebastian Moronell
uentin Tarantino, who wrote and directed OUATIH, gives an alternative twist to the horrific Tate murders of August 8th 1969, which were carried out by members of the Manson Family. The third of Tarantino’s movies to ‘revise’ history (let’s not forget Inglorious Bastards and Django Unchained), OUATIH begins at a pace which seems to revel in the coolness of a bygone movie star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt man Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). The pair travel around Hollywood from movie set, to bar, to home and back to set, not only in place but also in memory . We’re at once confronted with songs, characters (such as Bruce Lee) and hot summer days that reek of cigarette smoke and the Rolling Stones.
“We are paced into nostalgia for over two hours before we are finally thrown into the middle of Tarantino’s trademark violence” Whilst DiCaprio plays the actor struggling to find himself and Pitt the man whose sense of self is intricately tied to DiCaprio, there are entire sequences devoted to another character: Sharon
Tate (Margot Robbie). Her role in the movie is difficult to place, and she seems to be stuck on the one hand as historically necessary - she is after all, murdered in reality - and on the other as the sacrificial lamb; the pure, sweet and innocent muse whose end is nigh. We see her at a party, in a movie theatre, picking up a hippie hitchhiker, dancing to her record player, but we never really get a sense of who she is as a character. She seems at once lost and confined to history at the will of Pitt, DiCaprio and the crazed Manson family. But whatever the criticisms of character development, I think that overall one gets a sense of this particular moment in American history. We are paced into nostalgia for over two hours before we are finally thrown into the middle of Tarantino’s trademark violence, which was at once gruesome and hilarious. Here we are reminded that this moment was the breaking point of American counter-culture, where free love descended into chaos. If you haven’t watched it already, you better do so now.
Source: Connect Savannah
UCT SRC 2018/2019 Report Card “We strive to strategically leverage our organic diversity to foster an Afrocentric environment that promotes academic success and empowers students and workers through an intersectional and decolonial approach.” - UCT SRC 2018/2019 Mission Statement Treasurer General In November 2018 we saw the rise of the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Council (EFFSC) with the student organisation claiming majority of the highest body of student governance in the university, the Student Representative Council (SRC). In their mission statement the EFFSC-led SRC aimed to empower Students, foster an Afrocentric environment, empower workers and encourage academic success. As the term for the current SRC draws to a close, VARSITY contacted current SRC members asking them to issue a report on the progress they have made during their time in office.
Kamvelihle Tabata Source: SRC instagram
On the 1st of November 2018 the University SRC was sworn into office. Despite the limited budget which has not increased since 2008, we made it a priority to draft a sustainable budget. The Portfolio of Treasurer General has been rather challenging due to the absence of Corporate and Fundraising officer. A lot of fundraising has been done through corporates booking plaza and we are in a process of concluding a project with Student Gear to sell Graduation apparels for the SRC Assistance fund. The issue of food insecurity on campus has been one of the ongoing crises, this year a number of students have assisted through referrals to University crisis fund. Advocating for an increase in food allowance for NSFAS students was also achieved. The time frame was too short to finish most of the projects I had planned, through a handover I hope the new SRC will take over and implement them.
Source: SRC instagram
International Students Coordinator
VARSITY made attempts to reach all memebers of the SRC asking them to report back on the progess they may or may not have made during their respective 2018/2019 term. However, majority of these portfolio holders did not respond by the time VARSITY went to print. VARSITY has not recieved a report back from the following portfolios: • The Presidency: - President: Asanda Lobelo - Vice President: Thato Tristan Malumane • Secretary: - Secretary General: Azola Krweqe - Deputy Secretary General: Dancan Angwenyi • Social Responsiveness Co-ordinator: - Esihle Madyibi • Labour & Student Services Co-ordinator: - Tabile Dlamini • Societies & Day Houses Co-ordinator: - Alatha Pinyana • Residence & Housing Co-ordinator: - Daniel Tate • Sports & Recreation Co-ordinator: - Tomi Adewusi • Corporate Reations & Fundraising Co-ordinator: - Abdulkader Elyas • Student Advocacy Co-ordinator: - Nichole Bowkers • Undergraduate Academic Co-ordinator: - Sikelelwa Kwinana
Postgraduate Academic Co-ordinator
Since my term as the Postgraduate Academic Co-ordinator, we were able to draft constitutions of almost all the postgraduate faculty sub-councils. We have successfully drafted an examiner report for UCT master’s degrees, meaning that all UCT masters degrees will be graded and allocated a mark. We have digitalised and included a clause to protect both the student and supervisor in student-supervisor Memorandums of Understanding, this is being piloted in the Science faculty. We are starting a process of reviewing all postgraduate diplomas and certificates in an attempt to secure funding for these qualifications in the near future.
I tried to the best of my ability to negotiate with management and navigate UCT policy in February and March to help as many international students with registration issues. During O-week I worked with IDinsight to do a research project on funding for asylum seeking and refugee students. In the same semester I met up regularly with the International Students’ Forum to deal with any outstanding issues. I have also managed to host or help run events that promote internationalisation, inter-cultural communication and inclusivity. Events such as Africa cup and braai, heritage braai; Afro-symposium, Africa cup finale, a mentorship event and career panels for both international students and women through career services and Invest soc. I supported the work of all international student societies. I was also able to meet with the DVC of Transformation Loretta Feris to discuss the reasons for the decline in the enrolment of international students in UCT. I have been able to work with IAPO on many projects such as visa workshops and both orientation programmes for International students. I made recommendations on how to improve the orientation programme 2020 to accommodate full degree African students for example, offering them culture shock training just as much as SSA students. I advocated for the addition of information sessions on Xenophobia/ Afrophobia in orientation programmes for 2020. In line with the issue of Xenophobia, I hosted an event giving International students and staff a platform to air their grievances on Xenophobic behaviour to IAPO and OIC.
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Column What the Pigeon Heard
By The Anonymous Pigeon
Now Hiring Students!
was strutting around Main Road with my brown-feathered cousin just outside Pick n Pay last week, when a student walked out of Kauai complaining about forgetting to get her Ikeys discount. “I really need a job,’’ she lamented, to which her friend replied “I know me too. But where?” As a pigeon, I pride myself on my ability to recall information whenever it is needed - there really are benefits to being an ‘invisible’ ear. And so, here is my very selfless contribution of knowledge I have acquired over the years through eavesdropping: Tutor Tutoring is a fantastic way to make money, especially if you tutor a subject which has content with which you are familiar. There are different tutoring companies around town that you can join which help you get clients and protect you in terms of ensuring the client makes payment. One such company is Brightsparkz, which does a Skype interview and asks you to do an example lesson plan. Cape Town Tutors, on the other hand, is much more relaxed and an online application need only be approved before you can join a Facebook group and respond to advertised tutoring jobs that suit you. There is much more money to be made through private tutoring, but it is difficult to build up a client base on your own, so joining a company is first recommended. Rate through companies: R130-R150 p/h Private: R200-R300 p/h Play Music Often making money as a student can be combined with things you are good at/ hobbies you enjoy. If you have a band, or even a solo singing act, there are many bars and restaurants looking for musicians. The trick with this pony though, is that you may have to play a few gigs for free before a place decides that they like you enough to request you. For example, a bar called ‘Nomad’ will allow you to play at their bar for free if you contact them. If they like you, they can request you again and you earn 20% of the bar tab. If you play for
Source: Online News Guide
restaurants or more professional gigs then the pay is a set fee plus the bar tab percentage. Rate: 20% bar tab Shuck Oysters Okay, not just shucking oysters, but prepping food and serving at salad or juice bars at the Oranjezicht/Old Biscuit Mill weekly markets can pay up to R50 p/h on a good day for a 4-6 hour shift. It is a really social environment and filled with people from all different walks of life, so if you enjoy meeting new people and making casual conversation while serving people it’s a great job for you! Often if stalls need help they’ll advertise on Facebook under ‘Jobs’ or on ‘Jobs Indeed’. Rate: R50 p/h Join an Agency Ever wanted to be in a movie? Regardless of whether you are a good actor or can’t act to save your life, lots of money is to be made by signing up to an agency. An extras agency helps you get jobs where being a ‘background character’ in a movie/series can earn you up to R1000 a day. This job involves being dressed up in whatever attire and make up suits the film’s scene, and can be loads of fun provided you don’t mind waiting around and re-doing the scene’s actions a few times. If you are a talented actor, there are agencies that send you to proper castings for adverts. The day rate is similar to extras, but if the advert airs you can earn major bucks! Cape Town is used as a destination of films and commercials/ series every Summer (November-March) and there are castings all over Cape Town for different gigs every weekday. It is really worth doing part time whilst you’re studying and lots of fun! Rate: R800-R200 000 p/day
Write There are lots of jobs online that require good English writing skills—often in the range of copywriting and advertising. If the job doesn’t require you to create the content, then it’s often to do with editing the original work. A lot of this work can be done online remotely, and is very flexible. Due to the online nature of the work, there are also companies from the UK and US who look for editors which is nice money when converted to Rands. A student I recall works for ‘Contencollect’ which pays $0.02 per word written. That’s $30 (R450) for a 1500-word essay. Imagine getting that for writing that Philosophy essay! R0.30 per word written (eg.R150 for 500 word review) Given this lovely listicle above, I pray you take heed—and of course that some of the money earned in these jobs will go to the donation of bread crumbs for me and the family. Pay it forward!
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. Letters to the Editor can be sent to: email@example.com
@VarsityNews |2 October 2019|V78 E9|Page 11
Kelsey Maggott & Zahirah Benjamin firstname.lastname@example.org
Is Biomimicry humanity’s way forward? By Rowyn Naidoo
he term biomimicry comes from “bios” meaning life and “mimicry” - meaning to imitate. Biomimicry is the practice of learning from nature and then emulating life’s genius to solve human problems using more sustainable designs derived from nature. Biomimicry is based on the premise that life has undergone 3.8 billion years of research and development ,resulting in the best ideas and techniques that are flourishing today. By ignoring this body of research, all we are doing in our hubris is attempting to reinvent the wheel with far inferior designs.
hospitals that is parasite and bacteria resistant.
“Usually when humans try to solve a problem, we use materials sourced from around the world where as nature uses what is locally available.”
“Strong links with BiomimicrySA have given members opportunities to attend workshops, gain a Biomimicry Practitioner’s Certification, enter National design competitions, etc.”
Many of the problems we face are also faced by other organisms, who solve them efficiently and sustainably. Usually when humans try to solve a problem, we use materials sourced from around the world whereas nature uses what is locally available. We make use of incredibly high temperatures and pressures whereas nature works with its ambient conditions. Nature does chemistry in water without the use of toxic solvents and catalysts. Nature doesn’t pollute its surroundings but rather upcycles resources producing conditions conducive to life – in stark contrast to our current behaviours.
Japan’s Shinkansen Bullet train was considered to be a marvel of modern technology being the fastest train in the world, however having one major problem. Every time the train emerged from a tunnel, the change in pressure created thunder like sounds. The problem facing this modern marvel was solved by taking inspiration from nature, with the nose cone of train being modelled after the beak of a kingfisher to become more aerodynamic.
Biomimetic designs and innovations also allow for entrepreneurial opportunities, as seen with Velcro - the original patentor of the hook-and-loop fastener that has become ubiquitous today. This innovation was invented upon observation of the burdock seeds which clung to the inventor’s dog. Other examples of businesses are ISPO- manufactures a self-cleaning paint based on the surface of a Lotus leaf and Sharklet Technologies and capitalise on the pattern of shark skin to produce an adhesive film used in
It is this practice and way of thinking that the UCT Biomimicry Society aims to pass on to our future leaders and professionals. This is done by bringing students to the forefront of society’s issues such as by bringing members to attend the DOHA Debates on Water Scarcity held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Here the Vice Chairperson, Gift Mugweni, was interviewed by the presenters spreading the concept of Biomimicry across the globe.
Strong links with BiomimicrySA have given members opportunities to attend workshops, gain a Biomimicry Practitioner’s Certification, enter National design competitions, etc. The society is currently running an internal UCT Design Competition open to all UCT students calling for Biomimetic solutions to the question, “How can we solve the spatial inequality in Cape Town?” using Life’s Principles, with a prize of sponsorship to BiomimicrySA’s online courses. For more information you can contact the society at biomimicryUCT@gmail.com With all the destruction we humans cause in the pursuit of a better life, biomimicry provides the possibility of a world in which we live in harmony with nature and ourselves. The answers we seek are already there – in nature!
“How can we solve the spatial inequality in Cape Town?” Image by Athenkosi Nzala
By Anouschka Tollig
before any womxn was raped or murdered. Why didn’t these men speak out long ago? Were they not outh Africa, particularly UCT, has been facing aware of the country that we live in? Why was the tragic circumstances with violence towards protection of their womxn and children not as valid womxn and children. Along with this came without the protests or marches to Parliament? widespread protests where “good men” decided to speak up. But why only now? Statistics show us that femicide in South Africa is five times higher than the “So, as much as I believe that there are “good global average proving that womxn have never been men”, the ones who only chose to speak out safe in this country.
Men standing up against GBV: too little too late
now, I don’t know if I can call them that. “
“I think that the “good men” should’ve spoken out long before any womxn was raped or murdered.”
Another question that has been asked is whether the men that spoke out during this time of grieving and pain are really “good men”? If someone had to ask me this, I would’ve said no. Why did you not say anything before?
Some people believe in the idea that it is ‘never too late’ but should we say that for the men who are So, as much as I believe that there are only speaking out and supporting us (womxn) now, “good men” - the ones who only chose to speak when the problem finally took shape? I think not. I out now - I don’t know if I can call them that. think that the “good men” should’ve spoken out long
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: email@example.com
@VarsityNews | 2 October 2019 | V78 E9 | Page 12
Naming and Shaming and the Bill of… Insignificance? By Anonymous
The Name Game, Only This Time You Win! By Mary-Anne Desai
Image by Tao Varty
You have such a nice name,” if your name is who you are, why should you be ashamed of it?
Within the past few weeks UCT has seen multiple posts with the names of alleged rapists and perpetrators on various social media platforms. The #AmINext movement feels it is important to encourage and promote an understanding of Gender-Based Violence, as the South African Government’s stance is currently incompetent.
“victims must silently continue living with their trauma while the perpetrator continues to study, get married and live happily ever after without a second thought.”
Outsurance 94.5 KFM Gun Run For all the running enthusiasts out there, this event is perfect for you! The race will take you from the waterfront all up the Atlantic Seaboard. The race is also open to all experience levels with routes ranging from 5 to 21kms. Prices start at around R100.
so-called small trials will cease to exist due to the connotations around female survivors and their emotions, as well as male survivors fearing for the loss of their manhood. Due to the controversy, a website and hashtag movement, #SayHisName, provides victims of Gender-Based violence an open space to share their stories in any way they choose. Some choose to include the name of their perpetrator and others don’t. I encourage those that use social media to express their concerns on sites like these in the appropriate manner but still educate those around them.
“If you have won why are you ashamed to stand upon your podium?”
People all around South Africa have started petitions and marched for a better life. This gets recognised for one individual and the rest of the victims must silently continue living with their trauma while the perpetrator continues to study, get married and live happily ever after without a second thought. Although it is in South Africa’s constitution that no citizen should be publicly name-shamed until a sentence has been given, these
There is no game when it comes to Gender-Based Violence. There should be no winner to another’s fate. If you have won why are you ashamed to stand upon your podium? Allow others to bask in your glory as you have defeated another’s entire life with one harmful action. You are not the loser in the game of rape, nor should you ever be again.
he democratic society of South Africa was forged from a movement to remedy the extreme disregard of certain groups of people whose position in this country was not accounted for. Owing to what was seen as the worst of times in South Africa, the leading political parties established a way to seek justification for the past inexcusable acts of people and the related legislature, and to prevent such inexcusable acts from taking place in the future.
dignity. The common, and unlawful, trend within naming and shaming is that of innocent persons being caught in the crossfire. This is due to no evidence of the alleged abuses being necessary in order for the alleged to be associated with a despicable group.
“However, I do not agree that allowing the Bill of Rights and its purpose to become insignificant is the way to achieve such
protection.” “To allow for a right to be, in a sense, ignored- it must be within reason.” Cue the, somewhat unsuccessful, Bill of Rights in our transformative constitution. A bill at the base of our constitution, one that serves the people more than any other branch of our democracy. Its purpose, simple yet significant, is to protect and promote against the infringement of our most important rights- whether against state or private persons.
Therefore, a right is infringed upon without necessary reason- in order to negatively attack aspects of one’s character; namely their dignity. The law requires that statements must be true and of public interest. With regard to naming and shaming, no evidence is required, other than a single person’s word, to publish the said assailant as a rapist or sexual predator. I believe the “proof” element is crucial when allegations can have such devastating consequences on an individual’s life. Womxn’s lives are at risk, and they deserve every bit of protection. However, I do not agree that allowing the Bill of Rights and its purpose to become insignificant is the way to achieve such protection.
“the law requires that statements must be true and of public interest.” To allow for a right to be, in a sense, ignored- it must be within reason. When referring to naming and shaming, the right which is infringed upon is that of the right to a protected
Two Weeks Tonight 16 12
Rocking the daisies It’s that time again! Headliners such as Russ and Nasty C once again converge to what may be students’ favourite event., Rocking the Daisies! You ought to rush to get your tickets as you better believe these tickets are as hotly anticipated as ever. Tickets are currently sitting at R995.
Melkbosstrand food Festival This one is for the food enthusiasts! This food festival, apart from a varied selection of mouth-watering delicacies, offers live entertainment, Carnival rides, and, for those who like it, a tent dedicated to Beer! Tickets are R150.
A Star is Born Open Air Film Anyone who is a fan of the outdoors, good films, or Lady Gaga will have something to enjoy during this night out at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. You can go take in the highly acclaimed film with unmatched ambience. Tickets go for R109.
@VarsityNews | 2 October 2019 | V78 E9 | Page 13
Princess’ Diana’s legacy lives on through Harry and Meghan By Nicole Stuurman
he African continent has over time become a popular travel destination for the Royal Family of Britain. In the past, visits by the royal families or officials would have been to invent or strengthen a South African national identity, in other words to consolidate the relationship between Britain and South Africa. Could this still be the reason that the British Royals still come to Africa?
“With the trip that Harry and Meghan took to the District six museum meant that the South African public are more aware”
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and baby Archie have taken their first official tour to Africa. The royal couple arrived in Cape Town on Monday the 23rd of September from where they have been involved in various community projects. They have spent their time with various charities providing meals and therapy. Later, Harry will visit Huambo, where the Prince will spend time with landmine victims. Huambo is the same place Princess Diana visited in 1997. While Meghan remains in Cape Town, Harry will continue to tour Africa, including Lesotho, Kenya and Botswana.
Harry and Megan are not the first British royal couple to have visited South Africa or Cape Town in particular. For many years, Africa has been a favourite destination for official travels and holiday trips for the whole family, including Prince William and his wife Kate, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2011. The impact of the royal family visiting South Africa has a positive effect in that they bring along with them publicity. With the trip that Harry and Meghan took to the District six museum meant that the South African public are more aware of what the museum does and who it ultimately represents. In the past, the late Princess Diana regularly visited South Africa, where she visited Nelson Mandela a couple of months before she died in a car crash. Soon after the crash in 1997, Prince Charles took Harry and William to Lesotho where they were able to grieve out of the spotlight.
“he wishes that he could spend more time in Africa because this is where, he feels more like himself.”
Surprisingly, white privilege does not extend to the media representation
The Africa trip to the Royal pair holds significance in the fact that they would love to continue and build on the legacy that Diana left behind. Africa, especially for Harry, is filled with memories from his childhood and the Royal couple would most likely want to create more memories for their children. Prince Harry revealed to Town and Country Magazine that he wishes that he could spend more time in Africa because this is where, he feels more like himself.
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The pervasiveness of extreme gender-based violence is an issue across all cultures and races, and is treated as such by the South African media.
By Julia Rowley
fter the recent death of fellow UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana and the rise of the #AmINext movement, South African society has become hyper-aware of the rape and abuse statistics against our womxn and children. Perpetrators are met with harsh judgements in court - and this extends to the way these court cases are reported by the media.
“How come Ninow is being treated differently by the media?” Unlike most outlets of our society, the sentencing of rapists - and the reporting of these cases - is not dependent on the perpetrator’s race. Nicholas Ninow is a white man that raped a femxle child in a Dros bathroom, and was recently found guilty. Most media reports describe his horrific actions and the
details of his court case, and a few mention his CAT addiction and bipolar disorder. At first glance, this may seem like a result of white privilege - why is Ninow’s actions being potentially excused in the media by reporting on his history of mental illness and drug addiction? Perpetrators of other race groups don’t receive similar coverage in the media. Moses Mavila, dubbed the ‘highway rapist’ for his targeting of unemployed womxn along the M19 in Durban, was convicted on 32 accounts of rape and was rightly depicted as a deplorable human being by the South African media. Mlungisi Mjoli, a serial rapist who targeted womxn walking alone at night, was reported in a similar fashion. How come Ninow is being treated differently by the media?
The reason the South African media has reported on Ninow’s drug abuse and mental illness is because his defense team originally built their case around these issues. They claimed that he was high on CAT when the survivor accidentally walked into the men’s bathroom, which apparently triggered him into raping her as he was mentally unstable. He was later proven sane of mind by a group of court-mandated psychologists. Clearly, these factors played a large role in Ninow’s court case and thus had to be reported on by the media. Fortunately, South Africa’s history of white privilege doesn’t play a role in how perpetrators of severe gender-based violence are portrayed by the media. A small, but necessary, step towards equality along both gender and racial lines.
@VarsityNews | 2 October 2019 | V78 E9 | Page 14
Does Playboy magazine really objectify women?
Source: Festival Forward
By Chandré Cupido
DON’T KNOW. Some argue that Playboy magazine objectifies women’s bodies by portraying them in semi-nude and provocative clothing that attracts the male gaze. Objectification refers to the idea that women are objects for men’s pleasures which could prove true because according to Statista 2019, 70% of men have engaged with a Playboy magazine for personal use. Any objectification of women is negative, degrading, problematic and is premised on the unequal power relations between men and women. Objectification stems from our heteronormative and patriarchal society which reduces a persons’ status to an object or tool for others sexual purposes. But I must play devil’s advocate here…
“motherhood and sexuality can coexist and just because you embrace your sexuality doesn’t mean you have loose morals…”
In the recent Playboy article “Wild in Love: Kylie by Travis”, Travis Scott asks Kylie Jenner a few questions about their relationship and her growing business. He says to her that the way she embraces her sexuality hasn’t changed with motherhood to which she responded, … “motherhood and sexuality can coexist and just because you embrace your sexuality doesn’t mean you have loose morals…”. This quote stood out for me. People may argue that the cover of Playboy magazine, which has Kylies’ cleavage in the center of the shot, is an example of female objectification. However, Kylie suggests that embracing your sexuality in whatever form that may be does not mean that you lose your morals as a woman. Instead, it’s a way some women practice self-love. Her aspiration to ‘sexiness’ on a magazine cover is at once also an aspiration to be a loving partner and mother. In fact,
the cover image was the only provocative image, while the other images are of the young couple posing near orange trees.
“diverse perspective (s)and controversial conversations”
Playboy has changed over the years, becoming more inclusive in the representation of marginal bodies by providing a platform for the expression of “diverse perspective(s) and controversial conversations”, alongside providing interesting interviews with celebrities and articles around pop culture. Nonetheless, it still needs to be acknowledged that women’s bodies are highly sexualised. There is a constant pressure that women are under to ‘correct’ their appearance to conform to the ‘norms of feminine appearance’, and this continues to be a pervasive issue in our society.
Fashion: Is it a dirty word?
By Zahirah Benjamin
You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to. And the saddest thing is that most children are not even aware of the fate that awaits us. We will not understand it until it’s too late. And yet we are the lucky ones. Those who will be affected the hardest are already suffering the consequences. But their voices are not heard.”
“Even though they seem touched by her emotional speeches, those Gucci and Versace leather boots and fur coats are the show stoppers” These are the impactful words of 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has travelled across the world from her home town in Sweden to stand in front of influential politicians and presidents urging them to take action. However, it seems that the fashion industry has turned a blind eye. Even though they seem touched by her emotional speeches, Gucci and Versace leather boots and fur coats are the show stoppers and the show must go on… Although Fashion Week is known as the event of the year, as many well-known celebrities, designers and models travel to see the latest trends on the runway, it seems that wearing the most expensive leather boots and fur coat this winter was all that mattered. After all,
why should celebrities, models and famous designers care about an issue like climate change and the extinction of animals whilst sitting in private jets? It’s time for those Victoria Beckhham’s to stop sipping on their champagne and sit up and acknowledge the damage that the fashion industry is doing.
“The amount of energy used in manufacturing, transporting, packaging and selling a garment all contribute to its emissions footprint. “ According to a Pulse of the Fashion Industry report, the industry has been responsible for 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. Let’s simplify this, for those who consider flipping through fashion magazines as a source of reading. The amount of energy used in manufacturing, transporting, packaging and selling a garment all contribute to its emissions footprint. This is not all - most of the fabric that fashion houses don’t use get dumped at a landfill and only 20% of it gets recycled! These are just a few reasons why members of climate and animal cruelty groups stand outside the venues of fashion week in fake blood
and oil to demand that action needs to be taken against the fast fashion industry that’s rapidly killing and destroying our planet. So, some advice: how about we stop splashing money and energy into sourcing the best trends, and instead use these resources to save the planet?
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: email@example.com
@VarsityNews | 2 October 2019 | V78 E9 |Page 15
LIFESTYLE & FITNESS
Our Ikeys Take the Cup! By Ntombi Khulu
CT’s very own Ikey Tigers take home their second cup from the World University Rugby Cup in Japan as they faced France’s Bordeaux University in the final match of the tournament. The Ikeys’ back to back winnings were paralleled by their unbeaten streak throughout the games, facing against and overcoming, along with Bordeaux University, the University of British Columbia from Canada, a team of combined New Zealand universities squad, as well as their old foes, Oxford University in the UK.
“The Ikeys are no strangers to securing such a big win for UCT.” Huge amounts of effort went into preparing for the tournament, with the 28 talented players having an excellent season and played extremely well in the local league leading up to the tournament. The team finished second in the Super League A, where they won almost every game aside from one, securing them a position in the semi-finals. Additionally, about R750 000 was raised for funding of the tour, with generous donations from UCT alumni, receiving a sponsorship from ISPIS Handa (a Japanese non-profit organisation), and fundraising events organised by the Players’ Committee. In January of this year the UCT Rugby Club began their Japan Tour Fundraising
Campaign with shirt sponsor deals, a Raffle and Auction Night, and fundraising events led by the players. The club managed to strike their target goal in August.
“[this] Ikeys squad have come to Japan and made a huge statement on the international stage” The Ikeys are no strangers to securing such a big win for UCT. As mentioned earlier, this win at the World University Rugby Cup is the team’s second consecutive win of the tournament. After being selected following their 2014 triumphs at the Varsity Cup games, they clocked their first World University Rugby Cup win in 2015 by beating Trinity College Dublin. Johnny Biderman-Pam, the UCT Rugby Club director, commented that “[this] Ikeys squad have come to Japan and made a huge statement on the international stage, setting the benchmark for university rugby world over.” Such achievements at the tournament were met with only even more amazing highlights for the Ikey Tigers. The Ikeys listed a highlight of their tour: being able to watch our Springboks play against New Zealand in their Rugby World Cup opening game. With the boys seeing former UCT rugby players – Siya Kolisi,
Damian de Allende, and Eben Etzebeth – take on the All Blacks on a national level, it definitely added an impact on not only the Ikeys players but also the club’s management team present, as some of them overlapped with these special players during their time at UCT. While the World University Rugby Cup might be over with the Ikeys taking home the cup, you can still get your fix of rugby with our formidable Springboks still playing at the Rugby World Cup. Games are being screened at the UCT Rugby Clubhouse (under the Sports Centre) and UCT staff and students are most welcome to pop by and watch.
UCT beats Maties to win Intervarsity for a record 2nd time
By Ammar Canani
ntervarsity, a competition held between universities in the Western Cape was hosted over the weekend by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology for the first time since its inception. It included the University of Cape Town (UCT), defending champions Stellenbosch University (US), University of Western Cape (UWC), the hosts Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and new entrants Varsity College (VC).
“Table Tennis (Women) helped UCT secure a record second win with a comfortable 5 point lead” The event had 22 sporting codes competing with their results contributing points to the overall standings. Canoe (Mix), Chess (Mixed), Surfing (Men & Women) and Table Tennis (Women) helped UCT secure a record second win with a comfortable 5 point lead on defending champions Maties. The overall standings for Intervarsity are as follows: • 1st Place: UCT with 50 points • 2nd Place: Maties with 45 points • 3rd Place: UWC with 30 points • 4th Place: CPUT with 26 points
Image by Kerch Francke •
5th Place: VC with 13 points
“It was a lovely weekend of Western Cape University Sports, played in great spirits” Kerr Rogers, the Sports Coordinator, had this to say of the Intervarsity competition: “It was a lovely weekend of Western Cape University Sports, played in great
spirits, and very well organized by CPUT who hosted it for the 1st time”. We would like to thank the hosts and organizers of the event for a very splendid tournament and everyone that participated in the event. Also, follow UCT Sport on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.
THE BACK PAGE
@VarsityNews | 2 October 2019 | V78 E9 | Page 16
In this Issue
Integration is an indispensable aspect to a team’s success
By Bathandwa Magqaza
SRC 2019/2020 Great Debate
Hope Increases for Boycott implementation
Climate Change - a Colonial Cause
UCT SRC 2018/2019 Reports Back
Now Hiring Students!
14 Does Playboy Magazine Really Objectify Women?
11 Is Biomimicry Humanity’s Way Forward?
Image: Ahmed Parker
t is myopic to consider one aspect as a cause of a phenomenon. However, amalgamation can be considered as an essential aspect to the success of the University of Cape Town (UCT) womxn’s football club. Due to the large amount of quality players at their disposal, the team management has managed to establish two teams. The 1st team constitutes of players who are considered as ‘the cream of the crop’, because they are provincial level contenders – SASOL League. Oh and, just for your information, these ladies didn’t miraculously be the contenders of this prestigious league. They first had to be the champions of their district, then conquered their region, and subsequently clinched a spot at provincial level. On the other hand, those who didn’t secure a spot on the 1st team, managed to do so in the 2nd team. If you thought the 2nd team would consist of mediocre players, then allow me to eradicate your misconceptions, using the strength of their recent success. On Saturday, 14th September 2019, these ladies were crowned champions of the Tygerberg league, which makes them the queens of their district. They secured the league in a magnificent fashion. Out of 20 matches played, the ladies won 18, drew twice, lost none, scored 98, conceded 12, all which accumulated to 53 points.
“UCT’s womxns football team success is through accommodating non-UCT students,” One might wonder, who was the orchestrator of this brilliance? Teamwork might be the answer, but none of this success would have been realized without the guidance, devotion and expertise of Kamal Sait (1st team coach) and Ahmed Parker (2nd team coach). When asked how both teams manage to balance academic and football demands, to produce these wonderful results, Parker replied, “One is not permitted to the team without good grades”.
Ahmed also mentioned that the team’s propensity of being inclusive rather than being exclusively for UCT students, opened doors for an abundance of talent to both squads. According to the coach, this is a tactic used by many prominent soccer teams at tertiary institutions, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), in particular.
“the benefits of integration, indeed, cannot be overemphasised.” Surprisingly, Ahmed was willing to spill the beans about how the ladies managed to score numerous goals and still concede a few. “Every Tuesday, we train our ladies team with the men’s 1st team… In the beginning they would easily win us 10-0 during training, but now their average win is 2-0, and those goals are achieved only through physical dominance,” said Parker. When asked why he does this, he said, “you should know the level your player is at, and then overload them so they can develop and stretch their capabilities”. It can be concluded that part of UCT’s womxns football team success is through accommodating non-UCT students, prioritising both soccer and academics, as well as training with the opposite sex. Thus, the benefits of integration, indeed, cannot be overemphasised.