The Beauty of Science at SciFest Africa

Report by Palesa Mashigo & Kirsten Allnutt

For many, science is all about complex formulations and inconceivable experiments. Very few people can follow a career path in the field of science but Sci-Fest Africa reminds people annually, that science can be practiced from the comfort of our own homes. Rhodes University’s Pharmacy 4 students this year exhibited a collection of “home-made” skin products like hand sanitizers, body cream and lip balm.

FameLab Finals at Scifest Africa

Report by Robyn Perros, Raphaela Linders and Tassyn Munro

Famelab, “the pop-idols of science”, is a competition where contestants give a 3-minute presentation to a non-scientific audience. These scientists are practicing getting their science out into the public through the competition. The competition is open to anyone between the ages of 21 and 30. Nine finalists from around South Africa partook in the final on 15th March 2013 at Scifest Africa in Grahamstown.
Famelab is an initiative of the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK. It began in 2004 and now includes 25 countries — the most recent being South Africa. It is a vibrant initiative which seeks out young, new voices in science, technology, engineering and maths. The nine finalists attended master classes in communication and public speaking prior to the finals. “They learnt a range ofskills, obviously public speaking, but also a lot about media and camera work too” said Robert Inglis, director of Jive Media, which sponsored the event.

Bloodhound SSC at Scifest Africa

Report by Amaal Salie, Jacek Kaminski & Katja Schreiber

Keeping up with the hype surrounding the Bloodhound SSC Project at this year’s Scifest Africa required a fast pace and sharp mind. Activities organised by the Bloodhound team abounded everywhere: lectures enthralled high school students while workshops saw young prospective mechanics assemble miniature SSC replicas out of cardboard and wood. Both young and old delighted in the thrill of sitting behind the steering wheel of the SSC simulator, vicariously experiencing what lies ahead for SSC driver Andy Green when he attempts to break the world land speed record on South African ground in 2014.

Spiked drinks in Grahamstown

Report by Robyn Perros, Raphaela Linders and Tassyn Munro

In February 2013, a Rhodes student was allegedly raped after anight out at a New Street club. Police suspect that the girl’s drink was spiked by the perpetrator. The incident was poured all over Studentzone but it seems that students have not been affected enough by the incident to be more vigilant of themselves and their fellow “stompers” on the dance floor. “Because we’re in a small town, students think they are above the law and will not be effected by crimes such as these,” says Rat and Parrot owner Mynhardt van Dyk.

LGBTIQA Week at Rhodes

Report by Palesa Mashigo & Kirsten Allnutt

Rhodes University’s OutRhodes hosted their Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual Intersex (LGBTI) Pride Week from the 13 March to 16 March 2013. As always, the society ensured that their line-up was filled with an array of educational and celebratory activities that kept those who knew very little about the LGBTI community curious and those who identify themselves as LGBTI members empowered.
The campus march, the revealing photo shoot, the heated safe same-sex talk did not spark as much conversation amongst the non-LGBTI community as the introduction of the letters Q and A did.

Disability at Rhodes University

Report by Amaal Salie, Jacek Kaminski disa& Katja Schreiber

Rhodes University is under scrutiny for failing to provide disabled persons with equal opportunity and access to higher learning. The University’s facilities are generally inadequate for accommodating disabled students, according to Deputy Dean of Students Roger Adams.
This shortcoming was brought to the fore when International Children’s Peace Prize recipient Chaeli Mycroft, a young wheel-chair bound activist, visited Rhodes University campus. Mycroft was the keynote speaker at the launch of Rhodes’ Human Rights Week on 3 March 2013, and held talks about her activism at Victoria Girls’ High School and Graeme College.

Israeli Apartheid Week at Rhodes University 2013

Report by:Minette van der Walt & Debbie Potgieter

Israeli Apartheid Week is a worldwide campaign that links Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the treatment of non-whites in Apartheid South Africa. Rhodes University Palestinian Solidarity Forum (RUPSF) joined hands with 250 others across the globe and voiced their protest at the parallels . An concert by Israeli pianist Yossi Reshef protest became a focus of the week.

We speak to part-time Fine Arts lecturer Rachel Baasch (MFA Rhodes) who presented a lecture as part of IAW at Rhodes. Baasch feels that more could be done to educate students about the situation in Israel. Not just during IAW, but in general. The boycott is now an ANC policy, yet many students on Rhodes Campus as well as people in broader South Africa, seem uninformed.