Rhodes’ Overall symbol

Report by Dumisa Lengwati & Taryn Isaac, School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University
Journalism, Rhodes University, RUTV4, School of Journalism and Media Studies, student TV, South Africa, Grahamstown,
Workers overalls are seen to be Rhodes University’s party uniform, but is this view taken by everyone?
The SRC in collaboration with the Alumni House recently attempted to break the world record for the biggest pair of overalls. It was organised in accordance with Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) as part of their student philanthropy day. If successful, the overalls will be hung from the Clock Tower, and this image will be distributed to alumni donors in the form of a thank you card. However, not all students and staff agree with the symbol and association of overalls with Rhodes’ infamous and wild drinking party culture. Some worry about the problematic potential class divide, insofar as overalls being the visual marker for the working class. Others feel excluded as they are not akin to the Rhodes tradition of celebrating big events wearing overalls. Overalls became controversial during the mid ’00s, as the trend of decorating them with sexist and racist commentary emerged. Fortunately, with the University intervention, this is on the decline and a general consensus is that the overall is a unifying symbol of Rhodes spirit.

Rhodes readies for water outages

Report by Dumisa Lengwati & Taryn Isaac, School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University

The perpetual threat of water shortages sees Grahamstown residents seeking alternatives for their water supply. Rhodes University has purchased a water tanker to help alleviate the effects of these dry spells.

The purchase of a R1,1 million water tanker will provide a necessary back-up supply. Last year’s shortages cost an estimated R115 000 a day due to the costs of plastic utensils in dining halls and bottled water for students and staff. According to Dr Iain L’Ange, Rhodes Infrastructure, Operations and Finance Division Head, the tanker will help the university to respond to emergency situations and be able to service all students living in residence. This move has been approved and applauded by the Makana Municipality, which struggles to cope with the ongoing crisis.

Metal thefts hit Grahamstown schools

Report by Lillian Magari & Noxolo Mafu,

The illegal trade of stolen metal parts has hit Grahamstown local township schoolsand seen their premises severely vandalised. Thieves target metal urinals, water pipes, electricity cables and plugs. This epidemic has seen schools such as NV Cewu and Samuel Ntlebi without any electricity or adequate plumbing. As a result, educators and learners are unable to use the toilet facilities.
The need for tighter security sees these school squeezing out R20 000 to install Hi-Tec sensitive security beams. The expensive beams are a wise investment but also prove to be a hard purchase for the schools and even private homes.
As the most expensive product offered by Hi-Tec, it is difficult for the company to offer the beam to schools on a lay-bye basis. This becomes even more difficult as many of the targeted schools have poor infrastructure which makes the beams less effective.
Samuel Ntlebi specifically, has faced R100 000 in damages, with little or no money in the maintenance budget to do repairs.
Leonard Vodell, Manager of licensed scrapyard: Metal Masters, confirms a profit of R20 per kilo for metals brought in. These metals are often traded as broken or burnt pieces in order to make the identification process harder.
All the while, learners and educators are suffering as they are denied adequate sanitation and electricity.

Human Chain crosses Grahamstown

Report by Lillian Magari & Noxolo Mafu,

The Grahamstown Human Chain started at Ncame street and carried through to Somerset street form township to town. The event was held on a rainy 21 February to spotlight the legacy of Tata Nelson Mandela.
The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba contacted universities across the country to encourage them to participate in this initiative. The event brought to light the importance of reflection on both our young democracy and social integration in all communities. However, such an event also probes further questions, regarding the effectiveness of a human chain in unpacking complex relations in a town such as Grahamstown.

Grocott’s Mail moves to the Africa Media Matrix

Production by Natalie Austin & Jason Randall

Since 1869, Grocott’s Mail has acted the voice of Grahamstown’s community. It is the oldest independent newspaper in South Africa and has run from an iconic building in the town’s Church Square. This has been sold and the Mail’s editorial is now based at the Rhodes University’s School of Journalism in the African Media Matrix.

The old Grocott’s newsroom is of historical significance and new owners, Supello Investments, plan to refurbish and maintain the historical aspects. We explore what the move means for the community newspaper and its future.

Estela Bravo in Grahamstown

Report by Deneesha Pillay & Megan Flemmit

The video records filmmaker Estela Bravo’s visit to Rhodes University with her husband, Ernesto and Dr Mzu Theo Nodikida, the Cuban ambassador to South Africa. She speaks to students and members of staff about her life and experiences and the significant ties between Cuba and South Africa. Estela visited Rhodes to screens her films “Mandela and Fidel” and “After the Battle”.

Mandela Memorial concert at Rhodes University

Report by Robyn Wertheim & Cindy Archillies

On 28 February students from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, came together to honour ex-President Nelson Mandela through song, music and dance at the Nelson Mandela Memorial Concert. The concert which was hosted at the Settlers Monument featured performances by Rhodes Acapella group Signature Sound, Tri Factor, E-Lastic Band, and Rhodes Dance Society amongst others.

Rhodes University SRC Media Councillor Brian Mabe, explains that the concert took place this late because students were on vacation at the time of ex-President Nelson Mandela’s passing. For performers, E-Lastic band this was a particularly special night because it allowed different people from Rhodes University to showcase their talent while at the same time honouring Nelson Mandela.

AfroBots at Scifest Africa

Report by Debbie Potgieter & Minette van der Walt

Switches, circuits and clever engineering, Scifest hosts the annual Afrobot competition in Grahamstwon; a platform which could possibly be the practical solution to the maths and science mark woes of matric students.
On the day of the competition after several robot battles, the final consists of a team from Graham College, Lando and team Floppy, two brothers from Somerset East. Brothers Joshua and Gideon Taljard walked home with first place after their robot, made out of old motors and floppy disks held together by cable ties and glue, stole the victory from robot Lando. Floppy had the advantage of a fully rotatable arm capable of rotating the dice to any number they so wished. This competition is testament to the fact that robotics is a fun and educational way to stimulate young scientists’ minds.

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.