Below The Bread Line

Investigative report by Jason Randall & Dumisa Lengwati.

Unemployment within the South African context is a complex and diverse social issue with no simple solutions. Nowhere is this more visibly evident than in the Eastern Cape, with its pervasive rural and agricultural legacy. Despite the presence of a higher educational institution such as Rhodes University, as well as elite private schools, the problems of unemployment and poverty still persist in Grahamstown and the Makana municipality. While there are many organisational strategies to provide employment, this type of temporary employment is limited and does not provide a stable income or a sense of financial security. This has created a large demand for employment within Grahamstown’s informal sector.

Below the Breadline explores if Makana Municipality’s legislation is doing enough to alleviate the social issues of unemployment and poverty in Grahamstown?


The Silence

Investigative report by Natalie Austin & Taryn Isaac

In 2013, a student from Rhodes University wrote an article revealing a silenced reality.
This piece expressed by Siyanda Centwa, was based on his experiences transitioning from Grahamstown East to Rhodes campus. “Not a Place for Peasants”, an article in the series for Grocott’s Mail, “Tales of a Divided City”, highlighted issues of social stratification. As fourth year television students of Rhodes University, we used Centwa’s article as a platform to investigate the concept of a silence on class experiences in tertiary institutions.

This film project began as an investigation of general class experiences by Rhodes students. The university is considered to mainly be a middle class space, in which students who come from other backgrounds feel an initial sense of marginalization. This contrast of experiences and acceptance led to a variety of social outcomes. These came in the form of bullying, isolation, or attempts to conform to a middle class standard. Centwa relayed some of his experiences in the article which were captured in his film interview.
We approached students and experts on campus concerning their personal perceptions on the existence class divisions that have not been acknowledged and subsequently resulting in “a silence”. Not everyone shared the same sentiments of this claim, but many discussed the sociological challenges of such a diverse community at the institution. This was observed in many interviews and group discussions held during the production of the documentary film.


I won’t change my vote

Investigative report by Robyn Wertheim and Megan Flemmit.

South Africa held the fifth democratic elections in May this year. This election saw newly formed parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Agang enter the race as potential alternatives to the African National Congress (ANC).

Running up to elections an increasing number of comments appeared on social media platforms which reduced the ANC voter and the ANC itself to stupidity. Many of these comments stated that if people, who live in impoverished conditions, continued to vote for the ANC, they only had themselves to blame for the conditions that they find themselves in. The film “I won’t change my vote” is a response to these comments. It is also a response to what seems to be a general lack of understanding that individuals in South Africa have about why people continue to vote for the ANC.
The film briefly speaks about the misconception people have regarding stupidity within the ANC. Mckaiser states that there are more intellectuals within the ANC than what there are in the DA. He says that one of the advantages of being such an enormous political party is that the ANC contains both intellectuals and fools.

By looking at these different aspects of voting the film shows how voting is done within a complex psychological framework. Taking this into consideration it is then not too difficult to see that ANC voters can be as rational as people who vote differently. We should because of this extend the same courtesy to people who vote for different political parties.


Tik in Grahamstown

Report by Deneesha Pillay and Cindy Archillies – Dangerous Minds Productions.

In the last four years, Tik (methamphetamine) has become a serious problem for Grahamstown. The drug makes its users forget their challenges of poverty and unemployment but leads to jail, institutions or death. Tik abuse in Grahamstown is prevalent amongst scholars and students and thenaffects their loved ones and the wider community.
Police Spokesperson, Captain Mali Govender, sees Tik and Tik related crimes as a matter of grave concern in the area. Clinical psychologist Scott Wood explains the effects of the drug on the individual and what makes the drug so popular. A DA councillor states that Tik abuse is not exclusive to townships but is a community-wide issue .A former Tik user and dealer speaks about his experiences as an addict and why he thinks the problem will not go away in the near future.


SciFest highlights teachers’ struggles

Report by Dumisa Lengwati & Tarryn Isaacs

Kitchen Chemistry, in the same vein as the show done by Die Physikanten, encourages the idea of scholars being able to express their lab-making skills outside of the classroom. Dr Stephen Ashworth showcased dramatic chemistry reactions using household items one could find in their kitchen cabinets. Dr Ashworth teaches chemistry at East Anglia University in Norwich, England. While SciFest illuminates a path towards a brighter science future, the problems within science education in South Africa remain when SciFest leaves. Science educators in Grahamstown speak about the issues observed and experienced within schools regarding the lack of institutional support and resources that have a negative impact on the performance of scholars. Some consider Grahamstown schools to be in a privileged position due to the accessibility of resources that are available at Rhodes


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.