Friday, October 30, 2009

Is the write-side-up wrong... 'me thinks not Sir!'

I chose write-side-up due to the fact that a friend was a member. I had little intention of being critical. However, having read and analysed the blog, I find it hard to even be critical. Every facet of the site appeals to me.

I love girlish pink, draw a flower and I’m content, write with humour...and I’m ecstatic. This blog manages to utilise slight degrees of humour to spin serious topics into readable postings. The amount of stray animals littering Grahamstown is undeniable but mundane. Yorke manages to make the issue real by talking of events that happen and describing situations Rhodes students face daily with beggars.

Furthermore, this blog has gone above and beyond the course call of duty. They have incorporated postings not just because they were required to, but because they felt it mandatory to be included.

The layout, unlike others I have read, is clear and consistent. The categories make finding an article easy as well as contributing an overview of the posting itself. In the contemporary, fast-paced, cyber world, this is necessary. Blog readers are in a rush, and these bloggers have revolutionised the reading of current affairs to be fun, fast, efficient and humorous.

The Write-Side-Up is a blog that I hope will continue. It stress’ the importance of sporting, political and social issues that concern South African’s on a locale and national level.


A crazy but sad goodbye

In many ways I find myself so strange and unusual, that there is very little outside of my comfort zone. I’m crazy, not in a cheerful zany way, but more like an “I’ll eat your children” way. So when confronted with this assignment, I just decided to go for bust and went completely out of my tiny little mind.

There are many things that have happened to me this week that were shocking and horrible, definitely setting me outside of my comfort zone. I was betrayed, I was thrown out of love and I cried, for the first time, over a girl who I had loved more than life itself. My heart was broken in the worst way and I still can’t get over it. How do you turn away from someone who’s been a part of you, that you have given your heart and soul to? I told you all in the beginning that I was not a serious person and ever the optimist. However, it’s in moments like these that you need to cry like an Emo and write with heartache, trying to scribble away the pain.

Still, I’ve been funny up to this point, so I guess I should explain myself in the photo. The picture shows me sitting on the fire escape of Joe Slovo right outside my subwarden’s room, just having had a shower and in my bath towel, wearing sunglasses, playing guitar, smoking and having “Eat Me” written across my chest. Now I never smoke, I can only play bass guitar, I don’t wear sunglasses in the dark, I shower (so don’t panic) but I don’t run outside afterwards and the marker normally goes on my arms. I was laughed at by pretty much my whole house and the girl’s res next door. My fellow Journalist who took the photo, smothered a grin, while his girlfriend turned away, clearly embarrassed of being within ten metres of an evident nutcase. My singing of an Elvis classic, Viva Las Vegas, didn’t impress my subwarden either, who told me to shut up or receive hours.

I am now officially the looney of Joe Slovo House and I couldn’t be happier. This exercise was my farewell to reputation and a release of Pure Unrefined Stephen Mina. In half an hour I freed myself from everyone’s opinion and was just myself, which made me immeasurably proud. Wouldn’t life be a whole lot better if we released our masks and showed the world the real us? I understand your way of doing this may not involve being half-naked and singing awfully, but give it a try. It might surprise you.

In closing I wish to say farewell my legions of fans (Oh I flatter myself!) and thank you for all your support and comments. It has truly been awesome brightening your day and if I could find another way, then I would take it with both hands and hammer it into you. All the best! Love your Mad Uncle Steve.

To BOLDLY go where no man has gone before.

The car slowed to a stop and the squeak of old dust on tyre breaks passed through my temporal lobe with a deafening volume. Every motion, noise and visual was amplified in my nervous, exhausted hung-over brain. I felt horrible, I didn’t want to go, but I had no choice. After all, this was not only an immersion exercise, it was my first attendance to a Digs Formal.

On Saturday night, a digs that name now escapes me had their last digs formal of 2009. My friend, Pooch, demanded over some rather suspicious looking residence food that I was invited and would be picked up at 18:00 - the theme, Las Vegas Formal. I figured this would be a novel way for me to broaden my horizons and meet new folk.

I believe that instead of teaching innocent first years about the dire woes that can unfold should they run out of printing credit for the printers, we would be much more equip to tackle all the dangers that university life hurls at us if we were taught about real, consequential dilemmas. For example, the concept of Baby Seal Clubbing (a Rhodes ritual whereby 1st year, intoxicated girls are manipulated into making out with an older student), the insane drugs scene within the small town, or the real events that occur within the confines of a digs formal.

Yes, I knew I would be expected to kiss my partner (whether I had any intention if fulfilling this expectation is irrelevant) but the rest even an un-gendered, promiscuous, Thai prostitute could not have imagined.

After an undisclosed amount of bottles of shooters each, we began the party. It soon became apparent that the poker, boat races, story telling and other seemingly innocent party practices all had sexual undertones. If it weren’t the dirty language it was a the punishments that the losers performed that made us live up to the student name that has been aptly dubbed to Rhodes students: Raucous Alcoholics.

In hindsight, I look back with a slight cringe festering just below the glimmer of a laughing smile. I enjoyed my evening. After the amount of alcohol consumed I think I have not destroyed, but rather preserved my liver and may in fact be immortal. Furthermore, I now know to avoid any future invites to a digs formal and have resigned the agenda of my own future formals to cheap cocktails, pretty dresses and cake with the girls.

I will not divulge names or actual events about my evening. I tried something new. I don’t regret it because now I know that I am not a ‘digs formal’ kind of girl. Now that the hangover has faded and the shame of not remembering my dates name has dissipated I have returned to the relative safety of New House and have decided that I like our parties just the way they are.

After my encounter, mainly the intense vomiting that ensued the next morning, I felt cheap and slightly dirty. Yes, I had loads of raucous fun. However, it was the type of fun my parents would despair of and Paris Hilton would applaud. I guess I must now salute my parents and once again admit whole-heartedly that their advice is sound, solid and really is possible to have TOO much fun.

Yes I may have embarrassed myself by describing this activity, but think of it as a farewell blog leaving present to all those who are contemplating going to a digs formal.

Viva la Revolution!

By Stephen Mina
Whether it’s for the reading, the revolution or the relevance, Rhodes students can sleep better, or stay awake longer, knowing that Revolution Readers, a strikingly original blog, is here. So get out your banners and reading glasses, because the revolution is in town.

I have been actively wrapped up in the fine art of blogging this past term and have learned a thing or two about how the blog is mastered (learned but not really done so). So it was to my delight that I was greeted with a visual feast of psychedelic colours and the painted face of Steve Biko. Most blogs all carry the same BlogSpot layout, to which I am guilty, but these bloggers really took presentation to a new level, a must when competing for visibility. There are no side gadgets or toys, but don’t let that fool you. This makes the content more relevant.

If you are a Rhodes student looking for rarely discussed topics, scenic pictures of the town and news outside the Grahamstown bubble, then heaven awaits on your computer screen. The bloggers run continuous poetry and picture series (Scenes from Grahamstown) to steal your breath. And just so we don’t forget SA, you have articles ranging from the Semenya debacle to Zapiro cartoons.

The blog is also about reading, another thing well lived up to. Whether through the lament of the sentence-destroying comma, fifty blogging tips and latest books being discussed too, these four bloggers made a mission statement and have lived up to it.

So why are you still here? Click my link and get carried away on the road to revolution. Viva!

sleepy head!

by Debra Chitadzinga

If there is one thing that I had never done was to sleep during the course of a lecture. I always felt that I would be betraying my teacher/lecturer who would have made an effort to come and share his/her knowledge with me. So when we were asked to do something that you had never done in your life, I thought this was an opportunity for me to try my little adventure.Though it was not an hour long, it was close enough (45 minutes) and i can safely say worth it an a lot more hillarious than I thought it would be. I was a bit scared that if I was to be spotted and called out of the crowd by my lecturer, that would be humiliating.I deliberately slept late the night before and made sure that when it was morning, I would be dosing all the way. My first lecture was not very long so I did not have adequate time to fall asleep but I could not succeed the second one and there I was on the desk. I had asked my friend to capture the moment for me and ooooh I loved the experience, the only problem is that I began to have sweet dreams and started snoring!!!! That drew many people's attention and resulted in a nick name "sleepy head."

Confessions or Opinions?

Debra C. Chitadzinga
I was looking at the blog named Confessions of a journ student The name suggests that the blog would look at confession from journalism students, sharing their joys and challenges. These were successfully and clearly laid out in their mission statements. A post by John Vries caught my eye as it clearly gives the reader a glimpse of what to expect. However, as more posts were made the blog was disappointing to me because it diverts from its main aim and begins to focus more on the news happening around rather than issues that “torture, the journ student”. Posts were made which I felt diverted from the main idea of bringing out confessions of journ students are about Michael Jackson, the police and races .

The blogs makes use of language that might be accepted by other readers such as "bull shit” “fuck all” or “kick their asses” but considering that the writers are not aware of who might read their posts such language can drive some readers away. However, the content has evidence of good research; there is use of hyperlinks which lead the reader to other sources. A big thumbs up is to the post about the University of Free State, though the post does not bring out any “confessions of journalism students”. The blog is neatly presented, characterised by purple on black. There is a good combination of colours and they give the blog a mature look that attracts readers and also make reading easier.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Try This On For Size

By Abbie Whelan

So, out of all the blogs I scanned through the one that struck me the most was “Put THIS on a T-Shirt”. The name caught my attention, and although the design of the blog didn’t jump out at me, the content sure did. To me, this is what a journalism students’ blog should be. The content covered stories that were up to date and in the news, and their opinion pieces were definitely opinionated and relevant to students today.

However, their content was rather sparse, and could do with a few more posts in order for viewers to get a good understanding of where they are as a blog and what to expect from future posts. After a bit of sprucing up, the layout could attract more people, or at least get those who are drawn in by the name to stay a bit longer.

Their name was a good choice in explaining their goals as a blog, which include showing serious issues in a “more humorous and sarcastic light”. This is a great stand to take, and I did read a couple of articles that did just that. However, it is obvious that serious issues are also taken a bit more seriously by the creators than I think they had first planned, resulting in the opinionated but not very humorous coverage of certain issues. This is great too, and still appeals to journalism students, but perhaps then the name should be reassessed to reflect this characteristic.

Overall though, great blog, well-written sarcastic stories that provided a good laugh and a great attempt at providing journalism students with what they are looking for in fellow students’ blog content. But don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself at

When Life Gets Boring - Mix It Up a Little...

By Abbie Whelan

Yes, it’s true; res food has finally pushed me over the edge. Being someone who loves food, but time and time again has been let down by the unidentifiable muck on the dining hall plates, I have turned to trying the oddest assortment of treats that have been recommended by friends. Therefore, I set aside some time this past weekend to indulge in some of the things that I have refused until now to try.

As my friends approached, with all sorts of food in their hands, I regretted having agreed to this, yet with the ever-disappointing lunch I had just received in the dining hall, my stomach was eager enough for me to go through with it. Things that I had believed should never be mixed were brought together, and my mouth can vouch that these were glorious unions of food that made my stomach dance and my tongue sing hymns of praise to the people who had opened my eyes.

The crunchy texture of the sweet Marie Biscuit, mixed with the smooth creaminess of the savoury cheese…the perfect marriage of sticky peanut butter, and sweet gooeyness of maple syrup…these may be average treats for many people, but for me: mixing of foods used to be sacrilege. I was never one to be adventurous, or to combine foods together, as the occasion had never called for it. However, being in res has taught me to try many new things and has exposed me to numerous different situations and people. And I am so grateful that I was put into these situations, otherwise I wouldn’t have been sitting, chatting to my good friends while eating my new found favourite treat: soodles! Yes, instant soup and two minute noodles together: who would have thought that two things made to be eaten as separate meals would have made such a magical mergence, resulting in my mouth catching its very own glimpse of heaven? Absolutely magnificent.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Memories will be lost, but reputations are birthed.

It’s a Friday night at the watering hole. Litres of alcohol have been consumed at a most boisterous pre-drinks party. Student specials give rise to an ever emptying wallet and blurred vision.

During what is commonly deemed the “epic jam” stage, the sexes mingle as the bar-tans appear. This phase is characterised by the male placing both hands on the wall whilst urinating for stabilisation, whilst females pack themselves into a single cubicle and furiously mock the flirtatious old man who resembles Gandalf.

Next, the male strategically places himself behind a female so that his presence is noted, but a clear sighting remains rare. The dance floor becomes a hot-bed of passion, but the battle for female beer-goggle dignity has only just commenced.

Like HIV/Aids, drunken debauchery affects all. However, the morning after regret of actually having kissed Gandalf only encompasses female students. When facebook photos reveal the true ugliness of the male, the ridicule women are subjected to festers in her mind and eats away at her self-image and confidence. Males have an ability to shun such comments, women do not.
Studies have shown that “the level of light in the pub...the drinker's own eyesight and the room's smokiness” are additional reasons for the beer-goggle phenomenon. Furthermore, the Pity Kiss, is an ever increasing trait that a female must subject herself to.

I believe the ‘desperate’ reputation that is attached to so many innocent females is a deluded attempt by some to compensate for their lack of sexual prowess. The modern male student is a hairy beast; a closer shave and less corny pick-up line may actually lead to a woman, not simply performing a chore, but indulging in an act that will carry no regrets.

As a female I believe it is my duty to fight for everyone’s beer-goggle dignity. As a student journalist, it is my responsibility to get this important and worthy cry for equality across and combat a sore misconception about the reality of beer-goggle hook-ups.

Not Such a Rush, When You Really Stop to Think About It

By Abbie Whelan

Living on the edge – great motto to live by, but when it affects other people’s lives, you would think that it would lose its appeal. However, again and again we see reckless people, mostly teenagers and young adults, putting themselves and others at risk by going out and drinking themselves sick, and then driving home at the end of the night. This, to me, is incomprehensible.

Especially living in a town as small as Grahamstown, where the traditional trek up the hill at the end of a rough night becomes routine for so many, there is no need to drive if one person is not keen to stay sober. In fact, the walk up can be a lot more fun than a drive anyway, and saves the poor owner of the car from hosing down the mess made by their intoxicated friends.

But seriously, so many people dear to me have either been in an accident themselves, or lost someone close to them because of drunk driving. Most of the time, the person who was drunk was not the one who was killed in the accident. It is however, equally as bad to consent to getting into a car with someone who has been drinking, or to let that person drive at all. It is not only the people in your car who are put at risk, but also so many others on the road. Having a few drinks to have fun is not worth putting lives at risk for, so think before you get in the car next time. Choose the safer (also cheaper and more fun) alternative, and take a stroll. Anyway, how can you go bush diving if you drive up the hill? You simply don’t get the full Rhodes experience that way.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Buying your identity is selling out

by Stephen Mina

I do not like Emo kids. I don’t like their moping hair, their tight skinny jeans or their sullen pierced faces. Why do I wish they’d all wash away like the drips they are?

Well, that’s because back in my High School, I witnessed the horrifying transition, where many changed from an ardent love for funk to thinking it was fashionable to cut yourself and cry fake tears. Emo was a fashion statement. You might say that being emo is part of expressing your individuality and feelings. Well, if you all look the same, like the same music, then you are really an individual, congratulations. A Goth in SL Magazine recently stated that emos were depressed teenagers who’d eventually grow out of it and I agree. Any fashion goes out of style.

In a bigger context, the reign of The Emo reflects the loss of individuality many people experience. When every guy wants the BMW M3 and every girl wants Edward Cullen they show that they really just don’t think for themselves anymore. They say Emo is a place to express your feelings and get in touch with yourself, but is following under the same banner going to do that? Jared Leto and Gerard Way, two singers of “Emo” bands, called the movement rubbish. Maybe they found that their individuality was getting cheap?

So I’m not slamming expressing yourself and shedding the odd tear, just don’t do it to stay fashionable and keep a plastic image. Be your own.

Interracial relationships at Rhodes, practical or just mere speech?

By Debra Chitadzinga
Best described as a mixed bag and this suggests diversity in thinking, values, beliefs, cultures, attitudes. The other factor that determines so many things though often avoided is difference in skin colour. It is often predictable what transpires in the minds of these vibrant students but one cannot leave out the issue of love and relationships. This is to some extent overrated, because the topic brings people to talk about their preferences, expectations, characteristics and qualities that they expect “Mr Right or Miss Right” to have. One wonders if race is not such an issue then why does have to be strongly emphasised in this? That just shows that interracial relationships at Rhodes are just mere speech.

In as much as we have been made to believe that race is nothing but just the “colour of the skin” this has proven to be more of a theory than a reality. I have discovered that prejudice; pride, bigotry, stereotyping, differences in cultural and ethnic backgrounds and family reactions are some of the factors surrounding this issue. Some students have an element of pride in them that stems from their social statuses. It seems one’s social status determines whom one dates on campus. There seems to be a tendency of associating race and social statuses and this helps to explain, why there are few inter-racial relationships. Other students prefer to date who is familiar with their cultural values so that they can have more of similarities than differences. This results in students choosing partners from their own races and less if any interracial relationships at Rhodes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The rich care... oh, no, wait they don't

In some ways, certain angles on stories slam home a point much harder than others. To this do I salute the Onion for another job well done. We may be all too familiar with the hard news reports on the economic crisis and accountants holding “The end is Nigh” signs in offices, but The Onion, through its biting satirical view opens a new window.

French and German governments have recently announced that they will be out of the recession by the end of the year. Fantastic, but what about reforms? What about controlling corporations and lessening the social gap that was promised? “What about it?” says The Onion. While we think that the examples of eating gold truffles and beluga caviar are a bit farfetched, it strategically slaps us in the face too, saying, “Get real kid, the rich only care for themselves.” Nothing will really change, dear optimists and after the laughter has subsided, of which there is a lot, we find that the heightened instances of gross spending are not too far from the truth.

So beware those who hastily damn The Onion. Newspapers like this reach us through the funnybone and leave you with profound thoughts. The recession has become a dead-beat term, trampled into meaninglessness by a tsunami of articles. What better way to reinforce a message than through satire?

By breaking conventions and the standard reports, The Onion reminds us all that meaning can be found in humour and that the rich will always be the rich- for now anyway.

Animal Rights - Rhodent Support

By Abbie Whelan

The issue of animal rights is by no means a new one, and is often shrugged off by those who hear too much about it, or think that because they eat meat they are not able to support. However, two weeks ago the issue was covered extensively by the Rhodes Organisation for Animal Rights (ROAR), with talks and protests throughout the week, and a horrific exhibition of photographs taken by Rhodes students up in Eden Grove for all to see. The organisation did a great job of covering all the bases, while getting people involved and educating all who attended the talks, or even just paused to have a look at the photographs.
Animal abuse in South Africa and around the world is a major problem, and the fighting against which I support wholeheartedly. It is great to see such effort being put into such a worthy cause by my fellow Rhodents, and it makes me proud to see so many people getting involved during the week of campaigning. Also, it was fantastic to see that the organisation had used fun and creative ways to get people involved, such as the t-shirt printing and the streak through campus, but then also supplied several speakers that spoke on a variety of topics to educate those who are unaware of the harm being done to animals across the globe. This is one cause for which my support will never waver, but after seeing all that ROAR supplied, my support has now multiplied tenfold.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

“During a campaign, the air is full of speeches - and vice versa.” - Author Unknown.

By Emily Knowles

I agree. Obama’s winning campaign involves:
1. Charting a new energy future
2. Invest in clean, renewable energy
3. Fight climate change

Well, whoop-de-friggin’-doo! I have 3 minor concerns about his policy:
1. He hasn’t charted any specifics
2. The US government invested in renewable energy prior to Obama
3. How can one ‘fight’ nature exactly?

I am becoming increasingly aware of the utter rubbish that remains static in the political realm of the ‘said'... but never ‘done.’

Shockingly, The Maldives has DONE something about climate change. This might be because rising water will engulf much of the Maldives within the next 100 years. However, they have sparked global interest and promoted themselves as a frontline state dedicated to ensuring the success of political legislation that will make a difference to the effects of inevitable climate change.

On the 17th October, President Mohamed Nasheed’s cabinet conducted an official meeting at a depth of 6 metres for 30 minutes. They created a resolution asking The UN to ensure the international community reduces their carbon emissions in order to sustain the life of states like the Maldives.

Nasheed has demonstrated a rare triumph in the political arena. He has shown commitment to the prosperity of all through a pro-active, “less talk...more work” policy.

Coverage of this historic event is appalling. Yes, many-a news station has covered the story, but in a formal, inconsequential manner. Opinions get noticed. This should be HUGE! If the masses cause a ruckus, individuals at Copenhagen in December will listen. Furthermore, they will feel compelled to act and alter existing poor environmental policies that are in place to combat the repercussions of global warming.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A ghost at Rhodes!

Debra Chitadzinga
Around the beautiful campus, one is greeted by purple coloured posters, boldly written which read: RHODES REJECTS RACISM. There is an impression of a family that does not know race or skin colour but brothers and sisters. The issue of racism, to some is like a historical primitive folk tale, which they last heard from their grandparents’ parents.others racism never existed, to them we are all the same, while others feel that one’ skin colour determines, how one is to be treated and respected. The last line of thought is so primitive and I would not expect to heart about it from a University student studying towards a degree! It is sad to note that even lecturers are also victims of racism at this University.

A lecturer in the Journalism and Media Studies department, Professor Fackson Banda and his family suffered what he calls “racist indignity” as a “white” student called them “niggers,” during the Inter-Varsity weekend. The story is covered by Bilal Randeree, of Grocott’s Mail Grahamstown. The professor was affected by this and he thinks that despite all the campaigns that the University holds against such behaviour, the problem is not easily solved. The SRC, the Dean of students and the student body at large are also involved in campaigns against any discrimination, but the students seem to be losing hope. They are worried that these campaigns might just be a lot in theory and less in practice. Some of the student unions are even calling for the name of the university to be changed, since it has colonial attachment.

Friday, October 9, 2009

a comic strip!

Anyone fancy a hunt?

It may be animal rights week at Rhodes,
but I feel sorry for the chickens!
Did anyone stop to think about the future of the dogs when they no longer have a use?!?!
By Emily Knowles

Controversial - maybe. Realistic - definitely.

Animal Rights Photographic Display

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Rhodent let loose!

By Stephen Mina

Who am I? What do I do? Well, I’m not a philosopher, but an intrepid journalist (the fact the Philosophy is one of my subjects doesn’t matter right now) and apart from listening to music, doodling, playing guitar while jumping on my bed and living the good and maring life of any decent Rhodes student, I am blogging. Yes, the freak has been let loose and is currently invading your screen under the guise of The Rhodent’s Slice of Cheese. You have been warned, so if you continue reading and never stop, then I cannot be held accountable for my addictive personality and posts.
Alright, those of you still with me can take a rare trip into the inner workings of a crazed Rhodent’s brain and see what motivates him to write such things. If I say it’s for marks and my academic future depends on this, then my lecturers will shoot me, so I think we’ll look at other reasons. To lay it down straight: this is a blog for Rhodents, by a Rhodent with other Rhodents in mind. Yes, those of us who wear overalls, have little or no fashion sense and will eat anything besides McDonalds can all relate to this blog. The main reason why is that it concerns aspects that affect student life at Grahamstown. The older generations may also get a jolly out of the way we think and act too.
Our posts are not all doom and gloom. Many of us love to complain about boring and played out issues, but not about the fun stuff. What other blog would tell you about how to fend off the infamous first year spread, or quick and easy ways to procrastinate? Such features and commentaries on issues and stories should put a smile on the face of all students and make them take on the world with some, if not excessive, optimism.
I am not a serious person. I like jokes, I like to laugh and I like liking stuff. So please, do not read any of my posts and expect to come away weeping (unless it’s with laughter or the two minutes of your life you’ll never get back), because I’m going to look at fun articles. Do the Sun, The Onion and Hayibo get any of you grinning? Well, when the Grahamstown stories get slim, that’s where I’m heading to write. I want to show the world, starting with Rhodents, that life can be decent, maybe even fun.
So follow me and the crew as we embark on our satirical and loony boat ride along the G-town stream of life, picking up flowers from the other places on the way too and remember: life should never be taken seriously; nobody gets out alive anyway.