Coping with mental disorders at university

It’s a beautiful, sunny day outside, but I’m curled into a ball in the corner of my dark bedroom, with my knees drawn to my chest and tears streaming uncontrollably down my face. I feel like sleeping until everything hurts a little less but my body and brain aren’t cooperating and have simply shut down. I try to scream, but no one hears me. I cry and shake violently, convinced that the only thing I have left to offer the world is the permanent removal of my presence from it, but, I’m too scared… too tired to do anything about it anyway.

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Language and education in South Africa

by Dani Kreusch

The complex language situation in our country has been proven over the years to be one of the biggest factors in South Africa’s failing education system. Specifically, linguists have found that learning in one’s home language signifantly increases how quickly, easily and permanently knowledge is acquired.

Not being able to take the first three years of school in their home language leaves children failing general international benchmark tests by grade four. A lack of access to and engagement with children’s literature in home languages has similar effects much earlier than fourth grade. And these effects extend beyond benchmark tests and school marks. “Consequently,” wrote linguist Herbert Ngouo, “the rural masses which should be the main beneficiaries of innovations have been marginalised because they do not master the language used to transfer knowledge.”

Local languages being put aside effects identity that is so strongly associate with them, Ngouo said, and not giving languages their proper place in development endeavors delays the process of decentralisation — the process of allowing all parts of the population participate actively in “shaping their destiny in terms of cultural and economic development”.

It’s by no means an easy or straightforward issue, but there are some steps that need to be taken in order for language debates to be treated seriously enough that change can happen. Continue reading

Zimbabwean Studies interests many

Chaired by Vice  Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela, the launch of the new Unit of Zimbabwean Studies on 14 May was filled from corner to corner by both staff and students alike. The unit, highly anticipated, promises to produce academic research of good quality.

Established and formalised by Associate Professor Kirk Helliker, the unit is set in the Department of Sociology at Rhodes University and aims to publish a quarterly newsletter of ‘all things Zimbabwean’ aimed at South African audiences. In addition to this, a document introducing the unit added the following as being the goals Professor Helliker aims to achieve in the next few years with the post graduate students who decide to tackle the course:

  1. developing a diverse PhD and Masters student profile
  2. establishing and maintaining relations with academic institutions in Zimbabwe
  3. Organising conferences and workshops on Zimbabwe at Rhodes
  4. Initiating a seminar series which will boast presentations by post graduate students in the unit, and more, which is reassurance that the unit will do well on our campus.

Professor Helliker then welcomed the Vice Chancellor, who congratulated Professor Helliker, the department and the faculty of Humanities on their hard work in developing the unit.

“Zimbabwe and other countries played an incredible role for our own liberation struggle,” started Dr Mabizela. He further went on to say that it was necessary that a Unit of this calibre be established at the university as South Africans have not thanked them enough for the support they gave us during apartheid.

Both Dr Mabizela and Professor Helliker reiterated that the establishment of the unit would help many understand the contemporary issues which face Zimbabwe on a daily basis. “The Unit has the strong possibility of positioning Rhodes University as the premier university internationally (outside Zimbabwe) engaging in Zimbabwean research and studies within the Humanities and Social Sciences,” explained the document introducing the unit.

While the room was already filled with bubbly and cheerful people, the audience was treated to an intimate performance by well-known Zimbabwean Imbira musician, Hope Masike. The Imbira is a sacred Zimbabwean instrument. Masike’s performance was highly enjoyed by the audience, with the largely Zimbabwean audience singing along with Masike to a well-known Zimbabwean song.

As he is known for fighting xenophobia and discrimination in all its forms, the Vice Chancellor touched on the issue of the recent xenophobic attacks and expressed that the attacks were the “most horrible thing that people could ever engage in”. He ended off his speech by saying that he hoped that the development of this unit would show the “oneness of humanity” and that, “we need to build a winning continent and be very proud of it.”

The launch was rather quick and right at the end treated the audience to some Zimbabwean food; Sadza and meat and something that all who were homesick missed, some Chibuka which I would compare to the Xhosa “umqombothi”, which is traditional beer.

Further Education: Part Three

We’re three weeks into the University Application series. This week, we covered all of the big universities in South Africa’s fastest province: Gauteng.  While there are many other FET Colleges, these five ‘big’ universities in the province might be of the most interest to you. This week we looked at: the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), the University of South Africa (UNISA), the University of Pretoria (UP/Tuks), the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and  the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). Continue reading

Further Education: Part Two

By Sihle Jack

As promised last time, we will be doing a university application series outlining the important details for you to know to further your education and apply for university. This week we focused on the big universities in the Western Cape. An interesting fact to know is that the Western Cape houses what is according to Africa.com currently the best university in the country – the University of Cape Town (UCT). As with the universities in the Eastern Cape, in order to qualify one has to meet the minimum APS scores which are calculated differently at each university. The universities for this week are: the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University and Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Continue reading

Unzip your varsity stress

Photo: sourced

Photo: sourced

By Sihle Jack

Starting a whole new chapter is not always an easy thing to do, especially when you do not know what exactly lies ahead. Getting to Rhodes in February and being part of the famous O-Week (orientation week) does not always help in understanding the ways of the university system. I remember when I got here, terms like “arb”, “DP” and “LOA” were all foreign concepts to me. As if understanding the language was not stressful enough, there was also the stress of writing my first university exams, which I had been warned were designed to see that students fail.

Unzip Your Knowledge, a theatre piece put together by the UBOM! Drama Company is now in its second year running and was a success regardless of the many postponed shows due to load shedding. The show, which is the brain child of Professor Chrissie Boughey, is aimed at educating first years about the academic and social issues faced by students.

In it, topics such as exams, plagiarism, #Rhodesmustfall, drunken student nights and any other business associated with the Rhodes University experience are all covered. Continue reading

Further Education: Part One

By Sihle Jack

Are you in matric and wondering about a way forward? Are you thinking of furthering your studies? Or are you thinking of taking the ‘alternative’ route? Over the next couple of weeks, since it’s university application season, we will be giving out information on where you can apply and all the details you need to know with regards to applying for different universities countrywide. To start off, we will be showcasing and giving you all the details needed to apply to the ‘big’ Eastern Cape Universities.

In order to apply, applicants need to look at whether they meet the Admition Point Scores (APS) minimum of the university and the different faculties in the universities. Also interesting to note is that universities such as East Midlands College (EMC), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), University of Fort Hare (UFH) and Walter Sisulu University (WSU) all have more than one campus, whereas Rhodes University only has one campus. So when you apply bear in mind that the degree or course you want might not be at the campus you want.

Requirements Application due date Application fee Online application Subjects offered (examples) Testing (tests that you write before being accepted)
EMC -latest results-ID Document

-Guardian /parent(s) ID Document

Not available on website. R100 Non-refundable Currently unavailable Business and engineering programmes and practical skills training. Pre-admission testing. (Aptitude, literacy and numeracy test)
UFH -latest results-ID Document

-Guardian /parent(s) ID Document

30 September 2015 R100 Non-refundable Yes Law, Social Work, Politics, Commerce subjects, History, Sciences National Benchmark Test (NBT)
Rhodes University -latest results-ID Document

-Guardian /parent(s) ID Document

30 September 2015 R100 Non-refundable Yes Pharmacy, Law, Commerce subjects, Music, Drama, Journalism NBT
NMMU -latest results-ID Document

-Guardian /parent(s) ID Document

2 June 2015 R260 Non-refundable Yes Human Movement Science, IT, Radiography, biochemistry,Quantity Surveying NBT and Access Assessment Test
WSU -latest results-ID Document

-Guardian /parent(s) ID Document

31 October 2015 Not available at the time of publishing this article. Yes Health Science, Education, Engineering, Finance, Mathematics NBT