A University By Any Other Name

by Dani Kreusch

Like Rhodes, Kyoto University is watched over by a magnificent clock tower. This is, strange as it may seem, not the only thing the two universities have in common. Photo by: Dani Kreusch

Like Rhodes, Kyoto University is watched over by a magnificent clock tower. This is, strange as it may seem, not the only thing the two universities have in common. Photo by: Dani Kreusch

The name of any object is highly significant to us humans. It’s why we name our pets and sometimes our cars and appliances, and why names are the first things taken away or altered by slavers, jailers and oppressors. As humans, we are symbolic beings, and names connote deeper meanings. If you are terrified of dogs, the word will evoke fear and distrust. If your everyday life is a struggle to get at the things colonialism first stripped from your ancestors, a name like Rhodes could symbolize this struggle, the lack of access and the ongoing discrimination.

Changing the name of this university, then, is a meaningful pursuit.

But, my problem with the ongoing name change debate is that all of the issues that people want addressed and changed have been reduced to the fight to change the name. People are convinced that a name change will effect deep changes to curricula, straddle barriers to epistemological access faced by disadvantaged students and democratise institutional cultures and the demographic profile of faculty and the university leadership. Continue reading

Future Intellectuals go back to school – a photo story

Photos and text by Ntombovuyo Ngaphu

Alinah Siyibane is a 3rd year Environmental Science student at Walter Sisulu University. She is one of the students who played a significant role in the establishment of a tutoring organization called Future Intellectuals in 2013, of which she is an events organiser. Future Intellectuals is non-profit organization formed by former learners of St. Patrick’s Senior Secondary School whereby they offer their tutoring services to their previous high school and other surrounding public high schools during Easter holidays and winter holiday camps. Alinah spent a week at St. Patrick’s S.S.S where she teaches Physical Science to Matric learners from St. Patrick’s and Nkqwiliso who camped at St. Patrick’s S.S.S, a school under Libode district that obtained a 100% matric pass rate in 2014. These pictures show what Alinah does on a typical day at St. Patrick’s S.S.S.

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Mandela Week at Rhodes should be longer than just one week

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Two teachers and a social worker from Rainbow Kids were moving very quickly around the very small kitchen at the Service Centre for the Elderly on Jacob Zuma Drive on Thursday 30 July. Tinashe Mhangara, Jennifer Rushin and Betty van Vught prepared lasagne for the elderly ladies at the centre as part of their contribution to the Trading Live week. While they feverishly chopped, peeled, soaked and gathered the food, the elderly ladies on the other side sat patiently waiting while practising their newly acquired crocheting skills. Jennifer Rushin had taught them on Monday to create long crocheted strips for hanging in the doorway. “You just use your fingers and plastic packets that you have at home,” Nomfundo Mthana commented.

While these ladies were taught this new skill and were being cooked for, all three employees from Rainbow Kids firmly agreed that the week had been beneficial for them too. “We finish school at 12.30 every day and then go home and do the same thing every week, this week has been different. I’ve made friends and learned things from the Xhosa culture that I never knew about,” Rushin explained while smiling and wiping the counter. Mhangara also loved the week saying that there is nothing like it at home in Zimbabwe. “It’s so good to be taught about sharing your time and giving more to the community, our kids at school have learned a lot and it’s wonderful to see”.

With the week having been so effective in creating bonds in the community and sharing laughs among people, why is it only one week? Betty van Vught expressed her desire for the week to carry on, saying “it shouldn’t just be one week, and it shouldn’t only be in celebration of Mandela. There’s so much to do in the community that getting involved like this should be a permanent thing”. She explained that it is definitely about getting out of our comfort zones to form new relationships and learn about other people.

There is certainly no lack of opportunity to get involved permanently. The Service Centre for the Elderly is partially funded by the Department of Social Development, but much more funding is required for the work done at the centre. The elderly who come every week day are given both breakfast and lunch, physiotherapy exercise sessions, game playing afternoons and reading times. The centre needs much more funding to be sustained. Furthermore, equipment like a microwave, knitting implements, food and other knick knacks are desperately needed for the work done to be more effective.

The Rainbow Kids ladies left after serving the meal with that very same burden on their hearts; to continue to serve at the Service Centre. They left with contact details and a promise that they would be back again. If you would like to get involved or donate any items, visit 16 Jacob Zuma Drive (turn right at the robot and the entrance is on the corner) or contact 078 321 8519.