Sunday, October 26, 2008

More tips for first year happiness

Well my first year is coming to an end, so I thought I’d leave you with some general tips for your first year at varsity before I retreat into my room to study for exams. These tips don’t have a theme like the rest of my posts; they’re just random things I think are important for your well-being and happiness at varsity.

1. Keep things in perspective: Chances are, you’ll probably fail/almost fail at least one test / essay in your first year. This is not because you are stupid. It takes a while to get used to the marking style and expected format / tone / referencing system of a certain department. Your marks will probably dip a bit, but if you keep at it, they get better as you go along. So don’t get despondent if you fail a silly 10 mark quiz. Look at the bigger picture: it probably counts 0.5% of your year mark. So it’s really not worth crying over.

2. Check your quota: This is for future Rhodents. The university only gives you a certain amount of internet access, and if it runs out, you’ll have to live without Facebook for a while. This is not cool. So check your quota regularly to make sure you’re still free to surf at your leisure.

3. Make time for yourself: Take a break sometimes and watch a movie or go out for coffee with your friends. Working all the time does a number on your head. You get hyper-stressed, moody and walk around with a dark cloud drifting over you. You will get everything done on time, and a week later you won’t even remember what assignment was due or why you were so stressed. True story.

4. Go to res functions: They are a brilliant way to become better friends with people in your res and have a jol. And you won’t get all the inside-jokes and ‘remember when...’s if you don’t go.

5. Don’t tumble-dry your tops: Well, you can if you really want to. But don't blame me when your Legit and Mr Price stuff shrinks and goes out of shape.

Well, there is my practical advice. Hope it helps!


O-week: Things you should do

O-week is a very scary concept. Or maybe I am just a wuss (I have been told this before on many occasions). Well, I was scared for no reason at all, because your orientation week is absolutely amazing. Don’t worry your little head off. Here are some tips to make it even more fantastic:

1. Buy nice pyjamas: They have this thing at Rhodes called serenades, which involves singing to, talking with and making coffee for (if you are female) members of a residence of the opposite gender. Did I mention that this takes place at 5am in your PJs? Get nice ones.

2. Go on the library tour: Yes, readingrocks made me put this one in, but I must confess that they are very helpful. The library is quite a big, scary place, and when you’re sent there to get a reading for your Sociology essay and you end up in the English Lit section crying into “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, you’ll wish you went on a tour.

3. Introductory lectures: These are also quite important. Philosophy might sound quite cool in theory, but going to the introductory lecture might stop you from sitting in an exam four months later kicking yourself when you’re faced with an essay question like: If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

4. Smile: Smile, be friendly and talk to people. Everyone goes out of their way to introduce themselves to you and conversation is very easy: it usually revolves around ‘where-are-you-from-what-are-you-studying-what-res-are-you-in’?

5. Explore: Walk around campus and go check out where all your lectures are. This will quell your fear of getting lost and ending walking into the Computer Science building instead of your psychology lecture.

Enjoy it!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A reply to Pharoah's comment...

Firstly, my sincerest gratitude goes to you Pharoah for taking the time to visit our blog and more especially to read and respond to our posts.

Now for the matter at hand... Regarding the opinion pieces in all JMS1 blogs, I think it is fair to say that the opinions and claims expressed in these posts are: 1) merely that, opnions and 2) not referring to ALL South African or Rhodes students, but only a number of them. So what I'm saying is that the claims made in my opinion piece are like I said, not about " ALL Rhodes first yers, but MOST (in my opinion)". So NO, I am not the driver of a "Rhodents are hypocritical and xenophobic band wagon", but merely pointing out what SOME Rhodents are like.

On the point of the "recklessly thrown" statement that South African youth demand respect when they are outside South Africa... firstly what I said is that we demand FAIR treatment, and I do not think that I, or anyone else for that matter, needs to have some form of research to support such a claim. I do not think that anyone would not want to be treated fairly wherever they are. So we may not literally or actively DEMAND fair treatment, but I think it is fair (excuse the pun) to say that, fair treatment is indeed what we EXPECT.

I would also like to advise that careful reading is done by Pharoah, because nowhere in my post did I state that
"foreigners only get jobs if no South Africans apply for it
". Such a claim would indeed be, in your words Pharoah, a "careless assumption". Surprisingly so, it is an assumption that not I, but YOU have made. The point,that was clearly not so articulately made by me, is that it is extremely difficult to get a job in South Africa as a foreigner. If one clicks on the word foreigner in my original post, you will go to the South African Home Affairs website where one can read more on South Africa's policies regarding immigration.

True is that the youth have different issues to deal with,one of those being xenophobia, and indeed some of us are doing well with the issues and others not so well. To use your opinion Pharoah, not everyone is the same, so as much as some Rhodes students are part of those condemning xenophobic attacks and that indeed does count for something, some are not doing that. Sadly, for most, it is not at all difficult to say you're against the xenophobic attacks, but turn around and still pass comments such as the ones in my original post.

Once again, I must emphasise that these opinion pieces we have posted do not necessarily represent what we think of everyone but of some. The words in my post are definitely "pointing the guns" at the individuals in question and not everyone.

Xenophobia is indeed a real problem and I hope that this response renders as proof that we(I) are trying to end the ignorance through "FLAWLESS" arguments and NOT "RIDICULOUS" statements. I agree, more zen less phobia :)

Mad love
Mary Jane :)
S :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stuff you don’t think you need but you actually do need for varsity

I went to my last lectures today (scary stuff!!) so I am supposedly finished first year, which means I should have some helpful advice. Well, I don’t know how helpful it will be, but I thought that I should give you tips to enhancing something that you have to deal with everyday… your res room. Hence my list of stuff you don’t think you need but you actually do need for your res room. Here we go:

1. Your own duvet cover: I know they say that your res supplies them, but those things are naaasty! It’s much better to bring your own. That way, you don’t have to be scared of the grucky res ones and you can add some colour to your corner of the world.

2. A clotheshorse: I know it might make your room look ‘lived-in’, but towels all over the floor in various stages of decomposition is not cool.

3. Kettle and mugs: You probably don’t down rooibos like it’s going out of fashion at home, but this stuff is important when you’re craving caffeine after an all-nighter, or need something to take the taste of res food out of your mouth.

4. Printer: Not completely essential, but most convenient when you don’t want to walk to the computer labs at 2am in the pouring rain/ run out of printing credit/ wake up late and want to print lecture notes / loose your flashdisk / have a laptop with Vista which won’t connect to the printing program… see where I’m going with this?

5. Superglue: I know it seems quite arb, but stuff breaks, ok? Shoes especially. You walk a lot. Bring lots of shoes.

6. An empty hard drive: If you come to Rhodes, you will find out why this is important. No, you don’t fill it up with work, don’t worry. It is for a whole other reason entirely…

7. Photos of your friends / family / cat: This type of thing really helps your room feel more like home and less like a blue-grey homeless shelter.

8. Some sort of dress-up outfit: I don’t know why, but there are constantly dress-up parties at varsities. Buy yourself some cute bunny ears or deely boppers / wings and you can be a rabbit (duh. What else would you be with bunny ears?) or butterfly. Or a moth if you’re emo.

9. Woolworth’s foods: No, not the whole store. Just your favourite stuff from those fancy shops they have in non-dorp towns. Mmmm, Woolworth’s apples…

10. Sewing kit: As I mentioned before, stuff breaks. This is a very handy thing to have, so you don’t walk around looking like a hobo in your ripped clothes. Unless that’s the look you’re going for, in which case, I apologize.


Blogging! My new hobby??

The fourth term of my career at Rhodes has consisted of me completely using up my internet quota and now having returned to the label of ¨significant delay¨ I can use the last few bits of quota which I have to describe the overall experience of being a blogger. Although I am determined on being an individual , I was forced on working in a group to create a blog about potentially similar or completely different experiences we may have had in our first year at university. Luckily I had an amazing group who could not of got on better together and ended up making four really cool friends.

I myself may have become lazy at times with the constant stream of work with deadlines creeping up on you nearly 3 times every week (like this week), but knowing that there were four others with the same issue, it made it a lot easier to make the effort for the group and even the topics started growing on me as for the first time this year I was able to voice my opinion in my very own opinion piece!

The story ideas were quite easy to come up with due to the fact that we actually were ¨five first years here to help you through your first time at University¨, and it was easy through the experiences, some of them being tougher than others, to come up with ideas to help the poor matriculants who have no idea of what they are getting themselves into. We were given freedom to write about our experiences to people which we can relate with, and in that kind of situation its easy to develop ideas and let your imagination run wild.

The meetings with our tutor were always really helpful, especially with the technical stuff, which is not exactly my forte, which kind of stifled my artistic nature as I was not as much a part of the design process as I would have liked to be. This is where I would have liked to see more practical examples in lectures and tutorials because once us computer illiterate few tried hyperlinking etc, we were completely baffled and had not seen it been done, but rather been told how.

The blog part of my first year at university has allowed me to reach a goal I had not known was a goal of mine. I was able to delve into a completely new territory where I had originally felt uncomfortable and the outcome has been satisfying. I now sit here on the last day of lectures and wonder where the time has gone, and in all honesty (as lame as it sounds), ¨time flies when your having fun¨, which is exactly what happened. I owe the fun times mainly to my amazing blog group, our ideas seemed to come from one, conjoined mind and together we have made My First Time a success! In saying that I have to acknowledge the fact that if it had been a different blog , I´m not too sure what the outcome would have been, but maybe I´m just biased.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

how far would you go about telling lies!

Lies never build but destroy.

We all know that when it comes to impressing someone you are in a relationship with. When people are dating they want to impress the other party to the fullest. Lies comes in so hardy because the truth will push away the potential partner. Maybe you always had a crush on this guy and you just cannot stand the thought of loosing hi/her. When a guy starts bragging about his pay packet, it’s not true otherwise he would not have to brag about it. Once someone starts bragging about something, it looses its value. Lying about being related or being friends with a celebrity in order to impress a person it’s pathetic, be who you are and that person will respect you for you. Among a lot of articles that have been written about the disadvantages of lying is one by Cary Tennis. Who would want to date someone that makes up silly lies, it’s just unattractive. So I suggest you try to be the best person you can be and let the chips fall where they may.
I honour and respect those that stay who they and not try to pretend to be something or someone they are not to impress their partners. An honest person does not pretend to be a millionaire an Oscar-nominated screenwriter to score points with someone because when you lie to your partner about who you are you are not only basing your relationship which would probably wont last on a lie, but you are also denying that person the chance of getting to know you. Besides how long are you going to keep it up? Girls tend to go extra miles to impress a guy, I mean there is nothing as irritating than seeing a girl wearing hills she can hardly walk in instead of looking sexy she looks like a drunken idiot stumbling all over the place. If you never wore hills or can’t walk in them, then tell him if you think it’s important that he knows. However, lies can be told even by people who are already in a relationship and the funny thing is that the liar is always the one that get hurt the most. I believe most of us watch soap operas if not dramas or movies where they try to send the same message that lies never gets a person anywhere. A good example; just look at Grace from Generations, she lost Ajax the man of her dreams because of a stupid kiss that did not even mean anything.
People who lie are often those who lack self confident. My advice is STOP TRYING SO HARD. It has to start with you respecting and seeing yourself as an important person that people, then you can expect other people to respect you and acknowledge back. Because really there is nothing that mostly turns a person off than a confused soul. Wouldn’t it make you feel good about yourself when someone likes the real you not the person your trying to be? Its better to know that someone likes you for who you are that way you do not have to feel like you are in a competition, like you need to be productive everyday. “"Truth may be stretched, but cannot be broken, and always gets above falsehood, as does oil above water."

A day in the life of a Rhodent

I thought I’d enlighten you prospective first years to the life you’ll be living come February 2009. This is a semi-typical day for me, so I'm going to show it to you so that you can see what you’ll be doing next year.

1. Lectures. Yes, I generally wake up and head along to those things called ‘lectures’. Even though they are not technically compulsory, they help a lot with exams and tests and essays. Although if you have a dawnie (earliest lecture of the day, starts at 7:45am) it is perfectly acceptable to sleep in the back somewhere. Or you can sleep in boring lectures too. Or if you’re tired (from staying up late doing all those assignments- cough cough). This isn’t a university rule, by the way. It’s just generally accepted practice (still, don’t make it too obvious. Lecturers can be mean sometimes).

2. More lectures. After your first lecture, you head along to your next lecture. Yes, this is a thrilling way to spend your mornings, and sometimes you can have up to four lectures in a row… *shudder*. Okay, I’m overreacting. They really aren’t that bad.
3. Food. After your morning lectures, you can head along to the dining hall for your nutritious and delicious meal. Yes, if you are lucky enough to live in res, this is your thrice-daily treat. *Meat_is_murder falls off her chair laughing*. Ag, I’m sorry, I couldn’t keep it up anymore! Dining hall food is generally as appetising and aesthetically pleasing as a lump of clay. Although they do have their finer moments (book fast food lunches, future Rhodents. They are edible, and even, dare I say it, nice!). But you’re usually so hungry after all those intense, physically draining lectures that you’d eat your stationery if it asked nice enough.
4. Tuts. When you are finished in the dining hall, you head along to the bane of many a Rhodent’s existence… tutorials! Tuts are eeeevil things designed by ‘The Man’ to keep us down! Ok, ok, I will stop hopping on the hyperbole express. Tuts are little meetings of 12-18 or so students, where you can discuss your course with tutors (these creatures vary from the mundane to the magical) and hand in assignments, get help, ask questions, etc. They give you the opportunity to ask a wiser being to explain the concepts you wouldn’t ask about in lectures. They are good. Mostly. And are usually compulsory, so it’s not like you have a choice, is it?

5. Evening! Yes, this is the time where you write an essay or seven (I feel like a printer sometimes. All I do is churn out assignments) or relax. If you like, you can toddle along to many of Grahamstown’s fine dining establishments and survey the menu with a bunch of friends. Most of the restaurants are open till late (they know us students well): my friends and I always end up at either Spur (open till 11pm, student discount!), Pirates (open till 3am) or Steers (does that place ever close?).

On the occasion documented alongside, we pooled our money and bought R11 milkshakes (250ml cup… it’s quite sad. I should really learn to budget properly). After spending a grand total of R33 (wow! We really kept Steers in business!) we then remained in the booth for a few hours because a) it was cold outside and b) it was fun. I also made the fantastic sculpture pictured here to express my creativity.

So. That is a typical day in the life of a Rhodent (me). It’s really quite cool, if you look at it. Yes, there are a lot of academic activities, but unfortunately, cupcake, that’s why you’re at varsity. Not to party, contrary to
popular belief. But you get to do all of this with your friends, which makes it soooo much better! RU keen?



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

RUTV Rocks!


That is seriously the only word which I can use to describe it. ‘Fantastic’, ‘amazing’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘awesome’ are good too, but they really don’t capture how utterly fabulous it was. I don’t have an adjective to describe it. What am I going on about? The
RUTV documentary film festival, which was held last Tuesday night. It was wicked.

They rented out all three of
Roxbury’s cinemas and screened 11 of the fourth year journalism student’s short films. I feel really sorry for all of the first years who are giving up on journ already, because it gets SO much better than Propp and Todorov (not a vacuum cleaner … haha, Sim & Alette)! Note to prospective first years: don’t give up your dream career just because your first year of lectures isn’t what you thought it would be.

The RUTV film festival was absolutely fantastic: the films were all so thought-provoking and professional. They included topics like love and marriage after being diagnosed with HIV, the life of a paranoid schizophrenic, a profile of a prostitute working in Grahamstown, celibacy, alternative religions (Wicca, paganism, etc), the Rastafari community living in Knysna and the near-extinction of Zimbabwe’s rhinos. There was also a really scary but extremely impressive undercover investigation of the illegal abortions that have been offered in Grahamstown recently.

To all you future first years out there, here’s a bit of advice: go to the extra shows / debates / film screenings / events which are held in the evenings. I know will probably just want to collapse somewhere soft in front of the TV after a hard day of lectures (cough), but these after-hours events are amazing. They really show you a different side of university life, and are really interesting and cause you to think critically about the wider planet Earth. I went to a vegetarianism debate held by the Rhodes Organisation for Animal Rights (
ROAR) and a film screening of the movie ‘The 11th Hour” earlier on this semester. They were both very informative, and much more entertaining than an evening at home watching Days of our Lives.

Now go out there and change the world!


***Photos by Activate photographer, Stacey Bruton***

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to survive long-distance friendships

New friends. Old friends. Which do you pick, when your new friends are with you at varsity, and all your friends from back home are scattered at various universities all over the country – or maybe even taking a gap year even further away? You start to think that maybe you should concentrate on the new friends you’ve made, who have so much in common with you and that you see everyday. Or maybe you don’t like the people at your varsity, and miss your friends from high school. Either way, this post is for you.

It’s easy to get swept up in the varsity vibe. You meet all these really amazing first years, and you start thinking that they are the coolest people you have ever met – way better than your old friends. While that may be true, there must have been a reason you’ve been friends with your mate from back home since you were both 5.

Chances are, the people you knew in high school knew you really well, and are trustworthy and fun to be with. Once you start spending time with your new varsity friends, you might start to notice their bad habits – like the way they don’t really listen to what you’re saying, only talk about themselves or how all your secrets mysteriously seem to become common knowledge.

It’s always good a good idea to keep in contact with your friends from school, because if there’s a crisis or you start having a mini-breakdown because you failed your third statistics test in a row, they are there for you. They kno
w you very well and know what to say to make you feel better. And chances are, if you’re having major problems and you want to talk to someone, you’d rather talk to your friend of 4 years than the girl/guy you’ve known for 3 months.

Your ‘old’ friends know you well enough to tell you if you’re going off the tracks or over-reacting. They can help cure your Monday blues, just by talking to you. They’re a very important part of your life, and shouldn’t be replaced or discarded just because they’re a few hours away from you.

On the other hand, if you can’t seem to find the type of friends at varsity as you had back home, or you really miss your friends from school, that’s ok. It’s a big adjustment. One of my best friends is studying in Potchefstroom, and I only see her every few months or so. It sucks, but you can’t do anything about it.

You can simply try to email, SMS, phone and IM your long-distance friends as often as possible, and keep them up to date on developments in your life so that you don’t become strangers. Stay up an extra 15mins each night to check in with your ex bio-partner on Mxit. Email you
r friends funny jokes or pictures, or send them a post card from your university town. Message them on Facebook, or MMS them photos of the cute ‘I miss you’ teddy bear you spot when you’re out shopping. When you go home – even for short holidays – make a point of organising a mini-reunion.

It requires some effort, but when you see them in your December holiday and you have maintained your ability to make each other laugh until your stomachs hurt, you’ll realise that it was worth it.


Monday, October 20, 2008

First Year Defined counter-argument

Bungee My Life: First Year Defined

I can't believe that someone with such an amazing opportunity isn't making the absolute most of it. You're at one of the best universities in the country, and yet instead of working hard and achieving the best possible marks you can, you're happy to sell yourself short and trudge along with 50.1%?

First year does not exist solely for the purpose of "drunken debauchery". Lectures are not "unnecessary", but a vital means to pass your subjects and learn the most amazing things while expanding your world view. If you're just here to spend your days in the Rat, then why don't you drop out and go work at Pick ‘n Pay? You’d save R50 000 a year on tuition and residence.

You’re supposed to balance work and play at varsity. How can you be content to wander aimlessly along, doing the bare minimum? You’re going to run into serious problems in later life if you have no work ethic, or sense of priorities. An education is one of the most invaluable things you can have, and you’re not making use of the chance you have to influence the rest of your life. It’s really sad.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Loosely translated this means “X is running out of the labs, these Zimbos have closed this place up with their stinking armpits”. This is a facebook status belonging to a Rhodes first year. The rest of our first years may not necessarily have statuses such as this one, but most of them are just as xenophobic.

On arrival at Rhodes University, one of the things I loved the most about the varsity was its versatility in all forms. As a curious minded person, I am highly appreciative of opportunities to meet people from different walks of life. Rhodes offers this, there are students from all over the world here, especially from other parts of Africa. Zimbabwean students form part of the majority of foreign students. It was great too see that one’s home country has no significance with regard to how one is treated at Rhodes and which friends he/she has.

However, encounters with other first years revealed that not all of us are conscious enough to not be ignorant and intolerent. There lies a lot of ignorance in the mindsets of most of us first years, not all of us, but most of us. When referring to foreign students, especially Zimbabweans, I would often hear the following comments from my fellow first years:

“Oh shame, the Zimbos here don’t stink that much, I can tolerate that.”
“Wow, she’s actually quite classy.”
“He’s so cute hey; you’d never say he’s not South African.”

Someone once said: “No wonder you Rhodes girls go for them, the ones here are actually decent.”

Rather sad really, if not because of the mentality itself, sad because such mentality goes to show how ignorant we are, and how much we lack critical thinking and independent minds. This mentality is also sad because it shows what hypocrites we are. South African youth are very quick to demand fair treatment when they visit other countries and yet this is our attitude towards our fellow Africans. It is very arrogant of us to think that we are in a position to decide whether or not we can tolerate certain foreigners – what is it about foreigners that is so intolerable in the first place that we have to adapt to tolerating them? Put simply, it is extremely stupid of us to expect that a foreigner stink, be without class, be ugly and indecent. What do we define as decent anyway? Who are we to say whether or not a person is decent or not, solely based on their nationality?

Such is our mentality as first years. However, in defence of the first year; it is of no surprise that we are so ignorant and hypocritical in our thinking. Our parents refer to foreigners as amakwere-kwere” and yet they’re up in arms when they are referred to as “kaffirs” or “boers”. The pro human rights nation of South Africa with its world renowned constitution condemns xenophobic attacks in the country. Yet the very same South Africa’s legislation is rather xenophobic in my opinion. Getting a job as a foreigner is a mission in South Africa. Should a foreigner be accepted for a job, he/she must get the job on grounds that there is absolutely no South African that applied that can get the job – this is regardless of the fact that the foreigner may be more qualified than the South African. I’m sure our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nkosazana Zuma, wouldn’t be too chuffed if the same were to happen to her child.

Defences and excuses aside, it is sad to see that even though so many of us boast all this knowledge we have of the world and its politics, we fail to question the ideologies and stereotypes present in our daily lives. Instead we support these, both consciously and subconsciously. When one thinks independently and critically; it is obvious that the fact that I am a South African does not mean that I am classy, decent, beautiful, and smell good. Such idiotic and unfounded thinking from the same people who are outraged by Apartheid!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Who moved my cheese?

Before I came to Rhodes, I was warned about this scary thing called ‘change’. Apparently, people go off to the land of lectures and degrees, and return completely different. They come home, and their beliefs have changed, their attitude towards life has changed and they’re covered in piercings and smoking weed while discussing their decision to become an atheist. This can be quite a daunting idea to behold when you’re an insignificant matric whose life was regulated by school bells and uniforms. You start worrying about the big bad university that is going to turn you into some creature your friends and family don’t recognise.

When I was in my last year of high school, I was asked one question about 10 times a day: “What are you doing next year?” As soon as I mentioned Rhodes University, teachers, family friends and even relative strangers raised an eyebrow and gave me a knowing look. They knew Rhodes’ reputation. Yes, the university was one of the best in the country, but the students were notorious drinkers: strange artistic creatures with green hair who went to lectures barefoot. They’re the crazy kids described in Relient K’s 'College Kids'
. Changing from a ‘normal’ teenager into one of these students was a bad thing, and this change should be resisted at all costs.

Having survived my first year at Rhodes, I can say that this scary ‘change’ which everyone speaks about is not nearly as frightening or dark and twisted as it seems. Yes, you do change. But it is good! Your ideas about the world change dramatically. You stop seeing it in the black-and-white terms that you categorised people and events into during high school. You’re exposed to different ways of thinking, different religions, no religions at all, and people generally enjoy fighting with you about why you believe what you believe. But living through it makes you a much stronger person.

Being faced with different perspectives on a situation broadens your mind. You start thinking critically about different issues, and don’t just passively accept the opinions of others. You become open to other beliefs and understandings of the world, and become more tolerant of them, instead of being judgemental or condescending. University does change you. But it changes you for the better. You become more independent, and learn more about your character and opinions than you would have in one year at varsity than you would have if you spent 10 years at high school. The change isn’t some grotesque transformation that you are simply subjected to. You can stay yourself. If you still want to believe in the religion and morals you grew up with, then you can. You have a say in what you choose to believe and no one can force you to go along with their radical world views.

The thing to remember is that university isn’t real life. The majority of people in the world wear shoes and don’t walk around campaigning for some strange new cause. You can incorporate the new ideas and views which you are confronted with at varsity into your life, or you can choose to ignore them. You don’t have to be one of those crazy students whose best friend doesn’t recognise them after 8 months apart. As Relient K say at the end of ‘College Kids’: “do what will make you happy, do what you feel is right. Only one thing matters: learn how to live your life”. Embrace the change, but only so far as you are comfortable. You’ll be a better person because of it.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ten non-alcoholic activities for non-alcoholics

“Oops!” your friend giggles, staring down at the shards of glass on the ground and the cane seeping into the grass. “I dropped the bottle!”
You sigh and take her arm, trying to move her along the street. “It’s ok,” you say. “Come, let’s go home. This way.”
“Ok.” She nods slowly, starting to shuffle along the pavement. “Wait. I don’t feel good” she says suddenly, then covers her mouth with her hand. You know what’s coming. You lead her to a gutter, where she proceeds to regurgitate that evening’s spaghetti bolognaise, along with half of SA Breweries’ alcohol supply. You lean against a wall, and wonder how your awesome night out ended up like this.

Well. While some people think that nights spent slowly poisoning your liver are the best thing since Steers veggie burgers, there are also some that don’t. Contrary to popular belief, not all university students are like this. Yes, unfortunately the large majority could match a rock star glass for glass *fake cough* Captain Morgan *fake cough*. But if you look hard enough, you’ll find people who don’t hop on the beer bus every weekend. This post is for them.

While all the students who have a deep love of fermented sorghum/ grapes/ barley/ wheat go out and crawl back home, the non-alcoholics are left with nothing to do. So I thought I’d come up with some fun non-alcoholic activities to make sure that your social life doesn’t dwindle and die. Here’s my list (feel free to add to it!):

1: Movies: Yes, I know it sounds simple, and it’s sometimes expensive for those with the traditional ‘broke student’ bank balance, but a decent movie with a bunch of awesome people is a fantastic event to attend. Chick flicks, sci-fi, comedy: whatever. Sometimes it’s nice to actually go out and see a movie… I know you’re all going “What? Pay for a movie?” but at least you won’t be distracted by some strange Iranian subtitles.

2: Paintball: Yes, it is painful. You get dirty. And you might have a big blue bruise the next day. But it is wicked fun. Shooting people with little balls of paint? Genius. And guess what? There’s a
paintball place in Grahamstown! *All prospective Rhodents fall off their computer chairs in shock*

3. Coffee: Coffee shops are amazing. Especially the kooky ones in G’town, with their crazy décor and arb drinks… on that note, let me tell you the steps to happiness. Step 1: Go to the Red Café. Step 2: Be seated. Step 3: Order a peanut butter / Bar One milkshake. Step 4: Come back here and thank me for changing your life. Dulcé’s ice cream scoops are also fantastic, and not too expensive. Chat and chill with friends on a rainy day/ hot day (take advantage of the aircon).

4: Rrrrroadtrip: Get everyone to chip in for petrol, hijack a car (I mean borrow) and jump in for an amazing adventure. You’ll get lost, you’ll get un-lost, you’ll arrive. Rhodents: PE is just over an hour away. Jbay (Billabong factory shop, people!) is 80kms from that. And if you’re really bored with your lives, you can head over to lil ol’ East London (2hrs drive). Oh, and the beach in summer (Port Alfred: 30mins away).

5: Ice skating/ ten pin bowling / go carting: For you lucky, lucky people who are going to study in cities, not lost and forgotten dorps.

6: Shopping: Also kinda for those blessed with a shopping mall and of the XX chromosome variety. But otherwise, you can spend many a happy Saturday morning strolling down High street.
Kisma Kreative (see picture) has some fantastic new ‘upcycled’ stuff. This activity can also be combined with activity number three (see ‘coffee’).

7: Movie night: Ok, I know I was just saying you should all head out to your nearest Ster Kinekor/ Nu Metro / random independent thing (
Roxbury), but sometimes TNT plus a bed full of pillows plus friends equals happiness.

8: Picnic: Totally memory-making. We had one last week… we grabbed a bunch of grucky res blankets and food and parked off under the stars on the grass in front of Rhodes’ clock tower. I promised
Pink Monkey that she could blog about this, so all I can say is that it involved 20+ naked men, a fire dancer and me almost stealing a car.

9: Games: Now don’t all start thinking “Damn, this girl is really scraping the barrel to get to ten”. 30 seconds rocks my socks. And of course the oh-so-fantastic-reason-the-play station-was-invented Sing star (karaoke+game. Genius). Screa- I mean, sing along to some insipid pop hit. Hilarity ensues. Promise. (Our res has a console, so you can bring your disks from home. Don’t think I’m crazy).

10: Go out: This is Rhodes lingo for going out to a pub/ club. Going to print your sociology assignment at 11pm does not constitute as ‘going out’ just because you left your res/digs. You can go out, just to dance, not to imbibe alcoholic beverages. And when it’s 2am at Friars and the DJ starts playing rock instead of that usual R&B rubbish, and you don’t have to babysit your drunken friend, the world seems wonderful. True story.

P.S. This post is in no way a slight to all the friends I’ve babysat when there was blood in their alcohol stream. I still luv you guys!

Mwa mwa


I am pissed off!!

I got mugged last week at knife-point. Yesterday, I was told that I am a victim. Today, I was sworn at for speaking my mind. Truth be told, I am angry. I am furious, but not with the people that mugged me. What makes me so livid is the indifference and naiveté of everyone else.

These men didn’t attack me because they wanted to hurt me. They attacked me because they were cold, hungry and tired of being trampled on by everyone around them. They were tired of living in poverty, hopelessness and pain. It is all too easy to place the blame on them. Even the police officers called them “bastards”! To all my global subscribers let me tell you that Grahamstown is a place of great contradictions. For 8 months of the year the affluence of upper-income society parades its way through the streets of town, lavishing in their freedom, yet blissfully unaware of the intense poverty surrounding them. Maybe it’s just me, but when I see a drunk, fat student swearing at a street-kid because he asked for an “onion roll” I feel acid in my veins.

Too many people in society struggle to see past their own private gratifications because, as always, while we curse the effect, we continue to nourish the cause. Something needs to be done, some sort of responsibility needs to be taken. The problems facing society need to be addressed at their core because we created these problems. Or as Shakespeare uniquely observed, "The fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves."

The solid reality is that in South Africa and across the world we are forgetting that we are one people, with one destiny. Our false belief is that whilst fuelling our insatiable material greed we can casually and effortlessly walk past those in plight. George Orwell said, “sooner or later a solid reality bumps up against a false belief, usually on a battlefield”. If we are not careful the “battlefield” Orwell so eloquently relates to will be our own homes.

This problem is not a new one for South Africa, it started long ago through unequal governmental action and unjust social practices. The previously advantaged are beginning to fear the implications of any change from the status quo. Poverty, racism, xenophobia and violence can be overcome. Many young people are acutely aware of these problems in South Africa and are subsequently leaving our beautiful shores in search of the Pound and Dollar. Do not turn your back, do not shy away from your conscience. We need a moral rejuvenation, we need to find the moral strength to stand up for what is right.

If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every facet of your life and the lives of others. It all begins with your very own power of choice and whether you have the determination to see it through. I speak mainly of the problem in my own country, but the issue of intense poverty and inequality can be observed around the world. It is a global problem that will require a global solution and you can start right now!

I know one thing for sure, I am no victim. Rather, I am blessed to be alive in the right time and place to make a difference. Think about it, please, before we tear each other to pieces. Personally, I love Africa, Captain Morgan and my life so I’m not going anywhere!
Take it easy,
Captain Morgan

We're Superheroes!

We thought it was about time you saw what we all looked like... and we wanted to have some fun... so we made you this photo comic which we are all so proud of! Check it out and let us know what you think!

Click on them to see them full-screen. Hope you like it!