From the Editor

June 17, 2009

By Kate Douglas

I was struggling to think of an editorial focus this week so I “Googled” student editorials and found this awesome website entitled “Free Student Editorials”. I was tempted, but I think they wanted me to pay, and Activate is kind of low in the funds department at the moment (courtesy of the SRC).

However, it was our Dean of Students who provided me with this edition’s editorial. I received an e-mail from De Klerk updating us on what her division has been up to recently (I think she secretly likes students). What caught my eye was the division’s efforts to formulate a “policy and strategic plan” concerning disability issues on campus. And this got me thinking about Activate’s failure to address, or even acknowledge, some of these issues.

Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t excluded the issue on purpose. This is simply a result of trying to represent a very diverse and active student body – and failing. As a student publication we should represent every single student on campus. It’s a daunting task – some say it is even impossible – but one that the Activate team is trying hard to improve.

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From the Editor

May 19, 2009

By Kate Douglas


Rhodes
students have been out-doing themselves lately. There seems to be a buzz of action that I don’t remember to have existed quite like this before. Maybe it is simply in light of the recent elections, but whatever started this, it’s great to be affiliated with it.

I’m sure you have noticed, that societies are becoming more politically active. ZimSoc, which has previously avoided taking a political stance concerning Zimbabwe, launched the “Save Zimbabwe Now” campaign where students and lecturers fasted to create awareness surrounding the situation in Zimbabwe. The Anti Sex and Gender Based Violence Week saw over 90 women take off their clothes and pose for a photographer as a statement against sexual violence. The launch of these photos was last Wednesday in the Eden Grove Foyer. It takes bravery to push past your own insecurities and vulnerability in order to make such a powerful statement.

And then there were the elections. It was fantastic to see how different student societies approached the party rallies and talks on campus. The best part of some of these was when students were allowed to ask questions. I watched representatives from numerous societies asking questions that really penetrated each party. They were educated, relevant and sometimes critical questions and I found that the party answers told me what I needed to know.

We are also seeing a very strong feminist movement on campus, which could possibly be the most feared body on campus. They are extremely politically involved and this has caused controversy on campus before. But what is so admirable is that these women are willing to place themselves in the line of fire and take the abuse and threats. They are not intimidated, and will not be shut up. The result is that they have our attention and we are talking about the issues they bring forward.

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From The Editor

May 11, 2009

By Kate Douglas

Being sick at Rhodes is a pain but unavoidable (excuse the pun). It seems that when a bug goes around, the whole of Grahamstown is sniffing and coughing. As most of us live in res, or a digs which could do with a serious sterilisation, we know how disease spreads. Whether it is because Grahamstown has crazy weather changes or because there is just too much saliva- swapping, when one person gets sick, we all do. The University should get this.

But they don’t. The policy is that if you are sick, you have to get an LOA on that day. For the majority of students who are without transport, this means walking up a monster hill to the San. Now, what I’ve never understood is how you are expected to be able to walk to the San when you are too sick to go to lectures or tutorials. The other option is to go to the private doctors in town. But you’ll be charged a small fortune for a piece of paper stating what you already knew: you are sick and should be in bed till you recover.

There are other options. Res students can get an LOA from their house warden if clearly sick and if one collapses in a public area then an ambulance may take you to the nearest hospital. But most of the time, students have to walk to the San when ill. It’s cruel. Being made to leave your bed when your body is plagued with sickness and being forced out into public to desperately protect your subjects from ‘DP withdrawal’, is just plain cruel. The worst must be to suffer from diahorrea. I can only imagine how horrible it must be to walk, sphincter clenched, up the hill to the San, praying that the dam wall holds. I know of someone who decided that it wasn’t worth leaving his res with diahorrea, and so accepted that he would miss a tutorial and lose his DP. To him, shitting himself in a public place was just too much to ask. It’s a load of crap (pun intended).

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From The Editor

May 9, 2009

By Kate Douglas

kate

When I arrived back at Rhodes this year, I felt old. As a fourth year, I am probably older than the majority of Rhodents. A lot of my friends who I have been having a mare with since first year have left, and the remainders are so busy that they have to schedule spontaneity into their timetable. I watch as first years hit the streets for a full night of partying. I try to join them but find myself over it pretty quickly. I even decided to get my seal-clubbing colours, but just ended up feeling like a paedophile. Yes, I am too old for all-night dancing, queuing for a drink, hangovers and naps.

However, I still have a mare. It is usually before midnight because I have to be bright in the morning for all sorts of grown-up activities, but it is a mare nevertheless. And I reckon they are the kind of mares that would put a Smuts jock to shame. You see, once you are a Rhodent, you are always a Rhodent. You just end up adjusting your lifestyle a bit so that you can cope with the workload. But we never stop having a blast. For me, one of my favourite things to do is to chill in a friend’s digs with a bunch of people that have to be up early in the morning. We compare workloads and the person who is suffering the least has to fetch the rest drinks. There is laughing, oh hell there is laughing. The type of laughing that can never take place in a club, mainly because you can’t hear each other.

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From the Editor

February 16, 2009

By Kate Douglas

Kate Douglas

Whoever said university will either make or break you clearly did not attend university. If they had then they would have known that a student’s experience at university can never be simply defined in terms of ‘make’ or ‘break’. The truth is that university both makes and breaks you and Rhodes is certainly no exception. Student life is usually categorised by all-nighters, mountains of work, poverty, and a combination of sin and circumstance. It is extreme, but balanced. To put it simply, we work hard and play hard. Read the rest of this entry »


From the editor

October 29, 2008

By Kate Douglas

 Kate Douglas

WHAT? You have to be joking! I cannot believe that the Stephen Biko posters were vandalised in the Bantu Stephen Biko Building. This makes me sick and I’ll tell you why: because this wasn’t some student’s drunken antics, this was people being racists…again. It makes me fume. Read the rest of this entry »


From the Editor

October 6, 2008

By Kate Douglas

Kate Douglas

I feel kind of drained by all the debates and bickering surrounding last week’s political events. I have found myself reciting impassionate responses to the typical comments representing various South African opinions. To the “this proves how African democracies are developing” comments I find myself murmuring, “This proves that we are an African democracy”. To the “we should all move to Canada” hysteria, I respond with, “Relax, the Nicholson judgment seems constitutional and justice is simply being done”. To the “nobody panic” comments, I usually have to restrain myself from saying, “Oh, shut up”. Read the rest of this entry »