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Archive for the ‘Background’ Category

Life in Hlalani and Sun City Informal Settlements

Posted by Paddy On May - 25 - 2009


Locating Hlalani and Sun City Informal Settlement:


“Sun City”

The name Sun City is synonymous with luxury and leisure for most of us. However the sun rarely shines on the residents of Sun City settlement in Grahamstown. Although the name has connotations of hope and liveliness, the life of the residents at Sun City is anything but bright. Life here is characterized by rampant crime, daily police patrols and juvenile delinquency, but the problems do not end there. For Sun City a much graver problem looms on the horizon in the form of inadequate sanitation. There are only two taps (with many still using the bucket system) and two “public toilets” to provide for its 300 residents. This lack of sanitation is causing serious health hazards among its residents. Children are drinking tap water that is not safe, which is causing concern among residents over the health of the children. Sun City has grown as a shack settlement over the past 11 years but is yet to receive support from the municipality.


Poor sanitation:

There are only two public toilets for all the residents of Sun City. They cannot even afford the luxury of using toilet paper and instead make do with newspapers. Sanitation and hygiene throughout the area is bad and in need of improvement. People cannot live like this!!


A look around the typical house in Sun City:

Imagine a room with no windows as the Grahamstown winter approaches. Imagine a room where 7 people sleep on 2 beds. Imagine a house with no running water or electricity.Picture a room filled with rubbish and junk. This is what Sun City resident Freddy Pokbas calls home.


A resident complains about Sun City: 

Sun City residents lack basic services such as water, electricty and adequate hosuing. However, according to one resident this is because…..


 Link to Al Jazeera:

 Click here to see Al Jazeera’s report on housing in Sun City


Hlalani settlement on the other hand appears to be slightly more prosperous than Sun City. As we climb Mount Zion to overlook the entire settlement, we see the various RDP houses which have been recently built. Automatically we are convinced that Hlalani is a settlement undergoing development as it has been earmarked for upgrading. However while interviewing one of its residents we learn that the Mount Zion is in fact used as a toilet site. People who have no RDP houses still lack appropriate toilet facilities and continue to use the bucket system, as a supply of running water is not readily available. If not attended to by the government, settlements such as these will continue to grow as more people come to the inner city seeking employment and accommodation. This could lead to greater sanitation problems.


 Pictures of Hlalani Informal Settlement:

 Unhappy about life:

 This resident explains life in Hlalani Informal settlement, not only for her, but for the other people that live there as well.



Mvuyisile Nonyukhela:

He has been waiting for housing for 14 years, and  lives in a small shack which often gets flooded during the rainy season. He makes a living doing pettty jobs and everyday is a challenge for him espeically at his old age. He has norunning water or access to a toilet. Here more about his life….


How to impress your girlfriend

Posted by Paddy On May - 12 - 2009


Need to know how to get back into the lovers good books or even just what women want from their men? Watch this instructive video for an easy step by step guide on how to get yourself out of trouble and capture your girlfriends heart.

OBE generation-the rise of the guinea pigs!

Posted by Paddy On April - 3 - 2009

Universities around the country are using benchmark testing, from theNational Benchmark Tests Project, to evaluate learners against a list of academic pre-requisites that are essential for tertairy education. Rhodes University instituted benchmark tests last year. The test results have not yet been tallied, however the outcome of the 2009 university intake will be compared to the 2008 intake.
The learners results will not be held against them should they not pass the tests successfully. The project will be implemented on a national scale and eventually substitute university entrance exams.
Click for audio download  

OBE was first introduced in the 1990’s when the quality of South African education came under great scrutiny. Aggravating the problem even further were issues of inequalities within South African society, with the majority of the population sidelined and discriminated against. As a result, education policies had to be revisited in such a way that they would revise educational provision in such a way that they would promote a more balanced view of South African society.

In later months the ANC ruled out Apartheid education and in doing so introducing OBE in 1997, the government’s attempt of addressing the education crisis in the country. Apart from the curricular being implemented so as to limit content-based learning it also had to respond to international trends in educational development. In March 1997 the Education Minister announced in the British parliament the launch of Curriculum 2005.

Questions still remain unanswered with people enquiring whether or not the change in South African education was for the better or for worse. Or perhaps whether the OBE curricular simply lowers the standard for high achievers, whilst relegating those who have traditionally struggled to mediocrity, instead of realising individual potential.

The depreciating quality of the country’s education cannot solely be attributed to OBE but also one may argue that it is because of our national obsession with the matriculation exam as a bellwether of achievement.

Every year thousands of matriculants, are said to complete the curriculum unprepared for the challenges of higher education let alone the workplace. The ultimum question then becomes, Are the new breed of matricualnts well equipped than their predecessors? A third of the 2008 candidates failed matric last year, despite the fact that the pass rate has been lowered to just 30% (refer to graph). The actual matric pass rate decreased by 2.7% while learners receiving matric exemptions increased by 5.2%. The Department of Education has been called to address this crisis and ensure that it improves dramatically.

A huge success: SRC Community Engagement week

Posted by Paddy On April - 2 - 2009

Rhodes students having fun with primary school kids at the jumping catle

Rhodes students having fun with primary school kids at the jumping catle.


We were covering the SRC Community Engagement Week. An initiative organised by the SRC to get Rhodes students involved with the Grahamstown community at large, which took place from the 16th to the 20th of March. The human chain was the first event to kick off the week. Residents and primary and high school learners from all over Grahamstown came to link hands with Rhodes students as a sign of unity. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Galela Amanzi relaunch took place in the location as well as other numerous displays at the library quad. On Thursday there were displays at the library and about 43 departments were invited to take part, but only three departments honoured the invitation, but it wasn’t a big problem because the bring a learner to Rhodes project was a huge success. For this initiative, students from Drostdy Hall and Kimberly Hall were shadowed by grade 11 learners to lectures, tutorials and practicals. Friday was the final day, on this day, the SRC organised a “community in unity fun day”. On this day, primary school kids came to have fun with Rhodes students; they played soccer, played on the jumping castle, learnt how to play drums and did a bit of face and t-shirt painting. The initiative was very successful judging at the turnout of students who were willing to help out and the media coverage it got. The event is not that popular within the Grahamstown community and quite relevant to Rhodes university students, therefore it was covered only by the student newspapers like Activate and Oppidan Press and Rhodos, a Rhodes staff newsletter that circulates every month and therefore we were the only broadcast journalists covering the story. The reason why we covered the story was the fact that, the story had never been done and was quite relevant to Rhodes students. The project was advertised on the Rhodes student homepage, Studentzone and the first event of the week was featured on the  Oppidan Press blog.






Behind the digs formal curtain

Posted by Paddy On April - 2 - 2009

Isn’t it just great when you have friends partaking in controversial activities?  This is what i thought at first…A group of boys who i know, were scheduled to have their digs formal.  We negotiated at length until they agreed to let me film the beginning of their formal.  In true Rhodes style (and may i reiterate that this is a male digs!) they called me about half an hour before i was set to shoot, to cancel!  Their excuse was that their dates (who had been procured at the last minute) felt uncomfortable being filmed. 


So rushed phonecalls were made and i managed to secure another digs formal shoot on the same night!  And it turned out to be a success-we got great footage.  Everything happens for a reason…


Check out this short description from an anonymous source about the theme of a digs formal:

Watch this short video, from the same source, which talks about the games played:

Here is some footage on the actual digs formal.  Our camera was on while the ladies were setting up.  This snippet shows them blowing up condoms and putting in little cards which detail a game to be played (by the person who pops the balloon).  We had to step in to help them…taking journalism to a new level…


And last, but not least, a look at how they prepared their punch.  It seems even though it didn’t taste that great, it was consumed!

OH! how i hate to get up in the morning to…Queue!

Posted by Paddy On April - 2 - 2009

If there’s one thing that most people have in common other than breathing, it’s their dislike for queues. I am one such person. To start of my day I need a shot of caffeine. Now, waiting in a queue for over 15 minutes when my body is aching for coffee, is not what I consider acceptable. After numerous occasions of having to brace the blazing sun outside Rhodes’ popular meeting spot, the Kaif, to get my coffee, I was getting annoyed. At first it did not occur to me that it wasn’t just that people where getting hungry or thirsty at the same time (hence the long queues), but rather that there were just more people at my university this year.

The situation continued to get out of hand when the dining hall queues grew to unimaginable proportions and the popular book store ran out of books within the first two weeks of term. Okay, first I have to starve while waiting for food in the dining hall, then I have to dehydrate while shaking for my morning dose of coffee, then there are no books for me to use to take notes! Something had to be done. One would think that the situation could not have gotten worse, but after having arrived late for a lecture (because I was waiting for my vital dose of coffee) I found that there were no seats available so I had to sit on the floor. Instead of extending my upper lip at the situation, I got thinking. Together with a class mate of mine, we investigated the reasons why the university was suddenly over populated. Had we missed a baby boom that had caused the influx of bodies onto our campus? Or where more people suddenly addicted to coffee and morning lectures?

During our investigation, this is what we discovered: The reason there were more people on campus was because of the new high school curriculum that allowed for more university entries than in previous years.  (Ahh, that why everybody was looking so young!) Because of this, more first years had flocked to the university and increased its numbers by 10%. This explained many things: more first means bigger lecture venues, so, older students had to use the smaller venues for their classes. This explained people having to sit on the floor and the long queues in the dining hall and the Kaif.

 So if that the case, then surely there should have been infrastructure or at least a plan to accommodate all these new people. This thought led us to a University official who explained what was been done to make us all feel comfortable. As it so happened the university was extending its library and two new residences have been built. Furthermore, the university is planning to be stricter on its acceptance of new students to avoid this overcrowding in future.

In case you’re sitting there thinking I’m just a grouchy coffee overdosed student who has suddenly realised that there are people around me, but alas! Judge thee not! I have proof, check out this article on the topic of overcrowding:

Read the Activate article

Video Today

Raphael HIV testing and support CentreThe Raphael Centre located in Grahamstown, South Africa is a HIV/AIDS testing and support centre. Lately, though, this haven for people infected or affected by the virus has been rought by troubles. The future of the centre is uncertain as it needs sponsors to ensure it’s survival. Meanwhile other issues, like an objecting neighbour are also posing problems for the centre which helps over 1 000 people every month.