I trust that you have all had a restful break. This week our talented group of writers have given us great pieces to read and (perhaps) mull over. Last week proved to be a crazy one for South Africa; with that in mind, Stephanie Schaffrath’s challenges us to appreciate the small blessings we are afforded in our daily lives. Lilitha Mankuntsu reflects on the recent SA Fashion Week (now in its 20th year) and she hopes that SAFW is onto bigger and better things. Charissa Govender gives us a sneak peak into the IPL and the exciting cricket the current season promises us. Zinhle Maeko (in disagreement with Tsholanang Rapoo’s view) argues that Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma’s feud is not exempt from feminist critique. Naledi Khumalo writes a piece that aims to motivate womxn facing significant challenges. Thabisile Miya reflects on the feelings of vulnerability that accompanied her visit to a gender neutral bathroom. Finally, Veli Mnisi critiques mainstream hip-hop’s hyper-masculine whilst finding solace in artists such as Frank Ocean and Gyre who are quietly dismantling hip-hop’s homophobia and misogyny.
Hope you have a wonderful Easter break.
Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017
I was at a conference in a building I wasn’t familiar with. I was desperate for the bathroom, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to endure going down six floors to find a ladies’ bathroom; this was when I decided to use a gender neutral bathroom. I found myself being highly uncomfortable during the experience; I kept worrying about whether a man would walk in on my using the bathroom. Additionally, the fact that there is no sense of privacy didn’t put me at ease during this was one bathroom visit I wished lasted for a second literally a second. I still don’t understand the source of my fears; could it be from the number of times women are molested in restrooms or was it just my own insecurities manifesting? At home, we have one bathroom and isn’t that gender neutral since everyone uses it? So the structural enforcement of how the different genders ought to interact has pretty much been dictated to us in spaces such as schools, universities, the workplace etc. Which brings me to question the reasons for the presence of gender neutral bathrooms; are they there simply because a company wants to appear more inclusive to the broader public or do they genuinely respect the growing needs of groups like transgender people, non-binary and gender fluid people? I’d like to pose the question of how comfortable people are with using gender neutral bathrooms?
We have another great edition this week with many stories from our talented team. Thabisile Miya discusses the nationwide students’ accommodation which has culminated in the rise of movements such as #Shackville and #SouthPointFeesSoRidiculous. Lindokuhle Kolanisi questions whether the post-apartheid political order could be more inclusive of gender and sexuality. Tsholanang Rapoo explains why she believes the recent feud between Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj is not anti-feminist. Molebogeng Mokoka explores the continuous devaluation of the BA degree; is it really worth nothing? Veli Mnisi gives us an in-depth look into how thrift shopping has, culturally and economically, transformed itself. He also gives us an insider’s perspective of Braamfontein’s newest thrift shop- haunt, The Thrift Vintage Shop (T V Shop). We’re also featuring Sandiswa Tshabalala’s poem, titled Black Girl Magic. Finally, Charissa Govender gives us the ultimate traveller’s guide for exploring New York City.
Hope you enjoy what we have to offer. Have a wonderful Human Rights’ Day tomorrow.
Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017
It is almost the end of block one and many students are still faced with the problem of not having accommodation. Many endure sleeping in libraries and toilets or travel long distances to get to lectures. The scarcity of accommodation both on and off campus has been a persistent struggle mostly due to university residences being unable to provide spaces for every single applicant and the ludicrous amount of money required to secure a place and meals as well.
I used to live at one of the South Point buildings and I swore I would never go back again due to reasons including high prices, bad customer service, various safety and security issues, maintenance, etc. Despite all of that I found myself back in the same building because on campus accommodation had limited capacity and slightly higher prices compared to off campus accommodation. One has gotten used to this yearly struggle, and the university has not done much to help with this issue. The national student financial aid scheme (NSFAS) also seems to distance itself whilst most of its recipients rely on off and on campus accommodation. Seemingly though, NSFAS continues to accredit certain buildings that charge high prices which they are failing to cover. This results in a huge shortfall that students must top up on from their own pockets. The student representative council (SRC) has made efforts to help alleviate some of the stress caused by this crisis but their efforts have been a drop in the ocean. Last year, we saw some activism and physical action directed at South Point accommodation and their ridiculously high fees with the hashtag #SouthPointFeesSoRidiculous. Moreover, a march to their office for a memorandum handover by the Wits EFF Student Command managed to draw attention to how private accommodation providers charge unfair and unregulated prices; in addition to how these providers have been exploiting poor students who have no alternatives and are forced to pay exorbitant amounts for accommodation of a lesser quality.
I write this article as I want to alert and inform most students who may be in a sticky situation when it comes to accommodation to not fall prey to people who may want to exploit their desperation. If they are still on the waiting list to get on university residences, they must continue to be proactive and probe the university and the SRC to come up with more effective solutions to the nationwide accommodation crisis.
Welcome to the first edition of exPress imPress for 2017. As always, we have a talented team of writers who are sharing their writing with you, our cherished readers. In this week’s edition of the blog, we have six articles that reveal to us our writer’s anxieties, wishes, reflections, passions, and favourite restaurants to haunt. Naledi Khumalo explains why women need to play key roles in their own empowerment. Obvious Nomaele discusses how university life has been different from his initial expectations. Adalizwa Dlova reflects on the often painful changes the accompany growing up. Thabisile Miya presents us with her manifesto of why South Africa’s youth ought to listen to Okmalumkoolkat’s album, Mlazi Milano. Stephanie Schaffrath gives a sneak-peak into her adventures at the lazy seaside town Parternoster. Finally, yours truly tries to understand the looming Sassa social grants crisis. Plenty of reads to entertain, inform, and challenge you.
Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2017
Okmalumkoolkat is one of South Africa’s talented artists who is not only a rapper but is also a dancer, fashion influencer and all round creative genius. One look at his Braam-kid-ville aesthetic will give you a sense of what I mean. There is a futuristic element about him and that is present within his sound that has influenced a lot of South African hip-hop artists. Mlazi Milano is a 17-track album featuring the likes of award winning Ricky rick and member of Boyz N Bucks; Mashayabuqe Ka Mamba; Mr. Digital Maskandi; the highly acclaimed the Brother Moves On; as well as young and upcoming musos like Shomadjozi, Reba Red and Amadando . The reason why every young kid needs to listen to this album is because it is pro-South African, it both celebrates and aims to promote our multilingual, diverse and culturally rich nature in a manner that speaks to the youth. The album addresses issues like isintu- the African way of doing things like praising the gods or serving a higher being- which lies beyond the confines of the western conceptualization of religion. In this album Okmalumkoolkat addresses the trend of South African youth looking down upon their cultures, religion and traditions. He smoothly does this by rapping mainly in Isizulu as well as collaborating with Mashayabuqe who has successfully merged maskandi music with trap music and Shomadjozi who raps fluently in Xitsonga. This demonstrates that one does not need to be a pure imitator of mainstream American hip-hop culture. It is obvious that hip hop is at its most successful period in the country. Because it is part of the mainstream, most artists have become monotonous producing music of a lesser quality with everyone adhering to the winning formula. It’s time South African hip hop becomes more inclusive and celebratory of South Africa’s diverse cultures. In our social media-driven age, it is refreshing to see artists who are genuinely making music for a certain cause and act as an inspiration to the youth. One needs to listen to this album to get a sense of what I am talking about.
Today, Minister of Higher Education, Blade Ndzimande announced next year’s fee hikes for tertiary education. Minister Ndzimande announced that universities would determine the fee hikes themselves- however, the fee hikes may not exceed 8%. Various South African universities, most notably Wits have protested in response the Minister’s announcement.
It seems as though we are on the precipice of another #FeesMustFall movement. But various questions still remain. Our talented writer, Thabisile Miya, addresses these questions by looking at the legacy of last year’s student protests. Considering the changes in South Africa’s political landscape, will we bear witness to a #FeesMustFallReloaded? If so, will these protests result in meaningful transformation in South Africa’s tertiary education sector? These are the questions, that hopefully, will get some clarity in the coming weeks.
Until the next edition,
Sandiswa and the 2016 exPress imPress Team
We all know that last year for almost all institutions of higher learning in the country and some abroad when students from all races and backgrounds joined forces and heeded the call for transformation, the call for free education and every single injustice imposed by structural hierarchy, white supremacy and racial injustice that refused previously disadvantaged students a chance to acquire education. It was such an exciting time and it was reminiscent of the class of 1976. The unity exhibited showed the collective power of social media and student politics ;and the need for the betterment or access to higher free quality education.
So many social movements took place last year. These movements included the #FeesMustFall protests; Open Stellenbosch’s call for transformation and amendment of their language policy; a similar situation took place as well at the University of Pretoria; #RhodesMustFall and many others. These movements not only looked at student politics but also to the issues faced by the predominantly black workers of universities. With that, we saw the Wits SRC call for the end to outsourcing of university workers. All of these protests brought a sense of hope to me as a young person in this country. I may not have been directly or indirectly affected by all these issues but the fact that everyone had reached a consensus and called out the government and the leadership of the country to intervene or play their part simply showed how active, mobilized and conscious the youth of today, Despite our generation having been dubbed the instant generation to bunch of thoughtless vacuums, what happened last year solidified my place as part of an active youth.
The inspiration behind this piece is me recently stumbling across two short films depicting an array of issues including racism, financial exclusion, structural racism, patriarchy and colonization amongst many others faced by students at institutions of higher learning, the film Luister that was shot by a group of white University of Stellenbosch students after the Open Stellenbosch transformation protests took place. Decolonising Wits by Africa Rise Foundation followed calls for decolonization and transformation at Wits University. Both these film made me realize how both powerful and essential those movements were.
It will be a year since these movements occurred; however, there seems to be little progressive change in all these institutions. It was common knowledge that the call for free education wouldn’t be an overnight reality – it would obviously take time. It still feels as though young students were sold dreams. Various questions remain around what will eventually happen as we wait for free education. Will it eventually happen when the budget for education in this country is not prioritized? What is happening at Stellenbosch and University of Pretoria? Has there been a multilingual policy implemented? Has there been any money set aside for resources to establish that students with the difficulties of the language predicament are taken care of? All of these issues leave me with one final question-when is fees must fall reloaded coming back?
Tomorrow marks the 60th of the 1956 women’s anti-pass laws march to the Union Buildings. 60 years…and still womxn face a lot of challenges in South Africa’s socio-politico-economic landscape. This week’s edition of the blog appreciates the challenges faced by womxn and, yet, how they serve as society’s backbone. Zwelidumile Zweli Ndungane writes on his decision to be a black male feminist. Mamelodi Marakalala discusses the stereotypes that oftentimes constrain womxn from reaching their full potential. Thabisile Miya celebrates womxn’s strength and makes a call for all of us to celebrate the womxn in our lives. I sincerely hope that this Women’s Month has been good on your side. It has certainly been eventful, with, the recent silent protest during Jacob Zuma’s speech at the official announcement of the results of the 2016 local elections. We still have a long way to go but, to paraphrase the late Dr. Maya Angelou, still we rise.
Have a great week.
Sandiswa and the exPress imPress team of 2016
I tried to stand up to the oppressor
and I guess that made him angry to realize that there is a woman so brave who’s able to voice her own opinions without fear of being judged
that there is a woman who is conscientized she might actually rub off onto others and enlighten the fellow women
He got so scared he tried to make the woman feel small and discredit everything that he clearly was guilty of
Oh but this woman was so brave she dared not break
because they threw all sorts of demeaning words at her
tried to break her spirit by all means
but because she was woman and possessed in her resilience so great
it could power the nation
she continued her fight and one by one fellow women starting seeing the light and changing their ways
they were no longer enslaved by men’s expectations and their fickle idea of what beauty is
oh dear because beauty is skin deep hits you like the morning sun and never fades
woman you are strong, stronger than who they compare you with for you carry your strength it resides in you
Now if you could carry with you these word and recite them like the serenity prayer
you would be building a nation full of confident, assured, strong and beautiful women
#HappyWomensMonth #MbokodoLeads #SheRock