A nutrition scheme aimed at aiding disadvantaged students.

By: Andisile Klaas

1100 is the current number of students benefiting from the Nelson Mandela University’s Nutrition Scheme, a programme aimed at assisting disadvantaged students through monthly food parcels distributed across all campus clinics.

Many students come to varsity seeking a better future despite their disadvantaged backgrounds and lack of financial support, in a bid to lessen the struggles of students, the Nelson Mandela University’s Campus Health Services has a nutrition programme that distributes food parcels on a monthly basis.

The food parcels consist of basic necessities such as cereal, canned food, rice and vegetables to name a few. The food is provided for by Tigerbrands while the vegetables come from the campus garden in North Campus, Summerstrand.

The programme was made available to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who cannot afford food and also students who don’t receive any contribution from NSFAS or any other bursary. In order to benefit from this programme, students must register with the Campus Health Services, they are then screened to check if they qualify for the programme.

The food parcels are distributed every day to make provision for students who can’t come on Wednesdays, which is the day when most students come. However, for the past few week students haven’t been able to receive food parcels since the stock was depleted, this was due to students not being able to get their allowances from NSFAS in time and that caused an increase demand for the food parcels.

For more information, you can contact your campus clinic:

South Campus: 041- 504 2174

North Campus: 041-504 1149

Missionvale Campus: 041-504 1374

2nd Ave. Campus: 041-504 3762

Societies: Why you should join one

A society refers to a group of individuals broadly distinguished from others on the basis of shared interests, occupation, characteristics, goals and even a common culture. Societies play a huge role in human development and the following article explores the importance of societies and why you should join one.

Varsity is a diverse environment that gives us the opportunity to sharpen our skills, develop our potential and it becomes a crucial aspect of our lives when it comes to finding ourselves and forming our identities. The Nelson Mandela University has numerous societies ranging from Professional, Religious, Arts and Culture, Politics and LGBTIQ Rights to name a few and choosing one that speaks to you is key.

For me, the main purpose of a society is to create a safe space and sense of belonging to its members and that is a necessity in varsity where you can easily feel isolated and overwhelmed. That safe space and sense of belonging is achieved through socializing with people who have the same interests and even share the same sentiments as you.

We come to varsity to seek our purpose and what we are meant to do in this life, you can also find your purpose by joining a society, since they are also formed to bring about change and create awareness on certain topics and there’s nothing more rewarding like seeing the impact and change a society brings to your life and the lives of others. Societies also open doors for personal growth and the diversity within them enables one to learn about topics and other life aspects that seemed foreign before.

We live in a world that has a tendency to conform to social norms and those unwritten social rules and that also comes with a tendency of diminishing the value of concepts we don’t understand. Representation is key in societies as they are diverse and they advocate for the underdogs and outcasts. We have societies that fight for the rights and inclusion of women and the LQBTIQ community.

Teamwork makes the dream work and that is where the importance of societies lie, they are these spaces filled with individuals who share the same goal and vision. Joining one might help with personal growth, bringing change and even making lifelong friends in the process.

By: Andisile Klaas

The urban land question: Universities in cities

By: Pedro Mzileni

The property relations of a city in South Africa are a phenomenon that has its roots on the colonial interruption of our history and they, today, affect the political economy of higher education generally and the living experiences of students in particular. The fact that universities, old and new, are buildings with a physical address stationed in cities, they are, therefore, not immune from the overall economic challenges facing the nation and how these structurally impact the daily life of a people.

This paper will attempt to cover this analysis through three themes namely: (1) The land and housing history of South Africa, (2) The development of housing settlements under neoliberalism, and (3) The impact of urban property relations on higher education and student accommodation.

1. The land and housing history of South Africa

A city in South Africa is a product of the centralization and convenience of production enveloped by a racialized capitalist project of social control and massive migration of proletariazed Black labour. The white apartheid government formalized its pseudo city development project with the introduction of the Group Areas Act in the 1950s.

This act determined the residential address of a person under apartheid according to skin colour. Whites lived in the urban city centre with large volumes of land and backyard houses, closer to the beach front and places of work. Blacks were cornered in the congested townships that are stationed at the outskirts of the city in matchbox houses, far away from all sorts of economic activity.

The settlement of Blacks in the townships outside cities was as a result of the violent dispossession of the 90% of their land by armed white minority colonizers over centuries of frontier wars. This violent crime was followed by its formalization and legitimization through the 1913 Land Act. Being in possession of the remaining 10% of the infertile land, Black people could no longer sustain their ordinary way of life which was to socially, spiritually, and economically live off the land. In other words, the land dispossession that Black people suffered was also the destruction of their intellectual property.

They were pushed down into deep levels of poverty and humiliation. What remained as their remaining source of survival was to sell their labour power to the white colonizer. The white colonizer stationed its economy in the cities of this country. Therefore, the life of “going to work” for Black people began. Black people, in their numerical majority, became cheap migrant labour at the disposal of the white minority colonizers. With the Group Areas Act intact coupled with the poverty wages that Black people received, they had to stay in townships that are at the outskirts of the city whilst white people lived in the city. The unemployed Black people were imprisoned further away from the economic city in the rural areas of the former bantustans.

2. The development of housing settlements under neoliberalism

With the white occupation of urban land and the entire 90% in the country overall, they had the autonomy to set a racist beginning underpinned by the neoliberal European market fundamentalism. As is the case in classical European economics, land became a factor of production for the market. Land occupation, land ownership, land usage and control became a private commodity. As Professor Oyeronke Oyewumi puts it: “another landmark of European penetration of indigenous societies”, was “the commercialization of land”, whereby “land became a commodity to be bought and sold”. Professor Nomalanga Mkhize adds: “since land under a neoliberal economy is used to utilize other economic activities such as shelter, economic development, public transport, recreational facilities and so on, the value of that land becomes as costly as the economic activities taking place on it”.

The intersection of a neoliberal market valuation of land, racially controlled patterns of housing and urban settlement, land dispossession and forced labour, and the effects of social control in the apartheid city all resulted in a distorted form of urbanization our South African cities. Urban settlement in South Africa did not develop as an authentic form of a community emerging alongside its people centred economy for the enhancement of a neighbourhood of working families. Instead, the South African city developed out of land dispossession, racial segregation, migrant Black labour and the recycling of economic privileges for the white minority. This is at the centre of the neoliberal management of settlement spaces in the urban areas of South Africa until today, characterized by the over pricing of property in order to keep it exclusively in the hands of white people. Professor Patrick Bond refers to this drivel as class apartheid.

The neoliberal economic management of land valuation in urban areas provides three contradictions for the democratic government. Firstly, the urban area has a limited infrastructure that was built to accommodate the livelihood of the white minority it was intended to serve by apartheid. Any attempt to stretch the resources of the urban area to accommodate the democratic Black majority and the general increase of the population across all races brings a strain to the existing infrastructure of the city. As a result, in order to grow the infrastructure of the city, the government is required to maintain the neoliberal template wherein large volumes of public resources must be invested into the development of new infrastructure that must be procured from the private sector at a profit. When the government neglects this responsibility, or decides to prioritizes other crucial areas of human development, the excluded Black citizens get “left to fend for themselves, shack settlements mushroom all over the country and the question of unplanned urbanization perpetuates itself”.

Secondly, Statistics South Africa in 2018 revealed that Black people in the townships of this country are faced with an unemployment rate of 56%. The overwhelming majority of those who do have work earn poverty wages as was the case under apartheid. For the local government of a city to maintain a decent budgetary framework to deliver services to citizens and govern adequately, it requires property owners to pay their monthly municipal rates consistently. The socio-economic conditions of the Black majority make it impossible for them to honour this public commitment whilst those who are based in the urban centre with decent employment are able to pay. As a result, the local government generally and the city in particular “begins to politically and culturally belong to those who materially take care of it”.

Thirdly, land in urban areas is privately owned as endorsed in Section 25 of our liberal Constitution. This means, therefore, that when government wants to build social houses for the workers and the poor inside the city, it must seek to buy such land from its owner at a market value using the limited taxpayer’s resources. Under the current policy frameworks of government, this can only materialize when the seller of such land is willing to sell. Having the market value of land being immensely expensive, the government resources being limited, and the inherent refusal of the status quo to handover any form of economic power, it makes it impossible for the democratic government to transform the settlement patterns of the urban area.

This is at the centre of the current housing situation facing the government of the Black majority whereby houses built for the wretched of the earth by their own government are still small and are stationed far away from the city centre where land is valueless as was the case under apartheid. This neoliberal contradiction flies in the face of the promise of freedom. The people thought that freedom meant a redress of all social ills, the creation of a better life for all, and, in particular, a comprehensive revolution of how people stay and experience the quality of life in an urban area. However, this is not the case as the property relations under apartheid are still the same property relations we have under what we call a democracy. All these factors have one thing in common; a living experience for the Black majority that is demeaning and humiliating.

3. The impact of urban property relations on higher education and student accommodation.

Increased access to higher education in South Africa post-1994 has created an infrastructure crisis in the former white minority institutions. In particular, there has been an evident demand for student accommodation across all institutions of higher learning in the land. With on-campus housing accommodation being limited, there has been a massive growth of the off-campus student accommodation component in universities. The Department of Higher Education and Training revels that the overwhelming majority of students enrolled in South African universities reside in off-campus residences which are spread across the cities of this country.

The historical property relations of the cities impact the structure of each institution’s higher education system. Property relations of the city determine where a particular student will stay in the city and the quality of life that student will have in their university career. Property relations of the city determine the fees structure of the university, they impact its budgetary framework, its key priorities, and the overall political economy of the institution. Universities are built in the urban centre of the city where land is rated as being highly expensive by market forces. Universities as physical buildings and the education they offer is a service that takes places in close proximity to the market economy of the city. Universities are also employers of the labour power that is settled in the city.

It is evident, therefore, that fees charged by student residences that are privately owned and closer to the university will be more expensive than any other type of accommodation located somewhere else in the city. In the case of Port Elizabeth, the Summerstrand area offers exorbitant fees that students must pay to be in close proximity to the Nelson Mandela University campuses that are based in the mentioned suburb. Students from privileged families are able to afford fees charged in the Summerstrand area, they get to be closer to the university campus and spend less time traveling across the university to arrive for their classes and social activities. These students get to be academically and socially integrated into the university easier and they have a fulfilling living and learning experience as students. They can walk to the university campus and they have access to its resources. In addition, they have access to a quality service that the local government has to offer such as good infrastructure, security and close proximity to food outlets and entertainment areas.

On the other hand, government bursaries and scholarships cannot afford to pay fees in private properties that are at a close proximity to the university where the value of land and rent is costly. Instead, government funding would rather pay low monthly rates of rent for student accommodation that is further from the university in an area that has a cheap value of land and rent in order to cushion a larger quantity of students. In the case of Port Elizabeth, over 500 poor Black students funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme stay in a single and large property that was formerly used as factory that is in Korsten township. This property is approximately 20km from the Summerstrand campuses of Nelson Mandela University and students spend over 30 minutes on transport twice a day travelling to and from the university using the ascribed bus shuttle daily that is procured from a private company which offers the service at a profit.

This student accommodation conundrum also envelopes the government apparatus and its key priorities. A municipality at a local government level relies on generating municipal rates from student residences for its financial sustainability from the portion of the rent charged by landlords. This rent is expected to be financed by student bursaries and loans controlled by the national government. As a result, due to the high rentals charged in the municipal jurisdiction, the national government is compelled to maximize the stretch of its resources to as many students as possible who are in need by providing financial aid to those students who will be staying in cheap areas of the city that are far from the university, such as North End. This practice comes at the detriment of the quality of living and learning for the students cornered, particularly the poor, whom are a government priority in terms of graduation throughput and a university priority as far as student retention is concerned.

With off-campus residences stationed at a distance from the university campus and being characterized by limited safety and security measures, such shortfalls invite the university and government to attempt availing their limited resources to cushion the social capital of students in the form of transport, meals, and bursaries to name a few. Initially, universities are not conceptualized as housing entities but rather they are mainly concerned with the learning project. Therefore, the provision of student housing tends to be a neglected issue that seems to catch South African universities and government unprepared.

This paper has established that the land question does affect the system of higher education. It remains uncertain as to whether or not the #FeesMustFall campaign did conceptualize that property relations of a city resemble the fees structure of a university, they shape the overall political economy of higher education and they affect the living and learning experiences of students. Universities cannot be moved from the urban centre where land is deemed expensive by market forces but rather what can be done by the state is to have an equitable intervention on property values that are in university suburbs to have them re-zoned for public purpose. Higher education is a social justice instrument for the health of our democratic project and available mechanisms for the state to transform urban land property relations for the benefit of the poor and the students for the greater good of the country must be utilized, even if it would mean such urban land must be expropriated.

This paper was presented at the Urban Land Roundtable Dialogue Series 2018 hosted by the South African Cities Network on 27 March 2018 in Port Elizabeth

Readings:

Bond, P. 2004. From racial to class apartheid: South Africa’s frustrating decade of freedom. Monthly Review. 55(10).

Department of Higher Education and Training. 2011. Report on the Ministerial Committee for the Review of the Provision of Student Housing in South African Universities. Government South Africa: Pretoria.

Mkhize, N. 2015. The politics of urban land and ownership: Locating spatial transformation in the urban land question. Urban Land Series. 1. 2-9.

Ntsebeza, L. 2013. The more things change, the more they remain the same: rural land tenure and democracy in the former Bantustans, in Hendricks, F., Ntsebeza, L & Helliker, K. (eds), The promise of the land: undoing a century of dispossession in South Africa. Johannesburg: Jacana Media.

Oyewumi, O. 1997. The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

Follow Pedro Mzileni’s writings and opinions at pedromzileni.wordpress.com 

Mr and Miss Freshette 2018

Port Elizabeth- The Nelson Mandela University (NMU) hosted its annual Mr and Miss Freshette beauty pageant. The audience came out in numbers to see celebrities and celebrate with the new first year ambassadors. 

It was all glitz and glam at the Indoor Sports Center at NMU South Campus last week, where the university held its first year pageant. Hundreds of scholars, parents and supporters filled up the center, looking lavish in their themed outfits of ‘Wakanda’. The show was hosted by the beautiful and talented actress Phindile Gwala, known to most as Nonny from Muvhango.

The dance group ‘Baseline’ opened the show with a very emotional performance, that gradually moved on to being very lively and energetic. When Justin, the leader of the group spoke to Madibaz Radio, he explained how nerve wrecking it was waiting backstage, but all of those nerves disappeared when they stepped out onto the stage. “The crowd always exceeds our expectations and this time they were screaming throughout the entire performance, which really boosted our confidence. We really look forward to performing at NMU again, just to hear the crowd scream that loudly”.

We then spoke to Tahle Mbambaza, Miss Freshette 2017, just to ask her how her experience was as the first year ambassador the previous year, her face lit up immediately as soon as she spoke about her year of reign. She described her experience as a very exciting one, filled with a lot of learning curves and meeting very influential people. She stated that NMU opened a lot of doors for her and helped her gain a lot of confidence. Since the year she had won, was her first pageant, she was grateful for being given a chance and the benefit-of-the-doubt that she was worthy of such a title. The advice she gave Miss Freshette 2018 was: “Don’t lose track of yourself, and do not follow the wave; but create your own.”

The Master of Ceremonies, Phindile was also very excited to be at NMU and explained that it was her first time. She was very humbled by the crowd’s response and, in her own words, “felt like she was in Hollywood”. She fed off the crowd’s energy and thus became extremely energetic herself. As for her and her career, she told Madibaz Radio that she will stop acting on screen and pursue her dream of being in theater. She also told us that her and her husband are in the process of opening a production company, which is where most of her energy will be put in. Phindile would gladly come back to NMU if given the chance.

The contestants looked absolutely breadth-taking and walked with pride and confidence. It was really difficult trying to guess who would take the title because they all had equal strengths. There was no obvious choice, because each contestant could’ve taken it.

Things were done a bit differently this time round because there was no top ten, instead a top thirteen, with six girls and seven guys.

The crowd went absolutely crazy when personal favorite Jason Jacobs would walk on the ramp. He had the biggest following, which was no surprise when he won Mr Personality and Mr Viewers Choice.

The winners of the ultimate prize were Sino Kwanini and Baphi Mabenge. When we interviewed them both, they shared she same amount of shock and gratitude. Since these titles are very big and come with a lot of responsibilities, they are both ready to represent the first years with pride. They mentioned how exciting the entire experience was and also how much they learnt from it. They swore that they would embrace the values of the university in their everyday lives and would gladly take any challenges thrown at them without any hesitation.

The after party was the event that most people were looking forward to, with an incredible line-up dominated by South Africa’s best national acts. There were the likes of Mobi Dixon, Busiswa, Frank Casino and Dj Milkshake. Mobi Dixon mentioned that he looked forward to being at NMU and being in front of the crowd. He also explained that he still gets nervous every time and that night was no different. All he had to do was feed off the energy from the crowd and he did just that!

The lists of all the winners is as follows:

Girls Top 6:

1- Asemahle Swana

5- Sino Kwanini

7- Ntokozo Mzimkhulu

8- Luciana Baatjies

9- Sinethemba Majokazi

10- Asiphumeze Nkula

Guys Top 7:

2 – Kwanele Bhudana

3- Liselani Ndiza

4- Yoneza Luphondwana

5- Khanya Sokutu

8- Jason Jacobs

9- Lwazi Gilman

12- Baphi Mabenge

Miss Personality- Jerolyn Pieterson

Mr Personality – Jason Jacobs

Miss Viewers Choice- Asemahle Swana

Mr Viewers Choice – Jason Jacobs

2nd Prince – Yoneza Luphondwana

2nd Princess – Luciana Baatjies

1st Prince – Liselani Ndiza

1st Princess – Asemahle Swana

Mr Freshette 2018 – Baphi Mabenge

Miss Freshette 2018- Sino Kwanini

By: Zenani Mhlongo

International Women’s Peace Group Voice out in Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth – IWPG let out their cry about the coercive conversion programs taking place in the Republic of Korea that kidnapped a young woman in July 2016 for not subscribing to Christianity and she was later killed.

On the late afternoon IWPG gathered at the square just in front of the Kwantu Towers, Port Elizabeth in memory of Ji-in Ku (South Korean girl) a victim of coercive conversion programs. These programs include pastors that lock-up people who do not want to change their religion. They locked up Ji-in Ku with the help of her family. She reported these acts to the President of the country pleading to the president to put an end to these programs as they abuse the country’s right of Freedom of Religion. Sadly she passed away.

The IWPG together with the Port Elizabeth citizens wore mostly black, decorated the tables with flowers and wrote heart warming messages for Ji-in Ku to honour her death.

The IWPG hosted this to share Ji-in Ku’s story, intensify the fight against the coercive conversion programs and to encourage the practise of the Freedom of Religion and also restore peace in all countries. “We work in small communities first and it’s already making a riple effect to other communities and creating a positive mindset in communities” said Caron Strydom the representative of the IWPG. The IWPG will still continue with their initiative.

 Alulutho Qundani

 

ANC URGES WARD 1 RESIDENTS TO GO AND VOTE FOR NGABA

Port Elizabeth – The African National Congress has urged all  ward 1 residents to please vote for Siviwe Ngaba (24), who is campaigning  to be councilor of the ward. ANC held its press briefing on Tuesday at Florence Mathomela.

The ANC started by welcoming former DA ward 1 councilor Stanford Slambart, stating that they are happy to have him on board as he will also be helping and mentoring Ngaba on the journey that is upon him.

“I am happy to be in politics again and I will be able to help because for the past 3 years I took a break from politics people have been reaching out to me for help” said Slambart when asked about how he feels about joining the ANC.

Slambart left the DA  three years after his membership was terminated by Mayor Athol Trollip when he forwarded an email that had racist comments about the former president Jacob Zuma.

“my membership was terminated in the party because I forwarded an email that was sent to me by my former colleague without being aware that there were racist comments at the end of the email, so I was never given a chance to explain myself, Trollip used me as a political pawn and saw it fit to gain support by firing me” said Mr Slambart.

The ANC promised that Slambart is one of the people who will be working closing with Siviwe Ngaba. Ngaba  also expressed how happy he is to be working with someone who has 7 years of experience in politics, helping people especially in the ward that he will be focusing on as well.

“one of the things that I will be focusing on is the issue of service delivery and working with old people trying to understand what things they need from their leaders”

Ngaba has been politically involved in student related matters. He was one of the comrades who fought for free education in 2016, he helped students in getting NSFAS and food vouchers from school.

“I have been politically involved in student related matters, I helped so many students and I have seen how the ANC works and I have been trained so well so I am ready for this challenge”

ANC welcomed more than 50 members yesterday, from COPE and UDM, one of them being Sibongile Maxwell Matala (UDM) and Thembelani Kondile (COPE)

ANC says it hopes that people will go and vote for Siviwe today and that people will join the non-racist, non-sexist party and see how the current government of the Metro is failing its people.  

Nosipho Kewuti 

 

Madibaz Misery

Port Elizabeth – It was more misery and heartbreak for the FNB Madibaz last night at the Madibaz stadium, as they were succumbed to a 37-5 thrashing at the hands of FNB NWU Pukke, much to the despair of the home crowd.

The much needed victory for the visitors saw them move into the top four of the log for a possible semi-final spot, while the Madibaz remain rooted second from the bottom.

The visitors opened the scoring in the seventh minute as right-wing Dean Gordon latched on to a pass off the back of a maul to complete the set piece with a try. Up stepped fly-half DP de Lange who added the extra two points.

Madibaz were granted a penalty opportunity from 20 metres out, however fly-half Simon Bolze failed to convert the three points. Straight after the first strategy break the Madibaz piled the pressure on Pukke and were rewarded through a try by centre Siphumelele Msutwana who scored in a similar fashion to the opposition. Bolze squandered the two point conversion as leaving the score at 5-7. The home team were then put under a lot of pressure and it would prove to be their undoing after knocking on the ball in their own 22 after forcing a turnover.

This resulted in a Pukke scrum, the pressure mounted and after 9 phases centre AK Nela made it 12-5 for the visitors. Up stepped De Lange who converted the score to 14-5 going into the half. The resumption of the second-half began with the Madibaz immediately on the back foot with Pukke scrum-half Chriswell September opening the scoring with a seven point try as De Lange made it three conversions from three.

The Madibaz then chose to use their Power Play option removing centres Nela and Evardi Boshoff, however they failed to captilise on their two man advantage. They were made to pay for it a minute after the power play, this time through captain Tiaan Bezuidenhout. The Madibaz were then succumbed to a powerplay in the 66th minute which saw Captain Riaan Esterhuizen and substitute fly-half Henrique Olivier taking a two minute break.  Although Pukke failed to score in their powerplay, they did add one last seven point try ten, minutes later to conclude the match with an emphatic 37-5 victory.

Other results:   FNB Wits 30-30 Matie; FNB Ikeys 23-13 FNB Tuks; FNB Shimlas 12-49 FNB UJ

Tebuho Zongwana