Unorthodox is a blog established by a team of Rhodes Journalism students who wish to consciously explore the broader themes of student life. Our blog focuses on three main concepts — politics, identity, and education — and covers everything from subtle acts of prejudice to overt displays of police brutality on campus. Unorthodox aims to spark conversation among our peers, that lives up to the slogan, ‘the personal is political’. We wanted to further explore these issues in light of recent events dealing with the extensively media covered protests and cases of sexual assault around the country.
Unorthodox aims to create a space that displays and delivers the diversity of our community. We hope to do this through journalism that focuses on the truth of stories and inspires the uniqueness in all of us.
It was the beginning of the year. Schools were opening. We were moving into the seventh year of democracy, 2001. I was six years old, excited, energetic and worried at the same time. This was a new journey. I had never been to school before, nor had I engaged with such a big crowd. I feared the responsibility of making new friends and getting to know them and their life experiences. The name of the school was Nazaar. It was in Seven Fountains, close to Grahamstown.
Gift Baloyi just woke up. The bedside table lamp is on in her residence room, casting dim light over stacks of notebooks, snacks, clothes and paper. The walls are decorated with motivational quotes and handwritten notes to herself. The logo for leading law firm Adams & Adams Attorneys has pride of place on one wall, printed in black and white. Baloyi’s laptop lies open on her belly, where it was when she fell asleep trying to start tomorrow’s Psychology assignment. She managed to type three lines. Despite fatigue, Baloyi is animated. She really loves to talk about law.
“I think it is time,” she gleamed as she built up confidence to emphasise what she was about to say. “I think it is time we made afros fashionable again,” with passion in her eyes and a stern voice, Fezeka Nomlomo stands by the notion of being radically free with natural hair.
I am a self- proclaimed keyboard activist. I like and share with a ferocity that is often counter-productive. Yes, I am that Facebook friend. I have attended a handful of protests yet have signed hundreds of petitions. I am an online supporter for the most part. However, this article has found its way to formation through both necessity (I want to pass my journalism course) and a niggling feeling that I should probably use this voice I’ve been given to try to do something good.
Developing a New You
by Siphosethu Matiwana
Personal identity is a concept regarding our personal development over the course of our lives. This may include aspects of your life that you have no control over, such as where you grew up, the kind of people you grew up with, society and family. Identity is controlled by culture, meaning that there is no identity without culture and vice versa. Throughout my research I interviewed number of students in response of identity growth in Rhodes University.
Identity may sound like an easy term to define. In fact, everyone has their own definition of the word. We are someone different to different people- annoying to some, quite to some and unknown to a lot, but who are we to ourselves?
It was our second year in Drama and, unlike everyone else, ‘Siyabuwela’, ‘Limp’, ‘Sinokolo’ and I, ‘Eshishle’, were very sure of what we wanted to share with the world. “This year you have to choose a theme that resonates with you,” he said. All four of us looked up at the same time with smug faces. “Something that speaks to your soul,” he continued. He closed his eyes for a moment and gently pressed a hand onto his chest. “And!” He opened his eyes dramatically, “not something that’s aaairy faaairy.” We looked at each other and I could tell we were thinking of the same thing.
I remember casually scrolling through an endless amount of eye-roll-worthy pictures captioned ‘#couplegoals’ and ‘#ootd’ when my screen lit up with a photo of a close Indian friend from high school in all her fierce glory – crop top and blood red lips included. Her confident aura radiated off a sleek white background and the semi-expected diamond emoji caption made me smirk with familiarity. The only twist? Her literally twisted hair. With the many life-changing events rapidly occurring mainly due to unqualified ‘leaders’ in our troubled society, one would think the topic of hair was the furthest thing from politics.
After the wound is no longer visible or has been forgotten, only the voice of the wounded can tell the story of the wound. The #FeesMustFall protests of 2016 left many wounded and many of the wounded voiceless. These voices are still here, and so are the invisible wounds. Wounds that cannot be seen but also cannot be healed. Who inflicted these wounds? Why inflict them in the first place? The answer to the first question is simple: it’s those chaps they call the Saps. The loyal soldiers of the state’s hate, and also the ones expected to keep us safe. The next question is central to a contradiction facing many South African students across the country. It is painfully complex. Why inflict a wound on people who are in no position to, and have no intention to, inflict a wound on you? More importantly, why are the people our students rely on for safety the very same reason our students feel unsafe?
The brutal, inhumane rape and murder of queer people in South Africa is an issue of concern for many Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender, and Asexual people, among them student Phenyo Mokoena.
I am Siphosihle Hewana. I was born and raised in Grahamstown, South Africa and grew up to be a Christoholic who is probably the loudest, shy person you will ever come across. I am a proud African woman who is passionate about women’s empowerment.
Molweni. Igama lami nguPatrick. I am a first year Journalism student and a part of the Unorthodox team. Things you need to know about me? Well, I love everything to do with words. I am quite sensitive and empathetic, and hope to share these traits of my personality with you. There may be times along this journey where you ask, “who the hell are these guys?” but please forgive my team. After all, we are unorthodox.
That’s all from me for now. Find out more by following the blog. Ndiyanithanda.
I’m a first year student from Pretoria with a love for the written word. I’m studying towards a BA, majoring in English and Psychology. One day, I hope to write and illustrate delightful books for children.
I am Yolokazi Likhona Daza and I am 20 years old. I was born and raised in Mthatha by my single mother. I love playing soccer and I currently play for the Rhodes Women’s first team. I play better than most guys I know. Even though I have never had contact with my father I would love to one day say to him, “Hey, I made it without you dad”. I laugh at most of my problems, especially those I am never able to change. I am judged a lot for the way I dress and I laugh at those judgements too. Likes include making new friends. Dislikes include eating (weird fact: I only eat when hungry).
Journalism student at Rhodes University. Writing for awareness, understanding and engagement. Forever feminist and Social Justice supporter. Major fan of critical writing with a humorous twist. Studying in Grahamstown, South Africa after five years working and travelling abroad.
My name is Nwabisa Nkani, born on 31 March 1997, and born and raised in all a small town called Grahamstown. I am a first year Rhodes University student in Journalism and Media Studies. I matriculated at Nombulelo Senior Secondary School, and then received an opportunity to upgrade my results at Gadra Matric School. It was here where I had my entire future planned out.
My main aim is to acquire more than just a degree, to live life filled with purpose no matter what life may bring. I contribute to this blog to share my life experiences with other individuals who encounter the same problems as me and hoping to create a space where we can freely share our thoughts. Writing this blog inspires me to liberate others in having faith that all things will work out for good.
My name is Kajal Premnath, I’m 18 years old, and was born and raised in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. I recently moved to Johannesburg before coming to Rhodes where I am now working towards a Bachelor of Journalism. My second major is Legal Theory as the possibility of becoming a lawyer, whilst not my plan A, is quite enticing. My hobbies include obsessively reading everything in sight, discovering “new” kinds of music and drinking hot chocolate on the warmest of days.
I am a Rhodes University student, studying journalism. I have an interest in Radio and Television. I believe that journalism and media can be used as a mechanism to further our efforts to achieve social justice. My journalism is highly influenced by intersectional feminism, social activism and political. I love Beyonce, Blue Ivy and the upcoming twins.
I am a pro-black feminist (femininja) who believes in equal rights for all genders and the liberation of the black mind –if you believe the liberation of blackness and women are separate parties, then you and I cannot have a conversation. I enjoy being in environments that bring out creativity and allow people to express themselves. I think it is important that people live in a world without oblivion, and are aware of what happens around them, which is one of the reasons why I write — to inform people. I am vibrant and outgoing with a wholesome soul.
My name is Simphiwe Mbonda. I’m 22 years old. I was born in Port Elizabeth and in 2000 I moved to Seven Fountains, a rural area closed to Grahamstown. I attended Grahamstown schools throughout my primary school years. Luckily, after matric I enrolled to my hometown university — Rhodes. I’m studying towards a BA degree in Sociology and I hope Journalism would be my other major. I like Journalism because it is partly done practically and allows you to use your creativity. I wish to be important in the future, and be able to influence other people’s lives. I enjoy watching television shows because every day I learn new things. Furthermore, I am a proud Xhosa man.
My name is Siphosethu Matiwana. I am a South African black woman originally from Grahamstown. I am 21 years old. I am a fist year Journalism student studying Journalism because I want to be a news editor after I finish my studies. I’m a great writer, which is why you should read my articles.