National Arts Festival


With the disappointing cancellation of the MBay Mega Fest, there is one event that will not disappoint and it has been held for many years.  Thousands of people look forward to this event. It is the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, of course.

The National Arts Festival is held every year at the end of June through to the beginning of July.  It runs for 11 days from 28 June until 8 July. The festival has been held every year since the opening of the 1820 National Settlers Monument in 1974.  As no censorship or artistic restraint has ever been imposed on works presented during the Festival served as an important forum for political and protest theatre during the height of the apartheid era.

People can expect drama, dancing, visual art, music and street performances to name a few.  There is always something new to look forward to but people can also expect to see some familiar acts and performances.  The festival is not just enjoyed by the lovers of art and theatre but everyone can enjoy all the festivities.  There are activities for children and adults alike.  There are many stalls with people showcasing their artistic abilities and there are some that are selling things cheap.

It does not quieten down in the evening either.  The streets of Grahamstown are as lively as it would be during the day.  There are late theatre productions which offer spectacular shows and night clubs which are enjoyed by those who enjoy being social and meeting a variety of new people.

The National Arts Festival is something that should be put on your bucket list; it is something you have to do at least once in your life before you die.

It is great to go with family and friends because you leave with some of the most amazing memories.  To avoid disappointment, book yourself a place to stay now and also some tickets to go see the wonderful shows.

Music to NMMU’s ears


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University staff and students are invited to join the Department of Music on Wednesdays as they present various music occasions to suit everyone’s tastes.

The NMMU Department of Music’s Secretary Nicky Bosman said, “The events are an opportunity for the university and the department to showcase the talent it has on offer.”

The concerts and music events take place following the scheduled lunch hour.  The show starts 13h00 in the South Campus Auditorium.  Nicky Bosman said the reason for scheduling events after the lunch hour as this is a performance lecture period and compulsory for all music students to attend.

The studio concerts scheduled for May allowed students to get used to performing in front of an audience.  It gives them the platform to perform, to promote the talent on offer and is preparation for students prior to their exams.

Music students performing during their Wednesday concert. Photographer: LYNNE GADD-CLAXTON

The concerts are not secluded to students of the music department but it also gives schools and music groups the opportunity to perform for the institution.

The Stuart Reece Band recently performed prior to the launch of the band’s first album “Chasing Shadows”.  Another favourite was Alexander Road High School Brass Band which performed theme songs from films like Pirates of the Caribbean.

Ms. Bosman said all are welcome to come and enjoy the music on offer during the Wednesday concerts.  The atmosphere for the concerts is relaxed with students and staff coming and going if they need to be elsewhere and even some staff can be seen walking with their coffee mugs into the auditorium.  It is relaxing to sip coffee while letting music relax the mind during midweek.

The audience are encouraged to clap and even sometimes sing along.

It may seem that this is a newcomer to the NMMU community but Nicky Bosman informed nmmyou reporter that the music concerts have been taking place for the last two years.  “It seems like someone at marketing has heard what we are doing and is now marketing our event,” she said laughing. “It is good and we are hoping more students and staff will attend our events.”

Entrance to the events held on Wednesdays is free.  For certain events held in the evenings and various locations in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan area can be expected to have a covering charge.

The June line-up is as follows:

  • 6 June – Avigail and Ammiel Bushakevitz on piano and violin, South Campus Auditorium, 19h30.
  • 13 June – Melanie Scholtz, South Campus Auditorium, 19h30.
  • 21 June – NMMU Choir concert, NG Church, Summerstrand, 19h00.

Students are welcome to take a break from their studies and ease exam stress by attending the June line-up.

For more information contact Nicky Bosman on 041-504-4235 or Luzanne Beer on 041-504-4235 or email

We Have Overcome!


Upon visiting South Africa the Watoto Children’s Choir performed at Cornerstone Assembly of God in Port Elizabeth. Port Elizabeth was their second stop since they came to South Africa, stopping first in Cape Town, where they recorded their live DVD for this year’s tour.

Watoto Children’s Choir performing in Port Elizabeth. Photographer: ANNELISA SITSHEFUTA

The choir immediately impressed audiences with their vibrancy and outstanding musical talent. Children blessed with such beautiful voices, you can never imagine the stories they share about their lives. The Watoto Children’s Choir sing their hearts out as they worship and praise God for what He has done in their lives.

In 1984, in the midst of Uganda’s bloody civil war, many children became orphans as their parents were killed in the war, while some were orphaned because their parents died of HIV/Aids.

Gary and Marlyn Skinner, a couple in the ministry, were called on to help many of the orphaned and starving children abandoned and left to feed and protect themselves. Realizing the enormity of the task Gary and his wife, with the help of others, came up with a unique approach. The only way to make a meaningful difference was to impact the lives of these children, one child at a time.

In 1993 in Uganda, Gary and Marlyn rented a house, in the village of Gulu, where they took care of 16 kids at first. They believe that starting small is what has made it possible to take care of so many children today.

“Inspired by the singing of one small boy, we formed the first Watoto Children’s Choir to show the world that Africa’s most vulnerable children have, beauty, dignity and unlimited ability,” said Gary.

As they come from the neediest families, the Watoto Children’s Choir is committed to helping  choir children physically, spiritually, emotionally and academically, giving each child an opportunity to reach their God-given potential.

Selection into the Watoto Children’s Choir means a long term commitment and investment as the children are supported right through their secondary and post-secondary education. Scholarships, school visits, camps and counselling are just some of the examples of support given. The African chaperones currently travelling with the choir are only a few of the many graduates who were once part of the Watoto Children’s Choir.

These children’s hope has been renewed by the Watoto Program, when you see them they are no longer victims to HIV/Aids, poverty, prostitution, being child soldiers. All they want in life is to be the best that they can be. They want to do more with their lives. Watoto has nearly rebuilt the lives of these children. These children have been rescued from despair to a life with hope and a future.

Habitual Procrastination: how to manage it


Okay, so as your lecturer has assigned you a 2000 word essay, due in three weeks. It is no big deal. You have all the time in the world. Two whole weekends and you have made it this far in varsity.  It cannot hurt. The thing is, once the weekend rolls around, you have much better things to do than work on some assignment. You put off something that should be a high priority task for something that is lower in priority but brings you much more enjoyment.

Procrastination is something that can hurt in the long term because the human body is designed to cope with stress in short bursts and students end up doing all sorts of unhealthy things to meet deadlines like staying up all night. If the reader can ignore the hypocrisy of the author here are some tips that may help you.

Do not go on the internet. As fun as it is you will waste your time. Create a ‘to do’ list along with an appointment list and have them somewhere that is a constant reminder of what you must do. Split assignments into sections and do a little each day. If it helps, do not go home straight after lectures. Home is where you relax and this, if you are a procrastinator is bad because there are all sorts of distractions there.

Set yourself up in the library or labs. To keep your motivation up, set up reward systems such as watching a video on Youtube, playing games on Facebook or simply getting yourself some chocolate. Whatever works for you. Giving yourself something that makes you feel good for doing work will help you get the work done.

Having gone through all of the scheduling and planning, begin by setting a start date with and keeping it.

Work with a partner if needed. This is, of course, provided that you get the work done. This way you will be finished before the deadline and able to completely relax with perhaps some extra time to do whatever you want.

To the best of your abilities, try not to get distracted in any way. This kind of planning will serve you well later on in life.

Now, if you will excuse, me I am off to finish an assignment that I should have done over the weekend.

Ballroom Dancing opportunity to mingle


Dancing is a very popular activity and like all popular activities, is subject to trends. These trends take the shape of the various different styles of dance, ranging from break dancing to ballet. One of the styles is ballroom dancing, whose beginnings can be traced to the 16th century.

Although ballroom is a style of dancing on its own, there are different types of dances within in it, for example the waltz. This dance is among the most popular and easiest to learn. Ballroom dancing is most likely the style of dance to be seen in films such as, Dirty Dancing or the Disney classics.

It is a fun and relaxing way to meet new people according to Kirsty Hoggons, the public relations officer for the Ballroom and Latin American Dancing Society whose groups’ lessons take place at the campus Boma. It is growing every year and according to Kirsty the Ballroom Dancing and Latin American Dancing Society has about sixty members this year.

So far the society has hosted an informal social event to allow all members the opportunity to get to know each other. The last event on the agenda was a “booze cruise” that took place 26 May. This event was open to everybody.

There is also the intervarsity ballroom dancing competition, taking place at the University of Pretoria in August, which Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is planning to take a team of about 24 dancers to compete.

The date of the event has yet to be established but is expected to occur on the weekend of 9 August. The competition is set to be a daylong event but due to travelling time there and back, participants will get to spend a few days in Pretoria.

The competition has three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced for each dance type as well as open sections where all levels dance against one another.

There are also ballroom exams that one can take if one sees this as more than just a recreational activity. Kirsty says that ballroom is an excellent way to form long lasting friendships even though one might only see the other members once or twice a week.

Lessons take place on a Tuesday from 18:00 to 19:00 and from 19:00 to 20:00 at the campus Boma. The earlier slot is for beginners. The price is R450 for the year.  On Thursday evenings the society holds practise for the intervarsity competition.  The society also has a facebook page, NMMUBLAD.

New BA honours degrees

Honours students and Programme coordinators of the new Bachelor of Arts Honours programme share their thoughts and opinions on the importance of completing a BA Honours at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

The NMMU BA Honours Programme, which was introduced in the 2012 academic year, fits those who have degrees in corporate communication, journalism such as BA Media, Communication Culture. Dr.Janina Wozniak is a member of faculty that drove the implementations of the honours programme. According to Wozniak the programme reached its popularity through NMMU marketing and word of mouth by undergraduate students about the post-graduate studies. She claims the programme is certain to expand applicants’ abilities and knowledge to further academic research.

Wozniak stated, “The Bachelor of Arts Honours degrees are full-time programmes that stretch over a period of one year.” She considers it “a shorter and more manageable alternative to the master’s programme that stretches over a period of two years.”

Current students interviewed about the program consider it as quite challenging as applicants are expected to pass with an average of 60% in their undergraduate studies(NQF level 7) in order to qualify. They advise students none the less to consider completing the programme as it can only be beneficial to them.

Melissa Sydie, one of the 44 honours participants at NMMU reveals why she chose to partake in the honours programme after she completed her BA MCC degree. According to her, furthering her studies will assist in placing her in a more qualified position when searching for a job. She also claimed that jobs are not guaranteed in the corporate world. Therefore, “I hope to increase my skills as an academic in my field,” she said.

With regards to the structuring of the BA Honours, Sydie considers it as a “well developed programme that is already extremely popular.” She said,“Such a programme can only benefit students wishing to continue with their studies.”She advises students to take the first step in participating in the programme at NMMU.

Andre Howarth is also completing his honours in travel writing. Travel writing is his passion, he said, “The qualification holds me in good stead with overseas and global publications like Lonely Planet.”

According to Howarth, honours degrees help widen your arsenal by honing your skills to make you more adept at certain fields and bolstering a ray of capabilities with the helpful things not taught during undergraduate studies. He advices students however to only do this programme if they are up for it. He also assures students that post graduates always have the upper hand in job interviews.

One of the primary reasons Howarth chose to complete his honours at NMMU is because “the institution caters more for the independent student who juggles career and academics,” he said.

Not only do journalism students feel the need for a higher level of tertiary education.

First year BA MCC student,Lakin Smith said that although she is only at the beginning of her course, she will definitely do her honours. Smith said that in doing the programme she will be boosting her self-confidence. She also feels that by doing her honours, she will not doubt her capabilities of being a professional reporter.

Students feel the honours degree is a good way for participants to develop independence and broaden their knowledge. As they claim all material compiled in the process of the programme is one’s own work. They consider the programme as an opportunity, for students participating, to develop and expand their uniqueness.

The BA Honours degree is definitely a consideration that will be a good choice for a better and brighter future.

“We can’t write, it’s too dark!”


Off campus students at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University do not only have to worry about passing a test to the best of their ability, but rather how they are going to arrive safely at their destinations without being exposed to any dangers on their way.

As class venues at NMMU are mostly used for lectures during the day, students are left with limited choice but to stay after lecture hours in order to complete class tests. In this instance, psychology tests are written at night, around 5pm till 7pm, but students are not at all happy with the scheduled times. As the module is compulsory for students studying education, social work and psychology, students are left with limited choice but to write the test to prevent them from failing the module.

According to students interviewed, although this gives them enough time to study, as they normally do not have many lectures during the day, they still have to travel fromUitenhage or areas in Port Elizabeth and risk the chance of getting robbed or possibly assaulted.

Psychology lecturer, Lisa Currin says, “The reason why tests are written at night is for practical reasons. One example of this is to cater for part time students who will be unable to take time off work during the day to write a test.”

Although there have been many complaints from students living in Uitenhage, there has been an outcry from three students in particular. Gillian Mawona, first year social work student who lives in Uitenhagesays, “I enjoy my first year very much but I just wish they could make an exception for off campus students as transport is the only object that stands in our way.”

Mawonaclaims she cannot perform well in her exams as her only concerns are the safety of her and her child when she finishes with exams around seven and has to take a taxi home.

She stays in one of the most dangerous areas in Uitenhage, which leaves her to take a taxi from South Campus to town, take the last Uitenhage taxi home with the hopes of getting a taxi in Uitenhage to take her straight to her street. She says in most instances however, she has to take a cab which costs her double.

ElaneWalljee, second year BA Generalstudent, also has to travel from Summerstrand to Cleary Park daily as she cannot afford accommodation on campus or closer. She raises questions as to whether there cannot be transport provided for out of town students to ensure their convenience and stress relief.

Walljee said, “I hate leaving school in the dark as campus is not all that safe either because students are also turning into criminals these days.”  She also claimed after her friends laptop got stolen from the residence, students cannot always be trusted.

Walljee would prefer writing the test during the day or on a weekend as she considers it as beneficial to all students as danger will be reduced.

According to Currin it is impossible to arrange a time during the day that would suit everyone. A third reason is that venues are booked for lectures during the day and it is very difficult to find a venue available during the day that is big enough to accommodate the number of students in a module.

The dangers of public transport and safety are not the only reasons students are unhappy with the choice of test times, they feel their marks are going under as they are not fully focused during the test.

Stefani Matthews, thirdyear psychology student, travels from Summerstrand to Missionvale after every late night test and fears not only for her life and safety, but also for her academic progression.

“Because I live so far and I depend on public transport, I tend to stress about a lift home while writing a test and that makes me forget the test answers and I fail to read the questions thoroughly as I am constantly rushing to make it for the last taxi,” she said.

All these students ask for is that the test schedule be changed to an earlier time, during the afternoon. They say if the request cannot be granted, they are willing to write on a weekend just to prevent further endangerment.

Currin suggested students who are unhappy speak to the psychology lecturers concerned regarding the possibility of changing times to an earlier slot.

“Another important point is that writing tests at night is not exclusive to NMMU. You will find that most, if not all, universities schedule tests for evenings, including Friday nights and weekends,”Currin said.

This is a situation that requires urgent assistance from those with higher authorities.

NMMU Open day


The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University held its annual open day during the weekend of 11 and 12 May 2012. This was a great opportunity for all learners, teachers and parents to have a taste of student life and research possible study options.

The Department of Media Communication and Culture was among the many NMMU departments that showcased a stall at the event. The department had four lovely stalls which served different functions; a stage production, debate show, news production and news information stall.

The first stall was divided into a poetry and theater section. What was especially unique about the poetry section was that each artist performed in a language offered at NMMU South Campus, namely French, isiXhosa and Afrikaans.

The event was organized by three students majoring in Public Relations, Sindiswa Mpontsi, Sandiswa Ndava and Kedibone Adams with help from the MCC department.

“I’m hoping that the event will be better than we planned because the department gave us all the material we wanted and pamphlets to distribute to the students. We hope that all the learners will be interested on our presentations,” said Kedibone Adams

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is a diverse university. It aims to increase knowledge and awareness of the diverse national and international cultures among students and staff at NMMU. The university hopes to promote intercultural understanding tolerance and mutual respect.

“It is important for the students who want to join the Language and Media and Culture department to focus on the diverse cultures of South Africa,” said Sindiswa Mpontsi

Grade 12 learner Nonkuthalo, 20, from Masiphathisane High School was looking forward to the 2012 NMMU Open Day. She said this event helped her to discover what she will do when she gets to university. “I am not sure which course to take next but I’m hoping this open day will help me choose,” Nonkuthalo said while visiting the various Open Day stalls in the university’s indoor sports centre.

Another student from Masiphathisane, Asanda Qila, said that besides choosing a career, she wants to discover herself more during the Open Day event.  Qila said, “For now I’m not sure what I want or what I’m good at so I’m hoping I will found myself and be sure of what I want to do.”

Give blood, save a life at NMMU


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s South Campus was once again part of a potentially life changing initiative involving both students and staff who volunteered to donate blood.

Third year architecture student, Sivuyile Kana was among many students who took part in this initiative. This was his 16th time donating blood. He started donating in 2005 and has continued to do so since he enjoys giving back to society.

“Donating blood is like a hobby to me because I do it every two months. By donating I could save a precious life. An accident could happen to someone at anytime,” said Kana. “I always strive to take responsibility in caring for a broader community.”

Blood specialist, Heavystone Mdletye said it is good to see students donating blood not once but every month. “People are welcome to come donate as many times as they would like,” Mdletye said.

“We are so happy with the results of the blood donations from the students,” said Mdletye.

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is a blood donation organisation which collects blood for cases where a transfusion is necessary.  The organisation operates throughout the country and they would like it if more people donated blood.

According to the SANBS, only one percent of South Africa’s estimated 48 million people donate blood and the culture of blood donation in some population groups is almost non-existent.

As proud as Kana is, many other students do not see donating as easy. Some South Campus students said that donating blood is quite difficult for them. They are afraid of discovering diseases within their blood or their HIV status.

Journalism student, Nomaxabiso Pinda said donating blood is not a bad thing and that it is valuable but for her it is a bit too much.

“I’m not saying donating blood is a corrupt thing at all. No, it is just that I don’t want anything with it. Maybe later in life I will do it too but for now I’m little bit nervous and scared. The process is too scary for me,” said Pinda.

Mdletye encouraged people to donate blood at their offices any day of the week.

If you want more information about the organization, call the Port Elizabeth Blood Donation Centre on 041-391-8200.  The Port Elizabeth Blood Donation Centre is situated next to the Provincial Hospital in Westbourne Road.

There are blood donor centres at Cleary Park Complex and Walker Drive.  The centers are open every day from 09h00-16h00.

Bay to host Craven Week


Eastern Province Rugby has proudly announced that the 2012 Coca-Cola Craven week under 18 schools tournament is going to be hosted at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. The tournament is celebrating 12 years of existence.

Coca-Cola spokesperson said that they are proud to be supporting the young stars of tomorrow. Coca-Cola has sponsored Craven Week for its existence and rugby as a whole for 27 years.

Lwandile Dabalele, an Ithembelihle Comprehensive High School learner who will be taking part in this tournament says it is the seventh year he is participating in the tournament. “I started playing in craven week in 2006, I was playing for under 13,” he said Lwandile.

The event will take place from the 8-14 July 2012.  Nelson Mandela Bay rugby fans can enjoy the honour of hosting the Craven Week. The tournament is primarily the promotion of young, talented individuals. The tournament is also used as a recruiting ground for professional teams.

Dabalele added that he hopes to be selected as a player for a professional team. Dabalele also described township teams as having lots of talent but no way to develop it.

After the World Cup there were concerns about what was going to happen to the stadium. Tournaments like this appear to be the answer. From 8 July schools are going to meet at the stadium and will create a legacy for boys across South Africa.



Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has a couple of innovations to save energy. The Bay now has invested R60-million in a new project called the Bay Light Innovation.  In 2011 Nelson Mandela Bay townships received solar geysers.

Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is implementing anything that will be environmentally friendly.   Last year Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University tried   to discuss   other ways of generating electricity like thermal energy, solar and wind energy.  Nelson Mandela Bay has already initiated the project of generating energy from the wind.

The campaigns fighting global warming become more visible and vibrant, even governmental departments partake in initiatives. The Light Innovation is primarily operated in Greenbushes.  Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile has announced that this initiative ought to develop the lives of people. It is another way of eliminating unemployment. The municipality is trying to justify and make people live much easier

According to the company leading this revolution the operational expenditure is valued at R77, 4 million. This project is set to create 80 to 100 new jobs in the Bay area.  Speculation is that this has resulted from discussions with the municipality and Lighting Inventions which began June 2011.

Mayor Wayile believes that this project is another step of growing the local economy, facilitating skills development and job creation. Luzuko Mamle, a Greenbushes’ resident said that they are quite excited about this project because some people in the community will win bread for their families even though the jobs are not permanent.