Latin: /'vɒks pɒpjʉliː/ VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

It's Winter and we're Migrating

Exciting web developments are allowing us to migrate to an independent page of the school website within the month.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"I can't see my eyes" by Alexander Schwalbe

Judas came to me
And he told me to betray
The ones I love
In an unholy game we play

Choices, I had none
I had to rip an entire page
Out of the book of life
Or I'd be kicked off stage

I have lied enough
To myself and you all
It was all my own idea and my fault
To make the golden anvil fall

The black sonnet still echoes
Inside this tyrant's mind
The only altruistic deed I can do
Is suicide

Now the angels caught me,
They know ev'ry lie is true
Better hope I don't escape,
'Cause then I'll come for you

I know I deserve this,
I know I am a sinner
Although I walk on clouds,
The ice becomes thinner

I am beyond time,
This pain lasts an eternity
The angels torment me,
I'll never be free

My mind is distorted;
My heart is full of lies
My hair blows in the wind,
And they cut out my eyes

I jumped up to shout in agony
The dark doesn't affect the blind man,
For the blind man cannot see

A single roar of my powerful voice
Blew out the faint candle light
I killed them with the aid of echoing noise
Now my curse is to hunt in the night

I fly the seven skies
To the four far corners of the earth
Dark and light fuse with day and night
The result: my birth

I am the dawn you seek
I chase the dusk you fear
The blood of the blind makes the piper weep
And it draws the vampires near

The pharoah killed the serpent
And he heeds the calls of my cries
The ranger refuses to repent

An eye for an eye made me blind,
And such will it do to most
But if you're nice you lose no eyes,
But don't dare boast

This was said by Ghandi,
It was his conception
But with only one eye
You lose depth perception

How can I cry if I have no eyes?
Where do the tears come from?
Grim reaper please tell me,
Your eyes too are gone
I am blind but I don't see black,
I see the future now
It's a psychedlic world of war
And it knows only one sound


The brewer brews with poison ivy
In the carnival of slaves
In the unknown spiral of the galaxy
Hidden in the inter-dimensional cosmic caves

I go to the end of the universe
Trying to find synthetic optics
Then I can lift my curse
But which eye will I pick?

I am the dawn you seek
I chase the dusk you fear
The blood of the blind makes the piper weep
And it draws the vampire near

The pharoah killed the serpent
And he heeds the call of my cries
The ferryman refuses to repent

Right and left
Wrong and correct
There was a theft
Myself I suspect

Repent for your sins
Revenge for theirs
The freemasons won't free my sons
And broken hearts, the blacksmith can't repair

Unless it's a heart of gold!

As I have no sight
I travel faster than light
How can I be limited by something I don't perceive?
How can I be stopped if I believe?

But I'm going too fast,
I'm going into space
Heading straight for Jupiter,
I'm gonna lose my face

Mayday! Mayday!...

Am I in heaven, am I in hell
If I had eyes, maybe I could tell
If I'm dead,
Where's my requiem mass
Something clicked in my head
Made of Jupiter's gas!

I am the dawn you seek
I chase the dusk you fear
The blood of the blind makes the piper weep
And it draws vampires near

The pharoah killed the serpent
And he heeds the call of my cries
The ferryman refuses to repent

"About: love, I guess" by James Silvester Davies

Hello dear reader, and if you don't mind here is a question: have you ever heard of a philosopher by the name of Virgil?

If you have, well done! I assume you are one of those clever people who like to pester teachers and annoy classmates by asking questions like you are auditioning for Who wants to be a millionaire? (which you may well do, annoying classmates even more by winning tons of cash for what is essentially a load of trivial piffle). If you have not, join the club. In all honesty, I thought virgil was a sort of verb (virgil: v. constant vigilance of thought and deed. Hmmm :-O) until a couple of weeks ago when I found out that he was the author of the oft quoted phrase "love conquers all". And then I read the thoughts of a man trying to interpret this.

I am of course referring to the little known author Leontyne Bennett in his book The Commonwealth of Lost Vanities. Obviously.

(It's very difficult to write sarcastically. So just use your imagination, think sarcasm sundae with quirk and humour sauce with maybe a dollop of irony).

Anyway, time to cut the cake :-D. Leontyne's book manages to masterfully dissect a phrase that is prized by many aficianados and romanticised by teenage girls (read twilight-enthusiasts) the world over. It's actually quite sinister, Leontyne points out that virgil never said love frees all, or love accommodates all. No it's love conquers all: "conquer-vb 1 To overcome. 2 To defeat. 3 To gain possession or control of by means of force or war. 4 To enslave." (Collins english Dictionary; 2000). Love conquers all, the bad and the good. Love will take you over completeley and enslave your life, is the gist of Leontyne's words and that Virgil's words were not a cute announcement but a warning to evade this feeling at all costs!

Leontyne died alone in 1984 from cirrhosis of the liver, no-one attended his funeral but his housekeeper and his Editor from Tyrolian press, so we can safely assume that he followed his own miserable advice. But it is worth heed. Sometimes love hits us like a bolt from the blue, it's beautiful and we cannot but live with it, it would be a crime not to. But if the rose tint on your glasses is turned up too high one can miss nasty character traits and mistake someone for being perfect; true love is still loving someone once your realise that they are not.

So that's my message; it probably doesn't help your teenage angst at all, but please don't forget to tip when you win a Million dollars.

"There's an Albino in the cupboard and I've misplaced the keys" by Peter Viljoen

Before I begin, no this is not the reiteration of a particularly wild Saturday night filled with hilarious and cliche moments like "Dude, where's my car?" Nor is this going to be some sort of really odd "coming out of the closet" story filled with innuendoes that will leave some sniggering and others blushing. No, this is a pointless descriptive article about a creature prone to the outskirts of the social savannah; living separated and rejected by almost all walks of high school life...the nerd.

What is a nerd, how is he made? Does he slowly morph into his true form, or is a Nerd born, as it were, fully-spectacled? Some say it is purely contextual, the environment of the youth determines the outcome e.g. social evolution where all the big fish grow legs and one decided a retainer was in order.

Others believe that it is genetic. A person who is categorised (for my convenience) a nerd is usually a person lacking fundamental or basic social skills. Can it be that if we were to dissect a specimen we would find a smaller or larger brain, weaker eyes, skewer teeth and in some cases (Thank you Ronald Dahl) a broken heart?

Can it not be that we who are the oppressors are in the wrong? That we are in fact missing out on countless new and anti-social ways to ... um, socialize? Maybe... but let's just think of it like this: why should they be like us and why should we be like them?

We spend our breaks and free time gossiping, spreading lies, slandering and being wicked. But why not? These conversations are the ones that are normally the most fun to listen to and easy to contribute to, and in fact it has become part of our culture. But before you start feeling guilty just ask yourself this: When you sit down in the IT room and find your screen sending you angry messages in Brazilian, or flashing colours the eye was never meant to see, is it a coincidence that my bespectacled friends in the corner are giggling into their retainers?

The truth is that they are who they are and who they are is who they want to be. So leave them alone. My philosophy when it comes to the high school Chain of Being is simple: leave well enough alone. Everyone is exactly where they want to be and if they're not, then they're just not trying hard enough.

I respect the humble nerd, they have a hard time, but they are not alone or few enough in number to feel truly disliked, just different. We don't all have to be pals, so long as we can all just do our own thing, hey, leave them alone - they have World of War Craft and I have a tan.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Artz Week/24/Daze" by John Lategan

To the matrics who were wrongly denied their Arts Celebration; and an appeal to review the Arts programme for 2011.

Months upon months pass of sports matches, derby days, swimming pool fund-raising and calls for better and more sport facilities. But the damp in the bands' rehearsal space, the cramped-ness of the music room and the lack of a devoted theatre-facility is ignored: the Chapel is a chapel and the hall architecturally prevents sound from developing and thus cannot, rather, should not be used for plays and orchestral or band performances; 'twas designed for indoor sports.

So after having to endure all that, the one short week that the school focused on the Arts was always the highlight of my year. It may not necessarily have been everyone's highlight, but absolutely everyone did enjoy Artz Week. It was - besides Founders' Day, which does not really count as a student orientated tradition - the only tradition that the College recognized.

Artz Week was great. All the arts were acknowledged and it fit into the school time table beautifully. There'd be normal lessons, because the academic programme ought not to be interrupted. The Art Exhibition would take place in the hall for the duration of the week. Read and Current Affairs - two non-academic periods - would be used for Interhouse Debating and other presentations. A performer or troupe would entertain us in the last two period of Wednesday and another on Friday. And of course, the most beloved of all activities: the Interhouse Singing and Plays. These would happen in the evenings.

Thus, at most, two hours thirty minutes of actual lesson-time would be missed in that entire week; but those two and a half hours were enjoyed to the utmost by the student body, and it was a worthy tradition to uphold.

Artz 24 was introduced in 2009. It was one single day dedicated to the Arts: one day that failed. That is the truth; and we should not be ashamed to admit that Arts 24 did not succeed as well as it could have.

Because it was only one day, planning a decent programme was difficult. There was no build-up to the Interhouse Singing. The Art exhibition was only attended to for one day. the 'non-interhouse plays' were under-supported: as few people were involved and they had no Interhouse spirit. All the other Arts-week related events were cancelled. Artz 24 was an entire day missed, and not fully enjoyed.

As a result, we celebrated Artz Daze this year. I must admit that Daze was rather enjoyable; and that I was hoping to write about how bad Artz Daze was and that we need Artz Week back. But I cannot. However, the school needs to return to the original principles of Artz Week! Revive the tradition!

The Arts should be celebrated over a few days. The eisteddfod was an awesome idea (thumbs-up Chapman). My only regret is that I couldn't experience more: that is the unfortunate side of having the different sections run simultaneously.

If we celebrate the arts over a longer period of time, we can bring back Interhouse Singing and the Interhouse Plays, the essence of the Arts Celebration. Incorporate these into the eisteddfod and still bring in professional performers -that is a sure way of truly celebrating the arts.

Substantailly less (about four hours less) lesson time was "lost" during Arts Week than during both Artz 24 and Artz Daze. There is no just reason not to Celebrate, Appreciate and Sophisticatedly Elaborate on the Arts!

"Love" by Megan Davison

When there's someone you love,
But you want to leave,
How do you say goodbye?
When you say goodbye what happens to that person?
Will they ever forgive you?
Will you destroy them?
How do you move on?
But if they are the one,
Then why would you leave?

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Initiation": right or rite? by Ryan Venter

A rite of passage is defined as the transition from one social status into another through the performance, celebration and acknowledgment of symbolic actions or rituals.

Implementation and completion of rites of passage play an integral part in the development of an individual's growth as a person, regardless of religion, nationality, race or gender.

There are many rites of passage that are acknowledged and celebrated in society, such as one's bachelor party or bridal shower; coming of age or graduation, however, there are also those rites of passage that may have a significant influence on one's integration into a new status: such as initiation, that are neglected.

Many institutions, due to isolated, negative results and conflicting opinions, choose to ban initiation as a rite of passage from primary to high school.

Unfortunately, the minority of substantiated negative outcomes plague this rites' condemned reputation, such as the tragic story of the 14 year-old, Michael Velem, who drowned during his initiation at Wynberg Boys High School and Paarl schoolboy, Marnus Theron (14),who found himself in hospital due to severe food poisoning. Are these incidents a consequence of initiation or the product of a deplorable monitoring system?

The sporadic occurrences of shark attacks make head-line news; by applying a similar approach one should ban all activities in waters where sharks may swim. Yet no such ban exists. Clearly risk in itself cannot be the sole justification for a ban.

The plethora of benefits of the rite of passage is well documented. Does a ban serve only to spite those who stand to benefit most?

Schronen, Johan, 18 January 2000, "Initiation rites nipped in the bud"
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=105&art_id=ct20000118100725621530939, Accessed 16 August 2010.

" 'Prefect' perfect" by Len Botha

A trait of society that I find particularly annoying is the tendency to make unnecessary name changes. In a manner this has been discussed often recently due to the decision to move away from using the term Prefect. I think that people are not annoyed as much by the change in name as by the perceived loss in status. Let's be honest, being a Prefect sounds much better than being a Portfolio Leader. But I can understand why the school thinks it is a good idea for the name to change.

The word Prefect, according to Pocket Oxford English Dictionary, is defined as being "A senior pupil who is appointed to enforce discipline in a school". I agree with the decision-makers in the school that this sounds very much like a policeman and is not what the spirit of the job is about anymore; I disagree that a name change is necessary. Not only is it moving away from something that is tried and tested but doing so may detract from the pride Prefects have about their positions. When making a decision like this it is important to consider why it is being made and to ensure that it be made for the right reasons.

The jobs that Prefects at the College carry out are very different from the definition given above, except for in assembly and Chapel where enforcing discipline is exactly what the Prefects are expected to do, despite the fact that we are apparently allowed to talk quietly. I see no reason that the definition of the word cannot be adjusted to suit the times. English is still, contrary to popular belief, a developing language. Apart from the job not suiting the common definition of the word anymore I think that the desire to change the name is also due to 'peer-pressure' from other schools and institutions.

Every time the name changing is discussed with students the speaker is always sure to mention that we are not the only school to move away from using the term Prefect. I think they mean this to be reassuring, to let us know that it isn't only us who are taking the plunge. Personally, all this tells me is that we are not very good at coming up with original ideas. Instead, we are more like sheep that just follow where others have gone before. To me, changing the name because other schools are doing it, and because it updates our school's image, sounds very much like giving into peer-pressure, which I am sure you have all been told in Life Orientation can be a very bad thing to do. However, I think it is important to point out that I am not against all name changes.

It can often occur that a name may pick up negative connotations, or may become completely obsolete. In a case like this, I think it is appropriate to change the name to something more acceptable, in order to avoid conflict. An example of this would be the renaming of streets which - due to Apartheid - had offensive names. This helped to alleviate conflict and racial tensions. However, examples of unnecessary name changes were the renaming of streets and places that were not offensive. The unnecessary renaming of such places made many people angry and caused more problems than it solved. Therefore I think any name change should be considered very carefully before being executed.

"Dream Filly" by Nicola du Plessis

Witnessed the birth of that chestnut filly
Blaze pure white
Clear in the night
Told them my dream, which they found quite silly.

As she grew, we saw her athleticism
It inspired me to proclaim:
"The July will beher aim."
Lo and behond, it received no criticism.

It is the first Saturday in July
Briskly she jumps from her pen and
Just like that 'barren doe' she starts to fly.

Thunder in her hooves,
Fire in her heart,
Victorious she proves!

A take on "Willem Prinsloo's Peach Brandy" by Herman Charles Bosman -Nicola du Plessis

The theme of this story can be summarized in two words: guile and gullibility. The narrative is simple and uncomplicated. Bosman relates how a young Schalk Lourens attended a dance at the farm of Willem Prinsloo near a place called Abjaterskop in the Great Marico. Prinsloo is a "celebrity" because of his ability to stoke strong mampoer -a peach based beverage that contains a high percentage of alcohol.

We read that Prinsloo's daughter, Grieta was due back from finishing school where she had gone to learn "English manners and dictation and other high-class subjects." All the young men in the district were invited to attend a dance at Prinsloo's farm. Schalk recalls that they were "all somewhat nervous to meet Grieta."

The picture reflects and portrays a young girl in Victorian splendour: that is precisely how I imagine Grieta looked when she arrived at the dance - complete with roses in her hair. She is described as "tall and slender and very pretty" and her dark hair was braided with "a wreath of white roses." The author then proceeds to tell us of Schalk's clumsy attempts to woo Grieta.

We read about a conversation between Schalk and Grieta and how awkwardly he tried to convey his affection for her. She slipped away from him but left one of her roses behind. Schalk in his naive way interpreted this as a token of her affection.

Schalk and the other young men had too much to drink of Willem Prinsloo's peach brandy. Schalk tried to catch Grieta but fell in the process. He picked up the rose and displayed it in his hat when he returned to the dance; and "it caused quite a stir."

The story ends when Schalk woke up the morning after the dance feeling very sick. On his way home Schalk then encounters one of Grieta's other wooers - Frits Pretorious, clearly also suffering from the after effects of the peach brandy. What took the young Schalk by surprise, however, was the fact that Fritz had also received one of Grieta's roses. That, says Schalk, made him "wonder about those finishing schools!"

It was perhaps only then that the penny dropped: both he and Fritz (and many others) had been duped by the guile of Grieta. She relied upon their gullibility to make each one believe that she experienced the same emotions about him - that is to say, that he was the "chosen man."

Greita's guile and the gullibility of the farmers in her area is what makes the story so humorous -an absolute must read!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Elegantly Disheveled - Adventure to Cuba" by Jess Kempton-Jones

A recent trip in the June/July holidays took me all across the Atlantic ocean toward a tropical, humid cluster also known as Central America. More specifically, to Cuba, the communistic 'hub' of the world.

Among the many other things that this trip taught me, I realised I could probably never reside in a place like Durban, because the weather is certainly not one of my favourite climes. Although, besides the daily climate, there were many more lessons of substance learned in this strange and exotic country. Cuba was incredible. A really different traveling experience to any I've had before it.

Getting there, for one, is a mission in itself. Almost two full days were dedicated to non-stop journeying on some mode of transport -whether it was by aeroplane, bus or taxi. We finally arrived in Havana city on a warm, muggy and cloudy Sunday afternoon.

There we stayed for two weeks, discovering the old dilapidated city one roaming street at a time.

I am asked by many to try and compare it to something, or somewhere rather, but I am stumped at the thought. It really is like the pictures you see in travel shops and places like Buena Vista: old women staring blankly at the camera with an oversized cigar hanging nonchalantly out of their wrinkled mouths, or, men in Panama hats trying to sell you the latest newspaper copy, which at closer inspection is dated may 2009.

An overwhelming sense of a bygone era looms in Old Havana city. My eyes had never seen such strange and odd sights. Beautiful vintage cars, Dodges, Fords and dilapidated Volkswagens were among the many luxury and exotic vehicles that we seem to throw thousands of rands at in the hopes of owning, yet for these people it appears a boring, every day norm. Sad and dampened-hope faces peered out from the dark shadows of doorways, once properties of lucrative businesses and hotels. Now the once grand architecture of a bustling city is crumbling at the skirtings.

From huge graffiti portraits the great, iconic Cuban hero, Che Guevara, leers watchingly over the people of Havana; one cannot but recognise the prolific attempts at propoganda. The more I think of it the less I am prone to believe that the people of Cuba are happy and content with their curent government. Whenever faced with the burning question,"...and the government? Good? Happy?", a man we met and asked shuffles slightly in his seat, shifts his gaze and nods.

Just nods.
Which gives the impression of some sort of advanced oppression - an oppression that has gotten to the point where there is no great hope for change because every day is the same.

"Cloned Cow Chow" by Lara Kingwill

If you had driven past Dundee Paratrouper or Dundee Perfect chewing away in a field, you wouldn't have been able to tell that they were different to any other bull. You may have noticed how similar they appear, but you would not expect them to be identical. But they are, in fact, exact replica: clones of a bull in America.

Dundee Paratrouper was slaughtered in July last year and his meat entered the UK food chain, unnoticed by authorities. Dundee Perfect, however, was not so lucky. He was slaughtered on the 27th of July this year, but the Food Standards Agency prevented his meat from reaching the shelves. As news of this incident spread, it has caused a raucous about whether or not cloned meat should be allowed on the shelves, ready for human consumption.

To some, eating something that was alive but not procreated by its own species does not seem to be worth the fuss. The chief of FSA, Tim Smith, has reassured the public that all their tests have shown that eating cloned meat does not cause any health problems for humans and is exactly the same as consuming normal produce. I mean, since the meat is identical (literally) to the rest on the shelf and there are no safety concerns, what's the big deal?

To others, however, it is a provocative issue. The Food Safety authorities claim that there have not been enough tests done to say with full confidence that cloned meat is perfectly safe to eat. In contrast, Professor Hugh Pennington, an expert in food safety from Aberdeen University, claims that the results have been consistent and that "I've got no expectation that any such evidence will ever emerge." Consumer groups have also argued that buyers have a right to know what they are buying. A recent survey showed that 85 % of customers would at least want cloned meat labelled if it were to be legalized.

Perhaps one of the bigger concerns, raised by various campaign and Animal Welfare groups, is that cloning is a cruel and painful process for the animal. Statistics have shown that for every normal cloned birth theire are hundreds of miscarriages or deformed young born. Animals are also modified to their full capacity for industry, to produce more milk or get fatter easier. These transformations stretch the animal to its physical limits.

Many people do not feel it is right for humans to 'play God' in this way. We should not try to change nature to suit our needs. Species need to develop and evolve and cloning limits the progress of this as they are exactly the same. It is limiting biodiversity.

In light of these points, the MP's in the UK voted in favour of a legislation that bans cloned meat and other animal products from being entered into the European Food Supply Chain.

"Untitled" by Matthew Webber

I like trees
They are cool
If you don't
Then you're a fool

Trees are tiny
Big and small
Play with trees
You'll have a ball

Tie them down
Make them bend
If you're nice
They'll be your friend

You can climb them
Up and down
But don't fall out
Or you will frown

Now everybody
Hug a tree
'Cause if you do
You'll be like me

And if you tell them
That you care
They will go
And a hug a bear

Bears are cuddly
Cute and nice
But I gotta tell you
They don't like mice

'Cause mice are naughty
Crazy beasts
They run around
And have a feast

They steal your lunch
And take your food
They're not even hungry
They just wanna be rude

That is why
I don't like mice
That is why
Mice are not nice.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Quota corruption" by Sarah de Villiers

"Mum, do you think I made the team because I'm good, or because I'm black?"

This stumping and awkward question is being raised in households across the country as the quota system manipulates the selection of sports teams and tournaments. From the tender age of seven to international levels of play, the selection of players no longer depends on raw talent and fiery passion, but your ethnical group.

The quota policy dictates that in every competitive sports team a certain pecentageof players and coaching staff must be of colour. This policy has caused much uproar and dispute, as it has been perceived by many as "reverse" or "controlled" racism, favouring particular ethnical groups.

Whilst some raised their hands in frustration because of the injustice, others recoiled in embarrassment. Being chosen based on your skin colour builds a false sense of pride and a deep sense of shame for many "quota" players. These players may be left feeling inadequate or incompetent in their teams. The low self-esteem that develops because of this could be further battered by exclusion or bullying based on the fact that some quota players are perhaps under-qualified.

Their parents feel the blow as they too experience shame in the favouritism and can become socially victimised or excluded. These parents also have to deal with the questions and emotions intertwined with the issue of racism, as well as bullied or distraught children with shattered self-esteems. The parents of the children denied positions could feel fuelled frustration and racism as the effects of apartheid continue to linger in society. These parents may be marginalised and watch helplessly as their children suffer the consequences of a previous generation's mistakes.

The selected team will endure having to carry weaker players and the talent of ethnical players will be called into question, leaving them wondering whether they were chosen based on skill or to filfil a government policy. This sort of doubt disadvantages the team's spirit, performance and unity, but without the meeting quota they would be disqualified from participation in some leagues. Either way, the team will suffer and be unable to reach their full potential.

The players who are denied a position in the team regardless of their talent are left with low self-esteems and a sour taste for the ethnical community. This type of situation spawns hatred, grudges and ultimately racism in the youth, the polar opposite of the government's intention when introducing a law that was intended to give equal opportunities to previously disadvantaged players.

But in attempting to make right the injustices of the past, are they not instead stripping other people of opportunities they truly deserve? We are a democratic country and favour should not be shown based on our past, but on our future.

In a rainbow nation we should see in colour, not in black and white.


"Am I to blame?" by Anonymous

Little hands
And little feet
No one stopped to consider
The future they were to meet.
Feet kept moving
And hands stretched out
Out there someone cared
But this has left only doubt.

Many days I wondered
Many weeks I dreamed
Many months I cried your name
And asked the question:
Am I to blame?

Memories of fights
Internal scars
I closed my door and
Sought the comfort of music bars.
Forced to look at a picture
Just to see your face
A smoking brain and a racing heart
Pondered on how you'd left without a trace.

Many days I wondered
Many weeks I dreamed
Many months I cried your name
And asked the question:
Am I to blame?

I pray to God
To make it stop.
I'd ask him to make
The pressure drop.
I prayed that you
Were okay.
As a 5 year-old
This to the Lord I'd pray.

Many days I wondered
Many weeks I dreamed
Many months I cried your name
And asked the question:
Am I to blame?

I never stopped praying;
Never stopped pleading.
When my time with you was over-
Again my heart would start bleeding.
When we spoke over the phone
There was no doubt about it
The message in your voice was blame,
But nevertheless I found strength in my shame.

Many days I wondered
Many weeks I dreamed
Many months I cried your name
And asked the question:
Am I to blame?

"You & I" by Anonymous

It's hard for me to see sometimes
Harder to understand
It's hard for me to live sometimes
Even harder to say "I can"

You come around - renew my strength
You show me the beauty in today
You touch my heart - make it beat again
You teach me to breathe again and it's all okay.

It's hard for me to be sometimes
Harder to fake that I'm alright
It's hard for me to care sometimes
Even harder for me to try

You come around - take my hand
You show me that I can walk that extra mile
You lead me to the right path again
You teach me how to smile

It's hard for me to speak sometimes
Harder to make a sound
It's hard for me to pick myself up sometimes
Even harder to find solid ground

You come around - hold me tight
You show me how love should be
You remind me who I am again
You teach me to sing that sweet melody.

"Has P Diddy run out steam?" by Ricky Klopper

Peter de Villiers has, since his controversiall appointment as Springbok coach, never been far away from the headlines. His often perplexing way of communicating his views onrugby and life in general, has always kept the media at his fingers. Diddy supplies the press with a constant flow of "Devillierisms" which cause uproar in the press, like his famous "garage owner comparison" or his views on Schalk Burger's eye gouging. The Springboks have relinquished their Tri Nations title already and the country has almost entirely forgotten last year's results. So, the question is, should Peter de Villiers go?

The answer, in my opinion, is no. Peter de Villiers was, and remains a good "coach". I am hesitant to call him a "coach" because, is that really what he, or any other international team's "coach" is? They are in essence, the player's managers as most of the so-called "coaching" is done by backline, forward, defensive and kicking coaches. The primary role of the head coach is to select, and then get the best out of, his players. The head coach is also concerned with the essential tactics and style of a team. When questioning de Villiers' position, one should assess him on his performance in these areas, which contrary to popular belief, has been admirable.

Taking over as coach of the world champions is not easy, especially when the media and public immediately label you as a "quota" selection because of your skin colour. Corne Krige, the former Springbok captain, predicted "seven lean years" after de Villiers's appointment as coach and many other rugby "experts" questioned his ability. Peter de Villiers was unfortunately on the back foot from the start. De Villiers's selection may have been questionable, but he came into the job with a greater pedigree than his predecessor, Jake White. De Villiers had led the Under 21 Springboks to world titles and the Emerging Springboks to the Nations Cup as well as coaching various teams at Currie Cup level. While Jake White joined with a short spell as coach of the SA under 21 team being his only experience as head coach of a first-class team.

De Villiers immediately sparked controversey when he announced that he would take the team to "new heights" by adding a new attacking dimension to their game. Experts insisted that De Villiers should stay with Jake White's formula of a defence-orientated game and these opinions seemed vindicated when the Springboks' Tri Nations hopes disappeared with two games remaining. The last game of the Tri Nations, a 53 - 8 thrashing of Australia, gave the country a glimpse of de Villiers's attacking game and subsequent victories in Europe showed his ability to adopt different styles for the team when necessary.

2009 saw a change in approach from the Springboks due to law changes that had been introduced half way through 2008, which made them rely more on kicking and positional play. this approach was highly successful, with the Springboks winning the Tri Nations and the Lions Series. the Springboks had a 100 % record against New Zealand for only the second time ever, a feat that Jake white never achieved. During this time, although some recognition was given to de Villiers, there were still murmurs that the Springboks were overly reliant on Jake White's players and that de Villiers had nothing to do with their success. John Smit, and other senior Springboks, denied this and attributed the team's success to the team's morale which de Villiers was instrumental in creating.

Peter de Villiers's greatest strength is his relationship with his players. His greatest weakness, in my opinion, is his relationship with those outside the team, particularly the press. De villiers's first language is Afrikaans, and it is often clear that he finds it difficult to accurately express himself to the English press. This often leads to misinterpretation and has helped create his image as a "clown". He is a very honest speaker and can surely, even by his greatest detractors, not be accused of not admitting his own mistakes.

No one can decide whether Peter de Villiers is "the right man for the job", but I feel that he has and still is being unfairly judged by South Africans and our other Southern Hemisphere counterparts, Australia and New Zealand.

Peter de Villiers will remain in the spotlight for as long as he remains Springbok coach and I doubt the controversies will ever stop. There is no denying the man's faults, but I feel his ability to get the best out of his players gives him an edge that few other coaches have.

Only the future will tell whether I am correct.

"A simple mistake" by Gabriella Llennity

"It was only a simple mistake," mother would say to me each time father cheated on her. I could see she resented my father, but it would be too much of an embarrassment for mother, since her only friends were of high society. The other reason she stayed with father was because of my sister, Angela, and I. She didn't want us to come from a broken home or to see that her marriage was a failure, even though we could hear them screaming and shouting at each other every night.

We never saw father much, and when we did he was always too busy to spend time with us. Mother always tried to teach us to stand our ground against people who caused trouble for us; she did not want her babies making the same mistakes she had already made. If father ever did something wrong it was always a 'simple mistake'. If we ever did anything wrong, we were disciplined, and were taught the right way. Not like father. We were not let off as easily as father was. My mother believed in us, which I could see in her. Everything she did was usually for Angela and I. Father worked for a big important company so whenever there were suppers or evening parties, we were summoned to silence unless spoken to.

Mother was very displeased with father's work, as every few years it meant that we would have to move to another town. Father's boss had big ideas for him, so it means we simply had to obey. I do not believe mother was ever happy in her marriage. She probably only faked it when father needed her to impress his boss or his own high society friends.

If Angela or I ever became scared we could turn to mother for absolutely anything. I loved that about her. I wonder who she turns to when something bad happens to her; since grandmother and grandfather have both already passed, she does not really have many people to turn to. I do not suppose her friends would ever really care either. They are all to worried about themselves to be concerned about mother. That is what husbands are supposed to be for, I suppose, but mother was deprived of that benefit in marriage. I suppose that is what builds a person; makes them stronger. I suppose that is why mother is the way she is.

It is rather unfortunate. Mother deserves better than father, though she keeps putting up with his "dealings". As the daughter of a well established and respected man, I suppose I should have respect for him but I do not. I wonder what Angela thinks of father. Although I do not suppose she knows how to diagnose the whole situation.

I wonder why father cheats on mother so much. I wonder if he even still loves her, and why he even remains in their marriage.

When we were younger, Angela and I would be sent off to our Aunt Grace, mother's sister. From the very beginning Aunt Grace had despised father. She simply could not stand him, she knew it would never work but mother was young and in love. Mother and father sent us to aunt Grace because they said that they needed some "alone time" which did not mean together to build their relationship, what it really meant was that mother was getting tired of life and needed to go the spa and father was probably home and could not deal with us so they would send us to aunt Grace. the only reason that mother was becoming tired of life was because father's dealings were like fire to mother, and she was helpless wood. These dealings would slowly eat away at her until she turned to ash and needed some rejuvenating. they worked from the outside in, melting her down piece by piece. Mother and father's fights are the smoke of the fire, the outcome of father's 'dealings'.

Father's number one priority was his job and then his possessions. One time, when I was younger, I took some papers off father's desk and started drawing. When father discovered me decorating his documents, I tried to make the same as him, I said, "But daddy, it was only a mistake."

Well, that definitely did not work in the same way as when father said it to mother. From that day on I never took anything from his office, or anything he owned for a matter of fact, ever, ever again. I can still remember his face when he found me, enraged, full of anger he grabbed me and said, "Do not ever touch my things again Abigail. Understood?"
I could not even look into his eyes; he scared me to death that day.

I wonder why mother even married him in the first place. And if father ever really loved mother. Perhaps they were in love at first, and it just slowly faded because of father's job. It must have, because they rarely ever even hold hands or hug one another, and father always speaks to mother in a very monotonous voice. Perhaps I was a mistake, a summer romance that went wrong, and they were forced to get married, and then to make it all look real they had Angela. I wonder perhaps if my father's parents' relationship was the same, and that's where father learned all this.

Perhaps mother did not know in the beginning about father's dealings. Perhaps it only started when father stopped showing any affection to mopther, or perhpas he never did show any affection at all to mother because his life ended when mother got pregnant. Perhaps their whole marriage and Angela and mother and I were all just another big mistake.

PIE, anyone?

Ƿē biddaþ þē, ēalā lārēoƿ ðæt þū tǣce ūs ſprecan riȝte!
/we: bɪdaθ ðe: ɛalɑ lɑrɛɔw ðat θʊ: tæ:tʃə us sprɛkan riχt/
"we ask you, teacher, that you teach us to speak correctly!"
Part 1 of 5 : the English Language Series

In this series we explore the origin of the English language. Although it will be relatively brief, the coverage will be wide: from the most ancient form, to the most current manifestation of the English language. "PIE, anyone?" serves both as an introduction to this series, but also as an overview of English's most ancient ancestor.

When most people are asked what the history of English is, their reply can be represented as follows:

Latin → Shakespearean "Old" English → Modern English.

Some may even say:

Hebrew → Latin → Shakespearean "Old" English → Modern English.

In my experience, after offering this answer the person feels proud of their historical outline. And all those who heard agree that their English History is correct. But it is not.
I am not a linguist, but I do know enough about Historical linguistics and English to confidently tell you that it is not.

Firstly, Shakespearean is Modern English. What we speak now is álso Modern English. Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is much older. The introductory line: "wē biddaþ þē..." is Old English. Secondly, English is not a daughter language of Latin. Thirdly, Hebrew isn't even closely related to English or Latin. Hebrew and Latin's great-great grandparents were neighbours - but that's as close as they get.


To describe the history of English, we need to start at the very beginning: we start with Proto-Indo-European. Proto-Indo-European (or PIE) is the "mother" of all the languages of the Indo-European Language Family.

Indo-European (IE) is the largest and most widespread of all the language families. It consists of about 150 languages and has over 3 billion speakers.

IE is split into ten sub-families. Within each sub-family I will list only the most well known languages.


All these languages are extinct. They were spoken in the Middle East and records of these languages survive from about 1600 BCE. These languages are famous for the Cuneiform writing system.
-Hittite; Luwian


-Baltic: Old Prussian; Latvian; Lithuanian
-Slavic: Ukranian; Polish; Czech-Slovak; Croatian; Serbian...

-Iranian: Persian/Farsi; Kurdish; Pashto (yes, this language is in The Kite Runner).
-Indo-Aryan: Although many languages in this group are spoken in India, not all the languages of India are IE. Most of them are part of an unrelated language family called the Dravidian Family.
-Sanskrit; Hindi; Urdu; Bengali; Punjabi

Tocharian A; Tocharian B are the only languages in this group. They were spoken in the Xinjiang region of China. Both languages are now extinct... and they had very creative names :Þ

As we get closer to Modern English, the following languages will become more and more important. These are the groups that English interacted with greatly. Some of them left undeniable influences upon English:

The Celts were the original inhabitants of France and Britain. The Romans kicked them out of France and the Saxons kicked them off England. The surviving Celtic languages are endangered and spoken by few people in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
-Welsh; Irish; Gaelic; Cornish; Breton

-Greek and Grecian dialects.

The Italic languages are probably the most famous langauges in the world.
-Umbrian; Oscan (both dead)
-Latin: French; Spanish; Portuguese; Italian; Romanian; Sardinian.

English technically belongs to this Family! I deliberately put 'Anglo-Saxon', not "English" under West-Germanic. This will become apparent as the series unfolds.
-East: Visigothic; Ostrogothic; Vandal (all dead)
-North: Icelandic; Danish; Swedish; Norwegian
-West: German; Dutch; Afrikaans; Frisian; Anglo-Saxon.

Here I add some reconstructed PIE words!
Notice the bolded similarities in the PIE root and the modern word. Phonological change can only obscure so much!

*-kʷe = [and] = Latin: -que \ Old Greek: -qe \ Sanskrit: ca

*(d)kmtóm = [100] = Latin: centum \ English: hundred \ Greek: hekatón

*(h)yêro = English: year \ Dutch: jaar \ Latin: hōrnus \ Slavonic: jara \ Avestan: yārə

*(s)ker- = [cut] = English: shear \ Lithuanian: skiriù \ Greek: keírô \ Norse: skort \ Hittite: kartai- Armenian: k'erem

next: the Germanic Family, and English's place therein.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"The Autopsy of Nelson Mandela" by Adam Hendricks

Many know of Nelson Mandela, fewer of his feats, and even fewer of what he did for South Africa as a nation. Nonetheless, even some of those who perceive themselves to be great thinkers have misunderstood the significance of this mortal and his influence.

Rolihlahla Mandela spent 67 years of his life fighting for the greater good of humanity. Twenty-seven of those years he spent in prison. He continues, to this day, to fight for humanity. Mandela is an international icon and an example to all true South Africans.

Yuill Damaso, however, clearly thinks otherwise. He crafted a sacrilegious painting depicting a deceased Nelson Mandela surrounded by select members of past and present parliament. This work was designed as a parody of Rembrandt's "The Anatomy Lecture of Dr. Nicholaes Tulp", but falls horribly short of the Dutch master's standards, albeit a 'work in progress'.

The work of Damaso sparked international outrage, supported by many South Africans. Damaso himself states that he does not apologise for the painting and that his message is for the government to wake up and see what life will be like without Mandela holding the nation together. As per usual, Damaso -like so many- has failed to comprehend the full consequences of his actions.

Most of this nation's population are people of colour. A large percentage of this sector of the public extol Mandela as he 'saved' them from Apartheid -when in fact he saved all South Africans because the country was on the verge of civil war nearing the end of Apartheid, and Mandela doused that flame. Therefore, many white citizens also realise that they live their peaceful lives, and most of them affluently, thanks in part to Mandela.

Furthermore, most of this country's population are uneducated and will not understand the underlying message of Damaso's work. Many of those still uneducated are people of colour who may still harbour resentment towards the previously privileged white population. All this painting accomplishes is stirring up fresh hatred between different races in our country -although, supposedly, this outcome was far from the artist's intentions.

Let us take a look at the real 'big picture': Damaso creates a controversial painting. The painting sparks an uproar in the leading governing party. The supporters of that party are therefore also infuriated. Inevitably, the blame is placed at the foot of white racism, which breeds black hatred. This self-perpetuating racism is what may again lead to a huge and irreversible rift between the white population and the people of colour in South Africa.

In conclusion, I find Damaso's work extremely disrespectful and feel that he needs to wake up and realise that the world is not always one's oyster. One day an artist just like him may be the final straw on the camel's back, because in truth we must know that our fragile society is much less robust than we idealise it to be.

"The Hair Debate" by Peter Turner

Over the past three and a half years during which I have attended this magnificent institution, I have heard many a student complain about the policies that the school has with regards to the length of boys' hair. It must be said that high school students from all over complain about many things regarding their schools, and school in general. Most of these complaints are of no real substance and are merely voiced to either make conversation or simply to climb up the popularity ladder.

This particular argument, however, has captured my attention as I think that when it comes to this subject, the majority of the school population - the students - have a strong case. However, to be taken in the least bit seriously by the people who matter, the student body has to acknowledge the opposing argument and find a way to persuade them that the students' case is strong enough to be considered over theirs'. This is why I have decided to, in as non-biased a manner as possible, look at both sides of the argument.

The school's main argument against any hair cut that does not make the wearer look like a cue ball is that it fits with our uniform. They do have a point in saying this: if you take a look at most institutions that require uniform, there are hair regulations as well. There is no deying that short hair does make us look... smart.

Another reason for the rules about hair is that the school does not want its students walking around with hair so long that it borders on unhygeinic or even disturbs learning.

Fair enough, these are two valid points; maybe there should be rules regarding hair, but are such strict ones necessary?

Yes, our short, neatly trimmed hair does go rather nicely with our uniforms. However, I'm sure that with a bit of effort we would look just as neat, if not nicer, with long hair. Many people like to express their individuality through their appearance and through how they wear their hair. I think if students were able to do this the people in our school would actually relate to each other on a more meaningful level: many students feel self-conscious and are therefore afraid to be themselves because of the way they think that everyone views them. Much of the time this fear is brought about by something as trivial as how they look. Giving people the freedom to wear their hair the way they would like to, could help them overcome this self-consciousness and give them the confidence to be themselves during school.

Looking back on Leonard's article on Chapel and how the reason for attending Chapel may just be the school's attempt to try and create a good public image, could the reasons for strict rules about hair not be for the same reason? I think that visitors to our school would appreciate sending their children to a place where they can have a general sense of belonging and be allowed to express themselves rather than seeing their children limited to routine and, let's face it, somewhat old fashioned rituals of wearing uniform and having to shave their hair before the start of every term.

In my opinion, there should be no regulation length for our hair, as long as looks neat and smart it should be allowed. Teachers should, of course, retain the authority to decide whether or not we need a haircut, but this decision should not be taken on the length of the hair alone. The rule should simply state that the students' hair should be presentable, however long they choose to grow it.

Of course I am aware that this will cause a lot of conflict as students will complain if they are told to have a haircut whereas their longer-haired friends may not have to. Yes, we would have to figure out a few ways to establish fair criteria for having to have a haircut. It would be more difficult to establish than the strict rules that we have now, but in my opinion, it would be worth it.

While this may be considered a somewhat trivial subject, it is important that all matters being aired are discussed thoroughly and that every individual is free to join in on the discussion.

"If rainbows smiled rather than frowned" by Sarah de Villiers

If rainbows smiled rather than frowned,
If balloons didn't float away,
and bubbles never popped.

If we laughed with the clowns,
and could keep our heads in the clouds.
If we skipped around barefoot,
And chased the butterflies.

If flowers blossomed all year long,
And ice-creams never melted.
If stars could twinkle for forever and a day,
And sand-castles didn't wash away.

If we freed our hearts,
And opened our minds.
If we all smiled
Rather than frowned.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Painting the Town: Part 1" by H Hamilton

Today we have so many ways to express ourselves: we update our facebook status, twitter and blog. The internet lets us feel like the world is listening, but the truth is that they're probably not. We can paint a picture or write a poem, but to get any real recognition we have to follow some kind of standard regulation and hope for the best that someone will see our talent.

When artists paint the walls of the town they are not only using a canvas that society is forced to see, they are using it to say 'this is who we are and this is what we have to say.'

Please peruse the following pics of the latest graffiti to hit the streets of Cape Town and enjoy the visual stimulus.

Monday, August 2, 2010

"A Shaft of Light" by A Hendricks

Silence filled the dense air. Time slowed. I felt my heartbeat in my ears. Across the room I could see nothing. Darkness. Emptiness. The likes of which no human can imagine. I had been here for so long, I reeked of it. Years of decay and neglect. Incomprehensible pain and suffering. Torment beyond recognition. Before I laughed; now I cry. Prison is horror and I its victim.

I sit in a corner. It is uncomfortable. It is my home. My life was destroyed long ago. Nothing can take away the misery. My family was my only source of joy. My children gifts from Heaven. I loved them more than life itself.

Governments, police, enforcers... I was once one of them. Now I despise them. They cause me this life. I live in solitary because of them. I lost my way, my family and my life because of them.

I am old and weak. A remnant of a lost race. I cannot walk. My hands bleed. My feet rot. My soul is dead.

I once believed in God. He used to love me. I used to pray and speak to him. He betrayed me. He allowed them to take my family. They raped my wife and slit her throat. They dismembered my children and burnt them on stakes. They broke my bones and left me to die.

As I sit, I stare into the darkness. It speaks to me. Tells me of my family: how they miss me. I cannot take it any longer. For twenty years I sat in this spot. Every night the darkness torments me. I am helpless and weak. It has developed a hold on me.

The people I killed haunt me. I see their faces. They stare at me in pity. They pity the old man waiting to die. All I wish is to be free of this place. To be free of anxiety. To be free of the torment of my mind.

As I stare into the darkness, a voice beckons me. I see a pair of familiar eyes in the darkness -a familiar nose and smile. I must be dreaming. I am not. My son speaks to me and commands me to stand. I do. He tells me it's all over. He says I am free. I am told to look up. A powerful voice speaks to me. I see a bright shaft of white light. It consumes me, yet I cannot feel it.
The light lifts a part of me I have not known for a very long time. That part leaves me. I see it rise and become lost in the light.

As the light fades I feel empty. More than ever. My soul is gone. It has been taken. I have no memory, but I do not care. I am very tired. As I close my eyes I breathe in the cold, and as I exhale, I know that that breath is my last.

"We are alive because..." by N Dekker

What makes us alive? Is it the chemical composition of our body, and the pumping of our hearts? Or is it something more? Is there a reason that we are alive, a special purpose; different for each individual? Many have tried to answer these questions and the mere question of why we are alive fascinates many. We are alive because... any ideas? In fact, how do we even know we are alive if we were never dead?

What makes us aware of the things around us? What makes us ask these questions and then try, painstakingly, to answer them? We learn in school that we have a heart and that the heart pumping blood and oxygen through our bodies keeps us alive. Only what does it mean to be alive? A more complicated metaphysical theory tries to answer this question. It states that everything is alive. All things are made up of energy and our senses interpret this energy. Science says that for something to be alive it has to have movement, be able to grow and reproduce. Specifically, it has to move by itself.

Another definition is somewhat narrow-minded; it states that only beings who can realise that they exist, are alive. This definition manages to exclude bacteria, plants and animals as we don't know if they realise that they exist, yet we know that they are alive. So this definition makes little sense. All these various definitons tell us that yes, we are alive. But why are we alive? That is something scientists have not yet been able to agree upon.

Are we alive because we want to be? Surely, to give up the will to live is to stop living. If this is the case, what makes you want to live? Your family, your friends, your hobbies, your passions... what? Harold Thurman, a philospher, said, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs, is people who have come alive."

What makes you feel alive? Pain, happiness, love, joy... all these feelings make us feel alive. If they make us feel alive, does the ability to feel them make us alive? The word alive is defined as having life. The word life is defined as the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally. Whatever that means, it explains a lot and leaves even more questions unanswered.

The idea of there being a purpose to life and a reason for our existence past biological reasoning is not a new one. I believe that everything happens for a reaon, both the good and the bad. If I believe this then it's not dificult to believe that there is a reason that we are alive. Richard Bach said, "Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished; if you're alive, it isn't."

Do the questions actually matter? Dr. Seuss said, "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." Is this the case with the question of why we are alive? Are we making things seem more complicated than they really are? Maybe, maybe some day somebody will find the answers, but it's so much fun trying to figure them out. Imagine if there was just one solid answer to this question... so many hours of wondering about it would be spared! What would people do with all that spare time? Maybe, maybe it's better not knowing and asking these questions again and again, as the way that you choose to answer them is the only answer that really matters.

Morrie Schwartz said, "So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning in your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."