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Madibaz retain EP women’s squash title

The Madibaz women’s squash team continued their dominance of the Eastern Province first league when they retained the title last month.

Last year the Nelson Mandela University outfit won the league for the first time since 2002, edging Crusaders by two points in the final standings.

This time it was a more conclusive result. Going into their last match against Londt Park needing just one point to remain champions, they finished 12 points ahead of their closest rivals.

Captain Bianca Brown, a senior player in the team, attributed their success to the focus they placed on preparations for the University Sport South Africa squash week.

“Obviously as we had the same team from last year we were fairly confident of doing well again in the league,” she said.

“But I think what really helped us was the hard work we put in ahead of the USSA week, which took place in early July. The spin-off of that is that we were able to compete really well in the league once again.”

Considering the lengthy gap between last year’s triumph and their previous success in 2002, Brown said it was encouraging to win it again.

“Yes it was really nice to back up last year’s win with another league title, which ensures that Madibaz squash remains in the spotlight,” she said. “It was good to show that we could still dominate the competition.”

The league success came after another good week in the USSA competition in July when Madibaz ended runners-up to the University of Johannesburg.

Brown, Hayley Ward and Dani Shone made up the USSA Best of the Rest team, while Ward was the women’s individual runner-up. The team came second in the women’s category.

Mikayla Boy, who along with Anli Thiel completed the women’s first league squad this year, was the USSA B section individual winner.

Looking ahead to 2020, Brown said they were hopeful of remaining competitive in the league and USSA.

“We have had the good depth for a couple of years, although I am not quite sure of my position at this stage for next year.

“But the rest of the squad will be available again and if there is a chance of picking up one or two first-years then I am sure we will still be a competitive team.”

Strangest Reasons Cricket Matches Have Been Interrupted

The quirky game of cricket has had plenty of funny moments created by the most unusual interruptions. From weather condition to the pitch itself, here are some odd reasons games have been aborted.

Pollution

Back in 2017, during an India vs Sri Lanka match in New Dehli, the play was stopped because of pollution. Toxic smog made it unbearable for Sri Lankan players to breathe. This resulted in players returning for the second session with face masks on. The play was adjourned for 20 minutes, where the team’s doctors were consulted to determine whether gameplay was safe.

A Toy

A tiger toy once created havoc at Rose Bowl Nursery Ground. A bystander alerted people that a tiger was present at the neighbouring golf course. Helicopters made their way to the area and players took refuge. The play was ceased for 20 minutes.

Insects

Flies and moths constantly disturb cricket games; however, no insect feels more at home on cricket grounds than bees do. Earlier this year, during a match between Sri Lanka and South Africa, a swarm of bees occupied the field. This happened, before and during, the breast cancer awareness ‘Pink day ODI’ event. South African players, in their pretty pink tracksuits, lay flat on the field with stomachs down as the bees took over.

A bomb

Yes, a bomb! During World War 2, a match between the Army and Royal Air Force ended because of a “flying bomb”. The bomb turned out to be a German aircraft.

The ball

In 1995, during a match between Boland and WHAT in Paarl, the ball landed in a spectator’s braai stand as a ‘six’ was hit. The ball required 10 minutes to cool down and had to be cleaned from the grease. The play was shortly paused again because the ball was too greasy to grip. They only resorted to replacing the ball after it was expressly regarded as ‘unfit’ for play.

The pitch

During a match between the West Indies and England, the play was discontinued because the pitch was considered dangerous. This was because a player suffered heavy blows to his fingers and hands. Another occurrence was during a match between South Africa and India. The pitch was deemed dangerous after a player was hit by the ball three times.

Sunlight

During a match between New Zealand and India, the play was stopped because the sun was setting at an awkward angle. The rays of the sun made it difficult to spot the ball.

Then there are the expected disturbances. The speed of the ball, bad lighting, animals, and the occasional streaker – because what is a sport without our fellow nudists? And of course, a few drops of rain.

Source: cricket.com.au

Intervarsity a celebration of student activities

The Eastern Cape’s universities will gather for a celebration of student activities when the annual intervarsity takes place at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth on Friday and Saturday.

While the sporting fixtures will be a big attraction, Madibaz Director of Sport Yoliswa Lumka said the occasion lent itself to a wider programme of events, which they were excited about hosting this year.

Starting in 2017, she said the institutions – Nelson Mandela University, Rhodes, Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu – had discussed the pathway for the annual intervarsity.

“We crafted a document to showcase the purpose of intervarsity, as well as the inclusion of other events that will involve a lot more students of the four institutions,” said Lumka.

“For instance, this year a fashion show, a flash mob and a Women’s Day mentoring programme have been included.”

She added that it was a once-a-year opportunity for the students to participate in as many activities as they could and to enjoy themselves.

“My message to both Madibaz students and our visitors is the same – go out and support your teams, enjoy all the activities on offer and see as much of our beautiful campus as you can.”

Lumka felt the intervarsity played a critical role in maintaining important links between the institutions.

“There is only one opportunity where all four institutions in the Eastern Cape can interact with each other,” she said.

“It is crucial that the bonds and links between the students and staff of the institutions are strengthened on an annual basis.”

Significantly, Madibaz Sport will be hosting several other visitors this weekend.

“We have a number of guests from other institutions around the country who will be joining us to observe the programme on Friday and Saturday, so we are definitely doing something right,” said Lumka.

“The Eastern Cape is the longest-running intervarsity in the country and it inspires varsities in other provinces to try to establish similar occasions.”

Starting at 11.30 on Friday morning with the golf competition at Humewood, a total of 19 sports and activities will take place, culminating in the intervarsity prize-giving at the Madibaz Stadium on Saturday at 6 pm.

There will be a programme of high-quality sport at the stadium on Saturday, beginning with the women’s soccer final at noon.

This will be followed by the rugby clash between Fort Hare and Rhodes at 1.30pm and the men’s soccer final at 3 pm. The sporting action will end with the rugby match between Madibaz and Walter Sisulu at 4.30pm.

In sports where at least three institutions have entered, points will be allocated which will count towards the total for the overall intervarsity trophy.

The activities for Saturday, however, kick-off at 8 am at the South Campus (Building 6) with the institutions debating various trending topics related to the student environment.

There will also be a moot court set up from 9 am in the Law Faculty on South Campus where law students from the various institutions will engage in oral arguments.

Fighting the unemployment battle

Unemployment in South Africa is one of the country’s worst epidemics. The current unemployment rate in the country sits at 26.5% for persons aged between 15 and 64 years of age. With people from the tender age of 15 unable to find work, it means that unemployment hits the youth harder than any other age group. 

The youth have better opportunities to receive education now compared to previous generations, who were not as fortunate to have bursaries and assisting funds. Jobs, nevertheless, are scarce. As soon as graduates leave the hall or matriculants leave school, they are labelled ‘unemployed’ and some stay that way for a long time.  

The evolution of technology is one of the biggest reasons why people are unable to find work. Machinery can do jobs ten times faster and cheaper than people. Space and funds are other big factors that prevent companies from taking on more staff. The top undeniable major problem with finding work is ‘experience’. On every job listing or application, you are required to have experience – companies want people who know what they are doing and who have done it before. 

But how does one get this experience while learning? 

Internship: Companies are always looking for interns who can shadow professionals and run small errands, which not only assists the business but also helps shape the intern’s idea of the working world. 

Volunteering: Unfortunately, this method does not pay and sometimes does not pertain to whatever goal or job you have your sights set on. Fortunately, volunteering is mostly experienced in a charitable setting which may impress your future employers. Bonus points for helping others through this noble act of kindness.  

Sometimes the institution you are studying at arranges for formal work experience with various companies. This adds quite a few lines on your CV. 

Freelancing: Assisting others with your talent could never hurt anyone. This option also pays well and adds to your experience and references.  

Part-time work: Probably the greatest option, but the hardest one to find. This could take place on weekends, which many companies are a bit flimsy about, but there are certain companies that have programmes designed for students only, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Sources of Information:  CollegeXpress, Career Planning, Target Careers. 

Image One, Source: Forbes. 

Movies to Watch Before Your Holiday Ends

With only a few weeks left until we resume our academic year, we would suggest you tick these top movies off your holiday watch-list: 

Men in black: International, which aired on 14 June, has its main characters, Agent H and Agent M, played by Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. This spin-off was a job well done, especially considering that they shot different scenes of the movie in different countries.  

If you have not watched Avengers: Endgame yet, I advise you to do so as soon as possible. Knowing the storylines from previous Marvel movies will certainly heighten your movie-watching experience, however, you are bound to enjoy this movie even if you aren’t a dedicated follower.  

Detective Pikachu is out and we are impressed. The cinematography and the storyline – absolutely amazing. It is a good movie to watch if you appreciate a dash of comedy. Pokémon-lovers, you are guaranteed to enjoy this one. 

When They See Us is a series that has gained worldwide recognition. It is based on ‘Central Park 5’, a group of young boys who were subsequently charged with raping and assaulting a jogger in New York’s Central Park.  

Spiderman Far From Home came out on 3 July. The movie has some twists and turns, but we won’t spoil it for you. All we’ll say is that it’s a definite ‘must-watch’.  

On an ending note, The Lion King is coming out on 19 July and we are waiting with bated breath to see what Disney will deliver.  

Sporting graduates emerge with distinction

Cloudius Sagandira says combining an academic vocation with a sporting career is the best thing that could have happened to him while at Nelson Mandela University.

The Madibaz football star, a former captain of the club, has recently graduated with a doctorate in chemistry, but will look back on his varsity days with extreme gratitude for the opportunities he received.

He is one of 70 Madibaz Sport graduates who obtained their qualifications at the university’s graduation ceremonies in December and April after excelling on and off the field.

Among other high-profile student-athletes who graduated were ace swimming twins Alard and Alaric Basson and athletics star Ischke Senekal, all of whom have represented South Africa.

Sagandira said he embraced the challenges he faced in the lecture halls and on the sports fields, adding in a message to aspiring students that it was all about hard work.

“In terms of first-years it is about setting your goals and getting your priorities right,” he said.

“With the right sort of determination, hard work, passion, commitment, self-discipline and, above all, God’s grace, anything is achievable.

“And you should never settle for less.”

He said the latter comment was the best piece of advice he received at varsity, while he also tried to keep things in perspective.

“Whenever I achieve something really good, I always remember that I am not the first or the last to do it, and someone, somewhere has done it even better.

“I always want to find ways to improve, always be hungry and let humility lead the way as I follow.”

The demanding work he put in during his extensive laboratory research was balanced by the release he received on the training ground.

“After a heavy day indoors I used to refresh at soccer training in the evening,” said Sagandira.

“That was a very important routine for me to keep myself fresh and energised.

“Besides that, football really helped build my character, determination, competitiveness and discipline, as well as a sense of responsibility. It brought out the best in me.”

Sagandira said it was impossible to pay tribute to all the individuals who guided him through his varsity life.

“All I can say is that I got all the necessary support I needed where possible to be where am I am today and I am so grateful to NMU.

“This might sound like everything was given to me on a silver platter but, trust me, it was all through sweat and tears and I am glad it paid off.

“Most importantly, getting the opportunity to study and play soccer at Mandela University was the best thing to have happened to me. The academic and sporting environments were conducive to the pursuit of excellence in both fields.”

Shot put and discus exponent Senekal has qualified with an honours degree in education and said her varsity career combined her love for children and her passion for sport.

“Neither was more important than the other so I decided I would do both to the best of my abilities even if it meant less sleep for me,” said the Uitenhage-based athlete.

She added that her mantra was to “believe you can achieve”.

“My message to aspiring sports stars is to always test your limits and strive to make your weaknesses your strengths.

“Keep on believing that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”

Senekal said the support she received from the university structures had been crucial during her time there.

“The education department allowed me time off to pursue my sporting career in the knowledge that it would be my responsibility to catch up with any work missed.

“Similarly, Madibaz Sport was understanding in allowing me off some evening events to catch up on my academic commitments, so that was very important in helping me achieve my objectives.”

The Basson swimming twins, who are doing postgraduate degrees in construction management, said finding a balance between work and play was essential to succeeding at university.

“My advice to first-years is to take time ‘not just to plant the mind but to also water the mind’,” said Alard.

“As a student it’s so easy to get yourself caught up in study stress and pressures that you forget to take a breath or a mental break.

“Taking time out to relax, and feeding your mind positive thoughts before taking on the next task, is crucial.

“As a sportsman you cannot do what the rest are doing, so associate yourself with students with a similar drive.

“The best advice I got was to enjoy the journey as far as possible instead of just focusing on the destination.”

Alaric said a focus on doing well in both fields helped him to manage the challenges he faced.

“It was never possible for me to really enjoy the ‘varsity life’ to the fullest, but my desire to achieve in both kept me motivated,” he said.

“Having achieved both in my sport and academically over the past few years has been rewarding and all the sacrifices have paid off and still are.”

They both paid tribute to the roles played by their parents and the varsity structures.

“Besides our family support, our aquatics manager Melinda Goosen and coach Mark Edge were major role players,” they said.

“In addition, the Eastern Cape Academy of Sport played a big part in helping us achieve what we have so far, so we are grateful to all those who have supported us.”

Madibaz deputy director of sport Riaan Osman said they prided themselves on the holistic development of their student-athletes.

“We are thankful to the various departments at the university with whom we collaborate to ensure our elite student-athletes achieve success in their academics,” he said.

“Sport scholarships are available to top achievers who register for courses of their choice, subject to them meeting the desired criteria.

“We then provide the necessary support to assist them in managing their studies, especially when they out of class competing in their various disciplines.”

He said they gave the student-athletes access to online digital platforms via the University Blended Learning initiatives, plus daily monitoring of their academic progress.

“If any red flags are identified, we intervene by providing tutors for the students to ensure they will ultimately graduate in their studies,” added Osman.

“Previously if student-athletes missed a test, they needed to write a make-up test, based on more work than the rest of the class were tested on.

“In essence, this disadvantaged the student, but thanks to the online access to study material, including lectures, they are now able to pursue their studies in conjunction with achieving success in their specific sporting disciplines.”

Guard Your Energy

“Have you ever been in a dark hole and you just couldn’t find a way to exit, yet you can acknowledge that you’re in it?”. This is how one of the students described what it feels like to be in a toxic situation. Be it with a friend or a significant other. But how do these toxic situations affect you as a person? Are you really the company that you keep?  

Throughout all social media platforms, we are seeing more people using the word ‘toxic’ to either describe a person or a situation, but what does it really mean?. Toxic, as described by the English dictionary, is something that is poisonous. After multiple interviews with several students, it was evident that at some stage in their lives they have found themselves in situations where they felt that the people they were surrounding themselves with had negative repercussions and this had an impact on their emotional and mental health.  

The energy that you surround yourself with might not dictate who you are as a person, however, it does impact you emotionally and mentally. As nothing organic can grow when it’s surrounded by poison, subconsciously you are absorbing all the negative energy around you. With all that you do in life, be careful of the people that you allow into your space and the energy they bring with them because you could very much be feeding off it.  

No choice but to buckle up

As students, we have a lot on our plates; academics, relationships, commitments our resources are stretched to the max. It can be overwhelming. But we do not have a choice. The show must go on and we learn how to rise and carry on.  

One way to deal with anxiety is to make use of goal-setting. It’s important to have a “Why” – remember why you started and where you want to end up  

Here are a few other tips of dealing with stress: 

  1. Make time for and take care of yourself. Avoiding yourself is dangerous. You need time for self-reflection so that you can harness your strengths and develop your weaknesses.  
  2. Know where to direct your energy. Not everything is worth your energy. So steer it towards things that will bring you satisfaction and help you grow. 
  3. As much as this can be a cliché, prioritize. It will help you know what to focus on. 
  4. Be easy on yourself. It’s okay to fail. It’s ok to make mistakes, but do not let those failures and mistakes define who you are. 

Whenever you feel like giving up, buckle up and keep going, because the greater the challenge, the greater the achievement and it will be so worth it.  

Photographer: Lithalanga Vena 

Thought you’d have your life together by now?

Did you ever leave high school thinking “When I’m in university, I’ll have my life together,”? And now that you’re here, your life is still all over the place, probably a little messier if you’re honest? Many of us start wondering whether we’ll ever get to that time where life feels “in place”.  

The truth is we are all trying to figure life out – no one has a formula. The older we get, the more difficult life becomes, as responsibilities begin to pile up and our energy is pulled in many directions. Should this steal our happiness though?  

Absolutely not. Stressors are inevitable in life and “perfection” is a construct you will always be chasing. The answer is not perfection – it is a balance. Balance is about peace and harmony amidst the challenges. How can you move towards this type of balance? 

  1. Put your mental health first. 
  2. Ask for help. 
  3. Talk to someone about your problems. 
  4. Spend time with yourself. 
  5. Prioritize yourself. 

Along with physical health, mental health is extremely important. As students, life can be crazy – it is crucial to stop, pause and recharge. Learn to know what your mind and body need for you to be at your healthiest.

Photographer: pexels.com 

ROWING 101

Rowing is a sport that consists of rowers propelling a boat forward by means of oars. It can be a team sport or an individual sport and uses the full body. Within rowing, there are some interesting sayings and phrases. Below are some of the most important terms associated with rowing and some interesting words, like coxswain, ergometer, rigger and starboard. 

Firstly, the directions on a boat: The front of the boat is called the bow and the rower sitting closest to the bow will cross the line first. The left side of the boat is called the port, the right side is called the starboard and the back of the boat is called the stern.  

To propel the boat forward, oars are dipped into the water and the water displaced drives the boat. The cadence of the boat for all to follow is set by the stroke, who is the rower located nearest to the stern. There is an “on-the-water” coach called the coxswain (or cox), who also steers.  

In rowing, there is a feeling (called swing) that is difficult to define, but one that rowers appreciate because the effect can result in improved speed and performance. Sometimes, when there is no swing, another method is needed to get ahead of the competition. One such technique that can be employed is called the Power 10, whereby the rowers pull ten of their best strokes in the hopes of a win.  

Nelson Mandela University has an active rowing team that, while competitive, also has social aspects. Rowing is a wonderful opportunity to get outdoors, get some exercise, develop skills and have a good time.