The effects of COVID-19 By Simamkele Ngcingolo

My name is Simamkele Ngcingolo a young man from the dusty streets of Uitenhage, Eastern Cape. I feel obliged to share with you my story of how covid 19 has affected me & my life.

It is fair to say that the disease came out of nowhere & it caught everyone by surprise as no one was prepared for it. When the stories from China first broke out we were still oblivious, questioning whether the virus is real or not until months later it hit home, yes the virus was within our borders and before we knew it we were under strict lockdown, level 5. So strict that soldiers from the South African army were deployed to keep people from leaving their homes something we would only imagine happening in a movie was our reality.

As we were experiencing the strict lockdown everything was shutdown from sport to soapies to schools & businesses even kissing & hugging was ‘a thing of the past’. It was during this time that I started questioning everything I had been doing since I was a young boy. I had so much time to think deep about life as I was aided by the fact that everything was on standstill, literally no distractions.

I was the guy who would sleep at 02:00 am and wake up at 12:00 pm just to eat and then go back to bed to take a nap again after eating and then stay on my phone the whole day. I did this routine for about 2 weeks until I decide to change my ways and try waking up earlier. It was a long and hard battle but eventually I went from waking up at 12pm to 10am to 8am and currently a year later I can proudly say I am able to wake up at 06:30am regardless whether I have commitments or not. I wake up and catch the sunrise, something so beautiful that I had been overlooking my entire life. Watching the sunrise increases my energy levels and gives me the boost I need to attack each day with positivity.

As the country was being opened up again & the restrictions were being loosened I started a new adventure with jogging just to take my mind off things little did I know jogging would become a huge part of my life as I am still at it today since July 2020, some months are better than others in terms of consistency but it is something that brings joy to my soul. The jogging eventually led to me eating healthier and helped me get stronger both physically and mentally.

The jogging alone wasn’t enough anymore I still wanted to become a better person that’s when I started reading. One of the first books I read was ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma a very interesting read that reminded me about who I am & gave me life lessons. It is one book I would recommend for everyone of all ages.

The irony in all of this is that as we were told to stay indoors I came out, the real me. Everything I am doing now from gym to reading is everything I did as a young boy. As much as 2020 was a bad year because of the many lives lost I am grateful because I found myself and I found purpose. There is still more to come, I am still searching for nirvana this is just the beginning of my story. I mean if the potential of a seed is a forest then how much more the potential of a human being?

Young Madibaz outfit primed for Varsity Netball challenge

The SPAR Madibaz outfit will be banking on injecting youthful energy into their challenge when they compete in the Varsity Netball competition in Stellenbosch next month.

After last year’s tournament was scuppered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition will take place at the Coetzenburg Indoor Centre from August 21 to 30.

The effect of the cancellation means that coach Lana Krige has been working with a virtually new group of players as only three members of the squad have previous Varsity Netball experience.

She did not shy away from the challenges they faced and said that, despite the lockdown restrictions, the team had been working extremely hard in preparation.

“Look, it has been difficult with the stop-start nature of our lives at this stage and just when you feel you are getting some sort of momentum, the lockdown restricts your planning,” she said.

“In addition, we are dealing with a new group of players as several student-athletes, including our captain Jeanie Steyn, have moved on since the 2019 tournament.

“So we have not been exposed to the intensity of a competition such as Varsity Netball, but many other teams are in the same boat. It is what it is and we are ready to embrace the challenge.”

Those difficulties notwithstanding, Krige was impressed with the commitment the team members had shown in the build-up to the tournament.

“We don’t have massive depth, but what I can say is that the team have trained fantastically well and we do have a special group of players this year,” she added.

“Possibly the Covid-19 limitations have had something to do with this because playing netball has become something they look forward to.

“It is not something which has become a burden to fit into your schedule and this has made playing the sport enjoyable.

“There’s a different mindset and I must commend the girls on the effort they have put in during training.

“Their attitude has been fantastic; nothing is too much for them and there is no complaining when they are faced with difficult challenges.”

Krige admitted that the format would test their resilience over the nine days of competition. Matches will be played from August 21 to 25, followed by a rest day, and completed from August 27 to 30.

“In normal circumstances you would be able to ease players into a high-level competition and rely on some experienced players to manage the game-plan,” she said.

“But that is not the situation we are facing so the challenge will be how to handle the intensity of Varsity Netball and to adapt to the tactics of different opponents.

“As I said, however, it’s the same for everyone and we are obviously determined to go out and compete to the best of our ability.”

Madibaz Sport netball manager Melinda Goosen said there had been extensive planning for the resumption of Varsity Netball.

“From an administrative point of view there are a lot more boxes to tick before the team gets on the plane to travel to Stellenbosch,” she said.

“But we just focus on taking it day by day. Ensuring the safety of our players is a top priority, as we want them at their best competing against the strongest in the country.

“It will definitely be a different vibe at the matches as there will be no spectators but this is the new ‘normal’ for all teams.

“After a year behind us with little to no netball, we are excited to put our team and the players’ skills to the test.”

Help Make Someone’s Winter a Little Warmer!

By Laiken Faiers

Winter is upon us. This means that most of us will spend our days safely tucked away from the cold under our warm duvets, electric blankets and maybe even camping in front of heaters or the fireplace. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky to have access to something as simple as a blanket – but you can help change this.

You can help make someone’s winter a little warmer by donating blankets or making a monetary donation. The Storehouse Church in Lorraine is currently hosting a winter blanket drive, and all donations acquired will be distributed between the different charities that the church is in connection with.

You can drop off new, or cleaned second-blankets at the church venue, 36 Vitry Avenue in Lorraine, Gqeberha, between 08h30 and 16h30 between Tuesdays and Fridays.

If you would prefer to make a financial contribution, please be sure to reference the donation as ‘Blankets’. The banking details are as follows:

Bank: ABSA

Branch: 632005

Account Number: 1008101198

Type: Current

Name: NCF

As of yet there is not a cut-off date for donations.

No matter how big or small the donation it will be greatly appreciated. In Vincent Van Gogh words “great things are done by a series of small things brought together”. Together we can help make Winter a warmer time for everyone in Gqeberha.

Buckle up, Winter is here!

By Tsireledzo Musecho

Winter has finally arrived, and it brought along its wrath! This winter season seem to be the coldest one yet, and for students, it seems to be ten times worse whilst studying and participating in classes. Here are some tips on how to keep warm in these cold fronts:

1. Hot water bottles:

What is winter without a hot water bottle to cuddle up with? Hot water bottles are great for people who easily catch flu, to keep themselves warm during the night. However, it is best to fill up the bottle with warm water instead of boiling water to prevent the bottle from tearing and risking burns.

2. Warm PJ’s:

With its proximity to the ocean, the city of Gqeberha is known to get very cold. With these cold winter chills, it is amazing what a pair of socks and a warm sleeping onesie or a woollen pair of pyjamas can offer.

3. A cup of tea can do some magic.

With busy schedules and early mornings, coffee has become the number one go to morning drink for keeping away in the morning. However, caffeine has been known to be very bad for one’s health. A cup of warm tea before bed not only warms you up, but it also helps you sleep better so you wake up feeling fresh and ready to face the day.

Winter days are rough. But, with the right approach, winter can be an easy breeze (excuse the pun) to get through. Warm up and enjoy your winter seasons.

Strong Madibaz representation at Tokyo Olympics

With a total of five representatives included in the South African team, Madibaz Sport personnel will be eager to make an impact at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next month.

Those who will be travelling to Japan for the world showpiece from July 23 to August 8 are water polo players Ashleigh Vaughan and Meghan Maartens as well as coaches Delaine Mentoor (women’s water polo), Cheslyn Gie (men’s hockey) and Jenny Kingwill (athletics).

Kingwill, the jumps coach, also attended the Rio Olympics in 2016, while her colleagues will be making their debut at the world’s biggest sports show.

For Vaughan and Maartens, it was a moment to savour when they learnt of their selection after months of anxious waiting.

“I really was shocked as it was surreal seeing my name pop up on the screen,” said 21-year-old Vaughan.

“In fact, I’m still a bit in shock as it was nerve-wracking awaiting the final announcement.”

So intense was the situation for Maartens that she admitted she could hardly even “really remember my reaction”.

“It all happened so quickly that I kind of almost blanked out,” the 22-year-old said.

“It has been a very tense few weeks, not knowing when the team is going to be announced. But it is a big weight off of our shoulders knowing the final outcome.”

Madibaz Sport water polo manager Melinda Goosen said she was elated at their selection.

“I know the hard work these players have put in, more so in these difficult times when training facilities were not always available due to the pandemic restrictions.

“They continued to persevere and remain positive, so deserve this accolade so much.”

She added that the achievement was even more special as this was the first ever SA women’s side to compete in the Olympics.

“It shows that the groundwork that has been done over the past couple of years at Madibaz is working and having two players at the Olympics means so much for the future of water polo at the varsity.”

Goosen also acknowledged the role of former Madibaz and national player Mentoor.

“Delaine’s roots lies very deep within Madibaz,” she said.

“Years ago when she was a student she played a pivotal role in the success of the team. Now she has done the full circle, achieving much as coach of the Madibaz side and being appointed as the national coach.”

Despite some of the challenges they faced in preparation, such as two training camps being cancelled due to Covid-19, Mentoor was looking forward to seeing the fruits of their labour.

“I hope to see our team grow and get better with each game,” said the head coach. “I would like to see a certain level of confidence in their individual play as I know the hard work each of them has put in.

“There is one thing no one can take away from our ladies and that is their grit and determination.”

In the athletics arena, Kingwill will be pivotal in Team SA’s quest for medals in Tokyo.

As a former athlete who has mentored many Nelson Mandela University student-athletes in long and triple jump, she will take charge of ace long jumper Ruswahl Samaai, who is a strong medal contender.

She said her sole responsibility was to support the athletes competing in the jump events.

“Naturally the aim is to help them to try to get a place among the medals, which is a tough challenge because of their lack of exposure at international meetings,” said Kingwill.

“Then you get an elite competition such as the Olympics and it becomes a real test to compete with the best in the world.”

Men’s hockey assistant coach Gie said he was excited about the “fantastic opportunity”.

“It’s a great honour to once again represent my country at the highest level,” said the Madibaz Sport hockey manager.

“I have several duties, among them to oversee defensive penalty corner systems and tactical analysis, as well as providing individual team information of the opposition to the coaches.”

Gie added that the team’s objective was to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Police officers vs Students

By Lindokuhle Frank

The rising severity of police violence towards students in South Africa is extremely concerning. The abuse of power displayed by the South African Police services has become an issue mainly because they are meant to keep people safe in times of crises.

In the late hours of 11 June 2021, an Instagram video went viral on all social media platforms of several police officers manhandling two female carjacking victims from a police station in Motherwell, Gqeberha. This video sparked anger from social media users all over the country, especially because the two women were there to report a crime but were further violated.

The Nelson Mandela University students were hijacked at gunpoint and their wallets taken in Motherwell, whilst on their way home to Summerstrand. They were taken to the police station to open a case, but they were further violated by police officers. In the video, police ask the two complainants to leave the police station, there was commotion before the doors were closed in their faces.

This type of treatment from police officers towards students is not something new in the country. Earlier in the year on 10 March, Mthokozisi Ntumba fell victim to police brutality during a student protest in Braamfontein. He was an innocent bystander that was caught in the crossfire between police officers and students. He was unfortunately lost his life after being shot at.

Student protests in South Africa have been characterized by outbursts of police brutality, the reoccurring ill treatment of students by south African police officers during student protests has somewhat become a norm. Student protesters often go up against heavily armed police officers leading to tragic outcomes. The complexity of student protests and police brutality calls for a new approach in dealing with consequences.

Police officers cannot disregard law or basic human rights, young or old, everyone has the right to open a case and be treated well.

Does science kill God?

by Sanele Thwala.

The link between science and religion has long been a provocative subject in our society, with accusations that science rejects God’s existence. It is important to reason whether science reject God and if these two disciplines are enemies, as most people believe.

Marcelo Gleiser, an award-winning theoretical physicist who specializes in cosmology and is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy, has dedicated his career to proving that religion and science are not mutually exclusive. Despite the fact that he does not believe in God, but he refuses to rule out the possibility of God’s existence entirely.

The subject of culture, religion, spirituality, and atheism has inspired a lot of debate, resulting in a lot of judgments, leaving a lot of people confused, and even involving science into it. To help clarify the terms, Firstly, culture is essentially a way of life. Secondly, Religion is a system of faith that is socially created and has been accepted by the society as a valid way of worshiping God. As a result, there are several ways of worshiping God constructed by the society, and they are in some way influenced by people’s cultural beliefs. Thirdly, Spirituality is a broad feeling of connection with something greater than us through the human spirit or soul rather than via physical means. Lastly, Atheism is the conviction that God does not exist., It is a categorical denial of the existence of a superior entity.

In this day and age, it is essential to note, that there are people who do not reject the presence of God but are not religious, and who have been chastised because society believes that a person must adhere to a set of beliefs. If it is not God, it implies that a person believes in God’s opponent, and humans are not allowed to remain neutral. Nevertheless, God is more than a religion and refusing to identify as a member of a specific religious organization does not imply that a person does not believe in God. Everyone is spiritual, even if they are not religious. Religion provides people with a sense of belonging and community in addition to merely believing in God. The concept of religion and spirituality, on the other hand, is more centered on the western perspective and the African understanding to religion and spirituality appears to have been undercut by historical writings or have been rendered unrecognizable.

Atheism is incompatible with scientific approach, according to Marcelo. Spiritual individuals, interestingly, utilize prayer as a direct line of communication with God. So, it is the communication of two spirits with no intermediary person involved Whereas, Religious individuals, on the other hand, utilize prayer to interact with the supreme being, but through an intermediary known as a Prophet or a God’s messenger. The commonality in this procedure is the connection or communication of spirits through prayer. God is manifested as a spirit hence, there is a spiritual process of connecting with God. That is to say, you are a spiritual being before you are religious. Therefore, the notion of invalidating the possibility of God’s existence entirely is not admissible. The physicist is interested in making difficult things understandable. Among the topics on which he has written on includes climate change, Einstein, storms, black holes, and the human conscience, exploring the connections between science and the humanities, including philosophy.

Marcelo claimed that the narrative of the creation of the planet is the first thing you will find in the Bible, and that everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, is inquisitive about how life began. As a result, while science and religion have a shared common interest, they provide quite different answers. Science pursues a method that eliminates preconceptions, whereas religion does not. He went on to say that science may give answers to a certain degree, and many people depict science as the enemy because they believe in an outmoded perspective of science and religion in which all scientists want to prove God does not exist.

“There is limit to science, it cannot answer everything beyond human understanding. If science is unable to address ultimate questions, we must seek answers elsewhere. That is not meant to be a criticism of science. It is just understanding and accepting its limitations, rather than pressuring it to respond to concerns that are beyond of its scope.” Says Physicist Marcelo

The scientific approach does not apply to the issue of God. As a result, science has nothing legitimate to say about religion in one sense. Science simply cannot answer the question of God’s apparent superintendence over nature using scientific methods purely because scientists cannot confirm or reject it since they cannot remark on it. He further claimed that scientists who come make remarks without comprehending the significance of belief systems in our society are exceedingly arrogant.

18 July – International Black Leaders Awareness Day

By Somila Tiwani

18 July is well-known as Nelson Mandela’s birth date. It is no coincidence that we globally celebrate Black Leaders the same day. Nelson Mandela can be considered the greatest leader to have existed by far, not only for South Africans but internationally as well.

Each year on 18 July , South Africans and the rest of the world commemorate the late Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa and international icon. Whereas, International Black Leaders Awareness Day (18 July) is an intriguing and inspiring annual initiative to keep the pace going in the fight for black inclusion and the creation of an anti-racist culture. Through skills and information, Black Leaders Awareness Day enhances knowledge and raises awareness, allowing individuals and organisations to make stronger advances towards Black inclusivity.

Nelson Mandela has paved the way for Black Leaders. He was able to impact and unite activists towards his beliefs, because of his convictions and attitude. This activist made it his life’s mission to eradicate racism and fight for black inclusion. As we celebrate his birthday, we ought to celebrate him as the greatest black leader this International Black Leaders Awareness Day.

One of the potential black leaders in South Africa is DJ Sbu (Sibusiso Leope), the founder of MoFaya Energy Drink. DJ Sbu founded the brand in 2015 with his two other business partners. MoFaya is a representation of authentic African energy and quality; empowering the hustle that has become synonymous with MoFaya. The energy drink is entirely owned by black people who are passionate about entrepreneurship and youth empowerment.

DJ Sbu has proven to be a black leader as he has always empowered the youth through education and entrepreneurship. His brand is growing by the year.

Today, black leaders in politics have let us down. The covid-19 pandemic has exposed our South African leaders as greedy and corrupt. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pledge to fight corruption is undermined by reality, as the ruling party, in its various factions continue to seek power, avoid jail and keep grasping at the levers of theft. But the stakes were never higher than this, therefore we cannot resist applying pressure.

Mandela Day 2021

By Shitshembiso Mahlathi

Mandela Day is an annual international commemoration of Nelson Mandela’s birthday, swhich is observed on July 18th each year. As the world remembers Nelson Mandela’s life, leadership, and commitment to humanity and humanitarian issues, we give thanks for his life, leadership, and dedication to humanity and humanitarian causes.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the year 2021 will be remembered as a watershed moment for the entire world, including South Africa. The pandemic wreaked devastation and caused many things to shift and change, but it also raised awareness about mental health. In a society where one in every three people develops a psychiatric disease at some point in their lives, South Africa’s nationwide lockdown posed a major threat to public mental health. South Africa has been dubbed the rape capital of world and within the first week of the lockdown, gender-based violence rose in South Africa.

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Because outreaches and charity events are not possible due to the lockdown laws, and because we spend so much time online, it is critical to be proactive with the 67 minutes of Mandela Day online. Young people can utilize these minutes to make a positive difference by teaching their peers on the importance of mental health and how it is perceived, as well as gender-based violence and how it can be combated, via social media.

Using social media to engage with people outside of your typical social groups might be beneficial. Use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites to host 67-minute livestreams to raise awareness about mental health. You can also talk to strangers online to get them to open up about their mental health and then try to help them by providing them ideas on how to deal with it.

Road to Financial Freedom

By Ashley Malepe

Financial freedom in a land whereby almost half of the people above the age of 18 fall below the upper-bound poverty line, may sound impervious and unattainable for most people. Poverty in South Africa cannot go unnoticed and continues to be a wide prevalent issue in the country. STATS SA’s Poverty Trends in South Africa report, released in August 2017, shows that a quarter of the population lived in extreme poverty in 2015. More than half the population (56%) was considered to be living in poverty as defined by the upper-bound poverty line. According to the report, the people most vulnerable to poverty in South Africa include women, black people, minors, youngsters/students, and residents of the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. This is due to the inherited riddled history of South Africa that the country still continues to grapple with financial oppression, inequality, and financial illiteracy.

But just what is financial literacy and why is it important especially for youth?

To understand financial literacy means that you are very well on your way to financial freedom. First things first, what does it mean to be financially free? Joanelle Smit, financial planner, and director at Spectra Plan BlueStar defines financial freedom as a state in a person’s life in which you have enough savings, investments, and cash to afford a lifestyle that you may wish for yourself and for your families. This does not mean being rich or having huge amounts of money saved up for ‘rainy days’ but knowing how to manage your financial woes and having enough when needed. This now leads to financial literacy, which is better defined by Jason Fernando who is director at Voyager Holdings, Jason defines it as the ability to understand and effectively use various financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting, and investing. Financial literacy is the foundation of your relationship with money, and it is a life-long journey of learning. The earlier you start, the better off you will be, because education is the key to success when it comes to money.

Being financially illiterate can lead to several pitfalls, such as being more likely to accumulate unsustainable debt burdens, either through poor spending decisions or a lack of long-term preparation. This in turn can lead to poor credit, bankruptcy, and other negative consequences. Thankfully, there are now more resources than ever for those wishing to educate themselves about the world of finance. One such example is getting a bank that charges you less and offers more than just banking but a range of free learning resources or articles to help you be savvy with your ‘Randelas’. However, to be savvy with your

‘randelas’ it may mean that there should be some source of income. This now becomes a challenge for most youngsters in South Africa specifically students, juggling academics, social life, finances may prove to be a bucket full of sweat. It is reported that 70% of students struggle with finances as a result, tend to lose their balancing act and slip into depression. The problem is not, although a contributing factor, having source of income but financial literacy. Financial illiteracy is more common in young adults or students than one may think. Interestingly enough, sometimes the place you are in may influence your way of living, financially. Several studies have found geographical location to statistically influence financial literacy more than economic and demographic characteristics.

Since financial freedom enables financial literacy, which frees you from financial stress and lop-sided spending, wouldn’t you want to get in on that kind of a cool culture of money? Not having to wonder where your next meal is coming from or if your bank will approve your loan? Being financially free enables you to have many options, you are never broke! well that may sound too good to be true but…

Here are ways to achieve and attain financial freedom:

· Side hustle- getting a side hustle is the first step to “short walk to financial freedom”. This will ensure a source of income and discipline. Be that as it may, it does not have to be overtly demanding which will affect your studies. In the contemporary times we live in, it is rather much difficult to find work, so being entrepreneurial-minded will better your chances of getting a source of income. A skill, or an idea that you always had but never believed in it, well now may be the time to believe in it.

· Getting a bank- getting a bank that understands your hustle and acknowledges you being a student takes a little bit effort and lot of sitting-down-thinking.

· Budgeting- drawing financing plans and expenditure is like adding fuel to your car. You will simply not get ahead if you do not effectively plan for you money. The feeling of wondering what happened to your money is the result of not doing your accountings. It does not have to be done in a ledger but a simple detailed plan of how you will spend your money will do.

· Sticking to your budget- consistent budgeting and sticking to it, shows and requires a great deal of discipline and commitment. You tend to also realise or pick up

mistakes you may have done in your budgeting, this helps you in making wise financial decisions.

· Savings- this appears to be the hardest part about the “short road to financial freedom”. However, if your goal is financial freedom, you need a buffer for the unexpected life events that happen to all of us, such as broken appliances, medical emergencies etc. Having the cash on hand to cover an unexpected life event gives you peace of mind and is a critical part of your overall financial plan. Once you have that fully funded savings account, you will start to feel more flexibility in your budget. You will be able to say yes to shopping splurges and specialty lattes with no guilt at all! Since you are not taking on debt, you will also need a savings plan for big purchases that are not emergencies. Let us take summer vacation for example. It is simple! Create a line item in your monthly budget and divide the total amount by the months you must save. You are not living in debt anymore, and that means you can enjoy your vacation instead of having a credit card bill follow you home.

· Do not live above your means- part of making wise financial decisions is knowing what you can afford or buy and still survive with savings on your bank account. Most students or youngsters love to splurge money on temporal things, and this is a great downfall for them.

Financial stress can be a waking nightmare for students or young people, and it can be a huge factor in talented students dropping out of varsity or slipping into depression. financial literacy should be compulsory for young people, especially students. financial freedom can be attainable, and it can be achieved through passive profit. “Passive profit is what you have after your fixed expenses have been paid. It means you still have enough money to live comfortably.” – Joanelle Smit.