Features

The meaning behind South African national holidays

 

KATHERINE ATKINSON

Everyone enjoys a public holiday, however, not everyone knows the significance that lies behind them. Public holidays serve as reminders of the struggles that South Africa has overcome and the sacrifices that were made by many.

 

21 March – Human Rights Day

In 1994 when former President Nelson Mandela was elected, Human Rights Day was declared a public holiday. The aim of this day is for South African citizens to commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre and reflect upon their rights.

 1948 was the start of formalised segregation, as this was the year that the National Party came into power. The Native Laws Amendment Act of 1952 stated that all black citizens must carry a reference book as a medium to control the movement of black nationals. Failure to produce this reference book was a punishable crime. This legislation was met with an anti-pass protest on 21 March 1960 by the Pan African Congress (PAC), a breakaway party of the ANC. During this protest at the Sharpeville police station, the police opened fire which resulted in the death of 69 individuals and left 180 wounded. Although it is uncertain what caused the police to open fire, the aftermath of the event was tragic. Mass funerals were held and several marches were led by Phillip Kgosana, the PAC Regional Secretary General. Of these marches, the most significant occurred on 30 March 1960 when Kgosana led a crowd of between 30 000 to 50 000 protestors from Nyanga and Langa to the police headquarters in Caledon Square. The protestors offered themselves up for arrest as they did not have their reference books. A week later, both the PAC and the ANC were banned under the Unlawful Organisations Act of 8 April 1960. The apartheid government implemented this banishment – and other more brutal methods of repression – to silence liberation movements. This ban prompted the ANC and PAC to launch an armed struggle campaign as a new means to fight the apartheid government.

Read more: The meaning behind South African national holidays

Korean culture gone global

REBECCA WOODROW

Hallyu (The Korean Wave) is a phenomenon which means “Korean flow”. Hallyu is the global spread of South Korean culture. The term was first coined by Chinese journalists during the mid-1990s to describe the growing popularity of Korean entertainment and culture. It originally started in Asia through the success of Korean dramas, which resulted in South Korean television dramas garnering more audiences than American entertainment. Chung Kwangyong, counsellor at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, said part of this success came from viewers enjoying relatable content that showed “common values such as Confucianism and family loyalty such that the audience could easily access and understand Korean dramas”.

Read more: Korean culture gone global

Interview with Rag Chairperson, Roahan Gouws

LORINDA MARRIAN

For those who do not know, what does Rag do at the University of Pretoria?
Rag is a substructure from [of ] the SRC and it focuses on community engagement. It’s basically the university’s community engagement strcuture that deals with all of the community structures, charities, orphanages. It’s basically the goodwill image of the university outside. It’s there to improve the community as a whole and there to uplift. It’s a completely student-run substructure of the SRC.

 

Whose idea was it to change some of the elements of Rag? Was it the University or was it the Rag committee?
Usually people affiliate Rag with procession. Procession is gone, not Rag. In the old days it was very easy to accumulate funds due to the floats being outside the university because students did “Blikskud” [begging]. Due to safety reasons; one year it was limited a bit to only certain streets and then it was restricted completely to LC De Villiers [...] so the floats raised no money at all. It still takes a lot of money to build the floats, between us and TuksRes we spend about a million rand a year. It’s not community engagement anymore and that is the reason why Rag is here. It’s a great tradition to have, but […] we can’t fund it anymore. The university has been telling us to do something else. So that is why we as an executive committee took recommendations from management to change the entire format. A lot of the inspiration actually [for the market day] came from Dr Matete Madiba, when she said she visited a market day in Chicago.

Read more: Interview with Rag Chairperson, Roahan Gouws

The ICC and Africa: a blurred relationship?

MARKO SVICEVIC

On 26 October 2016, Gambia became the third African country to announce its intention to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC). The decision came shortly after both Burundi and South Africa expressed similar intentions, claiming as several other African countries have, that the ICC is biased and used as a tool against African nations and their leaders. On 22 February, a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court found South Africa’s decision to withdraw, invalid and unconstitutional. It ordered the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, and the President, to revoke the notice of withdrawal sent to the UN Secretary-General.

While the decision of some African countries to withdraw from the ICC has been criticised, in an article in The Guardian titled “African revolt threatens international court’s legitimacy”, Simon Allison expressed the concern that the ICC may lose credibility if states continue to leave the court.

Read more: The ICC and Africa: a blurred relationship?

Eating Halaal at UP

KATHERINE ATKINSON

UP’s Hatfield Campus has a range of restaurants including Tribeca, Coffee Buzz, and Haloa that offer a variety of food choices for students. The dining hall is the only place that allows students to use their student cards to pay for their meals. It provides food that is suitable for most students, but does not cater for Muslim students. This problem was brought to light by president of the UP Muslim Students Association, Saaif Suliman. Suliman said that many students used to get Halaal food from the South Campus, however, “with the demolition of the bridge [connecting Main Campus to South Campus], it makes it next to impossible for Muslim students to access the Halaal food outlet on South [Campus].” This has proven to be an inconvenience as travelling to Halaal food outlets in the Hatfield or Brooklyn area can waste time.

Read more: Eating Halaal at UP

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