Features

Exam anxiety and how to conquer it

SAM MUKWAMU

For any UP student, June can be an incredibly stressful time. Most of your time is spent studying for, or worrying about your exams. The last thing a student needs is for all that stress and worry to build up and result in a panic attack during their paper. These panic attacks tend to happen unexpectedly, and involve feelings of intense discomfort or fear, while other symptoms include a lack of concentration, shortness of breath, profuse sweating, increased heart rate, and trembling. Yolanda Nongauza, a counsellor at UP Student Support, defines test anxiety as “an unpleasant state characterised by feelings of tension and apprehension, worrisome thoughts, and the activation of the autonomic nervous system when an individual faces evaluative achievement demanding situations”.

Nongauza says that test anxiety is situation specific, which leads to differences in the extent to which an individual finds examinations threatening. She adds, “Within this general conceptualisation there are broad and narrow definitions. Narrow definitions focus on fear of failure (emphasising how performance is judged), or evaluation anxiety (emphasising how test anxiety can be located with other so-called subclinical anxieties including sports performance, public speaking, and so forth). These emphasise a social dimension where the performance is judged by others”. Nongauza further added, “Fear of exams and test situations is widespread and appears to become more prevalent. Test anxiety may have a detrimental effect on test performance. If an examination particularly affects the person’s future opportunities, it may be even more stressful”.

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What legalised rhino horn trade really means

KATHERINE ATKINSON

On 5 April 2017 domestic rhino horn trade was legalised in South Africa. This decision followed the Constitutional Court’s ruling against an appeal to maintain the 2009 ban on domestic trade. National Geographic said in an article published on their website on 5 May titled “Breaking: Rhino Horn Trade to Return in South Africa” that South African rhino farmers and smaller courts have been pushing for the ban on domestic trade to be lifted for many years and that the trade needs to take place within strict regulations governed by Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). SA’s Minister of the DEA, Edna Molewa, told Traveller24 “that all domestic trade in rhino horn will be subjected to the issuance of the relevant permits.” This permit will also allow for foreigners to export a maximum of two rhino horns for “personal purposes,” according to National Geographic. The DEA reported to Traveller24 that its laws, regulations, and systems have been strengthened since domestic trade has been legalised.

Although domestic trade is legal, international trade of rhino horn will remain illegal. Despite this, there is concern that domestic trade could serve as a platform for smuggling rhino horn internationally. According to National Geographic, there is “almost no domestic market for rhino horn in South Africa,” yet a huge market for rhino horn in Far Eastern countries.

Read more: What legalised rhino horn trade really means

Prostitution: the price of sex

GEMMA GATTICCHI

Dubbed the world’s oldest profession, commercial sex work is a solution to many people’s economic woes. For centuries humans have traded money for sex and society today is no different. This practice has been legalised in some countries, but it remains a criminal act in South Africa.

Countries including France, Germany and Argentina have legalised commercial sex work on certain grounds. According to the website ChartsBin.com, “In other places prostitution itself (exchanging sex for money) is legal, but most surrounding activities such as soliciting in a public place, operating a brothel and other forms of pimping are illegal, often making it very difficult to engage in prostitution without breaking any law.” In other countries like Sudan and North Korea, prostitution is still punishable by death.

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South Africa's rape crisis

SAVANNAH PLASKITT

A hundred and ten cases of rape a day‚ or 4.58 every hour were reported in South Africa between 1 April and 31 December 2016, according to statistics released in March by police minister Nathi Nhleko and acting commissioner Khomotso Phahlane in Parliament.

Although the amount of rape cases reported during 2016 has decreased compared with the same period in 2015, the Institute for Security Studies believes that this is not a positive sign, mentioning in an AfricaCheck.org article titled “Factsheet: South Africa’s 2015/16 crime statistics”, “We are deeply concerned about the decrease of 3.2% in sexual offences. Research shows that this crime is under-reported and a decrease suggests that fewer people are reporting sexual offences.”

Read more: South Africa's rape crisis

Student sex stigma

SAM MUKWAMU

In 1991, the Hip-Hop group Salt-N-Pepa released the chart topping single “Let’s talk about sex”, a song that essentially addresses the positive and negative aspects of sex in an age where people find it taboo to openly talk about sex. The song, which was alternatively released as “Let’s talk about AIDS”, was released with the purpose of removing the negative stigma that is attached to talking about sex. Twenty-six years later this stigma still exists.

In a university environment, there is a great need for students to openly talk about sex, specifically about the risk of unplanned pregnancies, the spread of HIV and other STIs, while learning how to handle certain situations. Robyn Luck, counselling and training manager at the Centre for Sexuality, AIDS, and Gender (CSA&G), shared her views on why there is a stigma towards sex: “I think there’s this idea that if you talk about sex then you’re promoting it, and that’s not what we’re doing. People are having sex whether we like it or not, and if they’re doing it, they must do it safely”.

Read more: Student sex stigma

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