Features

SANParks celebrates our natural heritage

SAVANNAH PLASKTT

SA National Parks Week is welcoming spring and celebrating South African heritage again this year. From 12-17 September South Africans can visit most of South Africa’s 21 national parks free of charge.

Established in 2006 under the theme “Know Your National Parks”, National Parks Week is aimed at promoting pride in the parks as well as raising awareness for conservation concerns. The week is a chance for locals to visit the parks as it was found that a majority of South Africans were not visiting the parks. South African National Parks (SanParks) acting head of communications William Mabasa said that creating a national culture of pride in the parks encourages South Africans to be more aware of conservation issues and to gain more knowledge about the country’s rich natural and cultural heritage. “When people start to take pride in the national parks, then we believe that they will start to understand the importance of conservation,” said Mabasa.

This year exhibitions will also take place at some of the parks, such as a weekend of African spirituality at Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the Free State. Cultural festivals, including exhibitions and traditional performances, will be held in Limpopo at Mapungubwe National Park and Work Heritage Site. Mabasa said in a media release, “This year’s SA National Parks Week will include exhibitions around the country at various key national parks which will represent the different geographical regions of SanParks. The expo will include cultural, conservation, nursery and tourism aspects from the community, rangers and various conservation entities in order to highlight the broader South African biodiversity landscape.”

Read more: SANParks celebrates our natural heritage

TuksRes provides support for students

HUVASAN REDDY

Students face a number of difficulties during their time at university, and students may reach a stage in their lives when they require support. Residence students can find support from the student support division in residences, which is provided by TuksRes. Perdeby spoke to Bes Liebenberg, manager of residence management and student support at the Department of Residence Affairs and Accommodation about the services that residence Student Support provides, as well as general student stresses.

 

What can TuksRes Student Support help students with?

TuksRes Student Support offers support to help students manage academic and personal demands more effectively while gaining self-understanding and direction. Our aim is to ensure that there is someone who can lend support to you in order to avert any anxiety you may feel when coping with life at university in general, and with residence in particular.

Read more: TuksRes provides support for students

South African great white sharks may face extinction

SAVANNAH PLASKITT

Great white sharks are apex predators that live in the Cape waters. Listed as “vulnerable”on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list, great whites are protected in South Africa, with anyone found to have killed, fished or harmed one facing a R50 000 fine and up to two years imprisonment. However, a new study by Stellenbosch University (SU) claims that their fight against extinction could be worse than previously estimated.

The study was conducted by Dr Sara Andreotti of the Department of Botany and Zoology at SU over a six year period in Gansbaai, which has the world’s highest concentration of sharks. Over 5 000 pictures of sharks’ dorsal fins were taken (each shark has a unique fin, with notches like a fingerprint) and a biopsy from the animals for genetic sampling was also taken. Using this, Andreotti estimated the population to be between 353 and 522 individuals, 52% lower than previous estimates. In a media release issued by SU on 16 July, Andreotti said, “When looking at the number of adults counted with the photo identification work, we have come to the conclusion that South Africa’s white sharks faced a rapid decline in the last generation and that their numbers might already be too low to ensure their survival. The chances for their survival are even worse than what we previously thought.”

Read more: South African great white sharks may face extinction

Black women’s hair in the spotlight

HUVASAN REDDY

A racial debate arose at Pretoria High School for Girls High (PHSG) after a group of black pupils protested against stipulations in the disciplinary code of the school which regulate the appearance of black pupils’ hair on Monday 29 August. Pictures and videos emerged on social media of school girls protesting against school rules that prevented the girls from wearing their hair in traditional African styles.

According to a report by IOL titled “Racism fury at Pretoria Girls High: MEC steps in” published on 30 August, in the week of 22 August a pupil at PHSG presented an assignment highlighting systemic inequality in South Africa. The pupil was subsequently taken to the principal’s office and threatened with suspension. On 28 August, at the school’s spring fair, black pupils at the school marched in protest of alleged institutionalised racism and discrimination at the school. From this protest a video emerged on social media of security personnel threatening to arrest the pupils. The pupils are further protesting against allegedly being targeted when in groups of two or more, and allegedly being prevented from being able to speak in their home language among their peers.

Read more: Black women’s hair in the spotlight

Major metropoles experience changes in local governance

COURTNEY TINK
Many major metropolitan areas in South Africa will experience a change in local governance after the outcome of the 2016 local governance elections. The ANC, which received 55.68% of the votes nationally, lost governance of Tshwane, Johannesburg, and Nelson Mandela Bay. The DA only received 24.57% of votes nationally. Coming third in the national tally were the EFF, who received 8.31% of the national votes.

Read more: Major metropoles experience changes in local governance

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