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UP in possession of possible Rembrandt

Ricardo Teixeira

The 107-year-old Old Arts building at the University of Pretoria was once a building that held lectures and is now a museum and the head of the Arts Faculty. As a museum, it holds hundreds of ceramic pieces and several art collections. Among these is the Van Tilburg art collection, within it is a specific painting with an interesting history. Number 16 of the Van Tilburg art collection is long rumoured to be a Rembrandt. Believed to be the Portrait of a Rabbi, its authenticity is disputed as the premier expert on Rembrandt art, Ernst Van de Wetering, could not confirm if it truly was a Rembrandt.

Born in 1606, Rembrandt van Rijn was a Dutch painter, printmaker and draughtsman. Seen by many as one of the greatest visual artists in art history and the most influential Dutch artist of all time, Rembrandt’s work has been seen by millions. The Rembrandt Research Project believes he created roughly 300 paintings, 300 etchings and approximately 2000 drawings, during his lifetime.

There are some reasons as to why some would deem Number 16 to not be authentic. One of the major reasons is because the painting has been glazed. It is possible that it was glazed to help preserve it, however it removes the ability to identify a painting by brush strokes. It is due to this reason that Van de Wetering could not say if it truly is a Rembrandt. There are also several versions and copies of the painting, and there is a possibility that one of Rembrandt’s students could have copied the painting while being taught at his studio. The painting is possibly one of nine authentic pieces, all believed to be different versions of Portrait of a Rabbi, including a sketch. One of the pieces famously belonged to the Rothschild family until 1922, when it was donated to the Louvre. The piece in the university’s possession however, was willed to UP in 1976 by Jacob van Tilburg.

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Step It Up 2018 round up

Claudine Noppe

On Saturday 5 May, the finals of the Stuku-organized res event Step It Up were held at the Amphitheatre on Hatfield campus. Step It Up replaced Serrie, with residences combining to sing and dance, choreographing a 10-minute themed performance. This year the prelims took place on the Hatfield Campus in four venues, over two days. After these prelims, the top five women’s residences and the top four men’s residences went through to the finals. The overall winners of the night, Asterhof, captivated the crowd from the beginning. Their powerful and unique performance won them three titles at the Step It Up finals, including best ladies theme. The ladies had a punny “Asternauts” theme which was upheld by their vibrant costumes and song choices. The energetic and well-choreographed performance made the Asterhof ladies a crowd favourite, and secured them a win. First place for a male performance went to Taaibos, a Hillcrest campus res. They kicked off their “Around the world” themed performance with a humorous monologue by an airplane pilot.

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Step It UP replaces Serrie

Resego Molele

On 23 April, the Student Culture Committee (Stuku) announced a new event, Step It UP, which would replace Serrie as an inter-residence singing and dancing competition. Last year Serrie drew controversy among UP students and even attracted national media attention. Posters with derogatory and sexist messages were displayed by the men during the ladies Serrie preliminary performances. This year, Step It UP took place on 2 and 3 May and finals were on 5 May. “The controversy around serrie was having prelims in the residences without a form of authority, students walking around Hatfield with no form of security and the behaviour that festered,” said Stuku chairperson Yishika Moodley. “This event [Step It UP] was stripped of that,” she explained. The name Step It UP was coined by Moodley and Stuku Marketing EC, Wayne Wilson.

“Awaiting final approval led to a delay in the name process (which was initially supposed to be done how 1nsync was) so we had to improvise and come up with one so it would stop being referred to as Serrie,” Moodley said. Taaibos residence’s Culture External House Committee member, Terry Mthethwa said, “Step It UP filled a gap that gents felt with Serrie being cancelled.” “The whole event changing, the layout and how it actually works is what actually changed my participation because guys weren't too keen on putting two months of practice for four performances,” said Mthethwa. Asterhof residence’s Culture External House Committee member,

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UP Autumn graduation roundup

Koketso Ngwenya and Masesi Tsotetsi

UP recently celebrated the 2018 Autumn Graduations. Between 11 April and 8 May, over 11000 students have graduated. More than 202 doctorates, 1389 masters and 2412 honours degrees were conferred.

On 12 April, the Department of Heritage and Historical Studies, under the Humanities Faculty held their Annual Awards Ceremony in the Merensky Auditorium. Head of Department, Professor Karen Harris and UP director Karina Sevenhuysen began the ceremony with words of thanks. The ceremony was to celebrate the overall increase in the faculty exam pass rate from 84.2% in 2015 to 88.5% in 2017. Michelle de la Horpe, Nicola Irving, Elize Soer and Dominique du Toit were all recipients of awards for their outstanding performances. De la Horpe received three awards for her performance in Heritage and Cultural Tourism at Honours level, best research report and for outstanding performance in History and Heritage and Cultural Tourism for the Historical Association South Africa. Irving obtained two awards for her performance in History and South African history at second year level. Soer received 2 awards for her performance in History at third year level for JL van Schaik Publishers and Johan Bergh Historia. Lastly, du Toit received two awards for her performance in History at Honours level and certificate for her performance in History and Heritage and Cultural Tourism. Other recipients included Wayne Dlodlo, Tumi Moloto, Chelsea Swanepoel and Kieran Allock.

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African Union considers a single currency

Inge Beukes

Africa claimed the global spotlight on 21 March at the African Union summit in Kigali, Rwanda. This event saw 44 representatives out of 55 African Union (AU) member states sign a deal to create the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. The decision to establish the AfCFTA was decided in January 2012, and it took lengthy negotiations that started at the beginning of 2015, lasting until December 2017, to ultimately reach a final agreement. According to Aljazeera, the objective of the AfCFTA is to create a free-trade area to improve regional integration and boost economic growth across the continent.

The agreement thus commits countries to remove tariffs on 90% of goods, with 10 % of “sensitive items” to be phased in later. The agreement also proposes the possibility of a single African currency in future. South Africa and Nigeria failed to sign the agreement, yet they are some of the biggest economies in Africa. According to eNCA, President Cyril Ramaphosa did not sign the agreement as the presidency has certain reservations on outstanding issues. Coupled with this, constitutional and internal processes were not followed. In a statement released by the Presidency, Ramaphosa said that South Africa will become a signatory to the agreement once the legality of the agreement has been processed and ratified by the South African parliament, cabinet and the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC). On the other hand, Nigeria’s President Buhari commented on twitter saying: “We will not agree to anything that will undermine local manufacturers and entrepreneurs, or that may lead to Nigeria becoming a dumping ground for finished goods.” Although, according to CNN, Albert M. Muchanga, AU commissioner for Trade and Industry, remains optimistic on the success of the agreement by saying that the other countries will come on board.

The idea of a single African currency was supported by Ramaphosa at the African Union summit, as he enthusiastically said that we need to rid ourselves of colonial mentality that demands that we, as Africans, rely on other people’s currency. He further said that perhaps the day, the hour and the moment could have arrived for us to create a single African currency. According to the Business Insider, the Association of African Central Bank Governors announced that they were actively working towards a single currency and a common central bank by 2021.

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