Travel Journalism: The Unknown Trials and Tribulations.

The misconception of students entering the field of journalism is that it is a hassle-free journey to exotic places. However, this career holds its fair share of trials and tribulations- political threats, uncertainty of success and wavering pay are just a few considerations that are in need of serious contemplation.

Jill Starley-Grainger, a freelance journalist specializing in ethical and luxury travel, aims to  equip aspiring journalists with the tricks of the trade. She writes, ”a passion for travel and the ability to string a sentence together will not qualify you as a travel journalist”. Her article attempts to challenge a novice journalist’s perception of travel writing, engaging them in critical debate about whether or not journalism is a career they can live and love.

Often a deciding factor for students entering this field is the uncertainty of success- the vast competition for positions and the wavering pay is a major deterrent for students. However, Lottie Gross, the web editor of Rough Guides, does provide hope for undecided students. In her interview, Gross shares her extensive travel experiences- this described to be not far off from the idealistic dream many wish to lead as a travel writer. Thus, an encouraged notion to adopt is that it is in fact possible to lead the successful life of  travel writer if you are dedicated.

Yet, the risk of journalism can not only be attributed to the uncertainty of success and indefinite pay, the global safety of journalists is a heavily debated topic in both the media and the classroom.

In attempts to rectify this concern, organizations such as ACOS Alliance and Reporters Without Borders have implemented various ways in which to protect fellow journalists, this from developing safety principles and internationally protecting journalists’ rights to freedom of speech. This is particularly crucial in rising attacks on the media by political powers, extremists and even the general public.


Thus, it can be said that the most useful advice for an aspiring journalist is to improve communication. Creating an open platform in which young journalists are able to communicate with media specialists is the way to ensure both safety and success. TBEX International is currently involved in this process, this through bringing together the globes most innovative minds via annually held conferences.

Journalism may be a daunting field to enter, however,  it does make for an exceptionally fulfilling career- the trials and tribulations found in its practicality can be outweighed by the gratifying experiences of travel, people and global innovation.

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Seeking Sanctity at Settlers Dam

The tranquil Settlers Dam is a refreshing local fishing, canoeing and rowing spot. The Dam is a short drive from Grahamstown and is also known as the towns local water source. Many high school and University students venture to its quiet waters to train for local competitions, this in both rowing and canoeing. I recently visited the dam with the Rhodes University Canoe Club, this a wonderful experience where I was able to paddle on the dam, this whilst the club packed their canoes for the upcoming Fish Marathon. The dam offers further activities outside of the water, this such as a centrally located picnic spot with braai facilities and ample land to explore around the dam.

I implore avid nature lovers to use the Settlers Dam attributes to their advantage, this an effective way to ensure a pleasant afternoon of relaxation and outdoor fun.

For more information, visit the Settlers Dam Facebook page.

Fish River Festival

The Fish river canoe race held in Cradock sees a two day marathon where teams compete to paddle the 81.8km course in the least amount of time. The race requires only the most skilled paddlers as the rapids and turbulent waters prove to make a gruelling course, the Rhodes University competitors feature some of the best canoe teams the club has to offer, aiming to win this years title. The pressures of the race are alleviated by the festivities of the Hansa Fish music Festival taking place on the Cradock Sports Grounds, featuring local artists such as Henk Grimsel and his Band. Other features of the festival include a beer tent and an after party that should commence into the early hours of the morning for the younger crowds to enjoy.

The Fish River canoe race and Hansa Fish festival are the infamous events Cradock has to offer. If you are interested in cheering for the local paddlers or simply taking part in the festivities, click here for more information.

Two Sides to the Story

”Two sides to the story” is the concept and subject of the art exhibition that took place this evening in the Rhodes University Art Department. The Rhodes University art students showcased their various two-sided stories, my personal best being that of Tayla Mackintosh, a first year art student who decided that the focus of her piece would be breaking the stereotype of an artist. Mackintosh explored the common misconceptions non-artists have about the world of art, such as that of promiscuity, insanity and addiction.

tay tay 2
”Two Sides to the Story” – The Artist


Mackintosh cleverly displayed this in an accordion style book, this opening the reader into the everyday life of an artist. The stereotyped chapter was displayed on the one side of the book and the ”reality” of an artist was so brilliantly placed on the other. Mackintosh explained that the inspiration behind her story was to explore the common notions many people associate with famous artists and in doing so, the conceptions people have of artists in general. Van Gogh, the famous post-impressionist painter was labelled as a mad extraordinaire and Michelangelo, the Italian Renaissance painter, was deemed ”insane” for his obsession with even wearing shoes to bed.

The common functionalities of these artists are propelled into the spotlight and consequently, are associated with the strange. If it were not for their extraordinary art, their kooky quirks would not seem so unfathomable. It is often an easier explanation to reduce artists to their quirks and what has made them different to the rest of the world but this is what Mackintosh has aimed to explore, the two sides to the story of an artist that is not so different from yours.

12th Annual RUTV Film Festival

The 12th Annual RUTV Film Festival is a must-see for all Journalism students. It was held on 7 September 2016 at the National English Literary Museum, Grahamstown.

(Photograph by Kyle Prinsloo)


The dedication, hard work and countless hours that the Journalism 4 students put in was evident in their 20 minute documentaries. Their effort and true passion for Journalism is admirable. There were six Journalism students that majored in TV. In groups of two, they produced three unbelievable documentaries: Money from the Sea, The Eden and Ezakithi namasiko.

To have the opportunity to study Journalism at Rhodes University is one part of my life that I treasure. Being a first year in Journalism is one thing, yet it is another to see how far students have come. I realised that if you “put your mind to whatever you want to do, good things can happen.”

(Photograph by Kyle Prinsloo)


Buckle up For Boat Races

The Boat Race Festival takes place annually on the Kowie River in Port Alfred. The opportune get away for Rhodes University students among various other competing University students has earned an infamous reputation. The weekend includes a line-up of South African DJ’s and local artists, of which includes the incredible Goodluck. The race takes place between Rhodes University and rival Universities, this where festivities and spirited support is shown.  I implore anyone in the Grahamstown vicinity to embark on this adventure and take part in the Boat Race Festival as part of the rowing crew or to fiercely support their university. A tradition that has soon followed the Boat Race Festival is showcasing what makes ones university unique and celebrated, the students of Rhodes University take this opportunity to showcase their overalls decorated with purple paint and littered with the signatures of fellow Rhodents.

For more information on the Boat Race Festival and how you are able to become involved in this event, click here.

Hopping boarders

You should never be afraid to reach over to the other side. Stellenbosch is one of the most beautiful spots along the coast and hosts many of South Africa’s famous wine farms. Stellenbosch also has a magnitude of other activities and sites, including a university. Very similar to Grahamstown as both towns are filled with students and still maintains that cultured aesthetic.

If you’re ever in the Western Cape, be sure to visit Stellenbosch. Coetzenburg Mountain offers a lovely walk and scenic route up to a dam, from the dam you can overlook the town and be at one with nature. Here are the maps for the hiking trails and mountain bike routes.

The dam at Coetzenburg Mountain

After a tiring and spectacular hike, you’re feeling hungry. One of the greatest spots with a good vibe is Bohemia Stellenbosch, here you can grab a beer or two along with some of the best food. Bohemia offers some of the most competitive prices and you won’t be let down!

The famous Bohemia pizza (Avo, bacon and feta!)


Following the Foodie Trend

Recently opened, The Rustic Route is a centrally situated food market in Grahamstown that is tantalizing everyone’s taste buds. Similar to The Stables and Fourways Farmers Market in Johannesburg, The Rustic Route is bringing on-trend food and drink to this small town. The market will add to the existing nature of Grahamstown, the inspiration of the food and drink centralized around art, individuality and culture. The market comprises of six food shops, of which include a braai stand, a craft beer stand and several other South African inspired stalls all offering interesting meals and local drinks. For anyone in the Grahamstown vicinity, The Rustic Route is the place to be, an arms stretch from both Friars and the Rat and Parrot, an enjoyable afternoon can be spent enjoying great eats among the company of friends and the enjoyment can be carried out into the staple evening festivities Grahamstown has to offer.

For more information on The Rustic Route, click here.

Perfect end to the day

Being surrounded by water is calming for the soul. For some reason when I am by water, whether it’s kayaking on dam, sitting by a river or swimming under a waterfall, I immediately feel a sense of serenity.

The Kowie River in Port Alfred did just that. Setting off on a barge into the crimson sunset, candy-floss coloured clouds painting the sky – an immediate sense of calmness washed over us and everyone was relaxed.

The Kowie River or otherwise known as “the heart of the sunshine coast” lies on the Garden Route between East London and Port Elizabeth. It takes a while to appreciate the uniqueness of Port Alfred. One of them is to appreciate the 27km of beauty that the Kowie River offers.

Dance with the waves, move with the sea. Let the rhythm of the water set your soul free.

– Christy Ann Martine

The silent killer

That fizzy drink you just drank. That chocolate bar you just ate. Or that craving for biscuits you just had. It is killing you. Sugar is killing you. Sugar not only has detrimental effects on one’s health but it also influences changes in one’s daily performance such as their mental and academic abilities. In the world today, almost every type of food we consume either has sugar in it already or it contains added sugar. I believe people are unaware of what sugar does to their body. People need to be aware of the negative effects of consuming excessive amounts of sugar. I will be referring to my own research that I conducted such as surveys, research from internet sources and research from my own personal experience.

Around February last year, I cut out sugar for two weeks. The results were alarming. Worn out and headaches to two weeks of having energy and not being in pain. Concentrating for longer periods of time became second nature to me. A flat stomach and a steady heartbeat compared to being as bloated as a whale or having a rapid heartbeat.

Sugar is killing everyone. Whether it is your age, gender or race, it is still killing you. Research that I conducted involved surveying Journalism 1 students. Of the 38 students who responded, 53% were unaware of their sugar consumption per day. 28 of the students said that sugar influences one’s daily performance and 57% agreed that sugar affects one’s academic performance. A brief interview conducted with dietician Pippa Manicom, showed that sugar influences the academic ability of students causing them to dissipate and perform badly. While a survey conducted using google forms, aimed at Journalism students it is not enough to draw a direct argument from, the results are apparent. Students are clearly unaware to the extent sugar damages one’s quality of life.

McDonald’s…  The regular Big Mac you eat on a Friday take-out night, raises your blood sugar levels to abnormal levels and it adds 540 calories to your daily intake. After an hour, it slows down your digestion. By Monday it would have been digested as it takes three days. How does one eat McDonald’s every day? A documentary, “Super Size Me” explores just this. For one-month Morgan Spurlock, ate McDonald’s for every meal. Weight gain and feeling nauseas was not the only side-effect he suffered from. He endured pain, headaches, depression, sexual dysfunction and chest pains. It just shows, the sugar in food we eat is slowly killing us.

Fast Food GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

During exam time or stressful times, many students tend to lean towards sugar as a ‘coping mechanism.’ Sugar activates the pleasure response in the brain but in turn, for example when a student is faced with mathematical problems, the brain produces cortisol. The cortisol then obstructs memory thus the student finds it difficult to concentrate.

Many people are oblivious to the implications sugar has on the human body. Sugar is detrimental to one’s health. Many students are unaware of how much sugar they consume daily or to the extent of how it affects one’s academic ability. Through various research methods, I have explored this and believe that students and other people should have more knowledge and the danger of sugar found in our foods.

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