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.

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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!

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

 

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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.

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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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Are students going to survive to receive their degree?  

A drastic increase in Rhodes University student’s consumption of medication and vitamin supplements is leaving the general health of South African students in question. Replacing conventional methods of health such as diet control, exercise and reduced drinking with easier substitutions is resulting in the holistic demise of student health.  

Conventional methods of health ensure the maintenance of the body’s immune system, this needed to protect oneself from infection. The lifestyle choices of students, however, jeopardizes this safety. Poor lifestyle habits together with the increase of stress weakens the bodies defence system against cold and flu, thus if what has become known as the student routine is maintained, our university students might not make it to their graduation.  

In a recent survey I conducted on the preferred health choices of students, a steady 27.27% of students continue with normal lifestyle habits even when they are sick- this including partying, drinking and smoking. The effects of this detrimental on prolonged health. In order to attempt to combat this, students make extensive use of prescription and non-prescription medication, including paracetamol-based painkillers and cough-syrups. Dr. Moray Shirley, a practicing general practitioner, explains that this chosen method is increasingly dangerous, ”there are many agents freely available over the counter that cause addiction as well as many other serious health issues”. Codeine-based cough syrups and paracetamol-based painkillers are explained by Shirley to be two of the most addictive and overlooked medications, Panado in particular affecting the functioning of the liver if used over a prolonged period of time.  

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Lifestyle Choice Graph

Several contributing factors to the degradation of student health are mentioned, however, the most detrimental being the excessive consumption of alcohol with the consumption of medication. Excessive alcohol, as explained by Shirley, ”affects the clearing of agents through the liver”, yet the liver is both needed for the processing of medication and alcohol. Thus, the infamous students of Rhodes University should be weary of their alcohol intake and methods in order to cure a hangover, of which include painkillers and anti-nausea tablets.   

Aside from medication, another preferable method by students to maintain health is the regular consumption of vitamins. The supplementing of vitamins into one’s diet is extensively advertised to be good- this with 50% of Rhodes University students saying that they supplement vitamins into their diet every day. However, the consumption of vitamins that are not intended to supplement a deficiency but substitute other health regulators are problematic. An article written under the publication of the Harvard Health Publications, deduces that the overconsumption of a particular nutrient may result in toxic vitamin levels, this leading to the overall degeneration of a person and moreover, a student’s health. For a more in-depth discussion of whether or not we should be supplementing vitamins into our diet, visit the Harvard Health Publications webpage by clicking here 

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Vitamin Consumption Graph

In the instance of Rhodes University students views on antibiotics, a controversial perspective was explored. 90.91% of Rhodes students replied to needing antibiotics when they are severely sick and a small majority preferring to fight the infection naturally, this again exploring the reliance on medication. However, the overuse of prescribed medication such as antibiotics may lead to a detrimental effect on the body. Drug-resistance is the most common issue with the overuse of antibiotics, Shirley explains that, ”the body gets used to active ingredients in the medication and prolonged exposure lessens its effectiveness”. Together with the lifestyle choices adopted by many students weakening the immune system to begin with, drug-resistance may ensure that recovery is unachievable. For a full explanation on how antibiotics and drug-resistance works, visit the following highlighted links: antibiotics, drug-resistance and medication-alcohol  

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Antibiotic Consumption Graph

Rhodes University students need be careful what they put into their bodies, whether this be alcohol, cigarettes or medications, for the effects may be the end of their university experience.  

 

 

The nature of the world

Increased violence, terrorism and political unrest takes a knock at tourism in some of the most beautiful and interesting countries. Here we are taking a look at both the dangers and the beauty that these countries have.

People fear for their lives when traveling in modern day times as airports and big tourism attractions not only attract the curious masses but also the revenge ridden, such as Al Qaeda. Here is a list of the top 4 most overlooked countries in terms of political strife and travel.

Firstly, South Africa: known for its high crime rate and corrupt government. Yet, South Africa has some of the greatest offers in terms of travel. The rocky exchange rate makes it one of the best value-for-money destinations. There are enriching cultural experiences along with something to do for everyone!

Secondly, Turkey: the abundance of historical sites and azure blue waters make it both a beautiful and educational experience, however, with current situations of Turkey being involved with the conflicts in Iran, Russia and Syria there is an infiltration of terrorists and extremists. The most affected areas are usually located within the cities and it is still possible to visit Turkey without being affected.

 

Thirdly, Mexico: a country so full of energy and life along with hearty culture. Mexico is a great destination and includes one of the 7 wonders of the world “Chichen Itza” along with beautiful beaches and forests with lots to explore. Mexico is also known for their drug cartels and their issues with America, after Trump decided to build a 650 mile wall on the boarder of Mexico and America.

Last but certainly not least, Brazil: also including one of the world famous heritage sites in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil offers vibrancy and some of the greatest carnivals occur here too. However, there is a lot of violence and crime within the cities of Brazil. Traveling to Brazil would require some research and understanding of the dangerous places. Although, you’ll see some of the greatest views and experience many unique things on a trip!

All in all, the world is filled with dangers but also with beauty – a top tip would be to try and do your research (Trip Advisor is a good one) and if you’re lucky enough, chat to some locals. Don’t let the world scare you too much because you may just miss some of the beauty the world has to offer!

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Beautiful Bathurst

Home to both the gigantic Pineapple and the historic Pig and Whistle, Bathurst boasts and oozes with beauty. A Sunday trip to Bathurst is must when you’re in and around the town. It’s a short journey both from Port Alfred and Grahamstown.

The big pineapple is the great landmark of the pineapple farm. You can go and take a tour around the farms, or perhaps just have a look in the shop (located inside the pineapple!)

The Pig and Whistle is one of the oldest pubs in the country and serves some of the greatest food! Located on the corner as you enter Bathurst from Grahamstown lies one of the greatest gems. Inside you can look around the shop at some of the most beautiful antiques while you wait for your food to be served.

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Thumbs up for the Pineapple!
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Eagerly waiting for the scrumptious food @ Pig And Whistle

Toposcope Sundowners

Famous for its sunsets and a fairly short hike from both Rhodes University and the centre of town, Toposcope offers a breath-taking view of the Eastern Cape wilderness. A common destination for sundowners, the peak of Grahamstown will most assuringly offer that much needed serenity from the chaos of work and studies. The hike includes a walk along the Grey Dam, a beautiful location for a Sunday braai. Proceeding up through the brush and to the top of the hill will allow you to gaze upon the dam and its surroundings, including the wind turbines and Settlers Monument.

I implore anyone in the Grahamstown vicinity to take the gratifying hike to Toposcope and enjoy the scenery the Eastern Cape has to offer!

For more information on Toposcope, click here!

For more information on Settler’s Monument, click here!

Captivity for life

Majority of people are guilty of this. Guilty of what, one may ask. Guilty of viewing animals through the glass in cages and going to the zoo, animal parks or aquariums to serve as entertainment purposes. Humans did this to animals. Humans changed the behaviour and habitats of wild animals to suit their own needs. Would you put a human in a cage for the duration of their life with no valid reason. One would say no, so why do we think it is acceptable to put animals in cages?

Over the years, this issue has been overlooked. No one has made a significant effort to improve the situations that these animals are in. There is a valid reason for bird parks, zoo’s and aquariums. The reason is tourism. These places attract tourists, promoting tourism thus improving the economy of the country.  Zoo’s serve as an education source – to educate people about wild animals and for people to connect with them. They benefit humans to an extent but do they benefit the wild animal.

Keeping an animal, be it a mammal, fish, reptile, bird or even something so small like a butterfly in a closed environment is cruel. The animal is in captivity for life. For breeding purposes, it is accepted. However, for the specie to be on “show” for people to see is unacceptable. It belongs in the wild. In the natural environment, it survives best in. The environment when it can forage for its own food or catch its on prey. An environment where it can produce fertile offspring and naturally complete the general cycle of life. Birth, life then death.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/40959970/this-is-what-animals-have-done-when-they-escaped-from-captivity

However, due to mankind, this has been taken away from animals for our own benefit. The animal has been taken out its natural environment. The habitat it thrives best in. It is forced to adapt to an unfamiliar environment. It has to learn to eat a different diet. A diet that humans have created for it. A diet that is not suitable for the animal to thrive off. The animal is placed in an environment that consists of a 2m x 2m room with cold, concrete floors. Fake lights to create warmth and “natural light” for the animal to survive. A bowl with water and food are provided so that the animal survives to the next day when a bunch of new faces come to peer through the glass wall. The room closed off with a metal gate.

Cold and cruel is what comes to mind.

 

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