Author: Rikie Lai

born and raised in Johannesburg in Gauteng. I grew up in Edenvale before coming to the Eastern Cape in 2020 to study at Rhodes University. I am a Rhodes graduate with a bachelor of Arts majoring in Organizational Psychology and philosophy and am finishing my fourth year of photo Journalism studies in the form of a Post Graduates diploma. I found a passion for capturing in photography after I left high school and came to Rhodes and I have just finished my first year of experience with photography.

By Rikie Lai Kingswood College recently unveiled a R12 million solar panel project that will help the school reduce reliance on the national grid by 70%. The R12 million project will see in excess of 730 555-Watt solar panels with an inverter system installed on campus in 2024, with the ultimate goal to reduce reliance on the national grid by 70% and provide a stable source of electricity to the campus. The hybrid system will allow Kingswood to alternate between their solar installations or the national grid for their power supply. “The ‘hybrid’ system means Kingswood will be able to…

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By Rikie Lai Makhanda has been home to the National Arts Festival (NAF) throughout its history and there is one monumental symbol of the rich history found within Makhanda and its festivities. The inaugural National Arts Festival in 1974 dedicated and celebrated the official opening of what would become the centre of operations for the National Arts Festival, The 1820 Settlers Monument. This building is the venue of choice for the Grahamstown Foundation, SciFi Africa, the National Schools Festival, the English Olympiad, graduations and many other activities throughout the year. The inaugural NAF lasted 13 days from 8 to 20…

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By Rikie Lai Makhanda roads are in a sorry state, a glaring sign of shortcomings in service delivery and infrastructure maintenance. Over recent years, the Makana Municipality has had numerous projects to try and address the issues. However, delays and challenges have hindered progress. Considering this, other organisations and entities have undertaken similar projects to also address these issues. Many independent and private entities have taken it upon themselves to repair the roads in Makhanda. In 2022, non-profit organisations were asked to send proposals to employ individuals and Hilton Haakonsen, the projects manager of the Social Employment Fund (SEF) in…

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By Rikie Lai Mluleki Raymond Ndabeni, also known as Reverend Mr Ndabeni, is a man of faith who has dedicated his life towards his devotion to religion and faith, as well as educating others and enlightening them on the word of God. Ndabeni would, in 1959, bebaptisedd at Livingstone Memorial Church by then Reverend McMaster, and this would start his lifelong journey around the country, but back to Makhanda, which he calls home, and after retirement, continued his ministry at the Livingstone Memorial Church. Reverend Ndabeni was born on 19 May 1959 in Makhanda, being brought up and going to…

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By Rikie Lai Recently, Makhanda residents witnessed a powerful demonstration by Art History student Sange Mpambani outside the Rhodes University Drama Department. Sange defines these demonstrations as “interventions”, which started in 2023 and were inspired by the 2016 #RUReferenceList protests. Cape Town-born Sange holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama and Art History and is pursuing an honours degree in Art History and Visual Culture. Sange defines themselves as an interdisciplinary artist with a background in performance. The research being done currently by Sange is the roles and contributions of Black women and Queers in student movements between 2015…

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By Rikie Lai A possible disaster is brewing in Makhanda, and if unchecked, it could cause “massive damage” to Rhodes University and the town. The wall of Grey Dam in the Makana Resort has slowly eroded over many years and could collapse and cause massive flooding. According to ward 8 committee member Peter Sturrock, Makhanda faces potential threats from a wall collapse. Sturrock says wear and tear over a long passage of time, has caused massive soil erosion and collapsing of sections of overflow pipes, which can, in the worst case, cause massive flooding. This if there were to be…

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By Rikie Lai The ANC government has taken active measures to scupper prosecutions against the perpetrators of heinous apartheid-era crimes, including the murder of human rights activist Neil Aggett. This was part of the extraordinary narrative relayed by Advocate Howard Varney to a packed audience at Kingswood College on Wednesday, 12 March, for the 2024 Neil Aggett Memorial Lecture. Parts of his meticulously detailed address were covered by an SABC report. “Frankly, it is scandalous that hundreds of murder cases as well as the worst known crimes were allowed to be suppressed,” Varney said. Varney represented the families of anti-apartheid…

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By Rikie Lai Celebrating its 120th anniversary, Rhodes University recently held a lecture on the long-standing history of the institution, presented by the esteemed historian Professor Paul Maylam. Maylam received his honours degree at Rhodes and worked as head of the History Department until his retirement. During his lecture, Maylam outlined a detailed timeline of events and alumni and a detailed account of critical key points in the history of Rhodes. He indicated that in 1904 when Rhodes was established, teaching held a much higher precedent than research. He adds that modern faculties do not solely focus on teaching because…

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By Rikie Lai Upliving with Disability Movement and Shirley Special Day Care have partnered for Mandela Day and ask those involved to take positive actions in tribute to Nelson Mandela. The organisation hopes to use the opportunity to raise awareness and funds, not only to further their goals but also to provide necessities for those in their care, including food parcels and blankets. Founded in 2021, Upliving with Disability Movement is a non-profit organisation whose vision is to assist and empower the visually impaired through skills development to adequately equip them to act independently and contribute to society. The organisation…

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