Rhodent Overalls

This post is a little more about Rhodents then Ikeys because, while both have overalls, they are a little more important to Rhodents. Not every Ikey has overalls that they wear to every university sporting event… At Rhodes you won’t find one student without one!

During the first few months of my first year at Rhodes there were signs up all around campus advertising the sale of overalls. Once you have bought your overalls the next step is to decorate them. My friends and I shopped for every purple paint, glitter and pen imaginable to fill our white canvases.

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Decorating our Overalls

Trying to decide what to put on our overalls was the hard part and I cannot explain to you why I decided to put Playboy Bunnies coming out of a magician’s hat on mine. The only image that I knew I wanted on mine is King Julien from Madagascar and this was only due to the fact that my friend Charlie always called me King Julien and she was my Mort. One day we all got together on the grass in front of our res to start decorating… and we have been decorating ever since. Every event adds more character to your overalls. More paint gets added as well as seemingly random comments from friends that are hilarious at the time.

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The back of my overalls featuring King Julien

The main events that Rhodent overalls see are Intervarsity, Boatrace and Fish River Canoe Marathon, all of which involve copious amounts of alcohol. This generally leads to some bad decisions such as bush diving and swimming in your clothes. So, while overalls aren’t the most flattering attire, they do serve some purpose… they keep you warm as well as protect your clothes from any “spillage”.

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Boatrace 2012

My overalls have been the greatest source of Rhodes memories. They have messages from all of my friends and random sayings to remind me of amusing events. I have also kept a list of every event I have worn my overalls to. It is a piece of clothing I will keep for the rest of my life.

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The front of my overalls

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Fun in the Sun

As you may have worked out there is not much to do in terms of daytime entertainment in Grahamstown. It doesn’t have a big shopping mall, a beach or a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. So we make do with what we do have. On weekends in summer some of the more popular places to visit are the Rhodes pool (also known as the “meat market”), Grey Dam, and the Botanical or “Bot” Gardens. For those that want to venture a bit further there is always Port Alfred.

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Grey Dam

Bot Gardens

Bot Gardens

We do of course have a very small shopping centre (if you can call it that) called Peppergrove Mall. It houses the basics such as Pick ‘n Pay, Mr Price Home, Grahamstown Pharmacy, but most importantly… Roxbury Cinema. While they do get their movies a little later then big chain cinemas they are a lot cheaper. All movies on Mondays were only R10 and the rest of the week they were a whopping R20. This is small change compared to the prices you would pay at any Ster Kinekor.

In Cape Town there is a much wider variety of daytime activities. In terms of shopping centres you have Cavendish Square, the V&A Waterfront, Canal Walk and many more. Unlike Grahamstown which has only the main clothing chains, namely Woolworths, Truworths and Edgars, you can never get bored of the vast amount of shopping options in Cape Town. Each of these shopping centres also has their own movie house. Cape Town also has a much broader range of restaurants to choose from.

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V&A Waterfront

For those that want to enjoy the outdoors, Cape Town is known for their beautiful beaches such as Camps Bay, Clifton, Muizenburg and Llandudno. You also have the option of exploring many of Cape Towns wine farms and enjoying a day of wine tasting. Another popular activity is visiting Cape Towns markets, such as the Hout Bay Market, Kirstenbosch Craft Market, Green Point Market and the Old Biscuit Mill to name a few.

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The Old Biscuit Mill

While I loved my four years in Grahamstown coming back to Cape Town has been amazing as there is just so much more to do.

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Wine Tasting

For more info on Cape Town Markets visit Mother City Living

Jolling and Jamming

As most people know, Grahamstown is considered the biggest party town in South Africa… even if it is a tiny place. I think its just because all the partying is concentrated in a small area, I mean Cape Town is a lot bigger and therefore has a lot more places to go out but people don’t notice a big party night like you would in Grahamstown. From Friday to Sunday it would most certainly be safer if New Street in Grahamstown just closed down at night because of all the people walking between the Rat and Parrot, Friar Tucks, Prime and MonAstery. Although, the same could be said about Main Road Claremont, with Affinity, Tin Roof, Tantra, Tiger, Boogy and Stones.

Tiger

Tiger

By far the best thing about Grahamstown’s night life is the fact that getting around is easy, home is never far away so you don’t have to count on a designated driver. In our first year, walking was part of the fun. We would stop off at other res’s to find friends and have more then one pre-match. It also meant you walked past the Union on your way out. The Union is Rhodes’ campus bar, and it quickly became the place to go before any night out, although sometimes people wouldn’t make it further then that.

Live Band at Union

Live Band at Union

While many people ask whether the night life in Grahamstown gets repetitive and boring, what most people don’t consider is the fact that even if they are living in a big town like Cape Town, how often do they venture out of their partying comfort zones? I have been back for almost a year already and I still generally go to Claremont for a night out. Going into Town just gets too expensive between taxi rides there and back and the more expensive drinks. Tiger is therefore one of the favourites for a night out. I have never had a bad night at Tiger, which is probably why after 5 years my friends and I still head there on weekends.

My comparison of the two would probably go like this:

Grahamstown                         v                      Cape Town

Prime                           =                      Tiger

Rat and Parrot           =                      Forries

Friar Tucks                 =                      Tantra/Tin Roof

In these two very different cities, neither nightlife is better… they’re just different

Prime

Prime

Go Big or Go Small?

When I was much younger I always assumed I would head to UCT to do Business Science because that is what both my parents did. However, when I had to really consider my options I realized that what worked for them would not necessarily work for me. We are, after all, completely different people.

In my matric year a woman came to speak to us about Rhodes. She described Rhodes as an extremely small but incredibly vibey place. She told us that if you were coming from campus and wanted to go to the shops you walk to the main gate, cross the road and there you are. And if you want to go out at night all you have to do is walk one block over and there is the “party street”. That day I went home and told my parents “I’m going to Rhodes!”

Behind the Clock Tower

Behind the Clock Tower

Once I got to Rhodes I realized how right she was. Grahamstown is a tiny place where everyone knows everyone. The great thing was that almost 100% of first years were in residence, which meant that we were all on campus all the time. We tended to bond over our common situation of missing home and trying to get used to varsity life. Some of my closest friends now were girls I met in my res, Oriel. We are now spread all over the country, as well as the world, but when we catch up its like no time has passed. Rhodes really creates a close-knit family. Even now, if I bump into someone from Rhodes that I did not know while I was there, we become instant friends.

UCT on the other hand has a much bigger community. The first time I ever experienced UCT life I was in my third year at Rhodes. We were on holiday and UCT went back a week before Rhodes so I decided to join my sister in her lectures for the day. I remember driving towards campus and thinking how picturesque it was with Devils Peak looming over it. While the Rhodes campus is big, most of it is made up of the residences, so when I got to UCT it was like entering a whole new city on its own. Between the beautiful old buildings and the number of people walking around or catching up with friends on the Jammie steps, I couldn’t help thinking that this is where I wanted to stay, and that is when I decided to do my post-grad at UCT.

First Walk Up to Campus

First Walk Up to Campus

UCT campus is always a much busier place then Rhodes campus ever was. There is always something going on, be it the regular Thursday displays in Jammie Plaza or the constant career stands in Leslie Social. Then, of course, theres the madness of every lunch hour, when you can barely move on Jammie steps because of all the people. Funnily enough, lunch hour is when you least want to be anywhere near any place that sells food on campus, you will be there for hours

Although, the two campuses are completely different, I have thoroughly enjoyed both. They offer you different experiences every day.