Sunday, October 30, 2005

Editorial 3

Letters to the Editor are truly wonderful things- and its been great receiveing so many since I took over the paper. Intellectuals fighting is always interestng (especially when the battle lines are the pages of the paper you are editor of) and I dare say the letters I received made the edition. My third editorial:

Well, it’s nearly exam time again and it seems like just the other day that I was sitting in exams, my mind and fingers numbed by the cold. But this time around, as always, heat will be what dulls the senses as perspiration what slows the fingers.

There are however some constants which just make the exam process seem almost cozy in a sense. The nervous wait outside the venue then the rush to see where you will be sitting and the relief to see your name hasn’t been crossed out because of that small chance that the DP warning letter didn’t get through to you. The shuffle into the venue itself, the tension quite palatable as you glance around trying to convince yourself that there are others in there with you who are more nervous and perhaps even studied less than you did. Then there is the obligatory monologue from the invigilators, at this point it almost feels like you are about to bungee jump off a bridge in the dark, the invigilators may as well be shouting “bungee” when they tell you to begin reading time as there is no turning back after that. No way of knowing if the there is a rocky outcrop or two to bash against as you speed towards the ground, no way of knowing if the cord will even hold you and save you from a plummet to an F on your academic transcript. But when you find questions you can answer, it’s like feeling the cord tighten and snap back as it saves you from getting a mouthful of dirt while a wave of euphoria and relief wash over you. All you have to do after that is start writing and believe in yourself. But enough about exams.

Letters to the editor are great things to get as they let us know that people are reading the newspaper and care about what is being said. One of the first things I did was add in the “How to contact us” box in order to open a channel of communication between us and our readers as no newspaper is an island. There were two articles which appeared in last edition in particular which were commented on. The first being the SRC article on the front page which Dominic White wrote a letter about. The second was a response written by Professor Marius Vermaak, the head of Philosophy and the Dean of the International Office with regard to the opinion piece written by Dr Leonard Praeg, a lecturer in the Politics department.

In his email to me Professor Vermaak stated that in his opinion I, as editor, “owes (sic) the University space for a full response, to a very irresponsible and damaging article.” Let me get a few things straight at this point, Activate is and independent student newspaper and thus we owe nothing to any one person or organisation, this includes the University and the SRC, we owe everything however to you, our readers, as it is only to you, I feel that Activate is accountable to. Therefore, as per Professor Vermaak’s wishes, we are running his letter in full and totally unedited. I do however take exception to Professor Vermaak’s aforementioned remark. His letter is getting printed because he is the person in the position to represent the University on this matter, he is “the man in know” so to speak. His letter is not getting printed because I owe it to the University. Turn to page four to read the letters for yourself.

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