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How to Speak Rhodent: A Brief Guide

by Shirley Erasmus

Trust Rhodes to have their own lingo and made up words; Shirley Erasmus takes us through the ins and out of how to speak Rhodent.

Upon arriving at the little town of Grahamstown, home to the Rhodes Rhodent (aka you), you’ll soon discover that becoming a Rhodes student means learning a whole new language. This ‘new’ language is often reffered to as ‘Rhodentse’. Don’t worry if you don’t know what we are talking about, below is a list of terms which will quickly help you to get the Rhodes lingo and become familiar with how to speak Rhodent.

Aegrotat – A certificate issued by Rhodes University, stating that a student was too ill to write an examination. Students who have been granted an agrotat will be permitted to write the exam at a later stage, after the examination period.

Arb (credit) – In your first few weeks at Rhodes, you will hear this word many times. Arb, is the abbreviation of ‘arbitrary’ and it refers to a subject which is taken simply in order to get a credit, but is not intended as a major.

Arch, The – You may already know The Arch quite well. The Drostdy Arch is the boundary between the Rhodes University campus and town. It is found at the top of High Street and intersects with Somerset street. Long held Rhodes superstition tells the tale that any first year student who walks directly under the arch and does not use the side entrances, will fail their exam.

Barratt – Refers to the Barratt Lecture Complex, located by the sociology department and Prince Alfred House. (More importantly this is one of the lecture venues with aircon!)

BP Run – The act of going to the BP garage on African street. This will generally take place after 1am as the garage is the only 24 hour store in Grahamstown.

Cotch Creek – Refers to the tiny stream that flows down the middle of campus until the intersection of Prince Alfred Street and Rhodes Avenue.

CPU – Campus Protection Unit. CPU is the private security company in charge of keeping the Rhodes University Campus safe.

Dawnie – Any lecture taking place in the first period of the day which begins from 7:45am until 8:30am. This is considered a ‘dawnie’ because students must wake up very early in order to attend these lectures.

For days – A term referring to a large amount of something. e.g. I’ve got food for days.

Frair’s– Refers to Friar Tuck’s Pub and Grill located in Bertram Street.

Gees  Afrikaans word meaning “spirit”. This term refers to vociferous excitement or support for an event or sports team.

GLT – Abbreviation of General Lecture Theatre, located opposite the library.

Gwan(s) – A story or news, used mostly as a synonym for gossip.

Kaif – Bastardisation of café. This refers to Rhodes University’s subsidised café outside the library. It is also referred to as the Day Kaif. You will soon discover that the ladies who work at the Kaif have the power to turn any bad day into a lovely one.

Late – Term meaning an unfavourable outcome is likely. e.g. It’s late for you.

LOA – Leave Of Absence. This is refers to the paperwork issued by your department to be excused from compulsory academic activities. Skipping important academic activities such as a tutorial, without an LOA is not recommended.

Mare – A huge party.

Mama Pam– You’ll discover Mamma Pam outside the Rat and Parrot selling delicious boerewors rolls, usually between 8:00pm – 12:00pm.

Purple Thursdays – A regular practice instituted by the Rhodes Student Representative Council (SRC) during which students are encouraged to wear large amounts of purple. The term has recently come to be used as reference to extravagant electoral promises from students campaigning for a SRC position.

Under the Arch (Coffee) – Getting coffee from Under the Arch usually means grabbing a cup from Hand Made Coffee’s local Barrista Sisa Mapetu. If you present your student card you can get a cup for R15.00.

Within a few weeks you will discover that speaking ‘Rhodentse’ is as easy as being a Rhodent!

EduConnect 2cents

As with most universities, Rhodes has its own lingo and terms. It may seem strange at first and you may be hesitant to speak Rhodent, but you’ll soon fall in love with Rhodes and it’s lingo. And then it’ll be a mare.

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