MARKO SVICEVIC UP’s Department of Facilities Management, in collaboration with UP’s Department of Residence Affairs and Accommoda...Read more
For a three-day week, the past week was pretty eventful. Human Rights Day came and went and reminded us of the painful sacrifices made by South Africans to ensure that we have the freedoms that we enjoy today. The South African Constitution is remarkable, and as a Law student I find myself in constant awe whenever I engage with it because it provides such comprehensive protection for the basic human rights that we take for granted every day. As a so-called “born-free”, it is easy to forget that there was a time when the rights we enjoy today were only available to a certain part of the population. It is remarkable to think that 23 years ago, which is not such a long time, it would have been highly unlikely that I would have found myself in the position I am today – pursuing my dreams at the University of Pretoria.
This does not mean that all is well in South Africa. The Constitution remains a point of departure, and as much as it grants us protection, the Bill of Rights has to be given effect to change the reality of marginalised South Africans. One of the biggest questions in the student context is of course education, and how far the Constitutional right to education extends. However, there are so many gaps in South African society where basic human rights are not met. Housing remains one such issue. According to data journalism site Wazimap, in the province of Gauteng, 18.9% of households are informal dwellings. The transformative nature of the Constitution, which aims to create a society based on social justice, is far from being realised. Even though in theory the Constitution provides a mechanism for changing South African society, the powers that be have failed to make a greater effort to make that transformation a reality.
The fight against entrenched privilege and entitlement continues, with the benefits of democracy still out of reach for many of those who have grown so accustomed to marginalisation that it may seem like a battle no longer worth fighting. It is unfortunate that even after 23 years, there remains a level of resistance to change and integration that at times makes even the most simple of tasks difficult.
The Rag of Hope Benefit Concert was held on Saturday evening, and while I didn’t attend, I hear that it was a success. After many years without UP hosting an event for students to let loose, it was refreshing to see TuksRAG host an event of such proportions, with a stunning local line-up that catered to a variety of musical tastes. Hopefully the Benefit Concert is the first of many more events that will help to bring the student body together.
We put this edition together in a shortened week, and I hope that you enjoy it.