I would like to bring to your attention an incident that occurred last night (17 Feb, 2015) on Prospect street in front of the University of Pretoria residences.
After attending an event held at Aandklas, I arrived at my car parked outside the residences and encountered an informal security “guard”. He followed us to the car and exclaimed how nicely he had been looking after my car. My boyfriend gave him some change and we began opening our respective doors. I asked my boyfriend how much he had given the “guard” out of curiosity, but mostly to find out if I should perhaps give him more. After my boyfriend told me the amount, the “guard” shouted, “Do not lie to your woman, it is only R3”, to which my boyfriend responded, “count again”. The “guard” then approached my side of the car with his hands outstretched. I closed the door, irritated by his arrogance.
I began to put my car in reverse and simultaneously noted movement in my rearview mirror. Once I had realised I couldn’t reverse easily, I told my boyfriend that I believed the “guard” had put a brick behind my wheel to prevent us from leaving. Upon inspection, we found that he had actually placed a large drinking glass behind my right rear wheel in an attempt to cut/slash my tyre.
When I first read the news about the introduction of Hatfield Studios into the TuksRes family, I rejoiced and thanked the Tuks gods for solving the need to accommodate students in a safer and closer environment that has resources like the library and Hatfield Plaza, among others, within close proximity, but it seems I counted my chickens before they hatched.
I am not arguing the fact that the introduction of this new (luxurious) building has not has not reached one step into providing beds for students (yes it has), but it came at a hefty price that amounts to R52 000 annually, excluding meals, electricity, laundry, parking, Wi-Fi, and other hidden costs. The majority of students that have been placed in this new dwelling point already have a financial crisis and find themselves having historical debt due to the lack of allocation of funds by NSFAS. My question is, how do we expect these students to pay for all these costs if they are only allocated close to R50 000 per year by NSFAS? This must cover all costs for the academic year, including meals, books, and accommodation.
It all started with the little things in res being taken away, then it was long-standing traditions and now they have taken liquor away from Pot en Pons. For a whole year we were under the impression that Pot en Pons would carry on as normal but now, five weeks before the event, we find out that there will be Pot but no Pons. A certain residence is turning 100 years old but instead of celebrating residence traditions, the DSA wants to do away with more and more of res life. As a student I understand that UP is trying to create a better image of the university, but what about the students already in university? We appeal to the people in power to give us one last real Pot en Pons without the new proposed restrictions, one more for the books, and next year we will accept the change happening around us.
With the two suicides that took place on campus less than 30 days apart, I thought it is time we talked about depression. (Not implying that depression was the reason behind these suicides, although it is most likely.) Depression (or clinical depression) is a medical illness that causes a constant feeling of sadness or low mood (which can be overwhelming). It may be genetic or it may be caused by the death of loved ones, conflicts and other personal problems.
There are various theories that explain depression: depressed people are said to produce less serotonin, which is a hormone that is responsible for mood balance. Studies have also shown that the hippocampus (the small part of the brain responsible for memory storage) is smaller in depressed people, hence depressed people have trouble remembering places and happy memories and, unlike the un-depressed, they cannot access these memories to improve their mood.
I have always been perplexed at the reality that this university – for the greater part – remains somewhat non-progressive. I mean, think about it, the idea that student life hasn’t changed much in the last decade is sacrilegious to say the least. Culture remains the most dynamic aspect of society, and the evidence is largely at its acme among us, university students. You know, wiggle wiggle wiggle and stuff.
I love the concept of student leadership. I believe this is largely the greatest tool at a tertiary institution level to entrench the ideals of democracy. The idea that we are led and can lead our own as equals affected by each other’s decisions, is a unique condition many globally are willing martyrs for. Oh, the privilege. The freedom we so gratefully enjoy, yet one that bears much responsibility in its practicality.
Election week is always refreshing for me: it is not only a chance to see the new SRC candidates, but also a time to see the influence I have had on the leadership culture of my university. In simplicity, I have failed. Yes, we all have.