From head boy in high school to the new Rhodes University SRC president, what’s next? Babongile Zulu and Judy Dlamini chatted to Ricardo Pillay about his campaign and his goals. Q: “A lot done but more to do.” What exactly has been done and what moredo you plan to do?A: This year media initiatives were set up such as e-mailing students andkeeping them up to date with what their SRC is doing for them. Also, thePurple Press assisted in relaying information back to students about issues inadministration. In my term as president I hope to develop a partnership with societies in addi-tion to developing leadership within societies. This will be in the form of society workshops. I also hope to create a sense of continuity into 2008 and publish aSRC semester report after the April vacation. My media councillor position hashelped me so far in my position as president, insofar as that the communication between myself and students is covered. Another important aspect for meis to be able to touch base with students. Q: What are your interests as Ricardo Pillay and then as Rhodes University SRC President?A: My personal interests can be summarised as being known as the people’s president because I want to bring back that sense of connection that has been missing in the past. Students must feel they are a part of this universityand everything that happens in it. This university is growing increasingly andmy SRC interests will be to have huge commitments in helping to transform it. Like the saying goes ‘no man is an island’ and it would be true to say ‘no uni-versity is an island’, in that we need to stop relying too heavily on outside and overseas sponsorship, but to rely rather on our own government for support
when it comes to financial aid. Q: Seriously, were you expecting to get the position?A: As much as I wanted it, I was also very doubtful, especially because of theOutRhodes scandal that I was involved in but I continued to give it my all. Q: Do you think that it is appropriate for someone of your stature to be involved in scandal such as the one that you were rumoured to be involvedin with the OutRhodes court case?A: There is no guarantee of being scandal free; you are bound to piss someone off. You therefore need to watch what you say. I am not saying that I am not going to be involved in any more scandals, one just has to be honest and transparent about it. Q: Do you want to fill Fatema Morbi’s shoes or do you have a completely dif-ferent strategy that will knock our socks off in 2008?A: Morbi did a good job in her term as presidency, but I want to leave a part of myself behind in the SRC structure and I also want to develop my team of verycapable leaders. I want to give the specified portfolio leaders their own space to develop themselves and grow in their own portfolios. Q: How do you get treated around campus with people being aware of your homosexuality?A: I am out, loud and proud. There is more to me than just my sexuality. However, I do not want to alienate people because of that. I have had my fairshare of comments and looks but I am breaking down stereotypes because I am comfortable and it is a part of who I am. Q: Did people’s comments and/or behaviour against your campaign make you doubt your decision to want to run for the position?A: There was a little issue with one of my posters, the big one in the Eden Grove area, whereby someone wrote FAG all over it and it had to be taken down. That made me stronger because days later I put it up again redone. Q: We would like to know who Ricardo is in five words.A: Ricardo is committed. Motivated. Inspired. Determined, and what is that sil-liness word? Oh yeah, and whimsical! Q: What is important to you in life?A: I know that my life is something more than just me. What is important tome would be to leave this earth one day having achieved things on a greatscale. Even if not on a great scale but to know that I changed one person’s lifeor did something that had an impact on someone. It’s all about having a con-nection with people and for me it is those everyday little things that count. Q: We hope to see your photo on the ballot paper on the following nationalelections. Would that ever be a possibility in your life in the far off future?A: I would absolutely love to be a part of the greater change at a level such asnational leadership. I have a vision and a mission to develop and to do. To dothings that impacts a large number of people. You never know, but it would besomething that I would love to get involved in.