By Matt Edwards
I received two phone calls this week. One of them from a very anxious and concerned mother, and another from your run-of-the-mill matric student. While the two were completely unrelated to each other, both of these people called me for the exact same reason. The girl and the woman, who has a son that is busy writing his matric final exams, both called to enquire about Rhodes University and the merits of coming here. I, being my purple-clad patriotic self, went off on a rant about how great this varsity is and the joys of living and studying in a small town environment. Suffice to say that I think that I convinced them both that Rhodes is in fact an awesome university and anyone with a zest for life, so to speak, would be doing themselves a complete injustice by not dedicating at least a year of their lives to this fine institution.I don’t doubt that any Rhodes student – present or past – would not feel the same way, and if you don’t I’d love to hear your views on the matter. But after I hung up on the second conversation, feeling rather chuffed at how awesome an institution I attend, a thought came to mind. A thought that I’d never really sat down and mulled over before. I’ve already expressed how amazing I think Rhodes is, but why? What makes it so great?“We’ve got a beautiful campus.” So does Stellenbosch. “We have a proactive and involved student body.” Have you seen what’s happening at Wits lately? “Our night life is conducive to entertainment and fun times.” Anyone here been to Cape Town? “We’ve got world-renown lecturers and staff members.” What mainstream South African university doesn’t?The thing is, and as one of my friends so aptly put it, it’s weird to have to think about it. I think it’s fair to say that as Rhodes students, we have a fair amount of pride in our situation, ‘my blood is purple’ and whatnot, but if you do think about it we’re a bunch of predominantly rich kids sitting in a hole in the middle of nowhere. We’ve got drinking problems. We’ve got drug problems. We’ve generally just got problems with moral fibre. We don’t really have much to be proud of, but we’re proud none-the-less. And this right there hit the nail on the head for me. Not the drinking, drugging and moral fibre bit because that obviously leaves a lot to be desired, but how proud we are.If someone had to speak badly of our little university and it’s town, I’d like to see the Rhodent that doesn’t put them in their place. We’re proud of our shit little town and our small university. We’ve got a brand-spanking-new batch of first years arriving in a few months time. How about we forget about race, forget about sexual orientation, and forget about all our petty little problems. How about we show them exactly what it’s like when you’re proud to be purple.