By Lawrence Craig Bailie
Being a member of a Church that was disallowed from evangelising on campus during O-Week I became acutely aware of a number of first term news stories that were related in that they all reflected polar opposites of what we as a church promote. Living in what is increasingly becoming a postmodern world that calls for excessive tolerance it would seem we are met with an array of choices that, as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others, are ‘acceptable’ and ‘good’.
Among the issues featured in local news during the first term was HIV Aids and alcohol abuse. The controversial image relating to sex education that appeared in Grocott’s Mail sparked much discontent amongst town residents and even some students. The campaign to promote safe sex, nationally and locally, is flawed and will remain so until those driving the campaign as well as those on the receiving end of its information realise that there is no such things as safe sex until one is married. The caption of the image – ‘Get it On’ – testifies to the manner in which sex has gone from being the physical and spiritual union between husband and wife to a short-term pleasure that satisfies immediate impulse and is all good and well as long as it is done ‘safely’.
First term news will also be remembered for the debates surrounding alcohol abuse amongst Rhodes students and the proposed plans in response to this abuse. I am immediately reminded of running up ‘Constantia Neck’ during this years Two Oceans Half Marathon, when a fellow competitor remarked that I clearly hadn’t been drinking enough to be that far up the incline, so soon in the race. Needless to say, I was sporting my Rhodes athletics vest. It would seem that the universities’ reputed drinking culture precedes its students. I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Saleem Badat’s “concern about retaining Rhodes University’s reputation as an institution ‘where leaders learn’”. (Activate 6 March 2008)
The unfortunate consequence of alcohol abuse on our campus is that a number of healthy social activities are suffering because of it. In its Feb 15 issue GTW told of how drunk and disorderly behaviour is jeopardising tri-varsity. Mention was also made of the ‘O-Week’ street party that saw Prince Alfred lined with the ‘feeding troughs’ of Charles Glass. What a pity it would be for a phenomenally talented act like Goldfish to be turned away from our campus in the future because students don’t know how to have a good time without intoxication.
The fact that our 1st rugby xv has only managed two wins against NNMU (formerly UPE) in all of 27 years testifies to our culture of excess. Being a former 1st xv member I am well aware of what happens in the pub on the night before the match and in the changing room in the evening following the match. Discipline, commitment and pride seem to be unknown elements, overridden, like sex, with a lust for short term pleasure and the need to prove oneself as worthy of being called a ‘man’ in the midst of one’s very ‘manly’ friends.
Until the solutions to the problems of AIDS and alcohol abuse are sort in the word of Jesus Christ, they will not only remain but will grow with the world’s population. Applying the words found at 2 Chronicles 7:14 would be a good start.