By Matthew Edwards
This column was going to be about why South Africa should decriminalise marijuana. It would have started with some kind of random quote which vaguely ties in with the subject. From there it would have moved on to all the positive aspects of cannabis production. Eventually I would have challenged you to consider the huge economic benefits that this continent would gain through the taxation of cannabis and cannabis products. The column would probably have ended with some kind of rhetorical question and then another quirky gobbit to tie everything back together.
But once I started writing, I realised one pertinent thing: no one actually cares. Now this brings us to a whole other topic, and one that is pretty problematic amongst students these days – the fact that not many people do care. Just like every other year, we once again have to deal with the gruelling process of SRC elections. Campus is covered in brightly coloured posters, there are bright, shining faces staring at you from the top corner of any computer in the Jac Labs, and everyone else has to put up with campaign slogans being flung in their general direction (all of these so meticulously thought out that they actually don’t say much). And just like every other year, we’re expected to care.
Now, I know that the SRC does so many things for us, first of all they… um… well, there was that one time when – no wait, um… There’s got to be something. They did throw a relatively decent street party in O-Week. Anyone else have any ideas? But you see, that’s the point. How many Rhodents actually know why the SRC is even in place, let alone what they really do?
So then, let’s try and work that out. SRC stands for Student Representative Council, does it not? Student – you and me. Representative – chosen to act on behalf of. Council – essentially just a group of people. Put them together and you have a group of people, chosen to act on behalf of you and me. Ok, I can deal with that. The SRC is then in place to further the interests of the students within the broader spectrum of the university. Is that a fair enough assumption? Do you feel that, as a Rhodes University student, you are adequately represented by the SRC? I’m 90% sure you’re shaking your head. I am by no means implying that the SRC is a failure, but I am implying that the SRC is by no means a success.
Realistically though, we all know that this “student government” is not going away any time soon. But, in the meantime, how about an SRC that is held accountable to the people they represent? How about an SRC that stands up for the students? How about an SRC that actually tells the relevant powers what it’s really like to be a student in Grahamstown and what we need, instead of these being dictated to us by a woman sitting in an office?
How do we achieve this, you may ask. It’s actually quite simple. Vote.
With any luck, we might end up with an SRC president that actually wins the election. Although, it seems like legalising marijuana would be easier.