By Kate Douglas
Rhodes students have been out-doing themselves lately. There seems to be a buzz of action that I don’t remember to have existed quite like this before. Maybe it is simply in light of the recent elections, but whatever started this, it’s great to be affiliated with it.
I’m sure you have noticed, that societies are becoming more politically active. ZimSoc, which has previously avoided taking a political stance concerning Zimbabwe, launched the “Save Zimbabwe Now” campaign where students and lecturers fasted to create awareness surrounding the situation in Zimbabwe. The Anti Sex and Gender Based Violence Week saw over 90 women take off their clothes and pose for a photographer as a statement against sexual violence. The launch of these photos was last Wednesday in the Eden Grove Foyer. It takes bravery to push past your own insecurities and vulnerability in order to make such a powerful statement.
And then there were the elections. It was fantastic to see how different student societies approached the party rallies and talks on campus. The best part of some of these was when students were allowed to ask questions. I watched representatives from numerous societies asking questions that really penetrated each party. They were educated, relevant and sometimes critical questions and I found that the party answers told me what I needed to know.
We are also seeing a very strong feminist movement on campus, which could possibly be the most feared body on campus. They are extremely politically involved and this has caused controversy on campus before. But what is so admirable is that these women are willing to place themselves in the line of fire and take the abuse and threats. They are not intimidated, and will not be shut up. The result is that they have our attention and we are talking about the issues they bring forward.
The 22nd of April was an exciting day. The queue from the Rhodes Theatre resulted in a wait of two hours at one stage. A couple of students arrived to play music while Rhodents waited to vote. They were trying to make the experience a bit more pleasant for their fellow students and they were doing their part to encourage student voting.
I spoke to a student who had recently graduated with a doctorate at Rhodes. He was 57-years-old and said he had not been looking forward to his graduation as he had been to his daughter’s and expected the same boring ceremony. But he said it is different once you are the graduate. I wouldn’t know, but I hear you are flooded with emotions and overwhelmed with a sense of pride. Sounds like something worth experiencing.
Being a Rhodes student means much more than getting a degree at a prestigious university. It even means more than being the best party campus in, like, the world. It means being a solution, it means being a leader. We empower ourselves and each other. What it does not mean is being apathetic. Yes, I’m sure there are those students who have no idea what the past two weeks were about and have barely left their room. They are missing out. It is way more fun to be a part of it, whether as a witness or as a participator.