What was once the student party hub is going to be turned into student accommodation. This project will be completed by the end of 2017. It was also during August that the world came to know Cecil, the male lion who had been killed by American dentist Walter Palmer. Cecil’s death went viral as social media provided the platform for people to voice their opinions. Debates were sparked about nature conservation. during September are Spring Day and the SRC elections, but in 2015 both of these were postponed. The SRC decided to postpone Spring Day based on last year’s failure and the event needing a new approach. The elections initially took place on 1 September. Two days later, when the preliminary results were announced, Sasco, EFFSC-UP and Afriforum protested against the results on the basis that correct procedures were not followed. On 2 October the Independent Monitoring Body (IMB) declared that the elections were free and fair, however there would be a re-election held for the president and deputy president portfolios. The re-election was initially meant to take place on 27 October but was deferred to 4 November and then further postponed to early 2016.

In September the discovery of a new species of human relative was announced. On 10 September Homo Naledi’s genus, a fossil found two years ago, was determined. Two days later, on 12 September, the final of the Red Bull X-Fighters was held. 2015 was the second time South Africa had been included in their world tour. The event took place at the Union Buildings and drew around 17 000 spectators. September 2015 was also the 155th anniversary of Indians arriving in South Africa.October was arguably the highlight of student politics in South Africa with the #FeesMustFall campaign. On 23 October about 15 000 students from various universities marched to the Union Buildings. The nationwide protests against fee increments in tertiary education were successful in getting Zuma to agree to no fee increments. However, UP students were not satisfied with this as no fee increment was only one of their 13 demands. On 26 October, students occupied the CSC demanding and called on UP vice-chancellor Prof. Cheryl de la Rey to address students on their initial 13 demands and several additional demands. After several hours of protesting, Prof. de la Rey addressed students and agreed to most of their demands.Overall, 2015 was an eventful year for UP and the country.

 

Photo: Carel Willemse