Screenshots of responses from an Instagram poll asking
On 4 September we ran a poll on Instagram asking how students felt, with regard to the xenophobic attacks and gender-based violence in the country. We did this to get an idea of how students were feeling on campus, as well as to give students the platform to express themselves, in light of the tense atmosphere that surrounded the country and our campus. The Instagram post we put up was an image of the Fly@UP logo, with the word “Fly” crossed out, and space for our followers to write out what they were feeling. The responses we received were mostly negative, with only two positive of, “In the last 6 years I’ve been at the university I’ve never felt unsafe” and “Proud of the unity. Positively surprised by support from uni (postponed tests etc)”.
The accompanying visual was done as a creative representation of the responses, featuring only a small portion of the responses we received. Despite the crude crossing out of the word “Fly” and the burning paper plane, this visual was not meant to offend or point fingers towards the university, nor is it meant to undermine the Fly@ UP campaign. Our intention was also not to show the general student opinion or experience, but rather to reflect the pool of responses we received. That being said, we did feel that the responses were a valid representation of some students’ experience around the time. We felt it important to allow for a conversation exploring how students are expected to “fly” in their academic careers if they feel unsafe or anxious on and around campuses because of such societal issues as GBV and xenophobia.
As journalists, we strive to give a voice to student experiences and we were aware of many negative experiences being circulated on social media and around campus. Whether it be truth or fake news, we heard it all and we saw the effect of it on students. The general panic and unease that some students were feeling is what is represented in the accompanying visual. Let us know how you experienced it and how you feel since campus has returned to business as usual. You can let us know on social media or write a letter to the editor at email@example.com.
Sam and Kayla
Image: Cletus Mulaudi