A resident from one of the women’s residences highlighted that the hierarchy in the residences is problematic because it perpetuates and instils fear in the first years, and that even more problematic is that senior students derive pleasure from this fear. However, the culture of fear was noted to boil down to the individual. Corrective approaches to the fear problem, such as training of the residence HKs, would fix this. Although Prof. De la Rey highlighted the existence of a trauma hotline, it was deemed ineffective because none of the students in attendance knew about it. The general consensus of the group was that channels of communication would then need to be enhanced to benefit the students. It was mentioned that during welcoming week, welpies [first-years in Klaradyn] are subjected to the act of “brulling” that requires them to sway and dance in-between men from another residence, and the complainant saw this as a very sexualised act.
Another problem that was noted was the lack of communication. A suggestion to remedy this was to have students who act as UP residence ambassadors to liaise between residence management and the students. In addition to the ambassadors, social media can be used to have a greater reach to improve communication.
The floor was in agreement that residence traditions need to change and reflect the diversity within the university. The general consensus among the students in attendance was that residence culture needs urgent transformation.
The imbizo concluded with Prof. De la Rey asking students to provide proposals on how to transform residences in issues of race, tradition, gender and sexuality. Prof. De la Rey added that imbizos of this nature would continue to take place in order to facilitate change. The rolling out of this process would create a common vision of what residence culture ought to be.