They claimed that TuksRes was not doing enough to ensure underprivileged students were placed in residence. De Goedehoop, an Afrikaans private residence, opened for UP students. The UP social learning and dining hall upgrades will see large scale renovations of the Merensky II Library foyer and Monastery Hall (Kloostersaal) and new uses for what are currently societies and political parties’ offices. Cultural activities reached many students across UP’s campuses this semester. Tuks Camerata announced that they would be heading to Spain in June to attend an international competition. Nerina and Mopanie won the renamed Insync first-year dance competition.
It was also announced that RAG would change its charity model this year. They hosted the RAG of Hope Day Concert, which saw Cassper Nyovest, Matthew Mole and Desmond and the Tutus perform at the RAG farm on LC De Villiers campus. Stuku held the first annual Nothing but Vernac arts and culture showcase where participants had to express themselves in any South African language apart from English. They also hosted UP Arts, a combination of a dance competition, an Idols style singing competition, and poetry reading.
At the start of the year, UP saw 14-year-old Hjalmar Rall start his BSc Physics degree as a full-time student. In the autumn graduations, Dr Anastacia Mamabolo’s PhD abstract was read out in Sepedi, making it a milestone for vernacular languages entering the academic sphere at UP. The graduation season also saw Quintine Mkhondo graduate with an Actuarial Science degree at the age of 19. The sports calendar started off with a change in the head of TuksSport. Long-serving director of TuksSport, Kobus van der Walt, retired after serving close to 19 years at the institution with the former CEO of the High Performance Centre (HPC), Toby Sutcliffe, taking his place. UP enjoyed a successful sporting season. Hurdler Rikenette Steenkamp made a heroic comeback after recovering from foot surgery, while UP sprinter Akani Simbine made history when he ran the fastest 100m in South Africa. UP dominated Varsity Sports after defeating Stellenbosch University (Maties) in the Varsity Cup Final and winning Varsity Athletics after incredible performances that included the likes of Gift Leotlela, Rikennette Steenkamp and Tebogo Mamatu. Sadly, rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen passed away this year after fighting a long battle with Motor Neuron Disease.
Perdeby took an in-depth look at the impact of Trump’s America First policy on South Africa and covered the life and history of struggle hero Ahmed Kathrada. The section also looked at global cultures by discussing the explosion of Korean Culture, and the availability of Halaal Food on campus. Other topical social issues included misconceptions surrounding gender identification and the crucial issues of rape culture, consent and activism. Perdeby also caught up with the Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, to discuss various student issues. The biometric verification system (fingerprint scanners), which will be implemented later in the year, will be used in conjunction with students’ current smart cards. AfriForum and Solidarity’s application for leave to appeal a ruling made the North Gauteng High Court was reserved. Fokoffpolisiekar broke Thundacrowd’s crowdfunding record with R180 000 being pledged in the first 48 hours of their campaign. By the closing date they had received R700 000, almost doubling their goal of R400 000. In the week of 8 May, they had raised over R850 000. UP alumna Bonolo Makhele was cast in the Joburg Theatre production of the Broadway musical, Rent. Perdeby attended Mieliepop in March, covering four days and sixty acts. Adelle Nqeto, Fuzigish, Majozi, and PHFat were interviewed ahead of the festival to gauge expectations. These expectations were exceeded at the Lothair festival. Al Bairre had their last performance at the end of March. They performed at Large on the Lawn in Johannesburg. Al Bairre announced their split at the end of February after five years on the music scene. Finally, Perdeby started the Perdeby Writing Lab aimed at aiding second language English speakers with basic language skills. The newspaper’s editorial was also expanded to include a new Online Content section to broaden the amount of content available to readers on a weekly basis.
Image: Shaun Sproule