Following the internal Serenade competition, the SRC questioned why Sonop withdrew from Serrie this year but not from Serenade. The SRC approached management and hosted a meeting with UP Registrar Prof. Niek Grové, Executive Director responsible for finance and business initiatives and student administration Prof. Carolina Koornhof,  Director of Student Affairs Dr. Matete Madiba, and Prof. Anton Ströh, Vice-Principal of Institutional Planning. “They were in full agreement that Sonop was never supposed to participate,” said Gobe. She added, “What was decided in the meeting was that we were going to communicate [the decision] to Sonop and Olympus, because Olympus came second. We were going to give Olympus the option to go and if they didn’t want to go, then we would not send a male residence.” Gobe was not sure who issued the decision to Sonop but Donovan du Plooy, SRC Secretary, could confirm that management was supposed to inform Sonop.

When contacted outgoing Chairperson of Sonop, Dewet van Schoor, said he was not willing to comment on the matter.

UP media liaison Anna-Retha Bouwer issued a press statement on the matter. “While the Serenade competition administration sets its own rules of participation, only official university residences who comply with the university’s strategic objectives as set out in its UP 2025 plan can represent the University of Pretoria at the competition. Although many UP students choose to reside in Sonop, as a private residence Sonop does not qualify to officially represent the University of Pretoria at the annual National Serenade Competition,” the statement said. In the past, Sonop has represented UP at the national Serenade competition, even being the national men’s winners most recently in 2013. Gobe explained that despite this, the concern about Sonop representing UP in light of their internal transformation issues has been a concern over the last number of years and an ongoing discussion.

The SRC decided to offer Olympus the opportunity to represent UP at the national Serenade competition. Olympus will now be the UP men’s representative. Outgoing chairperson of Olympus Carl-Adriaan Hugo said that as Chair of Olympus and a member of the serenade, they are grateful for the opportunity to perform again. “Although we came second at the UP serenade competition, we definitely won’t be giving a second best performance on Saturday evening. We hope to make the university proud of us as their official representative”, he said.

Chairperson of the Student Culture Committee at UP (Stuku), Tahnee Otto confirmed Olympus’s participation as UP representatives and explained, “Stuku is a service provider and a sub-council of the SRC. We were not involved in the decision-making process. We are merely acting as organisers of the event, and were informed of the decision accordingly. Stuku does not have authority to make such decisions.”

The ATKV National Serenade Competition will take place tonight on UP’s Hatfield campus. In addition to UP, North West University, Stellenbosch University and the University of Johannesburg have sent a ladies’ and men’s group each to perform for the title of national Serenade champion.


Image: Kay O’Brien