The University of Pretoria is not only known for its academic excellence, but also for its vibrant student life. The social calendar is marked with multiple events that provide students with the opportunity to get out and socialise with their peers and many have adapted to COVID-19 regulations.
The first event students should take note of is RAG week and RAG of Hope Day. Brümmer le Roux, former Chairperson of Morula Legae, explained that the well-known acronym stands for “Reach out and Give”, and is an “initiative for students – mostly residence students – to get involved in various different charity work”. According to Le Roux, this week gives rise to many social activities, including a “Zeftroue”. Le Roux described this event as “the first official social activity taken on by both residences that are paired together, basically the two Chairpersons ‘tie the knot’ on the year’s collaboration”.
RAG has undergone many transformations through the years, and continues to change. Elmé Ravenscroft, a former RAG
House Committee member (HC) of House Mags, told PDBY that although the main idea behind RAG is considered to be community engagement, throughout the years the emphasis has mostly been placed on socials. In the past, RAG week included the building of floats and first years were tasked with folding the flowers to decorate these floats. This tradition has since stopped. Kgothatso Thutse, RAG HC of Tuks Ekhaya, told PDBY that nowadays, RAG week is “left largely to the individual pairings to decide how it looks”. Thutse added that in 2021 first years can expect RAG to be similar to the previous years, with a few minor changes. According to Thutse, RAG is an opportunity to engage with people and make new connections, and this is exactly why first years should get involved.
Kinky Pinky Tighty Whitey is an event hosted by OP Village, the Veterinary Sciences residence, and the name describes the dress code perfectly. Calah Pillay, Internal Culture and Postgraduate Representative of OP Village, described the dress code as “pink, white and scantily clad”. This event gives students the opportunity to dress up and enjoy a social with friends. Pillay told PDBY that the event can be described by the popular Mean Girls quote, “[Kinky Pinky] is the one day a year when a girl [or guy] can dress up like a total…”. Pillay encouraged first years to “put on that outfit, throw in some pink and you boys and girls will be ready for a night of mischief”. Kinky Pinky is an event that is highly sensitive to the COVID-19 regulations, but Pillay told PDBY that, once these restrictions have been lifted, “we may once again party like the good old days”.
Another event that gives students the opportunity to dress up is the Annual July, hosted by The Tower residence. Righardt
Bester, Chairperson of The Tower, told PDBY that the event is centered around horse races in which the first years participate. The horses are made from broomsticks and make for an entertaining competition. The event also features popular bands and DJs. Bester encourages first years to attend the July, saying that “[students] who enjoy any aspect of life will enjoy the Annual July”. According to Bester, the event is unique because of the glamour of it. He explains, “[everyone] dresses up to the nines in suits and cocktail dresses.”
Joe Stegmann, Culture Internal of The Tower, added that “in previous years, the event was hosted at a few different indoor events, however, our goal this year is to find an outdoor event which will allow us to expand the event even more”. With regard to COVID-19 regulations, Stegmann emphasised that “we will make our choices with the safety of the students as our first priority and will only host events if they follow all regulations.”
This popular event hosted by House Mopane can be described by its name, as the event celebrates the harvesting of the corn that the residence plants every year. Jean Brink, Internal Projects HC of House Mopane, explained that the event originated many years ago when a group of senior students decided to plant corn. “When the corn was harvested, Oesdag came to be.” The event also features live performances, and Brink told PDBY that the lineup will be released soon. He added that students can expect “to see mielies on every poster, because why not?”. Brink is positive that Oesdag will be able to continue if COVID-19 restrictions are eased to level one, since it is always hosted outside in an open area.
College Frat Party
College is the oldest residence at UP and, according to Njabulo Radebe, Minister of Internal and External Affairs, College is also one of the proudest residences. Radebe told PDBY that College hosts multiple social events during the year, but the main event is Frat Party. According to Radebe, Frat Party “is different as it is arguably one of the biggest res events of the year – with a band, artists and also a separate event location”. The reason this event should be featured on on every first year’s calendar is, according to Radebe, that “the good vibes and special guest artists always make it a treat”. Radebe says that College will not contravene the COVID-19 regulations “but rather look at a virtual performance and if not feasible, a postponement of the event for the following year”.
Christmas in July
Another event hosted by House Ukuthula is Christmas in July. Von Ludwiger told PDBY that “this is a traditional event that we host every year during the Hatfield House Week”. The event is yet another opportunity for students to dress up: this time in Christmas sweaters. “A wide array of Christmas sweaters, electric atmosphere and a mechanical bull certainly makes the event a staple on the calendar”, says Von Ludwiger.
The last event that first years should take note of is Sonop’s Night Market. Wian Spies, Chairperson of Sonop, described Night Market as “an annual market event with local talents like Elvis Blue, Jackal and the Wind, and Uncle Spike performing”. Spies added that “Nagmark [Night Market] is a family-friendly fundraiser for the residence and is usually held during winter”. The event is held on Sonop’s premises every year, and Spies says that this provides beautiful scenery for students attending the market. Sonop is positive about the continuance of Nagmark as “we have our very own COVID-19 team whose only mission is to fight the spread of the virus”.
COVID-19 and all the regulations that go with it, is a reality. Although some of the events that usually highlight the social calendar might not be realised in 2021, many have adapted to allow student life to continue.