RU stu­dent leader speaks about change

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view, Gro­cott’s Mail asked 2018 SRC Pres­i­dent, Nh­laka­nipho Mahlangu press­ing ques­tions about the aca­demic year ahead. Mahlangu is read­ing to­wards a Post­Grad­u­ate Diploma in Me­dia Man­age­ment (PDMM), af­ter com­plet­ing a Bach­e­lors of So­cia

Grocott's Mail - - NEWS -

On what stu­dents and the Gra­ham­stown com­mu­nity can ex­pect from cam­pus lead­er­ship in 2018

One of the key things about this year's SRC is be­ing vis­i­ble and be­ing as good com­mu­ni­ca­tors as we can be. Part of be­ing a stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive, what we want to do is to be in touch with our stu­dent body as much as pos­si­ble. I think they can ex­pect an SRC that is far more ac­ces­si­ble than what it has been in pre­vi­ous years.

On in­no­va­tive ways the SRC plans to en­gage the stu­dents

We have a won­der­fully vi­brant me­dia of­fi­cer. He is re­ally in touch with so­cial me­dia and I know he is look­ing to get a me­dia team. But we don't want to hear about is­sues for the first time on so­cial me­dia which has been the trend. So, a mix­ture of tra­di­tional forms and so­cial me­dia.

On plans to in­te­grate stu­dents with the Gra­ham­stown com­mu­nity

We all know about the ‘pur­ple bub­ble’, so al­ready through O-Week there is a com­mu­nity en­gage­ment en­deav­our that in­volves stu­dents leav­ing the univer­sity and go­ing out into the com­mu­nity and do­ing some work [and] en­gag­ing. Com­mu­nity en­gage­ment also needs to be en­shrined in the way we are taught. It can’t be a mat­ter of choice. It can’t be a mat­ter of some stu­dents en­gag­ing and oth­ers don’t.

On how the #FeesMustFall move­ment has af­fected the lead­er­ship style

It has brought about a need for lead­er­ship that is more in touch with stu­dents and en­gages po­lit­i­cally. No one in this cam­pus is able to es­cape the pol­i­tics of their iden­tity and I think that is a huge part of how I plan to lead and how this SRC has been con­structed. We have a lot to bal­ance what is best for stu­dents and what is just. With #FeesMustFall, I think there is a lot of “bro­ken­ness” on our cam­pus. I think there is weari­ness [against] protest ac­tion. As a stu­dent body we re­ally need to take time to heal, re­build and fig­ure out how to be ac­tivists sus­tain­ably – I mean sus­tain­able for our own health, for our fam­i­lies and for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

On ad­vice for first year stu­dents

Take time to find your­self. Don’t fear your own com­pany. And please don’t be afraid to ask for help. [Some] stu­dents go through some of the most painful ex­pe­ri­ences. Don’t wait un­til you’re ex­cluded, you’re home­less or what­ever, to ask for help. I came from a place with a lot of pride so I would never [ask for help]. Please come to your SRC when you need rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Also don’t as­sume you know the peo­ple around you or where they are from. Take time to get to know [them] and rel­ish that ex­pe­ri­ence.

• Stu­dents can find the SRC on Face­book or email,

• Stu­dents in­ter­ested in as­sist­ing in de­vel­op­ing me­dia for the SRC can con­tact ru.ac.za.

Photo: Sup­plied

2018 SRC Pres­i­dent Nh­laka­nipho Mahlangu.

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