20 AUGUST 2021

Greetings to all the students of Nelson Mandela University. The Student Representative Council wishes to welcome all students to the second semester of the 2021 academic year.

This year, our second semester commences after the commemoration of the tragic events of Marikana. We remember the fearless mine workers who confronted the capitalist structural establishments. It was on the 16th of August 2012 when the tragic event happened on the basis of mine workers demanding better conditions, during which 34 lives were lost. This remains the political economy of the struggles of African people and shall remain in the history of liberation of labour returns in South Africa.

We return to our academic commitments in the month of women, who collectively contributed to shape the political landscape of South Africa. It was on the 9th of August in 1956, where more than 20 000 women marched on the Union Buildings to protest against apartheid laws, which required black people to carry Bantustans identification at all times. Under that regime (Apartheid), freedom for vast majority was violated.

The pandemic has exacerbated the challenges women have always faced in our country. We invite all progressive forces to ponder on the important issues that women still face, such as access to education and sanitary products, gender-based violence and inequality both in the institutions of higher learning and the workplace. In honour of heroines, the Student Representative Council will be providing female students with sanitary products, toiletries as well as food parcels as part of Madibaz SRC One-Meal-A-Day-Program, from today (20 August 2021), and continues to advocate for gender equality at our University.

We are still navigating through unchartered waters of a global pandemic, which has fundamentally impacted how we live our lives and learn. University life, as we know it, has drastically changed. The coronavirus presents an unprecedented challenge to Higher Education and health in general, and our University is not immune to that.

The disruption caused by Covid-19 on our livelihoods is devasting. The World Health Organisation reported that tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty, while the number of undernourished people, currently estimated at nearly 690-million, could increase up to 132-million by the end of the year.

The SRC also, and particularly, welcomes the decision of Cabinet to open registration and vaccination of people aged 18 to 34 from today, 20 August 2021. We are social beings who come to university and learn how to live and interact with others in a social milieu. Online learning denies us this opportunity to interact with a vibrant student community. It is through co-curricular programs that students get to develop a sense of urgency. By focusing on student life beyond the lecture room, students are able to find their purpose, passion, and foster their inner voice.

While assessing the ground, we learned that students are visibly eager to be on campus, however, due to Covid-19 Health and Safety protocols, being on campus is not possible for all students. Cognizant of the country being on Lockdown Alert Level 3, our University is primarily granting access to campus to those students who need to be on-site to fulfil their academic obligations.

It is only after the University has reached a certain level of herd immunity that we might see some degree of normalcy, where students will be allowed to be on campus to attend mask-to-mask classes and interact with both friends and lecturers.

It is against this background that the SRC encourages students, many of whom fall within the age group of 18-34, to register to take vaccines from today, 20 August 2021 as approved by Cabinet this week.

To register for your Covid-19 vaccination follow the link below:

We are quite encouraged by those who have already jumped at the opportunity to vaccinate, as seen by the activity at the vaccination site.

Issued by:

Pontsho Hlongwane

SRC President

On behalf of the SRC

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