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What is an Oppidan?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word Oppidan "as an inhabitant of a university town as distinguished from a member of the university itself " i.e. a student living off campus, in accommodation rented independently of Rhodes, is an Oppidan- or Oppi for short. We also call ourselves 'Digs' students.

What is the Oppidan Union?

The Oppidan Community is the single largest student body at Rhodes.  Oppis enjoy the benefits of increased independence and freedom from somr of the structures of life in residence, but off-campus living also provides its own challenges.  Thus the Oppidan Union was formed to help our Oppi's face all these challenges.    The Oppidan Union consists of the Wardens, Sub Wardens and House Committee to help with all your needs.

What is the Oppidan Warden and what do they do?

The Oppidan Hall Warden is responsible for Oppidan Affairs at Rhodes.  They attend all committee meetings and the Wardens ensures that Oppidan Students receive support and advice if they experience any problems while living in digs. 


 What is the Oppidan Sub-wardens and what do they do?

Oppidan Sub-wardens help the Hall Warden to effectively run the Oppidan Union, and to provide a high-quality support service to student.  They are pro-actively involved with the Oppidan students and interested in all aspects of their lives-academic,sport, social and personal.  In particular Sub-wardens are there to offer support and advice to new and current Oppidans who are settling into digs life and to offer guidance and direction during times of crises.

What is the Oppidan Committee?

The Oppidan Committee is comprised of Oppidans selected by fellow students. Their mandate is to look after the interests of all students living off-campus and they achieve this by maintaining channels of communication between Rhodes and Oppidans.  They are also resposible for organising events and functions to get the Oppidans together and interacting.

 Welcome from the Chairman of the Oppidan Committee:Venessa Bobotyana


Chairperson’s Welcome

Dear Oppidan Students,

A warm welcome to you, our returning students and especially to our first years at Rhodes University.

Oppidan Committee is a support structure that is meant to ensure that you have the best possible stay at Rhodes University and in the city of Saints “Isixeko esingcwele” - Grahamstown/Rhini. We support students in various ways that ensure that you don’t get left out in the university community.

Our Committee, just like other committees in various residences on campus, organizes exciting events for you such as but not limited to the Digs Quizz, The Oppidan Olympics and our famous and favourite among our students- the Oppidan Ball. On behalf of the committee, I encourage you to get involved in the activities since they truly add value in your holistic development, growth and education.

We are going to try our best to help you, especially our first years, in whatever ways necessary, during the orientation week- a very crucial time for first years who are transitioning from High School to university. We encourage you all to make the best of this time as it provides you with the opportunity to make bonds and life-time friendship in your university career, your personal and intellectual journey.

You are joining Rhodes University at a challenging and most interesting time after 1994, and in the history of South African Higher Education in particular. In the past two years we have seen in various universities and also in our very own  students taking to the streets campaigning around issues of decolonization, fees must fall, rape culture, and other systematic problems in higher education and generally in our society. We encourage you to open your mind on these issues and we encourage you to engage your friends, lecturers and the Rhini community around these important and ‘uncomfortable’ issues of our time.

The Oppidan Committee, comprised of various members and supported by our administrator, Mrs Karen Van Heerden and Wardens Janine and Raymond Harris would like to wish you a very happy, mind-opening and a fun orientation week. Feel free to drop by our offices- the Oppidan Union Office located in the Stephen Biko Building to talk to us about anything - even if it’s a simple hello!

I wish you a great, great year of wonder, learning and fun!

Oppidan Chairperson,

Venessa N Bobotyana


Oppi Phonebook



Last Modified: Thu, 25 May 2017 15:59:01 SAST