Activism,Transformation, Awareness Raising 2019

The activism and transformation portfolio was a busy portfolio this year due to the issues that arose in 2019. Activities ranged from general awareness in the residence of the facilities available to students as well as talks during the house meetings on issues related to the wellbeing and creating a safe environment in the residence.

In the beginning of the year, throughout the orientation week (5 to 9 February 2019), the issues and activities that align with Activism and Transformation were addressed in the official programme through the being well and aware sessions in the afternoons and the RU Drama Department play. These included disabilities, gender-based violence, and counselling talks. Attendance was compulsory for the events.

The RU Drama Department orientation week drama production was titled ‘The undergrad grind: A guide to M(y)khanda University. It addressed the situations that freshers are likely to encounter in their university experience; from the classic Rhodent problem of waking up for the ‘dawnie’ (07.45am lectures), assignment deadlines, procrastination, fitting-in, and pressures to experiment with alcohol and other intoxicating substances. An in-house reflection session was held after the play and the students engaged in the issues raised in the play.

As part of transforming Graham House into a safe and inclusive space there was an ongoing in-house initiative to emphasise gender-neutral language in all platforms of interaction, and this has been a resounding success. It is hard to quantify that success into a number; however, this initiative has been actionable and has enjoyed the full support of the house committee.

A compulsory Consent Talk took place on the 15th of May and had the full attendance of first years. Graham House’s engagement was left wanting. However, this was - in all likelihood - due to this being the first time the first-years collectively encountered a topic as sensitive and nuanced as consent. Taking that into consideration, their attendance coupled with modest engagement made it an overall worthwhile experience.

Graham House participated in the Drostdy Hall Consent Pillow Case initiative held on the 4th of August and is part of a wider on-campus awareness campaign. This is an initiative to raise awareness on issues of sexual violence and rape. The pillow case design workshops serve to reinforce the message on consent. The event saw Drostdy Hall students showcase their creativity by designing potential pillowcases with the phrase Freely-Given Reversible Informed Enthusiastic and Specific, culminating in the acronym FRIES. This event was moderately attended by Graham house. However, all contributions were appreciated immensely.

The events of violence in South Africa, in the form of attacks on foreigners and gender-based violence (GBV), had their tow on the university as a society. In addition to the many events that were held on campus, an in-house talk about GBV and mental health was held on the 13th of October 2019. The talk was facilitated by Sheldan Dolf, a Graham House alumni and former sub-warden. The talk sought to assist Graham House students to have a self-reaction on and an understanding of GBV and the need to act imminently to stop the scourge of GBV and all other forms of violence in society. In addition to an enlightening discussion on two topical issues, students were each issued sexual offence handbooks to apprise themselves of the details of gender-based violence. In terms of activism and transformation the past activities were successful, and initiated dialogue on the topical issues.



Last Modified: Fri, 10 Jan 2020 13:58:59 SAST