Rhodes: 'Dare to be different'

RHODES University's vice-chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela on Sunday welcomed the university's new students, appealing to them to develop the ability and capacity to analyse, reflect and argue using knowledge.

Speaking at the Settlers Monument, Mabizela said the 1584 new students of the 110-year-old institution were chosen out of 10 000 applicants.

"We are, by far, the smallest university in South Africa and this year we hope to reach an enrolment figure of 8 041 students. Unlike at other universities, each one of our students is a young person with a name and a face, not just a number or statistic," Mabizela said.

"We want you to develop the ability and skill to question, to challenge conventional wisdom, to contest the takenfor-granted 'facts'. Indeed, asking the right question is the first and critical step to meaningful learning and scholarship. We value and treasure your individuality. We appreciate different ways of thinking, different ways of seeing and different ways of being. We encourage and support dissent and contestation of ideas. Dare to be different. We want you to learn to communicate with clarity and cogency, both orally and in writing."

Mabizela said every person at Rhodes must be treated with respect and dignity. "It does not matter what social station a person occupies - whether one is a cleaner, a gardener, a lab technician, a cook, or a distinguished professor they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Rhodes University will not tolerate racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic or any other form of bigotry, prejudice or chauvinistic behaviour.

"Treating another person in a demeaning and dehumanising manner has no place at Rhodes University."

Article by: Sithandiwe Velaphi

Article source: The New Age

Source:  The New Age

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