New student residence Hall to be named after Desmond Tutu
Date Released: Fri, 2 March 2012 13:00 +0200
Rhodes University is to name the student residence Hall previously known as Hilltop, the Desmond Tutu Hall. The naming ceremony which involves also naming three student residences will take place on Wednesday, 7 March.
The three residences which fall under Desmond Tutu Hall will be named Ellen Kuzwayo House, Amina Cachalia House and Calata House.
Additionally, a new house which is part of the Kimberly West Hall will also be receiving its name - Rosa Parks House - at a separate ceremony on Tuesday, 6 March.
The ceremonies will be attended by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ms Amina Cachalia, members of the Cachalia, Kuzwayo and Calata families, Vice-Chancellor, Dr Saleem Badat, senior University officials, house wardens and about 350 students.
Each of the family members will unveil commemorative plaques.
In presenting a list of possible names for new residences, Rhodes makes an effort to select names that will emphasise the University’s African identity and reflect its Eastern Cape location.
All new names must accord with the Vision and Mission of Rhodes University; the University’s commitment to the development of shared values embracing basic human and civil rights; acknowledgement of and sensitivity to the problems created by apartheid; rejection of unfair discrimination and support for appropriate corrective measures to redress past imbalances.
Rhodes University is unusual in that close to fifty percent of its student body live in the university residences. Residence life therefore plays an important role in their experience of university culture, introducing many students to the tradition of student leadership through the house and sub-warden roles.
Each residence takes pride in its values, ethos and spirit, and the name it chooses needs to reflect these all-important qualities. For this reason, the naming of a new residence is never rushed. Students play a vital role in the process, which begins only when the first cohort of students has been resident for at least one semester.
While Rhodes does provide a list of possible names, the final selection is up to the occupants of the residence, and is not centrally prescribed.
Desmond Tutu Hall Warden, Dr Swantje Zschernack said that although broad student participation in the process was sought, it became obvious that students were more interested in the naming of the houses rather than the Hall, and it was therefore decided in consultation with the Dean of Students that it would be appropriate for the Hall Committee to select the hall name.
A discussion and a round of voting, in which each member of the Hall Committee was allowed to select three names, led to a shortlist of three names: Desmond Tutu Hall; Sisulu Hall and Charlotte Maxeke Hall.
After a final vote the Hall Committee proposed that Desmond Tutu Hall be adopted as the new name for Hilltop Hall.
Desmond Tutu Hall, and all four of the student residences to be officially named next week, have been named after people who took a courageous and outspoken stand against racial discrimination, and who fought for human rights to be extended to all. This continues a tradition which has seen residences and halls named and re-named, in the recent past, after struggle luminaries.