Embracing Heritage, Fighting GBV and Supporting Vaccination
Around 300 students attended an event in the Student Union hall on the Edgewood campus on 22 October that aimed to embrace heritage, fight Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and encourage students to vaccinate against COVID-19.
It was organised by Residence Life Officers Ms Thobeka Mkhize, Mr Kudzai Mamvura and Mr Teboho Hlao, with the assistance of Residence Life Coordinator, Mr Karabo Motau and Edgewood campus Residence Assistants.
Speakers at the event included Ms Thobile Cebekhulu from the Department of Health; Mr Ndumiso Masondo RA, and Mr Duduza Ngcobo who is a member of Brothers for Life, an organisation that promotes positive male norms.
In his welcome address, Motau said: ‘We organised this event to ensure that as a student staying at res, you don’t just sleep, wake up and go to class. We want you to have an exciting and fruitful experience.’ He added that ‘we have zero tolerance for tribalism, racism and other ills; we embrace each and everyone from South Africa and across Africa. The Edgewood campus Department of Student Residence Affairs is committed to providing students with high-quality educational and environmental programmes to address the many social ills which affect residence students.’
Cebekhulu focused on why it is important for students to get vaccinated and informed those present that Department of Health staff were on hand to offer vaccinations.
Masondo warned students about misinformation around vaccination and encouraged all present to vaccinate. He highlighted that, while the vaccine doesn’t necessarily mean one won’t contract COVID-19, it reduces the likelihood of hospitalisation and possible death. He added that, ‘once you are fully vaccinated, we can start doing more activities that we were doing previously.’
Ngcobo noted that ‘Gender-based violence doesn’t only affect women; men are also abused but they are too scared to come out.’ He highlighted that instead of fighting abuse amongst men and women, we should focus on the main cause of abuse.
The event included plays presented by students from different residences that aimed to raise awareness of GBV, with prizes for the best performances.
A hundred and eighty-five students were vaccinated on the day.
View the live stream on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqsK2oUn6N8&t=3254s.
Words: Neliswa Charity Phungula
Photographs: Joseph Sithole