AfriForum Youth has today submitted a rescue plan to the University of Pretoria (UP) management to maintain student traditions. The UP management has also received 750 petition letters. Every letter represents 10 students who signed AfriForum Youth’s petition for the retention of Rag, Spring Day, Sêrrie and Ienkmelodienk (interhostel song and dance competitions).
“More than 7 500 students have given their support to AfriForum Youth’s campaign for retaining these traditions. Students are now demanding that the vice-chancellor, Prof. Cheryl de la Rey, express her support for Rag, Spring Day, Sêrrie and Ienkmelodienk,” said Liza-Mari Coetzee, chairperson of the AfriForum Youth UP branch.
Spring Day, Pre-Spring Day, Rag and hostel traditions have been in the firing line over the past number of years. Spring Day and Pre-Spring Day were not celebrated at UP last year.
“Traditions and culture are the DNA of an institution such as a university and AfriForum Youth wants to contribute constructively to their survival,” said Coetzee.
The rescue plan sets clear guidelines to the UP about the steps that need to be followed to ensure that the traditions do not disappear. The rescue plan proposes, among other things, that:
- students be informed immediately of any planned discontinuation of cultural events;
- societies, the SRC, hostels and day houses are given the opportunity to make constructive suggestions about the challenges experienced by UP regarding certain traditions;
- UP should establish a committee and draft a plan of action to ensure that traditions at the UP are preserved, thereby demonstrating that the university is committed to the preservation of tradition;
- Pre-Spring Day should take place at all residences this year;
- The yearly acceleration of the exemption date of first year students, who stay in residences, from orientation should be stopped, as it impacts negatively on the academic programme of first years.
Coetzee said the more than 7 500 students who signed the petition in favour of retaining these traditions is proof that students are not taking the matter lightly.
AfriForum Youth are at present running an awareness campaign to inform students of the huge decline in student traditions on campus. “Traditions are not only being suppressed, but are also being abolished,” said Coetzee.
“The purpose of the action is to find workable solutions that will allow traditions that are being targeted year after year, such as Pre-Spring Day, Spring Day and even some wholesome hostel traditions, to survive”, said Coetzee.
AfriForum Youth would like to prove to management that most students are in favour of wholesome student traditions, as they contribute to a feeling of solidarity among them.