The EFF Student command has accused the University of Pretoria management of not being at its best in dealing with the culture of patriarchy rooted in the institution especially the UP res
The organization also claimed that the “degrading” initiation of first-year students is still rife at the university’s residences.
“A guy can’t swipe his student card at the female residences, but a girl can swipe herself into male residences,” EFFSC transformation officer Onthatile Marang argued.
She also added that residence culture at the university has turned a problematic issue especially as it encouraged patriarchal behaviour to go unabated
“There is a residence called Kollegetehuis where the boys are rewarded for sleeping with the most girls. If you’ve slept with the same girl for two months, they will make you sit on a bachelor’s bench. They also sing songs about how hard the guys should fuck the girls,” she said.
“There is a pool table where girls can’t play unless they are topless. It encourages a very patriarchal environment. If you’re gay, you’re excluded from UP res culture,” she said
Speaking on this, a student confirmed that Kollegetehuis, one of the oldest residences at the institution, encourages and rewards male students for sleeping with females in their numbers especially the first year students.
“It’s a first-year thing. There is a title that one gets at the end of the year for having slept with the most girls,” the student said and Marang explained further that students who refused to participate in these activities were assaulted.
Another student who used to live at the university also said he decided to move out of the university residence because of the degrading nature of the UP res culture and tradition.
He said in his first year he ordered never to practice or repeat in public some of the things they had been taught.
“I used to stay at Boekenhout and the problem I had was that there were very [few] black people staying there, 70% of the people were white. We used to wake up in the morning and had to make coffee for the senior guys. We were expected to greet statues and that is one thing I hated. We had to greet our seniors in a certain way and were not allowed to do that when there were external people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Marang university claimed they have denounced the culture but if you look at what is happening, the culture still continues. First years in their first week go through orientation and its extremely degrading.
“They have to greet statues, wake up in the morning to greet the [res leaders]. The university endorses those things. In male residences, they have to drink urine mixed with eggs,” Marang said.
Speaking further, Marang cited the example of Sonop residence, where only two of the students living there are black. According to her also, when issues of transformation or questions about the allocation of rooms at Sonop are raised, the university excluded the residence from participating in Serrie, an inter-residence cultural activity show.
“Not only did they exclude Sonop, they excluded Tuks Naledi, a residence at the Mamelodi campus. There are no white students staying at the Mamelodi residences, but the university excluded it saying it was not transformed,” she said.
Meanwhile, the University spokesperson Anna-Retha Bouwer said the institution did not allow any UP res culture that violates rights and dignity of students and that the so-called student initiation practices are banned at the University of Pretoria residences, on penalty of expulsion and or dismissal.
Bouwer also said that the university only approved sports and cultural activities, in which students or residences participate voluntarily. He however denied claims that certain students had access to all residences. She called on students who have been at the receiving end of ill-treatment to report the incidents to management so that action could be taken against defaulters.