08 May 2006

Jammie Steps no longer so white

On Friday, March 24, I reported at the Information Centre at UCT, very different to the time I first visited UCT in 1989, when I walked from the Main Road to upper campus. This time I was driving.

Coming on to campus I could really that I was a visitor and in need of real guidance because every move started with asking someone a question. Striking developments were noticeable in terms of:

- the environment, with trees and nice landscaping dominating the aesthetic set up of the campus. The entire area, starting from Mowbray Main Road, has never seen such a huge prevalence and planting of trees. It is green.

- the buildings still had that smell which I picked up when I first came here. I talk about the Beattie and Robert Leslie buildings and the New Science Lecture Theatre. How is that smell being preserved? I still want to know. The Students Union had a big picture, which symbolised entry into Heaven. I could not pick who is in the picture.

- University Avenue looked very populated as usual but with such young students and that it gave me the impression that the standard of tertiary education has improved since 1994. Jammie Steps were no longer so white, and black students were dominant. This is something that was not there in 1990. You could stand out there and count black students. But now you can try count the white students.

- staff - it was very good to see that UCT still has the staff complement that was there in the early 90s, particularly taking into account the turbulent times the labour sector on campus has undergone. Surprisingly, some old stalwarts could still remember my face. I was shocked to see a memo up the notice board bearing Hugh Amoore's signature.I had good discussions with Dr Lance van Sittert, Prof Chris Saunders, Prof Ian Scott, Dr Suellen Shay. I missed Moragh Paxton with whom we used to work in the ADP, together with Ms Naledi Pandor.

- transformation/Africanisation - I may not have practical details but I suppose the echoes of transformation, which were loud in slogans such as, "From Ivory Towers to People's Institutions" were beginning to be realised.

Mbuzeli Mayekiso

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.