Calls to alms and support at Zimbabwe assembly

16 February 2009
Calls to alms and support at Zimbabwe assembly

At the time of going to press on Thursday UCT had begun mobilising help for its beleaguered Zimbabwean students by planning an assembly in the Jameson Hall on Friday 13 February, following the humanitarian crisis in that country.

Many Zimbabwean students are struggling to get money out of the country and cannot pay for food and tuition. UCT has approximately 880 Zimbabwean students, of whom 303 are postgraduates.

There will be a campus-wide collections of donations, to be sent to Zimbabwe to alleviate suffering.

In a communiqué to students and staff prior to the assembly Dr Price said: "The enormity of this disaster is especially shocking as it consists of interlinked crises including an imploding economy, hyperinflation and severe unemployment; extreme poverty, starvation and malnutrition; the collapse of education and healthcare; and a cholera outbreak that has claimed the lives of over 3 000 people."

He said the impact had rippled across the continent and had hit the Southern African region hardest.

"UCT prides itself on being an institution that values justice, human rights and social responsiveness," he said. "I therefore encourage as many of you as possible to support our humanitarian efforts and to do what you can to assist."

Speakers at the assembly were to include Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo, SRC president Chris Ryall, Zimbabwean student Faith Chirunda of the International Students Forum and secretary-general of ZimSoc, Brian Raftopoulos of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Board, Kumi Naidoo, honorary president of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and Nomboniso Gasa of the South African Commission for Gender Equality.

The Faculty of Health Sciences was also planning a campaign to collect food, clothing, bedding and stationery. UCT intends linking up with NGOs like Gift of the Givers to distribute goods to Zimbabwe.

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