Outreach begins at home, says new head student

09 November 2009

Siyabonga Nyezi New chapter: New head student of Leo Marquard residence, Siyabonga Nyezi.

When he first came to UCT, Siyabonga Nyezi noted that his fellow students - all gathered for Orientation Week - were raring to go.

But as they settled in, the initial excitement faded away. Many lost interest in events on campus, "those things beyond their studies", something that disturbed him.

"I felt I had to use whatever position I could get at university to help deal with these levels of apathy," he said.

As the new head student of Leo Marquard residence's house committee for 2010, he has that platform.

Nyezi, a BBusSc student who holds the public relations portfolio in the 2009 house committee, will spearhead activities that will get the Leo Marquardians involved in the community and build spirit at the residence. He also plans to up their involvement in other extra-curricular activities.

"I feel I can lead the future generation of Leo Marquardians to become worthy citizens. If you commit yourself to serving the residence and you have been presented with an opportunity, there is so much you can contribute in terms of leadership skills."

Nyezi, who hails from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, believes that students aren't solely to blame for the general apathy. He and his team are brainstorming community outreach initiatives that they hope will keep students involved and in the loop.

"My residence does not do much charity work," Nyezi noted. "We need to introduce students to that concept, and make sure that they understand the importance of charity work."

Among the challenges faced by his group is maintaining a balance between studies and student leadership, and making sure that leaders don't misuse their positions.

"We must make sure that the team is there for the right reasons - for the betterment of the house, not for personal interest."

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