Citizen Voices / News

“We need to help whoever we can” – Rhodes University SRC

The Student Representative Council (SRC) at Rhodes University has contributed to helping support victims of the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Shannon Frost spoke to the SRC about their food and clothing drive.

The Student Representative Council (SRC) at Rhodes University has stepped up and joined the fight against the recent xenophobic attacks in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, by asking their student body to contribute to a food and blanket drive.

SRC Oppidan Councillor, Siyanda Tyobashe, contacted student’s mid-April asking for goods to give Gift of the Givers and the Emmanuel Cathedral Church in Durban who are housing victims of the attacks.

Gift of the Givers is the largest disaster response non-profit organisation (NGO) of African origin on the African continent since 1992. They stated on their website how, “It has been an extremely busy period in Durban…There has been an outpouring of support from ordinary South Africans who are disgusted with the attacks”.

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“Let us all unite. Say no to xenophobia” reads a protestor’s poster. Photo: Thabile Vilakazi.

 

Embizweni spoke with SRC Projects Manager, Relo Sikwane, about why the SRC felt it was necessary to get involved in an initiative that was over 700km away from Grahamstown. “We felt that we needed to go beyond the initiative and get more involved to help the people affected…we are just hoping to bring them some sort of comfort and aid in this time that they are in,” explained Sikwane.

The student body took an active approach and donated generously to the SRC. “Our students really gave a lot of things. Janine Harris, the Oppidan Warden and the Manager of Housekeeping services, gave us a lot of the old blankets and jerseys…” Sikwane said.

The SRC is sending 15 full boxes to the Emmanuel Cathedral Church and Gift of the Givers consisting of clothes, toiletries, sanitary wear, bedding, blankets, non-perishable goods, and any monetary donations.

The SRC aim and continue to assist people in their own community by running various community engagement activities throughout the year. However, Sikwane feels that, “we need to help whoever we can, regardless of whom or where they are”.

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The Rhodes University protest against xenophobia. Photo: Thabile Vilakazi.

 

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Students protesting against xenophobia. Photo: Thabile Vilakazi.

 

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