Welcome from the Executive Director, Department of Student Affairs (DSA)

Mr Pura Mgolombane

In the past seven years from FeesMustFall (FMF) to Covid-19 we have observed, realised and experience that the only thing we can be certain about is uncertainty. This uncertainty has brought (and currently brings) with it discomfort.  The extent of discomfort depends on your relationship with it. You will experience discomfort during your time at UCT. When you experience such discomfort, please do not try to repel it, rather embrace it because material change takes place at the point of discomfort (pedagogy of discomfort).This response of embracing discomfort we experienced with Covid-19. Because, unlike in the case of  FMF, Covid-19 has not respect class, power and privilege. This being the case,  those who are at the margins remain mostly affected and more vulnerable.

So, in the context of UCT embracing discomfort in dealing with Covid-19 means that we must see each other as human beings (humanising pedagogy) first before we recognise each other according to our differences. That is, I am because we are and we are because I am. So, we need to make this delicate balance between the I and We and vice-versa work. Accordingly, a starting point is that, we need to have a Social Compact. This Social Compact should establish common values according to which we should model our behaviour and be held accountable when we deviate. It is through this Social Compact and our behaviour patterns and practices  that we should demonstrate an Ethic of Care not only for Self (because that would be selfish), not only for the Other (because that would be tantamount to self-neglect) and not even to the Community of UCT only (because that would be slavery). But an Ethic of Care that is compassionate about Self, the Other and the Community of UCT that you and me embody for our collective wellbeing, growth, academic success and our flourishing.

So, in light of these complexities, challenges, tensions and contradictions, the Department of the Student Affairs (DSA) is currently hard at work conceptualising its Strategy 2022. This Strategy will be foreground on the UCT’s Vision 2030. To this effect, annually DSA will have a strategic review to ensure constant alignment and agility. Our initial thoughts which we will consult broadly within DSA and with key internal stakeholders are:

  • Value Statement
    • To ensure humanising encounters for spiritual emulsification in pursuit of the Agenda of the Soul
  • Strategic Intention
    • To invite you and the rest of the UCT Community to grapple with 3Ps
      • Humanising Pedagogy
      • Pedagogy of Discomfort
      • Pneumatological Pedagogy
  • Purpose
    • To provide you with spiritual and emotional transformative encounters in order to empower you with both spiritual and emotional agility for your wellbeing and success
  • Motto
    • Rekindle Dying Embers-Rehabilitate & Radiate the Soul for Mutual Healing & Human Flouring

Whilst we are with the development of the DSA Strategy, we will continue to provide you with the following co-curricular services:

  • Student Development Cluster is responsible for the provision of student leadership development and support to student governance structure. The four divisions that provide such services are: Student Governance & Leadership; Student Orientation & Advocacy Service; Student Life & Development; and Student Sport & Recreation.

  • Student Funding & Administration Cluster is responsible for the provision of financial assistance to eligible students and for providing a treasury service to student governance structures through the divisions of Student Financial Aid, and Administration.

  • Student Housing & Residence Life Cluster is responsible for providing student accommodation on campus as well as programmes to promote a positive living-learning experience that contributes to the development of the whole-student. Students are also assisted to secure off-campus accommodation through the Off-Campus Student Accommodation Service (OCSAS).

  • Student Wellness Service Cluster provides a professional health and counselling service to students at a primary health care level. The service is dedicated to assisting students in making healthy lifestyle choices in relation to nutrition, alcohol, safer sex, relationships and stress management amongst others, in support of academic success.

We urge you to make the most of your time at UCT. Make many new friends that are different from you,  who come from different  in terms of socialisation such as linguistic, racial, sexual orientation, spirituality, religion, place of origin to mention but a few.

Lastly remember, you always have a choice.  Edith Edger in her book: ‘The Choice: even in hell hope can flower’, reflects on how her choices helped her survive Auschwitz. Part of your experience of being at UCT is to search for meaning. Thus, come as you are in order for all of us to enrich each other’s lived experiences in a manner that recognise, affirms, and appreciates all our humanity. So, as DSA from Student Housing and Residence Life, Student Governance, Orientation and Leadership, Undergraduate Student Financial Aid, Student Wellness and the Executive Director’s Office we undertake to work with you to ensure that your lived experience at UCT is humanising and that you flourish. But first things first: Wear your Mask, Wash your hands regularly, Sanitise and Social Distance.

Best wishes for a positive student experience at UCT!

Welcome to UCT.

Mr Pura Mgolombane
Executive Director
Department of Student Affairs