As the end of the 2021 academic year draws near, the SRC has been elected for 2022. PDBY has interviewed students at
UP about their expectations of the newly elected SRC. Issues that were raised include queer inclusivity in the university, international student challenges and financial exclusions. The following students were interviewed: Vice-Chairperson
of House Humanities, Sicelo Ngwenya, an international student, Tariro Chidharara and queer activist, Nande Flatela.
International Students: Challenges, data and financial exclusions
Chidharara told PDBY that she has experienced a lot of challenges as an international student, especially in terms of applications for different opportunities on campus. Chidharara further explained that “by coming to [the] University of Pretoria in South Africa, coming from Zimbabwe I thought we were just equal students at school. I found out that everything you want to apply
[for] like SRC student-aid – they say international students are excluded.” Chidharara further expressed that she feels discriminated against every time she sees such statements. “I assume since we all pay tuition fees we would have equal
opportunities on campus, regardless of where you come from. Sometimes when international students complain a statement like ‘international students may apply’, this statement makes us doubt that something positive will come out after applying.” Chidharara added that she would like the University and the newly elected SRC to see all students as ‘one people’ and not use phrases such as ‘international students may also do this’ but rather phrases such as ‘all students’.
“I think international students’ tuition fees should be [reduced]because, as for now, we are buying data on our own. It’s unfair to pay the same amount of fees with people who are getting data every month”, Chidharara explained regarding the free data that the university provides to local students.
Chidharara suggested that the university can open a financial aid portal for international students to help fund for their tuition fees to reduce the amount of financial exclusions. Ngwenya told PDBY that it would be better if the SRC advocated for policy changes to allow students to finish their courses/degrees even if they are financially excluded then withhold the qualification until the student settles the debt instead of blocking the student from finishing their degree because of financial exclusion.
Ngwenya said that he believes that the university is doing its best to be more inclusive of queer students, but believes that more could be done and that there is always room for improvement.
Flatela echoed this sentiment by stating that “the university still has a lot of work to do in terms of the inclusion of the queer community”. Ngwenya expressed that as much as the university might have a policy against discrimination and trans-protocol, “policy does not mean implementation”. He explained that “implementation of policy is what’s important, and that’s what the SRC should strive for”.
Flatela suggested that the inclusion of the trans community in all aspects of the university experience should be prioritised by ensuring that the campus bathrooms do not follow a binary system and promote the availability of better health-care of queer people at large.
A lot of students have various opinions on their ideal SRC and the change they would like to see within the student body. community. For more information on the SRC, students can visit or contact the SRC on instagram @up_src or student development on instagram @ upstudentdevelopment.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.