Newly elected Student Representative Council (SRC) chairperson, Lwando Nkamisa, would like to see all Stellenbosch University (SU) students come together as a community – and be better together.
Lwando, a Master's Degree student in Agricultural Economics, was elected by his peers on the SRC as chairperson for the term 2017/2018 on Wednesday evening (13 September 2017).
The 25 year old grew up in the village Nontshinga, near the Eastern Cape town of Centane. He matriculated from Uviwe Senior Secondary School before completing his undergraduate studies in Agriculture Economics at the University of Fort Hare. He came to Stellenbosch University in 2016.
He has been actively involved in student structures and served as DASO (Democratic Alliance Student Organisation) Stellenbosch chairperson for 2016/2017.
Lwando has big plans for the year ahead. “Our biggest challenge this year will be to integrate and unify the student community. We need to unify all our campuses so that the students at Saldanha and Tygerberg all feel like they are part of one student body. As students we need to talk to one another, so that we can get to know each other – our differences and what we have in common."
Having gown up in a very poor, but tight knit community, taught Lwando to persevere and to make the most of whatever opportunities comes his way. “In high school we did not have enough text books and we had to share books, sometimes among 10 learners. So we formed study groups and helped each other – we all passed. We were better together."
Lwando attributes his success to the many people who supported him throughout his life. “It took a village to raise me, and therefore this success is not mine only. When I go home in December, everyone in my village will celebrate with me – we share in each other's struggles, but we also share in our successes. I want to make them proud."
It is this sense of community that Lwando would like to see among SU students. “A community is sympathetic, forgiving, supportive, humane and understanding. We have to look past the stereotypes to see the person."
Some of the areas where the SRC, in cooperation with other university structures, would like to make improvements are student transportation, mental health and financial support. “We need to find innovative ways to deal with these issues, and we need to work together to find solutions."
Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, congratulated the new student leaders on behalf of SU management. “Hearty congratulations to Lwando Nkamisa, the new SRC Chair, and the other SRC members with their election. Higher education has an important contribution to make in our country, but we face significant challenges. Students have a key role to play, and student leaders are there to represent their interests. I look forward to working with the new SRC. They are our fellow travellers on Stellenbosch University's journey into the future.
“Lwando is well placed for his role. He is a postgraduate student in a field of study that is indispensable for development and growth in our country and has the necessary maturity to lead our student body at this particular time so that we can go forward together."
Photo: Anton Jordaan