The newly elected Stellenbosch University (SU) Student Representative Council (SRC) Chairperson for the 2020 academic year, Mr Lewis Mboko, says he is excited and ready to give students his best by creating the best possible Stellenbosch environment for all.
The 22-year-old Economics and Investment Management student from Harare in Zimbabwe says he envisions an inclusive Stellenbosch University for his term as Chairperson – a place where students' race, religion, sexuality, financial status or country of birth do not act as barriers to prevent them from reaching their full potential.
Mboko is to the best of the University's knowledge the first Zimbabwean student to head the SRC.
Mboko has big plans for his term which ends in September. “I intend to deal with issues that have plagued us as an institution, issues such as historical debt and I want to create platforms where engagement on issues like gender based violence, responsible drinking, race relations, sexuality and other critical issues can take place," says Lewis.
“One of my plans is to try and to set up a gazebo on the Rooiplein or a table in the Neelsie at certain times so as to keep up with the issues that students are facing and so that we are able to work together towards solutions," he adds.
Mboko says he believes in unity. “My main priorities are to unite the campus, making sure that no student is excluded, and that all voices are heard, not just the loudest or the most powerful voices, but all voices."
He says he plans to improve the visibility of the SRC on the Stellenbosch campus and be more accessible to students.
“Stellenbosch University is very diverse and the needs are also diverse. It varies from the one extreme where someone's biggest problem is getting something to eat to the other extreme of having parking," says Mboko.
He says taking the responsibility to represent each Matie means that he has to take these differences into consideration and not downplay anyone's need. Mboko says he will represent students in a manner that ensures that everyone's needs are met.
Mboko admits that it is not possible to do this alone. “I do not expect to do this on my own but to take hands with each and every stakeholder at the University to ensure that Stellenbosch University becomes the best place for our students."
On a personal note, Mboko says his personal development focus is on Development Economics and becoming a chartered financial analyst after university.
“It is my dream to understand how the financial field works and to look at the current state of Africa, specifically the lagging compared to other continents, because a lot needs to be done and I want to be part of that change and see my continent improve," he adds.
He says having been born in one of the poorest countries in Africa, he dreams of one day being among the people who will help to rewrite the story of Africa.
In congratulating Mboko, Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said that he is looking forward to working with him: “Your election fits in with our focus on internationalisation. Students are a priority for us. And I am always proud to see Maties make an impact as global citizens."
Dr Choice Makhetha, Senior Director: Student Affairs, congratulated Mboko for “winning the hearts of fellow students, confirming the kind of student leadership the students appreciate and yearn for."
She added that she has experienced Mboko as a grounded person who is clear on what he stands for; very humble, with a powerful ability to listen before he takes a decision; and passionate about serving the students.
“He is a leader who is always ready to learn while remaining firm on what is beneficial for the broader student community. The Division of Student Affairs is ready to provide all the support the SRC needs as a team, and to motivate them as leaders, to lead ethically and with integrity."