The newly elected Stellenbosch University (SU) Student Representative Council (SRC) Chairperson, Mr Xola Njengele, says he is committed to addressing the pressing issues of Matie students.
Njengele is currently completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Development at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.
“I am so honoured to have been elected to this position. I have been in leadership here at the University since my first year in 2017, so student leadership is something I enjoy being part of," says Njengele.
Having been part of the 2019/20 SRC as the Academic Affairs Council Chairperson and being part of the SRC executive committee, Njengele is quite knowledgeable about the structure itself as well as some of the pressing issues that need the attention of the SRC.
He would like to ensure that through a coordinated effort policies such as the mental health policy and anti-gender-based violence policies and the revision of the SU HEMIS (Higher Education Management Information System) regulations will be intentionally and fully addressed with favourable outcomes within the 2020/21 SRC term.
The issue of student mental health is especially important to Njengele, as he personally had to learn over the years to do “mental health checks" on himself, ensuring that he created a balanced student life, where he could successfully pursue his studies but also enjoy a social and healthy lifestyle.
“During these times I often find that things tend to go south quite frequently than before. I would like to tell my peers that it is okay to take a break – to breathe and reflect – so that we are charged up and able to continue persevering."
Njengele grew up in Gugulethu, Cape Town, and says graduating last year with an undergraduate degree in International Studies, was one of his biggest highlights so far. He is the first graduate in his family, so getting his degree was a very special moment for him and his family.
When he is not busy leading students and studying hard, Njengele loves to keep active by running and cooking delicious meals, which he learned from his mother.
“One of my fondest childhood memories was cooking and baking with my mother. My mother was a chef and I was always fascinated by her creations. In my mind, I would always think 'Wow how did she do that?' I cherish all those moments and they are all dear to me."
Njengele says he tries not to stress himself by making too many long-term plans, but aims to complete a MPhil in Sustainable Development after graduation.