18 December 2018 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Thabo Kessah
Charlotte Maxeke
Residence students preparing old tyres to use in new playing swings.

The name Charlotte Maxeke is, since time immemorial, associated with ‘hope’ for the downtrodden Black majority. And the name Fulufhelo means ‘hope’ in Tshivenda, the language spoken mainly in Limpopo, her birth province. She was the first black South African woman to earn a degree, a Bachelor of Science from the Wilberforce University in the Unites States of America in 1901.

Khayelisha and Khayelethu also project a very high expectation of ‘hope’. Considering our painful past dominated by the 1913 Land Act, the former literally means ‘our new home’, whilst the latter means ‘our home’.

Fast forward to 2018 at the University of the Free State’s Qwaqwa Campus. These are the names of student residences that brought hope to the needy when they collaborated with Community Engagement to give back to their communities.

“The need to give back was sparked by our encounter with needy students on campus. We then thought that if we could do the little for our fellow students who are part of the No Student Hungry (NSH) campaign, we could actually extend this to those who are even worse off,” said Beyoncé Matsoso, Prime of Charlotte Maxeke and Residence for first year students.

“Taking time out to give toys, play with the kids on the swings we erected for them, helping them with their laundry and giving them fruit and food bought from our own pockets gave us a lot of satisfaction,” said Beyoncé, a final year BA Psychology and Languages student.

Acknowledging the role played by Residence Head, Makeresemese Mokhatla, in the whole exercise was Sikolethu Dodo, Prime of Khayelitsha / Khayelethu Residence.

“Having had a dialogue on how we can make other people’s lives better with our Residence Head Makeresemese Mokhatla and Mme Matsoso from Community Engagement led to this initiative. Some of us will be going out to the world of work soon and this has equipped us with necessary skills like compassion,” said Sikolethu, a final year BAdmin student.

The centres visited were the Itsoseng housing disabled children as well as the Team Spirit Hospice.

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