Rainbow coloured flags, bright orange t-shirts, and people dancing to Beyonce’s single ladies were part of the festivities that made this year’s Wits pride the biggest.
The event was a host of colourful flags, bright orange whistles and Witsies dressed in extravagant outfits for the event . The event started with a few words from the Deputy vice chancellor of finance and operations Tawana Kupe, who said he was impressed with this year’s turn out and chanted to the crowd “No fear, No hate, All love, Proud to be you” and the crowd replied with a loud “Proud to be me”
The parade was themed Being Me, which was a week of events dedicated to merge the diverse personalities, sexual orientations and gender identities at Wits. Events include a new t-shirt design competition, a drawing marathon; and a queer history tour.
Wits Pride programme manager Ella Kotze said this year’s theme aimed to make Wits a safe space for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, age, nationality, ability or class.
Kotze said Wits Pride will join hands with students and those supportive of LGBTIA issues to show their pride and also remember the struggle the LGBTIA community has faced in obtaining their rights.
[pullquote]We need to reclaim the space for everyone, we know there is homophobia on campus, and it’s one of the silences on this campus[/pullquote]
Kupe said “We need to reclaim the space for everyone, we know there is homophobia on campus, and it’s one of the silences on this campus.”
SRC secretary Tasneem Essop highlighted the lack of support the SRC has given to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and asexual (LGBTIA) on campus.
“We are behind pride, as an SRC we have not done much for pride”, she acknowledged that pride has come a long way and as the SRC they want to take the fight against inequality all over campus.
The march started 1 pm at the Library Lawns and proceeded past the Great Hall, down Yale Road across West Campus and back to the Library Lawns again.
by Palesa Radebe
THE SRC has called for a 24-hour health service on campus, following student complaints and demands for better health services.
At the moment Campus Health has four staff members servicing 30 000 students and 2 000 Wits staff members.
The biggest issue raised by students concerns its closing hours and the long waiting times to consult with nurses.
The campus clinic closes at 4.30pm and some students only finish their classes at 5pm.
SRC secretary Tasneem Essop said, as part of their action agenda, the SRC wanted the university to employ more nurses, increase working hours and have better resources.
[pullquote]”We want [to] increase resourcing, staffing, [and] two night nurses starting this year that will increase when the needs of the students go up,” [/pullquote]
“We want [to] increase resourcing, staffing, [and] two night nurses starting this year that will increase when the needs of the students go up,” Essop told the Wits Vuvuzela.
The SRC and Campus Health will approach Wits management jointly to ask for 24-hour health services. They will also ask management to increase staff within the division so they can remain open longer.
“If you increase your staff, you increase your working times,” said Essop. “Getting more staff will also get the lines to move faster, and less waiting time.”
Head of Campus Health, Sister Yvonne Matimba, is in favour of Campus Health remaining open 24 hours of the day. But she does not support the idea of nurses carrying medicine to different
residences at night.
“Nurses would easily become vulnerable at night, if they would have to walk around campus carrying a bag filled with medical supplies,” Matimba said.
Approached by Wits Vuvuzela, students said night nurses were needed on campus and that it would be valuable to have them around.
Boteng Maluke, 1st year Law, said: “Night nurses are not a bad idea. People need to be able to access nurses. I had a migraine and I didn’t know what to do. I just took pills but I needed medical attention.”
Amanda Nkhumeleni, 1st year BAcc, said she would like it if nurses were available for 24 hours. “If I get sick in the middle of the night, they call Campus Protection, and they take you to hospital which is far. It’s better to have a night nurse.”
The meeting with Wits management will be held in September and the SRC hopes to have night nurses available by the end of the year.