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A team from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) Student Housing and Residence life recently embarked on a clean-up campaign following the several days of unrest and looting that took place in Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The students united in a bid to help clean their communal spaces within the residences and the streets.

The team consisted of students living in the different student residences and the Residence Advisors. Residence Development Officer, Khosi Twala pronounced the essential role that the students played during the clean-up campaign.

“The involvement of students and staff from our residences have played an important role in the demonstration and implementation of the stewardship perspective as reflected in the ENVISION2030 in terms of accountability. The other important outcome of this clean-up was positioning our residences as part of the communities they are located in. Historically, this has been an issue as communities have distorted perceptions of students as unruly, loud, and irresponsible people. Seeing the students at the forefront of the clean-ups has sure changed these perceptions, I believe,” he said.

Nonjabulo Shangase, President of the Central Housing Committee (CHC) shared that it was impressive to see DUT students joining in this initiative.

“We saw the importance of taking responsibility to clean up the common spaces in the residences because if we turned a blind eye to the dirty corridors and the overflowing waste bins this would have affected our well-being. I embarked on this campaign because I am a person who always encourages the students to maintain cleanliness. My hope was that as students we would develop a habit of keeping our residences clean as this also contributes to our physical health. I also developed a sense of mastery as I was able to assert some control on the environment. Despite all the negativity that surrounded us recently joining this campaign made me feel good as I saw that as students, we were able to make a positive contribution,” Shangase added. 

Sbahle Dlamini, Chairperson of the Green Campus Initiative (GCI) stated that as students they are used to having the cleaning staff ensuring that residence spaces are clean.

“Following the unrest, the cleaners were unable to come to work due to the unavailability of transportation and therefore we took it upon ourselves to ensure the cleanliness and upkeep of our residences. This was extremely important since we are amid the dire COVID-19 pandemic. It is our responsibility to ensure that the environment is well-taken care of. The purpose was to ensure that the residences are kept clean and well-maintained and I am glad that this was achieved,” said Dlamini.

Also adding to the conversation on the importance of such a campaign was Sibekezelo Ntimbane, who is a House Committee at Lorance House (chairperson). 

“Durban Central is one of the places that was affected severely, and students from outsourced residences took it upon themselves to clean up the streets. St George’s Street is like our home, so we didn’t want to keep the place where we are living in an untidy state, we had to do something because the eThekwini Municipality was not working during the unrest. We achieved it because we cleaned the environment out of love, humanity, passion, and dedication. It was a great experience for us to volunteer to clean St George’s Street without expecting any help from the municipality or government,” he said. 

Residence Advisors further reported that as part of the 67 minutes for Mandela Day they collaborated with Durban Solid Waste (DSW) to clean the streets within their neighbourhoods. In complying with COVID-19 regulations the students kept their masks on and were provided the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as they assisted DSW workers to clean the streets. 

Pictured: DUT Residence students clean up the streets during clean-up campaign. 

Nikiwe Sukazi 

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