A historical exploration of the institutional and residence cultures of Stellenbosch University, c. 2000-2018
Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Universities, as microcosms of society, have been characterized as public interest institutions. According to sociologist, Kathleen Lynch, they have been considered as bastions for the free exchange of ideas and creators of knowledge for the greater good of humanity. Since the inception of democracy in South Africa post 1994, political pressure to transform the remnants of the apartheid regime in the higher education domain has been at the forefront. This has demanded the establishment of a socially just institutional landscape which is responsive to change. Transformation of the university experience has resulted in incongruences between the compilation of policy and the implementation of such framed interventions. Higher Education reform in South Africa has been profoundly shaped by procedures which climaxed in the construction of numerous documents such as the 1996 National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) report, the 1996 Green Paper on Higher Education Transformation and the 1997 Education White Paper which launched a series of commissions, investigations, and task teams which framed and guided the formation of policies within universities across South Africa. This study focuses on Stellenbosch University (SU), one of the highest ranked institutions in South Africa, located in the picturesque town of Stellenbosch. The contentious history of the institution has led to much criticism since the turn of the 21st century. The year 2000 was a turning for the university, as it embarked on various campaigns to reappraise its image, spaces, and practices. This has involved various rectors, stakeholders amongst both staff and students and monitoring structures. Its 2000 Strategic Framework for the Turn of the Century and Beyond was the catalyst to various processes of restructuring and re-dress of past systemic injustices. Despite this, there continues to be a contradiction between its policies and residence spaces, and ambiguity in social interactions has led to scrutiny. This will be examined through the lens of state reports, institutional reports, residential monitor reports, student leaders, residence heads and archival material such as publications and commemorative volumes from sampled residences. Overall, the study explores whether residence culture, through the lens of their welcoming practices, is symptomatic of the Stellenbosch University institutional culture, or whether residence culture is a collective-perpetuated system of the space. Welcoming can be considered a staged manifestation of residence culture and identity, based on intentional design. The question of whether Stellenbosch University and residence practices have changed is evaluated within the context of these constantly changing spaces. As a residence is a collective of individuals, it could be argued that it is a collective-perpetuated system, defined by a symbiotic relationship with the management structure and regulated by student protest. These actions and reactions have had a direct impact on the changing nature of the institutional Matie and residence identities.