Join Professor Thuli and friends on Social Justice Walk

Stellenbosch University is inviting people to join in the 2024 Social Justice Walk, an initiative hosted by the university to raise funds for students in need of financial aid. Pictured above, are participants of a previous walk. PICTURE: STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY

In an effort to aid struggling students Stellenbosch University (SU) is once again hosting the Social Justice Walk as a fund-raiser for student fees.

This year, the annual fund-raiser hosted by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) through their #Action4Inclusion Social Justice Walk will start off at Bethlehem Farm in Kylemore.

According to SU, the hike has over the past five years become a major bridge-building initiative that brings together diverse stakeholders.

Professor Thuli Madonsela, Director of the CSJ, will be joined by members of SU’s Student Representative Council (SRC) for an early morning 12km walk in the beautiful Banhoek Conservancy in Kylemore near Stellenbosch.

All proceeds from the walk, says the university, will be used to ensure academic inclusion and the clearance of historical debt for deserving students.

#Action4Inclusion is aligned to SU’s Vice-Chancellor’s #BridgeTheGap initiative aimed at plugging the gap regarding tertiary academic financial support, particularly targeting the so-called “missing middle” students with a view to ensure no deserving student is left behind.

One of the students who recently benefited directly from #Action4Inclusion’s support is Zwelethu Mtumtum, who completed an Advanced Diploma in public accountability at SU.

“Facing family challenges in 2021, I struggled academically, but #Action4Inclusion became a lifeline,” Mr Mtumtum explains.

“The financial assistance facilitated my registration for the 2022 academic year, allowing me to graduate and #Action4Inclusion also cleared my outstanding debt in 2023, enabling me to obtain my qualification.” Grateful for the support, he now aspires to a BA Honours in public administration at SU.

The Social Justice Walk on Saturday February 3, will also be an activation of Professor Madonsela’s Pilgrimage of Hope hike from Franschhoek to Cape Agulhas, a distance of 300 km.

The Pilgrimage of Hope symbolises the daunting path some students tread in their pursuit of education. In August last year Madonsela completed the first two stages of the route from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek.

Professor Madonsela says the upcoming Social Justice Walk is an opportunity to get hiking exercise for the Pilgrimage of Hope while sharing thoughts with participants on the challenges of student debt before the academic year begins.

“Students must have stable lives to compete on a level playing field with their peers. The support from participants means the world to the affected students and the small team that has been driving the quest. With your support and innovative ideas, we believe 2024 will be a breakthrough year,” says Professor Madonsela.

Also supporting the Social Justice Hike is SU’s Maties Connect, a student-led fundraising initiative. The largest event organised by Maties Connect is Vensters, an annual open-air theatre spectacle for newcomers at SU.

Vensters 2024 will be a family-friendly spectacle hosted at Coetzenburg Stadium on 14 February themed “A Whole New World”.

All participants of the Social Justice Walk must meet at Bethlehem Farm in 1 Rooi Street, Kylemore at 7am on the morning of the walk.

The guided hike will start at 7.30am and should be completed by 11am.

Hikers can look forward to a moderately difficult walk in a glorious setting. Participants are encouraged to wear a hat and pack their own water and snacks. More details and logistics will be communicated to participants who bought tickets.

Tickets costs R500 per person and can be purchased online at Quicket: https://qkt.io/Thuli3Feb

For registration and further information on this year’s Social Justice Walk, contact Thembalethu Seyisi at tseyisi@sun.ac.za or at 072 785 3218.