On the 14th of April the Oppidans (students not living in res) staged an occupation in dining halls during the lunch period. The occupation was done as a protest for Oppidan students, who are said to have little to no food available to them in the Oppidan Dining hall due as they are unable to afford the meals.
The occupation was broadcast by Siya Morena on social media, who urged fellow students to meet at the Jacaranda Labs at 12pm and wherefrom they would proceed to any dining hall to attempt to attain food from. A small group of students gathered at the Jacaranda Labs at 12pm, but many others joined as protest songs were sung along the march to the Oppidan Dining Hall.
As soon as the dining hall was occupied, staff were seen to be clearing food and beverages back into the kitchens – this caused quite an uproar with the students, especially those protesting. SRC President Gift Sandi addressed the students. He said there was an alleged list compiled by the Vice Chancellor of students that do need help with the current food situation. He urged students to practice socialism and plead to friends who eat at dining halls to double book their meals so that Oppidans can eat too while a solution is come to. The students, having grown impatient of waiting, proceeded to sing more protest songs to which kitchen staff responded to by giving out buns and naartjies.
The occupation then proceeded to Founders Hall where the Oppidan students dished up for themselves and all sat at a table sharing their meals. It is said that later on in the evening, another occupation was held at the St. Mary Dining Hall.
There are reports of another meeting on Friday 15th April at 12pm at the Drostdy Lawns.
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Words by Nomonde Hlela
Photographs by Joshua Stein