BY DOMINIQUE VERSTER
THE women of Huis ten Bosch seem to have a prolonged stay at Huis Marais ahead of them. The men’s residence will supposedly be their home until 2021, while Huis ten Bosch is being repaired and renovated after a fire destroyed ten rooms in the residence in August last year.
According to a Stellenbosch University (SU) press release, the construction work is aimed at not only ensuring that the residence complies “with municipal safety regulations” but so that it can also be equipped with “modern kitchenettes, upgraded electrical and electronic equipment [and] a new IT fibre route.” The cost of this construction will amount to at least R62,5 million.
The reparations of the Huis ten Bosch building that were set for completion by January 2020 have been extended to include the above-mentioned safety renovations and modern upgrades. This will leave the Huis ten Bosch community without their residence for at least another year.
According to Ella van Rensburg, Huis ten Bosch prim, 72 Huis ten Bosch residents currently reside in the newer wing of Huis Marais, now known as Huis ten Bosch 2020. This wing is being operated as a separate residence to Huis Marais while also having a separate entrance. Huis ten Bosch 2020 also welcomed 18 newcomers this year.
Huis Marais, however, was not allowed newcomers for the year 2020. This was announced in a letter issued to Huis Marais by Dr. Choice Makhetha, Senior Director of Student Affairs.
“This will give you, the leaders of Huis Marais, the opportunity to renew your ethos and to make the necessary changes so that you can be ready for newcomers in 2021,” Makhetha said
The Prim of Huis Marais was unavailable for comment.
Despite the newly established Huis ten Bosch 2020, many senior residents are still being accommodated in alternative housing. 18 girls are currently living in the Armentum apartment block close to Helshoogte spar, and seven in university accommodation at 69 Victoria street. According to the Corporate Communication Division of Stellenbosch University, both HtB 2020 and Victoria 69 offer the same services offered in other university residences, like free MatiesWifi, parking, and washing and cleaning services. Armentum residents, however, do not have access to MatiesWifi but are granted ten gigabytes of free data per month.
The Huis ten Bosch community is seemingly staying positive in the face of the continued separation.
“It is just a matter of getting used to the building, but [Huis ten Bosch] continues to be lekker and [we] are making it work,” Van Rensburg said.