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RECTOR WIM DE VILLIERS: At the Dreamwalk. Photo: AB Jantjies.

By Emma-Jane Metcalf

On Thursday, 2 February, over 5000 newcomers descended upon the Danie Craven stadium for the first full welcoming since 2020. Neatly divided into their respective residences and PSO’s, the new Maties enjoyed singing and chanting as the Dreamwalk program kicked off. The recorate, SU deans of faculty and student leadership made their formal entrances, accompanied by the University of Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra

SRC Chairperson, Masilo Silokazi, addressed the first years and their parents, welcoming the newcomers to campus. She spoke about her challenges as a POC queer woman at SU, and urged listeners to take up the space they occupy and know that SU belongs to all students. Silokazi invited the students, staff and parents to take a vow against discrimination, racism, sexism and homophobia. 

“Inclusivity isn’t about making yourself smaller, but widening the circle”, said Prof Wim De Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University. As he addressed the crowd in English and Afrikaans (two of the three languages of tuition at Stellenbosch), he advised new students to be wary of the differences between high school and starting tertiary education, encouraging students to enjoy their experience as a Matie by“[doing] your best, [being] your best, no regrets”.

WE’VE GOT SPIRIT, HOW ABOUT YOU?: Irene newcomers strut down Victoria street in the highly anticipated, annual Dreamwalk. Photo: AB Jantjies.

Students were also invited to the first annual Dreamville, an event sponsored by MySpace, a company offering premium apartment. The Rooi Plein was a hub of activity, with a silent disco, flame-throwers, and even Chinese dragon performers. 

“A big part of [it] for us was that it would be as cost-friendly as possible, because we know that during orientation week not all students have money to be spending. We didn’t want to be selling things outside and we wanted all entertainment, all games to be free of charge”, said Alysa-Abby Kekana, head of the Dreamwalk sub-committee. 

Kekana explained that the sub-committee aimed for the event to be accessible and sustainable, consulting with the Sustainability division and the Disability Unit at SU.

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