- Published on Thursday, 16 May 2013 23:41
- Written by DILLON WADEMAN
One of the first meetings that we had as a house was with Greg Ricks. During this conversation I was, for the first time, made aware of the fact that the Listening, Living and Learning programme is considered Liberal on campus. I guess in my bid to live on campus and feel as if I am giving back, even if in some small way, to the University that has given me so much, I failed to think about what it meant to put my name down, write a motivation, go for an interview, sign a form, pay a deposit and move into a house with a group of strangers.
To paraphrase Greg, "If you don't think its liberal, then you're living under a rock". I must admit, until this conversation I had given very little thought to where I stood along the spectrum. However, as I spend more time with my housemates, and become exposed (sometimes more willingly than others) to cultural differences, various ideologies and motivations (not to mention the idiosyncrasies of every individual), I am growing increasingly certain of one thing: if you came into Listening, Living and Learning as a strict conservative, and leave unchanged, unmarked, and un-criticised at the end of the year, then, I feel, something is lacking in your house.
In the past 4 months I have been challenged in many ways: physically, emotionally, spiritually, culturally, racially, sexually; but probably most of all, ideologically. What are my ideals? Why do I have them? Where do they stem from? And, how do I defend or redefine them? These vary from the metaphysics of a deity to the methodologies of science. Because I am stubborn, and because I feel as strongly about the term 'liberal' as I do completely giving myself over to relativism, I have decided to situate myself somewhere in the middle, between a conservative and a liberal. Two instances concretised this decision.
Firstly, during a discussion (animated as it was) with my housemates, one of them accused me of being a liberal: "I thought I was quite conservative", I retorted. "You're so conservative it's scary, but your ideas ... are liberal". Amongst the laughter, finger pointing and clinging of glasses, these words fell upon my conscious like a single drop on a vast and silent lake. The second, experience was during a discussion about sexuality with a friend of mine outside of LLL. After sharing his views, he described himself, just as I had done (more as a confession) a week before to one of my housemates, in the privacy of my room: "I think I'm a liberal conservative".
It seems to me then, that there are three options. To be a liberal, to be a conservative, or, as I am suggesting, to be a liberal conservative. I am not sure what it is to be a conservative liberal. In my mind it seems a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron if you will, but that could just be the conservative in me.
(ps. My apologies if I'm late on the uptake)Comments (0)
- Published on Thursday, 16 May 2013 23:39
- Written by CHARL DE VILLIERS
We need change. We need transformation. We all know what we need. It is all around us, you can see what's wrong with the system.
Sounds familiar? When I hear these words I can't help but think in the back of my head:
“What do you want to change and how? What would you like to keep? Transformation, yes, very good. But transformation into what? Is there a goal?” And no, we do not all know what we need. We think we do but we don't.
I know these questions aren't revolutionary. However when someone starts talking to me about transformation or how things need to change without adding a bit more; my brain switches off. I've heard the lingo so much that it has become meaningless.
There are definitely people who speak about these things and use this lingo that have important things to say. The problem is that there are so many people that have seemingly bought into the big ideas and use the same words but it is void of any meaning.
In information theory, the amount of information in a message is directly proportional to the unpredictability of the message. If I can predict what you are going to say, you are not going to give me any new information. We need change. We need transformation. We need to change how we talk about the big issues.Comments (0)
- Published on Monday, 13 May 2013 09:44
- Written by JANINE LAI LAN
Uhm how do I even start this thing... uhm... Hello Readers :D It's already May! I'm suppose to be studying but I think I'm procrastinating and I've been postponing writing a LLL blog for awhile now. So today is the DAY! YAY! I'm going to apologise in advance for my writing. I'm an accounting student, we don't write stories but I get an A for effort for trying, see that? I can't even spell. Another thing is that I may jump around abit because I'm going to write about anything that pops into my head at the time so right now, even I don't know exactly where this is going and I think I should start talking about my house now... Ok so firstly, I'm in the Leadership house filled with the most amazing people. Am I sucking up? Yes I am! Kidding! But seriously, when I first moved in, I didn't know what I was going to say to my housemates. How do I even talk to these people? Most of them are Masters students, brainy people, past HK's, Prims, SRC members etc. and then...there's me :D Anticlimax. It takes awhile for me to open up to people and luckily enough for me, I found it quite easy to do so once I got past the initial "I can't talk to these nerds because they won't understand my simple language" mindset. Being the youngest in the house has it's perks - I have to admit. Instead of rising to my housemates' level, I thought I could dumb them down to mine. Did it work? Nope! I think I just made them laugh with my idiocy. Jokes aside. That reminds me, my jokes are super lame and my housemates still force a smile or laugh to make me feel better which I do appreciate because they care. At least I think they do :) Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the perks. I've been housemate of the week 3 times because I'm that cool! Not actually. I started the housemate of the week on our kitchen boards and currently the housemate of the week is someone who doesn't even live in our house, so how legit is that? To be honest, I'm not very clued up on a lot of things thats happening around me. I never really knew about what was happening at the University and the whose who of Stellenbosch. The mayor could walk past me and I wouldn't have known (this actually happened to which my kind housemate then informed me.) I know it's bad, I should know these things, I should watch the news, I should know what's happening on campus. By living in this house, I've learnt so much more than I could have ever imagined. I think I would say the kitchen holds our secrets, because it's the place to be. It's hot and happening (even though our stove is still broken). Anyway what I was getting at, is that the kitchen is the place where most of our exciting conversations happen. One of our housemates was going to a Justin Bieber concert. Wait what? Yip! You read right! Obviously he/she felt judged (I'm saying he/she because I don't want to expose this person's identity). The shocked faces when more and more housemates started to find out. So you probably thinking, that the housemates started making fun of him/her but it was quite the opposite. It was more like "even I know more Justin Bieber songs than you!", "Oh my word how do you not know Justin's favourite colour is purple?" or even "Everyone knows Justin makes the heart with his hand, how did you not know that?" and a fight on who actually deserves to go to Justin Bieber's concert after the 'I know more about JB than you do' rant. This is the kind of nail biting stuff our house gets into a fight about. Deep, very deep. I'm not saying that we don't have deep conversations because we really do have alot of them, but I'm rather saying that our house doesn't really get into fights about things, apart from Justin Bieber that is... wait...I'm lying. One more thing we may fight about is whose winning in our imaginary competitions we make up in our minds and then compete with our housemates. I really like the fact that I can have conversations about the most random stuff and my housemates totally get me. Or they don't and smile. Wait...were they lying to me? Oh my! I feel totally betrayed right now! Moving on... I think I'm probably the biggest rebel in this house. I know I should be ashamed. From skateboarding while holding onto the walls for balance to sneaking in people's rooms to study to pouring milk that wasn't mine in my one cup of coffee without saying anything. I will definitely rectify my ways and reflect on my behaviour in the future. So all in all I've learnt alot like when to use "" instead of '' but honestly I haven't got the hang of it just yet. These things takes time. I may not know the big, influential, famous or political people or any other top dog out there, but what I do know are my housemates. I think that they beat anyone hands down. They have made such a big impact on me and it's because of them that I will be more interested in learning about things that interest them too (ie the news). This house to me is really awesome and that is all!Comments (0)
- Published on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 09:39
- Written by ELNARI POTGIETER
Right next to our kitchen, underneath the stairs, is the room of a housemate who has become a dear friend to me in a very short period of time. She has the ability to make every person in the house feel welcome and at home in her “boudoir” as we jokingly refer to this space. A space where tired housemates coming from gym or the library often meet during dinner times and over week-ends to catch-up, watch movies and Youtube video’s or just to be for a while. One Saturday night a bunch of us bundled up into her room to watch “Creation”, a movie about Charles and Emma Darwin and the background to his writing of “The Origins of Species”. Basically portraying the life of the father of Darwinism and evolution (already a sensitive topic and related to recent lectures on science and religion on campus) this movie was bound to lead to interesting discussions among our housemates. Particularly since our house consists of members from various religions, denominations and affiliations (or non-affiliations). The discussions we had during and after the movie were extremely insightful and meaningful-it ranged from the topic of the movie, to love, the responsibility of having children and choosing a life partner, career choices, family life and quite deep discussions about God. Not just did we find that we share similar questions and experiences (regardless of religion or race or language or culture), but by sharing how we perceive matters of life, we crossed an often very uncomfortable line-sharing your experiences of faith with people who do not necessarily share your religion. And whether we disagreed or agreed with each other is not of importance, of importance is the way in which we went about sharing a very personal part of ourselves, as well as how our stories were received. It is not often that personal matters can be discussed so deeply without reservation or judgement-these rare occasions can only come from a space of mutual respect and compassion. One of my housemates exclaimed after a while “Guys, we are living the ‘Life of Pi’!”. A related scenario happened a few days later. In a few weeks’ time, Naadirah and I will be embarking on an amazing adventure. We are both to attend a summer school on conflict resolution at Coventry University in the UK (yes, the Shakespearean quote “get thee to a Coventry” has been thrown around the house a lot lately), as well as serve as Early Stage Researchers focusing on leadership and governance for 2 months at this university. We form part of a project titled “The Inter-Continental Exchange of Leadership in Conflict Transformation” between the SU, Coventry and Kadir Has university in Turkey. Anyone who has recently travelled to the UK will know what a mission it is to apply for a UK VISA-you feel quite dissected after completing the online application. Naadirah (a Muslim) and I (a Christian), while completing our respective applications, discussed matters of currency and exchange rates. Being the over planner I am, I constantly calculated the costs in South African Rands when given in pounds. At one point Naadirah said “Elnari, we do not convert”. Given the specific situation and our respective backgrounds, it made for quite a few chuckles. And I realized at that point what level of mutual respect has developed between two individuals who might not have had the opportunity to see beyond our different backgrounds too such an extent that we can even see the humour in these situations if it was not for LLL. We might not have realized how passionate we both are about addressing the atrocities which so limit the development of our country and communities. And we might not have had the change to be silly about life together. In these conversations, I often think about the quote by Shakespeare when he stated “This above all, to your own self be true”. Being oneself in these situations and conversations brings about a richer discussion. Being open about what you think, believe and feel among people who you respect and who respect you gives them the chance to the see life with a different set of glasses, and for you to refine and reflect on your thoughts. Remaining open, but yourself, brings about a greater understanding of how you and others see the world. We might not agree about everything, but we can try to understand where “the other” is coming from. As Yann Martel (writer of Life of Pi said): “The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn't that make life a story?” So I guess by sharing understandings we are sharing our stories. And in a way we can help each other to write new chapters/paragraphs in the search for answers as we do this thing call life. -By Elnari Potgieter (Leadership House)Comments (0)
- Published on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 09:38
- Written by Monica Santana
Let me start by saying that I do not like stereo-typing and putting people in a box. Although I have the notion to do so, as do most humans, I practice to not do it on a daily basis. I identify strongly with being an introvert because of where I get my energy from, not because I’m afraid to talk to people or talk in front of large groups of people. I find my energy from being by myself and not from being around people for large amounts of time. With that being said, being in the leadership house, and also in the minority as far as introverts in the house go, it isn’t really such a big challenge anymore to be an introvert. I was never really the type of person who could sit around a bonfire on the beach for instance until 05h00 in the morning and do small talk. This actually drained me. Being new to the university and with that self-proclaimed social norm in my head, I felt as though there wouldn’t be a place for me amongst my peers and it made me climb deeper in my introvert box. I always struggled to find my place in social spheres because of conversations that drained me and were not meaningful to me. Although I have grown immensely from being in a residence for four years; LLL have made me realise for the first time that it is acceptable to talk about things that matter on a daily basis; from politics to religion. I have found that despite my religious convictions, personality type or academic history; I’m still able to have meaningful conversation. I found my place in society as part of dynamic group of young people that are part of the conversation of transformation on our campus and agents of social change. I now live in a campus community that challenge ideas, mind-sets, and lifestyles; people that talk about their past and that of the country’s. I am part of a community that talks about their past mistakes and strives not to dwell on them but to acknowledge them, talk about it, bring it into the light and move forward. I am part of a society that is constantly growing and reaching more people through the power of conversation. I am surrounded by people who want to make their circumstances better, who are motivated, inspired and focused. This challenges me in a good way and also inspires me. I am truly thankful for this opportunity.Comments (0)
- Published on Sunday, 05 May 2013 23:18
- Written by MARVIN NGCONGO
So my name is Marvin. And to be honest I don't really know if I like the idea of a blog, or at least the idea of writing one. But here I am, writing a blog and stuff. And since I have the spotlight for a bit, I might as well give you a little heads up of the the kind of things you can expect from me. I am a thinker, I think alot, mostly about Christianity, Creativity and Justice. That's pretty much enough about me for now, give me some time and I think(see what I did there)and hope you(people from internet land) will find what I have to say interesting.Comments (0)