As the country settles at Alert Level 1 as part of its comprehensive and phased response to COVID -19, our individual and collective vigilance against the pandemic must be at Alert Level 5.  Our lives and those of our fellow citizens, families, loved one’s and contemporaries will be saved by eternal vigilance against the pandemic.  This is not optional.


As we welcome back more of our students to our University and re-integrate them in the residences, our twin objectives of #Save Lives and #Save TheAcademicYear are sacrosanct and non-negotiable.

The interconnected tasks of realising the twin objectives require a joint commitment and action by all members of the University community.  We have journeyed together up till now as the Mandela community. We are halfway through this journey which has not been easy at all, as none of us have ever traversed this before. The compass was constantly co-created and evolving. The current phase of our collective journey will be even more difficult to navigate as ahead of us there are tough inclines, hills and mountains to negotiate, rapacious rivers to cross as well as compact, heavy and dark forests to pass through. This destructive and disruptive greedy pandemic is merciless and as we all know, has no cure yet. 

The only option we have as the University family, is to act as one.  Act in unison as agents of our lives and health.  We must continue to take it upon ourselves to exercise vigilance, adhere to preventative measures – wash hands with soap or sanitise; wear a mask when in public spaces; apply physical distancing and continuously observe all the protocols the University has put in place to contain and prevent the spread of the virus. 

In addition to the above measures, we must refuse to succumb to the public behaviour that implicitly suggests that COVID-19 is no longer a primary threat to our lives.  It is still a major threat and is alive and well.  We have not defeated it.  Countries that entrapped themselves into this kind of behaviour are experiencing the second wave of the virus and its consequences are more devastating than the first wave.  We must refuse to reverse to this level through exercising our agency and vigilance. 

As part of this agency and the exercise of vigilance as well as apt responses and anticipatory actions, we will implement based on evidence, severity of the situation, risk assessment and profile, the following measures:

  1. Heighten adherence to the wearing of masks.
  2. Develop and implement protocols to regulate sport and other student life activities
  3. Screening will be done randomly on campus including in labs, libraries, common spaces and in lecture halls.
  4. Public education will be strengthened in partnership with the Mandela Student Brigade, House Committees and the SRC.
  5. Residences will be placed on different alert levels based on the conduct of residents, infection rates and screening profiles – risk profile.  Alert levels will range from Level 5 to 1 and these will be reviewed based on evidence.  No blanket approach will be taken.  
  6. We will act swiftly to prevent cluster outbreaks in the residences.
  7. Student housing will in partnership with house committees hold house talks aimed at public education and encouraging residents to adhere to protocols.
  8. Intolerance to the violation of protocols will be continued.
  9. Continue to hold each other accountable for the actions we take that have a potential to endanger lives of fellow members of the University and especially the student community.
  10. Implement integrated health and wellbeing programmes focusing on mental health, substance abuse, HIV/Aids, and general promotion of healthy lifestyles.
  11. Continue to embed the culture of social solidarity and making residences safe and secure living and learning communities free from all social ills including the pandemic of Gender Based Violence.

I am therefore calling all of us to discard the deception of complacency.  Let us act in harmony. Those who as if the coronavirus does not exist need education. If they continue to neglect the reality that they are in an educational space and ought to know better, in line. We will be doing this as part of a resolve to save fellow students and to save them from themselves.

As we face with courage, fortitude, motivation and doggedness the twin objectives of #Save-Lives and #Save-TheAcademicYear, let us, as conscious agents, journey together because victory is on the horizon.

Transitioning to our shared destiny will be no easy crusade, but a united people has never been defeated by adversity.

I implore you to join Ilima! Letsema! United Action for a Common Purpose!

It is indeed in our hands!


Luthando Jack

Dean of Students

Posted on 05 October 2020 20:47:55

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This platform serves as a reflective, discursive and connecting space between myself and the entire student community of our beloved university. Through this platform, we converse with our students and broader stakeholders on all matters of student life, wellbeing and development at Mandela University.

Luthando Jack, Dean of Students