So take it to heart

"If someone's been trying to change your mind
But don't take it too hard
If it sounds unkind
Be the problem in hell
Or be the black tie
Dragging heaven down
And then at least half of your heart will be safe and sound."
-The Ascetic Junkies, "A Protest Song"

In my time here, I have found many similarities and many differences. Some due to race, some due to culture, some due to SES (socio-economic status), technology...and a plethora of other reasons.

This weekend I went to the EOH (Edward Oppenheimer House) party, and there were...well, a LOT of people there. Upwards of several hundred. It's one of the biggest parties of the year, apparently. ZaZa's friends and I had to wait for a 2nd bus to pick us up because the first one was literally packed as full as it could get. When we got to the party, one of ZaZa's friends made the fairly obvious observation that I was the only white person there [we later realized that was incorrect, there were 3 white people there, but I was the only female]. We joked about it, saying that if I got separated from the group, they could just say, "Has anyone seen a white girl around here?" It was actually pretty funny, because none of us were really bothered by that, it was just an amusing observation. One thing, though, was that people would come up to ZaZa or her friends and ask who I was...and they'd want to meet me. The "white girl" who was brave enough to come to the party. Strange. So, I met several people who were interested in my simply because of the combination of the color of my skin and the location I was in. I don't feel offended by it at all, it's just very interesting to me.

ZaZa and her friends did, however, teach me to dance. :)

This week, I've noticed a cultural disconnect. Wits is set to increase fees, and students are protesting about it. Now, Central has had fee increases in the past, and all we've done is write articles about it for the Ray, or possibly talk to Student Senate. Nothing of this scale has been done.

Now, like I said, maybe it's the cultural disconnect, but I just don't agree with these protests. If there's a reason why fees need to go up...well, then they have to go up. As a person who is paying for her own schooling, it's scary and difficult. But, since neither the US nor SA offers free education, we can't expect the universities to allow us to go to school for free. That's something to petition the government about though, not the school. However, if you are going to protest...why would you protest outside the Residence halls at 10:30 at night? The protests very clearly have everyone's attention...why do you need to disrupt students who don't want to participate? One of my lecturers was telling us last year that her laptop was stolen during these riot-protests, and that students would just storm in and jump on tables and shout until everyone left. It seems things like that are happening this year, too.

I'm all for civil disobedience, but this just seems excessive and...misplaced? I don't know. Like, if you really want to be heard, act like civil adults, y'know? I've been told that "This is how we do things in SA, you might not be used to it, but it's how we get things done." I guess that might be it. I'm trying to stop forcing my opinions on others, so I'm working on that. It's just hectic this week though, and no one can deny that.

Although, a member of the SRC (Student Representative Committee) from my Psychosocial class spoke to us today, and said it was never the SRC's plan for things to get so out of hand, and the PYA (Progressive Youth Alliance) is doing things a bit differently than SRC. Apparently, SRC is now talking to the administration and also reprimanding people who are violent. She said it's one thing to walk by a classroom and say, "Hey, we're protesting, come join us!" and let students get up of their own volition, it's someting completely different to storm into a classroom and shout and jump on desks and drag people outside. I can fully agree to that, at least.

Ach. Seems like I still have a lot to learn...or at least come to terms with.

Also...it is officially my halfway point of being here. I have 2 1/2 months left. Let's hope I can make the best of it.

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