Stellenbosch University (SU) and Visit Stellenbosch are pleased to announce the upcoming Annual Social Justice Walk from Stellenbosch to Pniel on 16 June. The 16km walk, the fourth since its launch in 2020, forms part of the #Action4Inclusion crowdfunding initiative to help pay off student debt and unlock students’ potential to contribute to our country. #Action4Inclusion is one of the priority initiatives of the University’s #BridgeTheGap Annual Fund, which aims to plug the gap in financial support for tertiary students, particularly the so-called ‘missing middle’, and ensure that no deserving student is left behind.
The walk starts at 08:00am at the Rhenish church on the Braak in Stellenbosch and ends in Pniel. The University invites corporations, alumni, friends of SU, students and staff of the Maties community and the broader virtual village to join the event and show their support for inclusive education .
SU participants will include Prof Thuli Madonsela, director of the Centre for Social Justice; Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor; Dr Nicky Newton-King, SU Council chair, as well as Masilo Silokazi, chair of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC).
“The Social Justice Walk is an extraordinary opportunity to experience a different aspect of Stellenbosch with some of the town’s key role players,” says Dr Newton-King. “Although reasonably physically demanding, it is also enlightening and profound. I am looking forward to co-leading the walk this year.” The SRC chair, in turn, encourages fellow students to take part and make a tangible difference in the lives of their peers in need. “When financial constraints do not dictate individuals’ academic and professional paths, they are able to thrive academically and pursue their aspirations,” she says.
The decision to schedule the walk on Youth Day is significant in itself. The day commemorates the events of the 1976 Soweto uprising, a pivotal moment in the struggle for freedom and equality in South Africa. By organising the walk on this day, SU honours the legacy of the youth who fought for justice, and reaffirm its commitment to social justice and inclusion.
In addition, the walk has turned into a major bridge-building initiative, serving as a platform to reflect on South Africa’s divided past as walkers pass through vestiges of forced removal and slavery. “The Social Justice Walk flows from SU’s quest to contribute meaningfully to healing the divisions of the past and establish the society envisaged in our Constitution, namely one that is based on social justice, democratic values and human rights, where every citizen’s life is improved and every person’s potential is freed,” says Prof Madonsela.
While entry is free, participants are encouraged to make donations on the #Action4Inclusion crowdfunding site to contribute to SU’s mission of inclusive education.
Through #Action4Inclusion, SU has made significant progress in addressing student debt. To date, the campaign has assisted 97 students to overcome their financial burdens and continue their academic journeys.
Prof De Villiers, who annually co-leads the walk, says no student should be denied access to higher education based on their financial struggles. “I hope many students, staff, alumni and Stellenbosch residents will join us for this year’s walk and support this very worthy cause. The only way forward is together,” the Rector and Vice-Chancellor says. “In addition, the event offers a constructive way to celebrate Youth Day while enjoying the beauty of our area and learning more about our shared history.”
RSVP: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the walk.
For more information or media enquiries, or to join the walk, contact the Centre for Social Justice on 021 808 3186 or 072 785 3218 / email@example.com