Dear President Zuma
I am a student at the University of Limpopo- Medunsa Campus, in Garankuwa, outside Pretoria. In order to protect myself, I will choose to remain anonymous; however I will divulge that I am studying a health-related course.
Recently, our university hosted the former Minister of Higher education, Dr Blade Nzimande, and the former Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, in connection with the imminent demerger of the Medunsa Campus from the University of Limpopo. This seems to have significantly boosted morale amongst the student body on the Medunsa campus, as we correctly (or otherwise), placed the blame for numerous “complications” with the merging of our institution and the University of the North.
The merger seems to have fomented a significant amount of tension between the student body and the university management over the past few years- as indicated by the numerous strikes held at our campus.
But now that issue appears to have been resolved. Or has it? You see Mr President, the demerger and independence of MEDUNSA has always been the call of the students, but it has also come with the greatest of hopes- that our university will eventually go back to simply being called the Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA).
But alas, we are now to be renamed as Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. Please, don’t misunderstand me- I mean no disrespect for an obviously great man in South Africa’s past. It’s just that traditions are well, traditions.
I know I am not alone on this- every day I see the older faculty members (who have been there for many years) coming to work still proudly wearing their MEDUNSA logo-bearing shirts, ties, cardigans, etc. But it’s more than that. All of us- black and white students alike also still refer to our institution as MEDUNSA. In fact, there is even a Facebook group for students called DUNSA- even now, several years after we should have accepted ourselves as student of the University of Limpopo.
You see Mr President, Medunsa was a place that truly exemplified excellence. Despite its origins during the days of apartheid, it was an African university that excelled to produce some of the best medically trained graduates in this country.
It’s a name that carries significant weight in the international community and one whose graduates have always been able to proudly declare their alma mater in any forum, anywhere. It is the name that even now both staff and students refer to with fondness when referencing their university and it is the place I want to graduate from!
Please Mr President, give us back our Medunsa!
Mayibuye I Medunsa!