Student drowns during orientation at NWU

2012-01-22 22:35

Johannesburg - A student drowned in a swimming pool during orientation at the Potchefstroom campus of the North-West University, police said on Sunday.

Captain Tselane Nkala said the 19-year-old first year student was with 76 other students when he drowned on Saturday evening.

He said the group had participated in a fruit festival when they were told to clean themselves in the swimming pool.

"The other students and the conductors (sic) of the orientation did not notice that the deceased was no longer with them when they left the swimming pool," he said.

The student's body was found at the bottom of the pool when a different group of students went for a swim.

Professor Herman van Schalkwyk, rector of the Potchefstroom Campus, said the students who could not swim did not participate in the activity.

"The deceased did take part in the swimming session. We concluded from this that the student could actually swim," he said

Police opened an inquest docket.

  • CarmenP.Duncan - 2012-01-22 22:45

    really sad - all hopes and dreams..gone in an instant....

  • mariana.benson - 2012-01-22 22:56

    SO SAD - sympathy to the parents. Why must people go over board with orientation.......where is the seniors to keep an close eye and show responsibility..... the saying goes for every action there are consequences.......

      vermeulenwa - 2012-01-23 07:15

      First of all, my sympathy goes out to the parents and his family and friends. It is truly a tragic loss. That said, I think we are dealing with some irresponsible and sensationalist journalism here. I went to NWU, we had the fruit festival (Wartelemoen Fees) and we all cleaned ourselves by going for a normal swim on a sunny day in the university pool. We were not forced or 'orientated' like this article suggests. It was great fun and every participated after a great day. I doubt very much that this person died as of a direct result of 'orientation' of any kind. I hope the truth comes out and I'm thoughts and prayers go out to the parents and family.

      Sharon - 2012-01-23 08:36

      I never went to university, but I think there is a clear distinction between orientation and initiation. From what I understand, orientation is similar to a "meet and greet" and to integrate the new students into campus life. It is unfortunate that the student died, but appears to be no more than an accident, my condolences to the family.

      vermeulenwa - 2012-01-23 09:36

      I do however agree that where people swim, no matter how old they are, there should be someone looking out for their safety like lifeguards or parents (with their young kids). When we had our "Fees" there were dedicated ambulances and first-aid personal on standby. The article doesn't say if there were or weren't these sort of people on site at the time. That’s why I believe this in irresponsible journalism: Sensationalist Heading with no facts or little real info.

      jurie.verster - 2012-01-25 10:59

      Mariana, This exactly how the news can mislead one with misinformation. I was and still is a senior at PUKKE. This incident was a freak accident and not seniors bulling juniors. At any time with any activity concerning juniors and seniors, there is allocated committee members overlooking it. I do support your concern for seniors going overboard. Unfortunatly this was an unforseen incident.

  • Cracker - 2012-01-22 23:13

    Nobody has the right to impose BS on others. And those who try to brag about how they went through it and how they were as a result sooooooo much better for it: middle finger, foolish ones, they and more so for the ones who actually believe the BS. Orientation is an excuse for the release of cruelness.

      Billy - 2012-01-22 23:19

      Chill Cracker. Where do you read anything about this be cruel? Don't jump to hasty conclusions before you know the facts.

      Tumelo Sehoana - 2012-01-22 23:36

      Cracker I for one agree with you, I was at the old R.A.U and the crap first year students go through is not on! You are at university to study and not go and die from participating in an activity that disgrace's you. Cool back when it was a group of like tradition minded people at the institution it was cool but know things are different we all have to accomodate each others beliefs. These things should really be optional! At the end of the day someone who was at the peak of his life at a decent varsity like Potch died.

      derekneilmaclachlan - 2012-01-23 00:09

      I agree with you . Initiations should be a thing of the past. Someone invariably ends up getting hurt.

      Etienne Nortje - 2012-01-23 00:11

      i went through the same orientation 3 years ago. The fruit festival and the swimming afterwards is the best part of the orientation and its the first time where the first year students get to relax and enjoy themselves. Nobody is forced to go swimming, this isnt even part of orientation, its just a fun day for the students to relax from the orientation.a terrible accident happened which is being investigated.dont point fingers to orientation when you never even knew what happened.youre sitting many miles away and believe anything you read in a newspaper!

      Marcell - 2012-01-23 01:10

      How many 'kids' died this past year due to cultural orientation? And it still goes on.

      Alfred - 2012-01-23 01:27

      Cracker, the poor guy had a mishap in a swimming pool. It's not like they poked him with a cattle prod and made him walk a tight rope over the Oribi Gorge. Maybe we shouldn't give students pens and pencils either, they might fall over and poke their own eyes out.

      carpejugulim - 2012-01-23 06:07

      Cracker there is such a thing as "No thank you, I do not wish to participate"

      Hanno.Labuschagne - 2012-01-23 06:55

      Oh please, R&I at the PUK is completely optional, including the activities within them. This is orientation, not initiation. Without orientation, I myself would be totally lost on campus and as a result my academics would have taken a horrible hit. Don't comment on things you know nothing of.

      vermeulenwa - 2012-01-23 07:16

      First of all, my sympathy goes out to the parents and his family and friends. It is truly a tragic loss. That said, I think we are dealing with some irresponsible and sensationalist journalism here. I went to NWU, we had the fruit festival (Wartelemoen Fees) and we all cleaned ourselves by going for a normal swim on a sunny day in the university pool. We were not forced or 'orientated' like this article suggests. It was great fun and every participated after a great day. I doubt very much that this person died as of a direct result of 'orientation' of any kind. I hope the truth comes out and I'm thoughts and prayers go out to the parents and family.

      pedrie - 2012-01-23 07:36

      The fruit festival is a lot of fun and games, the best way for the new students to relax during the acclimatisation to a learning environment way more vast than any they experienced before. Not an ounce of "cruel" or "degrading". If you don't know, don't even venture a comment. It is not the old days. Playing games and then going for a swim is as far from anything you try to refer to as is possible. It is now called orientation because for the most part the students are given direction to all the facilities at the university, how to effectively utilise them and thereby improve their studies. It is not Initiation. I am saddened by the fact that a student died, that is true, but to go rambling about a practice which is now so regulated by the university, is absurd.

      Matthew - 2012-01-23 07:49

      Can't blame the "initiation" that is traditional for most Universities in South Africa for this one very unfortunate incident. In the past it did get out of hand but lately initiation is monitored very closely but the councils in Univ.

      Schalk - 2012-01-23 08:39

      What happend is sad, but we do not really know the hole story. I do argee that the way it happens has to be questioned, but to always run away from problems, is not the solution. The problem when living together in a hostile or house is that there has to be rules and the only way to achieve that is by cooperation.

      davidmarctaylor - 2012-01-23 21:06

      Cracker, you're clearly a party pooper. Condolences to the family, but this was an accident, as he was not forced to swim. If you can't let university students (all over the age of 18) take part in a little orientation, then we truly are breeding pansies... It is not grade 1, where a 'teacher' must be on duty at the pool. Come on and get out of your cotton wool padding, CRACKERJACK!

      Blip - 2012-01-24 04:35

      If you need to "relax from the orientation" it tells you that the "orientation" itself is a hugely stressful business, doesn't it? You've given away more than you thought!

      Blip - 2012-01-24 05:17

      ALL "ontgroening" (initiation) involves hurt and/or humiliation and is therefore cruel and degrading. Of course it's fun for the bully, and the only reason the bullied consent to it is not to feel "out" and to lookl forward to "my chance" next year to be on the side of the bully.

      davida.swanepoel - 2012-01-24 19:56

      Hanno, the campus map was sufficient. In fact, due to the exhaustion at night my academics "took a horrible hit". Somebody (don't have time to search) believe the studies start after orientation. Not so. My study style is to attend all classes, attentively, and follow up with the homework, assignments and library reference consultations immediately. Integrate everything. At exam times I hardly did any revision. This served me well up to matric and from my second year onwards. In my final year I had the opportunity to do a free course outside the university and I enrolled - even though it was overlapping with my final exams, I just excused myself from the other course for 3 hours on 2 exam days. Yet I almost failed the 1st year due to a bad start I could not catch up with. My style was what was preached, but it was not respected. I was a client of the university, but over then there was of course nothing like a client-provider relationship.

      jurie.verster - 2012-01-25 11:01

      if you were not on that particular university, and you do not know jack about how they manage the orientation week, I suggest keep your yap shut. I am a proud Puk student, and I know that any cruel behavior will result in that senior to be expelled.

  • Jana - 2012-01-22 23:21

    OMG so horrible!!! My heart goes out to the family!!

  • pene.kimber - 2012-01-22 23:34

    My point exactly regarding these orientation / initiation ceremonies at schools and universities. These young children do not understand the consequences of their actions. When is this madness going to come to an end? Now we have a life being lost. My condolences to the family of this poor child.

      Michelle - 2012-01-23 08:01

      I wouldn't think 19 was a young child who does not understand consequences. He/she could have opted not to take part. One wonders how much alcohol was involved in the festivities and if this didn't have a part in the tragedy.

      jackivdm - 2012-01-23 08:07

      I totally agree! And do you know how many people drown each year in South Africa while having fun with their friends and family? Not to mention the number of road deaths! And how many Americans are going to fall off Table Mountain before they stop this madness they call "holiday"!!!

      jackivdm - 2012-01-23 08:21

      Just to be clear, this being News24... My previous comment was sarcastic. I was trying to point out that fatal accidents do happen when people are having fun, and that to claim the event was the cause of the accident is unreasonable. The old school type initiation as a norm at schools and universities are something of the past. While there are definitely some senior students who still do get carried away, they are swiftly dealt with and most of them are very severely punished - some even kicked out of the institution in question. Most orientation weeks at universities consist of a very hectic program where students of one res have short social events with another res, they are taken to many different facilities on campus in an attempt to help them orientate themselves and meet as many new people, some of which become lifelong friends, as possible before the academic year starts. The universities do not allow much time for this, so it happens at quite a pace, and since this is a very new and strange experience for all the first years, they might be somewhat overwhelmed. But no more overwhelmed than someone who, let's say, starts a new job in a new city. Therefore, if you want to wash your mouth out about something, rather go for these cultural initiation schools, which is much more cruel, and scores of young people have died.

      davidmarctaylor - 2012-01-23 21:10

      Once again, Pene Kimber loses the plot. There is a difference between initiation and orientation! If your son gets hurt because he falls and his compass in his bag stabs his toes, are you going to sue the Maths teacher? It's because of parents like you that the schools of today can't produce solid citizens because their parents want to hold their hands every step of the way. Are you going to hold his hand at his first interview?

  • Silvana - 2012-01-23 06:05

    What a waste of a young life. Poor kid most probably didn't want to feel the odd one out. I don't know why they have to have orientation. It's a load of BS.

      Sean - 2012-01-23 07:00

      Its all a matter of bravado and pure group pressure! Its easy to say that this person could have said no!, but would probably have been patronized if he did!? Aren't students there to study and earn a degree or higher education? It is for this very reason that I chose to study part-time! I never had to act as anyone's slave for a year or walk around in constant fear of doing something "wrong"! I passed my course with straight A's without running around doing all sorts of childish things under pure-group pressure. Remember that times have changed and that not all cultures understand why they are expected to participate in these rituals!

      Mike - 2012-01-23 08:52

      Silvana it's ORIENTATION not inatiation

      Nadia - 2012-01-23 16:30

      Most companies also have orientation for new employees! There is a huge difference between initiation and orientation.

      Blip - 2012-01-24 02:59

      Company orientation doesn't involve food fights and dunkings in a swimming pool.

  • Thulani - 2012-01-23 06:20

    you are going to be separated from God eternally if you continue on that path of hating other races. It natters not what race the kid was, its tragic and we must pray the Lord comforts the loved ones. We need to love one another, love South Africa and fix it together by participating in politics, economics ect, not hate please.

  • Blip - 2012-01-23 06:27

    "Orientation"? Codespeak for organised bullying, more likely.

      Mike - 2012-01-23 08:52

      No you are thinking of "initiation"

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:02

      "Orientation" is just a euphemism for initiation in many Afrikaner-run institutions. There is a delight there in the humiliation and ridicule of newcomers. It's a bully mentality. The "reward" is being qualified to inflict the same horrors on the next intake and so perpetuate the bullying "tradition".

  • Frank - 2012-01-23 06:40

    Every year the same story, authorities must STOP this!

  • Herman Cronje - 2012-01-23 06:53

    If the university did not provide lifeguards at this pool, be the event official or not, it should take full responsibility for this kid's death. Blame game to begin, or will the university finally take some responsibility these events and provide some basic safety services during it?

  • Dawie - 2012-01-23 06:55

    My suggestion - get the real facts around the incident as well as the facts around how these activities are being done and monitored - only then raise your voices. This is a sad day for that family and should not be used as a chance to rinse one's mouth on this forum about things you are not fully aware of. I can assure you all three my kids went throug NWU and the same O & B sessions and the control is excellent.You are not forced to do anything that could place your life in danger and if he could not swim then he would never have been forced to do so. For those who added the alcohol connotation to the incident, these students are not allowed to touch alcohol during the O&B period or for that matter during all Rag activities at all - bad comments !!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Herman Cronje - 2012-01-23 07:32

      I also went to NWU in potch and this fact does not change the fact that someone died. And I can assure you if the control was excellent, this kid would never have died. Not only did 76 first year's leave the pool without him, the seniors also left without him... And nowhere was this pool monitored by campus lifeguards. This is not mouth rinsing, this is anger against the university's continual policy of disengagement during O&B. If you invite 76 students to swim, you better provide some form of trained lifesavers. Even the best swimmers can drown. You don't need to go to a university to know this.

      Blip - 2012-01-23 08:34

      If 76 people jump in and only 75 break surface, who will miss the one who hasn't come up until he/she has already drowned?

      hermancronje - 2012-01-23 08:42

      Well at least there would've been made an attempt to prevent this sort of thing from happening. According to the article on "Volgens Chapman is hulle terug koshuis toe en hulle het eers ná aandete besef een student is weg." It was only noticed he was gone after they had dinner. Control? I think not.

      Dawie - 2012-01-23 10:10

      @hermancronje - Your comments are valid. Please also visit the NWU facebook page and see furtrher info. I agree it is horrific that someone died but making assumptions based on a reporters sensational story is outragious !!

      Dawie - 2012-01-23 10:11

      @Blip - Go see facebook page of NWU and see what is posted there - no jumping is allowed at all. Also see the media report released to press by NWU and maybe this will sde some light on the assumptions.

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:07

      How the heck can 76 people enter a swimming pool if they don't jump in? One at a time slowly going down the only pool-exit stairs? Get real! It would take two hours to get all 76 people into the pool. Of course they jump in.

  • andriescombrinck - 2012-01-23 07:23

    I studied at the NWU and was part of the fruit festival as a junior. No force was ever used to get us to participate, it was completely voluntary. Was actually a lot of fun. It basically involved lots of watermelon eating and then a massive watermelon fight. It is sad and tragic that someone lost their life, but to now generalize and compare the NWU's fruit festival to illegal orientation (or ontgroening) is not helping.

      Dawie - 2012-01-23 10:12

      Thank you !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Schmee - 2012-01-23 07:30

    I wonder whether it is reasonable to expect every shy first year male student to admit that he cannot swim.

      Mildly_Amused - 2012-01-23 10:37

      He could've just said that he had an ear infection or something, if he wasn't comfortable with going swimming...

      Billy - 2012-01-23 17:23

      Schmee - if the likelihood of you drowning is very high, then it is very reasonable!!!

  • Peter - 2012-01-23 07:39

    "The deceased did take part in the swimming session. We concluded from this that the student could actually swim," This is simply rubbish. When the initiation process is in full swing nobody stops to ask this being initiated whether they can swim.

      Mike - 2012-01-23 08:54

      It was not an initiation process such as we have read about in the past, it was orientation

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:08

      Orientation = initiation at NWU. Quit bluffing.

      davida.swanepoel - 2012-01-24 18:57

      Speaking from my time (1977): Officially they called it orientation. The Blazer handbook which I still own refers to it as initiation (ontgroening). It is even regarded as a treasure ("kleinood"). Peter, I agree with you. They "concluded". Another word is ASSume.

  • Andre - 2012-01-23 07:42

    Why is this crazy "orientation" still allowed? What will the university tell his parents? A judicial investigation is necessary to get to the bottom of this silly practice.

      Marius - 2012-01-23 08:10

      What probably happened here were robust antics by fellow first years jumping into the pool. We all know how kids that age can play very robust games around pools. He could have received an accidental knock against the head from someone else's knee jumping into the pool, which knocked him out and nobody noticed. That said, there should have been lifeguards on duty when so many people are using the pool at the same time to prevent this sort of thing happening.

      Blip - 2012-01-23 08:36

      With that many in the pool at once nobody, not even 20 lifeguards, would notice his absence from the surface. Even the students all around him will think he's just bobbing under for fun.

      hermancronje - 2012-01-23 08:38

      Blip, it's quite easy... when the one hostel finished "washing" themselves in the pool - take a quick row call...

      Dawie - 2012-01-23 10:14

      @hermancronje - They do a role call after every event by each student shouting his own number to identify himself. Apparently he responded both before leaving the pool area and at the hostel - questions questions but still tragic and sad !!!

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:11

      If you take a roll call with 76 names on it and THEN you find a man short and only THEN go and look for the missing name and find him at the bottom of the pool, he's long dead by then. A roll-call wouldn't have a chance of saving his life -- only of identifying his corpse.

  • Francois - 2012-01-23 08:01

    No matter what caused the death of this young man... it's terribly sad.

  • almartb - 2012-01-23 08:06

    Very sad. All our sympathy for the family.

  • Eric - 2012-01-23 08:11

    I also completed my degree at NWU : Potch, and can honestly say that the fruit festival is one of the highlights of my 6 years in Potch. The only thing journalists care about is sensationalism. This idiotic journalist most propably doesn't even know were Potch is on a map. The orientation cannot be compared to initiation. Its designed to introduce new students to each other, and to build team spirit. No one is forced to do anything, but everyone is having such a great time that they chose to participate. During fruit festival you are not allowed to consume alcohol, its just a fun day in the sun eating fruit and swimming. I feel really sorry for the university, they will most propably get the blame for this, but truth be told he could just as easily have drowned somewere else and then it wouldn't have been news..

      hermancronje - 2012-01-23 08:20

      Yes Eric. He could've drowned somewhere else, but now he drowned under the University's watch. I agree that the fruit festival is a great thing, but I think the university has, out of liability fears, withdrawn much of their responsibility from events like these and simply shifted the responsibility to the hostels, who in turn shifted all the responsibility to the senior students. If only the university provided full-time lifeguards during this time at the pool, none of this would've happened. The fact that the student chose to swim, does not diminish the university's continual responsibility to provide a trained lifesaver service at their swimming pool.

  • Herbert - 2012-01-23 08:20

    A sad day and my condolences to parents, family , friends. Reminds me of a similar tragedy when my friend, Hannes Grobler from Bethal, drowned at PU vir CHO in 1966 during intiation.

      davida.swanepoel - 2012-01-24 19:04

      For a learning institution, they haven't learned 46 years later?

  • Roland Goldberg - 2012-01-23 08:36

    Watch how this turns into a racial issue again... If the guy who drowned is Black.

      mlungisi.botha - 2012-01-23 08:49

      Assebliefffffffffffff Goldberg, stop trawling. You're the first person to want to turn this sad issue into a racial issue. Go get your head looked at boy or better still, give up smoking that k*k you've probably just smoked. It screws you up man!

      Bokfan - 2012-01-23 08:54

      You sound neurotic Roland. What does your analyst say about these racial obsessions you have?

  • nerasmus1 - 2012-01-23 08:50

    Orientation (ontgroening): A test that consists of a series of ritual taunts and humiliations that the prospective members have to endure before joining an institution. It is considered voluntary and students who choose not to participate are still allowed to join the institution none the less although they might be considered social outcasts. Deaths: 2 Students average per year. Usually freak accidents. Illegal in South Africa. Cultural Initiation: Involves circumcision of males and sometimes circumcision/genital mutilation of females as well. Initiation is considered necessary for the individual to be regarded as a full member of the tribe. Otherwise, the individual may not be allowed to participate in ceremonies or even in social ritual such as marriage. A man will not be allowed to marry or have any special relationship with a woman who did not go to an initiation, because she is not considered to be a woman. Deaths: 40 in the Winter period of 2010 alone. Practice is considered a human right in South Africa.

      Mike - 2012-01-23 08:56

      NO, you are thinking of "initiation". Orientation is "an introduction, as to guide one in adjusting to new surroundings, employment, activity, or the like"

      Nadia - 2012-01-23 16:45

      Orientation = orientasie

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:13

      If I call a dogturd "chocolate mousse" it doesn't make it one.

  • kevin.moreland2 - 2012-01-23 08:50

    how about taking a register after the event!!!!

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:14

      That's going to identify his body.

  • Bokfan - 2012-01-23 08:52

    What a terribly sad loss. Orientation/initiation is a weird custom that seems impossible to stop. Why anyone feels the need for it is beyond me but I guess its one of those rites of passage many folks feel they have to undertake. Lets hope that that nothing sinister occurred.

      Mike - 2012-01-23 08:57

      oh I give up

  • mkhwamc1 - 2012-01-23 08:59

    the crap that 1st year students go through esp africans must stop

  • Brendan - 2012-01-23 09:14

    All my respect to his family and friends. I’m still at NWU and I can assure you this is just a freak accident: clearly 99% of all the people that have something bad to say about the orientation at universities never took part! It’s the best time of your life. For about two weeks you can just relax and have fun before the studies take over. It is also a time to get to know your fellow students , the people that you’re going to spend the year with and make memories that you will never forget. Also, I didn’t realise that 19 year old boys and girls should have babysitters - if they need them they shouldn’t even think of university! During orientation you have the option to say if you don’t want to take part in any activity. Clinton my boy, there is no way in hell that there were any alcohol involved, it is more likely that you had something to drink before you commented on the article - You aren’t even allowed to go out and have a drink up until March! The time for being shy is over! If you are too afraid to raise your voice to show how you feel and what you would and wouldn’t do, I really don’t have any hope for you in the future!

      hermancronje - 2012-01-23 09:57

      Brendan, I agree that the fruit festival is a great and fun way of getting to know other students. There is no problem with this. All I am querying is why the university did not ensure a safer environment. Having someone drown, and only finding out he is missing after his 76 hostel mates left and had a nice dinner is unacceptable. Having 4 groups (according to article on go through the swimming pool and only then noticing the body, does not spell a controlled environment. A simple row call could've saved his life.

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:17

      A ROLL-call (not "row call") of 76 people won't save any life. By the time you START that roll-call, he's already lying stone dead at the bottom of the pool.

      davida.swanepoel - 2012-01-24 19:33

      Brendan my boy, I haven't seen a 1st year drunk, but seniors in the night sessions were. Further, I am an Occupational Health and Safety Act representative and freak accidents are still not acceptable - you have to explain why it was not prevented. I had to deal with a Dept of Labour enquiry and the injured person was no-where near dead. Given that it happened in the 1960s already (see above) there was an exemplary incident on which they had to take measures. If you have to do it, better keep people away from water. The students could use the showers instead. That swimming pool is not very big (unless they built another one since my time), and 76 people crowding in and around it is for sure a risk.

  • muzi.m.khumalo - 2012-01-23 09:30

    This is so sad indeed. Condolences to the family. This kind of incident happened at Unizul. We were swimming on a sunny day and I guess the victim was diving and somebody jumped on top of him. We didn't notice it then, but his body was later discovered in the pool. Its a sad thing.

  • Melecia Boonzaaier - 2012-01-23 09:33

    My daughter is a first year student at NWU this year. What happened was an accident and could have happened in any swimming pool. NWU doesn't do any orientation or hazing, they currently have a three week "get to know each other and the Campus" program for the 1st years. The fruit festival was a fun event organised for the students that is being made into something its not! What everybody is forgetting is that somebody died!!! The students are devistated!!! Al the boys in the Ratau hostel feel they lost a brother!!!! Immagine the family's pain!! Come on focus on what's important! This is bad journalism at its best, always looking for sensation! Have some respect! To the boys family and friends, NWU, his Ratau brothers and fellow students, I'm sorry for your loss!

      hermancronje - 2012-01-23 09:52

      Melecia, this is a very sad incident and I think everyone on this forum has sympathy with the kid's loved one's, but let's not forget that this could've been avoided if the university ensured stricter control of the event. They may have lost a brother, but they only realised one of their group was missing after they left the pool, went to the hostel and had a nice dinner. Control... I think not.

  • Kelsley - 2012-01-23 10:25

    It is sad that the student had to die such a tragic death. I do however feel that the seniors should have ensured that all the students that came along with them were present when leaving. I'm sure if they had done this the student would still be aloive today. During me orientation at OUK we were paired up to ensure that such instances do not occur. Negligence is the cause of this.

  • christelle.boshoff1 - 2012-01-23 10:46

    I studied at the the NWU and also took part in the fruit festival in my first year. It was a fun event were everyone smeared each other with watermelon, and afterwards we were washed off with water hoses. We had the option to jump in the pool if we wanted to, it wasn't at all compulsary. The entire atmosphere of the event is fun and lighthearted and no one gets forced to do anything. It's incredibly sad what happened on Saturday and my heart goes out to the boy's parents and family.

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:28

      It was an "accident" (NOT) just waiting to happen. Now it's happened. And, guess what, it will happen again.

  • Twolips - 2012-01-23 10:58

    For those who lack comprehension skills: Orientation: a. An adjustment or adaptation to a new environment, situation, custom, or set of ideas. b. Introductory instruction concerning a new situation: orientation for incoming students. Initiation: the ceremonies with which a person is made a member of a club or society (this is now banned at most SA places of learning)

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:27

      Initiation is ILLEGAL, not merely "banned".

  • Mark - 2012-01-23 12:34

    I did PUK orientation exactly 10years ago. Even then you had a choice, if you do you do, if you don't you don't. People that was never at PUK talk about they know what goes on and have no right to comment on it. What happened is a DEVASTATING day in the families life and to make 'n your political agenda to bring in politics, race and big hogwash nonsense, makes you the insensitive and cruel one. Orientation i received at the PUK was awesome, build life long friendships in 2weeks and feel you are apart of something bigger then yourself. Personally if feel that the house representatives that where supposed to be looking after the young man (19 is not kid anymore) should be held responsible and should take responsibility for what happened. My prayers go out to the parents and family, as well as all other 1st years going through the pain of the loss of a friend.

  • Frits - 2012-01-23 12:41

    Orientation is essential for all people that join a new organization - even in the workplace (called induction). Initiation is a different kettle of fish. While this has resulted in many unnecessary deaths, there are benefits. It builds team spirit, friendships and establishes newcomers in an organization. The control over initiations is the big problem.

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:26

      At NWU there is NO difference, except by the name they like to call it.

  • Warwick - 2012-01-23 13:22

    Get a good lawyer and sue the living daylights out of the varsity. Some of these orientation go way to far. People are paying varsities thousands of hard earned rands per year for their children to be educated not killed/murdered in the name of orientation. If I was a lawyer I would take this case on a contingency basis. Some one has to pay. Not offer their condolences and offer to pay towards the funeral. Take them to the cleaners family.

      Iceberg - 2012-01-23 16:00

      I cannot agree more Warwick. There are litterally hundreds of ways to get to know your fellow students. These students are being treated in unkind and humiliating ways - screamed and shouted upon whenever they have to do something. There is nothing civilized about it. And lets not kid ourselves here. If you don't participate the seniors will make sure you're a social outcast. In my senior years I refused to participate in humiliating and disrupting the lives of 1st year students and I was ostracised by fellow seniors for that.

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:25

      That too is bullying -- on a psychological level.

  • Caiphus - 2012-01-23 13:46

    oh shame ....condolences to the familly ......i will pray with them...

  • Herman Cronje - 2012-01-23 13:48

    The scary part of all this, is the fact that a human life was lost between a number of people, without anyone realizing for a long while... The university should have event rules that should be enforced by the senior students. Such as pairing two students together, making them responsible for each other. Come on! This is an elementary method!!! I'd sue.

  • Lincoln - 2012-01-23 16:14

    Orientation, Initiation, Induction, Orientasie, Ontgroenning, Inisiaasie, Whatever..... Condolences to the FAMILY, (black, white, brown, yellow or pink..) !!

  • AmosMoledi - 2012-01-23 16:16

    We just know how to attract the wrong headlines dont we? Proudly South Africa

  • Virginia - 2012-01-23 16:20

    Every single year some or other tragedy happens - why? Because students are still practicing initiation. This is stupid and childish anyway. Fruit festival and everyone is covered in fruit - really hard to believe that these are supposed to be intelligent people with bright futures. My sympathy for the parents of the drowned student! Yes, it is not fair!!

  • Evan - 2012-01-23 16:39

    Whilst I do not speak for the NWU, it usually has a watermellon "fight" (a game-to build team spirit etc) between various residences. It is a fun activity and in no way meant to humiliate or cause anyone discomfort. The students would have been sticky and hot as well as covered in pips, and would have welcomed the swim. It is unfortunate and sad that a student drowned, but for the record it could just have well happened at public pool, a beach or one of the recreational dam areas. I hardly think the University or senior students can be held responsible, if that is indeed what some are suggesting by their negativity. No one is forced to swim and as such this is never intended as an act of initiation.

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:24

      Peer pressure is every bit as much force as a physical threat.

  • davida.swanepoel - 2012-01-23 19:18

    @ Hanno.Labuschagne and VermeulenWA and Michelle: we had no choice in 1977, we were told to leave the Puk campus if the regulations are not aceptable to us. If policy changed, the matter of sick peer pressure and possible ostracism remain. Around 50% of the contributors here, a random but representative sample of the population, are against it, but still on campuses we keep silent and let the misuse continue. No, it is not irresponsible and sensationalist journalism, a LIFE is gone. A young life with a future. As for the mention of control, if the matter was not so tragic I would have rolled on the floor with laughter. Some of the seniors in my time were intoxicated. Some years ago a 1st year student was not told the mudbath male students had to crawl through, was too shallow to dive into, so he broke his neck. I am glad there are medical assistance nowadays, of course raising the cost for us taxpayers to support madness that has nothing to do with studying. To conclude, whatever the cause of the death, it happened with 76 other students and the conductors (maybe monitors) and medical staff present. OTHER people 2 hours later discovered the corpse. His mates also missed him only much later. Do you call that CONTROL?????

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:22

      Absolutely correct --- the whole institution swings behind the sociopathic Afrikaner "tradition" of humiliating and physically dominating juniors and those who happily go along with it only do so to earn the right to be the next generation of "traditional" bully. It's a mental defect and a huge moral blind spot. The solution is to summarily dismiss staff who look the other way and to expel all those who do the bullying.

      Riaan - 2012-01-24 10:48

      I am truly dumbstruck at the level of ignorance being shown by yourself and many others on this site. I was a student at NWU more than a decade ago and personally experienced each and every facet of the old orientation and also initiations. I was never forced to do anything life-threatening or dangerous. I survived and came out a better person. That said I am also opposed to any bullying, physical force, demeaning behaviour or any actions that could cause any physical or psychological damage. I am in no way officially part of the current orientation process, but have the capacity to monitor the process at any time and place and experience the process on a daily basis. For the unenlightened individuals out there, you clearly have NO idea as to how the whole orientation has evolved to a very transparent and strictly controlled environment. If any transgressions on the part of the senior students come to light, it is dealt with severely. This includes cessation(ending) of their studies and criminal charges if neccesary. The university has a no mercy guideline regarding transgression of human rights violations. So, the next time you play the blame game or just feel the need to add your very negative viewpoint, first familiarise yourself with the current state of affairs and don't use hearsay or your own warped opinions on a public media channel.

      davida.swanepoel - 2012-01-24 20:36

      Riaan, read my posting again. I refer to 1977,I was there, so there is no ignorance involved. If matters improved, I am very glad. However, my dignity was compromised, falling in your category of "demeaning behaviour or any actions that could cause any physical or psychological damage". I am not going into the details on a public forum. Again, we had no choice - we were told that we would be fetched if we did not attend the sessions, the alternative was to leave the university. If you think I am a narcistic crybaby, I was not alone in my views. As for the newspaper reports, media have reporting standards, codes of conduct and editorial control(drawing from communication law studied at the very same Puk, 2 years as student newspaper reporter and a day course presented by the student press union. No hearsay involved - the rector is quoted. Agreed, the exact circumstances are not yet known. The spokesperson from NWU conceded this morning at 07:00 on radio that they do not have the foggiest idea what happened yet. Two full days lapsed since. Again, so much for the "control".

      davida.swanepoel - 2012-01-24 21:33

      Blip, thank you. Though an Afrikaner myself I have to agree. I cannot recall that gross incidents ever occured at English and HD universities, I stand corrected. The "philosopy" behind initiation is not in line with sound social principles. I have Sociology up to 3rd year level, again studied at the very same Puk). In newly formed groups leaders present themselves soon. Arrogance (so often used as a reason why initiation is necessary) is dealt within the group itself and the person ostracised until he or she improves. However, they are in the minority. The only person in my Matric class that I regarded as arrogant did not go to university. The army did not cure him either. None of the group I was in, was arrogant. OK, those of us who resisted were possibly arrogant in their view. Initiation is however in line with the urge by the socially weak to dominate others according to an invalid criterion, of having been around a while longer. It was against the rules to "orientate" if you were not academically 2nd year, but the failures were there. I attended sessions in my later years, purely to observe and not speaking to anyone. Sadly, under the influence of patriarchy, religion, apartheid and what else, the Afrikaner clings to a culture of submission and fear politics. Authority has to be respected at all costs, even though it is the privilege of only a few. I am not againt leadership, but respect has to be earned. A good leader is just a first amongst equals.

  • Alison - 2012-01-23 20:31

    I strongly believe all orientation in schools and varsity's should be banned,regardless if it had anything to do with his death.

      Blip - 2012-01-24 03:22


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