Student societies give back to the community



St Mary’s DCC Cub Scout Pack boys educating the community on ways to save water.
Photo: Supplied.

Recently, Rhodes students signed up for various societies as a way to make friends and try new activities. However, many societies root themselves in community engagement. These societies are always looking for new members, and are constantly working to encourage students to get involved with the community.

Rhodes Mountain Club & St Mary’s DCC Cub Scout Pack

Running in conjunction with the Rhodes Mountain Club (RMC), the St Mary’s DCC Cub Scout Pack was created in 2016 by Anna Talbot, a first year at the time who wanted to continue her scouting career. Talbot described the group as “an outdoor-based education initiative to encourage children to stand up to social justice issues that affect them in their community”.

The programme is focused at developing life skills in boys 8-13 years of age in and around the Scotts Farm area. The programme provides these boys with an appreciation and an awareness of nature and the outdoors, as well as the ability to get fit and enjoy nature. Talbot, believes that the programme provides “A voice through our numerous campaigns that the boys initiate and create, a sense of belonging, and opportunities to learn about topics that interest the boys on a personal level”.

For more information and how to get involved with the programme, contact Anna Talbot:, students can also sign up for the Rhodes Mountain Club.


Inkwenkwezi Society

Inkwenkwezi society logo.
Photo: Supplied.

Inkwenkwezi is a student volunteer programme, which aims to improve the literacy skills of young school children in and around the Grahamstown community. Founded in 2010 by Rhodes University students, Inkwenkwezi has worked for a number of years mainly with St. Mary’s Primary School, Samuel Ntsiko and occasionally with Goerge Dickerson.

The society mainly works with foundation phase or grade two and three learners. Sydney Nel, the chairperson of Inkwenkwezi for 2018, stated “one of our missions is for our volunteers to meet and interact one-on-one with a learner once a week for a year in order assist in nurturing a learner’s reading abilities in a helpful and fun environment”. Nel claimed that this is done, “through the use of wonderful tutor kits equipped with word games and helpful materials which make learning not only fun for the students but for the volunteers as well”.

The volunteers gain several benefits from working and developing with the children themselves. Nel firmly believes that, “students who volunteer with Inkwenkwezi are also richly rewarded by the incredible experience of meeting and teaching children valuable skills, which not only benefits learner’s school performance but also creates a strong bond between individual students and children”.

Inkwenkwezi has a close working relationship with Rhodes Community Engagement, as well as Trading Action Live.

For further details about the society, and for inquiries about volunteering contact the society: or sign up for Inkwenkwezi Society.

Student Organisation for Animal Rights (SOAR)

Student Organisation for Animal Rights logo.
Photo: Supplied.

For students that are concerned  animals in and around the community, there is the Student Organisation for Animal Rights (SOAR, formerly known as ROAR). SOAR is involved with multiple animal rights and environmental activism matters in Grahamstown and surrounding area.

SOAR provides students the ability to get involved with animal rights issues and volunteer work with the Grahamstown SPCA. Lara Venter, 2018 chairperson, stressed the importance of the SPCA in the work that SOAR does. “We encourage donations to the SPCA at most of the events we host. We offer opportunities for members to volunteer at the SPCA over weekends – this involves providing lifts to the SPCA and liasing with the SPCA to find out what kind of help is needed at the centre”.

Venter added that the SOAR committee is informed on the procedures to follow when confronted with various animal welfare issues in town, such as injured livestock, illegal animal sales, or the safe removal of snakes and other pests from private property.

For more information please visit the Students’ Organisation for Animal Rights Facebook page.

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