Last year, the university decided to outsource its student housing to a private company. Students were against it – and they were right to be. When we got back to school this January, students were faced with a sudden 90 percent jump in rent in the majority of the campus’ residences. For example, students who paid 9,000 Rand [about 760 euros] for rent last year now pay 19,000 Rand [about 1,600 euros]. Thousands of students are affected by this rise.
They justified this with cosmetic changes – just painting the walls, changing a bit of furniture, and installing CCTV cameras and security gates that make us feel like we’re in a prison. Students did not want this! In some female residences, they’re now planning on putting in bunk beds to cram four students in rooms meant for two.
Others, like me, who live in older housing that has yet to be renovated, will surely see our rents skyrocket as well. The university administration has to do something. With this and the price of some courses increasing as well, poor kids soon won't have a chance to access high education. Fort Hare was regarded as one of the less-costly universities in the country, and it caters mostly to students from poor backgrounds, but now with what's going on, less and less children will be educated.