Nqobile Buthelezi (UKZN)
It's amazing how high school learners look up to us varsity students. Ask any matriculant what their aspirations for next year are. "Varsity and being a student" is the stock answer.
When I asked my sister last year, she said she finds students mature, informed, responsible, independent and all those big and good words, so she couldn't wait to be one. Okay, I also thought the same in my high school years. But, I can't believe how wrong I was and that also goes for my sister as well. Students and responsible in the same sentence do not make sense.
Just last Friday afternoon, I couldn't believe the dirt that was scattered around campus. Empty Coke bottles, popcorn bags, pie wrappers, straws, you name it. Filth at its best if you ask me.
It so happened that I saw one of my friends throwing a used and obviously unwanted piece of paper on the floor. When I confronted her about it, she simply told me (with a broad smile on her face) that the cleaning aunties will pick it up. According to her, she was doing them a huge favor by providing them with a job.
It's for the better if you ask her.
What kind of nonsense it that? Just because we have cleaning aunties doesn't imply that we should litter as we please. Surely if these cleaners find dirt on their way, they pick it up but that doesn't mean we should senselessly throw stuff about just to give them a job.
These people have a lot on their plate as well and litter is the least of their problems. They have offices, lecture rooms and the lawns to clean and look after. Instead of making their jobs worse, we should be assisting them to make our campuses conducive to learning.
Some of these aunties and uncles are the same age or even older than our parents. So their age on its own asserts them the respect that we ought to give them, but our learned selves feel not the need to inscribe this right upon them and we choose to make their lives difficult.
I don't know about your own campuses, but this litter problem irritates me. Irrespective of our higher hierarchical position to them, let us respect them and also our environment.
Responsibility starts with a few people and it can spread like a wild fire. So let's take the initiative to teach our friends and change their mentality about the pros and cons of littering and the cleaning auntie situation.