Launch of CAHAU: A home away from home for campus living

The Residence Office at the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) launched their new, official name, Campus Housing and Accommodation Unit (CAHAU) on 21 August 2023 at the SPU South Campus Multipurpose Hall. The primary objective of the event was to foster brand culture and identity, while ensuring a high-profile brand presence for all on-campus and off-campus residences.

University Registrar Dr Jody Cedras highlighted the importance of the provision of decent, safe, and academically conducive student accommodation to the quality of the higher education system and the success of its students: “Many South African students, especially those from a rural and poor background, have been living in very poor conditions and this has often hampered their ability to succeed. At SPU we vowed to change this through providing safe and descent residences with the necessary support to ensure student success.”

Mr Buntu Mnyaka, Senior Manager: Student Life and Development, placed emphasis on building a cultivated and inclusive environment that is conducive and welcoming for students from all walks of life, saying, “It is vital that we create a cultural environment that offer students a feeling of having home away from home.”

In line with the original vision of creating a modern post-apartheid South African university, the names of the SPU residences are derived from the characters of the famous novel Mhudi by Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje.

Mr Adonis Shikwambana, Manager: Campus Housing & Accommodation, explained the thinking behind this move. “SPU is the first institution to name its residences from characters in a book. This deliberate approach will ensure that his ideals and the world he envisioned will be brought to life for as long as the university is around.”

The conceptualisation of the CAHAU brand was a long and engaged process which involved students, wardens, sub-wardens, the residence office staff, and creative practitioners from the Department of Institutional Advancement.

Ms Fezile Matsebula, a warden at Mhudi Residences shared a brief story about the process and how they came up with the values for the residences: “We all had to read the book to understand each character and their personality traits in order to come up with values for each residence. Moroka, for an example, was the chief of the Barolong clan, a powerful man that had strong principles. He led from the front and fought hard for the rights of his people. These are some of the values we hope our students will adopt.”

Mr Qondakele Sompondo, Director for Institutional Advancement, commended all those involved in the conceptualisation of the CAHAU brand and highlighted the importance of ensuring alignment of the brand with the mission of the university. “A brand sets you apart from competitors and helps you build a reputation crucial in forming key relationships with your community. In this case the team had to carefully ensure the identified names and values of each residence aligned with the mission of the university, its core messages, and ultimately express all these visually through the brand.”

Tshepang Setae, a senior student at SPU and Chairperson of the house committees, expressed appreciation to CAHAU for their unwavering attempts at making sure that students feel comfortable and secure in the residences, stating that “CAHAU plays a vital role in our student life because it connects us and aids in forming lifetime friendships, as well as promoting inclusivity and diversity.” She also cited CAHAU’s efforts in providing students with a sense of belonging and making them feel at home: “Let us embrace CAHAU, and be proud of it!”

To view the new CAHAU Brand click here

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