The 23 alumnae all lived in the Ladies’ Hostel in the 1970s. Co-organiser Dr Zenobia Carolus (née Abdoll) says residents of both the ladies’ and men’s hostels had kept in touch over the years but the urge for a reunion was sparked by a WhatsApp group they created a year ago. All the arrangements were made via the group and George was chosen as the venue because of its centrality as the alumni were from the Eastern and Western Cape, Northern Cape and Gauteng.
Dr Carolus says the group discussed the current climate in the higher education sector and the role the University had played in their personal and professional lives, but spent most of the time reminiscing about their time on campus, which included the student protests and upheaval on campus in 1976.
“We were made to feel at home at UWC, especially the way we were welcomed and the kind of house parents we had. We developed friendships and careers and some of us even met our life partners there,” says Dr Carolus, whose late husband David also studied at UWC.
“Although academic achievement was our main purpose, UWC also helped us with political education, personal development and spiritual growth. We were a small and connected community and the relationships we forged there were more of a personal nature. That is why it was easy to decide on a reunion. We were very excited to meet and stay in touch.”
During the gathering, the alumnae contributed to a cash donation to the University and individually committed to regularly supporting the alumni network and contributing to the bursary fund, “because we see the value of education to take the legacy further.”
Dr Carolus says, “UWC was the womb from which I emerged rounded. My entire awareness of the community, of politics, of calling was nurtured there. Therefore, I will hold to the call to support UWC at all times, along with my family.”