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Madelief

Where the heart has been since 1905

First year’s dance

Everybody knows how high school dances usually entail those awkward conversations and stiff dance partners. This is most definitely not the case at university dances… The first year’s dance was a fun evening where the first year ladies of Harmonie got to spend time with their fellow Harmonites (and maybe with a handsome date they met in Welcoming Week at a skakel, or in class).

The theme for the first year’s dance this year was “Inside Out”, with décor inspired by the animation movie with the same name released by Pixar in 2015. In the quad, the trees were draped with fairy lights and the guests could lounge around on the comfortable sofas before the dance commenced. The dining hall was, too, draped in fairy lights, and created a warm and aesthetically pleasing welcome. The guests were seated at tables which were beautifully decorated according to the chosen theme, with colourful placemats and centerpieces. Also included in the table décor was a lovely souvenir glass for each guest, completed with the 1905 logo of Harmonie and the words “First Year’s Dance 2017”.

When everyone had found a seat, the dance floor was opened by the House Committee members and the party started. Everyone enjoyed the range of music that was played by the DJ, our very own Una. If I may give you some advice for future dances: do not, under any circumstances, dance in platform heels! In between dancing and eating Roman’s pizza, the guests could take photos at the photo booth, which was also “Inside Out” inspired.

I think it is safe to say that the First Year’s Dance of 2017 was a huge success and that the Functions Committee did an excellent job in making it a magical evening for all the guests.

The Whiteboard

“Words hurt.” These are words every one of us have heard from an early age, yet for some of us the real impact of this statement only became evident in the past few weeks. With nothing more than a whiteboard, a question and two board markers, the Critical Engagement (CritEn) Committee managed to spark some powerful and heated debates. Addressing interrogating issues relating to gender, language and inclusivity, the whiteboard became a source of contempt and excitement.

However, one morning, after some shockingly direct comments had been left on the board, it was taken away. A lot of people were confused and angry about this, so some Harmonites approached our Primaria, Jana van Schalkwyk, and asked for an explanation, after which it was announced that there would be a meeting to discuss The Whiteboard. After a lengthy (and at times emotional) meeting, it was decided that The Whiteboard would return to its place beside Klein Knersis.

The implementation, and especially the removal, of this whiteboard exposed some very prominent truths. It was brought up in the meeting that people seem to be much braver behind a mask of anonymity, willing to attack and disagree with peoples’ comments in very direct, and sometimes hurtful, ways. A comparison was drawn between the board and arguments that often occur on social media when people are able to argue without coming face to face with their opposition.

This is certainly true for the whiteboard, but is it always a bad thing? There’s a persistent trend in modern society that makes one feel obligated to always be nice and understanding, and never oppose people too directly. Just to be clear, I’m not against being nice to people at all, but I do think that it can create a false sense of comfort when it is faked. Many people felt that this whiteboard was the only place where they could speak their unedited mind without receiving criticism or funny looks.

There was also a lot of debate about the infamous arrows that people use to comment on what others have said and give their own opinion in contrast to someone else’s. I think that too much of this debate was focused on the arrows themselves, and how to improve them, instead of addressing who was behind them and how they impacted the entire board.

The Whiteboard is meant to spark debate, generate ideas and allow everyone who reads it a glimpse into a perspective which they may never have encountered. A crucial part of this was the use of arrows, as they allowed people to have conversations and expand their ideas.

However, simply drawing an arrow and writing, “no” or “what do you mean?” in response to someone’s opinion is not very constructive. The idea of an arrow is to ask a question or present a different opinion, not to devalue or undermine someone else’s.

The biggest issue brought to the discussion revolved around the reasons surrounding the removal of the whiteboard. Many people were angry over the fact that when direct comments were made about specific Harmonites last year, nothing was done but when similarly direct comments were made about someone else this year, the board was taken away. This is indicative of where the power and priorities in this residence lie.

Many ladies of Harmonie felt as if their experiences and opinions were being undermined and this caused the tension to rise. This element of the whiteboard removal cannot be ignored and the House Committee did offer an apology for this. The meeting then moved on to discussing various ways in which to improve the board and debating certain rules and restrictions. One could argue that this was rather contradictory, as one of the board’s most important features is the freedom it allows people, and that the reality is that the board reflects the people who write on it. In other words, by making rules about what and when someone can write something, one limits the number of people who will write something.

One thing that this whole issue has exposed is the power that people and their words can have. Both sides of the board were covered weekly in people’s opinions and ideas. Friday lunch times were also used to host insightful CritEn discussions. It was words that got the board taken away, and words which asked for it back.

I don’t think that any Harmonite can deny or ignore the power that The Whiteboard has. It is the good kind of power, one that encourages discussion and prompts people to think outside of their comfort zones and engage with perspectives that differ from their own. The reappearance of The Whiteboard at Klein Knersis is an opportunity for Harmonites to expand their understanding of their family in this residence, and I hope that this issue will remind everyone who passes the board to reflect on its importance, as well as their own power to engage effectively with their fellow Harmonites. Every person has a voice that matters, so let’s use this whiteboard to remind one other of that.

By Marie Mjacu

Introduction to sport

A new year in university is always a thrilling time in a person’s life. There are new people, new classes, new clubs to join. You name it, it’s there. As the first years rolled their suitcases in during welcoming week, they soon found themselves surrounded with countless opportunities to be a part of the Harmonie community. In no time, the sign-up sheets on the “eetsaal” door quickly began to fill with names of eager Harmonites excited to participate in residence activities. Although Harmonie offers an abundance of committees to form part of, the sports club are frequently a big hit. Harmonie offers soccer, hockey, netball, chess and table tennis, and they are all equally popular amongst the ladies.
As the year progresses, the sports clubs have started practicing in preparation for their various upcoming events. The soccer team, led by Esmari Mare, was the first to partake in a tournament style event. With only one or two practices under their belt, the first years of the Harmonie soccer team found themselves playing in a friendly tournament over the course of two weekends. From the four games our ladies played, they managed to draw two and lose the other two. However, what they may have lacked in technique in skill, they made up for with their incredible “gees”, sportsmanship, and overall attitude on the pitch! Although all of the first years played their hearts out equally, a special mention goes to Ewaldi Fick. In the first game, she put everything she had into being a team player and never once stopped moving around the field for that ball. Ewaldi, thank you for showing everyone what Harmonie is made of. Make sure you all stay tuned for more upcoming soccer events and show all the support!
Soccer isn’t the only sport that has been working hard. Harmonie’s hockey team, led by Lana de Jongh, put in hours of practice in preparation for their tournament that took place on 4 March. Although they haven’t had an incredible amount of time to prepare for these matches, we are proud of their performance on the field despite the fact that they didn’t win. Next time, ladies, we’ll show ‘em how it’s done!
Another popular sport with the ladies is Netball. This year our representative is none other than the amazing player Caromé Barnard. Unlike soccer and hockey, netball won’t begin until April. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t get just as excited for them as we did for the others! Naturally, we know that our Harmonites will bring some incredible “gees” to the court, so keep a look out for the release of the official netball dates!
Who said sports had to be all physical? Here in Harmonie, we offer a chess club (because not everyone particularly enjoys sweating, and let’s be honest – walking to class is enough exercise). Our chess team is led by first year Cherise van Niekerk. They had their first match on the 28th of February. Out of their five matches, they won one and we can certainly expect a lot of success from these geniuses!
The last, but certainly not least, sport we have in Harmonie is none other than table tennis. Much like chess, it’s a less intense sport and happens to also be ran by a first year! Emma Swart, otherwise known as “Bucket”, will be taking the table tennis reigns for 2017. Although it’s off to a bit of a rough start by not having an actual table to play table tennis on, the ladies are still just as keen and ready to show Stellenbosch what Harmonie has to offer.
It’s more than clear that Harmonie offers all these sports and clubs to try and include as many of our ladies as possible. As we all know, our house values are love, unity, and respect. With that being said, as Harmonites, it is our duty to apply these values to our committees as well as our communitites. Whether you’re the captain of the team, a reserve player, or cheering from the sidelines, always remember that we are representing Harmonie and consequently, those values.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if we won or lost a match. Harmonites are the most “gees”-filled and supportive group of women, so let’s remember that we are a family, and family members support one another. With that being said, I urge you to try your best to get to as many matches as possible! A little bit of support goes a long way. Show your fellow Harmonites all the love, unity, and respect you can muster.

By Claire Ruby

Welcoming week 2017

From the moment I opened the email that informed me of my acceptance into Harmonie and right throughout welcoming week, I felt a profound sense of pride. It was during that busy welcoming week that I met wonderful people and learned to appreciate our beautiful residence.

I walked through “Knersis” on my first day and was immediately greeted by the friendly members of the House Committee, whereafter I was escorted to the room I would call my home for the next year. To make us feel even more welcome, the newcomers were provided with handpicked mentors to help us adjust to our new surroundings.

Out of the many exciting activities that took place during welcoming week, I would like to reminisce about a few special moments.

One of the first “skakels” we had was with the first years of Huis Visser. Dress code: black. Tonight, we dance! We had the privilege to learn a few dances with the University of Stellenbosch Dancing Society and my partners and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Another one of my good memories is of an afternoon when we were graced with the presence of the Pieke men. The House Committee disguised themselves as first years, while a few newcomers took on the daunting task of being HK-members. It was such blast to see how our guests reacted towards the young house leaders, and how the real House Committee blended in with the rest of us.

We also had various other social events with both male, female and mixed residences and PSO’s, including speed dating, watermelon fights, picnics and hamburger building.

A chat with a few alumni of Harmonie led us, as newcomers, to gain a better understanding of our incredibly special residence and realize how blessed we are to call Harmonie our home. It was truly inspiring to see how connected the Harmonites are.

One afternoon we hiked up Coetzenburg mountain, where the House Committee taught us the house song and gave us time to ponder over the year ahead. They also taught us the Cookery dance. Next time I hear “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” I’ll definitely jump up and start dancing!

Another special occasion was the evening that the newcomers and seniors got to know each other better, while sharing their “claim to fame”. It was definitely a fun way to familiarize ourselves with our residence sisters, all while having a good laugh.

How can one summarize welcoming week without mentioning Vensters? We joined forces with Oude Molen and our show was a huge success! Although we didn’t win, we know that we gave it our best shot. Besides, in the end the most important thing is that we had fun.

All in all, the welcoming period was one crazy, ridiculously tiring, yet incredibly fun week. I do believe that the first years learned a lot and possibly made lifelong friends. I am honoured call myself a Harmonite!

by Andrea Swart16300325_1213934998662412_308543984796126954_o

Welcoming week 2017

From the moment I opened the email that informed me of my acceptance into Harmonie and right throughout welcoming week, I felt a profound sense of pride. It was during that busy welcoming week that I met wonderful people and learned to appreciate our beautiful residence.

I walked through “Knersis” on my first day and was immediately greeted by the friendly members of the House Committee, whereafter I was escorted to the room I would call my home for the next year. To make us feel even more welcome, the newcomers were provided with handpicked mentors to help us adjust to our new surroundings.

Out of the many exciting activities that took place during welcoming week, I would like to reminisce about a few special moments.

One of the first “skakels” we had was with the first years of Huis Visser. Dress code: black. Tonight, we dance! We had the privilege to learn a few dances with the University of Stellenbosch Dancing Society and my partners and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Another one of my good memories is of an afternoon when we were graced with the presence of the Pieke men. The House Committee disguised themselves as first years, while a few newcomers took on the daunting task of being HK-members. It was such blast to see how our guests reacted towards the young house leaders, and how the real House Committee blended in with the rest of us.

We also had various other social events with both male, female and mixed residences and PSO’s, including speed dating, watermelon fights, picnics and hamburger building.

A chat with a few alumni of Harmonie led us, as newcomers, to gain a better understanding of our incredibly special residence and realize how blessed we are to call Harmonie our home. It was truly inspiring to see how connected the Harmonites are.

One afternoon we hiked up Coetzenburg mountain, where the House Committee taught us the house song and gave us time to ponder over the year ahead. They also taught us the Cookery dance. Next time I hear “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” I’ll definitely jump up and start dancing!

Another special occasion was the evening that the newcomers and seniors got to know each other better, while sharing their “claim to fame”. It was definitely a fun way to familiarize ourselves with our residence sisters, all while having a good laugh.

How can one summarize welcoming week without mentioning Vensters? We joined forces with Oude Molen and our show was a huge success! Although we didn’t win, we know that we gave it our best shot. Besides, in the end the most important thing is that we had fun.

All in all, the welcoming period was one crazy, ridiculously tiring, yet incredibly fun week. I do believe that the first years learned a lot and possibly made lifelong friends. I am honoured call myself a Harmonite!

by Andrea Swart

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