Arts Campus opens new Health and Wellness Centre

by Tebogo Tabane

24 October 2023

Staff and students could not hide their excitement when the new state-of-the-art Health and Wellness Centre was officially opened by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tinyiko Maluleke in Building 28, at the Arts Campus on 21 September.

Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, Vice Chancellor officially opening the Arts Campus Health and Wellness Centre. With him is the Executive Director of SAED, Dr Shadrack Nthangeni.

Speaking on behalf of the Campus Rector, Prof Ingrid Mokgobu, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Design, Prof Nalini Moodley-Dair said she was excited that the Centre, which will serve the staff and students from the Arts and Arcadia campuses has finally been opened.

“This is indeed a milestone for all, and it brings us closer to taking the University and its offerings from good to great. Today we are here to celebrate the end product and are grateful to all who participated in realizing this important project,” she said.

“This dream has come about to its fullest culmination after two years of hard work, determination, perseverance and focus on achieving this moral course. The venture was initiated based on addressing the health and wellness needs of the staff and students at the Arts and Arcadia campuses and also a direct response to the call to improve access to health facilities, which will safeguard the lives of all,” she added.

She urged the staff and students to access the various free health care services that are offered at the Centre and added that together we can ensure that we bring a better life for all.

Talking about the purpose of the launch, Dr Shadrack Nthangeni, Executive Director of SAED, started by thanking all for attending the milestone event, which also marks the launch of the University’s seventh Health and Wellness Centre.

“As TUT, we pride ourselves in ensuring equitable and accessible services and programmes for our students, and in addition, we pride ourselves with our holistic student development and support. The Health and Wellness Centre is a good opportunity for the students to gain knowledge on matters such as healthy lifestyles, including diet and the importance of physical activities with the sole purpose of preventing diseases. Prevention is better than cure,” he said.

“Throughout the learning journey, the students encounter a lot of challenges such as mental health, GBV, teenage and unplanned pregnancies and HIV and Aids, which remain a huge social problem in our society. The Centre remains one of the students’ hope for good health and coping mechanisms with their daily struggles,” he added.

“We are here to recommit to prevention, health promotion, student development and support, and empower the students to be active participants in taking care of their own health. We also commit to putting the students at the center of our health and wellness program and meeting their health needs irrespective of their status and socio-economic background,” he continued.

“Our intervention and approach are being driven by the rapidly changing health care trends and needs, which also change the way health information and care is being delivered. We will explore opportunities to work closely with the TUT Artificial Intelligence Hub as we have the responsibility to deliver quality healthcare services to our students. In addition, we will offer opportunities for the students to do their Work-Integrated Learning at the Centre,” said Dr Nthangeni.

Addressing the audience, Prof Maluleke said he was impressed to see the “Batho Pele Principles” poster at the Centre. “In my capacity as the Deputy Chair of the National Planning Commission, we will be launching a review of how the country has done as far as implementing the National Development Plan over the past ten years. I will proudly report that TUT still upholds the principles of Batho Pele,” he said.

“Student Health and Wellness are cross-cutting and very broad concepts. These terms speak from the purely somatic to the psychosomatics, the sociosomatic and all the problems that come with the effects of economic difficulties, as well as risky student behaviour. In our 2025 Strategy, we put at the centre, the idea of producing future-ready graduates; but we also know that without health and wellness, our students will have no future to imagine, no future to participate in and no future to shape. Where there is no health and wellness, our students will not have a positive effect on society. My view is that students who are unwell and unhealthy both physically and mentally, will become a burden to the University and society, and that is not the kind of graduate we want to produce at TUT,” said Prof Maluleke.

“We are especially concerned about the well-being of the vulnerable students such as those living with disabilities and those that are stigmatized for one reason or another. As we launch the Health and Wellness Centre, we view it as a strategic intervention and a practical intervention. Strategic because we realise the enormity of the problems faced by the students and the impact it could have on their development. The Centre is a testimony to our dedication to helping our students with their health and wellness challenges.

Expressing the gratitude of the students, Chantelle Kaunda, SFC Chairperson of the Arts and Design Faculty said before it was a challenge for the students to access health care services easily because they had to go to the local clinics. “But now we are all delighted that we have our own Centre.” She added that the Centre will help with challenges such as Gender-Based Violence and mental health issues such as depression and stress.

Dr Annah Sefolosha sharing some words of inspiration during the opening of the new Health and Wellness Centre at the Arts Campus.

Dr Annah Sefolosha, Director of the Directorate of Health and Wellness, acknowledged and thanked everyone who assisted in the project. She took time to specifically thank the former Director, Mrs Tebogo Makgabo, who is the pioneer of the project.

“She started the concept and oversaw that it became what it is today. All the acknowledgements I received today are because of her contribution towards me being the person that I am today. It is through her mentorship and through her, affording me all the opportunities,” she said.

Other guest speakers who shared words of wisdom and encouragement included: Molimii Geya representing the South African Association of Campus Health ServicesLekwetja Komane representing the Tshwane District Health Services.

Oniah Tsheole-Nkosi representing the Multisectoral AIDS Response Unit

  • There were music performances by the students of the FAD who entertained the guests, and a special musical performance called “Molly”. In the heart-warming and empowering musical "Molly” the audience followed the journey of Molly, a woman struggling with self-doubt and insecurities in a world obsessed with perfection. Set against the backdrop of catchy, soul-stirring songs, the story unfolds as Molly embarks on reflections on her self-discovery journey. With the support of caring support cast characters, Molly learns to embrace her unique qualities and finds the courage to love herself. The musical is a celebration of self-acceptance, reminding the audience that true love and happiness are found within. 
The Vice-Chancellor and other delegates touring the new Health and Wellness Centre at the Arts Campus.

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