Institutions of Higher Education have an important contribution to make towards the
South African project, and residence life gives a university a unique opportunity to
make a significant contribution towards nation building. In this article, the author will
briefly discuss some of the challenges that he faced as head of a male residence at the
University of the Free State (UFS) in the post-Reitz era. In the first part of the article
the focus will be on the challenge of cultivating a post-apartheid citizenship amongst
first-year students, as well as on the transformation process in the residences. Then the
views of the university as a business and a residence as a house will be discussed.
Throughout the article the influence of different ideologies will be critiqued, through
the identification of specific “hyper-norms” that dominate other norms and values, and
also lead to relations of domination between social groups. Some of the metaphors that
are central in this whole process will be explored in terms of what each metaphor
“highlights” and what it and its possible deconstruction “hides”.