From Aardvark to Ihobo-hobo: Zoology and Entomology Department renames six spaces

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Dean of Science Professor Tony Booth and Head of Zoology and Entomology Department Professor Nicole Richoux
CREDIT: Vusumzi Tshekema
Dean of Science Professor Tony Booth and Head of Zoology and Entomology Department Professor Nicole Richoux CREDIT: Vusumzi Tshekema

By Matimu Shivambu


In a transformative stride towards fostering inclusivity and recognising the contributions of a diverse array of individuals, Rhodes bet36体育备用_bet356注册-官方*授权√’s Department of Zoology and Entomology recently renamed six of its rooms.

The initiative, deeply rooted in the bet36体育备用_bet356注册-官方*授权√'s commitment to foster inclusivity, acknowledges the rich tapestry of languages and cultures in the Rhodes bet36体育备用_bet356注册-官方*授权√ community.

Sibusiso Ngxingo, the Department Manager, emphasised that this renaming ceremony marks significant milestones, symbolising a departure from the past and a step towards a more inclusive future.

Head of Department Professor Nicole Richoux highlighted the importance of the occasion and its alignment with the bet36体育备用_bet356注册-官方*授权√'s mission to create an environment that embraces diversity and ensures that every member feels seen and heard.

According to Professor Tony Booth, the Dean of Science at Rhodes bet36体育备用_bet356注册-官方*授权√, the significance of naming goes beyond mere nomenclature. It is deeply rooted in the bet36体育备用_bet356注册-官方*授权√'s commitment to a naming process that aligns with its vision and mission. Professor Booth stressed the importance of promoting inclusivity, redressing historical imbalances, and ensuring that the chosen names speak to the bet36体育备用_bet356注册-官方*授权√'s geographical location and cultural diversity.

Professor Richoux acknowledged the active involvement of staff and students in the naming process, as it ensured collective and inclusive decision-making.

The renamed spaces, each with symbolic meanings, reflect a thoughtful and deliberate approach to capturing their essence:

  1. Ihobo-hobo (tearoom/seminar room): This isiXhosa term, meaning Weaver bird, symbolises communal nests, wisdom, safety, protectiveness, and family. The room represents a space for sharing ideas and presentations.
  2. The Cocoon (Honours study): Reflecting the English meaning, this room serves as a place where students metamorphose and emerge, nurturing them for the job market or further studies.
  3. Ndlovukazi (large lecture/prac venue 1): Named after the isiXhosa word for Elephant matriarch, this room metaphorically represents leadership, nurturing, protection, and the passing on of wisdom.
  4. Toktokkie (medium lecture/prac venue 2): This Afrikaans term for darkling beetle reflects the intricate communication behaviour of the insects, woven into lectures on insects.
  5. Aardvark Laboratorium (medium lecture/prac venue 3): With this Afrikaans name for a type of anteater, it symbolises tackling challenges, with the aardvark metaphorically facing formidable termite mounds like students encountering new subjects.
  6. Physiology Laboratory (ground floor): As a departure from notable names, this laboratory is named for what it is, aligning with the practice of other laboratories associated with research groups.

The newly-named rooms carry a wealth of symbolism, each reflecting a unique aspect of the Department's ethos and values.

The hope is that these newly named spaces will not only be a testament to the Department's commitment to inclusivity but also serve as a constant reminder of the diverse voices that contribute to the rich tapestry of academic life. This renaming ceremony stands as a beacon, guiding the way towards a more unified, representative, and empowering future for all members of the Rhodes bet36体育备用_bet356注册-官方*授权√ community.