The University of Pretoria hosted its annual RAG Procession on Saturday 9 February. Although the turnout of students and Pretoria residents was up to its usual standard, the event was a slight disappointment for some.

With the shorter route and the lack of blikskud (cans for donation collection) jangling past, the procession moved a lot quicker than in previous years with the whole event being over in under two hours. A fourth-year student, Catherine Savage, explained that although she really enjoyed RAG, she was slightly disappointed with the route. “Having shade was a bonus but we really struggled to find a spot to watch the procession from and ended up missing most of it,” she said.

However, spirits weren’t dampened until an hour later when police came past announcing that all alcohol had to be removed or would be confiscated. Many students expressed their disappointment as RAG is well known for the drinking that occurs throughout the day. Although the officers expressly said that they weren’t being chased away, the streets cleared out very quickly with students either moving to Hatfield Square or other afterparties.

Although there was no blikskud, an account was set up to allow people wanting to donate money to RAG to send in an SMS with the name of their favourite res. R5 would then be donated to the various RAG projects. At the time of going to print, TuksRAG was unavailable for comment on the new system. Savage said that she was disappointed that the first years were not carrying cans in the procession as in previous years. “RAG was missing one of its key traditions this year,” she said.

The overall theme for the floats this year was childhood memories. In first place, Klaradyn and Mopanie’s float sported a man-on-the-moon theme with a space shuttle that started its ascend in time with a countdown.

In second place, Kiaat and Zinnia’s theme was childhood myths, with characters such as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny modelled after Rise of the Guardians.

Featuring the Rugrats, Katjiepiering and Taaibos came in third.

Curlitzia and Olienhout’s float exhibited a giant Ronald McDonald along with a Happy Meal which included a burger, fries and a rotating drink.

Sonop and Nerina lead the procession with their float carrying the 2012 RAG Queen, Mudinda Denga. Their theme was things they believed in as kids such as characters from Monsters Inc., gnomes, a dragon and other fairytale characters.

Boekenhout and Erika’s float carried a distraught princess waiting for her prince while trapped in a warped Disney world.

Inca and Olympus’s float featured a giant Pikachu and cartoon carnival with characters such as Dexter and SpongeBob, while Magrietjie and Vividus Men’s theme was the Tandmuis, an old Afrikaans tradition where it is believed that a mouse took children’s teeth.

Child abuse was the theme for Lilium and Zeus with a display of ominous hands reaching for a teddy bear, while Luminous and Jasmyn’s float featured a dragon and a castle with pictures from Disney movies displayed in its windows.

Madelief and Tuks Naledi had a colourful fun fair for kids while Maroela and Vividus Ladies were last in the procession with their SEGA theme displaying Japanese video-game characters such as Super Mario.

Asterhof and Kollege had a simple display of tinned food that spelled out the words “We Care” as they tried to keep to the true meaning of RAG, which is charity. All the tinned food will be donated to one of their adopted orphanages. “The float meant nothing to us (everything was donatable), we chose to use our resources to do seven outreaches. We are also donating the money we have left,” said Asterhof RAG Floats and Social HK Meon Uys.

A number of the residences described their frustration at how poorly the event was organised. Jasmyn’s RAG HK Robyn van den Heuvel explained that the RAG HKs of the different reses worked really hard to make it a success. She went on to say that although it was a success, “We had to fight against the incompetence of TuksRAG on a daily basis. They were disorganised and inefficient.” She explained that if things don’t change, “RAG will not be able to continue effectively.”

Photos: Melissa Kemp

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