As a first-year student at UP you have a wide array of activities to look forward to, together with a number of traditions that you will be expected to pass on.


The social event of the year, RAG (Reach out and Give), typically takes place in early February once all students have finished registration. RAG is a student-run charitable organisation that raises funds for small, short- and long-term community projects in partnership with the different residences, day houses and faculty houses. Tuks held the first RAG in South Africa in 1925 which was adapted from a tradition that began in London in the 1820s. The term RAG is thought to originate from the Victorian era where students would take time out of their studies to collect rags for the poor or would pester people in the streets until they made a donation.

During the RAG Procession students take to the streets where a parade of floats is exhibited and money is collected for charity by the residences’ first years. Over the past few years rain has become somewhat of a tradition for the RAG Procession. After the procession students flood into Hatfield Square and celebrate late into the night. Bands play and a foam party can be expected at DropZone.

Ienkmelodienk, Serrie and Serenade

Throughout the year there are a number of other events that occur which include Ienkmelodienk, Serrie and Serenade. These involve the UP residences and day houses competing in singing and dancing competitions according to specific themes. The most creative performances from both the male and female residences win points which go towards the annual Residence of the Year award.

Spring Day

In September, the university has its annual Spring Day. This day is declared a university holiday and the festivities that occur the night before, commonly referred to as Pre-Spring events, are only second to RAG.

Pot ‘n Pons

Another fun tradition which is hosted by TuksRes and RAG, typically at the RAG Farm on UP Sport campus, is Pot ‘n Pons. Newly formed RAG partners (for the following year) build stands to match a chosen theme. Each stand presents the RAG judges with a specially made punch and a potjie that reflects the partnership’s theme. The stand that has the best atmosphere, is the most creative and has the best punch and potjie wins. The winners get to lead the following year’s RAG Procession.


The university is centred in the Jacaranda City and there are many of these purple-blossomed trees on main campus. Students believe that the jacaranda blossom is a good-luck charm. It is believed that if one of these flowers fall on your head you will do well in the end-of-year exams.

Alumni Tree Planting Ceremony

A new tradition, the Alumni Tree Planting Ceremony, was introduced in 2001 and takes place on Welcoming Day. It was introduced to make first-year students aware of TuksAlumni. Dr DC Jacobs from the TuksAlumni Office explained that every year, a first-year student is chosen for the ceremony during which the Tree of the Year, if deemed suitable for our climate by the Division of Garden Services, is planted outside the Drama Building on Hatfield campus.

Dr Jacobs said that this ceremony unites the group which will go on to become the alumni of UP. “Our slogan is ‘Tukkie for Lifewhich means that you are a Tukkie from the first day and always after your graduation.”

Photos: Brad Donald and Marius Veldhyzen van Zaten

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