Rhodes University Accommodation

Rhodes University Accommodation


Rhodes is a residential campus.  Approximately half of our students are acommodated within our 52 Residences and the other half of the students stay off campus and are referred to as Oppidans.


The Rhodes residencial system is a key factor contributing to this tradition of friendship and kinship.  We currently have fourteen halls of residence.  Each hall has between three and six houses of between 50 to 120 students, grouped around a central dining hall.  Each hall has its own constitution, rules and traditions.  Each residence has its own character, created by the students who live there. Some halls have both men’s and women’s houses, while others are for men or women only.  While the vast majority of student rooms are single, some first year students may be allocated to the few double rooms in various residences; application may also be made for a double room.

Each hall has a Hall Warden who is responsible for the general running, organisation and management of the hall. A hall committee, consisting of the house wardens, sub-wardens and senior and head students of each house in the hall, acts as an advisory body to the hall warden. A house committee, consisting of the house warden, sub-wardens and members elected by the students, takes the same kind of responsibility in matters affecting the house. In this microcosm of the democratic process each student can play a role in formulating the lifestyle of their house or hall. Hall and house wardens are always available to help and advise students, but their function is not that of a surrogate parent or ‘watchdog’. Rules are kept to the minimum needed for maintaining an orderly, peaceful environment conducive to studying and community living.

Life in residence: The rooms in residence are equipped with all the basic furniture and comforts needed, but students may decide to bring a few extras to make their rooms feel more like home. All rooms have a bed, wardrobe, mirror, worktable and chair, table lamp, bookcase, carpeting or a mat, and a heater. Many rooms have a small bedside locker and a washbasin (with hot and cold water in certain residences). Curtains and bedding are provided, but towels are not, so three or four towels should be brought by students, including swimming towels. Students are responsible for cleaning their own rooms, for which basic cleaning materials are provided. Students often wish to set an individual stamp on their rooms. This can be done in several ways, perhaps by substituting their own curtains, duvet cover and carpet. A bean bag or cushions make the furnishings more interesting. Other useful items might include a tray, coffee mugs, kettle, jug, teaspoons and glasses, coat hangers, an alarm clock and a torch (as no candles are permitted).

The residences are graded according to their location and to the facilities available (e.g. availability of hot and cold water in each room). Each residence has at least one TV lounge with DSTV and DVD access. Over the years, students in certain residences have raised funds for the purchase of additional amenities such as pool tables. Each residence has its own ‘launderette’.

Some residence Halls have their own web pages which give a good idea of residence life at Rhodes University; links to these pages can be found at: http://www.ru.ac.za/studentlife/residences

Some basic guidelines are common to all the residences:

1. Privacy: A student may not enter other students’ rooms without their permission.

2. Hours of quiet: Reasonable quiet is expected at all times and particularly before 12 noon, between 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm and from 8.00 pm onwards.

3. Alcohol: There are strict regulations governing alcohol on campus or in any residence. No spirits are permitted in residence.

4. Night leave: Students are requested, in their own interest, to let someone know where they are at night.

5. Catering: Balanced meals are planned on a two week cycle, ensuring that the nutritional needs of students are met. As previously mentioned, various diets are available e.g. vegetarian, Muslim, Hindu, African. Student representatives meet regularly with catering staff to discuss problems and make suggestions.

6. Insurance: The University does not accept responsibility for students’ possessions if lost, stolen or damaged, so students are advised to lock their bedroom doors. It is also advisable to check that possessions are covered by personal insurance, particularly in the case of foreign students.

7. Clothing: Grahamstown weather can do a whistle-stop tour of all four seasons in a day, so students will need some summer clothes in winter and vice versa. Casual clothes are worn to lectures, but some formal and semi-formal outfits should be included for balls, dinners, dances and parties.

Name tags should be sewn into clothing.

8. Pocket money: Rhodes life is inexpensive and large amounts of money are unnecessary. Depending on what needs to be provided, an amount of R350 to R500 per month should be adequate. A bank account that can be accessed through an ATM is a useful way of transferring money. There are ATMs on campus.


An oppidan is an inhabitant of a University town, a student living off campus in accommodation rented independently of Rhodes, also known as Oppi in short.

There is an Oppidan Committee whose purpose is to engage with students and look after their interests through keeping open channels of communication.  They also assist oppidan students by providing a support base in the transition between schools and University.  They organize events in order to foster a sense of togetherness, so that oppis do not feel excluded from University life because they do not live on campus. Advice is given on signing lease agreements and being an employer.

Though the oppidan committee first year students can request to be assigned a mentor who will assist them adjust and settle to the University life off campus.

In the Stephen Bantu Biko building there is an oppidan dining hall.  Students can book to eat their meals there (lunch & supper).  there is an oppidan common room where tea and coffee is available, and students can relax there in-between lectures by watching TV, DSTV or playing game of pool.  A free bus service is available throughout the day until 10pm on weekdays to transport oppidans.

Visit: http://www.ru.ac.za/oppidan for further information


Student Support

University life is not always plain sailing.  While some settle down quickly and easily, others need a bit of help and support along the way.  Through the office of Student Affairs Rhodes is geared to providing assistance of all kinds:  free and confidential support from Counselling centre, professional and comprehensive primary healthcare from the Health Care Center and the caring and sensitive wardening staff who are ready to go the extra mile to ensure that students are happy and able to focus on their studies.  Some students knwo where they are headed, others want to find out; either way through the Career centre students get wide exposure to study and career opportunities with the professional guidance to help mathc interests, abilities with career options.  The career centre offers year round advice and workshops to help students plan properly for careers that lie ahead.  A well-subscribed Graduate Recruitment Programme  runds during the third term where over sixty nationalal and international employers visit to recruit students.

Further details are available in the Student support guide booklet.

Rhodes University International Students Hall and Residences