Overpriced Student Housing in BloemfonteinBy Thandi Mkhatshwa

Overpriced Student Housing in Bloemfontein

By Thandi Mkhatshwa

Published on Sun, Mar 04 2012 by Thandi Mkhatshwa
Today I woke up with one thing on mind and one thing only; to get a new room. Although I like the room I am currently staying in the time has come for me to move on. The fifteen percent increase in my rent for this year just seems way too much for my liking. The housing agencies around here in Bloemfontein charge way too high prices for rooms. They charge between R2100 to R3000 per month for a single room in a commune and sharing for two is between R1600 and R1800. The amounts they are asking from us could be enough to pay off our own houses every month.
Bloemfontein is a small city and it doesn’t have much to offer to the world nor students other than the two universities it has. But compared to other cities in South Africa it still has the highest prices when it comes to student accommodation. Not even the students in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, pay the kind of prices Bloemfontein students pay. In Cape Town students can get a single room for as little as R1600. And other than just going to varsity students can also go to the many beaches around the city to have some fun. Now that is what I call money’s worth!
While the high prices in Bloemfontein may not be problem for students that come from wealthy families and the few others that have bursaries, many of our pockets aren’t that deep to afford the kind of payment the housing agencies are asking. Some of us come from underprivileged backgrounds and it’s even a miracle that some of us made it to universities. We have to constantly worry about the many expenses that come along with being a university student, such as accommodation, tuition fees, books, food, transport etc. All these expenses have to be covered by us from our own pockets.
As a result some students end up getting involved in extreme things, such as prostituting themselves or selling drugs just to make some cash to be able to stay in school. In some situations you find that there are as many as eight students living in a one bedroom flat because they can afford to pay their own rent. Although some students are fortunate enough to get financial aid it still doesn’t cover all of the expenses mentioned above. It only covers the tuition and books, the rest you have cover it yourselves.
So today I have an appointment with a different housing agency and I’m hoping to at least get the cheapest room available. Its days like these I really wish I were a millionaire or at least be married to one, like Patrick Motsipe. I would be stress free and living in a mansion. Anyhow, the agency took me to view a couple of communes around the varsity. I liked some of them but again prices were an issue. We kept on looking until we came to this last commune and it’s for ladies only.
But the cheapest rooms they have on this house are for three people sharing. The idea of sharing this room with two other people almost gave me a heart attack on the spot. I am the kind of a person who likes her own space and taking this room would mean that I would not have any privacy at all. It would also mean that I wouldn’t have any peace and quiet when I need it. Plus girls are full of drama and gossip, and it would therefore, also mean that one way or another I would be caught in the middle of it all. But then again if I don’t take this room it would mean no schooling for me this year and that is not even an option at this point. So in the end I had no choice but to take the room. Now I can’t wait to see what kind of roommates I will have. But one thing is for sure; only time will tell whether I will like them or not.


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