wilgenhof closing
Wilgenhof residence to close. Image by Wikimedia Commons

Home » Stellenbosch University is closing Wilgenhof men’s residence

Stellenbosch University is closing Wilgenhof men’s residence

Stellenbosch University’s rectorate has accepted an investigative panel’s recommendation to close the Wilgenhof residence.

wilgenhof closing
Wilgenhof residence to close. Image by Wikimedia Commons

Stellenbosch University announced that its rectorate has accepted the recommendation of a panel to close down the Wilgenhof men’s residence.


Wilgenhof is one of the university’s oldest men’s residences. The university’s rectorate appointed a panel earlier this year to investigate allegations of disturbing activities at the residence. This was after the discovery of disturbing contents in two rooms at Wilgenhof.

According to a former student, a group of students held secret initiation sessions at Wilgenhof that involved nudity and abuse of first-year students. The student filed an official report on the situation. He has since left the the university out of fear. He stated during these initiations, students, presumably seniors, forced other students to drink toxic mixtures of linseed oil and aloe crystals.

The panel investigated the contents found during an audit of the spaces and amenities of the residence. Thereafter, it reported its findings and recommendations to the rectorate. An advocate from the Cape Bar chaired the panel and a former experienced university executive in higher education assisted. The deputy registrar for governance, ethics and compliance at Stellenbosch University also assisted in the investigation.


The two rooms under investigation were a room on the ground floor of the main building, named Hool 88, and a room in the bachelors wing of Wilgenhof named Toe Argief. The English translation for hool is ‘den’ or ‘lair’. The English translation for Toe Argief is ‘closed archive’. The residence’s internal disciplinary committee (Die Nagligte, ‘The Nightlights’, also called ‘Nighties’) conducted their disciplinary activities in Hool 88 at night. The second room contained a collection of Wilgenhof records and memorabilia. Also in this room, were costumes, shoes, and paraphernalia of Die Nagligte. The report stated that the appearance and contents of the rooms were shocking.

Leaked photos of the rooms appeared all over the internet. People were shocked, distressed, and very concerned.

A video posted on Youtube revealed details about the findings:

Stellenbosch University published a comprehensive report on the findings of the investigation of two rooms at the Wilgenhof residence. Click here to view the full report.


Following the report, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, Professor Willem (or Wim) de Villiers, will recommend to the council that the Wilgenhof residence be closed. He suggests that the university can use the buildings for alternative purposes.  

De Villiers furthermore assured staff, students, and parents that Stellenbosch University would remain unwavering in its commitment to being a welcoming and inclusive centre of excellence, as reported by Times Live.

“Given the body of evidence presented by our expert panel, we have accepted its main recommendation that closure of the Wilgenhof residence is the appropriate action going forward.”

Professor Wim de Villiers