Life is characterized by change, and most of the time there is some conflict. The two variables cannot be separated because there are different perceptions of change which bring about the emergence of different attitudes of people towards change. Some people will want change, some will not while others accept whatever comes their way. As a result, evolutionary and revolutionary types of change are experienced. Thus, as long as there is life, change and conflict will always be experienced. Even in the non-democratic South Africa change was experienced through pain and suffering. Conflict which was characterized by hatred and violence became the order of the day. Finally, political change from a non-democratic to a democratic South Africa engulfed South Africa with the advent of justice and equality through the democratic, all-inclusive elections of 27 April 1994. The process of break-and-make started. Change became intensified in all the spheres of life in order to redress the past. The transformation process affected all institutions. Universities were no exceptions. They had to change. The first step in the direction of change was to open them to all races. Thus, the composition of student communities drastically changed. That implies that adjustments in cultures and traditions are unavoidable. New structures which are relevant to new student compositions have to be put in place. Students who own cultures and traditions at these universities and are still comfortable with them, will most likely resist change. On the other hand, those students whose cultures and traditions are not accommodated will push for revolutionary change. Consequently, the two opposing perceptions bring about conflict. It is therefore essential to seek ways that could facilitate change and the effective management of conflict within student life. That becomes the challenge to the student affairs division since it has been established to create an environment conducive to learning despite transformational processes which often meet with vehement resistance. This study is geared to outline in detail what change entails, changes that are experienced within student communities in universities, pitfalls experienced in change processes and how change can be effectively managed. Furthermore, since conflict can result from change processes, it will be addressed by way of establishing the causes thereof and detailing how it can be best managed.
Thesis (PhD (Education Management))--University of Pretoria, 2007.