Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch



Quo Vadis democracy? Vadis democracy? Corporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>In 1994, South Africans welcomed democracy with open arms. But today this embrace doesn't seem to be as tight as we would like it to be. <br></p><p>“It appears that we aren't quite so sure what to make of our democracy," says Dr Cindy Steenekamp, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University.</p><p>In a recent study, Steenekamp, for the first time, mapped the characteristics of a democracy community in South Africa by looking at people's commitment to democratic values, and their support for the country's democratic regime and political authorities. Her research question related specifically to the persistence of democracy and how this has been impacted by the political attitudes and behaviour of South Africans since 1994.</p><p>The findings of Steenekamp's study was published in the <em>Taiwan Journal of Democracy</em>.</p><p>She analysed data from the last four waves of the World Values Survey (WVS) conducted in South Africa between 1995 and 2013 to measure the level of political culture in the country, the support for the democratic regime and the political process, as well as the level of institutional trust in political parties, government, and parliament. The WVS is a valuable worldwide network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life over time. During each of the four periods, face-to-face interviews were held with representative samples of adult South Africans in urban and rural areas in their preferred language. </p><p>Steenekamp says the analysis of this data revealed that while there is support for democratic rule and the current political system, support for authoritarianism has increased and confidence in government institutions has decreased.</p><p>“On the one hand, support for democratic rule is fairly high, despite a sharp decline between 2006 and 2013, and higher than support for authoritarian rule. Support for the current political system is steadily increasing." </p><p>“At the same time, however, support for authoritarianism has more than doubled since 1995 and is nearing the 50 percent threshold and confidence in governmental institutions is decreasing and, in 2013, dropped below 50 percent for the first time since transition."</p><p>“The fact that the gap between support for democratic rule and authoritarian rule has narrowed from 71.3 percent in 1995 to 25.2 percent in 2013, does not bode well for the persistence of a democratic community in South Africa."</p><p>Steenekamp<strong> </strong>adds that confidence in various governmental institutions, such as political parties, parliament, and the government, decreased by more than 20 percent between 1995 and 2013.</p><p>She also notes that data showed a decline in South Africans' positive attitude toward law-abidingness, despite the fact that they generally condemn unconventional forms of political behaviour such as protest action and the use of force to gain political goods.</p><p>Steenekamp says there could be different reasons for these contradictory results.</p><p>“One could argue that commitment to democracy has not become fully entrenched in our value system as a result of the socio-economic reality that plagues the country. Although the black middle class has grown since 1994, the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality remain."</p><p>“Despite the provision of basic infrastructure and social welfare, the majority of South</p><p>Africans are yet to substantially improve their living standards."</p><p>“Also the changing nature of party politics, especially within the ANC, and rampant political corruption are likely responsible for South Africans' loss of confidence in the state and political leaders. The increase in unconventional political behaviour (i.e., protest action, in response to poor service delivery) is a direct result of citizen dissatisfaction with the state."</p><p>According to Steenekamp, the levels of discontent and civil disobedience could become the dominant political resource used by the people to mobilize public opinion and influence policy makers. </p><p>“Protest action has a negative effect on the persistence of a democratic community and culture once it becomes violent." </p><p>She adds that we should not forget that, unlike an authoritarian regime, a democratic government like ours needs the support of its citizens to maintain its legitimacy.</p><p>Steenekamp highlights the importance of a political culture that is conducive to democracy and says “democratic institutions alone will not keep our democracy stable and effective."</p><p><strong><em>Reference</em></strong><em>: </em>Steenekamp, C (2013). Democratic Political Community in South Africa Elusive or Not? <em>Taiwan Journal of Democracy</em>. Volume 13, No. 1, July 2017.</p><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Cindy Steenekamp </p><p>Department of Political Science</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 2115</p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a> </p><p><strong>              </strong><strong>OR</strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen<br></p><p>Manager: Media</p><p>Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a><br></p><p><br></p>
COVID-19 is an opportunity to make our circles bigger is an opportunity to make our circles biggerJudy-Ann Cilliers<p>​The COVID-19 pandemic should also be seen as an opportunity to reach out to vulnerable foreigners who try to make a living in South Africa, writes Dr Judy-Ann Cilliers from the Department of Philosophy in a doctoral-based opinion piece for the <em>Mail & Guardian </em>(31 July).</p><div><ul><li><p>​Read the article below or click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.</p></li></ul><p><strong>Judy-Ann Cilliers*</strong></p><p>When President Ramaphosa announced the national state of disaster on 15 March, many breathed a sigh of relief. We were witnessing a world being consumed by a new virus with many world leaders failing to take sufficient action. Our government's early and decisive response communicated a desire to protect its people. Yet even then we knew that the cost will be high, and it will mostly be paid by those already marginalised in our society. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">These past few months we have seen more instances of domestic and gender-based violence, more people losing their jobs as businesses close, and as the number of infections grow, more people without sufficient access to healthcare. In a world that was already becoming more hospitable to xenophobic nationalisms, we read and hear about increased attacks on foreigners, especially of Asian descent, across the globe – any outsider is a threat, a potential carrier.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">While we speak of the 'unprecedented times' we are living through, this kind of attack is not unprecedented. It is a common narrative in South Africa that foreigners should be kept out because they bring disease into the country. All kinds of xenophobic discrimination, exclusion, and violence against foreign nationals have been justified by the claim that 'they' are the cause of real diseases, such as HIV/Aids, and moral 'diseases', such as drug addiction and crime.  That this is true only in some cases is irrelevant to the xenophobe; humans easily extrapolate from 'some' or even 'one' to 'all'. The individual, collective, and systemic causes of xenophobia, and its intersection with racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, are complex in ways I cannot do justice to here. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Studying instances of xenophobic discrimination and violence, one thing becomes apparent: the choice of victim is not determined by the individual's guilt, actions, legal status, or even their real nationality. It is enough that they exist <em>here </em>(wherever 'here' may be), and that they are perceived as a foreigner by the xenophobe. Xenophobia is therefore not a response to a specific threat – despite our rationalisations about crime and job scarcity and viruses – but to a perceived threat, where the perception is shaped by the xenophobe's own prejudices and stereotypes, and by our political narratives around belonging, borders, nationhood, and membership. Such narratives shape our ideas about who has a right to belong or to exist here, and who does not.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The fear underlying such perceptions may have different origins or motivations. In the South African context, migration and development expert Loren Landau identifies a deep apprehension about the meaning of belonging, an apprehension anthropologist Frances Nyamnjoh locates in a historically oppressed and excluded citizenry who, for the most part, still cannot meaningfully access the benefits and rights that come with membership. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Xenophobia is a reaction to a sense of insecurity, of not having a place where one belongs, and an accompanying attempt to establish security. As we face the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic – rising unemployment, lower levels of food security, a weakened economy, and individual and collective trauma – the xenophobic violence that is already characteristic of contemporary South Africa may become more prevalent and entrenched. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The irony is that the logic underlying such violence and such attempts to establish security and belonging preclude the possibility of establishing a more secure society, for it is a logic that seeks to exclude and even destroy that which is strange or new, and it inevitably becomes self-consuming. If belonging is rigidly defined and policed, the circle of who 'truly belongs' will inevitably become smaller and smaller. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This logic stands opposed to what political theorist Hannah Arendt called the fundamental human capacity of natality – our ability to begin something new. This ability is the root of our freedom, as we constantly bring new things into the world through our actions and interactions with others. It is also necessarily unpredictable, which is why we often respond to it with fear and a desire to control. In asserting control, we banish the new and the strange and the unpredictable, and along with that our own ability to act and exist freely. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The pandemic poses a challenge that, for most people, is radically new. We have reason to be afraid in our current circumstances – to fear for our lives and livelihoods, to worry about the country and the world's future. These fears have been closely tied to our fear of others for so long, and the pandemic makes breaking those ties so much harder. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is harder to conceptualise a form of belonging that is not exclusionary when we are isolated from one another, when the risks of sharing the world with others are so evident, and when we do not even feel safe in our own homes. We have seen examples of incredible selfishness and cruelty in this pandemic. Predictably, some of the regulations put in place to protect and support people in South Africa during this time negatively affected foreigners in ways citizens were not affected, especially those that initially limited the activities of informal traders and workers.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Yet the newness and strangeness of our situation offers us an opportunity to reassess our assumptions, to create new world-shaping narratives, and to act in unpredictable ways. After hurricanes or earthquakes, great fires or terrorist attacks, when people are on the edge of life and access to resources cannot be guaranteed, we do not only see dog- eat-dog competition, but also altruism, solidarity, and empathy, often between people who under normal circumstances would not have reached out to each other. Uncertainty can make us hunker down, but it can also open our eyes to realities and injustices we were unable to see before. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">As we create meaning in this pandemic and from this virus, as we analyse and live through the implications of the lockdown, and as we try to rebuild and, perhaps, build anew, we need a critical awareness of the precarious position of foreign nationals in our society, as well as the true danger to a society when it does not protect its most vulnerable members.<br></p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><strong>Photo</strong>: A group of people gathering. <strong>Credit</strong>: Wikipedia.</li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>*Dr Judy-Ann Cilliers is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Philosophy at Stellenbosch University (SU). This article is based, in part, on her recent doctorate in Philosophy at SU.​</strong></p><p><br></p></div>
Translated work brings to light the political thoughts of one SA's leading black intellectuals work brings to light the political thoughts of one SA's leading black intellectuals Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Thanks to the work of four academics from across the globe, the travelogue of one of South Africa's leading black intellectuals of the early 20<sup>th</sup> century, the late Professor DDT (Davidson Don Tengo) Jabavu of Fort Hare University, has been published in a bilingual edition by Wits University Press. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The travelogue, called <em>In India and East Africa / E-Indiya nase East Africa – A travelogue in isiXhosa and English</em>, captures Jabavu's reflections during his four-month trip to India to attend the World Pacifist Meeting in Santiniketan and Sevagram in 1949, as well as his thoughts on how Mahatma Gandhi's principles of non-violence may be applied in South Africa's struggle for freedom. This little-known isiXhosa text, written in a conversational tone, provides a rare perspective on the mid-twentieth century transnational pacifist scene after Mahatma Gandhi's death. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Jabavu's travelogue contributes to scholarship on intellectual exchanges between Africa and India but also shows a South African at home in the world. There have been many texts written by Indian travellers encountering Africa, but the perspective of a black South African on encountering India is much rarer," explains Prof Tina Steiner, Associate Professor in the English Department at Stellenbosch University (SU) and one the co-editors of the book. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Jabavu was a seasoned international traveller who starts his narrative mentioning his extensive previous travels and places this particular voyage in the context of a life of travel in the pursuit of support for equality for South Africa's black population," adds Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The travelogue traces how geographies of various emancipatory movements – the civil rights movement, African liberation movements and the international peace movement – intersected at the World Pacifist Meeting.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Besides Steiner, who was the lead editor, the editorial team comprised Dr Mhlobo W. Jadezweni from Rhodes University, who is an isiXhosa expert and who updated the orthography of the original from 1951; and Prof Catherine Higgs, a historian and Head of the Department of History and Sociology at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus; and Prof Evan M. Mwangi, a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Northwestern University in the United States and a Professor Extraordinaire of English at SU. Higgs is the author of the biography <em>The Ghost of Equality - The Public Lives of D.D.T. Jabavu of South Africa 1885-1959.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The translation from isiXhosa into English was executed by the late Dr Cecil Wele Manona, an Anthropologist and Senior Research Officer at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Steiner explains that while Jabavu wrote most of his many books in English, he tended to write in isiXhosa towards the end of his life after his retirement from public life. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This was also the case with his travel account to India and East Africa which was originally published in parts in the weekly <em>Imvo Zabantsundu</em><em> </em>(African Opinion), which Jabavu's father, the politician and newspaper editor John Tengo Jabavu had founded in 1884; and then in book format by Lovedale Press in 1951." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The younger Jabavu was a professor in African Languages who taught at Fort Hare University from 1916 to 1944. While he was also politician, a pacifist and a staunch Methodist, he was first and foremost an educator and his politics came from a real concern for the quality of education for black students in South Africa. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“You have to understand that Fort Hare was the key institution of higher learning for black students from all over Africa at the time. So it was not surprising that when Jabavu embarked on his trip to India, many of his ex-Fort Hare students sent telegrams to him and asked him to stop over in Mombasa and Kampala to visit them, which he did on his return from India. The travelogue thus also invites reflections on the significance of a pan-African network of ex-Fort Hare students," says Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In November 1949, Jabavu set off for India via ship from Durban to attend the World Pacifist Meeting as one of 93 delegates from 31 countries across the world. After a week in Santiniketan, the delegates were split into groups and spent the next two weeks visiting various sites associated with Mahatma Gandhi's life and work. At the end of the two weeks, Jabavu and his group reconvened with all the other delegates in Gandhi's village, Sevagram, where the conference continued. However, his writings do not only describe the sights he saw in India and his experiences with his host families, but also reflects on the content of the conference itself.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“He provides us with insight on the proceedings, the discussions and resolutions of the conference and talks about listening to prominent pacifists like Dr Rajendra Prasad, Vera Brittain, Dr Mordecai Johnson, Rev Michael Scott, Dr Pao Swen Tseng to name just a few. Jabavu also met Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, whom he mentions he shook hands with in Parliament, as well as other government officials in independent India."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The narrative shows how inspired he was by Gandhi's methods of non-violent resistance, his civil disobedience and ability to politically mobilise the masses. During his return voyage, he also met with important anti-colonial activists in Uganda and Kenya, like Elind Mathu, Harry Thuku and Jomo Kenyatta."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“From his writings, it is clear that Jabavu wanted to share these discussions with his fellow black South Africans. He was a Christian and believed in a Christianity that needed to be socially involved and relevant, and he very much focused on the principles of self-restraint and service to others and the impact that it could have on social transformation."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/DDT%20Jabavu%20book%20cover.jpg" alt="DDT Jabavu book cover.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="text-align:justify;margin:5px;width:400px;height:600px;" /><strong>How the travelogue came about</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The publication of Jabavu's work is the end product of a project, Indian Ocean Epistemologies, which Steiner and Mwangi had been collaborating on since 2017. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Through this project, Steiner and Mwangi developed a joint curriculum which was taught at Northwestern University in Chicago in 2018 and at SU in 2020; published a special issue on Indian Ocean Trajectories in <em>The Journal of Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies</em>; and decided to publish the translated travelogue of Jabavu as part of their mission to translate a text that “would enrich the primary archive of Indian Ocean Studies from an African perspective". Their project formed part of a larger, overarching project called Global Theory in the South based at Northwestern University and led by Prof Penelope Deutscher. The overarching project was funded by the AW Mellon Foundation and is part of an initiative of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“While Jabavu's travelogue <em>E-Indiya nase East Africa</em> had been publicly available for nearly seven decades, it was written in an old isiXhosa orthography and was thus not easy to read for contemporary readers," explains Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, after seeing reference made to the travelogue in Prof Isabel Hofmeyr's groundbreaking article 'The Black Atlantic Meets the Indian Ocean' and hearing her mention Jabavu's travelogue on a few other occasions, Steiner started her search for an English translation. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This search led her to Higgs, who had published the DDT Jabavu biography <em>The Ghost of Equality</em>, which wasbased on research she had done in the late 1980s and 1990s for her PhD. Higgs had commissioned the help of Manona to translate Jabavu's isiXhosa text and shared this with Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I really want to pay tribute to the late Dr Manona who translated Jabavu's travelogue as well as his wife, Mrs Nobantu Manona who gave us permission to use her late husband's translation in this edition." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She explains that the original isiXhosa text by Lovedale that Manona had used for his translation was then edited by Dr Jadezweni, who had to update the old isiXhosa to the contemporary orthography approved by the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB). <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Jadezweni said that he had not encountered such a rich and beautifully written isiXhosa text before. Jabavu wrote in a conversational tone in a stream of consciousness style and made use of many isiXhosa idioms in his text. He was an entertaining writer with wide-ranging interests who wanted to encourage his local audience to see their own struggles reflected in similar struggles for equality across the globe." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The travelogue's transnational orientation, its commitment to pacifism and its insistence that political dialogue is possible, make <em>In India and East Africa/ E-Indiya nase East Africa</em><em> </em>an important document of the rich and diverse black South African intellectual tradition. Moreover, it once again confirms the significance of preserving and making accessible African-language texts to readers across Africa and the world."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Main photo: DDT Jabavu (right) with his father, the politician and news editor John Tengo Jabavu, as a young man and later as lecturer at Fort Hare University.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Story photo: The front cover of the travelogue,</em> <em>In India and East Africa / E-Indiya nase East Africa – A travelogue in isiXhosa and English, which</em><em> </em><em>captures Jabavu's reflections during his four-month trip to India to attend the World Pacifist Meeting in Santiniketan and Sevagram in 1949</em>.<br></p>
Memorial event celebrates varieties of Afrikaans event celebrates varieties of AfrikaansDepartement Afrikaans en Nederlands<p>​</p><p>“Your way of speaking Afrikaans, although it may sound different to the way others speak the language, has exactly the same regularity and organisation as standard Afrikaans." These words by Dr Donovan Lawrence of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) summarise the recent Fritz Ponelis memorial event.</p><p>Along with Dr Gerda Odendaal (<em>Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal</em>) and Mr Marius Swart (Stellenbosch University), Dr Lawrence participated in a panel on 28 July – the eightieth anniversary of the late Prof Fritz Ponelis's birthday – to talk about Ponelis's contribution to the study of Afrikaans syntax, linguistic history, and, in particular, language variance.</p><p>The conversation touched on the syntactic analysis of Afrikaans (which Swart described as looking like structural formulas in chemistry), restandardisation, and a discussion on the extent to which many of Ponelis's books and articles on Afrikaans linguistics actually went against the zeitgeist, since he was convinced that the scientific description of Afrikaans should include informal spoken Afrikaans and varieties of Afrikaans.</p><p>For Odendaal the recognition of language varieties is also a matter of recognising people's identity and enlarging and enriching the language, rather than taking something away. Or, as Lawrence put it, if someone uses a non-standard variety of Afrikaans, it does not mean that it is a substandard variety.</p><p>In the spirit of Ponelis, who authored a number of seminal studies on Afrikaans and Afrikaans linguistics, young researchers in the audience were encouraged to record and study their local variety of Afrikaans.<br></p><p><br></p>
SU honours the late Rachel Kachaje for her visionary leadership honours the late Rachel Kachaje for her visionary leadershipCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking [Rozanne Engel]<p>​<br></p><p style="text-align:left;">Stellenbosch University (SU) has honoured the late Ms Rachel Kachaje, who passed away earlier this year, with an honorary doctorate.  The degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), <em>posthumous honoris causa</em>, was awarded to her for her creative and visionary leadership in elevating the debate on disability to regional and global platforms.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Her husband Gibson accepted the award on behalf of the family at a small physical graduation ceremony for doctoral graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences held at SU's Endler Hall in the <em>Konservatorium</em> on Monday 14 December 2020.</p><p style="text-align:left;">During the ceremony, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers said that Kachaje's “effectiveness in disability advocacy" did not go unnoticed and that the University “salutes her extraordinary work" in advocating for the full inclusion of people with disabilities at local, regional and international level.<br></p><p style="text-align:left;"><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/HonDocAbsentia-3.jpg" alt="HonDocAbsentia-3.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:300px;" /><br></p><p style="text-align:left;">“Kachaje was a disability activist for over 25 years, advocating for equal opportunities and rights for people with disabilities in Malawi, the African region and internationally. She challenged the prejudiced notions of disability and was known for her ability to inspire young people with disabilities, for her embodiment of the values of compassion, respect, excellence, accountability and equity," said De Villiers.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Kachaje, who became disabled at the age of three due to a polio outbreak, was working for the National Bank of Malawi when she first joined the disability movement in Malawi. She co-founded the Federation of Disability Organisations' (FEDOMA) in the 1990s and represented it in the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD).</p><p style="text-align:left;">In addition, Ms Kachaje was a board member of the Africa Disability Alliance and the EquitAble Project at Trinity College and Stellenbosch University, co-founder of Disabled Women in Development, commissioner of the National AIDS Commission and secretary of the African Disability Forum Board, to name just some of her leadership roles.</p><p style="text-align:left;">She was elected Minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs in Malawi and in 2004 received a Malawi Human Rights Award and a Diversity Leader Award.  She was part of the landmark negotiations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and contributed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) discussions.  </p><p style="text-align:left;">“Kachaje had a proven ability in advancing the agendas of people with disabilities in general and in particular women and girls with disabilities. Her mission was to advocate and promote rights for people with disabilities and to lead a life that would always affect them in a positive manner," said De Villiers.</p><p>To watch the full graduation ceremony, click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">here</strong></a>. ​<br></p><p><em>In the photo above from left, Prof Wim de Villiers​ (SU Rector & Vice-Chancellor), Prof Anthony Leysens ​(Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences), Gibson Kachaje and Justice Edwin Cameron (SU Chancellor)</em><br></p><p><br></p>
Is the lockdown authoritarian creep or ‘proportionate response’? the lockdown authoritarian creep or ‘proportionate response’?Steven Robins<p>​Is the lockdown an authoritarian creep or a 'proportionate response' to the COVID-19 pandemic? This is the question Prof Steven Robins from the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology tried to answer in an opinion piece published by Daily Maverick on Monday (4 May).<br></p><ul><li>Click <a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>here</strong></span></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </span>to read the article.<br></li></ul><p><br></p>
Students write about youth issues write about youth issuesCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie <p>In celebration of Youth Day (16 June) and Youth Month, students Connor Bam (Humanities) and Tian Alberts (Law) write for <em>Mail & Guardian </em>and <em>News24 </em>respectively about some of the challenges young people face today. Click on the links below to read the articles.<br></p><ul><li>​Connor Bam (<a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Mail & Guardian</strong></a>)</li><li>Tian Alberts (<a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">News24</strong></a>)</li></ul><p><strong> </strong></p><p><br></p>
Dr Khosa conquers PhD 'obstacle course' Khosa conquers PhD 'obstacle course'Sue Segar<p>Graduating with her PhD in Social Work from Stellenbosch University (SU) yesterday (6 April), Priscalia Khosa was not only celebrating her academic achievement but also her victory over numerous personal challenges and obstacles to reach this point.<br></p><p>This mother of three children aged 7, 8 and 11 completed her doctoral studies whilst juggling being a full-time academic, residence head, and mentor for her students. And as her husband was attending to his businesses in Johannesburg, all household and Covid-induced homeschooling responsibilities were hers too. “It was a case of trying to ensure that I fulfilled all my roles to the best of my ability," she says.</p><p>This was no easy task. As an academic and mentor, she had to be available to advise her students, while navigating the extraordinary circumstances brought about by Covid-19. As residence head of Sonop, which is home to approximately 260 female students, she had both administrative responsibilities and the duty to offer guidance and emotional support to students.  </p><p>Priscalia and her children moved from Johannesburg, where the family lived previously, to Stellenbosch for her PhD, while husband Wisani, an entrepreneur, stayed behind. He joined the family in Stellenbosch earlier this year. “I started my PhD in 2019. So, while I was still trying to find my feet in my new environment, the pandemic hit," Priscalia recounts. “That brought its own challenges. While many students left campus, some stayed in the residence. I had to do daily check-ins with them and make sure they were mentally, physically and academically OK. And I had to build a sense of community to make sure they did not feel alone."</p><p>The pandemic also meant that she had to supervise her children at home when schools closed. “I had three kids in the house all day long during the lockdown. There was limited quiet time for academic work and to focus on my PhD," she says. “When restrictions eased, the children went back to school on alternate days. Homeschooling them while trying to find the time to work on my dissertation was extremely challenging. I tried to catch up on my work in between helping them. I had to completely change my work routine and would sometimes work through the night because that was the only quiet time I could get," she said. But she displayed resilience and steely commitment and stayed the course. “I thrived against all odds!" Priscalia smiles.</p><p>For her PhD, she studied the implementation of the supervision framework for the social work profession in South Africa by a designated child protection organisation. Priscalia has published widely in the field of social work, and also supervises master's students researching gender-based violence as well as social work in school and medical settings. In addition, she was recently selected as one of two seminar exchange fellows under the Ubuntu Dialogues project. This exchange programme between SU and Michigan State University in the United States was set up in 2019 to build bridges between young people in South Africa and the States.</p><p>Originally from rural Limpopo, Priscalia says both her husband and her mother, Emily, were pillars of strength throughout this challenging journey. “From the get-go, my husband was supportive. He understood completely how difficult it was for a woman to pursue what I was doing. And my mother kept telling me I was not getting enough sleep!"</p><p>Asked what personal resources she drew on to get through all her challenges, she says: “I love what I do. Each of my roles gives me so much satisfaction. Yes, it takes physical and mental energy, but it's all worth it. So, I guess what kept me going was my passion for what I do."</p><p><strong>Photographer: </strong>Stefan Els</p><p>​<br></p>
Herman Wasserman new chair of Journalism at SU Wasserman new chair of Journalism at SUStellenbosch University / Universiteit Stellenbosch<p>​Stellenbosch University has appointed renowned media scholar Herman Wasserman as professor and chair of its Department of Journalism as of January 2023.</p><p>Wasserman is currently professor of Media Studies at the University of Cape Town, where he served as director of the Centre for Film and Media Studies from 2015 to 2020. He previously held positions at Rhodes University as well as the United Kingdom-based universities of Sheffield and Newcastle. </p><p>He is an alumnus of Stellenbosch University, where he obtained the degrees BA (1992), BAHons (1993), BHons (Journalism) (1995), MA (1997) and DLitt (2000). He also taught in the Department of Journalism from 2002 to 2007, first as Rykie van Reenen fellow and later associate professor. Before starting his academic career, he worked as a journalist for Media24. </p><p>Wasserman's work has received wide international acclaim. He is a fellow and board member of the International Communication Association, a former section head of the International Association for Media and Communication Research and an elected member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. Other accolades include a Fulbright fellowship, the Georg Forster research award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany, and the Neva prize from St Petersburg State University. Locally, he has been awarded the Stals prize for communication science and journalism from the Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns. In addition, Wasserman is editor-in-chief of the journals <em>African Journalism Studies</em> and <em>Annals of the International Communication Association</em>, associate editor of <em>Communication Theory</em> and the <em>International Communication Gazette</em>, and serves on the editorial board of several other journals. </p><p>He has been a visiting professor at the University of Houston (United States), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Munich) and Tsinghua University (Beijing).<br></p><p>Wasserman's research centres on issues of media, democracy and society. As a member of international research teams, his work has been funded by, among others, the International Development Research Centre (Canada), the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council (both in the United Kingdom), the European Union, the British Academy, the Academy of Finland, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the South African National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. He is a widely published scholar with 16 books (monographs and edited volumes), 86 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 55 book chapters to his name.</p><p>His current work focuses on media and disinformation, and he has worked with organisations such as the World Health Organisation, UNESCO, Digital Public Square and Africacheck on issues such as the Covid-19 'infodemic', media freedom and development, media literacy in schools, and online disinformation. He recently led a major international study on information disorder in the global south, supported by the Canadian International Development Research Centre, and the book <em>Disinformation in the Global South</em>, which he co-edited, was published by Wiley-Blackwell earlier this year.  </p><p>“Stellenbosch University is delighted to welcome back Prof Wasserman to his alma mater," said Prof Wim de Villiers, Stellenbosch University's Rector and Vice-Chancellor. “Our Department of Journalism, accredited as one of the best schools of journalism on the continent, has a long history of teaching and research excellence. This is in addition to focused and practical training for journalists who need to operate in a world that is increasingly hostile to objective and fair reporting. Prof Wasserman is ideally suited to be handed the important baton of taking the Department into a challenging, but exciting future." </p><p>Equally pleased with the appointment, Prof Anthony Leysens, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, home of the Department of Journalism, said the Faculty welcomed the fact that someone of Prof Wasserman's academic stature in the field of media studies would be joining the Department. “I can think of no one who is better qualified and experienced to lead the Department and address the challenges and seize the opportunities in a radically changed digital media landscape," Prof Leysens said. “His work has managed to straddle and bring together various disciplines to focus on issues such as culture, democracy, disinformation and power in the media of the global south. I look forward to working with him."</p><p>Prof Lizette Rabe, outgoing chair of the Department, commented: “The Department of Journalism is excited that a media academic with the global standing of Prof Wasserman will be leading it into a completely new digital era – especially at a time when the tenets of traditional journalism, irrespective of platform, including technologies that are yet to be discovered, will become more and more important to serve our publics and help them distinguish between verified, independent, trusted information and the disinformation, misinformation and malinformation that are so overwhelmingly abundant and convincing." </p><p>Wasserman looks forward to joining the University at a time when study of the media has become increasingly relevant. “Journalism and media studies provide the opportunity for students to develop career-oriented skills, while reflecting critically on the role of the media in almost all aspects of politics, society and everyday life," he said. “While journalism internationally is currently experiencing crises of authority, trust, relevance and economic sustainability, the challenge for journalism education is to imagine ways in which journalism can reconnect with audiences, collaborate with communities, reinvigorate democratic participation and foster critical citizenship. This has to be done at a time when political pressures and attacks on freedom of expression are on the increase across the world, and the rise of disinformation has heightened the need for independent, trustworthy and informed journalism. I look forward to contributing to the growth and flourishing of this area of study, research and practice at Stellenbosch University."​<br><br></p><p>Image: Migal Vanas Photography<br></p>
Don't let anyone tell you you can't't let anyone tell you you can'tAlumni Relations Office<p style="text-align:justify;">​Back in Grade 9, 15-year-old Jenny Pienaar had already decided that she was going to be a lawyer. However, when she found herself unable to pass Private Law 1 while studying towards a BA Law degree at Maties, she did what only a student with blind determination would do – she refused to listen to her lecturer. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I was struggling to get through Private Law 1 and I managed to fail it twice in two years. When I told my lecturer that I wanted to go into law, he told me outright 'you will never a become a lawyer'," says Jenny. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I knew then that I had to find another way to get into law, so I did a BA degree in Classical Culture and Political Philosophy, got my BA degree and then went to the University of Cape Town and did my LLB over three years because I did not have any law subjects," says Jenny who graduated with an LLB degree from UCT in 1991.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Today Jenny is a qualified Trade Mark Attorney, a Partner and Co-Chair of the Trade Marks Department, and acting as the Chair of the Trade Mark Litigation Department at the well-known law firm, Adams & Adams.  She practices in trade mark litigation, domain name registration, securing domains from unlawful proprietors, litigation related to copyright, passing-off, unlawful competition, and company name objections. She also has experience in advertising law and regulatory compliance. ​<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Adams & Adams represents 240 of the Forbes 500 companies in the United States as well as other countries, with a wide variety of clients from the FMCG (Fast-moving Consumer Goods) to the banking sector and pharmaceutical industry. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">On 24 October Jenny will tell students more about how she defied the limits others had set for her to become the lawyer she always dreamt of being. This TedTalk-styled event, known as the Careers Café, will take place between 13:00 and 14:00 in Room 230 on the second floor of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences building on the corner of Merriman and Ryneveld Street and is open to all students. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Careers Café series was launched in 2016 by the Alumni Relations Office to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university in a different manner by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for the careers they want. Through this interaction, current students are able to learn from the real-life experiences of Matie graduates in the corporate world and benefit from advice and tips from them as well. Other career development opportunities on campus are also promoted through this event, encouraging students to further improve their work preparedness.   </p><p>If you want to attend this free talk, you can RSVP for the Careers Café here. <br></p><ul><li>For more information about the Careers Café, follow the Alumni Relations Facebook page at <a href=""></a> and the SU Facebook page at <a href=""></a>.  </li><li>Two students can also win a seat at the dinner table with Jenny on the evening of the Careers Café by entering the Careers Café Facebook competition that will be advertised on the <a href="">Stellenbosch University Alumni page</a> or by submitting your entry to <a href=""></a>. <br></li></ul>