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SU’s Extended Degree Programme provides comprehensive student support’s Extended Degree Programme provides comprehensive student supportAsiphe Nombewu /Corporate Communication<p>​​​​​​​​​Thanks to the Extended Degree Programme (EDP), the future is full of possibilities for students such as Axola Dlepu, a BA Social Dynamics student who gained access to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) through the programme.</p><p>This innovative programme was instituted at SU in 2008 to deal with systemic obstacles to equity and student success and to assist students with additional academic support.</p><p>Coordinator of the programme, Dr Anita Jonker, says the EDP's role is to redress past inequalities and transform higher education by responding to new realities and opportunities.</p><p>According to Jonker, the programme is open to students who are interested in studying towards a Bachelor's degree with an average of 60–64,9% in their National Senior Certificate (NSC). She added that the National Benchmark Test (NBT) results, students' socio-economic status, as well as availability of places, are taken into consideration in EDP admissions.</p><p>EDP and mainstream students obtain the same degrees after completion of their undergraduate studies. The only difference is that EDP students do their first year over two years. Over and above their mainstream subjects, EDP students take modules that prepare them better for their graduate studies, such as Texts in the Humanities, Information Skills and Introduction to the Humanities.</p><p>In the first-year Texts in the Humanities, the focus is on academic reading and writing, plagiarism and referencing, , rhetorical structure, , text-linguistic characteristics, critical thinking and argumentation. The lectures are presented in separate Afrikaans and English classes to provide optimal academic support in students' preferred medium of instruction.</p><p>In Introduction to the Humanities EDP students are introduced to four different subject-fields, with a specific focus on multilingual technical concepts that provide a foundation for other subject fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences. All the terminology and lecture notes are available in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa and interpreters give students the opportunity to participate in lectures in their mother-tongues.</p><p>Students who speak Afrikaans, Kaaps and other related language varieties have a tutor, Jocelyn Solomons, who facilitates the tutorial discussions in these language varieties, and those who speak English and, inter alia, isiXhosa, have a tutor, Busiswa Sobahle, who facilitates the tut discussions in English and isiXhosa.</p><p>Extensive extra-curricular support is integrated into the academic offering to enhance student success. This includes the EDP mentor programme, which has received co-curriculum recognition and which is coordinated by Ms Shona Lombard. Here senior EDP students mentor first-year students with similar BA programmes and help them to adjust to the new challenges of university life.</p><p>Expressing his gratitude for being chosen to be part of the programme, Dlepu said, “The EDP programme has helped me a lot with academic support alongside being mentored. It made my life a lot easier than that of a mainstream first-year student."</p><p>The 20-year-old from Saldanah Bay encouraged other students in the EDP to use the programme to shine.</p><p>He said the EDP modules gave students a broader worldview and taught them how to engage with multilingual students from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.</p><p>Bavani Naicker, a 20-year-old BA Social Dynamics student from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) described the EDP as a comprehensive support system. She said they were given foundational knowledge to assist them in their studies.</p><p>“My highlight of the course was when we visited Parliament and interacted with representatives of the different political parties," she said.</p><p>Chloe Krieger, a BA International Studies student from Cape Town, said if it were not for EDP, she would have dropped out in her first year. “The EDP taught us crucial literacy and life skills that the basic education system failed to teach the majority of students."</p><p>Krieger said that the EDP helped her to develop an awareness about critical issues that she would not otherwise have been aware of. “I was also inspired to be an activist and to be an agent for change. I am currently serving on the 2019/2020 SRC and I am learning so much about issues that marginalised groups on campus face that many people overlook," she said.</p><p>Students who have provisionally been admitted to the EDP and their parents/guardians are invited to the first meeting with EDP lecturers and mentors on Friday, 24 January 2020 from 09:30 to 12:00 in Room 3001 of the Wilcocks Building at 52 Ryneveld Street.</p><p>Prospective students who want to read more about the EDP, can consult the EDP website at <a href="/english/faculty/arts/edp/home"></a><br><br></p>
SU’s Extended Degree Programme opens many doors for graduates’s Extended Degree Programme opens many doors for graduatesCorporate Communication/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie <p>​<br></p><p></p><p>No less than 42 graduates whose academic potential had been unlocked thanks to the Extended Degree Programme (EDP) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU), received their qualifications at the University's December 2019 graduation ceremonies this week.</p><p>Of the 42 EDP graduates, 19 of the students received distinctions during their studies at SU. One of those students, Tammy Jefthas, received 18 distinctions and will be doing a MA (Geography and Environmental Studies) next year. </p><p>“The EDP is a wonderful opportunity to not only gain a degree but offers much more. It sees the potential in students and sometimes even before a student sees it in themselves. My field of study presented to me the opportunity to grapple with current pressing geographical issues and I see myself using my knowledge gained to make a difference in society," says Jefthas.</p><p>SU launched the EDP in 2008 to help deal with systemic obstacles to equity and student success and to assist students with additional academic support. </p><p>According to Alex Zeeman, who managed to obtain no less than 16 distinctions during her studies, the EDP programme was a lifesaver after she received poor matric results. “I thought my life was over, but the lesson that university has taught me is that you're stronger than you think you are."</p><p>For Vuyolwethu Qinela, who obtained nine distinctions during her studies, the programme not only helped her excel academically, but also gave her the opportunity to do an exchange abroad. </p><p>“I was an average student in high school, so I never thought that I could achieve anything greater than just passing. The Extended Degree Programme, I believe, gave me a better advantage over mainstream students in that I was given foundational modules that covered all topics that are covered in most social science modules, while also improving my critical thinking skills," says Qinela. </p><p>Tamaryn Taylor Fourie from Eerste River says one of the highlights of being a student at SU for her is the fact that many doors were opened and that she had many opportunities. “Some amazing highlights would be when I had the opportunity in 2017 to travel to Johannesburg to represent the University at the Cradle of Humankind as part of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. I was able to engage with other like-minded individuals and expand my network. In 2018, I was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society," says Fourie.</p><p>In addition to this, Fourie had the opportunity to travel to Germany as an international student at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, which is one of SU's partner institutions.</p><p>Through the EDP, Fourie was also able to impact many lives by being a mentor and senior mentor for first-year EDP students, class representative on the PSO committee and a member of other campus-wide societies and organisations.</p><p>EDP and mainstream students obtain the same degrees after completion of their undergraduate studies. The only difference is that EDP students do their first year over two years. Over and above their mainstream subjects, EDP students take modules that prepare them better for their graduate studies, such as <em>Texts in the Humanities</em>, <em>Information Skills</em> and <em>Introduction to the Humanities</em>. </p><p>The EDP programme is open to students who are interested in studying towards a Bachelor's degree with an average of 60–64,9% in their National Senior Certificate (NSC). Extensive extra-curricular support is also integrated into the academic offering to enhance student success.​<br></p><p>Prospective students, who want to read more about the EDP, can consult the EDP website at <a href="/english/faculty/arts/edp/home"></a> <br><br></p><p>In the photo from left, Vuyolwethu Qinela, Tamaryn Taylor Fourie and Alex Zeeman​. ​<br></p><p>Photo by Stefan Els. <br></p><p><br></p>
Internationally renowned cognitive linguist visits SU to share his expertise renowned cognitive linguist visits SU to share his expertiseLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​​​<span style="text-align:justify;">Prof Dirk Geeraerts, an internationally renowned cognitive linguist from KU Leuven University in Belgium who has played an important role in the expansion of this approach to linguistics, recently visited the Ancient Studies Department to share his knowledge of the field with staff and students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. </span><span style="text-align:justify;">​</span></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cognitive linguistics is “an approach to the analysis of natural language" which “originated in the late 1970s and early 1980s" in the work of [the linguists] George Lakoff, Ron Langacker, and Len Talmy". Through this approach, academics are able to study the “formal structures of languages", not as autonomous structures, but rather as “reflections of general conceptual organization, categorization principles, processing mechanisms" and as it is impacted by experiential and environmental influences.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Geeraerts was invited to Stellenbosch University by Prof Christo van der Merwe, who specialises in Biblical Hebrew, Bible translation and cognitive semantics in the Ancient Studies Department, and had learn to know Geeraerts in person while on an exchange opportunity at the Belgian university in 2016.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">During Geeraerts five-day visit at SU he presented a number of talks on topics such as <em>The fog of meaning,</em><em> </em>which delved into the meaning of language and linguistic expressions, and on <em>From structure to context: Decontextualization and recontextualization in the history of modern Western linguistics.</em><em> </em>He also presented workshops on cognitive socio-linguistics to staff and students from different departments.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Geeraerts' visit was not only useful to academics and students within the Ancient Studies Department, but also relevant to individuals in the languages' environments. His insights into how meaning is derived from the use of language in different environments is of interest to our department especially now that we are starting to look at how language is also influenced by context, and not only syntax [the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in language]. Scholars are now moving beyond the meaning of language and its parts and wanting to understand how language is shaped by the environment of the people who speak that language," said Van der Merwe. ​​<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Geeraerts' fascination with cognitive linguistics started in the 1980s. Through his PhD research, he became one of the first scholars in Europe to explore the possibilities of the prototype-theoretical model of categorisation – essentially the manner in which objects are classified in language based on their similarity to a “mental image of a prototype of that object" rather than in terms of neat discrete criteria. In other words, the “red" of red lipstick would be regarded as the prototype of the category “red", while the “red" of a red jackal​ would be regarded as less prototypical example of the category “red" in English.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">His main research interests have stretched across the overlapping fields of lexical semantics (the systematic study of word meanings), lexicology (the study of words, including things like its historical development and formation), and lexicography. He is the  founding editor of the <em>Cognitive Linguistics</em> journal and currently serves as the managing editor of the book series, <em>Cognitive Linguistics Research</em>, published by Mouton de Gruyter. In 2000, he founded the research group unit on Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics at KU Leuven.​</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“His ideas on language variation, how the same language is spoken differently in different parts of the world, and how language gain certain meanings over time are quite fascinating," said Van der Merwe.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Prof%20Dirk%20Geeraerts-1.jpg" alt="Prof Dirk Geeraerts-1.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:940px;height:510px;" /><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Prof Dirk Geeraerts (front row, second from the left), an internationally renowned theoretical linguist from KU Leuven University in Belgium who has played an important role in the expansion of cognitive linguistics, recently visited the Ancient Studies Department to share his knowledge of the field with staff and students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. In the front row are Prof Christo van der Merwe of the Ancient Studies Department; Geeraerts; Mr Marcus Joubert; Prof Philip Bosman, also of the Ancient Studies Department; and Mr Cliff Sekowe. In the back are Dr Joel Ruark, and Ms Amy Daniels from the Ancient Studies Department. (Anton Jordaan, SSFD)</em><br></p>
Third PhD awarded to eternal scholar and hyper-multilinguist PhD awarded to eternal scholar and hyper-multilinguistCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking - Sandra Mulder<p>​​​Stellenbosch University's (SU) Dr Alexander (Alex) Andrason has achieved the exceptional once more: This hyper-multilingual lecturer who speaks ten languages and a global nomad who has already resided in eight European and African countries has recently added a third PhD degree to his academic repertoire.<br></p><p>In March this year, Andrason got tears in his eyes when the University of Iceland awarded him a PhD in General Linguistics - experiencing the same gratitude as when he received a PhD in Semitic Languages from the Complutense University in Madrid (2010) and one in African Languages from SU (2016).</p><p>"The three PhDs are a natural progression and testament to my unconventional scholarly and life profile," said Andrason. He is currently a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences' Department of Ancient Studies, teaching Afro-Asiatic languages, linguistics (Hebrew, Aramaic, Egyptian), and other modules dedicated to multilingualism and academic writing.</p><p>​Prior to joining SU in 2012, his activities included teaching general and cognitive-linguistic courses at various universities in Asia (Turkey), Africa (Morocco, Gambia, and Tanzania), and Europe (Iceland, Spain, Poland, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia).<br></p><p>Elaborating on passing his PhD in Iceland on 4 March, he describes it as one of the most beautiful days of his life. "I argued for my views, appreciated critique and criticism, smiled continuously and even laughed at times. In the end, the university put up the Icelandic flag for me, and I had tears in my eyes," recalled Andrason.</p><p><strong>PhD remains a challenge</strong></p><p>Earning a PhD remains a challenge and is not easily achieved, he emphasised.  "Some people think writing a doctoral thesis comes easy to me. Nothing could be further from the truth. Completing a PhD is always a challenging experience that requires a lot of work, time, and self-discipline and is inevitably marked by moments of positive and negative thoughts and feelings."<br></p><p>He described himself as an eternal scholar and multidisciplinary academic and a teacher who “refuses to stop being a student and welcomes the wisdom of others by pursuing studies at various new universities." </p><p>For this reason, he will never have studied enough. “I will continue studying till the day I die. Currently, I plan to enrol in a PhD in anthrozoology and later in another one in education," said Andrason, explaining that to embark on a new PhD study is exciting because it means entering a relatively new study field'.<br></p><p><strong>Lecturer and researcher</strong></p><p>According to Andrason, his PhD studies have run concurrently with his teaching and other research duties, especially to enhance his teaching and research.</p><p>"Every year, I publish between ten and 15 articles; teach between five and seven courses/modules over 150-180 lecture hours; direct between five and eight international research projects; supervise postgraduate students, and lead at least one community involvement activity. To find time to design and complete another original research program leading to a PhD and write some 400 pages of a monograph is really challenging."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In the end, his mission is to offer the best training to students. "As teachers, I wish for students to develop and cultivate the qualities that human beings should have, such as respect for one's own and others' freedom(s), the recognition of universal equality of people and their inalienable agency, a celebration of creativity and, perhaps most importantly, the cultivation of care and compassion," says he.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Therefore, in my classes, I focus on self-government, the use of reason instead of doctrine, non-formality, equality of participation, and freedom of choice. I invite students to co-design the curriculum, participate in knowledge production, and contribute to cooperative learning and teaching. I allow students to pursue their curiosities and interests and replace teacher-student coercive hierarchy with persuasion. I am always open to being challenged. I do not lecture. Instead, I facilitate the learning process, encourage, and provoke," said Andrason.</p><p><strong>Language repertoire</strong></p><p>One of the motivations for him to learn a new language, especially the language of his students, is to allow them to be inclusive in the communication and learning process in class. </p><p>Currently, his language repertoire draws on 40 languages, ten of which he can speak with native or native-like proficiency. “I use most of them regularly because of my international research and teaching activities, like joint research projects, fieldwork, classes taught as a guest lecturer, and teaching classes," said Andrason.<br></p><p>When he travels to a new country, he will learn at least the basics of the people of that country's language. For this reason, he knows to a large extent isiXhosa and Afrikaans. "I also try to learn languages that my SU students (undergraduate or postgraduate) speak. I have also acquired some basic knowledge of Oshiwambo, Sotho, Maasai, Swahili, Lari, Korean, Japanese, and Romanian. Crucially, to me, the languages spoken by students are not empty tokens or superficial anecdotes."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Andrason is currently also learning Oromo (a language from Ethiopia) and Sango (a language from the Central African Republic). Adding to his passion for learning new languages, his favourite pastime is<strong> </strong>working towards doctoral degrees, authoring articles, conducting collaborative research, and reading grammar books. </p><p>When he is not working, he spends time with his family and does “exceptional" work in the kitchen. "I cook a full meal for my family every day, and they absolutely love my cooking!"<br></p><p><strong>Photo:</strong> Sandra Mulder<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Secure software and legal systems needed for cyber safety software and legal systems needed for cyber safetyCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>With an overall increase in the number of cyber-attacks on individuals and organisations alike, we need more than just creating awareness; we also need to urgently work on creating and providing better and more secure (software) systems, as well as update our legal systems – all of which are not easy challenges.<br></p><p>This is the view of cybersecurity expert, Prof Bruce Watson from the Department of Information Science at Stellenbosch University. With October being Cyber Security Month, Watson says more and more people and organisations are being confronted with messages encouraging them to take steps in protecting themselves against actions of cyber criminals within cyber space. <br></p><p>“This is crucial given for instance the current increases in phishing attacks which are fraudulent practices of sending emails purporting to be from reputable departments/companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, or scam them out of their money.<br></p><p>“If an organisation's systems are not adequately protected, they are vulnerable to attacks, whereby law-abiding citizens and business data may be exposed and exploited by cyber criminals posing as banks or even government departments, resulting in unsuspecting citizens and business owners being defrauded out of their money through no fault of their own."<br></p><p>Watson says it is largely the private sector that seems to be championing cybersecurity awareness initiatives, with the South African government lagging behind still. <br></p><p>“As such, a cyber-security savvy citizen will only help to expose the gaps within the government when it comes to dealing with issues of cybersecurity. And as technology advances, more and more citizens will demand services that require the government to protect them from cyber-attacks."  <br></p><p>Watson does acknowledge that cybersecurity can be tough, adding that there are various reasons for this. </p><p>“First of all, cyber space doesn't obey to the normal rules of the world. As such, it is not enough to 'live in a good neighbourhood' in order to be safe from a cyber-attack. More and more, everything is interconnected and we can get cyber-attacked by accident, and at long distance. The internet is also easily anonymous, making attribution a problem as well." <br></p><p>Ideally, these are criminal activities that have to be reported to the authorities and prosecuted according to a particular law. At the least, we need to be able to identify the applicable laws that are transgressed and then be aware of the processes that we have to follow to bring the criminals to book."<br></p><p>Watson says that at the moment, however, South Africa does not have much. He points out that the only legal document that deals with cybersecurity and cybercrime matters is the National Cybersecurity Policy Framework (NCPF), which was adopted by Cabinet in 2012. <br></p><p>“We also have the Cybercrimes Bill, which until late 2018 was called the Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes Bill, but until the Bill has been signed and becomes an Act, nothing much can be done to address the issues raised. Furthermore, the signing of the Bill will not automatically make us safer, as it requires a transition that will take time, whereby the case system of the police will have to be adapted, the evidence chain will have to be aligned and adapted, prosecutors will have to be trained, as well as the judges, etc." <br></p><p>Watson says it is therefore very important that we up our cybersecurity defences, not just where normal citizens or users are concerned, but also for builders of systems (software), as well as the security of our nation as a whole. <br></p><p>“In the end, we all depend on lots of technology: from electricity, to banking to airports and airplanes, to entertainment. If those things fail, the impact can range from merely causing an annoyance to inflicting major economic damage."<br></p><p>Watson says people can protect themselves from becoming victims of cyber-attacks by not clicking on links that are suspicious (especially in emails), not just opening attachments and making sure their devices and anti-virus software are updated. <br></p><p>“Do not use public or free Wi-Fi for personal or banking transactions, it is dangerous. Make use of a virtual private network (VPN) instead. And remember: If it is free, you are the product," adds Watson. <br></p><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Prof Bruce Watson</p><p>Department of Information Science</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 2027</p><p>Email: <a href=""><strong></strong></a> </p><p><strong>ISSUED BY </strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen</p><p>Manager: Media</p><p>Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>Email: <a href=""><strong></strong></a> </p><p> </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>
Polyandry strikes at the heart of patriarchy strikes at the heart of patriarchyLize Mills & Amanda Gouws<p></p><p>Polyandry gets men hot under the collar because it strikes at the heart of patriarchy and can break their monopoly over women's sexuality, domestic and care labour, and their property. This is the view of Dr Lize Mills (Department of Private Law) and Prof Amanda Gouws (Department of Political Science) in an opinion piece for <em>Daily Maverick</em> (1 June).</p><ul><li>​Read the article below or click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>for the piece as published.<br></li></ul><p><strong>Lize Mills and Amanda Gouws*</strong><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In South Africa, there are men who have as many as ten wives according to polygynous marriage practice that is legal in South Africa. But when women desire to have more than one husband, also called polyandry, all hell breaks loose. Or this is what the reaction to the mere mention in the Green Paper, published by the Department of Home Affairs in May this year, that “activists submitted that equality demands that polyandry be legally recognised as a form of marriage" shows. Mostly men are up in arms. Some have claimed that polyandry will “destroy family values", “has never existed" and will demand more DNA tests to determine who the father of a child is.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Hence, a woman must never be allowed to have more than one husband, let alone ten. Nor must same-sex partners be able to have more than one spouse. What is good for the gander, cannot be good for the goose.  What this means is that South Africa must ignore section 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996; the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 4 of 2000; the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa 2003; and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979 (CEDAW), all confirming women's equality, because the social evils that will follow will be too much to bear. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, a study published in 2012 by Starkweather and Hames of 53 societies outside of the classical Himalayan and Marquesean area that permit polyandrous unions, found that polyandry may have existed throughout human evolutionary history. Polyandry, which is also practiced in parts of Nigeria, Cameroon and Kenya, becomes more likely where the operational sex ratio is male-biased (there are more men than women in the society), environmental resources are scarce (it is believed to limit population growth and enhance child survival) or men are forced into prolonged absences from home. In these societies, men are committed to be involved in the raising of children, because the children belong to all of them (no man can be certain of his paternity), and in the case of fraternal polyandry (brothers who marry the same wife), a joint estate remains intact from generation to generation.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The benefits of polyandry show that because there is no single (male) authority in polyandrous households, power is dispersed through the union.  Property is usually owned collectively which means that nobody is excluded from property ownership, even after one of the husbands dies. These unions are also economically more prosperous because women are not economically dependent on one man. Paternity is not located in who fathered the child but in the knowledge that any of the men can be the father and therefore fathering is a social and collective issue and men are more committed to be involved in child rearing. Children and property belong to families not individuals. As far as women are concerned, it gives them more agency (decision making capacity) and control over their sexuality and their bodies. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In May 2021, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women again expressed its concern regarding the “alarmingly high" levels of domestic violence and femicide in South Africa. In several of its reports, it has called for the abolition of polygamy since it has “grave ramifications" for the human rights of women. Their 2021 report was issued following information that was submitted by several NGOs working with female victims of violence, pointing out that the extraordinary levels of gender-based violence in this country are also exacerbated by polygyny. In fact, in a joint general recommendation in 2014, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child discussed the relationship between polygynous relationships and violence against women and children, criticising “[c]onstitutional and other provisions that protect the right to culture and religion … used to justify laws and practices that allow for polygamous unions". The South African Recognition of Customary Marriages Act of 1998 allows for polygynous unions. By permitting only polygyny, the Government is contravening Article 5(a) of CEDAW, an international legal instrument that the country ratified in 1995, and thus negating to take appropriate measures “[t]o modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">So, why is the reaction of men so stark when it comes to polyandry? We argue that polyandry is deeply threatening because it poses a challenge that strikes at the heart of patriarchy. In most heterosexual relationships a man enjoys a monopoly over his wife's sexuality, domestic and care labour and her property and can claim a right to children born of that union.  A father therefore can know with great certainty who his children are. Polyandry diminishes male dominance and the control over women's sexuality, something that is integral to patriarchy. In her landmark article “The Traffic in Women: Notes and the 'Political Economy' of Sex" (1975) Gayle Ruben (a cultural anthropologist) argues that we need to understand kinship relationships and how women fit into “gift transactions". Women are the objects of exchange in monogamous or polygamous marriages.  As she puts it - women are given in marriage (the father gives his daughter away), taken in battle, exchanged for favours, traded, bought and sold, or forced into arranged marriages.  In this gift exchange men dispose of women, but women cannot dispose of men, giving men power over women.  But more than merely the exchange of women, kinship systems also exchange sexual access, genealogical statuses, lineage names and ancestors in concrete systems of social relationships.  It spells out the rights of men in relation to women - this is embedded in the power and the control over women's sexuality that determines how families are constructed and governed.  What polyandry does is that it undermines these power relations, prevents control over women's sexuality and enhances women's agency, at the same time as it demands of men to care for their children.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Polygamy and polyandry therefore are not symmetrical systems, because polygamy gives men access to more than one woman to satisfy his sexual needs, with the benefit of having multiple wives rearing his children, very often with little help from his side. Research shows that polyandry, on the other hand, is more egalitarian, ensures greater care equality and more harmonious relationships between all parties involved. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">By legalising polyandry nobody will be forced into such marriages. It will be a matter of personal decision, just like same sex marriages is a personal decision.  It is time that South Africans who still oppose same sex marriages and now polyandrous marriages reflect on their attitudes that are deeply sexist, homophobic, unconstitutional and offensive.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>*</em><em>Dr Lize Mills is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Stellenbosch University (SU). </em><em>Prof Amanda Gouws is the SARChI Chair in Gender Politics at SU.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>​ ​</em></p><p>​<br></p>
PhD graduate’s groundbreaking research will shape second language teaching and learning in future graduate’s groundbreaking research will shape second language teaching and learning in futureLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​Dr Valentin Uwizeyimana, who is the first student from Rwanda in the Graduate School of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU), officially accepted his doctoral degree on 13 December for the groundbreaking research he conducted on using mobile technologies in language learning, in this case specifically foreign language learning.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">His thesis, <em>An Investigation into the Effect of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning on Rwandan University Students' Proficiency in English as a Foreign Language</em>,<em> </em>is the first research of its kind to be conducted in Africa and to focus on the use of a range of mobile apps to facilitate foreign language learning. In the past, research conducted by scholars have only focused on the use of different apps with the purpose of teaching and learning one or another component of the target language such as vocabulary, reading or listening skills in second or foreign language learning and acquisition. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">His research, by contrast, made use of a multitude of apps at any time and place with the purpose of improving the language learners' overall proficiency – all without the direct involvement of language teachers. This research will offer a solution to the challenge that learners face when the target language is a foreign language, or a language which is not really spoken in their communities.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">While Uwizeyimana will obtain a PhD from the General Linguistics Department at the December 2018 graduation ceremony, his studies at SU has taken him from a Postgraduate Diploma in Second Language Studies in the same department in 2013 to an MA in Technology for Language Learning, which he completed in the Modern Foreign Languages Department in 2015. He was able to complete his doctorate thanks to a three-year scholarship, which he obtained from the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) through the Graduate School of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking about his research, he says: “English is the most spoken language in the world and is a means of social mobility for many of its speakers. Because of this, English has been adopted by many countries as a national or official language. It is also often used as a medium of instruction at different levels of education, even though it is a foreign language in many countries where it is spoken and is also not understood by a large part of those countries' population," explains Uwizeyimana.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In Rwanda, Kinyarwanda, as well as English along with French are considered official languages. However, learners and students are only taught in English. Outside the classroom and lecture halls, Kinyarwanda, which is the sole national language, is used. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“According to the available literature, only 3% of the country's population could actually speak English in 2008. This number might have increased slightly since, due to different factors such as the East Africa regional integration and the language policy favouring English which was introduced in Rwanda."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The reason for the prevalence of English in educational institutions can be traced back to Rwanda's history. Rwanda was originally a monolingual country, with only Kinyarwanda  spoken by its population. In the 1900s, the country was colonised by Belgium and French was introduced. Following the genocide, many Rwandans who had been living as refugees in countries like Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda returned to their home country. However, while living abroad, they had been using English as a common language of communication. Following their return, English became a de facto third official language of the country and in 2003 was added into the constitution as an official third language. Five years later, the government adopted a policy to use English as the sole language of instruction at all levels of education in Rwanda with immediate effect.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The implementation of this policy became problematic since “most teachers at all levels of education had been trained in French, and the highly qualified ones were the ones who were trained abroad mostly in Francophone countries, and thus were not proficient in English, the specific language which they had to teach in," he explains.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Exacerbating the situation, is the “limited conventional teaching-and-learning materials such as printed books, journals and few computers that are available in Rwandan schools and universities". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This means that learners are not exposed to a sufficient amount of English input, and there are very few to no opportunities for English output, in other words, there is no use of the target language outside the classroom."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Obtaining English proficiency in the Rwandan context, adds Uwizeyimana, is about more than just learning a new language: “We are a very small country in the middle of a number of huge countries that are more developed than Rwanda and from which we import goods. English and Kiswahili are the languages that are dominant in these countries, which include Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, and then French mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi that uses Kirundi, a language compatible with Kinyarwanda. So, we need mostly English not only when we are abroad, but to communicate with our neighbours for trading purposes."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The huge demand for English educators to allow Rwandans to attain some level of proficiency, explains Uwizeyimana, is also one of the reasons why he was able to obtain a position as an English lecturer at the University of Kibungo (UNIK) immediately after completing his BA in English and Kinyarwanda with Education with Honours at the University of Rwanda. It was this need that spurred him on to expand his knowledge on English language teaching and so he applied for admission to universities in the Netherlands and South Africa. He was accepted at all the universities he applied to, but the Rwandan government would only agree to fund his studies if he opted to study at an African university. In January 2013, he came to South Africa to enrol at Stellenbosch University with a scholarship provided by the government.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">When he arrived at SU, he already knew that he wanted to improve his knowledge in using technology in English language teaching and learning, so that he could make a contribution to the teaching and learning of English in particular, and other languages, in his home country. He also knew that online learning via a computer would not work in Rwanda, since computers are expensive and electricity is scarce in the country. By contrast, the majority of the Rwandan population own mobile phones because they are cheap. Also, citizens in rural areas use solar power to charge their phones when there is no electricity, while university students have access to free wifi on their universities' campuses, and those located in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, have access to free wifi on buses and in public places. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This is the reason why my study looked at how mobile phones and the apps on these devices could be used to attain a higher level of English proficiency, given the growing amount of research showing the potential of mobile technologies in language learning."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Sixty Kinyarwanda-speaking students from the University of Rwanda participated in the study. They were divided into four groups with Group 1 receiving training in the use of mobile technologies in language learning (or MTLL in short); Group 2 using MTLL without having received any training; Group 3 using only additional conventional material like textbooks; and Group 4 not using MTLL or receiving any additional material, but only relying on the classroom instruction. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We then collected data by means of observation, a survey, an English language proficiency test, a discussion group with the participants and a semi-structured interview with a lecturer at the University of Rwanda. A careful analysis of the data showed that MTLL have a significant effect on the learners' proficiency in English as a foreign language (EFL), and that the learners have positive attitudes towards MTLL and their integration into the language pedagogy." He adds that participants were monitored to ensure that they applied what they were learning. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Uwizeyimana's research is of great importance, not only because it promotes the use of devices and applications that are already popular in Africa as far as English language learning is concerned, but also because the learning model he has developed can be applied to different languages and countries around the world. For Uwizeyimana, the fact that he even completed the research is a great feat. His research nearly did not see the light of day due to the financial challenges he had to overcome while studying in South Africa.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Had it not been for my Masters supervisor Ms Lesley Bergman from the Modern Foreign Languages Department, Prof Frenette Southwood, the Chair of the General Linguistics Department, and my PhD supervisor, Dr Simone Conradie, I would not have made it through all my studies here at Stellenbosch University. They understood all the challenges I had to go through. They secured funding for my PhD, they provided me with money to cover my accommodation and living cost when I was broke, and they reached out to the Rwanda Education Board (REB) and the Rwandan Embassy in South Africa when I had financial problems in my second year of Masters, specifically in 2015. However, it was more than just financial support, they became my people, my friends, my parents from another country. They became my family. They are very social, modest and understanding; when I run to them, I do not call them by their titles and surnames," he says. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Thanks to their support he was also able to spend a semester at Technische Universität Chemnitz, which is one of the oldest and best universities of technology in Germany.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">HIs research was presented at different academic events in Africa and Europe, is SCOPUS indexed, and has been published in the top-rated international journal, <em>Language Policy</em> by Springer, and in the <em>Registrar Journal</em>, which is one of the leading journals published from Indonesia.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">After his graduation, he will return to Rwanda where he plans to help his fellow Rwandans, starting with the university students, to attain a higher level of proficiency in English, French and Kiswahili which are used as second or foreign languages in Rwanda. Furthermore, he plans to help Rwanda in terms of effective implemention of some of the country's current and future projects which involve the use of technology in education. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I'd also like to replicate my research in other countries and contexts, so that I can provide a more tangible contribution to the scholarship, mostly in the fields of second language studies and technology for language learning."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Southwood, Uwizeyimana showed remarkable tenacity during the years he spent at Stellenbosch University. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“His commitment to achieving his academic goals and his insistence on doing sensible research that will benefit those in his country are commendable," says Southwood. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">While it has been a fulfilling journey for him, there is no denying that it has been one filled with lots of stumbling blocks and sacrifices. He is excited to walk across the podium on Thursday to obtain his doctoral degree.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It's the hardships that eventually motivated me, because I would sit here working on my research, then realise that there is nothing for me out there if I don't finish my PhD and do it in the shortest period of time. During those difficult moments, you sacrifice everything. You ignore and forget everything else including your family, friends and your own life at some points, and finishing the work at hand becomes your main focus. Sometimes it gets too much, you think about it, become sad and discouraged, and I personally sweat a lot in those moments, but you never give up because you are hopeful that the best is yet to come".<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Dr Valentin Uwizeyimana</em><em>  </em><em>from Rwanda with the academics that supported him academically, financially and emotionally during the years he studied in South Africa and completed his groundbreaking research on using mobile technologies in language learning for foreign language learning. From the left are M</em><em>s Lesley Bergman from the Modern Foreign Languages Department, Dr Valentin Uwizeyimana, Uwizeyimana's PhD supervisor, Dr Simone Conradie from the General Linguistics Department, and Prof Frenette Southwood, the Chair of the General Linguistics Department.</em></p>
Social workers help vulnerable households with financial wellbeing workers help vulnerable households with financial wellbeingCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p>Social workers offer many valuable services to society, especially to those in need. One such service is helping vulnerable households to manage their finances better, take control of their income and achieve financial wellbeing. </p><p>This is one of the main findings of a new study at Stellenbosch University (SU).<br></p><p>“Poor South Africans often have limited access to reliable, safe and convenient financial services. Through various interventions, social workers have helped to facilitate the financial capabilities of vulnerable households so that they can attain financial wellbeing," says Dr Ntobeko Bambeni who is a social work manager at the Department of Social Development. He recently obtained his doctorate in Social Work at SU.<br></p><p>As part of his study, Bambeni interviewed social workers, supervisors and social work policy managers to gain a better understanding of how social workers facilitate the development of vulnerable households' financial capabilities. Financial capability is the combination of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour that a person needs in order to make sound financial decisions to support financial well-being.<br></p><p>According to Bambeni, the causes of financial vulnerability include the misuse of social grants, addictive social behaviour, unscrupulous financial lenders, illiteracy and poverty. He adds that vulnerable households don't always have the knowledge about financial products offered by both the formal and informal financial services institutions.<br></p><p>Bambeni says his study shows that social workers helped to facilitate financial capabilities through their roles of educator, advocate, communicator, enabler and negotiator. They blend these social work skills gained at university with their personally acquired financial knowledge.<br></p><p>“Through community outreach programmes, social workers create awareness about the objectives of social grants and how to ensure that they are used for the intended goals in order to yield optimum benefit for beneficiaries for their sustainable psychosocial and financial wellbeing. They also teach low-income earners about basic financial concepts and their application in the financial sector, including budgeting, savings and credit.<br></p><p>“Social workers advise them on the efficient and effective financial management of their household income. They also inform them of available economic opportunities and financial products offered by formal and informal financial service institutions so that they can make informed decisions in choosing the best financial products for their particular financial circumstances.<br></p><p>“The advice social workers provide seeks to complement low income, mitigate the negative impact of poverty and motivate them to become economically active and not depend on social grants alone."<br></p><p>According to Bambeni, social workers also protect vulnerable social grant beneficiaries against possible financial exploitation by caregivers, grocery shop owners, procurators and unscrupulous loan sharks.<br></p><p>“They negotiate reasonable debt repayments on their behalf or report uncooperative loan sharks to the police." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He adds that social workers enable vulnerable households to become financially capable by monitoring the implementation of action plans that are aimed at attaining financial capability.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Despite the success and effectiveness of their interventions, social workers still need more support to improve their skills and knowledge regarding the facilitation of financial capabilities, says Bambeni. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He adds that the Department of Social Development and tertiary institutions should capacitate social workers in financial management and financial capabilities development through in-service training and the inclusion of financial capabilities development in the social work curriculum.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Ntobeko Bambeni</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Department of Social Development</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Email:<strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong><a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""></strong></a> </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>ISSUED BY</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Martin Viljoen</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Manager: Media<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Corporate Communication and Marketing</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Email: <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""></strong></a> </p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </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>