Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch



SU produces first book and DVD set for Deaf and hearing children produces first book and DVD set for Deaf and hearing childrenLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a group of staff and postgraduate students at the General Linguistics Department at Stellenbosch University (SU), the first South African Sign Language (SASL) book and DVD set that can be enjoyed by Deaf and hearing children simultaneously was recently released. The set consists of a multi-authored, English book called <em>Sign Language Saves</em>and an accompanying DVD in five languages – South African Sign Language,  Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa and isiZulu. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Deaf children can now read the English book or watch it in SASL on the DVD while hearing children are able to follow the story along with their Deaf peers in one of the four language translations on the DVD while also seeing the SASL.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The team that worked on the project included Maryke van Velden, a Project Illustrator and Creative Writer who handled the aesthetic aspects of the book design; Sima Mashazi, a junior lecturer and MA student who did the SA English and isiZulu voice overs; Frenette Southwood, who did the Afrikaans voice over; and PhD student Khanyiso Jonas, who did the isiXhosa voice over. Vanessa Reyneke, a Project Coordinator for the development of teaching and learning support material in SASL in the General Linguistics Department, was responsible for the signing on the DVD and the management of the entire project. The project is funded by the Rector's Strategic Fund, with an additional book to follow later in 2019 and another in 2020.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Reyneke, the project came about when the team started investigating the possibility of developing SASL reading material for schools that Deaf and hearing learners could read together. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We came across a Flemish children's book that we could turn into a SASL book and DVD with characters that were unique to South Africa," explains Reyneke.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Reyneke approached the authors of the book, who agreed that the story could be reproduced in South Africa and the sign language amended to reflect SASL signs.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">To get to the final book and DVD set, the team had to follow a long process from securing copyright to publish the story to having some illustrations amended – the animal characters, all South African wildlife, use signs in the illustrations, and the original Flemish Sign Language signs had to be replaced with SASL signs.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We were attracted to the Flemish book because the characters were all animals found in Africa. We thought familiarity with these animals would open up the story to children in South Africa from different cultures and backgrounds. There were some things we were requested to keep the same, such as Noah the Lion's tail, which twitched to show just how excited he was. He is also the main character and always wears red in the Flemish book, so we did the same in the South African version." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Thereafter we had to translate the SASL on the DVD to Afrikaans, South African English, isiZulu and isiXhosa. While there is only one sign language version of the story on the DVD, the voice overs were done in the different languages."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">One of the most important things about this series, says Reyneke who is Deaf herself, is that hearing children are now exposed to and made aware of SASL. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">While sign language is taught in Deaf schools, it is not an official South African language and therefore not one that many hearing children are exposed to. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Sign language is something that remains hidden, out of the public eye. Even when you see sign language on TV, it is being done by an interpreter in the bottom right corner of the TV screen. So we have limited exposure to South African Sign Language," says Reyneke.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“With this book, we can expose hearing children to sign language, which I think is a great idea as it will create an awareness of the language amongst hearing children. Who knows, it may even prompt them to learn the language in order to communicate with Deaf persons."  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The book and DVD set will also allow hearing parents with Deaf children to read with their children. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The majority of Deaf children are born to hearing parents and thus far there has been no SASL material around that allows hearing parents to enjoy a story with their Deaf child. It creates an opportunity for parents and children to bond and build their relationships."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">While Reyneke took the lead on the project, she is quick to point out that she would not have been able to complete the project without the assistance of her colleagues, Van Velden and Mashazi, and PhD student, Jonas.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Because I cannot hear, I also had to rely on an interpreter, who is able to hear and sign and who could ensure that that the tempo of my signing matched that of the spoken language and visuals seen on the screen."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Now that the first book and DVD set is publicly available and another two are in the process of being illustrated, Reyneke hopes to also produce a DVD with voice overs in the Afrikaans dialect, Kaaps. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We did a quick test by sharing the second book, which is currently being illustrated, with a group of hearing and Deaf children and they really loved it. They were asking when they could get some more books like this to read."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">For now, Reyneke is content knowing that together with her colleagues, they have opened up a whole new world to both hearing and Deaf children to enjoy together. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This is something that was not available in South Africa before and now that it's been done, I hope it shows that a lot more is possible in future." </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: The first South African Sign Language (SASL) book and DVD set that can be enjoyed by Deaf and hearing children simultaneously was recently released thanks to the hard work of the General Linguistics Department at Stellenbosch University and funding received from the Rectorate's Strategic Fund. (Photo supplied)​</em></p>
Social workers have become the foot soldiers working to mend broken societies workers have become the foot soldiers working to mend broken societiesLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">In a country where violent crime has become part of the norm, where rape and sexual assault is reported to be of the highest in the world and where many South Africans live in abject poverty, social workers have become the foot soldiers working on the ground to combat the social issues that arise from these societal problems. For Professor Lambert Engelbrecht, an Associate Professor in social work and chair of the Social Work Department at Stellenbosch University, social workers have become essential in the fight to protect the most vulnerable in society. But, while this is the case, their quest is not an easy one with many having to work in a system that often do not provide them with the resources needed to make the impact they would like to.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This is something that Engelbrecht has seen in his own research over the years. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My research during my Masters and doctoral studies focused on the supervision and management within the social work discipline and thanks to the papers that followed from that research, I participated in the Marie Skłodowska Curie International Research and Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) where I became involved in projects where we studied the financial philosophy of business principles applied in social work or what is referred to as neoliberalism and the impact of this in various countries. We also compared results between countries and the impact of this model of management on social work services," explains Engelbrecht. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The research was inspired by the realisation that ironically the individual was often overlooked in the social work environment. A recent example of such a case, still fresh in the memories of many South Africans, led to the death of at least 143 vulnerable patients who were moved from Life Esidimeni, a state-run facility, to a number of NGOs that were ill prepared to accommodate these patients. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This is an example of how the Minister of Health tried to cut spending on persons with mental health problems but ended up doing so at the expense of the end user. The dehumanisation of vulnerable persons for the sake of financial sustainability showed that what may be considered to be better management principles that would lead to better services is often not what transpires in reality. Saving on costs is not always better for the client. This is also why I empathise with the protest marches by social workers in 2017 against the horrible working conditions they are exposed to because often what is just a political ball game at the top tend to impact extensively on those on the ground. There are many social workers out there with no telephones, computers or cars that are expected to deliver social services to the most vulnerable in our society."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">While Engelbrecht, who received the Stals Prize for Social Work from the South African Academy for Science and Arts in June 2017, no longer practices as a social worker, he has been pouring his expertise into research and educating up-and-coming social workers at the Social Work Department since 2003. Most of his time is spent focusing on the supervision and management of social workers and the training of social work students. This contribution as well as his work on the effects of neo-liberalism on social work service delivery is precisely why Engelbrecht received the Stals Prize. His research has already delivered more than 90 scientific outputs and he is highly regarded both locally and internationally. What makes this achievement even more unique, is the fact that Engelbrecht is only the third academic within the social work discipline to receive the prize, with one other scholar from the SU department, Prof Sulina Green, having received it in 2011. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Like the department's philosophy – “we cultivate thought leaders in social development" – Engelbrecht and his colleagues focus on equipping students to think three dimensional and holistically. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In order to be prepared for what they will face in the field, we have to teach our students to think beyond assisting the most vulnerable or those with mental health issues, but to start looking at the structures within which they work and this involves understanding the micro and macro levels issues that impact on your industry and being able to engage with government at local and national level to bring about change.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We find that a lot of social workers are caught up in the day-to-day activities and the many crises they have to deal with and that functioning at another level, for example engaging with donors or working on an awareness campaign in communities versus helping a neglected child that need help now, will always come second."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, says Engelbrecht, the way that funding is spent within social work structures require that one starts looking at it like a business too. This is the reason that students that enter their lecture halls are taught to also ask questions about conditions within the field and learn how to put pressure on government structures through policy and advocacy groups to ensure they support those in the trenches more effectively.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">At SU, about 100  new students register for a degree in social work each year with about 300 undergraduate and postgraduate students studying at the department at any given time.  In 2017 these students rendered social work services as part of their practice education to 43 welfare organisations where they were supervised by 45 social workers.  The students were involved in 94  community projects and facilitated 197 small groups.  They were also involved in intervention to 579 families and individuals, and mentored 90 vulnerable children. In addition the students completed 57 research projects. </p><p>“So as you can see, social work is an intensive course, because you are expected to do the work as you are learning about it." </p><p>Asked about the high levels of violence and in particular child murders that have become quite prevalent in South Africa, Engelbrecht admits that poverty still has a major impact on the social wellbeing of South Africans in underprivileged communities. It's something the students see on a daily basis too.  </p><p>“When there is poverty it can also lead to turmoil within families because when there is no money, people tend to escape by abusing alcohol and drugs. You also find that children are often without supervision in poor communities and older kids are recruited into gangs because of a lack of supervision. This is the case in many instances because parents can often not afford child care when they work and thus children are left in the care of slightly older siblings, neighbours or older family members like a grandmother or grandfather."</p><p>The students, says Engelbrecht are therefore prepared during their studies to the deal with the realities of South African society as far as possible. “They are confronted with both academic expectations and with emotional challenges that other students  are not necessarily facing."</p><p>“While people often feel sorry for social workers due to the kind of work they do for little compensation and also see it as a course that does not required much academic  capacity,  very few people realise that social work is not an easy programme to follow, that students are often expected to think critically from the first day they arrive in class, and that both the emotional and  academic requirements are extremely high. There is a high demand in the field for social work graduates from Stellenbosch University owing to our student attributes which results in thought leaders, engaged citizens, well-rounded individuals and dynamic professionals. Therefore, our focus of training is not just on social work in local, traditional welfare organisations, but we also prepare students to work in diverse industries, contexts and internationally. We are extremely proud of the fact that 80% of our Masters' students passed their external moderated research theses in 2017  cum laude."</p><p>For Engelbrecht, in spite of the fact that the social problems that social workers deal with can sometimes seem never ending, seeing the rewards of his efforts, be it through his work with students, through his research, or the time he spent in the field, has been the most satisfying aspect of his job. </p><p>One of those moments for Engelbrecht happened in the mid-eighties in his third year of undergraduate studies. While doing community work in Wellington, he set up an informal care group for elderly, disadvantaged  people in the town. A decade later, after he completed his studies,  the group had developed into a fully-fledged service centre with a meals-on-wheels service as well.   </p><p>“I started the club for the elderly with 20  persons from the community. Nella, one of the persons who attended the group, suggested that we call it Gemoedrus back then. Our aim was to look at the type of services that the elderly community needed and to try and get those services provided through Gemoedsrus service centre," says Engelbrecht who assisted the group with finding facilities and also helped them find resources they could access for the group. </p><p>“I look back on that and realise that sometimes one plants a small seed that grows into something enormous and that just being there at the beginning, making a small contribution made a difference in the lives of many people for generations to come."</p><p>The most important lesson he has learnt over the years, he says, is to learn to listen more than one speaks. </p><p>“When I do my research I realise that my achievements in social work is not my own, it is owing to the voices of the unheard that are being heard, and so even the Stals Prize is an award that I received through the contributions of many other people." </p><p><em>Photo: Prof Engelbrecht with the Stals Prize (middle) he received from the South African Academy for Science and Arts in June 2017. With him is (left) </em><em> Prof Wessel Pienaar (Chairperson of the South African Academy of Science and Arts) and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University, Prof Anthony Leysens. (Photo supplied)</em></p>
Determined SU lecturer embarks on ambitious goal to help Deaf daughter SU lecturer embarks on ambitious goal to help Deaf daughter Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Vanessa Reyneke, a Project Coordinator in the General Linguistics Department at Stellenbosch University, and her husband, Johan, have embarked on the ambitious goal of raising R300 000 to help their two-year old Deaf daughter obtain two cochlear implants simultaneously. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">A cochlear implant is “a small electronic device that partially restores the hearing function of a damaged inner ear". While hearing aids amplifies a sound, cochlear implants fulfill the role of the inner ear to deliver sound signals to the auditory (hearing) nerve of the brain. An implant does not restore normal hearing, instead it can give a Deaf person a useful representation of sounds in their environment and help him or her to understand speech.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Medical aid schemes only pay for one cochlear implant per individual per year and operations last between four to six hours. In a bid to save their young daughter from undergoing the trauma of major surgery two years in a row, the family has decided to take the bold step and have both cochlear implants inserted during one operation. Also driving the urgency is the fact that Karli's hearing is deteriorating by the day. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">With her operation scheduled for May, the family now only have six weeks left to raise R300 000 to cover the implanting of the second device as well as the hospitalisation costs. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Vanessa explains that the family first noticed that all was not well with the little girl's hearing when she was just short of 4 weeks.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We started noticing with growing concern that Karli did not react to the loud barking of the dogs or any loud noises," says Vanessa who is also Deaf.<br></p><p style="">Aware of what this might mean, the Reyneke's took the nearly one month old Karli for tests. It confirmed what they had suspected - Karli had bilateral moderate-severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss, a complicated term for profoundly deaf.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">At two months Karli was fitted with tiny, pink hearing aids. “From the very start we were committed to communicating in both South African Sign Language and in spoken word. She would react when you called her name and was able to tell us that she could hear sounds like the doorbell ringing or a knock on the door."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">And then, three months before Karli's second birthday, the Carel du Toit Centre received a donation of brand new top-end technology from the Hear the World Foundation. Not only was it the newest, it was also the best and the first choice of hearing aids for children across the world. And Karli was one of the select few to receive this gift.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The hearing aids allowed Karli to hear both high and low frequencies better and made it possible for Karli to expand her vocabulary in spoken language, along with her sign language. We were extremely excited about what this would mean for her."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, a few weeks down the line, Karli experienced a build-up of wax in her ears and developed a high fever. She was diagnosed with severe middle ear infection and the doctor advised that the best way to treat it was to put emergency grommets in, to help with draining the fluid build-up in the middle ear. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“A lot of fluid was still coming out of her ear long after the grommets had been inserted. Once her ear healed, we put her hearing aids on again, that's when we realised she couldn't hear us when we spoke to her, even when she was near us. We weren't sure whether the middle ear infection had worsened Karli's hearing loss." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“After the middle ear infection, we took Karli for another test and it was confirmed that she had lost the ability to hear as she did, before she fell ill. We were devastated because the hearing aids received as a gift was no longer effective for her. It became clear that we had to seriously consider the procedure for cochlear implants."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">All the members of Vanessa's family are Deaf, and so they have a strong Deaf culture in their home. They are proud that Karli is already proficient in South African Sign Language. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It remains a difficult decision to subject Karli, who is still so young, to such a big operation, but we know that a cochlear implant may help her to hear other sounds in her environment and enable her to hear spoken languages, which we believe will give her more opportunities in life."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Like every parent out there we want to give our daughter a good quality of life. We would like for her to have the chance to attend a mainstream school, where she will interact with hearing and Deaf persons so she can function in both worlds."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In January, the family launched the # Hear Karli Hear # fundraising campaign on the ADDaBIT fundraising platform. Since then, they have raised R34 450. However, this still leaves the family short of R264 550. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The R300 000 will only cover the initial major costs. Once the device has been fitted, Karli will need to attend sessions to train the brain to understand the sounds heard through the cochlear implant. She will have to go for weekly speech therapy sessions and audiological evaluations. On top of that, there is also the cost of maintenance of the devices such as replacing batteries, filters, or the implant processor cable if it becomes damaged. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Research conducted by audiologists suggest that Deaf children from birth to 11 can wait to have a cochlear implant, but there is also a lot of research that shows that the earlier a child obtains a cochlear implant , the earlier they can be exposed to and develop spoken language."<br></p><p style=""><strong><em></em></strong><strong><em><strong><em>If you are able to contribute towards the costs of helping Karli obtain cochlear implants simultaneously in both ears, you can visit </em></strong><a href=""><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration-line:underline;"><strong><em></em></strong></span></a><strong><em> to make a donation.</em></strong></em></strong></p><p style=""><em>Photo: Vanesssa Reyneke (far right) with her daughter Karli and her husband, Johan. The family is trying to raise R300 000 to help their two-year old Deaf daughter obtain two cochlear implants simultaneously and prevent her hearing from deteriorating any further. (Supplied by the Reyneke family)</em></p>
Awareness campaign needed to counter baseless claims, conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccine campaign needed to counter baseless claims, conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccineMark Tomlinson & Ashraf Kagee<p></p><p>We will need a massive awareness campaign to counter baseless claims and conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine, write Profs Mark Tomlinson (Institute for Life Course Health Research) and Ashraf Kagee (Department of Psychology) in an opinion piece for <em>Daily Maverick</em> (10 February).</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.</li></ul><p><strong>Mark Tomlinson and Ashraf Kagee*</strong><br></p><p>The first week of February 2021 was a momentous one in the Covid-19 pandemic. It was the week when the number of people globally who had received a vaccine overtook the numbers of people that have contracted the virus thus far. Bahrain currently has the <a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""><strong style="">s</strong><strong style="">econd-highest vaccination rate in the world</strong></span></a>, while the USA vaccinated 2.1 million by Saturday 6 February 2021. </p><p>As our health system gears up to embark on a mass vaccination programme in the coming months, it is necessary for the uptake of a vaccine to be as high as possible. A recent <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">survey</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>conducted by researchers at the University of Johannesburg and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has shown that two thirds of South African adults would definitely or probably accept a vaccine if one were available, 15% stated they did not know, and 18% said they would not accept a vaccine.  </p><p>We need a huge national effort to convince members of the public who are eligible to receive a vaccine to accept one. A high level of immunity provided by wide vaccine coverage is the best chance we have to reduce the number of new infections; to reduce symptoms, hospitalisation, and deaths among those infected; and thus to ensure that health services can be freed up to serve people with other health conditions. We need to ensure high enough uptake of the vaccine to provide herd immunity to South African society. <br></p><p>There is unfortunately a sense among some in the public that vaccines may cause more harm than good and that vaccines will actually infect people with the Covid-19 virus. This kind of misinformation must be countered from a range of sources – government, the medical establishment and the media. <br></p><p>Vaccine hesitancy or vaccine refusal has a long history – inevitably tied to charlatans such as Andrew Wakefield, who did serious damage to public understanding of the effectiveness of the MMR vaccine. Wakefield's now <a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""><strong style="">d</strong><strong style="">i</strong><strong style=""><strong style="">sc</strong>redited study</strong></span></a> suggesting that the MMR vaccine was associated with autism in children was withdrawn from the Lancet because his data were simply false. We need to guard against baseless claims about any of the available Covid-19 vaccines that are not supported by science. </p><p>The credibility bestowed on pseudoscience and quackery, unfortunately also has a long history in South Africa.  Former President Mbeki argued that HIV does not cause AIDS, entertained the quackery of vitamin salesman Matthias Rath who peddled vitamins to cure HIV, and appointed a Minister of Health (Manto Tshabalala-Msimang) who believed that beetroot, olive oil and garlic could cure AIDS.  <br></p><p>Some people are genuinely worried and concerned that a vaccine may harm them. To allay such fears we need accurate information, clear messaging, and excellent science. Lies, misinformation can only be countered by facts, data and solid evidence. Baseless claims and conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 vaccine should be met by these means. It is likely that all of the 18% of people in the survey mentioned above that have said they would not take the vaccine have in fact had numerous vaccines in their life (MMRI, Tetanus and others).  Far from being sick or disabled from these vaccines they are likely to be alive today because of them.  They need to be reminded of this.<br></p><p>There are a few ways to create conditions for widespread uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine. <br></p><ul><li><p>​In the face of vaccine hesitancy, trust is a key component of making the decision to take the vaccine.  South African public figures – politicians, celebrities and sportsmen and women – have an important role to play as role models and examples to others that receiving the Covid-19 vaccine is imperative for their own health as well as the health and wellbeing of our society. When the public sees leaders and those in the public eye receiving a vaccine, they will be more likely to abandon scepticism and accept a jab themselves. <br></p></li></ul><ul><li><p>​However, we also know that trust in many politicians in South Africa is currently quite low among the public. In this regard, the role that religious leaders play is key.  Every Minister, Imam and Rabbi must publicly be vaccinated and make discussions about the importance of vaccines part of their religious services and ceremonies – on an ongoing basis.  <br> </p></li><li><p>Traditional healers have a unique role to play in the effort to ensure the uptake of vaccines. Traditional leaders enjoy the trust and confidence of those who seek their services. To this extent they can help to publicly encourage credulity, acceptance, and trust in the national effort to vaccinate the public. <br> </p></li><li><p>Social marketing and public service announcements need to start in earnest to create awareness and interest among the public in receiving a vaccine. The fact that the majority of South African adults would accept a vaccine if one were available is encouraging and should be publicised as widely as possible. Doing so will convince those who are more circumspect that a vaccine is acceptable to most others, that it is an important social and public health good, and that they should receive one themselves when presented with the opportunity.</p> </li><li>We need science journalists on radio, television and the print and social media to encourage scientific mindedness in society, so that the public can become active readers and consumers of scientific information. Doing so will actively enable people to understand scientific concepts such as prophylaxis, randomised trials, and the placebo effect. Understanding the basics of vaccinology is also helpful, as it will help the public to understand that a vaccine cannot actually infect anyone with the virus or change their DNA. Accurate and clear information of this nature can go a long way to counter conspiracy theories about vaccines, theories which have no basis in fact. </li></ul><p>South African public figures such as President Ramaphosa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Stephen Grootes and Siya Kolisi have a duty to publicly and unequivocally endorse and accept the coming Covid-19 vaccine and thus encourage all of us to do the same.  And if community leaders and the Professors of the Street in every corner of South Africa can do the same, we will stand a chance of vaccinating the numbers of South Africans needed to move through this awful pandemic.  <br></p><p><strong>*Professor Mark Tomlinson is co-director of the Institute for Life Course Health Research in the Department of Global Health at Stellenbosch University (SU). Professor Ashraf Kagee is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at SU. They are both members of the Western Cape Department of Health Vaccine Advisory Committee.</strong></p><p> </p><p>​<br></p>
PANGeA-Ed to bolster academic research capacity in Africa to bolster academic research capacity in Africa Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p></p><p>The Partnership for Africa's Next Generation of Academics (PANGeA), a network consisting of eight leading African universities focused on strengthening and advancing doctoral training and scholarship in the arts, humanities and social sciences on the continent, has launched a new training and skills development programme, PANGeA-Ed. <br><span style="line-height:1.6;"><br>Unlike any other training programme on the continent, PANGeA-Ed will offer </span><span style="line-height:1.6;">high-quality short courses and workshops in research and skills development across </span><span style="line-height:1.6;">the eight partner campuses and at no cost to participants. The announcement was made at the launch held at Makerere University in Uganda on Tuesday, 27 September.</span></p><p>PANGeA was founded in 2010 by the University of Botswana, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Malawi, the University of Nairobi in Kenya and Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Four years later, the University of Ghana and the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon joined the consortium.  The network aims to strengthen the development of higher education in Africa by creating opportunities for collaborative research and exchange among partner institutions, full-time doctoral study and, in the longer term, the establishment of joint doctoral degree programmes specifically in the arts, humanities and social sciences.</p><p>Doctoral education and training are critical in a world where knowledge has become a significant commodity. Studies show that PhD holders who have accumulated substantial human capital, not only through education but through the acquisition of transferable skills, are key for the renewal of ageing professoriates, staffing the rapidly expanding higher education arena in Africa, boosting research and generating knowledge-based economic growth. </p><p>For the last seven years, various students from across Africa as well as academics based at PANGeA partner universities have been able to pursue full-time doctoral degrees via the PANGeA doctoral scholarship programme housed at the Graduate School of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at SU. </p><p>Since the doctoral scholarship programme commenced in 2010, a total of 66 candidates have been nominated by PANGeA partners and enrolled for a PhD at SU. To date, 36 have completed their studies and resumed their academic positions at their home university, 81% of whom graduated in three years or less. </p><p>While this is a big feat, the chairman of PANGeA, Prof Edward Kirumira of Makerere University, says a decision was made to investigate other avenues of generating more h<span style="line-height:1.6;">uman capital and improving the skills and career-readiness of university staff members who fall within the network.</span></p><p>"At the PANGeA Board meeting in June 2015, the secretariat proposed the establishment of a new initiative that would serve as a complimentary programme to the successful doctoral scholarship programme. After a lengthy discussion, the PANGeA Board unanimously adopted the proposed plans to establish a training and skills development programme, which would address the shortage of skills and training within these research and academic environments by focusing on the development of research capacity at each of the PANGeA partner campuses. At the same time, it would also broaden access to the network. Training will be conducted at partner institutions and be based on institutions' needs," he says.</p><p>The programme will consist of short courses and workshops spanning three days and focus on various soft skills development such as academic writing, guidelines for funding and/or research proposals, and integrity and ethics in research to more specialised research training, including quantitative and qualitative data analysis; (critical) discourse analysis; mixed methods research; social surveys; and ethnographic research, to name a few.</p><p>Through financial support from the Robert Bosch and Gerda Henkel foundations, a total of 50 short courses and workshops will be offered through PANGeA-Ed over the next five years. </p><p>"The PANGeA network has recognized the need not only to generate doctoral graduates but to address the shortage of skills and make a meaningful investment in human capital within this intellectually diverse network as well. This programme is another means to build and retain African talent and human capital," says Kirumira. </p>
SU lecturer wins prestigious international literary prize lecturer wins prestigious international literary prize Corporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking [Rozanne Engel]<p>​​​Dr Alfred Schaffer, a lecturer at Stellenbosch University (SU), recently became the youngest recipient of the PC Hooft prize, the most prestigious Dutch literary award, when he was announced the 2021 laureate.​</p><p>Schaffer, who is known as one of the most talented Dutch poets of his generation, received the prize for his poetry oeuvre.​</p><p>“The prize is a huge, huge honour and recognition, as well as something that feels totally unreal. It is the highest accolade one can receive as a writer, poet, or essayist in the Netherlands," says Schaffer.<br></p><p>The prize, which is named after the 17<sup>th</sup> century Dutch poet Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, is awarded alternately each year to a Dutch writer of narrative prose, contemplative prose and poetry. The PC Hooft Prize is worth 60,000 euros, and will be awarded in May 2021.</p><p>Over the years, Schaffer has published numerous poetry and prose collections. These include <em>Zijn opkomst in de voorstad</em> (His Rise in the Suburbs; 2000); <em>Dwaalgasten</em> (Vagrants; 2002), which was nominated for the prestigious VSB poetry prize; <em>Geen hand voor ogen</em> (No Hands Before Your Eyes), <em>Schuim </em>(Foam; 2006); and <em>Kooi</em> (Cage; 2008). ​ Over the years, his work has also been translated into Afrikaans, English, French, German, Macedonian, Turkish, Indonesian and Swedish.​<br></p><p>He has also received the prestigious Jo Peters poetry prize, Hugues C Pernath prize, the Ida Gerhardt poetry prize and the Jan Campert prize for his work. <br></p><p>According to Schaffer, writing poetry means he has “absolute freedom" to express himself and sees it as a way to “creatively understand the world" around him.<br></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Alfred%20Schaffer.jpg" alt="Alfred Schaffer.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:300px;" /><br></p><p>“I am triggered by language, like every writer, but what inspires me as well, is the fact that there are so many things that I do not understand until I have creatively written about it. To write a poem is so wonderful because I do not know what the result will be. Poetry has no hypothesis, like life," says Schaffer.</p><p>Schaffer grew up in The Hague, Netherlands - the son of an Aruban mother and a Dutch father. ​​He studied Dutch Language and Literature, as well as Film and Theater Sciences in Leiden, Netherlands. In 1996, he moved to Cape Town to continue his postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town. </p><p>He returned to the Netherlands in 2005 where he worked as an editor in Dutch publishing before moving back to South Africa in 2011. He currently works as a lecturer in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at SU.</p><p>Apart from producing his own poetry and prose, Schaffer has also made an important contribution to South African literature over the years by bringing local poetry to a broader audience through the translation into Dutch of, amongst other, Antjie Krog, Ronelda Kamfer and Koleka Putuma's work.</p><p>“Translation is everything. So many South African poets tell urgent stories of an intense life, right in the middle of the big issues of our time: migration, neo-colonialism, racism, guilt. I hope that readers see that there are many different stories, experiences and perspectives out there, formulated in wonderful and confronting poetry," says Schaffer.<br></p><p>Apart from his lecturing duties at SU, Schaffer is also currently working together with fellow academics in Belgium and the Netherlands on a book about lyrical activism and he is busy with the Dutch translation of <span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;">Kamfer’s latest volume of poetry<em>, </em></span><em></em><em>Chinatown</em>.<br></p><p>The last time someone with a strong South African connection won the PC Hooft prize was in 1991 when it w​as awarded to Elisabeth Eybers for her oeuvre of Afrikaans poetry. ​<br></p>
SU Teaching Fellows receive recognition Teaching Fellows receive recognitionDr Karin Cattell-Holden<p>​Five Stellenbosch University academics and outstanding scholars of teaching were recently honoured for the completion of their Teaching Fellowships. Professors Elmarie Costandius <br><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">(Department of Visual Arts, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences), Ian Nell (Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Faculty of Theology), Dana Niehaus (Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences), Nicola Plastow (Division of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences) and Geo Quinot (Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law) who completed their fellowships between 2011 and 2017, received certificates at the annual Teaching Excellence Awards and Research Excellence Awards ceremony held in December last year at STIAS.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SU Teaching Fellowship scheme provides the opportunity for excellent teachers and scholars of teaching and learning to spend more consistent periods of time, with various forms of support, to focus on aspects of renewal, exploration and dissemination of good practice in departments and faculties. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, Vice-Rector (Learning and Teaching), who presented the certificates, emphasised the opportunities for SU lecturers to research their teaching as part of the professionalization of their teaching role. Examples of such opportunities are the annual Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) conference and the Fund for Innovation and Research into Learning and Teaching (FIRLT) grants. Prof Schoonwinkel described academics' professional teaching journey as a “progressive route" which could lead to an SU Teaching Fellowship and, ultimately, a national Teaching Advancement at University (TAU) Fellowship. He also emphasised the complementary relationship between teaching and learning and research. He referred to teaching as an integral part of SU as a research-led university, commenting that “research on how to teach well is as important as research on what you teach."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Current holders of teaching fellowships are:</p><ul><li>Prof Ingrid Rewitzky (Vice-Dean: Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Science)</li><li>Dr Elize Archer (Centre for Health Professions Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences)</li><li>Dr Berna Gerber (Division of Speech-Language and Hearing Therapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences)</li><li>Ms Marianne McKay (Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Faculty of AgriSciences) </li><li>Dr Michael Schmeisser (Department of Horticultural Science, Faculty of AgriSciences)</li><li>Dr Marianne Unger (Division of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences)</li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;">Any questions about the Teaching Fellowships can be directed to Dr Karin Cattell-Holden, <a href=""></a> or X 3074. More information about the SoTL conference and the FIRTL grants is available on the Centre of Teaching & Learning (CTL) website at <a href="/ctl"></a>.   </p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p><span style="text-align:justify;">Picture caption: Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel with ( from the left) P</span><span style="text-align:justify;">rof Dana Niehaus, Prof Nicola Plastow</span><br style="text-align:justify;"><span style="text-align:justify;">Prof Elmarie Costandius en P</span><span style="text-align:justify;">r</span><span style="text-align:justify;">of Ian Nell.</span><span style="text-align:justify;">  Right under: Prof Geo Quinot (who could not attend the ceremony)</span><br></p>
SU part of twelve African Universities looking at disaster risks part of twelve African Universities looking at disaster risksInger Haber<p>​Recognising the pressing need for 'future-ready' skill-sets for Africa's fast-changing disaster risks, the <a href="">Partners Enhancing Resilience for People Exposed to Risks</a> (Periperi U), which is a consortium of twelve African Universities, launched Africa's first Risk Methods School on 10 September 2018 at Ardhi University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This innovative collaboration brings together teaching staff from United Nations agencies and six universities drawn from across Africa. It deliberately aims to speed the development of urgently needed talent in the field by combining the disaster risk management expertise in Africa's higher education enterprise with the global perspectives of the international community.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Periperi U's African Risk Methods School is an institutionally inventive response to East Africa's rapidly changing risk profile – as the region urbanises, becomes more interconnected and must adjust to climate-related and other risks. This already calls for new, 'future-ready' skill-sets that are interdisciplinary, applicable and integrate diverse sciences.</p><p>The School offers seven intensive courses on topics as diverse <em>as Urban Risk and Geographic Information Systems</em>, <em>Risk and Vulnerability Assessment in the Health Sector </em>and <em>Post Disaster Needs Assessment </em>to fast-track the capacity of emerging and established African researchers within the expanding fields of disaster, risk and resilience. Students include disaster risk related postgraduate students in African universities as well as practitioners and senior managers who wish to sharpen their risk and resilience research skills. Students at the first Risk Methods School represent eleven countries, including nine African countries.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The school will conclude 21 September 2018. In February 2019, the next school will be hosted by Gaston Berger University in St Louis, Senegal. The next school will be conducted in French and targeted specifically for West and Central Africa.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This initiative is supported by USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID OFDA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the African Union/New Partnership for Africa's Development's Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (AU/NEPAD SANWATCE) and Stellenbosch University's Africa Centre for Scholarship.</p><p>The Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction (RADAR), based at Stellenbosch University, is a founding member and secretariat of Periperi U. Periperi U is a consortium of twelve African Universities dedicated to developing and enhancing the capacity of emerging and established researchers within the expanding field of disaster, risk and resilience. The African Risk Methods School was designed and implemented jointly with Ardhi University's Disaster Management Training Centre and RADAR, with support from the Africa Centre of Scholarship and African Doctoral Academy. </p><p>Teaching staff at the African Risk Methods School include Dr Ailsa Holloway, Director of RADAR, and Professor Sarah Howie, Director of the Africa Centre for Scholarship. Support was offered to members of the African Union/New Partnership for Africa's Development's Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (AU/NEPAD SANWATCE) to participate in the trainings. The AU/NEPAD SANWATCE Secretariat is based at Stellenbosch University.</p><p><strong>Picture: Participants of the Risk Methods School hosted in Tanzania.</strong></p>
Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receives third honorary doctorate Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receives third honorary doctorateCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Research Chair in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University (SU), received an honorary doctorate from Rhodes University in Grahamstown on Friday (12 April 2019). This was her third honorary degree after having been honoured in similar fashion by Holy Cross College in Massachusetts, USA and Friedlich Shiller University Jena in Germany. <br></p><p>Gobodo-Madikizela, an alumna of Rhodes University, received the degree Doctor of Laws (LLD), honoris causa, for her trailblazing work to research topics such as guilt, remorse, forgiveness, the dialogue between perpetrators and victims as well as the way in which trauma is experienced by individuals and in political systems. <br></p><p>Rhodes University praised her for her contribution to trauma research and her efforts to relay the stories of victims, to humanise offenders and to bring a message of hope, empathy, dialogue, forgiveness and reconciliation to a society characterised by violence and trauma. <br></p><p>In her <a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/A%20New%20Vision%20of%20the%20Postclolonial%20-%20Rhodes%20Award.pdf" style="text-decoration:underline;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>acceptance speech</strong></span>​</a>, Gobodo-Madikizela expressed her gratitude for the honour bestowed upon her. She said she was fully aware of the honour and challenge locked up in this award that came from a university that encouraged his alumni to lead and to be torchbearers. She encouraged the graduands to take up their places as leaders in society and to campaign for justice and equity. <br></p><p>This is the third time that Gobodo-Madikizela was honoured by Rhodes University. She received the institution's Social Change and Distinguished Old Rhodian Award in 2010 and 2017 respectively. </p><p>She was a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Human Rights Violations Committee. She has received several international and national awards and the National Research Foundation has acknowledged her as a researcher of high international standing.<br></p><p>Since 2017, Gobodo-Madikizela has been serving as research advisor and global academic at the Queen's University in Belfast. This position is affiliated to the Senator George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice where she holds a World Leading Researcher Professorship. <br></p><p>Gobodo-Madikizela also held research fellowships at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard Kennedy School's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Claude Ake Visiting Chair, a collaboration between the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at the Uppsala University in Sweden and the Nordic Africa Institute. <br></p><p>Profs George Ellis, Ian Scott, Glenda Gray and Ms Okunike Monica Okundaye-Davis also received honorary doctorates at the same graduation ceremony in Grahamstown. SU awarded an honorary degree to Gray in 2017. <br></p><p><strong>Photo</strong>: Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receiving her honorary doctorate from Dr Adele Moodly, Registrar of Rhodes University.<br></p><ul><li>The University of Cape Town will award an honorary doctoral degree to Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished Professor at SU's Faculty of Education, in December 2019. <br></li></ul><p><br></p>
Social work more than just a job for Dr Abigail Ornellas work more than just a job for Dr Abigail OrnellasSonika Lamprecht/Corporate Communication Division<p style="text-align:justify;">For many people choosing a career is a difficult decision, but for others, life experiences point them in a direction and it becomes a calling. Dr Abigail Ornellas, who received her PhD in Social Work this week, is one of the latter.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ornellas and her twin brother were adopted when she was almost five years old, after spending four years in foster care. “The family who adopted us is incredible and has given us an amazing life and opportunities we probably would never have had. This has always given me a sense of wanting to make my life count for something. I was the first in the family to go to university and get a degree. They have been incredibly supportive and are very proud of me.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My experience in foster care has made me intrinsically aware of the importance of social work and the impact it can have on a life. Some of the experiences I went through as a child have also helped me in social work practice, to understand the importance of opportunity. This is all people really need to truly step into who they are. It has kept me humble."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, it wasn't until closer to the end of her social work bachelor's degree that she began to realise how much more the profession was capable of and responsible for, and its complex history.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In her fourth year of social work studies, she worked at a local state hospital and spent a lot of time working in the mental health ward. “My biological mother had dealt with mental illness, and so this was an area of interest for me. But I hadn't realised how social work could play an important role in this field. I became increasingly aware of the struggles in mental health as many public mental health facilities were being shut down due to deinstitutionalisation."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This sparked an interest in the concept of deinstitutionalisation and she decided to focus her Masters on exploring this phenomenon in South Africa. “This was my first real entry into the world of social policy. What I would later realise was that deinstitutionalisation was linked to a much bigger concept – neoliberalism, which emphasises individualism, inequality as a driver for economic growth, protection of the privileged and elite, the commodification of care, the privatisation of services, and the idea that welfare creates dependency. These are all in direct contradiction to the social work values of collectivism, social justice, social cohesion and human dignity."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Following her Masters, she worked as a research fellow on an international staff exchange scheme for two years where teams from 11 different countries actively mapped the impact of neoliberalism on social care and welfare. “This experience had the greatest impact on my career goals in social work and academic research. It gave me that bigger picture. Living in different countries working with social workers who have incredible stories and varied backgrounds opened my eyes to the vastness of our profession. I truly fell in love with it. I began to understand that social work has a responsibility to resist global socioeconomic changes that did not serve people."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Something one of her professors said stuck with her. When talking about the concept of giving a person a fish as opposed to teaching them how to fish, he added, “but it doesn't help teaching someone to fish, if there is a fence around the pond".<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“That day I decided I would commit myself to finding ways of removing the fence – and that is macro and structural, and in my opinion, at the heart of the social work profession. We need to confront the system in which social injustice occurs at the individual level, to tackle things from the outward in."  <br></p><p><br></p>