Stellenbosch University
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
Maties write prize-winning blogs on diversity
Author: Wayne Muller
Published: 06/10/2014

Two Maties were rewarded with prize money for writing the best blogs about diversity, which were published on the website Bonfiire. Natalie Rose Louw won the first prize of R1 000, while Alexander Dyers received the second prize of R500.

SU students were asked to write a blog with the topic "1994 + 20: Closer together or further apart?" In the spirit of South Africa's celebration of 20 years of democracy, the bloggers were asked to discuss whether the country is on track in realising its ideal of inclusivity by being "united in our diversity", as stated in the Constitution.

The competition was part of Stellenbosch University's (SU) Diversity Week, which was held from 29 September to 3 October. It was the second time that the week-long celebration of diversity on campus was held at SU. The initiative is the brainchild of the late Prof Russel Botman, former Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU.

The aim of Diversity Week is to make all students and staff aware of the diversity of people who share this campus. Among others, comedy shows, discussions and music performances were held during Diversity Week.

Entries for the blog competition were open between 15 and 25 September, and on the last day of Diversity Week, Friday 3 October, the winners were announced.

Louw's blog was titled "Blackfacing threatens democracy", in which she addressed the impact of the recent "blackfacing" incident involving two SU's students.

She wrote: "After 20 years of democracy, while we are no doubt closer together than we were at the birth of our democracy, much, much more must still be done before we can call ourselves united in our diversity."

"It's the first critical piece I've written. There was a lot of hype around the 'blackfacing' incident, and I think I took quite a hard line on it. It was interesting for me to separate my personal feelings and just look at the facts. I have never written for Bonfiire, and it's been a great opportunity. I think I'd like to write more," said Louw, a second-year BA Humanities student at SU. She originally wrote the blog for her SU student society, Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ).

Under the heading "Twenty years later", Dyers, a second-year BA student in Social Dynamics, wrote that "unity in diversity is a great idea – it's an even better slogan – but it is not yet one which we can truly claim exemplifies us".

"I did the competition last year and I often write for Bonfiire. I have always loved writing, but only began writing critical pieces since coming to university. Being at SU has made me think more critically about stuff happening around the world and specifically on campus," said Dyers.

Simone Cupido (third prize) and Carli du Toit (fourth prize) were also rewarded with a special R250 voucher for purchases at the Neelsie for their respective blogs.

CAPTION: The winners of the first 2014 Diversity Week blog competition, from left, Simone Cupido (3rd), Alex Dyers (2nd), Natalie Louw (1st) and Carli du Toit (4th). Photo: ANTON JORDAAN