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Stellenbosch University raises R8.1 million to settle student debt University raises R8.1 million to settle student debt Development & Alumni Relations<p>​Stellenbosch University's graduation week has ended on an extra high note for 166 graduates. Thanks to donations amounting to R8.1 million — a total of 82 postgraduate and 84 undergraduate Maties are set to take on their next academic journey, or enter the world of work, debt-free.  <br></p><p>"We appealed to loyal donors of the University and have to date raised R8.1m towards student debt. We are immensely grateful for this support. The portion of the funds that is allocated to postgraduate students, will fill a large void created by NSFAS when earlier this year it stopped funding for among others, the postgraduate certificate in education and postgrad law students," says Karen Bruns, Senior Director for Development and Alumni Relations, the Division tasked with raising funds for the University.</p><p>Debt is increasingly becoming the biggest obstacle for many students in higher education, with some forced to abandon their studies because they are unable to pay student fees. “At Stellenbosch University, the outstanding debt for the graduating class of 2021 stands at R16.3 million — affecting 433 students in total. These figures exclude the debt of government-funded students which currently stands at R13m for 289 NSFAS students and R11m for 106 Funza Lushaka students," says Prof Stan du Plessis, Chief Operating Officer of SU. </p><p>"One of the biggest risks for universities is unpaid student fees, and this continued to rise in 2021. In 2011, student debt in the sector stood at R3.3 billion and has since risen to R16.250 billion in 2020. On average, students carrying debt upon graduation owe more than R30 000 each," he adds. </p><p>According to Du Plessis, SU commits a substantial portion of its income – generated through state subsidies and student fees – to student bursaries each year, but the institution is experiencing increased financial strain as subsidy and fee income has come under pressure. “Significant amounts of outstanding student debt further exacerbate our concerns, since we cannot simply write off debt without the required reserves," he adds. </p><p>Bruns believes that debt affects graduates' ability to launch into the next chapter of their lives. "We need skilled young people to enter the world of work, to be able to compete for jobs and to convince potential employers of their abilities. Residual debt affects their credibility, morale and confidence detrimentally." </p><p>She says the fundraising office is doing what it can to alleviate student debt as part of the University's Annual Fund, Bridge the Gap. “The Annual Fund strives to remove the barriers to student success — barriers such as food insecurity, funding for feminine hygiene products and funding for students whose professions of choice require that they have a driver's licence. But the largest source of crisis for students is debt — outstanding accounts that could prevent registration and continuation of study and the ultimate stumbling block — debt on graduation."</p><p>Funds are being raised for a number of initiatives under the umbrella of Bridge the Gap, among them #GradMe, #Action4Inclusion, #Zim4Zim and Caught in the Middle — which specifically look at alleviating student debt. </p><p>“For many students who are struggling under the burden of debt, graduation time is often bittersweet. These generous contributions from donors now give them the opportunity to pursue professional careers without the shadow of financial stresses hanging over an otherwise bright future," Bruns concludes.</p><p>Stellenbosch University conferred 5 629 qualifications at hybrid graduation ceremonies in December, including a record number of 677 master's degrees, the most in 10 years. </p><ul><li>For more information on Bridge the Gap and how you can get involved visit <a href=""></a>​</li></ul>
Oasis donates R1m to support disadvantaged Maties donates R1m to support disadvantaged MatiesDaniel BuganGlobal fund management company, Oasis Group Holdings has donated R1 million to Stellenbosch University (SU) at an official handover ceremony held at Die Stal on Thursday (9 December 2021). <div><br><p>The funds will be distributed equally between the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and the Faculty of Law to support disadvantaged students with financial needs to successfully complete their studies. <br></p><p>Oasis has a strong investment track record as an investment manager with expertise in Shari'ah compliant and conventional collective investment schemes, global mutual funds, retirement funds and large segregated institutional funds.<br></p><p>The company, through its Oasis Crescent Fund Trust, has over the years donated millions to worthy causes in the areas of healthcare, social development, disaster relief and education. Its funding of education has been focused into three key areas – early childhood development, primary and secondary education and tertiary level funding. They have so far donated funds to a few higher education institutions.<br></p><p> This is the first time the Oasis Group has donated funding to SU but not the last time, according to Nazeem Ebrahim, Deputy Chairperson of Oasis. </p><p>“This donation is only the beginning. Over the next few years, we intend to enter into a relationship with Stellenbosch University which we hope will grow and develop into other mutually beneficial opportunities," said Ebrahim who with his brother Mohamed Shaheen Ebrahim, chairperson of Oasis, handed over the R1 million cheque to the University.<br></p><p>Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, Prof Wim de Villiers, thanked the Oasis Group for supporting the university. <br></p><p>“So many of our students have great academic potential but struggle financially. Your gift to these two faculties will help us to bridge that financial gap and to produce graduates who will be able to contribute meaningfully to the success of South Africa." <br></p><p>Prof Ingrid Woolard, Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, said the donation is the culmination of discussions with the company that started three years ago.<br></p><p>“There was certainly a little bit of interest then, and what I took from that meeting is that Oasis works very cautiously. The response was 'let's build the relationship in a more gradual fashion' and I think today is the start of that. We are very grateful that you heard us and that you are interested in having an ongoing relationship with us. This donation will certainly make a difference to our postgraduate students." <br></p><p>Prof Nicola Smit, Dean of the Faculty of Law, said the faculty is extremely grateful for this wonderful gift. <br></p><p>“We are fortunate at Stellenbosch that we have wonderful facilities for our students, so it gives us a little bit of freedom to use these types of gifts where it can really make a huge impact. And that is the undertaking that we give to you today – we plan to use these funds where it can have the furthest reach and make the best impact for our students.” <br></p><p><em>Photo: Prof Ingrid Woolard, Prof Wim de Villiers, Mohamed Shaheen Ebrahim, Nazeem Ebrahim and Prof Nicola Smit. (Photographer: Henk Oets)</em><br></p></div>
The importance of an internship importance of an internshipViwe Benxa<p style="text-align:justify;">​It would seem that being a first-generation student gave me the Midas touch. Faced with the struggle of furthering my tertiary education as a child from a single‑parent home, I could see it either as a burden or an opportunity, and I chose the latter. I am the second‑born of a single mother whose only experience of university was the day she brought me to university to register. She had various goals for my brother and me and she worked tirelessly to ensure that the opportunities she did not have would become a reality for her children.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">I am from Gugulethu, a township on the outskirts of Cape Town. Although opportunities do not arrive there on a silver platter, a diverse cultural repertoire can sometimes be a measure of success or opportunity. As it is, people often have to move away from the townships to the city to grow and achieve success. I saw the difference in lifestyle when I had to catch a bus from my home to school. What I saw on that journey led me to become a social worker.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">When I was in matric, I decided to apply to four universities to become a social worker and Stellebosch University (SU) was one of the universities that accepted my application. The day I received my student card was validation for the hard work and sacrifices my mother and family made to bring me to where I am today. I completed my undergraduate studies in social work in December 2019. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">During my studies, I started an Instagram fashion page called <em>Style Indaba</em> aimed at changing the narrative that Stellies students only wear <em>plakkies</em> and shorts to campus. The page gained popularity and many students began dressing differently because they wanted to be featured on the page. I subsequently decided to change career paths, as I saw the potential of shaping the narrative. In 2020, I studied for a postgraduate diploma in marketing and in the same year, became a student assistant at the Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) Division. My experiences at the DAR led me to apply for their graduate intern programme the following year. The intern programme has allowed me to use both qualifications in that the position required advanced communication, analytical and creative skills.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Internship programmes are pivotal for the development and progress of new graduates. They aim to create opportunities and learning experiences and cultivate a sense of belonging. During 2021, I have forged relationships with SU alumni, staff and students. I am learning to be responsible not only for myself but also for others. I am part of a division that affords me a sense of belonging. Internships are not merely aimed at gaining work experience but also give students the opportunity to learn more about themselves and others, office or company culture, relationship building, and skills development. We are not merely looking to gain work experience, we are also interested in making connections, gaining social capital, and learning diverse transferable skills. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">I believe companies who invest in internships attract human capital, people who are dedicated, energetic and enthusiastic to learn. Interns bring in new perspectives, fresh ideas, and ample energy. My year as a graduate intern has taught me to be visible. When I walk into a room, I become the one the company wanted, I put forward fresh ideas and different perspectives, and am mindful of being in that space. Working as a graduate intern has made an indelible imprint on my life and I will always be grateful for the opportunity.</p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><em>Viwe Benxa is an intern at Stellenbosch University's Development and Alumni Relations Division. </em>​</li></ul><p><br></p>
How to take advantage of increased tax benefits before 2021 ends to take advantage of increased tax benefits before 2021 ends Lauren Jimmy<p style="text-align:justify;">​As the year draws to an end, so does the opportunity to maximise your tax savings under the United States Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Over the past two years, the CARES Act significantly increased the tax benefits for donating to charity, and these benefits will expire at the end of the year. Here we will explore what they are and how you can take advantage of them while supporting causes that are vital to students at Stellenbosch University.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The CARES Act, which regulates the COVID‑19 relief package, has two important tax provisions to encourage charitable giving in 2020/2021. Firstly, it allows taxpayers to deduct up to $300 of their charitable donations without having to first itemise their deductions. Secondly, the 60% cap for taxpayers who do itemise their deductions has been increased to 100% of their adjusted gross income. Let us explore what that means and how it affects your donations. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Before the CARES Act came into effect, only taxpayers who itemised their deductions could deduct charitable contributions from their taxable income. Itemising deductions is the process of deducting certain expenses to lower your taxable income. These are offered by the government to incentivise expenditure on a number of things, such as buying a house. Those who do itemise their deductions can still claim a charitable contributions deduction, but in order to promote charitable giving the deductible amount has been raised from 60% to 100%.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Additionally, the CARES Act now allows taxpayers to deduct up to $300 of their cash donations to charitable organisations that qualify, without having to itemise their deductions. This expands the tax benefit for charitable donations to a larger portion of the population. This is referred to as an 'above-the-line' deduction, which means it will reduce both your adjusted gross income and your taxable income, and ultimately reduce the amount of federal tax owed. The $300 deduction is only for cash donations, which includes currency, cheques, credit or debit cards and EFTs, and it only applies to qualifying (501(c)(3)) organisations. The Friends of the University of Stellenbosch Foundation is a registered foundation that falls under article 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Therefore, if you donate to one of the projects under our annual <a href="">Bridge the Gap</a> Campaign, you will be eligible to claim a deduction under the CARES Act. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Donating long-term appreciated assets such as stocks is another clever giving strategy. According to the IRS, if you donate property other than cash you can generally deduct the fair market value of the property from your income tax. This could be another method of donating to the Friends of the University of Stellenbosch Foundation. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">In order to benefit from these extraordinary tax incentives under the CARES Act, you will need to make your charitable contributions by the end of the tax year, as they will expire by 2022. The <a href="">Bridge the Gap Annual Fund</a> supports a range of causes that are vital to students at your alma mater, and all contributions will qualify as tax deductions through the Friends of the University of Stellenbosch Foundation. </p><p><strong>Sources:</strong></p><ul><li><a href=""></a></li><li><a href=""></a></li><li><a href=""></a></li><li><a href=""></a></li><li> <a href=""></a></li><li><a href=""></a></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Maties showcase art at newly opened Alumni Clubhouse showcase art at newly opened Alumni ClubhouseDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>​It was a double celebration for Stellenbosch University's (SU) Development and Alumni Relations Division recently at the launch of its 2021 Alumni Art Exhibition and the official opening of the much-anticipated Alumni Clubhouse at Die Stal.<br></p><p>The exhibition, attended by among others Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers and Toyota SU Woordfees programme director Saartjie Botha, consisted of a blend of different artists and genres and most of these are up for sale. The Alumni Art Exhibition features works by 25 artists, including Paul Emsley, Tamlin Blake, Gregory Kerr, Louise Gelderblom, Mariambibi Khan, Theresa Jo Wessels and Carine Terreblanche.<br></p><p>Alumnus and honorary professor in Economics Rudolf Gouws delivered the opening address and also exhibited a number of his sculptures at the event. These included thought-provoking pieces of his grandson entitled “Nicholas" and the bronze bust “Sonskyn". <br></p><p>He said the exhibition is just one of the reasons why art lovers living in and around Stellenbosch are so privileged. <br></p><p>“Other reasons are SU's Department of Visual Arts; the more than 20 art galleries in and around the town and in neighbouring towns Franschhoek and Wellington; the University Museum; the Rupert Museum, the Woordfees' visual art division that provides artists with the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work; and the natural beauty surrounding the town which not only inspires landscape artists but everyone who wants to create art."<br></p><p>Gouws also had some sobering, but constructive advice for artists hoping to make a living from their work.<br></p><p>“Something will only sell if there is someone willing to pay the price for it. An artist's opportunity costs (the loss of value or benefit incurred by engaging in an activity, relative to engaging in an alternative activity offering a higher return in value or benefit) and own view of his value are largely irrelevant. Plato said that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. In this instance, the beholder is the potential buyer. One can be philosophical about what constitutes value, but in practical terms the value of an art work, as with most other things, is the price that somebody is willing to pay for it.<br></p><p>“It is true that only a small fraction of artists become really wealthy. A larger proportion of artists will do well financially, but the majority will merely get by. But most are happy with that. They are doing what they want to do. They are not driven by money."<br></p><p>"Creativity at SU is booming and the first Alumni Exhibition at Die Stal is proof of that. It was indeed an honour to launch this exhibition with Ilse Schermers and Anne-Ghrett Coetzee. The standard is high, but we are looking forward to even more exhibitions by talented alumni," said Pieter Swart, Director: Major Gifts and Transformational Giving and the driving force behind this exhibition.<br></p><p>It is envisaged that the Alumni Art Exhibition will become an annual event.<br></p><p>The Alumni Clubhouse at Die Stal, inspired by Karen Bruns, Senior Director: Development and Alumni Relations, will provide the first point of connection for all alumni when they return to the Stellenbosch campus. They can expect a welcoming environment that serves as a gateway to the alumni network and that fosters relationships. Information and informative resources will also be on hand, and alumni merchandise and memorabilia will be on offer at the retail store. Campus tours will also start and end there.<br></p><p>“We plan on hosting a variety of social and professional networking events. This can include book launches, guest lectures, small alumni reunions, major alumni events such as Homecoming, residence sport, Varsity Cup, graduation celebrations and our annual Welcoming Day for first-years," said Bruns.<br></p><ul><li>The Alumni Art Exhibition is open to the public from 9 November to 31 January 2022, Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 15:00.  <br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
SciMathUS 2021: The ball is now in your court 2021: The ball is now in your courtDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>​​Stellenbosch University's (SU) SciMathUS class of 2021 recently celebrated the completion of the academic year with a prize-giving event held at STIAS. <br></p><p>The SciMathUS university preparation programme annually offers 100 learners, who have already passed Grade 12, but do not qualify for higher education selection, a second opportunity to improve their NSC results in Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Accounting to enable them to re-apply for university programmes, specifically those focusing on STEM related fields.</p><p>Since its inception in 2001, SciMathUS has seen over 1 697 (excluding the 2021 cohort) students receiving an opportunity to access university through the programme. In 2021, more than 2 000 students applied for the 100 spaces available. <br></p><p>This year's best achievement awards went to Teboho Nkosi (Mathematics) and Tymen Fredericks (Physical Science). Shanice Nicholas and Ammaarah Wanza received awards for best improvement in Mathematics, while Tembelihle Mathibela received the best improved award in Physical Science. Envir Tiervlei received the top Computer Literacy achiever award, while Aneeqah Soeker was named the top achiever in Academic Literacy.<br></p><p>Prof Mbulungeni Madiba, Dean of the Faculty of Education, said the programme has over the years provided many young people with a second chance to access higher education.<br></p><p>“Some of the SciMathUS students have gone all the way to completing their PhDs in areas like Neurophysiology, Medical Physiology and Experimental Nuclear Physics, and are today occupying influential positions. This programme has opened doors that would otherwise have remained firmly shut to talented youth with the motivation and potential to succeed, but who need tailored support to reach their full potential. One of our shining examples is Dr Gerald Maarman, who was part of the SciMathUS class of 2003. Today he is a lecturer in Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and an NRF rated researcher."<br></p><p>Madiba went on to express his gratitude to the programme's funders, especially government utility Eskom whose representative, Nthato Minyuku, attended the event.<br> <br>“We look forward to strengthening this very important and meaningful partnership, and I firmly believe that, together, we will be able to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.</p><p>Nokwanda Siyengo, head of the SciMathUS programme, encouraged the 2021 cohort to make the most of the second chance and to excel in 2022.<br></p><p>“The year 2021 has given you the space to be able to regroup and redefine your future. The ball is now in your court. When you go into your first year make sure you finish your degree in record time. You have more skills that you received from the programme, you are more ready to tackle your first year, more on fire to study further, and to exceed the dimensions of academia," she said.<br></p><p><strong>An investment in the future</strong><br></p><p>Minyuku, Eskom group executive: Government and Regulatory Affairs, said the SciMathUS programme is part of Eskom's investment in its future and South Africa's future.<br> <br>“We believe that investment in education and training in STEMI (sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation) is a catalyst to developing sustainable and holistic solutions to our national development challenges and our energy sector challenges."</p><p>SciMathUS student Qhamani Diphoko described her experience as a journey of personal growth.<br></p><p>“As much as we made friends we also lost friends and family members as well. We also learned new things. I personally learned that it is okay to ask for help when you need it. It was also a journey of the awakening of our inherent passions and curiosities that had died after we received our matric results. It was one of academic growth."<br></p><p>Siyabonga Sikiti said he was able to grasp the content of physical science and mathematics like never before, thanks to his lecturers.<br></p><p>“A reference I have borne in mind since the opening ceremony is that if you expect change from your marks sacrifices must be made in your life or your marks will be sacrificed."<br></p><p>Sifisi Matebesi thanked the SciMathUS staff, SUNCEP, the sponsors and everyone who made this year possible.<br></p><p>“Thank you for seeing the potential in us. Thank you that all of us who thought our doors were shut now realise that we have the keys and potential to open them again."<br></p><p>Samantha Koopman expressed her gratitude to her mentors, facilitators and her residence head “sis Noni".<br></p><p>“Thank you for all the beautiful memories we made with you. We will surely miss our time together."<br></p><p>To be considered for the SciMathUS programme, students must have passed their Grade 12 with a minimum average of 60% excluding Life Orientation, and have obtained a minimum of 45% in Mathematics and a minimum of 45% in Physical Science.<br></p><ul><li>Those interested in supporting the SciMathUS programme should contact the development officer, Sonia Schoeman at <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>.</strong></li></ul><p> </p><p>​<br></p>
Oppenheimer Fellowship ‘a great honour’, says Prof Gobodo-Madikizela Fellowship ‘a great honour’, says Prof Gobodo-MadikizelaDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>​​Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Research Chair in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University (SU), was awarded the 2020 Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award at a ceremony held at the Brenthurst Library in Johannesburg recently. She was selected as the recipient of the Award earlier this year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the official award ceremony was pushed back to October 2021.<br></p><p>The annual Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award, with a monetary value of R2 million, is ranked as one of Africa's most prestigious research grants. The award recognises scholarship of the highest calibre across various academic and research disciplines. It is a flagship award by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust. The Trust, which dates back to 1958, has grown to become a significant funder of education, arts and culture and civil society organisations.<br></p><p>The event was attended by members of the Oppenheimer family, SU's Chancellor Justice Edwin Cameron and Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Learning and Teaching, who represented SU on behalf of Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU.</p><p>Gobodo-Madikizela's selection was based on her proposed project “Aesthetics of Trauma, Poetics of Repair", and concerns the re-thinking of trauma in new terms, specifically focusing on historical trauma and its transgenerational repercussions. The project will explore how the arts, rather than forgiveness and reconciliation, might be deployed to pursue a reparative and transformative vision. This work will play an important role in shaping rigorous debates on historical trauma and its transgenerational repercussions. Gobodo-Madikizela holds the South African National Research Chair in Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma. <br></p><p>In her acceptance speech<strong>, </strong>Gobodo-Madikizela acknowledged her parents' great and powerful influence in her work and she thanked them for their encouragement and prayers. Others she thanked for supporting the work that made the Award possible are the Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof De Villiers, Prof Eugene Cloete, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, and Dr Therina Theron, Senior Director of Research and Innovation. </p><p>“This Award is an especially great honour given the list of previous awardees, a couple of whom have been friends and close colleagues. I am very grateful to the Memorial Trust, to you Jonathan (Oppenheimer) and to the board of trustees for continuing to support my work, and for recognising its contribution in such a profoundly special and honouring way."</p><p>She said of her project that will be supported by the award: “For this work I will return to the archive of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to think through the horrific violence in contemporary South Africa, and to ask why the vision of the future that was imagined at the beginning of our democracy has not succeeded to the degree we expected. The work has a larger commitment to understanding the role of art in envisioning new ways of relating to one another − the catalytic power of the arts to inspire us to inaugurate more just futures."<br></p><p>She added: “In the shadow of the pandemic, when individual and collective mourning fails, the remains of 'the unfinished business' of unacknowledged and still-denied past violations of human rights have been brought into sharper focus. The arts have never been more important than they are today, to offer language of empathy, and to help us translate this language into action. The question is not whether public conversations about the arts are important, but rather how we can forge private-public partnerships and use artists' work as building blocks for a politics of care that may create opportunities for witnessing the Other and open the possibility of social solidarity, now and in the future."<br></p><p>Gobodo-Madikizela's previous accolades include the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship, the Alan Paton Award, the Christopher Award, the Distinguished African Scholar title at Cornell University's Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, and the Eleanor Roosevelt Award.<br></p><p>She was a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Human Rights Violations Committee, and the National Research Foundation has acknowledged her as a rated scholar of high international standing.<br></p><p>Ramjugernath not only praised Gobodo-Madikizela for the important work she is undertaking but also for her tremendous social justice impact.<br></p><p>“At Stellenbosch University we acknowledge that our journey of transformation is incomplete and imperfect, but we remain steadfast in our determination to go forward. That is the only way of creating a community of 'social justice and equal opportunities for all' – as our mission states. And Prof Gobodo-Madikizela is playing a significant role in doing this," he said.<br></p><ul><li><em>Photo: Randall Adams, Fundraising Co-ordinator, Development and Alumni Relations, Sarah Archer, Director of Fundraising, Development and Alumni Relations, Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela and Prof Deresh Ramjugernath.</em></li></ul><p><br></p>
COVID-19 vaccines: Mandate or choice? vaccines: Mandate or choice?Development & Alumni Relations<p>​​​​Topical legal and ethical aspects of COVID-19 vaccines and whether it should be made mandatory were aired during an online panel discussion hosted by Stellenbosch University's (SU) Development and Alumni Relations Division on Tuesday, 19 October.<br></p><p>​This, the second in a series of conversations named the Matie Crest Talks, was entitled <em>COVID-19 vaccines: Mandate or choice. </em>The panel speakers were Justice Edwin Cameron, Chancellor of SU, and retired Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Prof Keymanthri Moodley, Director of the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law, Prof Thuli Madonsela: Law professor and Law Trust Chair in Social Justice, and former Public Protector of South Africa and Zackie Achmat, Co-director of NGO Ndifuna Ukwazi (Dare to Know), and co-founder of the Treatment Action Campaign. The discussion was led by Prof Nicola Smit, Dean of SU's Faculty of Law.<br></p><p>Prof Moodley was asked if mandates are indeed necessary and, if so, what are the prerequisites for introducing vaccine mandates.<br></p><p>“The issue around achieving an outcome in a pandemic such as this public health emergency requires action by large numbers of people," said Moodley. “We are currently sitting at 27% of the adult population being fully vaccinated. But the aim is to achieve vaccination coverage of 70% by December this year. We can already see that we are falling behind and that we need an important strategy to apply in order to improve our uptake for public health benefit.<br></p><p>“So what are the prerequisites for a mandatory vaccine policy? Firstly, we need safe and effective vaccines. It is also important that there is an abundant supply of vaccines that are free and accessible. Mandatory policies must be respectful, it is not a punitive measure but rather is intended to protect public health. The policies must be implemented together with the toolbox of other preventative measures such as widespread counselling and education around the importance of vaccines during this pandemic."<br></p><p>She added that in order to increase vaccine uptake by around 18 to 20 percentage points, a vaccine mandate is important.<br></p><p>“Research has shown that mandates in different parts of the world, both for childhood vaccinations as well as COVID-19 vaccinations, resulted in an increased uptake of around 18 to 20 per cent, which is exactly what we are going to need if we want to get 70% of the adult population fully vaccinated by December."</p><p>Justice Edwin Cameron fielded the question: With personal and individual freedoms well-established under our Constitution and law, are mandatory vaccines in policy permissible and legally justified?<br></p><p>“It is agreed among all legal experts who have spoken about this that vaccine mandates are constitutionally permissible," said Cameron. “There is a more or less settled consensus that it would be constitutional for employers, for the government, for departments to require people to be vaccinated. The science and medical technology is well-established."<br></p><p>He added that it is important that vaccine mandates be implemented with respect and that it should not be punitive and draconian in nature. <br></p><p>Prof Thuli Madonsela was asked to explain what the social justice symbolic value is that choice and mandates respectively provide for, especially in a time of social instability and where trust in government institutions are at an all-time low.<br></p><p>“I think governments globally and ours as well have handled this matter terribly. I do think that social justice does not only dictate that we be treated equally in terms of service provision, but it also dictates that we have a voice. This includes the importance of the recognition of diversity and differentiated treatment where necessary. Another is restitution in the event that things go wrong. That has not been dealt with very well. So that makes it really difficult for people to come on board because they do not know their rights should things go wrong. When there is no transparency, trust dies."<br></p><p>Moodley then responded to the question: Why do young people need a COVID-19 vaccination when they have a lower risk of developing an infection and severe disease?<br></p><p>“Young people are still able to transmit that disease to other people who are more vulnerable in society," Moodley replied. “In South Africa we have a culture of multi-generational households where there are grandparents living with parents and young children. So the risk of transmission to our grandparents is an important one to consider and in that case vaccinating young people would definitely be a benefit."<br></p><p>With regards to vaccines, especially the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines causing myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle, in young men and adolescents, Moodley said:  “Studies are being published and have shown that the risk is very small. Approximately one in 50 000 people have been shown to develop this side-effect in some studies in Israel. But when they do develop it, it is relatively mild, some hardly notice it and the important thing is it gets better within a short period of time."​</p><p><br></p>
Campus Giving Day officially kicks off Bridge the Gap Annual Fund Giving Day officially kicks off Bridge the Gap Annual Fund Development & Alumni Relations<p>​​​The Stellenbosch University (SU) community came out in full support of the University's annual Campus Giving Day held recently on the Stellenbosch campus. <br></p><p>Campus Giving Day 2021 formed part of the <a href=""><strong>Annual Fund, Bridge the Gap</strong></a><strong>,</strong> that aims to remove the obstacles that are hindering Maties from having a meaningful student experience and obtaining that sought-after degree. The University is raising funds for several initiatives under the umbrella of Bridge the Gap. These include, <a href=""><strong>#Move4Food</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>the Tygerberg Pantry Project</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>#Action4Inclusion</strong></a><strong>, </strong><a href=""><strong>#GradMe</strong></a>, <a href=""><strong>#Zim4Zim</strong></a><strong>, </strong><a href=""><strong>End Period Poverty</strong></a><strong>, </strong><a href=""><strong>#MatiesHaveDrive</strong></a> and <a href=""><strong>Caught in the Middle.</strong></a> </p><p>The Campus Giving Day activities – spread out over a few days to accommodate social distancing and curfews – included 5-a-side soccer matches and a speed tennis tournament, a megamovie marathon at Pulp Cinema, while residences and Private Student Organisations were asked to decorate the trees on Victoria Street between Dagbreek and Irene. </p><p>The Deans of AgriSciences and Engineering, Profs Danie Brink and Wikus van Niekerk, also got in on action. "Our Deans of AgriSciences and Engineering really set the bar high, and we are so grateful. Their faculties delivered trolleys and trolleys of donated non-perishable food to the Bridge the Gap campaign headquarters. Our social workers were blown away!" said Karen Bruns, Senior Director at SU's Development and Alumni Relations Division.   </p><p>Viwe Benxa, Bridge the Gap ambassador and one of the Giving Day organisers, said not even a lack of spectators (due to COVID-19 regulations), could stop the participants from showing their competitive edge. “We had so much fun, and of course knowing that all the activities were to benefit a worthy cause, made it even more rewarding." </p><p>Teams went head-to-head, until one team emerged victorious. The winners of the student communities tennis tournament were Silene and Eendrag (doubles); runners-up were Isa and Majuba; Lydia (singles) and runner-up Isa. Winners of the soccer tournament included an all-male team from Russel Botman House, women residence team winner was Irene and mixed gender team winners were Serruria and Huis Neethling. </p><p>“The movie marathon with all-day screenings of golden oldies such as <em>The Shawshank Redemption</em>, <em>Forrest Gump</em> and <em>Black Panther</em> proved very popular. <em>Black Panther</em> was hands down the box office hit of the day and we managed to raise R8 000 in ticket sales! </p><p>“The tree decorators also put in a tonne of effort. We all agreed that while Monica's tree was incredibly pretty, the most impactful was Venustia – right up there in terms of effort and thought," added Benxa. </p><p>SU's Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, and a team of 19 cyclists consisting of alumni, staff, students and fighting-fit friends of the University, ended off the Giving Day activities on Sunday, 10 October, by taking part in the Cape Town Cycle Tour and raising funds for #Move4Food, one of the priority initiatives of the Annual Fund.</p><p>“For this Annual Fund to be a success, we need everyone to pitch in, and judging by the response and generosity we've experienced on Campus Giving Day, I can only see good things ahead. For those of you who are still wondering how to do your bit … there are ample opportunities. Efforts are now focused on our alumni, staff and friends making their contributions. Forego that extra cup of coffee; if you have a birthday coming up, consider asking your friends to donate instead of buying a birthday present; run a few kilometres in support of Bridge the Gap and get fit while you're at it … We are here and ready to help you set up a page on GivenGain for your fundraising initiative. Every little bit helps!" Bruns concluded.</p><p>The Bridge the Gap Annual Fund runs until June next year. If you would like to get involved, please visit <a href=""></a>, follow the various social media channels – <a href="">Facebook (Bridge The Gap (SU),</a> <a href="">Instagram (@bridgethegapsu)</a> and <a href="">Twitter (@bridgethegap_su)</a> – or send an e-mail to: <a href=""><strong></strong></a><br></p><p>​<br></p>
Social justice takes centre stage at Anton Lubowski Memorial Lecture justice takes centre stage at Anton Lubowski Memorial LectureBradley Frolick<p>The third annual Anton Lubowski Memorial Lecture took place on 28 September 2021 at the Stellenbosch University (SU) Alumni Club at Die Stal, and online. The annual lecture is presented to honour the memory of Anton Theodor Eberhard August Lubowski, a Namibian anti-apartheid activist and advocate who was assassinated outside his home in Windhoek on 12 September 1989. At the time of his death, Lubowski was a member of the Windhoek Bar. <br></p><p>The theme of this year's lecture was <em>Intergenerational Social Justice</em>. Speaking at the event, some of the key voices in the country engaged on the topic. The heart of the conversation focused on how issues around social justice are managed and defined, and the consequences of this for future generations. </p><p>Lord Peter Hain, South African-born anti-apartheid activist and former Cabinet minister in the United Kingdom, reflected on the ideals that Anton Lubowski and his generation fought for and the global economic inequities experienced today. <br></p><p>The son of one of the four anti-apartheid activists from Cradock and award-winning journalist and author, Lukhanyo Calata, presented a moving address. The so-called Cradock Four, including Fort Calata, were assassinated by the apartheid government in 1985. Lukhanyo reflected on the pain of the injustice experienced by his family through the State not pursuing the unrepentant assassins of his father, similar to the case of Anton Lubowski. This prompted much discussion on the prosecution of people for apartheid-era crimes and ideas on how the National Prosecuting Authority and the justice system could be used to pursue justice. <br></p><p>Khadija Bawa, a feminist activist, former researcher at the Social Justice Coalition and postgraduate law student, focused on the notion of trust and policing by analysing the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into community policing and trust. Bawa's address provided great insight into how the police are viewed and the perspective of the youth in “post-apartheid" South Africa.<br></p><p>The third Anton Lubowski Memorial Lecture was moderated by veteran journalist Max du Preez, himself a friend of Anton Lubowski, and served to unite the children of Anton Lubowski and Fort Calata in their quest to honour their fathers, the ideals that they fought for and their pursuit of justice. All those in attendance, including the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, and the Rector of Paul Roos, Andre van Staden, were moved by the inputs of the panellists and the reflection of Anton's daughter, Nadia Lubowski, on behalf of the family.<br></p><p>Anton Lubowski was a Stellenbosch student and a Simonsberg resident in the seventies. He initially enrolled at SU in 1972 for a BCom degree but transferred to a BA Law degree in 1973 and graduated in March 1976. <br></p><p>The annual memorial lecture was initiated by Charl Adams, a varsity friend and residence roommate, and was first presented in 2019. <br></p><p>Lubowski's fight for freedom must be remembered and serves as an inspiration to continue pursuing and upholding social justice and non-racialism, especially as South Africa still is tackling issues such as poverty, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.<br></p><p>​<br></p>