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#WomenofSU – Focus on Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizelahttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5108#WomenofSU – Focus on Prof Pumla Gobodo-MadikizelaCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>Award-winning author and eminent scholar, Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Research Chair in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University (SU), has conducted ground-breaking research on trauma, memory, reconciliation and forgiveness and established herself as a leading expert on these topics. Not surprisingly, Gobodo-Madikizela has also been rated by the National Research Foundation as a researcher who enjoys considerable international recognition by her peers.<br></p><p>As part of Women's Month celebrations at SU, the Corporate Communication Division spoke to Gobodo-Madikizela about her research.<br></p><p><strong>​You have written quite a lot on trauma, memory and forgiveness. Can you tell us more about your area of research?</strong><br></p><p>After completing my Ph.D., my research was focused on questions around themes of remorse, empathy and forgiveness. This work has led me to exploring the role of dialogue when victims, perpetrators and beneficiaries of gross human rights abuses have to live together in one country, and sometimes as neighbours. Recently I have expanded this work to explore the concept of empathy more deeply by engaging a perspective that takes as its starting point the embodied African phenomenon of inimba <span style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;"> </span><span style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;">̶</span><span style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;">  </span>a Xhosa word that loosely translated means “umbilical cord" <span style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;"> </span><span style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;">̶</span><span style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;">  </span>and integrating it with the relational and psychoanalytic concept of intersubjectivity. The goal is to find a richer, deeper and more complex understanding of empathy that takes into account an African knowledge archive. <br></p><p><strong>Why or how did you become interested in this specific area of research?</strong></p><p>My interest in this work developed when I served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as a member of the Human Rights Violations Committee. My first direct encounter with the trauma of violence was through work with human rights lawyers who were defending young anti-apartheid activists who had committed “necklace murders." I witnessed victims' expression of forgiveness for acts that were considered unforgiveable in established works such as that of German-born American political philosopher Hannah Arendt. In all the studies I read during my stay at Harvard University, there was no discussion of forgiveness, and very little – if anything – on remorse. When the TRC process was proving the experts wrong that the “banality of evil", to use Arendt's words, can be forgiven, I changed the focus of my PhD to do research on the theme of forgiveness. My goal was not so much to “promote" forgiveness as such, but rather to contribute to what seemed to me to be a new canon of knowledge regarding what's possible in the aftermath of the historical trauma of mass violence. <br></p><p><strong>What do you enjoy most about being a researcher?</strong></p><p>I enjoy it to constantly ask the question of relevance about well-established works and to explore new avenues of inquiry. <br></p><p><strong>What does success mean to you?</strong></p><p>I very rarely—if ever—think of myself in terms of “success." I feel challenged every day to do more, to do better. But there have been moments in my career when I have felt a deep sense of appreciation for the recognition that my work has received. Three moments of recognition stand out: Being awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Award in 2007 and receiving the Christopher Award in New York in 2003 for my book <em>A Human Being Died that Night: A Story of Forgiveness</em>. It was wonderful to be honoured at home for this book the following year with the Alan Paton Award. Receiving the Social Change Award from Rhodes University in 2010 was another heart-warming recognition. Of course, one feels some sense of joy, but I always feel these are gifts, I cannot take it for granted, because a lot of works still has to be done, in terms of mentoring young researchers, and continuing being an engaged citizen and scholar in our troubled country.  </p><p><strong>Can you name three people in history whom you admire?</strong></p><p>The three who stand out for me are <strong>Noor Inayat Khan</strong>, <strong>Rosa Parks</strong> and <strong>Beyers Naudé</strong>. I read about<strong> Noor Inayat Khan</strong> for the first time in the private and enclosed section of our school library (at Inanda Seminary, a private school for African girls during the apartheid years) where books banned by the South African government were kept. She was a pacifist sent to Nazi-occupied France as a British spy working with the French Resistance during World War II. She was later captured and sent to the death camp Dachau just before the end of the war. Reportedly, her last words when she was executed were “Liberté!" </p><p>I admire <strong>Rosa Parks</strong> for her courage in the American civil rights movement and<strong> Beyers Naudé</strong> for his indomitable spirit, and disrupting the apartheid bubble. When I wrote my first book, his story was a great inspiration for my reflections on how individual and collective conscience can be silenced – and how it may be awakened.  </p><p><strong>Do you have any message for the next generation of women researchers?</strong></p><p>Do not be afraid to venture into uncharted territory. The long-term value of your research engagement is its capacity to explore new avenues of inquiry. Strive to engage in research that is socially relevant. Work hard, read, engage in debates with your colleagues and keep your grades high.<br></p><p><br></p>
​"I grew up here where we are sitting now"http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3203​"I grew up here where we are sitting now"Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​​"People do not see it [the sadness and humiliation] for I have learnt, by looking on the bright side, to joke about it; it is an escape mechanism. It hurts, no doubt about it. I am 77 and it still hurts. It requires swallowing hard to keep it [the sadness] back. No, people do not know what is happening within you. It has a left a wound that one cannot heal with medication." </p><p>These words, shared by Mr Desmond Poole, a former resident of Die Vlakte<em>, </em>is now forever emblazoned on a panel on a public installation on the second floor of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences' building at Stellenbosch University. Poole was born in Die Vlakte and was forced to leave his home in Merriman Street at the age of 28 along with the rest of his family after the area was declared a whites only area in 1964 due to the Group Areas Act. The family would move to various neighbourhoods – Poole to Idas Valley, his mother to Strand and his grandmother and many other residents to Cloetesville where they would try to rebuild their lives again.  </p><p>About 3 700 people who were classified 'coloured' were moved from the centre of the town over a period of two years from 1969 to 1970, with six schools, four churches, one mosque, a cinema and 10 businesses affected. The area stretched from Muller Street in the north to Merriman Avenue in the south, eastwards to Joubert Street and then to the west in Bird Street.</p><p>Poole, along with Stellenbosch University's (SU) Rector, Prof Wim de Villiers, were the guest speakers at the 12 November opening ceremony of the installation of the <em>Die Vlakte </em>history in the Arts Faculty's building, which is erected on land that was expropriated under the Group Areas Act.</p><p>In his talk, Poole described the area and the diverse group of people, both so-called coloured and white persons, who lived there. </p><p>"I grew up right here where we are sitting now," he said pointing to the ground of the lecture hall where the Arts building currently stands. "It was here that I polished the wooden floors in my grandmother's house." </p><p>Poole described how the change in the political atmosphere slowly permeated the everyday existence of persons of colour in the area. Recalling an incident where his grandmother, who was responsible for washing Lord Kitchener's clothes, laughed off Kitchener's disrespectful behaviour towards her, he said: "Lord Kitchener would come to her house to collect his washing and would come into the house with his horse, and one day I said to her, 'Ma, but doesn't he respect you', and she would just laugh." </p><p>"I grew up in a time when white and brown did not shy away from borrowing a cup of sugar or an onion from each other. It was nice to experience those years, where there was no talk of separatism. You just lived, you enjoyed life. We didn't know what Apartheid was in that time because it wasn't there." </p><p>Poole talked of how his family grew fruit and vegetables on their property and kept chickens in their back yards, much like other neighbours in the area. In the afternoons, Merriman Street would be turned into a play area by children from the neighbourhood who used the space for games and sport. </p><p>All this was shattered when the forced removals started in 1969 and says Poole, still has an impact on communities today.</p><p>"Our family was a rainbow nation. What you see today, I experienced [on Die Vlakte], but then they brought in the Group Areas Act and divided us according to our skin colour.</p><p>"Economically, our communities were impoverished. The political ideology also played a huge role and left a feeling of inferiority amongst our people and took its toll…and even today, this feeling still remains amongst many of our people." </p><p>Speaking on the evening, <a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/20151112%20Wim%20de%20Villiers%20-%20Die%20Vlakte%20@%20Lettere.pdf" target="_blank">Prof De Villiers described the opening of the installation as "a historic moment"</a> to "revisit the past in order to create a different, more just future". </p><p>"This event brings us together to consider what drove us apart, so that it will never happen again. The University is reaching out to the community and saying, we apologise – for not speaking up when you were driven out, for taking what was not ours, for keeping the doors of learning closed to you for so long." </p><p>De Villiers added that the "University acknowledged its contribution to the injustices of the past" and in the spirit of restitution and development, created a bursary fund for former residents of Die Vlakte, including their children and grandchildren, earlier this year. </p><p>Other initiatives which preceded the installation, said De Villiers, included the Memory Room in the University's Archives and the photo exhibition in the original Lückhoff School building in Banhoek Road in Stellenbosch, which depicted various parts of the area's history. </p><p>"While the Group Areas Act and forced removals in Stellenbosch gave rise to much bitterness, it did not succeed in demolishing the awareness that in this town, brown and black and white people share a history that cannot be easily disentangled. On a practical level, the historic core of Stellenbosch owes much to slaves, artisans and master builders. And today, many who migrate here in search of a better life find themselves trapped in poverty on the outskirts of our town, yet they make invaluable contributions to the riches of our existence here, whether we realise it or not." </p><p>The installation, which include panels filled with photographs of the area and depicting the everyday lives of the people who lived there, also include testimonies from former residents and their children and grandchildren as well as a write-up on the historical context of the time. Feedback from students from the Visual Arts and English departments, who were involved in the project and produced a set of proposals for memorialising the forced removals, can be seen here, as well as a clear panel which allow visitors to share their thoughts on the installation.  </p><p>The project was initiated at the request of the Faculty's Dean, Prof Johan Hattingh, in December 2013. Hattingh appointed a committee to develop an exhibition that would memorialise the forced removals of residents of Die Vlakte.</p><p>Behind the scenes, a committee consisting of Prof Annemaré Kotze from the Ancient Studies Department, Prof Louise Green from the English Department, Prof Albert Grundlingh from the History Department and Dr Elmarie Costandius from the Visual Arts Department worked tirelessly for 18 months to capture a part of the history of Die Vlakte. </p><p>At the opening, Hattingh welcomed guests, which included academics from the University, students and surviving residents from Die Vlakte and their families. </p><p>"I am painfully aware that the forced removals and the subsequent history caused untold pain over a very long time that cannot be put to words completely and fully – and cannot adequately be represented in a few panels that we have on this floor. While expressing deeply felt meanings, it cannot be otherwise that our panels are incomplete, provisional, first formulations, requiring expansion, things to be added, new angles and points of view still to be explored," said Hattingh.</p><p>He also acknowledged that he was "painfully aware" that the opening event of the installation "conjured up emotions and feelings that came from very deep within" and had witnessed personally "people crying in front of these panels, remembering their own stories of a past still affecting [everyone] today". </p><p>"I would like to emphasise that these panels represent one storyline, one narrative about forced evictions from Die Vlakte, and that it is possible, no, it is necessary to bring in other story lines, other narratives to advance the meaning of what happened on this land where we stand now. This means that we are not at the end of a process but at its beginning, with many steps and many phases still to follow." </p><p>Mr Yusuf October, the Vice Chairman of Die Vlakte Community Forum, also had an opportunity to address the guests. The Forum focuses on redress and reconciliation within the community that lived in Die Vlakte.</p><p>"Our main objective is to empower the Stellenbosch community, in particular Die Vlakte community, economically and socially through access to education. We would like all roleplayers in our community of Stellenbosch to take hands so we can achieve greater things in the process of redress and reconciliation," he said. </p><p>Standing in front of one of the panels at the end of the evening, reminiscing with others about the years they spent in Die Vlakte, Poole said: "This installation is important, especially for those who know nothing about the story of Die Vlakte. As we [fellow residents] talked earlier, I realised, we lived through this and hopefully people will realise that we were ordinary people, who once lived here and had a community here". </p><ul><li><strong>Members of the public are welcome to view the installation on the 2</strong><strong><sup>nd</sup></strong><strong> floor of the Arts and Social Sciences building on the c/o Merriman and Ryneveld Streets. </strong></li><li><strong><a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/Documents/20151112%20Wim%20de%20Villiers%20-%20Die%20Vlakte%20@%20Lettere.pdf" target="_blank">Click here for the Rector's speech, "A new heritage"</a></strong></li></ul><p><em>Photo:</em><em>  </em><em>A former resident of the Die Vlakte, Ms Sybil Kannemeyer (89), shares some memories of her time growing up in the area with some other residents (from the left) Mr Desmond Poole, Mr Mogamat Cassiem Ras (Chairman of Die Vlakte Community Forum), Dr Elmarie Costandius from the Visual Arts Department at SU, Mr Yusuf October (Vice Chairman of Die Vlakte Community Forum) and Prof Johan Hattingh, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. (Hennie Rudman, SSFD)</em></p>
Naspers to sponsor Mandarin lecturers at SU, announces Chinese Ambassadorhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5261Naspers to sponsor Mandarin lecturers at SU, announces Chinese AmbassadorMartin Viljoen<p><strong></strong>The Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Lin Songtian, announced this afternoon (Friday 10 November 2017) that Naspers will sponsor two additional Mandarin lecturers from China for 5 years at Stellenbosch University (SU).  The announcement was made at an event at the SU Museum on the Stellenbosch Campus. </p><p>In addition, to support cultural exchange, students from Wuhan College in China will visit South Africa annually and a South African student will be fully sponsored to study in China. </p><ul><li><span><span><span><span>Read the remarks by <span><span>His Excellency Lin Songtian</span></span>, <span><span>Chinese Ambassador</span></span> to South Africa, <a href="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Stellenbosch%20Remarks%20by%20Chinese%20Amb.pdf" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>here</strong></a>. </span></span></span></span><br></li></ul><ul><li><em>Read the official media statement below</em></li></ul><p><strong><em>H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian, Stellenbosch University, Wuhan College and Naspers announce educational and cultural exchange programmes</em></strong></p><p><em>Cape Town, South Africa, 10 November 2017 – The Chinese Ambassador, His Excellency Lin Songtian, announced that Naspers will sponsor two additional Mandarin lecturers from China for 5 years at Stellenbosch University.  In addition, to support cultural exchange, students from Wuhan College will visit South Africa annually and a South African student will be fully sponsored to study in China</em></p><p><em>Mandarin Chinese was introduced at Stellenbosch University in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages in 2000. At the time, it was the first undergraduate programme in Mandarin at a residential university in South Africa. In 2012, the Mandarin Section was the first such unit in South Africa to introduce an Honours postgraduate degree in Mandarin. Students of Mandarin at Stellenbosch University distinguish themselves at the annual Chinese Bridge Competition and regularly receive merit scholarships from the Chinese Government for further study in China.</em></p><p><em>It also hosts one of two postgraduate programmes in South Africa for Chinese language studies. The Confucius Institute, established in 2009, provides support to the Chinese programme within SU's Department of Modern Foreign Languages as well as teaching Chinese language and culture programmes in 14 schools in and around Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Worcester and Knysna.  </em></p><p><em>Wuhan College provides full-time university and diploma education to 11,000 students. The university comprises of two schools and five departments. Most recently Charles Chen, one of the original co-founders of Tencent, made a transformative donation allowing Wuhan College to become one of the first non-profit internationalized application-oriented universities in China.  Students from Wuhan College will visit South Africa for 2 weeks and will attend cultural exchange programmes covering a wide variety of topics. </em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:11.5pt;line-height:115%;">----------</span></p> <p>At the event, Prof Hester Klopper, Vice-Rector: Strategy and Internationalisation, said that it is a special occasion as people from different parts of the world and from different sectors of society come together for a common cause. </p><p>“This is what we are seeing in action today – a meeting of minds and hearts in pursuit of knowledge and mutual understanding. And what better medium for that than language. Language, that wonderful tool with which humans can express their deepest feelings, highest aspirations, most advanced thoughts, sincerest wishes. Today’s announcement will bring us closer as partners through language and learning.”</p><p>SU has more than 4 000 international students from more than 100 countries; more than 300 agreements with universities throughout the world (including 8 partnerships with Chinese universities) and 46 students from China (including Hong Kong). </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin:6pt 0cm;"><span lang="EN-US"><strong>Photo</strong><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin:6pt 0cm;"><span lang="EN-US">The Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Lin Songtian; Prof Hester Klopper, Stellenbosch University </span><span lang="EN-US">Vice-Rector: Strategy and Internationalisation; and Mr Koos Bekker, Chairperson of Naspers. (Photo by Stefan Els)</span><span lang="EN-US"></span></p><p><br></p>
Arts Faculty signs translation studies agreement with KU Leuvenhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=2121Arts Faculty signs translation studies agreement with KU LeuvenLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​​​The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences recently signed a cooperation agreement, primarily aimed at the PhD programme in Translation (translation, interpreting, editing), with the Faculty of Arts of the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) on the latter's Antwerp campus in Belgium. This agreement not only provides for exchange opportunities, but also the future conferment of a joint PhD degree by Stellenbosch University (SU) and KU Leuven.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The agreement was signed on 13 November by representatives of both universities, as well as Prof Luc van Doorslaer, the director of CETRA (the Centre for Translation Studies) at Leuven. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"For some time now, our faculty, and particularly our department, has been collaborating at an individual level with the former Lessius Hogeschool in Antwerp, which now forms part of KU Leuven. Prof Luc van Doorslaer, for instance, has been a research fellow in our department since 2013. Following the signing of this agreement, Van Doorslaer will specifically assist in supervising PhD candidates in Translation in our department," explains Prof Ilse Feinauer, Vice-Dean: Languages and the coordinator of programmes in Translation in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The agreement, Feinauer says, entails researcher exchange (particularly doctoral and postdoctoral students, but academics also), research initiatives and projects, as well as future joint PhDs.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This will enable us to offer our PhD and postdoctoral candidates joint PhD supervision in translation, interpreting and editing," she adds.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Feinauer says the groundwork for the agreement was laid by Prof Rufus Gouws, who spent part of his research leave at KU Leuven in 2014. Here, Gouws liaised with the dean of arts on Antwerp campus, Prof Frieda Steurs, and held further talks to facilitate the agreement. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"What further enabled the agreement was the signing of a preferred partner agreement between Leuven and SU in May 2014. That agreement has certainly helped facilitate the signing of this accord between our two faculties." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Feinauer, CETRA hosts an annual summer school in translation studies, which SU's PhD students would now also be able to access more easily, while Leuven students would be able to visit Stellenbosch to conduct their research here. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"For Leuven, this agreement not only presents an opportunity for us to learn from them, but also for them to learn from us, particularly about translation and interpreting in Africa and South Africa, but more specifically about multilingualism. They are also unfamiliar with our concept of educational interpreting, and one of our PhD students will hopefully be the first to conduct research on this topic as part of the joint degree programme."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"We have a strong postgraduate programme in Translation, and the fact that they have chosen to enter into an agreement with us at that level confirms that Leuven understands the significance of the research conducted here, which I believe is a feather in our cap," says Feinauer.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em style="line-height:20.7999992370605px;text-align:justify;">Photo 1: Johan Hattingh​​ and <em style="line-height:20.7999992370605px;">Luk Draye. </em><em style="line-height:20.7999992370605px;">(Photo supplied.)</em></em><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo 2: The signing of the agreement between the Faculties of Arts of Stellenbosch University and KU Leuven. Pictured from the left are Profs Ilse Feinauer, Vice-Dean: Languages in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and coordinator of programmes in Translation in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, SU</em><em>; Johan Hattingh, Dean: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; Rufus Gouws, coordinator of Lexicography programmes in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, SU; Bart van den Bossche, Vice-Dean: Internationalisation, KU Leuven; Frieda Steurs, Dean: Arts of Antwerp campus, KU Leuven; Luk Draye, Dean: Arts, KU Leuven; Luc van Doorslaer, Vice-Dean: Research of Antwerp campus and CETRA director, KU Leuven. (Photo supplied.)</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p>
Method developed to measure online sentiments on #Democracy http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=2236Method developed to measure online sentiments on #Democracy Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>There can be no denying that social media platforms are playing an increasing role in the political mobilisation of citizens and how they participate in democracy. </p><p>This was seen during the Arab Spring uprisings, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and more recently, following the attack on the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris. The French tragedy turned the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag into one of the most popular hashtags in Twitter's history and was central to the organisation of the largest street protest in Paris – more than 1.6 million people participated.<br> <br>"Digital social media, with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as leading examples, have become major global channels of communication, with ramifications for established democracies and their social bases – some positive, others disruptive," explain Barend Lutz and Pierre du Toit from Stellenbosch University (SU).</p><p>The researchers, who worked together to develop  a method to measure public expressions of support for democracy on Twitter, recently released a book focused on social media platforms and how computational linguistics can make sense of this landscape. </p><p><em>Defining Democracy in a Digital Age: Political Support on Social Media </em>was published by Palgrave MacMillan and written by Lutz, a political/security risk analyst and digital media consultant, and Du Toit, a professor at the Political Science Department at SU. </p><p>"With the 'real world' influence of social media growing, it is crucial to listen to and understand what citizens globally are saying on these platforms as it provides a chance to define and look at how we measure the state of democracy in a new digital age."</p><p>According to Lutz and Du Toit, there has been concern amongst scholars across the world regarding the viability of democracy as a political governance system. This doubt is further entrenched through events such as the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 and the failure of democracy to expand to authoritarian countries globally.</p><p>"One of the ways that social media enhances democratic participation is through the connectivity of this technology. Individuals have near complete control over the content of statements published on the Internet. </p><p>"Up to now, there has been no effective way of converting the articulate mass self-expression by individuals on social media into coherent forms capable of influencing public policies," say Lutz and Du Toit. </p><p>Traditionally, survey data has been used to attempt to articulate mass sentiment on democracy, but this is a time consuming and expensive exercise. Their research attempts to create a complimentary methodology to expand on traditional survey data research.  </p><p>Lutz, who developed the methodology as part of a Masters' thesis on international relations and next-generation Internet, says he analysed more than 70 000 publically available Tweets over a three month period.  This was done via computer assisted computational analytics, sentiment analysis and natural language processing, which in this case refers to the automated collection and analysis of statements from Twitter.</p><p>"Social media has now effectively extended the public sphere into a global electronic platform, far removed from the city squares of the classic Greek democratic city-states. On social media platforms, issues are debated, questions of public import are deliberated on and people can call a spade a spade, so to speak."</p><p>Their research clearly shows how the spaces where democracy is usually played out, have changed and that this will require analysts of democracy to look at these new spaces differently.</p><p>"Democracy is something that takes place in groups. The idea of the nation was usually conveyed through newspapers – so people who read the same newspapers conceived of themselves as being part of a community. Social media is much more individualistic and the idea of a community or a sense of community from that part of the public sphere becomes nearly inconceivable. As we saw with the Arab Spring, you can draw people together for a protest through social media, but what happens afterwards when everyone returns to their individual lives?"</p><p>Lutz and Du Toit explain that the influence of social media and other forms of digital media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand these platforms could lead to people becoming more engaged when it comes to current issues and therefore stronger democratic citizens, or on the other hand people could get caught up in the entertainment of social media and thereby become less effective citizens.</p><p>"The methods of data analysis presented in this book can help the global citizenry to reimagine themselves as being part of new, more coherent units of democracy, able to pursue their ideals more effectively than has been the case to date," say the authors.  </p><p>* Du Toit and Lutz will be doing a talk on their research entitled <em>Defining Democracy in a Digital Age: Political Support on Social Media</em> on Wednesday, 4 March, at 18:00 in the MIH Media Lab in the Engineering Building.  For more details or to attend the event, contact <a href="mailto:bflutz@gmail.com">bflutz@gmail.com</a>. </p><p><em>Photo: P</em><em>rof Pierre du Toit (left, sitting) and Mr Barend Lutz from Stellenbosch University have developed a method to measure public expressions of support for democracy on Twitter and details this in their recently released book. (Anton Jordaan, SSFD)</em></p>
Ton Vosloo appointed as a Honorary Professor in Journalismhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=2535Ton Vosloo appointed as a Honorary Professor in JournalismJournalism Department<p style="text-align:justify;">Ton Vosloo, recently retired Chairperson of Naspers, has been appointed as a Honorary Professor in the Department of Journalism at Stellenbosch University (SU).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The category of honorary professorship at SU honours individuals with proven specialised expertise or with a high professional and highly skilled status. The same criteria that apply to the appointment of professors are used to evaluate candidates for honorary professorships, for which the title of professor is also used.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Vosloo will, from time to time, hold interactive sessions with students to inspire a new generation of journalists.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"It will be a privilege for me – a 'prehistoric' journalist − to exchange ideas with the new generation of prospective media practitioners in this rapidly changing world of ours," Vosloo said of his appointment. And added: "It will keep me on my toes."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Prof Lizette Rabe, Chairperson of the Department, said that Vosloo's appointment is in recognition of a career built on a foundation of excellence and that it is a great honour for the Department that Vosloo accepted the professorship. "His experience in the fields both of journalism and of media management means that he can share valuable insight with our students. As a journalist and as a business leader, he changed the world of media in South Africa fundamentally."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">When Vosloo − regarded as the paterfamilias of an entire generation of journalists – retired from the Naspers Board as Chairperson, an era came to an end. He had, after all, been part of Naspers since May 1956 when he started work at <em>Die Oosterlig</em>, today <em>Die Burger-Oos</em>. He was also a founder member of the editorial staff both of the Sunday paper <em>Die Beeld </em>in 1965 (precursor to <em>Rapport</em> of 1970) and of the daily <em>Beeld</em>, founded in 1974, of which he later also became editor. In 1984, he was appointed Managing Director of Naspers and was Executive Chairperson from 1992 to 1997. In 1985, Vosloo was instrumental in the establishment of M-Net, from which sprouted various other companies and which, under his guidance, spread to the rest of Africa, to Europe, to the Middle East, to Asia and to America. Naspers was transformed from a print-media company to an international digital-technology giant.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Under the dynamic leadership of the duo Koos Bekker, appointed Managing Director in 1997, and Vosloo, then Non-Executive Chairperson, Naspers has grown into a multinational group operating in more than 130 countries. Bekker has recently succeeded Vosloo as Non-Executive Chairperson of Naspers.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Vosloo was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard from 1970 to 1971 and among his three honorary doctorates is one from SU, which he received in 2001. He has been Chairperson of various Naspers affiliates, Non-Executive Chairperson of Sanlam, Chairperson of the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa and of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, and Founder Trustee of the Foundation for Empowerment through Afrikaans. In 1992, Vosloo, as President of the Newspaper Press Union, led the South African delegation to the conference of the World Association of Newspapers in Prague, where South Africa was reinstated as a member of this body.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><span style="line-height:20.7999992370605px;text-align:justify;">(Photo: Natalie Gabriels, Die Burger)</span><br></p>
Stellenbosch takes the lead in science communicationhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=1849Stellenbosch takes the lead in science communicationMarina Joubert<p>The first research chair in science communication in South Africa has just been awarded to Stellenbosch University (SU). It the first chair of its kind on the continent of Africa, positioning the University to pioneer the development of this academic field across the continent.</p><p>Science communication had over the past few decades been established as an important new area of research and many universities from across the world launched academic and research programmes in this field.</p><p>The Minister of Science and Technology in South Africa, Ms Naledi Pandor, lead the way to promote this learning area locally by means of a research chair. Ms Pandor repeatedly emphasised the importance of science communication in a democratic dispensation.</p><p>A number of South African universities competed to host this chair. The National Research foundation (NRF) just announced the decision to establish the chair at Stellenbosch University after of a competitive process which lasted for more than a year.</p><p>The Department of Science and Technology will fund the chair for a period of 15 years (three terms of five years each).</p><p>In reaction to the announcement Professor Leopoldt van Huysteen, the acting rector and vice chancellor at SU said: "Given the lack of research capacity in this area, this poses a unique opportunity for Stellenbosch University to take the lead in research and the training of post-graduate students in the area of science communication".</p><p>The new chair will be housed within the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at SU. Earlier this year, a new DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy was also established at CREST. It is the first time that a new centre of excellence and a new research chair are allotted to the same research group within one year. Prof Johann Mouton is the director of both CREST and the new Centre of Excellence.</p><p>Prof Peter Weingart, a world leader in the area of the interaction between science and society, will occupy the new science communication chair. He is a professor extraordinaire at the University of Bielefeld in Germany, and has also been a visiting professor to SU for the last 15 years.</p><p>"We have been working hard to create a comprehensive research plan for the area of science communication and we are sure that this, together with our highly esteemed candidate, eventually gave us this breakthrough," said Professor Mouton. </p><p>Professor Mouton explained: "Our plan for research focuses on the challenges for science communication in Africa. Internationally there are already many post-graduate programmes in science communication, but we now have the opportunity, for the first time, to create a programme specifically for South Africa and for the rest of our continent." </p><p>The new chair will create opportunities for post-graduate students and researchers to study science communication within an African context, as well as to hone their practical communication skills. "Apart from post-graduate studies, we will also offer short courses," Prof Mouton added. "We are already working on the first accredited, 100% online, short course in science communication in Africa."</p><p>"We aim to develop new knowledge and skills that will promote evidence-based communication of research. We also want to ensure that society can become involved with relevant and meaningful public dialogue about science."</p><p>CREST web site: <a href="/crest">www.sun.ac.za/crest</a><br> For more information: Email Marthie van Niekerk: <a href="mailto:mvn3@sun.ac.za">mvn3@sun.ac.za</a></p>
SU mourns passing of former president of Convocationhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3319SU mourns passing of former president of ConvocationKorporatiewe Bemarking / Corporate Marketing<p>​Stellenbosch University (SU) mourns the passing of Prof Pieter Kapp (76), emeritus-professor of History at SU and former president of the University's Convocation. Kapp died in MediClinic Vergelegen in Somerset West on Sunday morning (13 December 2015).</p><p>After being president of the Convocation for 10 years, Kapp retired in 2011. During his term of office, he worked tirelessly to promote Afrikaans as an academic language and medium of instruction at SU. Kapp was also a prolific writer who published, among others, <em>Draer van ʼn droom: Die geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns 1909-2009</em> (2009), <em>Maties en Afrikaans</em> (2013) en <em>Nalatenskappe sonder einde: Die verhaal van Jannie Marais en die Marais-broers</em> (2015). In 2010, he received the Stals Prize from the South African Academy for Science and Arts for <em>Draer van ʼn droom</em>.</p>
Mapping science communication research over more than three decadeshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4888Mapping science communication research over more than three decadesJournal of Science Communication & Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Over the past year, two researchers from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) have generated a "world map of science communication research", based on the broadest bibliographical analysis of global science communication research outputs to date, shedding new light on current trends in the field. They have also provided very valuable recommendations for increasing diversity and representation of developing countries, which – unfortunately – are still considerably under-represented.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Their work has been <a href="https://jcom.sissa.it/archive/16/02/JCOM_1602_2017_A02">published</a> in the Journal of Science Communication (JCOM), an open access journal on science communication published by Sissa Medialab in Italy.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This milestone contribution to the field comes from two researchers linked to the South African Research Chair in Science Communication, hosted at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST). The study was carried out by Dr Lars Guenther, a postdoctoral fellow and Marina Joubert, a science communication researcher.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Our aim was to determine patterns and trends concerning the authors, institutions and countries that are actively contributing to scholarship in this emerging field of research, in order to highlight areas in need of attention", say Guenther and Joubert.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Research in the field of science communication started emerging about 50 years ago and has since then matured as a field of academic enquiry. According to the researchers, early findings about research-active authors and countries reveal that scholarly activity in the field has traditionally been dominated by male authors from English-speaking countries in the West. Their study encompasses a systematic, bibliographic analysis of a full sample of research papers that were published in the three most prominent journals in the field from 1979 to 2016. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Our findings reveal that early inequities remain prevalent, but also that there are indications that recent increases in research outputs and trends in authorship patterns — for example the growth in female authorship — are beginning to correct some of these imbalances," the researchers say. <br><br>"Furthermore, the current study verifies earlier indications that science communication research is becoming increasingly institutionalised and internationalised, as demonstrated by an upward trend in papers reflecting cross-institutional collaboration and the diversity of countries where authors are based."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Yet, even with these positive findings, the researchers concur, diversity in the field is still lacking with a striking majority of research contributions made to the three main journals in the field – <em>Science Communication, Public Understanding of Science</em> and <em>JCOM</em> – originating from the USA, UK and Australia, and continents like Asia, Africa and South America still considerably under-represented.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Although publications in general have increased over time in all three journals, suggesting that "science communication is maturing as a field of scholarly activity", it is interesting to notice that out of a total of 2 680 unique authors who contributed to published research in the study, the vast majority of them (82.3%) published only once in the main journals of the field. Furthermore, "the fact that only 28 researchers published six or more articles (over the entire period since 1979 and in all three journals combined) is perhaps an indication that there are still relatively few research leaders in the field". Most of the articles (74%) were written by only one or two authors, and it is rare to find research teams presenting joint research papers (only 5% of all research outputs were authored by five or more authors).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">An extremely useful suggestion raised by the authors to address the issue of some countries overshadowing the contributions of others is that, "(…) instead of calling for research papers from developing country authors, a more effective way of stimulating diversity in research authorship would be to encourage collaborative research that would include researchers in developing countries from the outset of multi-country research projects". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The South African Research Chair in Science Communication is supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF).<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Dr Lars Guenther and Ms Marina Joubert have managed to map science communication research over more than three decades</em></p>
Social Work Department celebrates World Social Work Dayhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4356Social Work Department celebrates World Social Work DayLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Earlier this year, the Social Work Department celebrated World Social Work Day 2016 (WSWD) along with a number of institutions across the world who also focus on the social work profession. WSWD is celebrated annually on the second Tuesday of March. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">By participating in this event, social workers are able to express international solidarity and bring common messages to governments, regional bodies and to the communities they serve. The theme for this and last year's WSWD was selected from the <a href="http://ifsw.org/get-involved/agenda-for-social-work/">Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development</a>. The Agenda was formulated in 2010 by social worker practitioners, educators and development workers at a meeting in Hong Kong in 2010 and reaffirmed "the need [for persons working within this profession] to organise around  major and relevant social issues that connect within and across" their professions. The Agenda consists of four themes which are focused on promoting social and economic equalities; promoting the dignity and worth of peoples; working towards environmental sustainability; and strengthening recognition of the importance of human relationships. Each theme is focused on for two consecutive years, with 2016 marking the second year that WSWD has centered its activities on Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"As staff members of the Social Work Department we take great pride in being social workers ourselves and even more so being an integral part of training and shaping the minds of our students to become excellent social workers. At our university we are in the privileged position be able to allow our students to make a social work impact on real clients, with real needs in real communities, from the first year of their studies in a manner that promotes the dignity and worth of people," said Ms Tasneemah Cornelissen-Nordien, a lecturer in the Social Work Department. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Department celebrated the day with a number of activities, amongst them a talk for first-year students which was presented by International Master's degree student, Sever Altunay, from Gothenburg University in Sweden and focused on the Impact of the Global Agenda for Social Work. Fourth-year students were also able to participate in an academic discussion with students in a postgraduate social work class from Coventry University in the United Kingdom through a video-conferencing session via Skype and shared their experiences of social work in the two countries. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Gary Spolander, a guest lecturer from Conventry University, presented a lecture to all social work students and staff based at Stellenbosch University. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This lecture stimulated insightful self-reflection and debates with others and aimed to motivate the social workers to continue to achieve great things within society, to not only make a difference in the lives of the individuals to whom services are rendered, but to work towards making an impact on government policy, to having the voices of social workers heard in parliament, and to striving towards making a difference on the political front in our country. WSWD 2016 yet again reminded the social work profession of its ethical responsibility to make politicians and government aware of the apparent ethical unawareness by which our country is currently being governed. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">On the day, the top achievers for 2015 were also recognised and were presented with certificates for their academic achievement in Social Work. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This day allowed our department to unite for human dignity and reminded us of our courage, strength, passion and will to make a difference in the lives of others," said Mr Zibonele Zimba, a lecturer in the Social Work Department.</p>