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Barefoot children have better balance, also jump further children have better balance, also jump furtherCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>A study by researchers from South Africa and Germany found that young children who grow up walking barefoot have better balance and can also jump further than children who wear shoes.<br></p><p>“Our research has shown that regular physical activities without shoes may be beneficial for the development of jumping and balance skills, especially in the age of 6–10 years," says Prof Ranel Venter from the Department of Sport Science in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University. Venter and colleague Dr Elbé de Villiers collaborated with researchers from the University of Jena and the University of Hamburg. The study was conducted in South Africa and Germany between March 2015 and June 2016 and published recently in the journal <em>Frontiers in Pediatrics</em>.<br></p><p>Venter says the aim of the research was to evaluate, for the first time, the link between growing up barefoot or wearing shoes and the development of motor performance during childhood and adolescence. “To our knowledge, no study has examined the potential relationship between regular barefoot activities and motor skills."<br></p><p>Three hundred and eighty-five habitual barefoot and 425 shoe-wearing children between 6 and 18 years were recruited in schools across rural and urban areas in the Western Cape, in South Africa and Northern Germany. <br></p><p>Venter says the two populations were chosen due to their different footwear habits. “Whereas South African children are generally used to walk barefoot during the day, almost all German children wear shoes during school time and for most of recreational activities."<br></p><p>For the children to be considered habitually barefoot, they had to be barefoot at school and in and around the house or during sports/recreational activities. Both groups had to participate in physical activity for at least 120 accumulative minutes per week and they had to be free of any orthopaedic, neurological or neuromuscular conditions that may influence motor performance.<br></p><p>Venter says all the children completed balance (walking backwards in a self-selected, comfortable speed over three balance beams of 6, 4.5, and 3 cm width), standing long jump and 20m sprint tests.<br></p><p>“Results of these tests show that barefoot children in South Africa's primary schools performed better in balance tests than their German counterparts who never walks barefoot. This may be related to the fact that the feet of South Africa's children is wider and more deformable."<br></p><p>“Barefoot children were also able to jump further from a standing position that German children. This may be related to the fact that the foot arches of South African children are well developed.<br></p><p>Children who are regularly barefoot have higher foot arches than children who never walk barefoot. Their feet are also more flexible and less flat."</p><p>Venter says that as far as jumping results are concerned, significant effects were found for the age groups 6–10 and 15–18 years.<br></p><p>She also points out that fewer differences were observed during adolescence although there are greater jump distances and slower sprint times in barefoot individuals.<br></p><p>“Our results show that motor skill competencies of shoe-wearing and barefoot children may develop differently during childhood and adolescence. Whereas barefoot children between ages 6 and 10 years scored higher in the backward balance test compared to shoe-wearing children, no differences were found in adolescents. The early childhood years are fundamental for the development of balance, and rapid improvements can be observed until the age of 9–10 years."<br></p><p>“A likely explanation is that footwear habits influence the musculoskeletal architecture of the foot which in turn may be associated with motor performance."<br></p><p>Venter says the overall results of their study emphasize the influence on and importance of footwear habits for the development of feet and motor skills during childhood and adolescence. <br></p><ul><li><strong>Source</strong>: Hollander, K <em>et al</em> 2018. Motor skills of children and adolescent are influenced by growing up barefoot or shod. <em>Frontiers in Pediatrics</em> Vol.6: 1-6.</li></ul><p><em>Photo courtesy of Pixabay</em>.</p><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Ranel Venter</p><p>Department of Sport Science</p><p>Faculty of Education<br></p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 027 21 808 4721<br></p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a> </p><p><strong>      ISSUED BY</strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen</p><p>Manager: Media</p><p>Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a> <br></p><p><br></p>
COVID-19 is an opportunity to make our circles bigger is an opportunity to make our circles biggerJudy-Ann Cilliers<p>​The COVID-19 pandemic should also be seen as an opportunity to reach out to vulnerable foreigners who try to make a living in South Africa, writes Dr Judy-Ann Cilliers from the Department of Philosophy in a doctoral-based opinion piece for the <em>Mail & Guardian </em>(31 July).</p><div><ul><li><p>​Read the article below or click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.</p></li></ul><p><strong>Judy-Ann Cilliers*</strong></p><p>When President Ramaphosa announced the national state of disaster on 15 March, many breathed a sigh of relief. We were witnessing a world being consumed by a new virus with many world leaders failing to take sufficient action. Our government's early and decisive response communicated a desire to protect its people. Yet even then we knew that the cost will be high, and it will mostly be paid by those already marginalised in our society. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">These past few months we have seen more instances of domestic and gender-based violence, more people losing their jobs as businesses close, and as the number of infections grow, more people without sufficient access to healthcare. In a world that was already becoming more hospitable to xenophobic nationalisms, we read and hear about increased attacks on foreigners, especially of Asian descent, across the globe – any outsider is a threat, a potential carrier.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">While we speak of the 'unprecedented times' we are living through, this kind of attack is not unprecedented. It is a common narrative in South Africa that foreigners should be kept out because they bring disease into the country. All kinds of xenophobic discrimination, exclusion, and violence against foreign nationals have been justified by the claim that 'they' are the cause of real diseases, such as HIV/Aids, and moral 'diseases', such as drug addiction and crime.  That this is true only in some cases is irrelevant to the xenophobe; humans easily extrapolate from 'some' or even 'one' to 'all'. The individual, collective, and systemic causes of xenophobia, and its intersection with racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, are complex in ways I cannot do justice to here. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Studying instances of xenophobic discrimination and violence, one thing becomes apparent: the choice of victim is not determined by the individual's guilt, actions, legal status, or even their real nationality. It is enough that they exist <em>here </em>(wherever 'here' may be), and that they are perceived as a foreigner by the xenophobe. Xenophobia is therefore not a response to a specific threat – despite our rationalisations about crime and job scarcity and viruses – but to a perceived threat, where the perception is shaped by the xenophobe's own prejudices and stereotypes, and by our political narratives around belonging, borders, nationhood, and membership. Such narratives shape our ideas about who has a right to belong or to exist here, and who does not.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The fear underlying such perceptions may have different origins or motivations. In the South African context, migration and development expert Loren Landau identifies a deep apprehension about the meaning of belonging, an apprehension anthropologist Frances Nyamnjoh locates in a historically oppressed and excluded citizenry who, for the most part, still cannot meaningfully access the benefits and rights that come with membership. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Xenophobia is a reaction to a sense of insecurity, of not having a place where one belongs, and an accompanying attempt to establish security. As we face the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic – rising unemployment, lower levels of food security, a weakened economy, and individual and collective trauma – the xenophobic violence that is already characteristic of contemporary South Africa may become more prevalent and entrenched. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The irony is that the logic underlying such violence and such attempts to establish security and belonging preclude the possibility of establishing a more secure society, for it is a logic that seeks to exclude and even destroy that which is strange or new, and it inevitably becomes self-consuming. If belonging is rigidly defined and policed, the circle of who 'truly belongs' will inevitably become smaller and smaller. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This logic stands opposed to what political theorist Hannah Arendt called the fundamental human capacity of natality – our ability to begin something new. This ability is the root of our freedom, as we constantly bring new things into the world through our actions and interactions with others. It is also necessarily unpredictable, which is why we often respond to it with fear and a desire to control. In asserting control, we banish the new and the strange and the unpredictable, and along with that our own ability to act and exist freely. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The pandemic poses a challenge that, for most people, is radically new. We have reason to be afraid in our current circumstances – to fear for our lives and livelihoods, to worry about the country and the world's future. These fears have been closely tied to our fear of others for so long, and the pandemic makes breaking those ties so much harder. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is harder to conceptualise a form of belonging that is not exclusionary when we are isolated from one another, when the risks of sharing the world with others are so evident, and when we do not even feel safe in our own homes. We have seen examples of incredible selfishness and cruelty in this pandemic. Predictably, some of the regulations put in place to protect and support people in South Africa during this time negatively affected foreigners in ways citizens were not affected, especially those that initially limited the activities of informal traders and workers.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Yet the newness and strangeness of our situation offers us an opportunity to reassess our assumptions, to create new world-shaping narratives, and to act in unpredictable ways. After hurricanes or earthquakes, great fires or terrorist attacks, when people are on the edge of life and access to resources cannot be guaranteed, we do not only see dog- eat-dog competition, but also altruism, solidarity, and empathy, often between people who under normal circumstances would not have reached out to each other. Uncertainty can make us hunker down, but it can also open our eyes to realities and injustices we were unable to see before. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">As we create meaning in this pandemic and from this virus, as we analyse and live through the implications of the lockdown, and as we try to rebuild and, perhaps, build anew, we need a critical awareness of the precarious position of foreign nationals in our society, as well as the true danger to a society when it does not protect its most vulnerable members.<br></p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><strong>Photo</strong>: A group of people gathering. <strong>Credit</strong>: Wikipedia.</li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>*Dr Judy-Ann Cilliers is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Philosophy at Stellenbosch University (SU). This article is based, in part, on her recent doctorate in Philosophy at SU.​</strong></p><p><br></p></div>
Goodbye, Pieter Muysken – and thank you, Pieter Muysken – and thank youProf Frenette Southwood (translated by Dr Kate Huddlestone)​As with many linguistics departments across the world, we have read Pieter Muysken's work, and prescribed it to our students – and we do so still. We also have had the privilege to get to know Pieter personally, firstly in 2004 as PhD-supervisor of one of our colleagues, and later (from 2011) as extraordinary professor in our department. His period as fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study (STIAS) was a pleasant opportunity to spend time with Pieter – both academically and socially.<p></p><p>Pieter was an interesting person, but also an interested one. He was naturally interested in Afrikaans and its history, as well as language contact and code-switching in South African contexts, but the history of South Africa and her diverse people, local happenings, the natural heritage of our country and less well-known attractions also captured his interest. For example, during a visit to Grahamstown, when he was invited to be a plenary speaker at the yearly linguistics conference which was held that year at Rhodes University, he looked forward to visiting the town's observatory museum – this while the majority of South African conference attendees were blissfully unaware of the existence of the museum. It appeared that the idea of a visit to this small little museum made him just as excited as the whales that he saw frolicking along the coast in Hermanus. Pieter was no pleasure seeker, but he was definitely a pleasure finder, and he had the gift of finding enjoyment in both large and small things. </p><p>During his visits to Stellenbosch, Pieter gave lectures and seminars for staff and students on language contact phenomena, but he also started a remarkable tradition: At his request, research presentation days were organised. Masters and doctoral students were given the opportunity to present their research proposals (and their studies as they stood at that point in time) to Pieter, other members of the department and each other. The students benefited richly from Pieter's deep knowledge, sharp insight and meaningful comments and suggestions. But what will remain with us as staff is Pieter's sincere interest (as one of the world's best sociolinguists) in the work of young researchers, even if their work didn't deal with language contact or language structure phenomena. This testifies to Pieter's wide field of interest, but also his humility despite his stature as an academic. </p><p>How will we remember Pieter? As an academic superstar without pretention – someone who was generous with his time, knowledge and money, who was equally comfortable conversing with undergraduate students as with rectors, who was cheerful and always laughing. Future generations of linguists in our department and elsewhere will benefit from his pioneering work, but they will not get to know Pieter the energetic people person. We mourn Pieter's passing, but we are thankful for the privilege of having had him as part of our department. For many of us, he changed how we move through our working life.​​</p>
Baderoon awarded Media24 Elisabeth Eybers Prize awarded Media24 Elisabeth Eybers PrizeLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Extraordinary Professor Gabeba Baderoon from the English Department at Stellenbosch University has been awarded a 2019 Media24 Books Literary prize. The prize recognises the best work published during the previous year by Media24 book publishers. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Baderoon received the Elisabeth Eybers Prize for Afrikaans and English poetry for <em>The History of Intimacy</em>, published by Kwela Books. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>The History of Intimacy</em>, which took 12 years to write, was named a Book of 2018 by the <em>Sunday Times</em>. The collection's strange intimacies include what blurred black and white photographs tell us about loving two people at the same time, contemplating a hand-painted “Whites Only" sign thrown away by the side of the railway tracks in 1988, and recalling the doomed love stories of the 1990s.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Prof Sally Murray, the Chair of the English Department, the judges were particularly impressed by the controlled lyricism and calm maturity of the poems in <em>The History of Intimacy</em>. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The work depicts the transitions of Baderoon's world, herself a figure of transit, and does this in a grammar that relies mainly on the strength of its images. It is a book of technical ease and linguistic subtlety of a high order," said the judges. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Gabeba's most recent literary award attests to her existing renown as a poet, and a scholar. Her creativity and critical acumen are a boon to the English Department, and during her visits to us she is especially generous in mentoring the aspirant writers among our graduate cohort."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Baderoon, who completed a doctorate in English at the University of Cape Town, is an award-winning creative writer whose poems and short stories have been widely publicised. Before the publication of <em>The History of Intimacy</em><em> </em>in 2018, she hadreleased three collections of poetry – <em>The Dream in the Next Body</em><em> </em>and<em>The Museum of Ordinary Life</em>in 2005, and <em>A hundred silences</em>in 2006. <em>The Dream in the Next Body,</em>her debut collection, was named a Notable Book of 2005 by the Sunday Independent, while <em>A hundred silences</em>was shortlisted for the 2007 University of Johannesburg Prize and the 2007 Olive Schreiner Prize. In 2014, one of her short stories was selected for the "Twenty Best Short Stories of South Africa's Democracy". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Her scholarly work focuses on the representations of Islam, slavery, race and sexuality with some of her articles appearing in journals such as <em>Feminist Studies, Social Dynamics</em>, and the <em>Journal for Islamic Studies</em>.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">She has lectured in universities across the world including Europe and the United States as well as locally. At present she is an Associate Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies and African Studies in the College of Liberal Arts at Penn State University and also teaches Comparative Literature at the institution. She also co-directs the African Feminist Initiative at Penn State with Alicia Decker, and is a member of the Editorial Board of the African Poetry Book Fund.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Baderoon has received a number of other awards and fellowships, among them the Daimler Chrysler Award for South African Poetry in 2005, a Guest Writer Fellowship at the Nordic Africa Institute in Sweden (2005), and in 2008 a Fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. She has also received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Sainsbury/Linbury Trust, as well as a Writers Residency at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has been awarded a Bellagio artist's residency for 2020.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Her groundbreaking scholarly work, <em>Regarding Muslims: From Slavery to Post-apartheid</em><em> </em>(Wits UP, 2014), was long-listed for the 2015 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for Non-fiction and won the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences' (NIHSS) prize in the category Book: Non-Fiction Monograph in 2017.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>​Regarding Muslims </em>addresses the invisible history of Islam's impact on modern day South African society and its ties to slavery. The book looks at a range of images that are housed in the South African archive of “Cape Malays" in “travel writing, cartoons, paintings, caricatures and cookbooks" from the 18<sup>th</sup>century onwards, explains  Baderoon.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">​“An extensive record of cartoons, popular paintings and cookbooks has created a familiar repertoire of Muslim figures in the South African imagination, a repertoire infused with larger political meaning," wrote Baderoon. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Baderoon said she felt immensely honoured to receive the Elisabeth Eybers prize. “To me, poetry is an art that connects an otherwise inaccessible interior to the broader world, so for these words to be recognised by fellow writers with this award is very moving to me."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I am profoundly grateful to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and particularly the English Department for making the department and university a hospitable and generative space for me.  I read versions of this book to the department during the writing process and responses and questions from fellow scholars helped tremendously in shaping the final manuscript, which was completed at STIAS. It holds the imprint of those readings," said Baderoon.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Prof Gabeba Baderoon doing a reading of another one of her poetry collections, The Dream in the Next Body, during a visit to the English Department at Stellenbosch University in 2017. (Anton Jordaan, SSFD)</em></p>
Why was Afrikaner Economic Empowerment more effective than BEE? was Afrikaner Economic Empowerment more effective than BEE? Jantjie Xaba<p>​​There were a few reasons why Afrikaner Economic Empowerment was more effective than Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, writes Dr Jantjie Xaba (Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology) in an opinion piece for <em>Mail & Guardian</em> (29 June).</p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.<br></li></ul><p><strong>​Jantjie Xaba*</strong><br></p><p>Despite its promises, Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) has not delivered the same benefits post 1994 as Afrikaner Economic Empowerment (AEE) had done after the Great Depression of 1930. Both programmes relied on job creation, skills development, and welfare services. </p><p>However, unlike BBBEE, AEE went beyond this by relying on the Helpmekaarvereniging (Mutual Aid Association) tradition of mobilizing capital that triggered volkskapitalisme (people's capitalism). Since 1994, BBBEE has used similar strategies – within a different political and economic environment with a large, diverse population as its target – yet failed to deliver the benefits to blacks owing to various macro and micro factors.<br></p><p>In my recent doctoral study, I focused on how the four dimensions of empowerment, namely economic, political, social and cultural operated at the macro-level and how they were applied at a micro-level. To compare BBBEE and AEE, I used Iscor, now called ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA since 2004) in Vanderbijlpark as a case study by analysing relevant documents, conducting in-depth interviews and having focus groups discussions with current and former workers and managers as well as union officials. <br></p><p>When comparing these two programmes, we have to understand the nature and the role of the welfare state. Under AEE, since 1924, the National Party (NP) established a welfare state with the support from Afrikaner Nationalists that rolled out social services. This was maintained through legislation, fiscal steps, and a large network of parastatals to empower poor whites. Modelled on Keynesianism, these parastatals, including Iscor, were used to support a developmental agenda of the state that comprised of the provision of protected employment, housing, education, and medical services to white employees and their families. In Vanderbijlpark, Iscor Housing Utility and VESCO carried out these functions. Under BBBEE, the ANC formed a developmental state based on a liberal model that combined market-based, private, contributory schemes with minimum government support for social services. Compared to AEE, the impact was very little. <br></p><p>A closer look at the four dimensions of empowerment mentioned above revealed that political empowerment involves a collective struggle to increase control of the poor over resources and regulative institutions, and transformation of existing power relations. Under AEE, Afrikaner Nationalists adopted a political-legal framework to mobilize white Afrikaners and provide the basis for AEE. The Afrikaner <em>Broederbond (Afrikaner Brotherhood) </em>used patronage to systematically appoint Afrikaners in positions of control and ownership in government and parastatals to reduce power and control of English white-speakers and moderate Afrikaners not affiliated with the NP. After 1948, Afrikaner Nationalism remained a powerful political force that determined employment and skills development within the public sector and civil service. </p><p>The ANC adopted affirmative action and BBBEE as redress for demographic misrepresentation in appointments and promotions within parastatals. Its cadre deployment strategy was used to appoint blacks and women in senior management positions and as non-executive directors of the Iscor board. However, deep racial divisions overshadowed this policy as white employees at AMSA continued to enjoy more power. Additionally, senior management, middle management, supervisory and skilled positions were still dominated by whites, while blacks constituted between 83 and 96 percent of unskilled and semi-skilled positions.<br></p><p>Economic empowerment seeks to ensure that people have the appropriate skills and access to secure sustainable incomes and livelihoods. Since the depression, macroeconomic policy has focused on public redistributive policies such as taxes, transfers, and government spending. To this day, economic empowerment has been reduced to scorecards, graphs, indices, and scores. From 1924 onwards, with the support of white trade unions, AEE became a project of the nationalist government to roll out welfare benefits, to provide standard employment with regular hours, pensions, and service benefits to poor whites. This combination of racist labour market policies, social welfare, and favourable credit arrangement allowed the white elite to become professional and supervisors and steadily increased their real pay. This resulted in social mobility for many whites as many benefited from career advancement both inside and outside Iscor.<br></p><p>From the 1970s onwards, SOEs were criticized as being too large and inefficient to deal with growing debt. The NP government responded to the crisis by adopting a nation-wide program of privatization of SOEs, including Iscor in 1989. In 1994, the ANC applied the same strategy by adopting the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) to increase spending on social development but later reversed this when it implemented the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy. GEAR focused on accelerating fiscal reform, furthering tariff reform, public sector restructuring, and continuing the reorientation of expenditure towards service delivery to the poor. Following the liberalization of trade, the steel tariffs declined from 30 percent to 5 percent, causing major flooding of the South African market by cheap Chinese steel products. This resulted in a reduction in sales volumes and production, as well as capacity utilization. <br></p><p>Under the new economic policy and new management, AMSA's number of full-time workers declined from 14000 in 1990 to 8500 in 1998 and 6000 in 2016. Additionally, AMSA adopted a labour market flexibility strategy in which 50% of its workforce were casuals, part-time workers, and subcontractors supplied by Monyetla Labour Broking, a subsidiary of VESCO. Further, AMSA outsourced non-core functions and services, such as fire detection, catering, security, facilities management, and cleaning services that have benefited white employees and generated precarious work for the majority of African workers.<br></p><p>The role of culture in enabling empowerment has long been debated by social scientists. French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu recognized culture as a form of 'capital', having material benefits and convertible to a wide range of assets such as linguistic services, scientific knowledge, and educational qualifications. In recent debates, social scientists applied social capital to explain how poor people develop bonding, bridging, and linking capital through social networks to foster moral responsibilities and norms, and social values to promote social empowerment.  <br></p><p>My study found that under AEE, civil society organisations (CSOs) like the <em>Broederbond</em>, the <em>Helpmekaarvereniging</em>, and the <em>Afrikaanse Christelike Vroue Vereeniging</em> (Afrikaans Christian Women's Association) played an important role in organizing white Afrikaners and articulating their various interests in society, as well as building capacity and awareness of resources mobilization. This highlights the role of people, civil society organizations, and networks as resources to promote empowerment. Leaders of AEE in Vanderbijlpark used the <em>Helpmekaar</em> tradition to provide poor whites with some form of training, bursaries and offer support to establish Afrikaans-owned enterprises. </p><p>The <em>Broederbond</em> established <em>Sakekamer </em>(Chamber of Commerce) to facilitate social networks, cooperation amongst white businessmen, and to discover mutual benefits between Afrikaners and those in business and government. Iscor founded Iscor Club with membership restricted to whites only to foster the development of 'community' and promote the development of social capital.</p><p>Despite their notorious race policies, the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) contributed to Afrikaner social empowerment in Vanderbijlpark by preaching and applying the late eighteen-century Calvinist doctrines of the Protestants. The DRC organized the Afrikaner community into a cultural fabric and encouraged principles of hard work, respect for the authorities, and an intolerant attitude towards dishonesty or corruption. In terms of language, white Afrikaners believed that the Anglicisation policies of the British Empire had destroyed their language. Through its <em>Federasie van Afrikaanse-Kultuurvereniginge</em> (Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Organisations), the <em>Broederbond</em> used Afrikaans to develop a homogenous group identity, build nationalism, and foster group cohesion among whites. </p><p>Under BBBEE, social empowerment was obliterated due to the lack of alignment between politics, the economy, and CSOs. Compounding this problem was the fact that before 1994, CSOs have been at the forefront of social change, fighting for democratic rights and social justice but post-1994, they were side-lined by the government. Despite the culture of Ubuntu and stokvels in African communities, few organizations except workplace forums existed in the black townships to promote social empowerment. African languages were suppressed at AMSA with English and Afrikaans acting as dominant languages. Religion in Vanderbijlpark was undergoing secularisation with old denominations disintegrating and new charismatic churches on the rise. </p><p><br>It's clear that AEE was more effective than BBBEE because firstly, even though economic empowerment was the ultimate goal, AEE was supported by political-legal and socio-cultural dimensions. Secondly, the AEE macroeconomic policy was underpinned by a Keynesian philosophy where the state, business, and white trade unions formed a social contract to uplift the poor. Lastly, CSOs played a major role in supporting AEE and the development of social capital using language, religion, and nationalism; while under BBBEE, CSOs were alienated from the state and, as a result, could not continue playing a key role in bringing about social change and social justice. ​ <br></p><ul><li><strong>Photo</strong>: A township in Cape Town. <strong>Credit</strong>: Wikimedia Commons<br></li></ul><p><strong>*Dr Jantjie Xaba is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University (SU). This article is based on his recent doctorate in Sociology at SU.</strong></p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>​ </p><p><br></p>
SU honours the late Rachel Kachaje for her visionary leadership honours the late Rachel Kachaje for her visionary leadershipCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking [Rozanne Engel]<p>​<br></p><p style="text-align:left;">Stellenbosch University (SU) has honoured the late Ms Rachel Kachaje, who passed away earlier this year, with an honorary doctorate.  The degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), <em>posthumous honoris causa</em>, was awarded to her for her creative and visionary leadership in elevating the debate on disability to regional and global platforms.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Her husband Gibson accepted the award on behalf of the family at a small physical graduation ceremony for doctoral graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences held at SU's Endler Hall in the <em>Konservatorium</em> on Monday 14 December 2020.</p><p style="text-align:left;">During the ceremony, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers said that Kachaje's “effectiveness in disability advocacy" did not go unnoticed and that the University “salutes her extraordinary work" in advocating for the full inclusion of people with disabilities at local, regional and international level.<br></p><p style="text-align:left;"><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/HonDocAbsentia-3.jpg" alt="HonDocAbsentia-3.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:300px;" /><br></p><p style="text-align:left;">“Kachaje was a disability activist for over 25 years, advocating for equal opportunities and rights for people with disabilities in Malawi, the African region and internationally. She challenged the prejudiced notions of disability and was known for her ability to inspire young people with disabilities, for her embodiment of the values of compassion, respect, excellence, accountability and equity," said De Villiers.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Kachaje, who became disabled at the age of three due to a polio outbreak, was working for the National Bank of Malawi when she first joined the disability movement in Malawi. She co-founded the Federation of Disability Organisations' (FEDOMA) in the 1990s and represented it in the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD).</p><p style="text-align:left;">In addition, Ms Kachaje was a board member of the Africa Disability Alliance and the EquitAble Project at Trinity College and Stellenbosch University, co-founder of Disabled Women in Development, commissioner of the National AIDS Commission and secretary of the African Disability Forum Board, to name just some of her leadership roles.</p><p style="text-align:left;">She was elected Minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs in Malawi and in 2004 received a Malawi Human Rights Award and a Diversity Leader Award.  She was part of the landmark negotiations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and contributed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) discussions.  </p><p style="text-align:left;">“Kachaje had a proven ability in advancing the agendas of people with disabilities in general and in particular women and girls with disabilities. Her mission was to advocate and promote rights for people with disabilities and to lead a life that would always affect them in a positive manner," said De Villiers.</p><p>To watch the full graduation ceremony, click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">here</strong></a>. ​<br></p><p><em>In the photo above from left, Prof Wim de Villiers​ (SU Rector & Vice-Chancellor), Prof Anthony Leysens ​(Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences), Gibson Kachaje and Justice Edwin Cameron (SU Chancellor)</em><br></p><p><br></p>
"What’s my superpower? I have Conversion Disorder. Not 'convulsion', CONVERSION. The hidden disability.""What’s my superpower? I have Conversion Disorder. Not 'convulsion', CONVERSION. The hidden disability."Transformation Office | Disability Unit | AfriNEAD<div style="text-align:justify;"><em>​“Ooh, is that a group of potentially eligible bachelors? Now's the perfect time to cause some chaos."</em></div><br><div style="text-align:justify;"><em>“Is this that class you failed last year and are desperate to pass this year? There hasn't been a more suitable hour for a little chaos!" </em></div><div style="text-align:justify;"><em><br></em></div><div style="text-align:justify;"><em>“You poor thing, are you trying to walk to another building in 10 minutes? It's a pity; I'm seeing the perfect opportunity for some chaos."</em></div><div><br></div><br><div style="text-align:justify;">That's my body telling me it's under a bit of pressure. The chaos reaction is a full-blown, limb-twitching, head-banging, teeth-chattering seizure. Yes, I occasionally have grand mal seizures that can last anything from a minute to half an hour.<br></div><div style="text-align:justify;"><br></div><div style="text-align:justify;">What's my superpower? I have Conversion Disorder. Not “convulsion", CONVERSION. The hidden disability. Hidden because I look perfectly healthy until I start vibrating and my eyes start rolling. There is no known cure for it, but it can become a thing of the past with a few years of therapy. But nobody knows how many years or with which specialising therapist or how long you'll spend with every specialising therapist until something somewhere clicks. But I must say, in my case, although therapy hasn't made my symptoms disappear, it sure has lessened them. Psychology working hand in hand with psychiatry and lots of patience.</div><div style="text-align:justify;"><br></div><div style="text-align:justify;">I was diagnosed with Conversion Disorder in 2016, in my final year in high school. In 2017 I was introduced to an entirely new environment: stairs to reach my bedroom, paced 10-minute walks between buildings to get to lectures and having half my high school's amount of students in one lecture hall. It was exciting. I loved the buzz. My body didn't quite agree, though.<br></div><div style="text-align:justify;"><br></div><div style="text-align:justify;">I spent 2017 having lectures cut short because of the chaos caused by a seizure during a lecture. I was carried up flights of stairs, made friends with the sisters at Campus Health and soon enough was known as the person to be cautious around in my faculty and residence. Never too much excitement. Never too much pressure. It was unreal. It was boring.<br></div><div style="text-align:justify;"><br></div><div style="text-align:justify;">This was all before I was introduced to the University's Disability Unit. The superheroes. I only requested a way to have my classes recorded for me, instead of me walking all the way, only to disrupt a lecture. The Disability Unit quickly came to my aid, arranged top-quality equipment for my studies and for the recordings to be made and covered all the costs. They immediately contacted all my lecturers and made all the arrangements for me to have an assistant that walked with me to all my lecturers to explain. Getting podcasts from some lecturers was like pulling teeth from a tiger.<br></div><div style="text-align:justify;"><br></div><div style="text-align:justify;">That's how I can say the Covid-19 lockdown rescued me. Along with the support of the Disability Unit, online learning made my studying much easier. It forced lecturers to post all the details online on time, the assessments were done online and whenever I had a seizure while working, I could rest and work at a time that suited me.</div><br><br><div style="text-align:justify;"><em>​​​SU's Rector and Vice-chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers announced late last year that 2020 will be the university's Year for Persons with Disability. It will culminate in the sixth African Network for Evidence-to- Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) conference, a prestigious international network that will be hosted by SU from the 30 November to 3 December 2020. To honour this the Transformation Office and the Disability Unit, along with AfriNEAD, will publish monthly reflections or articles by persons with disabilities. Our sixth piece was written by <em>Lathi Msi, <em>a BA ​Humanities student.</em></em></em></div><br>
The human future and universities in a post-truth era human future and universities in a post-truth eraLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Prof Steve Fuller, an internationally-renowned sociologist focused on science and technology studies from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, will be hosting two public lectures at Stellenbosch University this week. The lectures will focus on what is at stake in a post- versus trans-human future and the other on whether universities can survive a post-truth era.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Fuller, who holds the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology in the Department of Sociology at Warwick will speak about <em>The Politics of Prefixes: What's at Stake in a 'Post-' versus a 'Trans-' Human Future?</em><em> </em>during his talk at Stias hosted by the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition as part of their Anthropocene Dialogues seminar series and on <em>Can Universities Survive the Post-Truth Era?</em>during a talk that forms part of the Indexing Transformation seminar series. The current theme of the Indexing Transformation seminar series is “university transformation" and the intention is to address the urgent imperatives of curriculum reform, critical pedagogy and institutional transformation in South African higher education. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Originally trained in history and philosophy of science, Fuller is the author of more than twenty books, with his most recent work focused on the future of humanity, the future of the university and intellectual life more generally.  According to Dr Lloyd Hill from the Sociology and Social Anthropology Department, Fuller's work on “social epistemology" focuses on the contested and increasingly permeable boundary between the natural and social sciences. His most recent work focuses particular attention on the rapid and convergent advances in the nano-, bio-, info- and cogno-technosciences and the implications of these for our understanding of what it means to be human. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">His first talk, <em>The Politics of Prefixes,</em><em> </em>will be held on Tuesday, 14 August from 16:00 to 18:00 at the Stias Manor House, while his second talk will be held on 16 August from 13:00 to 14:30 in Room 648 in the Arts Building. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Fuller, his first talk will focus on what he has written about in his books for the past 10 years - the impending fork on the road to humanity's collective future, or 'Humanity 2.0'. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It is quite clear from a host of contemporary developments – ranging from unsustainable welfare state budgets to anthropogenic climate change to revolutionary breakthroughs bio-, nano- and info-tech – that the human condition as we have known it in the modern era is on the verge of substantial change. 'Posthumanism' and 'Transhumanism' name perhaps the two most prominent forks on the road. The former would displace the human altogether as the primary locus of value, whereas the latter would amplify the presence of the human indefinitely," explains Fuller.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Posthumanists believe that humanism went too far, while transhumanists believe that it hasn't gone far enough. The political differences implied here cut across the Right-Left ideological spectrum that has defined the Western political horizon for the past two centuries. I shall explore the implications of this divide in my talk and look at how these might be resolved."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">During this talk on universities in a post-truth era, he will focus on the “tendency to see 'post-truth' disparagingly as the result of populist anti-intellectualism" or as a temporary turn in fortunes for the academics and other elites who have been shown wanting as a result of the Brexit vote and Trump's election". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I believe that both assessments of the post-truth condition are wrong. Drawing on my latest book, <em>Post Truth: Knowledge as a Power Game</em>, I shall argue that regardless of what happens to Brexit or Trump, the post-truth condition is here to stay – and, in a certain sense, has always been with us. In particular, we should see our epistemic predicament as part of the growth pains of the democratisation of knowledge, an inevitable consequence of which is the downgrading of expert judgement. I shall discuss what this means in terms of how universities should re-position themselves [at my talk on 16 August]."<br></p>
Is the lockdown authoritarian creep or ‘proportionate response’? the lockdown authoritarian creep or ‘proportionate response’?Steven Robins<p>​Is the lockdown an authoritarian creep or a 'proportionate response' to the COVID-19 pandemic? This is the question Prof Steven Robins from the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology tried to answer in an opinion piece published by Daily Maverick on Monday (4 May).<br></p><ul><li>Click <a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>here</strong></span></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </span>to read the article.<br></li></ul><p><br></p>
Project makes COVID-19 information accessible to deaf community makes COVID-19 information accessible to deaf communityDaniel Bugan<p>​<br><br></p><p>A new project that aims to make information about COVID-19 available to the South African Deaf community has recently been launched by the Department of General Linguistics in Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.</p><p>The project was initiated by third-generation Deaf sisters Vanessa Reyneke and Stephanie Lotz, who received numerous pleas for accessible information on COVID-19 from members of the Deaf community. Reyneke is the project coordinator for South African Sign Language Learning and Teaching Support Material at the Department of General Linguistics (SASL).</p><p>Currently, COVID-19 resources and information are mostly available in written text or spoken format. However, spoken language is inaccessible to the majority of Deaf people.</p><p>According to Prof Frenette Southwood of the Department of General Linguistics, their research has shown that there are a limited number of resources about COVID-19 available in SASL compared to the resources available in spoken languages.</p><p>“Without translation of important information into the only language fully accessible to them, members of the Deaf community are becoming increasingly vulnerable," she said.</p><p>The Department has received permission from the Western Cape Government to use their infographics as background in their SASL video recordings and their written information as a point of departure in their sign language scripts. They also used the information made available by the Knowledge Transfer Unit at the University of Cape Town.</p><p>The first phase of the project focuses on the 10 most important subtopics of health and will include tips on keeping coronavirus-safe, advice for diabetics and what to do when you are COVID-19 positive. The second phase will include another 10 subtopics or any updates of those subtopics already covered in Phase 1. Both of these phases are funded by Stellenbosch University. The Department is still seeking funding for phases 3 to 6 of the project, as well as for the child-friendly COVID-19 information package that they also plan to make available.</p><p>“The first information videos have already been released over the last few weeks. The aim is to release one information video per week. We have a list of topics that we are going to cover, but we will also be led by the needs of the Deaf community," said Southwood.</p><p>The information has been presented in two dialects in SASL. That is because members of the older generation, who were schooled using sign-supported English or sign-supported Afrikaans, do not necessarily understand SASL well, and need the information in an adapted version.</p><p>According to Reyneke, who is also the project coordinator for SASL Learning and Teaching Support Material at the Department of General Linguistics, she and her sister would like the project to reach every Deaf individual in the community.</p><p>“The ultimate goal is to see that the Deaf community has access to all information needed for their daily well-being during this pandemic, and in all varieties of SASL if possible," she said. </p><p>Reyneke expressed her appreciation for the support they received from Stellenbosch University to get this project off the ground. <br></p><p>“We hope that other public and private sectors will also be inspired by this initiative and encouraged to ensure that everyone has fair access to their surroundings," she added.<br></p><p>The COVID information videos are uploaded on a purpose-created YouTube channel for the Deaf community to access free of charge and are also available on the websites and other social media platforms of Stellenbosch University. Individuals can subscribe to the relevant YouTube channel to receive alerts when new videos have been uploaded.<br></p><ul><li>To view the videos, visit: <a href=""><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1"><strong>COVID-19 in SASL | Facebook</strong></span></a><br><br></li></ul><br>