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First-year students commence their ‘journey of transformation’ students commence their ‘journey of transformation’Aydn Parrott<p>Professor Jimmy Volmink, Dean at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) recently welcomed the new batch first-year students and their parents to the Tygerberg Campus. </p><p><strong>“</strong>Today you are commencing a journey of transformation," said Volmink. </p><p>He told the newcomers to expect to be continuously challenged.<br></p><p>Volmink assured parents that at the FMHS, their children will be in capable and caring hands. “Do not hesitate to reach out when you need help," he told students.  <br></p><p>He said newcomers would learn how to “promote health, treat disease and relieve suffering."<br></p><p>Volmink encouraged students to dream big, work hard and stay focused. <br></p><p>The Dean said that in light of the faculty's high success and impact rate, the probability of student success is quite high.<br></p><p>Beyond empowering students to become competent health care practitioners, Volmink said the FMHS sought to “inspire students to be agents of change". <br></p><p>“The Faculty is a microcosm of the country" said Volmink. Therefore students would be taught how to be active and responsible citizens. They would actively learn how to “build cohesion" and learn to live and work together.<br></p><p>“We look forward to being instrumental in your growth."<br></p><p>Echoing Volmink's suggestion to seek help when needed, Ntsako Mtileni chairperson of the Tygerberg Student Council said, “Take care of yourself. You deserve a break now and then."<br></p><p>“Varsity is a series of hurdles, but so is high school, and here you are.</p><p>“Believing that you can is half the battle won."<br></p><p>Mtileni offered newcomers a simple philosophy: “Do not be limited by your challenges. Rather challenge your limits.</p><p>“You are on a campus with future healthcare professionals. You are surrounded by people who want to see you grow."<br></p><p>Mtileni reflected on her own student experience and said that her and her roommate found similarities in their differences. “My roommate was the sweetest person and has become one of my best friends."</p><p>“We are blessed with diversity in all aspects of life," said Mtileni explaining that the faculty believes in celebrating diversity.<br></p><p>Mtileni offered first years the following words of encouragement: “Stay true to who you are. There's a place for everyone under the sun. And be patient with yourself."<br></p><p><br></p><p><em>Caption: First-year students at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.</em><br></p><p><em>Photo credit: Aydn Parrott</em><br></p>
Study wants to help reduce CO2 emissions in road freight transport wants to help reduce CO2 emissions in road freight transportCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>As the primary method for freight transportation in South Africa, road freight (excluding passenger freight) emits approximately 16,8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, making it the second-largest contributor to carbon emissions after electricity. One way to reduce these carbon emissions is to put in place a road freight decarbonisation framework that's specifically developed for our local context- <br></p><p>This is according to Business Analyst Dr Lee-Anne Terblanche who obtained her doctorate in Logistics Management at Stellenbosch University recently. She developed the first-ever road freight decarbonisation framework for South Africa that transport companies and policy-makers can use to decrease CO2 emissions. </p><p>“Given the necessity to lower carbon emissions, the framework will provide companies and policy-makers with guidelines on how this can be achieved and what areas to focus on," says Terblanche.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Terblanche1.jpg" alt="Terblanche1.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:250px;height:329px;" /><br></p><p>To develop the decarbonisation framework, Terblanche interviewed experts and managers in the road freight industry and also asked them to complete questionnaires. Altogether 132 registered road freight companies took part in her study. <br></p><p>Terblanche's framework identified four key decisions a company had to make when it came to road freight transportation and all of them can influence the amount of carbon emissions being released. The framework also quantified how much carbon emissions each of these decisions contributed to the total road freight emissions in South Africa. These decisions revolve around a move from road freight to rail, the efficiency of the logistical route or network, operational and mechanical efficiency and a culture of compliance with the Road Transport Management System (RTMS – an industry-led self-regulation scheme). </p><p>The four key decisions were broken down to nine smaller carbon variables to highlight how each of these variables contributed to total road freight carbon emissions. These include, among others, missed slot or delivery times, hijacking, theft (leading to unplanned trips and thus more carbon emissions), empty loading (trucks returning empty to its warehouse after a day's deliveries have been done), unnecessary trips, mechanical efficiency of trucks and driving behaviour (for example, do drivers make the best decisions in terms of idling the truck, accelerations, the use of cruise control, making unplanned or unauthorised stops, etc.)<br></p><p>Terblanche says that carbon emissions can be decreased considerably if companies pay closer attention to these aspects. <br></p><p>“If companies in South Africa focus on these core aspects, our carbon emissions in road freight can decrease by a staggering 46%. This number only shows how inefficiently we operate our road freight.<br></p><p>“The largest reduction potential of carbon emissions and road freight kilometres lies within the logistical network efficiency decision-making influences, which may reduce carbon emissions by 27%. A shift to rail can contribute to a 7,5% reduction, while operational efficiency can contribute to a 20% reduction.<br></p><p>“Should all the influences be implemented at once to achieve synergy, a total calculated carbon saving of 7,7 million tonnes of CO<sub>2</sub> can be achieved along with a reduction of 7,36 billion road freight kilometres," adds Terblanche.</p><p>Highlighting the value of the decarbonisation framework, Terblanche says it is now possible to identify where the most potential for carbon emission decrease within road freight in South Africa lies and what measures can be taken to decrease these emissions.</p><p>“This is important if we take into consideration that road freight traffic is projected to increase to one million freight vehicles on our roads by 2050 with Gauteng set to experience most of the increase due to the economic activities in the province."<br></p><p>Terblanche says road freight companies, policy-makers and local and international researchers will benefit most from her study. <br></p><ul><li><strong>Main photo</strong>: A road freight transport truck. Credit: Pixabay</li><li><strong>Photo</strong>: Dr Lee-Anne Terblanche</li></ul><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Lee-Ann Terblanche<br></p><p>ICT Business Analyst: Supply Chain</p><p>Distell</p><p>Stellenbosch</p><p>Email: <a href=""></a> </p><p><strong>ISSUED BY</strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen</p><p>Manager: Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>Email: <a href=""></a> <br></p><p><br></p>
Helping people make informed health choices people make informed health choicesSue Segar<p>When it comes to the claims made about products in medicine, nutrition, economics and other areas, how do we establish what is true and what's not true? What can we trust and what can we not trust?<br></p><p>This is the subject tackled recently by Anel Schoonees, a researcher with the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care (CEBHC), who was part of an international group of researchers to publish a “Comment" article in the journal Nature.</p><p>In the article, entitled <em>Key Concepts for Making Informed Choices</em>, the alliance of researchers from a range of fields lays out a framework for making decisions based on thinking critically about claims and comparisons.</p><p>The Informed Health Choices Key Concepts was developed between 2012 and 2017, led by the Centre for Informed Health Choices at the Institute of Public Health in Norway.</p><p>Schoonees explained that “this inspired the development of <em>Key Concepts for Informed Choices</em> for critical thinking about interventions across fields, led by Dr Andrew Oxman from Norway. My colleague Dr Celeste Naude, a senior researcher at CEBHC, and I have been part of this group. Our role is specifically to contextualise the 'Key Concepts' for the field of nutrition.</p><p>She continued: “The Comment article in Nature contains the Key Concepts for Informed Choices, which serve as a framework to assist people across fields to help others think critically about claims and make informed decisions in their everyday lives. Anyone from any field can take the Key Concepts, adjust where needed and develop resources for their field and their intended target audience - primary school children, adolescents, patients, journalists, healthcare students, etc."</p><p>Schoonees, who at Stellenbosch University initially studied a BSc in Food Science, went on to get her Masters in Nutrition.</p><p>Situated in the Division of Human Nutrition, under Professor Jimmy Volmink's mentorship, she worked as a research assistant, and later enrolled for an MSc in Clinical Epidemiology under Professor Taryn Young. She also qualified as dietitian at the University of Cape Town.</p><p>Schoonees started working at the CEBHC in 2011.</p><p>She said the Key Concepts for Informed Choices project is particularly significant to her because of her background in nutrition, a field in which “so much nonsense" is put out.</p><p>“It's very important that this project is taken further to look at nutrition. Celeste and I are working on this."</p><p>It has special meaning because, even as a child she was aware of false claims in some media and marketing material.</p><p>“I remember reading the nutrition and health pages of my mother's magazines. I believed everything I read until I got to high school. One day they'd say one thing and the next month it would be contradicted. This confused me."</p><p>During her MSc in Clinical Epidemiology, she did a 'Magazines Study' – a descriptive survey on the advertising of nutritional supplements in South African women's magazines.</p><p>“For a year, I bought all the issues of five popular women's magazines in the country and looked at the extent to which health claims in advertisements on nutritional supplements were made, and what was cited as evidence for those claims."</p><p>The magazines study pointed out the need for consumers to have basic knowledge of the principles of evidence-based health care and nutrition, which is now what the Key Concepts project addresses.</p><p>Schoonees is excited to be part of the project. “Not all evidence is created equal, and it is challenging to figure out which claims are more trustworthy. This project provides a good framework from which to work, and a real opportunity to empower others to make well-informed decisions."</p><p>For more information, see the website <a href=""></a>. The article can be seen here: <a href=""></a>.<br></p>
New institute searches for solution to make children thrive institute searches for solution to make children thriveFMHS Marketing & Communication / FGGW Bemarking & Kommunikasie<p>​​The inspiring work that the Institute for Life Course Health Research (ILCHR) do in communities resonates with the vision of the of Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) to enhance health and health equity with and for the communities we serve.<br></p><p>With this message, Mr Eben Mouton, FMHS Senior Director: Business Manager welcomed the ILCHR to its new home in the Department of Global Health at the institute's official launch in the FMHS.</p><p>The ILCHR, led by Prof Mark Tomlinson and Dr Sarah Skeen, is a transdisciplinary entity that conducts research into infant, child, adolescent, maternal and family wellbeing, health and development in low resource communities.<img src="/english/faculty/healthsciences/PublishingImages/NewsCarousel/Nuus2019/ILCHR_articlepic.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><p>“We are interested in testing solutions and doing three things," Tomlinson said at the launch. “We want to develop cutting edge research evidence that prioritises the wellbeing of children, families and people across the life course; work with communities to develop interventions; and to share the knowledge that we generate."</p><p>“Underlying all of this is a commitment to being part of the solution to the deep and profound inequality that exists," Tomlinson said.</p><p>The ILCHR works throughout South Africa, with research teams based in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape and the OR Tambo district in the Eastern Cape. They also run projects across Africa and South Asia, and collaborate with international agencies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on programmes on child and adolescent mental health and development.</p><p><strong>Early events, later repercussions</strong></p><p><strong> </strong>It is now well-recognised that events in early childhood and in utero have long-term health impacts: Research has revealed the vulnerability of the first 1 000 days of life (conception to two years), especially regarding neurodevelopment.</p><p>Intergenerational factors are also significant. Said Tomlinson: “We're starting to realise that one predictor of an infant's growth is the grandmother's nutritional status. And that a young woman's health – her nutrition, whether she's getting regular medical check-ups – is key in the health of the baby she's not even pregnant with yet." <br></p><p>This is also true of mental health. “Research 30 years ago was mainly focused on postnatal depression and its impact on the mother and her child. Then we realised antenatal depression is as important, if not more so," Tomlinson explained. “Also chronic depression is far worse than a single episode."<br></p><p><strong>No inoculation against adversity</strong></p><p>As a result, there's been a worldwide push for investment in early-childhood interventions. However, nothing can completely “inoculate" a child against developmental disruption. “We've found that sometimes interventions only have very small positive impacts, or sometimes large impacts wash out. Sometimes they fade and then re-emerge later," said Skeen. “One can't expect just one short programme in the early years will change the outcomes of people's lives, especially in conditions of extreme poverty." </p><p>Continued investment is needed – including, and perhaps particularly, in adolescence. “While brain development is incredibly fast, with lots of synapse pruning in those first 1 000 days, we now know that an enormous amount of brain development also happens in adolescence," said Tomlinson. <br></p><p>Current research suggests that certain adolescent interventions are particularly successful, especially those focusing on interpersonal skills and emotional regulation. However, such findings have come mostly from high-income countries. The challenge is to adapt these interventions for low-income settings. The ILCHR is working with the WHO on guidelines for such programmes, and exploring targeted prevention for at-risk adolescents, encompassing depression and anxiety, substance abuse, aggression and self-harm. <br></p><p>Other important ILCHR work testing interventions for younger children includes the Thula Sana (“Hush Baby") trial in South Africa, the Philani trial, and the Mphatlalatsane study in Lesotho. All have involved community health workers making home visits to mothers during pregnancy and early childhood.<br></p><p>The Philani study is tracking the impact of a home visiting programme run by a well-known NGO in Khayelitsha. The Mphatlalatsane study, completed in 2018, focused on a group-based intervention on nutrition, HIV testing and language development. During the Thula Sana trial, the ILCHR tracked children for the first eighteen months, again at 13 years, and then later re-enrolled the group into a an adolescent intervention. “You're trying to determine when interventions are most effective – does an intervention at age 17 give a significant reinforcing boost to an intervention built on the first six months?" Tomlinson explains.<br></p><p><strong>Challenges of long-haul research</strong></p><p>Life-course studies can be expensive and time-consuming: Thula Sana has run for 18 years; the Philani study has lasted eight. They're logistically tough as well. Data collectors “disappear into the rural Eastern Cape or Lesotho for a month, going from village to village", said Tomlinson. And sometimes access requires four-wheel drives or even donkeys.</p><p>The work is also conceptually challenging. Mental health is difficult to measure, as are adversity, violence and poverty. “Sometimes it's hard to see how those factors impact directly on outcomes," said Skeen. “We try to measure exposure to all kinds of risks within the individual and the immediate environment."<br></p><p>And there are so many factors: Some children struggle when faced with “the smallest environmental insult … but if that same child were in a really good environment, they'd thrive," Tomlinson explained.<br></p><p><br></p><p><em>Banner photo caption: Prof Mark Tomlinson and Dr Sarah Skeen.</em><br></p><p><em>Insert caption: Prof Mark Tomlinson, Marguerite Marlow, Vuyolwethu Notholi, Dr Sarah Skeen, Zena Jacobs, Zanele Siqabatiso and Jackie Stewart.</em><br></p><p><em>Photo credit: Stefan Els and Wilma Stassen</em><br></p>
All set for Homecoming 2020 set for Homecoming 2020Development & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>​​Stellenbosch University’s Homecoming, the Alumni Weekend is taking place from 5 to 9 March 2020 on our picturesque Stellenbosch campus. We’d be so delighted to welcome you back onto campus and have tailormade a number of really special events just for you.​<br></p><p></p><p>We have also included a broad range of Woordfees events as part of the Homecoming Weekend and, as alumni, you will receive a specially discounted rate on a selection of 50 Woordfees productions (out of the more than 300 events on offer).</p><p>Here is a snapshot of what you can look forward to:</p><p>​<strong>Thursday, 5 March at 18:00</strong><br>Homecoming Leadership Summit<br>How does one lead your company, your community, or your team in times of crisis? We have invited a few really truly inspiring leaders to share their thinking on Leadership in times of crisis with you at our Homecoming Leadership Summit.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Friday, 6 March at 18:00</strong><br>Farm style Dinner at Die Stal<br>You are invited to join us for a farm style dinner under the oak trees at Coetzenburg’s Die Stal, the recently renovated Alumni Club. Especially if you were in first year at Maties in 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 or 2010, get your friends together for our Biggest Reunion to date. We promise something for everyone – so expect good food, better company, and outstanding entertainment.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Saturday, 7 March at 08:00</strong><br>Homecoming Parkrun<br>For the fit and getting-fitter, festivities continue at our Homecoming Parkrun. We’re teaming up with the Kayamandi Parkrun organisers, so get your maroon on and bring your family along, including the four-legged kind. Run, jog or walk that 5km together with us.<br></p><p> </p><p><strong>Saturday, 7 March at 10:30am</strong><br>Come for tea at Die Stal – campus tours will be leaving from Die Stal from 11am, on bicycle, on tuk-tuks, or on foot. These tours include stops at residences and faculties. Contact for more info.</p><p><br><strong>Saturday, 7 March 2020</strong><br>Year Group Reunions<br>During Saturday, 7 March there will be many smaller year group reunions within specific residences, for more information contact the specific residence.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Saturday, 7 March 2020</strong><br>Harmonie Ladies Residence, you celebrate your 115-year birthday on Saturday, 7 March in 2020!</p><p> </p><p><strong>Saturday, 7 March</strong><br>Helderberg Wynveiling<br>Trust them to make everyone feel at home: The annual vibrant Helderberg Wynveiling takes place on Saturday, 7 March at 18h30.<br>Contact Matthew Odendaal at</p><p><br><strong>Sunday, 8 March 2020</strong><br>2020 Cape Town Cycle Tour<br>Signed up for the 2020 Cape Town Cycle Tour, alumni? On Sunday, 8 March you could join SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, his son Braam and daughter Gera, and cycle in support of the #Move4Food campaign. Enjoy the downhill fun and the Suikerbossie pedal, the fundraising, and camaraderie in our special edition #Move4Food cycling T-shirt and a good massage at our post-event hospitality tent, all for a good cause.</p><p>Entries for alumni fundraisers are available for purchase; contact for more information.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Monday, 9 March at 14:00</strong><br>Rugby Captains’ Lunch<br>As a special fundraiser for the Craven Bursary Fund, we are hosting the Rugby Captains’ Lunch. Hear former Maties and Ikeys rugby captains and players share their memories of games won, lost… and could-have-won, while enjoying lunch under the trees at Die Stal. Contact for more information.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Monday, 9 March at 18:00</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Maties XV and Ikeys XV</p><p>Rugby enthusiasts can look forward to a riveting game between the Maties XV and Ikeys XV as they go head-to-head at the Danie Craven Stadium. Part of the annual and hotly contested Varsity Cup tournament, you need to secure a ticket for the game through Webtickets. You’re also welcome to visit the Alumni Club at Die Stal or the Maties Rugby clubhouse in the stadium, before and after the game. <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"></a></p><p><br></p>
Convocation President resigns President resignsDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>​<span style="font-size:9pt;font-family:verdana, sans-serif;">Adv Jan Heunis, as President of the Convocation, Mr Bernard Pieters, as Secretary and Ms Daleen van Zyl, as additional member, resigned from the Executive Committee of the Convocation on 3 December 2019.<br> <br> Adv Heunis was President of the Convocation from 26 January 2016, Mr Pieters secretary from 1 January 2017 and Ms Van Zyl additional member from 23 November 2017.<br> <br> In accordance with SU's Statute, the recently elected Vice-President, Dr Leslie van Rooi, will now act as President until a new President is elected. Dr Van Rooi is Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation at SU.<br> <br> The process for the election of a new president, secretary and additional member will be launched in early 2020.</span><br></p>
John Kani honoured with honorary doctorate from SU Kani honoured with honorary doctorate from SUCorporate Communication Division/Sandra Mulder<p style="text-align:justify;">​</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p><p>“The power of changing the country is in the hands of the citizens. We are the government. We voted them in and can vote them out." This was one of the inspiring messages in the acceptance speech of the internationally acclaimed actor and playwright John Kani after having received an honorary doctorate from Stellenbosch University (SU).<br></p><p>Under great applause from graduates, their parents and other guests, the degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), <em>honoris causa</em>, was conferred on the 76-year-old Kani by the Presiding Officer, SU's Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers, at this morning's (13 December 2019) ninth and last December 2019 graduation ceremony. SU awarded the honorary degree to Kani to honour and recognise his lifetime dedication to using the performing arts as a tool for upliftment.</p><p>In Kani's gripping and inspiring message of hope to everyone in South Africa, he jokingly said that when he had been informed that the honorary doctorate was to be conferred on him, he thought that he had become “famous in Stellenbosch".  “To be honoured in this incredible way, made me feel so good and that my 76 years of existence and all our efforts were not in vain."</p><p>One of the stories that he told at the ceremony was about the time in 1984 when he and Atholl Fugard had to perform in Stellenbosch. They thought that they could not come to Stellenbosch as it was seen as the “headquarters of the Afrikanerdom".  “I thought what will the comrades think of us and they will think it is a sell-out." But they still came and performed for a week. “I was impressed by the good conversation with professors and lecturers but was most impressed by the young people speaking Afrikaans. I realised that the Afrikaner and I had one problem: We have nowhere else to go. My job will be to tell stories and my stories witness the journeys each individual takes."</p><p>In 1982, Kani was part of a hit list, which he ignored. He was attacked by security police and was taken by his wife to a hospital in Port Elizabeth with 11 stab wounds. “In the hospital, there was a white doctor who hid me in the isolation ward for infectious diseases. The security police found out that I had not died and went back to the hospital to complete the job of killing me. They did not want to enter the ward and I have this young white doctor to thank for my life," he said.</p><p>The last story Kani told the graduates and guests, was about his father always telling him that he needed to pay him back in rands and cents for the money spend on his education when he started working. “I told the same story to my eight children, but my currency was different. I told them that they had to make something of themselves and make a valuable contribution to humanity and society. Then they would have paid me back." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>The motivation​ for Kani's honorary doctorate</strong><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SU Council and Senate decided to honour him with this degree in recognition and admiration for his unwavering and passionate commitment to the performing arts as actor, director and playwright; for his dedication to ensure access to the performing arts for young people from marginalised communities; for using the arts to educate, to create community and as a tool of expression for the oppressed; and in recognition of his commitment to excellence in his 50-year international career in the performing arts.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Kani was born in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, on 30 August 1943. His connection to drama, which started in school, continued after he matriculated. </p><p>As a young black man growing up in apartheid South Africa, his first desire had always been to be part of the struggle. His need to tell the stories of the oppressed and to see the effect they had on people developed his deeply held belief that theatre was a powerful tool for change and would become the catalyst for all of his work, acting, directing and writing. </p><p>In 1965 he joined the Serpent Players where his association and friendship with Winston Ntshona and Atholl Fugard started. In 1972 Kani, Fugard and Ntshona developed the seminal <em>Sizwe Banzi is Dead</em> and in 1973, they created and produced <em>The Island</em>. They took both plays to local and international stages and in 1974 Kani and Ntshona both won the coveted Tony Award for Best Actor in these two plays. </p><p>In 1977, Kani and Barney Simon established The Market Theatre, which focused equally on theatrical work and social upliftment. In 1990 they also founded The Market Theatre Laboratory, giving young people from marginalised circumstances the opportunity to study the performing arts. </p><p>In 1982, Kani and Sandra Prinsloo shook the very foundations of white South African society when they kissed on stage in Strindberg's <em>Miss Julie</em> at the Baxter Theatre. In 1987, he became the first black South African to play Shakespeare's Othello in our country. </p><p>Kani has written and starred in three plays: <em>Nothing but the Truth</em> (2002), <em>Missing</em> (2014) and <em>Kunene and the King</em> (2018). All three deal with deeply difficult South African themes of forgiveness, exile, isolation, identity and loss. </p><p>His most recent international successes include films such as <em>Black Panther</em> (2018), <em>The Lion King </em>(2019) and <em>Murder Mystery</em> (2019). </p><p>Kani holds four honorary degrees and his long list of awards include the Hiroshima Prize for Peace from the Swedish Academy, the Olive Schreiner Prize and the South African Film and Television Lifetime Achievement Award. He also received the kykNET Fiesta award for his lifetime contribution to the performing arts, as well as the Naledi World Impact Theatre Award. <br></p><p><br></p>
From bitter to sweet memories bitter to sweet memoriesCorporate Communication Division/Sandra Mulder<p>​​<br></p><p>He realised as an impoverished teenager that if he could get an education and become a primary school teacher, he would at least be able to afford a cup of tea in the morning.</p><p>But when Dr Peter Msaka from Nkhotakota in Malawi walked on stage today at the ninth graduation ceremony of Stellenbosch University (SU) to receive his PhD in General Linguistics, his bitter memories of going to school barefoot on an empty stomach, while wearing his only pair of shorts were far from his mind.<br></p><p> </p><p>“After I realised that I needed to do something to change our poverty-ridden status, I applied myself with fierce intensity towards education. I continued to work like that for all the years that followed," Msaka recalls.</p><p> </p><p>Many factors led him from Malawi to SU. “I was looking for a high-quality scholarship and also a university that had a linguistics department with a bias in favour of syntax. Of the three top universities that have this, it was only Stellenbosch that did not ask application fees. In those days, it wasn't easy to wire money abroad," he says.</p><p> </p><p>He joined SU in 2013 to study towards his Honours, followed by his MA and PhD. “One great thing I will always cherish is the excellent supportive academic environment. In my entire time at Stellenbosch, there was not a single academic resource that I failed to access. I enjoy working with intensity and the physical study spaces were excellent. I will also forever cherish the 'jogging' trails in Stellenbosch," he says.</p><p>         </p><p>The topic of his thesis is “<em>Nominal classification in Bantu revisited: The perspective from Chichewa</em><strong>". </strong> The choice of this topic goes back to the time when Msaka was introduced to Chichewa grammar in Grade 5.</p><p> <br></p><p>“When my teacher introduced the rules for the noun class system, I effortlessly came up with counter examples. At one point in the higher grades, this annoyed my teacher and I remember very well being punished for insubordination. It was rude to doubt your teacher's knowledge – but the problem wasn't his knowledge: The rules had actually been proposed by some German scholars such as Wilhelm Heinrich Bleek (1862, 1869) and Carl Meinhof (1899, 1906, 1932). I challenged these scholars formally in my PhD," he says.</p><p> </p><p>His research will have an impact on language teaching in Malawi. “It pains me to see the school curriculum that teaches misleading information. Anyone learning Bantu languages as a foreign language will tell you that learning the noun classes is a nightmare. With the proposed system of learning, the noun class system will be more natural now," he says.</p><p> </p><p>Msaka has already returned to his workplace at the University of Malawi. But he has new, sweeter memories to cherish now. One of these is the amazing feat of having a shortened version of his PhD thesis published in the internationally renowned <em>Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax</em> journal that showcases the best work of established researchers. <br></p><p><br></p>
Doctoral graduate never thought she would study that far graduate never thought she would study that farCorporate Communication Division/Sandra Mulder<p>​​<br></p><p>Doctoral graduate started working at age 12 to support household Dr Virginia Dlamini–Akintola's story of commitment and perseverance started in the village Ntondozi in the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland). She was nine years old when her father died and she had to start to work at the age of 12 to help her mother make ends meet and to pay for her own education.</p><p>In those years, she would never have thought that one day she would receive a PhD degree in Philosophy in General Linguistics from Stellenbosch University (SU). “I never thought I would study this far. I ended up studying in Stellenbosch by of the grace of God," she says.</p><p>As a young girl, she also experienced what it was like to have only one meal a day or sometimes even no meal. “My mother taught us that hard work helps and education would help us improve our situation in life," says Virginia. </p><p>“I was very lucky to grow up in an environment that had a school nearby. It was a mission school. I went there and my faith in God also grew. It helped me through many challenges," she says.</p><p>During her childhood years, she also became very fond of reading. She read everything from her schoolbooks, her mother's knitting patterns, magazines in Zulu and English to local newspapers in SiSwati.</p><p>“I believe all this reading helped me to create an interest in education and to perform well at school," she says.</p><p>“Each time I passed a grade, I wanted to do better in the next grade. Therefore, when I obtained my first degree, I was motivated to study towards the next one. Hence now, by the grace of God, I have been awarded a doctoral degree," says Virginia.</p><p>After completing her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Humanities and Post Graduate Certificate in Education at the University of Eswatini, she worked as a teacher for a few years, before applying to do her Master's degree in General Linguistics at SU. After completing this degree, she went on to the next degree, just as she did with all her school grades.</p><p>Virginia's family followed the graduation ceremony via the live streaming platform. “My husband is extremely happy and relieved. My children are very happy too. They actually say now I will have more time for them. What makes me sad though, is that my mom passed away last year – she was still motivating me even then."</p><p>After completing her MPhil at Stellenbosch in 2003, she was appointed as a part-time lecturer at the University of Eswatini. This position became permanent in 2009.</p><p>Her doctoral thesis, which is titled <em>The Discursive Construction of Identity in Young Offenders' Narratives in Swaziland</em>, is anchored in sociolinguistics and discourse studies, which are subfields of linguistics. She has a special interest in psycholinguistics.</p><p>While she was doing her research at a juvenile prison in the Kingdom of Eswatini, she became involved with a school at the facility where education was used to curb youth offences. She then realised that the name 'juvenile school' had a negative impact on the youth.</p><p> Virginia made the school management aware of the negative impact, basing her arguments on the labelling theory. According to this theory, the self-identity and behaviour of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe or classify them. The name of the school was consequently changed to the name of the town where the school is located and it became the Malkern Industrial School. It was later changed to Vulamasango School which means “opening opportunities". </p><p>This positive school name created a positive perception and many people see it as a school that is not only suitable for convicts but also for other children with behavioural problems. Many parents now enrol their children (with discipline/behavioural problems) at the school to help them focus and complete their education, says Virginia.</p><p>She thanks SU and especially the Department of General Linguistics and her supervisors, Dr Marcelyn Oostendorp and Prof Elmarie Constandius, for the excellent training she received.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p><br></p>
SU’s Extended Degree Programme opens many doors for graduates’s Extended Degree Programme opens many doors for graduatesCorporate Communication/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie <p>​<br></p><p></p><p>No less than 42 graduates whose academic potential had been unlocked thanks to the Extended Degree Programme (EDP) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU), received their qualifications at the University's December 2019 graduation ceremonies this week.</p><p>Of the 42 EDP graduates, 19 of the students received distinctions during their studies at SU. One of those students, Tammy Jefthas, received 18 distinctions and will be doing a MA (Geography and Environmental Studies) next year. </p><p>“The EDP is a wonderful opportunity to not only gain a degree but offers much more. It sees the potential in students and sometimes even before a student sees it in themselves. My field of study presented to me the opportunity to grapple with current pressing geographical issues and I see myself using my knowledge gained to make a difference in society," says Jefthas.</p><p>SU launched the EDP in 2008 to help deal with systemic obstacles to equity and student success and to assist students with additional academic support. </p><p>According to Alex Zeeman, who managed to obtain no less than 16 distinctions during her studies, the EDP programme was a lifesaver after she received poor matric results. “I thought my life was over, but the lesson that university has taught me is that you're stronger than you think you are."</p><p>For Vuyolwethu Qinela, who obtained nine distinctions during her studies, the programme not only helped her excel academically, but also gave her the opportunity to do an exchange abroad. </p><p>“I was an average student in high school, so I never thought that I could achieve anything greater than just passing. The Extended Degree Programme, I believe, gave me a better advantage over mainstream students in that I was given foundational modules that covered all topics that are covered in most social science modules, while also improving my critical thinking skills," says Qinela. </p><p>Tamaryn Taylor Fourie from Eerste River says one of the highlights of being a student at SU for her is the fact that many doors were opened and that she had many opportunities. “Some amazing highlights would be when I had the opportunity in 2017 to travel to Johannesburg to represent the University at the Cradle of Humankind as part of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. I was able to engage with other like-minded individuals and expand my network. In 2018, I was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society," says Fourie.</p><p>In addition to this, Fourie had the opportunity to travel to Germany as an international student at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, which is one of SU's partner institutions.</p><p>Through the EDP, Fourie was also able to impact many lives by being a mentor and senior mentor for first-year EDP students, class representative on the PSO committee and a member of other campus-wide societies and organisations.</p><p>EDP and mainstream students obtain the same degrees after completion of their undergraduate studies. The only difference is that EDP students do their first year over two years. Over and above their mainstream subjects, EDP students take modules that prepare them better for their graduate studies, such as <em>Texts in the Humanities</em>, <em>Information Skills</em> and <em>Introduction to the Humanities</em>. </p><p>The EDP programme is open to students who are interested in studying towards a Bachelor's degree with an average of 60–64,9% in their National Senior Certificate (NSC). Extensive extra-curricular support is also integrated into the academic offering to enhance student success.​<br></p><p>Prospective students, who want to read more about the EDP, can consult the EDP website at <a href="/english/faculty/arts/edp/home"></a> <br><br></p><p>In the photo from left, Vuyolwethu Qinela, Tamaryn Taylor Fourie and Alex Zeeman​. ​<br></p><p>Photo by Stefan Els. <br></p><p><br></p>