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Centre for Global Surgery brings health education to rural communities for Global Surgery brings health education to rural communities​Lynn Bust*<p></p><p>The Centre for Global Surgery (CGS) at Stellenbosch University (SU) has undertaken a project to improve health education in rural South Africa. <br></p><p>CGS has partnered with the non-governmental organisation, <a href="">One to One Africa</a>, to improve diabetes management at the community level in the Eastern Cape where the disease is estimated to affect 134 in every 10 000 people.</p><p>Since 2014, One to One Africa has sponsored a community health worker programme known as <a href="">Enable</a>. This project empowers women working within their own communities to provide antenatal and postnatal health checks. These women, called Mentor Mothers, visit up to 200 households in their respective communities. In an effort to expand their reach to other members of the households they serve, the Mentor Mothers underwent training on diabetes mellitus (DM), which was organised by CGS' postdoctoral fellow, Dr Eyitayo Owolabi.</p><p>Owolabi, a nurse midwife by training, has been passionate about improving the management of non-communicable diseases in rural areas. Her PhD, which she completed at the University of Fort Hare, focussed on the clinical management of DM at the primary health-care level through patient reminders. While doing this she learned that the baseline knowledge of persons living with DM was low, and her hypothesis was that if patients have more agency, they can seek care earlier and advocate for their own health.<br></p><p>Owolabi joined CGS in 2020 and began working on research projects related to diabetic foot infection, a surgical complication that can result in limb amputation if not recognised and intervened at an early stage. She conducted a baseline knowledge study that confirmed that understanding about how to recognise and treat diabetic foot infection was low amongst community members, including those with DM.  </p><p>With the help of funding from the Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health, Owolabi organised training for the mentor mothers on DM, including foot care and examination following evidence-based guidelines. Since then, the Mentor Mothers have incorporated these diabetic management teachings into their home visits. They screen adult clients for signs and symptoms of diabetic foot infection and refer those who need further care to community health centres. In addition, they also teach clients and their family members about DM and diabetic foot infection to improve health-seeking behaviour. <br></p><p>In conclusion, community health workers can play an essential role in DM screening, including identifying and linking individuals with diabetic foot infections to care. CGS plans to measure the impact of the training with the longer-term goal to scale up this intervention and increase timely referrals and access to surgical care, particularly in rural areas where care is most inequitable.<br></p><p> </p><p><em>*Lynn Bust is a Senior Research Assistant in the Centre for Global Surgery in the Department of Global Health at Stellenbosch University.</em></p>
Lack of funding impedes services to people with psychosocial disabilities of funding impedes services to people with psychosocial disabilitiesCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p>​Mental health care for persons with psychosocial disabilities has historically been under-prioritised. Globally, there has been a shift away from institutionalisation as the primary response to psychosocial disability towards community-based mental health care. <br></p><p>In South Africa, however, people with psychosocial disabilities are still being left behind because of under-resourcing and a lack of relevant and accurate data on the prevalence of such disabilities and trends in the use of mental health care services. These deficiencies have had dire consequences, as the ongoing Life Esidimeni Inquest demonstrates. <br></p><p>“Although our legislative and policy framework that governs community-based mental healthcare for adults with psychosocial disabilities largely aligns with the relevant constitutional and international norms and obligations, its implementation leaves much to be desired. This is largely due to major deficiencies in the system," says Marietjie Booyens who is a consultant at the Stellenbosch University (SU) Law Clinic. Booyens recently obtained her Master's degree in Law at SU under the supervision of Prof Sandy Liebenberg, the HF Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law.<br></p><p>As part of her study, Booyens analysed section 27 of the Constitution which acknowledges everyone's right of access to health care services. She also examined policy documents and legislation relating to mental healthcare as well as selected international human rights instruments that focus on the normative standards of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality for community-based mental healthcare. According to the World Health Organisation, people with psychosocial disabilities have received a mental health diagnosis, and have experienced negative social factors including stigma, discrimination and exclusion.</p><p>Booyens says her study shows that mental healthcare remains underfunded, investment in community-based mental healthcare is lacking, and significant disparities in resource allocation exist between provinces, between rural and urban areas and between the public and private health care sectors. <br></p><p>“Because of poor resource allocation, people with psychosocial disabilities don't have access to facilities, goods and services they so desperately need.<br></p><p>“Monitoring and information systems are also ineffective, safeguards for the quality and acceptability of care are lacking, and there is insufficient engagement with people with psychosocial disabilities and their representative organisations when policy is made, and its implementation evaluated.<br></p><p>“There is also a lack of clarity on the applicable standards for quality, ethical care; and poorly functioning oversight and accountability mechanisms."<br></p><p>Booyens adds that the sparse resources available for mental healthcare remain concentrated in psychiatric institutions and even where funding for institutionalised care has been reduced, that funding has not been ring-fenced for community-based mental healthcare. <br></p><p>She says this severe under-resourcing is unlikely to be addressed if we do not see an improvement in our monitoring and information systems. <br></p><p>“If relevant and accurate data are not collected regularly and processed reliably, we cannot ensure that sufficient resources are allocated, we cannot target the most vulnerable groups for urgent intervention, and we cannot determine whether further reform is needed to meet the mental health needs of persons with psychosocial disabilities.<br></p><p>“The state must invest in improved monitoring and information systems so that accurate, relevant, and quality data can be collected to improve the community-based mental healthcare system."<br></p><p>Booyens emphasises that people with psychosocial disabilities who live in rural areas must have the same access to the necessary resources as their counterparts in urban areas.<br></p><p>“We must address inequities in the distribution of infrastructure and human resources, and set clear and measurable targets nationally, provincially and locally for improved access to community-based mental healthcare goods, facilities and services. We also need special measures and more resources to improve the quality, acceptability and availability of community-based mental healthcare in rural areas.<br></p><p>“A clear and comprehensive set of standards for the provision of community-based mental healthcare at all relevant facilities must be developed and consistently implemented. <br></p><p>“People with psychosocial disabilities and their representative organisations must also be included in decision-making processes, the development of community-based mental healthcare programmes, as well as the monitoring of such programmes when they are implemented."  <br></p><p>According to Booyens, community-based mental healthcare must follow a rights-based approach to improve the health of people with psychosocial disabilities and to empower them to pursue their own goals.<br></p><p>“We cannot consider psychosocial disability as some isolated corner of 'health care' only."<br></p><ul><li>​Photo by Melanie Wasser at <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Unsplash</strong></a>.<br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
​Social Impact Symposium 2022 - Universities are about more than just teaching and learning​Social Impact Symposium 2022 - Universities are about more than just teaching and learningCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking - Sandra Mulder<p>​​​​Joining universities worldwide in the quest to embed social impact in their teaching and learning functions, Stellenbosch University (SU) recently hosted its annual Social Impact Symposium to reimagine the University's social impact efforts. The event, hosted in hybrid mode by SU's Division of Social Impact, attracted more than 170 stakeholders from higher education, government, business, the non-profitable sector and civil society.<br></p><p><strong>“It is all linked"</strong></p><p>In his opening remarks, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers stressed the importance of reimagining social impact in the ever-changing higher education sector. “During the past two and a half years, we had to reimagine many aspects of how universities function and operate, especially in the learning and teaching space," De Villiers said. “If we can reimagine learning and teaching, and fast-track models of hybrid learning, it means we are capable of reimagining social impact as well. It is all linked." </p><p>Elaborating on the interconnectedness of social impact and the other functions of the University, he added: “We do not exist for ourselves; we do not practise our science and research in isolation or for our own benefit; we do not serve only certain groups. We are a public university in every sense of the word and have an impact on society and individual lives and livelihoods." </p><p>The Rector further highlighted SU's vision of being a leading research-intensive university that advances knowledge in service of society. “To realise this vision, we're implementing, among others, hybrid learning, entrepreneurship and innovation, academic renewal to continue meeting the requirements of the global economy and escalating our hybrid model to exploit new markets via additional learning pathways." </p><p><strong>Universities must restore and rebuild</strong></p><p>During the critical discourse for the remainder of the symposium, thought leaders, academics and professionals shared ideas and best practices for changing society for the better. South African economist and political scientist Prof William Gumede, an associate professor at the School of Governance at the University of the Witwatersrand and executive chair of the Democracy Works Foundation, delivered a thought-provoking keynote address. He reflected on social impact in developing countries, and universities' broader role in restoring a “broken society". </p><p>According to Gumede, social impact includes universities' task to promote democratic corporate citizenship, empower people both in and outside the institution, demonstrate honesty and compassion, and build a social compact in the communities where the university operates. In developing countries specifically, he said, the social impact should focus on building corporate welfare, social justice, democracy, ethics and morality. “There is a deep moral crisis in society and in all the governing systems in the country," Gumede said. “Universities have the task to help rebuild those systems."</p><p>To address the “morality crisis" in South Africa, he suggested that universities teach ethics, which should be compulsory for all students. Moreover, Gumede proposed that universities should help develop people's resilience to crises, and their entrepreneurship skills. “We should train people to navigate problems, embrace them, and see opportunities," he said. He also encouraged symposium guests to find innovative ways to solve the current problems in society, and not simply revert to old ideas. </p><p><strong>In service of society</strong></p><p>Dr Leslie van Rooi, senior director of the Division of Social Impact, closed the proceedings by saying: “Universities across the globe are moving away from the notion of being research-intensive only for the sake of doing research. We are moving towards universities that are inherently in service of society."</p><p>Van Rooi concluded that an institution can embed social impact in its heart and soul. “It can be done by understanding what it means to engage, what it means to enable knowledge transfer, what it means to make society better, and what this will allow. Perhaps it will also force institutions such as Stellenbosch University not only to reflect on their history but to acknowledge it and allow themselves to be deeply changed."</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p><br></p>
High trauma caseload impedes delivery of healthcare services trauma caseload impedes delivery of healthcare servicesFMHS Marketing & Communication / FGGW Bemarking & Kommunikasie – Sue Segar<p>​The relentless burden of trauma cases – physical injuries which need immediate medical attention – is “squeezing out" the healthcare system's ability to keep up with basic healthcare needs, including care for chronic diseases, maternal and child health.<br></p><p>So said Professor Heike Geduld, head of the Division of Emergency Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), in an interview following a high-level summit on preventable trauma deaths in the Western Cape.<br></p><p>The meeting, hosted jointly by Professor Elmin Steyn from the FMHS' Department of Surgery, Dr Janette Verster from the Division of Forensic Pathology, and the Division of Emergency Medicine, comprised key stakeholders in trauma care, public health, community safety as well as provincial health-care leaders.<br></p><p>In April, a multi-disciplinary panel conducted a comprehensive review of trauma-related mortalities across the region with the goal of determining which deaths were preventable, potentially preventable, or non-preventable; identifying common factors that may have contributed to both in-hospital and out-of-hospital deaths; and identifying potential interventions to avert preventable deaths.<br></p><p>Geduld said the review was exceptionally helpful and important. “The resources we have to put towards trauma care in this country are seriously impeding general healthcare service delivery," she said.<br></p><p>Geduld added that while there is a strong need to prioritise a co-ordinated trauma system across the province in terms of clinical care, the health sector plays a key role in “advocating for and supporting trauma-prevention strategies including road traffic incidents, gender-based violence (GBV) and community justice. A whole-of society approach is needed of which health – which feels the burden of care – is a critical part."<br></p><p>Geduld said healthcare workers at the coalface of trauma cases had, for a long time, witnessed the burden of these cases on the system, “but we have never really had the data to drive our advocacy message," she said. “We haven't had the opportunity to do extensive research before."<br></p><p>The EpiC study (Epidemiology and Outcomes of Prolonged Trauma Care: A Prospective Multi-centre study of trauma in the Western Cape), had provided the first opportunity to do extensive research and to assess what happens along the trauma care pathway in the Western Cape, she added.<br></p><p>The study – a multi-site cross-sectional study of major trauma patients, that began in September 2019 in sites located in the Cape Town metro and Cape Winelands areas – provided data and logistical support for the review of 138 trauma-related deaths. The study, which is ongoing, collects data beginning at the time of injury, until the patient is discharged from hospital, including in-ambulance care and pathology records as applicable.<br></p><p>The summit acknowledged that alcohol plays a role in many trauma cases.<br></p><p>It also described trauma as a “predictable epidemic". “We know there are surges over weekends, and times associated with pay cycles – so there is a need to map our activities and resources to match."</p><p>A further key finding was that the under-reporting of incidents results in fewer safety and security resources being allocated to those under-reported areas.<br></p><p>Emergency worker burnout and compassion fatigue were also highlighted as notable challenges: “Healthcare workers, police, social workers, and everyone working in the system are repeatedly traumatized by their work experiences. This affects their functioning and therefore the quality of care they give. There is a high turnover rate of staff working in this area which affects the capacity to deliver service."<br></p><p>A further takeaway from the summit was that Covid-19 had proven that players across the multi-disciplinary spectrum were able to work well together as a team, highlighting the need for continuing with a team approach and good interdisciplinary communication.<br></p><p>Participants felt a strong need to acknowledge the inherent difference in resources and access to care for the rural population in the province and to prioritise pathways to care.<br></p><p>“The Western Cape Department of the Premier has prioritised the multidisciplinary approach to violence prevention, and health has an important role to play in this. Health can highlight the burden of violence and injury through generating data. It is reassuring to know that there are programs and initiatives within the community and across government aimed at reducing the burden of injury in this province. This includes violence prevention, GBV and road-injury prevention," Geduld said.<br><br></p>
Maties, Veldskoen Shoes team up to help students in need, Veldskoen Shoes team up to help students in needDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p><em>​​</em>Stellenbosch University (SU) this week announced their collaboration with celebrated local shoe company, Veldskoen Shoes, which also produces the flip flop brand, Plakkie. Named the Maties X Veldskoen, the new shoe will contribute proceeds of the sales to the university's Annual Fund Bridge The Gap (BTG). </p><p>BTG aims to remove the obstacles that are hindering Maties from having a meaningful student experience and obtaining that sought-after degree. The University is raising funds for several initiatives under the umbrella of Bridge the Gap. These include, #Move4Food, the Tygerberg Pantry Project, #Action4Inclusion, #GradMe, #Zim4Zim, End Period Poverty, #MatiesHaveDrive and Caught in the Middle.</p><p>Incorporating the iconic SU maroon colour, alumni who purchase a pair of hand-crafted, maroon-soled Maties x Veldskoen shoes and Maties Plakkie, can take pride in the fact that 5% of the total sales will go to the University's longstanding initiative which provides food security and financial aid to students who, otherwise, wouldn't be in the position to complete their education. This new collaboration will allow Maties of yesteryear to contribute positively to the next generation of Maties today.<br></p><p>​Bridge the Gap Coordinator Viwe Benxa says: "We are truly excited by this new venture partnership with Veldskoen and Plakkie. Our students will be benefitting immensely from it and this will lead to the further success and the prosperity of our student community. "</p><p>The Maties x Veldskoen shoe and Plakkie will officially launch at the 2022 Alumni Homecoming weekend celebrations, during the Matie Soirée at the Alumni Clubhouse at Die Stal.<br></p><p>With the influx of two thousand alumni returning to Stellenbosch for their annual Homecoming celebrations, the sentiments of fraternal pride and solidarity are even stronger than usual. The well-known slogan 'Always a Matie' has never rung truer.<br></p><p>Director of Principal and Transformative Gifts at SU, Pieter Swart adds: “Stellenbosch University is excited to partner with Veldskoen/ Plakkie, a truly South African product. We believe that through the venture we will not only grow the SU brand in a unique way but also significantly contribute to our student community in need through Bridge the Gap."</p><p>Veldskoen's continued mission to support, uplift and champion South Africa via multiple sectors is driven by its purpose to power an inclusive future for all, which includes empowering future Maties generations and making a positive impact through the Bridge The Gap initiative.  </p><p>Veldskoen Shoes co-founder and proud Matie Ross Zondagh says: “As an alumnus the opportunity to contribute meaningfully is a privilege. Knowing the work that Bridge The Gap does, we know this endeavour will have a positive effect on students that need assistance."</p><p><strong>The Matie Veldskoen and Maties Plakkie</strong></p><p>Veldskoen embraced SU's signature colour and the name The Matie – nickname for students of Stellenbosch University which came from the Afrikaans colloquialism <em>maat (mate or friend)</em>, originally used by the students of the University of Cape Town's precursor, the South African College. 'The Matie' has been integrated into Veldskoen's Heritage range with matching coloured soles and laces. They are available branded with the SU logo at R1199 or without for R1099. The specially designed Maties Plakkie will retail for R280 and will be available from the Matie Shop on campus and at<a href=""> <strong></strong></a> as of 9 September. </p><p><strong>Veldskoen Shoes</strong></p><p>Veldskoen Shoes is a footwear and apparel company that champions South Africa. Since its inception in 2016, Veldskoen has grown from a small start-up to a global brand that sells in over 30 countries worldwide.<br></p><p><strong style="text-decoration:underline;">Retail price:</strong><br></p><ul><li>Maties X Veldskoen unbranded - R1099</li><li>Maties X Veldskoen branded - R1199</li><li>Maties Plakkies male and female - R280</li><li>Spotless Maties Cleaning Kit - R269 </li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Homecoming 2022: Bergpad run, walk or cycle 2022: Bergpad run, walk or cycleDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p></p><p>Here's an opportunity to come and stretch those legs. Take part in a walk, run or cycle up breath-taking Stellenbosch mountain at 07:30 on Saturday 10 September. <br></p><p>Not superfit? Don't worry, we're accommodating all fitness levels, so bring your friends, family and pets, and enjoy fantastic views of the town. Refreshments will be served afterwards at the Alumni Clubhouse.<br></p><p>Ticket prices: R50 for the walk/run and R100 to cycle. <br></p><ul><li>Book your space on Quicket (<a href=""><strong></strong></a>). Tickets are on sale until Friday 9 September.</li></ul><p>This event forms part of the University's annual Homecoming weekend for alumni taking place from Thursday 8 September to Saturday 10 September on the Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses.  You can expect all sorts of social networking events, campus tours, a business breakfast, sporting activities and reunions throughout the weekend.<br></p><ul><li><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>CLICK HERE</strong></a> for the full Homecoming programme. Any questions? Please send an email to <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong> </strong>or call +27 21 808 2710.​</li></ul>
Trolley Challenge 2022: Calling all faculties! Challenge 2022: Calling all faculties! Development & Alumni Relations<p>The Development and Alumni Relations Division is calling on all Stellenbosch University faculties to participate in its annual Faculty Trolley Challenge which aims to collect non-perishable food, sanitary products, toiletries and funds for students in need.<br></p><p>So far eight faculties have responded to the challenge which will form part of DAR's Campus Giving Day activities from 6 to 7 October 2022. Campus Giving Day aims to raise funds for and awareness of the Bridge the Gap (BTG) Annual Fund and its various initiatives. BTG aims to close the gap between talent and financial need by inviting the SU student community, staff, parents and friends of the university to support students in overcoming the financial obstacles blocking their path to success.<br></p><p>The Faculty Trolley Challenge was set in motion during last year's Giving Day when the Dean of Engineering Wikus van Niekerk and the Dean of AgriSciences Danie Brink set about raising funds for the Tygerberg Pantry Project, one of BTG's initiatives. The Tygerberg Pantry Project came about in response to the overwhelming need for food and toiletries among health sciences and medical students on SU's Tygerberg Campus.<br></p><p>Viwe Benxa, BTG ambassador and Alumni Participation Coordinator in DAR, said: “I'm sure this challenge will prove to be a testament to the generosity and commitment of each of our faculties. It will also serve to demonstrate the care and support we all feel for students who are struggling. It is a selfless way for faculties to get more involved in the development of students."<br></p><p>He added: “We'd love to see some stiff competition develop among the faculties, and we would like to encourage all staff, students and alumni to give back in any way they possibly can."<br></p><p>Faculties willing to get involved in the Faculty Trolley Challenge will be supplied with two boxes in which donors would be able to drop pantry items such as noodles, coffee, flour (mieliepap), oil, peanut butter, rice and tinned food. They can also donate toiletries such as deodorant, sanitary towels, razors, toilet paper and toothpaste. Monetary donations can be deposited through the Giving Day platform:  <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>.</strong></p><p>According to Benxa these donations will be tallied at the end of Giving Day (7 October 2022), and will go towards supporting not only the Tygerberg Pantry Project, but also the #Move4Food and End Period Poverty projects under BTG.</p><p>“With your help, we want to equip our social workers with enough food parcels, toiletry packs and emergency funds to assist our students in the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 – peak periods of need among our students," said Benxa.</p><p>This year's Campus Giving Day will be a hybrid event open to the SU community and alumni from around the world. It will include activities such as a spinathon, a movie marathon, athletics and table tennis.</p><p>Other projects under BTG include,  #Action4Inclusion which supports students who cannot register for the next academic year owing to outstanding fees; #GradMe which helps students with unpaid fees to graduate; #Zim4Zim, which ensures that students are given financial support to help clear study debt; Caught in the Middle which helps students who do not qualify for free higher education bursaries from government; and #MatiesHaveDrive which works with firms to provide part-funded driver training for students who require a driving licence to get a job.</p><ul><li>Faculties interested in participating in the Faculty Trolley Challenge should contact the Bridge the Gap team at <a href=""><strong></strong></a>. They can also reach out to Bridge the Gap on its various social media platforms.</li></ul><ul><li>For more information about the Bridge the Gap fund and its initiatives visit <a href=""><strong></strong></a>​</li></ul>
Telling her story on her terms her story on her termsDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p></p><p style="text-align:justify;">As we look back on Women's Month in South Africa, Dr Beryl Botman, has just completed a number of Women's Month engagements in August in which she shared information about her first non-fiction book, <em>With (-Out) You</em>. It tells the deeply personal story of how she dealt with the sudden passing of her husband, and former Vice-Chancellor and Rector of Stellenbosch University, Prof Russel Botman.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The book chronicles how she coped with the loss of Russel, who was also her friend, confidante, and biggest supporter, in the first year after his death on 28 June 2014. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It was very difficult losing Russel," says Botman, “but I managed to cope by pulling in support where I needed it and also looking after my psychological wellbeing." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Some months after Russel's passing, Dr Botman finished her PhD at SU in 2014 and joined Free State University as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the then Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice. She also started working on various writing projects while also mulling over others she wanted to start.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Russel and I had always said that when he retires we will start writing, so I always knew I would start writing one day," says Botman. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Russel's death pushed her into writing, when she was asked to submit an epilogue in the tribute book to Russel. Today she also serves as Chair of the Russel Botman Bursary Fund and on the Committee that organises the Russel Botman Memorial Lecture.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Botman's own journey into the education and higher education sector, started in the late 1970s when she enrolled for a BA degree at the University of Cape Town after matriculating from Crestway High School in Retreat. As a woman of colour, she was only allowed to attend the university after obtaining a study permit. She also completed a teaching diploma and a BEd degree at UCT.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">She worked as a teacher at Lavender Hill Senior Secondary School teaching Afrikaans First and Second Language to Grade 8 to 12 learners for 13 years, and completed a Masters in Education at the University of the Western Cape in that time on a part-time basis. After graduating in 1995, Botman became a Senior Curriculum Advisor for Afrikaans in the then Worcester region of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). She was later promoted to Deputy Chief Education Specialist in the same department, but in 2004 Botman realised she had become “disillusioned with her career" and resigned from the WCED.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">By this time, Russel was serving as Vice Rector: Teaching and Learning at SU, and Botman was balancing her PhD studies in Values Education at SU with her role as a mother who had to take on more household duties to allow Russel to excel in a position that demanded a lot of his time and effort. In 2007, Russel became the first black Vice Chancellor and Rector of SU, which placed even more demands on him.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Russel and I decided together that applying for the Vice Chancellor position was the most influential way that we could make a difference together, with me fulfilling more of a supportive role and taking on a lot more of the family and household responsibilities that we had shared equally before. I was also his sounding board and with my background in education and knowledge of the education environment, I was able to also give him input when needed."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Botman continued to focus on her own career too - running a Wayne Ellis Coaching Academy franchise and lecturing part-time in the Education Department at SU.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Three years after serving as Rector, Russel's vision for SU culminated in the HOPE Project which he described at the time as moving the university from “success to significance in order to be of relevance to the people of our country and continent".  The project was focused on how SU could contribute to “the eradication of poverty and related conditions, and the promotion of human dignity and health, democracy and human rights, peace and security, as well as a sustainable environment and a competitive industry".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, in his second term as Rector, Russel passed away leaving behind four children, Roxanne, Ilse, Lizelle and Hayman. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Years later, it was Roxanne who would share Michelle Obama's book, <em>Becoming</em>, with her and the advice of her friend, disability, and women's rights activist as well as Artscape CEO, Marlene le Roux, who inspired her to write down her story of love and loss. <em>With (-Out) You</em> is the first of two books she wants to publish about the first five years after Russel's passing. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I wanted to share my experience after losing Russel, and so I told myself, I had to write 1 000 words a day at least. Somedays there were lots of writing and other days there was nothing. But it was important to document what happened after Russel's death. After his death, I had collected everything connected to that time in a box - all the cards, the notes, the newspaper clippings that became my sources for writing.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This process has brought some perspective and some things I now see differently than I saw then, but I wanted this to be MY reflection on that year and I wanted it to be authentic."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Reflecting on where South African women find themselves in Women's Month 2022, Botman is clear on the challenges, but remains hopeful. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My feelings about Women's Month are quite ambivalent, and while I know we have made some strides in improving the position of women in society today, there are still so many challenges that we face. We are still struggling with disparities in salaries between men and women, unequal appointment, and promotion processes for women, and then of course the added obstacles that women of colour face," says Botman.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It can therefore feel like we are not making progress, but if we are honest, and reflect on the statistics regarding the equality of women in all spheres of society, then we have made some progress. It's just that it has been very, very slow." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is particularly because of the inequalities that women already face outside the home, that Botman believes that it is vital to build a life or other types of relationships with individuals who see your value and want to see you thrive and grow.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I was always Russel's equal and he had a high regard for the value that I brought to the relationship. He always used to joke, that if he had to pay me, he wouldn't be able to afford me," says Botman and laughs.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is these values that were so central to their life together that Botman hopes they managed to also carry over to their children as their daughters are still facing the same challenges as many women before them have faced, from being disregarded in the workplace and daily life, to being treated as a threat when their qualifications outweigh their peers and being expected to be subservient to be accepted. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The challenges never stop, no matter your age, and by the virtue of being a woman, you have to be ready to continuously push those barriers." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">While she admits that life without Russel can be a daily struggle, on the days she wants to share news of her day with him - like the recent publication of her first book - she is grateful that she was the “one who got to spend 25 years with him". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I can't be dissatisfied that I now have to live without him, because living without him means I also got to share a life with him for 25 years. We shared such a close relationship, we worked together, we had fun together and we travelled together. Looking back, I am grateful that I resigned from my job in 2004, because if I had not, I would not have been able to spend the next seven years travelling with him across the world and I don't regret any of it." </p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><em>Dr Botman's book With (-Out) You can be purchased on Amazon and Smashwords at </em><em> </em><a href=""><em><strong></strong></em></a><em>. It will soon also be available at other bookstores and on Takealot.</em></li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p>​<br></p>
Homecoming: Spotlight on SA economy at business breakfast Spotlight on SA economy at business breakfastDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>Time is running out to book your tickets for Stellenbosch University's Homecoming Business Breakfast taking place on Friday 9 September at 09:00 at the Adam Small Theatre Complex in Stellenbosch. <br></p><p>The Alumni Relations Office in partnership with the Stellenbosch Business School will host this business breakfast with the theme “Bull or bear? Leaders' views on the future of South Africa's economy". </p><p>Leading thinkers such as South African Financial and Fiscal Commission chair Dr Patience Nombeko Mbava, Artscape chief executive Dr Marlene le Roux and Simon Susman, Chairman of Conservation South Africa, President of Intercontinental Group of Department Stores, Board member of five companies and Honorary President ​ of Woolworths Holdings Ltd, will share their insights. </p><p>Dr Morné Mostert, Strategic Foresight Advisor and former director of the Institute for Futures Research, will serve as moderator of what is bound to be a highly informative discussion in light of the current challenges and opportunities in both the South African and global economy.</p><ul><li>Book your space on Quicket <strong>(</strong><a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>).</strong> </li><li>For any queries, please send an email to or call +27 21 808 2710.<br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
A decade of excellence in Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies decade of excellence in Research, Innovation and Postgraduate StudiesCorporate Communication and Marketing Division / Afdeling Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking<p>​There's a well-known parable about a boy at a beach full of sand-stranded starfish, trying his level best to throw as many of them back into the ocean, even though he knew it would be impossible to save them all. He persevered because he knew he was making a difference in the lives of the starfish he did manage to throw back into the surf. <br></p><p>Prof Eugene Cloete, outgoing Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC): Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies of Stellenbosch University (SU), is a professional 'rescuer of starfish', one by one. Ask any of the hundreds of postgraduate students and academics the 64-year-old microbiologist took under his wing to teach them the nuts and bolts of professional science and help them advance as scholars.</p><p>In fact, the principle behind the parable is such a key part of Cloete's outlook on life that a framed starfish has had pride of place on his office wall for the past 18 years.  </p><p><strong>Terms as academic leader</strong></p><p>Cloete's term as DVC came to an end in July, after two successful terms.</p><p>“One survives leadership based on how you deal with your positional leadership. Listening to the good memories that colleagues shared with me upon my retirement, I'd like to think that I did a reasonable job.</p><p>“When you assume a leadership role, you surrender all rights and privileges. It's all about selfless service. I'm not even in charge of my diary!" he chuckles.</p><p>To Cloete, the importance of values and fostering respect, trust and integrity is non-negotiable.</p><p>“One realises just how important respect is when you work with people who are vastly different. When people understand respect, differences can be bridged. The world is in chaos because of a lack of respect."</p><p>He then adds jokingly at his own expense: “Yes, some of my friends think I would have made a good minister of religion."</p><p><strong>Looking back</strong></p><p>For his final presentation to Senate and Council, Cloete used the very same six-point PowerPoint slide he used for his first presentation in 2012. He was grateful to look back on how SU had enhanced its knowledge base, postgraduate student success, research outputs, innovation, research funding and research infrastructure and created a number of new multidisciplinary research programmes since his first days as DVC. </p><p>Council congratulated and thanked him for his successful terms with the following unanimous motion: </p><p>“Prof Cloete leaves behind a healthy portfolio and did tremendous work to establish an outstanding, leading research-intensive university, to develop important partnerships and, at the same time, to further expand postgraduate studies as an important sustainable building block to support this." </p><p>SU currently hosts six centres of excellence funded by the Department of Science and Innovation – the highest number at any South African university. During his tenure, cutting-edge entities such as the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, the School for Climate Studies, the Fraunhofer Research Laboratory and the AUDA/NEPAD Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology and Innovation were established. </p><p>“All was done working side by side with extremely talented colleagues. The best I could do was to create a climate that would enable us to zero in on the six focus areas from 2012 and take SU to new heights," Cloete emphasises. </p><p>He is grateful for the support from the Rector and for good relationships with the Rectorate and the deans who reported to him, as well as people such as senior directors Dr Therina Theron (Research and Innovation) and Ellen Tise (Library and Information Service). </p><p>Cloete also hastens to add that the pressures of the office would have been unbearable had it not been for the unconditional support of his wife, Heloise, his family, as well as his right and left hand of the past decade, Inge-Rae Scholtz. </p><p><strong>Seeing others succeed </strong></p><p>“Academics have diverse perspectives. Having that diversity is a good thing and makes a university a healthy place. It's when all these different disciplines, cultures, talents and personalities gather around a problem that new and innovative solutions are born."</p><p>His “acid test" for any decision was always whether it would contribute to staff and student success. And whether he would be willing to defend it on the Rooiplein. </p><p>“My job was to support: morally, financially, or by creating opportunities for people. What I enjoyed most was probably the chance to play a part in others' growth and success.</p><p>“People thrive when you express your positive expectations for them, and then support them in realising those expectations," says Cloete, who believes in acknowledging staff through a congratulatory call on their birthday, a thank-you email, or awards for leading or emerging researchers. </p><p>He enjoys the energy of presenting regular workshops for early-career researchers and providing mentorship to emerging leaders in science. He teaches them about the requirements for a successful academic career and consistent professionalism. </p><p><strong>Researcher </strong><br>“Hard work beats talent every time, until talent does hard work," says the man who still drafts his own funding applications. </p><p>To satisfy his boundless curiosity about nature, he has continued with his research over the past decade. In the process, he supervised another 12 postgraduates and added another four patents and 70 publications to his tally.</p><p>And precisely because this fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the International Water Association, the Water Institute of Southern Africa and the Royal Society of South Africa never stopped his own active research, he could credibly claim that he understood the challenges faced by scientists.</p><p>“Others have hobbies. I read an article or write a book. I don't think of it as work." </p><p><strong>Early career</strong></p><p>Growing up on a farm in Lady Grey, Cloete's search for solutions to global problems started with his father, Dan. </p><p>“Son, people will always need water and food. Study and work in that field," was his dad's short and sweet career advice.  </p><p>Over the years, Cloete has elaborated on this focus with his own research philosophy of WEALTH: The W represents 'water', the E 'energy', 'education', 'employment' and 'equity', the A 'agriculture' and 'access', the L 'leadership' and 'land', the T 'technology' and 'transformation', and the H 'health', 'housing', 'hope' and 'happiness'. </p><p>Among others, this full-time solution seeker and part-time consultant for international firms developed a technique to use electrochemically activated water to remove bacteria causing corrosion in industrial cooling towers. The technology continues to be used in Coca-Cola's factories to this day. </p><p>He was also the first researcher to discover that certain bacteria prey on algae, which could prevent the build-up of slime algae in freshwater and other systems. </p><p>His formal research career started with a BSc degree (in 1979) and a master's in Botany (1981) from the University of the Free State. At the young age of 26, he graduated with his DSc in Microbiology (Water Purification) from the University of Pretoria (UP), having worked full-time for the chemical firm AECI. Two years later, he became UP's youngest associate professor ever. </p><p>In 2009, Cloete left his position as head of UP's Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology and chair of the School for Biological Sciences to assume the role of dean of SU's Faculty of Science. </p><p>In recent years, his patents have included functional nanofibers in mini-water purification filters, and solar panels to pasteurise harvested rainwater. He is the inventor of the patented Rotoscope, which provides real-time monitoring of the build-up of biofilm or slime in water and other wet environments in order to prevent damage to industrial water systems. Cloete recently also assisted a PhD student to develop a bioreactor used for the treatment of winery effluent. He has patents at various stages of commercialisation.</p><p>His work has garnered recognition from the SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the South African Society for Microbiology as well as the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF). </p><p><strong>The decade ahead</strong></p><p>In the years ahead, he plans to expand his national and international networks and continue serving as chair of the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) community of practice for entrepreneurial universities.</p><p>“I'm not retiring. I'm simply rewiring. 'Retire' really doesn't exist in my vocabulary.</p><p>“I believe that my career will have its greatest impact in the next five to ten years, God willing."</p><p>He intends helping with the roll-out and licensing of patents that he had a hand in, and ploughing back into newly established SU schools and research entities. </p><p>“The universities of the region must collaborate more, for example on research in the fields of climate affairs, data science, water and renewable energy. I would like to be a catalyst, bringing groups together to make expertise available to government," says Cloete, who previously served on the boards of ASSAf, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Water Research Commission and the Cancer Association of South Africa. </p><p>He will also be campaigning for a national recognition diploma, affording students formal recognition for credits earned at university even though they exit the system after two or three so-called unsuccessful years. </p><p>“It would save the taxpayer a lot of money, make students more employable, and prevent them from seeing themselves as a failure for the rest of their lives.</p><p>“I am a believer, so I don't fear the future. For as long as I can remember, I have believed in a God I cannot see. But when I look at my life, I see what I believe."</p><p>He points to the 110 master's theses and doctoral dissertations safely stored in a glass cabinet in his office.  </p><p>“Those are monuments. In my younger days, I never realised how meaningful it would be to my career to supervise students. Looking back now, my 165+ publications, six books and nine patents pale in comparison. I took an intellectual journey with each of those students. Eight have gone on to become professors, and many are corporate board members. All have remained friends." </p><p>Each one a starfish. </p><p> </p><p>​<br></p>