Welcome to Stellenbosch University

​SU Alumni News



Convocation meeting set for 7 December meeting set for 7 DecemberDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p></p><p>Members of the Stellenbosch University Convocation are invited to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on <strong>Thursday 7 December 2023, at 18:00</strong> SAST.</p><p>The AGM is an important gathering that makes it possible for the broad community of alumni to receive a progress report by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, consider a report on the state of the Convocation, and hear an address by an esteemed colleague on critical matters. Also, the annual Convocation Prize for service to the community is presented to a member of the Convocation at the gathering. This year the award will be made posthumously to <strong>Ainsley Moos</strong>, former chairman of the SU Council who died earlier in the year.</p><p>All this means that whether you're in South Africa, or the rest of the continent, or residing in Asia, Australia, Europe, North or South America, or elsewhere, this particular gathering of the university community provides you with a unique opportunity to gain insight into university matters. </p><ul><li><strong style="text-decoration:underline;"><a href="/english/donors/Documents/Agenda_Convocation_Nov2023.pdf" target="_blank">Click here</a> </strong>for the 2023 meeting agenda.</li><li><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>Click here</strong></a> for the recording of the annual meeting of 10 November 2022.</li><li><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Click here​</a></strong> for the recording of the extraordinary meeting of 1 June 2023.</li></ul><p><strong><br></strong></p><p><strong>Event Details</strong></p><p>Convocation members can join the meeting either in-person or online.</p><p><strong>When:</strong>    Thursday 7 December 2023<br></p><p><strong>Time: </strong>    18:00 SAST (If you are based outside of South Africa, <a href="">CLICK HERE</a> to locate the equivalent time for your location.)  </p><p><strong>Where:</strong> SU Museum, 52 Ryneveld St, Stellenbosch <span style="text-decoration:underline;">OR</span> Online </p><p><strong>Guest Speaker:</strong> Prof Aslam Fataar, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Education Policy Studies at Stellenbosch University</p><strong>RSVP:</strong> To register for the meeting, please send an email to <br><p> <br></p><p><span style="text-decoration:underline;">PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING:</span></p><ul><li>You need to submit your registration as soon as possible as in-person seating is limited.<br></li><li>The closing date for registrations is Tuesday 5 December 2023. </li><li>Once registered, for those attending online - your access link to the meeting, will be sent to you via e-mail.</li><li>For those attending in person – please be seated in the venue by 17:30 SAST and please bring along a form of identity document with you.<br><br></li></ul><p>In terms of the<strong style="text-decoration:underline;"> </strong><a href="/english/Documents/Strategic_docs/2017/SU%20STATUTE.pdf" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>SU Statute (2019)</strong></a><strong style="text-decoration:underline;"> </strong>the Convocation  is composed of (a) all persons on whom a qualification has been conferred at a congregation of the University; (b) the rector, the vice-rectors, chief operating officer and the full-time academic staff of the University; and (c) former full-time academic staff of the University who have left the service of the University on account of their having reached retirement age.</p><p>The SU Statute acknowledges the significant role that Convocation plays to promote the welfare of the University by maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship between the University and the members of Convocation. Moreover, Convocation provides an open platform for members of the Convocation to provide input into matters regarding the University. </p><p>Kindly note that all agenda items have already been submitted and therefore the agenda is closed. No additional points or motions may be added, as stated in the <a href="/english/management/Documents/2020/Procedure-in-respect-of-the-Meetings-of-the-Convocation-approved-by-Council-20201130.pdf"><strong>Convocation meeting procedures</strong></a><strong>.</strong><br></p><p>​<br></p>
SU outreach to Zambia brings hope to heart disease patients outreach to Zambia brings hope to heart disease patientsFMHS Marketing & Communications – Ilse Bigalke<p>An outreach by Stellenbosch University's (SU) Division of Cardiology has brought hope and a life-saving procedure to patients in Zambia who suffer from rheumatic heart disease.<br></p><p>According to Dr Helmuth Weich, cardiologist of the Division based in SU's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), this disease is caused by a throat infection during childhood that affects the heart valves. Patients then usually present years later with irreversibly damaged heart valves and subsequent heart failure. <br></p><p>It usually affects young adults and more often women and it affects about 30 million people world-wide, mostly in the developing world. <br></p><p>“Untreated valve lesions can cause death and significant morbidity and require surgical replacement," says Weich. Most African populations do not have access to valve replacement surgery, and post operative care (including lifelong use of blood thinners) is usually sub optimal.<br></p><p>“For some patients, it is possible to do an alternative minimal invasive procedure where the narrowed valve is stretched with a balloon," says Weich. The procedure, percutaneous mitral balloon valvotomy (PMBV), is technically very demanding and done on mostly awake patients via a vein in the groin.<br></p><p>Weich says Zambia's first cardiologist (Dr Lorrita Kabwe) was trained at the FMHS and Tygerberg Hospital, and maintains close ties with the Division of Cardiology.<br></p><p>“I set up an outreach to establish PMBV in Zambia. The technique I use was developed by myself and is less costly than the standard one and in my opinion much simpler.<br></p><p>“It requires a number of consumables for which I applied to the suppliers (Boston Scientific, who sponsored 20 kits of steerable catheters, transseptal puncture kits and Safari wires and Vertice MedTec, who sponsored 20 valvuloplasty balloons). The kit donated is worth around R900 000."<br></p><p>SU covered the travel and accommodation costs for Weich and Sr Magda Petersen to travel to the National Heart Hospital in Lusaka.<br></p><p>“Other groups from all over the world have travelled to Zambia in the past to do procedures on Zambian patients, but our intent was to make them independent."<br></p><p>Weich says Kabwe did the first few procedures with a lot of input from him, but he gradually stood back. “Dr Kabwe is a natural and did the last case without any input from either myself or Sr Petersen. The plan was to do a second visit, but this is not necessary – she is more than capable to take this forward on her own.<br></p><p>“We were able to leave behind the 14 unused kits and she has already done her first case after we left." <br></p><p>Weich says the people of Zambia now have access to this life saving procedure and it is very easy to continue providing virtual input if Kwabe has problems with patient selection, etcetera.<br></p><p>“It took more than a year to set up, but we have now completed the outreach. This sponsorship involves a large sum of money but much more importantly, many, many hours of work and a willingness to make it happen." <br></p><p>According to Weich he is already in discussion with another SU trainee, who is the first cardiologist in Zimbabwe, to set up a similar outreach in that country.<br><br></p>
Retiring Prof Gubela Mji built a bastion for disability and rehabilitation studies Prof Gubela Mji built a bastion for disability and rehabilitation studiesFMHS Marketing & Communications – Edna Ellman<p>​Speaking to Professor Gubela Mji about her life's work is like speaking to someone on the cusp of a brand-new adventure. Over two decades after she joined the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies in May 2002, when it was in its infant shoes, she still sounds as passionate as ever on the eve of her retirement as head of the centre.<br></p><p>“When I joined the unit, I was the only staff member back then, and I gradually saw the unit expand into a division with around 11 people," she says. </p><p>A first order of business when she started teaching the programme was inclusivity. “The model back then meant only students from Cape Town could be catered for. So, I shifted the programme to block weeks every six months, which meant we could expand and include students from the rest of the country.<br></p><p>“But I also wanted to reach students in the African region. While collaborating with the Division of Family Medicine I saw they used internet-based programmes for their master's, and so in 2006, I introduced internet-based programmes for our structured master's."<br></p><p>Along the way she saw the need to expand again to include a PhD programme within disability and rehabilitation studies, which was approved.<br></p><p>Mji explains that disability is transdisciplinary and should therefore include students from other disciplines, such as from education, psychology, finance, and engineering.<br></p><p>“These students were in their respective departments, but they also wanted to understand disability. We saw a need to develop a postgraduate diploma in disability and rehabilitation studies. This one-year diploma would assist these students coming from other disciplines with regard to disability and rehabilitation studies.<br></p><p>“By the end we had a postgraduate diploma and both a structured and research master's in Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, as well as a PhD in Health Science rehabilitation."<br></p><p>Mji has a PhD in Family Medicine: Indigenous Health Knowledge, which she obtained from Stellenbosch University in 2013; an MSc in Physiotherapy: Disability and Homelessness from the University of Cape Town; and a BSc in Physiotherapy.<br></p><p>But she is not a woman who rests on her laurels. One burning question kept her striving for even more: What happens with all this disability research?</p><p>“I had this perception that they just keep it in their cupboards and nothing eventually comes from it, so I felt there was a need to develop a network – which includes persons with disabilities, researchers, government, businesses and civil society – with a core goal of translating disability research into evidence-based practice to effect policies for the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities."<br></p><p>Professor Lieketseng Ned has worked with Mji since 2014, first having her as line manager when she joined the university as a lecturer and later Mji became her PhD supervisor. “She has taught me how to be a rigorous and principled disability scholar, as well as the importance of being patient with the process of growth and being committed to the disability agenda," she says.<br></p><p>Ned says the highlight of working with Mji was her inclusive and empowering leadership style. “She excels in bringing people with the same interest together. This is why she has built a successful disability network (AfriNEAD) which later gave birth to an accredited African Journal of Disability (AJOD)."</p><p>Mji was born in the Eastern Cape and counts herself fortunate to have had her grandmother as one of her early mentors. “My grandmother really had this vision about the African continent and taught us about its best qualities and its challenges. I can remember as a young person we were very much aware of what was going on in Uganda and the women's struggle. She taught me about Indira Gandhi, who was the first female prime minister of India.<br></p><p>“She had a small radio and every morning, she listened to the news, and we were also listening and learning a lot. So those were my humble beginnings. I was just really very fortunate having mentors that really were guiding me through the process."<br></p><p>Mji plans to divide her time between Cape Town and the Eastern Cape upon her retirement and to continue advocacy work.<br></p><p>Asked about any challenges in her career, she says: “I always just tried to face the day with a sincere heart, and just continued to try and solve each problem and find solutions. I will miss the academic space and mentors who were part of my education process. They were able to see the potential in me and they really wanted me to have a voice. They helped me understand even though there's mass of voices, my voice is important too."<br></p><p>Mji has continued what her grandmother started – by having a sincere interest in the world and making it better. “Our network has linked with about 23 countries, and they are now starting to produce their own disability research. I have been exploring the concept of Ubuntu with students – some of these indigenous concepts and principles are important to bring to the fore. We are integrating both the new and the old and you will end up with a colourful blanket of combined knowledge systems.<br></p><p>“You will have a far more balanced future if you have these values on one side and technology on the other side. Technology itself will be enhanced and balanced by these values."<br></p><p>​<br></p><p><em>Photo caption: Prof Gubela Mji</em><br></p><p><em>Photo credit: Damien Schumann</em><br></p>
SU strengthens international networks with visit by Consular Corps strengthens international networks with visit by Consular CorpsFMHS Marketing & Communications – Wilma Stassen<p>​Collaboration is essential to universities realising their institutional goals, and for that reason, purposeful partnerships and inclusive networks are among Stellenbosch University's (SU) core strategic themes.<br></p><p>This was emphasised during a recent visit by members of the Cape Town Consular Corps to SU's new state-of-the-art Biomedical Research Institute (BMRI) at the Tygerberg Campus—home to the university's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS).</p><p>“It is a strategic objective of the university to foster international partnerships with people like yourselves. It makes our world bigger and brings new perspectives to our faculty and university," Prof Elmi Muller, FMHS Dean, told the delegation in her welcoming remarks. </p><p>The visiting Consular Corps members were made up of Consuls General, Consuls, Honorary Consuls and other consular officials representing 18 different countries. The purpose of the event was to showcase the university's facilities and to build on the existing relationships between SU and the Consular Corps.</p><p>SU has formal bilateral partnerships and other forms of collaboration with higher education institutions in each of these countries, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, told dignitaries. “We have no fewer than 339 partner institutions in 66 countries on six continents. Which means that our level of internationalisation is among the highest in South Africa," De Villiers said.</p><p>“As an institution with a global outlook, rooted in Africa, we continuously ask ourselves not only what we're good at, but also what we are good for," he added. “That's why our vision is not only to be Africa's leading research-intensive university, but also to be a place where we advance knowledge in service of society.</p><p>“One of the university's core strategic themes is to conduct research for impact, and this is exemplified by this facility. The BMRI is unparalleled on the African continent in terms of its facilities and research capacity, but also for significant human development through training some of the best students from the continent and exposing them to extensive global research networks," De Villiers said. “The BMRI and the work that we're doing here is a practical demonstration of our aspiration to be a proud African knowledge hub, serving the continent through research innovation and education."</p><p>De Villiers's message of service on the continent was echoed by Prof Nico Gey van Pittius, FMHS Vice-Dean: Research and Internationalisation, who explained how the FMHS targets some of the greatest health issues facing the continent through its research. “We know that Africa bears the brunt of many diseases, and as one of the leading medicine and health sciences faculties on this continent we have a unique responsibility to contribute to addressing these problems," Gey van Pittius acknowledged. “We want to do that by bringing the brightest minds in science and technology together here at the faculty and providing them with cutting-edge technologies to help find solutions to some of Africa's most pressing health issues."</p><p>Gey van Pittius also highlighted the faculty's efforts to build capacity on the African continent. “We don't see our role as only servicing our own needs, we also do capacity building for the rest of the continent," he said. “We are continuously training students and colleagues from other African countries who then takes this knowledge and skills back to their own countries."</p><p>To illustrate the faculty's real-life impact, two prominent SU academics presented some of the work their teams' have accomplished. Prof Portia Jordan, who heads SU's Department of Nursing and Midwifery, made a case for the need to increase and empower the global nursing workforce, and illustrated how her department is heeding the call through several under- and postgraduate programmes. Prof Tulio de Oliveira, Director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI), relayed how during the Covid-19 pandemic, his team worked tirelessly to track variants on the continent and were responsible for detecting both the Beta and Omicron variants of SARS-CoV-19. He maintained that their work in epidemic tracking on the content is ongoing and emphasised the importance of this work considering climate change and its link to human and animal health.</p><p>The talks were concluded with a word of thanks by Prof Karin Baatjes, FMHS Vice Dean: Learning and Teaching. “It is key to our university's mission to be connected to the world, while enriching and transforming local, continental and global communities," Baatjes said. “May we continue to build strong bonds in our international communities, and to that end, we express our gratitude to all representatives here today."</p><p>After the presentations, dignitaries were taken on a tour of the BMRI to experience the facility first-hand. </p><p>“Stellenbosch University is blessed with an abundance of world-class resources, creating a compelling case for members of the Consular Corps to forge cooperation agreements with the University," said Dr Prieur du Plessis, Deputy Dean of the Cape Town Consular Corps. “A University is measured by the excellence of its work. At the BMRI we have seen first-hand evidence of its outstanding work. I would encourage our members and the University to engage with each other to explore mutual opportunities – opportunities in the interest of advancement in South Africa, and to the benefit of our respective countries."</p><p>Consul General of Romania and Dean of the Consular Corps, Nicolae Andrei Zaharescu, thanked SU for networking with the diplomatic mission in Cape Town. “Supporting the education system in South Africa, through all diplomatic efforts, remains one of our main goals. In the words of Madiba: A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special," Zaharescu concluded.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
New group of Dell Young Leaders start their journey group of Dell Young Leaders start their journeyDevelopment & Alumni Relations<div>Not even the rain could dampen the spirit of hope and exuberance among the 213 Stellenbosch University first-year students welcomed into the Dell Young Leaders programme at a recent launch event. This is the largest cohort of students onboarded into the programme at the university to date.<br></div><div><br></div><div>The Dell Young Leaders programme – funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation – is designed to empower university students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend university, to achieve their goal of reaching graduation and starting a meaningful career. The programme includes personalised advice and resources for students’ academic, financial, wellness and career wellbeing.</div><div><br></div><div>The 2023 cohort of Dell Leaders students at SU were selected from six of its faculties: AgriSciences; Economic and Management Sciences; Education; Engineering; Medicine and Health Sciences; and Science.</div><div><br></div><div>Linke Bredenkamp, a Nursing and Midwifery student, said being selected as a Dell Young Leaders student is a life-changing moment for her.</div><div><br></div><div>"Last year my parents told me that if I do not get a bursary, they would not be able to fund my studies. Now, I am able to pursue my dream of helping people in need. The beautiful thing about nursing is that you are there for people during the most important and difficult times in their lives, such as births, deaths and illness. For me that is the most important part of this job because it means so much for people to have someone there who really cares. Sure, knowing your work is important but just being there for someone is the most important and satisfying thing for me. Thanks to this scholarship I will be able to do just that."</div><div><br></div><div>Civil Engineering student Alie-Saadique Saban said he is thankful for the financial assistance the scholarship will provide.</div><div><br></div><div>"It’ll help me to become more independent and to not rely on my parents who also have to financially support my younger brother. Now I do not have to constantly worry about money and can solely focus on my studies."</div><div><br></div><div>Key stakeholders from SU, including faculty Deans and members of the rectorate, as well as representatives and leadership from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in South Africa, India and the United States also attended the event.</div><div><br></div><div>In his keynote address, Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, SU Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching, said: “The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is doing a phenomenal job in partnering with our higher education institutions to drive what is the most important thing for any university – students’ success. We are very proud to be associated with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.”</div><div><br></div><div>He reminded the 2023 cohort that being a Dell Young Leaders student not only affords you a financial award, but is also “a vote of confidence in your abilities and your potential to make a difference in the future”.</div><div><br></div><div>Ramjugernath also revealed that the Dell Young Leaders programme will henceforth be driven by the Responsibility Centre for Teaching and Learning at SU “to give student success the highest priority within our institution”. The programme was previously based within the Registrar’s division.</div><div><br></div><div>The launch event also provided an opportunity to reinforce the strong partnership between the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and SU. Since the launch of the SU partnership, as well as the onboarding of the 2023 cohort of 213 students, a total number of 662 scholarships have been awarded to Matie students. This means the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is on track to meet its target of supporting 1 000 Maties students by 2025.</div><div><br></div><div>Helen Vaughan, Programme Director in South Africa at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, said the programme aims to make a difference in the lives of students by providing the necessary support to ensure they reach their goal of graduating from university.</div><div><br></div><div>“Since the inception of the programme 13 years ago, we have witnessed students reaching their dreams, transitioning into meaningful employment, and making a lasting impact not only in their own lives, but the lives of their families and communities.”</div><div><br></div><div>Of the over 2 000 scholarships awarded to date across partner universities, the programme has been able to maintain a 97% persistence rate – this directly translates to students reaching their goal of graduating. A further 98% of graduates have started a job or gone on to career-enhancing further study within three months after graduating.</div><div><br></div><div>“We are incredibly committed to making sure that we are building the right partnerships with corporate SA, government and non-profit organisations in the social sector to make sure we are placing Dell Young Leaders graduates into meaningful employment after graduating from SU,” said Vaughan.</div><div><br></div><div>SU is one of three partner universities, along with the University of Cape Town and the University of Pretoria, that have partnered with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to facilitate the Dell Young Leaders programme.</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>To find out more about the Dell Young Leaders programme visit <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>.</strong></li></ul></div><div><br></div><div><em>Photo: The 2023 cohort of Dell Leaders students at SU. (Je’nine May Photography)</em><br></div><p><br></p>
A year of transformation: SciMathUS celebrates student achievements year of transformation: SciMathUS celebrates student achievements Janice Johannes<p style="text-align:justify;">​More than 133 students embarked on a life-altering journey in 2023, having accepted the challenge to reshape their future through the SciMathUS university preparation programme. On the evening of 20 October, their achievements and the profound impact of the programme were celebrated in grand style at a year-end event hosted at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS).<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Prof Michael le Cordeur, vice-dean of Teaching and Learning of Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Education, delivered the welcome address. He lauded the SciMathUS students who, thanks to the University's #ChangingLives campaign and the generosity of donors, had managed to overcome the setbacks in their lives and make full use of their second chance at success. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Echoing his sentiments, Ms Nokwanda Siyengo, SciMathUS programme manager and acting director of the Stellenbosch University Centre for Pedagogy (SUNCEP), praised the class of 2023 for completing this journey of personal growth and self-discovery. She called on them to be resilient and serve as ambassadors for SciMathUS in the years to come.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Representatives from the different SciMathUS streams were also afforded an opportunity to share their views. Faith Mmusi, a Group A representative, reminded the audience that setbacks often pave the way to success. Sharing her personal journey, she looked back on the challenging yet rewarding year on the programme. “If something doesn't challenge you, it won't change you," she said. Representing Group B, Uphakeme Mhlongo thanked the lecturers and sponsors for their invaluable support and encouraged her peers to carry the lessons learnt from SciMathUS into their future. Abigail Joubert from Group C (Accounting) expressed her gratitude for the opportunity that SciMathUS provided, noting that the programme not only enhanced students' academic skills, but also instilled a sense of belonging and support. “Thank you to our sponsors and donors because you have changed our lives in many more ways than just academically," she said. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Other speakers included SciMathUS mentors and facilitators. Ms Kelebogile Kedijang, a mentor who herself completed the programme in 2018, is currently studying towards a BScHons degree in Wine Biotechnology. She underlined the value of the programme, offering students a second chance to access higher education, and commented on the reciprocal learning between mentors and mentees. Facilitator Dr Janina Theron, in turn, expressed excitement about the students' journeys ahead and the impact they would undoubtedly have on society.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">More than just a celebration of academic achievements, the SciMathUS year-end event showcased the students' resilience and growth. The programme is proof that a second chance is sometimes all that is needed to truly transform lives.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p>
Giving Day: May we count on your support? Day: May we count on your support?Development & Alumni Relations<p><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size:9pt;font-family:verdana, sans-serif;"></span></p><div>There's never been a more important time to support our annual Stellenbosch University (SU) Giving Day. Before we tell you about the how, the what and the when, please take a moment to consider the following:</div><div><br></div><div>Together we can alleviate the burden of student debt and pave the way for brighter, debt-free futures.</div><div><br></div><div>Let's talk impact. There is a massive shortfall that impacts thousands of students. What does it translate to? Dedicated and hard-working Matie students not able to complete their education.</div><div><br></div><div>SU's Giving Day is an annual event that brings together students, faculties, staff, alumni, and the wider community in a collective effort to raise funds for bursaries, student meals, and student community initiatives. Literally, what a student needs to operate and negotiate the day successfully.</div><div><br></div><div>If each one of us lend our support to Giving Day, it will lead to one desired outcome after another. The idea that your donation helps to spare hard-working Matie students the stress and anxiety of their degree being in jeopardy and their studies cut short might be the most considerate gift you'll ever give.</div><div><br></div><div>If you would like to make an online Giving Day contribution, please <strong><a href="">CLICK HERE</a>.</strong></div><div><br></div><div>A Matie-infused selection of on-campus activities will further boost Giving Day proceeds. </div><div><br></div><div>Maties Giving Day reaches its crescendo with a grand on-campus Rooiplein celebration on Thursday 5 October 2023. Join us for a cycle spin-a-thon, Zumba classes, a movie marathon in the Neelsie, music galore with DJ Mshayi and friends, and mini sporting activities such as athletics, cricket, soccer, rugby, golf, hockey, netball and rowing.</div><div><br></div><div>For more information, visit: <strong><a href=""></a></strong></div><div><br></div><div>Cast your mind back to the day you got your degree. How wonderful if you could help a fellow Matie experience the same.</div><div><br></div><div>May we count on your support?<br></div><p><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size:9pt;font-family:verdana, sans-serif;">​</span><span style="font-size:9pt;font-family:verdana, sans-serif;"><br> </span>​<br></p>
"Woordfees" would like to broaden perspectives all over Stellenbosch"Woordfees" would like to broaden perspectives all over Stellenbosch Toyota US Woordfees<p>​​​​​<br></p><div> <strong>The 2023 Toyota SU Woordfees would like to challenge and inspire staff, students, alumni and visitors to explore new perspectives of our lived worlds. The Woordfees programme offers a rich variety of opportunities, not only to escape into worlds of beauty, humour and drama, but also to reflect on the complexity of our realities.</strong></div><div> <br> </div><div>The Toyota SU Woordfees takes place in and around Stellenbosch and on campus from 7 to 15 October. With 640 unique presentations in 14 genres the Woordfees is one of the biggest arts festivals in Africa. Productions are offered across 50 venues across various communities including Jamestown, Idas Valley, Kayamandi and in the heart of our own campus. The University will welcome festivalgoers, alumni, students and staff to the Victoria Hub, the Endler and Fismer Halls, the Adam Small Theatre Complex and the Eendrag Theatre.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Social Impact and Transformation</strong></div><div>The Toyota SU Woordfees resides within the Social Impact, Transformation and Staff Responsibility Centre at Stellenbosch University (SU). Since its inception, the Woordfees has been an important contributor to the ways in which we give shape to the University’s commitment to be of service to society and to offer a transformative experience.</div><div> <br> </div><div>This commitment to a transformative experience is reflected in the topics and genres on the festival programme; the way in which the town and community are involved in festival activities; the development imperatives that drive the programme; and the ways in which these impact on the lives and experiences of all the residents of Stellenbosch.</div><div> <br> </div><div>The arts are critical contributors to building social cohesion together with strong, resilient societies that are founded on understanding, cooperation and mutual respect. Through the arts, the bond between individuals and communities is strengthened and a sense of our enduring human connection is reinforced. The arts are often a catalyst for change and social awareness, bringing to the fore complex themes, calling attention to social injustice, and fostering dialogue on burning issues.</div><div> <br> </div><div>The schools outreach initiative of the Woordfees, the WOW project, celebrates 20 years this year. It has reached over one million learners and their teachers with projects that promote reading and language literacy. More than 1 000 schools across South Africa have already signed up for the multilingual WOW Spelling Festival, which is presented annually with the support of Sanlam. WOW and SU also offer 35-50 scholarships to learners each year and provide several other programmes that support and assist students from underserved communities to realise their dream of becoming a student at SU.</div><div> <br> </div><div><strong>The festival programme: Something for everyone</strong></div><div>During the run of the festival (7-15 October), the Toyota SU Woordfees offers a wide-ranging programme of book discussions, theatre, classical music, choral performances, pop, folk, rock, jazz, hip-hop, current affairs discussions, comedy, dance, art, films, and everything that can be enjoyed in the Winelands. </div><div> <br> </div><div>The<span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;">complete festival guide </a>is available here, in the form of a PDF in both Afrikaans and English. These can be downloaded free of charge. Tickets can be bought via <a href="" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">Quicket</a>.<br></div><div> <br> </div><div>If at first glance, the sheer volume of offerings seems overwhelming, please visit <a href="" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;">this page</a> where you will find tips and recommendations to help your festival choices.  <br></div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>For people who are not fluent in Afrikaans</strong></div><div>The Woordfees also offers a variety of items for friends and colleagues who may not understand or be fluent in Afrikaans. The 70 films from 20 countries shown at the Neelsie Cinema all have English subtitles. The items that make up the music, dance and visual art programmes mostly do not require any knowledge of Afrikaans. For more tips on theatre productions in English, see the “My friends don’t understand Afrikaans but want to try the Woordfees” section on the recommendation page.</div><div> <br> </div><div>For example, the short documentary, Langafstand [Long Distance], about Deon-Lee Hendricks of Cloestesville, is shown twice for free in the Neelsie Cinema. It has recently been awarded a Silver Screen Award for best direction. Don’t miss this inspiring film about Deon-Lee’s preparation for the cross-country trials in Australia.</div><div> <br> </div><div>The acclaimed Maynardville production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a delightful, fresh, young take on Shakespeare’s breezy play about love and the trouble it can cause and can be seen at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Special tickets</strong></div><div>SU staff will get discounts on 67 festival productions. Various other discount packages are also available, with reduced prices for students and pensioners. The Bly Vrydag [Happy Friday] initiative also offers reduced prices on tickets to select productions so that as many people as possible who live in and around Stellenbosch can join the festivities.  </div><div> <br> </div><div>For general enquiries, contact the Woordfees office at: 064 815 6418.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Bubble</strong></div><div>The Woordfees theme for 2023 is “Bubble”, which encompasses a variety of associations and meanings. According to Saartjie Botha, director of the Toyota SU Woordfees and WOW, the theme refers to “a playful effervescence; a sense of drifting, floating and dreaming; the innocent fun of children with soap bubbles; the Dutch word for party; and of course, the sparkling bubbles to be found and enjoyed in the sparkling wine of the Boland”.</div><div> <br> </div><div>“But there is also a more serious connotation. According to some critics and concerned residents, Stellenbosch and SU operate within a ‘bubble’ that allows for the privileged denial of the realities of greater South Africa. However, unlike the fragile membrane of a bubble, the transparent micro-thin border that briefly determines the difference between inside and outside, Stellenbosch’s dividing lines are historically drawn and financially entrenched.”</div><div> <br> </div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>The Woordfees and SU staff</strong></div><div>The activities of the Toyota SU Woordfees are closely aligned with SU’s ideals for making a real difference in society. In addition, the festival provides a valuable public platform for experts and others within the University to bring to the attention of the public and media the value of the work and research that takes place within our precincts.  </div><div> <br> </div><div>Participation in discussions and festival productions by SU staff, students and alumni allows us to utilize the campus as a space where the SU community can share their talent, expertise and ideas with the world. This year’s festival programme includes several staff members from different faculties who showcase how we assist in finding solutions to challenging issues and revitalise our spiritual lives.  </div><div> <br> </div><div>The Toyota SU Woordfees provides exceptional opportunities for students from the Department of Drama to showcase their skills to a festival audience. This year, performers from the department’s Premiere Theatre Festival will be featured in various presentations, and the multilingual, educational children’s theatre production, Stars – Iinkwenkwezi – Sterre, will entertain and inform young festivalgoers.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>A gallery of excellence</strong></div><div>In its long history, the University has produced alumni who, through their careers in the arts, have expanded boundaries within the South African cultural environment. Some of these artists and cultural workers were nurtured and shaped as students by our institution, and we are proud of the way in which they have enriched the lives of our citizens.</div><div> <br> </div><div>A glance at the Woordfees programme reveals alumni whose names form a gallery of excellence, including the following writers and artists who are associated with the University in various capacities: Antoinette Kellermann, Anton Kannemeyer, Bettina Wyngaard, Bibi Slippers, Cintaine Schutte, Cole Wessels, Conrad Botes, Dawid Minnaar, Dean John Smith, Devonecia Swartz, Eben Genis, Francois Toerien, Jaco Bouwer, Jacobus de Jager, Jenny Stead, Kabous Meiring, Marie Vogts, Marita van der Vyver, Marlo Minnaar, Marthinus Basson, Megan-Geoffrey Prins, Nina Schumann, Mercy Kannemeyer, Nicole Holm, Pieter Odendaal, René Cloete, Tinarie van Wyk Loots, Veronique Jephtas, Wian Taljaard, Wilma Cruise, Wynand Kotze (aka Tollie Parton), Zorada Temmingh – and many more.</div><div> <br> </div><div>A number of luminaries who received honorary doctorates from SU are also on the festival programme, including Diana Ferrus, Max du Preez en Sandra Prinsloo.</div><div> <br> </div><div>Several SU faculties, from Arts and Social Sciences to Natural Sciences and Agriculture, have established exceptional partnerships with Woordfees over the years and present discussion series and lectures that have proven immensely popular. Some highlights from this year's program are listed below.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Philosophy Café </strong></div><div>The popular Philosophy Café is sold out every year.  Members of the Department of Philosophy debate and share thoughts with thinkers, poets and sages, in a presentation that is not only fun, but also brings to light interesting perspectives. This year, Amy Daniels, Prof Jacques du Plessis, Prof Stan du Plessis, Dr Leslie van Rooi, Dr Susan Hall, Prof Louise du Toit, Prof Vasti Roodt, Dr Alfred Schaffer, Prof Hannes Smit, Dr Andrea Palk and Prof Anton van Niekerk have all booked seats at the philosophy discussion table.</div><div> <br> </div><div>Vasti Roodt from the Department of Philosophy describes how this event has evolved over the years: “From the first Philosophy Café in 2001, when philosophers and writers entertained the audience with rum balls and impromptu singing, to later years of chat verses, limericks, opera arias, poking fun at one another and occasional profound insights, the Philosophy Café is a highlight of the Woordfees.”</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Department of Afrikaans and Nederlands: A Century</strong></div><div>The Department of Afrikaans and Nederlands is 100 years old. According to the Chair of the Department, Dr Amanda Marais, “former and current colleagues, students and alumni will talk about the subject and the ways in which people find a home for their thinking in and through Afrikaans.”</div><div> <br> </div><div>Emeritus Professor Louise Viljoen, who was recently honoured with the Jan H. Marais Prize for her contribution to research on Afrikaans literature, will also share her views on the Department’s history, its vision and its role in a changing world.</div><div> <br> </div><div>Die vegetariër, writer and dramatist Dr Willem Anker’s translation of Han Kang's Booker-winning novel, is included in the Woordfees theatre programme. Willem is also a member of the Department of Afrikaans and Nederlands. He will lead a discussion about the production with the director and the actors during one of the Theatre Conversations on 13 October.</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Ongehoord [Unheard Of]</strong></div><div>The Ongehoord discussion series focuses on topics from various research fields. Panellists such as Dr Nadia Sanger, Dr Louise du Toit, Athamile Masola, Dr Azille Coetzee, Prof Stella Viljoen, Dr Mbali Mazibuko and Dr Ijeoma Opara tackle selected topics that highlight the diversity of research disciplines at the university. Prof Louise du Toit from the Department of Philosophy says: “In its sixth year, this discussion series presents unique ideas: ambivalent legacies, the politics of kitsch, experiences of rejection, mourning, and hope in despair.”</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Music</strong></div><div>As in the past, SU’s Department of Music brings a wealth of talent, experience and fun to the festival. Felicia Lesch remarked on the spirit of the SU Jazz Band, the mouthpiece of the part-time Certificate Programme in Music Literacy offered at the music department: “The leadership that has been developed in the different sections of the jazz band is wonderful to witness. Some of our students come from places like Steenberg, Pacaltsdorp and George, where opportunities like these are not readily available.” This year The Jazz Band will perform in Effervescence: Xamisa, iKapa, Cape Town.</div><div> <br> </div><div>Ramon Alexander, one of the driving forces behind Cape Djêz, Goema & Beyond, agrees with Felicia's enthusiasm: “This production brings a unique perspective on the people who gave shape to improvisational music during and after apartheid. Our young music students here at the university pay tribute to the forefathers of Cape jazz who fought for the freedom we enjoy today.”</div><div> <br> </div><div>Prof Nina Schumann is playing the piano in three productions this year: Clara, Mary Has/Had a Little Lamb: A Glass Full of Music, and Rachmaninoff's 150th Birthday Piano Bash. Nina is very excited about all three: “Celebrating my beloved Rachmaninoff alongside two former students, the pianist Megan-Geoffrey Prins and conductor Jacobus de Jager, is a privilege and joy. Mary Has/Had a Little Lamb is a playful yet challenging exploration of works in minor keys, and Clara, which tells the story of the composer-pianist Clara Schumann with music and drama by Carla Smith, always moves me to tears.”</div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>Eendrag Theatre</strong></div><div>The Eendrag residence has joined the Woordfees with great enthusiasm and have taken ownership of a new project at the festival. Dr Pierre Viviers, residence head, explains how the residence’s new space will be used: “No less than 19 productions will be presented in the Eendrag Theatre during the Woordfees. It includes acting, music and conversations. This facility supports SU's goal of creating a transformative student experience, and the partnership with the Woordfees contributes to a unique experience outside of the classroom that brings Eendrag residents and other campus communities together in a friendly and bubbly atmosphere.”  </div><div> <br> </div><div> <strong>SU Botanical Garden: 100 years</strong></div><div>As part of its centenary celebrations, the SU Botanical Garden, the oldest academic botanical garden in South Africa, is hosting the Flora Festival in partnership with the Woordfees. Original works by botanical illustrators and artists, as well as a sculpture by landscape artist Strijdom van der Merwe, will be on exhibit.</div><div> <br> </div><div>Visitors can visit the gardens daily from 08:00 to 17:00. A R60 entrance ticket entitles the ticket holder to:</div><div>•<span style="white-space:pre;"> </span>A Botanical Art Exhibition: a curated collection of original works by South Africa’s top botanical illustrators and artists, many of which will be for sale.</div><div>•<span style="white-space:pre;"> </span>Rare plant sales: native and exotic succulents, carnivorous plants, rare aroids, bulbs, and many speciality plants, including special releases of USBT’s rare plants.</div><div>•<span style="white-space:pre;"> </span>A contemporary art exhibition of works by well-known South African painters, ceramic artists, printmakers and woodturners.</div><div>•<span style="white-space:pre;"> </span>Ceramic art, sculptures and plant art throughout the garden.</div><div>•<span style="white-space:pre;"> </span>The Botanical Garden Gift Shop where you can purchase botanical-themed gifts, homeware and decor, including high-quality reproductions of previously unreleased historical plant illustrations.</div><div>•<span style="white-space:pre;"> </span>Live lunchtime music.</div><div>•<span style="white-space:pre;"> </span>Wine and gin tasting.<br></div><div> <br> </div><div>Various other activities will take place in the garden, the full details of which are available at <a href="/botanicalgarden" target="_blank"></a></div><div> <br> <br> </div><p>​<br></p>
Matieland Concert set to light up Homecoming 2023 Concert set to light up Homecoming 2023Development & Alumni Relations<p></p><div>Have you booked your tickets?<br></div><div><br></div><div>Stellenbosch University (SU) is shining the spotlight on talented alumni in the entertainment industry at its first-ever Matieland Concert on Saturday 16 September in Stellenbosch. The concert will feature extraordinary performances by violinist Kirsty Bows, well-known singer and songwriter, Koos Kombuis, the chart-topping singer-songwriter husband and wife duo, RAAF (previously known as Bottomless Coffee Band), and the winners from the recent University Acapella (Sêr) competition.<br></div><div><br></div><div>This Concert forms part of the University's annual Homecoming Weekend for alumni taking place from Thursday 14 September to Saturday 16 September on its Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses, where a host of events are taking place throughout the weekend.</div><div><br></div><div>These events include a Golf Day at the prestigious Stellenbosch Golf Club; the popular Maties Soirée that brings together Matie winemakers and makers of non-alcoholic beverages; esteemed business experts who will share their insights at a Business Breakfast; as well as various anniversary celebrations and reunions. </div><div><br></div><div>The Matieland Concert takes place at the Endler Hall, Conservatorium and starts at <strong>18:30. </strong>Tickets cost <strong>R200 per person</strong> and can be booked online at Quicket (<a href="" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK HERE</strong></a>).<br></div><div><br></div><div>The full programme of the weekend's events can be found <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>HERE</strong></a><strong>. </strong>If you have any queries, please send an email to or call +27 21 808 2710.</div><p>​<br></p>
New bursary donor centre elevates the importance of supporting student success bursary donor centre elevates the importance of supporting student successDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>​​Stellenbosch University (SU) officially opened its Masiphumelele Centre on Thursday 31 August, signifying a significant milestone in the meaningful engagement between existing bursary donors and the recipients of their generosity, SU students. This accomplishment, championed by the Senior Director: Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) at SU, Karen Bruns, actively strengthens student access and success at the University.<br></p><p>Thursday's inauguration ceremony brought together bursary and scholarship donors, including the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, the Crossley Foundation, Carl & Emily Fuchs Foundation, the Russel Botman Bursary Fund, Moshal Scholarship Programme, ISFAP, Feenix and Students for a Better Future, along with students and members of the SU community. </p><p>SU Registrar, Dr Ronel Retief, one of the speakers at the occasion, said education is the foundation upon which dreams are built, futures are shaped, and potential is realised. “We recognise that for our students to truly thrive, they need more than just financial support; they need an environment where they can grow, flourish, and connect. This Centre embodies that vision, providing a space for meaningful interactions between students, donors and the SU colleagues supporting the various programmes."   </p><p>Retief extended her gratitude to donors for their unwavering commitment to transform the lives of countless students. "You all are valued partners in the collaborative effort to help our students realise their aspirations. Together we are working towards opportunity, empowerment, and hope."</p><p><strong>'Let us succeed'</strong></p><p>The isiXhosa phrase 'masiphumelele', meaning 'let us succeed', inspired the name of the Centre, which originated from the efforts of the Development and Alumni Relations Division to extend its services to bursary and scholarship donors. The Masiphumelele Centre was funded through generous contributions from a number of donors.</p><p>This revitalised space on Banghoek Road, Stellenbosch, proximate to the engineering, arts and social sciences, law, and science faculties, offers an array of features, including office space, consultation rooms, flexible workspaces for students and donors, an area conducive to guiding conversations and mentorship, and a small workshop room accommodating 12 to 14 individuals.</p><p>Bruns emphasised the altruism of bursary donors who wholeheartedly support students' educational pursuits and ambitions. “The Centre represents a significant step towards enhancing the University's service to these critical supporters of the access and success of our students, while also underscoring our commitment to our students' holistic well-being and dignity."</p><p>The name 'Masiphumelele Centre' emerged as the clear choice through a survey conducted in May 2023 among bursary recipients, donors and staff who will be invited to use the space. Through sentiment analysis it was determined that students appreciated the unified vision of the University, the SU donors and fellow students to succeed and progress, with one respondent saying, “The Masiphumelele Centre will be for a community of individuals who wish to work together for a better future." Another student said, “Masiphumelele is a call for all people to come together for a common purpose, which is to thrive, as all of us should."</p><p>Bruns, added, “The Division takes immense pride in fulfilling its responsibility of facilitating institutional engagement between donors and the beneficiaries of their generosity. The Masiphumelele Centre will be instrumental in creating a physical space for collaboration and a common purpose. As a testament to SU's dedication to nurturing these essential relationships with donors, the Centre is symbolic of both our commitment to a good donor experience and to our student success."</p><p><strong>About</strong> <strong>Development and Alumni Relations (DAR)</strong></p><p>The Development and Alumni Relations Division builds relationships, creates awareness and generates support for the University's academic, research and social impact vision. The Division strives to ensure the future success of SU by securing private philanthropic donations and engages donors on the priorities most important to them. Putting donors at the centre of the process, DAR fosters an environment where excellence in student, staff and community interaction can be achieved through philanthropy and corporate funding.<br></p><p>​<br></p>