Student Affairs
Welcome to Stellenbosch University



Matie graduands can follow virtual conferral of qualifications graduands can follow virtual conferral of qualificationsCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>3278 graduands from Stellenbosch University (SU) will be able to follow a virtual conferral of their qualifications at 14:00 this Friday (3 April 2020). Due to the national<strong> </strong>lockdown that came into effect last week, a decision was made to cancel the March/April graduation ceremonies. </p><p>“To celebrate this important milestone, graduands and their families and friends will be able to follow the virtual proceedings online," explains Dr Ronel Retief, the SU Registrar. “Qualifications are being awarded <em>in absentia</em> by the new SU Chancellor, Justice Edwin Cameron. Justice Cameron, Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, and myself will follow the proceedings online after having made pre-recorded messages from our respective homes, so as to comply with the lockdown."</p><p><strong>10 minute video</strong></p><p>The virtual conferral of qualifications – in the form of a video download – will be no longer than 10 minutes, so as to not incur huge data costs. A link to the virtual proceedings will be published on the SU homepage (<a href="/"></a>) on Friday morning. A video recording will also be made available on the webpage for those who would like to watch it afterwards.</p><p><strong>Now is the time to contribute to society</strong></p><p>Cameron said that now, more than ever, we should embrace with enthusiasm the opportunity to contribute to society.</p><p>To graduands he said: “My wish is that the pride and joy we rightly share at your achievement will grow into something even more precious – a sense of duty and responsibility. Your new qualification, your new status, gives you the opportunity to use the knowledge, skills and networks you gained through your studies to help make our country and the world a better place for all."</p><p>He added that it is a great honour for him to preside at the virtual ceremony: “We created this special event under extraordinary circumstances. We are all required to change the way we do things because of the dire threat COVID-19 poses. But as President Cyril Ramaphosa said, 'If we work together, we will beat this disease. I have no doubt that we shall overcome.'</p><p>“The University and I extend our respect, appreciation and congratulations to everyone involved – students, lecturers, supervisors and promotors. Family members deserve a particular mention – as well as the friends, donors and sponsors who supported graduands in the dedication and focus that acquiring their qualifications demanded." </p><p><strong>Increase in doctorates</strong></p><p>Compared to the 2018 academic year, the 2019 academic year again saw an increase in not only the number of graduands (9120 compared to 2018's 9007) but also the number of doctorates awarded (361 to 2018's 308). </p><p>Retief added that certificates and other documentation will only be mailed after the lockdown, but that her office is investigating the possibility of providing graduation documentation electronically to those who urgently need their documents – thus, before the national lockdown is lifted. Further information in this regard will be published on the SU website as soon as it becomes available. </p><p>In writing to graduands Retief said: “We would like to thank you in advance for your understanding during this difficult period. We undertake to keep you informed about the distribution of graduation documents as the situation unfolds over the next few weeks."</p><p>March/April graduates will still be afforded the opportunity to cross the graduation stage in December, provided that the December ceremonies are not affected by die pandemic.<br></p>
I have Cerebral Palsy. But I don't let it define me. have Cerebral Palsy. But I don't let it define me.Transformation Office | Disability Unit<p><em>​​SU's Rector and Vice-chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers announced late last year that 2020 will be the university's Year for Persons with Disability. It will culminate in the sixth African Network for Evidence-to- Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) conference, a prestigious international network that will be hosted by SU from the 30 November to 3 December 2020. To honour this the Transformation Office and the Disability Unit, along with AfriNEAD, will publish monthly reflections or articles by persons with disabilities. Our second piece is written by Hillary Lane​, the coordinator for AfriNEAD, a disability research evidence project that has been initiated in the Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty of the University of Stellenbosch within the Centre of Rehabilitation Studies.​</em><br></p><br>​<br>I have Cerebral Palsy. But I don't let it define me.<br><br>My greatest handicap has actually been my handwriting – I used a typewriter throughout my school career, starting off with a manual machine. It's not that I can't write, I need to support my left hand on my right hand to stop it from shaking. My teachers used to say that I had to learn to write because if I didn't, how was I going to sign cheques one day?<br><br>This is what prevented me from going to university, as we did not have laptops then. I would have loved to have studied to become an occupational therapist – my teachers thought that I would have made a good librarian – really? The interesting thing is that I have worked most of my life when I was not rearing my two children, and not once have I applied for a job. I was always asked to work: from running a restaurant, being a CEO, managing a second‑hand clothes shop manned by people in wheelchairs, and so many other positions.<br><br>More than anything though, I would have loved to have said that I had been at university. Well I can say that I studied at Oxford – that is where I was at boarding school, but when you say that you were at Oxford everyone just assumes you studied at the university.<br><br><p>Now I can say that I am at Stellenbosch University and have been there for seven years. I am the coordinator for AfriNEAD, a project started by the head of the Centre for Disabilities and Rehabilitation Studies, Prof Gubela Mji. This has been the most wonderful time of my life. Little did I know what an amazing journey this would turn out to be when she phoned and asked me to come and see her!<br></p>
Remote access to library resources and services during the lockdown period access to library resources and services during the lockdown periodLibrary<p><strong>​Contact us</strong></p><p>You can contact the <a href="">Library</a> for assistance through our online reference service, <a href="">Ask a Librarian</a> ,and via <a href="">Twitter</a> and <a href="">Facebook</a>. <a href="">Faculty Librarians</a> can be emailed or called directly for information services and research support. As far as possible library telephone numbers have been forwarded to staff's cell phone numbers.</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>Access to e-resources (electronic databases, journals and library catalogue)</strong></p><p>Access to e-resources will be available remotely as always. Clients will be prompted to sign in with their campus username and password. If they experience any problems with their passwords, they can consult this <a href="">library guide</a> and/or contact IT for assistance.</p><p>Problems experienced with electronic databases and journals can be reported to the <a href="">Manager: E-Resources</a>. </p><p> </p><p><strong>Renewing books</strong></p><p>The Library's catalogue (Primo) and clients' library records will be available remotely. The due date of library books due during the lockdown period will be changed to 17 April 2020. Thereafter, books may be <a href="">renewed online</a> to further extend their loan period if users are not able to return them immediately.</p><p><a href="">This guide</a> can be consulted to see which free e-resources were made available by publishers.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Interlibrary loans</strong></p><p>Researchers and students will be able to continue to request articles via Interlibrary Loans.</p><p>Please use the following contact details or complete the <a href="">ILL request form</a> on the <a href="">library website</a>. We will do our very best to locate it and forward it to you.</p><p><a href="">Stellenbosch University Library<br>Bellville Park Campus Library<br>Medicine and Health Sciences Library<br>Music Library<br>Engineering and Forestry Library<br>Theology Library</a></p><p> </p><p><strong>Short loans</strong></p><p>Short loans will unfortunately not be available. Please search the Library's catalogue for an electronic version of the book. You are also welcome to consult the <a href="">COVID-19 Resources: Freely available e-resources<em> </em></a> guide to see which other free e-resources are available or contact your <a href="">faculty librarian</a>.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Open Access Publication Fund applications<br></strong></p><p><strong></strong>This <a href="">service</a> will continue as usual, subject to the availability of funds, and any enquiries can be directed to the <a href="">Manager: E-Resources</a>. </p><p> </p><p><strong>Online assistance by Faculty Librarians </strong></p><p>Contact <a href="">Faculty Librarians</a> by e-mail for reference service or any other assistance. They will also be able to have one-on-one meetings with clients by means of Skype or Microsoft Teams should more in-depth assistance be needed. Assistance will include all services such as bibliometric services, book orders, training material on SUNLearn for students, etc. </p><p>Enquiries could also be directed via <a href="">Ask a Librarian</a> and the <a href="">Library Guides</a> can be consulted for assistance for specific departments or information on research support.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Research support services</strong></p><p>The following arrangements are in place for all research support services:</p><ul><li>For any <strong>Research Data Management</strong> queries, information on data management plans or uploading of data to SUNScholarData, please visit the <a href="">RDM webpage</a>, SUNScholarData <a href="">LibGuide</a>, or contact the <a href="">Manager: Research Data Services</a> or <a href=""></a>.<br></li><li>For all research queries related to <strong>Special Collections</strong> (Africana, Rare Books and Manuscript Collections), please contact the <a href="">Head: Special Collections</a> or alternatively make use of our 24-hour online reference service, <a href="">Ask a Librarian</a>.<br></li><li>For assistance in accessing items in <a href=""><strong>SUNScholar</strong></a>, such as theses and dissertations or research articles, please contact <a href=""></a>.<br></li><li>For assistance in terms of <strong>self-archiving</strong> your research output in <a href="">SUNScholar</a>, please contact the <a href="">Digital Scholarship Librarian</a>.<br></li><li>For assistance with journal management on <strong>SUNJournals</strong>, please contact the <a href="">Digital Scholarship Librarian</a>.<br></li><li>The <a href="">Manager: Research Impact Services</a> will be able to assist with generic research support such as advanced bibliometric services, unique author identification with ORCID, advice on publishing and how to increase your impact as a researcher. <br></li><li>For assistance with <strong>general research support</strong>, such as referencing and reference managers, and the formatting of theses and dissertations, you can contact the <a href="">Head: Research Commons</a>.<br></li></ul><p><br></p><p><strong>#SmartResearcher Workshops</strong></p><p><a href="">Scheduled Library workshops</a> are continuing in the form of online webinars (by means of Adobe Connect or Microsoft Teams) or recordings where a webinar is not possible. Clients may continue to <a href="">register</a> for these workshops and relevant staff will distribute information on how to connect to the webinars. </p><p><br></p><p><strong>Off-campus document delivery</strong></p><p>Library staff will be at home with no access to printed books and journals. Our off-campus document delivery service is therefore suspended.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Returning books</strong></p><p>No books have to be returned during the lockdown period.</p><p><strong><br></strong></p>
SU law student helps girls and women against GBV law student helps girls and women against GBVCorporate Communication/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Rozanne Engel]<p>​</p><p>In 2019, many women across the country took to the streets to protest against the surge of gender-based violence (GBV). </p><p>Among these women were thousands of students who marched in response to the murders of fellow students Jesse Hess from the University of the Western Cape and Uyinene Mrwetyana from the University of Cape Town. </p><p>Katy Lund, a second-year law student at Stellenbosch University (SU), felt especially triggered by the murder and rape of Mrwetyana, as they shared mutual friends who were also deeply affected by her death.</p><p>“After Uyinene's death, I felt angry and frustrated about what happened. I took part in the protests against gender-based violence but realised I was an awful protester and I came away feeling useless. Protests play such a huge part in bringing about change, but I realised that there were also other things I could do," Lund recalls.</p><p>After seeking advice from various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the Western Cape and especially her high school history teacher, Lund decided to start the non-profit organisation (NPO), <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style=""><span style="">Guard Our Girl</span>s</strong></a>, which raises funds to purchase and distribute pepper spray canisters in especially disadvantaged communities across Cape Town.</p><p>Lund works very closely with the NGO <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style="">MOSAIC</strong></a> in Khayelitsha that helps her NPO to distribute the pepper sprays and facilitate workshops to educate women on how to use them. </p><p>“There were some ideas on distributing pepper sprays on campus and I am often asked why I don't just distribute on campus, but I think that there is an undeniable poverty that plagues South Africa. I feel there are many communities that have been left behind and it is our duty to go back in those communities to help them."</p><p>Guard Our Girls also sells necklaces and bracelets made in collaboration with Stellenbosch company Jabali Handmade to help raise the funds to distribute more pepper sprays.</p><p>So far, Lund has received help and donations from James Kilgour, the man behind Linvar (Pty) Ltd where she sources the products, as well as Flexi Air, Fire and Engineering Services. </p><p>According to Lund there is so much that people can do to help combat the many issues in the country. “Many people have discussions about the issues affecting their communities, and walk away feeling frustrated and angry about it, but people should actually mobilise that anger and use it to effect change.</p><p>“I really didn't start with much; I kind of jumped into the deep end, but sometimes it is important to just get involved in projects, to learn about them, and not be afraid to ask for help and advice. I am very grateful to all the people who has helped Guard Our Girls so far. There is still much to do, so I hope I can collaborate with more NGOs and organisations to help the fight against gender-based violence."</p><p>For more information on how to donate or get involved at Guard Our Girls, visit their website at <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style=""></strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-5" style="">. </strong><br></p><p><br></p>
Transformation under the spotlight at student summit under the spotlight at student summit Asiphe Nombewu /Corporate Communication<p>​​As part of its efforts to cultivate a transformative Stellenbosch University (SU), the Division for Student Affairs (DSAf) hosted its first-ever DSAf Transformation Summit.<br></p><p>The summit, held at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advance Study (STIAS), shed some light on the various transformation issues ​staff and students faced on a daily basis on the various SU campuses. Students representing different organisations had an opportunity to reflect on what transformation meant to them.</p><p>In his welcoming address, Professor Arnold Schoonwinkel, SU's Vice-Rector: Teaching and Learning, said the 2020 Student Transformation Summit was an important event for the University to continue what it had learned and achieved since 2018.</p><p>“There are crucial summits and indabas within our student communities that work relentlessly to change unacceptable cultures and behaviours, such as gender-based violence and rape culture, homophobia, xenophobia, toxic masculinity, dehumanisation of newcomers and overt and covert racism."</p><p>He said his wish for the summit was that as management, staff and students they would bravely expose these issues and join hands to bring about transformation and change.</p><p>“This summit must be more than another talk shop or merely a pointing of fingers, hoping that someone else will affect the changes. Let us not fall into the trap of stereotyping others who are trying to contribute as we strive to protect the vulnerable," he said.</p><p>Prof Schoonwinkel said each one had to roll up their sleeves and remain open for their own transformation. “It would indeed take hard work together to achieve real transformation.</p><p>“I know we can count on my colleagues at the Division for Student Affairs and their leader, Dr Choice Makhetha, to facilitate a conducive transformation process at this summit and beyond," he added.</p><p>At the summit students raised a number of concerns regarding a transformative student experience. Issues highlighted at the summit included gender-based violence, homophobia, racism and access for students living with disabilities.</p><p>The Chairperson of the Transformation Forum at DSAf, Yeki Mosomothane, said the idea was that they would annually reflect on their own idea of transformation as the Division for Student Affairs, especially taking into account the University's vision of a transformative student experience.</p><p>Mosomothane said they wanted the staff within their division to open themselves up to different lived experiences and to have those difficult transformation conversations while reflecting as a collective.</p><p>“We invited student leaders like Guiseppe Guierande from the Anti-GBV Movement, Jeff Ngobeni from the Student Representative Council, Luigia Nicholas from DisMatie and Chante Arab from QueersU to speak on their vision of a transformative student experience. </p><p>“The summit wants to hear from those student who are often marginalised on the campuses – voices that are integral to co-creating a transformative student experience with the Division and the University at large," was the message from Mosomothane.</p><p>Tonia Overmeyer, the Director of Centre for Student Leadership and Structures, told audience members to listen with empathy, to listen beyond their own lenses, to listen beyond the roles they serve in society, to listen beyond their social construct and to listen with their humanity.</p><p> </p><p> </p><p>​ </p><p><br></p>
Beware of opportunistic criminals using COVID-19 for scamming of opportunistic criminals using COVID-19 for scammingFacilities Management<p>​Opportunistic criminals will most probably be making the most of the COVID-19 situation to get their hands on your property, whether it is by way of phishing emails with infected attachments containing so-called “safety messages" or people knocking at your door pretending to be from a health or medical organisation checking up on you.</p><p>Head of campus security at Stellenbosch University, Dr Viljoen van der Walt, said it is essential to be vigilant at all times and make sure that the source of your information is valid and reputable.</p><p>Van der Walt said there are already lots of internet criminal activities where anything from vaccines to surgical face masks are being offered. “Already, hundreds of websites have been registered offering discounted facemasks. These products are more than likely counterfeit or, in some cases, do not exist at all. As soon as you've paid, the website will disappear as quickly as it appeared," he said.</p><p>“We will also see people selling hand sanitisers, face masks and other items everywhere, leveraging fear of the coronavirus to take peoples' money and information. It is important to be aware of the fact that these opportunists will take advantage of ignorance wherever they can."<br></p><p>According to Van der Walt, it is essential not to let any strangers into your house, unless you have made an appointment with someone and that person had confirmed his or her identity before entering your premises. “Please note that medical staff do not do ad hoc and unannounced door-to-door Covid-19 screening. If someone claims they are from the Department of Health or any other medical organisation, do not allow them onto your property or inside your business premises and alert the SAPS immediately."​<br></p><p>For SU campus emergencies: 021 808 2333 (Stellenbosch) and 021 938 9507 (Tygerberg). If you need to contact Facilities Management, call their helpdesk at 021 808 4666 or email them at <a href=""></a><br></p><p><br></p>
Dr Choice’s new appointment will enhance her role at SU Choice’s new appointment will enhance her role at SU Asiphe Nombewu /Corporate Communication<p>​​​The Council on Higher Education (CHE) has appointed Stellenbosch University's (SU) Dr Choice Makhetha to serve as a member of the Institutional Audits Committee (IAC).<br></p><p>The Nominations and Governance Committee of the CHE announced that Dr Makhetha will serve as a member of the IAC for three years – from 24 February 2020 to 25 February 2023.</p><p>Although appointed in her private capacity to fulfil a governance role, she believes the role will enhance her current role as Senior Director: Division for Student Affairs (DSAf) at SU in a number of different ways.</p><p>“When I serve at a higher level within South Africa's higher education landscape, I have the opportunity to think broader and creatively, improving the quality of my primary job. I will be building a bigger network of colleagues in different spaces and that will definitely enrich my work environment," she says.</p><p>Dr Makhetha's contributions will be critical to the institutionalisation of quality assurance within the higher education system.</p><p>Established by the Higher Education Act of 1997, the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) is a permanent committee of the CHE that works in the area of institutional audits and quality enhancement.</p><p>The role of the committee that Dr Makhetha will be part of, is to monitor, support, guide and do quality assurance on the efficient and effective implementation of the HEQC institutional audits and quality enhancement processes.</p><p>“I feel very excited for being appointed to the IAC. It is a recognition of the experience I have and the contribution I can make on a governance level by being part of this committee of higher education in South Africa that focuses on quality assurance. I recognise the huge responsibility that comes with the role and I feel I am well equipped and ready," she adds.</p><p>She says the appointment gives her an opportunity to serve the higher education sector more, working with all institutions of higher learning (public and private), as quality assurance is crucial for the whole sector and for the students entering the sector who expect value for money.</p><p>Dr Makhethe says her new role will demand objectivity from her, especially considering that she will sometimes have to deal with matters affecting SU, but she vows to continue being resourceful where her skills, expertise and experience are needed.</p><p>“I was appointed based on my experience, expertise and skills. I have experience in many different roles and I have a deep understanding of the higher education sector." </p><p>Dr Makhetha has served at senior management and rectorate levels and on two institutional audit panels in the first round of audits, giving her a clearer picture of what is important at governance level.</p><p> </p><p><br></p>
COVID-19 Update: SU suspends lectures from 17 March Update: SU suspends lectures from 17 March Prof Wim de Villiers​: Rector and Vice-Chancellor <p><strong>16 March 2020</strong><br></p><p>Dear Colleagues and Students </p><p>With a rapidly changing environment around us, and following the measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last night, the Stellenbosch University Rectorate this morning took the following decisions: </p><ul><li>All lectures and assessments have been suspended from Tuesday 17 March 2020. For students on the Stellenbosch campus the recess period between the two first terms of 2020 will start tomorrow.</li><li>For students on the Tygerberg campus academic arrangements will be communicated via the Dean's office.</li><li>The second term is scheduled to start on 30 March 2020 via online instruction. The situation will be monitored continuously and information will be updated on the website as specific scenarios develop. </li><li>All students in university accommodation are requested to vacate their residences and to return home for the recess period. As we are aware that there may be students who are unable to do so, some students will be accommodated in University residences. Measures will be taken to reduce the risk of contamination and provision will be made for isolation. Students who remain in residences would be expected to follow the indicated hygiene and other protocols. Practical arrangements and more detailed information will follow. </li><li>Postgraduate students should liaise with their supervisors to discuss practical arrangements, and also work off campus if possible. Questions should be directed to academic departments.</li><li>Research activities should also continue where at all possible.</li><li>Graduands that would have attended the cancelled graduation ceremonies in March/April will receive their qualifications <em>in absentia</em>, but will have the opportunity to attend graduation ceremonies in December for the ceremonial conferring of their degrees, pending the circumstances at the time. Graduands will receive further information on practical arrangements to obtain their documents later today. </li></ul><p>Although closure of a university is only recommended if several cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed, Stellenbosch University has decided to start the recess period although we have not had any confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections on our campuses. The two most important public health principles are social distancing and the containment of the disease to limit the spread of infections. We are in contact with national and provincial agencies to ensure that we follow the prescribed protocols. </p><p>Essential services will continue on campus. The University management and academic staff, with the support of the professional and administrative support services, are focussed on business continuity to ensure that our students can complete a successful academic year.</p><p>For that reason the institutional contingency committee formed six weeks ago, has now been converted into an Institutional Committee for Business Continuity, with several operational committees to give priority attention to the various practical aspects of campus activities that are impacted by the global pandemic.</p><p>We do understand that national and institutional measures, for example the early closing of schools, will affect our staff and students. We do not have all the practical answers as yet, but will continuously monitor the situation and communicate with our stakeholders, especially staff and students. </p><p>We have communicated about the cancellation of the March/April graduation ceremonies; the Varsity Cup matches scheduled for this evening have been called off, and the installation of the Chancellor on 8 April has been postponed. </p><p>Important contact numbers and precautionary measures are available on the <a href="/english/covid-19-coronavirus-disease-2019">SU coronavirus webpage</a>. The National Department of Health has announced a WhatsApp service for queries related to COVID-19. Simply add 060 012 3456 as a WhatsApp contact and type Hi for access to relevant information.</p><p>The SU Campus Health Service has a 24-hour contact number with a physician on duty:  0764310305. Enquiries regarding institutional arrangements (not medical enquiries) can be directed to <a href=""></a>.</p><p>I would also like to appeal to all members of our campus community to refrain from spreading unconfirmed information, rumours and panic. Let's work together. </p>Regards<br>Prof Wim de Villiers<br><p>Rector and Vice-Chancellor  <br></p><p><br></p>
SU strengthens regional and national transformation partnerships strengthens regional and national transformation partnershipsCharl LindeThe Stellenbosch University (SU) Transformation Office has recently been strengthening regional partnerships with the University of the Western Cape, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the University of Cape Town (UCT).<br><br>This renewed focus on inter-institutional colla​​​boration in the Western Cape province has led to the establishment of the Inclusive Practice Speaker Series, a collaboration with the UCT Office of Inclusivity and Change, the CPUT Directorate for Transformation and the SU Transformation Office. The series creates a platform for academics, practitioners, NGOs and government to engage on transformation praxis.<br><br>UCT hosted the first public seminar in the series early in February, inviting Prof Rozena Maart from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, who delivered a presentation titled “Reason and unreason: Pedagogies of the oppressed in the twenty-first century: Gender, philosophy, education and the law". Prof Maart interrogated notions of inclusivity and transformation at our universities, noting that “[i]t seems, by and large, that [at] most previously white universities, inclusivity [means] 'How are we going to make the black students and the black staff feel comfortable […] in this space where white folks continue to dominate?'" But what is transformation – or what should it be? Prof Maart believes that “[t]ransformation has often meant 'How do we transform black students and black staff to be at the same level of speech, elocution, language [and] scholarship as white staff and white students?'" She continued to say that all South Africans have to do introspection: “Part of what we need to confront is […] our participation in homophobia and sexism and forms of patriarchal practice […] on all aspects of our identity where we believe we are safe […]. Because, if we see ourselves as an exception, that 'I don't have any practices that are offensive, let alone oppressive', then what are you saying? That you have no place to grow?"<br><br>The next Inclusive Practice Speaker Series seminar will be hosted at SU. Speaking on the upcoming event, Acting Head: Transformation, Dr Claire Kelly, says that she is excited about having the opportunity to welcome Ilze Olckers at Maties to deliver the presentation. Ilze practised as a human rights lawyer during the apartheid era and the transition to democracy, during which she also participated in the constitutional and other legislative drafting processes. She has furthermore participated in policy and systems development of gender and race machinery in a post-apartheid South Africa.<br><br>Further afield, SU's Transformation Office has continued to play its part in national conversations and dialogues on transformation in higher education, sending delegations to partake in the national Transformation Manager's Forum (TMF). The TMF is a space for all transformation functions in higher education to connect and create opportunities for collaboration. It is also where conversations about national strategic priorities are conducted and where the sector engages with the Department of Higher Education and Training. Such collaborations include the creation of a reporting system that can track progress in transformation and a mechanism that can hold institutions to account. The TMF also functions as a 'learning community' where various representatives share challenges and practices. Student experience is a dominant theme in these discussions.<br><br>Are there any other developments in the works in terms of transformation partnerships? Dr Kelly answers: “There is ongoing collaboration with Prof André Keet, the National Research Foundation Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation based at Nelson Mandela University, but I can't say any more at the moment. Watch this space!"​<br>
Cape Town Pride 2020: Maties write Town Pride 2020: Maties writeTransformation Office​The Stellenbosch University Transformation Office recently put out a call to members of the university community to write about their experiences at Cape Town Pride. The brief was simple: Write about whatever you want and submit it by Monday morning so that we have enough time to edit it! Read the personal reflections below…<br><br><br><br><strong>The before and after of Pride</strong><br><br>Excitement and restlessness fill the hours before Pride. Last-minute preparations are underway as the shops of Stellenbosch are left bare of any rainbow pattern item they might have had before. We wait rather impatiently for the buses to arrive and are met by many strange looks and the wondering stares of newcomers and their parents, as Pride happened to fall on Open Day. It was almost empowering having a presence at Open Day, even for a short time. Friends were met with much enthusiasm that morning as we all introduced each other to our various circles as make-up and glitter were shared between strangers. This sense of community was a common thread that was sewn throughout the whole day. <br><br>On the bus we told our coming-out stories, gave our best advice to people we had just met and shared our expectations for the day, as it was the first Pride many of us had ever been to. During the parade, we helped strangers on and off the float and shared sunscreen in the blazing heat. At the festival, people shared food and drink and accompanied new friends on their missions to find their way around the busy field. We danced together as covers of our favourite queer songs were performed. We took photos with each other and of ourselves, hoping to let the day live on forever in photos. People were counted and recounted and checked upon constantly. We had all donned a 'No man left behind' mentality without any prior commitment to these people. I can easily say I've never felt a stronger sense of community with a group of people before.<br><br>On the bus ride home, under the thousands of stars in the sky, stories of the day's happenings were shared. Soft songs were sung, while many slept after a day of festivities was behind us. As I stared at the stars, I felt as if my whole life had led up to that day; that all the trials and triumphs of existing as a queer body had led me up to that day – a day that was filled with nothing but community, love and, most of all, pride.<br> <br><br>-LH<br><br><br><br><br><strong>How to spell love without labels</strong><br><br>For far too many people, unconditional love is a foreign concept. For them, love has always been that unattainable sunset at the end of the road meant to make you forget yourself. <br><br>It saddens me to think of the lost souls walking a path designed to erase them. The fact that most of those roads are paved by their supposed 'loved ones' makes the pain that much more visceral. <br><br>It takes being introduced to the real face of love for one to recognise its faux lookalikes for what they truly are: doppelgängers without essence to back up their claim. Pride, for me, is that catalyst for the true face of love. It exposed the posers from the genuine oracle. <br><br>For some, Pride can be an overwhelming experience. It is not a gentle moment in the lives of any former love-blind. It can empty your lungs of phobic contaminants if you let it. It can open your eyes to your true reflection and dissolve the world if you're brave enough to trust it. <br><br>There are few moments in anyone's life that celebrate walking away from a path drowned in gold. Pride is such a moment. It praises you for walking in your truth and leaving the lies of the world to bask in itself alone. It can be a violent realisation for some, but the consequences are glorious. <br><br>The year 2016 was my time experiencing the freedom of myself. It exposed me to a lightness I never knew was possible for a human being to feel. I remember floating down the main road with this overwhelming feeling of breathless solidarity. I was surrounded by a sea of strangers, all marching away from a sunset and towards a rainbow as one. I felt more loved and seen by unknown eyes than I had ever felt around people who had watched me grow up. I finally belonged! <br><br>Four years later, Pride has easily become the highlight of my year. The sheer volume of love that emanates from the parade and colourful individuals is enough to melt even the most metallic hearts. I was privileged enough to attend this year's festival of love with someone who was experiencing Pride for the first time. To watch their walls melt before my eyes due to the overwhelming degree of love pouring over them reminded me of the power true, unconditional love can have for those who have never experienced it. It was like I was feeling Pride for the first time, and I could have asked for no better gift! <br><br><br>-Robyn<br><br><br><br><br><strong>Cape Town Pride 2020</strong><br><br>In 2020 I attended the Cape Town Pride for the first time in a decade. My first parade back then was very liberating, as I grew up in a small town where people tend to be conservative and oftentimes disapproving of queerness. The journey hasn't always been a breeze, but I managed to navigate through the conservatism, find myself, express myself and become the proudly queer man I am today publicly. This year I strutted through the Cape Town streets in a gender-bending outfit without feeling judged or ridiculed for the way I look or act, even though Capetonian queers don't always seem to be the friendliest bunch.<br><br>While cisgender and/or heterosexual people get to be proud and safe to express themselves in any type of space on any given day, Pride only presents this opportunity to the queer community once a year. What I loved most about the parade and the mardi gras is the amount of people in attendance from all walks of life, representing the full spectrum of gender and/or sexuality. At this year's Pride, the only negative reaction I noticed was a man confronting people in the parade to run to the Lord and save ourselves, but for that one person encountered, there were tenfold more people accepting of everyone in the parade. Among the many people displaying affection and acceptance toward the queer community, there was a woman celebrating her odd, goth, gay children as well as some homosexual parents celebrating the fact that two mothers are better than one. Some friends opined that this year's Pride was not political enough and dubbed it as exclusively a party. They are not wrong, but at least two political parties campaigned their inclusivity and acceptance. <br><br>We live in a world in which terrible things occur constantly. There are countries where people are not legally allowed to be queer, some of which currently still enforce the death penalty. We should absolutely acknowledge the number of queer bodies that we have lost to violence and hate in the past year, or were hurt or damaged by the heteropatriarchal, capitalist world in some or other way. <br><br>While we acknowledge communities' hardships, we should also be able to celebrate the unity of coming together for Pride. We should celebrate that we are still alive in a country where we can express ourselves legally, even though a lot of us are still confronted with homophobia and other forms of oppression daily.<br><br><br>-Zian Blignaut<br><br> <br><br><br><strong>I got to Pride a bit late…</strong><br><br>I travelled through to Cape Town from Stellenbosch on my own. This Pride would be the first time in my life that I had specifically planned to go to actual Pride events, rather than just the after-parties or pre-parties.<br><br>For years, I had no special feelings about the day's programme, other than the belief that it would cause traffic chaos, or even worse, I used to embarrassingly, as conditioned by my self-loathing 'masc' environment, think to myself: “Why do they have to shove it in people's faces like that?" The first sign that Pride might bring some change into my usual queer Cape Town experience was on the Friday night itself, when at a club in town, there was for about the first time in years a different DJ in the booth, playing music from different genres, even the Gaga song that was released that morning. I was living. <br><br>This set the stage for my Saturday Pride experience... Okay fine, I overslept completely and only woke up at 16:00. I got myself ready, and went to grab my morning coffee at other people's afternoon beer-grabbing time. I then started the trek to the park. I was shocked that at a temperature of mid-20s the weather was rather hot; in Stellies we don't even break a sweat at 30 °C ... Perhaps I was nervous. <br><br>Arriving at the park, I saw lots of smiles, lots of families, and groups of people who looked like they have known each other for years. The security check upon entry was nearly non-existent, and rather than thinking that this was a danger, it gave me a warm embrace of some sort; I felt safe. <br><br>Once inside, I bought a drink and started looking for friends. During that time, I ran into one Stellenbosch acquaintance after the other, everyone looked so relaxed, the opposite of how I would generally describe them when I see them on campus. I felt the same way. The evening went on and different performers came on stage – most also had a narrative of beating the odds, or they spoke of how grateful of other's support they were in their journeys. <br><br>What struck me was that I did not over-drink – I spent most of my night chatting, laughing and dancing. I am of course embarrassed to have my prejudices about Pride exposed like they were, but I am glad it happened; I learnt from it. Through watching the many very young people in attendance, I realised that they have grown up in a different and more open South Africa than I did, and that is a good thing. The kids are alright. <br><br>I will be back in 2021 and urge everyone to join in. <br><br><br>-Anonymous<br><br> <br><br><br>Photo: Matthys Carstens​<br>