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Awareness campaign needed to counter baseless claims, conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccinehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7987Awareness campaign needed to counter baseless claims, conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccineMark Tomlinson & Ashraf Kagee<p></p><p>We will need a massive awareness campaign to counter baseless claims and conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine, write Profs Mark Tomlinson (Institute for Life Course Health Research) and Ashraf Kagee (Department of Psychology) in an opinion piece for <em>Daily Maverick</em> (10 February).</p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-02-10-south-africa-needs-a-massive-awareness-campaign-to-overcome-covid-vaccine-hesitancy/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>for the piece as published.</li></ul><p><strong>Mark Tomlinson and Ashraf Kagee*</strong><br></p><p>The first week of February 2021 was a momentous one in the Covid-19 pandemic. It was the week when the number of people globally who had received a vaccine overtook the numbers of people that have contracted the virus thus far. Bahrain currently has the <a href="https://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/emea/bahrain-first-country-allow-vaccine-appointment-mobile-app"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""><strong style="">s</strong><strong style="">econd-highest vaccination rate in the world</strong></span></a>, while the USA vaccinated 2.1 million by Saturday 6 February 2021. </p><p>As our health system gears up to embark on a mass vaccination programme in the coming months, it is necessary for the uptake of a vaccine to be as high as possible. A recent <a href="https://www.uj.ac.za/newandevents/Pages/UJ-HSRC-survey-shows-that-two-thirds-of-adults-are-willing-to-take-the-Covid-19-vaccine.aspx#:~:text=Covid-19%20vaccine-%2cUJ/%20HSRC%20survey%20shows%20that%20two-thirds%20of%20adults%20are%2ctake%20the%20Covid-19%20vaccine&text=67%25%20of%20adults%20would%20definitely%2cof%20adults%20did%20not%20know."><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">survey</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>conducted by researchers at the University of Johannesburg and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has shown that two thirds of South African adults would definitely or probably accept a vaccine if one were available, 15% stated they did not know, and 18% said they would not accept a vaccine.  </p><p>We need a huge national effort to convince members of the public who are eligible to receive a vaccine to accept one. A high level of immunity provided by wide vaccine coverage is the best chance we have to reduce the number of new infections; to reduce symptoms, hospitalisation, and deaths among those infected; and thus to ensure that health services can be freed up to serve people with other health conditions. We need to ensure high enough uptake of the vaccine to provide herd immunity to South African society. <br></p><p>There is unfortunately a sense among some in the public that vaccines may cause more harm than good and that vaccines will actually infect people with the Covid-19 virus. This kind of misinformation must be countered from a range of sources – government, the medical establishment and the media. <br></p><p>Vaccine hesitancy or vaccine refusal has a long history – inevitably tied to charlatans such as Andrew Wakefield, who did serious damage to public understanding of the effectiveness of the MMR vaccine. Wakefield's now <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831678/"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""><strong style="">d</strong><strong style="">i</strong><strong style=""><strong style="">sc</strong>redited study</strong></span></a> suggesting that the MMR vaccine was associated with autism in children was withdrawn from the Lancet because his data were simply false. We need to guard against baseless claims about any of the available Covid-19 vaccines that are not supported by science. </p><p>The credibility bestowed on pseudoscience and quackery, unfortunately also has a long history in South Africa.  Former President Mbeki argued that HIV does not cause AIDS, entertained the quackery of vitamin salesman Matthias Rath who peddled vitamins to cure HIV, and appointed a Minister of Health (Manto Tshabalala-Msimang) who believed that beetroot, olive oil and garlic could cure AIDS.  <br></p><p>Some people are genuinely worried and concerned that a vaccine may harm them. To allay such fears we need accurate information, clear messaging, and excellent science. Lies, misinformation can only be countered by facts, data and solid evidence. Baseless claims and conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 vaccine should be met by these means. It is likely that all of the 18% of people in the survey mentioned above that have said they would not take the vaccine have in fact had numerous vaccines in their life (MMRI, Tetanus and others).  Far from being sick or disabled from these vaccines they are likely to be alive today because of them.  They need to be reminded of this.<br></p><p>There are a few ways to create conditions for widespread uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine. <br></p><ul><li><p>​In the face of vaccine hesitancy, trust is a key component of making the decision to take the vaccine.  South African public figures – politicians, celebrities and sportsmen and women – have an important role to play as role models and examples to others that receiving the Covid-19 vaccine is imperative for their own health as well as the health and wellbeing of our society. When the public sees leaders and those in the public eye receiving a vaccine, they will be more likely to abandon scepticism and accept a jab themselves. <br></p></li></ul><ul><li><p>​However, we also know that trust in many politicians in South Africa is currently quite low among the public. In this regard, the role that religious leaders play is key.  Every Minister, Imam and Rabbi must publicly be vaccinated and make discussions about the importance of vaccines part of their religious services and ceremonies – on an ongoing basis.  <br> </p></li><li><p>Traditional healers have a unique role to play in the effort to ensure the uptake of vaccines. Traditional leaders enjoy the trust and confidence of those who seek their services. To this extent they can help to publicly encourage credulity, acceptance, and trust in the national effort to vaccinate the public. <br> </p></li><li><p>Social marketing and public service announcements need to start in earnest to create awareness and interest among the public in receiving a vaccine. The fact that the majority of South African adults would accept a vaccine if one were available is encouraging and should be publicised as widely as possible. Doing so will convince those who are more circumspect that a vaccine is acceptable to most others, that it is an important social and public health good, and that they should receive one themselves when presented with the opportunity.</p> </li><li>We need science journalists on radio, television and the print and social media to encourage scientific mindedness in society, so that the public can become active readers and consumers of scientific information. Doing so will actively enable people to understand scientific concepts such as prophylaxis, randomised trials, and the placebo effect. Understanding the basics of vaccinology is also helpful, as it will help the public to understand that a vaccine cannot actually infect anyone with the virus or change their DNA. Accurate and clear information of this nature can go a long way to counter conspiracy theories about vaccines, theories which have no basis in fact. </li></ul><p>South African public figures such as President Ramaphosa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Stephen Grootes and Siya Kolisi have a duty to publicly and unequivocally endorse and accept the coming Covid-19 vaccine and thus encourage all of us to do the same.  And if community leaders and the Professors of the Street in every corner of South Africa can do the same, we will stand a chance of vaccinating the numbers of South Africans needed to move through this awful pandemic.  <br></p><p><strong>*Professor Mark Tomlinson is co-director of the Institute for Life Course Health Research in the Department of Global Health at Stellenbosch University (SU). Professor Ashraf Kagee is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at SU. They are both members of the Western Cape Department of Health Vaccine Advisory Committee.</strong></p><p> </p><p>​<br></p>
John Kani honoured with honorary doctorate from SUhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7017John Kani honoured with honorary doctorate from SUCorporate Communication Division/Sandra Mulder<p style="text-align:justify;">​</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wSjmGgSyR3w" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p><p>“The power of changing the country is in the hands of the citizens. We are the government. We voted them in and can vote them out." This was one of the inspiring messages in the acceptance speech of the internationally acclaimed actor and playwright John Kani after having received an honorary doctorate from Stellenbosch University (SU).<br></p><p>Under great applause from graduates, their parents and other guests, the degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), <em>honoris causa</em>, was conferred on the 76-year-old Kani by the Presiding Officer, SU's Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers, at this morning's (13 December 2019) ninth and last December 2019 graduation ceremony. SU awarded the honorary degree to Kani to honour and recognise his lifetime dedication to using the performing arts as a tool for upliftment.</p><p>In Kani's gripping and inspiring message of hope to everyone in South Africa, he jokingly said that when he had been informed that the honorary doctorate was to be conferred on him, he thought that he had become “famous in Stellenbosch".  “To be honoured in this incredible way, made me feel so good and that my 76 years of existence and all our efforts were not in vain."</p><p>One of the stories that he told at the ceremony was about the time in 1984 when he and Atholl Fugard had to perform in Stellenbosch. They thought that they could not come to Stellenbosch as it was seen as the “headquarters of the Afrikanerdom".  “I thought what will the comrades think of us and they will think it is a sell-out." But they still came and performed for a week. “I was impressed by the good conversation with professors and lecturers but was most impressed by the young people speaking Afrikaans. I realised that the Afrikaner and I had one problem: We have nowhere else to go. My job will be to tell stories and my stories witness the journeys each individual takes."</p><p>In 1982, Kani was part of a hit list, which he ignored. He was attacked by security police and was taken by his wife to a hospital in Port Elizabeth with 11 stab wounds. “In the hospital, there was a white doctor who hid me in the isolation ward for infectious diseases. The security police found out that I had not died and went back to the hospital to complete the job of killing me. They did not want to enter the ward and I have this young white doctor to thank for my life," he said.</p><p>The last story Kani told the graduates and guests, was about his father always telling him that he needed to pay him back in rands and cents for the money spend on his education when he started working. “I told the same story to my eight children, but my currency was different. I told them that they had to make something of themselves and make a valuable contribution to humanity and society. Then they would have paid me back." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>The motivation​ for Kani's honorary doctorate</strong><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SU Council and Senate decided to honour him with this degree in recognition and admiration for his unwavering and passionate commitment to the performing arts as actor, director and playwright; for his dedication to ensure access to the performing arts for young people from marginalised communities; for using the arts to educate, to create community and as a tool of expression for the oppressed; and in recognition of his commitment to excellence in his 50-year international career in the performing arts.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Kani was born in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, on 30 August 1943. His connection to drama, which started in school, continued after he matriculated. </p><p>As a young black man growing up in apartheid South Africa, his first desire had always been to be part of the struggle. His need to tell the stories of the oppressed and to see the effect they had on people developed his deeply held belief that theatre was a powerful tool for change and would become the catalyst for all of his work, acting, directing and writing. </p><p>In 1965 he joined the Serpent Players where his association and friendship with Winston Ntshona and Atholl Fugard started. In 1972 Kani, Fugard and Ntshona developed the seminal <em>Sizwe Banzi is Dead</em> and in 1973, they created and produced <em>The Island</em>. They took both plays to local and international stages and in 1974 Kani and Ntshona both won the coveted Tony Award for Best Actor in these two plays. </p><p>In 1977, Kani and Barney Simon established The Market Theatre, which focused equally on theatrical work and social upliftment. In 1990 they also founded The Market Theatre Laboratory, giving young people from marginalised circumstances the opportunity to study the performing arts. </p><p>In 1982, Kani and Sandra Prinsloo shook the very foundations of white South African society when they kissed on stage in Strindberg's <em>Miss Julie</em> at the Baxter Theatre. In 1987, he became the first black South African to play Shakespeare's Othello in our country. </p><p>Kani has written and starred in three plays: <em>Nothing but the Truth</em> (2002), <em>Missing</em> (2014) and <em>Kunene and the King</em> (2018). All three deal with deeply difficult South African themes of forgiveness, exile, isolation, identity and loss. </p><p>His most recent international successes include films such as <em>Black Panther</em> (2018), <em>The Lion King </em>(2019) and <em>Murder Mystery</em> (2019). </p><p>Kani holds four honorary degrees and his long list of awards include the Hiroshima Prize for Peace from the Swedish Academy, the Olive Schreiner Prize and the South African Film and Television Lifetime Achievement Award. He also received the kykNET Fiesta award for his lifetime contribution to the performing arts, as well as the Naledi World Impact Theatre Award. <br></p><p><br></p>
Post-apartheid SA military “lost in transition and transformation"http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7173Post-apartheid SA military “lost in transition and transformation"Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​​​​​<span style="text-align:justify;">​​In 1994, the South African Defence Force merged with the armed forces of anti-apartheid organisations like the African National's Congress' Umkhonto we Sizwe, creating the newly formed South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Yet, while it has transformed over the years to more closely align itself to the democratic values of the country and has adapted to a new security, political and social environment, it faces many new challenges. Amongst them is the ability to respond successfully to a different mission focus, which in turn affects force procurement, preparation, employment and sustainability.</span></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This is according to Prof Lindy Heinecken, the country's leading sociologist on the military, who has consolidated over 30 years of teaching experience and research on the military into a book titled <em>South Africa's Post-Apartheid Military – Lost in transition and transformation.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Heinecken is based in the Sociology and Social Anthropology Department at Stellenbosch University, which is one of the few sociology departments in South Africa to do research in military sociology. Her work in this particular research field has also earned her certification by the ISA Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology as a registered Certified Sociological Practitioner. She serves on the Council of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society (USA), and is President of the International Sociological Association's (ISA) Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution Research Committee. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Other than her own research, Heinecken also draws on interviews with key academics and politicians focused on defence issues, and military practitioners for this book.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“While the newly formed military focused on aligning itself with the country's democratic values, it did not focus on the transformation of the military itself. The transformation that has taken place has been a political, social and cultural transformation, rather than an organisational transformation," says Heinecken. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“At this point in time, it is really important that the military starts looking at organisational transformation as the threat that South Africa faces today is a very different kind of threat.  The SANDF is trained in warfare and not for the roles they have to play or the functions they have to fulfill with regards to peacekeeping, humanitarian aid deployment, and public law and order maintenance today. It is also not structured to deal with the increase in terrorist threats we are seeing in countries across the world."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A case in point, and a topic Heinecken addresses in her work, is the recent deployment of the military to the Cape Flats to deal with escalating gang violence in the neighbourhoods that make up this area.</p><p>“We saw what happened when the military started interacting with the community. The interaction was in a confrontational and authoritarian manner which does not build trust."</p><p>However, this is not surprising considering that this is exactly how soldiers within the military are expected to deal with threats during warfare. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Using your military internally to address social problems like gangsterism or escalating crime is a last resort, because we need to look at other options of dealing with these types of issues first. We cannot deal with these issues as a security problem when there are deeper social ills that lead to gangsterism. The military can stabilise a situation sufficiently to help communities rebuild social cohesion in order for these issues to be addressed, but there is always the fear that by using the military consistently and for the long term, it will lead to the remilitarisation of society, which means more and more of your resources are pumped into the military instead of being used to address other socio-economic concerns," explains Heinecken. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Another problem in these types of situations, says Heinecken, is that the SANDF has less than 300 troops on the ground on the Cape Flats and they are not used to performing civilian policing duties. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The reasons for this is because the SANDF is not structured, well-funded or trained to perform these specific functions. Clearly as internal vulnerabilities in South Africa increases, there will be a growing demand for the military to be deployed internally to fill police incompetence," says Heinecken.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Insufficient public debates about these issues and understanding of the state of the SANDF, is why I think this book is timely. It addresses how we can use our military more effectively with regards to the security threats we face internally and externally."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">While more of a scholarly work, Heinecken's book has been written in such a manner that academics, policy makers and military practitioners are able to easily engage with the content.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Other chapters in the book deal with the new security environment in which the military operates, the challenges that peacekeeping operations have posed, the revision of civilian control of the military, managing diversity and representation within the military, the difficulties military veterans face reintegrating back into society and finding gainful employment, gender equality and mainstreaming, human resources and labour relations, the challenges the military faces in dealing with military unions, as well as HIV/Aids and the consequences this holds for the military in terms of its operational effectiveness. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking on the issue of gender equality and mainstreaming, Heinecken says: “Gender equality remains a contentious issue in the military as it tries to grapple with feminism. The way the military has addressed gender equality has been through the belief that equal opportunities mean equal rights. However, with the rise of gender mainstreaming, it is not just about equality, it's about embracing difference and accommodating the different skills and talents that women bring to the organisation. This has been far more difficult to attain as there has been a slow recognition that involving women in the military is more beneficial, especially in peacekeeping operations."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Heinecken adds that her research has shown that “the time has come to make really tough decisions about the military's future". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We are at a point where politicians, the military itself and civil society need to engage with the issues facing the defence force. We are not living in a time of war, but we certainly do not have peace and security. In an increasing volatile world, we need to decide what kind of defence force we need for the security threats we face."<br></p><p>Heinecken's book costs R300 and can be found at the Protea Book Store, the Book Lounge in Cape Town, any Exclusive Books and most other major book stores.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em><em style="text-align:justify;"><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Prof%20Heinecken-5.jpg" alt="Prof Heinecken-5.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:500px;height:739px;" /></em><br></em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>​Photo: Prof Lindy Heinecken, the country's leading sociologist on the military, has consolidated over 30 years of teaching experience and research on the military into a book titled South Africa's Post-Apartheid Military – Lost in transition and transformation. (Anton Jordaan, SSFD)​</em></p>
Tribute - Elsa Joubert (19 October 1922 – 14 June 2020)http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7432Tribute - Elsa Joubert (19 October 1922 – 14 June 2020)Lenelle Foster <p><em>​​​​The author Elsa Joubert passed away on 14 June 2020 at the age of 97. The Department of Afrikaans and Dutch pays tribute to this alumna of Stellenbosch University. </em><br></p><p>During the first half of June, South Africa lost two authors who both excelled in a variety of genres. Jeanne Goosen passed away on 2 June at the age of 81 and Elsa Joubert on 14 June. She would have been 98 in October.</p><p>Joubert obtained a BA from Stellenbosch University in 1942 and the following year she completed a senior teaching diploma, also at SU. She worked as a teacher and journalist, received an MA from the University of Cape Town and undertook a solo trip through Africa in 1948. In 1957 she debuted with a travel memoir on her journey through Uganda and Egypt.</p><p>Although travel (and by implication journeys and sojourns) is an important theme in Joubert's oeuvre, it would be an untenable oversimplification to reduce a writing career of sixty years to an obsession with travel literature. This is demonstrated very clearly by the numerous awards she received for her work, including two Hertzog prizes (considered the most prestigious award in Afrikaans literature), and the recognition she enjoyed as an author – among many other accolades she was awarded honorary doctorates by SU (2001) and the University of Pretoria (2007) and received the <a href="https://www.gov.za/about-government/elsa-joubert-elsabe-antoinette-murray-steytler">Order of Ikhamanga</a> (silver) in 2004.</p><p>In 1978, Joubert garnered international attention with the publication of arguably her most famous work, <em>Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena</em> (translated into English as <em>The long journey of Poppie Nongena</em>). The novel, which has been translated into more than 10 languages and received numerous prizes, emphasises that personal experiences are political.</p><p>In a 2006 <a href="https://www.oulitnet.co.za/seminaar/wonderlike_geweld_painter.asp">review</a> of <em>'n Wonderlike geweld</em> (the first instalment in a three-part autobiography), Desmond Painter wrote that Joubert's representation of her own experiences as a child and young woman become the perfect instrument to register the shifts, both significant and subtle, in the Afrikaans world of that time. On the whole, Joubert's work functions not only as a way to register the world at a particular time, but also causes shifts in the reader. <em>Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena</em> (as well as Christiaan Olwagen's film version, <em>Poppie Nongena</em>, released earlier this year) demonstrates the way in which Joubert forced herself and her readers to recognise the humanity of other people and acknowledge the need for (and importance of) interaction.</p><p>It is a supreme irony that a writer whose work is inextricably linked to journeys, both physical and emotional, died of COVID-19 during the lockdown.<br></p><p><br></p>
Fourth graduation ceremony: 114 PhDs in 8 years for the Graduate School of Arts and Social Scienceshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5545Fourth graduation ceremony: 114 PhDs in 8 years for the Graduate School of Arts and Social SciencesCorporate Communications Division<p>The graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) today (22 March 2018) marked two milestones: The Faculty's Graduate School has awarded more than 100 PhDs, and this in the Faculty's centenary year, which it is commemorating alongside the University as a whole as one of its original four faculties.<br></p><p>At this ceremony, 605 students graduated (a total of 1591 students including those of Dec 2017), while honorary doctorates were also bestowed upon two esteemed thought-leaders Mr Max du Preez and Ms Sandra Prinsloo. <br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PRWN5_PWvwg" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XK9auZU-P_Y" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p>Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, said in a welcoming address: “As we commemorate our Centenary this year, we celebrate great achievements and ground-breaking discoveries the past 100 years. We acknowledge everyone who helped to mould this institution. At the same time, the University has acknowledged its contribution to the injustices of the past and committed itself to redress and development."</p><p>“By the end of this week's graduation ceremonies, and following those of December 2017, we will again have awarded a record number of qualifications for a single academic year – 9 032 qualifications in total, including 1 620 master's degrees and 305 PhDs. These are phenomenal numbers! Clearly, Stellenbosch University is making an invaluable contribution as a national asset."</p><p>De Villiers said that the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has a wide academic offering. He also pointed to the pioneering work being done by the Faculty's Graduate School for full-time doctoral studies.</p><p>“In our Centenary year, the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences in this Faculty is celebrating the milestone of having produced more than 100 PhD graduates (114 to be exact) since 2010, most of whom now work as researchers and academics at higher education institutions across our continent, thereby helping to stem the so-called 'brain drain' from Africa." <br></p><p>As part of SU's centenary commemoration, 13 honorary doctorates will be awarded during the week. At this ceremony, the two recipients were Max du Preez, “a principled and uncompromising journalist and independent commentator", and Sandra Prinsloo, “a legendary actress, director and cultural activist". They delivered brief speeches.<br></p><p>Du Preez said: "It is a special honour to receive this award, especially because it is my alma mater and the University's centenary. It is rare that brave journalists be honoured."</p><p>He added that he is proud of the investigative journalists, but is a bit concerned about some Afrikaans newspapers that got stuck in s Mandela euphoria while other present issues are not addressed.</p><p>Prinsloo said: "This is the biggest award that I have ever received. Especially coming from an institution that strives for multilingualism and multiculturalism." </p><p>She jokingly added that she can now tell Dr John Kani that she is" “Doctor" Prinsloo.  <br></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/WhatsApp%20Image%202018-03-22%20at%2009.25.21.jpeg" alt="WhatsApp Image 2018-03-22 at 09.25.21.jpeg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:243px;height:318px;" /></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/WhatsApp%20Image%202018-03-22%20at%2009.50.00.jpeg" alt="WhatsApp Image 2018-03-22 at 09.50.00.jpeg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin:5px;width:265px;height:197px;" /><br></p><p>For the Rector's speech, click <a href="/english/Documents/Graduation/SpeechToespr%204Voorsitter%20Mrt%202018%20-%20LSW.pdf"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-4"><strong>here. </strong></span></a><br></p><p>For more on the Honorary Doctorates click <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5448"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-4"><strong>here. </strong></span></a> <br><br></p><p><br></p>
SU honours the late Rachel Kachaje for her visionary leadershiphttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7905SU honours the late Rachel Kachaje for her visionary leadershipCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking [Rozanne Engel]<p>​<br></p><p style="text-align:left;">Stellenbosch University (SU) has honoured the late Ms Rachel Kachaje, who passed away earlier this year, with an honorary doctorate.  The degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), <em>posthumous honoris causa</em>, was awarded to her for her creative and visionary leadership in elevating the debate on disability to regional and global platforms.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Her husband Gibson accepted the award on behalf of the family at a small physical graduation ceremony for doctoral graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences held at SU's Endler Hall in the <em>Konservatorium</em> on Monday 14 December 2020.</p><p style="text-align:left;">During the ceremony, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers said that Kachaje's “effectiveness in disability advocacy" did not go unnoticed and that the University “salutes her extraordinary work" in advocating for the full inclusion of people with disabilities at local, regional and international level.<br></p><p style="text-align:left;"><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/HonDocAbsentia-3.jpg" alt="HonDocAbsentia-3.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:300px;" /><br></p><p style="text-align:left;">“Kachaje was a disability activist for over 25 years, advocating for equal opportunities and rights for people with disabilities in Malawi, the African region and internationally. She challenged the prejudiced notions of disability and was known for her ability to inspire young people with disabilities, for her embodiment of the values of compassion, respect, excellence, accountability and equity," said De Villiers.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Kachaje, who became disabled at the age of three due to a polio outbreak, was working for the National Bank of Malawi when she first joined the disability movement in Malawi. She co-founded the Federation of Disability Organisations' (FEDOMA) in the 1990s and represented it in the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD).</p><p style="text-align:left;">In addition, Ms Kachaje was a board member of the Africa Disability Alliance and the EquitAble Project at Trinity College and Stellenbosch University, co-founder of Disabled Women in Development, commissioner of the National AIDS Commission and secretary of the African Disability Forum Board, to name just some of her leadership roles.</p><p style="text-align:left;">She was elected Minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs in Malawi and in 2004 received a Malawi Human Rights Award and a Diversity Leader Award.  She was part of the landmark negotiations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and contributed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) discussions.  </p><p style="text-align:left;">“Kachaje had a proven ability in advancing the agendas of people with disabilities in general and in particular women and girls with disabilities. Her mission was to advocate and promote rights for people with disabilities and to lead a life that would always affect them in a positive manner," said De Villiers.</p><p>To watch the full graduation ceremony, click <a href="https://youtu.be/4y9XqwQFPiE"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">here</strong></a>. ​<br></p><p><em>In the photo above from left, Prof Wim de Villiers​ (SU Rector & Vice-Chancellor), Prof Anthony Leysens ​(Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences), Gibson Kachaje and Justice Edwin Cameron (SU Chancellor)</em><br></p><p><br></p>
Helping choirboys hit the right notehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6403Helping choirboys hit the right noteCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​Hitting the right note can become difficult for choirboys during puberty when their voices break and conductors don't know whether to let them sing or to take a break. Simple vocal exercises can, however, help them to overcome this problem. <br></p><p>“Research has shown that by doing simple vocal exercises under supervision, adolescent boys can continue singing during puberty and this will benefit them as adult singers," says Xander Kritzinger a music teacher and choirmaster at Stellenbosch High School. He recently obtained his Master's degree in Music Performance at Stellenbosch University.<br></p><p>Kritzinger did an in-depth literature review of existing research by American and European voice specialists and vocal and choral pedagogues regarding pubescent singers and whether these boys should be allowed to sing as opposed to resting their voices. <br></p><p>“Since the changing boy voice is one of the most problematic aspects of young choristers, the aim of my study was to provide South African conductors and vocal pedagogues with a basic understanding of how to manage the vocal change of pubescent boys through the use of vocal exercises." <br></p><p>Kritzinger says despite South Africa's rich, strong and vibrant choral culture, little focus has been placed on vocal health and the development of young singers.    <br></p><p>“The question of how to deal with adolescent boys experiencing vocal change during puberty in a choral context has enjoyed even less attention." <br></p><p>For Kritzinger, the study was also personal. “I grew up singing in choirs and went to the Drakensberg Boys Choir school. During that time, my voice changed and I struggled with the technical side of singing.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Xander.jpg" alt="Xander.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:455px;height:319px;" /><br></p><p>“Working with young singers, especially boys with a changing voice, is important to me. As much as I fell in love with the research process, the kids that I work with will gain much more from my research."<br></p><p>Kritzinger says his literature review showed that the modern approach is to let teenage boys continue singing during puberty when they experience a significant increase in the length and thickness of the larynx which sits above the windpipe in the neck and in front of the food pipe. The larynx manipulates pitch and volume.<br></p><p>“The findings showed that most researchers encourage singing during puberty and also recommend certain vocal exercises that boys can do in choral rehearsal spaces.<br></p><p>“These are general exercises that enhance vocal health. These examples start with exercises for the general improvement of breath control as a basis of proper vocalisation, followed by exercises for the improvement of healthy vowel placement and for the successful blending of the old higher boy voice with the new lower voice.<br></p><p>“Some of these exercises include hissing breath while sitting in a chair and lying on the back; panting; place a fingertip at the base of the larynx and speaking the vowels a, e, i, o, u while slowly breathing in through the nose before each vowel; unhinging the jaw slightly and speaking the words 'every orange'; inhaling slowly through the nostrils while lightly biting on the tongue; and using the fingertips to stabilise the jaw position slightly downward and back."<br></p><p>Kritzinger also highlights the importance of a good posture for all aspects of singing, adding that it allows for good breath control, which in turn forms the foundation for sound production. <br></p><p>“Thus, when working with adolescent boys, it is important to create a culture where maintaining a good posture is essential.<br></p><p>“Doing these exercises for no more than 30 minutes a day would have the best results in my opinion.<br></p><p>Breathing and vowel placement exercises should preferably be done before puberty." He says the blending of the old higher boy voice with the new lower voice happens during puberty and the settling phase afterwards.</p><p>Kritzinger says although not all of these exercises have been tested on adolescent boys going through the various stages of voice mutation, they could, however, significantly contribute to the education of healthy singing. <br></p><p>“These are practical solutions for choral conductors to deal with the pubescent boy and his changing voice that could result in a generation of pubescent boys equipped with tools to cope with vocal change."<br></p><p>He says through understanding the changing boy's voice more boys can experience proper vocal guidance through choral pedagogy. This, in turn, can place South Africa on a world stage of vocal pedagogy development.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It is hoped that this might serve as encouragement for music educators dealing with the changing boy's voice."<br></p><p>Kritzinger says he would like to continue in this line of research and evaluate the true impact of the suggested vocal exercises on boys over a period of three years.<br></p><ul><li><strong>Main phot</strong>o: Drakensberg Boys Choir. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.</li><li><strong>Photo 1</strong>: Xander Kritizinger at his graduation. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Stefan Els</li></ul><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Xander Kritzinger</p><p>Stellenbosch High School</p><p>Tel: 021 887 3082    </p><p>Cell: 0748893848</p><p>Email: <a href="mailto:xander.kritzinger@stellies.com">xander.kritzinger@stellies.com</a> </p><p><strong>          ISSUED BY</strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen<br></p><p>Manager: Media</p><p>Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University </p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>Email: <a href="mailto:viljoenm@sun.ac.za">viljoenm@sun.ac.za</a> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p><br></p>
Vosloo couple invests in Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice at SUhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6909Vosloo couple invests in Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice at SUDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>​​​Ton Vosloo and Anet Pienaar-Vosloo, a couple with close ties to Stellenbosch University (SU), announced that from 2020 they will be sponsoring the Ton and Anet Vosloo Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice at SU for five years.<br></p><p>In addition to the Chair, funds are made available for bursaries for deserving students studying Afrikaans at postgraduate level at SU.</p><p>According to the Vosloo couple, the Chair is aimed at further developing Afrikaans as an important instrument in the service of the entire South African community.</p><p>Until 2015, Vosloo was in the industry for 59 years as a journalist, editor, CEO and chairperson of Naspers, and for the past three years, professor of journalism at SU. Pienaar-Vosloo, also a former journalist, is filming the third television series <em>Mooi </em>for the VIA TV channel. She is a Matie who studied fine art, and is well known for her role as co-founder and director of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Aardklop and various other festivals across the country. She is also the first female chair of the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.</p><p>Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, says the donation not only helps in maintaining Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, but also in promoting Afrikaans as a science and career language in a multilingual community. "As far as we know this is the first and only sponsored Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice at any university," he adds.</p><p>Prof Ilse Feinauer of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch in SU's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, has been appointed incumbent of this Chair. She has been teaching at the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch since 1982, and since 1996 has been involved in the postgraduate programme in translation, which has been expanded under her guidance from a postgraduate diploma in translation to a PhD in translation. She chaired the Department from 2005 to the end of 2008 and held the position of Vice Dean: Research of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from 2015 to 2018. In 2013, Feinauer became the first woman to be promoted to professor of Afrikaans linguistics at SU, and in 2014, the Taiyuan University of Technology in Taiyuan, Shanxi (China), awarded her an honorary professorship in their Faculty of International Language and Culture.</p><p>“It is an incredible honour and privilege for me to be able to hold this Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice. All credit goes to Prof Wim de Villiers for laying the groundwork to make this Chair a reality in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch."</p><p>According to Prof Feinauer, bursaries have already been awarded to four honours students, three master's students, two PhD students and one postdoctoral fellowship in Afrikaans and Dutch for 2020. “This Chair provides the Department with the opportunity to empower postgraduate students in particular to do research in and about Afrikaans in order to pursue a professional career after completing their studies in and through Afrikaans," she added.</p><p>When Ton Vosloo was asked why he and his wife came forward with the support of Afrikaans, he replied: “In my memoirs <em>Across Boundaries: A life in the media in a time of change</em>, published last year, I wrote a chapter entitled, 'Afrikaans in decline'. I made the point in the chapter that I hope gracious individuals would come forward who were concerned with the A to Z of Afrikaans.</p><p>“Anet and I have the grace that we can help. Afrikaans, as Jan Rabie put it, is our oxygen. Now is the time to step in further to develop this incredible source of knowledge for the sake of our nation's future. "</p><p>The Vosloos have been esteemed SU donors for some time.<br></p>
George Claassen first recipient of SU’s Media Lifetime Achievement Awardhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6985George Claassen first recipient of SU’s Media Lifetime Achievement AwardCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>​<br></p><p>Prof George Claassen, former Head of the Department of Journalism at Stellenbosch University (SU) and deputy editor of <em>Die Burger, </em>is the first recipient of SU's Media Lifetime Achievement Award. </p><ul><li>Read the full "commendatio" <a href="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/George%20Claassen%20commendatio%20-%20skoon.docx">here</a> <br></li></ul><p>Claassen (70) received the award at an event at the Wallenberg Research Centre at STIAS in Stellenbosch on Thursday (5 December 2019). The event saw Excellence Awards made to teaching, research and to those who have excelled at communicating their research and expertise through the media</p><p>Reading a “commendatio" at the event, Mr Martin Viljoen, Manager Media, said that Claassen can rightly be called the father of science communication in Africa. “He had a profound impact on both journalism as a profession and as a field of study."  </p><p>Viljoen added that Claassen excelled in science journalism and the ombud system as important spheres of contemporary journalism. He was the first journalism academic in South Africa to develop a course in science and technology journalism with peers at American universities specialising in science and technology journalism considering his work to be the best in this field.</p><p>“It is safe to say that Claassen shaped the thinking of a whole generation of journalists operating in South Africa and beyond, imparting his knowledge on science communication and implanting in journalists a keen sense of detecting fake news and pseudo-science. He has an ability to see into the media future and has been preparing journalists accordingly, including for the explosion of social media, fake news and propaganda appearing on our screens. In many regards, Claassen led the charge in countering the impact of this onslaught on, in and from the media and it came as no surprise that he was the organiser of the first international conference on quackery and pseudoscience." </p><p>Claassen also dovetailed science journalism with establishing the first comprehensive course in cultural and scientific literacy in SU's journalism programmes, while paying close attention to advancing environmental journalism and reporting on climate change. </p><p>Claassen is synonymous with the media ombud system on the continent, Viljoen said. He established the media ombud system in Media24 and is currently, after his retirement from the company, still ombud for the company's community newspapers and public editor of News24. </p><p>He has served as a board member of the International Organisation of News Ombudsmen and Readers' Editors, he is a columnist on the subject and organiser and speaker of various conferences and symposia on an international scale.</p><p>At age 70, Claassen seems to show no signs of slowing down. Apart from his work as ombud, he is a science correspondent for the SABC and still teaches at SU's Department of Journalism. <br></p><ul><li>​Apart from the Media Lifetime Achievement Award, SU staff were also honoured in the categories Media Thought Leader, Newsmaker and Co-worker<br></li></ul><div>​<br></div>
SA faces particular structural barriers to behavioural change amidst pandemic​​http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7525SA faces particular structural barriers to behavioural change amidst pandemic​​Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p></p><p style="text-align:justify;">​​As the COVID-19 infection rate accelerates at an alarming pace in South Africa, an article authored by two academics at Stellenbosch University (SU) warns that adherence to lockdown rules in conditions where citizens live without secure and paid work may be difficult without addressing the country's particular structural barriers to behavioural change.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In South Africa, unlike in the United States where the infection rate is climbing at an exponential rate due to political and ideological reasons, we are facing specific structural barriers that are particular to this country and will hinder individual behavioural change," explains Prof Ashraf Kagee, a psychologist and Distinguished Professor of Psychology at SU, who is one of the co-authors of the research article.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The article was co-authored with Dr Bronwyné Jo'sean Coetzee, also from the Psychology Department at SU.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“While our President has managed the situation well and the implementation of the lockdown has given our health systems time to get ready for the influx of COVID-19 infected patients and the large number of people who now require treatment, lockdowns require people to stay home and only leave their homes to purchase essentials such as groceries and medication," says Kagee.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“As we know, in low- and middle-income countries, many of which have large proportions of the population living in precarity, lockdown forces millions of people to spend prolonged periods of time together in close proximity to one another and with limited resources. In many ways, efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in densely populated communities with limited access to food, water and sanitation may seem counter-intuitive and be quite difficult under conditions of precarity," add Kagee and Coetzee.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">These circumstances, explain Kagee and Coetzee, have again highlighted the fact that while COVID-19 may not discriminate against anyone in terms of vulnerability to infection, it does discriminate based on socio-economic status.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Isolation assumes that everyone has access to personal space and has the ability to continue with paid work from home. In many low- and middle-income countries like South Africa, work is often of a physical nature and cannot be done remotely, as may be the case with many white collar jobs that have been integrated into the digital economy. Thus jobs in the informal sector such as street vending, mini-bus taxi driving, hawking, artisanship, domestic helping, and casual work in small businesses, which are common in South Africa are likely to be lost. To this extent COVID-19 does indeed discriminate by socio-economic status as it exacerbates social and inequality that occurs consequential to lock down."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Like many other experts in various sectors in South Africa, Kagee and Coetzee echo the same sentiment – managing the crisis in this country will require a multi-disciplinary team of experts such as policy makers, economists, psychologists, and medical professionals to work together to find realistic solutions that are specific to South Africa's challenges. They believe that there is also a unique role for psychologist and mental health specialists to play to ensure behavioural change and adherence to regulations.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Coetzee and Kagee are however cognisant of the fact that “behavioural change is difficult and complex" under even the best of circumstances. However, by utilising what is known as the Theoretical Domains Framework, which incorporates a range of theories on behaviour change which was developed by health psychologists and theorists and implementation researchers in the context of other health challenges, they have identified possible solutions to local challenges. The framework uses factors such as knowledge; skills; social/professional role and identity; beliefs about capabilities; optimism; beliefs about consequences; reinforcement; intentions; goals; memory, attention and decision processes; the environmental context and resources; social influences; emotions; and behavioural regulation to measure behaviour change.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Based on this framework, we have made some recommendations that may ameliorate the severity of the lockdown in low- and middle-income countries like South Africa. The first is for governments in these countries to take their populations into their confidence and ensure proper access to information concerning the spread of the pandemic. Access to such information needs to be readily and easily accessible, simple and clear and updated frequently with accuracy and care," Kagee and Coetzee explain.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It entails placing an emphasis on the responsibilities of citizens to take care of their health and that of their compatriots, rather than on the punitive consequences associated with the violation of lockdown conditions. Relatedly, the rationale for lockdown rules need to be communicated in a transparent way to citizens by governments. This is one of the things that I have been very critical about. We have ministers that come up with suggestions and guidelines that do not make sense to the South African population, however, to ensure adherence government needs to take its citizens in its confidence and share the information on which they base their decisions," adds Kagee.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Kagee and Coetzee also advise that “authoritarian and military approaches to ensuring adherence should be kept to a minimum".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Other recommendations made by Kagee and Coetzee include:</p><ol style=""><li><strong>That information about COVID-19 and rules and regulations are made available and tailored to children and younger people</strong> and that parents are provided with tools and resources that are age-appropriate and child friendly. The tailoring of messages for the youth is of particular importance as past experiences, such as changing health risk behaviours amongst the youth when it comes practising safe sex, was difficult to implement amongst the youth. This is due to a sense amongst many youth that they may be invincible and have nothing to lose and thus immune to the coronavirus and its consequences.</li><li><strong>That internet access is made widely available by making data as affordable as possible, or even free, to ensure the free flow of information to all citizens:</strong> Free or affordable data will allow more people to access information, including where to seek help for COVID-19-related symptoms, mental health conditions, help for those affected by gender-based violence, and access to learning materials for school and university learners. </li><li><strong>Criminalising fake news and misinformation to minimise panic and incorrect health practices.</strong></li><li><strong>Scaling up access to e-banking</strong> to allow more citizens to receive welfare relief in countries where national budgets permit this. </li><li><strong>NGOs and local charities are roped in</strong><strong> </strong>to provide food relief to impoverished communities as well as providing water tanks and sanitising equipment provided by government.</li><li><strong>Engaging traditional healers</strong> <strong>in countries where they have influence</strong>, to encourage people to adhere to lockdown regulations and safety behaviours.</li></ol><p style="text-align:justify;">Adherence is not only hard for those living in overcrowded areas in South Africa as has been proven through the public sharing of video and photographs of individuals living in better economic conditions breaking the rules. This, says Kagee, is partially due to the fact that individuals have an inherent “need to be with other people and engage".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“There is a lot of anxiety amongst ordinary people who are worried about whether they will have access to health care when they get sick or what will happen should they end up in hospital and have to be placed on a ventilator, which brings up concerns about death. People with pre-existing mental health conditions are struggling even more, while gender-based violence has also increased."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The reality is that this virus is not going to go away soon and there is no way of predicting when things will stabilise, which means that we need to find solutions to mitigate risk under these circumstances. A couple of decades ago, nobody wore seatbelts and people smoked in cinemas, but that changed over the years with the implementation of regulations which brought about behaviour change. It shows that we can shift social norms and are able to do so once again with this pandemic to at least ameliorate the severity of the lockdown."<br></p><p style="">The full research article can be accessed here: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2020.1779331">https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2020.1779331</a><br><br></p><p><br><br></p>