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Memorial event celebrates varieties of Afrikaanshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9339Memorial event celebrates varieties of AfrikaansDepartement Afrikaans en Nederlands<p>​</p><p>“Your way of speaking Afrikaans, although it may sound different to the way others speak the language, has exactly the same regularity and organisation as standard Afrikaans." These words by Dr Donovan Lawrence of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) summarise the recent Fritz Ponelis memorial event.</p><p>Along with Dr Gerda Odendaal (<em>Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal</em>) and Mr Marius Swart (Stellenbosch University), Dr Lawrence participated in a panel on 28 July – the eightieth anniversary of the late Prof Fritz Ponelis's birthday – to talk about Ponelis's contribution to the study of Afrikaans syntax, linguistic history, and, in particular, language variance.</p><p>The conversation touched on the syntactic analysis of Afrikaans (which Swart described as looking like structural formulas in chemistry), restandardisation, and a discussion on the extent to which many of Ponelis's books and articles on Afrikaans linguistics actually went against the zeitgeist, since he was convinced that the scientific description of Afrikaans should include informal spoken Afrikaans and varieties of Afrikaans.</p><p>For Odendaal the recognition of language varieties is also a matter of recognising people's identity and enlarging and enriching the language, rather than taking something away. Or, as Lawrence put it, if someone uses a non-standard variety of Afrikaans, it does not mean that it is a substandard variety.</p><p>In the spirit of Ponelis, who authored a number of seminal studies on Afrikaans and Afrikaans linguistics, young researchers in the audience were encouraged to record and study their local variety of Afrikaans.<br></p><p><br></p>
Quo Vadis democracy? http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5145Quo Vadis democracy? Corporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>In 1994, South Africans welcomed democracy with open arms. But today this embrace doesn't seem to be as tight as we would like it to be. <br></p><p>“It appears that we aren't quite so sure what to make of our democracy," says Dr Cindy Steenekamp, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University.</p><p>In a recent study, Steenekamp, for the first time, mapped the characteristics of a democracy community in South Africa by looking at people's commitment to democratic values, and their support for the country's democratic regime and political authorities. Her research question related specifically to the persistence of democracy and how this has been impacted by the political attitudes and behaviour of South Africans since 1994.</p><p>The findings of Steenekamp's study was published in the <em>Taiwan Journal of Democracy</em>.</p><p>She analysed data from the last four waves of the World Values Survey (WVS) conducted in South Africa between 1995 and 2013 to measure the level of political culture in the country, the support for the democratic regime and the political process, as well as the level of institutional trust in political parties, government, and parliament. The WVS is a valuable worldwide network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life over time. During each of the four periods, face-to-face interviews were held with representative samples of adult South Africans in urban and rural areas in their preferred language. </p><p>Steenekamp says the analysis of this data revealed that while there is support for democratic rule and the current political system, support for authoritarianism has increased and confidence in government institutions has decreased.</p><p>“On the one hand, support for democratic rule is fairly high, despite a sharp decline between 2006 and 2013, and higher than support for authoritarian rule. Support for the current political system is steadily increasing." </p><p>“At the same time, however, support for authoritarianism has more than doubled since 1995 and is nearing the 50 percent threshold and confidence in governmental institutions is decreasing and, in 2013, dropped below 50 percent for the first time since transition."</p><p>“The fact that the gap between support for democratic rule and authoritarian rule has narrowed from 71.3 percent in 1995 to 25.2 percent in 2013, does not bode well for the persistence of a democratic community in South Africa."</p><p>Steenekamp<strong> </strong>adds that confidence in various governmental institutions, such as political parties, parliament, and the government, decreased by more than 20 percent between 1995 and 2013.</p><p>She also notes that data showed a decline in South Africans' positive attitude toward law-abidingness, despite the fact that they generally condemn unconventional forms of political behaviour such as protest action and the use of force to gain political goods.</p><p>Steenekamp says there could be different reasons for these contradictory results.</p><p>“One could argue that commitment to democracy has not become fully entrenched in our value system as a result of the socio-economic reality that plagues the country. Although the black middle class has grown since 1994, the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality remain."</p><p>“Despite the provision of basic infrastructure and social welfare, the majority of South</p><p>Africans are yet to substantially improve their living standards."</p><p>“Also the changing nature of party politics, especially within the ANC, and rampant political corruption are likely responsible for South Africans' loss of confidence in the state and political leaders. The increase in unconventional political behaviour (i.e., protest action, in response to poor service delivery) is a direct result of citizen dissatisfaction with the state."</p><p>According to Steenekamp, the levels of discontent and civil disobedience could become the dominant political resource used by the people to mobilize public opinion and influence policy makers. </p><p>“Protest action has a negative effect on the persistence of a democratic community and culture once it becomes violent." </p><p>She adds that we should not forget that, unlike an authoritarian regime, a democratic government like ours needs the support of its citizens to maintain its legitimacy.</p><p>Steenekamp highlights the importance of a political culture that is conducive to democracy and says “democratic institutions alone will not keep our democracy stable and effective."</p><p><strong><em>Reference</em></strong><em>: </em>Steenekamp, C (2013). Democratic Political Community in South Africa Elusive or Not? <em>Taiwan Journal of Democracy</em>. Volume 13, No. 1, July 2017.</p><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Cindy Steenekamp </p><p>Department of Political Science</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 2115</p><p>E-mail: <a href="mailto:cindylee@sun.ac.za">cindylee@sun.ac.za</a> </p><p><strong>              </strong><strong>OR</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>E-mail: <a href="mailto:viljoenm@sun.ac.za">viljoenm@sun.ac.za</a><br></p><p><br></p>
Is the lockdown authoritarian creep or ‘proportionate response’?http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7326Is the lockdown authoritarian creep or ‘proportionate response’?Steven Robins<p>​Is the lockdown an authoritarian creep or a 'proportionate response' to the COVID-19 pandemic? This is the question Prof Steven Robins from the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology tried to answer in an opinion piece published by Daily Maverick on Monday (4 May).<br></p><ul><li>Click <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-05-04-is-the-lockdown-authoritarian-creep-or-proportionate-response/"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>here</strong></span></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </span>to read the article.<br></li></ul><p><br></p>
COVID-19 is an opportunity to make our circles biggerhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7548COVID-19 is an opportunity to make our circles biggerJudy-Ann Cilliers<p>​The COVID-19 pandemic should also be seen as an opportunity to reach out to vulnerable foreigners who try to make a living in South Africa, writes Dr Judy-Ann Cilliers from the Department of Philosophy in a doctoral-based opinion piece for the <em>Mail & Guardian </em>(31 July).</p><div><ul><li><p>​Read the article below or click <a href="https://mg.co.za/coronavirus-essentials/2020-07-31-covid-19-is-an-opportunity-to-make-our-circles-bigger/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.</p></li></ul><p><strong>Judy-Ann Cilliers*</strong></p><p>When President Ramaphosa announced the national state of disaster on 15 March, many breathed a sigh of relief. We were witnessing a world being consumed by a new virus with many world leaders failing to take sufficient action. Our government's early and decisive response communicated a desire to protect its people. Yet even then we knew that the cost will be high, and it will mostly be paid by those already marginalised in our society. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">These past few months we have seen more instances of domestic and gender-based violence, more people losing their jobs as businesses close, and as the number of infections grow, more people without sufficient access to healthcare. In a world that was already becoming more hospitable to xenophobic nationalisms, we read and hear about increased attacks on foreigners, especially of Asian descent, across the globe – any outsider is a threat, a potential carrier.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">While we speak of the 'unprecedented times' we are living through, this kind of attack is not unprecedented. It is a common narrative in South Africa that foreigners should be kept out because they bring disease into the country. All kinds of xenophobic discrimination, exclusion, and violence against foreign nationals have been justified by the claim that 'they' are the cause of real diseases, such as HIV/Aids, and moral 'diseases', such as drug addiction and crime.  That this is true only in some cases is irrelevant to the xenophobe; humans easily extrapolate from 'some' or even 'one' to 'all'. The individual, collective, and systemic causes of xenophobia, and its intersection with racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, are complex in ways I cannot do justice to here. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Studying instances of xenophobic discrimination and violence, one thing becomes apparent: the choice of victim is not determined by the individual's guilt, actions, legal status, or even their real nationality. It is enough that they exist <em>here </em>(wherever 'here' may be), and that they are perceived as a foreigner by the xenophobe. Xenophobia is therefore not a response to a specific threat – despite our rationalisations about crime and job scarcity and viruses – but to a perceived threat, where the perception is shaped by the xenophobe's own prejudices and stereotypes, and by our political narratives around belonging, borders, nationhood, and membership. Such narratives shape our ideas about who has a right to belong or to exist here, and who does not.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The fear underlying such perceptions may have different origins or motivations. In the South African context, migration and development expert Loren Landau identifies a deep apprehension about the meaning of belonging, an apprehension anthropologist Frances Nyamnjoh locates in a historically oppressed and excluded citizenry who, for the most part, still cannot meaningfully access the benefits and rights that come with membership. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Xenophobia is a reaction to a sense of insecurity, of not having a place where one belongs, and an accompanying attempt to establish security. As we face the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic – rising unemployment, lower levels of food security, a weakened economy, and individual and collective trauma – the xenophobic violence that is already characteristic of contemporary South Africa may become more prevalent and entrenched. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The irony is that the logic underlying such violence and such attempts to establish security and belonging preclude the possibility of establishing a more secure society, for it is a logic that seeks to exclude and even destroy that which is strange or new, and it inevitably becomes self-consuming. If belonging is rigidly defined and policed, the circle of who 'truly belongs' will inevitably become smaller and smaller. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This logic stands opposed to what political theorist Hannah Arendt called the fundamental human capacity of natality – our ability to begin something new. This ability is the root of our freedom, as we constantly bring new things into the world through our actions and interactions with others. It is also necessarily unpredictable, which is why we often respond to it with fear and a desire to control. In asserting control, we banish the new and the strange and the unpredictable, and along with that our own ability to act and exist freely. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The pandemic poses a challenge that, for most people, is radically new. We have reason to be afraid in our current circumstances – to fear for our lives and livelihoods, to worry about the country and the world's future. These fears have been closely tied to our fear of others for so long, and the pandemic makes breaking those ties so much harder. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is harder to conceptualise a form of belonging that is not exclusionary when we are isolated from one another, when the risks of sharing the world with others are so evident, and when we do not even feel safe in our own homes. We have seen examples of incredible selfishness and cruelty in this pandemic. Predictably, some of the regulations put in place to protect and support people in South Africa during this time negatively affected foreigners in ways citizens were not affected, especially those that initially limited the activities of informal traders and workers.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Yet the newness and strangeness of our situation offers us an opportunity to reassess our assumptions, to create new world-shaping narratives, and to act in unpredictable ways. After hurricanes or earthquakes, great fires or terrorist attacks, when people are on the edge of life and access to resources cannot be guaranteed, we do not only see dog- eat-dog competition, but also altruism, solidarity, and empathy, often between people who under normal circumstances would not have reached out to each other. Uncertainty can make us hunker down, but it can also open our eyes to realities and injustices we were unable to see before. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">As we create meaning in this pandemic and from this virus, as we analyse and live through the implications of the lockdown, and as we try to rebuild and, perhaps, build anew, we need a critical awareness of the precarious position of foreign nationals in our society, as well as the true danger to a society when it does not protect its most vulnerable members.<br></p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><strong>Photo</strong>: A group of people gathering. <strong>Credit</strong>: Wikipedia.</li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>*Dr Judy-Ann Cilliers is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Philosophy at Stellenbosch University (SU). This article is based, in part, on her recent doctorate in Philosophy at SU.​</strong></p><p><br></p></div>
Translated work brings to light the political thoughts of one SA's leading black intellectuals http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7532Translated work brings to light the political thoughts of one SA's leading black intellectuals Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Thanks to the work of four academics from across the globe, the travelogue of one of South Africa's leading black intellectuals of the early 20<sup>th</sup> century, the late Professor DDT (Davidson Don Tengo) Jabavu of Fort Hare University, has been published in a bilingual edition by Wits University Press. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The travelogue, called <em>In India and East Africa / E-Indiya nase East Africa – A travelogue in isiXhosa and English</em>, captures Jabavu's reflections during his four-month trip to India to attend the World Pacifist Meeting in Santiniketan and Sevagram in 1949, as well as his thoughts on how Mahatma Gandhi's principles of non-violence may be applied in South Africa's struggle for freedom. This little-known isiXhosa text, written in a conversational tone, provides a rare perspective on the mid-twentieth century transnational pacifist scene after Mahatma Gandhi's death. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Jabavu's travelogue contributes to scholarship on intellectual exchanges between Africa and India but also shows a South African at home in the world. There have been many texts written by Indian travellers encountering Africa, but the perspective of a black South African on encountering India is much rarer," explains Prof Tina Steiner, Associate Professor in the English Department at Stellenbosch University (SU) and one the co-editors of the book. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Jabavu was a seasoned international traveller who starts his narrative mentioning his extensive previous travels and places this particular voyage in the context of a life of travel in the pursuit of support for equality for South Africa's black population," adds Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The travelogue traces how geographies of various emancipatory movements – the civil rights movement, African liberation movements and the international peace movement – intersected at the World Pacifist Meeting.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Besides Steiner, who was the lead editor, the editorial team comprised Dr Mhlobo W. Jadezweni from Rhodes University, who is an isiXhosa expert and who updated the orthography of the original from 1951; and Prof Catherine Higgs, a historian and Head of the Department of History and Sociology at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus; and Prof Evan M. Mwangi, a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Northwestern University in the United States and a Professor Extraordinaire of English at SU. Higgs is the author of the biography <em>The Ghost of Equality - The Public Lives of D.D.T. Jabavu of South Africa 1885-1959.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The translation from isiXhosa into English was executed by the late Dr Cecil Wele Manona, an Anthropologist and Senior Research Officer at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Steiner explains that while Jabavu wrote most of his many books in English, he tended to write in isiXhosa towards the end of his life after his retirement from public life. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This was also the case with his travel account to India and East Africa which was originally published in parts in the weekly <em>Imvo Zabantsundu</em><em> </em>(African Opinion), which Jabavu's father, the politician and newspaper editor John Tengo Jabavu had founded in 1884; and then in book format by Lovedale Press in 1951." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The younger Jabavu was a professor in African Languages who taught at Fort Hare University from 1916 to 1944. While he was also politician, a pacifist and a staunch Methodist, he was first and foremost an educator and his politics came from a real concern for the quality of education for black students in South Africa. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“You have to understand that Fort Hare was the key institution of higher learning for black students from all over Africa at the time. So it was not surprising that when Jabavu embarked on his trip to India, many of his ex-Fort Hare students sent telegrams to him and asked him to stop over in Mombasa and Kampala to visit them, which he did on his return from India. The travelogue thus also invites reflections on the significance of a pan-African network of ex-Fort Hare students," says Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In November 1949, Jabavu set off for India via ship from Durban to attend the World Pacifist Meeting as one of 93 delegates from 31 countries across the world. After a week in Santiniketan, the delegates were split into groups and spent the next two weeks visiting various sites associated with Mahatma Gandhi's life and work. At the end of the two weeks, Jabavu and his group reconvened with all the other delegates in Gandhi's village, Sevagram, where the conference continued. However, his writings do not only describe the sights he saw in India and his experiences with his host families, but also reflects on the content of the conference itself.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“He provides us with insight on the proceedings, the discussions and resolutions of the conference and talks about listening to prominent pacifists like Dr Rajendra Prasad, Vera Brittain, Dr Mordecai Johnson, Rev Michael Scott, Dr Pao Swen Tseng to name just a few. Jabavu also met Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, whom he mentions he shook hands with in Parliament, as well as other government officials in independent India."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The narrative shows how inspired he was by Gandhi's methods of non-violent resistance, his civil disobedience and ability to politically mobilise the masses. During his return voyage, he also met with important anti-colonial activists in Uganda and Kenya, like Elind Mathu, Harry Thuku and Jomo Kenyatta."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“From his writings, it is clear that Jabavu wanted to share these discussions with his fellow black South Africans. He was a Christian and believed in a Christianity that needed to be socially involved and relevant, and he very much focused on the principles of self-restraint and service to others and the impact that it could have on social transformation."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/DDT%20Jabavu%20book%20cover.jpg" alt="DDT Jabavu book cover.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="text-align:justify;margin:5px;width:400px;height:600px;" /><strong>How the travelogue came about</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The publication of Jabavu's work is the end product of a project, Indian Ocean Epistemologies, which Steiner and Mwangi had been collaborating on since 2017. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Through this project, Steiner and Mwangi developed a joint curriculum which was taught at Northwestern University in Chicago in 2018 and at SU in 2020; published a special issue on Indian Ocean Trajectories in <em>The Journal of Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies</em>; and decided to publish the translated travelogue of Jabavu as part of their mission to translate a text that “would enrich the primary archive of Indian Ocean Studies from an African perspective". Their project formed part of a larger, overarching project called Global Theory in the South based at Northwestern University and led by Prof Penelope Deutscher. The overarching project was funded by the AW Mellon Foundation and is part of an initiative of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“While Jabavu's travelogue <em>E-Indiya nase East Africa</em> had been publicly available for nearly seven decades, it was written in an old isiXhosa orthography and was thus not easy to read for contemporary readers," explains Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, after seeing reference made to the travelogue in Prof Isabel Hofmeyr's groundbreaking article 'The Black Atlantic Meets the Indian Ocean' and hearing her mention Jabavu's travelogue on a few other occasions, Steiner started her search for an English translation. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This search led her to Higgs, who had published the DDT Jabavu biography <em>The Ghost of Equality</em>, which wasbased on research she had done in the late 1980s and 1990s for her PhD. Higgs had commissioned the help of Manona to translate Jabavu's isiXhosa text and shared this with Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I really want to pay tribute to the late Dr Manona who translated Jabavu's travelogue as well as his wife, Mrs Nobantu Manona who gave us permission to use her late husband's translation in this edition." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She explains that the original isiXhosa text by Lovedale that Manona had used for his translation was then edited by Dr Jadezweni, who had to update the old isiXhosa to the contemporary orthography approved by the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB). <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Jadezweni said that he had not encountered such a rich and beautifully written isiXhosa text before. Jabavu wrote in a conversational tone in a stream of consciousness style and made use of many isiXhosa idioms in his text. He was an entertaining writer with wide-ranging interests who wanted to encourage his local audience to see their own struggles reflected in similar struggles for equality across the globe." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The travelogue's transnational orientation, its commitment to pacifism and its insistence that political dialogue is possible, make <em>In India and East Africa/ E-Indiya nase East Africa</em><em> </em>an important document of the rich and diverse black South African intellectual tradition. Moreover, it once again confirms the significance of preserving and making accessible African-language texts to readers across Africa and the world."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Main photo: DDT Jabavu (right) with his father, the politician and news editor John Tengo Jabavu, as a young man and later as lecturer at Fort Hare University.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Story photo: The front cover of the travelogue,</em> <em>In India and East Africa / E-Indiya nase East Africa – A travelogue in isiXhosa and English, which</em><em> </em><em>captures Jabavu's reflections during his four-month trip to India to attend the World Pacifist Meeting in Santiniketan and Sevagram in 1949</em>.<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>
Students write about youth issueshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7435Students write about youth issuesCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie <p>In celebration of Youth Day (16 June) and Youth Month, students Connor Bam (Humanities) and Tian Alberts (Law) write for <em>Mail & Guardian </em>and <em>News24 </em>respectively about some of the challenges young people face today. Click on the links below to read the articles.<br></p><ul><li>​Connor Bam (<a href="https://mg.co.za/opinion/2020-06-17-youth-day-is-just-as-much-for-the-present-as-it-is-for-the-past/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Mail & Guardian</strong></a>)</li><li>Tian Alberts (<a href="https://www.news24.com/news24/columnists/guestcolumn/opinion-on-youth-day-we-need-to-leave-anti-social-media-behind-20200615"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">News24</strong></a>)</li></ul><p><strong> </strong></p><p><br></p>
MA graduate carries the torch for Deaf community and SASLhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9043MA graduate carries the torch for Deaf community and SASLCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking [Naude van der Merwe<p>​With films such as the 2020s, <em>The Sound of Meta</em>l and <em>CODA</em> – the latter winning Best Picture at this year's Oscars – stories about the Deaf community have recently become more prominent in popular culture and media. </p>This is a very good thing, says Modiegi (Susan) Njeyiyana, a Deaf lecturer at Stellenbosch University (SU) who received a Master's in Linguistics during the April graduation cycle.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/ARTS_3.jpg" alt="ARTS_3.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:400px;height:267px;" /><br><br>“We need a lot more of that," she says. “We want Deaf people to participate in hearing society, but we also want hearing people to learn about who we are as a community. We have to build a bridge and let the two streams mix into one river."<br><br>Njeyiyana, who matriculated from the St Vincent School for the Deaf in Johannesburg in 1993 and received an honours degree in Linguistics from the University of Witwatersrand in 2017, has been a lecturer at the University since 2018. After school, she briefly dabbled in the beauty industry, but that wasn't for her. Her true calling was in education, specifically in the Deaf community, -where she worked for 16 years as a presenter, facilitator, storyteller and poet for the organisation Sign Language Education and Development (SLED).<br> <br>When an opportunity at SU opened up, she jumped at the chance. The title of her Master's degree is “Lexical variation and change in SASL: a case study of a Western Cape school-lect", and researched the variations and language change in South African Sign Language (SASL) within one specific school in the Western Cape, The Dominican School for the Deaf in Wynberg.<br> <br>The differences in dialect within SASL are something that has always interested her. According to Njeyiyana, SASL developed in silos during apartheid because cultures weren't allowed to mix, so Deaf Zulu children's sign language was based on their culture and had different signs for the same word from, say, Tswana children. After 1994 everyone was allowed to mix, and this influenced SASL significantly.<br> <br>That's one of the reasons that SASL is so different from, for example, British Sign Language. All the different South African cultures and languages have influenced SASL to create a truly unique language.<br> <br>In her Master's dissertation, she looked at generational changes in sign language dialects and variations that have occurred over the years, a field of interest that she'd like to continue exploring.<br> <br>“SASL is still being oppressed. The attitude towards the language is very poor, and I believe through research and evidence we can change that attitude towards the language, as well as our culture and see that it is just as important as any other culture."<br> <br>Research on SASL literature, specifically, is also something Njeyiyana would like to explore further. She stresses that SASL is a language on its own, with a rich history.<div> <br>“I'm a SASL poet by heart and I want to do more research about SASL literature. Because Deaf children need to have access to poetry and prose through their own language. Deaf education needs a lot more support than what's available right now."<br><br><p><strong>Teacher at heart</strong></p>Njeyiyana teaches SASL Acquisition to first years in the Department of General Linguistics at SU. She says the interest in the course has grown significantly since she started in 2018, with more than 100 students taking the module this year.<br><br>She says she hopes the interest in SASL continues. “My wish is that there will be a full SASL academic department in the future. That will be true transformation and bring much more awareness."<br> <br>Prof Kate Huddleston, Chair of the Department says Njeyiyana has made an invaluable contribution to the department since she started teaching at SU. “She has made it possible for us to offer SASL acquisition at first-year level and raised awareness among students and staff of issues related to being Deaf and using SASL. As an MA student, she has contributed to the diversity of our postgraduate cohort and our research on SASL. She has also made a significant contribution to the current LTSM (Learning and Teaching support material) project which is housed in the department and which, through the Handlab, produces learning and teaching support material for Deaf schools in the Western Cape."<br> <br>Njeyiyana also assisted Ilze Aäron, SU's first Deaf graduate using SASL as language of instruction. She says the Faculty of Education, where Aäron received her degree in 2021, is the place where SASL can really have a massive impact in this regard. “Before students even finish their studies, they will be ready to go to their first job and know how to approach Deaf children."<br> <br>According to her, many Deaf children don't have access to sign language in schools, because most teachers can't sign, but are expected to teach Deaf children sign language. This is something she'd like to see change, especially since SASL is now a subject in schools for the Deaf.<br><br> Njeyiyana is married, but her husband, who is hard of hearing, lives in Johannesburg. So do her two hearing children, who live with their father. But she'd like to make the Western Cape her home.<br> <br>“My dream is to have a real home and for the family to be together. I also dream of academic recognition and contributing to the empowerment of Deaf people."<br><br> <br><strong>Photographer</strong>: Stefan Els<br><p><br><br></p><p>​<br></p></div>
SU produces first book and DVD set for Deaf and hearing childrenhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6414SU produces first book and DVD set for Deaf and hearing childrenLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a group of staff and postgraduate students at the General Linguistics Department at Stellenbosch University (SU), the first South African Sign Language (SASL) book and DVD set that can be enjoyed by Deaf and hearing children simultaneously was recently released. The set consists of a multi-authored, English book called <em>Sign Language Saves</em>and an accompanying DVD in five languages – South African Sign Language,  Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa and isiZulu. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Deaf children can now read the English book or watch it in SASL on the DVD while hearing children are able to follow the story along with their Deaf peers in one of the four language translations on the DVD while also seeing the SASL.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The team that worked on the project included Maryke van Velden, a Project Illustrator and Creative Writer who handled the aesthetic aspects of the book design; Sima Mashazi, a junior lecturer and MA student who did the SA English and isiZulu voice overs; Frenette Southwood, who did the Afrikaans voice over; and PhD student Khanyiso Jonas, who did the isiXhosa voice over. Vanessa Reyneke, a Project Coordinator for the development of teaching and learning support material in SASL in the General Linguistics Department, was responsible for the signing on the DVD and the management of the entire project. The project is funded by the Rector's Strategic Fund, with an additional book to follow later in 2019 and another in 2020.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Reyneke, the project came about when the team started investigating the possibility of developing SASL reading material for schools that Deaf and hearing learners could read together. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We came across a Flemish children's book that we could turn into a SASL book and DVD with characters that were unique to South Africa," explains Reyneke.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Reyneke approached the authors of the book, who agreed that the story could be reproduced in South Africa and the sign language amended to reflect SASL signs.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">To get to the final book and DVD set, the team had to follow a long process from securing copyright to publish the story to having some illustrations amended – the animal characters, all South African wildlife, use signs in the illustrations, and the original Flemish Sign Language signs had to be replaced with SASL signs.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We were attracted to the Flemish book because the characters were all animals found in Africa. We thought familiarity with these animals would open up the story to children in South Africa from different cultures and backgrounds. There were some things we were requested to keep the same, such as Noah the Lion's tail, which twitched to show just how excited he was. He is also the main character and always wears red in the Flemish book, so we did the same in the South African version." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Thereafter we had to translate the SASL on the DVD to Afrikaans, South African English, isiZulu and isiXhosa. While there is only one sign language version of the story on the DVD, the voice overs were done in the different languages."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">One of the most important things about this series, says Reyneke who is Deaf herself, is that hearing children are now exposed to and made aware of SASL. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">While sign language is taught in Deaf schools, it is not an official South African language and therefore not one that many hearing children are exposed to. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Sign language is something that remains hidden, out of the public eye. Even when you see sign language on TV, it is being done by an interpreter in the bottom right corner of the TV screen. So we have limited exposure to South African Sign Language," says Reyneke.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“With this book, we can expose hearing children to sign language, which I think is a great idea as it will create an awareness of the language amongst hearing children. Who knows, it may even prompt them to learn the language in order to communicate with Deaf persons."  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The book and DVD set will also allow hearing parents with Deaf children to read with their children. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The majority of Deaf children are born to hearing parents and thus far there has been no SASL material around that allows hearing parents to enjoy a story with their Deaf child. It creates an opportunity for parents and children to bond and build their relationships."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">While Reyneke took the lead on the project, she is quick to point out that she would not have been able to complete the project without the assistance of her colleagues, Van Velden and Mashazi, and PhD student, Jonas.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Because I cannot hear, I also had to rely on an interpreter, who is able to hear and sign and who could ensure that that the tempo of my signing matched that of the spoken language and visuals seen on the screen."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Now that the first book and DVD set is publicly available and another two are in the process of being illustrated, Reyneke hopes to also produce a DVD with voice overs in the Afrikaans dialect, Kaaps. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We did a quick test by sharing the second book, which is currently being illustrated, with a group of hearing and Deaf children and they really loved it. They were asking when they could get some more books like this to read."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">For now, Reyneke is content knowing that together with her colleagues, they have opened up a whole new world to both hearing and Deaf children to enjoy together. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This is something that was not available in South Africa before and now that it's been done, I hope it shows that a lot more is possible in future." </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: The first South African Sign Language (SASL) book and DVD set that can be enjoyed by Deaf and hearing children simultaneously was recently released thanks to the hard work of the General Linguistics Department at Stellenbosch University and funding received from the Rectorate's Strategic Fund. (Photo supplied)​</em></p>
Sign language-related courses help teachers of Deaf students with new curriculumhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4100Sign language-related courses help teachers of Deaf students with new curriculumLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Last year, the first South African Sign Language (SASL) curriculum was rolled out nationally in South Africa after it had first been piloted as a project at the De la Bat School for the Deaf in Worcester from 2011 to 2013. Now, thanks to three short courses of the Department of General Linguistics that focus on language teachers, including sign language teachers, those who have to implement this curriculum will also have the necessary skills to do so effectively. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Dr Frenette Southwood of the Department of General Linguistics of Stellenbosch University (SU), the department has been offering shorts courses in the Foundations of Linguistics, Sign Language Linguistics and Literature of SASL to teachers of Deaf learners since the beginning of 2015. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"South African Sign Language is now acknowledged as a first language by the Department of Education, just like Afrikaans and English, and is also taught in schools," says Southwood. SU is one of three academic institutions in South Africa that offers these types of courses.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The courses are intended for language teachers who do not have a sufficient background in linguistics or literature and helps these teachers to interact optimally with the curriculum they have to teach."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The three courses were created after the department presented the first intensive five-day Foundations of Linguistics course to 31 teachers of Deaf learners and staff of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) in June 2015. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Ms Minna Steyn of the WCED, who also was the project manager of the pilot project at De la Bat, teachers in the Western Cape were provided with basic training by the WCED to implement the new curriculum. A year later, training was done at the national level. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"During the training at national level we realised that there was not enough training that focused on literature and poetry, although these form part of the new curriculum. The idea therefore was to show teachers and teacher assistants how to teach poetry and literature in sign language. I thus was keen to offer our teachers who teach Deaf learners more in-depth training and then discussed the possibilities with the Department of General Linguistics. The ETDP-SETA was then approached to find funding for 30 students to undertake training at Stellenbosch University," says Steyn. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Steyn has been involved with the education of Deaf people for the past three decades and was head of the Thiboloha School for the Deaf and Blind in Qwaqwa in the Free State before being seconded to De la Bat for the launch of the SASL curriculum. She also completed her MA in the SU Department of General Linguistics in December 2015, focusing specifically on language and literacy acquisition by Deaf Foundation Phase learners in her thesis. In a report of the WCED in 2015, she said the following about the implementation of SASL as a first language: "Deaf children who are born into hearing families do not have the privilege of learning language in a natural manner from birth. It is only when they go to school that a Deaf child is exposed to Deaf adults and friends and that they learn sign language. South African Sign Language is the first language of Deaf people in South Africa and is equivalent to any spoken language. It has been proven scientifically that a child's mother tongue must be established firmly and be in place before an additional first language can be mastered."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During her time at De la Bat she noticed how Deaf learners in the pre-school classes started participating more in lessons because they now had sufficient Sign Language vocabulary to participate more easily thanks to the pilot project. Previously, sign-supported Afrikaans or sign-supported English (these are spoken languages that are converted into signs word for word, some of which were artificial, non-SASL signs) were used as language of teaching and learning in schools for the Deaf. This deprived learners of exposure to SASL in the classroom. With the rolling out of the SASL curriculum, SASL is also implemented as language of learning and teaching in schools for the Deaf – as early as in the preschool classes. Deaf learners' SASL skills therefore are being improved from early on and they have the opportunity to receive their school training in a natural language.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The courses of the Department of General Linguistics accommodate 30 people at a time, who complete the Foundation and Sign Language Linguistics courses over six weeks, with one week of lectures on campus and the rest being done by way of directed self-study and distance teaching. The course on the Literature of South African Sign Language runs over two days and comprises lectures that are presented on the SU campus. According to Southwood, the purpose of the training is to sharpen teachers' knowledge of language and sign language as a language so that they can be better language teachers. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This is not a sector that received much attention in the past and the quality of teaching therefore is not up to standard. There also are some teachers who cannot use sign language fluently but who have to teach in sign language. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"So besides for teachers' sign language skills needing to be improved, they also need to have knowledge of this first language of their learners so that a teacher can be better able, for example, to teach their sign language-using learners English or Afrikaans as language of literacy. Through these courses we help our teachers to do the latter by helping them to understand what language is, how it works and how it is learnt. Our courses cover concepts such as the nature, function and structure of human language, how human languages are used and understood, how they are processed and produced, and how these aspects are applicable to sign language."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Steyn believes that the courses will not only lead to better equipped SASL teachers, but also will raise the profile and visibility of sign language. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"South African Sign Language is a stigmatised language, with rules and principles such as any other language. It therefore helps the image of the language if academic institutions such as Stellenbosch University offer courses on it." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Steyn has herself completed three courses to gain a better idea of the type of training that teachers received by way of the courses. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"There is no other way to describe it other than to say that it is really wonderful for me to know that teachers are now empowered to implement this curriculum with the knowledge that they have received from SU."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Thus far, a total of 61 teachers completed the three courses in June to October 2015, with a further 36 who started training in April 2016. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Steyn is now encouraging other provinces to build up similar co-operation with local universities in their environment and to ensure that teachers are empowered in this manner. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">For Southwood and her colleagues, this co-operation with the WCED also offers many other exciting opportunities for the training of students at US. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Our department is very grateful to be part of this. Sign Language Linguistics is now a section of our second-year module in General Linguistics and we will also offer it as a third-year module from next year. We are also planning to offer Sign Language Acquisition to students as a subject in 2017. We therefore are not only busy strengthening the expertise of current teachers, but also preparing a new generation of students to qualify themselves as teachers of Deaf learners." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">For Steyn, the broader impact of the project, which they started in 2011, is the most important result of a longstanding aim of ensuring that SASL is recognised as a fully-fledged language. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The Deaf child now receives the type of education that prepares him/her academically. My dream is to have SASL as a subject in our mainstream schools and that hearing people are also given an opportunity to learn sign language."</p><p><em>Photo: Nine Deaf students (of whom seven are teachers of Deaf students) completed the courses in Foundations of Linguistics, Sign Language Linguistics and Literature of SASL in March and received a certificate from Stellenbosch University. Mr Christopher Dontsa (fourth from left) completed all three courses. In front, from left, are Prof Johan Oosthuizen, Ms Annette Humphrey-Heyns, Nodumo Same, Christopher Dontsa, Phumla Mosia, Ncumisa Loliwe, Andiswa Fayindlala, Lazya le Roux, and Dr Frenette Southwood. At the back are Christoffer Galada and Simon Ndaba.</em></p>