Psychology
Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch

 

 

COVID-19 is an opportunity to make our circles biggerhttps://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>
Call for applications: Full-time PhD scholarships in the Arts, Humanities and Social Scienceshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5092Call for applications: Full-time PhD scholarships in the Arts, Humanities and Social SciencesLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;"><span>​​T</span><span>h</span><span>e </span><span>Graduate School for Arts and Social Sciences </span><span>is a HOPE Project initiative in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University to strengthen and advance doctoral training and scholarship in Africa.</span><span> </span></p><p style="text-align:justify;">More than 180 doctoral students from 18 African countries, including South Africa, have enrolled in this scholarship programme since 2010. A total of 93 have successfully graduated, of which 78% completed in three years or less.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">​Suitable candidates who are citizens of any sub-Saharan African country are invited to apply for three-year full-time doctoral scholarships in the research programmes of the Faculty to commence studies in January 2018. Scholarships are available to the value of R 420 000.00 over three years.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Collaborative research, supervision and exchange will be encouraged through the Partnership for Africa's Next Generation of Academics (PANGeA) involving leading universities across Africa.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Further information on the partially structured doctoral scholarship programme, eligibility and selection criteria, and application process is available online at <a href="/graduateschool">www.sun.ac.za/graduateschool</a></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>THE ​CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 25 AUGUST 2017.</strong></p>
Occupational physicians can’t serve any masters, PhD study findshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7024Occupational physicians can’t serve any masters, PhD study findsCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>When occupational physicians have to make difficult calls related to health and safety in the workplace, they shouldn't be loyal to either workers or employers because it could influence their behaviour or cloud their judgments. <br></p><p>“Because impartiality, integrity, trustworthiness and professional autonomy are required from occupational physicians, they shouldn't show loyalty to either employers or employees," says Sasolburg-based occupational medicine consultant Dr Gerhard Grobler who received his doctorate in Applied Ethics at the ninth ceremony of Stellenbosch University's December graduation on Friday (13 December 2019). </p><p>In his study, the first of its kind in South Africa, Grobler did a moral analysis of the apparent conflict of interest in the profession of occupational physicians. He says dual loyalty, or at least the suspicion that loyalty to either party would colour the occupational physician's judgement, has been a problem in recent times and creates ethical ambiguity. It's especially when workers are injured on the job that the issue of dual loyalty arises.<br></p><p>Grobler, who has 38 years of hands-on experience in occupational medicine, points out that companies or organisations employ occupational physicians to look after the health and safety of workers who are vulnerable to unemployment, regular retrenchments, poor and collapsing public healthcare, non-compliance with health and safety legislation in the huge informal sector and the inefficiency in the office of the Compensation Commissioner.<br></p><p>“Occupational physicians play an important role in ensuring that workers are not denied healthcare, compensation or related benefits for which they are eligible. It often takes staunch personal commitment of the leaders in occupational health to prevent individual cases from falling through the proverbial cracks. <br></p><p>“Their judgements must be based on scientific knowledge and technical competence and they must not do anything that compromises their integrity and impartiality. They can never allow any conflict of interest to influence their advice and verdicts.<br></p><p>“Occupational physicians cannot serve any masters. Their guiding principle is to serve the health and safety of all workers and that of everyone at risk of illness or injury related to the incapacity of workers – whether the latter are airline pilots, rock drill operators or abattoir staff."<br></p><p>Grobler adds that occupational physicians are medical doctors that workers, employers, labour unions, relevant authorities and society need to believe they can trust with stewardship of the health and safety of workers.<br></p><p>He says where professional autonomy, impartiality, fairness, veracity and sound judgment are vital virtues, loyalty could well be an obstacle because it invites stakeholders to attempt to change rulings made by an occupational physician.<br></p><p>“Employers understandably suspect that their occupational physician is dedicated to the interests of patients. Workers, on the other hand, quite comprehensibly expect the occupational physician, employed and paid by the company, to serve the employer's business interests.<br></p><p>“If workers or employers experience or suspect that an occupational physician identifies with one party or allows loyalty to influence his judgement, all of his decisions become questionable."<br></p><p>According to Grobler, there's not enough appreciation for the role and contribution of occupational physicians in South Africa, especially among doctors in private practice.</p><p>“The discipline is often disparaged by some doctors in private practice. The sentiment is 'why would a bright doctor choose to earn a salary by working for a boss in a factory environment?'. And 'why do they seem to side with the employer – who my patients tell me is unsympathetic and unfair?'. " <br></p><p>Having worked closely with many occupational physicians, occupational health nursing professionals and occupational safety professionals, Grobler says he understands their sentiments, as well as the difficulties they face and have to overcome.<br></p><p>“Hopefully, my study might stimulate awareness and reform regarding the ethical challenges in occupational health, especially given the perception that the discipline just protects the interests of big business." <br></p><p>Grobler adds that doctors in occupational medicine, less experienced occupational physicians, non-medical professionals in occupational health and safety, as well as academics who teach ethics in occupational health could benefit from his research. <br></p><ul><li><strong>Photo</strong>: Dr Gerhard Grobler at the graduation ceremony. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Stefan Els</li></ul><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Gerhard Grobler</p><p>Occupational Medicine Consultant</p><p>Sasolburg</p><p>Cell: 083 6254085</p><p>Email: <a href="mailto:gerhardgrobler6@gmail.com">gerhardgrobler6@gmail.com</a> </p><p><strong>ISSUED BY</strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen</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> <br></p><p><br></p>
Ten SU finalists compete for SA’s ‘Science Oscars’ https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7411Ten SU finalists compete for SA’s ‘Science Oscars’ Corporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​​Over the past few years, Stellenbosch University (SU) has featured prominently at the annual <a href="http://www.nstf.org.za/awards/about/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)/ South32Awards</strong></a>. This year is no different with 10 SU finalists competing for the 2019/2020 NSTF/South32 Awards at South Africa's “Science Oscars". As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement of the winners will take place through a live-streamed Gala Event on Thursday, 30 July 2020.</p><p>Regarded as the most sought-after national accolades of their kind in the country, the NSTF/South32 Awards recognise, celebrate and reward the outstanding contributions of individuals, teams and organisations to science, engineering and technology (SET) in the country. Among the competitors are experienced scientists, engineers, innovators, science communicators, engineering capacity builders, organisational managers and leaders, as well as data and research managers.<br></p><p>According to the organisers, it is an extraordinary honour to be a finalist given the quality of the nominations received every year, the fierce competition that nominees face and growing interest from the SET community over the years.<br></p><p>The SU finalists (with department or environment) and the categories in which they will compete are as follows:<br></p><p><em>Lifetime Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Prof Leslie Swartz </strong>(Department of Psychology)</li></ul><p><em>TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Researcher:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Prof Christine Lochner</strong> (South African Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders and Department of Psychiatry)</li></ul><p><em>TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Emerging Researcher:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Dr Wynand Goosen</strong> (Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences)</li><li><strong>Prof Richard Walls</strong> (Fire Engineering Research Unit)</li><li><strong>Dr Jacqueline Wormersley</strong> (Department of Psychiatry)</li></ul><p><em>​NSTF-Lewis Foundation Green Economy Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Prof Thinus Booysen</strong><em> </em>(Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering). He is also a finalist in the <em>NSTF-Water Research Commission Award</em> category.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>Prof Wikus van Niekerk</strong> (Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies)</li><li><strong>Sharksafe (Pty) Ltd</strong> with CEO and Co-Inventor Prof Conrad Matthee (Department of Botany and Zoology)</li></ul><p><em>Data for Research Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Stellenbosch University Computed Tomography Scanner Facility Team with Leader Prof Anton du Plessis </strong>(Department of Physics)</li></ul><p><em>Communication Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus</strong> (Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science)​<br></li></ul><p><br></p>
Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receives third honorary doctoratehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6370Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receives third honorary doctorateCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Research Chair in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University (SU), received an honorary doctorate from Rhodes University in Grahamstown on Friday (12 April 2019). This was her third honorary degree after having been honoured in similar fashion by Holy Cross College in Massachusetts, USA and Friedlich Shiller University Jena in Germany. <br></p><p>Gobodo-Madikizela, an alumna of Rhodes University, received the degree Doctor of Laws (LLD), honoris causa, for her trailblazing work to research topics such as guilt, remorse, forgiveness, the dialogue between perpetrators and victims as well as the way in which trauma is experienced by individuals and in political systems. <br></p><p>Rhodes University praised her for her contribution to trauma research and her efforts to relay the stories of victims, to humanise offenders and to bring a message of hope, empathy, dialogue, forgiveness and reconciliation to a society characterised by violence and trauma. <br></p><p>In her <a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/A%20New%20Vision%20of%20the%20Postclolonial%20-%20Rhodes%20Award.pdf" style="text-decoration:underline;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>acceptance speech</strong></span>​</a>, Gobodo-Madikizela expressed her gratitude for the honour bestowed upon her. She said she was fully aware of the honour and challenge locked up in this award that came from a university that encouraged his alumni to lead and to be torchbearers. She encouraged the graduands to take up their places as leaders in society and to campaign for justice and equity. <br></p><p>This is the third time that Gobodo-Madikizela was honoured by Rhodes University. She received the institution's Social Change and Distinguished Old Rhodian Award in 2010 and 2017 respectively. </p><p>She was a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Human Rights Violations Committee. She has received several international and national awards and the National Research Foundation has acknowledged her as a researcher of high international standing.<br></p><p>Since 2017, Gobodo-Madikizela has been serving as research advisor and global academic at the Queen's University in Belfast. This position is affiliated to the Senator George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice where she holds a World Leading Researcher Professorship. <br></p><p>Gobodo-Madikizela also held research fellowships at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard Kennedy School's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Claude Ake Visiting Chair, a collaboration between the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at the Uppsala University in Sweden and the Nordic Africa Institute. <br></p><p>Profs George Ellis, Ian Scott, Glenda Gray and Ms Okunike Monica Okundaye-Davis also received honorary doctorates at the same graduation ceremony in Grahamstown. SU awarded an honorary degree to Gray in 2017. <br></p><p><strong>Photo</strong>: Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receiving her honorary doctorate from Dr Adele Moodly, Registrar of Rhodes University.<br></p><ul><li>The University of Cape Town will award an honorary doctoral degree to Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished Professor at SU's Faculty of Education, in December 2019. <br></li></ul><p><br></p>
"To be a warrior is all about riding through the storms..."https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7512"To be a warrior is all about riding through the storms..."Transformation Office | Disability Unit | AfriNEAD<div><em>SU's Rector and Vice-chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers announced late last year that 2020 will be the university's Year for Persons with Disability. It will culminate in the sixth African Network for Evidence-to- Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) conference, a prestigious international network that will be hosted by SU from the 30 November to 3 December 2020. To honour this the Transformation Office and the Disability Unit, along with AfriNEAD, will publish monthly reflections or articles by persons with disabilities. Our fifth piece is written by </em><span lang="EN-GB"><em>Ulf-Dieter Koepp, a </em><span lang="EN-GB"><em>junior technical officer</em></span><em>​, in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences</em></span><em>.</em></div><div><br></div><div>​<br></div>​I am Ulf-Dieter Koepp from Windhoek. I was born deaf with a cleft palate. My deafness is a result of my mother having had German measles during her pregnancy. My mother taught me lipreading when I was a very little boy, and my schooling took place at Dominican Grimley School for the Deaf in Hout Bay from about 1982 to 1998.<br><br>I have now been working at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) for over three years as a junior technical officer. Before SU, I used to work on testing various applications by using Android Studio and MIT App Inventor (online). One of my many ideas was the one on Ava (<a href="https://www.ava.me/"><span lang="EN-GB">https://www.ava.me/</span></a>). I also assist the Humarga Helpdesk by monitoring personal computers and printers and stocking up paper reams. I have about five years of experience as a printer technician with various companies. <br><br>I was at a crossroads at the beginning of 2017, one year after the start of my employment at SU and my mother's sudden death in June 2016. I had been used to being deaf for 41 years, but this was not the case with the 'Big C'. At that crossroads, that 'C', nasopharyngeal carcinoma, held a gun to my head. <br><br>How did this cruel thief sneak into my body? Why had I not noticed this earlier? The fact was that I had booked air tickets to Namibia for a three-week vacation in November 2016, not knowing that I would be heading into another unknown direction. I had asked the ear, nose and throat surgeon whether I qualified for a cochlear implantation as a new candidate. Boom – the radiologist discovered a mass lesion deep in my left nasopharynx section after CT and MRI scans had been completed. It was presumed to be Stage 1 – so early! But within two weeks, it had grown to Stage 2. I had no symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, swollen neck, severe headaches or persistent sinus issues.  <br><br>How exactly did I manage to pull through? I used to think that SU was anything but a normal employer when it came to annual leave and sick leave, but I was shocked to see how it had structured sick leave in a way that went beyond my logic. I know that with any company, when illness struck an employee, the standard procedure was to grant that employee a limited grace period. However, when I looked at the way in which sick leave was structured, I thought, “Am I seeing something that is unique?" When an employee is extremely ill for a long time, SU has something called 'disability cover', which is extremely helpful in covering the loss of income. Indeed, SU is an upfront-unified-unbeatable, one-of-a-kind employer that is really committed to its students and staff, also a staff member with a disability!<br><br>Yes, I came out as a cancer warrior in complete remission in August 2017 and still am to date. To be a warrior is all about riding through the storms and finding the sunshine one day. Everything before my official diagnosis and during the treatments stripped me as if I were an onion being peeled away. Never had I thought that my theological studies at Cape Theological Seminary (Pentecostal-Charismatic Bible College, 1999 to 2002) would one day be put to the test when the 'Big C' interrupted my life like a Goliath.<br><br>Did I manage to obtain the implant? Unfortunately, not yet, but I am aware that Discovery Health does fund this type of operation from benefits. Both my oncologist and ear, nose and throat surgeon wonder whether I am still keen on cochlear implantation. The truth is that it does not always suit everyone.<br><br>My advice to other people with loss of hearing, based on my experiences at SU, is to be yourself and to keep your flame burning to inspire the person next to you. You are an asset. Go after small mercies that may transform your way of thinking and adapting.<br><br>
Social Work Department celebrates World Social Work Dayhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4356Social Work Department celebrates World Social Work DayLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Earlier this year, the Social Work Department celebrated World Social Work Day 2016 (WSWD) along with a number of institutions across the world who also focus on the social work profession. WSWD is celebrated annually on the second Tuesday of March. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">By participating in this event, social workers are able to express international solidarity and bring common messages to governments, regional bodies and to the communities they serve. The theme for this and last year's WSWD was selected from the <a href="http://ifsw.org/get-involved/agenda-for-social-work/">Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development</a>. The Agenda was formulated in 2010 by social worker practitioners, educators and development workers at a meeting in Hong Kong in 2010 and reaffirmed "the need [for persons working within this profession] to organise around  major and relevant social issues that connect within and across" their professions. The Agenda consists of four themes which are focused on promoting social and economic equalities; promoting the dignity and worth of peoples; working towards environmental sustainability; and strengthening recognition of the importance of human relationships. Each theme is focused on for two consecutive years, with 2016 marking the second year that WSWD has centered its activities on Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"As staff members of the Social Work Department we take great pride in being social workers ourselves and even more so being an integral part of training and shaping the minds of our students to become excellent social workers. At our university we are in the privileged position be able to allow our students to make a social work impact on real clients, with real needs in real communities, from the first year of their studies in a manner that promotes the dignity and worth of people," said Ms Tasneemah Cornelissen-Nordien, a lecturer in the Social Work Department. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Department celebrated the day with a number of activities, amongst them a talk for first-year students which was presented by International Master's degree student, Sever Altunay, from Gothenburg University in Sweden and focused on the Impact of the Global Agenda for Social Work. Fourth-year students were also able to participate in an academic discussion with students in a postgraduate social work class from Coventry University in the United Kingdom through a video-conferencing session via Skype and shared their experiences of social work in the two countries. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Gary Spolander, a guest lecturer from Conventry University, presented a lecture to all social work students and staff based at Stellenbosch University. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This lecture stimulated insightful self-reflection and debates with others and aimed to motivate the social workers to continue to achieve great things within society, to not only make a difference in the lives of the individuals to whom services are rendered, but to work towards making an impact on government policy, to having the voices of social workers heard in parliament, and to striving towards making a difference on the political front in our country. WSWD 2016 yet again reminded the social work profession of its ethical responsibility to make politicians and government aware of the apparent ethical unawareness by which our country is currently being governed. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">On the day, the top achievers for 2015 were also recognised and were presented with certificates for their academic achievement in Social Work. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This day allowed our department to unite for human dignity and reminded us of our courage, strength, passion and will to make a difference in the lives of others," said Mr Zibonele Zimba, a lecturer in the Social Work Department.</p>
Dr Roomaney – one of 51 SA academics selected for advancement programmehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7397Dr Roomaney – one of 51 SA academics selected for advancement programmeLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​​<span style="text-align:justify;">​​Dr Rizwana Roomaney, a lecturer in the Psychology Department at Stellenbosch University, has been selected as one of 51 black academics from across South Africa to participate in the Black Academics Advancement Programme in 2020. She is one of three academics at SU to be selected for the programme. </span></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Black Academics Advancement Programme (BAAP), which is being funded to the tune of R165 million over the next five years, is a strategic partnership between the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the FirstRand Foundation (FRF) “to promote the development of Black South African academics and South African academics with disabilities, to become nationally and internationally recognised researchers". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The programme gives black academics, who are completing a PhD degree or working on post-doctoral research, the opportunity to take a sabbatical for two to three years and to fund the sabbatical through a grant. The grant covers the academic's running expenses, such as local and international conference expenses, research-related costs and lecturer replacement costs for the duration of the sabbatical. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This grant has allowed me to significantly increase the time that I am able to focus on my postdoctoral research by buying out my teaching obligations over the next two years," explains Roomaney, who is also a registered counsellor and research psychologist. “I teach almost 2 000 undergraduate students a year and currently supervise 15 postgraduate students. So I look forward to having time off from lecturing to focus exclusively on research and mentoring my postgraduate students."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Through her research, Roomaney seeks to understand psychosocial well-being among men and women who seek fertility treatment. She leads a team of researchers in South Africa and Ghana. With 10 million couples in sub-Saharan Africa experiencing infertility, Roomaney's research will make an important contribution to scholarship in this regard. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The magnitude of importance attached to biological parenthood in Africa makes cultural beliefs about infertility inseparable from the experience of infertility. Globally, many couples with infertility experience anxiety, depression, stress, and stigma. In Africa, the experience of infertility seems to be aggravated by the cultural worldview of the couple, making the psychosocial well-being of the couple more difficult to disentangle," she adds.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“There is limited current research on the psycho-social aspects of infertility among men and women in South Africa," explains Roomaney. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">She adds that this research may be used to provide psychological and social support to men and women seeking fertility preservation. The original intervention was developed by her co-investigator, Dr Florence Naab at the University of Ghana.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the years, Roomaney's research interests have focused on the field of health research, specifically reproductive and women's health. She is an experienced methodologist, and is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa as a Research Psychologist. It was during her postgraduate studies that she found herself drawn to research on reproductive and women's health and she is currently working on studies with research collaborators and students in oncology, oncofertility (the preservation of reproductive health in cancer patients after treatment), endometriosis, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and infertility. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I became interested in women's health and reproductive health mainly because women often find themselves isolated as they silently struggle with their health issues. For example, women who live with endometriosis struggle to talk about matters such as menstruation because we have been socialised not to talk about it and other matters that affect our reproductive health. It is encouraging to see though that women are becoming more empowered and taking charge of their bodies and their health by seeking help online and engaging with other women experiencing the same issues." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Understanding these matters, says Roomaney, is not only about helping women who suffer silently. Studies has shown that there is a real impact on the economy when women have to remain absent from work due to debilitating symptoms that accompany endometriosis or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Roomaney has been building a solid academic career in the field of reproductive and women's health and has published 19 journal articles and two book chapters during her relatively short career in academia<em>.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;">At present, she is the national delegate for South Africa on the European Health Psychology Society and is working with the Psychological Society of South Africa to develop a Health Psychology Special Interest Group (SIG).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I hope that the SIG creates a space for all psychologists working and conducting research in health psychology to share ideas, collaborate and be of service to communities."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">​“I would like to make a contribution to the field of health psychology and am grateful for the support that I received through this grant. There is a need to advance black academics, and the NRF and FRF are providing much needed support. It is now up to the universities to further support young black talent and strive to further transform the academic body."  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Roomaney calls attention to the fact that the professorate is not sufficiently transformed. She states that this lack of transformation is a structural problem because mainly privileged people can afford the years of study to get a PhD and work towards to becoming professors. This goal can take decades to achieve, while lecturers struggle to manage their competing academic roles. The BAAP therefore fast-tracks people to become professors who have been disadvantaged because of structural inequalities in society.​<br></p>
Women still fighting for equalityhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4148Women still fighting for equalityCorporate Marketing / Korporatiewe Bemarking<p>On Tuesday (9 August 2016), we celebrated National Women's Day. In a few opinion pieces by staff and students at Stellenbosch University, the spotlight falls on women's continued struggle for equality, justice and recognition. Click on the links below for the respective articles.</p><ul><li><p>Ms Monica du Toit (<a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/MduToit_Women%27s%20Day.pdf" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;">Transformation Office</strong></a>)</p></li><li><p>Dr Ubanesia Adams-Jack (<a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/Adams-Jack_%20Women%27s%20Day%202016.pdf" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;">Political Science</strong></a>)</p></li><li><p>Ms Farai Mubaiwa (<span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="line-height:115%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;font-size:11pt;text-decoration:underline;"><a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/FMubaiwa_TheNewAge_Aug2016.pdf"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;">The New Age</strong></a></span>)</p></li><li><p>Prof Lindy Heinecken<strong> </strong>(<a href="https://theconversation.com/military-women-need-to-trouble-gender-relations-and-roles-for-peaces-sake-63360" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;">The Conversation</strong></a>)<br></p></li></ul><p> </p>
Institute’s new offices honours first owners of house in Joubert Streethttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5997Institute’s new offices honours first owners of house in Joubert StreetLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​​​As a way of remembering the 3 700 residents who were uprooted from central Stellenbosch because of the Group Areas Act, Stellenbosch University's (SU) Africa Open Institute for Music, Research and Innovation (AOI) on Tuesday officially named its offices after the first residents who lived at 7 Joubert Street in Stellenbosch. This particular street later became known as the eastern border of an area that was known as <em>Die Vlakte</em>.<br></p><p>The AOI falls under the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at SU and is an interdisciplinary music research institute founded in 2016. The Institute developed from the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS), to which it remains connected through its funding of the DOMUS archive, its intellectual and creative programmes, curating activities, archival collection initiatives and core vision of creating in DOMUS the largest open-access archive for music on the African continent. The intellectual and creative programmes of AOI focus on music, research and innovation, which includes music research, research innovation and innovative approaches to music-making.</p><p>The property at 7 Joubert Street, which belonged to the Okkers family – many of whom live in Idas Valley today – will now be known as the Pieter Okkers House at the request of the family. The house is named after the first resident, Mr Pieter J.A. Okkers (1875-1952).</p><p><span style="text-align:justify;">Speaking at the event, Prof Wim de Villiers, the SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor said: “</span><span style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University is this year commemorating its centenary. And in our Centenary year, we have been celebrating the University's many achievements the past 100 years – with appreciation to all who have helped build the institution into what it has become today. But, at the same time, we have been apologising unreservedly to those who were excluded from the privileges that Stellenbosch University enjoyed in the past."</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“A very painful part of our history occurred here a half a century ago when residents of Die Vlakte were removed from this community supposedly because they had the wrong 'skin colour' according to the hated Group Areas Act of that time. This was the handiwork of the government, but the university did not object and later benefitted when some of the expropriated land and properties were transferred to the university.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“What happened then was wrong. It is why I am thankful that SU, already in 2000, said that “the University acknowledges its contribution to the injustices of the past" and that the institution in the same breath committed itself to redress and development," said De Villiers.​</p><p>In 1964 Die Vlakte, as it was referred to by those who lived there, was declared an area for so-called white persons, leading to the relocation of many families who lived there between the years 1964 and 1971. Die Vlakte stretched from Muller Street in the north of Merriman Avenue in the south, eastwards to Joubert Street and then to the west in Bird Street. The relocation affected six schools in the community as well as a mosque, a cinema and 10 businesses.</p><p>In 2017, when the institute moved into the university-owned property, it did so with the intention of celebrating their “new premises with an inauguration and a naming of the house".</p><p>“However, this was not possible," says Dr Marietjie Pauw, Postdoctoral Researcher at the AOI, “without first engaging in research about the history of the plot, the built structure, the area, and possible connections to people who had lived there".​<br></p><span style="text-align:justify;">“We were lucky," says Pauw. “Early on in my search, a friend who is also a heritage consultant, Lize Malan, sent me a document that indicated that 'P. Okkers' purchased two sites adjacent to one another in Joubert Street in 1903, when the erven were first opened up. When I asked Hilton Biscombe whether he knew of a P. Okkers, he immediately referred me to the Okkers descendants, Pieter and Sarah Okkers, now living in Erasmus Smit Street.<br><br></span><p style="text-align:justify;">“Pieter is a great-grandchild of Piet Okkers. However, there was more: Hilton's wife, Colleen (born Gordon), had a story to add: her mother, Rosina (Sinnie) Gordon, had been born in Joubert Street. She had always asked the children to take her to Joubert Street to see in which house she had been born. Sadly, Ma Sinnie passed on only a few months before the research on the property was begun."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A year after the Joubert Street property was bought, Piet Okkers passed away. The properties were then transferred to his son, Pieter James Andrew Okkers, who proceeded to build a house at 5 Joubert Street (in 1926) and 7 Joubert Street (in 1927). The Okkers family lived in these premises until the houses were sold to the Conradie family (5 Joubert Street) and the Du Toit family (7 Joubert Street). The exact year of their relocation to Erasmus Smit Street is not known, but it may have been as early as 1946, when their grandchildren twins were born.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Colleen Biscombe, the great granddaughter of Pieter James Okkers and wife of Hilton Biscombe – author of the book, <em>In Ons Bloed</em>, depicting the history of Die Vlakte – her mother Rosina, had often in her old age asked to be driven past the homes in Joubert Street. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My only real knowledge of the properties in Joubert Street was the times my mother would ask us to remember to drive her down Joubert Street one day as there were two houses in that road that looked exactly the same, and she was born in one of those homes, she just couldn't remember which one. Thanks to Marietjie we now know Ma Sinnie was born in Joubert Street 5," said Biscombe at the event.</p><p>The naming/re-naming of buildings at SU is guided by the Naming Policy and the application to name the house went through the necessary institutional processes – with full consultation and final approval by the SU Council. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Linked to the naming processes, the Visual Redress Committee worked closely with AOI in order to visually represent and contextualise the name. </p><p>“Visual Redress at SU has as aim to visually represent our stories, histories and experiences in a number of ways. As such it goes hand in hand with the naming processes. The Pieter Okkers house will be the first of many houses in <em>Die Vlakte</em> that will be contextualised as part of restoring the stories of the houses and the broader historic neighbourhood. SU will thus enter into conversation with many other families to visually represent their stories in relation to many others over generations. This is one attempt (of many others) to restore the historical relations between the SU community and the broader <em>Vlakt</em>e community," says Dr Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Pauw says the naming of the house was important to the AOI, because the Institute wanted to honour the first person who built the house and who lived there. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Pieter Okkers is today considered to be a man who brought about much good in this town. He was a founding member of the politically radical Volkskerk, he was a founding member of the Spes Bona Soccer Club, and he was a Chairman (for the period 1927-1930) of the Free Gardeners organisation when they first opened an Order in Stellenbosch (the fourth order in South Africa)," says Prof Stephanus Muller, Director of AOI. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“He is also honoured for the provision he made for his family and descendants. To this day the Okkers family is proud to be associated with him and his wife, Rosina. Heidi Okkers, great-grandchild of Pieter Okkers, plans to begin an online blog on which family and friends can post photographs of members of the Okkers family and the wider web of relations, documents, and stories." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the years, a number of initiatives honouring those who were displaced from <em>Die Vlakte</em> have been carried out by SU, which owns many of the old homes that formed part of this community, and new buildings that later replaced the demolished properties. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences hosts a permanent installation that includes panels with photographs of the area depicting the everyday lives of the people who lived there, as well as testimonies from former residents, their children and grandchildren and a write-up of the historical context of the time. In 2016, SU also established <em>Die Vlakte</em> Bursary Fund by allocating bursary funding to children of the families who were removed from the area. It was thanks to Mr John Abels, a former resident of <em>Die Vlakte </em>and an ex-learner of the old Lückhoff School, that the idea to set up such a bursary was first suggested. </p><p>The office will now also form part of a walking tour of <em>Die Vlakte</em> that is currently being planned. </p><p>“The Africa Open Institute office will in future form part of the walking tour of <em>Die Vlakte</em> that is being planned by the SU Transformation Office and the Committee for Visual Redress. Uniform wall plaques with information and photos of former residents are planned for buildings in <em>Die Vlakte</em>, curated by Dr Van Rooi and Prof Elmarie Costandius of the Visual Arts Department," adds Pauw.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photos: The </em><em>Africa Open Institute for Music, Research and Innovation (AOI) on Tuesday officially named its offices after the first residents who lived at 7 Joubert Street in Stellenbosch. The house will </em><em>henceforth be known as the Pieter Okkers House. It was first owned by Mr Pieter JA Okkers, who build the two similar looking houses at 5 and 7 Joubert Street. Here is Okkers (far right) in ceremonial dress (with chairman's collar) of the Free Gardeners in approximately 1930. His wife, Rosina C. Okkers (middle), is pictured with two of her granddaughters: Roslyn Brandt on the reader's left, and Elizabeth Okkers on the right. (Photos provided</em><em> by Leonard Meyer and Elizabeth Meyer, born Okkers) </em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Pieter Okkers (far left), the </em><em>great-grandchild of Piet Okkers</em><em>, attended and spoke at the </em><em> </em><em>unveiling of the AOI office's name. (Lynne Rippenaar-Moses)</em></p>