Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch



Call for applications: Full-time PhD scholarships in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences 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"></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>THE ​CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 25 AUGUST 2017.</strong></p>
Mental illnesses among youth often ignored, says SU expert illnesses among youth often ignored, says SU expertCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​Young people with mental health problems, especially those in low- and middle-income countries, are often being left in the lurch when they need help. They don't always get the necessary treatment despite the fact that mental illnesses among young people are on the increase globally. <br></p><p>“Mental health problems among young people are serious. If left untreated, they can adversely impact young people's social, personal and academic development. Young people with mental illnesses also face problems with social stigma, isolation and discrimination," says Dr Jason Bantjes a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University (SU). Bantjes does research on the suicide prevention and the promotion of mental health. His work is supported by a grant from the South African Medical Research Council.<br></p><p>Bantjes says it would be naive to think that young people do not develop serious mental health problems like anxiety disorders and depression. Young people are also prone to stress- and trauma-related disorders, and behavioural disorders, including problems with attention and impulse control. <br></p><p>“The fact that the theme for this year's World Mental Health Day (10 October) is 'Young people and mental health in a changing world,' shows that this is much more serious than we may think."</p><p>Bantjes also points to studies that highlight the gravity of the situation.<br></p><p>“The World Health Organisation reports that worldwide between 10 and 20% of children and adolescents have mental health problems. Approximately half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and three-quarters start by the time an individual is in his/her mid-20s, although these often go undiagnosed and untreated."<img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="SU Student Mental Health Infographic-english.jpg" src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/SU%20Student%20Mental%20Health%20Infographic-english.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:476px;height:333px;" /><br></p><p>“A large international study found that one-fifth (20.3%) of university students experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months; 83.1% of these cases had pre-matriculation onsets."<br></p><p>“Ongoing research as part of the Caring Universities Project, undertaken by a consortium of researchers from UCT and SU, suggest that only about only about one fifth of first-year students with a mental health problem receive treatment."<br></p><p>“Closer to home, a study of school-aged children in Cape Town found that 22.2% of children met diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder."<br></p><p>While genetic factors and temperament play a role in predisposing young people to mental illness, Bantjes says there's evidence that early childhood adversity makes individuals vulnerable to mental and physical health problems.  He adds that the psychological wellbeing of children also suffers when their parents have untreated mental health problems.<br></p><p>Bantjes says it remains a concern that in many parts of the developing world, young people with mental illness struggle to access effective evidence-based mental health care and face the possibility of exclusion from educational institutions. <br></p><p>“Left untreated childhood mental disorders persist into adulthood and cause impairments in both physical and mental health. Longstanding mental health problems impede a person's ability to lead a fulfilling live, form mutually satisfying relationships, and be an active engaged member of their communities."<br></p><p>According to Bantjes, there are many reasons why so many young people with mental health problems do not receive the help they need.  <br></p><p>“Common barriers to accessing care in low- and middle-income countries include ignorance about the signs and symptoms of childhood disorders, a lack of understanding about children's emotional and attachment needs, a lack of suitably qualified mental health professionals, and inadequate child and adolescent mental health services."<br></p><p>He says it is not always easy to recognise a young person with a mental illness. <br></p><p>“Sometimes we dismiss the signs and symptoms and think that the person is being demanding or is just going through a 'difficult phase'."  <br></p><p>“When it comes to children who need psychological care, it is not uncommon for them to be labelled as naughty or uncooperative by those who don't understand the emotional needs of children and don't recognise that children sometimes use challenging behaviour to communicate psychological distress." <br></p><p>Bantjes calls for accessible, affordable and effective psychiatric and mental health care services for young people and their families, as early intervention and the provision of evidence-based treatments is one of the cornerstones of promoting mental health.<br></p><p>“Schools, universities and families have an important role to play in facilitating young people's social and psychological development and building their resilience. We need schools and universities which are safe, free of bullying, and where young people can find a sense of belonging and connectedness."<br></p><p>Bantjes says we must help young people learn interpersonal skills, so that they foster mutually satisfying relationships, since interpersonal connections act as buffers against the vicissitudes of life.<br></p><ul><li>​Photo courtesy of Pixabay.<br></li><li>Infographic by Nicolas Dorfling (Corporate Communication Division).<br></li></ul><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Jason Bantjes</p><p>Department of Psychology</p><p>Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences<br></p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 2665<br></p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a>    </p><p><strong> </strong><strong>       ISSUED BY</strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen<br></p><p>Manager: Media</p><p>Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a>  </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p><br> </p>
SACSSP Registrar shares advice with social work students at oath taking ceremony​ Registrar shares advice with social work students at oath taking ceremony​Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​<br><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Excellence within the social work profession is of extreme importance to the South African Council of Social Service Professions. As  students of this university I want to encourage you to champion excellence in your profession. But you also need to work together with other role players in communities to provide the type of interventions that will positively impact on the life of that child or that community you are serving."  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">These were the words of Ms Langi Malamba, the Registrar of the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP), who recently visited the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to talk to second year students from the Social Work Department, who are embarking on their practical training. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Malamba attended the event to talk to students about their professional conduct as social workers and the role of the SACSSP.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Social work is a profession and all practitioners who are working as social workers are obliged to register with the South African Council for Social Service Professions. Likewise, social work students who are doing practice education, must also register as student social workers with the SACSSP from their second year. These students take a pledge before commencing with their practice education," explained Dr Ilze Slabbert, the Second Year Practice Education Coordinator and a lecturer in the Social Work Department. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This was a very special occasion for our department as the second-year social work students also pledged to treat their clients with dignity and respect and to adhere to the Code of Ethics and all the requirements of the Social Work Profession at this event," she added.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Malamba reminded the students of the guiding ethical values and principles that should direct their conduct as social service professionals. This includes, she said, advancing social justice through their work, respecting individuals' worth as well as their rights as humans, their dignity, remaining competent in their profession while serving communities, cultivating integrity and taking professional responsibility while also showing care and concern for others' well-being, and service delivery. <br></p><p>“When you talk about ethics, it's about you. If you want to understand ethics better, you just have to look inside of you. It's about knowing what you value, because whatever you do not value for yourself, you won't value for other people. You need to ask yourself those questions – who do I respect and what do I hold dear – to determine your values."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, she said, beyond ethics students also needed to accept themselves.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“When you are a social worker, you are going to have to accept yourself, to a point where acceptance is overflowing from you. Your acceptance tank needs to be full and you have to fill it up. Sometimes we go into adulthood with empty tanks, but we are expected to help other people. You can't do this when you are a social worker."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">While she had compassion for the sheer number of clients that social workers are often assigned to assist, she said that it was important “for every client to be treated as unique".<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“You have to listen to your clients in order to come up with solutions that work for them."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">At the same time, she said, it was also important to acknowledge the client's right to self-determination. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Do not enforce what you want. For example, if you are working with a child and they do not want to do what you need to do on that specific day, find something else to do that will engage that child and still allows you to do your work as a social worker." <br></p><p>She also spoke passionately about the responsibility of social work professionals to “defend colleagues against unfair criticism" and to also “raise issues with colleagues that bring the profession into disrepute". <br></p><p>“It's also important to promote opportunities for the exchange of knowledge and experience between colleagues and other professional persons, so be open to learning from others and respect others' contribution."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Ms Langi</em><em> </em><em>Malamba, the Registrar of the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP), recently visited the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to talk to second year students from the Social Work Department, who are embarking on their practical training. With her are Prof Lambert Engelbrecht, Ms Priscalia Khosa, and Dr Ilze Slabbert, all from the Social Work Department. (Anton Jordaan)</em></p>
Social Work Department celebrates World Social Work Day 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="">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>
Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receives third honorary doctorate 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>
Music graduate shares her passion with local community graduate shares her passion with local communityCorporate Communication/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Rozanne Engel]<p>​​​​<br></p><p>For Marlise Theron, creating music daily is not the only driving force in her life anymore. Spending time teaching music to young children in the Cloetesville community has brought her a deeper appreciation for her craft and also a sense of purpose to share that passion with others less fortunate than herself.</p><p>Theron, who hails from Stellenbosch, was awarded the degree of BMus in Music Education cum laude at Stellenbosch University's graduation ceremony for the Faculty of Arts and Social Science on Thursday (13 December). She is also a recipient of the 2018 Conservatoire Stipendium, which is the Music Department's highest award for its most exceptional student. </p><p>Says Theron: “My whole life is steeped in music. I'm really passionate about music and music education. I'm very lucky in the sense that my passion is something that I study and it's something that I unwind with and share with other people."</p><p>Theron, along with other students of the Music Department participated in the ATKV's Abbasorg and Rietenbosch Project during the course of their studies. This project respectively caters to preschool students and elementary school learners from the Cloetesville community. It was started by Danell Muller, a lecturer at SU's Music Department, who along with Theron, Rozelle Wilken, Jolandi Hanekom, Chandre Windvogel, Rachel Mertens and Jessica October, helped to raise some R60,000 for the Rietenbosch Primary School by means of a music concert. </p><p>Says Theron: “Music education is such a rich field. I think it's a noble art to practise, because you have a huge responsibility to carry on making music and convey it to the next generation.</p><p>Apart from her involvement in the Rietenbosch Project, she also helped to organise and facilitate the 2018 Con Serve Eisteddfod for the broader Stellenbosch community, where among 80 participants a 76-year old woman from the Stellenbosch community made her debut. It has become quite clear that her work in Cloetesville has helped to build mutual trust and sound relationships between people, eradicating barriers that have kept communities apart for too long.  </p><p>Theron elaborates: “Music lessons can be seen as a privilege and not an essential for many people. At times when you are a music student it can feel as if you are living in a bubble, where you practice your instrument, and you are fully involved in your own professional music-making world. The ATKV Abbasorg and Rietenbosch Project is a wonderful community initiative and it was a fantastic experience to be part of."</p><p>Theron believes that more music students should consider studying Music Education as it gives one a larger perspective on life and is a wonderful and enriching experience. </p><p>She makes her point as follows: “Unfortunately there are still not many people opting for music education. The future for music education in this country is so incredibly rich and the opportunities are absolutely endless. Studying music education really makes one such a complete musician. There's a misconception that those who do performance have made it, while those who study music education have not made it. However, when you study music education, it does not prevent you to still continue with your music career and it opens a bigger musical world to you."</p><p>Theron has been accepted to study for an Honours degree in Violin performance in 2019, and she fervently hopes to continue sharing her passion for music with the greater Stellenbosch community. <br></p><p>Photo by Stefan Els.<br></p><p><br> </p>
First cohort of Graduate School's Lisa Maskell fellows obtain their PhD degrees ​ cohort of Graduate School's Lisa Maskell fellows obtain their PhD degrees ​Lynne Rippenaar-Moses​<span style="text-align:justify;"> The first cohort of Lisa Maskell fellows consisting of five doctoral students graduated with their PhD degrees on Thursday, 22 March. The Lisa Maskell fellowships are awarded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation in Germany.</span><div><div style="text-align:justify;">​<br></div><span style="text-align:justify;"></span><p style="text-align:justify;">The fellowship was initiated in 2014 to coincide with Lisa Maskell's 100<sup>th</sup> birthday. The Gerda Henkel Foundation was founded by Lisa Maskell. To mark her 100 birthday, the Foundation introduced the scholarship programme to support young humanities scholars from Africa and South East Asia. The fellowship is the largest international support programme for doctoral students in the history of the Foundation.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The fellowship programme is coordinated in Africa on behalf of the Gerda Henkel Foundation by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Stellenbosch University and the Graduate School of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Doctoral candidates are granted a triennial PhD scholarship grant at one of these Graduate Schools, with candidates from all Sub-Saharan states eligible to apply. Both universities form part of the Partnership for Africa's Next Generation of Academics (PANGeA), a collaborative network of leading African universities developing research capacity and confidence in bringing African expertise to Africa's challenges. The universities involved in the PANGeA network are the University of Botswana, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the University of Ghana, Makerere University, the University of Malawi, the University of Nairobi in Kenya, Stellenbosch University, and the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We are very proud of our first fellows who have worked extremely hard to earn their degrees. They did so in less time than many of our European PhD scholars – another clear indication that the graduate school in Stellenbosch is a well-organised and highly effective institute for higher education in Africa. We hope that our sponsorship for Stellenbosch University and for the Graduate School at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, can in the long run make a modest contribution to foster excellent academic achievements for Africans in Africa. And I am convinced that some of these bright young women and men will one day reach leadership positions – be it in academia, government, business or NGOs – and will thus contribute to play an important role for the future development of society in their home countries and beyond," said Dr Michael Hanssler, the Chair of the Executive Board of the Foundation.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Cindy Steenekamp, the Chair of the Graduate School Board, said that the partnership with Gerda Henkel has helped the Graduate School to reach many of its goals over the last five years.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It has been amazing for us to partner with donors who share in our vision of higher education in Africa. Many projects fail because of the incompatibility between a donor's expectations and the reality of the project they are supporting. The Gerda Henkel Foundation shares our vision and supports our academic project without being prescriptive or dictating operations. They acknowledge the expertise within and considerable success of the Graduate School, respect the partnerships we have developed with the rest of Africa and they support and encourage those endeavours," said Steenekamp.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Doctoral scholarships such as the three-year full-time scholarship provided by the Graduate School are very expensive.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Donors make a substantial financial investment into an intellectual resource which only starts to pay dividends after three years. To work with a Foundation that has the patience to allow their investment to grow and mature over time so that we may make a meaningful contribution to the arts, humanities and social sciences on the African continent is essential for our continued success," added Steenekamp.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The support the Graduate School has received from the Foundation has also made it possible for the school to gain international exposure and has opened up additional avenues of sponsorships.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Because we have secured a long term financial commitment from a philanthropic organisation with the calibre of the Gerda Henkel Foundation, other donors are also willing to come on board and partner with us. Without the foundation's continued support, many of these opportunities would not have been possible."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The students that benefitted from the fellowships include Dr Sibongile Mpofu, who graduated in December 2017, and Drs Hezron Kangalawe, Serah Kasembeli, Neema Laizer and Herbert Ndomba, all of whom were awarded their doctoral degrees at yesterday's graduation ceremony.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The fellowship, said many of the graduates, enabled them to pursue PhD studies which would not have been an option for them because of financial constraints.</p><p>“As a parent, I would not have managed to forego my salary, as I needed to take care of my children. So, the scholarship, while it did not meet all the needs, made a difference to alleviate the financial constraints," said Dr Sibongile Mpofu from the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Adds Kangalawe of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania: “Financially, this fellowship has helped me in many ways, first by paying the tuition fee which I could not raise as an individual, or through my university, Dar es Salaam. Sometimes I used to save part of my bursary for travel expenses at the end of the year to visit Dar es Salaam. Without this fellowship, at any rate, obtaining my PhD degree could take much longer."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Without this fellowship, I would not have got the opportunity to pursue my PhD degree <br>at the Graduate School of Stellenbosch University. This fellowship covered important <br>parts of my doctoral training, like fees and stipends and the remaining aspects of air tickets and research funds I could secure through my employer," said Ndomba also from the University of Dar es Salaam.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Some students also chose to study at Stellenbosch University based on the excellent record of the Graduate School and the efficient supervision of its academic staff.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Stellenbosch University is a reputable and highly rated institution, and the availability of scholarships contributed to the decision to apply there. In addition, I also researched the expertise available in my field, and discovered that SU was the best choice for me. I got to be mentored by some of the best experts in my field and got exposed to research activities through seminars – this helped me succeed in my studies," said Mpofu.</p><p>But what's certain for all of these fellows, is that the Lisa Maskell fellowship has opened many more doors for them now that they have completed their doctorates.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The fellowship has significantly changed my life. For three years of my doctoral training I have benefited a lot through various postgraduate training, workshops, seminars and field research and report writing. Therefore, through these training opportunities I have become a young African professional scholar, researcher and academic. Today I am the first PhD holder at Ndongosi village in Ruvuma Region in Southern Tanzania, the village which was formed in the early 1960s just after the independence of Tanzania, and a lecturer of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania," said Ndomba.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I wish to ask and encourage our donors to continue supporting this programme because by doing so they are empowering a young African generation not just in fighting against ignorance, poverty and diseases in Africa but they are supporting the achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goals," he added.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em> <style> p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; } .MsoChpDefault { font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; } div.WordSection1 { } </style> <em><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;">Photo: The first cohort of Lisa Maskell Fellows who completed their degree via the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences received their doctorates on Thursday, 22 March. Here they are with representatives from the Gerda Henkel Foundation, which allocates the Lisa Maskell Fellowships. From left to right are Dr Michael Hanssler (Chair of the Executive Board at the Gerda Henkel Foundation), Dr Serah Kasembeli, Dr Herbert Ndomba, Dr Hezron Kangalawe, Mr Jens Christian Schneider (Project Manager: Lisa Maskell Fellowships) and Dr Neema Laizer.</span></em> (Anton Jordaan, SSFD)</em></p></div>
SU part of twelve African Universities looking at disaster risks part of twelve African Universities looking at disaster risksInger Haber<p>​Recognising the pressing need for 'future-ready' skill-sets for Africa's fast-changing disaster risks, the <a href="">Partners Enhancing Resilience for People Exposed to Risks</a> (Periperi U), which is a consortium of twelve African Universities, launched Africa's first Risk Methods School on 10 September 2018 at Ardhi University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This innovative collaboration brings together teaching staff from United Nations agencies and six universities drawn from across Africa. It deliberately aims to speed the development of urgently needed talent in the field by combining the disaster risk management expertise in Africa's higher education enterprise with the global perspectives of the international community.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Periperi U's African Risk Methods School is an institutionally inventive response to East Africa's rapidly changing risk profile – as the region urbanises, becomes more interconnected and must adjust to climate-related and other risks. This already calls for new, 'future-ready' skill-sets that are interdisciplinary, applicable and integrate diverse sciences.</p><p>The School offers seven intensive courses on topics as diverse <em>as Urban Risk and Geographic Information Systems</em>, <em>Risk and Vulnerability Assessment in the Health Sector </em>and <em>Post Disaster Needs Assessment </em>to fast-track the capacity of emerging and established African researchers within the expanding fields of disaster, risk and resilience. Students include disaster risk related postgraduate students in African universities as well as practitioners and senior managers who wish to sharpen their risk and resilience research skills. Students at the first Risk Methods School represent eleven countries, including nine African countries.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The school will conclude 21 September 2018. In February 2019, the next school will be hosted by Gaston Berger University in St Louis, Senegal. The next school will be conducted in French and targeted specifically for West and Central Africa.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This initiative is supported by USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID OFDA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the African Union/New Partnership for Africa's Development's Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (AU/NEPAD SANWATCE) and Stellenbosch University's Africa Centre for Scholarship.</p><p>The Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction (RADAR), based at Stellenbosch University, is a founding member and secretariat of Periperi U. Periperi U is a consortium of twelve African Universities dedicated to developing and enhancing the capacity of emerging and established researchers within the expanding field of disaster, risk and resilience. The African Risk Methods School was designed and implemented jointly with Ardhi University's Disaster Management Training Centre and RADAR, with support from the Africa Centre of Scholarship and African Doctoral Academy. </p><p>Teaching staff at the African Risk Methods School include Dr Ailsa Holloway, Director of RADAR, and Professor Sarah Howie, Director of the Africa Centre for Scholarship. Support was offered to members of the African Union/New Partnership for Africa's Development's Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (AU/NEPAD SANWATCE) to participate in the trainings. The AU/NEPAD SANWATCE Secretariat is based at Stellenbosch University.</p><p><strong>Picture: Participants of the Risk Methods School hosted in Tanzania.</strong></p>
Deciding whose lives really matter in a pandemic whose lives really matter in a pandemicLeslie Swartz, Vic McKinney & Emma McKinney <p>South Africans with disabilities should also have equal access to life-sustaining healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the plea of Prof Leslie Swartz (Department of Psychology) and Drs Vic McKinney (University of Cape Town) and Emma McKinney (University of the Western Cape) in a recent article for Mail & Guardian.<br></p><ul><li>​Read the complete article below or click <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>here</strong></span></a> for the piece as published.</li></ul><p><strong>Deciding whose lives really matter in a pandemic</strong><br></p><p><strong>Vic McKinney, Emma McKinney & Leslie Swartz*</strong><br></p><p>In a recent article for <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;">The Conversation</strong></a>, Prof Keymanthri Moodley from the Centre for Medical Ethics & Law at Stellenbosch University notes that healthcare workers will have an unenviable responsibility to make difficult and “soul-wrenching decisions" regarding prioritising who will have access to ventilators as the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold.  It is important in South Africa and elsewhere for there to be protocols to assist decision-makers with what will be burdensome decisions.  In a context where need outstrips demand, there is really no single right way to decide on how to ration life-saving care.  </p><p>We are positioned in a very particular way regarding this issue, and we believe that putting a personal face to the debate may be helpful.  A fundamental question that is addressed implicitly in many ethical codes is one that is close to us:  whose lives really matter? We ask what will happen to the 15% of South Africans with disabilities who may be deemed as less eligible than others to access healthcare.  Will they receive equal consideration for life-sustaining healthcare in the context of the pandemic? <br></p><p>We have, as the phrase goes, skin in the game. Vic is a father of two young energetic boys, a part-time lecturer and researcher, and a holder of a PhD. He is also a motorised wheelchair user, a C4 quadriplegic paralysed from the shoulders down. He is privileged, living in his own home, with electricity, running water and access to full-time care assistants who assist him with basic daily functions. His wife, Emma, also holds a PhD and is a lecturer and researcher. She too has a disability – she has a hearing impairment. Leslie is a friend, and a disability scholar and activist. <br></p><p>Here is some of the story of Vic and Emma over the past few weeks.  Before lockdown, we spoke about our fears regarding COVID-19.  What would happen if we caught it? Would we be given treatment? Would Vic be ventilated? Vic is unable to cough properly because his chest muscles are paralysed, and contracting COVID-19 would most likely be devastating. We discussed how we would tell our two young sons, aged eight and five. Vic has started writing letters to them for when they are older and he is no longer with them. Vic is our boys' rock, a very 'hands-on' dad. How would Emma explain that their father's life was seen as being worth less than others deemed 'more healthy' and more able to contribute to society? <br></p><p>Vic was kept alive by a life support-breathing machine for five weeks after becoming paralysed in a road accident 32 years ago and has led a fulfilling healthy life as a quadriplegic since then. It would be a sad irony if his death was a result of the same apparatus not being available.<br></p><p>Emma worries about getting ill and not being able to lip-read the masked healthcare workers. There are lovely images of plastic fronted masks circulating on social media platforms, but realistically this is unlikely to be a reality. <br></p><p>American philosopher and disability scholar Eva Kittay recently <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;">noted</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;"> </strong>the lack of attention given by the media to those who are classified as being 'vulnerable.' She shares her personal experiences relating to her daughter who has a rare genetic condition and who has severe limited cognitive and motor abilities. Kittay compares COVID-19 and people with disabilities to “sitting on that sand beach watching and waiting for a tsunami." </p><p>Similarly, journalist Emily Beater <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;">argues</strong></a><span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span>that political and cultural attitudes in talking about coronavirus excludes disabled people. Our personal experiences of peoples' insensitivity towards those living with a disability are echoed in Beater's article. We put these down to a lack of education and ignorance and have received many awkward comments and questions over the years. </p><p>When it comes to COVID-19, as people who may be particularly vulnerable, we feel angry when people we know ignore the lockdown rules and use the “We will be fine and it just others that need to worry." We are worried. We are so fearful that we have decided to lockdown with only one care assistant. In order to live, since his accident Vic has need 24 hour care, and we have traditionally employed two care workers on a shift basis.  Now, because of the pandemic, we have the same person in our home 24/7 for weeks.  For all this time he is unable to be with his family. This is because our alternative care assistant cannot guarantee that he is able to self-isolate for 2-weeks due to where he lives. The risk is just too high. <br></p><p>Our story is one of privilege, but many of the issues are not unique.  How will people who are Deaf, whose primary means of communication is sign language, understand what doctors are saying? How will people with visual disabilities and children with autism, for example, cope with not being permitted to be accompanied by family members or friend? Will people such as those with quadriplegia receive assistance to change their position regularly to reduce health threatening pressure sores, a wholly preventable cause of death but easily fatal without care?</p><p>As a family, we try to maintain a positive outlook on life. However. COVID-19 has forced us and many others, to consider our quality-of-life, future and mortality as never before. On the afternoon before the lockdown we paid a photographer to take family photographs in a local park. We smiled a lot and had a relatively good time. However, we experienced an underlying anxiety of what was to come Potentially, these could be our last photographs together.<br></p><p>Moodley's article referred to above concludes with the need to have a standardised national prioritisation plan in place in order to effectively respond to the pandemic. We agree fully.  At a time of crisis we need to do the best we can to use resources in as fair a way as possible.  As most South Africans are aware, health resources in our country have historically been withheld from people on the basis of race gender, and age.  Members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to face difficulties accessing appropriate healthcare.  <br></p><p>It is hard to know, especially in times of crisis, how rationing decisions are made, with many of necessity being made on the spur of the moment, and drawing on unstated assumptions.  This is inevitable, and not a judgement on those forced to make such decisions in a time of crisis.  At the heart of rationing decisions is an implicit question about who counts fully as a person, whose life has value and meaning, whose life means something to the lives of others.  <br></p><p>We do not have the answer to all the difficult questions, but our appeal is simple.  Don't assume that a life lived with a disability, however difficult that life may appear from the outside, is without meaning, worth and value.  We ask everyone take our words seriously for our own sakes, but also for the sakes of millions of other disabled people with disabilities in South Africa. Please don't count us out yet.<br></p><ul><li><strong>Photo</strong>: Drs Vic McKinney, Emma McKinney, and their two sons: <strong>Photographer</strong>: Shirley Emms</li></ul><p><strong>*Drs Vic McKinney and Emma McKinney are affiliated with the University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape respectively. Prof Leslie Swartz is a</strong> <strong>Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University.</strong></p><p> </p><p><br></p>
Comics and cartoons are a powerful way to teach kids about COVID-19 and cartoons are a powerful way to teach kids about COVID-19Marina Joubert<p>​Children are also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In an article for <em>The Conversation</em> (7 May), Dr Marina Joubert from the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology writes about how different comics and cartoons can help teach children about COVID-19.</p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.<br></li></ul><p>The global COVID-19 pandemic has turned children's lives upside down. Stay-at-home orders mean that they cannot go to school, visit a playground or spend time with friends. Just like adults, they may be scared and frustrated.</p><p>But given the right information, children can be powerful agents of change in their families and communities. That's according to a <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">UNICEF guide for communicating with children</strong></a>. This guide highlights the need to communicate with children in an age-appropriate, culturally sensitive, inclusive and positive way. It emphasises that to be effective, the communication must be interesting and engaging.</p><p>In response to the current pandemic, leading health scientists and child psychologists have joined forces with writers, educators and artists to produce innovative communication materials. These range from children's books and videos to infographics and comics. It's a powerful collaboration: scientists provide the credibility and accuracy, while artists ensure this is communicated with creative flair and appealing design.<br></p><p>And there's science to back up their efforts. An <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">academic overview of research looking at educational comics</strong></a> has concluded that comics have great potential to make complex topics more meaningful to diverse audiences. This is achieved by combining visuals with powerful metaphors, character-driven narratives and emotionally charged storylines. <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Scholars confirm that</strong></a> science-themed comics can both entertain and educate, thereby stimulating interest in science topics.</p><p>Comic books have been shown to be <a href=""><strong><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">more effective than textbooks in increasing interest in and enjoymen</span>t</strong></a><strong> </strong>of science topics. The medium is particularly effective at <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">engaging low literacy audiences</strong></a> and <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">young people with a low interest in science</strong></a>.</p><p>Cartoons and comics may, research suggests, be <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">particularly effective when trying to explain viruses</strong></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </span>and how they affect our health.</p><p>Here are some of the best examples I have come across in the past few weeks. All were created especially for communicating about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. Importantly, these resources are shared freely online, and some are translated into several languages.</p><p><strong>A variety of resources</strong></p><p>A fantasy creature called Ario is the lead character in <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">My Hero is You</strong></a>. The book resulted from collaboration between several agencies of the United Nations and several dozen organisations working in the humanitarian sector. Ario helps children to understand why the coronavirus is changing their lives and how to cope when they are feeling worried, angry or sad.</p><p>Script writer Helen Patuck drew on input from more than 1,700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world who shared their ways of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. This online book is also available in audio format. Translation has been finalised or is in progress in more than 100 languages.</p><p>Vaayu is the superhero who's been called upon to help Indian children cope with the pandemic in <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">a comic book issued by the Indian ministry of health and family welfare</strong></a>.<br></p><p>From Singapore comes a series of<strong> </strong><a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">comic strips</strong></a> for young children featuring Baffled Bunny and Curious Cat. They're seeking advice and clarification from Doctor Duck. This series was created by award-winning graphic novelist Sonny Liew, who worked with Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang, the programme leader for infectious diseases at the National University of Singapore.</p><p>Nosy Crow, a UK publisher, has created <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">a digital book for primary school age children</strong></a>, with the help of Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, an expert in the modelling of infectious diseases. The book is also available as<span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </span><a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">a free e-book in Afrikaans</strong></a>, with text by South African author Jaco Jacobs.</p><p><a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">After asking experts in mental health what kids may want to know about the coronavirus</strong></a>, Cory Turner, an educational reporter on National Public Radio, created <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">an online comic</strong></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </span>that is also available in a <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">printable “zine" version</strong></a>. It's available in <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Chinese</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>and<span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </span><a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Spanish</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">t</span>oo.</p><p>A <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">comic strip promoted by the South African health department</strong></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </span>features Wazi, who asks questions about the coronavirus and then shares advice provided by his parents and teachers.</p><p><a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Oaky and the Virus</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>was written by South African author, poet and academic Athol Williams. It's available in English, isiZulu, Siswati, Sepedi and Tshivenda, and helps children understand why they have to stay at home and wash their hands regularly.</p><p>Jive Media Africa, a science communication agency in South Africa,<span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </span><a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">created a series of cartoon-based infographics</strong></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </span>with “Hay'khona Corona" as a theme. “Hay'khona" is a South African expression meaning “no, definitely not!". These infographics are based on the World Health Organisation's guidelines around COVID-19. They're available in several of South Africa's official languages, as well as languages spoken in other parts of the continent like Yoruba, KiSwahili, French and Portuguese.</p><p>Instagrammers are also creating and sharing graphics about coping with COVID-19, with good examples at “comicallysane", “callouscomics" and “comicsforgood".</p><p><strong>Evidence-based communication</strong></p><p>Of course, comic strips aren't just for kids. Some have been created specifically for adults, tackling questions about the coronavirus with a mixture of education and humour. One example is <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">a collection</strong></a> curated by <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Graphic Medicine</strong></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">,</span> a health communication platform created by a team of researchers, information specialists and artists.<br></p><p>All of this work and the many other comics and cartoons available to help explain COVID-19 show that these media are far from frivolous. Scientists and communicators are <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">becoming more aware</strong></a> of the special appeal and communication potential of science comics, and are starting to use them as part of an evidence-based portfolio of communication tools.</p><p><strong> Marina Joubert</strong> is a Science Communication Researcher at Stellenbosch University. <strong>Photo credit</strong>: IASC/Helen Patuck.​<br></p><p><br></p>