Psychology
Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch

 

 

SU’s Extended Degree Programme provides comprehensive student supporthttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6911SU’s Extended Degree Programme provides comprehensive student supportAsiphe Nombewu /Corporate Communication<p>​​​​​​​​​Thanks to the Extended Degree Programme (EDP), the future is full of possibilities for students such as Axola Dlepu, a BA Social Dynamics student who gained access to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) through the programme.</p><p>This innovative programme was instituted at SU in 2008 to deal with systemic obstacles to equity and student success and to assist students with additional academic support.</p><p>Coordinator of the programme, Dr Anita Jonker, says the EDP's role is to redress past inequalities and transform higher education by responding to new realities and opportunities.</p><p>According to Jonker, the programme is open to students who are interested in studying towards a Bachelor's degree with an average of 60–64,9% in their National Senior Certificate (NSC). She added that the National Benchmark Test (NBT) results, students' socio-economic status, as well as availability of places, are taken into consideration in EDP admissions.</p><p>EDP and mainstream students obtain the same degrees after completion of their undergraduate studies. The only difference is that EDP students do their first year over two years. Over and above their mainstream subjects, EDP students take modules that prepare them better for their graduate studies, such as Texts in the Humanities, Information Skills and Introduction to the Humanities.</p><p>In the first-year Texts in the Humanities, the focus is on academic reading and writing, plagiarism and referencing, , rhetorical structure, , text-linguistic characteristics, critical thinking and argumentation. The lectures are presented in separate Afrikaans and English classes to provide optimal academic support in students' preferred medium of instruction.</p><p>In Introduction to the Humanities EDP students are introduced to four different subject-fields, with a specific focus on multilingual technical concepts that provide a foundation for other subject fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences. All the terminology and lecture notes are available in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa and interpreters give students the opportunity to participate in lectures in their mother-tongues.</p><p>Students who speak Afrikaans, Kaaps and other related language varieties have a tutor, Jocelyn Solomons, who facilitates the tutorial discussions in these language varieties, and those who speak English and, inter alia, isiXhosa, have a tutor, Busiswa Sobahle, who facilitates the tut discussions in English and isiXhosa.</p><p>Extensive extra-curricular support is integrated into the academic offering to enhance student success. This includes the EDP mentor programme, which has received co-curriculum recognition and which is coordinated by Ms Shona Lombard. Here senior EDP students mentor first-year students with similar BA programmes and help them to adjust to the new challenges of university life.</p><p>Expressing his gratitude for being chosen to be part of the programme, Dlepu said, “The EDP programme has helped me a lot with academic support alongside being mentored. It made my life a lot easier than that of a mainstream first-year student."</p><p>The 20-year-old from Saldanah Bay encouraged other students in the EDP to use the programme to shine.</p><p>He said the EDP modules gave students a broader worldview and taught them how to engage with multilingual students from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.</p><p>Bavani Naicker, a 20-year-old BA Social Dynamics student from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) described the EDP as a comprehensive support system. She said they were given foundational knowledge to assist them in their studies.</p><p>“My highlight of the course was when we visited Parliament and interacted with representatives of the different political parties," she said.</p><p>Chloe Krieger, a BA International Studies student from Cape Town, said if it were not for EDP, she would have dropped out in her first year. “The EDP taught us crucial literacy and life skills that the basic education system failed to teach the majority of students."</p><p>Krieger said that the EDP helped her to develop an awareness about critical issues that she would not otherwise have been aware of. “I was also inspired to be an activist and to be an agent for change. I am currently serving on the 2019/2020 SRC and I am learning so much about issues that marginalised groups on campus face that many people overlook," she said.</p><p>Students who have provisionally been admitted to the EDP and their parents/guardians are invited to the first meeting with EDP lecturers and mentors on Friday, 24 January 2020 from 09:30 to 12:00 in Room 3001 of the Wilcocks Building at 52 Ryneveld Street.</p><p>Prospective students who want to read more about the EDP, can consult the EDP website at <a href="/english/faculty/arts/edp/home">http://www.sun.ac.za/english/faculty/arts/edp/home</a><br><br></p>
SU Chamber Choir completes hugely successful Hong Kong tourhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5102 SU Chamber Choir completes hugely successful Hong Kong tourFiona Grayer<p><span style="text-align:justify;">The</span><span style="text-align:justify;"> </span><span style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University Chamber Choir (SUCC) has just returned from a hugely successful tour to Hong Kong. The choir was invited as Artist Choir in Residence</span><span style="text-align:justify;"> </span><span style="text-align:justify;">to </span><span style="text-align:justify;">the 2017 World Youth & Children's Choir Festival</span><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-align:justify;text-decoration-line:line-through;"> </span><span style="text-align:justify;">which took place from 17-22 July 2017</span><span style="text-align:justify;">. An invitation of this nature can be considered both a great and rare honour.</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The World Youth and Children's Choir Festival is one of the most important choral festivals in the world, and attracts 200 participating choirs from across the globe. SUCC's concerts were listened to by around 5000 participants and performances were live-streamed worldwide. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Founded and conducted by Martin Berger, this young ensemble has developed into one of South Africa's leading chamber choirs: internationally respected and locally relevant. With the diversity of its repertoire, SUCC represents the variety of choral music styles to be found in the country.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The choir performed at the Opening Ceremony of the festival on 18 July, a full evening concert on 19 July and also at the 20<sup>th</sup> Anniversary Celebration Concert of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  All performances were received with overwhelming enthusiasm from the audience.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">SUCC was honoured by the presence and support of the South African Consul-General to Hong Kong, Mr Madoda Ntshinga, at both the Opening Ceremony and the full evening concert. He commended the choir on “…raising the South African flag even much higher as true ambassadors of our country." <br></p>
PANGeA-Ed to bolster academic research capacity in Africa https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4310PANGeA-Ed to bolster academic research capacity in Africa Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p></p><p>The Partnership for Africa's Next Generation of Academics (PANGeA), a network consisting of eight leading African universities focused on strengthening and advancing doctoral training and scholarship in the arts, humanities and social sciences on the continent, has launched a new training and skills development programme, PANGeA-Ed. <br><span style="line-height:1.6;"><br>Unlike any other training programme on the continent, PANGeA-Ed will offer </span><span style="line-height:1.6;">high-quality short courses and workshops in research and skills development across </span><span style="line-height:1.6;">the eight partner campuses and at no cost to participants. The announcement was made at the launch held at Makerere University in Uganda on Tuesday, 27 September.</span></p><p>PANGeA was founded in 2010 by the University of Botswana, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Malawi, the University of Nairobi in Kenya and Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Four years later, the University of Ghana and the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon joined the consortium.  The network aims to strengthen the development of higher education in Africa by creating opportunities for collaborative research and exchange among partner institutions, full-time doctoral study and, in the longer term, the establishment of joint doctoral degree programmes specifically in the arts, humanities and social sciences.</p><p>Doctoral education and training are critical in a world where knowledge has become a significant commodity. Studies show that PhD holders who have accumulated substantial human capital, not only through education but through the acquisition of transferable skills, are key for the renewal of ageing professoriates, staffing the rapidly expanding higher education arena in Africa, boosting research and generating knowledge-based economic growth. </p><p>For the last seven years, various students from across Africa as well as academics based at PANGeA partner universities have been able to pursue full-time doctoral degrees via the PANGeA doctoral scholarship programme housed at the Graduate School of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at SU. </p><p>Since the doctoral scholarship programme commenced in 2010, a total of 66 candidates have been nominated by PANGeA partners and enrolled for a PhD at SU. To date, 36 have completed their studies and resumed their academic positions at their home university, 81% of whom graduated in three years or less. </p><p>While this is a big feat, the chairman of PANGeA, Prof Edward Kirumira of Makerere University, says a decision was made to investigate other avenues of generating more h<span style="line-height:1.6;">uman capital and improving the skills and career-readiness of university staff members who fall within the network.</span></p><p>"At the PANGeA Board meeting in June 2015, the secretariat proposed the establishment of a new initiative that would serve as a complimentary programme to the successful doctoral scholarship programme. After a lengthy discussion, the PANGeA Board unanimously adopted the proposed plans to establish a training and skills development programme, which would address the shortage of skills and training within these research and academic environments by focusing on the development of research capacity at each of the PANGeA partner campuses. At the same time, it would also broaden access to the network. Training will be conducted at partner institutions and be based on institutions' needs," he says.</p><p>The programme will consist of short courses and workshops spanning three days and focus on various soft skills development such as academic writing, guidelines for funding and/or research proposals, and integrity and ethics in research to more specialised research training, including quantitative and qualitative data analysis; (critical) discourse analysis; mixed methods research; social surveys; and ethnographic research, to name a few.</p><p>Through financial support from the Robert Bosch and Gerda Henkel foundations, a total of 50 short courses and workshops will be offered through PANGeA-Ed over the next five years. </p><p>"The PANGeA network has recognized the need not only to generate doctoral graduates but to address the shortage of skills and make a meaningful investment in human capital within this intellectually diverse network as well. This programme is another means to build and retain African talent and human capital," says Kirumira. </p>
Mental illnesses among youth often ignored, says SU experthttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5995Mental 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="mailto:jbantjes@sun.ac.za">jbantjes@sun.ac.za</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="mailto:viljoenm@sun.ac.za">viljoenm@sun.ac.za</a>  </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p><br> </p>
Kayamandi learners tackle pollution in the Krom Riverhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6288Kayamandi learners tackle pollution in the Krom RiverWiida Fourie-Basson<p>​​More than 100 learners and their teachers from four schools in Kayamandi will participate in a clean-up initiative of the Krom River in Stellenbosch ahead of National Water Week, as well as adopting and beautifying a spot next to the river for children to play.<br></p><p>This is one of the first public initiatives of the <a href="/si/en-za/Pages/initiative.aspx?iid=1045">Kayamandi River Partnership</a> – a collaboration between the <a href="/english/entities/SUWI/Pages/default.aspx">Stellenbosch University Water Institute</a> and external stakeholders such as the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6182">Stellenbosch River Collaborative</a>, the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation, the Stellenbosch Municipality's Department of Community Development and Security, and Kayamandi Schools. Other partners include SU's departments of Microbiology and Curriculum Studies. </p><p>Dr Leanne Seeliger, project leader based at SUWI, says previous attempts to address the pollution problems in the Krom and Plankenbrug rivers have been hampered by issues of sustainability and co-ordination among role players: “With this partnership, the aim is to develop a fund resourced by key stakeholders in water management in the area, to ensure continued water monitoring and water education."</p><p>The Plankenbrug river in Enkanini remains one of the most polluted rivers in Stellenbosch: “Initially we will focus on the Krom river as the initial site for awareness surveys and river clean ups, as the Plankenbrug river currently too polluted for learners to use," Seeliger explains.</p><p>With this initiative, the Kayamandi River Partnership hopes to build trust, restore community and rebuild civic responsibility through a shared understanding of ethics between the community and the municipality: “One of the greatest challenges facing most townships is water management. Many residents were previously excluded from crucial decision-making processes. If both the municipality and the community interrogate the principles at hand in water management in this area, then best practice, rather than minimal compliance could be achieved," she concludes.</p><p>Learners will also be monitoring the quality of the water, thereby contributing to their natural science's curriculum. Prof Chris Reddy from the Department of Curriculum Studies in the Faculty of Education will be showing the learners how to test the PH, nitrates and turbidity of the water using a toolkit from the <a href="https://www.iwrm.co.za/resource%20doc/od_diverse_docs/october_2008_updates/water_education_programme_2020_resource_booklet/2020_vfw_resources1.pdf">School Water Action Programme</a> (SWAP). Prof Wesaal Khan  from SU's Department of Microbiology will discuss the dangers of pollution.</p><p>The high point of the week is on Friday 15 March 2019, when learners will “adopt" and beautify a spot next to the Krom River.</p><p>The initiative has received generous sponsorship of refreshments for participating learners from local businesses, including Ten of Cups, Timberlea Farming Trust and Chill Beverages.</p><p>The initiative takes place ahead of <a href="http://www.un.org/en/events/waterday/">World Water Day</a> on 20 March, and South Africa's <a href="http://www.dwa.gov.za/default.aspx">National Water Week</a> from 18 to 24 March 2019.</p><p> <strong>Media enquiries</strong></p><p>Dr Leanne Seeliger</p><p>E-mail: <a href="mailto:seeliger@sun.ac.za">seeliger@sun.ac.za</a></p><p>Cell: 072 203 2113<br></p><p><em>On the photos above, Learners from Kayamandi Primary School are taking samples to test the water quality of the Krom River in Stellenbosch, under guidance of the Stellenbosch Water Institute and Prof Chris Reddy from SU's Faculty of Education. Photos: Leanne Seeliger</em><br></p>
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>
Secure software and legal systems needed for cyber safetyhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6858Secure software and legal systems needed for cyber safetyCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>With an overall increase in the number of cyber-attacks on individuals and organisations alike, we need more than just creating awareness; we also need to urgently work on creating and providing better and more secure (software) systems, as well as update our legal systems – all of which are not easy challenges.<br></p><p>This is the view of cybersecurity expert, Prof Bruce Watson from the Department of Information Science at Stellenbosch University. With October being Cyber Security Month, Watson says more and more people and organisations are being confronted with messages encouraging them to take steps in protecting themselves against actions of cyber criminals within cyber space. <br></p><p>“This is crucial given for instance the current increases in phishing attacks which are fraudulent practices of sending emails purporting to be from reputable departments/companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, or scam them out of their money.<br></p><p>“If an organisation's systems are not adequately protected, they are vulnerable to attacks, whereby law-abiding citizens and business data may be exposed and exploited by cyber criminals posing as banks or even government departments, resulting in unsuspecting citizens and business owners being defrauded out of their money through no fault of their own."<br></p><p>Watson says it is largely the private sector that seems to be championing cybersecurity awareness initiatives, with the South African government lagging behind still. <br></p><p>“As such, a cyber-security savvy citizen will only help to expose the gaps within the government when it comes to dealing with issues of cybersecurity. And as technology advances, more and more citizens will demand services that require the government to protect them from cyber-attacks."  <br></p><p>Watson does acknowledge that cybersecurity can be tough, adding that there are various reasons for this. </p><p>“First of all, cyber space doesn't obey to the normal rules of the world. As such, it is not enough to 'live in a good neighbourhood' in order to be safe from a cyber-attack. More and more, everything is interconnected and we can get cyber-attacked by accident, and at long distance. The internet is also easily anonymous, making attribution a problem as well." <br></p><p>Ideally, these are criminal activities that have to be reported to the authorities and prosecuted according to a particular law. At the least, we need to be able to identify the applicable laws that are transgressed and then be aware of the processes that we have to follow to bring the criminals to book."<br></p><p>Watson says that at the moment, however, South Africa does not have much. He points out that the only legal document that deals with cybersecurity and cybercrime matters is the National Cybersecurity Policy Framework (NCPF), which was adopted by Cabinet in 2012. <br></p><p>“We also have the Cybercrimes Bill, which until late 2018 was called the Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes Bill, but until the Bill has been signed and becomes an Act, nothing much can be done to address the issues raised. Furthermore, the signing of the Bill will not automatically make us safer, as it requires a transition that will take time, whereby the case system of the police will have to be adapted, the evidence chain will have to be aligned and adapted, prosecutors will have to be trained, as well as the judges, etc." <br></p><p>Watson says it is therefore very important that we up our cybersecurity defences, not just where normal citizens or users are concerned, but also for builders of systems (software), as well as the security of our nation as a whole. <br></p><p>“In the end, we all depend on lots of technology: from electricity, to banking to airports and airplanes, to entertainment. If those things fail, the impact can range from merely causing an annoyance to inflicting major economic damage."<br></p><p>Watson says people can protect themselves from becoming victims of cyber-attacks by not clicking on links that are suspicious (especially in emails), not just opening attachments and making sure their devices and anti-virus software are updated. <br></p><p>“Do not use public or free Wi-Fi for personal or banking transactions, it is dangerous. Make use of a virtual private network (VPN) instead. And remember: If it is free, you are the product," adds Watson. <br></p><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Prof Bruce Watson</p><p>Department of Information Science</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 2027</p><p>Email: <a href="mailto:bwwatson@sun.ac.za"><strong>bwwatson@sun.ac.za</strong></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"><strong>viljoenm@sun.ac.za</strong></a> </p><p> </p><p><br></p>
Researcher's collaboration with Khoisan community recognisedhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7089Researcher's collaboration with Khoisan community recognisedLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">​A research collaboration between Dr Menán du Plessis, an Associate Professor in the General Linguistics Department at Stellenbosch University, and the Khoisan community, has not only led to the first extensive documentation of the lost Khoisan language, Kora, but has now also seen Du Plessis recognised for this groundbreaking work. <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">Du Plessis' work, which is contained in the book entitled <em>Kora: A Lost Khoisan Language of the Early Cape and the Gariep</em>, was further recognised recently with her being awarded the prestigious Hiddingh Currie Award by the Senate Publications Committee of UNISA Press. The book is the end result of a collaborative project that was done in close consultation with the Khoisan community in Bloemfontein.</p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">Kora, spelled !Ora in the language itself, “was the Khoisan language spoken by the Khoi herders of the early Cape and the Gariep".  Those who spoke the language identified themselves as Korana and considered themselves to be a distinct community from other Khoekhoe speakers. </p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“Kora, which is sometimes also called Korana, is an indigenous South African language which belongs to the Khoekhoe branch of the Khoe family. While it is related to other Khoekhoe varieties such as Nama, Dama and Giri (or Griqua), it differs from these dialects in many respects," explains Du Plessis. </p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">The language was first documented in 1879 and later studied by a number of linguists who engaged with Kora speakers about the language in the 1920s and 1930s. With the last recorded versions of the language made in the 1930s, it was thought to have completely died out. <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">However, in 2007, the late Mike Besten, a historian at the University of the Free State, made a remarkable discovery – he found three elderly persons in and around Bloemfontein who still spoke the language. <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“Mike's discovery was groundbreaking in both a historical and linguistic context. Kora is the closest language, more so than Nama, to the language that was once spoken by the original Khoi inhabitants of the early Cape," adds Du Plessis. <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“Prior to his discovery, there were only two audio recordings of the language made in the 1930s."<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">Other documented sources were either out of print or not easily accessible and a lot of the Kora material had been translated only into German and sat in basements in university libraries. </p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">When Besten reached out to linguists to assist in documenting the language, Du Plessis, who was working on a PhD on the southern African Khoisan languages at the University of Cape Town (UCT), connected with him immediately. </p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“We were presented with an almost miraculous last chance to obtain recordings for posterity of the original language of the early Cape and the Gariep."<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">Shortly afterwards, Du Plessis joined Besten on a visit to one of the speakers, who lived in the rural outskirts of Bloemfontein. For the next year, she juggled her PhD research with the work she was doing for Besten, while the two searched and applied for funding for the project Besten was driving. <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">With only a few elderly speakers left, they knew that if they wished to capture the last remnants of the language, they would have to do something quickly. Du Plessis decided to record the language by interviewing two of the last speakers, Oupa Dawid Cooper and Ouma Jacoba Maclear, in 2011. Sadly both passed away in 2013.These  “rare audio recordings", referred to as a rescue documentation, are accessible as individual audio files – 800 in total – in the final online version of the book, which is also available in print format. <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">For Du Plessis, the recognition she has received by being awarded the Hiddingh Currie Award is not hers to claim. <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“There was from the outset a degree of social accountability, since the very idea for the project had its origins in the context of the current social movement known as the Khoisan revival, and in the course of meetings with various people from the Griqua and Korana communities of the Free State. This personal connection with individuals keenly driven to reclaim their cultural heritage made it important to me that the book should be written in a relatively accessible manner, and that it should include far more than a straightforward grammatical description. The intention was to deliver as far as possible a complete resource in one volume," she says. <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">The end result is a book that includes a collection of more than 40 texts in the original language as well as parallel translations and a consolidated two-way dictionary. It is filled with collective and personal histories as well as social and economic histories, accounts of crafts and manufactures in earlier times and folktales.<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“The dictionary is there to assist readers wishing to work through the texts in the original heritage language, but also includes vocabulary of cultural interest, such as names for stars, or musical instruments, traditional garments, and the names of the months in the old lunar calendar."<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">A free, downloadable version of the book is available on South African History Online, who co-published the electronic copy, while the printed edition is published by Unisa Press under an Open Access agreement. Du Plessis has declined to receive any royalties.<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">When one listens to the passion with which Du Plessis speaks of an academic project that evolved into an act of cultural restitution that was equally driven and shaped by the Korana community as well as herself, it beggars belief that she had never planned to study Khoisan languages. Her road into academia itself was a rather roundabout one.<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“My academic career is quite complicated," she says and laughs.<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“My first novel,  <em>A State of Fear</em>, was published while I was still an undergraduate student in the English Department at the University of Cape Town.  At the same time, I continued on a path of political activism that I had begun while I was still at high school – where I was one of the co-founders of a movement called National Youth Action.  On top of everything else, I struggled with major episodes of depressive illness, and was often hospitalised during those early years."<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“In spite of all this, by 1983 I was able to tutor in the brand new Linguistics Department, then just established at the University of Cape Town. I was also enrolled for a PhD, with a focus on semantic theory. But this was the very time the United Democratic Front emerged – and while I was living in an ivory tower, many South Africans were suffering under the brunt of apartheid and many more were involved in the struggle. We couldn't bury our heads in the sand and not get involved."<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">Between 1983 and 1985, Du Plessis, who had by then joined the local branch of the UDF in Observatory, was involved in various activities, helping to write and distribute pamphlets, making home visits to groups of concerned citizens who were not involved but wanted to understand more about the struggle, attending rallies and sadly, more and more often also funerals.  Around her friends were being arrested and incarcerated, while others were harassed. She lived in constant fear of being arrested or jailed for what were considered illegal activities under the apartheid government. Her second novel, <em>Longlive!</em><em> </em>was published in 1986, but by this time the strain of trying to juggle a creative life as well as an academic life —on top of being an activist— was taking a heavy toll on her, and she withdrew from academia.<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">In 1990 she married Renfrew Christie, an anti-apartheid activist and scholar whom she had previously known during her early years in the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS), and had met up with again after his release from prison, where he had been held for seven years. Christie's intelligence gathering on behalf of the ANC had led to the bombing of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station in South Africa. He was incarcerated numerous times, tortured and sometimes kept in solitary confinement. Du Plessis and Christie had their first daughter at the end of 1990, followed by a second in 1992.  With her health still damaged – and struggling with what was eventually diagnosed as ME –</p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">Du Plessis focused for the next decade simply on raising their beloved daughters, while her husband worked as a Research Administrator at the University of the Western Cape.<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">Once the girls were both in high school, it became possible for Du Plessis to start thinking about making a late return to her studies. <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“I had always studied European languages like Italian and German. But then, as a I started reading and exploring the idea of returning to complete my PhD, my focused switched. I started looking more at African languages, and in the process I discovered that there was a gap in the knowledge we had of the Khoisan languages. This is how my focus shifted to those languages," explains Du Plessis.<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">She returned to UCT, again enrolling for a PhD but this time focusing on the southern African Khoisan languages, taking a comparative approach. She received her PhD in 2009, and only after that was she able to focus more intensively on the Kora work. <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“My interest at first was purely in the structures of the languages," she says as she reflects on how that journey led her to connect with Besten, the Korana community and later author a book on the Kora language.  <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“But somehow, it was impossible to stay detached and not get involved with real communities."<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">Mike Besten's sudden death in 2011 was a huge blow, but made her even more determined to continue with the project in his honour. Lack of funding was another major setback, says Du Plessis, but she was fortunate enough to finally receive a grant from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (the ELDP) at SOAS in London. This small bit of funding covered only the fieldwork, however. <br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">Luckily, another bit of timely support came when Du Plessis and her husband both received invitations to teach for a semester at the University of Kentucky in the USA.  Once back in South Africa, freed from financial worry, it was a simple task for Du Plessis to sit down and finish the Kora book.<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;">“For me, the over-riding purpose of this work, which is envisaged as an act of cultural restitution, is to retrieve the all but discarded linguistic heritage of the Korana and Griqua people of South Africa – not only for the descendants of these communities, but for the benefit of all South Africans."<br></p><p style="font-size:14px;color:#333333;font-family:calibri, verdana, trebuchet, helvetica, arial, sans-serif, "helvetica neue";text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: </em><em>Dr Menán du Plessis (left), an Associate Professor in the General Linguistics Department at Stellenbosch University, was recently recognised for her work that led to the first extensive documentation of the lost Khoisan language, Kora. She will receive the prestigious Hiddingh Currie Award from the Senate Publications Committee of UNISA Press early in 2020. With her in the picture is Captain Johannes Kraalshoek, an elder</em><em> </em><em>of the Korana community in Bloemfontein, at the Literature Festival held as part of the Vrystaat Kunstefees in July 2019.​ <em style="text-align:justify;">(Charina Bartlett, HeSheDigital) </em>​</em></p>
World Social Work Day allows social workers to take a deeper look at their professionhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5552World Social Work Day allows social workers to take a deeper look at their professionLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​​ World Social Work Day is celebrated across the globe on 20 March each year. This year, in celebration of the international day of recognition, the Social Work department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences hosted a talk by Dr Abigail Ornellas entitled <em>'These clothes don't fit us anymore!' – Expanding Your Idea of Social Work</em>.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The talk forms part of a number of events being hosted by the department in celebration of the university's centenary year.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The theme of World Social Work Day is promoting community and environment sustainability – these are big topics, and topics that social workers can at times shy away from, or limit themselves to certain areas with the belief that this is as far as their impact or reach can go," said Ornellas, who has just completed her doctoral degree in Social Work at Stellenbosch University (SU). (Read her full story <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5542%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8B">here</a>.)<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“However, through my experience and research I have found that the social work profession is both capable of, and responsible for, a much grander vision than I believe we sometimes allow for ourselves."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">For this reason, Ornellas wants to challenge social workers to “go further and be bold in their right and responsibility to tackle politics, economics and macro-scale challenges" and to engage with policies and government structures to make a far bigger impact on society.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">She encouraged social workers to start thinking of their field as a professional one, where they are capable of bringing about change at a higher level and not only on the ground.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">During her talk she highlighted how the revised global definition of social work of 2014 calls upon social workers to “go beyond the individualistic approach we have been too long comfortable with, and to consider the collective and the structural causes of individual challenges".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In particular, I often refer to a need to understand the impact of economic and political theory and landscape on our profession – to critically question the intervention activities we undertake and ask, “Why? Why this way? For what and toward what?," said Ornellas.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">For the last few years, Ornellas has been focusing on expanding her research knowledge of social work and building up her expertise. Currently, she is a postdoctoral research fellow of the Social Work department at SU. Before completing her doctoral degree at the university, she spent some time travelling as a full-time research associate for the department across 11 countries. This expedition was funded thanks to two EU International Research Staff Exchange Schemes. Over the years her work has also been published in more than seven scientific international publications and she has lectured and presented at conferences in South Africa, Portugal, Italy, Spain, England, South Korea, Russia, Finland and India.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">While she did not work as a social worker following her studies, the degree programme in the department is set up in such a manner that students gain extensive practical work experience in both child and family welfare as well as clinical social work.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is these experiences during her Masters studies, she said, that led her to the concept of deinstitutionalisation.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It was my work experience at a local state hospital in my final year that really propelled me into research as I became aware of the role of policy and socio-political dynamics in social work practice – which could limit or free the profession to fulfil the mandate of the global definition. My work was concentrated in the psychiatric ward, and at the time South Africa was undergoing a transition toward deinstitutionalisation of mental health care. This where institutional psychiatric facilities are shut down and mental health care is shifted to community-based initiatives," explained Ornella.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This sounded like a noble idea," said Ornellas, “but when implemented in a neoliberal (a policy model favouring free-market capitalism) environment, it is very much a cost-saving exercise that frees the state from the expense of mental health care, turning this responsibility over to civil society without sufficient community development and support or facilities."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is one of the main reasons, she said, that the Life Esidimeni tragedy took place. In 2016, the decision to move patients from Life Esidimeni, a state-run facility, to a number of NGOs that were ill prepared to accommodate these patients led the deaths of 144 vulnerable patients.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Some of the conversations I had with social workers attempting to navigate this shift and assist vulnerable groups affected by deinstitutionalisation still haunt me today. They felt they were hitting out against a solid brick wall. The frustration and desperation was concrete. It made me realise that social work research had a role to play in challenging the structural systems that hinder social workers on the ground," added Ornellas.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“What I have come to realise," she said quoting from research she conducted with Prof Lambert Engelbrecht of the Social Work department at SU and Dr Gary Spolander  from Coventry University in the UK, “is that unless social work is able to correctly identify the nature and causes of social distress, it will be unable to recommend and support appropriate interventions."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“That said, I am deeply aware of the limitations in my understanding, as an academic. I am not facing what they face. But my commitment in my academic endeavours is to social workers grappling with these challenges. It's why my doctoral thesis highlighted the need to move outside of the small academic periphery, into unpacking and showcasing the views of frontline social workers," she said.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">What she does know, said Ornellas, is that “social work has a critical role [to play] in the current neoliberal and globalisation debate and should not just acquiesce to priorities such as budgetary constraints and premises that one cannot make a difference beyond helping those on the ground. It also plays a critical role in challenging policies of current regimes that do not work.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Social work should use research, pedagogy and critical voice to support it in facilitating social change, development, cohesion and social stability, as well as the empowerment and liberation of people."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">She encouraged the up-and-coming social work students to feel “empowered in their role and profession and to “truly be committed to social justice in its entirety rather than being an instrument or bystander to someone else's agenda and also touched on the need to “decolonise social work training from its Western colonialist, capitalist and neoliberal underpinnings".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">While she may not have practised as a social worker, Ornellas has intimate knowledge of the child welfare system. As a young child Ornellas and her twin brother often found themselves in foster care as their mom, who tried in vain to deal with a mental illness, struggled to raise Abigail and her brother.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My biological mother wanted to take care of us but it wasn't easy for her and we would often need to be moved into places of safety. I have always been grateful to her for finally making the decision to give us over to another family permanently. We were adopted when we were almost five years old by an amazing South African family of musicians – they have been an incredible support system and really are some of the best people I know. The experience was hard and certainly there have been things I have needed to work through as an adult, but I wouldn't really change things. It certainly has made me a better social worker. But it is only one part of my story and there is so much more that has shaped me and my love for this profession. I try not to make it the central focus."</p><p>It is one of the reasons that led her to social work in the end, she told the audience.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My first experience of social work was when I was in foster care as a child and so I have always believed it to be important – in my world, it's always been quite large and meaningful and it played a significant role in bringing me to where I am today, so I have a deep respect for it. As I went further into my studies, the more I learnt, read and witnessed, the more I believed this profession was even bigger than I had initially imagined in terms of its impact potential and role in society. Though the practice of social work is something I deeply love and wish to engage in in the near future, it was the profession itself, the people, the concept, that really grabbed me. This was something I wanted to be a part of."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Today as the world focuses on World Social Work Day, Ornellas hopes that the day is not only celebrated as a day for social workers to reflect on the “collective mandate into which our day-to-day practice falls , but that the day also implores us to think bigger, reinvigorates our commitment on days we struggle to remember why we do what we do and if we make any difference. It also encourages us to remember our strength and value as a profession – we are a globally collective body that plays such a massively significant role in societal wellbeing."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In a country like South Africa, we need to know what our society needs and whether we are meeting those needs and if not, what needs to happen in terms of structural barriers for us to meet those needs. There are a lot of professions doing therapy work but there are not a lot of professions like social work, that engages with the macro aspects of the social systems that lead to social ills."</p><p><em>Photo: Dr Abigail Ornellas was the guest speaker at the World Social Work Day event of the Social Work department at Stellenbosch University. (Lynne Rippenaar-Moses) </em></p>
Swartz receives ASSAf medal for science in service of society https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6812Swartz receives ASSAf medal for science in service of society Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​​​​​<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the last decade disability studies as an academic discipline in Africa, particularly South Africa, has developed extensively, in no small part due to the commitment of Prof Leslie Swartz, a distinguished Professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University (SU) with an interest in mental health and disability studies.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">On Wednesday night Swartz, who is considered one of the most prolific and influential scholars in the field, was recognised by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) for his dedication to developing disability studies when he received the prestigious Science-for-Society Gold Medal for 2019. According to ASSAf, the medal was awarded to Swartz for “excellence in the application of outstanding scientific thinking in the service of society". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Swartz is the only academic in South Africa to receive a medal this year. The medal was bestowed on Swartz by Prof Jonathan Jansen, the President of ASSAf at the ASSAf Awards Ceremony held at The Capital Hotel-Menlyn Maine in Pretoria on Wednesday night. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">For Swartz it was always inevitable that disability studies, an interdisciplinary field concerned with how and why disability inequality happens and is maintained in the world, would be one of his research focus areas. The first clue came in the form of his 2010 memoir, <em>Able-Bodied: Scenes from a curious life</em>, which chronicles his relationship with his disabled father, yet explores disability from an academic perspective too. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Swartz has not only concentrated on the development of disability studies, but has published over 250 articles in a range of international journals such as the <em>Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society,</em><em> </em>and <em>PLoS One.</em><em> </em>He has also served as the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the <em>African Journal of Disability</em><em> </em>up to 2018 and is the Associate Editor for the international journals, <em>Transcultural Psychiatry</em><em> </em>and <em>International Journal of Disability, Development and Education</em>. Under his leadership, the <em>African Journal of Disability</em><em> </em>became a PubMed and SCOPUS indexed journal which is now a key player in the disability studies field internationally. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He is a Core member of the African Network for Evidence-to-Action in Disability (AfriNEAD), which is headed by Prof Gubela Mji, Head of the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. AfriNEAD links disability scholars across the Africa, and also works with those from more economically developed countries like Norway, the United Kingdom and Canada. He is a Global Advisor to the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University.  He is also an International Advisory Board member of the Movement for Global Mental Health, “a virtual network of individuals and organisations that aim to improve services for people living with mental health problems and psychosocial disabilities in low and middle income countries across the world". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Swartz has also won many awards, amongst them the Stellenbosch University Chancellor's Award, and the Stals Prize for contributions to psychology from the SA Academy for Science and Arts. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the years, he has supervised more than 40 doctoral candidates, many of them disabled, black, or women candidates. Recently Swartz's ongoing project to mainstream disability issues into civil society in South Africa, which saw him receive funding from the NRF for a series of public engagements around disability and citizenship in South Africa, culminated in the book, the <em>Palgrave Handbook of Disability and Citizenship in the Global South</em>, which he co-edited. Other books he has co-edited include <em>Disability and social change: A South African agenda</em>(2006), <em>Searching for dignity: Conversations on human dignity, theology and disability</em><em> </em>(2013), and <em>Transformation through occupation</em><em> </em>(2004), which is widely credited with helping develop a social justice and public health approach to occupational therapy in South Africa and globally.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Prof Swartz has played a leading role in developing the field of disability studies in South Africa, but has been dedicated in his drive to develop research capacity in people previously excluded from the academy and to making principles of scientific engagement accessible to the broader community. For this reason, he is sought after as an academic mentor and contributes regularly to the training of more junior researchers at a range of South African universities. His work is also regularly prescribed in academic courses in South Africa in psychology and other disciplines." said Dr Therina Theron, Senior Director: Research and Innovation at SU.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She applauded him for the central role he has played in diversifying the academy and as an activist “who takes scientific community engagement and linkages seriously". This has led to Swartz working with the Cape Town Holocaust Centre in 2018 and 2019. He presented a two-seminar series on disability and human rights as part of the travelling exhibition, <em>Deadly Medicine</em>: <em>Creating the Master Race</em>,produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and presented by the South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation in South Africa. The exhibition focused on the abuse and murder of disabled people during the Holocaust and the links between these practices, eugenics in South Africa, and contemporary concerns. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Swartz has also given back to communities in need by offering free consultation services to those individuals who require therapy and is currently supervising the first ever prevalence study of mental health issues amongst Deaf children conducted on the African continent. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking at the ceremony, Swartz said: “I am very grateful for this award, and I am deeply honoured. I would not have been granted this award without the help and support of my family, my students and colleagues, and without the many many people who have had the patience and generosity to allow me into their lives as part of my research and scholarly work."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Stellenbosch University is a very supportive environment for me, and I am especially grateful for years of patient help from the Division of Research Development, the University library, and many others."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Swartz added that he was acutely aware of how privileged he has been to have worked with and alongside disabled South Africans and Africans from further afield to inform and expand his research in disability studies.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“They had good reason to mistrust me as a white, non-disabled South African male researcher, yet have given me the benefit of many legitimate doubts, and have allowed me to work with them. If this award is about anything, it is about the opportunities we all have to make a more inclusive world for everyone."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I would like to encourage all researchers, regardless of discipline, to think about how their work can include people with bodies and minds which are not the norm, but which are every bit as valuable as other bodies and minds. We cannot do diversity or decolonise our universities without making all our work accessible to all – and this includes people with disabilities of all kinds.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Added Swartz: “Diversity, which includes disability participation at all levels, and accommodation of difference, will make our world, as the disability studies scholar Rosemarie Garland-Thomson puts it, more habitable for us all."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Prof Leslie Swartz (middle) received the p</em><em>restigious Science-for-Society Gold Medal for 2019 from ASSAf at an awards ceremony held in Pretoria last night. Here he is with Prof Jonathan Jansen (right), President of ASSAf, and Prof Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies at SU. (Supplied by ASSAf)</em></p>