Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch



John Kani honoured with honorary doctorate from SU Kani honoured with honorary doctorate from SUCorporate Communication Division/Sandra Mulder<p style="text-align:justify;">​</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p><p>“The power of changing the country is in the hands of the citizens. We are the government. We voted them in and can vote them out." This was one of the inspiring messages in the acceptance speech of the internationally acclaimed actor and playwright John Kani after having received an honorary doctorate from Stellenbosch University (SU).<br></p><p>Under great applause from graduates, their parents and other guests, the degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), <em>honoris causa</em>, was conferred on the 76-year-old Kani by the Presiding Officer, SU's Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers, at this morning's (13 December 2019) ninth and last December 2019 graduation ceremony. SU awarded the honorary degree to Kani to honour and recognise his lifetime dedication to using the performing arts as a tool for upliftment.</p><p>In Kani's gripping and inspiring message of hope to everyone in South Africa, he jokingly said that when he had been informed that the honorary doctorate was to be conferred on him, he thought that he had become “famous in Stellenbosch".  “To be honoured in this incredible way, made me feel so good and that my 76 years of existence and all our efforts were not in vain."</p><p>One of the stories that he told at the ceremony was about the time in 1984 when he and Atholl Fugard had to perform in Stellenbosch. They thought that they could not come to Stellenbosch as it was seen as the “headquarters of the Afrikanerdom".  “I thought what will the comrades think of us and they will think it is a sell-out." But they still came and performed for a week. “I was impressed by the good conversation with professors and lecturers but was most impressed by the young people speaking Afrikaans. I realised that the Afrikaner and I had one problem: We have nowhere else to go. My job will be to tell stories and my stories witness the journeys each individual takes."</p><p>In 1982, Kani was part of a hit list, which he ignored. He was attacked by security police and was taken by his wife to a hospital in Port Elizabeth with 11 stab wounds. “In the hospital, there was a white doctor who hid me in the isolation ward for infectious diseases. The security police found out that I had not died and went back to the hospital to complete the job of killing me. They did not want to enter the ward and I have this young white doctor to thank for my life," he said.</p><p>The last story Kani told the graduates and guests, was about his father always telling him that he needed to pay him back in rands and cents for the money spend on his education when he started working. “I told the same story to my eight children, but my currency was different. I told them that they had to make something of themselves and make a valuable contribution to humanity and society. Then they would have paid me back." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>The motivation​ for Kani's honorary doctorate</strong><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SU Council and Senate decided to honour him with this degree in recognition and admiration for his unwavering and passionate commitment to the performing arts as actor, director and playwright; for his dedication to ensure access to the performing arts for young people from marginalised communities; for using the arts to educate, to create community and as a tool of expression for the oppressed; and in recognition of his commitment to excellence in his 50-year international career in the performing arts.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Kani was born in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, on 30 August 1943. His connection to drama, which started in school, continued after he matriculated. </p><p>As a young black man growing up in apartheid South Africa, his first desire had always been to be part of the struggle. His need to tell the stories of the oppressed and to see the effect they had on people developed his deeply held belief that theatre was a powerful tool for change and would become the catalyst for all of his work, acting, directing and writing. </p><p>In 1965 he joined the Serpent Players where his association and friendship with Winston Ntshona and Atholl Fugard started. In 1972 Kani, Fugard and Ntshona developed the seminal <em>Sizwe Banzi is Dead</em> and in 1973, they created and produced <em>The Island</em>. They took both plays to local and international stages and in 1974 Kani and Ntshona both won the coveted Tony Award for Best Actor in these two plays. </p><p>In 1977, Kani and Barney Simon established The Market Theatre, which focused equally on theatrical work and social upliftment. In 1990 they also founded The Market Theatre Laboratory, giving young people from marginalised circumstances the opportunity to study the performing arts. </p><p>In 1982, Kani and Sandra Prinsloo shook the very foundations of white South African society when they kissed on stage in Strindberg's <em>Miss Julie</em> at the Baxter Theatre. In 1987, he became the first black South African to play Shakespeare's Othello in our country. </p><p>Kani has written and starred in three plays: <em>Nothing but the Truth</em> (2002), <em>Missing</em> (2014) and <em>Kunene and the King</em> (2018). All three deal with deeply difficult South African themes of forgiveness, exile, isolation, identity and loss. </p><p>His most recent international successes include films such as <em>Black Panther</em> (2018), <em>The Lion King </em>(2019) and <em>Murder Mystery</em> (2019). </p><p>Kani holds four honorary degrees and his long list of awards include the Hiroshima Prize for Peace from the Swedish Academy, the Olive Schreiner Prize and the South African Film and Television Lifetime Achievement Award. He also received the kykNET Fiesta award for his lifetime contribution to the performing arts, as well as the Naledi World Impact Theatre Award. <br></p><p><br></p>
South Africans must be healthier for universal healthcare to succeed Africans must be healthier for universal healthcare to succeedJane Simmonds, Charles Parry & Melvyn Freeman<p>​South African will have to maintain healthier lifestyles for the National Health Insurance to succeed, writes Jane Simmonds, Dr Charles Parry (both from the South African Medical Research Council) and Prof Melvyn Freeman (Department of Psychology) in an article for <em>The Conversation</em> recently (7 July).<br></p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.<br></li></ul><p><strong>Jane Simmonds, Charles Parry and Melvyn Freeman*</strong></p><p>Achieving a healthy population isn't easy for any country – rich or poor. One of the approaches that's gained traction over the past two decades is preventative care through <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">health promotion</strong></a>. Simply put, health promotion means keeping people healthy. This is seen as particularly useful in developing countries, where levels of preventable non-communicable diseases are high, the resources to treat disease are scarce and the cost of treating sick people is often higher than programmes to keep people healthy.<br></p><p>The health promotion approach has two areas of focus. One is preventing disease through activities like health education messaging, screening and testing for conditions. The other is addressing the upstream drivers and causes of poor health. These include social and economic factors such as poverty and unemployment. They also include smoking, excessive drinking, low levels of exercise, poor diet, sub-standard living conditions, gender-based violence and mental illness.</p><p>The health promotion approach aims to change people's behaviour and choices. But it is not enough just to tell an individual how to be healthy: people need support and social structures to promote, sustain and maintain healthy choices.</p><p>A number of countries have successfully adopted this approach using health promotion foundations. <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Thai Health</strong></a> is one example. Similar <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">foundations</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>have been established in Switzerland, Austria, the Philippines and Malaysia.</p><p>In a <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">recently published paper</strong></a>, we argue that South Africa also needs a health promotion and development foundation if its proposed universal healthcare programme, the National Health Insurance (NHI), is to succeed.</p><p>Through the <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">NHI</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>South Africa (and legal long-term residents) are to be provided with essential healthcare, whether they can <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">contribute</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>to the NHI fund or not.</p><p>But South Africa faces high levels of disease, in particular<strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong><a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>n</strong><strong>oncommunicable diseases</strong></span></a> such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer and obesity. Many noncommunicable diseases can be prevented. The NHI is likely to battle to cope with treating large numbers of sick people, but much of this treatment could be avoided by promoting health and reducing disease.</p><p>In our <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">paper</strong></a> we set out how this radical change of approach could be achieved and why health promotion could be an effective use of the limited funds.</p><p><strong>Getting healthier</strong></p><p>Noncommunicable diseases, many of which are avoidable, are having a significant impact on the health of South Africans and the South African healthcare system.</p><p>The increase in noncommunicable disease risk factors will likely lead to rising healthcare costs.</p><p>For example, in 2018, the public health sector spent an <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">estimated</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>R2.7 billion ($198 million) on patients diagnosed with diabetes. The estimates increased to R21.8 billion when undiagnosed diabetes patients were considered. The total costs associated with diabetes are likely to increase to R35.1 billion ($2.5 billion) in 2030.</p><p>Another common condition, <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">hypertension</strong></a>, is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and chronic kidney disease. It is often found in combination with diabetes. In <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">South Africa</strong></a> 46% of women and 44% of men over 15 had hypertension in 2016. This is almost double the <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">world average</strong></a> and has nearly doubled since 1998.</p><p>The <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">2016 South African Demographic and Health Survey</strong></a> indicates high levels of obesity, which has health and cost implications. Forty-one percent of women are obese, a condition associated with an 11% increase in healthcare <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">costs</strong></a>.</p><p><strong>What needs to be done</strong></p><p>Health behaviour in South Africa needs to shift from the norm of waiting to get sick and then accessing healthcare to preventing disease and keeping healthy.</p><p>To encourage this, we <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">propose</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>the establishment of a multi-sectoral National Health Commission or an independent Health Promotion Foundation linked directly to the NHI Fund. It should include several relevant government departments, civil society, academics and researchers.</p><p>Health promotion programmes need to be based on more than health knowledge. For example, individuals can't practise good hand hygiene when water is not available, or eat healthy foods when these are not affordable. South Africa's specific<strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong><a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">realities and need</strong>s</a>, including poverty and its related behavioural impacts and health consequences, must be taken into account. This is why different government departments and stakeholders would need to work together.</p><p>We don't know exactly how much of the noncommunicable disease burden could be eased by modifying risk factors. But the World Health Organisation has <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">estimated</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>that in the Americas 80% of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes mellitus and over 40% of cancer is preventable through multisectoral action.</p><p>Some of the changes that could make a difference to health are quite indirect. For example, it is often not safe to exercise on the streets, so communities need to have more active and visible policing and accessible open spaces free from traffic and other competing activities to make increased exercise a realistic option. Healthy food needs to be subsidised and more easily available, and places that sell alcohol and tobacco need to be located at prescribed distances from schools.</p><p>Just how much funding is needed to promote health? Health promotion experts are calling for <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">2%</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>of the NHI Fund to be dedicated specifically to promoting health and preventing illness. </p><p>The WHO's global <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">business case</strong></a> for noncommunicable diseases shows that if low- and low-to-middle-income countries put in place the most cost-effective interventions, by 2030 they will see a return of US$7 per person for every dollar invested. This is certainly a reason to improve health promotion funding in South Africa. We cannot afford to wait any longer.</p><p><a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">*<strong>Jane Simmonds</strong></span></a> is an associated staff member of the Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council. <a href=""><strong>Charles Parry</strong></a> is the Director of the Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council. <a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>Melvyn Freeman</strong></span></a> is an Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University.<br></p><p><br></p>
Baderoon awarded Media24 Elisabeth Eybers Prize awarded Media24 Elisabeth Eybers PrizeLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Extraordinary Professor Gabeba Baderoon from the English Department at Stellenbosch University has been awarded a 2019 Media24 Books Literary prize. The prize recognises the best work published during the previous year by Media24 book publishers. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Baderoon received the Elisabeth Eybers Prize for Afrikaans and English poetry for <em>The History of Intimacy</em>, published by Kwela Books. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>The History of Intimacy</em>, which took 12 years to write, was named a Book of 2018 by the <em>Sunday Times</em>. The collection's strange intimacies include what blurred black and white photographs tell us about loving two people at the same time, contemplating a hand-painted “Whites Only" sign thrown away by the side of the railway tracks in 1988, and recalling the doomed love stories of the 1990s.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Prof Sally Murray, the Chair of the English Department, the judges were particularly impressed by the controlled lyricism and calm maturity of the poems in <em>The History of Intimacy</em>. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The work depicts the transitions of Baderoon's world, herself a figure of transit, and does this in a grammar that relies mainly on the strength of its images. It is a book of technical ease and linguistic subtlety of a high order," said the judges. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Gabeba's most recent literary award attests to her existing renown as a poet, and a scholar. Her creativity and critical acumen are a boon to the English Department, and during her visits to us she is especially generous in mentoring the aspirant writers among our graduate cohort."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Baderoon, who completed a doctorate in English at the University of Cape Town, is an award-winning creative writer whose poems and short stories have been widely publicised. Before the publication of <em>The History of Intimacy</em><em> </em>in 2018, she hadreleased three collections of poetry – <em>The Dream in the Next Body</em><em> </em>and<em>The Museum of Ordinary Life</em>in 2005, and <em>A hundred silences</em>in 2006. <em>The Dream in the Next Body,</em>her debut collection, was named a Notable Book of 2005 by the Sunday Independent, while <em>A hundred silences</em>was shortlisted for the 2007 University of Johannesburg Prize and the 2007 Olive Schreiner Prize. In 2014, one of her short stories was selected for the "Twenty Best Short Stories of South Africa's Democracy". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Her scholarly work focuses on the representations of Islam, slavery, race and sexuality with some of her articles appearing in journals such as <em>Feminist Studies, Social Dynamics</em>, and the <em>Journal for Islamic Studies</em>.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">She has lectured in universities across the world including Europe and the United States as well as locally. At present she is an Associate Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies and African Studies in the College of Liberal Arts at Penn State University and also teaches Comparative Literature at the institution. She also co-directs the African Feminist Initiative at Penn State with Alicia Decker, and is a member of the Editorial Board of the African Poetry Book Fund.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Baderoon has received a number of other awards and fellowships, among them the Daimler Chrysler Award for South African Poetry in 2005, a Guest Writer Fellowship at the Nordic Africa Institute in Sweden (2005), and in 2008 a Fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. She has also received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Sainsbury/Linbury Trust, as well as a Writers Residency at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has been awarded a Bellagio artist's residency for 2020.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Her groundbreaking scholarly work, <em>Regarding Muslims: From Slavery to Post-apartheid</em><em> </em>(Wits UP, 2014), was long-listed for the 2015 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for Non-fiction and won the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences' (NIHSS) prize in the category Book: Non-Fiction Monograph in 2017.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>​Regarding Muslims </em>addresses the invisible history of Islam's impact on modern day South African society and its ties to slavery. The book looks at a range of images that are housed in the South African archive of “Cape Malays" in “travel writing, cartoons, paintings, caricatures and cookbooks" from the 18<sup>th</sup>century onwards, explains  Baderoon.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">​“An extensive record of cartoons, popular paintings and cookbooks has created a familiar repertoire of Muslim figures in the South African imagination, a repertoire infused with larger political meaning," wrote Baderoon. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Baderoon said she felt immensely honoured to receive the Elisabeth Eybers prize. “To me, poetry is an art that connects an otherwise inaccessible interior to the broader world, so for these words to be recognised by fellow writers with this award is very moving to me."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I am profoundly grateful to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and particularly the English Department for making the department and university a hospitable and generative space for me.  I read versions of this book to the department during the writing process and responses and questions from fellow scholars helped tremendously in shaping the final manuscript, which was completed at STIAS. It holds the imprint of those readings," said Baderoon.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Prof Gabeba Baderoon doing a reading of another one of her poetry collections, The Dream in the Next Body, during a visit to the English Department at Stellenbosch University in 2017. (Anton Jordaan, SSFD)</em></p>
SA faces particular structural barriers to behavioural change amidst pandemic​​ faces particular structural barriers to behavioural change amidst pandemic​​Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p></p><p style="text-align:justify;">​​As the COVID-19 infection rate accelerates at an alarming pace in South Africa, an article authored by two academics at Stellenbosch University (SU) warns that adherence to lockdown rules in conditions where citizens live without secure and paid work may be difficult without addressing the country's particular structural barriers to behavioural change.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In South Africa, unlike in the United States where the infection rate is climbing at an exponential rate due to political and ideological reasons, we are facing specific structural barriers that are particular to this country and will hinder individual behavioural change," explains Prof Ashraf Kagee, a psychologist and Distinguished Professor of Psychology at SU, who is one of the co-authors of the research article.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The article was co-authored with Dr Bronwyné Jo'sean Coetzee, also from the Psychology Department at SU.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“While our President has managed the situation well and the implementation of the lockdown has given our health systems time to get ready for the influx of COVID-19 infected patients and the large number of people who now require treatment, lockdowns require people to stay home and only leave their homes to purchase essentials such as groceries and medication," says Kagee.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“As we know, in low- and middle-income countries, many of which have large proportions of the population living in precarity, lockdown forces millions of people to spend prolonged periods of time together in close proximity to one another and with limited resources. In many ways, efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in densely populated communities with limited access to food, water and sanitation may seem counter-intuitive and be quite difficult under conditions of precarity," add Kagee and Coetzee.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">These circumstances, explain Kagee and Coetzee, have again highlighted the fact that while COVID-19 may not discriminate against anyone in terms of vulnerability to infection, it does discriminate based on socio-economic status.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Isolation assumes that everyone has access to personal space and has the ability to continue with paid work from home. In many low- and middle-income countries like South Africa, work is often of a physical nature and cannot be done remotely, as may be the case with many white collar jobs that have been integrated into the digital economy. Thus jobs in the informal sector such as street vending, mini-bus taxi driving, hawking, artisanship, domestic helping, and casual work in small businesses, which are common in South Africa are likely to be lost. To this extent COVID-19 does indeed discriminate by socio-economic status as it exacerbates social and inequality that occurs consequential to lock down."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Like many other experts in various sectors in South Africa, Kagee and Coetzee echo the same sentiment – managing the crisis in this country will require a multi-disciplinary team of experts such as policy makers, economists, psychologists, and medical professionals to work together to find realistic solutions that are specific to South Africa's challenges. They believe that there is also a unique role for psychologist and mental health specialists to play to ensure behavioural change and adherence to regulations.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Coetzee and Kagee are however cognisant of the fact that “behavioural change is difficult and complex" under even the best of circumstances. However, by utilising what is known as the Theoretical Domains Framework, which incorporates a range of theories on behaviour change which was developed by health psychologists and theorists and implementation researchers in the context of other health challenges, they have identified possible solutions to local challenges. The framework uses factors such as knowledge; skills; social/professional role and identity; beliefs about capabilities; optimism; beliefs about consequences; reinforcement; intentions; goals; memory, attention and decision processes; the environmental context and resources; social influences; emotions; and behavioural regulation to measure behaviour change.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Based on this framework, we have made some recommendations that may ameliorate the severity of the lockdown in low- and middle-income countries like South Africa. The first is for governments in these countries to take their populations into their confidence and ensure proper access to information concerning the spread of the pandemic. Access to such information needs to be readily and easily accessible, simple and clear and updated frequently with accuracy and care," Kagee and Coetzee explain.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It entails placing an emphasis on the responsibilities of citizens to take care of their health and that of their compatriots, rather than on the punitive consequences associated with the violation of lockdown conditions. Relatedly, the rationale for lockdown rules need to be communicated in a transparent way to citizens by governments. This is one of the things that I have been very critical about. We have ministers that come up with suggestions and guidelines that do not make sense to the South African population, however, to ensure adherence government needs to take its citizens in its confidence and share the information on which they base their decisions," adds Kagee.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Kagee and Coetzee also advise that “authoritarian and military approaches to ensuring adherence should be kept to a minimum".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Other recommendations made by Kagee and Coetzee include:</p><ol style=""><li><strong>That information about COVID-19 and rules and regulations are made available and tailored to children and younger people</strong> and that parents are provided with tools and resources that are age-appropriate and child friendly. The tailoring of messages for the youth is of particular importance as past experiences, such as changing health risk behaviours amongst the youth when it comes practising safe sex, was difficult to implement amongst the youth. This is due to a sense amongst many youth that they may be invincible and have nothing to lose and thus immune to the coronavirus and its consequences.</li><li><strong>That internet access is made widely available by making data as affordable as possible, or even free, to ensure the free flow of information to all citizens:</strong> Free or affordable data will allow more people to access information, including where to seek help for COVID-19-related symptoms, mental health conditions, help for those affected by gender-based violence, and access to learning materials for school and university learners. </li><li><strong>Criminalising fake news and misinformation to minimise panic and incorrect health practices.</strong></li><li><strong>Scaling up access to e-banking</strong> to allow more citizens to receive welfare relief in countries where national budgets permit this. </li><li><strong>NGOs and local charities are roped in</strong><strong> </strong>to provide food relief to impoverished communities as well as providing water tanks and sanitising equipment provided by government.</li><li><strong>Engaging traditional healers</strong> <strong>in countries where they have influence</strong>, to encourage people to adhere to lockdown regulations and safety behaviours.</li></ol><p style="text-align:justify;">Adherence is not only hard for those living in overcrowded areas in South Africa as has been proven through the public sharing of video and photographs of individuals living in better economic conditions breaking the rules. This, says Kagee, is partially due to the fact that individuals have an inherent “need to be with other people and engage".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“There is a lot of anxiety amongst ordinary people who are worried about whether they will have access to health care when they get sick or what will happen should they end up in hospital and have to be placed on a ventilator, which brings up concerns about death. People with pre-existing mental health conditions are struggling even more, while gender-based violence has also increased."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The reality is that this virus is not going to go away soon and there is no way of predicting when things will stabilise, which means that we need to find solutions to mitigate risk under these circumstances. A couple of decades ago, nobody wore seatbelts and people smoked in cinemas, but that changed over the years with the implementation of regulations which brought about behaviour change. It shows that we can shift social norms and are able to do so once again with this pandemic to at least ameliorate the severity of the lockdown."<br></p><p style="">The full research article can be accessed here: <a href=""></a><br><br></p><p><br><br></p>
Tribute - Elsa Joubert (19 October 1922 – 14 June 2020) - Elsa Joubert (19 October 1922 – 14 June 2020)Lenelle Foster <p><em>​​​​The author Elsa Joubert passed away on 14 June 2020 at the age of 97. The Department of Afrikaans and Dutch pays tribute to this alumna of Stellenbosch University. </em><br></p><p>During the first half of June, South Africa lost two authors who both excelled in a variety of genres. Jeanne Goosen passed away on 2 June at the age of 81 and Elsa Joubert on 14 June. She would have been 98 in October.</p><p>Joubert obtained a BA from Stellenbosch University in 1942 and the following year she completed a senior teaching diploma, also at SU. She worked as a teacher and journalist, received an MA from the University of Cape Town and undertook a solo trip through Africa in 1948. In 1957 she debuted with a travel memoir on her journey through Uganda and Egypt.</p><p>Although travel (and by implication journeys and sojourns) is an important theme in Joubert's oeuvre, it would be an untenable oversimplification to reduce a writing career of sixty years to an obsession with travel literature. This is demonstrated very clearly by the numerous awards she received for her work, including two Hertzog prizes (considered the most prestigious award in Afrikaans literature), and the recognition she enjoyed as an author – among many other accolades she was awarded honorary doctorates by SU (2001) and the University of Pretoria (2007) and received the <a href="">Order of Ikhamanga</a> (silver) in 2004.</p><p>In 1978, Joubert garnered international attention with the publication of arguably her most famous work, <em>Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena</em> (translated into English as <em>The long journey of Poppie Nongena</em>). The novel, which has been translated into more than 10 languages and received numerous prizes, emphasises that personal experiences are political.</p><p>In a 2006 <a href="">review</a> of <em>'n Wonderlike geweld</em> (the first instalment in a three-part autobiography), Desmond Painter wrote that Joubert's representation of her own experiences as a child and young woman become the perfect instrument to register the shifts, both significant and subtle, in the Afrikaans world of that time. On the whole, Joubert's work functions not only as a way to register the world at a particular time, but also causes shifts in the reader. <em>Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena</em> (as well as Christiaan Olwagen's film version, <em>Poppie Nongena</em>, released earlier this year) demonstrates the way in which Joubert forced herself and her readers to recognise the humanity of other people and acknowledge the need for (and importance of) interaction.</p><p>It is a supreme irony that a writer whose work is inextricably linked to journeys, both physical and emotional, died of COVID-19 during the lockdown.<br></p><p><br></p>
Why was Afrikaner Economic Empowerment more effective than BEE? was Afrikaner Economic Empowerment more effective than BEE? Jantjie Xaba<p>​​There were a few reasons why Afrikaner Economic Empowerment was more effective than Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, writes Dr Jantjie Xaba (Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology) in an opinion piece for <em>Mail & Guardian</em> (29 June).</p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.<br></li></ul><p><strong>​Jantjie Xaba*</strong><br></p><p>Despite its promises, Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) has not delivered the same benefits post 1994 as Afrikaner Economic Empowerment (AEE) had done after the Great Depression of 1930. Both programmes relied on job creation, skills development, and welfare services. </p><p>However, unlike BBBEE, AEE went beyond this by relying on the Helpmekaarvereniging (Mutual Aid Association) tradition of mobilizing capital that triggered volkskapitalisme (people's capitalism). Since 1994, BBBEE has used similar strategies – within a different political and economic environment with a large, diverse population as its target – yet failed to deliver the benefits to blacks owing to various macro and micro factors.<br></p><p>In my recent doctoral study, I focused on how the four dimensions of empowerment, namely economic, political, social and cultural operated at the macro-level and how they were applied at a micro-level. To compare BBBEE and AEE, I used Iscor, now called ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA since 2004) in Vanderbijlpark as a case study by analysing relevant documents, conducting in-depth interviews and having focus groups discussions with current and former workers and managers as well as union officials. <br></p><p>When comparing these two programmes, we have to understand the nature and the role of the welfare state. Under AEE, since 1924, the National Party (NP) established a welfare state with the support from Afrikaner Nationalists that rolled out social services. This was maintained through legislation, fiscal steps, and a large network of parastatals to empower poor whites. Modelled on Keynesianism, these parastatals, including Iscor, were used to support a developmental agenda of the state that comprised of the provision of protected employment, housing, education, and medical services to white employees and their families. In Vanderbijlpark, Iscor Housing Utility and VESCO carried out these functions. Under BBBEE, the ANC formed a developmental state based on a liberal model that combined market-based, private, contributory schemes with minimum government support for social services. Compared to AEE, the impact was very little. <br></p><p>A closer look at the four dimensions of empowerment mentioned above revealed that political empowerment involves a collective struggle to increase control of the poor over resources and regulative institutions, and transformation of existing power relations. Under AEE, Afrikaner Nationalists adopted a political-legal framework to mobilize white Afrikaners and provide the basis for AEE. The Afrikaner <em>Broederbond (Afrikaner Brotherhood) </em>used patronage to systematically appoint Afrikaners in positions of control and ownership in government and parastatals to reduce power and control of English white-speakers and moderate Afrikaners not affiliated with the NP. After 1948, Afrikaner Nationalism remained a powerful political force that determined employment and skills development within the public sector and civil service. </p><p>The ANC adopted affirmative action and BBBEE as redress for demographic misrepresentation in appointments and promotions within parastatals. Its cadre deployment strategy was used to appoint blacks and women in senior management positions and as non-executive directors of the Iscor board. However, deep racial divisions overshadowed this policy as white employees at AMSA continued to enjoy more power. Additionally, senior management, middle management, supervisory and skilled positions were still dominated by whites, while blacks constituted between 83 and 96 percent of unskilled and semi-skilled positions.<br></p><p>Economic empowerment seeks to ensure that people have the appropriate skills and access to secure sustainable incomes and livelihoods. Since the depression, macroeconomic policy has focused on public redistributive policies such as taxes, transfers, and government spending. To this day, economic empowerment has been reduced to scorecards, graphs, indices, and scores. From 1924 onwards, with the support of white trade unions, AEE became a project of the nationalist government to roll out welfare benefits, to provide standard employment with regular hours, pensions, and service benefits to poor whites. This combination of racist labour market policies, social welfare, and favourable credit arrangement allowed the white elite to become professional and supervisors and steadily increased their real pay. This resulted in social mobility for many whites as many benefited from career advancement both inside and outside Iscor.<br></p><p>From the 1970s onwards, SOEs were criticized as being too large and inefficient to deal with growing debt. The NP government responded to the crisis by adopting a nation-wide program of privatization of SOEs, including Iscor in 1989. In 1994, the ANC applied the same strategy by adopting the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) to increase spending on social development but later reversed this when it implemented the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy. GEAR focused on accelerating fiscal reform, furthering tariff reform, public sector restructuring, and continuing the reorientation of expenditure towards service delivery to the poor. Following the liberalization of trade, the steel tariffs declined from 30 percent to 5 percent, causing major flooding of the South African market by cheap Chinese steel products. This resulted in a reduction in sales volumes and production, as well as capacity utilization. <br></p><p>Under the new economic policy and new management, AMSA's number of full-time workers declined from 14000 in 1990 to 8500 in 1998 and 6000 in 2016. Additionally, AMSA adopted a labour market flexibility strategy in which 50% of its workforce were casuals, part-time workers, and subcontractors supplied by Monyetla Labour Broking, a subsidiary of VESCO. Further, AMSA outsourced non-core functions and services, such as fire detection, catering, security, facilities management, and cleaning services that have benefited white employees and generated precarious work for the majority of African workers.<br></p><p>The role of culture in enabling empowerment has long been debated by social scientists. French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu recognized culture as a form of 'capital', having material benefits and convertible to a wide range of assets such as linguistic services, scientific knowledge, and educational qualifications. In recent debates, social scientists applied social capital to explain how poor people develop bonding, bridging, and linking capital through social networks to foster moral responsibilities and norms, and social values to promote social empowerment.  <br></p><p>My study found that under AEE, civil society organisations (CSOs) like the <em>Broederbond</em>, the <em>Helpmekaarvereniging</em>, and the <em>Afrikaanse Christelike Vroue Vereeniging</em> (Afrikaans Christian Women's Association) played an important role in organizing white Afrikaners and articulating their various interests in society, as well as building capacity and awareness of resources mobilization. This highlights the role of people, civil society organizations, and networks as resources to promote empowerment. Leaders of AEE in Vanderbijlpark used the <em>Helpmekaar</em> tradition to provide poor whites with some form of training, bursaries and offer support to establish Afrikaans-owned enterprises. </p><p>The <em>Broederbond</em> established <em>Sakekamer </em>(Chamber of Commerce) to facilitate social networks, cooperation amongst white businessmen, and to discover mutual benefits between Afrikaners and those in business and government. Iscor founded Iscor Club with membership restricted to whites only to foster the development of 'community' and promote the development of social capital.</p><p>Despite their notorious race policies, the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) contributed to Afrikaner social empowerment in Vanderbijlpark by preaching and applying the late eighteen-century Calvinist doctrines of the Protestants. The DRC organized the Afrikaner community into a cultural fabric and encouraged principles of hard work, respect for the authorities, and an intolerant attitude towards dishonesty or corruption. In terms of language, white Afrikaners believed that the Anglicisation policies of the British Empire had destroyed their language. Through its <em>Federasie van Afrikaanse-Kultuurvereniginge</em> (Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Organisations), the <em>Broederbond</em> used Afrikaans to develop a homogenous group identity, build nationalism, and foster group cohesion among whites. </p><p>Under BBBEE, social empowerment was obliterated due to the lack of alignment between politics, the economy, and CSOs. Compounding this problem was the fact that before 1994, CSOs have been at the forefront of social change, fighting for democratic rights and social justice but post-1994, they were side-lined by the government. Despite the culture of Ubuntu and stokvels in African communities, few organizations except workplace forums existed in the black townships to promote social empowerment. African languages were suppressed at AMSA with English and Afrikaans acting as dominant languages. Religion in Vanderbijlpark was undergoing secularisation with old denominations disintegrating and new charismatic churches on the rise. </p><p><br>It's clear that AEE was more effective than BBBEE because firstly, even though economic empowerment was the ultimate goal, AEE was supported by political-legal and socio-cultural dimensions. Secondly, the AEE macroeconomic policy was underpinned by a Keynesian philosophy where the state, business, and white trade unions formed a social contract to uplift the poor. Lastly, CSOs played a major role in supporting AEE and the development of social capital using language, religion, and nationalism; while under BBBEE, CSOs were alienated from the state and, as a result, could not continue playing a key role in bringing about social change and social justice. ​ <br></p><ul><li><strong>Photo</strong>: A township in Cape Town. <strong>Credit</strong>: Wikimedia Commons<br></li></ul><p><strong>*Dr Jantjie Xaba is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University (SU). This article is based on his recent doctorate in Sociology at SU.</strong></p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>​ </p><p><br></p>
Translated work brings to light the political thoughts of one SA's leading black intellectuals work brings to light the political thoughts of one SA's leading black intellectuals Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Thanks to the work of four academics from across the globe, the travelogue of one of South Africa's leading black intellectuals of the early 20<sup>th</sup> century, the late Professor DDT (Davidson Don Tengo) Jabavu of Fort Hare University, has been published in a bilingual edition by Wits University Press. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The travelogue, called <em>In India and East Africa / E-Indiya nase East Africa – A travelogue in isiXhosa and English</em>, captures Jabavu's reflections during his four-month trip to India to attend the World Pacifist Meeting in Santiniketan and Sevagram in 1949, as well as his thoughts on how Mahatma Gandhi's principles of non-violence may be applied in South Africa's struggle for freedom. This little-known isiXhosa text, written in a conversational tone, provides a rare perspective on the mid-twentieth century transnational pacifist scene after Mahatma Gandhi's death. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Jabavu's travelogue contributes to scholarship on intellectual exchanges between Africa and India but also shows a South African at home in the world. There have been many texts written by Indian travellers encountering Africa, but the perspective of a black South African on encountering India is much rarer," explains Prof Tina Steiner, Associate Professor in the English Department at Stellenbosch University (SU) and one the co-editors of the book. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Jabavu was a seasoned international traveller who starts his narrative mentioning his extensive previous travels and places this particular voyage in the context of a life of travel in the pursuit of support for equality for South Africa's black population," adds Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The travelogue traces how geographies of various emancipatory movements – the civil rights movement, African liberation movements and the international peace movement – intersected at the World Pacifist Meeting.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Besides Steiner, who was the lead editor, the editorial team comprised Dr Mhlobo W. Jadezweni from Rhodes University, who is an isiXhosa expert and who updated the orthography of the original from 1951; and Prof Catherine Higgs, a historian and Head of the Department of History and Sociology at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus; and Prof Evan M. Mwangi, a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Northwestern University in the United States and a Professor Extraordinaire of English at SU. Higgs is the author of the biography <em>The Ghost of Equality - The Public Lives of D.D.T. Jabavu of South Africa 1885-1959.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The translation from isiXhosa into English was executed by the late Dr Cecil Wele Manona, an Anthropologist and Senior Research Officer at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Steiner explains that while Jabavu wrote most of his many books in English, he tended to write in isiXhosa towards the end of his life after his retirement from public life. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This was also the case with his travel account to India and East Africa which was originally published in parts in the weekly <em>Imvo Zabantsundu</em><em> </em>(African Opinion), which Jabavu's father, the politician and newspaper editor John Tengo Jabavu had founded in 1884; and then in book format by Lovedale Press in 1951." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The younger Jabavu was a professor in African Languages who taught at Fort Hare University from 1916 to 1944. While he was also politician, a pacifist and a staunch Methodist, he was first and foremost an educator and his politics came from a real concern for the quality of education for black students in South Africa. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“You have to understand that Fort Hare was the key institution of higher learning for black students from all over Africa at the time. So it was not surprising that when Jabavu embarked on his trip to India, many of his ex-Fort Hare students sent telegrams to him and asked him to stop over in Mombasa and Kampala to visit them, which he did on his return from India. The travelogue thus also invites reflections on the significance of a pan-African network of ex-Fort Hare students," says Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In November 1949, Jabavu set off for India via ship from Durban to attend the World Pacifist Meeting as one of 93 delegates from 31 countries across the world. After a week in Santiniketan, the delegates were split into groups and spent the next two weeks visiting various sites associated with Mahatma Gandhi's life and work. At the end of the two weeks, Jabavu and his group reconvened with all the other delegates in Gandhi's village, Sevagram, where the conference continued. However, his writings do not only describe the sights he saw in India and his experiences with his host families, but also reflects on the content of the conference itself.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“He provides us with insight on the proceedings, the discussions and resolutions of the conference and talks about listening to prominent pacifists like Dr Rajendra Prasad, Vera Brittain, Dr Mordecai Johnson, Rev Michael Scott, Dr Pao Swen Tseng to name just a few. Jabavu also met Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, whom he mentions he shook hands with in Parliament, as well as other government officials in independent India."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The narrative shows how inspired he was by Gandhi's methods of non-violent resistance, his civil disobedience and ability to politically mobilise the masses. During his return voyage, he also met with important anti-colonial activists in Uganda and Kenya, like Elind Mathu, Harry Thuku and Jomo Kenyatta."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“From his writings, it is clear that Jabavu wanted to share these discussions with his fellow black South Africans. He was a Christian and believed in a Christianity that needed to be socially involved and relevant, and he very much focused on the principles of self-restraint and service to others and the impact that it could have on social transformation."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/DDT%20Jabavu%20book%20cover.jpg" alt="DDT Jabavu book cover.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="text-align:justify;margin:5px;width:400px;height:600px;" /><strong>How the travelogue came about</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The publication of Jabavu's work is the end product of a project, Indian Ocean Epistemologies, which Steiner and Mwangi had been collaborating on since 2017. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Through this project, Steiner and Mwangi developed a joint curriculum which was taught at Northwestern University in Chicago in 2018 and at SU in 2020; published a special issue on Indian Ocean Trajectories in <em>The Journal of Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies</em>; and decided to publish the translated travelogue of Jabavu as part of their mission to translate a text that “would enrich the primary archive of Indian Ocean Studies from an African perspective". Their project formed part of a larger, overarching project called Global Theory in the South based at Northwestern University and led by Prof Penelope Deutscher. The overarching project was funded by the AW Mellon Foundation and is part of an initiative of the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“While Jabavu's travelogue <em>E-Indiya nase East Africa</em> had been publicly available for nearly seven decades, it was written in an old isiXhosa orthography and was thus not easy to read for contemporary readers," explains Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, after seeing reference made to the travelogue in Prof Isabel Hofmeyr's groundbreaking article 'The Black Atlantic Meets the Indian Ocean' and hearing her mention Jabavu's travelogue on a few other occasions, Steiner started her search for an English translation. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This search led her to Higgs, who had published the DDT Jabavu biography <em>The Ghost of Equality</em>, which wasbased on research she had done in the late 1980s and 1990s for her PhD. Higgs had commissioned the help of Manona to translate Jabavu's isiXhosa text and shared this with Steiner. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I really want to pay tribute to the late Dr Manona who translated Jabavu's travelogue as well as his wife, Mrs Nobantu Manona who gave us permission to use her late husband's translation in this edition." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She explains that the original isiXhosa text by Lovedale that Manona had used for his translation was then edited by Dr Jadezweni, who had to update the old isiXhosa to the contemporary orthography approved by the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB). <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Jadezweni said that he had not encountered such a rich and beautifully written isiXhosa text before. Jabavu wrote in a conversational tone in a stream of consciousness style and made use of many isiXhosa idioms in his text. He was an entertaining writer with wide-ranging interests who wanted to encourage his local audience to see their own struggles reflected in similar struggles for equality across the globe." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The travelogue's transnational orientation, its commitment to pacifism and its insistence that political dialogue is possible, make <em>In India and East Africa/ E-Indiya nase East Africa</em><em> </em>an important document of the rich and diverse black South African intellectual tradition. Moreover, it once again confirms the significance of preserving and making accessible African-language texts to readers across Africa and the world."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Main photo: DDT Jabavu (right) with his father, the politician and news editor John Tengo Jabavu, as a young man and later as lecturer at Fort Hare University.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Story photo: The front cover of the travelogue,</em> <em>In India and East Africa / E-Indiya nase East Africa – A travelogue in isiXhosa and English, which</em><em> </em><em>captures Jabavu's reflections during his four-month trip to India to attend the World Pacifist Meeting in Santiniketan and Sevagram in 1949</em>.<br></p>
COVID-19 is an opportunity to make our circles bigger is an opportunity to make our circles biggerJudy-Ann Cilliers<p>​The COVID-19 pandemic should also be seen as an opportunity to reach out to vulnerable foreigners who try to make a living in South Africa, writes Dr Judy-Ann Cilliers from the Department of Philosophy in a doctoral-based opinion piece for the <em>Mail & Guardian </em>(31 July).</p><div><ul><li><p>​Read the article below or click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.</p></li></ul><p><strong>Judy-Ann Cilliers*</strong></p><p>When President Ramaphosa announced the national state of disaster on 15 March, many breathed a sigh of relief. We were witnessing a world being consumed by a new virus with many world leaders failing to take sufficient action. Our government's early and decisive response communicated a desire to protect its people. Yet even then we knew that the cost will be high, and it will mostly be paid by those already marginalised in our society. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">These past few months we have seen more instances of domestic and gender-based violence, more people losing their jobs as businesses close, and as the number of infections grow, more people without sufficient access to healthcare. In a world that was already becoming more hospitable to xenophobic nationalisms, we read and hear about increased attacks on foreigners, especially of Asian descent, across the globe – any outsider is a threat, a potential carrier.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">While we speak of the 'unprecedented times' we are living through, this kind of attack is not unprecedented. It is a common narrative in South Africa that foreigners should be kept out because they bring disease into the country. All kinds of xenophobic discrimination, exclusion, and violence against foreign nationals have been justified by the claim that 'they' are the cause of real diseases, such as HIV/Aids, and moral 'diseases', such as drug addiction and crime.  That this is true only in some cases is irrelevant to the xenophobe; humans easily extrapolate from 'some' or even 'one' to 'all'. The individual, collective, and systemic causes of xenophobia, and its intersection with racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, are complex in ways I cannot do justice to here. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Studying instances of xenophobic discrimination and violence, one thing becomes apparent: the choice of victim is not determined by the individual's guilt, actions, legal status, or even their real nationality. It is enough that they exist <em>here </em>(wherever 'here' may be), and that they are perceived as a foreigner by the xenophobe. Xenophobia is therefore not a response to a specific threat – despite our rationalisations about crime and job scarcity and viruses – but to a perceived threat, where the perception is shaped by the xenophobe's own prejudices and stereotypes, and by our political narratives around belonging, borders, nationhood, and membership. Such narratives shape our ideas about who has a right to belong or to exist here, and who does not.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The fear underlying such perceptions may have different origins or motivations. In the South African context, migration and development expert Loren Landau identifies a deep apprehension about the meaning of belonging, an apprehension anthropologist Frances Nyamnjoh locates in a historically oppressed and excluded citizenry who, for the most part, still cannot meaningfully access the benefits and rights that come with membership. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Xenophobia is a reaction to a sense of insecurity, of not having a place where one belongs, and an accompanying attempt to establish security. As we face the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic – rising unemployment, lower levels of food security, a weakened economy, and individual and collective trauma – the xenophobic violence that is already characteristic of contemporary South Africa may become more prevalent and entrenched. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The irony is that the logic underlying such violence and such attempts to establish security and belonging preclude the possibility of establishing a more secure society, for it is a logic that seeks to exclude and even destroy that which is strange or new, and it inevitably becomes self-consuming. If belonging is rigidly defined and policed, the circle of who 'truly belongs' will inevitably become smaller and smaller. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This logic stands opposed to what political theorist Hannah Arendt called the fundamental human capacity of natality – our ability to begin something new. This ability is the root of our freedom, as we constantly bring new things into the world through our actions and interactions with others. It is also necessarily unpredictable, which is why we often respond to it with fear and a desire to control. In asserting control, we banish the new and the strange and the unpredictable, and along with that our own ability to act and exist freely. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The pandemic poses a challenge that, for most people, is radically new. We have reason to be afraid in our current circumstances – to fear for our lives and livelihoods, to worry about the country and the world's future. These fears have been closely tied to our fear of others for so long, and the pandemic makes breaking those ties so much harder. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is harder to conceptualise a form of belonging that is not exclusionary when we are isolated from one another, when the risks of sharing the world with others are so evident, and when we do not even feel safe in our own homes. We have seen examples of incredible selfishness and cruelty in this pandemic. Predictably, some of the regulations put in place to protect and support people in South Africa during this time negatively affected foreigners in ways citizens were not affected, especially those that initially limited the activities of informal traders and workers.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Yet the newness and strangeness of our situation offers us an opportunity to reassess our assumptions, to create new world-shaping narratives, and to act in unpredictable ways. After hurricanes or earthquakes, great fires or terrorist attacks, when people are on the edge of life and access to resources cannot be guaranteed, we do not only see dog- eat-dog competition, but also altruism, solidarity, and empathy, often between people who under normal circumstances would not have reached out to each other. Uncertainty can make us hunker down, but it can also open our eyes to realities and injustices we were unable to see before. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">As we create meaning in this pandemic and from this virus, as we analyse and live through the implications of the lockdown, and as we try to rebuild and, perhaps, build anew, we need a critical awareness of the precarious position of foreign nationals in our society, as well as the true danger to a society when it does not protect its most vulnerable members.<br></p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><strong>Photo</strong>: A group of people gathering. <strong>Credit</strong>: Wikipedia.</li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>*Dr Judy-Ann Cilliers is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Philosophy at Stellenbosch University (SU). This article is based, in part, on her recent doctorate in Philosophy at SU.​</strong></p><p><br></p></div>
COVID-19: South Africa's neglected military faces 'mission impossible' South Africa's neglected military faces 'mission impossible'Lindy Heinecken<p>South Africa's military has been deployed to help maintain law and order during the lockdown period. But it's going to struggle to fulfil the expected duties, argues Prof Lindy Heinecken from the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology in an article published by <em>The Conversation </em>recently (2 April).<br></p><ul><li>Read the complete 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" style="text-decoration:underline;"> </strong>for the piece as published.<br></li></ul><p><strong>COVID-19: South Africa's neglected military faces 'mission impossible'</strong></p><p>South Africa's military has been deployed in communities across the country to support efforts to contain the COVID-19 disease, and help <a href="">save the lives</a> of citizens.</p><p>In terms of the mission to combat COVID-19, the defence force will, among other duties, protect quarantine sites, deliver food and others essential supplies to mass storage facilities, help police restrict people's movements, conduct road blocks and to curtail unrest.</p><p>But can it fulfil these duties? The South African National Defence Force has suffered from terrible neglect over the past 25 years of democracy. The result is that in this time of crisis, it may not be able to muster enough troops to maintain the lockdown.</p><p>Members of the South African Medical Health Services have also been deployed to provide health support services. But, only 2820 soldiers have been deployed, according to <a href="">official reports</a>.</p><p>The army only has 14 infantry battalions, consisting of about <a href="">810 men and women each</a> - including 34 officers. And many soldiers <a href="">are simply not deployable</a>, due to poor health and other manpower constraints, or other commitments like border control.</p><p>In its current condition, the defence force <a href="">cannot meet the demands placed on it</a> to fight the coronavirus, in addition to serving on peacekeeping missions, and an array of other tasks, from <a href="">disaster relief</a>, to bolstering internal safety and security and safeguarding the borders.</p><p>Another big concern is that soldiers are not trained in riot control, nor do they have the appropriate equipment for this. This could result in them using excessive force against civilians in line with their training, in response to violence.</p><p><strong>Why the army is in a parlous state</strong></p><p>The South African National Defence Force's poor capacity to deliver on its mandate of safeguarding the republic against foreign aggression go beyond <a href="">purely budgetary constraints</a>. For the past 25 years' there has been little to no organisational transformation to reconfigure the force structure and design to meet current realities.</p><p>Force structure describes how military personnel, their weapons and equipment are organised for military operations, missions and tasks. Force design relates to the shape, structure and purpose to <a href="">meet operational needs</a>.</p><p>Instead, the military has been absorbed in the processes of political transformation, where the focus has been almost exclusively on ensuring that it is representative of broader society. The government has also been preoccupied with getting the military to be subservient to civil control.</p><p>I describe these processes, and the impact they are having in my new <a href="">book</a>, <em>South Africa's post-apartheid Military: Lost in Transition and Transformation</em>. Both processes are <a href="">flawed</a>, and have negatively affected the military's efficiency, <a href="">effectiveness and professionalism</a>.</p><p>Where military generals function out of misplaced political loyalty, this inevitably results in a <a href="">breakdown in the chain of command</a>.</p><p>Secondly, in terms of civil oversight, where non-military people lack knowledge of military matters, this affects the quality of debates on defence matters. It also imperils policy formulation and advice in terms of the military's <a href="">strategic direction</a>.</p><p>Another problem has been the effect of cultural and human resource transformation. This focuses on addressing historical inequality, such as racial and gender discrimination, and labour practices. Here there have been numerous challenges, such as dealing with the impact of HIV and Aids <a href="">and military unions</a>.</p><p>There are large numbers of military personnel who are not health-compliant. This affects all generic personnel processes, including training, deployment, and <a href="">maintenance and support functions</a>.</p><p>The military has been facing numerous other human resource challenges. It has major skills shortages, imbalances in terms of personnel structures, and is unable to rejuvenate its forces. This has led to <a href="">an aging force and rank stagnation</a>, which means that people cannot be promoted. The reserves, which are <a href="">being called up</a> under the National Disaster Management Act, are in a similar state. With a strength of 20 000 and an average age of 43yrs, this back-up has <a href="">limited capacity</a>.</p><p><strong>Risky choice</strong></p><p>These political, cultural and human resource issues have distracted the military from focusing on the pressing issues of <a href="">operational and organisational reform</a>.</p><p>The <a href="">2015 Defence Review</a>, maps out the future security landscape and priority tasks of the military. Priority tasks include to defend and safeguard South Africa, promote peace and security, and perform developmental tasks. But these ideals are unrealistic in light of <a href="">current budgetary constraints</a>.</p><p>It will take great ingenuity to restructure the country's armed forces to <a href="">meet even the most key obligations</a>, including countering external security threats against the country and peacekeeping in Africa.</p><p>External threats are both traditional and non-traditional, including regional and local conflicts; violent political, religious extremism as well as terrorism, and high levels of international crime.</p><p>Internally, threats include illegal immigration, crime syndicates, <a href="">gansterism</a>, and having to deal with medical crises such as Covid-19.</p><p><strong>What's needed</strong></p><p>The first thing that's needed to transform the military is decisive, strong leadership from politicians and military leaders. There needs to be a clear articulation of what capabilities they want going forward.</p><p>Priority tasks will increasingly be those affecting the citizens of South Africa directly, in cooperation with the police. These include deterring and preventing conflict, safeguarding borders, protecting critical infrastructure, and promoting safety and security. It'd be impossible for the defence force to perform these tasks effectively, and still contribute to peace and stability on the continent, within current budgetary and organisational constraints.</p><p>The reality is that South African citizens and politicians become interested in the affairs of the military only when there's a crisis. This leaves it to function <a href="">in a vacuum</a>.</p><p>The COVID-19 pandemic might just show how weak the country's military is. It remains to be seen if it will be up to the task if the frustrations caused by the lockdown were to erupt into violent conflict. How well it helps the police contain and suppress this violence will be a telling sign of the country's state of defence.<br></p><p><br></p>
Barefoot children have better balance, also jump further children have better balance, also jump furtherCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>A study by researchers from South Africa and Germany found that young children who grow up walking barefoot have better balance and can also jump further than children who wear shoes.<br></p><p>“Our research has shown that regular physical activities without shoes may be beneficial for the development of jumping and balance skills, especially in the age of 6–10 years," says Prof Ranel Venter from the Department of Sport Science in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University. Venter and colleague Dr Elbé de Villiers collaborated with researchers from the University of Jena and the University of Hamburg. The study was conducted in South Africa and Germany between March 2015 and June 2016 and published recently in the journal <em>Frontiers in Pediatrics</em>.<br></p><p>Venter says the aim of the research was to evaluate, for the first time, the link between growing up barefoot or wearing shoes and the development of motor performance during childhood and adolescence. “To our knowledge, no study has examined the potential relationship between regular barefoot activities and motor skills."<br></p><p>Three hundred and eighty-five habitual barefoot and 425 shoe-wearing children between 6 and 18 years were recruited in schools across rural and urban areas in the Western Cape, in South Africa and Northern Germany. <br></p><p>Venter says the two populations were chosen due to their different footwear habits. “Whereas South African children are generally used to walk barefoot during the day, almost all German children wear shoes during school time and for most of recreational activities."<br></p><p>For the children to be considered habitually barefoot, they had to be barefoot at school and in and around the house or during sports/recreational activities. Both groups had to participate in physical activity for at least 120 accumulative minutes per week and they had to be free of any orthopaedic, neurological or neuromuscular conditions that may influence motor performance.<br></p><p>Venter says all the children completed balance (walking backwards in a self-selected, comfortable speed over three balance beams of 6, 4.5, and 3 cm width), standing long jump and 20m sprint tests.<br></p><p>“Results of these tests show that barefoot children in South Africa's primary schools performed better in balance tests than their German counterparts who never walks barefoot. This may be related to the fact that the feet of South Africa's children is wider and more deformable."<br></p><p>“Barefoot children were also able to jump further from a standing position that German children. This may be related to the fact that the foot arches of South African children are well developed.<br></p><p>Children who are regularly barefoot have higher foot arches than children who never walk barefoot. Their feet are also more flexible and less flat."</p><p>Venter says that as far as jumping results are concerned, significant effects were found for the age groups 6–10 and 15–18 years.<br></p><p>She also points out that fewer differences were observed during adolescence although there are greater jump distances and slower sprint times in barefoot individuals.<br></p><p>“Our results show that motor skill competencies of shoe-wearing and barefoot children may develop differently during childhood and adolescence. Whereas barefoot children between ages 6 and 10 years scored higher in the backward balance test compared to shoe-wearing children, no differences were found in adolescents. The early childhood years are fundamental for the development of balance, and rapid improvements can be observed until the age of 9–10 years."<br></p><p>“A likely explanation is that footwear habits influence the musculoskeletal architecture of the foot which in turn may be associated with motor performance."<br></p><p>Venter says the overall results of their study emphasize the influence on and importance of footwear habits for the development of feet and motor skills during childhood and adolescence. <br></p><ul><li><strong>Source</strong>: Hollander, K <em>et al</em> 2018. Motor skills of children and adolescent are influenced by growing up barefoot or shod. <em>Frontiers in Pediatrics</em> Vol.6: 1-6.</li></ul><p><em>Photo courtesy of Pixabay</em>.</p><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Ranel Venter</p><p>Department of Sport Science</p><p>Faculty of Education<br></p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 027 21 808 4721<br></p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></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>E-mail: <a href=""></a> <br></p><p><br></p>