Stellenbosch University
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Just Be
Author: Petro Mostert
Published: 24/08/2022

​​For the fifth time, our Responsibility Centre Operations and Finance celebrated Women's Day together and in what better place than the breathtaking Johannesdal overlooking the Banhoek valley mountains? On this rainy Friday afternoon (19 August 2022), 190 women came dressed up in black and white with here and there a zhuzh of colour in a hat, a scarf, shoes, or an earring. They came here to JUST BE.

During lockdown, we had to improvise and make do with whatever online creativity allowed us to design. This year, the mountains, the rain, and the fantastic women of this RC made the event just fabulous. "I remain the proudest head of a Responsibility Centre in the University on account of how you do your work in the University," said a proud Prof Stan du Plessis, our host and the person who started this initiative.

Our finance division had to pull out all the stops to create a magical event this year. Our co-host, Manie Lombard, chief director of Finance, and his organising committee ensured we would remember this event for a long time.

And what better theme than Just Be? As Prof Stan says: "some of the most complex philosophical ideas of the last century were about "being"." In highlighting the importance of our work life versus our personal life and whether or not this should be a balancing act like being on a seesaw, Prof Stan preferred to call this a work-life-integration.

"I hasten to add that I don't mean your work should dominate your life, especially not your family's life. I am not saying integrate your family time into your work or allow your work to dominate your family time. Your work at the University should be meaningful enough, and you don't have to feel transactional about it. When we do meaningful work, we don't feel we have to sacrifice a part of ourselves. We can really BE at work and BE OURSELVES in such meaningful work."

This year Prof Stan took inspiration from a famous young Pakistani, Malala Yousafzai, a youth and women activist who became the youngest recipient of the Nobel prize when she received the peace prize at 17.

She said: "I raise up my voice—not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot all succeed when half of us is held back."

"I am delighted to say that women's voices are increasingly heard in this University. You can increasingly "be yourself" at SU, at all levels, including the executive level. Of the five Chief Directors in our RC, four are women, and two of the University's four vice-Rectors will be women next month. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. Vroue van die VS: Bedryf en Finansies. Ek hoop dat julle werk en julle werk en lewe integrasie betekenisvol sal wees. Dat julle julself kan wees, dat julle by die US kan wees soos julle ook tuis is. Be yourself at SU; that is the valuable contribution we need from each of you," said Prof Stan.​