Welcome to Stellenbosch University



Historical wounding and its haunting legacies to be deliberated at international conference wounding and its haunting legacies to be deliberated at international conference Martin Viljoen<p>​​​What is the appropriate response to the echoes of historical wounding that extend far beyond the generation that experienced the trauma directly? What strategies might quell the haunting repercussions of genocide, slavery, colonial oppression, and mass violence that play out in the lives of affected individuals and groups from both sides of these acts? <br></p><p>These are some of the questions that delegates to an international <a href="">conference</a> themed Recognition, Reparation, Reconciliation: The Light and Shadow of Historical Trauma will deliberate on. Inspiration for the conference is the 20th anniversary of the report of the TRC.</p><p><strong>RENOWNED KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: </strong></p><ul><li><strong>Prof Homi Bhabha</strong>, Harvard University, world's premier postcolonial literary theorist (Thu 6 December, 09:00):<em> A Memory of Neighbours: On History and the Afterlife.</em></li><li><strong>Prof Cathy Caruth</strong>, Cornell University, prominent scholar of Trauma Theory and author of foundational texts in the field (Fri 7 December 08:30): <em>Death and Life at the Site of Address</em></li><li><strong>Prof Sarah Nuttal, </strong>Director of the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, the preeminent interdisciplinary research institute in the humanities and social sciences in South Africa. (Fri 7 December, 12:00): <em>Dark Light: Coming Out of Trauma</em>​<br></li><li><strong>Prof Michael Rothberg</strong>, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), well-known scholar on trauma, memory and postcolonial theory (Sat 8 December, 08:45): <em>T</em><em>he Implicated Subject: Rethinking Political Responsibility</em></li><li><strong>Prof Achille Mbembe</strong>, Wits University, public intellectual and major figure in the fields of African history, politics, and social science Sat 8 Dec: 17:00 (lecture open to the public)</li><li><strong>Jacqueline Rose</strong> (University of London) and <strong>Jessica Benjamin</strong> (New York psychoanalyst) are both internationally known for their work on the relationship between psychoanalysis and feminism and their engagement with the politics of Israel-Palestine (Sun 9 December 15:45): <em>What Light Might Psychoanalytic Attention to the Inner Life Throw on the Repetitions of History?</em></li></ul>​​The Organiser-in-Chief for the conference is <a href="/">Stellenbosch University</a> (SU) Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Research Chair for <a href="/english/faculty/arts/historical-trauma-transformation/overview">Historical Trauma and Transformation. </a> It is organised in collaboration with the <a href="">Australian Human Rights Institute</a> at the <a href="">University of New South Wales</a>, Sydney Australia and the   <a href="">Institute for Justice and Reconciliation </a>. <br><br>The conference brings together a group of scholars and practitioners from more than 20 countries and from different disciplinary backgrounds to reflect on the vexed questions of historical wounding and its haunting legacies. An important theme of the conference is the role of the arts in addressing human rights crimes and as a strategy in helping countries to come to terms with their violent histories. <br><br>Papers presented at the conference will deal with, among others, the following themes: how George Washington University in Washington DC is addressing its history of owning slaves in the 19<sup>th</sup> century and selling them to help bolster the university's finances; Canada and Australia's efforts to foster reconciliation between Aboriginal people and whites in these countries; how film has been used in Israel by former members of the Israeli Defence Force to “speak truth to power"; discussion on dialogue through the arts between children of perpetrators and children of victims of genocide. <br><br><strong>Children and grandchildren of victims—stories from Soviet Russia to South Africa</strong><br><br>A unique feature of the conference is an opportunity for conference delegates to listen to stories of experiences of gross human rights violations from victims' families or survivors. At this year's conference the focus will be on encounters between perpetrators and young descendants of victims. Denis Karagodin from Siberia, Russia, will speak about his search for his great grandfather's executioner and meeting the killer's granddaughter. <br><br>Young South Africans who were children when their parents were murdered during apartheid will speak about their encounters with perpetrators:<br><ul><li>Lindiwe Hani will speak about meeting Janusz Walus, the man who assassinated her father, Chris Hani.</li><li>Candice Mama and Siya Mgoduka, whose fathers were killed in operations in which Eugene de Kock was involved, will reflect on their thoughts on de Kock. Mgoduka will also be in conversation with his mother, Doreen Mgoduka, about her forgiving de Kock.</li><li>The legacies of conscription into the South African Defence Force during the years of apartheid will also be addressed.</li></ul>​​Commenting on the significance of the collaboration with the Australian Human Rights Institute, Gobodo-Madikizela said: “The political turbulence and the intergenerational struggles that are playing out in post-apartheid South Africa and the raging debates in Australia about the failure of the Australian Constitution to recognise the rights of Aboriginal Australians, make these two countries important starting points as sites of reflection on the themes of this conference. <br><br>“The conference, however, has a transnational and multicultural focus, and will take discussions beyond South Africa and Australia. Discussions will showcase some of the latest research globally on the themes of the conference, and engage in critical reflection on the representation of historical trauma through the creative arts—including film, photography, theatre and visual arts," she adds.​<br><p>SU will honour Homi Bhabha with an honorary doctorate at its December 2018 Graduation Ceremony. </p><p>The conference ends on Sunday 9 December with an event to celebrate the 20<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the submission of the report of the TRC and to honour Archbishop Tutu for his work. A music theatre performance by the Rwandan group Mashirika, curated by multiple award winning artist Hope Azeda will perform a piece about healing and reconciliation titled “Africa's Hope." </p><ul><li>Access the conference website <a href="">here</a> and the programme <a href="">here​</a>. <br></li></ul><div><br></div>
SU theatre complex to be named after Adam Small theatre complex to be named after Adam SmallCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie (Martin Viljoen)<p>​The refurbished theatre complex of Stellenbosch University (SU) will be named after the award-winning poet and playwright, Adam Small.<br></p><p>The Drama Department proposed and motivated the naming after a considered and inclusive process. </p><p>The Executive Committee of the SU Council, which approves the names of buildings in accordance with the applicable SU policy, recently accepted the name at the recommendation of the Rectorate and the SU Committee for the Naming of Buildings, Venues and other Facilities/Premises.</p><p>Small's widow, Dr Rosalie Small, has already given her approval for the naming of the complex after her late husband.</p><p>“Stellenbosch University is grateful and proud to be associated with the rich legacy of Adam Small. We would like to see the vision of human dignity and healing justice to which he as an academic and playwright was committed, realised," says Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor.</p><p>Prof Nico Koopman, Vice-Rector: Transformation, Social Impact and Personnel said that Adam Small used his academic pursuit, and specifically his many works in Afrikaans as instruments of transformation. “During apartheid, he helped us to move away from apartheid towards a democratic society, and now his legacy helps us to put his democratic vision of human dignity into practice." </p><p>“With this name change, SU wants to pay tribute to an icon. Without denying the past, we are saying that in future, we will include, and not the other way round," says Dr Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation. “The name change is part of a process of visual redress and representation to make even more people feel at home on our campuses."</p><p>The Hertzog Prize for Drama of the <em>Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns</em> was awarded to Small in 2012 for his entire oeuvre, and specifically for <em>Kanna, hy k</em><em>ô </em><em>huistoe </em>(1965).</p><p>“The name was tabled in initial discussions about a name change at the end of 2017 already. In 2015 SU awarded Small, who is regarded as a role model, an honorary doctorate. His commitment to Afrikaans and his contribution to specifically<em> Kaaps Afrikaans (</em>Cape Afrikaans) as poet and playwright served as further motivation for the proposal," adds Dr Mareli Pretorius, incoming Chairperson of the Drama Department at SU.</p><p><strong>Refurbishment</strong></p><p>The large auditorium in the theatre complex is currently known as the HB Thom Theatre and although this name will no longer be used, it will be contextualised in the building. Before the refurbishment, the theatre consisted exclusively of a single auditorium, but the creative space now includes a seminar room and a smaller laboratory theatre. The Adam Small Theatre complex thus refers to the multifunctional facility as a whole.</p><p>The newly-expanded large auditorium boasts a mechanised system to lift even heavy décor pieces during shows, modern lighting that is fully LED functional and sound system that all comply with international standards. In the auditorium with its 324 seats, the lay-out is ideally suited to provide the audience with a superb visual experience.  </p><p>This theatre, as well as a second, smaller laboratory theatre and a brand new seminar room can be used commercially for both the performing arts and other functions such as conferences, lecture series and other events. </p><p>The adjacent Drama Department, which will now for the first time functionally join the theatre complex, has two new sound studios, a television recording studio and editor's suite; a computer user area; as well as refurbished and spacious rehearsal rooms and redesigned workplaces, including the theatre workshop, two props rooms and a costume studio and store.</p><p><strong>Inclusive process</strong></p><p>“An extensive and inclusive process was followed to determine the name for the theatre complex. Amongst others, meetings with the various year groups of the Drama Department delivered an overwhelmingly positive response," comments Pretorius. </p><p>She added that the Student Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was also consulted, while a notice of the proposed name was circulated amongst specific community structures within the broader Stellenbosch area – together with a request for feedback. These include the Stellenbosch Municipality, Stellenbosch 360, e'Bosch and the Stellenbosch Council of Churches. A similar notice about the process, context and motivation for the name change was also sent to festival directors of the various national arts festivals while personal conversations were held with a selected group of alumni.</p><ul><li>Contact Dr Mareli Pretorius at tel 021 808 3089 or by e-mail at <a href=""></a> for more information.</li></ul><p> </p><p>END</p><p><em>* The University conferred an honorary doctorate on Small in December 2015 for “shifting the boundaries of </em><em>South African literature, for enriching the Afrikaans language, and for becoming a voice for the voiceless by articulating once forbidden subjects </em><em> </em><em>sensitively though strongly."</em><em>  </em></p><p><em>In awarding the honorary degree, the University described Small as a beloved and highly acclaimed poet and playwright who has </em><em>'written himself into' the very being of the South African nation as our compass and moral conscience poignantly commenting on the destructive apartheid system.</em></p><p><br></p>
Mental illnesses among youth often ignored, says SU expert illnesses among youth often ignored, says SU expertCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​Young people with mental health problems, especially those in low- and middle-income countries, are often being left in the lurch when they need help. They don't always get the necessary treatment despite the fact that mental illnesses among young people are on the increase globally. <br></p><p>“Mental health problems among young people are serious. If left untreated, they can adversely impact young people's social, personal and academic development. Young people with mental illnesses also face problems with social stigma, isolation and discrimination," says Dr Jason Bantjes a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University (SU). Bantjes does research on the suicide prevention and the promotion of mental health. His work is supported by a grant from the South African Medical Research Council.<br></p><p>Bantjes says it would be naive to think that young people do not develop serious mental health problems like anxiety disorders and depression. Young people are also prone to stress- and trauma-related disorders, and behavioural disorders, including problems with attention and impulse control. <br></p><p>“The fact that the theme for this year's World Mental Health Day (10 October) is 'Young people and mental health in a changing world,' shows that this is much more serious than we may think."</p><p>Bantjes also points to studies that highlight the gravity of the situation.<br></p><p>“The World Health Organisation reports that worldwide between 10 and 20% of children and adolescents have mental health problems. Approximately half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and three-quarters start by the time an individual is in his/her mid-20s, although these often go undiagnosed and untreated."<img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="SU Student Mental Health Infographic-english.jpg" src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/SU%20Student%20Mental%20Health%20Infographic-english.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:476px;height:333px;" /><br></p><p>“A large international study found that one-fifth (20.3%) of university students experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months; 83.1% of these cases had pre-matriculation onsets."<br></p><p>“Ongoing research as part of the Caring Universities Project, undertaken by a consortium of researchers from UCT and SU, suggest that only about only about one fifth of first-year students with a mental health problem receive treatment."<br></p><p>“Closer to home, a study of school-aged children in Cape Town found that 22.2% of children met diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder."<br></p><p>While genetic factors and temperament play a role in predisposing young people to mental illness, Bantjes says there's evidence that early childhood adversity makes individuals vulnerable to mental and physical health problems.  He adds that the psychological wellbeing of children also suffers when their parents have untreated mental health problems.<br></p><p>Bantjes says it remains a concern that in many parts of the developing world, young people with mental illness struggle to access effective evidence-based mental health care and face the possibility of exclusion from educational institutions. <br></p><p>“Left untreated childhood mental disorders persist into adulthood and cause impairments in both physical and mental health. Longstanding mental health problems impede a person's ability to lead a fulfilling live, form mutually satisfying relationships, and be an active engaged member of their communities."<br></p><p>According to Bantjes, there are many reasons why so many young people with mental health problems do not receive the help they need.  <br></p><p>“Common barriers to accessing care in low- and middle-income countries include ignorance about the signs and symptoms of childhood disorders, a lack of understanding about children's emotional and attachment needs, a lack of suitably qualified mental health professionals, and inadequate child and adolescent mental health services."<br></p><p>He says it is not always easy to recognise a young person with a mental illness. <br></p><p>“Sometimes we dismiss the signs and symptoms and think that the person is being demanding or is just going through a 'difficult phase'."  <br></p><p>“When it comes to children who need psychological care, it is not uncommon for them to be labelled as naughty or uncooperative by those who don't understand the emotional needs of children and don't recognise that children sometimes use challenging behaviour to communicate psychological distress." <br></p><p>Bantjes calls for accessible, affordable and effective psychiatric and mental health care services for young people and their families, as early intervention and the provision of evidence-based treatments is one of the cornerstones of promoting mental health.<br></p><p>“Schools, universities and families have an important role to play in facilitating young people's social and psychological development and building their resilience. We need schools and universities which are safe, free of bullying, and where young people can find a sense of belonging and connectedness."<br></p><p>Bantjes says we must help young people learn interpersonal skills, so that they foster mutually satisfying relationships, since interpersonal connections act as buffers against the vicissitudes of life.<br></p><ul><li>​Photo courtesy of Pixabay.<br></li><li>Infographic by Nicolas Dorfling (Corporate Communication Division).<br></li></ul><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Jason Bantjes</p><p>Department of Psychology</p><p>Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences<br></p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 2665<br></p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a>    </p><p><strong> </strong><strong>       ISSUED BY</strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen<br></p><p>Manager: Media</p><p>Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a>  </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p><br> </p>
'You have to play the cards you're dealt''You have to play the cards you're dealt'Development & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p style="text-align:justify;">​​“You have to play the cards you're dealt." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This was just one of the tips that Matie Alumnus and Technical Team Manager at Amazon Web Services, Philip Parrock, shared with the 350 strong student crowd at the second Careers Café hosted by the Alumni Relations Office at Stellenbosch University (SU). <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Philip, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (cancer that develops in one's lymphatic system) in February 2018, talked not only about how he had turned what would be devastating news to anyone into a learning opportunity, but shared other important advice with the students too.<br></p><p>“Be honest about your skills and abilities. Set and manage your deadlines and be clear about how much work you can do. Try to think of success in the long term, not in the short term. If you have to work ludicrous hours to get a project completed, you might end up sacrificing quality and that will reflect poorly on you. In most cases, a well-executed project, completed in a reasonable amount of time is worth a lot more than a rushed, low quality project," he said. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Careers Café series was launched in 2016 by the office to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for their future careers. Through this interaction, current students are able to learn from the real-life experiences of Matie graduates in the corporate world and benefit from advice and tips from them as well. Other career development opportunities on campus are also promoted through this event, encouraging students to further improve their work preparedness.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Philip's journey at SU started in 2010 after he returned from England, where he had worked in the hospitality industry. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">After travelling more than 13 000 kilometres from South Africa to England to see the world, discomfort with where he found himself pushed him to return to Cape Town six months later. Back in Cape Town, he took up a full-time job working as a care assistant for a local retirement home. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I spent a lot of time in Stellenbosch over weekends, because a few of my friends from Pretoria were studying there. That's when I first started thinking about studying at Stellenbosch University."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I actually applied very late, on 28 August, with only two days left before applications for degree programmes closed on 30 August," he adds and laughs. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Philip enrolled for a BA in International Studies in 2010 and upon completion of that degree, finished an Honours and Masters in Political Science at the university as well. As a student who lived off-campus in private accommodation, Philip joined the private student organisation (PSO), Pieke, in his first-year at varsity. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">PSO's are student house committee structures that are formed for private students. They are similar to the house committee's (well-known as HKs at Maties) of residences and usually grouped with residences and other PSOs to form clusters that work together to coordinate student social, cultural and academic activities, represent students in matters on campus and provide a united voice for those who fall outside of the more traditional university structures. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">As a student, he played both rugby and soccer in his second year. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I was not as focused on getting involved in student governing structures on campus," he says. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">But, by his second year, his interaction with male students from Pieke piqued his interest in these structures. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">At the end of his first year, he volunteered for Pieke's Second Years Committee and in 2012 became a member of Pieke's HK focused on social activities for students. A year later he was elected as Pieke's Primarius. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Working within university structures and being exposed to different people of different backgrounds, I had my first taste of bureaucracy, which would stand me in good stead as I went on to work in a massive multi-national company."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“By the end of 2014, I was working on the last draft of my Masters and getting ready to start looking for permanent work. I sent out 60 CVs to a number of companies in South Africa, but received no response from any of them. It's at that point that you realise you don't have the experience to compete with other applicants and that you need to gain that somehow."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">When he spotted a seasonal job advertised by Amazon Web Services, which is owned by Amazon, he submitted a CV, not sure where it would lead. AWS is the single largest cloud computing company in the world, with a 41% market share in public cloud computing and is larger than its next 10 competitors combined.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“After being told about seasonal jobs at Amazon Web Services, I applied and was called in for an interview. But during the interview they offered me a permanent job as a Technical Customer Service Associate in their global customer service department training new staff recruited to the company." <br></p><p>At the time Amazon Web Services was also expanding its customer service base in Cape Town. When Philip started at the company in 2015, there were around 50 people in the department. This would grow by 169 in 2016, and on to over 300 people today.<br></p><p>A year and a half later, he was appointed as a Team Lead for new Customer Service Associates where he oversaw a team of 15 people. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Suddenly there were additional responsibilities, beyond the overall performance management and administrative duties I was responsible for. Now I had HR matters to attend to, was expected to understand how to implement labour law practices, oversee staff welfare and various benefits."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Life was good. However, in February 2018, what had started as pain in his hip in late 2017 and had led to a full hip replacement, was diagnosed as cancer.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“An MRI scan showed that there where lesions on my femur moving right up into my back and that those lesions were coming from the inside of my body. The cancer had started eating away at my femur." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Two weeks later, Philip was sitting in the oncology ward at the Kuilsriver Netcare, getting his first round of chemotherapy.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I was out of commission for seven months and received chemo five days at a time." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It's been less than a month since he was told that he is in remission, but already he is back at work. In September, he received a promotion and is now a Technical Team Manager. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This demonstrates my third tip – prepare yourself for the job you want so that when the opportunity comes, you are ready for it. So, while it may not seem like the right thing to do, if there is a promotion you would like to work towards or a different position that you would like to fill, do not think of it as an opportunity to prove yourself, think of it as a reward for proving yourself. In the business world it is very difficult to be given a chance, rather go out and make your own luck, prove that you can do the job so that when it comes to the promotion or job interview, the interviewer is so convinced by your ability that the interview is just a formality."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In the time that I've been with Amazon Web Services I've learnt that the base of knowledge and experience you accrue at university is useful, but to be truly successful, you have to go above and beyond what is expected of you to be successful in the long term."<br></p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><em>​​Photo: Matie alumnus and Careers Café speaker, Philip Parrock (second from the right), with the students who won an opportunity to interact with him and learn about the soft skills one needs t0 develop a career. From the left are </em><em>Phathiswa Hohlo</em><em>, Marvin Koopman, Alumni Relations Coordinator at the Alumni Relations Office, Thandeka Mwakipesile, Olona Ndzuzo, Philip and his wife Lisa, who is also a Matie alumnus. (Lynne Rippenaar-Moses)</em><br></li></ul><p><br><br></p>
CRUISE graduate appointed as new Statistician-General of SA graduate appointed as new Statistician-General of SALynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​Mr Risenga Maluleke, a graduate of the Centre for Regional and Urban Innovation and Statistical Exploration (CRUISE) which is situated in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU), has been appointed as the new Statistician-General of South Africa and the Head of Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). Maluleke completed an MPhil in Urban and Regional Science at CRUISE and was one of the first group of students to complete this degree at the centre in 2011.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We are very proud that one of our graduates have been appointed to this position and that we have contributed to equipping him for this demanding challenge to lead Statistics South Africa in providing statistical systems for evidence-based decision-making," said Professor Manie Geyer, Director of  CRUISE. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">CRUISE was established at SU in 2009 with the financial support of Stats SA and is part of a drive to advance science education in the Southern African region. The research centre is situated in the Geography and Environmental Studies Department and focuses on social and economic development issues locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Since its inception the centre has placed a strong emphasis on quantitative empirical research and has also maintained a strong output level. It is also part of the ISIbalo group of institutions whose main aim is to advance the use of statistics in research in Africa. While CRUISE is considered a research centre, it also has an important teaching function offering postgraduate programmes in both Urban and Regional Science and Urban and Regional Planning. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to a press release issued by Stats SA, Maluleke's has extensive experience in the organisation, which is backed by his qualifications – a BSc in Mathematical Statistics from the University of Limpopo and an MPhil in Urban and Regional Science from SU. He has also completed Senior Executive Programmes with the Wits and Harvard Business Schools.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In Risenga Maluleke I had a trusted and enduring partner with whom over a quarter of a century we engaged in the most daring of leadership missions to construct what has become the most iconic institution of the state.  Whilst matters of appointment of a Statistician-General are prescribed in law and are not for an outgoing Statistician-General, I am distinctly pleased by the choice the leadership has made.  I can now safely disclose what I said to Dr Benny Mokaba twenty one years ago after the panel interviewed and decided to appoint Risenga Maluleke in October 1996 to the Statistics Office in Limpopo. I called Benny and said to him 'today we have appointed a new head for the Central Statistics Service in the making'," said his predecessor Mr Pali Lehohla.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In Risenga we have a well-grounded leader with balance, instilling fairness and justice in all his dealings, he has enduring strength, he imbues humility, he is a servant leader, a village boy who with agility adapts to metropoles of the world, and who is ready to take on any adversity with a singularly determined mind for finding solutions. My success in leading and building this mighty organisation would not have been possible if Risenga was not leading with me in the most treacherous of waters.  My relay is done I am passing the baton to a well-tested professional and leader."</p><p><em>Photo: </em><em>Mr Risenga Maluleke, a graduate of the </em><em>Centre for Regional and Urban Innovation and Statistical Exploration</em><em> (CRUISE) at Stellenbosch University, has been appointed as the new Statistician-General of South Africa and the Head of Statistics South Af</em><em>rica.</em><br></p>
'Be a good accident waiting to happen''Be a good accident waiting to happen'Development & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p style="text-align:justify;">She may have failed Private Law 1 twice while trying to finish a BA Law degree at Stellenbosch University (SU), but what she does know, said Matie alumnus and Trade Mark Attorney Jenny Pienaar, is that you can turn a dream into reality by just being a “good accident waiting to happen". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“You are going to have to have a plan, because life is going to chuck you in different directions all the time and that is when you are going to have to believe in yourself and what you want, to move forward," said Jenny.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Jenny, who is also a Partner and Co-Chair of the Trade Marks Department and acting as the Chair for the Trade Mark Litigation Department at the well-established law firm, Adams & Adams, was the guest speaker at the fourth Careers Café for 2018. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Adams & Adams is a local firm that practices globally due to its client base. It represents 240 of the 500 Fortune 500 companies in the United States as well as other countries, with a wide variety of clients from the FMCG (Fast-moving Consumer Goods) to the banking sector, local and foreign wine and tobacco, and pharmaceutical industries.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Careers Café series was launched in 2016 by the Alumni Relations Office to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university in a different manner by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for the careers they want. Through this interaction, current students are able to learn from the real-life experiences of Matie graduates in the corporate world and benefit from advice and tips from them as well. Other career development opportunities on campus are also promoted through this event, encouraging students to further improve their work preparedness.   </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Jenny's areas of specialisation include trade mark litigation, domain name registration, securing domains from unlawful proprietors, litigation related to copyright, passing-off, unlawful competition, and company name objections. She also has experience in advertising law and regulatory compliance. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, in 1986 she had to temporarily abandon her plan to practice law and change to a BA degree in Classical Culture and Political Philosophy at SU instead.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Straight thereafter, she enrolled for an LLB at the University of Cape Town.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking to the students, Jenny told them that that experience had taught her “planning anything in life to the finest detail is the biggest mistake you can make". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Life happens and you need to be ready to make changes when it does."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">After graduating from UCT in 1991, she struggled to find a law firm where she could do her articles, mainly because she was focused on remaining in Cape Town. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My dad looked at me one day and said: 'Jenny they are not looking for a social success, they are looking for someone who is going to work hard for them'," and that, said Jenny, made her realise she had to be willing to spread her wings. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">A few months later, she was working at a small law firm in Rosebank in Johannesburg, where she did her articles for just under two years. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I had the most dreadful principal that anyone could ask for, but he did teach me a lot. He taught me how not to be a leader and manage people. Today, I focus on treating my team as professionals and with respect." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In 1993 Jenny got married and a year later she ceded her articles to a firm in Pretoria, where she worked until April 1995. Two months later, her husband, Johann, was transferred to France and Jenny gave up practicing for more than two years while living abroad. Unable to work on a visitor's visa, Jenny learned to speak French, “beefed up her cooking skills" and tried “to just soak up the experience". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She did manage to learn a new skill, she said – she signed up for a course on short story writing at the London School of Journalism.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">When they returned to South Africa in 1997, Jenny fell pregnant. Her son, Alex, was born in January 1998. Once her maternity leave was over, she joined another law firm, working with them until the end of 2000.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I reached a point where I just did not want to practice anymore," said Jenny. “I hated the work, I hated practicing in general litigation."<br></p><p>She took up a lecturing post at a paralegal training school and did that on a part-time basis for about four months. That's until she secured a position at Adams & Adams as an Associate. She's been with the firm for 17 years. <span style="text-align:justify;"><br></span></p><p><span style="text-align:justify;">“I love my work here. When I came here at the age of 33, I started at the bottom after leaving my previous firm as a partner. I was being trained by attorneys younger than me, some in their twenties, but you have to be willing to explore the curves along your career path. It was worth it in the end."</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Five years later I became a partner at Adams & Adams, and in 2016, 2017, I was promoted to Co-Chair of the Trade Mark Litigation Department – so much for you are never going to be a lawyer," she said and laughed.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“What attracted me to Adams & Adams all those years ago was the fact that I could practice in a completely different field. They gave me an opportunity to practice in a more specialised field and in something that really interested me. It is amazing and I just love what I do. Yes, I'm still involved in litigation, but the clients are very different. The law that we apply may be the same, but each client has a different dynamic and different area of trade. Plus, we get to practice globally which makes every day interesting and challenging."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Outside the office Jenny has also been hard at work, contributing towards a number of international publications such as the <em>World Trade Mark Review: Pharmaceutical Trademarks 2014/2015; </em>the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance's book, <em>Advertising Law: A Global Legal Perspective (2015); </em> the <em>Life Sciences Multi-Jurisdictional Guide (2014 and 2015, 2016 – 2018) </em>and<em> </em>the<em> Life Sciences Global Guide (2018 -2019), </em>as well as the<em> </em>Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance's book<em> Social Media in Advertising: A Global Perspective (2018)</em>.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">When asked about whether her student years at Maties had help prepare her for the world of work, she said: “I think one of the biggest challenges when you're a student is to try to understand the relevance of all the things you have to study. You struggle to understand how all these subjects apply in practice. Some subjects were also boring as hell, but you have to do them, and you have to make sure you are applying your mind equally in all your subjects."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">When she graduated, said Jenny, she knew she was academically prepared for the workplace, however, she was “unprepared for the real world". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It's not because there is anything lacking in your education, but rather because you have a lot of knowledge, but you don't know a lot. Nor do you know how to apply it. Varsity teaches you where to find information and work teaches where and how to apply it. Learning to work in an office environment can be daunting as a lack of EQ and soft skills makes it hard to accept that when you are close to the bottom of the food chain, you have to pick up all the “dirty" work." <br></p><p>“It is very important to have soft skills. As a lawyer and as a professional, you are going to work in an environment where people will look up to you and look to you for guidance, so don't be a twit when you get to that point. Be respectful of the people in your team and know who they are. Learn to also be part of a team and to help your team members. Do not throw people under the bus, but rather be supportive where ever you can." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She also advised the students to remain lifelong learners. “I turned 50 this year and there is not a day that I look at something and I think: 'I did not know that'. You need to learn all the time and accept that sometimes you are going to fall flat on your face too." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Students were in particular interested in how Jenny has built a career in what is considered to still be a male-dominated sector. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The legal fraternity is male-dominated, however, that is changing very fast," she said, adding that women, and in particular younger attorneys, are bringing their own style of management and leadership to the sector. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“You also need a good support system in the office and at home if you want to succeed in your career. It is hard to do it alone." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, she added, that women still struggle to balance it all with many women attorneys, taking time out of the field or accepting part-time jobs that are more flexible to raise families. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“One of the biggest challenges I still face personally, is to find that work-life balance. I had a boss, who used to say to me – 'the older you get in law, the more you will work'. And yes, it is true, but I've learned that to find that balance you have to ensure that you have a solid team behind you that you have trained well enough to be able to support you so that you can find that work-life balance. My best support comes from my team of all-lady lawyers whom I know are much cleverer and savvier than me. I learn from them daily." <br></p><ul><li><em>​Photo: Matie alumnus and Trade Mark Attorney Ms Jenny Pienaar (second from the left) was the guest speaker at the fourth Careers Caf</em><em>é</em><em> for 2018. Here she is after the event with (from the left) Mr Marvin Koopman, Alumni Relations Coordinator in the Alumni Relations Office, and the students who won an opportunity to meet Jenny face-to-face over dinner on that Wednesday evening. The students are Ms Dina Tlali, Mr Fortune Ngwenyama, and Ms Jenna Wilson. (Henk Oets)</em><br></li></ul><p> </p><p><br></p>
SU academics visits Malawi to host writing workshop academics visits Malawi to host writing workshopCorporate Marketing/Korporatiewe Bemarking<p>​There is a commonly-cited adage in academia, "publish or perish". Although an exaggeration, the phrase encapsulates a reality of contemporary research: publishing one's research – particularly in journals – is a cornerstone of a successful career. Further, as money, time, and effort go into conducting research, it is the responsibility of the academic to ensure that as many people as possible find out about what this work reveals.</p><p>Being published, however, is easier said than done: writers' block, submission deadlines, and challenging peer-reviews are but a few of the hurdles which lead papers-in-the-making to falter and fade away. In countries only recently beginning to contribute to the international academy, the ill-effects of these barriers are amplified. To ensure that global Southern views and news can enter the global academic space, there is an urgent need to cultivate understanding around publishing on the continent. </p><p>This October, Professor Leslie Swartz of the Psychology Department, and Masters student Xanthe Hunt, visited Zomba, Malawi, to address just such a need.  The visit was funded partly by the Doctoral Capacity Development Programme at the African Doctoral Academy (ADA) at Stellenbosch University International, and was conducted under the auspices of the partnership agreement between Stellenbosch University and University of Malawi</p><p>A two-and-a-half day writing workshop was convened by Swartz, in collaboration with Professor Blessings Chinsinga of the Centre for Social Research at University of Malawi, and Professor Alister Munthali, and was attended by 14 academics from various departments at the University of Malawi. The group consisted of early career researchers, as well as seasoned academics, and had representatives from numerous fields, including political science, theology, library and information sciences, and anthropology.  Prof Chiwoza Bandawe, outgoing editor of the Malawi Medical Journal, and former Head of the Department of Mental Health at University of Malawi was also in attendance on the final day.</p><p>The first day saw Swartz, who is on the editorial board of a number of prominent academic publications and is the editor in chief of the African Journal of Disability, introduce the group to the principles and purpose of academic publishing. This was followed by an interactive afternoon session, during which Swartz and Hunt worked with the attendees on their own.</p><p>Swartz, who has been conducting such trainings in South Africa and other African countries for some years highlighted the importance of working with attendees on their own manuscripts during such trainings.  </p><p>"The best learning in this context comes from engagement with the actual experience of writing and especially in dealing with reviewer comments, which are often phrased in dismissive and unflattering terms.  Sharing struggles around writing, using actual examples, helps to minimize anxiety and avoidance of the process," explained Swartz.  </p><p>Swartz also noted that emphasizing interaction – and asking attendees to determine their own priorities for writing workshops – ensures that the sessions are relevant, and make the most of the time available. </p><p>In line with this, the second day involved a presentation by Hunt on the mechanics of writing a manuscript, which was followed by a feedback session from the group. They requested that the remaining time be allocated to a "crash course" on thematic analysis (TA). TA is widely employed in the social sciences as a qualitative research methodology, and involves analysing textual data (words from research subjects, in the form of interview transcripts, for instance). The course then concluded on the third day with a research methods session by Hunt, who is currently employing TA within her thesis. </p><p>Research methods are the building blocks from which good research is built; good writing puts polish on the finished product, and helps to ensure its dissemination. </p><p>"In the future, it will be important for workshops such as this one to incorporate day-long sessions on every step of the research process, <em>as well as</em> the presentation process," said Hunt, adding that short workshops are important in order to stimulate discussion around priority areas for future workshops. </p><p>The Malawian contingent have expressed their interest in a second, more detailed workshop, and Swartz says that he is optimistic about the prospect of piloting such an expanded agenda in Malawi.</p><p>"The quality of the research being conducted here is high," he concluded, "and I look forward to a continued collaboration with this engaged and engaging group."</p>
Institute’s new offices honours first owners of house in Joubert Street’s new offices honours first owners of house in Joubert StreetLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​​As a way of remembering the 3 700 residents who were uprooted from central Stellenbosch because of the Group Areas Act, Stellenbosch University's (SU) Africa Open Institute for Music, Research and Innovation (AOI) on Tuesday officially named its offices after the first residents who lived at 7 Joubert Street in Stellenbosch. This particular street later became known as the eastern border of an area that was known as <em>Die Vlakte</em>.<br></p><p>The AOI falls under the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at SU and is an interdisciplinary music research institute founded in 2016. The Institute developed from the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS), to which it remains connected through its funding of the DOMUS archive, its intellectual and creative programmes, curating activities, archival collection initiatives and core vision of creating in DOMUS the largest open-access archive for music on the African continent. The intellectual and creative programmes of AOI focus on music, research and innovation, which includes music research, research innovation and innovative approaches to music-making.</p><p>The property at 7 Joubert Street, which belonged to the Okkers family – many of whom live in Idas Valley today – will now be known as the Pieter Okkers House at the request of the family. The house is named after the first resident, Mr Pieter J.A. Okkers (1875-1952).</p><p><span style="text-align:justify;">Speaking at the event, Prof Wim de Villiers, the SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor said: “</span><span style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University is this year commemorating its centenary. And in our Centenary year, we have been celebrating the University's many achievements the past 100 years – with appreciation to all who have helped build the institution into what it has become today. But, at the same time, we have been apologising unreservedly to those who were excluded from the privileges that Stellenbosch University enjoyed in the past."</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“A very painful part of our history occurred here a half a century ago when residents of Die Vlakte were removed from this community supposedly because they had the wrong 'skin colour' according to the hated Group Areas Act of that time. This was the handiwork of the government, but the university did not object and later benefitted when some of the expropriated land and properties were transferred to the university.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“What happened then was wrong. It is why I am thankful that SU, already in 2000, said that “the University acknowledges its contribution to the injustices of the past" and that the institution in the same breath committed itself to redress and development," said De Villiers.​</p><p>In 1964 Die Vlakte, as it was referred to by those who lived there, was declared an area for so-called white persons, leading to the relocation of many families who lived there between the years 1964 and 1971. Die Vlakte stretched from Muller Street in the north of Merriman Avenue in the south, eastwards to Joubert Street and then to the west in Bird Street. The relocation affected six schools in the community as well as a mosque, a cinema and 10 businesses.</p><p>In 2017, when the institute moved into the university-owned property, it did so with the intention of celebrating their “new premises with an inauguration and a naming of the house".</p><p>“However, this was not possible," says Dr Marietjie Pauw, Postdoctoral Researcher at the AOI, “without first engaging in research about the history of the plot, the built structure, the area, and possible connections to people who had lived there".​<br></p><span style="text-align:justify;">“We were lucky," says Pauw. “Early on in my search, a friend who is also a heritage consultant, Lize Malan, sent me a document that indicated that 'P. Okkers' purchased two sites adjacent to one another in Joubert Street in 1903, when the erven were first opened up. When I asked Hilton Biscombe whether he knew of a P. Okkers, he immediately referred me to the Okkers descendants, Pieter and Sarah Okkers, now living in Erasmus Smit Street.<br><br></span><p style="text-align:justify;">“Pieter is a great-grandchild of Piet Okkers. However, there was more: Hilton's wife, Colleen (born Gordon), had a story to add: her mother, Rosina (Sinnie) Gordon, had been born in Joubert Street. She had always asked the children to take her to Joubert Street to see in which house she had been born. Sadly, Ma Sinnie passed on only a few months before the research on the property was begun."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A year after the Joubert Street property was bought, Piet Okkers passed away. The properties were then transferred to his son, Pieter James Andrew Okkers, who proceeded to build a house at 5 Joubert Street (in 1926) and 7 Joubert Street (in 1927). The Okkers family lived in these premises until the houses were sold to the Conradie family (5 Joubert Street) and the Du Toit family (7 Joubert Street). The exact year of their relocation to Erasmus Smit Street is not known, but it may have been as early as 1946, when their grandchildren twins were born.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Colleen Biscombe, the great granddaughter of Pieter James Okkers and wife of Hilton Biscombe – author of the book, <em>In Ons Bloed</em>, depicting the history of Die Vlakte – her mother Rosina, had often in her old age asked to be driven past the homes in Joubert Street. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My only real knowledge of the properties in Joubert Street was the times my mother would ask us to remember to drive her down Joubert Street one day as there were two houses in that road that looked exactly the same, and she was born in one of those homes, she just couldn't remember which one. Thanks to Marietjie we now know Ma Sinnie was born in Joubert Street 5," said Biscombe at the event.</p><p>The naming/re-naming of buildings at SU is guided by the Naming Policy and the application to name the house went through the necessary institutional processes – with full consultation and final approval by the SU Council. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Linked to the naming processes, the Visual Redress Committee worked closely with AOI in order to visually represent and contextualise the name. </p><p>“Visual Redress at SU has as aim to visually represent our stories, histories and experiences in a number of ways. As such it goes hand in hand with the naming processes. The Pieter Okkers house will be the first of many houses in <em>Die Vlakte</em> that will be contextualised as part of restoring the stories of the houses and the broader historic neighbourhood. SU will thus enter into conversation with many other families to visually represent their stories in relation to many others over generations. This is one attempt (of many others) to restore the historical relations between the SU community and the broader <em>Vlakt</em>e community," says Dr Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Pauw says the naming of the house was important to the AOI, because the Institute wanted to honour the first person who built the house and who lived there. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Pieter Okkers is today considered to be a man who brought about much good in this town. He was a founding member of the politically radical Volkskerk, he was a founding member of the Spes Bona Soccer Club, and he was a Chairman (for the period 1927-1930) of the Free Gardeners organisation when they first opened an Order in Stellenbosch (the fourth order in South Africa)," says Prof Stephanus Muller, Director of AOI. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“He is also honoured for the provision he made for his family and descendants. To this day the Okkers family is proud to be associated with him and his wife, Rosina. Heidi Okkers, great-grandchild of Pieter Okkers, plans to begin an online blog on which family and friends can post photographs of members of the Okkers family and the wider web of relations, documents, and stories." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the years, a number of initiatives honouring those who were displaced from <em>Die Vlakte</em> have been carried out by SU, which owns many of the old homes that formed part of this community, and new buildings that later replaced the demolished properties. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences hosts a permanent installation that includes panels with photographs of the area depicting the everyday lives of the people who lived there, as well as testimonies from former residents, their children and grandchildren and a write-up of the historical context of the time. In 2016, SU also established <em>Die Vlakte</em> Bursary Fund by allocating bursary funding to children of the families who were removed from the area. It was thanks to Mr John Abels, a former resident of <em>Die Vlakte </em>and an ex-learner of the old Lückhoff School, that the idea to set up such a bursary was first suggested. </p><p>The office will now also form part of a walking tour of <em>Die Vlakte</em> that is currently being planned. </p><p>“The Africa Open Institute office will in future form part of the walking tour of <em>Die Vlakte</em> that is being planned by the SU Transformation Office and the Committee for Visual Redress. Uniform wall plaques with information and photos of former residents are planned for buildings in <em>Die Vlakte</em>, curated by Dr Van Rooi and Prof Elmarie Costandius of the Visual Arts Department," adds Pauw.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photos: The </em><em>Africa Open Institute for Music, Research and Innovation (AOI) on Tuesday officially named its offices after the first residents who lived at 7 Joubert Street in Stellenbosch. The house will </em><em>henceforth be known as the Pieter Okkers House. It was first owned by Mr Pieter JA Okkers, who build the two similar looking houses at 5 and 7 Joubert Street. Here is Okkers (far right) in ceremonial dress (with chairman's collar) of the Free Gardeners in approximately 1930. His wife, Rosina C. Okkers (middle), is pictured with two of her granddaughters: Roslyn Brandt on the reader's left, and Elizabeth Olkers on the right. (Photos provided</em><em> by Leonard Meyer and Elizabeth Meyer, born Okkers) </em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Pieter Okkers (far left), the </em><em>great-grandchild of Piet Okkers</em><em>, attended and spoke at the </em><em> </em><em>unveiling of the AOI office's name. (Lynne Rippenaar-Moses)</em></p>
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>
Making history? Untold stories see the light thanks to R11.7m grant history? Untold stories see the light thanks to R11.7m grantDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>The untold stories of South Africans who were overlooked in the past and bypassed by history are set to see the light thanks to a new project settled within Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. This project, named the <em>Biography of an Uncharted People</em>, has just received a financial injection of R11.7m, spread out over the next five years, from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.</p><p>The project involves delving into the treasure trove of historical data of South Africans, especially black citizens, transcribing large numbers of historical microdata and is a first attempt to bring to light histories of families that were overlooked in the past. </p><p>"The good news is that historical records in digital format are rapidly becoming more available, but the bad news is that the stories these sources can tell remain untold," says project leader and associate professor, Johan Fourie. "Now we have funding to transcribe and analyse these records so as to be able to tell these stories."</p><p>According to Fourie, the project will contribute to the expansion of the Digital Humanities. He says Digital Humanities operates at the intersection of the humanities and computing. Scholars using the methods of the Digital Humanities can make use of a variety of tools, from algorithms that help with textual analysis, to image recognition, to big data techniques. They can digitise and transcribe large databases and analyse individuals' characteristics and behaviour. In the absence of other microdata of South Africans, particularly black citizens, who were often excluded from censuses and reports and underrepresented in other types of archival records such as personal collections of letters, individual-level records are a treasure trove of information about the economic, social, demographic, health, labour, genealogical and migration histories of the Cape Colony and South Africa. </p><p><strong>Contribute to debates in South African history </strong></p><p>Besides transcribing and disseminating these datasets, the project will also begin to analyse the information systematically in order to contribute to debates in South African history. In addition to the research topics to be undertaken by five masters and five honours students, five flagship projects for PhD students have been identified. These sources and the methods of the Digital Humanities will also be introduced into undergraduate and graduate teaching curricula. This will equip a new generation of historians to engage critically with primary sources and large amounts of quantitative and qualitative evidence. </p><p>Fourie says because the apartheid system handicapped South Africa by imposing on it a higher education system designed to maintain social and economic inequalities of race, class, gender, region and institution, this project is also an attempt to narrow the methodological divergence that have occurred in the discipline. </p><p>"We see historical privilege or disadvantage reflected in students' varying ability to work with large sets of quantitative and qualitative historical evidence using technological tools. This project aims to remove the handicaps and produce young scholars skilled in the Digital Humanities and able to teach the next generation," he says. </p><p>Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, says the University is grateful for The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's continued support to the development of social science and humanities research and knowledge creation and hope to continue this cooperation in future.</p><p>"This initiative clearly addresses our institutional strategy with regard to research in the social sciences and humanities as well as the crucial element of capacity development of young researchers, including those from designated groups. This trans-disciplinary project supports and will contribute significantly to the establishment and development of the Digital Humanities in the Faculty. </p><p>"Furthermore, this project will initiate and anchor a new methodology in the Department of History. It will have an impact on teaching, learning and research and open up opportunities for the motivation of future academic appointments in this field of research and teaching," he adds. </p><p>The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has a longstanding relationship with SU and endeavours to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies. To this end, the Foundation supports exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. </p><p><strong>On the web: </strong></p><ul><li><a href=""></a></li><li><a href=""></a><br></li></ul><p> <em>Photo: Project leader, Prof Johan Fourie. </em><br></p><p><br></p>