Psychology
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

 

 

Goodbye, Pieter Muysken – and thank youhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=8156Goodbye, Pieter Muysken – and thank youProf Frenette Southwood (translated by Dr Kate Huddlestone)​As with many linguistics departments across the world, we have read Pieter Muysken's work, and prescribed it to our students – and we do so still. We also have had the privilege to get to know Pieter personally, firstly in 2004 as PhD-supervisor of one of our colleagues, and later (from 2011) as extraordinary professor in our department. His period as fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study (STIAS) was a pleasant opportunity to spend time with Pieter – both academically and socially.<p></p><p>Pieter was an interesting person, but also an interested one. He was naturally interested in Afrikaans and its history, as well as language contact and code-switching in South African contexts, but the history of South Africa and her diverse people, local happenings, the natural heritage of our country and less well-known attractions also captured his interest. For example, during a visit to Grahamstown, when he was invited to be a plenary speaker at the yearly linguistics conference which was held that year at Rhodes University, he looked forward to visiting the town's observatory museum – this while the majority of South African conference attendees were blissfully unaware of the existence of the museum. It appeared that the idea of a visit to this small little museum made him just as excited as the whales that he saw frolicking along the coast in Hermanus. Pieter was no pleasure seeker, but he was definitely a pleasure finder, and he had the gift of finding enjoyment in both large and small things. </p><p>During his visits to Stellenbosch, Pieter gave lectures and seminars for staff and students on language contact phenomena, but he also started a remarkable tradition: At his request, research presentation days were organised. Masters and doctoral students were given the opportunity to present their research proposals (and their studies as they stood at that point in time) to Pieter, other members of the department and each other. The students benefited richly from Pieter's deep knowledge, sharp insight and meaningful comments and suggestions. But what will remain with us as staff is Pieter's sincere interest (as one of the world's best sociolinguists) in the work of young researchers, even if their work didn't deal with language contact or language structure phenomena. This testifies to Pieter's wide field of interest, but also his humility despite his stature as an academic. </p><p>How will we remember Pieter? As an academic superstar without pretention – someone who was generous with his time, knowledge and money, who was equally comfortable conversing with undergraduate students as with rectors, who was cheerful and always laughing. Future generations of linguists in our department and elsewhere will benefit from his pioneering work, but they will not get to know Pieter the energetic people person. We mourn Pieter's passing, but we are thankful for the privilege of having had him as part of our department. For many of us, he changed how we move through our working life.​​</p>
COVID-19: South Africa's neglected military faces 'mission impossible'https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7260COVID-19: 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="https://theconversation.com/covid-19-south-africas-neglected-military-faces-mission-impossible-133250" 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="https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/ramaphosa-officially-deploys-army-as-lockdown-is-hours-away/">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="https://mg.co.za/coronavirus-essentials/2020-03-27-three-month-covid-19-deployment-of-sandf-planned/">official reports</a>.</p><p>The army only has 14 infantry battalions, consisting of about <a href="https://www.defenceweb.co.za/resources/fact-files/fact-file-the-sa-infantry-corps/">810 men and women each</a> - including 34 officers. And many soldiers <a href="https://www.defenceweb.co.za/sa-defence/sa-defence-sa-defence/sandf-highlights-support-to-the-people-of-south-africa/">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="https://www.defenceweb.co.za/featured/portfolio-committee-hears-sandf-wage-bill-a-concern/">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="https://www.defenceweb.co.za/sa-defence/sa-defence-sa-defence/sandf-highlights-support-to-the-people-of-south-africa/">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="https://theconversation.com/money-has-little-to-do-with-why-south-africas-military-is-failing-to-do-its-job-81216">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="https://www.defenceweb.co.za/joint/military-art-a-science/feature-sandf-optimum-force-design/">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="https://juta.co.za/catalogue/south-africas-post-apartheid-military_25860/">book</a>, <em>South Africa's post-apartheid Military: Lost in Transition and Transformation</em>. Both processes are <a href="https://www.defenceweb.co.za/featured/parliament-shines-spotlight-on-civil-military-relationship/">flawed</a>, and have negatively affected the military's efficiency, <a href="https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780191828836.001.0001/acref-9780191828836-e-241?rskey=jM8Mmk&result=2">effectiveness and professionalism</a>.</p><p>Where military generals function out of misplaced political loyalty, this inevitably results in a <a href="https://theconversation.com/money-has-little-to-do-withwhy-south-africas-military-is-failing-to-do-its-job-81216">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="https://www.defenceweb.co.za/featured/infantry-to-be-police-support-backbone-during-coronavirus-lockdown/">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="https://juta.co.za/catalogue/south-africas-post-apartheid-military_25860/">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="https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/threat-hivaids-south-african-armed-forces">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="https://www.defenceweb.co.za/featured/sandf-personnel-could-be-trimmed-by-ten-thousand/">an aging force and rank stagnation</a>, which means that people cannot be promoted. The reserves, which are <a href="https://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/sandf-calls-reserve-force-members-covid-19-deployment">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="https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/27450/">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="https://juta.co.za/catalogue/south-africas-post-apartheid-military_25860/">operational and organisational reform</a>.</p><p>The <a href="http://pmg-assets.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/170512review.pdf">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="https://www.defenceweb.co.za/sa-defence/sa-defence-sa-defence/defence-review-2015-unlikely-to-ever-be-fully-implemented/">current budgetary constraints</a>.</p><p>It will take great ingenuity to restructure the country's armed forces to <a href="http://pmg-assets.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/170512review.pdf">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="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10246029.2019.1650787?src=recsys&journalCode=rasr20">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="https://www.defenceweb.co.za/featured/time-for-a-long-hard-look-at-the-sandf/">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>
SU honours the late Rachel Kachaje for her visionary leadershiphttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7905SU honours the late Rachel Kachaje for her visionary leadershipCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking [Rozanne Engel]<p>​<br></p><p style="text-align:left;">Stellenbosch University (SU) has honoured the late Ms Rachel Kachaje, who passed away earlier this year, with an honorary doctorate.  The degree Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil), <em>posthumous honoris causa</em>, was awarded to her for her creative and visionary leadership in elevating the debate on disability to regional and global platforms.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Her husband Gibson accepted the award on behalf of the family at a small physical graduation ceremony for doctoral graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences held at SU's Endler Hall in the <em>Konservatorium</em> on Monday 14 December 2020.</p><p style="text-align:left;">During the ceremony, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers said that Kachaje's “effectiveness in disability advocacy" did not go unnoticed and that the University “salutes her extraordinary work" in advocating for the full inclusion of people with disabilities at local, regional and international level.<br></p><p style="text-align:left;"><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/HonDocAbsentia-3.jpg" alt="HonDocAbsentia-3.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:300px;" /><br></p><p style="text-align:left;">“Kachaje was a disability activist for over 25 years, advocating for equal opportunities and rights for people with disabilities in Malawi, the African region and internationally. She challenged the prejudiced notions of disability and was known for her ability to inspire young people with disabilities, for her embodiment of the values of compassion, respect, excellence, accountability and equity," said De Villiers.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Kachaje, who became disabled at the age of three due to a polio outbreak, was working for the National Bank of Malawi when she first joined the disability movement in Malawi. She co-founded the Federation of Disability Organisations' (FEDOMA) in the 1990s and represented it in the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD).</p><p style="text-align:left;">In addition, Ms Kachaje was a board member of the Africa Disability Alliance and the EquitAble Project at Trinity College and Stellenbosch University, co-founder of Disabled Women in Development, commissioner of the National AIDS Commission and secretary of the African Disability Forum Board, to name just some of her leadership roles.</p><p style="text-align:left;">She was elected Minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs in Malawi and in 2004 received a Malawi Human Rights Award and a Diversity Leader Award.  She was part of the landmark negotiations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and contributed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) discussions.  </p><p style="text-align:left;">“Kachaje had a proven ability in advancing the agendas of people with disabilities in general and in particular women and girls with disabilities. Her mission was to advocate and promote rights for people with disabilities and to lead a life that would always affect them in a positive manner," said De Villiers.</p><p>To watch the full graduation ceremony, click <a href="https://youtu.be/4y9XqwQFPiE"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">here</strong></a>. ​<br></p><p><em>In the photo above from left, Prof Wim de Villiers​ (SU Rector & Vice-Chancellor), Prof Anthony Leysens ​(Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences), Gibson Kachaje and Justice Edwin Cameron (SU Chancellor)</em><br></p><p><br></p>
Quo Vadis democracy? https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5145Quo Vadis democracy? Corporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>In 1994, South Africans welcomed democracy with open arms. But today this embrace doesn't seem to be as tight as we would like it to be. <br></p><p>“It appears that we aren't quite so sure what to make of our democracy," says Dr Cindy Steenekamp, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University.</p><p>In a recent study, Steenekamp, for the first time, mapped the characteristics of a democracy community in South Africa by looking at people's commitment to democratic values, and their support for the country's democratic regime and political authorities. Her research question related specifically to the persistence of democracy and how this has been impacted by the political attitudes and behaviour of South Africans since 1994.</p><p>The findings of Steenekamp's study was published in the <em>Taiwan Journal of Democracy</em>.</p><p>She analysed data from the last four waves of the World Values Survey (WVS) conducted in South Africa between 1995 and 2013 to measure the level of political culture in the country, the support for the democratic regime and the political process, as well as the level of institutional trust in political parties, government, and parliament. The WVS is a valuable worldwide network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life over time. During each of the four periods, face-to-face interviews were held with representative samples of adult South Africans in urban and rural areas in their preferred language. </p><p>Steenekamp says the analysis of this data revealed that while there is support for democratic rule and the current political system, support for authoritarianism has increased and confidence in government institutions has decreased.</p><p>“On the one hand, support for democratic rule is fairly high, despite a sharp decline between 2006 and 2013, and higher than support for authoritarian rule. Support for the current political system is steadily increasing." </p><p>“At the same time, however, support for authoritarianism has more than doubled since 1995 and is nearing the 50 percent threshold and confidence in governmental institutions is decreasing and, in 2013, dropped below 50 percent for the first time since transition."</p><p>“The fact that the gap between support for democratic rule and authoritarian rule has narrowed from 71.3 percent in 1995 to 25.2 percent in 2013, does not bode well for the persistence of a democratic community in South Africa."</p><p>Steenekamp<strong> </strong>adds that confidence in various governmental institutions, such as political parties, parliament, and the government, decreased by more than 20 percent between 1995 and 2013.</p><p>She also notes that data showed a decline in South Africans' positive attitude toward law-abidingness, despite the fact that they generally condemn unconventional forms of political behaviour such as protest action and the use of force to gain political goods.</p><p>Steenekamp says there could be different reasons for these contradictory results.</p><p>“One could argue that commitment to democracy has not become fully entrenched in our value system as a result of the socio-economic reality that plagues the country. Although the black middle class has grown since 1994, the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality remain."</p><p>“Despite the provision of basic infrastructure and social welfare, the majority of South</p><p>Africans are yet to substantially improve their living standards."</p><p>“Also the changing nature of party politics, especially within the ANC, and rampant political corruption are likely responsible for South Africans' loss of confidence in the state and political leaders. The increase in unconventional political behaviour (i.e., protest action, in response to poor service delivery) is a direct result of citizen dissatisfaction with the state."</p><p>According to Steenekamp, the levels of discontent and civil disobedience could become the dominant political resource used by the people to mobilize public opinion and influence policy makers. </p><p>“Protest action has a negative effect on the persistence of a democratic community and culture once it becomes violent." </p><p>She adds that we should not forget that, unlike an authoritarian regime, a democratic government like ours needs the support of its citizens to maintain its legitimacy.</p><p>Steenekamp highlights the importance of a political culture that is conducive to democracy and says “democratic institutions alone will not keep our democracy stable and effective."</p><p><strong><em>Reference</em></strong><em>: </em>Steenekamp, C (2013). Democratic Political Community in South Africa Elusive or Not? <em>Taiwan Journal of Democracy</em>. Volume 13, No. 1, July 2017.</p><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Cindy Steenekamp </p><p>Department of Political Science</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 2115</p><p>E-mail: <a href="mailto:cindylee@sun.ac.za">cindylee@sun.ac.za</a> </p><p><strong>              </strong><strong>OR</strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen<br></p><p>Manager: Media</p><p>Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>E-mail: <a href="mailto:viljoenm@sun.ac.za">viljoenm@sun.ac.za</a><br></p><p><br></p>
COVID-19 is an opportunity to make our circles biggerhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7548COVID-19 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="https://mg.co.za/coronavirus-essentials/2020-07-31-covid-19-is-an-opportunity-to-make-our-circles-bigger/"><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>
Why was Afrikaner Economic Empowerment more effective than BEE? https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7463Why 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="https://mg.co.za/opinion/2020-06-29-why-afrikaner-affirmative-action-was-more-effective-than-bee/"><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>
Is the lockdown authoritarian creep or ‘proportionate response’?https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7326Is the lockdown authoritarian creep or ‘proportionate response’?Steven Robins<p>​Is the lockdown an authoritarian creep or a 'proportionate response' to the COVID-19 pandemic? This is the question Prof Steven Robins from the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology tried to answer in an opinion piece published by Daily Maverick on Monday (4 May).<br></p><ul><li>Click <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-05-04-is-the-lockdown-authoritarian-creep-or-proportionate-response/"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>here</strong></span></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </span>to read the article.<br></li></ul><p><br></p>
'Burn the ships, not the bridges'https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6809'Burn the ships, not the bridges'Development & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p style="text-align:justify;">“Burn the ships, not the bridges."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">That was one of the five key points that Stellenbosch University alumnus, Werner Cloete, shared with undergraduate and postgraduate students who attended the recent Careers Café where he was the guest speaker. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cloete is the Principal of Calling Academy in Vlaeberg, Stellenbosch, where boys from low income communities are provided with an opportunity to access a quality, private school education for less than R6 500 a year. He completed a BSc in Chemistry and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Stellenbosch University (SU) and spent some time teaching overseas before returning to South Africa to join the teachers' body at Paul Roos Gymnasium. In 2016, Cloete took a leap of faith to start the research in order to establish Calling Academy, which he co-founded with Dr Philip Geldenhuys. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“You have to commit to your vision, if you know the vision has come about through the right process, and to do that, you have to burn the ships to close the escape routes," he said to the 310 students who attended the talk.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This, said Cloete, was one of the most important things he learnt when in 2017, a mere three  months before Calling Academy was to open and with many learners already interested, he found himself unable to secure a premises to house the school. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“You have to expect the hardships. It will test your commitment to the vision, but it will also bring about personal growth that will benefit your venture further down the line," said Cloete. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“If you leave too many escape routes open, you will look for a way out at that point, and you will end up leaving your vision behind. So burn the ships."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">He also reminded students that it was crucial to remain in touch with what is happening in the world.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Once you have a vision and an awareness of what is going on around you, something will happen inside you due to the tension between “what is" and “what could be". I am talking about experiencing discontent –  being  upset at the current state of affairs."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This state, said Cloete, is what will motivate you to innovate, another important tip in building a career while making an impact on society. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Innovation that is born from being in touch and being aware of what is happening in society, is a lot more powerful than innovation just for the sake of innovation," he added.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">For Cloete, going the road alone is not an option. He believes that if you want to do something extraordinary, you have to find the people who are doing “cutting edge work" and learn from them. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We need to move away from individualised decision-making towards group decision-making. Look for the kind of people who will take you to where you want to be and associate yourself closely with them. Spend your time with people who are moving in the right direction."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, while many of us are aware of the importance of having a mentor and even a coach, Cloete suggested that students rather seek developing a push-and-pull effect in their lives. This can be done by “filling the seats" around your table of support with a hero, an inner circle friend, a mentor, a mentee, a coach and a trainee. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Find someone whom you can mentor too. This is when you get a push-and-pull effect with a mentor that will pull you up and a mentee who will not only push you up through their questions and how they keep you honest,  but whom you can lift up and assist in developing their skills. So have both a mentor and mentee.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We can learn so much from each other, and so I would also suggest that you become intentional about building up relationships across cultures too," he added.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cloete also touched on other points in his talk, such as the importance of gaining exposure and valuing the relationships that you have in your life.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Before concluding his talk, he encouraged the students to live their lives according to a quote he found to be a good reminder to treasure the people who are there through it all. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Remember that primary relationships are important and that 'no success outside the home can compensate for failure within'. Your family will carry the baton when you are gone. If you want to change the world, make an impact on the lives of those around you so that they can go out and make a positive impact on the world too. You don't want to be the guy who runs with a vision, but whose family says: I don't even know this guy." <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. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Careers Café speaker and Principal of Calling Academy, Werner Cloete (far left), is seen here with Paballo Tsiu (second from the left) and Tianca Olivier, the two students who won an opportunity to have dinner with Cloete in order to learn more from him in a one-on-one conversation. With them is Marvin Koopman (far right), Alumni Coordinator at the Development and Alumni Relations Division. (Photographer: Henk Oets)</em></p><p><br></p>
Graduating against all oddshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7906Graduating against all oddsCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking [Rozanne Engel] <p>​​<br></p><p>Naseegha Cariem always dreamed of becoming a teacher. </p><p>When she enrolled as a first-year student at Stellenbosch University (SU) in 2012, she never imagined the trials she would experience over the years that almost derailed her dreams of graduating dreams.</p><p>In 2013, Cariem was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that causes infertility. After numerous miscarriages, Cariem and her husband made the important decision to start a family immediately due to her fertility issues. </p><p>While in her final year as a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities student, Cariem fell pregnant with twin boys and unfortunately had to suspend her studies due to the high-risk pregnancy.</p><p>“Due to financial difficulty I couldn't continue my studies after the birth of the twins and instead had to find employment. In 2019, I took the bold step of resigning from my corporate job and resumed my studies to complete my final year," says Cariem.</p><p>After failing two modules in her second semester, as well as failing the concession exam that was granted by the dean of her faculty, Cariem also had to drop out of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programme in Further Education and Training she was already registered for.</p><p>“This year I had to complete four undergraduate modules to obtain this long-awaited degree filled with blood, sweat and tears! I am most grateful for my support structure, my parents, siblings and husband. My husband is my real-life superhero. They have always supported me in all my decisions, even when I felt like a failure. My degree does not belong to me alone, but to everyone who has watched me fall and get back up again," says Cariem.</p><p>She will be completing her PGCE course at SU in 2021 and has plans to pursue a Master's degree in the near future.</p><p>“I've definitely learned that there is no timeline or age limit set to your goals. People should recognise their potential and not settle for anything less. I knew I wanted to become an educator years ago, and I see myself completing that goal and being in the classroom teaching literature to high school learners in the future."<br><br></p><p><br></p>
Barefoot children have better balance, also jump furtherhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6011Barefoot 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="mailto:rev@sun.ac.za">rev@sun.ac.za</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="mailto:viljoenm@sun.ac.za">viljoenm@sun.ac.za</a> <br></p><p><br></p>