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Call for applications: Full-time PhD scholarships in the Arts, Humanities and Social Scienceshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5092Call for applications: Full-time PhD scholarships in the Arts, Humanities and Social SciencesLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;"><span>​​T</span><span>h</span><span>e </span><span>Graduate School for Arts and Social Sciences </span><span>is a HOPE Project initiative in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University to strengthen and advance doctoral training and scholarship in Africa.</span><span> </span></p><p style="text-align:justify;">More than 180 doctoral students from 18 African countries, including South Africa, have enrolled in this scholarship programme since 2010. A total of 93 have successfully graduated, of which 78% completed in three years or less.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">​Suitable candidates who are citizens of any sub-Saharan African country are invited to apply for three-year full-time doctoral scholarships in the research programmes of the Faculty to commence studies in January 2018. Scholarships are available to the value of R 420 000.00 over three years.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Collaborative research, supervision and exchange will be encouraged through the Partnership for Africa's Next Generation of Academics (PANGeA) involving leading universities across Africa.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Further information on the partially structured doctoral scholarship programme, eligibility and selection criteria, and application process is available online at <a href="/graduateschool">www.sun.ac.za/graduateschool</a></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>THE ​CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 25 AUGUST 2017.</strong></p>
Occupational physicians can’t serve any masters, PhD study findshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7024Occupational physicians can’t serve any masters, PhD study findsCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>When occupational physicians have to make difficult calls related to health and safety in the workplace, they shouldn't be loyal to either workers or employers because it could influence their behaviour or cloud their judgments. <br></p><p>“Because impartiality, integrity, trustworthiness and professional autonomy are required from occupational physicians, they shouldn't show loyalty to either employers or employees," says Sasolburg-based occupational medicine consultant Dr Gerhard Grobler who received his doctorate in Applied Ethics at the ninth ceremony of Stellenbosch University's December graduation on Friday (13 December 2019). </p><p>In his study, the first of its kind in South Africa, Grobler did a moral analysis of the apparent conflict of interest in the profession of occupational physicians. He says dual loyalty, or at least the suspicion that loyalty to either party would colour the occupational physician's judgement, has been a problem in recent times and creates ethical ambiguity. It's especially when workers are injured on the job that the issue of dual loyalty arises.<br></p><p>Grobler, who has 38 years of hands-on experience in occupational medicine, points out that companies or organisations employ occupational physicians to look after the health and safety of workers who are vulnerable to unemployment, regular retrenchments, poor and collapsing public healthcare, non-compliance with health and safety legislation in the huge informal sector and the inefficiency in the office of the Compensation Commissioner.<br></p><p>“Occupational physicians play an important role in ensuring that workers are not denied healthcare, compensation or related benefits for which they are eligible. It often takes staunch personal commitment of the leaders in occupational health to prevent individual cases from falling through the proverbial cracks. <br></p><p>“Their judgements must be based on scientific knowledge and technical competence and they must not do anything that compromises their integrity and impartiality. They can never allow any conflict of interest to influence their advice and verdicts.<br></p><p>“Occupational physicians cannot serve any masters. Their guiding principle is to serve the health and safety of all workers and that of everyone at risk of illness or injury related to the incapacity of workers – whether the latter are airline pilots, rock drill operators or abattoir staff."<br></p><p>Grobler adds that occupational physicians are medical doctors that workers, employers, labour unions, relevant authorities and society need to believe they can trust with stewardship of the health and safety of workers.<br></p><p>He says where professional autonomy, impartiality, fairness, veracity and sound judgment are vital virtues, loyalty could well be an obstacle because it invites stakeholders to attempt to change rulings made by an occupational physician.<br></p><p>“Employers understandably suspect that their occupational physician is dedicated to the interests of patients. Workers, on the other hand, quite comprehensibly expect the occupational physician, employed and paid by the company, to serve the employer's business interests.<br></p><p>“If workers or employers experience or suspect that an occupational physician identifies with one party or allows loyalty to influence his judgement, all of his decisions become questionable."<br></p><p>According to Grobler, there's not enough appreciation for the role and contribution of occupational physicians in South Africa, especially among doctors in private practice.</p><p>“The discipline is often disparaged by some doctors in private practice. The sentiment is 'why would a bright doctor choose to earn a salary by working for a boss in a factory environment?'. And 'why do they seem to side with the employer – who my patients tell me is unsympathetic and unfair?'. " <br></p><p>Having worked closely with many occupational physicians, occupational health nursing professionals and occupational safety professionals, Grobler says he understands their sentiments, as well as the difficulties they face and have to overcome.<br></p><p>“Hopefully, my study might stimulate awareness and reform regarding the ethical challenges in occupational health, especially given the perception that the discipline just protects the interests of big business." <br></p><p>Grobler adds that doctors in occupational medicine, less experienced occupational physicians, non-medical professionals in occupational health and safety, as well as academics who teach ethics in occupational health could benefit from his research. <br></p><ul><li><strong>Photo</strong>: Dr Gerhard Grobler at the graduation ceremony. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Stefan Els</li></ul><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Gerhard Grobler</p><p>Occupational Medicine Consultant</p><p>Sasolburg</p><p>Cell: 083 6254085</p><p>Email: <a href="mailto:gerhardgrobler6@gmail.com">gerhardgrobler6@gmail.com</a> </p><p><strong>ISSUED BY</strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen</p><p>Manager: Media</p><p>Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>Email: <a href="mailto:viljoenm@sun.ac.za">viljoenm@sun.ac.za</a> <br></p><p><br></p>
Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receives third honorary doctoratehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6370Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receives third honorary doctorateCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Research Chair in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University (SU), received an honorary doctorate from Rhodes University in Grahamstown on Friday (12 April 2019). This was her third honorary degree after having been honoured in similar fashion by Holy Cross College in Massachusetts, USA and Friedlich Shiller University Jena in Germany. <br></p><p>Gobodo-Madikizela, an alumna of Rhodes University, received the degree Doctor of Laws (LLD), honoris causa, for her trailblazing work to research topics such as guilt, remorse, forgiveness, the dialogue between perpetrators and victims as well as the way in which trauma is experienced by individuals and in political systems. <br></p><p>Rhodes University praised her for her contribution to trauma research and her efforts to relay the stories of victims, to humanise offenders and to bring a message of hope, empathy, dialogue, forgiveness and reconciliation to a society characterised by violence and trauma. <br></p><p>In her <a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/A%20New%20Vision%20of%20the%20Postclolonial%20-%20Rhodes%20Award.pdf" style="text-decoration:underline;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>acceptance speech</strong></span>​</a>, Gobodo-Madikizela expressed her gratitude for the honour bestowed upon her. She said she was fully aware of the honour and challenge locked up in this award that came from a university that encouraged his alumni to lead and to be torchbearers. She encouraged the graduands to take up their places as leaders in society and to campaign for justice and equity. <br></p><p>This is the third time that Gobodo-Madikizela was honoured by Rhodes University. She received the institution's Social Change and Distinguished Old Rhodian Award in 2010 and 2017 respectively. </p><p>She was a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Human Rights Violations Committee. She has received several international and national awards and the National Research Foundation has acknowledged her as a researcher of high international standing.<br></p><p>Since 2017, Gobodo-Madikizela has been serving as research advisor and global academic at the Queen's University in Belfast. This position is affiliated to the Senator George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice where she holds a World Leading Researcher Professorship. <br></p><p>Gobodo-Madikizela also held research fellowships at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard Kennedy School's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Claude Ake Visiting Chair, a collaboration between the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at the Uppsala University in Sweden and the Nordic Africa Institute. <br></p><p>Profs George Ellis, Ian Scott, Glenda Gray and Ms Okunike Monica Okundaye-Davis also received honorary doctorates at the same graduation ceremony in Grahamstown. SU awarded an honorary degree to Gray in 2017. <br></p><p><strong>Photo</strong>: Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receiving her honorary doctorate from Dr Adele Moodly, Registrar of Rhodes University.<br></p><ul><li>The University of Cape Town will award an honorary doctoral degree to Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished Professor at SU's Faculty of Education, in December 2019. <br></li></ul><p><br></p>
Ten SU finalists compete for SA’s ‘Science Oscars’ https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7411Ten SU finalists compete for SA’s ‘Science Oscars’ Corporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​​Over the past few years, Stellenbosch University (SU) has featured prominently at the annual <a href="http://www.nstf.org.za/awards/about/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)/ South32Awards</strong></a>. This year is no different with 10 SU finalists competing for the 2019/2020 NSTF/South32 Awards at South Africa's “Science Oscars". As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement of the winners will take place through a live-streamed Gala Event on Thursday, 30 July 2020.</p><p>Regarded as the most sought-after national accolades of their kind in the country, the NSTF/South32 Awards recognise, celebrate and reward the outstanding contributions of individuals, teams and organisations to science, engineering and technology (SET) in the country. Among the competitors are experienced scientists, engineers, innovators, science communicators, engineering capacity builders, organisational managers and leaders, as well as data and research managers.<br></p><p>According to the organisers, it is an extraordinary honour to be a finalist given the quality of the nominations received every year, the fierce competition that nominees face and growing interest from the SET community over the years.<br></p><p>The SU finalists (with department or environment) and the categories in which they will compete are as follows:<br></p><p><em>Lifetime Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Prof Leslie Swartz </strong>(Department of Psychology)</li></ul><p><em>TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Researcher:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Prof Christine Lochner</strong> (South African Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders and Department of Psychiatry)</li></ul><p><em>TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Emerging Researcher:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Dr Wynand Goosen</strong> (Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences)</li><li><strong>Prof Richard Walls</strong> (Fire Engineering Research Unit)</li><li><strong>Dr Jacqueline Wormersley</strong> (Department of Psychiatry)</li></ul><p><em>​NSTF-Lewis Foundation Green Economy Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Prof Thinus Booysen</strong><em> </em>(Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering). He is also a finalist in the <em>NSTF-Water Research Commission Award</em> category.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>Prof Wikus van Niekerk</strong> (Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies)</li><li><strong>Sharksafe (Pty) Ltd</strong> with CEO and Co-Inventor Prof Conrad Matthee (Department of Botany and Zoology)</li></ul><p><em>Data for Research Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Stellenbosch University Computed Tomography Scanner Facility Team with Leader Prof Anton du Plessis </strong>(Department of Physics)</li></ul><p><em>Communication Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus</strong> (Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science)​<br></li></ul><p><br></p>
"To be a warrior is all about riding through the storms..."https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7512"To be a warrior is all about riding through the storms..."Transformation Office | Disability Unit | AfriNEAD<div><em>SU's Rector and Vice-chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers announced late last year that 2020 will be the university's Year for Persons with Disability. It will culminate in the sixth African Network for Evidence-to- Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) conference, a prestigious international network that will be hosted by SU from the 30 November to 3 December 2020. To honour this the Transformation Office and the Disability Unit, along with AfriNEAD, will publish monthly reflections or articles by persons with disabilities. Our fifth piece is written by </em><span lang="EN-GB"><em>Ulf-Dieter Koepp, a </em><span lang="EN-GB"><em>junior technical officer</em></span><em>​, in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences</em></span><em>.</em></div><div><br></div><div>​<br></div>​I am Ulf-Dieter Koepp from Windhoek. I was born deaf with a cleft palate. My deafness is a result of my mother having had German measles during her pregnancy. My mother taught me lipreading when I was a very little boy, and my schooling took place at Dominican Grimley School for the Deaf in Hout Bay from about 1982 to 1998.<br><br>I have now been working at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) for over three years as a junior technical officer. Before SU, I used to work on testing various applications by using Android Studio and MIT App Inventor (online). One of my many ideas was the one on Ava (<a href="https://www.ava.me/"><span lang="EN-GB">https://www.ava.me/</span></a>). I also assist the Humarga Helpdesk by monitoring personal computers and printers and stocking up paper reams. I have about five years of experience as a printer technician with various companies. <br><br>I was at a crossroads at the beginning of 2017, one year after the start of my employment at SU and my mother's sudden death in June 2016. I had been used to being deaf for 41 years, but this was not the case with the 'Big C'. At that crossroads, that 'C', nasopharyngeal carcinoma, held a gun to my head. <br><br>How did this cruel thief sneak into my body? Why had I not noticed this earlier? The fact was that I had booked air tickets to Namibia for a three-week vacation in November 2016, not knowing that I would be heading into another unknown direction. I had asked the ear, nose and throat surgeon whether I qualified for a cochlear implantation as a new candidate. Boom – the radiologist discovered a mass lesion deep in my left nasopharynx section after CT and MRI scans had been completed. It was presumed to be Stage 1 – so early! But within two weeks, it had grown to Stage 2. I had no symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, swollen neck, severe headaches or persistent sinus issues.  <br><br>How exactly did I manage to pull through? I used to think that SU was anything but a normal employer when it came to annual leave and sick leave, but I was shocked to see how it had structured sick leave in a way that went beyond my logic. I know that with any company, when illness struck an employee, the standard procedure was to grant that employee a limited grace period. However, when I looked at the way in which sick leave was structured, I thought, “Am I seeing something that is unique?" When an employee is extremely ill for a long time, SU has something called 'disability cover', which is extremely helpful in covering the loss of income. Indeed, SU is an upfront-unified-unbeatable, one-of-a-kind employer that is really committed to its students and staff, also a staff member with a disability!<br><br>Yes, I came out as a cancer warrior in complete remission in August 2017 and still am to date. To be a warrior is all about riding through the storms and finding the sunshine one day. Everything before my official diagnosis and during the treatments stripped me as if I were an onion being peeled away. Never had I thought that my theological studies at Cape Theological Seminary (Pentecostal-Charismatic Bible College, 1999 to 2002) would one day be put to the test when the 'Big C' interrupted my life like a Goliath.<br><br>Did I manage to obtain the implant? Unfortunately, not yet, but I am aware that Discovery Health does fund this type of operation from benefits. Both my oncologist and ear, nose and throat surgeon wonder whether I am still keen on cochlear implantation. The truth is that it does not always suit everyone.<br><br>My advice to other people with loss of hearing, based on my experiences at SU, is to be yourself and to keep your flame burning to inspire the person next to you. You are an asset. Go after small mercies that may transform your way of thinking and adapting.<br><br>
Dr Roomaney – one of 51 SA academics selected for advancement programmehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7397Dr Roomaney – one of 51 SA academics selected for advancement programmeLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p>​​<span style="text-align:justify;">​​Dr Rizwana Roomaney, a lecturer in the Psychology Department at Stellenbosch University, has been selected as one of 51 black academics from across South Africa to participate in the Black Academics Advancement Programme in 2020. She is one of three academics at SU to be selected for the programme. </span></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Black Academics Advancement Programme (BAAP), which is being funded to the tune of R165 million over the next five years, is a strategic partnership between the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the FirstRand Foundation (FRF) “to promote the development of Black South African academics and South African academics with disabilities, to become nationally and internationally recognised researchers". </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The programme gives black academics, who are completing a PhD degree or working on post-doctoral research, the opportunity to take a sabbatical for two to three years and to fund the sabbatical through a grant. The grant covers the academic's running expenses, such as local and international conference expenses, research-related costs and lecturer replacement costs for the duration of the sabbatical. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This grant has allowed me to significantly increase the time that I am able to focus on my postdoctoral research by buying out my teaching obligations over the next two years," explains Roomaney, who is also a registered counsellor and research psychologist. “I teach almost 2 000 undergraduate students a year and currently supervise 15 postgraduate students. So I look forward to having time off from lecturing to focus exclusively on research and mentoring my postgraduate students."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Through her research, Roomaney seeks to understand psychosocial well-being among men and women who seek fertility treatment. She leads a team of researchers in South Africa and Ghana. With 10 million couples in sub-Saharan Africa experiencing infertility, Roomaney's research will make an important contribution to scholarship in this regard. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The magnitude of importance attached to biological parenthood in Africa makes cultural beliefs about infertility inseparable from the experience of infertility. Globally, many couples with infertility experience anxiety, depression, stress, and stigma. In Africa, the experience of infertility seems to be aggravated by the cultural worldview of the couple, making the psychosocial well-being of the couple more difficult to disentangle," she adds.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“There is limited current research on the psycho-social aspects of infertility among men and women in South Africa," explains Roomaney. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">She adds that this research may be used to provide psychological and social support to men and women seeking fertility preservation. The original intervention was developed by her co-investigator, Dr Florence Naab at the University of Ghana.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the years, Roomaney's research interests have focused on the field of health research, specifically reproductive and women's health. She is an experienced methodologist, and is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa as a Research Psychologist. It was during her postgraduate studies that she found herself drawn to research on reproductive and women's health and she is currently working on studies with research collaborators and students in oncology, oncofertility (the preservation of reproductive health in cancer patients after treatment), endometriosis, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and infertility. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I became interested in women's health and reproductive health mainly because women often find themselves isolated as they silently struggle with their health issues. For example, women who live with endometriosis struggle to talk about matters such as menstruation because we have been socialised not to talk about it and other matters that affect our reproductive health. It is encouraging to see though that women are becoming more empowered and taking charge of their bodies and their health by seeking help online and engaging with other women experiencing the same issues." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Understanding these matters, says Roomaney, is not only about helping women who suffer silently. Studies has shown that there is a real impact on the economy when women have to remain absent from work due to debilitating symptoms that accompany endometriosis or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Roomaney has been building a solid academic career in the field of reproductive and women's health and has published 19 journal articles and two book chapters during her relatively short career in academia<em>.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;">At present, she is the national delegate for South Africa on the European Health Psychology Society and is working with the Psychological Society of South Africa to develop a Health Psychology Special Interest Group (SIG).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I hope that the SIG creates a space for all psychologists working and conducting research in health psychology to share ideas, collaborate and be of service to communities."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">​“I would like to make a contribution to the field of health psychology and am grateful for the support that I received through this grant. There is a need to advance black academics, and the NRF and FRF are providing much needed support. It is now up to the universities to further support young black talent and strive to further transform the academic body."  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Roomaney calls attention to the fact that the professorate is not sufficiently transformed. She states that this lack of transformation is a structural problem because mainly privileged people can afford the years of study to get a PhD and work towards to becoming professors. This goal can take decades to achieve, while lecturers struggle to manage their competing academic roles. The BAAP therefore fast-tracks people to become professors who have been disadvantaged because of structural inequalities in society.​<br></p>
Institute’s new offices honours first owners of house in Joubert Streethttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5997Institute’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 Okkers 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>
SU produces first book and DVD set for Deaf and hearing childrenhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6414SU produces first book and DVD set for Deaf and hearing childrenLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a group of staff and postgraduate students at the General Linguistics Department at Stellenbosch University (SU), the first South African Sign Language (SASL) book and DVD set that can be enjoyed by Deaf and hearing children simultaneously was recently released. The set consists of a multi-authored, English book called <em>Sign Language Saves</em>and an accompanying DVD in five languages – South African Sign Language,  Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa and isiZulu. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Deaf children can now read the English book or watch it in SASL on the DVD while hearing children are able to follow the story along with their Deaf peers in one of the four language translations on the DVD while also seeing the SASL.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The team that worked on the project included Maryke van Velden, a Project Illustrator and Creative Writer who handled the aesthetic aspects of the book design; Sima Mashazi, a junior lecturer and MA student who did the SA English and isiZulu voice overs; Frenette Southwood, who did the Afrikaans voice over; and PhD student Khanyiso Jonas, who did the isiXhosa voice over. Vanessa Reyneke, a Project Coordinator for the development of teaching and learning support material in SASL in the General Linguistics Department, was responsible for the signing on the DVD and the management of the entire project. The project is funded by the Rector's Strategic Fund, with an additional book to follow later in 2019 and another in 2020.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Reyneke, the project came about when the team started investigating the possibility of developing SASL reading material for schools that Deaf and hearing learners could read together. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We came across a Flemish children's book that we could turn into a SASL book and DVD with characters that were unique to South Africa," explains Reyneke.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Reyneke approached the authors of the book, who agreed that the story could be reproduced in South Africa and the sign language amended to reflect SASL signs.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">To get to the final book and DVD set, the team had to follow a long process from securing copyright to publish the story to having some illustrations amended – the animal characters, all South African wildlife, use signs in the illustrations, and the original Flemish Sign Language signs had to be replaced with SASL signs.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We were attracted to the Flemish book because the characters were all animals found in Africa. We thought familiarity with these animals would open up the story to children in South Africa from different cultures and backgrounds. There were some things we were requested to keep the same, such as Noah the Lion's tail, which twitched to show just how excited he was. He is also the main character and always wears red in the Flemish book, so we did the same in the South African version." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Thereafter we had to translate the SASL on the DVD to Afrikaans, South African English, isiZulu and isiXhosa. While there is only one sign language version of the story on the DVD, the voice overs were done in the different languages."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">One of the most important things about this series, says Reyneke who is Deaf herself, is that hearing children are now exposed to and made aware of SASL. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">While sign language is taught in Deaf schools, it is not an official South African language and therefore not one that many hearing children are exposed to. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Sign language is something that remains hidden, out of the public eye. Even when you see sign language on TV, it is being done by an interpreter in the bottom right corner of the TV screen. So we have limited exposure to South African Sign Language," says Reyneke.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“With this book, we can expose hearing children to sign language, which I think is a great idea as it will create an awareness of the language amongst hearing children. Who knows, it may even prompt them to learn the language in order to communicate with Deaf persons."  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The book and DVD set will also allow hearing parents with Deaf children to read with their children. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The majority of Deaf children are born to hearing parents and thus far there has been no SASL material around that allows hearing parents to enjoy a story with their Deaf child. It creates an opportunity for parents and children to bond and build their relationships."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">While Reyneke took the lead on the project, she is quick to point out that she would not have been able to complete the project without the assistance of her colleagues, Van Velden and Mashazi, and PhD student, Jonas.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Because I cannot hear, I also had to rely on an interpreter, who is able to hear and sign and who could ensure that that the tempo of my signing matched that of the spoken language and visuals seen on the screen."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Now that the first book and DVD set is publicly available and another two are in the process of being illustrated, Reyneke hopes to also produce a DVD with voice overs in the Afrikaans dialect, Kaaps. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We did a quick test by sharing the second book, which is currently being illustrated, with a group of hearing and Deaf children and they really loved it. They were asking when they could get some more books like this to read."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">For now, Reyneke is content knowing that together with her colleagues, they have opened up a whole new world to both hearing and Deaf children to enjoy together. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This is something that was not available in South Africa before and now that it's been done, I hope it shows that a lot more is possible in future." </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: The first South African Sign Language (SASL) book and DVD set that can be enjoyed by Deaf and hearing children simultaneously was recently released thanks to the hard work of the General Linguistics Department at Stellenbosch University and funding received from the Rectorate's Strategic Fund. (Photo supplied)​</em></p>
Graduate School reaches major milestone in University's centenary year https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5559Graduate School reaches major milestone in University's centenary year Lynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">The Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences has broken through the 100 degrees ceiling with the awarding of another 14 degrees at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences' graduation on Thursday, 22 March. This takes the overall number of degrees awarded over the last eight years to 114. The milestone also coincides with Stellenbosch University's own 100<sup>th</sup> anniversary year.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The Faculty is very excited to be celebrating this incredible milestone in the centenary year. What started as a HOPE Project initiative in 2010 has led to this academic milestone in the 2017 academic year and not only have we hit the 100 mark, but we have catapulted to 114 degrees delivered. What was once an ambitious HOPE Project has today become the Faculty's flagship project," said Prof Anthony Leysens, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The Graduate School is considered to be the biggest success story for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences as we have developed and implemented a comprehensive and concerted set of measures to address the critical current and future shortages of trained academics in the arts, humanities and social sciences in South Africa and the continent at large," added Dr Cindy Steenekamp, Chair of the Graduate School Board.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In 2012 the first 19 doctoral degrees were awarded by the School followed by 21 awarded in 2013, 20 in 2014, 13 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and 21 in 2017.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">These graduates are also completing their doctoral studies within record time.   </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We enrol an average intake of 22 students per year and are delivering an average of 19 graduates per year, which means that a vast majority (75%) of our graduates have completed their degrees in the required three years or less. In this way the School has managed to half the number of years that PhD students within the faculty complete their PhD degrees. Most students take 5 years to complete their doctoral studies, while students who are registered via the School complete their degrees in 2.5 years on average" explained Steenekamp.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Graduate School's successes over the last seven years is rather significant, especially considering that South Africa's National Development Plan calls for 5 000 new doctoral graduates to be produced by 2030. The country is still far from reaching that goal with only 2 530 PhD degrees awarded in the 2015 academic year. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Although doctoral enrolments in the Faculty have been steadily increasing, the establishment of the Graduate School in 2010 marked a major shift in doctoral education. The average increase in enrolments grew from 25% to 65% with the advent of the Graduate School's doctoral scholarship programme. The Graduate School has enrolled over 180 candidates in eight cohorts between 2010 and 2017, which represents about a quarter of the doctoral enrolments within the Faculty. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Graduate School was established as Stellenbosch University's contribution to the Partnership for Africa's Next Generation of Academics (PANGeA) in 2010. PANGeA is a “collaborative network of leading African universities developing research capacity and confidence in bringing African expertise to Africa's challenges". The network aims to strengthen higher education in Africa by creating opportunities for fully-funded doctoral study in the arts, humanities and social sciences; collaborative research projects and exchange among partner institutions; the development of research capacity on site; and in the longer term, the establishment of joint doctoral degree programmes specifically in the arts, humanities and social sciences.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The universities involved in the PANGeA network include the University of Botswana, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the University of Ghana, Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Malawi, the University of Nairobi in Kenya, Stellenbosch University, and the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon. PANGeA is therefore enriched through developing an active footprint on which to draw intellectual diversity in terms of linguistic, cultural and national backgrounds.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Of the 114 doctoral degrees awarded, of which the last 14 graduated on Thursday, 85% are BCI (diversity) candidates; 62% are male and 38% are female; and 48% are staff members within the PANGeA network that have since resumed their academic positions at their home institutions. These graduates also come from a range of countries in Africa, including  Angola (2 candidates), Botswana (2), the Democratic Republic of Congo (1), Gabon (2), Ghana (6), Kenya (11), Lesotho (1), Malawi (12), Nigeria (2), Tanzania (13), Uganda (15), Zimbabwe (20) and South Africa (27).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“A high percentage of our graduates and alumni are either retained within or enter the higher education sector in Africa. We pride ourselves in strengthening the capacity of Africa to generate new knowledge through stemming the brain drain from Africa and reversing the decline of science and scholarship in African higher education. Through the Graduate School and our involvement in PANGeA we are promoting Africa's next generation of leaders, academics and professionals" says Steenekamp. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Some of the research topics that graduates have concentrated on over the years include <em>Ethnography and the archive: Power and politics in five South African music archives</em>; <em>Appraisal and evaluation in Zimbabwean parliamentary discourse and its representation in newspaper articles</em>; <em>Ghoema van die Kaap: The life and music of Taliep Petersen (1950-2006)</em>; <em>Language and the politics of identity in South Africa: The case of Zimbabwean (Shona and Ndebele speaking) migrants in Johannesburg</em>; <em>The nature and scope of management tasks performed by volunteers on management committees of non-profit organisations</em>; and <em>Are "untouched citizens" creating their deliberative democracy online? A critical analysis of women's activist media in Zimbabwe</em>.<br><em><br>Photo: Here are some of the 114 doctoral graduates to graduate from the Graduate School over the last eight years. (Anton Jordaan, SSFD)</em></p>
Completing a master’s degree cum laude in her senior yearshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5543Completing a master’s degree cum laude in her senior yearsCorporate Communications Division<p>Age is just a number and means nothing when it comes to finding a pastime to keep yourself busy.<br></p><p>This was the driving force behind 74-year-old Elizabeth Ann Robertson, who graduated  today (Thursday, 22 March), to receive her MA (Ancient Cultures) cum laude from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the Coetzenburg Centre at Stellenbosch University (SU).</p><p>She completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Ancient Cultures in the Department of Ancient Studies at SU in 2014 before beginning her master's degree studies. Her MA thesis topic is <em>Growing up Greek: The differing journeys through childhood in ancient Athens and Sparta.</em></p><p>Robertson is originally from England and came to Africa at the tender age of 23.</p><p>“My early career was with the British Foreign Office as a junior diplomatic service officer and I was posted to a number of African countries on relief duty. I met and married my husband while on posting in Lesotho. My husband passed away in 2010," she explains.</p><p>A few years later, she moved to an apartment in Stellenbosch. The apartment was intended for students. “I managed only three months. The students in the building have ridiculous hours and it was difficult for me living like that," she says, laughing.</p><p>“I then moved to Somerset West. I didn't know a soul here other than my daughter and her family. I knew it wouldn't be fair to expect them to provide my social life. I knew I should do something. I saw an advertisement in the newspaper for the Postgraduate Diploma in Ancient Cultures in the Department of Ancient Studies at SU. I applied and was accepted. When the course came to an end in 2014, I thought, 'What am I going to do now?'" she says. So she started her master's degree studies.</p><p>“I never, never thought I'd ever be able to achieve a master's degree. I must say, I would never have finished the degree if it wasn't for my supervisor, Dr Samantha Masters. She was incredible and kept me going. My two children also motivated me," she says.</p><p>Robertson's research concludes that the 6th and 5th century BCE educational systems in Athens and Sparta, the two most prominent city-states during those periods, differed from each other in structure, emphasis and goals. They also differed in the level of state intervention, since these cities had different socio-political systems.</p><p>Athens provided no state-sponsored system of education for boys and the responsibility of arranging a boy's education rested with the father. Girls were adequately educated in domestic skills within the <em>oikos</em>.<em> </em>This ancient Greek word refers to three related but distinct concepts: the family, the family's property and the house. Spartan children, both boys and girls, however, grew up within a system of compulsory state-run education, which concentrated heavily on physical training at the expense of literacy.</p><p>Robertson looked at the extent and nature of the differences between the childhood experiences in the two cities to discern to what extent and in what way the socio-political systems had an impact on the upbringing of children and on their journey to adult citizen status.</p><p>Robertson has no plans yet to continue toward a PhD. She explains that last year, while she was completing her thesis, was very tough. For now, she is first going to enjoy her free time, which will consist of reading.</p><p>“I don't watch television. I don't even have a television in my house. I read." <br></p><p><br></p>