Student Affairs
Welcome to Stellenbosch University


​​Read below for more info about our three pillars - Leadership and Active Citizenship, Social Justice, and Critical Engagement and Criticality.

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Citizen leadership is both a vehicle allowing students to translate theory into practice and an orientation toward community change in which students become change agents creating a better future. It connects students to their communities or organizations, provides practical application of knowledge, and creates synergy among students, communities, and society to solve common problems through long-term change.[1]

​Through our curriculum, we strive towards partnering with youth leaders to build citizen-leadership as our shared purpose and vision to drive meaningful change in the broader societal context. We acknowledge our historical context and its influence on the collective power of our youth leaders and on our accountability as change agents to reshape society. Through contextualising experiential learning we strive to ensure that our leadership offering remain relevant to current context and climate. We are committed to establishing an active FVZS Institute alumni identity through collaborating with all higher education partners in positioning the FVZS Institute as a leading youth leadership institute that amplifies the collective power of youth agency in South Africa and beyond. We continue to explore how an African perspective of leadership, leadership perceptions, world views and intergenerational dialogue can address the leadership challenges of our continent and can create new opportunities for the next generation of leaders.


[1] Langone, CA. 2004. The use of a citizen leadership model for teaching strategic leadership. Journal of Leadership Education, 3(2): 82-88.​

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  • ​Social justice – in which equalisation entails relative losses on the part of hitherto privileged people[1] (Smith, 1999).
  • Social justice is defined as 'parity of participation' and the idea that social structures allow all individuals to participate in decision-making on equal footing[2] (Macpherson et al., 2014).

Our work seeks to trace the historical significance of the higher education landscape in South Africa through a deliberative and critical process by which we seek to understand what is under scrutiny. We aim to have an inclusive environment that equips students to facilitate discussions on the context of the South African higher education landscape, with a specific focus on social justice. Our offerings interrogate the history of our education system by positioning equality, equity and justice through a reflective lens that considers varying perspectives and world views. We are committed to providing a space where the student voice is seen to be heard and where student mobilisation works to highlight existing realities within the higher education landscape at Stellenbosch University and in South Africa.


[1] Smith, DM. 1999. Social justice and the ethics of development in post‐apartheid South Africa. Philosophy & Geography [Online] 2(2). Available: [2022, April 28].

[2] Macpherson, I, Robertson, S & Walford, G (eds.). 2014. Education, privatisation and social justice: case studies from Africa, south Asia and southeast Asia. Symposium Books Ltd.​

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In this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, it has become imperative for students to reflect on their interactions and encounters in their various environments. Critical thinking is valuable, being a reflective activity that leads to action and enables people to think about what and how they think.[1] The premise of critical thinking is to evaluate beliefs, their underlying assumptions and the world views embedded in them.[3] Furthermore, critical thinking is considered to offer an opportunity for assessing reasons for all actions and behaviour.[3] Thus, by creating spaces and opportunities that cultivate critical thought, we encourage student leaders to come to terms with their world view and factors that influence it, and to review it critically. Through our offerings, ​​​we create an opportunity for a co-created engagement platform that allows for the sense-making of information and for interrogating subject matter that transcends thematic arrangements. By creating these spaces, we allow students to assess and analyse information critically, and to apply themselves to contextual challenges, through criticality. Criticality repositions the individual, encompassing all education, experience and encounters, thereby creating a critical mode of being in the world. It is argued that critical thinking focuses on reasonable reflective thinking – somewhat mechanical – and what actions should follow.[4] Practicing criticality, on the other hand, allows for a symbiotic relationship between knowledge encountered and an individual's being, becoming and reality.[5] Criticality counteracts the narrow construct of critical thinking and embraces the notion of individuals formulating their thinking and being through contexts in which they find themselves.[6]This enables students to think about that which informs their reasoning and engagement in discourse.


[1] Bezanilla, MJ, Fernández-Nogueira, D, Poblete, M & Galindo-Domínguez, H. 2019. Methodologies for teaching-learning critical thinking in higher education: The teacher's view. Thinking Skills and Creativity [Online] 33. Available: [2022, April 28].

[2] Dunne, G. 2015. Beyond critical thinking to critical being: Criticality in higher education and life. International Journal of Educational Research, 71: 89.

[3] Ibid.: 90.

[4] Fisher, A. 2011. Critical thinking: An introduction. Cambridge University Press. P. 9.

[5] Dunne, G. Beyond critical thinking to critical being: Criticality in higher education and life. P. 93.

[6] Ibid., p. 94.​