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L’Oreal-UNESCO grant will support research to combat antimalarial resistance’Oreal-UNESCO grant will support research to combat antimalarial resistanceWiida Fourie-Basson (media: Fakulteit Natuurwetenskappe)<p>​A PhD-student in chemistry at Stellenbosch University, Jessica Thibaud, is one of six South African female scientists to have received a generous grant from L'Oréal's <em>Fondation L'Oreal</em> and UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).<br></p><p>The <a href="">L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science international programme</a> provides support to female scientists at all stages in their scientific careers. According to an official media release, women still represent just 33.3% of researchers globally, and their work rarely gains the recognition it deserves.</p><p>Jessica's research focuses on identifying new chemical compounds to disrupt the life cycle of the malaria parasite <em>Plasmodium falciparum </em>after it enters the human host. It is no easy task to identify these compounds, however, as there are literally thousands/millions stored in databanks all over the world.  </p><p>In 2020, malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease was responsible for some 627 000 deaths worldwide, of which 96% were in Africa. The parasite is also showing increased resistance to antimalarial medication currently in use.</p><p> Jessica's research is just one aspect of a larger research focus on the design and development of antimalarial drugs, led by <a href="">Dr Katherine de Villiers</a> in SU's Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science. Dr de Villiers' research group recently developed a two-dimensional map of antiplasmodium chemical space. Generated using a simple principal component analysis algorithm, the map visually clusters together those compounds with known antimalarial activity. For her MSc-studies under Dr de Villiers, Jessica combined this map with recently acquired skills in machine learning to identify a subset of 6 000 compounds that showed potential of targeting a specific enzyme in the parasite's life cycle. </p><p>Since beginning her PhD, Jessica has benefitted from further training provided through the <a href="">H3D Foundation</a> at the University of Cape Town and <a href="">Ersilia</a> in the use of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to speed up the process of discovering new drugs. Using these computational methods, she was able to narrow down the search even further to a potential 30 compounds. She is now in the process of testing these compounds in the laboratory to find the one or two with the most potential for further development. </p><p>“Apart from their anti-malarial activity, these compounds also have to show important drug-like characteristics such as solubility, selectivity, and potency before they can be considered for further development," she explains.</p><p>She plans to use the L'Oreal grant for a more powerful computer to use in the laboratory, and to attend an international congress on bioinorganic chemistry later this year. As part of the grant she also attended a week-long training programme for the 25 African L'Oreal-UNESCO laureates in the Côte d'Ivoire.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
University hosts its first Seniors Welcoming hosts its first Seniors Welcoming Tendani Tshauambea<div style="text-align:justify;">​<span>When we talk about the university's Welcoming programme, we usually think about first years who are coming to study at Stellenbosch University (SU) for the first time. This year, however, the university held its first inaugural Institutional Seniors Welcoming aimed at welcoming senior and postgraduate students.</span></div><div><div style="text-align:justify;"><br></div><span style="text-align:justify;"></span><p style="text-align:justify;">The three-day Welcoming, which was held in February, provides an opportunity for honours and master's students, PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows to connect with the university community, explore the campus and its facilities, and engage in local outreach activities.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">.Net Coordinator (pronounced dot net), Tendani Tshauambea, explained that the Institutional Seniors Welcoming was a collaborative effort between various support structures including the Centre for Student Communities (CSC), the Postdoctoral Office, Development and Alumni Relations, the Corporate Communications and Marketing Division, as well as the Postgraduate Office.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“To ensure the welcoming and integration of postgraduate students, an Institutional Seniors Welcoming, led by various postgraduate communities and structures was held. This Welcoming is the first time that Stellenbosch University has officially welcomed postgraduate students to the <em>Matie </em>community and should improve integration and ensure that postgraduate students feel welcome," Tshauambea said. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The three-day programme began with a “Registration and Sign-up" session where the students were given an overview of the .Net communities, which were created to cater for the specific needs of senior and postgraduate students. Afterwards, the students moved to the Coetzenburg Stadium for the Rector's Welcoming speech, the 2023 university welcoming aerial photo and the Dream Launch. A reception was held for the students at <em>Die Stal </em>– the Alumni Relations' clubhouse – whereafter they took part in the Dream Walk and Dream Fair. This is the first year that the university held a Dream Fair on the Rooiplein.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Following the Dream Launch, the students participated in the Dream Walk, where they were encouraged to write down their dreams and aspirations on a welcoming card that was placed in trees lining Victoria Street. The students walked from the top of Victoria Street to the Rooiplein to symbolise the beginning of their journeys as postgraduate students and the aspirations and dreams they have for their student life. The Dream Walk symbolises the start of their journey at university and set the tone for the rest of the Welcoming, while creating a sense of excitement and optimism among the attendees, all of which ended the walk by exiting under a banner that read "Your dream starts here".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This walk was designed to inspire the postgraduates to embrace their aspirations and to recognize the potential of their time at Stellenbosch University," added Tshauambea.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During Welcoming students were also taken on a campus tour, which is “particularly important for new arrival and international postgraduates, who have never been to Stellenbosch University before". The campus tour provided them with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the university and to gain a better understanding of the institution's facilities, support services and other resources available to senior students. The tour was led by the .Net student leaders who provided insights into campus life and answered questions about the university.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Welcoming was nothing I expected it to be. People showed up, they participated, they genuinely enjoyed it and they interacted. Everything we wanted. I hope we can keep the students engaged throughout the year because we have already seen that they are keen to be part of it," said Tavonga Chirikure, one of the .Net student leaders who assisted with the Welcoming.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Other activities during the Welcoming included participating in a social impact initiative to foster a sense of social responsibility and community involvement among the postgraduates. The outreach took the postgraduates to a local beach where they participated in a clean-up and conversation about societal pride in our public spaces.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The final event of the welcoming ceremony was a soirée held at <em>Die Stal</em> where postgraduate students could interact and experience some of the local culture and sample some of the renowned wines of the Stellenbosch region.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mpho Maboee, a final year Engineering student shared: “In the past five years I have been here, I can confidently say that Stellenbosch University is intentional about creating a transformative student experience. This was evident in the Seniors Welcoming. I am once again excited about being a Matie and embracing the new culture of SU."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tshauambea emphasised the importance of the event in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for the postgraduates.</p><p>"We believe that Seniors Welcoming is essential in setting the tone for the postgraduates' time at Stellenbosch University. We want them to feel supported, engaged, and excited about their academic journey here. By providing them with opportunities to connect with their peers, integrate into the university ecosystem and participate in local outreach programs, we are encouraging them to become active and engaged members of the community."</p><p>“The first Seniors Welcoming has set a high standard for future events and is a display of the university's commitment to ensuring that all postgraduates feel welcomed and supported throughout their time at the university.​​</p></div>
“We must fight for the society we want”“We must fight for the society we want”Tendani Tshauambea<p style="text-align:justify;">“We must fight for the society we want."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">These were the words of former Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs at the fourth Annual Social Justice lecture hosted by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and the Law Trust Chair in Social Justice within the Law Faculty at Stellenbosch University (SU) recently.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This year, the lecture focused on <em>Social Justice and the Constitution: Is this the country we were fighting for? with social justice coming under the spotlight as “one of the </em>most pressing challenges of our time, alongside climate change".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Social Justice Lecture is hosted by Prof Thuli Madonsela in her capacity as Director of the CSJ and the holder of the Law Trust Chair in Social Justice.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In the lead up to the lecture, Madonsela said: “Its timing could not be more apt given that many are turning their back on the Constitution, with some accusing it of being nothing more than a so-called Potemkin village while others reject it as a neoliberal blueprint ossifying the status quo," Madonsela said.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Addressing a packed lecture room of just over 200 people, the retired advocate, anti-apartheid activist, writer and former judge did not waste time in answering the question of whether this was the country he was fighting for during apartheid.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Yes, this is the country I was fighting for, but no, it is not the society we were fighting for."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The country he was fighting for, said Justice Sachs, was “a South Africa with a Bill of Rights, a free press and all the other institutions associated with a constitutional democracy". Reflecting on his memories of how the Freedom Charter was created he said, it was “not designed [by lawyers] but came from the demands of the people".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The country we have today is the result of the people of South Africa who drafted a Constitution on South African soil through their democratically elected representatives."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A wonderful storyteller, he took the audience on the journey of his life as an anti-apartheid activist, beginning with his arrest at the age of 17 while still a second-year law student at the University of Cape Town. He also spoke of his experience attending the Congress of the People in 1955 where the Freedom Charter was adopted as well as partaking in the adoption of constitutional guidelines for a new South Africa at an ANC gathering at the University of Zambia in 1988.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The discussion was led by award-winning journalist, Lukhanyo Calata, who served as the programme director with an audience that consisted of university management, students, student leaders and staff members. The SU community was also joined by various visiting dignitaries including the Swedish Ambassador, Mr Håkan Juholt, Dr Koketso Rakudu, the youngest serving Chief of the Royal Bafokeng Nations, MEC Sharna Fernandes, representatives of the Law Faculty Trust, as well as the directors of Cluver Markotter Attorneys.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In her welcoming address, Prof Juanita Pienaar, Acting Dean of the Law Faculty, described Justice Sachs as “having penned many wonderful judgments with finesse and precision".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Jaina Lalla, a Masters student said that she agreed with his answer to the question asked by the lecture's theme, “while he does not completely ignore the ongoing issues within South Africa, he highlights the beautiful nation that South Africa is, and more importantly he highlights the power that the South African people hold with their right to speak out against things they know are unjust. As a Zimbabwean this is something that really stood out to me; and has made me realise just how powerful this right is, as it is a right that my people have not had the safety and the freedom to exercise for their own".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I am an eternal optimist," said Sachs, but acknowledged that while South Africa is a free country, “it is neither fair nor equal, and plagued by crime, gender-based violence, corruption and dysfunctional municipalities."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">These sentiments were echoed by the Rector, Prof Wim De Williers, who drew attention in his opening address to World Day of Social Justice which had been celebrated just a day before the lecture and spoke about the requirement of “our full and immediate attention" to tackle the issues mentioned by Justice Sachs as a society.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking of the struggles he faced as an anti-apartheid activist and the injuries that resulted from the assassination attempt on his life in 1988, he said that he did not think of these things as “sacrifices, but rather the only options he felt would be right in response to the unjust system of apartheid".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The only way I could be a free person in my country was to join the struggle led by African people."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking about why students should support social justice initiatives, Thembalethu Seyisi, a candidate attorney, Social Justice Ambassador of the Social Justice M-Plan initiative started by Madonsela in the CJS, and a Stellenbosch Alumni chapter leader said: “It is of paramount importance for students to support social justice initiatives such as the Annual Lecture, so as to be conscientised to current social ills and to gain inspiration to start thinking systematically on how they can play their part in creating the South Africa where everyone's life is improved and potentially freed."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Throughout the lecture, recurrent themes in the life of Justice Sachs included his sense of duty, his clear understanding of right and wrong as well as his opposition to injustice that punctuates his life even to this day.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I do get angry, especially when I see people I had been in the trenches with, becoming crooks," he said.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Despite this disappointment in his former compatriots, he remains positive and called on the youth to take up the fight for a more just society, stating that “we will find our way through the difficulties we're in right now". <br></p>
Wrap-around support helps level playing field for disadvantaged students — Prof Ramjugernath support helps level playing field for disadvantaged students — Prof RamjugernathDeresh Ramjugernath <p>​​​​Wrap-around support helps students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to achieve academic success and equips them with valuable skills to enter the world of work. This is the view of Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching at Stellenbosch University, in an opinion piece published by <em>University World Ne</em>w​s on 16 February 2023.<br></p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.</li></ul><p><strong>​Prof Deresh Ramjugernath*</strong><br></p><p>“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence."<br></p><p>I am reminded of these renowned words of 18<sup>th</sup> Century author, <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Abigail Adams</strong></a>, each year when we encounter the scramble for enrolment at universities and other institutions of higher learning. It is a truism meant as advice for those eager to embark on an educational journey that will shape their futures. However, given the context and realities of our country, the ardor and diligence invariably also apply to our institutions of higher learning.</p><p>The key question is: given our fractured schooling system and the diverse socio-political contexts of our students on entering post matriculation education, how do institutions level the playing field? It is one thing to propagate our united goal to broaden access to as many deserving students from previously disadvantaged communities. It is quite another matter to ensure consistent access with success.</p><p>In South Africa, the gap between privileged and disadvantaged, a consequence of the gross inequality and the legacy of apartheid, is aggravated by the current economic crisis — increased unemployment, poverty, crime and corruption. Needless to say, financial circumstances have a significant effect on the ability of students to study successfully. And the ever-increasing demand for bursaries, scholarships, study loans and educational sponsorships are common knowledge.</p><p>Yet, admittance to an institution of higher learning with a bursary or scholarship to one's credit is no guarantee or passport to academic success. </p><p>For many first-year students, orientating to campus life and tertiary studies can be hugely challenging. In South Africa, according to research conducted by <a href=""><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>Statistics </strong></span></a><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>SA</strong></span>,  70% of first-year students are the first in their family to attend university or college.</p><p>Being a first-year student is difficult for most people (even those who come from families where previous generations have attended university). It takes grit to adapt to the new environment and it requires new and different ways of learning and thinking.</p><p>Ultimately, there are a host of factors, apart from the ability to master the subject content and a bursary to your name, that contribute to the successful outcome of a student's learning experience and their overall academic performance.</p><p>In our quest to level the playing field and to optimize the chances of academic success for particularly our students from disadvantaged backgrounds, Stellenbosch University has partnered with <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">The Dell Foundation whose Young Leaders Programme</strong></a> has designed a formidable wrap-round support initiative that serves as scaffolding for successful performance throughout the student's academic career. It focuses amongst others on:</p><ul><li>Strengthening academics via tutors and learning communities who have regular check–ins and support students throughout their graduate programme. (This is in addition to our longstanding successful tracking system that monitors the academic performance of new-comers, with early alert systems on poor performance and remedial action plans to keep scholastic achievement on track.)</li><li>Financial support with a 'gap cover'-orientation: to alleviate the additional stresses encountered by students during their day-today student life, covering any shortfalls from their tuition and accommodation [National Student Financial Aid Scheme] funding or keeping student debt low, providing funding for essentials such as membership fees for student societies, textbooks, photocopying, travelling, toiletries etc;</li><li>Situational support: focusing on the mental and social wellbeing of students by offering support in the form of counselling, mentorship and developmental workshops;</li><li>Work readiness: via a digital platform with tools and resources to support students to effectively manage their academic careers and to overcome barriers to employment such as creating a winning resumé, effective marketing of themselves for career related opportunities and preparing for professional interviews; </li><li>Job placement: which offers personal coaching and guidance consultations for final years to effectively create and implement action plans against their post-graduation goals for work or further study.</li><li>Membership to an Alumni Community that enhance professional support and knowledge-networking opportunities for career development and expansion. </li></ul><p>This range of support mechanisms enable students to excel academically and gain valuable skills from their campus experience. It is geared to significantly reduce the dropout rate which is currently notably higher amongst students from disadvantaged groups, students of colour or those who form part of the 'missing middle.'</p><p>Having wrap-around support equip students with more than just a degree — it provides them with skills necessary to flourish academically and to enter the world of work with the graduate attributes that will serve them well as engaged and responsible citizens that are focused on making a positive contribution to society.</p><p>As leading institutions of higher learning, it is thus incumbent on us to assist and promote the process of human restitution by moving beyond the traditional paradigm of distancing ourselves from the deficiencies of basic education and to step-up our efforts to level the playing field with ardor and diligence. It is nothing less than a moral obligation to tertiary education and the future of our country.</p><ul><li><strong>Photo</strong>: First-year students at Stellenbosch University's welcoming event. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Stefan Els</li></ul><p>*<strong>Prof Deresh Ramjugernath is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching at Stellenbosch University.</strong></p><p>​<br></p>
DSAC partners with Maties on first social cohesion music festival DSAC partners with Maties on first social cohesion music festivalLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University (SU) ended its Welcoming programme for newcomers with a music festival focused on promoting social cohesion through diversity with the staging of its first ever Maties Connect Festival, or MC Fest for short, on Saturday, 11 February. The festival, which was funded by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC), the university's Division Student Affairs (DSAf) and Maties Connect, brought together local and international musicians and DJs from different musical genres on one stage.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In a country where some music genres are still considered to appeal to only certain races, the Division Student Affairs at Stellenbosch University wanted to create an event where we could expose all our students to a diverse group of artists and music genres and show them that there is unity even in diversity. Music is a great way to do this," explained Mr Charl Davids, the Director of the Centre for Student Counselling and Development (CSCD) within DSAf.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Davids, together with other DSAf staff members within the Centre for Student Communities (CSC), the Maties Connect team under the leadership of Connect Coordinator Ms Leoné Wilkinson, and the DSAC were the driving forces behind bringing the festival to SU. Maties Connect is a student-driven non-profit organisation that raises funds for a predetermined foundation each year. The organisation is also responsible for managing <em>Vensters</em> (directly translated as Windows), a popular Maties event during which newcomers in residences and commuter student communities (previously referred to as Private Student Organisations or PSOs) put on short acts for students, staff, and the public to see. Funds raised from <em>Vensters</em> this year will go DSAf and the #BridgetheGap initiative.<br><em><br>Vensters</em> preceded the MC Fest with both events held on the Welgevallen Hockey Fields in Stellenbosch. The MC Fest featured artists like Early B, Neon Dreams, ObvslySnowy, Simeon, Barnaschone, Mr Thea, Chef KD, and Sun-El Musician.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Having 16 stages across the Stellenbosch campus is costly and was just not financially feasible anymore. Instead, we were able to build one master stage where we could have <em>Vensters</em> during the day and the MC Fest in the evening. We also want to ensure the safety of our students when we stage <em>Vensters</em>, and therefore having it in one venue where you have police and security officers, and paramedics on standby to assist in case of an emergency makes sense," said Wilkinson.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We could also monitor access to the venue as students and staff had to book tickets using their student and staff numbers. Controlled access points meant bag checks could be done as another measure of ensuring safety, and attendees were prevented from bringing hard liquor into the space and over consuming alcohol."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Newlands Spring Brewery Co. and SABSharp, South African Breweries' outcome-based responsible drinking platform launched in 2021, came onboard as partners to ensure responsible drinking at the festival, with only beers with a low alcohol concentration on sale. In addition, water hydration stations were also made available by SAB and students were provided access to their online responsible drinking platform. SAB also sponsored a range of other items required for the festival.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Others who contributed towards the MC Fest included Mia Mélange, Eikestad Mall and The Village Lounge & Café.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Building social cohesion amongst our students is important for Maties Connect and we know that students interact more with each other when they bond over something that is also fun," explained Wilkinson who along with her team took responsibility for the planning and organisation of the MC Fest as well.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We connected with students to find out which artists they would like to see on stage. This meant that we could cater to many students' tastes. Students therefore became involved in building social cohesion before and during the event without even realising it and that's what you want to do, you want to create a space where that can happen naturally and on a subconscious level. Otherwise, these things can become performative."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The festival was also used as a “welcome back for seniors and a 'welcome to Maties' for newcomers" under the banner of starting a “Rainbow Revolution".<br></p><p>Mr Vusithemba Ndima, the Director-General of the DSAC, attended the MC Fest on Saturday evening and welcomed all the newcomers, senior students, and staff to the event.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“As part of galvanising the whole of society, including institutions of higher learning, to play a meaningful role to promote social cohesion and rid our country of the scourge of racism and other social ills, the Department is currently engaged in the process of developing a social compact for social cohesion and nation building. The rationale for the social compact comes from the realisation that no single sector, including the government, can single-handedly succeed in driving the vision towards a socially integrated and inclusive society," explained Ndima.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“That is, for South Africa to become a socially integrated and inclusive society, the different sectors in society need to make commitments and hold each other accountable to promote social cohesion and nation-building in our country, and thus, it will be a grave mistake if this concert is a once-off and not  followed up by a fully-fledged programme that will facilitate social cohesion and nation-building in this institution. Therefore, I implore you to make the required investments in the spirit of a social compact so that this institution can become a shining example of integration and inclusion in our nation where everyone is treated equally and is welcomed.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In the end, we all desire a country that is characterised by more social interaction, collaboration, and solidarity. We must work together to realise this vision and advance South Africa."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Edwin Cleophas, Secretary General for the Social Cohesion Advocates Programme within Arts and Culture at DSAC, “it was an easy decision for the department to partner with Stellenbosch University" because of DSAC's focus on driving diversity and social cohesion in South Africa and the university's commitment to transforming.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Universities are places where you put a diverse group of people together in a space where they are being 'forced' to live with one another. Prior to coming to university, if you wanted to, you could attend any school and choose a school that is more exclusive. However, when you enter university you have to learn to live with people from different backgrounds, who speak different languages, have different cultures, and who you may not have been exposed to.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The Department is focused on nation-building and social cohesion and believe that you can't build a better South Africa for all if you do it independently. Universities provide a space for us to focus on nation-building and social cohesion amongst diverse groups, and especially newcomers," said Cleophas.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Even with SU being under public scrutiny due to concerns raised around the progress of transformation in the Khampepe Commission Report last year, Cleophas believes that it is the perfect institution for DSAC to partner with to build social cohesion amongst young South Africans.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We know SU's history, and we know that it was the birthplace of apartheid. It is a heavy label to carry, and it is time that we deal with that label and discuss it to move past it. The minister does not see this as a once-off engagement, but the start of continuous engagements with staff and students at the university and other stakeholders in and outside SU. All the partners involved are excited about the possibilities of this partnership.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The university has said that it is serious about transformation, so now we must put in the work and be intentional about bringing about transformation. The university is onboard, and government is here to support the university so that every individual, regardless of background, religion, income level, or language feel that they belong here."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The festival is also considered an opportunity for “staff to model to students what it means to be diverse". This is important, said Davids, as one of the “complaints that is often heard from students is that when events like <em>huisdans</em> (house dance) for example takes place that only one genre of music is played".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“That causes unnecessary racial division and conflict," he said.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“By hosting an event like this, we want to model to our students what diversity and inclusivity look like and that we can, even as we are different, be at the same event and enjoy the music we love, but still cater to as wide an audience as possible. If we don't as staff model to our students what it means to be diverse and inclusive, how can we expect them to know how to do it practically," added Davids.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He is particularly excited about the prospect of some of the profit from the festival going to an emergency fund within DSAf so that adhoc expenses – “such as a student needing glasses to write an exam after being mugged and having their glasses damaged" –  can be covered through the fund.  Maties Connect also ensured that the Division Alumni Relations was able to fundraise for its #BridgetheGap fund which assists students by helping them overcome obstacles that may stand in their way of continuing or completing their studies. Individuals who purchased tickets were given the option of donating to the fund at the time of purchase.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cleophas said that while a music festival provides the opportunity for people from different backgrounds to interact with each other, the responsibility of continuous transformation rested firmly on the shoulders of SU staff and students as a collective.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In order to change the culture at an institution, we need individuals to commit to the process of transformation, diversity, inclusivity and belonging as a collective."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Having witnessed and heard about the support that the university offers students during his visits to the institution, Cleophas said that he wanted students to know, especially first years, that the university offered multiple opportunities for them to access support and resources to make a success of their studies.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">​“Isolation is one of the key reasons that people drop out university, however, what I have seen at SU is that when you are struggling, it is important to ask around for help which is there."​</p>
Portraits from the Pandemic – “We are all doing our best" from the Pandemic – “We are all doing our best"Wiida Fourie-Basson, Faculty of Science<p>​F​​rom old souls who collect teas from across the world, to a burnt-out lawyer and a writer who has lost her sparkle. For those of us dealing with intense anxiety and burnout after the pandemic, the quaint watercolour-painted animal characters in <em>Portraits from the Pandemic </em>remind us “that we are all united in our brokenness".</p><p><em>Portraits from the Pandemic</em> is written and illustrated by Karin-Therese Howell, a mathematician and associate professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stellenbosch University. </p><p>The mother of two created and painted 40 unique sketches of a range of forest folk writing about their experiences during the pandemic to the local forest newspaper, <em>The Daily Oak</em>. This was her way of dealing with the stress and anxiety of living through the unknowns of the pandemic and the hard lockdown.<br></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Meet%20Juniper.jpg" alt="Meet Juniper.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><p>These forest folk include, inter alia, a dedicated Grade 2 teacher, an emphatic architect, a mathematician suffering from imposter syndrome, the owner of a bakery, a recent divorcee, a married couple seeking counseling, a depressed journalist and a stressed-out student in mathematics living on coffee and Red Bull. </p><p>But while all of this may sound quite depressing, the beauty of the characters is found in how they are portrayed as sensitive souls, dealing with intense burnout and anxiety in their own special ways. Jeff the journalist, for example, has learnt to cope with his depression “by viewing the world upside down while breathing deeply and engaging all his senses". Christopher the burnt-out lawyer has quit his high-flying career and now works in a pet shop, living with his four pet mice on a small holding. </p><p>A few of the characters are also dealing with neuro-diversity challenges. The little owl character Lisa, for example, has auditory processing disorder. But because she was only diagnosed as a teen, many lyrics of the A-Ha songs she memorised are wrong. But that does not disturb Lisa: “She thinks many of them are more beautiful as she has them stored. Sound is a colour for Lisa, and silence a rainbow", reads the sketch.</p><p>Fundamental to each sketch is a deep empathy and the believe that “no hare should be left behind, excluded or just accommodated". That is why the last three characters in the book are Daisy, Lilly and Rosy. They are three moms who have started a campaign for the inclusion of neuro-diverse children at schools.</p><p>With this quaint little book, Karin-Therese also wants to raise awareness of a poorly understood neurodevelopmental condition that remains largely undiagnosed, even though it affects up to 7% of school-going children in the United States. This condition is known as development coordination disorder (DCD).</p><p>According to Dr Eileen Africa from the Division of Movement Science and Exercise Therapy at SU, children with development coordination disorder (DCD) typically present with poor postural control, lower muscle tone, slower movements, delayed action and -response times and coordination. But while the gross motor delays typically associated with DCD are easily observable with the naked eye, these difficulties are often misunderstood as laziness or behavioral problems.</p><p>“They tend to be viewed and labelled as clumsy and uncoordinated and are often teased or bullied by their peers. They struggle with daily activities such as riding a bicycle, getting dressed, eating, self-care, and many other skills that otherwise come naturally to a neurotypical child of the same age," Dr Africa explains. </p><p>This condition can persist into adulthood and therefore early recognition, diagnosis and intervention are paramount.</p><p><em>Portraits from the Pandemic</em> is available in two formats and is available in major book and gift stores or can be ordered directly from the author: Insta: @jupiterjune612, Facebook: karinthereseart</p><p>“I hope readers will sense some parts of themselves in these sketches," she writes: “We are all a little broken and doing our best."</p><p>For more information about development coordination disorder, <a href=""></a></p><p> </p><p>​<br></p>
Applications for the Work Study Programme 2023 is open! for the Work Study Programme 2023 is open!Lizzie Witbooi<p style="text-align:justify;">​Applications for the Work Study Programme 2023 are open!  <strong>Applicants must be senior students (no first years).</strong> The Work Study Programme gives financially needy and deserving students an opportunity to earn a subsistence income.  The aim of this programme is to aid students who find themselves under financial strain regarding basic essential needs such as food, books, and as well other necessities.    </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Please submit your completed application form and attached CV before or on <strong>Friday, 18 November 202</strong> to <strong>Lizzie Witbooi at </strong><a href=""><strong></strong></a>. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">No late applications will be accepted. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Kindly note:</strong> Due to limited funding, we can only accommodate <strong>a limited number of students</strong>. The successful applicants will sign an 8-month working agreement and will be required to work a maximum of 20 hours per month. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Click <a href="/english/learning-teaching/student-affairs/Documents/Work%20Study%20Programme%20Application%20Forms/Work%20Study%20Programme%20Application%20forms%202023/Work%20Study%20Programme%20Application%20Form%202023.doc?d=wd8892580815f40fbb980427b60b58d4d">h​ere</a> to download <strong>2023 Application Forms</strong>.​​​​<br></p>
Top SU students acknowledged for excellence SU students acknowledged for excellenceCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking - Sandra Mulder<p>​​A group of 73 Stellenbosch University (SU) students were recently honoured with Rector's Awards for Excellent Achievement in recognition of their accomplishments in various spheres of student and campus life.<br></p><p>Themed “Sustainable innovation; pursuing excellence together", the annual awards on Tuesday, 18 October 2022, acknowledge student excellence in academics, leadership, culture, social impact, sport, and service provision.</p><p><strong>Innovators for the future</strong></p><p>Top management, faculty deans and student leaders joined award recipients at the ceremony hosted at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS). </p><p>SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers congratulated this year's awardees, adding that they were the “innovators we need for the future". The Rector also expressed the hope that this recognition would encourage the recipients to continue doing meaningful work wherever their future journeys might take them. “I congratulate you on your hard work and dedication, not only over the past year, but also the tumultuous two pandemic years. You persevered, and achieved something quite extraordinary," De Villiers said.<br></p><p>Having received 124 applications and nominations this year, the Rector's Awards ceremony is a key event on the SU calendar, said Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching. “It's an opportunity to come together to celebrate the hard work and exceptional achievements of our students," he said. “However, at the same time, we must also acknowledge that our students' achievements are facilitated by our dedicated staff, who create a nurturing environment for students to flourish and thrive, and consequently meet their full potential. We are celebrating that full potential tonight." <br></p><p><strong>On the right track</strong></p><p>The keynote speaker, SU's former Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Eugene Cloete, encouraged students to continue their innovation journey, as they were on the “correct trajectory." He highlighted clarity on goals and expectations as well as recognition of people's achievements as two vital requirements for promoting innovation and unlocking human potential. “If you do not acknowledge other people, you bankrupt them emotionally," Cloete said. He encouraged the award winners to take their potential to the next level by continuing to renew their knowledge, set new goals and raise their expectations.<br><br></p><p>Cloete concluded his address by underlining the importance of respect in achieving success in life. “I want you to live with respect. Respect is important because it creates the possibility for us to co-inhabit this planet. Respect means acknowledging that we all have different ways and that we need to create a space where we can all live together and to our full potential. May you have a spectacular future."<br></p><p><strong>And the winners are …</strong></p><p>The following students received awards:<br></p><p><strong>Academics</strong> (comprising the Rector's Award for Excellent Achievement as well as the SU medal for top master's student, by faculty)</p><p>AgriSciences</p><ul><li>Mia Olga Schutte        </li><li>Anika Keuck               </li><li>Karlene Lambrechts   </li><li>Carla Dippenaar (top master's student)</li></ul><p>Arts and Social Sciences<br></p><ul><li>Julia Snyckers             </li><li>Pieter Conradie           </li><li>CJ le Grange               </li><li>Mark Lynch                </li><li>JZ Donnelly                </li><li>Tamlyn February                    </li><li>Sophia Rabie  </li><li>Lara van Heerden       </li><li>Anita Faul (top master's student, Psychology)</li></ul><p>Economic and Management Sciences<br></p><ul><li>Petrone Moolman       </li><li>Jessie Shannon Leukes                       </li><li>Julia Fiona Bishop                  </li><li>Peng-Chen Liang                    </li><li>Christa Jean Albertyn             </li><li>Danielle-Verné Louw </li><li>Shannon Linda Barry              </li><li>Christa-Mari de Lange                        </li><li>Mitchell Ashton van Heerden </li><li>Caryn Jill Bishop        </li><li>Dané Odendaal           </li><li>Jaco du Toit</li><li>Lauren Eileen Morrell (top master's student, Sustainable Development and Management)<br></li></ul><p>Engineering</p><ul><li>Charl du Toit  </li><li>Elijah Cishugi             </li><li>MC Harraway             </li><li>T Hettasch                  </li><li>William Dommisse     </li><li>Johannes Koekemoer</li></ul><ul><li>C Oosthuysen  (top master's student, Civil Engineering)</li></ul><p>Law</p><ul><li>Estelle Hailey Hislop  </li><li>Hugo Uys</li><li>Mitchell John Brooks (top master's student)</li></ul>Medicine and Health Sciences<br><ul><li>Christine Vivier                      </li><li>Kayleen Esau              </li><li>Faye Gen Bure                        </li><li>Tasha Ainsworth</li><li>Suewellyn Francis Zimmerman                     </li><li>Lumé Koorts</li><li>Abigail Kate de Villiers (top master's student, Epidemiology)</li></ul><p>Military Science<br></p><ul><li>​​Khodani Sherrif Tshivhi (top master's student, Technology (Maths))</li></ul>Science<br><ul><li>Brendan Watling         </li><li>Jean Durand    </li><li>Graham Mitchell                     </li><li>Gerhard Gustav Woithe                      </li><li>Jessie Midgley </li><li>Kyle Harper Erwin (top master's student)</li></ul> ​Theology<br><ul><li>Lourens Bester (top master's student)</li></ul><p><strong>Sport</strong></p><ul><li>Franco Rheeder (boxing)</li><li>Clayton Saker (hockey)</li><li>Stephanie Botha (hockey)</li><li>Anna Thornton-Dibb (RSA water polo)</li><li>Ross Stone (RSA water polo)</li><li>Bianca Augustyn (rugby)</li></ul><strong>Students' Representative Council (SRC) Award for Exceptional Achievement</strong><br><ul><li>Prof Eugene Cloete     <br><br><strong>Social impact</strong></li></ul><ul><li>Marcel Lee Adams<br></li><li>Adam Venter</li><li>Abongile Quthu<br><br> <strong>Academic resilience</strong></li></ul><ul><li>Michè Snyders<br><br> <strong>Leadership</strong></li></ul><ul><li>Sebastian Foster</li><li>Vhudi Ravhutsi</li><li>Precious Nhamo</li><li>Estelle Hislop</li><li>Makabongwe Kaseke</li><li>Rinae Musekene</li><li>Susanna Hendrina du Plessis</li><li>Luigia Nicholas</li><li>Alysa-Abby Kekana</li><li>Karabo Mogashoa</li><li>Christo van der Bank</li><li>Thimna Sotyato<br></li></ul><div><br></div><p> <br></p><p> Main picture: Khodani Sherrif Tshivhi (top master's student, Technology (Maths)​)<br></p><p> Photographer: Stefan Els<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Activists, students and staff discuss challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ community, students and staff discuss challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ community Nadine Christians and Keenen Gilbert <p>​Activists, students, and staff participated and attended a hybrid panel discussion focusing on the theme, Confronting the barriers to inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ community, held at Stellenbosch University's Tygerberg campus recently.   <br></p><p>The panel discussion was held in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), the Equality Unit and the Division Student Affairs (DSAf), with panellists, staff and students unpacking various themes related to the challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community. </p><p>The event was attended by over 50 staff and students.</p><p>The panel discussion formed part of a broader awareness campaign which included LGBTQIA+ allyship ambassador videos that have been screened in the lead-up to Pride Month in October. Several personal messages of solidarity were recorded by Justice Edwin Cameron, Chancellor of SU; Alex Vink, former SRC member; Prof Elmi Muller, Dean: FMHS, Jaco Greeff Brink, Head of the Equality Unit, and Fanelesibonge Ndebele, Shared Humanity Module and Shared Humanity Learning Coach Module Coordinator.</p><p>“Stellenbosch University recognised the importance of planning an evidence-based campaign with contributions from staff and students from the LGBTQIA+ community on Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses. The campaign was envisioned to create awareness and bring about critical engagement around important issues related to the LGBTQIA+ community," said Khairoonisa Foflonker, Manager: DSAf at the FMHS, based at Tygerberg campus.</p><p>Panellists Nicole Joy Alexander, Director of Pride Shelter Trust, Leon Coetzee, the newly-elected chairperson of SPECTRUM!, and Elliott Kotze, psychologist, researcher and LGBTQIA+ activist, provided expert insight into various topics that hinder the inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community.</p><p>Bringing in the perspective of the student community, Coetzee shared their thoughts and experiences as a queer student leader on what allyship looks like on campus by deconstructing allyship from a queer perspective and providing perspective on simple ways of how students and staff can be allies by   “speaking up, extending opportunities and challenging the status quo". </p><p>Coetzee also addressed the importance of redefining the meaning of being an “ally" as more than being a “heteronormative identifier".</p><p>"Community is important and [we need to understand that] queer bodies are all human beings deserving of fundamental human rights," said Coetzee.</p><p>Alexander highlighted the work done by The Pride Shelter Trust, a safe house and wellness centre focusing on LGBTQIA+ human rights and gender-based violence in South Africa. In her presentation, Alexander focussed on the access that LQBTQIA+ persons have to healthcare and safety.</p><p>She spoke on the challenges that LGBTQIA+ youth face and their struggles with “low self-esteem, unemployment, substance abuse, psychological instability" as well as health-related issues such as HIV/ Aids, hormonal treatment, and other medical issues. She also shared a personal story of a Pride Shelter resident and their struggles and triumphs with the South African healthcare system as an example of the reality of the difficult challenges faced by queer individuals when accessing healthcare and feeling safe.   </p><p>Kotze's presentation focussed on improving the quality of life of queer and gender-diverse individuals through the strategic implementation of community-driven interventions. Kotze's presentation dealt with the mental health challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community and how members of the queer community “should not be expected to be resilient" when faced with mental health issues. His parting message was that “radical allyship" was needed to support the LGBTQIA+ community and reiterated the important role proactive healthcare professionals can play to improve the mental health of the queer community.</p><p>More ambassador videos will be shared via social media in October for Pride Month. So be sure to check out the Equality Unit and DSAf's social media channels at <a href="">Facebook</a> and <a href="">Instagram.</a>​​</p>
Stellenbosch University extends closing date for funding applications till 30 November 2022 University extends closing date for funding applications till 30 November 2022Petro Mostert<p>​​Stellenbosch University's (SU) Centre for Undergraduate Bursaries and Loans (CUBL) has extended the closing date for 2023 Stellenbosch University funding applications until 30 November 2022 to allow more students to apply for financial support.<br></p><p>Applications for SU funding opened on 1 July 2022 and will now close on 30 November 2022.</p><p>“By extending the closing date, we are broadening the opportunity for students to apply for funding, especially students from the so-called <em>missing middle</em> (gross household income between R350 000 and R600 000 per annum)," says CUBL Deputy Director, Gerard Paris, <br></p><p><strong>SU funding</strong></p><p>A bursary can make a university education affordable. Current and prospective undergraduate students qualify for SU financial support based on two main criteria: <strong>financial need</strong> and <strong>academic merit</strong>. Students granted financial support receive the latter in direct proportion to the extent of their financial needs regardless of race and gender. Financial need is determined with the information submitted by the student regarding his or her financial circumstances and is verified by a third party.</p><p><strong>E-application process</strong></p><p>SU has a new online application process and student access to the new secure, external site is gained using their <strong>unique eight-digit SU# (student number) and password</strong>. CUBL highly recommends students <em>first</em> review the <a href=""><strong>How to Apply</strong></a> instructions to prepare the required support documents before applying via the my.sun portal. The online form takes approximately twenty minutes to complete.</p><p>All prospective and current undergraduate students are encouraged to apply – or reapply – and thus be registered on the CUBL database for 2023 funding allocations, should financial circumstances change unexpectedly.</p><p>For any application-related queries, students are requested to please call SU client services on 021 808 9111 or go to the website at <a href=""></a></p><p> </p><p>For media enquiries</p><p>Petro Mostert</p><p>M <a href=""></a>​<br><br></p><p><br></p>